Category Archives: Beauty reviews

Updated Skincare Routine

Hello lovely readers,

I thought it was about time I’d do an updated skincare routine, as I have discovered some wonderful new products over the past few months that have now become firm favourites. I have normal skin with very occasional small spots. Here’s the breakdown:


Skincare 2014 (1 von 2)

To cleanse : I mix 50/50 of a creamy, non-foaming cleanser (currently Boots Botanics All Bright Gentle Cleasing cream, but I switch it up) with Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasian Polish . I love the fine, sandy texture of this product, but it’s too harsh on it’s own. Depending on how much my skin needs exfoliation, I adjust the ratio.

To tone: Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae toner. I love the smell of this, and it feels so refreshing. The ingredients are impressive, for once the base is aloe vera juice, not water, and it has hyaloronic acid in it. I like that it is meant to be antibacterial, but not drying in the slightest. I have become paranoid about rubbing bacteria onto my face when drying it after cleansing (who has a clean towel every single day?) – probably a silly idea, but using this toner afterwards sorts it out.

To moistuise: Murad Vitalic Energizing Pomegranate moisturizer. I bought this as part of a kit from TK Maxx. Would I pay the full price? Probably. I like the smell, the non-greasy but hydrating texture, and my skin seems to like it.


Skincare 2014 (2 von 2)

To remove makeup: For waterproof mascara, I use Clarins Instant eye-makeup remover. It does work well, but I am not sure I would repurchase it. I find the much cheaper Nspa Ultimate Cleansing tonic (sold at Asda) works just as effectively. For face makeup, I use the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I love this, it seems so magical – an oil when you apply it on dry skin that turns into a milky liquid when you add water to rinse it off. Really leaves my skin feeling clean. I don’t like it so much for removing mascara, it seems to irritate my eyes ever so slightly.

To cleanse: The Pure Moisture plus miracle balm with a muslin cloth. I raved about it here.

For night-time moisturiser: Pai Rosehip oil. Apparently the only oil of its kind made out of the fruit rather than the seed, which means it contains more antioxidants. Amazing feel, smell, absorbs well and my skin loves it. I like the idea of not putting any chemicals/silicones or any of that stuff I don’t really know about on my skin  over night. It gets enough of that in the day!

I don’t bother with eye creams or serums – should I? Leave me a comment below!

For my favourite masks, see my recent post.


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Beauty goodies from the US!

A while ago my dear friend bellepetronelle and I agreed to do a box swap. She is currently in the US and I am in the UK. She asked me what I wanted – OMG. I went through the Sephora website and lots of American beauty guru’s recommendation and carefully made my picks – she got me everything I asked for. The parcel arrived on Christmas Day – how perfect. I’m so grateful. I’ve had a chance to try these out so I’ll let you know my thoughts.

us swap (3 von 6)

Milani Baked blush in Luminoso


Milani Baked blush in Luminoso – So worth the hype! Beautiful shimmery peach blush that is very pigmented and gives you a real glow. Will be using this loads in the summer I think.

us swap (4 von 6)

Anastasia clear brow gel

Anastasia clear brow gel – This does it exaclty what you expect, it makes my very unruly brows stay in place by making them rock solid. No white flaky bits. I asked for this when it was on half price offer – not sure if it is that much better than drugstore brow gels, but to be honest I haven’t tried many.

us swap (6 von 6)

Tarte Pure Delights Lipsurgence lip set

Tarte Pure delights Lipsurgence lip set – This is the star of the show. I love love love these. I haven’t even worn all of these yet as I am savouring them, but I have swatched them all. There are 4 matte ones which have great colour payoff and 4 shiny ones that are more like the typical crayon lipsticks. I love all the colours – Based on the packaging they all look quite similar and mainly light pink, but a couple of them actually are a lot darker than their packaging. They have a minty scent to them that reminds me of the Revlon Just bitten kissable balm stains, no doubt due to the peppermint oil in the ingredients.

Is it worth paying a bit more for them compared to drugstore alternatives? Yes, if you care about the ingredients. Tarte uses a lots of natural ingredients and no mineral oil or parabens. Among the original formula I spotted goodies such a Jojoba oil.

I feel very lucky to have such a generous friend!


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Beauty review: A great affordable cleansing balm!



Cleansing balms seem to be the skincare trend of the year. I’m über loyal to my Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, so I haven’t been swayed to try anything new. Until recently. The cult balms (Emma Hardie, Eve Lom, need I say more?) are pretty much all high end and I just can’t bring myself to spend 30 pounds plus on a cleanser. Luckily. Marks and Spencer once again saved the day with their Pure moisture plus miracle balm (£9.50). Pure is one of their in-house brands that offers affordable natural cosmetics. A lot of their body care smells of rose – I love the Moisture plus body cream.

The miracle balm is basically a mix of natural oils such as Argan, shea and sweet almond. Consequently it has a fairly strong scent, but I love it. It is fairly solid but melts between your hands and on your face. I massage this onto my dry face and then take it off with a hot muslin cloth. It leaves my skin feeling clean, soft and nourished. It is definitely a richer product than the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, so I think it is perfect for winter. My skin is normal to combination, not particularly oily but blemish prone.

Have you tried a cleansing balm? Let me know your views.


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Beauty review: AHA and clay face masks

face masks

I am a massive fan of face masks. Maybe because they give you an instant result, rather than the “better skin in 2 weeks”, gradual thing you get from a lot of skincare products. I try to restrain myself and use them no more than once or twice a week. It is the ideal thing for me to feel like I am looking after myself.

This post is about the two types of face masks that I regularly use – exfoliating/radiance masks and clarifying/detoxing masks. I don’t really use moisturizing masks, mainly because I rarely feel like that is my primary skin concern.

Exfoliating/radiance/AHA/fruit acids family

Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask (50ml – £30)

This is probably my favourite mask of all times, mainly because it makes such a dramatic, immediate difference to my skin. Various fruit acids eat away your dead skin cells and leave your skin smooth and noticeably more radiant. It isn’t the most pleasant mask to apply as it is very sticky, but so worth it. I’ve done a first impression video on this, so you can watch me apply the mask here. It’s arguably very expensive, but you only need a thin layer so it lasts a long time. I bought my first bottle online from Marks and Spencer during one of their 20% off all beauty promotions (Amazing – they stock Ren, Nuxe, Murad, etc) and the second at Heathrow airport Duty free (£25).

Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating mask (6 x 7.5ml – £22.50)

Two of these came in a Pore Refining starter set I picked up at TK Maxx for 12 Euros. Such a bargain! This mask does similar things to the Ren one, but feels more cooling and tingling. I think it is similarly powerful at exfoliating, but the Ren mask might have the upper hand in terms of radiance. The packaging in individual sachets is a serious downside – 7.5ml is a ridiculously large amount for a single sachet. You can get at least two uses out of this.

Superdrug Radiance Renewal Brightening Renewal mask (75ml – £4.99)

Here’s your drugstore alternative of a fruit acid mask. Less powerful, but still gives you smoother skin. It feels cooling and slightly tingling,. Superdrug often sells this range for 1/3 to 1/2 off the already very reasonable price. A good way to dip your toe into the fruit acid business or maybe if the big guns above are too harsh for your skin.

Clarifying/detox/clay based family

Origins Clear Improvement mask (50ml – £10)

A clay based mask that has an amazing deep colour and feels very smooth when you apply it. It dries to a typical tight fit on the skin. My skin feels very clean and smooth afterwards. Probably the most powerful out of the three. I bought it from the Origins website with free delivery and got to choose two free samples.

Boots Botanics Shine away Ionic Clay mask (100ml – £4.99)

This contains only three ingredients on top of clay and water – one of them willow bark extract, according to the label a natural source of salicylic acid. I’m assuming it’s the lack of smoothing/silicone ingredients that means this really feels like putting fine grained mud on your face. It dries completely on the face. This is the only one of the three where your can see little dots once it’s dry where the oils of have been drawn out of your skin … if that sounds satisfying to you, give it a try.

Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox mask (100ml – £10.50)

This mask has the lovely effect of warming up and cooling down as soon as you apply it to the skin. It has a slightly gooey texture and does not dry down in the typical clay mask fashion. As you only leave it for 5 minutes, I think it has a much milder effect than the other masks. Still good for a spontaneous pick-me up if you feel your skin is congested but don’t have time for a full face mask. I tend to apply this before I get in the shower and wash it off in the end – hardly an extra time investment.

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Beauty Review: Autograph Liquid Glow Illuminator

Ever since I started watching Lisa Eldridge’s makeup tutorials, the Becca Shimmering skin perfector has been at the top of my wish list. But when Becca finally came back into Space NK, I just couldn’t do it. 33 pounds for a product I could only buy online so couldn’t even swatch? Becca is now available in selected Space NK stores, but I think I have found a good alternative. Is it a dupe? I wish I could make that statement. Maybe those who own both can help me out?

The Autograph liquid glow illuminator is part of the Marks and Spencer makeup range. For 9.50 pounds , you get 30ml of product, which I think is a great deal. It come with a handy pump. I have the shade natural, there also is a bronze.

How to use it
– As an illuminating base under makeup
– mixed in with your foundation to make it lighter and more dewy
– as a liquid highlighter on top of foundation

This is a very subtle product, which I love. It has absolutely no visible glitter particles. What it does is it catches the light in a way that looks glowy, but natural. You can sheer it out a lot or leave it quite dense, as in the photo below on my hand.

The two drugstore alternatives I am aware of are the L’Oreal lumi magique primer and the new Seventeen Skin Wow! 3 way highlighter. I haven’t tried either, so please leave your comments if you have.





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My favourite false eyelashes: Katy Perry by Eylure in ‘Oh, Honey’



I’ve been looking for the perfect false eyelashes for a while. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but I find it very difficult to choose eyelashes based on what they look like in the shops. Maybe it’s just my lack of experience, but I’ve often picked some up thinking they will look really natural, only to find the complete opposite.

I suppose it depends on what look you are going for. I have fairly short, Asian eyelashes, and I was looking for a pair that would give me a fuller look without looking obviously false. Here’s what my trial-and-error experience has taught me:

  • Stick to eyelashes that are a bit, but not massively longer than your eyelashes. I found that any eyelashes that were a good few mm longer than my own looked too obvious.
  • Put the eyelashes on and where necessary, trim them with scissors.
  • For a natural look, don’t choose eyelashes where the lashes are neatly arranged in parallel. My eyelashes are definitely not like that. Even if I picked a pair that was meant to very natural because it only had a few lashes with gaps in between – if these lashes were too neatly arranged it just didn’t look right on me.

What are your favourite false eyelashes?




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MUA Power pouts – review and swatches!



These lip balm/stain sticks are the latest and cheapest (I think) version of the popular “chubby crayon” lip products. They come in six different shades and are sold for £3 at Superdrug.

MUA says: “MUA Power Pout is a lip treatment with colour intensity that relieves dry, cracked lips providing immediate moisturisation. The handy pencil-style applicator provides easy to apply sheer soft lip colour and rolls up for easy use.”


“Justify” and “Broken hearted”




“Broken hearted”


I got “Justify”, a coral with some pink undertones, and “Broken Hearted”, a reddish hot pink. “Broken Hearted” looks similar to the packaging on the lips, but “Justify” is definitely more pink/red than the bright orange packaging suggests.


They feel very “balmy” and moisturizing. I find these somewhat softer than the Revlon JBK balm stains. It almost feels to me as if the lipstick was melting away. I prefer a most sturdy bullet, so I don’t have to fear that it will get damaged easily. As you can see in the picture, this already happened to the left one when closing the lid.

Lasting power:

The lipbalm itself wears of rather quickly as it’s so creamy, but it does leave a stain on my lips. I do reapply lipstick during the day anyway, as I work at my desk all day and it is a nice distraction. So lasting power arguably isn’t my main priority for daytime lipsticks.


The packaging looks very similar to the Revlon just bitten kissable balm stains. The lipsticks are twist-up. What really annoys me about these though is that the lid does not stay closed – it slides off very easily. It’s fine if you keep them on your dressing table, but I got orange colour all over my make up bag more than once.

Overall verdict:

I do recommend these as daytime lipcolours for spring and summer. They are a nice addition to my Revlon JBK balm stains as the colour range is different, and I do like the two shades that I got. However, the quality of the Revlon ones is better. The Revlon ones are more than twice the price, so I guess you get what you pay for.


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