Saturday, 29 November 2014

Review: Super Facialist by Una Brennan Deep Clean Pore Purifying Mask

Getting a sense of deja vu? The product I'm talking about has probably been on every blogger's favourites list and one stage or another. Having tried it myself, I can confirm that this is absolutely justified.

To start off, I usually tend to avoid clay masks. Not only do they make my skin feel weirdly tight, they also make a huge mess in the bathroom when you try to wash them off - not a combination that particularly excites me. Thankfully, this is different. While it does dry a little on the skin, it doesn't turn into a hard crust on your face and is a breeze to wash off.

Actually my first encounter with this was anything but positive - the morning after I first used this mask, I woke up with the biggest spot I'd had in my entire life. It seems like it's one of those products that really deep clean your skin making it get worse before it gets better - thankfully the incident never repeated itself.

I find that once a week is the perfect amount to use this mask to get it to draw out every last impurity but without that odd, tight feeling that so many masks leave on my skin. I think either for dry skin or for any skin in winter in general it would be a good idea to counteract this with a moisturising mask once or twice a week, but as it stands, I wouldn't want to be without it for its amazing ability to keep my skin looking clear, but somehow still glowy.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

#MakeOverTheWorld and the highlighter that made me reconsider

I never really paid much attention to The Body Shop make-up. Body butters? Oh, yes! The odd occasional skincare item? Sure, why not. But somehow I've never really felt that drawn to any of their make-up.

Funnily enough, I've never been too big a fan of highlighters either. My skin still has its occasional oily days and it just doesn't appeal to me to put shine back in when I've just spent ages trying my best to eliminate it.

Maybe it's a craving for all things sparkly around Christmas season, or maybe it's the subtlety of the Shimmer Waves, but this is the first highlighter that has made me reconsider.

I have swatched at intensity here so it would show up in the photograph, but you can still see that there's no chunky glitter and literally just a hint of rosy glow. You could use these shades separately and even apply them as eye shadows, but I like it the most when I just swirl a fluffy eye brush all over the pan and then apply the resulting shade on strategic points such as the tops of my cheekbones, under the brow bone or just above the cupid's bow. I never thought I'd do this, but I've found myself applying this almost daily and it just adds that special something to perfectly finish off any make-up look.

I was sent a this as part of the RSPCA's #MakeOverTheWorld campaign, which fights testing cosmetics on animals - something that I can definitely get behind. While testing cosmetics on animals has been banned within the EU for a long time, global companies have been able to simply do their testing abroad. Last year a new law was passed which banned the sales and marketing of products in the EU that have been tested on animals anywhere. This is an incredible victory and definitely a step in the right direction.

Sadly, there are still so many countries in the world that haven't followed suit - and then there are those like China, which make it mandatory for products to be tested on animals before they can even enter their market. So we still have a long way to go.

The thing with animal testing is not only is it cruel and at times absolutely pointless (there's no denying that rabbits and mice are not humans and their physiology is to a large part completely different from ours), there is just no need to be testing on animals anymore. Companies have a huge pool of ingredients to choose from, that have already been declared as perfectly safe and many natural and cruelty-free companies are guiding the way at how you can still be original and innovative without the need to torture a poor, defenseless animal.

To be honest, this campaign could not have come at a better time for me. I've always been against animal testing and for using ingredients that are as natural as possible, but the truth is that I never actively sought out products that are natural and cruelty-free - it was more of an added bonus if a product had those qualities. I feel like it's time for a shift in thinking and to be more conscious of what it is I'm putting on my face and body. This switch is going to be more of a gradual one - I can't exactly afford to replace my whole beauty and make-up stash and I still have tons of old products to review, but whenever I shop for cosmetics products I no longer just consider hype and pretty packaging, but also whether something would make for an ethical purchase or not.

If you want to read more about the RSPCA's #MakeOverTheWorld campaign, click on this link here. And while The Body Shop's products are not all completely natural, none of them are tested on animals, so you can buy them knowing that no poor creature had to suffer for our vanity.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review: Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Paint Rich Russet

I'm a big, big fan of bronze eye shadows. Nothing's better at making my blue eyes really pop and they somehow manage to be both daytime and evening appropriate at the same time. So when there's a massively hyped up bronzey eye shadow....-ish product, what else am I to do other than go out and buy it?

There was quite a bit of a stir when these first came out, especially regarding this particular shade, "Rich Russet". The formula is creamy, but also quite liquid, so it's applied with a doe foot applicator rather than coming in a pot like most cream shadows. It feels quite wet on the eye lids for about half a minute, after which it dries down and doesn't really move anymore.

I must admit that I wasn't massively blown away by the pigmentation of this. If you blend it while it's still wet it is all too easy to blend away too much, leaving virtually no colour on the eye lids. But if you really pack it on it takes ages to dry and creasing becomes more likely.
Having said that I was pretty impressed by how well this stays put on the eye lids. Primer isn't really necessary and though you can add some powder shadow over the top to improve longevity, it does last most of the day without creasing.

Now, the colour is definitely something to write home about. The gold and silver shimmer in the brown base is so fine and dense that even after the shadow's dried down you get a foil like metallic effect. It makes for sparkly eyes that still look grown up and chic. It's just a shame that it's so difficult to build it up to the same intensity on the eye lids as you can see on the hand swatch. Otherwise it would literally be the perfect product.

But as it is, it's still a great eye shadow, which is easy to apply (you can just blend it out using your fingers if you're in a rush), lasts well all day and is budget friendly to boot.

Friday, 21 November 2014

My Little Cosy Box - November 2014

Lately I've been getting excited about beauty boxes again and that is in part thanks to My Little Box which offers a mixture of beauty and lifestyle items every month. They have the best packaging I have ever seen, which means that every box feels like a specially put together gift box. And what better way to see in the weekend than a gorgeous little box of surprises?

This month's theme is "cosy", which is absolutely perfect for this time of year. As usual the box includes a copy of the "My Little World" magazine and a gorgeous little print by their in-house illustrator. As with last month's magazine I found that the translation from French was a tad wonky in parts, but overall it is a very well produced and executed magazine, which is incredibly impressive for something that comes as an extra with a subscription box.

The first item in the box was this tiny little mug for ants. Other than the illustration on one side, it has some writing on the back that says "How is your day gonna be?" and then at the bottom of the mug, for you to see when you've finished your coffee it says "Happy". I think this is such a cute idea to cheer up your morning. Sadly, I don't really drink espresso, so I'm not sure what I'm going to be able to use this cup for - it's literally about the size of the palm of my hand!

Next up is this little seed pillow that you can chuck in the microwave to heat up and keep you warm. It was actually wrapped up with a pretty bow originally, but I was too excited and tore it off before taking these pictures, sorry! These things are really great for when your body feels all stiff after a long day and the cute print won't make me feel incredibly old whenever I use it.

Their own brand beauty item included this month was this volumising mascara. Again, I adore the packaging and the brush on this looks really good - it's a decent size with good length bristles. I've not tried it yet, but I'm excited to give it a go soon!

Secondly, there was also a waterproof black eye liner from Arancil. I'm usually annoyed to get eye liners in beauty boxes, but I'm running very low on my current favourite liner, so it would be nice if this one could replace it. It glides on smoothly and staying power seems to be quite good as well, as it was a bit of a struggle to remove the swatch from my hand!

Lastly they also included a full sized Yves Rocher eye shadow in a deep, coffee brown. I dabbled in Yves Rocher a bit when I was a lot younger and never really got on with anything from the brand, but I'll happily give them another go. The pigmentation on this isn't too great, but I guess that makes the deep shade a bit more wearable and daytime appropriate, so I'm not complaining. You can see swatches of the liner and the shadow below:

Overall I'm a bit torn on this box. To be perfectly honest I don't think I'll get that much use out of anything included, but I really appreciate the amount of thought that has gone into this box. It really does feel like a very special treat each month. I have unsubscribed for now, but I'm starting to wonder if that was such a good decision after all...

Review: L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Gel

When it comes to make-up removers I thought I'd tried them all - oils, water based removers, creams, balms, duo-phase removers, micellars... but I can't say I've ever used a gel on my eyes to take off my make-up before - never mind a micellar gel. So, curiosity got the best of me and I had to give this one a go.

If you ever wondered what it feels like to rub gel on your eyelids, it's not a particularly nice feeling. It's cold, squidgy and slimy and though at least it doesn't seem to make my eyes too sticky, it just doesn't feel right if you know what I mean.

Sadly its effectiveness didn't exactly blow me away either and it took quite a bit of effort to get off eye liner and waterproof mascara - unlike my beloved micellar waters that make taking off my make-up an absolute breeze.

Unfortunately, this just didn't work for me at all. It was a bit of a novelty product, but it seems there's a good reason why you don't tend to find make-up remover in gel form. It's just wrong on every level. I think I'll stick to micellar waters from now onwards.