The Body Shop Things...

I decided to take advantage of the recent 50% off sale on the website by purchasing three favourites and a newbie.
The Coconut Body Butter is a long-time favourite. I have to check the ingredients of each one I am interested in as unfortunately quite a few contain parabens (preservatives that I try to avoid). This one however is packed full of great stuff, smells absolutely divine and moisturises beautifully. The Shea Butter one is my other favourite.

The two lip butters featured there are in coconut (surprise, surprise) and shea. These are my nighttime saviours. I tend to get horribly chapped lips in the winter, but slathering these on before bed really does the trick. One pot lasts me about a year, so they are well worth it!

The newbie is the perfume oil in Madagascan Vanilla Flower. I adore vanilla scents and thought I'd give this a try. I really adore the satsuma and coconut perfume oils, so figured hey, why not?! It is vanilla and floral (as to be expected I suppose) and I am most impressed.

Did any of you take advantage of the sale? What are your favourite Body Shop bits?

Remember your Christmas pause!

Amongst the mayhem that goes on around Christmas time, I think many of us forget to simply stop and do the fun things like construct a homemade wreath or don a Santa hat and do some baking. I made these red velvet cupcakes and loved the excitement everyone had at the sight of the edible glitter! Recipe here.
Next on the to do list... a gingerbread house! Let me know your favourite festive treat!

Favourite Origins Toners

So there's more Origins love coming at you today, in particular my love of two of their treatment lotions. These are an alternative to a traditional balancing toner in that they treat a particular concern and are often aimed more on the hydration side rather than for oil control. My two of choice are A Perfect World Age Defense Treatment Lotion with White Tea & Make A Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment Lotion (Phew! Longest names ever?!) Before I get into them, for those of you that don't use a toner/treatment lotion/tonic (whatever you want to call it), you really should consider it. Not only do they remove any traces of cleanser/mask/exfoliator/make-up from the skin, but the balance the pH to a happy skin level of 5.5 after disruption through cleansing.
In case you're not familiar, the A Perfect World range is once which aims to preserve the skin's youth and prevent aging through the addition of antioxidant-rich White Tea. This young bud of the tea plant has over 3x the antioxidant content of green tea, so is a fantastic ingredient for ridding the skin of cell-damaging free radicals. Oil & alcohol free, this hydrating formula helps to form a protective bubble around the skin to protect it from the harsh elements that we encounter on a daily basis. With an uplifting, wake-me-up citrusy scent, this is my choice of toner for the morning after cleansing.

The Make A Difference range is one that aims to rescue and nourish dry and dehydrated skin. The moisturisers were re-formulated this year to really tackle the root cause of dehydration in the skin and are honestly fantastic. This is a moisturising lotion that contains Rose of Jericho (resurrection plant) extract, along with trehalose (a sugar that helps with hydration) and Padina pavonica (a brown alga) to comfort dry skin. Although the formula contains alcohol denat (extracted from plants, added to toners so that they gently evaporate off the skin and don't leave the skin feeling too wet), I honestly can't say that I notice the addition; it feels very comfortable and moisturising on my skin. It smells like a fruity cup of Pimm's and I use this in my evening routine.

Now, these can be used in the traditional way of sweeping them across the skin with a cotton pad, but because of their hydrating formula they also work really well decanted into a spritzer bottle, sprayed onto the skin and gently patted in by hand - just a lil' tip for ya! At £18 each they're not the cheapest, but really feel wonderful and have fantastic ingredients for the skin.

The Body Shop 50% Off!

In case you're not aware, right now if you head over to The Body Shop you can take advantage of the incredible Christmas deal they've got going on! By purchasing 2 items you can get 30% off your order total, for 3 items 40% and for 4 items a whopping 50% off! Simply as the discount code 'GIFT' during checkout.

I'm quite picky when it comes to the body shop as some of the products aren't the most natural and unfortunately some contain parabens, but some of the body and lip butters as well as the perfume oils are fantastic, so I have taken advantage of this opportunity to stock up on some essentials as well as presents for the holiday to come soon no doubt!
The Body Shop

MAC Strobe Cream

This stuff has been around for forever, but it was not until recently that I decided to give it a go. As someone with skin on the dry/dehydrated side, anything that claims to give me a gorgeous glow instantly captivates me.

As far as MAC highlighters go, the Mineralized Skinfishes and Cream Colour Bases are wonderful, but both very much shout, 'Hey! I'm wearing a highlighter!'. That's totally fine and I wear them regularly for a gorgeous sheen on the cheeks, however there is something really nice about a subtle glow. I have been searching for the lazy mate that I can throw on when I'm having a low-maintenance day, something that hints at a highlighter and lifts the face, but without being either matte or glittery.

MAC's Strobe Cream (50ml) can be worn all over the face, under make-up, or used on top of a base at the high points of the face for a lifted effect. I either blend this onto the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, chin and forehead underneath my foundation, or on top of my Origins VitaZing if that's my choice of base for the day. It is subtle but really works and I would thoroughly recommend! In the swatch photos below I tried to capture the various stages of blending it into the skin, but photos never do these things justice!

The Deoderant Debate.

After I studied ecotoxicology as part of my University degree, my eyes were opened to the importance of paying attention to what you put on your skin. We are subjected to so many synthetic compounds that, long-term, may prove detrimental to our health. However, advertising and celebrity endorsements can easily convince us that they are the perfect solution.

One thing that I took a real interest in during my time studying that module was breast cancer and why cases are dramatically on the rise. In some cases the women have led a very unhealthy lifestyle, in others the ladies concerned have been fit as a fiddle, so there is definitely an element of bad luck involved I should imagine; but taking preventative measures can surely only be a good thing? Provided of course that you're not living off of spring greens and living in a Clean Room and thus avoiding living your life!

I'm sure most of you have heard of the relatively recent (within last few years) trend to swap from traditional antiperspirant deoderants to natural deoderants. Anti-perspirants, as the name suggests, stop your underarms from sweating, whereas deoderants simply stop the stench by preventing bacterial growth. It is not sweat itself that smells, but the bacteria that live on the skin and break down that sweat into acids (info here). The reason that this links in with my earlier breast cancer ramble is that it is believed by some that the build up of toxins around the breast tissue after long-term use of anti-perspirants can increase the risk of breast cancer (Darbre, 2003, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry). I mean think about it, sweating is one of the ways your body gets rid of the crap in your system. Telling your underarms, 'uh uh honey, no sweating allowed here' can't be good for them! There is also believed to be an effect caused by the oestrogenic properties of aluminium.

I tried a natural roll-on deoderant a couple years ago (can't remember the name of the brand!). It smelled quite nice, but unfortunately left me smelling, ahem, not at my freshest a couple hours later. It made me lose faith in natural deoderants and so I went back to Dove. However about a month ago I decided to give it another try and that's when the PitRok Crystal Natural Deoderant Stick entered my life. I found that the cheapest place to purchase it was off Amazon for about £4.50.

This deoderant:
  • does not block pores
  • is free from Aluminium Chlorohydrate & Aluminium Zirconium, parabens, SLS, fragrance and silicone
  • is not tested on animals
It MUST BE applied to freshly washed skin, and either itself or your underarms must be damp. So, after I hop out the shower, I dry off my body with the exception of my underarms, swipe this baby across a couple times and am good to go for the day. I can vouch that even after a heavy zumba dance workout I do not stink!

Yes, compared to your bog standard deoderant, this is more costly. But consider the long-term benefits and I think you'll agree that the price is worth it. But hey, that's just me.

November Wishlist

This is the first of what will be my monthly wishlist. I have made a real effort to reduce impulse buys by putting all the new bits I'm lusting after on a wishlist. If something stays on there and I can't get it out of my mind then I will allow myself to buy it if I've got dosh left in my beauty budget!

1. Diorific Lipstick in Dolce Vita Red 2. Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream 3. Dior Smoky Khaki 3 Couleurs Smoky Eye Palette 4. Escentric Molecules in Molecule 01 5. Burt's Bees Radiance Body Lotion 6. Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturizer 7. Yankee Candle in Red Apple Wreath

The Dior products are just pure beautiful, the Clarins self tanning cream has come strongly recommended and I'm thinking of stepping into the self tanning realm for the first time (yikes!), Escentric Molecules in 01 is just such an innovative idea that I love the sound of, Burt's Bees I've used before and love, Omorovicza is pricey but I was blown away by the sample I tried, A yankee candle for every season does wonders for the soul and this one is to die for!

Pkease let me know if you have any of the above! I would love to hear your opinion or review :)

Guerlain Insolence

I've been searching for a new fragrance for a while; one that feels very 'me' and lasts well on my skin. I only own a few perfumes: something light and citrusy, dark and spicy and something feminine for everyday wear. For the past couple years, Jennifer Aniston's scent has been my pick. It is a gorgeous amber/sandalwood scent that is very mellow and easy to wear. Basically, Jennifer in a nutshell I should imagine. The only problem with that one though is that it only lasts a couple hours on the skin before I have to top-up. I always have it in my Travalo, but its still a pain and the end result is going through a bottle rather quickly.

The search for an everyday replacement (whilst Jen will always remain in my collection) has been exhausting. It just felt like an endless stream of average scents that may have been 'nice', but definitely didn't jump out at me. That was until Guerlain Insolence appeared on my radar.
At first whiff it just screamed parma violets (which, for those of you who aren't British, are old school violet flavoured sweets here). Now, I've never been a parma violet fan, but this just smelled DIVINE and I fell in love instantly. The blend of violet, sandalwood and tonka bean all melt together to produce a warm, slightly fruity and very feminine scent on the skin. The smell, to me, is alluring, sensuous and absolutely inviting.

I got mine in Boots when there was an offer on the 30ml bottle down from £41 to about £26. £41 for 30ml is super steep, and I am hoping that by the time this one runs out that there will be an offer on elsewhere for roughly the same price. The quality, however, is exceptional; I sprayed this on today at about's now 3pm and it is going strong!

My Experience with S.A.D.

S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is such a sad name for a sad thing, don't you think :(?! This is a really personal post about something close to my heart, but I really hope it can help at least one of you out there if you are going through the same thing.

S.A.D, also known as the 'Winter Blues' is a recognised mental health condition thought to affect over 2 million people in the UK alone, with over 12 million across Northern Europe ( The combination of shorter days during the Winter months, lack of sun on many of those days and many of us spending that time indoors leads some individuals to develop this condition. Our body clocks get all confused; we're not experiencing the regular pattern of waking up with the light peeking through the curtains, heading to work in the light, coming home in the light and going to bed after dark. Instead, with many of us having early starts to the work day, we wake up with startling alarm clocks in the dark, walk or drive into work in the dark, often not making it outside during our breaks and then leaving in the dark.

Without that light in the mornings, our body doesn't produce the necessary hormones which stimulate our energy powerhouse for the day, so we frequently feel lethargic and sluggish. Common associated feelings include: depression, withdrawal from social situations, loss of libido, loneliness, cravings for sweet foods, anxiety, and exhaustion. Not fun!

I grew up living in hot, sunny places until the age of 16 when my family returned to the UK for my parent's work. Things were never really the same for me after that. I adore sunshine, being outdoors and warm days and nights, so I really struggled getting used to English grey and drizzle. Occasionally England sees a bout of beautiful weather, but 2 weeks out of the year is simply not enough for me, unfortunately! Traditionally every Autumn is when my mood starts to shift and my energy levels drop. I lose motivation, make much less effort to see friends, have more fights with my boyfriend, eat less healthily and do less exercise. I find myself thinking more and more negative thoughts, losing faith in myself, convicing myself that I should give up on my dreams and many other really negative feelings!!

This year was a particularly difficult one for me. I finished University and moved in with my boyfriend into a shared house. We were both broke, jobless, and stressed. Added to this, England didn't really have any kind of Summer this year; the rain was almost constant and the sun far away. This resulted in having very few nice days outside. The months went on and it got darker and darker and my mood more sour by the day. I haven't been blogging as much, making the effort to keep in touch with friends that had moved away after University, getting as much exercise and making sure to eat properly. I have honestly been miserable and feeling completely lost.

Only recently did I make the decision to STOP. Like any change in life, it has to come from you. YOU have to make the initial steps to climb back up the happy ladder and get out of your rut. Start small. Focus on what makes you happy and surround yourself with those things; these for me include bright pictures and artwork and the smell of a nice comforting candle. Also buy a S.A.D lamp! I purchased mine on EBAY for about £40 and keep it on and near me as much as possible when I am at home during the day. I also swear by taking 1000 mg Vitamin C every day. Things like exercise and eating healthily can be so hard when you are in a lull, trust me I know, but once you get your energy levels slowly ascending, it wont seem as hard to make the effort. This also goes for making plans with your friends, going for days out even when the skies are grey. Trust me, you feel so much more energised and better for it afterwards.

The last important thing is to TALK ABOUT IT! Instead of projecting your miserable self onto others and having them mistakingly think you loathe them, be open and honest with them and tell them that you are feeling pretty low at the moment and want them to just be supportive for you. I cannot emphasise enough how important this is in relationships! Things like a loss in libido and rejecting your other half can really result in your partner feeling hurt and withdrawing themselves emotionally from you; I have seen it happen in so many relationships! Don't force yourself to be affectionate or intimate if you just don't feel like it, but make sure you are communicating effectively with your partner and letting them know that it is not them, just a tough time you are going through.

Below are a few things that have helped me. Please comment below if you have any tips you would like to share.

Tom Ford Scarlet Rouge

This is my first TF Lip Colour, and I must say that I have fallen head over heels.

 I chose the shade Scarlet Rouge, a blue-toned red. I have so many orangey-reds that I thought I'd mix it up a bit. The texture of these lipsticks are a dream; they are really buttery and glide on superbly. Formulated with Brazilian murumuru butter they are also very moisturising and feel comfortable throughout the day. They are not the longest wearing lipsticks because they are so creamy, but personally I would much rather reapply and be left with soft lips than have a 12-hour moisture sucker-upper on all day! Especially during the winter months. 

With a hefty price-tag, Tom Ford Lipsticks are definitely a luxurious treat, but I would honestly recommend with both thumbs up in the air.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold

Late on the bandwagon? Perhaps. But at £30 odd a bottle I wanted to be sure that this wouldn't be a let down. After raves all over the blogging world I finally caved when CultBeauty were having a 25% off sale and bought the fabulous Alpha-H Liquid Gold.


This night treatment boasts only a small ingredients list, but one with mighty powers. Glycolic acid and potent licorice root extract allow this chemical resurfacing liquid to leave the skin literally glowing come morning time. Although you wont catch me ditching exfoliating scrubs altogether, there's something about a chemical exfoliant that really ticks the right boxes for me. Dead skin cells are released from the skin without the need for any harsh scratching of the skin's surface.

Those concerned about dullness of the skin, scarring and pigmentation NEED this in their lives! With one use you notice a brighter complexion - something almost unheard of with skincare products - and after sticking with it for a few more uses you will truly see an overall improvement in the skintone.

HOW TO USE: I use this 2-3 times a week before bed. Cleanse the skin and then sweep some of the Liquid Gold across the face with a cotton pad. Voila! If you are anything like me and associate bed time with slathering a thick cream all over your face, this will take a bit of getting used to. Worry not, though, my darlings as this wont be doing any harm! In fact, quite the opposite. (Note: If you are very sensitive I would definitely use with caution as this, like any exfoliator, may irritate.)

Origins Plantscription Foundation

Again with the Origins loving! I want to share my absolute adoration for their new Plantscription foundation.

I am a Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum girl through and through, but this has quickly scooted up the ranks and sits on a par! The foundation is a light to medium coverage, but buildable and leaves the skin looking very natural and light. The finish I would call satin. It's not so dewy as to make oily-skinned babes shriek in horror, and not matt and cakey. I would say all skin types except perhaps the very dry can wear it and for me the wear looks fantastic all day long.

Working in artificial lighting really puts foundation to the test for me (you can see EVERY imperfection.) This looks lovely and natural and definitely gets two thumbs up. I also adore that the formula features anti-aging superhero Anogeissus extract.

With about 11 or 12 shades to choose from, the range is pretty average. I am lucky in that shade 05 Light/Medium (Warm) matches perfectly, but very fair or dark skin may struggle. At £28 for your standard 30ml sized tube it is definitely on the pricey side, but considering how lovely the finish is and how great the ingredients are, I would say it is worth it. I truly believe if there is one make-up item spending money on, it is your base!

Can be found here.

The No Makeup Makeup Look

I don't know about you, but I sure as hell don't wake up looking every bit of perfection in the morning! There are many mornings, however, that I would like to look as though I'm not wearing much makeup and have a natural glow to the skin. It takes a good few products, but the end result is something natural and absolutely suitable for everyday wear. It is quick and easy and leaves you looking put together and fabulous.

 The Products
1. Blend a small amount of your favourite foundation from the centre of the face outwards. This is the area that requires the most coverage generally...I find my cheeks and forehead hardly need anything. I use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum and Real Techniques Buffing Brush. 
2. Blend some concealer under the eyes, across eyelids and onto any blemishes. My weapon of choice is the Collection Lasting Perfection in Medium. 
3. Fill in eyebrows. I use a mix of MAC's Corduroy and Copperplate. Seal with a gel if you've got unruly brows like me! I use Miss Sporty Clear Mascara.
4. Blend a cream blush across the cheeks. I use MAC's Blushcreme in Ladyblush with a Real Techniques Contour Brush. 
5. Blend a cream highlighter across the cheekbones, down the nose and on cupid's bow. My choice is MAC's Cream Colour Base in Pearl. I apply this with an Ecotools Shadow Brush. 
6. Curl eyelashes and apply mascara of choice. I use my Tweezerman curlers and No7 Exceptional Definition. This mascara focuses on seperation and length rather than clumpy volume - great for a more natural look.
7. Apply a little powder across the T-zone if you feel you need it. I use Sleek MakeUP's ONE Finishing Powder and any small fluffy powder brush.
8. I use whatever lipbalm I've got to hand for the final touch.

Origins Clear Improvement Face Mask

I am here today to rave to you all about this wonderful little gem from Origins.
The Clear Improvement Mask contains charcoal and white china clay to cling to and draw out impurities in the pores once sidekick lecithin has dissolved them and made them a bit easier to remove. This is a hardening mask, so apply to areas that need a deep clean (I focus on the T-zone) and leave on for 10-15 minutes until the mask has set. You will feel a slight tingling sensation as the skin saviours work their way down to purify the pores but boy, oh boy, will you be forever grateful for it!

I use this once-twice a week and I have noticed my pores shrinking. The skin is left looking clear and feeling clean. With regular use this can help control blackheads, large pores and tackle the likes of milia and decongestion - what a beauty! I think that £20 is really reasonable for the mask; you get 100 ml and only need a smallish dollop to cover the T-zone so I can see this lasting at least 6 months. Can be found here. At the moment Origins are holding a 'Superstar Giveaway' meaning 3 free samples with any skincare purchase! Get in there!

Origins GinZing Brightening Cream Eyeshadows

As some of you may know, the Origins make-up collection came out at the start of the month. Part of this collection is a lovely selection of cream and powder eyeshadows. Being Origins, the main colour palette is that of neutral shades to subtly emphasise the eyes, but there are a few brighter shades thrown in too.

I adore cream eyeshadows for their ease of use. With the right shade, one little pot can make you look completely put together in seconds and lasts all day. I am a fan of the MAC Paint Pots, however find that some tend to crease on me if I don't use a primer underneath - a bit of a pain!

I didn't set my expectations too high with these Origins cream shadows, so as not to be disappointed. However, the two I've tried have been exceptional and I am super pleased! I have the shades 02 GingerZing and 09 Khaki Kick. I have worn them both by themselves and with shadows on top and there has been zero creasing! They are easy to blend across the lid and crease with either a brush or fingers (I prefer fingers for their warmth) but once they set they will not budge until a good eye make-up remover is swiped over.

The swatch photo doesn't really do them justice and I really encourage you to go see them in person if you get the chance! You wont be disappointed. At £16 each they are on the costly side, but for me it is worth it for such a long-wearing, quality product. Go have a browse here.

Why do you wear make-up?

The lovely Anna of ViviannaDoesMakeup posted a video recently talking all about her history with make-up and why she wears it. I thought it was a really interesting TAG and doing it myself gave me a chance to question why it is that I got into this crazy beauty world. I tag anyone that wants to add their two cents, so please comment with a link to your post if you do! I would love to read it.

1. When did you begin loving make-up? As a teenager with bad skin, I remember loading on the high-coverage foundations to boost my confidence. However, I wouldn't have said that I was particularly 'into make-up', but after a slightly better looking me. It wasn't until I discovered the youtube and blogging beauty realm in 2008 or so that I really jumped in head first and fell in love. I thought it was incredible that you could learn the tricks of the trade from some of the best artists out there whilst sat in your own home! I've never looked back since.

2. How do you feel without make-up? To be honest, ever since my skin cleared up after taking Accutane when I was 17, I wasn't too fussed about going out and about bare-faced. I'm very outdoorsy and quite often make-up is the last thing on my mind if I'm going out for a hike or swim. Having said that, if I'm doing normal people things for the day, my make-up is entirely dependent on my mood and I can be just as likely to rock a red lip as I can no makeup-makeup! It is art for the face and definite self-expression.

3. What do you like about make-up? I like that it boosts confidence, expresses your mood and sense of personal style and can transform the face. But probably what I like most is that it provides me with a creative outlet, which was particularly wonderful whilst studying science everyday at university!

4. Three Holy Grail Items? Origins VitaZing SPF 15 Moisturiser, Origins VitaZing Mascara, MAC Petting Pink Tinted Lip Conditioner

Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub

Firstly, let me start out by saying that I absolutely adore French brand Caudalie. I think they are forward-thinking with their products and have fantastic ethics (have a little read here). You can tell that a great deal of care and consideration is taken in the product formulation and presentation.

I am always buying the odd facial item (or few) and on occasion a nice little sample is thrown in. The Crushed Cabernet Scrub was one of these items. Upon arrival I was so excited to try this. The gorgeous jar-style container is both practical and aesthetically pleasing and the 60g size is rather generous for a complementary sample!

The product itself is um, interesting. I have used it three times (you can see in the picture above that you get a lot of use out of this sample!) and come to the conclusion that the texture is PERFECTION; more of a paste than a gloopy liquid(so really easy to use without wasting half of it as it plops to the shower floor once you've scooped it out!). But the scent is just, wow... not my taste. The name 'cabernet scrub' really does give a pretty good hint that it smells of wine. Occasionally, if I open it outside of the shower and just have a little sniff (like I'm doing now) I think, 'eh, It's not too bad..only slightly likely bad wine...' but once you get in the shower - holy jeez! Once the scrub mixes with water there is an overwhelming scent of mould/dust/bad wine. I'm sure there are some great skincare benefits to this, and my skin always feels lovely and smooth and moisturised, but the scent just ruins the whole experience for me I'm afraid! I'm really not picky when it comes to scents usually; even if a product smells a bit meh I will carry on using it for its benefits, but this is just too much.

Did I get a dodgy one? Has anyone else tried this? You may love the scent. With 99% natural ingredients and supposedly thigh-slimming effects, this definitely sounds like perfection, so maybe perseverence is key...Have a read about the product on the Caudalie website and come to your own conclusion.

NUXE Reve de Miel Hand & Nail Cream

This has been my first experience with Parisian brand NUXE. I have heard a plethora of good things about some of the products, primarily the little lip balm in a glass pot, but I needed a new hand cream and this popped up on trusty FeelUnique. At £10 for 75ml, this one definitely wasn't the cheapest, but I thought I'd give it a whirl.
In a daytime hand cream I look for good ingredients, quick absorption and a definite lack of greasiness. For night creams I'm not too bothered if they are a bit greasy and thick. So how does this one rate?

Ingredients: I had a little look around (obviously not hard enough) but couldn't find the ingredients list online. Upon arrival, I was a little disappointed to see propylene glycol and parfum on the list. Propylene glycol provides no skincare benefits. It is a by-product of crude oil and thus only acts as a filler in cosmetic products. Fragrance I am fine with, but only if it is from natural essential oils. Artificial fragrances can sometimes irritate my sensitive hands. Some of the good points include a lack of parabens and a nice addition of vitamin E, sunflower oil, almond oil and avocado oil amongst others.

The product absorbs pretty quickly and doesn't leave a greasy film, so this definitely works on the plus side for me, but the scent I have a problem with. Think of all the rosy/floral scented perfumes out there and combine them into one. That is the scent of this hand cream. Depending on my mood, I don't mind a rosy perfume, but this scent is just so strong and quite irritating if your hands are really dry and sensitive.

So for £10 I really was quite disappointed. I had such high hopes for the brand but can't see myself trying anything from them in the immediate future due to this little blip. If you like strong floral scents and aren't particularly sensitive, this may be the cream for you, but if you are at all irritated by perfumes then stay away!

Anyone tried any other NUXE products? I'd love to hear your opinion!

Dry vs. Dehydrated Skin

One of the most common confusions in skincare is that of dry and dehydrated skin. They both mean different things, are detected by different symptoms and need different treatments. The biologist in me couldn’t resist researching the two and thus the reason for my post today. So let’s get down to it...

THE DIFFERENCE: Dry skin is that lacking oil, dehydrated skin is that lacking water. Both can either be genetically determined or triggered by environmental factors, but it is important to realise which exactly you are suffering from (if any) as they both require different treatments. Dry skin is most commonly detected by a dull appearance, visible flaking or roughness and redness/sensitivity. Dehydrated skin often feels tight and irritated, appears dull and lines more visible. In many cases, dehydrated skin can appear quite oily in places where the sebaceous (oil) glands are over-reacting to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin.

THE CAUSES: As we age, our sebaceous glands slowly decrease their oil-producing power house. As this natural hydrator slows, it is important we are applying more nourishing emollient-rich creams to compensate for the lack of lipid production. Aside from aging, if any of the genes corresponding for sebum or lipid production are impaired, the skin will not have optimum oil levels and thus will need replenishing creams. Weather forces such as sun and wind can rapidly suck moisture from the skin. UV radiation can also dehydrate the skin by damaging the precious cells which form the skin’s moisture barrier. Once holes form in this protective layer, the moisture barrier is much harder to maintain. Dehydration can also have a genetic root cause.

DEHYDRATION UP CLOSE: I am going to do my best to explain the biochemistry of how our skin maintains enough hydration. Our skin is made up of layers, as most of you may know. In the upper layers lies the moisture barrier, an area of specialised cells that work to lock water in the skin. The cells here are being constantly renewed and so it is important that the underlying mechanics are up to scratch to ensure this process is successful. Specialised keratin cells (the cell type that forms our skin, hair and nails) detach from the basal layer of the skin where they are produced. They then undergo a series of changes on a kind of conveyor belt as they make their way to the upper layers. One of these changes is the addition of moisture-grabbing proteins filaggrin and loricrin. Water-repellent lipids are also added to the keratin cells. This process of the cells making their way to the surface and changing form is known as ‘cornification’. The keratin cells change at the surface by all forming a giant matrix. Proteins from individual cells all join up to form a strong barrier (the moisture barrier) and lipids from inside the cells are released to create a water-repellent envelope around this matrix. Now, for the key players... Caspase-14 is an important enzyme in this cornification process. If you’re not aware, enzymes are a special kind of protein that increase the rate of biochemical reactions. They work by transforming specific molecules (here, Caspase-14 works on filaggrin) to form them into a completed product. In this case, if Caspase-14 or filaggrin are not present in high enough quantities, the moisture barrier will not be formed as completely and damage is more likely. Damage includes moisture evaporation (leading to dehydrated skin), and an increased risk of cell damage from UV-radiation.

The point of all this is that sometimes even if our diets are up to scratch and we’re leading healthy lifestyles, there can be a genetic root cause of dryness and dehydration. In this case, our only option is to venture along the treatment pathway. Products that are able to stimulate the production of things like sebum (if we suffer from dryness) or Caspase-14 and filaggrin (if dehydrated) are of course wonderful as the idea is that they help you to help yourself, but in the mean time make sure that you are going to go for a product to help your concern. Use emollient-rich creams for dryness and water-based creams aimed at repairing the moisture barrier and locking in moisture if dehydrated.

A couple ranges really worth looking at for dehydrated skin are Make a Difference™ by Origins and Vinosource by Caudalie. For dry skin, Oilateum Natural Repair Face Cream or Liz Earle's Skin Repair Moisturiser are great emollient-rich creams. Feel free to comment with any other suggestions! I hope this helped at least a little bit.

For further reading:
Denecker at al. (2008) JCB 180: 451-458

Review: Sleek MakeUP ONE Finishing Powder

Sleek MakeUP are a brand that I have had a pretty good run with for the most part. I think they offer great products for a high street brand and offer a good range of colour choices. The eyeshadows I must admit are too powdery for my liking, but some of the others I adore in my makeup collection.

The ONE Finishing powder is a water-based powder milled to an extremely fine consistency. It claims to absorb oil leaving a sheer finish on the skin and never looking cakey. There is only one universal shade available which I can see working for all but perhaps the very dark-skinned. It contains antioxidants and botanical extracts (whatever type of plant those may be) to produce a gentle cooling sensation when applied. I really enjoy using this with a small powder brush. The texture really is incredibly fine and the finish is JUST-mattified, never dulling. The skin still appears radiant somehow, which is exactly what I love in a powder. Once applied my make-up stays set all day (not that I am oily though, so I cannot speak for you guys out there, sorry :(!)
At £7.49 the price is very reasonable and I think you must give this is a try if you are searching for a new powder! Can be found here.

Review: Origins GinZing Mascara

I was blessed with many things in life, but long, luscious eyelashes were definitely not one of them! And thus I think mascara makes probably the biggest difference to my face (that and filling in my ridiculously uneven eyebrows which you will see below in their naked state haha!!)

Having been a huge fan of Origins for a long time and a user of their GinZing brightening eye cream, I was so excited to give their new GinZing brightening mascara a test drive! It gives 100% lift and volume to the lashes, two coats can be applied with 0% clumping and included are nourishing ingredients: Panax Ginseng to strengthen lashes, eye brightening pearl complex to make the whites of the eyes appear whiter, and carnauba wax to condition.

I honestly can vouch that this mascara is incredible. The wand is HUGE and as a small lash girl, I tend to stick to little rubber wands for fear of blobbing. However, with a little practice you can really work this into the lashes and build up some serious length and volume.

At £17 the mascara is pretty reasonably priced for a high-end brand. And at the moment you can receive a free 5ml sample of their best-selling GinZing eye cream with a mascara purchase! Head to your nearest store and take a look for yourself!

The Liebster Award

The Lovely Emily Louise of LoveSmilesAndBeauty very kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award and tagged me to answer her set 11 questions.

The rules are as follows.
1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.

2. They must also answer the 11 questions the ' tagger ' has set for them.

3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.

4. They must then choose a handful of bloggers with less than 200 followers and tag them in their post.

5. These lucky bloggers must then be told.

6. There are no tag backs.
11 Facts about me:
1. I love all martial arts
2. I have just completed a degree in Marine Biology
3. His Dark Materials is my favourite trilogy
4. I met Princess Diana when I was a baby
5. I love DIY sewing projects
6. I have been diving with great white sharks
7. I have been sky-diving
8. Orange is my favourite colour
9. I love scuba diving, surfing, swimming and any other watersport
10. I still hope to this day that I will develop some sort of superpower
11. I suffer from S.A.D. really badly in the winter 

The Questions: 
1. How did you choose the name for your blog?
I am very much a lover of make-up for it’s creative outlet and transformation properties, hence the Lipstick part, but I also adore the great outdoors and go where the sun goes.

2. If you were stranded on a desert island, what is the one beauty product I couldn’t live without?
This would have to be my MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Petting Pink. With an SPF of 15 I’ve got protection from the sun, moisturised lips and a great pink tint!

3. Give one beauty tip that you think every girl should know.
Great skin is the most important thing in your make-up routine. The better your skin looks, the less make-up you need. 

4. If you could have your own beauty/fashion line what would it consist of?
Well, I just finished a degree in marine biology, with my specialist area in algae. I have a very strong passion for skincare and would  have a line of seaweed-based skincare products that nourish and hydrate the skin.

5. What is your favourite facial feature and/or body part?
Is this on myself or in general?! I love a strong brow. I think more women should totally rock it, and I love men that have good eyebrows.

6. Do you prefer showers or baths?
On a daily basis, showers, but every now and then I lust after a nice long bath with a LUSH bath bomb on hand.

7. Do you have any piercings or tattoos?
I only have two piercings in each ear, but have plans for a couple tattoos in the near future!

8. Where is your dream place to live?
Well, that’s impossible to say as I have many placed yet to venture to...but I love many parts of Australia, Vancouver, the South of France and the West Coast of the USA. 

9. What is your favourite kind of dessert?
Easy: Tarte au Naturel or Creme Brulee

10. Would you rather go out on a Friday night or stay in?
Go out somewhere exciting!

11. Who is your favourite blogger/youtuber?
I adore Lisa Eldridge, Pixiwoo, Pixi2woo, GabrielleMiau

Questions for my tagged darlings:
1. If you were a sport, which sport would you be?
2. What is your one essential beauty item?
3. Are you a heels or flats kind of girl?
4. Describe your ideal holiday.
5. Which celebrity would you say you are most like?
6. What body part or face trait do you find most attractive?
7. Smokey eye or bold lip?
8. Leather pants (trousers) yes or no?
9. What is your favourite kind of food?
10. What language would you like to learn?
11. Clubs or pubs?

I am tagging:

Mega Love xx