Monday, 27 February 2012

Aloe Vera Gel: Bargain Beauty Secret!

I do spend a lot on beauty products, but one of my all time favourites is actually one of the cheapest and easy to get hold of products on the market, Holland & Barratt Aloe Vera Gel. This gel is 99.9% pure aloe vera, and is as natural as you can get unless you take your gel directly from the plant!

This gel costs £3.55 for 100ml but is currently on offer for £2.55. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Some of the main uses I personally have for aloe vera gel are:

1. As a toner
2. Treatment for eczema
3. Treatment for sunburn
4. Treatment for prickly heat
5. Curl definer 
6. Acne / Acne scar treatment
7. Makeup primer
8. On top of moisturiser to 'lock in' the product

I'm no science expert, and I haven't looked into how this product works too much. What I've gathered is that Aloe Vera Gel is very similar in genetic makeup to human skin (gross!). But this is the reason why it is so effective in healing any skin complaints. 

I use the gel every morning and evening in between cleansing and moisturising. I apply a generous blob all over my face, neck and chest. When the moisture from the gel dries, your skin will feel verrrry tight! So you'll definitely want to moisturise after, even if you have oily skin!
I've recently started to suffer from adult acne, and this gel has been a blessing. 9 times out of 10, it'll stop a spot forming in it's tracks. If you've already got the spot, a blob directly covering it, should greatly reduce it over night. It'll reduce it to the point where it's visible, but flat, enough to cover it with makeup basically!
It's also great (but admittedly slow working) with healing scars from older spots. You won't see results straight away like you would with some harsher peel type products, but if you keep this treatment up, you will notice the difference over a month or so.
Unlike acne treatments in general, Aloe Vera is also good as an anti-ageing product, so when I use this, I don't have to worry about premature ageing. 

The reason why I love this the most, and the reason why I tried it on my face in the first place is because of an allergic reaction I had to the acne treatment Benzyl Peroxide (BP). I'd been using BP for about a week and although drying had occurred, I was loving how quickly it dried up my blemishes! Then all of a sudden, I had the worse eczema like rash all over my neck. It was so painful, hot and itchy! I tried the usual eczema creams purchased from the chemist but they really stung when applied and didn't help at all. Hay fever tablets helped a lot, but didn't provide any soothing qualities. 
It was only when I remembered how Aloe Vera Gel helped my sunburn and prickly heat that I thought to try it on my neck. It helped immediately and it two days I was totally healed without any peeling or drying! I'd usually expect crazy peeling / drying after a reaction like that!
So I researched it a bit online and discovered that a lot of people swear by aloe as an acne treatment. Since I wasn't going back to BP I thought I'd give it a try. I was at a bit of a loss as to what to try next since anything too harsh seemed to be a no-no. 

So I've been keeping up the treatment twice a day for the last month and have definitely seen an improvement. Unfortunately new spots do form, since this is hormonal acne I'm dealing with, and there's not a lot I can do without taking prescription medications (which I'm not willing to do). However, the aloe does seem to stop the spots in their tracks for the most part, and any that do creep up, it heals so much quicker than any other product. It also takes all the redness away almost immediately.

Aloe alone isn't the answer to my skin problems, but it definitely is one of the main contenders! I'd highly recommend this product to anyone with the same / similar skin issues as me!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Coral Lipsticks: Photos and Swatches

1. Rimmel Colour Show-Off Lipstick: Tell No One
2. MAC Frost Lipstick - Costa Chic
3. MAC Amplified Lipstick - Vegas Volt
4. L'Oreal Color Riche Intense Blondes - 373 Magnetic Coral
5. Clinique Different Lipstick - Sugared Grapefruit
6. The Bodyshop Color Glide Lipstick - Coral Splash 66

1. Rimmel Colour Show-Off Lipstick: Tell No One:

2. MAC Frost Lipstick - Costa Chic:

3. MAC Amplified Lipstick - Vegas Volt:

4. L'Oreal Color Riche Intense Blondes - 373 Magnetic Coral:

5. Clinique Different Lipstick - Sugared Grapefruit:

6. The Bodyshop Color Glide Lipstick - Coral Splash 66:

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Coral Lipsticks: My new found love!

One of the top makeup trends for Spring 2012 is red lipstick. 

Red lipstick looks lovely on the majority of people... apart from me. Boo! It's something to do with the shape of my face. My lips are small in comparison to my very round, broad face. If I wear red lipstick I'm just drawing attention to the 'lip to face' imbalance! More subtle lipstick looks manage to divert attention, but bright red lipstick for me will never work!

My way to get around this is to embrace coral shades instead. Here I've listed my favourite coral lipsticks, from matte, to sheer, to shimmery. 

1. Rimmel Colour Show-Off Lipstick: Tell No One
2. MAC Frost Lipstick - Costa Chic
3. MAC Amplified Lipstick - Vegas Volt
4. L'Oreal Color Riche Intense Blondes - 373 Magnetic Coral
5. Clinique Different Lipstick - Sugared Grapefruit
6. The Bodyshop Color Glide Lipstick - Coral Splash 66

*I have swatch photos, and even photos of these on my very own lips! I will add them to my post this evening!!*

Tell No One is probably my favourite and one of the cheapest too. It's very much a matte lippie, but not as drying as some mattes, and has a lovely scent! It's also long lasting, more long lasting that my beloved MAC corals even! The colour leans more towards 'brick' undertones, so it's not too bright or too light. I wouldn't wear it at the moment, but it really compliments tanned skin.

I have mixed feelings about Costa Chic, mainly to do with the glitter. It has a frost finish, and besides the subtle sheen, there are also some bigger chuncks of silver glitter. I can overlook this since it's a very unique shade of coral, much lighter and brighter than most, and just as pigmented as most matte lipsticks. I'd feel more comfortable wearing this with or without a tan since it's not quite so bold as 'tell no one'. 

Vegas Volt is darker than Costa Chic, but still looks great on paler skin. It's a classic coral without any shimmer or glitter. As an amplified lipstick, it's not as drying as a matte, but it doesn't last quite so long. I had an embarrassing episode where I was left with just a lipliner on bare lips effect after having something to eat and drink. I wear this a lot but I also have to reapply a lot!

I was given Magnetic Coral as a gift, and it was such a lovely surprise! So 'me'! I haven't tried many L'Oreal lipsticks, but I was impressed with the colour payoff, and the colour itself is just so bright and pretty! There is shimmer with this one, but nothing too over powering. It leans more towards orange than anything else, and I've always found orange toned lipsticks to be surprisingly flattering!

Sugared Grapefruit just about gets away with fitting into my corals selection, although it has more pink undertones than any of the others. It's also far more sheer, to the point where you wouldn't have to use a mirror to apply this. I've layered coat upon coat just to see how pigmented this will go, but the end result is sheer no matter what I do. The lipstick has a lovely moisturising feel, and I wear this a lot during the day time. This is shimmery and quite glossy. Very natural looking!

Coral Splash was another gift and again, such a good choice for me! This is the first and only Bodyshop lipstick I have, and while I was surprised at the lack of colour payoff, I still like it!
It's quite a light coral, but not as bright as Costa Chic. It's another one where you could apply it on the go without use of a mirror. It has undertones which lean mostly towards tangerine, and a bit of subtle shimmer too. It's moisturising and I'll definitely wear it a lot during the Spring / Summer this year! 

And if I absolutely HAD to wear a red lipstick, I'd go for Lipstick Queen 'Medieval'. This is so sheer that it's more of a red tint than a lipstick. You can also build it up and apply a couple of coats to get a more noticable look. It's £20 and only available in the UK at Space NK. I bought mine from a US beauty blog sale, but now that I've tried it I would say that it's worth the price. I can't think of any cheaper alternatives for this one. There are tints and balms but closely match in colour, but 'Medieval' has the staying power and texture of a good long-lasting, nourishing lipstick.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sleek Blush BY 3

I love a bright and highly pigmented blusher, so I was really excited to see the new Sleek 'Blush By 3' palettes in my local Superdrug last week!

After looking at the displays, I realised the palette I wanted the most, was of course sold out! 

The blusher palettes are available in the following colours:

LACE -bright coral (matte), shimmery golden pinky peach, pale peach (matte).

PUMPKIN - Super bright tangerine (matte), true pink (somewhere in between baby and hot pink - another matte), coraly shimmery peach.

FLAME - muted shimmery red, bright true red (matte), slightly shimmery tan.

PINK SPIRIT - plum with red undertones, bright bold fuschia, plum with purple undertones (all matte).

SUGAR - tan, shimmery brown, maroon with subtle shimmer.

Lace, is by far the most wearable palette if you have paler skin and prefer a more subtle look. I'm sure this is the reason why I had to trek around every Superdrug in a 30 mile radius just to find it (well I'm exaggerating, I have a 30 mile commute to work anyway)!
I'd definitely say it was worth the hunt! The middle colour in the Lace palette is simply gorgeous. And dare I say it, a dupe for NARS Orgasm but with slightly more shimmer and pigmentation. 

I've swatched all the colours in all the palettes and, all bar one or two, the colours are VERY pigmented, regardless of whether they're matte or shimmery. 

There are some great original colours in there such as the tangerine shade in the Pumpkin palette.
The bright matte red in the Flame palette is verrrry similar to Sleek's Scandalous blush which was a limited edition Valentine's Day exclusive from last year. Red blushes like this are surprisingly wearable, but just go very gently! This red reminds me of MAC's Frankly Scarlett, but with the Sleek, you'll end up picking more product up onto the brush, so you will need to go slowly! It's not that the MAC blush is less pigmented, they just happen to be packed in more tightly, the Sleek blushes seem a little looser, only by a margin!

You can pick up these palettes for a limited time from most branches of Superdrug. They retail at £9.99 each.
To be honest I was a little surprised at the price since a Sleek eyeshadow palette costs around £6.99. Maybe this is a sign that Sleek prices are set to rise? Either way, I would say it's worth the cash because these will last!  They're just as good as most 'high end' blushes where you'd never get three for under a tenner!

Over all, there are a great selection of colours here, something suitable for any skin tone! From what I've tried so far, these last all day on top of foundation, and provide an excellent colour payoff from palette to brush to face!