Tuesday 31 January 2012

January 2012 GlossyBox - The Valentine's Edition

Yesterday the postman knocked on the door to deliver the latest Glossybox. This one was delayed a little as it was billed as the Valentine's Edition...

The box this month is a cute hot pink.

As always GlossyBox pays attention to the detail - 

Of course this all means nothing if the content's don't live up to expectation, however I am more than happy with the content's of my box.

A closer look and swatch of the Eye Liner 

What Is Inside -

Clarins - Extra Firming Day Cream - This is a rather generous 15ml sample and is apparently suitable for all skin types. I have already used this cream and it has left my skin feeling super soft. It is nice and rich but be aware it is heavily scented. This didn't have a little seal over the opening.

Clarins - Extra Firming Night Cream - Again, a generous 15ml sample (the type you would get in bonus gift packs when you make multiple purchases). This has a lighter, fresher scent and also leaves the skin feeling beautifully moistured. I think it is great that the day and night cream were in the box, brands often develop products to work in conjunction with each other and you get a good idea of how they would suit your skin with each other. This came sealed.

Clarins is an excellent inclusion in the box, I am going through a little love affair with the brand so was delighted to be able to try these.

Murad - Hybrids Skin Perfecting Primer - Dewy Finish (5ml)

Murad is a brand that I have heard of but never tried any of their products. I am a big fan of using a primer under my foundation so look forward to giving this oil free primer a whirl.

FAB (First Aid Beauty) - Gentle Body Wash

This body wash is fragrance free, has a creamy texture and is free of Parabens and harsh chemicals. 
I haven't tried anything from FAB before so I think it is great that in this GlossyBox there are two brands that I am able to try for the very first time and both are generic enough to be suitable for my skin type.

Eyeko - Skinny Eyeliner in Emerald Green (other shades were sent out)

I have been really impressed with the products that I have tried from Eyeko previously,  although I haven't purchased anything since their relaunch and redesign. This item is full size and worth £9.50. I have green eyes and think this shade will make an excellent addition to my makeup bag. It is a really pretty metallic green shade, brighter than the Stila liner that was included in the October box.

I will use all of these products and as a box I think it is really rather fab,  fulfilling the brief of what it set out to do, the only thing I would say is that I cannot see what the link between Valentine's and this month's GlossyBox is apart from a heart sticker and a heart sweet! :-)

*PR Sample

Clarins Colour Breeze Collection - Spring 2012

I love this time of year, all the makeup counters are bringing out their new Spring collections. Whilst out shopping  last Friday the Clarins Colour Breeze Collection was one that that I was particularly drawn to.

Think flawless complexions with washes of colour that enhance and illuminate in shades of delicate candy. This collection just oozes effortless beauty.

Colour Breeze Face & Blush Palette - £30 Limited Edition

A compact that leaves the skin matte with 3 shades of blush embossed into the powder to provide a touch of radiance.

Eye Quartet Mineral Palette - £30 Limited Edition

Four satin smooth, wet and dry formula mineral eye shadows in shades of turquoise and grey green, a soft flannel grey to define the eyes and a white for highlighting. Presented in the Clarins signature pale gold compact with mirror and two foam tipped applicators; one for defining, the other for shading and blending.

Vitamin Pink (shown) & Coral Tonic (not pictured) Instant Light Blush - £19 Limited Edition

I am most excited by the Instant Light Blush, available in two shades - Vitamin Pink and Coral Tonic which are both equally gorgeous. Instant Light Blush is a super-light liquid cheek colour that glides on to create high definition radiant, yet natural colour. Presented in a handy glass bottle with sculpted foam tipped applicator that looks just like nail polish. Love them.

Also new but not limited edition - Gloss Prodige Intense Colour & Shine Lip Gloss - £15.50 in 8 shades. Additions to the existing range include two shades of Joli Rouge Lipstick - Poppy Red & Baby Pink - £16.50.  Lastly, new shades of Joli Rouge Sheer Lipstick - Pink Magnolia & Pink Coral - £16.50.

Clarins Colour Breeze Collection is out now

Monday 30 January 2012

A Great Kisser - New Soap And Glory Lip Balms

Soap and Glory's latest launch is perfectly timed for this spell of cold weather - A Great Kisser Lip Balm is available in 3 tempting flavours -

JUICY PEACH - A gorgeous coral tint

SWEET COCONUT - Clear with a hint of shimmer

CHOCOLATE CHERRY - A sheer, popsicle pink tint

A Great Kisser contains Mango Butter, Apricot Butter, Lingonberry Oil and Pomegranate Extract - all ingredients to protect your delicate lips. 

I am a huge fan of lip balms so really looking forward to trying these out.

A Great Kisser is available now in bigger Boots stores in the UK and Ireland or online and have a RRP of £5 for 18g

Laura Mercier Spring 2012 - The Lingerie Collection

When the details of The Lingerie Collection from Laura Mercier popped into my inbox  my eyes lit up and I knew I just had to share it with you. The shades represent a real step into Spring with shades of peach, coral and pink.

This collection focuses on the soft romantic colours and fabrics of the Victorian Age.The Lingerie Collection is undoubtedly romantic, modern and feminine with lips and cheeks in warm corals and peaches and eyes in neutral browns and taupe greys.

Eye and Cheek Palette - £41.50 Limited Edition

Eye Colour: Buff Pearl (lustre), Tawny Apricot (sateen), Rich Cocoa (matte), Pale Pink (matte), African Violet (lustre), Black Plum (matte).
Cheek Colour: Rose Desire, Fresh Peach.

Lip Shine in Tempting Coral - £17 Limited Edition

A hint of colour with a lightweight, pearlescent gloss finish.

Lip Shine in Naked Apricot - £17 Limited Edition

A hint of colour with a lightweight, pearlescent gloss finish.

Crème Cheek Colour in Innocent Peach - £18.50 Limited Edition

The Lingerie Collection is out now 

Saturday 28 January 2012

Becca Beach Tint In GrapeFruit

Thursday 26th January was Australia Day which prompted me to dig out and wear a fab product that I purchased last Summer from the Australian brand Becca.

Becca Beach Tint in Grapefruit
Beach Tint is described as 'a blendable crème stain for cheeks and lips that suits all skin types. Kiss-proof and water-resistant, it dries to a perfect, streak-free, non-greasy and non-drying finish. Each shade is deliciously scented in its synonymous name.'

I decided to purchase Grapefruit as it is described as a pale coral pink (and at the time I had a little love affair with all things coral) and was tempted by the fact that the beach tints are water-resistant (handy with my hay fever removing all my make-up).

When it arrived I was a little surprised at the size of the tube, it is tiny! I don't know what I was expecting but I guess in images things can look bigger than they actually are..

I absolutely love its scent - A gorgeous and intoxicating orange fragrance. Very summery.

Grapefruit Beach Tint comes out of the tube a rather scary bright orange 

On the right is a swatch of Becca Beach Tint in Grapefruit, on the left my bare skin

However, as its name suggests this is a tint not a blush so once the product is blended it transforms into a hint of very wearable colour which can be built upon for a deeper shade. On my skin this converts to giving a healthy looking glow and I think it looks wonderful against a more bronzed appearance as I will demonstrate in the full face pictures below.

The texture is fab, a creamy liquid that is blendable and it doesn't dry too fast, so there is plenty of time to blend to perfection. I know I have mentioned this before but it is worth repeating - cream/liquid textured blushes/tints are fabulous as you get older as they are not drying or look cakey settling into fine lines as some powders can do.

Although it can be used as both a cheek and lip tint for some reason I cannot get on with using it on my lips, I find it too drying and it just sits in my lines.. It may just be my lips as I have tried other multipurpose tints and they all do that. I think their formulas are too watery for me.

Here are a couple of pictures from last Summer where I am wearing Becca Beach Tint 

Becca Beach Tint Grapefruit on top of Fake Bake Platinum Glow

Becca Beach Tint on non fake tanned skin 

I wore this as part of my waterproof makeup on a spa day as it wasn't heavy and it lasted all day, perfect!

I think this is a great Summer staple to have in your make-up bag. 

Becca Beach Tint comes in 7 mouthwatering shades and costs £20 for 7ml

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Skincare And Make Up Brands That Are Entirely Paraben Free - A list

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Common parabens include methylparaben (E number E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben. (Source wikipedia)

As my mum has been diagnosed as being allergic to Parabens I have been searching the net, asking on twitter and using my own knowledge looking for skincare and makeup brands that are paraben free that she could have peace of mind using.

The good news is that there are lots of fabulous brands out there whose products are paraben free, so if you are allergic or just wish to avoid products containing parabens there is a fair amount of choice. I thought it would be useful to compile a list of the companies that don't use parabens in any of their products and put them up here on BeautySwot.com for your reference. I will also be going over previous reviews and adding the phrase 'paraben free' to the tag cloud, so you can click it to read reviews of products that I have tried that do not include parabens.

Listed in alphabetic order with links to their sites -

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare -  http://www.aureliaskincare.com/
Arbonne - www.arbonne.com
Aromatherapy Associates - http://www.aromatherapyassociates.com/
Balance Me - https://www.balanceme.co.uk/
BareMinerals - http://bareminerals.co.uk/
Bee Good Skincarehttp://beegood.co.uk/
Bionsen Deodorant http://www.bionsen.co.uk/
Bodhi & Birchhttps://www.bodhiandbirch.com
Boots Botanicshttp://www.boots.com/en/Botanics/
Green People - http://www.greenpeople.co.uk/
Hearts and Homespunhttp://www.heartsandhomespun.com/
Hourglass Cosmetics http://hourglasscosmetics.com/
Inika Cosmetics - http://inikacosmetics.co.uk/
Just Soaps Of The Earthhttp://www.justsoapsoftheearth.co.uk/
Soothing Showershttp://www.soothingshowers.com/
Susan Posnick Cosmeticshttp://www.susanposnick.com/
Yes Tohttp://www.yestocarrots.com/find-a-store-uk.html
Youngblood Mineral Cosmeticshttp://ybskin.co.uk/

*Please note this is not a definitive list and I will be updating it as and when I come across other brands, if you know of any brands whose entire product range is paraben free please let me know so that I can add it to this list. Bookmark this page for your reference.

Dr Lipp - Original Nipple Balm For Lips

I must admit to wondering what I was going to be sent when the offer to review Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm For Lips popped into my inbox but I needn't have worried..just look at how it was delivered. Really attractive outer packaging and the actual balm comes in a grey and pink tube.

Dr Lipp is really a multi-purpose balm that is made out of 100% medical grade Lanolin and nothing else. It is organic, hypoallergenic and paraben free. It is not scented or coloured.

Originally sold as a nipple balm for nursing mothers, it was found to have other uses too - soothing chapped lips and moisturising dry patches of skin like elbows.

As luck would have it I have been quite ill recently and as a result my lips were feeling rather sorry for themselves, this was a perfect excuse to try Dr Lipp out.

My thoughts - The balm is really thick and sits on the lips as a protective barrier rather than being absorbed so it can feel a little heavy but that feeling soon vanishes. However, what really impressed me was how the lips look super glossy with this balm when applied liberally! So, not only do you get beautifully soft and conditioned lips, they look amazing too. Fab product that I have already been raving to friends and family about.

A little tip - I warm the balm up a little between my fingers to make application easier.

Dr Lipp really works and this has become a little staple in my handbag, I have a feeling it won't last long though as I use it daily.

Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm For Lips costs £11 for 15ml. For stockists please click here 

Monday 23 January 2012

Karin Herzog Finest Chocolate Cleansing - Cleansing Gel

I take my skincare routine very seriously. I am meticulous about cleansing twice a day and because of this it should never feel like a chore. I have to like everything about a cleanser for me to enjoy it and use it. One very important aspect is the scent.

Karin Herzog Finest Chocolate Cleansing Gel ticks all the boxes. This cleanser smells so good, good enough to eat. It has the most delicious chocolate scent that it is such a pleasure to use. Coming out of the tube it is in gel form, once massaged in it melts into an oil. It feels like you are smothering yourself in gooey, sticky chocolate.

Massaging the chocolate cleansing gel is very enjoyable and enables the oil to lift off all your makeup including waterproof mascara, as I perform this ritual I can actually see the makeup being removed. I then use a warm, wet muslin cloth to rinse off the product. This leaves the skin feeling extremely clean, soft and comfortable, ready to apply my moisturiser/night cream.

When you find a cleanser that works for you, I think that you can really see the results of using it. I have been using this cleanser for over 3 weeks now and the results are incredible, my skin is clearer, brighter and looks and feels so fresh in the morning. So much so that at the weekend when we went out for the evening, I used this before heading to bed and when I woke up my husband commented how radiant my skin looked even though I had not even had 6 hours sleep. He even joked that I should have taken a picture to show how I looked first thing in the morning!

I have been so happy with how my skin is looking that I have ventured out without makeup and I have rarely done that in the past...

Karin Herzog Finest Chocolate Cleansing Gel is suitable for all skin types and costs £33 for 50mls.

*PR Sample

My Night Cream - Karin Herzog Vita-A-Kombi 1

Before Kate Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge it was reported in the press that she used the Swiss brand Karin Herzog Oxygen Face Creams. Well as a beauty product lover I thought I would see what the fuss was all about and try Karin Herzog for myself. After a brief consultation it was suggested that the ideal product for me would be the Vita-A-Kombi 1 taking into consideration my skin type and age, I am over 30. I was very kindly sent one to review.

Vita-A-Kombi 1 is a Day and Night Face Cream suitable for normal, combination and Celtic skin types. It is an Anti ageing cream containing 1% oxygen and the vitamins A & E.

Claims - Designed to be used morning and night these products normalise the skin, promote healing and accelerate cell regeneration, balance even combination skins, minimise open pores, detox and kill bacteria, hydrate and diminish lines and wrinkles. Suitable for even the most sensitive skin as the healing properties work to de-sensitise and calm.

My thoughts - This is a light cream textured product that you apply to the face but interestingly don't rub into the skin as it apparently has a unique self massaging effect. This means that it is left on the skin and it sinks in on its own after a little while. I started using this both day and night and was really pleased with the results, I had no reactions like a spot breakout and it left my skin feeling soft, smooth and bright. The scent is hard to describe but just smells to me like an old fashioned cream, the scent is light and barely there though so it is pleasant. At night the cream on the skin feels cool to the touch which is really nice during those hot, sticky Summer evenings.

Results since using Karin Herzog Vita-A-Kombi 1 - the redness of my rosacea is less pronounced and clearer.I don't have dry cheeks, my skin always feels hydrated and I wake up with beautiful fresh, bright looking skin. I have really noticed a difference and my skin seems to really like this product and the effects of Oxygen. 

Vita-A-Kombi 1 is packaged in a screw top jar and comes with a spatula to get the product out (more hygienic than dipping your fingers in).

I liked using and seeing the results of Vita-A-Kombi 1 so much that I have since purchased a second jar and as it is relatively expensive I just use it as as my preferred night cream and haven't changed to anything else at night. It is paraben free.

Vita-A-Kombi 1 costs around £50 for a 50ml Jar. 

Friday 20 January 2012

Paraben Free Skin Care, Hair Care and Make-Up

Today my mum was told that she has an allergy to Parabens.

She found out having undergone a rigorous and comprehensive testing of 90! different products as she has had a terrible time in the last year with allergic reactions that have manifested themselves in her skin. Itching, redness, dryness, peeling and weeping - extremely unpleasant and distressing.

At first it was thought that the drugs she was taking for her illness were causing this but as she had been taken off of them and was still suffering, something else needed to be done and the cause found.

She has called me up and told me that now having had the tests done she is now looking to use only products that are paraben free... So we are now on a mission to find suitable products for her and go 30 days without using parabens to see if this makes a difference.

I have a few ideas re skincare and haircare but as she has always worn makeup and looked beautiful and glamorous we are going to start looking into things like lipsticks, mascaras, highlighters and all the usual other makeup items that she loves to wear and see how they perform and if they are good enough to replace her favoured 'usual' products.

Wish her luck!

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Eden

I only started using an eye shadow primer/base around 18 months ago but since then I have rarely ever applied eye shadow without applying a primer first.

As the tube of Benefit Stay Don't Stray was coming to an end and I fancied trying something else I purchased Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden to see how it compared.

There are 4 Primer Potions to choose from - Original, Eden, Sin and Greed.

Original – Has an invisible finish.
Sin –  Has a Champagne shimmer.
Eden – Has a yellow/cream matte finish.
Greed –  Has a Gold shimmer.

I opted for Eden as I wanted the primer to double as a base to even out the colour in my eye area.

The primer potion comes in a squeezy tube container and has a screw lid making it easy to dispense.

The product is soft and creamy to apply and the 11ml tube will last ages as a tiny amount will go a long way.

What UDPP does - For me it even outs my eye area quite nicely and as I am yellow toned it works perfectly with my colouring, this then provides the perfect base to start applying my powder eye shadows with. It makes the eye shadow shades appear brighter and more vivid. Smooths the appearance of the eye shadow and makes them last quite simply for hours, so late at night when I return home my eye shadow looks as if I have just applied it. I love this stuff and would definitely repurchase. 

My eyelids are a little greasy and the primer potion provides a really nice base for the shadow to cling. However, for some reason it doesn't really work with cream based shadows.. I find that they actually work better without the primer potion.

Eden is very light and for this reason it won't suit darker skin tones as it will make your eye area look pasty.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion costs £14.50 for an 11ml tube

Wednesday 18 January 2012

17 Trio Eye Shadows - A/W 2011 Collection

The 17 Autumn/Winter 2011 Collection consists of 3 nail polish shades and matching eye shadow trios.

I have already featured the nail polish in a nails of the day post which you can see here. I am not overly keen on putting the colour green on my nail so I am afraid it is still sitting around waiting to be tried..

The eye shadow trios are -

Enraged -

Swatches of  17 Trio Eye Shadow in Enraged

Enraged instantly grabbed me as I find that browns and golds are extremely wearable and they really enhance the green in my eyes. Needless to say this trio has had a lot of use. The shades in Enraged are a soft rose gold, a gold and a darker,warmer gold, they are all fantastically shimmery.

Texture wise the shadows are buttery soft and smooth, easy to blend and surprisingly there is little fall out. I find they have good pigmentation and last well but I always wear an eye shadow base so I am unsure how they would fare if you don't wear a base.

Broken Hearted

Swatches of 17 Eye Shadow Trio in Broken Hearted

The Broken Hearted trio has a shimmery, bordering on metallic brilliant white/silver, a metallic silvery/grey and what appears to be a bottle green with a lot of glitter. I love the silver and grey a lot but not entirely convinced about the green. It swatches as a matt, flat colour with random flecks of glitter. I was hoping it would be more vibrant.


Swatches of 17 Eye Shadow Trio in Vengeance

For some reason I haven't actually worn the Vengeance trio yet but having swatched it I plan to wear it this weekend, I think the actual swatches are really pretty. The lightest shade is a shimmery lilac, the middle one is a rather pleasant light taupe/purple shade with a metallic sheen and the one that is supposed to be purple leans more to a dark brown/purple shade with a hint of shimmer which I really like.

Overall, I think the 17 Eye Shadow Trios are really worth seeking out and trying if you haven't already. They are great value at £5.49 each and available to purchase at Boots stores.

*PR Samples

Monday 16 January 2012

Laura Mercier Lip Glace - Champagne

Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Champagne is one of my favourite glosses and I have only had it since Christmas! I was instantly drawn to Champagne at the Laura Mercier counter, popped it onto my Christmas list and hey presto unwrapped it on Christmas Day.

Nice packaging that allows you to see the product clearly and a a perfect sized soft sponge applicator makes this a delight to own and use.

Champagne is a beautiful nude shade with more than a hint of peach to it. It has a creamy consistency with good, even pigmentation that is not overly sticky at all. The Lip Glace is packed with shimmer particles that give it a wonderful brilliant shine. Scent wise, it smells good - Vanilla.

Swatch of Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Champagne

I find it extremely flattering against my skin tone and love the way that it enhances my lips. I think that the shimmer in this gloss resembles the bubbles that you get in Champagne, so pretty!

Here are a few pictures of how Champagne looks on my lips.

Saturday 14 January 2012

'Get Glam' With Diet Coke and Benefit Cosmetics Offer

'Get Glam' this Spring with this fantastic collaboration between Diet Coke and Benefit Cosmetics.Out now and until March 2012 are these rather fabulous limited edition designed Diet Coke cans depicting three of Spring's hottest looks.

Choose from Modern Romantic featuring a floral and pink lips design, True Fashionista featuring a hounds tooth pattern and striking red lips and finally the Rock Chick can features Zebra print with daring orange lips.

Every time you buy a can from the 'Get Glam' collection you will receive a £5 voucher code redeemable on purchases over £20 from Benefit Cosmetics online.

Friday 13 January 2012

Guest Commenting On Beauty Look Of The Week!

Just a quick post to let you know that today I can be found over on MyDaily.co.uk offering my opinion on the look that two celebrities are rocking on the red carpet. This week the choice is between Lea Michele or Kirsten Dunst. Click here to find out who gets my vote...

Do you agree with my choice?

Thursday 12 January 2012

InStyler® Rotating Hot Iron Straighteners - Hair Tool Review

I am very pleased to be bringing you my first ever hair styling tool review!

The InStyler Rotating Hot Iron is billed as the ultimate 3 in 1 styling tool - promising to straighten, add volume and curl. The idea being that you won't need any other as this does it all!

It features a 32mm Hot Rotating Cylinder, a Heated Brush,Temperature LEDs and a Power Button.You may think it odd that I mention the power button but I have in the past used straighteners that do not have one. It also comes with a sectioning comb and a heat protective mat to rest the straighteners on that doubles as a storage bag.

The Instyler has 3 temperature settings with LED indicators :

Hi  (triple bar): 196° C - For thick, coarse hair
Med (double bar): 157° C - For thin to medium-textured hair
Low (Single bar): 140° C - For fine, thin hair
Off (no bars)

When you turn on the InStyler the LED lights flash as it is heating up, when it is ready the LED becomes solid  and stays lit, telling you that it has reached the desired selected temperature. I think this is a really useful feature. Push the button once for high heat, a second time for medium heat and a third time for low heat and then .

I have been giving this a whirl (literally) ever since I received it for review purposes, and have found it to be a real pleasure to use.

It is so simple to use - I have really thick hair so I have been using it on the highest setting.  To straighten you section the hair as you would with a pair of ordinary straighteners, place in the Instyler, cylinder side to hair and glide the Instyler down the hair. When the Instyler closes the cylinder rotates.

By far my favourite way to style my hair is to flip in, I follow the steps as above but nearer the ends I flip the cyclinder side outwards and the brush inwards - this creates fabulous ends. I have seen the end of straight lank hair just wonderfully styled hair with volume. It has honestly been a revelation.

 I have already given you a peek of what stunningly gorgeous waves it creates in this post. To create the waves, section the hair as normal, wrap a section around the cylinder and close for 5-10 seconds. Gently release hair and repeat on all sections until complete. I was surprised at how quickly I could create this effect.

Don't worry though as full instructions and a demo DVD are provided when you purchase the Instyler.

Plus points -

Practical To Use
Fool Proof
Easy To Create Different Styles
Brushes As You Go
Delivers Fabulous Volume
Creates Gorgeous Big Waves and Curls

I have only one negative against the tool - the Instyler is noisy although, like most white noise I have used it so often that now I don't even notice it..but that really is it. I LOVE it :-)

Admittedly it may appear to be pricey but it is so versatile as a styling tool and as someone who would prefer to pay the hairdresser to get the perfect blow dry as I was so useless at using hair tools.. this is saving me money and showed me that there really is something out there that I can use. I cannot imagine living without it now.

The Instyler is available from most Boots stores, QVC and from www.instyler.co.uk costing £99.99


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