Monday, 2 September 2013

Product Empties: August 2013

I told you it would be up today!
Following on from my favourites of last month, here's what I have used up, conveniently in groups of two in each 'category'!

Lynx Attract Shower Gel - This was actual just a use-up for the sake of using up - I didn't like the smell much, and sadly I didn't find any fit men throwing themselves at me...

Original Source Vanilla Milk and Raspberry Shower Gel - This on the other hand, I (and Lee!) love. Although it's raspberry-based this shower gel smells distinctly of strawberry milkshake, and is the ideal skin treat first thing - I also like that it is vegan.

Palmers Cocoa Butter Body Lotion - This has to be my favourite, favourite, favourite body lotion, and I was so glad to use it again after the tons of baby lotion I had to get through! However as much as I love the scent and how soft it makes my skin feel, I was recently looking at the ingredients on the back and it is packed with chemical nasties - something which I am trying to avoid to ease my psoriasis.

Steam Cream - my lovely Mum bought me this ("it's not tested on animals!") and I was excited to try it after hearing so many good things about it - not to mention the incredibly cute tin! It is marketed as a face, hand or body lotion, and I had used it up largely as a body lotion as I found it just wasn't 'right' for my skin. Saying that, it is lovely and light in texture and smells really fresh, so could easily suit other skins. 

Aldi Lacura Cotton Wool Pads - 200 pads for less than a pound. Amazing quality. Say no more!

Superdrug Oval Cotton Wool Pads - I bought these to use all over my face, in the hope I wouldn't go through as many smaller ones. They did the job, and are quite reasonably priced in comparison to the likes of Boots. 

NSpa Ultimate Cleansing Tonic - It's a funny one this (and yes it was a product I meant to review but never got round to it *slap my wrist*): one of those half-and-half liquids that you shake to mix up. I had such high hopes that it would be a Bioderma replacement, but I ended up just using it as an eye makeup remover as it felt like I was literally putting eye makeup remover all over my face if I tried to use it as an all-over makeup remover (kind of oily/sticky-ish, if you get my gist). I feel like I need to buy another bottle and try it again to form a proper opinion on it!

Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Cleanser - I bought this after Miss Budget Budget said she found it was very effective as a renewing facemask (rather than a cleanser) and I agree. As a cleanser it wasn't very deep cleansing or thorough at removing makeup/daily grime, but I liked applying it on my clean face and leaving it for 15 mins or so to get to work, and it definitely left skin brighter (if a tad sensitive) thanks to the fruit acids it contains. 

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Favourites: August 2013

In a departure from the monthly stalwart that is the Empties post (don't worry, it's coming tomorrow..!), I've decided to write a quick post on the products i've been liking not only just this month, but for the past wee while.

The Body Shop Chocomania Beautifying Oil - this is described as a 'dry oil' for body, face and hair, and whilst I don't particularly like it for either my face or hair, I LOVE it for my body: it smells amazing (like Palmers Cocoa Butter but more intense!), and even though it is an oil, I can get dressed almost immediately after applying it and it leaves my skin soft and smooth. 

NSpa Deep Hydrating Facial Oil - I have tried several NSpa products, but so far this is definitely my favourite. This feels like a 'different' kind of oil to The Body Shop oil above (as far as oils go!): a blend of (amongst  other things) vitamins A, D and E, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and avocado oil which deeply hydrate and help replenish the skin. I have been using it both in the morning at night (making sure I give it plenty of time to soak in before I apply my makeup first thing!) and I love how moisturised and 'glowy' it has made my skin feel.

Homemade cleansing balm! - as you may have guessed so far, I am all about the oils these days, and this cleansing balm is my homemade mix of shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil and a few other beautiful ingredients such as Vitamin E and jojoba oil. I simply scoop out a small amount and spend a good few minutes massaging it into my face whilst the oils melt and get to work, before using a warm hand cloth to remove it. Love it!

FCUK Sugarscrub - body scrubs aren't something I normally get excited about, but this partcular one is more like a scrubby moisturiser: the base ingredient is Shea butter, and it is enriched with sweet almond and jojoba oils, so when you shower it off you are left with a layer of moisturising oil on your skin - I often go without moisturing afterwards after using this scrub. It also smells amazing thanks to the Extract of Wild Strawberry that is included - sweet without being sickly.

The Body Shop Banana Conditioner - Talking of scents, if you don't like bananas I would give this conditioner a wide berth as it smells very strongly of foam banana sweets! As it contains SLS I would normally avoid this, but as it's a conditioner I figured it's ok as it isn't going on my scalp, and i'm loving it so far: it really does help detangle and soften my hair.

Clinque Chubby Stick in Woppin' Watermelon - Normally I wouldn't buy/use Clinque products as they aren't Cruelty Free, but I was given them as a present last year and have decided to use them - I am not one to waste products! There was 3 in the set but this is my favourite - a lovely almost baby pink that is really subtle and flattering. The formula is a tad drying, but I put lipbalm underneath and over the top to combat this.

MUA Lipstick in 14. Bare  and Lipgloss in Can't Stop - At last, i've found the perfect nude lip combo for my lips! My lips are naturally quite pigmented, so often popular nude shades of lipstick, such as Gosh Darling for example, are just that bit too pale/chalkyish on my lips, but this is just right, and the gloss adds the perfect finishing touch - and they only cost a pound each!

Bare Minerals Prime Time Brightening Eye Primer -  This remained somewhat unloved at the back of my eyeshadow stash for sometime - did I really need another eyelid primer?! - but i'm so glad I tried it out, as it is absolutely beautiful and now a firm favourite in my everyday makeup routine. I use this as  a shadow colour itself, then work different eyeshadow around it into my crease and on the outer corner of my eye, and it really does brighten my eyes. It lasts really well too.

What have you been loving recently?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Review: B.Pure Micellar Water

As I may have mentioned before, skincare is something that I am really interested in and think is really important - so no face wipes for this girl!
I believe that in order for my main cleanser to work properly, I need something to remove all makeup first and leave my skin receptive to my cleanser (the infamous "double cleanse" technique if you will), and I find micellar waters are ideal for this purpose.

 I have previously tried and reviewed the make-up artist staple that is the Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution (previously called Bioderma Crealine), but I have since been on the hunt for an inexpensive, cruelty free alternative.

Superdrug has become a regular haunt of mine for everyday staples from toothpaste to makeup, given that their own brand products are cruelty free (and BUAV approved), and so when I came across the stand promoting their new skincare and makeup range B., I was really excited when I clocked the miceller water!

Priced at £4.99 for 150ml (although it's currently on special offer for £3.32), Superdrug's offering is considerably cheaper than the Bioderma micellar water, and essentially does the same thing, which is to remove impurities whilst being as kind to skin as water and protecting the pH balance.
I think in terms of being an all-over facial 'cleanser' of sorts, the product is let down by the bottle size: where as Bioderma comes in mahoosive 500ml bottles that you can easily use all over and it will last you some time, I do find that I go through this very quickly (as with the Korres Cleansing Water) and so I have been mainly using this as an eye makeup remover. 

For this purpose it does very well - I soak two cotton wool pads (one for each eye) in the micellar water and hold each over my eyelid for 30 seconds or so, which removes eyeshadow/eyeliner completely, and helps to effectively loosen up mascara (I am yet to find a non oil based eye makeup remover that completely removes mascara in one go. Even Bioderma couldn't do it!). My eyes are not at all irritated by this product, and I have no concerns with using it round the eye area.
As an all-over facial makeup remover (I am slightly loathe to call it a cleanser, as to me a cleanser is a 'proper' balm or lotion!), I do find I can easily go through around 4 cotton wool pads before I am satisfied my skin is make-up free (and I generally don't wear a lot of foundation), and then I always like to follow up with another cleanser because I find this micellar water leaves a slight tacky film on the skin.

Despite this, I do think it's quite refreshing (possibly the cucumber extract, which does not add any scent in my opinion, but makes for a nice skin pick me up), and I love the fact it doesn't irritate my skin at all - does anyone else find their skin sometimes gets a bit 'sore' when you try to remove every last trace of makeup? I also like the fact it's multi-use - you could easily use this after your cleanser in place of a toner. 

I am really pleased that Superdrug have launched a highstreet micellar water, as it shows they are very much in tune with current beauty trends and what the average skincare junkie 'needs' (note the inverted commas ha) - if only they could produce it in a bigger bottle...

Have you tried this? Or do you have any cruelty-free effective micellar waters you could recommend?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Product Empties: July 2013

Admittedly I should probably just call my blog an ode to empties as it seems that's all I post about these days, but there is something oddly satisfying about finishing another product from my stash - and then writing about it of course!

Johnson's Baby Lotion - we did it people! I have got to the last of my HUGE baby lotion stash! Can I get a whoop whoop?!

Dr Bronner's Magic Soap 18-in-1 Hemp Rose - As with most of the products I mention in my empties posts, I do plan on doing a 'proper' review of these fantastic bottles of multi-use loveliness, but for now I can say I love this as a shower gel that I know won't irritate my psoriasis-prone skin.

The Body Shop White Musk Libertine EDP - This was a bit of a funny product (not in the 'ha ha' sense) in that, to me, the scent was just 'meh' and yet several people complimented me on it and asked what perfume I was wearing! This is the second type of The Body Shop perfume I have tried (the first being Love Etc) and i'm keen to try others, as  they're really good value for money - and aren't tested on animals of course.

Nuxe Anti-Fatigue Moisturising Cream - Another brand I am really keen to try some more products of, this is a little trial/travel size of their moisturising cream that actually went quite a long way. It smells subtly of roses and is my favourite type of consistency in a moisturiser: not runny but not too thick/rich either - just enough to quickly sink into the skin (making it ideal before makeup application), whilst still being very moisturising.

Bourjois Volume Clubbing Black Jack Mascara - A product I have actually reviewed (here), I really liked this mascara for thickening up my lashes, and for the 'traditional' bristle brush (I can't be doing with these plastic brushes these days!). I think the 'Black Jack' gold-effect is a bit gimmicky, so I wouldn't necessarily by this variation of the Volume Clubbing mascara again, but I would definitely consider buying the original version.

Lush H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment - Possibly the hardest to pronounce product names in the history of the world, this hair treatment was technically about a year out of date when I came to use it up - I only rediscovered it after unpacking a box of old hair products when we moved into the flat! This might have been why it didn't 'perform' as effectively as I hoped it would when I applied the whole tub's worth to my dry hair - I sadly didn't notice any difference to my scalp or hair condition.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer - It's the concealer that everyone loves. 'nuff said.

Inhibitif Serum - I did consider reviewing this hair-inhibiting (hence the name) serum on my blog, but how does one show the difference: let one leg get incredibly hairy and apply to the other leg?! After applying this every morning and evening (after your choice of hair removal), I was initially sceptical, but now that i've finished the bottle, I can say it really has made a difference: whilst it might not have necessarily reduced hair growth drastically, the hair that does grow back (please excuse the mental images) is much finer and fairer in colour, meaning during that hot spell it was a lot easier to get away with wearing skirts etc for longer! At £30 a bottle it isn't cheap, but quite worth it in my opinion.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Matalan Necklace Haul

It has been rather quiet on the shopping front of late (what with me now being a homeowner and hence, skint!), but when I was in Matalan yesterday in search of a new 'going out' outfit (which I failed to get),  I couldn't help pick up all these wee beauties which were in the sale:

Turquoise beaded necklace - £3

Beaded necklace - £4

Tribal necklace (very Topshop-esque I thought!) - £3

Silver, wooden and turquoise detail necklace - £3

'Bejewelled' Necklace - £3

'Spike' necklace - £3

I'm really pleased with these bits - especially considering I nearly bought a few of them at full price a couple of weeks ago! Pieces like these can really make and dress up an outfit, and I can't wait to wear them.

The Matalan sale continues in store right now - do you have your eye on anything?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

50 Facts about me!

1. Full name = Melanie Blane.
2. Height: 5'8 and a half!
3. I love cheese.
4. Studied marketing and history at uni - Honours degree in history.
5. I was a voluntary hospital radio presenter for 2 years.
6. I am from Kilmarnock - place of The Scheme.
7. One sister called Nicola.
8. One cat called Tanya (and now a dog called Poppy!)
9. One tattoo on my wrist - Ad Astra (means "To the stars" in latin).
10. I have a DVD buying obsession.

11. Would much rather have a quiet night in with a DVD and a takeaway than go out.
12. Favourite soap is Home and Away.
13. When I was younger I wanted to be a marine biologist.
14. My favourite animals are Orcas (Killer Whales).
15. I'm left handed.
16. One "major" scar -  on my neck from where I had a mole removed.
17. I have a phobia of getting lost.
18. Also hate daddylonglegs and butterflies. Anything that flies/flaps really...
19. Orchids are my favourite flower. 
20. Non-smoker.

21. Anything to do with fingernails or feet gives me the heebie jeebies.
22. Favourite drink is tea.
23. I passed my driving test first time at 17.
24. I don't like food to touch on my plate.
25. My age now!
26. Hate parsnips and scotch pies.
27. Indecisive. 
28. I am traumatised by the film E.T.
29. Biggest pet peeve: people who don't get 'there/their/they're' right!!
30. I don't like change.

31. Not a morning OR night person!
32. Fascinated by tornadoes.
33. Aries star sign.
34. I don't like rollercoasters.
35. I can't cook
36. Nail biter.
37. Favourite type of humour is observational.
38. Favourite comedian is Michael McIntyre.
39.Had a lazy eye when I was younger.
40. Family are everything to me.

41. Very loyal.
42. Glass half empty (sadly!)
43. Believe in an afterlife and have visited a psychic several times.
44. I don't like cake. Apart from mini rolls!
45. Favourite colour is pink.
46. When I was younger I didn't have a teddy or blanket. I had "bas baws": 2 cot bumpers that I took everywhere...!
47. Get VERY grumpy when tired and/or hungry.
48. Quite messy but it annoys me after a while.
49. Not an athletic person naturally. Was always picked last in P.E.! :(
50. I am happy in my own company.

Tell me a little fact about you...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Product Empties: June 2013

Ok, possibly the world's latest monthly empties post for June, given that it's nearly the end of July and the empties for July will be up in a couple of days, but I thought i'd include it anyway!

The Body Shop Camomile Eye Makeup Remover: Not the cheapest of eyemakeup removers at £8 for 200ml (The Body Shop prices are very much mid range) but I really like it as it is  - as the name suggests - very gentle on the eyes. Would really recommend it if you are sensitive to the usual eye makeup removers, or don't like oil-based formulas.

Lacura (Aldi) Cotton Wool Pads: I've mentioned these before and as such i'm not going to go on at great length about them (they are cotton wool pads after all!) but they are really good quality and amazing value: 200 for less than a pound.

Wilko Eco Baby Wipes: I featured these in my Conscious Cleaning post and loved the fact they are 100% biodegradable. They are also very moist (many wipes can verge on the dry side) and are reasonably priced at £1.80 for 72 wipes.

Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover: bought this aaaaaggggges ago when I had Shellac and used it to remove it myself. Not much to say: bog-standard acetone-based polish remover that i've used up!

Lush Retread Hair Conditioner: what can only be described as yoghurt for your hair, this is a very heavy duty conditioner that I would only recommend using as an occasional treat for your hair, as even my crazy afro found it a bit much!

Vaseline Active Fresh Deodorant: both Lee and myself loved this deodorant, largely for the lovely clean, long lasting scent, but I won't be repurchasing this as it's made by Unilever who aren't cruelty free. 

Clarins Hydraquench Cream: I consider myself to have normal to occasionally combination skin, but even my fairly-hardy skin found this so moisturising that it turned a bit oily! For that reason (and that Clarins are also not cruelty free, boo) I can't see myself using this again, despite being a generally lovely moisturiser.

Lush Rehab Shampoo: if you find that you get a lot of buildup on your hair, this is an excellent once-weekly clarifying shampoo. I used this as my regular shampoo and did find it to be a tad drying, but I think that was due to over-use. 

Paul Mitchell Colour Protect Daily Conditioner: another long-ago purchase, I bought this with high-hopes as I've heard such good things about Paul Mitchell products - and of course they're cruelty free. However I just found this bit 'meh' - and ended up using it in place of a shaving foam!

Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask: (can you tell I love Lush?!) you can read my full review on this lovely face mask here, but in a nutshell it's a fabulously refreshing, brightening mask which goes a lot further than you would expect!

Coming soon...July Empties!