Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Review | Born Pretty Eyebrow Gel*

I was recently asked to choose some products from Born Pretty Store to review; one of the items I chose was their Eyebrow Gel*, as I've tried pencil and powder brow products in the past and was curious to see how a gel would match up! If I'm wearing make-up, I will fill my brows in without fail, as they're naturally quite fair compared to my hair and I think my face looks strange without them. I really like the way doing my brows adds a bit of definition to my face and really brings a look together.
Born Pretty Store Eyebrow Gel Review
As a budget brow gel option, I think you can do far worse than Born Pretty's; the packaging doesn't feel high-end, but it's sturdy and does the job. The spoolie-style applicator is maybe a little bigger than I'd ideally like, but with a careful application it works just fine. I chose #1 which is the darkest of the three shades available; if I was going to order again I think I'd give #2 a try and see if that's a better match for me.
Born pretty Budget Brow Gel
The formula takes a few minutes to dry properly, so I do need to be careful not to smudge it in the meantime. Once it's dry, though, it's not going anywhere; it actually takes a bit of removal and seems to have a slight staining effect which is nice, though could be inconvenient if you need to do a clean-up operation - you win some, you lose some, I guess! I've been really impressed with the natural definition this gives to my brows - as long as I'm careful when applying, as it is quite easy to end up going in too heavy-handed and achieve an unintentionally fierce brow!
Born Pretty Brow Gel
(We'll just ignore the fact I've definitely blink-smudged my mascara here. I promise I fixed that before I left the house!)
I do think shade #1 is a little on the dark side for me and it's very easy to go over-the-top which is a shame, but that's not a fault of the product as such! Aside from that, I really like this product; it's easy to use and lasts well which is basically all I can ask for from a brow product. Born Pretty's Eyebrow Gel is available here priced at £2.34; with a choice of three shades I think there's something to suit most people and at this price there's really no reason not to give it a try! You can even get 10% off by entering my discount code 'JESSMK31' at the checkout. What do you use on your brows - are you a pencil, powder or gel kinda girl? Would you try Born Pretty's Eyebrow Gel?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Wishlist | Winter Warmers

With the weather here in the UK taking a turn for the (even) colder, I don't think I've been able to feel my fingers at all today - which has got me thinking about some winter warmers! I'm giving serious consideration to emigrating somewhere warm at the moment, but until then I think I may need to invest in some of these goodies to try and defrost my extremities and ward off hypothermia...
Winter Warmers
Mint Velvet Silver Grey Rib Chevron Knit, £89
I love the Mint Velvet knit for a cosy look without just being lazy; it looks warm but still quite smart and put-together. You'd be able to leave the house in it!! I don't have a bath so the Origins bubble bath would be a bit of a pointless purchase for me, but Ginger is a lovely warming fragrance and a nice hot bath always warms you up. I love my hot water bottle but this Bella The Woodland Bear one is something else - so cute!! There's nothing quite like wrapping up in a snuggly blanket on the sofa - or in bed when it's really cold - and this George one looks lovely and soft. Hot chocolate is a must for me in the colder months (with marshmallows, of course!), and the hazelnut, ginger, cinnamon & nutmeg in the Hotel Chocolat Christmas blend sound just gorgeous. I am practically living in my onesie at the moment, you've never known cosiness until you've worn a fluffy onesie! For those occasions when leaving the house is required, a scarf helps to keep the chill off, and I really like this burgundy colour. I've been burning a lot of candles lately but haven't invested in any wintery scents yet - I love the sound of Cinnamon & Ginger as a candle. Let's be honest, I love cinnamon and ginger anything... What are your essential winter warmers? How are you keeping cosy at the moment?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 20 November 2015

Six Mini Reviews #18 | Versace, Origins, Sebastian Professional & More...

When it comes to beauty samples, I seem to acquire them as quickly as I can use them - which is fine as it means I've always got new things to be trying! It does mean, however, that I have to make an effort to keep using things up in order to avoid drowning in a sea of sachets and tiny tubes - I fight a valiant battle... Ahem. Enough of my weirdness, have a peek at the most recent beauty samples I've been trying out...
Six Mini Beauty Reviews Origins Versace Garnier
Origins Youthtopia Firming Eye Cream | It appears I've had this sample for so long that the product has actually been discontinued, as I can't find it anywhere on the Origins website - whoops! Anyway, unfortunately (or not?) I think I was allergic to something in this eye cream, as I never usually get eczema on my face, but everytime I used this I got a little patch pop up on each eyelid, which is why I haven't actually finished the sample. This isn't one I'd be buying in full-size even if it was still available!
Versace Eros Pour Femme Eau de Parfum | This was one of those scents that grew on me; I didn't like it at first and actually almost gave the sample to my Mum after the first spritz, but for some reason decided to give it another go and found I quite liked it! Apparently it is a "fine accord of lemon and jasmine, exalted by sensual and smooth woods" - whatever that means!! Starting at £50 for 30ml, this would be a lovely treat, although there are probably other fragrances I'd choose over it.
Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream | This is described as an all-purpose skin cream but I found that it was just too much for my oily skin to use as a moisturiser. It suggests using as a make-up primer which I can only imagine would end terribly for me! It's quite nice on patches of eczema, though and worked well as a lipbalm for me. This is £29 for 118ml from Boots which is actually a lot more than I'd expected and certainly more than I'm willing to spend, although I do think it would last a good while.
Sebastian Professional Color Ignite Multi Shampoo & Conditioner | I love miniature hair products for my gym bag! The shampoo isn't one I'd repurchase as unfortunately it contains SLS; it do a good job of cleaning my hair, despite not really being designed for my hairtype as my hair hasn't been coloured in a good couple of years... The conditioner was a foam formula which is unlike other products I've used and at first I thought it was just a bit of a gimmick, but it did actually make it really easy to spread through the lengths & ends of my hair - and it smelt gorgeous. A £14 for 250ml of shampoo and £17 for 200ml of conditioner, these are more than I'd usually spend on haircare, but I am considering getting the conditioner for the smell alone!
Origins Clear Improvements Mask* | I've actually done a full review on this mask which you can read here, but this is a sample tube and I've used it, so I'm damned if I'm not including it in this post! I really love this mask, it works well for me for calming my skin down and leaving it smoother and clearer. This isn't cheap at £23 for 100ml but it works well and if you can get your hands on it in a gift set it works out a little more affordable. I already have a full-size of this and I will most likely replace it when I run out!
Garnier BB Skin Perfector for Combination/Oily Skin | I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much coverage this offered - far more than I'd expect from a BB cream, though I did still need a healthy covering of concealer under my eyes. I also needed to powder this well as it had quite a shiny finish on my skin which I wasn't a fan of, but once powdered down it gives quite a nice base! Sadly, I found that it didn't last as long as I'd like on my skin; within about five hours it had started to look patchy and cakey, as well as oxidising a little. It is quite affordable at £9.99 for 40ml, but it's probably not something I'd buy as there are base products I prefer. It was, however, a lot more suited to my preferences than I was anticipating, which just goes to show you shouldn't be afraid to try new things!!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite products you've discovered through beauty samples?

[*Product provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Review | MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream*

Ever looking for anything that will sort out my skin, I was thrilled to be offered a tube of MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream* to try out; MONU claim that their Instant Radiance Peeling Cream "refines the surface texture of the skin for a truly professional finish", with natural Kaolin clay to gently cleanse and exfoliate, and Beeswax to soften the skin. This claims to be suitable for all skin types, but it sounded especially perfect for my oily, blemish-prone skin, which I do find can often look quite dull.
MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream
You get quite a large tube for your pennies, with 100ml of product; MONU suggest spreading a thin layer of product over the skin after cleansing and toning, avoiding the eye area as always with these types of products. They then say to allow a few minutes to dry (I find just two or three minutes is sufficient) before holding the skin taut and removing with "a sweeping action of the fingertips". Now, I initially thought this sounded a bit odd, and I was right; any time gained by the quick drying time, you lose in the time it takes to remove the peel from the face. It's also quite a messy process, probably best carried out over your sink or a towel.
MONU Peeling Cream Ingredients
A little goes a long way with this, I find that around a two-pound-coin sized amount is plenty for my whole face. It has a nice smooth texture which spreads easily over the skin, and a pleasant lavender scent which is strong but not too strong. After a couple of minutes drying and a good few more minutes removal, followed by washing my face to remove the residue, I do feel like my skin looks brighter and more even, and feels soft and smooth. I do find I need to apply a good amount of moisturiser afterwards as my skin feels quite delicate (probably due to all the rubbing!) and the results really only last a day or two. Now, it's suggested that you use this twice a week; I have to admit, I've not been that good and have been using it more like once a week... So maybe with more frequent use, I'd see more results? I do think that with products like this which give short-term effects, you do need to use them regularly, so I will be trying to fit this in twice a week to see if the results last any longer!
MONU Peeling Cream Review
MONU Instant Radiance Peeling Cream is priced at £35 for 100ml of product, which will last quite some time given how little you need to use each time. I do think it's a little on the pricey side for what is, essentially, a clay mask with a bit of lavender, but I can't deny that it's nice and it works well for its intended purpose. I'm not sure that I'd buy it again, though; I think I'd want more than nice for £35! Have you tried any MONU products? Do you like the sound of the Instant Radiance Peeling Cream?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Monday, 16 November 2015

Review | Benefit They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer

A few days ago, I posted about December's Magazine Freebies, one of which is a miniature size of Benefit's new They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer - so new, in fact, that it isn't actually available to buy in the shops yet; this is an ELLE exclusive for now.
Benefit They're Real Tinted Lash Primer Review
Now I wasn't a fan of the original They're Real! mascara for a few reasons; namely, I found the brush cumbersome and impractical, didn't really find the formula that impressive, and found it to be a complete nightmare to remove. Benefit claim their They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer "Works two ways! 1. Wear as a mascara primer to dramatically boost length and separation. 2. Wear alone to tint and define lashes for a natural, feathery look."
Benefit They're Real Primer
The packaging is in keeping with the rest of the They're Real! line; a silver plastic tube emblazoned with the They're Real logo in brown and orange, rather than the typical black, to reflect the mink-brown shade of the primer. The brush is the same as the original mascara which is a huge negative for me as I found it really difficult to use.
Benefit They're Real Tinted Primer Brush
The formula is quite nice, it goes on smoothly without clumping and does work quite well alone to lengthen and define my lashes, as you can see below; They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer on the left of the photo, bare lashes on the right. I'd happily wear this alone as a day-to-day mascara.
Benefit They're Real Primer vs Bare Lashes
I don't actually have They're Real! at the moment so I used this under Benefit's Roller Lash mascara, which I much prefer! At first I was quite impressed with the difference between the two eyes; again, I've used the primer followed by one coat of Roller Lash on the left below and on the right is just one coat of Roller Lash. I do think there's a bit more volume and definition with the primer than with Roller Lash alone.
Benefit They're Real Primer & Roller Lash Mascara
However, I then wondered what the difference was from just applying two coats of mascara - and it turned out, very little! My lashes were a little more clumpy with two coats of mascara as opposed to the primer and mascara, but even that you'd only notice really close-up. For me, I don't think it's worth the hassle of using two separate products, particularly as I'm generally happy with my lashes with just one coat of mascara anyway! If you do have shorter or sparser lashes then this could well be worth a try to build up a slightly more natural-looking length and volume.
Benefit They're Real Primer vs two coats of mascara
Benefit They're Real Tinted Lash Primer Review & Comparisons
From what I understand, Benefit's They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer will be priced at £18.50 and will launch on December 26th - just in time for you to spend your Christmas money on it if you like it! Until then, though, you can pick it up for FREE with December's issue of ELLE - I say free, you do of course have to pay £4.10 for the magazine... Have you picked up Benefit They're Real! Tinted Lash Primer with ELLE this month? Will you be buying the full-sized product when it launches next month?


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Christmas Gifts 2015 | For Him

Last week I shared some suggestions for Christmas gifts for the ladies in your life; this time, it's the turn of the men... I personally find shopping for men really difficult and, although I'm single this festive season, I still have a dad and a brother to shop for - and my inconsiderate brother also has a Christmas birthday to think about! I've put together a few suggestions below but I'd love to hear any of your ideas for fun and unique Christmas gifts for men!!
Christmas Gifts For Him 2015

I love skincare so it's obvious really that I'm a fan of gifting other people with skincare! I really like The Body Shop's products and whilst I don't really agree that men need different lines of face wash and so on, I do think it makes them more likely to use them, and this does sound rather nice! I don't know anyone who actually uses a hip flask, but this would be a nice one to have on display in a cabinet maybe? It's quite pretty! Board games are something of a Christmas tradition in our family so something like the Pub Quiz Trivia would go down really well. Back to toiletries with the L'Occitane shower gel; most men don't splash out on things like shower gel, so Christmas may be a good time to treat them to something a little more luxurious... I don't feel I need to say any more about the penguin cufflinks - they're so cute!! I love the bottle of the Lancôme Hypnôse EDT and it's currently half price to save you some pennies - bonus! Socks are, of course, a Christmas staple and whilst these are quite expensive socks, I have to admit they are suitably awesome. And finally, what man doesn't love a gadget!? I don't think you can go wrong with a decent pair of headphones and again, these are currently half price. What will you be buying for the men in your life this Christmas? Any suggestions to share?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Review | The Body Shop French Lavender Massage Oil*

I was recently very kindly sent a product from The Body Shop's new Spa of the World range to try out; the French Lavender Massage Oil*, which is part of the Relaxing Ritual product range. Now I'll admit straight off that this isn't a product I'd have chosen for myself as Lavender is never my first choice of fragrance and, being single, a massage oil isn't a product I'd have chosen. That said, I have actually quite enjoyed using this, which just goes to show you can always be surprised!!
The Body Shop Spa of the World French Lavender Massage Oil
I really like the bottle, which is an unusual shape, and the gold labelling makes it look that little bit more luxurious and high-end than The Body Shop's usual offerings, in my opinion. I have to say, the packaging of the whole Spa of the World range is gorgeous!! The cap screws on tightly to prevent any accidents, and unscrews to reveal a small aperture so you don't end up with way more product than you need. "In the 14th century, King Charles VI of France demanded pillows filled with lavender to soothe him to sleep. Lavender essential oil has a natural relaxing scent which promotes a sense of well-being. Focusing on tensed areas, massage onto skin to help relax body and mind."
Relaxing Ritual French Lavender Massage Oil
The oil is quite thin in consistency, which makes it easy to spread onto the skin, and it has a silky rather than greasy or sticky texture; I've found it actually absorbs into the skin as you massage, so you'd hope it will have some moisturising properties alongside a nice relaxing massage! With a base of Sweet Almond Oil, Sesame Seed Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil, alongside the Lavender Oil which offers a subtle but definitely noticeable scent, these are all skin-friendly ingredients - although, as always, you can be allergic to anything so don't take it for granted. I really like using this Massage Oil on my lower legs at bedtime, as I often have tired, aching calves, so this is a lovely soothing treat to myself.
The Body Shop French Lavender Massage Oil
All in all this has been a lovely way to treat myself at the end of a long shift at work and I have found the scent really quite soothing and relaxing, although I never need any help dropping off to sleep! The Body Shop Spa of the World French Lavender Massage Oil is priced at £14 for 160ml, which I do think is a little on the pricey side for what it is. However this would make a lovely gift for a special someone, and with the frequent offers at The Body Shop, you can usually save a few pounds by shopping at sensible times! Have you tried any products from the Spa of the World range? Any recommendations for me? I really like the sound of the Lemongrass Massage Oil as well!

[*Product provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 9 November 2015

December 2015 Magazine Freebies [UK]

December is looking like another good month when it comes to magazine freebies; I've spotted a few gems amongst the shelves in the newsagents! I'll be honest, I very rarely actually read the magazines these days (so many other things to do!) but I still regularly pick them up as I think the freebies are a brilliant way to try out new products or stock up on old favourites.
December 2015 Magazine Freebies
ELLE (£4.10, Alexa Chung on the cover) comes with an exclusive Benefit They're Real! Lash Primer, said to work in two ways. You can wear it alone for a natural, fluttery look, or layered with mascara for full-on, dramatic length and separation. I wasn't hugely impressed with the They're Real! mascara but I'm interested to see how this fares for me!
ELLE Benefit Freebie December 2015
InStyle (£3.99, Anne Hathaway on the cover) comes with an Eyeko mascara; I have way too many mascaras as it is so I skipped this one, but I know a lot of people rave about Eyeko's mascara so this could be a great way to try it out!
Red (£4.10, Nigella Lawson on the cover) comes with a card redeemable for a free tall Starbucks drink; now obviously the value depends on the drink you choose and I'm not sure what terms & conditions apply as I haven't picked this one up, but I'm not sure it would be worth the price of the magazine for the Starbs alone!
Glamour Clinique Freebies December 2015
Glamour (£2, Tanya Burr on the cover) comes with one of four Clinique products; I've picked up a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ but there's also a High Impact Mascara and two shades of lipstick to choose from. I'll definitely be grabbing the red lippie if I spot it anywhere, it looks like a lovely shade!
Have you seen any other magazine freebies around this month? Will you be searching down any of these little beauties?


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Review | Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash

I've been using Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash for around a year now, on and off; I mentioned it in my post on the Botanics range, but haven't actually got around to sharing a proper review... Until now!
Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash
"This lightly foaming soap-free wash gently lifts away make-up and impurities, leaving skin feeling detoxified and beautifully cleansed. 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." The face wash is presented in a simple white plastic tube with a pretty floral design on; it's easy to squeeze product out of the tube, and it feels sturdy enough that I'm happy travelling with it.
All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash Review
I actually use this both morning and evening; in the morning it works really well for me to just freshen up my skin and remove any oil and grime that's gathered overnight, I just massage it into my skin with damp hands and then remove with a warm flannel. It doesn't really foam or lather so the name is a bit misleading in that respect, but foaming products are often quite drying so that's not a bad thing in my book! Of an evening, I remove my make-up with micellar water, then use an oil or cream cleanser as my first cleanse, and follow up with this - again to make sure that all the make-up, dirt and other nasties are properly washed away. I usually splash this off with running water rather than using a flannel in the evening, but that's just personal preference! I find this works really well, it fits nicely within my skincare routine and is versatile enough for both morning and evening. I have used it as my only cleanse in the evening and found it worked okay, I just prefer an oil or cream as my first cleanse - again, personal preference. As for the brightening claims - I'm not sure, to be honest, whether it's made any difference for me, but I figure it can't hurt!
Botanics All Bright Foam Wash
All in all, I do think this is a bloomin' good cleanser and even better when you consider the price - Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Foam Wash is priced at £3.99 for 150ml, though it's currently on offer at just £1.99 which is an absolute bargain, making it a brilliant time to pick this up if you like the sound of it! I'd really recommend this if you're after a budget-friendly face wash which won't dry your skin out. Have you tried any products from the Botanics range? What's your favourite face wash?


Friday, 6 November 2015

Christmas Gifts 2015 | For Her

Despite having an aversion to anything Christmas-related until mid-December at the earliest, I am actually trying to be a bit more organised this year - I'm hoping to have at least some presents bought by the end of this month! That said, I've put together a few gift ideas for anyone shopping for the ladies in your life...
Christmas Gifts For Her
Origins Mask Marvels, £30
Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, £38
Sweet Cecily's Make Your Own Lipbalm Kit, £15.95
Christian Louboutin Mexicatchy Sheer Voile Lip Colour, £60
The Body Shop Frosted Plum Tin of Delights, £28
I picked up an Origins mask set in the sales last year and it was brilliant, they're a great way to try out a few masks - this one has four 50ml tubes with a total value of £46, so it's a bit of a bargain! The UD Naked Smoky palette has been a big hit with beauty lovers this year and would be sure to go down a storm. I love the idea of a DIY gift like this kit from Sweet Cecily's - a novelty gift that will actually get used rather than shoved in a cupboard or drawer! The Louboutin lipsticks are as gorgeous as they are expensive, these would be an investment but would make a lady feel very special... Although with 36 shades to choose from, you might need some input from the lady in question! I was very kindly sent a pair of Jimmi Jamms pyjamas* a few weeks ago and they're lovely, so soft and cosy, and the packaging is super-cute too! I'd recommend sizing up, though, if you're uncertain between two sizes. The perfume gift sets that come out around this time of year are always brilliant deals; here you get a 50ml EDP, Shower Gel and 10ml Rollerball EDP for less than the usual price of a 40ml EDP! If you know your sister, girlfriend or Mum loves a certain fragrance, definitely look out for sets like this. And finally, The Body Shop's festive scents are always gorgeous and I'm loving the Frosted Plum scent this year! This lovely tin contains a Shower Gel, Body Butter, Shimmer Fragrance Globe and Lip Balm so it would be a nice pampering treat.
Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Any ideas what you'll be getting for the ladies in your life?

[*Product provided for consideration. I have not been paid to mention any of the items included in this post. Post contains affiliate links.]