Botanics BB Cream Radiant Youth Review: The Power of Plants for Pale Pretties!

I have bought more than my fair share of highstreet foundations/tinted moisturisers/BB creams over the past six months. Purely with the expectation that hundreds of online reviewers can’t be wrong in giving rave reviews to the likes of Rimmel’s Wake Me Up, Boujois’ Healthy Mix Serum, and so on and so forth.

And this may well be the case. Light foundations may be working out well for everyone else. But lads, nothing was really hitting the spot for me.

Why, oh why, I thought. I was gutted. Wake Me Up, while lovely formula-wise, was too dark in even the lightest shade. Healthy Mix Serum, on the other hand, was nice, but got rather drying over the day and contained no SPF. Which was the nail in the coffin there for me. I am not altering my Michael Todds morning routine for you, Boujois, mate.

After mulling over it for a while, I came to the conclusion that my hard luck with highstreet brands basically comes down to their limited ranges in colour. As an Irish lass, I am naturally white as a ghost pale, and quite like to embrace that other than the very occasional layer of tinted moisturiser for special occasions or bronzer on the chest. That’s the height of my glow. The main problem I have with pale foundations is that they can leave me looking unhealthy or gaunt, like I’ve not had enough sleep.

I really had succumbed to the idea that I would have to return to more upmarket brands with which I’ve had success in the past. So when I got my pale claws on Botanics’ brand spanking new BB cream back in April, I practically had to sit on my hands not to review it before having tried and tested it thoroughly.

  photoBay-bay Boom!

Lemme-tell-ya, I was blown away. I even bought it for my mum for her birthday. She loved it too.

Does it Deliver?: While evening skin tone, this BB gives a radiant effect. But fear not, oily-skinned friends, as this is not like most other coverage that promises radiance and ends up leaving you looking like your face has been dipped in glue.

With relatively high coverage for a BB, this comes in three shades; the light being my choosing of course. I am really impressed with the colour, and think its something in line with the No7 Foundation match test’s Calico shade (coincidence? I think not!). On the hand, the product comes out much darker than it actually it is. It blends into the skin magically, giving a healthy glow. See below, ta da!

photo_1Mug shot.

In the shot, I’ve not  yet used any concealer on blemishes. Not bad, huh? These were quickly tidied away with a bit of Collection concealer.

I have been using this BB cream every other day for two months now, after moisturiser, and have never had a break out or a bad makeup day. If you have naturally oily skin, you may get away with no moisturiser underneath. What has really filled a void for me is that this BB seems to be something of a compromise between hydrating and oil-minimizing for my combination skin (which is often dehydrated but prone to some blemishes in the t-zone). FYI, I only recently in fact learned that there is a notable difference between dehydrated and dry skin. Cursing myself to not have known that sooner. I probably could have saved myself heaps of spots.

Packaging: This comes in a hygienic white tube, and releases very little product which I find just wonderful as it avoids waste.

Skincare Claims: Yes! Yes! Yes! Protective Gingko biloba leaf extract, as it says on the tin, which is renowned for its antioxidant properties. SPF30, which will do nicely for summer, thank you. I am not an expert on organic properties, but in general the Boots Botanics line tend to market themselves as a more sensitive skin-friendly, organic brand.

Price: About €12 (but pssssst, it can often be had as part of a 3 for 2 deal!)

Availability: This is available at Boots across the UK and Ireland.

If anyone’s tried this BB, I’d love to hear what you think. Particularly anyone whose tried the light shade and found it a match, I’d be grateful for any foundation suggestions!

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Glossybox UK May 2013 Review: Happy BDay Box!

This month it’s been Glossybox UK & Ireland’s 2nd Birthday. I for one was never convinced by the whole concept of beauty boxes, and managed to avoid to give into the hype. Until now.

Reason being, I was always afraid I’d be disappointed by samples of shower gels and other **** that I buy more than enough of anyway (“sure it’s only €3, feck it” she said). So I decided to be a bit strategic and wait for a month where there seemed to be particularly cool stuff, or some kind of voucher code available (apparently they pop up online from time to time? Keep an eye out).

I think I had almost more or less resigned to the expectation to be disappointed by my first Glossybox, having heard lots of rumblings about only bloggers receiving good boxes and everyone else receiving crappy shower gels. (I may technically be a blogger, but let’s admit, this post isn’t exactly going to receive a 1000 hits). But I am really pleased to say that I seem to have received a very good box:

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Glossybox UK May 2013

The box, which is a beautiful pale pink colour (and I won’t be throwing it away anytime soon) includes:

  1. Jelly Pong Pong Fairy Lashes Mascara
  2. Caudalie Divine Oil (for Body, Face, Hair)
  3. L’Occitane Hydration Cream (‘Creme Radieuse’ with organic angelica water and essential oil)
  4. Bellapiere Cosmetics Super Gloss in Vanilla Pink
  5. Beautiful Movements Prime & Create Mixing Medium
  6. Glossybox mini nail files

I’ve not tried the mascara or the prime & create as of yet, purely because the primer thingie doesn’t particularly excite me, and given how quickly some mascaras dry out, I would like to refrain from using this boyo until I’m ready to move on from what’s currently in my handbag.

What I can say I’ve tried are the following:

  • The L’Occitane cream is lovely, has quite a floral scent (which isn’t always my fave; reminds me too much of perfume. Perfume and skincare should never mix, i.m.o.) and seems to target adding water to dehydrated skin, which is exactly what I need, I’ve discovered, ever since watching Sali Hughes’ video explaining the difference between dry and dehydrated skin.
  • The Caudalie Divine Oil, a floral-scented, do-it-all oil for hair, face and body, I was excited to receive as it’s got a great reputation. I’m looking forward to reviewing this in detail soon. I tried it on my face overnight and it felt lovely, however it may have been a factor in a recent breakout, so I will have to wait and see what the verdict is on this one. It may be more suitable for dryer skin types.
  • The Bellapiere lipgloss, I’m sad to say, I’m not too convinced by. It smells nice, is quite sheer, and feels lovely on the lips (plus contains some natural vitamins and lovely ingredients, so thumbs up there). However my one gripe with it is that it doesn’t seem to have any plumping effect on the lips whatsoever and the colour is only OK, but not great. I feel like it’s a lipgloss for people with naturally extremely full lips, or for individuals who don’t want to achieve a plumping effect (crazy people! crazy people!)

For the £13 or so that I spent on this box, I have to say I am quite pleased. The nail files are a lovely addition, they’re so convenient to pop in your bag, on your desk at work, dresser… Anywhere! And the product sizes on a whole are quite generous; the mascara and lipgloss are both full-sized, and the Caudalie and L’Occitane items are decent-sized, somewhere between a sample and full-sized product I would think. The Prime & Create is small but, as I said, I am finding it extremely hard to be excited by this product.

Did anyone else subscribe to Glossybox UK this month?

 

 

Review: Michael Todd True Organics Dry Sensitive Skin Regimen

Over the past six months I’ve witnessed notable aging in my skin, I’m gutted to admit. For my recent turning a quarter of a century 25, I decided that something simply had to be done to prevent my inevitable demise. So I decided to take fate into my own hands and requested from my fine other half the Michael Todd Dry Sensitive Skin Regimen. This was an easy choice given their massive discounts on bulk purchases at the time (60% off?!) plus the 20% off for a year voucher codes floating around the internet. Very rarely would I bother ordering products from the States, however I’d heard that you didn’t need to pay any customs on arrival, and P&P was very reasonable.

What does it include? For $85 I received the Honey and Oat Gentle Deep Pore Cleanser, the Cranberry Antioxidant Toner, Avocado and Mango Mask, Citrus Cream Moisturizer Intensive, Organic Cream Eye Treatment, and Hydration Boost Serum. Each of these fine products really deserve a full review in their own right, each one magical and unique in its own way.

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Go team, go!

Honey and Oat Gentle Deep Pore Cleanser: I was pleasantly surprised that this came in the form of a liquid as I was expecting a a cleansing lotion or milky consistency. The scent is amazing, probably my favourite of the bunch: good enough to eat, like a healthy bowl of granola. Used with water, and lathered in my hands, this wash politely removed my makeup with the exception of some stubborn mascara. It left my skin feeling clean and wonderfully calm; a big bonus for me as my skin can be quite reactive. No redness in sight. Last of all, the packaging is great. Nice, hygienic pump bottle that dispenses a humble but sufficient amount of product. Right off the bat, I have to give this 10/10. It’s right up there with my fave; Korres Milk Proteins Cream Cleanser.

Cranberry Antioxidant Toner: I don’t usually care much for toner (I would never buy one except for when they come in sets), but I’m very impressed with this fellow. It’s 95% organic and claims to fight bacteria without drying. Although I haven’t been using this toner for very long, I can certainly report that I haven’t acquired any new blemishes nor have I felt that this toner was too drying or tightening. It also has a lovely fresh cranberry scent: I can see myself happily using a quick sweep of this sans cleanser on the odd occasion where I feel as though I’m waking from a slumber of a thousand years and allergic at the thought of actually washing my face (god forbid!). If you’re in the market for a good toner, I think this is certainly worth a go.

Hydration Boost Serum: This is probably the moist moisturiser-esque serum I’ve ever used, and I doubt you even necessarily need to follow it with moisturiser. It has a subtle fruity-floral scent, and comes with a not bad but unusual pump (unlike the cleanser).

serum pump

Pumpity pump!

This serum is gorgeous. It contains hyaluronic acid, which strengthens the skin’s barrier, plus loads of essential oils, glycerin and DMAE, which is good for dark spots and, er, tightening up skin sagging.

Citrus Cream Moisturiser: This has a fruity citrus-y scent and seems to be packed full of vitamins. Like the serum, it contains hyaluronic acid and DMAE: In fact, the cream is scarily similar to the serum. I am very impressed with both however unless you’re purchasing the set like I did, you probably don’t need both. The moisturiser also comes out of a pump container as in the picture above, and dispenses very little, so, while you might be slowled down slightly, you’re very unlikely to waste any of this product.

Warning: The one weird thing with the serum and the moisturiser is that there is an odd spring inside the containers, which sort of vibrates when you place them on the table. Maybe I’m a little over-sensitive, but it kind of gives me the heeby geebies… Consider yourself warned.

Intensive Eye Cream: This is a lovely light and impressively potent eye cream. While it seeps in quickly, if I don’t wear eye makeup for the day I can actually feel that my eye area is lastingly hydrated and nourished. My one problem is the packaging and applicator: The container is quite bulky. Owning this product has made me realise that I’m scarily attached to the idea that good eye creams should come in petite, delicate containers. What’s even more troubling is that the applicator comes in the shape of a funny, unusual wand that claims to “break up puffiness”. I’m not even really sure what this means, tbh. Having said all of that this is a lovely eye cream and I wouldn’t rule it out purely based on the packaging. To purchase individually it costs $38, which seems crazy to me when you can get the whole set for $85.

Avocado and Mango Mask: I am really loving this. It leaves your skin glowing and feeling plump and nourished. It also smells divine, and contains salicyclic acid which exfoliates dead skill cells: a big bonus for people who prefer chemical exfoliators to traditional scrubs. Highly recommendable.

Added Value?: The whole range uses aloe vera, as opposed to water, as a base ingredient, which I’ve never personally seen before and find absolutely fantastic. Indeed a look through the ingredients list on each of these products leads to repeated ooooh‘s and aaaaah‘s. They generally seem to contain lots of “those ingredients I’ve read I should look out for” and very few harsh ones. Products are vegan and at least 70% organic.

The packaging is a pretty purple but prone to scratches I’d imagine, and notably not high end. I’m afraid I won’t know when I’m coming to the end of the serum and moisturiser, which I find a little distressing. We’ll forgive them that, though, as it’s good enough to find products that one actually plans to repurchase.

All in all this is a wonderful set that does what it says on the tin, combating dry and sensitive skin, and I am thrilled with it and my new-found motivation to fight aging, one fine wrinkle at a time.

Alverde Wild Rose Face Oil Review: €3?! Wudda paid €30.

In my recent visit to Germany I picked up the Alverde Wild Rose Face Oil for the first time, and boy, was I blown away.

I’m lost for words. After a night’s kip with this on me, my skin just looked, well, healthier.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the Alverde brand, it’s basically a cheap as chips but beautifully organic range of skincare and makeup products offered by German chain store DM (something comparable to the likes of Boots in the UK and Ireland).

Having tried quite a few Alverde products now and being sometimes very impressed and other times sorely disappointed – (and, all the while, never quite being able to make up my mind whether I preferred this brand or their main competitor on the German highstreet organic block, ‘Alterra’) – I think this oil has really made up my mind for me.

Packaging: It comes in a delicate glass bottle, with one of those rubber squeeze tubes on top that you pinch to pump product into a vile. You can then nicely drip the oil on-yah-face!

Price: €3. No, that’s not a typo. It actually costs THREE EURO. For an organic face oil.

Skincare Claims: Recommended for dry skin, the oil claims to vitalise and regenerate ‘hard to please’ skin using wild rose oil, apple extracts, mild almond, jojoba, and peachstone oils. It also claims to reduce fine lines and improve elasticity.

Does it Deliver?: For a €3 oil I have been totally blown away – this product is definitely in another league and I would have happily paid considerably more for a product of this quality. My skin is dry at parts, but prone to break outs, so I wasn’t sure if this oil was another bad idea that would make my face break out (like so many times before, sob story!). I’ve used this oil a number of occasions now however and never once have I woken up with a blemish. If anything, I would wonder if this oil also has a balancing effect on my combination skin.

While I can’t attest to the softening of fine lines (but then again, I never can) – my skin looks considerably healthier after a night’s sleep with this baby on my face. Overall, I look well-rested; almost like I’ve had a little plump of botox overnight. I don’t know how to describe it. My skin just looks great after a use. I imagine it’s an ideal one for after a night out when your skin is feeling particularly poorly.

It also has a beautifully subtle rose scent and luxurious texture (no surprise there; it is an oil after all). Slathering some of those stuff on my face before bed feels like a real treat. Which is crazy when you think about the €3 price tag.

Availability: This product is available in all DM stores across Germany. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge it is not available in the UK or Ireland. It’s a teeny 15ml bottle however, so if you’ve anyone visiting Deutschland, you could ask them to pick one up for you as there are DMs in virtually every German town.

Thumbs up, Alverde!

Loved by all & cheap as chips: Collection 16hr Lasting Perfection Concealer, are we a match made?

Right. So.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has by now proclaimed their undying love for Collection’s 16hr lasting perfection concealer at this point (including some of my fave bloggers over at Beaut.ie and FleurdeForce), so I thought it was about time I gave this a whirl.

Given that I am, to say the least, prone to the odd spot or two, trying the most raved about, cheapy concealer on the go is probably really quite fitting.

So my first impression has been great, spot on, even. Really liking it!

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Coverage? Relatively thick, but not cakey. Don’t turn into little flakey bits after a few hours on-the-job like some other semi heavy duty concealers might. The formulation reminds me of Mac Select Cover Up Concealer, which I haven’t used in yonks but always had a soft spot for. Another plus is that you can also use it as an under eye concealer, however this probably wouldn’t be my own first choice for the auld dark circles.

Colour? I am very pale, and no.1 Fair is absolutely perfect for me. It also comes in Light, Medium and Deep.

Packaging? Nice hygienic little tube. You might notice in the pic however that the typeface is already smudging off, and I have owned this product for a mere week. So I’m expecting it will be gone completely by the end of March. This saddens me!

Price? About €7, me thinks. Got it on 3 for 2 at Boots with some others in a haul.

Skincare Benefits/Drawbacks? This may dry out spots just a teeench and prevent skin from healing at its normal rate. But I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a concealer that does a good job that doesn’t have that effect, sadly..

And finally… Does it stay?!? 16 hours? I don’t really have the impression it does. But it doesn’t slide off either. I have the impression it stays put for a few hours, maybe 3 or 4. If you’re hardcore smooching in the back of the pictures, you might have less luck!

Collection concealer, you might have grubby looking packaging, but so long as you look nice on me face, we’ll have you!