Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Body Shop Skin Primer in Matte It

Primer - £12
There's one beauty look that will never work on me, and that is dewy skin. Whilst I see so many bloggers looking radiant with their glowing complexions, when I try it, you'd think I'd just finished the most intense workout. It just doesn't suit my overall look and I much prefer a matte finish, which luckily is a major beauty trend this A/W. With that in mind, when I was in search of a new primer to try, I opted for this option from The Body Shop. 

Made for normal to oily skin, it aims to give you a smooth, shine-free complexion whilst making your foundation last a little bit longer. I quite like the squeeze tub packaging, it looks very sleek, and being able to see how much product remains is definitely a plus. The product itself is a clear gel which feels a little bit too siliconey for my liking but it definitely delivers on its claim. I was quite interested to see how this worked on me, having combination skin leaning more to the dry side but with a slightly oily t-zone and eyelids. I usually find products that are aimed for oily skin, often highlight and dehydrate my skin even more, but impressively this does neither. It works as it says it should, creating a smooth base for you to apply foundation onto. Its worth noting this does nothing for pores, Body Shop have a different primer to conceal those, but it doesn't clog or enhance them either. To test its shine eliminating powers to the limit I wore this right through the summer heat wave without any powder, and somehow remained shine-free and with my foundation still intact by the evening. This primer is definitely coming with me whenever I go to somewhere with a warmer climate (not hard when your from Manchester) to stop any face melting mishaps. Usage wise, a tube will last your around the 3-4 week mark with every day use, but if you depend on powder, or haven't got time for touch ups, this may be a worthwhile investment. Overall, this little tube packs a mighty punch and should be in every Shine-phobic's makeup bag.

Have you tried this primer? What's your favorite primer?


Friday, 23 August 2013

Soap & Glory Solar Powder Bronzer

Bronzer - £11
Being on the fairer side of the skin tone scale, I struggle to find a bronzer that's not over obvious, dirty looking and adds natural looking warmth. I've read quite a few hit or miss reviews on Soap & Glory's cosmetics line but when I was looking for something new to try in a 3 for 2 offer, I decided to try this on a whim, and I am so glad I did!

I really like the packaging. Its a pretty solid cardboard compact, with a mirror in the top to help with on-the-go application, but I think over time it may get a little battered if you keep this in your bag. I am a huge fan of Soap & Glory's vintage marketing and find the product names to be  fun.

The product itself is split into two main parts with a matte darker grey-toned and a matte lighter shade. There is a small shimmer section in the middle where the 'S&G' is but this is very subtle, so subtle in fact it doesn't show up on camera when its swatched. I either swirl the brush around the mix the shades for a warm glow, or use the darker shade alone as a contour. The powder is silky smooth and  once applied this lasts around 7-8 hours,

Because of its grey-toned matte shades, this creates the perfect natural contour as well as adding some warmth for fairer skin tones such as mine. I would really recommend trying this out as a great bronzer that won't make you look like a walking Wotsit!

Have you tried this bronzer? What do you use to add warmth to your face?


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Styling Short Hair: Accessorises

I'm pretty sad to say this is the last in the series of styling short hair. I've had some amazing feedback so I'll definitely be doing more on hair. Because there is a limit to what you can do with short hair compared with longer lengths, I love playing around with accessories. 

I'm a really big fan of hair bands and have been since I was little, going to Primary school with one on. Its probably no coincidence that I absolutely adore Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, and they fit completely in with my style. Although I have some facinators for more formal events, weddings etc, I really love finishing off relaxed outfits with a headband, and make the outfit more pulled together. You can get so many styles, from plain to ones with spikes so they can really be used to fit in to any style or trend too! Above is just a small section of my collection, my favorite for A/W definitely being my feather headband. Whenever I wear it I always get complements and I love that it is something a bit different. 

If headbands aren't your thing, you can try things like ornate slides and clips. EBay is great for tracking down vintage one-offs that can help you still have fun styling short hair.


Friday, 16 August 2013

A Head for Hats

Bit of a running joke in my family, but I have a big head. Not as in I think I'm amazing but as in the circumference of my head is on the large side. Luckily I don't look like one of those nodding characters with huge heads, and its all in proportion but it does make finding a hat that fits a bit more challenging. Weirdly, and I think cruelly, I suit hats. A LOT. I mean, how mean that I actually look good in hats, and yet I have a head that can't fit into hats. The world is a tough place my friends.

Anyway, my life battles talked about, I thought I'd show you a selection of my favorite A/W hats and try and encourage you lovely people to wear a hat. You always see outfits styled with hats, but hardly anyone actually wears them day to day. The recent trend in bowler hats, beanies and the like hopefully give people confidence to wear them and will make hats as popular as scarfs (random choice but you get the idea). I've had all the above hats for a good while now so highly doubt they will be in store but I actually think their all from Marks & Spencer. Amazingly they do hats in different sizes there (thumbs up) so I can actually get my head into them! I'm sure if you search EBAY or the high street you'll find something similar anyway. 

Are you a hat person, or do you share my big head issues?


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Styling Short Hair: Tools

This is the second of a series of three posts talking about ways you can style short hair. Like I said in the post dedicated to products, the vast majority of posts are focused more on mid to long hair lengths, and ones for short hair are few and far between. While most of the things I talk about would work equally as well on those hair lengths, its nice to have short hair be the focus for once.

Apart from a standard hairdryer, I only use two other tools on my hair, a GHD mini styler, and a Babyliss Big Hair(*). Most of the time I don't straighten my hair fully, and just use it on the ends as that's where I have a very annoying natural flick. I opted for the mini styler as my hair is in a angled bob style, so cut short at the back. I tried the standard version and it was really hard to use towards the back of my hair. If your yet to try GHD's I can confirm the hype, they heat up amazingly fast and help to create a multitude of looks from a sleek style to curls!

If I'm going out and want a lot of volume I stick to the Babyliss Big Hair. Although this dries and styles hair at the same time, I tend to blow dry my hair sightly, leaving it still damp to speed up the process. I then section off my hair, focusing on the roots to get maximum volume. Put simply, its a rotating heated barrel brush and once you get the hang of it, works really well to create lasting volume. I was really worried that my hair would get caught up in it and it would all end in tears, but as soon as you let go of the button it stops so its really easy to use. 

What tools do you use on your hair?


Monday, 12 August 2013

Work Shoes

Now that I've graduated I'm a working girl. Well, not a full fledged working girl, I'm on two vacation schemes (solicitor talk for work placement) and a job one day a week. One thing that really annoys me is the struggle to find fashionable work clothes. I'm pretty limited as I have to be uber smart but seeing as my style is more 'done' and Blair Waldorf like, that suits me fine. When going through my wardrobe, I had no shoes that would go with my smart, pretty dresses or skater skirts. So I started a hunt on the high street. 

Luckily my first stop was also my last stop and I was completely spoilt for choice by New Looks latest offerings. I already have a wish list of lots more I need want. Because I'm recovering from a serious ankle injury, I can't wearing high heels for a long period of time. My physio had a bit of a go at me for the low block heels, but I assured him they were completely necessary and the only thing that will keep me sane while I go through rehab.

Have you got any work wear tips for me? Anywhere I should look at for decent clothes?


Friday, 9 August 2013

MAC Costa Chic

Costa Chic - £15
I don't know if any of you are like me, but  each season I tend to find a perfect product, then use it until the end of the season, when the cycle repeats. This season I have found my ideal summer lipstick, namely MAC Costa Chic. 

This frost finish is perfect to inject some coral into your make up routine without it being too bold, or orange. That's one of the main things I struggle with when trying coral products, they feel too orange for me. If like me you like orange-toned lip products but just don't want to go the whole Velma from Scooby Doo and go for a bright version, this is for you. You don't have to commit to the trend fully and can still maintain a naturalish lip, just with a subtle coral tint, updating your look for more of a summer vibe. Like I said, pigmentation wise, this is relatively subtle, but the payoff is still good and is of the expected MAC quality. It's staying power really does vary depending on what your doing but after 2-3 hours you'll need a top up. I've worn this both during the daytime with minimal make up and at night paired with a golden smokey eye and it looks equal beautiful in both settings. This is one lipstick I think I'll be bringing out year on year. 

Are you a bit too nervous to go for a bright orange like me?


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Pollen Protection

Pollen hates me. The feeling is completely mutual. The only time I don't suffer is winter. I get the usual hay fever, but I'm also susceptible to tree spores around September so there is only a small gap when I'm not suffering from allergies, conveniently filled with the cold and flu season. As every pharmacy and even my optician happily tells me, this summer the pollen count in the UK is a record high, so while there's those of you like me who are used to the evil-side to those innocent looking wild flowers, I'm betting there's quite a considerable number suddenly feeling a bit 'off'

To combat the awful and far from attractive symptoms, I'm normally a tablet kind of girl, but this year I decide to try something different and its work an absolute treat. Before I go into what I've been using I just want to take a quick second to remind everyone to check the usage instructions and if your a minor, check with your guardian too! Right sensible bit over, I have been so impressed with how amazing the Prevalin Nasal Spray is. So the actually sticking this up your nostril and squirting it up isn't very attractive, but it is so effective I think I can turn a blind-eye to it. Unlike with tablets where my symptoms are only diluted and not eradicated, I managed to go fruit picking and walk through a field of wild flowers without so much as the tinniest sneeze, watering eye or breathing difficulty. It takes about a week of usage to become fully effective and you can't use this and tablets at the same time otherwise you would be overdosing (not a good move), but after that one week, you can have fun in the sun to your hearts content. The only thing I would recommend is that you maybe look in the mirror and check your nose after you've used it. I once went shopping and had a little white mark above my nostril. Thanks Mum for letting me know. 

Lastly I'd like to talk about horrible dry eyes. A while a go I mentioned on twitter I was having issues with one eye lid twitching non-stop. Someone suggested to eat a banana because I may be low in potassium, and believe it or not it did help, but alas it didn't stop it completely. I then started to feel like I had something stuck in my eye, almost like I'd left a contact in or something (I hadn't FYI, I'm quite obsessive over taking them out). It then became uncomfortable to put my contacts in, and so stuck with wearing my glasses, I was left with no choice but to get it looked at. A trip to the opticians later and for the first time in my life I had dry eyes. To try and relieve this I got a contact-friendly eye spray from Boots and thankfully I've got rid of it. Believe it or not, spending long times at a computer or watching television can aggravate dry eyes because your brain is so busy taking everything in, it forgets to blink to hydrate your eyes. Obviously I was quite concerned as a large part of my job is on a computer researching or putting clients on to our legal system, and then I blog when I come home. However, there are things you can do to help. One way you can minimise this without neglecting your blog is once an hour, look away from the screen at a distant object for 15 seconds, then look at a closer object for 15 seconds, and repeat a couple of times to allow you eyes to regain focus and maintain their hydration levels. I for one will definitely be looking after my eyes more often whilst I'm blogging.

How are your allergies this year?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Styling Short Hair: Products

Believe it or not, I used to have long Princess hair when I was younger and swore I would never ever cut it. This quickly changed when my thick hair decided to become even thicker and having such a mane wasn't manageable. Since then I gone progressively shorter, from a mid-length 'Rachel', to a shapeless shoulder length number, and now my current bob. I absolutely love my short hair, and while I look at photos of intricate braiding, my hair is definitely very me. Although I'm growing my length a little, I think I will have some version of my current hair for the foreseeable future. Don't fix what isn't broke. 

Nine times out of ten, when a hair tutorial or look comes up on my news feed, its specifically for shoulder-length to long hair. With more and more of my friends getting the chop and parting with their long locks, I've decided to do a series of 3 posts dedicated to styling short hair. Now a lot of these ideas will be transferable to other hair lengths but it does make a nice change to give short hair a bit of focus.

One of my most frequent complaints about my hair is that its always the same, and I can never experiment. It's no surprise that the options are rather limited in comparison to other hair lengths, but there are stome ways to vary your look. Here are some of the products I use to make the most of my hair.

The three products above are my every-day go to's. Just because you have less of it, doesn't mean you don't need to take the same amount of care to keep your hair in the best condition possible. I use quite a few different heat protectors depending on what look I'm trying to get, but as a general one this GHD Style Heat Protect Spray (*) is pretty hard to beat. It is especially good if you are having direct contact with heated styling tools such as straighteners, because you need an extra barrier to stop your hair being fried. Most of you wouldn't think about tanning without a decent SPF, so why subject your hair to intensive heat with no protection either?!  No matter what your hair type I think everyone should own two hairsprays; a low and a high strength version. I use the low strength on a day to day basis, mainly to keep fly-aways and flicks at bay. For those of you with longer hair, using a low strength on freshly curled hair will reduce the chance of fizz and fly-aways but allow your ringlets to drop into a loose curl. The high strength one tends to be used for events and nights out when I've gone to a lot of effort to get volume into my hair, and maybe  curled sections. Having short hair has let me play around with curls. My hair was so thick when it was shoulder length that any curls dropped after 30 minutes! Now they still drop, but armed with a extra-strong hairspray and I can make them last a decent amount of time. Lastly I always spray a shine spray over my hair. This Neal & Wolf (*) one is perfect to get a subtle shine reminiscent of a salon blow-dry and smells amazing!

I am a massive fan of V05. I've already talked about my love for their blow dry lotion and the sleek look it creates. Teamed with their Frizz Free Creme, my annoying flicks are kept at bay and I can create a smooth blow dry myself in 15 minutes!  However when I want to play around with how I style my hair, I swear by their Choppy Cream Wax. A good alternative to a salt spray, it's great if you want a bit of a messier, more relaxed style but still need to keep it in control. I was really scared this would weight my hair down and be hard to work with, but it's actually more of a creme and because you only need a tiny amount, it is so lightweight, ideal for adding a bit of texture.

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Getting long-lasting volume in my hair has always been hard work. Because of its thickness, unless I am constantly in the bathroom committing hair self-harm and backcombing it, I'll be left with a frizzy mess in no time. Thankfully I've recently discovered Label M Resurrection Style Dust (*). To get the most volume with hardly any backcombing I blow dry my hair upside down and then section the top 1/3 of my hair off. Under this section I sprinkle a small amount of the dust into my roots and work it in, liberally spraying a strong hold hair spray after to hold my newly found volume all night!

Have you got any wonder products to take the dullness out of styling short hair? 
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