Monday, 28 August 2017

DIY Nail Rack

DIY Nail Rack with Foam Boards

Growing up we were DIY enthusiasts in my house. I loved watching Art Attack and having a go at doing things myself, although my Sister was always the more creative one. She also loved her nail polishes, and so we grew quite a big collection (it's still growing!). I remember she had seen these DIY nail racks on youtube and wanted to have a go herself. I honestly didn't expect it to come out looking this good, but it did. It's also worth keeping in mind that we made it over five years ago, and it's still doing well (as you can see in the pictures). If one of the shelves does fall off, you can always hot glue it back together.

We also made this without any fancy tools, apart from a crafting knife and hot glue gun (although we did get someone to drill it onto a wall with two screws in the centre holding it together after we had finished). I really wish I could show you step by step pictures but this was way before I even set up my blog, so I never thought to take any images.

DIY Nail Rack with Foam Boards

However, I will point you in the way of a few pages and let you know the materials we used.

  • Foam Board (you could also use wood, or a similar durable material). We ordered ours from ebay and the main thing you need to have in mind is that the measurements need to be exact when cutting the various pieces.
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Craft Knife
  • Ribbon (the choice is yours! You can find them on ebay, Tiger, Poundshops or any craft shops)
Some useful links:
  • This is quite similar to how we made ours (here).
  • These two are also similar (here) and (here).
  • This youtube video also uses the foam board technique (here).
  • This one's a bit more complex as it uses wood you so you have more steps and you have to use screws (here).
DIY Nail Rack with Foam Boards

As you can see, there's a lot of Nails Inc (sorry that you can't see the shades well) - quite a few of them are the freebies that Glamour mag did over the years and a few gift sets I got. A few were also from a Poundland Haul (see here). Then I have some Essie polishes in the top right hand corner, it's a bit cramped there so some are at the back. The second row is our (huge) Rimmel 60 second collection. Generally, I find OPI, Essie and Nails Inc to be really good quality, and the Rimmel range is up there too with them. The third row is some nail art pens my Sister brought (she used to be so good at doing fancy designs!). Then there's some Revlon polishes, I love their glitters. Lastly, there's my OPI collection, and some Barry M.

In addition, there's various others on the bottom shelf (including Hema), and some dotted around the room because there's no space left on the rack! It's also a nice way to showcase your small perfume bottles, and other little bits and bobs.

DIY Nail Rack with Foam Boards

Even though it's been years since we made it, it still looks as good as new and it doesn't look cheap in the slightest. Infact, I think it adds quite a cool look to the room. As you can tell, there is a slight pink and magnolia theme going on!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What has been your best DIY success?

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Friday, 25 August 2017

Bath Time Favourites

Bathtime routine
I've been meaning to write about some products that I use regularly, so today I'm bringing you the bath time edition! For reference, my skin is on the dry side and it's a bit sensitive (not as in I get reactions, but my skin can get clogged up and feel uncomfortable with certain products), hence why I prefer going for simpler products, rather than those jam packed with fragrances and what not.

Natural Black Mud Mask Soap

First of all, I actually prefer using soaps as I feel like they just draw any excess oils out of my skin better. I know, it's a bit weird! I used to love using the Natural Black Mud Mask Soap, which I used to pick up for £3.75 at Boots (here). It's also designed for dry skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema (although they no longer list this on the description). As soon as I tried , I honestly felt like it made a massive difference, my skin felt more calm and supple, the soap feels really gentle on the skin but you can still tell it's making a difference. I've also read reviews of people using it as a face soap to get rid of spots, but I've never tried it on my face. However, after loving the previous 3 bars I used up (they do last quite a while), I picked up a fourth one and it just isn't the same. I don't know if I got a bad batch, but it just doesn't lather up very well anymore and so it doesn't give me the same results.
Dettol Soap

Boots Back Spray

I then decided to go for the Dettol Soap which is relatively cheap (here) (as TMI but I find the anti bacterial properties also help with any pesky blemishes on the shoulders). This, alongside the Boots Back Spray (£5.19 here), which I picked up after seeing it on Hannah's blog (Beauty Box), really helps stop any spots in their tracks. I literally tried all sorts of things before this, and nothing worked, but this (it's also one of my empties)!

Body Shop Shower Gels

Then for a quick fix or for travelling purposes, I tend to have some of the Body Shop Shower Gels at home, simply because they smell amazing! Check them out here, the Strawberry one is so good and they had a Lemon one that was literally one of the best things ever, but they discontinued it. I literally ran to both of my local stores to get the last one! I am wary of overloading my skin with synthetic ingredients (due to it being a bit sensitive), so that's the main reason I don't use these as regularly. However, my Sister uses them all the time and they suit her fine.

Round Body Brush The Body Shop

Moving on, I LOVE exfoliating! There's just something about that squeaky clean feeling. I picked up the Round Body Brush a few months ago from The Body Shop (see here), and I honestly feel like advocating it to everyone, it's amazing! I picked up the one with a smaller handle as I find you can control it better. You can use this to dry brush (although that's a bit too painful and tingly), or in the bath. I can really feel it toning up my skin and muscles whilst it's exfoliating, especially on my legs. For a more intense exfoliation, I like to mix a scrub into the bristles and then wash it out afterwards. I know it looks a bit ragged in the picture but honestly it's still as good as new and it goes back into shape immediately, I must have had it resting on a shampoo I think.

Superdrug Vitamin E Body Scrub

For a cheap, everyday scrub I've been loving the Superdrug Vitamin E Body Scrub for a good few years now. It just does what it says on the tin, and it's really effective for the price. Unfortunately, it looks like they reformulated it and judging from the reviews on their website, the new one sounds pants. It's a good job I had a backup! You can probably find similar ones in Boots, or even Wilkinsons do Body Shop dupes I think.

Malee Conditioning Body Scrub

Malee Conditioning Body Scrub

Malee Conditioning Body Scrub

For a bit of luxury, I've been using the Malee Conditioning Body Scrub*. Now, when I say luxury, I mean luxury! This is like having your own pamper spa at home. Honestly, everything from the packaging to the incredible scent is divine. When you open the lid, the tropical scent really hits you, I couldn't stop smelling it! It is quite strong but I feel like it adds to the experience, and it does linger on your skin a bit after you've washed it off (it's also fine for my sensitive skin). I hadn't tried a conditioning scrub before so I didn't think whether it was a gimmick or not. I can now say that it really does work! The formula just sort of melts into your skin, this means it's not as abrasive as other harsher scrubs (again though you could apply it with TBS brush to give it that extra boost if needed), but it exfoliates and hydrates at the same time. This is perfect for someone like me who's all about exfoliating, but rarely remembers to moisturise. It's a time saver, but it's also a great way to give your skin that hydrated look. I can just imagine people having a pamper session before a big event, with the whole face masks and everything (if you're like me), and this goes perfectly! It retails for £36 here, again it is more of an indulgent buy. It really has the wow factor when you open the package, so it might make a great gift for those who love a treat. Although, you can currently pick it up for £22 on offer at LookFantastic here.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What are your favourite bath time products?

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

MUA Matte Lipstick in Mystic Marsala | Budget Beauty

I couldn't not do a post on this incredible budget offering from MUA. I came across this MUA Matte Lipstick in Mystic Marsala back when I was writing a review on the Wild Berry shade from the same range (here). I don't know how I missed this shade before, but I made sure to pick it up on my next trip. I must have had it for a year now and I LOVE the shade. I normally go for a few products on a daily basis, so mascara, concealer and eyeliner, and I find that my face sometimes just looks a bit dull, but this breathes some colour back into it! The shade is perfect, it perks up my complexion but at the same time it's not very dark at all, it looks quite natural on and so can be worn literally everywhere.

All of the MUA Matte Lipstick comes in a white tube, again with an bit extra at the bottom to give you a better idea of the shade. The packaging is a bit basic, but then again it doesn't get fingerprints marks nor does the lid get loose if you chuck it in your bag. Again, for the small price of £1, the packaging isn't too bad at all.

The formula of Mystic Marsala is pretty good too. It's very creamy so it glides on quite well, and it doesn't really stick to dry patches that much like you would normally associate with some matte lipsticks. It might do if your lips are particularly chapped, but it's actually a nice matte for dry lips. It's not drying in the slightest nor does it ever feel uncomfortable on the lips throughout the day. Infact, I rarely put a lip balm underneath, and might only top it up with The Body Shop Lippy Sticks on the move.

It wears really evenly too. It's not the most long lasting but it can definitely last around 4-6 hours, including eating and drinking. When it wears off it'll just leave a stain, so no tell tale lines. With the formula of Wild Berry shade from the same line, I did point out that one was a bit crumbly, but Mystic Marsala doesn't suffer from the same problem. This one does feel slightly more dry though when your first put it on.

As for the shade, I'm really struggling with how to describe it! So I'm going to go for a warm chestnut pink, with some mauve tones to it. Can you see how much I'm struggling?! Let me know if you're any better at this! I think the shade might also work differently for everyone, so on me (see below), it definitely pulls more of a neutral brownish pink, but that is super flattering on my medium skintone. Also, as you can see from the swatch above it is really pigmented, although it isn't quite as pigmented on the lips, I still prefer to apply a bit to the centre of my lips and blend it out for an everyday look usually.

Overall, I don't know why this shade isn't talked about as much because I can see a lot of people enjoying it, and I think it's a good one to go for too if you struggle with finding a good nude (I nearly always end up looking washed out). Plus, the bargain price of £1 is too good to say no to haha! You can pick it up from Superdrug, or find the rest of the collection on MUA's website here. I can't even think of many cons, as the formula could stand against way more expensive options (it's only slightly dry when you first put it on), and the shade is perfect.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you have any lipsticks that you think are overlooked?

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Friday, 18 August 2017

What Have I Been Reading | 1

Reading has always been one of my biggest hobbies, although I'll admit I have been really slow with it in the last few years. It can be really hard to set aside time for it each day, especially when you've got 101 other things on your mind, but I'm determined to atleast get through some of the unread books on my bookshelf. Here's some that I finished recently!

War and Peace
I love reading classics, and this was one that I had on my list for ages. I normally do read the book before I watch an adaptation, but the BBC War and Peace Series began before I read it (which was amazing encase you were wondering). This is one of the longest classics I've read, its around 1200 pages and the writing was quite small. It did take a bit of time to get into it and become familiar with all the characters (it was easier for me as I watched the BBC adaptation), but it is definitely worth it! It's one of those novels, like the Khalid Hosseini novels, that aren't history or current affairs books, yet you probably learn just as much about the history by following the characters around. I've definitely learnt a lot more about the Napoleonic Wars than I imagined.

Reviews I've read of War and Peace also suggest that it's not a novel, but more of a inner monologue, and I definitely agree in that it's quite philosophical. I also found myself thinking more about why people go to war, how one person's greed can shape so much and how the world would be if those people didn't take those steps.

I really loved the way the characters were portrayed, and getting to learn more about Russian aristocracy at the time. Andrei Bolkonsky was definitely one of my favourite characters as he had this drive to make the world a better place, and actually tried to do so (rather than Pierre who thinks he is, but actually isn't). The fact that he feels quite pained, even though he was born into such an influential position, is also interesting as he wasn't like the others who took their social standing for granted. Overall, I would definitely recommend it for a read if you enjoy classics, it's also one of those books that I feel like a lot of people do want to tick off and say they read it.

The Girl on The Train
This one had been sitting on my bookshelf for ages and there's probably thousands of reviews out there already seeing as it was so hyped up, but I'll throw in my two cents anyway. I was actually quite impressed with it as it is a real page turning thriller. I think the author got the balance just right as with every chapter you learn something new that ensures it's full of suspense, but not too much is given away so it's predictable.

It was quite an easy read as you would finish a chapter before you knew it, and the layout makes it really easy if you're a fast reader (like me). There isn't much for me to say without giving away the plot, but it was worth the hype. The movie on the other hand was such a let down, there was no suspense and the plot all but vanished. They seemed to throw a lot of unnecessary scenes into the mix, and it just let down the essence of the movie (in my opinion).

The Book Thief
I actually haven't read this recently, but I couldn't not mention it, as it was written by Markus Zusak who also wrote The Messenger. The Book Thief is one of my all time favourite books, I honestly recommend it to most people I speak to! It follows Liesel's adventures in Nazi Germany, again it's not a history book but you really learn so much about day to day life during that time. This book honestly has it all, the suspense, the humour, the heart wrenching scenes.

The most interesting part is that it is narrated from the perspective of death, almost like the grim reaper. It does sound a bit strange, but it's quite intriguing too because you sort of see that death isn't the bad guy. He doesn't cause the war to take place, but his job is to pick up the souls that have lost their lives due to it. Again, it does have a slight philosophical twist on it as you see people suffering but you also see them trying to make the most out of a bad situation, and carrying on. I also think this twist is important as there is still so much suffering in the world, and I guess it's our reminder not to close our eyes to it.

The Messenger
This has also just been sitting on my bookshelf, and I thought I might as well give it a go before I move on to another classic that'll take me ages, as it seemed like a relatively quick read. This one is narrated from a first person perspective, and honestly I found it so different to the Book Thief. It follows the adventures of Ed who has to complete tasks, as he is the messenger, and these often have moral dilemmas. I wouldn't say it's as suspenseful as say The Girl On The Train at first, but it still encourages you to read on to see what his next tasks will be. It is a good read, but I also think it's one that I'll easily forget when I move onto the next book. There's nothing that really stands out about it, like the Book Thief, but it's not a bad read. It's still well written and interesting, but I don't think the plot is one that draws you in initially, however after the half way mark I couldn't put it down as I wanted to see what his next message would involve. This is one which you have to slightly preserve with at first, but I would say it's still worth it.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What have you read recently?

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Monday, 14 August 2017

How I Keep my Makeup Brushes Looking as NEW

Keep your makeup brushes in perfect condition

By now I'm pretty sure most of us have heard it several times over about how important it is to wash makeup brushes regularly to stop bacteria harbouring on them, and every time I think to myself I really need to wash them this weekend! But then I get carried away with shopping and all the other things weekends were made for(!)

Fortunately this isn't a post about how often I wash my brushes, but it's about how I get them to retain their shape when I do! After all, when you make an investment you want it to last.

Keep your makeup brushes in perfect condition

So first of all, I used to wash my brushes with either the Dove beauty wash, or a mixture of fairy washing up liquid and olive oil. The Dove wash works quite well, gets the makeup off and helps the bristles dry silky soft. The washing up liquid and olive oil mix is quite a popular solution  but I found it can leave the powder brushes slightly greasy if you don't rinse them out 101 times. There's also baby shampoo if you want another quick fix.

Technic solid brush cleaner

Technic solid brush cleaner

However, recently I've been using the Technic brush cleaner*. I've never tried a solid brush cleaner before, but I really liked it. The solid texture is almost transparent, and it's quite hard. You basically wet your brush, and then swirl it over the solid cleaner so it picks up the formula. You then swirl it around in your hand, it actually foamed up really well and quickly, so you only need to do it once for each brush (whereas with the other methods above I would have to go in 2-3 times to get all the pigments off the brush). The solid cleaner does have a cucumber scent, but I didn't find it noticeable on the brushes once dried. I think it is quite a good and quick product, the only con is that sometimes some of the pigment can be left on the brush cleaner but I just wiped it up afterwards with a tissue. I also found that my brushes seemed to dry quicker with this, and the bristles seemed in pretty good condition afterwards. You can get it for £5 here.

Technic solid brush cleaner
Now, I see the next step as quite an important part. Brushes tend to get splayed, and we don't want our favourite contour brush loosing it's shape! Shaping our brushes when they're wet also helps them to keep their shape as they dry. This is where the brush guards come in. They're basically a netting that you put over your brush and it keeps the bristles packed firmly together as they dry. This means in the long term you'll have brushes that are as good as new.

Makeup brush guard

I couldn't find the mesh roll I purchased for around £1 many years ago, but there's a pack of 15 guards here for 99p, or a 40 piece set from Amazon for £2.98 here. They're also great for storage purposes.

Makeup brush guard

Lastly, I sometimes then put them in a jar downwards so that when they dry the water drips into the jar rather than into the glue holding the bristles in place. However, it's best to have them where they're hanging off a desk, so there's less chance of the bristles getting splayed.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you have any methods to keep your brushes in great condition?

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Boots Beauty Must Haves Box Review

Boots Beauty Must Haves
My Sister knows me so well that when there was an offer on at Boots to get a free beauty box with a spend of over £50, she thought 'well that's another present sorted'. The products included are what Boots think make beauty must haves! I actually haven't tried most of these products before, so carry on reading to see what I made of them.

Boots Youthful Eye Serum and No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Soft Cherry

Boots Youthful Eye Serum

No7 Youthful Eye Serum
I have heard quite a mix of reviews on the No7 eye creams, and so I was a bit unsure of what to expect. However, the formula is just what I prefer, a light creamy texture that absorbs instantly, and isn't greasy at all. It definitely feels more like a cream, rather than a serum. Infact, its the most lightweight eye cream/serum I've ever tried. Therefore, it might not suit those who are looking for something heavier to put on over night, but I think it's a good option if you're looking for something lighter or if you want something to wear under your concealer. It retails for £19.50 (here), which I think it slightly more on the pricey side, but No7 do always do those money off vouchers and gift sets.

It does have some anti ageing claims, but I don't really have any fine lines yet. It also includes Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C (how many times have I mentioned these two on the blog recently!), and Vitamin A.

No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Soft Cherry

No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Soft Cherry swatch

(This is a terrible picture but atleast you can see those dry patches for yourself)

No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick - Soft Cherry
I've never tried anything from No7's lip range, and so I was super excited to give the Moisture Drench lipstick in Soft Cherry a go. These retail for £10 (here). The packaging is actually a lot more luxurious than I was expecting, and the lipstick has SPF 15 in it. In the tube, it does look like quite a bright coral, and so I thought it would be quite flattering. However, it's one of those lipsticks where the shade is quite hard to pinpoint. For example, on the swatch it actually looks like a pinkish red, and when I first applied it on my lips it actually came across as very pink, but when I looked later on it was definitely a coral-y red. It is quite pigmented, whilst it's not a statement lip, it is still quite bright. That's one of the reasons I'm unsure about this, I think it's too bright on me and not the most flattering. However, if you prefer brighter summer shades (and the added SPF), you might get on better with this.

The Moisture Drench range also claims to leave lips feeling moisturised for up to 8 hours. However, I'm not sold on this. First of all, when you apply it, it really doesn't feel moisturising at all. I didn't think it went on smoothly and it clung to every dry patch (I did exfoliate beforehand but didn't apply a lip balm, I didn't think I would need to with a 'moisturising lipstick'). It strangely had a semi matte finish, which I wasn't expecting as moisturising ranges tend to be more on the satin side. After about 10-20 minutes though it does feel a bit more comfortable on the lips, and whilst it's still not moisturising, it's not drying either. However, because of the almost slippery texture, it's not a lipstick that will last very long or after you eat. Overall, I wasn't really blown away by this lipstick, maybe if it was in another shade I would have preferred it.

Soap and Glory hand food

Soap and Glory Hand Food
We always have some hand food lying around at home, and it's one of those well known products that doesn't need much of an introduction. It's a good moisturising hand cream, that smells amazing and is a real lifesaver during the winter. I'm sure it won't be long till the Christmas gift sets are in store, and they're worth checking out to get more for your money. It retails for £5.50 on it's own (here).

Mark Hill Taming Anti Humidity Hair Spray
I knew this was a bit optimistic, thinking that a spray can protect your hair from humidity, but I was hoping it would be true because it would certainly save me from going around with a mullet on my head. If you didn't know, it's practically humid the majority of the time in the UK, as it basically just rains constantly. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, I didn't see a difference and my hair did end up going crazy because it rained. I'll try and find different ways to use this, but I think it's a bit of a long shot for thick, unruly hair, maybe if you had finer hair? It is a really lightweight hairspray though, and it didn't leave my hair feeling crunchy or weighed down. It retails for £5.99 (here)

Champney's Barefoot Beauty Restoring Foot Butter
I haven't tried a foot cream for ages, because I'm lazy, but I am starting to get some tough skin on my heels so I probably should. Just like other Champney's products I think the packaging does look quite luxurious (for a foot cream anyway!). I love the gold detailing at the bottom and the font. The foot butter is actually quite a nice treat, it's hydrating but not heavy (like a body butter), so you don't need to sit in the same spot for ages waiting for it to be absorbed in. It has a blend of almond oil, coconut oil and shea butter. It also has a minty aroma which is quite noticeable when you put it on, but I guess it's personal preference about whether you like it or not. Infact, the minty aroma caught me off guard, like that's a weird thing to add? Then I realised that the previous foot cream I tried ages ago had the same minty fragrance, probably because it can have a cooling sensation and leave your feet smelling a bit fresher (I really want to say cheesy feet but that would be rude haha!). It retails for £5.33 (here).

Soltan Once Face Moisturising Suncare Cream - SPF30
I'm sure I tried this before a few years ago but I'm picky with my sun creams and this was resigned to the bodycare drawer (never to appear again) because I found it too thick for me. I tried it again and it didn't feel as thick (and gloopy) like I remember. However, I'm still in love with the Balance Me Natural SPF, so I'll probably leave this one for throwing in my bag or for travelling as it's quite travel friendly. This retails at £10 (here).

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you tried any of these products?

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Balance Active Formula Skincare Review | Budget Skincare

Cheap serums and moisturiser from Balance Active

I love featuring beauty products on a budget, but I'll admit, it can be quite hard to find budget skincare products. There are the drugstore/teenage brands, like Simple, Garnier etc, but not many of them offer products like serums and exfoliators. That's probably why The Ordinary took off the way it did, with their choice of good but affordable skincare products. Another brand that meets this niche (but isn't spoken about as much) is Balance Active Formula. They offer formulations that contain active levels of clinically proven ingredients, but without the massive price tag. Infact, you can find their products for around £3 each on Fragrance Direct, Amazon, JustmyLook, Savers and B&M (to list a few).

I had the chance to try out their Vitamin C Power Serum*, Hyaluronic 554 Youth Serum* and Hyaluronic Moisturiser*.

Cheap vitamin c and hyaluronic serum Balance Active

Vitamin C Power Serum*
I was so excited to use this as I have a bit of pigmentation around my chin and upper lip which gives off a bit of a green tinge, and so I really wanted to try a Vitamin C serum as I read about how they brighten the skin and thus reduce any pigmentation. Vitamin C does go off, so it's best to check it hasn't separated and it should be stored in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. Otherwise it won't be as effective. If you're using Vitamin C or any kind of exfoliators, I really wouldn't miss a daily application of SPF as your skin will be more prone to sun damage, and pigmentation could then get worse rather than better.

The Vitamin C Serum, alongside the Hyaluronic Acid, both come in little plastic bottles that are dispensed with pipettes. You get 30ml of product. The consistency is quite runny, however it's very easy to smooth and massage it over the skin. It really doesn't feel very heavy at all on the skin, honestly, it just feels like you're massaging water in. It does have a tacky finish at first, but it quickly dries down to give a matte feel to the skin. It is definitely lightweight and non-greasy, just like it claims to be.

It contains two forms of stabilised Vitamin C - 6% Illumiscin and 3% Stay-C (TM) 50, as well as Zinc PCA and Oleuropein, for a brighter and smoother complexion. Honestly, I really like this serum! I don't mean to exaggerate, but I've been using this for a month, and I really feel like my skin is looking better than it has in ages. I used to have good skin until a few years ago where it started going all dry, patchy and dull, out of the blue. It is starting to look more radiant and slightly smoother now, I can tell that my cheeks look a bit more glowy already. In terms of pigmentation, I think it has improved slightly around my chin, but at the moment it's the same around my upper lip and the corners of my mouth. I'll definitely carry on using this though, and post another 2-3 month update.

I've still got 5/6 of the bottle left after using it more a month, so I can definitely see myself getting a lot more use out of it. Plus, because it's so cheap (under £3 here at Fragrance Direct), you can just pick it up without even thinking too much about it. I tend to use it in the evenings after I have exfoliated, and before my other serums and night creams.

Hyaluronic 554 Youth Serum*
I was also super excited to use the Hyaluronic Serum as I've used it as an ingredient in my skincare, but never on its own as a serum. This one has 5% Hylasome EG10 which holds water tightly within its gel structure, and delivers it over time, leading to its claim of five times the moisturising benefits after 24 hours. Now, I haven't used it for 24 hours, more like 12 hours max at a time. The consistency of this one is more gel like (compared to the Vitamin C). Again, it is dispensed through the pipette and it is really easy to smooth over the skin.

I was expecting it to be more hydrating on its own, but it didn't quite meet my expectations. It does absorb into the skin quite quickly, giving it more of a pump look, but my dry skin still looks dehydrated, especially because it has a matte finish too. I think this Hyaluronic Serum is more to be used as a base, and that's what the instructions point to aswell. I pair it underneath my normal Superdrug serum, and the moisturiser from the same range. I tend to use this one in the mornings, as I leave the Vitamin C serum for the evenings.

I do really like the way my skin looks after all these steps, but I'm not sure it's all down to this one product, so that's why I would say this isn't a necessary step. With the Vitamin C serum it's easy to say that my skin looks more glowy, but it's hard to tell with the hyaluronic acid if my skin is better in the long term. Hopefully, by the 2-3 month update point, I should be able to pinpoint the results better. You can find it on Amazon here for £3.99.

Cheap hyaluronic moisturiser Balance Active

Hyaluronic Moisturiser*
Lastly, I got to try the Hyaluronic moisturiser. I'll admit, I was a bit dubious at just how good a VERY budget moisturiser would be. I don't get on with a lot of drugstore moisturisers as I find that the consistency is often a bit heavy for me, my favourites are those with a gel texture, however I find these tend to be more expensive. This, however, is a really lightweight moisturiser (with a slight gel texture), that just sinks into the skin and hydrates it well. It absorbs incredibly quickly, and gives a matte finish. It's not that rich, so I think it would be fine for normal-combination skin as well, and even oily. With my dry skin, I do put some serum underneath.

It doesn't have SPF in it, so it's suitable for day and night. For a price of £2.50 (Amazon here), I do think it's one of the best bargain moisturisers out there and easily tops a lot of other more expensive creams. It feels quite good on my skin too, like some moisturisers can make your skin feel a bit overloaded (and hot), but this doesn't feel like anything when it's on. I find it quite gentle on my skin too, no itchy skin or breakouts with this. The only con, in my opinion, is that it does have a bit of a chemical scent when you first apply it, however it fades pretty fast.

The active ingredients in this are the Hylasome EG10 (the same form of hyaluronic acid as in the serum above) and Algisium C2 (I couldn't understand all the science-y diagrams but I think it's a collagen booster).

Cheap serums and moisturiser from Balance Active

Overall, I've really enjoyed using these three products and I'm really interested in seeing what long term results they have with continued use. I can't wait to do a 2-3 month update! I think Balance Active is one of those brands that isn't spoken about much (probably because they don't advertise), and it's easy to oversee, especially because their packaging isn't very fancy or eye catching. However, if you want affordable skincare that works, or you're new to skincare and have no clue where to start, I would really recommend them as their products are no frills, but just good skincare that delivers!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you tried any Balance Active products before?

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Thursday, 3 August 2017

YSL Touche Eclat Corrector in Apricot Bisque review

YSL Touche Eclat Corrector in Apricot Bisque review

You might remember from my post into the Collection Corrector (see here), that my first foray into the world of colour correcting did not go down too well! It was then that I decided to bite the bullet and pick up the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Corrector in Apricot Bisque. As you all now, I'm really not one for splashing out on designer brands, but after seeing a video of Kaushal Beauty using it (I don't watch youtube that often either but she has a really similar skintone to me so I like seeing what products she uses, does anyone else do this?) and seeing the difference it made I decided to go for it.

I did try it out on the counter, although it's so hard to tell a difference with the bright lights, but it was more of an impulse purchase. It was also more expensive than I though, for some reason I thought it was £17.50, but it was infact £25.50 for 2.5ml (see here)! Which I didn't realise at the time! I did use a gift card, but I still felt so guilty for ages. Am I the only beauty blogger who feels terrible buying expensive makeup? I feel like I need to do a tonne of research on it beforehand to ensure it's not a wasted purchase, but there wasn't many reviews on this.

YSL Touche Eclat Corrector in Apricot Bisque swatch

The main reason I went for this one is because it has more of a light salmon colour, hence the name Apricot Bisque. Peachy and salmon shades are supposed to be the best at counteracting dark circles. I think this would suit most skin tones, but especially medium skintones and bordering on olive (For reference, I'm around NC30). For example, I found the collection corrector in Lemon too pale for me, but the brighter oranges/reds are too deep for me, and they can sometimes show up underneath your base. Hence why this is more of a happy medium! The peachy undertones are also supposed to counteract any darkness.

YSL Touche Eclat Corrector in Apricot Bisque review

The packaging is the same as the classic touche eclat, however the tube has a different colour depending on the corrector. So the apricot corrector has a rose gold packaging (every bloggers dream!). The product is dispensed by clicking down at the top, and enough product comes out with one click to do both under eye areas (although you do need to click around 10 times to get product out on the first go). The packaging is very luxurious, as would be expected at the price, but it is prone to getting fingerprint marks and it's a bit too reflective.

YSL Touche Eclat Corrector in Apricot Bisque review

When I first tried it out at home, I'll admit it was a bit of a mixed feeling. On it's own my dark circles and hyperpigmentation around my chin was greatly reduced, however with concealer on top it wasn't a huge difference. I also found it difficult to apply. For example, I had to make sure I had an even layer and it was all blended well, otherwise with concealer on top some areas would look much brighter and some areas would still look a bit ashy, which gave it a patchy look almost! I also wasn't completely sure it got rid of the ashiness/green tinge around my chin.

I've used it plenty more times since, and I've found the best way to use it is to use my fingers and build up very light layers. I find that using a brush just displaces it. It is one of those products you can use on it's own as the shade just blends into your skin, and it's not so thick that it shows up. The formula feels very light. However, I think because it's so light, it doesn't have much coverage. So as you can see in the images below it doesn't make a HUGE difference. It gets rid of the worse of the dark circles (that semi circle I have under my eye doesn't look as bad), however the lines from my inner corner still look as sunken in.

(I know the pictures are a bit dull, but brighter lighting sort of washes out the dark circles a bit)

I think initially it does make my under eye area look brighter, however it doesn't wear that well over the day. After say 4-6 hours I feel like my under eye area doesn't look as bright any more, and more of the darkness is coming through. It also doesn't completely cover the pigmentation around my mouth (which was the reason I picked it up), it just reduces it a bit. I did try to include photos of that too but they didn't turn out well. I also don't use it everyday as it takes so long to build it up in small layers and blend it in, so I use it when I have more time.

Overall, it's one of those products that borders on meh to I'm really not sure about it. It doesn't completely vanish the darkness, but sometimes I feel like it does reduce the ashiness (and other days I feel like it doesn't!).  At the end of the day, I don't know if I could recommend this as it's not really worth the huge price tag. Infact, I find it quite extortionate how you only get 2.5ml for £25.50,  whereas in my drugstore concealers I get around 6.8ml of products for far less and I get more use out of them. I know people will say oh it's a luxury product, but still, 2.5ml! Moral of the story - don't buy everything you see on youtube.

Maybe if I was feeling VERY flashy or I wanted a quick fix for travelling purposes, I might look into it again. Or if I just wanted a bit of a brightening effect on no makeup days - rather than concealing. However, I've also heard that the Emerge cream pigment from Illamasqua (for £16 - see here) is a good option, as are some of the cheap concealer palettes (I even got some results from a cheap ebay one but it was too greasy), but you have to mix your own shades for those.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What were some products you tried that just didn't hit the mark?

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