Build Up Removal Shampoos

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I hate washing my hair, there I said it. In fact, if I took the time I spent thinking about whether I should wash my hair, actually washing it, it would save so much time and hassle. I would say I have the typical 'greasy roots dry ends' hair type, but probably a little more oily. Every week, usually on a Sunday I prefer to use a build up removal shampoo to give my hair a right good clean. Shampoos like this are typically quite drying so I follow up with a good conditioner.

The Boots Expert Build Up Removal Shampoo, is a clarifying shampoo that gets rid of any product build up and grease. My hair feels lighter and cleaner when I've used this yet not too stripping. The price is fairly reasonable, much less that Bumble and Bumble Sunday shampoo though I still have my eye on that.

The second shampoo I like to use to deep clean my hair is the Lush I love Juicy Shampoo. It's worth noting, this smells lovely. This shampoo lathers really well, you only need a small amount. It cleans my hair really well without being too drying, however I would still recommend a good conditioner afterwards. Perfect for pamper nights.

Do you recommend any clarifying shampoos?

February Favourites

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Ahh February, you've been cold, grey and wet, but here's a few items which have been putting a smile on my face.

February Favourites

This month my skin has been acting a little strange, very oily in patches and dry in other areas. The Una Brennan Superfacialist Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask has been doing a good job at deep cleaning and balancing my skin. It removes grime from clogged pores, gets rid of any oil and dries up blemishes. This mask has been in my arsenal for a while now and has become my go to face mask when I feel my skin looking dull. The price point (£8.99) makes this even better as it is effective yet affordable. It washes off easily with a damp flannel or muslin cloth and does not leave my skin red afterwards. Sometimes I just use this on targeted areas such as my t-zone. I would recommend this if you have oily skin.

This moisturiser is one for us lazy girls/guys, I'm one of those people who always forget to moisturise. Let's face it, after a bath or shower you just quickly want to get dressed and get warm again. I saw this Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturiser on offer in boots at the start of February and thought I'd give it a try, not to mention the television advert makes the application look so effortless. I can say that I have been enjoying using this, it really does absorb into the skin quickly meaning you can get dressed almost immediately. My skin feels nourished and smooth for hours, I will definitely be trying out the other scents.

I always end up trying products after there has been a huge hype about them, I tend to stand back, wait for everything to calm down, then feel ready to try them out. This happened with the Revlon Lip Butters, I've had this one for a few months now but only really started to use it this month. I have a couple shades but this one in 'berry smoothie' is my favourite. My lips have been very chapped lately and apart from lip balm I haven't been using many lip products as some just made them feel dryer. This lip butter however, helped keep my lips hydrated and added a 'my lips but better' colour. Perfect for everyday.

I was recommended this Soap and Glory Thick & Fast Collagen Coat Mascara by a friend, and I'm so glad I tried it. I'm not normally a fan of many drug store mascaras, there are a few I will repurchase but most just don't do enough for my lashes. Soap and Glory are one of my favourite brands, they seem to have so many hits. This mascara is very reminiscent of a Clinique one which I love. The formula is very wet and the unique brush allows voluminous lashes to be achieved very quickly.

Lastly, I have been enjoying reading The Great Gatsby again, this is one of my favourite books, such a beautiful story. I felt like reading it again as I've been watching a lot of Leonardo DiCaprio films lately and swooning. Will this finally be his year at the Oscars?

What have been some of your favourites this month?

Lazy Girls Guide to Dry Shampoo

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I find it hard to find a dry shampoo that works well in my long dark hair. If I'm honest I have to say I don't particularly like using a dry shampoo, some make my hair feel much dirtier than before. There's always tell tell signs that dry shampoo has been used which I'm not fond of; grey patches in hair, the matte look, where hair seems to have lost all shine, and the dry ends. On days when I just don't have time to wash my hair, these 2 dry shampoos are the ones I reach for.
Dove Refresh and Care dry shampoo £4.59 and V05 Refresh Me Quick £3.59

Both these dry shampoos have a pleasant scent, not too strong but enough to add some freshness into the hair, I prefer the V05 as it smells sweet like strawberries. What I like about these 2 products are that they both do not leave white chalk residue in my hair. As someone with dark hair it is something I struggle with with dry shampoo. If you shake these thoroughly and spray into the roots of the hair they do a good job of removing the oil and greasy look without leaving your hair matte and lifeless. I would say that the Dove Refresh and Care dry shampoo definitely adds more volume than the V05 Refresh Me Quick but both are equally refreshing. After using dry shampoo I make sure to run a serum or hair oil through the ends of my hair so it looks a lot fresher. Price wise they are both very reasonable, can be found on offer most of the time and easily accessible in pharmacies and supermarkets.  I would definitely recommend both of these products as they have made me change the way I think about dry shampoos.

Do you enjoy using dry shampoo?

L'Oreal vs Bioderma

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Bioderma has been a blogger favourite for a few years now. It's a lot easier to get a hold of now compared to a couple years ago. However not quite as easy as popping into your local pharmacy/supermarket like L'Oreal is. I'll be comparing the L'Oreal Paris skin perfection to everyone's beloved Bioderma.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution versus LOreal Paris Skin Perfection Micellar Solution  

The L'Oreal Paris skin perfection certainly seems like a 'dupe' for Bioderma Sensibo H20, I don't like to call skincare items 'dupes' as I feel although dupes should be more for cosmetics. But as they seem so similar lets just go with it. Now whereas the L'Oreal skin perfection certainly is cheap, (the RRP is £4.99 but I have seen it on promotion for as low as £2) I feel like it won't be so in the long run. I have a major gripe with the packaging, so much gets wasted as product just spills out the top. It would be much better with a Bioderma-like squeeze bottle or even a pump. Whereas Bioderma takes make up off in just a couple swipes, a bit more product is required with the L'Oreal version. It also does not leave my skin feeling clean afterwards, one of Bioderma's great appeals is that it feels like water and leaves a cool, clean, refreshing feeling. However the skin perfection feels oily and left my skin with a film like residue which I could not wait to wash away.

I must say that I don't use micellars daily as I prefer to double cleanse but for lazy days I would pick the Bioderma over L'Oreal. I have spotted a Garnier version in my local boots and will be trialling that very soon.

Do you use micellar waters? Which one is your favourite.

Ren Try Me Kit- Normal Skin

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I picked up this little kit from M&S a while ago, I love the M&S beauty hall they have so many brands to choose from. Little kits like this are a great way to try out some of a brands best selling products. This kit is for 'normal skin', I tend to have combination skin, two of the products in this kit can be used for all skin types.
Ren Kit for Normal Skin
Now lets start with my favourite from the set and the main reason I bought this. The Ren glycolactic radiance renewal mask works as an exfoliating mask to renew complexion, improve skin tone and radiance. This mask has been heavily reviewed and blogged about, its something I've been wanting to try for a while but was always left wondering if the price was justifiable. The first thing I noticed about this mask was its unique texture and scent, the best way to describe it, is like marmalade. It does feel strange applying it to the skin as I'm used to clay and cream masks. I felt a little tingling while it was on but not too much, enough to know that the mask was working hard. After 10 minutes I washed it off with a damp cloth and it wiped off fairly easily, no tugging on skin required. I can say that my skin did look a lot more radiant and glowy after I used this, normally with face masks the effects are not quite so dramatic straight away but with this mask it provides instant gratification. My skin felt smoother and I found that my moisturiser worked better after using this. I have already ordered the full size to this, anything that can help my dull skin look better is definitely worth it.

The Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream is rich yet easily absorbed into the skin. When applied for bed I found that my skin still felt nourished and soft in the morning. What more can you ask of a night cream. I did enjoy using this however I'm unsure if I would purchase the full size yet as there are more I would like to try.

I used the Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel up, but during winter I prefer to use a balm or cream cleanser. I feel this will be better to use in the warmer months. It did not irritate my skin in the slightest, or leave it feeling tight after wards. I enjoyed using this cleaning gel in the mornings as it left my skin feeling refreshed and helped me wake up.

Lastly the Vita- Mineral Day Cream, I initially thought this might be a bit too rich for my combination skin as its targeted for normal skin. It was not the case, the moisturiser worked well on nourishing the dry patches on my skin and was not too heavy on my t-zone. It has the same scent as the frankincense night cream, I'm not fond of the scent but it does go away quite quickly. I can't say I would buy the full size as I feel there are better Ren moisturisers which suit my skin type better.

This set is great for someone who is starting out with skincare or someone who wants to try some Ren products. Have you tried any Ren products?

Manicure Mondays - Nail Dotting Tools

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So, I am a self confessed nail polish-aholic, in fact I have a penchant for polish. I had this idea to do a series of posts called 'Manicure Mondays'. We all know how manic Mondays can be, and its nice to take a little break. I will be discussing my favourite polishes, what's currently on my nails, nail art and just about anything to do with nail polish, really. For my first Manicure Monday I will be discussing one of my favourite nail tools.
Nail dotting tools 

I ordered these dotting tools from Amazon and they are perfect for nail art. Each dotting tool comes in different sizes, there are some perfect for polka dots and some come with a fine enough point to do even the most intricate of nail art. Not to mention they were really cheap, the set of 5 were only £1! Ideal if you're just starting out with nail art or a little gift for a fellow nail polish obsessive.

Are you a fan of nail art, what are some of your favourite tools?

Handbag Essentials

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Confession time; I am that person, who carries everything around for 'just in case' times. The contents of this pouch are constant and are moved from handbag to handbag. That doesn't stop me carrying around extras but we'll save that for another post.

I can assure you that all this does fit in the little pouch, just about.

Lip Products
Now, I'm slightly shocked there are only 2 lip products in this pouch. However rest assured, I do have more in my coat pockets and floating around in the bottom of my bag. The Korres lip butters are some of my favourites, they are super soft and buttery. As soon as it touches the lips it melts and applies ever so smoothly. Korres have a range of shades, they provide a good amount of tint to the lips, some are more pigmented then others. Each shade matches up to a different scent and are not harsh at all. The best part of the Korres lip butters are that they are 'natural' which I am a fan of, especially in something like a lip balm.

The second product is the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick, in the shade plum jam. I'm a big fan of these lip crayons, they are great for 'on the go' as they can be applied without a mirror. This shade is one of my favourites, a sheer plum colour which is unbelievably glossy yet not sticky. It instantly perks up my face.

Hand Cream
I always have a hand cream with me, I go through them quite quickly and this is the one I have at the moment. I prefer this Nivea Age Defying hand cream as it sinks into the skin quickly while not leaving any greasy residue. Its also has UV filters which I feel more hand creams should include.

Translucent Powder
Another Soap and Glory product, the Kick Ass Pressed Powder does a successful job at getting rid of any shine in the T-Zone. It doesn't look cakey which is why I prefer it and comes with a reasonably sized mirror.

I need a concealer with me at all times to counteract any random redness or breakouts. This concealer covers most imperfections smoothly and blends really well. I think we all know by now I'm a fan of Origins products, I have a suspicion that this concealer may have been discontinued, please don't let it be!!

Fight the frizz
Lastly I carry round this little product with me, for times when I'm caught out in the rain. It smooths the ends of my hair without weighing it down. The Aveda damage remedy daily hair repair adds strength and shine but doesn't feel greasy. I may have to buy the full size of this product to try it out properly but so far so good.

What are some of your handbag essentials?

Origins Duo- VitaZing and GinZing

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The endless rain and winter weather has left my skin dull and lacklustre. I'm a big fan of products which help to put the glow back into skin. Enter Origins VitaZing sheer tint moisturiser and GinZing eye cream.

Fake it 'till you make it- Skin care wise that is.

The VitaZing sheer tint moisturiser has very sheer coverage however it helps to blur any imperfections and make them less noticeable. Out of the tube it comes out as a grey colour which is a bit weird when you first apply it, but then wait a few moments and it blends into your skin tone, and leaves your skin looking bronzed and dewy. We can all do with looking a bit more bronzed and dewy in the middle of February am I right? I use this on lazy days on its own with just a dab of concealer, and I've also used this under make-up. Under make up works a treat as it allows me to use less foundation as this does most of the hard work.

One of the first eye creams I started using was Origins GinZing eye cream. This works best to brighten and de puff under the eyes. As someone in their early 20's I wasn't looking for a heavy, anti-ageing eye cream, I wanted something to hydrate under the eye area and to help me look more awake after one to many late nights. This is perfect for that. The first thing you notice with this product is the salmon colour, this helps to reduce the look of dark circles. When applied the cream instantly feels cooling and refreshing, if put in the fridge the night before it feels even better. My eyes look more awake after using this like I've had a full nights rest and no-one needs to know what time I got in last night. I would definitely recommend this if you're starting out with eye creams as this is my second pot. I also find this helps my under eye concealer look better. I would much prefer it if this came in a tube rather than a tub, and if the GinZing had an added SPF. 

Have you tried anything from Origins? What are some of your favourites?

Toners - Often Overlooked.

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I must admit, before discovering Caroline Hirons and her blog (which is a Mecca for skincare) I never really understood Toners or the point of them. Endless magazine articles and dodgy advertising campaigns claiming they open/close pores (which we now know not to be true, pores are not doors) left me bewildered. After some research I feel I now understand the point of a toner and I most definitely can't have a skincare regime without them. Here are some toners from my skincare stash.

I split my toners into exfoliating and hydrating. Firstly I use an exfoliating toner followed by a hydrating one, which ones I use depends on how my skin is looking and feeling that day.

The Pixi Glow Tonic is one of my favourite exfoliating toners, I've raved more about it here.  I am looking to try more and have my eye on one by Ren.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic I find this one to be the most hydrating and adds moisture back into my skin. It is gentle and helps to soothe any redness I may have. After I have swept this over my face and neck it instantly feels refreshed.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir  Caudalie claim this product gives an 'instant boost of radiance to skin'. I tend to use this one in the mornings as it helps me feel more awake and refreshed as well as perking up my skin a bit. I prefer the spray nozzle as its easier to use and comes out as a fine mist. Voilà instantly radiant skin. The scent doesn't bother me much but I know some people aren't fond of it. This would be perfect if your skin is looking a bit dull and would be ideal for long haul flights to add moisture back into skin.

This Works: Fresh Skin. I picked this up in TK Maxx on a whim and I'm glad I did. Although I have to say I hate the spray with this bottle. Its not a fine mist like the Caudalie beauty exilir and doesn't distribute evenly over the face. In fact it gets all in my hair and is a pain to use. I  much prefer to use this on a cotton wool pad and then swipe over my face and neck. I'm also not a huge fan of the scent but I can get past that as this toner helps to soothe any breakouts and redness.

Do you use a toner? What are some of your favourites?

Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Leave-In Spray

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Let me just start off by saying this product is a real budget beauty gem! Don't let the word oil put you off. I've tried so many hair oils and found most just weigh my hair down. This is unlike those as its light and would work on the finest of hair types. Before using this product you have to give it a good shake as it is made up of 2 liquids. Once shook you can spray into wet or dry hair. I've used it on both, on damp hair and on the ends of my hair after dry shampoo. It leaves my hair softer, more manageable and frizz free. Now lets get onto the scent. This product smells amazing! So fruity and sweet yet not too overpowering. At £3.59 its extremely affordable and works better than some hair oils 3 or 4 times the price.
Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Leave-In Spray 200ml

Have you tried anything else from this range by Dove? I've often seen this on promotion for 1/3 off making it an even better bargain. I'll be sure to stock up.

Pamper time - Manicure

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Every now and again I try to get a little me time. There's nothing I love more than an at home manicure especially during winter time when our hands need a little love. Here are some of the bits I enjoy using.

I've found that the Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover is easy to use, effective, and works fast as it dissolves cuticles in just a couple minutes. Another gem from Sally Hansen I enjoy using is the Maximum Growth Cuticle and Nail Treatment. This little pen works well at nourishing my nails, I use it before and after a manicure as well as during. It keeps my nails looking healthy and helps with the dreaded peeling nails. I even keep one of these pens in my handbag for 'on the go' treatments. One of my favourite top coats is the Nails Inc Albert Bridge Topcoat. I get so many compliments when I use this top coat, its unbelievably shiny and makes my manicure last up to almost a week without chipping. Lastly I like to use a rich hand cream to really give my hands a loving treat, after all, they work so hard. The L'Occitane handcreams are super smoothing, with a unique balm like texture. They leave no greasy residue and help nourish dehydrated hands. The best way to describe it is like a fresh start for tired hands.

What are some of your favourites when it comes to a manicure?

Lip Balm Lovelies

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I'm a self confessed lip balm junkie. I like many others suffer from dry lips whether its winter or not. Over time I have tried many many lip balms and these are some of my favourites.

Burts Bees Lip Balm (£3.69)
The most purse friendly out of the bunch and a staple in my coat pocket. I love the scent to these lip balms they are pleasant and not overwhelming at all. The packaging is very practical with the twist up tube which allows me to use it on the go. The Burts Bees lip balms are some of the most nourishing lip balms out there, they don't feel waxy or just sit on top of the lips like some others do. For the price these are definitely a winner and can rival some lip balms which two or three times the price. It's worth checking out the tinted versions too, way more nourishing than the Maybelline Baby Lips.

Nuxe Reve de Miel (£9.50)
A blogger favourite; the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm is unlike one I have tried before. It has a more gritty texture to most and provides a slight exfoliation when applied. The finish is more matte than glossy. I find this works best overnight, in the morning you can feel it still working on the lips which makes it more effective than the lip balms which just disappear soon after application. The unique texture makes me repurchase this again and again as I am yet to find anything to rival it. The pot makes it inconvenient for travelling, however it is available in stick form but I found it to be not as good. The price may be shocking at first but a little goes a long way and my first pot lasted months.

Estelle and Thild Raspberry Lip Balm (£16)
This lip balm is my favourite to wear under lip sticks, it works like an effective quick treatment. If applied before you start your make-up by the time you come to the lips they are well prepared. I use this when my lips are particularly dehydrated and need fast nourishing results, I can always rely on this product and therefore my collection cannot be without it. The packaging is pretty and practical with a squeeze tube.

I'd love to hear some of your recommendations as I'm always looking to try more.

Dark Circle Distraction (no concealer required)

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Sometimes I find that when my dark circles are particularly bad, adding heavy concealer can make them look worse and more obvious. I do these steps to help me look more awake.

  • Don't skip the eye cream I love the Origins Ginzing eye cream as it feels refreshing and cool.

  • Curling my eyelashes are a must, they make eyes look more open and awake which distract from dark circles. Adding mascara can help too but nothing too heavy.

  • To make my eyes look brighter I use a shimmery neutral cream eye shadow, a light sweep works best.

  • The last tip is my favourite, a bright lip colour does wonders for brightening a face and completely distracts from tired eyes. I find a matte colour works just as well if not better than glossy lips. Check out the Revlon matte balms

If you feel you still need concealer, I'd recommend a sheer illuminating concealer.

Pantene Pro-V BB cream - 7 in 1 hair perfector

I'm sure we're all thinking the same thing, another BB cream, seriously? The main difference in this case is that its for the hair not face. Pantene are using the term BB cream loosely and using it for the multi-use aspect rather than the conventional beauty balm. Pantene make some serious claims with this product which are reminiscent of the 'its a 10 leave in conditioner'. It claims to provide strength, shine, smoothness, lightweight nourishment, hydration feeling, damage repair and resilient tips.

I can say it did leave my hair softer, more manageable and provided a more 'finished' result. I saw more of a result with this product than some other leave in creams which are more expensive and provided nothing results for my dry ends. I've used this on both damp hair and dry hair and it did not leave my hair feeling or looking greasy which is always a win. The packaging is convenient with the pump. The scent of this is divine and lingers in the hair which during the windy winters makes it more bearable when my hair comes flying around my face. All round this is a great product, I would have preferred it if they didn't call it a BB cream but I'm willing to let that go as it did provide my hair with a professional finish and at a drug store price (rrp £6.99)
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Worth The Hype? Pixi Glow Tonic

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I love when there's a certain hype around a product. It makes it  more irresistible, tempting and in many cases can be a treasure hunt to find. With some items, the hunt, and the relieving feeling of finding the product is much more impressive than the actual item but not with this. The Pixi Glow Tonic (£16 for 250ml!) has certainly had its share of hype. The hunt for this bad boy was unlike any other. It took me months to get hold of this, with it only being sold from Pixi's store in London or mail order over the phone it became a personal challenge (they now stock it online). Every few days I would call and await the moment I was told it was back in stock.

The mother ship finally arrived! I was excited to try this and see if it lived up to its hype. Instantly the sleek, simple and practical packaging impressed me. The pump allows for less product to be wasted and makes it easier to use. Pixi claim that this exfoliating glow tonic helps to firm, tone and tighten the skin. It removes dead skin cells for healthier looking skin. After using this for the past few months I can happily say this has made a huge difference in my skin and is definitely worth the hype. Exfoliating toners were new to me and this did not irritate my skin in the slightest, full of all good acids this is now a skincare staple. Overall my skin definitely looks healthier, clearer and feels a lot smoother. I use this after cleansing on a cotton wool pad 4/5 times a week but is gentle enough to be used every day. The glow tonic has provided results in my skin that no harsh exfoliating scrub has ever been able to do. I think everyone should use this, its suitable for all skin types, is a very reasonable price and lasts ages. At the time of posting it is currently sold out online but keep checking As I come to the end of my huge 250ml bottle and must repurchase as I can't be without this the search is on again.
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