Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bio Sculpture Gel Polish

I discovered an absolute nail gem this week. You might have heard of Bio Sculpture gel? Apparently it was the 'original' gel manicure (before shellac.) Well, the company also makes nail polish, and it's blooming AMAZING. It's designed to be a stop-gap or act as a top-up for their full-on gel shades (there is a corresponding shade for each gel they make) but it's really amazing used as nail polish alone.
The first coat looks a little watery, but layer up 2-3 coats, slap on a top coat (I've been using the Illamasqua one, which is also amazing!) and you're left with the glossiest manicure I've ever done at home...


Shades 105 & 175
The finish is amazing and It's available in a huge range of shades. I love this neon pink, and I've got the blue on my toes at the moment. It applies a little darker than it looks in the bottle but is still lovely. Wear time is about average from my experience so far, but also depends on what top coat you use. 
What's even better, is that they are only £6.45, so won't break the bank either. You can check out all the shades and order them from biogel.co.uk.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Skincare Essential: Tea Tree Oil

Last week The Body Shop asked me to make a video about one of my favourite 'Beauty Gems' from their range. It wasn't hard to make up my mind about what I wanted to talk about, as Tea Tree Oil has been part of my skincare routine for years. It has so many different uses, and The Body Shop sell an amazing Organic, Community Fair Trade blend that I love.

If you don't know anything about Tea Tree Oil, check out my video here:



*This post was sponsored by The Body Shop.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Once...

Ever thought Illamasqua was a bit 'out there' for you? Think again! Their new autumn collection is hands down the prettiest I've seen so far this year. Each and every item manages to be both wearable and unique at the same time. Not an easy feat. I think the brand has totally hit the nail on the head with this one, sticking to it's otherworldly roots but managing to drop a totally wearable collection. I have a feeling this will be a sell out...
Entitled 'Once', the collection is inspired by the 'exquisite point when a flower starts to fade and becomes impossibly beautiful in it's complex decline.' As always with Illamasqua, the accompanying imagery is drop-dead-gorgeous. There are seven pieces in the collection. So what are the must-buys, and which can you pass on?
First up, there are two really subtle iridescent, lip glosses. The lighter of the two 'Exquisite' is my personal favourite. It leaves a stunning pink sheen to the lips. The other shade 'Opulent' is a little harder to pull off, shimmery sheer taupe/beige shade. I'm also not a big fan of the chunky glitter in this, but if you can stand it, it's a lovely shade.
Next up are three of the new 'Vintage Metallix' gel-creme Eyeshadows. All three of these shades are stunning, shimmery, and annoyingly hard to photograph. The texture is gorgeous. Quite thin and 'wet' for a creme, but heavily pigmented and extremely long lasting (once these are on, they will not budge) my personal favourite is the beige shade with pink shimmering undertones. Stunning.
L-R: Courtier, Embellish, Babelot
They've also included one of their powder blushes. These are some of my favourite blushes on the market for pigmentation, texture and blend-ability. Unbelievably smooth and silky, this shade is Naked Rose and it's the perfect, natural rosey-pink shade. Perfect for everyday wear, or layered up for a more dramatic look.
Last but not least is the nail polish, 'Melange'. This is my least favourite from the collection. An olive green with golden shimmer, it's pretty and definitely unique, but not something I'd wear very often. As usual with Illamasqua polishes though, the consultancy is outstanding. If you like this shade, you won't be disappointed by it's formulation, that's for sure!
Roundup
Must-see items: Lipgloss in Exquisite (£16.50) , Creme Eyeshadow in Courtier (£16.50)
Well worth a look: Blush in Naked Rose (£21.50), Creme Eyeshadows in Bibelot & Embellish (£16.50)
Skip-able: Lipgloss in Opulent (£16.50), Nail Polish in Melange (£14.50)

The 'Once' collection is available from Friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Festival Braids, 2 Ways!

This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited along to V Festival in Chelmsford by the lovely people at Mark Hill. They were also super kind and styled my hair each day before the bands started. Both looks were braid-based, which is personally my favourite thing for a festival (practical, but cute!) I absolutely loved the results, so wanted to share the two looks they created for me with you all...

I arrived with freshly-washed hair in anticipation of 2 nights camping (and probably no chance to wash it!). For the first day their lovely stylist Lewis created an amazing twisted french braid that went from the top of my head, all the way around the back and to the opposite side. He pulled it all out so it was really messy and loose. It lasted all day (and actually looked pretty good the next morning too!)
The next day Lewis & I decided we wanted something fun and 'tribal' inspired. Lewis actually wanted to braid my whole head, but I managed to convince him that doing just one half would look cooler! He put in two tight braids down one side, but then split them in half at the nape of my heck to create 4 little plaits at the bottom, giving a faux side-shave look. Then he waved the other side using a big curling wand (I think it was this one - I'm definitely going to be hunting it down next time I'm in boots, cos I love the effect it gave!)
I had such a great time, so a HUGE thank you to Mark Hill for inviting me along! I also posted a little lookbook video from the weekend too, you can check it out below:
Let me know what you think! Which look did you prefer? What's your favourite look for a festival?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MYNY!

To celebrate the launch of their brand new fragrance 'MYNY' DKNY have launched a snazzy little service where you can make a heart-shaped collage of your favourite pictures of (and from!) New York. Whether they're your own holiday snaps, or your favourite iconic pictures from their gallery, it's pretty fun to do!
Here's a peek at my heart... I've filled it with all my favourite pictures from New York over the years...

You can create your own heart on the MYNY website here.
The fragrance itself is housed in one of the coolest bottles I've seen in a long time too. It is a glass heart with a multi-faceted metal top inspired by the New York skyline. The liquid itself is a pretty pale pink and the fragrance is the perfect balance of floral yet fruity, with notes of raspberry, pink pepper, jasmine, freesia, vanilla and patchouli. Something about it is effervescent, almost fizzy!
It's a good choice for those of you who are looking for a sophisticated scent, but still like a hint of fruitiness! It's out tomorrow, in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml Eau De Parfum bottles, priced at £37, £49 & £68 respectively.

To further celebrate the launch of MYNY, they are also holding a competition where you can win a £300 DKNY gift voucher and a 50ml bottle of the fragrance! 
All you have to do to enter is take a picture of yourself making a heart with your hands like Rita Ora's doing in the ad, share it on Facebook with #SCENTWITHLOVE and #MYNY. You can also tag up to four friends who will also receive the same prize if you win too! There are lots of runner-up prizes too. Head over to facebook.com/dknyfragrances for more info.

*This post was sponsored by DKNY Fragrances

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Range

If you watch my Vlogs on YouTube, you might have already seen a little snippet of my trip to Morocco back in May. If not, The Body Shop invited me along to see first hand where the argan oil in their new Wild Argan Oil range comes from.
It's pretty rare, almost unheard of, for a brand to do this (especially with a blogger!) so I felt thoroughly privileged to have been invited....


The trip was incredible and gave me such an interesting insight into exactly how The Body Shop work with their community fair trade partners, and the real change that this work brings to the people involved. I go into this a little more in my vlog, as well as show you first hand how the oil is produced, so if you're interested in that, take a peek here:
In this post I wanted to show you the products themselves and give a little review of the range. It consists of 9 products. Some are The Body Shop 'classics' like the Body Butter and the Shower Gel, others are more argan-focused, like the multi-use Radiant Oil (£14), the Miracle Solid Oil (£8) and the Solid Lip Oil (£4). 

All of the products are infused with argan oil, so they are extra-nourishing for your skin. I've really enjoyed all of the products from the line, but I'm going to go into a little more detail about my three favourites…
First up is the Rough Scrub (£13) which gives you the perfect balance of exfoliation and nourishment. It's still an effective exfoliant, but the oil content means it doesn't strip your skin, leaving it soft and supple. The scent of the whole line is gorgeous too; a delicate fragrance that is slightly nutty with a hint of something more floral. I think those who are fans of the Shea range will love this.
I also adore the Body Butter (£13). I'm already a big fan of the Satsuma, Coconut and Fresh-Picked Raspberry varieties, but something about it is a little more luxurious than the other scents I've tried. It's slightly more oily in texture, so leaves a beautiful sheen to the skin.
Last but not least is my personal favourite from the line: the Solid Lip Oil. This is such a gorgeous texture, and leaves my lips really smooth and nourished. I have been using this at night, right before I go to bed and my lips feel super soft when I wake up. I've noticed more and more lip oils and 'lip masks' creeping onto the market this year, and this is definitely one of the most affordable (Hourglass and Bite are lovely too but SO expensive!) If you're looking for a great overnight treatment for your lips but don't want to spend the earth - this is a great option at £4.

The Wild Argan Oil range is available in The Body Shop stores now, priced from £2 to £14. I'd really recommend giving it a try next time you're passing! 

* This post was sponsored by The Body Shop UK http://www.TheBodyShop.co.uk

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY Lipgloss: Silk + Honey Review

This week I've been giving this little kit from Silk + Honey a go. I love the idea of making your own cosmetics, but it can be time consuming, expensive and requires a lot of research. Silk + Honey makes it easy by selling 'kits' that not only allow you to mix your own shades and tweak formulations, but they don't contain any chemical nasties that are common in modern cosmetics.
Some of the skin and body care kits are a little overpriced in my opinion, but the lip gloss kit, at £35 is great for anyone who wants to give this a go, but it also makes an amazing gift for makeup lovers! The kit comes complete with all the ingredients you'll need, pipettes, syringes with nibs for filling the tubes and a gorgeous linen makeup bag...
Apparently it makes up to 13 tubes of lipgloss, but actually only comes with 6 empty tubes, so unless you want to buy additional containers, I think 6 is a more realistic number. You mix together a base of Jojoba Oil and Jojoba Gel, the colour the gloss with a selection of different pigments. The shade possibilities are endless and it's actually really easy and fun to do!
I mixed four different shades this weekend and this is how they turned out. I'm in love with the bright fuchsia. The formulation actually turned out really nicely. Because they have the oil base, they are totally non-sticky, but last really nicely. They also leave your lips feeling lovely and nourished too. I think I'll get a lot of use out of these.
You can pick up the kit on Birchbox.com for £35. A lovely treat, or perfect gift for makeup obsessives like me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

YSL Fusion Ink Foundation Review

There's been quite a bit of hype around the new YSL Fusion Ink or 'Le Teint Encre De Peau' Foundation. With Cara Delevingne on the ads, and YSL handing out free 7-day trial pots last week, it's gotten quite a lot of attention, but is it justified? I've been giving it a try this week so I can give you my thoughts amongst all of the fanfare.
So basically, it's very similar in consistency to both the Giorgio Armani Maestro and L'Oreal Paris Eau De Teint foundations (all three brands being under the L'Oreal umbrella, it's probably also made in the same labs...)


That aside, I have to say that this is probably my favourite of the three. Something about it seems more moisturising than the other two. It's incredibly light on the skin, yet has a lovely medium build-able coverage with a natural, semi-matte finish. Despite being semi-matte, it still manages to give you a definite 'glow'. I think this is a great foundation for those who want a light base for the day and a heavier one for the evening, but don't want to buy two different products. One layer is perfect for the daytime, two works well for the evening.
I apply this using a small stippling brush from Sephora, which I think it the best way. Blending it in with your fingers also works nicely, but I would avoid traditional 'paint brush' style foundation brushes.

YSL's claims for the foundation are pretty huge too, it's meant to last for 24 hours and not require a primer or powder. I'm not sure I agree with the 24 hours (who would leave it on for that long anyway?!) but this does have fantastic staying power on my skin, especially considering how light it feels. I didn't use a primer with this and it seemed to sit perfectly on the skin, but I did need to powder a little around my T-Zone in the afternoon.
There are 16 shades available, so a good selection to choose from in both neutral, warm and cool tones. (The bottle & swatches above are BD20, the shade I've used in the pictures below is B30)
1. No makeup, 2. Just foundation, 3. Full Makeup
Overall I was really impressed with this. I much prefer it to the touch√© √©clat foundation (which has lighter coverage and doesn't last nearly as well as this). It's just launched in Debenhams, priced at £30.50, The nationwide launch is set for the 20th August. I know they've been giving out 7-day free trials of this all of last week, but I'm not sure if they are still available post-launch. It's worth asking, but if not, you can sample it on counter.

Has anyone else tried this yet? What do you think?!