Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lush UltraBland Cleanser | Review*

I love a challenge and after attending a blogger event in Lush on Oliver Plunkett street in Cork I decided to take them up on the challenge of re-balancing my skin using their UltraBland Cleanser. It is voted #1 Desert Island Product by the Lush founders and claims to re-balance the most problematic skin in just 1 month of use.

Having been a big fan of the brand for years, it might surprise you to know that this was in fact the first skincare product I have tried by them.
 I'm not going to say I was skeptical but in all honesty I wasn't 100% convinced by their claim either. Who would be? You'd look twice at the best known skincare brands in the business made if they made such a claim.

Let me start off by saying that it doesn't smell great, for want of a better description its a bit like stale beer. Unlike your typical cleanser this is an emulsifying cleanser so it is quite thick. If you like the consistency of a cleansing balm you'll like this. 

It is made with an almond oil base so it is really hydrating, so much so that you can get away without moisturising afterwards which is great for anyone who has a laid-back approach to skincare.
 Honey acts as a natural antiseptic so you will notice any pesky spots begin to clear as the days go on.. and the rose water content will calm irritated skin. 

You simply apply it to dry skin and massage in circular motions, the warmth of your hands will help penetrate the product to remove all the dirt, grime and makeup from your pores. Then using a hot flannel or facecloth you wipe off the product.(you need to use hot water - well warm water at least). Avoid a muslin cloth because it just isn't gritty enough and you'll be left with what feels like a slime-y layer on your skin. 

A picture really does say a thousand words so I have included both before and after photos of my trial below:

Having used this as my night time cleanser every night for a little over a month, I think my skin can attest to the fact that this product really does work. Hormonal breakouts have been less hormonal - My skin is clearer, brighter and more hydrated than it has been in a long, long time and this is the only change I've made to my skincare routine.
While I am always going to have some degree of scarring from previous bouts of acne, I have to say my skin looks pretty good right now and its all down to UltraBland. 

It is priced at approximately €15 for a 100g tub which based on my calculations will last you approximately 4 months if used daily. 

I now challenge you to put UltraBland to the test.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

And the award goes to..

I'm a self confessed fake tan fanatic and know a thing or two about tanning. Don't get me wrong, I've had about as many fake tan mishaps as I've had hot dinners over the years. I've learned my lessons the abrasive way, through relentless scrubbing trying to remove tar like tans in the past. 
I never lost sight my goal.. A natural, bronzed glow would be mine eventually. Below I've compiled a list of my fail safe BROWN not Orange tans. I like to mix it up and try new ones from time to time but will always revert to these.  So with further ado, the award for..

Best fake tan for Beginners: Cocoa Brown 'Gentle Bronze'. This tinted moisturiser is a great way to ease you into the world of fake tan. It has a light colour guide to ensure you don't miss any patches and because its a gradual tan, you get a hint of colour which you can build up over a number of days. It soaks in quickly, leaves skin feeling soft and has that gorgeous Tahitian Gardenia scent.

Best 'I got a spray tan' fake tan: Karora tinted self tan mist. Whether its a special event, a hot date or a big night out with the girls, we all love a spray tan. This tan is my secret weapon, my D.I.Y spray tan in a bottle. A gorgeous deep glow, one I always recommend to anyone going to a wedding as it will without a doubt look great all weekend long. While it is on the pricier side at €22, you'll easily get 10-12 full body applications with this verses 1 professional spray.

Best Last Minute Miracle Tan: Vita Liberata NKD SKN Matte wash off instant tan. This is my go to tan for a last minute decision  to head out with the girls. It isn't shimmery or glittery like some of the other instant tans on the market, it stays perfect as you dance the night away and as soon a you shower, its gone. Like it was never there to begin with.  Great for anyone who works in a hospital or kitchen as less face it, the remnants of last weekends fake tan can look unhygienic to say the least.

The perfect pairing for flawless pins: While these tans work just fine on their own, I find layering them creates optimum results. Although I don't bare my legs all that often, when I do I want feel confident and comfortable. For that I apply Wow Brown DIY tan to create a perfect even base, while it is not designed specifically for legs, I think of all the tans I've tried, it makes mine look their best. To cover any bumps, bruises or scarring I layer Cocoa Brown Lovely legs on top. It's a leg makeup, however unlike its counterpart it isn't powdery/cakey looking on the legs. Like a concealer for your legs it hides a multitude. 

Best fake tan for him:  He-shi 1hr rapid liquid tan. While it is the only tan on this list aimed at both men and women it isn't to say that that men can't use the rest of them either. However, after much testing with a male guinea pig (I mean friend obviously). This one topped the list. It's easy to apply, fuss free and doesn't smell like fake tan. This is the only tan of the lot that could be applied to the face as it didn't turn his 5 o'clock shadow ginger. 

Best Tinted Moisturiser:  Karora Gradual tan. This is my 'pick me up' product. If I'm ever having one of those days I'll apply this. It's an instant mood booster - for me anyway. It's probably down to the 'You're skin looks great' comments I get when I wear it. While it won't give that BAM! you're tanned look, it will give you're skin a healthy glow and sometimes that's just what you need.

Holy Grail Fake Tan: Cocoa Brown 1hr tan. I could not talk about tan and without mentioning/raving about this. When I initially posted the photo of all of my fake tan, I was asked: If I had to pick one, which would it be? While I love all of these tans, the decision was easy. Ever since I discovered it, it has been a staple and my stockpile never depletes. At very minimum I have 3 bottles within reaching distance in case of emergencies. What can I say? It has saved the day on more than one occasion. It's a foolproof, naturally bronzed tan in a can. It is so affordable, probably the most affordable tan on the market and has beat many a high end competitor to the post. You have no excuses not to try it. Do it.. DO IT NOW!! And thank me tomorrow. 

While I have not tried every tan on the market, I have tried my fair share of them and will continue to try new ones. As you can see a few brands popped up more than once, based purely on the fact that they work. They do exactly what they say they'll do and they are NOT orange.

Whats your favourite tan? Have I mentioned it? or is there any tan you would recommend trying that I haven't mentioned?

Monday, August 11, 2014

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray | Review

I have always been a bit of a night owl and lack of sleep was never an issue for me. I'm quite a light sleeper too.. Tossing and turning and waking several times through out the night for no reason at all. Lately I've been finding it increasingly difficult to fall asleep when I do go to bed, probably down to the dead heat. My poor body was exhausted.

I had seen the Pillow Spray floating around on the internet for a while.. Intrigued and deciding enough was enough I picked it up. It is infused with essential oils of lavender, Vetivert and Camomile. It smells incredible. The epitome of relaxation.

I've had it for 6 weeks now and to say that I've noticed a difference is a huge understatement. The first night I could actually feel myself drifting within minutes.. Like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders and for the first time in years I slept straight through the night. 8 glorious hours of solid sleep. The best nights sleep I think I've ever had.

 I'm no longer as restless as I used to be and have noticed when I wake in the morning I'm in more or less the same position I was in when I went to bed (before I would fall asleep on one side of the bed and wake up on the other).

I love it so much that I actually picked up the balm version of it too. I'm jetting off to Australia for Christmas to visit my godmother (soul sister). So I thought the balm would be great for one the plane with liquid restrictions. However I think I'll have to repurchase it before I go as I've been using both the balm and the spray together since I picked it up.

Anyone who struggles with sleep issues needs to try it. It's only now that I'm really starting to see the benefits of a good nights sleep. 

The 'This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray' is like that deep breath right when you need it - bottled! 

It is priced at €21 and available from here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Ultimate Powder Contour Duo?*

Being a self confessed queen of contouring, I love my Crown Brush concealer palette. It's perfect for a dramatic night time look but I wanted something more subtle for during the day. I was using the sleek contour palette and although I love the highlight powder, the contour was verging on the muddy side. 

While on the hunt for my 'go-to' day time contour, I was kindly gifted some bits from W7 to trial. It really couldn't have come at a better time and to say they've blown me away is an understatement. The quality of these products for the price is mind blowing. 
The Matte Bronzer Compact has taken up full time residence on my face since receiving it. It is completely matte, it isn't orange and it doesn't cake on top of my foundation. It feels silky to the touch and while it is perfect for during the day, it's very buildable. Ideal for anyone who is new to contouring or someone who isn't ready to embrace a cream contour. 
I was also sent some brushes to try out. Being a bit of a brush snob, Sigma are my brushes of choice. I've been be left out of pocket on more than one occasion after "investing" in high end brushes so when I find one that works for me, I rarely change it up. That being said, I was completely blown away with the brushes I was sent. The Face Blending brush has completely changed my opinion on branded brushes, it so soft and such a unique shape. The angle of the brush and the fact that the bristles are curved mean it fits under my "cheekbones" perfectly. Chiseling them in one quick sweep. It's narrow enough to use down the sides of your nose too and perfect for disguising a high forehead like mine if you want to rock a slicked back ponytail.
What surprised me most about the brush was the complete lack of fall out where the bristles are concerned, even after washing the brush. I haven't seen one loose hair - Success! It just goes to show that price doesn't always indicate quality in the beauty industry.

This pair combined is a match made in makeup heaven. The W7 brushes start at €1.49 and the Bronzer compact is a mere €1.99. You can pick W7 online from Cara Pharmacy where these products are regularly on SALE. They're practically giving the products away at full price. 

I may have a few W7 Designer Dupes of Cult Beauty products up my sleeves so be sure to keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.

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