29 July 2012

Products I've Used Up in July


That time has come yet again where an empty GlossyBox is full to the brim, in actual fact, overflowing with empty bottles and containers which now need to make their way to the recycling in order to make way for some nice shiny new ones! There's definitely some goodens this month, including the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, that's already been repurchased full size! I still need to get round to making a Liz Earle order (I used up another bottle of the Skin Boosting Tonic 2 months ago if you remember!) and it won't be long until some more of her products make appearances in upcoming empties videos! Something I wasn't so impressed with was the Elemis Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask. I've never been disappointed with any of their products before but this really didn't cut it for me - the scent, supposedly kiwi fruit and strawberry was a little to fake smelling for my liking and when something is slathered on my face, it needs to smell good, y'know? Ren is currently a brand I'm obsessing over and I'm eager to try either their Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask or the Invisible Pores Detox Mask, both sound amazing and I'm stuck on which one to choose! Until next months empties, I hope you enjoy the video!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts?

Jessica x

23 July 2012

Top 10 Summer Nail Polishes

Since the weather has been an utter misery (*ahem* understatement) here in the UK, my 
pedicured feet haven't seen the light of day and my sandals haven't even left the suitcase under my bed. All hope is not lost though, this week the forecast is promising us some sunshine so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show you some of my favourite colours which will be adorning my fingers and toes over the next few months (I'm very optimistic!). I won't be sporting the multi-coloured look that I am in my video, but I will be rotating these shades as much as possible in an attempt to make the most of the warm weather we are all desperately hoping for!

What are your polish picks for Summer?

17 July 2012

BeTrousse 'Must Haves' Beauty Box & Giveaway

You may remember this post, an introduction to a French beauty box concept which has recently made it's way over to the UK. I mentioned that BeTrousse release themed kits on a monthly basis, all containing full sized products. I also gave one of my lucky readers the chance to win a box their selves, so if you missed out last time, all hope is not lost - stay tuned till the end of the post where you have the chance to win a different box of goodies!

This time round, I present to you the 'Must Haves' box*, which includes 5 essential products to prepare you for the Summer months. Up first is the OceAnge Anti-age Caviar Complex, a luxurious night cream containing.. yea, you guessed it. It's apparently meant to preserve the skins firmness and elasticity, leaving it feeling soft, regenerated and repaired. In all honestly, I'm a bit sceptical about putting this on my face but considering it's worth £60 alone, that's got to say something, right? I've tried cellulite lotions and potions in the past, but I can't really say whether they do anything or not - The LPG Aqueous Cellulite Detox Serum is designed to act on cellulite and retained water, detoxing and decongesting the skin, giving soft results and boosting cellular metabolism. I can never be without hand sanitizer so I was really pleased to see the Bacti Control gel in the perfect handbag friendly size! Something else I was intrigued to try was the Pure Papaya Ointment, an intense multi-use treatment made from all natural ingredients which can be used on dry skin, chapped lips and sunburn. Last but not least is the Ostraly Mosturising Tea Tree Oil Cream, the other option being the Moisturising Lanolin Oil Cream. It is heavily scented, however, tea tree is known for anti-bacterial and healing properties, so I can imagine this would be very soothing and fresh. All together, that's a whopper of a total worth £131!

Here's the best bit, one of you has the chance to win your very own 'Must Haves' box, all you need to do is follow this blog via GFC, 'Like' the BeTrousse Facebook Page and leave a comment below including your email address or Twitter name so I can contact you if you win! This giveaway is only open to residents of England, Scotland and Wales (again, apologies to all my other readers!) and will close next Saturday 28th July at 9:00am. I will then contact the winner and pass their details onto BeTrousse who will ship your prize to you! Good luck :-)

The winner of my previous BeTrousse Organic & Natural Beauty box giveaway was Paula B, congrats!
*PR Sample

15 July 2012

Pamper Post #1

As a beauty therapist, I spend all day treating others, rarely getting the chance to be pampered myself. I often get asked ''who does all of your beauty treatments?'', the answer is, well, me. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've visited a beauty salon for treatments myself, just because I can never relax (think of it like Gordan Ramsay eating a meal cooked by another chef.. .. okaaay.. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but you just pick out little things and can only think how you would have done it yourself). I often get a sudden urge to have a complete head-to-toe pamper, this usually occurs at the weekend and I call it 'me time'. I saw Lily's post of a similar thing and it inspired me to do this kind of write-up at the end of each week. I'm constantly trying out new products and have a whole basket of things on the go, so what better way to show you how I use them and my thoughts.

Come Summer or Winter, I always look forward to a bath (especially as English Summers aren't often that warm!). I make it as dark as possible before lighting a candle, the one of choice this weekend being the Yankee Candle Vanilla Satin, sweet yet soothing. Whilst a LUSH So White bath bomb was fizzing away in the water, I warmed up the Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Moisture Melt, a solid wax-like product which turns into an oil upon heat, and applied it all over my hair. As it was a 'Clarisonic night' I cleansed with my Mia and the Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel. I then applied the Elemis Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask (note Elemis overload!), only a sample which I'm pleased about because I'm not overly keen on it, and left that on while I soaked in the tub. I don't tend to use the L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil on an everyday basis any more, instead only as a real treat (don't get me wrong, it's bloomin' amazing but I want to savour the goodness!). I went through my hair with the Kevin Murphy Wash & Rinse and got out of the bath to apply the KMS California Moisture Repair Cream, the name speaks for itself - I apply this to the ends of my hair while damp and usually leave it to dry naturally. I then went on to apply the AHAVA Deadsea Water Mineral Body Lotion, review here, and the rest of my skincare routine including the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Liz Earle Natural Repair Face Cream and Origins Ginzing Eye Cream. Last but not least before I hopped into bed, I applied Peptalash, a lash growth treatment which I've only just started, end results and opinions to come!

Do you treat yourself to pamper nights? Would you like to see more of these posts?

14 July 2012

Latest Revlon Additions

I'm quite aware that everyone and their mother is talking about the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains at the moment and naturally, I feel the need to add my two pence worth. Although they've been available in the US for a little while, they only hit the shelves of Boots and Superdrug this past week and I'll be honest, I made a special shopping trip just to get my paws on them.

The name says it all, these chubby pencils are a balm and a stain in one, moisturising the lips as well as leaving a long-lasting hint of colour. I believe 12 shades were released in total and there's no surprise that only 7 of those were brought over to the UK. I picked out 'Honey', the most natural looking in my opinion, a pinky-mauve which has been described as the infamous term, a 'my-lips-but-better' colour. The first couple of times I used it, I felt it slightly dragged on application but once you soon wear it in, it glides on so smoothly. I wouldn't say they're the most moisturising lip products out there, but after the glossy sheen has worn off, the tint stays on your lips for a good couple of hours or more. Basically, it's just one of those products you can throw in your bag, apply on the move with no mirror necessary! 

As a sucker for peachy blushes, I also picked up one of the new Photo Ready Cream Blushes in 'Pinched', a soft coral peach shade with a hint of subtle gold shimmer, absolutely perfect for Summer. It has a light-weight formula, blending in beautifully although I would say it almost gives a powder-like finish to the touch. The other shade we have available is 'Flushed', a fuchsia pink and there is in fact, a third shade, although only available in the US currently, which is 'Coral Reef' a might brighter, orange coral.

I have to say, Revlon are on top form at the moment, I can't wait to see what they bring out next. They are by far the best drugstore brand out there, with Bourjois not too far behind! I'm actually thinking of doing 'the best of' type videos for these two brands, sharing my thoughts on the products they are well known for and my personal favourite items. Let me know if that's something you'd like to see!

Both the Kissable Balm Stains and Photo Ready Cream Blushes have an introductory price of £5.99, get 'em while you can!

Have you picked up any of these new gems yet?

12 July 2012

Skincare Haul

I did say after my last haul that I wouldn't be spending for a little while and it was time to save the pennies, well.. I lied didn't I?! Let's face it, I just can't be trusted, when I try to steer clear of the counters, I find myself turning to online shopping to get my retail therapy fix (it's easy, it's lazy and it feels like Christmas when the postman arrives at the door!). This time I've got an excuse, kinda.. 

My skin just recently has been playing me up a treat, I'm talkin' dryness, flakiness, breakouts like you've never seen and nothing was helping. Something that probably really didn't help was the fact that I had a weeks holiday and pigged out big time, the junk food had to take it's toll at some point! I've also been a little lazy with my regular skincare routine, it completely went out of the window, so in all fairness, I treated myself to make me feel a little better. As I'm now settling back into my routine and the situation has calmed down, I felt it was the right time to slowly introduce some new products which I've been wanting to try for a long time.

It's been at least 5 months since I got my Clarisonic Mia and as it's recommended to change the head every 3 months, I was a little overdue with a replacement. I went for the 'sensitive' brush again as I've been happy with it so far, and going by reviews, this seems to be the best compared to others. I've just finished my Caudalie Beauty Elixir, seeing as it was the 30ml size and I really enjoyed using it, I purchased the full size. I'm not all that sure if it's made a difference to my skin, but it's refreshing, clean and smells amazing, although I'm aware that not everyone is too keen on the scent! Splashing out on the Alpha H Liquid Gold has been something I've ummed and arred about for a while. It's described as a 'resurfacing and firming lotion for your skin' and contains glycolic acid, known for its rejuvenating properties. It's recommended to use twice a week, so I plan to use this on my 'non-Clarisonic nights' and although I've said I don't feel the need to use an exfoliator as well as my Mia, chemical exfoliants are a different story and actually eat away at dead skin cells a lot more effectively, without the harshness that manual exfoliation can cause. The reviews have been fantastic, even life changing for some and the fact that it claims to fade scarring and reduce breakouts, as well as many other skin problems, just sold me. If you'd like to know more, these posts from both Ruth and Meg are fab!

Last but not least is the Ren No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm. This is a brand I've become familiar with only recently but I've heard nothing but good things. I believe this cleanser originally came in a tub, but I much prefer it in a tube. Their products are free from all kinds of nasties which is always something I'm on the look out for. This cleanser is highly recommended to use with the Clarisonic as well and as much as I love my Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel, I feel there might be something slightly better out there and I'm secretly hoping this is it! 

I promise to keep you updated with my thoughts and opinions, in the meantime, can you tell me if you've enjoyed using any of these products? I'd love to know!

10 July 2012

The Beauty Reward Card

I'll be honest, the majority of my money goes towards the latest beauty product, something else I don't need but still want and must have. An added bonus is when you earn points for the products you purchase which can then be exchanged and put towards anything you wish. I own four different beauty reward cards, all of which have their pro's and con's, so in case you're wondering which is the best to sign up to, here are my thoughts (although of course, there's no harm in signing up to all of them!)

Boots Advantage Card
What are the pros? You can collect 4 points every £1 spent in store and online (1 point = 1 penny!). I often receive vouchers and extra points coupons through the post, although my mum doesn't (maybe because I use and abuse my card and they're 'rewarding' me?!). You can also collect advantage card points on purchases from more than 100 online retailers via Boots Treat Street. A temporary card is provided until your permanent advantage card is received and any points are then transferred. If you forget your card on the day, you can return with your card and receipt within 45 days to collect the points owed. You can also now spend points online too!

And the Cons? The one disappointment - You must have enough points to cover the cost of the item, part-payments are not accepted (Boots, take note!).

Space NK N.dulge Card
What are the pros? You receive 1 point every £1 spent in store and online, once you reach 100 points, you are gifted with a £5 reward. You also receive new product previews, invitations to private events and sales, complementary samples and a birthday treat! You are able to earn points via your membership number even before you receive your card, you can track your balance online and if you forget your card on the day of purchase, you simply call the helpline with your receipt to hand and the points will be added.

And the cons? If you don't reach 100 points, they will expire within 12 months and if your card is inactive for 16 months, it becomes invalid.

Debenhams Beauty Club Reward Card
What are the pros? In store you collect 1 point every £1 you spend under £25 or 3 points per £1 spent if you spend £25 or more, then online you earn 5 points every £1 spent (500 points = £5, 1000 = £10 etc,etc) *aaand breathe*. Unlike Boots, you can part-pay for a purchase, for example, if you don't have enough points you can make up the payment by cash/card, plus, you collect points at the same time as redeeming them. Again, if you forget your card at the time of purchase, you can return within two months with your original receipt to receive the points you could have earned. You occasionally get sent through a £5 reward as a 'thank you'.

And the cons? Quite a few actually. You have to wait until the end of each month for the points to be converted into £'s and £15 worth can only be converted each month, remaining points will just sit there until they can be converted the following month. Points will expire if not used within 6 months and if your card is not used within 12 months, your account will close, not much of an incentive there!

Superdrug Beauty Card

What are the pros? The card doubles up as a mirror, cheers?! Although it's like something you'd find in a fairground fun house to be honest. You earn 1 point every £1 spent instore and online (100 points = £1). You can part-pay for your item and you also earn points back as you spend them.

And the cons? You can only spend points instore, not online. Your account becomes closed if you don't use your card in the last 12 months and if you forget your card on the day, well, that's just tough, your points can't be rewarded even by proof from your receipt.

I think it's clear to see Boots' Advantage Card is the overall winner here, it always has been my favourite, especially since I've owned one from since the age of about 14! The cherry on top of the cake will be if or when they introduce the part-payment system, I really hope they soon consider it!

What's your favourite reward card? Any others out there I need to add to my collection?

Jessica x

7 July 2012

June Favourites

So the one product I wanted to mention in this months favourites, I completely forgot about and now it sounds as if I don't really like it that much, otherwise I would have remembered. I'd gathered my products together for filmage the next day but picked this one out to use before I went to bed, it got misplaced and the rest of the story speaks for itself but I promise you it'll be in my July favourites, in the meantime, I'll keep you guessin' ;-) Click on the video above to see everything else I've been loving this month, plus all the extra info, links etc!

What have been your favourite products to use lately?

6 July 2012

BeTrousse June Organic Beauty Box & Giveaway

There's no denying that beauty boxes have dominated the online beauty community since the concept first came about a year or so ago, here in the UK anyway. Always one to follow the crowd, I jumped on the bandwagon and signed up to receive a box of goodies delivered straight to my door on a monthly basis, that was until, the price suddenly increased only slightly but enough to make a difference and the quality of the boxes became considerably poorer which is then when I decided to cool things off..

I was recently contacted by BeTrousse, a leading beauty box concept in France which has recently made its way over to England (and one with a difference may I add!). Instead of the usual subscription service, BeTrousse gives you the option to sign up to their monthly newsletter informing you of the upcoming themed beauty kits which you can then buy as you please knowing which products you are going to receive, although this does however, scupper the surprise factor that usually comes with a beauty box! Slightly more expensive than your average box, BeTrousse only contain full size products (no piddly samples here, although it arrives as a make-shift style shoe box to hold everything!) and since the company is French, so are most of the products. This for me is a huge excitement, especially discovering a new love for French beauty products, Caudalie, L'Occitane and Ren to name a few, I'm now hungry to try more!

First up in this months Organic & Natural Beauty box is the Evelyn Aloe & Honey hair mist, a leave in product, ideal for dry hair which leaves your locks hydrated, shiny and soft. I received the Lothantique Bath Salts, the other option being a bath and shower gel. I'm willing to give these a try, but I usually prefer bombs 'n' bubbles! Next is the Forest People Luminous Serum Eyes and Lips Contour, I've never heard of a lip serum so I'm excited to see how this works out, considering it's worth £31. I'm not usually a soap kinda gal, but the Reve De Provence Organic Bar Soap in Olive Oil & Lavender will find it's new home next to the sink for my hands and then the last product is the K Pour Karite Hair Mascara. I didn't even know these still exist, I owned one when I was about 12?! I'll be giving this a miss, especially as it's for brown hair and designed to cover greys.. I've got a few years left in me yet! All in all, it's worth almost a whopping £70!

Now for the best bit and aren't you a lucky lot?! One reader has the chance to win their own BeTrousse June Organic box. All you need to do is be a follower of my blog, 'like' the BeTrousse Facebook page and leave me a comment below this post including an email address/twitter account so I can get in touch if you're the winner. The giveaway is open to residents of England, Scotland & Wales (sorry everyone else but I'll have an international giveaway soon!) and you must be 18 years old or have parental permission. The competition will be open until 9:00am Saturday 14th July. I will contact the winner and pass your details on to BeTrousse who will get your box shipped to you! Good luck! :-)

Jessica x

*PR Sample

4 July 2012

Sigma Performance Eyes Kit

I have a handful of Sigma brushes that I've purchased individually, all of which I've been extremely impressed with, one of my all time favourites being the Synthetic Flat Top Kabuki F80, it's incredible for applying foundation! They are very comparable to MAC brushes, with the same quality only slightly cheaper and a much wider selection, including kits and sets too. 

One of their newest sets is the Performance Eyes Kit* which consists of 8 professional brushes designed to allow the precise application of liquid, cream and powder products for detailed eye makeup. They are actually quite tiny compared to regular brushes, the blending E36 for example, is probably half the size of a usual blending brush! Some of these brushes are like no other I've seen before but I believe every single one has a worthy purpose!

Blending E36 - natural bristles blend powder products onto small eye areas
Shader Lid E56 - natural bristles control the application of product onto the eye lid

Shader Crease E47 - natural bristles apply products into the crease 
Shader Inner Corner E46 - natural bristles apply highlight colours onto the inner corner of the eye 
Tightline Liner E16 - Synthetic bristles press gel, cream or liquid products into the spaces between lashes 
Waterline Liner E17 - Synthetic bristles apply cream or gel products into the waterline 
Smudge E21 - Natural bristles smudge products into the upper and lower lash lines 
Eye Liner E11 - Synthetic bristles apply gel or cream product to create a detailed liner look 

My thoughts? It may seem pretty pricey at £49.95 but if you're into creating elaborate eye looks then I believe this kit is a must have, I wouldn't however, recommend it as a starter kit, there are actually plenty more sets on the Sigma site which would be more suitable if that's the case. I feel a gal can never have too many makeup brushes, especially when it comes to eyes, I have quite the obsession with blending brushes.. *le sigh* 

What are your favourite eye brushes? 

*PR sample

2 July 2012

Lotion Loving

I've never really been one for body lotions or creams, the main reason being due to laziness. Don't get me wrong I have plenty stashed away, all of which I've attempted to use on a regular basis but non of which have really seen the light of day and have probably well outdone their expiration date. Standing completely starkers whilst rubbing a cold cream all over just does not appeal to me, followed by the greasy residue rubbing off on your clothes or bed sheets. Since making a real effort to use products up for my monthly 'empties' videos, I came across a sample of the AHAVA Deadsea Water Mineral Body Lotion and after only one use, I was truly quite amazed. It was love at first swipe.

The lotion is extremely light and absorbs into the skin almost in an instant, with no sign of a greasy layer being left on the surface and I honestly couldn't get over how soft it left my skin. It's main ingredients aloe vera, soothe and naturally add moisture, and witch hazel, smoothe the skin providing a refreshing, revitalising effect. I'm not a huge expert when it comes to product ingredients but I don't see too many nasties in there and best of all it's paraben free. One downside, which isn't a problem for me but I feel it won't suit everyone, is the heavily fragranced scent. I find it's quite fresh and I like the fact that it lingers on the skin for a good few hours afterwards. I can easily see how this is AHAVA's best selling product and you only have to read all the other hundred's of positive reviews to also see why! It's pretty pricey at £22.00 for 250ml and I usually wouldn't think about paying so much for a product I rarely use, but I feel that this is going to get a lot of love! This is an introduction to the brand for me and first impressions are good, I definitely want to see what else there is to offer!

Can you recommend any AHAVA products?

Jessica x
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