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