Affordable beauty: 5 things to buy in Boots

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Like a lot of beauty bloggers, it’s no secret that I do love a bit of luxury beauty in my life. With its pretty packaging, high quality formulas, and the wider choice of options that tend to be available, I admit I can be a sucker for it sometimes.

However, that’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of areas where you can save your money; from face masks to makeup removers, to mascaras to makeup brushes, the ‘drugstore’ offering is getting better and better when it comes to more affordable, yet effective, beauty products.

Boots is typically my store of choice, as it has such an expansive range of products from most price points. Plus, there’s always some sort of offer on, and I find it’s easy to build-up points on the good ol’ Advantage Card and save a few pennies!

There are also plenty of great, affordable brands that are exclusive to Boots, with one of the best known being Soap and Glory. Although there’s no denying that their bath and body care products are lovely (smell them. Seriously), there are some hidden gems in their makeup range. The One Heck of a Blot Powder is just one example; a translucent face powder that’s mattifying, but never looks cakey. Unlike a lot of the pressed powders I’ve tried, it also doesn’t go patchy when you apply other powder products over it.

Another brand I like to pick up in Boots is Una Brennan’s Super Facialist range. I’ve tried more expensive clay masks, but the Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Clay Mask is hands down one of the best I’ve tried. It’s not drying on my skin (which is pretty normal lately, yet sometimes oily in the t-zone), and I can always rely on it to heal spots quickly.

While we’re on the subject of skincare, I don’t see much point in paying a lot for eye makeup removers. As I wear waterproof mascara 80% of the time, I tend to use a lot and go through them far too quickly to justify spending more than a few quid. The Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover does the job and it costs less than £4, even when it’s not on offer. You just can’t go wrong.

Back to makeup, and two other affordable products I’d recommend picking up are the Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in Seductive Pink and the Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara. The latter is quite a wet mascara with a thick brush, but don’t let that put you off as it’s one of the most lengthening ones I’ve tried. The blush is also a lovely light, mauve-y pink that flatters my pale skin tone.

What are your favourite makeup and skincare products to spend your Boots points on? Chuck me some recommendations!

My 2016 beauty favourites: the best of makeup and skincare

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For someone as indecisive as I am, choosing my 2016 beauty favourites turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Nonetheless, if you’d have asked me to do the same thing this time last year, I think I would have struggled a tad; and this is no surprise really as I still didn’t know how to balance my combination skin without drying it out, and my idea of an adventurous makeup look was a bit of neutral eyeshadow and some blusher.

Fortunately, I think I’m finally finding my feet with this whole applying-makeup-thing. I now know (for the most part) how to control my oily t-zone and dry chin, I’m a master of eyeshadow blending (well, nearly), and this is thanks to a number of products that I’ll happily sing the praises of.

Cue my 2016 beauty favourites… (be warned: it’s going to be a long one!)

Starting with skincare, there’s one product that I’d recommend time and time again; the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. As many have said before me, this is unlike most gel cleansers as it’s quite thick and turns into a light oil, making it a great option for all skin types. It’s also gently exfoliating thanks to its pumpkin enzymes. While we’re on the subject of cleansing, Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Waters are another product I’ll always repurchase as they’re gentle, affordable and effective at removing makeup.

Now, let’s talk hydration. Although I am still on the hunt for the perfect moisturiser, I think I’ve found the oil for me. The Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil provides just the right amount of nourishment for my drier patches, while balancing my oiler areas and lessening oil production. It smells amazing as well; very herbal and spa-like. And when it comes to my under eyes? So far, nothing has helped with dehydration as much as Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

Last up in the skincare round-up is the Pixi Glow Tonic. This is an effective exfoliating toner that contains 5% glycolic acid, as well as soothing aloe vera and witch hazel (which is a good one for spots, just FYI). As my skin can get quite sensitive I only use this every other day, but I still find it brightens my skin and helps to keep it smooth and clear.

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Are you still with me? Good, because it’s time to move onto makeup… when it came to applying my base in 2016, there were two clear standouts; the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation and the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in-Place-Makeup. The former has pretty much been my daily go-to for the past few months as it’s really quick and easy to apply (I use the applicator it comes with) and provides a good medium coverage. The latter is the one I bring out for long days or nights out as it covers everything and is the only foundation that lasts for more than 3 or 4 hours on my t-zone. To set my foundation, I’ve also been loving the Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot Powder as it’s very mattifying but not too heavy.

For me, 2016 was the year that I really begun to hone my eyeshadow application skills (next on the list? Liquid eyeliner). As well as being thanked by the discovery of the MAC 217 Blending Brush, I’ve also fallen for a few creamy eyeshadows that can be applied in around 5 minutes. These are the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock (a taupey, silvery purple), The Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Mirage (a golden bronze) and the Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadow in Pink Gold. All of these are great shades for the lazy girl as the shimmer makes them multidimensional, meaning they can be easily worn on their own.

I won’t harp on about these too much as I’ve already mentioned them a few times, but the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are definitely my favourite lipsticks. As I’ve said before, their shape makes application a whole lot easier, they last pretty well on the lips, and I’m convinced they have a red for everyone.

The Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks also come in a great shade range and I’ve loved Glastonbury from the Matte Revolution range; it’s a purpley-plum that leans a bit red on me, making it vampy but wearable. In terms of shades, another I fell in love with towards the end of the year was the MAC Viva Glam Lipstick in Ariana Grande II. It’s a hot orchid pink that instantly brightens up my face and I really like that it’s matte; these are the best of MAC’s lipstick formulas, in my opinion.

What were your favourite beauty products of 2016? Did we share any of the same favourites?

Makeup and skincare that is actually worth the hype

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Let’s just admit it: us bloggers like a bit of hype. But with so many new releases and an abundance of overhyped products already existing in the beauty world, it can be difficult to know where to save and where to actually spend your money. Regardless of this, I do sometimes still buy into the hype and have tried my fair share of famous products that everyone just seems to love.

All in the name of research, of course.

While I know everyone has different preferences and needs when it comes to their beauty products (for example, not everyone shares my oily skin woes), I thought I’d still share my two cents on the ones I felt were worth the hype to help inform your purchasing decisions.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. This is a skincare product that probably needs no introduction, having appeared on the favourites list of many a beauty blogger. If you haven’t tried it for yourself, it’s a gel cleanser that turns into an oil, making it great for removing the last of your makeup. It’s also a really nice option for a second cleanse as it doesn’t foam or dry out your skin.

Now, it’s not be the cheapest, but I’ve found that nothing really compares in terms of both texture and ingredients (it contains vitamins A, C and E, as well as pumpkin enzymes to gently exfoliate).

While we’re discussing skincare, another product that exceeded my expectations is the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. This just works. I have (possibly) the driest under eyes known to man and find this really does help with my dehydration lines (which is something no other eye cream has done).

Though I love trying new skincare products, it’s makeup where I’ve found most of my ‘holy grails’ and one brand that often delivers when it comes to the hype is Nars. Hands down, my favourite product has to be the Radiant Creamy Concealer. This has a dryer texture than most other liquid concealers (so try it out in store if you’re on the dehydrated side), but I love that it has very high coverage.

I also recently purchased my first Nars Blush and I can see why so many people love them; it’s insanely pigmented. In fact, it’s hard not to go overboard when I apply this (I have the shade Lustre, which is a very warm peachy shade). Another product that packs a punch is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed; the smallest amount is needed to add a lovely glow that isn’t too glittery. I think I’ll struggle to hit pan of both of these products, making them well worth the purchase for me!

Last but not least is a bit of a bit of a marmite product; Estee Lauder’s Double Wear. Although a lot of people find this to be too thick, I personally like the higher coverage for a night out. This foundation also has the best staying power out of all of the ones I’ve tried and I’ll only have a bit of a shiny t-zone after a 9-hour workday.

Which makeup and skincare products were worth the hype for you? Have you tried any of my picks?

Quick and easy makeup picks that will last your 9-5

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When you’re a beauty lover that likes a lie-in but starts work at 8:30am, getting everything ready in the morning can be a struggle. I constantly debate the pros and cons of having an extra half an hour in bed versus putting on eye makeup, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s found themselves applying mascara on the train on more occasions than they’d care to admit.

Fortunately, there’s now heaps of products available that make getting ready as quick and fuss free as possible each morning. So for today’s post, I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you…

For those who don’t want to skimp on the coverage by skipping foundation, the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Cushion is definitely something I’d recommend. Not only can it can be quickly buffed into the skin using the puff applicator (no extra blending required), but the medium, buildable coverage means you only need a little bit of concealer. For an easy option, I’d suggest a cream formulation that doesn’t need many layers, such as the SEVENTEEN Phwoarr Paint.

When it comes to my brows I prefer to fill them in with a powder or gel, but find this takes too long if I’m pushed for time in the morning. When this is the case, I’ll use something like the Benefit ‘Precisely, My Brow’ Pencil as it has a thin tip that’s ideal for filling in smaller sparse areas. It also has a spoolie on one end, which is handy for travelling.

Moving onto eyes, I find chunky pencils and creams are the best way to go; especially if they have a bit of a shimmer. Some good options are the Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadows, the By Terry Ombre Blackstars and the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleons as they can be applied messily all over the lid and blended out with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. The shimmer adds dimension, so I find you can get away with using just one shade.

For lips, the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and Satin Lip Pencils are where it’s at for me; there’s a great range of shades, they’re really pigmented and they last well on the lips. The shape of the pencil makes it so much easier for me to apply them, saving me valuable minutes in the morning.

Do you wear makeup everyday? Which products do you recommend when you need to get ready fast?

Some new additions to my Autumn skincare routine

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I’ve got a confession to make; I’m a bit of a skincare junkie. Rich cleansing balms, soothing facial sprays and oils… you name it. Like Pokémon, I want to catch (or rather use) ’em all.

This basically means that I change up my skincare routine quite often, though my combination skin type is another reason I’ve decided to switch to a few more moisturising products now that Autumn is here and Winter is fast approaching. So without further ado, here’s a peek into how that skincare line-up is looking lately…

I briefly mentioned this product in my last post (4 products to try from Lush Cosmetics) but it’s so good I thought it was worth mentioning again. Lush’s Ultrabland is a thick, waxy cleanser that I’ve been using to remove the bulk of my makeup; and although I’ll follow up with a micellar water or oil-based remover if I’m wearing eye makeup, this teamed with a warm, damp flannel does a pretty great job on removing the rest. I can see this being in my routine for a long time!

As you can tell, I’ve been loving Lush lately. This is why I decided to try the Tea Tree Water when I used up the last of my Serozinc from La Roche-Posay. One of the things I like about this spray toner is that it sinks in quickly, though I’ll have to use it a bit longer to see if it reins supreme over the Serozinc.

Going back to my evening skincare routine, and I’ve recently added two new products; Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and the Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream. I must admit that I’ve only tried the Kiehl’s oil a few times (so it’s too early to form a proper opinion), but I’m a fan so far; it absorbs surprisingly quickly and is helping to sooth my skin which has been a bit dry and sore recently.

I tried the Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream because Jasmine Talks Beauty is a fan and has a similar skin type to myself. I like it, but it’s very different to how I expected it to be. As it contains shea butter, I assumed it would be very heavy and creamy but it’s quite the opposite; it has an almost ‘whipped’ texture and like the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, sinks in nicely. It’s definitely a good one for those of us with dewier skin!

Have you tried any of the above products? What does your Autumn skincare routine look like?

4 products to try from Lush Cosmetics (that aren’t bath bombs or bubble bars)

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Being a beauty blogger and a Lush Cosmetics lover pretty much go hand in hand; it seems most of us just can’t resist their wonderful smells, natural ingredients and more quirky take on skincare and bath products (case in point: Fun and the Shower Jellies).

Although I’m late to the party, discovering the wonderful world of Lush this year has meant I’ve tried a lot of their products in a bid to catch-up- and boy, let me tell you, I’ve discovered a lot of firm favourites in that time. So if you’re also new to Lush and find yourself wondering what products to start with, here are my top 4…

First up we have Ultrabland, which is probably one of Lush’s most popular and well-known products. It’s a thick cleanser which is based on cold cream and contains simple, gentle ingredients such as beeswax and almond oil. Unsurprisingly, this has a waxy texture and feels quite greasy on the skin, but it does an excellent job of removing make-up when teamed with a warm flannel so I’m willing to let that slide; just make sure you get very last bit off before following up with a second cleanse!

Another popular product is the Snow Fairy Shower Gel, which is a Christmas exclusive. Now, although I do love this, it isn’t my favourite from the range- I just love Lush’s shower gels and shower creams in general. They lather well, last for much longer than expected (even the small size), and leave a lovely lingering scent.

While we’re on the subject of bath and body products, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner is just wonderful. It has the Rose Jam scent (which is my favourite) and is so easy to use; you slap in on in the shower, rinse it off, and you’re left with moisturised, rosy smelling skin. Glorious.

As someone with a lot of fine hair, I love using dry shampoo to inject a little bit of volume into my mop. However, I find that most of the sprays leave my hair sticky and hard to get a brush through (is anyone else cursed with permanently knotty hair)? The reason I like No Drought is that it’s quite a fine powder (so it’s easy to brush out), but it still gives my hair a good ol’ refresh. The lime scent doesn’t hurt either…

What are your favourite Lush products? Chuck me some recommendations!