Sephora Express/Instant Nail Polish Remover

 

 

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When I was working in France towards the end of last year, I found myself with chipped nail varnish that was too much for even me (I have a bad habit of leaving my nails for weeks on end and not dealing with the chips), so I popped into Sephora whilst in Lille and picked up a nail varnish and this Express Nail Varnish Polish Remover. I’d heard only good things about the Bourjois version but as this was cheaper in the store, decided to give this a go. Bourjois, like most things in France to be fair, is disgustingly expensive.

I was not disappointed in this. I’ve only ever really used cheapish nail varnish removers, usually with acetone, that leave my nails quite weak and the skin surrounding them feeling a bit malnourished and dry but this seems to do the opposite. Sticking my finger in a pot with a sponge soaked in nail varnish remover, I was expecting to be needing a lot of hand cream afterwards, but not at all. It feels quite moisturising, not at all drying, and it certainly doesn’t give me the feeling that it’s harsh on my nails.

And in terms of removing polish? It amazing. No hard work is required. Simply put your finger into the hole in the sponge, give the bottle a twist or two, and all signs of varnish is completely removed. It even makes an easy job of removing glitter polish, with no signs of the glitter damaging the sponge thank God. Perfect.

Unfortunately, as this is considered a hazardous material for shopping, us UK ladies won’t be able to order it from the Sephora site, but if you ever find yourself in the US or Europe, pick it up! I can’t compare it to the Bourjois one as I’ve never tried it, but I will say that I have no urge to ever try it as this is just so good.

Now, I’ve just checked the site and it turns out that the European stores have different names of products then the US stores. The product is available here from Sephora US and is called Instant Nail Polish Remover. There is a different Express Nail Polish Remover on the site so don’t get them confused if you are buying them in the different nations!

 

L’Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum

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For month’s I’ve been lusting after Lancomes Dreamtone Serum but every time I get close to buying it there’s a voice in my (or usually my boyfriend moaning next to me) that spending £69 on a serum is ridiculous, even if I am convinced that it’s a magical potion that will provide me with perfect skin.

Nevertheless, being more serious about skin care nowadays, I wanted to add a serum to my routine. Now I’ll admit I have no idea what a serum is meant to do and why I should use one regularly, but I’m willing to go along with what other people tend to do. Yes, I probably would put my hand in a fire if everyone else was. Then, the L’oreal Skin Perfection range was launched and it seemed to be the answer to my Lancome lusting on a tight budget. The pink packaging does make it look like the peasants version of Dreamtone..

The entire range promises to help refine skin, tighten pores and even and brighten skin tone, visibly improving skin quality. And, if you are to believe the campaign with Cheryl Cole as the face, it will improve your skin so much that you can be confident enough to go make up free. And this is the line I fell hook line and sinker for, giving me such high hopes for this product especially when I found out that the serum contains the same ingredients as Lancomes Vissionaire Serum, just at half the concentration.

The packaging is pretty good. Like I said, it looks really similar to the Lancome Dreamtone due to the pink glass bottle, the glass making it feel a bit more high end than your usual drug store skin care. The pump is great, with one pump dispensing the perfect amount of product for my face.

The product itself was also quite nice to apply. Not as thick as a cream and, I don’t know if this will make sense or not, but its quite “gooey”. Saying that though its very light and doesn’t feel at all heavy on my skin. I should also mention that there’s a definite scent to the serum which I found to be quite pleasant.

In terms of results, its pretty much “meh”. Maybe its because I didn’t use the full range, but I didn’t see any sign of my skin being perfected,a nd you can see that I’ve used over half of the bottle and was using it morning and night on a daily basis.

Now, over the last few weeks my skin has been playing up quite a bit. It’s been oilier than usual and blemishes are becoming so regular that they’re now the norm (they’re always making an appearance in the EXACT same place, is that normal?). Now I’m not saying it was this product, and I can’t prove it because I’ve changed quite a few items in my routine lately (Hello Clarins!), but since I stopped using it after growing impatient and bored with it, my skin, ironically, has clearly improved. It might not have been this, but I have a feeling that it wasn’t helping at all, especially as all the other items in my routine had been part of it for a while before.

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation & Concealer

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It’s been a while since I bought a drugstore foundation that I was completely happy with. I really wanted to love Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, and I did love how it was when it was first applied, but my skin did not like it at all and I was recovering from breakouts for a while after I stopped using it (it took me a while to accept it just wasn’t going to happen).

Anyway, with me starting work very early in the morning, I can be applying my make up several times a day (if I decide to be sociable in the afternoons after work or in the evenings), I was getting through my Hello Flawless quicker than I liked and, with my jollies to Florida coming up, I wanted a cheapish foundation that would do me when I was in work.

With a formula that’s packed with vitamins and ingredients that help benefit the skin (so I’m told), the formula of Maybelline’s Better Skin Foundation promises to even out skin tone instantly and also to leave you with better skin after just 3 weeks of use.

I won’t lie. I didn’t have high hopes. I was about to write that I’ve never tried a Maybelline foundation, or if I have then I don’t remember. But that would be a lie. I’ve just realised I did try the Fit foundation and I hated it. Anyway, I don’t know why I picked this one up (probably the 3 for 2 offer on Maybelline products at Boots), but OH MY GOD, I’m so glad I did.

Now, I don’t believe that it will leave me with better looking skin after 3 weeks. I’ve been using it for close to 2 weeks now and am yet to see any changes but, on first pump, I knew it was love. The liquid is quite thick is texture but its very easily blended. I find that I prefer to blend it with my fingers and the coverage is amazing. And I mean AMAZING. On the little info panel in Boots it said that it was medium coverage but no way is this medium. Its full coverage. Full to the point where concealer is pointless.

It’s also marked as being suitable for normal skin. But I have really oily skin lately and it’s not overwhelmed by this foundation at all. I have been using a primer (Benefit’s Porefessional) as a base and a powder (Rimmel’s Stay Matte in 001 Transparent) to set it and after applying my make up very quickly at 4 am in the morning, I’ve found that I come home around 2 pm and my make up is still perfect.

It’s worth a mention that today I applied this without using primer and powder. I’d like to say that this is because I wanted to see how it would perform, but if I’m being honest it was because I let myself have longer in bed because I just couldn’t be bothered! Anyway, it just proved to me that if I want to get the most of this foundation then these are steps I shouldn’t skip. It may be completely different for someone with a dry/normal skin type.

The finish is not as matte as I’ve been sporting lately but I love that. I don’t want to have to hide away from having a radiant look just because I have oily skin!

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The shade range boasts 8 different shades. I opted for 005 Light Beige which, I have to say, turned out to be the perfect match for my skin tone. No need to worry about blending it perfectly so there’s no line around my jaw (urgh), which is perfect for me when I’m applying my make up so early with a ridiculous energy efficient light bulb. I swear I may as well do it in the dark. Which leads me to the concealer…..

Seens as there was a 3 for 2 deal going on, I also got the concealer and Baby Skin primer (I’m saving that for my jollies. The concealer was offered in two shades: Light and Medium. I obviously chose the light option and as you can see in the image above, its a lot darker than the foundation. Something which I didn’t notice when I applied it at 4 am in the morning in my room lit by said useless light bulb. It all became as clear as day though when I was in a brightly lit shop at 10 am staring at my face that looked like I had tried to pattern it up with polka dots when attempting to conceal my blemishes (thank god I didn’t to have put any under my eyes as the foundation is so good). To be fair, it did a good job of covering my blemishes up, I just wish it was in a tone that matched the foundation. Probably my own fault for not swatching it in the shop.

So in summary, the foundation is amazing. Go buy it!

My 5 Minute Face

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My new job has me at work every day for 5:30 in the morning, and with my travel time being from 20 minutes to 2 hours, there are days when I have to be up about 3am. Urgh! So because of this, I prefer to get as much sleep as I possibly can and I’ve managed to hone down my getting ready skills so that I’m good to go in 20 minutes flat with 5 (okay maybe more than 7) being spent on putting my face on.

I usually keep my make up quite basic when I go to work. It’s only really been this last year that I’ve been a bit more daring with my make up and branched out into wearing eye shadows and lipstick, so I feel a bit self conscious if I’m a bit more “done up” for work. But here are my go to essential products that I like to think leave me looking acceptable in the quickest time possible:

1. Primer

Primer is a must for me to prep my oily skin before putting on my foundation. Benefit’s Porefessional is my all time favourite. Its pricey compared to what you can get in drug stores (Maybellines Baby Skin and Rimmels Stay Matte Primer are on my “Buy and Try” list) but its a brilliant product that controls any excess oil so that my foundation stays put for longer.

2. Foundation

I’m loving mineral foundation lately but, when I’m in a rush of a morning, I find it much more time efficient to use a liquid foundation and apply it with my fingers. I tend to mix up what foundation I use quite often (I have many stored away in my Muji storage), but lately I’ve been reaching for one of my favourites, Urban Decays Naked.

3. Concealer

Concealer is essential for covering up any blemishes, which my skin seems to be very much fond of recently, and the dark circles that the early starts have brought on as my body clock just isn’t used to it yet. Benefit’s Boi-ing in Shade 01 is my weapon of choice as it covers anything up perfectly and is long lasting.

4. Blusher

To add a bit of colour and warmth to my face, blusher is essential especially because I’ve decided that I can sacrifice putting any bronzer on. Since I bought Rockateur in September, I haven’t used another blusher. The colour is just perfect.

5. Mascara

I think like most girls, if I only had time for one product it would have to be mascara. I love a long, dramatic lash and if I could be bothered to put on false lashes every morning, or pay out to have semi permanent lashes put on every month, I would. A combination of my GOSH and Soap & Glory’s Thick & Fast (or Benefit’s They’re Real) is the closest I manage to get to the false lash look using mascara.

6. Brows

To think that a year ago I never used any product whatsoever on my brows makes me cringe so badly. Its unbelievable the difference a well defined brow can make to your face and its now a step I can’t ever imagine skipping. I love Benefit’s Brow Zings. I love the wax/powder combo and find it so easy to apply.

7. Powder

To set my makeup and also to control any excess oil/shine throughout the day, I use a powder. Benefit’s the PoreFessional powder is the perfect tool to stick in my bag to use whenever I need it.

Soap & Glory Thick and Fast Mascara

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For the last two years, there’s only been two mascara’s that I’ve been interested in: Benefit’s They’re Real which I use as a second coat over GOSH’s Growth Mascara and I still love them. Using them both gives me the perfect length and volume that I look for during the day, when I still want dramatic lashes but can’t be bothered to put falsies on before I go to work.

But at Christmas I discovered a new favourite. When I saw my cousin over the festive period, her lashes looked amazing so I asked her what she was wearing and it turned out to be Soap & Glory”S Thick and Fast mascara. Now, I love They’re Real so much I wouldn’t have even considered going to buy it, especially as I’m well stocked up on They’re Real after finding myself in Duty Free every Monday in recent months. But, luckily, I’d been given the Yule Monty set as a gift and this was a hidden gem in the set and I haven;t reached for They’re Real since.

The brush is really big with a tapered end which means application, even on the inner corners, is very easy, and results in long lashes with a lot of volume. I’d go as far to say more volume than I usually get out of They’re Real. A few people have mentioned that when they use it they get a lot of flaking throughout the day, but this isn’t something I’ve experienced. Although, I do also use this as a second layer over my GOSH mascara so maybe that helps to keep it in place.

As much as I love it though, I have a massive gripe over the packaging. Every time I pull out the wand, a ridiculous amount of product is left on the brush which, if not scraped off properly, leads to clumping and horrible, spidery lashes. It also means that a lot of product is wasted when I scrape it of on the top of the tube.

At £10.50, it’s a bit more expensive than your usual drug store mascaras, but I really do think that the product is more comparable to high end products. Savings on the price can easily be made as well if you manage to get it during one of Boots regular 3 for 2 offers.

An American Wishlist

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So exactly 3 months today, I’ll be at Manchester airport waiting to board a plane to go to sunny Florida for my first holiday with a boy (EEK!)

As excited as I am for the theme parks and burgers, I’m a bit more excited for the days we go shopping. I plan on stocking up on as much skin care and makeup that my luggage allowance will permit (we’re going to pay a bit extra for an extra case between us so there’s no need to hold back!)

But as much as I want to stock us on as many Mac lipsticks as possible, I want to takw full advantage of being in the US and buy things that are not available in the UK. So I need your help and inspiration! What do I need to add on this list?! Be it skin care, makeup, anything!!

Dove Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo

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For me, I only really want one thing from a dry shampoo and that’s to help me avoid having to wash my hair as often as the grease would like me to. When it comes to washing my hair, most of the time I just can’t be bothered. Lazy I know, but it just always seems like such a chore. And with a full fringe, that attitude is not something I can get away with (not that I could get away with it with any other kind of fringe, but its so much more obvious when my hair is crying is be washed).

Back in my school days I used to rub talc in my hair, then I finally discovered Baptiste and never felt the need to try another brand. They do exactly what you want it to do and smell quite nice while they’re at it, especially the Tropical one. Then came along what felt like hundreds of beauty posts about the new Style+Care range from Dove. A dry shampoo that translucent you say? I couldn’t get to Boots quick enough. The thought of spraying my hair and not having the fight of rubbing it in to get rid of the white powder residue that seems to come hand in hand with any dry shampoo seemed too good to be true.

Now, first of all, I need to say that I have fallen in love with this product and I will get to the reasons why next. But, translucent it is not. Please imagine waking up at 4 am in the morning on your last day after travelling around France the whole week with 4 am starts on everyday. I can’t be bothered to wash my hair at the best of times, so my poor scalp had no chance of seeing water and shampoo this week so this dry shampoo had become my best friend. Every day I just gave my fringe a quick spray and that was that, fine until the next morning. But by the end of the week, my hair was looking a bit grubby so I decided to give it an all over spray using quite a bit more than I usually had. Cut to 11 am when I look into the mirror for the first time since I’d got ready that morning to find I had what can only be described at white roots. All over my head. Why no one had decided to tell me, I don’t know but what I found the worst thing about it was that the product I thought was the saviour to my hair care laziness had let me down.

But, a few trial and errors later, it turns out that if you’re only using a bit of the product then you’re fine. But if you’re trying to rid an entire greasy head then you will have to put a bit of elbow work into your prep time.

I do love this product though. Its a lot lighter than other dry shampoos I’ve used and my hair doesn’t feel as talcy/powdery after using it.  I’ve also been using it to add a bit of texture into my freshly washed hair (yes, I do sometimes bother), especially when I want to curl it. I’ve found that doing this helps styles stay in shape a lot longer.

I’d definitely recommend giving it a go, but just don’t expect a see through magical mist to fix your greasy head. Maybe one day.

What I got for Christmas

Well that’s it, it’s over for another and this Christmas I was so lucky and got spoiled rotten! I thought I’d share with you a few snaps of what I was treated to.

First up we have my beauty products.

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I now have enough Soap & Glory to last me a life time. I’n not sure about you, but I was a bit disappointed that the majority of gift bags this year from Soap & Glory didn’t have full sizes of the Clean On Me shower gel. I’m a massive fan of the traditional Soap & Glory scent, but most of the products this year are more fruity, not that I’m complaining!

I also got Mac lipstick in Cyber. I’d caught this shade on a photo of my boyfriend’s friend, and begged him for weeks and weeks to find out what shade it was. He refused to tell me and the little gem bought me it as a surprise Christmas gift.

And I can’t wait to try the Origin’s face masks I got from my Mum and Dad. I’ve read so many good things about them so can’t wait to give them a try, especially the Overnight Mask.

I’d been lusting after the Real Techniques brushes as my brush collection is very, very basic and I was treated to the starter packs from my boyfriends parents. And I finally got hold of the Naked 3 pallet!! I’d sent my mum out for it the day it was released and had begged her to let me have it as soon as she got it, but she made me wait! And finally I have it! I haven’t actually used it yet but I’ve had a quick swatch of the shades and they are truly gorgeous.

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I also got a gorgeous pair of sheepskin slippers off my aunty from a brand I’d never heard of: Snowpaw. They are so comfortable and cute. I’m debating whether to put them away to save for my holiday to Florida in April along with the many pyjamas I received.

My boyfriend’s parents also bought me a scented candle set from Lily Flame which smell amazing.

And how gorgeous is my book! Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books and I’d spotted this leather bound copy in Waterstone’s a few months ago and fell in love. My boyfriend surprised me with this and the King Charles Spaniel Calendar (He says that’s the closest I’m getting to having a real one).

So there’s my presents! I plan on blogging a lot more in the new year so have a perfect head start on products I can review!

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2014!

xoxo

A Body Shop Christmas

The Body Shop isn’t a shop I regularly venture to. I’m much more likely to run to Boots when I’m in need of a moisturizer or shower gel but, every now and again, I do like to treat myself to a few Body Shop items and, with all the gift buying for other people, surely Christmas is the perfect time to treat yourself to a couple of things. I won’t lie, this year I have treated myself to A LOT of things when I’ve been out shopping for gifts for my family and I just so happened to pick up a few things from the Body Shop.

After seeing so many posts about their Christmas products on blogs and browsing through the items on the website, I went into the shop to have a nice sniff of the Ginger Sparkle range. I don’t know why, I hate the smell of gingerbread,and I hated the smell of that range. But I did end up buying this cute Gingerbread Man sponge. I haven’t used it yet as I want to save it for Christmas Eve, but I imagine its going to do exactly what it needs to and lather up my body wash well.

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I also ended up buying the Cranberry Joy Body Butter, which I have been loving using in the countdown to Christmas (which seemed to have started far too early this year). The scent is beautiful. Its Christmassy without using any spiced/cinammon-esque scents (which I unfortunately hate), it’s fruity and it’s fresh.

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As a body butter, it’s just what you’d expect from a Body Shop Body Butter, its moisturizing and leaves my skin feeling lovely all day. The cream itself is quite thick so it’s not at all greasy.

The Body Shop have some gorgeous gift sets this time of year and would be great stocking fillers, so go take a look if you’re struggling for ideas. I know I’m always happy to receive one! It’s such a shame that I really don’t like the scent of the Ginger Sparkle range as the majority of the sets are stunning and so perfect for Christmas!