Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review: Nivea Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover

I can't even tell you how long it's been since I last used a dual-phase make-up remover. Let's just say it's been a long, long time.
I tend to avoid oil-based make-up removers, as I find that they always sting my eyes. Balms are fine, micellars work wonderfully, but these dual action types can swing either way from my personal experience. That's probably why I've avoided them for so long.

Funnily enough I really like the way they look in the bottle. I know that it's really the last thing I should be judging a beauty product on, but I really enjoy the way there are two different colours in the same bottle. And shaking it up is always oddly satisfying as well. Here's a shot of the Nivea make-up remover in all of its shaken up glory.

Now, onto the good news: This didn't sting my eyes. Not at all, actually. As for how efficiently it removed my make-up, there is room for improvement, especially considering it is half oil-based, but it's also not the worst I've ever used. The one thing that really bugged me about it, though, is just how quickly I got through this bottle. It must have lasted no longer than two or maybe three weeks, whereas regular make-up removers usually last me for a few months!

I'm not sure I'll be buying a dual-phase make-up remover again after this. It just seems that now that there are lots of really rather excellent micellars on the market, these seem a bit old-fashioned and gimmicky. You could have the same product, just already shaken up for you and a lot more effective for pretty much the same price. What do you think? Do you still use two-phase make-up removers?

A bottle of Nivea Double Effect Eye Make-up Remover will set you back £3.59.

Review: Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Twice A Week Brightening Shampoo

I can't remember what made me pick this shampoo up originally. It's far removed from the kind of products I usually buy: A brand I've never heard of and packaging that's anything but glamorous. That red "As seen on TV" label alone is enough to send me running for the hills. I think this was literally the only purple shampoo I could find in the shop at the time and I probably thought something like "Well, how bad can it be?"

I haven't looked back since and not purchased any other purple shampoo either. All those of you with bleached blonde hair will know how easily it can get a brassy, yellow undertone and how important it is to regularly use purple shampoo to keep your colour looking natural. I've tried quite a few so far, including the one by John Frieda (rubbish), Bleach London (decent) and Lee Stafford (also pretty decent), but this one beats them all hands down. And the best bit? Out of all of them this is also the cheapest and the easiest to get, as it's stocked in most big supermarkets!

As you can see from the picture above, this really has some deep, purple pigment in it, which means that you can really see the transformation in your hair straight away. Depending on the levels of brassiness in your hair you can leave it on a bit longer than the recommended five minutes, but personally I find it to be just enough time. I also tend to use it just once a week rather than twice, unless my hair is looking particularly worse for wear. This stuff is potent!

What really sets it apart from all the other brands, however, is that it doesn't only tint, it also makes my hair feel incredibly soft and smooth every time I use it. I'm not sure if it's the shampoo that's so conditioning, or if it somehow makes my conditioner work better, but either way, the results are really rather spectacular. I think I'm on my fourth bottle now and I can't see myself ever straying from this product again. This is an absolute must have for bleached blondes like me!

This little gem will set you back a mere £3.09 for a 150ml bottle.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Review: Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation

I never went out with the intention of buying this product, but then Boots 3 for 2 happened and I already had a Maybelline Color Tattoo and their Rocket mascara (which I reviewed in my last post) in my shopping basket while being in the market for a new foundation, so I thought I'd give it a go. That was despite reading predominantly negative reviews about it in the past.

Sadly, those reviews didn't turn out to be unfounded and it's yet another flop from Maybelline for me. Where shall I begin? Let's start with the colour selection. I instinctively grabbed the lightest shade available on the counter, which was 115. Unsurprisingly, it was still too dark for me, although that is the case with 99% of drugstore foundations which just don't cater for skin as light as mine. It's now summer and thanks to going to a few festivals this year I'm now as tanned as I'm probably ever going to be and it matches my skin tone quite well. But I know that as soon as my tan begins to fade it will be too dark for me again.

What I do like about it is the sleek pump applicator which makes it easy to get the foundation out - there's nothing I hate more than glass bottles of foundation that you either have to tip out or fish around in! When trying a little bit on my arm in the shop I thought the formula would be quite nice as it does feel rather watery and light - something I definitely go for in foundations. But on the face it just doesn't feel right in the slightest.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 115 swatch
Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation in 115 swatch blended out
As you can see in the picture above the finish is quite dewy and doesn't offer much in terms of coverage. Can you see how it settles into every tiny little crack in my skin? It doesn't look pretty on my hand, now imagine foundation settling into every little line on your face, emphasising what you're trying to smooth out!
The worst thing, though, is the feeling it leaves on the skin. Even though it's not a heavy formula as such,  the foundation just never seems to dry properly, so all day long you'll have that sticky foundation feeling on your skin - just without the heavy duty coverage you'd expect from a product that normally induces sweaty-skin face.
I tried using it with a foundation brush and it just didn't work at all, as it took what felt like hours of blending to get rid of visible brush strokes on my skin - fingers work a lot better.

Overall this one gets a big, fat, thumbs down from me. Maybe it would work better on very dry skin types rather than on my combination skin? Have you tried this foundation?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara

Even though I don't usually get on with Maybelline mascaras, it was the blogger hype surrounding this one that made me reconsider and give it a go. I mean seriously, this must have been on pretty much every single blogger's favourites list at some point in time. It's got to be amazing, right? Well, no. Turns out I should have followed my gut instinct.

It's probably due to the fact that I'm looking for something completely different in my mascara than most people do. My lashes are naturally quite curly, so I'm not looking for a mascara that's great at holding a curl, as most days I don't even bother using lash curlers at all! They're also quite long, but with very light tips, so I need my mascara to really define those tips rather than give me lots of bulk at the root.... which is pretty much the exact opposite to what this mascara does.

The stubby plastic bristles are great at giving volume, but are just too short to grip the ends of my lashes, so it would take me ages to bring some decent definition to the ends of my lashes and I just don't need that level of faffing about early in the morning when I just want to get out of the house already!
On the plus side, it lasts really well and I can't say I've experienced any smudging or flaking even towards the end of the day with this mascara. Bonus!

Usually I end up discovering products that I really really love when I give in to bloggers' hype, but this is one I'll be giving a miss and won't be repurchasing. Have you tried this mascara? What did you think?

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express mascara retails at £7.99 each.

Review: L'Oreal Skin Perfection Nourishing Cleansing Wipes

Yes, I know. Face wipes are a bit of a naughty beauty purchase. We all know we shouldn't really be using them, but still most of us use them at least from time to time. The way I see it, they're the lesser of two evils: When I'm so tired that I really just want to collapse into bed, I can still just about manage to give my face a quick wipe, which is obviously much better than going to sleep in a full face of make-up.

My go to face wipes are by Simple, but recently I've been experimenting with a few different brands and as I've been getting good results from a lot of other Skin Perfection products I thought I'd give these a little shot.

The first thing I noticed was that these weren't quite as moist as my usual Simple wipes, but they were by no means dry and still did a good job of removing almost all of my make-up in one go. Where these perform better is that they're a lot more gentle and don't leave my skin feeling tight afterwards, but that does come at the cost of not being quite as thorough.

I'd probably recommend these more for people with sensitive skin and I might go back to them on days where my skin is feeling a bit dry.

These retail at £3.49 a pack, but are often on offer, so you should be able to get them a little cheaper!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Monthly Favourites: June 2014

1) Real Techniques Blush Brush

I'm a tad late to the Real Techniques party, but after half of my brush collection was eaten by a naughty puppy it was time to start from scratch and the blush brush I bought originally was just plain rubbish. This one is just a dream to use. It's incredibly soft, but the bristles are still dense enough to deposit just the right amount of colour on the cheeks. Originally I thought it would be a bit too wide, but it's actually really easy to get blush just on the top of the cheek. I'm definitely looking to get a few more Real Techniques brushes to add to my collection!

2) Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot

I've heard so many good things about this powder, that when I ran out of my trusted Rimmel Stay Matte I couldn't help myself but give it a go. And I'm so glad I did! It's a translucent powder, so I don't have to worry about it not matching my complexion and very, very mattifying without looking at all cakey. Staying power is also impressive, though I wouldn't use it on the whole face, but rather just down the T-Zone, as it can make my face look a bit flat otherwise.

3) Laura Geller Inkwell Waterproof Gel Liner

I got this liner in a Birchbox in February last year and I've only just realised that I've never given it the credit it deserves, even though I've been wearing it on an almost daily basis ever since - isn't that crazy? In all this time I've had it, it hasn't dried out just one bit. It's the blackest of black and is lovely and creamy upon application which makes it a breeze to apply a straight, smooth line. The little brush incorporated in the lid is not only handy, but also works extremely well. While I wouldn't say it's exactly waterproof, it does last all day long with a decent primer underneath.

4) NYX Nail Polish in Pastel Lavender

I got this nail polish in this month's Love Me Beauty box and been wearing it a lot since. Both formula and application of this nail polish is spot on and it's opaque with two coats without any streaking. Most of all, though, it's the colour which really appeals to me. Odd, seeing as I usually favour neons and brights, but it just feels like there was a gap in my nail polish collection which this one filled perfectly.