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.

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.

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.

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