Review | Vidal Sassoon Shine Envy Hot Air Styler

You may have already seen the Babyliss Hot Big Hair Hot Air doing the rounds on YouTube and I initially thought this Vidal Sassoon styler would work along the same lines. From what I can see from demos of it, they're quite different as this barrel doesn't rotate making it a bit easier to use for hair styling novices or super lazy people like me!

I had visions of creating a Kate Middleton flicky blow dry, but I had to manage my expectations downwards after the first five minutes wrestling with it. It's 1000W so does actually dry hair quite effectively, but I found it much more time consuming that my usual technique of tipping my head upside down and going at it with a normal hairdryer. 

If your hair requires a bit more styling effort than this - if you HAVE to blow dry it properly with a big round barrel brush every time, then this is much easier to handle than a brush and blow dryer and you'll only be left with one dead arm rather than two!

This styler would work best on short to mid length hair - I think mine is slightly too long and therefore too heavy to create any meaningful volume.  I'd also recommend using it on at least 50% dry hair - unless you have a lot of time to devote to hair styling!

The large attachment - 50mm - is best for drying hair quickly, the smaller 25mm barrel works best for creating flicky curly ends and creates a straight style with more volume that poker straight flat ironing.  

Overall it gave me a bit more volume at the crown, but you have to watch how you position the barrel.  The ends look much more 'finished' than usual thanks to the ionic generator to eliminate frizz.  If you've got silky, smooth hair already that you struggle to volumise I'd stay away from Ionic stylers as they tend to just flatten the hair.  I had an iconic hairdryer years ago and chucked it as my hair felt practically greasy after drying it.  Thankfully the Vidal Sassoon ionic technology doesn't do this. 

The Vidal Sassoon Shine Envy Hot Air Styler* is £39.99 (as of 07/02/2013 it's got £5 off) and exclusive to Argos.


Valentine's Givenchy Surprise

I hope you all are having a lovely Valentine's Day!

This fabulous Givenchy Le Rouge lippy popped up at lunch and it was a miles better than receiving a bunch of overpriced flowers (although I'd take the flowers if they're on offer too!).
#306 Carmin Escarpin is the most perfect pillar box red with a hint of blue tone to help your teeth appear that little bit whiter.
That's actually an imprint of my lips above.  I couldn't get a proper shot of them today - I think they'd rather be kissing a hot boy than posing for a blog photo and I don't blame them! 

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine's Day?

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Beauty Empties | January 2013

You may have already seen my special review post on perfumes I've 'emptied' recently, but as promised here are the other bits and bobs I've powered through in January.  Many of these have been hanging around my dressing table and bathroom cabinet for too long and I'm glad to see the back of them and create space for new exciting things!  

...Yes, I really do need to get out more.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Make Up Remover: Refreshing Oil-Free Cleansing Lotion - no repurchase 

I bought this off the back of a recommendation from Laura's (Lollipop26 now buynowbloglater) blog many moons ago and while it was an 'okay' make up remover it's definitely not an all rounder and didn't do very well with waterproof mascara, or any mascara for that matter despite the claims.  
There are so many other efficient all-in-one cleansers on the market now like hot cloth cream cleansers and very liquid solutions like Bioderma that you'd be better off investing in rather than having to use multiple products in your cleansing regime.  
However, if you don't tend to use eye make up and like the old lotion and a cotton pad routine, this is a nice option as it is refreshing and doesn't leave too much of a nasty residue, although you do get the urge to wash and/or tone afterwards.

L'Oreal Elvive Re-Nutrition Replenishing Masque - definite repurchase  

Elvive make many a hair masque, but none smell as delicious as their Re-Nutrition range.  
It's great for those days you feel your hair needs more than a standard bottle conditioner but you don't have the time to put in a Kerastase masque.  When I 'Kerastase' my hair I always leave it on at least 20 minutes 'cos that stuff ain't cheap and I want to make sure I get my money's worth!
Even if your hair doesn't need conditioning, just buy this for the heavenly scent!

Organic Surge Eye Gel* - no repurchase

I honestly can't remember if I got this free with a magazine or if it was sent to me, so I've included a disclosing little asterisk just in case.  It sat around for ages as I was never one to tend to eyecare in my morning routine, but the ravages of age kicked in and now I wouldn't dream of ditching my routine. 
I've moved over to using a more moisturising undereye cream in the morning but gel was a nice little introduction.  
It's refreshing and sinks in fast and was a treat for sleep-wearing eyes.  However at this stage in my life I really need something more anti-aging for that area and so won't be repurchasing.

No7 Protect & Protect Intense Beauty Serum - no repurchase

Note that this is the INTENSE serum.  
I absolutely adore the regular version of Protect & Perfect Serum and thought that the Intense one would ramp it's amazing properties up a notch.  It certainly does, but for once, my skin is too young for this product.
Every time I used it (and as you can see I carried onto the bitter end determined not be be defeated!) my skin felt overloaded and I woke up the next morning with the beginnings of spots. 
I am not spot prone at all which God is his almighty wisdom chose to spare me from, so if you are then this serum would go Rambo on your face.
Essentially this heavy serum is aimed at mature/parched skin - at least 45+ - so if you're under this, stick with the original version which is a few quid cheaper anyway.

Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo - no repurchase

I'm a huge fan of their Miracle Moisture shampoo which is a treat for frazzled hair, but if used all the time translates into lank hair, for me anyway.
It's always handy to have a volumising shampoo around for days your hair feels like it needs a REALLY good clean.  Essentially what they do is strip out the product buildup, and some of your hair's natural oils in a bid to counteract lankness and therefore promote volume.
This Aussie shampoo did a good job and I did repurchase several times, but this will be my last bottle as I've since discovered Bumble & Bumble's Sunday Shampoo which is harsh but very good at removing buildup.  I have super greasy hair mind, so it might be too harsh for normal/dry hair types. 
I also wasn't keen on the scent of this Aussie shampoo, odd because their known for great smelling products. 

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel - no repurchase

This was part of a Clinique skincare set so I didn't feel massively let down when it didn't live up to it's claims.  Simply put, it didn't make my skin 'dramatically different'.
The major drawback is no SPF - in something designed to be your main daily facial skincare product, it's just not on.
I do have oily skin so the gel formula worked well and created a good base for applying foundation over, but I don't feel it brought any benefit to my skin.
Obviously this Clinique range is aimed at problem skin, so I can see where this lotion might be a good option for someone looking to get some moisture into their skin without overloading it and exacerbating break outs.
Nice to try as it's one of those raved about products, but I can't see a repurchase on the horizon.

Boots Teatree + Witchhazel Cleansing and Toning Lotion - maybe repurchase

I can't even tell you how long I've had this toner but let's just say it's been through a repackaging and doubled in price!
This toner isn't for the faint hearted.  It STRIPS yours skin.  But I'm such a greasey monkey I sometimes feel I need it.
I've been through the most extensive cleansing routine, been 100% sure every scrap of make up is removed and then swiped a bit of this on a cotton pad only to be horrified.  No pictorial evidence as there might be minors reading this!
If you like Clinique Clarifying Lotion which is equally as eye-watering harsh, it's a fab budget alternative.  
The more I think about it's amazing grime removing properties, the more I want a full bottle in my skincare arsenal again.  

Have you tried anything from this motley crew? Anything you would definitely repurchase?


Review | Elemis FreshSkin Face Wash + Moisturiser

Elemis Freshskin Softly Softly Daily Moisturiser*, 50ml, £20, Buy here 
Elemis Freshskin Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash*, 100ml, £12, Buy here

The Elemis Freshskin range launched a little over a year ago, aimed at those in their teens to early twenties as an accessible and more affordable introduction to the luxury brand for those on a tighter budget, or young skin which doesn't need unpronounceable ingredients to stave off the march of time and gravity.

Although I'm a couple of years away from having 'young skin' I put the face wash and daily moisturiser to the test and am happy to report that my skin has responded well.

The face wash is lightly perfumed and leaves your skin feeling clean but not tight.  It contains extracts of chicory for hydrating, elderflower for conditioning and lemon to awaken.  It's a nice, basic face wash and seems less harsh than cheaper high street options while still being an effective cleanser.  

The moisturiser is equally gentle on sensitive skin and does a good job of moisturising skin without leaving it feeling clogged or greasy which is important if you've got oily/teenage skin.  However, one huge drawback is that it contains no SPF at all, not even SPF10.  This really is unacceptable as you are never too young to start protecting your skin against harmful sun damage, and the earlier you start the better.  Therefore I tend to just use this moisturiser at night after a serum when I'm not feeling like applying a heavy night cream.

Other products of note in the range include Skin Glow Exfoliating Face Wash, Tired Eyes Soothing Eye Rescue and Super Boost Moisturising Serum.

Have you tried anything from the Elemis Freshskin range yet?


Beauty Empties | January 2013: Special Perfume Edition

Something a little different for my Empties Review Series this month - a special on a few perfumes I've finished up recently.  I'll still be doing a normal finished products review at some point over the next few days, so keep a look out for that coming up.

Britney Spears Fantasy (Original) - maybe repurchase 

This was my second bottle and I have a third waiting to be cracked open.
Personally I'm not too keen on the scent, but the fellas sure are! It's like catnip for boys.  Nice boys. Not like the weirdos attracted by Jean Paul Gaultier's Classique, but more on that later.
It's unbearable sweet and candyflossy, with a hint of something darker and spicier.  What more could a fella want? For me it's just too synthetic and unsophisticated.  But it'll do wonders for your pulling ability if you're under 30.  Over that milestone and I'd give it a miss unless you're just after 'a bit of fun'.
Boots often have it on amazing offers.  This 30ml bottle was nabbed for around £13, so don't pay over the odds for it if you're tempted.

Chloe Eau de Parfum - definite repurchase (already have!) 

What can I say about this perfume other than I think I've found my signature scent.  It's like fresh, floral, sweet and just reminds me of clean linen.
I loved it from first sniff and have received so many compliments on it.  The only downside is that it's a bit TOO popular, saying that I haven't smelled it off that may other gals.    For some reason the name 'Chloe' just won't stick in my head so I keep telling people it's 'Clinique'.  I think it must stem from a subconscious urge to keep this scent all to myself.
When I first got it and asked my ex what he thought of it, proferring up my neck for sniffing he said 'it just smells like you'.
I took it as a compliment.
Some of you 80s lot might remember the discontinued Givenchy L'Interdit, if so, it smells a lot like that.  I had a sample vial of it when I was about 10 and made it last for years, with stolen sniffs here and there.  I never did get a full bottle but that's okay, 'cos I've got Chloe now.

Katie Price Stunning - no repurchase; I'm done

This is an interesting one because while I'm done with the sickly sweetness, I would recommend it to you!
It's a TOTAL DUPE for Dior Miss Cherie and I've gone into it's cheeky sameness here (link)
Dear old Katie Price, you can just imagine her saying 'Stunnin'! Emphasis on the 'nin'.  She did good though, and having owned both scents and confirmed there is no discernible difference, Stunning actually lasts longer on the skin, even my ginger 'Teflon' skin.
It's a much cheaper alternative to Dior Miss Cherie, just never take it out in public and never admit that it's not The Real Thing.

Dolce & Gabbana The One - maybe repurchase

I adore this perfume, but again, so do so many others! I would consider repurchasing but would most likely go for the 'Rose' version as it's just that bit more feminine and less synthetic.
Gorgeous sophisticated scent and pretty bottle, but unless you have a Travalo it's not a good option to carry around in your bag or on holiday as it's super heavy.
The only drawback with this perfume is it just doesn't linger, I feel like by the time I get to work, the scent has evaporated.

Marc Jacobs Daisy - no repurchase; I'm over it

This was a present from an ex, and although I did indicate it was what I wanted, I was bored of it by the fourth spritz.  It's just a bit bland (good option for an office scent though as it's unobtrusive) and a few years ago everyone seemed to be wearing it.
It was a slog to get the bottle finished, I actually can't believe I'm done with it!
In four years of exposure to light it didn't oxidise or discolour and the scent remained true, so that's one thing it's got going for it.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue - maybe repurchase; not anytime soon

Love love love this perfume, on the dry down it smells mouth watering.  This is about my sixth bottle of it so although I will repurchase at some stage, I feel we need a bit of distance right now.
It's another one of those perfume like Daisy that EVERYONE was wearing a few years ago, but I feel like it's gone off the radar so it would be a good option to revive if you're looking for a all-round perfume that is perfect for the office but also sexy enough for a night out.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique - no repurchase; I like not being approached by weirdos too much

My second bottle of this was a mistake, but I'd bought a mini of it first time round and felt we weren't 'done' yet, so of course I had to go and ask for the Christmas giftbox-set.
I think this perfume smells different on everyone, and although it's very popular, I never notice it on anyone when I'm out and about, I think it does a really good job of blending with your own skin's chemistry to create something unique.
Unique is one word for how it must have smelled off my skin because it simply attracted all the weirdos of the day.  This one shady Russian dude proposed to me on the street - twice - when I was wearing this.  I 'm pretty sure he didn't even realise I was the same person on both disturbing occasions.
I'd heard about the male attention Classique can inspire, and in all honesty, it's what prompted me to buy it all those years ago out of curiosity because at the time the scent was definitely far too 'mature' for my liking.  But don't be tempted, it only inspires the kind of attention you don't want from the kind of blokes you definitely don't want!

Have you tried any of these perfumes? What would you repurchase/definitely not repurchase?


Review | Maybelline Rocket Volum' Express Mascara

Don't you love it when you find a new mascara to love?

Maybelline's new Rocket Volum' Express Mascara* thickened, lengthened, fanned and held the curl in my lashes impressively well - I expect the Waterproof formula would do the latter even better.

Very few plastic wands appeal to me, but the bristles (that would be the jet glide brush!) are so fine and pliable that coupled with the incredibly smooth formula, clumping is kept at bay.  My lashes are happily quite plentiful so I experience a measure of clumping with all mascara, but on someone with denser, finer lashes, Rocket Volum' would work even better.

It's currently on offer at Boots, so you can take your lashes into space for a mere £5.99. 

What's your favourite Maybelline mascara? Let me know in the comments.


Event | L'Oreal Paris Spring/Summer 2013 Product Showcase: Make Up, Nails, Haircare, Tanning, Skincare & More

Tonight I popped along to a swanky venue (which is actually someone's swish real-life home!) for a preview showcase of L'Oreal's Spring/Summer 2013 products.

There was an exhaustive array of lovely brand new products and new shades and formulations of tried and tested favourites.

I haven't ventured out to a blogger event in a while but I bumped into the lovely Gemma and Jen and met Ree,  who were all so sweet - you probably already follow them but check out their links.

I'm most excited about the Nude Magique CC (colour correction) Creams (£9.99), BB Blush (£7.99) and Glam Shine Stain Splashes (£7.99) which are a lipstain/lipgloss hybrid and will be available in 8 shades.

My pretty manicure is Color Riche Dating Coral with Gold Lurex topcoat. 

I won't go into detail on the products now, but I'll be playing with these all over the next few weeks and will let you know how I get on and what you really have to look out for when they launch over the next few months in your highstreet.

Drop me a comment below on which products you'd like me to review first.

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