Monday, August 20, 2018

Current Skincare Picks

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

It's taken me so long to actually write today's post that all three products I'm talking about today that they are almost ready for the empties pile, with one ready to be repurchased come payday.

Micellar Lotion's were a completely unknown product to me before they started being talked about across blogs. I never quite got into the Bioderma hype taking the view, that even with my sometimes lax skincare routine that I would either cleanse 'properly' or not at all. As time has moved on I have seen the value of a micellar water even if I still can't talk about them as the most exciting product in my routine. I use them to remove eye make up before going in with my cleansing balms, oils and/or creams as a little helping hand and to avoid smearing mascara across my flannel and therefore face.

I'm comfortable with a high street micellar water but I recently had the opportunity to try from from the french pharmacy brand, Embryolisse. I enjoy Embryolisse as a brand and have recently finished using the Lait-Creme Concentrate so I was keen to see whether a £15.99 Micellar Water could excite me more than others I've tried.

Whilst we're all becoming more knowledgeable and sophisticated about products we put on our skin I'm not fully convinced we're too worried about our micellar waters but I did notice a difference between Embryolisse Micellar Lotion and my more affordable options. Usually I would remove my eye make up and head straight into cleansing and applying my serums and moisturisers but during my 'testing phase' I would use to remove all my make up and try waiting around to see how my skin felt after using and it was certainly less drying and felt 'kinder' to my skin than cheaper brands I'd used.

If money were no object, my skin were more sensitive or I used micellar lotion in my routine as a more a cleanser then I would certainly repurchase Embryolisse Micellar Lotion but as I am simply using to remove eye make up or as part of a wider skincare regime I am happy to keep using the lower end products.

On a similar theme of budget versus high end products the time came for a new facial spritz or toner in my routine. I have always opted for Liz Earle Skin Tonic Spritz but again, it's a little more than I would like to spend on a product that feels more of a pampered step of my routine rather than providing significant help. I saw Mikhila feature the Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz and for between £5 and £8 depending on what offers Boots are running it was worth giving a try and I was so glad I did.

I was worried I would hate it's scent because I'm not a fan of 'rose' but this is anything but. The rose water smells to me spa like and I get a familiar feeling of luxury like I would from using Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I am currently eeking out the final couple of sprays before I repurchase. I've seen some criticism on the brand that the once affordable price point has been creeping up but I'm comfortable with their pricing and interested to explore more, perhaps next their cleansing balm - has anyone tried it?

Finally is a product I'm a big fan of and would never had known about but for a PR reaching out to me. I first tried the What Skin Needs Hydrating Facial Serum about a year ago and find its great for my skin when its suffering dryness from the elements - whether they are self inflicted hangovers or a change in temperatures.

This is a serum you're aware you're applying, its oil like in texture and will slowly sink into skin but it is just the trick to make my skin look plump and refreshed when I'm otherwise. At £12.99 it's got a great price point and I would imagine those with extremely dry skins, or dare I suggest as we start to look forward to the Autumn and Winter seasons this is a product worth having in your arsenal.

What skin products have you been using recently?

Monday, June 18, 2018

High Street Hot Cloth Cleansers

Aldi Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser

*this post contains affiliate links

Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser is one of those products that has a sense of nostalgia for me as being the first product I really acknowledge using as part of a 'proper' skincare regime. It wasn't the cheapest but it felt affordable and simple. Many share my feelings as it's one of the products, and indeed brands that it seems everyone, whether a skincare junkie or not has at least tried once and wh it is up there as a cult beauty product.

Of course make a revered product and the imitations will follow and Aldi has earned a reputation of late as being the Make Up Revolution of, well just about anything these days, including their Liz Earle 'inspired' Hot Cloth Cleanser.

As an Aldi fan and in addition with this blog I had to pick up a tube last year to try for myself and was amazed at how alike both products are. In fact at the time I said if you blinded tested me I wouldn't be able to differentiate between the two. Today's post though is not to speak of the Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser and it's comparison to Liz Earle but part empty and welcome to Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser.

As fellow Aldi shoppers will know you can't simply walking into store a pick up their hot cloth cleanser when the need arises as it's only available at various points throughout the years as a Special Buy and then you're part of the hoards fighting to pick up on release day and consider whether to stockpile. Whilst I do enjoy the Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser I'm trying to avoid stockpiling products and when you write a blog and there are many versions on the high street to try out and use as content then it's rather unnecessary to join the bunfight.

When the time came for a new hot cloth cleanser to enter my regime I decided to try out Superdrug's Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser. This is one that's both affordable and highly spoke of by many, not least Sali Hughes and Nadine Baggott so it was a worthy contender.

It's slightly more expensive than the Lacura's £3.99 cleanser at £4.99 but it's often available at either a reduced price or currently buy one get one half price (for the stockpilers!) and the biggest draw for myself that I can simply walk into a store and purchase rather than waiting for it's next release.

I use a hot cloth cleanser for either my morning regime or as a second cleanse of an evening and it performs as I would expect. In comparison to Lacura I prefer it's consistency. It feels thicker and creamier and there's a more luxurious aspect to it's use although I do like the Lacura scent for it's familiarity.

Both products perform in the same fashion, my skin feels clean, but not dry and when I use for make up removal all traces disappear. The main differences which will aid your choice are that Lacura has a strong scent and is slightly thinner in consistency to Superdrug's thicker with a more 'clean' scent.

Now if Liz Earle could re-release the Grapefruit & Patchouli hot cloth cleanser I'll be first in the queue to purchase.

Are you a hot cloth cleanser fan?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bronze Goddess - A High Street Dupe

Next Bronze Goddess Dupe

*this post contains affiliate links

As soon as the sun starts to show it's face I reach for Estee Lauders Bronze Goddess as my 'summer scent'.  Yes it's cliched and I tried to resist jumping on the bandwagon but when I finally gave in two years ago and tried it for myself I was sold and now it makes smile whenever I wear it and reminds me and my friends of fabulous holidays over the years.

Being a Summer scent it's lighter than what I usually reach for but that doesn't make the scent any less powerful and I find even as a smoker it doesn't get lost. Only the other day someone commented on how nice I smelt and it was Bronze Goddess I was wearing.

I've mentioned Bronze Goddess on my blog many times and my usual gripe is that despite over the years them expanding the Bronze Goddess range to feature many products with the familiar scent (currently I have my eye on the Cooling Body Gelee when I head to Dubai in September) they do not have a travel version. It baffles me. A Summer scent that doesn't come in a bottle that will slide easily into even on of those crappy plastic bags you can pick up at the airport before going through security. I even purchase my favoured Chanel Mademoiselle in it's travel version as whilst not as pretty on the dressing table for travel or simply throwing into my handbag it's the practical choice.

It was Zoe who alerted me to the Next dupe, Summer Sun, available and whilst I'm reluctant to buy things simply to blog about or indeed felt the need to purchase a fragrance dupe, especially when I've just opened a brand new bottle, my interest was peaked when I saw they had a travel version for £4 - worth a try surely?

I popped into my local branch of Next and was amazed and how alike it's 'inspiration' it was and did indeed purchase the travel version. This now sits in my handbag and allows me to top up my higher end scent should I wish - even better it's not a rollerball but a spray which I prefer.

There is a whole Summer Sun range of this Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess dupe and I'm even keen to dabble in the gift sets featuring body lotion, hand cream and most tempting the body oil and mist. Whilst I can appreciate the luxury and long lasting scent from Estee Lauder for the aforementioned products I could buy them all for less than their higher end counterparts.

Whatever your feeling on dupes sometimes a more affordable version of the accompanying items can be welcome to layer your fragrance without breaking the bank. In fact it was Next Summer Sun I showed a friend only yesterday and she's subsequently gone out and purchased Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess and like me, Next Summer in it's travel size for her handbag.

Do you have a favourite scent you reach for in the Summer?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Hairdryer With Your Name On It

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

When I was offered the opportunity to test out on of LanaiBlo's hairdryer's I'd love to tell you that I read about all their fantastic features and couldn't wait to try them out for myself but I admit it was the fact that my name would appear on it that peaked my initial interest.

Once the momentary love of personalisation passed and now that I have been using the LanaiBlo hairdryer since the beginning of the year I'm now able to provide more of my thoughs for you on how the hairdryer performs beyond the aesthetics.

To look at the LanaiBlo hairdryer it doesn't appear unlike any other you'd find on a quick search of google and their first claim of being 'powerful 2400 watt' can be found in more affordable versions for a fraction of the price although I can speak to them comparatively beyond what I've seen. I can say that the hairdryer I had been using for nearly 7 years prior was a more expensive 'professional' version purchased through a hairdresser friend so it says something about spending a little more.  The benefits of a more powerful hairdryer are that you will quite simply dry your hair quicker; which if you're someone with hair extensions or a long thick head of hair can be a bonus, especially during these warmer months.

My hair dries very quickly, even with one of those ridiculous hotel hairdryers and because my styling is limited - in short tip head upside down and wave hairdryer around till dry - I don't feel a slave to the hairdryer and like I'm spending too long blasting it. That said I do find that with the LanaiBlo the time spent has been reduced even further and I can gain an extra couple of of minutes in bed before work - always a bonus.

If you are used to spending hours in front of the mirror with a hairdryer the fact that LanaiBlo is lightweight and ergonomically designed will be of interest. I can't say I've ever needed to 'minimise fatigue' due to blowdrying my hair but I imagine those with disabilities struggle with what I consider a simple task and they will look at this with intrigue. Is it really lightweight? Honestly I would say no. Is it lighter than the hairdryer I was using though? Most definitely. As mentioned I hadn't even looked at the LanaiBlo claims until recently as I was putting together my thoughts for this post and it was only after I suddenly realised how different it was. No it isn't light as a feather but it definitely feels more streamlined and not as cumbersome.

If static hairs are a problem for you, and we've all been there with pesky flyaway hairs ruining what we intended to be a smooth and shiny finish to our blow you'll find the LanaiBlo has Ionic Technology and for added assistance a Cold Shot feature which helps for those who doing a little more styling than I do. And you'll have no frizz due to the Ceramic Tourmaline. All these features certainly leave me with a more polished look than it's predecessor which for an amateur I would've just presumed it was my styling technique rather than something I could change so I can see the value in the LanaiBlo Hairdryer.

The LanaiBlo hairdryer does not come cheap at £99 but you are paying a salon standard professional hairdryer which does, in my amateur experience and simple hair needs perform better than others I've used and certainly more affordable options - and its a third compared to the Dyson which despite a desire for I don't think I could ever spend that much money on.

Returning to the aesthetics I like that its available in a choice of colours and as you can see I picked a white or there is a bright pink if you're feeling a bit more colourful. And that personalisation I was so excited about? Well that's an extra £15 and a nice touch but not entirely exciting as I hoped. It almost looks a little out of place, for the added expense I would like to see the font available in a choice of colours or sizes so it became a design feature of substance. That aside I think it would make for an ideal gift for someone living in shared accommodation or perhaps someone off to university who will be unable to fit in costly blow drys at the hairdresser and avoid the hairdryer being misplaced in halls.

A shampoo and conditioner duo I have been using regularly has been from the Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes range. Both the shampoo and conditioner are to 'lightly tone, refresh and restore' - in short to knock out those brassy tones us bleach blondes are familiar with.

I've really noticed a different to my balayaged hair since using this Lee Stafford duo and fit it into my hair washing regime at least once a week. The purple toning shampoo knocks out the brassy tones and then the conditioner smooths and hydrates - a winning combination as my hair, certainly at the bleached roots leans more dry these days.

I haven't yet decided how I feel about the Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes Tone Correcting Conditioning Spray as its the product I've used least preferring the familar routine of shampoo and condition in the shower . That said I've been reaching for it more recently when I use a regular shampoo and find that my hair is continuing to look less brassy when I do so.

Of course if unlike me you do not wash your hair daily this might be an ideal alternative to the aforementioned duo as you simply spray into towel dried hair and continue as normal. I am continuing to use and do find in the Summer I reach more for leave in conditioners as I let hair air dry on my commute to work.

What hair products having you been reaching for recently?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Beauty Products Elle Woods Would Love

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links

I'm first to admit that photography isn't my strongest skill as a blogger but sometimes an array of products arrive through the door that lend themselves well to the perfect image and I'm quite pleased with the result as I think Legally Blonde's Elle Woods would love seeing so much pink.

Starting with my favourite product of the bunch Embryolisse Complexion Correcting Skincare CC Cream.  Embryolisse call this a 'universal complexion perfector' with SPF 20 which will 'preserve a radiant youthfulness' and 'correct imperfections' and when they're being particularly confident with their claims it's a 'complete skincare treatment'.

To tackle a gripe first of course this is once again not a universal product, especially if like me you're using as a light base even with it's 'self-adjusting pigments'. In fact I'd be cautious if you were using otherwise as on my first uses I was concerned it was a little too orange (it wasn't my blending skills were lacking!).

Since I have been using thoroughly and as a base product I've fallen in love with it's silky and velvety finish and how radiant it leaves my skin (paired with Milani Prime Protect Face Primer it's a winning combination) and you can offer your opinion from the photo of me below. It's perfect for the Summer season.

Hyaluronic Acid helps to plump the skin aiding the blurring of my wrinkles it's a thicker consistency than I expected whilst offering ingredients which protect against ageing. Of course as a base it evens the skin tone and really does give the 'your skin but better' appearance and in fact, when not wearing I do find an improvement in my skins appearance so it is working in both areas of my daily regime.

It's pricey and matches the cost of some high end foundations at £29.99 but if you're looking for multi-use products and need to save costs on moisturisers and make up then it might be somewhere for you to look; especially as it's available 3 for 2 on skincare at Boots currently.

Benefit The Porefessional is my favourite primer and one I've repurchased many times and the bar I set all others to so I was excited when a new version was released Benefit The POREfessional Pearl Primer. Sadly I have been disappointed and thankful I picked up the small travel size to test out. Benefit claim to provide a 'lit-from-within' look on my skin I find it just a little bit subtle for me and as for my pores yes they're smoothed but I don't feel as much as the original. Of course it could be familiarity but it will be perfect for casual make up looks or indeed when I need a little help the morning after the night before.

I was worried I am so late talking about the L'Occitane and Rifle Paper Collection that I'd have to add the disclaimer of here they are but they're sold out. The good news is that's not the case and thankfully it's only limited edition packaging rather then products themselves.

I've long been a fan of L'Occitane hand creams so to see such a beautiful collaboration with Rifle Papers delightful artwork it was a match made in heaven. I was lucky enough to receive two versions of the hand cream, both with shea butter the orignal and the rose scent.

That pictured above is the Rose Shea Butter Hand Cream and whilst aesthetically pleasing with I really do not like a rose scent and found this very overpowering. Of course if you want to smell like you literally have a bouquet of flowers in your hands this is perfect for you and indeed the friend I was able to pass it onto.

The Original Shea Butter Hand Cream on the other hand is bliss. This tube sits aside my sofa at home and whilst it's not necessary to keep reapplying because it keeps hands so soft for such a length of time its a pleasure to repeat the process.

The original shea butter hand cream is not a light cream but nor is it too heavy. Thick enough for even the current climate as we switch between trying to turn our heating off but still finding a chill in the air of an evening.

Hands are not left feeling greasy after use and there is barely a scent so it doesn't interfere with other fragrance I might be wearing.

Hand cream and lip balms are the product I use most often as even when I can't be bothered to apply make up or even a skincare regime I can't bear dry hands or lips. Lypsyl kindly sent me a couple of lip balms from their range of newly reformulated products and such is my regular usage they've ended up in the empties pile already albeit unfortunately because they both suffered from the warm weather and snapped before I'd reached the bottom.

Each stick contains ingredients to hydrate and smooth lips and you can pick your choice from flavours such as Mint or Cucumber or my favourite Cherry.

Another product that's made it's way into the empties pile is Hempz Pomegranate Body Wash thanks in part to coming along on my recent trip to Las Vegas. Hempz is a US brand easily found on the shelves at Ulta. It's a little more difficult for us in the UK to track down but they have now launched online in the UK.

This is not your cheapest body wash at £16.99 for 250ml and it's neither the most luxurious but I cannot deny the scent is something amazing and all ingredients are vegan friendly including, with a nod to their name, 100% hemp seed oil.

Hemp seed oil is rich in numerous vitamins, all essential in maintaining healthy and (cough) younger looking skin and hair. I can't say whether my body wash is aiding youthful skin and I'm afraid my grey's still need regular touch ups but skin is certainly not striped and is left feeling nourished which is something necessary for someone like me who is lax with applying body lotions.

As for the scent I'm calling this my Summer version of Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir. It's not as dark and more fruity but I love it. And a look through the Hempz website will show you an array of products in the scent ranges. And as I experienced with the Hempz body lotion their products feel like they last a lifetime as a little goes a long way.

How do you feel about pink packaging? Is it cliched or do you want to see more of it?

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