Saturday, 31 March 2012

Max Factor Xperience Foundation Review

Max Factor Xperience Foundation in Beige Linen 50 - £9.99

I've noticed that Max Factor's Xperience Foundation tends to be one of the main searches on my blog, despite it being one of the few products I've only mentioned in passing a while ago, so I thought it was about time I reviewed it.  It's probably also important to mention that I use this foundation a lot; I reach for it on a daily basis, either on its own or with my No7 Tinted Moisturiser.

The tube I have was actually my sister's, but being the porcelain beauty that she is, claimed this was too dark for her, whilst I find this shade (Beige Linen 50) is almost me-without-tan.  Max Factor claim this foundation is weightless on skin, which I would actually concur with, and don't think this is a lie.  The texture is very runny, which is why I like to mix it with my thicker tinted moisturiser for days I want it to be a little more sheer and tanned.  On its own it applies to the skin effortlessly and I really don't think I can feel it whilst it's on, which I really enjoy!  It also claims to be 'flawless coverage', but personally I think it's more a medium coverage.  You can clearly see the difference it makes to skin, but if you've got blemishes you'll still need concealer to really hide them. 

My experience with this foundation is pretty good, as foundations go.  It blends amazingly well (RT Buffing Brush used for this), skin is soft, semi-matte and looks well covered without looking caked in make-up.  With my oily/combination/acne prone skin I don't find I get more spots with this, and I actually don't find it reacts badly to oil really either, although I know some have said it didn't hold up well with their oily skin.  I find oil seeps through most foundations anyway; I use oil control moisturisers underneath, sometimes a touch of powder, and I find I just need to blot it after a few hours.  Some matte foundations I have go patchy and cling to the drier patches throughout the day, but this one is fine with my skin.  I have only tried it through the winter months, however, so I imagine when summer comes around this just won't be suitable.

It's also SPF 10, which isn't very high, and that also puts it in the 'winter foundation' category for me.  Overall though, I do really like it, and it'll probably work on a range of skin types - although if you're particularly oily you might struggle.  My main gripe is that the packaging doesn't feel very nice - especially in comparison to similar priced foundations in glass bottles with pump dispensers!  The shade range is also on the pale side, which is always a disappointment.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Eating Healthy; Easy Cooking

Fresh salmon cooked with seasoning and honey; mixed crunchy salad with apple and Balsamic vinegar

Part of feeling healthier for me, is eating healthier.  Bad student diets of processed food don't make for a healthy body!  But often it's time consuming to make a healthy, from-scratch meal when your coursework is piling up, and more often than not, ingredients (like jars of sauces) aren't catered for a single person.  I absolutely begrudge making chilli, curry or pasta that I have to eat for around 5 days!

That's why I like salmon.  You can cook one fillet with ease, and you don't have to eat it for days on end!  There's also lots of recipes you can create with salmon, so you can variate, which is nice.  My standard salmon recipe is this one without the honey.  

I picked this salmon up from Asda's reduced counter for £2.22 (it also contained another fillet that I saved for the following evening) and popped it in the freezer when I got home until I was ready to use it.  Defrosted and ready for dinner, I popped one fillet onto a square of tin foil (shiny side up), sprinkled on some salt, black pepper, added a small blob of butter to keep it moist, and drizzled some honey over the top.  I then wrapped it up, placed it on a baking tray and popped it in the oven at around 200 degrees C for around 15 mins.

In the mean time, I grabbed some fresh salad from the fridge, chopped up a small apple, threw it all unceremoniously into a bowl and drizzled Balsamic vinegar over.  I also blobbed some Salad Cream around the edges which isn't healthy, but tastes sooo good!  When the salmon's cooked, let it rest for a few minutes, then lift the meat away from the skin and place on top.

It's cheap, it tastes amazing and it's not taxing to make for one person.  Plus, eating fish and salad is great for you.  I love it!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wake Me Up, Please!

I have 180 capsules, but they're not stocked online.

Taking vitamin supplements is considered a fool's game most of the time; many believe that you can get everything you need from your diet, and therefore do not need to supplement the vitamins you're already eating.  What your body cannot absorb is urinated away; expensive wee for some!  There can, however, be instances when you're not getting enough vitamins; a bad diet, or a medical problem are probably the main contenders.  Realistically, we all get tired from time to time, it's the nature of our busy lives, which is something that caffeine or an energy tablet can't boost you out of, and in that instance, Vitamin Complex supplements probably aren't the best for you, as explored here.

There are some of us, however, who do have problems with vitamins.  Current bad diet aside (which is getting better, I've eaten lots of salmon this week), I've suffered on and off for around 6 and a half years with extreme fatigue.  Now, 4 and a half years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS, and only more recently I've realised that this has something to do with tiredness.  I lack insulin, and take a form of diabetic medication to boost this so my body breaks down and can use the sugar in foods for energy, but often this isn't enough.  I get so tired I'll sleep for 13 hours a night; I'll get up after a full night's sleep and within an hour or so, I'm shattered and ready for bed.  My Mum mentioned that this wasn't normal, but what can you do!?

So, after living years tired, weary, and ill with every cold or sore throat going, I researched why I might be tired.  It seems I lack Vitamin B12, if the trends in PCOS/insulin stakes are anything to go by (which would account for my constant hair loss and breaking nails!).  I take one of these capsules every day, usually with some fresh fruit juice containing high Vitamin C; the difference is astounding.  I'm awake, needing less sleep, energetic and feeling normal again, which is absolutely live-giving for me, and I love it!

So of course, these tablets aren't going to work miracles if you have a healthy diet and are tired from being busy, but if you're inexplicably exhausted, then they might be worth a try.  They come in smaller pots, and it's recommended you trial them for a month or so on cycles, to see if they help.  Frankly, I need them all the time, and as you can see, I've got enough to last me a while!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Acid Mouth: Barry M Lip Paint #52

Some days it's nice to wear ridiculous lipstick, as long as the rest of the face is not also looking quite so 'out there'.  Barry M Lip Paints certainly don't disappoint with their range of shades, from the most frightening corpse nudes (yes, I cannot pull them off without looking zombie-esque), right through to the acids of the lipstick world.

Lip Paint #52 is one of those.  It's neon pink, it's matte, and it takes a brave face to wear this one out with such pride that people stare in admiration, rather than staring and wondering what the hell you've done to your mouth.  Conveniently, Barry M have named this shade 'Shocking Pink'; it definitely can be a shocker!  Because of its consistency, it's not particularly easy to apply and tends to drag on the lips.  When on, it's not moisturising either, so you need to be prepared for drying if you're brave enough to try the neon look.

A little definitely does go a long way though, and the more you layer it on the drier it feels... It's definitely not the easiest lipstick to wear, but it does bring a little bit of fun to a dull day!

Here's a ridiculously silly one for you too.  No face, thankfully!


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday Round Up #4

It's a bit of a belated Sunday Round Up this week as I was busy at the library until around 8pm, phew!  I watched Die Hard 4 with my house mates over dinner... surprisingly enjoyable!  Although some moments are completely laughable.  Uni work, however, is in overload at the moment.  I have enough weeks to do everything, but I still get a little flustered none the less.  Sometimes it's hard to juggle everything, even though I know it'll all work out fine!  I can't quite believe my degree will be over soon though... Aargh!

I guess I don't really have any news this week: I've been trying to eat better, so I think I'm starting to conquer my tiredness... but I went out on Thursday with friends so catching up on lost sleep has been a priority.  It sometimes worries me just how much I love sleeping!  I don't know if it's the change in diet or just hormones, but my skin has been worsening this week.  Acne has certainly been the bane of my life since I was about 12 - it just never stops, even with medication.  What's most aggravating is that I'm having my photo taken on Tuesday for my university course, to go in next year's prospectus.  It's therefore a decision between being blotchy or caking up in heavy make-up.  I don't know which will look least offensive!

But one week to go until the Easter holidays, so I'm keeping chirpy.  I just keep thinking about how much I want a tortoise. :)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

How To Wear: MAC Saint Germain

A quick search online will tell you that Saint Germain is the kind of lipstick that divides opinion.  The cool, very blue toned colouring in amplified form leaves lips, with the lightest of application, a cross between Barbie and Nicki Minaj.  This is fine if you have cool toned skin and like bright pink lips; if you don't, this is a bit of a problem.  Reading reviews on MUA will show you this!

I bought Saint Germain about 2 and half years ago whilst going through a bright lipstick phase and now consider it quite ill judgement, but it seems silly to have an expensive lipstick sitting around, waiting to be used!  Amplified lipsticks often leave lips dry, so although I use Blistex Intensive Moisturiser every night, I'm wary of drying lipsticks.  Underneath I applied Natural Collection (from Boots) Moisture Shine in Caramel - these aren't available online, and tend to be quite elusive on blogs too, but I think they retail for about £2.  Caramel is a golden nude and has a slight frost finish; it's a bit impractical for me on its own, but works to tone down crazy lipsticks.  I dabbed Saint Germain over the top and mixed it into Caramel, so the overall effect is a little more glossy/frosted, and not at all too garish for my olive toned skin!

Phew.  Let me know if you own Saint Germain and if you get on with it without diluting it!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Warning: Massive Lashes! Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara Review

I have the gold limited edition tube which I believe only comes in black, but I've linked to the normal black tube which has greater colour variation and comes in waterproof too. 

In the first image I've curled my lashes with my trusty Shu Uemura curlers (blogged about here); you can clearly see the difference when I've applied the mascara!  I was struggling to find a mascara that kept the curl my eyelash curlers created, as other mascaras I tried seem to weigh them down and straighten them out again.  When I was younger this was my go-to mascara - in fact, the only mascara I would purchase!

In my quest for curled lashes I repurchased it a few weeks ago and love it just as much as I used to - sometimes I wonder why I leave my old favourite products behind!  The great thing about this mascara is the ability to build it up; this is obviously my spider-eyed, going out look, and I would definitely not wear this to go to uni!  For some people this would definitely be too much, but I like excessive lashes... I applied a couple of coats to get this much volume and length, but one application leaves lashes just as defined and fluttery without the volume.  Personally, that's more than enough for daytime for me!

The wand is a little clumpy to handle, but you get used to it.  It has little spikes though, which I love, as you can almost comb the lashes whilst coating them to reduce clumping.  Very neat.  I don't use the waterproof version, although I'm sure it'd be better for holding the curl, simply because my eyes are so sensitive that I can't remove waterproof mascara without losing eyelashes and damaging my eyelids.  Since I'm a contact lens wearer too, this is really important!  The longevity of the standard version is more than enough though, and it does take a little bit of effort to remove it with either eye make-up remover or the Liz Earle cleanser and warm water, so it definitely has more than enough staying power for day-to-day wear.  I also don't find it transfers any colour under my eyes, which other, cheaper, mascaras tend to.

I love this mascara.  I'm not sure anything more needs to be said!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Get Vanillary!

I have to confess, this isn't a new Vanillary... I've had it quite a while (I've probably used about half of it), but it lives in my handbag at all times for on-the-go, scented moments.  I'm always the 'you never know' kind of person; you never know when you'll need to smell nice!  I usually wear perfume, but if I forget I'll always have Vanillary on hand.

The tube is a lovely, portable size with a screw on lid.  There's no worries that it'll spill in your bag, or the lid will fall off and get product all over your essentials; in short, I think it's wonderfully practical.  You push the stick up from the bottom, so there's no fiddly mechanisms either - and it can be pushed back down too.  

The smell is for the the lovers of cupcakes, sweet things and vanilla (of course).  It's really gorgeous.  I usually rub this onto my wrists and find that it's enough to make me smell beautifully yummy all day.  It literally lasts until you wash it off - it's lovely going to bed with the scent of vanilla sending you off into the land of nod!

Vanillary is incredibly priced for the quality; I'll never be without it!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Peachy Pink and Purple Polish

I picked up this MNY My Varnish in #342 on one of my weekly shopping trips to Asda recently - I think the range was on offer for about £2.50, so I really couldn't say no!  However, it seems to remain quite elusive on the internet... Whilst the range appears in the odd blog post photo on Google images, there's no trace anywhere else.  Very suspect.

#342, if you can find it, is a gorgeous peachy pink, coral-ly shade.  Imagine a nail polish version of Topshop's 'Head Over Heels' blusher and I don't think you're far off!  The consistency of the polish is both creamy and substantial, which makes painting nails quite enjoyable - although the brush isn't too amazing, but it does the job without too much hassle.

I've teamed it with Max Factor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in 'Intense Plum' on the tips for a bright French mani, and a lick of Seche Vite top coat to ensure it looks shiny.  I've worn the polish without the tips and found it to be surprisingly long lasting too, so all in all, very pleased!


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday Round Up #3

This is what my Sunday is consisting of today...

Happy (Mothering) Sunday!  Unfortunately as I'm living at uni, I don't get to see my Mum today :(.  I did send her a lovely parcel earlier this week though, so I got a nice thank you call earlier today (I know you're reading this Mum!).  Despite any photos circulating the internet this week showing Tesco's Mother's Day suggestions, I did not opt for Domestos cleaning products - yes, you read right!  Shocking.  She got a set of Shu Uemura eyelash curlers - she told me I pick the best presents!

It seems like no time at all since I was writing last week's Sunday Round Up, and disappointingly I don't know what I've done with the week!  I did have a little panic on Tuesday.  My skin suddenly decided to turn bright red and crisp overnight, like I'd been oven baked - is this a sign I'm sleeping too much in a toasty bed? - which was absolutely typical when Tuesday was a busy day, giving presentations etc.  All very embarrassing!  So I swapped facial brushing for Liz Earle and the muslin cloth for a few days, and gradually have begun brushing once a day as the week's progressed.  I've also begun using E45 as a staple face cream - which I never thought I would say!  My skin was so damaged/stingy/dry I was basically layering this on at all times I was at home, and again overnight.  It's fixed my skin though, and not caused spots despite it's oily texture, so I'll maybe think about using this as a replacement night cream from now on.

I also had to have a blood test on Tuesday, which added to the stress of things, as I mentioned to the doctor in a medication review that I'd been super tired recently - maybe this caused my over-baking!  I take B Vitamins daily to keep me lively, but I was told to have a blood test to check my 'levels'.  I think it's highly likely my iron will be low as I barely eat any meat - for a student it's very costly!  So I've been thinking a lot this week about food groups, and how to eat nutritious food when you're both a busy and poor student.  If anyone has suggestions, I'd be interested!

Another captivation for my thoughts this week has been from my university's Feminist Discussion Society.  We were talking about 'Lad Culture' - the drinking, objectifying women, the brutish behaviour, 'TrueLad', 'UniLad' - why it's happening and how it affects women.  You only have to type 'women' into Facebook to see an onslaught of horrific and demoralising groups by these kind of people.  All very interesting, but it just makes me thankful that my boyfriend is not at all like this!

Better get back to researching Tuesday's presentation...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

No7 Triple Their Tinted Moisturiser

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the 'no make-up' make-up.  I've never been a big fan of looking like I'm wearing maximum cover; for me, there's no disguising full coverage, it always looks somewhat caked on!  Plus, covering blemishes is quite a risky business, and I think it's a little endearing to have blemishes 'barely there' - because realistically, everybody has some imperfections.

For years I've been using the No7 Dual Protection Tinted Moisturiser; I usually use it during the summer when medium coverage foundations slide off my face and I need sun protection.  With an empty tube and a No7 £5 off voucher, I picked up the newly updated Triple Protection version.  It looks, smells and feels exactly like the old one, so I'm not exactly sure what's changed.  Even the write up on the back is almost identical!  I believe they've just upgraded the formula a little for better sun protection - but I could be wrong.

With three shades the colour range is not great - I use medium and I'm olive-y toned, so darker skinned girls would struggle, which is a shame.

Applied with the RT Buffing Brush this tinted moisturiser leaves a lovely finish; it's light coverage but it does even the skin tone and gently gives a bit of coverage to my blemishes.  I find it doesn't take long to sink into my skin either, leaving my skin feeling smooth afterwards.  What I find most interesting about this tinted moisturiser is that even after a day of wear, when I come to remove make-up at night, I'm cleaning off the colouring it gives.  So despite it being a tinted moisturiser, the coverage is actually quite long lasting!

Unfortunately, if my skin is looking particularly awful, I cannot rely just on the light coverage.  Often I'll use this as a base and blend the Max Factor Pan Stik over blemishes.  With this method I know that I'm still getting the sun protection and not having a full face of maximum coverage, since realistically it's only certain areas that need it.  Despite this, I love how easy this is to wear with combination skin; it doesn't slide off, and it can be used with powder if necessary.  Plus, it doesn't cause break outs - hurrah!  I'll continue using No7 Tinted Moisturiser until I find a better alternative - but I highly doubt I'll find one for £12!


Friday, 16 March 2012

Max Factor Pan Stik

Max Factor Pan Stik (Yes, Stik, not Stick...) - £6.99
Flawlessly airbrushed looking skin is something almost every make-up wearer aspires for, and something which causes endless amounts of product trials.  I came across the Max Factor Pan Stik whilst purchasing some new (old favourite) mascara, and at £6.99 I thought I'd give it a go.

I had a little panic after purchasing when I realised it was for normal/dry skin; anyone who reads my blog will know my skin is far from normal.  But you can't return cosmetics to Boots apparently (even though I'd just bought it, I did ask!) so I thought I'd give it a try anyway.  It does concern me that there's no ingredients on the packaging - I tend to read ingredients as a habit, so I'm not sure if this would bother other people, but it's important to know what's in products in my opinion!

The consistency is very creamy, smooth and thick; the coverage is medium to high.  It's actually really easy to apply, just swipe the stick over cheeks, chin and across the T-zone and blend away - I used my RT Buffing Brush.  The effect is very flawless looking skin, although it needs to be used sparingly near the eyes as it can sit in creases.  Surprisingly, it doesn't cake-up, which I thought it would do; although I do think you can feel it on the skin since it's quite heavy.

Despite the brilliant natural-yet-full coverage, I'm still not completely sold.  The smell really gets to me.  Now, I am funny about smells; Pan Stik smells quite odd, and although it doesn't linger on the skin, it lingers on my RT brushes.  I would try to be polite and say it smells 'classic'; realistically, 'OAP' would be more fitting; and that's just the undertone.  I would definitely recommend trying it out at the counter and giving it a quick whiff to make sure you're not too offended by the pong!  I'm not completely sure, but I have a feeling that this also gave me a few pimples across my cheeks.  Since the formulation is quite heavy, it makes sense that my combination/oily skin wouldn't appreciate any pore clogging.

Despite the break outs, I do think this is a very worthy addition to the make-up bag.  I can't really use it as a foundation because it's just too heavy for my oily skin, but as a concealer over more friendly foundations, it is long-wearing and up to the job.  Even as a concealer, I still find it needs buffing out to create a more flawless look, and a little powder to take off the 'creaminess' it leaves... But as an alternative to Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover, I don't mind paying £6.99!


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Head Over Heels Is Back!

But for how long?  Topshop's make-up range changes as regularly as its clothes (probably), which means loved products are soon taken off the shelves to be replaced by newer, on trend shades.  Thankfully, it seems the 'Head Over Heels' cream blusher is gracing the make-up stand once more!

I've spoken about Topshop cream blushers before; in short, they're fantastic.  Slowly, cream blushers are making their way onto the shelves of high street brands, but don't always boast the longevity and pigmentation that Topshop's have (although I have heard good things about NYX cream blushers, which I hope to purchase soon!).  The photo really doesn't do 'Head Over Heels' justice; it's got coral-ly undertones that compliment the pinkness perfectly to give a natural, blushing look, rather than anything too heavy - it's quite similar to 'Neon Rose' in tone, but is much lighter, for any of you who found 'Neon Rose' to be a little too, er, neon?  Although, as with all cream blushers, you can build them up to get a stronger colour.  Even so, 'Head Over Heels' is a perfect shade for spring/summer.

Many seem to avoid cream blushers because they seem more complicated to apply than powders, but in fact, I think they're much easier to work with!  Topshop's blushers dry to a powdered finish, so once you've blended in with fingers or a brush, they don't look sticky or creamy.  Plus, the formula allows you to blend the blusher into the skin without feeling like you're just layering it on, which powder blusher sometimes does.

If you don't have this blusher in your collection yet, I'd definitely advise a cheeky purchase because you never know when it'll disappear again!


Monday, 12 March 2012

Smooth Talkin' Lush Lip Scrub in Bubblegum

Luscious lips; the envy of all. No matter who you're facing on a daily basis, they all see your lips. If your lips are dry and scabby, it's likely they'll be looking at them in disgust and not listening to anything you're saying. Luscious lips are therefore extremely important.

For £4.95 Lush has provided the perfect solution. Lip scrubs are sweet and tasty lip exfoliators, perfect to use before balms or lipsticks. I don't use my lip scrub as often as I should, and I think the main problem for me is that it smells (and tastes) like Snow Fairy. I just can't help but feeling like I'm eating shower gel! Plus, it's very, very sweet - I probably should have bought a different flavour!

The pot last absolutely ages though, there's a whopping 25g of sugar and oils in the jar, and you can choose from Bubblegum, Mint Julips or Sweet Lips; or buy one of each, of course!  

You just dab your finger into the pot (maybe not the most hygienic..) and scrub over your lips, then lick off the excess.  I know some people use an old toothbrush or just normal sugar to exfoliate lips, but I love that the little glass jar that means Lip Scrub is portable and non-messy!  The oils contained in the Lib Scrubs are also moisturising, so they're basically dual purpose.  Perfect for puckered, kissable lips, whether you're wearing them neutral or layering on the red lipstick for SS12.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Round Up #2

Phew, this week's been another hectic one with uni!  Sadly this has impacted on my blog writing, so I'm feeling really guilty.. It doesn't help my internet went down yesterday so I couldn't post my LIVE Color XXL Foam review.  Stupid thing!

This week has been a little beauty-centric despite the workload.  I've been avidly list writing new post ideas, so hopefully these will come into fruition sooner rather than later, and I'll have lots of new posts to add on here.  I've also been trialling another variation on the French mani - I've posted about the matte & shiny version - but these past few days I've been sporting a coral and purple one.  Very fetching!  So I'll maybe mention this one at a later date too.

I've got a bit of an update on the DIY facial brushing I've been doing for around 4 weeks or so now.  Last week I used a new foundation which left me with a bit of a break out after a couple of days, but now I'm not so sure that part of that hasn't just been the purging stage that so many facial brushers go through!  I've had some huuuge pimples appear on one side of my chin and jaw, whilst the rest of my face is smooth and spot free.  I think this seems typical of the purging stage, so I find it interesting that it seems to have happened in double the time that most people have with the electric brushes.  I'm just hoping that once they disappear they won't come back!

To compliment my new complexion, I've actually been enjoying wearing tinted moisturisers this past week.  Applied with the RT Buffing Brush, my No7 Dual Protection tinted moisturiser (I know the current version is the Triple Protection, I'm considering purchasing with my last No7 £5 voucher) gives a lovely light coverage.  I'm squirming to buy the Laura Mercier Oil Free tinted moisturiser though!  Can I justify £33 on a barely there foundation?

As a little add on, I've been thinking more seriously about entering the Race For Life this summer.  I've considered doing it for a few years, but this year is quite monumental (graduating, mainly..), so I thought "why not?"  Anyone who knows me is more than aware that I'm unfit and overweight, so committing to exercise is monumental in itself.  I unfortunately lost both my maternal grandparents to cancer, and late last year had a scare with my paternal Grandma, not to mention the reams of others I've known who've fought against the awful disease (some lucky, some not so lucky).  I've roped my sister into my plans for the 10k run, so hopefully this summer I'll be doing something for charity whilst also getting fit.  I'll update at a later time about this...


LIVE Color XXL Foam Review - Dark Cherry Bliss 388

LIVE Color XXL Foam Dark Cherry Bliss 388 (here)
In the ever lengthy quest to grow my hair I decided virgin hair was healthiest; I had the colour chopped out and was enthusiastically growing my naturally very dark brown locks. This was going great until one day, when my hair was in a top knot, my boyfriend kindly pointed out that my temples were smattered with grey. Lots and lots of grey. Now, after my GCSEs (so, at 16 for you non-UKers) I noticed I had the odd grey; nowadays, my whole head is covered in grey-sprinkled brown (though thankfully not brown-sprinkled grey, just yet). 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's seen the recent T.V. advertisements for the LIVE XXL Foam dye and has been very intrigued. Foam dye isn't knew; mixing it in the container that you buy it in however, is new. I like new. So off I went to buy some more dye when my grey roots started poking through my parting (no joke). I bought it in Dark Cherry Bliss (388) for a bit of a change. 

Firstly, I love the idea of mixing the colour in the pot you buy it in; the lack of rubbish appeals to the conservationist in me. When you crack open the container, it smells like strawberries too; it still smells like fruit when you whip your hair into a foamy bubble. Of course, the smell of dye isn't lost, but covered with strawberries is much nicer! The gloves to apply the foam are also an upgrade - more like latex and less 'sandwich bag'. The colour is gorgeous too, my hair is always dark, but the shine on it with Dark Cherry Bliss is a deep purple-ish red which I really like.

With flash.
There are a few downsides; I found that although the instructions are simple - tip everything into the container, put on the lid and shake 40 times - that at the bottom there were still unmixed bits. It was really gloopy, dark red and disgusting! But I mixed it with my hand and ran it through the lengths of my hair, hoping it wouldn't over-do the colour... I'm also not sure how I stand on foam in general. It was a bit irritating when I was waiting for the development time, purely because the bubbles were popping and 'moving' on my scalp. It kind of tickled and itched - either way, not the nicest thing when you can't scratch your head! 

The colour also seems really intense. Great on my hair, less so for my towels and bedding. It's been about 2 weeks since I coloured and red is still coming off my hair when I wash it! (I wash every other day.) It doesn't bother me too much, it's probably my own fault for having white laundry and red hair, plus it comes out in the wash. But I imagine for some people this would be a real gripe. 

Overall the coverage is great, it's easy to apply and not too messy. It also smells really fruity and the lack of useless packaging seems a step in the right direction too. There's not really that much difference between the liquid version in terms of quality, so I'd probably just buy the cheapest! I find all of the LIVE XXL dyes to have a great range of colours, both the liquid and foam leave hair shiny, and both have such staying power my roots grow out before they fade. 


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Black Matte & Shiny French Mani

I clearly need to work on my steady hand, but since this mani isn't the most long lasting, I wasn't too bothered! This is definitely an 'occasion' design, since I think it only lasted about two days - I think the matte top coat shortens the life span, unfortunately.

For this I used Sally Hansen's Double Duty as a base coat, NYC Nail Glossies #245B (two layers), 17 Matte top coat (two layers) and Seche Vite on the tips.  It takes me absolutely ages to do since all the different layers have to dry!  But doing it whilst watching Glee takes the edge off it... NYC Glossies polishes seem to be floating around discounted sections online (for example, here), and for the price they're great quality!  They contain vinyl shine and pro vitamin B5, which means they glide on well, dry quickly, leave a lovely gloss to the nails and don't seem to ruin nails either.  Perfect!  The brushes aren't as good as Rimmel Pro or OPI polishes, but for the price (rrp £2.50) you really can't complain.

I used the 'tape trick' for this, which doesn't always work perfectly, but I think it's mostly down to practice.  Saying that, I think I'll do a tutorial for how I do mine in the next week or so, if anyone's interested?


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday Round Up #1

As a close to the week I'll be running the Sunday Round Up.  I know for some, Sunday is the beginning of the week, but for me, it's always the end; I was brought up a Christian, and therefore Sunday's the day of rest!  (Although, no mistaking, I'm not really very religious...)

As part of the Sunday Round Up, I present my Sunday face.  I bought a few new products yesterday on a manic shopping trip to the city.  I always feel I can't browse when I'm with my boyfriend.  He gets really tetchy, so I ended up grabbing and buying LOADS.  I regretted it after, but I used most of them today and I'm pushing the money spending regret to one side and welcoming the new make-up love.  As you can see, I'm sporting quite a fresh-faced look today; I'm trying out a new foundation.

On my cheeks I'm wearing Topshop 'Head Over Heels' which it seems has returned to the make-up stand after the disappearance.  Exciting, I know.  Peachy/pink, creamy goodness!  I also purchased the Real Techniques Core Collection from Boots which I love.  So that'll probably be making an appearance on my blog sometime soon too.

This week has seen me burn a gigantic hole in my bank account, yet I'm still lusting after some black chelsea boots.  It's also seen the dramatic end to TOWIE, a decidedly warm and sunny end to February and a busy week reading for me!  Although I should probably get back to researching Daniel Defoe; so much to do, so little time!


February Top Picks

Now I feel like my blog has become a bit more established, I thought some new varieties of posts might be nice to mix things up a bit.  So alongside any reviews I write, I'm going to do a monthly pick of my top 5 products, and some other top monthly things too.  Also, I wanted to send smiley 'hello's and 'thank you's to the new followers I've gained recently!

February's been an odd month this year; normally it's cold and depressing, but this month has seen freezing and sun bathing.  It's also seen the beginning of a couple of big university projects, so there's been lots of thinking this month!  Here's my February top picks:

1.  Skincare Product:  The Body Shop Mattifying Day Cream

Long name aside, this face cream is my daily moisturiser and helps to keep my crazy skin under control.  I blogged about it here, and explained my love for this day cream.  My oily skin ruins my make-up on a daily basis; this day cream helps to prolong my 'made up' face.  I wouldn't say it's the best moisturiser however, and if my skin is particularly dry I need something a little stronger.  But for it's primary purpose, this wins me over every time.

2.  Hair Product:  Lee Stafford Flat Iron Protection Shine Mist

I've been using the Lee Stafford Flat Iron Protection Mist since I was in school (many moons ago..) and although I've occasionally deviated, I've always come running back.  I love the smell, it doesn't leave residue in my hair, does what it promises and doesn't cost the earth.  I use this every day and can't see myself using anything else.

3.  Make-up Product:  Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick #08

Blogged about here, I expressed my love for this lipstick.  You may think I'm joking when I proclaim I wear this every day.  I'm not.  It's transferred to every hand bag I use and applied every morning.  The colour is perfect, it smells lovely and the staying power isn't too bad either.  I also don't find I need to apply lip balm as much either, which means I can have deep rosy lips all the time instead.  Hooray!

4.  Tool:  Origins Facial Brush

I spoke about this here.  I've been using this for pretty much all of February, twice a day, without fail.  I'm still not sure on the cleanser to use with it, but for the time being a Clean & Clear mild daily wash is doing fine.  My acne is getting better in leaps and bounds, my pores look better and my skin looks clearer too.  I don't find brushing my face too strenuous to need an electric one just yet either!

5.  Wildcard:  Elegant Touch Flawless French Manicure

My original blog about this was in December when I bought the kit for my mum for Christmas (here), and this month I purchased a set for myself.  I've found the trick with these is to apply lots of top coat and if the corners begin to lift, glue them back down before they catch on something!  Mine lasted well over a week and still looked beautiful when I took them off - only because I wanted a change.  My nails were a bit dry and ragged when I took them off, but needless to say, they weren't weak and had grown loads!  A wonderful alternative to acrylics/gels and look just as good.

And just a few other favourites from February that are less make-up related...

T.V. Show:  Grimm

I cannot stop watching this programme.  Although it scares the living daylights out of me, it's absolutely brilliant.  New to the UK for February on Watch, it seems to really have gone under the radar.  But I can assure you, this is not one to miss!  Think detective/thriller with a heavy supernatural theme, accompanied by the perfect amount of jumpy moments and horror film tactics, this one's a real winner for me.

Music:  Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Lana's album was received with mixed reviews and some saying it was depressingly boring.  Despite this, I think it's a great album and keep listening.  Who can ignore her sparkly tooth and amazing fashionably relaxed outfits?

Read:  Parrotfish - Ellen Wittlinger (Amazon link)

I read this for my Queer Literature module and couldn't put it down.  It's a young adult novel, so easy to read, but gives a direct insight into Grady's challenge in changing from 'girl' to 'boy' whilst juggling family pressure, high school and friendships.  The novel raises lots of issues that'll leave you questioning how we view society and what actually denotes someone as 'man' or 'woman' and why.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Open Wide: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers (here) - Purchased through Buyapowa
Comes with box and spare insert, not photographed.

It's no word of a lie that Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers are some of the best (maybe even the best) in the business.  Endless amounts of make-up artists use these eyelash curlers, which by anyone's standards, says a lot.  I've never really been a user of eyelash curlers, but more recently I decided that they're a tool I really wanted in my make-up bag.  I began my search, and came to the conclusion I needed the Shu Uemura ones.

Buyapowa listed this co-buy three times over a couple of days before I finally managed to grab mine - unlucky for me, I just kept missing them!  And trust me, they go fast.  I was however, the lucky buyer to get them for free with the co-buying incentive, so I was ecstatic.  By the way, Buyapowa's service was fantastic; I couldn't recommend them enough.  Great prices, cheap postage and well packaged, quick delivery; you couldn't ask for more!

They arrived, I glanced over the instructions and set to work.  Having never properly used eyelash curlers before, I found it a little tricky.  I'm getting better, but still haven't quite mastered holding, squeezing (but not too hard, or too long) so that my eyelashes don't just bend in half.  It's something which I assume just comes with practice!  Some days I manage to get beautiful, big curling lashes; others, a bit bent.. 

Ultimately, the mascara is probably the next most important thing next to the eyelash curler.  If you don't use the right one, the curl flops and you're left looking like sad elephant (long, floor-facing eyelashes.. No? Google it.)  I've got a few different mascaras in my possession, even ones that are supposed to curl lashes, which leave me with days of disappointing elephant eyes.  Only the Collection 2000 Big False Lash Effect mascara holds something more like big, curled eyelashes; although next, I think I need to repurchase my old favourite, Max Factor False Lash Effect.  When you want big, curled lashes, you need a brush that both separates and combs whilst building volume and length.  Unfortunately, many mascaras just don't cut it for me!

Despite the mascara problems, my Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers have been a daily staple; whether I'm mascara-ing or going natural, these exceptional curlers open up eyes and give incredible eyelashes.  I'm not yet sure if this actually enables me to see more... but I've decided that can be saved for a later experiment, since first, I need to find a mascara that does these babies justice!  Oh, and I haven't included a photo of my curled lashes because 1) I haven't perfected using them just yet, and 2) Every photo I take I just look unflatteringly like a bug.  Sorry!


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Going Gaga For A Half Moon Manicure

Not being a fan of the new pointy nail trend, I needed another slightly wacky nail design.  Cue, the alternative half moon manicure.  I think Gaga was rocking this updated 1940s nail art a while back, but since I had no equipment for a classic half moon style, I had to go pointed and modern.

I began with a base of Sally Hansen Double Duty, layered on the Nails Inc. 'Oxford Circus', cut squares of tape and angled (with minimal precision!) near the cuticle when 'Oxford Circus' had dried, and layered on OPI 'Skull & Glossbones' (blogged about here).  Peeled off the tape, covered in Seche Vite Top Coat and hey presto!

It's a little messy since it's the first attempt. Even so, I can't stop looking at my nails..