I don't often
Simple make up and a fishtail plait
I do like to look my best but I am realistic about the time I have and resources at my disposal - both naturally i.e the canvas I have to work on (my face - I can't change it) and the time/money I can afford to put into looking nice. I love to make an effort for a special night out or a busy work day full of meetings. I always feel 'better' (a bit more confident, a spring in my step) when I make that extra effort. I totally agree with Nigella when it comes to make up: she once famously described it as her "armour", she's a wise-lady that Nige!
I'd love to say I have ludicrously expensive taste - that all of the products I use come from Clinque and Estee Lauder, that all of my make up is from MAC, that I only bathe using REN products and will only put Clarins or Dermalogica near my face, but realistically?...I haven't got the budget to use lots of expensive luxury brands: I've been lucky enough to be gifted some for Christmas and birthdays in the past and I always savour the luxury, but once they're gone, they are usually replaced with a more budget-friendly alternative.
Today, I want to share with you the sorts of lotions and potions I'm using regularly and I'd love to know what you're using too - any recommendations? Any fab reasonably priced products you've discovered?
So, here goes...
From left to right, top to bottom:
BodyShop Cocoa Butter Body Butter 200ml - I use this as an all over body moisturiser. I absolutely love the smell of this stuff, I love how quickly is absorbs into the skin, and it makes my skin feel soft and hydrated instantly. (around £14)
Elemis Sp@Home Instant Refreshing Gel 150ml - this muscle reviving body gel is amazing! I was sent it as a gift from my cousin (who owns her own beauty salon and stocks Elemis products) during a particularly bad spell with my back. This warm, tingly, calming gel does miraculous things for sore muscles. I'll be so sad when it is all gone. (around £23)
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch 15ml - This was a Christmas gift from my make up artist Auntie and it is literally the best thing I've ever used as a base for foundation. I put it all over my face before applying my foundation make up and it gives my face the smoothest, silkiest texture which is perfect for getting an even and flawless foundation application. (around £19)
Cuticura Cucumber Facial Scrub 75ml - This is a fairly recent discovery of mine, but I'm hooked. This fresh scented scrub isn't too abrasive but gives a nice deep clean and leaves my skin feeling really refreshed. I use this a few times a week - usually on days where I've worn heavy make up. It is a really great budget option for a deep clean, and for anyone like me with deep pores, you'll love how refreshed your skin feels after using it. (around £2.50)
Professor Scrubbington's Magically Foaming Hand and Face Wash 200ml - Okay, so this is a product marketed at kids, I'll admit it. I got it free in a goody bag from a blog event last year, so thought I may as well give it a go. I blooming love it! Not only does it have the freshest scent it also leaves your skin feeling super-squeaky clean without the abrasion of a scrub. This is perfect for everyday use, with a scrub added in a few times a week. (around £5)
Soap & Glory Heel Genuis 125ml - I'm a huge fan of Soap & Glory products: they're very reasonably priced, are great quality and who can resist their awesome packaging? Ha...I'm a sucker for something pretty! This Heel Genius foot cream is good stuff, especially in the summer when you want to keep your feet really well moisturised so they're flip flop ready. I usually try to pedicure my feet about once a month - I like to have short, tidy nails and always prefer them to be painted a nice bright colour. After soaking, filing hard skin, trimming and painting my nails I usually apply a liberal coating of this stuff, pop on some socks and sleep overnight in them - waking up to lovely soft feet! (about £5.50)
Aussie Luscious Long Leave-In Conditioner 250ml - Aussie is one of my favourite hair brands. When I use their shampoo, conditioner and or this spray I feel it always leaves my hair feeling soft, hydrated, smooth and smelling beautiful. This spray is especially good for heat treated hair - so if you use hairdryers and straightening irons regularly then this is a great option for adding that extra layer of protection to your hair. (around £4.50)
Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Serum 150ml - I buy this product directly from the salon where I have my hair cut - recommended to me by my hairdresser a few years ago, I've never looked back. It is particularly good at reducing frizz and giving a super smooth, sleek finish to my locks. (around £22)
L'occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream 30ml - I suffer from particularly dry hands - especially in the cold winter months, I inherited the dry hands from my mum who also gets this badly. It really frustrates me as I like to have well manicured hands/fingers and the extreme dryness can leave them looking far from their best. I've tried MANY hand creams over the years, but to date this is my favourite. And handbag sized so perfect for using when out and about too. (around £8)
Benefit BeneBalm & BeneTint - This collection of lip tints and balms from Benefit was kindly given to me as a birthday gift this year and I love it. I always find lipsticks to be super drying on my lips, and they never last quite as long as I hope they will. This tint and balm combo in a dark red or light pink shade seem to be a great alternative for me, supplying great long lasting colour from the tint and lip hydration from the balm. (around £17.50)
The Body Shop Chocomania Eau de Toilette - Okay, so I have really expensive taste in perfume generally - my absolute favourite scent is Miss Dior by Christian Dior which is about £100 for 100ml, but this scent is obviously a huge treat and I don't get to indulge that often in a bottle. For everyday/general use I tend to stick to more reasonably prices scents - my current favourite for winter is this deep, spicy Chocolate-scented eau de toilette from The Body Shop. I also love Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. (around £8.50)
Essie Polish/Rimmel Nail Rescue/CND Solar Oil 68ml /Soap & Glory Hand Food 125ml - I used to bite my nails until they bled - they looked horrendous all through my childhood and teens, I was always embarrassed of them and tried to hide my hands wherever possible. Once in my twenties I decided to kick the habit once and for all, and have never looked back. These items are my staple lotions and potions for nail care. My favourite polishes are made my Essie, for an everyday 'French' look and to help strengthen my nails I use Nail Rescue from Rimmel, and to moisturise I use CND Solar Oil daily as well as Soap and Glory Hand Food moisturiser for everyday use (using the L'occitane one during the winter when my hands are particularly dry). (Essie Polish around £7.50, Rimmel Nail Rescue around £4.49, CND Solar Oil 68ml around £14.99, Soap & Glory Hand Food 125ml around £5.50)
Rimmel BB Cream (Light) - I have been totally converted to using BB cream instead of a heavy foundation for general every-day even coverage. I find this particular brand to be the best for my skin, and I much prefer how it feels on my skin compared to foundation. Plus it boasts a 9-in-1 skin care formula as well as providing an SPF protection of 20, which is vital for someone with my fair complexion. (around £6.99)
Maybeline Dream Touch Blush - I love the light mousse-like consistency of this cream blusher. I use this daily to add a bit of colour to my cheeks. It gives a nice glow to my fair skin without looking too bronze. (around £6.50)
Benefit Browzings - Another recent discovery following a shopping trip in London with my cousin Vicky, who recommended this brow-shaping kit, and treated me to my first palette as a late birthday gift. This fab little combo comes with a pigmented dark wax to add shape and definition to lack lustre brows, a lighter setting powder plus two brushes and mini tweezers in a mirror compact to ensure perfect brows wherever you go. I have naturally very thin brows, which has always driven me to distraction - so it's really nice to have found a product that can add the brow definition I need to frame my face. (around £24)
These are genuinely the products I use day to day - and swear by. I might not be the most glamorous of ladies, but I'm satisfied that I try hard to look after myself and make the best with what I have. Products and potions are such a personal taste thing - especially scented items, so I'd love to know what you like to use, and if any of you use or have tried any of the products I've mentioned today.
3D Fiber Lashes by Younique
Finally, I wanted to share with you my latest mascara discovery...
It's called Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes and it's made by a company called Younique. I was kindly sent this as a gift from my lovely friend Sammy who sells Younique products online here. I've been dying to try out these fiber-lash mascaras for ages, so I was excited to give it a whirl.
I've been really pleased with the outcome. The three step formula sees you apply transplanting gel to make your lashes sticky, then the 3D fibers to add tremendous body to your lashes, followed by a second coat of transplanting gel to set your look. It doesn't take much longer than applying a normal mascara, you only need the two tubes, and the results are the nearest to applying fake lashes that I've found in a mascara.
It does feel slightly heavier than a normal mascara and produces a fairly dramatic lash compared to what I'm used to, so I tend to save this mascara for special nights out or days when I feel the need to look particularly made up.
3D Fiber Lashes is usually around £23, so not too much more than many high street mascaras and on-par with other luxury make up brands in terms of price. It boasts the ability of being able to increase your lash volume to up to 400% and it is hypoallergenic which makes it ideal for those with sensitive eyes.
3D Fiber lashes plus my usual everyday make up look.
So, come on then ladies and gents - hit me with your favourite products - what items/brands can't you live without? I'm dying to know.
Bye for now