Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Review: Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution & Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I've been wanting to try Kiehl's Skincare ever since Rachel Whitehurst recommended their products in one of her skincare routine videos but I held off a) because Rachel & I have totally different skin types so I wasn't sure if the items she mentioned would work as well for me & b) because Kiehl's is PRICEY & while I love my skin I also love food & paying my bills.

Finally my birthday rolled around & I decided to treat myself to a couple of new items, so I visited the Kiehl's website & found their Healthy Skin Care Routine Finder. It's pretty basic but essentially it asks you a few questions about your skin type & concerns, then creates a personalised skin care routine. Obviously there was no way I was dropping £200 on all the products it recommended, but because each item had a little description underneath explaining why it was recommended I could choose the products which would really address my skin care concerns (for reference, I have oily, acne-prone skin). 

The first product I purchased was the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution (£36 for 30ml). This serum aims to correct dark spots & even out skin tone, which are actually two of my biggest issues now my acne is relatively under control, so I had high hopes. 

The water-based serum is super lightweight & although there is some tackiness straight after application it quickly dries down, meaning you could easily put this on in the morning & apply makeup over it. It does have a slight lavender scent (as does the Midnight Recovery Concentrate) which I don't love, plus lavender oil can cause irritation, so it's maybe worth testing it out before purchase if you have sensitive skin.

I've been using the serum for around a week now & haven't noticed any significant changes in terms of my dark spots, but I do feel as though my skin tone is more even & the acne I've had hasn't scarred as badly as I've experienced in the past. 

Overall I'd say this product isn't a necessity but is a nice addition to your skincare routine.

The second product is the one I'm most excited to talk to you about as it's quickly become a holy grail product in my skincare routine. The Midnight Recovery Concentrate (£37 for 30ml) is one of Kiehl's signature products, with positive reviews on every beauty site out there & having tried it for a week I totally understand why.

This facial oil is designed to improve the appearance of skin overnight & while it's no miracle product I have been seriously impressed by how soft & glowy my skin has been since I started using it. I was concerned that my skin wouldn't react well to the high oil content but by the next morning any greasiness has totally disappeared leaving my skin feeling plump & fully moisturised. 

Even with such a stand-out product the price tag is tough to justify, but thankfully a little goes a long way & three drops is easily enough for my whole face, meaning it should at least last a while. I'm also a big fan of the blue glass packaging & love the way it looks alongside my other skincare products.

I honestly couldn't be more impressed with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate & if you can afford to splash out on skincare I'd definitely recommend checking it out, regardless of your skin type.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Reveiw: Zoeva Rose Golden Blush Palette

I've spoken before about my love for Zoeva's high quality & affordable beauty products, so when I spotted the Rose Golden Blush Palette on BeautyBay for just £13 I couldn't resist adding it to my basket.
"Featuring a triad of contour and strobing friendly hues, Rose Golden Blush Palette utilises a Vitamin E infused formula to nourish the skin whilst simultaneously engulfing it in perfection and colour."
Like all Zoeva's packaging, the palette is made from cardboard but it feels sturdy & the satin rose gold finish is beautiful. It's also super thin which - combined with the fact it contains a bronzer, highlighter & blush - makes it perfect for travelling with.

The pans are a decent size making it easy to swirl a brush in them without catching the other shades & also meaning the palette is good value for money - if all three shades work for you.

The shades in the palette are:
  • Heavy Crown - A matte chocolate brown, perfect for bronzing on light to medium skin tones. This shade looks great in the pan - the perfect warm but not orange bronzer - but the colour pay-off is very minimal. The swatch above took a lot of rubbing & multiple swipes to build up any visible colour, & with a brush it's even worse. It's odd that this shade is so stiff when the other two are super pigmented & creamy, & it's a definitely downer on an otherwise great palette.
  • Glowing Still - This is actually the main reason I wanted to purchase the palette as I've been eyeing up Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl & wanted to test out whether or not a true white highlight would work on my skin tone. I really love this shade & the pigmentation is great for such an inexpensive brand, however it does have a strong golden undertone (similar to NARS Albatross) which means it's not the most subtle highlight & might not work on those with cooler skin tones. 
  • Palace Door - This classic rose gold blush is super flattering & despite being quite shimmery in the pan mellows out to a more subtle glow on the skin. It also looks great built up & could easily double as an eyeshadow, making this palette a great multi-tasker.

Wearing Heavy Crown, Glowing Still, & Palace Door

Overall this is a great value palette with a really beautiful blush & highlight combo, but it is a shame that bronzer lets it down. If you like the look of the other two shades it's probably still worth picking up thanks to the affordable price tag & the fact that you may be able to make the bronzer work if you prefer a very subtle warmth, but if you're on the fence it's maybe worth saving your pennies for something else.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Review: Maison de Moggy Cat Café

When my partner told me he'd booked something special for my birthday, it didn't take long for me to figure out we were heading to Maison de Moggy, Edinburgh's newly relocated Cat Café. Unsurprisingly, I totally loved it & wanted to write a quick review in case any Edinburgh locals were thinking of heading along. 

The café is located on Grassmarket, just down from the Castle, & is super central - great if you're only in Edinburgh for a short time. The café front has huge windows which not only let loads of light in but also mean you get a sneak peak of the cats snuggled on the window seats.

When you first arrive, you're asked to remove your shoes & the café owners take you through the house rules. It might sounds a bit OTT but as a cat lover I was really pleased to see the emphasis put on the cat's welfare & it's definitely reflected in how chilled out all the cats are.

A trip to the café costs £7 per person for an hour slot, & you can book online or chance it by dropping in on the day - if you know when you'll be going it's definitely worth booking ahead though as we saw a couple of people turned away as they were fully booked, even on a Friday lunchtime. 

The café doesn't serve hot food, but it does do drinks & cake - I had the salted caramel hot chocolate & chocolate orange cake, both of which I would totally recommend (the owners also super sweetly put a candle in my cake slice after I mentioned it was my birthday). If you do order cake, make sure you're careful as Elodie the Sphynx is super cheeky & will do her best to steal some even if it means clambering all over you.

All the cats were really relaxed & it was great to see that the variety of cat furniture meant they could choose how much interaction they wanted. I totally fell in love with Sebastian (below) who was chilling on a scratcher in the window, but we got to spend some time with almost all the cats, despite it being quite busy.

If you're a cat lover & based in Edinburgh I'd definitely recommend checking out Maison de Moggy for a super chilled hour or so in sweet cat (& human) company.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Review: Laura Mercier Silk Crème Oil Free Photo Finish Foundation

Every time I get close to finishing another bottle of my trusty Estée Lauder Double Wear (£30) I find myself eyeing up other full-coverage foundations. Normally I'll read a few reviews then my commitment-phobia will kick in & I'll just reorder Double Wear, but this time Laura Mercier's Silk Crème Oil Free Photo Finish Foundation (£35) caught my eye, so I got a sample from my local Space.NK & bought it online a few weeks later.

The packaging is super sleek & small enough to make travelling with it easy, although I have noticed that the slightly rubberised finish does get messy if you're not careful when dispensing the product. You do get the same amount of product (30ml) as with Double Wear, but the squeezy tube makes it easier to control than Estée Lauder's glass packaging meaning less product wastage in the long term.

At the Space.NK store the sales person colour matched me to Beige Ivory & it was definitely wearable on my skin but over time it became clear I needed something a little lighter & less warm-toned. Unfortunately, Laura Mercier's shade range is a bit all over the place so I ended up purchasing the full size product in that shade & lightening it using the Body Shop's Shade Adjusting Drops (£10) which has been working really well for me so far.

As you can see, even with just one layer of application it's super full-coverage & despite my pretty serious acne my skin tone is almost completely even. I do tend to add concealer on my darker acne scars but if your skin is clearer than mine it's definitely not necessary.

As you can see from the photos above, the finish is pretty matte but it doesn't look dry or unnatural (one of my main issues with Double Wear is how flat it can look). The creamy consistency also means that it smooths over any unevenness & minimises the appearance of pores, both big pluses.

The only downside is that this foundation just doesn't set; even after hours of wear it's still easily transferred & smudged. This isn't a huge issue for everyday wear but if you're looking for something that's long-wearing then I'd still recommend Double Wear over Silk Crème.

I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've tried Laura Mercier's Silk Crème Foundation, or if you've got another full-coverage foundation you think I should try. Leave me a comment below.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

OOTD: Plus Size Sports Luxe

Bralette - New Look // Top - ASOS // Jacket - Boohoo // Joggers - Next // Shoes - ASOS

Today's outfit is a super casual weekend look, inspired by the sports luxe trend. I really love the interplay between the athletic-inspired fabrics of the jacket & joggers, & the more high end textures of the bralette, top & shoes. 

The whole look is really comfy but still feels put together, & you could definitely dress it up more with black leggings & maybe some accessories.

Have you tried the sports luxe trend yet? Leave me your links in the comments below.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Review & Swatches: Makeup Geek's Ritzy & Bitten

When I first saw that Beauty Bay were going to start stocking Makeup Geek I knew I wouldn't be able to resist for too long, & before I knew it Ritzy & Bitten had made their way into my basket. 

Makeup Geek were one of the first small, independent brands to really make a name for themselves in the online beauty market, thanks to their high quality, affordability, & innovation. They've grown massively since they first launched but can still be depended upon for pigmented, long-lasting products with a little twist.

I've actually purchased Makeup Geek shadows before direct from their US online store, but extortionate shipping & customs costs, combined with the risk of items not arriving in one piece put me off from ordering again. Thankfully I've never had any issues with Beauty Bay & have always found their service to be fast & reliable, so was glad to see Makeup Geek had chosen them as a UK stockist.

When I saw Makeup Geek had joined Beauty Bay I knew I had to pick up one of their new duochrome eyeshadows (£4.95). I'm a sucker for duochrome anything, but I think there's something particularly special about the way duochrome shadows look on the curve of an eyelid. However, being realistic, I don't wear eyeshadow that often & when I do I tend to go for more neutral shades, so much as I love Blacklight (lilac with a baby blue shimmer) & Secret Garden (dark green with a bright green shimmer) I decided to go for a shadow I knew I'd get wear out of.

Ritzy looks like a beautiful olive-toned gold in the pan, but when swatched it reveals this beautiful red-brown base which really makes the gold pop. The pigmentation is really strong & Ritzy could easily be used without a base, which isn't true of many shimmer shadows. It's honestly so stunning in person & I can't wait to use it as a pop of shimmer in a gold, smoky eye.

Bitten is one of Makeup Geek's classic shades. It's a rich, deep red in a matte finish, & the texture is so creamy it's a dream to apply & blends out perfectly. Used all over the lid Bitten is definitely a bold shadow, but I've also seen people use it to add some depth & warmth to a smoky eye, which looks incredible.

Used together, Bitten & Ritzy make such a beautiful red/gold smokey eye.

I'm in love with Makeup Geek's shadows & can't wait to purchase more - let me know what your favourite shades are in the comments below.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Review: Zoeva Face Shape & Luxe Face Definer Brushes

I've been a big fan of ZOEVA ever since I picked up their Classic Face Brush Set (£52.95) last Summer, so when I found myself in need of new contour & bronzer brushes I knew exactly where to look.

ZOEVA brushes offer a perfect blend of quality & affordability - they're softer & denser than high street brands like Real Techniques, but won't break the bank, especially if you pick them up one at a time. I also find they last really well - my Luxe Highlight brush gets daily use, but still looks just as good as the day I bought it.

If you're looking to purchase ZOEVA products, you can buy direct from their website but I personally prefer using Beauty Bay as the delivery is generally faster & you can stock up on a wide range of brands at the same time. 

In terms of a contour brush, I don't think you can go far wrong with the ZOEVA 110 Face Shape Brush (£8.95). Its small size makes it perfect for creating real definition - especially under your cheek bones - but the density of the bristles makes colour easy to blend out. I'd particularly recommend this brush if you find larger contour brushes hard to control.

The ZOEVA 101 Luxe Face Definer (£17.50) might not seem like an obvious pick for a brush to apply bronzer with, especially as it's one of the pricier brushes in the ZOEVA collection, but it's exactly what I was looking for. As someone with very fair skin & an oddly small face, it doesn't take much for me to look over-bronzed, so I need a brush that can apply product with precision but also diffuse the colour to keep everything looking natural. The Luxe Face Definer is perfect for that because it has a super pointed tip but is also really fluffy, making blending out a dream.

I couldn't be more happy with my purchase & it definitely feels good to know I won't need to buy new brushes any time soon. What are your go-to bronzer & contour brushes? Let me know in the comments below.
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