Thursday

Beauty Empties | July 2013: Skincare Special



I'm a huge skincare addict and very fickle in that I rarely ever repurchase products, so those that do make the cut really have to be something special. There's only one thing I used up last month that I'll definitely be repurchasing - can you guess what it is?!

Clinique Pore Minimizer Thermal-Active Skin Refiner - no repurchase

This stuff was beyond useless. I can't find anywhere selling it online so it's possible been discontinued and rightly so.  It lives up to its lousy 2.5/5 score on Makeup Alley.  A really unpleasant scent and awful consistency.  Scrubs which heat on contact with water are a bit faddy as they never stay warm long enough to actually open pores.  Olay do a much nicer version which smells better too.  I'm so glad to see the back of this Clinique one. 

No7 Gentle Foaming Cleanser - no repurchase

This soapy cleanser was totally blah.  Just some watered down produced which foamed when dispensed through the nozzle.  I wouldn't recommend it but if you're looking for a gentle cleanser go for something like Elemis Fresh Skin Face Wash.

Lacura (Aldi) Foundation - no repurchase 

This £2-something foundation was a budget favourite for a long time, see my full review here.  While it does give good coverage, I've moved on from it and would rather spend a few quid more for Bourjois or Max Factor. 

No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water - maybe repurchase

I only bought this to use up one of those £5 off vouchers and hoped it would be a more accessible version of Bioderma.  It's not. Definitely not worth the non-discounted price as it struggles with eye make up, particularly mascara and doesn't feel as gentle on your skin.  I don't want to put elbow grease into my cleansing routine as that surely can't be good for your skin!  However, it was handy to have sitting around for a quick cleanse or to use first thing in the morning after washing my face, so never say never!

Kheil's Creamy Eye Treatment - maybe repurchase 

I actually have since repurchased a jumbo tub of this eye cream in Duty Free, but I am mildly regretting my purchase.  It's very moisturising for such a dry area, but it doesn't do anything for tackling fine lines.  It's kind of a cult favourite, but I feel we've had our time together and I've grown out of it. 

No7 Beautiful Skin Eye Make Up Remover - definite repurchase 

LOVE. THIS. STUFF.  This is easily my 25th bottle.  If you haven't been convinced by two phases eye make up removers in the past, I urge you to try this one before giving up.  I've tried many - Bourjois, Organics, etc but none match up to No7.  It's basically Lancome's Bi Facil for a lot cheaper (if you use the £5 off No7 vouchers).  Check out my full review here

Tell me what your favourite face scrub in the comments! 


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Wednesday

Let's Stay In Touch... (Farewell Google Reader - and how you can still retrieve your subscriptions until 15 July!)

Bye bye Google Reader

When I get back on a more regular posting schedule you may miss out on my posts and forget me altogether! (Heaven forefend!) So...for those of you who receive posts through Google Reader I'm sad to say that Google in it's wisdom decided to 'sunset it' on 1 July in a bid to push us all towards naff old Google+.  There is no escape. 

If ya liked my blog subscription you should have put a...a...cat decent reader on it!


All is not lost - retreive your Google Reader subscriptions until JULY 15 with Google Takeaway

If you were late to the Google Reader Exodus Party like me and worry that you've lost all your beautiful subscriptions accumulated over the years, worry not, because Google Takeaway is a handy little system they have created which allows you to download a copy of your data stored within Google products.  

And import your subscription list XML file somewhere safe, like BLOGLOVIN'!

You can follow me on BLOGLOVIN' if you fancy.  It's a fantastic, easy to use, clean looking reader. 

The lowdown from Google: 

  1. What will happen to my Google Reader data?

    All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers. You can download a copy of your Google Reader data via Google Takeout until 12PM PST July 15, 2013.
    Google Takeaway allows you to download a copy of your data stored within Google products.
  2. Will there be any way to retrieve my subscription data from Google in the future?

    No -- all subscription data will be permanently, and irrevocably deleted. Google will not be able to recover any Google Reader subscription data for any user after July 15, 2013.

How to import your Google Reader File to Bloglovin'

Once you have your Google Reader subscriptions file safely retrieved from Google Takeaway (you'll need to log into your Google account) you can easily import it in a few clicks of a mouse to Bloglovin' (you'll need to set up an account or just link to your Facebook which will verify you as an actual person!).  

Image below to demonstrate, but all you need to do is click on the blue square with the white heart and select from the drop down list 'Import from Google Reader' and it should just go and grab it.  I did mine ages ago so can't check if it's working following GR's shut down on 1 July, but if not, you can click on the grey button entitled OPML/XML and just upload from your computer the Google Reader file you download from Google Takeaway, which should be in XML format. 

Simples, no?  

If you have any trouble with it or questions, give me a shout on Twitter and I'll try my best to help you!



You will also find me lurking around these haunts:

Follow me on FACEBOOK
Follow me on TWITTER
Follow me on PINTEREST 
Follow me on INSTAGRAM
Follow me on BLOGLOVIN'
Follow me on GOOGLE+
Follow via a Reader/RSS 

I haven't even figured out my Google+ page yet for my blog, so it looks a hot mess right now, but I'll jazz it up soon enough. 

Back with more posts for you very soon! In the meantime why not check out my other blog: www.portobellopearls.com

Beauty Empties | May 2013 (belated!)


I forgot to post this monthly review for May, probably because the products are pretty uninspiring, but it's a series I'm determined to see through to the end of the year, so here they are!

L'Oreal Elvive Damage Care Deep Repairing Masque* - maybe repurchase 

This masque has the same gorgeous scent as the Elvive Renutrition range.  I used this on days I was out of my Kerastase Masquintense or just wanted to save it.  Really moisturising, and the longer you leave it in, the glossier your hair turns out and like with any masque, it's better to keep it away from your roots and only smooth from the mid lengths to roots.  Can't fault it for the budget price.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Luscious Long Deep Treatment - no repurchase 

I've been through many 3 Minute Miracle bottles but this will be my final.  The scent is just too sickly sweet (even for me!) and I don't find it all that conditioning compared to new L'Oreal Elvive 60 Second treatments.   Although this will be really controversial as it has a massive following, I'm over it.

Tresemme Heat Defense Styling Spray - no repurchase 

After the GHD stuff, and now this, I'm going to accept the fact that heat protectants aren't for me.  I just get away with a serum or hair oil and I find adding another product to the mix weights my hair down too much.  Short term pleasure, long terms suffering I know, but there you go.  I won't be repurchasing as I didn't find it added anything to my routine.

GHD Rejuvenation Cream - no repurchase 

This stuff was just weird.  Kind of globby and not a very pleasant scent.  In the end I found the only use for it was as an overnight leave-in treatment.  While it definitely had to be washed off in the morning, it wasn't even that nourishing for all the effort.  Pointless.

Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturiser (Oil Free) - no repurchase 

A decent basic budget moisturiser aimed at oily teenage skin.  I've more than outgrown it as I'm looking for SPF and  anti aging properties.

Clinique All About Eyes - definitely repurchase 

This is a gorgeous eye cream and I can't wait to finish up my other pots to add this to my skincare collection again.  It's very moisturising and a good option for mornings as it sinks in quickly.  However I prefer to use something a bit more potent at night, like YSL Lisse Expert. I think this is a great option for sensitive eyes because I never had a problem with it.

Maybelline Dream Creamy Foundation - no repurchase 

This was one of those solid 'cake' foundations that you apply with the accompanying sponge, although a brush works better if you have one around.  I didn't enjoy using it, found the coverage quite greasy and it ran out very fast.  I think it's okay to have in your bag for touch ups on the go, but Max Factor offers a far better version.

MAC Prep + Prime Face Protection SPF 50 - no repurchase 

I ran out to buy this in my early days of watching YouTube beauty videos believing it would be a holy grail.  I tried to hard to like it but it just stunk like really cheap sunscreen and was very dense and greasy, but perhaps that's the price you pay for SPF50.  For the MAC price, you only get a tiny 30mls.  There must be something better out there!

What's your favourite facial SPF, particularly for every day use under make up? 


Monday

Beauty Empties | June 2013



June's empties review is a lot more positive than in previous months. I was worried this series was getting a reputation for being snarky! Anyway, you know me, if something doesn't live up to the hype, I'm squealing. 

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter - definitely repurchase


Despite being super heavily scented this body butter surprised me by how moisturising it really is. I received it as a Christmas present and it was such a treat to use. The best bit is the scent is a total rip for for Miss Dior Cherie, so you don't even need to use a perfume if you've got this on. I love a multi-tasking product. Now all I can do is wait for another Boots 3 for 2 offer!

L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Crystal Sparkling Conditioner* - no repurchase

I tried this along with the shampoo and 60 second treatment from the range.  Nothing groundbreaking and I think it's just the budget friendly version of the Kerastase Cristalliste range.  My hair is pretty fine and already pretty silky and glossy (go me! Also, read: more oil prone than I'd like!) so I find it just made it too lank.  If you have coarse, dry hair, however it may help you tame it.  Worth a try if you're curious. 

Redken All Soft Shampoo* - no repurchase 

I received this at L'Oreal event (Redken is one of their brands) and literally ran home to wash my hair with it after hearing all the hype.  I think the hype comes from people with very dry, rough and hard to manage hair, because again, my hair is just too fine and silky for it.  It didn't really cleanse the roots as well as I'd like, and I just felt that my hair was flat and dull after using it.  A huge disappointment, so I won't be reacquainting myself with it. 

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic* - maybe repurchase 

Toner has become a really important step in my skincare regime and this one is gentle enough to get on with most skin types.  It contains Aloe Vera, Rose-Geranium, Cucumber, Vitamin E and Calendula. I also have the spray bottle version of this too but if you can get it go for the twist up cap which is much easier to use as a toner - the spritz is a little messy. 
I've reviewed it in a bit more depth here.

Frederic Fekkai Protein Rx Reparative Shampoo - no repurchase 

I bought this after a recommendation from Lollipop26's channel (now Laura from buynowbloglater.com) a couple of years ago.  It smells divine and is a very nice shampoo, but it ain't cheap.  I picked up the masque treatment and leave in conditioner which both let me down, so the shampoo was the best of the set.  It didn't do wonders for my hair and so I won't be going back to it. 

Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Care Hot Cloth Cleanser - definitely repurchase 

This skincare gem is under £5 and one of the nicest hot cloth cleansers I've tried.  It has the perfect consistency somewhere in between the infamous Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (a little too dense) and No7's offering (a little too sloppy).  I'm not a fan of the muslin cloth that comes with it, so just pick some up from Mothercare or Liz Earle.  It handles complete make up removal, including mascara. 

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation - definitely repurchase 

This is my nth bottle of this great budget foundation and while I'm a little tired of it now, I'll be coming back to it in the Autumn when my skin gets a little drier.  It's very moisturising so not great if you have oily skin or during the summer, but if you have dry skin, you'll love it.  The lightest shade 51, is a perfect match for me (I'm about NC15 at Mac).

What's your favourite hot cloth cleanser? Tell me yours in the comments!


Wednesday

Maybelline New York Nail-Art Master Class

I'm not a nails person, it's the chink in my beauty blogging armor.

Maybelline caught wind of this shameful state of affairs and frog-marched me along to a nail art master class with nail maestro Michelle Humprey. You know what? I'm pretty proud of my ham-fisted attempts, particularly my Cath Kidston inspired floral thumb!

My childhood friend Abigail, who is a nail art nut, joined me.  Go check out her brand new blog here: http://modestglamamor.blogspot.co.uk

If you want to recreate these nail looks at home, take a look at these handy how-to videos:

The flowers (Cath Kidston - did anyone say 'copyright?!'): 


For a step-by-step demo on the Kiss look watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5004eN94VBk


I don't have a link for the crazy ombre leopard print nails, but they're much easier than you'd think.  Top tip is to cover over with a coat or two of mildly glittery polish.  It hides a multitude of sins.
























I must say a final word about these new Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dots polishes.  The speckled effect is very cool, but a little more work safe than a really wacky holographic glitter.  Pretty with a punch. 

They will be available from June for an unbelievably affordable £2.99 a pop.  There will be four colours in total to choose from - the blue and pink you see below, plus a black/white and teal/emerald.


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Beauty Empties | April 2013



There are a few gems in this month's round-up so it's looking like I will have to bend the rules somehow of my spending ban as I really don't want to be without some of these!

Bioderma Crealine H2O - definitely repurchase 

This watery make up cleanser lives up to the hype.  Unfortunately you can't pick it up on the high street, but I believe it's stocked in Harvey Nicks, or you can get some good deals online especially if you buy in bulk.  This make up artist favourite is an all rounder that even removes stubborn eye make up.  The best thing is it leaves skin feeling clean, without the icky residue some heavier cleansers leave behind.  

Batiste Dry Shampoo (Cherry)* - no repurchase 

It is what it is, and I know loads of people loath Batiste for its residue.  I can't stand the Blush scent, but Cherry is pretty nice.  However I'd recommend the 'Fresh' one in the blue bottle instead.  Batiste works best if you spray it on before going to bed as this allows it to work its magic overnight and with a quick brush through in the morning you have clean(ish), voluminous hair.

Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash - definitely repurchase 

This is easily my tenth go-around with this face wash.  No matter what else I try, I always come back to it.  It's pretty harsh so I wouldn't recommend using it more than once a day, but it's got the finest grain to it which really exfoliates, it's great first thing in the shower.  Inexpensive and miles better than more expensive cleansers.  Recently other brands have released similar exfoliating cleansers with gorgeous fruity scents which I'm trying and will let you know if they knock this one off top spot.

i.d. bare Minerals in Fairly Light - maybe repurchase 

This was my first mineral foundation and it lasted for an age.  While it's still a favourite, I find this type of foundation emphasises the appearance of pores.  You definitely need a 'Poly-fila' type primer like Benefit Porefessional or Garnier Perfect Blur underneath for a truly flawless look.  Recently I've discovered Laura Mercier's Mineral Powder (I use Tender Rose) which is just phenomenal.  Flawless skin with the swirl of a brush.

Maybelline ColorSensational in 112 Ambre Rose - couldn't repurchase even if I wanted to!

Of course the minute I fall in love with a cosmetic, it gets discontinued! However, looking on the US website, it looks very similar to 120 Pink Satin.  Alas, I shall miss this gorgeous bright pink with gold flecks.

Aromatherapy Associates Renew Rose Hydrating Body Gel* - no repurchase 

I reviewed this gel here so won't go into too much detail now.  While it's a nice product to keep in the fridge to use on very hot days, I can live without it.

L'Oreal Elvive Renutrition Nourishing Milk - definitely repurchase 

I can't say enough about this Nourishing Milk which is really more of a creamy serum.  It's the perfect consistency for my hair, adding just enough moisture to wet hair to help the drying process.  If yours is too fine for hair oils I urge to to try this, even for the scent alone.

Kiehl's Creme de Corps - no repurchase 

This product is so hyped and I'm not sure why really.  I find it very greasy and the scent is nothing to write home about.  If you have dry, problem skin you're better off with a body oil like Garnier Body Ultimate Beauty Oil or if you prefer a cream the Garner 7 Day Moisture range is gorgeous.  This isn't an advert for Garnier, they just have some seriously good body products!

Have you tried any of these products? Do you agree with my takes on them? 


Monday

Review | L'Oreal Nude Magique BB Blush Universal Rosy Blush


L'Oreal Nude Magique BB Blush Universal Rosy Blush*
£7.99

This works in the same way as Smashbox's O Glow Intuitive Cheek Colour but is nearly a third of the price. It's a clear blush which turns pink on contact with skin to give a natural glow. While it's totally faddy, I love it.  It wouldn't matter to me if it came out of the tube already pink, in fact it would help me avoid applying too much!

This works best on pale to light medium skintones as it is very Barbie bubblegum pink.  The gel texture is even easier to blend than a cream formulation.  I keep it in my make up handbag kit and it doubles up as a lip tint if I need a bit of perking up.  

The only issue I have with this blush is why they've called it a 'BB' blush.  What on earth?! 'BB' stands for Blemish Balm and there's nothing about it which suggests it contains any ingredients which could perform a skincare role.  It's just a good example of marketing gone wrong.  How they got this past the advertising watchdogs beats me.

I've been using this daily for almost two months and it's still going strong, so it's a definite future repurchase. 




Sunday

Review | L'Oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash in Lolita, Princess and Milady



L'Oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash in Milady*
£7.99, available in 8 shades

One of the most exiting new products launched at the L'Oreal Spring/Summer 2013 Product Showcase I attended in February were these Glam Shine Stain Splashes.  They've been compared to YSL Glossy Stains in that they are the perfect mix of colourful pigment, glossiness and stain-like durability.

I've worn Lolita almost everyday, it's one of those pinky nudes which looks different on everyone depending on your underlying skintone.  One coat gives me a hint of glossy blush, but it can be layered into a 'my lips but better' stain with two or three.

If you're not sure about splashing out on YSL's offering give these L'Oreal dupes a go first because the texture might not be for everyone.  They start off feeling very wet, then go sticky as they dry, afterwhich they won't budge for at least 4 hours.  They do however struggle with food and drink.

I'll definitely be picking up a few more shades as these have become my Spring lip staples. 

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Wednesday

Review | Sleek MakeUP Limited Edition Aqua Collection




It seems like a lifetime since I've had a Sleek MakeUP post for you, but this one was worth the wait.  I was sent this collection in February and at the time the weather was so horrendous all the bright colours were a bit much to take.  In the past week the warmer weather has made the possibility of bright Spring make up more tangible.

The collection is limited edition and has been available since mid March, so move quick if you want to get your hands on it.  Purchase the Lagoon Eyeshadow online from www.sleekmakeup.com or at Superdrug for £7.99 and the Mirrored Pink Blush for £4.49.

The top shade from the Lagoon palette is definitely the pale bronze. I'm a Sleek eyeshadow evangelist because for the budget price the quality is great, more so with the metallic shades.  This is a fun palette and if you're into bright eyes this will see you right through to the end of summer.  

The Mirrored Pink blush is a masterpiece.  It's their cooler toned answer to their infamous Rose Gold which caused such a stir a couple of years ago for being a straight up NARS Orgasm clone.  After my initial fling with Rose Gold I had to face the sad truth that it just isn't that flattering on my pale skin.  It turns up too orange and warmed toned, making me look ruddy rather than flirtily flushed.  For anyone a MAC NC20 or under, Mirrored Pink is your answer.  I've used it solidly every day for two months which says a lot considering I have literally a drawer of blushes to choose from.  It's even dragged me away from my cream blush obsession.  Aside from the beautiful colour, it's amazingly pigmented, so it will last you forever as you only need the tiniest bit.  It's also very long wearing, with no need to touch up during a normal 9-5 day.  The only drawback is it IS very shimmery which could rule it out for anyone with a sober job! I don't mind the shimmer as it helps me skip the step of going crazy on my cheekbones with a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick.  

I've got a few other new Sleek products up my sleeve and will be revealing all very soon! 





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