Wednesday 27 February 2013

Monthly Favourites | February

It's the end of the month, that means it's time for February Favourites!
Read on to see what I've been loving this month and why...
Moroccanoil Oil Treatment for All Hair Types
At first, I didn't expect myself to fall for the Moroccan Oil hype, I thought that I'd just stick with the cheaper alternatives and everything would all be fine and dandy, but after receiving this small bottle for Christmas I have realised that Moroccan Oil deserves every single little praise that it receives and it really is 'the best'. Take it from somebody who owns 11 hair oils.. this one knocks them all out of the park. A definite favourite of all hair products that I have used and I already have plans to buy a larger 100ml bottle - £30 is worth it, honest! It makes such a difference to the general quality of my hair, making it so much less frizzy and a lot more soft and smooth but it feels completely free of product; it's magic.


Ciate Nail Varnish - 'Cupcake Queen'
I shouldn't even have to say words to be able to convince you all of why I love this nail varnish; just look at that colour! It's amazing! It's a super vibrant, hot hot hot pink with slight blue undertones that just makes it even more pink. Ciate polishes are high quality with wide brushes for easy application, non-streaky formula that coats the nail in one application and a long lasting chip-free finish.

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers - 'Nova'
I've not gone totally ga-ga over the whole Apocalips phase, I like them but I don't love them, with the exception of one shade in particular: Nova. Nova is a dusky pink suitable for everday wear if you like to carry a bright lip. It's bright and super pigmented but still not too in your face. These have a glossy finish that wear down to a matte stain with incredibly staying power so no wonder they've been popular recently, but it's just this certain shade that's won it for me. I've done a full review of these lip lacquers including three other shades which you can see here: link.

Burts Bees Mango Lip Balm
Everybody needs a good quality lip balm in cold, frosty weather and this one that I call my 'coat pocket' lip balm (I hope someone else has those); the one that is needed the most and is always in reach right there in your jacket pocket. Burts Bees lip balms are 100% natual and leave the lips feeling nourishing and moisturised, but not 'sticky', just velvety smooth. Plus it's got a super fresh and fruity scent of mango - yummy! As an added bonus these are only £2.99 from Feel Unique (link) - they're one of the best lip balms I've ever tried so I would definitely recommend them.

Lush 'Grease Lightning' Spot Treatment
I don't know what it is that's brought this on, but a family of spots have decided that my face is a good place to hang out for the past few weeks - nice one guys. And it's that annoying situation where as soon as you think you've said goodbye to one, you wake up and another has appeared somewhere else. This spot treatment from Lush is what I've been using to tackle the little buggars these past few weeks and it's really effective (although I don't know what's making them appear, this sure makes them disappear fast!). It's a clear gel that contains tea tree and witch hazel - two super spot fighting ingredients - and it gets to work super quick and making both the size and redness reduce dramatically. In the majority of cases the spot would 100% be gone after 24 hours, redness and all! I can see me buying this again and not needing any other spot treatments in my life.

And that's it for my favourites this month!
Hope you've enjoyed reading.
Do we have any faves in common?

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Products I've Used Up | Empties #1

Hello boys and girls, tonight's post is an 'empties' one! I used to do these monthly but when it got to the end of December I peeked inside my little empties basket and realised there was not one single thing inside there! That's pretty bad considering I went shopping crazy towards the end of 2012 - just buying more and more and more but not using anything up! Ooops. So this is a collective products 'I've used up / I am throwing away' from December, January and February. Enjoyyyy!

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment Mask - I am a loyal user and frequent repurchaser of this hair mask and end up going through quite a lot of these. If used consistency over a long enough time period it will strengthen your hair follicles leading to better growth and I have seen improvements, all whilst general deep conditioning my hair leaving it soft and manageable. Would I buy again? - Already have a back up stash!

Avon Advance Techniques Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner - These bottles were only about £1 each and made a really good every day shampoo and conditioner. They're such good quality and I would definitely pay more than just £1 a bottle! They do everything that you could want from a decent duo and they smell lovely too. Would I buy again? - Next time I'm putting an Avon order in I would probably throw these on there too, yes!

Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser - This cleanser has been knocking around my bathroom for such a long time, it's about time I finished it off! It contains spot fighting ingredient salicylic acid although it's not the best spot busting cleanser that I've come across. Because of it's pump dispenser it made it useful to use in the shower just for a quick wash and felt cooling and refreshing. Would I buy again? - Unlikely.

Lush H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Mask - [See my full review here] This is a pre-shampoo deep conditioning treatment packed full of natural ingredients. It does work at conditioning the hair but it's nothing amazing and a generous amount is needed with each use making it quite pricey (£9 for about 3 uses). Would I buy again? - No.

Lush Love Lettuce Face Mask - [See my full review here] This face mask contains calming lavendar, softening almond oil and exfoliating almond shells with clay properties to draw out impurities in the skin making this a bit of a dream combination for face masks! This was super refreshing and left my skin scrubbed up and glowing; just a shame it went out of date before I could use it all (downside to natural ingredients and no preservatives). Would I buy again? - Maybe, I'd like to try an alternative fresh face mask first though.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir -  [See my full review here] This luxurious facial mist is one that I hate to love, just because it doesn't do all that much but I enjoy to use it an awful lot, isn't that strange?! Refreshing minty 'water' to spritz over your face to set make-up, calm the skin, or before moisturising. It's just one of those odd ones that you don't need, you just want. Would I buy again? - Already have done!

YSL Touche Eclat Highlighter - Apparently this is the most popular/best selling beauty product in the UK? No surprise! This is a holy grail make-up item for me and I love it to pieces, although this one here has seen better days! I was devastated when it ran out as I knew I wouldn't be able to live without it and £25 for a new one hurt just a little bit; it's worth every penny though. Look out for a full review to come! Would I buy again? - Already have done!

Patons Nail Varnish Remover - Nail varnish remover is just nail varnish remover, right? I bought it from Home Bargains and it took off my nail varnish - job done! Would I buy again? - Now that I've finished this I'm really eager to try out the Bourjois '1 Second' Remover, so I'll be buying that as an alternative.

American Manicure 'Peach Natural' Nail Varnish - This is nothing special, just a clear nail varnish with an ever so slight peach tint to it, normally to be used to create a natural look on the nails but I just used this as a base coat for other colours. Would I buy again? - No, I have plenty of other clear nail varnishes.

Random Empties - These are all just things that I came across in the back of a drawer when I was having a tidy out and I've had them for so many years that I'm convinced they're not even safe for use anymore! Some just have dregs left in the bottom anyway but for all of these the best place for them is the bin.

Hope you enjoyed reading, be sure to leave me a comment below and link me to your recent empties posts if you've done one!

Monday 25 February 2013

Sleek Face Form Palette

Hey girls! With the recent release of the 'Naked Flushed' palette from Urban Decay (here is a good post by Christine on that palette: link), I thought that this would be the perfect chance to talk to you all about a much more purse-friendly dupe that you can pick up from your local Superdrug: Sleek's 'Face Form' palette. 

Sleek's high street offering of a very similar looking palette to Urban Decay's version will set you back just half the price at only £10.00 which is incredibly reasonable for a 3-in-1 product. So what does this 'Face Form' palette contain? Well, it's only everything that you need for perfectly contoured cheeks! This handy little compact contains a matte contouring powder, a shimmer highlighting powder, and a shimmer blush in the shade 'Rose Gold' (a very popular Sleek blush on it's own). The packaging is basic but still classic and contains a mirror too which is a nice little bonus. It comes as a sleek black case that is a very small, compact size which makes it ideal for travel - I'd much rather be carrying this around with me than three separate products!

Both the 'Contour Kit' (just the contour and the highlight) and the 'Rose Gold' blush are popular products from Sleek and I'd been lusting after both of these for quite a long time, but when I was mooching around Superdrug and just happened to see all three of these lovely powders in one compact little case I was sold and I hopped down to the till and handed my tenner over with pleasure!

All of the three shades are lovely and 'buttery' and I've been reaching for this on most days as it's all you really need; just a light sweep of each over the cheeks makes such a difference because they're so well pigmented (sorry that there's no pictures of this on my face), and I got the shade 'Light' which is perfect for my complexion but it is also available in 'fair', 'medium' and 'dark' so there should be something for everyone! 

Friday 22 February 2013

Ciate Caviar Pearls: Step-By-Step & Review

Hi ladies. I thought I would bring something a little different to the table today; my first 'tutorial'. I'm no nail expert, and I won't pretend to be either, but here are what I hope are helpful and informative step-by-step instructions for how you can create your very own 'caviar nails' with a little review included too. Enjoy!

Okay, first things first: what you will need. With caviar nails (whether they are Ciate or an alternative brand) you should receive a funnel included, then you will need your pearls/beads, a base coat, a base colour of your choice and some form of clear nail varnish.

Step One is to apply your 'base coat'. I like to use OPI nail envy because it acts as a nail strengthening treatment at the same as preventing stains to the nail, and it also seems to leave me chip free for longer too.

Step Two is to apply your chosen colour. I have used Ciate 'Cupcake Queen' and this is a beautiful and super bright fuchsia pink - let's all take a moment to admire it's beauty now....

Step Three is to apply some form of clear nail varnish onto the nail (I just just used OPI Top Coat) and it's probably best not to use a super quick drying nail varnish either. This is what your beads are going to use to stick to your nail so make sure that you have used a generous, thick layer of your top coat. (As an alternative to this option you can just apply your chosen colour really thick and apply the beads directly to that instead). Work one nail at a time so that your top coat is freshly applied and 'wet' when you add your beads. Remember: this is the only thing that will be holding your beads to your nails so make sure you've not scrimped out on this stage.

Step Four is the fun part: POUR. That's right, you simply take the bottle of beads and tip them directly onto your freshly applied top coat. You will need some form of tray underneath your fingers to catch all of the excess beads that don't hit your finger nails and ideally this needs to be something that you can pick up (so don't use your bathroom sink!) - I just used an empty face mask pot from Lush, so you could use anything from the lid of your body butter, to an empty Chinese takeaway tub. 


At first there'll be a lot of excess beads on your nails that will fall off of their own accord but if you wait a minute or two and then gently tap your finger above your tray then the beads won't be wasted. Brush away the beads around your skin on the outside of your nails and.. Ta Dah! You're caviar nails are done! 

..Need a refill?

By the time you've done one hand it's likely that your bottle will need a little top up. Not to worry, it's time for Step Five. Super simple, use the funnel that has been provided (if you don't have one I'm sure you could roll up a little piece of paper and make one), then pick up your tray and gently pour the beads back into the bottle ready to use again. 

Now you really are done! There's no need to apply a top coat to your nails because this will smudge together the colour of the beads, just be gentle until they're fully set into the clear varnish you applied before. I applied Ciate 'Candy Shop' caviar pearls that I received inside my Ciate advent calendar and they'll really fun and pretty colour to use. Below are some more pictures of the finished result: 

Heavy hands make a mess! Be careful when pouring, those beads bounce!

The buzz around caviar nails has been around for a pretty long time now, and I didn't ever think it was something that I would buy into, but when I got four bottles of the peals in my advent calendar it seemed silly not to have a little play, and I ended up absolutely loving the results. Other brands have now hopped onto the bandwagon and you can buy these beads as cheap as £1 in pound shops around the country, or have a go at MUA's £3 offering of them too; there's not much of a need to splash out to Ciate unless of course there is a certain eye catching colour combination that Ciate offers that isn't available from elsewhere. 

They aren't particularly long lasting, but they managed to last for one day quite well but it was taking a shower that ended up being their real downfall. I struggled to wash my hair with these on as they snagged on my hair strands, and all that water ended up turned the colours pretty grubby and smeared together. But, if you're wanting these for a one-off special occasion, maybe a party/night out/wedding etc then I would say that they're definitely worth a go! They're simple to apply, look different and exciting and are very eye catching. The whole 24 hours that mine looked okay for I received a handful of lovely compliments on them!

I also quite liked how this finger ended up looking after I had flicked all of it's beads off!

Have you ever tried caviar nails? From Ciate or another brand?
What do you think of them?

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Topshop Lips | 'Macaroon'

Hey, what's that? Hannah likes Topshop lipsticks? Oh really.. you should have said. 

Priced at £8.00 each (£7.20 if you're a lucky owner of a student card), lipsticks from Topshop are on the higher end of highstreet make up price spectrum, but they are every bit worth those few extra pennies. On par with the quality from Mac and with a huge range of shades and finishes available there is something for everybody to be found at the Topshop make up stands. Sticking with my standard colour of a bright pink, but opting for a different finish from usual (velvet), Macaroon became a new member of my collection a couple of weeks ago and was welcomed with open arms with summer days in mind.

Being a 'velvet' finish as opposed to matte, means that it has a lot more of a creamy texture and is far more moisturising on the lips, although the wear time is slightly compromised. It still lasts for a good 3 hours because needing to reapply (providing you're not eating or drinking in this time) and the colour gently and evenly fades away but does not leave a stain on the lips. It feels nourishing like a balm but with still quite a bright pop of colour and a glossy but non-sticky finish. This is a very wearable shade, suitable for every day wear and is a calm coral-y peach toned pink - I love it!

And here it is in action!
(Squinty squinty because it's sunny)

What do you think of Topshop lipsticks?
Do you have any recommendations for me? ..I'm think of trying Sartorial next!

Monday 18 February 2013

New: Rimmel 'Apocalips' Lip Lacquers

Rimmel Apocalips The Hype
Released into Boots and Superdrugs stores nationwide on January 23rd, and via Rimmel's Facebook store a few days earlier, the 'Apocalips' took the beauty world by storm and are set to be a cosmetic highlight of 2013. With another quirky play-on-words name (I'm still impressed with the name for 'Scandaleyes' eyeliners) and unique packaging that takes them a step above standard lip product tubes, these bad boys deserve the attention they're getting. You'll be able to find rave reviews of these all over the Internet already, but hey why not add one more to the pile?

Rimmel Apocalips What Are They?
Dubbed as the high street answer to YSL's Glossy Stain, these 'lip lacquers' pack 3 different lip products into one handy tube; think lipgloss, lipstick and lipstain all in one and there you have 'Apocalips'. Say 'lip' one more time. Available from Boots and Superdrug, priced at £5.99 each (look out for 3 for 2 deals) these offer a high impact, opaque coverage of the lip in just one stroke, and they are applied to the lip using a doe-foot applicator that contains a little well for extra product so that there's no dipping back into the tube to go back for more. With each of these, when applied to the lip the coverage is so high and there's no denying that they are completely opaque, they feel lovely on the lips with a high shine finish but absolutely no stickiness. No wonder there's a hype! After a few hours when the glossiness has worn away these leave a matte stain of strong colour on the lips that lasts for hours and hours - brilliant for nights out.

Rimmel Apocalips The Shades
There is quite a vast shade range in this collection, with a total of 8 different shades ranging from what has been described by others as 'the most perfect nude', to gentle berry plums, to the bright and bold pink shades, all the way to a statement classic red. It looks like Rimmel have covered everything! I picked up four of the eight available shades and I am very happy with my choices, although there is one more that I would get if I was ever to go on another crazy lip product purchasing spree (Celestial, please). Big Bang can only be described as a 'true red', there's no other colour pigment in this one other than red, red and more red. It's very bold and very classic but unfortunately I've not found the perfect situation to be wearing this yet so this one has had the least use. Apocaliptic and Stellar can look quite similar in some lights, but there is a difference between them. Apocaliptic is a bright pink fuchsia, whereas Stellar has a lot more of a coral/orange base to it. Both of these are incredibly vibrant and I absolutely adore the brightness of these two shades - I've found both of them to be perfect for nights out. Nova is a little bit more muted than the rest and is one that I found a lot of time for in my every day make-up - it's been my every day colour of choice for a few weeks now. It's a dusky mauve shade and is incredibly wearable, being bright but not too 'in your face'. 

Swatches L-R: Big Bang, Apocaliptic, Stellar, Nova.

If there's any confusion with the swatches above, silly me swatched the shades in the wrong order from how I showed them pictured at the start of the post; the two middle shades, Apocaliptic and Stellar, are the opposite way around in the different pictures. To clarify, Stellar is the coraly one, and Apocaliptic is the bright pink.

Rimmel Apocalips My Thoughts and Views
This is not a 'first impressions' post/review; as much as I wanted to bash out a post about these on the day of their release and the day that I got my mitts on them, I instead chose to wait a few weeks to give these a thorough trial in different circumstances so that my review could be well rounded and informative. My first impressions were that I was not blown away, and my current opinion stands the same. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them and I do use them (usage of the different shades varies), plus I think that the price is fair and it's worth having one in your collection, I just do think that there's a down side that I can't get around. Negative point out of the way first: these are so incredibly drying on the lips after after a few hours and seriously lack in moisture. If Rimmel finds a way to add in a lip balm quality to these then we have an unbeatable product. One more thing, is that I find the applicator to sometimes transfer a little too much product onto the lips, so I often apply using the opposite side of the applicator from the 'well' of product, but that's no big deal really.

Aside from that point, I have nothing but praise for these. I absolutely love love love the shades, they're spot on and I adore the bright ones, in particular Stellar, and I love the really intense pop of colour that they give to a look and how they're so long lasting. I'm not one for lipgloss, but these are the perfect answer and they have got it all right. They're a bit of a novelty with a unique applicator for a 'lipstick', but they're worth trying out if you haven't already. Depending on which shade you pick up they can be absolutely ideal for both a night out and for every day wear.

If you've tried these, what do you think?
And what's your favourite shade?
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