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Friday, 25 July 2014

Obsessing Over Coconut Oil

Since March, I've been using coconut oil by the truck load. I was always a sceptic, but when I found an organic, raw coconut oil in Sainsbury's, I thought it was worth giving a go and I've not looked back. It smells amazing and has done some pretty life-changing things to my beauty routine (well ok, not life-changing, but still...)


I mainly use it as a cleanser on an evening after taking the majority of my makeup off with my favourite micellar water, but in case the above picture doesn't make it obvious, it takes off a full face of makeup just fine on its own if needed. Nothing seems to remove my makeup better, and it smells amazing. It's was a complete god-send when my skin was hyper sensitive after using an acne cream. Everything else burned my skin like crazy (even makeup) but coconut oil completely soothed it and it was the only thing that seemed to relieve the stinging. I even used a thin layer as a moisturiser some nights.

My favourite use for it is probably as a hair mask. On a Friday night I like to put my hair in a high ponytail and run a small handful of melted coconut oil through the lengths of my hair. I then tie my ponytail up into a bun and sleep on it. In the morning, I'll wash my hair as normal (concentrating the shampoo a little more so on the ends) and follow with a regular conditioner. I'm left with the softest, smoothest hair I've ever had, and it blow dries so nicely that I don't even have to do anything else with it.

I'm also partial to using it as a cuticle oil, and I sometimes pop a bit onto my elbows and knees if they're feeling a bit dry.

Oh, and it's amazing for cooking too and it's SO good for you. Pancakes cooked in coconut oil are the one. Oh and these mega healthy brownies.

My coconut oil of choice is the Lucy Bee one, and I picked it up in Sainsbury's for £6. The Lucy Bee extra virgin coconut oil is 100% organic and raw, meaning it contains crazily high levels of lauric acid which is anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-microbal.

If you're suffering with irritated skin or even if you just fancy trying a new cleanser/hair mask, then coconut oil is definitely worth giving a go. Just make sure you get hold of an oil that's in its most natural form, so look for one that's extra virgin, cold pressed and raw, as cheaper ones will probably have been altered in the extraction process, meaning they're not as good for the skin (can you tell I've read practically 100s of articles about the stuff?)

FYI I just treat this as a normal cleanser - massage in and buff off with a warm, wet flannel. It leaves no greasy film whatsoever, so it's fine to use as a morning cleanser too, even on my oily skin.

Monday, 21 July 2014

New Things

I've been trying not to spend too frivolously on beauty lately, especially after I blew so much dollar in Sephora whilst I was on holiday. Let's not kid ourselves though, I can't go into Boots for essentials like cotton pads and nail polish remover and not come out with something, so here's a few bits that slipped into my basket over the past week...




Ok, ok, not a Boots purchase, but it's still new. This is my second bottle of the infamous exfoliating Glow Tonic and I have to say I am liking the re-brand. The bottle looks much better and it's now free from that rather violent pump that used to spray everywhere every time I used it. Same good stuff on the inside though, which is what counts. If you're interested in reading more about this little beauty, you can find my review here.


I have a fondness for the Good Things range despite never having really tried much from it. I like the packaging and I like the fact that the products don't contain nasty ingredients. I think for the price point, it seems like one of those ranges you can't go wrong with; kind of like Una Brennan, but aimed at a slightly younger target market. When I saw it was 1/3 off, I slipped the Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser into my basket with my morning cleanse in mind. I use coconut oil on a night (more on that to come in another post) but on a morning I want something quick and easy. This has fitted the bill nicely. It smells lovely, wipes off really easily with a flannel and feels really gentle and nourishing.


Continuing my obsession with exfoliating toners, I went back to a brand I swore I'd never touch again. Yup, Clearasil. But when Caroline recommended these as an acid exfoliator that costs under a fiver in this YouTube vid, I was obv going to give them a go. I can confirm that these pads are great, especially for the price. The main reason I got them was because I find the Pixi Glow Tonic to be a pain to travel with, but these are compact enough to take anywhere without having to think about having enough cotton pads for the weekend etc. They contain salicylic and citric acid and seem a bit more harsh than the Pixi offering, but my skin seems to really like them.

So some cheap and cheerful new skincare purchases have been added to my stash, but all in all I've been uncharacteristically restrained on the beauty front lately! ASOS on the other hand, well, that's another story...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

All The Neutrals

Like I said in my last post, I've been wearing the exact same makeup on a daily basis for the past few weeks, so I thought it was about time for a blog post. It's pretty neutral and doesn't require much effort, so it's perfect for a week day, but oddly it still makes me feel put together and manages to hide the fact that I probably stayed up 'til 1am the night before watching YouTube vids...



For base, I've stuck with my all-time fave Nars Sheer Glow (£31 - full review here) and Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19). Boring I know, but these two are the dream combination for oily/spotty skin that needs some pretty hefty coverage.

A subtle dusting of MUA's Bronzed Perfection bronzer (£3) stops me looking too corpse-like, and The Balm Cabana Boy blush (£14.50) is amazing for bringing your face to life and generally perking up the complexion. I've had quite a few people asking me what I have on my cheeks when I'm wearing this; it just seems to give a really subtle glow without being obviously shimmery. Considering it's something I picked up in America on a complete whim, it was such a good buy! I didn't think you could get it in the UK, but after a quick look on Google, it appears Superdrug are selling it here

My brows have been a new combination that I've come to love after my Benefit BrowZings popped its clogs a few weeks back. The Sleek Eyebrow Stylist in 'Medium' (£5.99) is so easy to use and my brows are done in record time since discovering this. I finish them off with Benefit's Gimme Brow gel (£17.50) which works amazingly well at holding them in place and tinting the actual hairs, preventing that 'drawn on' look that I hate.

For eyes, I use Urban Decay's Primer Potion in 'Sin' (£16) as a base, then just blend the bottom left brown shade from my HD Brows palette through the crease for some definition. I finish off with Eyeko's Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (£12 - but free with this month's Glamour magazine) and a few coats of Soap and Glory's Thick and Fast mascara (£10).

For my lips, I've been obsessed with the Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipglosses (£6.19) and the shade 'Glorious Grapefruit' hasn't been out of my handbag since I bought it a month ago. These are so non-sticky that they feel like a lipbalm, and they smell amaaaazin'.

Sooo that post was longer than planned. Does anyone else just get stuck in a complete rut with their makeup sometimes? I go through phases where I'm so over it and just end up relying on the same products for weeks!


Friday, 27 June 2014

Lately...

Seen as I've not really been all that bothered by beauty lately (I've literally worn the exact same makeup for like 2 weeks in a row) I thought I'd just post a little round up of what I've been up to, considering I've had a pretty good couple of weeks full of all sorts of fun stuffs...

A few weeks ago me and some of my galpals trundled off to Manchester for Parklife. I had the best weekend I've had in aaages - I think I'd forgotten how much I actually love festivals. Camping is not my strong point and the fact that we were staying in a house with a hot running shower and a bed made all the difference. But I will gear myself up to Glastonbury. One day...





Last Tuesday, Danny and I went to the #birdseyeinspirations 'Picture House' pop-up restaurant in Leeds. The concept was that you get to try some of their food in a restaurant environment, then you pay for it by uploading a picture to Instagram. The digital marketer in me thought the idea was pretty cool, but I was sceptical about the food element. Turns out I didn't need to be as it was actually really nice...



It was held at Oracle which is in a part of Leeds I never really venture to, but the canal looked so nice and there were some cute little restaurants with balcony seating that I've made a mental note to go back to...

I finished last week off with a good old night out with some of my besties. Safe to say Sunday was spent hungover, napping and definitely not enjoying how hot and sunny it was.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

What's in My Bag?

I've been feeling a bit bored on the beauty front lately, so inspired by Kate, I thought I'd share the current contents of my handbag...

I've been using my Zara 'Office City' bag lately (total sheep but I luff it) and to be honest it only encourages me to cart around more crap than I need on a daily basis. Anyway...

My Tangle Teezer goes everywhere with me on a 'hair down' day, so that was chucked in before I ran out of the door this morning. Soap and Glory's Hand Food was lurking in the depths of this bag already, but I do like to have a hand cream with me at work so I didn't turf it out.

This white nail polish has been in there a while - not sure why given that I have pink nails right now - but y'never know. I also have some rings which I thought I'd lost, so it was nice to see them again when I tipped everything out for this post. Hair bobble is mandatory and I hate being without one in hot weather, just in case.

I also have one of the Maybelline Coloursensational lip glosses in 'Glorious Grapefruit'. I have three of these and love them - they're seriously so easy to wear and feel like a lip balm. Then I have 2 perfumes: a rollerball of my all-time fave Stella and a little spritzer of a cheapo Next scent that smells just like the original Soap and Glory products.

Then we have my absolute essentials that no matter what bag I'm using, they're with me. Sephora blotting papers, MAC Studio Fix powder foundation and a Sephora retractable brush for touch-ups. Also I'm never without hayfever tablets as I seem to be taking about 3 a day at the minute (practically working in the countryside has its downfalls). A lipstick of some form always comes with me, and for the past 2 weeks it's been Maybelline Moisture Extreme in 'Windsor Rose' as it's so easy to wear. Then last but not least, chewing gum and lip balm.

Next is a rather battered-looking-but-edible banana - because why not? Then there's some £1 Primark sunnies that have been drafted in as my driving sunglasses, paracetamol, headphones and a memory stick that's in there from a work meeting I had a few weeks ago.



Finally there's the boring stuff. Purse (Primark - oldie but a goodie), car keys (on a time-turner from the Harry Potter Studio Tour might I add) and my house key.

So that's that... all the stuff I've been lugging around lately! I think it's definitely time to swap this massive briefcase-like thing for a smaller bag and cut out some of the crap I don't need (looking at you, banana).


Friday, 6 June 2014

Face SPFs for Every Situation

Face SPFs are something I've always struggled with. Oily skin does not mix well with the vast majority of SPFs, and a mixture of hot weather and a layer of sunblock on holiday make for a very unhappy complexion in my case. So, when I look for an SPF, I'm pretty picky, and I've whittled my favourites down to three high protection offerings that cover all situations...

When you need to look nice...

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine SPF 50+ (£16.50 - currently on offer for £11) - link

I usually look like a hot mess on holiday, but this year I went travelling around America, which involved a lot of days in cities spent shopping, eating at nice restaurants and sight-seeing rather than pool time and beach days. For that reason I wanted to be able to look nice and wear makeup without it sliding off my face, so I needed an SPF that offered some serious oil control. The La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine formula ended up being perfect. The consistency is quite thick, but once worked into the skin it's fine, and my god does this control shine. Literally to the point that I barely needed to powder throughout the day. If you have oily skin, you'll love this.

When it's not too sunny...

Clinique Super City Block SPF 40 (£17) - link

This would be my choice for a cloudy day, or if I wasn't spending too much time outside. It doesn't leave my skin feeling too greasy or shiny, but it doesn't hold up too well if it's a really hot day and I'm wearing it under makeup - my foundation slips around on top of it and it doesn't look great. However, this is my usual choice if it's sunny in England, so it holds up fine when its like 20 degrees, it just wouldn't be my first choice in somewhere with a climate like Las Vegas, for example. Drier skins might find it works fine though, so bear in mind that I'm speaking from an oily skinned gal's point of view here.

When you're swimming/sunbathing...

Avéne Very High Protection SPF 50+ (£16) - link

I reviewed this in detail back in this post, but this is my favourite SPF for a beach/pool holiday when I won't be wearing any makeup during the day. It's quite thick in consistency but it's amazingly waterproof, making it perfect for swimming/sunbathing. It controls oil a little bit, but it's nowhere near as effective as the La Roche Posay one on that front. If you're going on a typical chill-out holiday though, this one is amazing. 

I should also mention that my skin gets crazily sensitive in the sun, and I've never had any problems with  that awful stinging/burning sensation when using these three.

If anyone has any other recommendations, let me know!


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Liquid Lipsticks: High End to High Street


Lately, I've been ditching my usual lipsticks in favour of the liquid variety. I find them to be longer lasting and generally much easier to wear, so much so that I've built up a bit of a collection without even realising. So, I thought I'd give a little run down of my favourites...



From left to right...

NYX Xtreme Lip Cream in 'Spicy' (£7)

I might even go as far as saying this is my new favourite red. It's crazily pigmented, comfortable to wear and gives a slight sheen (definitely not the 'intense shine' it claims to offer, but I don't really like a super shiny finish anyway). For the price, you can't go wrong with these. They can be difficult to get hold of, but I actually got mine in Next of all places; I think they started stocking NYX in larger stores last year, so it's worth a look in there. They don't seem to have this shade on the Next website, but they have a lot of the other shades here.

Sephora Luster Matt Long-Wear Lip Colour in 'Mulberry' ($16)

This was one of my many Sephora purchases whilst I was in America and I'm seriously regretting not getting more. This is my favourite out of the whole bunch, mainly because the formula is spot-on. The pigmentation is amazing and it's the most comfortable matte formula I've ever come across. The shape of the applicator makes it really easy to apply neatly too, which is a big plus considering the shade and the level of pigmentation.

Collection Cream Puff in 'Fairy Cake' (£2.99)

When these first launched a lot of people weren't keen on them. Granted, the formula is a little on the chalky side, but for the price I actually think they're great. Not too drying and nicely pigmented, this is one I reach for often for daytime wear. The shade is really natural and brightens my face up without looking too much. I sometimes put a bit of lip balm or gloss over the top to counteract the chalkiness, and for £2.99 I really don't think you can go wrong with this.



Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in 'Muse' (£23)

Now when I say this won't budge, I really mean it, but in this case I don't think it's a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the shade and it's really comfortable to wear, but my god it's difficult to get off. After eating, I find it gets a little patchy and so I like to take it off and reapply, but it's just not possible when you're on the go. It kind of smooshes around without actually coming off if you try to get at it with anything but a really good makeup remover. For that reason, I just don't reach for it that often; amazing colour but way too much effort!

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in 'Nova' (£6.49)

I've raved about this before, but it is one of my favourites and I find myself reaching for it a lot. The finish is actually similar to the NYX Xtreme Lip Creams, but maybe just a tad on the drying side if I were to be picky. For the price, I think these are really nice, and the range  has something for everyone.

Apologies for the crappy hand swatches, but I was severely hungover when I photographed these, so trust me, it was for the best.

Let me know if there are any other amazing liquid lipsticks around; I'm pretty sure a few more wouldn't hurt.

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