Thursday, 31 July 2014

Queen Bee Honey Bronzer by Asda's George

George Queen Bee Honey Bronzer (Shade 2 Nectar Shimmer)*: available at Asda here

It's been quite a while since I've been in the market for a new bronzer, but since the demise of my beloved Benefit Hoola I've been keeping an eye out for potential replacements. For me bronzer is a year round essential anyway (my corpse like skin needs some kind of colour/warmth else I'll end up scaring the public) but in summer it's an especially handy product. If you're lucky enough to have caught a tan then the right bronzer will set it off beautifully, but even if like me you're still as pale as you were in the middle of December it can really give your complexion a bit of a boost. While I feel as though bronzer is something that budget brands rarely manage to get right, I've always been impressed with Asda's George products in the past (they're definitely one of my favourite nudget beauty brands!) so was excited to give their new honey bronzer a go

With a cute name like 'Queen Bee' and the fact it contains honey (which has excellent skincare benefits) this bronzer was already off to a good start with me. While the packaging itself follows George's basic yet sturdy theme, this is a bit more elaborate and I actually quite like it. I love the honeycomb design imprinted in the product (not too different to the Body Shop's honey bronzer) although where the Body Shop's version is matte this has a nice golden shimmer to it. It does have some warm/ orange undertones but still gives a natural colour when blended out and gives a lovely glowy look to the skin. Usually I avoid glitter/ shimmer in face products, but for a summer bronzer I'll push the boat out a bit especially if the finish is still quite subtle like it is in this. The pigmentation is great, you don't need much of it just a small dab on a fluffy brush. I love how easily it blends out too, there's nothing worse than spending ten minutes blending out 'racing stripes' from your cheeks when you've been a bit heavy handed!

While this won't be a replacement for my Holy Grail Benefit Hoola bronzer it's definitely my current favourite and is a really nice budget choice especially for this time of year- and although there are only a couple of shades they should work for most skin tones. Best of all you can find them in Asda, so if like me you tend to take a detour to the beauty aisle whenever you're doing the weekly shop you can simply pop one into your trolley.

What's your favourite bronzer at the moment?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Putting an End to Animal Testing: Old Wives Tail

Haircare is one of my favourite types of beauty products- I've been trying to grow my hair long for a couple of years now, and I'm always interested in anything that can help speed up the process by protecting my limp locks. Deep conditioners really can be little wonder products, and so whenever my hair is feeling a bit drab or lifeless a hair mask is always my first port of call. Most recently I've been using an organic haircare brand called 'Old Wives Tail' which makes a range of all natural masks for different hair types, and very generously donates 10% of their proceeds to stopping animal testing. 

Old Wives Tail have a few different oils and treatments targeted to different hair complaints, I chose their 'Jojoba, Clove and Organic Oil' mask which is a hydrating, natural and balancing hair treatment for dull, thinning, brittle or broken hair. While I've managed to get my hair out of a state of what only can be described as 'disrepair' over the last few years (yeah, it really was that bad) I still thought that this was the treatment best suited to my fine, bleached hair. The pure organic jojoba oil in the mask works by penetrating every hair follicle to add strength, volume and texture to weak, lifeless hair and it also has both anti-bacterial and stimulating properties. Massaged onto the scalp it's even said to stimulate hair growth, which is probably something I would have been skeptical of a few years ago but reading up on haircare (in a bid to grow mine to a decent length!) there does seem to be ingredients out there that actually can do this. You apply to damp hair and leave on for one hour- you can also leave it on overnight if you hair is in really bad condition. The pot is fairly small but you get a good three to four treatments out of it, and as my hair isn't in too bad condition I'd only use it once a week. After using this my hair did feel nice- really smooth and 'swishable', you know the feeling! I reckon on really damaged hair this stuff would be a lifesaver- I could have done with this about four years ago when my hair was literally breaking off!

On a slightly more negative note, I really don't like how this particular treatment smells and was glad to wash it off after the hour was up. I couldn't have left it on overnight for this reason, although maybe I'm just being a wimp and other people wouldn't find it to be too bad. After chatting with the owner of the brand she explained it was probably the clove oil which can be quite a strong smell (although it's this clove-y goodness that contributes to the effectiveness of the mask, so it's swings and roundabouts really). Overall the company is for such a great cause, and while I personally wouldn't go for this scent again I'd most definitely give some of their other treatments a go.

Have you heard of Old Wives Tail?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Two High End Skincare Products That Are Worth Every Penny

If you've read any of my posts in the last month, you might know I'm on a bit of a skincare kick at the moment. After two years of seeing skincare as a bit of a boring necessity, I'm now very much on board with learning about new products and discovering weird and wonderful ingredients that promise to work miracles for the skin. For the past couple of weeks I've been using these two products by Skin Chemists, and oh my they really are something to write home about! Skin Chemists are a high end skincare brand driven by interesting ingredients found in nature. And I'd agree, bee venom is a pretttty interesting natural ingredient!

After trying Manuka Doctors Bee Venom mask and being sorely disappointed (I felt as though it did literally nothing to my skin) I was slightly skeptical about the whole 'bee venom hype'. However I've been reading up about the skincare benefits recently and wanted to give it another chance and I'm so glad I did- this stuff is actually amazing. Bee venom in skincare sounds absolutely crazy, but there are definitely some good claims as to why it's an effective ingredient. Bee venom (specifically honey bee venom) tricks the skin into thinking it's been lightly stung, which stimulates the skin and increases blood flow to that area. It also stimulates collagen and elastin production in the skin which is of course what keeps the skin supple and youthful. If you're still dubious, be aware that there's absolutely no pain involved here, I was expecting at least a bit of a stinging sensation but there's nothing at all- it's just a nice light serum that absorbs quickly and leaves no greasy film on the skin (light, easily absorbed skincare is especially nice this time of year!) The packaging is gorgeous and all in all it's just a wonder product, if I could afford to keep repurchasing this it would genuinely be a permanent fixture in my skincare routine.

Skin Chemist Rapid Facial Mask*
As if I wasn't impressed enough already with the Bee Venom Serum, I used this product the next day and was blown away. It feels like a regular old mask as you're applying it, but as soon as you rinse it off it's like you have a brand new face (sounds dramatic but that's how I felt!) My skin was left SO soft and smooth right from the first application, I'm having to really give my willpower a workout with this one where I want to apply it every day. I'm going to limit myself to using it once a week, and although the 50ml tube is fairly small you do get quite a lot of applications in it. It's a glycolic mask which breaks down the 'glue' which stick dead skin cells together on your face (which leave your skin looking dull and dry and clog your pores). Once these old cells are removed this skin is left looking brighter, glowing and hydrated and I can vouch for the fact that it definitely does all of that. Whatever Skin Chemists are putting in their products it works like magic.There's no denying that these are very expensive products, however if high end skincare is your thing then these are the best of the best. If my budget allowed it I'd without doubt continue to repurchase, and I can 100% recommend to anyone looking to spend a bit more on their skincare.  

Have you tried anything from Skin Chemist yet?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Fragrance Friday: My Top Three Celebrity Perfumes

If I'm honest, I couldn't care less when it comes to celebrities. I have little interest in the latest celeb news, and while I can appreciate the music, acting or talents of the person that's about as far as it goes really. But I have to admit, I've become a bit of a sucker for celebrity perfumes over the last year. They were something I avoided in the past simply because I wasn't interested on the person behind the fragrance, but if you can look past that you can often snag some gorgeous inexpensive scents. The great thing about them is because they're designed to appeal to the masses they do tend to smell nice, and while many are your generic sweet/ fruity/ vanilla scents if that's what you're into (I definitely am!) they're great for adding some new fragrances to your collection. Here are three of my favourite celebrity perfumes, if like me you're not bothered about celebrities trust me- they're still well worth checking out!

Britney Fantasy £24.95 (100ml)
I suppose this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure, it's definitely not a grown up or sophisticated scent but I wont be giving it up any time soon! Sugary sweet and fruity with so much vanilla, everything about it is fun and girly down to the tacky pink gem encrusted bottle. This is a really strong smelling perfume and it lasts for ages too. I'm also in love with Midnight Fantasy (blue bottle) and can't actually decide which of the two I like best- if you like sweet scents then no doubt you'll be as obsessed with these as I am.

Lady Gaga Fame £32.95 (100ml)
I've written a full review on this here so I wont go into too much detail again. While it's sweet and fruity it's a LOT different to Ms Spears offering, and has a uniqueness to it that just keeps you coming back for more. There's a very slight floral undertone and it has a note of incense in there which sounds horrible (I generally hate the smell of incense) but it's not overpowering in this and really works. This is probably one of the longest lasting scents I own, I can still smell it hours after spraying it on.

Beyonce Heat £12.95 (100ml)
I fell in love with this after borrowing a friend's bottle and couldn't believe how nice it was, so I was really happy to unwrap my own bottle on my birthday this year. It's a gorgeous soft sweet scent, quite warm and vanilla-y definitely not too intense or over the top. Plus Beyonce is practically a goddess anyway, so I'll have whatever she's having. The only downside to this is that it doesn't seem to last very long on me despite being an EDT, compared with the two perfumes above it seems to fade a lot more quickly. However I do still love it, and I can't believe how inexpensive this is for such a nice perfume. Under £13 for a huge 100ml bottle? Total bargain!

What's your favourite perfume? Do you own any of these?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

All-Natural Skincare for Acne

Weleda Aknedoron: Two Step Skincare for Acne and Problem Skin- available here

They say summer is a time for romance- well fire up those church bells sunshine, because I've fallen in love with skincare this year! Up until recently my obsession was with makeup; I saw skincare as a bit of a boring old necessity (and in all honesty was something I quite resented spending money on, when in my mind it could be going on makeup instead). This has well and truly changed lately, I've found a nice balance of products that work for my skin and am loving seeing it change for the better. Two new products that I've incorporated into my routine are from Weleda's 'Aknedoron' range which are aimed at acne sufferers. While I don't have particularly problematic skin (redness and dullness are my two biggest issues, ughh) they've still contributed to a huge improvement to the overall way my skin looks and feels- I'll definitely be placing a Weleda order as soon as these start running low!

Aknedoron Cleansing Lotion (bit of a mouthful!) is a daily cleanser which gently and effectively freshens the skin. I use this on freshly washed skin in the place of a toner, just a couple of drops on a cotton pad does the trick. This one smells quite nice, it contains essential oils of orange, grapefruit, lavender and rosemary as well as calendula, chamomile, sunflower and olive oil. All ingredients are natural, and are able to cleanse the skin without stripping the natural oily layer. I'd definitely agree with this, unlike most products aimed at acne it doesn't feel harsh or drying. In fact some products I've tried in the past that were aimed at acne have actually given me spots, so I'm glad that wasn't the case with this.

Weleda Aknedoron Purifying Lotion: £9.95
To follow up the cleansing lotion, you apply the Aknedoron Purifying Lotion. Not only does this calms and sooth irritation (just the job for blemishes) it actually stimulates the skin too which has the benefit of restoring blood flow to regulate problem skin. This one again contains all natural ingredients- sage, thyme, lavender, calendula and chamomile. It also contains witch hazel which is a mild astringent along with sulphur. It's slightly thicker in consistency than the cleansing lotion (and doesn't smell as nice either, must be the sulphur!) but feels just as gentle and refreshing. After using both products my skin just feels so nice and clean, but unlike most toners (which contain painful drying alcohol) it doesn't feel tight and uncomfortable. All in all I highly recommend this two step system, don't let the drab packaging put you off as what's inside works wonders!

Have you tried anything from Weleda?


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