Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask – A Super Hydrating Face Mask

 

Who doesn’t love a good face mask? It can be a great way to relax and unwind, while giving your skin a much needed treat. I like to have a collection; sheet masks, moisturising masks, clarifying masks.  You name it, I’ve tried it.  My favourite at the moment, though, is the Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask.

 

Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask

 

It is described by Clarins as being specially designed for dehydrated skin.  The texture is more like a night cream, and it smells fantastic (although sensitive skin types may want to give it a miss).  The idea is that you smooth a thin layer on, leave it for 10-15 minutes, then wipe the excess off.  Fairly typical for a face mask really.  I like to apply it in the evening, after cleansing and toning.  My dry skin drinks it up, and there isn’t usually anything left to wipe off.  The difference with this creamy mask is that it is so light it doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky residue; it simply plumps and hydrates. By the morning I look like a new person.  Well, maybe just a well-rested version of myself.  Because it isn’t heavy, it doesn’t cause blocked pores and spots either.  One downside is the price (if only everything were free….*daydreams*) but a little goes a long way, so – depending how generous one is with it – a full sized tube would last a very long time.  I only have the little sample size (15 ml) and have used it multiple times, and have yet to run out.

If you are suffering from dry dehydrated skin then the Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask could be for you.

 

Do you have a favourite skin treat? Let me know in the comments below!

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July Favourites

I don’t know about you but July has really dragged for me, it seems like ages ago I was compiling my June favourites.  That’s fine with me though, the further away winter is the better.

So, without further ado, here are my monthly loves for July.  Don’t forget to leave me your own recommendations in the comments below!

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Sedona Lace Makeup Brushes
Top-Bottom: EB15 Pointed Crease; 904 Pencil Brush; 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome; 305 Eye Shading Brush; EB09 Universal Blender.

Firstly, some makeup brushes.  Sedona Lace is an American brand, but their prices are very reasonable even when converted, and they often offer discounts and/or free worldwide shipping.  These brushes were around £7 each, and are fantastic quality for the price.  I particularly like the pointed crease brush, it’s nice and soft, and blends without scratching the heck out of my eyelids. The brushes above are:  EB15 Pointed Crease; 904 Pencil Brush; 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome; 305 Eye Shading Brush; EB09 Universal Blender.

 

 

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster

Next up, the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster.  I reviewed this in more detail here so I won’t waffle on for too long now, but let’s just say I’m still loving it for a way to gradually tan my mush.  Another Clarins skincare product I’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks is the Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion.  I love using this each evening to remove the last traces of cleanser; the soothing aloe vera ensures it doesn’t sting like some toners can.  Although not the cheapest, it is a large bottle, and I can see it lasting a good few months.

 

Clarins Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion

 

Bourjois Color Boost

The Bourjois ColorBoost Lip Crayon in On The Beach (with SPF 15) was actually a free gift included with some other Bourjois purchases.  It isn’t a colour that I would normally choose, but I recently gave it another go because I was going to my daughter’s sports day and I couldn’t find a lip balm that contained an SPF.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that with a tan I could – just about – pull off this bright peachy colour.  I have actually purchased another shade, in a more appropriate nude colour, because I love how easily it goes on.  I didn’t find that it lasted 10 hours, but these crayons are super moisturising and just the right side of glossy, without being even remotely sticky.

 

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

 

Finally, the gorgeous Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent. This is a limited edition perfume that is re-released every spring/summer with a different bottle.  It smells like coconuts and beaches, and I just love spritzing it from head to toe – and back again.  I have tried, and owned, many many perfumes since I was a teenager, and this wins joint first place with my other long term love; a D&G perfume that my husband surprised me with a couple of years ago.  It is really a summer scent, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to give it up come autumn.

 

Thanks for reading, and see you next month!

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A Luxurious Deep Clean – Clarisonic Mia 2

There are some purchases in life that are impulse buys: see it, want it, buy it. Then there are others that, for whatever reason, require a little bit of research first.  For me, the Clarisonic Mia 2 falls into the latter category.  I spent approximately 98 years researching it before I went ahead and dropped a ridiculously large amount of money on my very own sonic cleansing brush. I did manage to use a discount code, so didn’t pay full price.  But still.

 

Clarisonic Mia 2

The Clarisonic brushes are designed  to deep clean the skin so well that fine lines and pores are less visible, and  all products will be absorbed even better.  There are a variety of brush heads, for all types of skin, from oily to sensitive, and even a ‘Cashmere Cleanse’ brush head for mature skin.

I have the sensitive head on mine, and it feels very soft and the bristles are flexible.  My main concern, other than the eye-watering price, was that it would be too severe for my (sometimes sensitive) skin.  I have never had any sort of negative reaction, although I wouldn’t recommend using the liquid cleanser that Clarisonic provides – it’s just nasty.

Although the Clarisonic brushes are not technically exfoliators, the Mia 2 leaves my skin clean, soft and glowing.  It isn’t a chore to use either – and this comes from someone who wishes that their skin was self-cleaning – I would actually describe it as pleasant to use.  It’s quite relaxing, like a mini facial massage.  To use, simply wet the brush and face, then put the cleanser on the brush (any sort of foaming/ creamy cleanser will do), or directly on to the face.  Turn it on (duh), and then using circular motions, gently rub the brush over the forehead for 20 seconds;  then chin and nose for another 20 seconds; then each cheek for 10 seconds at a time.  The Mia 2 has a timer, so will buzz when each time period is up, so no counting is involved. It is -apparently- gentle enough to use twice a day, and is -definitely- waterproof, so can be used in the shower.

I mainly use mine on the evenings when I have worn a full face of makeup (removing eye makeup first), because I feel confident that it will deeply clean.  The proof is in the pudding (err, I mean cotton wool pad); when I follow up with toner, the cotton wool comes away clean, without a trace of foundation on it.

 

How do you get a deep clean?  Do you think expensive gadgets are necessary, or just a waste of money?

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Skincare Shopping – With a Little Review Attached

Of all things beauty, I think I get the most pleasure from buying and trying new skincare products.  Wait, no, I love makeup more.  Actually skincare is my favourite.  Ok, the truth is, I just like buying and trying new things, whether it be cleansers, eyeshadows (I have a weakness for palettes), blushers or highlighters… I love it all.

I do think, however, that the more effort (and sometimes money, sadly) you put into skincare products the better.  Simply because, if you get that right then the better the base will be for all the glorious makeup products.

 

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Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser

I talked about my morning routine (here) recently, where I listed the three main products that I use in the morning.  I haven’t written a nightly routine post yet, because it is so changeable, and it would be more like a 5,000 word essay.  I have, however, been looking for a new makeup remover/cleanser that will properly take all my makeup off from the day.  So, I picked up two on a quick shopping trip this week; Sanctuary Spa Fresh-Faced Purifying Wash, and Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser.  I like that the Nip+Fab cleanser is an exfoliating cleanser (it contains 2% Glycolic Acid), but am a little worried that it will be too harsh for my skin (I haven’t tried it yet).  I can report that the Sanctuary Spa cleanser is really lovely though.  It smells very nice (I am big on smells) and seems very gentle.  My skin is dry, so can feel tight after cleansing, but this doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped of moisture.  I actually – dare I say it – prefer it over the Philosophy cleanser that the world and her sister loves.

 

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L-R Sanctuary Spa Youth Boosting Facial night Concentrate; Fresh-Faced Purifying Wash; Illuminating Moisture Lotion

 

I also picked up a few other little minis from the Sanctuary Spa range; the Youth Boosting Facial Night Concentrate, and the Illuminating Moisture Lotion.  I definitely don’t need a new day cream, or a night cream for that matter, but I’m a sucker for the word illuminating, and the night cream is apparently going to make me look like a teenager again.  I’ll report back when I have had a chance to try them out.  The Illuminating Moisture Cream has SPF 15, useful for days when I don’t need or want a full on sun screen.

 

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L-R Lush Let the Good Times Roll; Eau Roma Water

 

I popped into Lush too – the smell draws me in every time – where I purchased Let the Good Times Roll.   I have used this before, so I know I love it.  It’s got popcorn in it! Popcorn! That’s not the only reason I have repurchased this squidgy cleanser (it feels a bit like gritty Play Doh), it also does lovely things for my skin, gently cleansing and exfoliating, while leaving me glowing and soft.  The Eau Roma Water  can be used on cotton wool as a toner, but I have been using it as a facial spritz after cleansing in the morning.  It is a refreshing, boost of hydration, that is gentle on even sensitive skin.  My only complaint with the Eau Roma Water is that the spray is less of a mist, and more of a squirt in the face.  I don’t know if I got a dud, but the spray is quite violent.  It does do an excellent job of waking me up in the morning though.

 

Have you you tried any of these skincare lovelies, what do you think of them?

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Review: Soap & Glory

I shared with you recently my first impressions of a couple of new moisturisers.  I thought I would share a more detailed review, now that I have a feel for them.

 

L-R Speed Plump, For Daily Youth
L-R Speed Plump, For Daily Youth

 

Speed Plump:   Soap & Glory claim that this moisturiser will actually smooth out lines and wrinkles.  I wish that this were the case, but I guess that is a bit too much to ask for a £13 product.  However, this is a really nice moisturiser, that creates a soft, glowing base for makeup.   It smells great, is light (despite being formulated for dry skin) and it is very pleasing to apply. The name suggests it will leave skin plumped and hydrated, and that is exactly what it does, in my opinion. It somehow keeps my afternoon oily forehead under control, while also hydrating my dry bits all day long.  Speed Plump is one of the nicer day creams I have used in my time, and I may well repurchase it when I have finished this tube. I have been slightly afraid of parabens for a long time, so the fact that this cream is a paraben-free zone makes me very happy.  All in all a great find.

 

For Daily Youth:  I have been using this as a night cream, because the Lush serum bar that I had been using had a little accident.  Alright, if you must know, I left it on the windowsill and it melted.  Now, usually I like a nice rich night cream – which For Daily Youth is not – so I wasn’t sure if it would be too light.  However, I have found it to be just right for the summer, particularly after my post workout shower, when I don’t like to feel too hot and slimy (it takes me a good hour to cool down properly, even after showering.  Nice). It also smells like peaches and cream, which makes applying it a joy. For Daily Youth contains lots of hard working ingredients, and apparently ‘features our exclusive SUPERLUMINOUS™ BIOPEPTIDE COMPLEX ‘, along with ‘HIGHDRATION™ 365’ which quite frankly sound made up, but I would say that it softens and hydrates, so I am happy.

 

Have you ever tried and Soap & Glory skincare?  What is your favourite daily moisturiser, or night cream?

 

 

 

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Primers – My Choices for Fabulous Skin

A couple of years ago I had never even heard of makeup primers, and now they are everywhere.  Primers are exactly what they say; products to prime the skin before applying makeup.  I can’t pretend I have tried them all, but I have sampled a fair few.  Here are my favourites.

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Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water:  I was full of disdain for this primer when I first tried it.  I had heard good things so I thought I would give it a go.   To begin with I was very disappointed; it doesn’t behave as I thought a primer should.  It doesn’t conceal pores, or even out skin tone.  What it does do is act as a refresher.  I like to use it after moisturiser, and before my other primers of choice, (keep reading for those…) for a blast of hydration.  It is also lovely as a little pick-me-up during the day.

 

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I always follow this with Too Faced Hangover Primer.  This primer feels very much like a moisturiser, it’s a light, non-silicone-y lotion.  It contains all sorts of wonderful ingredients like coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers, which apparently work together to boost hydration and smooth the skin.  It might sound a bit too good to be true, but this primer is just lush.  It is also vegan and paraben free.  I love it so much that I am feeling a bit nervous about coming to the end of my current tube.  It isn’t readily available in the UK (I bought mine on Amazon from a US Based seller) and although Too Faced do ship here, it would cost £22 for the primer, and almost another £20 for shipping.  A little bit steep for this Hangover fan.

 

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On days when my pores are looking a little obvious, or when I want a really long lasting flawless finish, I will use the L’Oreal Nude Magique Blur Cream This is a tinted silicone type primer that ‘blurs’ the pores on my nose and leaves me with smoother looking skin. It doesn’t ‘roll up’ like some products can, it just leaves the best possible base for foundation or BB cream.

Using three products may seem like a lot of fiddling around, but the whole routine only takes a couple of minutes, and it is definitely worth it for longer lasting makeup and (almost!) flawless skin.

 

What is your primer of choice?  Do you have more than one?

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The Smallest of Hauls & First Impressions

I have been nearing the end of my Origins GinZing moisturiser  over the last few days.  And, being as fickle as the day is long I have decided not to repurchase it.  As much as I have enjoyed using it, I just don’t feel that it is ‘The One’.

 Despite my decision to have a less spenderific July, I found myself in Boots yesterday.  I did manage to keep my spending to a minimum (honest, guv) and just picked up two Soap and Glory moisturisers (and some nappies for the baby, but they are kind of essential).  I went for Speed Plump and For Daily Youth.  I’m not greedy, but there was a ‘Buy one, get one half price’ offer on, so I thought I would get two, in the hope that one will knock my socks off.

 

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Speed Plump (here) promises to give ‘tighter, brighter, firmer, smoother looking skin’ and apparently has ‘Moistureplump’ technology.  For Daily Youth (here) is a 6 – in – 1 Multi-Active moisture lotion, which will ‘Mazimize moisture levels, soothe stressed skin, rejuvenate tired skin, improve elasticity, soften and smoothe the skin’.  Wow.  Both promise great things, I hope at least one will prove to be my new must-have skincare product.  If results were in any way related to packaging then I would be on to a winner – I just love Soap and Glory packaging.

I used Speed Plump today, and so far so good.  It is for dry/dehydrated skin, but it’s not in any way heavy. A little bit goes a long way, and it disappeared into my skin without leaving a legacy in the form of a greasy film.

I will see how I get on over the next few days, and will report back… Stay tuned!!

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A Little Bit of Heaven for the Skin

Well, what a week.  My family and I were – very reluctant – hosts this week.  Not to Great Aunt Mabel, but to a particularly unpleasant stomach bug.  I won’t go into detail here, but suffice to say, it was not pretty (children under the age of seven find it hard to get to a bucket in time to throw up, or at all in some cases – who knew?!).  I therefore didn’t manage to work on any of the blog posts I had planned, but I did manage to get some sneaky online shopping done.

One of the items I bought was something I had been thinking about for a little while, but couldn’t decide if I actually needed (not that this usually stops me).  This little wonder:

 

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Konjac French Pink Clay Facial Sponge

 

I have never really been one for using a muslin, or the like, for cleansing, but this little sponge seems to promise so much more (exfoliating, deep cleaning, PH balancing and refining of pores to name a few). I do own a Clarisonic, which I use periodically when I need a proper clear out, and I really love it but I am wary of using it too often for fear of irritation.  The sponge, though, seems gentle enough to use every day and can be used with just water, or with a cleanser which is what I have been doing.

I wasn’t sure what to expect initially, the sponge arrives a little wet and felt quite slimy (ick).  Using it on my skin though is heavenly; like being caressed by little tiny angels (ok, that’s a bit much, but it does feel very nice).  It really is like a mini facial every morning.  I went for the French Pink Clay, but The Konjac Sponge Company offer different options, depending on your skin type.  You can read further info here if you are interested in finding out more.

 

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

 

 

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My Morning Skincare Routine

I like to keeps things fairly simple in the morning.  With a baby that refuses to sleep through the night, I can’t say that I leap joyfully out of bed in the morning, so I need a quick and straightforward regime. I am currently using only three products, with the addition of various primers when I apply makeup.  I haven’t included those, because they change with my mood, and I don’t consider them part of my daily routine.

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 Lush Angels on Bare Skin cleanser

I wash my face in the shower in the am, so I like a cleanser that can be washed off without the need for fiddly cotton wool, or muslin cloths.  My skin cam be very dry, so foaming cleansers are out too. I discovered this lovely cleanser a few weeks ago, and, as I mentioned in my May Favourites, it – along with a couple of other changes that I made recently – has changed my skin for the better.  It starts off as a solid, and as water is mixed with it, a paste is formed, which gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin.  My only issue is the little lavender flowers, I’m not convinced they need to be there, and they mostly end up being washed down the plug hole because they don’t mix in with the rest of the cleanser.

Origins GinZing Moisuriser

This is a fabulous lightweight moisturiser, with a lovely fresh fragrance.  Origins claim that it brightens, and while I haven’t noticed that, I do find it to be hydrating without being greasy, so my skin is left feeling smooth but not slimy.  One thing to note though is the lack of SPF.

Origins GinZing Eye Cream

In my eternal quest for an eye cream that will magically make my dark circles disappear, I stumbled across this little guy.  It can be used twice a day, but I only use it in the morning as I have a separate night eye cream.  I find that it doesn’t work especially well under concealer, so I often skip it if I am doing a full face, because it almost goes lumpy.  Because it is illuminating it does make me look slightly more awake, and a little bit goes a long way.  I can’t vouch for its depuffing qualities as I don’t have a problem with eye bags or puffiness, and I have no idea if it has helped in the battle against fine lines – ask me again in 20 years.

Do you like to keep it simple in the morning, or do you like to pamper yourself before you face the day?

 

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St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower – As simple as it sounds?

 

I don’t want to Jinx anything, but it would seem that (whisper it quietly, we don’t want to scare it away) summer has arrived in the UK.  So that means it’s time to slap on the fake tan.  Now, we all know the dangers of frying in the sun or using tanning beds, so I won’t get into that here.  Suffice to say, it’s a pretty bad idea.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have touched fake tan with a barge pole; it was smelly, streaky and usually orange.  However, in the last few years, there has been such a huge improvement I have ventured into a bronzed new world.

 

 

St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion
St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion

 

I have to say, I do still prefer a gradual tanner, rather than a full-on tan in a bottle.  This is because I am a coward, and a messy one at that.  I still feel – as idiot-proof as most tanners are – there is too much margin for error for someone as careless as myself.  So when I saw that St Tropez had brought out a new in-shower lotion, I was quite excited.  It all sounded so easy! Simply wash in the shower as usual, then spread the lotion on, wait for three minutes and rinse off.  The tan the develops over the next few hours and voila! A gorgeous tan.

But is this just too good to be true? Well, for me, yes.  The first time I used it I followed the instructions to the letter, even turning off the shower when the tube told me to (the instructions that is, the packaging doesn’t actually speak).  I rinsed off (using just water) and carefully dried myself, and immediately got dressed.  So far so good, no stickiness or nasty smells evident at this stage. I had showered in the early evening, so I then watched TV for a couple of hours, eagerly checking my arms every 30 minutes or so.  Not much to see there.  Not to worry, I thought, it must need longer to develop.  Then I went to bed, convinced I would see a slightly tanned me in the mirror the next morning.  Alas, it was not to be.  I didn’t look ANY different. So, I tried again, repeating the steps that day, and the next, and the next.  In total I repeated five times before I ran out of lotion.  What did I see after all that? A little change in colour, but only very slight. Enough for me to notice, but I certainly didn’t look as though I had taken a trip to St Tropez in my free time.

So would I buy the in-shower lotion again? Well, actually yes.  The thing is, the colour is very subtle, but it is so easy to use that I think it could work as a top-up when using a proper fake tan, or if you have a ‘real’ tan, obtained the old fashioned way.

Just to break it down even further, here I present to you the Pros and cons, in my opinion:

       PROS

  •  Super easy to use, almost fool proof.
  • Quick.
  • It dries as you do, so no need to wait around feeling sticky.
  • No nasty smell, so can be applied any time of day.
  • Subtle colour for those with fairer skin.
  • nice colour (eventually) – not too orange.

 

      CONS 

  • Subtle colour, unless you’re prepared to repeat the process over a few days you may find it disappointing
  • Not cheap – £14.50 per tube – bearing in mind I used the whole thing before seeing much effect.

 

 

So, there it is, overall I think the St Tropez in shower tanning lotion is pretty OK, but don’t rush out and buy it if you’re looking to get an instant dark tan.

What is your favourite tanning mousse or lotion? Let me know in the comments if you can recommend an affordable, effective alternative.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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