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