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

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Taking care of your feet | Mariam

Living in London, and often commuting on the tube, I often have the 'privilege' to observe strangers' feet. Particularly women's feet which, now that it's summer, are always housed in some sort of flip/flop/sandal/open toe shoe. I would have to say that the majority of the time, their feet are not worthy of public exposure. It's probably a bit biased because I absolutely hate feet, but I still think they deserve a bit of attention.

This is my holy foot duo:

Boots Gorgeous Feet Deeply Intensive Moisturiser
This is a cracker of a jar but both 'Mr M' and I have been enjoying using this and it's actually nearly all gone. It smells so nice (very Johnson's face lotion) and has a light and creamy texture that is perfect for smoothing onto the feet leaving them soft and pampered.

An unhonourable mention:

There's nothing wrong with this heel balm as such but I just hate the smell which is strange because Soap and Glory products normally smell amazing. It's sort of pepperminty but in a weird stale, starchy way. This makes application a bit of a dire experience and it has since found its way to the bottom of my cosmetics compost.

The Ped-Egg
I feel a bit silly for admitting that I own this because to my knowledge it's one of those weird gimmicky products you can find on JML. But this nifty little pink device promises to gently file away rough skin, which I suppose it does. I have to say, I expected this to be a little bit tougher but if you're prepared to sand away at your feet for a good hour to see some results then the Ped-Egg is your man.

Once you've got your feet all nice and smooth, the toenails are yet another important factor. In the summer I always gravitated towards loud brights but since the Essie diffusion line has come to the UK, the shade Fiji has been hyped as the ultimate flattering toenail colour. I've also been a fan of the neutral shade on toes recently but Fiji's pristine pinky beige pastel looks summery yet 'grown-up'. It's so opaque too which works well on toenails and with a tan, this is just perfect.

Do you think taking care of your feet is important. If so, how do you go about it? If not, please don't wear flip-flops on the Bakerloo line.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Face Masks I'm Using Right Now | Mariam

I like facemasks. Facemasks are a good thing. It's not a proper Sunday if I haven't enjoyed a good 20 minutes (or more) with a copious amount of product on my face. I've used a fair few face masks in my time. These are just the ones I've been enjoying currently.

It's useful to note that I have oily and blemish-prone skin, so mainly my face masks are targeted at this type of skin.

Yves Rocher Pure Systems Pore Cleaning Mask
Yves Rocher is a French brand, but quite readily available to most of us online. I featured this in my European Pharmacy haul a little while back and have enjoyed using it since. It's a thick, mud-like mask (my favourite type!) with plenty of zing courtesy of the salycilic acid. It works well to cleanse deep down and unclog pores.

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Mask
I actually bought this mask before I realised it already had quite the following  in the beauty world. It's a thick white mask with little beads that burst upon application. It doesn't really set on the skin, but makes my skin feel clean, my pores firm but my overall complexion far from stripped. I try not to use this too often as it is a little bit more astringent that I'd like - but for a fortnightly detox it's a real treat.

The Body Shop 3-in-1 Honey and Oat Scrub Mask
I've had this mask for ages, and you can tell because I bought it in my period of skincare naïveté. It's for dry skin?! However, the oats within the mask provide mild exfoliation while the mask itself makes my skin feel extremely soft and nourished. It's actually one of my favourite masks to use though, and it certainly gets on with my oil-slick of a complexion. Yet more proof that labels on skincare items can often be a load of old hooey.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Wash and Mask
This is a well known drugstore staple, and rightly so - it's the daddy of all clay masks. The Visibly Clear Range from Neutrogena has long been a favourite of mine, and I just love the way this mask makes my skin feel. Refreshed, clean and really radiant! The only downside is that it dries to a really hard crust and it's a nightmare to remove without a flannel.

Yin Yang Kaolin Face Mask
Now this is interesting. Since my reluctant self-imposed ban on manual exfoliation with face scrubs and the like, I have delved into the world of exfoliating masks. This is also a clay mask, so efficiently seeps up that extra sebum. The mask applies really thinly, almost like a moisturiser and sinks in as you wait. It must be the fruit acids in this thing, but it really eats away at my skin cells and leaves it feeling soft and polished - and I haven't even touched my face! You can find this mask and the whole range in Holland and Barret's - a place that is fast becoming my new skincare Mecca.

What facemasks are your favourite? And which ones would you reccomend?

Mariam xx

Sunday, 5 August 2012

July Favourites | Shona

I think its about time for my July favourites, I know its a tad late but in the words of Einstein 'Time is an illusion'...or thats my excuse anyway...

Firstly, I have been loving my L'Oreal Telescopic mascara. Its perfect for creating long and defined lashes for my daytime makeup. For as long as I can remember I've had eyelash envy of anyone with long lashes (talkin' bout you mariam) however since using this mascara They feel much less inadiquate!  Another plus of this mascara comes with my accidental purchase of the waterproof version. I would never normally go for waterproof mascara's but I've found that this can last all day and potentially much longer. On the downside, it can create clumpy lashes (one of my pet peeves) if you keep put too many coats on, or wiggle the brush too much so if I'm looking for something more volumising I just layer this up with another mascara.

Whilst the mascara is brilliant, it can be a right bitch to get off, but the Simply sensitive Eye-Makeup Remover has been a saviour! It's oil based so takes the mascara off easily. However I my eyelids can get abit oily, so I dont sweep the remover on a cotton pad all over my lid. I take abit in my thumb and forefinger in each hand and hold it on the lashes, and then gently massage to get the rest off. This works really well as I can feel when the mascara has broken down, and I dont feel like I am dragging or damaging my lashes at all.

The third item I have fallen back in love with this july is the Natural collection bluch in Peach Melba. I love the natural collection blushes for a number of reasons, firstly the amazing price (£2.99) and secondly the natural finish. I used to wear this on a daily basis but stopped using it in the last six months or so but I have been using it in conjunction with some other peachy toned products and it works really well as a more sculpting blush.

I have also been reaching for my (first ever) mac eyeshadow, in sable. I stopped using it in favour of more cooler toned eyeshadows, but I remembered why I loved it so much. The warm reddy-orange tone really helps to bring out my blue eyes. I tend to just pop it on all over the lid and blend, with a bit of brown liner its really simple and quick eye-look for the early mornings I have been enjoying recently...

The last product In my favourites has to be the Rimmel Vinyl Gloss in . I have to admit I did steal this off my sister but I absolutely love it and will definately have to purchase my own. Its a really nude-peachy shade which just finishes my makeup perfectly. It has a slight shimmer to it which I normally shy away from but this dosn't actually bother me at all. I apply just a little and it tends to last for two hours or so. I can't really explain why I love it so much, but I just do!

Anyway thsts it! It's been a month of very simple easy looks probably because of my absolute obsession with watching the olympics...I just can't stop watching!

What are your favourite products this month? What was your first MAC eyeshadow? Are you as obsessed with the Olympics as I am?

Monday, 30 July 2012

Worth the Hype? - Caudalie Beauty Elixir | Mariam

It's unusual for a little (and bloody expensive!) glass bottle to garner so much attention. But this toner/serum/face mist has taken the beauty world by storm. It all started with a tweet from Victoria Beckham herself and now even I have purchased (and repurchased this product).

Caudalie claims this product refreshes, smoothes and minimises the pores. No small claim for a small bottle. Yet a quick search across the net will tell you it can also be used as a make-up setter, a serum, to fight blemishes and combat an uneven skintone.

I use this product in the night time, in place of a moisturiser. As it's a very fine mist, it doesn't clog the pores and I like to let my skin breathe especially during the night when your cells are renewing and regenerating. I've not bought into rich night creams and I don't think I ever will. Spritzing this on my face makes it feel nourished and pampered, and perhaps the key reason of my love affair with this is the way it has helped to clear my skin of its pesky blemishes. Due to it's price tag, I tried to minimise usage to twice/thrice a week, but whenever I wasn't using it, I could feel my skin crying out for more. Blemishes cropped up once more and my skin was just feeling less clear. This is why I won't join the 'Caudalie Beauty Elixir is just a glorified water' Camp. It really does something for the texture, balance and overall appearance of my skin.

As for the smell, which tends to be the most controversial and elaborated aspect of the product: I don't like it. It doesn't calm me down nor perk me up. I can bear it, but I'd prefer if it didn't smell of fairy liquid mixed with a herbal urine. Nevertheless, such is life and it is a price I'm willing to pay.

Yet is £11 a pop a price I'm willing to pay for 30ml of what is essentially stinky liquid in a pretty glass bottle?For now, yes. It lives up to the hype and it's a staple in my skincare routine. I'll use up my current bottle and have a long hard think about it. These things take time and consideration. I might even compose a mindmap.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Holiday makeup | Shona

Having returned from a sunny lil' holiday a few days ago I have been trying (and failing) to banish those holiday blues with a  few mad men marathons. However today I thought I would try a different approach by talking about makeup instead!

The makeup that I took with me was used mostly in the evenings as I cannot cope with makeup maintenance at the beach or pool - apparently The Algarve (where I was staying) was experiencing a heatwave so it would not have been comfortable at all!
However there was a few bits that I wore during the daytime which this post will be concerned with, and then there will be a follow up of the evening products.

I hate the feeling of sunscreen ESPECIALLY on my face. The idea of putting the same greasy sunscreen I use for the body on my face freaks me out a little. However it is pretty crucial if you dont want to burn so before my holiday I decided to buy a sunscreen especially for the face. There seemed to be a distict lack of this type of products as I was perusing the boots aisles, so in desparation I picked up the La Roche-Posay Anthelios cream in SPF 30 as my facial sun protectant. At £14.50 a pop its not the cheapest (I did split the cost with my sister but it was still and extravagant purchase), however in my opinion it is worth it. About 10 minutes after application apart from the somewhat plasticy smell (reminds me of the smell of clingfilm) it has completely sank into the skin, and I would be comfortable putting foundation over it, something that I wouln't even consider with other generic suncreams. In my opinion the melt-in-cream claim is true and I might even go so far as to say my face seems slightly mousturised after using it. But  back to its main purpose; it did a great job at protecting my face from the sun - and from a consistent 'burner' this is a big deal! I applied it in the morning and then once more after about four and and half hours which seemed to do the trick.
PHEW way-more-detailed-than-anticipated-review OVER.

The second daytime essential for me was mascara, I bought the L'Oreal Telescopic mascara just before I went away and although I accidentally purchased the waterproof version this came in handy on holiday! Its very lengthening which is perfect for daytime and once I applied it in the morning it didnt cross my mind in a sudden oh-god-is-it-all-over-my-face moment once out of the pool! However I regret this being the only mascara I brought with me as it simply dosnt give enough volume as I like in more evening appropriate make-up.
Lastly I used some of my Collection 2000 Lasting perfection concealer, to cover up some blemishes and although this probably didnt hang around too long, it made me feel more comfortable without my usual foundation routine.

Thought I'd include just one picture of the clear sky, blue sea and golden sand to make you all a little jealous...

Have you been anywhere nice recently? What are your holiday makeup essentials?

Shona xx

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

European Pharmacy Treats | Mariam

I can't even explain my excitement right now.

Now, I've not been on a trip abroad, but my brother's been in Czech for a couple of weeks, and while he was there, I sent him on a little mission to fulfil my burning desire for some continental cosmetic wonders. I am pleased to report; he succeeded!

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution
I now have 1 litre of the famous Bioderma H20 in my possession. One is the normal bottle packaging, and the other has a fancy squirty pump, which is rather amusing. I don't know what else to say about this product, apart from my extreme happiness at finally being able to try it. I will let you know, of course.

Bioderma Sebium Mat Anti-Shine Fluid
Light, hydrating moisturisers is something that French brands know how to do. I'm currently trying the Avene Emulsion Lotion and there's been a lot of talk about the La Roche Posay Effeclar Mat. This is Bioderma's version. These lotions literally feel like water on the skin, but they keep the shiny T-Zone at bay. It's a concept British brands are yet to cotton on to, but I think I have enough light hydrating fluids to last me until they get there.

Now I have some Yves Rocher products to show you. Yves Rocher is a French brand, but is quite accessible to all of us over here in the UK. Nonetheless, I got a couple of lipbalms, a pore cleaning mask with organic aloe vera and salycilic acid (eep!) and a couple of the face wash samples from the same range. I'm really happy to have these, and fingers crossed they'll banish some break-outs.

There it is. I'm so happy with all the things my brother got for me – THANK YOU Mike!

Are you planning a trip to Paris, for the sole reason of trawling round French pharmacies? You are not alone!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Prom! | Shona

 I indeed was at prom, however there is a severe lack of blur-free full length, photos of me on my own, so this will just have to do.

The dress is from Zara, and I loved the lemon colour, Its one of those pieces that can be dressed up and down, and is perfect for summer. The shoes are from River Island and I loved the contrast of peach and lemon. They are pretty high and by the endof the night I was thankfull to take them off, but they are too beautiful for me to care!

This is the best picture I can find of my make-up; Face; Smashbox Photo Finish Luminizing Foundation Primer (sample) all over the face making sure the T-zone area was covered, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 1 fair under the eyes and on blemishes, Maxfactor Second Skin Foundation in 040 Creamy Ivory, Sleek Contour kit - through the contour, Benefit High beam highlighter along the top of the cheekbones and brow bone, Natural Collection Blush in Pink Cloud through the cheek bone, Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in 08 Golden sand all over concentrating under the eyes and around the t-zone area. (sidenote: I had used alot of dry shampoo which unfortunatley picked up in the light outside!)

On my eyes I created a smoky eye using the sleek storm palette, Topshop Gel Liner in Ink subtly on the lash line, Eylure false lashes (101) which I heavilly cut and adjusted,  Maxfactor False Lash Effect Mascara. I used a matte brown eyeshadow from the sleek palette to fill in my brows and then secured them with Benefit speed brow.
 To finish it off I applied Mac Pink Pout and off I trotted in my beautiful shoes.

Hope y'all had a beautiful weekend !
Shona xx

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Month of June Favourites | Mariam

So we're in July and it's about time for a little monthly product round-up, I'd say. With exams and an imposed revision house-arrest taking up the most of June, I haven't been laying on the make-up, but there's a range of products that have caught my attention this month.

Dirty Work Glow Girl Buttery Salt Scrub

You may think "Hmmm, this looks a lot like a certain Soap and Glory product". Yes, and it's almost eerie how similar the Dirty Works range (exclusive to Sainsbury's) is to the more well-known and certainly more-expensive Soap and Glory Range. This scrub is lovely - it's essentially a salt scrub but the moisturising element to it means it doesn't dry the skin out, rather leaving it exfoliated, quenched and smooth. The smell is also really nice and fruity, again, a direct S&G rip-off.

M&S Ingredients Shea Body Butter

With the emergence of the M&S beauty halls, M&S cosmetics and beauty is certainly having a moment. I haven't been to one yet (though I will assure you, it won't be long!) but I have owned this shea body butter for a while. Unlike most body butters that are literally of a thick butter consistency, I'd compare this one to cottage cheese. This may not seem like the most appetising, but it does lend itself to a really quick application; sinking in almost instantly. It leaves behind a silky feeling rather than a greasy one, which I'm sure some body butters fans are all too familiar with. These also smell marvelous, by the way!

A couple of skincare numbers:

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
I shan't bang on about this cleanser, firstly because I think we all know the ins and outs already, but also because I want to save my skincare rant for a later date. I do love this product, and I do think I will keep repurchasing it until I'm old and grey.

The Body Shop Cucumber Water
This is my morning toner. I splash it on a cotton pad and smooth it all over my puffy, tired face. It cleanses, it tones, and the cucumber, aloe vera and ginseng have an amazing cooling effect on the skin. There is no nicer feeling than placing a soaked pad of this on my sleep-worn eyes. Such a refreshing and soothing feeling. It's currently £2 at The Body Shop - so cheap for how great I think this product is.


Barry M Natural Dazzle Compact

This is a long-unloved, recently-rediscovered product. It's a very strange bronzer - it's purply, brown, dusky but certainly not orangey. I've been using this left, right and centre lately, mainly because I think it complements my skintone and looks more natural than other bronzers I've used. It has a great sculpting effect and I believe it's the sort of shade that could work as a contour for pale-skinned people.

Korres Mango Lip Butter

This is my second lip butter, and I've already got my eye on Pomegranate and Guava. The texture of these is really buttery and they do a lot to nourish the lips. When I first got the colour, I thought it was a bit too bright, but once this is blended into the lips, it forms a lovely coat of colour with a shiny, balmy look.

Topshop Kohl Eyeliner in Saddle

There's two main reasons why this is now in my favourites. Firstly, it's my go-to eyeliner that I use every day. Secondly, I accidentally put this in the washing machine and it's still as good as new. It's clear to see - this eyeliner and I were meant to be together!

What were your favourites this month? Let's pray July treats us with more cosmetic wonders, as well as Mediterranean-style sunshine.

Mariam xx

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Prom 2012 : Dress and Makeup | Mariam

So I went to prom yesterday. Shona went too, but I'm hoping she'll do her own post on it. If not, just trust me, she was there.

First off the dress. As you can see, mine was a polka dot peplum number. I've been wanting to get involved in the peplum trend for a while no, and prom seemed like the perfect occasion. It was from New Look, but one of their concessions called Cameo Rose. You might be thinking the dress isn't very prom-like. I should stress that our 'prom' was in a night club, and floor-length ball gowns were not the order of the day. Nevertheless, I love this dress and I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it, unlike my Year 11 Lipsy prom dress that is still resting, unloved and covered in cobwebs in the depths of my wardrobe.

Make up!

My make-up was really like my everyday make-up but more intense. I went for a smokey golden-brown eye, bronze and coral cheeks and balmy lips. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

On my eyes: Maybelline 24hr Colour Tattoo in On-and-on Bronze (35) as base, The Body Shop Sea Shell eyeshadow (part of a shimmer cubes collection) as inner corner highlight, W7 Perfect Eyes Eyeshadow in Sahara as the bronze lid colour and another W7 Eyeshadow in Carbon Copy to darken the outside of my eyes. I then applied Topshop Kohl Eyeliner in Saddle on my waterline, Bourjois Liner Pinceau in Black (32) as liquid liner and Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara in Ultra Black. I then pinched some false eyelashes from Shona, cut them in half and stuck them on the outside of my eyes for a more catlike effect.  

On my face: Benefit Porefessional (Glamour sample) as primer, Dirty Works Concealer under the eyes, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in Light (2) on blemishes and redness, Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation in Vanilla (52) as base, Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder in Medium (51), Gosh Cream Blushes in Peachy Rush (001) as base blush and Aura Cosmetics Fruity Blush in Peach Fizz over the top. As highlighter, I opted for my The Body Shop Illuminating Face Base.

On my lips, I just used some Korres Lip Butter in Mango. The finished look was borderline porn star, but I liked it!  

Do you like my look for prom? What's your ideal prom dress and make-up look? Also, if anyone is reading this and has a prom to go to in the near future, I hope you have a great time!

Mariam xx

Monday, 25 June 2012

Topshop lipstick in Rio Rio | Shona

You know those days when you wake up and want to 'dress your face up' even though your probably going nowhere, and seeing only your and oblivious parents and tired, festival-worn sister. Yes today was one of those days. On those kind of days I often reach for the Rio Rio lipstick from the topshop.

As its an  orange-toned red its super easy to wear, and today I went with a subtle bronzey eye, and a good dashing of bronzer through the cheekbones!

I love the lipstick range from topshop, as they are well pigmented, long lasting and have a slightly creamy finish for the first few hours so are a joy to wear. Another plus is there is a small but diverse range of intriguing colours to chooses from. I tend to gravitate towards them than other brands on the highstreet which is evident from my ever-growing collection! As I dont have a red lip liner in my collection, I used a Rimmel lip liner in 001 Spice, which does its job and slightlt tones-down the vibrancy of the lipstick suiably for the daytime.

This lipstick is priced at £8.00, which although a bit pricier than other highstreet brands, manges to justifies itself with its lasting power, pigmentation and slightly-glossy-slightly-satin finish which makes it so comfortable to wear.

 Do you find the whole colour range wearable? Have you got any good recommenndations from the topshop lipstick range?