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.

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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!

Future Benefit Goodies

I’ve just spied on British Beauty Bloggers latest post about two new Benefit products that are expected to be released in the UK in January of next year. One of these products have gotten me so so excited for the new year and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s the Agent Zero shine vanishing PRO powder

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How amazing does this look! I’m a massive fan of the Porefessional primer so this would be the perfect addition to my make up bag. The packaging looks so handy and useful and it looks like it’ll be the perfect item to add to your bag during a night out to control that shine that seems to come hand in hand with being in an overcrowded bar.

Roll on 2014!

Hair, Hair, Hair

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In her September Favourites Vlog, one of my favourite Beauty Bloggers Gemma from GemsMaquillage, talks about what seems to be a taboo subject for us all, hair removal. In particular, facial hair. I agree with Gemma completely, we all grow hair so why are we ashamed to talk about our methods of removal? I won’t lie, after Gemma talking about it, I got all riled up and ready to start a campaign for all of us to stop being so embarrassed about talking about something which is completely natural and something we can’t control without a little bit of help!

So,, as I’m a person who seems to grow hair quicker than average (something which I’m grateful for on my head, but could do without in other areas) I thought I’d join her in being open about this and talk about hair removal methods that I’ve tried and tested, loved and hated.

In the salon

There’s two methods that I’ve used with professionals in a salon and thats waxing and threading. I’d be lying if I said threading isn’t painful. It is. It’s horrible. And I found that when I was using the threading method I’d leave it longer and longer between treatments to build up courage to face the pain. It left me feeling raw and tender afterwards and honestly, the results aren’t much different to waxing. Sure, for eyebrows its give a much more defined shape, but for other parts (i.e my tash), I would says there’s no difference between this and waxing.

The pros to threading is that it’s much more hygienic. Only the thread touches your skin rather than a wax that’s been reheated numerous times and a wax strip rubbed onto your face, plus no chemicals are used. Also, apparently, if you use this method enough than the hair follicles will become damaged and in the end will stop actually growing hairs. I’d imagine you’d have to have a ridiculous number of treatments for this to happen.

I finally gave up on threading though after the pain became to much. But, if you have a high pain threshold, then I’d definitely recommend it. My favourite place to go for this treatment was Benito Brow Bar in Debenhams. Here they also give you a loyalty card so after 7 treatments, you receive your 8th for free.

Waxing, for me, gave the same results as threading just without the same amount of pain. Because of how quick my hair grows I would have to get the treatment once a month.

In between treatments, as I have dark hair, for my tash I would use an at-home bleaching kit from Boots. The Smooth Care Hair Lightener is available here for just £3.99. I’ve never used any other hair lightener so I can’t really compare but I have no complaints about this products. Its quick and easy to use and gives great results.

At Home

For some reason, I always find myself too busy to bother making appointments to call in somewhere to be waxed. For threading, because I got it done in Debenhams, I had to go into Liverpool Town Center, and after being asked once if I’d had Cherryade to drink, I became a little bit worried that I’d be walking round with a bright red lip and see someone I know, so I have become a fan of at home treatments.

The perfect thing about the at home treatments is that you can do it whenever you want. You don’t have to find the time to go anywhere and if you find the perfect one for you quickly, it can be a lot more cost efficient.

Personally, I’ve only tried two at home methods, both of them involving wax.

The first is Wax Strips. I think I’ve tried every wax strip available and, for me, they’re useless. If you have fine hair they might be okay for you, but for me they were much more useful for removing a layer of skin and for some reason leaving the hair behind. The worst I’ve ever used is the Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Facial Wax Strips. Completely useless. I had to heat them up with my hair dryer for a while before they would even try to stick to my face and even then they didn’t remove one single hair.

Waxing seems to be the best method for me so I have tired hot wax at-home methods. The first was the Nair Ultra Precision Face Wax at £5.99. I found the application of this, using the roll on tip, far too complicated and difficult to get the right amount of wax in the places I wanted it to go. Massive no from me for this unfortunately.

Thankfully, I’ve found a product that is perfect for me. Easy and effective. It’s the Nair Easy Wax Microwaveable Pot available here for £10.99. At a higher cost than any other home treatment I’ve bought, I had high hopes. And it doesn’t disappoint. Its sold as a product for the body, but I’ve also been using it for my tash (its grows so quick it’s unbelievable. Sad face.) and it works perfectly. You simply heat the wax pot for two minutes in the microwave, leave to stand so it can cool for 3 minutes then apply it to the areas you want to wax. Leave to harden on the skin for around 30 seconds, and whip off. It has given me salon-results each time and I’m so glad I bought it. The only thing I would say is that if you’re going to use it for the facial area, then break the applicator stick in half down the middle so that’s its easier to apply on smaller areas.

Soap & Glory Solar Powder

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Bronzer is a staple part of my make up routine. Mascara and bronzer were the only make up products I used when I first started to wear make up so when I don’t use it, for some reason, I feel naked. For years my bronzer of choice was Bourjois Delice de Soleil and I never used another product. But now, oh how things have changed.

I have an extremely pale skin tone. I don’t know what shade I am in MAC, which seems to be the point of reference for all beauty bloggers, but I’m usually buying Ivory shades. So, naturally, its extremely hard to find a bronzer that gives a nice natural colour. Now, back when I was using Delice de Soleil I was a massive fan of the old fake tan. I used to apply it every night and now, when I look back at pictures, I wish I’d listened to my friends who told me time and again that I constantly smelt of the stuff and it was a little too much. But after ending my love affair with the artificial sun-kissed look and embracing my pale skin tone (I’d like to think I now look like an English rose), Delice de Soleil was just far too orange in tone for me. So I was on the look out for a new bronzer.

About two years ago, I was having a nose at the Soap & Glory make up range and came across their bronzer, Solar Powder. There was probably some sort of 3 for 2 offer on beauty goods on at the time so I decided to give it a go and I am so so glad that I did. Solar Powder is a mix and match, multi-shade bronzer with two different toned powders.

I like to use a basic powder brush to run over the two powders, more so on the paler one, and I find that it gives a perfect, subtle hint of colour to my face. For times when I have a bit more time to spend on putting my make up on, which isn’t often, I concentrate the brush more on the darker shade and use it for contouring my face.

It applies like a dream. Swirling the brush lightly over the pan gets just the right amount of product onto the brush. On the first use, there is a shimmery overspray over the powder, but just swirl the brush around a few times and it’s disappears so theres no need to worry about the powder being shimmery.

With the two toned powders, I can find the perfect colour for my skin tone. Its not orange at all and genuinely does give a bronzed look, rather than a tangoed look. Saying that, I can’t imagine it working well on darker skin tones as its not at all overpowering on my pale face.

I love this product. Love, love, love. But my only problem is with the packaging. The design is typically Soap & Glory and retro, but its made of cardboard so it gets very grubby, very quickly and for the price of it I think they could definitely package it better. But ladies, if you’re pale like me and want the perfect bronzer, then this is the one for you.

You can find the bronzer here for £11 or at Boots, where there’s almost always some sort of offer on on beauty products.

Bourjois Java Rice Loose Powder

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Celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, Bourjois have released two products: one a brand new adjusting blusher and the other a re-release of a favourite from their back catalogue, the Java Rice Loose Powder, first released in 1879.

This is an illuminating loose powder that, given the fact that I usually prefer the matte look, I didn’t think I’d like, but I got swept up in the wave of excitement surrounding the product and decided to give it a try.

The packaging is mostly what attracted me to the product. It’s just looks so vintage and typically French and, as it turns out, its handy and practical as well. The swivel top took some getting used to but now I find it really easy to control how much product comes out and if I manage to get too much out, the screw top means it wont fall out and be wasted when the product is stashed away in my make up bag.

The only way to describe the smell is so typically Bourjois. Its a lovely scent and its one of my favourite things about the product.

In the pot, the powder has a pale pink hue that becomes transparent when blended in properly. Its so easy to apply. I’ve been using an average blush brush to apply the product as a highlighter on my cheek bones and the bridge of my nose. Its perfect as a highlighter. Given my usual avoidance of things with a bit of shimmer, I’m surprised by how much I love this. The shimmer is the perfect amount. In fact, I would hardly call the effects shimmery but, rather, the powder gives the perfect glow and radiance and when I use it I seem to have a luminous and glowy complexion.

The texture is perfect as well. It feels so silky and velvety. I can honestly say that its become one of my favourite products in my make up back, and a massive plus is that when its applied to the t-zone, its great at oil control.

As far as I know the item is a limited edition and available for £9.99. Fingers crossed Bourjois decide to keep it in their line permanently!

The Body Shop Seaweed Skin Care Range

ImageI’ve been on the look out for a reasonably priced mattifying cream and after talking myself out of spending £40 on the Premae Harmony Creme Balm (which is amazing), I clocked these products in the Body Shop. I don’t usually think to ever go into the Body Shop but for some reason I decided to have a browse and I’m glad I did. They had this set of products in an offer for £32 for the complete set so I decided to give it a go.

The range is made using bladderwrack seaweed that grows in clean waters off the south-west coast of Ireland and is ideal for combination/oily skin. It promises to help restore skin balance and control excess oils to help give you a shine free, matte finish.

In the set, I received the following items:

Seaweed Purifying Facial Cleanser, £8 for 200 ml

This clarifying lotion helps to remove make up and excess oil. It is massaged onto the skin using fingertips and then removed in circular motions using a cotton pad or a muslin cloth. I’ve found that I prefer to use a cotton pad. It feels light, smells lovely and it does help with oil control, but I’ve found it doesn’t completely remove all traces of make up. My face doesn’t feel clean or totally fresh after using it and I’ve found I definitely prefer to use a facial cleanser that is rinsed off with water.

I don’t think its worth the price tag in terms of removing make up, but it does help with oil control.

Seaweed Clarifying Toner, £8 for 200ml 

This is a good toner. It helps clear the skin of any make up that resisted the cleansing stage but it is definitely not eye friendly. Its quite harsh on the old eye area and stings quite a bit so I wouldn’t recommend using it on this area. But it does what you expect from a toner.

The only problem is I seem to be getting through it quite quickly, so it will need repurchasing quite often but it is good for combination/oily skin types.

Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator, £9 for 75 ml

I tend to use this product once or twice a week and it definitely hasn’t replaced my Liz Earle Gentle Exfoliator. It has a gel-like consistancy with grains that give your skin a good scrub, without being harsh at all. My skin feels extremely clean and fresh after using it.

The scent, unfortunately, isn’t at all like the scent of the other products in the range. It is so heavy and strong, and not at all pleasant so I don’t like to use it that much. Other than that though, it great. Its just that its a massive con for the product.

Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream, £10 for 50ml

This moisturiser is oil free and gel like in texture. It feels really greasy at first but mattifies almost immediately when rubbed into the skin. Due to the texture, a little goes a long, long way so the 50ml will probably last for a long time. The matte effect lasts all day and my skin is a lot less greasy at the end of the day. It doesn’t dry my skin out at all and it feels really soft and moisturised throughout the whole day.

The scent is lovely. Its really light and fresh and makes it even more of a pleasure to use.

Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment, £11 for 30ml

As I have oily skin, I tend to stay away from night treatments/moisturisers, as they are usually too heavy. But this serum is perfect. It’s light and helps to balance the skin and reduce oil, yet it still hydrates and my skin is so soft after using it.

As its a serum, a little goes a long, long way and you only need the tiniest amount of product. It does exactly what you want it to.

If I were to pay for these products individually at the full price, I would think that other than the day cream and night treatment, they are slightly overpriced. But other than the cleanser and the exfoliator, I will definitely be repurchasing them. It’s the perfect skin care regime perfect for oily skin.

All products are available here from the Body Shop