Lush Cosmetics products for the perfect pamper

Lush pamper picks

Since attending the Lush Swansea store opening event last week, my already big obsession with Lush has just intensified further. This has caused me to dig out some of my new and long-time favourites from the brand, and I’ve noticed that all of these products have one thing in common; they’re perfect for an evening of pampering…

As someone with dry, sensitive hands, I do my best to take care of them, and I’m never too far from a hand cream (I have one sitting on my desk at work, as well as one in my bathroom at home). The Handy Gurugu Hand Cream is the one I kept at home and it’s the perfect pampering pick; it’s very thick and creamy (as it contains shea, peanut, cashew and almond butters), so it’s great one to pop onto your hands before bed.

Before using this, however, I’m also really enjoying the Salted Coconut Hand Scrub. As the name suggests, this smells amazing, and the fine, gritty texture leaves your hands really soft. Sure, you could probably use a regular body scrub instead, but I just adore the texture and smell of this hand scrub. Plus, I think a little of this will go a long way!

I’m a big advocate for moisturising your body, and Lush’s Dream Cream is my current favourite body lotion. It has a nice mild smell that I find really calming, and it contains oat milk and rose water, so it’s soothing on the skin too. I also love that it sinks in fairly quickly; although I slather this on, there’s no risk of me slipping all over the place.

Last but not least in my Lush pampering products round-up is the Retread Hair Conditioner. The texture of this is a little unusual, and it doesn’t feel extremely moisturising when you first apply it (it doesn’t contains silicones, which gives many hair products a smooth, slippery feel). Nonetheless, it makes my bleached hair very soft, and just more manageable. It does need to be rinsed out thoroughly though!

What are your favourite Lush products to use when you’re having a pamper evening?

An evening with Lush Cosmetics: Lush Swansea new store opening event

Lush Swansea new store opening

Lush Cosmetics has been one of my favourite brands since I first ventured into one of their stores early last year, and I now love nothing more than popping in, smelling the gorgeous displays, and finding something new to try.

Living just half an hour away from Swansea, I was obviously pretty excited to hear that they’d be moving to a new bigger space. So, when I was invited to check out the new Lush Swansea store before it officially opened with my friend, Siobhan, I didn’t waste any time in accepting!

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The new Lush store can be found at 808 Oxford Street, which is just around the corner from their old home. It’s also conveniently located a couple of doors up from the likes of Topshop, Marks and Spencer, Next, and Starbucks, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it!

Inside, the store is a lot bigger than their old one, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how far back it went. It’s also beautifully set out with everything in its own special place; haircare, bubble bars and perfumes can be found on the right, body products at the back, and skincare, makeup, and shower gels on the left.

You’re also greeted by a wonderful display of bath bombs and FUN as you enter the store (with plenty of sinks for you to see the products in action), and the famous Fresh Face Mask Bar towards the back (is this anyone else’s favourite part of the store?).

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I swear only one of these drinks was mine…

The store opening also gave us the opportunity to see some of Lush’s new releases in the flesh, such as the Jelly Bombs, Jelly Face Masks, Body Sprays, and Hot Oil Treatments. I was very excited to be able to demo one of the new Jelly Bombs during the event, and was very grateful to be gifted some of the new products to take home with me. I can’t wait to try them out and share my thoughts!

Another highlight was making my very own Intergalactic and Dragon’s Egg bath bombs, which turned out pretty damn good (if I do say so myself). My skills aren’t a patch on Lush’s Bath Bomb Makers, though…

Although I was nervous to attend my first blogger event, I had a great evening and the lovely, friendly staff quickly put me at ease. I was also given a bunch of product recommendations to suit my needs, and I now have a wishlist as long as my arm.

I’d definitely recommend giving the new Lush Swansea store a visit if you can, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to Lush for letting me see the new store early!

Will you be popping into the new Swansea store to grab some goodies? What are your thoughts on the new store and product releases?

How to save money when buying beauty products

Saving money

If you’re as much of a beauty lover as I am, then you’ll know that it can become quite the expensive hobby; especially if you get through certain products very quickly (such as face powder or eye makeup remover, in my case), or you’re a sucker for a new release.

Fortunately, you can save a few pennies if you know the right tricks. Here are my top tips for saving money when buying beauty products…

Get a points reward card

Most of us have a Boots Advantage Card, but did you know that most beauty retailers now have their own points reward systems? Debenhams, House of Fraser, and Space NK are just a few of the stores that have their own version, and I actually prefer their systems to Boots’ because you can use your points as soon as they reach £5 (or £10 or £15…) and have been transferred to your card.

The time this takes varies from retailer to retailer, but I think it’s still worth the wait to be able to pay with a mixture of points and cash.

These retailers also often run offers that are exclusive to reward card holders (such as ‘earn double points’, or ‘spend £50 to get £10 worth of points’), so try to wait for these before doing a big restock!

Take advantage of offers and voucher codes

Feelunique and Lookfantastic are two of my favourite beauty retailers because their delivery is pretty quick and free (although you need to spend £15 for this to apply to Feelunique). They also stock a wide range of brands between them, from Estee Lauder and Urban Decay, to Oskia and Jurlique.

As well as regularly running great offers (such as flash sales or a certain percentage off your order), on the off chance that there isn’t a promotion on, voucher codes that give you between 10 and 20% off your order can often be found on Hot UK Deals.

Signing-up for newsletters can also be a good way to get offers sent straight to your email inbox (as long as you don’t mind getting a lot of emails). In fact, many retailers will send you a reward just for signing-up; Cult Beauty, for example, will give you free shipping on your first order.

Look out for free gifts with purchase

Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Clarins frequently run a Gift With Purchase (GWP) promotion when you visit their counters, and these can be a great way of discovering a new favourite product that you never would have thought of trying! As these are usually miniature products, they’re also very nice to have if you travel a lot; more often than not, they’ll come in a makeup bag.

However, one thing to be wary of is spending more money just to qualify for a free gift; you’ll typically need to purchase two products for that gift, so make sure you’re buying things you definitely want! There’s also no need to spend more money for the free gift if  it doesn’t contain products you’ll use, so always ask about the contents first.

Ask for a sample!

For a beauty lover, there’s no worse feeling than buying a pricey foundation, getting it home to try out, and realising the colour or the formula just doesn’t work for you. This is especially annoying considering the fact you can only return beauty products in the UK if you’ve kept the receipt and have had an allergic reaction (and even then, not all brands will take it back).

Foundations, primers, moisturisers, cleansers, and many other skincare items are just some of the products you can get samples of before you splash the cash, and many high-end counters will be happy to give you one if you ask! MAC, Dior, Benefit, BareMinerals, Chanel, and Estee Lauder are just some of the brands I’ve  snagged samples from without needing to spend a penny, though they’re usually pretty generous if you do ask for one when you purchase something else…

Search for affordable dupes

Finally, if you really can’t afford that £40 eyeshadow palette (or can’t justify buying it if you’re not going to use it all that often), then check out Makeup Revolution; they make really good quality dupes of some of the most hyped-up beauty products. Many of Sleek‘s products have also been claimed to be similar to certain high-end products.

NYX and KiKo are also very affordable brands with a wide colour range, and the quality of their products is comparable to that of more expensive brands. Definitely check them out!

What are your top tips for saving money when buying beauty? Share them in the comments!

The bad skin day saviours: 3 skincare products for clear and glowing skin

Bad skin day saviours

Bad skin days: they suck, and they happen to the best of us. In fact, despite having a solid skincare routine that I follow pretty much religiously (even when I stumble in from a night out at 3:00am), there are a couple of things that cause it to become sensitive and a bit spotty; a.k.a. stress, a lack of sleep, and one too many chocolates.

For these occasions, I present to you three products that help almost every type of bad skin day…

The one that brings the glow back

The REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is the product I always reach for when my skin is looking a bit dull and blotchy, which is often the case after a breakout. This thick, fruity smelling face mask exfoliates using four AHAs (including glycolic acid and lactic acid), so it always leaves my skin feeling soft, as well as looking clearer and more even in tone.

Although it provides quite an intense exfoliation (meaning my face can be a bit red after use), this tends to disappear quickly, and I don’t find this product to be too harsh for my sometimes sensitive skin.

The one that calms sore and angry skin

Next up in my bad skin day toolkit is the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask, which is a product you’ve probably already heard a lot about! It’s received its fair share of praise from the blogging community and for good reason; it’s a light, hydrating mask that soothes angry, red skin, while the antiseptic properties of the honey tackles spots and helps them to clear up quicker.

This face mask is basically just a great all-rounder, and I’d recommend it for all skin types!

The one that gets rid of spots

If I have a particularly bad spot and I want to get rid of it fast, then I know the one thing that’ll always have my back; the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. Containing a mixture of salicylic acid, zinc oxide, sulphur, and titanium dioxide (the pink mixture at the bottom of the bottle), and isopropyl alcohol (which sits on top of the mixture), this dries your spots out as you sleep, and I find it only takes a few days for mine to disappear completely.

Just remember not to shake the bottle, and to apply the pink mixture directly to the spot without rubbing it in!

What are your go-to bad skin day products? Have you tried any of my picks?

Brand focus: 5 products to try from Charlotte Tilbury

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Alongside NARS, Bobbi Brown, and Urban Decay, Charlotte Tilbury is one of my favourite makeup brands- and it’s not just because of that luxurious rose gold packaging. I just love that many of the products have been collated into specific looks (making it super easy to pair them together), and the colours are gorgeous.

It’s not just that, though; the quality of the products inside definitely live up to their outer packaging.

Having been a fan of Charlotte Tilbury for a few years now, I’ve tried a number of products from the range, and I’ve found a few firm favourites. So, if you’re unsure of what to try from the brand, here are the top five products I’d recommend…

All of the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palettes are lovely, but it’s the Dolce Vita that has my heart. The brown and red shades are really pigmented, and they work perfectly together to create a warm toned smokey eye. The red can also be used with the lightest shade for a more day appropriate look, making this palette more versatile than it looks at first glance.

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When it comes to base products, Charlotte Tilbury just gets it. The Filmstar Bronze & Glow is probably one of my most used palettes, and for good reason; the contour in the Light-Medium version never looks muddy on my paler complexion, while the highlighter adds some serious glow.

I also love The Retoucher for brightening up my dark circles (although I do layer it over another higher coverage concealer), and the Magic Foundation. A little of this goes a long way, and it gives a good level of coverage with a satin finish. Definitely a good option for more oily or combination skin types!

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Finally, I’m a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s matte lipsticks. Not only are they really comfortable to wear, but they do stick around! My favourite shades are Glastonberry from the Matte Revolution range (a very vampy dark plum), and Super Cindy and Hell’s Bells from the Hot Lips collection. The first is a peachy nude, while the latter is a more pink-y version of Glastonberry.

Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury makeup? What are your favourite products from the brand?

Foundations for every occasion (and mood)

Foundations for every occasion (and mood)

When it comes to my makeup, I’m all about that base, and I have quite the hefty collection of foundations to back this up. In fact, if I was in a rush and didn’t have the time to apply a whole face of makeup, I’d opt for foundation, concealer and powder over eye makeup and blusher.

However, this doesn’t mean that I’m just a fan of super high coverage foundations; as my skin has become less oily and more even in tone, I’ve also discovered a love for some lighter bases, too. So, here’s my round-up of my favourite full, medium and light coverage foundations for all occasions and moods…

Best for: high coverage

If you have a lot of redness and oiliness, then the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in-Place-Makeup is the foundation for you. This might be a little too thick for some people, but it pretty much covers everything; in fact, I could probably skip concealer with this. It’s great for those days when you need your makeup to last all day, though it does leave a matte finish, so you may want to get a sample first if you have dry skin.

The Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation also offers a good level of coverage, but it’s lighter and not as matte as Double Wear. Nonetheless, this is the foundation I reach for the most as it’s really quick to apply, and never looks cakey on the skin.

Foundations for every occasion (and mood)

Best for: medium coverage

The NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is really popular in the blogosphere, but I don’t use this half as much as I should; being a water-based foundation that offers sizeable coverage, I find it needs quite a lot of buffing and blending. This is something I don’t have time for in the morning, but it’s worth going through the extra work for a night out as this foundation gives such a nice glow to the skin.

Best for: low coverage

Like Sheer Glow, the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup (what a mouth full) has a thinner, more watery texture, so it requires a little more blending time and the right primer. You can’t use anything with too much silicone underneath this, as it will go patchy. This is still one of my favourite bases though as it evens out your skintone, and leaves a very fresh and natural looking finish. I do find this isn’t that long-lasting on my oilier patches, but I think it would be a great pick for dry skin!

In my opinion, the L’Oréal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation is the lightest of the bunch, so I reserve it for good skin days. Like the Lancôme cushion, it’s really quick to apply, though the finish is far more dewy and natural; you can still see your own skin shining through.

Do you prefer a high, medium or low coverage base? Which foundation is your favourite?

My current morning skincare routine

Morning skincare routine for combination skin

Having had teenage acne and both very dry and very oily skin in the past, skincare is something that’s very important to me, and I’m always trying new products to find my ‘perfect’ skincare routine. Put simply, this is a routine that’s able to balance my shiny patches (hello there, t-zone), hydrates my drier ones (a.k.a. my chin and under eyes), and doesn’t break me out or clog my pores.

Because of this, my skincare routine changes quite frequently, though I’m currently using a mix of products that seem to be working well for my skin. So, here’s what my current morning skincare routine looks like… (thanks Amy at A Little Boat Sailing for the post idea!)

When it comes to morning skincare, I want lightly layered products that sit well under makeup, as well as a cleanser that won’t dry out my skin or leave it feeling stripped, which is why I’m loving the BareMinerals Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser. My skin seems to really like a clay cleanser, and this one is no exception; it leaves my face feeling clean and smooth, but never tight due to its clay-to-cream texture.

Next up is toner, and my current go-to is the Caudalie Grape Water. Yes, I know that a lot of people don’t see the point in spray toners, but I find this step refreshing in the morning, and I do think it helps to add an extra layer of moisture. After I’ve left this to sink in for a few seconds, I’ll use the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream because it’s light and has a slight sheen to brighten under eyes.

As my skin’s been getting a bit sensitive and dehydrated lately, I’ve been favouring products that contain hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that helps your skin to ‘lock-in’ water from anything you layer on top of it. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum is really affordable and it appears to be doing the job, though it needs to be applied quickly as it’s quite tacky.

Finally, I apply a light layer of the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser. This is a really good pick for summer as it’s oil-free (so great for those shinier days!), it sinks in quickly, and it gives a nice smooth base for makeup. My current tub is on its last legs, and I can see myself purchasing many more of these…

What products are in your current skincare routine? Do you have any good recommendations for oily and combination skin?