Wednesday 31 October 2012

NOTD: Nail Art Dotting Tool

They're not spooky, or scary, or Halloween themed at all, but they sure as hell are cute! A long time ago I ordered some nail art dotting tools from eBay and this is the first chance I've had to use them. You can buy them from this seller here: link for £1.38 but there is lots of these packs available all over eBay and Amazon for a similar price.

What I did to create this Minnie Mouse-esque nail design was a little tricky on the first go but extremely simple after a little bit of practise. Mine aren't perfect, especially on my right hand (deliberately not pictured!) but this was my first attempt and practise makes perfect.
All that I used was 2 coats of Models Own 'Red Alert' for the base, a random white polish that is intended for french manicure tips, the green dotting tool and a steady hand. It's as simple as you would expect; dip your tool into the varnish and blob it onto your nails, then finish off with a top coat. I went for a plain and simple 'polka dot' style design but these dots can be used to create all sorts of patterns and prints on the nails - I've seen others use them for intricate floral designs which I'd love to have a go at some time.

Real Techniques Brushes: The Core Collection

When going all out a beauty splurge last week I took advantage of the Boots 3 for 2 offer and took the chance to finally get my hands on some Real Techniques brushes. These must be the most talked about, raved, reviewed, loved and hyped up brush range in the whole of the blogging world, and it would seem that you cannot blog about beauty unless you own at least one Real Techniques brush - everyone has them.
These brushes are designed by make-up artist, beauty blogger and YouTuber - Samantha Chapman, one half of the Pixiwoo sisters. Samantha worked with the creaters of EcoTools to create an affordable brush range and she has most definitely been successful with that mission. All of the brushes are cruelty free and because the bristles are made of synthetic material - talkon - it means that they won't soak up or absorb any of your product and lead to wastage which some other brushes do.
There are three different ranges of Real Techniques brushes, all of which are separately colour-coded by the colour of their handle; yellow (your base/flawless), pink (your finish/perfected) or purple (your eyes/enhanced). The 'Core Collection' of brushes is from the 'Your Base/Flawless' range and is the perfect beginners set containing every essential tool for perfect coverage and as the range suggests, a flawless base. The kit costs £21.99 and contains 4 brushes: a detailer brush, perfect for blending concealer or creating a perfectly defined lip shape; a pointed foundation brush, quite a small headed foundation brush that works well for building up liquid foundation; a contour brush which I have found brilliant for applying highlight, bronzer and blush; and finally a buffing brush - arguably one of the most loved brushes from the whole collection and the 'core collection' is often bought solely for this one buffing brush.
The handles are incredibly light making them easy to work with, I've experienced absolutely no shedding at all and although I've only washed the buffing brush so far but it kept its shape fantasically well and dried very quickly. Also, they are all sooo soft - I couldn't stop stroking them across my face when I first got them. Because of it's small size I rarely use the foundation brush from this set but I use the other three on a daily basis - the buffing brush is ah-maazing for liquid foundation application, blending it in like a dream and leaving such a flawless finish; I love the detailer brush for under eye concealer and use the contour brush for.. contouring!
Top left: Buffing Brush | Top right: Contour Brush
Bottom left: Pointed Foundation Brush | Bottom right: Detailer Brush
These brushes are really affordable and I would recommend this Core Collection to anybody at all - 4 brushes for less than £22 is a bargain and I have my sights now very firmly set on extending my collection, in particular I'm lusting after the stippling brush and the expert face brush.
Have you tried Real Techniques brushes yet?

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Monthly Favourites | October

~ October Favourites ~
Just a small favourites post this month - only 4 products.
Here's what I loved and why:
Soap & Glory - Scrub Your Nose In It
Until recently I was never really 'into' Soap and Glory products; I saw them everywhere and everyone was talking about them but they were just a brand that I dismissed quite easily and didn't really understand them as the price tag is hardly cheap but I think that the packaging makes them look that way. One day I decided to give into the hype surrounding their hand cream 'Hand Food' and because of a 3 for 2 offer I picked up 'Scrub Your Nose In It' too, mainly because it was something Fleur (De Force) had mentioned once in passing and I thought that if someone with amazing skin like she does, uses and loves it then it's good enough for me! It costs £7.50 for 125ml but there are often offers on this brand or Boots in general meaning you could get it cheaper but I think that's reasonable as I've only been using a tiny pea sized amount each time and a little goes a really long way so I can't see me running out any time soon. You apply to damp skin and rub around your face, focussing on the congested areas around the nose and chin - the exfoliating grains in this scrub are so super tiny and gentle you can barely feel them and this is one of the most refreshing scrubs I have ever used. It feels a little bit tingly but I like that feeling, it makes me feel clean! It's also a multi-use product and can be left sitting on the skin for a couple of minutes as a clay mask before washing away. I don't think I've been using this long enough to notice a drastic reduction in blackheads or blocked pores but it definitely feels good to use! This won't break the bank so if you're looking for a new scrub or wanting to try out a Soap and Glory product I would highly recommend starting with this.
 Ginvera - Green Tea Marvel Whitening Gel
I have done a full and detailed review on this product which you can see HERE if you're interested in reading a little bit more. This exfoliating gel is of Asian origin and boasts 10 benefits to the skin; not only does it claim to reduce blackheads and improve the surface of skin but it also promises to regulate and reduce sebum production to prevent blemishes - wonder product! This slimey green gel is rubbed around dry skin with dry fingers and literally peels away the dead skin cells in a painless and almost enjoyable way ..although it is a little bit gross physically seeing the dead skin come away from your face. I've been loving this product as it brings a new lease of life to the skin, taking away the dead layers and leaving behind new, fresh and glowing skin and also helps with in reduction in the appearance of scars, marks, pigmentation and other blemishes.

The Body Shop - Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream

I didn't really want to buy this, I was talked into it by a very pushy sales assistant but I am now extremely grateful for her pushy ways as this is now my favourite, go to, every day moisturiser. This costs £10.00 a tub which I think is maybe a tad expensive but The Body Shop run offers and discounts all the time so it's very rare that you would ever need to pay the full price for this. It's an extremely light weight moisturiser, almost a gel like consistency and sinks into the skin literally instantly which makes it easy to apply foundation on top almost straight away, and as it is targetted for oily skin is doesn't leave a dewy shine on the skin like other moisturisers do - it leaves a matte finish but nourishes the skin, moisturises dry areas and leaves your face feeling soft and smooth. Why have I never found a mattifying moisturiser earlier?! I normally shy away from moisurisers because I'm scared of how they will combine with my oily skin but this one is the perfect solution.

Carex Hand Sanitising Gel

Bit of an unexpected favourite really but I thought I'd throw something different into the mix. I'm not an avid user of these hand sanitising gels as I'm not particularly a germ freak, but I have been using this more over the past two weeks as I've been ill (sniffly runny nose with a cough and a cold, nothing serious!) and thought that everytime I cough or sneeze (nice) I don't want to continue spreading my germs around for other people to catch, so I've just been squirting a bit of this onto my hands every now and again in attempt to keep myself a bit more sterile. I've recently been using it before touching my face when applying make-up too as no one wants grubby fingers on their face. This particular gel is a lot better than any others I have tried in the past as normally I cannot stand them. This one smells lovely and fruity (no hint of alcohol like some do), absorbs really quick into the skin (many promise this but fail to live up to the claim), it doesn't sit on the skin and feel greasy or feel like there's a layer of 'something' on them that needs washing off, it's got a handy pump dispenser to not waste product, and best of all it's cheap and cheerful - £1. I can't comment on how well it kills 99% of germs but let's just assume that it does and here we have a winning product!

Monday 29 October 2012

Monthly Empties | September & October

This is quite a large looking bundle of 'empties' this time but it is a combination of the previous two months as I was far too busy at the end of September to be able to put this up. I like doing empties posts, although I do think it is slightly a weird thing to do; when finishing a product instead of just throwing it in the bin like a normal person you keep it in a little box or a bag until the end of the month and then you take pictures of them all, write about them and post it on the Internet, and then you can throw them away. Weird - yes?
I had mine kept in my bedroom just in a plastic bag that's next to my rubbish bin and last week my mum came in my room and went 'oh is this bag rubbish? its bin day tomorrow I'll go take it downstairs for you' and I hopped up and shouted 'no no don't throw that away!' even though she could quite clearly see that it was a tesco bag full of empty bottles ..I didn't bother to explain and she just gave me a very confused look before walking away - haha embarassing!
Anyway, here we go. First up are some bath and body bits: this Next Just Pink Body Wash was in my 'What's In My Shower Post' from September and I explained how it was received as a Christmas gift as part of a gift set containing the matching perfume and body lotion, it wasn't really anything special it was just a shower gel that needed to be used. St Moriz Fake Tan Mousse is the only brand of fake tan that I ever use, mainly because I'm not mad over fake tan like I used to be so I'm not interested in spending a lot of money on it - it's only needed if my outfit for a night out shows a little too much skin and that skin would look better if it wasn't Casper-white! This fake tan is cheap as chips (about £3 from Home Bargains or Body Care) and does the job just fine, despite the biscuit-y smell. I also finished off a small 50ml tub of The Body Shop's Wild Cherry Body Butter; this cost £2 and I thought it was a bargain when I bought it but it turned out that there was barely enough product to cover just my legs let alone my whole body and I did actually use all of this in one go. It is a really rich moisturising and smells beautiful - not so sure if I'd spend £13.50 on a bigger tub though.

I'm a massive conditioner lover and always love to treat my poor over-processed hair to some TLC with a deep conditioning treatment, often left on overnight or atleast for a good few hours. The two tubes, one is Clairol and the other is L'Oreal, are ones that have been stashed away in a drawer in my mum's bedroom from occasions when she has dyed her hair and not used the conditioner that has come with it as she prefers to use her own. These come in handy for me to use as a quick fix to slather all over my hair and leave on for a few hours - they are super intensive and nourishing as they're intended for use straight after dyeing hair. The Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends Intensive Mask is a really, really good budget deep conditioner and I really loved using this. I'm up to my eyeballs in conditioners at the moment but at some point I do plan on repurchasing this - it costs a couple of pounds and you get a huge tub full to brim with product that lasts a really long time, and it works too!

A bit of Nivea loving going on recently too! The Nivea Essential Care Lip Balm has been knocking around in my life for a really long time and has seen better days. I think Nivea are one of the better brands for lip balms and treatments and they're an affordable price too. I have other lip balms by Nivea and love them all - would highly recommend them. The mini Nivea Deodorant is a perfect handbag sized product and is great for when you're 'on the go' and need a quick freshening up. The travel size bottles can be found for around 99p and are a really handy little thing to have. I always have a pack or two of make-up wipes hanging around somewhere for super quick and easy make-up removal but I'm not fussy about which brand I pick up - normally whatever is the cheapest or on offer at the time which will have been why I picked up these Nivea Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes for Sensitive Skin but they were really good, nice and 'moist', good at taking off make-up and left the skin feeling soft and moisturised too.

Lastly, a couple of make-up and skincare bits. The T-Zone Blackhead Fighting Facial Scrub was a super cheap  exfoliator (99p) that I picked up just to use in the shower for a bit of extra cleanliness - it contained tea tree which I love the smell of and it left my skin feeling really fresh and clean. The Molton Brown Skin Fresh Facial Wash is a little bottle that I took from a hotel room back in the summer and have only recently got around to using it, it's incredibly mild and gentle and feels really luxurious - if only my budget would allow for me to use Molton Brown products regularly! I got the Maybelline False Lash Effect Mascara when it was very first released which was probably about three years ago now and this has completed dried up and is almost certainly out of date, it's just been hanging around in a box of make-up needing to be thrown away - I can't even remember what it was like it's been so long since I've used it! The next three were all freebie samples: Yardley Royal Diamond EDT was a sample in a beauty box and was 'okay', but I spilt more of it than I actually used, the Caudalie Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Serum arrived as gift with purchase of a Caudalie Beauty Elixir and I love, love, lovedddd this sample! It was only a 2ml tube and I completely dismissed it at first but later discovered its amazing qualities - it worked wonders on angry and inflamed spots on my face helping to calm them right down, dramatically reduce redness and smoothing the skin area and the next day the area looked close to flawless. I used this as more of a spot treatment around the certain area and I would love to buy the full sized version if it wasn't so darn expensive - around £35 for 30ml! I got a sample pot of Lush Fresh Face Mask in Love Lettuce when I was having an indepth browse at almost every product in Lush in order to avoid a heavy rain shower outside! I just got a sample on a whim after the sales assistant talked me into it and I'm definitely going to buy a full sized tub of it soon - I loved using the fresh face mask Cupcake so much and have always wanted to try another and it will definitely be Love Lettuce. They're so cooling and soothing on the skin but this one is exfoliating too.

So, that's my big pile of fifteen empty products from the months of September and October. I really wish there was more brands and companies who did empties returns schemes like Lush and Mac do - I'd especially love The Body Shop to do something like that too.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Acrylic Storage #2

Hi ladies, I did a post on some acylic storage from eBay that I treated myself to just last week and I store my lipsticks in it now - you can see that post HERE if you're interested. I received some valuable feedback in the comments to this post; one of them was from Allie (see her blog HERE) who told me that because these types of sellers on eBay will do anything to avoid negative feedback (as would most sellers really) that I should drop them an e-mail mentioning the damage on my product, as she complained once and was sent a replacement free of charge so I had nothing to lose. The damage was just a couple of cracks in the plastic, no big deal really and I would have lived with it but I did drop them an e-mail about it and they asked for photo proof which I sent them and they kindly gave me a full refund for the product, postage included. So instead of £6.68 for a lipstick stand/holder which I thought was reasonable enough, it cost £0.00 - thanks for the tip Allie!
What bothered me more about this 'lipstick' holder was that it was advertised to be a 'lipstick and nail varnish holder' but is not at all big enough to hold a nail varnish bottle a second useful comment I received was from Hannah (see her blog HERE) who directed me towards a post she had written herself on an acrylic nail varnish stand that she had bought from Amazon for less than £10.
Thanks to Hannah's post I bought myself the same stand from Amazon for £9.90 and you can find it for yourself HERE. A plus side to buying from Amazon as opposed to eBay is that the nail varnish stand was from a UK seller and it arrived in a matter of days, whereas the lipstick stand originated from Hong Kong (I think) and it took almost a month to arrive. This stand holds on average 30 nail polishes but this will vary depending on which bottles you are keeping it because, for example, OPI bottles are much larger and wider than Max Factor bottles. At the moment mine is holding exactly 30 nail varnishes and I'm considering buying a second stand soon because it's a reasonable price, is an attractive way of storing nail varnishes and easily helps you to choose a colour instead of having to root around in a big old box or bag. It also reminds me how many varnishes I actually own and how I don't need to buy any more any time soon!

How do you store your nail varnish?
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Saturday 27 October 2012

OOTD | Moustache Tee & Disco Pants

Helloo. Today I'm doing something that hardly ever appears on my blog and that is an outfit post. I think in the 6 months I've been writing on here there has only ever been ONE outfit/OOTD/OOTN post and it was this one was HERE before I went to a wedding in the summer. If you have a look back through past posts you'll see that 95% of the images included are only really snaps I have taken of products and cosmetics that I have purchased/loved/reviewed and there isn't a whole lot of 'me' on this blog ..but I'm taking a slight direction change and would love to gradually change this lack of personality on Cosmetic Crave.  
So, I'm starting right now, here, today, with a few little snaps of me taken before I went to uni yesterday, mainly because I liked my new t-shirt a lot and I want to share it with you ..although I'm either going to have to employ a personal photographer or get more practise with these self-timed photos if I want to do more outfit posts in the future because this was hard work getting any half decent pictures. Such an amateur.
(You may have seen a sneak preview of this new tee if you follow me on Instagram).
| Waaaah - The flash made me look ghostly white! Pass me the fake tan! |

Disco Pants - Own The Runway
Moustache Tee - Strawberry Moon
Trainers - Primark
My disco pants were from Own The Runway but just so you know.. I would not reccomend this particular pair. I had an experience of awful customer service with that company so have now boycotted them completely and also the quality is pretty shoddy - loose threads coming out all over, the black button has worn away to be silver and anything that comes into contact with them ends up with blue dye transferred all over them! Hmm. Despite this, I still wear them day in day out because I love the style and fit of them. I have my heart set on a navy pair now but for these I will go to Glamorous for.
The cute 'Moustache's Of The World' t-shirt was one that I spotted inside one of those cheap little market style stores that often don't hang around for very long. If you live anywhere near Preston then I found it in the shop called Strawberry Moon that is inside the Fishergate Shopping Centre - tacky as hell in there but my friend was on the hunt for some long black gloves to complete a halloween outfit and this caught my eye. I'm only supposed to be spending on essentials now that I'm back in my overdraft but this was £5.00 and that was too good of an opportunity to miss and I justified it by saying that I'd buy the t-shirt instead of getting a coffee from Starbucks!
The burgundy high-top converse style trainers are a pair that I picked up from Primark for a measly £6.00 and despite my instant love for them this was the first time I wore them and I picked a bad day for their trial run because yesterday I'm convinced the temperatures were sub-zero and I couldn't feel my toes! As cute and comfy as they are I need to remember that they're not so great at keeping my feet warm.
| Moustache Loving |
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Friday 26 October 2012

Instagram Diary | October ♥

♥ October in pictures - Instagram username: hannahripley1 

♥ Feeling festive with 98 days to go | Feeling festive in pjs & hot water bottle | Feeling festive with 2 months to go 
♥ Seasonal Kopparburg - Cranberry & Cinnamon | Bedroom decorations | Local sticky toffee pudding 
♥ Over the moon at 250 followers! | Post addressed to Chinese people? | Memories of being a first year fresher 
♥ Confirmation of Models Own order | Models Own - Naked Shimmer | Models Own - Bluebelle 
♥ Shopping @ The Body Shop | Shopping @ ASOS | Shopping @ Topshop 
♥ Going out face | Sad because it's raining face | Happy because it's Friday face 
♥ Hottttt shoes from Primark | Night out in Leeds | Millie Mackintosh lashes 
♥ Avon hair oil | Real Techniques brushes | Clinique chubby stick 
♥ Beauty haul #1 | Beauty haul #2 | Beauty haul #3 

Thursday 25 October 2012

eBay: Robot Necklace

I actually love this little guy! How amazing is he?! So cute and unlike anything I've ever seen on the high street before. I found him on eBay which is where I find most of the random bits and bobs that I have and I purchased him from this seller here (link) for £1.49 with free p&p - love a good bargain! He did take about a month to arrive and I ended up actually forgetting that I had ordered it and it made my day when he was delivered and I opened a random parcel having no idea what would be inside and I saw his crazy face staring up at me - ha!
All his limbs, his head and his headphones are all moveable and he has little gems in the cassette on his chest for a bit of sparkle. I've worn him a few times but have since decided that he looks better as a decoration and is now displayed hanging from a jewellery stand and receives attention from everyone who comes in my room.
What do you think of my quirky little robot necklace?
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Wednesday 24 October 2012

Review: Redken Anti-Snap Treatment

Redken Extreme Anti Snap Treatment - £13.95 for 250ml @ Feel Unique
Is it only me who thinks that this product has one of the best names ever? It's exactly what somebody with long hair and damaged ends is going to want from a conditioning treatment - there's no point in making the effort to grow your hair if it's just going to snap off at the ends all the time. But does this pricey product live up to it's anti snapping claims?

If you want the science-y bit this is what the Feel Unique site says about how and why this product is supposed to work:
18-MEA helps restore the lipid layer of protection and resurfaces the cuticle to help restore shine while amino acids and protein enter the cuticle for targeted structural repair. Together, IPN and the Fortifying Complex deliver Redken Extreme's advanced strengthening benefits for healthier, shinier hair.
I don't know about you but that sounds a little bit too fancy for my understanding but basically it's something to do with proteins strengthening the hair and aiding against breakage from brushing and general daily wear to your locks. I bought into this treatment thinking that it sounded like a wonder product and could be my holy grail assistant in the mission for Rapunzel-esque hair, and I did my research on it too by reading lots and lots of reviews - 99% of them being positive. This must make me in the 1% who isn't going to rave about it! Sorry Redken.

I've been using this after washing my hair for about two months on and off but only properly put it into my regular routine religiously in the past two-three weeks and since then have noticed that the state of my ends has actually gotten worse. What?. The parts of my hair I've been focussing on is the underneath, i.e. when hair is tied into some kind of up do and there's sometimes the straggly bits of hair underneath that won't quite fit in? I can't be the only person who has this.. am I? Well anyway I've been putting 2 pumps all the way through my mid-lengths and ends while wet and then when putting in a top knot I've been running an extra pump through the underneaths to try and strength those stragglers. What I've been finding is that the broken off strands are becoming larger in number and there is now infact whole clumps of broken off hair that were not there before using this product. There is no other factor involved - I have introduced no other product into my routine and I have cut out all heat tools from my life too! In addition, my hair used to be relatively soft on the ends despite the bleach because I work hard to keep it in good condition but now it feels more straw-like than ever before - this product is drying my hair out like mad!

Hate to give a negative review but this isn't one for me, I thought it would be amazing but after using it religiously and allowing it's effects to really work I've found it has negative results for me. I would love to know if this is the case for anybody else at all who has used this product?

If you've used this Redken treatment did you have good or bad experiences with it?
Let me know!

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Sunday 21 October 2012

eBay: Acrylic Storage

Hello, hope you have all enjoyed your weekend. It's been such a lovely day here today and despite a minor hangover I've still managed to spend the day enjoying the sunshine and went out into town for lunch. Hope you have all made the most of the rareity that is sunshine in October!
Acrylic storage for make-up is a big thing in the beauty and blogging world and I wanted to join in and jump on the bandwagon. Muji seems to be the leading brand for storage and although each individual unit is quite reasonably priced the total can soon add up when buying enough to house even just the average girl's make-up collection, let alone a shopoholic and beauty addict's.
I'm a massive lover of eBay and find myself bargain bits and pieces on there all the time so that is where I headed on my hunt for acrylic storage, searching very simply 'acrylic make-up storage' and received hundreds of results in return. I found that a lot of the items were very similar, if not the same, product but with slight variations in cost and postage charges with most of them coming from Asia. I wasn't in a particular rush to receive anything to estimated delivery dates were irrelevant to me. The item that I decided to purchase in the end was this one here (link) which costs £0.99 plus £5.69 postage and packaging, totalling £6.68.
I ordered this on the 27th September and it was shipped the same day with an estimated delivery date of 12th - 30th October as it originated from Hong Kong and it arrived yesterday (20th October) which I think is pretty fair despite the fact I was starting to get impatient waiting for it to arrive! The parcel was very well packaged in a good few layers of bubble wrap but despite the seller's efforts unfortunately it still arrived with two cracks in the plastic. They make no difference to the function of the product and can barely be seen, it's just a bit of a shame. If I had paid more for this then I would have been annoyed. What I am annoyed about however is the way that this was advertised as a 'LIPSTICK NAIL POLISH MAKE UP COSMETIC STAND' ...and the rack is in no way big enough to hold a bottle of nail polish, even my teeny tiny 5ml bottles! I was extremely close to ordering more than one of these, one to hold lipstick and one, maybe two, to house nail polish bottles but I am glad I just tried this out first.
So, if you're looking for a rack to store your nail polish bottles in then this is no use to you, but if you're looking for something pretty to display your lip products in for a pretty reasonable price then maybe you should try this out! I ran around looking for as many lipsticks as I could but they're scattered all over my life; uni, home, various bags, boyfriends house, car etc etc but the pictures below should give you a general idea of how it looks!
I think it looks really nice displayed on a dressing table and it will definitely make getting ready and choosing a lipstick a little easier than rooting through a huge make-up bag or box. I will definitely be getting some more acrylic style holders for things, i.e. sets of drawers, but this was a good place to start.
Do you use acrylic storage for make-up?
If so, where do you get it from?
If not, what do you use instead?

This is the larger of the two cracks ..if you can make it out!

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