Belfast-based, style loving mum of 3. Fashion, Lifestyle, Food & Fitness

Friday, 13 January 2017

Beauty || Hits & Misses

I saw a post about beauty hit and misses the other day and it piqued my interest so I had a think about the products I've been loving over the past few months and decided to share...along with some of the less successful ones. Though I tend to donate or throw them away so I don't have many in the house to photograph.

Starting with make up/fragrance and after my visit to Kiko back in August, I'm a huge fan of so much of their range. It was a real struggle to whittle it down to only 2 items (otherwise, this blog post would have been twice as long!). The two I've picked are the Anti-Age Foundation (in Linen Beige) and the Neo Muse Eye Palette.

Starting with the foundation and before I found this one, I would always have said that the one item in your make up bag you should spend money on is foundation and up until now, I always have. However, this Kiko one has impressed me more than any other. The colour and coverage is perfect and it lasts really well all day. I'm sceptical about the anti-age aspect of it but it's got a slight luminosity to help with fine lines. It's £11.10 in the sale at the moment - with a full price RRP of £15.90 and it's got an SPF of 15. I've been assured by the Kiko team in the Belfast shop that just because it's in the sale, it's not being discontinued...but I bought 2 just in case!

Moving onto the Kiko eyeshadow palette and it has unfortunately sold out. I'm sorry I didn't buy a second one at the time but I know they do other matt shadows that will work just as well when this runs out. The inside of mine is a bit 'used' looking so this is what it looked like when I bought it - photo credit to www.beautydea.it
My favourite blusher is the Dusty Girls mineral blush from MooGoo. This is a beautiful, natural pink shade that gives he most lovely glow to your face. AND it's made from natural minerals with natural pigment and won't break the bank. In fact, the whole Moo Goo range is great - especially for eczema and sore skin. Their Irritable Skin Cream is amazing and I always recommend it to friends.
Finally with Make Up hits - lashes and brows. The Bobbi Brown Smoky Eye Mascara has been a revelation. I got it in a BirchBox before Christmas and it goes on your lashes smoothly, gives you a bit of length and colour and stays put. No drama. I had actually got to the stage where I thought it was me who was the problem after trying about 5 different mascaras. They either had weird shaped brushes or a massively clumpy formulation. In some cases, both. And don't get me started on 'Better than Sex' - there's most definitely an intimacy issue in the company that came up with that one. It most definitely is NOT!

Brow-wise, I still use my Effortless powder that I blogged about here (and in fact, I'm booked in with Lynne next week for a tidy up) but right how, while the brows are messy and need tamed, or more generally when I want a more defined shape, Benefit Gimme Brow is perfect. 

Next up - the misses in my make-up/fragrance, starting with Kiko Water Eyeshadow. I was told I simply *HAD* to have this because that it was sold out everywhere and is amazing. All rubbish. It's nothing special and it isn't sold out anymore. I use it for highlighting under my brow arch but I have other products that can do the same. But hey, for a moment, I thought I was a beauty maven.

The second item was a disappointment too - but it's more my mistake. I've not had a bottle of Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin for a couple of years and so I asked for one for Christmas. But when I sprayed it for the first time, it just wasn't how I remembered and I was properly gutted. Such a gorgeous treat that I can't bring myself to wear. I'm going to sell it on eBay to fund a different scent so If anyone is a fan, do let me know. They seem to sell on eBay, boxed, for about £35, so I'm open to offers.
Next - skincare....and for regular readers, you know already about my love of Epionce, which I've been using for almost 2 years now. I wrote a more detailed blog about it on this link. The difference it's made to my skin has been amazing and I'm regularly reminded of this difference when I run out and have to use something else for a few days. It's not cheap but it's my one indulgence - I definitely cut back on other products to fund it. 
The eye make-up remover is one I saw recommended by Marissa Carter on Snapchat and I'm very impressed. I always used Clarins up to now and while this is not as good, it's 80% as good and for £3, that'll do me just fine. More money to fund the Epionce!
My cleanser is also a MASSIVE hit but I've just run out and the tin went into recycling...grrr. So here's an internet image of the Body Shop's Camomile Cleansing Butter, which is currently en-route to me. I'm using coconut oil in the meantime, which is ok...but not as nice as this oily balm that I rub in and remove with a hot cloth. Smells amazing and leaves your skin feeling fab but don't just take my word for it - there are over 400 5-star reviews on The Body Shop website. It's £10 but there's currently 30% off if you use the code 14666 at check out. Free delivery too! 
Body next - and these three are my go-to tan, moisture and scrub. I've tried ALL the tans (there are a couple more duds below) and every time, I come back to White to Brown. I think tans are very subjective and what works for me won't necessarily work for you but what I do know is that out of about 20 tans I've used over the past 10 years or so, this one ticks all the boxes. Instant colour, easy to apply, fast drying, wears off well. I do find it that it washes off more than other tans, but I don't find that a problem - I generally top it up every other day. The other plus is that it works on my face - a huge bonus. Generally, my face kicks off with tans but it never does with White to Brown. For info, I always watch out for it going on offer in my local Medicare chemist who seem to do an offer 3 or 4 times a year with the tan, a shower gel (random...not a tanning product - just a shower gel that smells like the tan!) and a tanning mitt....usually for £9.95. 
I've also spoken about Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion before (on this link) - it's a fantastic body moisturiser and again, my local chemist often does a £3.99 offer so I stock up then. The pump makes it so easy to use and I keep it beside my bed for elbows/knees and hands just before bed. It leaves your skin so soft and smooth.
My final body 'hit' is the Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff body scrub. A tanning essential and really well priced. 

But here are the two misses on my tanning journey - I'll learn eventually to stick with the one I know and stop wasting money on others. The Xen-Tan was in the sale at M&S and that should have been the red flag for me. One word - streaky. 
The Cocoa Brown one is actually not bad on legs but as soon as I put it on my d├ęcolletage, neck and back, I broke out in hundreds of tiny whiteheads - ugh. I tried it a few times to make sure it was this that was causing it...and it was. And I've had a few readers tell me the same. It's a huge hit with so many bloggers - but not me sadly. White to Brown all the way.
Finally - hair...and when I cut my hair off, I was lost for hair product. I had forgotten how important it is for shorter hair. Luckily for me, the guys at Alfaparf heard about my new style and sent me some products to use, which I'm still using a few months on...and loving.
The best item I was sent is the mousse - it's so effective and I can now wash, mousse and dry my hair in one step and it sits in a non-crazy way. This is not usual for me - my hair is so strong and generally needs a proper salon blow dry to sit well. But since I got these, I've managed better than I have in years. I use the oil on damp hair, followed by the mousse, blow dry and then use the hairspray - which has even replaced my faithful Elnette!
My cousin is a hairdresser and she raves about it too so that is always good to hear. It's available in Alfaparf salons only - you can find your closest one via their Facebook page.
Finishing with an iconic hair product. I'm very open about my dislike of washing my hair and although my thick mop is a nightmare to manage, once it's washed, dried and straightened, it sits for days. 6 days to be exact. But on the last couple of days, I blast it with Batiste Dry Shampoo...amazing stuff.  I know some people say that it leaves a white residue in their hair - but if you just wait a bit...and give it a good old rummage with your fingers, it fades. Honestly, I've tried loads of others and they're pants. It's an utter life saver and I am never without a few tins of it in the house.

So there you go - all my favourites and a few of my less popular items. As I mentioned above with regard to the tan, I know that beauty products are quite subjective and what works for me won't necessarily work for you but most of the items come in sample sizes or can be tried over the counter or at a salon so don't be afraid to try before you buy. 

Do share your hits in the comments as I'm always keen to try new stuff!

Ax
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