Tuesday, 21 November 2017

5 Reasons To Try Roxanne Campbell Nail Polishes

As seen in Elle, Stylist and Look, Roxanne Campbell polishes are making a statement in the beauty world right now, and rightfully so, as she is one of London's top manicurists, working on campaigns such as Rimmel London and with celebrities like Winnie Harlow! .. So you can imagine that her own range has to meet her own very high standards.


1 The formula doesn't feel too thin or too thick to apply, it's just right; it's easy to paint on. The brush is small, meaning you don't end up applying too much. I love the fact that the shades are easy, one-coaters. I could go on, but I'm sure anyone that paints their nails will understand a good formula when they use it - and this is exactly that.

2 They're reasonably priced. £10 is about the right price for a good quality nail polish, any more and you might think "Eek - Will I really use it enough?".. but these are just the right price point in my opinion and are also a perfect gift for Christmas - aka stocking filler heaven!

The packaging is minimal and simple. No fuss, just a good polish with sleek branding. A la Essie.

4 The formula is cruelty-freeformaldehyde-free, and of high-quality. The finish is very glossy, so if you aren't into spending a long time doing your nails, these polishes would be perfect for you, as they can escape the need for a top coat (unlike a lot of drugstore formulas)

The lasting power - The formula won't chip or fade easily, and I wore mine for a good few days before any fading or chipping started.



Overall, I really like the quality and colour range of the polishes and I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for new brands to try out or if you're on the hunt for Christmas presents for a beauty lover! There are lots of shades ranging from nudes to reds, so you really can't go wrong! Next on my wishlist is Violets Are Blue - a true, cobalt blue! What will you pick up?




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Monday, 30 October 2017

A Halloween Look For When You Leave Everything Til The Last Minute

(This post contains gifted items and affiliate links. It is not sponsored)
If you're not that into Halloween like me.. and really aren't that artistic... but want to avoid your friends nagging you to dress up, I might just have the look for you. It's easy and doesn't really interfere with your other make-up such as contour or highlighter, so it's perfect for clubbing or even down the pub (if you're that extra!)

Illamasqua Illustrator Pen This is one of the best eyeliner pens I've ever used. It's what will give you the very precise, jet-black lines The nib is tiny and it makes for an easy eyeliner application. You can easy get a more muted "grey" black that I've used for the leopard print or little freckles simply by not pressing as hard or using the very end of the tip softly. You can get 25% off the eyeliner using the code NATASHA25!


Vapour Eyeshadow
1. Apply this with a soft fluffy blending brush and buff out the edges well, so that they're not harsh. The focus of this look is the leopard print, not the eyeshadow, so keep it simple, but the orange will make sure that the look stays cohesive!
2. You can also blend this onto your contour a little too in order to make the look even more seamless.
3. Use it on the leopard spots and apply some glitter on top or a darker brown colour.

Skin Base
A make-up artist fave, and for good reason, too! You'll maintain a flawless coverage all night with this product and it's also perfect for layering "art" over. This foundation plays well with almost every other product, so you'll not run into any issues with longevity or your leopard print wearing off.

Other tips: 
> Brush up your brow hairs up a little more than you usually would using a clear or tinted brow gel.
> In order to get the cat eye look, just pull your eyeliner a little further into the corner of your eye. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it'll really bring the look together from afar!
> You can get away with contouring a little heavier than you usually would. 
> You can add the little freckles around the mouth in lieu of whiskers for a more subtle look.
> Add glitter for extra glam!


25% off selected items on the Illamasqua website using the code NATASHA25



What are you doing for Halloween?

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Saturday, 30 September 2017

BYBI BEAUTY REVIEW: BABE BALM + FACIAL POLISH

BYBI Beauty are relatively 'new' on the skincare scene. Their products are fun, affordable and the brand itself is a breath of fresh air in a world full of drawn-out marketing and fancy claims. They focus on the simple idea that skin should look good with minimal effort whilst promoting environmental awareness. BYBI stands for "By Beauty Insiders" and this brand are growing fast in the beauty and skincare scene (Pretty packaging always helps that along!)

The brand is vegan, microbead-free and cruelty-free. They focus on using natural extracts from plants, instead of synthetic chemicals or ingredients in their formulations. Often with companies that claim to be "natural" it's all greenwashing with very little research, but I do honestly appreciate these formulations and I love that they're not laden with fragrance like most "natural!!" companies are, as often natural fragrance can be just as irritating to sensitive skin as synthetic ones. I also hate putting anything overly perfumed into my face.


BYBI Beauty Review - BABE BALM / PRIMING POLISH UK BLOGGER
BYBI are celebrating the re-launch of their cult favourites, the Babe Balm and Priming Facial Polish, as they've just switched from jars, to biodegradable tubes!

"The beauty industry contributes a huge amount of plastic waste and we're keen to change that! Our tubes are made of sugar cane, and while they look like plastic, they definitely aren't."


BYBI Beauty Review - BABE BALM / PRIMING POLISH UK BLOGGER

Prime Time Priming Facial Polish Shop here
One to grab, for sure. The consistency of this product is very thick for a face scrub, you don't need much at all and it feels very luxurious. It's more like a 2-in-1 cleanser and scrub - I wouldn't double cleanse and then use this, I would use an oil cleanser and then this afterwards, as to not risk being too abrasive on skin. This is a great product that doesn't leave you feeling like your face is the sahara desert. This really does leave your skin feeling super soft and hydrated.

 The "scrubby bits" are actually 
jojoba beads: a great Microbead alternative. They're so much more gentle on the skin and far better for the environment. This is a dry-skin saviour with ingredients like Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil and Marsh Mallow Root Extract.  It turns very milky and rinses easily once you're done at the sink. The scent is very subtle but enjoyable - a fruity, tangy, lime scent.


BYBI Beauty Review - BABE BALM / PRIMING POLISH UK BLOGGER


Babe Balm Shop here
Babe Balm can be used as a cuticle oil, moisturiser, subtle highlighter, lip balm, salve... the list is endless. Where you have dryness, this product will fix it. It's like an ultra-dose of hydration.
I again have to praise BYBI for excluding horrible fragrances from their products. This is a dream to use as yes, it still smells nice, but it's not overwhelming or irritating on the skin. To give it the peachy colour, they even added Sweet Potato into the mix - madness. The balm contains ingredients like Squalane, Vitamin E and lots of amazing plant-extracts and oils.

It's the perfect size for on the go, and you can't really go wrong with a multipurpose balm like this. 
love this product and you will too.

Have you tried anything from BYBI Beauty yet?

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

UNI ADVICE: Do You Really Need A Macbook For Uni?

I always see a lot of talk around this time of year about whether or not people should buy Macbooks for their university course. I've had mine throughout my entire degree, so I thought I'd write a post on whether or not they're worth it.

Uni is a huge life change, and it can all seem very exciting! So naturally, people will want to "refresh" their "life" before moving away from home, but I think that people feel the need to curate the perfect university experience: buying a fresh new Macbook, notepads from Paperchase, a new tote bag, looking cute every day... when it really and truly doesn't matter. You'll quickly notice that people go from wearing cute and fashionable outfits, to the weird grey hoody they got for free on their first day and leggings. University is like anywhere else, people feel the need to impress others and just like moving house, you want everything to be new and perfect.
Uni advice: do you really need to buy a macbook for your university course

Macbooks are expensive. There is no beating around the bush - they're not worth the insane cost, they're a fashionable and trendy gadget, basically. And they're not just expensive in the initial cost, which is around £1,100 for a student, but in their upkeep, too.

I have had my Macbook Pro since around September 2014 and my battery needs replacing, my screen has had to be replaced (I'm pretty sure this was a screen fault from Apple, but I wanted to mention it anyway), and my charger cable has broken and the wires are exposed - yes, they suffer the same annoying fate as their iPhone counterpart eventually - and those are £79 to replace. Yep, £79. You need to keep in mind whether or not you'll have the funds later on down the line to repair the laptop and keep up with the insane servicing that Apple products seem to need. I'll state now, that 2 years down the line, you'll be shelling out £100+ for a battery replacement, even if you are careful not to over-charge it and let it drain down to nothing every so often as I do.

I bought my Macbook under the Education Store in 2014. I can't recall the exact price I paid then, but the price right now is £1,124. In 2016, Apple made some pretty rubbish changes to the (already limited) Education store pricing that they offer. 


CHANGES APPLE MADE IN 2016:

  • Dropping the discount from (up to) 15% to 10%
  • Free Beats headphones
  • No more complimentary AppleCare (They now offer that for 50% off with your purchase)

At first, this looks like a great deal. It's not.

1. You don't need Beats headphones. No, seriously. They're exactly the same as any other headphones. I wish I was lying - it's marketing rubbish making you think they're amazing and worth more than your average £20 pair.
2. No more free Applecare! In my opinion, it's pretty much a necessity when if you don't want to run into issues later on down the line with your laptop. Mine expires this month but has been worthwhile when I ran into issues with my screen, that Apple recognised as a fault on their side, but I do wonder how they would have responded, had I not been holding a piece of paper with Applecare on it.

I think that this is disappointing, given that Applecare was such a nice perk to get when buying through your university, but hey, all good things must come to an end. (Sarcasm..)

My favourite things about my Macbook Pro:
  • Photobooth (I haven't clicked on this in over a year though..)
  • In sync with my iPhone easily
  • Portable and much smaller and slimmer than a Windows PC
  • The style - sorry, gotta admit I wanted one of these for about 3 years before I bought one.
  • Built in, "free" Microsoft Word counterparts - These work just as well and are very user-friendly. I've had no issues ever exporting them to a word document and I prefer the Apple programs to Microsoft now.
  • Aesthetics - It's so simple to use. Like iPhones, the Macbooks are so simple that my Nana has one and loves it. No fuss downloading and installing things, easy searches and use.
  • Perfect for the university if you buy the super-light air model.

Negatives:
  • The charger cable is awful. I'm having to replace mine after 2 years at £79. It's like the iPhone cable, only bigger. What's worse, is that Apple have patented their charger in some weird way inside (Or so I have read) so good luck finding a half-decent, cheaper version. I searched high and low and wouldn't trust the sellers I found selling replacements.
  • Battery "cycle-life" is awful. After 2 years I'm having to shell out £100 for a replacement - I never, ever had to do this so soon on the numerous other laptops I've had over the past 8 years or so.
  • There is NO DISC SLOT. Not that anyone ever uses discs anyway, and you can buy something that plugs into your USB slot, but be aware of this! Lots of people assume that it's a given to get it, but as discs phase out, so are laptops having the slot.
  • They aren't as Pro as they seem. I am not a techy person (As in I don't know what RAM is...) but every single tech blog I've ever read states that Apple vastly overprice their products for what they are. Acceptable for iPhones, perhaps? But definitely not for a laptop you'll want to last you several years... It's why no gamer dudes ever buy Macs.
  • Easily overwhelmed - it'll run the Sims, but not your mountains of custom content.

I hope this blog post gave some insight into owning a Macbook. The brand itself it's hyped beyond words and Apple are outstanding at branding themselves as new and innovative. (It explains why people line up to buy a new iPhone that is only marginally different from the old models!)
Bottom line? If you have the extra income, go for it. Don't buy an Apple product if you know that you are going to struggle to feed yourself in two months. They're a luxury product and everything that can be done on a Macbook (within reason) can be done on a cheaper laptop or on the affordable £879 Air model. John Lewis offer a free three-year warranty - so it may be worth spending your cash here if you want to purchase something pricey from a trustworthy company that are good with customer service.

Are Macbooks the student essential that people make them out to be?

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Sunday, 20 August 2017

THE HIGH END DUPE YOU NEED: L'OREAL LASH PARADISE MASCARA

(A gentle reminder that I support my blog through affiliate links. These are always included when I recommend products, but there is no obligation to buy through them!)


The Lash Paradise Mascara is another highly anticipated product coming from a string of successful launches from L'oreal over the past few months. I have to admit, I was stunned by the flat out copying of the popular Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara*, and how it somehow slipped past the 'shade radar' of Too Faced founder Jerrod Blandino, but it did, and it's a good mascara. Will L'oreal get a passive aggressive Instagram or tweet from him?

So, I'll say right off the bat: the formula is actually a lot better than it's "high-end counterpart", but I'm not sure how I feel about the downright From the rose-gold inspired tube to the cardboard packaging on the outside.
L'oreal haven't ever been a known copycat brand to my knowledge, but I think that this is one of those times that you can ignore the vast similarities just enough! L'oreals mascara is a fantastic dupe for a product that, quite frankly, isn't "purse friendly" if you like to replace yours often. (Contact lens wearers, you'll get my point here!)

In the UK, we're not exactly spoilt for choice by fantastic drugstore mascaras, so the L'oreal release is an interesting start on what might be a new addiction! The only "blogger fave" right now is Maybelline's Lash Sensational*, but this new release may be an addition to that... stay tuned.
Loreal lash paradise mascara review beauty blogger uk wand close up

PACKAGING:
I'll say this right off the bat: it feels cheap and tacky. For a brand that usually feels sturdy and of somewhat decent quality, the mascara tube feels like something from MUA in the Superdug reduced section. I'm annoyed that the lid and the bottle don't actually match, you can tell from my photos that there is a difference in the shading/colouring. If you're anything like me, this will be extremely annoying for you look at. I do way prefer the Too Faced mascara packaging - but at double the price, Too Faced have more budget to play with when it comes to outlandish packaging.
Loreal lash paradise mascara review beauty blogger uk

PERFORMANCE
  • This is a good mascara. It's not amazing for me - nothing is on my tiny, short, disappointing lashes.. but it works and doesn't flake throughout the day! It does feel very "wet" on application, but that seems to dissipate with continued use - you know how sometimes your drier mascaras perform better and seem to act like a different product altogether? Yeah.. that.
  • This is good for a very subtle and fluffy mascara look, but when you build it up, it tends to go thick and clumpy very easily. I have noticed this improving as the mascara dries out a little, but it's still frustrating. You can probably build up 1-2 coats nicely, but onto 3-4 and it can start to go wrong. You need to be careful with this mascara.
  • The pigment is good. I don't find that this mascara needs building up a crazy amount to be clear that you're wearing it. It'll coat lighter hair evenly and without issues.
  • The wand is a little different to the Too Faced one, understandably, but it still coats the lashes in a similar way, for the fluffy look.
I didn't know ehether or not to include this photo, as my eyelashes are so short...
but here is three coats, as a 'warning' - it does go a bit thick when you apply a lot!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this mascara! As it's drugstore, it means that Boots* and Superdrug* will constantly have good offers on. Boots 2 for £12 on L'oreal happens all the time and Superdrug often put 3 for 2 offers on pretty much... well, constantly. So this is a great value drugstore product that you'll probably appreciate adding to your stash.

Will you try this mascara?

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

URBAN DECAY NAKED HEAT REVIEW [PLUS SWATCHES!]

URBAN DECAY NAKED HEAT PALETTE WARM TONED EYESHADOW PALETTE UK BEAUTY BLOGGER REVIEW AND SWATCHES YOUTUBE
(A gentle reminder that I support my blog through affiliate links. These are always included when I recommend products, but there is no obligation to buy through them!)
Urban Decay were my first ever real make-up love. Their products are fun and beginner friendly, meaning they're usually one of the brands that most people have some memory of as a teenager or young girl getting into make-up for the first time - they certainly are for me. I remember so vividly, standing in TKMaxx with my aunt as I searched for something to spend my pocket money on at thirteen. I saw the most ridiculously shiny, lipgloss I'd ever seen. I fell in love. My aunt haggled with the sales assistant as it had no price on it, and I think I must have got it for around £7... which to me then, was a whole lot of money. I literally wore it whenever I could and held onto it for years. I kind of wish I still had it! I tried to find a photo, but I'm sure it was a 'Lip Gunk' gloss. Fast forward many years, and the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette was my first ever "expensive" eyeshadow palette. I fell in love; it's interesting to see the Naked palettes continue on so many years later.


The beauty community, naturally, doesn't rave about the Naked palettes as much as they seemed to a few years ago on Youtube and beauty forums like Reddit.. but I'm sure pretty much everyone has one in their drawer at home. I think that is what makes Naked Heat so interesting this time around, it's Urban Decay following the trends when they sort of started the whole "neutral" palette trend... or at least made it extremely popular. Other brands like Morphe have followed suit with these palettes and racked up the cult status in an overbearing manner, kind of like weeds in the garden that never truly go away (because the gardener is being paid to put them there..)

SO.. IS NAKED HEAT ANY GOOD?
Yes. The shades are very easy to work with and compliment each other well. You can combine these colours a thousand different ways and it'll still look cohesive and pretty! I think that they blend beautifully, and with a spritz of Fix+, the shimmer shades look great in a halo eye look. I love the fact that this palette doesn't feel seasonal; these shades, despite being a "Summer" release will transition well into the Autumn, whereas pinks and blues (for example) can feel a bit limited and spring-esque - think the Kylie Jenner Vacation palette. It's just a bit too Summery..

I will mention that the darker shades don't swatch as well. To gain pigment for my swatch post, I did have to go over a fair few times, but once applied with a brush, I had no issues. But I hate, hate, hate doing posts with swatches, I'm rubbish at them and they are only helpful to give colour reference and show the undertone more clearly. They never indicate quality, as many people think. I definitely hate this trend of "If it doesn't look like a stark matte shade when you swatch it, it must be rubbish" mentality that many people have. How make-up performs when you swatch it is so far removed from how it performs when you gently dab a fluffy blending brush into the colour, so I do tend to avoid the drama between swatching and people going "That looks rubbish" if a swatch isn't perfectly done with tape.

A couple of the eyeshadows are less impressive pigment-wise. Ashes and En Fuego were hard to swatch but did blend out okay, and I have already explained why the whole "SwAtCheS" obsession annoys me... but I am actually grateful for this, as darker colours shouldn't have a crazy high pigment anyway - who wants to darken the crease and end up with a black eye? I can appreciate this palette not being as crazily pigmented as Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance, for example. 

URBAN DECAY NAKED HEAT PALETTE WARM TONED EYESHADOW PALETTE UK BEAUTY BLOGGER REVIEW AND SWATCHES YOUTUBE
 From Urban Decay's website:
Ounce (
ivory shimmer
Chaser (light nude matte)
Sauced (soft terra-cotta matte)
Low Blow (brown matte)
Lumbre (copper shimmer w/gold pearl shift)
He Devil (burnt red matte)
Dirty Talk (metallic burnt red)
Scorched (metallic deep red w/gold micro-shimmer)
Cayenne (deep terra-cotta matte)
En Fuego (burgundy matte)
Ashes (deep reddish-brown matte)
Ember (deep metallic copper-burgundy)

The Urban Decay Heat palette is a pretty solid release with some nice shades, but it has been overshadowed by the messy (literally) drama surrounding the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette. If I had to pick at this palette, I'd say that the colour scheme makes me feel a little "meh" about this release, because the warm neutral colours have been done a thousand times over now, and it's unusual for someone to not have these shades in their collection - including the shimmers, which leave a lot to be desired in comparison to my beloved Colourpop eyeshadows. I think that they are the one let down with this palette. The mattes are great quality, but shimmers can really take a palette from a 5/5 to a 4/5, as it feels like you're left having to reach for something else in your stash.

Whilst I have a special place in collection and heart for Urban Decay, I can't sit here and tell you that you need this palette.. because truth being told, you probably already 'own' it. If you own the Morphe 35O, NYX Warm Neutrals, or anything insanely warm toned, you don't need this. But you could say that about pretty much any new release, so that's not to say that you shouldn't get it; some people collect stamps, some people collect make-up.

I think that the quality of this palette definitely matches the price tag. If you have eight rather mundane Morphe palettes, consider swapping one out for this gem. It's also one of these brands and collections that we all know and love - the Naked range doesn't disappoint and continues to release exciting products each year!

SHOP NAKED HEAT HERE*


This product was gifted - however, all opinions remain my own.



Did you get the Naked Heat palette?


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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

GLOSSIER MILKY JELLY CLEANSER REVIEW

I'm back this week with a review on a cleanser from a popular US brand, that I happen to like quite a lot. And chances are, one of their products are on one of your Pinterest boards.

This cleanser from Glossier is $18/£15. You get 177ml, but only need 1 or 2 pumps to cleanse your entire face. To me, this is perfectly acceptable, as I am someone that might have around 7 cleansers in my stash at any one time.
Glossier UK Milky Jelly Cleanser Review Beauty Blogger Natasha Kendall Close Up Bottle 2 UK STOCKIST
This is a very gentle choice, making it great for dry or "sensitive" skin. It doesn't foam and it doesn't strip or dry out the skin... but it just feels very basic. And that's not a bad thing, of course not. I'm just not sure that everyone would appreciate spending $18/£15 on a very basic and one-purpose cleanser that doesn't remove mascara or difficult, thick foundations with as much as ease as the brand claim it can. But that doesn't mean it's a bad product.. because it's actually pretty damn good. But to find fair and accurate reviews for Glossier is difficult.

Glossier products are always raved about because people:

1. Want you to use their coupon code - Yep, for every person you refer, you receive $10 in Glossier credit. The person you refer receives 20% off their first purchase. It's a pretty swell referral, and I have used it a few times. Although it has just halved ($5 and 10%) thank the heavens. Perhaps now these representatives will find something better to do. Here is my 10% off code though, in case you want to buy the cleanser: click me, click me!

In case you weren't aware, the Glossier representative program is alike to a vicious MLM scheme. It cheapens their brand and it's pretty much like Younique or Arbonne that your annoying high school friend on Facebook sells. (Also reps, stop stealing my blog photos to gain $10 from your Instagram account referrals - not cool.) I just don't think that Glossier need this representative programme. They can't control how their brand reps shill products, which cheapens them in my opinion. 

2. They think they're pretty products and want to justify taking Instagram photos of them - Which they are. They're pretty, pink and you get stickers in the parcel. How can you complain? But that doesn't mean that every product is perfect. Some of the Glossier formulas leave a lot to be desired, for example, their moisturiser contains lavender oil, which is no good for the skin at all. The Jelly Cleanser actually contains quite a lot of rosewater too, which isn't too problematic but if your skin is especially sensitive to ingredients like this, skip this cleanser.

Glossier UK Milky Jelly Cleanser Review Beauty Blogger Natasha Kendall Close Up Bottle 2 UK STOCKIST



Glossier UK Milky Jelly Cleanser Review Beauty Blogger Natasha Kendall Close Up Bottle 2 UK STOCKIST
I personally love this product, but I wouldn't use this as a double cleanse, it's pretty much just a morning, "I already have a bare face and nothing to really remove from it" type of cleanser. If you wear Estee Lauder Double Wear every day, this won't be for you. It just won't cleanse your skin well enough to remove the foundation and other makeup residues. However, that is also dependant on how much make-up you wear.

It's pretty much perfect for those of us with dry skin, that still want to wash our face in the AM, but don't want to feel like we're a piece of tight and dry plastic after doing so! I do really enjoy this product, and the bottle has lasted me a long time. It spreads evenly for a product that doesn't foam up, which is refreshing - you don't feel like you need a bucketload of it. Usually, I feel like I have to use a lot of product if something doesn't foam or feel oily.

So would I recommend this? Yes. I really like it, but it is entirely dependant on your budget. I would re-purchase this, as it's only £15 and lasts a long time, which is a fair price for a mid-range brand. Glossier products are basic but they do have some gems - the Milky Jelly Cleanser is one of them.

Have you tried any Glossier products? 


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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

pH Matters: A Beginners Guide To Chemical Exfoliants & Cleansers

Natasha Kendall, Beauty Blogger, Cambridge Blogger, Skincare Blogger, Skincare shelfie Pinterest

(A gentle reminder that I support my blog through affiliate links. These are always included when I recommend products, but there is no obligation to buy through them!)

Chemical exfoliation is a relatively 'new' mainstream concept. With the likes of Pixi, Nip & Fab and even Superdrug own brand releasing new and 'innovative' chemical exfoliators, we're spoilt for choice! ... Or are we? Nope, we're not. Allow me to explain.

Your skin has something called the acid mantle. This is probably the most unknown yet important part of skincare - it's kind of like the o-zone layer for your skin. Brands occasionally slap on the bottles 'PH balanced' but you can't always believe this. Most of the time, brands create 'skincare' that strip your skin of all oils, as well as the make-up on your face - ever wondered why even the gentle cleansers for 'sensitive' skin still make you feel squeaky clean once you've rinsed off that foam? Yep, not great for the acid mantle. Your face shouldn't feel dry, tight and 'matte' after rinsing off a cleanser!


Lots of things can affect the acid mantle, but here are some common examples:
- Skin IrritantsThink lavender extract.. citrus extract... fragrance.. 'essential oils'. Sound familiar? these are popular ingredients in skincare. Cheap to source but the consumer always seem to fall for it being slapped on the labels of products - it sounds good and smells good, basically. And it makes people think that the lavender or tea tree oil is actually helping their skin, because why else would the company put it in the formula otherwise? "Lavender is relaxing, right?" .. "Tea tree oil is good for spots, right?" ... Nope. Often these essential oils are cytotoxic  - that means that they kill healthy, living cells!
- Soaps: Soaps usually have a very high pH. When you use bar soaps (charcoal, Dove, etc) your skin is always dry as a crocodile's back. People love it. Their pores look smaller, spots seem "dried out" ... It's all good. And then bam, oil production goes into overdrive and your poor skin becomes even more congested. 
- Weird Pinterest 'hacks': Lemon Juice has a pH of around 2, baking soda has a pH of around 8. They wreak havoc on your skin, all for the sake of 'drying out a spot'. And of course, they will dry out the spot, but many people promote these masks are a nighly or weekly thing, and that means that whoever does this is damaging their skin beyond repair... every night.


pH 1 battery acid 
pH 1.5 -2 = gastric (stomach) acid 
pH 2.5 = cola soft drinks 
pH 2 = lemon juice
pH 3 = vinegar 
ph = 3.5 orange juice 
pH 4.5-5.5 = healthy skin
pH 6.5 = milk
pH 8.5 = baking soda 
pH 9 = sea water 
pH 9.0-10.0 = hand soap, detergents 
pH 10.5 = milk of magnesia 
pH 11.5 = household ammonia 
pH 12.5 = household bleach 

You can see why people get confused by what is good, and what is bad.

PH & CHEMICAL EXFOLIATION
Chemical exfoliators such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic (AHA/BHA) need to be at a pH of 3-4 to actually be effective as acid exfoliants. Anything higher will neutralise the acid and do.. well, nothing. And if you think that you can trust your favourite brands, you can't.

Pixi have released a glycolic acid product in the form of their famous 'Pixi Glow Tonic' - but the pH is 5. (The last time I saw this tested)
Nip & Fab claim that their glycolic acid still works at a pH of around 4 - 4.5. I've not tested this myself, but I'm leaning more toward 4.5 if they can't pinpoint it.
Garnier claim that the salicylic acid in their "Sensitive" Anti-Blemish range is going to combat spots.. but what is the pH of those products? If a cleanser needs to be at a pH of around 5, and the acid needs to be at a pH of around 3.5... Well, you get me... Useless.

PH AND CLEANSERS
Often, people think their skin is oily, dry, or a combination of the two.... But you can't possibly know your skin type unless you stop using harsh cleansers that are stripping away at your skin every day. Your skin isn't your skin if it's in a state of turmoil. Our skin naturally holds a pH of anywhere between 4.2 - 5.6. Cleansers should be no higher than a pH of 6.

Think of it this way, when you keep using cleansers that are the wrong pH, you (every morning and night) strip the delicate skin of absolutely everything - both good and bad. So sure, there won't be a scrap of make-up left on your face, and it'll feel tight and clean.. but it means that over time, your skin struggles to produce the correct amount of oil; Cleansers aren't selective, no skincare product is. As much as brands claim to have developed "smart" products, they're not alive. They don't know what part of your face needs healing or extra moisture, they just strip the skin over and over again, and do the job that they were formulated to do.



My recommendations for cleansers that won't strip the skin:
All skin types: Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser - This cleanser is my all-time favourite. It is super thick and hydrating and it doesn't foam a lot, which believe it or not, is ideal in a cleanser. It's also the right pH levels. It's never usually on offer anywhere, but the price tag is always worth it. (Plus, it lasts forever!) £16.50

All skin types: Garnier Micellar Gel Face Wash - If you're on a budget, this is the product for you. It's not the most hydrating cleanser of the bunch, but it does the job if you're pinching pennies and need to have an affordable skincare regime that won't dry out the skin. Almost always on 1/3 off at Boots. £3


Dry skin: Simple Cleansing Grapeseed Oil - Non pore-clogging and it easily emulsifies with water (goes milky and doesn't stick to your skin like olive oil on a frying pan) and it's almost always on offer in Superdrug or Boots. £3-£6 (This is a first cleanse/make-up remover - you'd need a gentle foaming face wash after this product)


All skin types: Hylamide High Efficiency Face Cleaner - A beautifully formulated product from Deciem. Hylamide is the sister brand of The Ordinary (Read my review here!) and with higher prices, come far superior formulas - the "cleaner" being no exception! It hydrates whilst removing all make-up without a trace. Gentle but powerful. Also stocked at Beauty Bay, ASOS, Boots and Cult Beauty. £19 (This is a first cleanse - you'd need a gentle foaming face wash after this product)


Dry skin: Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser - Gentle, and the perfect first cleanse. It's also a great dupe for the Liz Earle C&P. It's fantastic for dry skin and is a very gentle product that won't foam, it has the consistency of a very thick moisturiser. £4.99 (This is a first cleanse - you'd need a gentle foaming face wash after this product)


My recommendations for acid exfoliants with the correct pH:
Oily/Combo skin: Paula's Choice 2% Liquid BHA - Although best for oily and combination skin types, this product can work well on dry skin too. It's a god send in a bottle, and at £25 for 118ml, it should be. It's the correct pH, and you don't need much to transform your skin. I use this every single night. Find this product on LookFantastic or Paula's Choice official website. (I perfer LookFantastic, as it has better shipping options!)

All skin types (arguably): The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution -  The best skin re-texturizing product you can get for the price. I was shocked when I saw this initially released from Deciem for a mere price of £6.80! It works wonders for producing even and radiant skin, and it's suitable for many different skin types.

Be sure to use SPF50 every single day whilst using acids. Your skin will become more sensitive to the sun.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I've been wanting to take my blog in a different direction for a little while, but been a little "scared" to make that transition. I want to move on to being more skincare focused. Of course, I still love make-up, but skincare is probably my biggest passion right now. I love researching and finding out more about products, ingredients and formulations. I'm no expert (I wish!) but I do enjoy helping people to understand more about what brands, ingredients and products you should be avoiding. Did this post help you?



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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

I Never Expire: #ChangeDestiny*

Do you use anti-aging? I do. After all, prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? I think pretty much everyone I know does in some way. It's usually just an eye cream, or  a thick night cream, but we're still all looking to turn back the hands of time and look younger in our own way. You might not even know that you're using it. These magic 'actives' are in pretty much everything, and their marketing is sometimes scarily present in our everyday lives. But is there a deeper meaning behind anti-aging for many of us? Are we slathering products on to look younger for someone other than ourselves?

In Korea and China, many women face pressures to get married and have it "together" by thirty, or other big age 'milestones'. In China, there is even a day called "Bare Branches Day". November 11th. It's pretty much a "Singles Day" and consumers are encouraged to spend online to drown out the voice in the back of their head that says "you need to get married and complete your life" constantly. 

SK-II are promoting the idea "I Never Expire" in their short film on Youtube. It's a huge step forward for a large beauty brand to start to developing a blockade against social stigmas and pressures in 2017, and this is an outstandingly positive message that is seeping through the cracks of our everyday marketing for products - and that is what makes it so interesting.

"If we haven't ticked all the right boxes,
are we worth less after turning 30?"



The short film "I Never Expire" is about age-related pressure to marry, and essentially have someone next to you because you're expected to by family, friends, and social pressures. The "expiry date" is visibly clear and "worn" by the women featured in the video on their arm. It's seen by everyone, and the clock is always ticking for them, no matter where they are - travelling on the train, at the gym, or at a nightclub. SK-II are encouraging women to feel proud of their achievements and who they are, no matter how old they are. There is no expiry date on being successful and proud of yourself for your achievements.

It's a very powerful feminist message that definitely resonates with me more as it is coming from a beauty brand, and we all know that they typically encourage us to moisturise away wrinkles, exfoliate away dead skin and rejuvenate ourselves to look younger every day. It's almost like a friend saying, "Sure, you can use anti-aging creams, but you don't need to use them for anyone but yourself."


We have all felt the pressure of expectations at some point. We see on social media when our friends move upward in their careers and "life timeline" quicker than us, and we're hyper aware of photoshop, money and what society tells us to do.. which is exactly why I love this campaign. It promotes a fiercely passionate and feminist approach to change. It's promoting loving yourself and forgetting about anything but that, in the best possible way.

"Can we decide for ourselves?"


What do you think about the campaign? 
Do you believe that "expiry dates" for women are as strong as ever, or is society changing?

#INeverExpire

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This post is a paid advertorial for the campaign 'I Never Expire' by SK-II
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

AN HONEST REVIEW: Beau Belle Brushes

This week I'm reviewing some brushes I have been sent by the brand Beau Belle Brushes.
The brush set I was sent is priced at £59.95 on the website. You can also purchase it on Amazon. My initial impressions were "wow" as I'm a bit hot and cold about this price, given that the brushes are synthetic and the brand isn't well known yet; as most people probably would be. But I was honestly surprised by the quality of these. 
Beau Belle Brushes UK Amazon Review Honest
Included in this set you get:
Powder Brush
Stippling Brush
Angled Contour Brush
Foundation Brush
Angled Brow Brush
Large Shader Brush
Angled Shading Brush
Blending Brush
Shader Brush
Tapered Blending Brush


For the entire set, each brush works out at around £6. I think that it's an okay price. Would I pay £6 for some of them? No. I thought some of them were a bit useless and didn't leave me impressed, but others left me thinking "wow!" The ones I loved, were the powder, stippling, foundation, and tapered blending. I don't really like brush sets that mix and match eye and face, as it just seems incomplete. If I'm buying a brush set, I generally know whether or not I want the face or eye brushes included. I can sort of see someone's Mum buying this for them though. 

My thoughts on each brush:
Powder Brush: This is a thick, fluffed out but not-too-soft brush that is perfect for bronzer or powder products that you really need to pack on. I think this is my favourite powder brush ever right now, it even beats my Real Techniques one. I love it when bigger brushes aren't too soft, as they tend to make the foundation slide around the face and bronzer can turn muddy, but I didn't have that issue with this one. When using it for the first time, one or two hairs came out, but since then I've had nothing. Phew!

Stippling Brush: This is a really huge stippling brush! I love it to apply strobe cream with and it doesn't go patchy. It's pretty run of the mill, nothing impressed me so much about this brush that I'm going to rave about it, but I do like it. (I'm not usually a fan of using stippling brushes in general as they make my foundation look dreadful!)

Angled Contour Brush: This might be too soft for a contour brush for some people. I perfer this is a great option for blush! It works wonderfully with the Colourpop Super Shock Blushes and diffuses the colour gently, as to not ruin your make-up. I like that it's white - because you can see just how much product is packed onto the bristles, meaning you don't end up going overboard and looking like something from a tacky Disney film. 

Foundation Brush: Nice brush. I mean, it's a flat foundation brush - is there much to rave about? It applied my foundation nicely and didn't shed. I enjoyed using this.

Angled Brow Brush: This was just too thick, so much so that it just seemed pointless trying to use it on my eyebrows (which are thick anyway!) I think that it lacks precision, which you need in an eyebrow brush as to not end up with 'block' brows. I didn't like it, but I think this would make a really great tool to create eyeshadow looks with. It's just the right thickness to use with matte powders to cut the crease or line the underneath of your eyes with a pop of colour. So yes, it's a good brush.. just not for your eyebrows.

Large Shader Brush: This is a great, sturdy brush for me. I loved using this to apply concealers and cream contour from the Anastasia palette. The sturdy, dense bristles allow me to pick up a lot of product from what is usually a very tough cream product, which is great. It's a brush that I have been missing from my collection but didn't realise I needed!

Blending Brush: (The white brush from the set) This was a really soft brush, in a good way. I like some of the smaller brushes in my collection to be softer, and this is just the right size for the waterline or for blending out highlighter under the brows (if you're into that..) I do really like this brush and as it's white, you can see how much product is on it - perfect for if you're using it to line the waterline with colour or apply black!

Shader Brush:  Do we really need two shader brushes in a small set like this? Not really. This is possibly a bad choice from the brand - but Zoeva have done this too with their Rose Gold collection, just chosen lots of random brushes to shove in. I mean it's a good brush - I have the same things to say about this one as I do the Large Shader Brush... this is just smaller. 

Tapered Blending Brush: (The black brush from the set) This is not too dissimilar from the Zoeva 228 in that it's super wide and fluffy - perfect for a transition shade. It held up well, didn't shed and washed like a dream, and reshaped easily.

Things that I would improve:
  • Put the name and/ornumber of the brush, on the brush handle - like Zoeva, Mac and any other brush company do. I'm guessing the reason these aren't a blogging or youtube hit yet, is because it's so darn hard to tell people what brush you're using! 
  • The sets could be more cohesive. Eyes and face in one set, never really seem complete. 
  • The bristles differ too vastly on each brush. The powder brush vs contouring brushare so different. The powder is a "scratchier" kind of bristle, like Zoeva, wheras the angled contour brush is ultra soft, similarly to Spectrum.

Overall, I think that these are really good brushes! They're better than Spectrum, which break like nobodies business, but we'll see how these pretty rose gold handles hold up over time. I do like the fact that they're synthetic, as having the choice between natural and synthetic bristles can be handy for different products. I would recommend these brushes and I do really like them. 

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