Monday, 30 March 2015

Fake Tan Files: Tan Organic Tanning Oil

After reading a few reviews of Tan Organic Tanning Oil I decided to give it a go myself and can tell you straight away that I reckon it lives up to its fairly good reputation!
 Even if I hadn't read about it, I think I would have grabbed it anyway had I seen it on the shelves just because the packaging is just so gosh darn appealing. The heavy glass bottle with wooden lid is just so different to what you usually find and would look perfectly sophisticated on any dressing table.
picture of tan organic tanning oil

But I'm sure you're not reading this to hear about the bottle so let's get down to the actual contents.
The name is a bit of a giveaway really- the Tan Organic Tanning Oil is an oil formula, obviously. The tan has a dry oil feel that doesn't feel too slippery on the skin and absorbs pretty well and contains a bevy of natural ingredients including Sweet Orange Peel Oil and Aloe Leaf Juice which nourish the upper layers of skin while the DHA gets to work and gives you the faux glow.
Despite claims that it is odourless, it is not scent free by any means. That said, it certainly smells different to more conventional faux tan products as this has a sort of fresh, citrus scent that I quite like myself though I have read a few reviews from people who weren't keen on the scent at all. Still, it's better than smelling like a wet dog/ biscuits/ wet-dog-biscuits, right?

To use, you just apply it as you would any other body oil, slather it on and rub it in, making sure you don't miss any bits. This part can be a bit tricky because the oil doesn't really contain a guide colour but I've found its best to just coat yourself with reckless abandon to be on the safe side! I use my hands when applying the oil because it just absorbs into my tanning mitt, so obviously just take care to scrub my palms with soap afterwards. It does feel a little bit clammy on the skin for the first hour or so - just exactly like most body oils do, but it does sort of dry down after a little while.

The colour the tanning oil produces is quite subtle- I'd say light to medium but it is buildable so if you want to go deeper just pop on another coat or two.

I thought the best way to show contrast between the fake tan and my normal skintone is with this photograph of my wrist. I have a habit of wearing hairbands on my wrists even though my hair isn't long enough to really put up at the moment and I had a bit of a beauty fail by failing to make my wrist hairband-free before applying. For this purpose though, it worked out for the best!
Tan Organic Self Tanning Oil Result

Overall I think Tan Organic Tanning Oil is a genuinely lovely product that does what it says on the bottle and is particularly nice on the face - though it doesn't last long on my face because I'm such an exfoliation enthusiast these days! I'll continue to use this as it (eventually) warms up to maintain a subtle glow when I can't be bothered doing a full on fake tan routine.

I picked up my bottle from for around £21 though it has an rrp of £24.99.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Magic Stripes - Do They Work?

You may have seen Magic Stripes floating about on social media- predominantly Instagram- and you're probably wondering the answer to one simple question; do these things actually work? In a nutshell, yes they do. They do what they're supposed to- that is lift drooping eyelids for a wider, more awake look.

The Magic Stripes are little strips that are supposed to stick on to the crease of your eyelid and do all kinds of wonderful things to your appearance in an instant. They're touted as a 'non-surgical alternative to an eye lift' which is a pretty bold claim really - but from looking at before and after images and videos it looks like these things actually can make quite a difference to the look of your eye area.
I was sent some Magic Stripes to try on myself and after quite a few clumsy attempts I managed to place the strips correctly. It's one of those things that might take a few goes, but once you get used to it, it's pretty easy.
Basically, to apply you take a strip and place it on your eyelid crease to sort of lift it up and hold it in place. The strips are made from hypo allergenic silicone so are pretty flexible and are also transparent so you can blend your eye make up over the top.

I have quite a heavy brow and my eyelids sort of get hidden which is one of those facial quirks I'm slightly self conscious about so I was really keen to try the magic stripes to see if they would help create a little lid action for me! In the image below, I have used a strip on one of my eyes to demonstrate the contrast and as you can see, the eye on the right is more 'open' and I seem to have acquired some extra eyelid. Winning.
Though I wanted Magic Stripes to feel completely weightless, they didn't. They're not uncomfortable but I just kind of knew they were there. Then again, maybe I knew they were there because I really did know they were there. Ok I'll stop.
Magic Stripes come in two sizes - small and medium. I tried out both and found that the small size was best for my eye shape. They are designed to last all day - which I can't confirm myself because I took them off after a couple of hours but can tell you that they were quite resistant and certainly stuck to my eyelids very well.
 If you're keen to see what all the fuss is about, Magic Stripes are available from Harvey Nichols, Beauty Works West and Selfridges for £18 for a set of 64 strips.
You can watch a guide to applying the Magic Stripes here or check out the images below- as I mentioned it is a bit awkward at first when trying to apply the strips to yourself but you do get the hang of it!
Would you give Magic Stripes a go???

Magic Stripes Founder Nathalie Franz

Post contains sample

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

5 Reasons to Love Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment Cream

I must admit, I don't tend to give hand creams an awful lot of thought. They just aren't a product I consider very often and I rarely spend money on/ get excited about stuff to slather on my hands. There is one exception to the rule though that comes in the form of the iconic product that is Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream.

clarins hand and nail cream

I first discovered this stuff in a Clarins gift with purchase years and years ago and it's remained a firm favourite ever since. I bought a new tube just the other week and once again rediscovered its wonders so if you're not already a devotee here are 5 good reasons to love this hand cream.

The Texture
The texture of the cream is really, well, creamy yet it absorbs beautifully and doesn't get you all greasy and gross. A little bit really does go a long way too.

The Scent
The scent of Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream is just so typically Clarins. It has a really pleasant, almost organic, earthy fragrance that I imagine might not be everyone's cup of tea. The plant based ingredients really shine through in the scent and make it one of my favourite things about the product.

The Ingredients
Sesame Oil, Shea Butter, Japansese Mulberry extract, Condurango Bark and Myrrh extract combine to protect and nurture and reduce discolouration such as age spots. Apparently it's the Japanese Mulberry extract that's responsible for reducing age spots, Myrrh extract works at strengthening the nails and Condurango Bark (a type of tropical plant) stops the palms feeling damp while the Sesame Oil and Shea Butter protect, moisturise and revitalise.

The Effect
I'm not sure if I've lost my mind or not but this is the only hand cream I've tried that instantly makes my nails feel stronger. It's a little bit bizarre really but it really does seem to sink into the nail instantaneously and strengthen them immediately. This alone is a great reason to add it to your stash but it also absorbs into the hands really quickly and leaves them beautifully soft without any greasiness.
clarins hand and nail treatment cream information

The Packaging
Classic Clarins packaging is just beautiful in my opinion. Clean, simple and chic, the 100ml white bottle with red text is a timeless winner. The tube is light and durable enough to throw in your handbag too which is always a bonus (also available in 30ml) and I always manage to squeeze out the last drop with ease.

All in all, I really, really like Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream. What's your go-to hand cream?
Clarins Hand and Nail Cream is available in Boots, at department stores and pretty much everywhere online for around £21.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

L'Erbolario Narciso Sublime Bath Foam & Candle

Italian plant-based beauty brand L'Erbolario have pretty much bottled Spring with the Narciso Sublime collection. As a rule, I'm not much of a florals girl and will usually choose gourmande/ vanilla scents over anything too flowery but I must make an exception with this scent because it is a little bit gorgeous.

The Narciso Sublime range is based around the fragrance of the Narcissus flower ( also known as the daffodil but Narcissus sounds so much better) - a pretty special flower really because it is known to bloom before all the other flowers. With this in mind, this is a lovely fragrance for this time of the year when we're all still walking around with our coats on yet have secretly already started fake tanning as if we're willing the sun to come out.

I have the Narciso Sublime Bath Foam and Perfumed Candle to try and have so far been enjoying both rather a lot!

I've turned into quite the bath dweller recently so the bath foam couldn't have come at a better time to a more willing guinea pig! A couple of glugs added to a running bath produce fluffy, foamy bubbles that leave the skin delicately scented with the narcissus fragrance. Narcissus flowers and Narcissus distilled water combine with almond oil sufactants (basically a natural cleansing agent) and oat amino acids to soften the skin while you soak. The skin softening and toning agents are just a bonus to me really because the scent alone makes the bath foam worth using!

The Narciso Sublime Perfumed Candle is a proper luxury candle with a very decent scent throw considering its compact size. The candle is soy-based and encased in a heavy little glass jar with the prettiest/ cutest/ swooniest (not a word) design featuring illustrations of the Naricissus flowers. As you can see I have burned it a little already but I'm glad I've photographed it now so I can actually start burning it recklessly.

The Narciso Sublime collection also includes an Eau de Parfum, Cream Talc, Soap, Body Oil and Body Cream and can be found online or at the L'Erbolario store in London N1.

This post contains a sample

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Glow Getters - Top 5 Skincare Edit

It's no secret that I have a (slightly excessive) fascination with Skincare.
Call it an obsession if you will, but moisturisers, lotions, oils, cleansers, serums, exfoliators and other potions have a special place in my heart/desk/ shower/ floor. Personally, I like to think of looking after my skin as an investment - after all I'm stuck with it for the rest of my life and now that I'm standing at the door of the big 3-0 I'm more inclined than ever to keep it looking healthy and feeling good!
To share some of my favourites, I've put together a little edit of my top 5 skincare picks for glowing, delicious (?), happy skin. These products actually work for me and they've made it onto this post because I saw results! No BS here, just a little run down of old faithfuls and a few new bits I'm loving lately.
Top 5 Skincare products for glowing skin

Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator
A recent purchase, this exfoliating powder hooked me in from all the great reviews on the Boots website and seems to actually deliver. Containing pineapple enzymes, the powder is mixed with water in your palm and foams up to create a slightly clinical scented concoction that fizzes away and leaves skin feeling super squeaky clean and smooth. £18.99 at Boots.

Pixi Glow Tonic
I've had this bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic for a good few months now and go through stages of using it religiously and sporadically. It gives my complexion a super smooth peachy glow directly after use and keeps try bits at bay with long term use. £18 at Cult Beauty.

Soap and Glory Beauty Sleep Accelerator Night & Flight Moisture Miracle
This one is a recent discovery and a bit of a revelation! While I can't comment on long term effects at this point, I can say that I wake up with healthy looking, bright skin after applying this the night before. It feels really, really moisturising and smells gorgeous- kind of like a tropical fruit salad. Love the minimalist packaging too. £13 at Boots.

Clinique Turnaround Daytime Moisturiser
The Clinique Turnaround Daytime Revitalising Moisturiser is a rather new release and delivers lightweight, oil free hydration with a tiny hint of luminous shimmer. I've found it to be a great quick fix on a tired face and leaves the skin lovely and soft. I have Turnaround Daytime in 'Rosy Glow' but it's also available in 'Golden Glow' which would be great for summer. £32 at Boots.

Nourish Rejuvenating Peptide Serum
I had the Nourish Rejuvenating Peptide Serum* very kindly sent to me about 6 weeks ago and have been using it almost every second day. It claims to 'enhance skin's natural luminosity' via light responsive bio-actives and seems to do just that! The peptide serum feels like water on the skin and has a beautiful natural rose scent that I just love - I imagine I will be reaching for this a lot this Spring. £20

So there you have my top 5 glow-inducing skincare bits. What are your go-to glow getters?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer Review

I tried a sachet sample of this that was in Elle magazine last month and even though the sample shade was way too dark, I was hooked in by the formula and coverage.
So hooked in in fact that I was inclined to go and get colour matched so I could actually start wearing it on my face.

The oil free formula of Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer is so smooth, thick and creamy that I knew it would be perfect for my dehydrated/combination skin. 
The coverage is definitely something worth writing home about too. This delivers good old fashioned full coverage that finishes semi-matte for a pretty amazing natural look. My boyfriend actually said my skin looked 'radiant' with this on (ha!) and it is worth noting that it does create quite a glowing look, which is rarely a bad thing!
I was matched to shade 04 Creamwhip which is part of the 'very fair' colour group, though it doesn't actually look very fair at all when first dotted on - it actually looked a little bit orange to be honest - though once blended out it transformed into a shade to suit me. One thing I will say is that if you're looking to purchase this - go and get colour matched in store or refer to bloggers with similar colouring to you - just don't rely on the swatches on the retailer websites. If I had ordered online without being colour matched I would have ended up with a shade about five times darker, though I'm probably not as smart as you. 
The foundation feels surprisingly light on the face yet also quite moisturising and actually stays on! I tested this on Sunday when I went to the football at Wembley and it lasted through 7 + hours of travel, sweat, crowds and impassioned Chelsea supporters.
The packaging is some really clever marketing from Clinique, with the addition of the 'concealer wand' in the lid setting it apart from other foundations and creating the whole foundation and concealer in one vibe. Hats off to them I say, a great product. 
Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer is available in 21 shades for £25 for 30ml but is currently £22.50 at Debenhams.