Sunday 29 March 2015

Review: Botanicals Radiance Serum

I use face serum morning and night, so I like to alternate between different serums based on what my skin needs at the time. I currently target blemishes with the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ (review) and combat dryness with the Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin Plumping Serum (review). I've recently added a new serum to my skincare arsenal to bring some radiance to my skin when it's looking dull - the Botanicals Radiance Serum. 

The Botanicals Radiance Serum is 100% natural and 99% organic, with key ingredients such as Avocado Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Rosehip Oil and Grapeseed Oil. This blend of ingredients is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and potassium, which promotes revitalised, healthy and younger looking skin. This serum is suitable for all skintypes, costing £25.95 for a 30ml bottle. 

Although a serum, in terms of formula it looks like an oil and so comes with a pipette to dispense it; however it is much richer and thicker in consistency than any oils I've tried. For these reasons I find that it takes quite awhile to absorb, so it isn't one to use when you're in a rush and waiting to apply your moisturiser on top. I find myself reaching for it much more at night than in the morning (because I'm never on time first thing!). Botanicals advise applying the Radiance Serum to damp skin, which I recommend as it takes longer to sink in if you don't - I spritz on a toner such as the La Roche-Posay Serozinc and then massage it into my skin. It also works well mixed in with a moisturiser. The Botanicals Radiance Serum really is the perfect cold weather product; it packs a serious punch in the hydration department and turns my skin from dull and flat to glowy and plump. 

The Botanicals Radiance Serum is in the higher end of the price bracket, but considering that it contains all natural ingredients and you only need a couple of drops for each use, I think it is well worth it. It'll last for ages and your skin will love you for it. Find it online here.

Have you tried the Botanicals Radiance Serum? What serum do you use for more radiant skin?

Beauty Bird xx

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

Thursday 26 March 2015

5 Skincare Tips I Live By

Skincare has always been my first love; it was the thing I was obsessed with before I discovered makeup. I've battled with skin troubles for a long time and I've been on one hell of a skincare journey, making mistakes and learning a lot on the way. I'm not an expert and everyone's skin is different, but these are 5 skincare tips I live by;

1. Don't Be Afraid To Double Up
For me this applies mainly at night and this routine rarely changes - double cleanse, double tone, double treat. I wear quite high coverage foundation, so I cleanse once to remove makeup and then again with a different cleanser to get rid of any impurities on the skin. Straight after this I tone with a liquid exfoliating toner on a cotton pad, followed by a hydrating one to re-balance the skin. Finally, I give my skin a double treat - a serum followed by an oil or moisturiser (sometimes even the latter two at the same time but mixed together!). A serum targets specific skincare concerns and penetrates the skin deeper than any other product; I tend to gravitate towards serums for blemishes and congestion. The oil or moisturiser is to nourish, hydrate and brighten the top layer of my skin. This doubling up process really works for me; yes it's a lot of products, but as Caroline Hirons has said before, think of treating your skin like your clothing and layer it up, especially in winter.

2. Introduce New Products Gradually to Identify Triggers
Some people can use anything on their skin, but for many there will always be ingredients that irritate it; whether it dries it out, breaks it out or just generally freaks it out! It can take a long time to identify what triggers that irritation, especially if you've introduced too many new and different products into your skincare routine at the same time. This applies to makeup too. I've learnt from experience to do it gradually and because of this I now understand better what my skin likes and doesn't like. For example, I can't use skincare products containing high quantities of SD Alcohol a.k.a Alcohol Denat, because my skin will break out into huge lumps closely resembling The Alps! 

3. Check The Label
This follows on from number 2. Before I buy any skincare product I always check the ingredients list.  This means I can avoid my known skin irritants, but it also just generally makes me better informed about what I'm putting on my skin. Some products can be misleading because there are no rules on how products are advertised. For example, say you are specifically looking for a moisturiser containing high quantities of Avocado Oil because of its skincare benefits and you come across one called "The Amazing Avocado Oil Moisturiser" (totally made up as you can tell). You would initially   be drawn straight to this one because you would assume from the name it contains a high percentage of Avocado Oil, but then you look at the ingredients... Avocado Oil is right down towards the end of the ingredients list, meaning there isn't much of it and you're not really going to see any benefits from it. Brands are allowed to do this, so if you're after something specific, check the label. 

4. Give It Time
When trying out new skincare, give it time a sensible amount of time before making a full judgement. I will use a new product for at least 4 weeks, sometimes up to a couple of months, so I can properly evaluate if it works for my skin and what benefits or improvements it has made. After that period I then know if I would re-purchase it and I would also feel in a position to review it on this blog. I really don't think you can do this process in a week, because things do change and some products are designed to work over a long term basis, for example Rosehip Oil and its effects on scars. Of course if a product very quickly has negative effects on my skin, then I would stop using it straight away. 

5. Don't Restrict Yourself
It took me a long time to realise that you don't have to only use products specifically advertised for your skintype. I used to bombard my skin with oily/combination skincare and it was just too much for it - there was only so many astringent ingredients it could take in one go! Again it's just having an awareness of ingredients, listening to your skin and what it needs; even oily skin could turn dry or dehydrated. I always factor in the weather, my diet and water intake too and change up my skincare as needed. 

What are your favourite skincare tips? 

Beauty Bird xx

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Tuesday 24 March 2015

You Beauty Discovery Box March 2015

If you're a big fan of British brands then you need to check out March's You Beauty Discovery Box, which has a Best of British theme and consequently some fabulous product choices. For just £6.95 including P&P, here's what arrived in my box...

As always there were two beauty product choices to make and my first choice was a full size Illamasqua Matt Finish Lipstick in Sangers worth an impressive £18.50. Sangers is described as "a classic blue red toned shade that suits most complexions". Many of you will know that I'm a bit of a red lip phobic, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own my first Illamasqua lipstick. It looks like the most perfect red! Plus with highly pigmented formula that contains Vitamin E to keep lips moisturised, this is one phobia that I need to beat quickly! 

For the second choice I went for skincare - a 15ml sample tube of the Good Things Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask. This is a brand I haven't tried before but have seen on blogs for its range of affordable but effective products. Containing White Clay and Beeswax, this mask is designed to refresh and brighten the skin, therefore enhancing its natural glow. I don't have anything quite this in my collection so it's filled a gap nicely! 

The extra treats in the You Beauty Discovery Box are so generous this month! I'm so happy to see a Nakd Cocoa Orange Bar (some boxes will receive Berry Delight), which was eaten not long after being photographed! From Dove are 50ml tubes of their Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner for stronger, sleeker, fuller hair. I'll be saving this duo for when I go away as they're the perfect size to pop in an overnight bag or suitcase. 

If you fancy getting your hands on your own You Beauty Discovery Box, then take a look at their website here - I can't recommend it enough! Other brands available to choose products from are The Vintage Cosmetic Company, Styl, Percy and Reed, Astral, #LipGlam and Yardley London. 

What do you think of this month's You Beauty Discovery Box?

Beauty Bird xx

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Sunday 22 March 2015

The Natural Makeup Menu

After posting about my Matte Makeup Menu here, which I loved writing and many of you seemed to love reading, I thought I'd start a makeup menu series of my favourite makeup looks and the products I use. I know right, me - start a series? Many have started and failed, but I'm determined to keep this one up!

Most of the time I go for quite a natural look - I don't bother applying lots of makeup for work (I'd rather spend longer in bed) and I tend to save a more detailed, dramatic look for parties or nights out. This is my current Natural Makeup Menu for a fresh faced, almost "no makeup makeup" look.

I love full coverage foundation, but there are days where I just feel like I need to give my skin a bit of break. This is when I'll reach for the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in Ivory, which contains 3 colour correcting pigments for a fresh, radiant finish. It feels very light on the skin but gives surprisingly good coverage. 

When it comes to concealer there's two that fit my "natural" bill. For dark circles I've been loving the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer in Light, which not only neutralises the darkness but adds brightness too. Where there's redness from spots or scarring, the Seventeen 18 Hour Stay Time Concealer in Extra Fair (review) is brilliant yet budget friendly. It's super creamy yet thinner in consistency than its Collection rival, so looks much more natural on the skin. Plus the shade Extra Fair is one of the palest I've come across. 

I always finish my base with a powder, usually one that adds some colour, but there's an even more natural way to set my foundation and concealer and prevent shine. Enter theBalm's Sexy Mama Anti-Shine Translucent Powder (review). I love this stuff; it's lasted me for ages, it's affordable and it's talc free! In the pan it does have colour to it, but once on the skin it disappears without a trace.

For a seamless, glowing-from-within finish on the cheeks I always turn to the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher in Cherub (review), which has a liquid formula. The pink shade is light but dusky and can be easily layered for a more intense finish. I like to use the Real Techniques Stippling Brush to apply this, as it really enables me to work it into my skin.

Natural makeup is all about simplicity, so for eyes I ditch the eyeliner and stick to a neutral eyeshadow and lengthening mascara. The No7 Stay Perfect Shade and Define in Cool Mink is a fantastic eyeshadow stick in a shimmery, taupe-brown, which is creamy, long lasting and adds a subtle brightness to the eyes. In the photo the swatch looks quite dark in colour, however if you apply with a very light hand or blend the shadow out from the centre with your finger, it looks much more sheer. I then finish with the Claudia Louch Lashware Mascara*, which appropriately is 94% natural and doesn't contain any fibres, plastics or sealers. This lengthens my lashes without adding too much volume, so they look enhanced rather than coated.

I do like to fill my brows in for added colour and definition, but when I just want them to look neat and tidy, my go-to product is the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara in Dark Blond (review). It adds a little bit of colour and smoothes my brows into place.

One of the best magazine freebies I've ever come across has to be the mini Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin' Watermelon, which was out with Glamour last summer. Whoppin' Watermelon is a pretty raspberry pink shade that isn't too pigmented nor too sheer, adding a subtle wash of colour to the lips while keeping them soft and moisturised.

What products are on or would be on your natural makeup menu? If there's a specific makeup menu you'd love to see a post on in the future, please let me know in the comments below.

Beauty Bird xx

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Thursday 19 March 2015

The Hotly Tipped Charlotte Tilbury Dupe: Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner in East End Snob

In the beauty world at the moment there is a lot of love for Charlotte Tilbury makeup and one product I hear about over and over again is her Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk, which is a warm nude-pink. However at the price of £16.00, I decided to opt for the hotly tipped budget dupe - the Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner in East End Snob at just £3.99. From comparing swatches online, East End Snob looks a bit duskier than Pillow Talk, but there's no denying that the shade is in a very similar vein. 

The Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner has a small, slanted tip to fit the curves of the lips, which you wind up to apply (and so never have to sharpen!). The tip is soft and creamy, so doesn't drag at all on the lips and on the whole is very easy to apply, with an instantly rich colour payoff and a matte finish. However you really need to prep your lips before applying this lip liner with a hydrating lip balm (maybe even a scrub before that if your lips are extra dry), otherwise like me you'll find you suffer with a seriously unattractive case of "prune lips"! I tend to carefully dab on a little extra balm after application too, just to be sure. I tend to wear it on its own as I love the colour and I get around 2-3 hours wear before needing to re-apply.

With change from a fiver, if the Charlotte Tilbury offering is out of your budget or you just simply want a nude-pink lip liner to add to your stash, I'd definitely recommend the Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner in East End Snob. On its own it's not the most moisturising formula, but everything else about it is a winner for me! It can be bought from Boots here.

Have you tried any of Rimmel's lip liner range? What's your favourite budget and/or high end lip liner?

Beauty Bird xx

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Tuesday 17 March 2015

Review: Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser

I love cream based cleansers and I love honey, so inevitably I had to put the Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser on my wishlist! It was quite awhile before I made a purchase - the offer of 25% off in my local Waitrose was too good to ignore! Suitable for all skin types, it is designed to remove makeup and impurities and comes with a pure muslin cloth. The tube itself is 100ml in size and costs £11.50 - however a 30ml trial size is also available for £4.95. 

The Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser isn't a completely natural product, but it does contain Wild Flower Honey, Propolis and Beeswax, all harvested from beekeepers based in Britain. These ingredients are known for their anti-bacterial and healing properties, which is great for problematic skin but they're naturally super hydrating too, so treat the skin without drying it out. I love the fact that as soon as you dispense the cleanser from the tube it also has deliciously natural honey scent. 

I use the Bee Good cleanser at night, usually for my first cleanse but sometimes for my second if I've used an oil first. The formula is creamy as you would expect but quite thick, so when massaging it  onto dry skin as advised, it tends to dry out quite quickly - though nothing a little added water doesn't fix. The formula is soft and gentle on the skin, but is heavy enough to remove makeup, including mascara. I use the dampened muslin cloth to remove the Bee Good cleanser, which it does so effectively (although I generally prefer thicker face cloths). The end result is refreshed, re-balanced and moisturised skin.

In summary, the Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser is a downright lovely cleanser that I really do think would suit a wide range of skintypes. It isn't my favourite cream cleanser formula, but the inclusion of honey is a winner. Find it on the Bee Good website here.

Have you tried the Bee Good Honey and Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser? What's your favourite cream cleanser?

Beauty Bird xx

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Sunday 15 March 2015

Latest in Beauty - The Glamour Spring Beauty Edit Box

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, Latest in Beauty have released The Glamour Spring Beauty Edit Box with products handpicked by Glamour's Beauty Director Alessandra Steinherr. This is my first ever box from Latest in Beauty and wow, it's a good one! The box is worth £99.00 yet only costs £16.99 (shipping is free) and includes an incredible range of products.

First up is a 75ml tube of the Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask, which is formulated for dry and chemically treated hair. I do love my Macadamia Deep Repair Masque, but I've been dying to try Moroccanoil for a long time now and I'm so interested to see how the two compare!

Next up is another mask, but this time for the face - the Nuxe Creme Fraiche de Beaute Mask (50ml). Containing Plant Milks and White Blossom, Nuxe recommend using this for an intensive moisturising boost, so I'll be saving this for an extremely dry skin day!

I think a girl can never enough nail varnish and the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel in Full House is a very welcome addition to my collection. It's a stunning, bright, turquoise toned blue that will be perfect for my fingers and toes in the summer months. (There are three shades available in total.) To seal the polish and create a glossy, long lasting finish, the box also comes with a Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat. I can't wait to try these two together! 

Next up is something really exciting for me - a KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow. I've been dying to try one of these for ages! Out of the three available shades I have 06, which is a beautiful, shimmering bronze. I've only swatched it but it's super pigmented, creamy and didn't budge off my hand for hours!

Brows are covered with the BeautyUK High Brow All in One Brow Definition Kit. This cute little palette contains three coloured powders, a clear wax, a mini double ended brow brush and mini tweezers. You can never have too many brow products in my opinion!

According to Glamour, lip gloss is one of the biggest Spring trends, so they've included the Rimmel Oh My Gloss! Lip Gloss in Snog (there are five shades available). Snog is a very dusky pink with a fine shimmer and a thick but non-sticky formula. Not 100% sure about the smell though...

As soon as the warmer weather hits I'm going to be all over cream blusher. The ModelCo Creme Rouge Cheek and Lips in Just Peachy is just so pretty; really pigmented but has a soft and blendable formula. 

Lastly, the box contains a little sample of the Elie Saab L'Eau Couture perfume, which has a very fresh and floral scent. I wouldn't miss this if it wasn't in the box, but it's still a nice extra all the same. 

I think the Latest in Beauty Glamour Spring Beauty Edit Box is an absolutely fantastic box; one of the best I've come across. The value is fantastic considering the range of products and brands picked for it. I'm really, really impressed! 

To get your own Glamour Spring Beauty Edit Box from Latest in Beauty, visit their website here

What do you think of this beauty box? 

Beauty Bird xx

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