Thursday, 22 October 2015

Time Bomb Smart Balm Eye Cream

 RRP: £29 for 15ml
 
--What does the promo say?--
"Actively targets dark circles, fine lines and crepe-y texture around eyes. Moisturizes, plumps and smoothes the look of delicate eye area tissue. Has an instant, temporary tightening effect to decrease the look of fine lines and wrinkles."

--Packaging--
The white slender tube is nothing special, but the pink and green lettering really pops and asserts itself as part of the brand identity (where pink and green play a big part in the colour scheme across the board).

--Application--
Use your ring finger (the weakest finger, don't you know!) to gently dab this around the eye area once you've washed your face. Pat gently into the skin around the eye until fully absorbed - don't pull or drag the skin.

--Appearance--
Bright white, but sinks in invisibly.

--Scent--
The borage and calendula in the cream come through a little, but there's nothing overbearing in this at all.

--Texture and consistency--
Not at all sticky or drying - sinks in beautifully and leaves skin feeling soft.

--Effects on the skin--
As well as moisturising effectively, it genuinely brightens the eye area and wrinkles appear reduced. Nice one.

--Value for money--
I wasn't necessarily expecting it to be as expensive as £29 a go (I was sent mine for free, for what it's worth), particularly as this puts it in the same price bracket as many major brands (such as Clinique, Benefit and Elemis) - which can be a little disconcerting when a brand is so new to the market by comparison. However, as it works and is a joy to use, I feel I'm in no position to knock it. On the whole, my experience so far as is such that Time Bomb products not only are effective and lovely to use, but as such would make lovely gifts as well (the Time Bomb website has a great selection) - particularly as they have the sparkle of the celebrity factor, too, without being cheesy. Great work, Lulu!

perfect partners
Neck, Jaw and Chest Cream, from £13.50
Collagen Bomb Essential Skin Fuel, £65
Youth Juice Secret Oil, from £16 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Philip Kingsley Re-Moisturising Shampoo

RRP: £17

--What does the promo say?--
"This shampoo for medium textured wavy hair, gently cleanses and balances the different needs of your roots and ends (i.e. less at roots, more at dry, damaged ends). Containing wheat protein it helps to deliver the correct balance of moisture to your hair leaving it more manageable and lustrous. Its unique formula contains a natural antistatic conditioning barrier which helps smooth your hair's cuticle to improve combing and condition, and also anti-oxidants for added protection."

--Packaging--
The nozzle is quite different to the usual flip-top lid shapes that you see, but is still easy to use and secure to close. The brand name is emblazoned across the bottle, but with no other illustrations or colours it manages to stay quite minimalist and unisex. The colour of the lettering also changes according to the type of product you're using, so each product is still part of the brand family while staying distinct in itself.

--Application--
As usual really. Lather up onto the scalp and smooth through the hair before rinsing (and repeating, if desired).

--Appearance--
A translucent beige gel which becomes a white lather when mixed with water. Leaves no visible residue on hair or skin.

--Scent--
Wheaty and clean; like cotton or freshly laundered sheets. Pleasant and unisex.

--Texture and consistency--
Smooth, luxurious, lathers well, and rinses easily. No stickiness or wateriness.

--Effects on the hair--
On the day of washing, and possibly also on the day after, I do notice an increase in lustre and manageability, as promised. There is also increased smoothness and a lack of static flyaway, with ends moisturised and roots degreased. However, after day 2 my hair begins to feel heavier and greasier, and I can't go as long between washes with this as I would with other shampoos.

--Value for money--
£17 a bottle isn't cheap, but it does last several months, even with regular use. I am always happy with the results in the first day or two of washing, but do wish I could go longer between washes as I prefer to avoid heat treatments (I have to blow-dry my hair every time I wash it, otherwise due to the length it takes too long to dry on its own). However, Philip Kingsley does have several different types of shampoo and conditioner for hair like mine, so I would definitely be interested to see if these are different in this regard. Nonetheless, a high-quality product that generally suits the needs of my hair.

perfect partners
Moisture Balancing Conditioner, £20
Moisture Extreme Jet Set, £24
Soft & Shiny Try Me Kit, £6

Thursday, 15 October 2015

No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick

RRP: £9.95
# of shades available: 35

--What does the promo say?--
"Nourish your lips with No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick, this moisturising formulation keeps your lips smooth and soft. Hypo-allergenic. Fragrance free. SPF 15. Intense lip colour. Satin finish."

--Packaging--
An ergonomic tapered design whose lid closes securely. The No7 embossed logo, as well as the black casing, is equally elegant, and the lipstick itself is cut to a curve that sits well on the lips during application.

--Application--
Use the stick itself, or a lip brush to apply colour directly to the lips, taking extra care around the Cupid's bow to ensure neatness.

--Scent--
Fragrance free, as mentioned in the promotional materials. Not overly chemical or waxy either.

--Appearance--
As promised, the finish is satin-like: mostly matte with a slight shine. New shades have also been added for autumn: Honey Bloom, Caramel Silk, and Tawny Rose, which I was sent to test by No7's PR. These new shades are dusky and flattering in appearance; even those that on first glance might appear too dark or bright look far more naturally flushed on the skin.

--Texture and consistency--
As promised, these lipsticks moisturise impressively, making them perfect for autumn and winter, when the colder weather begins to dry out skin.

--Longevity--
Lasts impressively, especially given the product's moisturisation qualities (which can make lipstick fade more quickly). You can eat and drink with this on and still not need to reapply for a while.

--Value for money--
This delivers function and form - i.e., luxury and utility. It's also inexpensive, with value increased further thanks to Boots' frequent special offers on No7 products. Would recommend!

perfect partners
Match Made Concealer, £7.50
Natural Blush Tint Powder, £8.00

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Irresistible Me Clip-In Silky Touch Hair Extensions

RRP: from $79
# of shades available: 11

--What does the promo say?--
"Silky Touch is our best-selling line. These 100% Remy human hair extensions are fantastic quality for a friendly price and can be very easily washed, heat styled, cut and colored to blend in your hair perfectly. The thickness of the hair decreases slightly towards the ends just like normal hair does which will provide a completely natural look while wearing them. The Silky Touch extensions are perfect for anybody who loves adding a bit of volume and/or length to their hair occasionally or for special events and offer the best quality/price ratio on the market. If you’re just starting with hair extensions and you want something great, the Silky Touch clip-in hair extensions are the way to go. Each set is composed of 10, 8 or 7 pieces of different widths depending on the weight you choose, purposely adapted to cover your head all around."

--Packaging--
The hair extensions arrive in a clear plastic envelope with a Zip-lock style closing mechanism, as well as hygiene stickers over the opening to seal it, which reassures you that the hair extensions have not been opened prior to you using them. The clear envelope also means you can check the colour and quality of the extensions before opening the package. The envelope also has two parts to it, with the smaller part containing the smaller extensions (1-2 clips) and not protected by a hygiene seal. This means you can open the smaller part of the envelope and handle and look at (and even use!) the extensions more closely to decide if you are satisfied with the product. If not, the larger part of the envelope (with the hygiene seal still on) can be easily returned for a refund. The envelope, as well as the black hairnets that the extensions arrive in, also makes sure that the extensions are convenient for travel and storage.

Normal length hair
--Usage--
There are luckily plenty of videos on the Irresistible Me website showing you how to put in the extensions - great for people like me who have never used extensions before! But the upshot of the procedure is this: you pin up most of your hair so that it is out of the way, leaving only a small part trailing at the nape of your neck. Affix one of the three-clip wefts to the parting created, then let down a little more hair, creating a new parting at around the bottom of your ears. Add another three-part weft and then repeat the process, adding the four-part weft at the top of your ears and the final three-part weft level with your temples (but still at the back of the head), ensuring that you leave enough hair at the top to cover the wefts. Let this back down and then brush the top of your hair to create your usual parting (centre, side...). Repeat the process on either side of your parting using the two- and one-clip wefts. This whole process took me about 45 minutes the first time, but would definitely speed up as time went on and you used them more often.

with long hair!
--Appearance--
Once I was done putting in the extensions, I was extremely happy with the appearance of my hair. It had not just greater length but greater volume as well, meaning I had the long luxurious Disney princess hair that I had always wanted. Equally, the colour was a perfect match, and people at work commented on all of these aspects the first day I wore them. The extensions in no way look fake or plastic, so you can be sure that you are getting quality. In short, I couldn't have been happier. (Be careful: when first putting them in you may find that some wefts/clips are still visible if you haven't left quite enough hair at the top of your head to cover them. Just check after each weft inserted, and change it then if you need to, as it is more difficult to go back later and reinsert it to make it invisible.)

--Texture and consistency--
As these are made of real human hair (which some might question the ethics of, depending on how the extensions are sourced - something the Irresistible Me website doesn't tell us), they unsurprisingly feel exactly the same, and can be brushed and styled in the same way. The name 'Silky Touch' is definitely not a misnomer! Weight-wise, you can choose from 140g or 200g, with Irresistible Me's PR sending me the latter (due to the length of the extensions I chose - i.e., 20 inches). This extra weight takes a little getting used to and you do feel the clips in your hair as well, although it's not unpleasant or painful (just different).

--Removal--
While the brand website doesn't give exact guidance about this, I would definitely recommend removing these at the end of each day, as opposed to sleeping in them, as I think the clips would probably get matted or tangled while you slept or showered and would become more difficult to remove (the extensions can be hand-washed separately in your bathroom basin). The clips stay secure in your hair all day, meaning there are no worries about them falling out, but are easy to remove when you want to.

--Value for money--
These definitely do not come cheap. Prices start at $79 for the Silky Touch extensions, but this can go up depending on colour, length and weight. My 20-inch, 200g hair extensions in Silky Golden Blonde (#14) cost $189. So definitely a purchase for special occasions, but not exactly out of reach, either (particularly with free worldwide shipping; discount vouchers are regularly offered as well). Despite the initial outlay and possible ethical considerations in terms of the hair's provenance, I would class them as good value: I was extremely pleased with the results visually as well as the hair extensions' overall usability, and clearly they can be used more than once, making them far better value than a trip to the hair salon. I have already recommended these to friends and family, and look forward to wearing them again on many special occasions in future. Thank you, Irresistible Me!

perfect partners
Diamond Hair Styler, $149
Sapphire 8 in 1 Curler, $199
Liquid Gold Shampoo and Conditioner, $24 each