31 August 2012

August Favourites & *Let's MakeYuUp* on Facebook!

Ah favourites.. my favourite ;) WEHEYYY!

Today's a special day. Not only because I've got my favourites uploaded in time, but because *Let's MakeYuUp* has launched on Facebook!
Let's talk about the Facebook first :) I made it primarily for people who don't have Twitter, and also for places to put photographs and images that I find amusing. There will be updates of blog posts, and I may link it to Instagram too for people who don't have that. So what am I waiting for?

>>Let's MakeYuUp on Facebook!<<

Do have a look, and I would love it if you could 'Like' and share with friends who you think would enjoy it :)

Anyway, on to monthly business! Here are my favourites for this month :)


All of what I'm wearing, links mentioned and the products mentioned in the video are on the YouTube page :)

What have you been loving this August? :)

See you on Facebook!
<3yu

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25 August 2012

Launching Today! Bodhi Desert Rose Face Oil

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of being invited by Jayne to the product launch of Bodhi at the gorgeous Les Senteurs perfumery. Bodhi is a young brand who centre their products around plants and "bodhi" - or "enlightenment". There I met the lovely brand creator Elijah, who will be launching his first skincare product, Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face Oil on their website today.


Desert Rose is a face oil (durr) targeted for dry and dehydrated skin, but it also has anti-aging qualities that make this especially suitable for more mature women. Although I say "durr", it can also be used on cuticles and as a massage oil. The key is to massage it upwards into your face after your serum, and before your moisturiser. The product claim is to leave you with glowy, radiant, refined and toned skin.

Ingredients include damask rose otto from Bulgaria, neroli oil from Tunisia, myrrh from Somalia and sandalwood from Australia - this thing should have a passport of its own! In fact, this oil is so concentrated it has approximately 320 roses in this one 30mL bottle

Photograph by Garazi Gardner

So what are my first impressions?

First things first, I was impressed with the ethics. This product has no parabens, silicones, petrochemicals nor synthetic colours or fragrances, and is also not tested on animals. The packaging is made from recycled papers, and what's most impressive is that the ingredients are ethically sourced in a sustainable manner.

Good start ey?

The product itself smells unbelievably gorgeous, and so relaxing. I'm not a big fan of rose products usually, because most of the time I think they smell synthetic and too sweet. However, you can tell the pure quality of this by how natural and gorgeous the rose components smell. Offset with the other herbally botanical scents, this product is not one to be missed by us major sniffers out there.



The consistency is so smooth and light, and definitely nothing to fear for the oilier skinned folks out there. I find that it does sink in nicely to a certain extent, but that it leaves enough residue on the skin to take care of the outer layers of your face too. Sometimes I find this residue can be a tad more than I'd usually prefer.

I've currently been using it for the night time, and have found that it really nourishes the dry patches of my skin around my nose, on the outside corners of my mouth, and in between my eyebrows. Definitely a good call for dry skintypes!

However, the night is young and I haven't tried this product enough to give you a full review - but hopefully the above gave you a bit of insight!

Then why write about it?

I usually don't do product launch/press release-y type posts, but I wanted to let you guys know about this because:

1) I've really come to enjoy the brand, especially their Ylang Ylang Incensa Sensual Bath & Shower Therapy.
2) they are kicking off their launch with an introductory price of £46 until the 31st of September, when the price will go back up to the RRP of £56.

Yes, it's pricey. But I think if you have that kind of money to spend, this is a fantastic option. Not only because of the high-quality ingredients, but because of the lack of horrible chemicals that we all may well have to pay for in the future. If you're going to put something on your face, don't go for the stuff filled with gasoline and tar. As far as my limited knowledge of ingredients goes - this oil has the goods. The list goes something like this:

"Argan oil, kukui oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, wheatgerm oil, rose hip oil, strawberry seed oil, evening primorose oil, Bugarian Damask rose otto oil, neroli bitter orange flower oil, Australian sandalwood oil, myrrh oil, tocopherol.."

And the rest are parts that come naturally from essential oils. I kid you not.


Who would I recommend this to?

At the moment, I can only really recommend it to those with dry, dehydrated patches or skintypes because my experience with it isn't long. But even as a combination-skinned person, I've been enjoying this product on non dry areas for a relaxing treatment that really nourishes my skin. That being said, I don't see as significant effects on parts that aren't dry or dehydrated.

If you don't have those issues, this is a luxury product. If you do, I think it'll be a winner!

Hopefully in the next few weeks, I will start seeing the tangible results on other areas too!

 Have you tried Bodhi products?
What are your thoughts on face oils?

You can get Bodhi body products on their online shop and stockists including CutECOsmetics.
After the Bodhi website, the Desert Rose will be launching on the 1st of September elsewhere. 

<3yu

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*Received for consideration; PR Event.
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23 August 2012

FOTD: Ma' Faysh

It's that time of the year when creativity gets reluctantly pushed aside in favour of torture dissertation, (and I start talking like I'm drunk, judging from the title choice) so I've been wearing pretty much the same thing most days except for foundation (I am a self-confessed foundation whore, I've come to terms with that). So why not do a face of the day?




And my annual "pissed off at dissertation" photo - here's last year's if you are so inclined!
Face:
The Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals Cream Compact in 230
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC35
Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach
Chanel Poudre Universelle Compacte in Dore 40
MAC Blush in Style
Rimmel Sunshimmer Bronzer in Medium Matte

Eyes:
MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot
Urban Decay Half Baked
Urban Decay Buck
Clinique Brush On Cream Liner in 02 True Black
Maybelline Hypercurl Volum' Express Mascara Cat Eyes
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers
HD Brows Palette in Foxy

Lips:
Rimmel Moisture Renew in Nude Delight



What have you been loving on yo' faysh?

<3yu

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22 August 2012

Diaries of a Waxing Novice: The Beginning

On Friday, I received a box - a box we had originally thought got lost in the Olympics muddle, and was making its way back to Paris. Inside were what the lovely people at The Hair Removal Shop had sent me that will help me embark on this series, and what is possibly one of the biggest beauty challenges I will face, ever..

Waxing.


I am a 100% waxing virgin. I have never had it done and I have never done it myself aside from those crap cold strips that was as useless as a chocolate teapot. So partly for the comedy factor, I've decided to embark on this journey and record my progress.

The contents of the box was in fact the UKI Candy Hair Removal Roll-On Kit*. It contains a wax heater, a honey wax cartridge, a wax removal oil and some woven strips. The contents come in the most adorable and sturdy washbag that you can customise with your own photos. The presentation of this was enough to push me to a raring start..

How to..
The instructions were a bit muddled with 30-40 minute heating times written in the instruction sheets and 10min on the website. I personally found that the latter was just fine! The idea is to plug the heater in with your chosen cartridge (there's ones with a small roller for armpits/bikini and a bigger roller for legs/arms), and when ready, to unplug and roll the wax onto your skin in the direction of your hair growth.

My first thoughts? "The wax is so nice and waaaaaarm.." I was feeling quite cozy and perhaps a bit too relaxed..

I went for the legs first, and after trial and error discovered several things. First was that I wasn't applying enough wax, so *slather, slather* I went, and then applied the included woven strips in the same direction as my hair growth. I also learnt after a while that I had to be patient once the strips were on. The 40 Year Old Virgin was not a good guide to waxing in terms of timing. To my novice eyes, I felt it removed a significant amount of hair, and hope that with practice it'll become faster and more effective - I'll keep you updated!

Arm pits didn't go as well. After more pain in one go than all the leg strips combined, and over 24hrs of bright red underarms that would put Rudolph's nose to shame (could definitely light a sleigh with these..), I was left with a grand total of 1 less hair on each side. Fail doesn't quite cover it. Obviously as I was using the same exact equipment as my legs, it had nothing to do with the appliances - there's only one lesson to be learnt here - patch test. Just like with any other parts of your skin, some places are more sensitive than others, so be sure to try little bits out first in sensitive areas like underarms or bikini areas if you have never waxed before. Hair Removal Shop also have wax for more sensitive skins in general - so, lesson learnt, I will be purchasing the sensitive skin ones from now on :)

So what did I think?
Yanking the strips in the opposite direction has to be the most exciting and worrying part of waxing - exciting, because you're excited to see how much hair came off, and worrying because you're never really sure how much it'll hurt. Personally, I didn't find the legs to hurt at all. The underarms.. haha well that's a different story.

My first experience, overall, is what I would call.. "patchy"? Yea, I've got to work on space management..

The day after, I found that some patches of skin were especially dry and slightly pink, but not painful at all. I wonder if maybe I left the wax on too long, or I yanked too hard? This is another reason why I plan on going for the sensitive skin wax next time!

Any thoughts on the oil?
I loooove the smell of the calming oil. It's a very powder-like smell, and it really calms down the skin. It also removes the residue wax well (which in my noob case, was quite a lot..), and softens your skin. I think after this bottle, it could be replaced with baby oil.

Overall..
To be honest, it went a lot better than I thought it would. No wax in hair, no dripping applicators, and no blood in sight. To my surprised, I really enjoyed it, and found it quite addictive and therapeutic! I think over time and with more practice, I will really make good use of this kit. It's something I'd definitely make time for every 2 weeks or so, to save me from the shaving-induced stress in the shower!

But I did have one thought that crossed my mind several times: those waxing adverts need reporting..
No one can look that sexy whilst waxing. No one.

Itching to start your own waxing journey (or continue your expertise)?
The UKI Candy Hair Removal Roll-On Kit is usually available for €45.50, but Hair Removal Shop have given me a 10% discount code for you lovely readers to use: MAKEYUUP.
Which means with P&P, you can the whole set for around £37.60.

The start-up price may be more expensive than their competitors Veet, but if you look at the quantities and costs of the replacement cartridges, you'll find that even with shipping, UKI is much cheaper especially if you buy more than 1 cartridge per purchase. And so far, I can definitely recommend this, and say I would have purchased this myself without any regrets!

They also have other products on their site so definitely worth checking out :)

What are your thoughts on waxing?
Do you do at-home waxing?

<3yu

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20 August 2012

6 Cleansers 1 Face

Excessive? Possibly. But skin is a complicated thing, and with different phases, comes different needs. Over the past year, I've accumulated these 6 cleansers that I've used for different phases, so I thought it might be useful to do some mini-reviews that will hopefully give you ideas for what your skin might need :)


These are by no means my favourites, but ones that I have with me at the moment. There are many more on the market that I'd love to try - but at the moment I'm on Operation Minimize - which means until these babies are empty as my tummy at 5pm, they're staying!

The way I've split it is the first 3 full size products, which are generally for oily/combination skin, and the last 3 smaller sized products that are more for normal/dry/sensitive skins. Yes - I've got all of these properties on ONE FACE. Shoot me now.


1. Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser for Combination or Oily Skin* - £17.50
In terms of formula, this is one of my favourites. It's a white cream with blue beads in it, that burst on application, and it smells very soapy. It foams up nicely, it removes make up the best out of all 6, and it washes off really easily. However it took a bit of getting used to, as it REALLY strips your face and you can feel a bit squeaky after washing off. Now I felt this probably because this was the wrong "type" for me - I probably should have used a step down, but I remember at the time that my skin was super oily having just moved to the city. I would highly recommend this for people with oily skin - but probably not for combination skins that lean normal. Would I repurchase? I 100% would, but in the Normal/Combination version, as this is super convenient for holidays as it removes make-up so well. It's just an easy, "does-what-it-says-on-the-tin", efficient cleanser.

2. Sk:n Vitamin-Rich Cleanser for Oily Skin* - £11 (currently on offer for £7.33)
This is a clear, gel formula that smells like melted sugar - I know, YUM! My super disappointment with this was that you can't use it for eyes. I find it such a faff and a waste of cotton pads to have to split the 2 steps. However, this removes other make-up REALLY well. That being said, removing the actual product is quite hard. I used the Body Shop Soft Facial Sponge which did a very good job, but even the residue was quite hard to wash off. However, as a cleanser it does what it says on the tin. Did it control my oils? Slightly - let's just say it's gentle enough for combination skin! It also has glycolic acid which is all the rage recently, and I do think my tiny bumps around my chin and between my brows minimised while I was using this. The effects are great - the process, not so much, so it's really up to personal preference.

3. Origins Checks & Balances - £17
This is very very similar to the Clarins face wash above, but it doesn't remove make-up as well. It foams extremely well, and smells like mint - very nice for the morning. It leaves that same squeaky feeling that might bother some. In terms of balancing oils, I found this much stronger than the Clarins - so it really is for oily skintypes, and I'd hesitate to recommend this to combination skin people unless your oily parts are REALLY oily.


4. Origins A Perfect World - £18
This I was told was the milder version of Checks & Balances. It doesn't foam half as much, it's more liquidy than it is foamy, and it has a very tea-like herbal smell to it. It's much much milder, and works to balance your skin without giving that stripping, squeaky feeling. Definitely not one to be used as a make-up remover. I just absolutely adore how mild yet efficient this is, and it's perfect for normal/combination skin-types. I've been loving it for my very confused, slightly dry, slightly oily, slightly normal skin.

5. The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Cleanser - £7  
This smells potently of NIVEA, so if you're not a fan of that - step away. This is a gorgeous cleanser in my opinion that really retains the moisture in your skin, so perfect for normal and slightly dry skintypes. The make-up removing properties aren't the best, and I prefer to use my oil cleanser before this, but use this to restore the moisture. It's a good product for its price, but if you're looking for an all-in-one, this isn't your guy. I also found that it stung some extremely dry areas on my face, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it for sensitive skins or extremely dry skins.

6. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser - from £5.50
The legend. I'm sure you've all read reviews on this in one form or another, and I definitely contributed my 2 cents back in the day. However, I did go off it and recently took it back out due to my skin issues. It's a good cleanser - a very thick balm, that wipes and washes away really easily and takes make-up off well. However, I don't use it for the eyes, which again, is not to my liking. Because this works for all skin types, it's a great place to start, but I, along with others, have experienced that its effects decline after some time, while others have sworn by it for years. It's definitely one of those cleanser you HAVE to try, because its potential is massive. I'd especially recommend this for sensitive skins because of its thickness and its ingredients.

So there you have it - an overview of my cleanser arsenal. I think all of these have their different uses, and they are all products that I rotate depending on my skin and lifestyle. I would never call any of these bad cleansers, because I think when used for the right people, they all have massive potential.

Would I repurchase any of these..?
I think if I were to, it would be the Clarins, Origins A Perfect World and the Liz Earle. The first is just so easy to work with and very handy for travel. The second is a perfect mild face wash that will probably work for most people. The latter is something that I want to give a 2nd chance to. Out of all the products I have ever used, this was the one that gave me the best skin I'd had since I first started getting spots at 11. It was a shame that its effects only lasted 2 or 3 months, so I'm hoping this time, it'll be more than a fling ;)

What am I lemming? Loads. But I really struggle to find products that don't contain parabens, SLS or PEGs, but those are the criterias I'm looking for. So if you have any suggestions, send them my way! :)

What is your favourite cleanser?
Have you tried any of these?


<3yu

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*The Clarins and sk:n products were received for consideration.
*The Origins Checks & Balances was a gift from the lovely Anna.
*The Body Shop and Liz Earle products were gift with purchases.
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18 August 2012

Groupon Giveaway!

Is everyone else feeling bit dragged down recently? It's like graduates are looking for jobs, postgraduates are writing their dissertations (hello!), and everyone's wanting a holiday or at least a break!


Image from Motivational Media

So I'm glad to let you guys know that Groupon have offered me a £20 voucher for one lucky reader to use towards whatever they'd like on Groupon. I'm also nearing the 1,500 reader mark so I think this is a great way for me to say thank you to you guys - and what better way to start a weekend ey? ;)

In my opinion, experiences (especially new ones!) are one of the most fulfilling things you can have in life! So whether it's a nice dinner out, zorbing, a facial, learning a language, Aston Martin-driving, or spray tanning that you're interested in - I'm very glad to be hosting this giveaway :)


On to the rules..

1. Comment with which platform you follow me on - this must be either GFC or HelloCotton, and you must tell me the name you follow me with.
I'm not accepting BlogLovin' because I don't think you can check who's following you.

2. Also include which kinds of posts you like from my blog and why , so I know what to focus on more!
Feel free to give me feedback or constructive criticisms too!

3. Then, leave me either an email address or a Twitter name so I can let you know if you win! :)


This is a UK only competition, as the voucher only works on UK deals.

This giveaway closes on the 3rd of September 5PM London time to celebrate my end of dissertation (hopefully)! Winners will be randomly chosen by random.org, and announced on my Twitter soon after :)

Good luck, and thank you again for all your support and thank you to Groupon for hosting this giveaway :)

<3yu
*Prize provided by Groupon.
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17 August 2012

Goodbye, Amber Diamond.

If you've lemmed after this god-of-all-highlighters highlighter, then you're probably hoping I'm saying I smashed it on the floor, or I'm selling it, or I've lost it.  And thus, goodbye. However - I'm afraid these aren't the case, and it may be your worst fears.

Dior are partly discontinuing the Amber Diamond.

Partly - because they seem to be operating differently in different countries. The good news is, however, for the majority of you who I'm assuming is in the UK, Amber Diamond will be with us to stay :) However, it's best to check with your local counters to see what the case is in your country! Thank you so much to Amelia for correcting me - I was under the impression Amber Diamond will be gone from the UK too!

How could they, you ask? I could not agree more.


Amber Diamond and I haven't always been the best of companions. If you read my first few posts on it, I believe one of them was called, "What Do I Do With You Amber Diamond?!" But over the year, it's become my go-to higlighter, but as I like to call it - my go-to glow-er.

For me, highlighters should be lighter than your skin, opaque and making areas of your face protrude. However, there are other highlighters like the world famous YSL Touche Eclat (or "Tissue Cloth" as my boyfriend once thought I said) that attracts light onto your skin. Amber Diamond is neither.


Amber Diamond is a glower. It's for people who want that pure, natural, Victoria's Secret skin that is so inconspicuously bare, until you turn your head and BAM! - your cheek are a'glowin'. So if anything, I'd say this was a blusher, that is so subtle for us midtoned girls that it adds just a bit of a sunkissed look, but with the dimension to make your cheeks glow.  It may not make your cheekbones protrude, but it sure as hell makes them look alive.

For paler girls, I imagine it's quite similar, perhaps less subtle initially; and for darker skintones, more subtle but perhaps a bit more resembling of a traditional highlighter.

You can see from the swatches below that it's also completely an eyeshadow palette. It's probably how I used it most in its early days. These are the perfect neutral shades that will add the same glow to your eyes and make you look awake. I personally like the whitest shade in my inner corner, and the second shade all over the lid.

Swatches left to right & all shades mixed together.


What is this brush you ask? Well, it first caught my eye when I bought Amber Diamond last summer as the store attendant applied it with this brush. It's a densely packed, natural bristled flat-top kabuki that is specifically meant for powder foundations. But it also works so well for loose mineral foundations, blushers, highlighters and contours. After lemming for a year, I finally got it after being told that this too, was being discontinued in the UK. And to be replaced by an identically shaped, but £20 more expensive alter-ego.

The d-word is a horrible thing.

So how long do you potentially have? 2 weeks. In September, these babies will be gone from some countries, off to be a fragment of our beauty blogging imaginations. I can confirm for sure that in the UK, the brushes will be discontinued but at least Amber Diamond is staying!

You can buy Amber Diamond (and its less famous but still pretty sister, Rose Diamond) at the Debenham's website and local counters! :)

What's your plan of action?

To see what will be taking their place, check out Mostly Sunny's blog post :) It's not bad - but it's not the same.

<3yu

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15 August 2012

The Favourite Powder: Chanel Poudre Universelle (vs. MAC MSFN)

A woman leaning into her vanity mirror, with a pink feathery puff (as useless as a chocolate teapot), puffing away at her nose. Or.. "I'm just going to go powder my nose!" The powder is such an icon of the make-up world, so much so that it even has a room named after it. Its role in history is now engrained, through films and watching our nans and moms, and thus - every woman since the dawn of time, has embarked on their search for her perfect powder, to fulfill this epic nose puffing destiny.

Complete and total bollocks, but I didn't really want to think I was the only one with hoards and hoards of powder!

The good news is, that my hoard is beginning to dwindle down, as today, I really must tell you about my favourite powder.


Meet Chanel Poudre Universelle Compacte in 40 Beige Dore.

You may recognise the name from its infamous sister, the Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre, and they're  basically like unidentical twins. This is the same exact formula, except in pressed form.

The rave..

The Chanel Poudre Universelle Compact is my favourite powder. It's like dusting on a layer of silk - your skin becomes smoother, your pores smaller, and you just look really, really soft. It's the perfect friend for any foundation, as it doesn't ruin the natural texture but just "softens", and it adds just enough pigmentation to perfect your look - it's like someone's waved a wand and voila! Real-life soft focus.

For this reason, it's an epic touch-up powder. It's slim, compact, it doesn't crumble and it has a nice big mirror. However, my love for it has made it a busy bee, flying between my vanity and make-up bag - I just love it too much!


Who would like it..?

This is an incredibly light, and low pigmented powder - so if you're looking for a matte, flawless finish, this probably isn't your best bet. It also does nothing for oil control - it doesn't make it worse, but it doesn't make it too much better either. This is more for people who like that natural finish, that want to have that bare-looking skin.

If you like tinted moisturisers, but it just doesn't last long enough, but you also feel you can't powder because it'll ruin the look - give this powder a shot. If you like heavy matte foundations, but feel a layer of powder just adds a bit too much, try this one. It really is like a silk veil, just enough to keep things in place, and just enough to make your skin look a touch softer. It will also add a slight touch of coverage too.

Comparisons..?

Almost a year and a half ago, I ditched my MAC Mineralised Skinfinish Natural because it was really easy to look cakey, it didn't have a mirror, and it crumbled during transport. I tried it a month or so ago and I appreciated it for what it was - I liked that it was a bit more pigmented, but had a natural sheen. But if you're looking for natural, a sheen isn't as natural as you can get with powders, as I've now found out!

Having seen lots of people ditch the MAC MSFN since then for being too cakey or powdery, I really wanted to write this post, because it just reinforced my thoughts for why I ditched the MAC MSFN so long ago (granted I do like it now) - Chanel Poudre Universelle Compacte is what I wished the MAC MSFN would be.


In summary..

On a day to day basis, especially in warm weather when my skin is behaving - this powder is the best. I really do enjoy it and I genuinely have no idea how it gives the finish it does being a powder. I haven't really been tempted by any powder claiming to be "natural" anymore, because this just does it so well. What's more, it seems to work really well with the ever popular Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation - the two have been my go-to combination for the past several weeks, as it gives an incredibly naturally flawless finish.

It'll set you back £32, and its loose sister, £34. But in my opinion - 100% worth it. It comes in limited shades, but only because it's not pigmented enough to make a massive difference to your skin if it's slightly off. It does its job well, and that's what you want from the historic, epic, make-up item that is the  women's powder!

Have you tried the Chanel Poudre Universelle sisters?
What's your favourite powder?

<3yu

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14 August 2012

Review: Christian Brows (vs. HD Brows)

I love brows - I just love how complex and "dark horse"-ey they are! They can really make or break your look, and I honestly think a pair of well-groomed brows will make you look more polished than any single make-up product can on its own. So for me, a good brow product is a must. It has to be long-lasting, natural-looking, and the perfect colour match.

One of the products in my arsenal of brow products is Christian Brows.



What you get..

A massive packaging. Possibly the only flaw with this product, this thing is HYOGE ("huge"). I'm talking same length as a Sleek palette - 1/2 an inch off the width and about twice the depth. I never take it anywhere, and it's a pain to store. However, a little birdy tells me they are considering repackaging - let's hope they go through with it ey!

With Christian Brows, you get a few things - the powder, a double-ended brush and 3 stencils. Yes, stencils seem a bit old school and they can be! But these stencils come in 3 sizes - thin, natural and thick - which are all actually very natural, and incredibly helpful if you aren't used to doing your own brows, or to get that perfect, symmetrical look.

The concept is to place these stencils where it fits on your brows, use the fluffy side of the brush to fill in space, take off the stencil and do some detail work with the angled side.

It sounds so time-consuming and to be honest, I thought it was going to be so mistake-prone. But the results are actually amazing, and the process is surprisingly quick and easy. I've first-handedly seen the wonders these stencils can do for people with sparse brows too, and it actually left me speechless!

Sadly, their video isn't quite as impressive, but take a look at around 1:33 to get an idea (trust me the shapes usually come out much nicer, and you don't have to be as heavy-handed!)..


How I use it..

On a day-to-day basis, I personally don't use the stencil, and just fill it in with the angled brush (a bit thin for my liking but hey ho), but only because the formula on its own is brilliant. At first touch they seem a bit powdery, but when applied they seem to just melt into your skin. I'm also impressed at how they "dye" your brow hair (see 0:30) and they're meant to stay on through heat and water. These are all benefits that come with the fact that the product is clay-based.

As I mentioned, these stencils are a godsend when I want that perfect shaped, symmetrical brows. They're very easy to use - no powder splatter nor unnaturally straight lines, leaving your brows looking defined, but still very natural. The fluffy brush prevents over-filling, by applying a light wash of product all the way down to the roots, and therefore allowing you to control how dark you want your powder to be.

Here are before and after shots of my own brows using a stencil with the colour Charcoal - you can see that even with a dark colour like Charcoal, I can still just use one layer as I did in the photo and make it slightly lighter and more suitable for everyday:


Christian Brows? HD Brows?

As an owner of both, I can tell you off the bat that it pretty much comes down to taste.

The formula of Christian Brow is slightly superior, providing extreme staying power and the ability to dye hair. However, the HD Brows' staying power is definitely more than enough for everyday. HD Brows also has darker pigmentation, which is better for those who like stronger brows. Christian Brows is buildable both in formula and with the fluffy brush, so it has that extra bit of flexibility.

The format is neck to neck. HD Brows come in (travel friendly, cough cough) palettes with various colours that give you that flexibility (if you dye your hair a lot!) and depth. The Christian Brows comes with stencils and a fluffy brush that gives you a natural finish, and a sense of relief for those unsure about how to do brows. They both come with mirrors - hooray!

If you have no use for stencils, HD Brows may be more economical. But keep in mind that HD Brows come with multiple colours, which means unless you make use of that, you'll run out of one colour before the others. This may make the Christian Brows more economical in the long run (especially with the offer - keep reading!)

Personally, I reach for HD Brows more, but this comes down to 2 facts - packaging and colour match. The first is definitely something I hope Christian works on in the future, but both have a very high degree of my personal choice. I just prefer brown brows! Like I said, it REALLY comes down to taste. I think if the packaging was to be fixed in the near future, I would definitely purchase Christian Brows in a different shade, as I don't use 1/2 my HD Brows palette at the moment!

***
In summary..

If you have sparse brows, like naturally filled brows, you're a brow novice, you need your brows tinted, you work/live in a very hot, humid or wet environment, or you feel you don't need multiple colours - Christian Brows is the way forward!

The cost you ask? At a whopping £26.54, I'd say it's quite an investment. But the lovely girls at Christian Brows have given me a discount code that my readers can use on the phone to get the full set for £20 with P&P - just call 015 8279 8920 with the code BLOG0812. This deal ends on the 31st of August, and their offices are open until 5:30pm Mondays to Thursdays and 3pm on Fridays. But not to worry if you miss the deal - it's also available from FeelUnique for £22.

If you're not sure about what your shade would be, or just want to have a chat about the product, head on over to their Facebook or Twitter!

Have you tried Christian Brows?
For those with HD Brows, would you consider switching?

<3yu

Facebook * Twitter * YouTube
*Received for consideration.
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9 August 2012

Aaaall Gone..! #1

Let me introduce you to my box - my Aaaall Gone box! :)


Hopefully he will be a familiar face from now on, as I attempt to finish products one by one. This box will be where I keep everything I finish! Anyway, now that you are both acquainted, here's what's been inside him up until now! :)

(My favourite screenshot EVER?)

Do you like finishing products?
What have you finished recently that you are most proud of?

<3yu

*Items received for consideration are listed in the YouTube description box.
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7 August 2012

Review: TheBalm Hot Mama Blush

If you remember earlier this year (on Valentine's Day actually!), I reviewed TheBalm Sexy Mama powder. After getting so much interest in this, the lovely Jo from FindMeAGift (she has her own blog here - check it out, Mr. Darcy lovers!) and I decided to work together again to bring you another review . This time, on TheBalm's Hot Mama Blush.


The formula is frankly, brilliant. Although it does produce a bit of fall out on swirling the brush, you really don't need to be doing this as the product has a nice level of pigmentation, and a few taps with the bristles will do. In fact, when I swirled too much, I found it turned almost mauve-y on my cheeks because I'd applied too much! With a shimmer product, that is definitely a no-no, so get your light hand on with this product.

The lasting power is also frankly, brilliant. It lasts a good 6 hours, and if you are planning on staying out later than that, the packaging is so nifty, popping it in your make-up bag wont be an issue. It's made of cardboard as many other theBalm products, and it has a nice sleeve to protect it too. The geniuses also decided to add a mirror to a blusher - not always a given in blushers, which is frankly, ridiculous!

Do I even have to mention the cute retro images on their packaging? No, didn't think so.

As you can tell, it's "one of those" colours in a pan - the infamous peachy, pink with gold shimmer/sheen that every company on Earth (practically) has given their shot at. So I've decided to bring together all the "one of those" colours that I've acquired (because I clearly need all..) to give you a bit of a comparison..

Clockwise from left: NARS Orgasm, NARS Torrid, TheBalm Hot Mama, MAC Style, Benefit Coralista.

As you can see, it's very much in the peach family.. or is it?

Left to right: NARS Orgasm, NARS Torrid, TheBalm Hot Mama, MAC Style, Benefit Coralista, Benefit Bella Bamba.

I think it's a tough call whether it's peach or pink - could it ACTUALLY be peachy pink? Let's face it, Orgasm looks nothing like a peachy pink there. To my surprise, it seems that TheBalm Hot Mama is actually different to the likes of Coralista and Orgasm, and something more of an inbetween.

If you thought Orgasm and Bella Bamba too pink, Coralista and Style too pale, or Torrid too glittery - I think TheBalm Hot Mama would be a good call. It also crossed my mind that it's probably slightly peachier to Sleek Rose Gold - and probably less gold, powdery and stupidly pigmented (can you tell I'm not a fan of Sleek blushers lol). However, you may notice that the golden sheen is relatively strong in the swatch - however, it's not something that really stood out to me when I applied it on my cheeks. It's almost like a dual highlighter/blusher.

The formula is up there with these brands that charge £20 odd quid for their blushers, and the packaging is to die for. So if the shade is up your alley, I'd definitely recommend this. This is also the cheapest of the lot at £14.99 (so not too different from MAC but with a mirror!) so if you want a peachy pink with a golden sheen but don't want to splash out, I think this is the best way to go. Grab yours here, at Find Me a Gift :)

What do you reckon?
Yay to theBalm? Or nay to theBalm?

<3yu

*Received for consideration.
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5 August 2012

Instagrunday #5

1. Cake with my mom before I left Japan 2. Reunited with my partner in crime 3. New shoes!
4. My one and only soda of choice :) 5. Feeling flowery, signature Havvies ;) 6. Single-handedly funding Dior as usual.. 7. Digging out my old hi-top-a-lops (for Camden.. lol) 8. Jessie J concert! (make-up post coming up!) 9. My new flatmate - we've found a flat! :)

The week was off to a really bad start: lots of internship days, failed flat viewings, trudging on with job applications and dissertation. But the dull, tough week was topped off with 2 amazing events on Saturday: a truly generous concert gift from the lovely Adrienne (I sing and songwrite so as you can imagine - Jessie J is my idol!),  and secondly, we found a flat!

Today we are spending the day at Ben's cousin's - admittedly both working, but going out for a Sunday meal later.. not gonna lie, one of my favourite things about living in Britain :)

How has your week been? :)

<3yu
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4 August 2012

Skin 1 - 0 Yu

I kid you not. If there was such a thing as dermobipolarity, my skin's got it.

When I returned from Japan a week or so ago, I noticed enhanced dry patches around and on my nose, dehydration lines on my forehead and worst of all, excruciating stinging on my inner cheeks and around my nose. I slept with a Sudocrem halo around my nose for 3 days.

To give you a bit of background, my skin was already a drama queen as it was with my t-zone being both the driest and oiliest part of my face. How is that even possible, I hear you ask? God knows. I basically had dry patches in the same areas I got oily during the day - between my brows, around my nose, and on my chin.

So when this dermobipolarity hit (yep I'm usin' it), I was so confused. So I dug around my collection and consulted a lovely man at the Origins counter in John Lewis and had a mini skincare overhaul. And this is what resulted:

When I said "mini", I did mean "mini"..

First we have the cleansers - The Body Shop Vitamin E Cleanser and the Origins A Perfect World Cleanser. I like these equally, actually. The former is more of a traditional cleanser that you apply on a dry face, and it smells a lot like Nivea. I can really feel the hydrating effects of that and have been really enjoying it at night. Origins' A Perfect World is like a milder version of their Checks & Balances (which is what I use at my boyfriend's), and is more of a face wash that you lather with water and apply to damp skin. Now this I feel has more of a balancing effect of the oily and dry patches, and therefore something I aim to use in the daytime instead. Together, I'm hoping they set a good base for the following steps. (P.S. Origins have started to make mini travel sizes for the Olympics times, so if you ever wanted to try their products like the Drink Up Intensive mask or the Modern Friction exfoliator - now's the time!)

Then we have the toner - The Body Shop Vitamin E Toner. This is a strange toner. If you pour it out onto your hand, you can see it has a hint of viscosity unlike your average toner. I think this almost gel-like feature makes this product more moisturising than most other toners, and I've found it really nice and comforting on the skin. While the lovely Origins man suggested A Perfect World toner, I decided to stick with this one.

Serum. I've had crap experience with serums thus far, and this is actually the only one I've enjoyed - and even then, I'm not really sure if it's doing much. This is Caudalie's Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum. The concept is great and fit for my needs, but the actual product is just okay - so if this sample size doesn't last me, I'll be on the hunt. Any suggestions?

Last but not least, the Origins Make A Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment. This is a WEIRD texture. It's like a gel-balm! Either way, I feel this does a good job of sealing in the moisture from the last 3 steps, but whether it moisturises itself is something I haven't really figured out yet. But even that feature alone makes it quite good - but not sure if it's £32 good - we'll see!

Oh did I mention I'm still getting spots through all this?

I think Skin 1- 0 Yu about sums it up..

Has your skin ever had dermabipolarity?
Anyone have amazing product suggestions for dehydrated/dry skin?

<3yu

*The Body Shop products were gifts with purchase.
*The Caudalie Serum was received for consideration.
*The Origins Make A Difference treatment was a sample from purchasing A Perfect World cleanser.
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3 August 2012

On a Blogging Trip.. at Massachusetts Mask!

Today I've traipsed my jolly self to the lovely blog that is Massachusetts Mask, after being invited to guest post by the equally lovely Emily :)

I've taken the liberty of talking about my favourites in the British high street - so pop over, take a look and have your say here!

I know, I've found a new audience to be a broken record to re: Rimmel's lippy, I bet you're glad! :P

What products on the British high street are you a fan of?

<3yu

*The yellow MUA lip balm was received for consideration. The other was purchased with my own money.
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2 August 2012

July Favourites 2012!

How long has it been since I've done a favourites? Too long! MUCH too long!


I just want to give another apology to Glossybox, as they were the ones that had sent me the Noble Isle Shower Gel!


Any favourites this month?
Hope you enjoyed the video - let me know about the music, yay or nay?


<3yu

*The Noble Isle Shower Gel was received for consideration.
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