22/07/2014

The Expert Brush Collection Review

A picture of The Body Shop Expert Brush Collection

A picture of The Body Shop Expert Brush Collection
Makeup brushes are a weakness of mine. I collect makeup brushes just like I do lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes. I have more than I need, yet I never seem to have enough. I remember when I was younger, I had only a couple of makeup brushes - and even they were snapped up second-hand from my mum. I've done the whole using your hands to apply makeup thing, and although it worked for me in my younger years (or not so much, if you see the photo evidence), you could not pay me to apply my makeup without brushes now.

When you buy brushes individually, it can be quite a lengthy and expensive process building up your collection. A good quality brush can cost anything from £10 upwards, but a budget-friendly way to grow your brush collection is brush sets. Lots of brands offer them, usually with a handful or so brushes, at a set price which is cheaper than if you bought each of the brushes individually. One such set, which I have been using over the past fortnight, is The Body Shop The Expert Brush Collection (£30).

Featuring five brushes, The Expert Brush Collection is one of three brush collections available from The Body Shop. Like all The Body Shop products, each brush within the range is cruelty free, with super-soft synthetic bristles. With a total worth of £58, you're saving almost £30 buying the brushes as a set, rather than individually. But what brushes are included, and are they worth investing in?

The Body Shop Eyeshadow Brush is a medium flat brush with tapered bristles, which has been created to provide precise and even application with both powder and cream eye shadows. Personally for me, I adore the eyeshadow brush for applying cream eyeshadow bases - I find the synthetic yet gorgeously glossy bristles are perfect for the formula and texture of cream shadows, opposed to looser, more fluffy brushes which never seem to pick up much product for me. It's definitely helped rekindled my love for some of my favourite cream bases, such as my MAC Paint Pots. I also find this doubles up nicely as a concealer brush!

The Body Shop Blusher Brush is the perfect size for a blusher brush. There's a nice density but with slightly longer bristles than other blusher brushes in my collection. I find this makes the blusher brush lovely for applying subtle, more natural toned blushers. I have a lot of lovely natural, warming blushers in my stash (some which double up as a natural contour, such as the Bobbi Brown Almond Powder Blusher) and the blusher brush makes it effortless to apply, adding a touch of warmth to the apples of my cheeks, then applying slightly more pressure to apply a natural contour upwards, slightly fanning the bristles of the brush. Best to use this one just for powder blushes though!

The Body Shop Foundation Brush is a traditionally shaped flat, tapered brush, best suited to liquid bases. I love traditional foundation brushes - although I don't always find them easy to create a flawless finish, I much prefer using them to apply the foundation to my face, before buffing in with another brush (usually my Real Techniques Buffing Brush) for a natural finish. This is lovely for just that, and also works really work for applying cream contours, before buffing in with my Real Techniques Contour Brush

The Body Shop Face & Body Brush is described as the perfect brush for applying both loose powder products and powder bronzers, for use on the face, neck and d├ęcolletage. For me this one is lovely for powder bronzers. The bristles are long, just the right density, but there's a subtle tapered end which works brilliantly for contouring, whilst still being the perfect brush for blending to a natural finish. 

The Body Shop Lipstick & Concealer Brush is the final brush in The Expert Brush Collection and is one I actually prefer just as a lip brush. It's a touch too small for concealer, but works perfectly for both blending lip liners and applying lipstick. With a slightly tapered top, it's really precise and perfect for applying lipsticks fuss-free!

Each of the brushes in The Expert Brush Collection have made their way into my everyday routine. I really like all of them, but my favourites are definitely the Eyeshadow Brush and Blusher Brush! A fab set of brushes that would be perfect for anyone from beauty novices to fully fledged beauty addicts. Have you tried any brushes from The Body Shop before? 

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21/07/2014

Makeup Revolution Lips

A picture of Makeup Revolution Amazing Lipstick in Treat and Salvation Velvet Lacquer in Keep Trying For You

A picture of Makeup Revolution Amazing Lipstick in Treat and Salvation Velvet Lacquer in Keep Trying For You
Lip products are probably the products I own the most of. I am a sucker for a good lipstick, beautiful colours and fab formulas! But a lot of the brands in my stash are quite high-end, with price tags to match. 

I've shared my thoughts on a couple of Makeup Revolution products recently; the budget-friendly £4 Redemption Essential Shimmers palette, which I adore and has become quite the summer favourite, as well as the Baked Highlighter in Pink Lights, which I wasn't such a fan of. As a budget-friendly brand that seems to be winning the hearts of beauty adorers all over the UK, I've been trying out a few more products from the range, including two lip products. One which packs quite a punch, the other I wouldn't miss if I didn't have it...

There's no denying £1 for a lipstick is a bargain! A super purse-friendly price and within anyone's budget, which is a great thing about Makeup Revolution - everyone can indulge in their products. Makeup Revolution describe their lipstick range as a must-have range of lipsticks with over 20 shades, a creamy formula and long-lasting colour. Always a lover of the classic nude lip, I've been trying the Makeup Revolution Amazing Lipstick in Treat (£1) A lovely apricot nude, Treat is a shade which would suit a whole variety of skin-tones, a perfect everyday wearable shade. The formula is super creamy, it feels light-weight when on, with a finish akin to MAC Luster lipsticks

Although I love the shade, I haven't fallen in love with Treat as a lipstick. A creamy formula is fab, keeping your lips from getting dry and uncomfortable, but this ultra creamy formula makes the shade just a touch too sheer for my liking and it needs to be really built up to achieve an opaque colour. I also find Treat doesn't last long on me at all, needing to reapply more often than I'd like. Although £1 is a fantastic price, I'm not sure I'd delve into other shades from the Amazing Lipstick range, as the formula just doesn't work for me.

The Makeup Revolution Salvation Velvet Lacquer in Keep Trying For You (£3) on the other hand, is a must-have! A gorgeous liquid lipstick that is truly opaque in colour and has a gorgeous creamy formula that's the perfect in between - not too thin, not too thick. Effortless to apply, one layer will give you a gorgeous deep colour which can be built up with a second layer for more intensity. The finish is matte, yet it doesn't feel drying or uncomfortable when on like many matte lip products can. The shade is actually gorgeous, a real bright cherry red, but with blue undertones that make Keep Trying For You the perfect red for any complexion. Lasting power we're talking all day long, very rarely needing to touch up and even lasting through food and drinks. It's a beauty, and at just £3, I definitely plan on trying some more shades from the range!

Have you tried any Makeup Revolution lip products? What's your favourite budget-friendly brand for gorgeous lipsticks and opaque shades? 

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20/07/2014

Benefit Benebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balms

A picture of Benefit Benebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balms

A picture of Benefit Chachabalm and Benebalm
A picture of Benefit Posiebalm and Lollibalm

A picture of Benefit Benebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balms
L-R: BeneBalm, Posiebalm, Lollibalm, Chachabalm
As soon as I saw the packaging for the new(ish) Benefit Benebalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balms, I knew I had never seen anything quite so pretty. Of all the quirky, unique and vibrant packaging akin to Benefit products (something they're very well known and loved for), this has to be my absolute favourite range for sheer packaging alone. The Benefit Benebalms were created after Benefit listened to their customers over their love for the Benetints range (which includes Benetint, Chachatint, Posietint and Lollitint), but who felt they could be a touch too drying when used as a lip tint. The Benefit Benebalms are Benefit's answer to keeping lips soft and nourished, whilst still using your favourite Benetints for a pop of colour. 

Each shade is featured in light-weight packaging with a high-end feel, with each colour-coded to their shades. Each differs slightly in design, with the designs on each (ranging from cute polka-dots to pretty florals) corresponding with their matching Benetint. The packaging for each shade is so spot on to the shade of the Benebalm in the bullet, and I think it really makes these lightly tinted balms stand out in my stash. I've said it already and I'll say it again - so pretty. 

Each has been specially formulated to condition and hydrate, with Mango Butter and Sodium Hyaluronate; the sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid, smaller in molecule size than Hyaluronic Acid which makes it easier to penetrate the skin's surface, able to hold up to 1,000 times it's weight. There's a lovely fruity scent to each, and there's no denying they feel moisturising when on, probably due to the lovely Mango Butter. The shades are each very, very subtle. We're talking sheer hints of colour, but they can be built up for a touch more intensity too. They go lovely above the partner Benefit Benetints, but also work well alone or above other lipsticks and tints. Benebalm (£14.50) has a lovely touch of cherry red, Posiebalm (£14.50) a gorgeous pale pink, Lollibalm (£14.50) is a subtle pinky lilac, whilst Chachabalm (£14.50) is a vibrant toned orange.

Now, since they're release I've seen a lot of negative reviews. We all know that no matter how much we want to love every product, some of us just aren't suited to every product out there. There's two main grumbles people seem to have with the Benebalms; colour pay-off and how much they actually benefit us as a lip balm. Because of this, before writing my review I wanted to give these hydration promising balms a proper run for their money, and used them as my sole lip balm choices for two weeks. If I wasn't wearing lipstick, I was wearing a Benebalm! 

So OK, the shades are pretty sheer. But there is definitely hints of colour there with each and like I said, they can easily be built up for more intensity. I personally have a pretty dark colouring to my lips, which means a lot of shades are a no-go for me. Yet despite my naturally darker lips, I still get that hint of colour from each balm when built up. They are super sheer, but they are also super pretty and for me, that hint of colour is enough. Hydration wise, I sit on the fence. I didn't see drastic changes to the condition of my lips through two weeks of continuous use, but I also never suffered from dry lips, peeling or soreness, which is something I often experience in summer due to the constant temperature changes and air-conditioning. If you already look after your lips and have a good lip-care routine; regular use of a lip scrub and applying balms and salves regularly throughout the day, then you'll find the Benebalms a delight to use. If you don't and often suffer from dry, cracking lips, these won't offer you the care your lips need to repair and protect, and for that I would definitely recommend trying the budget-friendly Burt's Bees Pomegranate Replenishing Lip Balm (£3.70) as a fantastic alternative!

I do think the could be a touch more purse-friendly in price, perhaps more around the £11.50-£12.50 mark, but overall I am really happy with the Benebalm range and they are a product I have enjoyed using daily - something I see continuing throughout summer! What do you think to the Benebalms? Have you tried them? What's your favourite high-street alternative? Mine is definitely the Revlon Lip Butter range! 

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18/07/2014

HealGel Body Review | Giveaway


 Ever since HealGel first hit the beauty scene, I have been obsessed. I own each of the products available for the HealGel range, and each are fail-safe products I can rely on when my skin needs some real TLC, with no gimmick selling-points. HealGel Intensive is my top serum, and one of my favourite ever skincare products; which goes to show just how much I adore HealGel as a brand!

HealGel Body (£39.50) is the latest product to join the range, the first product to be specifically for your body opposed to HealGel Intensive (£37.50), HealGel Eye (£32) and HealGel Face (£48), which are first and foremost, for our face. HealGel Body is a light-weight, easily absorbed body gel which works to gently nourish, repair and protect troublesome areas. It has a delicately scented formula, a very fresh and invigorating scent which reminds me somewhat of Intensive, alongside skin-loving ingredients such as Arnica and Madecassoside Liposomes, which work to target distressed areas, calming and soothing, whilst repairing and protecting with a regenerative effect. It's been particularly hailed by fans as marvellous for eczema, too!

For me, HealGel Body is the perfect summer product for keeping your skin happy. My skin suffers more in the summer than it does the winter, drying easily and often, feeling uncomfortable if it's a particularly hot day. HealGel Body has been perfect for those days where I've been out enjoying the sunshine and want something which will cool and soothe, whilst making me feel refreshed. I love the tube HealGel Body is presented in, a yellow label akin to the now highly coveted range. It sinks in quickly and is lovely to massage in; as it's a gel product, a little goes a long way, so despite it only being a 100ml tube it's lasting a long time with regular use! It also works well applied under a body butter, sort of like a first step, which is my favourite way to use HealGel Body as I get the benefits of a real skin treat, with the extra hydration of my favourite body butters.

As such a big fan of HealGel Body, I am really excited to be able to share a giveaway with all of you, to win your very own HealGel Body! Entering is simple - just read carefully the RaffleCopter below and fill it in! The giveaway starts today and will finish in two weeks time on August 1st. The giveaway is UK only; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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17/07/2014

Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Collection

A picture of Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Collection

A picture of Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Collection Sand Eye Palette

A picture of Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Brightening Pink Blush

A picture of Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Sheer Lip Color in Pink Taffy and Peach Sorbet

A picture of Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Collection
I say it time and time again, but Bobbi Brown really is my top high-end brand. There's something about Bobbi Brown products which make me feel as if a lot of thought, time and passion has gone into creating products that truly transform, yet highlight our natural beauty effortlessly. The whole brand philosophy is for me is my favourite, and Bobbi Brown herself has become quite my beauty idol! (Her books are a must-read) The latest limited edition collection to come from Bobbi Brown is one which I think is really fun and definitely a stunning summer collection. 

The Surf & Sand Collection, is a selection of Bobbi Brown's must-have summer products. It's quite a big collection, with a lot of products on offer; two eight-pan eyeshadow palettes, four sheer lip colours, two long-wear eye pencils, a beachball rollerball perfume, a long-wear cream shadow stick, a bronzing blush and a pink brightening blush, all of which are limited edition. Many of the products in the collection carry the classic Bobbi Brown packaging; sleek, black with the white Bobbi Brown logo, bold with a glossy. The two palettes on the other hand, are presented in an exclusive beach-inspired linen compact with mirror. The collection name, Surf & Sand, is boldly embossed in black alongside the Bobbi Brown Logo, against a gorgeous almost-exact golden sand like colour with lovely texture. Can you tell I like the palettes?

The Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Sand Eye Palette (£48) is easily my favourite from the collection. We already know I'm sold on the packaging for this one, but the shades are the biggest selling point. A neutral eye palette, each of the shades can be worked together to create a variety of looks from day to night, and absolutely perfect for the beach. If I was going abroad on holiday this summer (I wish!), this is the palette I'd take with me. With shades that differ in intensity, Bobbi Brown describes the Sand Eye palette as perfect for anyone who loves an easy nude-meets-sultry eye, with shades perfect against healthy, glowing, sun-kissed skin. The shades are perfect, and incredibly versatile; a pale warm porcelain, a peach opal, a warm copper sparkle, a soft pale gold, a warm porcelain, a medium ash-beige, a golden bronze and a dark grey-brown. Four of the shades have lovely matte finishes that are effortless to work with, but it's the shimmer and sparkle finish shades I love the most which pack a punch with intense colour pay-off and gorgeous eye-catching finishes. The longevity is as always with Bobbi Brown products, perfect, with colours lasting all day with no fading or smudging, and each just effortless to work with, apply and blend. 

The Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color range is pretty new to me, with the Surf & Sand offerings the first I've tried. A lightweight lipstick formula that works to provide an effortless wash of colour whilst nourishing our lips with a gorgeous shine finish. Using luxurious butters and oils, these lipsticks go beyond a pop of colour and really work to improve the condition of your lips. The Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Peach Sorbet Sheer Lip Color (£19.50) is a gorgeous peachy-coral with fine, shimmering golden undertones, perfect for any summers day. I actually think Peach Sorbet would make an insanely pretty blush shade, too! The Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Pink Taffy Sheer Lip Color (£19.50) is my favourite of the two though; a pale, dolly pink with the same beautiful and eye-catching fine golden shimmer, that looks incredible in sunlight. So smitten!

I am a big fan of Bobbi Brown brightening bricks and blushes, and so it's no surprise that I'm head over heels for the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Brightening Pink Blush (£34), which works as both a gorgeous pinky blush, and a stunning face brightening highlight. A lightly pearlised blush that provides that 'lit-from-within' colour with a touch of pink, is described as perfect for any skin tone. On me, built up for a touch of intensity it makes a perfect flattering blush. Yet my favourite use for this beauty is definitely as a highlight, for which it just works wonders at creating a brightening yet entirely flawless finish. 

Another stunning collection from Bobbi Brown, my summer looks are set! What's your favourite product from the Bobbi Brown Sand & Surf Collection? Have you picked up anything for yourself? What do you think to the unusual and unique packaging for the Sand Eye Palette?

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