Thursday, 28 March 2013

Empties #2 | Mariam

Recently I've amassed quite the collection of empty products. I love reading/watching empties posts/videos, as they are extremely insightful, as far as beauty posts can be!

There's quite a lot to talk about, especially skincare, so let's get going!

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3
This is a bit of a cheat, as there was only half of this product left when it was handed down to me by my brother's partner, but it's empty, so it's in the post! This is basically the most astringent toner I've ever used; paint-stripper would be the word! I could only use this once or twice a week otherwise I felt like I was stripping my skin to all buggery, but whenever I could feel a bit of a breakout coming, I felt this product put it in check and made my skin look brighter in the morning, so there was a mild exfoliating action going on . I wouldn't buy it again, because I generally believe in using gentler products on my skin, and this was just a bit too much.

REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
I bought this upon endless raves by some of my favourite bloggers. Any skincare with clay in is an easy sale for me, to be quite honest, and I can see exactly why this is a popular product. I loved using this as a second or third stage cleanse in the evening. It keeps sebum production under control and I also quite like the odd clay smell. I probably will buy this again, but there's a lot of cleansers out there, a girl just can't commit!

Vichy Normaderm 3 in 1 Cleanser, Scrub and Mask
Oh, how I love a multi-tasker! Vichy is one of my favourite skincare brands, and I've actually already bought this product again since this tube has run out. I like using this in the evening again. It's got quite harsh scrub particles in, but it keeps spots at bay and once again: clay texture - I'm in love!

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash
This is a small sample that I received in a Christmas hamper, and to be honest, I am so glad this is empty because this was perhaps the worst face wash I've ever used. I always steer clear of foamy face washes, but was drawn in by 'frothy'. Well, let me tell you, this foams like the worst of 'em, and gives you that horrible squeaky-clean feel, like you'd get if you washed your face with a bar of Imperial Lather.

Bourjois Express Eye Makeup Remover
Hands down the best eye make up remover I have ever used. Shake it up, pop it on a cotton pad, hold to your eyes for 20 secs, swipe and you are done. This is my fourth tube of this, and got another in the drawer. One of my holy grail products, and if you like to cake on the eye makeup like yours truly, it will be yours too.

Bioderma Sebium H2O Micelle Solution
This is the blue version of the famous Bioderma Crealine solution, which is targeted at oily to combination skin. I much prefer this to the regular one. For one, it smells fresh and in my opinion, removes face make-up much more effectively. I have to admit, it's not the best one for eye make-up (see above) but I will probably keep repurchasing it because it just works so well as the first cleanse that removes the weight of your makeup.

Tresemme Keratin Smooth Keratin Deep Treatment Masque
This came out in the summer, and I've been using it every once in a while since then. This has quite a strange texture, like PVA glue, and the classic Tresemme smell (which I actually don't love) but it makes you hair feel soft and nourished. Feel is the key word here. It doesn't treat or penetrate the hair, but if you want something to smooth out dry ends, than this is a good option that won't break the bank.

The Body Shop Vanilla Bliss Body Butter
This came out at Christmas time, and I snapped this up as soon as I saw it as I love the Body Shop butters and I love all things vanilla. To be honest, this failed to live up to my excitement. Unlike other butters I've had before, it was really thick and difficult to blend into the skin. The smell itself was really plasticky and fake. Not my best experience with the Body Shop butters but I'm making my way through the almond one now and am loving it.

Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda Toothpaste
Maybe a bit of a strange addition to the post, but I love this toothpaste. It takes some getting used to, as it's got loads of baking soda in, but it has really noticeably whitened my teeth! I'm definitely going to be repurchasing this once my other tube runs out, as who doesn't love white gnashers?

Hope you enjoyed reading through this post guys!

Mariam xx

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Blemish Treatments Ramble | Mariam

Spots. We all get them, and even though we all get them at different times and in different places, there's one thing we all have in common - getting rid of them as quickly as possible. Since popping spots is now strictly taboo, blemish creams, gels and ointments have hit the shelves and are more popular than ever. There's no shortage of anti-blemish products on the market, but these are specifically designed to be put on the spot itself, as a targeted means of treatment.

These are the three I've been testing recently, and how they measure up:

Manuka Doctor Apiclear Blemish Cream
Manuka Doctor is a brand originating from New Zealand, famous for its key ingredient of manuka honey, which is a fantastic antiseptic. This is strange, as it's actually a cream texture, rather than a gel, and also has no scent or stinging sensation, which might make it seem like it's not doing much at all. To be fair, if you're looking for an over-night fix, look elsewhere, because to me this has no miraculous spot-zapping properties, but what I find it is useful for is applying to spots under make-up. It leaves no residue or dryness, and ensures the spot is kept clean to heal throughout the day. You can get this product from Holland and Barett's.

Origins Super Spot Remover
This is one of the most talked-about spot treatments out there, with so many people claiming it virtually erases spots over night. It's fair to say I was so excited about trying this product, and it would also be fair to say that I was dismally disappointed. Not only did it do nothing for the spots, it only seemed to make matters worse! The gel is so astringent and completely dries out the skin surrounding the spot, and leaves the spot itself red and raw. This product also, in my opinion, exacerbates scarring. I just steer well clear of this. So sad that my first taste of Origins is such a bad one, but I really don't recommend it.

Freederm Gel
Freederm is one of the classic teenage acne skin brands, and though I've never used any other products of theirs, I really rate this spot treatment. In terms of ingredients, you could say it packs a punch because it's 4% nicotinamide which is a well known anti-inflammatory acne ingredient. I can honestly say this is one of the only spot products I've used that seems to make a difference within hours. I go to sleep with a spot that's either fully bulging or just sneaking up to the surface and I wake up either with a small and easy-to-conceal mark or no spot at all. Magic! This little tube is easily available in Boots, Superdrug and bigger supermarkets. I'd buy one right now if I were you.

Which spot-gels do the trick for you?

Mariam xx

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Worth the Hype: Tangle Teezer | Mariam

It's not going to get more exciting than a hairbrush this Sunday, ladies and gentlemen, but as far as hairbrushes go, this is probably the most thrilling of the lot.

The Tangle Teezer was thought up by some guy who went on Dragon's Den. The dragons rejected him, but his product is now one of the most hyped hair tools around. It's shaped to fit inside the palm of your hand, and the bristles themselves come in two sizes, and are extremely soft and bendy. I chose the cosmic blue design, but there's loads of colours and designs to choose from, especially if you purchase on-line

I was extremely interested to see if this invention would work for me, as my hair is always so knotty after a shower. I have to say, though, that the Tangle Teezer makes combing out my hair so easy, and even quite fun. Before using the Tangle-Teezer, I used to rely on various hair oils and detanglers to make my hair manageable, but now, all it takes is a few minutes with this little beauty and my hair is soft, smooth without a knot or tangle in sight. 

I will say that the Tangle Teezer still manages to pull out a big amount of hair through brushing, but much less than with other combs or brushes I've used before. This, however, is down to the quality of my hair itself, rather than the product, so I won't knock points down for that.

All in all, if you struggle with wild and unruly hair and are tired of putting in extra product to help with this, I would really recommend the Tangle Teezer. It's not the cheapest hairbrush out there at roughly £11 a piece, but it's totally worth it. 

Do you own a Tangle Teezer? If not, would you like one?

Mariam xx

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Wishlist #1 | Shona

Oh Sundays, I do love em. This morning I sat for at least three hours swooning over what the high street had on offer for me now that it's autumn. However, since I am hopefully going to Spain shortly (more on that to come...) it would be pretty silly of me to actually buy anything, which in some respects sucks because Autumn/winter is definitely my favorite season both for weather and fashion. Anyway I decided to put together an autumn wishlist or outfit idea together, just for my amusement anyway. 
6. MAC - See Sheer, £14

Firstly; THE SHOES! I know they're really not to everyone's taste (I can already tell Mariam won't be a fan) but I absolotely love them. I feel like dressed in a very casual and subtle fashion they really add something to an outfit. Secondly, I am in absolute love with the Jacket from the moment I saw it in my local store I knew that one day it would end up in my wardrobe... now I just have to suck up enough courage to pay £55 for it! I am definately a fan of James Dean, (not only for his looks, but I ain't complaining) and I know primark had a t-shirt very similar to this last year but unfortuately I missed out. Lastly, I know that the lipstick and nail polish is slightly out of keeping with the rest of the look but I think these accents would really pick the whole outfit up, as its all quite dark and moody.

Hope you like it, are there any pieces out there this autumn that your just dying for?

Shona xx

Friday, 14 September 2012

Worth the Hype: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser | Mariam

There's no need for me to re-affirm the popularity of this cleanser of the beauty world. Would you believe, it's John Lewis' top-selling product? That's right - even among the mugs and the toasters, this cleanser proves to be the most attractive product in the whole of the UK's biggest department store. No doubt, then, this cleanser holds attention.

Arguably one reason for this cleanser's popularity is it's universal appeal. Within Liz Earle's impressive skincare range, this is the only cleanser, and is marketed as being suitable for all skin types, all ages. While some people have hit back at this claim, I certainly think this is one of the only products that I would happily recommend to anyone. Dry skin, oily skin, blemished skin, mature skin, teenage skin; this product caters to all.

So how does it fare with my oily, blemish-prone skin? Well, it's fair to say that at first I was extremely apprehensive. For someone whose skincare misconceptions made them believe that cleansers for blemished skin had to be foaming, gel-like and astringent, the creamy and non-lathering concept of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish seemed alien to me.

However, there is no skin-care tip more pertinent than cleaning your skin properly and this is something that this product does better than the rest. I know that the common usage instructions are to use the cleanser on a face full of makeup. Personally, I find that there are better ways to remove the weight of my make-up, such as with regular water or cream non-rinse cleansers. Once the thick layer of my make-up is off, then I'm ready to use the Liz Earle, as my skin is more prepared to absorb the lovely ingredients that lie inside, such as the rosemary which works wonders for problematic skin. Giving time to massage the product deep into your pores also ensures a thorough cleanse; one that leaves your skin refreshed but most definitely not tight.

So, we've cleansed, but that's only 50% of now-famous 'Cleanse and Polish' claim on the bottle. This cleanser is unique as it also comes with a muslin cloth that is to be used with warm water to remove the cleanser from your face. The cloth acts to exfoliate, or polish, the skin gently, removing all final traces of make-up, dirt and the product itself. I normally like to splash my face with water after, and then I'm left with that satisfying feeling of knowing that my skin is impeccably clean and ready for any further products.

I'm sure we're all tired of hearing it, but the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish truly is a strong product, and one that I can imagine myself repurchasing for some time. Everything about it from the mild exfoliating properties to the eucalyptus smell make me happy and it's certainly a staple in my skin-care routine. Well done, Mrs Earle, your cleanser is truly worthy of a best-seller status.

Mariam xx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Heat protectants Good v evil | Shona

 My first voyage into heat protectants has been mixed. Previously I had been oh so uncouth to subject my hair to heat without any protection, and as a result had at least four inches chopped at the hairdressers (although this may have also had something to do with setting it on fire whilst boiling a pot of pasta...but that's another story for another day). I suppose I just never really thought a heat protectant could actually be effective in stopping any damage, however after that trip to the hair dressers and the stern telling off I received I decided to start playing by the rule book. On the other hand, I wasn't about to spurge on these items, so when I spotted a two-for £4.00 offer in boots I snapped up the chance. I picked up the L'oreal Paris 'HotCurl Thermo Curling Spray' and the 'Hot Straight Spray'.

Are they any good? Well that'll be both a 'Yes!' and a 'Hell No!'  I rather likes the straight spray, but the Curling spray has to be the worst hair product I have ever put in it. It made my hair feel really dirty, from the moment it was sprayed and no amount of brushing could get rid of the sticky, grimy feel. If your reading this and thinking it might be useful for a beachy, tousled look, you might be right...if you want your hair to look and feel as if you've washed it in sea water and then rolled around in a sand dune for half an hour. that nay be a bit strong but you get the gist. On a side note, and another reason to stay well away is that it smell like really really cheap vodka, as one of it's main ingredients is 'Alchol denat' so it's probably just as bad for your hair as not using a heat protectant at all.

The Hot Straight spray on the other hand is really nice, I was quite apprehensive to try it after my experience with the curling spray but it is absolutely nothing like its counterpart. It definitely leaves my hair feeling smooth and glossy after I have straightened or blow-dried. Also It smells quite nice, nothing to write home about but it has a cleanly, floral vibe about it. The only downside is that when I decide to curl my hair I feel like it works against the curl, weighing it down and so by the end of the day they are pretty much non-existent.

Do I think it has protected my hair? I'm not too sure, its hard to tell but it makes straightening easier and produces good results so I'm more than willing to keep on using it if not only to avoid the wrath of my hairdresser!

Do you know any good heat defense sprays that work for more curly hair?

Shona xx

Friday, 7 September 2012

August Favourites | Mariam

I know that everybody is going to say this, but I really can't believe it's September! It's baffling, really. But with a new month comes a whole new host of beauty favourites. Here's what I have been enjoying lately:

Dove Damage Therapy Heat Activated Protect Mist
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with heat protectants. I know I should use them, but the majority of the one's I've used have either smelt like fish or left a greasy, heavy residue on my hair. When I first saw that Dove had a heat protectant, I thought it may well have been better than the others. And indeed, this smells like all Dove products, clean and fresh, and leaves my hair feeling soft and bouncy.

The Body Shop Shae Body Mist
The Body Shop has recently repackaged their body mists in rather more chic glass bottles. I recently picked up the Shae one, as I love all shae products such as body butters or shower creams. Though body mists are always rather simple smelling, and perhaps lack the 'grown-up' feel of a fashion house perfume, this smells amazing. It's nutty, soft, almost androgynous but definitely subtle. If Balenciaga packaged this as a new fragrance, this would be a sell-out. Perhaps it's not the longest lasting formula, but as it's only a £7 bottle, it doesn't really matter of you re-apply several times throughout the day.

Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, Scrub and Mask
I had a bit of a bad break-out period a little while back but this little gem has really helped clear my skin and control my excessive sebum production. It has got quite harsh scrub particles in, which I don't particularly love, so I do try to be as gentle and sparing with this product as possible, but I would recommend this to anyone who has oily, blemish prone skin to use as both a cleanser and a mask.

Nip+Fab Pistachio Sundae Dry Skin Fix Body Butter
This body butter is not only so nicely whipped but smells better than anything I've ever smelt before. Like pistachio ice cream and macaroons. I will definitely be repurchasing the full size.

Barry M Nail Paint in 318 Peach Melba
This is one of the more famous Barry M shades and I can see why. First of all the colour is amazing and you only need two coats for a creamy opaque finish. While summer is slowly seeping away, this colour still keeps the memories of those sunny days alive, on my nails at least.

Gosh Natural Touch Cream Blusher in 001 Peachy Rush
This is the perfect summer blush colour - just so flattering and makes you look instantly alive and healthy. It's a bit solid for a cream blush but I prefer blushes that aren't over pigmented as you can build the colour freely without risking clown cheeks.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in Shade 52 Vanille
I've recently rediscovered this old favourite, and it's definitely easy to see why this is a go-to drugstore foundation for so many. It's light, not too matte, not too dewy, medium coverage and just the most effortless foundation to apply on lazy days.

Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Bufing Brush
I don't even think anyone in the UK uses standard foundation brushes anymore since these came along. This brush is most definitely worth the hype. It's just dense enough to achieve a perfect flawless base but not too dense that it results in heavily caked-on foundation. Makes applying foundation about twice as fast and gives me the finish I have been longing for. It's a shame this isn't sold on it's own, but the other three brushes in the Core Collection have come in handy too.

17 Wild Curls Mascara in Black
I like my brushes long, black and voluminous and the majority if the mascaras I have seem to do that for me. But it takes a special little guy to hold curl on my lashes in this here mascara has been able to do that, even on my camel-esque lashes. So, put simply, this drugstore mascara does everything. I definitely see a repurchase coming.

I hope you enjoyed my favourites this month. Needless to say, I did! Have a good September and speak soon.

Mariam xx