I'm not really a believer in traditional 'skin types' as splitting the entire population into three distinct categories doesn't really work. Our skin reacts to what we put in and on our bodies, meaning that you're far more in control of your complexion than you may realise; oiliness is often a result of something that's gone a bit wrong and it can be relatively easy to rectify. Excess oils are triggered by the sebaceous glands being over active, resulting in blocked pores, congestion and discolouration of the skin. Stress, puberty, contraception, an increased secretion of other hormones can be at fault, but excessive oil production can also be stimulated by the products we use on our skin; if a product is too harsh it can strip the skin of hydration, which could result in an over stimulation of oil production to compensate. Over exfoliation can also be damaging; if you're constantly stripping the skin of its natural goodness it will over produce oil and worsen the condition further. (Read my post about what your skin type is telling you for more info here.) However if you do suffer with oily skin and the 4pm slip is getting you down, there are things you can do to help. Here are some of my top tips for ensuring makeup stays put on even the most oily of skin, so you can get on with your day looking fabulous.
I'm making a concerted effort right now to eat a little better, drink a little more water and make myself some tasty treats. Although my obsession with pick n mix will never fade, if I can make more informed choices and try to integrate healthier options into my diet then that's definitely better than scoffing biscuits. I'm really quite impatient though, so anything that takes too long to concoct is definitely out the window - which is why these quick and easy nutty chocolate bites are my current favourite snack. They contain only a handful of ingredients, require no cooking whatsoever and are full of nutrients that will really do your body the world of good. I love grabbing a handful from the fridge when I hit that 4pm slump, the taste of the cacao powder providing the chocolate flavour I crave while the nuts and dates offer up an energy boost without the slump.
Few brands stand out from the crowd as much as Ciate. Known for their creative and innovative nail collections, they've managed to put premium varnish on the map without alienating a huge proportion of the overall beauty market. It's a brand people will happily invest in, whilst still turning to for something a little bit quirky and different when the opportunity arises. This spring, to much hype, Ciate revealed their debut collection of makeup products that capitalise on their love of colour and texture. With everything from lip colour, eye creams, liners, mascaras and contouring products, there's certainly something to tickle your fancy regardless of your interest. But is this collection more about the quirky names, unusual textures, pretty packaging and innovative delivery systems - or does it provide great quality makeup that's worth the investment?
There are a few different products I can't ever have enough of, but hand cream is definitely top of that list. A mild panic often ensues if I can't find a tube of cream in my bag, or if I use the last squidge from my secret desk supply - there's literally a hand cream in every drawer and available crevis in my flat. Some provide hydration, some provide comfort, some provide a moment of indulgence, but these little tubes provide all of that and more... Patisserie De Bain have a fabulous range of hand creams that are not only rich and moisturising, but they're inspired by sweet treats of yesteryear so offer an incredibly nostaligic and 'good enough to eat' scent. That's why they're this week's must-have product...
Looking after your skin in the summer months can be incredibly confusing. We know we should be using SPF to protect ourselves from the sun's damaging rays, but most sun creams have a thick and heavy texture which can result in blocked pores and congestion. This in turn can increase the likelihood of pimples, irritation and aggravated acne... Something we don't want to worry about while sipping a cocktail on the beach. (Read this post on how to avoid breakouts and blemishes while wearing SPF!) It can be a real challenge to find a great SPF that not only is specifically designed for the face, but also protects from UVA and UVB rays - but I've done the hard work for you and found seven fabulous facial SPF products that offer protection without clogging the skin. These are all incredibly effective, whilst providing a practically invisible result.
A great hairdo can mean the difference between hiding away and strutting your stuff; there's something intangible about a great hair day that really does have an incredible impact upon our confidence. I know that I often (metaphorically and actually) hide away if my hair isn't playing ball, but I'm the first one out into the world with my lipstick on if my barnet is working that morning. After having extensions fitted a couple years ago and loving the results, but hating the maintenance and expense, I took the jump into getting Kapello tapes fitted last September. Not only are they much more affordable, but the maintenance is so much easier than individually bonded extensions. The tapes work with your natural hair and lay flat against your scalp, minimising the drag or potential damage on hair that's often caused by concentrated pressure and ensuring they're totally undetectable. I don't feel like I'm wearing extensions, it just feels (and looks) like I've got fabulous hair. After eight months and three re-fittings, here's why I'm such an advocate of these innovative extensions.
Ten years ago, strolling around Boots on a Saturday afternoon was a favourite pasttime of mine. I savoured every swatch from the makeup counters, devoured the latest launches and excitably filled my basket with bargain finds. I looked to the magazines for advice and suggestions, awaiting with bated breath to come across the 'next big thing'. My friends and family were a source of knowledge, regularly recommending the products that really made a difference to them, while my Advantage Card points were saved patiently until it was time for a well deserved spree. Only the most advertised brands were on my radar, stumbling across them on prime time television slots, whilst department stores offering was simply intimidating and complicated. Although many of this may still be true for some, the way many of us shop for products has completely changed - thanks to the rise of the internet and the ever increasing presence of blogs. No longer do we have to rely on only a handful of beauty editors for advice, but a plethora of 'real people' with real experiences and real opinions. No longer are we limited to what's available on the high street, with e-commerce opening up a whole new platform from which to purchase. No longer do we buy off the back of a television advert, but wait to see pictures of the product in action and a testimonial from someone we trust. The internet has revolutionised the way we buy our beauty products and I couldn't be more pleased.
They may have started off as a mum's best friend, helping to detangle unruly hair without the pain and suffering I experienced as a kid, but detangling brushes have become a firm favourites amongst grown ups too. I rely on them pretty much every day to help rid my barnet of knots and tangles that are caused by my hair extensions, as they're the only thing that seems to get through without removing chunks of hair and making me wince. However, I'm always dropping them on the floor as I approach a stubborn knot or niggle because they don't feature handles - the simplest of things, but it does make a difference. This genius incarnation includes all the style and qualities we know and love so well, but takes the detangling brush one step further - by giving it a handle, an innovative design, anti-bacterial qualities and ensuring it's heat resistant so you can use it for styling. Tangle Angels are definitely going to be the next big thing.
Regularly moisturising your skin and body can help maintain a good level of lubrication, but more often than not there's one niggly bit of dryness that just doesn't seem to budge. Whether it's your hands, elbows, knees, feet, cuticles or nose, we all have a little area that frustrates us beyond belief - especially when we'd rather be focusing on prepping our pins for the forthcoming warmer weeks. Whether you're suffering with a specific skin condition, the aftermath of a burn or blister, or simply have been neglecting your preening schedule, then I have three handy helpers that are incredibly hardworking and will help treat those extra dry bits.
Lipsticks sometimes get a hard rep, leaving lips a little dry and in need of lubrication to get them through the day; they've definitely come back into trend and form a fundamental part of everyone's makeup collection, but tinted balms and glosses are often firmer favourites for spring. I love a pop of colour, but when my base makeup is focused upon creating the illusion of perfect springtime health it's sometimes too much to opt for a traditional lipstick. However, Lancome are launching a hybrid that's set to change the game completely: 'Shine Lover' is a lipstick-gloss-balm hybrid that offers the best of all three in an easy-to-apply bullet. The formula has been specifically developed to work with your base and illuminate the complexion, offering an intense colour result which doesn't overpower the wearer.
Apart from those inevitable fine lines around the eyes, spotting that first grey hair is probably the most feared thing about getting older. I was unfortunate enough to inherit my father's greyness in my early twenties, so I've been dying my hair ever since in an effort to cover up those pesky white flecks around my parting. I may be fortunate enough to have a baby face, but those little grey hairs definitely give the game away - especially as they've planted themselves in the most unsubtle places. Although dying my whole head used to be a go-to every six weeks, continually re-dying the lengths of hair can cause them to become dry and course; it also means the lengths and ends of hair will absorb colour differently to the root, causing an unnatural difference in tone. However, Nice'N Easy Root Touch-Up has become a firm favourite (especially since having extensions fitted,) as it allows me to cover those greys at my root and give my overall colour a boost - without the faff or time required by a regular bottle of home hair colourant.
You only have to scroll down your Instagram feed to see that spring is in the air, and blossoms are blooming across the country. There's something uplifting and invigorating about the sweet smell of a blossom note, evoking memories of bright blue skies and sunshine in the sky, which is why the fragrance house of Jo Malone have made a signature trio of scents based on the concept. Their 'Blue Skies & Blossom' collection is beautiful, delicate, elegant and enhancing all at the same time - but each bottle will set you back an incredible £86.00. If you love the concept, adore sweet floral scents but simply can't justify the price point, then The Library of Fragrance is coming to your rescue. Within their repertoire are three scents that embody the concept completely, but are a much more purse friendly £15.00 each.
As we transition into a new season, it's time to pack away the opaques and get the flowing skirts out. Today I ventured outside for the first time sans tights, but I still covered up practically down to my ankles - because my pins just aren't quite ready to be revealed. However, there are a few easy peasy products you can integrate into your routine to ensure your body is looking beautiful in no time at all. It's easy to buff away the dull skin, hydrate and nourish, while adding a little tint of something sunkissed; these products will definitely be giving me a helping hand this week on my way to full blown summer wardrobe actualisation.
You may or may not be old enough to remember a mascara trend from around ten years ago that was somewhat groundbreaking. Double-ended mascaras were the height of elegance and the best technology the beauty industry could offer, thanks to the trend set about by Bourjois and their Coup de Theatre mascara. It was copied by everyone, especially L'Oreal who managed to create a variant that saw me through my younger years with ease. As we all moved on and the efficacy of mascaras improved, we no longer needed to coat the lash with white stuff before applying the lengthening top coat - so the mascaras were discontinued and we forgot all about this previous must-have that featured in every makeup bag for years. Until now. L'Oreal are bringing sexy (lashes) back with the launch of their False Lash Superstar Mascara - a complete re-imagining of the products of yesteryear but for a whole new audience.
In the hope of a cleaner and more 'natural' approach to our beauty regimes, there's a never ending long list of ingredients we should be avoiding. Although parabens and mineral oil have long been slandered, it's now the turn of sulphates to be on the receiving end of mild hysteria. The previously unknown ingredient has been a favourite of manufacturers for decades, but why are sulphates all of a sudden getting a bit of a bad reputation? I've been avoiding sulphates in my shampoos for time now - a personal choice based on the need to preserve and maintain my incredibly expensive hair extensions. However, it's not because I'm scared of my morning lather giving me cancer or any such ludicrous statements, it's simply because I want to look after my tresses in the best way possible... So what's so bad about sulphates and why should we be avoiding them?
I'm absolutely addicted to anything that I can apply before bed. Give me a lotion, potion or oil I can slap onto my person before slipping between the sheets and I'm in; it seems logical to capitalise on those precious hours of downtime and give your body a chance to absorb the benefits of creams, serums, lotions and oils. Although there are a tonne of concoctions in my bedside table, this little jar is really something special. Formulated to complement the traditional Eight Hour Cream (which helps to seriously hydrate and nourish tired, parched and even broken skin - it's great for burns, eczema and all sorts of skin conditions) this nighttime formula helps to replensish skin and seal-in moisture for up to eight hours. The Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer even features a touch of lavender to lull your senses and allow you to awaken to supple, radiant and revitalised skin.
Although I'm a massive fan of lipstick, when it gets a little warmer I definitely find myself reaching for the gloss and tinted lipbalm a little bit more. I still desire a flush of colour, but the often heavy textures and colours of lipsticks mean they don't quite capture the style I embrace during the sunnier months. Tinted lipbalms are a saving grace, as they offer a hit of colour with no faffing - there's no need to precisely re-touch or worry about flaking, as a slick of rich balm will hydrate your lips and colour them with something delicious in no time at all. Although I have loads within my collection, these three new additions are definitely going to be firm favourites over the next few months and are well worth a look.
Instagram is the fastest growing social network, and one that provides a more visual and aspirational outlook for both bloggers and brands. The photo sharing platform offers a different way to digest information, providing followers with a simplistic visual peek into your world when words just aren't enough. Although I was massively late to the Instagram party, it's now one of my favourite places to waste a train journey or ten minutes while waiting for the kettle to boil; I've discovered amazing brands, fabulous bloggers and artists I never knew existed, just via the scroll of my home screen. Although some have seen meteoric rises to fame (who knew an Instagram celebrity was a thing until 2015?) for most of us it's just a way to provide a little insight into what we get up to - from the cake we eat, to the places we visit and those all important selfies. But how can you make sure your photos are aspirational, interesting and engaging enough to warrant a 'like'? Here are some of my top tips for taking better instagram photos that don't require anything other than an extra thirty seconds.
I love the blogging community. There's always someone to inspire me, leave me feeling motivated or simply teach me something new. The great thing about the internet is that there's room for absolutely everyone and that everyone's voice has value - be it talking about important political issues, or just how to blend a smokey eye perfectly. Although I love talking about new nail polish and the eye creams that will change your life (dramatic, me?) it's incredibly important to me that I use this site to help others; from my top tips for utilising Pinterest, to how to grow a blog audience and which bloggers I think will be the next big thing... Which is why I've introduced the 'bloggers to watch' feature into my sidebar. Each month I'll have great sites feature on the blog, all of which are definitely worth checking out for something new. This month I have five fabulous ladies to introduce you to, so sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy this edit of blogs you're gonna fall in love with...
I always associate face masks with a moment of indulgence, a relaxing session in a warm bubble bath or simply a chilled out evening in front of the sofa. However, many of the formulas are designed to provide an instant and visible result that makes them more suited to a morning routine or pre-night-out-pamper. We often forget the benefits of using a face mask before you start piling on the makeup and creating a flawless base on a Saturday night, or how they can help perk up tired skin when you've gotten to Friday morning and start counting down the hours until your weekend lie-in. I've really started to adopt face masks as a magic weapon, not only during my regular bath nights, but in the morning when I know I want to look my best. Here are five of the best that will have your skin looking much fresher, more radiant and plump in only ten minutes - perfect to wack on while you sip your morning coffee.
Although gel nails have been one of the biggest trends to hit the nail market for the best part of a decade, they come with a huge number of problems that often leave talons looking and feeling somewhat worse for wear. (Read here why I've given up gel nails for good.) I'm all for the look and longevity of a gel nail, but the practicality means they're just not feasible for a lot of us - which is why this latest launch from Barry M is so welcome. Their new Sunset Daylight Curing polish and topcoat deliver 'the look and resilience of pro salon gel nails' without a UV lamp or the expense of visiting the salon. Available in seven seasonal shades and a transparent topcoat, the formula doesn't even require a basecoat as the special formulation bonds to the nail like a gel in daylight but can still be removed with a regular remover.
Our skin can become dull, tired, flat and uneven in next to no time if we don't look after it properly, which is why regular exfoliation has been a fundamental part of my skincare routine for as long as I can remember. Our skin naturally goes through a thirty-day cycle, where over time the cells travel from the deeper layers to the surface and become full of keratin - which gives skin a rougher and uneven appearance. Although we're programmed to naturally shed away this old skin, sometimes we need a little helping hand. As we get older the 'cement' holding our cells together becomes thicker, resulting in a build-up of skin cells that makes the sloughing process more difficult to accomplish; this results in a dry, uneven, dull and less-toned appearance. By eliminating the build up of dead skin cells on the surface, the regeneration of new skin cells is stimulated which results in an improved appearance, tone, and feel of the skin - as well as a greater effectiveness of your skincare products. I use a little face scrub two or three times a week, gently buffing my face in circular motions for around sixty seconds while in the shower; this gives me the results I need without removing too much. Here are three of the current facial exfoliators in my shower that are giving me a helping hand, and the reasons why I'm turning to them for a little skincare expertise...
When I started London Beauty Queen way back in the spring of 2010, blogging was just starting to be 'a thing'. There were only a handful of us in the UK writing about lipgloss and nail polish, with readerships in their hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands - I can recall clearly reaching a 100 GFC follower milestone and thinking as though it was the biggest achievement in the world. 'One hundred people are really interested in finding out my favourite lipstick or recommendations on concealer?!' Fast forward five years and blogging is the biggest growing trend globally, with hundreds of new sites opening up daily; it's ever changing, ever evolving and ever controversial. Who would have thought even a year ago that a vlogger would be on the homepage of the Daily Mail more times than a politician? As I celebrate the fifth year of LBQ's inception, I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon what I'd learned in the last few years and how everything has changed almost beyond recognition. I hope you're sitting comfortably...
Certain fragrances instantly transport me back to times gone by, bringing happy memories to the surface that I'd pushed to the back of my mind. Chloe's iconic first scent reminds me of girls nights out and getting ready at my friend's house, styling our hair together and picking outfits while sipping wine in anticipation of the boys we'd chat to that night. She always wore Chloe (and still does,) so it instantly reminds me of those great nights when we had not a care in the world. To me, Chloe embodies a carefree and happy attitude; it's elegant and sophisticated, but still full of youth and life. I adore everything the brand launches and know I can rely on them to take me from warm spring mornings right through to summer nights along the river sipping on a glass of Pimms. This April they're launching three of their fabulous scents in mini bottles that are perfectly sized for both popping in your bag, and slipping into your hand luggage - at 20ml they're way under the airport limit on liquids, meaning you never have to panic about packing a fragrance again.
It's easy to push aside the reliable, functional products within your beauty repertoire and focus on the shiny glamorous ones instead - but where would we be without a spritz of deodorant, swipe of nail polish remover or smidge of hand cream? Hairspray for me has never been that exciting; as long as it does the job without making my hair feel like cardboard, then we're good to go. It's not something I turn to on a daily basis, but it does keep my perfectly coiffed hair in place on a Saturday night when I just want to focus on the cocktails and dancing. However, this new trio from Tresemme have totally changed all that for me, offering a really effective styling companion that makes my morning routine so much more satisfying. That's why they're my very first 'product of the week' - a new feature I'll be introducing to highlight the beauty bits you really need within your collection, cutting through the noise and highlighting the products that make a difference.
Contouring is big news; once a secret of makeup artists and celebrities, now many of us are reaching for the bronzer on a daily basis as a way of adding a natural glow. If you'd have told me a couple of years ago I would be using my bronzing palettes outside of the June-to-September window I would've laughed in your face, but alas a touch of tan is part of my regular routine. The traditional powder format can be somewhat intimidating for many, offering up a severe colour that can often be overloaded - there's nothing worse than trying to rectify an overtly orange line across your cheeks! However, the new format of contouring creams and gels helps to make the process even easier and is perfectly suited to paler complexions.
If you hadn't noticed already, then this week marks the fifth birthday of London Beauty Queen. Way back in 2010 I published my first every blog post and this site was born. The last five years have seen a gigantic change in the bloggersphere - it's practically unrecogniseable from the tiny and mostly badly-designed sites of times past. Now everything is big, glossy, polished and professional, but that's not to say it's not just as exciting. In celebration of this milestone, I asked you guys to submit questions to me that you'd like answered - covering everything from how I got started and my top tips, to where I think the bloggersphere is going to in 2015. Enjoy.
A generation of young women are often left bewildered when shopping for skincare. When you're in your teens you know exactly what products are targeted at you and what you need to shop for: blemish control and brightly coloured bottles are top of the list. When you reach your thirties and forties those fine lines start to set in, so we rush out to stock up on all the anti-ageing promises we can find to keep wrinkles at bay. However, between these two milestones there's a huge number of women not really knowing to shop for but knowing what they want to achieve - radiant, healthy looking skin that's hydrated and smooth. I can remember my twenties well and the fear of shopping for face products; I knew a fraction of what I do know, so I used to head for whatever was on offer and hope for the best. I didn't regularly start using a moisturiser until I started this site and became more and more educated as to how important a great skincare routine is; prevention is better than cure and looking after your skin in your earlier decades will pay dividends in your latter ones. However, there's a definite trend emerging for skincare that's targeted to these 'lost years', offering busy women a solution and cutting through the noise of anti-ageing creams they know they're not quite ready for.
Five years ago today I hit 'publish' on my very first blog post, following a moment of boredom which led to me claiming a URL which was set to become my virtual baby. There was no long-term plan, no strategic vision and no expectation; I never thought anyone other than a close friends would read it, let alone thousands of people across the world every single day. Half a decade later and LBQ has grown to be one of the UK's most successful, recognised and celebrated beauty blogs - which is pretty hard to believe. I've won awards, been featured in magazines, appeared on telly, spoken at events, traveled the world and become friends some of the most inspirational people I've ever met. This little site has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me, least of all developing progressively into my full time job... Whoever would have thought that when I posted my very first feature on how to cover up the results of a heavy weekend? (What can I say, I'm older but probably not much wiser!)
The YSL Glossy Stains were one of my favourite products of last year, offering my lips a coating of subtle colour and comfortable result that lasts. Each little tube contains a formula that helps to stain the lips upon application, ensuring colour lasts though even drinking your morning latte. Topping up is a pleasure, rather than a chore, making these a great spring-time alternative to lipgloss - which we all know has a tendency to get stuck to our hair during the windy April weeks. This May YSL are adding to this soon-to-become-iconic range with the launch of a Long-Wear Push-Up Effect Glossy Stain that helps lips to look even more kissable.
Nude eyeshadow has long been the staple of every makeup collection, offering both a base for stronger colours and an understated look that works with a statement lip. I've a lot of love for nude tones and subtle colours on my lids, helping to create an effortless chic result that makes me look like 'I just woke up like this.' Although the Urban Decay palettes have taken over the nude market almost completely, it's about time we started to embrace different brands, textures and formats for a new season. This spring there are loads of new nudes hitting stores, but here are some of my favourites that I know I'll be turning to for some time.
It's been three years, but finally Deciem are able to launch the products they always wanted to. Due to a non-compete agreement with the founder's previous partner (and founder of Indeed Labs,) the powerhouse of beauty (behind everything from Fountain supplements and Grow Gorgeous, to Hand Chemistry and Inhibitif) has finally launched these two fabulous skincare products to add to their ever-growing repertoire. Hylamide SubQ was definitely worth waiting for, as both the anti-ageing serum and targeted eye formula have left my skin glowing after only a few weeks. They both contain a highly active concentrate of advanced hyaluronic complexes, next-generation peptides and technology to target rehydration both on and below the skin's surface, while visibly helping to improve lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and textural damage
We all have days when we roll out of bed, look in the mirror and think 'eugh'. It's easy to spot those dark circles, every pimple and imperfection, the fact our hair needs an appointment at the best hairdresser we can afford and that we should probably start going back to the gym, but those imperfections are what makes us unique. Those areas we don't necessarily love about ourselves may be the one reason someone loves us even more. If we look closer and past the bits we don't necessarily like, there's always something to celebrate - from bright blue eyes that you can get lost in, to an infectious smile and a nose you just want to kiss, we're all beautiful in our own special way. I'm as hard on myself as the next person, having really struggled with the way my body had changed since hitting thirty. My bum got bigger, my hair turned grey in all the wrong places and my face started to show the first signs of those inevitable wrinkles, but looking past that I can still see and celebrate the great things my body has provided me with. Dove's latest campaign really struck a chord with me and made me stop and think: why don't we all see the beauty in ourselves and celebrate it more often?
Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, but one Ms Kardashian has almost single-handedly brought bronzing back. A few years ago bronzing powders and contouring tools were kept firmly in the summer makeup kit, helping to complement a natural sunkissed glow or warm the skin's tone; however, in 2015 contouring and bronzing products are as much a part of our makeup routines as a black eyeliner. I don't think anything of adding a touch of bronzer to my pale complexion on a daily basis, helping to warm my otherwise English Rose tone and allow me to push the boundaries of the colours I apply. Although I have many different products that I call upon, most are too dark to be used outside of the summer months - but Clarins have come to the rescue with this beautifully designed palette that includes four varying tones to ensure a natural glow, whatever your skin tone or the time of year.
As I get older, the one area I've become incredibly concerned with is my under-eye circles and fine lines, protruding like a map of times past. Although I religiously apply eye cream every morning, there's only so much you can do to delay the invitable signs of age - but these seven products certainly give me a helping hand. Between them they cool, tighten, soothe, hydrate and reflect the light to diminish telling dark circles as much as possible and help me look wide awake. Although none of these are miracle formulas or provide a long-term cosmetic result, they are great products that I enjoy using and provide me with a little morning lift. When you wake up with giant black suitcases under each eye, then that's a saving grace you're willing to invest in. Here are some of my favourite eye creams that I'm currently reaching for on a daily basis...
Cleansing brushes were the product du jour a few years ago, thanks to the likes of Clarisonic taking the skincare market by storm. Although they claimed to revolutionise skincare routines and provide a deeper cleanse, they actually started to cause more problems than they solved. Over zealous exfoliation can damage the surface of skin and remove too much moisture; the skin reacts by slowing down its own lubrication, the result of which can be ageing, outbreaks and irritation. Since the launch of the original cleansing brushes around five years ago, technology has advanced hugely and so the results achievable are much better in 2015; however, these gadgets do need to be used in the right way to ensure you're caring for your skin rather than damaging it. I'm a big fan of cleansing brushes (when they're used as part of a targeted regime and not overused,) but the question is: do you need to spend serious amounts of money on a cleansing brush, or can you get by with a bargain find that does the job?
The Library Of Fragrance: Unexpected & Uplifting Scents (Claim Your FREE Deluxe Samples & Vote For Them!)
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 baby powder, or the notes present at the aftermath of a thunderstorm? 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 Gin & Tonic and Espresso; 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. I've written about my love of the brand before, but for a limited time only you can claim your FREE deluxe samples of two of their most celebrated scents (worth £15.00) exclusively via LBQ.
In the early 2000's there was a huge trend for acrylic nails. The longer and squarer the better, with the focus being on ugly white tips and tacky nail art that at the time we thought was cutting edge. I had acrylic nails for four years, with practically no let up between, which left my nail beds damaged for years on end. I spent an absolute age investing in strengthening and growth treatments in an attempt to get my talons back to their former glory (I always had lovely strong and long nails, so I had no idea what I was thinking,) only to ruin them all over again thanks to a new trend. Gel nails were hailed to be the revolutionary technique that would change the way we viewed nail polish, offering up to four weeks of unchipped colour without damaging the nail bed beneath. Although this sounded like a dream, in my experience it really was too good to be true...
Pinterest is now the fourth largest traffic driver globally, and ranked as the third most popular network behind Facebook and Twitter respectively. With 79% of users being women and 81% trusting Pinterest as a source for information and advice, it's not a platform to be ignored. As it's incredibly visual and inspiring by its very nature, it lends its skills perfectly to blogs - particularly those focused around beauty, fashion, food and home. If you don't have a Pinterest account, then you need to get one now; not only is it hugely addictive and a great way to find inspiration, but it's an easy and engaging way to drive traffic and awareness. Many of us are still confused as to how use Pinterest for anything other than pinning wedding inspiration or festive cookies to unorganised boards, but if you approach the platform strategically it could be your new best friend. I've managed to accumulate over 250,000 followers, making it by far my largest audience; although I'm still learning how to best utilise this huge number and have lots of tinkering still to do, there are a few things I can share on growing an audience and using it for your blog. So here are some of my top tips...
We've seen ombre hair, ombre nails and now ombre lips are set to be big news for spring. The trend seen on many a catwalk may seem a bit too OTT or unwearable for a Tuesday in the office, but thanks to these new little pots from Topshop ombre lips could be here to stay. Each of their little palettes contains two complementary tones of a matte and creamy lip colour that can be worn alone or together in order to create the ombre look. These two tones may look a bit out there upon first inspection, but I can happily report back they're actually really wearable - even for a 32 year old like me who hasn't been able to fit into Topshop jeans since the 90's.
Books open a whole new world that's beyond our own imaginations, taking us to another place and providing comfort or inspiration when we need it most. I've always been a big reader, even as a kid working my way through the classroom library until they had to get a whole new selection of books in to keep me occupied. If I don't have some kind of reading material with me I feel a bit lost; there's nothing quite like opening a good book while on the train or in the bath and slipping away to another place. Although my usual tastes involve history, murder or mystery, this year I've tried to start broadening my horizons and have made a concerted effort to read up on some of the most celebrated 'feminist' books I could find. They may be slightly controversial, but all three of these have left a lasting mark on me and provided a moment of empowerment.
Figures released by Elizabeth Arden in 2014 show a significant decline in their celebrity fragrance sales compared to the previous year - down some 30% when compared to the performance of 2013. Their reportoire includes everything from Elizabeth Taylor to Britney Spears, with Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber thrown in for good measure; they offer a huge selection of celeb scents that often shift millions of units and make them billions of pounds every year. However, the trend seems to be that we're a little tired of celebs putting their name to a bottle of smelly stuff thanks to the pure saturation everyone from One Direction to Cheryl Cole and that blonde one off TOWIE having their own branded fragrance. I can remember when J.Lo launched her first fragrance 'Glow' in 2002 and it was deemed as somewhat revolutionary: sales were unsurprisingly astronomical and range extensions soon followed, making her portfolio one of the most successful in history. Britney Spears has also made a large fortune from her fragrance line, even launching a new variant this year called 'Rocker Femme' - there's no sign of her slowing down. However, are we becoming a little more snobby when it comes to our fragrance choices? Are we turning our backs on our favourite musicians in favour of something more classic, unique and sophisticated?
In the last couple of years The Body Shop have certainly given themselves a kick up the posteria; they've gone from offering drab and outdated products that you wouldn't give a second look, to a portfolio bursting with innovation and exciting scents that are truly relevant to beauty enthusiasts in 2015. The 'Fuji Green Tea' collection is no exception, capitalising on the trend for green tea and everything good for your overall wellbeing. Consisting of their deliciously rich body butter and luxurious body sorbet, as well as a lightweight cologne, body scrub and bath tea, these energising and uplifting products contain a fragrance that's perfect for spring and universal in its appeal. It's a touch of affordable luxury for your mind, body and bath tub...
One of the things I get asked the most on social media, is 'can you give me some really great concealer recommendations for dark circles?' Let's face it, no matter how cleanly we try to live (early nights, lots of skincare, minimal alcohol and cutting down on sweet treats) we're always battling with those dark areas under our eyes. As we age the skin around the eye becomes even thinner, allowing the blood-flow underneath to show through more prominently; paired with dehydration and a bad nights sleep, the problem becomes pretty astronomical. I've always been a bit of a concealer addict, even as a student spending £18.00 on my favourite product and eating toasties for the rest of the month as a consequence. I go through a lot of products trying to find the best of the best, but many concealers don't live up to expectations or provide the coverage I require - however, this edit includes some of my favourite ever formulas (with a couple of new discoveries thrown in for good measure) that will help you cover imperfections and provide you with confidence.
Smooth skin may seem like a pipe-dream for many, thanks to health and lifestyle choices playing havoc with the surface level of our bodies. However, with a few simple changes to your routine and integrating truly effective products into your repertoire, it may be a lot easier than you think to achieve the smooth and glowing surface you've dreamed of. Consistent exfoliation can not only ensure our skin is healthy looking and refreshed, but it also helps to prevent clogged pores, acne, ingrown hairs, scarring, blemishes and all kinds of infections. If you suffer from breakouts or those annoying bumpy bits on your arms or legs, then exfoliation can really help the skin to regenerate and look like new. If you're struggling with acne, it may just be that your pores are becoming blocked with dead skin cells that are causing irritation and infection. Whatever your problem, the solution could be Clearista: a brand that offers truly effective retexturising solutions, that can be used both on the body and face, to reveal smooth and glowing skin.