Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Benefit's 'How To Look The Best At Everything'

This is just going to be a quick one, as its been sat in my 'To review' folder for a while now and I just really want to get it out there! Although I love buying individual products and creating my own makeup 'style', the inner lazy girl in me cannot resist a complete kit of essentials and an idiot-proof instruction manual to go with it. How To Look The Best At Everything* is one of the newest beauty kits from Benefit, and contains everything you need to maintain a flawless complexion.

Packaged as an old-fashioned how-to book, the kit comes in three different shades - light, medium and dark. I was given the medium, therefore some of the shades are a tad too dark, so i'm not going to an in-depth review on the products themselves - just a general overview:

The kit contains the following products:
  •  The POREfessional - Primer
  • Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow - Liquid Foundation
  • Boi-ing x2 (A lighter and then slightly darker shade) - Concealer
  • "Hello Flawless!" - Powder
This is such a great little kit, containing both full-sized and travel products. As i've said before, I really enjoy being basically spoon-fed products that guarantee results (Not too much to ask, right?), and this collection of products is everything you need. I wear POREfessional practically every day, even when i'm not wearing makeup at all. I love that Boi-ing is described as 'industrial strength' concealer, as it easily conceals under-eye shadows or any blemishes with ease without creasing. I enjoy the light coverage of the liquid foundation, and the complimenting powder really does make your skin look flawless and healthy. The only fault I have with this kit is the quality of the powder brush as I have found it doesn't distribute powder very evenly and I find that because it's flat its very fiddly to use. However, due to size constraints, it's understandable and overall a really handy kit .

Be sure to get matched for your individual Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow shade, as each of these kits comes with one specific shade (The foundation actually comes in 9 shades!), and I would hate for you to be disappointed. For £24.50 you can get your hands on four of Benefit's most popular products, achieving a flawless complexion with ease, using the 'Tips and Tricks' fold-out instruction booklet on the inside of the box. Enjoy!

You can purchase 'How To Look The Best At Everything' at your local Benefit counter for £24.50, or online here.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set

The first step to a flawless face of makeup is a great base. I absolutely love wearing liquid foundation and concealer has become quite a good friend to me recently, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the Core Collection brush set from Real Techniques*.

Made up of four brushes specifically designed to achieve a beautiful base, this collection has become a cult favourite amongst beauty bloggers. With luxuriously soft taklon bristles and a light aluminum body, each brush is full-sized and come in a travel case that doubles as a stand. Each brush has its name printed on the side for easy recognition, and what I find particularly satisfying is that the bristles used are 100% cruelty-free.
Although I am now well educated in the art of makeup application, I do enjoy the ease of being given a kit with everything you will need to achieve a particular look. No fuss, no "oh, I forgot this brush!", which is perfect when I don't have a lot of time to be searching around for the right brush in the morning. Here's a bit more explanation about what brushes feature in the 'Core Collection' kit:

1. Contour brush. This is the brush that I have used the least out of the four, not because it's of bad quality, but mostly because I don't do a lot of contouring. However, i'm not a big fan of the shape as I prefer the ease of angled brushes. However, the softness of the bristles and the roundness (I wish there was a better way of describing!) makes it extremely easy to blend.
2. Powder/Buffing brush. This brush helps achieve amazingly even coverage. The width of the brush fits onto my powder compact perfectly, meaning that I simply have to tap the flat end of the brush lightly into the powder, and the bristles retain plenty of product and distribute it evenly.
3. Foundation brush. I was hesitant about using this brush at first as it was so small, but I seriously underestimated it. It distributes an incredible amount of product - a single dab is enough to cover at least a third of my face. The high-quality bristles ensure that no product is lost by getting clogged up in the brush, and the pointed end of the brush enables it to double as a concealer brush for delicate areas, such as underneath the eyes.
4. Concealer brush. This is a great little brush for covering spots and blemishes, although it is extremely tiny. I use this to conceal any redness on the nose and chin, along with applying plenty of concealer under my eyes. I would say its not the greatest brush to conceal dark circles purely because of the size, but it certainly can do the job.

Overall, the quality of this brush set is fantastic, along with each being light in weight and at an incredible price of £21.99. Each brush averages at around £10-£12, and as these brushes are full-sized you get an amazing saving - which is always a bonus!
This set is great for beginners, and the Core Collection official website has an easy-to-follow tutorial showing you how to use each brush correctly. I'm extremely impressed, and these are now my everyday brushes. Achieving a great base has never been easier!

You can purchase the Real Techniques Core Collection brush set for £21.99 at your local Boots or online here.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

My Essential Volumising Hair Products

I've been going on about tackling fine hair recently, writing in-depth reviews on individual products. However, how many of these have remained a favourite of mine after I hit the 'publish' button?
Here is a compilation of my favourite products that I use on a daily basis to give my hair that much needed volume boost:

(1) Percy & Reed Abundantly Bouncy Volumising Mousse - Percy & Reed, £12
This is one of my favourite volumising mousses due its weightless feel. The lift isn't as drastic as others, but it achieves a substantial amount without leaving your hands feeling sticky or your hair feeling heavy. It's the mousse I use the most regularly, as it leaves my hair feeling versatile and lighter than air for when i'm rushing to lectures every day.

(2) Charles Worthington Front Row Rough and Tousled Sea Salt Spray - Boots, £5.49
This is the perfect product for when you want to add effortless texture to a polished style. With a few sprays, a light mist quickly brings out your natural waves and adds a bit of depth to fine, limp hair. I like to tip my hair upside down, spray salt spray into the roots and rough my hair up a little after I curl or straighten it - it gives it that tousled 'bed head' look.

(3) Batiste Dry Shampoo Big and Bouncy XXL Volume - Boots, £2.99
I don't know of a single girl who hasn't tried, or at least heard of, Batiste dry shampoo. However, this combination of dry shampoo and volumising spray makes this an essential product for me. Usually my roots and the shorter hair that frames my face gets greasy quite easily, due to being constantly touched and swept to the sides, therefore this shampoo is perfect for keeping my hair looking 'fresh-out-the-shower' clean as well as give it the lift it so desperately needs. I usually keep this can in my bag for whenever my hair falls a bit flat during the day.

(4) L'Oreal Professional Tecni Art Full Volume Volumising Mousse - Boots, £10.50 (250ml)
Being one of the strongest holding volumising mousses I own, there's no surprise that this was a stylists favourite at Fashion Week. Although it took me a few tries to get the amount I needed right before it made my fine hair heavy, I loved just how huge it made my hair look after blow drying. I use this mousse in wet hair before a night out, when I want extra lift that lasts until the lights come on.

(5) Roots Hair Treatment - Lush, £9.95
This is one of the most irritating but most effective volumising hair treatments I have come across. Its instructed to be worked into your scalp for 20 minutes which essentially activates the treatment, which as you'd understand can be quite annoying. However, the end result leaves my fine hair feeling heavier (but not unmanageable) and gives my roots the boost they would have if my hair was naturally thick. I use this pre-shower treatment as part of my preparation for a night out, helping my flat roots lift up ready for even more volume with the addition of a mousse!

(6) Big Sea Salt Shampoo - Lush, £11.25
Out of all of the products mentioned, this is by far the favourite. It's packed with sea salt, has the consistency of sleet and lathers like you wouldn't imagine. After the advised two shampoos my hair feels well nourished, extremely soft and my hair resembled an untamed lions mane. I achieve all-over lift that lasts all day, along with the adopting the lingering scent of mandarin and vanilla. I've attached the link to a full review of this product - I won't bother repeating myself with how much I love this product!

So there you have it, my favourite volumising hair products. What are yours?

Friday, 11 January 2013

The Body Shop's 'Honey & Oat 3-In-1 Scrub Mask'

I must say, i've been really excited about writing this review. Anything with honey as a key ingredient in it gets an immediate thumbs up from me, as it's so relaxing and really works wonders on my skin.
I received The Body Shop's Honey & Oat 3-In-1 Scrub Mask as part of a gift set from my friends mother to say thank-you for house-sitting whilst they were away (Very generous!) - so here it is!

I've never really trusted multi-use products, as i've always felt that being a 'jack of all trades' has never been as effective as being an expert in one area, so I will admit I was slightly hesitant as to whether this scrub would deliver results in cleansing, polishing and moisturising as it promises. It uses Fair Trade honey, along with soft oats that enable the scrub to gently buff away dead skin cells, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

On first application, I was shocked at just how soft the scrub was. Usually large grains put me off of scrubs because I don't find the application enjoyable, but even the application of this product soothed me! It's very thick and luxurious, however its very easy to distribute and you only need a small amount of product to cover your entire face and neck. It is advised to leave on for 5-10 minutes, but I always feel you should leave it on for the maximum amount of time in order to achieve maximum results. When having a browse on other reviews for this product, it came to no surprise to find that this was infact a Body Shop best seller! It's amazingly gentle, smells gorgeous and if you apply whilst relaxing in the bath it almost feels like your receiving a luxurious spa treatment!

Overall, this has got to me my favourite scrub mask and most definitely my favourite Body Shop product, and all for a reasonable £10. I would definitely recommend this for someone who wants the perks of a scrub without the harshness of rough grains. It's a no-brainer for beauty lovers with sensitive skin!

You can purchase The Body Shop's 'Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask' from your local Body Shop or online here.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Essie's 'A List'

Happy 2013 everyone!

I haven't made any formal resolutions this year, only to ensure that I don't put this blog on the back-burner like I have done for the last part of 2012. Throughout my time at University, this has been the one thing that has essentially kept me sane and reminded me of why I put myself through the stress that I do. Now, that's enough with the sentimental stuff!

Essie* have been a brand that I have been meaning to try for a long time. Being a bright and matte obsessive, usually it's Barry M that immediately catches my attention. But as more and more people have jumped on the burgendy bandwagon, I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to try another brand - so here is Essie's A List*.

As you can see, it's a gorgeously deep burgundy/red that is perfect to depict to depict the warmth of the holiday season. Comparing the product in the bottle to the nail it matches perfectly, ensuring there wouldn't be the nasty surprise of a different colour on your nail to what you first thought.
I applied two very thin coats, and the colour covered perfectly and didn't chip for at least a week after application.

I can officially say i've been converted to Essie polishes, due to their excellent quality and choice of colours. For £7.99 these are polishes that I will buy sparingly, but in comparison to Nails Inc polishes that are approx £10, the quality is exactly the same in my opinion.

Glossy, pigmented and glides effortlessly onto the nail, 'A List'* has been my go-to colour this holiday and I can't wait to try out more colours in Essie's product range! Hope you had an excellent Christmas and New Year!

You can purchase Essie's 'A List' amoungst other colours from your local Boots, or online here.