Sunday, 28 October 2012

eBay False Lashes

I'd never worn fake lashes when I arrived at uni two years ago, having been put off my a terrible experience of buying a huuuuge pair to wear to a Lady Gaga gig which made me look like a drag queen. It was my flatmate Nat who introduced me to them properly, by buying me a few pairs as part of an 'Essex starter-kit' (she's from Brentwood, FYI), and even stuck them on for me the first few times when I wasn't feeling confident.

I started off buying Eyelure lashes, which were easy to apply and looked beautiful, but at £6 a pair I couldn't afford to keep using them every time I went out. So I turned to the one place that you can usually snap up a bargain - eBay. 

There are almost 3000 search results for 'fake lashes' on eBay, and most sellers offer the same products, so it's worth having a poke around to make sure you're getting the best price. When buying lashes from eBay, I always go for the boxes of ten pairs, which you can usually pick up for just £2.50.
The lashes come presented in a white box, and are easily detatched without causing damage. The quality of the lashes is clearly not up to the same standard as brands like Eyelure, but nobody will know from a distance - if you're concerned that the lashes don't look real enough, simply add a few coats of mascara.
The lashes come in a massive range of styles, so whether you're looking for something to wear day to day or to complete your look for a big night out, you'll be able to find a suitable style. In the picture, I am wearing lash style no.6 from this listing. I am also a fan of style no.13 for a more natural look. My housemate Anna has a larger gap between her lashline and her eyebrows than I do and finds that style no.10 suits her better, whereas on me the lashes appear far too long.

I find that the length of the strip for adhesive on these lashes is far too long for my eyes, so I always trim them with scissors before applying to ensure that they will fit better, and therefore last longer. The lashes are also much straighter than the curvature of my lashline, but pressing the base strip into a curve with your nail before applying the glue makes it much easier for you to position them correctly on your lids.

Another downside of these cheapo lashes is that they don't come with glue, so unless you have a tube left over from a different pair, you'll need to buy some - luckily, you can easily pick a large tube up on eBay for a few quid - just search 'eyelash glue'.

All things considered, these lashes are a good buy - perfect for if you enjoy wearing falsies regularly but can't afford the pricey highstreet options. I still like to use Eyelure lashes if I'm going anywhere particularly special, but for your standard night out these are ideal!


Monday, 22 October 2012

My trip to the dark side

My natural hair colour is a very boring mousey brown, and as a result I have been colouring my hair since I was about 15. Since then I've been every shade of brown from golden to almost black, an illadvised plum colour, and, most recently, blonde.

I've been having my hair highlighted for over two years, and each time I got a new set of highlights my hair would get blonder and blonder, until I recently decided that enough was enough - my hair was getting too blonde for my complexion, and the bleach was leaving it dry and damaged. On top of this, highlights are bloomin' expensive - the cheapest I ever managed to get my hair done still set me back £40. All of the above led me to the same conclusion - it was time to go back to the dark side.

Being the cheapskate that I am, I chose to colour my hair with a DIY kit rather than going to a salon to get it done professionally. The dye that I used was Garnier Nutrisse Creme in 'Dark Golden Brown', which I found in Wilkinsons for £4 (yes, my defence, I went in looking for lightbulbs). I used to use colours from the same range when I was dying my hair before I had it highlighted, so I was quietly confident that it wouldn't end in disaster.

Before, during & after...
The dye is enriched with shea butter, as well as the oils of avacado, olive and blackcurrent, and as soon as I opened the box I was struck by a very pleasant smell. This dissipated slightly once I'd mixed the colourant, but at the end of the day I didn't buy the dye for it to make my hair smell nice. My lovely housemate Anna applied the dye for me, and the applicator bottle seemed fairly idiot proof - a simple plastic bottle with a nozzle to squeeze the dye through. It wasn't a particularly messy process, but then I had wrapped myself in some mouldy curtains just in case. Anna applied the whole bottle to my hair, which falls just below shoulder length, so if you have longer hair you may want to consider buying two packs of dye.

I waited the 25 minute development period, and then rinsed the dye out in the shower. When the water finally ran clear, I applied the nourishment creme treatment that came in thepack, and was then finally ready to dry my hair and see how the colour had come out!

Overall I'm pleased with my new hair colour - I definitely wouldn't want it any darker as it would probably start to wash my face out - but I'm happy with the warm tones that shine through; it's a nice rich brown colour. The dye gave full coverage, although this is probably as much due to Anna's hairdressing skills as the dye itself. The box promises that this product will prevent dryness in my hair for eight weeks, but as an extra precaution I am going to be using a lot of nourishing treatments over the next few weeks to help protect my locks from the damage that colouring can cause, particularly as I'm trying to grow my hair long again.

If you're thinking of colouring your hair, then I'd be happy to recommend Garnier Nutrisse. At £4 I'd class this product as a bargain, especially when considering that I'd be paying at least 10x as much for highlights! I can't say that I want to stay brunette forever, as I did love my blonde hair - but for the time being I'm pleased with the results that I got using this dye. Get it online from Wilkinson's here, or pop into your local store to avoid paying delivery.

I'd love to know your (honest) thoughts on my new hair colour, so please post a comment below!


Friday, 19 October 2012

Avon Advance Techniques Moroccan Argan Oil

Moroccan argan oils promise many benefits for your hair - moisturising, nourishing, adding shine, reducing frizz, strengthening the ends, and even promoting growth. I was desperate to try it out, but with most of the big name brands charging anything from £15-30 for a bottle, I was forced to wait until some cheaper alternatives hit the shops.

I eventually picked up the Avon version, at the introductory price of £3.50. I also tried out the shampoo and conditioner from the same range, as they seemed a bargain at 99p each.

The bottle is very small, but then you're only supposed to need a tiny amount of product to make a difference. I applied 2-3 pumps to the ends of my shoulder length hair before blow drying, and I'm pleased to say that my ends did appear healthier and more hydrated than before - even if not quite to the extent that I was hoping. 
I've used this oil a fair few times and, although I do believe that it makes a small difference to the condition of my hair, it doesn't deliver the miracle result that the hype promises. Whether this would be a different story if I'd gone for a higher end brand than Avon, I don't know (and I won't be finding out until some lovely person out there decides to employ me in 8 months time!), but for the price I paid I'm satisfied with the results I got. 

If you want to try this oil for yourself, either order it from your local Avon rep, or get it  online here.

Has anyone else tried out a Moroccan Argan oil? Let me know!


Friday, 12 October 2012

17 Wild Curls Mascara (Black)

My friends all know that when it comes to cosmetics, mascara is usually the one product that I am not prepared to scrimp on. I love long, full lashes, and I'm usually prepared to pay a little bit more to achieve the look that I want.

At the beginning of this summer however, I was sent a bunch of vouchers to use with my Boots Advantage Card (if you don't own one of these - WHY! Sign up here right now!), among which was a coupon to try 17's new 'Wild Curls' mascara for just £1. I'd never usually consider buying a mascara by a brand like 17, but for a quid? Why the hell not!

I wasn't expecting great results, but was pleasantly surprised by this product. I usually find that mascaras are good at either fanning the lashes or adding volume, but rarely both, and as a result I often use 2 different mascaras if I'm going anywhere special. But I'm pleased to say that 17's offering managed to fan my lashes whilst lengthening and adding volume, definitely not what I was expecting from such a low-end product. Two or three coats were all it took to give my average lashes a proper makeover. Strangely, the one aspect of this mascara that I found disappointing was the promise to curl lashes, as mine stayed as straighter than Russell Brand in a brothel even after a good few coats. A shame, but not enough to put me off this mascara as to my mind that's what eyelash curlers are for.

At £6.29, this mascara is a brilliant bargain and I will definitely be replacing it when it eventually runs out! If you want to try it for yourself, you can get it here.


Charles Worthington Sunshine Spray

*Disclaimer: I know this post is a little out of season, but I feel the need to share this miraculous product with you all!*

I had my hair highlighted a few days before I went on holiday to Egypt this year, and I was worried that the intensely strong sunshine would leave my hair dry and bleach the colour further. Alongside a host of conditioning products, I also packed the new Charles Worthington Sunshine UV Spray. Having used Charles Worthington products before and being far from blown away I was unsure what to expect, but there aren't too many hair UV sprays on the market yet so my choice was limited (plus I was working within the boundaries of a classic 3-for-2 offer in Boots).

To cut a long story short, I was beyond impressed by this spray. A small amount left my hair feeling soft and hydrated, and another bonus was that it made tangled wet hair much easier to brush  - dream! This product comes into its own when used after swimming, leaving my hair in fab condition after getting out of either the pool or the sea. There was one night when I didn't even bother washing my hair the before dinner after fully submerging my hair in seawater, because this spray honestly does work that well!

I bought the 150ml version of this product as I was lucky enough to go on 2 holidays this summer and wanted it to last. However, the spray is also available in a 'takeaway' 75ml version, which I would recommend as I still have around half a bottle left after both of my 2 week holidays. The smaller version is a steal at £1.99 from Superdrug, and I am excited to see that they have now added a shampoo, conditioner and aftersun to the range - all of which will be accompanying me on my next trip to sunnier climes!


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

To BB or not to BB?

Earlier this summer BB creams became the 'it' cosmetic to add to your makeup bag, and I was keen to try one out. BBs claim to be so multi-functional that on paper they could serve to replace pretty much every skin product going, which seemed a little too good to be true.

I chose a BB from towards the bottom of the price range (obvs), namely Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream. The packaging promises that it:

  1. Creates a natural glow
  2. Compliments skin tone
  3. SPF30 UV Protection
  4. Hydrates all day
  5. Blurs imperfections
  6. Oil-free, non-greasy
  7. Looks visibly smooth
  8. Feels fresh.
I justified this purchase by telling myself that it is the ultimate holiday essential - it will hydrate and even my skin tone during the day when I don't want to be wearing makeup, and the SPF30 protection = no need to smother my face in greasy suncream - perfect!

I was pleased with the quality of this product,  and found that it delivered most of what it promised. It gave decent coverage - not enough to replace foundation day-to-day, but then that was never really the point. It served well as defence against the sun, and did give my skin a hydration boost.

The main complaint I have with this cream is that despite claiming to be 'Oil-free and non-greasy', it did feel like it was weighing my skin down a little, and gave me a bit too much shine. I haven't used the cream much since getting back from holiday, I just don't find it necessary when using a decent foundation. However, it was a brilliant alternative to suncream, and for that reason I will be buying again for next year's hols!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Models Own - Hedkandi Ibiza Mix Nail Varnish

I thought I'd kick off my new blog by hailing my favourite beauty product of the moment - Models Own Hedkandi glitter polish in 'Ibiza Mix'. I was tempted into buying this product by a 2 for £7 offer in Boots, although unfortunately the offer is no longer running - if it was then I'd probably run back and stock up, because this product is fantastic.

This is essentially a clear nail varnish with multi-coloured glitter flecks, and is best worn as a top coat over a solid colour. I've tried this polish over a variety of colours - you can get away with pretty much any colour as the glitter is multi-coloured. I have however found that it looks best over a matte colour as opposed to a metallic base coat, as the glitter will stand out more. My favourite base colours for this polish are pale teal, black, white and purple (as shown in the picture).

The varnish usually lasts a good few days before it starts to chip, and it's easy to touch up the tips when they do start to go. Perhaps the only downside of this product is that it can be fairly difficult to remove, probably because you need to apply 2-3 coats to get a decent amount of glitter coverage.

You can currently buy this varnish from outlets such as Asos, where it is priced at £5. If you're a student then don't forget to enter your NUS card number for 10% off!


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