Saturday, 30 April 2016

This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less

RRP: £12 for 10ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Clears your head so you can breathe more deeply and stress less. this works Deep Sleep Stress Less is a soothing natural remedy to help you breathe more easily and calm your senses promoting a better nights sleep. Refreshing eucalyptus cleanses, invigorates and helps to counter physical and mental fatigue. Frankincense essential oil acts as an antiseptic to help fight infections and to help you relax physically and mentally whilst rejuvenating the skin. Lavender oil is the most effective oil in helping hypertension, nervous tension and insomnia. this works Deep Sleep Stress Less is a multi-purpose aromatherapy blend that can be used anytime to de-stress or at night-time to help promote a restful sleep."

--Packaging--
A soothing blue and white colour scheme fits well with the purpose of the product, and the minimalist design also fits well with this works' general aesthetic. The roller ball design is convenient, secure and easy to use, making it handy for travel too.

--Application--
Roll onto pressure points, such as your wrists and neck, as well as chest area, to enable inhalation of the essential oils' vapours throughout the night. Can also be rolled onto tissues.

--Appearance--
A clear oily liquid that leaves no visible residue.

--Scent--
The lavender is the most obvious essential oil in this blend, but it's counterbalanced well by the eucalyptus in particular, which would also make it a good choice to help you sleep when you have a cold. I love a good multi-use product :)

--Texture and consistency--
While it is of course oily, it rubs well into skin and won't stain bed linen or nightclothes. 

--Effects--
Will not irritate skin during use, so great even for sensitive skin types. I am a perennial insomniac, so my experiences will obviously always vary, but I would definitely say that it has a calming effect and can aid sleep. As mentioned, it's also excellent for other purposes (e.g. helping you breathe more easily during coughs and colds).

--Value for money--
While it appears on the expensive side, this is made with high-quality essential oils and one bottle would last you a long time. Equally, it's not much for a multi-use product (which I was sent for free by this works' lovely PR) whose ingredients are proven to help you destress, sleep better and even decongest. As we know, a good night's sleep is not called beauty sleep for nothing! Would recommend :)

perfect partners
Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, from £16
Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle, £25
Deep Sleep Night Oil, £25
Deep Sleep Dream Cream, £18
Deep Sleep Body Therapy, £20
Deep Sleep Bath Oil, £80

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Beauty Byte: Lily Lolo Nail Polish

I've long been a fan of Lily Lolo for their natural, lightweight foundations and concealers that still offer great coverage. However, good news for eco beauty fans: they're now bringing out nail polish! Available in six shades (see left), it promises to say no to many of the nasty chemicals found in traditional varnishes, including toluene and formaldehyde. And at £6.99 a bottle, it's affordable too. My money's on Soft Coral, which looks like it would go with everything, affording you a stylish look every day with minimum fuss. But with my favourite colour being purple, you might just see me sporting the Temptress shade as well. Out on May 17th 2016, just remember that you heard it here first :)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Crabtree and Evelyn Gardeners Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy

RRP: from £6 for 25g

--What does the promo say?--
"After a long day of handling thorny situations, our Gardeners Hand Therapy is just the help you need. Containing a blend of nutrient-rich shea butter, moisturising glyercin, deodorising clover and soothing bisabolo from camomile our hand therapy will help nourish and condition work-roughened hands.
  • Shea butter rich formula
  • Soothes
  • Conditions
  • Restores softness
  • New durable polylaminate tube"
--Packaging--
The brown tube is new and different, and echoes the earthiness of the 'gardeners' concept. The octagonal screw-top lid, however, is a bit sharp on the corners and therefore not very nice to undo, especially when tightly screwed on. The range of packaging sizes (25g all the way up to 250ml) is a good move, however, meaning that you're well-equipped whether on the move or in your normal bathroom at home.

--Application--
Rub into dry hands whenever needed. 

--Appearance--
White, but leaves no visible residue on the skin.

--Scent--
Simply gorgeous: the herbal elements, such as the rosemary, sage and thyme, are particularly evident, meaning that the scent can be enjoyed by all as it isn't overpoweringly floral or sweet. Again, very in keeping with the 'gardeners' theme too.

--Texture and consistency--
Smooth, while still being luxuriously thick, and sinks into skin quickly. No stickiness at all.

--Effects on the skin--
Hands feel instantly smoother and soothed. 

--Value for money--
The range of available sizes means there's something for every budget (I was sent the smallest version by Crabtree and Evelyn's PR - perfect for my handbag!), and the pleasing scent and clear smoothing effects are undeniable. However, it would be very much appreciated if Crabtree and Evelyn were to remove palm oil from their products as soon as possible, as the deleterious environmental effects associated with this ingredient are well-documented, and its usage is completely unnecessary in a product that already is jam-packed with luscious essential oils.

perfect partners
Nail and Cuticle Therapy, £10
Hand Recovery Scrub, from £5
Hand Wash, £15
Hand Scrub with Pumice, £13
60 Second Fix Kit for Hands, from £10
Deluxe Gift Set, £50

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Correct and Perfect Complexion Scrub

RRP: £5.99/150ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Neutrogena Visibly Clear® Correct & Perfect Complexion Scrub contains a combination of salicylic acid and gentle exfoliating microbeads to help:
 Clear skin without over-drying it.
 Remove dead skin cells and hidden impurities that can lead to new breakouts
 Even skin complexion by stimulating the skin’s natural renewal process."

--Packaging--
The bright orange and purple colour scheme is both unusual and unisex, while the robust flip-top lid is both easy to use and secure.

--Application--
Rub onto damp skin before wiping off with a face cloth.

--Appearance--
A white, grainy paste that washes off the skin easily, leaving no visible residue.

--Scent--
Nothing in particular stands out - just a clean, perhaps slightly medicinal smell.

--Texture and consistency--
Satisfyingly scrubby - you feel like the microbeads are working well to even out skin, while not feeling as though you've been attacked with sandpaper. In short, it's effective, not abrasive. 

--Effects on the skin--
Dry patches and spots are both reduced - great for those of us with combination skin.

--Value for money--
At £5.99 this will hardly break the bank, particularly if you also manage to catch the product on special offer, so you've nothing to lose by giving it a try. My only disappointment would perhaps be that given the now well-known environmental impact of microbeads, I would obviously prefer to now use products that contain natural exfoliants instead - something I should have considered more carefully when reading the press release before requesting my sample. Nonetheless, there's no denying the product's efficacy, which comes at an affordable price.

perfect partners
Spot Clearing Facial Wash, £4.99
Blackhead Eliminating Cleansing Lotion, £3.25
Rapid Clear Treatment, £3.69
Blackhead Eliminating SOS Cleanser, £4.89
CC Cream, £6.99
Spot Stress Control Daily Scrub, £3.69
Oil-Free Moisturiser, £4.19
Gentle Exfoliating Wash, £3.79
Blackhead Scrub, £3.69
Spot Stress Control Daily Exfoliating Wash, £4.49
2 in 1 Wash and Mask, £3.69

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Sure 0% Aluminium Soft & Gentle Deodorant

RRP: £2.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Stay fresh and confident all day with Soft & Gentle aluminium-free anti-perspirant deodorant. Scientifically developed with natural plant extracts, our unique complex provides effective sweat and odour protection whilst allowing your skin the freedom to breathe. Suitable for all skin, including very sensitive, and all the family."

--Packaging--
The pastel colours are pleasing and despite not having a separate lid, the spray mechanism is both secure and easy to use. 

--Application--
Hold a safe distance away, in a well-ventilated area, when spraying onto the underarm. Pretty easy really.

--Appearance--
Unlike most deodorants, no white marks! WIN.

--Scent--
Quite powdery, but truthfully, despite the three different scents available, any variations proved indistinguishable.

--Texture and consistency--
Not thick or grainy, but sprays invisibly onto skin, blending in immediately.

--Effects on the skin--
Seems to have a gentle and moisturising effect, but does not deodorise for as long during the day as stronger deodorants (such as my tried and tested favourites, Driclor and Mitchum). I accept, however, that as a hyperhydrosis sufferer I will have a more difficult job than most in terms of finding something that I can truly rely upon. Nonetheless, the inclusion of sage and horsetail in the ingredients fits well with Soft & Gentle's promotion of seven steps to a healthy, natural lifestyle - #sgsteps - which consists of not only advising further use of more natural products, but also exercise, healthy eating, motivation, positive mental attitude, and conscious breathing.

--Value for money--
I was sent my deodorants for free, but £2.99 is worth it to me for the lack of white marks alone (and Superdrug has it on offer already, so you can even end up paying less). It's also very competitive with current market prices, so even if you switch from your current brand to give this a try, chances are you have nothing to lose. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Correct and Perfect CC Cream

RRP: £6.99
# of shades available: 2

--What does the promo say?--
"Neutrogena Visibly Clear® has developed a CC Cream that instantly covers spots and other imperfections, while helping to correct them – in one easy step. Immediately, your complexion looks more even. Day after day, your skin is clinically proven to become clearer and healthier-looking, even without make-up!"

--Packaging--
The orange and purple banding is distinctive, cheerful and unisex, meaning that it not only stands out on the shelf but also clearly marks this product out as part of Neutrogena's Correct and Perfect range (which also includes a scrub). The flip-top lid is hardy and practical, while the image on the front of the tube, showing a swipe of cream, clearly shows both what the product is and the type of shade you can expect. Equally, the brand logo is clearly visible while being discreet.

--Application--
Apply a thin layer to the skin first, and then wait for this to dry before building up coverage. Adding too thick a layer at the start will cause the product to cake unevenly.

--Appearance--
The 'light' shade of the cream, kindly sent to me by Neutrogena's PR, blends in perfectly with my skin tone, which is always a relief given the fact that there are only two shades available of this product. However, the coverage afforded by the product is rather light, too, and thus not what I would wish.

--Scent--
Nothing discernible.

--Texture and consistency--
While initially smooth, creamy and luxurious without clogging, and blends well, over time this dries in uneven patches, meaning that you need to keep an eye on it.

--Longevity--
Unfortunately again in this respect the product tends to cake and show up the driest areas of your skin (for those of us with combination skin), meaning that reapplications are necessary.

--Effects on the skin--
A small improvement in blemish quantity is definitely notable, which is a positive point for this product and fulfils what they promise.

--Value for money--
At £6.99 this is hardly going to break the bank, and it has moisturising as well as blemish-busting qualities. However, I'm not liking the caking effect much, which suggests that going back to the drawing board in terms of texture would be advisable in the longer term.

perfect partners
Spot Clearing Facial Wash, £4.99
Blackhead Eliminating Cleansing Lotion, £3.25
Rapid Clear Treatment, £3.69
Blackhead Eliminating SOS Cleanser, £4.89
Complexion Scrub, £5.99
Spot Stress Control Daily Scrub, £3.69
Oil-Free Moisturiser, £4.19
Gentle Exfoliating Wash, £3.79
Blackhead Scrub, £3.69
Spot Stress Control Daily Exfoliating Wash, £4.49
2 in 1 Wash and Mask, £3.69

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

GIVEAWAY: Neutrogena CC Cream

Neutrogena have very kindly sent me one of their brand new Visibly Clear Correct and Perfect CC Creams (in Medium) to give away to one of you lovely people. Yes, you!

I also have one to test for myself, which I'm looking forward to doing, as it promises to cover spots and breakout marks while helping to correct them too. It contains salicylic acid, so it's bound to do something to help.

To enter, email bianca[DOT]dee[AT]gmail[DOT]com with your name and address. And that's all! The competition will close one week from today, on March 30th, 2016, at 18.30 UK time. So get emailing and good luck :)

Friday, 4 March 2016

Marc Jacobs Re(Marc)Able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate

RRP: £37 for 22ml
# of shades available: 22

--What does the promo say?--
"The weight is over: 24-hour full, flawless coverage is yours in an instant with this ultra-lightweight foundation concentrate by Marc Jacobs. This revolutionary oil-free formula contains twice as much pigment as a leading full-coverage foundation, but it is emulsified with ground-breaking ingredients so the smallest amount completely covers with dot-on perfection."

--Packaging--
The curved shape of the bottle is unusual enough to catch the eye, and yet also practical in that it does stand upright. The silver stopper and glass applicator are both unique and sophisticated - traits accentuated by the opaque glass of the bottle and minimalist approach (with just the Marc Jacobs logo adorning it).

--Application--
You'd think the glass applicator would be tricky to use, but it's not: just dab a dot onto your forehead and then one more onto each cheek, and blend with your fingers, a sponge or a foundation brush. Believe me when I say that this will do your whole face. Very easy to apply - just watch out for tide marks around the jawline and eyes.

--Appearance--
My shade (Ivory 10) is the palest available and perfect for me. It blends seamlessly and provides the excellent coverage promised, with very little touchup from concealer or powder needed. It's matte yet radiant, with the best coverage I've ever experienced.

--Scent--
Nothing discernible. I'm convinced that many more brands are getting increasingly better at this.

--Texture and consistency--
Blends smoothly and flawlessly without feeling oily or greasy. When it dries, it's powder-light and not at all cakey. Brilliant!

--Longevity--
Lasts all day, with no need for reapplication. Does not smudge or fade, and yet is easy enough to remove when required.

--Value for money--
Even a pea-sized amount would be too much per application, which shows just how little you need to cover your whole face. Has excellent coverage without clogging your skin, won't budge all night, and looks great in photos. Simply wonderful.

perfect partners
Under(Cover) Perfecting Face Primer, £30
Re(Marc)Able Full Cover Concealer, £20
Conceal Full Cover Correcting Brush, £22
Liquid Foundation Brush, £32
Perfection Powder Featherweight Finish, £32
The Blush Angled Blush Brush, £24
Shameless Bold Blush, £22

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer

RRP: £19

--What does the promo say?--
"Studio-tested. Life-proven. A shadow primer that locks on more vibrant colour for a full 24 hours. No fading, creasing or smudging! Sweat and humidity resistant. Apply a thin layer to bare lids. Wait 30 seconds, then apply shadow."

--Packaging--
The silver and black packaging is sleek, and would stand out among the frequently flesh-coloured primer packages from other brands that you might see on the shelf. The squeezy tube is a convenient size and the screw-top lid is secure. The only area for improvement might be the nozzle, which could be more tapered.

--Application--
Once you have applied your face primer to clean, dry skin, squeeze out a pea-sized amount of eye primer: this will be enough to cover both eyelids and the under-eye area on both sides of the face (there is a separate under-eye primer available too, but I've never found this to be necessary. Multi-use products for the win!). Blend in until invisible.

--Appearance--
Very pale flesh-coloured cream-gel hybrid that blends in invisibly - so don't worry that this single shade available will not match your skin tone, as it has a transparent finish.

--Scent--
Nothing discernible.

--Texture and consistency--
Completely smooth without being runny or waxy, and blends brilliantly. Has the velvetiness of a cream and the lightness of a gel, so the eye area definitely doesn't feel weighed down.

--Effects on the skin--
Eyeshadow stays put without creasing or fading. Definitely stands up to the 24-hour claim and looks great in photos and videos.

--Value for money--
While the outlay may seem initially like a lot, this primer puts in an excellent performance and is one of the best I've ever tried. A little also goes a long way, so one tube lasts a long time. A great addition to any makeup bag!

perfect partners
Photo Op Eye Shadow Trio, £23
Full Exposure Mascara, £19.50  
Photo Filter Powder Foundation, £29
Photo Finish Primer Oil, £28
Photo Finish Primer Water, £28

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Benefit How To Look The Best At Everything Flawless Complexion Makeup Kit

RRP: £25.50
available shades: 3

--What does the promo say?--
"We wrote the book on complexion perfection! Our custom perfectors give you a luminous complexion by blending away imperfections & minimising the appearance of pores. Mix & match our complexion perfectors to customize your coverage. You’ll be the first to finish flawless."

--Packaging--
As always with Benefit products, the packaging is beautiful: the vintage-style book design is lovely (and the removable tray - meaning that you can keep this when you've finished the makeup - is a terrific bonus) and the inside is generally very practical, with virtually all products removable from the tray (very few pans) with the exception of the Hello Flawless face powder (in Ivory). The PoreFessional Pro Balm is a conveniently-sized screwtop tube and the Hello Flawless foundation is a tiny pump-action canister. You also get two shades of Boi-ing concealer in a removable plastic pan - so virtually all of these products can be easily removed and put into your handbag or purse if you just want one or two of them at a given moment. The enclosed 'tips and tricks' pamphlet is equally useful (unfold it for a handy mirror!).

--Application--
Rub the PoreFessional primer all over a clean, dry face before doing the same with 1-2 pumps of the foundation. Dab the concealer over any blemishes or dark spots before finishing with the powder. You could then go on to use another Benefit travel kit for the rest of your face, such as the sadly now defunct Celebutante, or the currently available Life of the Party. (Failing that, there's always the classic Benetint or one of its newer variants.)

--Appearance--
The combination of these products gives a matte appearance with flawless coverage. The fact that this kit is available in 3 shades is a major plus - the products are bound to suit you.

--Scent--
None particularly in any case.

--Texture and consistency--
Just as you would want from any of these products: the primer blends beautifully across the face even if it is a little bit waxy, the foundation is fluid without being runny, the concealer provides maximum coverage without drying the skin, and the powder is light, meaning your skin is fully prepped without being clogged. Perfetto!

--Value for money--
Despite what seems like a steep initial outlay, the products last a long time and the beautiful box makes an excellent keepsake once you have removed the tray. Furthermore, it's so rare to find a box set that will do your whole face like this, too. Brilliant for travel!

perfect partners
They're Real! Lengthening Mascara, £19.50
They're Real! Push-Up Eyeliner, £18.50
BB Cream Eyelid Primer, £21.50
Lemon Aid, £16.50
Benetint, £24.50
Life of the Party, now £19.66 (was £29.50)