Monday, 30 June 2014

Switch Up Your Shower Gel | Organic Surge Awakening Body Wash Review

Let me tell you a bit about Organic Surge. They are a company committed to producing environmentally friendly products whilst giving back to charities, and have a growing range of products all of which are not tested on animals and 100% free of harsh chemicals. Basically, they're pretty darn awesome. Their new Awakening Bodywash has packaging which can be recycled and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans - they really have thought of everything. On the back of the (very satisfyingly fat) tube it says that the brand supports the Baby Care Unit in Kenya Children's Home. Amazing. The product itself is gorgeous - the natural ingredients are perfect for more sensitive skins like mine and the scent of May Chang and Bergamot is so fresh. It lathers up beautifully and leaves a subtle scent on the skin after rinsing. I think it's so important for the products we use everyday, like Shower Gels, to be environmentally and ethically sourced, as well as being great for us to use. Organic Surge has ticked all the boxes with this one.

Available from Organic Surge and soon from John Lewis, Peter Jones, Ocado and the Co-op.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Our Engagement Photos (Photo-heavy!)

As promised in my Proposal Story Post (read that one here), I'm sharing with you our Engagement Photos (a large selection of them anyway)! We took these today at a local common, with my Mum as photographer. She did a wonderful job as we both are not the biggest fans of having our photos taken! I edited them on Photoshop and I'm super happy with how they turned out. It will be so lovely to have these to look back on, and we may use one or two for our Save the Date Cards and perhaps a large photo for guests to sign at the reception! 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Clarisonic Deep Pore Decongesting System Review

I think it's time I told you about the most important part of my Skincare Routine. If you're new to the skincare/beauty world, you might wonder what this strange looking object is (I've been asked several times "What is that buzzing brush thing you use?"), but electronic brushes are getting pretty big in the skincare circles now, with Clarisonic leading the way. Clarisonic offer Sonic Cleansing brushes, which can be used with your existing cleanser to cleanser the skin more deeply whilst exfoliating the skin delicately. One word of warning - for the first few weeks of using a Clarisonic you may breakout. This is caused by all the nasties in your skin being pulled out to the surface as your skin gets properly deep-cleaned, but it means you shouldn't begin using a Clarisonic for the first time just before an important event!

Two years ago now I posted about my Clarisonic experience with the Clarisonic Mia. I LOVED IT. When I posted about it in 2012 I'd already loved that little brush for just under a year, and had seen huge improvements in my combination and sensitive skin: it was softer from the exfoliation, less red and irritated, and with less blemishes. The only thing I noted which disappointed me about the product was no visible change in pore appearance.

Enter Clarisonic's new Deep Pore Decongesting System, which is specifically marketed as a cleansing kit for enlarged pores. It includes the Clarisonic Mia 2 which is a two speed brush with an inbuilt timer that buzzes to remind you to move to the next section of your face, with the Deep Pore Brush Head designed to dislodge oil and debris that block pores. The kit also comes with a Deep Pore Daily Cleanser which is a light gel consistency and a (seriously lovely) Decongesting Clay Mask to use twice weekly. Oh, and of course the magnetic charger and a protective travel case (super handy). I use the Clarisonic Mia 2 with the cleanser once a day in the evenings, after a pre-cleanse with a hot cloth cleanser. It's amazing how much makeup you see on the brush-head even after you've already cleansed! My skin always feels completely fresh and free from makeup after using a Clarisonic, a feeling I can never achieve if I don't use it. I was a little worried that my sensitive skin would react badly to the Deep Pore Brush Head since I've always used the Sensitive Brush Head in the past, but I needn't have worried. Similarly with the Cleanser, I experienced no irritation or reactions. I've been using all the products in the kit for just over two weeks now and I can notice a visible difference in my skin. My skin was already much improved from using my original Clarisonic, but now my skin feels more deeply cleansed and with a slightly less visible pores. A Clarisonic is one of those products that I would replace immediately should it get lost or damaged - it's absolutely essential to my skincare routine and I'd recommend them to anyone with troubled skin.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The PERFECT Cleanser | Claudia Louch Chamomile Face Wash Review

You might have seen my post earlier on this month about a particularly posh new Mango Face Cream (read it here), which was my introduction to the brand which is Claudia Louch. They produce high quality, luxurious, almost entirely natural and very scientifically-backed skincare products for those with a higher budget or looking for a treat. I want to tell you about my most recent discovery from the brand - the Chamomile Face Wash, which, whilst pricey at £37.40, comes in what has got to be the biggest tube I've ever seen, with 240ml of product. It claims to harness chamomile; a natural anti-inflammatory, to nourish the skin, and uses red clover, elderflower and white willow bark extracts to gently clean and soothe the skin. As with all the Claudia Louch range, this face wash is free from harsh chemicals (it's 94% natural ingredients), which I always look for in skincare products for my sensitive skin, and it's also non-comedogenic which means it won't block your pores. The directions say to use twice a day, with no need for water, but I prefer to use it during my one cleanse at night, after a pre-cleanse with a hot cloth cleanser. I've found it's great to use with a Clarisonic (post coming soon on that!) as it's a slightly runny gel consistency. The scent is subtle and spa-like, and the product feels luxurious to use. Immediately after use my skin feels hydrated, not tight and nourished. After a week of continued use I noticed that my skin felt slightly softer, my blemishes were far less aggrivated and a red patch on my cheek that had been bothering me had dissapeared. I can't really say any bad things about this face wash - I think with this one Claudia Louch has made the perfect product for me!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Love Me Beauty Box Review | June

June Love Me Beauty Box * // £12.95 including P&P

Last month I tried my first Love Me Beauty Box (read the post here) and I really liked it - the subscription service offers you a choice of three menus, so you shouldn't be disappointed with your product selection. This month I went with Menu 1, which as usual came impeccably packaged in the cute pink paper and blue squiggly things! In this months box there weren't any 'lifestyle' products, which I guess I would have liked to see, and I was a little dissapointed that the Urban Veda Day Cream quoted on the menu as an RRP of £14.99 was actually a very small sample size. This may have been me just misunderstanding, but I feel the menu should have been more explicit that we wouldn't be receiving a product with an RRP of £14.99. However, the rest the box didn't disappoint. I was immediately excited about the NYX Nail Polish (RRP £3.00) as I've never tried anything from them before, and the colour is absolutely beautiful for summer. There's a Model Co. Shine Ultra Lipgloss in 'Fairy Floss' (RRP £12.00) which smells amazing (like sweets!) and is the perfect light pink shade. It's even got a little mirror on the side of the packaging, so this will be going straight in my handbag. Montagne Jeunesse provided a Brazillian Mud Fabric Facemask (RRP £1.00) which I loved (if you saw my last post you'll know how much of a facemask-fiend I am!). Fabric masks are always fun and this one was super cooling and left my skin feeling smooth and refreshed. The final product was a cute travel sized Eyeshadow Palette from Beauty UK in 'Earth Child' (RRP £3.99) which is probably more for the newbie to makeup as the shades are a little powdery, but it will be handy for travelling. All in all, a pretty nice box with a couple of stand out products.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Super Facialist by Una Brennan New Releases! | Anti Blemish Clay Mask & Face Scrub

Una Brennan Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Pore Purifying Clay Mask * // £8.99
Una Brennan Super Facialist Salicylic Adic Anti Blemish Purify & Refresh Face Scrub * // £8.99

I use facemasks A LOT. I mean, every other day kind of a lot. And Una Brennan's Super Facialist range is my favourite brand for facemasks. I'm a loyal user of the Tea Flower Clay Mask and the Rose Hydrate Moisture Mask which you can pick up from Boots. [Notice how I've shortened the ridiculously long product names here, a little pet hate of mine!]. The price for these chunky tubes of incredible product is incredible, and I find that they do amazing things for my skin. So I was super excited to try two new releases (available in Boots soon) from Una Brennan - both anti-blemish products with Salicylic Acid - a Clay Mask and a Face Scrub. I won't say much about the Face Scrub, as I wasn't overly wowed, but it's a lovely scrub to use perhaps once a week on more sensitive skins like mine, and gives a very fresh and smooth feeling. The real winner here for me was of course the Face Mask. It works in as little as five minutes, but I like to leave it on for twenty, and pulls all the nasties out of your pores to prevent blemishes and clogging and to leave a super smooth and non-oily canvas for makeup application. It calms active breakouts and prevents new ones from forming, without irritating my sensitive skin. This mask is definitely better at preventing break-outs than the popular Tea Flower one I mentioned, and it has earned the coveted title of my number one favourite face mask! I absolutely recommend you get your mitts on these products as soon as they hit the Boots shelves.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Macadamia Volumizing Dry Shampoo | Reivew

Sorry for my slight absence the last couple of days - I've just gone back to Uni to spend a couple of weeks with my housemates and friends now that exams are over! You can see what I'm up to over on my instagram. It's busy times like these that dry shampoo is really useful (smooth transition there). I've used the Batiste ones for years now, so I was excited to mix it up a bit with this Volumizing Dry Shampoo from Macadamia. At £16.50 it's far more expensive than the Batiste bottles which you can pick up for around £3.99, so I was expecting quite a lot. The packaging is really pretty, with a good spray nozzle. The product comes out as what I think feels like a liquid as it's a little wet on your hair at first, which I was not expecting. It's meant to absorb excess oil and refresh hair, but also add volume and give texture to the hair. Honestly, the refreshing aspect it doesn't do too well on: After a few hours my hair looked just as greasy as before. However, it does give the hair a good texture to work with for styling and definitely boosts volume. It's more like a hairspray come sea-salt spray than a dry shampoo to me. It's nice, but I'm not wowed.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders | The Low Down

Let me introduce the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. There's a lot of hype and a lot of confusion about these intriguing products, and I want to hopefully smooth some of that confusion out and introduce you to these incredible powders. These powders have become a staple in my makeup collection and are currently probably my favourite products I own, which is saying something! I think much of the confusion with these is that no-one really understands what they are, since they have no one purpose. Hourglass describes them as 'Universal Finishing Powders' but in actuality, you can use them on any point of the face, or indeed as a finishing powder.  Each powder is meant to give the illusion of a different light source illuminating your face, like you're constantly in your own custom photography studio. It's hard to describe the difference these powders actually make to my makeup - they create a subtle glow, blur pores and blemishes and give an amazing radiance. Basically, the trick with these powders is to experiment with the shades and see how they best work for you. At the moment I like to use 'Diffused Light', (which is a warm pale yellow powder to counteract redness) as a finishing powder lightly dusted all over my face, 'Luminous Light' as an under-eye setting powder, 'Dim Light' from the palette over the high points of my face, and 'Incandescent Light' from the palette as a stronger highlight applied very lightly. There are a total of seven different powders (two are repeated in the palette), as well as six Ambient Lighting Blushes which each contain one of the Ambient Lighting Powders marbled into a blush colour (these are also incredible). On my combination skin, these powders sit absolutely fine, and don't make my skin any oilier throughout the day. They photograph absolutely beautifully on the skin and just give the most amazing luminosity without looking at all shimmery. One word of warning - they can smash very easily, so don't travel with these unless you've nestled them up in some clothes or something safe! Seriously though, these powders have really impressed me and I would recommend them to everyone.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Updated MAC Neutral Eyeshadow Palette

I've had a couple of requests to do an updated MAC palette post after posting a photo up on Instagram, so here it is! [The old post is here and contains swatches]. This is my neutral eyeshadow palette - I've not put an insert in this one as I like to have enough room for all my neutral shadows in one place. I've got another half-filled palette which stores my more colourful and less used shadows, so let me know if you'd like to see that one. I've tried to show the shades as true-to-colour as possible so you can really get an idea of which shades might suit you. I think I've got a good range of highlight, base, crease and dark shades, but of course, a MAC collection is never finished! Every shadow is very wearable for me, but my most used shades at the moment are Omega (the perfect shade for lighter brows), All That Glitters accross the lid, Charcoal Brown and Quarry are both lovely crease shades, and Handwritten which is a 'matte2' or 'matte squared' formula so it's incredibly pigmented and creamy. There's a little space in this palette which is just begging to be filled, so if you've done a post on your MAC eyeshadow palette, please link it down below so I can have a browse :)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Claudia Louch Hydrating Mango Face Cream | Review

Claudia Louch Skincare is the range of products from Claudia Louch's Harley Street Skincare Clinic. Based on Phytomedical science and cutting edge drug discovery, the products offered by Claudia Louch are meant to be the highest quality products with natural formulas that are suitable for even the most sensitive skin. I've been trialling the Hydrating Mango Face Cream, a daily moisturiser which is meant to help with dryness, itchiness, skin damage, lines and wrinkles. It's hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (doesn't block pores), so everything sounds pretty perfect on paper. First off, I have never seen such swish packaging for a daily moisturiser! The bottle looks stunning to display and the pump dispenses a good amount of product. This cream is technically recommended for normal to dry skin, and whilst mine is combination, I thought I'd give it a go, especially as I have some pesky dry patches. The consistency is quite thick, with a subtle mango fragrance. It smooths on easily and isn't greasy-feeling, which I often find to be an issue with moisturisers claiming to banish very dry skin. After a week I found that my dry patches had been kept at bay and my sensitive skin felt generally calm and not at all irritated. To get a better idea of what this (pricey) product can do, my Mum tested it for a couple of weeks. Her feedback: The cream did a wonderful job of getting rid of her pesky dry patches, and did so without causing greasy or oily skin. It also did not cause any spots and she loved that it's not overally perfumed. It was too soon too tell if the claims of banishing fine lines were true, but she did say that her skin was perhaps a little more plump and noticeably softer. All in all, it's an expensive product, but it's lovely.