Friday, 28 September 2012

Botanics Shine Away Ionic Mask Review

I've always liked the Botanics range from Boots, in particular their eye make up remover, but I had heard so-so things about them since they underwent their rebranding from other bloggers and other review sites, a lot of people felt they had changed the formula of the products and it no longer worked for them but also a lot of people love the new products, so it's difficult to judge on reviews alone.
I had never used a face mask from Botanics before so I was happy to give this a try, I had enough points on my advantage card so I thought I would treat myself, luckily Botanics products were on offer with 1/3 off the usual price, so I got this for £4.66, normally costing £6.99 for 100ml, so still quite reasonable.

Botanics say: 'This mineral-rich ionic mask absorbs excess oil and detoxifies skin. The oceanic clay exhibits a negative electrical charge, which helps to draw out deep-rooted impurities without overdrying. Skin is left clearer, softer and smoother.
Willowbark is nature's champion clarifier. Excess sebum, pollution and old skin cells can clog up pores, resulting in shine and blemishes. The bark of the willow tree is a natural source of salicylic acid which helps to refine skin texture and actively target imperfections.'

You apply a generous amount of the clay to cleansed skin, the directions say to leave for 10 minutes but I actually left this for about 15-20 minutes until I knew all of the mask had dried, which is when it changes colour and it becomes quite tight on your skin. 

When the mask had dried I found that in areas where my pores are quite large the clay had little dimples like the clay had sunk into them which was a bit strange but hopefully means it was working deep into my pores.

The instructions say to wipe the excess off with a tissue and then rinse with water, but I found that I needed to wash it off with warm water and use a flannel to ensure I washed all of the clay off, I used toner afterwards to make sure my skin was clean, as it's a black/green clay it is a bit messy but it is easily washed away and doesn't stain.

  • After using the face mask my skin felt very clean and refreshed, which was perfect after a very busy day at work.
  • This might sound strange but I like a face mask where you can feel it doing something, even if it's only getting tighter when it dries.
  • Price, it's pretty reasonable at £6.99 for 100ml.
  • I like the new Botanics packaging, I think it looks more modern which will appeal to a wider range of people.

  • The second time I used this, the product inside had gone a bit watery, so when I opened it black water went everywhere, I had to shake the tube to get the clay to the bottom, so be warned as it doesn't advise on the packaging to shake before use.
  • As it's a clay mask it can get a bit messy so you would definitely need to apply this in a bathroom or somewhere with a sink nearby.
  • I can't say that the texture of my skin had been refined in any way, although it did leave my skin feeling soft.
  • The mask is suitable for all skin types but as it was quite tight I didn't apply this near the edges of my face which is a bit dry, so I'm not sure how good this would be if you had dry skin.

Would I repurchase?
As this was just an OK face mask I probably won't as I would like to experiment with other brands.

What face masks would you recommend?

Don't forget to enter our Nuxe Travel Kit giveaway here. Good Luck!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

REN Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel Review
REN are a brand that I hadn't really heard much about until they gave away a starter kit with Red magazine a few months ago, since then I have heard on other blogs about how much of a good brand they are. REN products do not contain parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours, T.E.A, D.E.A, Glycols, silicones, and PEGS, I'm not going to lie I don't know what a few of those are but they don't sound good, so I was pleased to know that their products don't contain ingredients that would be harmful to my skin.

When I was on the hunt for a new cleanser I had a look through the clinics on Caroline Hiron's blog and she had suggested REN to others as an alternative to other very expensive brands, I always look up reviews on other blogs and through Make up Alley before buying new products and the REN cleansers had great reviews, so I bought the Mayblossom Cleansing Gel from their range for combination skin.

REN Mayblossom T-Zone Cleansing Gel

 REN say that the cleanser is  'A balancing, antibacterial facial cleansing gel for skin that is prone to oiliness and breakouts, particularly in the T-zone.'
Results from using the cleanser are:

  • Removes dirt and dissolves excess sebum
  • Unclogs pores
  • Reduces the appearance of pore size
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial
I have been using this cleanser morning and night everyday since I purchased it, and I absolutely love it, I have noticed a huge difference in the appearance and feel of my skin. My skin feels much softer and smoother after using this, and my pores do appear smaller and less noticeable.

I have been using a flannel in warm water to remove the cleanser as an alternative to muslin cloths as they are much cheaper (pack of 3 for £4 in Primark) and they do the same job, so I can be sure that my skin is completely cleansed and being gently exfoliated at the same time.

  • This cleanser has made my skin feel much softer and smoother, which lasts all day, I can tell my skin is much softer even through my foundation.
  • I used my old Simple face wash as a last resort when I couldn't find this when I was in the shower the other day and I realised how harsh the simple face wash was in comparison to the REN cleanser. With REN my skin feels really clean, almost squeaky clean, but not tight or stripped of moisture, it feels really gentle on my skin.
  • My pores do appear to be smaller and less noticeable (even if it was only me who noticed them in the first place), which is a miracle.
  • The Mayblossom scent is gorgeous, it is quite strong but not overpowering, if you are funny with scented skin care I would recommend you test this on the back of your hand and see how you feel about it throughout the day.
  • Price - I was wary at first at the price, £17 for 150ml, it's a lot more than my usual face wash at £2.49, but compared to Liz Earle Cleanse which is £12.75 for 100ml, you are getting more product for your money. You can also use the product sparingly so I'm hoping this will last me a while.
  • I find that this doesn't really remove all my eye make up, so I do have to use an eye make up remover along side it. I have been using my Bioderma to remove my eye make up and as a pre-cleanse before I use the cleanser. I always double cleanse to make sure I remove all my make up especially if I use a product which contains SPF. I don't mind having to use an eye make up remover as I do love Bioderma but it may bother some people.
  • This isn't that much of a con as I do love the pump packaging, but you do have to be careful when you first use it, if you press the pump all the way down you get a lot more product than you probably need, so I only press it half way down so I get the right amount and don't waste too much.
Would I repurchase?
Yes definitely, I would recommend this to anyone. The quality of this cleanser really makes me want to try out other REN products.

Have you tried REN products? What did you think?

Check out our Nuxe Travel Kit giveaway here. Good Luck!


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Nuxe Giveaway - CLOSED

We are both in love with Nuxe products, and when I was in Paris I was sure to stock up, when I saw this travel kit I knew it was a perfect way to say thank you to all our followers, we are soo pleased to have over 100 followers through GFC, Hello Cotton and Blog Lovin'.

The Nuxe travel kit contains:
3 Roses Micellar Cleansing Water
Ultra Comfortable Face Cream
Huile Prodigieuse Multi Usage Dry Oil
Reve De Miel Hand and Nail Cream
Reve De Miel Foaming Bath and Shower Gel

You can enter our giveaway using the rafflecopter widget below, one lucky reader will be selected at random on the 7th October, the giveaway is open worldwide. Please note you must follow us on either GFC, Hello Cotton or Blog Lovin to win. Good Luck!

Elaine & Rachel

Uh-oh I've been shopping

Recently I have been overhauling my skin care routine, I was beginning to realise that my Simple face wipes and foam wash just weren't cutting it anymore, I also learnt that my skin was dehydrated, which seemed strange to me as my skin is combination/oily, but my skin is actually lacking in water, so I have been trying to invest in products to help my dehydrated skin so that it can become more balanced and trying to drink more water.

So when I found out a couple of weeks ago that had a 1/3 off french pharmacy brands I jumped at the chance to get some new skin care products, the offer is running throughout September, if you spend over £30 you also get free delivery, which is great. I have spent more than I ever normally would trying to get good skin care products as Caroline Hirons says on her blog "If you would spend more on shoes, handbags, lipstick, jeans or fashion in general than you would on high quality skincare - you will be a sixty year old woman (and man) with a vintage wardrobe and a face like an alligator" so to find an offer like this was perfect timing!

Avene Hydrance Optimale Legere - Light Hydrating Cream, £8.99 normally £13.50
This moisturiser is also available with SPF, I chose not to get that one as I intend to use this at night time or during the winter months as I am happy with my Olay day moisturiser which contains SPF 15.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque, £10.56 normally £16
I used this tonight and so far I really like it, my skin feels throughly moisturised and very soft, review to come soon.

Vichy Purete Thermale Refreshing Toner - Normal to Combination Sensitive Skin, £7.26 normally £11
I have used this a couple of times and my skin does feel refreshed and very clean, but I have noticed I have had quite shiny skin recently and I'm not sure if it is due to this toner... So I'm going to keep trying it out and let you know what I think.

Avene Thermal Spring Water - 150ml, £4.33 normally £6.50
I admit I only bought the big can so that I could get the free delivery, but I am excited about using this product to set and also refresh make up.

Not content with this, when I got paid at the weekend I went straight to Boots...

Indeed Hydraluron - Moisture Booster with the purest hyaluronic acid, £24.99
Caroline Hirons raves about this on her blog, and when I was looking through her clinic she strongly recommended it to a lot of people who had dehydrated skin which was nearly everyone, so I'm looking forward to trying this out and I have to admit I have high expectations. Although for the price it won't be something I will use everyday but as and when it's needed, which may be quite often now it's getting colder.

Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream, £5.99 normally £8.99 
I figured if the rest of my face needed a drink then so did the skin around my eyes. I have been using this daily since I bought it, and I really like it as it sinks into the skin quickly and isn't tacky. 

Collection (2000) Lasting Perfection Concealer in Light, £4.19
I bought this ages ago in fair and I have never 100% been happy with it, the colour always felt too light for my skin tone even though I am quite pale, I know concealer should be a shade lighter than your foundation but when I used this in fair I looked odd. But after a week or so of hardly any sleep I needed a heavy duty concealer so I bought this one in Light and mix the two together and it gives me the perfect shade, I really wish I had done it sooner!


Sunday, 9 September 2012

French Skin Care Haul!

 I had heard soo much about french pharmacies before I went to Paris that I couldn't wait to go shopping when I got there, I made a special trip to the City Pharma that Lisa Eldridge always heads for when she was in Paris, it was an amazing pharmacy with loads of different aisles with bargains, so it was quite busy! I had in my head what I was after but when I was there it was hectic so only picked up a couple of things, it was a bit overwhelming how much stuff there was which obviously was all in French! Although is currently running a 1/3 off French Pharmacy beauty brands so I could be tempted to buy a couple more things!

 I headed straight for the Bioderma, a bloggers favourite, I had never tried it before but I was after a decent make up remover as I always double cleanse and at 7 Euros for 500ml I obviously had to get two!! I have enjoyed using it since I got home and haven't reached for face wipes once.

 Decleor Paris Aromessence Ylang Ylang Purifying Serum, this is on sale in the UK for £46 and I got it in Paris for 36 Euros which was around £30!!! I have been using a sample of this and it has made my skin so nice, I never thought that adding oil to my face would actually help my oily/combination skin, but it really has. It is a lot of money to pay but a little goes a long way, and it smells divine!

I had to get this Caudalie Beauty Elixir to see what all the fuss was about, it was about 8 Euros, so at that price I thought I would give it a try, unfortuantley it hasn't traveled well and there seems to be drops of natural oils that have separated from the Elixir so there are little brown drops floating on the top, not the best.

Nuxe Ultra-nourishing Lip Balm with Honey and Precious Oils, this lip balm smells absolutely gorgeous and it actually makes my bag smell really nice when I'm carrying it around. 
The lip balm itself is quite matte so you only need to use a little bit, and you can feel it sinking in and nourishing your lips, I struggle with lip balms sometimes when they just sit on your lips, but I absolutely love this one.

I didn't forget about our followers when I was away... there is a French Pharmacy giveaway coming very very soon!! We wanted to get something to say thank you to everyone that takes the time to read our blog and make comments, it is very much appreciated and so exciting when we see that we have a new follower or someone has made a comment.


Saturday, 8 September 2012

September - She Said Beauty Box

If you have seen my post from a couple of weeks ago about the very nice presents I received for my birthday (post here), my lovely friends had got me a 3 month subscription to She Said Beauty, and I was really thrilled to have my first box waiting for me when I got back from Paris! So here is what was inside...

Collection 2000 Fix Me Up, Long Lasting Make-up Fixer - Full Size £5.99
Collection 2000 Primed & Ready, Smoothing Make-up Primer - Full Size £5.99
Ginvera, Green Tea Whitening Gel (Full Size £22 - 60ml)
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Full Size £3.50, 30ml
Amie, Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask - 15ml Sachet £1.50
and a packet of Popchips in salt and vinegar

I really like this box and can't wait to try out all the products, I do think the sample packet of crisps is a bit random though!


Friday, 7 September 2012

I ♥ Paris

I've just got back from an amazing few days from Paris and thought I would share some photos! 
 My boyfriend proposed in the gardens at the Louvre! It was such an amazing surprise! The ring is a little small but I couldn't resist trying to make it fit! 


Sunday, 2 September 2012

What I'm taking to Paris!

I'm going to Paris today (Yay), it's my only holiday this year and I have been looking forward to it for months! If you follow us on twitter you will know that I had a bit of a panic as my boyfriend couldn't find his passport the other day but we finally found it, think Rachel thought she was going to get a freebie holiday!

So I thought I would share with you what make-up and toiletries I am taking, I love reading what other people take on holiday, mainly as I am quite nosey!

Garnier BB Cream for Combination/Oily Skin (You can see a review here)
L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Extra Black
Real Techniques Stippling Brush
Avon Super Shock Gel Eyeliner Black
Collection (2000) Extreme Felt Tip Eyeliner (I know it might seem strange that I'm taking two eyeliners but I use the Avon one for my water line)
Benefit Thrrrob Blusher (You can see a review here)
L'Oreal Chrome Shine Eyeshadow in Beige Shimmer - Swatch below
Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer in Light
BM Beauty HD powder
Garnier Eye Roll on
Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti
L'Oreal Rouge Caresse in Dating Coral
Kate Rimmel Lipstick in 16
Lipstick swatches are below
'Eco Tools' brush - this was part of a set I bought on ebay claiming to be real eco tools but they are fake (I compared to Rachel's real Eco Tools brushes) but at only £5 I knew it was going to be highly likely they were fake, which is fine as they are actually pretty good brushes but they aren't going to be as soft as the originals, but they come in handy!

L'Oreal Chrome Shine Eye Shadow in Beige Shimmer
I love these range of shadows I have quite a few, this shade is great for a day time or evening look.

Swatches Bottom to Top - Rimmel 16, L'Oreal Dating Coral & Revlon Tutti Frutti

These 3 are some of my favourite lipsticks right now, I think I will more than likely wear the L'Oreal lipstick during the day as it is the most moisturising and a nice subtle shade, and tutti frutti and 16 during the evening for a more bold look, I want to get my wear out of the Rimmel lipstick as I think it's definitely more of a summer colour, and summer has officially ended!!

DKNY Juicy be delicious perfume
Soltan Spf 15
Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep Spray
Figs and Rouge Lip Balm (you can see a review here)
Olay Day Fluid for normal/oily skin
Tresemme 24 hour body shampoo and conditioner
Sure Maximum Protection Deodorant (wouldn't normally include this in the photo, but bloggers have been raving about this, I have only just bought it so will be testing it out on holiday)
Batiste Dry Shampoo in Tropical
FAB cleanser

I can not wait to go french pharmacy shopping, I have never been shopping in Paris before but I have heard the pharmacies in Paris are amazing for skin care, so I have been watching loads of youtube videos to see what I should be looking out for! Some of the best have been by Essie-Button and Lisa Eldridge, and if you already love french skin care Caroline Hirons is having a huge french skin care giveaway on her blog!

I might even buy some things for a giveaway myself...

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