Tuesday, 27 August 2013

August 2013 Glossybox Review

Glossybox is a monthly subscription of 5 high-end beauty product samples (with some full-size products sometimes, too) for £10 + £2.95 p+p)

You can earn Glossydots by reviewing the products in a quick survey, or by inviting friends, and redeem points for a free box.  Each survey is worth 50 points, and 1000 Glossydots = 1 free box, so if you review 5 products a month, every 5th Glossybox should be free.  You get 200 Glossydots for every friend that signs up and places an order. 

The August 2013 Glossybox had a high-flyer's theme - 'Your Travel Kit for the Summer', with products from various places across the globe.

First up in the box was a make up remover pen from Brazillian company Ócéane Femme, which I'd obviously never heard of before, what with them being from Brazil and all.  It's a pen with make up remover liquid inside, and disposable nibs.

You can use it to clean up eyeliner, lips, smudges of mascara - anything you want to correct really - and it does the job very well! You don't need to go over and over the area, it comes off in one clean sweep, so you can get a really sharp winged eye, or very defined lips.

The nibs do absorb the product that's been removed, but the pack comes with one nib in the pen, and 3 spares, so it's no big deal if one gets dirty.

I'm not sure what retails at, because I can't find anywhere that stocks it! But however much it is (within reason), it's worth it.

Next up in the box was something I've never really understood the appeal of - eyelash curlers.  

These particular ones are from Emite, a Swedish brand.

They're black with a red rubber bits (does anyone know what they're called?), and are apparently the only curlers to have the handle angled away from the curling mechanism so that you don't have to touch them against your face and ruin your base make up.
They work really well and have become a part of my everyday routine, whereas my old ones barely ever saw the light of day.

The RRP is around £20, and they are available to purchase from Emite Makeup.

Third in the box was a 2-in-1 eyeshadow/liner pencil from Glossybox's favourite brand, Jelly Pong Pong.  I won't lie, I was hoping for any colour other than black, as I've got PLENTY of black eyeliners and eyeshadow, and I wanted to try a colourful waterline. The purple one looks beautiful.  But of course, I got black.  

I did try it in the waterline and will be completely honest in saying that it does not work at all.  At all.  Yeah, it puts some colour down, but then it separates and looks grey and gathers in the corners of your eye for a mascara-gloop look.

It works fine as eyeliner on the lid, and can be smudged and layered to create a smokey eye eyeshadow effect, but I wouldn't label it as an eyeshadow.Not great.  Its RRP is £10.50 and there are so many better eyeliners on the market for less money.  

Trèsemmé also featured in this month's box, with a product not yet available in the UK - Keratin Smooth 60 Second Conditioning Treatment Shot.  It's a tiny little tube (15ml) of intensive conditioner designed to restore and repair damaged hair, leaving it smooth and strengthened.

It does an alright job, my hair was nice and soft, but I can't say that it felt much stronger - it's hard to tell from 1 or 2 treatments, which is all the small tube allows for (on long hair, anyway).

The only downside I can think of, other than the teeny tiny amount you get for your money, is that the tube has a break-off end rather than a screw cap, or even just a normal shampoo bottle cap, so you can't reseal it at all.

This product is not yet available for purchase.

The final product in the box was a tube of Urban Veda Purfiying Facial Polish.  

Urban Veda are a natural, ayurvedic skincare company.  They are against animal testing and all of their products are approved by the Vegetarian society.  All of their packaging is recyclable and all bottles are made from post-consumer recycled plastic.

The facial polish contains natural pumice as an exfoliant, cold pressed neem oil and essential oils to remove impurities and treat blackheads.  The antioxidant rich botanicals work in synergy with naturally astringent herbals and collagen-boosting extracts to reduce excess sebum, tighten pores and hydrate the skin.

It smells very refreshing, with tea-tree and spearmint being the main scents, exfoliates really well and has been helping to clear my skin of the endless hormonal outbreaks that have been popping up recently.

Whilst it is £8.99/125ml, I would say that this is definitely a product worth the money.  A little bit goes a really long way and it gets the job done.  Available to purchase from urbanVeda.co.uk.

The August box was definitely a step up from the string of disappointing boxes I've received recently, and I'm looking forward to seeing if the September box impresses me as much as this one has.

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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Figs & Rouge Tinted Lip Balm - 100% Pure & Natural?

As a lot of my regular readers will know, I aim to buy more natural products when it comes to make up - paraben free, organic and ethically sourced as much as possible.

Obviously there are some exceptions to this, but if I see something advertised as natural, I will pick that over the other products available.

So I was happy to find a pure and natural tinted lip balm in the June Glossybox.  I used it for weeks, almost every day, assuming it was full of good stuff that would make my lips soft and lovely.

And then I showed my boss at work, and she took a look at the ingredients, something I'd not even thought to do seeing as '100% PURE, 100% NATURAL' was plastered all over the tube.

Here's what we discovered:

Cherry Blossom Tinted Lip Balm - Ricinus Communis Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Copernica Cerifera Wax, Parfum, CI 45380, CI 15850, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene.

Ricinus Communis Oil - A fancy way of saying Castor Oil.  Castor Oil has a high concern rating for irritation when it comes into contact with skin, eyes or lungs.  Something you'd want to put on your lips?

Hydrogenated Castor Oil - You can read a fantastic blog post here by TheSmartMama which explains the process that makes hydrogenated castor oil so unnatural and definitely, catagorically, not pure.

Copernica Cerifera Wax - Wax from the leaves of a Carnauba Palm, a plant native to Brazil.

Parfum - I HATE that products can simply list 'parfum' or 'fragrance' on their ingredients list!  it covered such a wide range of potential ingredients which each have their own ratings as allergens and irritants.

CI 45380 - a synthetic dye produced from petroleum or coal tar sources, which are continuously tested on animals due to their carcinogenic properties.

CI 15850 - as above, with the main function being as an ingredient in hair dye. RESTRICTED IN COSMETICS USE.

Benzyl Alcohol - An allergen, classified as 'expected to be toxic or harmful to non-reproductive organs' (including skin).

LimoneneA scent ingredient and solvent naturally ocurring in the rind of citrus fruit. Upon storage and exposure to sunlight and air, limonene degrades to various oxidation products which act as skin and respiratory irritants and sensitizers. (EWG.org)

All I have to say is, how can a company be allowed to market a product as 100% PURE and 100% NATURAL, when it is NEITHER of those things?

I'd be interested to see which other 'natural' products aren't quite as natural as they claim to be... Please share your thoughts below!

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Monday, 5 August 2013

Real Techniques Core Collection

I have been using my cheap Fraulein 3°8 brushes for a couple of years now, and they are well past the point of being worn out - half of them have vanished into thin air and the other half have lost their shape and become a bit scratchy.

Don't get me wrong, they were great brushes for the price I paid (£14.99 for 31 brushes!), and make for excellent starter brushes, but I was beyond ready for some better quality brushes that better fit my needs.

After a lot of deliberation about which brushes to get - do I get Shaanxo's 4pc Synthetic Face Brush Set, wait to see how much Wayne Goss' brushes will be, get a couple of MAC brushes, Crown brushes, Sigma... the list continues - I decided to go for the Real Techniques Core Collection by Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo.

At £21.99 it was the best value for money that I found, still keeping the quality.

The brushes within the set are:

- Buffing Brush
- Pointed Foundation Brush
- Contour Brush
- Detailer Brush,

They are 100% Cruelty Free, made with synthetic taklon bristles, and come in a really handy case.

Buffing Brush

The Buffing Brush has transformed the way I apply my makeup, honestly.  It's really densely packed and feels super soft on the skin.  I know that everyone has their own preferences of which brushes they use to apply which products, and I am no different.  The brush is recommended for use with cream/powder foundations, however I find that it applies my liquid foundation flawlessly.

I usually pump the product onto the back of my hand, and apply it with the buffing brush in small circles, or stippling over areas where I have applied my concealer.  I find that, this way, I can build the coverage in the areas I feel that I need it, and sheer it out in my less problematic areas.  I have more control over where my makeup is placed and can avoid any streaks by buffing it in really well.

I also use my buffing brush to blend the edges of my contouring / blush, to give it a more natural finish rather than looking like stripes of war paint across my cheeks - not a good look!

Pointed Foundation Brush

On days when I have more time to spend on my face, I will use the Pointed Foundation Brush to apply my foundation in 5 lines - down my forehead/nose/chin, and at the top and bottom of each cheek.  then I can blend it with my buffing brush.

I also find that it is great for getting into tricky areas - like the under-eye area, or around the nose.  I have, on occasion, used it to apply concealer to those areas, and have found that it works just fine.  The bristles are densely packed, but have enough layering to be able to give a nice feathered finish to concealer when you don't want quite as full coverage.

Contour Brush

Along with the buffing brush, the Contour Brush is the brush I use every day.  I use it for both contouring and blush, and if I'm feeling fancy, highlighter too.  It has a really nice domed shape and picks up product incredibly well.  I use it to apply matte bronzer from my ear to halfway towards my mouth, along my jawline and up across my temples in small circles, to give my face more shape and definition.

I use the same method of application to apply my blush (but obviously only to my cheeks) and then blend any edges that are left with my buffing brush to make it look more seamless and get one step closer to that airbrushed finish we all crave.

Detailer Brush 

The Detailer Brush is the odd one out for me.  I have used it to apply concealer, but find that using my fingers to warm up the product and press it onto my skin gives a better finish.  I've also tried using it for lipstick, and it works just fine, but it's a bit hard to get the precision required for a defined cupids bow or really clean lines around the lips, as it's just a strange in-between size.  It is, however good for applying a highlight to the inner corner of the eye and onto the brow bone.

The Case

Finally I want to mention the case.  This really sets these brushes apart, in my opinion.  The brushes come in the right hand side of the case, with each gap in the elastic sized to fit each individual brush, and on the left side there are 2 extra spaces for any other brushes you may use on a daily basis, or if, like me, you plan to buy more real techniques brushes which aren't part of a set, you can keep them all together.

The case folds up sideways and has a velcro closure to keep brushes secure and compact, and also folds backwards, as seen in the photo above, to create a brush stand.  It secures with a toggle and is really handy for grabbing your brushes.

If you are considering buying these brushes, I would definitely recommend them - they are excellent quality and you just can't argue with the price - I've found them available for £17.85 (15% off) at HQHair.com, so if you can take advantage of that offer, do! If not, they are available for £20.99 at TheHut.com and FeelUnique.com, or £21.99 from Boots.

Car shot - full face applied with Real Techniques brushes.

I hope this review was helpful!

Do you use Real Techniques brushes?  Which are your favourites? - Comment below!

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Images courtesy of Realtechniques / StyleBlazer

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Review: Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer

 I was running out of my Rimmel Wake Me Up, and my skin's been getting crappier by the day recently (thanks, summer heat), so I needed a concealer that could cover blemishes well.  After hearing all the hype around the Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer, I decided I needed to try it.

I picked it up at Superdrug for £3.99, and didn't expect much from it for that price, yeah it might cover my spots/scarring for a bit but I was fully expecting it to wear off after a couple of hours - no way would a £3.99 concealer last 16 hours.


I have to jump on the band wagon and agree that this is a must-have makeup bag staple.  It goes on well, has full coverage, blends easily, doesn't go cakey, and lasts. all. day.

The concealer is available in 4 shades, Fair, Light, Medium and Deep.  I, of course, being the vampire-skinned, almost albino, ghostly pale person that I am, use the shade Fair.  The colour match is spot on, and the coverage is incredible.

Unlike some concealers I've used in the past, Lasting Perfection doesn't lose a lot of it's coverage when it's blended - which means I can wear a light-medium coverage foundation and let my skin breathe a bit more!

I use it over any redness, scarring and blemishes, and under my eyes - it takes a little bit of extra blending to make sure the under-eye area doesn't crease, but it usually stays put exactly where it's applied and doesn't budge all day - which is impressive in the heat we've been having in the UK recently - I'll come home and most of my foundation will have worn away, but I don't look too bad because my problem areas are still well concealed and blended to look, well, like normal skin.

I do find that if I apply it over a healing blemish / cystic that it doesn't sit very well, but nothing really does.  That's the price you pay for constantly messing with your face without realising I guess. (Read about how I reduce the size of blemishes here).

The only other 'Con' I have is that, whilst the product itself is transfer proof, the lettering on the packaging is not.  Pro Tip: Paint the concealer tube with clear nail polish as soon as you buy it, otherwise you WILL end up with black smudges on your hands, face, clothes, walls - everywhere.

Overall I do really love this concealer and will repurchase and repurchase and repurchase.

It's available to buy from Superdrug for £3.99, Boots for £4.19 or Amazon for £3.99.

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