Thursday 31 March 2016

The Surprising Primer

I’ve always wondered if there were any hidden gems hidden in the men’s grooming aisles. When Nikkie Tutorials mentioned that the Nivea Post-Shave Balm made an amazing primer I headed to the men’s grooming aisles straight away.

I stood next to my boyfriend surveying the products, ‘So why are you putting aftershave balm on your face?’ he says. An awkward moment followed where I explained someone on the internet recommended it.

Nivea Men Post Shaving Balm Primer Review

Glycerine is the ingredient that makes this product work well as a primer. It adds an ever so slightly tacky layer which foundation can really adhere to. I’m not a huge lover of silicone based primers, as I feel it’s too slippy and my foundation just sits on top and doesn’t mesh to the primer and skin. This is an excellent alternative to silicone. It’s intended to be a soothing moisturiser for after shaving, so it’s very liquidy and a little goes a long way. I find the best way to apply this is to rub in with your fingers until it becomes slightly tacky on the skin.

I’ve tried it with a variety of foundations and all of them have had an extended wear time and have looked practically flawless on application.

The downsides of the Nivea Post Shave Balm is the scent, it has a very heavy masculine fragrance, that won’t be for everyone. I think it would also be easier to use if it has a pump as they product itself is so runny.

Putting the small negatives to one side, I’m really impressed with the product as a primer. It’s cheap, easy to get hold of, good value for money and will last ages. Now I know that Glycerine is the ingredient which works the hardest to adhere foundations to your skin, I’ll be looking at primer bottles to see if they contain it too.

Have you tried the Nivea Post Shave Balm as a primer?

Monday 28 March 2016

Makeup Inspired by the LBD

If you read my luxurious lipstick post, you’ll know that I’m a lover of high end lipstick, mostly for the self-satisfaction and fancy packing. Guerlain is no exception to this addiction; they are the kings of beautiful packing. Their new La Petite Robe Noire has the most lust-worthy packing, based around their infamous and signature La Petite Robe Noire fragrance.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick Beige Lingerie and Nail Polish Black Perfecto Review

What is unique about this new collection is that the beauty products are scented with the fragrance, as well as being modelled on the very chic fragrance bottle. It’s a fruity and floral fragrance, with notes of bergamot, rose and raspberry, resulting in a very yummy scent.

I have the Deliciously Shiny Lip Colour in Beige Lingerie and the Deliciously Shiny Nail Colour in Black Perfecto. The duo make a perfect pair for a date night, pairing with a smoky eye would complete the look.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick Beige Lingerie and Nail Polish Black Perfecto Review

The encased nude lipstick is the perfect everyday shade. As the name suggests, it has a deliciously silky shine and provides a sheer kiss of colour. It’s very comfortable on the lipsticks and really keeps them hydrated. The line includes stunning nudes and perky pinks to vampy berry shades, one fitting for everyone. The fragrance is very subtle in the product but it does add a touch of luxury.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick Beige Lingerie Review
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick Beige Lingerie Review

The nail polish colour is very unusual, a black with a tiny hint of red shimmer blended though. It’s not your average black nail polish. The red can be seen when light hits it, it’s hard to capture on camera but I urge you to take a look at a counter. Smelling the nail polish bottle you wouldn’t think it was fragranced, it isn’t until it’s applied that you get a subtle scent. You often catch the scent while moving around, uplifting your mood instantly.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Nail Polish Black Perfecto Review

Having not smelt the La Petite Robe Noire before, these scented beauty products have started a craving, I’ll be buying the perfume soon. These will be treasured items in my collection.
*This post contains PR samples


Tuesday 22 March 2016

Senso Riley Heels and Quay My Girl Sunglasses

Shoes - I never really invest in them. Most of the time you can find me in Primark ballet pumps, but I had an itch I needed to scratch with these Senso Riley heels. I'd been eyeing them up for years, Senso, an Australian brand, has been featured on some of the best fashion blogs and well I NEEDED these Riley heels. Browsing ASOS, I found them in the sale and I also had an extra discount code to use. They were in my basket within seconds!

Senso Riley Heels, Quay My Girl Marble Sunglasses

Senso Riley Heels Fashion Blogger
Anyone else feel like they have to browse 15878 pages of ASOS before they check out in case they miss something?!
Well while searching, I saw that Quay sunglasses were stocked on their website. I'd seen Sabrina from A Little Obsessed wearing the marble 'My Girl' sunglasses and they looked amazing.

It was a little bit of a gamble buying sunglasses online by the two styles of 'My Girl' glasses arrived and both look amazing on. I decided to keep both styles.

As these new accessories are monochrome, I'm sure they will fit right in with my all black wardrobe!

Senso Riley Black and White ASOS Quay Marble Sunglasses
Have you updated your wardrobe with any new accessories?

Sunday 20 March 2016

The Less Than Glamorous Side of Beauty

There are so many less than glamorous tasks a woman does in a week to keep 'maintained'. I don't see many beauty bloggers covering the best products for these tasks, so I thought I'd talk you through some of my favourite products.

I regularly get my eyebrows waxed and tinted but to keep them in tip top condition, I pluck any stray hairs in between appointments. I'm a huge fan of the Tweezerman's tweezers, they are super sharp and grab the hairs easily. I would recommend investing in a pair of these, they are worth their weight in gold.

I used to get horrible rashes on my legs after shaving and I soon figured out that it was the shaving foam drying my skin out. I would recommend swapping to Lush's D'Fluff Shaving Soap if you have the same issue. The soap is moisturising and smells like strawberries! I also follow up post shaving with their Dream Cream to keep my pins from looking dry and scaly.

Teeth Whitening
I drink tea by the gallon, but with this comes stained teeth. I do plan to have a full whitening treatment at the dentist in future but for now, I'm using the White Wash Laboratories Professional Whitening Toothpaste*. Silver particle technology and micro-polishers in this toothpaste makes your mouth feel so refreshed, I have noticed a slight whitening effect on my teeth too.

Hair Lightening
There is nothing like taking close up shots of your lipstick to make you panic about your mustache. My upper lip hair isn't particularly thick or dark but the camera picks up on it so I decided to give an at-home lightening kit a whirl. The Boots Smooth Care Hair Lightener is amazing, and I would thoroughly recommend it. You hear so many horror stories about rashes and burning the skin when using these creams, but this one was so gentle and amazingly easy to use.

Did anyone else's mum slap Surocerm on every rash, lump or bump?! It's a one size fits all wonder product. I don't use this on my face as I have oily skin but if I have any dry patches, bruises or rashes on my body, I pull this cream out of the drawer.

Have you tried any of these products?
*This post contains PR samples

Thursday 17 March 2016

High End Hauling - Givenchy and Dior Forever Foundation Review

I’m very loyal to my foundations, I found having oily skin that I’ve stuck to very heavy formulas, like Estee Lauder Double Wear and MAC Studio Fix. I’d be reluctant to try anything new, worried it would break me out or leave my shiny by lunchtime.

Dior Forever Primer Foundation and Givenchy Healthy Glow Powder Bronzer Haul and Review

While browsing the Dior counter for lip products, I saw their new foundation launch, Dior Forever, the range contains a primer, foundation and powder, all creating a flawless, long lasting base. I asked for a sample of both the foundation and primer, but didn’t expect to love them.

The samples were generous in size so I got to trial them well and I fell in love with them both. The Forever Primer creates a smooth, matte base which has a subtle luminosity, it keeps you from looking too flat.

Dior Forever Primer Foundation and Givenchy Healthy Glow Powder Bronzer Haul and Review

The Forever Foundation feels very light compared to my MAC Studio Fix, but it still has excellent coverage.  It has amazing staying power which means I don’t get an oily t-zone throughout the day but my foundation doesn’t look oily or flat.

While browsing the high-end makeup stands I came across Givenchy, and remembered Suzie from Hello October raving about their ‘Healthy Glow’ Bronzing Powder. As I have quite pale skin, I struggle to ‘warm’ my complexion up. Suzie mentioned in a recent video I watched that it gives the perfect bronze glow which is very subtle. The star embellishments are this season’s version of the powder, I almost don’t want to use it as it’s so pretty.

Givenchy Healthy Glow Bronzer Powder Spring Summer 2016 Review

I’m really trying to fill my makeup bag with high-quality products which work time and time again. It was quite an expensive haul but I did have some gift cards from my birthday to spend. What high-end beauty products have you bought lately?


Tuesday 15 March 2016

Sk:n Clinics Chester Launch Event

It’s not very often that blogger events happen on my doorstep in Chester. The Sk:n Clinics, who specialise in medical dermatology treatments have just opened their Chester branch. For someone who has suffered from acne for a decade, this is exciting news for me. I’ve looked at their treatments online a few times while researching treatments to reduce my acne and acne scarring. I attended their launch event so I could get a feel for the clinic and what they had to offer.

Skin Clinics Chester Launch Event
Sk:n Clinics offer a range of treatments, there are many options for your skin concerns, whether that be wrinkles, fine lines, acne, sun damage and tattoo removal to name a few. Their specialists have years of industry knowledge and experience, recommending treatments with unbiased views.

While at the clinic, I had the opportunity to see a live demonstration of botox injections and fillers. The patient wanted to smooth out any lines on her forehead and the ‘smokers’ lines around her mouth. Sadly, I couldn’t take any photos of the procedure but it was very interesting to witness.
The consultant chatted with us about the different layers of skin and facial muscles. The eyes in particular are the most important to get right, botox in the wrong place can lead to a furrowed brow or droopy eyes. She drew a series of white dots and lines on the patient so we could see the precise points where she would inject the product. A set of little injections, which weren’t a gruesome as I expected and the treatments were done. She really de-mystified the procedure. I’m not in the market for botox or fillers but it was amazing to see how it works for future reference if I did decide to have treatment.

Skin Clinics Chester Launch Event

Talking to one of the consultants, I found that they really listened to your concerns and gave great advice on what treatments would be best suited. They said if someone wants a treatment they do not feel would be beneficial they won’t carry out the procedure. It was reassuring that you trust them wholeheartedly with your treatment.

I was recommended a HydraFacial or a series of peels to help my acne scarring, which I’m very interested in trying. I’m currently on the waiting list to see a dermatologist so we will see if they recommend similar treatments.

There are Sk:n Clinics across the country, not just the one in Chester, offering a range of treatments, see what they can offer you at

Thursday 10 March 2016

Skincare For Oily Yet Dehydrated Skin

Sometimes achieving clear, glowing skin can seem like a balancing act. I have oily, acne prone skin but sometimes I can feel my skin is parched. If your skin is dehydrated it is more likely to over produce oil to compensate, leading to spots. I would definitely recommend moisturising even if you have oily skin.

The products in this post are more geared towards dry skin but they are excellent at re-balancing the skin. I tend to reach for these products when my skin feels tight and dry, perhaps I have used too much drying spot treatments or the cold weather has sent my skin into a panic.

You can inject moisturise into your skin right from the beginning of your routine with your cleanser. If you are long term reader you will know I often declare my love for the Elemis Cleansing Balm. I’ve switched from foaming cleansers, which often strip the skin of moisture to balm cleansers. Balms and oils just melt away makeup effortlessly and the consistency makes it feel luxurious on the skin.

If you are looking for a quick fix of moisture, I would fully recommend Clinique Moisture Surge. It’s incredibly light, so oily skin will not be overloaded. It quickly plumps the skin back up and tackles any dry patches. The Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream does much the same, but has a slightly heavier consistency, so you could use it at night or if you weren’t wearing makeup.

Addressing skin concerns before bed gives the products lots of time to sink in and work their magic. I love the Origins Drink Up Overnight Mask. This fruity smelling product isn’t really a mask, so don’t let the name deceive you. It’s a very intensive treatment which will clear up any dry patches overnight. If you are worried that your oily skin might break out use it in the areas you feel are the most dehydrated and pat tissue over the top to remove any excess. The Clarins HydraQuench Mask is very similar. 

It’s important to keep your skin hydrated to prevent it from over producing oil. Which are your favourite products for dehydrated skin?


Monday 7 March 2016

My Charlotte Tilbury Collection and Reviews

Beauty bloggers have quickly adopted Charlotte Tilbury products as their ‘go-to’ Holy Grail products, and with good reason. Charlotte Tilbury combined her makeup artist expertise with stunning packaging and the rest was history.

Charlotte Tilbury Glastonberry Amazing Grace Film Star Bronze and Glow, Pillow Talk Review

As high-end items, I have slowly built up a selection of products, they come highly recommended so I didn’t mind handing over the cash. I’ve been using all of the items for a few months, so it’s a perfect time to review them and share my thoughts.

I’ve actually won two of the items from giveaways, Glastonberry lipstick was my first ever Charlotte Tilbury product. I picked a shade that stood out and wasn’t like anything else in my collection. Admittedly as it is so bold, I hardly wear it. Having a boyfriend means dark lipsticks smudge everywhere and ends up in their beard. I save it for nights out with the girls, as it’s a long lasting, matte shade that stays around all night through glasses of wine.

I also won another lipstick, lucky me, and picked the shade Amazing Grace. I went for those English rose, blush shade as I thought it would be very wearable. Again, it’s in the Matte Revolution line so it has a matte finish but as a comfortable wear. I think the shade goes nicely with the Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk. It’s a well-loved shade across the beauty community, it’s your lips but better, making them looked plumped and full in seconds.

Charlotte Tilbury Glastonberry Amazing Grace Pillow Talk Review
Another pencil from Charlotte Tilbury came after I saw the lady herself use it in a video makeup tutorial. She applied a swipe of the Veruschka Mink grey pencil liner across the lash line and smudged it out for a rock and roll, lived in look. The Rock ‘n’ Kohl liners are super soft, they have some play time so you can blend but once they are dry they do not budge. I think I’ll pick up the black and purple shades soon.

Last but not least is the Filmstar Bronze and Glow, a cult product used by many. I’m all about sculpting, I like to chisel out a model-like bone structure. I’d previously been using the NYX blush in Taupe or the Sleek Contour Palette in Light, both of which have an ashy undertone. The Charlotte Tilbury offering is a little more warm but lighter in colour, I wasn’t sure if I would get on with the product at first. The NYX Taupe shade is dark and defined and over applying can leave grey toned marks on your face, whereas the Bronze and Glow is subtle. I use a fluffy contour brush to dust the powder over my temples, under my cheekbones and along the jawline. It’s very natural and effortless, it’s a lot more manageable than my usual contour shades. It's a super fine powder, when you swirl your brush powder clouds up, which wastes a bit of the product. The highlight is very golden which doesn’t suit all so I would advise swatching in store before buying. You could use it as an eyeshadow if it didn’t work as a highlight.

Charlotte Tilbury has my heart. What’s your favourite CT product?


Friday 4 March 2016

Monochrome and Marble

Monochrome outfits are an easy way to look chic. I shaped my outfit around my new Whistles shirt, it has a lovely relaxed fit and I know this will be a staple in my wardrobe for years.

Whistles White Shirt Vivienne Westwood Handbag

Leather trousers dress up an outfit instantly and have more of an impact than just black jeans. These leather coated, high-waisted ones are from New Look. I’m on the hunt for some really nice quality ones so if anyone has a recommendations, leave a comment.

Moving on to accessories, I added my new Senso Riley heels to elongate my legs. I finally splurged on a pair after wanting some for years. I can tell you they are incredibly comfortable to wear and well worth the money. FYI, if you are thinking of buying a pair consider buying a size down as they are in Australian sizing. I’m normally a 6 but I fit perfectly into a 5.5.

I bought my Vivienne Westwood handbag into the equation to add texture. I’m currently eyeing up the Givenchy Antigona and the Phillip Lim Pashli, I just need the funds…

Lastly, I caved, yes I bought the marble print Quay sunglasses that bloggers love. I find it so hard to find sunglasses that suit my face but I love these. You’ll probably see them in lots of flatlays as a prop in upcoming posts, they are so Instagramable.
Are you a lover of monochrome outfits too?

Senso Riley Fashion Blogger Quay Marble SunglassesSenso Riley Fashion Blogger Quay Marble Sunglasses


Tuesday 1 March 2016

My Makeup Free Week - What Happened?!

Head down thinking, ‘Oh God are they looking at me?!’ I entered the office and quietly logged onto my computer. I’d had enough of my skin, erupting with cystic acne and drowning in oil, skin was playing tricks on me. I’d gone to the doctors for the latest cycle of antibiotics, having already tried all the treatments on the planet. I’ve tried and tested every spot cream, face mask and oil control lotion the market has to offer, I dread to think how much I’ve spent over the years. One thing I hadn’t tried to combat my spots was not wearing makeup, stupid I know but it was a confidence thing.

I’ve been wearing makeup since I was about 13-14, in an attempt to hide my troublesome skin, so around a decade now. Once I started I became obsessed, makeup was my crack. I was in denial - makeup couldn’t be causing my skin any trouble, and I was taking it off after work anyway. Really plastering on the foundation, concealer and powder was only preventing my skin from breathing.
I took a brave step and decided to stop wearing makeup to work. Yes, this might seem silly to some but I have horrible red scarring from old acne on my face. Even when I don’t have a spot I’m still hiding plenty of red scars. Makeup had been a comfort blanket, but I had to let it go, I was going to try a week without makeup.

So Monday rolled around and I was very excited about my extra half an hour in bed. When it came to it I panicked, my skin looked awful but I had no time to actually apply makeup, I’d purposely set my alarm with little time to get ready for force my own hand. So I slapped on some moisturiser and left. I kept my head down all day, I was so self-conscious about my scarring. No one really commented, so I felt a little better, ready to go make-up for the next day.

My skin actually looks so much better, now it’s had a chance to breathe. My scars have faded slightly and my skin overall looks better in texture. I’ve noticed I do produce slightly less oil, I think the makeup was sending my oil production into overdrive. As my skin is clear and I’ve let moisturiser sink in, I think it needs to produce less oil.

I've had more time to spend on skincare. Japanese ladies spend around half and hour on skincare and 5 on makeup but us Brits are the opposite. I've taken pleasure in really giving my skin some TLC. I stuck to my Pixi Cleansing Balm but added in the Serozinc spray from La Roche Posay to balance the skin. When I've not been wearing makeup I can read my skin better, understanding when it needs moisturise and when it needs oil control, so I've been switching up moisturisers between Dermalogica, Kiehl's, Elemis and La Roche Posay.

I did cave twice, I had an out of office meeting with a new client and a presentation with the big boss, both of which I wanted to look presentable for. As soon as the meetings were over I wanted to take my makeup off, I love letting my skin breathe now, I would never have guessed as a makeup addict.

Not wearing makeup to work wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, none of my mostly female colleagues have commented and I’ve started to see the benefits. Would you try a makeup free week in work?
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