Thursday, 23 October 2014

Writing a Product Review: My Tips

Tea and biscuits optional!

When I write an individual product review for this blog, I have a little tick list in my mind of things to mention in the review and generally follow this for any beauty product. I personally prefer quite detailed reviews; I'm not talking an essay, but a good few paragraphs as opposed to three or four lines briefly describing why the product is good or bad. I love to read an overview of the product and the writer's experience of using it. After all, a lot of the time I'm reading a review because I don't know much, if anything, about what's being featured or because I'm trying to make a well informed decision on whether to purchase it or not.

This is the format I tend to follow for individual product reviews;

I keep this quite brief, but I like to write a few introductory lines to ease the reader into the review - for example, how I came across the product or who/what influenced me to buy it.

Brand and Product Information
After the introduction, I will write some facts that are appropriate to the product type and a sentence about what the brand claims it will do. If the brand is fairly unknown then I will include some facts about the brand too. Here are the key points I aim to cover;
  • The size of the bottle/pot
  • The price
  • The packaging
  • Key ingredients
  • The formula e.g. a cream cleanser or a powder blusher
  • Brand claims e.g. "designed to reduce the appearance of pores and re-balance oily skin"
  • If the product comes with anything e.g. brush and mirror with an eyeshadow palette
  • Any other appropriate facts e.g. 98% natural, non-comedogenic, contains SPF15
My Thoughts
This is obviously the key section of the review and I try to cover as many aspects as possible to thoroughly share my experience of using the product. 

  • How I apply/use the product and ease of application
  • The pigmentation and how well the shade suits my skin
  • The formula e.g. is the lipstick dry or creamy, is the eyeshadow overly powdery or smooth and buttery
  • The finish e.g. matte, glossy, shimmery
  • If there is any scent and what that scent is
  • The average wear time on my skin
  • How I apply/use the product
  • The consistency and feel of the formula e.g. it feels silky, it feels heavy
  • If there is any scent and what that scent is
  • How it affects my skin - this will vary massively depending on the type of product but could include if it's drying or hydrating, if it's soothing or irritating, if it improves blemishes/redness/fine lines/dullness/pores as promised, if it removes makeup effectively.
This summarises my thoughts from above in a couple of sentences. I try to be as balanced as possible - if the product wasn't for me then I will say so, but I will then recommend who I think it could be suitable for.

I also like to include an external link to a website, which makes it easy for the reader to read more about the product if they wish and even make a purchase if they feel inspired to do so!

I may not always write a review exactly like this or in this order; sometimes I will put the external link at the beginning of the post and sometimes at the end of the post for example. However I feel like following this format as a guideline really helps to me to write a helpful, informative review - hopefully if you read my reviews you will agree! Please note that this does not mean I think this is the best way to format a review or that I do not like other formats, I just find this works for me. 

I would love to know your tips for writing a product review?

Beauty Bird xx


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: MAC Eyeshadow in Sable

When I spotted this MAC eyeshadow pan in the shade Sable on a blog sale for just £7.00, looking barely used, it was too good to resist. After googling swatches and reading that it was a great colour to suit blue eyes, I knew it had to be the third eyeshadow to go in my MAC pro palette quad. 

Sable is a Frost finish, which gives an iridescent shine to the eyeshadow. MAC describe Sable as a "gold-plum with bronze pearl" shade, which I do partially agree with. I would describe it as a warm bronze with plum undertones; I'm not sure if there's any gold in there! Although Sable doesn't look much in the pan, it really comes into its own on the skin and looks stunning. I'm so glad I bought it; I don't think I have any other shade quite like it in my eyeshadow collection and the plum undertones make it perfect for Autumn. I also love how buildable the colour is, so it can be easily be transformed from a day to night shade. As with the other MAC eyeshadows I've tried, the quality and pigmentation is on a very high level.

I now need one more eyeshadow pan to make my quad complete (the other shades I have are Satin Taupe and All That Glitters), so if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments.

What do you think of Sable? Which MAC eyeshadow shades do you love?

Beauty Bird xx


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Review: Faith in Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo and Conditioner for Normal to Oily Hair

I love coming across new brands and products, especially when they use natural ingredients. Faith in Nature is a British brand based in Lancashire, producing a range of hair, body, skin and home care products. These products do not contain SLS, SLES, Parabens, synthetic colourings or fragrances, artificial preservatives or genetically modified ingredients and are not tested on animals. 

I've recently been using Faith in Nature's Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo and Conditioner for normal to oily hair. I used to wash my hair every other day, but in the last month I've been extending this by a day, so have had to cope with extra oiliness in the process. This duo promise to cleanse and condition with organic Citrus Oil, Sunflower Oil and Chamomile Flower Extract, whilst providing an uplifting scent. The bottles are 400ml in size, costing a very reasonable £5.50 each. 

The Faith in Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo has a fairly thin, gel formula, but lathers up brilliantly - if I didn't know otherwise, I wouldn't have said it was SLS free. It cleanses my hair gently but effectively. The Grapefruit and Orange Conditioner has a creamy, medium consistency, which is enough to nourish the ends after cleansing. Unlike most natural shampoos and conditioners I've tried, Faith in Nature's do not leave my hair extra knotty or rough to the touch. The end result is smooth and I would even go as far to say silky locks, that have been purified and refreshed without being stripped. I adore the scent too - it's a real zingy punch of grapefruit, which is so invigorating on a sleepy morning.

All in all the Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo and Conditioner are a fantastic duo, that I'd really recommend for oily hair based on my experience. They're possibly the best natural shampoo and conditioner I've tried to date and are really affordable too. They can be purchased from Faith in Nature here.

Have you tried any products from Faith in Nature? Are there any other natural haircare products you'd recommend trying? 

Beauty Bird xx

P.S. This post contains PR samples. This does not affect my opinion of the product. 


Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Autumn Tag 2014

You know me, I love a good tag and I always do Georgina from Makeup Pixi3's seasonal tags. She always does them as a new season approaches, which tends to get me into the spirit of it!

1.  Ok we're talking coffees - what's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero etc?

The only coffee I tend to drink is mochas, so I'll move away from the coolers to the hot versions. I love the Christmas variations but I'm not sure what I tried in Autumn last year... I think Starbucks did a salted caramel mocha? That was quite nice.

2.  Accessories - what do you opt for, scarf, boots, gloves?

I'll wear boots or my trusty Converse hi-tops. I'll wear jumpers with my lovely, padded gilet from New Look before breaking out the winter coat (I could do with a new one this year) and maybe a scarf too. I love those fingerless gloves with the mitten cover up, especially when they are animal themed and have little woolly ears!

3.  Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?

There's nothing specific I'll change to when it comes to music; I listen to the radio when driving to and from work, so whatever's in the charts. Otherwise it'll be old favourites that I can listen to again and again.

4.  Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
Most of my perfumes are quite light and floral, but I do have the Paco Rabane Black XS and Caroline Herrera 212 Sexy, both of which are a bit muskier for Autumn. 

5.  Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?

I've been loving my oil burner recently and burning a lot of Yankee Candle wax tarts. At the moment I'm burning Rainwashed Berry, which I think is a good transitional scent. I will need to go shopping and get some more for Autumn/Winter, so let me know if you have any recommendations! 

6.  What do you love most about Autumn?

I love Autumnal colours, especially burgundy, so I will be digging out my burgundy jeans sometime soon! I also like snuggling up under a blanket with a hot chocolate in the evenings. I don't like it getting darker earlier in the evening and being darker when I wake up though.

7.  Favourite makeup look?

I don't tend to change my makeup look too much through the seasons, but I may switch from cream to powder blusher for a stronger, deeper colour. I should really brave berry lips this Autumn, because it looks gorgeous! I will also be digging out my muted, dark and glittery nail polishes. 

8.  What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?

At the moment there's nothing specific, but Autumn will lead up to some exciting events, such as my Dad getting married in December. My best friend also recently got engaged so I expect we will be shopping for a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses soon! 

I hope you enjoyed reading this tag! I'd love to hear what you are looking forward to most this Autumn?

Beauty Bird xx


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review: Green People Gentle Cleanse and Makeup Remover

I have fallen in love with creamy cleansers over the past few months and while hunting around for a new one, came across the Green People Gentle Cleanse and Makeup Remover. This was the first Green People skincare product I tried, though I do already own their Pressed Powder, which is a regular re-repurchase. 

I decided to buy this cleanser as I like the fact that Green People is a natural brand, with the Gentle Cleanse and Makeup Remover containing 91% organic ingredients. Ingredients include Aloe Vera, Calendula, Shea Butter, Rose Geranium, Squalane and Sunflower Seed Oil. It is designed for all skintypes and the fact it removes makeup too sealed the deal for me, meaning I could use it for my first nighttime cleanse. As well as removing makeup, it is designed to clear away impurities and balance and nourish the skin. A 200ml bottle retails at £19.95 but can be picked up cheaper from Feel Unique for £17.96 here.

In terms of the formula of the Gentle Cleanse and Makeup Remover, it is quite a thick consistency but is really creamy, with a light, natural scent. This is one of those formulas I could just massage into my skin for hours - it feels like a hydrating moisturiser that never absorbs. The cleanser is so soothing, calming and completely non-irritating; I really do think that any skintype could use it. It also removes makeup very gently and effectively (though doesn't remove mascara quite as good as The Body Silky Camomile Cleansing Oil). If my skin is feeling particularly sensitive I'll use the Gentle Cleanse and Makeup Remover for both my cleanses at night, leaving my skin fresh, moisturised and feeling very soft. Sometimes I'll use it in the morning, but I tend to lean towards lighter cleansers in the morning these days and this is a little heavy in comparison. 

If you're looking for a natural, gentle cleanser for removing makeup then I highly recommend checking out the Green People Gentle Cleanse and Makeup Remover. It's the one you can depend on when you don't know what else to use, whether your skin is dry, oily or combination. I will definitely be re-purchasing. It also comes in a 50ml travel size bottle if you want to try it but don't want to splash out on the full size straight away.

Have you tried any skincare products by Green People? What creamy cleansers do you love?

Beauty Bird xx