Wednesday 20 February 2013

Speed Review: Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk

I'm a big fan of French pharmacy brands and am always sure to stock up whenever I cross The Channel. Whilst I love the skincare, I was also keen to try the cult Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk, which is the focus of today's review.

As with many French pharmacy brands, the packaging is minimalist and earns chic points simply by way of its heritage. I liked the functional flip top dispenser and the fact that the plastic bottle is transparent so that I could tell how much was remaining.

The conditioner itself is very lightweight- in fact, it's one of the lightest conditioners I've ever used. It is pure white in colour and has a clean, baby powder scent which very much appealed to me. It rinsed out relatively easily.

My hair rarely gets knotty but with this, I noticed tangles which I struggled to brush out. On the plus side, it didn't weigh down my fine hair. What's more, it didn't irritate my sensitive scalp.

Admittedly, the bottle statea that it is designed for frequent use but even washing my normal, untreated hair (it isn't coloured and I haven't had any chemical treatments) on a daily basis, I found this failed to care for my hair in the way that I expect from a conditioner. I really wanted to like Klorane Conditioner with Oat Milk and I've found that by alternating it with my usual conditioner, I can get away with using it occasionally but once the bottle is used up, I won't be repurchasing.
Perhaps someone with oily hair would have more success with this but otherwise, I'd give it a miss.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Speed Review: Naked Skin Thirst Aid 12 Hour Moisturiser


I'm a little cautious of using shea butter on my combination skin as I've previously found it to be a tad too heavy, causing some clogged pores and breakouts. So, when I received a sample of Naked Skin Thirst Aid 12 Hour Moisturiser (£7.49 for 100ml), which contains shea butter as a key ingredient, I passed it on to my friend who had been complaining about her dry skin. Along with shea butter, Naked Skin Thirst Aid 12 Hour Moisturiser also contains starflower, neroli and argan oils to nourish dry and sensitive skin. Here are her thoughts:

Ideally, I prefer my moisturiser to contain an SPF but having said this, I'm still hunting for one which I really like and have recently tried brands including Super Facialist by Una Brennan, Good Things and Soap & Glory in my search.
I wasn't familiar with the Naked Skin brand but have to admit that the grey tub with minimalist design wouldn't stand out to me on a shop shelf- it's pretty dull. However, on reading the description, I was excited to try Naked Skin Thirst Aid 12 Hour Moisturiser, particularly as the natural credentials appealed to me (it is 97% natural). Although it doesn't have any SPF properties, I liked the fact that it is aimed at sensitive skin and is alcohol free.
The cream didn't have a very strong fragrance and although it is described as being fragrance-free, I'd say it had a cotton-like and almost slightly plastic scent to it. Whilst not particularly to my liking, luckily, it wasn't too strong.
I didn't like the texture. I know I have dry skin but I found the formula too thick. I only had to lightly dip my finger tip into the tub to have sufficient product to cover my whole face yet prevent it from feeling too sticky. However, as there was only a little product to cover my face using this amount, I felt as though I was dragging my skin quite a bit. I suppose that the tub would last a long time for this reason!
Even with such a small amount of product applied, I found that my face remained sticky at the end of a day. Similarly if I applied the cream before bed- my skin still felt sticky and clammy when I woke up. So many hours later and still I didn't feel as though it had been absorbed! Perhaps this fulfils the 12 Hour Moisturiser claims but I didn't like being reminded that I had it on if I touched my face- no matter how little I had used.

As a result of the thick texture and how it left my skin feeling sticky to the touch following application, I wouldn't recommend Naked Skin Thirst Aid 12 Hour Moisturiser. It definitely moisturises and perhaps it is intended for people with much drier skin than my own, in which case it may work but I suspect anyone with normal-oily skin would find this far too heavy.


Monday 18 February 2013

Makeup Monday: Blogger Makeup Bag

As part of the new Makeup Mondays series, I'm thrilled to introduced Blogger Makeup Bags. This new, monthly post will enable us to take a peek inside a featured blogger or vlogger's makeup bag. Us bloggers try out so many different products that it speaks highly when an item makes it into our makeup bag for regular use. 
First up is the lovely Nic from Strawberry Blonde Beauty, a blog which I really enjoy not only for its sleek and easily navigable layout but also for the tempting product choices and clear descriptions. Strawberry Blonde Beauty Blog is definitely worth a look- click here to view- although I warn you that it's easy to get lost reading the engrossing posts for ages & what's more, it will make you want to shop! Without further ado, I hand you over to Nic...
It's not easy for me to choose which products to add to my makeup bag, partly because I'm terribly indecisive and partly through too much choice, which I'm sure lots of you can relate to! To help me decide, I've chosen products which are:
a) my actual current favourites
b) work well together to create both daytime and evening looks
c) fit into my makeup bag!
This pretty Ollie & Nic makeup bag was a gift from my best friend... I love the vintage styling and twinkly clip fastening. So what's inside?!
From left...
Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes in Fuller Fudge- I'm loving this newly released Chubby Stick For Eyes- soft, creamy, well pigmented and brilliant for on the go. Pretty & practical? I'm in!
Laura Mercier Lip Liner in Natural Lips- the most perfect nude lip liner I've found. Works well with most colours because it's so close to my natural lip shade, though equally lovely alone under a slick of gloss.
Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde- this fine pencil creates foolproof perfect brows with twist up action and a built-in spooly. Honestly can't imagine how this could possibly be improved on... one of the few products I have a back up of.
Liz Earle Perfect Fix Concealer in Extra Fair- my current go-to concealer for creamy, blendable coverage that works equally well on both under eye shadows and imperfections.
Mavala Lip Gloss in Litchi- this (new for Spring) sugar-free gloss is a perfect peachy nude, which moisturises my lips and adds shine without stickiness. Works beautifully with the Laura Mercier Lip Liner above.
GOSH Catchy Eyes Mascara- genius little mascara with a slim, rubberised wand that's curved to coat each lash perfectly, with longer bristles on one side for clump free lengthening.

Laura Mercier is the brand that has featured highest in my makeup collection for many years now. My beloved Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Lipstick in Plumberry, as the name suggests, is the perfect plum toned berry shade. Super pigmented and moisturising, I feel a million dollars when I wear this! The Color to Go palette in Warm Neutrals is an almost daily staple, with 3 eyeshadows, a cake eyeliner, lipgloss, blusher and bronzer. This was a Christmas limited edition and I wish it wasn't as I can't get enough of it and don't want it to run out!
In the background are three everyday favourites that I don't carry around as they're too big and I just don't need to as they last all day!
Jo Malone Cologne Intense in Dark Amber & Ginger Lily- the perfect warm, spicy Winter scent.
Chloe Eau de Parfum- for days when I want a softer scent that stays close to my skin. Gentle, feminine and warm- I love this and its vintage style bottle.
Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Foundation in Warm Ivory- another long term favourite, I panic a bit if I run out of this and am now on my third or fourth jar, which is unheard of for me! It creates the most flawless yet real skin finish I've tried and also works well added to BB cream or a tinted moisturiser for a lighter look.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek inside my makeup bag... thank you all for reading and to Skin Deep Blogger for the honour of being included in her gorgeous newly designed blog! 
Nic. x

Thursday 14 February 2013

Speed Review: Tisserand Rose Blend Cream Body Wash

Happy Valentine's Day! I thought that it would be fitting for today's review to be of a rose themed product. Step forward Tisserand Rose Blend Cream Body Wash.

Tisserand is a brand that has been on my radar for a number of years- it was one of the first brands which I remember from when I was growing up as being dedicated to aromatherapy and I've noticed it in drugstores and gift boutiques alike over the years. However, it's by no means a brand which I feel familiar with so I was intrigued to try Tisserand Rose Blend Cream Body Wash.

I liked the functional tube packaging with its handy flip-top lid, however, whilst it's by no means offensive, I didn't find that it looked luxurious. As I came to the end of the tube, I struggled to manipulate the packaging to get the remnants out.
As the name suggests, the texture is that of a pearlescent cream. Despite being free from SLS (it is also free from parabens and synthetic fragrance), there was a gentle lather which could be enhanced with the use of a shower puff. In fact, I found that I went through the tube rather quickly so I'd recommend using this with a shower puff to make it go that little bit further.
Tisserand Rose Blend Cream Body Wash contains organic shea butter with vitamins and nutrients to protect skin against dryness and whilst I'd agree that it didn't dry out my skin (which I put down to the omission of SLS), nor did it leave my skin feeling nourished. I certainly couldn't forgo moisturiser after use. Perhaps my expectations were too high as I've previously enjoyed the Elemis Exotic Shower Cream and been so impressed with its skin conditioning benefits.
As you'd expect from an aromatherapy brand, Tisserand Rose Blend Cream Body Wash has a pleasant scent which I liked. The scent is based around pure essential oils and classic, feminine rose has interest added with the inclusion of rose geranium and bitter lemon leaf. This citrus element made it uplifting for use in the mornings. The scent didn't linger on my skin once I was out of the shower.

Tisserand Rose Blend Cream Body Wash was pleasant enough to use, but it was only an "ok" product which I wouldn't repurchase at £7.60 for 175ml.


Monday 11 February 2013

Makeup Monday: M&S Limited Collection Multi Blush

It seemed fitting to review the adorable Multi Blush from the Marks and Spencer Limited Collection for this Valentine week's Makeup Monday.

Presented in circular cardboard packaging, M&S Limited Collection Multi Blush certainly has a budget feel to it, however, the cute heart print adds a sense of fun. The way in which the packaging is presented means that it's difficult to tell how much product you're actually getting so I was impressed when, upon closer inspection, I noticed that Multi Blush contains 9g of colour (for a comparison, a MAC powder blush contains 6g).
Upon opening the box, the blush itself is presented with a grid pattern, with each square featuring a raised heart shape. It's stunning and shows impressive attention to detail, particularly for a wallet friendly item. As the name suggests, the blush is multi-tonal, with three complementary shades of pale pink, rosy pink and lilac pink, which make for a very pretty cool-toned pink when swirled together. I normally veer away from cool-toned pinks but I found this to be very pretty for spring and surprisingly wearable, despite being out of my makeup comfort zone. Whilst the swatch above shows that there are shimmer particles, these aren't obvious on the skin and merely appear as a gorgeous sheen as opposed to chunks of glitter.
The blush is relatively pigmented, easy to blend and has a good quality formula that's not at all powdery or chalky. Perhaps a scent, such as a rose fragrance, would add a sense of luxury to Multi Blush but that's solely down to my personal preference and I'm aware that those with sensitive skin would likely be grateful that there is no discernible scent.
At just £6, M&S Limited Collection Multi Blush is an absolute steal which I can't recommend highly enough but hurry, it's limited edition so grab one before it's too late.


Sunday 10 February 2013

Speed Review: Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum

As today welcomes in the Chinese New Year, Year of the Snake, I thought that it would be fitting to review Rodial's Glamoxy Snake Serum.

Rodial are renowned for their shock tactics and this includes the naming of their products. The Glamoxy Snake range is no exception. It's worth noting that no snakes were harmed in the making of this product- it is merely inspired by Temple Viper venom, a venomous snake that's native to South-East Asia, and the product contains "Syn-ake", a synthetic ingredient designed to mimic the venom's effects and which is intended to help minimise the appearance of expression lines.

As with all Rodial products, the packaging is both chic and functional, with a handy and hygienic pump dispenser. Whilst the black packaging is signature to the Glamoxy Snake line, I didn't like that I was unable to tell how quickly I was going through the bottle.

Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum was easy to use- simply apply to a cleansed face and massage, paying particular attention to areas which are prone to expression lines, such as between the eyebrows, smile lines and eye contours. The serum had a rather liquid gel texture which lent itself well to a massage application. Furthermore, it didn't absorb instantly (as it can feel like with some serums) and this also encouraged the massage application. I liked that it's sufficiently lightweight to use around the eye area, as this is my main area of concern. A little goes a long way.

After use, I could clearly detect a tightened feeling in my face and whilst it's not Botox, the appearance of expression lines was noticeably reduced, if only temporarily. I was also impressed at how plumped and hydrated my skin looked. I really feel that this is a results driven product that delivers impressive results and can't recommend it highly enough. The only downside is the price. At £127 for just 25ml, it's eye-wateringly expensive.


Saturday 9 February 2013

Speed Review: Clarins HydraQuench Cream Mask

Regular readers may recall that I'm a big fan of the Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase, which is one of my skincare must-haves at this time of year when my dehydrated skin is feeling particularly parched. With this in mind, I had high expectations when I came to try the HydraQuench Cream Mask.

As with all Clarins products, the packaging is chic and desirable. The mask is presented in a functional tube in the signature blue colour of the HydraQuench range. The directions for use are clear- simply apply to the face and neck and leave for 5-10 minutes before smoothing away any excess with a cotton pad soaked in toning lotion.

The creamy texture feels comforting on the skin and I liked that it felt cooling and soothing upon application. As a rich cream, the texture may not appeal to those with oily skin, although it certainly doesn't feel heavy. The mask has a delicate floral fragrance which I found pleasant. It's not a mask which dries on the face so there's no uncomfortable, tight feeling whilst you wait for it to work its magic.

At £32 for 75ml, it's not cheap but a little goes a long way and I feel that this is a quality product which is worth the money. It feels pampering and indulgent to use, whilst also delivering results. I found this to be a lifesaver in restoring my skin when I was ill, especially the dry, sore skin around my red nose!
I tend to leave it on for a little longer than the recommended 5-10 minutes so that my skin really has the chance to drink it up. I've never had any problems with this, despite suffering from sensitive skin.
I'm still trying to find the best way to remove the mask- it's not easy using a toner soaked pad as I find I go through so many- it quickly becomes saturated with the mask and simply slides over the face, not removing any product. However, I also find that a flannel is a little too effective at removing the mask and it seems wasteful to remove every last bit. I don't feel the need to moisturise after use as my skin is left looking hydrated, plumped and feeling conditioned. I'm convinced that it also helps to calm skin and diminish the appearance of redness. I'd highly recommend this if you also suffer from dehydrated skin.


Thursday 7 February 2013

Speed Review: Fresh Therapies Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover

You only have to think of the strong scent to know that nail polish and subsequently nail polish remover are some of the most chemical laden beauty products so when I was told about Fresh Therapies Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover, I was intrigued to try it.

Fresh Therapies Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover is made using a blend of natural ingredients in place of the usual "nasties" such as Acetone, Acetate, Alcohol, Toulene and Butyl, to name a few. The intention is that it will be more kind and gentle to skin, preventing dry, brittle nails. What's more the ingredients are biodegradable and the product vegan friendly.

I liked that Fresh Therapies Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover was presented in a box, which is unusual for a nail polish remover and added an additional point of difference. I wouldn't say that it adds a luxurious feel as the design on the box made me think of toothpaste. Inside, is a square, glass bottle reminiscent of a perfume bottle and this unusual packaging appealed to me. 

I was very dubious about trying this, convinced that it wouldn't be effective. To be honest, if I hadn't run out of my usual acetone based remover half way through removing my nail polish, it probably would have sat in my "to try" box for quite some time. I certainly would never have picked it up in a shop. Having said all of that, I absolutely loved Fresh Therapies Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover.

I was extremely impressed, finding it as effective as a regular polish remover. Perhaps you have to apply a small amount of extra pressure but it's hardly noticable- in fact, I could barely tell the difference in the performance between this and my acetone based remover when trialled side-by-side. I liked that it had a pleasant citrus scent which I found far more bearable than the usual chemical scent of nail polish remover.

After use, it left an oily residue on the nails- this might not be for everyone but personally, I liked it and it made it feel as though I was doing my nails some good rather than stripping them.

Even if you don't care about the natural element, this is a good product which I would highly recommend. The downside is the price. At £9 for just 50ml, it's far more expensive than standard nail polish removers and for me, a 50ml bottle isn't going to last long so I'd prefer to see this in a larger size. Having said that, a single OPI nail polish costs more than £9 and as I like to switch colours, nail polish remover is a product that I'd reach for on a more regular basis so perhaps I should change my mindset and invest in the everyday item. What do you think? Would you spend £9 on a nail polish remover or do you prefer to save on basics and spend on more exciting items? Comment and let me know.


Tuesday 5 February 2013

Speed Review: Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover

I love the convenience of cleansing waters as a quick and effective way of removing my makeup at night and whilst I'm a fan of the cult Bioderma, it can be difficult to find in the UK so I'm always intrigued to try out more readily available alternatives.

I've recently been trying Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover, which is available in Boots, despite also being a French pharmacy staple.
On first impressions, I liked the packaging, which features a frosted plastic bottle in a box, making it feel more expensive than it is. There's an expiration date on the base which I appreciated and I also liked the functionality of the flip top dispenser. The name- Micellar Lotion (usually referred to as a solution)- could be a little misleading, this is a cleansing water in the same vein as Bioderma and such like, with a liquid texture.
As with all cleansing waters, Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover was easy to use. It felt refreshing on the skin and removed my makeup effectively, although I had to use quite a few soaked cotton wool pads to remove full coverage makeup. Whilst it helped to dislodge my eye makeup, it wasn't wholly effective. Having said this, I'm yet to find a cleansing water which allows me to completely forgo a separate eye makeup remover (& I don't use waterproof mascara). There is a delicate fragrance and whilst I didn't find this offensive, I'd have preferred it without.
As with all cleansing waters, Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover isn't intended to be rinsed off. However, I found that it left a noticeable tacky residue on my skin and this could be off-putting to some. It didn't cause any irritation to my sensitive skin (it is aimed at sensitive skin) but I wasn't impressed with the ingredients which includes dimethicone, amongst others that I'd rather not see.
At £12.50 for 200ml, Avene Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Makeup Remover is comparable in price to similar products and whilst it's an ok product, I simply didn't get on with this as well as with other cleansing waters I've tried.


Monday 4 February 2013

How much is my face worth?

I love makeup- from the range of colours and textures to its instantly transformative effects- yet, it's a subject that I rarely blog about and part of the reason for this is my lack of confidence with photography. In an attempt to rectify this, I've decided to introduce Makeup Mondays. It's not to say that I won't blog about makeup on other days of the week but for the foreseeable future, you can expect a makeup post every Monday- which I hope will help to brighten the first day of the week!

For the first post, I thought it would be fun to do the How Much Is My Face Worth tag which I spotted over on Discovering Beauty (click here to read her post). These are the makeup products that I'm currently reaching for on an everyday basis:

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in shade 118, £29.95 (although it's difficult to find this brand in the UK, I've been impressed with the service from Precious About
Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer in shade Light 16, approx. £15.92 (I don't believe that this is available in the UK. I purchased this in the USA for $25)
Liz Earle Light Reflecting Concealer in shade 02 medium (used for undereyes), £15.50

NYX Cosmetics Stick Blush in Tea Rose, £5.50

NARS Laguna Bronzer, £26
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl Highlighter, £24.50

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Taupe, £32

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, £15
MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study, £14.50

NARS Larger Than Life Long-wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto (black), £19
Physician's Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash Mascara, approx. £6.33 (Again, I don't believe that this is available in the UK. I purchased this in the USA for $9.95)

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey, £7.99
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, £19.50
Total= £231.69
I have to admit to being a little shocked at the total figure, particularly as I'd been feeling really happy about the mix of high-end and drugstore brands that have become incorporated into my routine. Whilst some of these products have been purchased as part of an offer, I'm conscious that the figure could easily have been higher- for example, it's only in the last month or so that I swapped my MAC Crème Blusher for the NYX one.
Although the figure is high, I'd say that these products give a good reflection of how I purchase makeup. I'm happy to invest in high-end base products and make savings by opting for drugstore lip products and mascaras. What's more, I don't feel TOO guilty because I know that these products are being put to use every day and not simply sitting in my makeup collection.

How does your everyday makeup compare? I'd love to hear your thoughts, both on this post and on the introduction of Makeup Mondays.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Speed Review: Lush American Cream Hair Conditioner

Lush American Cream Hair Conditioner was the worthy winner of the Best Conditioner category in the Skin Deep Beauty Awards 2012, however, it's not a product that I've reviewed before so for today's post I thought I'd share my thoughts.

I'm not the biggest fan of Lush packaging from an aesthetics point of view but from a branding perspective, that's not their aim. Nonetheless, the plastic bottle is functional with a flip top lid and I particularly appreciate that it's transparent so that I can easily see when I'm running low.

American Cream Hair Conditioner has an ingredients list which reads like a breakfast menu and sounds good enough to eat, combining fresh oranges, fresh strawberries, vanilla and honey, over a lanolin base. It was inspired by a recipe in a cocktail book and this appealed to me.

According to Lush, the scent (which they describe as strawberry vanilla milkshake) is one of the most requested to be added to other products but they reserve it solely for American Cream Hair Conditioner. It's a combination of vanilla pod infusion, vanilla absolute and clary sage which hits you as soon as you open the bottle and lingers in the hair for hours after it's dry. I like it but the strong scent certainly wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

Lush describe American Cream Hair Conditioner as having a thick and heavy texture, however, I'd disagree. It's by no means as lightweight as Veganese conditioner, which is the lightest conditioner available at Lush (I decided not to buy this as I couldn't stand the lemon fragrance) but whilst the texture is creamy, it's not as thick as some I've tried from other brands, nor do I find it heavy. The conditioner rinses out easily and doesn't weigh down my fine hair.

I've been highly impressed with Lush American Cream Hair Conditioner. It leaves my hair very shiny, soft yet manageable and doesn't irritate my sensitive scalp. I have noticed an improvement in the condition of my hair, which my hairdresser has also commented on.

I've already repurchased a couple of back-up bottles as I plan to continue using Lush American Cream Hair Conditioner, which speaks for itself as I tend to chop & change conditioner whenever the bottle runs out.  At £4.45 for 100g it is on the pricier side, however, the bottle lasts me for a reasonable amount of time despite washing my hair (which falls beneath my shoulders) every day.

Friday 1 February 2013

Breaking News

Following an extensive makeover, I'm delighted to unveil the new and improved Skin Deep which I really hope that you will like. In addition to the easily navigable layout, old favourites such as the Skin Deep Talks To.. expert interview series and Blind Tests will be making a comeback plus stay tuned for exciting new features. I'd love to hear what you think- feel free to comment or tweet @Skindeepblogger

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