Monday, 3 March 2014

B is for Beauty: Beauty Favourites February

February was my month for "shopping the stash" so to speak. I wanted to start using up some of the products I already owned (my shelves and draws were starting to overflow), which not only proved a great way to save some money but I also discovered lots of great products in my collection. 

I decided to start with skincare; although I'm pretty happy with my current routine I have so many products I've been meaning to test out. The first product I decided to try was the Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil which has been sitting on my shelf for a while now.  Josie Maran is a much raved about natural skincare line you can pick up at Sephora in the US, and some of the collection from QVC here in the UK. This is known as an all round wonder product that has a multitude of uses including a facial moisturizer, a split end healer and a cuticle softener.  It was probably my favourite new discovery out of the month, and is the perfect addition to my Winter skincare routine. The oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids and promises to not only hydrate the skin but help with acne scarring and fight signs of aging too. Research carried out showed that 83% of women who used the oil over four weeks saw visible signs of improved hydration levels and plumpness in their skin. The formula of the oil is also free from parabens, sulphates and other harsh chemicals too which is a big plus. I've been using it as a nighttime facial oil treatment and have found that it works wonders. I apply one to two drops of this to my face and in the morning my skin looks refreshed, hydrated and glowing. It's brilliant if you've had a late night or your skin has been looking a bit lack lustre. You can use this every night but I usually only use this once or twice a week as a treatment rather than an everyday oil.  If you have dry skin then this is the product for you. I have oily skin and haven't had any problems with breakouts from the oil but you can now pick a light version of the oil which many people with oilier skin types may prefer. The only downside is it's kind of expensive, about £40 for 50ml. I do think it is a good investment though, and a bottle should last a few months. There are so may other Josie Maran products I'm hoping to pick up after my success with this product, namely the new makeup line which looks amazing.

The second new product I decided to introduce to my nighttime skincare routine was the NeoStem Anti-Accelerated Ageing Serum*. I'm glad I was sent this as I'm not sure I would have considered it myself, but it's an excellent serum. First lets talk about the science.  The serum contains Omega Statine and the Z-Dronate which stimulate collagen synthesis and promote rejuvenation of the skin.  It also slows down the production of Progerin, an ageing causing protein, and boosts stem cell renewal. The clinical research behind the product has been considered revolutionary and groundbreaking (it was first developed to help with a disease that caused premature ageng in children) making it a global success. Research showed that 84% of people using the serum over a 60 day period noticed a dramatic difference to fine lines and the general smoothness and plumpness of their skin. It has also been proven that this serum penetrates the skin much deeper than any other anti-ageing serum. This really is THE product to try if you want an anti-ageing treatment that works. Although I can't comment long term on its effects, I have noticed in the short term that after use my skin is a lot more hydrated and plump.  Price wise this is expensive at £60 for 30ml, but a worthwhile investment for a product that works. Although I enjoy using this I think it is a product more suited to people 30+, at the moment in my 20s it's not something I drastically need at the moment but a product I'll be looking to in the future.  NeoStem also make an eye cream that looks really good too that I'm interested in trying out. Overall this seems like a really great brand that's worth checking out especially if you're into using anti-ageing products.

 For my morning skincare routine I've also introduced a few new products. Firstly I've been using the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum*.  I have been along time fan of the Caudalie brand so it was no surprise to me that I loved this product too. The serum is 62 times more effective than vitamin C and is designed to correct acne scarring, dark spots and in general even out and correct the skin tone. I love how lightweight the serum feels on the skin, it leaves your face soft and smooth after use. I'm not sure about its effects on correcting scarring or dark spots but it does make the skin a lot more brighter and radiant ( research carried out found that most people noticed a difference to scarring/ dark spots after 60 days). If you love the Caudalie SOS serum then you will probably love this too, it has the same hydrating effect on the skin. It's a great serum to try if you have a lot of issues with pigmentation or want to clear up any acne scarring. The formula is also free from sulphates, parabens and is non comedogenic, which means it's gentle on the skin and wont cause breakouts. Overall I was really impressed with this and hope to pick up another bottle soon. 

My eye cream of choice this month has been the Emma Hardie Natural Lift Eye Serum *. I'm not sure why it took me so long to try this, especially as the Moringa Cleansing Balm is one of my favourite cleansers. Being a serum rather than a cream it is really lightweight, making it the perfect eye treatment to use under makeup. The serum is designed to combat dark circles and puffiness as well as hydrate the under eye are. I'm not sure about its effects on dark circles but it does hydrate and smooth the skin very effectively. It does have quite the extravagant price tag at £34 for 15ml, ouch! I would advise instead purchasing the Starter Kit which at £32 contains a 10ml eye serum as well as four other items (including the wondrous cleansing balm).

 My most recent introduction has been the Urban Veda Purifying Daily Facial Wash*. This is an excellent cleanser and such a steal at £7.99 for a 150ml.  I'm glad I discovered the Urban Veda line, it is all natural and eco friendly.  It is so refreshing too use and has quite a menthol scent that really wakes you up in the morning. This is the perfect cleanser if you suffer from oily or acne prone skin. The formula is enhanced with anti-oxidants to help give a healthy and clear complexion. It contains Neem oil which has excellent antibacterial properties to help clear blackheads, reduce pores and treat excess sebum and help remove toxins in the skin. I was so impressed that I have just ordered another tube of this. I'm also keen to try more products from the line, especially the body care products. 

I've been quite militant about finishing up the makeup I've been using so haven't bought or opened up anything new lately. I did however make one exception with the Daniel Sandler Professional Makeup Catwalk Compact.  So far I have loved all of the Daniel Sandler products I've tried and am really impressed with the brand. I've been searching for a good long wearing foundation and this one is my current favourite. This is a cream based foundation and is best applied with a sponge (brushes prove very difficult in comparison). It's one of those products that tends to look better as the day goes on as it settles into the skin, this is why it's a great long lasting founadtion. It gives a really nice smooth and clear finish and does have excellent coverage. I use shade 1 which is very pale, I could probably go up a shade. Daniel Sandler are a great brand if you're pale and struggle to find foundation shades light enough.  The only downside to the foundation is that it clings to any dry patches unmercifully, I have oily skin and if there is any slight dryness on my skin the foundation highlights it. This is therefore a great product if you have oily to normal skin but not if you have dry skin. The solid compact formula makes this really easy to apply on the go and it's a great product for traveling. I really like this foundation and it is probably going to be a repurchase for me.

Moving onto haircare, I've had a number of favourites this month. The first product I tried was the It's A 10 Leave in Conditioner Spray.  I picked this up in the US after reading so many great reviews. Unfortunately this brand isn't sold in UK but you can pick it up on Amazon. This is a wonder product if you have long, curly or tangley hair, with just a few spritzes to wet hair it removes any knots and leaves the hair really soft. IIt feels really light in the hair and doesn't weigh it doesn't or make it greasy which is a plus. The conditioner spray also works as a heat protector too (for all "10" things it does see here). For someone who suffers from the knottiest hair ever this is a life saver and is now a firm fixture in my haircare routine. I'm hoping to try more from the It's a 10 line soon, especially the Leave in Conditioner with Keartin which looks like an even better version of this product.

I also introduced a new shampoo to my haircare routine, the Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo.  Philip Kingsley is a much talked about and loved brand that has won countless awards and is praised for bridging the gap between science and haircare. I can see why the brand gets so much praise, this shampoo is incredible and I can't believe it took me so long to try it. I loved how clean it made my hair feel, and it stayed clean a lot longer than when I use other shampoos.After using this my hair felt very soft and was really shining and manageable. The formula is enhanced with Keratin proteins so with continued use it should actually improve and strengthen hair.  It only takes a small amount to lather up so although it is slightly more expensive than a regular drugstore shampoo it will last a lot longer. The body building shampoo I have is designed for fine hair and I'm probably more suited to the Moisture Balancing Shampoo which is for medium thick wavy hair, and will be the one I'll be purchasing next. There are so many products in the Philip Kingsley line that I'm hoping to try out. I'd really recommend the brand.

The next product I introduced to my haircare routine was probably the one that has been sitting on my shelf the longest, the Origins Ginger Up Aromatic Conditioner. I'm a long time lover of the Origins brand and could endlessly talk about all the products that I love from their line, however this was a product surprised me with how good it was. I picked this up with a few of the other "Ginger" products from the brand purely for the smell (Ginger is one of my favourite scents) not really thinking it would be that great, however it turned out to be one of the best conditioners I've tried in a long time. It goes with out saying that the smell of this is amazing ( a mix of Ginger, Bergamot & Lemon), but it has so many other benefits too. The formula is rich in wheat protein and panthenol which strengthens as well as conditions the hair strands. It leaves my hair so soft, silky, voluminous and healthy looking after use. This is one of those products that ensures a "good" hair day. I'm sad I didn't pick up the matching shampoo at the same time as I'm sure it would be great too. This is a product I will definitely be repurchasing soon.

Another haircare item I've been converted to this month has been Twistbands*. I never would have tried these if I hadn't been sent them, even after I was it took nearly a year for me to try one and only after I couldn't find a hair tie to use. I don't think these  are the chicest hair accessory but they are very effective. Twistbands are designed to tie into your hair without scrunching it to tightly so that it doesn't cause a kink or damage the hair strands. They are perfect if you just want to put your hair back when washing your face or doing your makeup as they wont ruin your hairstyle. They are a bit more expensive here in the UK (available here); I'm not sure I'd pay £10 for a pack myself mainly because I loose hair ties so quickly, but if you're in the US they are fairly reasonable priced at $5 a set.  I'd recommend giving them a go if you can get hold of a pack.

Now moving onto body care. The main overstocked product I have is body wash, I think there are about 20 in my bathroom alone (and a 100 more spilling out of draws everywhere elsewhere). This is a combined problem of being sent about 6 new ones every month as well as an irresistible urge to pick up every new Body Shop shower gel I come across. I've been using a few minis but my main shower gel of the month has been The Body Shop Moringa Shower Gel. I picked up the jumbo size of this for about £4 in the sale (usually £12 for 750ml). I love all Body Shop shower Gels but this one has become a particular favourite because of its amazing white flower scent. Like other Body Shop shower gels it is soap free and really gentle on the skin. I'd recommend trying this one out, or any Body Shop shower gels if you haven't used one before. There are lots more Moringa products I'm hoping to get from the collection.

The only other thing that could rival my out of control shower gel collection is my collection of body creams and butters. And again the Body Shop is to blame for half of them. This month I've been hooked on the The Body Shop Spiced Vanilla Body Butter, something that has been collecting dust in my bathroom for awhile now. I really loved the Spiced Vanilla collection, I'm so sad that it's no longer available as it smells divine and is such a treat to use. The formula of the butter (or any Body Shop Butter) is really thick and nourishing and leaves the skin so soft after use. Although you can't buy this one anymore I'd recommend checking out some of the other Body Shop Body Butters as they are excellent quality and are ideal if you have dry skin. I'm going to keep a look out for a similar Vanilla scent in their future collections.

My last favourite of the month is a Bath & Body Works PocketBac in Warm Vanilla Sugar. I bought a whole bunch of PocketBac hand sanitizers from Bath & Body works because I'd read so many good reviews about them and so I'd have the excuse to use one of their cute holders (I have a fox which sadly isn't available anymore). So far this scent has been my favourite ( I quickly realized that just because a scent smells good in a candle that it its not necessarily a good scent in a hand sanitizer and can be quite sickly and unclean feeling), it has a very light vanilla, floral and sandalwood scent. The Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers are really gentle on the skin and contain all natural ingredients, plus they come in a whole bunch of scents. You can pick up 5 of these for $5 which is pretty cheap. I'd recommend checking them out, but I'd advise testing the scents before buying them as not all of them are pleasant to use. I'm hoping to pick up a few more of these soon.


Have you tried any of these products? What were your favourite products this month?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Velvet Leopard

Outfit Details
. Round sunglasses-Ebay // .Vintage 90s Velvet leopard Tee- Thrifted // Vintage 70s AVON Gold Cross Necklace- Etsy
.Black skinny jeans- Topshop // Black Leather Bomber- Resurrection Vintage . Medal Doc Martens style Shoes- ASOS

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Some New Stuff

. ASOS Ahead of Time Boots ///.ASOS Medal Shoes ///.Office Platform Shoes///.Office Suede Boots

.Vintage 90s Black Crochet Top // Vintage 90s Leopard Velvet Tee- Thrifted

.Vintage 50s-60s Box Case Bags- Thrifted

Some new purchases. Lots of new shoes and some of the pieces I've thrifted lately.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Outfit Details
.H&M Round Sunglasses// .Leather Bomber- Resurrection Vintage // Backpack- Primark
.Fluffy Jumper- Primark // Vintage 90s Star Print Skirt // Lace up Shoes- ASOS

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Black On Black

Outfit Details
.Black Wool Beanie- H&M // Round Sunglasses- H&M // Leather Bomber- Warehouse
.Fuzzy Knit Jumper- Primark // Vintage 90s Music Print Skirt // Leather Rucksack- Primark // Velvet Doc Martin style Boots- H&M

Beauty Boxes: BirchBox February

In The Box
.Beauty Protector Protect & Oil (10ml)
.Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
.Urban Veda Purifying Facial Wash (20ml
.Gilchrist & Soames The London Collection Shower Gel (45ml)
.Leighton Denny Nail Colour- Meteor Match (12ml)
+ Green & Black's Chocolate Mini Bar 

This month was the "Love Style" themed box from Birchbox, combining the themes of Valentine's Day and London Fashion Week to give a box that was all about helping with your signature daily beauty routine. I was really pleased with the contents of this months box, there were a lot of great products included. My favourite product was the Eyeko eyelier. I'm in the market for a new eyeliner and have wondered what this one was like for a while now. It's a skinny pen eyeliner which will be perfect for doing my winged eyeliner look. I was also really excited to receive a sample of Beauty Protector hair oil ( a brand exclusive to birchbox), I love hair oils and I really liked the last product I received from this brand ( a leave in conditioning spray). I'm always on the look out for a new facial cleanser so am looking forward to trying the Urban Veda wash.  I've never heard of this brand before but it looks like something I'd love, its all natural, promises great results and smells great too. The shower gel from Gilchrist and Soames looks really good too, its paraben free and has a lovely scent. The last product included, a nail polish from Leighton Deny, isn't something I'd use (and I've received this exact one before in a beauty box) but I can re-gift it. The added extra this month was chocolate from Green and Blacks which is also not something I'd try, I much prefer beauty lifestyle extras rather than food stuffs. Overall though a pretty decent box. I'm very much looking forward to next months box which is in partnership with Lulu Guinness!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Beauty Box: You Beauty Discovery Box- February

What's In The Box
.GlamGlow Youthmud (15g sample)
.Helenere Black Pearl Serum (5ml)
.Chareles Worthingon Instant Amplifying Volume Treament (20ml sample & £2 voucher)
.BeyondDark Moments of Pleasure Hint of Orange

Another exciting box from You Beauty Discovery, this month the theme was "Red Carpet Glamour". There were lots of great options to choose from. I picked the GlamGlow mask, a celebrity favourite and something I've wanted to try for so long. And the Helenere Black Peal Serum, a brand I hadn't heard of before but I thought this collagen boosting serum looked really good. The sample Charles Worthington treatment looks really good too, I'm always on the look out for a good volumizing product. I don't eat chocolate but it was a good size sample for a box. Overall a really great value for money box.

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