Sunday, 29 April 2012

Makeup and haircare haul: Rimmel, Revlon, Bourjois, MAC, Matrix and more

My first YouTube video featuring my newest products this week.

Products mentioned in this video:
- Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks 03 and 08
- Revlon Lip Butter 001 Pink Truffle
- Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara
- Bourjois Touche Healthy Mix Concealer
- Bourjois Delice de Soleil mineral bronzing foundation
- Sleek Eau La La eyeliner - 317 Molasses
- MAC Embark e/s
- MAC Sunbasque blusher
- MAC Golden bronzer
- MAC Modesty Cremesheen lipstick
- Nioxin Cleanser 3
- Matrix Biolage Ultra Hydrating Balm
- Burt's Bees Radiance Body Lotion

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review: Neutrogena Body Clear salicylic acid body wash

When I'm getting ready for the summer months (which I am now - only 12 weeks until I go to Crete - eek!) I start preparing my skin for its first outing in months. I want seriously smooth skin and for me, just using a body scrub is not enough.

I absolutely love using a chemical exfoliant on my body. Combined with a really effective salt scrub I can get my skin in to its best condition. This past winter especially I have noticed has taken a huge toll on my skin, particularly on my legs and arms. I need a quick way to shift dead skin cells and smooth out and destroy any clogged pores and little bumps.

Enter Neutrogena Body Clear, a body wash containing one of my favourite exfoliants, salicylic acid.

This product has 2% salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid which helps to break down dead skin cells and clear out pores. It is used to treat acne and keratosis pilaris amongst other skin conditions.

This product comes in a large 250ml plastic bottle, and is a thick orange gel. It has a nice-ish scent, not too medicinal smelling and actually reminds me of a basic shampoo kind of smell. I'm pretty sure this comes in Pink Grapefruit scent as well, but I used the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit face wash once and really didn't like that smell.

It lathers in the bath or shower and rinses clean away. The results are not immediate but rather a gradual improvement in the skin's surface and the elimination of little bumps and clogged pores. It also prevents any new breakouts on the body and stops pores becoming clogged again.

I don't find it drying but use a body lotion afterwards anyway (preferably another skin-smoothing product - reviews on those to follow). This is really effective but gentle at the same time.

Unfortunately you can't buy this in drugstores in the UK but I bought mine on ebay for less than a tenner :)

Can you recommend any other washes with BHAs or AHAs? I'm always looking out for new ideas...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Review: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil for dehydrated skin

I have really oily skin. Really, really oily skin.

Despite this, I sometimes find I have a dehydrated base under the oil. I can see by the teeny tiny lines that appear when I pull my skin gently on my cheek. This is probably a result of not drinking enough water (although I do try to guzzle it down!) and the general dry air conditions with the central heating being on 24/7 in freezing ol' England for long periods of time.

The difference between dry and dehydrated skin is that dry skin generally lacks oil (and is a skin type), whereas dehydrated skin is a result of moisture loss (often stemming from internal dehydration - and this is a skin condition). It took me a while to realise this! Hence many skincare mistakes in the past.

I am not afraid of using oil on my already oily face. I find it helps to regulate the oil production. I can't go out and get a product for dry skin, as this is completely wrong for oily skin and only makes my skin worse by overloading it with product. My skin is also acne prone and anything that clogs my skin is unwelcome!

But I needed something for the dehydration - enter Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil.

The product

This oil contains essential oils of Rosewood and Patchouli, Hazelnut oil and extract of Blue Lotus. It is 100% pure plant extracts with no preservatives.

It comes in a 30ml glass bottle with a pipette built in to the lid. The packaging is gorgeous and feels very luxurious. It looks beautiful on the dresser. The pipette keeps it hygienic and with as little mess as possible.

The smell is a little like chocolate orange - only nicer. It is not particularly sweet but there is about it. Personally I love it. I find it quite intoxicating. If you're walking past a Clarins counter smell it and see if you agree.

How to use it

I use a few drops on damp skin - as per the instructions of the Clarins sales assistant - so I use it immediately after cleansing. The oil is carried by the water into the skin.

I was advised to use this product every night on its own for 3 weeks. Then to use it for another 3 weeks mixed in with a night cream (I was given a sample of the Clarins Extra Firming Night Cream to mix it with), Then you start the cycle again by using it alone for 3 weeks....

Confession: I don't do this. I tend to use this every other night, and always alone. I just haven't seen the need to mix it with anything. Yet.

The results

The product itself is fantastic and sinks into my skin within a couple of minutes. This oil does not sit on the skin at all. Even when I forget to use this on damp skin, the oil vanishes within minutes. It's awesome!

It should be patted on to the skin - no rubbing.

I wake up with plump looking, radiant skin. It looks moisturised and healthy. A couple of nights of using this helped with the dehydration lines so much. It has not broken me out.

I love this oil.

I am going to continue using this. A little goes a long way and the product could last several months. I may try the method of adding this to a cream; I am going to be adding tretinoin (retin-a) to my regime very soon and I might need an extra boost. But I have read reviews where people use this oil alone on top of tretinoin and it soothes the skin perfectly on its own. I seriously look forward to trying these two products together.

To sum it up, I highly recommend this product for oily, dehydrated skin. Whilst nothing can, or should, replace good old fashioned water consumption for keeping the skin in good condition, this definitely helps with the visual effects of dehydration. I'd love to hear your views if you've tried this oil, or any of the others meant for the same problem!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Tangle Teezer vs The Tangle Tamer: a review of two brushes

My hair story

I'm convinced I must have some of the knottiest hair on the planet.

No matter if I've just brushed it two seconds ago, all I have to do is move to find my hair has somehow worked its way back to something closely resembling a bird's nest.

I have the lucky mixture of half curly, half wavy hair which is extremely fine in diameter, yet thick in terms of quantity. The strands twist around each other into matted clumps at the slightest breeze. Hairdressers have been known to let out high-pitched screams of angst whilst trying to comb the knots out of my hair. Seriously, this has happened more than once and is slightly embarrassing.

Simply put, my hair's a nightmare.

The hairbrushes

Several years ago I learnt of a new invention called the Tangle Teezer, designed by a hairdresser called Shaun P who showcased his product on TV's Dragon's Den. Despite being slated on the show, sales of the Tangle Teezer soared. And for good reason; this patented design was innovative and cut through knots like no other hairbrush before it. I snapped one up and have been using it ever since. In fact I have two: the full size and the travel version that I usually keep in my bag (the one on the left below which has a cover):

However, I picked up the Denman Tangle Tamer when I saw it in my local Superdrug. Despite them having confusingly similar names, I wondered just how Denman's new product would match up performance-wise to my beloved Teezer.

First of all they don't look at all similar; the Teezer is a kidney-shaped brush with bristles which are the same material and colour as the back of the brush and which are all the same length, while the Tamer is a more traditional slim brush shape with a handle and black bristles of differing lengths.

The verdict

Performance-wise, for me they don't compare at all. Denman's Tamer is by far superior in terms of detangling my hair. It glides through like a hot knife through butter (excuse the clich├ęd analogy - but it really does :) and makes the Tangle Teezer feel like it's ripping my hair out as it pulls through. Which is weird as I used to love that brush and thought it worked well. I don't know how or why the Tamer works so much better, it just does...

I like the handle on it as well. It's much easier to hold and makes the Teezer just feel bulky and awkward. The Tamer is cheaper too, at around £6 compared to £10 for the Teezer. Amazing!

I'm stocking up on Denman's Tangle Tamer - one for my bathroom, one in my bag and one for my desk at work. I'm not sure how anything else could beat this brush for me - true HG perfection!!

Have you tried either or both of these brushes?