Friday, 27 September 2013

Use it or Lose it Challenge Update

Here's an update to my Use it or Lose it September post here.  As a reminder I choose 8 products from my stash to use in September in order to decide whether I liked it enough to keep it, or if I should get rid of it. 

Here are the results:

Mac Warmth of Coral Blush - this blush is not my colour at all its just too orange.  I will sell this on eBay.
Max Factor Ageless Elixir 2 in 1 Foundation Plus Serum - I like the colour and coverage of this foundation and it works on my dry skin, so I will aim to use this along with my tinted moisturisers and BB creams.
Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Primer - this is too drying for my skin and did not work under my foundation - I have already sold this on eBay.
Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Eye Shadow in Emerveille - I think the reason that I didn't use this is because its a cream based shadow and I have very oily eyelids.  With a little bit of primer this stays on well and it a lovely golden colour with bronze undertones.  This is definitely a keeper.

Mac Strobe Cream - this works as a decent primer under my foundation and keeps my skin from drying out whilst providing a little illumination.  I will keep this and aim to use it up, but I don't think that I will repurchase.

Naked Eye Shadow Palette - This is a really great palette and I can't believe I have had it so long without using it.  I think the main reason for not using it is because I left it in the plastic outer cover and I just couldn't be bothered to take it out of the packaging and then put it back again.  I have chucked the packaging and have left the palette on a shelf which is easy to reach.  This has so many fantastic neutral colours and can be used day and night.  The quality and pigmentation is fab too.  The only question on my mind now is whether I should purchase the other naked palettes.  What do you think?

Clinique Chubby Stick in Chunky Cherry - At first I didn't think this was going to work for me as it wasn't moisturising enough for my dry lips, but when I applied it over a lip balm like Nuxe Reve de Miel then it really does look nice.  Its a sheer berry colour.  I also tried my other chubby sticks in Super Strawberry which I love and Woppin' Watermelon which is currently on my blog sale as its just too light for my lips.

Finally, Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse SPF30 in Pink - This is a face primer and its just too pale for my skin (fair to medium).  It leaves a pale cast on my skin that looks quite chalky although this goes away when you apply foundation.  I just didn't notice any brightening effect which is what the pink version is supposed to do.  I really wish I had picked up the beige version as I think that would have been more suited to my skin tone.  The pink version is definitely more suited to paler skins.  This is definitely going in my pile of products that I need to get rid of as I don't think I will be using it again.

So out of the 8 I started out with I'm keeping 5 products and getting rid of 3 products.
This was a very interesting challenge to undertake and it makes me appreciate the products that I have and encourages me to use a wider range to find my Holy Grail products.  If a product does not work for me then I will put it in my stash to get rid of either in my blog sale or on eBay.    I am definitely going to do the challenge again in October so watch out for my post next week which will list the products I will be using. 
Please feel free to take up the Use it or Lose it Challenge and send me a link to your posts.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

September 2013 Birchbox Review

I know its a little bit late but I thought that I would still review the September Birchbox.  I really can't fault Birchbox, they present their boxes so well and there are always interesting products included.  I have been subscribed for well over a year and I can't remember being disappointed with any box that I have received, which is pretty good going.  Here's a photo of the contents.

First up is Reverence de Bastien Nail Polish I think the shade is called No8 and its a bright bubblegum pink (its brighter than the photo above) which is quite nice although more suited to summer I guess.  I haven't tried this out yet but it says it needs 2 coats.  This is a full size product and costs £16.00.
Next is a mini bottle of Bioderma H2O - 20ml.  I think its great that a beauty box has finally included a cult product like this.  I already have a couple of bottles in my stash, but its a great product and I will take this with me when I go away for the weekend.
Mystic Diamond Argan Oil from Eva Cosmetics.  I have never heard of this brand, but I like hair oil so I was happy to receive this product.  It says that it includes diamond powder to add shine.
Another full size product - Model Co Party Proof Matte Lipstick in Kitty. Now I am no expert on matte lipsticks as I find them too drying for my lips, but this is quite shiny so is the opposite of matte.  That being said it is a very sheer nude colour that feels quite moisturising, so I will probably use it over a darker lipstick shade for a bit of gloss (like I said this product doesn't look or feel very matte to me).  This retails  for £15.50 for a set of 3.
Finally, there is Molton Brown Ylang Ylang nourishing body lotion 30ml.  Its always nice to receive a Molton Brown product as they are too expensive for me to buy regularly.  This has a nice subtle fragrance and leaves my skin feeling nicely moisturised.
There was one more item which is not in the photo.  It was Green & Blacks White Chocolate.  This was a mini chocolate bar that I have to admit lasted about 30 seconds after I opened the box.  I don't usually like white chocolate, but this was nice stuff without being too sickly sweet.
There was also a magazine included and a card with details of the products included in the box.
I was really happy with this box and I am looking forward to next months box.
If you are interested in subscribing I have a referral link  (I get 50 points worth £5 credited to my account if you join).  If you join before 30th September 2013 it will only cost £10 and shipping will be free on your first box. Quote SUMMERBONUS at the checkout stage.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Holiday Wish List - Duty Free

I am going on holiday later this year, so I thought I would do a wish list of the things that I want to pick up at the airport. 
I definitely want to pick up a new perfume at the airport to take advantage of the duty free prices.  I really want another Chanel perfume and the one at the top of my list at the moment is Chanel Coco Noir.  I also want to pick up a few Mac items as the duty free price seems pretty similar to the US price.  I want to buy an eyeshadow called Sumptuous Olive (a gorgeous golden olive colour) and a lipstick called Plumful which is a lovely medium pink colour.  I also want to try the Mac Face & Body foundation, so if I can find a suitable match for my skintone then I will pick some up.

I think I will also pick up a Chanel eyeshadow (Illusion D'Ombre Epatant) and some nail polish (Taboo or Bel-Argus).

I will do a haul post after I have been on holiday.  It will be interesting to compare my wish list with my actual purchases.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mists Review

As Victoria's Secret has recently opened stores in Leeds and Sheffield I thought it would be a great time to do a post on some body sprays that I bought from one of their US stores.  I have been buying Victoria's Secret products for a while as I always pop into the store when I'm in America.  Ive always loved the beauty products there and they sell them for reasonable prices.  I was happy when I heard that they were opening stores in Leeds and Sheffield although I was worried that the prices would be high after getting used to the US prices.  I bought this lot in a gift set (I cant remember how much they cost maybe around $18 which is approximately £12).  
VS Fantasies Range of Fragrance Mists
Amber Romance Fragrance Mist 60ml.  This is my absolute favourite Victoria's Secret scent, its subtle but lingers on the skin nicely.  The info on the US site describes it as follows:
A seductive, warm fragrance. Ignite an Amber Romance, a sensual embrace of sultry amber and crème anglaise.
Secret Craving Fragrance Mist 60ml.  I'm using this at the moment and I must admit its abit too sweet smelling for me.  Its quite strong when first applied but once its calmed down it is ok. The info on the US site describes it as follows:
A seductive, warm fragrance. Surrender to Secret Craving, a rich desire of black currant embraced by vanilla absolute.
Love Spell Fragrance Mist 60ml.  I haven't used this one yet but I have had a quick spray and it is quite fruity.  The first spray is very strong although it calms down pretty fast but its not one of my favourites due to the strong peach scent that overides the cherry blossom. The info on the US site describes it as follows:
A flirty, floral fragrance. Hypnotize in Love Spell, a vibrant, irresistible blend of lush cherry blossom and juicy peach. Experience the luxury of fragrance.
Pure Seduction Fragrance Mist 60ml.  Its quite a subtle fruity fragrance so I'm looking forward to using it. The info on the US site describes it as follows:
A flirty, floral fragrance. Entice in Pure Seduction, a passionate romance of succulent red plum and sweet freesia.
Sheer Love Fragrance Mist 60ml.  This is quite a subtle floral fragrance which is gorgeous.  I think this will be the one I use next. The info on the US site describes it as follows:
An irresistible, fresh fragrance. Fall in Sheer Love, bright and cheerful with fresh white cotton and luminous pink lily.

 In the US the large bottles are 250ml and are $12 each or 3 for $25 or 5 for $30.  With offers like that its hard not to buy them in bulk.  The small bottles I have are $4 each.
I popped in to the Leeds store for the first time last week and was pleasantly surprised by the prices for the beauty items. In the UK stores the large bottles are £11 each, £24 for 3 or £30 for 5 (sorry I forgot to check the prices of the smaller version).  More expensive than in the US but then so are most things. I will definitely be purchasing some more when I run out.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Freebies, Testing & Survey Sites

I love testing and reviewing products, so I thought I would list some websites that I have signed up to.  I have received products to review from all the below sites, ranging from high end products that are just being launched, to products that are blind tested, where you don't find out the brand, you just find out what type of product it is:

Testing & Reviewing
Bzzagent - I have received a wide variety of products to test.  You sometimes receive coupons and extra samples to pass on to friends and family.
Boots Volunteers - they send out products that are not named, just a general description of the product.
Beauty Bible - keep an eye on their facebook page to find out when they are launching another phase of testing for the Beauty Bible books.  The last lot of testing was for over 35s.  You usually receive 10 products (high end and drug store) for a cost of £30.  This may sound a high price but the value of products that I have received in the past have ranged from £160 to £300+.
Debenhams VIP Panel - I have received a couple of high end products to review.  Keep an eye on their facebook page for new products to review.
Supersavvyme - join the savvycircle for a chance to test and review a wide range of products. 

Clicks Research - I have only recently joined this company and I have already received a product to test.  Its similar to Boots in that the brand of the product is not known, only the type of product i.e. BB Cream.  You have to be quick to respond to their emails, as the tests fill up very quickly.
If you know of any other similar websites, please let me know.
I have received free samples from supersavvyme, whatsinmyhandbag and L'Oreal among others.  Its also a good idea to join some facebook pages for a heads up on free samples.  I have signed up for a couple on L'Occitane recently.
If you want to earn some money to spend on your beauty addictions (well that's my addiction anyway!), cash or gift vouchers, then it might be a good idea to join some survey sites.  You sometimes receive free products to test and review as well.  I have been paid on all the survey sites below:

Valued Opinions - if you would like me to refer you, please leave a comment with your email address.
MySurvey - again leave me a comment with your email address if you would like me to refer you.
GlobalTestMarket - leave me a comment with your email address if you would like me to refer you.
justtheanswer - leave me a comment with your email address if you would like me to refer you.
Ipsos Access Panels - leave me a comment with your email address if you would like me to refer you.
newvista - leave me a comment with your email address if you would like me to refer you.
You Gov
It does take a fair bit of time and effort to complete surveys and reviews, but it is a useful way to earn some extra cash or save up some vouchers for your favourite shops (Boots and amazon are the ones I get vouchers for).
I hope that you guys find this post useful

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Lancome DreamTone Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector Review

I was lucky enough to be picked to test and review Lancome DreamTone Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector prior to its UK release.  Lancome claims that this product gives amazing results on:
  • Uneven Skin Tone
  • Dark Spots
  • Colour Irregularities
It also says that it is so powerful that more than 2 out of 3 women would dare to bare their skin.  To be honest I am happy to go out without makeup, so I don't consider that a selling point.

Lancome DreamTone is a luxurious pink serum that has an instant brightening and illuminating effect on my skin. It helps even out my skin tone and has a blurring effect on the pores on my cheeks and nose. It also provides a great base on which to apply foundation adding an attractive glow. I didn't notice any change to the dark spots on my skin, but I have only used it for 6 weeks and it takes up to 8 weeks for results to show. I love the packaging with the easy to use twist top that dispenses the small amount of product that is needed.
Overall, I do like the product although I haven't noticed any effects on the few dark spots on my face, so I will keep using this product and will report back if I notice any fading over time.

Its £69 for 40ml which is pretty steep, but if it does help with dark spots then I would happily pay the price. As a glorified face primer, then I probably would not repurchase.

Have you had the opportunity to try this product?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

August Empties

I did really well finishing up products in August.  I made a concerted effort to only use products that had already been opened and were half empty and heres the results.

 Obviously, there is quite a lot, so I think I will highlight the products that really impressed me and some of the ones that just did not do it for me at all.
Tidmans Soothing Seasalt Bathing Crystals - This is great to use when you have sensitive skin
Bath & Body Works Fragrance Mist  in Twilight Woods - Top Notes: Juicy Berry, Sparkling Mandarin, Coconut - I love this frangrance and will pick up more next time I am in America
S5 Nourish Cleanser - gentle oil-based balm for normal to dry skin - this works really well at removing my makeup and cleansing my skin
Clinique Moisture Surge Gel - I love this gel as it really keeps my skin moisturised and works really well under foundation.  I got this free with Glamour Magazine and it was worth £18 so a great bargain.
Sally Hansen Strengthening Polish Remover - this is great for removing polish quickly, but didn't seem to improve the strength of my nails.
Charles Worthington Intense Rescue Melting Balm - this works great on my dry frizzy hair.
The Body Shop Ginger Anti-dandruff shampoo - this works great when I have a dry sensitive scalp
b/attitude Body Souffle - I received this in a beauty box, but it has a really strong smell so I would not repurchase
Vivienne Westwood Naughty Alice Perfume - I love this fragrance and already have another one in my stash.
Bumble and bumble Bb defrizz Serum - This is no better or worse than Frizz Ease which is cheaper so I won't repurchase
Taaj Ayurveda Hand Cream - another one from a beauty box, this is not particularly moisturising, so I won't repurchase
Bamford Botanic Bath Oil Geranium - this was from a beauty box and is a great fragrance for a relaxing bath. 
Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner - this was also from a beauty box.  This is a conditioner that does not need to be used with a shampoo.  Its a great idea, but was not conditioning enough for my dry hair.
I was really pleased with how many products I managed to finish last month and I am really going to try my best to finish loads more products in September. 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been all over the place recently and I think I first heard about it on Pinksofoxys You Tube channel.  There are so many uses for this oil and since I have been suffering from sensitive skin of late I definitely wanted to try it.  Its quite expensive so I took advantage of the recent Holland & Barrett Penny Sale.  This is where you buy one product and get any other product included in the penny sale for 1p.  You just pay for the most expensive product.  I bought 2 jars of coconut oil for a total of £15 as my sister wanted a jar as well, so we split the cost.
Some of the things that you can use this oil for include:
  1. Cleanser
  2. Hair serum
  3. Hair treatment
  4. Cuticle oil & hand cream
  5. Shaving legs
  6. Bath Oil
  7. Makeup remover
  8. Use to make a body scrub
  9. Face & body moisturiser
  10. You can even use it as cooking oil, although since I can't cook very well I don't think that I will be testing this out
The jars are 454g in size and its 100% natural, raw coconut oil.
If you have any other uses for coconut oil let me know.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Giveaway Update

I just wanted to post a quick update on my 1st giveaway.  The winner Claire has posted a review on her blog Penny for Them here.

Look out for another giveaway later in the year.