Thursday, 27 June 2013

Here comes the sun

The sun is finally starting to come out, and we need to protect our eyes. After all, you only get one set. So what can you do to ensure your peepers stay in perfect condition?

1. Use eye cream. Morning and night. Any one will do. The main things you should look for are moisturisation (naturally), to help bust any dry skin around the eye area, and more importantly, an SPF, to protect against ageing and sunburn. I like the eye creams by Avene and Elizabeth Grant - but any pharmacy or department store will be able to advise you.

2. Use an SPF. While many products (including eye creams) do contain SPF, it's still not quite as good as a proper sun cream. The good news is that alongside sun creams intended especially for the face, there are also sun creams intended specifically for the eye area. Try the following:
  • Orlane Paris Soleil Vital 25 Sun Block Stick Lips and Eyes
  • Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream
  • Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Cream (white tube)
  • ISIS Pharma Light Eyes High Sun Protection
  • Avon Anew Solar Advance Eye and Lip Sunscreen
  • Lancaster Sun Beauty Stick Eyes and Lips
  • La Prairie Ultra Protection Stick Eye, Lip, Nose
  • Guinot Yeux Anti-Ageing Sun Protection
  • Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage
3. Use an eye primer. While many women sensibly avoid makeup at the beach - it's good to give your skin a break and the heat and sea water often make makeup run anyway - I can't blame anyone for wanting to look brighter around the eyes. You may as well stay protected into the bargain, so look for an eye primer with SPF. And for those of you who do wish to wear makeup to the seaside, these should keep your eye makeup in place too.
  • bareMinerals Well Rested SPF 20 Eye Brightener
  • Larenim Eye Colour and Primer
  • bareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer
  • Laura Mercier Eye Basics
  • Laura Mercier Eye Canvas
4. Get glasses. Sunglasses are an indispensable accessory - not just for fashion, but to protect your eyes so that you can carry on seeing beautiful sights for your entire life. Happily, most brands cover both, providing on-trend styles in conjunction with quality protection. Brand Alley's flash sale (on until Sunday 30th June 2013; Ray-Ban sale until July 2nd) currently sees many major brands on sale at up to 70% off, including Agent Provocateur, Chloe and Fendi. Currently browsing to see what I can get my mitts on :)

Have a great weekend, folks, and enjoy the sun :)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Body Shop Mango Beautifying Oil

RRP: £9/100ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Beautifying Oil is pure beauty in a bottle. Made with a lightweight blend of nut oils including Community Fair Trade marula oil, it gives instant hydration and a shimmering finish. This one has an exotic mango scent."

The flip top plastic lid is sadly inconvenient, as it's difficult to control the flow of oil from the bottle, inevitably resulting in wastage. A pump-action bottle would be better. However, I love the see-through bottle, as the golden colour of the oil is complemented beautifully by the bronzed colour of the lid, as well as by the mango motif. Plus, a see-through bottle means you can always see how much remains.

Rub between your hands to warm slightly. Use to remove makeup (just wipe off the oil using a cotton pad), to hydrate your face and body, to give shine to hair, or as a massage oil. There's nothing difficult about any of this, as any excess can be rubbed into any exposed skin on your body (arms, legs, feet...).

While the oil has a golden sheen in the bottle, it's not at all shimmery and so slicks on invisibly when it comes to most uses. However, I found that when used as a facial hydrator it did 'sit' on the skin for a bit longer than I would have liked it to, so don't use it right before going out unless you particularly like looking shiny.

Smells gorgeously of mango. Definitely delivers on its promise there!

--Texture and consistency--
Not at all sticky, and sinks in quickly when used to nourish body skin. However, I wasn't brave enough to try it on my hair thanks to my perennially greasy roots, and when I tried using it as a facial hydrator, I found that it took a bit too long to sink in, really, even though I was careful to use it sparingly on my face.

--Effects on the skin--
I'd class this as an effective body hydrator and will probably continue to use the product in this way, as well as using it as a makeup remover (this effectively removes most makeup, apart from a few stubborn types of mascara). However, my acneic facial skin never did take well to this - skin felt greasier and I had more spots, which is a shame, as I've had more success with other facial oils in the past.

--Value for money--
I was kindly sent this by The Body Shop's PR, so didn't pay on this occasion. However, its cost of £9 is probably fair. It's made with high-quality ingredients, a multi-use product is always appreciated (remember that I did find two good uses for it, so other people are likely to find this and more besides), and even though the bottle looks small you need very little each time (meaning that the bottle is likely to last ages). I would therefore recommend this to others - and for those who aren't mango fans, the oil is also available in other variants (including sweet lemon, moringa, and brazil nut). 

perfect partners
Mango Body Butter, £13 
Mango Hand Cleanse Gel, £2.50
Mango Lip Butter, £4
Mango Whip Body Lotion, from £3
Mango Body Scrub, £12.50
Mango Bath Shower Gel Cream, from £2
Mango Soap, £2

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Laura Geller Baked Eye Rimz Shadow with Brush

 RRP: £19.50
# of shades available: 5

--What does the promo say?--
"Laura Geller Baked Eye Rimz Shadow with brush. Boasts a buildable palette that's packed with colour which when applied will reflect a multitude of shades, complete with a handy application brush. Add a splash of funky colour to your eyelids with the Eye Rimz Baked Wet/Dry Eye Accents from Laura Geller."

The round pot is cheerful and classic, evoking the iconic Bourjois while still managing to be different thanks to the edgy black palette (as opposed to the Bourjois tactic of colouring the pot the same shade as the product). Mine incidentally did not come with a brush, but as this was free thanks to a QVC press day (they are the main retailer of Laura Geller products in the UK), I don't think I can complain too much.

Use the brush or your fingers to blend the dry baked shadow outwards from the eyelash line to create instant and idiot-proof smoky eyes. Wet the brush and use this as your eyeliner. Simples - especially as when in eyeliner mode it dries instantly, meaning that you're good to go straight away.

While the effect of the dry shadow is slightly one-dimensional (despite the smoky eye result), the real shimmer comes once the shadow has been wetted using the brush. The eyeliner immediately stands out while still creating a harmonised result with the rest of your eye makeup. A classic yet edgy effect.

The dry shadow will crease by the end of the day; this is not 12-hour wear stuff. However, the liner (wetted shadow, if you will) lasts much better - I am sure bits of my application from this morning only came off because I rubbed my eyes due to being tired and hot.

--Value for money--
This price is comparable to online retail prices of similar makeup products by Guerlain and Shiseido, which could make one think that the Laura Geller brand is punching a bit above its weight. However, I don't think this is a bad quality product. You can create some good effects easily, and besides, the product never claims to withstand long commutes, human lapses in thought, or hot city weather. Plus, QVC often have good offers on, which increases the product's value - and, in addition, you then have a brand that's up-and-coming that not everyone else has, which is in itself of great value.

perfect partners

Laura Geller I-Care Eye Brightener Duo, £23.00

Laura Geller Baked Impressions Eyeshadow 6.5g, £24.50

Laura Geller Waterproof Eye Spackle Primer, £20.50

Laura Geller Baked Eye Elements Palette, £28

Laura Geller Eye Rimz Pencil Duo, £22

Laura Geller Wide Awake Eye Duo, £23

Laura Geller Inkwell Eyeliner Duo, £24.50

Laura Geller Eye Rimz Eye Accents with Brush, £20

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Louis Marcel Crystal Gel Body Wax Strips

RRP: £6.18/20 strips
retails at HealthCounter and Fragrance Direct; also available on eBay

--What does the promo say?--
"Louis Marcel Crystal Gel Strip Wax is a salon style cold wax like treatment for use at home, in safe, easy and ready to use pre-coated strips. Unwanted hair is removed down to and including roots, so regrowth does not normally occur for up to six weeks, and hair regrowth will appear finer and less obvious."

The wax strips are transparent, showing a pale pink translucent wax ready for use on the strips. The pink and white cardboard box also contains a sachets of oil to remove excess wax and to soothe the treated area after waxing. Much is made on the box of the product's floral ingredients thanks to the large pink flower motif - among the ingredients are camellia, rosemary and geranium.

Rub the strips between your hands briefly to warm the wax. Peel the strips apart before laying one down on the skin in the direction of the hair growth. Holding the skin taut, pull the strip off quickly against the direction of the hair growth. The strip can be used repeatedly until it is no longer effective (although I personally didn't fancy trying this, as what comes out on a wax strip always looks so gross!). This is all pretty easy and even relatively painless (although I have pretty low sensitivity when it comes to waxing the armpit area, so this will probably vary between individuals) :)

The nice thing about the translucent pink wax - apart from looking pretty - is that even if you were to miss getting off all of the excess wax after use, it wouldn't show, as it's practically invisible. The balm oil wipes also don't leave any visible residue on the skin.

Perhaps slightly floral, but nothing too overbearing.

--Texture and consistency--
The wax is non-irritating and skin is left with a smooth, moisturised finish thanks to the combination of the wax ingredients and the balm oil wipes.

--Effects on the skin--
While the wax strips removed an impressive amount, they didn't remove *everything* (ugh, sorry) on the one time through that I used the wax strips. The brand does recommend that hair is 4-5mm long for best results, though, so if you have left it longer than this, or not been patient enough, then it's unsurprising that it would take longer or require the use of more strips to get a perfect result. However, it's really not bad for a home kit (I've used worse) and this could help people to feel much more confident about waxing at home.

--Value for money--
As promised, this is fast and simple to use, as well as being (at least relatively or partially) effective, which is already a good start. However, true value for money will depend on what's on offer in your area, and on your own priorities - I can get my armpits waxed for €4 a time, so an RRP of closer to €8 or €9 a box would require some consideration for me. It would depend how many wax strips I needed to use each time and how I prioritize doing this myself at home vs somebody else doing it for me, faster. You should also shop around, as several websites offer this below the RRP, which naturally increases value for money. Generally, though, a product I would recommend.

perfect partners
Hair Removal Cream for Face and Bikini Line, £4.38 
Hair Removal Mousse, £3