Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mary Kay Mint Bliss Energising Lotion


Let's face it, when it comes to feeling refreshed and revived there's only one ingredient that stands out from the crowd - mint. Mint oil on the back of your neck in the blazing sun, mint tea before a swift siesta and a mint-infused balm to soothe and soften your lips. For me, nothing else cuts it.

That's why I had to get a sample of the new Mary Kay Mint Bliss Energising Lotion for Feet and Legs. Not only was I dying to experience the cooling sensation of the lotion after my evening shower, but also I was really intrigued about the product's specific focus on the legs and feet.


Starting with the product's packaging, I love how Mary Kay has stayed true to the mint green theme all the way through, from the box, to the slightly ombre squeezy dispenser, and then to the lotion itself (which is tinted). Mint green is one of the hot colours of the summer season for fashion and beauty, so this was a clever move by Mary Kay.


Moving onto the lotion itself, it smells just as minty as you would expect it to. I was really pleased with this, as all too often products emphasise a single ingredient like lavender, rose or lemon and don't follow through when it comes to fragrance.

The texture of the lotion is light and it absorbs fairly easily, making it perfect for slapping it on after a much-needed shower or even after an evening session at the gym. However, the real star feature of the Mint Bliss Energising Lotion is the post-application sensation.

I'll admit it, when I first lathered it onto my legs I was a little disappointed - I was expecting nothing less than feeling like I had stepped into a human fridge. But I was wrong - after a few seconds, I felt like an ice queen on the lower half of my body, but in a good way. It would be amazing to take this lotion on holiday after hours of sunbathing (with SPF of course) to give my skin an instant shot of cool.

I would say it's the ultimate holiday indulgence, but it's only £8 for 88ml. What a bargain!

What do you think of mint products? xxx

*This post contains a PR sample, but all thoughts are my own

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Five questions to ask yourself before investing in skin care


Out of everyone I know, I am the first person to admit I find it hard to commit to beauty products. Like many beauty lovers, all it takes is a trip out to Debenhams or a browse of the blogs to convince me there are better products out there than what I have. Having said that, from listening to experts and seeing my bank balance every month, I have decided to change my ways when it comes to skin care.

From now on, I plan to stick with brands backed by science and robust results. You can do it too; all you have to do is ask yourselves the following five questions before you buy a new cleanser, toner, moisturiser, exfoliator or serum.

Can you afford to buy the products more than once?
After reading the latest glossy consumer mag, you might find yourself completely bowled over by the latest cleanser on the market, as it promises to deliver better results than anything else on the shelves. Because the company behind the product claims using the regimen will reduce fine lines by 70% and enhance hydration and elasticity by 80%, you might not mind paying above the average price for it. However, as tempting as it may be to indulge in an on-trend cult beauty range that promises the world, and may well be able to deliver it for some, you will never see the full impact of the product unless you use it for at least a few weeks, and in some cases a few months. Ask yourself this: can you really afford to invest in the products more than once? If the range costs £80 but your whole beauty budget is £100, you might not be able to keep paying for it on a monthly basis, meaning you won't experience the full potential of what your first purchase began to offer. One to bear in mind for those who use high-end products.

Should you focus more of your attention on lifestyle factors first?
Why spend so much money on a high-tech skin care range when you haven't tried the basics first? First of all, for those of you who have oily skin, experts state that pores become larger and more visible when your skin is dehydrated, meaning you need more water. Drink a few more glasses a day for a while and see if you notice a change before spending big money on gizmos and goodies. Second, nutrition plays a huge role in skin health, so you need to make sure your diet includes all the right vitamins and proteins to maintain skin tone and elasticity. Finally, are you getting enough hours in the land of nod? It's called beauty sleep for a reason - your skin will need as much time as possible to repair itself.  

Is it made for your skin type?
Although your favourite brand has launched a new cleanser, toner and moisturiser, the range has a strong fragrance and you have sensitive skin. If you know the product isn't right for your skin type, you will be throwing your money down the drain if you buy it. Nowadays pretty much every skin care product is made with certain characteristics in mind, whether it be oil-free, vegan, free of parabens, moisturising or hydrating. If in doubt, do a bit more research before making an investment or try to grab a sample before paying the full whack.

What evidence is there to prove it works?
Every skin care product makes bold claims, but not all companies will be able to offer consumers evidence to validate them. Almost every serum or moisturiser will claim that it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and the majority of cleansers will state they prevent breakouts and calm the complexion, but how can consumers really tell which range is worth investing in? A quick visit to the company's website should tell you a lot about the products and their development. For example, Clarins has a dedicated section to research and development, as does L'Oreal.

Is it a fad, or is it fab?
The weekly go-to site for beauty addicts might tell you that the new amazing day cream from Nivea with snake skin and sand is the next big thing to hit the industry, but how much do we really know about these ingredients? Without seeing proof of the product working, maybe it would be best to stick to ingredients such as peptides and hydroxy acids, which have been proven to work by several manufacturers. Fads don't last long; you don't want to spend all your money on the next best thing since sliced bread if the most perfect product has been under your nose all along.

What questions would you add? xxx

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beauty Looks A-Z: Jelly

Jelly and ice cream, peanut butter & jelly and jelly beans - they are all delicious, summery and fun. But the jelly goodness doesn't stop at desserts and sweets - it has influenced the world of beauty and put a smile on hundreds and thousands of women's faces.

As it has been one of those sit in the garden and have an ice lolly days today, I thought I would go for a Jelly theme for my J post in my Beauty Looks A-Z series. 

'I don't think you're ready for this jelly'

And just so you don't miss any of the series, I have linked the previous posts at the end.

Here's my edit of jelly beauty buys:
Philosophy Pink Watermelon Jelly Bean Shower Gel (480ml, £9.29)
Astalift Jelly Aquarysta (15g, £26)
Dior Addict Jelly Lip Pen Colour & Shine Jelly (£19)
L'Occitane Rose Aurore Shower Jelly (250ml, £13)
LUSH Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly (100g, £3.10)
Butter London Twee Jelly Nail Lacquer (£12)
Royal Jelly & Pure Honey Foam Bath (400ml, £3.99)
Benefit Lust Duster Eye Shadow (£14)
Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly (£1.99)
Essie Nail Polish in Jam N' Jelly (£7.99)
Institut Esthederm Self-Tanning Body Jelly - Intense Tan (150ml, £32.50)

What do you think of this week's beauty look? xxx


Previous posts in Beauty Looks A-Z:
A for Atomic
B for Burlesque
C for Caribbean
D for Dynamite
F for Fantasia
G for Gatsby
H for Halo
I for Indigo

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Beauty Steal #10


I've been on a bit of a beauty mission for the last few months to find the perfect coloured liquid eyeliner. Aside from those in LUSH's Emotional Brilliance range, I can never seem to find any bright colours to play with. All I see on the shelves are the usual suspects - black, navy, silver, green and gold.

But then I stumbled across Max Factor's Max Effect Dip-In Eye Shadow in Ultra Violet for an amazing £1.49 at Direct Cosmetics.

What is it?
Max Factor's Max Effect Dip-In Eye Shadow is essentially a long-lasting shadow/liner with high pearl and colour pigments. It does what it says on the lilac tin - you dip it in and sweep it on. Other colours for £1.49 aside from Ultra Violet are Moody Blue (sky blue) and Party Lime (lively light green).

What do I like about it?
You don't see a light purple shadow/liner like this every day - so it's refreshing to see Max Factor (which is becoming one of my favourite highstreet beauty brands for lips and eyes) bring colours like this to market. Also, the fact that it's a product that could be used as either a shadow or a liner is a big draw in itself - it means you can create different looks using one product, going from full-on colour to a funky cat eye.

Why is it a steal?
I would say that Max Factor is a high-quality brand (hello color elixir lipsticks!), so to find a beautiful coloured eyeliner like this for less than two packs of polos is a real bargain. The Dip-In Eyeshadow is all about simplicity, using one block colour and adopting several application styles. And if what they say about colours enhancing your mood is true, you're in for a real sweet treat with Ultra Violet.

You can buy the Max Factor Max Effect Dip-In Eyeshadow here.

Do you like this week's beauty steal? xxx

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit EDT & Beautifying Oil


Whenever I have breakfast in a hotel or browse the supermarket fruit juice selection, I'm always drawn to pink grapefruit juice. But the truth is, I don't like it. I've tried so hard to train my taste buds to convert to its bitter taste, but it just won't work.

But it wasn't until I sniffed the new selection of The Body Shop's EDTs that I realised why I am so interested in the fruit - I just love the smell.

It was like one of those eureka moments, but with a fragrance. I'd tried and tested the Satsuma EDT, which was far too sweet; the Brazil Nut EDT, which didn't quite match my taste; and the Shea Butter EDT, which was frankly a little bit strange. And then Pink Grapefruit came along and instantly made the grade.

Pink Grapefruit EDT
The thing I love most about the Pink Grapefruit EDT is how much it smells like the actual fruit. As much as I adore the scent of the Strawberry range (childhood memories much?), it has a sweeter smell than strawberries do themselves. The same goes for the Satsuma range, which smells as if 100 spoons of sugar have been mixed with it.

The only down side about the EDT in particular is its staying power - if you applied it in the morning before leaving for work, you would have to spritz yourself with it another two or three times throughout the day to keep the scent alive. But given that the smell of pink grapefruit is invigorating and fresh, I actually like the idea of reapplying at my desk to awaken my senses.

The EDT only costs £8.50 for 100ml, which is a total bargain. You could treat yourself to at least three from the range and it would match the price of a high-end product. Variety rules!

Pink Grapefruit Beautifying Oil
I love that the Pink Grapefruit Beautifying Oil is a dry oil and doesn't leave my face, body or hair feeling greasy. Also, unlike other oils, this one doesn't leave too much of a shine but leaves the skin soft and smelling great.

It's made with a lightweight blend of nut oils, including marula oil (which is one of the ingredients in Clarins' Pure Melt Gel Cleanser).

 At £9 for 100ml, it's a multipurpose beauty bargain.

What do you think of The Body Shop EDTs and oils? xxx

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FOTD: Look Into My Ivy Eyes




Skin Care
Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Gel Cleanser
La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50+ Extreme Fluid
La Roche-Posay Effaclar H
DHC Pore Essence
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer

Face
Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer
Benefit Fake-Up Concealer
Guerlain Parure De Lumiere Cream Foundation
Benefit Hello Flawless! SPF15 Foundation Powder
NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna
Givenchy Le Prisme Blush

Eyes
MAC Super Slick Liquid Eyeliner in Treat Me Nice
Guerlain Noir G Mascara

Lips
Vaseline Limited Edition Pink Bubbly

What do you think of my FOTD? xxx

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil


After the epic fail that was Moroccanoil hair oil treatment, I totally lost interest in finding a post-conditioner product to nourish and repair my straw-like tresses. 

But whereas 'm' would usually stand for 'meh' when it comes to hair oils, it now stands for 'marvel' thanks to my new go-to hero hair product - L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil.

I didn't know anything about this product until I called upon the trusty bblogger community to spill all about the best and the worst oils out there. I wanted to know what I was missing out on, and the responses all pointed in the direction of the mysterious Mythic Oil. 

I was lucky enough to receive a sample from online professional hair retailer Fabriah and I haven't looked back since. 


Mythic Oil is a 'nourishing oil suitable for all hair types'. It is infused with a blend of grapeseed oil, which is ultra moisturising and full of antioxidants, and avacado oil, which is softening and great for a hot deep conditioning treatment.

In terms of application, as you can see above, it comes with a pump dispenser. I really like that the pump nozzle is designed so that you don't overuse the product, which is easy to do with hair oils that just have a screw cap. This makes sure you save money on buying another bottle too soon, and also stops your hair getting too greasy after washing it.


The oil itself is clear and light in texture. You only have to use 1-2 pumps per application, so the 125ml bottle will last ages, but this really depends on your hair. As I have thick hair, I tend to use 3 pumps sometimes, just to make sure all of the ends are covered and see the nourishing effects of the oil.

It smells gorgeous and reminds me of being at the hairdressers, which gives it a luxurious and professional edge. It's safe to say I'm in love.

What do you think of this hair oil? xxx

*This post contains a free sample. All views are my own

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beauty Looks A-Z: Indigo


For quite some time, purple has been one of my favourite colours, and I love using different shades to create a colourful smoky eye look. 

Wearing mauve eyeshadow or lipstick for a Summer night out can be stunning, so for this week's beauty look I thought I would go for Indigo.

Here's the products in my edit of purple pretties:
Thierry Mugler Alien Refillable Eau De Parfum (60ml, £50)
Rimmel Salon Pro in Purple Rain (£4.49)
FashionistA Mono Eyeshadow in Flamboyant (£4)
GOSH Quattro Eyeshadow in Tempting Purple (£7.99)
YSL Marrakesh Sunset Palette (£42)
Beyonce Midnight Heat (100ml, £39)
Max Factor Colour Effects Nail Polish in Purple Haze (£3.99)
Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color in Cherry Pink (£19)
Essie Nail Polish in Sexy Divide (£7.99)
Laura Mercier Folklore Collection Lip Crayon in Burnt Clay (£16.50)
Lancome Hypnose Drama Eyes Palette in Bain de Minuit (£37)
LOOK Triple Hit Trio Eyeshadow in Party Fever (£7.50)

What do you think of this week's beauty look? xxx
 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Liebster Award #2


Thank you so much to the FIVE fab bloggers who nominated me for a Liebster award! This is my second Liebster award blog post and I'm excited to answer all your fun beauty and style questions and set some of my own.

First of all, here's the links of the lovely ladies' blogs for you to check out:
Kirsty at Pretty Bug

Now for the rules:
Post 11 facts about you
Answer the questions set for you 
Choose 11 new bloggers to tag, leave their links and comment on their page to let them know they have been tagged
Set 11 new questions for your 11 bloggers to answer 

Facts about me
1. I don't really have a sweet tooth - I'd much rather have a bag of salted peanuts or a sausage roll than a bar of Dairy Milk
2. I wish I was a 80s kid - I love neon, funky make-up and legwarmers
3. I'm a sucker for trashy TV and have spent many lazy afternoons watching MTV reality shows back to back
4. It upsets me that I've never used a fax machine - I feel like I've missed out on something!
5. I love peanut butter on toast
6. I already have grey hairs - NOT happy!
7. I'd love to have gorgeous red hair
8. I once broke a window when I was little by throwing a snowball at it (it had a stone in it and I didn't know!)
9. Concealer is an absolute must for showing my face outside of the house! Currently loving Bourjois' Healthy Mix concealer
10. I have a ridic expensive gym membership, which I have neglected for far too long
11. I like carrot juice (weird but actually nice)

Answers to Nyss' questions
1. How long have you been blogging for and why did you start?
Only been blogging for just over 5 months and I started because I love writing about beauty and have wanted to have a blog about something for ages!

2. What is on the top of your beauty product wish list?
At the moment, I'm really lusting over some of the Revlon lip butters, like wild watermelon and juicy papaya, and also the latest MAC collections!

3. What would you do if you won the lottery?
I'm the most irrational person ever, so I'd go out and have a massive splurge, buy a house and then think about what to do with the rest of the money after.

4. Do you wear makeup every day?
If I'm going outside, I will do. I'm quite conscious of my skin so I like to cover it up so I can feel more confident.

5. Is there one product you wouldn't live without and think everybody should try?
I have fallen in love with La Roche-Posay's Thermal Spring Water - everyone should try that post cleansing because it's lovely.

6. What is your favourite type of blog post to read?
I absolutely love haul posts! 

7. What is the most you have ever spent on a beauty product and what was it?
The most expensive one I can think of is a Tom Ford Neroli Portofino shower gel for £40 (ouch!). But I'm pretty sure I've spent around £50 on something else - just can't remember what it is!

8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Probably New York :)

9. Do you prefer Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
Definitely Summer - everything just feels better when it's nice outside!

10. What are you most looking forward to this year?
Going to Wireless Festival and hopefully getting my first job in beauty journalism.

11. Do you have a guilty pleasure? If so, what is it?
Watching trashy TV is my escape - I watch everything from The Valleys to the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Answers to Sarah's questions
1. What is your favourite beauty brand?
If we are talking make-up, it's a toss up between Benefit and Guerlain. For skin care, I love La Roche-Posay, Caudalie and Dr Hauschka.

2. What is your favourite type of chocolate/sweets?
When it comes to chocolate, I like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups more than anything. I also love pick and mix sweets like fizzy cola bottles and milk bottles.

3. Do you collect anything?
I'm definitely building up a lipstick collection! Never enough :)

4. What is your biggest fear?
Being trapped somewhere with thousands of wasps sounds pretty damn scary to me.

5. Where would you like to be in ten years time?
I would love to be a beauty editor with a nice flat and enough money to have getaways every so often. Sounds like the dream to me!

6. Name one staple item in your wardrobe
I love my electric blue blazer - brightens up any outfit!

7. Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
For blogging, I defo prefer Twitter as there is a big community of bbloggers on there.

8. Are you a cat or a dog lover?
Both equally - only if they are cute :)

9. What's the most annoying thing a person can do with beauty?
Definitely wear a foundation shade that is too dark! It's not a good look

10. How long have you been blogging?
Only just over 5 months - feels like years though! I love it

11. Do you prefer flats or heels?
I would say heels as I feel more confident in them. But saying that, they hurt like a bizatch!

Answers to Emma's questions
1. If you had to give up mascara or lipgloss, which would you choose?
Definitely lipgloss - there are so many lip balms that double up as glosses these days, so I could get around that :)

2. What is your worst make-up mishap?
I used to wear bright purple mascara when I was a teenager!

3. Who is your beauty inspiration?
I love Dita Von Teese and Nicola Roberts - think they have porcelain skin and amazing taste in looks for lips and cheeks.

4. What's your favourite meal?
Can't beat a chinese! Love it.

5. Would you rather give up chocolate or crisps?
Definitely chocolate - I rarely crave something sweet and prefer salty snacks.

6. What is your favourite beauty brand?
I think if we are talking make-up, it's Benefit or Guerlain. For skin care, it's La Roche-Posay and Skinceuticals.

7. What is the reason behind your blog name?
Completely random. I wanted each post to be like a 'shot' of beauty inspiration.

8. Who is your celebrity crush?
Ryan Gosling.

9. If you were on a desert island and could only have one outfit and one beauty product, what would they be?
I'd wear harem pants with a vest top and statement necklace, and SPF!

10. What's your favourite animal?
Hmmm I like penguins and snow leopards!

11. What is the best thing about blogging?
The beauty banter and the twitter chats! So much fun :)

Answers to Kirsty's questions
1. What is your favourite item of clothing?
I love my electric blue blazer - makes every outfit pop!

2. If you had to recommend just one makeup item, what would it be?
Definitely concealer - it makes my skin look so much better.

3. High heels or flats?
Heels because of confidence, but flats for comfort!

4. Sweet or savoury?
Definitely savoury - I am rarely in the mood for chocolate (which everyone thinks is weird!)

5. What do you think is your best feature?
My eyes/hair.

6. Where has your best holiday been?
I love Italy - the food, weather and culture is so nice.

7. Have you got any hobbies other than blogging?
I really like going to British Film Institute screenings and previews. Also love going to modern art exhibitions in London when I can.

8. Bath or shower?
Tough one! I think I am gonna say shower because it means I can use all my gels and polishes at one time. Love stocking up on shower products a bit too much!

9. What is your favourite film?
Requiem for a dream.

10. Tea or coffee?
Tea, unless it's a Starbucks caramel latte.

11. What is your top beauty tip?
Exfoliate just once a week, or it could damage your skin and/or cause it to become more oily.

Answers to Stacey's questions
1. What one make-up product couldn't you be without?
Concealer! I wear it every day without fail to cover up my imperfections and brighen up the skin around my eyes.

2. Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Ryan Gosling!

3. What is your favourite book?
I really like the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books.

4. What is your favourite scent?
At the moment, it's Guerlain's Le Petite Robe Noire.

5. What is your dream job?
Beauty editor for a women's magazine.

6. Is there one product you bought because of the hype and regret buying it?
Think I was a little disappointed with the Nails Inc leather effect polishes. Felt really dry on the nail and chipped easily.

7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Brazil! I would absolutely love to go to South America.

8. What is your favourite season?
Definitely Summer. Everything looks and feels better with the sunshine.

9. Big night out, or quiet night in?
I am partial to a quiet night in these days (#old)

10. What is your favourite nail polish colour?
Think it's got to be red. It's a classic.

11. What is your favourite highstreet make-up brand?
Bourjois I think - all the products are high-quality and I love the colour selection.

My questions
1. What's the worst beauty product you ever bought?
2. What's your skin care regime?
3. Have you coloured your hair?
4. Would you shave your head for charity?
5. Who's your role model?
6. What's your favourite shower product?
7. What's your favourite product for relaxation?
8. Bath or shower?
9. What's your dream job?
10. What would your superhero power be?
11. What's your favourite lipstick?

The bloggers I am tagging 
1. Sarah Elizabeth at Beauty Super Girl
2. Louise at Lou Loves Beauty
3. Hayley at Tea Party Beauty
4. Sophie at With Love From Sophie
5. Samantha & Ashley at Our Little Beauty Haven
6. Katie at A Little South
7. Callie at Cllrs
8. Rara at Rara Giggles
9. Faith at Faithful Loves
10. Annie at Drugstore Dreamer
11. Jade at Beads of Jade

Thanks for reading! xxx

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Beauty Steal #9


While the weather is in limbo between Spring and Summer, I'm on the hunt for lipsticks that remind me of one of my favourite fruits - raspberry. That's why I was thrilled to find Calvin Klein's Delicious Truth Lipstick in Contrast for a bargain price of £1.99 at Fragrance Direct.

What is it?
Calvin Klein Delicious Lipstick comes in three shades: Retro (cool red), Illusion (light pink) and Contrast (raspberry). It is velvety in texture, long-lasting and moisturising. Lips are left supple and shiny, making Contrast part gloss and part lipstick.

What do I like about it?
It goes without saying that I love the colour of the lipstick - it would suit several skin tones and is perfect for day and night wear. I also love the simple, sophisticated black packaging and size of the lipstick. Application is easy and you get a moisturising shot of colour.

Why is it a steal?
When it comes to high-quality products from top brands, you can't beat browsing the pages of Fragrance Direct. You save a whopping £13, which leaves you with loads of cash to stock up on Essie nail polishes and mono eyeshadows. And, let's be honest, this is one of those lipstick shades that will become a permanent fixture in your make-up routine.

You can buy Calvin Klein's Delicious Truth Lipstick here.

What do you think of this week's beauty steal? xxx

Friday, May 17, 2013

Street Beauty #1 Geometric Pastel


'Excuse me,' I said. 'I know this is weird, but can I take a picture of your nails?'

That's how I got my first street beauty snap. 

I just loved the way she used blocks of baby pink against a cool pink base. It's a simple, wearable nail look using pretty colours for Spring/Summer. 

It also reminds me of the candy-inspired looks that are trending at the moment.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, she used Barry M polish to create this look. I'm guessing it was a mix of the Strawberry Ice Cream and Pink Gelly nail paints.

Do you like this nail look? xxx

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ascel Silky Gel Lip Mask



A few months ago, I was approached by Tanning and Beauty World to see if I wanted to review Ascel's Inverse Youth Recall Serum. But, to be honest, I'm kind of bored of the whole 'serum' thing and am really fussy about products I apply to my breakout-prone skin.

Instead of trying the serum, I requested a sample of Ascel's Silky Gel Lip Mask to try, as I've been intrigued about lip masks for a while and thought it would be great to give one a test run. I've had my eye on potential lip masks to invest in recently and have realised that there are several types on the market such as creams, gels, and material-based ones like Ascel's 'Anion Thermo plastic rubber' mask.

The point of the Silky Gel Lip Mask is to make the lips soft, plump and bright after 10-15 minutes, without the need for any fillers or injections. The Hydragel used in the mask 'accelerates absorption of moisture' and it is designed to condition, repair dryness, reduce the appearance of fine lines and remove dead skin cells.

So did it work? I think it did. I definitely saw an improvement to the tone and appearance of my lips as promised, but given that the mask is associated with the word 'silky' I really did expect my lips to feel a lot softer than they did.

The application was very easy, although you wouldn't want to wear the mask around people who don't understand beauty products (I got a few dodgy looks at home!).

I definitely think the fact that each mask is reusable for 2 weeks is a great selling point. Most face masks are usually done when they are done, so this is impressive.

A pack of 4 masks costs £19.95, which I do think is a little excessive. However, if you think about the cost per wear then the price could probably be justified.

What do you think of this lip mask? xxx

*This post features a PR sample, but all my views are my own.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NOTD: Mod Mermaid




Have you ever heard the story of the girl who went to Topshop's make-up section and bought only one nail polish? No? That's because it has NEVER happened.

For me, Topshop nail polishes are extremely addictive. I don't know how they do it, but they get all of their colours just right and they always look so good against the white and black polka dot twisty top (technical, I know).

When I clocked my eyes on Mermaid, it wasn't an option to leave the shop without it. And so my love affair with this two-toned shade began, and I have been applying it more than any other polish in my collection.

It's such a beautiful and versatile colour, which makes it suitable for wear all year round.

Another great thing about Topshop polishes is that they don't chip for ages - which is always a good thing!

I think I'm in lacquer love...

What do you think of this NOTD? xxx

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bohemian Naturals - The Capsule Collection


Bohemian Naturals is the most exciting fragrance brand I have heard about for a while. So I definitely had to request some samples to let you know more about them. 

Many of you will be pleased to know that all of Bohemian Naturals' fragrances are 100% natural (so suitable for application on sensitive skin) and handmade in the UK. But, if I'm honest, I was more excited about the luxurious exotic inspiration behind each bottle. All of the scents are based on the 'evocative relationship between world travel, global culture and universal romance'. This means that wearing each fragrance is an experience in itself, creating vivid memories, which I love.

The capsule collection comprises three scents: Thai Sunshine, Amber Rose and Indian Davana (all £30). 

THAI SUNSHINE


Thai Sunshine has notes of lemongrass, lime, ginger and cedar wood, and is softened by neroli and sweet resins. The first word that came to mind when I tested this one was undoubtedly 'zest'. In my mind (or nose), Thai Sunshine is a fiesta of sweet and spicy citrusy scents. You can also sense a hint of sharp cedar wood, which gives it a special edge.

AMBER ROSE


Amber Rose is based on roses, amber, tobacco leaf, italian bergamot and sandal. If you like turkish delight, you'll love this one. The smooth rose scent is dominant, but again you can tell there's a little bit of spice in there. I really get the travel inspiration with this one - I've been to Istanbul and it did take me back.

INDIAN DAVANA


Indian Davana has notes of patchouli, amber, pink grapefruit and incense. For me, this one was a little more subtle than the rest, but I think I did like that. The fruit fragrance took the lead again, with grapefruit coming through, but you could definitely tell there was some incense there and flower-based notes.

Do you like the sound of these? xxx

*This post includes samples, but my views are honest as always.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Beauty Looks A-Z: Halo

There's just something about white beauty products that make me go back for more. They all bring a sense of purity and cleanliness that enhances my daily routines and pampering experiences.

So, for the H in my Beauty Looks A-Z series, I thought 'Halo' would be the perfect match.

Here's my list of angelic beauty buys:
Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen SPF 40 Oil-Free High Protection Emulsion (£31)
Boots Face Cloth White (£1.99)
Estee Lauder White Linen Body Lotion (£34)
Decleor Aroma White C+Intense Brightening Mask (£35)
Essie Nail Polish in Pearly White (£7.99)
Medik8 White Balance Serum (£30)
Biotherm White D-Tox Eye Care (£29)
Max Factor Max Effect Mono Eyeshadow in White Satin (£4.99)
Origins A Perfect World Highly Hydrating Body Lotion with White Tea (£22)
Essie White Bright Nail Pen (£10.75)
Yankee Candle in Fluffy Towels (£16.99)
Barry M Nail Polish in Matt White (£2.99)

What do you think of this week's beauty look? xxx

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer


If I'm honest, when I was first given this sample as part of the Debenhams gift with purchase offer, I wasn't really interested in it. 'A primer is a primer,' I thought. But then I tried it the next morning and quite literally ate my baby pink shorts. The truth is that, if I didn't take this primer as one of my four small gifts, I would have missed out. Big time.

The primer comes in a classic Clarins red shiny pot engraved with a white product description and ingredients list. Then, when you twist open the lid, you see the above: a soft pink cream.

I was quite surprised that the primer was pink as well because I usually associate base products with white or clear colours and a lotion-like texture. But when I actually used it on my face, I was blown away by its smoothing and resurfacing ability. It didn't even leave a greasy texture and my foundation and concealer didn't make the primer disappear or move. It was also light and easy to apply.

I didn't need more than two tiny 'pearls' of product to cover my whole face and it did an amazing job with the pores around my nose, cheeks and chin.

After being sceptical about the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer at first, I am now converted and think I've found my ultimate primer. Admittedly the new Garnier blur product is probably a great dupe, there's just something about this one that will keep me coming back for more. It does cost £26 for 15ml, but it is well worth a try and lasts ages.

Ingredients include vitamin E to protect the skin and acacia micro-pearls to moisturise and create a 'smooth' skin effect.

You can even mix it in with your foundation!

Would you give this product a try? xxx

Friday, May 10, 2013

Versatile Blogger Award


Massive thanks goes to the lovely Alexandra at beauty & lifestyle blog Sweet Dreams for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

I really appreciate it when you lovely bloggers put me forward for these posts and love hearing that you are enjoying reading Shot of Beauty.

The rules are:
Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
Select 15 new bloggers you follow regularly.
Nominate these bloggers for a Versatile Blogger award, leave a link to their page and comment on their latest post to let them know they have been nominated.
Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

So here's 7 things about me to start with...
1. I have a degree in Psychology and studied at the University of Essex.
2. I'm a journalist editing a cosmetic medicine title, which is interesting and controversial!
3. People think I am weird because I like tomato juice. But I don't like tomatoes.
4. My favourite colours are postbox red and jade green. 
5. I love modern art a LOT.
6. I have only just started using moisturiser daily in the last year or so.
7. My beauty idol is Dita Von Teese.

And here's the 15 bloggers I'd like to nominate for this award...
 Alice at Tea and Lead
Louise at Lou Loves Beauty
Lorna at Studs and Dreams
Mimi at Mimi's Vanity Box
Kel at Kel Loves...
Leanne at Oh That Curl
Carissa at Vanilla Crush
Anna at On The Dressing Table
Sasha at Ramblings of a Beauty Bird
Daisy at Loves, Likes & Wishes
Sophie at With Love From Sophie
Bethany at Betty Vintage
Jenny at Beauty and the Biryani
Lauren at Little Red
Marie-Louise at Mlhauken

Hope you enjoyed this tag post! xxx

Thursday, May 9, 2013

NOTD: Iced Strawberry




Nail polish is not something I usually spend an excessive amount of money on, which is why I surprised myself when I popped NARS' Thakoon Nail Polish in Ratin Jot in my virtual shopping bag a couple of weeks ago.

But sometimes nail shades are just too irresistable. Ratin Jot is the perfect cool pink, and the risk I took by paying almost £13 for the pleasure has paid off. The application was almost seamless and the colour payoff was instant after one coat, which is pretty amazing.

I did have my doubts about NARS as a nail brand - I just didn't put the two together - but now I'll be adding to my collection. After the spending ban of course...

What do you think of my NOTD? xxx

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beauty Looks A-Z: Gatsby

Beauty Looks A-Z is back with a bang for the word on every film lover's lips - Gatsby. 

When it comes to decadent beauty, the 1920s had it all. It was all about the lips and eyes.

Here's the products that will get you tapping back to the roaring twenties:
Guerlain Terracotta Kohl Loose Powder (£23.50)
Clarins Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour in Spiced Mocha (£26)
Elizabeth Arden Exceptional Lipstick (£16)
Natio Mineral Loose Foundation (£15.60)
Estee Lauder Mad Men Collection Limited Edition Rich, Rich Lipstick in Pinkadelic (£26)
CHANEL Le Volume de Chanel Mascara in Noir (£24)
Tom Ford Lip Colour in Black Orchid (£36)
Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush (£6.99)
Eylure Lashes 140 (£5.50)
Topshop Eye Palette in Prisme (£12)
Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick (£20)
ArtDeco Dita Von Teese Golden Vintage Eyelights (£25)

What do you think of this week's beauty look? xxx

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Two-month spending ban & pre-ban purchases


I can't believe I'm doing this, but I am actually going on a spending ban. That means no new nail polishes, no MAC Baking Beauties collection, and no pretty blushers for me for 2 months.

But it will all end on the 5th July, which will be a few weeks before the exciting London bbloggers meet up. It also helps matters that I am doing the ban with three lovely, supportive bloggers who are as addicted to all things make-up as much as I am.

Joining me will be:
Sasha from Ramblings of a Beauty Bird
Poppy from Let's Drive Far Away
Rachel from Beauty Queen UK

And part of the reason I'll be doing this ban is because I have so many products to test and review. This includes all of the gorgeous bits and bobs pictured above, which I've written more about below.

MAKE-UP





First up we have the make-up purchases, which I got from House of Fraser (in the sale!), Escentual (not in the sale...) and Space.NK (definitely not in the sale...).

On the left is the truly gorgeous NARS & Pierre Hardy tangerine and gold blusher in Boys Don't Cry (£30). Then sitting next to that is everyone's high-end go-to bronzer Laguna by NARS (£23.40), which I have used a few times now and can confirm it is really lovely to apply and gives a natural, golden glow to my face.

Below that is my first NARS Thakoon nail lacquer in Ratin Jot (£12.60), which is such a pretty pink. I couldn't resist investing in that one!

And finally I bought the Guerlain refillable Noir mascara (£32.40) because I just love Guerlain make-up and skin care.

SKIN CARE


Then we have my favourite type of products - skin care - which I bought from Escentual, Dermacare Direct and House of Fraser.

On the left is Effaclar H by La Roche-Posay (£8.05), which is a fab hydrating moisturiser. I got a few samples of this after having my laser and chemical peel procedure done last month and fell in love with it. However, Boots weirdly doesn't stock it! But I got my fix from the trusty Escentual.

Then in the middle is a repurchase of the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel (£32), which I absolutely love. I've never been so pleased with a cleanser and this one works its magic every day, especially with the VisaPure electronic cleansing brush. I think I've really converted to gel cleansers now - they feel lovely on the skin and I always finish up refreshed and clean.

Finally in the skin care bunch we have the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (£18), which smells incredible!

FRAGRANCE


Finally we have the stunning fragrance Le Petite Robe Noire from Guerlain (£37.80), which I also got from the sale at House of Fraser. I fell in love with this immediately when I got a sample with my first purchase at a Guerlain counter - it's just such a classic 'smell me now' fragrance. I've only worn it twice so far and I'm seriously addicted.

What do you think of my pre-ban purchases? xxx

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Beauty Steal #8


If there's one thing I have been loving at the moment, it's been my evening shower with my many scrubs, gels and lotions. I'm always on the lookout for high-quality brands, amazing scents and products that do what they say on the tin, so I was thrilled to find this Baylis & Harding Sweet Mandarin and Grapefruit mini gift set for just £4 on Debenhams' website.

What is it?
The Baylis & Harding Sweet Mandarin and Grapefruit mini gift set contains five 30ml/g products: a body cleanser, body lotion, wrapped soap, shampoo and conditioner. 

What do I like about it?
It's great that the box caters to hair and body for less than £5. As you know, I also love fruity invigorating scents, and I'd love to take this set away with me on holiday to save space and make sure my skin is moisturised and smelling good every day.

Why is it a steal?
Baylis & Harding isn't a high-end brand, but it's a fantastic dupe for Molton Brown and you would expect the price to be a lot higher. I've tried a hand wash before from the brand and it was really luxurious, so imagine getting five decent size products for less than a £5? I'm in!

Buy Baylis & Harding's Sweet Mandarin and Grapefruit set here.

What do you think of this week's beauty steal? xxx

Friday, May 3, 2013

Guest Post: Anti-cellulite Coffee Scrub

If you've ever lived alone, then I know you can appreciate some of the many activities you get to do on a daily basis that you wouldn't be able to do if you had a flatmate. For example, you can leave dishes in the sink for as long as you want (though I wouldn't - I'm a clean freak), can rearrange furniture to your heart's content, and naked Tuesdays become naked everyday.

For those of you who have strolled through your place in the buff - and don't like, I know you have - I bet you passed a mirror and stopped to check out your hot bod.

It was one one of these nudey pass-bys that I saw something I'd never seen before. What I saw was so frightful - I stopped in my tracks staring with my mouth agape.

I'm pretty confident with my body normally, but it seems I'd been letting myself go. Those tell-tale dimples of cellulite had begun to make themselves at home on my derriere and upper thighs. And cellulite isn't good no matter how you slice it, so I immediately got down to some DIY business to kick that cottage cheese butt to the curb.

The Dirty Deets On Dimple Development
 For those of you who aren't quite sure how cellulite develops, here's the Cole's Notes version. 

When fat begins to build up in your dermis (the deep layers of your skin), it causes your blood flow to become restricted and circulation to falter. Your fibrous tissue starts to press up against your fatty deposits, and the resulting fluid build-up results in cellulite's appearance.

Since your bum and thighs typically store more fat cells than other parts of your body, this is where you will likely see cellulite form. Your level of exercise and choice in diet play a crucial role in cellulite formation, but even with regular activity and clean eating fat deposits can build up. This si where my hand DIY comes in.

Caffeinate Your Way To C-Free Skin
 All you need is a few simple ingredients to make my amazing cellulite-smashing scrub.

Gather together:
1/2 cup of caffeinated ground coffee (must be caffeinated - if you normally drink decaf, this scrub won't give you an energy boost, so don't fret!)
1 tablespoon white sugar
2–3 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil (i prefer coconut because it smells pretty!)
2 teaspoons of vitamin E oil or 4–5 capsules


The process for this scrub is nice and simple:

Step one
In a medium-sized bowl, add together all of your ingredients

Step Two
Mix them until they are evenly blended together (see below)


Step Three
Hop in the shower for 5-10 minutes to help open up your pores. The more open they are, the better this scrub will work.

Step Four
Using your hands, scoop some of your scrub and rub it into your skin. Put a little power behind your scrub and do so in circular motions.


Step Five
Once you have scrubbed one cellulite area, wrap it with plastic wrap. Move to your next zone and do the same. Once you are all wrapped up, let it soak in for 10 minutes.

Step Six
Remove all of your plastic wrap and rinse off. Do not use soap though.

Step Seven
Follow up your anti-cellulite shower scrub by using your favourite moisturiser

Why This Works
Coffee is rich in antioxidants and, of course, caffeine. Both of these things rid your skin of free radicals and stimulate blood flow and circulation, which ultimately smoothes and firms your skin.

Sugar is also a great natural exfoliant. Regular exfoliation helps cellular turnover and improves the appearance of your pores.

Finally, your oils help moisturise and nourish dehydrated skin to restore it to its natural state. 

Don't be surprised if you look a little raw and red after this scrub. This is to be expected, but in half an hour you will be looking smoother than ever.

You can't beat this scrub. It's cheap and works like a charm.

Enjoy!

Sabrina Taylor
Beauty blogging, DIY loving jet-setter for topbeautybrands.com
Tweet her at @life_stylin

Thursday, May 2, 2013

April favourites: skin, face & body


What's that I can see outside? Is it the sun? Am I blind?

These are the questions I asked myself yesterday when May got off to a flying start with gorgeous weather, and it's the same today. Makes me so happy.

So I thought, what better time to do my first ever monthly favourites post? There's plenty of products for me to rave about this month, so I hope you enjoy :)

1. Marc Jacobs Daisy
A few spritzes of this floral fragrance and I'm ready to go. It's been making me so happy this Spring and I've had lots of compliments. Initially, I didn't think I would like this - but of course, as with any Marc Jacobs perfume, I soon changed my mind.

2. Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick in Fuschia Graffiti
This has definitely been my favourite lipstick for April. It goes really well with my hazel eyes and dark hair and just brightens up any make-up look, whether I go for natural or slightly smoky eyes. I just love fuschia, and this is just the right shade for spring/summer.

3. Bomb Cosmetics Blackcurrant Body Polish
I can't rave enough about this product - it's such a moisturising scrub and it smells so amazing. Imagine a pot of blackcurrant fruit pastels slightly liquidised and you have the Bomb Cosmetics Blackcurrant Body Polish. It's lasting me a long time too! 

4. Caudalie Antioxidant Body Lotion
I've actually just run out of this, which makes me very sad! It's such a lovely formula - glides on to the skin beautifully and doesn't take long to dry at all. It also smells really spa-like, which helps it to feel like a bit of a high-end experience putting it on.

5. B.Pure Micellar Water
I bought this just to try it out, as I always remove make-up before i cleanse, but I was hooked from the first use. It's really easy to use and you always use more than you need to by default, but it lasts a long time and removes tough mascaras too. It's a staple product in my skin care routine now. 

6. Philips VisaPure Cleansing Brush*
I was lucky enough to attend the press event for this a few months back now - and I haven't put it down ever since. Ive always been a bit sceptical about cleansing brushes, thinking that companies are making inaccurate claims, but seeing is believing. I can truly say that my skin is in better shape since using it. There's a sensitive head too, which is great. It is really expensive - but if you are willing to invest big in your skin, you need this! 

7. La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
If you follow me on twitter @shotofbeauty then you'll know that I've been going on and on about this beaut of a product. I first discovered it after my laser treatment with Harley Street dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus, after he told me it was the best way to moisturise the skin. Having used this every day, I am convinced it has made my skin softer. And it's also very refreshing. 

8. Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer 
It takes a lot for me to betray Benefit's Erase Paste, but it's happened. Healthy Mix Concealer is a lovely, creamy formula with great coverage. And it's about £10 cheaper! I'm in.   

9. L'Oreal Mythic Oil*
The lovely team at Fabriah sent me the Mythic Oil to try after I tweeted about the best hair oils for damaged and dry tresses. It really does live up to the fantastic reviews - I often wash my hair in the evening and wake up with silky hair in the morning. It smells lovely too. The only thing I would say is you do need more than the 2 pumps it suggests on the bottle, if you have very thick hair like me. Just use it on the mid to ends.

What do you think of my favourites? What are your favourites? xxx

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Triple Prize Guest Post Giveaway

To celebrate the publication of my article 'Time to bin your toner!' in the Daily Mail's Life and Style section, I'm holding a special triple prize giveaway.

I'd like to invite you to submit a guest post on any topic surrounding skin care for Shot of Beauty. After the closing date, I will pick my first, second and third favourite posts and publish them on the blog. Then, whoever wins first, second and third place wins the prizes below.

RULES:
You must submit 500 words on a skin care topic of your choice, including at least one photo, to shotofbeauty@hotmail.co.uk
You must follow Shot of Beauty on Bloglovin and leave a comment with your username
Let me know what your favourite skin care product is in your comment below also
Closing date is the 1st of June

FIRST PRIZE


B.Pure Micellar Water
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
Anthelios Extreme Fluid SPF50+
DHC Pore Milk 

SECOND PRIZE


DHC Pore Lotion
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (sample)
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (sample)
Sanctuary Spa 30 Day Thermal Transformation (sample)
Vichy Normaderm Tri-Active Cleanser (sample)

THIRD PRIZE


Goody bag of skin care samples

Have fun and good luck! xxx


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