January has been a pretty busy month, so I haven’t been able to review quite as many products as I normally get through. However, being the beauty addict that I am – I still managed to squeeze in trialling a couple of items and some fab ones at that. Introducing, my January beauty favourites…
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge | link
Contouring isn’t a ‘new’ phenomenon, but unfortunately for me – I’ve only recently got the hang of it, so it is rather ‘new’ for me. Until now, each time I attempted the infamous make-up technique (made famous by non other than Kim K herself) I ventured out looking rather alarming – with brown streaks across my cheeks. In fact, I do recall someone asking if I’d fallen over to have sustained such a bruise. So I stopped doing it for awhile. I decided perhaps it wasn’t ‘my thing’ or it wasn’t working for me. I returned to my rather two dimensional usual technique and tried to console myself by the fact I’d tried.
However, in came this Real Techniques Complexion Sponge (little over a month ago) and boy, did it change things. You can go as dramatic as you like with the contouring and this little miracle worker will mop up any unnatural parts, all while blending it in seamlessly. You simply apply a blend and twist motion when using it and somehow, it creates a flawless finish. With minimal effort. I can see why they call it the ‘miracle’ complexion sponge. The only downside is that it gets very dirty, very quickly. You have to wash it daily to achieve optimum results. But anything for photo-worthy skin!
Real Techniques is notoriously expensive, however I got this from Fragrance Direct, who offer an amazing array of discounts on their site – on top beauty brands. The majority have £2 + knocked off the price! Unfortunately the sponge is sold out now (so I’ve linked an alternate website above).
Lush – The Valentines Collection | link
Lush is famed for its renowned themed collections. The Christmas bath bombs are always spectacular, as are the Easter displays, so when I remembered that they’d be bringing out a couple of themed items for the big day on Feb 14th, I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for us!
Sure enough, they didn’t disappoint – with a new Lip Scrub, Bath Bomb, Bubble Bar and Soap. ‘The Kiss’, in pretty pink packaging, is a gorgeous sugar based scrub, complete with edible hearts and edible glitter (not that you know, this is a food item or anything – but I’m sure anyone who has owned a Lush Lip Scrub will know that resisting a lick after application is near on impossible). It gently buffs away at any dry skin and nourishes your lips naturally, with cocoa butter and mandarin oil. It’s probably my favourite item of the lot, as I’ve used it everyday – however the other items are perfect for some pure pampering!
The Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar is probably the most AMAZING thing I’ve ever seen, with a psychedelic collection of colours and a slight shimmer. While you’d expect it to smell quite citrusy, it’s actually more of a super calming lavender aroma, which ties in with the ‘romantic’ element of the collection. It’s so easy to break up into quarters, depending on how bubbly you prefer your baths – and I personally think its one of the best that Lush has brought out.
The Roses All The Way soap is another pretty in pink product with a romantic feel, including a very light powdery rose scent (rather fitting I suppose). It’s so soft on your skin and entirely natural too – which is what I love about these products, it’s reassuring to know that you’re not using anything harsh or artificial. I don’t tend to use soap all that much, but I’ve been using this purely for the scent (again, so calming).
And finally, last but certainly not least is the Lover Lamp bath bomb, a crumbly white ball emblazoned with tiny red love hearts. It lets off some amazing sweet vanilla notes, reminiscent of chocolate orange (err, amazing?!) and it really softens your skin (even if you remain in the bath for far too long – blaming being engrossed in your book, but really not wanting to step into the cold again).
Overall, it’s a fab new collection – with some beautifully romantic products. If you’re struggling to know what to buy your girlfriend, I’d take a trip to Lush. Even if you’re not celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, they’re definitely worth a look in.
I discovered Lord & Berry several months ago and have been obsessed ever since. They’re basically a very affordable (yet high end quality) make-up brand, offering an array of amazingly pigmented lipsticks, highlighters and eye-shadows. You name it, they have it covered. My most recent discoveries include this foundation – which is a touch too dark (shade 8623) but I mix it with a paler foundation to create a really dewy, hydrating base. You don’t need much for pretty great coverage and it tones down any redness immediately (not sure how, but it does). You needn’t worry about re-applying later in the day, because it lasts hours and seems to be waterproof (special thanks to the weather currently, which has allowed me to test for this).
I also LOVE their Luminizer stick, which is fab if you want to experiment with strobing or shimmer contouring. It’s very subtle but you can build it up to create some amazing peachy pink highlights, drawing attention to your favourite facial features. It’s so soft and despite being in a stick form (which can often be quite drying), it applies to skin flawlessly, without gathering or looking cakey. Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for an affordable, but incredible highlighter!
I own quite a few products from the AromaWorks skincare line and discovered fairly early on that the main reason I liked them so much was that they smelt incredible (and of course, they made my skin feel super soft). Bit of an odd statement I know. But with essential oil notes that transport you right into ‘spa mode’, when you find a scent you love (and that relaxes you), I’d advise you to buy it in any form you can. You never know when it might get discontinued. After experimenting with their candle collection, I decided to go the whole hog and opt for one of their mammoth home Diffusers, which happened to be the best decision ever.
When I moved into my flat in September, there seemed to be a bit of a funny whiff. Not off-putting but not particularly pleasant either – and since I’ve had this little number in my room, the smell is no longer. Instead, I come home from the bustle (and stress) of University and feel as though I’m walking into my very own spa. I’ve had it since late November and it’s still going strong (see photographic evidence above). I’ll be investing in another as soon as it runs out.
I’ve heard so much about Shiseido (positive stuff, may I add), so I was both intrigued and excited to try out their Perfect Refining Foundation. This particular shade is a little too dark for my winter skin, but I tried it out mixed with a much paler colour and found that it added a really subtle dewy glow to my skin (even if you want to mattify it afterwards). The brand itself can be very expensive, so if you’re wanting to try it out as a first time user, I’d take a look on Fragrance Direct, as they knock quite a substantial amount off the RRP.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been using it both as a colour boost on an evening out – and to contour with. It’s very light, so offers buildable coverage, but luckily for me – it doesn’t collect on dry patches and actually works in tandem with your moisturiser to really hydrate and nourish your skin all day long. The added SPF is a massive bonus, because I frequently forget to use suncream on my face in the day. I recently had a consultation with a rather exciting skin doctor in LA (more on this to follow) and one of his top tips was to use suncream everyday, even when raining – because the sun rays can be so damaging on delicate skin, unbelievably – even through rain and clouds.
In the run up to summer, we’re all starting to think about holidays and TANS (something I haven’t had for so long). Prepping your skin well in advance can work wonders when you do eventually jet away – and there’s something rather lovely about pampering that relaxes you after a tough week (which I’ve just had). The Dead Sea Spa Magik range are super easy to get hold of (available in Boots) and a really affordable way of exfoliating skin as naturally as possible, without stripping it of essential oils. It won’t leave you with red, irritated skin (something I find my sensitive skin does a lot with exfoliants) plus it smells incredible.
The boosting mask is a great additional product to inject back a bit of ‘glow’ into dull winter skin. It nourishes and hydrates even the driest of skin types in a way that moisturisers can’t quite get to (still use your moisturiser over the top for double hydration though). Definitely worth a try if you’re in the market for a bit of skin prep and a pamper night!
Polished London Whitening Strips | link
Teeth whitening strips have taken the world by storm in recent years, but it’s only in the last 6 months that I’ve really jumped on the bandwagon. Anyone that knows me will know that I’m just a tad obsessed with whitening and in 2013, underwent two teeth whitening in-clinic treatments as part of my quest. I finally achieved the colour I wanted with laser, but it did make my teeth quite sensitive (they’re back to normal now) and getting such an instant result meant that I’d lost faith in gradual, more gentle treatments.
The whole whitening market is a bit touch and go. I’ve personally found strips to be the most effective in providing long lasting and effective results, without affecting sensitivity. I ran out of my usual strips last month, so decided to try Polished London for a change – and was pleasantly surprised. They are so comfortable to wear (you almost forget they are there altogether and run over the 20-30 minutes allotted time) and within a few days, you can really start to see the colour and brightness improve. Make sure you take before and after pictures in the same position/lighting to see results, as often you don’t notice it as much over a period of 2 weeks – but the results are pretty amazing!
And if beauty isn’t necessarily your thing, but films are. Have a little read of the below article I wrote for Mode, shortlisting the 7 top movie releases that you won’t want to miss this year!
Check out Netflix & Spill…
Do you have any beauty favourites this month? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and maybe try them out for myself!) – so please feel free to leave your comments below!