January 2014 Favourites

SAM_1614

I can’t believe January has been and gone already. That means there are only 11 months till Christmas! Haha, sorry, I’ll shut up now. Here are the products I’ve been loving so far in 2014!

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipsticks: No 7 Lingerie Pink and No 17 Red Muse – Ever since I got these at Christmas time I have been obsessed with them. I look forward to the weekend so I can put on lipstick! I get compliments on the red one all the time, with people telling me it’s a lovely colour. It’s such a classic red, it makes me feel like a film star!

Body Shop Almond Hand and Nail Cream – In this product I think I’ve finally found a hand cream that ticks all the buttons – it smells great, it absorbs into the skin quickly, and it leaves my hands lovely and soft!

Boots Salon Nail Shine Solution – I have to eat humble pie with this. I got it in my advent calendar at Christmas and I remember saying I wasn’t impressed to be given a Boots own product. However, I’ve come to realise it’s excellent! Sorry Boots. I will do a full review shortly, but essentially, this top coat leaves your nails incredibly shiny. It dries quickly and protects the polish underneath from chipping even better than a Sally Hansen top coat I have.

No 7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation – This is one of the more recent additions to my make-up bag, but as you will have read the other day, it’s quickly cemented itself as a product I can’t live without!

Juice Cube – Now for a non-beauty favourite. For some reason, my phone battery has just died a permanent death over the last few weeks. The charge lasts a mere couple of hours, even if I don’t use it. The other day, I used it for an hour on the train and it died. That’s a bit useless at 9am in the morning when you’re out all day and can’t recharge it. This has made my Juice Cube invaluable! Juice Cube is a little portable charger for electronic devices. It comes with a number of different attachments so you can choose the right one for the appliance you want to charge. When fully charged (via your PC), the Juice Cube will give you at least one full charge for your phone. Genius!

December/January Empties

SAM_1598

I have gathered quite a stack of empties to share with you over December and January. I’ve been in the mood to use up lots of half empty things basically. As always, any products I have done full reviews of, I will only mention briefly, but the main review will be linked. I hope you enjoy!

Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector – good grief, this product lasted me one entire year! Now that’s what you call value for money. If only it didn’t stink so much.

Soap and Glory Flake Away scrub – I got this travel size pot of Flake Away in my Boots advent calendar and started using it straight away. Like all Soap and Glory products, it smells really sweet (“aromas of leafy greens, bergamot and mandarin, with floral and fruity middle notes, and a soft, sexy, musk, oakmoss, amber and woody drydown” according to the Boots website) which I really like. I’d say it’s more of a luxury product than a heavy duty scrub as the particles are very fine. It won’t revolutionise your skin care, but it will make you smell great!

Lush Catastrophie Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask – I was really pleased with this mask, but unfortunately it’s on the empty list by default. I always forget about the fresh face masks because they live in the fridge not in my bathroom. I think I only ended up using this once or twice. What a waste!

L’Oreal 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution – I bought this product back when everyone in the beauty community started going crazy for it. It is supposed to remove makeup, unclog pores and tone the skin all at the same time. I found it irritated my eyes a little and made the skin of my eyelids quite sore. I also felt like my skin was never truly clean afterwards, so I didn’t rate it much.

Nina by Nina Ricci Perfume – This perfume has lasted me a whole year (my boyfriend bought it for me last Christmas) but I have sadly run out now. I’m sure it won’t be long till I repurchase it though. I really love Nina Ricci’s perfumes, they smell great, and their staying power isn’t too bad.

Rimmel Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer – This shadow primer wasn’t too bad actually. It stops the tell tale eyeshadow creasing that shows how long it was since you applied it. However, I don’t like the fact that the wand starts to look dirty after only a couple of uses (picking up the foundation around your eyes). It shows up all the more because it’s white. That makes it feel quite unhygienic and unappealing. I also found that it’s consistency changed towards the end of the tube, so it doesn’t last very long either.

Body Shop Raspberry Shower Gel – This stuff smells absolutely amazing. It’s definitely my favourite Body Shop scent so far; delicious!

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – I’ve tried a couple of cleansers since finishing this and nothing’s as good, so I’ve already re-ordered it! Enough said!

L’Oreal Ever Riche Nourishing & Taming Shampoo and Conditioner – I really love the smell of these: rich and creamy like shea butter. The conditioner was absolutely fantastic, which surprised me because I am very picky when it comes to conditioner. The shampoo worked really well too but it didn’t knock my socks off.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Concentrated Hand Cream – This is the little hand cream that’s been in my hand bag for dry hand ’emergencies’. I really don’t like the formula and I definitely won’t be repurchasing!

Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream

SAM_1504

I wasn’t expecting to write a post on this because I reviewed the Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector not so long ago (linked below), however I decided this was different enough that it warranted it’s own post.

You may remember that I liked the Hemp Hand Protector, but wasn’t keen on the smell. Turns out my boyfriend hated the smell even more than me and decided to buy me this Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream because it smelt better and he wouldn’t have to put up with Hemp any more!

The Almond Hand & Nail Cream contains sweet almond oil and panthenol to moisturise your skin, condition your nails and create a lovely sweet almond scent. It reminds me very much of marzipan!

Whereas the Hemp Hand Protector is very thick as hand creams go, the Almond Hand & Nail Cream is much lighter and wetter, but it still absorbs quite quickly into the skin and doesn’t leave my hands feel sticky or clammy. It definitely keeps my dry skin at bay and works just as well as the Hemp Hand Protector did. I am very impressed and pleased I don’t have to put up with an unpleasant smell to get good results. I haven’t used it long enough to see a real change to the condition of my nails, but I’ll update this if I do.

Garnier Intensive 7 Days Protecting Hand Cream (Aloe Vera)

SAM_1366Some of you might remember that I featured the Garnier Intensive 7 Days Protecting Hand Cream in my October favourites post. At that point, I had been using it for a few days and I was really liking it. Having been using it a little longer now, I’m not sure I’m quite so sold.

The Intensive 7 Days cream is enriched with something called L-Bifidus which is designed to work like a shield and lock in moisture to really hydrate your skin.

The cream itself isn’t as wet as some, but it certainly isn’t a thick cream. At first I thought it was fine, but now that my hands are in better condition, it seems a bit too wet and can leave them feeling a bit damp for well over an hour. It only seems to completely absorb if your skin is very dry. It smells quite strongly of Aloe Vera, which is quite a nice, fresh, clean smell to have on your hands. It isn’t overpowering either.

I must say this hand cream seems to do what it says on the tin. I stopped using by Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector for a while to give this a fair trial. In this horrible Winter weather it doesn’t take long for the condition of my skin to deteriorate. After using this cream for 7 days, my hands felt smoother and softer and looked like they were in much better condition.

Another great feature of this hand cream is it doesn’t seem to wash off when you wash your hands. We all have to wash our hands on a regular basis (I hope!) and it’s incredibly frustrating if you only moisturised your hands 10 minutes ago and then it feels like you shouldn’t have bothered. Even after washing my hands a couple of times, I still felt like this Garnier hand cream was absorbing into the skin and nourishing.

Overall I would say that this hand cream does what it claims to. After using it every day for a week, my hands were in better condition. However, I really do think I prefer a thicker hand cream. My pickyness when it comes to hand creams shows no signs of disappearing! I think I’ll go back to my Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector for a little while longer.

Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector

IMAG1208

The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector is a product I wouldn’t have picked myself because, let’s face it, it just doesn’t sound very exciting does it? I inherited it from someone else though, so of course I was going to try it.

It contains hemp seed oil, unsurprisingly, and is designed to restore the moisture into very dry skin and to soften and protect unloved, chapped hands. Basically it’s an intensive rescue treatment for your hands.

To put it mildly, the scent of the Hemp Hand Protector is an acquired taste. It is difficult to compare to anything, but it’s very earthy and natural. It reminds me of being in the forest just after it’s rained when you get the intense aroma of vegetation. I doubt it’s a product many people would buy for the smell and it certainly doesn’t have the luxurious feel you get from most floral and fruity fragrances.

If I had to sum up how the product works, I would say “don’t use a lot, but it works”. You really need only a tiny pea sized blob of this hand cream because “a little goes a long way” is an understatement. The first time I used it I used too much and my hands ended up wet and sticky for ages. It has quite a thick consistency for a hand cream, but it is still really easy to moisturise into the skin and, if you don’t use too much, it absorbs really well.

I have been really impressed with the results. Providing I use it regularly, this hand cream stops my hands from getting dry or chapped. If I have been lax and haven’t used it in a while, it restores the smoothness within a day or two.

At £5 my initial thoughts would have been that this product is pretty expensive for a hand cream. However, it’s turned out to be exceptionally good value for money (and not just because I didn’t pay for it!). I started using the cream in late January or early February, but I still have plenty left as you’ll see below! In fairness, I haven’t used it every single day in this time, but I have used it a fair bit: at the very least, a couple of times a week, and recently every day. I can understand why the Hemp Hand Protector is one of Body Shop’s best sellers.

If you can get over the smell, I would highly recommend giving this product a try. It’s not exactly a luxurious product, but it definitely does the job. I doubt I will repurchase this one because I really don’t care for the smell personally, but I am tempted to try other Body Shop hand creams to see if there’s one that is functional and nicely fragranced. Any ideas?

SAM_1270

October 2013 Favourites

SAM_1272It’s officially that time of the month again! Time for October favourites! Seriously, where is this year going? It seems to be running away at a crazy speed and leaving me lagging behind! This month’s favourites is going to be quite a short post because I have pretty much stuck to the products I have been using religiously over the last few months and I haven’t really expanded my horizons much! How boring!

The first product I am not going to talk about in any detail because it featured in last month’s favourites too. It is, of course, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. The more I use it, the more I am beginning to understand the hype, so I might be forced to retract some of my earlier statements. I keep thinking I should try something new, but then I decide I simply can’t bear to!

The closer towards Winter we get, the more I am using my Nina by Nina Ricci fragrance. I wouldn’t particularly describe it as an Autumn fragrance, but it still has a much less Summery feel than most of the other perfumes I own. If you haven’t smelt this before, I would describe it as a fresh, fruity scent with floral notes. I also love the little apple shaped bottle. It’s cute but still really easy to transport in a handbag or washbag if you are travelling.

Virtually every day since the cold weather set in I have been using this gorgeous purple pashmina. My lovely friend Montana bought this from me during her year in Paris. It is so beautiful and incredibly soft. I simply adore it! You can read about Montana’s French adventures here.

An absolute must as the cold weather sets in is lip balm and lip salve. No one wants dry, chapped lips! I use about three different lip products on a daily basis at the moment. I keep one on my desk at work, one in my bag, and one at home in my make-up bag. The Pink Bubbly Vaseline is one of my favourites at the moment. It’s pink and it smells like champagne. What’s not to love? It was supposedly limited edition when it was released, but it still seems to be around!.

I am still hunting high and wide for a really good hand cream. Regular readers of my blog will know that I am incredibly fussy about the hand creams I use, and with good reason. If I don’t use a good one, my hands suffer so much and look terrible. I decided to try this Garnier Intensive 7 Days  Protecting Hand Cream when I spotted it on a shelf in the supermarket. I am getting on quite well with it so far. It doesn’t seem too wet but it is still smooth and easy to use and it seems to be doing the job. I will post a full review in a few weeks’ time.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Concentrated Hand Cream

SAM_1035

I mentioned this product very briefly in my handbag essentials post as I carry a miniature version of this hand cream around with me. It will supposedly give immediate and lasting relief for seriously dry or chapped hands. I decided I would elaborate a little so as to give a more reasoned explanation as to while I dislike it so much.

First up I usually talk about fragrance. This hand cream doesn’t smell bad, but it doesn’t smell particularly good either. It is virtually unscented which always leaves you with a lingering hint of chemicals in the background. They aren’t particularly offensive in this hand cream though, so it’s not really a problem.

The concentrated formula sounds excellent in theory and is one of the things which attracted me to this product. If it’s concentrated and you don’t need to use so much, your hand cream will last longer and save you money. In reality though, I hate the concentrated formula. I take a tiny dab and attempt to rub it into my hands, but it is so thick that it can be a real struggle to ensure that my hands are evenly coated so I ended up using more. Then I have too much on my hands and they feel sticky and clammy.

I also don’t think that this hand cream has a particularly long lasting effect. Once I have applied it, my hands feel fine for a few hours, but it wears off and they feel dry again by the end of the day. The product just seems to stay on the surface of the skin rather than absorbing properly, and my hands don’t feel very thoroughly hydrated.

As you will have gathered, this hand cream thoroughly disappointed me and I definitely won’t be purchasing it again. I find it difficult to use and I don’t think it really works as a hand cream. The concentrated formula was a good idea in theory, but I just don’t think it has worked in this instance.

What do you think? Has anyone tried this hand cream and actually liked it?

June 2013 Empties

SAM_0222

I personally love seeing the things people use up each month, so I thought I’d share mine with you and let you know what I thought of them!

Johnson’s 24 Hour Moisture Hand Cream – This is my absolute favourite hand cream. It smells really fresh and clean and leaves my hands really smooth. I get quite dry hands but this hand cream keeps them soft and moisturised all day. The cream absorbs quickly into your hands and doesn’t leave them wet and sticky so you can’t do anything. I’ve tried the Shea version of this hand cream, but I found the formula was a little wetter and didn’t absorb so well.

Johnson’s Daily Essentials Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes – This is the second of the Johnson’s products I have used up this month. I love these wipes and have done for so many years. As I mentioned in my testing samples post, I have quite sensitive eyes, and these are the ONLY wipes I have ever found which don’t irritate my eyes. They remove waterproof mascara really easily without any scrubbing of your eyelashes, so I often use them to remove eye make up before I use my cleanser. They are also the perfect thing to have in your cupboard for an exceptionally lazy day!

SAM_0229

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Mascara – The waterproof version of this mascara is my absolute go-to mascara, so a while back I thought I’d try the normal black version. For several months I was really pleased with it. I prefer brushes to combs because I personally find they don’t clump your eyelashes together so much. I like long feathery lashes rather than super thick ones and this mascara is perfect for that. I find it picks up a little too much product at the very end of the brush, so I tend to wipe the excess off on a tissue if I have time. There is still a little left in this tube of mascara, but unfortunately it has dried up a bit and started to clump. I would probably buy this again, but I found it dried out quicker than the waterproof so I didn’t fall in love with it.

Glade Honey and Chocolate Candle – Glade candles are the perfect alternative to Yankee candles if you are on a tight budget. They are a little more affordable but they still burn for hours. I first discovered the honey and chocolate scent a couple of years ago around Christmas time. I adore this scent, it’s so comforting and cosy. Perhaps more of a traditional Autumn scent, but I love burning it all year round because I am not a massive fan of floral candles.

Veet EasyGrip Ready-to-Use Wax Strips – These wax strips are perfect for home waxing, particularly leg waxing. You can use each strip several times so a box lasts a long time and they are very easy to use. Just smooth the strip in the direction of the hair growth and then pull up, keeping it close to your skin. They also come with some soothing wipes to refresh and clean your skin when you have finished. The only downside is, I really don’t think they give you enough of the wipes. However, you can use something like baby oil or a cleansing wipe when you run out.