Hydration Diaries 3 | La Roche Posay Ceralip

10/30/2012 06:00:00 am
Today for you I have a complete and utter necessity.  A product that has been an SOS product, a real saviour for my eternally-dry and eczema-prone lips.  I sent an email off to Steph at La Roche Posay when my lips were in a ridiculous state, and I needed some instant, but long-lasting relief, and she immediately recommended this to me.  From her rave reviews of this, I literally bought it the next way, and shall we just say, I haven't looked back!  Ceralip is described on the tube as a "Lip Repair Cream" and I think the effectiveness of this product comes straight from its simplicity - it does exactly what it says on the tube.  Ceralip is not gimmicky, nor is it a fashionable or trendy item, but it does it's job to complete perfection.  
It is a thickish, opaque substance, similar in texture to the Lanolips, which I thought was the bees knees, but I have to stand corrected, this is the true bees knees!  All I have to say about this is that it leaves my lips moisturised throughout the entire day, it has rid my lips of dry patches, flakes, and allows me to leave a day between applications with no trouble!  This is a revelation to me - not since I was 15 have I had lips that were soft and supple, and didn't trouble me.
I highly, highly suggest that you make this a staple in your make-up bag whatever your lip needs!
Love A.x

Hydration Diaries 2 | Balance Active Formula Hyaluronic 554 Youth Serum

10/29/2012 06:00:00 am
So I stumbled into a wonderland the other day - a store called B&M Stores, where I was faced with literally every product known to man: from crisps to mirrors, to babies to, to beauty, and I picked up this little gem of a find.  Another Hyaluronic Acid product.  If you  have read my previous post (which will hereby be referred to as Hydration Diaries 1), you will know that I've introduced a burst of deep-seated hydration into my routine via Hydraluron.  When I came upon the Balance Active serum, I grabbed it, and relished the thought of EVEN MORE moisture being brought into my skin.

The Balance Active is a serum that is hugely different from the Hydraluron: it comes in a little plastic bottle with a pipette from dispensing purposes, and is a slightly yellowish colour, and super, super thin, to the point that it resembles water, and feels like water on the skin.  I pipette out a few drops, rub it between my hands, and pat onto the skin.  It takes around 30 seconds to sink in, and leaves the skin soothed but not moisturised on the surface.
Of course, being a serum - and a watery serum at that - this needs to be followed with another dose of surface moisture, and me being the amateur alchemist that I am, I love mixing up different concoctions of facial moisture, depending  on the needs of my skin each day.  I tend to use this both in the morning and at night time as the basis and first layer of my skincare.  In terms of morning skincare I usually layer this, then my Vichy Idealia, then a moisturiser mixed with SPF.  For night time, this goes on first, Hydraluron on top, then a cornucopia of serums (generally Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, REN's ClearCalm 3 Replenishing Night Serum, or the Superdrug Oil Balancing Serum), and lastly, an intense moisturiser or oil (frequent choices here being Weleda Wild Rose Cream, the Lavera Liposome Intensive Cream or the Antipodes Avocado Oil and Rosehip).  The combination of all these truly wonderful potion leads to more balanced skin throughout the day, and soft, supple skin on awaking!  Beauty sleep at it's best!
Love A.x

Bandwagon? Moi? | Hydraluron

10/27/2012 09:06:00 pm
I am an AVID reader of Caroline Hiron's blog (find it here), and more or less anything she says makes up my skincare bible - I just love the way she just makes sense.  From using flannels for washing faces (I have been doing this religiously since the age of 5 - waaaaaaaaaay ahead of the times!), to being careful with the use of active ingredients, and most lately, the introduction of extra moisture into the skin.  My skin is really quite oily, but at the same time, really very dehydrated, which makes sense as I am prone to eczema on my eyes and lips.  Serums are the way I deal with dehydration, often topped with a lovely concoction of moisturisers and/or oils to lock all the moist goodness in!

I first became aware of Hydraluron when I saw it on offer for £14.99 in Boots - I thought about buying it, but it was really a flitty kind of thought, here one second, and gone the next.  You see, I hadn't really started to understand my skin as dehydrated, so I left it.  I had, however, heard of the wonder ingredient - Hyaluronic Acid - from my time at the Medical Spa, where people would have what is known as a surgical face lift, involving about a gazillion injections under the skin of the face with a substance which included Hyaluronic Acid.  Able to hold 1000 times its own weight in water, it serves to act as a humectant, and binds water to the cells deep within your skin, plumping and freshening the complexion!  Fast forward around three months, and after seeing numerous reviews and press releases, I bit the bullet, and Hydraluron is mine!

How am I faring? Well, pretty well actually: my skin is definitely moving into the hydrated category from it's eternal dehydrated state, and with the icy winter setting in, it proves less of a joy to use, and more of an essential.  Texture-wise, this is thicker than many other serums I have, but quite literally turns into water on the skin - I experience a tightening of my face, which obviously shows that this serum is not intended for solo use, but needs it's own moisturiser partner!  This has become a necessity in my routine - the only gripe?  The tube is tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny, I'll be needing more soon!
Love A.x

Missing? | Back!

10/23/2012 01:16:00 am
Apologies for the lack of posting of late, life just sometimes catches up with one!  You'll be pleased to hear that I've purchased a fair few things to show you (including my new obsession - the onesie!), but for now I'll leave you with a pic of my (lovely) face!
Love A.x

A Different Friday | Inspiration...

10/12/2012 10:00:00 am
Sometimes its nice to just contemplate life:

Love A.x

Long Lasting Eyeliner? | Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal

10/11/2012 04:00:00 pm
I am wholeheartedly the smudgy, messed-up type of eyeliner wearer.  Neat, precise, and flicked just don't seem to suit me, and as such I steer clear of gels, liquids, creams - I am a pencil gal.  Precisely I am a kohl girl.  Deep, almost dirty, mussy, no-fuss, intense kohl.  So imagine my delight when I spotted the following:
I cannot believe how long it has taken the more purse-friendly beauty brands to bring out a superior quality eyeliner - but they are here now, and superior quality they definitely are!
I always line my top lid, always, normally with a black, hence the purchase of the black, and then either line my bottom waterline with a black or nude, hence the nude!  The formulation of these is on a whooooole other level.  Creamy, pigmented, doesn't pull at the eye, smudgeable for a good few seconds, then sets and does not budge until taken off!  Wear time is longer on the black than the nude, but it still isn't half bad!
I loooooooooooove these pencils, and shall definitely be getting my hands on a few more!
Hope you liked this,
Love A.x

Overlooked? | Maybelline 24h Superstay Foundation

10/10/2012 08:14:00 pm
This is a post about a rediscovered love.  Once upon a time, before I tagged along on the Mac train, and dipped my toe in the designer end of make up, I used to wear one of three foundations: L'oreal Cashmere Perfect, L'oreal Infallible, and Maybelline 24h Superstay.  
Once I discovered higher end make up, these got left by the wayside, and I believe the Cashmere Perfect was discontinued, whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?  It was perfection.  Anyways, perusing the Boots and Superdrug aisles, I saw the 2 for £10 sign and thought wooooooooooah.  The Superstay is £9.19 alone, so whatever else I was choosing, it didn't really matter.  This was a done deal.  So I purchased it in the colour Fawn.  And now I remember why I loved it.  I have grown out of mac - at least out of studio fix, and I feel that if you are experiencing the same thing, this is a perfect dupe.
In short, this is a beautiful foundation - it perfects the skin, leaving it matte, and basically flawless.  The pigmentation level seems higher than many of my other foundations, and as it wears, it becomes more semi-matte to dewy, which I don't really mind at the end of the day.  I often mix this in with other foundations, just for the flawless and long-lasting addition.  Maybelline have also tailored this range to include a fairly wide variety of skin tones and colours, which is always a bonus!
Hope you liked this mini-review!
Love A.x

Currently | Stila One Step Correct | New Fave Primer

10/09/2012 06:00:00 am
So, as the title of this post suggests, I have found a new favourite primer.  Now, this is completely different from the primers I would usually choose, as this is a skincare-type primer, and I generally go for the lock-and-hold type primer.  But this has truly been quite the revelation in my routine. 
 I would class it as being in the skincare-primer category, as I feel it really aids the condition of the skin.  Stila's own website says:
Swirl your way to perfect skin in one step! This innovative, triple-swirled helix serum instantly color-corrects, brightens and covers skin imperfections for a flawless face with no fuss. 

This primer, color-corrector, brightener and anti-aging skincare serum does it all with the help of Stila's Youth Revival Bio-Available Mineral Complex™: 
  • Magician- Instantly makes imperfections disappear
  • Multitasker - Reduces fine lines, wrinkles, pores and pigmentation
  • Miracle Worker- Hydrates, controls oil and improves skin texture

The revolutionary new product contains 3 color-correcting brighteners:
  • Green tone instantly neutralizes redness and conceals blemishes
  • Lavender tone counteracts sallow undertones for a vibrant, energized look
  • Peach tone brightens, illuminates and helps diminish the appearance of sun spots

The weightless, creamy formula blends imperceptibly into skin and won't clog pores or settle into fine lines … so all anyone will notice is your perfectly flawless skin! 

Now, I'm fairly sure you're wondering whether the product live up to its claims?  Well, in a nutshell, yes.  It has verrrry quickly become a staple in my skincare/cosmetic routine (I include this in skincare as I feel it is a semi-serum!).  My favourite property of this is definitely the colour correcting.  Now, let me tell you, when I first slathered this all over my face I thought "colour-correcting?HMPH".  Now I think "colour-correcting?DEFOS" and I'll tell you why - the first time I put it all over my face, and saw no difference on the skin, but found I needed less foundation.  Putting my best Sherlock Holmes hat on, I decided the second time to only apply it to half of my face.  If you buy this, do that.  And be amazed.  
Skin literally looks brighter, less sallow, and healthier.  Perfect primer properties if you ask me!  As for controlling oiliness, this is where it is less successful, but I don't really mind - the rest of my skincare routine sorts that out, and I quite like the hydrating nature of the One-Step Correct.
So, in summary, One-Step Correct: Magician?  Pretty much.  Multitasker?  Definitely.  Miracle Worker?  Almost, but not quite!  A lovely little potion that I think would help any women with uneven skin tone!
Love A.x

My interpretation | Triple Threat Facial

10/08/2012 06:00:00 am
Now I am an avid reader of about a gazillion blogs - mostly make up and skincare - and two of my top beauty bloggers are Caroline Hirons and Anna, who together quench my thirst for skincare info.  Over the weekend I read this post from Anna, and thoughhtttttt ooooooooo what a super good idea, so the next day I gave it a go myself, and created my own version of the Triple Threat Facial.  In basic terms, it involves a cleanse (I double up) and 3 masks!(deep cleansing, radiance-boosting, and hydrating).  I had a good rummage, collected my miracle workers, lit a caramel and a chocolate candle, jumped in a hot bath whilst listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I'm at the Quidditch World Cup at the moment), and started with my routine.
First up, I used the REN Mayblossom cleanser, followed by the La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, to ensure my skin was super duper clean as I had had a full face of make up on during the day, and then applied mask number 1: the deep cleansing Superdrug Simply Pure Oil Balancing Face Mask.  

Now, I have to say, I am HIGHLY impressed with this ridiculously affordable brand - this mask is absolutely brilliant, and I have tried some of the most high-end masks.  It cost me around £1.75 as I got it on a half price offer, and it works much the same as the highly sought after, and blogged about REN ClearCalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask.  The Kaolin (clay) is near the top of the ingredients list, only second to water, and also contains willow bark and alpine willow herb, which help with skin tone, pores and blemishes - often found in Salon quality peels.  The actual mask itself is thick but slightly runny, and gives instantaneous results - smooth, calm skin in only 3 minutes.

Next up was the Alpha H Liquid Gold Smoothing & Perfecting Mask, which I love as a skin pick-me-up.  This mask is one of my staples, and it works to help chemically exfoliate, clear, and brighten up the skin.  This leaves the skin incredibly smooth, and provides the foundation for the next mask.

Our hydrating mask was the La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque, which is just a beautiful soothing but hydrating mask, and leaves the skin in amazingly good condition.
All in all, this brilliant routine meant that I looked into the mirror and thoughtt woooooooooooooooo good skin!
Love A.x

Currently Hair Treatment | Coconut Oil

10/07/2012 06:00:00 am
My hair is probably not as pampered as it should be.  It is verrrrrrry long, and I find it troublesome and annoying to apply treatments and wait for them to do their thaaaaang.  So, more often than not my poor hair just plods along.  Lately, due to changeable weather, and heating etc etc, I have found my scalp to be flaky, mostly around the hairline, and no matter what I did, it just stayed flaky, staring at me in the mirror, goading and teasing me.  So I decided that enough was enough, and set about racking my brains for an at-home remedy.  And I remembered an under £2 pot of solid miracle that I have floating about in my bathroom.  

Coconut oil.  Now, I love the smell and taste of coconut, but for those of you that don't know, coconut oil has a slightly differing smell, within which I can smell an undertone of something I hate.  I bought some of those healthy banana chips that I love, and proceeded to scoff a handful, only to find OMG they must have coconut oil in them, and I was right.  But I digress, because I have since found out - through using my solid coconut oil on my hair - that it is the heating of the oil that adds the yuk factor to it.  Back to the original story - I thoroughly tangle-teased my hair, grabbed generous scoops of the coconut oil, made it liquid in my hands, and applied all over the scalp, tied in a bun and slept.  

I woke up, washed it out, and miracle of all miracles, my hair was flake free.  Not just a temporary, one-day, I've put a hair mask on kind of flake-free, but a ooooooo I'll last you a week kind of flake-free.  But I've been lazy since.  So tomorrow will be another coconut oil day.
I hope any of you with the same issues found this helpful!
Love A.x

Currently 4 | Concealer

10/06/2012 12:00:00 pm
Now, you've seen my list of foundations for the currently series, and today I am bringing you the best concealer I have ever come across: the Vichy Dermablend Ultra Corrective Cream Stick in Sand.  Now this is the ULTIMATE concealer - in fact, it's a stick foundation, but I find that the high pigmentation levels in this, and it's creamy texture lead directly to it being a perfect concealer contender.  

I apply this little stick of magic onto any blemishes or any discolouration, blend and stipple until my skin is almost perfection, then apply a very light film of foundation over the top.  The Vichy is ultra creamy and emollient, but really adheres to the skin, and as such, lasts all day.  I can find no faults with this product, the colour range could be more extensive BUT I think most people could find a colour to work for them, especially if using it as a concealer as I do.
Love A.x

Thing of the Week 20 | Antipodes Divine Facial Oil | Rave

10/05/2012 07:12:00 pm
Let's just get this out of the way - I love this product.  First of all, I love a good oil.  Even on my oily-combo skin, I find an oil often helps to rebalance and degrease, and as such I have a little oil wardrobe consisting of oil-based cleansers, oil-balm cleansers, and a few oily oils!  In fact, I've even got into using Johnson's Baby oil after a bath all over my body.  But that's another story.
I actually received this in the Selfridges Beauty Box, and mentioned it in my What to do when you don't know what to do skincare post, as well as my August Faves, so as you can see, it's already pretty well-loved in my skincare routine.

A lovely, organic yellow in colour, and containing Rosehip Oil and Avocado oil, it nourishes the skin deeply, helps with evenness of skin tone and skin texture.  It is an uplifting oil in terms of smell, and I rub it between my palms, and sniff my hands before massaging it into the skin really well, thereby aiding detoxification and drainage of the face at the same time.
Like I previously mentioned, the actual smell is incredibly uplifting, but also calming at the same time: the smell in itself is enough for me to think heyyyyyy this product actually works!
After a night of usage, I find this tends to calm any breakouts, leave the skin plump and hydrated, and even helps to balance out my oily skin.  Basically if you can buy it, one would suggest you do!
Hope you liked today's post,
Love A.x

Currently 3 | Perfumes

10/03/2012 06:00:00 am
I have a fair few perfumes, and with the weather going all wintery, I have done a little shake up and mix up of my perfume collection, so today I bring you the "currentlys" of my perfumes:

Britney Spears Fantasy, Kate Moss, Paul Smith Rose, Hugo Boss Deep Red, Karl Lagerfield Sun, Moon and Stars.  All are beautiful scents, fairly cheap, and deserve a sniff!
Love A.x

Currently 2 | Foundations

10/02/2012 06:00:00 am
So here is part 2 of my "currentlys": foundation.  I looooove foundation, and I think I've found quite a few gems, old faves, and a few brand new foundations, soooo let's have a little look!
These are the foundations I currently reach for, and all have their individual unique selling points!  The Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup in 2WN1 is the foundation I reach for most: it is somewhat similar in tone and colour to my Nars Sheer glow in Stromboli, but is a much thinner, more natural consistency.  At the moment, I am tending to use this as my mixing medium, as the yellow tones in it are strong, so helps me out with any that may not have the yellow undertone.  The Maybelline Super Stay 24H in Fawn is actually an old fave that, when I bought my first Mac Studio Fix Fluid, I threw in the bin!  I rediscovered, and purchased it a few weeks ago when Boots were doing a 2 for £10 on all Maybelline items, and as this foundation was more or less £10 on its own, I couldn't resist.  The formula is super duper long lasting, and absolutely flawless - I do have the issue of my closest match running too pink, so I add in a drop of the Estee Lauder.  Beautiful foundation, and  a definite recommendation from me!  Next we have something that I didn't even know had launched in the UK yet, but whilst browsing the Maybelline stand, saw it and thought oooooo I've heard about that from Americans for aaaaaages.  It is the Maybelline Fit Me foundation in 220.  The stand actually has a super useful chart that helps you find your right colour depending on whether you are fair, medium or dark, and then whether you have pink or yellow undertones - I am medium with yellow undertones, so I got shade 220.  I am currently trialling this, hence it is in my "currentlys", so I don't have a huge amount to say about it at the moment, but first impressions is that it is a medium, healthy finish!  Last of all is the foundation I am most excited about - the Giorgio Armani Maestro in 7.  I actually picked this up just to have a quick look at it, I didn't think I would ever consider buying it, and unfortunately I love it.  Which is no good, as it is high-end, and therefore expensive.  This is the most beautiful foundation I have ever tried.  By beautiful, I am referring to the science behind it, the way in which you can see that the pigment isn't carried in emollients or any heavy base, but within what feels like a very thin, slightly oily serum, which smells of beautiful oils!  Hard to describe, but just gorgeous.  Skincare benefits seems amazing so far, and on my face it looks like my skin, but beautified!
I hope you liked this, and I'll be back tomorrow with more "currentlys"!
Love A.x