Get On My Face: DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack

Despite the fact that most beauty products are supposed to make you look shit hot - there's plenty that look so peculiar when being used that they're borderline frightening. These DHC Eye masks most definitely come under that description, because you look like a mentalist with them on. But they're damn good, so who cares? They're actually the first eye masks I've ever used. Day-to-day, I try not to worry too much about ageing. I totally deserve some facial creasiness, because I make appallingly unhealthy lifestyle choices. But I do get sad about sagging lids because it makes it so much harder to put my eyeliner on. 

But these quick-fix masks are the perfect thing to pop on before you get ready to go out (1/2 hours before you start putting your slap on), to smooth fine lines, and deal with puffiness. They completely surround your eyeballs, so your eyelids get some love too (cheaper eye masks leave them high and dry). And they're packed with hyaluronic acid, to flood the area with moisture and really plump shit up. Stick them onto clean skin for 10 minutes, peel off and rub in any remaining cream. You get 6 applications in a pack, and they'll set you back £15, which I think is really reasonable. Your eyes look wider and brighter immediately. Just like the first time I ever saw Zac Efron. 

I'll harp on about how much I love DHC to anyone with the poor sense to strike up a conversation with me. Their Deep Cleansing Oil was one of the first products to get me really excited about skincare, and I wrote a doting love letter to it over here. Honestly, I love it more than some of my family members. They make fantastic, fuss-free, serious skincare and I'm so happy my peepers have been invited to the party too.

*These masks were a super sample given to me by the lovely people at DHC, but as always my views come straight from the heart. 

I Am A Kardashian! Black Seed Oil Product Reviews

Now, I am very pro Kardashian. Kourtney is my favourite. So underrated. I like that they brought bums onto the scene and gave them the attention they've long deserved*. They're also a true representation of sisterhood, in all its disgusting glory, which obviously I can relate to - being unable to live without Ruth and all. 

One downside to my love is that anything that has a Kardashian face on, I yearn for. I picked up four of the Khroma Kardashian mascaras in TK Maxx earlier this year, expecting them to be fucking fantastic, but they were just fine. I can't really fault them, but they just didn't knock my socks off, and considering that they're a pain to buy in this country, they didn't seem worth writing about. BUT I'm really pleased to announce that the above two silky serums did a sterling job on my barnet

The Black Seed Dry Oil does feel a smidge synthetic on first pump, but absorbs so easily. I rarely straighten my hair anymore, but if I'm going somewhere fancy then I'll stick a blob of this in it (just one is plenty) and it significantly improves its co-operability. It'd also be fantastic for doing a Kardashian slick-back, but sadly I do not have the face for that. Kim has also said that she uses this oil on North, and North is of course - a queen. 

And it's a nifty multi-tasker - Kim slathered it all over her ass for that Paper magazine shoot, so obviously I'll be recreating that in my bedroom soon for some poor unsuspecting fool. I honestly don't think for this price, it can be beaten - you can get it for £8.50 here.

I also got my mitts on the Black Seed Oil Elixir Treatment, which is slightly more heavy duty - for those with ravaged locks. It's fab if you slather it on pre-shower, and add a dollop to towel-dried hair for some Disney-worthy swishtastic locks. Although, if you have fine hair, you're best to steer clear.

Because I get the impression that the Kardashians are cleaner people than me, I was concerned that these products would be grease inducing nightmares and would force me to wash my hair hours after use, but it's amazing how little residue they leave. I have also read several reviews that moan about the smell - but I like it, it's musky and peppery, and makes me feel like I have a Kardashian close by. Which is obviously wonderful. 

*Yes, yes in an ideal world we wouldn't have to shoehorn our bodies into fantastical concepts of 'perfection.' We've got to be skinny for a few years, then curvy like guitars for the next as if the female body is capable of such change. But until that ideal world surfaces (and I'm not holding my breath), I'm positive about anything that drives home the fact that women aren't created by cookie cutters. They come in different shapes and sizes. Look at all five sisters - do they look different? Hell, yes. Do they all look fantastic? Hell, YES. 

Get On My Face: Kat Burki Vitamin C Cleansing Balm

Anything that comes with the glowing recommendation of Lord Hirons, is something that I want to end up in my already-overstuffed bathroom cabinet. My favourite cleansing balm thus far comes courtesy of Elemis - it's a gorgeous very balmy balm that takes makeup off a treat. The above Kat Burki Vitamin C Nourishing Cleansing Balm is a balm like you've never tried before - it's lighter and bobblier - almost like wet fluff. And while it'll cleanse a dream (I use it for a second cleanse though, don't waste this on makeup removal), it's also got lots of little bonus ingredients to make your skin extra happy. 

It's a brilliant (almost instant) skin rejuvenator, that's also excellent for pigmentation issues and dull skin. It'll plump you up (Vitamin C helps boost healthy collagen production), and prevent dryness. It's incredibly refreshing to use, very gentle, but so effective it'll leave your skin softer than a baby's arse. Just writing this down makes me want to go to the bathroom and use it. Which is testament to how good it is, and also how unfulfilling this Sunday night is shaping up to be. 

The headlining ingredient Vitamin C is a does a great job of thwarting free radicals (that's flying dirt like pollution, but also the lovely sun and the pesky damage it can do). When it comes to Vitamin C, I've definitely had the most success when it comes to brown spots and discolouration. Nothing's tackled bluish/blackish eye bags like an eye cream with Vitamin C splashed on the front. Alongside the main player here - there are also seven reparative Bio-Processed oils. If like me, you have no idea what that means, fear not. Basically part of Kat Burki's ethos is to use ingredients that are bio-processed under 120 degrees, which means none of the nutrients are 'cooked down.'

I'd wholeheartedly recommend this for someone not in the first flush of youth, who suffers with lacklustre skin and a tendency for dryness. Who also has a few quid in their pocket (£68 OUCH). Inspired by the lovely Kat Burki, I've also added a couple of Vitamin C serums to the regime, including the ludicrously expensive Zelens Vitamin C Power Drops, which had bloody better turn me into Gisele after a few months. I'll keep you updated on that.

In the Bath with Frank, and his Original Coffee Scrub.

Now I love a hyped up product as much as the next chap, but sometimes it's easy to get a touch cynical about a product that seems to compel girls and boys to take nude selfies and post them on Instagram... Well I may not be whipping my clothes off for my 8 Instagram followers anytime soon, but rest assured that these days I can be found in my shower 2-3 times a week looking exactly like this. The Frank Body coffee scrub hype is, in my opinion, totally justified. It's suitable for sensitive skin, will scrub away dry flakes and nourishes the fuck out of the skin left behind. It can also reduce the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks and acne. How wonderful. 

Now I've talked about cellulite before - I don't believe the answer lies in lotions and potions alone. I think that if you eat well and work out you're putting up a pretty good fight. Unfortunately I do neither, and have no plans to start. I also think genetics play an important role. So I'm going to blame my mum for my bobbly bum. And unimpressive rack. Luckily though, she did pass on a dense liver and party-girl spirit which is obviously, much more important. But, much like I loved the Melvita Rose L'Or Firming Oil - the Frank scrub improves the quality of your skin so significantly, that your tail will undoubtedly look better after a couple of rounds. 

Science-wise - as we know, caffeine pops up in lots of cellulite creams, the thinking being that if it wakes you up on the inside, it can have a similar effect on the outside. When applied to the skin, it stimulates blood flow, which is what treats pesky skin conditions like stretch-marks and acne. The benefit of using coffee is that it has the same pH as your skin so won't dry you out, or oil you up. There's also a hefty list of potential nasties that it doesn't include: no parabens, PEGS, or phthalates, sulphates, silicones, mineral oil, no glycols, no DEA or TEA. 

Now, it is a bit tricky to use. The instructions say that you should rub it in and wait 5-10 minutes before washing it off - but don't even bother to try and use it dry. It has nothing to stick to and creates an unholy mess. Jump in the show, then massage it all over your bod (it's good for your face too). Then faff about doing something else for a while before washing it off. You are guaranteed to end up with a shed load of it coating the bottom of your shower, but after one use I was so considerably smoother and slipperier that passers by pointed it out. It also makes your bathroom smell extremely dreamy. 10/10 and easily the best body scrub I've ever used. Thanks Frank. 

It's Balmain Dahling! Texturising Salt Spray & Moisturising Elixir

First things first, I've been saying Balmain wrong my entire life. It's Bal-maaahhn. Not BalMAIN. Woops. Unsurprisingly, these two new friends are the first Balmain products to ever make it into my house. And I tried bloody hard to get some of the H&M bits. I literally spent an entire day just refreshing the page and got absolutely no work done. Soz boss. 

I don't like using heaps of styling products in my hair, because I hate when it feels like there's stuff in it. These two products are worth chatting about, because they are so effective yet so lightweight. Salt sprays I've used in the past, gave me a scratchy, wire-wool barnet that will no way last a second day, and don't even think about taking the hairdryer near it. The Balmain Texturising Salt Spray is different. You can use it as liberally as you like without the fear that you'll go up in flames should someone light up a cigarette next to you. Even if you blowdry your hair, you'll still achieve a lovely beachy wave. 

I knew that me and the Balmain Argan Moisturising Elixir would be best friends as soon as I clapped eyes on it. It's packed with Argan Oil so will really bring out the shine and smooth out your wiry ends. You only need the tiniest bit, it'll last yonks and leaves no residue. I wouldn't be without it now. Now, each of these products is around £20 a pop, but I would wholeheartedly recommend skipping the expensive shampoo and conditioner (I've never found one that justified a high price point and trust me I've tried a LOT), buy Tresemme when it's on offer because it's darn good and just introduce these to your routine. Effortless, undone, un-claggy hair. Perfect. 

Skin Savers: Rodial Super Acids Cleansing Pads & Hangover Mask

One of the biggest problems I encounter when buying new beauty products is the fact that I am super-sensitive of skin. Also of disposition, but that's a matter for another time. I wanted to talk about the above two products, because I want to let other sensitive skinned beasts know that they need not be afraid. They will not remove your skin despite the name, colour of packaging and their generally aggressive demeanour

First up - the Pore Shrink Cleansing Pads, which have slotted as easily into my routine as a 7pm white wine. Essentially I use them as my third cleanse. Yes, I am technically TRIPLE CLEANSING. It's moments like these where I realise that I am an actual grownup. That and the fact that I buy toilet paper these days and don't just steal it from work. They contain salicylic acid BHA, so are brilliant chemical exfoliators (for those in favour of a manual scrub, you can read all about my all time favourite here).

They unclog your pores, can deal with blemishes and remove dirt and oil with one sweep - absolutely no stinging included. The pore shrink claim comes from Evermat - an active ingredient that aims to reduce pore size and secretion. While these pads are in no way an effective stand-alone cleanser, they're a perfect final sweep before your serums, moisturisers and all that jazz. I was powering through the pot using two a day, but have calmed down now and use Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads of an evening to mix things up. 

Next up is the X-Treme Hangover Mask, which has come in handy pretty often let me tell you. I'm currently cobbling together a list of beauty products that you can use when brutally hungover. Not scented enough to make you gag, but powerful enough to put your face back in working order. This is right up there - the scent is really soothing, the formula is baby soft and it's unbelievably gentle.

You also don't have to deal with the usual faff when you take if off. You whack it on and wait for 5-10 minutes (it is clay-based but doesn't harden), before rolling it off with your fingertips, then splash a bit of water on to shift the dregs. Less time spent bending over the sink? Win. Science-wise it contains glycolic and fruit acids to leave skin much smoother and brighter. There are also peptides (for anti-ageing) and probiotics (to strengthen and protect skin). It really boosts the hydration you drank away the night before, I promise. Party boys and girls, this one's for you. 

Ruth and Clare Go On Tour

On Saturday night I got back from the best, most adventurous holiday of my little lifetime so far, and realised just how shite I'd been at just 'living life' before I went away. I was really struggling to get my head together, and needed a break bad. After ten days away, I've certainly achieved some clarity, which is surprising given how much I drank. I've come back a little fresher, and more motivated to crack on with this game called life. And, I've got some holiday beauty bits to share!

Firstly: sea hair. Having a very frizzy barnet, this is something I've always avoided. On a previous holiday, I emerged from the sea (drunk) feeling fit as fuck, until Ruth told me that I looked like a sea monster not - as I thought - like a mermaid. But this time around, something was different. Perhaps this particular patch of sea, jumping in instead of wading in, and not wearing extensions anymore meant my hair went beachy as hell. I was so happy with it, that it remained wavy for the whole holiday, and I have now ditched my straighteners and hairbrush. I just spritz it with salt spray (review to come, I've found a beaut) and just let it be. No, it doesn't look perfect, and no,  it doesn't feel perfect but I can safely say for the first time in my life, I don't care. Teenage me would be horrified that I've reached this point, and who knows if it'll last, but for now, it's making me very happy.

Also worth noting is that despite midnight dips in the ocean - my eye-makeup did not budge. I've banged on about Rimmel Glam'Eyes Liquid Liner before, but I really pushed it to its limit on this holiday, and it did not let me down. For me, it's quite simply the best eyeliner on the planet. Plus it has a flexible brush, so you can get really fancy with your eye flicks. Kudos also to my eyelashes, which remained black and suitably spiky, even when drenched. I was using Revlon Volume & Length Mascara, but I think its sticking power was down to Smashbox Photo Finish Lash Primer. It made my mascara cling on harder than I do to a dying relationship. 

Ruth did suffer from dry-skin while we were away, and neither of has found a brilliant budget-friendly sun-cream that doesn't make our sensitive skin feel like it's on fire, but as and when we do, we'll certainly let you know. And lastly, if anyone wants any hostel recommendations for Eastern Europe - or restaurant, bars and all that malarkey - me and Ruth are racking up quite a list and would happily pass on our finds!

Plump me Up Elemis! Pro-Collagen Favourites

After years of reckoning that Marine Cream was probably over-hyped and over-priced, I got given a tub at a work event, slapped it on my big face and couldn't believe how wrong I was. Gods of Elemis - I was wrong. I'd made several silly assumptions that it would be far too rich for my sensitive skin and would clog up my pores until they ate my face. In actual fact, it's very soothing and incredibly hydrating without being heavy or rash-inducing. It's a moisturiser that's ruined other moisturisers for me. Everything else seems too greasy or ineffective. It's like the Zac Efron of the skincare world. Nothing else compares. 

So, once my eyes had been opened to the wonders of Pro-Collagen - I invested in a couple more of the products in the range. Pictured are my ultimate faves. This is SERIOUS SKINCARE, good for girls and boys, young and old and I would highly recommend them to anyone who wants to start seriously thinking about anti-ageing skincare.

Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night-Cream is very similar in texture to regular Marine Cream, but the formula's been amped up. Basically during the day flying crap (especially if you live in a big city) dries up the oxygen in your face. This stuff replenishes it, as well as stimulating cell metabolism and turnover. You will wake up with a soft, pillowy complexion. For an all-guns-blazing night cream, it is so light and so easily absorbed. On the downside, it is nightmare-expensive, but see below for my money saving tips. Move over Martin..

Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment is a very lightweight treatment (it's more of a... gunk than a cream) that easily glides over your peepers and won't disturb the make-up you put on top of it. Why do so many eye products do that? Admittedly eye cream isn't very interesting, but it's absolutely necessary unless you want to resemble a scrotum when you grow up

Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm was my first foray into balm cleansers and personally, I use it for my first cleanse of an evening. It melts into your skin so easily and will remove makeup and crap while nourishing your skin. In the pot it looks like it would induce a hefty bout of facial dandruff, but I've found it to be incredibly hydrating

Now my final (and most important) point: I ALWAYS get my Elemis from QVC and if you don't you are a fool. The deals are amazing - I've gotten the last two Today's Special Values, where you get a selection of products for £40-ish, and you can pay in instalments. In my last set, I got the eye treatment, the nightcream, a supersize Radiance Cream Cleanser and a couple of other bits and bobs. SERIOUS VALUE. 

Bring Me Shiny Things! L'Oreal Elvive Nutri Gloss Luminiser Spray

Just a speedy declaration of love from me on this gorgeous Sunday evening. HELLO SUMMER. DIDN'T RECOGNISE YOU THERE. Picked up the L'Oreal Elvive Nutri Gloss Luminiser Shine Booster spray (catchy) the other week and have been dousing my rabid locks in it every day since. As we all know blonde hair is never shiny, especially when it's grubby. Well, friends I have the answer. This stuff effectively laminates your hair. You can use it before styling (which'll soften it up right nice) and as a finishing spray. Without doubt this is the best shine spray I've ever tried, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it if you're nervous of weighing your locks down in a bed of grease. This baby is lightweight and delicate. Just like myself. 

SCIENCE PART: If your hair surface is all roughed up and your cuticles all whackadoodle, then light won't be able to reflect on it. This spray coats each strand in something called glycogel (no idea) to smooth the whole lot out and seal up those cuticles. Therefore light can freely bounce off your bonce and you can swish around like a superstar. 

But best of all, it smells lovely. You know after a big night out when your head stinks of garbage and you just want to die, but instead have to go to work. This is a brilliant mask for disgustingness as it'll subtly fragrance your hair all day. It smells like watermelon, but in sweetie form. So round of applause for L'Oreal from me. Keep up the good work. Oh and this is also a fiver from Boots right now. Get in. 

Get On My Face: Make Up Revolution - British Beauty Blogger Palette

I'd all but given up on scooping this palette as every time I went to my Superdrug there was just a big hole where it was supposed to be. And then last week, I strolled in to buy cotton buds or something boring, and she was in stock! This is the Makeup Revolution Fortune Favours the Brave palette - compiled by British Beauty Blogger and it is LOVELY. I don't think I've ever been so excited to get something immediately onto my face as soon as I walk through the door. Except like, boys. I snapped pics of it as soon as I was home so I could immediately use it, and boy, have I worn it a LOT.

You get 30 shades - a combination of matte, glimmer and sheen (their words) shades. The only thing I'd say is missing is a killer silvery grey, but I'm not holding this against it. Yes you do need to work a little bit to get the colour out, and it doesn't distribute as smoothly as a more expensive palette but this is TEN POUNDS PEOPLE. TEN ENGLISH POUNDS. And the brush isn't a pile of wank either. I can't ever remember seeing a palette, where every shade looked so scrumptious. Makeup should ultimately be about having fun, and boy have I had a blast with this one. I have shown this palette a good time. If you want to experiment without spending a bomb - there's room in your life/bathroom for this palette. ALL ages, and ALL skintones welcome. 

Now, as a sidenote - I've tried to take several pictures of myself wearing the shades but firstly - it is really difficult to take nice pictures of your eyelids. Kudos to all those Instagram beauty girls that make it look so easy. Secondly, I think my problem is that I only ever wear eyeshadow when I'm going out-out. And when I'm going out-out I'll have a glass of wine or two while I'm getting ready and therefore pictures tend to end up something like this:

*Glow courtesy of Blossom Hill White Zinfandel. 

Review: L'oreal Extraordinary Oil Facial Cleansing Oil

Recently, I've been trying to be more financially responsible, as I'm currently in that strange time when you start a new job and are unsure when/how/if you'll be paid. Or whether they've hired you by accident and you'll be escorted out the building when the jig is up. With this in mind, I've been on the lookout for budget alternatives for my old faves. I wrote a doting love letter to DHC Deep Cleansing Oil over here, and while I truly believe it is well worth the £11 it costs, the L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Cleanser above was on sale in Superdrug for a mere £3.95 so into my basket it went. 

And I was really pleasantly surprised! It really holds its own and is markedly similar to the DHC oil. It actually smells a LOT better than the DHC, which is by-the-by for some people but does make it even more pleasant to use. For me, when I'm washing my face vivaciously and some of it slops into my mouth, it tastes better too... When I told Ruth this, she was shocked and appalled that my face-wash would ever go into my mouth, so obviously I'm doing something wrong here. Please let it be clear that I am in no way advocating eating your face-wash. I'm just obviously not in full control of my facial faculties first thing in the morning or last thing at night. 

My only negative is that it doesn't massacre heavy eye makeup in the way the DHC oil does, but most cleansers can't cope with the amount of slap I put on my peepers most days, so I'm not holding it against it. It also contains mineral oil, which I know some folk are pretty against - but I've never had a bad reaction to it, and for now - am happy to use it. Especially for a skin-smoothing, super hydrating bargain bonanza like this. Big thumbs up guys. 

A Ode to Old Faithfuls

Ok, first things first I've been a bit absent on the blogging front, mostly because I got a new job and then went away for a couple of days and basically became OVERWHELMED BY LIFE. Also watching Lemonade several times a night has taken up most of my free time. But enough's enough, time to get the lead back into my pencil. Over the past two weeks, I realised that unintentionally I've been plumping for exactly the same products every single day. They're the most reliable, the longest-lasting, the fullest coverage products I own that'll get through a long, hard day like bosses. And most of them are pretty purse friendly. I haven't given these products a whole lot of love, so lets declare it to the world. Or, you know my mum, who regularly reads this blog. Thanks mum. 

I picked up the Max Factor Colour Corrector Sticks at Boots the other week because there was a 3-for-2 on and I have no self control. The yellow pencil corrects under-eye circles and I whack it on straight after my primer and run the green pencil (to correct redness) across my cheeks and nose. I then pat them into the skin, before finally blending with a brush. They are very smooth and really neutralise discolouration, so your base looks top notch. 

I follow up with Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Foundation, which I would wholeheartedly recommend if you have oily skin or redness like me. It glides on like a dream, and gives fantastic coverage despite its light texture. My only gripe is that it can sink into enlarged pores in a way that La Roche Posays's amazing BB Blur doesn't AT ALL. It tightropes right over those fuckers. 

The Rimmel Lasting Finish concealer is one of my most favourite bargains - it's a really thick formula, so dot where needed with your fingers. Then pat over it to warm it/ cook it into the skin. After a minute or so, blend it in with a brush. Lastly, I've used this Max Factor Creme Puff powder on and off since I was a teenager, it delivers a silky full coverage and is properly mattifying - with a satisfying 'make-up' smell to boot. It smells like makeup your mum used to wear. I can't live without powder and have tried many pricier options over the years, but regularly come back to this old pal.

When it comes to my eyeballs - I can't do eyeshadow of a morning. Full respect to those soldiers who can. I opt for a cat-eye liner, because it makes you feel like a boss. This Rimmel Glam Eyes Liner is also something I've used for YEARS. I've literally never cheated on it. I once went to Liverpool for work at the crack of dawn, and on the train on the way home, a colleague commented that my eyeliner hadn't budged one iota. Not bad for £5.29. Then I run the Mally eyeshadow stick in taupe through my brows to fill them out, as it's perfectly matte.

Lastly, I slap on Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes mascara. I was given this mascara when I left my old job as part of my leaving present, because I used to work with two of the loveliest, most gorgeous women on the planet who really knew their shit. This mascara really does live up to the hype. I love a thick lash but I'm bored of the spidery, clumpy lashes I used to wear every damn day. This mascara DOES NOT CLUMP. It gives you the hugest, softest lashes, and you can put on as many coats as you want WITHOUT CLUMPING. If you're going out after work you can just APPLY MORE and it looks as fresh as it did first thing. The last time I felt a love like this was when GHDs were invented... 

And that's the lot. Takes about 15 minutes to throw it all on, topped off with whatever bronzer I can find first. Throughout the day, everything stays in its assigned area, I just reapply powder every couple of hours or so until I can get home, put on my PJs and watch Lemonade again.

Dermalogica Charcoal Mask to the Rescue!

Getting invited to my first blogging event was BEYOND EXCITING, especially for a brand as top-notch as Dermalogica. So off I bounced to Liberty's (lovely) for prosecco (even lovelier), and a fantastic insight into their new mask - the Charcoal Rescue. It deals with a plethora (a PLETHORA I tell you) of skin concerns - ultimately promoting a healthy, balanced and vibrant glow. Now who doesn't want that?

First things first, I'm going to share a FASCINATING fact I learned about charcoal. This is not only interesting, but will probably come up at a pub quiz one day. Colabus monkeys bloody love a good mango leaf. However the effect of eating lots of mango leaves is similar to going on a huge bender and eating dirty kebabs. Your belly's going to have some difficulty. So these monkeys have learned that if they also eat charcoal from extinguished fires, then their digestive turmoil will be soothed. Mad right? The charcoal basically extracts pollutants and waste, and can do the same thing for your skin! 

Now most charcoal mask formulas are quite simple, but this bad boy uses Binchotan charcoal. It's activated so gives a real, deep clean. Basically it can adsorbs* a LOT of nastiness - so all that build-up and residue that hangs out on your face is going to be told to shove off. It also includes sulphur, which is antibacterial and very stimulating for the skin. There's Volcanic Ash, sea silt and hydroxy acid to exfoliate, and Chilean wild mint to tighten pores. The sensitive skinned among us need not be afraid though - there are lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients too. 

To use, it's easy-pease - apply a generous amount (enough that you can't see your skin underneath), leave for 7-10 minutes and then gently massage off. It sets very quickly and is a mask you can really feel working. My skin felt smoother and softer after just one use - and you can use it up to 4 times a week! It is £38, so quite pricey but I think it'll become a staple in a bathroom cabinets up and down the country. It's great, sensible skincare that everybody could benefit from. 

After the event, we got to spend time with a Dermalogica specialist who looked at our skin REAL UP CLOSE (this was intense). We chatted about how rare it is now to use one mask all over your face - it's far better to target each area with a specific, tailored treatment. Interestingly, my lovely specialist recommended that the Charcoal mask would be great for my chin and cheeks. But for my nose (oily, congested, unpleasant) she said I should try a moisturising mask to combat whatever's responsible for the UTTERLY MAD oil production. Honestly though, I haven't  been brave enough to try it yet, and the charcoal mask feels so good on my skin that I can't help but put it all over. But when I find my courage, I will let you know what happens...

*TECHNICAL FACT: adsorbing means when one surface binds itself to another. In this case, the charcoal (which is positively charged) binds itself to the toxins (negatively charged) on your face. Neat.

Finding My Facial Features: A Journey. Starring Sleek Cream Contour Palettes

Sleek Cream Contour Palettes: Light - Medium - Dark [l-r]

Sleek Cream Contour Palettes: Light - Medium - Dark [l-r]

It goes without saying that Ruth's facial structure is an architectural wonder. She was a model back in school. A proper, legit one, not like a promo girl for PC World. As such, it's very easy to find her cheekbones, because they are literally sticking out of her face. I had no such luck when they were doling the genes out - day-to-day my face basically resembles a boiled egg. When contour started to take off, I laughed in the face of those who suggested it to me. I didn't even dare to dream. 

So I was VERY excited to go along to a Sleek contour class, in honour of their new cream contour kits. They promised easy, natural, glowing contour so I took it very seriously. I paid more attention than I ever paid in school. More attention than I ever gave any date, any friend, any family member, because I've never wanted anything more in life than cheekbones. I sat in the front row and made masses of notes. It was embarrassing. But here is everything that I scrawled down in the hope that it can help other pillowy-faced friends.

First things first, the kits are £10.99, which is amazing and come in three shades: light, medium and dark. Here's the three palettes - light at the top (which I use), medium in the middle and dark at the bottom. Each palette has 6 shades ranging from 1 - the lightest (for eye-brightening) to 6 - the darkest (for cheekbone sculpting). 

First things first, put on your foundation and concealer as normal - the contour cream needs to be blended into something as opposed to put on bare skin. Then... PICK UP YOUR PALETTE

  • Dab a beauty blender or sponge into shade number 1 and pat that shit all around your eye area, concentrating on your dark circles but go all the way up to your eyelid and brow bone.
  • Don't worry if there's a visible line at this point, there'll be plenty of time for blending later.
  • Take a fluffy eyeshadow blending brush, suck your cheeks in and paint a thin strip of shade 6 into the hollow of your cheeks.
  • Like so:

I know how to pull this face. It's the face I pull in literally every photo. 

  • Use your sponge to soften the line and then use an angled brush to blend. I use the Lab 2 contour brush you get in this kit. Start with the highest angle of the brush and blend upwards.
  • Take shade 5 and with your sponge pat from the highest point of your forehead down to your temples on either side, and then blend with your brush.
  • Pop the sponge back into shade 5 and using the small corner, pat the shade down either side of your nose (go all the way up to your eyebrow) and blend. 
  • Take shade 2 and apply to the centre of your forehead, and down the middle of your nose.
  • Finally use shade 3 and 4 to warm up the face and soften any lines, before running one of the darker shades under your jawline to chisel it using your brush. 

And there you have it. I've tried it, I can do it, and I'm a moron. The creams are so blendable, and the base-tone in all the colours are ashy not warm so give the most natural finish. The kits are suitable for all skin-tones - something Sleek is well known for and won't break the bank either. I'd highly recommend it if the ABH kit is out of the question. Welcome to the party cheekbones! 

Bigger is Better: Tresemme Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System

When I excitedly showed Ruth that I'd purchased the reverse system Shampoo and Conditioner duo from Tresemme, she said: what a fucking gimmick. Ruth says this kind of thing a lot and I normally always ignore her, so I skipped to the shower for a backwards washing experience. That sounds ranker than it is. Basically, the thinking behind this duo is that by conditioning your hair before you shampoo it, you avoid weighing it down and therefore it will be more voluptuous.

People have been muttering about reverse hair-washing for a while, but these are the first products I've seen that are specifically tailored for it. The formulations of each product are reversed too - the conditioner, which you slap on first and leave for a minute, is really light. And the shampoo, which you use second - is very rich and creamy, like a conditioner.

Having had a little trouble with flat hair recently - which you can read all about here - I was keen to put some bang back in my barnet. So, did this Tresemme duo make my hair nicer? Well yes, it's currently very soft. You're all welcome to pop over and touch it. But did it make my hair bigger? Honestly, nothing to write home about. However, I'm already on my second bottle of the conditioner, because it's so nice to use and doing things this way round just seems to agree with my hair type. I give it a few months before everyone else starts rolling out reverse shampoo and conditioners. And I will buy them all. 

Oh and lastly I'm not going to say anything about the Volume Dual-Action Maximizer Cream because if you haven't got anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all... 

Get on My Face: Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser

On the recommendation of one of my lovely friends who was having just a blast with the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser, I finally pulled my finger out and bought it. Caroline Hirons put up a lovely review of this cleanser last October, highlighting its similarities to the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip, which is an eye-watering £35. The Pixi cleanser has been out of stock on their site for an AGE, but you can get it from lots of places: Look Fantastic, Beauty Expert and HQ HAir, all for £18. I picked up mine from M&S obviously, because I love M&S. Every so often, they run a 20% off skincare and make-up deal, and you can get free delivery to any of their stores so it often works out to be the cheapest option. I'll 100% be repurchasing this thick, creamy cleanser once this one's dried up, and here's why friends: 

  • It contains 5% Glycolic Acid to exfoliate (woohoo) but is gentle and absolutely won't fry your face off. 
  • Almost immediately, I noticed a difference in my skin's texture - it was much, much smoother
  • You can use it as a mask, if you leave it on for ten minutes or so. 
  • It provides a really deep clean and unclogs pores like a dream. 
  • It's fantastic for skins like mine: temperamental, oily and a bit gross. 
  • You get heaps in a tube so even though it's £18, it's good value

It's not brilliant at taking makeup off, so I use it for a second cleanse of an evening (after my DHC Deep Cleansing Oil), and in the morning. It's very clarifying - leaving healthier, more glowing skin in its wake, which is obviously fantastic. Next on the wish-list, the Overnight Glow Serum. Donations welcome. 

New Brand Discovery! Mally Makeup at QVC

One wild Friday night a few weeks back, I rolled home after midnight filled with happiness (aka white wine), and put on QVC (obviously) and watched the Today's Special Value launch. For the uninitiated, this is a one-time only deal that the channel runs for 24 hours - featuring a different brand each day. This particular morning, Mally Makeup was on the menu, which is a brand devised by makeup artist Mally Roncal. She is everything that I ever wanted to be as a grown-up. She's loud, funny, made-up to the max and THE HAIR. Good Lord THE HAIR. Both she and the brand are American, and as far as I can see are only sold on QVC in the UK.  

I've watched her present a couple of times, and fuelled by happiness (white wine) and a willingness to part with my cash (thanks again, white wine) I bought the above Barely There Makeup Collection before passing out. The king of the collection is the Perfect Prep Poreless Primer, which is HEAVEN to use. Texture-wise, it's unlike any primer I own - it's very bouncy and supple. It's like smearing butter on your face but in a non-weird way. Since it came into my life, I've barely been using anything else. It grips onto foundation like I grip onto boys I want to become my boyfriend. The Volumising Mascara is my next favourite - it gives you big, bad lashes in about 30 seconds if you wiggle the brush as you apply, and I do so love big, bad lashes. I paid £38 for the whole kit and I'd happily pay that again for just these two products.

Also included was the Evercolour Eyeshadow Stick in Timeless Taupe, which is a really creamy colour and very easy to use. Mally had the best tip though - as the shade is completely matte, you can use it to fill out your brows. MY WORD YOUR BROWS. You'll never get a seriously neat finish with it, but I don't like immaculate brows, so it's perfect for me. Here's the lot on my massive face:

The lip crayon is easy-peasy to use - I'm not a huge lipstick wearer, but I can't say a bad word about it. Honestly, the worst product in the collection for me was the Poreless Perfection Powder Foundation. The shade (this is light) was just a little too yellow, and as you can see from the pic above - it doesn't deliver the coverage I need. The wonderful thing about QVC is that you have 30 days to return what you buy, regardless of how much you've used. But as I love the rest of the products so much, I'll be keeping the lot and the foundation will live at work for emergencies.

Everything in the collection takes just a few minutes to whack on, so they're perfect products for busy people to use on the move. And now I'm made up - I'm all set to hit the town for a wild Saturday night on the tiles. PAHA just kidding, I'm not getting dressed today. The Dominos man is already on his way...

Giveaway! Win 3 pots of Nip + Fab Pads - Glycolic goodness and Dragons Blood loveliness.

I've now been blogging for a grand total of 6 weeks and boy it is FUN, although heaps more hard work than I was prepared for... goodbye social life. But in honour of all the joy I've reaped so far, I thought I'd host a little giveaway - firstly to be kind, and secondly - to get more internet friends. Because I need them.

THE PRIZE is the above set of 3 Nip + Fab pads - the Glycolic Fix Night Extreme Pads, the Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads, and the Dragons Blood Fix Cleansing Pads. You get 60 pads in each pot, so that's 180 moments of happiness that you can get your mitts on right here, right now. I went out and bought this prize with my own pretty pennies - so this competition is in no way associated with Nip + Fab. And lastly, all you've got to do to enter is follow me on Twitter and Bloglovin. So far, I have one follower on Bloglovin. And that person is me. So please, help a girl out and win some glycolic goodness in the process. The comp will close in two weeks on 9th April, and Terms and Conditions are all below. Good luck everyone! 

- To enter you just have to follow me on Twitter and Bloglovin. 
- UK Entrants only
- This giveaway will run from 26th March - 9th April (12:00 GMT)
- All entries will be checked and any false entries will be removed.
- If you are under 18 please get your parents' permission before you enter.
- The prize cannot be exchanged, swapped or refunded.
- The prize will be sent in the post via Royal Mail First Class and I'll get proof of postage. I can't take responsibility for anything lost in the post, and I am not obligated to provide a replacement. 
- The winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter and notified via Twitter & email. If no reply has been received within 5 days from my first message to the winner, another will be randomly selected. 

A Love Letter to Antonia Burrell's Mask Supreme

First things first - this is no penny-pinching special. This is an all-singing, all-dancing luxury skincare product, that you can own for a bank-account crushing £57 (for 50ml). If that's out of the question, just turn around now. Walk out the door. Because if you read on you will become all-consumed with lust and desire for this little pot of joy. Antonia Burrell is a fancy famous facialist who I first read about yonks ago on a blog I can't remember the name of (sorry), where the author swore that Antonia's magic touch left her looking ten years younger. Now her facials are going to set you back £130, so already this take-home mask is starting to look like the bargain of the century. 

It's called the Mask Supreme, 7-in-1 because it's got 7 lovely benefits: Hydrating, Smoothing, Detoxifying, Repairing, Clarifying, Illuminating, Protecting and Perfecting. It's like the best boyfriend you've ever had - it deals with everything. It'll clear out your pores, and works wonders on your spots, but also deal with very dry, flaky skin. I had a bad cold in January this year and after copious nose-blowing, I had the dreaded Crust-Nose and nothing would relieve it. Except this. 

Application-wise, it's a delight to use because it's so light and doesn't dry or harden. It melts into the skin and becomes invisible so you look like a perfectly normal person with it on. Science-wise, it's the Bentonite Clay that clarifies your skin and deals with blemishes (it also has lactic and salicylic acid), Vitamin E improves hydration and elasticity and a micro-algae (what) slows ageing and prevents cell-death after sun exposure. This is literally 10% of its benefits - have a good read here. For every complexion complaint you can think of, there's something in this tub of wizard sauce that'll sort it.  

You can pop it on for anything from ten minutes to overnight, but for something this expensive  you've got to sleep in it. Your skin will be so renewed and refined that you'll wake up feeling like an absolute goddess. I'll happily declare here right here on the internet - where nothing ever really dies - that it is the best mask I have ever used. I call it My Hangover Helper because if I've been really caning it and I look especially grainy/decaying, nothing will sort my skin out like this. Yes it is expensive, but I've had mine for around 6 months now and there's still half a pot left - and I use it at least once a week. And I'm pretty sure Antonia is going to be getting a hefty chunk of my wages from now until I die - probably from scurvy. 

Review: L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay Range

There's no great mystery as to why my hair is sometimes greasy. My hair is sometimes greasy because I never wash it. It's very large and curly and requires copious conditioning, blowdrying and straightening, and it's boring. So I bother about twice a week and in the meantime, dry shampoo is my best friend. I saw an ad for the L'Oreal Extraordinary Clay pre-shampoo masque (for oily scalps) on the telly and ooh-ed and aah-ed a bit, and went to Superdrug where the entire range was half price. So obviously, I bought it all.

This is only the second pre-shampoo treatment I've ever used. I adore Elasticizer, which is a conditioning treatment, and I reckoned that this L'oreal offering would be similar. It is in no way similar. It's catering for an entirely different need - namely oily roots and dry ends. It contains 20% pure clay to absorb said oil and impurities, and also to leave your scalp squeaky clean. You slap it on dry hair for about ten minutes - it's the bounciest texture and tingles like peppermint. Then jump in the shower and wash your hair like a normal person with the shampoo and conditioner. Get out of the shower, and go and live your life.

Now the range promises 72 grease-free hours, which is an ambitious claim. I reckon I got 48, and the lovely dry-shampoo got me through the next couple of days. The spray smells great, leaves no residue and provides a volume boost, which leads me to my one and only criticism of the range. After using all 3 wet products, my hair was so extraordinarily clean, that it went as flat as my chest. This is not ideal. On the next wash, I skipped the L'Oreal conditioner for something volumising and bounce was restored to my barnet. But having said that, this is a really lovely idea for a range and has been so well executed. All the products are delightful to use and don't feel harsh or stripping on your hair (or head). And anything that means you don't have to wash your hair as often is money well spent in my book.