Dermalogica Clean Start Review

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A while back I was sent the Dermalogica MediBac range to review, and unfortunately I wasn't really very happy with the results. Dermalogica contacted me afterwards and said that it looked as though I had been advised wrongly (by my local Dermalogica) about the products I needed, and they would send me the Clean Start kit to try instead. It makes sense really, the MediBac range is targeted at people suffering with adult acne, and although I am an adult, I have had this acne since I was eight years old so I'm guessing it's more of a 'teen skin' acne, therefore Clean Start is what I should have been advised to use. 

I think Clean Start is a lot less daunting than the MediBac range was; I felt a bit bewildered by all the different products in that range but feel as though the Clean Start range is much simpler and easier to understand. The range comprises of eight different products:

'Wash Off' Cleanser: Like the MediBac cleanser, this is really gentle on the skin and is great to use in the shower. Not really ideal for taking make up off, but it's perfect for giving your skin a good cleanse. 

'All Over Clear' Toner: This is a spray toner, and as much as I like using the traditional toner-and-a-cotton-pad method, I have to say spritzing this on and waiting for it to sink in is a lot easier (and more refreshing!) Again, this doesn't irritate my skin in the slightest.

'Welcome Matte' Moisturiser: I really love this moisturiser. It feels nice on the skin and keeps my skin looking matter than I've ever really known it to (although I think DW Max Cover has helped this too, so I won't give it all the credit). It contains SPF 15 too which is really good, as I know it's looking after my skin as well as keeping it matte! 

'Brighten Up' Moisturiser: This is basically a tinted moisturiser. I'm not really the biggest fan of tinted moisturisers (having bad skin, I never really want the 'natural' look) but I actually really like this one. It's quite dark but blends into my skin perfectly when I've been tanned, and it also contains SPF 15. I think it would be good for taking on holiday, when you obviously don't want to wear much make up! 

'Bedtime for Breakouts': I really, really like this product. It's basically a gel you pop a thin layer of all over your face at night, and it helps against breakouts. I find in the morning my skin looks lots better and any spots I had have gone down considerably. 

'Ready, Set, Scrub!' Face Mask/Scrub: I avoided using this for ages because I thought it was just a normal scrub, little did I know it's primarily a face mask, which you then scrub and wash off (my favourite kind of face mask!) I absolutely love this product, it smells divine (so lemony zesty) and it makes my skin feel lovely. 

'Mouth Lip Shine': I was a little bewildered as to where this fits in with the range, but nonetheless I was happy to give it a try. It's basically a lip moisturiser, and it looks like a gloss but doesn't feel sticky or horrible at all (I usually hate lipglosses for this reason!) it leaves my lips so moisturised and soft (it contains cocoa butter as well as other moisturising ingredients) and it's definitely going to be my go-to lip product from now on, as I always suffer with dry, chapped lips, and this helps lots.

So, what has my experience with this Dermalogica range been like? Well, considerably better than before. I now realise that Clean Start is definitely the range for me, it has improved my skin so, so much. Whereas before my skin was constantly covered in spots, the majority of which were on my cheeks and chin, I now have really clear skin, only really experiencing the odd spot every now and again.  My skin doesn't look perfect, I have lots of acne scars that I really want to get rid of, but my skin has cleared up such a lot since using this so I'm really happy. Normally, I'm constantly searching for products to get rid of acne, but now I've found this I really don't feel the need. More than anything I feel like my skin is finally back to its best, and I'm more concerned about getting rid of any scarring now. I am SO happy with this range of products, they've definitely helped as much as the Proactiv range I tried a while back  did, I just hope the results stay this time!

Like the MediBac range, this range is pretty pricey so I'm not sure I'll be rushing out to buy all of it (having said that I've been using the range for months and most of the products are really full still, so you do get a lot for your money!), but there are some certain products I love that I feel I would repurchase in the future, as they really did work for me. I also feel my skin is not as oily as it used to be, and I find my make up stays on better due to this. I'm really, really impressed with the range and think it just goes to show that it really is important to get the right range for your skin. 

Have you tried any of Dermalogica's ranges before? What did you think?

NYX Glitter Cream Palette

Friday, 20 January 2012

A few weeks ago I was perusing my local River Island when my magpie-eyed self was immediately drawn to a sparkly corner of the shop, where dozens of glittering eye shadow palettes sat winking at me. There was a huge, multi-coloured, almost fantastical palette, which containeda plethora of pinks, greens, blues and yellows. My hands were drawn to this one straight away, but I refrained, realising that I very rarely go for bright colours when it comes to my eye make up. Then, however, I spied a rather more subtle selection of sparkling blacks, silvers and gold in a much smaller palette. I'm not usually one to go for dark eye make up, but I'd been itching to experiment with a dark smoky eye, so thought, why not attempt a dark sparkly smoky eye? After all, you can never have enough sparkle. 

I used the in-store tester to see what the pigmentation was like and was really impressed, so I happily parted with £6 and bought myself the NYX Glitter Cream palette. I knew I would have to have a practice go before attempting a proper 'look' with it, so set out by priming my eyes/applying a base etc. in the hope that I would soon be transformed into a sparkly-eyed temptress (the packaging does clearly say, 'who can resist me?' so I presumed that was the effect it would have, silly me). I've used glitter eye products in the past and have been suitably impressed with them, and although this was a cream palette (something which usually fills me with dread) I felt reassured by the fact I had tested it in store and had been pleased with the results.

I'll be honest, I was a little confused as to what I should use to apply the shadow - I played about with the applicators the palette came with, but ended up using my fingers in the end as it seemed to make the shadow apply a bit smoother. Upon first application, the glitter is thick, really sparkly, and you think 'wow, this is going to be good'. However, you need to use LOADS to cover your eyes and, unfortunately, the really sparkly glitter is sneakily only really apparent on the top layer. Once you get past the initial 'WOW GLITTER' stage, underneath is a mix of a Vaseline-like substance with glitter here and there. I can't really describe what the effect was like but it wasn't pretty; my eyes looked a complete mess. I tried and tried to work with it but it seems you get more Vaseline than you do actual glitter. I've taken some pictures so you can understand better what I mean. 

These swatches are what the glitter top-layer looks like. Unfortunately they're not like this throughout! 

Looks nice and glittery around the edges (top layer) but inside it's just a nasty Vaseline mess 

See what I mean? Not pretty.

I'm so, so disappointed with this palette. I had high hopes, considering NYX is a big brand and from testing the product in the shop I thought I was on to something. However, this product is just (in my opinion) pretty awful. It is definitely not for use on the eyes - and I'm not entirely sure where else you would really want to use this product? The top layer is nice, but you need a lot of product to get a really 'wow' eye-look and there just isn't enough of that top layer to achieve that! I've never, ever had such problems trying to apply a product and my eyes just looked a complete mess after using it. Definitely would NOT recommend and I feel I've wasted £6 on this, as I really won't be using it again! 

Have you tried the Glitter Cream palettes from NYX? What did you think?

Dancing in the Moonlight

Sunday, 15 January 2012
Dress: Boutique
Shoes Boots: New Look
Earrings: Accessorize
Ring: Debenhams

Went out for the first time in ages last night, so I thought I'd do a little outfit post for you all! I'm really not a 'going out' person, I much prefer staying in and curling up with my dog in front of the TV, but I was in the mood to go out so thought why not?! I definitely think the best thing about going out is getting ready though, I love getting dolled up and having fun with my make up! I did a silvery-black smoky eye last night which is really different to my usual gold/neutral eyes, but I really liked it! I wore this sparkly black number, I'm not usually into sequins and things but fell a little bit in love with this dress when I saw it in a local boutique, even more so when I saw it was in the sale for a fiver! Can't really argue with that! I don't really have any 'little black dresses' either so I think it was a good purchase!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, are you more of a staying in or going out person?

In Love with Lashes

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I'm not going to lie, I'm a little bit obsessed with false eye lashes. Now, I never used to wear them, not even for nights out/special occasions - I was pretty abysmal at applying them and could never really get my head around the concept that I had to wait for the glue to go tacky before applying. I then started using the Eylure lashes which already come with adhesive, and gradually worked my way up to full blown 'whack-the-glue-on, wait a bit, and go' lashes. 

There's something about wearing false eye lashes that instantly makes me feel better about myself. I think it's a similar feeling to having fake-tan on; I feel more confident, prettier, happier. As much as I hate to admit it, I've become a bit dependant on them, and started thinking that everyone needs to wear them to achieve true happiness (slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean). If I don't wear lashes, I feel like my eyes are absolutely tiny, or I look tired, or something isn't quite right. It's got to the point where, whenever I put make up on, I must have my lashes on to. I've tried to buy expensive mascaras in the hope they will make me reach my full lash potential, but unfortunately, nothing beats a pair of falsies for me. 

Luckily, my eye lash addiction isn't breaking the bank for me. I adore Eylure lashes, but £5 a pop can seem a bit steep. I feel more inclined to wearing them for special occasions, or making sure I get at least a week's wear out of them (easily done) in order to get my money's worth. They are, without a doubt, the best lashes I've ever used, but that doesn't mean they don't have a very close contender. Enter Primark lashes. I did do a brief review on them a while back, but lately my love affair with Primark lashes has greatly increased. Whereas before I think Primark only did one 'design' of lashes, I've spotted two different types in my local store, both of which I love. Primark's lashes are really lightweight, possibly even more so than Eylure, making it feel as though you're not wearing any. I also think they're really good quality - and at only £1 a pair you can afford to stock up! My personal favourite Primark lashes are the top ones, which I've been wearing a lot lately. They're really fluttery and pretty, and make my eyes look a lot bigger than they are! Here are some slighty-scary close-up shots of me with them on.

For me, Primark's and Eylure's lashes are the only lashes I think I'll ever feel the need to buy. I never really feel enticed by other brands, but know through testing them myself that both these brands deliver. As much as I would like to embrace going lashless, I don't think I can bring myself to do it just yet, my lash obsession is far too serious. 

What is your favourite false lash brand? Have you tried Primark's lashes?

Oh deer!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Jumper: Yumi via House of Fraser
Skirt: Primark
Earrings: Miss Selfridge

Really wanting to start posting outfits more often (well, I want to start posting more often in general really) as I really like doing them. I definitely need to master the art of editing my background though, I hate that you can see my dressing table/light switch but I guess that's just the perfectionist in me. I got this jumper with some Christmas money, it was actually £20 in the House of Fraser sale and I'd wanted it when it was full-prize so I was pretty pleased with it! It's the perfect size and the deer on the front is so cute. I also love the pearl-detailing, so pretty! I've had a bit of an obsession with buying jumpers lately, I don't see this as a bad thing though as they're so snug! Had this Primark skirt for ages and I absolutely love it, so easy to wear and always gets compliments. 

Placed a cheeky Topshop order earlier even though I'm going on a big shopping trip to Meadowhall tomorrow. I feel I've left adequate enough time after Christmas for it not to be quite as MeadowHELLish as it can be - fingers crossed! I have my eye on a few things and I'm in the mood to treat myself, so it could be quite dangerous money-wise. Oh well! 

I'm back at university next week and I'm not really feeling ready for it at all. I'm in my final year so the stress is really intense but I'm hoping to get a bit more work done this week so I feel prepared for going back. I get a ridiculously long time off over Christmas but it's gone so quick!

Japonesque Brushes

Monday, 9 January 2012
I was recently sent a selection of Japonesque's synthetic brushes. I'm always on the look-out for brands that include synthetic brushes in their ranges, and although several of the brushes in Japonesque's range are natural hair, a considerable majority of them are synthetic, which is really good in my book. Japonesque is a new brand to me, however it has actually been around for a considerable twenty years, only recently branching out into high-street stores like Boots and John Lewis. 

I was sent a selection of both the travel and pro synthetic brushes to review; both the travel and pro angled foundation brush, travel and pro concealer brush, as well as the travel lip and eye liner brushes. As soon as I looked at the brushes, I knew it was clear this is a brand that has put a lot of thought and effort into their products, and are clearly in the know when it comes to make up artistry. Each brush is smartly packaged, and includes detailed information on how to use the brushes, something I've not really seen in make up brushes before. I think Japonesque really understand the idea that when it comes to make up, it doesn't matter how good a product is, you really have the get the application right. 

The brushes themselves are really great quality; they're all really soft and are definitely superior to many of my cheaper brushes. Although I tend to prefer to use a stippling brush to apply my foundation, I find the angled foundation brush perfect for doing around my nose, as it's the perfect shape for getting into places my stippling brush tends to forget. I absolutely love the concealer brush, it's perfect for applying my new favourite concealer by Soap & Glory, and is definitely the best concealer brush I've tried. I tend to use eye liner brushes to do my brows, as I don't really use cream eye liner and I find this brush the perfect shape for doing my eyebrows! The lip brush is really cute, I love that it's retractable. I'm definitely more of a 'slap some lippy on and run' girl but this brush is great for nights out to get a really precise application, or for tricky-to-apply colours like bright reds. I think the travel brushes are fantastic for keeping in your make up bag, as they take up so little room yet are the same great quality as the pro brushes. 

The brushes retail for around £9-£30 and are available at Boots and John Lewis. I definitely think they're worth a look into if you're looking for some new make up brushes to try. I'm really impressed with them, and although they may seem a bit pricey, they are really high quality brushes and it's clear the brand has put a lot of thought and effort into creating them. 

Have you tried Japonesque brushes? What is your favourite make up brush brand?

Current Hair Favourites

Tuesday, 3 January 2012
Thought I would do a little post on my current favourite hair products. I've been neglecting my hair a lot lately, so I thought it was time to have a look at the products that I know and love, so hopefully I start paying it a bit more attention! 

Schwarzkopf got2b Guardian Angel Heat Protection: I don't use heat on my hair very often, but when I do I know it's really important to use a heat protectant. I've tried lots in the past that I didn't really feel were doing anything, but I really like this one. It smells nice and makes my hair feel good, which is always a bonus. It's not a bad price either, and with Christmas coming up I know I'll be using more heated styling products, so important to make sure I look after my locks while I do! 

Alberto Balsam Shampoo (and conditioner): This is a bit of a strange one. I know beauty bloggers are probably 'supposed' to like all the expensive branded shampoos and conditioners, and as much as I am partial to a bit of John Frieda or James Brown haircare, Alberto Balsam will always remain my firm favourite. Number one - it's so cheap - at about £1 a bottle and there are pretty much always offers on. Number two - it smells so, so nice. The strawberries and cream one is divine, but I also adore the one pictured - so fresh and fruity. Finally, the main reason I buy it - it makes my hair feel so soft, and in good condition. I really don't see the point in spending loads on a shampoo/conditioner when I know this baby always delivers. I urge you to give it a go. 

Lee Stafford Argan Oil: After the huge craze over hair oils I knew I had to buy into it. However, I wasn't willing to part with the big bucks (I'm looking at you, Moroccon Oil) to give my hair a treat. Que Lee Stafford. If you've been reading my blog for quite a while you know I'm a big fan of Lee Stafford products, including the new 'Argan Oil'. Yes, it costs about £12/£13 for a tiny little tube but you don't need to use much and I know it makes a big difference to the condition of my hair. I think it's a great cheaper alternative to some of the bigger branded oils out there. 

Tigi S Factor Smoothing Lusterizer: I bought this after hearing Gem rave about it, and also learning that sleek-bobbed Jessie J also uses it. It's 'de-frizzer and tamer' which you can use on wet hair to make your hair really soft and smooth. It smells like strawberries and cream, and I love the effect it has on my hair. I got it on offer a while ago, Tigi tend to do offers every now and again so definitely worth a look if you don't want to pay full-price. I think it's around £11/£12 full-price. 

Batiste Dry Shampoo: Couldn't resist putting this in here, I'm sure you've all heard of it/tried it/bought countless bottles of it but there you go - it's a great product for those nasty in-between hair days, and I personally think it's great for creating volume and lift in my hair. I don't think I could live without dry shampoo now, and Batiste do such a good range of different variations, you can't fault them really. 

Lee Stafford Double Blow Volumizing Mousse: I've used lots of volumizing mousses in the past, but this one is the one I always go back to. I love that it's called the 'double blow' - it basically means you can use it twice - when you hair is wet and then again after drying, to create a really big hair look. I love doing this and I've definitely got through three or four of these in the past. I will continue to buy them as they really do work. 

What are your go-to hair products?

Soap & Glory Cosmetics

Monday, 2 January 2012
I've been a huge fan of everything Soap & Glory since the brand first launched a few years back. I think I've probably tried pretty much 80% of the products in their bath and body and skincare ranges, all of which I have loved and many repurchased. I've posted about my favourite Soap & Glory products a few times, so you'll understand it's a brand I really love!

Therefore when I heard Soap & Glory were starting a cosmetics range I nearly jumped for joy. I know in the past they had flirted with the idea, with products such as their 'Sexy Mother Pucker' lip gloss, so to hear they were to finally launch a full range of cosmetics certainly had me looking forward to my next trip to Boots!

When I visited the Soap & Glory powder-pink beauty stand, it was clear that I'm not the only one jumping for joy over their new cosmetics range. My local Boots had sold out of a fair few of their products - all the mascaras had gone (something which I really want to try!) and their were only a few felt-tip eye liners and creamy concealers left. I knew for a fact I wanted to try the 'Kick Ass Concealer' - I'm always on the look-out for the perfect under-eye concealer and I'd heard that this beauty was very similar to Bobbi Brown's creamy concealer, so for a tenner I couldn't say no. The other product I picked up was the 'Super Cat Extreme Eye Liner Pen'. Lately I've been having a love affair with my trusty MUA felt-tip liner, but me being me stupidly lost it's lid and let it dry up, so I was looking for a new liner when I spied this one for a mere £6. 

So what do I think to them both? First up; the eye liner. I am SO glad I bought this. Although I loved my trusty £1 MUA one, this one beats it hands down. It is a gorgeous, intense black, which glides flawlessly across the eyelid. The small nib makes sure your line your eyes really precisely, which is perfect if you're (like me) a bit clumsy when it comes to applying eye liner. I actually swatched this on my hand to see what the blackness was like and left it all day, and it stayed on - that is always a good sign, especially considering I'm a serial hand-washer! Definite thumbs up for this product - my new favourite and think I would go as far as to say it's better than Illamasqua's Precision Ink, which I know a lot of bloggers rave about. 

The concealer is another hit product for me. Okay, so it doesn't perform miracles (I'm yet to find a concealer which does, sigh) but I can definitely see an improvement in my under-eye circles when I use this; one which rivals my other concealers. The product itself is a 'three step' kit - there are two shades of concealer and a translucent setting powder, all in a neat little compact with an applicator for the powder and a cute little mirror. The concealer itself is so creamy - I knew before trying it that it would be but I was prepared for just how creamy it is. This is great, as it really helps to conceal, but it also makes it really important to set it properly, as I know if it wasn't it would probably cause your under-eye make up to smudge and run a little with the creaminess. I didn't really have this problem; I found it lasted really well and I know I'll be choosing it above my other concealers to concealer my under-eye circles from now on.

Overall I am so impressed with the products I've tried from Soap & Glory's cosmetic range. I honestly cannot fault this brand in the slightest - they always seem to get it right! Have you tried any of Soap & Glory's cosmetic products?
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