Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hit and Miss Shampoos... Argan Secret Shada and Toni & Guy Cleanse

When I completely ran out of shampoo a few weeks ago (which shocked me to my very core, since I am a hair product junkie and have obviously let things slip to a frightening extent :) I ran out to Sally's for an emergency purchase. I picked up Argan Secret's Shada Luxury Sulphate-Free Shampoo, enticed by its argan oil, willow bark and hempseed oil ingredients and its promise to protect my coloured hair whilst delivering a hefty dose of moisture.

Initially I was totally impressed. My hair felt soft, moisturised and clean. For the first few washes this feeling continued, but eventually, the build up took over. After about 3 weeks, no matter how much I rinsed and rinsed, my hair never felt clean and some days actually just felt oily and gross.

I decided to switch, and on another whim whilst shopping in Boots I got Toni & Guy's Cleanse Volumising Shampoo for Fine Hair. I used it once, and WOW! Back to super clean hair, and such amazing volume! My hair felt transformed, and the build up I felt I'd been carrying around with me was completely gone.

I've since tried to use the Argan Secret again, thinking I'd now got rid of the build up of product and could go back to the initial great results I had with this shampoo, but was disappointed to find my hair was just as oily and yucky immediately. I just don't think sulphate-free agrees with my hair type - lots and lots of very fine hair, dry on the ends but with a tendency to get oily fast at the roots. I have used Liz Earle's shampoo before which I loved but found the build up also occurred, although not to the same gross extent as with this one.

I'm determined not to be beaten and will give the Argan Secret one final try so I can be absolutely sure it doesn't work for me! After all, argan oil, hempseed oil and willow bark sound like the kind of things I want to be washing my hair with. Plus it smells amazing - slightly herbal but also kind of sultry, like some exotic perfume. But I may have to admit defeat :( But at least I found the Toni & Guy shampoo! I highly recommend it for fine hair. Plus it smells fresh and clean, and I really like the bottle.

Have you tried either of these, or what are your opinions on sulphate free shampoos?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Survival for winter lips: Skinceuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair & Dr Hauschka Lip Care Stick

With winter well and truly on its way, warm snuggly things like cosy jumpers and hot chocolate spring to mind. But bracing walks in the crisp outdoors and evenings bundled up on the sofa also mean biting winds and drying central heating - a side effect of which can be dry, chapped lips.

I have two tried and tested products that always sort this problem out for me. These are the two things that have saved my lips when everything else has failed.

Skinceuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair has two antioxidants in it, Vitamin E and Silymarin, and an AHA-free exfoliating complex. The idea is that it smoothes fine lines, adds moisture and helps prevent signs of premature ageing. It comes in a classy little pump bottle, which is only 9ml but I have had mine for over a year now. I use a tiny bit morning and night before regular lip balm, and just massage it in. It soaks in quickly and makes lips feel really moisturised. Whether or not it smoothes fine lines, hmmm I don't know as I don't really have any - but then maybe that's thanks to this product?! I ordered it randomly once off hqhair.com and it was a real surprise find.

The other product I swear by for soft lips is the Dr Hauschka Lip Care Stick.

I am convinced this is the best lip balm of all time. It's immediately soothing! I keep 4 or 5 on the go at the same time, so I know I have one with me wherever I am :)

Used together, my lips no longer suffer in the cold weather! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Massive fail: Tresemme Instant Refresh Waterless Foam Shampoo

Ok, so this product sounded like the answer to my prayers. A waterless, foam shampoo that promises to refresh hair by removing oil and impurities. I have very long fine hair that can have oily roots but very dry ends, with a tendency to frizz. Sometimes washing it every day can be a pain, so I wanted something to give it that just washed, soft look without actually washing it. 

So I picked up Tresemme's Instant Refresh Waterless Foam Shampoo, for dry frizz prone hair. 

All you do is pump some of the foam into your hands, run it through your hair and style as usual.

I used a couple of pumps on my long hair. I blow dried it whilst waiting for the witch hazel to start absorbing the oil from my roots. I was expecting refreshed, shiny and non oily hair.

What I got instead were even oilier looking roots that have looked worse as the day's progressed. Yuck!

I'm surprised at the great reviews of this product online, as it is a total disappointment for me. Maybe it's just my hair type that doesn't suit it. But it's back to dry shampoos for me.

Has anyone else had any luck with this product?

Smashbox Brush Cleaner review - a quick and easy way to clean makeup brushes

I like washing my makeup brushes in the sink with water and baby shampoo. Actually I find it quite 'calming', as watching the colours run away down the sink, and seeing the brush hairs restored to their former glory is quite satisfying. I just don't like waiting for them to dry, especially if you've got one in mind that you really want to use when you're getting ready, you go to pick it up and find some of the hairs are still wet.

 Or, say I really want to use my MAC 187 brush to apply foundation, but it's already been used with a shimmery MSF earlier and I don't have time to wash it and wait for it to dry. 

When I'm in a rush, I turn to Smashbox's Brush Cleaner. It takes about a minute to clean a brush with this so that it's ready to use straight away.

 Here's my 187 brush having been used to apply cream blusher:

I spritz a tissue a few times with the Brush Cleaner, then rub the brush in to it. The product starts to come off straight away, and I turn the tissue over so to use the product that's soaked through to the other side.
Just keep rubbing for 30 seconds to a minute...et voila!

                                                        Nice and clean, and already dry! 

I've had my bottle for about a year and am only halfway through it, as it takes so little product per brush. Perfect for when you're in a hurry! I strongly recommend this product to use between washes. 

Monday, 3 October 2011

NOTD: Barry M Pink Flamingo

Since we're having a bit of an Indian Summer here in the UK at the moment, something bright seemed appropriate!

Steam Cream: Limited Edition in Capri

My mum went to Portugal and brought me back this little present: a tin of Steam Cream. 

This unassuming little cardboard box didn't look like it would contain anything too stunning.

But when I opened the box, I just couldn't believe how pretty the tin inside was! 

This is the limited edition Capri version of the Steam Cream. The cream is a multi-purpose product designed to be used on face, body and hands. It contains lots of good stuff like cocoa butter, almond oil and jojoba oil.

If you can get past the smell (think 'natural' a.k.a. strong and not very nice!) this is a decent moisturiser. I've not used it on my face as my skin is very acne-prone, but on hands and body it's rich and emollient. It's also suitable for vegans, and at 75g is a sizeable tin with a good amount of product in.

Not to mention how gorgeous the tin is! Once I've used this up I may well keep it. 

If only it smelt better! 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel

If you suffer from slightly congested skin like mine, or perhaps it's a little bumpy, has rough patches, or generally needs an all over brightening and pick-me-up, you might want to consider using an at-home peel on top of your usual beauty routine. 

I've repurchased this product a few times over the years as a special treat. It's designed to not only resurface the skin by using lactic and salicylic acids to exfoliate, but also to deliver Vitamin C and peptides into the skin to brighten it. 

It comprises of two products - a pot of bright orange citrus smelling 'crystals' and a bottle of activating gel. 

First of all you massage the crystals on your face for up to 60 seconds. This part is quite pleasant as they feel very smooth and I find the orangey scent quite nice.

Next you add the clear activating gel over the top of the scrub particles. It instantly turns to foam, warms up and gets to work removing those old skin cells and revealing the fresh new ones underneath. You leave this part on for up to 3 minutes. I leave it for the full amount of time, and for the first minute it can feel slightly uncomfortable as the product warms up and makes the skin tingle. The discomfort quickly recedes however, and when I wash the product off (albeit with some difficulty - I recommend getting straight in the shower and using a soft washcloth to remove it as the scrubby particles stick on and won't come off!) I am left with smooth, radiant skin. 

The smoothness is still there a few days later. I can see a definite change in brightness, which must be the Vitamin C. 

It's recommended to use this weekly. It's quite an expensive product IMO, at £59.00, but I can get about 15 uses out of it so that is not bad spread out over almost 4 months. 

I'm not sure how a product you use at home like this compares to a micropeel treatment within a salon. If anyone has had one done in a spa I would love to know what you thought of it! 

Friday, 23 September 2011

My favourite eye makeup remover ever

And it only costs 99p!

It's Superdrug's Essential Eye Make-Up Remover. 

Seriously, for the price, it is the best basic eye makeup remover I've found. It's not oily so doesn't leave a residue, and has never left me with panda eyes in the morning - it takes everything off with very little effort. 

It's also not drying and very gentle so no stinging. I wouldn't suggest it to remove very heavy duty eye makeup - for that I would recommend Boots Botanics Organic Face Nourishing Eye Make Up Remover, which contains olive oil and seems to melt even stubborn waterproof mascara and glitter eyeliners off effortlessly. But for 'everyday' makeup, it can't be beaten. 

I also like the face wipes from the Superdrug Essentials range - and all their products are 99p. Such amazing value and it just frees up more cash to spend on makeup! 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Be blown away by the Blower!

If I'm honest, I find shower gel boring. Despite my love of all things involved in the process of pampering, I find it hard to get enthusiastic about something which is primarily to get you clean and prepped ready to use any number of more exciting products on your body - scrubs, lotions, oils. Shower gel just washes off! And I have never found one which does anything more than, well.....clean?

But the discovery of Bomb Cosmetics' Raspberry Blower Cleansing Shower Butter has made me rethink the benefits of body cleansers, and makes me wonder how on earth I've managed to miss out all this time on something so GORGEOUS!

This product contains Shea Butter plus Litsea Cubeba and Sweet Orange essential oils. The smell is AMAZING.

It's semi solid at room temperature, so you have to scoop it out. In your hands and under hot water it starts to melt, not too fast, and turns into such a luxurious moisturising cream, you'll wonder how you ever got by just using a weak moisture stripping liquid that you only bought because it was 99p (I'm talking about myself here)

And did I mention the smell is AMAZING. 

So fruity and juicy, and the smell actually lingers. The Shea Butter in this leaves skin so soft. 

I want to try their Mandarin and Blood Orange scent so much. Check out everything else on the Bomb Cosmetics website. Have you tried any of their products?