Sunday, 28 April 2013

Five under a Fiver

Hello! I thought I'd do a quick post to share my five favourite products of the moment that cost under £5, so here they are:

Top row: Superdrug Coconut oil - Nivea Express Hydration Primer - St. Moritz Tanning Mousse. Bottom row: Model's Own Kohl Eyeliner Pencil - MUA Shimmer Highlighter

I know I keep bannging on about the Superdrug Coconut oil so I'm not going to waffle on about it agian here, but if you want to know more about my current favourite beauty bargain then you can read my original review here. As for the other four.....

Nivea Express Hydration Primer, £4.99

I love this primer,  and it's a brilliant steal at £4.99. It creates a lovely smooth base for your makeup, and if you have normal to dry skin then it will provide a lovely burst of moisture too. The only thing I would say about this product is to wait a minute or two after applying it before adding foundation on top, or it may start to peel and it won't be attractive.

Model's Own Kohn Eyeliner Pencil, £4

These pencils are great because they glide on smoothly, are easily smudgable (is smudgable even a word? If not then it is now) with the attached tool at the end of the pencil, and last throughout the entire day. It also comes with a sharpener built into the lid which you may not be able to see too clearly in this picture, but it works perfectly and means that you will always have a beautifully sharp pencil. Also available in white, pink, blue and brown. 

MUA 'Undress Your Skin' Shimmer Highlighter, £3

This is an ideal budget highlighter. The picture doesn't really do justice to how big it is, so you're getting plenty of product for not a lot of money. Sweep a little product across the top of your cheekbones or smudge a teeny bit into the corners of your eyes for a fresh-faced look.

St. Moritz Instant Self Tanning Mousse, £2.99

This fake tan is probably one of the worst kept secrets in beauty, but since we've actually had a little taster of summer this week with some sunnier weather I thought it was definitely worth a mention to refresh your memories. St. Moritz is a brilliant dupe for St. Tropez tanning mousse, and at a tiny wee fraction of the price - what's not to love? Wait for the tan to dry and then whack a small amount of Coconut oil on top for lovely supple-looking legs.

Have you tried any of these products? Or are there any bargains you think I should have included on this list? Let me know! :) xx

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Are you killing your hair with kindness?

I probably mess about with my hair colour more than I should, and since deciding to grow it out I've been on the look out for ways to keep my hair in good condition. As a result, I have been using a whole host of special products that claim to hydrate, protect and repair my hair, and feeling quite pleased with myself for being so good to my locks - that is, until I made a slightly alarming discovery.

Long story short, was looking up reviews of Colour B4, a home stripping kit to remove dye from your hair (anyone used it? Please pop a comment below if you have), and I found an interesting statement from Scott Cornwall, the product's inventor. Basically, Scott was explaining why some people may find Colour B4 less effective on their hair - the main reason being silicone build up.

Silicone is present in the majority of hair products, and coats the hair leaving it looking shiny and feeling soft. However, since all the silicone is actually doing is COATING your hair, it is actually doing nothing to improve its condition, it simply disguises the damage. In the long term silicone actually leaves your hair dry and lifeless, meaning that most people will unwittingly chuck a load more silicone based products on top to sort it out, resulting in a nasty vicious cycle.

Perhaps the scariest part of what Scott had to say, however, was what happens when people add straightening irons and curling tongs into the mix with silicone products. Once your hair becomes coated in silicone, applying the 200 degree heat of straighteners etc seals the silicone into the hair shaft and eventually fuses the two together, which results in your hair essentially becoming synthetic. This is why over treated hair is so prone to snapping and burning off - it is behaving as synthetic hair would do as your hair has far too much silicone enclosed within it.

Pretty much every shampoo, conditioner, hair treatment or colourant will contain silicone, unless it is specifically advertised as being silicone free or using natural ingredients. Using silicone is the cheapest way for companies to create a product that appears to have a positive effect on hair, so generally speaking the less you pay for your products, the more silicone you can expect to find. Check the labels of your hair products: any ingredients ending in -one or -cone will be a form of silicone.

The worst offenders in terms of silicone tend to be damaging hair dyes such as the Schwartzkopf XXL range, as they use the silicones to appear to cancel out the damage of adding such a harsh colour to your hair. Once your hair is packed full of silicone it is nigh on impossible to get out, so if you're having trouble removing certain colour pigments from your hair then it is probably because the colour has been sealed inside a fat layer of silicone (laaavely). For this reason, products such as Colour B4 do not tend to work on silicone-abused hair, and in extreme cases even bleach can't get rid of the colour.

Having been through all of my hair products and searched the labels, I can vouch for the fact that it is very tricky to find products that don't contain any silicone. I'm not going to chuck out every silicone containing product I own since as I'd have next to nothing left, but once I run out I will be careful to only purchase silicone free products. Here are a couple of purse-friendly shampoos and conditioners are that completely silicone-free: TRESemme Naturals Collection and anything Organic Root Stimulator's range, such as the Olive Oil & Aloe shampoo displayed to the right.

If you're worried about excess silicone build up in your hair, try rising your hair with apple cider vinegar once a week to cleanse some of the build up, and avoid using heat styling products at all costs.

Are you concerned about silicone? Do you plan to switch to natural products? Let me know down below!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Cosmo Careers Masterclass Goodie Bag Haul

I'd like to start this post by thanking everybody that has contacted me to tell me that they've purchased the Superdrug Coconut Oil from my last blog - I'm glad you all think it's as wonderful as I do!

This is just gonna be a quick post to show you all the uhhhhmazing goodie bag I received from the Cosmo Careers Masterclass that I attended in London this week. The Masterclass, which was hosted by Cosmopolitan magazine, was an opportunity to meet and hear speeches from some media experts and get tips on how to kickstart my own career (I'm hoping to go into public relations this summer). It was an insightful evening, made better still by this bag of joy that I received upon entering the Masterclass.

From left: Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White Toothpaste - John Freida Sheer Blonde Everlasting Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner - Umberto Giannini Day After Day After Day Frizz Taming Spray -DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Kleenex Shine Absorbtion Sheets - DenTak Floss - Palmer's Cocoa Buter - Miners Dip & Define Eye Powder - Brush On False Lashes Lash Fibres - Benefit They're Real! Mascara - Tanning Mitt - Little White Lie Tanning Mousse - NYC Expert Last Lipstick
Not bad, eh? I was over the moon when I spotted Benefit's They're Real! Mascara, which I have wanted for absolutely ages but couldn't justify the £20 price tag. I'm also really excited to try out the Lash Fibres Brush on False Lashes, as I've been longing after a fibre-based mascara for a while but again, there were more urgent things to spend my non-existent money on.

The other products that I'm particularly excited to try are the Litte White Lie tanning mousse, which contains argan oil so should be lush (and for the £18 RRP so it should be), and the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, simply because I've never used an oil-based cleanser before.

In terms of potential beauty bargains, I'll be letting you know how I get on with the NYC lipstick, and the Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White toothpaste which promises to be a cheaper alternative to teeth whitening (we'll see). I've also heard good things about the Kleenex Shine Absorbing sheets, a much cheapter alternative to MAC's Blot Film. I'll also aim to post comparisons between some of the high-end products I received in the goodie bag and budget alternatives, so watch this space!

I'll leave you with one little gem of advice from Jazz Kaur, head of PR for Benefit (what a DREAM job that must be), who was one of the speakers at the Masterclass: If you love something, then you'll do it.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The £2 Game-Changer

Hi all! I have recently fallen in love with one product in particular that if you aren't already using, you really need to be - and since it happens to be an almighty bargain, there really is no excuse.

The product in question is Superdrug's own brand Coconut Oil, and will set you back £2.29 for a 125ml tub (£1.50 if you're fast, it's currently on special offer). If you're a student like me, you can use your NUS card to claim an extra 10% off (although the store assisstant may look at you like you're the tightest person on the planet), rendering this product deliciously cheap.
The oil is sold at room temperature meaning that it will be in solid form when you buy it, to use you simply scrape some out and rub it between your fingers to melt it into liquid oil. The oil is fragrenced and hydrogenated,  meaning that it's not the purest stuff on the market, but I can vouch for the fact that it still does the job- plus it smells divine. If you'd rather stick to pure virgin coconut oil then have a look in Holland & Barrett or similar stores, where prices tend to start from about a tenner (albeit for a larger tub).

Superdrug's Coconut Oil is sold and advertised as a 'skin softener', but this is certainly not the only use for this product. Applying a small amount of oil to the very tips of your hair overnight acts as a lovely long drink for the dryest part of your barnet, and the ends will look and feel noticably softer and more hydrated after you wash it in the morning. Rubbing the oil into dry skin will instantly hydrate, and the moisture lasts longer than many body lotions or butters that I've used before. Rubbing a thin layer of oil onto your legs will make them look extra supple, a trick that I will definitely be cashing in on when (if) summer finally arrives and brings bare-legs weather. Finally, applying coconut oil on top of fake tan will help prevent the colour from running too, although make sure you put it on after rather than before or the oil will prevent the colour from taking to your skin.

As promised, this Coconut Oil is also a super-efficient skin softener. For the last week or so I've been rubbing the oil into my feet before bed and sleeping in socks, and the results are absolutely amazing. I've had manky feet for as long as I can remember, but one week in and they are almost unrecognisable; even my heels feel super soft - I will continue to buy this coconut oil for this  reason alone.

5/5 - go buy!

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