Monday 30 December 2013

Makeup Brush Cleaning Ritual

As 2013 comes to a close I have made a few 'beauty resolutions' one being to be that little more organised when it comes to deep cleaning my makeup brushes. I own a mountain of brushes and flit between the same ones on a regular basis, adding a few extras to the mix when I am in an 'experimental mood'. However whilst I am rather good at spot cleaning every day I tend to take the lazy girls attitude towards deep cleaning, and whilst I always aim for once a week that doesn't always happen. So this weekend whilst my boyfriend returned to work after a long Christmas Holiday and to be in prep for the New Year I decided to grab all my brushes and head to the bathroom for the little Brush Maintenance. 

My routine for deep cleansing is pretty simple. I tend to favour a good old flannel and a moisturising anti-bac hand wash to do the trick rather than a fancy brush cleaning tool and specialised cleaner. I recommend picking up a few flannels from Primark or any other cheap shop and stashing them away specifically for brush cleaning. They will get stained, but throw them in afterwards with your hot wash and they are ready to be re-used the following week. 

Now to get started. I like to lay an old towel out on the floor and roll it up slightly at the edge to create a slope, then when you the wet brushes down water will run down rather than up to the handle. Once I have prepped I like to take the largest brushes first, usually my face brushes and saturate the bristles in warm water. The trick is not to get too much into the handle or it can erode the glue causing the bristles to fall out (RIP Sigma F80). Then pump 1 pump of hand-wash on to the flannel and start working that brush in circular motions and then rinse. If like me its been a while (naughty) then start the process again for a double cleanse. Place the brush on the towel and repeat with all the other brushes. I tend to find that the handles can get a tad grubby, especially the RT brushes due to the rubberised finish, so whilst the brushes are drying I will rub a face wipe over the ends to get them back to their original self. Finally if you have a few that are numbered i.e. MAC, Sigma etc then take the opportunity right now to slick a coat of clear nail varnish over the number to stop it fading. And hey presto your brushes are as good as new, well almost. Now all I need to do is keep this up into the new year. 

P.s: If you are lazy like me in terms of brush cleaning then I highly recommend picking up a spot cleaner for everyday which whilst it won't keep your brushes emmaculate it will stop a lot of the build up. My weapon of choice for this is Beauty So Clean Conditioning Brush Cleanser which you can pick up for around a tenner on Feel Unique. Happy cleaning!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Cuticle Maintenance

Review of cuticle remover treatments

It's certainly not the most glamorous of tasks, lets be honest. But a quick glimpse of my rather neglected cuticles the other evening told me that I had to do something, fast. There was a time when not a single cuticle product crossed my collection but having become quite a nail polish whore I have accumulated quite a selection. Whereas once 'sorting my cuticles' meant a quick massage and push back using my nails (cringe) in the bath I now reach for a triplet of products which see my nails go from shabby to chic in just a few minutes. 

For when my nails are OKish: When I have not left it too long between mani's I tend to find that a cuticle oil does the job. Sally Hansen's Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil pretty much does what it says on the tin. I like to apply around the nails bed and then either massage in with my fingers or use a cotton bud to push the product about. You need to give your hands a good wash afterwards with this one if you are planning on painting straight after and I recommend a quick swipe of nail polish remover over the nail to ensure that all the oil has been removed. I like to apply this after painting my nails too and on a general daily basis as it really does keep dry patches at bay. 

For in between manicuresElegant Touch Cuticle Remover. Easy to find in most supermarkets and drugstores, it comes in at less than a fiver and pretty much does the job. I use this when my cuticles haven't been left for too long and just need a tidy. It comes with a brush,  which you pretty much apply like a nail polish all around the nail bed, leave for a few seconds and start pushing back with a cuticle pusher (if there is a professional name for this appliance then please let me know). Afterwards, wash and your ready to go.

When the big guns are called for: The latest edition to the 'cuticle family' is Sally Hansens Instant Cuticle Remover. I had been after this for a while, but not being readily available on the High Street it was going to have to be an Amazon job until I spotted this sitting alone on a shelf in TK Maxx for just £3.99. Heads up though that I have heard this could be making its way into selected Boots stores so sit tight. Unlike the aforementioned products, this is a gel like formula which you squeeze directly onto your cuticles, leave for 15 seconds and then start pushing back. The precision applicator and easy to squeeze bottle is pretty easy to handle and really does do the business. In fact my nails always look heaps better after using this. Word of warning though this is pretty harsh stuff so it does recommend only using twice a week. 

So if you are on the look out for cuticle taming products then I highly recommend throwing one or two of these in your basket next time you are in Boots... 

Tuesday 13 August 2013

L'Oreal SuperLiner Brow Artist

L'Oreal SuperLiner Brow Artist Review

If theres one thing that L'Oreal does well and thats eyes. Their recently discontinued (*sob*) Telescopic mascara has been my most re-purchased beauty item to date. So when they launched a collection of brow and liner products on the back of their 'Line of Beauty' AW13 trend I was all ears. Launched under L'Oreal's SuperLiner franchise the collection consists of 3 liners and a brow pencil - Blackbuster - a jumbo pen style eyeliner, Pefect Slim - a tiny 0.4mm precision eyeliner, Gelmatic - a gel liner in a pen applicator and finally Brow Artist* which I was kindly sent for review.
To give you a brief idea of what y brows are like - I have naturally unruly brows which over time have become rather sparse from being a tad over zealous with the tweezers. Whilst my brows have a relatively good natural shape they do require a little work filling in the gaps, and working on more of an arch as I attempt to regrow them. Lets just say I am certainly no Cara in the eyebrow stakes! As far as products go I have tried a fair few, with Cliniques Superfine eyebrow pencil tipping the top spot and MAC Espresso coming in a deserving second.  
Brow artist is sold as a 3 in 1 product, consisting of a brow pencil, wax and tamer brush all in one neat pencil sized portion. To start proceedings I have been using the brush to tidy up the brow area and prepare for shading, next up I fill in the areas needed with short strokes, almost like drawing fine hairs into the gaps, creating the shape I want. The pencil is quite dense, so I find running it over the back of my hand firstly softens it slightly and makes it slightly easier to work with.  Finally I use the brush end again to blend any harsh edges and give an overall natural look. For additional wear use the wax end around the edges to stop any movement throughout the day. 
For an easy to use brow pencil this pretty much hits the spot. The formula is slightly waxy and does need a good blend with the brush to take away the harshness and avoid being left with a scouse brow.  The waxy formula, however does negate the need for the 'finishing wax' and whilst the wax end is a nice extra, I am not sure it contributes any real benefit to the product other than giving it an added 'selling point'. Colour wise you are limited to only 3 shades - blonde, brunette and dark brunette. I have been using 03 Brunette - a straight up dark brown which I am pleased to report has no signs of an orange undertone. I would like to see L'Oreal extend the colour range, as I think red heads in particular have been left off of the shade chart. But as far as brow pencils go, this does exactly what it says on the tin, and is a pretty good pencil for its mere £5.49 price tag. 
Will you be trying any of the L'Oreal SuperLiner collection?

*PR Sample 

Sunday 4 August 2013

Review | Lancôme Génifique

Walk into my bathroom and you will be presented with an array of lotions and potions from toners, to exfoliants to cleansers. Yes, skincare is my weakness. Naturally though I was happy to shuffle a few products around and make room for Lancôme' Génefique range*.  So for the past few weeks I have been slapping on the Génefique and eye cream.

The History: Génefique first launched in 2009 after 10 years in the making, promising to maximize the skins ability to hydrate and resurecting the skins youthful quality. Already a cult product amongst the Lancôme skincare range, it already boasts a newer advanced formula to compliment its original best seller. As I head closer to my 30’s it could not be a better time to put this to the test...

Génefique Youth Activator Serum*: Developed as a hybrid of a serum and a cream, it is just that. It has the lightness and texture yet has the hydrating properties of a moisturiser. The product itself is housed in a tall glass bottle with a pipet type applicator which uses almost a button like feature on the top of the bottle to withdraw and disperse the product. I find that one pump does the job worked into a freshly cleansed/toned face. The serum is light, but pretty hydrating at the same time. It left my skin feeling smooth and hydrating without the tackiness of a heavy cream. I have been using this in the morning straight after toning and before applying makeup as I have found that it provides the perfect canvas for longer lasting makeup. Could this be my primer dilemma sorted? For more of a kick, use at night under an overnight mask or oil. On the nights when my skin needs a little something extra I have been upping the skincare stakes and massaging this in before topping up with either Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask or Clarins Lotus Oil for super plumped morning skin. I definitely recommend this if you are looking to add a good serum to your skincare routine. Prices start at £58 for 30ml. 

Génefique Youth Activator Eyecream*: Developed to compliment the former is a lightweight undereye serum formulated to tackle fine lines and wrinkles. Whilst I can’t say this is an area that I need to tackle just yet, prevention is better than cure right ladies? Firstly although this is  lightweight serum, I did find that it took a while to absorb into the skin, and we don’t want to be messing around in this area for too long so I would suggest only using this before bed.  Although once it had absorbed my eye area felt smoother, it just did not cut it for me in the awakening areas and being an early starter this is something I strive for in an eye cream. For the time being I will be sticking to my Supergoop Anti-Aging Eye Cream. I do, however believe that if you do suffer from dryness under the eyes then this could work well. So for slightly older ladies, with dryer skin, it could be noteworthy! Prices start at £49. 

The above Génefique gift set originates from Harrods and comes with a 30ml Génefique, 15ml eye cream and a Visionnaire sample. Unfortunately this is now sold out.  But if you do fancy getting your hands on the range then it is available online and most major department stores...  

*PR Samples