Tuesday 8 October 2013

Across the Pond....

Mahogany Teakwood

I love America. Vegas is one of my all time favourite places. And America sure does beauty bumf well.

Today it is all about Bath & Body Works.

I have long been a fan of their super cute purse friendly hand sanitizers, but when my parents ventured across the pond this Summer it was a candle that was top of my list.

Mahogany Teakwood is described as a cozy blend of mahogany, cedarwood and oak, highlighted by delicate lavender and geranium notes.

Sounds lovely doesn't it. TBH my nose and sense of smell isn't too sophisticated. One thing I do know for sure, this is Abercrombie in a bottle. 


Close your eyes and smell the candle and you could be in Abercrombie (we all know how dark it is in there, so it really isn't that much of a stretch!). 

A candle that smells like a hot sexy man? Yes please!

I have three of the mini candles, and it does take quite a while for the smell to spread around the room, and I live in a small flat!

So the 3 wick candle is #1 on my Christmas list at the moment.

Available from Bath and Body Works 
And for those stuck in the UK, good ole' trust Ebay

Thursday 3 October 2013

Back to Basics

Beauty Myths

Wives tales; the industry itself; things our mothers taught us; things our grandmas taught us. There is such a plethora of so called beauty ‘truths’ floating around it’s hard to keep track. So, I'm here to dig a little deeper into these myths and clear up some commonly held misconceptions.
  1. Oil likes Oil
One of the worst things you can do to oily skin is to strip it. It will simply rebel and produce more oil. The high street is a big culprit in this one. Those ‘anti acne’, ‘anti blemish’ foaming cleansers they like to push are not good for your oily prone skin. Put the bottle down and step away. These harsh stripping cleansers destroy the acid mantle which protects your skin, thus making an alkaline environment on your face- a breeding ground for spots. Whilst using oil based makeup products may make your face shiny throughout the day it is a-okay to use oil in parts of your skincare. A general chemical rule of thumb is that like dissolves like. So oil will help dissolve the daily oily grime that can build up on your skin. This is where balm cleansers rule the roost. I would recommend using an oil based cleanser and night time oil treatment but oil-free moisturizer and makeup, if you have oily skin. Good, light, plant oil won’t clog your pores, will nourish and hydrate your skin and won’t break you out. Not all oils are good oils though. Avoid mineral oil. 
  1. You need to cleanse, tone and moisturize
Again we may have the industry to blame for this one. Or our mothers. Toners were traditionally used to remove the last scraps of makeup cleansers left behind. This was back in the day when cleansers weren’t adequate enough to do the job by themselves. They were meant to ‘tone’ the skin. In reality this meant the high alcohol/witch hazel content dried out the epidermis and tightened the skin. But times have a changed. So in the old school sense no you do not need to tone. But now there are plenty of new and exciting ‘toners’ that you should be adding to the mix. The new kids on the block have three main functions; balancing, exfoliating and hydrating. A good toner will reset the balance of your skin. Exfoliating toners are my personal favourite. Containing acids (glycolic, salicylic or lactic) they gently chemically resurface the skin. This is the most effective way to unplug pores without the use of tangible beads, such as apricot kernels. Note: No one should be exfoliating with apricot kernels. A hydrating toner will attract moisture from the air and trap it in the top layers of the skin. And no a water spray will not do the same thing. Our bodies cannot absorb water on their own, or baths and showers would be pretty dangerous to us. In fact water sprays (like the one produced by Evian) actually dehydrate the skin further as the moisture in the air attracts the moisture on your skin and pulls it away. So no, you don’t need your mum or grandma’s version of a toner, but the 21st century ones? They’re pretty good.
  1. You can’t be oily and dehydrated
A huge false. Somehow an idea has spread that oily skin does not need to use moisturizer. Not quite sure who to point the finger of blame on this one. But it is just simply not true. At all. I can’t stress this enough. Oil and moisture are not the same thing. The number one skin condition is dehydration. We are almost all dehydrated yet many of us don’t know it. Be it the good ole’ British weather, central heating, air conditioning, lack of hydration, whatever, dehydrated skin plagues most of us. Whereas oily and dry are skin types (generally something you are born with) dehydration is a skin condition that can affect any skin type. Skin may look oily and be breakout prone but can still feels tight and dry. Makeup can go patchy throughout the day; this is because the skin is so thirsty that it absorbs water wherever it can, even from your foundation. My advice would be to use a hydrating serum and oil free moisturizer. Simples.
  1. It is possible to shrink your pores
Pores are not doors. I love that saying. But you cannot open and close them. They are not muscles. They are what they are I’m afraid. They may look more ‘open’ or ‘closed’ depending on the level of gunk that is inside them. Dirt, dead skin and oil can build up making the pores appear larger. Regular exfoliation will help keep the follicle nice and clean, meaning the pores won’t appear so large. Salicylic acid is key here. Look for it in your cleanser, toner and masks. Brands who claim to leave you poreless are lying. Pore size is genetic. Oily skinned kin I’m afraid we are stuck with them. As we age the skin around the pores loses its firmness. This lack of support from the surrounding tissues may make the pore appear larger. Despite what your facialist, or mother told you, steam will not open your pores. It will simply help shift the layer of dirt. So you can’t banish them completely. But you can control and disguise them with a good skincare routine.
  1. Beauty products have an expiration date
Just like the food you keep in the fridge your skincare and makeup products have a shelf life. The expiration date depends on the products. However, unlike your groceries cosmetic brands generally don’t put ‘use before’ stickers slap bang in the centre of their products. But they are there. While there’s no hard and fast expiration date rule most products carry an icon that looks like a little jar or tube with a number in it. That number refers to the number of months the product is considered safe after opening. For things like mascara that can be as little as three months, whereas skin care products can last for twelve. Sunlight and heat can shave the time off a product’s life. Top tip- keeping your products in the bathroom may have ease of convenience but all that heat and moisture degrades the ingredients. Many products can expire even while in their original, sealed packaging, and once you first tear it open the clock is ticking. To keep things as healthy as possible use cotton buds instead of your fingers to retrieve product, keep in a cool, dry place and if something seems dried out or has been in your stash for longer than you can remember throw it out. As with any relationship you have to know when to say goodbye. Excuse me, I need to go to a bit of spring beauty cleaning.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Spotlight On...


In many ways antioxidants are like the super heroes of the skin care world. They kick (neutralize) free radical ass, those wrinkle-causing bad guys produced by sunlight, stress, air pollution and other environmental factors. Think of what a cut apple looks like after being left out for a few minutes. 

Antioxidants act like a squeeze of lemon juice.

If you think that 90% of ageing is caused by Antioxidants you get the gist of their importance.

They are heralded in the industry for both their preventative and reparative powers. We are encouraged to slather them on both our skin and salads. The ultimate skin food.

Some researchers have even suggested that Antioxidant-based products are more important than SPFs in fighting ageing and cancer. Vitamins A, C and E are earning their stripes as the skin care big guns.

While there’s no shortage of research and results illustrating the benefits of Antioxidants the issue is more problematic than it seems. Scientists are arguing that for Antioxidants oxygen is their kryptonite. According to some the moment you open your jar of moisturiser or pump your cleanser and the product comes into contact with air the potency of the ingredients are lost.

Revolutionary new skincare range Radical also argue that multiple Antioxidants are required to fight the numerous types of free radicals. According to them there are five types of Free Radicals and using the one or two Antioxidants present in most products is simply not enough. Furthermore, they claim that when Antioxidants are combined with reparative ingredients in skincare they break down and lose their power, rendering them mere humans when it comes to protecting your skin from Free radical assault. Radical have pioneered a new technology named Trylacel™ which effectively encapsulates the Antioxidants preserving their potency. Radical products are jam packed with 15 Antioxidants. Their hero Peptide Infused Antioxidant Serum was tested by a USDA lab and was proven to be 300% more potent in antioxidant protection than leading brands. Its effects on sun damage certainly make it worthy of a cape and a sidekick. However, the moisturizers are in jars- not exactly air tight (they say that the Trylacel protects the antioxidants so they don't need air tight packaging).

For the time being all of this is still speculation. The exact details are still being argued out by the masterminds (scientists). In the mean-time by all means carrying on using your products but don’t put your skin’s life in the hands of these creams. Be skin care savvy. A very common myth skincare companies have spread is that Retin-A makes skin more susceptible to sunlight. The truth is Retin-A degrades in the sun- making the product ineffective. That is why they are not recommended for daytime use.

Companies would have to jump many a hurdle to rebrand their products into airless packaging- watch out and applaud the ones who do. Don’t give up on proper sun care; it is your best hope for long reigning happy skin. And remember, beauty does come from within- even if their effectiveness in skincare is being questioned antioxidants are still essential – satisfy your snack attack and keep your skin healthy in one, eat them.

And if you can afford the purse crippling prices give Radical products a go they are Ah-mazing.

Available from Space NK.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Bargain Beauties

Maybelline 24 hr Colour Tattoo

After yesterday's ode to the opulence that is By Terry, I thought today I would share with you a little cheaper choice.

Maybelline's Colour Tattoos are pots of cream/gel goodness.

The colours really do pack a punch and are pretty fool proof to apply. The thick and creamy consistency is long wearing and doesn't crease. 

I wear my personal favourite, On and On Bronze, on a daily basis, to add a little polish to my otherwise just rolled out of bed look.

Simply buff into the lid with your finger. The Lazy Girl's guide to makeup.

I recently also picked up Pomegranate Punk and Timeless Black.

Now, I'm not normally one to go for a black smokey eye, I prefer me some bronzey, brown hues. I use Timeless Black as a base for my powder shadows, and boy does it amp up the volume, helping add a vibrancy to other colours. However, if you are a fan of a dark, dramatic smokey eye this could be right up your street! It is worth noting that this colour does apply a little patchy, which was fine for me as I tend to use it as a base, but if not it can take a little time to build up the colour and I would suggest using a brush not your pinkies for this one. 

Pomegranate Punk is a metallic plum/crimson colour that looks amazing underneath a few of the shades in the Urban Decay Naked Palettes, YDK, Toasted and Hustle I'm looking at you. I am tres excited (how sad am I) to get more use of this come Autumn/Winter. If you have green or blue eyes you need this in your life! 

Whilst they are the creme de creme of highstreet cream eyeshadows they are not quite as sophisticated (or special) as By Terry's offerings. 

Whilst the three I own sure have surpassed my expectations with flying colours I'm not going to lie some of the other colours look quite scary and I've heard the ease of application and level of pigmentation depends on the shade. 

Still, a perfect purse-friendly purchase to perk up those peepers. Oh alliteration how I love thee.

£4.99 Available from Boots and Superdrug 

Monday 30 September 2013

Luxe Love

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Review

'All night long, all night, all night, all night long'

Trust me, you won't be able to stop yourself waxing (or singing) lyrical about today's little beauties.

By Terry is one of my favourite French Fancies. The brand oozes opulence. Terry de Gunzburg launched By Terry in 1998 after 15 years as Yves St Laurent’s makeup designer (it was she who designed the eponymous Touche Eclat). Oh la la. 

Cream eye shadows in stick form that last all night. Seriously, they'll out last anyone one of you in the party stakes. The longest wearing cream shadow I have ever tried, you get the gist. 

As easy as 1,2,3...twist up the bullet, swipe and blend and you're good to go. I do love me some effortless beauty. 

Buttery soft, check
Blends like a dream, check
Pigmented, check
(Did I mention long lasting? Anyway that too is a check)

Forget finding the man of your dreams, this is the shadow stick of your dreams. It glides on the lids, not pulling or tugging. It can be used all over either as an intense colour or soft sheen and can also be worn as a liner. 

I have three colours; Beyond Gold, Velvet Orchid and Misty Rock

Beyond Gold is exactly what it says on the tin, a beauts gold foil-like colour
Velvet Orchid is a deep, dark, delectable plum colour
Misty Rock is a pinky/purpley mauvey colour with a GORGEous metallic finish

I have blue/green eyes and all three of these colours make my pupils pop. But Terry's treasure trove of shadows will have your back whatever your eye colour.

Can anyone say swoon?

These sticks are definately worth the splurge, I for one can't stop serenading these babies, so why not treat your lids to a bit of luxury. 

At £27.50 a pop let your eyes flash the cash.

Effortless beauty 101 complete.

Available exclusively from Space NK

Sunday 29 September 2013

Back to Basics

Water, Water everywhere 

....nor any drop to drink.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Sending any shivers of terror down any English A level student's backs? One of the most wrongly quoted quotes and tediously long poems.

Anyway, I digress.

I was fortunate enough to meet the American Dermatologist who has products to solve any concern your complexion is facing, with the perfect prescription for pretty skin.

And what he was saying was really skinnnovative (haha).

Dr Muard made me do a complete 180 on what I thought about water and hydration. To cut a long story short after a trip to Ayia Napa in year 13 (shout out to any of my Briggstowners reading this) when I was convinced I had sun stroke and had to drink enough water to flush it out my system (in reality I was probably just hung over), I have been obsessed with water.

Me and my best friend have coined the phrase 'the point of no return', the horrific headache you get from not being hydrated enough. To me hydration is my first litre of water upon waking up, my second by lunch time and my third by the time I go to bed.

8 glasses? Blah, more like 20.

The fact that I am constantly needing to pee aside I don't always feel that hydrated, I can still get headaches and my skin still suffers from dehydration.

According to Dr Murad the recommended 8 glasses of water originated from a study in the 1940s- so it is in more than a little need of updating.

Dr Murad claims (in his lurvely American accent may I add) that you should eat your water not drink it.

Think of it like a plant (my analogy here- so sorry Dr Murad if it's not quite right). Give a plant with that dry, cracked soil you get from negligence to plants (guilty) a whole lot of water at once, and it may soak it in like there's no tomorrow but, it won't change the texture of that soil. 

What i'm trying to say is that downing glasses of water mostly leads to incessant trips to the toilet. Get your hydration from fruit and veg for a more sustainable source, plus you'll get all the other benefits from veggies, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to name a few. Cucumber and watermelon are both 97% water so great thirst quenching, skin saving options. 

Dr Murad has studied the science of cellular water and he believes that the key measure of health is the cell's ability to hold water. Ergo, if we build stronger cells, through hydration, we can fight disease and reverse the signs of ageing. 

Hydrated cells will help with everything from dryness, fine lines and wrinkles to blemishes and scarring.

Hydration. The fountain of youth. 

Time to go stock up on the watermelon I'd say.....

Tuesday 24 September 2013

The Non-NK Negotiables

Origins Out of Trouble Mask

I’m not sure how many of you know this but I currently work part time at Space NK. This is very dangerous for my bank balance, working there is quite literally like being a kid in a sweet shop. Give a kid a very generous discount and they are going to use it. Whilst my teeth may not be rotting the same cannot be said for my Natwest statement and my bathroom cabinet is well past morbidly obese.

Before starting at Space it was my favourite destination for beauty. A real treasure trove. It is rare for me to buy anything beauty related from anywhere else (the discount helps sway this but the quality of the products speak for themselves, and the 40 something looking faces of our 60 something customers). So you know when I make a non-NK purchase it is a good one.

I have a bit of a weakness for face masks. And this little number is the best of the bunch.

Jam packed with Zinc Oxide, Sulfur and Camphor (you can definitely smell the camphor) this mask is a god send for troublesome skin. According to Origins you should use it to ‘steer skin clear of slippery situations, refine rough texture and pull the plug on troublemakers to oust potential outbursts.’ And Origins I have to say I agree.

The mask is a very thick white creamy paste, which dries on the skin. This one  might just be me, but I tend to face mask (yep I just made it a verb) in the bath. However, the hot steamy (Aromatherapy Associated filled- if you must know) water combined with most masks tends to irritate my face- not this one though. It tingles slightly when applied but nothing uncomfortable.

The mask doesn’t tighten on the skin like a clay mask- which may be why it doesn’t itch me in the bath. After 10 minutes I wash it off using a muslin cloth and whatever pickle my skin has been in seems to be fixed. Any redness is diminished, any angry spots seem placated, my skin feels baby soft, super clean and super glow-y. I don’t have particularly dull skin so I never really notice the effects of any glow-givers, except this one. I can really see the difference. Used regularly it helps control excess oil and is generally a perfect prescription for pretty skin.

For £22, sorry Space NK but this is a non-negotiable.