Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Review: V05 Beyond Blonde Shampoo

This isn't something I thought I'd ever think, never mind write or say out loud, but I feel like I owe this shampoo an apology. I have been dragging out this review for absolute ages, scrolling past the images and thinking, "What the hell are you going to say? It's just shampoo....". But then I started thinking about it. And thought about it some more. And the more I thought, the more I realised, that this is one of the best drugstore shampoos I have used in a long time. So, here we go, V05: I'm sorry for not appreciating you enough.

See, this is a shampoo that works quietly. On the outside it seems just like any cheap and cheerful shampoo: it's got that typical fruity drugstore scent (nothing wrong with that, but it's not exactly luxurious), extremely girly packaging and a very serious lather that means business (but also tons of SLS, so not one if you're avoiding that ingredient!). I wouldn't say it does any of that brightening or colour correcting stuff specifically for blonde hair, so again, if that's something you're after, you need to look elsewhere.

I use this every other wash and usually apply something like a hair mask or deep conditioner afterwards and while I've had various results with the latter, it's the shampoo that's always been consistent. It gets my hair really, really clean, so that it can perfectly absorb whatever's coming afterwards, but even if I just pop on any regular old conditioner, my hair is left feeling soft and smooth and in no way dry or frizzy.

I think haircare is probably the one area where investing in luxury products will get you luxury results (in my experience, at least), but if you don't have upwards of £50 to spend on shampoo and conditioner every month, you still don't have to let your hair suffer. For the price, this works an absolute treat and I couldn't ask for anything else. I bought this huge 500ml bottle about six months ago and I'm only just beginning to scrape the bottom, so it lasts for ages as well! (Though bear in mind that I've only been using it every other wash, as mentioned above)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review: Garnier Clean & Fresh Eye Make-up Remover

When it comes to make-up remover, I like to keep things cheap and cheerful. I get through so much of that stuff it would soon become a very expensive habit and I've found that most drugstore removers work just as well as their high end counterparts, as long as you know where to look.

While my eyes aren't super sensitive, they do get dry from wearing contact lenses a lot of the time, so the main thing for me is that I don't want my beauty products to further aggravate them and cause any stinging. I'm also not a fan of oil based removers that leave a greasy film on my lids and a weird coating on my eyeballs.... urgh, no thanks. Thankfully, this little number from Garnier fits the bill perfectly.

It really does feel light and refreshing on the skin and there is no stinging or burning in my eyes whatsoever. When it comes to removing make-up it performs well as long as you're not wearing copious amounts of eye make-up. After a night out for example I would have to go through several cotton pads to fully get rid of my panda eyes.

I guess when it comes to efficiency, these types of make-up remover are never going to be as good as micellars (and if you're in the market for one, Garnier actually do a cracking one that is pretty much an exact dupe for Bioderma!), but if for any reason you're not a fan of a micellar water and don't wear huge amounts of eye make-up, then this is a pretty good option that certainly won't break the bank.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Review: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

Whatever did I do before the days of quick dry top coat? Oh yeah, I basically never painted my nails. That's what I did. This is the second part of my adventure in quick-dry-land, with the first part being a bottle of the OPI Rapidry (review here). I know, I know, I still somehow haven't purchased a bottle of the legendary Seche Vite, but when I opened my Rapidry one day to find that it had turned into a hard, sticky lump, this was the only thing I could get my hands on in my local Boots.

And it certainly wasn't too shabby a purchase! As far as being quick drying goes, this top coat definitely does the job. Give it ten minutes tops and my nail polish has gone rock solid, so I no longer have to sit on the sofa in T-Rex pose. Unlike my previous purchase, it also doesn't drag the polish underneath - as long as the surface is kinda dry, you're good to go. After all, having to wait for your nail polish to completely dry before applying a quick dry top coat kinda defeats the purpose.

As for the top coat preventing chips I do admit that I've seen some improvements compared to not wearing any top coat at all, though they're not overly breathtaking. All it takes is still one slightly longer shower and my polish will have dents and flakes coming off. Thankfully, however, (unlike the OPI polish), it doesn't do that horrible thing where a top coat clings to your nail polish and everything comes off in just one huge, massive flake.

As far as the brush goes, I wouldn't mind it being a little shorter and wider for easier application, but that's just me being fussy over a minor detail.

I think as far as adventures in quick dry land go, this is definitely an improvement and has led to a lot more nail polish application than previously. I'd be happy to recommend this to anyone who likes to paint their nails and doesn't enjoy faffing about while it's drying (so, erm, everyone who likes to paint their nails then). Perhaps one day I will get my hands on some Seche Vite and then I'll be able to tell you how these two stack up against each other, but until then I'm happy with my bottle of Insta-Dri!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review: Mark Hill Intensive Conditioning Mask

Every other hair wash, I slap on something thick, gooey and nourishing on my hair. A hair mask or deep conditioner is as deeply embedded in my beauty routine as filing my nails when they break off. As my hair is naturally quite dry and bleaching it makes it extra brittle, it's not a step I could ever imagine skipping. As a result, I've tried a lot of products that claim to bring back your hair from the brink of near-death, from budget to high end (but mainly on the budget side of things).

As such, this is one that sits very snugly in the middle. It's got a very satisfying scoopy texture... you know, when you just get a nice feeling scooping it up with your hands...? ...no? I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's neither too runny, so you don't have to worry about it dripping out of your hair, nor so thick that you can't spread it evenly. It's got a sweet and fruity scent but by no means is it overpowering.

One thing I do really like about this is that it only takes a few minutes to get to work. None of that wrapping hair in a towel, waiting for half an hour and then getting back in the shower faff. This I just slap on, then I do my showery-exfoliatey-shavey things and it's ready to be rinsed off again.
It's more of a quick fix, however, than a long term solution. Post shower, my hair is left soft and silky, but without having the ingredients right here in front of me, I can almost swear blindly, that it ought to be down to some silicone magic - so it's not one for you if that's an ingredient you avoid in your hair products!

Personally, while I do try to shake it up a little from time to time, silicones are not an ingredient that I avoid altogether, though I do make an effort to go on silicone breaks to let my hair breathe occasionally. As far as other drugstore masks go, I'd say this is definitely superior to other cheap and cheerful options, such as Herbal Essences, albeit I wouldn't recommend it as a long term solution if your hair is brittle and damaged.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Review: Soap & Glory Heel Genius

For a long time I used to struggle with using foot creams. I amassed a huge stash of them, but constantly kept forgetting to actually use them. Then I had the genius idea of putting a tube in my bathroom right next to my body lotion and this way I have somehow managed to work my way through my mountain of foot creams and try out this one which I bought more than a year and a half ago. Told you it was bad.

I've seen Heel Genius on many a bloggers' favourites lists and now I can finally understand why it's such a much loved product. The texture is an almost balmy cream which instantly sinks into the skin, so there's none of that dreaded Bambi-on-ice feeling if don't put socks on straight afterwards. The cream feels cooling and refreshing on the feet, which is an absolute godsend if you've spent all day running around like I usually do.

While it's not the most skin softening foot cream I've ever tried, I could definitely tell a difference in how my heels felt after a couple of days of using it. As far as budget foot creams go, this is probably the best one I've tried so far. I feel like its place in the beauty hall of fame is well deserved!