31 Aug 2013

Holiday ready products - after sun from kiko and Bioderma and a faux glow from xen tan


I don't tend to go on holiday during the summer like most people, so I'm actually just starting to prepare for my holiday now.  I'm going away at the very end of September, and I'm going to Vegas again - I can't wait!  I nearly always go on holiday during September - it's a cheaper time to go that during school holiday season, and it means places tend to be less crowded too.  Although I'm a creature of habit in this respect, I still make the same boob every year and fail to stock up on holiday clothes and beauty products when the shops are brimming with them from about April / May onwards.  By the time I venture into Primark in August looking for shorts and flipflops I'm usually greeted by scarves and jumpers instead!  I never learn, but luckily for me, some lovely beauty brands have sent me a few perfect essentials to get my holiday beauty stash going.  



I like to sunbathe a lot on holiday, but I try to be as careful as I can in the sun so as well as using lots of sun protection I'll always replenish my skin with an after-sun to put moisture back in and to avoid that tight and dry feeling you can get when you're been tanning.  My boyfriend always thinks he's burnt when he's not, so he goes through lots of after-sun too, so I always have to make surer the suitcase is fully stocked.  

This after-sun milk from Bioderma is one I'm looking forward to using.  It's a light creamy consistency and it has a gorgeous and fresh 'sun cream' scent that has be longing to get on a sun lounger.  I've only tried a bit of the back of my hand so far as I'll be using this properly when I'm on holiday, but it sinks in quickly and is really hydrating - exactly what I need from an after-sun.  


*KIKO after sun cream glow - £7.90 for 200ml 

I also have an aftersun from KIKO, and hopefully the boyfriend won't pinch this one because it has girly shimmer in it!  This one doesn't smell quite as lovely as the Bioderma one, but it leaves a lovely glowy sheen to the skin.  It says it contains 'golden pearls' but you can't see them - the cream just looks shimmery without any actual glittery bits being detectable.  Once applied I can just see a subtle sheen, again without any glittery chunks, but if I look super closely I can see the teeny-tiniest flakes of gold.  It's a non-greasy cream and it contains water from the Polynesian sea which is said to make it extra hydrating.  This will be a really nice one to sooth my skin the same time as enhancing any tan I've picked up when we're going out in the evenings.  



As I hate to be pale and pasty at the beginning of my holiday I'll certainly be faking it before I go away.  Even when I'm on holiday I like to have a bit of fake tan on hand for my face - I use a much higher spf on my face as I don't want to add lines to my skin by picking up too much of a tan.  These minis from Xen Tan will be perfect, and they're the ideal size for travelling.  

Here I've got minis (30ml and 15ml sizes) of the Deep bronze luxe weekly self tan in dark, Cell lifting body scrub and Face tanner luxe daily self-tan in medium / dark.  I've not used Xen Tan before but lots of bloggers rave about it and Holly Willoughby uses it, so I'm keen to see what I've been missing.  Usually I'd be a bit wary about just how dark the tan will come out, but when you're on holiday you tend to be able to get away with being uber tanned I think!  

These minis come as a set of three or you can buy them separately for £3.99 each.  If you buy the set of three it's cheaper at £9.99 and you get a £5 off voucher too.  These are all available at xen-tan.co.uk

I'm on my way to being holiday ready - next I need to plan my US drugstore haul - I can't wait!

30 Aug 2013

new in - elemental herbology radiance and vitality cell food and organic surge skin perfecting face polish


I've been trying out adding two new skin care products - a serum from a brand that's new to me - Elemental Herbology, and a face scrub from one of my favourite budget friendly brands - Organic Surge.


When I think 'serum' I usually imagine a clear, watery, gel type product, so I was quite surprised when I first tried cell food and found it was white and slightly thicker in consistency than I expected.  In every other way though, it's what I'd expect from a serum.

Elemental Herbology Cell Food is a radiance and vitality serum which, according to the blurb on the box, contains a 'power house of proteins, vitamins and anti-oxidants' to counter the skin damaging effects of ageing, lifestyle and the environment. It is designed to awaken dull and under-nourished skin and is said to be perfect for use on long haul flights, when the skin needs an extra boost of hydration.

Elemental Herbology as a UK brand is known for their use of bio-actives and anti-oxidants. Cell Food contains no less than fourteen actives and six anti-oxidants.  It's also packed with olive squalane to condition and soften the skin, and aloe and rose damask water to help soothe and calm sensitive skin. Plus, it contains three patented ingredients - Kombuchka™ to increase radiance, quality and vitality of the skin, Rovisome® ACE to deliver a strong anti-oxidant complex and Phylderm® Vegetal C2 to stimulate cellular renewal to increase radiance.
The serum smooths over the face easily and sinks in quickly, and the dropper is handy for dispensing the right amount.  After using this my skin feels nicely plumped up (kind of like it's been 'fed' I guess!).  There's a bit of a lingering fragrance to the product, although it's not unpleasant it is quite strong.  I've been using this morning and night before my normal moisturiser and I think it is keeping my skin better hydrated and generally I've noticed my skin looking a bit more glowy when I'm using this. Unfortunately the one area of my face that doesn't seem to like this so much is where I have some congested skin, so I've stopped using this on my whole face and am now sticking to just the more dehydrated bits.  The serum is recommended for all skin types, but I have a rather complicated combination!

*Elemental Herbology Cell Food costs £45 for 30ml and you can get it at SpaceNK or online from Elemental Herbology.


My skin's had a real bit of pampering as I've also been trying out a facial scrub from Organic Surge whose products are always natural and organic and free from parabens, SLS and other nasties.  This is their skin perfecting face polish with pure rosemary and lemon essential oils.  

I like to use face scrubs in the shower - I'm not really sure why, but that's what I tend to do, and it sort of reminds me to use them too.  This one from Organic Surge has a lovely fresh smell which is perfect for waking me up too.  Although I keep trying to stick to advice I've been giving about only using facial exfoliators at night, sometimes I can't resist a light scrub in the morning, and this facial polish works because it's not a heavy duty product at all - the exfoliating granules are fairly small, quite sparse and not too rough, so no matter how hard you rub, you'll get a gentle scrub with this product.  

Don't get me wrong, sometimes my skin needs an overhaul with a seriously vigorous scrubbing, but products that deliver that kind of punch are best reserved for using occasionally, like once every two weeks.  This one's just right for using every day or every other day.

*Organic Surge skin perfecting face polish costs £6.49 for 75ml and it's available at organicsurge.com

27 Aug 2013

new from models own - fireworks collection review and swatches



Having only just tried out models own's new velvet goth collection I was surprised to see another brand new launch only a week later - this is the glitter-packed fireworks collection.  Models own are really getting us ready for autumn / winter with these beauties, and to be honest I'm excited about it - I get bored of summer really easily.


The *fireworks collection includes five glittering and sparkling shades - I have a rather patriotic trio from the collection - red, silver and blue or rocket, sparkler and banger.


As a general rule I'm not a fan of reds, but I'll make an exception where glitter's concerned, or for Christmas.  Banger is a mix of red glitter strands and hexagons and it also has some teeny glitter flecks in silver and blue which give a bit more depth and interest.  As with all of these polishes, the glitter is densely packed into a clear base, so you get a full punch of glitter in just one swipe.  I like this one best over black as it shows up the blue as well as the red glitters.


Sparkler has the least going on as all of the glitter is the same size and shape - silver strands.  But, it's ridiculously holographic.  This glitter constantly catches the light when you're wearing it and reflects lots of pretty colours.  I really like this one - in these swatches I think it's prettiest over the white, but you could wear it over any colour.


Banger is the craziest mix of the three.  The glitters come in two shades of blue as well as pink and there are all sorts of shapes and sizes going on.  This is my favourite and I think it looks really pretty over black or white, but black is the more dramatic.  This polish gives a real glitter explosion effect with just one coat.

I kept thinking banger seemed familiar, so I had a little browse through my collection to see what it reminded me of.


As you can see, banger is quite similar to freakout from the mirrorball collection.  


When you compare them side-by-side the colours are pretty much the same but the shapes and sizes of glitter are different as the mirrorball polishes had triangular glitter shards.  


Also in the fireworks collection is a gold called catherine wheel and a purple called roman candle which I might need to get my hands on to complete the set as I really like them both.

The fireworks collection is available at the models own bottleshops right now, at modelsownit.com from 2 September and arriving at Boots shortly after.

Which colour is your favourite?

26 Aug 2013

bareMinerals get started kit, ready foundation and other new releases


I've tried some bareMinerals lipsticks and glosses before, but it was about time I tried out the products that made them famous - their mineral makeup.  bareMinerals have newbies covered with their *customizable get started kit, so this was the best place for me to begin.  


Inside the kit as standard you get prime time primer, three makeup brushes, mineral veil finishing powder and warmth bronzer.  


You then get matched with your ideal bare minerals foundation to complete the kit.  I was matched with *ready spf20 foundation, which is a powder compact foundation.  I had wanted to try the original loose mineral foundations, but this was recommended for my skin type and I was matched with the shade R250 which the makeup artist said was a bit light for me, but I could bronze it up with warmth.  I think there would have been a closer shade match for my skin as ready foundation comes in twenty shades, but on the day of the event I attended I don't think they were able to have all of the shades with them, so I was matched a bit lighter than I would have been otherwise.  I was also given a foundation brush which would work best with the ready foundation - the *precision face brush. I really like this brush - it's super soft and gives an even application without the need for much skill.  It's easy to pick up too much product with this brush though, so you need to approach the compact with a light hand and remember to tap off the excess.  

I applied the ready foundation myself at the event whilst following a demonstration, and at the time I really liked it.  It was too light for me, but bronzing it up with warmth worked well.  Although after wearing it for a couple of hours I looked in a mirror and I looked a bit of a state!  The foundation had gone really patchy and it had become obvious it was too light for me.  I think one of the reasons for this may have been that I used a moisturiser for dry skin before the foundation because that's all there was to hand, so it probably made my skin too greasy.  Trying the foundation at home with my usual moisturiser I've had similar issues with patchiness after wearing it for a few hours.  I think I'll need to experiment a bit more to get this to work for me - the foundation definitely needs a good primer underneath for me.


This is *prime time which is bareMinerals' core primer.  They also have others for different skin types and conditions.  Personally I liked the texture of this primer and the way it applied, but I don't think it's quite right for my oily and dehydrated skin, and as mentioned, it didn't keep the ready foundation in place on me.  I had a quick try of another bareMinerals primer - prime time neutralizing - which was for targetting redness - it went on a bit of a scary yellow, but really evened out my redness well, so that one might be a better match for me, although I'm not sure if it would be right for oily / dehydrated patches or not.  bareMinerals have another primer called prime time oil control, so that's probably the one for me.


Although I didn't try out the loose foundations, I did get to try some of the other hero products - original mineral veil and warmth.  I really like both of these and quickly got the hang of the swirl-tap-buff technique SJ recommends.  SJ is bareMinerals' international makeup artist - if you've ever watched bareMinerals on QVC you'll know who she is.  She was so lovely and bursting with amazing tips.

Mineral veil goes on almost invisibly but gives a great finish to the skin.  Although ready foundation didn't quite work for me, I've been trying mineral veil as a setting and finishing step over some of my other foundations - I've been applying this with the big fluffy flawless face brush.  

Warmth is a subtle but buildble bronzer - it's really lightweight so I can go all over my face with this without feeling cakey or over-done.  You're meant to use the flawless face brush with this one, which works well and gives precision, but because I'm quite lazy I like to use a big brush for my bronzer, so I've been using the full flawless face brush for this too.  


Here I'm wearing freshly applied ready foundation together with mineral veil, warmth, lash domination mascara and moxie lipgloss in Stunner.


Aside from the get started kit, I also got to try out a few recent releases from bareMinerals.


This is *moxie lipgloss (see a more detailed review on these glosses here) in the shade Stunner.  I'm wearing this in the previous photos and above is a more close-up swatch.  This is lovely light berry shade which is lovely for this time of year with summer turning into autumn.  It's a lovely wearable shade which adds the perfect subtle pop.


*Lash domination is the new 10 in 1 mascara from bareMinerals - look at that crazy brush!  It's a really chunky wand with twisted plastic bristles to really help you make the most of your lashes.  The design of the brush together with a wiggly application techniques gets my lashes coated up really quickly and easily and fattens them up nicely.  It's not really all that lengthening on my stumpy lashes, but it gives lots of glossy black volume that doesn't smudge, clump or flake.  


And finally an ingenious little product that I've never come across before.  It's a mascara topcoat which will turn any normal mascara into a waterproof one.  You apply your normal mascara first, then add *locked & coated over the top.  This is a brilliant idea.  I hardly ever wear waterproof mascara as I just don't like the way they make my lashes feel and the difficulty I have getting it all off at the end of the day.  I'll buy a waterproof mascara about once a year so that I can wear it for swimming or the beach and that's it, so it's a bit of a waste.  With this I'll be able to use any of my favourite mascaras in their usual non-waterproof formulations and slick this on over the top whenever I need to be waterproof.  I've not tried this yet but it'll be coming with me on holiday in September.  I'm thinking I might be able to use it to lock in my brow make-up too!

So a bit of a mixed bag for me with my first foray into bareMinerals' bases.  I'm still keen to try the loose mineral foundations - so many people love them and rave about them so I need to know what I'm missing!

24 Aug 2013

Kiko multi-effect nail colour and creamy lipgloss review


I'm noticing a few brands bringing out double-ended nail polishes lately - models own have the ones with a solid colour one end and a topcoat the other, and now Kiko have brought out a range with a solid colour one end and a sheer jelly-type polish the other for wearing alone or layering up.  There are ten colour pairings in the range.  I have shade 05 which has an orange red full colour at one end and a strawberry pink glossy colour the other - that's the sheerer one.  


Here I've swatched both colours separately and together with the strawberry over the orange.  You can see the other colour duos here - some have the sheer glossy topcoat and some have a more glittery or shimmery finish for the topcoat colour.  The *multi-effect nail lacquers cost £5.90 each from kikocosmetics.co.uk.

Another make-up item which just keeps cropping up everywhere is lipgloss pen sticks - probably the most prominent make-up invention of the past year or so, every brand has them and Kiko is no exception.  I have shade 110 which is a hot pink which co-ordinates rather nicely with the nail colours I've just swatched.


The formula of this lipstick / lipgloss hybrid is lovely and shiny.  The colour's intense but the product goes on like a like a balm - it's not heavy on the lips and it feels hydrating and quite creamy.  I now have three versions of what's essentially the same lipstick crayon-pen in the same bright pink shade in my collection, so does this Kiko offering bring anything new?  To be honest not really, although I prefer the fact that it doesn't have the minty taste of its Revlon counterparts, and the staying power's better than some of the similar products I've tried.  If your collection's not already overflowing with lip crayon-pens, then this is certainly worth a look, especially as they come in ten shades - watermelon and magenta are particularly pretty.  *Kiko's creamy lipglosses cost £6.90 each from kikocosmetics.co.uk. 

23 Aug 2013

Make-up Atelier Paris lipsticks and glosses in beige dore, pivoine and lolita


This is my first time trying something from Make-up Atelier Paris - it's a brand I didn't really know much about until I saw some of their products in people's hauls from IMATS earlier in the year.  Lip products are always a good place to start when trying a new brand in my opinion, and here I have two lipglosses and a lipstick.


If you're familiar with the brand you might know that they have two types of lipgloss - lipshine and starshine - the two glosses I've tried out are lipshines and they're in the shades beige dore (the nude colour) and pivoine (the more pink colour).  They're full colour coverage lipglosses which apply quite thick so can be worn on their own as well as layered over a lipstick if you fancy it.  They're non-tacky, which is good, and feel nice and comfortable on my lips.  Also they have a doe foot sponge applicator - I really don't like lipglosses with a brush.  The only thing I don't really like is that they have that lipgloss smell - I tend to prefer it when a lipgloss has a vanilla flavour and fragrance or something like that just to mask the synthetic smell, but maybe that's just me being fussy.  That said they do have a pleasant taste - something slightly fruity, maybe melon?


I also tried out a lipstick in a rosy pink shade called lolita.  This is a nice easy-to-wear, everyday type shade for me.  It's really easy to apply and goes on really smooth.  It has a nice rich formula,  no noticeable smell or taste, and believe it or not, it's waterproof!  I had to test this out of course, but what is a fair test for a waterproof lipstick?  I wasn't planning on swimming any time soon, so I just went about my normal business with the lipstick on and it lasted for about 6 hours before fading away.  I'm satisfied with that - when I first realised it said it was waterproof I was worried I'd be there all night trying to scrub it off, so I'm glad they don't mean it quite so literally! 


Above are the shades I tried out - I've also worn pivoine lipgloss over the lolita lipstick and they went really well together.

You can buy make-up atelier here - makeupatelierparis.co.uk - the *lipshine lipglosses are £12.50 and the *waterproof lipsticks are £14.50 each.  I also have my eye on the lip palettes which have five coordinating colours as I've seen Jayne using the red one loads and the colours always look great on her.

Have you tried anything from Make-up Atelier Paris before?