Thursday, November 27, 2014

Brand Discovery: Huygens, Paris

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to Paris with the lovely ladies at Birchbox to learn more about some of their favourite Parisian brands that are stocked on the Birchbox website. One of the stops on our trip was a little apothecary-style boutique that is home to Huygens. I'd never heard of the brand before, and was instantly intrigued by the pretty blue facade.
Their unique, unpretentious approach to aromatherapy is quite charming... 
They talk you through all of their aromatherapy oil blends, finding out both what you want to get from your products, what you like and what you don't like. They are then able to mix each individual blend with any of their bath, body, hair or skin care products (all of which are also formulated with 97-100% natural ingredients) to create your own bespoke selection right there in the shop.
Aside from the concept, the products themselves really are lovely (hence the delay in putting this post up, I've been giving them all a good road test!) The facial exfoliating cream is possibly my favourite. This is the one product I came away with that you can't actually personalise the scent of, it has a gentle citrus scent and the thick, luxurious formula leaves your skin feeling smooth, soft and rejuvenated but not stripped.
My other favourite is the bath oil, which I personalised with their 'Hercule' oil blend. The scent fills my entire hallway and has an utterly relaxing affect with it's notes of rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender (perfect for bedtime!) The founder Daan also recommended that I try their shampoo personalised with Hercule for my sensitive, irritable scalp and it's working really nicely for my hair. 

The personalisation process...
Finally, I also adore their Verveine scent. It's quite strong but something about it is sweeter than similar products I've tried before and I find it really uplifting. As Huygens is still a baby brand, they can only be found in the UK via the Birchbox website. Birchbox currently only stock a selection of their products, but seeing as it's such a gorgeous brand, I have a feeling that may well change in the future! You can take a look at Huygens' own website here, and if you happen to be in Paris any time soon, I would thoroughly recommend paying their delightful little shop a visit at 24 Rue du Temple!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Magical Facial

I normally hate facials, treatments, massages and just about anything that involves a stranger touching me (I know, I'm strange!) but six weeks ago I met a lady called Marie Reynolds. It was the night of the Zoella beauty launch, I'd had a couple of glasses of wine and got chatting to Marie about her treatments. Marie is very well known in the world of skincare. Renowned for her unique approach to skincare treatment. She doesn't just look and the condition of the skin, but also the effect that our state of mind and thought patterns can have on the skin.
As I said before, I don't normally like facials, and I don't normally believe in alternative therapy techniques either, but something about Marie was overtly calming and instantly drew me in. She kindly invited me along to have one of her famous 'Fifth Concept' facials in Fortnum & Mason. I jumped at the chance (obviously), but on the day I still felt a little apprehensive, having never really enjoyed a facial before...


The experience that followed really was exceptional. Marie seemed to instantly understand my apprehension for treatments. Looking at my feet and facial features, she told me so many things about my personal outlook on life and gave me some advice for both conquering and dealing with my day-to-day worries. Without sharing more personal details with you, I can just say that both the treatment itself worked wonders for my skin (It looked clear, smooth, plumped and bright both immediately and for about two weeks afterwards - no awful breakouts like I normally get a few days post-facial) and for my state of mind.

I think this is one of the only times I've properly relaxed, ever. Yes, Marie's time is very expensive, but in my mind it's undoubtedly worth it. If you're looking for an out-of-this-world beauty treatment. I would thoroughly recommend paying her a visit.

You can find out more information about Marie, and how to book an appointment, on her website.
I also got the chance to try out one of her new body butter candles during the treatment (there's a lot of arm and foot massaging on top of the facial work!) Although the concept of using a candle as body butter seems a little *ahem* kinky... it was actually gorgeous. The scent was divine and left my skin beautifully soft. The glass packaging is stunning and 100% re-usable after you've finished burning the candle, so perfect for your dressing table! (They would make lovely Christmas presents too!) They are £22 each, but you can get 20% off with the code TE3V9M4X at checkout on the MarsteSpa website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Caudalie Night Oils: Review & Giveaway!

I only started using night oils this year, and looking back I can honestly say I don't know how I overlooked them for so long. Something about using an oil overnight feels luxurious and pampering, and you wake up with gloriously soft, supple skin. I don't use them every night, but whenever I feel like my skin needs a little boost of moisture, which is usually the case as the seasons start to change.
Caudalie have recently added two new overnight oils to their line-up. (Perfect timing for the arrival of winter weather over the next couple of months!) I'm a huge fan of the brand already so I jumped at the chance to put them to the test over the past couple of weeks...


There are two different formulas: the Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil and the Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil. Both are 100% plant-derived and contain no artificial fragrances, dyes, preservatives or synthetic ingredients.
The Polyphenol is designed for overworked, stressed skin exposed to UV, pollution and free radicals. It's formulated with sweet almond oil, musc rose, orange and petitgrain plant oils, sandalwood, lavender and carrot essential oils and Caudalie's signature grape seed oil. This concoction is blended to balance, detoxify and calm the skin. I've been using this for the past few weeks and have fallen utterly in love with it. I use about 6 drops, warm it in my hands before massaging in into my skin, right before I go to sleep. The hint of lavender is perfect for a night oil and my skin feels amazing in the morning. I'm so happy to have found this as I was previously using the Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial oil, which is a lot more expensive at £45 for 15ml, compared to £29 for 30ml and I love it just as much! (available online at Caudalie.com)
The pink bottle I actually gave to my sister, as the Vinsource Recovery oil is formulated especially for dry and sensitive skin. My sister has incredibly sensitive skin and has had a lot of problems with it recently due to allergies. As the temperature has been dropping, her skin has also been awfully dry and she called me a few weeks ago asking if I had any ideas to help. This was sitting on my desk so I thought of it instantly. I passed it on to her and she's been testing it out ever since and loves it. It's the first night oil she's used, and I think I've converted her! After 2 weeks of use she says her skin is not as dry and feels much more comfortable when she wakes up in the mornings. It's made with rose, palmarosa, sesame rosemary, jojoba and grape seed oil, and has a light rose scent. This is a little cheaper than the Polyphenol oil, at £26 for 30ml (available online at Caudalie.com)

Overall, we've both been really impressed with these. They'll definitely be maintaining a crucial position in my winter skincare routine!

Caudalie have kindly offered one of each of the oils to give away to two readers this week! If you'd like to win, all you have to do is TWEET me (@FleurDeForce) with #FDFCaudalie, link this post and let me know which oil you would like to win!

The giveaway is open internationally, you can enter as many times as you like and it closes on Monday 17th November 2014 at midnight. The winners will be announced via Twitter shortly after the closing date.

*This post is sponsored by Caudalie

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NARS Virtual Domination Palette

I got my paws on the new NARS limited edition Virtual Domination palette last week. I'm a massive fan of NARS blushes and bronzers, and especially so their limited edition face palettes as they are great value for money in comparison to the individual shades, and last forever. I've got both the Guy Bordin and Danmari palettes from previous years and I've used them countless times, so was excited to see the new edition for 2014.
The Virtual Domination palette comes in a stunning white case with a patterned overlay. It feels really sturdy and has a large mirror, with 5 shades inside...

Three blushes, one highlighter and a bronzer. Previous palettes have had 6 shades in total, but I quite like that they've decided to make the bronzer double-sized, and miss out a blush shade. It also means that you actually get more bronzer in this palette than a full size Laguna! This makes it quite a good deal for £45 when you consider a full size bronzer will set you back £27 and full size blushes £22.50 (The ones in the palette are almost full size, with each shade having only 0.01oz less product than the individuals)
They've included two of my favourite products from NARS: the Laguna bronzer and Deep Throat blusher, both of which were in the Guy Bordin palette last year, so I was quite surprised to see them included again. The other blush shades are both limited edition, the first being Sex Fantasy (a matte, pale lavender pink) which is surprisingly flattering on me. I didn't think it would be in the pan, and I definitely wouldn't have picked something like this as an individual shade so I'm glad it's been included and has lead to a little discovery for me! The other limited edition shade is Final Cut (a matte peachy-coral) Both of these matte shades are quite powdery, blend well and have lovely pigmentation (not too much, not too little!) The highlighter included is Miss Liberty, another permanent shade. This is the only shade I'm not a huge fan of. It's a very pale peach tone, which I do like, but the level of glitter is OTT for me. It's fine for evening time but not every day.
Clockwise from top right: Laguna, Final Cut, Sex Fantasy, Miss Liberty, Deep Throat

Overall, I'm really happy with this and it's found a firm place in my everyday makeup bag. The one criticism I have is the weight of the palette (although the packaging is stunning, it is much heavier than the previous rubber-matte finished ones I have) so it's not quite as travel friendly.
The Virtual Domination palette is available now, exclusive to SpaceNK in the UK (£45, HERE), and Sephora in the USA ($65, HERE).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Win a Trip to Australia with Aussie & Movember!

In case you missed my brand new beauty video, I wanted to do a little post on here to let you all know about a SUPER exciting collaboration I'm doing with Aussie and Movember this month!

You can check out all the details in my video below, or read on for all the info!
Aussie are the first female sponsors of Movember. I know what you're thinking... "but girl's can't DO Movember Fleur, surely we can't get involved?!" Well, that's where you're wrong!
Whilst all the Mo-Bros out there are proudly nurturing their upper-lip fuzz, Aussie are encouraging their ladies (Mo SISTAS!) to get involved too by creating their very own 'Misstache'! You've all done it before I'm sure, and it only takes a few seconds... hold your hair over your top lip to create a faux tasche, then style, snap and share it to help raise awareness for men's health charities, as well as having a bit of a giggle at the same time!

What's more, Aussie are also giving away a TRIP TO AUSTRALIA to one of you lucky people if you get involved! All you need to do to enter is share your best 'Misstache' snap in the comments of the dedicated post on their Facebook page (HERE) with '#Misstache for #Movember'. I'll be judging the best one based on how unique and fun your snap looks, but also for how skilful you've been to create the picture (you loose points for visable hands!) and how healthy your hair looks.

If you're struggling for inspiration, here are some of my personal favourite moustaches from throughout the ages...
You can find the full terms and conditions on the Aussie Facebook page (HERE), but you do have to be over 18 and based in the UK and Ireland to enter. Entry closes at midnight on 30th November!

*This post is sponsored by Aussie.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Skincare Updates!

Sorry it's been quiet on here for the past few weeks! With Vlogtober in full swing, it's been hard to find time to blog too much, but now it come to an end, I'll be back with lots more beauty bits for you all! (If you want to see what I've been up to, check out my vlogging channel here!) Today I wanted to update you with some skincare treasures I've discovered this month.
The first thing is a serum. I don't use serums all the time, usually in the winter months or if I have a problem with my skin and it needs a little helping hand, but I've really been loving this one from Vichy...

It's their Idealia Life Serum and is very much a hybrid product in texture: halfway between a serum and cream. It absorbs into my skin instantly, leaving it super smooth, glowing and hydrated. I loved it the first time I tried it and still do 4 weeks later! It's £29.50 for 30ml and available from Boots or online here.
The second item that has snuck into my skincare routine is a new scrub. I've been loyal to Soap & Glory's Scrubatomic for around a year now, but when I finished my latest tube I fancied a change. So I picked up Apivita's Olive Scrub and it's brilliant. I was a fan of the brand's face masks before, but the cooling, clean sensation this gives you is lovely. Its not overly harsh or stripping but still effective. It's £13 for 40ml, available from Marks & Spencer stores and online here.
Finally, a new mask I've been loving... I've heard so many good things about Oskia over the past few years, but hadn't tried anything from the brand until this mask. It's their Renaissance Mask and has won lots of awards, so my expectations were high. It didn't disappoint. It's a really strange, salmon pink, thick gel texture. It turns white when you apply it to the skin, but leaves your complexion super smooth, revived and plumped. It has a delicate rose and chamomile scent and is packed with exfoliating fruit acids (passionfruit, lemon and grape) and papaya enzymes. I try to use this at least a few days after using the Apivita scrub so I'm not over-exfoliating my skin, but I'm absolutely loving it. It's pricey at £48.50 for 50ml, but a little goes a long way! It's available from SpaceNK here.
That's it for my skin updates! If you want to know what else I've been loving recently (there's lots of hair care bits!) check out my October Favourites video!