Sunday, 30 November 2014

November Feel Unique Haul

This is my second ever order from, & both times I've been super impressed by the range of products on offer & the level of service, so this time I thought I'd share my experience with you.

I won't be going into lots of detail on products, a) because they've only just arrived so I haven't had a chance to really put them through their paces & b) because I don't want this post to turn into an essay, but if there are any products which you're keen to hear my thoughts on then let me know in the comments below & I'll do a full review.

For those of you who aren't aware of FeelUnique, I like to think of it as an upmarket Boots; although they do carry some high street brands like Rimmel, Aussie & Eyelure, they also have high-end brands like bareMinerals & Marc Jacobs. This can be both a blessing & a curse: having so much choice is fantastic, but it can be so easy to slip into buying pricier products when they're listed side-by-side with more affordable options (trust me, I'm speaking from experience here). 

That being said, there are usually some great deals running, alongside free samples with all orders over £30, & their Try Me sample service which is pretty much the best idea anyone's ever had (with selected products they'll send you a sample alongside the full size product, meaning you can test out the sample meaning your can return the full size item if it's not for you - perfect for foundation testing).

Both my orders have been dispatched promptly & arrived within a few days. The boxes themselves are nice & sturdy, but the inner packaging isn't too great. The first time I ordered, my products were wrapped using cellophane to a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the box, & the second time the box was loosely stuffed with packing peanuts. Neither of these options is ideal since you don't really want your expensive products - especially powder compacts & eyeshadow palettes - rattling around in the box. Fortunately, all my products have arrived in one piece, possibly thanks to the fact that FeelUnique use Hermes to deliver rather than Royal Mail, but it's something to be aware of.

On to what I bought.

The first product I picked up was the Urban Decay De-Slicking Spray (£20) which I've had my eye on for a while. My oily skin battle continue & this spray (which you mist on to your face after applying your makeup) promises to keep everything in place & looking matte all day long. It's pretty pricey so I'm not sure I'll be using it every day but it sounds like a good shout for long work days or nights out. Plus, that packaging is just beautiful - embossed letters & watercolour accents, yes please.

I've also been having some acne trouble recently, so I picked up Murad's Blemish Spot Treatment (£17.10). Again, this is an expensive product, but I've been really impressed with Murad's blemish-fighting line in the past (their clay mask is a life saver), & since this is a topical cream I'm hoping it will last me a relatively long time.

I've been on the hunt for a reasonably priced blush brush for a while now since my current one moults chronically, & this Lily Lilo angled brush (£7.99) seems like a good choice. It's super soft, but still firm enough to pick up a good amount of pigment; my only complaint is that the white handle is inevitably going to end up looking grubby, even with regular cleaning - all black everything please.

For the past few months I've been using Maybelline's Fit Me powder & while it's great for emergency touch ups during the day I just don't feel like it has much staying power on my oily skin. I've heard great things about Rimmel's Stay Matte powder (£3.99) so I figured I'd give it a go. The packaging is - as you'd expect - pretty cheap so I'm not sure I'll be carrying it round in my handbag but then again, hopefully I won't need to!

Recently I've been noticing that while I have a few different blushes they're all in the baby-to-bubblegum pink spectrum & I wanted to get something more autumnal, so I decided on L'Oreal's True Match Blush in shade Rosewood (£6.50). It's a really beautiful dusty rose colour, similar to Sleek's Pomegranate blush, but more wearable. I also like the fact that even though it's a cheaper product, it still comes with a little brush & mirror.

For the past year or so I've been having a love affair with felt-tip eyeliners; I just think they're super easy & can give you the perfect crisp line with minimal practice. What I don't love is how quickly they dry out & suddenly - instead of a crisp line - you're getting a patchy grey mess. So, I decided to revisit liquid liner & picked up Rimmel's Exaggerate Liner (£5.29). I'm honestly not sure how well I'll get on with this (& I'm still lusting over Kat Von D's Tattoo liner) but if it doesn't work out at least it won't be too costly a mistake.

I know I'm super late to the Rimmel Apocalips party, but I couldn't resist the vampy charms of shade Across the Universe (£5.99). It applies perfectly, quickly dries to a matte finish, & has pretty decent lasting power. I also think the packaging looks out of this world cool.

Around a month ago, my beloved Soap & Glory Archery Eyebrow Tint & Pencil finally gave up the ghost & I've been using a little nub of leftover Body Shop eyebrow pencil ever since, so I picked up the Laura Geller Brown Scuplting Marker in shade Soft Charcoal (£18). I like the fact that it's cooler-toned (far too many eyebrow products for people with blonde hair are ridiculously warm-toned) & the little segmented tip is supposed to imitate the appearance of individual hairs for a more natural look.

The final product I chose was the Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer (£16) which seems pricey but you do get a healthy 8.5g of product for your money. I've been lusting over this champagne-toned highlight for a while & it certainly doesn't disappoint. My only gripe is with the packaging - I'm just not a fan of the kitschy design, & would much prefer a plainer style, but each to their own.

So, that's everything I picked up & I'm now on a makeup spending ban until after Christmas! Like I said, I'm happy to do more in-depth reviews of any of these products, just let me know in the comments or over on Twitter which you want to see more of.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Body Shop Haul

When I first got into beauty I was committed to the Body Shop - I bought everything from brushes to eye shadows, blushes to foundation. But gradually as I became more knowledgeable I started to move away from the brand; their pricing just felt off - not quite high street but not high-end either. 

That being said, I still tend to gravitate towards their skincare items, so when I received a discount code in my inbox I couldn't resist picking up a few things.

I've always been a big fan of the simple style of the Body Shop's brown paper packaging & it looks like I'm not the only one!

The first product is one I used to use back when I first decided to actively start combating my acne, & it's the Tea Tree Blemish Gel (£6.00). You don't get a huge amount of product for your money (only 2.5ml) but equally this is a topical treatment rather than something you're going to be coating your face in. Since tea tree is an anti-bacterial this is most effective when used on open spots to prevent infection & promote healing. It's no miracle cure but it can help calm the whole acne situation down, meaning less work for you & your makeup.

One of the main reasons I placed an order was because I'd noticed my hands were getting super dry at work & I've always loved the Body Shop moisturisers. This Shea Butter Hand Cream (£3.50) is no exception. The nutty scent is warm & comforting without being overwhelming, & the texture is the perfect balance of moisturising & easily absorbed. I only wish this came in a larger size.

The next item I picked up is this Nail Colour in shade Chocolate Cutie (£5.00). I've been looking for a dark berry nail polish ever since autumn hit properly & on the website this looked perfect, but when it arrived I was disappointed. As you can see it looks like a fairly uninspiring medium brown in the bottle, not what I was looking for at all, but once I applied it I fell in love. On the nail it's a deep mahogany brown with a strong red undertone, perfect if you feel like black is a bit too stark but still want a dark shade.

Along with dry skin on my hands, winter also means dry, flaky patches on my elbows & shoulders - super attractive - so I picked up this Wild Argan Oil Body Scrub (£13.00). It's a bit on the pricey side but a little goes a long way, & thankfully, unlike the Coconut Body Scrub, this one doesn't leave my skin feeling irritated, just soft & smooth.

I've been meaning to get a clear top coat for a while as I'm notoriously bad for chipping my nail polish, & now I'm working it just feels unprofessional to have my nails look a mess. So far this Base & Top Coat (£5.00) is ticking all the boxes. Last night I applied one coat of the clear polish, followed by two of Chocolate Cutie, & then a final top coat & I've yet to get a single chip, which is pretty much unheard of for me. It also dried super quickly meaning no smudges or uneven finish.

The hunt for a rich night-time moisturiser suitable for oily skin continues, & so I picked up the Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion (£9.00). It's pretty pricey as you only get 30ml of product & I'm not convinced it's worth it. Although this lotion feels lightweight & non-greasy (thumbs up), it also doesn't feel particularly moisturising (thumbs down) & while I do have oily skin I'm still keen to keep my face hydrated.

Another product I'm revisiting is the All in One Concealer (£8.50). I've always been a fan of this creamy yet lightweight formula but I previously purchased shade 01 which is super yellow-toned & just made me look sallow & tired, even though I have a neutral undertone. Shade 00 on the other hand leans more pink - almost salmon-toned - & is perfect for covering up dark circles. It also blends seamlessly over acne, giving great coverage.

Never one to pass up on new lipstick shades, I grabbed two of the Body Shop's Colour Crush Lipsticks in shades 330 (Spice Things Up) & 340 (Berry Me) (£10.00). The packaging is definitely deceiving here - the colour dots on the bottom of the tubes look almost identical but they're clearly two completely different colours when applied. Spice Things Up is a warm-toned dusty rose while Berry Me is a super cool-toned (it almost has a hint of grey on the lips) aubergine. Berry Me is definitely the less conventional shade but I love how vampy it looks - almost Kylie Jenner-esque.

Predictably, I feel like everything I picked up from the Body Shop is a solid pick - they might be pricey but they sure are dependable. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite Body Shop product is so I know what to check out next time.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

YOU Beauty Advent Calendar First Impressions

I cracked. 

When I finished my advent calendar round-up post last month I honestly wasn't sold on any of the options, so I pledged to save my money & picked up a couple's (ew, I know) chocolate advent calendar from Hotel Chocolat instead. But as the weeks dragged on, & the nights got darker, my mind kept wandering back to YOU Beauty's offering & before I knew it I was checking out & it had arrived on my doorstep.

It was definitely an unnecessary extravagance but do I regret it? Hell no!

The packaging is really beautiful. The slightly glossy gold box is covered in white stars, with a white band embossed with the YOU Beauty logo holding the two halves together. It looks really high quality & I can imagine you making someone's month if you gave it as a gift. I'm also quite impressed that the styling matches the luxury products inside & not the (relatively) low cost of the calendar itself.

The box opens like a book & the second I saw the little windows I was itching to get them open - I definitely like fact that they're all different shapes & sizes, it really ups the anticipation! I also like the interior styling - it's simple enough that you could get away with having it on display in your home without too many awkward questions.

My only complaint would be that some of the windows had already begun to come open by the time it had arrived, almost revealing the products inside. I'm not hugely worried since I bought this for myself & had already briefly looked over the product list on the website, but I can see this being disappointing if you were really focused on the element of surprise or if you'd bought it as a gift for someone.

The calendar also comes with a little magazine including detailed descriptions of all the products, as well as discounts on various beauty brand sites. Again, this isn't ideal if you're big on surprises, but you could always hide it away until Christmas Day, & I personally like the idea of getting some money off, especially given the luxury nature of some of the products.

I'm so happy I ended up getting a beauty advent calendar & I'm keen to share what's inside with you. My only worry is that posting every day could get a bit overwhelming, so I'm thinking about posting a little mini hauls every three or four days with my thoughts on the items so far. Does that sound good or would you rather have every day posts? Let me know in the comments below.

If you'd like to purchase this calendar for yourself or someone else then you can buy it here for £49.95 plus p&p.
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