Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil

I've been using the same cleansers for over a year now, and while I love them and don't think they can be beaten, a part of me wanted to try something new. Origins is a brand which receives a lot of praise, and the Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil is particularly popular. At £21-22.50, it's not cheap, but I had a voucher which saved me £10, so went ahead with the purchase.

A healthier looking future for skin begins here. This lightweight, high-tech, hybrid formula with non-comedogenic, Sunflower, Sesame and Safflower Oils removes dirt, makeup and pollutants with high efficiency. 
Origins Clean Energy™ helps protect precious natural moisture resources and helps reduce effects of environmental hazards such as irritation that can threaten the comfort of skin. Skin breathes freely.

It removes my makeup fairly well, and leaves my skin feeling cleansed and not stripped of its natural oils. It's a good cleanser, but I don't feel like it does anything more than The Body Shop's Camomile Cleansing Oil does, and that's only £10 (without any of the regular discount codes!). I don't mind spending more on a product if there isn't a cheaper alternative, but in this case, there is. I also think it's a bit cheeky to sell the pump separately. You can use it without one easily enough, but it'd be easier to control the amount used if one was included.

I like this cleansing oil, but would suggest trying The Body Shop's version if you want to spend a little less.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Spray

The moment we've been waiting for is here; Soap & Glory has released a Sugar Crush fragrance. There's also four other scents now available in body spray form, but this is the one we're most excited about, isn't it? I bought it the day after finding out about its release, and didn't think the £4 price tag was too bad. There was also a 'mist' in a glass bottle for £10, but thought I'd give this a go first.

A sweet spray, with a fruity lime twist. SUGAR CRUSH™ features essential lemon oil and a Elemi oil for an ENERGIZING lift using Active Refresher technology. A cocktail of vanilla musk blended with sweet lime, ginger and smashed brown sugar. This happy-hour-all-day, mouth-wateringly moreish, mojito-zinging body spray is the closest you can get to a smile in a bottle.

It smells exactly like the other products in the range, which actually surprised me at first. I thought the heavier notes of the scent came from the ingredients in the body butter and scrub, not from the fragrance itself, so was expecting this to be lighter. The scent is strong, and can even be overwhelming if you get a bit spray happy, but it lasts longer than other body sprays I've tried. I could still detect it after an hour (I wasn't paying attention after this point). It produces a fine mist, too, which I like. The packaging does look a little cheap, but it has that retro vibe we expect from Soap & Glory.

Will you be trying this?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

New Favourites

Since my last favourites, I've bought and tried a whole lot of products. I'm fond of most of them, but to keep things short and sweet, I've only picked a handful to write about today.

I'm still not big on body scrubs, preferring to use exfoliating gloves, but one I really like is The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Body Scrub. I like intense scrubs, and used to think ones with large scrubby bits were better for that, but actually, the finer ones are. I think this is because the bits don't fall off your skin, meaning you can really work them in. This is what the Vineyard Peach one is like, and it's creamy, so leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. It also smells incredible, but that goes without saying.

I feel like I've spoken about the face masks above a lot recently, so I'm going to just give you the links to my reviews. Click here to read my thoughts on the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, and click here for the Nip + Fab Glycolic Instant Fix Mask. They do more than other masks I've tried, and for that, I applaud them.

The Topshop Glow Cream Highlighter in Polish (review here) is amazing, and probably the best highlighter I've used. It's iridescent and glowy and beautiful. Plus, the pot is going to last a long, long time.

Another Topshop cheek product I've been loving is the Cheek Jelly in Reign. I'd describe it as a water based cream blush, and it's very natural. Sheer, slightly dewy, blends well; an all around winner.

I've bought so many blushes this year, and have ended up loving them all. One of my favourites is the MUA Whipped Velvet Blush in Ritzy. I love every shade I have (review and swatches here), but I've been leaning towards these natural, flushed colours recently. The Whipped Velvet blushes are like mousses, and are very light in texture. They're only £3, too, so I'd definitely recommend checking them out.

Everyone's been raving about the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes, and for good reason. They're pigmented, not chalky in the slightest, and subtly illuminate without relying on a huge amount of shimmer. I have Nude Mauve and Gorgeous Berries, but have just featured Nude Mauve here because I've already featured two berry toned blushes.

I've been reaching for the MUA Sweet Sheen Lip Balms more than any other lip product recently. You can read my review here, but they're essentially light, moisturising, tinted lip balms. They're quite pigmented for what they are, actually. The only one I haven't featured here is Coral Reef, and that's because it looks like a hot pink on my lips, which isn't my favourite colour.

The ELF Studio Eyebrow Kit in Light is still my go to eyebrow product, but I've been so impressed with Makeup Revolution's Brow Dual Ultra Arch & Shape in Medium. It's the perfect shade for me, is easy to use, and looks natural. The pen side is my favourite, but the pencil's good, too. It's the £3.50 version of Soap & Glory's Archery, but there's four shades instead of two. I don't know how quickly it's going to dry out, but for the price, I'm not going to be too upset when it does.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Recent Purchases

These seem to be a monthly occurrence on this blog. Even when I feel like I haven't bought much, I go and prove myself wrong when I gather it all together!

I bought more pots of Lush's Ultrabland and Ro's Argan the other day. I'm nearly out of my current ones, and couldn't be without them. This is actually the first time I've paid the full £16.50 for Ro's Argan; I had Mystery Shopper store credit for the first pot, and my parents bought me the second for Christmas. I never thought I'd spend this amount on one product, but things change (mostly my income!). There's also nothing that compares to Ro's Argan, so it's worth the price, in my opinion. Ultrabland is also my third pot, and was £11.50, but you can get a smaller pot for £7.25 (this was £10.95/100g and £6.95/45g not too long ago - everything keeps increasing in price!). Although I appreciate their black pot exchange, I'd love for them to bring out a rewards card of some kind.

I bought a £25 Feel Unique voucher through Groupon for £15, so thought I'd buy one of the more expensive items I'd had my eye on; Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil. I've used it a few times so far, but will be sharing my thoughts in a week or two. With this, I received a deluxe sample of the Origins GinZing Brightening Mascara, which works out to be around £6 (£17.50 for the full size). I also added the Figs & Rouge Vanilla Pistachio Hand Cream to my basket to bring the total over £25. I love Figs & Rouge, especially their hand creams, so I'm happy to have another in my routine.

The Aussie shower gels are currently on offer in Boots, so I picked up the large bottle of Shower Smoothie, which has a sweet, bubblegum scent. It was £3.17 down from £4.75, but I also had a 10% off code loaded onto my Advantage Card which I'd forgotten about, making this even cheaper. If you haven't got the Boots app yet, I'd definitely recommend it!

Last month, Burberry were promoting their Burberry Kisses lipstick range by giving out free samples with nominations through Twitter. After being nominated myself, I nominated my sister, and she kindly let me keep hers. I have the shades Military Red and Nude Pink, and I can't get over how cute they are. These work out to be around £7.58 each, which is a lot for a sample.

The majority of the Aussie haircare range is currently better than half price at Superdrug, so I had to stock up. This kind of offer is rare for the brand - It's normally 2 for £7 or 3 for £10. The bottles above were £2.32 instead of £4.69.

I bought the Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Treasures Strength Restorer products a few weeks ago now, but had to include them because they were such a bargain. They've only just come out, but I think my store received them early and had no space for them on the shelves, so they were put on clearance. They were also on 3 for 2, so I managed to get two treatments and two serums for £3.17. They're £4.69 and £4.99 each full price, so I couldn't believe my luck. I wish I'd bought more now. They smell like creme brulee, and are actually quite good!

I also placed a generous order with Lindt when they had their Easter sale, but there's not much left to show you...

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Current Skincare Routine

I've taken a real interest in skincare recently, and have developed a consistent routine. I've never been consistent with my skincare before, usually giving up using products after a couple weeks. I'm hoping this routine continues, even if the products change (I am a beauty blogger, after all). I'll start in the evening, as this is when I shower and cleanse the day's impurities away.

If I'm wearing makeup, gel liner in particular, I use Lush's Ultrabland (review here - I said I didn't know if I'd rush out to repurchase, and here we are, three pots later). I found this quite heavy and tacky initially, but have grown to love it. It's the best for removing makeup, and it leaves my oily-combination skin feeling thoroughly moisturised.

I sometimes use The Body Shop's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (review here) if I have eye makeup on, but have found myself using this on the rest of my face more because it leaves my skin feeling really soft. I've been through a couple of these, and will no doubt go through more. I also love the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, but when both are sitting on the bathroom shelf, the lazy part of me gravitates towards the oil.

A couple hours later, when I finally head for bed, I moisturise and all that good stuff. I've been using some products from the Rodial Glamtox* range for about 5 weeks now. I'll use the serum and eye cream before bed, and the day moisturiser and sometimes the eye cream in the morning, before I apply my makeup. The serum is my favourite because it feels like it makes the biggest difference; my skin is left feeling nourished and hydrated the next morning. However, I wouldn't use this during the day like it claims you can. It's oil based and takes a while to soak in. I can't even see this being a good option for dry skin, but then it may be, depending on your skin and what you like. The eye cream and day moisturiser are also nice because they sink in quickly, allowing you to get on with your day. I don't feel like they do much else, though. They add some moisture to my face, but that's it, and for the price (£50-£75!), I want them to do a lot more. They claim to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and while I don't have these on the majority of my face, I do have them under my eyes (more than the average person, I think). The eye cream hasn't helped with these, and I can't see this suddenly changing in the future. They're good products, but for the price, I'd like them to do a lot more. I've come across products at a fraction of the cost which give similar results. I'd actually recommend trying the sister brand, Nip + Fab, for cheaper alternatives. They have their own versions of Rodial's Dragon Blood, Bee Venom, and Glamoxy Snake ranges.

Two other products I use before bed are the Blistex Intensive Moisturiser and Nelson's Pure & Clear Blemish Gel. The Blistex Intensive Moisturiser is the best lip balm I've ever used, although I'm sure my lips are getting used to the effect it has. The Nelson's Pure & Clear Blemish Gel is also the best I've used, but that's not saying much because most blemish gels do nothing for me. This one sometimes does and sometimes doesn't, so I take a chance when I use it. There's no harm if it doesn't always reduce the blemish, though.

Face masks have become a regular thing in my routine now, which I never thought would happen. Most face masks leave my skin feeling slightly cleansed or slightly moisturised, and not much else, but I've found two which do more than that. The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is like the Blistex Intensive Moisturiser for your face, leaving it feeling plump and unbelievably moisturised. You can read my review, as well as my thoughts on two other Origins masks, here. The Nip + Fab Glycolic Instant Fix Mask was also sent to me, but I'll probably be buying a tube when it runs out. It contains the highest amount of glycolic acid in the range, so I wouldn't recommend it for sensitive skin, but it leaves mine feeling smooth, and my pores are a lot smaller. Just be careful if you're going out in the sun after wearing this; it suggests you wear an SPF to protect the new skin it's helped to reveal. You can read my review of this here.

What skincare products would you recommend, face masks in particular?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Spring Fragrances

As I've said before, it's only in the last year that I've really started wearing perfume, and it's become part of my routine. I spritz myself with one every morning before I leave the house, and sometimes on my lunch break, too. I believe that you can wear any scent or colour when you want, no matter what the season, but I have to admit that the weather does have an effect on my choices. We've had textbook spring weather where I live recently, making me choose the above fragrances over others.

The Marc Jacobs Daisy fragrances are light and perfect for spring, but there's two I've been reaching for more than the others - Daisy Delight and Daisy Dream. The Eau So Fresh varieties were my preferred ones when I first started wearing perfume because they're incredibly light, but I've started wearing the standard Daisies more these past few months. Surprisingly, I've been reaching for Daisy Delight over Daisy Sunshine. The Sunshine editions are quite fruity, whereas the Delight ones have more sweet floral notes in them (but they're still fruity). I normally choose the fruitier option, but have preferred Delight recently. It was limited edition, but can still be bought from discounted fragrance sites, and sometimes from the likes of Boots and Debenhams online.

Daisy Dream has all the characteristics of a Daisy perfume; it's light, floral, and fruity, but it smells muskier to me. It has more depth, and is slightly more mature than the others. The bottle is also b-e-a-utiful.

I like Nina Ricci Nina, but I like Nina Ricci Nina L'Eau more. It's fresher than the original, and there's something in it which reminds me of aniseed. That could just be me, but I really like it. 

Then there's The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Body Mist. I love their body mists, even if they don't last that long, and I also love the Vineyard Peach range. The scent is very fresh, crisp, and juicy. It's not artificial or too sweet. Unfortunately, the scent isn't part of the permanent line, but it keeps coming back. When it does so again, I'd recommend stocking up until next time!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


I rarely post wishlists, mostly because I buy the products before even thinking about writing one, but there's a handful of products on my radar at the moment.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads // After being so impressed with the Glycolic Instant Fix Mask, I turned my attention to the rest of the range. The pads have so many positive reviews, so they'll probably be the next product I try from the brand. They're normally £12.95, but are currently half price on boots.com. I held off on buying them and now they're out of stock, but will be placing an order when they're available again!

Aussie Shower Smoothie Body Wash // Out of all the scents available, Shower Smoothie is my favourite. It smells most like the hair products, with its sweet, bubblegum scent. £2.99/250ml or £4.75/400ml, but I'm waiting for them to go on offer again.

Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil // After trying the masks and absolutely loving the Drink Up Intensive Overnight one, I've been looking into the brand more. I love the cleansing oil I have from The Body Shop, and this one has incredibly positive reviews. At £22.50, or £21 at Boots, it's not cheap, but I'm thinking about buying it with my Boots points, so it'll be free. I also have a £25 Feel Unique voucher which I paid £15 for on Groupon, so if there's no problem with the code, I can buy it from there.

Origins KissZing Lip Crayon // This contains meadowfoam and jojoba oils, mango seed and shea butters, and gives a wash of colour. Begonia Blush, a deep berry shade, looks particularly beautiful. I probably won't end up buying this because £16 for a lip crayon is a little steep, but it does look nice. I'm also a fan of the packaging, let's be honest.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Origins Masks

These Origins masks were first brought to my attention because of their price. The Mask Marvels Gift Set was on offer on the Boots website for £20, instead of £50. Then I looked up ratings and reviews, and they were so positive, I decided to go ahead and order them. I unintentionally placed these in order of preference -

Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Problem Skin
When skin is too-slick skin or when more pressing problems start to pop up, it's Origins to the rescue to keep skin out of trouble. Nature's trouble-shooters, including super-absorbent Zinc Oxide and Sulfur, calming Camphor plus skin-sloughing Salicylic Acid, rapidly respond to problem skin's plight with a three-part plan - sop up oily-shine, slough off sticky, dead cells, and sweep away irksome debris. Together they steer skin clear of slippery situations, refine rough texture and pull the plug on troublemakers to oust potential outbursts.

This one is an opaque, white cream with a typical clean scent. Although it's my least favourite of the three, it's not a bad mask. It leaves my skin feeling really cleansed and fresh. I just feel like it can be replaced with some of my other masks and cleansing products, which happen to be cheaper.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores
When environmental pollutants, dirt and debris get under your skin, its waste-filtering system gets jammed, pores get clogged, skin looks cloudy. Nature's complexion clean-up crew gets to the bottom of skins overcast condition and clears the way for it to act its best. Activated Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out pore-cloggers, White China Clay absorbs environmental pollutants, Lecithin dissolves impurities. Without all that "stuff" down there, skin "breathes a sigh of relief.".

It doesn't smell of much, but it's black and my face is hard to move when it dries, which I strangely love. My pores are clearer and smaller after using this, but many blackheads still remain. I don't mind this, though, because nothing has been able to get rid of them yet. I really like this mask, but I think Nip + Fab's Glycolic Instant Fix Mask does a slightly better job at refining my pores.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask to Quench Skin's Thirst
Skin depends on water for its youthful functioning. But all day long, skin loses vital moisture. And the busier you are, the more it loses. This intense moisture replacement mask with Avocado Oil and Apricot Kernel Oil deeply and instantly quenches compromised moisture reserves and builds a reservoir for tomorrow. Japanese Seaweed repairs skin's barrier to prevent future dehydration and signs of premature ageing.

I've saved the best for last. First of all, it smells amazing; very fresh and fruity (mostly peachy). This is because it contains a handful of flower and fruit waters, oils, and extracts. Its performance is also impressive. It's like the Blistex Intensive Moisturiser for your face, in the sense that it doesn't just moisturise the top layer of skin. It seems to go further than that, making your skin feel very plump in the morning. Normally, after moisturising before bed, I wake up to the surface of my skin being oily. When I wipe this away, my skin doesn't feel particularly mositurised any more. This is different. I don't have any oil waiting for me in the morning, and when I wash my face, my skin still feels moisturised and plump. At £23/100ml, it's not cheap, but you can buy 50ml tubes for £12, which doesn't seem as bad (in my head, at least). Many face masks are only 50ml anyway, so 100ml will last a long time, especially if you're only using this mask a couple times a week.

What do you think of these masks? And is there a mask I just have to try next?

Friday, 3 April 2015

MUA Luxe Whipped Velvet Blushes

The MUA Luxe Whipped Velvet Blushes are one of the latest releases from the brand. They're described as being ultra soft and lightweight, enabling you to build the colour gradually. 

There's five shades available, each with a matching lip lacquer. Spry is a nude, Chichi is a coral, Ritzy is a raspberry, Rococo (not pictured) is a pink, and Hedonic (not pictured) is a cool toned, almost lavender, pink.

I was expecting these to be very soft powders, but they actually have a cream formulation. I absolutely love cream blushes, so was pleasantly surprised by this. Once applied, they dry to a powder, but still manage to look fresh and natural. They're almost mousse like, so it only takes a couple dabs of your brush to pick up the colour required. Some cream blushes can be quite hard on the surface, so you need to really swirl your brush or finger to get past this, but these aren't like that at all. They're lightweight, blend like a dream, and last all day.

I love them, and love every shade I have. I also like the round pots so much more than the regular rectangular ones. To top it off, they're only £3 each. Do you need any more persuading?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Empties #11

I haven't written an empties in four months, and I've used up a lot of products since then. Mostly of the hair variety, which has made me think twice about using so much in the shower! I'm only showing half the products in this post because we'd be here all day else. The others are what you've seen countless times before - Tresemme shampoo and conditioner, Aussie leave in conditioner, many shower gels, many packs of wipes, and even more shampoo and conditioner. The ones above are those I've barely mentioned on here before.

I managed to get the Organix Macadamia Shampoo and Conditioner for around £1 each (down from £6.99), which I was incredibly happy about. They smelt great and did their job, but that's about it. They didn't do anything amazing for my hair, and performed like my usual, cheaper branded shampoo and conditioner. I don't think they're worth the full price.

I've just finished the Aussie Mega Shampoo and Conditioner, and will likely repurchase. They smell delicious and are lightweight. They don't leave my hair as soft as the Tresemme Platinum Strength Range, but as they say on the packaging, they're more for everyday maintenance. 

I don't know what's happening with the Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Treasures range. It's only recently been released, but now it's been taken off the shelves in my local Boots, and it's not online. I managed to buy two bottles of the conditioning treatment and two bottles of the serum for £3.17 the other day, thanks to the clearance stand and 3 for 2 offer, so I'm not complaining, but I am confused! Anyway, the Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Treasures 1 Minute Treatment smelt yummy, like creme brulee, and made my hair soft. It didn't leave it 'omg my hair feels SO soft!' kind of soft, but it was still soft. I wouldn't pay the full price of £4.99 for it, but for 99p (one bottle was actually free with the 3 for 2 offer), I'm glad I have more.

Lush's Montalbano Solid Shampoo Bar, like every other product I've mentioned so far, smelt incredible. Straight up lemony goodness. After using it for so long, my hair felt a little stripped, but that's because it's a clarifying shampoo. It's probably best to use every few washes. My bar lasted about 5 weeks, and that's with me using it a lot (I really need to cut down). I'd definitely repurchase, but have another three bars to use first...

We all know how much I love Superdrug's Colour Effects Wash In Wash Out Conditioning Colours, and I've actually been through 6-8 bottles of the True Chestnut and Mahogany shades since my last empties post, but I wanted to talk to you about the new Burgundy Red one. It's red. Like really red. It's so much more intense than the other shades, taking just one application to really make a difference. I didn't mind it, but will be sticking to my usual ones in the future.

I also wanted to discuss Superdrug's Colour Episode Non Permanent Hair Colours. I actually used a couple of these, not just the red shade featured. They were okay, but they weren't any more intense or long lasting than the Colour Effects, they had less product in, and they were double the price. They're basically the Colour Effects in foam form.

I wasn't keen on the Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara at first because I found it slightly clumpy, but liked it more when it started to dry up a little. I then managed to get two tubes for £1.80 each, instead of £9.99, so will clearly be using it again!

Two products you will have seen many times before on this blog - Maybelline's Rocket Mascara and The Body Shop's All in One Face Base. The mascara doesn't clump on me at all, and the powder offers some coverage with a velvety finish.

I didn't think the Witch Anti Blemish Skin Clearing Primer was doing anything for my skin any more, but my skin became very oily on the day I didn't use it. It's been discontinued, unfortunately, so I'll be using my last bottle sparingly.

What's left? The Body Shop's Mango Shower Gel. I love anything mango scented, but had never used a mango shower gel until this. It smells just like the rest of the range (incredible) and it did its job!

Another The Body Shop product I finished was the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. I've declared my love for this before. It removes my makeup with ease and leaves my skin feeling super soft. I'm already on my next tub!

The Body Shop's Frosted Cranberry Hand Cream was also a winner. Non greasy, moisturing, and smelt like crisp berries.

Figs & Rouge is one of my favourite brands. Their packaging is cute, their products smell amazing, and they just work. The Figs & Rouge Mango Mandarin Hand Cream was not greasy in the slightest, but left my hands feeling very soft. I've since bought the large tube of this, but will probably buy the small one again for my bag.

Nearly there, I promise! I picked up Lush's Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask for free with their black pot exchange. It smells beautiful (like Palma Violets to me), and left my skin feeling cleansed. I didn't feel like it did much else, though. The quality of my skin wasn't vastly improved or anything. I also found it a challenge to use before it went off! 

If you've used any of these products before, I'd love to know your opinions on them.

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