Friday

eBay Make Up Storage Ideas


If your make up storage needs an overhaul but you're fed up of seeing photos of acrylic boxes, stark Ikea countertops and plain-jane brush holders, then I have just the thing to get your storage inspiration juices flowing.
My taste has been quite girly of late, half 'shabby chic', half 'polished and shiny', but definitely feminine, and for some reason I'm very taken with white metal homeware accessories at the moment. I was having a browse through eBay and found some items that really stood out to me and I could definitely see on my own dressing table. Whether you love or loathe my picks, they're guaranteed to get you thinking about your own storage, and wondering whether your knick knacks are really just knackered.


The items above are all ideas for storing palettes in a way that keeps them organised, but easily on hand. The top four are a combination of toast racks (I'm guilty of keeping my palettes in a rack that actually says 'toast' on it), and letter racks, while the lower wooden four are more shabby chic items predominantly designed for mail. [Items named from left to right, prices excluding postage].
The Cream Hearts Rack (£8.99) is definitely the most feminine despite it's distressed look, while the Shabby Chic Cream Wire Rack (£4.95) is one of my favourites, the Spiral Chrome Plated Rack (£3.95) is modern with an interesting design and, if you want to splash out, the Chrome Rack with Glass Bass (£10.99) is a solid statement.
Of the wooden pieces, the White Wood Silver Heart Holder (£8.99) is a cute design that would look great on any dressing table, and the Shabby Chic Holder (£10.95) has a really 'hand-finished' feel to it. While it may need a lick of paint over the writing, the Vintage Style White Letter Rack (£12.89) has plenty of palette room, and the French Chocolat au Lait Rack (£11.99) would make a definite focal point.


Cake stands don't only have to be used for cakes, and theres something about them that just makes me want to cover them in beautiful cosmetics. Available in two or three tiers, the Clear Glass Cake Stand (£9.75) definitely stands out to me for the interesting design cut into it, while the Two Tier White Metal Stand (£13.99) is surely too pretty and girly not to be displayed on the dressing table. The Funky Two Tier Metallic Cake Stands (£12.08) are handily available in three classic shades to suit any decor. Forget the cake, the Vintage Style Clear Glass Pedestal (£6.99) would be perfect for storing everyday make up products, the Birds and Flowers Cake Stand (£6.95) was just too pretty not to be included in my picks, and the White Cup Cake Stand (£15.99) is pricey but so gorgeous to look at.

As you can tell, I'm definitely one for repurposing storage products, and I use a something similar to the gorgeous Crystal Cut Big Glass Ashtray (£12.95) above to store lip balms and salves. The second Crystal Cut Ashtray (£7.95) is slightly smaller so would make a great display bowl for any cosmetics with a compact design. 
The Vintage Style Tooth Brush Holder Cup (£4.25) would be brilliant for storing eyeshadow brushes or eyeliner pencils with its cute little bird, and I use a similar design to the Toothbrush Holder with Vintage Inspired Flowers (£4.99) above right, for displaying my eye brushes, but with daisies instead of roses. I like to use shot glasses to keep cotton buds (Q tips) in easy reach when doing my make up, and the Set of 6 Colourful Shot Glasses (£8.29) would really brighten up any storage collection.
Finally, if you enjoy a good DIY storage project, take a look at my Vinyl Record Storage Bowl post to find out how to repurpose your old records into cool and practical bowls.

I'd love to know what you think of my picks, and what you're looking to update in your make up storage. I've added all the items to my eBay Watch List, and will be making a few purchases!


Monday

Wine Inspired Caudalie Hand & Nail Creams

I'm ashamedly a bit lax when it comes to moisturising my body, but one thing I can't skip when the weather starts to get colder is hand cream. Whether it's a chilly wind, scratchy gloves or the hydration-zapping central heating that results in 'radiator-hands', my paws start to get parched and my knuckles are the first to show signs of flakiness.
The fragrances of these three Caudalie Hand and Nail Creams* were inspired by the grape varieties Merlot, Cabernet and Sauvignon, and created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti, who has worked with Caudalie on on various products over 14 years. To me each cream smells slightly more like a perfume than strongly of fruit, but it's clear from first smell that a lot of work has gone into each scent.

The pink grapefruit scented cream is bright and juicy in fragrance, and was inspired by the citrus aromas of Sauvignon. This product mixes grapefruit and sweet orange into crushed mint, and is light, awakening and citrus on the skin which I really enjoy.
The grapevine honey cream is sweetened with lime blossom honey and was inspired by the woody aromas of Cabernet. This is my least favourite scent of the three, I find it a bit too 'perfumed' for my hands, and it's the one that I've reached for the least so far.
The blackcurrant leaf scented cream is obvious from the image on the tube, and it was inspired by the rich notes of Merlot. Including blackberry as well as blackcurrant leaf, this cream is the fruitiest of the three and smells lickable on the hands.

As well as their deep scents, the Caudalie hand creams also boast ingredients of 98% natural origin that include brilliant assistance for dry hands in a handbag sized tube. Grape-seed oil provides nourishment, while Vinolevure from the cell wall of wine yeast helps retain water and reinforces the skin's defences. In addition, shea butter, avocado and olive oils provide softening and smoothing properties for chapped and flaky skin. 
My favourite thing about these creams is the way they apply to the hands; they're not the thickest I've ever tried but that doesn't mean they don't provide great hydration. Where in other creams you'd find a thick oil at the top of the ingredients list (more often than not Mineral Oil), with these hand and nail creams you'll find water and glycerin in it's place. This means that instead of leaving a slippery greasy layer on the hands, they spread easily and soak in quickly to smooth over fine lines and flaky areas while really plumping up the skin (and making the nails shine).

I'm loving how healthy my hands are looking instead of dull and slightly powdery, and I think these will be a real godsend when the weather gets
really cold (let's save the snow just for Christmas day please!). The Caudalie Hand and Nail Creams are limited edition for 2013/14 and available from Feel Unique for £6 each.



Wednesday

Review: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Cherish



I'm a little bit late to the party with the Revlon Balm Stains as these have been out for a good few months, but it wasn't until a big swatching session in Superdrug a few weeks ago that they really caught my attention.
The twist up stick packaging isn't anything new; pioneered by Clinique but replicated by more brands than I can count on my fingers, I find the sticks really handy to use and I get a faster easier shape to my lips than with some lipstick bullets. My only packaging gripe is that when bought new, the stick doesn't twist all the way down into the tube, which can mean a hasty knick to the product if you're not careful with the lid.
The product is quite solid in the stick but applies like a minty pigmented balm- glossy and strong in colour but needing more than one swipe to get full colour payoff. I'm a big fan of the texture as it's more weightless than a full on lipstick but gives a really glossy pleasant feeling without any drag when rubbing your lips together. Being one of those people that is constantly either chewing their lips or rubbing them together without noticing, a long lasting formula is really essential, and when the gloss starts to fade a strong stain is left on the lips that does well through eating and drinking. I'd read a few reviews stating that the Just Bitten Balm Stains were a bit drying, but my lips suffer from dryness all year round and I actually find these more hydrating than a lot of lipsticks, and definitely more than liquid stains that can parch my lips even with a balm on top.

The colour of Cherish is exactly what I was looking for when I entered Superdrug, and the (literally) 20 other product swatches on my hand didn't sway me. It's a lovely bright blue-toned pink shade that I've been after for a long time, but have been slightly wary of in other forms for fear of the 'lip lined' look against my natural red when it wears off. My favourite thing about this product, apart from the colour and longevity, is the fact that it has a 'kissable' formula- I think bold bright lips look look sexy, but men are always wary of even a gentle peck, so a full on snog plus no smearing or transfer to drinking glasses or water bottles is a win-win situation!

I think Revlon has got it spot on with this formula, and the slightly unoriginal packaging doesn't bother me as I'm not sure it would work as well in full slanted bullet form. The Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains are well worth the retail price of £7.99, I'd go as far as to say that this is one of my favourite purchases of the year, and I cant wait to get my hands on more shades!

Saturday

Birthday Wishlist

A few weeks ago I wrote my 21 at Twenty One post and now that it's just under a week until my birthday, I thought I'd share with you my beauty orientated birthday list. I'm not expecting to receive all of this, and I'm sure my mum will think at least one pair of socks is more practical than make up, but these are the goodies I've had my eye on recently!

Homebase Acrylic 3 Drawer Box (£11.99)- Very similar in style but actually cheaper than the Muji 3 Drawer Unit, these drawers are easy to get hold of in-store at Homebase. Even though I'm not a big hauler, my make up collection is growing quite steadily and I'm having a hard time trying to contain everything while still being able to see it.

Eyelash Curlers- Not too fussy on the brand as long as they work! my current ones have never been the greatest, but now that I have to clamp each eye at least twice to get a curl that will last longer than 10 minutes they really do need replacing!

Handbag Mirror with LED Lights (£4.29)- These are really handy and I bought one in Primark years ago (I'm sure if Primark still sell it, but it's this one) but the lights are starting to fade so it's not very useful in the dark. This one comes in a range of colours and I was particularly taken with the turquoise to be able to find it easily in my over-stuffed handbag.

Bourjois Poudre de Riz de Java (£9.99)- This one really confused my mum when I told her about it, and when she asked in Boots they said they'd never heard of it (helpful as ever), but I'd heard such good things about this highlighting powder even before it was launched. I don't think I've ever had a loose powder highlighter before so this is definitely near the top of my list.

Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light Plus (£22)- I really enjoyed wearing powder foundations in the summer and this one doesn't highlight dry patches too badly so should work well for my skin in autumn too. Light Plus is a little bit too light when I'm wearing fake tan (which for some reason seems to be more in autumn/winter than summer even though I don't naturally tan well), but I'm worried medium will be too dark. I've got an MSF in Medium Deep for bronzing, and its much easier to darken a foundation that's too light than lighten a foundation that’s too dark!

Ecotools Recycled Retractable Kabuki Brush (£12.99)- Another one that confused my mum, bless her.... 'but who is Kabuki...?'. I have such a hard time finding powder brushes with a lid that aren't either really expensive or just rubbish. A few of the products from the Ecotools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set* (like the angled eyeliner and powder brushes) have become staples in my collection so this seemed like the obvious choice!

Hair Straighteners- As with the eyelash curlers I don't have a particular product or brand in mind for these. I've had my current ones for many years now and I mainly straighten just the front fringey bits, but not only do the straighteners smell a bit funny, they make a weird popping noise when they go through my hair!

Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvinating Treatment Gel (£34.99)- This is quite on the pricey side but I'm loving my Origins cleanser at the moment and I've heard such good things about how this product works on oily/combination skin. I've also got my eye on the Out of Trouble mask, which isn't the cheapest either, maybe thats one for the Christmas list!

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Darling (£7.99)- I have this balm stain in Cherish and am absolutely in love with it, one of my favourite buys of the year for both formulation and colour! Darling is more of a purpley pink, almost verging on lilac but still quite bright, and I knew this was the next in line when I first swatched a few of them on my hand.

Hot Glue Gun (£10.99)- Ok so not so much a beauty item, but it kind of ties in. I've always been pretty big on beauty DIYs as you can tell from my ongoing Do or DIY series, but I also love d├ęcor DIYs and making things. I've wanted a glue gun for ages, but it always seems to slip my mind whenever I'm writing a list, so I'm pleased that I saw someone using one in a video to remind me. Hot melt glue is a perfect mix between strong but brittle super glue and thick but not-so-strong PVA that will make it perfect for all the things I want to make but just don't have the right tools!

What's on your beauty wishlist at the moment? 


Thursday

Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in Bali


Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in BaliAccessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in BaliAccessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in BaliAccessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in BaliAccessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in BaliI was given this Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo as a present a couple of months ago and, after marvelling for a while at how pretty the marbled powder looked in the pan, I banished it away to the cupboard convinced I'd never get any use out of it. I was going through the matte bronzer faze. It came as quite a shock to me when I woke up one day and decided I didn't want to use my normal slightly shimmery bronzer on my cheeks to make me look alive and healthy, but instead wanted a dark swipe under my cheekbones to make me look chiselled and gaunt (that’s not quite true, I don’t think my chubby cheeks could do gaunt if they tried). Fast forward to a few weeks ago I was in a bit of a makeup rut, wanting something shimmering and coloured that wasn't a blush, it was the perfect opportunity to pull this product out of hiding and give it a try.

I think the packaging is really pretty as well as the powder it houses, and feels quite robust for a plastic compact so hopefully isn't likely to break in my makeup bag. Unfortunately it does take up quite a lot of the make up bag as it's pretty chunky- the bronzer is thicker than other domed powders I own like the Mac Mineralize Skinfinishes and the compact doesn’t have the space saving domed shape of the Mac packaging.
Bali is a bit too dark and pigmented for me to use as a coloured highlighter but it's perfect for adding some colour and glow to my cheeks and forehead. While it is shimmery, its not as mad as you'd think from looking at it in the pan and I can get away with it across the cheeks and forehead provided it's blended in well enough. The shimmery side is a metallic bronze, while the other side (which is less shimmery but definitely not matte) is more of a gold colour, so I mix them together or use just the shimmery side to the bronzer pulling too dark on my fair skin. Because I only need a light hand to get a good colour from this shade, I apply with a stippling brush which also helps with blending. Unfortunately this isn't the quickest powder to blend, but on the plus side there isn't much fall out from the pan, and I really like it enough to not mind having to do a bit of extra brush work.

There were originally 4 shades of this baked bronzer available but now only one remains- Laguna. Laguna is lighter and slightly more pinky toned than Bali, which should make the colour a bit easier to wear than deep dark Bali especially when the weather gets colder, but the formula is the same with a duo shimmery/less shimmery split. Hopefully all 4 shades will be brought back for summer next year, but for £6 I'll definitely be picking Laguna up next time I'm passing Accessorize.



Friday

Current Skincare Routine


I don't think I've done a skincare routine post before because I've always been much more into make up than skin care, but after having a good few months of pretty rubbish congestion problems across my cheeks and chin, I really wanted a change from my previous routine to see if I could make a difference to my complexion.
Apart from breakouts, my main problem was lots of little skin coloured bumps that would just sit there or turn into either whiteheads or deep under the skin spots.
These bumps are now about 90% improved, there are a few lingerers and I have a small amount that come and go on my chin, but apart from that my skin is probably smoother than it's been for years. I still get breakouts but they're confined to just my chin and part of my right cheek (not sure why it's only the right), and it's generally only a few spots at a time that heal so much faster than they used to.
I've been through two bottles of Skinetica and have tried products suggested to me such as Sudocrem, but both of those work mainly on the bacterial side of blemishes rather than oil or congestion control so it became clear that bacteria wasn't the main issue for me.

Its been through a lot trial and error that I've found a good set of basics that work well for my skin, and the regime I've settled on isn't very fancy or individually expensive, but I'm really pleased with the results it's given me so far.  I've always had trouble with dark marks after breakouts and general blotchiness in my complexion, but that problem has also really improved which I'm so happy with, as it means I'm more confident to go for foundations and BB creams with a quite bit less coverage than I'm used to.
Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser (£18)- You might remember from my Blog Sale Haul post that I bought a mini size of this cleanser to try out. I really like the way that it makes my skin feel so clean without drying it out like similar products do, and because it foams up so well I only need to use a tiny amount with a face cloth to get a fresh and smooth result to my skin. After using the Zero Oil cleanser I find that it takes longer for my oily areas to become shiny, but unfortunately not long quite long enough that it doesn't become a problem during the day.
Despite being called Zero Oil this cleanser isn't oil free and contains spearmint and lemon essential oils among others, it also contains sage extract which is meant to be oil regulating and salicylic acid for exfoliation and zapping bacteria.
What I think is interesting is that it also contains saw palmetto which produces anti-androgenic (androgen is a male hormone present in both men and women that controls oil production) and phytoestrogenic (a phytoestrogen is a substance which blocks estrogen by binding with estrogen receptors in it's place) effects, so may be helpful in controlling hormonal acne, but there's a lot of debate about whether you can tell if your acne is normonal without proper tests (I'm not sure I believe the 'chin=hormonal' theory).

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Gentle Daily Micro Polish* (£9.99)- This is another product I now wouldn't be without, I wrote a full review for London Beauty Queen which you can read here. I use this in the evening after the Origins Zero Oil for a double cleanse in the shower, and in the short term it really helps to remove the days impurities and smooth my skin. In the longer term, my skin has so much more life to it, blemishes fade incredibly quickly, old scars are lighter and the texture is lovely and smooth. I think it's a combination of this scrub in particular and my toner and moisturiser that makes even those painful deep spots come to the surface and start healing within a day or two, rather than just staying face mountains for ages like they used to before.

ACV Toner- After cleansing in the morning I use a home made apple cider vinegar toner. You can read a full review and instructions on how to make it here, but since using it my skin has become brighter and more even in tone as well as becoming more normal in that it doesn't have such extremes of oiliness and dryness.

Distilled Witch Hazel (£2.99)- I was previously using Witch Doctor Skin Treatment Gel and although it did work well for my skin, it tended to pill and I thought it might be an idea to try and find one without alcohol to avoid drying out blemishes too much. On my quest I came across Boots 100% witch hazel and bought it planning to add zanthan gum or gelatine and make a simple alcohol free gel myself. Instead of making a gel though I just upturn the bottle a couple of times on a cotton pad after my evening cleanse, sweep across my skin, leave to dry and then continue with facial mist and moisturiser. Witch hazel is mildly antiseptic and an astringent which means that it constricts and tightens the pores and can reduce oil. I find this really effective in reducing the size and redness of spots, they will usually reduce a lot overnight and because there’s no alcohol in this liquid it doesn't dry them out like other witch hazel products can which I find a massive bonus.
 Hyalogic Episilk Facial Mist* (£20.04)- This is an interesting product, it's a light version of a hyaluronic acid serum containing just three ingredients- water, hyaluronic acid and radish root ferment filtrate. The spray bottle makes it really quick to apply, I just spritz a couple of times and apply my moisturiser straight away on top. This has really helped with dry areas which are much less of a problem than they used to be, my skin feels soft and plump and healing blemishes aren't quite so horribly flaky.
Even though healing blemishes aren't as desert-like as normal when using the Episilk spray, I need to use something a bit thicker than my normal moisturiser over them so I dab on some Garnier Moisture Match for normal skin which seems to do the job for me.

Neutrogena Spot Stress Control Hydrating Spot Treatment (previously Ultra-Light Spot Treatment Moisturiser) (£4.99)- Both of those names are a bit of a mouthful! I been using this moisturiser twice a day for about 6 weeks. Its a very light gel that sinks in so easily but gives most of my face just the right amount of hydration. I've always found products containing salicylic acid really drying and quite irritating to my skin (I had an awful time with La Roche Posay Effeclar Duo), but I'd read good reviews of this moisturiser on a couple of blogs and decided to give it a go as its not very expensive. I think this product was really the turning point to me seeing improvement specifically in the texture of my skin, amount of blemishes and just the general congestion that I'd been battling with. I'm so pleased that it doesn't dry or sensitise my skin at all, my only complaint would be that it isn't very good at controlling oil throughout the day, but at the moment it's a product I really wouldn’t want to be without.

Transformulas Eye Lightening Serum* (£29.95)- I've been using this serum for about a month so far and while I haven't seen much of a difference in fine lines, I have found that my eyes have been less puffy and swollen feeling, especially on little sleep. The light gel sinks in much more easily than the thick Hirudoid Cream that I'd previously been using, which means that I can apply it with the doe foot applicator then put make up on top straight away which is really convenient. My dark circles haven't been as horribly deep in colour while using this Transformulas serum, but I think the real test will be to see if there's any difference in colour after I've finished the tube, as they tend to have periods of appearing lighter and darker on their own. This isn't a cheap product, but I feel like I've tried so many things on my undereyes and go through so much concealer, that if it works then I won't begrudge spending so much on an eye serum. 
Avon Planet Spa Thailand Lotus Flower Deep Pore Mask- Clay masks have been my treatment of choice recently over the hydrating and acid peel masks that were previously in my routine. I think this Avon product has been discontinued which is a shame, but really it's just a simple clay mask and I don't think I'll have much trouble finding one on the highstreet to replace it. The reason I like it is because it has a thinner creamier consistency than typical clay masks it can be spread on in a thin layer and dries quickly, so is really handy for a fast treatment before cleansing when I've had a long day in make up or my skin feels particularly oily. I also like to add Activated Charcoal (£3.59) to this mask every now and then to give it a bit more oomph as charcoal is so good at absorbing impurities and toxins.

Una Brennan Superfacialist Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask (£8.99)- I wrote about this in my favourites a couple of months ago and I haven't read one bad review about it. This mask contains Dead Sea mud, kaolin and salicylic acid as well as natural extracts and oils, and really cleans and smoothes my skin without drying it out at all. This product is great at bringing stubborn deep cysts to the surface, and I've given the postman a laugh or two when I've opened the door in the morning after having dabbed it on a couple of spots the previous night. I use this once or twice a week and it's definitely a get out of jail free card when my skin is really playing up.

I think for now the only thing left is to find a good SPF that doesn't leave me feeling greasy! What products are you loving from your current skincare routine?



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