Sunday, 28 February 2010

Competition Winner!

I had decided to draw the winner using the old fashioned method of writing down everyone's names who entered (entering those who posted about the competition twice) and putting them in a bowl... All the names were thoroughly mixed up and shuffled around to make it fair...
Then I got my fiance Chris to close his eyes and pick out out a winner. And the winner is....

Crystal.S.!!!! Congratulations!
Send me an email and let me know what your address is etc and I'll get those prizes posted over to you!
Thanks again to everyone who entered, I was overwhelmed at how many entries there were. I just hit 600 followers today so that is a big milestone for me...I still can't believe people like to listen to me ramble!
I am thinking of having anothe giveaway in the not too distant future so stay tuned for that...

My Competition is now closed!


My competition is now closed! Thanks so much to everyone who entered and left comments...I ended up getting 161 entries in the end which is alot more than I expected! So, I will be choosing the winner later today and I will let you guys know who the lucky person is! Good Luck!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Airbrushing...harmless?


Tali's fantastic post on weight and age issues surrounding models in the fashion industry made me think some more about appearance and what kind of images are being projected to women on a daily basis in adverts and magazines. I just wanted to touch on airbrushing in the media and give some opinions on it and also to hear what you guys think about this subject. Whether you agree or disagree, all comments are welcome!

In some way or another, over the course of human history, women's appearance has been altered for artistic means. Painters often altered the dimensions of their subjects to create a more beautiful image that was fashionable during that era.

It seems that the manipulation of the female form in art or media continues to this day, however, things have got a lot more technical with the introduction of intricate airbrushing in the last couple of decades. But with all these 'improvements' being made to photographs of models and celebrities, it begs the question...where do we draw the line?

A lot of politicians have expressed the opinion that airbrushed photographs should be banned in material targeted at under-16's in order to protect their health and self-esteem. To me, this really makes sense because teenagers are particularly susceptible to feelings of depression and low self-esteem and I don't think that idolising images of women with unattainable features is healthy. The majority of images we see nowadays have been doctored in one way or another and sometimes people end up looking completely different.

Images of Twiggy for Olay face cream and Jessica Alba for a Campari advert have both been criticised in the newspapers for being heavily airbrushed before publication. In the case of Twiggy, a lot of lines and wrinkles had been removed and Jessica Alba was made to look slimmer (as if she needed that!). The brands know that the average woman will compare herself to these images and aspire to reach the heights that this kind of 'digital' beauty demands...the only problem being that it's not real!

There are exceptions to the rule though and I recently learned that Michelle Mone, the creator of Ultimo lingerie, launched the advertising campaign featuring Peaches Geldof with un-doctored photographs, and she strongly believes that other brands should follow her more ethical lead. She was quoted as saying "A lot of adults appreciate how far images are digitally enhanced, but we need to protect younger generations, because these are the images they're striving to emulate. My daughter is only 16 years old and I would hate to think that she feels unnecessary pressure to be picture-perfect, when a lot of images have been Photoshopped to death. The problem is, it has become acceptable to airbrush to ridiculous lengths. Alot of people no longer know what a woman's body looks like, which is why, with our latest Miss Ultimo campaign featuring Peaches Geldof, we made sure that her natural curves and her tattoos were in there - all the intricacies that make her a beautiful young woman".

Speaking as an 'average' woman I know myself that it's hard not to look at digitally enhanced photographs of models and celebs and not feel a little bit inadequate. But, what scares me is that these images are causing young girls to chase the illusion of a flawless appearance. I strive to achieve a flawless appearance through the use of makeup but to me, cosmetics are for enhancing your natural features, NOT completely changing them beyond all recognition.


Kate Winslet was famously outraged at GQ magazine when her photos were enhanced before they appeared on the cover. GQ's editor, Dylan Jones, said the photographs had been "highly styled, buffed, trimmed and altered...to make the subject look as good as humanly possible". Kate Winslet made it clear to GQ magazine and the media that she was not consulted about the digital alterations made afterwards to lengthen her legs and flatten her stomach and she certainly did not advocate it. Go Kate!

Everyone wants to look good and it's natural to want to project the best 'version' of yourself. But when photos of models and celebs, who are already absolutely beautiful in their natural state, are being modelled on the media's perception of what is attractive and desirable, well, I think there needs to be a line drawn. I don't blame the celebs, as a lot of the time, magazines digitally enhance photos without their say so. I think society's overall perception of what is beautiful needs to be re-assessed.

Do you think that images should include a warning detailing what has been altered to promote more honesty about what has been retouched or do you think it would ruin the magic?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

My Favourite Bronzers

As I am a bit of a bronzer junkie, I thought it would be fun to list my favourite bronzers in my collection...

1) Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer - Oh how I love this bronzer! It's just perfection as a daytime product because it goes on so silky smooth, it's matte so no shimmery bits, it blends like a dream and it has cool undertones so no chance of you looking orangey. It looks so natural and would suit most skin tones as it can be applied lightly to paler skin and built up for a more intense look if you have a killer tan or darker skin tone. I really can't fault this stuff to be honest! The disc compact is probably the biggest one I own. I use it regularly and I haven't even hit pan yet. Good value for money! I really like the bronze coloured packaging with gold detailing. I also love that they provide you with a plastic guard for the pan and a high quality big brush which is perfect for touch ups if needed. Paul & Joe Bronzer in 001 - This bronzer is the palest one I own but don't let that put you off...it actually gives a really nice, healthy golden hue to the skin (you will see what I mean in the swatch comparison below). i would say that this one is perfect for girls with paler skin because it's very subtle and just adds a hint of colour. It has a really smooth, gorgeous texture and doesn't need a lot of blending due to it's subtelty. You don't get a huge amount of product for your money BUT since you don't often find such a great bronzer for paler skin, I think it's worth it. The metallic packaging looks gorgeous with it's pretty and intricate design...until you touch it and realise it's plastic. I guess there's an upside to that because it would be more convenient for travel, given that it weighs next to nothing.
Lancome Star Bronzer - This has been a favourite of mine for years now and it remains as one of my favourite all time bronzers. I actually prefer the lighter shade to the one pictured though, I think it's called Dore. I would say that the darker shade is more suited to night time for me and the lighter shade is a perfect every day subtle colour. It's everything you could want from a bronzer...it moisturises, feels silky soft, adds radiance without looking shimmery, doesn't go patchy or streaky and a little goes a long way. You get enough product in the pan to last quite a while...I would say mine normally last me for around 6-9 months.
Giorgio Armani Sheer Bronzer - This bronzer looks scarily dark in the compact but I love the fact that it's so sheer, making it buildable. However I prefer to use it at night time as it contains a teensy bit of shimmer. it's not at all glittery but it creates a sheen which I personally feel is more suited to the kind of light you get at night i.e. artificial light rather than stark daylight. It gives a lovely satiny radiant look to the skin and I love that kind of glow that's soft and hazy. It's quite a small compact so you don't get that much in the pan. This product would be something I would buy when I fancy treating myself to be honest so i wouldn't be using it every day because of that. It has the usual Armani sleek rubbery 'Nars-esque' packaging which does tend to get a bit grubby over time. That does annoy me just a teensy bit...but then I'm a bit of a clean freak!
Korres Monoi Oil Bronzer in no.2 - This bronzer has a really moisturising formula due to the Monoi Oil in it which also means that it never streaks or goes patchy. It really makes your skin glow but not in a shimmery or shiny way. I like to use this product when I have a little bit of a tan in the summer especially and it just makes my skin look so golden and healthy. It's great for everyday use as it is packed with natural ingredients that are good for your skin. You get a fair amount for your money. i have been using mine at least 4 times a week for around 9 months now and I have only just started to hit pan.
Lancome Tropiques Mineral Bronzer - Because this is a mineral bronzer, the formula is even better for your skin than the Lancome Star Bronzer, although I do love them both equally. It does everything that the Star Bronzer does, but with a range of more earthy tones that add more of a cool beigey tone to the skin. It doesn't contain shimmer so it's super natural looking and I would say that this would be a perfect bronzer to try if you are new to the product and want something that's easy to work with.
I have included swatches of all the bronzers below so you can compare them:
So, let me know...what's your favourite bronzer and why?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Clinique Even Better Foundation SPF15

This is the first time I have ever tried a Clinique Foundation and since I have uneven skin tone on my cheeks, this seemed like a good choice for me. It’s designed for oily to combination skin types and it costs £20.00 for a 30ml bottle.

Here’s the lowdown from the Clinique website:

“New Even Better Foundation SPF15 oil free formula, a powerful foundation developed to help combat hyper-pigmentation and deliver brighter skin, both immediately and over time. Includes treatment benefits to help even skin tone and SPF protection to help prevent future hyper-pigmentation. Provides moderate to full coverage, leaving skin instantly perfected with a unique mineral blend”.

(Pic courtesy of Clinique website) - apologies...my camera has gone on the blink again!

The first thing I would say about this foundation is that I feel that it is more a light to medium/medium coverage. Coverage is important to me because I have redness on my cheeks that MUST be camouflaged! I would say that my coverage preference goes a little bit like this…light to medium coverage for days when my skin is behaving itself or I'm more tanned and medium coverage for the days when it’s not, or when it’s very cold outside and I get the dreaded Rudolph nose effect. I don’t agree that it’s full coverage as to me, that means something like Estee Lauder Full Coverage Maximum Cover or MakeUp Forever’s Matt +. It’s totally a personal preference but I don’t like to build up layers of foundation on my face. I always find that the more you layer on, the less of your skin’s texture shows through so it ends up looking too heavy or cakey.

This foundation has a nice consistency that makes it easy to blend, it’s not too thick and not too thin but I personally think it applies best when you use your fingers. It evened out my skin tone and imparted a nice glow/ subtle luminosity to my skin that made it look really healthy and brightened. It’s the kind of foundation that is light enough to wear every day without feeling like you’re suffocating your skin. It looks natural and I didn’t notice an orange tinge developing like some people have reported in their reviews. This could be because I used the Neutral shade.

I tried this foundation when I had a couple of scars from spots on my chin, granted it didn’t cover these effectively but as I have said in previous posts, foundation is not designed to cover spots, it’s just designed to even out skin tone. So when you look at it like that, this foundation definitely does it’s job. I’d say it’s in the same family as Korres Wild Rose foundation and Diorskin Nude in that it gives the skin a slight sheen (not oily or greasy though). I still prefer Diorskin Nude to this foundation but I like the Clinique one for every day use. It had good staying power and still looks good at the end of a working day, I did have to powder my face midday to eliminate any shine though on my T Zone. I don’t think I would use this foundation if I was going out for the night as I don’t think it would withstand being in a hot club enduring copious amounts of dancing! But I always need something with more coverage for that kind of thing so that’s nothing out of the ordinary.

Some people have reported clogged pores/breakouts (possibly due to the SPF) from this foundation however I didn’t experience any of that. It didn’t irritate my skin in any way but I would highly recommend a patch test on an area where you would normally break out, just in case. All foundations will react differently from person to person so it's important to bear that in mind.

So overall, I like this product, it’s good for days when you just want a natural healthy look and time will tell whether it improves my overall skin tone with long term use…

Monday, 22 February 2010

Best Fake Tan To Use For My Wedding?

Being born and bred in Scotland, I have quite pale skin naturally but I much prefer to be a nice golden colour, nothing over the top, just a healthy glow. I am a seasoned professional when it comes to fake tan and have tried a lot of brands/products over the years. My first experience of self tan was when I was 14 but due to the absolutely rubbish formulas back then, it didn't exactly turn out to plan and before I knew it, I looked like i'd been Tango-ed!ha ha. Luckily nowadays there are so many different types of self tan to choose from that it's alot easier to fond something that suits your needs. I must admit that I have been having scary nightmares recently about a 'Bride Wars' Anne Hathaway-style fake tan fail....
I currently use two types of self tan, Dove Summer Glow for general use which I normally apply twice a week and if I have a sepcial occasion, then I apply Xen Tan Intense Mousse for a more bronzed look. However, lately I have been wondering what would be best to use for my wedding day as the Dove Summer Glow is too light and if you layer it over a few days then sometimes the colour can build up on your elbows, under your arms or on your knees (even when I exfoliate like mad!). You are sometimes left with uneven colour which definitely don't want! However, the Xen Tan is just that bit too dark for my wedding day and I really want something in between the shades that those two products deliver. What I am really trying to achieve on the day is a nice light golden caramel shade that looks subtle and healthy (the pic below demonstrates my idea of the PERFECT shade):So...I have been looking into self-tanning products from various brands to try and find the best possible product for me. These are the main things I will be looking for in my HG wedding fake tanning product:
  • A natural looking, pale golden, even tan
  • A product that doesn't leave a weird lingering biscuit smell behind
  • Quick Drying
  • Reasonably non-messy application (preferably a light milk or mousse formulation)

I will be testing out different fake tans and gradual tanners over the next couple of months and have listed some products that I have in mind below (feel free to share your thoughts on them if you have already tried them!):

Vichy Capital Soleil Self Tanning Milk

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Golden Perfection Self Tanning Milk

Clinique Body Daily Moisturiser Light (Medium)

One that really interests me is the Piz Buin Colour Dial Self Tan because you can tailor the colour to suit you...genius idea but whether it works is another matter...

In the meantime, does anyone have any recommendations? (Please note that, personally, St Tropez, Fake Bake and Xen Tan go too dark on my skin so I won't be using them).

Sunday, 21 February 2010

FOTD using some new products

I was in the mood for a soft wearable day look...

Face: Korres Wild Rose Foundation, Korres Wild Rose Concealer (under eyes), Omorovicza Correcting Pencil (around nose and on blemishes), MAC MSF Natural Medium, Benefit Powderflage under eyes, Paul & Joe Bronzer 001, Sleek Face Contour Palette, MAC Well Dressed Blush, Nars Albatross.Eyes: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly, Too Faced e/s in Silk Teddy all over lid, DuWop Heavy Metal Metallic Eyeshadow (Taupe) in crease and outer, Too Faced e/s in Sexpresso in outer, MAC Vanilla pigment in centre of lid, Estee Lauder Pure Colour e/s in Vanilla on browbone, Paul & Joe Eye Gloss in 01 in tearducts, MAC Fluidline in Dipdown (brown), Benefit Hgh Brow (used on waterline), Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara in Black Clinique Instant Lift for Brows in 01 Soft Blonde.Lips: Estee Lauder Double Wear Lip Liner in Rose,Estee Lauder Pure Colour Lipstick in Vanilla Truffle, Le Metier De Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lipgloss in Dubai.

Now for a closer look at the new products I used...
Just how pretty is this Paul & Joe Bronzer packaging! Just look at the intricate design on the lid...love it! However, I must say that I was a little bit disappointed that the packaging is plastic and not metal. It feels slightly flimsy but it doesn't affect my opinion of the product inside...which is that it's gorgeous and oh so natural. The pan itself looks like this...
The 001 shade is quite light and perfect if you have pale to medium skin tone and just want a hint of colour. There's no shimmer so it's undetectable on the skin and just warms up your skin tone to make you look more healthy. It's super blendable and perfect as an everyday bronzer.
Now the next item...what can I say...I was speechless when I saw the colour of the Le Metier De Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lipgloss in Dubai. My god is it a gorgeous and unique colour. I could just stare at it in the packaging and be quite happy with that! It goes on sheer and just adds the prettiest hue of lilac/pink to the lips. The formula is lovely too, really smooth, non sticky and a pleasure to wear. It feels very moisturising too. I have been applying this non stop and have vowed to have a look at the other shades on offer from the brand. I really hope they live up to this one because it's my new favourite lipgloss.
I have heard a few people rave about the Paul & Joe Eye Glosses and this one looked perfect for creating a highlight on the inner corner and on the browbone. It really opens the eye up when worn in the tearduct area, it just creates a really glowy look. I found that it creased slightly when I wore it on the lid so I was disappointed about that. I still really like the colour so I am going to persevere and I have also experimented with adding it thinly over lipsticks to create a different effect. Here's swatches of both products...
Omorovicza is a Hungarian brand and I had never heard about it before until I was sent this product to try which is a concealer pencil. I have never tried one of these before so I really wasn't sure what to expect. It comes in one 'universal' shade which I thought was weird since nothing is universal when it comes to makeup and there really should be a few shades to suit different skin tones. Luckily the 'universal' shade was a good match for my skin and I found the Corrector Pencil very useful for blemishes. It allows you to pinpoint areas so that you are just applying concealer where you really need it, avoiding any waste. Despite being a pencil, it went on surprisingly creamy and it blended well.
I've only just started to really get into lip liners...I never really bothered with them before but I am really enjoying playing around with the shape of my lips and being able to accentuate them for more dramatic looks. I always think you have to be so careful about doing that as you don't want it to look really obvious...that's a pet hate of mine. The Estee Lauder Double Wear Lipliner in Tea Rose is a beautiful, almost metallic rose colour that really complimented the lip gloss I was wearing. It's goes on so so smooth and is really easy to apply, the best thing being that it lasted for ages. Very impressed with this!
The last product I wanted to share with you is the Clinique High Brow in Soft Blonde. This little tool has become my go-to product for early mornings. It's really quick and easy to use and the screw-up brow colour is perfect for me. I wasnt sure about using a brow colour in stick form but it actually works really well. The pale pink highlighter on the opposite end is lovely and gives your browbones a lovely sheen. This would be a fantastic product for travelling as you get two products in one small pen. Here are the swatches...

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Advice for anyone who suffers from Psoriasis

I have briefly mentioned in previous posts that I suffer from a reasonably mild version of Psoriasis, which is a non-contagious skin condition in the same family as eczema (it really irritates me when people assume they’re going to catch it from you!). I wanted to write this post primarily because it’s something that affects a considerable number of people.  Despite this, it’s not a subject matter that is spoken about very frequently in the beauty blogging community. It can have a detrimental effect on a person's confidence and definitely affects what kind of cosmetics you can use so this post is dedicated to anyone who struggles with the same condition.

For anyone who doesn’t know what this Psoriasis is, here is a quick overview:

· Psoriasis is chronic (long-term), normally genetic and reoccurring
· It affects 2% of the population (which is actually a lot of people when you think about it)
· Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition which causes the body to attack white blood cells
which then results in the over-production of skin cells
· Sufferers experience red, sometimes scaly, well defined patches of dry skin
· Psoriasis can affect any part of the skin on your body
· Usually occurs on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back

The condition also means you can become easily exhausted and also because your immune system is working overtime to regulate your body, it’s becomes weakened and you’re more susceptible to picking up illnesses like the flu. I personally get small patches of reddened, raised dry skin that are stubborn and extremely difficult to get rid of.  However, I count myself as lucky because there are people out there who have chronic Psoriasis that covers their whole body. Thankfully, I am over the worst of it and have a relatively mild version now so I only have about four or five tiny patches on my whole body.

It always seemed odd to me that I had never had a problem with my skin at all until the age of 21.  My dad became seriously ill and had to undergo major surgery. I really didn’t handle it too well because my family is my whole world and the thought of losing one of them just sent me reeling. I got panic attacks and generally became really upset and stressed out, which ultimately resulted in me developing Psoriasis. It was really upsetting at the time because I had big patches of it covering the front of my neck, on my face and all over my legs. It was a very distressing time for me.  Other people didn’t understand what it was and a lot of people would stare at me. The doctor confirmed that it was the stress that triggered the Psoriasis, although it’s a hereditary condition so it lies dormant in a lot of people.

I just wanted to do this post for anyone else who suffers from the same skin condition and wants to hear about products that have really helped me to treat it. There’s lots of websites out there that suggest different treatments however they often involve ingredients like tar and smell rather disgusting.  I haven’t seen any blogposts as yet that advise on more cosmetic products that can help like face masks, gentle exfoliators and body oils that are available in shops, rather than online or mail order. Everyone is different and therefore, these products might not work for everyone who has the condition but it really is a case of trial and error. Finding the right products can really boost your confidence and just makes it that bit easier to live with.

There are many general skin care tips that can really help to improve your skin which are:

- Drink lots of water
- Take Aloe Vera tablets or drink Aloe Vera juice 
- Get regular exercise
- Use non-biological washing powder for your clothes, towels and bed sheets
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, sunburn and adverse stress
- Don’t use abrasive exfoliators on your skin, it will just make the Psoriasis worse

I only ever use Dove soap because it’s so gentle and creamy and it’s the only soap I have found that doesn’t irritate my skin. Because it contains one quarter moisturising lotion, it helps keep your skin nice and soft without stripping it of it's natural oils.

Lancome Baume Eclat Balm to Oil Cleanser is a milk to oil cleanser which is great for those times when you have just got in from a big night out and you’re too tired to go through your whole skincare routine. You apply it to dry skin, it starts out as a milky texture then as you rub it into your face, it emulsifies into a light cleansing oil that removes all your make up.  You then just wash it off. The great thing is that your skin is left moisturised by the oil so you don’t have to apply a moisturiser. When you have dry skin, you can’t afford not to moisturise before you go to bed at night, but this product does everything so you don’t have to mess around with lots of products. Genius!

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish is a product I have used for a few years and I always like to have a bottle of it in my bathroom. It contains 100% natural ingredients that won’t aggravate your skin and Liz Earle actually began creating her products around her struggle with Eczema.  She found it difficult to find gentle but effective products on the market and so began creating her own range. Whenever I start to notice that I’m getting dry skin on my face, this always banishes it in the most gentle way possible. It keeps my skin clear, even and really soft.

Virgin Vie Seventh Heaven Nourishing Cleansing Balm is a cleanser which contains Mango and Shea Butter, however the main skin softening ingredient is hydrogenated vegetable oil! It’s a thick paste with gentle exfoliating beads that you apply to your face and massage in for a couple of minutes, you then remove the product in circular motions with a damp muslin cloth (which comes with the product). My skin always feels amazing after using this! I can really see the difference the day after, my skin just looks so radiant and healthy. I tend to alternate it with my Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish just so my skin doesn’t get clogged up by over-using the oil enriched Virgin Vie product. This is definitely my new favourite skincare product!

I use Rose Oil every so often (generally once a week) and give myself a facial massage to give my skin a really deep moisturising treatment.  You can buy Rose Oil  from most big pharmacies and herbal stores. This gives the oil a chance to really penetrate the skin and when left on overnight, it really calms any redness. You can also add a couple of drops to your night time moisturiser to keep your skin really hydrated. I never use it on my face in the day time as I always wear foundation and that would simply slide off my face if I applied oil underneath it.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is a fantastic product that I have been using every single night for the past month. I have noticed a huge difference in my skin tone and any scars I had from blemishes. I’ve also noticed that it really helped to heal any redness I get from Psoriasis around my nose. The anti-oxidant formulation is so light and contains natural Hyaluronic Acid to keep skin hydrated so it’s really a must have for my skin. I have found that it lasts for a considerable amount of time too. It’s £36 for a 30 ml bottle and I have estimated from the amount I have already used that it will last me for around another 6 months so that works out at only £1.40 a week! I’m more than willing to spend that on improving and protecting my skin.

I love Estee Lauder Day Wear Plus Moisturiser.  I wouldn’t use it during the day as I find it’s too heavy to wear under make up but it’s amazing as an intensive night time moisturiser. The anti-oxidant formula contains a lot of Aloe Vera which is brilliant for soothing and softening your skin. You only need a small amount and I like to massage it in for a couple of minutes which I think this is key. If you don’t massage your moisturiser in properly then it will just sit on your skin. I used to think that the more expensive skincare out there was a waste of money but my opinions have changed after trying products such as this. My skincare regime is now a mix of lower and higher end products.

A lot of people had asked me to share my thoughts on the Bio Oil I picked up in a haul a while ago. Well I have been using this every night recently and although it is harder work to apply all over, I just love the way it makes my skin so smooth and soft. I even apply it to my face sometimes as a treatment and that works really well too…you just have to make sure not to apply it anywhere near your eyes.  Also, don’t apply it if you have a lot of blemishes as it may just aggravate them. You can also use Bio Oil for your scalp, by massaging it in, leaving it overnight and then washing your hair in the morning (it also adds a lot of shine!). The Bio Oil has really helped my Psoriasis too and it’s faded a lot in the last few days. I also like to use shower oils like L’Occitane Amande Shower Oil. They’re a great way to moisturise your skin lightly without having an oily layer on your skin.

I really hope this post has helped anyone who suffers from the condition or at least helped people to understand what Psoriasis is. It’s not something that people like to talk about because it can be embarrassing to have to explain it to people (especially to a new beau in your life!). There has been a massive rise in products that only contain natural/organic ingredients and that really is a step in the right direction. I know that this condition can really knock your confidence and make you feel down about the way you look, especially when people make nasty comments or stare, but remember that you’re not alone and if you want to ask me anything, please do email me or comment below and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Beauty Blog Link Love

It's that time again to showcase great blogs you may or may not know about! I'm in this one...yah!

Rae from theNotice shares her skincare secret to flawless, pore-free skin.

Phyrra gives you an exclusive interview with Fyrinnae Cosmetics in February's Indie Spotlight.

Betty's Dragon Fruit Eye Look is now up at Betty Girl Makeup. It's her first tutorial and she's wicked excited!

Arianne at Glitter Geek is absolutely smitten over her new drugstore superhero -- Aveeno Hand Cream.

Krasey Beauty takes New York Fashion Week by storm, and goes backstage with L.A.M.B, MAC, CND, and MoroccanOil.

Lisa Kate attempts her first Konadicure...please help her!

Jellyminx goes shopping again and again and again and again!!

Sarah at I Heart Cosmetics hunted high and low, and finally managed to purchase the Estee Lauder and Michael Kors Very Hollywood Collection.

Thought you found your HG red lipstick? So did Hell Candy Make Up until she discovered this oh so glamorous lippie!

There be lemmings-a-plenty when Lipglossiping shows off NARS Purple Rain this week!

Tarte ReCreate Anti-Aging Foundation just so happens to be the answer to Prime Beauty's prayers.

Melovemakeup shows how gorgeous the eyeshadow in the Trucco Angelface Palette is - duochrome heaven!

Say bye bye to dark circles and hello to bright eyes with Liparazzi!

Maggie gets electrified by L'Oreal HiP's Black Shock.

This week on Get Lippie, Louise goes a little bananas at the makers of "Chemical Free" products and hopes she'll be forgiven.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed gets super excited by Chanel's new Fast Track Orient Extreme mini collection!

Interested in joining Beauty Blog Link Love? Check out this information page and give them a shout!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Review: Crest White Strips Advanced Seal

I have now finished my 2 week pack of the Crest Strips Advanced Seal. I had asked you guys which products had worked for you and a lot of you recommended this. In case anyone else reading this is looking to try them, I will just quickly go over how they work, how to use them and some important info to note before purchasing. I had never used any teeth whitening products before as my teeth are in good condition, I just wanted to brighten my smile for my upcoming wedding day. These strips are so easy to use, the pack contains 14 foil sachets which each contain thin, flexible strips that are coated with a tooth whitening gel containing hydrogen peroxide and are designed to mould to your teeth. The strips are designed to remove stain build-up below tooth enamel (apparently formulated with the same enamel-safe whitening ingredient dentists use). You apply them once a day for 30 mins for a course of 14 days. They work better if you don’t brush your teeth beforehand. I always brush my teeth afterwards to remove any excess gel left on my teeth as I’m sure if I had just left it on, the hydrogen peroxide gel would keep working and really start to get sore! There’s nothing worse than sore teeth! This is the description for the product:

“With revolutionary Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal, life doesn't stop just because you're whitening. Its groundbreaking adhesive formulation holds the Whitestrips in place, so you can whistle along with the radio, take a shower, and even drink water while you whiten!”

I would agree that the seal is good and the strips do stay in place for the whole 30 mins and I could chat away whilst wearing them but I don’t know about drinking water! I didn’t do that as I was worried that the gel might not be as effective if they came into contact with a lot of water in my mouth. The pack states that the results are guaranteed to last for 12 months. Here's what the strips look like...

I have just noted below some things to bear in mind if you want to try these:

Crest Whitestrips will only whiten natural teeth; they will not whiten caps, crowns, veneers, fillings, or dentures.
Crest Whitestrips should not harm most dental work.
Do not use with dental braces.

The result?

My teeth have definitely been noticeably whitened but they’re not ridiculously white…I was determined not to get the eye blindingly white look…that always looks so false. I have very sensitive teeth but amazingly I haven’t experienced any pain or discomfort from using the White Strips at all. I don’t know if that’s because I brushed my teeth directly after using them but it must have helped. So, this product has been a massive success for me and I’m REALLY pleased with the results! I will just be using a gentle whitening toothpaste up until the wedding just to keep my teeth looking nice. I will definitely be re-purchasing this product to keep my smile nice and bright!

I got mine for £23.95 from http://www.discounthealthproducts.co.uk/Crest_Whitestrips_Supreme.htm. The website states that it's a 7 day supply but the instructions on the packet say to just apply them ONCE a day.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Advice for anyone with dark under-eye circles

As you will no doubt know by now, disguising my hereditary under eye dark circles is a constant battle for me. I have accepted at the age of 27 that they are never going to completely go away as I have deep set eyes, like my mum, so that’s bound to create a shadow. I can improve the situation by getting adequate amounts of sleep and drinking lots of water but at the end of the day, I always need a good under eye concealer to hand to camouflage them.

I know this is a problem for lots of other women, so I decided to make this post into a little guide on what works for me and I also have a few little tips as well that I have picked up along the way.

First up, using a light eye cream containing Avocado oil, Chamomile, Sesame, Vitamin K and Vitamin E will help to reduce some of the darkness under the eye. It’s best not to use heavy formulas or normal moisturiser as these are way too dense for the skin under the eye and can cause swelling/puffiness. Using eye cream will also stop your makeup from caking.

I have always found that the way you apply the concealer under your eyes is just as important as the actual product you use. For instance, there’s absolutely no point in applying a concealer that’s a couple of shades lighter than your skin tone on the whole area under your eye. This doesn’t achieve anything as you are lightening the dark shadows AND lightening the area that surrounds the dark shadows so in essence, they cancel each other out! This also creates a weird reverse raccoon effect when you get your photo taken (I have seen many celeb pics where they have way too much illuminating concealer under their eyes and they end up with white circles).

Also, don’t use any products that are too thick/heavy on the delicate skin that surrounds the eye, it will just look cakey. I think the key to getting it right is choosing the right shade which is generally one shade lighter than your foundation (difficult to do when some brands only offer a very limited choice of shades). Generally, peach toned concealers are best for those with paler skin and yellow toned concealers are best for medium to dark skin tones.

This is a fantastic video to watch about concealer by Lisa Eldridge, the famous makeup artist, she has taught me A LOT! She has a great way of making you re-think your whole perception of makeup…


Lisa explains how you should ONLY apply concealer to the areas of the eyes where you have dark areas (which is generally the inner corner and outer corner of the eye). Once you adopt this technique, you will really see a difference and you also don’t need as much product which is always a bonus! A really good product is the Benefit Eye Bright section of the Brows A Go-Go palette shown below. The pale pink creamy corrector (front right hand side of palette pictured below) is brilliant for brightening the eye area. I just apply it with my finger.Another good technique to use is the ‘upside down triangle’ method. Basically you apply your under eye concealer in a triangle shape with the flat base sitting against your eye, so it would be pointing down towards your cheek (running up against and parallel to your nose). This creates an optical illusion that brightens the area and draws the eye away from any darkness. I learnt this technique from the YouTube goddess Kandee The Makeup Artist. I have found that it’s best to use a creamy concealer for this rather than a liquid formula as it’s easier to blend it down. I only use this method when I am doing more dramatic makeup looks for night time as I feel it’s a bit much for the day, but that’s just my personal preference.

I use a few different concealers depending on how bad my dark circles are. I have listed my favourite ones below and why I like them:
Korres Wild Rose Brightening Concealer – This is a brilliant illuminating everyday concealer with a light formulation that offers a lot more coverage than any of the other illuminating products such as YSL Touche Eclat. It doesn’t settle into lines or wrinkles, it doesn’t cake and it lasts all day whilst really brightening the whole eye area.
Bobbi Brown Corrector – This is a great product because it concentrates more on correcting the colour under your eyes rather than just lightening it. It comes in a wide range of shades and can be used underneath a conventional concealer if you need a lot of camouflage under the eyes. It’s long lasting and when applied thinly and with care, it looks really natural.
MUFE Full Cover – This stuff is heavy duty! It’s very opaque and you only need a tiny bit but boy does it cover up! You have to be careful to use it sparingly on the eye area but I like to use this for night time looks to get a totally flawless look. There is a large choice of shades so there’s bound to be something there to suit everyone.
Clinique All About Eyes – I like to use this product when I’m suffering from a lack of sleep because it reduces any puffiness as well as concealing (I don’t suffer from severe puffiness, just very slightly when I’m tired). It’s oil-free and doesn’t settle into lines and it lasts all day without melting off. The down side is there’s only 4 shades available but luckily No.02 Light Golden was a great match for my skin tone.

I prefer to apply under eye concealers with my fingers rather than with a brush. The warmth from your fingers helps to blend the product into the area (you can always go over the area with a clean fluffy brush to really buff the product in if you have extra time).
Another great product to help brighten the eye area is Benefit Powderflage. Now I know some people don’t see the point in this product but I have never classed it as a concealer, I use it as a finishing product. In the same way you use light diffusing powder to set foundation, this pale pink brightening powder is great to apply over the top of your under eye concealer to set it and sap up any excess moisture and also to brighten the whole area. I don’t apply mine with the small fan brush that comes with it, but with a clean eye shadow brush with more density. I dust it on the area under the eye and it really diffuses/softens any fine lines and disguises my dark circles even more.

If anyone has any tips/advice on this matter, feel free to comment below…I’m always open to learning new things!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Complexion Perfection!

Following my post on my favourite highlighters last week, I had promised to do a post on the products that I love to use in order to brighten, perfect and even out my skin tone. I don’t really view these products as primers as I prefer my primers to have oil control properties. If I want to use a primer AND one of these product then I just mix them with my moisturiser and apply the primer thinly over the top. This creates an utterly flawless look so it’s good for special occasions when you want to look immaculate.

All of the products listed below are multi-use and can be applied under foundation, mixed with foundation, applied as a highlight on cheekbones etc or mixed with a body moisturiser.

Estee Lauder Spotlight Skin Tone Perfector

Description: “Silky, sheer lotion gives skin a healthy-looking, even-toned glow as soon as you put it on”

My Thoughts: This opalescent liquid has iridescent blue/violet and pink tones in it that really brighten up your skin. It always makes my skin look more radiant, even under foundation. The great thing about applying it under your foundation is that you get a really natural, subtle radiance that’s not shimmery or shiny in any way. It evens out my skin tone, sinks into the skin really quickly and makes it feel silky soft.

The Body Shop Tinted Glow Enhancer in 02

Description: “Community Trade marula oil from Namibia helps to repair skin’s moisture barrier whilst light-diffusing particles provide instant radiance and help reduce the appearance of fine lines”.


My Thoughts: I love to use this product when I have a tan, the golden shade really brings my skin to life and you can really get a pretty glow. It’s good to your skin and doesn’t clog pores and it blends in seamlessly. I love to use this on holiday and mix a few drops in with my body moisturiser for glowy skin in the evening sun.


Virgin Vie Skin Dew

Description: “Soften and illuminate your complexion with a delicate hint of pink. Use as a primer under foundation or as a highlighter for cheeks and eyes over foundation to brighten your complexion”.

My Thoughts: This one is perfect for creating dewy fresh skin. It is a pearlescent pink tone that brightens the complexion and adds radiance. It is also great over foundation as a highlighter (it’s very similar to Benefit’s High Beam but a thicker consistency). I like to use this one in the winter as it compliments my paler skin tone at that time of year.

Clinique Up Lighting Liquid Illuminator in Natural

Description: “Sheer, lightweight liquid instantly illuminates skin. Highlights, contours cheeks, brow bones or all over face. Glides on to create a natural-looking luminosity. Perfect for all skin types and tones. Oil-free”.

My Thoughts: This is probably me favourite of the lot because no matter what time of year it is, this shade will make my skin look great. It’s a peachy gold shade that looks so pretty as a highlighter and really amps up the glow factor when you wear it under foundation. I love the consistency and the fact that it feels so light on the skin. Gorgeous!


MAC Strobe Liquid Lotion

Description: “Blending soft focus diffusers with iridescent pigments, this ultra-fluid strobe formula produces a soft radiant light on the skin, reducing the appearance of skin imperfections by providing a natural looking glow. Spreads on smoothly and absorbs quickly leaving the skin looking healthier and more radiant. A lighter weight addition to the popular strobe cream”.

My Thoughts: This lotion is great for winter too, it creates a really subtle effect under foundation and leaves your skin looking almost ethereal. I think a lot of people diss this product because they are looking for a more intense effect but in my eyes, if you are after that, then check out Strobe Cream which is a more dense, pigmented version of the lotion. It creates the most gorgeous sheen on your skin (although I prefer to apply it under my foundation or to my body as I prefer warmer colours for highlighting my facial features).

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentine's Day and a Product Rave!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you're having a lovely day. I have really been enjoying seeing what everyone is up to.

But also, I just wanted to say, that for all the single girls out there, the best thing you can do on a day like today is pamper yourself, go out with your fabulous pals or just do something that you enjoy. There's alot of pressure on single people every year this day to be with someone. Some people treat it like a competition to prove that they are loved the most. But it's fine if you are quite happy on your own. Everyone is different. No one should need another person to COMPLETE them (that saying kinda bugs me). Your partner should be someone that you learn things from, have fun with and ultimately, they just make life even better. Some people find this in platonic love with a friend, a sibling etc so maybe St Valentine's shouldn't be about couples, it should just be about love in general and appreciating your loved ones. I think we all need to be reminded once in a while, take stock and count our blessings.

I was a very lucky girl because even though I wasn't expecting any presents at all, Chris got me some Dior Hypnotic Poison perfume and body lotion in a lovely makeup bag...he knows me so well!...The perfume has a lovely sweet spicy scent that's light enough to wear in the daytime...
Right, on to the product rave which is about Estee Lauder Daywear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Moisturiser Sheer Tint Release Formula (yes, it has a veeeerrrrryy long title.ha ha). I have been using the Daywear Plus Cream for the last couple of months (although I use it as a night cream as it's quite intensive). That has worked wonders for my skin (post will come on that soon). However, THIS formula is perfect for daytime and would be AMAZING to use in the summer or on holiday. The formula is alot lighter and to be honest, it's just plain cool! Let me explain why...
Not only does this moisturiser have the same protection properties as the normal Daywear Cream to shield against pollution, dehydration, UV rays, free radicals etc but it has anti oxidants that help to keep your skin clear and healthy. It blends into the skin so well and doesn't leave it feeling slimy or tacky.I will just quickly list the main points to note about this moisturiser:
  • It contains potent anti-oxidant ingredients like pure White Tea, South African Red Tea, Grape Seed, Rosemary, Vitamins C and E.
  • It's hydrating without being oily
  • It has SPF15
  • It has oil control benefits
  • Ideal for hot/humid climates (don't have to worry about that in the UK!)
The best thing about this moisturiser is that it comes out of the bottle looking like the usual blue/green shade and has a refreshing cucumber scent...

But you can see that it contains tiny spheres of tint that are released when you rub it into your face, so you get a lovely brightening effect that evens out your skintone and just adds a hint of colour...nothing too dark or over the top, just a shade or two. I have done a demonstration below...
It's so natural looking! So, this is pretty much a tinted moisturiser however I like to use it under my lighter foundations to brighten up my complexion when I'm looking a bit pale. I will definitely be taking this with me next time I go on holiday because I just think it would be a fabulous product to apply when you're in a hurry but you still want your skin to look healthy and radiant. This would be a good product for those people who don't like wearing foundation and prefer lighter formulas. (Tali - I think you would love this if you don't already have it...as soon as I tried it I thought of you because I know you have been worried about the effect of pollution etc on your skin and wanted a barrier...this would be perfect for that!).

I also remember that Nic from Pixiwoo used this in one of her videos a while back...



I love this product because it's so innovative and I could definitely see it replacing my foundation when I go on holiday. It feels light on the skin and would subtely enhance a tan.

Let me know if you have tried this and what you thought of it?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

My Favourite Highlighters

Some girls are blusher fiends, some girls are loopy about lipstick but I am definitely a highlighter girl. It's the one product that makes me weak at the knees and I always seem to lust after the sheen and glowy gorgeous-ness that it has to offer. I buy them like they're going out of fashion. I love the fact that with a light swipe of highlighter on the tops of the cheekbones, browbones, down the centre of the nose and on the cupid's bow can bring your face back to life, add dimension and make you look impeccably healthy and polished. It's by far my favourite beautifier, name a highlighting product and I will probably will have tried it. So for anyone who is looking for the perfect highlighter for their skintype or if you just like lusting over glowy gorgeousness like I do, then read on chickadees...here's a look at my favourite highlighting products (note - these are my favourites for applying OVER foundation but I will soon be doing a post on the best highlighters to apply UNDER foundation for a more subtle glow so stay tuned for that). I decided to group them into Powders, Cream formulas and Liquid formulas. I thought this would make it alot easier for people to decipher which ones would be best for them with regards to their skintype. So basically, if you have oily skin then powders will be more suitable for you, if you have dry skin then the cream or liquid formulas will work best with your skin and if you are lucky enough to have normal skin, then you can go mad and try any of them! So my favourite powder formulas are pictured above.
Best for night time use are:
Prestige Mineral Bronzing Powder in Pure Shimmer - This is a great bargain buy in my opinion, it creates a gorgeous effect that is more of an intense sheen, better suited for a more dramatic night time look. You really have to tailor your highlighter to the time of day as you can get away with alot more at night. Great for all skintones.
MAC MSF in Soft & Gentle - Alot of people go mental over MAC MSF's and I know alot of you guys collect them. I love this warm shade and it's so flattering, it's another one more suited to night time use because it has a high level of sheen perfect for creating chiselled cheekbones by precision applying on the very tops of the cheekbones. With this highlighter, less is more...apply it lightly for a really sexy glow on your cheeks. I would say this is more suited to medium to dark skin tones, it's a bit too warm for paler skin tones.
Smashbox Softlights in Highlight - This powder can double as a blush for paler skintones and for medium skintones it will add a lovely warmth to the cheeks that is super subtle. It is more peach toned and the sheen it creates is so subtle, it's perfect for daytime use!
Nars Albatross - I've mentioned this product many times before on my blog and I still stand my statement that it's the best powder highlighter I have ever tried. It's perfect for daytime use AND night time use. It mimicks the effect you get on your skin when in candlelight and everyone knows how candlelight makes everything look like it's bathed in warm yellow tones, it seems to diminish flaws and just looks really beautiful. It suits all skintones, you only need a smidgen to create a subtle glow that undetectable even in daylight.
Next up are the cream formulas:
MAC Cream Colour Base in Pearl and Shell - I will group these two together since they are essentially the same formula but in different shades. Basically the Pearl shade suits all skintones whereas the Shell one is more suited to medium/tanned to dark skintones. I would only use that when I have a tan. They both have to be applied lightly to get the right effect. I always rub them into the back of my hand, then apply ONLY the excess that's left on my fingers. Just tap that into the tops of your cheekbones in a semi circle from the outer corner of your cheekbone up round the outside of your eye socket. This will catch the light and lift your face, putting emphasis on your cheekbones. Don't apply it to the apples of your cheeks, this will just look too shiny. All the emphasis should be on the high points of your face, that's what will give you the 'polished' look.
Chanel Creme Illuminator in Moonlight - As you can see, I have hit pan with this one! I've had it for years and I still really rate it as a highlighter. I would say it's very much like Benefit High Beam but in a cream formula. I love using this as a brow highlight and it can also be used on the lips with a bit of clear lipgloss over the top...it's a great multi-purpose product. I've even used it down my shins to create a lovely sheen down them. Great for travelling if you want an all in one product! This is perfect for all skintones as well.
Please note that the swatch of MAC CCB in Shell looks ALOT darker in the above swatch than it is in real life. I just had to layer it to get it to show on cam.
On to the liquid formulas which are both great for day or night:
Rouge Bunny Rouge Seas of Illumination Highlighting Liquid in 009 - This has the longest title I have ever seen but MAN, is it amazing. I love the luxurious packaging, the imaginative name but best of all, I love the colour and formula. It's a goldy bronze colour and perfect for summer time when I have a bit of a tan. It's a really light formula, easy to blend and has an amazing effect on the face. This stuff is expensive but I have used it loads and there's only a tiny bit gone. This bottle is going to last for a long, long time. It feels like pure luxury to use and sometimes, us girls need that!
Just check out the yummy deliciousness of the swatch...
Benefit High Beam - This ethereal pale pink liquid highlighter has been a favourite of mine for a few years now. I think it looks gorgeous on my skin whether I'm slightly paler and also with a tan. It gives my cheekbones a lovely glow and the pale pink shade is just so flattering and pretty, my skin looks so alive and healthy when I wear it.
So there it is ladies, my top picks of the highlighters in my collection (and it's a BIG collection). I'm sure there's something there to suit everyone really. I find that the most important thing to remember about highlighter is that often the less you apply, the better it looks. Remember, you can always go back and apply more if you want to amp up the glow. I wouldn't be without my highlighters, they are a quick fix when your skin looks dull or lack lustre and I'm sure my love affair with them will go on and on and on and on......