Wednesday 8 October 2014

Review: Faith in Nature Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner

My habits when it comes to shampoo and conditioner are pretty simple - if it's on offer that week, it's going in the basket. (Although I had a particularly bad experience with the Fibrology range from L'Oreal - put simply, DO NOT BUY. It made my hair brittle, frizzy and dull and I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy) Other than that, I always rely on my trusty Tresemme heat protectant spray to prevent my locks getting too frazzled while heat styling (which, let's be honest, I do very little of.) Despite my fickle purchasing patterns, I've started developing a preference for products with more natural ingredients, and will try to buy certified cruelty-free products when I can find them.  Because of this, I jumped at the chance to review some haircare from Faith in Nature - a company which prides itself on creating environmentally friendly products that are both affordable and high quality. The lovely Nikola who works for Faith in Nature gave me my pick of the entire range. It was a fairly obvious choice for me - their award winning coconut shampoo and conditioner* would be just the thing to transport me to the Caribbean holiday I could never afford. Ahh, bliss.

The products come in two sizes, 400ml for £5.50 (I genuinely think that's very reasonable, and this is coming from a frugal student) and a whopping 5 litre bottle for £50 - perhaps a good option for mobile hairdressers and start-up salons? It's an idea. The bottles themselves are a simple, functional design and the cap is easy to open (does anyone else really struggle with irritating caps in the shower? I'm looking at you, Radox shower gel) and close.
The scent is pretty darn glorious. Exotic, holiday coconut. I'm happy to announce that it subtly lingers for days afterwards in your hair - much to my pleasure.
The consistency of the conditioner is a little thinner than what I'm used to. I'm guessing this is because it has fewer chemical than other brands? Not entirely sure. The shampoo foams up beautifully though and leaves my hair - literally - squeaky clean. I've been using them together now for about two weeks and I'm so happy to report that my hair is looking so much brighter and silkier than it has in a while. That vile Fibrology stuff really did a number on it (I saw so many positive reviews...why?) so I think this was just the thing to get it into a more natural, soft state.

I can wholeheartedly recommend these products and am really looking forward to exploring the rest of the brand. Pineapple and Lime shower gel is next on my hit list (can you tell I need a holiday? Boohoo.)

So, looking for vegan, organic and cruelty free haircare? Faith in Nature has you covered. With 15 gorgeous natural scents to choose from, you're bound to find something you love.

They also have a 3 for 2 offer on gift packs at the moment which would be a great way to sample lots of their products!

Final Verdict: Well worth a try. Beautifully scented and excellent quality from a great ethical company.


Monday 11 August 2014

Sleek Pout Paints

From L-R: Cloud 9, Lava, Pin-Up, Port, Peek-A-Bloo

Each tube contains 8ml of product which goes a very long way. Thanks to how highly pigmented these are, you probably only need about half as much as you'd think, and even less when you start mixing them. The packaging itself is cute and I appreciate the clear tubes. They have a very sweet almost bubblegum scent straight out of the tube but this doesn't last after application.The Pout Paints are £4.99 each and available at the Sleek website or in most Superdrug stores. 

Cloud 9
Cloud 9 is a pure white highly-pigmented gloss. I wouldn't recommend wearing this alone for fairly obvious reasons. My main issue with both this shade and Pin-Up is that they had a much thinner consistency and the product had a tendency to separate into pigment and clear gloss. I tried shaking and squeezing the tube which seemed to help a little but not as much as I'd have liked. I'm not entirely sure if it's just mine or if the whole line has this issue but it's definitely something to be aware of. Cloud 9 is primarily there to act as a lightener for other shades when mixing and in this respect it does a great job. You may have to use quite a bit to get your desired colours though so this is probably one to stock up on if you're big on mixing your own shades.

 A really beautiful pure orange shade. Lava had great coverage, stunning pigmentation and didn't settle into lines. Definitely a stand-out shade and ideal for Summer days and nights.

 A blue-based red with a few technical issues. This is a pretty colour and decent enough for mixing with others but I probably wouldn't wear it alone. It almost immediately settles into lip-lines and bleeds. I have a feeling that it has just separated over time because I've seen some perfect swatches on other sites. Boo! Luckily this isn't a super unique shade and I have lots of other reds in my collection.

 A blue-toned deep raspberry pink. Reminds me a lot of Raspberry Pie in Revlon Lip Butters and Apocaliptic in the Rimmel Apocalips but not a dupe by any means. I always gravitate towards these beautiful berry shades and I'm really glad I got this one! It's easily one of the best for application and looks gorgeous mixed with anything.

The dark horse of the bunch, this mid-toned blue is ideal for alien role-play and darkening your unique Pout Paint mixes. Smooth and pigmented, this surprised me in the best ways. Peek-A-Bloo is less glossy than some of the others which makes it ideal for mixing. Also gives your teeth the Ross-from-Friends-nuclear-white glow. Bonus if you're feeling brave.

Here are a few of my own blends, including a perfect home made nude!

Ooh, so peachy.

The biggest problem overall with these products is that they're just a straight up pain in the arse to apply and keep topped-up through out the day. Much like the Apocalips but even more difficult to reapply thanks to the lack of applicator. I applied all of my shades with a lip brush (disposable doe foot applicators would work well too) and used a plastic tray as a palette. Not exactly a bathroom-at-the-pub friendly kit. The best thing I can recommend for these is buying a little pill tray/organiser (you can usually pick them up at Poundland or any chemists) and storing your mixes in there. This should keep them fairly air-tight (not that they dry out, I left my palette out overnight to check) and safe. Then you can keep a retractable lip brush in your make-up bag to reapply on the go. It's still a lot of effort but that's the trade-off for custom lip colours I suppose!
Wear time is nothing to write home about. They matte down a little over time but still transfer on most things. Eating will definitely require a top up afterwards. Saying that, if you apply very thinly to well-conditioned lips you'll be left with a very pretty stain that will last much longer.

Final Verdict: Inexpensive, fun to play with and a great range of shades with infinite possibilities. Awkward to apply and the wear time isn't great.

Bonus: My mess post swatch session!


Wednesday 13 November 2013

Haul: The Body Shop Aloe Skincare and More

I have to apologise in advance because I know my photography isn't up to the usual standard that I like to have on my blog but I'm having a few teething problems with my new surroundings! I sort of live in an indent where the halls join onto another building so I get very little light and what does come through is from an awkward angle. I've spent a few days putting this post off and taking photos every day to improve it but this is the best I can do at the moment. Sorry!

The good news is that I have lots of fabulous products to show you!

I've been using the aloe skincare on and off for about a year and a half now and I love it. It's so gentle. It never dries out my skin or causes the redness which I so strive to avoid and I can't recommend it enough for anyone with sensitive skin! These are all stars in their own right and I'll probably put together a more comprehensive post of my current skincare routine in the future to really highlight them. The serum is the newest edition to my regime and so far I've found it to be gorgeous - really smooth and light and perfect for prepping the skin before moisturising.
The absinthe hand cream is stunning! I tried a sample in the Summer and fell in love with it's fresh, herby scent and think it's the ideal alternative to the hemp hand cream if you can't handle the scent of that one! (I know I can't...blech)

The Vineyard Peach is one of my absolute favourite scents so I couldn't resist grabbing this exfoliator to perk up my A/W skin which always gets a bit lack-lustre and dry around this time of year.
I also decided to step out of my comfort zone a bit and try the Moringa body butter. I'm a bit of a body butter addict and have waaay too many at home but I only brought one with me to Uni (the peach, yum) so I thought I'd try something new! I sometimes find floral scents a bit over powering but this one is light, airy and reminds me of jasmine in Summer...ahh.

Must have accessories! In my opinion The Body Shop bath lilies (their name for what I call scrunchies, what do you call them?) are the absolute best on the market and I wouldn't use any other. They always stay nice and tight and the material is super fine but gently exfoliating - can't go wrong. My boyfriend got into the annoying habit of stealing mine so I got him his own in the olive shade and it's already a firm favourite. Mani-pedi accessoriess were bought on a whim but I know I'll get plenty of use out of them. My old nail-buffing block was looking a bit tired but this one is so far looking like a stellar replacement!

The Body Shop always have a startling array of offers on and I snapped all this up with a 50% off voucher.

Nail Buffer - £2.00
Foot Buffer - £4.00
Ultra Fine Bath Lily - £2.00

The vineyard peach stuff isn't available at the moment but you can almost guarantee they'll wheel out the stock again at some point. For now, I recommend the mango body scrub as similar and just as delicious smelling! 

In the end I got all this for just £30 since the body butters were also half price. Absolute bargain!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?


P.S. again, sorry for the photography. I will find a way to make it work I promise. 

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Review: Nanshy Luxury Makeup Brush Set

As you may know I discovered Nanshy when they were advertising for some bloggers to review their face brushes which it turned out I full on ADORED. They literally revolutionised my makeup application (you can read my review here) and I can't recommend them enough to any novices like me. As time passed Nanshy have been hard at work and have produced a couple more collections; one of which is the Luxury Makeup Brush Set* which is a set of 13 brushes of all different types which come in a pretty ivory carry case. I've been lucky again and have had the opportunity to review them here!

As aforementioned, the set comes in a silky, ivory, check-stitched, tri-fold carry case. Every brush has it's own little slot and comes with a protective plastic cover. I really love all the attention to detail in here, particularly the textured lining material. It also has a slightly plastic feeling to it so it can be easily wiped clean which is handy.

If you've seen my previous Nanshy review post you'll be able to tell that these are much slimmer than the face collection and the shape of the handle is different; they are more ergonomically designed and have a pearlised coating which extends over the ferrule. I think this design is even prettier than before and I love that they've kept everything white, it's so clean and crisp looking and a nice change to the usual black of most brushes.

These really are just ridiculously soft to the touch. The face brushes in particular are so gentle and densely packed with bristles. They blend powder and cream products effortlessly. One of my favourite brushes is the slim angled face brush which is ideal for using in the hollow of your cheeks for contouring or even for precise blush application. Admittedly the eye brushes are slightly stiffer which can sometimes scratch the surface a bit too much on pressed shadows so there is occasionally some wastage. I'm happy to report that this doesn't affect their use on the lid though - they still feel very soft and blend beautifully. As an added bonus, these brushes are PETA approved and are 100% cruelty free and vegan, woo!

This collection is the same price as the previous one at £29.95 and can be bought here if you like the look of them!

Final Verdict: Another hit from Nanshy and an ideal kit for travelling with. There are some slightly better eye brushes on the market but not by much!

What do you think to this set? Do you have a favourite brand for makeup brushes and accessories? Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday 1 October 2013

Review: Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

Rather than have an entire post dedicated to the fact that I've been M.I.A for the best part of two months I decided to jump in with a big ol' review and have just a smidge of exposition as an introduction...

I am officially now a resident of LONDON! I'm at the University of Westminster and am a whole week into my BA Journalism. I've been a total whirlwind of emotion and activity recently and it's so good to finally sit down and just breathe. Right up until the moment I left my little East Midlands town I was working as an Assistant Manager at Coral. I was literally doing 40-45 hour weeks in a desperate attempt to save as much money as possible for university and whilst it has really helped me financially, pretty much everything else fell by the wayside. I hardly saw my boyfriend or my family and organising and packing was left until the last minute (much the aforementioned boyfriend's irritation.) Needless to say I all but abandoned my little corner of the internet and it's looking very sorry for itself at the minute. But! I have a ton of time to myself now so I shall be getting creative with my new frugal student lifestyle and start producing some fun content in the very near future.
But for now...

As a celebration of my new freedom and the beginning of what should be the best time of my life I decided to take a wander to the Debenhams on Oxford Street to see some Urban Decay products in real life, something I'd never been able to do before. In a total contradiction to my insistence that I wasn't going to be spending any money I ended up walking out with the truly lovely Naked Basics Palette. Shout-out to Rickie who served me at the Urban Decay counter as you were super sweet and helpful. Go you.

First things first, I do love the packaging and presentation of this palette. It's neat, sleek and a great size for just slinging in your bag for top-ups during the day. The design and colours are sophisticated, grown-up and seem ideal for a whole host of simple, neutral looks. 

I genuinely wanted to adore this. I mean I spent £20 on it! But I think I may have expected a bit too much. No matter how I tried, I just couldn't get the pigmentation I'd seen elsewhere in my swatches. I don't think the variation between colours is great enough and the fall out is substantial in the darker colours. 

The above is a single, dry swipe on clean, bare skin without primer. I found that the shades could be built up with two or three heavy swipes but that's not how I usually do my swatches and I wanted a fair representation of what I was actually getting. Don't get me wrong, this is by no means a bad product. The pigmentation is fair and I think with a really good primer I could get a much better colour pay-off. However, I personally feel that when it comes to £20 for six shades, I shouldn't need to buy a great primer just to get the shade in the pan. The fact that these are matte shades (bar Venus which has a light shimmer) was always going to mean that they were a little dryer but I still can't help but be a touch disappointed.

It's not all doom and gloom though, as I say, these can be built up to produce better pigmentation and they do work well on the lid. They blend easily and the shade range means that you can pretty much put anything together and it won't look ridiculous. They're ideal for a range of daytime looks and the deliciously dark Crave can smoke out any look for a gorgeous night transition (but do have some tissues/wipes on hand to deal with fall out!) These also wear extremely well, no creasing or migration and easily 8+ hours of wear so they're ideal for a busy working day.

Final Verdict: A compact, neutral palette that may require a bit more effort than expected. Great if you're looking specifically for more matte shadows, but by no means essential.

I would LOVE some advice about how to work with this palette and please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong! What did you think of the Basics? Do you agree that it may have been a touch over-hyped and therefore a touch disappointing like me?


Thursday 25 July 2013

Review: Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick in 6

I've reviewed a couple of pieces from this brand before and have generally found their products (so far) to be of a really fantastic quality. Deborah Milano are the leading cosmetic company in Italy and are currently breaking into the UK market. I really recommend a browse around the site which you can find right here. A couple of weeks ago they got in contact with me about their line of lipsticks and asked if I'd like to review one. I requested a pretty pink and got exactly what I asked for! 

Deborah Milano often has this curvaceous feminine shaped packaging (also present in my favourite mascara, review here) which I really love. It's so unique and makes the products easy to find amongst my modest but still somehow overflowing stash. The colour of the packaging is another plus for the same reason. I love when lipstick packaging diverges from the usual black tube and this translucent magenta plastic is no exception. The packaging itself feels solid but not heavy and closes securely. I've left this rolling around the bottom of my bag on more than one occasion (oops) and it's in perfect condition.

Engraved cosmetics are usually left just to high end companies so I was pleasantly surprised to see the cute flower insignia of Deborah Milano etched onto the tip on this lipstick. I find it's little touches like this that really elevate cosmetics into one of life's little luxuries and makes the act of purchasing and wearing them that touch more exciting. So shallow but I love it!

I imagined the colour of this lipstick to be a little deeper in tone but I'm not at all disappointed in the shade choice. This pale, creamy pink is a perfect day time shade to add to almost any look. I'd liken the texture to that of the Revlon Lip Butters (think more creamy Raspberry Pie than shimmer-loaded Peach Parfait) and as such, it doesn't last an enormous amount of time but does glide on smoothly and is extremely comfortable to wear. As an extra plus it's hypo-allergenic and has an SPF of 15 which has certainly been a benefit in these past weeks. This lipstick has all the shine of a thin gloss with none of the stickiness and so I find it perfect for slicking on before bolting out of the house in the mornings!

Deborah Milano Shine Creator Lipstick £8.50*

Final Verdict: Creamy, shiny, fuss-free colour that doesn't last forever but goes with everything.

What do you think to this lipstick? Have you tried Deborah Milano yet?