Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lush Aqua Marina face and body cleanser

I went through several pots of Lush's Aqua Marina cleanser a few years ago but for some reason I haven't bought it for a while.  When I got my last mystery shopper credit from Lush I decided to grab another one.


Aqua Marina contains Kaolin and Calamine to absorb oil and cleanse the skin and Aloe vera to restore moisture.  It includes Irish moss gel, a type of seaweed, which contains restorative vitamins and minerals and also includes a small amount of sea salt for gentle exfoliation.  If you see this in store it's made in kind of like a sushi roll with the pink squidgy bit in the middle that is wrapped up in the green seaweed.  It's then just sliced up and popped in the pots.  

To use all you need to do is take a small section, add some water and mix it up into a paste between your fingers or in the palm of your hand.  This does take a few seconds to do and can be a little bit messy, but sometimes that's part of the fun of using a product.  Once mixed up into a paste you then just massage this onto your skin.  I like to massage it onto damp skin to help it along a little into transforming into a paste as it can be a little sticky so needs breaking down.  You then just rinse off, you could use a cloth to remove it but I just splash my face until it's all gone.  It is called a face and body cleanser but I don't think I'd use it on my body as you'd get through it pretty quickly. 

I suffer with redness across my cheeks, a little around my nose and on my chin where I have acne scarring and I find the Calamine and Aloe vera in this great for soothing and reducing my redness.  When I use this I can see a reduction in my redness as soon as I rinse it off.  It doesn't magically disappear of course, but it is soothed and calmed.  

One thing I would say about this if you share a bathroom with other people is just to make sure that all the little bits of seaweed are rinsed away from your sink afterwards, as when they dry onto your sink they can look a little bit like *coughs* boogers!  I'd also recommend avoiding getting any water in the pot.  I used to wet my hands first and then take some out of the pot but once I didn't use it for a few days and when I opened the pot again I found a little furry friend growing over it!  It was quite pretty, it was all fluffy and white, but obviously I didn't really want to put it on my face after that.  So now I take a little out of the pot first before going near any water.

If you have sensitive skin that suffers from redness and needs a little calming down I'd definitely recommend giving this a try.  Aqua Marina is £6.40 for 100g or £16.00 250g and is available from Lush stores and the Lush website. 


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Annabelles Wigs hairpiece challenge

You may have heard me mention before that I used to have really long.  It varied between around boob length and waist length for over 10 years until I had it all chopped off just over three years ago.  I don't think I could have long hair again, as it starts to annoy me when it gets even a little past shoulder length, but I do sometimes miss long hair.  When I spotted that Annabelles Wigs were looking for bloggers to take part in their hairpiece challenge I thought it would be a great opportunity to get my long hair back, but with the convenience of not having to grow it and being able to whip it out again whenever I want.  

I sent a photo over to Annabelles Wigs so they could check my hair colour and I was sent the Simone 3/4 wig in darkest brown*.  The colour is a pretty good match, maybe just slightly darker than my hair at the moment but obviously as my hair is dyed my colour fades between root top ups.  The 3/4 wigs are built onto a lightweight netting cap that has two combs that you use to secure the wig to your own hair, one at the crown and one at the nape of your neck.  The Simone wig is made from synthetic kanekalon hair which is layered with waves and on me comes down to around boob length.  It would probably be several inches longer on most people as I am very tall.  

I've had to wear several different full wigs in the past for dancing shows, with the bright purple bob and short bright red Annie type curls ones being the most interesting.!  Unfortunately I don't think a 3/4 wig is the best type of wig to work with my hair.  One reason is that my hair doesn't really feel strong enough, or maybe isn't thick enough to support the hairpiece and gradually it starts to slip back through my hair.  Also my scalp is super pale and my hair is dyed a dark brown/almost black shade.  When the comb on the hairpiece pulls my hair back you can see my scalp and I had problems trying to conceal the join between my hair and the hairpiece.  As my hair didn't secure the hairpiece very well I decided to keep my styling simple so I wasn't pulling on it too much.

As I was a little restricted with styling the actual wig I decided to style three complete looks.  So here's how I styled my Simone hairpiece.


Dress: Apricot
Cardigan: Red Herring at Debenhams
Hair clip: Accessorize (similar available here)

The first look I went for was one that you could wear to a spring wedding.  After attaching the hairpiece I swept the hair to one side and secured loosely with a band.  I secured the hair at the back of my head with a few grips to keep it in place and then just clipped a small flower hair accessory just above the hair band.  Unfortunately in this look you can see where the hairpiece starts as I couldn't get my own hair to hide the join.

The dress I'm wearing is from Apricot and my mum treated me to this last year as I had a couple of weddings to go to and needed something new but had a lack of funds.  So far I've worn this to three real weddings and one fake wedding (don't worry it was for a pilot episode to be pitched to Channel 4!  The show was commissioned and hopefully they'll use the pilot episode).  I added the white cardigan because even if a wedding is in the spring or summer that doesn't guarantee you'll have nice weather in the UK.  


T shirt: ASOS
Kimono: River Island
Jeans: New Look (here

For my next look I wanted to go for something that you could wear on a date, for going out for a meal or going to the cinema.  Styling wise regarding the hairpiece this was pretty simple, I left the hair down for some romantic waves and just tied a scarf round my head to hide the join between the hairpiece and my own hair.  

I went for a dark wash pair of skinny jeans (that aren't that skinny on me because I have a problem with sizing due to my funny body shape) and a simple black T shirt but dressed it up slightly with an oriental print kimono.  Again my mum bought this for me (isn't she good!) for my birthday last year and I love, I always get compliments on it when I wear it.  I wore it to the pub quiz once and the male bartender said to my boyfriend 'Is that your girlfriend? I love her top thing'!  I think the scarf came from New Look but I've had this for years so I'm not sure.

 Dress: Oasis

For my last look I decided to have some fun with it and went for what I decided to call a goth prom look!  This time when I put the hairpiece in I tired to leave as much of my own hair out at the front on the top of my head as I could.  Once the hairpiece was in I gathered my hair and brushed it back over the hairpiece and took some of the top layer of hair from the hairpiece as well.  I held the hair towards the back of my head and twisted my hair and the hairpiece hair round together before pushing it forwards towards the front of my head to make a mini beehive.  I then just gripped the hair in place and this actually helped keep the hairpiece in a bit better because it was gripped to my own hair.

I kept my makeup very simple for the first two looks but for this look I whipped out the black eyeliner (which you can't really see as the camera is a bit far away and I'd screwed my eyes up) and my YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipstick* which is a dark plum/brown shade.  The (fake) leather dress I picked up in the Oasis sale a few months back.  It was originally around £60 and I think I got it for something like £15.  Looking at it now I'm not sure the high waist and flared out skirt does me any favours with my mahoosive hips but I love the lace and leather at the top.  

So those are my three looks.  The Simone 3/4 wig is £29.99 and is available on the Annabelles Wigs website.  I'd love to know what you think of my first fashion based post? (please be kind!)

*PR sample


Friday, 18 April 2014

Maybelline Browdrama in Dark blond

You may have heard me mention before that I don't currently do anything with my brows apart from just comb them through. I know I really need to do something with them, as they're virtually non-existent, but I'm too scared to attempt them as obviously I don't want to end up looking a fool.  One of my resolutions this year was to at least attempt trying to do something with them and I thought the best place to start may be with something quick and easy to use like Maybelline's Browdrama.












































































There's really not very much to said for the packaging. It's pretty simple with a plastic black tube and a rather strange mascara wand type applicator with a random large ball shaped part at the end.  I have to say I really don't understand the brush, but I may be missing something.  Fair enough if you're supposed to use the ball shaped part at the end to comb through your brows, but if that's the case then why does it not just have the ball shaped part. The end is too large to try and use the whole brush part against your brow, so I just don't get it.  

I did spend a while trying to decide what shade to buy, as although I'm naturally blonde my eyebrows aren't really blonde but aren't very dark either. I needn't have bothered worrying too much to be honest as I find this adds hardly any colour at all to my brows, but maybe that means I did pick the correct shade. In fact I find this does pretty much nothing at all to my brows.  Yes it combs them through, but I can do that with my brow comb, although obviously the brow comb doesn't set them in place. Hardly anything seems to transfer from the wand to my brows and where some product does transfer over it dries kind of crispy, which I'm not really keen on. 

Maybe because of my complete lack of experience with brow products I'm not using this to it's full potential.  I don't really know, but I'm glad I only wasted £5 on it.

Have you got any tips for how to try and make this work for me?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Lush Emotional Brilliance lipstick in Bubbly

If you read my post on my first Emotional Brilliance lipstick back in January then you may know that I originally planned to try Bubbly first and Believe at a later date, but for some reason I changed my mind at the last minute.  I'm pleased I did now, as if I'd bought Bubbly first I don't think I would have gone on to try any more shades.  Let me explain why.























































































































































As much as I love Believe I just haven't been able to develop the same depth of feeling for Bubbly.  It's a very pretty colour, especially for this time of year, but unfortunately it's slightly lacking in a few other areas.

I've just headed over to the Lush website to check their description of this shade and have discovered the new site has been launched.  It's looking good, but I'm slightly shocked at their swatch for this product.  I believe they used to describe this as something along the lines of a two-tone rose shade.  It's now described as a two-tone pink, but if you take a look at the swatch they provide this looks like a deep burgundy almost plum/brown shade.  As bad as my camera can sometimes be at portraying shades correctly, my swatch is pretty much spot on and the one on the Lush website is way off I'm afraid.  

So the correct shade is a two-toned rose pink with a subtle shimmer two it, the shimmer being a result of the two-tone effect rather than the presence of any kind of glitter.  Although the shade looks quite bright on my arm, once on my lips it is more subtle.  I'm sorry there's no lip swatch but I haven't perfected taking a good lip swatch photo yet.  I think one layer of this gives quite a sheer look but you can layer it up a bit to make it stand out a little more.

I do find that when I apply this it can look a little patchy, which I think may be a result of the whole two-toned effect, so it's not really a quick one to apply as you may have to spend a little time balancing it out slightly.  I also find that this doesn't really last very long either.  Within a couple of hours it has faded down to just a little bit left, mostly in the cracks in my lips, and if I've eaten or drunk a lot in that time then it's more than likely there will nothing left at all.  It may be that I need to really layer this up (I just tend to use one swipe) to get a brighter shade that lasts longer, but I'm not a fan of having a thick layer of any product on my lips.   

As much as I love my Emotional Brilliance lipstick in Believe, and love the pretty colour of this one, I'm afraid Bubbly left me quite disappointed.  

Have you tried Bubbly?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

SunSense facial sun protection

I feel really bad admitting this but the only facial sun protection I use is whatever level of SPF happens to be in whatever skincare or makeup products I'm using on my face that day.  I know that because your face is always exposed you should be using a facial sun cream all year round, but I don't use one in the summer (unless I'm actually sunbathing) let alone in the winter.  The issue I've always had is that I haven't found a sun protection cream that doesn't leave my skin feeling at least a little sticky or oily, and that's far from ideal for applying makeup over the top.  I'd already decided that this year I was going to try and find a sun protection cream that I'd be happy using under makeup and then I was asked if I would like to try out some of SunSense's products.



















































SunSense is an Australian brand that I've only heard of because I received a sample of one of their products in a Glossybox.  I haven't actually got round to giving this a try, because the little tube had a snap off seal on it, so I wasn't sure if you'd be able to reseal it once it had been opened and this put me off giving it a try.  I believe it gets pretty hot in Australia and Australian sunscreen has to meet tight government regulations which forbid misleading claims regarding water resistance and the level of protection required.  I was sent four products to try out.


























SunSense Lip balm*

Even when I do apply sunscreen on my face when I'm on holiday or just soaking up a bit of sun in the garden I have to admit that it doesn't really cross my mind to apply anything directly to my lips.  I might apply a lip balm, as if I'm not wearing some kind of lipstick I'll usually be using a lip balm regularly, but it's likely that whatever balm I apply contains little to no SPF at all.  I don't think my lips have ever actually got burnt, but I do have some freckles on my lips and all my other freckles are up over the tops of my cheeks, so I'm aware that this may possibly be a sign of sun damage.

The SunSense lip balm contains SPF 50+ with UVA and UVB broad spectrum, is fragrance free and contains Vitamin E.  This is very similar to Blistex Intensive Moisturiser in terms of the packaging (a flat slanted applicator you use to apply the balm to the lips) and the consistency and appearance of the actual balm.  I find this soothing and moisturising and not sticky in anyway and I'd be happy to wear this under another lip product such as lipstick.  Being a lip balm the product is obviously compact and is very easy to apply so you can drop this in your bag to carry around with you to apply as often as you wish. 


























SunSense Daily face Invisible tint finish*

The newly formulated Daily face invisible tint finish contains SPF 50+ with UVA and UVB broad spectrum as well as Vitamin E and 3% niacinamide to help improve the appearance of skin tone and texture.  This has an oil-free base, so would be idea for combination and oily skin types.

This is tinted, but as the name suggests, once applied to your skin this is invisible but yet it does manage to balance out your complexion slightly.  I would say it's about on the same level as a BB cream, although I'm not personally keen on BB creams myself as I usually need a higher level of coverage.  Although saying that, for use on the beech, when I obviously wouldn't usually be wearing any makeup at all, this would be ideal to balance things out slightly and provide a high level of sun protection at the same time.

In terms of wearing this under makeup, I found that this particular one didn't feel like it absorbed completely and did leave my face a little sticky/tacky, so I wouldn't personally wear this one under makeup.

SunSense Anti-aging face Matte*

This one contains the same as the Daily face invisible tint finish but also contains Lactic acid for its anti-aging benefits and provides a matte finish.  I found that this one didn't leave my face feeling sticky, so I would be happy to use this under makeup.  Athough it didn't leave a sticky feeling on my skin it did take around 15 minutes to be fully absorbed and so this isn't one for if you're in a hurry in the morning, you would need to be able to leave enough time before applying makeup over the top.

Like the Daily face this one is also tinted but again the tint isn't visible once applied to the face but does manage to balance things out slightly.  So this one might be good as a bit of a helping hand underneath a light foundation or even a BB cream.

SunSense Anti-aging face*

This one is the same as the Anti-aging face matte but doesn't have the same matte finish.  I find this closer to the Daily face one, although this didn't leave my face feeling quite as sticky as the Daily face did, but again I don't think I would wear makeup over this one.  This one also doesn't have a tint finish to it so is closer to a traditional sunscreen.  

Overall thoughts

Although I don't think I've found the perfect product for wearing daily under my makeup I would use the Anti-aging face matte on days where I wasn't particularly in a hurry to get ready in the morning so I could give it the time it needs sink in.  Don't forget though that with any sun protection product you are supposed to apply this 15 to 30 minutes before you go out into the sun.  With regard to the other face products, although I wouldn't wear these under makeup I would definitely use them if I wasn't planning to wear makeup anyway, if I was going to the beach or catching some sun in the garden.  The lip balm will also be going in my bag to help protect my lips when if the British sun ever decides to come out.

You can find SunSense products over on the SunSense website and these are also available through John Lewis and Waitrose.  

Just before I finish on the subject of sun protection I want to touch on how much sunscreen you should actually be using.  If you're spending the day on the beach you should be using about a shot glass full of sunscreen and should reapply the same amount every two hours to keep up the level of protection.  It should also be reapplied after going in water, whether you're drying naturally or using a towel.  So after a day on the beach one person should have used around a quarter to a half of a standard sized bottle of sun cream.  Just like not wearing any sun protection on my face I know I'm also guilty of not wearing enough sun protection on my body.

Do you wear the correct level of sun protection?

*PR sample