Friday, 25 July 2014

GIMME 5: Hand Creams

I'm somewhat new to the hand cream game, but I strongly feel that what I lack in experience, I make up for in litres of enthusiasm. I have been slathering my mits in these five babies for the last few weeks: here's my rundown of the Good and the "Good God..."

Also, if you missed last month's Gimme 5, you can get the dirty here...

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream
Still not a brand that I've been convinced by, this hand cream failed to push me onto the Nuxe bandwagon. Formula-wise, is one of the more decent formulas of the five: it absorbs well and I do feel its moisturising benefits, but the smell... I can't even begin to describe it to you properly.  According to the internets this fella contains Chilean rose, avocado and sweet almond oils, which possibly explains why it smells like a weird old herbally jumble to my nose.

The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector
I have actually tried this chappy before (in TBS's pre-L'Oréal days) and, along with their Shea Lip Butter, I feel there has been a distinct decrease in quality since the company changed hands. No longer sold in its cool, medicine-style metal tube, this is now available in a tacky, plastic one that is 20ml smaller. It's also somewhat lacking formula wise; I remember it as a light but potent balm that was powerful but weightless... Now it's by no means a bad hand cream, but just not a patch on the old formula, and it's another one with a smell you're probably going to have to learn to love.

Pure by Waitrose Hand Cream
At £1.99 I wasn't expecting much... but good LORD this is awful. Two minutes post application, all hints of hydration are long gone. I could weep... but I won't, I swear I won't.

Clarins Hand and Nail Cream
One of Momma B's faves, this one hit the (finger)nail on the head with a great formula and nice scent... It's the priciest of the bunch, but Clarins put its success down to the sesame oil and Japanese Mulberry: how lovely sounding. It does work well and would have come top if another hadn't beaten it...

La Roche Posay Lipikar Xerand Hand Repair Cream
It turns out my first hand cream is my fave... so much so the tube pictured is my second. While it's not quite rich enough to be my overnight hand cream of choice (that quest continues... chime in if you have recommendations!) it is going to live in my handbag, forever. It's got what I think of as a "proper" hand cream vibe: a floral smell, nice formula and the packaging just reminds me of whatever my mum was using when I was little... For the mo, it's my hand slap of choice and it's also only a fiver from Escentual... nice one.

I'll be back with another Gimme 5 next month but until then, what hand creams are you feeling? And basting your paws in? I am pumped to hear about them as per!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mini Budget Haul

Guys, I have a confession...

I may have gone to Boots and some accidental shopping may have occurred.

If I'm honest it felt like good deals were just fighting to be exploited.

I couldn't not.

Here you go my loves!

Why I Love Lost In Translation

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There are few films I love more than Lost in Translation (2003).

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I love its grungy vibe.
I love its soundtrack.
I love how it encapsulates alienation in a foreign culture.
I love just about every shot could be a work of art.
I love how it represents a quarter and midlife crisis.

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If you haven't seen it, you should, then come tell me how much you loved it.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

7 Days of Makeup

In case you missed it, last week I posted my week in makeup (with products linked in the description, easily the longest description I've ever been responsible for!) and very exciting it was too.

Each look took 15 minutes or less to complete so they'll be super easy to recreate should you fancy it!

Let me know your thoughts - which day was your fave? And are there any you'd fancy a tutorial on?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Optimal Prime

Is the title intended to be a Transformers pun? Yes, friends, yes it is...

I figured my love for this trio was so strong that I needed to verbalise my feelings on my blog; having been a primer sceptic for the longest time, these three are my bros that I turn to when I need a look to last. Allow me to introduce you...

First up, and on its last legs, is my beloved Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. This is a product I cannot wait to repurchase as he is a little champ at making my makeup last. I tend to spray him before anything else, as I find my face is a little sheeny when I spray this post foundation application, to act as a base for whatever I am putting on top. Other primers seem to make no difference or break me out, but I have a huge soft spot for this little pump: he's a real step up from the hairspray I had been using for special occasions before!

Then we move on to another friend that's about to empty, my Nars Pro Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base. At one point I was using this and my UD setting spray in every single Youtube tutorial, as my lids are some of the oiliest in town and there's not a hope in hell of this oustripping any other products. Now this is running seriously low I have been using my Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden but his lasting abilities are absolutely nothing to write home about. I will be very, very sad when Nars really does give up the ghost!

Last of all is MAC's Prep and Prime Lip primer. The newest to the bunch, this is also my least frequently used, but I definitely had to mention him as when I'm wearing a bold lip for a long time, this is my product of choice. I'm not 100% sure as to how much longer my matte lips last whilst wearing this (matte lips being pretty heavy duty in that respect anyway) but if your lips are chapped and uneven, Prep and Prime will magically mask the situation and create a smooth canvas for colour - well worth a look in if you're a lippy lover too!

These are my priming picks - I'm ever so curious to know what yours are! Has anyone found a traditional, non-dewy primer that works without causing breakouts? If so, let me know down below!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Wardrobe Shopping Survival Guide

Trying to save some money? I know I am... With a year of being a student again staring me in the face, the need to spend sensibly is more apparent than ever.

You may thinking, Shopping Survival Guide?? If you're after constructive advice on how to avoid being eaten by your shopping basket or how to swerve falling makeup counters (I'd never had to imagine a shopping apocalypse until now) you will have to head elsewhere I am afraid... though it is an idea I may come back to...

But for questions that you should be bearing in mind when shopping with a budget, you may want to look this way.
  1. How will this wash? Sometimes buying cheap basics is a false economy... You wash them once and they're good for nothing but a life as pyjamas; sometimes you're not actually saving anything at all. For me, it's meant that I've bid farewell to buying from Topshop and Forever 21, unless pieces are massively reduced in the sale.
  2. Pale colours = high maintenance. I learnt this one the hard way last week; I bought a beautiful dove grey jacket from H&M and stained it on its first wear. Be careful; this one will lead you back to point 1...
  3. Is this a staple or a statement piece? I tend to reserve my statement pieces for special occasions; a bold, unique piece will definitely be worn less, whereas staples should combine with one another and form the backbone of your wardrobe; less exciting, but a lot more useful.
  4. Get savvy with separates. A few years ago, my wardrobe was full of garments that worked for one outfit but couldn't be combined across the board. I've since learnt my lesson and am a separates convert. I've never been so happy with the state of my wardrobe.
  5. Read your labels. Dry clean only is my worst enemy.
  6. Don't spend on a trend. A no-brainer here but a mistake lots of people seem to make; ripped jeans may be cool now, but they're not worth splashing out on if you're bothered about falling out of style. Especially important if you're keen on being first to try a trend: you may end up hating the look after a while.
  7. What's already in your wardrobe? Will this combine well? Or are you making a mistake that I have committed many a time - am I buying a carbon copy of something I already own?
These are genuinely the questions I ask myself when buying and I find it super helpful to take a moment, in my changing room, and imagine myself walking out with what I have in my hands or with nothing and deciding which I am going to do today.

Have you got some wardrobe buying thoughts that you feel like sharing? I am all about hearing more!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Last Chance Picks

You know those products that you just don't fall in love with... but don't exactly hate either? Or the ones that you had such high expectations for, didn't get on with, but can't face admitting your distaste for? This post is all about those guys... being give one last opportunity to hold their own, or else move on out to pastures new.

First up is one that many, many bloggers seem to love, but my face just didn't seem to get on with. The Clarins Exfoliating Toner contains tamarind fruit acids, which are meant to brighten, exfoliate, and even reduce the appearance of pores. For some reason, I felt like this was just doing the opposite - my skin felt unpleasantly tighter, duller as opposed to brighter, and I swear to you, my pores just looked more noticeable than ever... I gave it three weeks to prove itself and my skin is now looking significantly better now this guy is no longer in my skincare rotation. I am gutted.

Another fail, even on the second time around, was Benefit's Porefessional Primer. I have mentioned previously that the first time I used this, my cheek decided to celebrate by breaking out spectacularly. It was not pretty. Quite the opposite in fact. Prior to testing this primer again, my skin had been a blemish free zone for at least three weeks... A day later, and a few little beauties had erupted on my chin. Thanks for nothin', Benefit. It also failed to win me over with amazing primer power. It's not a keeper for me.

This post does have a happy ending; all this facial abuse, courtesy of last two products - most especially the Clarins toner - meant that my final pick, Liz Earle's Brightening Treatment Mask, was at last given a chance to shine... and shine it did. It's not a Whoa-there-you're-glowing-like-a-disco-ball kind of product, but if your face is looking a bit drab and dour, a minute or so of this might add a little life to your skin. I had considered hoofing this guy, but for now he's passed the test and will be on reserve for duller days and maybe even hungover skin.

Are there any products that you just can't fall for, no matter how you try? I'd love to hear about them in the comment section!
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