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...? 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!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Review: Bleach London Silver Conditioner

When it comes to purple shampoo and conditioner or any other products that promise to keep bleached blonde hair from going brassy I thought I'd tried them all. So imagine my excitement when I discovered this in my local Boots! I'd heard good things about Bleach London, so was hoping it would do a good job at keeping my hair looking naturally blonde and not Simpsons-yellow.

As far as purple conditioners go it's one of the better ones, pretty much on par with my beloved Pro:Voke (which is somehow still the cheapest and the best of all the ones I've tried). The purple tint is strong enough to cover up brassiness, but subtle enough to stop your hair getting an unwanted lavender tinge. It's also nourishing enough to leave hair soft and silky, but in no way greasy or weighed down.

The only downside I can find is the packaging. Don't get me wrong, it looks really cool and edgy on the bathroom shelf, but once you're about halfway through the bottle, the thick plastic combined with the small screwtop makes it incredibly difficult to get enough product out. I would much prefer a squeezy tube! Seeing as it works just as well for me as the Pro:Voke one, but is ever so slightly more expensive, I don't think it's going to be a repurchase for me, but if you find that you don't get on with that one too well, this is well worth a shot!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review: Nivea 2in1 Cleanser & Toner

You know when a product claims to be good at two separate things and then ends up with a mediocre performance in both of them? Yeah, that. With this.
I bought the Nivea 2in1 Cleanser & Toner out of sheer laziness and I'm not afraid to admit it. I was feeling run down and stressed and came to the conclusion that I was much more likely to stick to a skincare routine rather than the occasional face wipe if that routine consisted of the minimum amount of steps I could get away with.

Now, I did have a picture of a blob of this on my hand so you could get a good idea of the texture, but it looked suspiciously like, err... a certain type of bodily fluid, so I thought I'd spare you the sight! You'll just have to take my word, that it's a lot like a creamy cleanser, but with a slightly runnier, more watery consistency.
While it definitely feels nice and gentle on the skin, my face just didn't feel particularly clean after using it, which was confirmed by a mucky face towel.

For me the idea of using a toner after washing my face is to have that extra purification, with a little bit of bonus moisture, but this just doesn't perform either of those criteria. I guess it would be alright as part of a double cleanse, but then that would defeat the purpose of cutting out steps in my skincare routine. Looks like I shot myself in the foot a little bit there, doesn't it?

What is your experience with dual- or multi-purpose products? Have you maybe even tried this one in particular? Let me know in the comments below!