Sunday, 29 April 2012

Blonde Army: How I Maintain My Coloured Hair

This is my first haircare post so pretty exciting! Hope you like! :-)

I have naturally dark blonde hair, which I really don't like, so when I can afford it I have it coloured a lighter blonde using foils. To try and extend the period between hairdresser visits, I have a collection of hair products that I use regularly in the battle to maintain the colour for as long as possible.

Every Other Day

I wash my hair every other day using Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Daily Maintenance Shampoo and Daily Nourish Conditioner. These bottles are 200ml in size and are designed for grey, white or platinum blonde hair. I wouldn't say I class my hair as completely white or platinum blonde (and definitely not grey!), but I have a mixture of brighter tones and then some darker ones to give the colour some depth and to make it look more natural. So with these products I am targeting those brighter tones in my hair. 

Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Daily Maintenance Shampoo - "This gentle cleansing shampoo contains Sunflower Seed Extract and UV Absorber to help protect against photodamage and safeguard your colour, whilst Optical Brightener instantly boosts shine. Resulting in fresh, healthy, great looking hair."

Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Daily Nourish Conditioner - "This creamy protective formula helps repair damaged hair by infusing extra moisture to give an improved smooth and silky texture. Contains Sunflower Seed Extract and UV Absorber to help protect the structure of the hair and prevent colour fading. Whilst Optical Brightener restores silver tones. Resulting in super-sleek radiant hair!"

I didn't expect my hair to feel so soft and in as such good condition after using these - I guess it's because the purple colour of the products makes me think of dye and chemicals, which don't equal healthy hair.

On the left is the conditioner and on the right is the shampoo.

Twice A Week

The Pro:Voke Twice A Week Brightening Shampoo is a clear 150ml bottle, which reveals the violet colour of the formula. It is a toning shampoo, which actively neutralises brassiness; so basically it prevents blonde hair from looking yellow. Because of this, the use of the Daily Maintenance Shampoo above is recommended to prevent colour build up. The violet pigment also fights fading and dullness.

I don't always manage to use it twice a week, as you have to leave the shampoo lathered into your hair for 5 minutes. So it's not a product to use when you're in a rush and only having a quick shower! However this is the product that provides the most noticeable difference in your hair colour - I often get asked by my friends if I've had my hair coloured when I haven't, and this is the reason why. 

Please note that all of the Pro:Voke products can stain, so the bottles state to avoid contact with clothing and porous surfaces. Unfortunately some of my towels at home have purple splodges on them! As long as you rinse the product out properly and don't have any blobs left on your hands or body, then you shouldn't have a problem.

Occasional Use

From John Frieda's Sheer Blonde range is the Controlled Lightening Spray. This works by spraying it on towel dried hair and activating the product by exposing it to heat - so basically by blow drying. Even straightening or tonging your hair afterwards will greater the lightening effects, according to the bottle. This product however contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a bleaching agent. Therefore I only use it occasionally, normally to try and blend any dark roots appearing. 

So there we have it, my blonde army! I have purchased the Pro:Voke range from independent pharmacies on Amazon, from Savers and larger Boots stores, depending on what is most appropriate at the time. (My local Boots doesn't stock it and I don't have a Savers in my town either.) John Frieda products are available in Superdrug or Boots.

What hair products do you use to maintain your colour?

Beauty Bird xx

P.S. I would like to apologise for the poor picture quality in this post, I am struggling with this at the moment so bear with me!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review: Benefit They're Real! Mascara

I've seen a lot of love for Benefit's They're Real! mascara on Twitter and blogs, yet something held me back from buying it- I think the fact that I could part with £18.50 and then be let down with a very average, hyped up mascara. However my boyfriend's mum very kindly bought it for me for my birthday and I was so excited to try it and see if it lived up to its claims. Who doesn't want a false lash effect minus the fiddly application?

For reference, the claims as per Benefit's website are: "they're real! lengthens, curls, volumises, lifts & separates. Our jet black, long-wearing formula won’t smudge or dry out. A specially designed brush reveals lashes you never knew you had!"

Of course once again Benefit comes up trumps in the packaging department, even giving us the mascara in a box. A bit unneccessary, but at least you can recycle it, plus it's a lovely thought and is one of the things that I think differentiate Benefit from other brands.

Now onto the actual mascara! I love the wand, which is made up of lots of short, spiky looking bristles for lifting and coating every single lash. I didn't even think about the bristles on the end of the wand until I noticed a beauty tip on the Benefit website, which states that this custom-domed tip is for fanning out your corner lashes. Bonus!

So does this mascara live up to the hype? It certainly does! I was instantly impressed. When applying the mascara you can basically feel the bristles picking up your lashes and lifting them. It actually does reveal lashes you didn't know you had as per their claim, even the tiniest littlest lashes, which contributes to the false lash effect. It also doesn't clump, which was my bugbear with my previous mascara, and so my little separating wand has almost been made redundant! 

If you read my last mascara review on No7 Extravagant Lashes you will know that my biggest want in a mascara is curl power. So does Benefit give me what I want? YES! One curl with my eyelash curlers before applying is all I need.

Above: eye on the left with Benefit They're Real! mascara and on the right without.

Since I've been wearing the mascara it hasn't smudged or flaked off at all. In fact the only slight negative to it is that it's actually a bit stubborn to remove! 

In summary, it's my new must have mascara and other mascaras have got a lot to live up to! For me, it is definitely going to be worth parting with £18.50 of my own pennies when this runs out.

Have you tried Benefit They're Real! mascara? What's your must have mascara for length, volume and curl? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Beauty Bird xx

Thursday, 19 April 2012

NOTD: The Go-With-Anything Shade by MUA Cosmetics

This bargain £1.00 nail varnish in Shade 10 from MUA Cosmetics is currently one of my favourites and I think it's the perfect go-with-anything shade. Plus it's light and shimmery with a hint of bronze, so perfect for Spring/Summer. I also think that when it dries the finish is almost metallic.

This was also my first time using Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat, which claims to dry any nail colour to the touch in 30 seconds. 

I've tried to get a range of pictures in different lights as it's quite hard to catch the shade on camera.

I found the MUA Cosmetics varnish easy to apply and it dries really quickly. By the time I had finished my right hand the left was already dry! Last time I wore it it lasted about 3 days before beginning to chip, which is pretty impressive for a £1.00 nail varnish.

However the Sally Hansen top coat claims to give no chip shine for 10 days, so we'll see on that one! I'm also instantly impressed with this top coat as it really did dry to the touch in 30 seconds without being at all tacky. 

MUA Cosmetics and Sally Hansen are both available from Superdrug.

What's your go-with-anything nail varnish shade?

Beauty Bird xx


Monday, 16 April 2012

My Skincare Experience - Dermalogica Face Mapping

A couple of years ago I was at breaking point with my skin. I started getting spots when I was 12, which escalated into mild acne in my mid teens. I'd been through countless doctor's prescriptions for creams and antibiotics and even been through a course of Roaccutane tablets, which are well known for treating acne due to their strength and the side effects they can cause. The Roaccutane did clear up my acne, even blackheads vanished, but after I finished the course my spots came back; not quite as bad, but bad enough that sometimes I just felt like I didn't want to leave the house. So I started spending money on various skincare products in an attempt to control my skin, with the hope that I'd find that miracle that worked for me!

Why Dermalogica?

I came across the brand Dermalogica through magazines and their products always seemed highly rated. So I did some research online and what really stood out for me is that Dermalogica products are guaranteed when professionally recommended by a qualified Dermalogica skincare therapist. Their products target a range of skincare concerns including oiliness, acne, sensitivity, aging and dryness. Their other big USP was Face Mapping, an analysis of your skin that divides your face into 14 zones, with each zone throroughly examined by a qualified Dermalogica skincare therapist. As described on the Dermalogica website, it "allows the subsequent prescription of a targeted home care regimen for a healthy skin future". I just knew I had to try it.

The Face Mapping Experience

Using the Dermalogica website, I searched for a local salon that offered Face Mapping. I was extremely nervous, what with my awful skin going to be make-up free and completely on show, but my therapist was so lovely right from the very beginning that I felt much more at ease.

So what happens?

First of all I filled in a fairly lengthy questionnaire about my health, lifestyle and skin, including my skin concerns. For example it asks how much water you drink daily, your stress levels, what types of skincare products you use and so on. This is then discussed with the therapist. Of course my skincare concern was spots, with my ultimate goal being to have clear skin.

In order to fully examine the skin, it is first cleansed with an appropriate Dermalogica cleanser. What I loved was that my therapist explained everything so clearly and told me exactly what she was doing, what product she was using and why, then what she was going to do next. The actual face mapping doesn't take very long and she used some scary looking magnifying type glasses to do it, but she of course noted my breakouts but also that I had some dilated capillaries under my cheeks that I would need to address as well.

Afterwards I was given a facial that was customised to suit me, using products that would suit my skin. The facial involved exfoliation, a small amount of extraction as appropriate and a face mask, that was left on while I was given a neck and shoulder massage - heavenly! To finish, a toner and moisturiser.

When the facial was complete, my therapist gave me a Face Mapping sheet that she had filled in and talked through this with me. This sheet included a breakdown of my skin zones and products from the Dermalogica range that she recommended I use in future. I have kept the sheet and taken some pictures of it below:

As you can see she has ticked the products she recommends, plus how often it should be used and whereabouts it should be used. Of course, you aren't under any obligation to buy anything at this point and my therapist didn't push me to at all. 

Would I Recommend Dermalogica Face Mapping?

Yes yes yes! If you have any skincare concerns and you want one-to-one advice with an advised skincare regimen, from a knowledgeable and trained therapist, then go for it. You don't have to go any further with it if you don't want to. 

As it turns out, Face Mapping was the start of a miracle for me. I did buy the products recommended and continued to go back for Dermalogica facials and I still do now every 6 weeks. It took about a year, with changes to the facial and to the products I used, but my skin did start to improve. Now, after 2 years, I do still suffer with spots but they are generally stress related breakouts and nowhere near being classed as acne. I feel so much better in myself and I'm much more confident now. Don't get me wrong though, my skin isn't perfect! This is where my passion for skincare and beauty started.

I know this has been a very wordy post but I hope you found it interesting. I will do a skincare routine post as well I think to follow on.

Have you ever tried Dermalogica? Do you have any skincare concerns? What worked for you?

Beauty Bird xx


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Birthday Haul :-D

Recently it was my 25th (eek!) birthday and I was really lucky to receive some lovely presents. When I put everything together I realised I had a quite a few beauty/bath/body/hair type presents, enough to do a haul post! I haven't blogged for awhile, so I'm quite excited to write this!

Quite a few of these items are from The Body Shop, which is really nice as I wouldn't normally buy items for myself from there.

I have tried the Raspberry Ripple shower gel before, it smells sweet and fruity, plus the name makes me think of ice cream (which ain't a bad thing!). It also lathers really well. The Dewberry shower gel I haven't tried, it has a much more subtle fragrance, which I can't really compare to anything, but for some reason it makes me think of my Gran!! Well, it does describe it on the bottle as a "nostalgic scent"!

I have also tried the coconut body scrub before and I am glad I have a pot of this, as it smells lovely. The consistency is also quite thick, which I prefer for exfoliating.

The brown heart shaped box is a Chocomania gift set, which is a new range from The Body Shop. The set includes a 50ml body butter, 50ml body scrub, 60ml shower cream and 10ml lip butter. The tin and the packaging of the products really give the impression that the products are luxurious and indulgent. If you're a chocoholic I think you'll love this, but I'm not sure if I am going to be able to get over the fact that the colour is brown! It's not your traditional colour for pampering is it!! I will try the set though and see how I get on.

Now I love a good lip balm and the one below is Born Lippy Lychee Shimmer Lip Balm, which I believe is another newbie. I much prefer this to the Born Lippy pots, which I find a bit sticky and messy. The lychee smell makes me think of sherbet! The balm is clear with a shimmer, I have used it a couple of times and it glides on your lips easily and is very moisturising. I like so far! I couldn't get a very good pic of the shimmer on my lips, so hopefully you can get an idea of it on my arm! On your lips it actually isn't OTT in terms of shimmer, so you don't risk looking like an eight year old fairy princess, but is enough so it gives a really pretty, glossy sheen.

I was soooo excited to get the Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh perfume from my boyfriend. My sister has the original, which is gorgeous. This smell is more "powdery" than the original but it does settle down once on. It's my new favourite and a perfect spring/summer scent!

Mucho excitemondo again when I opened these! Hellllooooooooo! I did have these on my wishlist but I was so surprised to receive them as they are quite expensive for someone to buy as a present. Now I think these both deserve a review of their own, so watch this space! I give you... Benefit They're Real mascara and Confessions of a Concealholic concealing and brightening kit.

I haven't experimented much with the concealing kit, but I can't wait to! It contains a That Gal brightening face primer, Erase Paste camouflage for eyes and face, Boi-ing concealer, Lemon Aid correcting eyelid primer and Eye Bright, er, eye brightener. The mascara I had out faster than you could blink, and after a few applications, I am a Benefit mascara convert! It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It definitely gives you a false lash effect. To really do it justice I will post a separate review soon.

Lastly are some really useful everyday essentials, that will save me opening my purse for awhile.

I haven't used any of these before. I have wanted to try the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat (to see if it lives up to its name and becomes my miracle for non-smudged and chipped nails) and Soap and Glory Heel Genius foot cream for awhile (my feet need prepping for flip flops!). If you are interested in a review once I've used these please let me know :-) 

So there's my birthday haul, hope you enjoyed reading! If you have used any of these products before, what do you think of them? What have you hauled recently?

Beauty Bird xx


Monday, 2 April 2012

Four Week Feedback: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer

At the beginning of March I posted a review of Maybelline's new Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer a few days after purchasing. (You can read the full review here.) However I mentioned in this review I'd feedback on this concealer, as I'd read a few other reviews that commented on how it makes the under eye area dry and that the tube runs out quickly. So this is my four week feedback!

Dryness: Unfortunately after a couple of weeks the concealer did start to look cakey as soon as I applied it - on both my under eye area and on the area of skin just above the inner corner of my eyes. From far away it still looked fine, but close up it looked pretty awful.

Longevity: After a month it hasn't run out with daily use, which I would expect of any concealer really! I often used it a couple of times a day, as it didn't seem to last through the day unfortunately :-(

Although I think it covered dark circles okay, I kept comparing it in my mind to my previous concealer, Clinique Airbrush Concealer. I absolutely love Clinique's concealer but I purchased Maybelline's instead, as at the time I was feeling a bit skint and Maybelline was less than half the price and on offer for £4.99 (normally £6.99). But to be honest, I shouldn't have bothered, as I've now decided to ditch Maybelline and I re-purchased Clinique Airbrush Concealer at the weekend for £16.00.

I think Clinique's concealer is better in so many ways; it gives better coverage, the shade is less orange and more pink so is a closer match to my skin, the formula is not so thick but still creamy enough, and it's a great multi-tasker as it also works well on your face for covering blemishes and spot scars. It's good for highlighting too (I use it around my nose). It is also not cakey!! (The only 'cakey' I'm interested in is the chocolate kind hehe.)

Left: Clinique Airbrush Concealer in Neutral Fair
Right: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Ivory

My love affair with Clinique is back!

What's your favourite concealer?

Beauty Bird xx
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