Sunday, May 22, 2016

US Sephora haul

US Sephora make up haul

Today's post is a quick look at a US Sephora haul that arrived last week.  For Dubai peeps, US Sephora does not ship here, nor will it ship to a US Aramex Shop and Ship account as it detects that the address is a freight forwarding address-however, I have found a loophole.  I ship my order to my UK Shop and Ship address and it goes through fine.  However, as UK peeps may know, Sephora will not ship all brands to the UK-particularly those that can be bought in the UK.

Today's post is a 'show and tell', please leave me a comment and let me know what you would like to see swatched and reviewed first and I will get right on it.

Just looking at some of these things I am in love-I really hope when I use them I love them even more!

US Sephora make up haul

US Sephora make up haul

US Sephora make up haul

First out the box, I bought the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea concealer after seeing numerous raves about it.  I also blind bought the Sephora 10hr wear perfection foundation-I haven't read anything about this and I guessed my shade so fingers crossed!!

I bought four more of the Huda Beauty lip contour pencils-these are completely sold out in Dubai, but having tried Icon and liked it, when they went live on Sephora I grabbed four more. 

I bought two liquid lip products-the Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in Goals, a peachy nude and the Kat Von D Transformer Liquid Lipstick.  This is an iridescent pink pearl that can be used alone or as a top coat to add extra dimension to your lipstick.

I was dying to try some of the newly launched Estee Edit products and chose three-the first of which is the Edgiest Kohl Shadowstick in Frost Bite-I am hoping this pulls more green than silver as greys on my eyes don't look good.

The Bronzer from the Estee Edit though is utterly beautiful and I can't wait to use it.  It's a huge slim disk and the packaging is just sublime.  I really hope it's amazing!!

Finally, from the Estee Edit range I picked up the Flash Photo Powder.  This is a pressed powder with a distinct blue tint and I have not seen anything like this before.  This powder claims to absorb oil and to brighten the skin-making you always camera ready.  Again the packaging is stunning.

I'm literally so excited about these two mini Viseart palettes-they both look stunning.  Minx is on the left and Cashmere is on the right and they just look so beautiful.  2016 is the year I have actually started liking matte eyeshadows and have really gotten into warmer toned eyeshadows so I have such high hopes for these-but they have a price tag that means they need to be pretty good.

I picked up the Sephora Pro Full Coverage Airbrush #53 because I saw it on Laura's blog and it looked like a very good idea! It's a short handled, fan shaped dense brush and I hope it offers the full coverage it promises.

I picked up some pigments from Ardency Inn because I remember Sarah telling me they were really good-left to right is Sunday, Vintage Gold (which sadly didn't survive the journey), Copper and Heaven.  This is a totally new brand to me but Sarah's recommendations are usually pretty good.  I also bought the Kat Von D Metal Crush eyeshadow in Synergy-although these are in Dubai, this shade isn't and it looks perfect!

Finally I picked up one of the new Amuse Bouche lipsticks from Bite.  I'm a huge fan of Bite and own a ton of their lipsticks but recently they launched a new range, discontinuing the majority of the formulas I own.  I wanted to try one so went for a bold red-Gazpacho.

So that's the whole haul-are any of these products on your wishlist?  What would you like to see reviewed first?


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recent empties

It doesn't feel like two minutes since I wrote up my last empties post but here are some of the things I have recently used up and some brief thoughts on them-I have also linked in some previous reviews of any products I have written.

Show Beauty Sheer Thermal Protect:

I reviewed some of the Show Beauty hair care products here and I called this heat protection spray the 'must have' from the range.  I felt that my hair was really protected from heat styling damage and my straighteners really did glide through my hair after I had blow dried it using this.  It is super expensive though and an absolute treat.  The packaging is beautiful but, it does get a little sticky on the outside as time goes on-I guess from the residue when the product is sprayed.

Boscia Make Up Break Up Cool Cleansing Oil:

This is one of my favourite cleansing oils without breaking the bank.  I am fussy about cleansing oils and won't touch any mineral based oil cleansers.  I apply two pumps of this cleansing oil to dry skin and use it to remove my make up-it does feeling cooling and refreshing without feeling heavy and overly oily.  It's super effective at removing all my makeup and is safe to use around the eyes without irritation.  It washes off easily with no residue but I do, as usual use a damp flannel to assist.  It doesn't leave my skin oily or stripped of oil, it's just a great make up remover.

Glamglow SuperCleanse Daily Treatment Cleanser:

I really wanted to write a full review of this cleanser but time got away from me and I didn't get chance.  I really like the Glamglow face masks-I reviewed the original mask ages ago and it was actually Jo from A Little Pop Of Coral who made me want this-check out her review here because it's so in depth.  To me this isn't a make up removing cleanser, it's more of a treatment cleanser.  I have quite oily skin and I do find this did dry out my skin quite a lot so I used it every alternate morning.  Even though it's a mud cleanser it's quite easy to remove, even without a flannel and I really do think this is something I would repurchase.

Antipodes Divine Facial Oil:

It took me a while to get through this and it wasn't something I used religiously but every time I used it my skin did look better the next day.  I have learned that oil + oily skin is not a no no, in fact the right oils can help to control the skins oil production.

This oil contains organic Avocado Oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and macadamia oil plus ylang ylang and Omega 9 to strengthen and balance skin.  I find that this is quite a heavy oil compared to some I have used but it's non greasy and absorbs well without leaving a sticky residue.  It doesn't cause me to break out and has been most effective for me in reducing old blemish scars. 

Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum:

I recently reviewed this brilliant serum from Niod and this is something I would definitely repurchase.  I found my skin was less inflamed, more hydrated and less oily from day one.  I found the pores around my nose to be less obvious and my skin to be more even toned.  The pigmentation I get at the top of my cheeks has also reduced a lot.  It's definitely a thumbs up from me.

Lancome Genifique Yeux:

A bit of a weird one, I just didn't find I loved it.  The dispenser has a peardrop shaped metal applicator that you use to massage the product into your eye contour.  The formula is a liquidy serum that absorbs and dries quickly but I don't feel like I saw any huge tangible benefits other than my undereyes being well hydrated.

Garnier Express 2 in 1 eye make up remover:

I really love this drugstore eye make up remover and will definitely be bulk buying when I go back to the UK-I wrote a full review here.

Eucerin Aquaphor soothing skin balm:

An absolute holy grail product for me and I have 3 back ups at home and one in practically every corner of my apartment.  I have tried a million lip balms from pence to £££ and I always come back to this.  It's the only thing that keeps my lips in good condition

Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Corrector:

Correctors always seemed like a right faff to me but this one is so easy to use that I am hooked.  I am the shade 'Light Bisque' which has slightly salmon undertones and the MUA told me to apply this first, patting on 5 dots around the under eye area with the applicator and then blending before adding 3 dots of concealer on top.  The corrector balances discoloration under the eye and there are shades to correct blue undertones, dark circles and sallowness.  It's so lightweight and creamy, doesn't crease and feels hydrating. I pair it with the Collection concealer over the top and I prefer to blend it using a small brush or beauty blender rather than my fingers.  I'll 100% be repurchasing.

Collection Lasting Perfection concealer:

I know this is a blogging fave but I just never bought into it until I was in the UK last Xmas and I picked a couple up.  And this really is a great concealer.  I use it everywhere-under eyes and to conceal blemishes and scars.  Definitely something I will pick up in the UK in June.

MAC Studio Fix:

A brilliant product for setting foundation-I had seen Nic from Pixiwoo using this quite a lot in tutorials as a powder foundation but, in the spirit of more is always more I applied my foundation and then this on top as my setting powder.  And to apply it, my favourite brush is a flat topped buffing brush.

Studio Fix is really really finely milled which makes it perfect for buffing over the skin.  I like it because it's not chalky or powdery and it evens out my skintone.  It can also be used as a powder foundation which gives lighter coverage but that's not for me. It also lasted absolutely ages.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow pencil in 20E:

I'm a big fan of a chunky eyeshadow stick and these are actually discontinued and replaced by the Aqua Matic waterproof glide on eyeshadow sticks.  But the formula of these is great-they are budge proof, crease proof and fade proof and also work brilliantly as an eyeshadow base.  The Sephora ones I love are a very close dupe and the shade Taupe is an almost exact match for this one.

So that's everything I have used up recently and I noticed two things-a lot of these things I have already spoken about on my blog which shows I am not a total floozy with make up products and do genuinely use things up rather than jumping from one thing to another and also that a lot of these products are really really good!

Have you tried any of them?


Monday, May 16, 2016

Lip Six

lipstick swatches

Happy Monday!  Well last week was a rough week for me-I had chronic abdominal pain and so am under investigation and when this post goes live I will be having another scan which will hopefully help my doctor to make a decision on treatment.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Here are my last six lip picks:

Top row-(L) Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 5 (love love love this) (R) NARS lipgloss in Striptease (review!)

Middle row-(L) Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy lipstick in Intense Nude (R) MAC Satin lipstick in Twig

Bottom row-(L) MAC Mineralize lipstick in Lady at Play (R) MAC Amplified lipstick in Chatterbox

Which is your favourite?

Have an amazing week!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The review: Hylamide HA Blur Primer

Hylamide HA Blur Primer

I admit to being a bit of a primer freak-make up primer, primer mist, eyeshadow primer, eyelash primer-I own and use them all daily.  More is more.

So when Deciem sent my Hylamide's latest release, their HA Blur, I had an inkling this would be something I might love.

So let's get techy for a moment and talk about how this primer works.  The primer feels like a silicone laden formula and it's thick and balmy but it actually contains no silicone at all.  As much as silicone primers are brilliant for blurring the skin, they can actually break down makeup throughout the day and silicone isn't great for dry skin because it basically sucks out all the moisture.

So why do we use blurring products?  Basically because they work by scattering the light as it hits our faces which gives the illusion of better skin-smaller pores, less lines, more even tone etc etc.

What HA Blur does is use Hyaluronic Acid powder to create prism shaped particles that reflect light from the skin.  Not only does it blur the skin but it because it uses hyaluronic acid it smoothes, hydrates and plumps up the skin giving the perfect base for foundation.  Pores are definitely blurred and you do get that velvet-y smooth finish to the skin that you get with silicone based products but without the heavy feeling of silicone on the skin. 

I love applying this after moisturiser and before foundation although you can use this throughout the day to touch up-the best way is to dispense a small amount onto your fingers, very gently rub your hands together to disperse the product evenly and then press your hands onto your skin.  If I am using it in the morning I then apply my foundation with a damp beauty blender and find that gets the best results because it doesn't disturb the primer on the skin.  It doesn't cause make up to separate throughout the day and the hyaluronic acid clings to your base (in a good way), making your foundation look fresher for longer.

Don't just take my word for it, The Sunday Girl and London Beauty Queen, two of the most no nonsense bloggers I know both rate this highly too.

This product is a little bit 'instagram filter-y' because it does seem to create a skin surface that is significantly smoother-fine lines and pores seem to disappear and you immediately have a good skin day.  And who doesn't want that?

HA Blur can be bought from Escentual, Look Fantastic and Boots in the UK and retails for about the £18 mark-link!

*contains a product sent to me for review.  Thoughts and opinions are, as always, my very own.


Friday, May 13, 2016

4 things I am using right now #5

I quite enjoy writing these 'snapshot' posts of things I am using at the moment-the only problem for me is keeping them as a snapshot and not rambling on and on...but I'll try.

First up is a moisturiser I bought when I was in Vegas last year and it was my first Dr Dennis Gross product.  I've just actually finished this up and it was quite a nice moisturiser-especially if you live in a hot climate or have oily skin.  The moisturiser is more of a light gel formula and reminded me of Origins Ginzing and it feels hydrating without being overbearing on the skin.  My hormonal acne prone skin always prefers gel/water based formulas to creams so this was the perfect light, non greasy solution.  The formula contains Hyaluronic Acid which keeps moisture locked into skin, Glycolic Acid to improve tone and texture, Aloe to soothe and Collagen to plump and firm.  I do think I prefer the Origins Ginzing and I probably wouldn't repurchase this particular product.  It was just nice, not wow. 

Next is a much hyped up in the bloggersphere product and it's the Nivea for Men sensitive aftershave balm which I picked up from my local supermarket.  Nikki Tutorials started this trend of using this as a primer because it's main ingredient is glycerin which helps make up 'stick' to it, meaning your make up lasts longer.  I use a version produced in the Middle East so I don't know if the ingredients differ to that in the UK/US but I struggle to get this product to go 'tacky' which is the main tip given-rub into your skin until it goes tacky, which I guess means the glycerin is activated.  However, that being said, I have been using this a lot as a moisturiser/primer hybrid.  It's very liquidy so I tip a 10p piece size out and then rub into my face and make up does apply nicely over it.  I've had no problems with it breaking me out but again I have not been wowed by it-I don't notice a huge difference in the longevity of my make up when I use it.

Next up is the NARS Sheer Glow.  I have used NARS Sheer Glow before and I really liked it.  I repurchased it and this time I just didn't feel at first like it was doing anything for me on its own.  So I tried amping up the longevity and coverage by mixing it with Estee Lauder Double Wear.  I found this gave a much higher coverage finish than just using Sheer Glow on it's own but by mid afternoon I did find that there was a lot of settling into pores at the bottom of my cheeks and forehead.  But this last week my skin has been a lot better and so I have been using this alone and really liking it!  Medium coverage, no settling into pores, a satin finish on the skin.  I've been using it on top of the Nivea 'primer' and I have been much happier with it.

Finally, a newly launched product from a brand I love but initially I really hated it-and yet people were raving about it.  It's the Dior Forever and Ever Control loose powder.  I was so excited to try this as I had heard amazing things but I felt like when I used it, it looked like sand on my skin.  No matter how I applied it, my face looked 'gritty' and it seemed to sit on my skin.  I also hated the packaging-the cushion protecting the powder makes it really difficult to dispense the powder and the fact the lid sits 'into' the powder is great for travelling as it means the powder is prevented from escaping and spilling everywhere, but you can't tip the powder into the lid so you have to press your brush directly onto the cushion to try and get the powder out and oh it's just such a faff. But.....every review I read was really positive so I went back to it to retry and now I actually kinda really like it.  My personal tips for applying it are: use a very dense powder brush and hold it upright and tap the cushion directly onto it to dispense the product and then press the powder onto your skin.  By pressing it in you don't get the 'sand' effect and the powder does instantly 'blur' your skin which is quite a nice effect.  It also does keep me matte longer than anything I have used recently.  It is a universal shade so adds no colour but I do wonder if this will be too pale for darker skin tones.  I also recommend you don't use this under the eyes as it makes your skin look very dry and crepe-y.  I was sure this was getting blog-saled but it can stay for now.  And I am glad I gave it a second chance!

Have you tried any of these products?


Monday, May 9, 2016

Lip Six

So this is the lip six that nearly didn't happen because I totally forgot to write it up-so here I am at 11.21pm Sunday evening throwing it together to go up, as normal on a Monday.

How are you all?  I know the UK have been enjoying amazing weather whilst here in Dubai it's hitting the 40's and above-#HelloSummer

If you don't follow me on snapchat (shameless promotion-username Stadybelle) here is a snapshot of what I have been up to in the last week-joined a gym, bought trainers, bought gym clothes, bought false lashes and a ton of MAC to compensate for such odd behaviour from myself, haven't actually been to gym, got drunk on a work night out and came home at 3am, woke up fully clothed and made up, had a long lazy lunch with Laura, Laura and Kirsty, placed a big US Sephora haul and booked a flight to the UK for June!

Here is this weeks last six lip picks:

Top row: L-Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop in Wham (I own two of these and really like them!) R-Charlotte Tilbury matte revolution lipstick in Love Liberty (review!)

Middle row: L-Nars Velvet Matte lip crayon in Never Say Never R-Tom Ford Lips and Boys 'Drake' (review!)

Bottom row: L-MAC matte lipstick in Velvet Teddy (review) R-Lancome Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love (review!)

Which is your favourite?

That's all folks, what have you been up to last week?

NB any typos in this post I put down purely to it being 23:53 and having gotten up this morning at 05:20.  No rest for the wicked as they say!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

The review: Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Doll Parts

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Doll Parts

I am not a cool girl.  I would describe myself as average and at 36, far from down with the kids.  I didn't really know who Jeffree Star was but I was seeing his name popping up more and more on YouTube and he is part of a rising indie genre of make up artists/bloggers/YouTuber launching their own lines.  My recent guests Sarah and Aimee though are very much more au fait with these quirky brands and had make up bags filled with cult and harder to find brands.

Routing through Sarah's make up bag, I cast aside the grey (really) and ultra nude lipsticks she had brought with her and honed in on this pinky shade from Jeffree Star.

I quite like liquid lipsticks and this one is described as a 'velour liquid lipstick', so I expected a velvet matte finish.

The problem with liquid lipsticks though is I find them to be either way too drying (Anastasia), tacky (Kat Von D) or leave a horrible white mark around the inside of the lips as they wear off.  The best I have found so far are the Sephora Cream Lip Stains 

I'm really happy to report though that this one was really good-the least drying of most of the ones I have tried and the staying power was epic.  I really love this cool toned rosy pink shade and found my MAC Edge to Edge liner to be a great match.  If Jeffree Star is too difficult to source, Kat Von D 'Mother' is virtually identical in tone-but I much prefer the Jeffree Star formula.

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Doll Parts

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Doll Parts

You can buy these direct from the Jeffree Star website and they do ship internationally.  They're $18 and are 100% cruelty free and also vegan.

Some of the shades are way too extreme for me but Redrum and Masochist give me all the feels and I would love to get my hands on them!

Have you tried anything from Jeffree Starr?


Friday, May 6, 2016

The review: Niod Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex and Copper AminoIsolate Serum

The review: Niod Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex and Copper Amino Isolate Serum

Niod is a brand I am quite obsessed with and for very good reason.  My first foray into the brand was to pick up the Photography Fluid from Look Fantastic and I loved it so much that I raved about it to anyone who would listen.  And then the people I raved about it to, raved about it as well.  Check out Laura, Tasha, Antonia, Leah and Laura's blogs.  If you haven't tried this primer you need to.  I have just run out of my first bottle but have two backups on hand so I'm not feeling the loss too much.

Niod falls under the Deciem umbrella which is such a cool company.  I watched their intro video and I felt like I wanted to pack up my job as an investment banker and go work for them.  And I love my job.  They're dynamic and focused, growing at the speed of light and now own, market and distribute 10 cult brands that are popping up everywhere right now.  Their releases excite me more than any other brand at the moment and I cannot wait to see what they launch next.

Following my review of the Photography Fluid, Deciems UK marketing team contacted me to ask if I would like to try some more of their range and shortly after that, these two products turned up on my desk.  I literally could not have been happier and I started using them immediately.  I have just run out of both and I am incredibly sad about that but feel I have given them both a sufficient test to be able to report back my findings.

Copper Amino Isolate Serum

I've never used a product like this and I am having to rely on some of the info on the website to properly explain it.  This serum comes in two bottles that you mix together-bottle one is the Copper Amino Isolate Activator and you empty that into bottle two which is the Copper Amino Isolate Serum.  Copper is highly regarded as a great anti-ager and this serum helps to keep skin in a heightened state of repair.  The Niod website explains this far better than I can.

Copper Tripeptide GHK-Cu is a peptide found in nature and originally isolated from human plasma. The concentration of this peptide in human plasma continues to drop with aging past late teenage years and this drop exceeds 60% by age 60. The peptide is responsible for activation of a wide range of skin health functions, including wound healing, immune function, collagen synthesis, blood vessel development, fibroblast production and anti-inflammatory responses.

Many topical anti-aging products contain variations of copper peptides in extremely small amounts. Generally, these variation peptides are found in parts per million in active technologies that topical products claim to include at high percentages but the final concentration of the variation peptides in topical products is generally less than 0.01% and these peptides would then have to be converted to even smaller amounts of pure copper peptides within the skin.

This product contains 5.0% pure Copper Tripeptide-1 (GHK-Cu) to be mixed with a specialized activator before first use. This extraordinary concentration allows activation of a wide array of skin health functions that help to prevent and reverse largely all aspects of visible skin aging, including textural damage, uneven pigmentation, loss of elasticity, lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores and general lack of a healthy radiance present in younger skin. In short, the skin will act and look younger starting within 5 days with continued improvements over time.

The formula of the serum is like a water rather than an oil, gel or cream and it's designed to be applied as your first product after cleansing to dry skin and then your other skincare over the top. It absorbs immediately, there is no residue or tackiness and you can literally apply your next skincare product straight away.

I have found my skin to be less inflamed, more hydrated and less oily from day one.  I've found the pores around my nose to be less obvious and my skin to be more even toned.  The pigmentation I get at the top of my cheeks has also reduced a lot.  It's definitely a thumbs up from me.

Copper Amino Isolate Serum

Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex 

The second product Niod sent me was the Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex which is marketed as the perfect partner for CAIS and should be applied as the next step in your routine.

When these arrived I had been given some skincare by my doctor for the hormonal breakouts I had around my chin.  The cream I had been given had turned my skin overnight into a painful and flaky mess and I couldn't wear make up because when I applied foundation it just split and flaked immediately.  I decided to give this a go and applied it once in the evening.  The next morning my skin was back to normal and my foundation went on as usual-I was shocked that this very light, water like liquid had made such a impact.

Was that just a one shot wonder though?  Absolutely not.  These two products have completely replaced my moisturisor.

The MMHC is another water based liquid-it literally feels like you are smoothing water onto your face that is absorbed immediately with no stickiness, tackiness or residue.  You don't need a lot-I used about 5 drops every morning.  The reason I mention specifically about no stickiness is that I have used other Hyaluronic serums and found them to be very tacky on the skin.  The ones I have tried previously have been a very different, heavier consistency to this.

MMHC combines 12 different hyaluronic compounds to plump and hydrate the skin and improve elasticity on a short and long term basis.  I applied this straight after CAIS and then I had no need to use a moisturisor on top-my skin was smooth, even and hydrated and my make up has been lasting longer and looking fresher for the past few weeks.  I don't think it makes me look any younger but I did have a client question me on my age in Cairo last week saying 'he wasn't sure if he wanted to be given financial advice by a 26 year old' LOL-I had to put him straight and tell him I was far older than that.  Then he said 'oh that's a shame because my son is just graduating and looking for a nice wife' Double LOLS.

What MMHC also does though, is prepare the skin for other skincare on top, giving them a better 'platform' on the skin to perform.  I think that's why my foundation has been sitting better.

Niod Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex review

Once aging starts to become a concern I think these products are awesome to arm yourself with in the inevitable fight against fine lines and wrinkles.  For sure, this is not botox in a bottle but these are scientifically based, high quality skincare designed to deliver results with consistent use.  I'm a huge fan of Niod and Deciem as a company and I can only see them going from strength to strength.  And I am definitely going to be going along for the ride.

Have you tried anything from Niod or any of their other brands?  Deciem own and distribute:
  • Niod
  • Hylamide (do an awesome blurring product, review to come)
  • Fountain
  • HIF
  • Hand Chemistry (Boots #1 hand cream...)
  • Inhibitif (I remember when this launched a couple of years ago and it was massive in the UK)
  • AB Crew
  • White RX
  •  Grow Gorgeous
I urge you to go and have a little snoop around their website-it's just a fun site with tons of info.  I guarantee you're going to want to try something!

*This post contains products gifted to me.  Thoughts and opinions, are of course, as always, my very own.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Three expensive skincare empties

I am partial, as you may know if you have read my blog for a while, to splashing the cash on the more high end brands.  Somehow, my brain tells me that they must be better for my skin than drugstore options.  Today I want to share three expensive empties-one that I think is no way worth the hype/price, one I am on the fence about and one that's definitely worth it.

Not worth the hype/price-SKII Facial Treatment Essence

I bought this in London Heathrow and it was literally sold to me as a wonder product in a bottle that was going to solve all my skin problems with one sweep across my skin.  I may have been a little fuzzy from the champagne in the lounge but this sounded like an amazing idea-not so much when I got to the checkout and it retails for £115 for 160ml and had no more effect on my skin than water does.

So what is it actually supposed to do?  Well, the Facial Treatment Essence supposedly has a cult following, with devotees (you have to be a devotee at that price) describing it as their 'holy water.' Pitera, the seemingly magical ingredient found in all SK-II products, supposedly helps restore vital balance by promoting the skin's natural 28-day surface renewal process. The blend of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids produce a seemingly miraculous rebirth of skin's appearance.

I expected miracles, not limited to at least smoother, clearer, more radiant and more even skin.

But sadly I genuinely saw no tangible improvement in my skin at all and even the texture simply felt like I was swiping water over my skin.

On the fence-Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser

My first Tata Harper skincare product, I picked this up in Sephora in Vegas where it retails for $68 (or buy from Cult Beauty for £54).  I used this as my 'make up removing' first cleanse, relying on the oil to break down all my make up and the days grime.  I found the texture to be quite heavy so it did do a good job of breaking down my make up but you have to remove it with a damp flannel because it does not rinse clean and it leaves a definite residue behind.  On the skin the oil almost turns to a gel consistency-if you have ever tried the Omorovicza cleaning balm they feel similar in texture.

The oil itself contains apricot kernal seed oil, which lifts surface impurities while hydrating; argan oil, which reduces dry, flaky skin by infusing the skin with carotenes, squalenes, antixidants and vitamins; and sacha inchi oil, a concentrated source of omega 3 fatty acids that provides superior moisture for a healthier, hydrated appearance.  And my skin did feel soft and nourished-but no more than when I use the much cheaper Boscia or The Body Shop cleansing oils.  Don't get me wrong, for the price, I know the ingredients in the Tata Harper are much better quality but at the end of the day, the oil doesn't stay on the skin long enough to really add skincare benefits and I am using it to remove make up, not cleanse my skin so for that reason I feel the price v benefit equation is unbalanced.

The one you should buy-Sarah Chapman Overnight Exfoliating Booster

I really loved this serum.  From day one my skin looked better.

First the claims:

'A night time detoxifying exfoliant serum which targets blocked pores, uneven skin tone, blemishes and wrinkles, without the need for stressing the skin with physical scrubbing.

This booster resurfaces and supercharges your night time skin care routine. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Exfoliating Booster contains a potent cocktail of non-abrasive skin resurfacers that gently exfoliate the skin whilst you sleep to accelerate natural skin renewal and address uneven skin tone.

This serum helps to prevent clogged pores, eliminates dead surface cells and limits pore distortion and blemishes, resulting in smoother, more radiant skin.

Inspired by Sarah Chapman’s specialist resurfacing clinic treatments, the booster is non-glycolic and incredibly brightening with ingredients to keep pores clean and skin decongested.

- Skin appears clearer.
- Pores are decongested and appear tighter and smaller.
- Skin looks more radiant.
- Wrinkles are minimised and skin looks smoother.
- Skin texture is smoother.

Lactic Acid, Willow Bark, Retinol, Exfolactive EL®, P Refinyl®, Glycorepair®.'

What attracted me personally to this serum is that it was exfoliating but it was non-glycolic.  Don't get me wrong I still love a bit of Glycolic acid in my routine but I think at the moment my skin responds better to BHA's like Salicylic and Lactic Acid and the main ingredient of this serum is Lactic Acid.

Firstly, I do dislike the way the product dispenses-it comes with a pipette but the serum is quite thick and the pipette doesn't seem to pick up enough product which is annoying.  I use between 1/3rd and 1/2 a pipette's worth after my double tone and then sometimes follow up with an oil or just leave it as is.

The first thing I noticed is this is a very 'dry' serum and it sinks into my skin immediately leaving no residue.  I only wait about a minute before applying oil on top.  When I wake up the next day my skin just looks so clear and healthy-it really seems to stop any spots in the tracks and I noticed a marked difference in my old acne red scars-especially on my chin.  My pores around the bottom of my nose also look smaller.

I get no tingling at all with this product and I do think it is more on the gentle side and even though the recommended use is 2-3 times a week I find myself using it almost every day,   My skin was clearer and smoother.

The Overnight Exfoliating Booster is £58 for 30ml (but you can buy a smaller tester 5ml size from the Sarah Champan website)

Have you tried any of these?  Do you prefer to invest in high end skincare or feel the cost outweighs the benefits?


Monday, May 2, 2016

Lip Six

Happy Monday!  First of all thank you so much if you read my make up storage/bedroom tour post and left a comment-the feedback was so good and made me so happy!

Here are my last 6 lip picks!

Top row (L) NARS Audacious lipstick in Brigitte (review!) (R) Marc Jacobs Beauty Kiss Pop in Heartbreaker

Middle row (L) MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Hot Gossip (R) Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipstick in Brat Pack (review!)

Bottom row (L) Burberry Soft Satin lipstick in Blush (R) Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick in Backstage Bambi

Which is your favourite?

Have a great week ahead! xx
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