Thursday, 4 December 2014

Blogmas Day 4: Relaxing Christmas Beauty Buys

Who's stuck for present ideas then? I know I am. 

Cosmetics are always a good go-to Christmas present, but sometimes they can get a bit predictable. I also can't help but take it personally when people buy me soap and shower gel. Are they trying to tell me something? 

Now I was recently sent some Aromatherapy Associates products to review, and they would make perfect presents or stocking fillers for the simple fact that they're something a bit different, and something that honestly, we all need. 

I've reviewed Aromatherapy Associates products before, and back then I wasn't into aromatherapy or essential oils at all, but their products turned me. All of their products have therapeutic benefits which work to enhance your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. To an ignorant little me, this sounded like witchcraft, But low and behold, they do actually work. 

The little bottles of bath and shower oil have the quickest effect because the oils are so concentrated. Breathing them in as you wash really does have an effect on your mood, and there are actually different oils for different moods. I'll say now that the scents are particularly strong with these, but it dilutes as you shower/bathe and leaves you with a subtle aroma of cardamom, frankincense (how Christmassy) and clary sage, as well as a fresh outlook on the rest of the day. I honestly can't explain the effect in words, but they're a pick-me-up much healthier than coffee. 

So with that in mind, how cute are these little packages of relaxation? Everyone knows that January is the most depressing month of the year, so these will be an absolute lifesaver for whoever you give them to. With them both under £20, they make perfect stocking fillers.  The Instant Inner-Strength roll-on is my favourite, because it's such a quick fix (how much of an addict do I sound). 

I also love presents that you can hide on the tree, so the design of the Star and Roll-On are so apt for a Christmas morning hunt around the tree for a relaxing gift with your name on. 
10% of proceeds go to the Defence Against Cancer charity. Charitable giving and a perfect Christmas present rolled into one. 


Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Make-Up Alphabet: To BB or to CC

 As you'll know by now, any beauty posts on this blog are part of my journey of make-up discovery. In 5 months I've gone from make-up Neanderthal to cosmetic addict, but there are still some products out there that throw me, and this post is about one product in particular.

For the last couple of years an alphabetical trend has emerged in the beauty world - I'm talking about BB/CC creams. 

These abbreviations have been thrown around with the assumption that we're supposed to know what they mean. I'm not one to buy products if it requires any guess work as to what it does. I'd only just come to understand that BB stands for Blemish Balm and was ready to give it a go when CC creams came and stomped all over my new-found knowledge, bringing with them a wave of confusion. So what's the bloomin' difference?! 

BB creams are Blemish Balms and from what I can gather are basically foundations with added skincare benefits such as SPF or anti-oxidants. Slap-bang in the middle of foundation and tinted moisturizers in terms of consistency and coverage, they're good if you want to 'ditch the cake' (sorry Georgia, stole your line.)

CC creams on the other hand are Colour Correctors. Using 'light-diffusing particles' CC Creams address skin issues like redness, dullness or blotchiness.

So coverage-wise there isn't much difference, but whether you use a BB or a CC all depends on what effect you want it to have on your skin.

To help me understand, Clinique were kind enough to send me their latest CC creams so I could figure out what all the fuss is about.

Despite the difference in packaging, both of these products are the Moisture Surge CC Cream. They just differ slightly in texture and SPF. Whilst the compacts are SPF 25, the bottle is SPF 30 . Also, the bottle is of a more fluid consistency, whilst the compacts are thick and moussy, and obviously this has an effect on the ability to build up coverage.

The bottle is available in 9 shades, whilst the compact is available in 6, which is a little bit of a nuisance if you find a shade you like with the bottle, but want a different consistency.

Personally, I prefer the bottle because of its lightweight, liquid texture. When using liquids of any sort, I prefer a dewy finish to a matte one, otherwise my skin can look quite dry. The coverage on both was excellent. My skin is quite patchy anyway due to a mixture of old acne scars, dry patches and recent Summer tanning, so having a product that evens that all out is brilliant.

Clinique sent me these before I went on holiday, and I was using the Light compact as it matched my skin best, however when I returned, my skin had knocked me up to a medium, so luckily I could test both shades. They are a perfect match and blend with my tan instead of changing it.

The bottle is £28, and the compacts are £30. Now if you're looking for full-on coverage, I wouldn't recommend these. But if moderate coverage as well as the added skincare benefits are what you're after, I can assure you that you're in good hands with Clinique. I've had these products for two and a half months now and am still not close to running out so they will last you a good while. They're also versatile in the way you can use them, whether it's underneath foundation or mixed with moisturiser, or even alone, they'll do the job.  

So, do you BB or CC, or are you sticking with the good ol' foundation? 


Monday, 31 March 2014

Jane Iredale Starter Kit

Afternoon all!
Just recently, the lovely people at Jane Iredale sent me over their new Starter Kit, which is aimed at helping you to achieve radiant skin in three easy steps.
Before I went to university, I worked in a hair and beauty salon, and the beauticians were always using Jane Iredale on the clients. It was a brand I’d never heard of before, but the clients absolutely loved it. So a few months ago I reviewed their Puremoist Lipstick for a newspaper I write for, and began to understand why this brand has such a strong reputation. All of their products are of amazing quality, and the brand has your skin’s best interests at heart.

Now I’ve tried a lot of foundations and as you’re probably aware from my recent make-up post, I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing can beat mineral foundation, so I was well and truly excited to be given the opportunity to work with another patron of this make-up wonder.
The Jane Iredale Starter Kit contains a Primer, an Amazing Base, which is basically a loose mineral foundation, a PurePressed Base, a Hydration Spray and a mineral foundation brush, all of which come in a chic travel-size cosmetic case with an extra-large mirror.

The Amazing Base is for more of a luminous, natural look, whilst the PurePressed Base gives a semi-matte look. After trying both separately, both matched my skin perfectly, but I didn’t find the coverage as strong with the PurePressed Base as I did with the Amazing Base. The PurePressed Base would work really well for a light, daytime look, if you don’t like wearing anything too heavy. The Amazing Base is light too, but the coverage is more of a matte porcelain look. For me, I used both, and really loved the results. I’ve also never had a foundation that matches my skin tone so perfectly. I absolutely hate the line of foundation you get just above your neck, and no matter how much I blend, I’m always really conscious of it. I loved that with these products I didn’t have to worry about that.

I found that the brush provided wasn’t dense and rigid enough to blend the minerals into my skin; instead it just kind of stroked me. So I opted for my Body Shop mineral foundation brush, which did the job perfectly. Before I knew too much about make-up, I never bothered with primer, but I’m slowly being convinced as to why it’s a worthwhile investment instead of a money making scheme (I sound so cynical haha)  The only other primer I’ve tried is the RevlonPhotoReady Perfecting Primer (which by the way, is INCREDIBLE), so I only have that to compare to. I was really happy with this one; it creates a smooth and matte base which works really well with the other products by minimising the appearance of pores and increasing luminosity. The only criticism I’d have is that the amount given in this starter pack isn’t enough. One thing I love about mineral foundations is that you don’t need a lot, and they last forever, but I’m almost half-way through the tube of primer, and I’ve only had the products a week.

I’ve never used a Hydration Spray before, and had no idea what it was for. So for those like me, the POMMIST Hydration Spray helps to set the minerals and give your skin a dose of healthy botanicals. The smell of this stuff is amazing. It’s like spraying fruit juice on your face, but without the stickiness. I find that with the primer and good quality of the foundations, the make-up lasts pretty well on its own, but I guess there’s nothing wrong with an added helping hand. I think a product like this would be more useful during the hotter months, when you can feel your make-up sliding down your face.

So all in all, I’d give this product 4/5.
I adore the foundations, and although I have intentions to review plenty more, until I find the next best thing, Jane Iredale’s foundations are my new make-up soul mates. I love the primer too, but there just isn’t enough, and I’m yet to discover the full benefits of the Hydration Mist.

Retailing at £34.95, I’d say this little set is well worth the price if you’re just getting into make-up and are looking to test out mineral foundations, primers and hydrations mists for the first time. If you were to buy these products individually, it would cost you a lot more, so for those make-up newbies out there, it’s a worthy investment.

Steph x x x