28 November 2015

Countdown to Christmas: Festive Makeup Look

To go along with the rest of my festive posts, this year, i thought i'd share with you my go-to Christmas eye look. I love to add a touch of colour to makeup, especially this time of year, and i think at Christmas you're allowed to go a little more fun. I much prefer warmer colours too, on my skintone, but you could totally recreate this look with cooler tones or perhaps a different colour - this is just my go-to look. I have to say that if you'd told me five years ago that i'd be rocking this kind of look, i would never have thought that i would ever have worn these pinky, red tones on my eyes but look at me now.

Products I used to create this look: Charlotte Tilbury The Dolce Vita Palette, Mac Cranberry Eyeshadow, Mac Sketch Eyeshadow & Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy.

And for anyone that's interested my unblended highlight is theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer which, until looking at these images, i did not realise how unblended it was. However, fear not, i blended it before i left the house and actually that is one of my favourite highlights so i definitely recommend it.

Anyway, to create this i swept the lightest shade in the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette, known on the back of the palette as 'prime', which is a classic, shimmery but not glittery champagne shade all over the lid and up into the crease as a base.

I then took Cranberry on a wide pencil brush, starting in the outer corner and along the lash line to build up the colour and then blended it out into the centre of the lid to cover the outer half. I went over the outer corner again to create a little more colour so you start to see the ombre effect from the outside to the inside.

Next, i decided that i wanted to deepen up the outside shade and warm it up a little more so, on another pencil brush, i popped the copper, red colour from Charlotte Tilbury's Dolce Vita Palette, thought of to be 'enhance' on the back of the palette, just in the outer V, concentrating it in the crease, just above and along the lash line, and blended it out into Cranberry.

I felt like my eye didn't have enough definition with this look, yet, despite the ombre so took Mac's Sketch eyeshadow, which is described as a burgundy, red shimmer with a velvet finish - which is actually more of a matte - on a pointed pencil brush and shaded in just the very outer end of the crease. I didn't pack on too much or take the colour too far in, just on the very outer edge and blended it in with a fluffy Mac 217 blending brush. This just really gives the eyes some shape and deepens up the look.

Once all of my 'base' colours are applied, i made sure to go back over and blend everything into each other to give the eye a seamless look. It's totally up to you but you could definitely blend the outer edge more than i have, i chose to keep the look as a very cut line edge but you could smoke it out and blend it further if you wished.

As it's Christmas, i decided to finish the look with some pops of glitter which, sadly, just don't come off on camera. These images do not do it justice but, trust me, in person i was a discoball so if you're going to be taking pictures be sure to pack on that glitter - which is what i'll be doing for my work Christmas party. I used the golden glitter shade, entitled 'pop', from the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette on the outer half of my eye and then used Urban Decay's Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy over the inner corner and rest of the lid. This one is described as a light champagne with silver sparkle, but honestly it comes across as just a lot of iridescent glitter particles that shimmer and shine in different light and it doesn't really transfer any actual base colour so it's great for applying over your finished eye look.

So that is my go-to festive look for the holiday season, and i really love how it pops on my eyes but it actually doesn't take all that much time to do. What's your favourite festive look?


25 November 2015

What to Buy: For Stocking Fillers

Heart Hand and Face Wipes: £1 | Meri Meri 'Time to Shine' Notepad: £3.75 | Red5 Selfie Stick: £10 | Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut with a Jacket: £10 | Ridley's Movie Buff Quiz: £7.95 | John Lewis 100% Cashmere Bed Socks: £29 | Charbonnel et Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffle Cracker: £5.50 | Urban Decay Eyeshadow: £14 | Clarins Joli Rouge Lipstick: £19.50 | Joules Dreama Slippers: £19.95 | Barts Filipa Beanie: £34.99 | John Lewis Tartan Check Wool Scarf: £30 | John Lewis Deer Trapper Gloves: £15 | Orelia Cubic Zirconia Front Back Earrings: £18

Stocking fillers can seriously range in price, just as long as they fit in your stocking then they're considered a stocking filler! So, you can really go with whatever budget you have. Above are just a few examples, as you can see i've suggested everything from jewellery to make up, chocolates to alcohol and from stationary to accessories, it really is completely up to you.


21 November 2015

Countdown to Christmas: Festive Nail Polish

I don't know why but i just love doing my annual Christmas nail polish post. Probably, i suppose, because the festive season is honestly my favourite time of year to paint my nails. I actually think the only time this year, other than January, where i've worn something other than OPI Nail Envy is during my holiday in August. So it was quite nice to dig deep into my nail varnish collection and decide what i was going to be wearing this season. If you were wondering, i buy almost all of my varnish from Nail Polish Direct so head there if you're looking for any new additions to your collection this Christmas and, as usual, here is what i've been rocking and will continue to during Christmas.

Mavala Hearth & Barry M Mermaid | Hearth is such a lovely classic, cool-toned green. I'm really not a green nail polish wearer but this one is just really easy to wear, as it's not too bright or 'sickly'. Paired with Barry M's Mermaid really makes it special, though. These are, however, quite hard to work with as the flecks of glitter are almost shards, triangular pieces in varying sizes and it can be a little difficult to evenly spread them on the nail. Despite all that though, together they look so festive and magical. I love me some glitter nail polish at Christmas, so i'll for-go the difficult application.

OPI Berlin There, Done That & China Glaze Dancing & Prancing | I love this warm-toned, taupe colour and Berlin There, Done That is really easy to wear. I used to really hate nude coloured nail polish as i though it didn't do anything for me, but sometimes you want something pretty neutral. This one is perfect for me, though, as it's nice and warm and not too nude. Taupes are a great way to go if, like me, you don't suit nudes. However, with beautiful Dancing & Prancing over the top it's something quite special. This glitter is a multicoloured polish with a lot of pink, which works really well with the taupe, in varying sized, hexagonal shaped pieces. 

OPI The Spy Who Loved Me | This is one of my favourite shades to wear over Christmas, because it's such a true, classic, Christmas red. It's OPI so it's super easy to apply and it has a beautiful, finely milled golden glitter running through it which really makes it something special for the festive season.

OPI I Have a Herring Problem & Essie Set in Stones | I Have a Herring Problem is one that i would wear all year round, but during Winter i think it's a beautiful, icy blue colour and works really well paired with silver glitter. It actually has a fine golden glitter running though it but when paired with silver it's even prettier. Essie's Set in Stones has been a firm favourite of mine for a long time because it's simple but really effective. It's a mixed glitter with different sized pieces and in different shapes, but just in silver. It's beautiful, and goes with everything.

OPI Underneath the Mistletoe | This polish, to me, is the epitome of Winter nail polish. It's that classic berry shade, with be beautiful fine, red glitter running through it. It's not at all thick or chunky and it applies super smoothly. There's little to say about this one i just think it's the perfect Christmas colour.

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Blood Orange & Barry M Jingle Bells | A couple of years ago i wanted a classic, affordable red colour because i realised i didn't actually own one in my collection. So, i went out and bought this Barry M shade which really is a true red and i was a little hesitant as i hadn't bought Barry M in a long time as the last time i had bought them they were awful polishes, but with this one i was pleasantly surprised. It dries quickly and applies smoothly, and the colours are super pigmented and opaque. Jingle Bells is another glitter that's a little hard to work with, but it's quite unique. This one contains lots of strips and dots of gold and red glitter, and some silver stars. It's difficult to evenly spread over the nail but if you get it right, it does look really nice.

China Glaze I Choo-Choo Choose You | Now, this one is a really peculiar colour. In the bottle it looks like a purple shade with a duo chrome gold when you shine it in the light but in these images it looks like it's a green shade with a gold duo chrome - strange. I think it's a mixture of everything, which makes it a really unique colour. Either way, it's nice and dark for the Winter months but it's shimmery and has plenty of colour to it.

OPI Uh-Oh Roll Down the Window & China Glaze Snow Globe | After saying that i'm not a green nail polish wearer, here's another green! This one is more of a khaki green, which is another kind of green that i find much easier to wear. This, for me, is what i consider to be a neutral. It goes with most things and especially when paired with a glitter, it can actually look quite snazzy. Snow Globe is a much thicker glitter polish, although the actual glitter isn't at all chunky there's something about this base polish that's really textured and thick. However, it does make the glitter easier to place over the nail and i love the snowy look to it, as it's a small, white, iridescent glitter.

OPI Haven't the Foggiest | This is a classic silver shade, i mean what do you say about that? It's a classic OPI texture, and is a super shimmery, finely milled glitter. It applies smoothly, goes with everything and honestly, it's just a shade you need in your collection especially for the festive season.

Mavala St Germain | This is a slightly different shade for the Christmas season, as it's a beautiful pink colour. It's an opal backgrounded, deep pink colour from Mavala and although i know this season is mainly about the reds, this is a nice different option if you're sick of all that a red!

Mavala Black Cherry | This photo doesn't do it totally justice but i had to include it, Black Cherry is exactly like it sounds. An almost black, deep, deep cherry red colour that shines a beautiful plum tone in the light. I love these kinds of colours in the Winter, and it almost looks just like a typical cream finish but actually, if you look carefully, it does have some shimmer running through which makes it extra special.

OPI Sprung | This one is another different kind of colour, it's a glitter shade that has a mix of rusty orange and pinky glitter pieces which comes across as a copper colour. This is a different kind of festive colour but is beautiful for Christmas, none the less. 

China Glaze Meet Me Under the Stars | This one is really different for me as i never wear black polish, but this is something special. Black and silver glitter held in a sheer-ish black base, it really does look like the night sky - it's beautiful. This is a little chunkier than some of the glittery, shimmery shades but not at all in a bad way. If you haven't tried this already, i highly recommend you add this to your collection.

OPI Glitzerland | A classic, true, shimmery gold, not at all yellow toned and so easy to wear. This is another neutral for me, it really does go with everything and i love that it's packed with shimmer.

OPI In the Cable Car-Pool Lane & OPI Rose of Light | In the Car-Pool Lane is a classic, cream finish berry-red shade and it's another classic Winter colour. Although it doesn't look anything too special, there's something about this that is really lovely. Rose of light is exactly what it says on the tin, a rose toned glitter with a lot of rose-gold pieces with some iridescent square flecks, which all sounds quite simple but as you can see here, it's a glittering beauty when applied.

Barry M Chai & China Glaze Nova | Chai really just is a true, cool-toned grey. Nothing all that special, i really added this to my collection to wear with glitters or just as something but nothing colour when i wasn't sure what to wear but i wanted something neutral. However, put Nova over the top and it becomes something quite special. Nova is packed full of tiny silver and iridescent pieces of glitter but it's really beautiful when applied, as you can see here. It's easy to pack it on but you can have as much base showing as you want.

And there you have it, my 2015 festive nail polish. What are you wearing this time of year?


18 November 2015

What to Buy: The Beauty Junkie

Good Morning Folks, I thought i'd give you a little introduction; i've put together some Christmas Gift Guides, as i do every year, but this year all i've done is collage them together, with only a little write up. I've categorised them but it honestly takes enough time selecting the items and putting them together, let alone adding text too. So you'll just be getting a little inspiration this year in the form of collages, and almost everything is from John Lewis. Yes, i do work for the brand but i am not at all paid to promote them, and frankly they don't even know i have a blog - i just truly believe in the products we choose to sell and the service we provide, such as Click & Collect, Collect +, as well as the amazing partners that work in branches to help you choose the perfect Christmas gift. Doing things this way will just make things easier for me in, what is going to be, a busy festive period. Enjoy!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette: £65 | Charlotte Tilbury Nocturnal Cat Eyes to Hypnotise in The Huntress: £29 | OPI All Stars Starlight Holiday Collection Minis: £14.50 | Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette: from £46.99 | Charlotte Tilbury Limited Edition Makeup Bag: £32 | Glamglow Youthmud Tinglefolialte Treatment: £49.99 | Charlotte Tilbury The Dolce Vita Set: £165 | NARS 'Magnificent Obsession' Makeup Gift Set: £29 | Laura Mercier Little Indulgences Hand & Body Creme Collection: £20 | Bobbi Brown Sterling Nights Eye Palette: £59

There are so many lovely things on the market for a real beauty lover, this season, and these are just some highlights.

If you know what their favourite fragrance is, then that is always a lovely gift to get under the Christmas tree. Mine is Marc Jacobs' Daisy, which is what i've included here, and if you're not sure what their favourite is or you're looking to get them something new then Daisy is a lovely one to go for as it's very clean smelling and very fresh.

There's lots of lovely palettes out this Christmas, including this one from Bobbi Brown. They also have the beautiful 'Greige' palette out, there's all of the Urban Decay Naked palettes, as well as the Vice, Electric and Shadow box palettes from UD, but Guerlain, Dior, Mac and YSL are all also great brands to look at for eyeshadow palettes.

If you're looking for something really special to give, this Christmas, then Charlotte Tilbury is a brand to look at. Whatever you purchase from them, especially with the packaging, looks special but the products, themselves, really are amazing. Something else to splash out on is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette, you should definitely look into this one. To someone who's not so much a make up loving, this can look quite boring but honestly, it's really something special.

Products like nail polish, face masks and body products are always lovely, yet easy, things to buy for someone else and you can rarely go wrong. I've just given you a few examples above.


14 November 2015

#PrayforParis #Parisisaboutlife #VivelaFrance

Memories from my own trips to Paris

It really has taken me all day to process the tragic events that were carried out last night, in the beautiful city of Paris. I'm still not really sure how to put into words how vile, upsetting and haunting this situation really is. A lot of things seem untouchable, to me, not real almost, things you see in the news, events in far off lands but this seems very close to home. France have really had a difficult year, but it's people have shown these vile creatures, and the world, that they are strong. They are brave.

In times like these, peoples opinions run wild. You just have to log into Twitter to see racist, hatred remarks about not only the Paris attackers but about our own people. It is times like these we stand together. We show solidarity.

I remembered this morning, after it posted, about my weekly Satutday blog post going up. The way i store my makeup seemed trivial, and i thought about taking it down but that is what they want. They want us to stop, bow our knees and beg mercy. We need to show them that we are not afraid, even if we are because i know that if i really think about it, it makes me afraid. We need to stand together, if not for ourselves, for the people who have so sadly lost their lives not only in Paris, but all across the globe. The Paris attacks have just highlighted the brutality in this world.

I know that Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Joann Sfar asks us not to use the hashtag PrayforParis, but for many i know that it's a comfort. It shows that we are there with the Parisians, every step of the way, and that they are in our thoughts. However, the hashtag she launched, ParisIsAboutLife, is one of beauty, it lifts us and shows us the beauty and what Paris is really all about. Look it up, if you haven't already.

I'm not really sure where i was going in this post, i just let the words come but i do know that my thoughts, my heart, my prayers are with anyone effected by any terrible, senseless events. Whether you've lost ones you love or your country is under threat, know that we are with you. Tell someone you love them, and keep your loved ones close. These terrible things can happen anywhere. Live every day to its fullest.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr

#PrayforParis #ParisIsAboutLife #VivelaFrance


How I Store My Make Up

So, i thought today i'd finally share with you all my current make up storage. It's not particularly anything special, but i really enjoy reading these posts and watching these videos and thought it'd be nice to show you how i choose to house my make up collection.

These shelves actually used to be full of books, but as i've grown up they've become the home of a multitude of things. I don't really have anywhere else in my room that i could store my make up, except for in a drawer and i just think that if i keep it hidden away i won't remember to use everything. So, i decided that this would be the best home for my make up. I went down the same root as many bloggers have done, and chose to use acrylic drawer units to keep everything in. They just come in plenty of different shapes and sizes and you can see most everything in them, which is great for me as i'm very visual. My drawers are from both Homebase and from Amazon, and weren't the cheapest way to keep things, i'm sure, but i'm really happy with how everything turned out so i thought i'd share shelf by shelf and we'll go from there.

On the top shelf i keep my everyday skincare, which is: the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and the Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Gel. I use Liz Earle in the morning and Ren in the evening, with my Clarisonic which is also kept on this shelf. It's just easy, so i can grab them on the way to the bathroom before, and after, work. On top of my drawers i keep my simple cleansing wipes; i like to use these when i'm being lazy and i keep them in my work bag to take my make up off on the bus, sometimes.

In these drawers i keep back ups of my everyday, basic make up, such as: Bobbi Brown Corrector, Nuxe Rev de Miel Lipbalm, Soap & Glory Thick and Fast Mascara, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara and Clarins Concealer Stick. I usually like to keep one back up of each item, and then i don't have to worry about buying things straight away when i use my current one up. Then the rest of the drawers are nearly completely full of eye products. I keep all my eyeliners and shadow sticks in a few drawers, together. Some of my favourites are: the By Terry Ombre Blackstars, Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colours, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils and Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tints for Eyes.

I keep all of my Urban Decay Single Eyeshadows together, i have a few neutral colours including Sin & Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, some pops of colour such as Mildew & ACDC, and then some Moondust Shadows like Space Cowboy. The rest of the drawers are powder eyeshadows too, and i try to keep brands together and then i like to split them between high end and low end. In my drugstore drawer are some of the L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Mono Eyeshadows, some L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows and my favourite Seventeen Mono Eyeshadows. I have plenty of MAC Eyeshadows and a couple of pigments, and then in my high end drawer i keep my Burberry Eyeshadows, NARS and Bobbi Brown.

On the next shelf down, i have one large A4 sized acrylic drawer, opposed to the four smaller ones kept above, and in here i house larger products. On top i do have one small three drawer unit, in which i keep my anti bacterial hand gels that i bought from Bath & Bodyworks this past Summer. Next to that i keep any foundations i'm testing out and have on the go, plus any primers or concealers that perhaps i'm not using currently but want to keep and in front is a Chanel bag full of all sorts of samples. Beside all of this is my perfume collection, which i'm currently trying to work through and whittle down to only my favourites.

In the drawers of the larger unit i keep all of my eyeshadow palettes. The top houses my smaller palettes, such as duos and quads or perhaps just larger shadows. In here are all of my hand-chosen MAC Quads, I have all of my Chanel Quads, as well as the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette, a duo by NARS and by bareMinerals, a Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadow and the Soap & Glory Peach Party Blush Brick which i prefer to use on my eyes.

Below are my three naked Palettes; Naked One, Two & Three. These are something i am constantly reaching for, and i love keeping them in their own separate drawer. I'm not sure that i'm wanting the new Smoky Palette, but there's space for it if i do!

In the last drawer is just more larger palettes, in which i keep things such as my Makeup Geek Palette, the Nude Tude Palette from theBalm, a Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con Palette and the Lorac PRO Metal Palette.

The last make up shelf is where i keep all of my lipsticks, which are kept in acrylic lipstick holders. Here i try to keep all brands together, so as you can see i have my MAC lipstics at the front, there's some Chanel in there, as well as some L'Oreal, YSL and all of my Revlon Lip Butters. Plus, my Burberry Lipstick has it's own little stand as that's my most favourite and special lipstick.

In the A4 acrylic drawers here i keep all of my powders in the top, which consists of highlighters, such as theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors in Champagne Pop & Moonstone, MAC Soft & Gentle and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light. As well as some face powders like one by Physician's Formula, Rimmel Stay Matte and Make Up Forever HD Pressed Powder. Then just a few larger blushes, like the MUA one you can see there. This drawer actually wasn't full when i took this picture and it rarely as some get switched into my make up bag, some get lost in my work bag and some are just lying around somewhere.

And then the rest of the drawers are empty for any new arrivals, of course.


11 November 2015

(Why I Don't Like) Wearing Lip Liners

I feel like this was all the rage in the 90's, but over the last year i've heard more and more friends discussing using lip liners instead of lipsticks. I hear that they stay on longer, and are great if you love matte lips. I, however, don't really enjoy wearing matte lipsticks for the very same reason that i don't enjoy wearing lip liners: dryness.

I have quite dry lips, and the skin is really prone to cracking and peeling - gross, i know. So, the matte formula isn't really my cup of tea however, i do love a long-lasting lip product. One of my good friends introduced me to wearing lip liners, probably, six or so months ago now and it set me on a bit of a lip liner craze. I bought a load of different brands and colours, but she specifically recommended the Kiko brand ones to me. I bought a few of those and actually they're not the worst for drying out your lips but they're no where near hydrating either. The one i'm applying, and wearing, above is the Maxfactor Colour Elixir Lip Liner in Mauve Moment and this one is terrible after a couple of minutes. It settles into all the cracks and grooves on my lips, and makes them look shrivelled and dry. Perhaps it's better being worn with a gloss, but i'm not one for glosses either. I have tried wearing liners under and over lip balm, but to no avail.

I'm just not sure than liners are for me but i do see where they come in handy, when you're wearing a heavy lip - to help with bleeding and keeping your colour in place. However, if you have any suggestions for liners that might be more up my street then please do let me know!


7 November 2015

My Clarins Skin Consultation: Autumn 2015

As you may, or may not, know i really love me some skincare. However, that has actually only been true for the last year, or so. Ever since i really got into beauty, and finally had the income which made it all so much more accessible to me. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of amazing affordable skincare brands - trust me, i know. I spent most of my university life using them, but now i'm fortunate enough to be able to try so much more.

Up until two Summers ago, i had never really thought to look at Clarins. I thought of it as a more mature brand, and perhaps something that wouldn't really cater to me. Well, while i was in London with a friend, i was wandering the John Lewis Oxford Street beauty hall looking for a new foundation when i found myself looking in Clarins. I was helped by a lovely sale assistant who sat me down, colour matched me and talked through with me; what i was looking for, what skin type i had and what i was already using. I walked away with a new foundation in tow plus a concealer to boot. I've only really been back to Clarins a few times since then; a couple of times to repurchase my concealer and once to look for a new cleanser.

I like to think that i'm pretty good with my skincare, and although i don't particularly have a 'regime', i know what to use dependant on how my skin is feeling. I'm thinking about doing a post on my skincare 'shelf' to show you what i switch between. Anyway, if you read, the Queen of skincare, Caroline Hirons' blog, or follow her on Instagram, you'll know what i mean as i know she switches up her skincare on the daily too. Anyway, i digress.

Now that the weather is changing, and as i get older, my skin is less and less predictable. I decided that i wanted to try something new in my skincare routine, so on my most recent trip to London i popped back into the mothership, otherwise known as John Lewis Oxford Street - you'd think i'd had enough after spending all week in my own branch, but there you have it - to have a look around and see what i fancied. Low and behold, i found myself back in Clarins. It was still fairly early on in the morning at this point, probably 11:30am or so, and there was plenty of staff waiting to serve. Usually i hate having help unless i ask for it, but a lovely assistant approached me while i was looking at the swathes of products and asked if i needed any help. All i said was that my skin was fairly oily and i just wanted to try something new, now that the weather is changing. She asked whether i had time for a five minute consultation, i agreed, and she took me to a little table and chairs, asking me to take a seat.

Well, it wasn't at all what i was expecting but i was more than pleasantly surprised. She walked away, coming back holding a small, red, round spray bottle. She asked me to close my eyes, and spritzed whatever it was lightly onto my skin, around my face, and proceeded to give me a shoulder and upper arm massage. It actually took me a little by surprise, but was actually a nice touch. She then sat beside me, cleansed her hands and asked me to explain to her my morning skincare routine. Again, she too me a little by surprise and proceeded to run her hands over my face, gently pulled my head from side to side and inspected down my neck too. It surprised me so much that i couldn't even think about what i did during my morning routine, and took me a second to get my brain to work, so i must have sounded like a bit of a wally. Anyhow, after this she told me the results of her checks which, without be even mentioning anything, were spookily spot on. She explained that; i had combination skin, an oily T-zone and normal cheeks, however i was dehydrated overall, i had an uneven skin texture, an almost clear forehead but acne-prone cheeks and chin, and slightly open pores. Everything was completely spot on and all i had said to her up to this point was that my skin was oily, not once did i mention being combination or acne-prone, dehydrated or had uneven skin.

So she suggested that i try an exfoliating cleanser, explained how it would work and then said she would pop off to get a few more products that she thought would be good for my skin. She came back with three products, and explained that she wanted to give me a basic regime to try and something that i could interchange with the skincare i was already using at home, as i had told her that i used whatever my skin needed that day.

The first product she brought was the One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, that she had previously suggest i should try. She explained that this would help clean slightly deeper into the skin and pores than a usual cleanser, and that it would be great for gradually helping my uneven skin texture. She told me she wanted me to use this in the morning and could be used daily on it's own or could be used after my Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. Now, this smells lovely which comes from the orange extract, which makes it really zingy and great for the morning.

Next, she suggested the Pore Minimizing Serum which not only will be great for smoothing the uneven texture, but it's also good for oil control and for, obviously, minimising pores. It's a lightweight serum that also helps to slightly tighten the skin and is supposed to keep you shine-free all day. She suggested i use this daily under my makeup, and before the next product she picked for me.

Last, but not least, she chose the HydraQuench Lotion for Normal to Combination Skin. She suggested i use this after the serum and before i apply my make up to help with my dehydration and to help my make up apply smoothly. What i thought was really interesting was that this is also supposed to help with banishing shine, all while keeping skin moisturised. It feels really light and not at all heavy and it contains SPF15 which is also a huge plus, for me.

She explained that i needed to apply the serum and lotion by pressing them into the skin, and suggested i use a wave motion with my hands. She demonstrated the products on my hand, while talking me through everything and i was honestly super impressed from start to finish. She had no idea that i was going in there ready to spend a bit of money on skincare, and i really liked that she kept her suggestions to only three products, which for some may seem a lot, but for me she covered everything and kept it simple. I was more than happy to come away with all three and she also gave me a skincare plan where she wrote out how i should use the products, incase i forgot when i got home.

She also told me about the new BeautyBar that opened in May, which i had no idea about, that boasts a range of 30-minute treatments. The BeautyBar is the only one of it's kind in the world, so far, and can only be found in John Lewis Oxford Street. All of the treatments are only £25 for 30 minutes and she suggested for me the SOS Facial, in which the specialists target what your problems are and basically give you a skin analysis. In just 30 minutes they give you a skin overhaul to return your skin to being happy and healthy. It sounded amazing, and the bar looks great so i'd really like to come back to give that a go.

I wasn't paid at all to share this experience with you, and although i do work for John Lewis, i have no affiliation with Clarins. I just happened to have an amazing experience and i wanted to let you all know that if you're looking for some help with your skincare routine, i highly recommend going to Oxford St, if you can, but your local Clarins, if not, to get some sound advice about your next skincare steps.


4 November 2015

My Current Haircare Routine

I haven't always been all that bothered about my hair. It used to just be shower, shampoo and only sometimes conditioner for me. However, over the last couple of years i've given much more thought into my haircare routine and this is what i'm currently using.

I love Aussie products, and over the years i have used all sorts of their products. Currently, i'm loving the Colour Mate Shampoo and the Miracle Hair Insurance. I actually much prefer the Colour Mate version of the Hair Insurance, but they're quite hard to track down so i do use the original when i can't get my hands on it. The Colour Mate range keeps my hair clean and shiny, plus it really takes care of my shade of blonde. You don't need very much of the shampoo, as it lathers a lot and i like to wash my hair twice, to keep it thoroughly cleaned as i tend to get oily roots. I also really love the leave-in conditioner, as it's not at all heavy and you can spray as much into your hair without it being weighed down. It's amazing at detangling my fine, knotty hair and keeping the lengths to ends conditioned, hydrated and super soft.

I always keep the Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes Shampoo in my shower, however i don't need to use it quite as much as i used to. When i had a full head of bleach, this was the best thing to keep it toned, shiny and not at all brassy. Now, it just keeps the tone fairly neutral, and not too yellow and it also makes your hair super shiny and soft, which is always a plus. The other Lee Stafford product i use is the Growth Treatment, otherwise known as 'For Hair that Never Grows past a certain Length'. People totally rave about this product, and it took a long time for me to test it out as it's fairly expensive to purchase but is also often on offer. However, that is my hair down to a tee; i have forever felt like my hair gets to just past my shoulders and just stops. You massage this in from your roots to your ends, leave it for five minutes and then rinse out. You're supposed to use it far more often then i do, but i don't always have the time apply it and leave it. However, from the few times that i have used it, i can say that i've noticed a small difference and frankly any difference is great in my eyes. Maybe if i used it more often, i would see even more of a change.

Mark Hill is another brand that i really enjoy using, and again i use two products. First is the Heat Protection spray, and i seriously love everything about this. For starters you can use this on dry or wet hair, and you would be surprised at how difficult it is to find heat protection you can use on dry hair. I tend to always shower in the evening, but straighten my hair in the morning so i need a protection i can use on my dry, morning hair. Secondly, it doesn't matter how liberally you spray this on, you cannot spray too much on. It doesn't make your hair even the slightest bit greasy and really does protect against any heat you want to use, for me it's mainly straighteners. The Magic Drops are a serum i use on my dry, post-styled hair to keep the fly-aways at bay and the ends of my hair frizz-free. Again, this doesn't at all make my hair greasy and it really does help with conditioning my hair, and keeping my styles sleek.

My favourite conditioning product is the L'Oreal Ever Riche Mask Pot. I use this maybe once a week, or as and when i need it. If i know i'm going to wear my hair down, or for a special occasion the next day then i apply this in the shower the night before. It's so, so hydrating and makes all split ends or ratty ends disappear. I can't use this too far up my lengths, as my oily hair doesn't like it but the ends can't get enough. I leave it in for five minutes and afterwards all knots are gone, as is my dry, damaged, processed hair.

Last is the Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum, and that name is what drew me in in the first place. This is amazing at actually repairing my split ends, as i use this on wet hair, after my spray conditioner. All i can say is that my hairdresser noticed a visible difference in the condition of my ends between haircuts and that is unheard of.

And that, my friends, is my haircare routine. Please feel free to share with me your favourite hair products, for styling or for care.

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