Thursday, September 19, 2013

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Water & Cleansing Milk

I've read a lot of reviews of L'Oreal's addition to the world of micellar waters, mostly good, so when my sister bought a bottle, along with the Cleansing and Perfecting Milk from the same range, I thought I'd give them both a try and review them for you. 
First up, the 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution which claims to 1) Remove makeup, 2) Cleanse the skin and 3) Tone and smooth the skin. I must admit, when it comes to skincare, I like to use separate (and carefully selected) products for each step in my routine rather than opt for a 'one product does all' kind of situation. I like to remove my eye makeup with Bioderma Sensibio H2O, followed by a creamy cleanser and a soothing toner, so I personally wouldn't use this micellar solution for all three of these steps. However, I gave it a go at removing my eye makeup, in place of Bioderma and it worked really well. Just like Bioderma, this clear, odourless solution gently and effectively removes all eye makeup without taking an eternity or needing harsh scrubbing. A 2p coin-sized amount on a cotton pad, pressed to the eye and accompanied by gentle circular motions will remove every trace of the day's makeup. This didn't sting my eyes at all, though it did leave them looking a little more pink than Bioderma does. 
Do I love it as much as my Bioderma micellar water? Not quite. But at £4.99, it is definitely a cheaper and almost as good alternative that I may well purchase in future. 

I've never used a cleansing milk before so wasn't sure what to expect in terms of consistency or effectiveness when I tried the L'Oreal Cleansing and Perfecting Milk. This product has a slightly runny lotion consistency which does look like a thicker version of milk in colour and texture (would you believe it?). When I used this cleanser after removing my eye makeup with the micellar solution (as I normally would), I did find it to sting the skin around my eyes a little, particularly just above my eyelids. I do have slightly sensitive skin, so this might not be an issue for those who don't - I know my sister (who has oily skin) doesn't experience any discomfort at all when using this product. It does, however, effectively remove every trace of makeup from my face - I checked using a cotton pad after washing the cleansing milk off and the pad remained whiter than white. So it's an effective cleanser, though maybe not for sensitive skin or for dry skin as it did leave my skin feeling a little tight. At £4.49, it certainly wouldn't break the bank if you wanted to try it out for yourself, though I wouldn't recommend it from my own experience.
Now, my real concern came when I read the ingredients list on the back of the cleanser - oh what's that third ingredient? Mineral Oil. 

Mineral Oil has caused quite the stir in the beauty world. Some people (Caroline Hirons, in particular) hate the stuff, refusing to use products that contain it at all because it creates a barrier over the skin, simply sitting on top of it stopping the skin from self-regulating and absorbing other skincare products like moisturisers and serums. Caroline emphasises that mineral oil is used in skincare products because it is cheap, not because it is beneficial for the skin, and that plant-based oils etc are a much better alternative. The PixiWoo sisters, on the other hand, like mineral oil products as makeup applies nicely on top of it. Whilst studies have shown that mineral oil does not clog pores, we are all a little wary of putting it on our faces now. 

Overall, I'd definitely consider L'Oreal's micellar solution as an effective alternative to more expensive micellar waters and would purchase it myself in future. The Cleansing and Perfecting Milk, however, isn't a product I would use again as I didn't find it to be nourishing on my skin like cream/balm cleansers are and it did sting my skin. The mineral oil content just sealed the deal for me. 

Have you tried these L'Oreal products? What are your thoughts?
Let me know in the comments!

Holly xo
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*I recently made a new Twitter account specifically for all my blog-related ramblings and would love if you could follow me there as I'm looking a little lonely at the minute! Ha

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MAC Faux Lipstick

As promised, today I'm going to review my other MAC lipstick purchase from this month. In the past, I've always bought from MAC's collection of Cremesheen or Amplified Creme lipsticks, as they tend to be most people's favourite formulas and I do normally gravitate towards more moisturising lipsticks. This month though, I expanded my collection to include a Matte (Russian Red, see review here) and a Satin lipstick, Faux.
Faux is described by MAC as a Muted Mauve-Pink, which I think is pretty spot on. For Autumn, I really love mauve coloured products, particularly lipsticks and blushes. This shade is a stunning toned-down pink with a definite mauve/lavender hue. I feel like Faux is one of those shades that will look slightly different depending on the wearer's natural lip colour/pigmentation and skintone, so I'd suggest swatching it or trying it on at a MAC counter to really get a feel for how the shade will look on you. 
I know some people find the Satin formula a little drying but I have to admit I am totally in love with the finish of this lipstick. It's creamy and comfortable on the lips as well as being matte and opaque. This shade is also one of the more long-wearing lipsticks I have in my collection. I will definitely be picking up more lipsticks from the Satin range as I am totally impressed with Faux. I've been wearing this lipstick with a taupe smokey eye to compliment the subtle purple tones.
MAC lipsticks increased in price again recently and now retail for £15.00, but let's face it, they can get away with it. I can't see the hype surrounding those sleek black bullets dying down any time soon, can you?

What is your all-time favourite MAC lipstick? What is your preferred finish?
Let me know in the comments!

Holly xo
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*I've just started a new Twitter specifically for all my blog-related ramblings, I'd really love if you could follow me there as I'm looking rather lonely at the minute! Ha

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hydration Heroes

Autumn is really setting in now, the clocks go back soon meaning cold dark nights cosied up under the blankets with a hot cuppa are fast approaching. And for a lot of us, the change in weather also signals changes in our skin. When the cold wind starts whipping away at my face, my skin can get very dry, particularly on my cheeks and forehead, so I'll be really upping the hydration in my skincare routine. Firstly, I'll be making sure to use Hydraluron before my moisturiser. This serum has a clear gel-like consistency and is packed full of the purest form of hyaluronic acid that holds up to 1000 times its weight in water, meaning the hydrating effects of your moisturiser last longer. This product also has long-term skincare benefits as with prolonged use it can reduce the skins need for topical moisturisers. Thanks to Caroline Hirons, this 30ml serum is now a must-have for all skincare lovers.
One moisturiser that I've found to be particularly effective in the colder months is Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich, which is specifically targeted to dry and dehydrated skin. This non-greasy cream is lightweight and fast-absorbing whilst still being rich and moisturising enough to soothe dryness. It's also been specially formulated for sensitive skin (like mine). This stuff smells lovely and comes in a blue-tinted glass jar, making it seem a lot more expensive than it's £16.00 price tag (Escentual is currently selling this with 15% off making it £13.60! Link above). 
On a Sunday night, or even mid-week there's nothing better than running a hot bath and smothering on a face mask to really up the hydration. For a quick skin boost, the Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Intense Moisture Mask is a great 10 minute treatment. Another product that is suitable for sensitive skin, this mask includes white willow extract, Vitamin E and marshmallow extract for a plumping and refreshing effect. If you're not a fan of rose scents, this may not be the mask for you as it is quite strongly scented, but I don't find it too overwhelming and the creamy mask does a great job at boosting my skin. This mask only costs £8.99, so I can't wait to try some of the other affordable Superfacialist products by Una Brennan. 
For a more intense moisturising mask, the one and only Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is the one for the job. This mango-scented mask contains hyaluronic acid, avocado oil and Japanese seaweed to quench the skin and prevent further moisture loss. I like to use this mask in place of my night cream at least twice a week, and in the morning my skin always looks plump, healthy and hydrated. 
Another problem for me when the cold weather sets in is dry chapped lips. Highstreet lip balms just don't really cut it for me, as they tend to be petroleum-based, meaning the hydration they offer is very temporary and just leaves my lips needing more product once it wears off. So this year, I've invested in the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm in the hopes that it will keep my gob looking soft and moisturised rather than like a half-peeled orange. So far, I am really impressed. I love the sturdy glass packaging, the honey scent and especially the thick balm texture. This feels more like a treatment than a balm on the lips. It contains shea butter and plant oils to really nourish the lips and restore smoothness. I'll be smothering this on day and night throughout A/W as its such a pleasure to use and really feels like it's treating the dryness rather than masking it!
Finally, I couldn't write this post without including a body moisturiser! Even though I'm not one of these people that needs to religiously moisturise post-shower to avoid scaly limbs, I do love the way my skin feels after a good session with a body butter. The one that tops the list for me is the Body Shop Satsuma Body Butter. Oh my God. This stuff smells amazing. I think I've mentioned before that orange is one of my favourite smells, and basically if I open this, it takes all my restraint not to rub my nose in it. Like all the Body Shop Body Butters, this has a creamy texture that absorbs quickly and doesn't leave any greasy residue. They also come in great big 200ml pots (or smaller 50ml pots if you fancy trying before you buy), which are colour-coordinated to the fruit/plant/food they smell of. There will definitely be a body butter in the collection that you will love as much as I love this one, so I recommend having a good sniff of them all in store to find your favourite. Some of the most popular body butters include Strawberry, Mango and Coconut. 

What are your hydration heroes?

Holly xo

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fifty Shades of Red

To the untrained eye, a red lip is a red lip. But enter into the beauty blogging world and you soon find out that there's a lot more to it than that. Which red will suit your skintone, eye colour or hair colour? Do you go for blue tones, orange tones? And what about the Sophie's choice of lipstick selection - matte or glossy?
As I perused my small but diverse collection of red lippies, I realised there is a different red for every person and every occasion.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing any beauty product is the colour wheel.
Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel tend to be complimentary of each other, as they can work to either counteract or intensify the opposite colour. For example, when using colour correctors, we choose a product containing a colour that will counteract the problem - e.g. a corrector with yellow undertones will work to reduce the appearance of purple under-eye circles and a green-toned corrector can counteract any redness in the skin.
The colour wheel is also very relevant when deciding which shade of red will suit your colouring best.
Here are my six picks, one for each red lip category, and my thoughts on each.

L-R: Rimmel Kate Moss 22, Rimmel Kate Moss Matte 110, Topshop Rio Rio

The Pink Red
A pink-based red lipstick is a youthful and fresh take on the traditional red lips trend. A cool-toned pink red like Rimmel Kate Moss in 22 would be particularly suited to girls with a paler complexion as the cool tones won't be as stark as they would be against a warmer skintone. Pink reds also look particularly beautiful with darker hair and eyes, as pinks and purples tend to be complimentary of darker features.

The Coral Red
This is a bright summery red which leans towards the warmer side of the red lipstick spectrum. Because of this, a coral red would look great against a warmer skintone. That's not to say that paler girls can't pull off a coral red - it would just stand out more against cool-toned skin, which is definitely not a bad thing, depending on the intensity of the look you're trying to achieve. I've also found that coral and orange reds are amazing at bringing out blue eyes (it's that colour wheel again!). When I applied the two orange-based lipsticks I've chosen for this post, the first thing that stood out to me was how much more blue my eyes appeared. If you're brave, try a bright coral red like Rimmel Kate Moss Matte in 110.

The Orange Red
Similar to the coral red, but without the pink undertones, the orange red again is traditionally recommended for darker skintones as it is the warmest of all the red lipstick shades. Whilst it is easier for someone with a warmer skintone to pull off, I'd definitely say us paler girls can pull it off too when we wear it right. Pair it will lashings of mascara and flawless-looking skin to really make the orange pop against cooler skin. And if you're a blue-eyed girl, prepare for your peepers to stand out just as much as your lip colour. Try Topshop Rio Rio for a flattering orange red lip.

L-R: Gold by Giles Pulse, Mac Russian Red, Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Rosy Red

The Blue Red
Now the queen of red lipstick has to be the blue-based red. Universally flattering? Check. Classic and striking? Check. Makes teeth appear whiter? Check. I read somewhere that a blue red is the only shade of red lipstick that blondes should wear. Now, whilst I don't agree with that (I very much enjoy my orange reds thank you very much), I do see the logic behind that statement. Blue is opposite the yellow tones on the wheel after all, which is why reds with blue undertones work to whiten teeth, by counteracting any yellowness. Is yellowness a word? Spellcheck says yes so we'll go with it. As blue-based lipsticks like this one by Gold by Giles in Pulse are cooler in tone, they work best against a paler skintone, but are so flattering I think they'd work just as well with a warmer skintone and dark features.

The Matte Red
Matte lipsticks might be the marmite of the beauty world. Some love the traditional, chalky feel of a matte formula, whilst some loathe the potential lip-dragging and highlighting of dryness and imperfections on the lips. Personally, I always avoided them, until I bought Mac Russian Red, and finally found a place in my heart for matte. I think every girl should own a classic matte red. It oozes sophistication and matte is always on trend, particularly for Autumn/Winter. If you're conscious of the lipstick clinging to any dry patches on your lips, exfoliate first using Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub, and follow with an intensely hydrating lip balm like Nuxe Reve de Miel Baume Levres, allowing it to sink in before applying your lip colour.

The Glossy Red
I think a glossy red is the younger, less serious sister of the matte red. It's fun, comfortable and less intense. If you want a true red lip, with an almost balm consistency and without compromising on pigmentation, I'd recommend the Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Rosy Red, which can be built up into an intense but glossy colour and compliments any skintone or colouring.

I better state that these are by no means 'the rules' of wearing red lipstick, just my opinions based on a little research and my own experience. At the end of the day, red lips are meant to be a little daring, striking and sexy, so go for the shade that makes you feel most confident about yourself, not the shade you think you 'should' be wearing. 

What's your favourite red lipstick?

Holly xo

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August Favourites

As I only made a few new purchases last month, there are only five products that have made it into my August Favourites, but each one is amazing and some are definite contenders for holy grail status.
My favourite base of the month, and possibly of all time (ooh!) is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Radiance Reveal Foundation. I've raved about this foundation here and here and the more I use it, the more I fall in love with it. It gives me the most natural-looking, smooth complexion and a beautiful lit-from-within glow without looking shiny. This is perfect for daily use or for nights out as it can built up for higher coverage. Basically, if you want your skin to look healthy and flawless, you need to try this. I've also tried the Healthy Mix Serum from the same range, which is more of a gel consistency, but the foundation just completely blows it out of the water. This is definitely the best highstreet foundation I've ever tried.
On my cheeks, I've been loving the Illamasqua Androgen Cream Pigment, which is a multi-use cream colour that can be applied to cheeks, lips and even eyelids (though maybe not this particular shade). Androgen is a beautiful peachy pink shade, and as it's a pigment the colour pay off is amazing - a small amount of this on a stippling brush creates a beautiful flush of colour and can be built up for a more intense look. Considering I struggled with applying cream blushes in the beginning, I'm now their number one fan and they are dominating my makup drawer.
My favourite lipstick of the month has been Mac Ravishing, a peachy coral with a creamy formula packed with shine. This is a beautiful lipstick that looks great with pretty much any makeup look. The lasting power isn't amazing, as with most of the cremesheen formulas from Mac, but I'm never one to complain about pulling that sleek black bullet out of my handbag to reapply!
In terms of skincare, I've been loving using the Origins Ginzing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer as my day cream. This moisturizer contains panax ginzing and coffee beans to really wake up the complexion and works really well with the Healthy Mix Foundation to make skin look revitalised and luminous. My favourite thing about this cream, though, is the gorgeous orange scent which is one of my favourite ever smells. 
Now my final favourite product of the month only made the cut in the last few days of August. For the last three weeks, I've been having a nasty breakout on my chin (mm, sexy I know). No matter how long I waited, it just wouldn't clear up, until I started using the La Roche Posay Serozinc morning and night and my breakout cleared up considerably within a couple of days! This is a zinc sulphate solution spray-on toner which cleanses and soothes the skin, helping to prevent and heal breakouts. This has made a massive difference to my skin after only a few days and I think this toner will be a staple in my routine for months to come.

What was your favourite product in August?

Holly xo

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Monday, September 2, 2013

MAC Russian Red

Mac Lipstick in Russian Red - £15.00

One thing that is guaranteed to bring out the green-eyed monster in me is an amazing Mac lipstick collection. As a girl who is fairly new to the world of mid to high-end makeup, I only started purchasing these hugely hyped lipsticks when I started my blog back in February this year, so my collection is still fairly modest. When payday came around this month though, I had already cleared some spaces in my acrylic lipstick holder to make way for more Mac. 
Russian Red is described as an intense blueish red. It's been on my wishlist for so long now as I think a deep dark red looks amazing against paler skin and as Autumn approaches, I thought now would be as good a time as any to pick this up. 
This is the first matte lipstick I've purchased from Mac, and I have to say I'm really impressed. I haven't found the formula at all drying and the lipstick applies really smoothly, without any of that uncomfortable dragging that often accompanies matte lipsticks. The lasting power is also amazing, I wore this shade for work today and by the end of my shift it was still going strong, though it had dried down to more of a stain. 
I would recommend wearing this with a lip liner as 1) it's a little difficult to apply neatly as it's such a bold colour and 2) I'd imagine it has a tendency to bleed/smudge. 

I'm so glad I finally have Russian Red in my collection and I can't wait to wear it in Winter with a slouchy jumper and a pale complexion. This lipstick definitely makes a statement and isn't for the faint-hearted but paired with a flawless base and toned-down eye makeup, it creates a look that's bound to turn heads.

I'll be sharing my other Mac lipstick purchase with you soon!

What is your favourite ever Mac lipstick?

Holly xo

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