Sunday, 30 September 2012

Glowy Skin & Glossy Hair

'Tis no secret that I love highlighters and anything that can add an ethereal glow to my skin is a winner in my book.  I'm all about the glowy skin people!  I don't discriminate between powder, creme or liquid highlighters; I love them all! I know that some people struggle with liquid formulas but my secret to an even and subtle finish is to firstly apply the product to the back of your hand, blending it in a little with your fingertips.  This creates a more even coverage on your fingertips and therefore, a more even coverage on your cheeks.  I like to simply dab my fingertips along my cheekbones to create a subtle luminosity.  If you want to amp up the radiance for night-time, simply apply a powder highlighter over the top.

Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Kitten Shimmer is described as "a creamy, skin-enhancing luminizer designed to give skin a fresh, radiant glow with four flattering shades. Aiming to minimise the appearance of fine lines and sun spots, the luminizer has soft focus pigments designed to add a touch of shimmer and diminish imperfections".

It's available in Pink Shimmer, Kitten Shimmer, Rose Gold Shimmer and Bronze Shimmer.  Kitten Shimmer is exactly what it says on the tin - a liquid formulation of the very popular kitten eye shadow shade which is a pale peachy golden champagne.  In other words...right up my street!

The consistency of this liquid highlighter is perfect for easy application - not too runny and not too thick.  The colour is really flattering on most skin tones, I would say, due to the subtle warmth to the colour.  I could see it working on pale skin and also darker skin tones.  It definitely has lots of reflective properties and gives a lovely healthy sheen to your cheek bones.  It's extremely difficult to pick up the effect it has on your skin on camera, so I used a flash in the pic below.  Because of this, the product shows up as being more shimmery but take my word for it, on inspection with the naked eye, it just has a really glowy effect.  If you are unsure whether the effect would be too much for you, my advice would be to go to your nearest Stila counter and do some swatching.

The best thing about the Kitten Shimmer shade is that it's suitable for both summer and winter due to it's delicate colouring.  It's cheaper than the likes of the Benefit liquid highlighters and you really dont need a lot to get the desired effect.  It can also be mixed with your moisturiser to give an all over radiance under your foundation.  I don't think I will ever give up my Benefit High Beam but this Stila product is a nice departure into a warmer shade.

Some of you may have seen my tweet raving about a new hair product I picked up on a whim at Tesco (this happens a lot with me!).  I have highlighted hair and that means I have to really take care of it to avoid it becoming dry and dull.  I have seen this product before but never considered it to be honest, partially because it's so cheap.  Surely something that only costs £1.20 for a 30ml tube couldn't transform my tresses into a glossy, healthy, soft barnet.  The product in question is Clairol Nice'n Easy Colourseal Gloss Intense Conditioner. It was previously only sold with hair colour but they have started selling it individually now.  This is what my hair looked like after ONE application, leaving it on for a couple of minutes, combing it through and rinsing thoroughly:

* Note - I didn't even straighten my hair! *

My hair felt so soft afterwards but not that annoying kind of fluffy, flyaway soft - just silky to the touch.  It was so easy to comb through my hair and detangle it after my shower.  It really does make your hair look so glossy, smooth and healthy looking.  The 30ml tube can be used 3-4 times depending on the length of your hair...all that for just £1.20.

This product is available for brunettes and redheads too and I highly recommend you try it to refresh your colour - I have already picked up three more tubes of it!

What's your favourite hair pick-me-up?

Friday, 28 September 2012

Best Beauty Tips I Have Heard Recently

How to remove glitter polish

1. Saturate small pieces of cotton with nail polish remover
2. Place one piece of saturated cotton on each finger (for easier manoeuvering, do just one hand at a time).
3. Cover each piece of saturated cotton with a small piece of aluminum foil.
4. Let them sit for 1 full minute.
5. Pull cotton, aluminum foil (and polish!) off in one swipe!
6. Use additional remover to get off any residual pieces but do not rub. (Rubbing the polish off will only stain your cuticles and can further damage and weaken nails in much the same way over exfoliating your skin can.)

Exfoliating Baking Soda Face Mask

I read recently in Marie Claire that Amber Valetta regularly uses baking soda face masks at home to keep her skin looking fresh and young.  If I can look half as good as her when I'm older then I'll be a happy bunny! Apparently baking soda dries up the oil on the skin, speeding the healing of existing blemishes and minimizing the occurrence of future break outs. It's inexpensive, contains no harsh chemicals, is fragrance-free, alcohol-free and is all natural.

You just mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water in a little bowl until a nice thick paste forms. This will give you enough to cover your face, neck and chest if you want to exfoliate that too.  Starting with clean skin, cover each area slowly using a GENTLE circular motion. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes, and gently rinse away. After your skin will feel a bit tingle, and it will be in need of some moisture. Pop on your usual moisturiser. After doing this, my skin feels like velvet!  I have talked loads before about the aspirin mask which has a similar effect.

Don’t use Vaseline et al

Cocoa/shea butter based balms actually moisturise your lips. Vaseline creates a near impenetrable barrier but does not actually moisturise, and lips can apparently become 'dependent' on petroleum jelly.  They then need it just for basic protection because they've become accustomed to it for so long.  The more you use it, the drier your lips seem to become...and so it goes on.  I love the Korres Lip Butters.

Speedy Hair Fix

You know those days when you want to look like you have made an effort but just don't have the time to section off your hair and thoroughly curl it with tongs? Well I have a tip I found on Pinterest to give you relaxed wavy hair that looks like you HAVE made an effort and only takes a matter of a few mins.  

1. Apply some heat protection spray and serum to the ends of your hair.
2. Split and braid your hair into two sections and tie with a rubberband. 
3. Twist the braid away from your face and then twist the flat iron onto your hair in the same direction your hair is twisted. 
4. Do not touch rubberband or else you will get that weird crease. 
5. Repeat this process twice! After hair is cooled, then take them out and run your fingers through the braid.
6. Apply hairspray as required to give some more volume.

Ta-dah! Relaxed waves in a jiffy!

Maximise your bath time

If you suffer from dry skin or just want to give yourself a super moisturising bath treat, then oats are the way to go! Just fill a muslin cloth with rolled oats (not instant oats), tie the top tightly and drop into the bath as you run it.  Don't put the oats in the water on their own as this will clog your drains!

Oats are a natural skin soother, they hydrate and stop your skin from drying out.  After doing this my skin feels sooo soft.  Try it!

What are the best beauty tips you have heard about recently?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Review of Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I always like to have two types of foundation in my make up drawer, each serving a different purpose:
  • A medium to full coverage foundation for super-duper long wear and completely flawless skin (especially for nights out and special occasions). My choice in this category being Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup
  • An economical light-medium coverage/brightening foundation for lazy days when you don't necessarily want so much coverage on your skin.

I picked up this foundation whilst in ASDA, admittedly completely on a whim and in the hope of finding a cheap and cheerful foundation for those said lazy days.  I was looking for a base that would be brightening, easy to work with and would make my skin look like,!

"Introducing new Wake Me Up Foundation from Rimmel London. Rimmel’s first liquid foundation that instantly reawakens skin with a healthy, radiant glow.  It’s time to wake up – the light, smooth texture glides on easily to give a 100% pore-less and flawless complexion. Spoil yourself with SPF 15 sun protection and illuminating radiance pearls for a natural glow. A peptide formulation helps increase your skin’s elasticity and a vitamin moisturizing complex also leaves you looking healthy and fresh. Your skin will bounce back to life – even if your body is thinking otherwise.  No longer do you have to face fatigue in the mirror.  Immediately eliminates visible signs of tiredness so skin looks rejuvenated. Also minimising signs of premature ageing.  Wake Me Up works just as hard as you – staying put for up to 10 hours and giving you a natural, medium to full coverage. So even if you’ve had a few hours sleep, you can look radiant and younger.  Let last night’s late bedtime be a secret. Discover beauty sleep in a bottle, from Rimmel London".

In my opinion, this foundation doesn't give medium to full coverage.  I would say it's more like medium as it hasn't got as much coverage as something like EL Double Wear.  The coverage, consistency and brightening effect do remind me a lot of Dior Nude foundation though.  Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation has a thick, almost mousse-like consistency to it which makes it very easy to work with.  Although it has a brightening effect, there aren't those annoying shimmery particles in it that you see with some other radiance inducing foundations.  I have seen some other reviews where people complain of a shimmery effect but even if you see that in the product when it's in the bottle, it certainly doesn't look like that on my skin.  I inspected my skin in clear daylight and couldn't detect any shimmer.

The packaging is a nice, sturdy glass bottle with a plastic pump dispenser...thumbs up to Rimmel for this as we all know it's the best and cleanest way to dispense a liquid product such as foundation.  It allows you to control the amount of product that comes out without it spilling everywhere.  I wish Estee Lauder would start equipping Double Wear with such dispensers!  I use Classic Beige which is a pretty good match for my skin, although I was disappointed to see the foundation only comes in seven shades.  This may make it difficult to find a perfect match for your skin.

Once applied this foundation makes my skin feel really soft and smooth which must be the 'vitamin moisturizing complex' kicking in I assume!  It evens out my skin tone nicely and covers minimal blemishes, but you will still require concealer.  It definitely leaves my skin looking dewy, but not in a greasy or oily way - my pet peeve with some other brightening foundations.  It gives a very natural finish to the much so that you could trick people into believing you're not wearing any foundation at all! It doesn't seem to cling to dry areas of skin and certainly hasn't disrupted my skin as a whole in any way i.e. it hasn't broken me out in spots.

As for lasting power, well, I wasn't expecting it to last as long as my EL Double Wear and I was right in that respect.  It lasts a good 8 hours without fading but after that I found that my skin didn't look quite as even.  It still looked good, but not flawless.  I really didn't expect much more than that for a foundation that only costs £5.99!

So the overall conclusion is that this Rimmel foundation is good value for money.  It's a handy wee product to have on standby for those weekends when you want a really natural, radiant finish without sacrificing on coverage.  My advice? If you are looking for a cheap, easily accessible foundation with reasonable lasting power and a natural skin finish then pick up this foundation.  

Have you tried this product? What were your thoughts?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Guide to Ebay

Ebay is such a normal part of my online shopping habit that I simply took it for granted that everyone used it as much as I do.  I have bought everything from clothes to shoes to home decor to cosmetics on Ebay. However I have recently had a couple of emails requesting some advice on the do's and don'ts of Ebay.  I know a lot of you may already be aficionados of the Ebay realm but this post if for those who are confused or intimidated by the world's largest auction site.

* Brand new Coast Dress I recently won from this seller for £34.99 (original price £150) *

Here are some easy tips to make your Ebay experience enjoyable and productive...

  • NEVER EVER bid drunk.  I think we have probably all made silly decisions when under the influence and Ebay is definitely a dangerous tool in the hands of an intoxicated shopaholic! You could wake up the next day with a sore head and an inbox FULL of ‘Pay Now’ requests! You have been warned! (can you tell I'm speaking from personal experience?!)
  • Be tempted to bid too early. I think everyone gets very frustrated with those users who jump the gun and put their bids in straight away and edge the price up for everyone else.  Always remember to keep the bidding late and the price low.  You have a much higher chance of winning the item if you bid in the last 30 seconds.  Just make sure your maximum bid is set to what you are ultimately willing to pay.
  • Bid on a whim if you’re not 100% sure that you want to buy the item.  If you’re in two minds about it, then just add it to your ‘watch list’ and decide later once you have thought it over.  It can become to easy to become 'bid-happy' in this online world and end up with things that you don't need.
  • Even think about buying an item if the seller hasn’t uploaded an image – given that Ebay is an online auction site, this is a basic requirement of buying something! I'm always suspicious and confused by sellers who don't upload pictures.
  • Take too long to organise payment. Paypal is the easiest hassle-free way to pay for items so I would recommend that method.  It’s important to keep a good clean record of buying and selling on Ebay because any strikes against you will only cause problems in the future.
  • Communicate with a seller or buyer outside of the eBay website as you will then not be protected by their policies. Unfortunately not everyone on Ebay is honest and some people may attempt to trick you.  Just make sure you keep everything within the Ebay site and you will have access to the resolution centre should anything go wrong.
  • Forget that digits on a screen represents real money. This is far too easy to forget when you are shopping online. Always question whether you would pay hard cash for it in a shop and remember, you can’t refund it once you’ve got it.

  • Check Ebay regularly for bargains as there are loads of things being added every day.  Have faith and patience to avoid buying things just for the sake of it.
  • Remember that garment sizing varies from brand to brand and especially when you are looking for vintage pieces.  Ask the seller for measurements in inches as sizes often vary (particularly between eras for vintage). If you’re unsure always opt for bigger as you can always alter the garment to suit you.
  • Make your life easier by specifying your search options as finely as you can.  That way you can whittle down the options to what you are really looking for without wasting any time trawling through image after image.
  • Make sure you ask a seller if there is anything you are unsure about because once you have bought the item, it’s too late to change your mind.
  • Make sure you check out the seller’s other items if you lose out on something they were selling.  You may find something else that peaks your interest and there’s always a chance there may be a similar garment up for grabs.  You can also save the seller to keep an eye on their newest items.
  • Always bear in mind the price of delivery, sellers may vary and I personally wouldn’t even bid on an item that has ridiculous or over-inflated delivery charges.

* Brand new Faith Boots I recently won for £10.49 (original price £50.00) *

My Favourite Ebay Sellers

Bright Eyes Beauty - I always buy my Ardell lashes from this seller.  Good prices, fast delivery and friendly service.

Bag-That-Style-6 - This is where I got my pale grey and black 'Focco' bags.

thehomeandgiftcompany - This seller has loads of lovely home decor stuff that's perfect if you are into your shabby chic stuff.

thefrockstop - A great place to find lovely dresses at great prices from Oasis, Warehouse, Topshop, Coast, French Connection

It really is worth having a look if you have never tried Ebay as there are so many bargains to be had.  One of the best things is that you can find items on there that have sold out on the high street or you can find a back up of your favourite dress or shoes.

Who are your favourite Ebay sellers? I'm always looking for recommendations!

Monday, 10 September 2012

FOTD Request

I have had a few emails asking for a complete breakdown of the products I used for the following look featured in my previous post about the Topshop lipsticks:

I always find it helpful to know which products have been used and why, especially if the blogger has the same colouring or skin tone as myself.  It just makes it easier to make decisions about which products to spend your hard earned cash on!

Here are the products I used with the appropriate links:

No.7 Skin Illuminator in Peach - This product is one of the best affordable illuminators to mix in with your moisturiser every morning.  It gives your whole complexion a boost, evens out your skintone and gives your skin a subtle glow under your foundation.  You can often pick it up at a discounted price with vouchers that you get from Boots with any general purchase.  They recently changed the packaging but it still has a brush applicator.  I would prefer a small nozzle as sometimes you can dispense too much product through the brush.  Just something to watch out for!

Jemma Kidd Skin Rescue Bio-Complex Veil - You can get it at a more affordable £25.28 on Beauty Bay than the usual £32.00.  This is probably my favourite all around primer to prepare my skin for foundation.  It's a silky liquid that creates a smoother, more even base for make up.  When I use this, my foundation looks fresher for longer and my skin looks flawless.  It also has lots of great ingredients to treat your skin as you wear it.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Make Up in Fresco & Shell Beige - I have two shades in this foundation so I can mix the perfect shade for whether I am wearing fake tan or not.  I don't need to harp on about this foundation because you all know by now that it's my all-time favourite.  I apply it with my fingertips and blend well to get a flawless finish.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover in Creamy Tan - A product I simply CANNOT live without. I don't use this as a foundation, I use it as an amazing do-it-all concealer.  It's incredible at covering up spots or redness of any kind.  I use it around my nose, to cover blemishes and sometimes as an under eye concealer.  The consistency is just so light and it's lasts forever...really it does!

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light to Medium Bisque - This under eye colour corrector is brilliant if you suffer from dark circles...which I do.  I have deep set eyes so I always have some kind of darkness going on there.  This peachy-coloured concealer cancels out any blueness in that area and makes your eyes look fresh and awake.  I just ran out and have repurchased my 6th Corrector!

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Sand - This concealer is great for when you need that extra bit of help in the eye area.  I apply the Corrector first and then this concealer over the top.  You only need a tiny amount to get great coverage.  The secret to good concealing is to apply it in VERY thin layers.

Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Pressed Powder - I like this powder because I often get redness in my cheeks and this helps to cancel it out.  I find that yellow based foundations and powders really help when you have any red tones in your skin.

Dior Nude Tan Glow Sun Powder in Amber - I recently bought this with my Boots Advantage Points and given the £34.00 price tag, I figured if I wanted to try it, that would be the best way.  I absolutely love this bronzer because it's so easy to use...there are no streaks, patchiness or orange tones.  It gives you a really lovely golden glow that looks really natural.

Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light - This is my favourite contouring tool, it gives you instant high cheekbones and only costs £6.49...bargain!  As you can see I have well and truly hit pan with this product because I use it everyday in my make up routine.

Nars Blush in Deep Throat - I love this sheer peach blush with subtle glowy particles.  It gives just the right amount of delicate colour on my cheeks and looks great with golden skin!

Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Pink Tourmaline - This is a fantastic highlighter for a lovely glow on your cheekbones.  The quartet of different shades makes for a multi-faceted sheen that catches the light beautifully.

Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Make Up Setting Spray - I love using this spray to take away any powdery residue that's left on your skin after using any powder products.  This spray basically fuses all your makeup together to make it look like skin, instead of products on top of your skin.  It also makes my make up look fresher for longer. 

Benefit Brows a-Go-Go Kit - I love using this kit to preen my eyebrows and the lighter shade is perfect for my dark blonde eyebrows.  A great alternative is MAC Omega eye shadow.

Bourjois Shimmering Shine Liquid Eyeshadow in Beige Metalique - This is a great inexpensive eyeshadow primer which is pretty much EXACTLY the same colour as Urban Decay's Sin primer.  You can get it on Amazon for less than £5.00.  It intensifies any neutral shades, holds them in place and stops any transferring.

Benefit High Brow - I always use this pale pink pencil to line my waterline making my eyes look bigger and fresher.  Because I have dark circles, I don't line my lower lashline and by using this pencil, I can make the most of what I have by making my eyes look as big as possible. 

Ardell 110 Lashes - These are my favourite false lashes at the moment because they look natural, add just the right amount of volume and length, they are easy to apply and you can buy x 6 job lot of them from Ebay.  You can wear them without feeling like you have crazy falsies on that look over the top for daytime.

Loreal Superliner -  My go-to look is always flicked cat-eye liner because it makes the most of the shape of my eyes and adds a little glamour to your every-day make up.  Because I wear this look a lot, I need a liquid liner that is intensely black, doesn't smudge or flake off and has a good felt tip for easy application.  This liner has all of these things and comes in at under £8.00.

YSL Luxurious Mascara Shocking Volume - I love this mascara because it gives my lashes fantastic volume and length (even without wearing false lashes).  I also like the original Faux Cils and Singulier Mascaras for similar effect.

I love this Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palette but these shades can be bought in single form as well if you just want specific shades.

For this look I used Sin all over the lid, Skimp as a brow highlight and Bust in the crease to add subtle definition.

I then picked up my Stila In The Light palette to use Gilded Gold in the crease and outer edge of the eye whilst applying Kitten in the inner corners to open up the eye.

All those shades create a full-proof neutral eye that can be teamed with any bright lip.  Of course I mentioned in my previous post that I am wearing Topshop Idol lipstick in these pics with Estee Lauder Double Wear Lipliner in Pink.

Some people had also asked which products I used to style my hair:

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum - This product smells apples.  I apply it on my hair when it's damp to leave my hair sleek, smooth and super shiny.  It does all this without weighing my fine hair down.  This is my second bottle but it just seems to last forever! I had my previous smaller bottle for a year and a half!

Kerastase Elixir Ultime - I like to apply this amazing hair oil just on the last couple of inches of my hair to protect it from heated appliances and also to make sure the ends look hydrated and smooth.  It makes for an incredible hair mask as well for a more intense treatment.

Tresemme 24 Hour Body Root Boosting Spray - It's affordable, it's very accessible and it works.  This spray gives volume to my fine hair and helps to hold a wave without weighing my fine hair down.

I use my Enrapture Encode Totem Styler on setting 2 to get these relaxed waves in my hair.  I like the wide barrel and the fact that you can set the styler higher or lower depending on whether you want tighter  or looser waves.

I then use Loreal Elnette Hairspray to set my style in place.

Any more questions about this look, just ask and I will be happy to tell you :)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Topshop Goodies

I had waited long enough.  I really HAD to place an order on the Topshop website to get my hands on items that I have been coveting for months now!  Over time I have been particularly really impressed with the lipsticks and nail polishes.  At such affordable prices it's hard not to just buy the whole line! 

After quite a while of studying online swatches and reviews, I decided to get Idol - a cool hot pink (a contradiction in terms!) and Whimsical - a creamy peach/coral.  I knew that Whimsical was a matte finish which can be notoriously difficult to apply and get the right finish but meh...

Ok, so maybe I should have listened to my instincts and previous encounters with lipsticks of the matte variety.  Whimsical is indeed a beautiful shade and looked like the perfect brightening every day peachy coral that I love so much.  However...yes there is a however...the formula is rather chalky in consistency so it takes quite a lot of faffing to get it looking presentable.  You have to make sure your lips are smoother than smooth so get exfoliating! Then you have to prime your lips with a moisturising lip balm so they are ready to receive the matte formula. 

Even after all that, I found myself patting it on, smacking my lips together, then patting on again and still didn't quite look right.  I am wearing Whimsical in the the pic above and as you can see, it just doesn't look completely even.  The only way to unify the formula to your lips is by applying a lip gloss over the top and that kinda defeats the purpose!

Swatches of Idol & Whimsical

Now...Idol is a whole different kettle of fish.  It has a velvet formula which seems to work well on me, as does this particular cool shade of pink.  Quick pencil of lipliner, quick dash of Idol and this is the result...

Fantastic coverage, brilliant pigmentation, a smooth formula and a colour to die for.  You can safely assume that I love this lipstick!

As you can see, I have now collected 4 of the shades available from Topshop and my favourites are definitely Ooh La La - a bright coral and now...Idol.

L-R: Ooh La La, Whimsical, Idol, Brighton Rock

Also, as I gazed at the pink loveliness, I realised that the colour reminded me of another of my much loved lippies...Daniel Sandler Micro Bubble Lipstick in Flamingo.  I am wearing it in two of my blog header pictures and often get emails asking about it.  Considering DS Flamingo is £13.25 and word on the grapevine is that it's a limited shade, I think Idol is a great dupe.  It's cheaper at £8.00 and far more accessible as a brand on the high street.

Here are the lippies side by side...

I would say that the Daniel Sandler lipstick is slightly richer and more pigmented but Idol is definitely a worthy adversary. The Daniel Sandler lipstick, being richer, also lasts a bit longer on the lips without fading. They photograph pretty much identically.

Here are swatches of both to compare...

If you are a fan of hot pink lipstick and like a bargain then Idol is certainly a product you should have in your makeup arsenal!

My order also included two nail polishes, Beam - a metallic pink and Suffuse - a rose gold.  I had been searching for a rose gold nail polish since forever.  Gold polishes always look too yellow or green on my skin tone so the warmth of rose gold is perfection.

I have been eyeing up this rose gold shade on the Topshop website for a long time now and as soon as I opened the parcel, it lived up to how I wanted it to look.

Once applied, it's rich and luscious and only takes two coats to get good coverage on the nails.  This shade is super metallic and reflective and catches the light when your hands move.  It's gorgeous!

Beam is a really pretty metallic cool pink and also has the same quality of finish as Suffuse.  Both shades have good staying power with a quality topcoat - my topcoat of choice being Orly Polishield.

Clear Skin & Nude Tan

I regularly get emails about skincare and how to prevent spots because although my skin is good on the whole, I do suffer from phases of hormonal spots now and again.  No one likes to wake up to spots all over their face (in my case they are usually concentrated around my mouth area).  Recently, I went through a 2-3 week phase of getting small spots around my mouth that just WOULDN'T go away.  I was wracking my brain trying to think of what I was doing differently to cause this.  I eventually realised that the Simple moisturiser I had started using contained Lanolin which my skin obviously doesn't like! It's amazing that even the moisturisers that claim to be purer than pure can still break you out.

My go-to skincare brand is definitely Origins and has been for some time now.  Their products may be on the more expensive side but they really do work, especially my two favourite spot fighting products:

United State Balancing Tonic - This product is brilliant at evening out skin tone, hydrating dry patches but at the same time, calming any spots or blemishes.  It's extremely refreshing on the skin and I use it morning and night at the moment whilst my skin is acting a little crazy.  As you can see from the above pic, I have almost run out so a back up has just been ordered from the Origins website! Crisis averted.

 "This tingly-cool, retexturising tonic is dedicated to the proposition that all skins can be created equal. Origins state-of-the-art exfoliators slough the flakes, sweep pore clogging debris and smooth rough spots. Laminaria de-shines T-zones without stripping or stinging, and Soy Protein protects moisture levels to prevent parching. Disunited dry and oily areas come comfortably together as one - refreshed, refined, rebalanced. Helps reinstate skin's balance for a user-friendly feeling. There's also aromatic Bergamot, Spearmint and Lavender to add pleasure to the process."

Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Pads - Origins Blemish Treatment line is just a godsend for those days when you wake up with a mahoosive spot on your face and you want to get rid of it...pronto! I have managed to prevent a spot developing by using these and the Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel the night the morning the spot is less red and hasn't become all swollen. They also don't dry out my skin like other, more astringent alcohol based spot treatments, can. They are definitely must-haves in my bathroom cabinet!

"These clinically-proven, daily exfoliating treatment pads with Salicylic Acid, Clove and Oregano instantly help unclog pores to help clear, fight and fade active blemishes. Saw Palmetto minimizes excess oils and debris to help prevent future breakouts and blackheads."

I had mentioned on my Facebook page that I had used my Boots Advantage Points to buy the new Dior Nude Tan Glow Sun Powder in Amber (02) as a little treat to myself.  I am a BIG fan of the Dior Matte Sunshine Bronzer in Honey Matte so I was interested to find out if this more glowy formula could intensify my love for the brand.

"The objective: to imitate a natural tan with a nude skin effect, no matter what the skin tone. Dior has created a range of original shades suited to various skin tones, for a customized healthy glow that looks natural in both the white light of winter and in the intense rays of the summer sun. The bronzer comes in 3 shades with a neutral tone to use all year round, and corresponding warmer shades for summer".

The silver packaging feels heavy and luxe - exactly what I would expect of a high end cosmetics brand like Dior.  It comes with a mini kabuki brush which I, at first, passed off as pretty useless given the size.  However, I did use it to reapply a little today and it came in very useful! The brush is made of good quality, soft fibres and it also comes with a travel pouch.

In this close up of the beautifully embossed pan, you can see that there are no glittery particles to be seen.  The glow of this powder is very subtle and doesn't translate onto the skin as shimmer.  Think more ethereal glow.  The Amber shade is perfect for my skin tone and it doesn't look at all orange.  The formula is smooth, non-gritty and applies with absolutely no streaks or patchy areas.

Dior certainly hasn't disappointed me with this variation on their bronzers.  It more than passes on first appearances an I defy any beauty junkie to resist that pretty embossed pan!  This bronzer gives my skin an almost soft-glow effect that makes my skin appear smoother and more even.  It has good pigmentation and a light sweep is enough to transfer the right amount of colour onto your face.  Although it's on the very pricey range of their bronzers, I really think the quality justifies the price tag.  I think I will be saving this bronzer for nights out/special occasions to eek it out that bit longer.  A massive thumbs up to this weeks of lusting after it weren't in vain after all!

Have you got this bronzer? What do you think of it?