Whether you're a fan of sprays, gels, solids or creams, deodorant is something that sits in our bathrooms ready to perform its duty with little-to-no attention paid to it. Developed to help reduce perspiration and protect our underarms from ponging, it's one of those products we rely on but don't often spend a second thought on - until it doesn't work properly. Did you know that the qualities of deodorant also make it great for tonnes of other functions, providing you with a helping hand and a right hand man when you need it most? Here are five uses for your deodorant supply you may never have thought of.
These are the words of none other than troll-baiter herself Katie Hopkins. After a stint in the Big Brother house showing a slightly kinder and more relatable side, within two minutes of stepping outside of the house boundaries she'd returned to her former snake-tongued self. Katie was recently on a panel alongside two bloggers and a journalist, discussing the growth of the bloggersphere and whether or not our generation is unrealistic in their expectations of fame and fortune. Can blogging really be a serious career, or are we all vacuous and delusional lipstick lovers that should just zip it and get a 'real' job? Nothing frustrates me more than the perception that blogging can never be a serious career move, that this new generation of influencers and businesswomen is just blagging their way through until the bubble has burst. The world is changing and it's about time people outside our bloggersphere stood up and took notice.
I was fortunately born with the gift of the gab. While friends can barely manage a tutt or grumble over a cold coffee, I'm the first one up complaining to the barista and politely demanding a replacement - with a free muffin on the side for the inconvenience. Us Brits are generally incompetent at voicing our dissatisfaction, querying customer service or requesting a refund for a faulty product; often the need to 'not make a scene' far outweighs or need for our money back, which frequently leaves us out of pocket and grumbling all the way to next Tuesday. I was frequently embarrassed by my mother growing up, watching her campaign for something she believed in (be it reducing the hedge height on top of a roundabout or extending the pavement by the school gates.) She carried around petitions more often than she carried tissues in her handbag, which taught me to stand up for myself and pipe up when something is not quite right: if you pay money for a product and it doesn’t work how it should, then you’re entitled to a replacement or refund. Although as a nation we're much more likely to put up with it than return it, you may be surprised to know it is possible to return unwanted or mismatched makeup.
Each year L'Occitane launch a product to pay tribute to the women of Burkina Faso (the African region where Shea Butter was discovered over 30 years ago) and to mark International Women's Day on March 8th. In 2015 it's the turn of a new Ultra Soft Balm, which contains 96% Shea Butter sourced directly from the region. This incredibly lightweight and nourishing balm offers hydration and comfort for chapped lips, dry skin and unsightly cuticles - among other things - as well as containing beeswax, sunflower oil and Vitamin E. The great news is that 100% of the profits made from this multitasking tin will be used to support projects and the economic emancipation of women in the Burkina Faso area, so you can look fab and know you're doing good for others too.
A few years ago YSL may have been perceived as irrelevant and unrelatable by many, thanks to their luxurious gold packaging and focus on Parisienne chic. However, girl of the moment Cara Delevigne has injected a huge hit of effortless cool into the brand that produces so many fabulous makeup wonders - all of which hold a firm place within my beauty repertoire. She's the perfect embodiment of a slightly rockier YSL, ensuring every woman can lust after a piece of the brand without feeling the need to perfect that ladylike poise. This spring sees the re-launch of another must-have, YSL Luxurious Mascara, and Cara is the face of the campaign; as she dances around to the tune of a classic rock song, it's easy to feel inspired.
Sometimes a product is launched and you think it's ok, an average addition to the beauty world, only to find a year later that you finally discover how fabulous it really is. This describes my relationship with the Bobbi Brown 'Art Sticks' perfectly: although they've been on my radar for some time, only recently (thanks to the launch of more wearable and fun colours) have I started using them regularly and appreciating their uniqueness. The 'Art Sticks' were designed to transition between a lip liner and lipstick, providing wearable shades in a comfortable texture that offered precision and longevity. There's nothing else quite like them available, offering the best of a lip liner and lipstick with added comfort; these make wearing bold tones and strong colours as easy as pie.
The blogging world is full of money saving recommendations, affordable dupes and indirect copies of some of our most loved premium makeup products. The best thing about being so close to the action and having so many wonderful things land on my desk is that I can easily spot a dupe, an affordable alternative or products that provide the same benefit for a fraction of the cost; there's something somewhat satisfying about telling the world they can grab an on-trend shade or product that offers an almost indistinguishable difference for a lot less cash. However, in a world that's currently obsessed with budget buys and more affordable alternatives, can a dupe ever be good as the original? Is it worth splurging on something that can be treasured, or does spending wisely mean our makeup bags will thank us in the long-term?
Fundamentally, I'm a lazy cow. If I can get away with ten more minutes in bed then I'll do anything in my power to reclaim that time; if there's a product that helps to speed up the time required to beautify myself in the morning, I'm gonna use it with pleasure. This Schwarzkopf Got2B Mind Blowing trio came to my attention some time ago and looked like a dream come true: a styling spray, hair spray and mousse that dry super fast and leave your hair feeling perfectly coiffed? Packaged in delightful statement turquoise bottles, these are affordable tools that help to style hair every morning with ease - leaving your barnet feeling fabulous, without any stickiness.
I can remember the first ever Indeed Labs launch which set the beauty world alight. 'Nanoblur' was a love-it-or-loathe it product, but it certainly set off a trend and offered up a new kind of 'skincare-slash-makeup' that was set to become big news. Fast forward a few years and Indeed Labs seem to be continually knocking it out of the park and offering up skincare products with a bit more of a cosmetic benefit than you'll find in a usual tub of Nivea. The latest addition to the family is 'Fillume', a 'volumising' moisturiser which offers up a combination of clinically proven ingredients designed to help target the appearance of subtle facial volume loss that occurs with age.
Hollywood starlet Jennifer Lawrence is definitely having a pretty fabulous few years, scooping endless awards and featuring in some of the world's most successful franchises before she's even hit her 25th birthday. Today sees the release of another epic movie on DVD, where she reunites with her Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle partner-in-crime Bradley Cooper. 'Serena' sees the Oscar winning actress in yet another powerful lead role, with this beautiful and intense drama set in the North Carolina mountains at the end of the 1920s. This is a classic period for beauty and makeup, that's instantly recogniseable and far easier to create than you may imagine. In celebration of the film's release, I'm going to show you how to channel your own inner 1920's glamour goddess while bringing it right up-to-date for 2015.
Beauty boxes had their moment a few years ago, when we were all overwhelmed by the introduction of a new concept that delivered makeup and skincare directly to our door. However, as with anything, as fast as they grew in popularity they quickly went out of favour; dissatisfaction left a bitter taste in many mouths and subscriptions were cancelled across the country. Beauty boxes got a bad name and it became incredibly difficult to shift them month-on-month without the promise of incredible value or something rather special... That was until My Little Box landed in the UK and shook everything up once again. I was introduced to this new take on a subscription box over a year ago, after meeting some of the Parisian team in a central London hotel; instantly I knew there was something exciting and different about their concept. Since it's launch, My Little Box has been growing in popularity thanks to the sheer brilliance of what they put inside - this is no normal 'beauty box', but a box full of things to be treasured and enjoyed.
One of the most satisfying parts of my day is standing in the bathroom, pumping myself a handful of cleanser and massaging it all over my face. There's something quite cathartic about washing away the day's build-up, removing the film of makeup and residue from the surface of your skin to reveal the squishy and clean-feeling stuff underneath. Although you may think a good cleanser is easy to come by, many of them just aren't as hard wearing or effective as I need them to be - while still offering a gentle and comfortable cleanse. So many still leave a huge amount of grime on my face that requires triple-cleansing, while others just won't budge my stubborn mascara; many cleansers strip the skin of goodness and leave it feeling tight, or simply are full of nasty ingredients that won't help your complexion glow any time soon. It's for this reason that a place on my bathroom shelf is somewhat of an award in itself; only the true greats stick around for longer than a couple of days. These three are my current favourites and will be staying put until the very last drop.... And here's why.
It's easy to get distracted by pretty polishes, rainbows of colour and textures that make our nails feel all bumpy, when we really should be looking after what's going on underneath. Nail treatments and pampering products have always been a passion point of mine, as I continually hunt for the magical formulas that will turn my weak and brittle nails into something worthy of a hand model. Ciate may be incredibly well known for their innovative collections and ability to push the boundaries no matter what they do, but this spring sees the launch of a treatment range that aims to give your nails a bit of a workout. Ciate’s new and improved offering contains powerful botanical extracts, exotic oils and advanced vitamin complex’s to achieve complete nail satisfaction.
Any product that pushes the boundaries of what's acceptable on the high street gets my vote, but claiming your mascara is 'better than sex' may just be a step too far. They could've called it 'better than cupcakes' or 'better than fluffy slippers.' Why they didn't opt for 'better than a Sunday morning eating pancakes while watching Hollyoaks,' is beyond me - but we're stuck with a product I'd be embarrassed to apply in front of my Nan. The 'Better Than Sex' mascara wand has been designed specifically to replicate the hourglass figure of an iconic 'silver screen Blonde Bombshell' (my money is on Marilyn,) after Too Faced apparently discovered this bust-waist-hip silhouette held the secret to the perfect application. Most other brands would spend their time in a lab, sculpting different brush shapes and working out how to manipulate lashes, but Too Faced have taken quite an unconventional approach with a much better story. So, has it paid off?
Philosophy are a brand I naturally associate with delicious fragrances and uplifting bubble baths, not with serious skincare. This spring seas the re-launch of an iconic skincare duo that has been reformulated to specifically target the first signs of ageing; Hope In A Jar was originally launched in 1996 and revolutionized the moisturiser market with a whipped texture that turned to water upon impact with the skin. The new incarnation, Renewed Hope In A Jar, takes the formulation to a whole new level in 2015 and has been specifically developed to address those primary signs of change that remind us of the passing years. The 'whipped, sorbet-like' texture is oil-free and suitable for all skin types, helping to 'boost' the skin's natural renewal process and provide continuous action throughout the day.
I've made it quite obvious on this here site that I do love a good soak in a warm, relaxing bath. After days running around from meeting to meeting, cramming two days worth of writing into one, taking advantage of any sunshine by whipping out my camera and typing at the speed of light, it's no surprise I relish the opportunity to spend thirty minutes alone. Although bath bombs can be fabulous, bubbles can be fun and oils can be invigorating, it's nice to shake things up a bit... Bespoke Aroma offer six homemade 'brews' that provide you with a creamy and emotionally stirring experience, thanks to their 'teabag' infusions. Like making a cup of herbal tea, you simply run the hot water and pop in the teabag to create your own 'bath tea infusion' in six different herbal combinations.It may sound a bit odd, but it's utterly fab.
The great thing about running this site over the years is the amount of people I get to talk to on a daily basis. From those of you sending me tweets and commenting on instagram photos, to the huge amount of you that take the time to comment and even email me your questions or follow up thoughts after a post. I love feeling like we have a little LBQ community of like-minded individuals and beauty enthusiasts, but I also love being able to answer your questions and provide a little bit of help when it comes to beauty dilemmas. Today sees an extension of that as we launch a very special (previously secretive) and groundbreaking project: Tesco Beauty Sessions. I've teamed up with a fabulous team at Tesco Beauty and eight other beauty bloggers-slash-experts to offer 1-2-1 'helpouts' that bring you one step closer to our crazy beauty world. From today, absolutely free of charge, you can book a one-on-one beauty chat with me (or any one of the other experts) and ask any of those burning beauty questions.
The best products are launched out of a specific need or idea, rather than just from a marketing plan to fill a gap within a product repertoire. Bumble & Bumble's new Hairdresser's Invisible Oil collection is the result of just that, after they discovered hairdressers were using their professional 'Invisible Oil' product within shampoos and conditioners, injecting some much needed moisture and smoothness into clients' hair. This delicious new trio includes a shampoo, conditioner and primer to help protect the hair from further damage (whilst simultaneously helping styling products to perform at their best,) and has been specifically formulated to provide a multitude of functions - including smoothing, softening, de-frizzing, detangling and protecting hair.
You know what they say: no new nail collections come along in an age, then they all pop through my letterbox at once. Rita Ora is kicking some serious butt so far in 2015, launching not only the 'Oh My Gloss' lipglosses, but this eight piece collection of nail polish that's perfect for the forthcoming festival season. Inspired by runway trends, hot colour for next summer and her amazing eye for street style, Rita has created eye-popping pastels and bold brights to make your manicure zing. You can span the rainbow from sunshine yellow and pretty orange to berrylicous Glaston-Berry and azure Bestival Blue; all the shades feature festival-inspired names and have specifically been designed to channel her love of live music.
Sitting in a bright and cheery classroom, the Duchess of Cambridge has spoken out to mark the start of Children's Mental Health Week; she states that the stigma around mental health means that often many children do not get the help they so badly need. The following statement, taken from the recording, struck an incredible cord with me and was the trigger to write this post: "Both William and I sincerely believe that early action can prevent problems in childhood from turning into larger ones later in life." From anxiety disorders, to family breakdown and mental health problems, if unresolved they can become a much larger problem that's incredibly hard to tackle as an adult - something I understand from first hand experience. It's not something I've ever discussed on this site, but my little sister suffers from autism and it's impacted her life in more ways that you can possibly imagine: so much more so because she remained undiagnosed until her early twenties.
Even though it's colder now than it was in December, we're definitely heading towards the springtime and need to amend our makeup regime accordingly. I love the spring months as they bring with them a plethora of new bases to cherish and play with, offering innovative formulas and application techniques whilst still providing delightful finishes that help our skin to glow from within. This February has seen a huge number of launches within the foundation category, but these five all offer me something fresh and flawless without feeling too heavy on the skin. These are my current favourite bases that give me the confidence to face the day, even when my complexion is looking somewhat worse for wear underneath.
I honestly think Rita Ora is the best spokesperson Rimmel have had in years: young, fun, edgy, current, accessible and most of all a clear lover of makeup. I never really understood the Kate Moss thing, as she's always makeup free (apart from a swipe of red lipstick when duty calls.) For me, Rita is the epitome of the Rimmel girl and I hope she'll be sticking around for some time - not only because the collaborative collections she produces are really rather awesome. This March a new gloss hits stores that has Rita's stamp all over it: 'Oh My Gloss' is inspired by the festival season and part of the forthcoming 'Colourfest' collection. Available in three wearable tones (red, browny-pink and a nude shade) the gloss isn't sticky or too tacky, making it more than appropriate for when the wind blows while you're stood in the middle of Glastonbury holding a pint.
Oh MAC, what are you doing to me? We've never been best of friends, there's no doubt about it, but I always admired the way you caused so much hysteria among the beauty community. I loved that people felt as passionate about a bullet of Ruby Woo as they did about politics, got as excited about the latest collaboration as the rest of the world did about the newest Lady Gaga album. You've created a worldwide phenomenon that underlines the blogging community (where would we be without those 'my five favourite MAC lipstick' posts and swatches of their newest eyeshadow haul?) and is hidden within every makeup pro's kit. You manage to collaborate with every star of the moment (from Rihanna to Ricky Martin, with a provocative Miley Cyrus thrown in for good measure,) and are endorsed by every magazine, celebrity makeup artist and fashion week aficionado. There's no doubt about it: you're a powerhouse of makeup. You could create a green lipstick and say it's this season's shade du jour, and women across the world would embrace it - no questions asked. So why, oh why do you continue on launching collections that are re-hashed from existing products, or focus on statement pretty packaging rather than on creating lustworthy shade combinations that we just must have?
A few years ago the nail category was stagnant and boring, churning out a new reincarnation of red and pink tones we'd had for years and calling them brand new. It seemed that nail varnish had very much gone out of favour, with our lustful indulgent tendencies turning to lipglosses and eyeshadows instead. However, fast forward to 2015 and our love affair with nails is definitely taking over any other category within beauty - it seems that we can't get enough of differing tones, textures and effects to elevate our outfit. Barry M are sitting firmly at the top of the nail polish tower, offering a hugely expansive range of varnish that meets our every need... And they show no signs of stopping. They're new 'Speedy Quick Dry' collection provides wearable tones that take us easily from one season to the next, with the handy addition of technology that ensures nails are touch dry within a few minutes so we're ready to face the world without sticky or smudged talons.
I've always loved my sleep. As a toddler my mum used to find me curled up in any space I could find, just catching fifty winks after a long and hard day watching CBBC - not much has changed thirty years later. As we spend roughly eight hours a day in bed getting some shut eye, it seems totally logical to me to ensure that time is used as efficiently as possible and is a continuation of my beauty routine; why waste that valuable time when you could be pampering and preening while you snooze, helping you to awake feeling refreshed and looking fabulous? Night creams are one thing, but I want a little bit more from my sleep every so often - so these are the six products I'm currently turning to that give me a helping hand while I'm getting some shut eye.
Crabtree & Evelyn are a brand steeped in history, offering a huge array of kitsch and vintage looking beauty products that will whet any appetite. This February they've launched a super cute and affordable 'his and her' fragrance duo that make giving perfume that bit more special. Both of these bottles are inspired by days past, bringing a touch of elegance and sophistication to any dressing table or bathroom cabinet - another bottle of Hugo Boss these are not. If you're after a beautiful and thoughtful gift for a loved one, then these should definitely be top of your list.
Although the high street is full to the brim with pretty pastel shades (ahead of the forthcoming 'spring' season, that's actually three days in duration just before we hit July,) I'm not quite ready to give up the dark and moody shades that have seen me through the colder months. These latest launches from Sally Hansen tick every box for me whilst remaining perfectly on-trend for when the weather finally turns. Velvet Texture and Luxe Lace provide fabulous additions to your nail varnish repertoire, working as either a statement look or touch of something different on one or two chosen talons. Together they really help to 'change up' your nail looks without going crazy and channeling your inner Lily Allen. (How does she get anything done with those pointy weapons?)
If you're looking to turn your blog into a commercial space, want to collaborate with brands or are starting to seek paid-for campaigns, then it's essential to understand your obligations. Blogs are still relatively new territory, unlike television and magazines which have been around for decades, so there's a huge grey area where regulatory bodies still haven't put clear guidelines into place. However, blogs are high on the agenda for the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and they've frequently published opinion pieces, reports, outcomes of investigations and guidelines that we should all be taking note of. From understanding what classifies as a 'sponsored post' and how they should be declared, to ensuring you adhere to guidelines and being clear on consequences if you don't, this is a whole new area of law we need to be aware of as publishers.
There was a stage when I awaited every seasonal Philosophy launch with anticipation, but for the rest of the year really didn't give two hoots about what was going on. Their festive scents are legendary (if you haven't smelt their gingerbread or pumpkin icing bath treats then you're missing out on a life-changing experience,) but I've never been that excited about anything else - until now. Although I'm allergic to cow's milk (drama) I adore the scent of anything creamy and delicious, so this latest addition to their collection is welcomed with open arms. 'Fresh Cream' contains subtle notes of vanilla that really evoke a comforting sensation in the body and mind, wrapping you up in a metaphorical blanket - perfect for chilly spring evenings or brisk spring mornings.
If you've got a good set of brows on you, the rest of your face kind of falls into place. Before I discovered the power of a full and perfectly-arched brow, I spent years trying to make the rest of my face work with only a smidgin of hairy goodness; there was something not quite right. After I was well and truly educated on the benefit of a decent eyebrow pencil and the artistry associated with plucking, I've never looked back - I've even invested in eyebrow tattoos to ensure they look as full and even as possible. There's one brand I always turn to when I'm in need of brow tools, and it's the brow experts at Benefit Cosmetics - the one stop shop to ensure your two hairy face bits are looking fabulous. From precise pencils, smooth crayons, defining gels and brow-building fibres, they've got everything a girl needs to ensure a perfectly framed face.
This is definitely a post to subtly leave open on your computer at home, just as your husband or boyfriend walks in... Valentines Day is just around the corner and although it's now deemed by many to be too commercial, I do think it's an opportunity to cherish the loved ones in your life and take stock as to how lucky we are. I've been known to give Valentines tokens to my colleagues, friends, mum, even postman (he delivers a lot of heavy stuff to me practically every day!) so why not treat your special someone (or yourself) to something sweet and thoughtful this forthcoming February 14th? I've picked eight fabulous beauty gifts that would put a smile on any face.
Sometimes I feel like a bit of a magpie, swooning over anything shiny that lands on my desk and features a teeny tiny brush to apply it with. I think I must have been a fairy in a former life, because anything small or mini instantly grabs my attention. Although for the purpose of this site I cut through the golden exterior and focus on the product that's held within, but I do often find myself justifying 'ok' products or 'alright' formulations with the fact that the pot their packaged in is oh-so-pretty. When I'm perusing the beauty department of Selfridges I'm also easily distracted by a limited edition design, expertly crafted pack or something that's just cute as a button. Having just placed a perfume on my dresser because of it's retro bottle rather than the fact I liked the scent (it smells like my Nan, but it'll look fabulous next to my restored vintage mirror!) it made me wonder: how much does pretty packaging influence our purchasing decisions?
I do love the feeling of opening an expensive pot of face cream, the click on a golden blusher palette or the scent of a lipstick that's set you back more than a three course dinner - but I also love the buzz that accompanies discovering a dupe for a fraction of the cost of some of my premium favourites. Kiko Cosmetics are still flying somewhat under the radar, thanks to their limited flagship stores and predominately online presence, but their makeup is some of the best. They identify trends, push limits, curate beautiful collections and wrap it all up in an affordable package - this stunning 'Generation Next' mosaic highlighter will only set you back £14.90, while channeling the vibes of something nearly three times the price.
I love chunky bits of fashion-forward jewellery, statement necklaces and blingtastic rings, adorning my person with as much as possible nearly every day. However, I also love the trinkets and delicate pieces that have sentimental value and mean something personally to me - whether it's a ring inherited from a relative, necklace given to me by my boyfriend or a thoughtful gift from a mate who knows me almost as well as I know myself. Anything I can personalise or treasure is definitely the top of my list, which is why I instantly fell in love with the Venus With Love collection of 'V.Lockets'. These innovative pieces are fully customiseable and can contain up to eight individual charms that include everything from birth stones, letters, words, hearts and trinkets that reflect what's important to you.
As soon as I'm tired, haven't been eating properly or spend too much time out in the cold, my nails are the first thing to suffer. I buff them, file them and condition them, but still they continue to flake and break. Not only does it cause them to look unsightly, but it impacts the way in which nail polish sits over the top and reduces the longevity of a manicure by about half - if your nails aren't smooth enough to hold on to the polish effectively, it's going to chip all over the place. Butter London have this genius little product that I picked up in Boots, providing the benefit of a flawless base in nail form; they call it 'Nail Foundation' and claim it provides a flawless basecoat, that works like 'makeup for your nails'. But it this a genius innovation, or just marketing fodder developed to make us part with even more cash in the search for the perfect mani?
The list of ingredients that we're now told to avoid within our cosmetics is getting longer and longer. Sulphates, parabens, formaldehyde, mineral oil... But why is mineral oil, being such a common ingredient, put on the naughty list and widely documented as being bad for your skin? A colourless and odourless bi-product of the oil refinery process, mineral oil is often added to ingredients because it's readily available and cheap; the main benefit it offers is to reduce water loss in the skin by 'trapping' it on the surface, which is why it's included in many skincare and body products that claim to moisturise or hydrate. It's included in anything from cleansing oils, face creams and body lotions and often listed within ingredients as a derivative of petroleum. Mineral oil has definitely been getting a hard rap in the last few years from beauty experts and cosmetic enthusiasts, but is it really that bad for your skin? And why does it have such a bad reputation in the first place?
I do love a lipstick, but unfortunately they mostly dry my lips by midday to leave behind a slightly dodgy colour line and a pout that's in need of a moisture boost. In these NYX Butter Lipsticks I may have found the answer, as they're infused with so much oil and wax that they feel like you're applying a slick of balm rather than bullet of colour. Lipstick can be off-putting if you're intimidated by the maintenance routine and requirement for re-applying, but these make a statement lip easy as pie. The texture is incredibly lightweight and easy to apply, with no drag or flaking whatsoever; the colour result is seriously impressive for such a budget brand, making on-trend and powerful pouts easy to achieve and comfortable to wear.
We often adopt and adapt huge beauty trends from the Asian market, identifying the wondrous formulas and innovations they develop and bringing them to the UK. We've had BB and CC creams, spray foundations and manga mascaras, but now it's the turn of 'cushion' foundations that turn everything you know about bases on it's head. This revolutionary new application method isn't just about re-purposing what was already working perfectly well, but ensuring a flawless and super lightweight application; the result leaves skin practically glowing and can cover the entire face in seconds. These compact-like bases are applied using a foam pad, with the cushion within the compact holding the formula and releasing it when it's pressed down; it may seem like added faff, but it actually makes applying foundation an absolute doddle.
As someone who spends their life surrounded by makeup, beauty products and hair gadgets, I spend very little time actually shopping for anything beauty related. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where most of the new launches land on my doorstep and I have a never-ending supply of everything I could ever need; short of buying cotton wool, baby wipes and tampons, I simply don't have a need to spend hours perusing the shelves of Boots like I used to. Saying that, it's something I used to immensely enjoy and dedicated a couple of hours each weekend to wandering around and discovering new things - in fact that was the start of this very here site, before I was even on anyone's radar or lucky enough to receive a year's supply of shower gel in the post. However, after spending some time in the newly refurbished London Piccadilly store and picking up some amazing finds, it's reignited something in me and given me back my passion for wandering the beauty aisles. I feel like I've rediscovered Boots and found some hidden gems, surprising discoveries and whole departments I never knew existed. Here's how I got on...
Finding a great mascara is like finding the holy grail of beauty, but what if there was a tool that could make every mascara 100% more effective at creating long and luscious lashes? Estee Lauder's new Little Black Primer has been launched to meet the needs of the modern woman, providing a fabulous lash line in seconds while working with any one of the current mascaras within your repertoire. The Little Black Primer can be used in three ways (to tint, amplify or set lashes) and is as easy to apply as your existing products. Although I wasn't too sure initially what this could offer my lashes, it works brilliantly well to create a lash line with tonnes of impact.
Working within a world obsessed with shiny lipglosses, the next big nail trend and adding argan oil to everything imaginable, it's easy to be swept up in the superficial nature of the beauty business. However, the very foundations of this multimillion pound worldwide industry were built upon providing solutions to problems - from soothing dry skin, to clearing acne and helping hair to grow long and strong, there's long been a demand for anything that can help us look and feel our best. Cloud 9 Skin Solutions are built upon these foundations and offer a problem-solution approach; the creative forces behind the brand set about creating products that would be treasured to the very last drop, rather than lingering half-used at the back of a bathroom cupboard. Cloud 9 wanted to deliver on promises made and provide a real difference to those suffering with skin conditions that included psoriasis, eczema, acne, cellulite, scarring and varicose veins. And that they have.
It's not often that I get the opportunity to slip into a bath and pamper myself from top to toe - more often than not I grab a quick soak when I have a spare twenty minutes before bed, rather than indulging in a full-on (and well deserved) preening session. Although I love indulging in a hard working face mask, there are also times when I need a quick pick-me-up that will leave my skin feeling refreshed without taking half an hour to get to work. I've shortlisted five of my current favourite face masks that all offer slightly different benefits, but all provide the skincare hit I need to keep my complexion looking as fabulous as possible. From ten minute pre-shower face plumpers that you can wack on while making breakfast, to deep cleansing and indulgent mud concoctions, I've got all bases covered...