Saturday, 23 May 2020

Some views on cruelty free brands, clean beauty and how to be a bit more eco-friendly with your routine


Today I will be sharing an essay that I seem to have written on my opinions on cruelty free makeup, eco-friendly makeup and the “clean beauty” revolution. Remember, this is all my opinion (except for the science.....because that’s a fact) and I encourage healthy and kind debate but will not tolerate any kind of ugly words because of someone’s opinion.

Cruelty free makeup

This is a difficult one because technically anything you buy in the EU isn’t allowed to be tested on animals and anything made in mainland China doesn’t need to be tested so technically, most brands are cruelty free in that sense. The big issue comes when you look into brands that make stuff in other countries and then sell in China. This is because China still has a law that requires animal testing of certain items that are imported into the country. The other big issue is when you look at parent companies. For example - Urban Decay is cruelty free but is owned by L’Oréal who isn’t. A lot of people say that buying from cruelty free brands from big parents companies “sends a message” but realistically, a lot of people still buy other L’Oréal brands regardless of if they are part of the cruelty free range or not (Lancôme, YSL, L’Oréal makeup etc) and money is money to these companies (and to most people really!) I personally try to support more cruelty free brands but, as a makeup and skincare junkie, I also own things from brands who do sell in China so I will never judge people for their choices! 

I worked for bareMinerals for 7 years and could never really see myself working for any other brand as bMins had good ethics and I genuinely loved the products and believed in their skincare/makeup hybrid. That being said, I’m now a beauty specialist with Boots and so I can advise on all brands. I LOVE this job because it gives me the freedom to really help people with what will work best for them but also gives me the freedom to play with brighter colours etc. This doesn’t mean I’m compromising on my ethics because I moved to a job where I can help inform all customers with their choices if they want me too! My regular customers who have followed me from store to store trust me to give them the best advice based on what they want because I won’t lie to them about products and their performance etc. I get a lot of people asking about cruelty free makeup now and the discussion comes up about parent companies. A lot of people don’t know the brands that are owned by the biggest groups of Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Shiseido and LVMH. These lists are easy enough to find on the internet but people hear that KVD Vegan Beauty is cruelty free and brag about owning it.....but they are owned by Kendo, who are owned by LVMH who are arguably one of the biggest importers into China and therefore test on animals “when required by law” Ok so KVD isn’t sold in China....but the money is still lining the LVMH the question you have to ask yourself is, how far do you personally want to go down the rabbit hole? As I said, there is no judgement for me at all (unless you actively only by makeup that is tested solely on animals.....then there is a lot of judgement from me! 😂) it’s personal for everyone!

Estée Lauder own - Lauder, Tom Ford, Clinique, Too Faced, Becca, Origins, Glamglow, Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, Smashbox, Dr Jart+, Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Mac and more!

L’Oreal own - L’Oréal (obviously...), Urban Decay, YSL, Lancôme, Kiehls, IT Cosmetics, NYX, Decleor, Armani Beauty, Essie, CeraVe, maybelline, Garnier and more!

LVMH own - Dior, Benefit, Fenty Beauty, Marc Jacobs Beauty, KVD Vegan Beauty, Givenchy, Guerlain, Fresh and more!

This only three of the top brands for (mostly) premium makeup and skincare.

A few of my favourite brands that are more eco friendly: (not to be confused with “clean beauty” as this is a relatively new phrase and....I’ll be honest, this phrase kind of annoys me....I’ll talk about this in a moment!)

ByBi - Everyone I know knows I love this brand and I have met the founders a few times and basically had to try not to fan girl too much! They only sell skincare at the moment but I honestly love their stuff and really love the brand ethics too. They are 100% cruelty free, vegan and use 100% natural ingredients. Their range is limited as they are a fairly new company but they have a recycling program and their tubes are made of sugarcane and can be recycled or put onto your compost! They also have a recycling programme for your empty glass bottles so you can send them back and they will be sterilised to be reused. The writing on the packaging is made from vegetable ink as well! 

Bleach London - I dye my hair a LOT so to find a brand that is good and also committed to cutting down on plastic waste is great! They do a reusable bowl and no longer include plastic bowls in every pack because of this. Their bottles are all made from recycled plastic and can also be recycled.

Aveda - I don’t use Aveda much but my Mum loves their foot cream in particular. They do a lot of charity work and raise money in all their stores for their water charity as well as doing good for Earth month too. Most of their products are in recycled bottles and can then be recycled after use and their hair care is already Vegan they aim to have everything they do be 100% Vegan by 2021.

The Body Shop - Who didn’t love The Body Shop when they were a kid?? Bath pearls were life! Since being sold from L’Oréal a few years ago, The Body Shop has started to go back to their roots again. You can take old bottles back to store so they can be recycled. They are getting back into doing more for the environment and focus on making sure workers across the globe for them get fair pay and fair living conditions.

Lush - Who hasn’t had a Lush bath bomb?? The glitter they use in these is perfectly safe and biodegradable. They do a lot of packaging free products now - they launched “naked” body washes a few years ago which are basically solid washes with no bottle - great idea....but I’m not sure how a lot of people are able to store them? Again, they have a recycling programme where when you take back 5 clean, empty lush pots (and various other Lush items) you get a free face mask and these pots will be broken down and remoulded to form “new” pots!

L’occtaine - They cut packaging thickness and reduced plastic consumption by a lot. They’ve been recycling since the mid-90s ad have set up a scheme where you can take their packaging back to be recycled.....and also other brands stuff too! So you could take your Chanel perfume bottle to be recycled there! They also do refills for a lot of their popular products and sustainably source as many of their ingredients as possible.

Milk Makeup - A 100% vegan makeup and skincare brand that is eco-conscious. They do a fairly good range of products and also sell little trial kits most of the time so you can easily try stuff without the fear of spending lots of money (although they are reasonably priced anyway. Also their trial sizes still contain a generous amount of product!) See their FAQs here.

White Rabbit Skincare - Passionate about protecting the environment and reducing their carbon footprint, White Rabbit aim to be 100% plastic free as soon as possible - they only have plastic for their spray toner and a plastic pump on a cleanser, however they are optional when you purchase these items and they encourage you to reuse your old spray/pump when you can! They also have a great recycling incentive, are cruelty free and vegan too! There’s even a “going green” bit on their site that shows how they are trying to improve their carbon footprint and an ingredients explanation list too!

There is a fab article by Sali Hughes on this subject with more brands and more info.

A lot of brands have started to trial recycling programmes in the US for example bareMinerals do a recycling programme in the US where you can take back empty bottles/pots from them and other brands and get discount but it hasn’t reached us yet, possibly because we don’t have as many boutiques as America? Might be difficult to do in department stores, although John Lewis had just introduced a similar scheme in their stores before lockdown. I think it’s difficult for makeup brands to be particularly “eco friendly” other than using recycled plastic in their packaging and making sure said plastic can be recycled after. What are your thoughts on this?

The “clean beauty” movement

Ok, this is where my science background comes in handy and also makes me mad at companies who tout this whole “clean beauty” thing SO intensely - there’s no problem being proud to be eco-friendly etc but brands that really shove it down your throat...well..... People see the word clean and automatically think it’s going to be good for them. This is NOT the case necessarily. When I’m at work and customers say things like “oh I want it to be chemical free” it takes all my will power to not face palm and just walk away. EVERYTHING IS A CHEMICAL!!! Chemicals do not = death. I mean, I guess they technically do know....everything is a chemical and we do die so maybe it is the chemicals fault??? 

Anyway, brands that basically make a big deal about what they DON’T have in them tend to rely on people not questioning what they DO have in them. Yes, I don’t want loads of bad ingredients in my skincare or makeup, but also, I want to know what’s in it and what it’s going to do. 

A lot of brands do the clever advertising bit and highlight the “nasty of the week.” Some examples of this are:

 “No Mineral Oil!” - which is actually used in lot of baby lotions and isn’t comedogenic (pore clogging) like people claim it is (it’s a high grade form in cosmetics and skincare and highly refined) It’s actually really good if you have lashes that fall out a lot as it really helps to condition them. On the note of chemicals being comedogenic or non-comedogenic - there is no accurate test for this at the moment and in fact the final product would have to be tested to see how the ingredients worked together. 

“No Parabens!” UGH. Parabens are a preservative. They’ve not been proven to be inherently bad for people and are not cancer causing chemicals. There are some that have been banned by the EU after extensive testing but some are perfectly fine to be used in makeup, perfume and skincare. A lot of brands who don’t use parabens use a product called Phenoxyethanol which, actually can cause more issues then some you know.....there’s that..... 

“No Phthalates!” - I mean, there is a studied ‘safe’ level for would have to stick to these and your body filters them out anyway? Studies are still fairly new (last 10 years or so) but so far they show no adverse effect in humans at the acceptable levels. Plus your formula might be phthalate free, but if you use plastics packaging or any plastic in your production line, you’ll have phthalates somewhere in your brand. 

Now, I am no way saying that you should ignore these things and that it doesn’t matter what is in your skincare or makeup because of course you should look into what is in the product that is going to be put onto your skin/possibly absorbed into your body. What I am saying is, don’t be blinded by brands that tell you what ISN’T in their product and know that chemicals aren’t all bad for you. (I often point out that brands don’t advertise that they don’t have lead in their lipsticks because the research on this is sound and it is banned for cosmetics (rightfully so!) but these products that some brands DON’T have in them aren’t banned? Which says something I think.) Be wary of brands that use a “nice” name to make them sound better too. Marketing is an amazing thing to look into. The brand Simple sells so much because people see it’s name and think “oh, it must have less ingredients in it!” and I don’t blame people for thinking this either as I definitely did when I first got into skincare at Uni! Brought a cleanser, toner and moisturiser from them....had a horrible reaction to them within 3 days. Lovely. Even a.....simple....product in their range - their micellar water claims “kind to skin” in it’s name. Well.....obviously. It’s a bloody micellar’s designed to be gentle and “kind” to skin? Theirs has 15 ingredients, which sounds great but Bioderma sensibo micellar water (which I like and haven’t found a better alternative yet) has 10. So why the 5 extra clearly unnecessary ingredients Simple?? Because they sure as hell aren’t added skincare ingredients from what I can see.... Now, this isn’t just against one brand, it happens across the board and we ALL fall for it because that is what marketing and advertising is for. To suck us in. And boy do I fall for it all the damn time and, most likely, will continue to do for the rest of my life because I’m a sucker for some good marketing!

My final note on “clean beauty” - Organic and Natural doesn’t = good. Heroin can be organic and is technically “natural” but its’s really not good for you (so I’ve read anyway!!) I have quite sensitive skin and have had quite bad allergic reactions to organic or natural skincare and makeup. I’ve also reacted to more “traditional” makeup’s got nothing to do with how natural or not the product is, my skin just HATES some things. I’m allergic to can be 100% organic and is, obviously, natural.....if I put it on my face, it’ll make my skin peel.....and if I eat it I will always feel like I might be dying no matter how “organic” it is (which is sad times because I love pineapple so so much!) Also organic stuff can actually sometimes leave more of a carbon footprint than some GMO stuff too, so there’s that too. Basically, makeup and skincare is an absolute minefield. I recommend doing your own research or asking a nerd like me for help if you need to, figuring out what is the most important thing to you and, ultimately, do what YOU want to not what marketing tells you to do.

Little things you can do to be more eco-friendly with beauty!

Reusable bamboo “cotton” pads! I love these. It’s crazy how many cotton pads (that come in a plastic bag) I used to use! Whereas now, I can reuse one for a few nights if I’m feeling lazy and then just gather my used ones and pop them in the wash and they are clean and ready to go again. I have one set of 15 but will buy another set soon just so I have extras for when I forget to put them in the wash (I put them in the mesh bag they come with to wash them and then forget to take the mesh bag to the machine when I do the washing quite frequently!!)

Invest in some flannels and a good cleanser - Seriously, wash your face and take your makeup off at the sink in the evening. I use a cleansing balm or oil to take off my makeup - I love to watch my makeup LITERALLY melt away! Then I use my flannel to take that off and then I do a double cleanse with something more targeted depending on how my skin is feeling. This a) is more eco-friendly than using more cotton pads or, heaven forbid, face wipes (stop using these immediately. They are terrible not just for the environment but also for your skin.) and b) better for your skin in the longer run. I like a softer flannel so I’m not rubbing my face harshly or tugging too much.

Look at the packaging and see if you can recycle it easily. Also look into the aforementioned recycling schemes offered by various shops too.

Bamboo cotton buds are much better alternative to plastic ones as most can just be put on the compost heap if you have one at home or can be recycled with food waste. If you don’t have access to either of these things, then you can sleep safe knowing that, by throwing them away into normal rubbish, they will decompose quickly and safely!

Buy pots or tubes of face masks instead of sheet ones. Sheet masks are often not biodegradable, but even when they are you can bet that the packaging ins’t. I like a pot mask as I can also just use it as a treatment for a small area of my face instead of all over as well.

I got all my reusable/eco friendly stuff on amazon from reputable sellers but you can get them direct as well. A quick google search will find all these items for you!

In conclusion, I work in one of the most wasteful industries in the world I think and this is how I try to do my little bit to make the world a bit better. I will never judge anyone for their views on cruelty free etc and I applaud anyone who makes just little changes in their makeup or skincare routines. Remember, everyone is entitled to an opinion and yours may differ from mine and that is completely fine! Just be kind to others for their opinions on this matter.

Hope you enjoyed my essay!!

Have you got any tips or tricks to be more eco-friendly in your beauty routine? 

Until next time, 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Swatches and Review - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit - Ghost


Yesterday I caved and ordered the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit - Ghost from SpaceNK* despite resisting it when it was first released at Christmas as I had recently given away my Hourglass blush palette to a friend because I found the blushers too shimmery. So why did I buy this you ask? I wanted to try a bronzer by them. Why didn't I just buy a travel size one for £24? I have absolutely no idea. Honestly, quarantine has been so so bad for my bank balance because my mental health basically goes "you're something....that'll cheer you up!" does.....for 5 minutes....and then I buy something else to cheer me up again and its a vicious cycle that ends up with me owning a new palette that cost me £75.......bugger. (I did have £5 of N.Dulge points to use there's that at least................right?....) Anyway, enough self judgement......

Left to right - Top Row - Finishing Powder in Dim Light, Finishing Powder in Diffused Light and Strobe Powder in Iridescent Strobe Light.
Bottom Row - Bronzer in Eternal Bronze Light, Strobe Blush in Iridescent Rose and Blush in Sublime Flush.

Now then, I cant deny that this is a damn pretty palette. My main issue with hourglass palettes is how they basically bring out the same palette each year with just SLIGHT differences which makes people like me think "oh....but its different to last years...." and then we buy them all because "THEY ARE DIFFERENT!" and we are weak. No judgement on the people who do buy all these palettes of course....I'm one of you, just not with Hourglass palettes (well....not yet anyway...)

So that is my index finger for reference as to how small the palette it (and I have the hands of a twelve year old so the palette is really small!) For £75 you would want something a little bigger I think? When trying it out properly, I couldn't actually get my brush (bareMinerals seamless shaping and finishing brush for reference) into the individual pans that easily. Yes I could use a smaller brush but for bronzer and blush and a setting powder I need a fluffier brush so it's more that leaves one product in this palette to use a smaller brush with (which I did.) I do think the size of this palette makes it really good for travelling know....when we can again!

Close up of Dim Light.

Dim Light is the first of the two finishing powders. It has a slight pinky undertone which doesn't show up too much on my skin tone (pretty pale and pinky anyway) when dusted over with a fluffy brush. If used with a smaller brush it shows up with a bit of colour. I will say that it does give me skin a nice sheen but wouldn't replace my actual setting powder as it does nothing for my open pores at all...

Close up of Diffused Light and Iridescent Strobe Light.

Diffused Light is a paler and more yellow finishing powder compared to Dim Light. Out of the two I prefer this one as there is no risk of me putting too much on and feeling a bit too tanned. Again, it is a pretty powder giving a nice luminosity but does nothing for my open pores up close. I do think this one gives me a more soft focus look from a distance though, which is always a good thing! Iridescent Strobe Light is a real winner for me! It's got a more apricot undertone and is good for my pale skin. It gives a really good wet look highlight to the skin, however it also quite glittery which picks up quite a bit in the sun. I can imagine I will use this as a great lazy day eyeshadow as well as its intended use. 

One swirl swatches - left to right - Dim Light, Diffused Light and Iridescent Strobe Light.

Not the best products to show one swirl swatches of but I do think you an see how pinky Dim Light is in this picture.

Swatches as above from a different angle...

You can see how much bright Iridescent Strobe Light is in this picture compared to the setting powders.

Close up of Eternal Bronze Light.

This is the one product that I was most interested in trying and boy it did not disappoint!! It's a really nice glowy bronzer that just made me look sunkissed and not muddy at all! It was very pigmented so I only had to use a tiny bit and could build it up easily too. I would definitely re-purchase this if I ever actually used it up. But I won't because I work in the beauty industry and own far too much make for one human. 

Close up of Iridescent Rose and Sublime Flush.

The thing I think everyone loves when looking at Hourglass are how pretty the veined blushers are. Even if you don't like a glowy blush, you're still drawn to these. Iridescent Rose is exactly what it says....its a rose colour with an iridescent sheen to it. It's quite warm toned so a tiny bit goes a long way. Sublime Flush is a lighter and slightly cooler toned pink. This is my favourite of the two because it just looks better on my skin tone. Not to say I won't use Iridescent Rose, but I have to be more careful with it so I don't end up looking like I've put my redness back on after covering it up with foundation! Both have a sheen to them but Sublime Flush is more subtle for sure.

One swirl swatches - left to Right - Eternal Bronze Light, Iridescent  Rose and Sublime Flush.

Here you can see that Eternal Bronze has a nice sunkissed warmth to it and also the difference in the sheen of Rose and Sublime.

Swatches as above with more light on them.

Overall, I think this is a lovely palette if you enjoy the really glowy look. Hourglass is a brand that I want to explore more but their price point is just a bit mental really. I mean a palette that fits in my hand (remember...hands of a twelve year old....) for £75? The packaging is also made of plastic so it doesn't even FEEL expensive? Handy for travel, but for the price I'd just want something a bit more weighty. Would I recommend this palette? If you want to spend £75 on a boujee glowy palette, then absolutely. Do you need it in your life? Probably not. Am I sad I spent £70 (£5 N.Dulge reward remember!) on this? I feel like I should be but......I'm just not at all!!

Price: £75
Limited Edition: Yes for as long as they have stock I guess?
Weight: 6x1.4g
Price of each pan: £12.50 - The travel size bronzers and blushers are £24 for 1.3g each so I guess you could say this palette is a bargain? If you got the minis of each of these (they don't do minis of all these shade though) you would spend £144.....which is almost double the amount of this palette! (This is exactly how I justify my purchases FYI......)
Best for which Skin Tone: Definitely fair to medium. I can't imagine any of these shades working on tan to dark skin tones - the downside of pre-made palettes a lot of the time still.

What do you think? A waste of money or a boujee 'bargain'?

Until next time,

Product paid for by me!

*Affiliate link

It's been a while!

Hello! are you all?? It's been about.....four years.......How the hell has that time gone by so quickly? In that time I've changed jobs, been on my first holiday in 10 years (3 holidays now!!) seen multiple bands live and now we're in a global pandemic - during which I've shaved my head (which I've always wanted to do!), done lots of jigsaw puzzles and brought far too much makeup and skincare.......hence my return to the blogging world! Basically, this way I can still feel like I'm working and keeping my mind fresh on talking about beauty related stuff and also justify all the money I seem to be spending!!!

Hopefully I'll get back into the flow of things easily but if not.....see you in another 4 years I guess!!

Until next time,

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Swatches: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette


So yesterday I was on my lunch break with another one of the girls on the beauty floor and some how ended up ordering the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette from Beauty Bay. The reason I ended up buying it from Beauty Bay was purely for the fact that they have free next day delivery and it's my day off today so I thought I'd order it to have something new to play with today! (I might have a slight makeup addiction.....)

Firstly, let's just discuss this packaging shall we? The outer case is suede which means I spent a good 5 minutes just stroking the outside of the palette like some sort of weirdo. It's sturdy without being too heavy. It's not the sleekest palette I've got in my collection but it's also not the bulkiest either.

In my haste to want to touch it I took a quick photo of it untouched....before realising I'd left the plastic protecting bit on it....oops! Each of the 14 shadows is 0.7g (for comparison the shadows in the Urban Decay Naked Palettes are 1.3g for 12 shadows) and you get a double ended brush with a flat end and a blending end, which is actually pretty good quality and I would happily use unlike most brushes that come with palettes.

Post-swatchfest! I was surprised by the lack of fallout with these shadows until I looked at the ingredients and saw that they are talc free. I was incredibly happy to see this as I hate that talc is in so many powders as it's just a filler and does nothing other than annoy the crap out of me by causing all my palettes to become super messy with the fallout of the shadows! This is why I love bareMinerals so much and now I can add ABH to this love apparently! I've not looked into their other powder products yet but this means I definitely will be (sorry purse!!!) ABH are also cruelty free too, which is a HUGE bonus in my books. The only thing I will say is that the use by is "once open use within 6 months" which seems to be an incredibly short shelf life for an eyeshadow palette I think. Most are at least 12 months if not more so I'm not sure why this is.

From top to bottom: (all swatches in natural light) (all colour descriptions are from how I see them blended on my hand)

Cyprus Umber - A deep matte brown, which is always welcome in any palette for me as it's so multi-use. From defining your crease to using as liner, it's always handy to have.
Love Letter - A matte cranberry shade. I was literally saying yesterday that I don't really enjoy matte colours generally but I think this is the colour to change my mind! What a beauty!
Antique Bronze - A pinky bronze shimmer. A beautiful colour that I can see myself using all over the lid or as an outer colour shade.
Buon Fresco - A pinky nude shade. This one almost has a hint of lavender in it, which would make it a perfect colour for a nude eye without using all brown shades like I usually do.
Golden Ochre - A (mostly) matte golden yellow shade. This is one that I'm very excited to use! It's the perfect yellow shade without being too bright or too pastel. As you blend this out there is a very subtle shimmer in it that gives it depth.
Tempera - A nude shimmer shade. This is probably the shade I was least excited about as I own this shade several times over I think....however it is a welcome addition to this palette as a fantastic highlight shade for sure.

From top to bottom: (all swatches in natural light)

Realgar - A Matte burnt orange shade. I really love this colour and will be using it a lot come Autumn I think.
Warm Taupe - A matte.....warm taupe shade. There really isn't much to say about this shade other than I think it'll make a great transition shade for most looks.
Venetian Red - A shimmer cranberry shade - This is the main reason most people want this palette I think! It really is a beautiful shade that is very buildable but not overly shimmery.
Red Ochre - A (mostly) matte burnt red shade. This is the red counter part to Golden Ochre with it's very subtle shimmer when blended. It's definitely a burnt red shade with a more orange tone to it. This would make a lovely transition shade for a more dramatic eye I think.
Primavera - An intense shimmer champagne shade. I love this shade as I think it'll add a really nice intense shimmer in the inner corner but looks like it could also be used as a highlighter too....
Burnt Orange - A...urm...burnt Orange sheen shade. Most of these shades are pretty much what you expect when you read the colour name, and this one is no exception. It's definitely a subtle sheen that isn't as noticeable as the colour before but has a glow to it, which is very nice and makes me think of Autumn bonfires for some reason.
Raw Sienna - A matte mustard colour. I really like this colour! It's like a twist on a nude shade and will look pretty awesome on I think.

As you can tell, I've not actually played about with it on my eyes yet and my next day off isn't until Monday so I won't know how it actually works on the eye until then, but so far I'm very impressed and will be looking at more ABH stuff in the future for sure! I like how some of the matte shades actually blend out with a very subtle sheen to them and I like the range of colours in this palette as you can do a very natural eye look or you can really go to town with an Autumnal look too, which is possibly a bit ridiculous to say since it's technically Summer in the UK right now, but's definitely Autumn weather outside right now and I prefer Autumn/Winter anyway so anything that gets me excited for that time of year is a bonus for me! Although that's not to say that this palette isn't good for Summer too though...I will be taking this palette with me when I got away to London in August for sure!

I was incredibly impressed with Beauty Bays delivery as well and the ease of use when ordering this palette and I will definitely be using them again....perhaps for one of the ABH Glow Palettes?? Who knows??

Have any of you guys tried this palette yet or anything else by ABH that you can recommend for me?

Until next time,

Monday, 27 June 2016

A Few of My Favourite Things: Serums and Face Oils


Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a little a bit obsessed with skincare! So today I bring you the first in a new blog series called "A few of my favourite things" where I will discuss a few of my favourite things in each category explaining why I like them so much and why I would recommend them.

So, serums and face oils....why do I love them so much? Basically a serum has more potent ingredients and will ultimately do more than your regular moisturiser. For a slightly more in depth look at what a serum is the lovely people over at Into The Gloss have put together a little FAQ that's definitely worth a read!

First up is the bareMinerals Skinlongevity*. This is the newest serum by bareMinerals and I bloody love it! I was worried when they announced that they were discontinuing all their serums for this "vital power infusion" as I had no idea what that meant and I loved the old serums. Basically, this infusion can be used alone or with another serum on top to boost what that other serum does. It also has skinmimetic technology in it, which effectively means it'll make your skin act how it should do at your age. It helps to get rid of visible signs of ageing and stops environmental stressers from making your skin look older than it is. With ingredients like long life herb and California poppy in it (and no parabens, fillers or binders), it's designed to keep your skin looking younger for longer. Plus it smells AMAZING so, you know, there's that too....! You can see my one is getting rather low despite only having had it for 2 and a half turns out my Mum is also a fan of this product!!!

bareMinerals Multi-Wrinkle Repair was my absolute favourite serum before Skinlongevity came out. It smelt like lavender and just sunk into my skin so quickly whilst hydrating it quickly too. I won't go on about this too much as it has been discontinued and I don't want to make anyone feel like they want to try it only to be disappointed when it's difficult to find!!

Nip+Fab Dragon's Blood Plumping Serum - I got this as a 10 day sachet sample set when I got the face mask on their website a while back. Firstly, if these sachets only last you 10 days, what are you doing with the serum?? There is SO much in each sachet!! I really enjoy this serum and it's a cheaper version of the Rodial Dragon's Blood Serum, which I've not tried as it's rather expensive! This one is slightly thicker and stickier than the other serums and oils in this post which does put me off buying the full size to be honest. I don't mind using this at night but it takes way too long to sink in for me to use during the day. It does have hyaluronic acid in it though, so if you have excessively dry skin this might be good during the day too.

Clarins Pore Minimizing Serum - I got this as a sample from my local Clarins counter and although I'm not a huge fan of it all over my face, I do like how it does minimise the appearance of my pores and helps to mattify my face during the day. My makeup sits nicer and stays for a bit lonoger too I have noticed. This serum is for more combination to oily skin, which is probably why I don't like it all over my skin but it has alpine willow herb in it which helps slow the production of sebum resulting in a matte finish.

AD Skin Synergy Nourishing Night Treatment - I got this in a beauty box a while back and I love it! It's seriously nourishing and smells amazing. The brand is also paraben free which is always a good thing I think. It contains a lot of natural, organic oils which will help to hydrate your skin and repair it overnight. Highly recommend! (Plus a tiny bit goes a REALLY long way so it lasts ages too!)

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concerntrate - I got this when it was on a huge discount on the Debenhams website (it is still on a slight discount here) as I'd always heard such good things about it. To start off with, I wasn't really sure it was doing much. Sure it smelt good but really....was my skin looking any different? Then someone mentioned that my skin looked really glowy and I realised that the subtle changes weren't noticable by myself so much, but it was obviously doing something! This is another paraben free item which I love to put on after my bareMinerals Skinlongevity to really give my skin an overnight boost!

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil - This was part of a Sephora gift set my brother got for me a while ago and it's the only face oil I've ever been able to use in the morning under my makeup! It's a blend of pure oils and is a lot thinner in consistency meaning it will sink in quicker. Seaberry is known for its moisturising properties and helps to heal skin too. I've loved all the Fresh skincare I have used but it's a little expensive....although totally worth it!

Nude Rescue Oil - This was another sample in the Sephora set that my brother got for me. This serum has a product in it called bakuchiol which Nude claims has the same effect as retinol "without negative side effects." I like this one as another overnight treatment as it refines the texture of my skin which means I wake up with epically smooth skin in the morning! This serum is suitably for Vegans too, which is pretty awesome!

Nude Firming Youth Oil - This one has a really nice plumping effect which helps to fight the visible signs of ageing in the form of fine lines and wrinkles. I'm not super fussed about wrinkles at the moment so I'm not sure I could justify the price tag but I'm enjoying the sample I got! Again, this serum is suitable for Vegans so if fine lines and wrinkles are a concern for you it might be worth looking into this one!

Superdrug Coconut Oil - Now then, I'm not adverse to cheaper skincare brands by any means, but for serums and oils I've just never found one on the high street that is something to rave about you know? Most serums on high street have silicone in them, which is what most primers contain to make your skin feel soft and smooth and I would never recommend putting a primer on at night to sleep in, so I'm not about to recommend a serum that has that ingredient in! However, this coconut oil from Superdrug is absolutely amazing and is only £2.50!! I use it in my hair as well as on my face when it gets excessively dry during Winter and I love it! My hair is dyed frequently so it's a good overnight treatment to help it from getting dry and horrible and when my face gets dry and flaky during Winter it's fab for re-hydrating it. If I use this over one of my other intense serums it's even better! If you don't have a huge skincare budget, then this is the product for you for sure! Maybe not a great day time option, especially for oily skin types, but as an overnight option it's the bomb!

So there are my serum and face oil picks for the moment! How do you guys feel about serums and oils? Do you have any recommendations for me to add to my list once I use some of these up? (or before I use these ones up knowing me!!!)

Until next time,

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A Peek Into My Makeup Drawers


So today I thought I'd give you all a brief little tour of my makeup storage as it is at the moment. Now then, a little disclaimer of "I'm well aware that this is too much makeup for one human being to get through in a life time but we all have hobbies right?" I also got a lot of this stuff with my staff discount at work, which kind of helps me justify the amount....! You may also note that I don't have a lot of bareMinerals stuff in here, which may seem quite strange considering that I work for them....why is this you ask? Well, it's because I recently decided to move pretty much all my bareMinerals stuff onto my desk where I get ready in the morning. Now then, this isn't set up in an ideal way at all but it's made my morning so much easy! I've also got a few other products on my desk like my Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, some lip liners and mascaras too. Right, let's get on with it!

So like most bloggers, I have the Ikea Alex 9 Drawer Unit to house most of my makeup. There is a reason this range is popular with people with a lot of beauty as it houses most items very well and you can divide the drawers how you want to (after you've brought dividers or re-purposed something - I chose to use empty beauty boxes for the time being as they work well and have a lot of space too.) The one complaint I have about these drawers is that they don't actually come out all the way, which isn't the end of the world but is a minor annoyance every now and then. Just something to consider if you're thinking of getting this unit.  

I have my perfumes sat on top of my drawers in the hopes that it'll remind me to use them more frequently and not just use the ones at work! Post coming soon on my current perfume collection. 

So here is the first photo of the top drawer. It houses some fancy jewellery at the back (some real pearls that my Mum got me and a Stella and Dot bracelet I won from work) then my limited edition bits and backups. So you can see the limited Christmas edition deluxe Mineral Veil by bareMinerals, which I definitely did not need at all as I have more mineral veil than I will ever get through I think....buuuuut.....the pot was so so pretty I couldn't resist!! The black thing at the front is a brush roll that i use whenever I have to take any brushes anywhere as I HATE putting them into makeup bags for some reason! I think this was part of a Lancome brush set a few years back...

Underneath my Mineral Veil I have some gift with purchase bits from Estee Lauder that I've not tried yet (I think I may have tried to mattifying one once maybe?) Then a mini Urban Decay Setting Spray, a limited edition slogan Touche Eclat (the one that says "I am not a morning person"), a few bareMinerals foundations that I've won from work but don't need to open yet (although that Complexion Rescue is probably coming out soon!!) and a couple of sample bits from when I've ordered stuff from the bareMinerals boutique/Online and they've been included in my order (surprisingly the primer sachets are really handy when I'm away as I don't have to carry my full primer and can just throw them away afterwards. The lip products are all backups of products I really like and don't want to be without!

Underneath the brush roll are some perfume samples that I've partially used and just don't know where to put. Most people would have them in their bag but when we get searched at work, it's hard enough trying to explain that, no, you haven't in fact stolen that lipstick from your counter, you tend to have bareMinerals products in your bag because you bloody well work for the company and want to top your lipstick up after lunch without doing it on counter! that you tend to not want to have to also explain about a perfume sample too.

To the right of the picture are two beautiful Burberry limited edition items that I just don't have the heart to use. I know I should do but.....the Rain of Shine blusher is just so beautiful that I don't want to ruin it and the bronzer is also beautiful to look at! First world beauty blogger problems right?

Next up is the face products drawer. Now then, I'm not one of those people that has tonnes of foundations or primers etc because when you work for a beauty brand, you wear their products 5 days out of 7 and, honestly, I love the bareMinerals foundations (well....most of them anyway!) so I don't see the point in buying other foundations as I know I won't use them within the time frame they have before going a bit manky. I'm definitely a bit more flexible with colour products when on days off or holiday. So in here we have a whole bunch of highlighters (the Estee Lauder Sultry Glow one is a favourite at the moment!!), Blushers, a few cream products and maybe about 2 bronzers...I'm clearly not a bronzer fan I guess! The mini bareMinerals one was from a boutique purchase and has been relegated to the drawer because I now have the full size one.

Next up is the eye drawer! This doesn't include big palettes as they are in a drawer further down due to space requirements. So in here we have a bunch of single shadows by NARS, Estee lauder, Urban Decay and some single ones by No7, Burberry and random other brands. I have a couple of Colour Tattoos but other than those I don't have a lot of cream shadows. I also have my lovely Tom Ford palette in here in the shade Silvered Topaz, which was the last one on my list to get after all the other ones i wanted were sold out on my friends's still beautiful but a tad....dull for my liking (I mean.....I have a lot of neutral eyeshadows so I wanted something a bit bolder if I was buying Tom Ford you know??) I also have the only Dior Eyeshadow palette that I've ever been impressed with quality wise. I mostly find their 5 colour palettes a bit lacking in pigmentation vs their individual shadows which are amazing!

On the right hand side of the picture are my eyeliners. I have a few Clinique ones that were free as well as a couple of Urban Decay sample ones. I brought a fair few of the Estee Lauder Doublewear pencils because they had some really pretty different colours (the Teal one is my personal favourite I think!) I also have my YSL sparkly mascara in there too.

Onto my favourite drawer....the lipstick drawer! A lot of highend lip products reside in here as I am an absolute sucker for packaging and have no shame about it! You might be able to tell that I have a little bit of a love in going on with Estee Lauder lipsticks right now! The envy range is amazing and I love all the finishes and the colour selection is amazing too. I've got a few of my highstreet lipsticks in here too, which are the ones that survived my extreme cull that I did a while back. At the back are all the Sleek Pout Paints as I love the way you can mix them to make your own colour, along with my collection of bareMinerals Pretty Amazing Liquid Lipsticks which I still miss so much! They were my favourites on counter before being discontinued!

We then have lipsticks in pencil form and my collection of Estee Lauder Liquid Lipsticks (two of which I found in TKMaxx recently! Score!) You can see I also really love the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils too! I found out that I get discount through my job recently and went a little bit mental with it!! They really are worth the money though as they stay on all day and are so comfortable to wear too!

The lipgloss drawer. Not a huge amount in here....but that's mainly because most of the lipglosses I own are by bareMinerals and are therefore on my desk and not in here. The Buxom ones are from years ago when we used to sell them on counter alongside bareMinerals stuff. I miss them! I then have a few random ones by various brands but overall I'm not a huge lipgloss fan....which is why this drawer is a bit empty looking! The Fresh Sugar Legends set is a present my brother got me a while back. They are nice enough but not something I would rush out to by again as I just don't like lip balm enough. The Dior box contains a mini lip maximizer and a mini lipstick. It was a gift with purchase ages ago and I think I've used the lip maximizer once? I should try to use that more often as some people swear by it! 

Aaaaand the big eyeshadow palettes drawer! Ok, so here we see that I have a bit of an Urban Decay obsession....what can I say? They do some really good eyeshadows!! It only slightly bothers me that my Naked 1 palette is in the really old packaging and doesn't match my other ones....

Underneath my Vice 3 palette is my Make Up For Ever Studio Case that has 12 shadows in and a full size liner. I love love love the MUFE eyeshadows! I would own all of them if I could I think! In here I also have the Chocolate Bar and Semi Sweet palette by Too Faced, a YSL limited edition palette, a Buxom palette that i chose the colours for that my brother got me when he went to America, another MUFE mini palette and the rest are all Urban Decay.

Finally, at the back of my eyeshadow palette drawer, I have my small selection of false lashes. I used to have more and need to get some more less extreme ones, but I barely ever have an excuse to wear false lashes these days so I just haven't bothered picking any more up since I had my purge of unused or out of date stuff. The main reason for keeping the Lancome ones is because of the box. I have no shame over this! The Illamasqua ones I got from TKMaxx a while back because I'd been wanting them for ages but couldn't justify the price for something that I'd really never wear... And the We Are Faux ones came in a beauty box I think a looooong while ago... Chuck in some never opened No7 eyelash glue and that's my makeup drawers done!

I hope you enjoyed this brief look in my makeup drawers and don't think that I'm using this post to brag etc. I really love reading these kinds of posts and watching them on YouTube and have been meaning to do one for a while. I might do a post on my currently desk set up so you can see the ridiculous amount of bareMinerals stuff I own ('s ridiculous!) or maybe a more in depth look in my makeup drawers? Let me know what you guys think and let me know if there's anything you want a more detailed review of with any of the products in my stash! Feel free to link your makeup drawer posts too as I do love having a nose round someone else's stash (and not just to get ideas as to what to buy next!!!)

Until next time,

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Empties and Misses - 2016 Part 1


So today I'm taking you through a few bits I've used up and some that I haven't for various reasons....

  • bareMinerals Combination Skin Moisturiser - Love this moisturiser but it's been discontinued and replaced with their AMAZING new skincare range instead. I'm currently using their oil free moisturiser called True Oasis instead and I'm in love. Would I repurchase? I can't and there is something better by bareMinerals now instead!
  • B. Makeup Brush Cleanser - Man, I've used a lot of brush cleaners in my time. I have this habit of just weirdly wanting to try them all apparently! This is hands down my favourite that I've used so far. Cleans my brushes quickly, is anti-bacterial and doesn't smell like it'll be killing my lungs when I breathe it, win, win! Would I repurchase? Yes and I already have! Plus Superdrug had it on offer so that was handy!
  • bareMinerals Multi-Wrinkle Repair Serum - Love this serum....but see above with the moisturiser. Currently discontinued but I've switched to SkinLongevity, which is the new serum by bareMinerals so it's all good. Would I repurchase? No because I can't.
  • bareMinerals Blemish Remedy Foundation in 01 Porcelain - This is my absolute favourite bareMinerals foundation EVER. I genuinely didn't think I'd actually use this as I don't have blemish prone skin but I tried it as I think it's important to know what each foundation looks and feels like when serving customers....and you know what? I bloody loved it!! I have super combination skin and it kept my oily oily forehead shine free and my dry skin didn't look dry at all during the day! Love, love, LOVE! Would I repurchase? YES! I actually ran out of this one before my new one arrived and I was distraught!! I have my new one now and I'm seriously considering buying a back up so I never run out again....
  • bareMinerals Original Foundation in Fairly Light - This was my go to foundation before using Blemish Remedy and I loved it.....not so much now. I just feel shiny with it on now and in order to get the same effect that the Blemish Remedy one gives me I have to top up my translucent powder half way through the day. Basically, I'm really lazy so way do two things when I can do one and get the same result? Would I repurchase? Probably not. Unless my skin suddenly changes and Blemish Remedy isn't right for me. That being said, I have a full pot after getting a back up before trying the Blemish Remedy one....

  • bareMinerals Universal Dark Eyebrow Pencil - It feels like I've had this pencil for years....and it turns out I have! Because it's so pigmented it's taken ages to use up! Also I do tend to use powder by itself some days, which means this pencil lasted even longer. I like how thin the nib is so it's really easy to have a very delicate brow or I can build it up too if I want. Would I repurchase? Yep....and you guessed it, I already have!
  • bareMinerals Thrilled Lipliner - This is by far my favourite lipliner colour for me. It's like a "my lips but better" shade which means I can actually just use it alone to define my lips if I want. I have quite a thing for lipliners at the moment but this is the only one I've ever managed to use up (it's a twist up one too, which makes me happy!) Would I repurchase? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you can probably guess my answer to this one....(Yes....and i already have....!)

And now the misses...
  • Boots Botanics Cleansing Toner - I got this in the hopes that it would be similar to the Pixi Glow Tonic...and it just isn't really. I think if you were on a really tight budget then this isn't bad and is brightening to some extent but for me personally, I just ended up going and buying the Pixi Glow Tonic anyway. 
  • Garnier Micellar Oil-infused Cleansing Water - This wasn't a bad cleanser and I got it to try it as my "quick cleanser" for lazy days as I hoped it might be a bit better than the standard micellar waters that I've tried but a) the smell of this makes me want to heave and it lingers on my skin for too long so I want to wash my face anyway and b) nothing seems to beat my Bioderma for a quick lazy day cleanser (or pre-cleanser if I'm feeling fancy or had really heavy makeup on). Bioderma just seems to get more off and leave my face feeling cleaner. Plus the smell.....just no.
  • Clarins One-Step Cleanser - I've used this before and didn't mind it (it smells a bit weird but it doesn't linger) but it just didn't agree with my skin this time. Again, I felt my Bioderma is better. luckily this was a deluxe sample so I didn't waste any money on it!
  • Clarins Instant Eye Make-up Remover - What is it with Clarins and the smell of their products?! There's bloody Lily in everything apparently. I'd heard really good things about this eye makeup remover and my L'Oreal one is running out so I wanted to try a new one and thought this would be a good idea. Again, luckily it was a deluxe sample and I'm so so glad I didn't just get the full size one on a whim as the smell makes me feel physically sick and although it doesn't linger for ages afterwards as I sweep over my eyes with my other cleanser afterwards, just opening the bottle makes me feel pretty sick. I tried the Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover in a tiny sample too as the one on counter didn't smell too bad but when I tried it at home it was a real NOPE moment for me. I HATE the smell of lilies anyway (plus the are poisonous to cats (of which I have 3) so I dislike them for this reason too....) so to have it in a skincare product just bothers me a lot apparently!

  • Nip+Fab Viper Venom Eye Roll On (no idea what it's actually called as the writing has rubbed off and I'm too lazy to Google it....) and Viper Venom Wrinkle Fix - Both of these products kind of smell like Sudocrem, which I don't actually mind, but I'm pretty sure these both actually caused an allergic reaction so they have been taken out of my routine as I used to have pretty bad skin and never like to risk it if I think a reaction is happening. It's not worth messing my skin up again because I feel I should use a product up so it's not a waste of money!
  • Lancome Energie De Vie Smoothing and Glow Boosting Liquid Care and Sleeping Mask samples - These are currently available at most Lancome counters as free samples when you ask and is their new skincare range. Now then, this is really my own fault because I had a really bad reaction to the HydraZen samples I had a while back but I decide to try these and see what they were like. Guess what happened? Yeah that's right...I had a god damn allergic reaction to it. How annoying!! I really like the idea of this range but my skin really really does not. I basically smothered my skin in Sudocrem the night after my reaction, which really helped my skin. Guess I'll be sticking to my bareMinerals skincare then!

So there are my hits and misses for 2016 so far! I don't seem to go through a lot of stuff like other people do (or it's just the same stuff every time....(hello Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes Shampoo and Conditioner!) which would probably get very boring very quickly....) but when I do I'll share it with you guys as I really enjoying reading these kinds of posts! Let me know if you have any hits or misses so far this year, or if any of my hits are your misses or my misses are your hits! As always, just because they are misses for me, doesn't mean they won't suit some of you guys! (also you may love the smell of lilies!!haha!)

Until next time,