Thursday, 20 December 2012

Review: NSpa Hot Cloth Polish

Like my hair, my skin has become rather tempremental of late,and skincare is something I am really struggling to 'nail down' in terms of products that suit my skin and actually work.

I am genuinely interested in skincare and researching various products and ingredients, but generally I just tend to buy products that take my fancy (the less fuss the better) and hope for the best!

Cleansers/makeup removers are a big thing for me, and I think the vast majority of people have tried the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Me being me, I'm always looking for beauty products on a budget (i.e. products that perform the same as the 'big boys' but at highstreet prices!) and so when I saw this NSpa Hot Cloth Polish in Asda for a very reasonable £5.00 (for 150ml) I snapped it up.

NSpa is a range of high quality, yet low-cost products designed by the experts at the Nirvana Spa and exclusively available at Asda stores.
The products in the range (of which I have the majority of - including serums, night creams and face masks) have very purse-friendly prices from £3 to £7.

Like many of the hot-cloth cleansers now out there on the market, NSpa's offering is very similar to that of Liz Earle's, both in the packaging design and the actual product itself.

Main ingredients in this include Ginseng, Vitamin E, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil and essential Oil of Neroli, and is dermatologically approved, suitable for sensitive skin and paraben free. It's also not tested on animals which gets it a big thumbs up!

The cleanser doesn't really have any scent to speak off, and is very thick in texture (not dissimilar to the LE), almost like an intensive moisturiser.

I find that the pump dispenser provides enough product in one pump to cover my whole face (and part of my neck) easily, and feels very luxurious and quite 'comforting' as you massage it in.
It's then easily washed off using the muslin cloth wrung out in hot water (although I personally prefer an actual wash-cloth. Possibly a tad harsh on your face, but what can I say, i'm hardcore).

Initally when I started using this I did find it stung the skin around my nose slightly, but I think my skin was going through a particularly awkward phase, as I can now now it with no problems at all.

I also use this product on my eyes (although it does state not to) and find that it doesn't irriate them. I tend to think of these hot cloth cleansers as multi-purpose products that you should be able to be used on your eyes (for convenience more than anything), therefore the fact they state you shouldn't put it near your eyes is a bit annoying - just be rebellious like me!

This cleanser is not at all drying, and combied with the cloth it does effectively remove makeup and cleanse. Because it is so thick, I personally wouldn't use it in the morning, but that's just my personal preference - I could imagine in the winter it would be a nice treat in the morning.

I would definitely recommend you try this if you're thinking of trying the Liz Earle product but don't want the price tag (at least double that of this NSpa cleanser) or if you just want to dip your toe (not literally) into the world of hot cloth cleansers.

Melanie x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Review: Carino (Aldi) Miracle Oil

As I may have mentioned before, generally I am pretty low-maintenance when it comes to my hair - shampoo, condition and blast it dry with the hair dryer (and occasionally tong or put hot rollers in if I can be bothered with the hassle!).

I don't generally use any hair product (other than shampoo and conditioner), largely because i've had too many bad experiences of products which have made my hair greasy, weighed it down, and so on (and i'm a bit lazy).
But really, when you consider my hair type (naturally curly and rather dry/frizzy), I of all people should be taking extra special care of my hair to make it feel/look a bit better.

I like the idea of the hair oils that have become so popular of late, as they are a bit of a multi-purpose product:
overnight leave-in deep conditioner
heat protectant
smoothing product (on dry hair)

The vast majority of hair oils (especially those containing argan oil) can be rather pricey, but I managed to pick up this (glass) bottle from Carino (from Aldi) for only £3.99 for 50ml.

Originally featured as one of Aldi's 'Special Buys' (a limited edition of sorts) in March, the demand for this hair oil was so high that they re-realised it in September (and as far as i'm aware it is still available).

Admittedly I've never tried any other hair oils therefore can't compare it to anything else, but as my first foray into hair oils I really like it.

I wouldn't use it as a leave-in product (i.e. overnight) after having a rather traumatic experience with some coconut oil (less is definitely more with hair oils people!), but I do like using it on damp hair before blow-drying, and definitely think it helps make my hair smoother and softer - I really notice a difference when I don't use it.

Have you tried this? Or do you have any hair oil products you would recommend?

Melanie x

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Product Empties - November 2012

I feel a bit of the blogging loop recently; the Youtube loop even more so, given that my laptop has packed in on me and I haven't been able to upload any videos (I've had to hiijack my mum's netbook to write this post!).
So whilst I do have some review posts waiting in the wings, I thought i'd play it safe today and do my empties post!
I'm actually really enjoying using up products - there's nothing like squeezing out the last drop then putting the bottles etc in the (recycling) bin!

No7 Exquisite Curl Mascara - I got this with a No7 £5 off voucher a while ago after hearing about so many people raving about it. However the first mistake I made was that I bought Brown-Black in error, which immediately put a downer on it! I don't know if its cause my lashes are naturally straight and would probably take an industrial eyelash perm to give them a curl, but I didn't find this mascara particularly impressive, and certainly wouldn't pay the full £12-odd for it!

17 Mirror Shine Lipstick in Beehive - another much-loved product in the blogger community (yes I am a sheep), this really is a lovely, non-drying glossy nude (without being concealer-esque) lipstick that is really reasonably priced. My only gripe with it is the staying power - it has none! - but as long as you don't eat/drink you'll stay pretty, ha.

Lush Hair Doctor mask/scalpt treatment - This was my second tub of this, and I plan to buy more - as someone who suffers with a somewhat tempremental scalp, this fabulous tingly mask was lovely and soothing, and definitely made my hair softer too.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Intensive Mask - I think this was one of the contributory causes to my troublesome scalp. As much as it did admittedly make my hair nice and soft, this was probably due to all the silicones and chemicals that this product is packed with, and I won't be buying it again.

Johnsons Baby Lotion - as i've mentioned before I have a stockpile of these, and as I like to slather myself every day in lotion I go through them at a rate of about one a month! I love the fresh smell it gives.

Mitchum Deodorant - I used to be incredibly loyal to Mitchum deodorants, for not only do they work in terms of preventing odours (not so much stopping sweat - I don't think anything can do that!), I used to think because they are made my Revlon I was 'safe' in terms of them not being tested on animals. However recently Revlon's animal testing policy has been brought into question which is very disappointing, and has set me on a new mission to find a cruelty free deodorant!

Lush Snow Fairy Shower gel - its from Lush, it's pink, and it smells like bubblegum. 'nuff said!

The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying moisturiser - another product that was incredibly kindly gifted to me by the lovely Robyn, I can't say I was over-awed by this. This is one of the Body Shop's most popular product ranges, and as my skin isn't particularly oily, I've concluded that it's simply a mismatch in skin type/product type!

Melanie x

Monday, 12 November 2012

Lush Haul

I did wonder whether to call this a haul or not, as it wasn't so much me buying these bits but rather them being bought for me! (Lee ordered a lovely big box for me online :) )
I am completely and utterly (and unashamedly) obsessd with Lush at the moment, and love discovering new products - I can't wait to try more of the limited edition Xmas products!

If like me you're a chocoholic and already use Cocoa Butter, you will LOVE this: made with cocoa butter, shea butter, honey and other so-good-you-could-eat-it ingredients, it smells like Honey I Washed The Kids and melts immediately on contact with your skin. This is my second bar and it definitely goes down a treat (wink, wink).
Like Soft Couer, The Comforter is a repurchase (many times over) - it's probably Lush's biggest bubblebar on sale and turns your bath into a fabulous pink, bubbly, berry-scented pool of loveliness, with only a little bit of bubble bar at a time!
This is a lovely wee bubble bar that smells quite herbally (despite it's flowery appearance!), and contains the same blend of essential oils as The Olive Branch shower gel.
Very flower power and very appealing to those who like things all things pink and girly (i.e. me), this also has the added appeal of smelling like vanilla - yummy.
This is a new addition to the Xmas limited edition items (...i'm presuming it is anyway, I could be making this up!), this gorgeous little chap is fragranced with cinnamon, clove, patchouli, benzoin, lime and sweet orange oils - Xmas in a bath melt! As a bath melt, it also contains bicarb of soda, shea butter and cocoa butter to moisturise your skin.
Karma Soap - £4.10/100g
I think this was included as a free sample as it's pretty small, but it will be handy to keep by the sink and try it out - especially since everyone rates the Karma fragrance!
Can you recommend any other must-have Lush products for me to try?
Melanie x
Friday, 2 November 2012

Product empties - October 2012

(If you couldn't tell, I am in love with Typic!)

I'm going to be one of those really annoying people here and say 'I can't believe it's November already!' because I genuinely can't - it literally seems like minutes ago I was writing my September Empties post!

I've actually got through quite a bit this month. Here's what I finished:

Amie Cooling Clay Mask - Amie is not usually a brand I would go for (largely because I don't know much about it, and I had presumed it was for teenage skin), but this mask was included in the box of goodies that lovely Robyn (she has a blog too) sent to me, and I was so pleased because I genuinely did like it. As the name suggests it was lovely and cooling/tingly on my skin, and definitely gave it a glow. I would buy this again, and am interested in what else Amie have to offer, especially since they are cruelty free.

Jergens Naturals Ultra Hydrating moisturiser sample - I can't really give this a proper 'review' as such as there was literally only just enough for one use (I really like to slather my body moisturisers on) but I did like the fresh scent, and the way it sank into my skin really quickly. I've noticed that Jergens claim they are cruelty free on their packaging, but I would want to research them further before I bought any of their products.

The Body Shop Love Etc EDP, shower gel and body moisturiser - It's surprisingly hard to find cruelty free perfumes, therefore when I sniffed Love Etc one day in The Body Shop I snapped it up! I am rubbish at describing scents but it's really fresh and lovely, and is often on special offer in gift boxes etc (which is what I bought for something silly like £10). Better still it is available in EDT and EDP but is still really inexpensive (I think the 50ml EDP is about £18?), and i've ended up with 3 bottles of it in varying sizes! The shower gel and moituriser were nice to 'layer' with the perfume, but I think these things are a bit gimmicky, and I didn't find the moisturiser particularly moisturising.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Body Treatment - another one of my mum's products that I ended up inheriting (she doesn't use a body moisturiser), again I got through this quickly given that it is a travel size and I get through body lotions by the bucket load! It's quite a thick product but is absorbed into the skin surprisingly quickly, and has quite a clean, 'inoffensive' scent. I liked it, but not enough to buy the (expensive) full sized version.

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel - this is a bit of a love or hate product for many people, but I personally LOVE the bubblegum smell of this. Lush's shower gel's are rather overpriced, but I'm tempted to buy more of this over the Christmas period.

Collin Regenerating Collagen Gel - This came in a Glossybox (back when I used to subscribe to it), and to be honest I found it a bit of a non-product. It can be used either thinly as a serum under moisturiser, or layered on thickly as a mask (which I tended to do) but either way I didn't find it did anything to my skin apart from sting it! It just shows you though, the Pixiwoo sisters love this range - it must just be me!

Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner - (previous review here) Generally when I go for liquid eyeliners I like the 'felt tip' type, which is what this is, but I did NOT like this. Smudged really easy and dried out quite quickly.

Botanics Brightening Eyemakeup Remover - Another product that I recently reviewed, and unfortunately didn't like either. 'nuff said!

Melanie x

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Review: Lush Hair Doctor

I've made no secret of my love for Lush of late, and the more products I try, the more in love with Lush I become!

Haircare is always something I have been a bit lazy about - generally I just shampoo my hair, rough dry it and let it do it's own (crazy) thing - but recently i've made a resolution to be kinder to my tresses and hopefully make it look a bit healthier!

My scalp has been particularly dry and itchy, and therefore the idea of putting something heavily based with chemicals did not seem like a good idea at all, hence why the preservative-free hair masks offered by Lush appealed.

Hair Doctor (£6.75 for 95g both online and instore) is a preservative free pre-shampoo hair and scalp treatment based on seaweeds and muds (but includes tons of other yummy ingredients such as coconut oil, jojoba oil and peppermint) to sooth the scalp and condition, strengthen and moisturise the hair.

Key ingedients as highlighted on the Lush website are red henna and rosemary absolute to add shine, fullers earth (basically Bentonite Clay which contains a load of essential healing minerals and is very efficient at drawing oils and toxins from the skin/scalp) to absorb grease, and peppermint to stimulate blood flow (and make it smell immense!)

 If like me you are curious as to what the chemical-sounding ingredients are (in italics), Cetrimonium Bromide is a compound capable of being absorbed by the hair cortex and also works as an anti-septic, Propylene Glycol is a chemical made by reaction of propylene oxide with water and acts as an emulsifier, and Glyceryl Stearate is an ester of stearoc acid and glycerin, used as humectant (moisture retainer), skin conditioner, and moisturizer.

As there is no preservatives in Hair Doctor, it has a use-by date and needs to be kept in the fridge otherwise it is in danger of going off (just treat like a dairy product!).

It is an incredibly thick, almost paste-like mask (actually not dissimilar to Playdoh!), that is very muddy (unsurprisingly) in texture, and doesn't look the most appealing colour wise, but it definitely smells amazing: largely minty, with traces of herbs and 'earthy'-ness!

The girl in the shop advised me to use the entire tub's worth of product on my head (I had thought I could get away with two uses, even with my amount of hair!), which I did.
You apply to dry hair, which took me a good 10 minutes or so to do given that you use from cold and so it is more solid than you would expect - I think there must be a technique to putting it on! - massage it in then leave for around 20 minutes.

Your hair definitely feels very 'heavy' with it on, and as it dries you do look like you've been mud wrestling or something, but the amazing tingle on your scalp tells you it's working, and it leaves your hair smelling amazing for literally days afterwords.

I did worry that washing Hair Doctor out my hair could be a nightmare given how thick it is (both the treatment and my hair!), but it actually washes out really easily - although I would advise you spend an extra few minutes rinsing then deeply shampooing your hair to be on the safe side.

To be honest I don't think it makes my hair particualrly soft, but it makes it shinier, and definitely soothes my scalp, as well as giving your hair that deep-down clean feeling.

A few people online have complained that the scalp tingle is more like scalp fire with this and HATE it, but I personally love it (it must depend on scalp sensitivity).
I've since used another tub of this up, and think I will use it as a monthly treat for my hair and scalp.

Do you use any hair/scalp treatments?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Boots Mini Haul

I really shouldn't be spending money at the moment, but i'm a real sucker for makeup, and with Boots having their 3-for-2 offer on at the moment, my willpower just disappeared!

Here's what I picked up...

Collection 'Extreme' Coloured Lengthening Mascara - £2.99
I came across this by chance (i.e. I was crouched down looking at something else, and this happened to be in my eyeline!), and decided to try it, as i'm on a mission to find eye products that make my brown eyes (cheesy beauty expression coming up) 'pop'. I've used it once, and whilst it isn't overly obvious i'm wearing purple mascara, I quite like the subtlety of it as I don't want to look like an 80's throw back!

Collection Lasting Perfection Conclear - £4.19
I think everyone and their gran know's about this, so i'll not say too much about it - basically I had ran out and needed a new one!

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Pomegranite - £3.99
One of the newer Barry M products, I've seen these 'gelly' nail varnishes on various blogs, so decided to try one out for myself. Compared to the other Barry M range shades that are available, the shades in this particular new range are a bit limited, and a tad...gaudy for my liking, but i'm sure they'll launch more.

Collection Glam Crystal gel eyeliners in Hustle and Le Freak - £2.99 each
I have been dying to try these ever since it was mentioned by Pixiwoo that Leona Lewis' makeup artist used these on her for one of her recent X-Factor performances. They are AMAZING. Hustle on initial impressions just looks like a silver gel, but on closer inspection is actually made up of different multi-facited pieces of glitter, not dissimilar to Model's Own Juicy Jules or even the Gosh Holographic nail varnish. Le Freak (love the name), on the other hand, is a beautiful bright turquoise that I have been wearing on my upper lid (it really does bring out my green eyes!)

Collection Extreme 24 Felt Tip Eyeliner in Purple- £2.99
I knew I had to go back and buy this after swatching it one day and finding that it did.not.budge from my hand! I really like felt tip liners, and whilst this isn't the finest of tips, it still helps me achieve a more accurate application than the tradtional liquid eyeliners.

Have you bought anything from the 3-for-2 offer?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Strike Two!

I don't know if you've noticed, but at the top of my blog page on the right hand side there is a '30 before 30' list - which, as the name suggests, is 30 things that I would like to achieve before my 30th birthday, dum, dum, dum! - that I started some time ago.
I haven't filled up the full list of 30 items (and i've also since removed a couple - mainly No.8 which was "have a baby, ideally at 27". That ain't happening any time soon!), but of those that are there, I have managed to tick a couple off so far.

Yesterday I achieved another one. I went to the cinema myself.

Admittedly this isn't exactly as amazing or awe-inspiring as doing a bungee jump or something, but it is quite a taboo thing to do, especially in the UK, and one that I have always wanted the courage to do, but was never quite brave enough!

I'm quite pleased I did it though (to see Taken 2), and I would certainly do it again now. Get me!

I had also ticked another off the list earlier on this year (but I forgot to update), which was to see a West End Musical (does the Victoria Apollo count as West End..?)

I was down visitig my friend who stays in London, and we went to see Wicked which was just (said in a Craig Revel-Horwood voice) Fab-U-Lous! I'm not usually into musicals and whatnot (they can verge on the too-cheesy for my liking), but this was just beyond words, and I can see why people go and see it time and time again (one of my friends has seen it 7 times!).

Defying Gravity was my favourite song - I actually want to buy the sound track for my car!

Now I need to figure out what I want to achieve next...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What's in my bedside box?

(FYI, there's a corresponding YouTube video to this here)

Possibly a bit random, but being the nosy parker that I am, I love all sorts of 'what's in my...' tags (recently I can't get enough of those relating to supermarket/grocery hauls. Sad but very true), and this one I just decided to make up myself, given that I  have quite a stash of goodies to aid my beauty sleep at night!


Nail file/cuticle pusher - pretty self explanatory!

Badger Balm Cuticle Cream - A gorgeous little all-rounder that I have previously reviewed, I not only slather my cuticles in this, but also use it on my lips and any dry spots.

OPI Avoplex - A type of cuticle oil, I have been alternating this with the Badger Balm.

OPI Nail Envy - I don't really abide by the recommended 'rules' when using this -I use it as a base coat, and also whack it on most nights (if I remember) as an extra top coat, and it seems to  be working well.

Garnier Hydralock Hand Cream - Not one that I would buy now (given my goal to be cruelty free), I bought this a while back, and have been using it in an attempt to work through my stash of hand creams! I will admit that it is an excellent night-time hand cream, as it is incredibly thick.


Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub - As you may know, I am a Lush junkie, and bought this on a whim. It is essentially sugar, jojoba oil and colouring/flavouring (so essentially you could make it at home) but it's a lovely wee treat none the less.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream - One of my mum's cast off's, I have been slathering my lips in this after using the lip scrub. I know it has been classed as another 'all round' product that you can use on cuticles and even all over your face, but it's a bit too sticky and brown for my liking to do that!


Cleansing wipes - I am not particularly loyal to a certain brand of wipes (I just happen to have these ones from Primark), as I am very particular about doing the full routine of cleansing/toning/moisturising, however I like to have wipes to hand for extreme cases!

Sudocrem and ELF Zit Zapper - my spot saviours! I use the ELF wand for the occasional spot, whereas I like to slather the Sudocrem over larger, more troublesome areas on my face!

Body Shop Dry Oil - This oil can be used on the hair, face, and body, but recently i've been massaging a couple of drops into my face whilst using the Ying Yu Jade Roller (not pictured - review to come).


Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter - I bought this a while ago on a whim (because i'd heard so much about it) but didn't actually know what i'd use it for. Turns out it's PERFECT for giving your feet a treat - it's basically made of olive oil, camomile oil and vanilla and not much else, and I love smothering my feet in it and putting on some cotton socks, especially after using my Lush Volcano Foot mask.

Have you got any must-have bedtime treats?