The iconic Witch Blemish Stick has been a skin saving spot treatment since 1966 - getting your mother and her mother before her through some tricky situations. I was addicted to these little sticks of witch hazel as a teen, smelling like a walking Witch Stick from the ages of 13 to 15 inclusive; it was the one product I couldn't live without and helped me to reduce the size of stubborn pimples on a daily basis. Many years on and the iconic stick has undergone a bit of a makeover; in order to support the work of Marie Curie, the Witch Stick has been given a limited edition design that incorporates the charity's main colour and logo and Witch have committed to provide a £10,000 donation. The floral design is really quite pretty and brings the product bang up to date, making it relevant to every teen today while doing a little good for charidee.
I think nearly every one of us has some long-standing association with The Body Shop's 'Musk' scent - whether it was the first perfume you discovered, the fragrance that reminds you of your mother, or even the overwhelming scent that filled the girl's changing room at school. There have been a few reincarnations since its launch in 1981, but this Autumn a complete game changer is hitting the shelves. The new 'Red Musk' fragrance provides a very different approach and is something completely new for The Body Shop; it contains no flowers or floral scents, only a smouldering blend of spiced musk with hot notes of cinnamon, pepper and tobacco.
The trend for sulphate-free shampoos isn't going anywhere, with more and more brands ditching the foaming ingredients in favour of a gentler alternative. Many try to stay away from them as much as possible, as the detergents (also used in washing-up liquid and laundry powder) can be incredibly irritating for sensitive scalps. Sulphates are also hugely stripping on the hair, removing not only the grease and dirt we'd like to be rid of, but the goodness and natural oils that help to leave hair looking and feeling healthy. As someone that's just had hair extensions fitted, one of the main recommendations is to use sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners to maintain the quality of the hair and to prevent them becoming dry, brittle and dull. Although there are loads of suitable shampoos available, these three have been my personal favourites over the last few weeks - all providing a subtle lather, beautiful scent and silky smooth feeling.
I work incredibly hard on this site: it's my full time job, my income source, my pride and joy. I spend hours taking photos, testing products, coming up with exciting and innovative angles that will really engage and inspire my readers. A lot of people trust my opinion, brands love to be featured and a lot of companies are more than happy to pay for collaborative work - because they understand the value it brings. However, the last few months have seen a resurgence of the one thing that drives me crazy and questions whether or not we've actually moved on from the outreach strategy of 2010: blogging competitions. Essentially, being asked to write about something in the hope of winning a prize of varying value and relevance has become an incredibly lazy and ineffective way for brands and PRs to generate coverage and establish conversation with bloggers. We all like to win things, be treated to money can't buy experiences and flown to exotic locations, but if there's little in it for us than giving away valuable space on a site for a slim possibility of seeing a return, then why on earth would we participate?
When Burberry first launched their beauty line I was so excited I nearly screamed; I love a bit of designer stuff, especially if it doesn't require a long process of saving. Although their nail colours are delicious (we'll ignore the chip-prone formula that barely lasts a day,) it's the other products that have been causing a stir of late - including this new trio of eye products that aim to give you the same sultry sexy understated look as the Burberry models we know and love. Including a mascara, liquid and khol liner, this trio will provide everything you need to recreate the catwalk look that's always so popular post-LFW. But knowing the price points, does this new collection live up to the hype and should be be parting with our hard-earned cash for a little bit of luxury?
Considering a Nars 'Multiple' stick will set you back in the region of £30.00, you need to be sure you're going to love and cherish that giant bullet of colour. Investing in premium cosmetics may provide you with high quality products that will stand the test of time, but makeup is also about quick fixes and impulse purchases that make us feel good - Makeup Revolution certainly make that possible. Their latest launch is once again 'inspired' by something six times its price and comes in a variety of colours to meet every need. 'The One' Blush Stick is incredibly similar to Nars' iconic lip, cheek and eye colour but comes in at an unbelievable £5.00. Available in four matte and four sheer colours, there's a combination of nude tones, bright pinks and bronzing shades that meet every colour demand. They continue to over-deliver in terms of quality and pigment, exceeding expectations and ensuring there's always a thirst for something new.
Although you may associate coconuts, rum and cocktails with an exotic beach and a far away destination, there's no reason why you can't bring a little dash of the tropical into your own home this Autumn. Koko Kanu offers a subtle blend of crystal clear rum and coconut, which can be enjoyed over ice or served with your favourite mixer (it tastes delicious with fruit juice for an extra tropical twist.) It's also the perfect base for cocktails, making it great for the forthcoming party season when you want to offer your guests something a little more exotic than a G&T. I'm not normally a huge fan of rum, but Koko Kanu offers a much subtler taste with a hint of coconut that's much more suited to my delicate palate. The vintage look of the bottle also ensures it has pride of place in my drinks cabinet (yes I have a drinks cabinet,) as well as being placed on view during pre-dinner drinks at the weekend.
Full, thick, glossy and flowing hair is traditionally associated with both beauty and health. How many times have Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian been praised for their free-flowing manes, with every magazine going attempting to provide tips on achieving the same look? I've always struggled with my hair, it being not only incredibly fine and full of 'baby' hair that doesn't seem to grow past two inches, but both curly and coarse when left to its own devices. I've straightened it and styled it for as long as I've been able to get my hands on suitable electrical styling tools, investing in dying it ridiculous colours to make it look as interesting as possible. After dabbling in hair extensions eighteen months ago, I decided to take the plunge and start a hair journey with Kapello that was more long-term - rather than seeing extensions as a temporary fix for an incredibly busy wedding season. (The main motivation last time!) Kapello Hair offer pre-taped extensions that provide an alternative to the incredibly costly, time consuming and delicate nature that I experienced before... Without compromising on performance, quality or expertise.
As a nation, we're a little bit addicted to lip balm. It's the one product that's guilt-free, filed under a 'must have' beauty product rather than a little indulgence; even my makeup-free friends have upwards of twenty lip balms stashed in their bedrooms. I'm as guilty as the next person, always having at least three different incarnations on my person - I get a little panicked if I don't have a balm to lubricate my lips and ensure they're free from that horrendous dry sensation. Although I've already got a huge stash of lip balms and enough to get me through to 2020, there's no reason why I can't keep expanding my collection and celebrating the wonderous products that are out there to help us through the colder season. Here are four new favourites that you need to try...
I've featured a couple of different brands on LBQ that have offered a similar concept to My Jolie Candle, but until now they've been incredibly chunky and a little bit tacky. However, My Jolie Candle (a French brand now taking steps into the UK) offer something a little bit more sophisticated and well thought through. With six different scents to choose from, including 'freshly cut grass' and 'lemonade', the people behind the brand have really taken care and attention with their concept - they not only want to deliver a little surprise when the candle is burnt, but to ensure there's a huge amount of pleasure in the candle and scent itself. The candles are packaged in a clean, fresh, transparent glass tub and contain a little foil-wrapped surprise behind the label; when the candle is burned for long enough your gift will become visible and you can unwrap it to discover the treasure that lays inside. Oooooh.... Exciting!
Sometimes a brand comes from nowhere, takes over the world, sits back and looks a little bit smug; that's exactly what Kiko Cosmetics have done in 2014. The Italian brand have launched so many great products that I'm a bit bored of praising them, but they've done it again with their 'Luxurious' makeup collection that really is a little bit special. Although there are a few other bits and bobs worth checking out, for me this bronzer-highlighter compact and accompanying face brush are definitely the highlight. Kiko have a knack for producing makeup that's not only incredibly functional, but lavish to look at; this compact shines bright like a diamond and includes four different tones for a super natural finish. Although most of us pass-by the bronzers in the colder months, they can help to subtly contour and add warmth to our complexion if applied in the right tone; these shades are very light and wearable, mixed in with a dusting of purple highlighter to help catch the light and add definition.
Seeing as the last two days have seen non-stop downpours and apocalyptic style scenes from my office window, it's no surprise I've chosen to spend my time wrapped up in blankets with an endless supply of hot drinks. Suddenly we seem to be in the midst of a new season, and with colder days and darker nights comes the need for a long soak in an appropriately scented bath. Although bath bombs, oils and salts are all very lovely, there's something just a little bit comforting about stepping into a bubble bath and fluffing the white stuff around you. The cocooning sensation is incredibly special, especially when surrounded by flickering candlelight, so a sweet scented bath potion or luxurious milk can only enhance the experience - here are three of my current favourites.
Now I'm not going to throw a curve ball and publicly admit to wearing green lipstick, but this new collection of colour couldn't have landed at a better time of year. Makeup Revolution continue to baffle me, launching good quality cosmetics at bonkers prices - each one of these lipsticks will set you back only a quid. One pound. WHAT? Considering their price point you'd expect them to drag and be incredibly uncomfortable on the lips, but they're actually smooth and full of lubrication; the bullets provide an awesome pigment and make Halloween makeup a little cooler while incredibly affordable. Nobody wants to spend £16.50 on an Illamasqua lipstick that only gets used one night a year, so these provide a fun and cheap alternative that doesn't scrimp on quality.
As lots of little elves keep telling me, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on. We've little over two months to go until we can put out the stockings, fill our boots with mulled wine and listen to Slade on repeat. Although I love the festive season more than most (my birthday is Christmas Eve!) the last few years have seen beauty enthusiasts getting even more excited about the countdown - thanks to the proliferation of beauty advent calendars which are hitting the shops. There are now so many out there, all offering something a little unique and appealing to a different beauty lover, so how do you know which one to go for? I've got the lowdown on the top eight you need to know about and why they're offering something fabulous this festive season.