Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Summer | Skin Soothers

Skincare probably is my Everest - I love it, but it is a never-ending climb. I doubt very much that I'll ever just stop and think ahhhh I don't need anymore new skincare. Because I always do. And I'm pretty sure I always will. Summer proves an odd one for my skin - if I don't hydrate enough (both from the inside and out) I have eczema patches appear under my eyes and on my lips. But I also have oily skin, so keeping that balanced is one of my key issues. Additionally, a little sun always does wonders for my skin, but obviously, SPF is needed, and mine being once a day UVA and UBV doesn't leave a lot of room for the sun to break through. Today I thought I would share the little saviours I am currently using to soothe summer skin.
My go-to clay mask is the Quick Fix Calming Clay Mask for Red and Sensitive Skin. I have the complete set of Quick Fix Mask, as well as numerous others, and this tends to be my fave. Unlike many clay masks, this is slightly thinner, doesn't dry hard or feel cloying on the skin, and as my sister says, "doesn't make you feel dehydrated." This tends to calm the skin quickly, as opposed to aiming to draw out the impurities in an aggressive way as many clay masks do. Next up, my second fave from Quick Fix - the Mega Moisture Gel Mask for Dry and Thirsty Skin. This is a gel consistency that again doesn't dry, but aims to cool and hydrate the skin, and is nothing short of a miracle worker for plumping parched skin. The Lush Mask of Magnaminty is one that is always in my stash. Another clay-based mask, this time thick, green and unctuous. With honey, peppermint and evening primrose, this soothes, cools and comforts the skin and also doubles up as an exfoliator when you wash it off. Last of all the Avene Soothing Mask - a sample that I have used once and am pretty impressed with - soft and soothing, perfect for summer.
Much love,
Ani x

Monday, 28 July 2014

Face of the Day | Bronzed

So I thought it might be about time that I show my face on here again - it has been quite some time, mostly because my everyday make up tends to be the same: some kind of contoured base, defined and smoked eyes, pink cheeks and a nude lip. This weekend though I bronzed myself up to the hilt and these were the results.
Skincare: Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
Primer: Max Factor Facefinity Primer
Concealer: Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Warm Medium
Base: Mix of Becca Luminous Skin Perfector in Toast and Maybelline Superstay Better Skin in Golden. L'oreal True Match Powder in Golden Beige
Contour: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium, L'oreal Paris Glam Bronze in Brunette Harmony.
Blush: Bourjois Blush Exclusif.
Highlight: L'oreal Paris Lumi Magique Pearl Powder in Rose Boudoir.
Eyes: Sleek Showstoppers Palette: Mix of the bronzey gold and green, with the black through the crease, Rimmel Rimmel Soft Khol Kajal Eye Pencil in Black, Bourjois Volume Glamour Mascara for Sensitive Eyes.
Lips: L’OrĂ©al Paris Colour Riche Extraordinaire liquid Nude Ballet.
And that, I think, is everything.
Let me know if you like Face of the Day posts!
Much love,
Ani x

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday's Stories | Three

Another week, another Sunday's Stories. I like these little posts - throughout the week I tend to save pictures and quotes that I love, along with taking selfies, and pics of things that I think are pic-worthy!
This week has included tiny glimpses of my wonderful niece and nephew, beauty inspirations and life lessons!
What have you seen this week that has inspired you?
Much love,
Ani x

Saturday, 26 July 2014

All Used Up | One

I thought I should start documenting my product usage - I use so many products that it would be nice to see what I use up, how quickly, and how good (or not so good) each product it. So, here goes this month's All Used Ups!
Elemis Tri-Enzyme Mask and Papaya Enzyme Peel - the Tri-Enzyme is one of my fave masks ever, kind of does everything, brightening, plumping, detoxing, all the while calming and soothing the skin, leaving it soft, cool and hydrated. I actually have a few more of these floating around that I will no doubt be using up. I have a feeling this will be my forever repurchased mask. The Papaya Enzyme is a more gentle, more hydrating version of the Tri-Enzyme - a perfect pick for sensitised skins!
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer - bought this specifically to repair the damage inflicted on my hair by my blonde months. This is a little bit of an odd product, I thought the results would be comparable to that of a hair mask, but it is entirely different in every way. Applied on wet hair, and left for at least 20 minutes, this doesn't give instant gratification - after shampooing and conditioning, I didn't see any instant results, but I persevered, and after a few treatments the condition of my hair really improved: it is definitely a more deep-rooted repair than a superficial surface type of repair. I actually already have another tube of this that I will continue to use and repurchase after.
L'oreal TXT is my choice of texturising spray for the lengths of my hair. It adds body and texture to the heavy lengths that make up my hair, and really "big" it up, with a small amount of hold, and no sticky or crispy texture. I'll probably have already bought another of these before this post goes up.
VO5 Plumping spray is my spray of choice for the roots of my hair, and is the best one I have found thus far. Adding body and volume, it helps to recreate a vaguely backcombed hairstyle, perfect for everyday, but that can be enhanced with some actual backcombing. Ditto to buying this before this post is published!
Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean - my absolute rock solid favourite cleanser that I can always depend upon. Perfect for taking off heavy make up, although I tend to use this as a second cleanse after a coconut-oil cleanse, this can also double up as a mask. It is brightening, softening and soothing, and is an in-a-heartbeat kind of repurchase.
Nivea Men Cool Kick Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray is my deodorant of choice.. I like the clean, slightly masculine scent of this, plus it performs brilliantly even in the hot weather and through my workouts. This has been repurchased numerous times, and will be repurchased again without a doubt.
What have you been using up recently?
Much love,
Ani x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Sensitive | Mascara

I do have quite odd eyes - they will behave for a while and then BANG! Eczema, itchiness, sensitivity all come at once and boy does it hurt. I got to thinking that I probably shouldn't be wearing any make up during these episodes, but this is me, and I don't do no make up. So I changed the most irritating eye wear - mascara - to a mascara specifically for sensitive eyes. Enter Bourjois Volume Glamour Ultra Care.
Now this is a purchase that I'd been thinking about for a while - in the past I have used the various other variants of this mascara, and found them to be pretty good. First off, the brush - traditional bristles, not too big and a straight wand. Just how I like it to be honest. Fine, a larger brush is my normal weapon of choice, but for sensitive eyes, the precision of the smaller brush works brilliants. The brush wiggles right up into the roots of lashes, and de-clumps as you pull it through to the ends. The mascara is pure black, and is perfect for everyday wear (I like my everyday eyes a little heavy), and can be built up. I always looks for volume in a mascara, and this delivers perfectly, all the while never irritating my eyes.
Perfect.
Much love,
Ani x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday's Stories | Two

And this is my week. A busy, tiring, hot, challenging week - but I managed to snap a few bits and pieces here and there:
| Inspiration | Beauty Inspiration - looking forward to trying it | Pick Your Own squash, strawberries, peas, plums (also beetroot) | Spotty aka my teddy-dog | New going out shoes - ebay bargain | Fave Sigma Foundation brush |
Much love, 
Ani x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Perfect | Nude Lipstick

The quest for the perfect nude lipstick is a lifetime's work. One day you think you have it, then your skin changes ever-so-slightly, and the whole "nude" issue is thrown off-balance. In my quest, I have loved a Maybelline, a Rimmel and a Mac, but today's perfect nude - that has been perfect for around 6 months now - is a L'oreal offering. A Cheryl offering if you will.
I tend to lean towards pink-toned nude - this one is a lot more neutral with hints of peach: somehow this makes for a wonderful true nude lip - like these are my lips, but they are beautifully shiny and soft. The texture is moisturising and ever-so-slightly sheer. A perfect one for applying without a mirror - also perfect for just lifting the face, and completing more or less any make up look.
What are your perfect nude lipstick shades?
Much love,
Ani x

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Damaged Hair | Rescue

I had a phase that lasted a while. A phase of getting the ends of my hair as blonde as possible. It worked, it took me a while but I definitely had an extreme ombre going on, with super-blonde tips. But alas, as all stories go, when you get to what you want, it is never quite as good as you envision. Whilst it looked beautiful when freshly straightened, at all other points of my life, the blonde was rough, coarse, crispy and fragile. I am proud of my super-strong hair, so this was quite the bizarre development for me, and in the midst of trying to sleeken it, I bit the bullet and did an all-over black hair dye, which rescued the hair a little. In the quest for my hair of old (which is almost back to tip top condition) I have discovered some real hair gems that have taken me from someone who used to let my hair solve its own problems - it did this very well - to someone who now takes the time to nourish and strengthen it.
Whilst at the hairdresser, she suggested that I look for something to re-elasticise my hair - it really was at the point where all the elasticity had gone from it, not that it was brittle, but you could really feel it just didn't want to stretch and behave in the way hair normally wanted to. A light bulb moment occurred in my head, and I ordered myself two little tester tubes of Philip Kingsley's Elasticiser.  I have to say that this is probably what has restored my hair back to its former glory. A thick cream, almost like an intensive conditioner, you just pop this on wet hair for around 20 minutes - I leave it longer if I have the time - and wash out. At first, I have to say I was a little disappointed with the results, but I persevered, and after finishing one of the little tubes - around 6 treatments - I have to say my hair is strengthened, and has that lovely elasticity that I was craving, back. This is a miracle product, but not an instant one - you need to keep going with it in order that all the goodness can keep restoring your hair.
Next up, a lovely hair mas from Pantene - this is the 2 minute rejuvenation masque, which is a "deeply nutritive anti-ageing system." I have to say this is one of those masques that you feel and see the results on the first try - it behaves just like a conditioner, and works in the stated 2 minutes, to soften and smooth the hair.  
The last two products are Argan Oil products that I actually picked up in Poundland after seeing them elsewhere. The Hydrating Hair Mask is super thick, and super lovely! This is now my hair mask of choice - it works in a few minutes, but also makes a lovely deep conditioning treatment whilst I sit in the bath and read a book. This seems to add to the hair's shine, resilience and general texture.  I then finish off with the Argan Oil Hair Treatment, which is a thick, gloopy oil, that I massage through the ends of my hair before drying or leaving to dry. I really feel that this particular oil (unlike the L'oreal oils I have previously used) really works deep down in the hair, and doesn't just sit superficially on the surface, really adding to overall hair health and hydration.
And that is all for my hair rescue post, but each product I would recommend a million times over.
Much love,
Ani x

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Hitting Pan | Everyday Essentials

It is not often that I hit pan on, or finish products - I am quite the fickle one when it comes to make up, I like to know what's going on, what's new, and what each of those new things can bring to my very full table.  But lately, I have been trying the less waste, more exploring of my own products way of life, and it's been pretty fulfilling actually. What it means is that I am now hitting pan on items, repurchasing things for the first time in my life, and finding those everyday essentials that I can apparently no longer live without. These four products are staples in my everyday life - with three of them actually being used almost without fail everyday.
First up, my chosen all-round powder of the moment - L'oreal The Powder True Match in Golden Beige. This is the best all-round powder I have found, and I have tried soooo many. It is a pressed, coloured powder that finished off a foundation look, adds a soft matte-ness, and a hint of colour to the skin. It helps my ever-oily skin to stay first softly matte, then on the right side of dewy as the day wears on, and doesn't look cakey when reapplied after a blot. This is the powder I used to set my foundation daily, then pop it in my handbag for touch-ups on the go - very unusual for me to only use one product for both.  
Next, the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium - something I have used daily since buying about a year and a half ago - this may be one of the most innovative, best products on the market. Super soft in texture, blends away to nothing, or can be built up to impressive Kimmy K proportions, this is the perfect grey / brown / taupe for creating cheekbone shadow. I absolutely adore it, and use it with a variety of sized brushes depending on how subtle (or unsubtle as is sometimes the case) I wish to be. This is a definite need-to-repurchase product. 
The Balm Bahama Mama is my general bronzing go-to on the days when I fancy adding a little colour to my visage. Equally good at creating cheekbones, or for bronzing up the face, this colour runs a tad "dirty" which I feel looks pretty natural and warm at the same time and looks to be one that would work on all skin tones. This was a steal from T K Maxx years and years ago.
Last up, what may as well be the only blush in my whole collection - I have so much love and time for the Bourjois Blush Exclusif that I have already bought my next little pot, so that I never have to be without it. Apparently, this pulls a slightly different pink on everyone - having only tried it on myself I can only testify to the slight hint of Barbie, cool-toned pink that it leans on me. I use an angled blush brush to apply, and find it can be layered from a wash of pink, to a full-on "I'm out tonight" kind of pink. Beautiful texture, beautiful product.
I hope you liked reading about the items that I so obviously can't live without!
Much love,
Ani x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Simple | Skincare

I adore skincare - always have, and I'm pretty sure I always will. I feel a little happiness every time someone comes to me for a recommendation or a review - but like any beauty blogger, I can be guilty of overindulging in the mounds of skincare I tend to have. So I decided to go back to basics - not with cleansers, not with masks, but with treatments and moisturisers. In fact, I am keeping it so simple that I am only using two products. Shock horror. Never did I ever think I'd be saying those words! It actually all came about when I decided to give the newest version of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Plus a go - it makes such a nice treatment and moisturiser that I decided this would be my main serum/ moisturiser, with others being added in only if and when they were needed. Of course, I could never be without an SPF, and I feel like a once a day formula is the best for me - so I am currently trialling Calypso Once a Day SPF50+. The combination of these in the daytime keeps me protected, hydrated, and relatively matte - albeit slightly dewy towards the end of the day.
The Effaclar Duo is a gel-serum consistency, not much is needed, and it spreads well over the face. I apply this first on an evening, and over my SPF of a morning. The SPF itself is almost an oil-gel texture, very alcoholic smelling, but almost evaporates on the skin, leaving a soft veil.  Together, these two are brilliant, and my skin seems to be brightening and evening with each day!
Ani x