If you don't own at least one makeup primer, then you're really missing out on the secret to a flawless and long-wearing base. Although we often try to reduce the amount of products we apply to our face, in the constant search for minimal beauty, sometimes adding a touch of something new can make the world of difference to your overall routine: primer is the perfect example. Many people skip this step because they're confused as to how to use a primer, what benefits it can bring or even if it's worth the investment - but it 100% definitely is. Integrating this quick and easy step into your morning routine can offer a world of difference; all you need to do is apply a thin layer over your skincare and beneath your foundation, focusing on the t-zone and chin in particular. I also like to apply a touch under my eye area to ensure fine lines are concealed as much as possible, as well as using on eyelids to enhance the performance of my eye makeup. Here are the five reasons you need to start using a primer today:
A brand known more for their controversial names than actual products, this year saw the launch of Rodial's debut makeup line. It was greeted with rapturous applause, but the price points made many of us wince. This Instaglam Compact Deluxe Illuminating Powder may be beautiful, but it will set you back an eye-wateringly expensive £52.00. I've been putting some of the collection to the test and I have to admit that this is my current favourite product, offering so many multi-tasking benefits alongside a super natural glow that's easy to buff into skin. The universal champagne tone adds a candlelit glow to the complexion, while the super lightweight and velvety smooth texture enable it to blend perfectly; there are highlighters and then there are highlighters - this is definitely something a little bit special. (Even if the price makes me cry.)
The universal champagne tone adds a candlelit glow to the complexion. - See more at: http://www.harveynichols.com/524364-instaglam-compact-deluxe-illuminating-powder/?_$ja=tsid:61548|kw:15|cgn:QFGLnEolOWg&siteID=QFGLnEolOWg-lZBdNnuOS0qMA9hSRhVNVw#sthash.b77Bjfrw.dpuf
As a massive advocate for looking after your own health and well-being, the new partnership between affordable beauty brand 'I Love...' and breast cancer charity Coppafeel really struck a chord with me. Put bluntly, checking your boobs regularly for changes or abnormalities could save your life; it could be swelling, bruising, an inverted nipple or dimpling of the skin, but any kind of change needs to be noted and potentially checked out. This Spring 'I Love...' are the first brand to launch a product that contains a long list of helpful tips and information on the back of their appropriately named Perfectly Peachy bath and shower creme, rather than lengthy descriptions and ingredients in five languages. They're utilising this space in the best possible way, encouraging women across the UK to check their lady lumps every time they jump in the shower or bath and lather up with a touch of their bubbly stuff.
We all leave hectic lives and juggle numerous different roles every single day, as well as exposing ourselves to the elements of city life, late nights and early mornings. Every second of our turbo-charged day generates tiny invisible aggressors called 'free radicals,' which become harder to fight off as we age. As soon as we hit our thirties, our skin begins to weaken and therefore takes a lot longer to repair or recover from damage; these free radicals can cause our skin to become dull, wrinkled and pigmented - all factors which we associate with the signs of ageing. In order to help minimise this and keep our skin looking radiant, one of my favourite skincare brands has developed a portfolio of products that block 100% of free radicals, as well as offering an instantly plumping effect to help skin to look great. This spring Caudalie extend their range to now include not only an Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum, Eye & Lip Cream, Broad Spectrum Correct Fluid and Overnight Detox Oil, but a thicker Protect Cream for dryer skin.
I adore Instagram. The time I've spent scrolling down through hundreds of images could have probably been put to better use, but there's something both inspiring and relaxing about looking at simple pictures rather than digesting complex words. I follow a huge number of people on the platform (from celebs and 'mega' bloggers, to brands and restaurants,) but I've picked five of my current favourites to share with you. I follow them all for different reasons, but the one element that joins them all together is their inspirational content and lustworthy images - these are more than just snaps of Starbucks coffees and indulgent selfies.
Waking up in the morning can be a real chore; the temptation to hit the snooze button again, just to capture another few minutes in bed, can be overwhelmingly tempting. If you start your morning in a sleepy daze then it can have an incredibly negative impact on the rest of the day, so setting the tone right and helping yourself bounce out the door with a spring in your step is the best way to remain productive and energised. I've written before about how harnessing the power of natural light can work wonders (I'm a huge fan of my Lumie Light which wakes me gradually and naturally, while stimulating hormone production,) but there are lots of other steps you can take to ensure you're wide awake and ready to face the day - all from the comfort of your shower cubicle. Here are my top tips on beating the Monday snoozes and ensuring your morning shower is an uplifting and energising experience.
Humans have been using scent for millennia, but if you were asked to explain how you apply your fragrance, you'd probably respond with a description that entails you spritzing in the vague direction of the neck and wrists while hoping for the best. Applying our scent is something we don't really think much about, but what if those automatic motions actually prevented our perfume from lingering? What if you could create a longer lasting, all-over scent impression by layering several products and taking care of how and where you apply your fragrance? There's so much more to perfume than a 'spritz and go' attitude, so I'm here to give you a helping hand and explain the composition of scent to ensure you always smell incredible.
I've never been a 'one mascara' kind of girl, preferring to dip into my collection daily and find what treasures I can find to match my mood that morning. Although some of my current favourites provide some uber lifting qualities and ensure my eyes are wide awake, sometimes I just want mega volume and all the focus to be on my lashes. I'm a big fan of the Guerlain mascaras, having coveted them for a few years and repeatedly clung onto each beautiful pack until the very last application; they're beautifully designed in order to offer a touch of luxury, as well as offering serious impact to lashes. Although I wouldn't sport the high drama look on a daily basis, this new Cils d'Enfer So Volume mascara is purely delicious. It offers everything I want from a mascara and more, making it a new Saturday night must-have.
If there's one time of year that fills me with horror, it's that first week of sunshine when I need to reveal my un-pedicured and slightly neglected toes after six months of being stuck inside tights and boots. It always creeps up on us with little-to-no warning, one day the air being full of chirping birds, blooming flowers and a bright ball of sunshine that's just too much for a pair of socks... We need to free the feet! This year I'm determined to be prepared for that first 'sandal day' and ensure my pieds are in tip top condition way ahead of schedule, so in the mantra of sharing is caring, here are some of my tips and tricks to giving yourself the perfect at-home pedi.
Until last week I had no idea that Norman Parkinson was an iconic photographer that had captured some of the most instantly recogniseable moments in time. Having shot every women of notoriety over a period of fifty years, he's been a source of inspiration for Charlotte Tilbury's own makeup collection that has also embodied the elegance of a bygone era since its inception. This collaboration between the two artists is somewhat showstopping, creating lust and demand even without many makeup enthusiasts knowing the inspirational story behind the vintage palettes and packs. Launching this summer, it provides a selection of easy-to-use products that slip seamlessly into any makeup routine - including this Dreamy Glow Highlighter which bridges the gap between highlighter, bronzer and finishing powder perfectly.
The majority of us know the benefits of regular exfoliation and try to integrate it into our routine when pushed, but did you know there's so much more to get to grips with than understanding it can offer a smoother and more radiant surface? A little buffing in the shower not only feels great, but can really help your overall skincare and beauty routine. The history of exfoliation can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians, when abrasive minerals and alabaster particles were used for this purpose; they obviously understood the difference a good scrub could make to their tired, overworked and sun exposed skin. Since then a variety of substances have been used to peel, exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin - including natural acids, mineral fragments, plants and direct irritants to stimulate the natural 'shedding' process. Today we rely heavily on ingredients that include sea salt, sugar, oats, fruit kernels and gentle exfoliating particles, but why do we need to ensure we're regularly buffing, scrubbing and exfoliating our skin?
You know what it's like when you're out and about, doing your thing, and you break a nail/start getting a blister/commence your lady time ahead of schedule. There's nothing worse than scrambling around in your bag trying to find an emery board/plaster/tampon, or anything that will temporarily alleviate the problem at hand. Although I do tend to shove essential 'SOS' type items in as many bags as possible, you're always short when you need something in particular. British brand Sew Lomax have cleverly identified such dilemmas and developed a whole range of emergency kits to tackle every problem imagineable; their cute designs are not only stylish and fun, but they hold an array of bits and bobs so you'll never be left short again.
If you look really closely, right up there in the sky, there's a little ball of yellow that may in fact be sunshine... Yey! It's been a long time coming, but finally we're about to come out of the winter months and step into some altogether more pastel-appropriate weeks. Although we feel at ease with changing up our wardrobes or nail polish repertoire to reflect the new season's demands, our skincare routine is often neglected. The focus in winter is replenishing moisture and preventing dryness, whereas in the warmer months our needs move into the realm of perfecting and protecting. As the first chapter of 2015 comes to an end, here are some of my top tips for transitioning into the next one with ease.
Lipstick can completely transform an outfit or an outlook, helping to lift the complexion and instantly make you feel ready to rock. Although applying that first swipe is a pleasure, the texture of most lipsticks dries to leave lips feeling less than hydrated; topping up over already compromised lips can be somewhat of a challenge. Not particularly known for their lipsticks, Clinique have listened to consumer demands and developed a range of sixteen lipsticks that offer a serious colour result with the added benefit of shea butter. These super cute bullets apply dreamily to leave lips coated in pigment with a touch of shine, simultaneously offering longevity thanks to 'primer' technology that helps colour last for longer. If you've ever struggled with lipstick, then these new offerings could be a great first step into a new arena.
We all do it: roll out of bed, grab a towel, turn on the shower, jump in and stand there for ten minutes wishing we were still between the sheets. Although early mornings can be somewhat painful, you can turn that frown upside down by injecting some much needed goodness into those otherwise wasted minutes. Sulking with water running down your face won't do anyone any good, but utilising your morning shower to take care of your body will really pay dividends in the long term. There are lots of small things you can do that will make a big cumulative difference overall, so why not start your beauty regime in the shower with my five top tips...
I wish I had the eyeshadow blending skills of a TOWIE cast member, but I really don't. I can just about manage to buff in a base colour and add a darker tone around the lash line, blending with my finger or (at best) using a small brush to work colour into the socket. Short of booking myself on a professional makeup course (who has the time!) there's little I can do to improve my skill-set, which is why eyeshadow sticks and cream formulas have become a firm favourite. They're essentially a lazy girls approach to the perfect smokey eye, providing a creamy formula and tonnes of pigment in an easy-to-apply format that's practically fool-proof.
We condition our hair, moisturise our faces and even apply a strengthening base coat under our nails, but we often forget to look after our limbs in the same way. The skin on our arms and legs in particular often becomes neglected and can suffer from dehydration, especially in the colder months when it's exposed to the elements and the extreme temperatures of central heating. As we step into Spring and start consider baring all once again, it's the perfect time to start looking after every inch of our skin from the moment we step in the shower. Thankfully help is at hand, as Dove have transformed their classic body wash range to offer softer and more beautifully smooth skin after just one use. The way we approach the daily shower routine is set to be revolutionised, as Dove scientists have replaced harsh cleansers with gentler technology to ensure efficiency, comfort and an awesome lather in one bottle. It's been two years and six million Euros in development, but finally a new and improved product is here for you to enjoy.
In my opinion, 2015 is going to be the year that everything changes. The bloggersphere is expanding at an incredible rate, with every week bringing the next hot new thing or site to watch - it's hard to keep up. Today sees the launch of a new series I'm calling 'The Social Slot' which I hope will help readers navigate the social space, know which blogs and accounts to follow, as well as providing discussion and advice on everything blogging related. Everyone is a blogger these days, with the internet providing so much information it's hard to know where to turn; this will be my own way of providing a helping hand on a weekly basis. What better way to kick off than with a list of five great blogs that are definitely on the right track to becoming big players in the bloggersphere? I read a huge amount of content, but these five sites definitely stand out by providing something a little bit different; they're ones to watch and, more importantly, ones to start following.
They may have been around for a little while, continually launching innovative collections and lust-worthy dupes, but until recently I hadn't really gotten to grips with Kiko. Sure enough all their new launches regularly land on my doorstep, but I'd never spent some serious time playing with the products and picking out the pieces from the 'core' range that genuinely interested me - until I popped along to their flagship store on London's Regent Street. Located within about ten paces from Oxford Circus tube, the bustling and vibrant store is absolutely saturated with as much makeup that's physically possible to put into a small square shape. Eyeshadows adorning the walls, lipsticks covering the counters, spinning units showcasing accessories and a whole skincare department, there was so much to get stuck into I barely knew where to start... But I got stuck in nonetheless. All these goodies set me back about £78.00, which considering I picked up twelve items and got three free nail varnishes thrown in for good measure, isn't bad at all. Here's the lowdown on what I bought and what's worth checking out either in-store or online when you need a makeup fix.
Far from being a wilting wallflower, the beauty industry is well known for pushing the boundaries and re-inventing the wheel at every given opportunity. From a half naked Miley Cyrus and Ricky Martin pushing lipstick, to using slightly embarrassing names you'd rather not ask for while shopping with your Nan, makeup brands don't shy away from creating controversy - but when does it go too far? This week a red lipgloss titled 'Underage Red' was launched, and pulled, from Sephora stores across the US; part of a collection with celebrity and tattoo artist Kat Von D (a controversial character herself, who's probably more well known for having an affair with Sandra Bullock's husband,) it's not the first time her makeup line has come under scrutiny. Back in 2013 a nude lipstick called 'Celebutard' was widely condemned and removed from sale after mothers of disabled children quite rightly took objection. She really should've known better. So when does an unusual name cross the boundaries from being cheeky and thought provoking, to just plain unacceptable?
When it comes to foundation, I'm a bit of a snob. I rarely find anything on the high street that can perform as well as I need it to, offering decent coverage and longevity without feeling incredibly heavy on my skin. There's something to be said for spending a little more on a base that will work with you, rather than against you, and those formulas are more often than not found in a department store beauty hall. However, the latest launch from L'Oreal (Infallible 24hr Matte) has had me eating my words - as it's just as good as, if not better than, the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation I've raved about previously. Offering a lightweight and non-cakey texture, a 24 hour finish (although show me a woman who genuinely wears her foundation for 24 hours,) and waterproof qualities, this is one foundation to be reckoned with.
Not everyone can afford to splash out on an expensive makeup palette, the latest Chanel fragrance or a top-up of MAC lipstick every month, so many of us are turning to unofficial sources to get our fix. There's a plethora of online stores offering discounted makeup, skincare, fragrance and hair products, as well as an abundance of ebay sellers and even market stalls offering their wares at a discounted rate. From fake GHDs to imitation OPI, a new study reveals that counterfiet products make up 6% of sales in the beauty sector and it's a growing problem. A new report claims that the beauty industry loses approximately £3.4 billion of revenue annually due to the presence of counterfeit cosmetics, with lost revenue translating into 50,000 lost jobs - before we even address the health and safety issues associated with something unregulated. It's a huge problem, but how do you spot a fake and what can you do about it?
In an industry that's always looking for the next big thing, rather than focusing on some of the incredible brands we already have on offer, reaching a significant milestone is somewhat of an achievement. This year the brand that bought us the cult cleansing product 'Cleanse & Polish' is celebrating their 20th birthday - and they're still looking really rather good. The creamy formula that's loved by millions across the globe was my first foray into effective cleansing, after relying on facewipes (gasp) and cleansing lotions for years on end. It was one of the first brands to adopt working with bloggers, introducing me to a product that five years later I'm still returning to on a regular basis; although other formulas come and go, Cleanse & Polish is so reliable and effective that I inevitably return to my cleansing roots and realise why I love it so much. To celebrate such a huge milestone, Liz Earle are re-releasing their trio of limited edition hot cloth cleansing formulas in a delightful turquoise tin; not only does it contain some incredible scents, but its somewhat of a collectors item too!
If there's one product that can compete with the number of lipsticks within my collection, then it's definitely blusher. Even though many of the shades are incredibly similar, it's the difference in texture and tone that I love to shake up and change on a daily basis. From creamy peachy tones, to bolder pinks and flushes of berry, the difference a blush or bronzer can make to your complexion is immense. After dabbling in many peachy tones over the winter, I've rediscovered my love of pink shades and a touch of bronzing - thanks to these adorable and easy-to-use Creme Puff Blush pots from MaxFactor. The multi-tonal pigments blend effortlessly for a gorgeous flush of colour that can be built-up and blended with ease.
If I step out without a hand cream my mind goes into a mild state of panic. How can I go about my business with dry, uncomfortable and slightly scaly hands? What will the man in Starbucks think of my dehydrated digits when I pass over that five pound note? Although it may be a little dramatic, I'm simply addicted to hand creams and lotions - I must apply hand cream at least five times a day, sometimes more if I'm at my desk and surrounded by the stuff. Although I love a good smelling formula and a super rich finish, three hand creams have come onto my radar that offer slightly more than your average. These are 'super' hand creams with a difference that really do combine to look after your skin.
I've made no secret of the fact I'm trying to pursue a healthier lifestyle, integrating everything from daily supplements and smoothies to lemon water and meditation into my day. Having been diagnosed with a cows milk and gluten intolerance, I've had to learn to make wise choices while still treating myself. As part of this journey I rediscovered superfoods and supplements that ensure I'm getting all the goodness I need in one hit, rather than trying to force myself to eat piles of green veg or binge on berries. Creating a smoothie that's bursting with vitamins and minerals, adding a touch of baobab, matcha and chia seeds, is a great way to start my day; making delicious energy balls that are bursting with nutty goodness, and held together with only dates and coconut oil, is a great way to treat yourself at 3pm without reaching for the chocolate. However, a lot of these wonderful ingredients can be quite tricky to get hold of - which is why I'm currently obsessed with the offering Neal's Yard have in their Covent Garden boutique store.
Let me start by saying how much I adore, love, heart with a capital 'h' the latest mascara launch from Benefit. Roller Lash was released amongst the usual media hype and speculation as to whether something so heralded as the 'best thing in makeup' could really be such, but it's actually a blooming great mascara. (Read my original review here.) It helps to lift lashes, separate and really elongate the usual stumpiness that is my lash line - all winning ingredients for me. However, if you just can't justify spending £19.50 on a tube of mascara, then I've found two great alternatives that are much more friendly on the purse strings yet provide pretty much the same result. Bonus...
Hair straighteners are ten a penny, often promising to give you the hair of your dreams but totally under-delivering. In the noughties we became obsessed with tools that offered as much heat as possible, forgetting that we also need to look after our hair while we style it; I for one have totally frizzed and burned sections of my barnet while attempting to create the perfect finish. However, the BaByliss Diamond Straightener claims to offer salon performance and a 'new level of shine' thanks to their diamond infused ceramic plates which not only provide a super smooth finish, but leave hair looking healthier, smoother and feeling silky soft.
Makeup is a wonderful thing; since the dawn of time women have slapped mud on their eyebrows, berry juice on their lips and elongated their eyelashes with the help of charcoal. It's a multi-billion pound worldwide industry that shows no signs of slowing down, with new brands launching every month and offering us something new. You only have to walk into your local Boots, step inside the doors of House of Fraser or dare to spend the afternoon in Selfridges to see the passion of women for that little bullet of colour or brand new limited edition eyeshadow palette. Considering so many of us wear the stuff, I still find it incredible how it's perceived to be anti-feminist and a reflection of our own self-indulgence - or even worse, worn simply for the benefit of men. I can safely say when I apply my mascara in the morning I'm not thinking "I really hope the dude at the train ticket office falls in love with my flutter." It's not 1952. So the question is, why *do* we wear makeup?
The Jo Malone limited edition collections have become something I look forward to every year; they continually push the boundaries and create innovative collections that we can really believe in - and most importantly, want to wear. This Spring sees the launch of their 'Rock The Ages' five piece collection which could quite possibly be their best yet; on-trend, a celebration of all things British, great packaging and a portfolio of fragrances that are incredibly wearable, this got me excited from the first time I set eyes on it. Each of the five scents is inspired by a period of British history and embodies the notes of the time - right from the historical Tudor Rose and Amber, right through to Birch and Black Pepper which represents the modern age.
Our hands go through a lot of daily trauma: typing, carrying, scratching, washing, ripping, cleaning and even the cold brisk weather can leave our most precious tools looking and feeling a little worse for wear. We often pay a lot of attention to our nails, but forget to pamper our fingers and palms in the way they deserve to be treated; a little hand cream on-the-go works to soothe dryness and target specific discomfort, but it's good to provide a little more attention to the most hard working part of your body now and again. Thanks to E45 you can now give yourself a helping hand and help to soothe uncomfortable dry skin that typically is the result of the colder months; their new E45 Repair & Protect Overnight Hand Cream is a must-have winter skin rescue that helps to not only soothe tired skin, but protect your skin’s natural defences.
If you've ever washed your hair and felt like you've removed all the goodness, only leaving behind a dry mess of brittle strands that have seen better days, it may be time to ditch the traditional shampoo and opt for something all the more gentle. Lush have a huge offering of solid shampoo bars that are completely natural and equate to around two regular sized bottles of the bubbly stuff - that's how much use you'll get out of one little bar! Not only does that make them incredibly economical, save huge amounts of plastic as well as space in your bathroom, but a thifty way to look after your hair. One of these will set you back only in the region of a fiver, while providing specific targeted care - from the gentle formula and almond scent of Honey I Washed My Hair, to the volume-building and shine wonder of Braziliant.
Our sense of smell is the most powerful thing, transporting us back in time and evoking memories of once-forgotten moments. The scent of roses may take you back to a romantic proposal, while the scent of sea air may remind you of holidays past - but what about the fragrance of Play-Doh? The Library of Fragrance is an incredible brand that turns every scent imaginable into a delicious fragrance that you just want to wear, even if it's rather unexpected. Their repertoire includes everything from Chocolate Chip Cookie and Lemon Meringue, to Baby Powder, Gin & Tonic and the scent of a Thunderstorm. If there's a smell, then they've managed to bottle it and turn it into a wearable fragrance - even if at first glance you may think it unimaginable.
Making informed choices is the key to leading a healthy and well balanced life. It's not about pounding it at the gym every day, living off green smoothies and absconding from chocolate indefinitely, it's about the little things that can make a big cumulative difference overall. I've become a huge fan of supplements, vitamins and super-powders that I can add into smoothies, sprinkle over my breakfast or pop in my mouth with a sip of lemon water first thing; they're an easy way to ensure you get the goodness you need without having to integrate piles of exotic discoveries into your diet. Udo's Choice was developed by Udo Erasmus, an industry expert in healthy fats and nutrition, to tackle four of the most neglected areas of nutrition in the typical diets of western populations - essential 'healthy' fats; greens; probiotics; and digestive enzymes. Their range of oils, supplements and powdered formulas helps provide a helping hand and ensure you can live healthily with very little effort required.
Perfecting a retro cat flick is the challenge of many, but most of the problem can be solved with the aid of a great tool. With so many liners available, it's hard to know where to turn and on which brand you can rely - but after trying oodles of different products there are currently three fab felt-tip liners that I'm turning to in order to create the perfect vintage-inspired flicks. Ranging from a bargainous £6.00 to a more indulgent £18.75, between them they'll have your vintage eye looks perfected while leaving enough time to grab a morning coffee.
With Mother's Day just around the corner, I've no doubt that many of us are panic buying and wondering what thoughtful gift they can treat their mum to with only a few shopping days left. If you're looking for the ultimate shopping destination with more than a little heart, soul and history, then The Royal Exchange is a great place to start: it's the home of timeless luxury in the heart of The City. Located within a stone's throw of Bank station, The Royal Exchange’s remarkable story is utterly fascinating: officially opened by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571, it suffered not only at the hands of the Great Fire of London in 1666, but a second fire in 1838. A third re-imagining of the building was opened in 1844 by Queen Victoria before all trading stopped in 1972; in 2001 the building was sympathetically reconstructed to reflect the original style, while bringing new boutiques and restaurants to the location. This transformed The Royal Exchange into the leading luxury retail destination it has become today, offering over thirty brands across fashion, interiors and accessories. I took a little tour of this delightful shopping hub to see what beautiful gifts were available ahead of Mother's Day (from shops including Jo Malone, L'Occitane, Penhaligons, Molton Brown and Kiehl's - to name but a few.) With so much to offer it was hard to pick, but here are my top five Mother's Day gift recommendations that I'm sure any mum would be grateful to unwrap.
Remington Reveal Facial Cleansing Brush: A New Generation In Skincare (PLUS WIN YOUR OWN WORTH £79.99)
Did you know that the fastest growing category within skincare is the electrical gadget market? It seems our fascination with technology extends past our smartphones and tablets and into our bathrooms; there's so much a great gadget can offer our skin, so why stop at the latest iPhone? Remington are taking their first step into this growing arena with the launch of their 'Reveal' facial cleansing brush; designed to work with all skin types and not to aggravate sensitive skin or irritate skin conditions, the results are ten times better than can be achieved with manual cleansing. It contains a much smaller brush than other products currently available, ensuring you can get to every corner of the face to provide an unbeatable cleanse.
Since conducting my one-to-one beauty sessions and speaking to so many of you about your skincare and makeup routines, it seems that many of us are making small errors that have a big knock-on effect to our overall look. Beauty mistakes are easy to make and so much more common than you may think, thanks to us all bumbling through and not thinking anything of it. We pick up bad habits, skip parts of our routines and use the same products for years on end - so I've highlighted ten beauty mistakes you may be making without even knowing, in an attempt to fix them as effortlessly as possible.
We all know how hard it is to juggle the demands of modern life: from the daily commute, enjoying a gossip and cocktail with friends, exercising, catching up on Netflix and even remembering to call our mum. It's hard to take time out for ourselves and actually breathe, letting the world around us pass while we relax, recharge and reconnect with our inner selves. Soak Yourself has been developed to encourage just that, as they understand the importance of 'checking out' every so often to recharge our bodies and minds. As Mother's Day is just around the corner, what better way to say thanks to the most important woman in your life than with the gift of some 'me time'? The super cute Soak Yourself 'bath ritual recipe kits' include everything your mum needs to relax, wrapped up beautifully in a handy box that will surely put a smile on her face next Sunday.
Since I discovered the wonder of foundation brushes, my makeup world has never been the same. Applying your base with a brush helps to create the most flawless finish and really buff the product into skin, creating an undetectable result that lasts much longer - applying a base with your fingers casues the natural oils within your fingertips to mix with the product, as well as preventing an even application. Although traditionally shaped foundation brushes offer a great way of applying makeup, this unusually shaped EcoTools brush is the best thing I have ever tried when it comes to makeup tools - and at £7.99 it's an affordable must-have for every single woman who wants their base to look awesome. (So that's all of you yeah?)
I have so much makeup within my collection that I never quite know what to do with it, so when a product sticks around until I can apply the very last drop you know it's something to be celebrated. It's incredibly rare for me to hit the pan of a compact, squeeze out the last of a primer or even get to the end of a mascara tube before it dries out, so when I find that special something that I can't be without it's even more painful when it comes to an end. All of these makeup products have been featured on the site before, but I really wanted to highlight them again as staples that have seen me through and provided me with a flawless look in next to no time. These are the five makeup items I'm genuinely gutted are coming to an end...
Yardley's iconic scents have been worn and loved by women across generations. Their story dates back nearly 400 years, after lavender scented soaps were created for the City of London during Charles I's reign - making it an iconic note that will always remain at the heart of the brand. I can remember my Great Grandmother spritzing herself with the Lavender and Lily of the Valley Yardley scents, so there's a huge emotional connection with the iconic British brand for me - like with many others. However, the scents and bottles had become quite tired and old-fashioned over a number of years, meaning a whole new generation was side-stepping these floral notes in favour of something sweet from Justin Beiber or Rihanna. This spring sees Yardley take a leap forward and inject a touch of modernity into their bottles and scents, while remaining true to their roots.
InStyle magazine have finally revealed the winners of their 2015 Best Beauty Buys Awards, which includes over one hundred winning products across skincare, makeup, body and hair. Magazines have a long-standing history with handing out awards (mostly for their own agendas that include recognising advertisers or brands that took them to exotic locations,) but the InStyle Best Beauty Buys are a little bit different - the winning products are voted by over one hundred industry professionals that genuinely try, love and covet the items in question. Across the categories it's great to see some of my most loved secrets, cult classics, up-and-coming brands and new launches that will set the world alight; I usually roll my eyes at the 'winning' products features in many magazines, but this list is genuinely an indication of what's worth checking out over the next year.
The best thing about turning a corner into a new season is the abundance of colour that provides a relief from the dark nails, berry lips and smokey eyes that we've all been sporting. I love a power lip as much as the next girl, but there's something about Spring makeup that makes me go all giggly and excited. This March sees the launch of Collection's 'Field Day' selection of products that will definitely put a spring in your step after a dark and dreary few months. Consisting of three bright polishes, three pink tones of lipstick and two delightful eyeshadow sticks, the collection provides an affordable way to update your makeup bag while transitioning into a new season - and you can get the first sneaky peek right here!
This April marks the fifth anniversary of LBQ; within these last five years I've seen a huge amount of change in the blogging world, as well as a huge transformation in the way brands deal with influencial sites they know could have an impact on sales. I'm lucky enough to work with the majority of well-known brands in the UK and have a vast stash of beauty things to review, feature and build conversation around; however, this is sometimes trickier than you may imagine to juggle. Over the last few weeks I've had endless approaches from brands that simply lack the understanding of how a blogger works: from the purpose of a blog (to provide an honest and in-depth personal perspective,) to the amount of time it takes to try a product effectively (anything from a day to a few months,) and even how much free value is generated from one single piece of content (reaching thousands of engaged women waiting to spend their hard earned cash.) Being offered a 'free' product in exchange for a feature comes with its own set of conditions and commitments, making it far from 'free' for the blogger intending to review it - time has value and should be respected as such. Although everything featured on LBQ is there for a reason and has been handpicked because I genuinely love it/want to share it/think you'll be interested in it, it's also vital for brands and businesses to understand that blogging isn't as simple as it looks.
Pastels for spring? Groundbreaking. (A little Miranda Priestly inspo to kick of a sunny morning.) However, it's the execution of said pastels that means a collection either fades into the background, or stands out as a new season must-have. Models Own's newest collection is definitely the latter, thanks to the delicate frosted bottles that hold some incredibly delicious shades; it's no surprise these have been inspired by fondant fancies, iced treats and perfectly decorated cupcakes, because all five are somewhat delicious. Including five wearable shades, these provide a slightly new take on pastel by providing glossy tones that look beautiful when applied on the nail.
Out of all the luxury fashion brands turning their hand to makeup, Burberry continually intrigues and excites me the most. It may be their heavyweight lust-worthy packaging, the on-trend shades or the delicate embossing on everything from lipstick to eyeshadow, but they make buying makeup a treat rather than a chore. These new Burberry Kisses lipsticks provide an 'effortless buildable lip colour' that's designed to give multiple lip looks with just one shade, thanks to the customiseable result and lightweight gel-like formula. If you've always wanted to treat yourself to an elegant bullet of colour, but didn't want to feel overwhelmed with a heavy texture, then this could be for you.
Radiance mists, uplifting spritzes and refreshing sprays have long been available in the UK, but they're definitely having a moment and finally getting the attention they deserve. I've long loved a spritz of something refreshing, cooling and uplifting in the summer, but thanks to the new technology and delivery systems developed mists are more advanced and multifunctional than ever before - making them great all year round. Pixi is well known for their Glow Tonic, one of the most iconic and in-demand products amongst the beauty blogging community, but this Glow Mist is a welcomed extension that takes skincare a little bit further. The lightweight and deliciously scented mist can be used in three ways to ensure skin and makeup is looking fabulous all day long: under makeup, after makeup or on-the-go for a little pick-me-up.
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