Thursday 31 May 2012

Why I Love Beauty Blogging!

Now before I start, I have to admit this may be a bit of a 'gushing' post, but I've been blogging for just over six months now, and there has been so much I have learnt and enjoyed since I began.  Here are five reasons why I love beauty blogging and the beauty blogging community.

1) It gives me an opportunity to obsess about new products and discuss them in minute detail with others.   Many of my friends are rather ambivalent about makeup and beauty products, using the same tried and tested products day in, day out.  For me, variety is the spice of life!

2) It gives me a creative outlet.  I've always enjoyed writing and I find it stress-relieving at the end of a busy day to compose a blog post, especially when it is something that I feel passionately or strongly about.

3) I've discovered some amazing niche brands.  Brands I would never have known about have now achieved holy grail status and have become daily staples, all thanks to reading other blogs.

4) I'm much more aware of the chemicals I am putting on my skin.  I've been making a concerted effort to use organic and SLS free products and whilst I can't say that all my products are natural, I have found that with certain products, especially skincare, there have been significant improvements to my skin.

5) I've made some great friends through my blog.   People, I may never otherwise have communicated with are those whom I interact with daily, whether it be through other blogs or on Twitter.

What do you love about beauty blogging or the beauty blogging community in general?

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Shellac Two Weeks On

Two weeks ago, I had my first Shellac manicure (review here).  So how has it fared?  Well I have been pretty impressed with it as there has been no chipping or lifting at all and it still looks just as glossy and bright as when I first had it done.  There is obviously some noticeable regrown at the bottom of the nails and there is a little tip wear, but this can barely be seen unless you take a close look.

So would I have it done again and how does it compare to the Nails Inc Three Week Manicure I tried previously (reviewed here)? Well it is substantially cheaper than the Nails Inc manicure for a start, and it is more widely available.  I did find though that the Nails Inc manicure seemed to be a little more hard wearing and I preferred the wider variety of shades. I found the Shellac shades a little limited with mostly pink and red polishes, although this may be due to the small selection in my salon.

I tend to only have professional manicures for special events or holidays so I think I would probably end up paying the extra with Nails Inc for the wider range of shades and longer wear time.  The complimentary Champagne also helps swing it for me!  However, there are always deals for Shellac with Groupon and other group purchasing sites so it is a much more affordable way to have sophisticated, perfect-looking nails with minimal upkeepon a regular basis.

Have you tried Shellac or Nails Inc's semi-permanent manicures?
Do you prefer these manicures over traditional polish manicures that are not set with  a UV light?

Tuesday 29 May 2012

May Hits and Misses

Gosh May whizzed by, I've no idea where it went!  Its time for my hits and misses of the month.

Benefit Hoola Bronzer - review here 

A fab matte bronzer, especially useful for contouring.  A little goes a long, long way though so be careful otherwise you can look a little 'muddy'!

Maybelline Color Eye Tattoo in Taupe - review here

This has amazing lasting power and performs just as well as cream shadows that are 3 or 4 times the price. I highly recommend you check out the range if you have not already.

Rimmel Volume Flash Max Bold Curves Mascara

I found this unopened in my mascara stash when I couldn't find my usual mascara and I have actually been pleasantly surprised by it.  Its not amazing, but it performs better than my current Bobbi Brown mascara that I have been sorely disappointed by. A review of both the Rimmel and Bobbi Brown will be coming up shortly.

Model's Own Tropical Sun - review here

Such a gorgeous shade that glimmers and sparkles in the sunlight.  I'm currently wearing it on my toes and it goes really well with my gladiator sandals!

The Body Shop Sweet Lemon Body Butter - review here

This scent just screams Summer to me and I find it so clean and refreshing.  It is also very soothing on my parched skin and absorbs almost instantly.  I love all the Body Butters I've tried but this is currently my favourite!

There have been no real misses this month, although I have been rather disappointed with the Davines Nou Nou Illuminating Shampoo - review here.  

Its not particularly bad and it does cleanse my hair but I think I just expected more of it, and really, it is no different from a basic £2 shampoo you would purchase in Boots.

What are your favourites this month?
is there anything you have been disappointed by?

Monday 28 May 2012

The Body Shop Strawberry and Lemon Body Butters

I hope you have been enjoying the warm weather that has finally arrived in the UK and have been remembering to wear your SPF - I spotted a lot of people looking rather lobster-like in the park this weekend, who were probably  feeling rather sore this morning.....

In the Summer, I am fastidious about applying my sun protection and never go anywhere when it is remotely warm without first slathering myself in lotion.  Having spent a large amount of time outdoors over the past week, I have also been ensuring my skin remains well-moisturised after being exposed to the sun, which is where my favourite Body Butters come into play.

The Body Shop has a large range of Body Butters, the majority of which smell AMAZING!  Today, I am going to do a quick review of the two I have been using recently - Strawberry and Lemon.

The Strawberry is aimed at normal / dry skin but I would say that all Body Butters are suitable for all skin types.  The scent of the Strawberry Body Butter reminds me of strawberry milkshakes and it honestly smells so good I just want to eat it!  I find the scent tends to stick around for about an hour, but becomes more subtle when you have rubbed it in, so there is no need to worry about going about your day smelling like a giant strawberry!

The Lemon Body Butter is my favourite of the ones I have tried from The Body Shop so far, but I adore all of the lemon scented products from the Body Shop.  The scent is so refreshing and 'clean', and really makes me feel that Summer has arrived.  If you like fresh, simple scents for your perfumes, you would probably like this. 

One thing I will mention is that a little goes a long way and the consistency of these Body Butters is divine - they just seem to melt in your hands and are absorbed into the skin super-quick.  There is no waiting around for ages for them to soak into your skin before dressing.

If you are looking for a body moisturiser that absorbs quickly into your skin, delivers real results and comes in a variety of fragrances and scents, The Body Shop Body Butters should be one of your first ports of call.  If neither of these scents here appeal, take a trip to one of The Body Shop stores and have a sniff through their range, as there is bound to be one that entices you.

Price - from £5
Where to Buy - The Body Shop

Have you tried any of The Body Shop Body Butters?
Which is your favourite?

Saturday 26 May 2012

Maybelline Color Eye Tattoo in Taupe

I'm jumping on the band-waggon rather late with the Maybelline Color Tattoos, but with the warm weather finally making an appearance, I've been looking to simpler make up and the Maybelline Eye Tattoos are certainly simple, even for impatient people like me!

Direct sunlight
First of all, I have to mention the packaging, a weighty glass pot, which gives the illusion of the product being far more luxurious and expensive than it really is.  One thing I will mention is that, similar to other cream eyeshadows, you will need to ensure you screw the lid on tightly when not in use as I would imagine it may dry out quickly if left without its lid.

Indirect sunlight
The colour is a almost a cement grey with a touch of brown to warm it up, and it is a shade I would describe as a true matte taupe.  From the limited release of Eye Tattoos we received here in the UK, I think this may be the only matte shade, as all of the others seem to be shimmers.  I wouldn't usually be drawn to matte shades but this looked like an interesting, wearable everyday shade and I didn't have a similar one in my collection.  

Direct Sunlight
When swatched, it applies easily and evenly, giving an opaque matte finish.  The shadow dries fast, so you will need to apply and blend quickly.  I have been applying this with my Mac 239 brush and blending it out to soften it at the edges a little with a fluffy brush.  

Indirect Sunlight
I found this eyeshadow easily buildable and whilst I haven't worn it for 24 hours (who on earth would?!), I did find that it lasted easily throughout a whole working day when used in conjunction with a primer.  On my oily lids, I found that without a primer, I still managed around five hours before it started to show signs of creasing.

For a budget cream shadow, this is certainly one of the best I have tried and is easily comparable with Bobbi Brown's cream shadows, but less than a third of the price!  The matte shade is very versatile and work-friendly and gives a fantastic polished look that I have been teaming with both light pink glosses and vibrant red lips.  I can see myself turning to this shadow throughout most of the Summer and into Autumn, and I suspect it would suit most skintones, due to its buildability and easy-to-wear neutral tones.  

Price - £4.99
Where to Buy - Boots, Superdrug

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Cosmetic Cravings is Away!

Just to let you know I haven't forgotten you but I will be taking some time off from the blog for a couple of days for my birthday!  Normal blogging will resume on Friday.  Until then, I'm out to enjoy the sun!


Tuesday 22 May 2012

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of my giveaway to win all of the above items has been chosen via and it is.....  Scarlett of Scarlett Hearts!

Congratulations! An email is on its way to you!

Thank you to everyone who entered and I'm hoping to have another giveaway soon.


Monday 21 May 2012

Review - Pixi Glow Disney Tinkerbell Fairy Face Palette

I recently won a giveaway from the lovely Kat at Click and Make-Up and Angel Armogida  - see her Youtube channel here.

The Pixi Glow Disney Tinkerbell Fairy Face Palette is a complete palette comprising of 5 baked eye shadows, 5 lip creams, a highlighter / blush and a double ended eyeshadow brush, lip brush and blusher brush.  In short, it is everything you need for a neutral, shimmering, pretty look.

I have to warn you that this post will be very picture heavy, but I wanted you to see full swatches of each of the products in the palette.

The first thing I have to point out is that it is very difficult to open and I've already broken one nail and made a slight dent in the blusher when trying to open the palette!  I suppose it is good in that it is very secure and will not ping open in your bag, but it can be a little annoying when you are trying to apply your makeup in a  rush first thing in the morning!

Firstly I will show you the blush which is on the bottom layer of the palette. It is made up of three shades; a light shimmering pink; a shimmering mauve; and a smaller section with a shimmering plum.  
From L to R: Swirled together, top shade, bottom shade, middle shade
 Each of the shades could be used individually but I have been swirling them together for a subtle shimmering look which gives a gorgeous glow.  I feel this would show better on fair skins as it is quite subtle and I can imagine it may make large pores  more noticeable.  The brush included works well, especially as I am often sceptical of brushes that come bundled with palettes, but it is very similar to Benefit's boxed blusher brushes.

The five baked eye shadows are again all very shimmery.  They are a light,pale, champagne, perfect for highlighting the inner corner; a light, iridescent peach; a shimmering light pink; a darker bronzed brown; and a shimmering chocolate.  

I found all of the shades to have substantial fallout if used without a primer, however with a  primer, lasting time was much better and they seemed to adhere well to the lid. I had about 5-6 hours wear before any creasing was apparent.  Pigmentation was even and consistent throughout all the shadows and there wasn't one which I thought didn't perform well.  The chocolate l shade had the least shimmer of the five, but if you are shimmer adverse, these are probably not the colours for you!  The brush that accompanies the set is a sponge applicator which I chose not to use, favouring my Mac 239 for packing the colour on and blending with a fluffy brush.

Finally, the lip creams which are, in my opinion the most under-performing products in the palette.  Included is a light cool-toned pink; a rosy pink; a pale nude; a rose / brown; and a darker, reddish brown.

Pigmentation of the five shades varied, with the nude in particular being almost invisible on my pigmented lips.  I was also not overly fond of the feel of the lip creams as they applied unevenly and felt a little dry on my lips, clinging to any dry patches.  I did try applying a lip balm first but they still had an uneven application, and I found it very difficult to achieve an even colour.  

For a pretty, subtle shimmering look, the Pixi Disney Tinkerbell Face Palette contains all the necessary components to transform you into a grown-up fairy princess!  The standout items for me were the eye shadows, with the blush / illuminator also being very useful.  I was disappointed with the lip creams as I felt their consistency left a lot to be desired and they applied unevenly and highlighted any dry areas of the lips.  However, if you are after a super cute palette, and love shimmers, this is a great purchase and the shades are all neutrals that are easily incorporated into pretty, daytime-appropriate looks. 

3.5/5 (would have been 4 but the consistency of the lip products brought it down).

Price - £32
Where to Buy - Pixi Beauty

Sunday 20 May 2012

Shellac Manicure in Purple Purple

A wee while ago, I won a giveaway on the lovely Annabella's blog Skin Scrubs for a £50 Wahanda voucher!  As I've been really busy recently, I hadn't had a chance to choose anything but with my birthday fast approaching (30, eeek!), and several nights out and activities planned for the week, I thought it was a good chance to have a Shellac manicure so I wouldn't have to worry about chipping my polish.

I've previously tried Nail's Inc's 3 week manicure (review here), but have never tried Shellac before, despite it probably being the most popular of the permanent manicures.  I went for the shade Purple Purple, which is a gorgeous blue / purple colour with an almost pearlescent sheen to it.  

The photos were taken in direct sunlight and seem to look more blue than purple, but I can assure you there is certainly a large amount of purple present.  These photos were actually taken four days after the manicure and it still looks perfect so I am confident my manicure will withstand my week of partying! 

Have you tried Shellac before? 


Friday 18 May 2012

Dr Hauschka Lipstick in 15 Violet Marble

One of the aspects of blogging I really enjoy is discovering new brands or items from established brands that I had no idea existed.  Dr Hauschka's make-up line is one of these discoveries, as prior to being sent this lipstick, I always considered them to be a skincare brand and had no idea they had branched out into luxury, natural makeup.  

Dr Hauschka's make-up line is chemical-free, using natural mineral pigments and petal waxes to work with your skin.  The range covers the whole spectrum of products, from foundation and blush, to mascara and lipstick, and it is one of the lippies that I am going to review today.

Violet Marble is part of the limited edition Inner Glow Spring range.  There are five lipsticks in the range, all of which are designed to compliment skintones and bring out your natural, vibrant beauty.  First impressions are that the packaging is sleek, gold and very luxurious.  It feels sufficiently weighty to feel that you are using a quality product.    

The colour in the tube is a definite violet shade but with a hint of pink to it.  It does have a slight scent of roses, a little similar to Chanel lippies, but this disparates within five minutes of applying.

Violet Marble glided on very smoothly, providing a rich, opaque colour on my lips.  Despite being full coverage, the lipstick did not feel heavy, indeed quite the opposite as I almost forgot I was wearing it (well until I saw the lipstick marks on my coffee cup!).

On my pigmented lips, I found the colour to be more of a pinky / mauve, but I think that is one of the advantages of these lipsticks in that they adapt to your lips and, depending on your the pigmentation of your lips, may show up slightly different.  Wear time was around 3-4 hours and I found it very comfortable to wear and not at all drying.

If you are enjoy using natural makeup, which enhances your features and compliments your skintone, Dr Hauschka's cosmetics range has a lot to offer.  Although not a ground-breaking shade, this is a very easy to wear, neutral colour which gives a polished appearance and I actually felt rather grown up when wearing it!  I would also recommend the range for those who have tried some of the Dr Hauschka skincare products and enjoyed using them, as they adhere to the same ethos and high quality standard.  The only negative is the higher price point but in terms of quality, I would easily put this in the same category as Chanel and Dior.

Price - £21.95
Where to BuyDr Hauschka

Remember to enter my giveaway to win Maybelline Eye Tattoo, Model's Own Polish and others!  It closes 10pm Sunday.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Managing Keratosis Pilaris

Today, I am blogging about Keratosis Pilaris (or KP) - a condition that affects many people to different degrees.

For those of you who are unaware, Keratosis Pilaris usually manifests itself as a rash or series of small red bumps on the surface of the skin, often on the arms and thighs, although it can appear elsewhere on the body too.  Along with the rash, another symptom is multiple hairs growing from a  single follicle, which can mean that those who suffer with it often have excess body hair.
Typical appearance of KP (not mine!)

For years, I was unaware of what the red rashes on my upper arms and thighs were.  All I knew was that I was extremely self-conscious of them as they were very unsightly, and I used to do anything to avoid wearing sleeveless tops, always covering up with a scarf or cardie.  

Finally, a couple of years ago, I decided enough was enough and decided to do some reading online to see if anyone else had my mysterious skin complaint.  I felt as though I was the only person putting up with it, and upon seeing my doctor, he was extremely unhelpful and told me it would disappear and clear up over time.

KP is essentially caused by the build up of keratin on the surface of the skin, which causes the raised, bumpy appearance.  To combat this, I have been using a couple of simple but effective products in my daily routine:

1) I exfoliate my upper arms daily with a course-grained scrub. 
The problem with many scrubs are that they are not scrubby enough and you do need something that is quite abrasive to smooth the skin effectively.  I find the scrub I use in the areas with KP would probably be too harsh for other areas of my body, but on the areas with KP, it works well.  

Recently, I have been very impressed with The Body Shop's Chocomania scrub.  If you can get past the sweet, chocolately scent first thing in a morning, it is both moisturising and exfoliating , and I have certainly seen an improvement in my skin tone over the period I have been using it.  Other scrubs I have enjoyed using and have found effective at combatting my KP have been Korres Watermelon scrub and the Elemis Lime and Ginger Scrub, although this one is rather on the pricey side, but it does feel very luxurious.

2) Following my daily exfoliation of the affected areas, I always moisturise, usually using a lotion rather than a body butter as it is lighter and less likely to clog pores.  You may prefer unscented lotions if you have sensitive skin . I have been using the Vaseline Intensive Care lotion recently and have been pleased with its performance, but any regular body lotion will do.

3) I don't tend make a conscious effort to tan, but during the Summer I do find that the appearance of my KP  diminishes somewhat when my skin is a little darker.  

The sun seems to clear it up a little, and the darker skintone helps to disguise it.  Of course, you can always pick up a fake tanning product and this will camouflage the rashes somewhat.

I hope this post has been of some help to those of you who suffer with KP and has given you some ideas for how to treat it.  

Do you use any products which  help treat your KP?

Wednesday 16 May 2012

KMS Quick Blow Dry Spray

I'm a nightmare in the mornings - grumpy, cross and generally always in a rush to get ready, to the point where I often wait until I get to work to do my make-up!  One thing I always have to make time to do though is wash and blow dry my hair, as unless I wash it daily, it ends up feeling dull and lank.  On a side note, I can never understand those people who leave the house and get on public transport with soaking wet hair.  I can't be good for you and really, can't they just get up 15 minutes earlier?!  I digress, rant over!

When I received the KMS Quick Blow Dry Spray as part of my Carmine box , I was initially very sceptical about its claims to reduce blow dry time by up to 50% and still maintain healthy, manageable hair.  However, I am pleased to have been proved wrong!

I have been using this after having applied my other haircare products, such as heat protectant or mousse, and a few sprays is all that is required.  I then tip my head upside down as normal and blow dry.  My hair usually takes just over ten minutes to blow dry, but I've found that with this spray, I can easily shave a couple of minutes off the time, leaving me more time to snooze in my bed!  I've also found it lightly conditions my hair, leaving it easy to manage, and it is noticeably silkier and smoother.  

I get bored so easily with routine tasks such as drying my hair, and any product that makes my life easier and lets me move onto the more fun stuff is always a winner with me!  The KMS Quick Blow Dry Spray reduces drying time, leaves your hair feeling softer and smoother and is a real multi-tasker.  This is a great buy for those of you with busy lifestyles and I will certainly be purchasing a full sized bottle soon.

Price - £10.95

Tuesday 15 May 2012

April's Hits and Misses

I know I am ever so late with these, but I actually did write this post a couple of weeks ago - its just been hiding in my drafts!  This month, I've fallen in love with a few new products and rediscovered a couple of old favourites.

KMS Quick Blow Dry Spray
I discovered this through the now defunct Carmine box and its become a staple of my blow dry routine.  I'm not going to say too much about it as there will be a review coming up this week, but suffice to say, I have been very impressed.

Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey Cologne
This is so fresh and summery and feels very light, making it the perfect daytime perfume for warmer days.  It is sweet but not cloyingly so and lasts throughout most of the day for me.  I've been wearing it constantly and have had quite a few compliments on it!

Nars Orgasm Blush
This is much-loved as you can probably see!  Before I was properly into makeup, this was the only blush I owned and I wore it every day.  I've had this one for about three years and, although I now have lots of other blushes in my collection, this is always the one that I reach for if I am unsure about which blush to wear with a look.  It really does go with anything!

Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Fruitti
I'm jumping on the Lip Butter bandwagon here but it is totally justified with this colour!  I reviewed it here, along with Lollipop and Creme Brule and although I adore all three shades I own, this tangerine is so flattering and just screams Summer.  

Dr Hauschka Facial Toner
I reviewed this last week here as part of the Dr Hauschka Cleansing Ritual and for me, this was the stand out product.  Refreshing and cooling, helping to close my pores after I've cleansed, I have been really enjoying using this toner on a  daily basis.  I never really understood the need for a toner before, and whilst I wouldn't say it is an essential part of your beauty routine, it is a nice addition and it has certainly left me skin feeling a lot softer as of late.

And now, over to this month's misses...

China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy - review here
'Chiptastic' is probably the best way to describe this polish!  It took several coats, applied streaky and the formula was very difficult to control, and after the time and concentration I took to apply it, it chipped the following day!  Love the colour but it is very high maintenance!

Alpha-H Handcream - review here

I think I may have been expecting miracles with this handcream for the price I paid (£22!) but I was disappointed to find it couldn't compete with my trusty L'Occitaine hand creams.  You don't always get what you pay for!

What have you been loving recently?  Have you tried any of these products?