Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hourglass Immaculate Foundation Review

I've been looking forward to doing this review on my blog for a while now, but I knew that I wanted to take my time and collect all my thoughts on it carefully before writing them down. But basically the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid to Powder Foundation has been an enormous game changer for me. I had never even heard of this foundation but as I explained in my recent haul a lady working on the Hourglass counter introduced me to it and I sort of haven't looked back since.

Immaculate is a liquid foundation but as the name suggests it does turn to powder making it a matte foundation. I've never owned a matte foundation but I was willing to give this a go as its supposedly great for acne prone skin because it absorbs your skin's natural oils which as a result gives you this fantastically long wearing foundation, two big ticks already. When you apply this foundation it feels lovely and silky, not what I expected from something claiming to be matte - however because it does turn to powder you don't want to hang around buffing this into the skin as it sort of sets relatively quickly.

Once buffed into the skin (recommended with a brush) this foundation becomes what I can only describe as weightless, it literally feels like I'm not wearing a scrap of makeup which for a medium to full coverage foundation is amazing. This tackles redness, covers blemishes well and gives my skin an effortlessly flawless finish. I was expecting the finish to be somewhat flat because it is a matte foundation however it makes your skin look so vibrant and healthy.

One thing that I would say is that properly moisturizing your face and neck ahead of using this is essential because of its matte tendencies or it will highlight any dryness. But as long as you apply a moisturizer beforehand you should be fine. My skin type is normal so I can get away with wearing this however if you are dry then I'm not sure how well this foundation would work, however for all the oily skinned girls out there this would be fabulous.

I was matched to the shade porcelain which is an absolutely perfect match to my skin tone. Since using this my skin has seemed a lot calmer, I haven't had any crazy out of control breakouts. My skin just seems to agree with this foundation, I can wear it on a daily basis and it doesn't cause any breakouts which is another bonus as I find so many foundations upset my skin.

I cannot even begin to explain what this foundation has done for me in terms of confidence and for that alone it has been worth every penny for me.  Which brings me on to the price tag, yes this is probably one of the heftiest priced foundations on the market at a steep £50 but the quality is 100% reflected in the price. To me it has no downfalls at all which makes it worth the money, it honestly lasts on your face all day so you don't need to make touch ups meaning what you apply in the morning will still be looking as good by the time you go to take it off. It comes in a glass bottle with a pump which feels quite luxurious but I suppose you would expect that from such a high end product.

Before Immaculate I had lost a bit of love and trust in my foundations as none of them were cutting it either the shades weren't right or the coverage wasn't there. Basically I wasn't very satisfied but now I actually look forward to putting on my makeup each morning as I know I am going to get gorgeous results every time. Definitely the best makeup purchase I've made this year.

Wearing Hourglass Immaculate Foundation
QOTD: Have you tried Immaculate? What's your favourite high end foundation?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Fragrance Focus: Jo Malone Plum Blossom

Earlier this month Jo Malone released the brand new Blue Skies & Blossoms collection, a 'playful and carefree collection of scents' which saw the release of three of the brands most popular blossom fragrances. Jo Malone, limited edition, blossoms? I was all over it. As soon as I heard the collection had hit the stores I was up to my local boutique to take a sniff of the three limited edition offerings. Honestly I thought they were all stunning but at £86 a pop, buying all three was clearly out the question. A girl can dream right?

I had in my hand three white Jo Malone paper test sticks with each of the new blossom scents sprayed on them, and I could have happily done an eeny-meeny-miny-moe and still walk away satisfied. However one scent did stick out to me most and that was the Plum Blossom cologne: succulent, juicy and so, so feminine. Although it smells nothing like Orange Blossom, Plum Blossom does remind me of it slightly in the way that it is both flowery yet fruity as well. Slightly on the rich side - but still very fresh and not at all 'heavy', this is one of those colognes that is quite distinguishable on the skin. I recommend spraying this behind the ear as the scent settles easily on the skin there and you are often left catching whiffs of its loveliness as your hair moves.

Effortlessly elegant with a subtly flirty edge, Plum Blossom makes me feel rather sweet and ladylike.
Whenever I wear this perfume I get the notion that I ought to whip on a pretty maxi skirt, the sort that flows gracefully when you walk and generally makes you feel like a bit of a feminine goddess. Such a beautiful scent. I'm sure I say this with all my JM's but Plum Blossom could fit any occasion, a real classic and suitable come day or night. Inspired by spring blossoms perhaps but this would work timelessly all year round. This could smell incredibly sexy and edgier with one of the Cologne Intense range - I'm thinking maybe a combination with Oud & Bergamot or Tuberose Angelica... oooh. I'll report back.

And, oh did I mention how much I adore the bottle? Housed with true Jo Malone styled limited edition embellishments, the usually classic silver lid replaced with royal purple and a cute as a button bow. I couldn't be more smitten.

QOTD: Have you taken a look at the Blue Skies and Blossoms collection from Jo Malone?

Friday, 24 April 2015

Quick Tip: Smooth Feet Guaranteed

Feet. The word alone is enough to make some shudder and grimace. But whether you like feet or not its coming up to that time of year again where they begin to make an appearance out in public. Sandals, backless shoes, flip flops will all be getting fished out the back of the wardrobes before long. The feet are a part of the body that seem to get a bit of a bad reputation and as a result they can become something that people become very conscious about.

Having worked as a Foot Health Practitioner for the last year now, this is a topic I know well. If you're after smooth feet this summer, it really can be as simple as you make it.

Step 1: You need to reduce the hard skin. This is where a professional* comes in, we are properly trained to use tools and equipment that are most effective in reducing hard skin and we can get to all those 'hard to reach' areas on the foot - remember hard skin isn't just restricted to your heels.

Step 2: You must maintain a regular foot care routine. Its all very well getting a professional to eliminate your hard skin, but you need to keep it up because at the end of the day if you're active and on your feet frequently it will eventually come back. Getting into a routine is going to help maintain the condition of your feet: make it simple so its something you know you will keep up with it. Applying a foot cream daily will help keep the skin smooth. CCS Foot Care Cream is what I use on my clients and my own feet, its available to buy in Boots  (would anyone be interested in a full review? Comment below!) Foot files and other at home foot care devices are useful to buff away dead skin in between the practitioner's visits.

Step 3: Arrange a follow up treatment plan.  Usually schedule a revisit within a couple of months. I visit clients on a regular basis who comply to a foot care routine with me visiting and their maintenance in between and the results are clear to see.

Step 4: Enjoy flaunting your feet. If you follow these steps you will notice a difference fairly quickly!

My own heels.
* To find Foot Health Practitioners in your area its often worth checking out local magazines.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Things Got Spendy: An Hourglass Haul

Hourglass is one of those luxury brands that I have admired from afar. When a counter opened at my nearest John Lewis department store last summer I managed to stay away with just one purchase which was their Arch Sculpting Brow Pencil which if you've read my review was a bit of a hit and miss product for me. I think that my mixed feelings on the brow pencil kept me away for a while, however a couple of weeks ago I happened to make a detour and pass the Hourglass counter. I was stood absentmindedly looking at all the beautiful products - I mean honestly I think their items are some of the most beautiful products out there - I must have been looking like a lost puppy as I was approached by the makeup artist.

I happened to be having a bit of a makeup free day - just an eye makeup/lipstick kind of thing going on, and I have to say my skin was looking dreadfully sorry for itself. The lady on the counter didn't miss out on my bare blemished skin either, as she began pointing me in the direction of the foundations. She was chatting away to me about one of their foundations: Immaculate Liquid to Powder and was basically telling me how amazing it was. Admittedly I'd never heard of it before but I listened with interested anyway.

At the time I wasn't really looking for a new foundation, I was just having an innocent, casual browse, but the girl really did seem pretty passionate and seriously knew her stuff about this foundation. I was offered a colour match and so I thought, why not it can't hurt? The girl told me to take a seat at the counter while she found my colour, she tried two on my jawline: one was a bit too pink toned for me however the second was literally the closest colour match to my skin that I have ever seen in a foundation. And it felt so... weightless.

Right away it had my attention. And so I let the girl apply the foundation to my entire face while she continued to talk about the ingredients inside the product and some of the science behind it. The result of the makeup was seriously impressive. My imperfect skin was transformed to, well almost what you would call perfection. When she was finished the girl handed me a sample to take home and try myself which I was really pleased about, too often I think I have bought foundations on a whim without actually giving them a trial before purchasing. Plus there was no way I was going to go out and buy such an expensive luxurious product without doing a bit of my own research.

You can see where the story ends here. I fell head over heels. And so once I had saved many pennies up I headed back to Hourglass, unable to be without the foundation once my sample had run out. I won't say a lot more because I am going to do a full review on this soon. But I will say for now its been worth every penny. And while I was feeling ridiculously high on my splurge to Hourglass I went all out and picked up one of the Ambient Lighting Powders in Diffused Light. Now these I had heard plenty about and I thought there was no better time than to add one to my makeup collection as they are truly stunning. I most certainly am loving Hourglass as a brand at the moment and I also got a handful of free goodies to try with my purchase including a mascara, lipstick and some of their famous veil primer!

QOTD: What beauty products have you splurged on lately?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Products I've Used Up | Empties #7

Time for another instalment of empty products! I have a lot to get through today! So I'm going to do today's empty products post a little differently than normal by splitting it up into a couple of categories and writing a short review on each product underneath and if I've already written a post about it I will link it up there.

Hair & Skincare.

VO5 Cherish My Colour Shampoo & Conditioner. I wrote a full hair care post a little while ago featuring these two products. I liked these together, thought that they maintained clean looking hair however I don't think that they did a lot in prolonging the life of the colour. I would buy these again though purely as they are affordable everyday hair products.

Vaseline Antiperspirant Active Fresh. I'm usually a Sure deodorant girl but the Vaseline ones were on offer and thought I'd give them a go. Fine for day to day use but wouldn't recommend them ahead of a sweaty gym session as my armpits weren't quite so fresh smelling compared to my usual Sure one.

Cotton pads. In every single empty post I do I think, as always I get these from Aldi as they are most reasonable and good quality.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Wipes. Ehh. In theory these wipes felt very delicate, they had a mild, clean not too overpowering fragrance but the occasional time I had a lazy evening and wanted to use a wipe to remove my makeup this made my face so irritated, patchy red and generally unhappy. I felt these tugged too much they weren't gentle at all. I ended up using these to take off stubborn lipstick. Not for me, and they weren't cheap either so wouldn't repurchase.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + 50ml. I got this when feeling a little spendy in Clinique on my holiday back in December. And this has turned out to be my holy grail moisturiser as it is the only one I've found I can wear without breaking my skin out. Full review here. The only thing I would say about the 50ml is that its not the best in terms of value for money compared to the 125ml.

Bath & Body.

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel. Couple of winter bath and body products in this category. The Snow Fairy is a sickly sweet as candy body wash that you've just got to buy in the build up to Christmas. Full review here.

See By Chloe Fragrance 30ml. This time last year I had a real Chloe fad and while I still think they are nice fragrances I would far rather spend my money in Jo Malone as the scents are more unique and bespoke. See By Chloe is lovely for spring and summer though and I prefer this to the original Chloe I think, full review here. I wouldn't buy this again.

The Body Shop Glazed Apple Body Butter. Oh my. This had to be one of my favourite butters from TBS ever! This was released as limited edition part of their Christmas stock and I so hope it gets re released this year. Full review here. I would definitely get this again.

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Body Butter. I bought this when the new Argan Oil range came to TBS as I'd never really tried argan oil body products - just thought it was for hair. While it was nice and nourishing due to the rich oil as an ingredient, I think there are nicer options. The smell isn't all that nice and you want a body butter to smell pleasant right? Full review here.

Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter. This is very effective at what it does at softening your cuticles and generally polishing your hands off nicely in the winter - if you can hack the lemon fragrance its quite strong. My one grumble is that because Lush uses fresh ingredients I found that it went off quite quickly.I had only used a little amount, forgot about it for a few months and by the time I went back to it it had gone off and had to chuck it out. Wouldn't buy again for this reason. I think a smaller pot and smaller price tag would be better.

Bath & Body Works Bubble Gum Sanitiser. I didn't mind the smell of this once upon a time, but my tastes changed and towards the end I found this so cheap and tacky smelling. I wouldn't buy such an overpowering hand cleaner again but go for a milder smelling one.


Soap & Glory Supercat liner pen. I'm including this in my empties as although it hasn't actually fully dried up as such - you could still use this if you were desperate its just that the pens got a bit old and therefore it doesn't create such a neat line. I'm  no pro at liner but this is the best one I've ever tried and have since replaced this with three more when Soap & Glory makeup was on 3 for 2!

Rimmel Brow This Way. This is a bit of a frustrating product as you can see its not completely empty there's quite a bit of product at the bottom but you can't get to it unfortunately. This isn't the best setting product either, my brows still get a bit unruly when using this. But for an affordable price tag it does the job okay. I would probably pick this up again but only the next time there is an offer on I think.

QOTD: What products have you used up recently?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Clinique Dramatically Different Review

Today I thought it was time to finally review my holy grail daily moisturizer on the old blog! I tend to always take skincare related posts or Youtube videos with a pinch of salt because at the end of the day everyone's skin is so different and what works for one person may not for another. However despite that fact everyone just seems to love a bit of a skincare post don't they? And so here I am telling you about my favourite daily moisturizer the famous yellow cream from Clinique: their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+. This seems to be a bit of a Marmite product in the beauty world - but I belong to the team that sings its praises!

Its taken me a long while to find a skincare product that actually works for me, I've tried my fair share of facial moisturizers that just haven't worked for me. Origins GinZing - loved everything about it apart from the small fact that it broke me out in hot unpleasant spots, similarly I had the same sort of results with the Clarins Daily Energizer  to name just a few of the top of my head. Looking back I think either my skin doesn't like those more gel like formulas or it was the fact that a lot of what I'd tried were quite highly scented? Fragranced skincare is supposedly a huge factor in contributing to these breakouts.

As I've mentioned many times now I've had a lot of issues with hormonal breakouts anyway in the last few months so I really wanted to find a facial moisturizer that would just agree with me and do its job at giving my skin some much needed hydration. I don't have oily skin, and its not dry either but in areas it just needs a bit more moisture especially around my nose.

And so onto how I find this moisturizer from Clinique - keep in mind I never tried the 'original formula' either because apparently this had a revolutionary change in the last few years and a lot of people who used to enjoy it didn't like those changes. But as I say I don't have any comparison to the original.

This yellow looking cream isn't particularly fancy by any means. When you pump out the cream it does in fact turn out to be the same yellow looking colour it is in the bottle, however as soon as it is massaged into the skin it becomes transparent. Another thing that you notice straight away is that it is unfragranced, for me this is not an issue but I know for some it would be as many tend to enjoy a moisturizer that comes with a scent.

Dramatically Different + is very light in texture and sinks in to your skin easily meaning its perfect for every day use, it absorbs very quickly and is a great base ahead of makeup. I don't ever find this sticky or greasy feeling. For me one pump is enough to cover my entire face but I usually use another small pump as well to allow for my neck area. I use this day and night because as I've mentioned this is the only moisturizer that I've tried that does not give me nasty breakouts.

Supposedly this cream is meant to strengthen your skins moisture barrier meaning that overtime the lotion becomes more effective and I would say that since using this my skin seems to accept the hydration of a moisturizer better. Obviously aside from the odd hormonal breakout my skin is generally very smooth feeling and it is definitely a result of using this.

I've been using this now since December when I first picked up my first Clinique skincare bits - I got a small 50ml bottle to start with to check my skin agreed with it and have since gone on to purchase the full size 125ml. I'm really happy with the results its never broken me out and my skin is smooth and hydrated. I think that this will definitely always be a moisturizer that I can safely rely on to give me exactly what I need without any fuss. As you can see I've used a fair amount up but I literally use it religiously twice a day and I think that this should easily see me straight through to the summer months, although I will have to remember that this doesn't contain SPF...

QOTD: Have you ever used Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

Towards the end of last year Hourglass released its limited edition three shade blush palette and it was safe to admit that the beauty loving world swooned at its loveliness. At the time of its release around Christmas I knew that a hefty £50 splurge on a blusher palette was the last thing I needed however much I coveted after this gorgeous temptation from Hourglass. Now I know that I might be a bit of a tease in writing this post as generally speaking it is now unavailable to buy because it was limited edition. However my local counter at a John Lewis department store miraculously had a few left over.

Last month when I saw that they still had some of the limited edition stock left I was extremely tempted but walked away and told myself if it was still there the next time I happen to go past I would get it. When I went back earlier this week, a palette still remained. And so I could resist the temptation no longer. The moral of this story is that if you didn't get your hands on this palette at the time and you are still after it, it may be worth a scope around your nearest counters! You never know.

This is undoubtedly the most beautiful item of makeup that I own to date, visually everything from the packaging to the three shades of deliciously pigmented powders are just a dream to look at. What I like about the palette is that each of the three shades, Luminous Flash, Incandescent Electra and Mood Exposure offer something slightly different meaning I will probably never need to buy another blusher again! Luminous Flash is a gorgeous rosy pink, while Incandescent Elecrta has a peachy tone to it and Mood Exposure is more on the plum side of things also meaning that this palette will see you perfectly through all the seasons.

Not a cheap investment to say the least, however to buy the blushers individually these cost £28 and although you get less product as the trio it does works out cheaper per blusher plus they are all in one convenient palette. I do believe that Incandescent Elecrta is limited only to this palette, so you can't buy that on its own - this also happens to be my favourite in the palette as I do love me a peachy hued blush. Needless to say all three look stunning when applied, they create a gorgeous natural glow that catches the light making them really illuminating without making you look overdone. I am besotted with this beautiful palette, it was well worth my patient waiting to get my hands on it!

QOTD: Did you manage to get hold of the Hourglass Ambient Blush Palette?

Monday, 6 April 2015

Manicure Monday SNS Nails Review

For almost as long as I can remember I've loved having my nails painted, I think nails can really add that finishing touch to your look - they can also have an effect in transforming your look say from girly to something a little edgier. Nails definitely can make a statement, and I love that about them. However, as I've mentioned before in my manicure Monday posts, my nails are seriously easy to chip - if I can get a few days chip free with a polish I'm doing good. I'm not sure what it is but I'm so prone to chip nails and it drives me mad. Nothing looks tackier than a hand full of bodged up nails.

A few months ago I was admiring my friends nails, she was wearing a colour very similar to Revlon Up The Ante and she told me that she'd had them done in a salon and they were something called SNS Nails - a unique powder formula that is supposedly non damaging and completely chip proof. I wont go in to the nitty gritty but there's more information about them here if you were interested to find out exactly how it works.

Sick of chipped nails and constantly taking polish on and off or having to make touch ups, I decided to treat myself a few months ago and try out these SNS nails. Having never had my nails done before I was quite excited to say the least. Basically there's a few steps but your nails are dipped in the powder several times and then set with a special top coat. The process takes about half an hour or so but once done the nails are good to go about your day to day tasks.

I have now had SNS nails done three times and I am absolutely loving the results,and can officially confirm that SNS Nails allow:

  • At least three weeks guaranteed chip proof wear - these do not budge, I clean dishes all throughout the day, do gym work 6 days a week including weights and using boxing gloves, go to work using sharps etc.
  • Opaque and shiny coverage- even after three weeks the colour shows no sign of diminishing, and they still shine as nicely as they did on day one.
  • Nails grow as normal - the only real tell-tale sign that these are due freshening up is the nail regrowth at the root and around the cuticle where it grows out.

 There's a tonne of colours to pick from, I had the light green first and to say I'm impressed is an understatement. After three weeks they were still going strong, not a chip or sing of chipping in sight. You could probably get longer wear time chip free if you can handle the regrowth for a few more days too. These have saved me so much time applying nail varnish, waiting for it dry and then the inevitable touch ups and I am just loving not having to worry about chipped nails.

I think SNS nails which stands for Signature Nail System is fairly new and I'm not sure how widespread they are in salons yet especially here in the UK, but they are well worth researching or trying out if your nearby nail salon does offer them!

QOTD: Have you tried SNS Nails?