October 30, 2013

The John Frieda Hair Trifecta

I've never been one to suffer from the "frizz-ball" look until my hair has got a bit longer. At the minute, my hair is the longest it has ever been and as much as I would say that it's in good condition for its length, it is obviously prone to a few strays and fly aways, particularly now that the weather is taking a turn for the worst! It's no surprise that the ends of my hair are most prone to a somewhat disastrous frizz and dryness, so when John Frieda asked me try out some of their hydrating and frizz-eliminating products, I was very keen to do so!

Until receiving these products, I had never ever used John Frieda (SHOCK! HORROR!), I had obviously seen the ranges in the likes of Boots and Superdrug but had never ventured into trying them. I must admit, I tend to stick with the standard "on offer"shampoos and conditioners with my hair (bad, I know) so it was lovely to take these into the shower with me and feel like I was giving myself a treat!

Now, I don't go to the hairdressers anymore, my Mum's friend trims my hair for me it for me, but these products made me feel like I was back in my salon cut and blow dry days. The Smooth Start Hydrating Shampoo* lathers up beautifully and smells luxurious. I honestly wish smell-i-vision was invented so that you could appreciate how gorgeous it is. It leaves your hair with that squeaky clean feeling too which I loooove.
The Smooth Start Hydrating Conditioner* works a treat too! It smells just as brilliant as the shampoo and you can feel that it's worked straight away when you can slide your fingers straight through your hair after rinsing. After using both of these products I can notice an instant difference in my hair, just through how nicely it dries. The frizzy areas are much more toned down and the smoothness is instantly noticeable.

As soon as I jump out of the shower and ring out my hair a little, I apply John Frieda's Hair Serum*. This product is to be applied to soaking wet hair. Now, I do find that a little odd as I tend to towel dry my hair as much as I can to avoid excess heat damage when blow drying, but even after applying this and some thorough towel rubbing, I can still feel its' effects. It leaves my hair feeling glossy and smooth and it keeps the fly aways at bay when blow drying. The applicator is easy to control too, making it easy to pump out as much as you require. It is aimed at those with medium to coarse frizzy hair but I find that even though my hair wouldn't be classed as frizzy by many, it still does a fantastic job and smoothing and adding shine.

I'm super impressed with the Frizz-Ease range and the gorgeous effect it has on my hair. The scent alone is enough to make me want to go back for more!

Have you tried John Frieda's Frizz-Ease range recently? You can check out their Youtube channel for some expert styling tips!

Lots of love, Steph xxxx

October 29, 2013

Starting Off: Make Up Tools and GIVEAWAY

Okay, so I'mma just write my post and save all the totes emotional stuff for the end...

It's the final instalment of the Starting Off Project today and this week it's all about make up tools! I love of you have asked me what on earth to write about this week and I've just said to write about what you feel your make up tools are! Here are mine;

I use these to apply nearly all of my make up, I have brushes for foundation, concealer, powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blusher, THE LOT! What kind of brush you use for each purpose is honestly up to you. For example, the Real Techniques contour brushes, of which I have two, are primarily for use in contouring but I tend to use one for that purpose and the other for my cream blushes. It really is just what you think they apply best! Real Techniwues are my current favourite brush brand, however I do love my two little fluffy Nanshy brushes and I'm excited to try more of their products!

Goes without saying! Unless your brows grow perfectly, tweezers are a good thing to keep hold of where your make up collection is concerned. They're super handy to keep lying around in case of any strays you see when applying your make up in good light! At the minute I'm using a square ended pair as I find them the easier to pinch hairs with! I can't remember the make unfortunately, I've had them a few years though and can't imagine that I paid more than £5.

Again, a key item. Just in case your eyeliner goes blunt or chips off!

Primer - the key to holding your make up in place! Applied before foundation and the likes, primer is a way of evening out your pores and in some cases, brightening your skin tone! It was bareMinerals' Get Started kit that introduced me to primer and I have stuck with them for the past couple of years. I am a fan of Nivea's Hydrating Primer also but it honestly depends on the day my skin is having as to which I apply.

Whether this be a powder or a spray, setters are also a great idea when you're wanting your make up to last that bit longer! I tend to apply setting sprays as soon as I've applied my full face of make up and I top up and blot away shine with a pressed powder throughout the day. My favourite (and only) setting spray is Make Up Forever's Mist & Fix. Kim K, be proud.

And that's it for my key make up tools! Of course there are the obvious ones like remover and cotton pads, but I wanted to keep it at how I apply my make up and get it to last.

Now, lovelies - THAT IS IT! The Starting Off project is over! I want to thank you all for making my little idea in August such a success and for writing each week and keeping this going! I may not always have commented or replied directly to your tweets but please do know that I have read as many of your posts as I have been able to and it's been brilliant sharing this last ten weeks with you all.

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I actually want to well up right now - oh my, bbloggers, this is what you do to me! It's been great how many of you I have met through this and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this project with me.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! If you've loved the SO Project and want to get involved in something that promises to be just as fun, check out Kellie's idea of The Winter Project - a great way to get us all in the festive spirit and an amazing project idea.

ONE MORE THING! Have you entered my giveaway? Two lucky winners will be announced in just under a week and could win all of these goodies;

Thank you again, lovelies.

Lots of love, Steph xxxx

October 26, 2013

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

When Rimmel kicked off their Stay Matte Challenge I was gutted that I didn't get chosen. I have really oily skin and constantly have to top up my powder and blot away any shine so their new foundation sounded perfect for me. Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation prides itself on lightweight shine control, so I was keen to put it to the test!

At only £5.99 I was more than willing to part with my money for this foundation. Rimmel is a brand whose foundations I have always loved so spending just shy of £6 wasn't an issue for me at all.
The packaging of this foundation looks reasonably on first glimpse but it's actually perfect. The tube is light, easy to squeeze and fits into any make up bag easily. I am actually really keen on plain-designed cosmetics as I think that they look a bit more enticing. It's not always all about glitter and fancy fonts.

I chose the shade 100 IVORY. I aaaaalways choose and ivory shade when going for foundation as my skin is in no way yellow-toned but nor is it too pink. Pale baby right here! The consistency of the product is as it says; liquid mousse. I have come to realise that the ease of blending this foundation depends on its' temperature. Back home, my house is much warmer than my house in Leeds and I found it far easier to blend when I paid a visit there a couple of weeks ago. It is far harder to apply than a normal liquid foundation in that applying it with a brush doesn't work too well. I tend to use my fingers and for the areas where I want a tad more coverage I use my Real Techniques Pointed Foundation brush.

Now for the shine control... Usually, if I use any of my other Rimmel liquid foundations, when i get a bit warm, say if I'm rushing around campus or on a clammy bus, my make up ends up looking horrendous. The shine comes through all around my nose, forehead and chin. While wearing this foundation, that doesn't happy half as easily. By then end of an eight hour uni day, you can see that I haven't powdered in a while, but up until that point the foundation does tend to look as it did when I first applied it. It's like an industrial strength, high street foundation - and I think that it's fantastic. 

Have you tried this foundation? Does it work as well on you as it does on me?

Lots of love, Steph xxxx

October 22, 2013

Starting Off: Lips

AS IF We are at week nine! It's lips week!

I don't realise how much I love lip products until every so often I take a look at my Lipstick Jar and realise just how many I have. Lip products come in lots of different types, but today I'm going to talk about what I see as the main three. The application of a lip product is pretty straight forward - you just apply it to your lips! However, I will always say that you need to be careful to not apply lipstick/gloss/balm around your lips. It does not make them look bigger, nor does it make you look sexy, it just makes you look stupid.

Probably the most common type, lipstick comes in almost every colour imaginable and every brand makes one, if not multiple types of good old lippy. From matte to gloss, lipsticks can have many effects on your lips and can brighten up any "Face Of The Day".

My favourite brand of lipstick is, and always will be, MUA Cosmetics. At only £1 per lipstick, their shade range and quality is perfect for me!

Definitely more of a favourite for the younger teens, gloss can make your lips sparkle and lip glosses often make your lips look more full. More recently, lip lacquers have come into the game and they offer more pigmentation than lip glosses in general. I used to love glosses, but they are often quite sticky and, particularly in this A/W weather, I can't deal with my hair sticking to my lips!

I do have some favourites though, and those include Apocalips Lip Lacquer from Rimmel, Moxie from bareMinerals and the L'Oreal GlamShine Stain Splash! Apocalips have an amazing pigmentation and look so bright and pretty! The Moxie range are so glossy that I can't fault them and the staying power of the L'Oreal gloss makes my life feel complete! (Okay, slight exaggeration there.)

I'm teaming these together as in my eyes they kinda all do the same thing, just some with more colour that others. Balms and crayons usually work by not only adding some colour/shine to your lips but also adding moisture and hydration. I am really loving tinted balms at the minute and I see my crayons as just that!

My faaaaves at the minute include Babylips by Maybelline, Color Boost by Bourjois and my Chubby Stick from Clinique. The Chubby Stick and Color Boost are very similar in their qualities but the Color Boost definitely adds more of a gloss than the Chubby Stick. As for Babylips, they're just perfect for every day wear - especially pink punch!

What's your favourite lip product?

Lots of love, Steph xxxx

October 20, 2013

Palladio Cosmetics: Eyes

Based in Florida, Palladio are a cosmetics brand who pride themselves on herbal make up. Their products include ingredients of both green tea and aloe vera and they believe that they are "beautiful and beneficial". They have an entire range of cosmetics, from eyeshadows to lip stains and after 25 years in the industry, they're pretty skilled in what they do.

The Palladio Eyeshadow Primer* is something that I was really excited to try out. I have only ever used one eyeshadow primer and that is the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I will start with the major positives - it really does work. I can apply this primer first thing in the morning and my shadow stays in place and doesn't crease for at least 8 hours. My negative about this product is it's applicator. It has a doe foot applicatory but the product doesn't seem to cover over the entire foot if that makes sense. The product distribution is really uneven. The picture will show you exactly what I mean, but it just means that when putting product over your eyelid, it's a struggle to get an even coverage. I sort of wish it was in a squeezy tube!

Cheeky boyfriend!

I have so many eyeshadows (see my Starting Off: Eyeshadow post!) and I am always reluctant to buy/try out new brands of eyeshadow, unless they are well renowned for being amazing, so I was a little sceptical about how good these shadows will be. I am truly impressed with them! The colours I was sent are pretty and neutral. None too garish or stand out. Their pigmentation is really strong and they cover really well. The application provided isn't my favourite, but I think that that is because I'm such a fan of brushes. There is some fall out when you apply these shadows and they do powder off onto your undereye, but I don't see this as too much of an issue seeing as they cover well. The Palladio Eyeshadow Quads* are really impressive. 

Palladio have a range of eye liners and I was sent one of their Glitter Eye Pencils in Brown Sparkle*. Now, I really underestimated how good this would be! I would compare the quality of this eye pencil to that of my Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On eye pencil. It literally glides onto your eye! The only major difference with it and the UD pencils is that is doesn't "dry" as such. It smudges a little bit too easily but I wouldn't class this as a major issue. The colour is really pretty and it's not as though I spend my days rubbing at my eyes constantly! It's the perfect neutral colour and I feel like the little bit of sparkle it has really makes my eyes stand out! 

I was offered a choice of 4 mascaras and I decided to go with their 4D BOOST mascara*, which is a 
herbal volumising mascara. It's brush is super thick and it coats your lashes in just a few strokes. It has quite a thin consistency and doesn't clump whatsoever. It's volumising qualities aren't as fantastic as I'd like them to be but they are in no way unimpressive. Overall it's a fabulous mascara and the way it applies onto your eyelashes just about beats any I have tried in the last few months. Such a quick application!

The finished look using all of the products:

More cheeky boyfriend snaps! What is he like?! Hahaha
Overall I am really please and impressed with Palladio - I just want more of it now!

Have you ever tried Palladio? What do you think to the finished eye look?

Lots of love, Steph xxxx

October 17, 2013

BarryM Textured Effects in Countess

BarryM is my all time faaaaave high street nail polish brand! I first heard about their new Royal collection after reading a post on AshlyLondon's blog. I was very intrigued by this collection as I had tried the previous Textured Effects polishes and hated them..as you can read here. But after seeing the gorgeous range of colours that BarryM were releasing, I really was keen to give them a try.

I went for the shade Countess, a pretty dark purple with flecks of gold, pink and peach in it. It screams AUTUMN to me and as soon as I saw it I knew that I had to have it! My Mum actually described the colour as one that she "could wear all winter". 

I must admit this now; my opinion of the Textured Effect polishes has changed dramatically. This polish applies well, doesn't get stuck on the brush and drip down at inappropriate times, and it's finish is dazzling. It is so easy on the eye that my Mum's opinion is starting to reflect in my own...this polish is definitely going to be one of my A/W essentials and I can't stop looking at it.

Top work BarryM - I knew that you wouldn't let me down.

Lots of love, Steph xxxx

October 15, 2013

Starting Off: Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow is one of my favourite types of make up. It is applied over your eyelids to, usually, make a person's eyes look a little wider and also more attractive. Now - this isn't me saying that you need eyeshadow to look more attractive! It's just that that is generally why people apply it. not to mention that it makes your eyes stand it a little more and it another way of adding some colour to your face.

To apply eyeshadow is easy, you can use either your finger or a brush and the eyeshadow is applied all over your eyelid and up onto your brow arch if you wish. I personally find that using a brush works so much better when I apply eyeshadow, as blending is much easier and you don't waste product by getting it stuck to your finger!

I have a few do's and don'ts when it comes to applying shadow! Firstly, always apply your eyeshadow before your liner and mascara. Otherwise, your shadow will overspill onto your eyelashes and you'll be left with lashes not nearly as black as when you first applied the mascara. Another thing to mention is that it's probably, unless you can get away with it, not a good idea to go for bright colours when experimenting with eyeshadow. I can be pretty daring with my make up but I still only tend to add a teeny bit of colour to the outer corner if I'm going for a brighter look. It's also a good idea to not go for too much shimmer. A frosty/shimmery eye does look fantastic, particularly on a night out, but if you're just starting off with eyeshadow or a bit unsure of what suits you best, it will probably be better for you to stick with more subtle shadows and pigments until you realise what your eyes look best with.

I love buying eyeshadows almost as much as I love buying lipsticks and more recently they've been my product of choice when in the drug store looking for something to buy. I love eyeshadow palettes too as you can create so many looks with them. Today, I've pictured my two most-used looks for you!

Please excuse my bare face and dark circles! I wanted to show you what my eye looks like with zero make up on - veiny and dark! So that's why I choose to wear eyeshadow on a daily basis :)

The more neutral eye: I just go over my lid with a neutral/cream shade and use a tiny bit of NAKED's Naked and Buck in the outer corner for shading. 

Subtle smokey eye - because my eyes are so big, I struggle to get away with a dark shadow over the entirity of my eyelid as I end up looking like a drag queen! What with my light hair and paler complexion, I tend to apply darker shadow in the outer corner and make a gradient as I get closer to my nose. PS SORRY FOR HOW GROSS MY NOSE PORES LOOK :(

My shadow collection is something I am very proud of, but also something that I have spent far too much money on! I love Urban Decay for shadows but I've recently become a big Sleek and MUA fan. I've even got some Benefit although it's not half as great as my UD stuff. I got a huge palette from Sephora in Summer too, which is my go to when I fancy a bit of a different look!

If you're unsure if eyeshadow would suit you, or you daren't splash out the cash just yet, I would definitely recommend the MUA Undressed palette. The colours are virtually identical to those in my NAKED palette and the pigmentation is almost as good. At only £4 you really can't go wrong with it.

See below for the real NAKED versions - these dupes are lacking a bit of shimmer but are almost identical!

A recent purchase - the Sleek Vintage Romance Palette!

The most used shadow from my NAKED palette - SIN!

I use the Urban Decay Shadow brush to apply my shadow. It has no faults!
 How do you apply your shadow? Do you have NAKED? What's your most used shade!?

Lots of love, Steph xxxx