30 March 2012

Stylfile S-File & S-Buffer

I've seen snippets of The Apprentice, I'm aware of the concept and think it's a great inspiration but I have to admit, I've never really sat down to watch it (I guess you can say I'm more into gypsy weddings or babies being born every minute!). However, when I was told that this years winner was the inventor of a unique nail file I was quite intrigued. 

Tom Pellereau, the creator of the Stylfile collection, explains how one day he was watching his sister file her nails and he instantly came up with the idea of a curved file. The S-file is designed to follow the natural shape of the nail, making it much more easy to control and use. One side has a surface to shape the nail, and the other has a softer surface to smooth over them and with a specially selected abrasive finish, the S-file is supposed to last for 12 months.

The second product in the range is the 4-step S-buffer. I love the glossy shine a buffer creates on the nail almost giving the impression you're wearing a clear coat of polish. This is a similar design to the file in the way that it's shape follows the natural nail bed curve, much easier to work with than the regular buffing blocks which usually leave me with hand cramp! 

Finally, there is the Emergency file, a miniature version of the S-file and the S-buffer put together. It comes protected in a pink spiral casing, to ensure it doesn't get damaged but also making sure it doesn't scratch anything else. It's attached onto a keyring so great to have for on the go and a general handbag necessity!

Result - healthy, shiny, shaped, natural nails!

I think these are great ideas, so much more practical and they have definitely become a part of my nail care routine, out go the regular straight files and hand-crippling buffing blocks! The only downside I would say is that they are only available to buy in Sainsbury's supermarkets. I hope in the near future you will be able to buy them online or more accessibly in Boots or Superdrug stores. The S-file is priced at £4.49, the S-buffer at £4.99 and the Emergency file at £4.49 and can be viewed online HERE

Will you be giving anything from the Stylfile collection a try? What are your thoughts?


28 March 2012

DIY Micro Bead Manicure

Whether it's fashion, hair or makeup, certain trends either tend take off or they become complete flop. I've definitely realised I'm not as fussed when it comes to the latest nail trends as I once used to be, however, a certain trend in the nail world seems to have proven quite popular and has definitely caught my eye. 

I now recall seeing wheels of these in my local beauty wholesalers, but completely over priced which is probably why I've never purchased them. After the recent hype and seeing various different ways of creating this look, I decided to hit the internet in an attempt to find these beads much cheaper than anywhere else.

I stumbled across one eBay seller, who had the micro beads for sale in a variety of colours. I took an instant liking to the gold as I love it paired with nude, and for less than £2 it wasn't going to matter if I do only use them a few times and so as soon as they arrived in the post, I began to experiment!

Polish: OPI 'Dulce De Leche', micro beads covering the nail

Spread out slightly 

I think my preferred way is to do this is only on my accent ring finger instead of adorning every nail in them, with the gold that might look a tad 'bling bling'. It may be something I'd consider for a different occasion, but I find this is a lot more subtle and I really, really love it!

Do you think this trend will be a big hit? Will you be trying this manicure?


26 March 2012

Real Techniques Core Collection

Makeup brushes are one thing I like to invest in. I believe the use of good quality tools, as well as good quality products results in the perfect makeup application. There are however, a lot more inexpensive tools out there that do just as good as a job, although I tend to find myself reaching for brushes from brands such as MAC, Sigma, Bobbi Brown and most recently, Real Techniques.  

I'm a huge fan of the Pixiwoo sister's on YouTube and ever since the release of the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes, I have been wanting to get my hands on them. After quite a while of only being available online in the UK, the range hit Boots stores last month which only made it even more difficult for me to escape the temptation.  

I was more drawn to the sets over the individual brushes. The Buffing Brush and the Contour Brush are what I've been most interested in trying, although only come as part of a set of 4 in the Core Collection. The set also includes the Detailer Brush, great for applying lip products and the Pointed Foundation Brush, which I've used a couple of times to blend in my concealer. It's ok, but I don't enjoy using flat foundation brushes, I find they make the application a little streaky and feel it takes longer to blend.  

I adored my Sigma Flat Top Synthetic F80 Kabuki Brush for foundation, but I think it's quickly been replaced with the Buffing Brush, the bristles are a lot softer and less dense, it leaves my face looking flawless and blends in products almost instantly. I've been using the Contour Brush to apply my Chanel Bronze Universel and I believe it to be the best brush to work with that out of everything I've tried so far. It's also great for cream blush application.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this collection and next on my list is the Starter Set, even though they are designed for eye makeup application, I'd personally use them for blending concealer. The Core Collection set is amazing value at £21.99 and can be purchased in store or online at Boots.com.

Have you tried any Real Techniques brushes yet? Share your thoughts!


23 March 2012

Skin Food: Blueberry & Raspberry Smoothie

Berries, small in size, big on nutrients ;-)

In my previous post, I shared my love of berry based face masks and also the fact of how much I like making my own fresh versions using natural ingredients. I mentioned how beneficial berries are for the skin both on the inside and out, and since I've already spoken about them as a great ingredient for skincare, I thought I'd also share how I include them in my diet.

As soon as the sun is out, I'm all over fruit like a bad rash. During the Winter, I find it more of a chore and would much rather indulge in cake and hot chocolate. My favourite way to eat various fruits in one go is to cram pack them into a nutritious smoothie. I have probably had this every morning for the past week or so, and have honestly noticed such a huge improvement in my skin. Whatever I can find that I think will work well together, gets thrown into the blender, but it mainly consists of blueberries, yoghurt and honey. Not only is it good for the skin, the berries release their sugars slowly, giving you quite the energy boost which means me cracking out my exercise DVD (although I can't even make it past the warm-up stage at the moment, I'm working on that).

Here are the basic ingredients to make your own skin saviour smoothie:

Serves 2

40g blueberries
100g raspberries
1 tsp clear honey
300ml natural yoghurt
A few crushed ice cubes

Blend together and serve. I prefer to use it up in one go whilst its fresh!

I hope you enjoyed this (slightly different) post, let me know if you'd like to see some more 'skin food' shares!


15 March 2012

Battle of the Berry Face Masks

When it comes to face masks, I don't like to splurge too much, in fact, I don't like to splurge at all. The majority of the time, they contain ingredients that can just as easily be found in your kitchen cupboard. If you know me, you'll know I like to be as natural as possible with the products I use, and so when I feel my skin needs a treatment, I tend to make my own, this way I know which ingredients are really going into the mask and onto my skin.

Berries come in all different size, shapes, colours and tastes but most of them are all known for containing anti-oxidants. Not only is this important for the body on the inside, aiding in the protection of cells against radical damage, but it also works wonders for the skin on the outside too. Although I much prefer to whip up a face mask myself, I have tried a few berry based treatments in different variations, (it's nice to have a treat every once in a while, isn't it?!) that I thought I'd share my thoughts on.

Neal's Yard Power Berry Facial Mask
I purchased this quite a while ago, but however many times I seemed to have use it, I still haven't been able to use it up, probably because such a little goes a long way. I have no idea why I purchased this in the first place, for £24.50 I think it's probably one of the most expensive skincare items I've ever tried. I hadn't read any reviews previous to buying it, but something about the description drew me in. This mask claims to 'boost radiance and protect youthful skin'.  It is 93% organic and contains acai, blueberry, cranberry and grape, and is mineral oil, paraben, silicone free. I love the consistency of this mask, the texture is a gel, although it is quite gritty from the berry seeds. When it comes to removing it, it transforms into an milk lather and gently exfoliates the skin. It truly leaves gives my face an instant, radiant glow and is deeply nourishing. I don't think it's something I'd ever repurchase, purely because of the price tag, but it was definitely nice as a treat.

LUSH Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask
This was the first face mask I had ever tried from LUSH and seeing as I had 5 empty black pots to trade in, I figured why not. The consistency of this was much thicker, and slightly harder to apply. The Catastrophe Cosmetic says it will calm and cleanse the skin, again containing anti-oxidant and vitamin rich blueberries, to help reduce inflammation and have an antiseptic effect on any blemishes. The smell isn't anything special, and I don't like how easily it flakes and crumbles with a single facial expression once it has set, but I do like the fact that it doesn't contain any preservatives, which means it does have to be kept chilled and used within about 2 weeks. Again, it left my skin looking refreshed and it helped clearing a few little blemishes up! It's a lot cheaper at £5.75 but don't forget to keep your empties in order to get one free!

Lady Soma Antioxidant Berry Masque
I was sent this face mask to try, again the description drew me in and I was looking forward to trying it. I slathered it over my skin and within a few minutes, it began to sting. I decided to keep it on figuring it might just be 'doing its thing' and the natural ingredients were working. When it came to taking it off after 10 minutes, my cheeks and forehead were quite sore and irritated. I immediately contacted the company and told them what had happened, they assured me that the reaction was completely normal. My skin can be quite sensitive to new products so I decided to give it another go. As the mask is more suitable for combination skin and for those who suffer from hyper-pigmentation, large pores and/or dry, rough skin, I was recommended to just try it on the nose area, I also used it on my chin. This time, it didn't sting or irritate and left those areas feeling deeply cleansed, brightened and smooth. I have used it several times since then and haven't had any more problems, so I would only recommend this mask if you do have a combination skin type and would say it isn't particularly suitable for sensitive skins. The consistency is a much smoother cream, applies and removes easily and honestly smells good enough to eat! It contains blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate, and once again is free from those chemical nasties! This mask is available online at ladysoma.com for $32.99 (offer international shipping).

What is your favourite face mask to use? Have you ever attempted your own DIY version?!


13 March 2012

Clarisonic Mia

So I did it, I caved in and I got the Mia. If you follow me on this blog regularly, or even on Twitter, the first thing you are probably going to be thinking is 'But Jess.. it's not white!'. I have stressed time and time again, I had to have the white one, please don't ask why, because I don't even know that myself! I was determined to not pay the full amount, I definitely make the most of saving a little money here and there, and there had been so many opportunities where I could have had one for a heavily discounted price (hello BuyaPowa!) but turned them down because none were white. It got to a point where I thought, 'Good god girl, get a life - does the colour really matter?!', and so when I got the chance to use a 15% discount code online at Lookfantastic.com I snapped it up straight away and only a few days later did the Pink Clarisonic Mia arrive on my doorstep (and I have to say, I think the pink is really cute).

I simply just wanted to share my excitement with you all, I have only used it three times so far, just during the evening. Although Clarisonic say it is perfectly gentle enough to use twice a day, in my opinion feel I that that may not be completely necessary. I'm secretly hoping that by only using it once a day, I will 'skip' the 'purging phase' but I highly doubt it! After reading a couple of reviews where the Clarisonic had only been tested out for a couple of days, I couldn't believe that the effects and benefits were being noticed so soon, but I can honestly say, my skin instantly feels a whole lot smoother and my moisturiser definitely sinks into my skin better already. Would you like to see my thoughts of this weekly? Or an overall review once I've really given it a justified amount of time? Let me know, either way I'm sure I will have a lot to say about the Clarisonic Mia in the near future!


4 March 2012

New Additions and Clarisonic Confusion

Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel, Botanics Soothing Eye Makeup Remover, Clarins Liquid Bronze

Real Techniques Core Collection, Essie 'Angora Cardi', Carmex Moisture Plus, Bourjois Elastic Mascara

Redken All Soft Shampoo and Conditioner

A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.. I've picked up a few new bits and pieces, spaced out over the past month or so. If you saw my recent wish list post, I have treated myself to 4 out of the 6 things, and aside from that, I got my hands on some other products I was lusting after. You can watch my latest beauty haul video HERE! Let me know if  there is anything you'd particularly like to see a review on!

I have been doing quite a bit of research on Clarisonics recently, when they first made an appearance in the UK, if I'm honest, the hype went completely over my head and I took not a blind bit of notice, the price tag put me off for sure. In the past couple of months, I have found myself reading and watching many more reviews. My skin has been playing up a treat, I have always put up with large pores, blackheads (gross, I know) around my T-zone, but it's got to the point where I'm breaking out over my cheek area, I've never really had this problem before. I constantly lust over, clear, smooth, perfect skin and when it comes to applying makeup, I feel nothing looks good if my overall complexion is suffering. After many 'umm's' and 'ahh's', I've decided to give a Clarisonic a go. The problem is, which one do I go for?! I'm debating the Mia, I'm not too fused on the extra speed settings and whatever else the Plus or Classic have to offer, but I've been told a few times the extra money is worth it. I really don't want to shell out more money if I can help it, and from what I've seen, the Mia looks just about right. 

Has anyone else got a Clarisonic, what are your thoughts? Help me make a decision!

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