Sunday, 11 November 2012

She Said Beauty Box - November

Happy November! I can't believe it's only 43 days until Christmas. I really do need to start my Christmas shopping and as usual don't know where to begin.

Festive panic aside, I was very pleased to discover a mid-week treat at the Post Office in the form of my November She Said Beauty box:

You can tell from the ripped tissue paper that I was extra keen this month. After last month's slightly disappointing offering I was curious to see whether or not this one was any better.

Let's take a look inside:

1) So...? Brit Body Spray - I remember the So? series from my days at school where we were all gassing each other in the girls' toilets with aerosols, Impulse anyone? This can be snapped up at a bargainous £1.99 in most high street drugstores. The scent itself is quite hard to describe, but I'll cut it short at fresh, floral and light. This sample is an excellent size for the handbag.

2) Redken Smooth Lock Shampoo & Conditioner -This looks to be the revamped 'Smooth Down' range which I've already tried and loved as a fan of smooth, sleek manageable hair. I do like Redken products and think that they're great for when you want to spend a little more on giving your hair a treat. That said I'm very much looking forward to using these. The full size bottles cost £11.85 and £13.40 respectively and can be found in salons nationwide.

3) Murrays Manicure Matchbook Nail Files - Well these are very cute aren't they? There's not much you can say about minature nail files really! These will also be finding their way into my handbag.

4) Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream - This cream contains oil from organically grown Rosa mosqueta seeds which apparently aids the regeneration of the outermost layer of the skin overnight and helps soften fine lines. Rose can be a bit of a Marmite smell (love it or hate it), but I've always been a fan even if it does remind me a little of my Grandma. I've not tried any products from Weleda so I'm looking forward to giving this a try. The full size (30ml) is available for £14.95.

5) Makebelieve Enhance Sunbeam Bronzer and Blush - Now this is definitely the product that stands out this month due to its sheer size! I'm pleased that this is a shade that compliments my skin tone and it gives me a subtle glow which is much appreciated on these cold winter days. The coupling with the kabuki brush is a nice touch, but I prefer my MAC kabuki as it's slightly denser. The one offputting thing about this bronzer is the bulkiness of the packaging. It's so cumbersome that I'm going to depot it into a palette or other container as soon as I can in order to make it more portable. This is the full sized product and retails for £15. This more than made up for the cost of the whole beauty box!

6) Yardley Royal English Daisy Eau de Toilette - Ahh, the obligatory perfume sample. This is a fresh, floral fragrance that actually does smell of sunshine, I love it. I do think it's more of a spring/summer scent though and would be more inclined to use it when I can get out there and enjoy the actual sunshine! 50ml of this fragrance retails for £9.99 and 125ml at £14.99 which isn't bad at all.

Overall, I am very impressed with this month's offering. A full size product worth more than the box itself and not a sachet in sight. Keep it up SSB and you'll have some very happy subscribers!

Did you receive this box or a variation of it this month? What did you think?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Boots No7 Foundation Match Made Service

Very recently Boots launched their new No7 Foundation Match Made Service instore that is designed to help you choose exactly the right shade and formula for your skin. I've never been 100% confident when deciding myself and have always ended up with an arm full of swatches so I thought that this would be right up my street (and it is, literally. I love my town!)

 The range of foundations has been expanded to suit several different skin types, ages/conditions and coverage preferences. The shades extend across this range so if at any point you want to try a different type you can without any worry of colour inconsistency.

The first thing that the assistant did was remove a little bit of the makeup I was already wearing (along my jaw line) with a cleansing wipe to ensure accurate results. She then rested this gadget on the clean area where it scanned my skin:

It very simply came up with the name of the foundation shade that matches my skin (Calico) and I was asked a few questions about the my skin type, preferred coverage and if there were any particular skin issues I'd like to address. I was very impressed with how thorough the assessment was! At the end I was best matched to the Stay Perfect foundation:

This sounded like exactly what I need. A long lasting, medium coverage formula with a matte finish and SPF 15. .I had no hesitation in sealing the deal and I have been very happy with it's performance so far.

At the counter after my little assessment the assistant gave me a vouched entitling me to £3 off the foundation (RRP £14) just for going through the matching process. I thought this was a great little bonus!

Overall I'd highly recommend this service. Although No7 has a seemingly more mature demographic (my Mum loves the brand) I really think that this is paving the way for the future of foundation matching. The experience was fascinating and I've come away with a product tailored exactly to my needs.

Let me know your thoughts if you've tried it! 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mums Know Best: Two Cleansing Classics

No matter how many new weird and wonderful cleansing creations I try, I will always have a soft spot for two creams that have cleansed and removed makeup for decades:

Astral All Over Moisturiser & Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser

These particular products were recommended to me by my Mum years ago. Astral was the staple moisturiser of choice for my slightly dry cheeks and her makeup remover of choice. Her Mum swore by Ponds Cold Cream cleanser for the same purposes and passed down the beauty knowledge!

Astral is a great all rounder that I often use to remove my eye makeup. I apply a generous amount to a soft tissue and wipe away. I was initially concerned about this technique as I really don't want to pull the skin around my eyes, but I found that the cream was thick and emollient enough to glide over my skin. It removes even waterproof mascara brilliantly and doesn't sting my eyes at all.

Although these creams always have prominent placement on the high street shelves they seem to be very overlooked and almost seen as old-fashioned (well you can see why given my comments above!) This is a bit of a shame because they are both original, time tested and cheap! Astral is £2.99 for 200ml at Boots and many other high street stores and it comes in a range of sizes. The one pictured is my mini travel size 50ml pot.

The Ponds Cold Cream cleanser is very similar to Astral and I also use it to remove makeup. I tend to avoid using it directly on my eye area as it stings a little bit, but this might just be me having fussy eyes! When using it to cleanse my face it removes everything brilliantly and moisturises at the same time. I also think this glass jar is lovely.

Consulting Boots again, this cream is £4.49 for 50ml so I think it works out as the slightly more expensive of the two. You'll also note that they've updated the packaging since I bought the jar above!

One thing to note about these creams is that they are quite thick and heavy. I'd probably be wary of them if you have oily skin that is prone to breakouts, but they'd be perfect for normal/dry complexions.

I think I'll always have these as part of my skincare collection. They are comforting, protecting and loved by young and old. Perhaps they'll be recommendations I get to pass down one day!

Give them a go, your Mum would be proud :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Review: Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream

Now this review has been a long time coming! Yet another sample I received in a She Said Beauty box has won it's way into my heart. The Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream:


So what exactly is this product of the moment, BB (Blemish Balm) cream? Well it originates from South Asia, South Korea to be precise and has exploded in popularity since it's use on the theatre scene. It's most easily described as a tinted moisturiser with a wide range of other benefits (depending on the individual product) and is seen as a skincare and makeup product combined.

 This particular BB cream boasts the following:
  • natural and flawless coverage for all skin tones
  • oil-control and a natural matte finish
  • essential nutrients to revitalise skin
  • all day hydration
  • SPF30.PA++ to protect against UV rays and free radicals
  • helps reduce thr formations of wrinkles and lines
  • a long lasting formula

The qualities that particularly resonated with me were the skin balancing because I have a combination skin type and love products that dry the oily bits and moisturise the dry bits. Also the SPF as it is always important to protect the skin in any weather! 

The whole range of Ginvera products are green tea focused and it is used as a main ingredient. Green tea is a natural antioxidant that is 20x more powerful than Vitamin C - very good stuff.

My first impression of this product is that the formula was *very* runny. This fact combined with the design of the sample packaging meant I lost some to leakage (hence I was pleased when their next sample in an SSB box was in a tube!) However due to this thin texture it is very easily blended and my skin absorbed it quickly. It left a matte finish but pleasingly didn't cling to the drier parts of my complexion. The colour scared me a little at first as it seemed far too dark for my skin tone, but with enough blending I was pleasantly surprised at how it dispersed. 

It gives a light-medium coverage depending on how much you put on and how much you blend it. It seems to be easily buildable too, so perfect for days where you're skin just isn't behaving! I was also pleased at it's longevity - it comfortably lasted a full day at work and I didn't need to retouch or apply any blotting powder.

The only thing that put me off this product was the smell. It is slightly biscuity and quite strong, but seems to fade once it's blended in.

Overall I am very impressed. Granted I haven't tried a large number of BB creams, but this really does give me little reason to keep looking for my perfect one. I am likely to invest in the full sized tube in the near future to see how it performs over the long-term and may even be tempted to try a couple more products from the company.

This product along with the full range can be ordered from and is priced at £20 for a 25ml tube.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Layla D Beauty: New Makeup Line & 10% Discount

You may remember that a short while ago I reviewed a lovely product I received featured in a She Said Beauty box, the Layla D Natural Beauty Honey Moisturiser (link here). I have since been keeping up to date with the brand and was really excited to learn that they have just branched out into makeup with a particular emphasis on mineral products.

They have also revamped their website and have a 10% discount code (ldb10) which can be applied at checkout to any orders £15 and over and used as many times as you like over the next week. Click below to take a look:

As a result of the great first impression made by the moisturiser I am definitely going to be taking advantage of this*. Look out for some new product reviews coming soon!

*Especially with the mineral foundation. My Bare Minerals pot let gravity get the better of it and it's contents are sadly now in the hoover.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Review: Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils mascara

A brief introduction to this product taken from the YSL website:

"This award-winning volumizing mascara achieves a dramatic result in a single stroke. The secret? The triple-film complex. A coating film for intensity, a conditioning film with pro-vitamin B5 and aloe vera for curves and a fixing film with vinyl polymer for long-lasting effectiveness. The brush applicator combines nylon fibers of varying diameters for volume enhancement, as never before"

You can get this for £23 at Boots. I wouldn't normally spend this much on such an every day make up staple unless I was having a particularly bad Monday or was experiencing a day of absolutely no willpower. Thankfully this wasn't the case here as I received it as a rather lovely gift; I was really excited that I was going to be able to try such a talked about product!

As with all YSL cosmetics this mascara comes in the traditional luxurious looking reflective gold packaging which looks suitably posh and impressive in any makeup bag.

The wand is a standard length and the brush is dense and quite long. It picks up just the right amount of product needed and doesn't overload your lashes after one sweep. You can definitely tell the difference after this one coat, but the mascara can easily be layered without clumping to produce an even more dramatic look. An extra positive is that this product conditions your lashes at the same time. I can honestly say that the formula both lengthened and volumised an impressive amount. My lashes were defined and I experienced no fall out during the day.

The only downside with this (other than the obvious and to be expected high-end price tag) is how quickly the tube dried out. With most mascaras I've usually found this to happen as it's running out after a couple of months, but with this I was surprised to see the bristles starting to stick together after only a few weeks. I'd expect this seemingly superior formula to last a little longer considering the cost!

 (After only a few weeks use)

I'd be happy to receive this as a gift again, but I'm unsure as to whether I'd repurchase this myself. If YSL could extend the life of the product to guarantee a solid three months of clump free use I'd definitely be tempted.

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think?

Monday, 15 October 2012

She Said Beauty Box - October

Hello! I hope you're all settling into Autumn and are keeping warm as the nights are drawing in. Oh I can't wait until both of my commutes to work are in the dark. SAD here I come...

Without further ado let's delve into this month's She Said Beauty box!

I was rather impatient this month and couldn't resist having a snoop at a few other bloggers' reviews of this box and was surprised at the number of negative ones. Ok I suppose I wasn't that enthusiastic to be greeted with several sachets when I ripped open the tissue paper and as far as samples go I think they could be a little more substantial, but I'm still willing to give the products a fair trial.

1) Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Masque - This is probably the smallest pot I have ever seen! It contains a mask that claims to exfoliate and cleanse with the aid of fresh fruit enzymes and acids. Acids!? Anyhow it does smell fruity and I as mentioned in my previous SSB blog I do like an excuse to scare the boyfriend, even if I only get to once with this tiny sample of product. A full size version is $51 from their US-based site.

2) B.liv Off With Those Heads - The image of the sample on the product information card was a little misleading and instead of a mini pump bottle as you can see I got a little tube. This gel has been formulated to help remove black/whiteheads and prevent further breakouts. Unfortunately I don't think I'll have much of a use for this product as I don't suffer from blemishes that often. I might keep it handy though just in case! 

3) Herbacin Wuta Kamille Hand Cream - Hooray a full size product! I can honestly say that I've never seen a hand-specific cream come in a Vaselinesque tin before (I should write my own dictionary shouldn't I?) This is an all-natural product which I hope will help me keep my hands nice and soft in the coming winter months. I can see the tin being a little messy and perhaps a tube might be a little more convenient, but nonetheless I'm looking forward to trying this.

4) Biao Beauty Rejuvenating Night Cream - Time to broach the subject of the pesky sachets. They both contain the same product, a pretty bog standard sounding night cream promising to soothe, moisturise and protect against premature ageing. Again I wish I had more of this product as I like to try skincare for a period of time significant enough to tell whether it suits me and benefits my skin. A full size of this product will cost you $24.50 from Biao's website.

5) Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula - Now this I was pleased to see. I've always wanted to try a Palmers moisturiser, but I've just never got round to it. Plus I have a slight love for cocoa butter (complete chocoholic)...It smells like a milkshake and let's face it although it's a travel size sample I'm not going to wait until a holiday to use it! This will be ideal for keeping my skin hydrated in the cooler temperatures. 50ml of this product costs £1.19 and 250ml a bargainous £3.85. This will be avaliable anywhere you see Palmer's on the shelves!

6) BONUS - myvitamins Chromium tablets (30) - Well I never once imagined that I'd be receiving pills in a beauty box, but these were an intriguing surprise! If I'm perfectly honest I had to Google the benefits of Chromium supplements and discovered that it is an essential trace element that can be taken to enhance the effects of insulin and lower glucose levels - thanks WebMD! I need to keep reminding myself that taking these will not excuse eating an excessive number of Wispa bars.

Overall I'm neither here nor there with this box. There's a good range of products and I'm looking forward to using the samples, but I'm a little disappointed at the small sample sizes. Let's wait and see what next month has in store!