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Lush Pot o' Gold Shower jelly

I'm aware that this was an Easter limited edition and so isn't available any more but as Lush have three shower jelly's in their permanent range I thought I'd review the product in general as well as Pot o' Gold in particular. 

Lush Pot o' Gold Shower jelly
Lush Pot o' Gold Shower jelly
Lush Pot o' Gold Shower jelly
If you're not familiar with Lush's Shower jelly's these are just like a jelly you would eat (but I wouldn't recommend it!) that you use as a 'solid' shower gel. You tip the pot up and the whole thing comes out in one piece. You can either use it like that or you can try and pull a small section off, although this isn't easy to do. I noticed Zoe London say she uses scissors to snip small pieces off to use. Whichever way you chose to use it as you can probably imagine it's not the easiest product to keep hold of. It's likely you'll end up chasing it around the shower at least once as unless you keep a good grip on it it does like to slip through your fingers and flubber around a bit.

I was introduced to Pot o' Gold when I headed to Lush Meadowhall for an Easter preview and the sparkly gold appearance and caramel/toffee scent meant I couldn't resist picking one up before the Easter range disappeared from stores. It looks amazing and smells just as good. This does obviously contain some glitter to give it the sparkly appearance but I don't find that any of this sticks to my skin. This one contains fresh pineapple juice, Fair Trade vanilla absolute and sweet orange oil.

I'm not sure how long these last as I've only used this twice but I can see that it's a little smaller than it was. The flat surface was almost perfectly smooth when it was new but since I've used it it's started to develop little holes in the surface so it now looks a bit like honeycomb, which for some reason I love. It's not the best for lather but it's a fun product to use that smells amazing and leaves you feeling clean. 

If you like the sound of Pot o' Gold you can get hold of Deep Sleep, a bright orange containing lavender, camomile and orange juice, Sweetie Pie, a sparkly deep purple containing cherry, coconut and blackcurrant and finally Whoosh which is a sparkly teal green with lemon, grapefruit and lime. Sweetie Pie and Whoosh both sound amazing and I'd definitely consider trying them in the future.

Did you try Pot o' Gold while it was around?

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Soigne Macaron collection

At the beginning of March I posted about the gorgeous Soigne Fruit Marbles collection that I bought for my mum for Mothers day. My mum loves the set and has used it none stop since, so I knew at some point I wouldn't be able to resist adding either the Fruit Marbles or Macaron collection to my collection. When Soigne offered a 40% discount code over Easter that worked on every product on the website, including both of these currently reduced collections, I decided to use some money I was given for Easter to treat myself to the Macaron collection.

I could have sworn that the Macaron collection was called the Marcaron collection and actually wrote this in my post about the Fruit Marbles collection (I've changed it now), but apparently I was wrong!

Soigne Macaron collection

Soigne Macaron collection

Soigne Macaron collection
Soigne Macaron collection
The Macaron collection comes in a beautiful pastel pink box that as I've mentioned before looks like it should contain pretty pastel macarons. Both my camera and phone camera completely refused to take a decent shot of the box but you can see it in the picture with the varnishes standing on the top. 

The box contains five pretty pastel/neutral shades. Pistache is a delicate grey based green, Lavande a clean, fresh lilac, Caramel a pale caramel, Fruit de la Passion a pale peach (described by Soigne as passion fruit but I'm not sure about this) and finally Petale de Rose is a pale rose pink. 

As I said in my post about the Fruit Marbles collection these are five free and made from up to 85% plant-sourced natural ingredients. When I ordered the Fruit Marbles collection for my mum I also ordered a single shade for myself in the sale so I already knew that these nail varnishes are a pleasure to apply. They have a reasonably wide brush and a quick drying formula that isn't too thick but also isn't too watery either. As with many ranges some shades are more opaque than others. With some of these I think I could get away with one coat but others probably need three to be perfect. I thought as these are made of mostly plant-sourced materials that this might mean that they're less durable than other more chemical based nail varnishes, but I've actually found these to be pretty hard wearing. 

I'm really impressed with these nail varnishes and would definitely like to add some more shades to my collection in the future. If you like the look of the Macaron collection this is still half price at just £19, so I'd hot foot it over to the Soigne website before it sells out! 

Which is your favourite shade in the Macaron collection?

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Bruzz - The most hygienic nail brush in the world

I've recently been thinking about nail brushes (I know, I must have a lot of spare time!). I haven't personally used a nail brush for years and I began wondering whether anybody does actually use them. The only time I've used one was when I was much younger and I used to like helping my dad in the garden. But thinking about it, depending on the job you do I guess some people might use them regularly. I'm thinking along the lines of possibly dirty jobs, maybe like a gardener or mechanic, but also jobs where you really need to have super clean hands for hygiene reasons, like doctors and nurses.

When I received a PR email listing some products they thought I might like to try I was intrigued by the Bruzz*, which claims to be the most hygienic nail brush in the world.

Bruzz nail brush
Bruzz nail brush
Bruzz nail brush
The Bruzz is available in three colours (pink, blue and white) and I was pleased to receive the pink. Not that the colour makes a huge difference to anything, but we all like to have things in colours we actually like right? From the picture in the email I received I thought this was actually a ball, but once I received it I realised this was because the picture was taken looking at one end of the brush. 

Just like facial cleansing brushes have progressed from hair-like bristles to softer silicone bristles, it appears that nail brushes have now also made this progression. The bristles are anti-bacterial and can be removed so they can be cleaned fully. The Bruzz can be used on both natural and artificial nails and it's designed to clean both the nails and fingers. This is supposed to be vanilla scented but I find that if you actually give it a sniff it has quite a strong plastic type smell with a slight tinge of what you could possibly call vanilla at a push.

Whenever I used a nail brush when I was younger one thing that I did notice was that the bristles were actually quite painful to use. My dad probably didn't notice this on his tougher bloke skin but on the delicate skin around my nails it was quite uncomfortable. I've found that silicone bristles are much more comfortable and a lot more pleasant to use. Another thing that I noticed using nail brushes was that soap would end up flicking everywhere as you scrubbed. The Bruzz is claimed to limit spray and although I find there is still a little spray it's nothing like a traditional brush. Whereas a standard nail brush just has bristles in one direction the Bruzz has three sets of bristles that get the top of your nails, under your nails and the tips of your fingers. If you want to clean the pads of your fingers you just turn your hand and do each finger in turn. So it really does give a good all round clean.

It may not be the most exciting of products but if you do need to use a nail brush for your job or you're just somebody who enjoys using a nail brush then I definitely recommend swapping your harsh bristle brush for a Bruzz.

The Bruzz costs £9.99 and is available from Boots.

Do you use a nail brush?

*PR sample

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Some new lipstick additions

Even though I haven't actually been able to wear lipstick recently because of a problem with really dry skin along my lip line this hasn't stopped me adding a few new lipsticks to my collection. I haven't used any of these yet, because of my dry lips problem and also because I was waiting to take some pictures, but I thought I'd show you my new additions.

NARS Audacious Greta, L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Pure red by Julianne and Burberry Kisses in Military red

NARS Audacious Greta, L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Pure red by Julianne and Burberry Kisses in Military red
A couple of weeks ago I hit my 10th anniversary with my boyfriend and although we don't really have any spare money at the moment he gave me £30 to buy whatever I wanted. Before I started blogging he would actually buy makeup for me, but since I started my blog he's been far too scared that he might get it wrong so he usually just gives me the money. First I headed into House of Fraser, but they didn't have the brands I was really interested in at the time, so instead I headed across the road for my first trip into Space NK. Yes, seriously, I haven't been in a Space NK store before! Although even for a beauty obsessive I guess this might not be that unusual as Space NK isn't like Boots with a store on pretty much every high street. I didn't have anything in particular in mind so I just wandered round and really enjoyed discovering what they have stocked in there. I think my boyfriends local store is quite a small so there's not an awful lot in there, but they do have a reasonable sized NARS stand. I spotted the lipsticks, had a quick swatch, and the NARS Audacious lipstick in Greta came away with me as my first Space NK purchase.

After Space NK I had a little bit of money left so we headed down to Boots. I would have taken advantage of the 3 for 2 but the third product I wanted I couldn't have because all the products on the display were tested and all smushed. So I just went with the one product I've had my eye on for a while now and that was the L'Oreal Collection Exclusive Red by Julianne. I originally wanted Blake's red but looking at the shades again I thought Julianne's might be better for going into summer.

Finally, as you're probably aware I didn't actually buy the teeny tiny Burberry Kisses in Military red as this is a sample from the campaign that's been all over Twitter for the last few weeks. I have to admit that at first I was wary of the campaign thinking it might be some kind of scam, but once the Instagram pictures of received samples started popping up I nominated my boyfriend and of course claimed it for myself (I'm not sure Military red would suit him!). The sample is so cute and tiny, but there's still a reasonable amount in there to be able to test it out properly.

I'll report back when I've given each one a try.

Have you added any new lipsticks to your collection recently?

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Working as a freelancer #nofreework

I recently followed The Freelancer Club on Twitter and shortly afterwards they wrote to me to tell me about their campaign #nofreework. As some of you may know I work as a Supporting Artist (or extra as it's also known) in TV, film and music videos. This is freelance work that I get as and when a casting director decides they want me for a particular role, even if this is just 'background'. Therefore this campaign is very appropriate to me, especially so far this year, which I'll explain more below.

Ed Sheeran - Give me love (role - forensics officer)

When I first started out I did do two roles that were unpaid to gain some experience, but this is something that I'll no longer do for four reasons. The first is that I have quite a lot of experience now, including several featured roles (where I know I will be on camera playing a particular role rather than just being part of the background), so I don't need to gain more experience. The second being that in my current financial position I can't afford to work for free. The third is that I'm doing a job that I'm apparently at least reasonably good at, so I should be paid for doing it. Finally, if freelancers work for free this then encourages people to offer further work for no pay in the future.

As you can probably imagine a lot of this sort of work is based in London and I'm based outside of London, either in Derby at my house or in Cheltenham at my boyfriends house. I'm willing to drive to London for shoots and have done this many times, but whichever house I'm staying in at the time the journey to London and back is a four hour round trip and with petrol, parking charges and tube fares this costs a reasonable amount of money. In the past the minimum pay I would accept for travelling to London was £50 as this covered travel and left me with a small amount of profit. More recently I've upped this amount, as I really could do with actually making some money as well as covering costs, but travelling to London for no pay? Not a chance! So far this year there have been several shoots I haven't even bothered to apply for in London because they are low or no pay.

Call the Midwife series 3 (role - laundry worker)

Although a lot of work is in London, increasingly there is more and more of this type of work popping up around the country. Last year I actually spent more time working out of London than in and worked on shoots in Manchester, York, Bristol, Oxford and Port Talbot in Wales. Even if a shoot is based much closer to me than London it's likely I'm still going to have to travel some distance and that is going to cost money in petrol, possibly parking charges and then there's wear and tear to my car. So if I'm working on a shoot, unless it's based within walking distance, it's going to cost me money. Some shoots are not paid but they do offer travelling expenses. Okay so you've made sure I'm not losing money by working for you, but I'm still working for free.

Casualty (role - shopper)

Deciding to work freelance is risky as you don't have the security of monthly wages and have to rely on being able to find paid work and being paid on time for any work that you've done. A lot of freelancers end up having to give up and start working for somebody else to guarantee a regular income and a big factor in this is people being expected to work for free with the only benefit apparently being exposure/experience. Although I don't rely on my blog in any way for income this is also something that affects bloggers whose blog is part of how they earn money to live. I'm sure you've seen the discussions on Twitter regarding whether just receiving the product for free is enough compensation for the time it takes to produce a post and whether bloggers should also be paid for their time on top of this. 

The Freelancer Club have decided something needs to be done and have launched their #nofreework campaign. They've set up a petition over on which is currently approaching 700 supporters, but obviously they want as many people as possible to support this to try and stop free work. If you would like to support the #nofreework campaign and sign the petition you can find it here. Please note this isn't a sponsored post, I've chosen to write about this because it's something that is relevant to me and I believe may be relevant to some of my followers.

What are your thoughts on working for free in any job?

P.S. Can you see why it's a running joke that the most famous part of me is my back!

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Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perché

A few weeks back I spotted an advert in the side bar of Jane's blog British Beauty Blogger that got me a little excited. The advert looked like it was for the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet's, but I noticed that the packaging was slightly different, so I guessed that a new product might be on the way. Shortly afterwards I discovered that Bourjois were releasing the Rouge Edition Aqua Laque's. As I'm a big fan of the Velvet's and have three of the original shades (three new shades have just recently been released) I knew I'd need to get my hands on one of the new Aqua Laque's to try. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perche

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perche

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in Fuchsia perche
As the name suggests the Rouge Edition Velvet's have a velvet, almost matte finish, but the new Rouge Edition Aqua Laque's have a glossier finish. You can just about see from the swatches above that they do have a slightly different formula/texture. The Velvet's are a bit thicker whereas the Aqua Laque's have a lighter, slightly more water like formula. The Aqua Laque formula reminds me of the L'Oreal Glamshine stain splashes and also the Dior Fluid Sticks.

These have exactly the same applicator as the Rouge Edition Velvet's but because of the difference in texture they do feel different to apply. I don't find the Velvet's heavy in any way but the Aqua Laque formula feels super light, just like water, and it has a cooling effect when first applied. I do find that this appears to apply slightly patchy at first but it then settles and evens out. Although these are supposed to be glossy I actually find that this disappears quite quickly. It doesn't become as matte as the Velvet's, but it also doesn't stay really glossy. This then fades down to leave a slight stain, but it's a stain that then fades quite quickly, it's not the type of stain you have to remove at the end of the day.

I find that the Velvet's can last all day (if you're happy with the stain that they wear down to) but the Aqua Laque lasts probably a couple of hours at the most and doesn't stand up well to eating and drinking. I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with this, but this is only because the Velvet's set the standard so high in terms of lasting power and realistically because of the lighter, water like formula of the Aqua Laque's they can't stand up to this.

I would say these are the spring/summer version of the Rouge Edition Velvet's. They're lighter, easier to apply (it's not as difficult to correct mistakes with these) and easier to reapply when required.

The Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque's are £8.99 each and are available from Boots and Superdrug.

Have you tried an Aqua Laque yet?

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Nail HQ Cuticle oil and Protect and Repair

At the end of last year I tried the Nail HQ Rubberised base coat and Ridge filler base coat (post here). I wasn't blown away by the rubberised base coat (although I think that's more down to my nails than the product) but I do like to use the ridge filler base coat if I'm going for a matte nail look. At the beginning of this year I was again asked if I'd like to try some Nail HQ products and as there are nine products available in the range I thought I'd try a couple of different ones. I was sent the Protect and Repair treatment/base coat* and the Cuticle oil*.

The cuticle oil contains jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, beta-carotene and vitamins E, A and D3. This is a pretty standard thin oil with no scent that I can detect. As with most cuticle oils I like to brush this on and leave it to soak in for 10 minutes or so while I type away. I then massage this in before wiping away any that is left behind and it does the job. At £6.99 I would possibly like to it to be a little cheaper but it's not a bad price and you use so little each time it will last an age.

When it comes to the Protect and Repair I have to say I'm really quite impressed with this. This contains root ginger, rice and soy protein and hydrolysed collagen. Even when I don't have nail varnish on I don't tend to use strengthening treatments (I think because I like either colour painted nails or bare nails) so I usually use this sort of thing as a base coat. The first time I used this I removed my nail varnish and was surprised to find that it appeared to have made a significant difference from the first use. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, that my nails just happened to be in slightly better condition at that time, but I then lent this to my mum (whose nails have been really quite bad recently) and she found the same thing. She said after the first time she used it she removed her nail varnish and was impressed to find that her nails had already improved. 

It's worth noting that I got hold of a bottle of OPI's Nail Envy for my mum to try and help sort out her nails and she said she's seem a much slower improvement with that than with this. So if you've thinking about trying Nail Envy but are a bit unsure about the nearly £20 price tag (although you can find it cheaper, I think I managed to get it for around £13) it may be worth giving this a try first at just £7.99. 

Prices range from £5.99 to £7.99 and you can find Nail HQ in Tesco stores and online on Amazon.

Have you tried any Nail HQ products?

*PR sample

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Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

When I saw the card in March's Birchbox regarding the limited edition Tatler box* I assumed this was the April Birchbox, but actually this is a separate box costing £25. If you're an existing subscriber you won't be getting this box unless you purchase it separately.

Birchbox have teamed up with British fashion and lifestyle magazine Tatler for a 'The best of British' box containing great products from British brands. 

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box
Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

Birchbox limited edition Tatler box
Birchbox limited edition Tatler box

The box has had a makeover for the collaboration and I really like the slightly abstract brush stroke effect flowers. When I opened the box I was greeted by products from four brands I'm aware of and two that I haven't come across before. Although admitedly Birchboxes aren't that big the box was jammed full (the lid wouldn't close properly) and it actually had to be sent in a bigger box because one full size product was too big to fit inside the Birchbox. 

The first product (which doesn't fit in the box) is the Percy & Reed Big, bold & beautiful dry instant volumising spray (what a mouthful!). Percy & Reed are a London based brand that I have come across before and I do currently have one of their shampoos. On the card in my box it claims this is a dry shampoo but going by what it says on the bottle I think it's actually just a volumising spray. I've tried a couple of volumising sprays to try and give my hair some oomph but none have impressed me so far so I'm hoping this will be a winner. This is full size and costs £14.

The next product is from another London based brand that I'm aware of and this is the Ciate Paint pot in Maybe baby. I only have a couple of full size paint pots but do have around 30 mini ones from one of their advent calenders and one of their house sets. This one isn't really a shade I would choose myself (and amazingly it's not one I already have) but I do like paint pots and if nothing else it will be useful for nail art. This is also full size and worth £9.

The last London based product is the Aromatherapy Associates Renewing rose body cream. I've heard of Aromatherapy Associates but have yet to try one of their products. I'm always up for trying new body lotions in my hunt for the perfect one so I look forward to giving this a try, although I think it's a little out of my price range. This is a sample size of 40ml (full size 200ml for between £32 and £36 depending where you shop).

I recently ran out of my first bottle of Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser so I was really pleased to see a mini size bottle accompanied by a muslin cloth. I always find it really annoying when you get a sample of a cleanser that is supposed to be used with a cloth and you don't get a cloth! Obviously I'm already aware of Liz Earle as a brand but I didn't realise they're based in the Isle of Wight. Although this looks like a sample size you can actually buy it in this size (50ml) and it's worth £9.75.

The first brand/product I'm not aware of is the Bamford body wash from the Cotswolds. This contains aloe vera and peppermint oil, which sounds lovely, but as it also contains lavender oil I'll need to pass this one on. Sample size of 50ml (full size 250ml for £22). 

Finally, the last product from Somerset is the Dr Jackson's Natural products face oil 03. I thought the 03 might mean there are different blends of oil available but this actually appears to indicate the type of product. This is packed full of oils including almond, rosehip, evening primrose and calendula and it does sound like a lovely product. This is full size 25ml (although it is also available in a bigger 50ml size) for £30.

Although this box is more expensive than the standard subscription box at £25 plus P&P I worked out that the box is worth around £75, which is impressive. You can buy the Tatler box on the Birchbox website and if you're already a subscriber this will ship with your April box around 9th April.

Are you tempted by the Tatler box?

*PR sample

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The best beauty brand April fools

As soon as it rolled round to April fools day I declared on Twitter that I hate April fools day because you can't believe anything you read until we're safely into the second day of the month. However when I was scrolling through my Twitter feed on April 1st I realised that actually it's a really good opportunity for brands to have some fun coming up with a 'new product' to try and fool us with. 

For something a little bit different I thought I'd do a post on a few of my favourite April fools from the beauty brands. My Twitter didn't go back far enough to show the whole mornings tweets (lets just pretend I didn't get up at nearly midday!) so there's probably loads I missed, but these were a few of my favourites.

The Body Shop

The first April fool I encountered was from The Body Shop when I opened an email from them saying they were releasing a new body butter called Shroomactive. As I'd just woken up and checking my email was the first thing I'd done I actually fell for this to begin with until I suddenly realised it was April fools day. Clicking the link actually took you to a fake product page on the website which told you about how it reacts to the hormones you secrete to release the appropriate fragrance for your mood. It even warns you that this doesn't contain Psilocybin, which is the chemical in magic mushrooms that makes them trippy!

I told The Body Shop I was actually quite disappointed this wasn't real because the packaging is so pretty. I love the metallic blue coloured tub!

Barry M

I didn't actually see the Barry M April fool myself but I saw some people tweeting about it so I tracked it down. Barry M announced that they were launching Nip Dip Nipple Glitter, complete with an adjustable application tool! Of course, who wouldn't want glittery nipples? I'd even recommend going the whole hog and rouging them first as well, I hear Benefit's Benetint is good for this ;)

Although this obviously isn't a real product Barry M did come up with this in conjunction with breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel, so this was also helping a very worthy cause.

Models Own

Models Own made a colour changing GIF to advertise their new product Bluetooth colour changing nail varnish! I think the idea behind this is that you use a special top coat and then use an app on your phone to change the colour of your nails instantly. How amazing would this product actually be? No more faffing around removing your old nail varnish, applying a new colour and waiting for it to dry!

I think April fools day would be the perfect opportunity for brands to actually launch a new product that is different to the products they already sell, maybe like a nail varnish brand launching makeup products, just to mess with peoples heads a little!

Are there any good April fools I missed? Which one was your favourite?

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The Body Shop Drops of Youth Wonderblur

In the same package as the Smoky poppy range and the Hemp Soap on a rope I also received The Body Shop's new Drops of Youth Wonderblur*. Now this is one of those products that doesn't specify state what it's supposed to be. When I first saw it I assumed it was a makeup primer, but I'm not sure that's what The Body Shop intend it to be. On the box it says to use after your moisturiser as the last step of your skincare regime so I think it's actually intended as a skincare product. 

The Body Shop Wonderblur

The aim of the product is to smooth the skins texture leaving an even, matte finish and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores. So you can see why I thought this might be a makeup primer. Also this is a silicone based product that instantly makes me think of Benefit's Porefessional, which I have to say I'm not a fan of. It's a while since I've tried Porefessional but if I remember correctly this comes out as a kind of flesh coloured gel? This one has a more solid consistency, is white and reminds me of the filling of After Eight mints or Fry's Peppermint creams. This does have to be melted a little by the heat of your fingertips before it starts to spread and it's actually quite a strange feeling product. It kind of feels a little 'bitty' until it fully melts down. I actually prefer this to Porefessional in terms of consistency and how it spreads as I always thought Porefessional was quite difficult to spread across the skin. To me it always felt like it disappeared as soon as I started applying it.

It terms of how it makes my skin feel, yes it does make it feel very smooth. I don't really have any fine lines, so I'm not sure how it performs with these but it does appear to blur pores a little. This apparently provides 12 hours moisturisation but I didn't think it felt like a particularly moisturising product when applying and I didn't notice this throughout the day. 

I did go for using this as a primer and I wasn't keen on it for this use, which is unsurprising as I'm not a fan of silicone based primers. Although it did make my skin smooth I wasn't keen on how my makeup applied over the top and how it held up through the day. So I don't think this is a product that I would use as a primer. Although to be honest I don't think I would use this as a skincare product either because I'm just not keen on silicone feeling products, so this is just not really a product for me. If you're a fan of Porefessional then this might be a product you'd be interested in trying.

Drops of Youth Wonderblur is £16 and is available in store and on The Body Shop website.

Would you try this as a possible dupe of Porefessional?

*PR sample. Post contains an affiliate link

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