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The Body Shop Spa of the World range

The Body Shop's new Spa of the World range launched on 10th August and I've been sent a few products from the range to try. The products I'll be trying out include the Japanese camellia cream Velvet moisture body cream*, Moroccan rhassoul body clay* and Thai lemongrass massage oil*. I haven't really tried any of these products yet (I'll be reporting back with my thoughts on them in the future) but I wanted to introduce the range to you.

The Body Shop Spa of the World

This is intended as a luxurious spa brand so the prices do run a little higher than you would usually pay for a product from The Body Shop. I believe TBS are currently overhauling some of their packaging and the Spa of the World range does feature packaging that we haven't seen from them before, running with a gold and deep bronze/golden brown colour scheme. The products available online do appear to be a bit limited but I believe more products may be available in store. I thought there were 'themes' in terms of scent/ingredients across different products but actually it appears that each product is different. The scents/ingredients available include Dead sea salt, Himalayan charcoal, Tahitian orchid, and French lavender and the products include scrubs, bath oils. body masks, body moisturisers and massage oils.

The product I'm really intrigued to try is the Moroccan rhassoul firming clay body mask (£16). We're all familiar with clay face masks but I think this may be the first body mask that I have personally come across. There is also a body mask brush (£10) available to use with this which I am tempted by and might pick up if I like the product. I do use a brush to apply clay masks to my face and although you can obviously just use your hands I do prefer using a brush as it's a little less messy. This is designed for the tummy, legs and arms and absorbs excess water and oil to tighten skin and make it feel firmer as it dries. It's not clear whether this 'firmed' feeling is intended to hang around after the product has been washed off but I'm guessing this might be the case. I won't be using this on my tummy or arms, as I'm lucky enough to not need any help in these areas, but I will be trying it out on my legs. I don't really suffer from cellulite but do tend to suffer from 'puffy' legs, which stops me wearing anything above the knee. It recommends removing this with firm circular movements to maximise the firming effect so it might be worth trying this with a body brush.  

Although I have dry skin I'm not a fan of TBS' body butters as I find them too solid and my skin doesn't absorb them well. I am however a fan of their body lotions (although I've only really tried the Smoky poppy one) as I find these absorb well and quickly and don't leave any horrible stickiness behind. The Japanese camellia velvet moisture body cream (£23) definitely comes in somewhere between the two. It's solid, so not a body lotion, but it has a light, whipped cream feel that is much softer than the body butters. A few years ago I had a moisturiser from a Ted Baker gift set that was described as a body soufflé and I loved it, but it had been discontinued when I went to purchase it. This very much reminds me of that so I'm hoping this might just be my new favourite body product.

Finally there's the Thai lemongrass stimulating massage oil (£16). I've mentioned before that a massage oil is something that I've never really had a use for, but I'm actually hoping this might help me out with something. I suffer with Scoliosis, Hypermobility and Bursitis, which means I often experience pain in my joints/muscles. Although I don't think this could really help with joint pain there's a muscle on the top of my left leg that persistently aches and I'm hoping that trying out massaging the area might help improve this. I will report back after I've given this a try.

The Body Shop Spa of the World products are now available in stores and online

Have you got your eye on any products from the Spa of the World range?

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Max Factor Lipfinity long lasting lipstick

When I was asked if I'd like to try some of the Max Factor Lipfinity long lasting lipsticks* I expected them to be the ones that come with two parts, one being a liquid lipstick type product and then a balm type thing to apply over the top. I was a bridesmaid for my best friend just over 9 years ago and these were the lipsticks we bought especially to try and make sure they lasted through the day, as who can be bothered to top up their lipstick after a wedding tipple or two! 

When the parcel arrived and these three little tubes rolled out I was really surprised. I thought it was possible they might have been updated at some point in the last decade, but these ones appear to be a completely different kind of lipstick. 

Max Factor Lipfinity long lasting lipsticks
Max Factor Lipfinity long lasting lipsticks
Max Factor Lipfinity long lasting lipsticks

It turns out that the lipsticks that I thought these would be are still available and they both fall under the Lipfinity name. Surprisingly I couldn't find these ones on the Max Factor website but I did find them on the Boots website and it appears that they might be new. 

These come in traditional wind up tubes with a clear lid so you can see the colour of the lipstick. The tubes are gold but plastic, so they don't quite pull off the luxe look of something like Charlotte Tilbury. The bullets don't wind right the way down into the tube but stick out of the top very slightly, as you can see on the red lipstick on the top picture. This does look pretty and also means you can see the colour of the lipstick without having to tilt it to see inside the tube, but it also means there's the possibility that you might accidentally catch the bullet with the lid when replacing it. I thought I was being really careful but I did discover that I'd caught the red one when I found it on my hand and smeared on the tube. The lids do fit securely but in general the packaging doesn't feel that secure.

The orangey red shade 'Just deluxe' and the light berry type shade 'Evermore lush' I would say are the sort of shades I would expect from Max Factor, but the purple shade I was surprised by. At first I thought it might just be very purple in the bullet but when swatched it is a proper purple. I was pleased to see that these lipsticks come sealed with a small piece of tape (I hate getting makeup home and realising somebody has tried it) but unfortunately this piece of tape is the only place where the shade name is written. So unless you manage to keep this you'll have to shade match if you want to repurchase in the future, unless you can remember the name of course. Just a quick note on the shade names, I don't mind Just deluxe but Evermore lush and Eternally luscious I do find a bit old-fashioned.

I didn't notice in the bullets at first but when I swatched each shade I noticed that they do contain glitter, although I'm not sure this particularly shows up on the lips. They also have a nice light sweet scent. The shades are easy to apply but I do suffer with a distinct lack of lip line in places and I find the round bullet mean application isn't as precise as I would like. These contain lip conditioners and nourishing oils, so they're comfortable to wear, but when it comes to lasting up to eight hours I don't find that they last anywhere near that. In general I don't find that they last any longer than any other standard lipstick, but then I wouldn't really expect them to as there's nothing about the formula that I can see that should make them last. They're not matte (but not glossy either) and unlike the older Lipfinity lipsticks I mentioned above they don't set in any way. So I wouldn't expect them to last that long if it wasn't for the Lipfinity claim. They really aren't bad at all though, they're nice lipsticks for the price.

The Max Factor Lipfinity long lasting lipsticks are £8.99 and are available from Boots and Superdrug.

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NARS Radiant creamy concealer

On a recent trip into Space NK I really couldn't decide between trying the REN Clearcalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser or the NARS Radiant creamy concealer. I've had my eye on both for a while now but as this visit was on the boyfriend I thought trying to get both of them was pushing my luck a little. When he told me to get both he really didn't have to tell me twice!

My Collection Lasting perfection concealer was coming to an end and although the NARS version is over four times the price of course I wanted to try it. 

NARS Radiant creamy concealer
NARS Radiant creamy concealer

I didn't get colour matched but went for Chantilly, which I believe is the lightest shade available and is described as a true ivory shade for the fairest complexions. This is a pretty good match for me but can be slightly too light if I use a little too much on my currently slightly tanned skin tone.  

I love how simple and chic NARS' packaging is, with this particular product featuring a rubberised black top that holds a furry applicator and a see through tube so you can see how close you're getting to needing a replacement. You really don't need very much of this as it's high coverage and if you do use a little too much the radiant appearance can make it a bit too obvious. It is reasonably thick, although not as thick as something like Seventeen Phwoarr paint or Benefit Boi-ing, but as the name suggests it's creamy, making it very easy to blend. I use this for covering redness, blemishes, scaring and dark circles and it works amazing well for all of them. It doesn't cover my dark circles completely but to be honest nothing does and I really need to use something underneath with a peachy tone to counteract the darkness. I find this particularly good for spot covering blemishes. I dot a small amount directly on top of the blemish, blend around the edges with a small brush and set with powder and the spot is completely covered. 

This may be quite pricey for a concealer at £22 but it really is worth it. You only need a small amount for high coverage so I can see this lasting me a fair while before I need to replace it. 

You can buy the NARS Radiant creamy concealer in Space NK stores and online.

Are you a fan of the Radiant creamy concealer?

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REN Clearcalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser

I briefly mentioned the REN Clearcalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser in my blemish fighting skincare post but I wanted to devote a whole post to it as I really do love this product.

REN Clearcalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser

As I mentioned in my previous post I was a little unsure about trying this as although my chin has it's oily moments the rest of my face is usually dry and dehydrated. So I wasn't sure if a product aimed at blemish prone skin would work for my whole face when it's only really my chin that is blemish prone. I read a few reviews that reassured me so I picked it up from Space NK around 6 weeks ago.

REN's Clearcalm 3 range combats the three key causes of blemishes; excess sebum, bacteria and a build up of dead skin cells. It's an antibacterial and antimicrobial cleanser that cleanses and purifies, minimises pore size and gently exfoliates to improve skin tone and texture. 

I've only tried two full size REN products so far (and this is one of them) but I believe this comes in fairly standard packaging for REN. The tube is clear with the actual product in a clear bag inside the tube, so you can see when you're running low, and it has a pump dispenser. The product is just like a clay mask, thick and a light creamy colour. It also has a light clay type scent that I'm not a huge fan of but it's so slight you can barely detect it. It doesn't contain any scrubby bits to exfoliate the skin so I'm assuming this is achieved with acid exfoliation. You rub one pump of product between slightly damp hands and then massage it onto the face for one to two minutes. After I've massaged it around for a while I actually like to leave it on my face for a couple of minutes (I brush my teeth to pass the time) so it's like a mini face mask. 

I needn't have worried about using this on my dry/dehydrated skin. It leaves my skin feeling really clean and soft and I'm pleased to see that it also calms down any redness I'm suffering from. Any blemishes I have at the time also look calmer. It was only after I got this home and checked the ingredients that I realised it contains lavender (an allergy for me) but I haven't seen any negative effects from this.

I've been really enjoying using this product but I have found that if I use it daily I do get through it a little too quickly for my liking considering it's not cheap at £19. I've now reduced how often I use it and tend to alternate between using this or my Magnitone. If I do suffer with a breakout I'll probably stop using the magnitone, as I'm really not sure about using it on blemishes, and switch to using this every night to help treat the breakout. 

As I mentioned the REN Clearcalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser is £19 and you can buy this in Space NK stores and online.

What REN products would you recommend?

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The Body Shop Almond hand & nail cream

The Body Shop's little £3.50 hand creams are my favourite as they absorb really quickly so I'm happy to use them as and when I need them through the day. I recently signed up for a new Love your body card and as I did it in my birthday month it meant I was entitled to £5 birthday gift. I've never tried one of The Body Shop's slightly more expensive hand creams but as they're £5 exactly I thought it was a good opportunity to pick one up. There's four available, hemp, almond, wild rose and absinthe, and I decided to try the almond one.

The Body Shop Almond hand & nail cream

In my haul post a few weeks back I mentioned that because these ones are bigger than the £3.50 tubes I assumed there was more in them. As you can probably see in the picture there's actually exactly the same amount in both tubes. As there is the same amount in both I'm not sure why one is £1.50 more expensive than the other; I'm assuming it might be because the more expensive one is slightly more 'luxury'. Although I've just checked online and the £3.50 ones are now £4.

As this is called an almond hand cream I'm pleased to see that almond oil is the fourth ingredient as The Body Shop can be be guilty of naming products after an ingredient that is only there in very small quantities. The £3.50 £4 hand creams are quite highly scented but this one is quite subtle, although that might be because almond is quite a subtle scent in itself. I haven't smelt any of the other scents so I don't know if they're stronger. 

It's a light cream, so it might not be enough in the winter if you suffer from very dry hands, and as soon as you start to rub it in it melts down to an almost water like feeling. Just like the cheaper The Body Shop hand creams it absorbs very quickly, although maybe not quite as quick, and doesn't leave any greasy residue behind on your hands. 

Although I do like this hand cream I personally prefer the cheaper ones and as they are cheaper it's a bit of a no brainer really that those are the ones I'll be buying in the future. You can buy The Body Shop's hand creams in store and online.
This weeks offer at The Body Shop is 30% off and 
free delivery when you spend £10. Use code 14671.

Are you a fan of The Body Shop's hand creams?

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Help! Which shade to match my dress?

A week today I'm going to a friends wedding and I need your help with a very important dilemma - which nail varnish I should wear to match the dress I'm wearing! 

Which shade to match my dress?

The dress is from Warehouse and it has a black top section with a slightly crazy brush stroke type design on the skirt, featuring several different colours. I bought this back when I had the gift voucher I won for House of Fraser to spend so it didn't cost me a penny. I didn't really need a dress like this, as at the time I didn't think I had an occasion coming up for me to wear it to, but it caught my eye and every time I walked away I ended up coming back to it (the shop assistants must have thought I was a mad women!) so I just couldn't resist it. It was only afterwards that I suddenly realised I do have a wedding to go to this year. I'm not sure if black is really an appropriate choice for a wedding, but as only the top part is completely black I decided it would be fine.

As there's several different colours in the skirt I'm really not sure what colour to wear on my nails to match. The options I've pulled out of my collection are Illamasqua Collide, which is a bright neon pink that almost perfectly matches the pink on the skirt, Maybelline Color show Ocean blue, which is an inky blue shimmer and Soigné Caramel which is a milky nude shade. 

Which shade would you suggest I go with, or should I go with another shade completely?

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Soigné sale bargains

Soigné nail varnishes are a little on the pricey side at £11 each, which makes them around the same price as OPI, but when they have a sale their prices are usually slashed to half price, which I think is a bit of a bargain. The sale I got these shades in finished several weeks ago but they do appear to have sales quite regularly. If you're interested in giving them a try or adding to your existing collection I'd recommend following them on Twitter or signing up to their emails so you know when the next sale launches. 

Soigné nail shades
Soigné nail shades
Soigné nail shades

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that I've swatched the red shades the wrong way round, sorry about that!  

I have a nice little collection of Soigné shades now; two of their boxed collections and five individual shades has taken my total up to 15. If you're not familiar with Soigné yet they're five free, vegan friendly, against animal testing and made of up to 85% plant-sourced, natural ingredients. I really enjoy using their nail varnishes as they're really easy to apply, although they can take a few coats to build opacity as they are quite thin, and I also find they last really well.

I placed this order back in June using some birthday money but I was obviously craving some darker A/W type shades at the time. I'll start off with darkest of them all, L'encre de Seiche, which is a deep inky black. I have a shimmer black (Nails Inc Alexa Silk) but don't have a good flat black shade so thought I'd pick one up for nail art or when I'm feeling super dark nails in the winter.

Although I've never really been a fan of blue or green nail shades in the past I've found myself picking up more and more of these sorts of shades recently. I spotted Glaҫage turquoise and it caught my eye, more as a colour in general than a nail shade, so I decided to try it. Although the name suggests this is a turquoise it's actually much closer to a teal shade. My camera has captured it very similar to the shade shown on the Soigné website but I'm afraid neither are quite right. This is a deeper shade that is more on the green side than the blue it appears above.

Cerise is not bad as a description of the corresponding shade, I would say it's a deep cerise. On the website this actually looks much more like a purple shade and is described as like a cherry pie. Finally Betteraves rouges is a deep sultry red and the swatch on the website is actually pretty close, although when pictured in the bottle it looks a little darker.

I'm a big fan of Soigné nail varnishes but I am a little disappointed that some of the shade swatches on the website aren't very close to the actual shades. I believe the only way you can currently buy Soigné nail varnishes in the UK is through the website (and a few shades available through the Birchbox website) so this does make it a little difficult choosing the shades you want. I know showing accurate shades online is always difficult because of different screens displaying different colours, so it's not something you can get round easily. I usually search for pictures on Pinterest to try and get a rough idea of a shade but there are very few pictures of Soigné on there. I should have done a Google search as the pictures on there are quite good for showing the true shade.

Have you tried any nail varnishes from Soigné?

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Nail art - Neon cow print

I have to admit I've never seen a neon pink cow...

If you follow me on Pinterest you've probably noticed I'm just a little nail art obsessed and I recently spotted a design that really grabbed my attention. You can find the original design here. I don't know why this particular design caught my eye so much but I decided I needed to give it a try myself. 

Nail art - Neon cow print
Nail art - Neon cow print
Nail art - Neon cow print
Nail art - Neon cow print

For my base I decided to go with the latest addition to my Illamasqua nail varnish collection which is called Collide. This was a TK Maxx bargain at just £3.99, which is a very good price as I believe Illamasqua nail varnishes are now up to £14.50 each. Although they are pricey I personally think they're worth it as they're such amazing quality. 

My camera has completely bleached out the neon-ness of Collide so you'll have to imagine this as a deeper much more neon pink, The sort of colour that means people can't fail to notice your nails, especially if you've them added a cow print over the top! For the cow print I just took a few different sizes of dotting tool and used Soigné L'encre de Seiche, which is a clean inky black. I overlapped a few dots to make larger patches and then dotted around a few smaller dots. I then finished it off with Seche Vite.  

What do you think of neon cow print?

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Blemish fighting skincare

Although I don't actually suffer with acne any more like many people I do suffer with occasional breakouts, usually related to 'that time of the month' or things like stress. There are a few skincare products that I think really do help in trying to prevent these breakouts, or help to treat them when they do occur, so I thought I'd do a little roundup of my favourites.

Blemish fighting skincare

If I'm suffering with a breakout my first step will be to apply a clay mask to try and draw some of that yuckiness up and out of my skin. When I was much younger I tried my first clay mask and had to wash it off very quickly when my skin started to burn and I've avoided them ever since. It was only a few years ago when my boyfriend told me that clay is inert, so it's unlikely that it was the clay that I reacted to, that I decided to give them a try again. Now I'm always very cautious and make sure I do a patch test first on a small area of skin. My favourite clay mask is Palmers Cocoa butter formula Purifying mask. This comes in at under £5 so is a bit of a bargain, but I'm not entirely sure it's available any more. If it's not then my backup is the Good things Five minute facial face mask.

I've included a foundation brush in the photo because this is my preferred method for applying a clay mask. It makes it less messy and a little more hygienic than using your fingers, especially if you give the brush at least a quick clean after every use. I know you could just wash your hands before applying, but I just prefer using a brush. You probably can't quite see but this is actually a Benefit brush, so possibly a little on the expensive side to be using for this purpose, but I won it and don't actually use flat foundation brushes so I found another use for it. 

A recent addition to my skincare stash is the REN Clearcalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser. I really wanted to try this but was a little unsure about taking the plunge and buying it because for one it's quite expensive at £19 and also because I thought it might not be the ideal product for dry skin. After reading a couple of reviews I thought it was safe to give it a try and when my boyfriend offered to treat me in Space NK I made it mine. It's safe to say I love it and I'll dedicate a full post to it soon. 

After using a mask/cleansing there are two toners that I find really help with preventing and helping to treat blemishes. These are Lush Tea tree water and La Roche-Posay Serozinc. There was a lot of excitement when it was announced that Serozinc was finally going to be available in the UK and I was invited along to an event to celebrate this, but unfortunately I couldn't make it. I was told they'd pop one in the post for me to try, but apparently demand was high and supply a little on the low side so I only received it around 5 months later! Using this on my chin seems to really help with preventing/treating blemishes. 

I'm coming towards the end of my second bottle of Tea tree toner water and I'll be repurchasing when it runs out. Tea tree is antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial, so it's great for killing spot causing bacteria and stopping it spreading across your skin causing further blemishes.  

One product that I bought soon after its release and have used every day since is La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo+. This is a pretty amazing all rounder helping to prevent blemishes in the first place, helping to get rid of them more quickly when you do get a breakout and helping to heal the skin and reduce scarring afterwards. If my breakout does start to get bad enough I will end up turning to my prescription treatment, but this is usually good enough for mild to slightly more severe breakouts. I've found that this and the tea tree water are pretty amazing together.

Do you suffer from blemish prone skin? What products do you like to use?

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