29 January 2013

My Top Three Perfumes

27 January 2013

Snow Heroes

26 January 2013

Tub-Side Treatments

20 January 2013

Given the amount of grief I give my hair, conditioning treatments play a big part in my beauty routine. Last month I decided that bleaching my locks to white blonde (again) was an excellent - read terrible - idea, and coupled with the recent snowy snap, my hair has been feeling a little worse for wear. Intense conditioners are something which I'm pretty fickle about, and tend to switch on a frequent basis. These four have held their place on the side of my bath tub for the last couple of months though, so I thought it was about time they were given a mention...

Joico K-Pak Reconstructor is one of the newbies to the bunch, and before I launch in to detail, I'm just gonna put this out there - it smells like banana. If you love bananas like I do, great, if you don't, you're going to have a bit of an issue stomaching this one. Fragrance aside, I love this treatment. Initially, I was a bit unimpressed, but I've actually started using it as a pre-shampoo treatment and leaving it on my hair for around half an hour and it's working really well. My hair always feels soft, smooth and strong afterwards, and I'll definitely be repurchasing as it's on the more reasonable side price wise.

Milkshake Active Milk Mask is the biggest surprise of the group. This is my latest purchase so I've only used it a couple of times, but I'm really enjoying it so far. I've not always had the best experience with Milkshake, but my hairdresser used one of their latest treatments (which involves a pair of straighteners that aren't actually straighteners to push out water and lock in protein - very weird to see but very effective) on me after the bleaching saga, and suggested I follow up with this. It has a very milky smell with a hint of vanilla which I like, and you only need to leave it on for a couple of minutes, so it's great for in the mornings when I'm rushing for work.

Bumble and Bumble Deeep Treatment is sadly the most neglected of the group. It's very much a protein treatment, and I think I OD'd on it originally, which left my hair feeling quite dry. I'm testing this out with a follow up by Milkshake for the ultimate hair treat though, and so far I am loving it. If you're more concerned with the strength of your hair, rather than the feel, then this is the one for you.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer doesn't really need much of an introduction. I posted my first ever review on this blog on the Extreme version, and my thoughts haven't changed. For more detail, check that out here, and try not to cringe at my n00bness. This was my favourite hair treatment throughout 2012, but based on price, Joico is slightly edging in to the lead for the beginning of 2013...

So, now that we've had a pretty lengthy round up of my favourites - like I said, hair care is a big deal for me - what would you recommend I try out next?

The Dream Team

19 January 2013

I've never been the greatest snoozer, but before Christmas, my inability to sleep reached the point where I was internet banking at 2am. Considering how I need at least eight hours a night to function, things were getting pretty serious. When I was a lot younger, my parents used to let me spray a lavender linen scent on to my pillow, so step in This Works...

I picked up the dream team prior to Christmas just to see how the products work out. This was a gift set, but you get a miniature deep sleep pillow spray and stress less rollerball, so it's a great way to test the products out before committing to the rather pricey full sizes. They do definitely contain hints of lavender, but there's also something a bit more grown up about them that reminds me of my Aromatherapy Associates oils. They remind me of the fragrance rooms at a spa, but they're not the sort of scent I would choose to wear throughout the day. That's great for me though, because I've trained my mind in to knowing that when I go through my little evening routine with these products then it's time to go in to rest mode, and it's now a smell I look forward to associating with sleep.

I'm not going to lie to you and claim that I now sleep for ten hours straight every night, but these combined with my electric blanket (best Christmas gift ever) definitely help to make my sleep a little less interrupted. I've since purchased pillow talk, which contains a full size pillow spray and miniature rollerball, and also a full size stress less, although these full sizes aren't pictured outside their packaging - sorry! I keep a mini stress less in my handbag at all times, and the other minis are great for travelling. The full sizes have actually crept in to my bed side basket, which is quite the achievement.

I have a feeling that these will be two hyped up products this year, but I'd definitely recommend trying out the dream team if you struggle with sleep. Any other hints and tips for a good nights sleep would be greatly appreciated too.

A Winter Treat

13 January 2013

I'd been eyeing up this shower oil for a good few months and taking a sniff every time I went past a L'Occitane stockist, when happily on December 25th Santa (aka mummy Owen) took the hint and popped this in my stocking. Christmas feels like forever ago now and I've been using this - albeit sparingly - for three weeks, so I thought it was about time to offer my thoughts.

First up, let me just stress that this is not something you need in your life. It's adored by many, but it's also £16.50 for something which you're literally pouring down the drain. This will never replace my everyday shower oil/gel/lotion, but sometimes it's nice to just have a little treat. I've been adding this to running water in my bath, rather than lathering in the shower and it works just fine. The smell is divine - I can't believe I just said that, but it really is. It's nicely sweet but with a hint of nuttiness to balance it away from sickly, which feels feminine but sophisticated - it foams nicely, and my skin feels so moisturised after using. I've yet to find another shower product which has left my skin so soft.

I was initially a little reluctant to use this for several reasons: 1) the price, 2) I didn't want to ever run out, and 3) because I have had an eczema flareup recently and didn't want to aggravate it due to the heavy fragrance within this product. Thankfully though, this has worked out just fine for me. I'm going to try my best to drag this oil out for at least a couple of months, so I might reduce my usage to just the weekends, but it really is a little luxury for this freezing winter season.

2012 Beauty Favourites

2 January 2013

Although this post is three days late, it's actually been in the pipeline since November. I've been editing my list since before my birthday, and it's surprised me to see what's changed in that short amount of time. I've never done a 'monthly favourites' post before, but given how much I enjoyed compiling this (and reading everyone else's), I might pick them up for 2013. Not all of these products have 'HG' status - in fact, I've deliberately avoided including some HG products as I've wanted to show what really impressed me in 2012 - and scents aren't included, but expect posts on these items to follow shortly.

I tried to limit myself item wise, but I have to say that my first beauty 'hero' of 2012 is my storage system. Those Muji drawers are brilliant for keeping everything organised. Right, here we go...

Xen Tan Dark Lotion - Need I say any more? Since discovering how much more moisturising to the skin lotions are in comparison to mousses, I've never looked back. Plus it fades so well.
Soap & Glory Pulp Friction - My favourite pre and post tan body scrub, because it smooths my skin out nicely and doesn't leave my tub in a mess.
Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo - Probably my favourite category of all, because it features two of my HG products, this being the first. I just love the scent, and during the cold dark winter months I can't be bothered to get up early to wash my hair, so this is a bit of a saviour. Okay, my hair doesn't look *as good* as it does freshly washed, but it's good enough for me.
Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Shampoo - The HG of all my HG's...I have loved this product for the last five years and can't ever imagine it being replaced in my heart. It gets rid of any brassiness perfectly, doesn't turn my hair that weird purpley-grey colour that some purple shampoos can, and smells deliciously (although this might just be to me) of cucumber. If this ever got discontinued, I just don't know what I'd do.
Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer - The first product I ever posted about, this is my third tub of the stuff, so it must be doing something right. I do tend to flit around from one deep conditioner to the next, but this one has been consistently reached for throughout the year.</p>
Alpha H Liquid Gold - has saved my skin on many occasion. I'm nearly out, but this will definitely be repurchased
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm - works so well for my combination skin, I'm on my second tub. Also, it smells like mango, so win - win.
Caudalie Moisturisers - I couldn't pick, because I rotate them depending on the weather and what foundation I want to wear, but these are my absolute favourites for keeping my skin fresh and plump. Even better, they don't break me out!
Real Techniques Buffing Brush - HG. I've considering shelling out another £21.99 for the core collection again so that I can have a back up of this. It's completely worth it for this alone, but I surprised myself by loving the contour brush for highlighting, too. How I spent so long using flat foundation brushes I'll never know.
Tangle Teezer - I actually own three of these (they're so easy to loose!) and intend on picking up a new one once my spending ban is up. Going back to a normal hairbrush after using one of these feels like trying to brush through rope. Makes the job ridiculously easy on my fairly short hair.
Nars Amour - Blush/bronzer etc aren't considered by many to be base products, but I like to have flawless skin and then work on top with eyes and lips, hence why they're included in this category. I've amazed myself by selecting my one and only powder blush (I'm a cream girl all the way) but I just love this colour, and the consistency is amazing.
YSL Le Teint Touch Eclat - I would paint myself from head to toe with this stuff if I could afford it. I loathe heavy foundations, and this gives me the sheerness and glow that I want without slipping in to oily, melt off my face territory. Plus the colour range is superb, well done YSL. If I had to pick my favourite beauty release of the year, this would be it.
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Lightscapade - Bought this at the airport, was initially disappointed, and hid it in a drawer. I've really learnt to love this highlighter and now reach for it on a daily basis. It gives a lovely, natural glow, but I wouldn't recommend it for super tan skin.
MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer - Bought this at the beginning of the year, broke out, returned it. A few months down the line my sister suggested I try it again, and I've used it almost every day since then (so I'm guessing it was something else that broke me out). A really lovely concealer that's not too heavy.
Nars Laguna - it was a toss up between this and Chanel Soleil de Tan, but this won on how beautifully it works for contouring. Plus there's so much product, I'm questioning whether I'll ever hit pan.
Eyes & Colour
OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons - My favourite nude of the year, and the polish I've discovered with the best consistency. I really need a backup of this, it's my go to nail.
Laura Mercier Brow Duo in Deep Blonde - Makes filling in my brows so easy, and the colours are perfect for me. I'm sure eyeshadows would work just as well, but I love this little duo.
Chanel Inimitable Mascara - My most repurchased mascara of the year. Takes forever to dry out and is perfect for every day wear. It lengthens, curls and defines my lashes perfectly.
Nars Belle De Jour Lipstick - My go to lipstick. It finishes off my makeup so nicely, and I just know I'll be pleased with my pout if I'm wearing this.

And there we have it, my favourite beauty products of 2012 in all of their glory, and one hell of a lengthy post. If you made it to the bottom, I salute you. Now, on to 2013...