Sunday, 23 August 2009

A Review: L'Oreal Studio Secrets Primer

L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional
Smoothing Resurfacing Primer

I knew that L'Oreal was releasing a 'more professional' line of products, most of them being eye and lip colours determined by your eye/hair colours, and a new line of foundations and concealers. There was one product that I was interested in trying, even more so after seeing Holly's review video, which was the Smoothing Resurfacing Primer.

What Do I Think?
I never normally used to use a primer, in all honesty all of the ones I have previously tried only served to make my skin oilier, hence making my make up last for less time that it would normally! The concept of using a primer is to increase the longevity and durability of your make up, and to provide a good base for your make up to adhere to in the first place. This new Studio Secrets primer is designed to "mask wrinkles and uneven textures in the skin, making the complexion incredibly smooth with a velvety touch. Skin feels soft as if resurfaced". It is also meant to reduce the appearance of dark circles, skin redness and pores, which was the main reason behind my purchasing it. I was worried that this primer may just 'bulk up' underneath my foundation, and not work at all, however I was pleased to be proved wrong. From initial impressions, after first use, this primer definitely softens the skin, leaving it feeling as silky smooth as a babies bottom! It evens out skin tone, dulling the redness I have along my cheeks, forehead and chin. It does make a slight difference to the appearance of my dark circles, but I wouldn't say it eliminates them completely. My pores do not look as visible after application, which is definitely something that gets a thumbs up from me. I don't like to agree with all of the marketing spiel released with every new product, but I do think the claims behind this product are accurate. It is quite a small container, but I've been using it for a month now, and I've not even got below the neck of the jar!

Where Is It Available?
L'Oreal is available at most drugstores, supermarkets, chemists and online. It is available nationwide.

How Much Will It Cost?
This product retails for approx £12.99 (£9.99 in Boots stores for a limited time).

Would I Recommend It?
I really do like this primer. It feels luxurious and expensive, it's pink(!) and a gorgeous light, whipped type formulation that makes it easy to apply. It's non greasy, suitable for all skin types and really does work to prime your skin. I would recommend you try this, it really does improve the look, feel and condition of the skin :)

Star Rating:

Birthday Haul: Victoria Jackson

OK, OK...I hear you cry "Birthday Haul...but Laura your birthday was almost a whole month ago!". I could just be a truly epic fail of a blogger, OR I could be a super blogger and have made you wait because I was testing everything so I can make an informed decision :)

Colin, bless his heart, all by himself bought me make up AND hair straighteners (and my tickets to Bug Jam 23 the week before my birthday!). I was so chuffed, and even more so because I really like everything he got me, bonus!

Victoria Jackson is not someone I have ever heard much about on the blogging scene, although I have seen a couple of her products/tips in magazines and on TV. I have also seen stands in places like WHSmith, Debanhams and House of Fraser with 'sales' people offering deals on her make up kits and photoshoots. I have always been intrigued, but never had the money to buy the products at the time, so I had to say no and walk on by. I *think* Colin was drawn in by the sales talk, but I don't necessarily think that's bad, because you do get quite a bit of product for you money, especially when you compare to the likes of MAC, Urban Decay and other high end brands.

Here is what I got:

The black case is HUGE, and has lots of little compartments, including a mirror in leather casing, brush holders, zippable compartments and little slots for the palettes. The red case is a separate brush roll, which will be super for travelling, and the white leather case holds 4 lip glosses and a gorgeous nude lip liner.

The brushes say Sarah Ashton on them, so I not sure how this relates to Victoria Jackson, but they are all soft and work well, without too much shedding. I washed them today and hardly any hairs came out, which always impresses me!

As you can see, you also get a little ring binder full of tips, tricks and helpful suggestions for make up looks. There are some really useful things in there, including how to fill in your brows (Chase Aston would be so proud of me!) and how to work with different eye shapes.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge, but as you can see there are two palettes, the top one is called Babydoll, the bottom called The Eyes Have It. The eye shadows are all really wearable colours, and blend really nicely. I have worn some of the darker shades blended into the crease with some MAC eyeshadows and you honestly can't tell the difference.

I did a few random swatches: a couple of the eyeshadows, lip glosses, the lip liner and some blush. None of the products seem to have names/colour descriptions, so it's a little hard to refer to them without photographing them all individually. As usual the camera flash has washed out all of the colours somewhat, but you can tell with the glosses especially just how rich the colours are!

I would actually recommend these packages, despite the cheesy sales talk, because the products are really well pigmented, they have pretty good longevity and are really nice quality overall. I would love to give Colin a makeover using the products, but sadly he didn't seem too up for that idea! I'll do a FOTD soon :)

Thank you baby ♥

NOTD: Dynasty

There have been quite a few mentions of the Collection 2000 Hot Looks nail polishes, and when I saw them on 3for2 (I think they are approx £1.75) I decided to get some! I picked up Dynasty (pictured), BMX Bandit and Wham. On first impression these are really nice consistency, 2 coats gave me 'bottle colour' as you can see above, and there is no streaking. I really like the brush, it's quite big and dense so you only need a couple of strokes to fill the whole nail. I'm quite dubious about the longevity of these nail polishes, but I'll let you know!

The colour Dynasty is a paler version of one of my favourite polishes, GOSH Wild Lilac, and I was inspired to try this by Kelly (Kelanjo19) who was wearing this on her nails at the Body Shop event last week! The flash has dulled the colour down quite a bit, but it isn't too 'in your face', which is good if you can't get away with brighter shades at work.

Speaking of work...I had to file my nails down quite a bit today because they kept catching on the other keys when I'm typing on the computer at work! As a PA my job involves a lot of typing! Quick shout out to my new work friend Nicole if she reads this, a fellow make up addict who I confided in about my blog! Hopefully she will be inspired to start up her own one, and I can't wait to check out her collection!

What do you think of the Collection 2000 Hot Looks?

Saturday, 22 August 2009

A Review: Garnier Pure Active Range

Garnier Pure Active Range
Acne Prone Skin

This review has been a long time coming, for which I apologise. I wanted to give you a honest, impartial review on this new Garnier range, and I was genuinely excited to try it. I tried all of the products in the range, excluding the toner. This review will be on the Pure Active: Blackhead Scrub; Spot-On Roll-On; Deep Pore Wash & Spot Fighting 24-hr Moisturiser.

What Do I Think?
This range from Garnier is specifically formulated with 2% salicylic acid and a special ingredient Herbasoothe (derived from blueberries), designed to "deeply cleanse skin and clear pores to help protect against spots,whilst caring for your skin". My initial impressions of this range were pretty good, I liked the fresh scent, the cooling and refreshing feel of the products on my skin. I like products that feel like they are working straight away which was definitely true of the Spot-On Roll-On, which is the only product from the range that I am still using on an almost daily basis, although I am not entirely convinced of it's effectiveness! The Deep Pore Wash and the Blackhead Scrub felt very invigorating when I used them in the shower of a morning, which I liked. However, after use my skin did feel very tight and slightly uncomfortable, so I feel the products were too astringent for my liking. Although I have very oily skin, which is blemish prone, I am also slightly sensitive, so I feel the high level of salicylic acid was too much for my skin. I would occasionally use the Blackhead Scrub if I feel my blemishes are getting out of hand, although I do think perhaps on my skin, prolonged use would actually cause blemishes rather than eliminate it. The moisturiser was again really cooling on the skin, and again if I felt my blemishes were a real problem all over my face I would perhaps use this. All in all, the range for my skin was too astringent and a slight bit drying, and did not really eliminate the blemishes I did have. The Spot-On Roll-On helps to reduce scarring, which is the real reason I am still using it. I like the concept of the range, but in terms of it's effectiveness on MY skin, it's not the right range for me.

Where Is It Available?
Boots, Superdrug, most supermarkets etc. I believe Garnier is stocked nationwide, and no doubt you can find it online somewhere!

Would I Recommend It?
It's difficult for me to properly recommend this range given that for me personally, it did not work. However, as with most reviews, what works or doesn't work for me might not necessarily be the case for you, so I would recommend if you have spot prone skin, this range could work for you and it's an accessible and affordable range to try.

Star Rating:

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Money, Money, Money...

I have put off writing this post for a while because I like my blog to be a happy, positive place...for myself and for my followers! It's my place to get things off of my chest too, but sometimes the more serious/depressing stuff just doesn't cut it, because it ruins the tone! This isn't a pre-warning about a manically depressing post or anything, more a hint that it may be a bit long winded or ranty! You'll understand why...I hope! has always been a subject of much discussion, throughout my 23 years. When I was younger I had to earn my pocket money through doing chores for my parents, and when I saw my Grandparents they would normally slip my sister and I some money. I understood (although I might not have shown at the time) that the point of this was to teach me the value of money, and to start me off with a good work want something, you work for it...simple! Of course when I was young the only money concerns I had were whether or not I had enough money for the chocolate mice AND the strawberry bon bons at the sweet shop...ah how innocent! The older one gets, the more money one wants/needs because there are inevitably more things you want to buy. In my teenage years I didn't understand why I couldn't just have it there and then, if I wanted it I had to save for it etc...I'm glad my parents taught me this because that did kind of stick. Toward the end of my school years I had part time/weekend jobs that allowed me to have slightly more money than my allowance provided. I have always loved shopping and buying myself nice things, and I know that I always's my hobby! However, once I started working in 'proper' jobs for 'proper' money, having my OWN money to spend was quite overwhelming, and I'll admit that I did just buy for the sake of buying a lot of the time. I was doing my online banking not long after having been made redundant, when the realisation that I had spent a year working for a major corporation, on a very decent salary, but had absolutely zero to show for it, suddenly dawned on me. It shocked me if I'm honest. Where had all my money gone?!

I can't bring back my money, and I know that after Uni I was in some debt (well, LOTS of debt, but I mean overdraft debt not 'student bloody loan' debt!) which took me a while to get out of. The cycle of being overdrawn, getting paid, paying off overdraft, spending too much, being overdrawn etc etc is a hard one to break if you have the wrong attitude towards money and spending. I don't think I necessarily was bad with money, I just got too excited at the 'thought' of having it, and spent more than I could afford to spend! We all do it, it's just how you deal with it that matters!

How have I dealt with it? Well, I will have to report back once I am earning, but I can tell you that being unemployed and 100% penniless for two months is certainly a money wake up call! In an ideal world I should have saved plenty of money from my 2 years of working since Uni...I haven't, hence I had not a penny to see me through my time without work. I have basically sat at home for two months, and had a lot of time to think. By simply NOT being able to spend any money, I have changed the way I think about it, and in turn my attitude towards spending has changed. I have still been obsessed with make up, but I have had to sit back and watch people talking about what they have bought, and that made me realise that quite often the purchases I made were actually impulse buys, which I ended up not wanting or using. That was partly why Colin & I started up our website SwapsiesUK, I needed a place to swap my unwanted buys for something I would use (I STILL think that is a great idea, and still use the site...obviously!). I am hoping that when I get my first paycheck (if there is anything left after paying back the money I had to borrow to pay rent/bills etc for these 2 months) I will put some of it into my savings account and leave myself with an amount that can be spent if I want to. My family say money burns a hole in my pocket, and I think that is true of myself (and a lot of other people), so I want to try and turn that fire into a pot of gold sitting in my savings for a rainy day!

This all sounds wonderfully simple in theory, and I know it won't be...the impulse to spend and buy things is probably ingrained in me, BUT it's training myself to allow that impulse to happen within reason that will be the real test. I think I can do it. This forced spending ban isn't over yet, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I really hope I can prove to myself that it won't blind me!