Going bare

I have a confession. I haven’t shaved my legs in two months. WHAT ! I hear you all cry, is she mad?! Nope, in the peak of the leg-baring season I have stopped shaving my legs. But I haven’t thrown all conventions out of the window, I just found a new method.

At the county show in June I picked up a nifty new product from the Health & Beauty section. It’s called Sheerskin, and basically it’s a micro-exfoliation pad. You get two in a box, a large (for legs, large areas) and a small (ideal for those moustaches we all pretend we don’t get…) with replacement pads.

The girl on the stand did a quick demo on my (two-day old stubble) leg and I was seriously impressed. Granted she clearly had a fresh exfoliating pad, in which case the exfoliation takes seconds to get to smooth. I’ve found as the pad wears, it can take a bit more elbow grease to achieve the same effect, and that the pads last 2-3 weeks with regular use.

The one thing I’ve found doesn’t work is underarms. Maybe I can’t get the right angle of contact or perhaps my underarms are too sensitive, but I just couldn’t get it right so I’m still shaving there. I’ve seen a great improvement on my legs though, which used to get very dry after shaving and I always had little cuts, now I think they look much better. And the hair which does grow through is becoming finer and is less visible, so if I skip an extra day you can’t really tell visually.

Recent beauty buys

It’s been nearly two months since I last posted! Whoops… I’ve been sticking with the gel nails since then, experimenting and refining technique. I’m convinced it’s the way to go, but I do think the quality of the polish you use has a massive impact.

Anyway I’ve been up to all sorts lately in the beauty, craft and vintage departments so I’d better start catching up.

Firstly, a round-up of some of my latest beauty buys. A few weeks ago we convened in Birmingham for Sophie’s birthday and before we all dispersed again a few of us went shopping, including a trip to Selfridges beauty department. I blame Sophie entirely for the fact that I blew £70! But hopefully on things which have made a difference.

Skin

As the summer heat hits I’ve been loving the weather, not so much what it does to my skin. I’d really been suffering from shine and my UrbanVeda products just didn’t seem to be up to the job any more. So when I saw this Dermalogica rescue kit for normal/oily skin I jumped on it.

I’ve used Dermalogica products before and in fact have the full size mask of one of the sample products included in this. For full size products, this kit contain a foam wash (I use in the morning), toner (in the morning after wash and before moisturiser), and polishing scrub (I use in the evening) and a matte moisturiser (I use in the evening after scrub). There’s also some eye cream I haven’t used yet. So far this routine seems to be keeping the skin under control, along with the following…

Kiko Mat Fluid is a moisturiser and matifying solution in one – to me this seemed to be a contradiction in terms but it was what I needed, so I gave it a shot (thanks Kiko for opening a new store on Oxford Circus!), and it seems to work. I certainly get less shine over the course of the day than if I use regular moisturiser.

Makeup

Now I’ve never been one for spending much on makeup and here again I blame Sophie’s influence for spending more! But then again, I had two problems I needed to fix and the theory that cost and quality are aligned has hopefully paid off. In both cases, Bobbi Brown had the products that appealed the most.

They had a great range of BB cream shades, and I liked the way that it disappeared and blended quickly. Plus it’s SPF 35 which should hopefully stop my poor nose from burning at the slightest bit of sun! I don’t normally burn but I think I’ve caught my nose too many times, and now it’s sensitized.

Then, since I’ve had glasses I have had a nightmare with mascara smudging on the lenses. So Bobbi Brown’s ‘No Smudge’ mascara seemed to be just the ticket, and sure enough I can vouch that it doesn’t smudge at all! It has a great brush, goes on nicely without clumping, and doesn’t smudge even though it doesn’t dry hard like some mascara.

So that’s that for now, more crafting and fashion coming up soon…

 

Paris Beauty Haul

So I popped over to Paris on the Eurostar the other week for a long weekend – as you do!

Overall I was quite restrained with the shopping but I did pick up some things from my favourite European beauty store, Sephora. I am still gutted that they have no stores in the UK, I’m sure they would be really popular. They stock a lot of the same brands as the high street department stores in terms of makeup, perfume and skincare ranges, but they also have their own range which is really good quality and good value.

First up, Mavala Cuticle cream.

Mavala cuticle creamYou can get Mavala online and from select department stores (I’ve found it in the larger House of Fraser sometimes, and in Selfridges) but generally it’s hard to track down in the UK. I have used a number of their products in the past including nail strengtheners, but this time it was the cuticle cream I nabbed.

It’s quite a gel-like cream, and doesn’t smell all that marvellous – a little bit medicinal. But it soaks in nicely and doesn’t leave too much residue, and seems to be doing the job for me so far.

My cuticles were getting quite dry and were prone to peeling, and this seems to be happening less now I’ve been using this cream.

€9.50 [£7.80] / 15ml

Sephora nail polish

Now I’m not one to pass up a good nail polish, and Sephora had three for two on their cute little ‘Colour Hit’ bottles, and a great range of colours. In the end I went for ‘Have u Ever‘ (matte pink), ‘Be a Millionaire‘ (matte teal) and ‘Flash Me!‘ (acid gold). The pink nail polish was the first I tried and I loved the colour and cover, but was disappointed in the wear, as it needed retouching after just 24 hours. However, Flash Me! seemed to have much more durability and lasted several days without any noticeable chipping or fading. I haven’t tried Be a Millionaire yet, that’s next!

image image_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

image_2

€4.95 [£4.06] / 5ml bottle – 3 for 2 offer

Finally, Sephora Blemish-fighting roll-on gel

image_4I’ve been prone to a few breakouts recently so decided to pick up this handy looking product. It’s got a metal rollerball applicator and is actually more of a liquid than a gel.

It feels cool and fresh when you apply it over the blemish area and it seems to be working. I applied it over the area where I’d recently had a spot and it noticeably reduced the redness.Even better, I applied it when I felt a spot coming up on my cheek and it cleared that up before it got a chance to break. This product definitely gets my thumbs up!

€9.95 [£8.17] / 10ml

 

Product Review: UrbanVeda

A few months ago I got a Glossybox with some samples of UrbanVeda products. I usually have real trouble with facial products because I have blemish-prone skin which veers between oily and dry. In the past I have tended to use Garnier face scrubs and Simple oil balancing face wipes, and have never used moisturiser because usually that instantly oils up my skin. I’d also have to change products every month or because they would seem to stop being effective.

However I was really impressed with the UrbanVeda products, and took advantage of the discount code to buy the full size products. Months down the line, I’m still impressed, they still work and I think I may have found my lifelong products.

UrbanVeda Purifying Exfoliating Facial Polish, £8.99 for 125ml

20140119-170533.jpg

They say:

Naturally formulated for a deep cleanse, our revitalising scrub contains natural Pumice to exfoliate, cold-pressed Neem oil and refreshing essential oils to remove impurities and treat blackheads. Antioxidant-rich botanicals work in synergy with naturally astringent herbals and collagen-boosting extracts to reduce excess sebum, tighten pores and leave skin hydrated.

Key ingredients:
Botanical extracts: (Witch hazel / Neem / Quassia / Bearberry / Black Mulberry)
Actives: (Vitamin C / Arjuna / Glycerine)
Bio-oils: (Tea tree / Orange / Anise / Spearmint / Wild Mint / Eucalyptus)

I say: This is an excellently priced product which goes a long way, I use a large pea-sized blob with warm water. It has a pleasant, quite neutral odour and has fine grains which do the polishing. Unlike many scrubs, it doesn’t foam up but this doesn’t detract from the action. It leaves my skin feeling cleansed, smooth and, well, polished!

20140119-171008.jpg

UrbanVeda Radiance Day Cream, £14.99 for 50ml

20140119-171447.jpg

They say:

Naturally formulated using Ayurvedic principles, our bioactive blend of brightening botanical extracts is enriched with a cell-repairing peptide and amino-acid complex to help correct signs of hyperpigmentation, boost complexion and balance skin tone. Moisturising and collagen-boosting extracts help to feed skin, keeping it soft, supple, hydrated and plump.

Key ingredients:
Botanical extracts: (Liquorice / Papaya / Goji berry)
Actives: (Glycerine / Tumeric /Arjuna / Tego®Pep 4-even)
Bio-oils: (Sweet Almond / Orange / Patchouli / Coriander / Cedar / Marigold)

I say: Having never used moisturiser I am amazed to find that one exists that can moisturise without making my skin oily. I only use a tiny amount so although this product is a bit more pricey it still lasts a long time. As far as their blurb goes, I can testify that it does even out my skin colour and balances my skin, so I no longer get oily vs dry areas on my face at the same time. I also love the fact that it soaks in within seconds, leaving my skin feeling supple but without that greasy residue you always seem to get with moisturiser.

20140119-171927.jpg

Glossybox Goodies

A while back I reviewed some products that I received from Glossybox, I haven’t had any boxes for months due to moving and budgeting a bit more tightly, but this month they had an offer for the July box + the August box for £15 + p&p (£17.95 total) – normal monthly price is £10 + p&p. So that seemed like really good value – I was sold!

I have yet to try out any of the products (watch this space) but here’s what I got:

Glossybox JulyJuly Box “Seaside Splash”: From left to right: Anatomicals Spray Mist Facial Spritz / Alterna Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist / Sleek Pout Paint in Rosette and Cloud 9 / Coola Organic Mineral SPF 20 Face moisturiser / Essie Sleek sticks nail stickers.

Total value of products in box: £34.77

Most excited about: Anatomicals facial spray, Alterna tousled hair mist.

August boxAugust Box “High Flyers”: From left to right: Emite eyelash curler / Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 shadow/liner / Urban Veda Turmeric & Botanic Radiance Day Cream / Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Concentrated Treatment / Oceane Makeup remover pen.

Total value of products in box: £34.98 – not including Oceane product which is pre-launch.

Most looking forward to: Oceane Makeup remover, Urban Veda Day Cream.

So, £17.95 paid, and £70 of product received…. even if I’m not crazy about some of them, it’s massively good value. Ok, month to month it’s a bit of a lottery and there have been some boxes I was disappointed in, but I have been impressed by the fact that often the products are full size, and the range tends to be high end.

Watch this space for the reviews…

 

My First Glossybox!

I decided to sign up to try Glossybox after reading about it on other blogs. If you’re familiar with Graze then the concept is similar – you input your preferences (skin type, makeup routine, hair type etc) and they send you a monthly box with a tailored selection of product miniatures.

20120920-184722.jpg

I love the fact the boxes are lovely in themselves – I can see myself trying to find uses for them all because I won’t want to throw them away!

In September’s box I got:

Lady Gaga ‘Fame’ 1.2ml eau de parfum
Balance Me soothing brightening & lifting under-eye cream 7ml
Body Shop Vitamin E moisture cream 15ml
L’Oreal TechniArt extra strong hold volume mousse 50ml
L’Oreal TechniArt smooth control gel cream 20ml
2 x Rodial Skincare 5 minute facial sachets
2 x Rodial Skincare Glamoxy snake serum sachets

The box comes with a card listing the products & usual prices/volume. The QR codes next to each one take you to the product site, so that’s handy if you wanted to buy it or find out more.

I was interested to see if Glossybox was value for money based on volume of product, so I worked it out:

£1 of Fame (£25/30ml)
£5.80 of Rodial Snake Serum (£29/10x1ml)
£2.18 of Rodial 5 minute facial (£10.95/10x1ml)
£9.34 of Balance Me Wonder eye cream (£20/15ml)
£2.70 of Body Shop Vitamin E cream (£9/50ml)
£2.06 of L’Oreal Volume mousse (£10.30/250ml)
= £23.08 worth of product, + the L’Oreal liss control which wasn’t listed so is a ‘bonus’ I guess.

Under the month-to-month subscription, each Glossybox is £12.95 delivered, so on the basis of this box I’d say yes, it’s value for money!