La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel for oily sensitive skin | Review

8/28/2012 05:12:00 pm
Today's post is on the newest cleanser in my life: La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel for oily sensitive skin. 
First up, the name is a bit of a mouthful, but it is direct and too the point.  This is just what it says on the tube - a purifying foaming gel for oily, sensitive skins!  I received this from the lovely Steph who does PR for La Roche Posay, after she asked a little about my skin she decided this would be the best product for me to try out.  The Effaclar range is designed with oily skin in mind - especially oily skins prone to imperfections.  The range targets oil production, imperfections, large pores and skin texture.
I have to say, I pretty much love this cleanser.  The first thing to note is the size, its humongous!  200ml of lovely, lovely product, and seeing as only a teeny weeny bit is needed every time you use it, it should last a ridiculously long time!  So, what makes this product so good?  Welllll, I think its somewhat to do with the simplicity of the product: it is just a very good, basic staple to have in your skincare arsenal.  In terms of smell, there isn't really one, it just smells kind of soft and clean.  You squeeze a little into your palm, then I tend to lather up in my hands, and apply directly to the face, and massage, massage, massage!  
I then add a little water at a time, depending on how I feel, and splash off with warm water, or with a wrung-out flannel.  Despite the simplicity of the product, it contains sebo-regulating ingredients, as well as thermal spring water to help keep the skin both hydrated and oil-free.  The lather is all sorts of luxurious: thick, creamy, soft, definitely feels more luxurious than the price tag (£10.21 for the 200ml) and the simplistic packaging would have you believe!  
And the results after a cleanse?  Soft, bright, plump, smooth - takes off ALL make up in a jiffy: you must all know how I always use a specific eye make up remover before washing off the rest of the make up on my face (generally its because I wear contact lenses, and like to be thorough whilst also making sure the cleanser doesn't get into my eyes), but with this, I just screw up my eyes and have a rub with the lather, wash off and most of my heavy eye make up if off without irritating my eyes or contact lenses.  I then just take a tiny bit of eye make up remover and wipe the residue away.
All in all, a COMPLETE staple for anyone with skin like mine - definitely will buy this myself, the price point is extremely good!
Love A.x

Dehydrated Skin | Saviours

8/25/2012 06:00:00 am
I have oily skin, sometimes it veers towards combination, but generally it is oily.  However, I have eczema on my eyelids that flares up in times of stress, illness, and when I'm generally not looking after myself properly: the same goes for my lips.  I also have a nose that has decided it is dehydrated - a couple of weeks ago I could quite literally pull of skin in the same kind of way that I have done in years gone by with my eczema.
What this goes to show is that dry skin and dehydrated skin are most definitely not one and the same.  Any skin-type can be dehydrated.
There are a few products that I now keep in my skincare arsenal to aid me with these issues.
First of all, the eczema on my eyes: I try to prevent it by drinking enough water and using my holy grail eye cream - the Eucerin Aquaporin, which quite literally obliterates most of my eczema.  However, when it does flare up I use a prescription steroid - hydrocortisone - to rid myself of the condition within 1-2 applications.  It is a steroid, and as such does thin the skin, meaning I use it as little as possible, but it truly is the only thing that helps when my eyes erupt into painful redness.
In terms of lips, again, the amount of water I drink resonates directly onto my lips. I do always try and use a natural lip balm - favourites being Burt's Bees and Lanolips.
Skin always starts off with cleansing, and when my skin is dehydrated or out of balance, I get into a routine of using the Botanics Cleansing Balm, applying it to the face, and massaging it in for as long as I can stand to.  Doing this a couple of days in a row helps my skin to become radiant and supple fairly quickly.  I then tend to use a moisturising mask - this month's mask du jour is the La Roche Posay Hydraphase mask which I also use as an overnight mask, plus a plethora of serums: the best I have for dehydrated skin is the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, which just has far too many positives to even mention, but trust me, EVERYONE needs a bottle of this in their lives!
The mixture of all these products generally cures any dehydration in around 2-3 days, and leaves my skin plump and healthy!
Love A.x

Kim Kardashian Combo Lip | Angel and Turkish Delight

8/24/2012 06:00:00 am
So, I have to admit it, I looooove Kim Kardashian.  Mostly its her face: always immaculate and seamless, perfectly polished!  I've had the much-raved about Nars Turkish Delight for about a year now, and go through phases of loving and hating it: it is a very light, very milky pink, a gorgeous colour BUT can look dreadful on lips that aren't as smooth as a baby's behind. And my lips are quite often dry.  Mac Angel is a recent acquisition from a Back to Mac visit - I have lusted after it for forever.  So, I have swatched for you, on my arm, Mac Angel, Nars Turkish Delight, and the infamous Kim Kardashian combo of the two!
Hope you like!

Actually just a truly beautiful combo for dressing-up and dressing-down days!
Love A.x

Ooooooooooooo | Selfridges Beauty Box

8/22/2012 02:41:00 pm
Now, I'm not a subscriber of beauty boxes - I probably would be if I could afford it, but they came on the scene just as I was going back to being a student!  Sad times!  But I just could not resist the Selfridges version.  Full of high-end beauty treats, the box literally spoke to me and made me buy it!  So yesterday morning I woke up, and ordered it, and surprise, surprise, this morning it arrived!  I hadn't even paid for next day delivery!  This post is really a picture post, obviously I haven't used the products yet, but will update you when I have!

Just beautiful!  I am a sucker for a pretty bow!  Very happy with the contents, will report back soon!
Love A.x

Speed Review | Inglot Face Blush 39

8/19/2012 06:00:00 am

I know the blog has been super skincare orientated lately, so I thought I’d mix it up with a little cosmetic action: today’s product of choice is the Inglot Face Blush (weird name – where else would one put blush?!) in 39.

Every time I pass Inglot in Westfield, it attracts me like opposite poles on a magnet!  From the outside of the store, you see a myriad of colours: the lipsticks and nail polishes especially are organised by colour, so you are greeted by a rainbow plethora!  Just amazing.  I actually went in specifically looking for a blush to rival my beloved Benefit Thrrob, which I just adore, and came out with something not EXACTLY identical, but a product which stands alone as a gorgeous blush.
The formula of this blush is beautiful – super soft and pigmented, one swipe and your blush has a perfect amount of blusher.  The packaging is functional and a little basic, a small pot with a screw off lid, but I quite like it to be honest. 
The colour is a light pink with silver glimmer running through, and it does an incredible job at brightening up the face.
I know not a lot of people have access to an Inglot, so I thought a little peek into their collection might be nice!
Hope you liked!
Love A.x

La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque | Review

8/18/2012 12:01:00 am

This is such a mask month; I have masks coming out of my ears at the moment! REN masks, Good Things masks, Montagne Jeunesse masks, Alpha H Masks.  Just masks, masks, masks!  And here is another little beauty for you!
Just as I was thinking about more masks, I was asked if I would like to try the La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Mask.  Now, this was something I had to think about a little - my skin generally does not tend to need extra moisture, and if it does, I do slather on a layer of my Boots Botanics Face Balm and leave it on for a little while.  The more I thought about this mask, and read the press release, I found myself more and more intrigued, as it is specifically for sensitive/dehydrated skin, and I have been realising that my skin, though oily, is actually dehydrated: oily is my skin type, dehydrated is a skin condition that can occur with any skin type.  It is also said to soothe the skin, which seemed like a pretty good idea to me as I do use a lot of chemical exfoliants, and the old skin probably could do with a little TLC!  
Onto ingredients: I saw the words "Thermal Spring Water" and "Hyaluronic Acid Fragments" and that is the minute that I decided this is a mask I need to try.  Hyaluronic Acid is something found naturally within the skin - it plumps the skin, keeping it looking youthful, as each molecule is able to hold a huge percentage of water in comparison to its own weight.  As such, fillers are now using synthesised versions of hyaluronic acid to inject into the skin to plump it up, and Hyaluronic Acid is now available as injections in themselves, for a facial treatment in which the whole facial skin, or the skin on the back of hands are injected and plumped up!
Upon receipt of this, I had a little gander at the instructions, which suggest you apply a generous layer, let it sink in for ten minutes, and then tissue the excess off.  These instructions remind me of the Origins Drink Up Mask, which I haven't got around to testing yet, so I decided to deviate a little from the instructions and leave it on overnight.  The results were smoother, softer skin BUT I felt that the overnight treatment was a little heavy for my skin, so tried it again a few days later, where I applied it to my skin for a couple of hours whilst I worked on my dissertation - I found that this mask sinks right into my skin, it literally drank it up so there was no residue!  I then washed it off using an ordinary flannel, and was left with baby soft, very plump skin!  This is a lovelyyyyyy treat, whether a quick fix or as a slightly longer treatment.  It feels so soothing, but yet somehow quite active on the skin, and was a different experience for me as I usually stick to breakout fighting, or radiance-boosting clay or glycolic masks.  I feel it would be lovely after a hot day in the sun (with SPF of course), or just any time where your skin feels a little tight and just a little bleurgh in general: I also feel that sensitive or skin prone to redness would benefit from this little gem.
Overall, this is a very different to the masks I am used to, but nonetheless is absolutely a beautiful product with a high-end, velvety texture, and results to rival a good facial massage!  I would definitely purchase this myself, but I reckon my little tube will last me a good old while!
Hope you liked this!
Love A.x

Vichy Normaderm 3 in 1 Cleanser, Scrub, Mask | Review

8/16/2012 09:48:00 pm

Lately I was contacted, and asked if I would like to give the Vichy Normaderm 3 in 1 cleanser, scrub and mask a trial.  Of course, being the skincare-obsessed blogger that I am, I jumped at the chance.  Vichy is a brand that I am really quite familiar with in terms of both skincare and cosmetics.  I first turned to Vichy when I felt my skin needed covering up, and ended up buying their Dermablend Corrective foundation, which provided serious, flawless coverage - nowadays I use it as a heavy-duty concealer.  I also consistently use their Setting Powder , which is one of my must-haves, beautiful, finely milled, and leaves the complexion in a haze of soft-focus loveliness.  In terms of skincare, I alternate my current REN moisturiser with the Vichy Normaderm moisturiser, which leaves the face matte, soft, and smelling a litttttttttttle bit of green apples!

Now, onto the product in question! When I first saw the press release, I must admit I was the teeeensiest bit excited: I saw that this product contained two of my most favourite skincare ingredients - Clay and Glycolic Acid.  These, in my opinion, are the two ingredients that make the most difference to my particular skin.  I also LOVED the idea of a multi-action product that can be used in different ways.  As soon as I received it, I just had to try it!  First impressions were: nice tube, nice dispensing action, and a scrummy, yummy apple/clean smell. 
Good right?  From here, it only gets better!  I have now had the chance to test this for around a week, using it in all its various modes, and have to say, this stuff is a-may-zing.  Looking at the product dispensed you could be mistaken into thinking it is a gritty, bitty formula, encased in a super-thick cream.  The "bits" themselves, although verrrrry visible, are incredibly soft, and buff across the skin as opposed to scratching the surface.  Using it as a cleanser, I apply a littttle bit to my hands, and apply neat to the face, then add as much water as I feel I need of a day.  I then do the usual cleansing in circular movements, activating the scrub part of the product, and find that the cream just feels truly luxurious gliding across the skin.  I then splash it off with warm water, dry my face, and admire the clarity, lightness and soft texture of my freshly cleansed skin!

As a mask, you hardly need to apply any product, again I just spread this thinly across the face, and it works its magic in as little as five minutes.  The results with this as a mask mean that I find my skin as beautified as it is with the cleanser/scrub, but better!  This product arrived just just in time - as I was experiencing a breakout on my chin and jawline.  In as little as 3 days of use, my problem areas were more or less clear, and the rest of my face had a bright, healthy look to it.  Of course, this was a product that I was given to test, BUT I can honestly say that this is a product that I would repurchase on my own merit: the price point is around £11 (should be in Boots mid-August, so any day now), which you may find a little steep for a cleanser, BUT you should remember that it is a product that in my own opinion, fills a niche for a multi-purpose product that actually works on all fronts.  I highly recommend this to anyone with a combination-to-oily skin type, and anyone with problem areas.  A lovely little product, that feels far more luxurious than its price suggests!
I think this has spurred me on to maybe trying some more skincare from the brand - I will definitely be doing a little research!
Love A.x

Need a Little Help? | Collection 2000 Fix Me Up Long Lasting Setting Spray

8/15/2012 07:41:00 pm
Sorry about the lack of posts, finding time to write on here whilst writing my Masters dissertation is proving difficult, but I will definitely be making the effort, I loooooove writing my blog!  Also today you can find me over at Jess' blog, Ditzy Glamour, where I am talking about prolonging your make up  
Today's post is along the same lines, I am introducing you to my latest make-up prolonger: the Collection 2000 Fix Me Up Long Lasting Setting Spray.  Little bit of a mouthful when it comes to the name, but this is a fab little addition to everybody's make up bag.
I apply this before I apply lippy and mascara, but after all my other make up is applied.  I spray it onto my face from a couple of inches away - normally I spray around 3 times to make sure the whole face is covered.  The smell is gorgeous, but I can't quite place it.  I wait a couple of minutes for it to dry, at which point your make up is now set"
I find that this really holds its own when used during the day at any point where you might get shiny.  It does not disrupt the make up at all, and just serves to perfect it further.
Love A.x

Thing of the Week 19 | Current Fave Lip Combo

8/10/2012 06:00:00 am
In life, on my face, I think that a good lip finishes off and polishes up a look in a way that I love.  Lately I have been going for the slightly pink, slightly peach nude lip, which I create with these 2 products: the Rimmel Lip Liner in East End Snob, and the 17 Mirror Shine Lipstick in Beehive.  

L-R: Rimmel Lip liner in East End Snob, 17 Mirror Shine Lipstick in Beehive, Combination of the two.
A beautiful, natural lip colour that adds a healthy flush to the face.  Best of all?  You can get both of these products for under the price of one Mac lippy.  Bah humbug to Mac prices!
Love A.x

Primark | Plunder!

8/09/2012 06:00:00 am
Sooooooooo I really do not like the word 'haul'.  Hence I have used the word plunder, which is a pretty cool word: plus, it reminds me of pirates, and I do love a good old pirate!  Anyways, the entirety of this primark plunder cost me £20.50, which I think you'll agree is pretty good going when you see what I've purchased:

As you can see, a pretty small but useful haul!

I have both an obsession with and a problem with shoes: I only like my shoes - be they heels or flats - pointy, making it hard during some seasons to buy any that I feel truly comfortable in.  I already have a pair of this type of pointy flat shoe in cream with a tan toe from River Island, where they cost me £22, but I love to have a few pairs of back ups for the sole fact that when I need a new pair it tends to be just my luck that I can't find any affordable pointy shoes!  These pairs were just £5 each, and as such I couldn't resist picking up both colourways!  The first pair is a white/cream with a black suede toe, and the second is a dusky pink with a beauty rose-gold metallic toe.  The fabric of the shoes is almost like a very very short suede, very soft, but I think they would gather dust and dirt quickly!  The fit is true to size - I am a 5 and these are a 5!  Compared to my River Island pair, these aren't as sturdy, and I suspect won't last forever, but for £5 they really give me a few more options for flat shoe days!
These earrings were something I had been lusting after since I saw the press release in May or June.  I love a pair of statement earrings, whether they be big studs or huge danglies, and these really caught my eye.  I had been searching for them foreeeeeeever when I finally found them.  Art deco in style, dark, matte gold, with gunmetal stones, they are to die for.    I really think they'll add a touch of class to an outfit.  Plus, they only cost me £2.50!

I am a Disney freak.  I am also a magpie - I looooooove shiny things, so when I came across this it was instant love!  The fit is not perfect for me - fitted things suit me, whereas something baggy like this doesn't tend to, but I loved it so much I picked it up anyways!  I did get the size 6 as opposed to the 8 to counteract the fit, but that didn't really help.  It is beaautiful and I'm thinking it would be lovely on hot days with some cropped trousers.  This was £8, and just for the sheer amount of sequins on it, I think its more than worth it!
What have you all plundered lately?
Love A.x

REN ClearCalm Range | Review

8/07/2012 06:00:00 am
Today's little post is on a brand that I have been really loving for the last couple of months or so: REN.  As a brand, REN sets out to achieve many of the things that I feel contribute towards beautiful, healthy skin, and as I am ALLLLLLLL about skincare, their ethos fits right into the way in which I look after my own skin.  Previously I had tried the Travel Kit for Combination Skin, and to be honest I loved all the products, purchasing a full-size of the T-Zone Balancing Fluid when my travel size had run out.  About a month ago, over at ASOS there was a flash beauty sale, and I picked up another of the travel kits, this time the one for Blemish Prone Skin, which is named ClearCalm.  Let me tell you now, I did not think this would outdo the last travel kit, but OMG it really did.  
Within this little kit you receive a ClearCalm 3 Anti-Blemish Clay Cleanser, the Anti-Blemish Day Fluid, ClearCalm 3 Anti-Blemish Treatment Mask and finally the ClearCalm 3 Replenishing Night Serum.  All of these products, first and foremostly, are beautifully calming, with a wonderfully soothing herbal scent.  All act to counteract redness, prevent breakouts and leave the skin both purified and comfortable.  All of these products would help any current skincare routine for oily/combination, sensitive, spot-prone skin to work overtime.  Of course, as with any full skincare set, I have my faves within the bunch: 2 heroine products which I will be purchasing in their full-size as soon as I have the funds!

Now, the two products above - the day fluid and the clay cleanser - though beautiful, carefully thought through products as part of the range are the two that I deem to be least necessary.  The cleanser, first off, is lovely, thick, creamy, feels like its working to deeply cleanse, and leaves the skin soft and balanced BUT could easily be replaced by using the mask (review coming after the jump) with a little water, thereby saving the pennies by using one product to multitask.  The day fluid is also a lovely product, it is almost water-based serum-like in texture, a clear, thin gel, but therein is where the problem lies for me: I like my moisturisers to be more moisturiser than a weird serum hybrid!  As such, this is the product I have hardly touched, instead I reach for my daily moisturiser, which is another REN product - the REN T-Zone Balancing Fluid.

Now, the two products above - the mask and the night serum - are the two that when I have some money, I will not be going without!  The mask is a wonderful, unctious, thick, gloopy, gloppy clay that sucks out all the disgusting-ness from your skin!  It, as with all of the range, smells calming and balancing, and once washed off, helps the skin to be calm and clear.  The Night Serum is another products that I am ridiculously in love with - it is a thicker serum, a gel-cream hybrid, white in colour, that is soft to the touch, and sinks into the skin when patted on lightly.  I find that on contact, skin feels nourished, and soothed, and upon waking in the morning, my face is more even-toned and bright.

In all the pictures above, from L-R is the Cleanser, Mask, Night Serum and Day Fluid, just so you can get a feel for the textures!
I hope you liked this post - it is the kind I LOVE writing!
Love A.x