Friday, 28 November 2014

Review: OGX Renewing Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

Recently I've been trying out some new haircare products, leading me to pick up these trial-sized bottles of OGX's Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner in Boots a few weeks ago. OGX used to be called Organix and I have tried some of their products in the past, but not for a couple of years, so I wasn't sure what to expect with these little blue bottles. "A unique, precious blend of Argan Oil of Morocco, which rapidly penetrates the hair shaft, restoring shine and softness while strengthening and creating soft, seductive, silky perfection."
OGX Renewing Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner Review
I really like the bottles; they're unusual in shape and striking in colour, and they look nice in my bathroom. I have a slight complaint in that the shampoo and conditioner bottles are basically identical, meaning I regularly pick up the wrong one, but as long as I remember to read the bottle before squeezing a handful out, that's okay! The shampoo is quite a thick gel texture which is light golden-brown in colour; I always shampoo twice but have found that I need much less shampoo than I'm used to using, to get a really nice lather which leaves my hair feeling properly clean. The conditioner is a creamy texture, again golden-brown in colour, which spreads easily through the ends of my hair and feels like it's being absorbed really well. I've noticed in the fortnight or so I've been using this duo, my hair has felt so much softer than before and really silky and smooth to the touch, which is lovely. My hair usually becomes oily really quickly, so much so that although I wash it every other day, it's often looking pretty horrible after one day and I'm utterly dependent upon dry shampoo! This duo seems to have helped with that a little and I've been managing much more easily to go two days between washes without feeling like I look a mess, which has really impressed me. I really would strongly recommend this duo for those with oily roots, although it isn't stripping in any way so I also think it would be lovely for pretty much any hair type. My only misgiving is the fact that both the shampoo & the conditioner contain silicons, which have a tendency to lead to me getting spots on my back and shoulders, so I'll have to see how I go in that respect.
OGX Argan Oil Review
OGX Shampoo & Conditioner Argan Oil of Morocco
Being SLS-free means this duo should be ideal for my sensitive, eczema-prone skin and although I've been suffering a little flare-up recently which I'm putting down to the change in the weather, it's easing back now so I don't think these are to blame. OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner are priced at £6.99 each for 385ml of product, available from Boots, where there are often offers available to save you a little bit of cash. They're a little bit pricier than other options but they're pretty big bottles for the price and a little goes a long way so I'd see them lasting well. I'll definitely be buying the full-sized bottles once I've finished these off! Have you ever tried any OGX products? Any recommendations for other product ranges I need to try?


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Festive Picks: Skincare Gift Sets

I've decided I won't be doing the Christmas gift guide thing this year; let's be honest, I don't know anyone on your list as well as you do and anyone can Google gift sets or browse through department store offers for inspiration. Instead, I'll be sharing my top picks this year; a few gifts sets I'd be more than thrilled to unwrap come Christmas morning. With Debenhams currently offering 10% off beauty, that seems a good a place as any to start if you did fancy picking any of these sets up for yourself or someone special!
Festive Picks: Skincare Giftsets
Origins Super Star Minis, £35 (currently £31.50 at Debenhams) | As a huge fan of Origins products, this set of seven mini-sized products would be an absolute dream to receive; I've tried some of the products included but others are new to me, and as I don't have any Origins skincare at the moment (sob!) I'd be super pleased to unwrap this little set, including their much-loved Clear Improvement charcoal face mask and High Potency Night-A-Mins cream amongst others.
L'Occitane Hand Cream Trio, £22 (currently £19.80 at Debenhams) | Containing their ever-popular Shea Butter hand cream along with a tube each of Cherry Blossom and Lavender, this is a beautiful set for anyone who's a lover of a good hand cream; I personally love L'Occitane's hand creams as they're super-hydrating and work really well, without feeling greasy or sticky on the skin. As an added bonus, this trio is presented in a beautiful box making it the ideal gift purchase.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Gift Set, £42 (currently £37.80 at Debenhams) | Confession time; I've never tried Elizabeth Arden's cult favourite Eight Hour Cream. This set, consisting of the original cream in full-size alongside an SPF version, a hand cream, a body cream and a full-sized lip balm, looks like the perfect introduction to the range at an affordable price.
Clarins Skincare Heroes Gift Set, £25 (currently £22.50 at Debenhams) | Clarins is another brand I have limited experience with, and this set of minis consists of a few products I'd be keen to try. The Beauty Flash Balm is a bit of a classic, whilst I love the sound of the Exfoliating Body Scrub and Moisture-Rich Body Lotion.
Kiehl's Skincare Heroes Gift Set, £36 (currently £32.40 at Debenhams) | I'm aware I'm running the risk of sounding a little repetitive here, but Kiehl's is yet another brand I've never tried and always heard good things about; in particular, I'd love to try their Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which is included in this set alongside 30ml bottles of Ultra Facial Cleanser and Moisturiser. The best part is, the Midnight Recovery Concentrate alone is £36, so you're essentially getting two products for free here!
Are there any skincare gift sets you've got your eye on this year? Are you prone to a little treat or two for yourself amongst your Christmas shopping, whilst all these amazing value sets are available? Just me!?


Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Make-up Clearout

I'm having a little bit of a make-up clearout today. You know those products that you keep telling yourself you'll finish up one day, even though you know full well that they really don't work for you and you wouldn't use them in a month of Sundays? Yeah, those. They're going! These are just a few bits and pieces I've been holding onto, intending to finish them off, but I'm finally accepting that that's not going to happen and clearing a bit of space - throwing things away is so therapeutic! I feel so wasteful throwing things away unfinished, but I know I won't use them so I'd rather have the space.
A Makeup Clearout
No7 Shine Free Primer I bought this not long after I started blogging so I must have had it around three years now; it's definitely past its best and I've not even used half because, quite frankly, it doesn't do what it claims. My skin is super oily so I really do need a primer that keeps shine at bay and this just isn't it. On top of that, it has a distinct smell of PVA glue...
Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara I've tried and tried to love this but the formula just doesn't suit me - I've never had problems with a mascara flaking until this one, and I hate the brush. I find it really difficult to work with and no matter how careful I try to be, I end up with blobs of mascara everywhere. It's also an absolute nightmare to remove, like, worse than They're Real!
MUA Primer I seem to remember writing quite a good review of this product a couple of years ago and I honestly can't imagine why now; I don't think it's actually available to buy anymore but honestly, this does nothing for me. It doesn't make my foundation apply more smoothly, last longer, or stay-shine free, which are the three things I look for in primer. I've had this at least a couple of years as well, so it's time to get rid!
17 Miracle Matte Skin Primer It's probably beginning to become clear how much of a primer hoarder I am! I didn't get on with this from the word go, it doesn't seem to set on my skin, instead kind of rolling up and peeling off as soon as I try to blend foundation over it, which is never a good look. It makes foundation pool in my pores really badly, and I swear it makes my make-up run more than it does with no primer at all. I was really disappointed with this and I honestly don't know why I've kept it as long as I have!

So, with a little bit more space in my make-up collection, is that an excuse for a shopping trip!? I'm actually trying to use up a few more products before I buy any new ones as I'm realising recently just how ridiculous my collection has become... Are you in the habit of throwing away old make-up, or are you like me and hang onto things telling yourself you'll use them, one day? Have you tried any of these products?


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner

I've been on the look-out for a new toner ever since trying Skinetica a couple of months ago; I liked its addition into my skincare routine in terms of making sure to remove all makeup and cleanser from my skin, but wasn't won over by Skinetica's formula. I've been hearing for a while now about the virtues of an exfoliating toner, so after seeing Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner mentioned on Amiiee's blog, I decided to give it a whirl! I've been using it of an evening for around a month now.
Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner
I really like the packaging, which is bright and clean with a lovely illustration, fitting in with the rest of the Botanics range. The information given claims, "This revitalising toner helps visibly tighten pores and instantly brighten skin. Skin is left feeling fresher and prepared for moisturising. Hibiscus is nature's brightness booster and a wonderful hue of pink. Natural AHAs from the flower act as mild exfoliators to help leave skin smoother and brighter. Directions: Moisten cotton wool pad and sweep over face and neck after cleansing." The aperture of the bottle is small, meaning it's easy to dispense the product onto a cotton pad without wastage. The toner feels refreshing on the skin and as far as I can see, does a good job at removing any last traces of make-up; I can usually see some grime on my cotton pad once I'm done, which is strangely satisfying. My face isn't left feeling dry or tight, just clean and smooth. I usually wait around ten minutes before applying my moisturiser, to give the AHAs time to do their stuff. I've been using a few new products lately in an effort to clear my skin up and deal with my over-sized pores, so it's difficult to 100% attribute an improvement to any one product, but I really do feel that this toner has been doing its bit to help keep blemishes under control. I also think that the pores around my nose are looking smaller after a few weeks of use, though I do think those effects are in conjunction with Nip + Fab's Glycolic Scrub Fix - a winning combination if ever there was one!
Botanics All Bright Toner Review
[Ingredients: Aqua, Alcohol Denat, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Sodium Citrate, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin.]
In all, you could definitely do worse for an exfoliating toner, and I feel like this product has made a positive contribution to brightening my skin and tightening pores. It's affordable and easy to use, and hasn't irritated my skin. Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner is available from Boots instore and online, priced at £3.99 for 250ml of product, though there are often offers on the Botanics range, so you should easily be able to pick it up a little cheaper than that - mine was £2.49. Have you tried any products from the Botanics All Bright range? What's your favourite toner? Have you tried an exfoliating toner?


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas Party Fashion with George at Asda*

With the Christmas season fast approaching (much as I hate to admit it!), I was recently contacted by George at Asda about their lovely range of dresses, and asked to put together a party outfit*. I've always been a fan of George's clothing and accessories - there's nothing better than a cheeky shoe or outfit purchase alongside your weekly food shop, especially when the choice is this good! I actually really struggled to choose just one dress from the huge selection, but in the end I settled for a rather glittery black sequinned number, which you can see below:
Christmas Party Fashion with George at Asda
Nothing says party like a little bit of sparkle, so I went for this gorgeous sequinned dress, the traditional LBD with a glitzy twist. A dress like this requires minimal accessories, but I think this beautiful watch would look perfect and it looks way more expensive than its bargain £16 price tag. A pop of colour comes in the form of a cross-body bag, though I'd probably tuck the chain inside and use it as a clutch to avoid it being too much with the dress. Red lips and nails would match the bag nicely, and George have a fab range of own-brand nail polish shades, as well as stocking some well-known brands like the Rimmel lipsticks. Heels might be more of the thing for a party outfit but personally I'd always go for flats as they're so much easier to dance in - a must-have at any Christmas party in my book! Finally, what's Christmas without some novelty earrings!? This multi-coloured Jingle Bells pair are super cute and I don't think they're too tacky. Ta-dah!
What's your ideal Christmas party outfit? Are you a fan of the traditional little black dress? How would you accessorise these sequins? You can actually get free delivery on orders over £45 from George at the moment with the code 'FREEDEL45' so if anything catches your eye, now's a good time to make a purchase and get ready for Christmas!

[*Please note this is a sponsored post. I really do love George, though!]

Friday, 14 November 2014

Makeup Gallery Colour Story Eyeshadow 'Mocha'

Recently in Poundland I spotted a stand of 'Makeup Gallery' branded makeup products, and was immediately drawn in by the range of shades in the Colour Story Eyeshadow collection; I decided to pick just one to try, and eventually went for 'Mocha 8', which is a warm-toned mid-brown with shimmer in the pan. Priced at just £1 (you don't say...), I'll admit my hopes for this weren't particularly high.
Makeup Gallery Colour Story Eyeshadow Mocha
The packaging obviously isn't the best quality, but it feels sturdy and is pretty compact so it'd be ideal for travelling with, particularly as it clicks closed securely. Right from the first swatch I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and smooth the shadow was in texture, and how well the colour in the pan translated onto the skin, giving a gorgeous shimmery warm brown shade. I found application with my ELF eyeshadow brush was really easy, with the shadow blending nicely and no noticeable fallout. Photos below show 'Mocha' alone, with no primer.
Makeup Gallery Mocha Eyeshadow
I added a little extra dimension with a dab of 'Easier Affair' from Makeup Revolution's I ♥ Passion palette in the inner corners of my eye, but being a shimmer shade this could easily be worn alone. Mascara is Accessorize Volumising Mascara in 'Jet Black', and brows are MUA's Pro Brow Kit. Wear time was pretty fantastic; twelve hours with no primer was absolutely fine, no creases to be seen. Up to sixteen hours, again with no primer, saw only minimal creasing and only because I was looking for it. I have to say I've been really impressed with how well this has worn without fading or creasing, and I'd definitely consider picking up a couple more shades from the range next time I'm in Poundland. I've not noted any irritation or sensitivity around my eyes, which is always a concern with budget cosmetics.
Makeup Gallery Eyeshadow Mocha
Makeup Gallery Colour Story Eyeshadows are priced at £1 and are available in Poundland, though I understand availability varies; still, it's worth checking out your local store if you like the look of this. I can't remember exactly how many shades were available but I'd guess around 16. Have you tried these bargain eyeshadows? Would you consider purchasing cosmetics from Poundland or a similar store?


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Skincare Wishlist: Facial Oils

Time for another Skincare Wishlist, today looking at a few Facial Oils I'd love to try; despite having oily skin, which can make applying more oil to the face seem counter-intuitive, I really enjoy including oils in my skincare routine. I'm currently using a super-affordable option from Boots' Botanics range, but there are plenty more I'd love to give a go!
Facial Oils Wishlist
1. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, 45ml, £28.50
2. Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Facial Oil, 30ml, £14.99
3. Sanctuary Therapist's Facial Oil, 30ml, £17.50
4. B. Replenished Facial Oil, 30ml, £6.97
5. Manuka Doctor Brightening Facial Oil, 30ml, £19.99
6. Dr Organic+ Vitamin E Pure Oil, 50ml, £8.79
I've tried (and loved!) Trilogy's Antioxidant+ Rosehip Oil but would love to give this slightly less expensive option a go as well. I really love the Superfacialist range from Boots and the Rose Miracle Makeover Oil can be used as a pre-cleanse treatment as well as in conjunction with moisturiser for added hydration. The Sanctuary range is one I'd really like to explore more and it has featured in a couple of my Skincare Wishlist posts so far; this oil sounds like a lovely, hydrating treat. The B. range at Superdrug is really affordable and I like how it's targeted towards different skin 'phases'. The inclusion of Manuka Oil in the Manuka Doctor oil intrigues me, and anything which claims to be brightening has to be worth a try! Finally, the Dr Organic+ range is one I'm liking more and more, the more I try it, and this Vitamin E oil sounds really lovely for soothing the skin and helping to repair damage and scarring.
What's your favourite facial oil? Have you tried any of these, or anything similar? I'd love to hear your recommendations!


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NOTD: Nails Inc x Glamour 'Marylebone Mews'

Having picked up December's issue of Glamour which came with a bottle of Nails Inc nail polish in a choice of four shades, I was pretty keen to try out the shade I went for, which was 'Marylebone Mews'. I chose this shade thinking it would be a fairly typical greige-type shade which would be super-wearable; in actual fact it is decidedly lilac-toned, which gives a girly edge to a shade which is grungy at first glance, whilst still being really easy to wear. I found that the application with this shade was a little off, with the first coat being extremely sheer, and the second coat tending to go streaky unless I was very careful; nonetheless, two coats was enough for a reasonable amount of opacity. Photos below show two coats of 'Marylebone Mews' with no base or top coat; as you can see it dries to a lovely glossy finish.
NOTD Nails Inc Marylebone Mews
Have you picked up any of the Nails Inc shades with Glamour this month? Which shade do you like the look of the most? What do you think to 'Marylebone Mews'? Check out the other freebies available with magazines this month in my post here.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Six Mini Reviews #9: Supergoop, REN, Trilogy & More

Time for another little round-up of some samples I've finished off; see what I've thought of the products I've trialled, as well as whether I'm planning to buy the full sized products. I do love beauty samples as an affordable way of trying new products, but I have a bit of a tendency to stockpile them and just sort of forget to use them... So I've been making an effort to get them used up with my Six Mini Reviews series.
Six Beauty Samples #9
Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion A magazine sample, this sachet contained enough for one application on my arms and legs after showering; it felt nice on the skin and sank in quickly, leaving a feeling of hydration behind, but I found that the effects didn't last long. I soon felt as though I needed to moisturise again, particularly on my legs which are quite prone to dryness. I'd be put off buying this in the full-size (300ml at £5.10) by that, as well as the Liquid Paraffin in the ingredients list which does seem to dry my skin out as a rule.
Trilogy Cream Cleanser I've really enjoyed using this cleanser as an evening, finding it to feel lovely on the skin and do a good job at removing my make-up; I've been massaging it into my skin with my fingers, before removing with a hot flannel or muslin cloth. Aside from smelling beautiful, it's left my skin feeling clean and soft. I also love the packaging of the full-sized 200ml bottle, though at £22.50 it's slightly more than I can afford to spend on skincare at the moment. I do feel that Trilogy products are worth the investment and I'd definitely consider this in the future.
REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk I think this was another magazine sample, which again is a lovely cleanser and has been gorgeous to use of an evening to dissolve my make-up and leave my skin feeling clean and soft but not dry or tight. I always feel slightly underwhelmed by REN products, I never feel like they live up to the hype for me, but I have to say this is one of my favourite REN products I've tried to date. At £16 for 150ml, this is again a little beyond my budget currently but one I'd consider in the future as a gentle option for removing make-up.
Liaison de Parfum Stay With Me Eau de Parfum A Birchbox sample, I've really enjoyed using this; as quite a strong scent, it's lasted well and I've got plenty of use from it. It's a beautiful scent and exactly the sort of thing I like to wear, with notes of orange blossom, lily, vanilla and amber, but at £105 for the full-sized 100ml bottle there probably isn't much any chance I'll be buying this, unfortunately.
Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream I got two tiny sample tubes of this in the shade 'Light-Medium' in my August Birchbox; it actually gave a really good coverage, much more than I was expecting, and is a product I'd be happy to wear on its own on particularly good skin days. Popping my usual foundation on over it worked well for me on days where I needed a little more coverage. The shade was a little too dark for me, which surprised me until I realised there is actually a lighter shade, 'Fair-Light', which I'd go for were I to buy the full-size. I found this lasted pretty well when finished with powder, and left my skin looking clear, smooth and natural. £32 for 47ml puts this a little beyond my budget at the moment but it is a product I'd consider buying in the future.
Cattier Paris Masque Argile The third Birchbox sample in this post, I actually received two sachets of this mask and have got three usages out of the first, which is pretty good going. The pink clay mask is supposed to illuminate the complexion and soothe the skin, and whilst my skin definitely feels calm and smooth after use, I wouldn't say it does much in the way of brightening. I'll happily use the other sachet as it's lovely to apply and feels nice on the skin, but I don't see myself buying the full-sized 100ml tube at £4.25.
So another six samples bite the dust - have you tried any of these products? How do you make sure your beauty samples get used up?


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Five Most Used: Beauty Tools

Today I've got another installment in my Five Most Used series, which I suspect may be the last, as I can't think of any more categories to share! If you can think of one I've not done that you'd like to see, please do let me know, otherwise let's get down to business with my five most-used beauty tools. This was a super-easy one to pick because there are only a few tools that I'd say are "essentials" for me - there's one more that got missed so I'm giving it an honourable mention here, and that's my brow comb, which is a godsend for blending brow powder to look natural. That aside, here are my picks:
Five Most Used Beauty Tools
Five Most Used brushes & tools
ELF Eyeshadow "C" Brush | I have two of these as they're super cheap and so handy to have for packing on powder shadow; I used them pretty much every day as they're so good. I really love ELF brushes as I think they're amazing quality for the price point and for me, this little brush does the job perfectly. It's not so hot for super-accurate application like if I want to define the crease, but otherwise I can quite happily apply all my eyeshadow with this one brush.
ELF Blush Brush | Another ELF brush, this is the perfect shape for applying blusher as far as I'm concerned and again, I use this daily. I find it really good for applying blusher exactly where I want it and it makes it picks up just the right amount of product, making it super easy to apply. I also use this brush for applying highlighter across the tops of my cheekbones as again, it's so easy to get it exactly where I want it.
BeautyBlender | I received this in a Birchbox a couple of months ago and despite having heard the hype, I didn't expect to be impressed with it really. That said, it's become a go-to tool for me for applying base and concealer; I wouldn't say I use it daily but maybe every other day, as I love the finish it gives my foundation, and the pointed end is perfect for blending concealer around the eyes. My only complaint is that it stains so it ends up looking dirty even after it's just been washed.
Real Techniques Powder Brush | My oily skin means powder is an absolute essential for my make-up routine if I want my base to stay put for longer than about ten minutes. This brush is perfect for me as it makes it so quick and easy to apply my powder and move on with my routine. I also tend to use this to gently blend out my blusher and highlighter just to make sure there're no harsh lines. I love Real Techniques brushes as they're so soft and this washes really well too.
Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers | Finally, another essential; tweezers to keep my unruly brows in shape as far as possible! Before I invested in these bad boys, I was just using cheap tweezers and I was honestly amazed at how much difference these made in terms of how easy it was to accurately pluck the hairs I was aiming for first time, every time; it's so easy to grab the hair you're after and these don't slip off, making shaping the brows so much quicker and easier. These are well worth the investment as far as I'm concerned!
So what are your essential beauty tools? Do you view any of these as must-haves? What are the brushes and other tools you couldn't be without? I'd love to know!