I remember when hair diffusers were all the range, being used to create curls and waves in the late 90's before hair straighteners really took off. I hadn't used a diffuser for years, believing my perm-look curls were well and truly behind me, until this landed on my doorstep and totally revolutionised my opinion of the gadget. Diffusers can not only be used to create curls, waves and volume, but can also help to reduce frizz and protect hair from heat damage. When added to the end of a hairdryer nozzle, a diffuser helps hot air to circulate and dry the hair gradually by dispensing it over a wider surface area; using a nozzle may help to get super sleek locks, but it's also damaging the surface of hair by targeting a small area with incredible heat. Diffusers can help alleviate that problem and minimize frizz, as well as creating gentle volume at the root. Until now they've been ugly and chunky bits of kit that were shoved at the back of a wardrobe; however, Toni & Guy have launched a universal diffuser that not only fits every hairdryer, but collapses down to ensure it's travel appropriate and a great space saver.
I used to have a lot of love for false lashes, never being seen on a Saturday night without a serious flutter. However, with the advances in mascara that have left my natural lashes looking pretty awesome, I gradually stopped reaching for my 'lash crutch' in favour of a more natural finish. Eylure have always been my brand of choice, providing more subtle styles and a flexible lash line that ensures application is easy and comfortable, so these new 'lash edits' have seen my love for falsies reignited somewhat. Available in three different combinations that celebrate three incredible cities (New York, London and Paris,) each edit contains three individual pairs of lashes in slightly varying styles that capture the style of the city.
If there's one beauty box I always get excited about, it's the Glamour edits of Latest In Beauty - they simply never disappoint. Always including a selection of products handpicked by Glamour's Beauty Editor for their performance and must-have appeal, there's a combination of high street and premium that no other box can compete with. This latest collaboration is no exception, providing seven products that even I'm excited to try - which is no mean feat. For £15.99 you can grab this little box of goodies for yourself, which even includes a free subscription to the iPad or iPhone edition to Glamour Magazine for a whole year (which alone is worth £15.99.) Here's my lowdown of what Glamour's 'Power List' includes this Autumn and why you need them all...
The long anticipated launch of Majorette has finally arrived, with Benefit launching their first forray into cream blush. Described as a 'booster blush' that's designed to amplify your natural flush, Majorette can be used alone or under your normal blusher to add a subtle warmth to skin. It's incredibly lightweight, the cream-to-powder finish adding just a touch of colour upon first application, ensuring it can be built up to the desired result or buffed into skin for a really natural finish. I'm a big fan of cream blushers, especially during those transitional months where you're not quite ready for a full-on pink cheek but have already hung-up your bronzer; this little tub provides just the right texture and colour for practically any complexion.
It's the middle of the month, we've all splashed out a little too much on holiday and our remaining wages have to keep us in frappacinos and blueberry muffins for a few weeks. If you're in need of a little makeup pick-me-up, or simply need to re-stock your stash, then why not look for some more affordable versions of your usual favourites? The high street is awash with products influenced and inspired by their more expensive counterparts, or simply from the same suppliers that make the same items at two different price points. Although there are hundreds of dupes to choose from, these four are my current favourites and ones I'm turning to more and more in an attempt to save the good stuff for a rainy day.
Scrambling through my skincare collection in an attempt to pick our my budget favourites, it dawned on me that 90% of my regular products include brands that could be described as anything but. It appears that I love my serums, moisturisers, toners and brightening lotions to be filled to the brim with scientific advances and amazing ingredients - which unsurprisingly don't come cheap. However, if you know where to look then you can pick up some great products that help provide super smooth and healthy looking skin, without the need for a second mortgage. These three brands are new to my reportoire, but so far I'm really enjoying integrating them into my routine and pushing aside some rather costly alternatives.
The sun may well and truly have gone into hibernation for another year, but the relatively warm temperatures are still seeing us bare-legged and fancy free. Although we don't have the opportunity of getting a little sunkissed naturally (and full-on fake tan seems a little OTT when it's grey outside,) there are some affordable products that can help to give us a helping hand. Here are three high street beauty buys I'm going to be turning to until I can't walk around tightless any longer.
When it comes to budget beauty, we really are spoiled rotten here in the UK. It seems that new beauty brands pop up on the high street every other month, with the shelves of Superdrug being filled with bargains that also provide a pretty good result. 2014 has certainly been the year of blogger favourite Makeup Revolution, a brand that takes cues from cult products and best selling collections of premium counterparts. Although some of their inspirations can be a little controversial, they provide affordable makeup that's both fun to look at and great to use; who doesn't want a chocolate eyeshadow palette or a heart shaped bronzer? There's so much greatness to choose from, with a whole look costing the same as lunch from Pret-a-Manger, but there are three products in particular that I think are worth picking up right now - and you could win them!
I don't know what I used to do without makeup brushes, but suffice to say my fingers alone didn't exactly make the best tools. Fast forward a few years and my brush collection is expansive, full to the brim with different bristles and varying angles to ensure makeup is applied just right. You can invest heavily in application tools if you want to feel like a makeup artist, but you can quite easily achieve a pretty professional finish with some of the more affordable options on the high street. Although I love a few really expensive brushes, these five brands are the ones I turn to on a daily basis to help my products apply with ease. All five are easily available and all five have a huge brush selection for under a tenner.
When I was a little girl, my pocket money was spent solely on magazines and bath balls from The Body Shop. All I wanted to do was read about what lipgloss was cool, what I should be wearing on my feet and what Ronan from Boyzone looked for in a future wife. Twenty years later and not much has changed - I still look to magazines for inspiration, aspiration and a little time out. I've got subscriptions to Elle, Cosmo and Stylist, regularly pick up a copy of Look while waiting for a train and can often be seen sneaking a copy of Psychologies off the shelf in the hope that nobody's looking. Magazines, for me, offer a little time to catch up on what's new and dream about expensive shoes I could never quite justify splurging on; they're that little bit of luxury that I feel from the moment I breathe in the scent of the freshly printed pages. Although as someone who's been blogging for nearly five years (and makes their living from the online world,) I'm probably expected to loathe magazines and all they stand for - but the reality is very different.
I used to be a little bit of a mascara snob, only ever relying on more expensive brands to transform my lashes into a powerful flutter. However, in recent years more affordable brands have really been pulling out all the stops and producing wands and formulas that seriously compete with mascaras triple their price. You can get some great budget buys from your local Wilkinson or Boots store, without having to flash the cash or scrimp in other areas. I've parked my YSL and have been relying on these five to give me awesome results, all for under a tenner.
Although a great shampoo and conditioner can start you off on the right foot (and a fab serum can help tame tresses and add shine,) the difference between a decent look and great finish is all in the styling. There are some amazing affordable products out there that are pushing the boundaries and removing the need for professional products in order for you to achieve a professional finish - great when you're short on pennies or are simply more concerned with saving up for a sunny break. Although there are tonnes to choose from, these six provide all I need for a refined 'do without scrimping. Introducing six great budget buys that help your hair look anything but...
Two step lipsticks are nothing new (I bought my first Max Factor one about fifteen years ago and thought it was the height of glamour,) but they've always provided an incredibly drying and uncomfortable experience. The initial payoff may have been great, but the longevity was poor and the tightness left me overlooking them in favour of something a little more hydrating. When these new Provocalips liquid lipsticks landed on my desk I was incredibly dubious, presuming they'd provide a drying experience that lasted no longer than my usual lipstick - but how wrong I was. These may be the best lip product I've seen in years, providing a comfortable feeling and an incredible colour that literally never wears off. (Plus they're only £6.99 each!)
If there's one product I rely on to keep my makeup in place all day, then it's a primer. They're a makeup artist's secret weapon, the key to achieving a flawless complexion and the way you can stop that horrendous '4pm slip'. Although I didn't discover the benefit until starting to write this blog, for the last four years there's never been one far from my side. Some of my favourites include Bare Minerals and Benefit, but there are also some incredible budget buys that do just a good a job but will cost you half the price. Here are three fab primers that are worth picking up pre-payday.
I love makeup. I love hair products. I love everything to do with making myself look and feel a little bit better. I've been obsessed with it all ever since I was a child, taking to the stage to perform a solo ballet piece with blue eyeshadow slapped all over me like a leftover from the 70's. I worked in the industry for many years, later turning that passion into this blog, so I've seen both sides of the beauty industry and pretty much every product imaginable. Although I love a luxurious cream packaged in a delightfully beautiful pot, the buzz I get from finding a fab budget buy is possibly just as strong. Just as Primark and charity shops have become on-trend and adopted by high fashion, affordable beauty is having a resurgence - because spending more doesn't always mean you're getting better quality. (Read why not here.) There are now so many products and brands offering amazing quality for a more than reasonable price point, ensuring that beauty is once again accessible to all and affordable enough to be fun again. This week I'm going to be bringing you a series of posts which showcase my favourite budget beauty brands, top product picks and hidden gems that will all be worth picking up - plus every single one will be under a tenner. In celebration of my forthcoming #BudgetBeautyWeek, here are my top five reasons why I love a beauty bargain and even an opportunity to win a huge hamper of goodies for yourself...
Opposite to what many of you may think, night creams and masks are not simply a way for cosmetic companies to make more money. There are specific benefits to using a cream or oil while you sleep, especially as eight hours of slumber allows ingredients to penetrate the skin and work much more effectively than they would under makeup. Although our skin doesn't 'sleep' as such, while we're snuggled up under the duvet our skin is less focused on battling the elements we're exposed to daily (including UV rays, pollution and other free radicals.) This frees it up to focus on repair and hydration issues, which is where the benefit of a night cream comes into play. I love to slap on a layer of goodness before bedtime, waking up to fresher and brighter skin that's just a little more supple; although I have oodles in my collection, these are the five I'm currently using.