Wednesday, 18 January 2017

My Most Used Brushes

As much as I love new products and finds, the tools I rely on daily to apply them are equally important in determining how well they work I find. These are the brushes (big fan of Real Techniques you can see!) I use the most, how I like to use them, and why I like them so much. 

The Eye Blender
For blending and creating a soft finish I use the Tapered Shadow Brush from the Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection. This line is slightly more premium quality than the main range of brushes and of the ones I've purchased, this is the one I get the most use out of. The shape and size is ideal for blurring the edges of eyeshadows for a more natural result. I like it just as much (if not more) than my MAC 217 which is similar in price. They both perform the same function, but the 203 has kept its shape slightly better after washing and the weighted handle makes it slightly easier to hold and use.

The All Over Wash Brush
To apply a wash of powder shadow, my favourite brush is the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush which is part of the Starter Set. The flatter shape is great for laying down colour and the size means I can precisely place colour. 

The Perfect Size for Powder
I used to be a fan of large powder brushes because I thought applying it quickly all over was best. However, big brushes actually aren't ideal for smaller areas of the face like under my eyes and around my nose. The one I use now is the Duo Fiber Contour Brush from the Duo Fiber Collection. I wasn't aware this brush was intended for sculpting until now, and actually I tend to ignore brush names and rather base how I use a brush on the shape and size. The duo fiber bristles pick up slightly less product which help me to not over apply. I like the size because I can apply powder to just down the center of my face and under my eyes where I need it most. 

The Base Multi-Tasker
Lastly, the brush I can't do without - the RT Expert Face Brush. I actually own a few of these so I have enough for a clean one every day of the week! The size is perfect for blending under my eyes and around my nose, yet it doesn't take too long to apply products to the larger areas of my face either. As well as applying my foundation and concealer, I also use this brush to blend the edges of powder and cream cheek products.

What brushes or tools do you use the most?

Friday, 13 January 2017

Neal's Yard Aromatic Foaming Bath

My friends and family know just how much I love trying out lots of different products, so I am often kindly given bath and body bits for Christmases and birthdays. They also know that as soon as I get home from work I like to run myself a bath so I can feel clean, then I change into cosy pjs, and enjoy the rest of the evening. This last Christmas I was given the Neal's Yard Remedies Aromatic Foaming Bath containing lavender, Spanish marjoram, and geranium essential oils as well as conditioning ingredients to hydrate and nourish the skin. I have been pouring a generous amount of this into the running water for lots of bubbles and instantly the room is filled with fragrance. The scent is so relaxing it really helps me to unwind and forget about the stresses of the day!

Have you tried any Neal's Yard Remedies products?
What's your evening routine?

Friday, 6 January 2017

Original Source Moisturising Shower Milks

During the colder months my skin tends to feel drier so I like to use moisturising body products wherever possible. Switching to a more nourishing body wash really makes a difference and feels more comforting. I've been a big fan of Original Source products for a while - their range of scents is incredible and they're also great value for money. At the moment I am using their Shower Milks which I mentioned in my November Favourites post. There are four fruit scented products in the range, each combined with a moisturing ingredient - Apple and VanillaCherry and AlmondLime and Coconut, and Banana and Bamboo. My favourite so far is Banana and Bamboo, which surprised me because I don't usually like banana scented products. All of the scents are quite delicate, so aren't too overpowering for a morning shower or bath. The shower milks don't lather up quite as much as the Original Source shower gels, which I also love, but they still leave my skin feeling clean and refreshed. The milks also work really well poured into a running bath for lots of fragranced bubbles.

Have your tried any of the Original Source Shower Milks?

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

December Favourites

Hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and New Year! I spent my break consuming my body weight in chocolate, spending time with family and friends, and generally being very lazy! I also rediscovered some products I hadn't used in a while and trialled a new one - so here are my December favourites.

I mentioned in this post that I have recently started using my Clarisonic Aria Cleansing Brush again. I'm so impressed with the difference it has made already in such a short amount of time, and the cleanser I have been using with it is the REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel. I prefer using a gel cleanser like this one with cleansing brushes because I find they spread more evenly on my skin compared to cream cleansers. I also really enjoy the rose scent of this cleanser, I find it so relaxing to use in the evenings.

Next is the L'Oreal False Lash X Fiber Mascara (*this was sent to me as part of a product trial). I've never used a two step mascara before because I always thought they would be a faff to apply but the fiber aspect of this one really intrigued me so I was keen to give it a go. The first step is a black coloured primer and step two contains the fibers. I really like the size of both wands - not overly large - and the step two wand is curved so is good at applying the product to every single lash. This mascara made my lashes look super volumised and I was also impressed that the formula didn't smudge or flake.

The Hylamide Booster Low-Molecular HA Serum is one of my favourite products to use when my skin needs a moisture boost. It contains hyaluronic acid which alone isn't very hydrating, but when followed up with a moisturiser it really helps to rehydrate skin. I apply a few drops in the evening, as part of my usual routine, and come morning my skin looks much fresher and plumped.

I chop and change a lot with the makeup I use day to day, but one product I've used consistently for a while is the Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Lavish Mauve. I really liked these blushes as soon as they launched, rushed to swatch them all, and eagerly bought three shades that really stood out. This is my favourite of the ones I own because it looks natural and is easy to apply. The original domed shape of the product is now significantly flattened which shows how much it has been used.

Last is a fragrance - Jimmy Choo Flash. It contains 'sparkles of pink pepper, tangerine, strawberry, a flash of white flowers, and tuberose'. I find it lasts really well throughout the day and have received compliments when I've worn it.

Did you have any standout favourites?

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Body Shop Skincare Favourites

Products from The Body Shop have been a firm favourite of mine for as long as I can remember. Back in my teen years I was a big fan of their fruity lip balms and fragrance oils, now that I'm older I really love their skincare. These are three of my most used and repurchased products.

First is the Skin Defence Multi Protection Essence. I used to chop and change and try lots of spf products but this is now the only one I use. It's so lightweight in texture it feels more like a treatment than a sun protection product. I apply a generous amount all over, wait ten minutes for it to fully absorb, and then follow with primer and makeup. Whenever there is a sale or a discount code available this is the first thing I stock up on. Second is the Vitamin E Serum In Oil. It took me a while to try adding an oil into my routine. The thought of putting more oil on my already oily prone skin just seemed too gross! But the glowing reviews of this one convinced me to give it a go. The trick I've found is not to over apply. Just a few drops of this applied under moisturiser in the evening leave my skin feeling soft and nourished come morning. Lastly is the Vitamin C Moisturiser. The gel texture is perfect for days I don't want anything heavy on my skin, and the refreshing, citrus scent always cheers me up.

What are your favourites?

Friday, 23 December 2016

Falling Back In Love With My Clarisonic

When I bought my Clarisonic Aria this time a couple of years ago I was so excited and couldn't wait for it to arrive in the post so I could try it. I used it religiously and was really happy when a started to notice a real difference. My skin felt much smoother and red spot scars that were previously refusing to go were starting to fade. Then all of a sudden I just ..fell out of love. There were other exfolating products I wanted to use, and I felt using a cleansing brush as well would be too much. For a year or so I went back to use a good old, Hirons approved flannel to cleanse.

Until a couple of weeks ago, my Clarisonic was living unloved at the back of a drawer. I thought about selling it, but couldn't shake the 'I might use it again one day' niggle. During a recent declutter I found it and decided to try using it again to see if it would have the same effect again. And, it did! I am well and truly hooked again. My skin is far smoother than it ever is after I use a flannel or scrub. I feel my forehead, chin, and jaw really benefit from a thorough cleanse as these are my oiliest and most congested areas. However I'm always careful when using the brush on my nose and cheeks to avoid worsening any redness. I've noticed fewer new spots and red marks from previous ones have finally started to fade. 

The Clarisonic isn't for everyone, but for me it really works and makes a noticeable difference. So for as long as it does, I'll keep using it. 

Do you use any cleansing brushes?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Oil Control Picks

When you have oily skin it's incredibly tempting to use harsh cleansers that leave you feeling clean and grease free ..for all of ten minutes! After using products like this my skin would always go into oil production overdrive to compensate and I would feel worse than I did pre cleansing. Eventually I switched to a much gentler routine and my skin was much happier for it. Through lots of trialling and testing I think I've finally found the perfect group of oil controlling solutions that slot nicely into my everyday routine. These are my favourite products that help keep shine at bay. 

My first step after applying SPF is always a primer. Sometimes primer feels like unnecessary bulk on the skin after a whole skincare routine. But I've found that by skipping my serum step in the mornings I feel like there's 'room'. The primer I'm using at the moment is Soap & Glory's The Fab Pore 3-In-1 Oil Control Serum which can be used alone, under moisturiser, or before makeup. It's silicone based so feels quite slippy and lightweight on the skin and also has a blurring effect. I find it does really help extend how well products applied on top wear throughout the day. Next, choosing a foundation that's designed to last is also key. Glowy skin is definitely on trend, but my skin produces enough glow of its own so I prefer a more natural finish base product. The one I am currently using is the Rimmel Lasting Finish nude foundation, which I've reviewed in more detail in this post. In short, it's a great budget, longlasting, medium coverage foundation that looks natural and doesn't feel too heavy. The drier skinned can often skip powder, but for me it's a must. I use a small brush to apply some to my oiliest areas - forehead, nose, and chin - to keep unwanted shine at bay. I've used Rimmel Stay Matte for years and years and it works so well I never feel the need to try anything else. As well as being oily, my skin is also very pale so anything other than this in translucent is just too dark on me. Lastly I always use a setting spray for added staying power. UD All Nighter is my ultimate favourite, but Maybelline's Super Stay 24 Setting Spray is a good cheaper alternative. 

What are you favrouite oil controlling products?
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