Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Cheap & Cheeky Mani

This post is for any London ladies out there. If you haven't already heard (I'm a little late in the game here...) Cowshed have recently launched their little sister beauty brand 'Cheeky'. While they have a whole host of body, hair and beauty products available, when I found out about the manicure service at their 'Cheeky Parlour', I had to share it with you all.

You can get a shape and polish using one of cheeky's 21 shades for only £10 AND you get to take the polish home with you too! I think this is such a great deal. The polishes retail for £7 each, so essentially you're getting a manicure for £3...
Bargain! You can also add nail art for an extra £1.50.
The sad part is, there is currently only one salon, located in Shoreditch. It's not an area of town I'm in very often, but if you're an East London lady then I'd thoroughly recommend popping in and treating yourself! They also do £15 blow dries and up-do's (SO much cheaper than most other London salons!) and you can even grab a bite to eat and a glass of Babycham whilst you're there!

The Cheeky Parlour is open now, located at 64-66 Redchurch St, Shoreditch, E2 7DP. They are open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-10pm. The don't take bookings, you can just walk in!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Video: The Best Budget Skincare!

Seeing how well my post about cleansing balms went down a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would share my newest YouTube video with you all... It's a quick rundown of my top skincare products under £10.

As always, I'd love to hear about any budget skincare recommendations you have, as I'm always looking for new products to try out... I hope you enjoy the video!

Fleur x

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Currently Obsessed: Topshop's Gloss Ink

Every now and then, I try out a new product and get that WOW factor. That "OMG I need this in every colour and to tell all my friends about it right NOW" factor.

Well... that's what Topshop's new Gloss Ink has. I tried this out for the first time and the weekend and was instantly in love with it.

It's a highly pigmented, long-wearing gloss that stays on the lips for ages. Used conventionally it has a high gloss finish, but it can also be dabbed onto the lips for a more matte stain effect.

The shade I have is Cruel, which is a deep, dark pink. Although this shade isn't an 'everyday' colour, I've already worn it a couple of times and am absolutely loving it.
It's very similar to the YSL glossy stains that I LOVE (more on those HERE, and also more about the L'Oreal versions HERE) But something about this is really appealing to me.

Maybe it's the packaging (which is matte black and lovely) or maybe it's the price (£8). Either way, I'd definitely recommend checking these out. There are four other shades in the line up, and I will most definitely be stopping at Topshop this week to take a peek at them! (read: buy one in every colour!)
The Topshop Gloss Inks are available now from Topshop, online and in store.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Battle of the Cleansing Balms!

Cleansing balms have taken the skin care world by storm in the past couple of years. What started with a few, became many, and now I have to admit it is not only difficult to pick 'the one' for you, but it's also tempting to chop and change every now and again.

For those new to cleansing balms, they are an oil-based cleanser that remains solid at room temperature. Warmed in the hands and massaged onto the skin, then removed with a warm, damp cloth (muslin or flannel, I personally prefer a flannel.) They cleanse beautifully, removing all traces of makeup while leaving the skin feeling exceptionally smooth, plump and hydrated. They are marketed for all skin types (yes, even oily) and especially good for those looking towards anti-ageing products.

Having used a balm cleanser exclusively for over a year, it's fair to say I'm a convert. I've never used anything else that makes my skin feel happier or more comfortable, and I would thoroughly recommend trying one out if you haven't before. I wouldn't say they are 'life changing' but they are certainly 'skin changing'!

I've tried my fair share of balms in the past year, so I thought I would give you a quick run down of each to help you navigate the world of cleansing balms a little easier...

Eve Lom Cleanser

Packaging: Very nice, but its' nothing special considering the price.
Ingredients: The Good - Chamomile, hop, clove & eucalyptus oils. The Bad - mineral oil, parabens.
This get's slammed frequently on skincare blogs for being packed with mineral oil. Personally my skin doesn't have a problem with mineral oil, but considering this is the most expensive cleanser in this blog post, the fact that it contains the cheapest ingredients does annoy me.
Performance: The original, but not necessarily the best. Eve Lom's cleanser was the one that 'changed the face of skincare' by introducing cleansing balms. Some swear by it, some loathe it. I have to admit, I did like this cleanser. It's lovely to use and effective at removing makeup, but I wasn't 'blown away' as some are.
Price: £55 for 100ml (Currently 10% off here)
Overall: Good, but not the best. Considering it's the most expensive... it should be better.
Score: 6/10

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

Packaging: Really nice, probably the best of this lineup.
Ingredients: The Good - A base of almond oil, along with elderberry, rose, mimosa and more. The Bad - None! No mineral oil, parabens etc. It does contain shea butter that may irritate or clog some skin, but I had no problem with this.
Performance: I really loved the texture of this, however it really stung my eyes, so I couldn't use it for removing my eye makeup. It also has a very strong herbal, spa-like scent. I used up my sample, but I wouldn't purchase it again. My mum loves it though so each to one's own!
Price: £39 for 105g (Currently 30% off here)
Overall: Very nice if you don't have sensitive eyes!
Score: 7/10

Emma Hardie 'Amazing Face' Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm

Packaging: Very nice, feels heavy and looks luxurious too.
Ingredients: The Good - A base of grape seed and almond oil, moringa seed extract, wild sea fennel and vitamin E to name a few. The Bad - None!
Performance: To me, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to cleansing balms. The texture is like butter, the scent is subtle and pleasant, it removes all my makeup, doesn't sting my eyes, and my skin absolutely loves it! My skin feels amazing every single time I use this.
Price:  £34 for 100ml (Available with free international delivery here)
Overall: There is a lot of hype surrounding this cleanser and it is 100% deserved.
Score: 10/10

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

Packaging: Quite plain, flat metal container.
Ingredients: The Good - Olive oil. The Bad - Lots of synthetics. Most of the ingredients in this are synthetic. It also has shea butter, so perhaps better for those with dry skin, not prone to breakouts.
Performance: This worked pretty well for me. The consistency is more solid (like coconut oil) at room temperature. I found it a little greasy, but ok. My skin didn't see any noticeable difference when using this, but it was effective at removing makeup.
Price: £12 for 90ml (available here)
Overall: Good for £12, but not a scratch on some of the others available.
Score: 5/10

Ren No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

Packaging: I've only used this in the old (tube) packaging, so can't comment.
Ingredients: Again, a base of almond oil and a list of others including camomile. The Bad - None! As always, Ren products are free from parabens, mineral oil, sulphates, silicones and synthetic colours & fragrances.
Performance: Nice to use, left my skin feeling happy and clean.
Price: £30 for 150ml (available here)
Overall: I loved this for the first half of the tube, towards the end it got very 'gritty' in texture. I've noticed this happening a tiny bit with a few cleansing balms, but this was the most noticeable difference from first opening it up, to finishing it. In light of this, I wouldn't purchase it again.
Score: 6/10

RMK Cleansing Balm

Packaging: I personally really like this frosted pink packaging. It's not the most luxe, but it's really pretty! The flip-top lid is also very user-friendly.
Ingredients: The Good - Jojoba oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil. The Bad - This was quite hard to uncover (annoyingly!) but it seems that while there are no parabens, it does contain mineral oil and a long list of synthetic ingredients, including waxes and silicones. Perhaps best to avoid this one if you have acne prone skin.
Performance: This smells of rose (can be a love/hate thing, I don't mind it.) I quite liked this, and thought it might be a keeper, until I tried the Emma Hardie alternative. In comparison, it leaves your skin a little greasy.
Price: £29 for 50g (Available here)
Overall: Nice, but not a keeper for me personally.
Score: 6/10

Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm

Packaging: A tube, not the most practical for this texture of product (unless your bathroom is super warm, you have to squeeze... hard!)
Ingredients: Balance Me are one of those great companies who mean natural when they say 'natural'! This is 100% natural. The Good - Almond oil base with coconut, camellia, & rosehip oils, oatmeal, coriander, vitamin E & rosemary. The Bad - None!
Performance: This is the only cleansing balm that bucks the trend and is not totally smooth in texture. It has tiny little oatmeal particles for smoothing. personally I'm not a huge fan of this, and this is the one aspect of this balm that puts me off. My skin likes it, but I didn't love using it (especially for taking off my makeup!) You can't argue against the ingredients list, and the price is much more affordable than the others.
Price: £20 for 125ml (available here)
Overall: Great if you don't mind the oatmeal particles! My third personal favourite, and personally I think this is the best value for money considering all of the factors above.
Score: 8/10

Monu Cleansing Balm

Packaging: A huge pot! Average in quality, but fit for the job!
Ingredients: This is also a very natural choice, it contains a huge list of natural ingredients including almond, wheat germ, apricot, sunflower seed, blackcurrant, calendula, mimosa, bergamot, rose, rosehip & jasmine. The Bad - None!
Performance: This is much runnier than the others, but very smooth and effective. It smells amazing. Spa-like with a distinct citrus note. Easily second best next to Emma Hardie for me!
Price: £35 for 150ml (available with free international delivery here)
Overall: Almost on a par with Emma Hardie, but for a third less money gram for gram!
Score: 9/10

That's it for the balms I've tried! Have you tried a cleansing balm? Which is your favourite?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Benefit Porefessional Powder Review

You can tell when a brand has done a mass blogger send-out. A flurry of posts appear in my Bloglovin' timeline, most of them glowingly positive, or with only a few cons. This has been the case over the past couple of weeks with Benefit's new Porefessional Powder. Whenever this happens, I like to hang fire for a few weeks, read all the various reviews and try not to get caught-up in the launch whirlwind.

Having had time to give this new release a thorough road test, here are my thoughts...

For those who haven't heard about it yet, it's the new sister product for Benefit's hugely popular Porefessional Primer. I have to say I really like the primer, so I was excited to see what the powder version had to offer. It's a loose powder that claims not only to minimise pores, but to eliminate shine and leave the skin with an invisible, lightweight matte finish.
The packaging, as always with Benefit, is cute and innovative. A built-in brush and compact powder dispenser makes it perfect for application on the go, but the packaging itself looks and feels quite cheap. Something I would expect (and be impressed with) from from a drugstore brand, but not for the £23.50 price tag. The brush is quite nice and soft but tiny and not something I would use at home.

Packaging aside, the product itself is really nice. It is very lightweight on the skin, and finely milled. It doesn't leave the skin overly matte (something I'm not a fan of!) but looks natural. I'm not sold on the pore-minimising properties, but it does help my makeup last, and keeps it's semi-matte finish and shine at bay for about 4-5 hours before needing a top-up.

My main problem with this powder is that it's just not exceptional. You get 7g for £23.50, so compared to similar products from MAC, Makeup Forever, Illamasqua etc, who offer anything from 8g-15g for less money, it doesn't seem all that amazing.

Don't get me wrong, this product is nice, and good if you like to keep a loose powder in your bag for touch-ups instead of a pressed compact, but apart from that, it's nothing special and in my opinion is overpriced.

Have any of you tried this yet? What do you think of the packaging and price point? The powder is available now, £23.50 with free international delivery here.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I don't change up my skincare often, so when I discover something new, it's got to be really good to be in for the long haul. The latest addition to my skincare lineup is Soap & Glory's Scrubatomic.
It claims to be a 'daily' face scrub, but to be honest, I would be hesitant to use this daily and tend to reach for it about twice a week. 

The exfoliating particles are really tiny and it reminds me of a MAC face scrub I used to use a few years back that has now been discontinued.

It's quite a harsh scrub, so a light hand is best when using this, as it also has the added benefits of AHA fruit acids. It leaves your skin feeling super smooth and plump, with moisturising Shea Butter and antioxidants from Peach and Goji Berry. This, used alongside my favourite mud masks really helps to de-clog my pores and leave my skin smooth and clear. It's quite a light, foamy texture and smells nice and fruity so is a pleasure to use.
What's more, it's only £9 (and currently on sale for £7 in Boots!). I'm all for splashing out on high end skincare if it performs, but this easily one of the best face scrubs I've used, and one of the most affordable too.

Soap & Glory is fast becoming one of my most favourite drugstore brands. I've tried out a lot of their makeup this year and have been really impressed, and after this little discovery, I'm keen to try out some more of their skincare too!