One thing I've learnt when it comes to beauty products, is the price tag doesn't always necessarily reflect the quality. Over the years I have grown to love cheaper 'drugstore' products and there are a fair few I actually prefer to pricier items. I recently had a mini Loreal splurge and I ended up bagging myself some really good bargains which I was super pleased with!
Loreal True Match foundation is often raved about and used by makeup artists and professionals, and after trying it a couple of years ago I could see why so many people loved it. It offers a fab, full coverage and lovely formula that lasts all for under ten pounds a bottle; you can't go wrong! While I think it suits those with oilier skin more, when my skin isn't too dry I love this foundation for all occasions. I made the mistake of getting one too dark for my skin last time, so I opted for the Rose Vanilla shade this time round and it's a lovely match.
As you may have seen in my recent post about my favourite lip shades, I am running low on my number one go to choice (Charlotte Tilbury's Penelope Pink), so I thought why not try and find a lower end 'dupe'/alternative for every day? I have been wanting to try the Loreal JLO nude for aggges but after reading some reviews and swatching it in store, it looks a gorgeous shade but has barely any pigmentation once applied. I decided to try Eva's nude instead, and I'm so glad I picked this up! It's a lovely subtle, nude with a hint of pink that is perfect for my pale complexion. I also thought I'd get a similar shade lipgloss to apply on top for more special occasions, I went for the 'Cream' lipgloss in shade '110' (I got the power). This gloss has an amazing, rich formula and the shade matches the lipstick really well, it's not too sticky and has an incredible shine; I love this combination!
I am planning an upcoming post all about my favourite mascara (which also happens to be under ten pounds) but I thought whilst I was taking advantage of the three for two offer, I might as well give a Loreal one a try. I've heard good things about Loreal mascaras, and decided to try bestseller Volume Million Lashes. So far I am really impressed, I love the plastic bristles for separating my lashes and adding length as well as volume, without clumping. I can definitely understand why these are so well loved!
I use a bronzer every day to add a bit of a healthy looking glow to my skin (it's needed, I am soo pale!) and I have currently been using Chanel's Universal Bronzer - which is my holy grain bronzing product, but I feel as though it's too nice for every day when I'm just going to work. I bought the Loreal Glam Bronze Bronzer in shade '10' which also has a highlighter in it, a mini applicator brush and a mirror; all in one compact. This works so well with a big, soft, fluffy face brush and adds a really natural looking colour to your skin, without looking orange or too dark. As far as bronzers go, this seems to do the job without breaking the bank.
I have wanted to try a liquid highlighter for a while, with me having dry skin I feel like it would suit me so much more. I loved the look of the pink Loreal True Match highlighter in shade 'Icy Glow/Rose Glace Glow'. After applying it with a beauty blender, it gives such a gorgeous rosy, pink glow that looks great either on it's own or on top of blusher, and you can also mix it with your foundation or use as an illuminating primer, which I'll definitely be trying!
I managed to get all of these products as well as a free Loreal blending sponge for 23 pounds! (Mainly thanks to my friends 30 percent workers discount), but I also got two products free using the 3 for 2 deal, and the sponge was an extra offer as well, what a bargain! Even without the 30 percent discount I think it should have come to 33 pounds, which is still good considering I would spend that on a higher end foundation alone. I really rate Loreal products, they're probably my favourite in comparison to other 'drugstore' brands on offer.
What Loreal products do you own? What are your favourite drugstore bargain buys?
I don't tend to be too exciting when it comes to experimenting with lipsticks, having very fair skin I find it difficult to get shades to suit me perfectly. However, I do have a few firm favourite choices that I always find myself turning to; particularly in Winter.
(Left to right)
1. Chanel Lipgloss in 206
2. Chanel Lipgloss in 608
3. Charlotte Tilbury Penelope Pink
4. Mac Lipstick and Lip Liner in Whirl
Chanel Lipgloss in 206
I bought one of these as a birthday gift for a friend, and ever since I was jealous I didn't get one for myself! I managed to pick it up a few months later for a lot cheaper whilst on holiday in Gibraltar and I am so glad I got it. It is almost like the lipgloss version of Penelope Pink, meaning that they go perfectly together, and it also looks gorgeous on it's own. I love Chanel Lipglosses, they last ages, aren't overly priced and have gorgeous colours available. This is definitely a staple in my collection.
Chanel Lipgloss in 608
I don't feel as though I really suit a red lip, and if I do wear one I am super fussy about the shade. I got this as a present for my 21st and when looking at the colour in the bottle it looked quite dark and not something I'd typically opt for. When I tried it on I was surprised a how much I loved it! It's not really an everyday shade, but is a lovely deep wine colour that is gorgeous for nights out and special occasions where you want to take your look from day to night.
Charlotte Tilbury Penelope Pink
This is definitely my go to lip shade, and is the perfect every day lipstick. I fell in love with everything about this product the minute I bought it last year, the formula is so creamy and moisturising and the colour is a lovely subtle nude that isn't too pale so that it washes me out. I wouldn't really say it was pink although it leans more towards a pinky undertone rather than a yellowy one like Nude Kate.
Mac Whirl Lipstick and Liner
I have had the Whirl lip liner for a while now, and use it alongside many nude/brown lipstick shades as it's just so versatile. I recently decided to purchase the lipstick (for a bargain £10!) to see what I thought. My initial reaction was wow, that's a tad dark, however it very quickly grew on me and I think it's a perfect Autumnal/Winter shade. It's a really rich, deep brown and is very pigmented. It of course pairs with the lipliner beautifully, and I think it's lovely if you fancy something a bit more bold and daring, but still fancy a brownish shade.
What are you favourite lip colours at the moment? Do you love one brand in particular? What is your signature shade?
As I've mentioned before, I have a huge love for skincare products and have always looked after my skin as a teen. I think I do have slightly good skin genes (thanks to my Mum's side where they don't seem to have any wrinkles or blemishes) which I'm very thankful for. However, I have suffered from dry skin for years and it has taken me until now to know exactly what suits my skin and what products benefit me. I would say I have normal to dry skin, which flares up randomly, but at the moment it is behaving and is more on the 'normal' side. I have tried endless amounts of cleansers, moisturisers and all round skincare products, but there are a few I swear by and end up repurchasing again and again!
When it comes to cleansing, I am definitely one for a good old face wash. I just feel 10X fresher and cleaner, and feel its the most effective way of removing my makeup. I am always switching my cleansers up to try new products, but my two all time favourites have to be the Laura Mercier Purifying Cleansing Oil and the Philosophy Purity One Step Facial Cleanser. The oil is my go to for when my skin is feeling particularly dry, as it removes your makeup whilst locking in moisture and giving a lovely, glowy finish to your skin. Purity is just such a staple skincare product in my collection (although I am currently in need of a new bottle). It lasts forever and removes every single trace of makeup in a matter of minutes; even heavy eye makeup. It doesn't leave your skin feeling tight or dry, and is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin. These are definitely my top two cleansers.
I have to be honest, this is often a step I skip out of my routine, (out of pure laziness) and as I just feel as though it doesn't do anything overly significant. One toner I do like though is the Body Shop's Vitamin E Hydrating Toner. It smells lovely (as does this entire range - I looove it), and it also helps your skin feel slightly more refreshed whilst removing any excess makeup you may have missed when cleansing. It doesn't have a harsh formula, or seem to strip your skin like many strong toners do, it just leaves it feeling hydrated.
A lot of the time, despite what anyone says simplicity is best. I have tried a range of different moisturisers from Embryolisse, to Clinique and I can honestly say, Aveeno moisturising lotion works wonders. It is fragrance free, has no nasty ingredients in and does exactly what it says; hydrates and soothes. I tend to use this all over my body near enough every day when I get out of the shower, and it is the only body moisturiser that has got rid of my dry skin, leaving it super soft and supple. I go through bottles of this stuff! In the summer, I tried using some on my face and it worked just as well. It leaves a great base for makeup and doesn't irritate at all.
At the moment I have been using Nip and Fab's Kale Moisturiser which I received in my January Glossy Box. I hadn't used their products before so I didn't know what to expect, but I really have fallen for this! It has a strange slightly sticky texture that feels as if it is going to apply greasy, but it glides on beautifully and sinks in really fast leaving your skin looking and feeling fab. I feel it also reduces the appearance of my pores and smoothes my entire face.
This is a new addition to my skincare collection, and it's a step I really wish I'd incorporated sooner! I recently visited the Rituals shop in Cheshire Oaks, which was amazing, and the lady was so helpful I couldn't resist picking up something from there. I had been after an eye cream for a while, as I get quite dark, puffy circles under my eyes which make me look really tired and washed out. I explained what I was looking for to the lady, and she recommended the Eye Smoothing Lotion that targeted dark under eye areas, and worked to reduce puffiness. I have been applying this both before bed and first thing in the morning, and I don't know if it's psychological but I really feel it's making a difference. My eyes don't look as tired, and I definitely think they aren't as dark or puffy. This has made me want to stick to using an eye cream now, and also try more Ritual's products; the shop itself was so pretty!
Night face mask
Before bed I religiously remove my makeup using a wash off cleanser, and if my skin is drier than normal I will then tone, apply moisturiser and follow with an overnight mask. At the moment, with my skin being okayish I have been skipping the moisturiser and just using the overnight mask, otherwise I find my skin feels a little too greasy. My absolute favourite is The Body Shop's Sink In Moisture Sleeping Mask. This is seriously such a nice product! It says on the label to apply a generous amount and leave to sink in overnight, I have been doing this ever since I bought a tub in the summer (which still has plenty left) and it keeps my skin in such good condition. I put quite a lot all over my face and when I wake up the following morning, my skin is really hydrated and moisturised, and looks healthy and refreshed, like I've had a good nights sleep - even on the occasions I haven't. I have tried serums at night and heavier creams, but have to say I prefer the effect this gives hands down.
Next on my list..
Some skincare products I would like to try in the next few months are the Charlotte Tilbury Multi Miracle Glow, I had this applied to my skin on a recent visit to a Charlotte Tilbury store and it was absolutely gorgeous. It comes in a big glass tub that looks as though it would last a while, and can be used as a cleanser, a mask or simply to apply on patches of dry skin anywhere on the body. The visible effect it has on your skin looks incredible (watch the video on the Charlotte Tilbury website to see exactly what I mean - that glow!)
I have also been wanting to try Kiehls products for a while now, they seem to have such a good reputation and I have my eyes on either the Ultra Facial cream or the balm. They have great reviews and I know a lot of people love the brand.
I will definitely be investing in more sheet masks - I think they're my new obsession! I loved the Starskin Hydrating Mask, as well as the Manuka Honey mask I received in my Glossy Box. I have had a look on the Vita Masque website and think I want to try the pomegranate sheet masks next, they're so reasonably priced and look lush!
What are your skincare favourites? Do you stick to a strict routine, or are you constantly trying new products?
Invest in a good shampoo & conditioner:
Having my hair coloured, and bleached from time to time can result in extremely dry ends, as well as a knotty, hard to handle mess. However, since I spend quite a bit of money getting my hair done in a salon, it only makes sense to continue the up keep, and buy a good quality shampoo and conditioner. My hairdresser recommended I did this, and since spending a little more than I used to, it really has paid off. I use BedHead Colour Goddess shampoo and conditioner - which smells like caramel! I buy the salon sized bottles which really do last ages (when my brother isn't sneakily pinching some.) Not only do these help to prolong my colour, they enhance it really well and give it an incredible shine and soft-touch feel. I don't think I could go back to using a cheap 2 pound bottle of shampoo now - I did whilst on holiday in October and it just didn't have the same effect.
Have a good cut every 6 weeks:
It's easier said than done, but once you ensure you schedule in a haircut every few weeks and get into a decent routine, your hair will thank you for it. I don't know if it's a myth, but I personally find my hair grows so much faster when I keep on top of having it trimmed, and nothing feels better than being able to run your fingers through your hair without them getting tangled!
A Tangle Angel:
If you're like me and have hair that seems to grow outwards rather than downwards, this right here will be your life saver! I used to have a tangle teaser which was fab but I struggled without a handle. I was recently gifted this for Christmas, and it has been amazing. It's the perfect size, and works just as well on wet hair as it does on dry hair. I really couldn't cope with my hair if it wasn't for a good quality, detangling brush. I still need to get into the habit of giving it a good brush before bed though..
Blow Dry Cream:
Another BedHead product I have fallen in love with, is the 'Blow out Golden Illuminating Shine Cream'. Not only does it smell amazing (like all of their products), it has a gorgeous, shimmery appearance that gives your hair a stunning shine. It says it 'adds luminous, sparkling shine' to your hair, whilst smoothing it in preparation for your blow dry. I find that this really helps to smooth away any frizz, and tame flyaway hairs in an instant. It's also the perfect size to pop in your hand luggage bag when travelling, I always use this when blow drying my hair, or even if I am letting it air dry; as it just gives such a lovely softening effect.
If you suffer from dry or slightly damaged hair, then hair oil is undoubtedly your best friend. I wouldn't recommend using one if you have hair that tends to get greasy quickly/easily, but if you feel your hair needs a hydrating boost then this is your best bet. I find that many hair oils tend to work the same, but my personal preference is 'Loreal's Elvive Extraordinary Oil'. It brings out the colour of my hair beautifully, whilst making it silky soft and shiny. Either apply to wet or dry hair (or both) and it really will make a visible difference!
Top quality Straighteners:
I don't often have time to straighten my hair, and I don't like to overdo things on the heat front, as I try and take care of my hair as much as possible. However, when I do straighten my hair, I like to ensure I have the best straighteners to suit my needs. I used to always opt for GHD's in the past, probably due to their reputation, but when a new name surfaced that everyone was talking about, I couldn't resist giving them a try.
Cloud Nine straighteners were introduced into my salon, and my hairdresser raved about them, as did numerous people on social media. I did some research, and found they were being dubbed the new and improved version of GHD's. I have to say, since purchasing some I have never been more impressed with a pair of straighteners (and I have tried quite a few different brands.) They have touch technology which means there's no need for an on off switch, you simply press the plates together and they heat up in seconds. This is ideal if you are clumsy like me and often forget to switch your straighteners off, as they automatically do it themselves if they are inactive for a few seconds. They don't pull on your hair at all, they simply glide through and literally halve the time I used to spend straightening my hair. I really wouldn't be without my Cloud Nine's now! They did break after a year, however the customer service team were brilliant and immediately sent me a brand new pair in time for my holiday - panic over!
Crease proof hair bobbles:
I feel as though I need to start using these more, but I went through a phase of wearing them daily in my previous job as I suffered from splitting headaches which I firmly believe were partly due to my extra tight ponytail. Since switching to these, not only do they not leave a harsh crease in your hair but they are sooo much more comfortable. They don't pull on your hair, or rip any hairs out and are perfect for shoving round your wrist and throwing your hair up at any time. (P.S they get extra points just for being pink.)
Sleep in hair rollers:
For a fuss free, quick step to voluminous hair that doesn't take precious time out of your day, sleep in rollers are a saviour. Simply section your hair and pop them in, and leave on overnight - you will wake up looking like you've had a blowdry! They give a gorgeous bounce and wave to your hair that is hard to achieve otherwise, perfect for taking on a weekend away due to their handy drawstring bag, these are so underrated!
A decent hair dryer:
A lot of the time I tend to let my hair dry naturally, as I go swimming around four times a week, it just isn't worth me doing often. I have realised over the years the importance of not just having a hairdryer, but having a good quality one that really works well. I have had a Mark Hill one that wasn't overly expensive, for the past few years and I only notice the difference when I go away and have to use a hotel hairdryer! Having a powerful hairdryer, with a good choice of settings really gives better overall results. I find my hair doesn't turn into a frizzy, dishevelled mess - instead it goes a lot smoother, and dries in half the time.
Arguably one of my ultimate go-to hair products is Batiste's Dry Shampoo. I'm sure every girl has a bottle of this in their drawer! It helps me out so much, when I don't have time to wash my hair, or just want to refresh it a little in between washes. This immediately gets rid of any visible oil, and freshens your hair adding texture and slight volume. It also smells quite nice too which is always a bonus! I couldn't get through a week without using dry shampoo at least once; I'm definitely guilty of relying on this bad boy!
Magical Quick Dry Potion :
Last but not least, my hair is a nightmare to get dry and it is also important to ensure it is fully protected from heat damage prior to blow drying or straightening. This is where the Cloud Nine Magicial Quick Dry Potion comes in extremely handy! Spritz over damp hair, and not only is your hair protected, this amazing little bottle speeds up the time of drying incredibly. You can also spray it on before you straighten your hair for an extra effect. A tiny bottle lasts ages, and it really does help. Loreal also do a similar product called 'Hot N Go' which works to cut down the time it takes to dry your hair, whilst acting against heat damage. Perfect!
What are your top products or tips for looking after your hair? Do you have a specific 'haircare' routine?
When boredom strikes, I always seem to resort to the same pastime - online shopping. My love for beauty products and obsession for trying new things is something that can be difficult to fund (I can't help having expensive taste..) I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but the idea of a monthly beauty box seemed like the perfect solution. Not only would I be receiving a variety of different products to sample, I love the whole notion of it being a 'gift' and it seemed like an ideal way to treat myself every so often, without breaking the bank by impulse buying!
I received my first Glossy Box three days after ordering it, so I was immediately impressed with the speedy service! Coming home to a pretty pink box full of goodies was the nicest feeling after a long day at work, and I couldn't wait to see what my first box included.
As I'm sure many of you have seen, the Glossy Box packaging really is gorgeous. I love the pale pink theme (you can probably tell it's one of my favourite colours by my blog), and the little details like the tissue paper, black bow and paper confetti really add an extra special effect. The welcome card is also a nice touch, and I liked how there was information about each product too.
- Nip and Fab Kale moisturiser
- The Balm 'Meet Matte' single eyeshadow (full size)
- Unani Illuminate Milk Cleanser (full size)
- Vitamasques Manuka Honey Face Mask (full size)
- Hairon Zero Crease Hair Tie (full size)
I am always up for trying new skincare products, so the full size Illuminate Milk Cleanser made me very happy, as did the hydrating honey sheet mask (I have already tried one of these but from a different brand, and I found the effects to be amazing. I have also done a previous post on a Starskin Sheet Mask which you can read here . The hair ties are super cute and are a perfect handbag essential that I'm sure will come in handy, I still find it hard to believe they don't leave creases in your hair - but they really don't!
Value for money:
I think money wise, the Glossy Box has proved to be extremely worthy of it's reasonable £10.00 a month price tag. It a few pound extra for delivery, however I managed to get 30% off my first two boxes with a Unidays discount code; bonus! Considering the quality of the products, and the type of brands included it is definitely worth both the hype and the money.
My final thoughts on my initial Glossy Box experience, is that it was such a good investment. I am already anticipating the February box and have seen sneak peeks of the Valentine's themed design which looks stunning! If you're like me and want to give a beauty box a try, I seriously recommend subscribing to Glossy Box; I am so glad I did, it is like a little monthly surprise gift, from me to me!
Finding a foundation that ticks all the boxes, and fits your specific needs can be extremely difficult. With so many different options on the beauty market, it can be overwhelming, and hard to narrow down a handful of selections.
My first makeup splurge was on a Mac foundation, I didn't particularly have much knowledge about foundations but I simply followed the crowd, thinking a raved about foundation would immediately work for me. At first, I really liked it but I simply settled for the cons of the product, trying my best to mask any dry, flaky areas with even more product - school
After years of sticking to Mac and thinking that I wouldn't find a foundation that didn't cling to drier areas on my skin, I eventually began to look elsewhere. I ended up trying numerous different foundations, none of which I was impressed with. I then fell in love with Laura Mercier's Crème Smooth foundation and couldn't believe that no matter how much of the product I applied, it didn't make my skin look flaky. This trusty, glass tub of heaven lasted me agggges, and sadly when it came to attempting to repurchase it just before Christmas I found out it was in the process of being discontinued.
Once I had stopped sulking and trying to look for it everywhere I decided it was time to let it go and find something else. I honestly didn't think I would find another foundation that worked so well with my skin, and that I loved as much, until I took a recent trip to the Charlotte Tilbury Covent Garden shop.
I explained to the lady my needs, and she recommended the Light Wonder foundation. I was awkwardly in between two shades with one matching perfectly, and the other being slightly too warm, so I went for the exact match, hoping that a bit of bronzer would liven it up.
I had my skin fully prepped and the foundation applied professionally. My initial reaction was that I liked it but wasn't overly thrilled. I think because I had no concealer, bronzer or blusher added; I couldn't quite decide if it was for me. Anyway of course I had to have an impulse buy and get it regardless (typical me).
I had a few breakouts at the time which is probably why I didn't instantly feel amazing , so I waited for my skin to clear and tried it out myself at home, hoping for a better outcome.
I found it best to apply it gently with my fingers, and the consistency is unlike any other foundation I have used. It is so silky and creamy and glides on effortlessly, not sinking into any dry patches, just providing an even, flawless, fully blended finish. It doesn't add a great deal of coverage, however once concealer is applied (and a light dusting of powder), it really does look stunning. I would say it is like 'your skin but better', making it ideal for daily wear. I am yet to experiment with it properly, like trying to build on the coverage for perhaps a night out; but I absolutely love how the product gives you a gorgeous glow, and really hydrates your face. You can honestly feel the moisture in your skin, and it lasts all day.
It comes in a travel friendly 40ml tube so at £32 you get slightly more product than a typical foundation bottle. The squeezy tube is also super easy to work with, and means no foundation gets wasted. I really do love this product, and am so glad I have finally realised there are foundations out there that will suit me. Personally, the only thing I would love is if it offered slightly more coverage, just for those days where you feel like your skin needs it. Other than that, paired with a top quality concealer the coverage is just enough. It is safe to say, I have finally found my match!
Have you tried Light Wonder? Or do you have a different preference foundation for dry skin?
The dreaded time has arrived - I'm counting down the days till payday and I have just finished scraping the last teeny tiny bit out of my beloved Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer; leaving the bottle dry. At £23.00 a tube, and lasting a mere two months it isn't really cost effective, which led me to look for a replacement.
After seeing the recent article on Look magazine's website advertising their top choice of concealers, the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is one that instantly stood out. With women supposedly raving about it, and at just £5.99 I knew I had to try it. Aesthetically, it certainly looks like a Nars dupe with an extremely similar tube, wand style applicator, and black lid. After briefly testing it on the back of my hand in the shop, I was really surprised at just how creamy the consistency was, and how it blended to a really lovely, full coverage. This got me excited to trial the product properly!
Fast forward to the next morning amidst my typical daily makeup routine, and I simply swapped Nars for the Maybelline concealer - (praying for a miracle that would replace guilty purchases with a much more pocket friendly alternative.)
When applying the product, it is incredibly creamy and easy to blend. It is so similar to Nars that I actually, surprisingly struggled to make many distinctions between the two. I would say the Maybelline is slightly thicker, but once both are blended they offer a great coverage. I don't have terrible bags to begin with, but this managed to cover any darkness or dull under eye areas without any problems. I also have a couple of break outs at the minute and it masked them well, eliminating any redness.
In terms of longevity, I would say it doesn't last as long as the Nars, however if you set it well with powder there is no creasing it just simply isn't as long wearing, which is to be expected in a much cheaper product.
I am shade Vanilla in Nars, and went for the 'Fair' shade in the Maybelline (which I think is the lightest shade they do). Both shades are nearly identical, and are a great match for my pale skin tone (Mac NC15).
Overall I am seriously impressed with this concealer, and think I will now be swapping to this for daily wear, and saving the Nars for more special occasions. If you want to try something a lot more reasonable price wise, with a similar formula and effect then definitely give this a try. Apparently people love this concealer so much they have been using it as an all over foundation!
- Small price tag at just £5.99
- Easy application due to wand
- Great, full coverage
- Creamy and hydrating
- Covers break outs
- Extremely similar to Nars
- Travel friendly tube
- Slightly smaller tube, so less product (but for the price this really isn't an issue)
- Not as many colour choices available
- Not as long lasting as Nars
Have you tried the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer? Or are you an avid Nars fan?
Get this concealer here (it is currently buy one get one half price across all Maybelline products in Boots):