Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Aeria Skin Even Tone Brightening Sheet Mask

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​Aeria skin is an entirely new brand on my beauty radar, but boy am I grateful I discovered them, because they're honestly one of the most luxurious face masks I have ever used. These Even Tone Brightening sheet masks were sent to me to review, which was really exciting for me in itself as no other brand have ever been in touch asking for me to review any of their products before! Whilst I'm in no way interested in beauty blogging to blag free stuff, the fact that a brand noticed a small town new blogger like me out of all of the other wonderful bloggers out there and thought that my opinion might matter enough to ask for a review blows my mind. It was a small but motivating step on my blogging journey that has made me feel as though slowly, I'm moving in the right direction and getting my name out there!

I want to start off by talking about one of the biggest selling points about this mask for me, the packaging. There was so many little things that just made it feel so special, like a lot of love and thought had went into making it. It had a beautiful delicate, watercolour style design on the front of the box and on each sachet of mask, and the sachets themselves even managed to make your usual run of the mill tear open sachets look and feel as though they were made from a smooth satin. The overall coral hue of the packaging is stunning, and did I mention you can reuse the packaging as a jewellery box when you're finished with it?! Because yes, basically, you can. The box all five masks are packaged in contains a drawer that you can pull out with a beautiful gold ribbon to use when you're done storing your masks in there. If you wanted to buy more than one type of mask then you could also start to stack them. What's not to love??

In the past I have mostly opted for mud masks, so I was a bit apprehensive about trying a fabric mask, especially after having used a couple in the past that were quite simply uncomfortable, tingly and poorly cut to size. This mask however was a whole different ball game, and I was really pleasantly surprised. Made from 100% natural organic cotton from India, this mask was fairly thick and had a real 'quality' feeling when getting it out of the pack, like no expense had been spared. At the same time, it was thin enough to adhere well to my face due to being saturated in a good amount of serum - which is also free from parabens, synthetic dyes, sulfates, alcohol, gluten and fragrance.

One thing I was particularly impressed with was the way the mask had been manufactured. The slits on the mask were expertly placed so that you can adjust it to best fit the contours of the face, and I had no problem with smoothing it down and into place in no time at all. Usually I find that if you try to pull a fabric mask over the nose it pulls the rest of the mask away from the bridge of the nose and the cheeks, but with slits in the mask along the bridge of the nose and a separate, freestanding section of mask for the nose, I had no trouble with this at all.

The only thing I was relatively indifferent to with this mask was that it was fragrance free, but I think more people would probably prefer this than not. I personally tend to enjoy the scents you get with different masks, but it was a small price to pay for the difference in results compared to other brands of mask, and it's good to know that you're not putting anything unnatural on your face.

An aspect I did like about using a fabric mask is that you don't have to wash anything off of your face after using it, as I find it's a bit of a shame to feel as though you're washing all of that goodness straight down the drain. You simply massage the remaining serum from the fabric into your face and go, sort of like having a built in moisturiser!

I have tried a huge range of different face masks in my time, from self heating ones to mud masks and peel offs. The main reason I tend to use them is for the 'me time', and the idea that you're doing something good for your skin. But honestly, I can't recall a single occasion where I have noticed a difference in my skin afterwards. I expected this to be quite similar to be fair, nothing more than a gimmick even, but I noticed such a difference in my skin afterwards that even my boyfriend pointed out that my skin looked really even! My reaction was pretty much 'no way have you just said that, that's exactly what it says it's supposed to do on the box!'.I genuinely just couldn't believe that he had picked up on the difference in my skin, let alone something so accurate and specific. Clearly I haven't been giving him enough credit! Truly, you need to try it for yourself to believe it. It really did make my skin clearer and tighter feeling and the results kept on coming in the hours and days after using it too.

Aeria Skin Even Tone Brightening sheet masks retail at $25 for five masks here. Their website has recently made international shipping available to the UK, but sometimes also have stock on Amazon.

Please know that although being sent this product for review purposes, all views and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Neal's Yard Deliciously Ella Facial Wash

For such a fan of all things beauty, skincare is the one area I don't tend to bother too much with. I'm not the worst at looking after my skin, I've always worn a moisturiser with an SPF since my early teens, and I always, always take my makeup off at night (I heard that if you don't it can age your face by up to 8 days a time!).

Aside from the odd face mask, I just don't particularly 'enjoy' looking after my skin or having a big elaborate skincare routine, mainly because I've never found any skincare products that really do what they say enough for me to want to keep at it. But, I received this face wash this year from my partner for Christmas, and I love it so much that I've been toying with buying a full skincare range from Neal's Yard. I know! I was really surprised by how much I liked it, because in my opinion face wash tends to be a duller part of a skincare routine. Well not this one. This stuff makes me want to actually take the time to cleanse properly cleanse whenever I can rather than my usual splash of water or makeup remover.

This is the first Neal's Yard product I have tried, but I'm definitely sold. Hats off to my boyfriend for choosing this too, he said he wanted to buy me something that I would like but wouldn't spend the money on myself over other beauty products. He's quite right of course, before trying this I never would have spent £16 on a face wash. I have to say though, I happily would after trying this.

This facial wash is one of two products from the Neal's Yard range called 'Deliciously Ella' in collaboration with British food blogger Ella Woodward - author of a number of books about how to eat more natural food to help you look and feel your best. She describes this range as 'nourishing skin food for a radiant glow'.

As soon as I saw the packaging for this product I knew straight away I was going to love it. The design on the box alone is absolutely beautiful, with the cutest little hand sketched depictions of the ingredients that are inside the product. The bottle itself is made of glass, which I think makes a nice change from the usual plastic tubes or bottles face wash come in that I think can often seem a bit cheap. The bottle also gives off the most wonderful deep blue glow, which I'm hoping I have captured somewhat in these photos. It's an absolute beauty to behold, something that makes you proud to have it displayed on your bathroom shelf, and I'm so glad that a lot of the other products from the Neal's Yard range come packaged like this. Not only is it so pretty that you will feel the need to use it every time you look at it, but it comes with a pump style top, so it literally could not be easier to dispense the right amount of product compared to more fiddly styles of packaging like plastic caps.

The consistency of the product itself is quite runny, which I have no problems with at all. It is a clear, gel like liquid that foams up on contact with damp skin. Whenever I use this I find myself massaging it in for far longer than necessary because it just feels and smells so nice, but it's worth bearing in mind that a little really does go a long way, and at 100ml per bottle I can see this lasting me a long time. Aside from the beautiful packaging, the smell is absolutely beautiful. So natural, and it smells just like essential oils rather than a fake synthetic type scent. I suppose that is to be expected though with an organic product! I was also impressed by how you can really smell every single product listed on the front of the packaging, which is really quite rare! I would say however that the strongest scent is the rose, followed by the cucumber and then a hint of lime which makes it smells quite fresh and citrusy. The overall scent isn't at all overpowering though, just an absolute delight on the senses.

After using this my skin feels so fresh and clean, like any of the days grime has simply vanished. It makes my skin feel taught and even manages to give me a bit of a glow, which I don't often say lightly. It doesn't make my skin feel tight or uncomfortable though, which I find some foaming cleansers can do. Overall I was really, really impressed with this. The Deliciously Ella moisturiser that goes with this is definitely next on my wish list!

You can find this product for £16 here.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Grounded Mango Edible Lip Scrub

I want to start off by describing the scent of this lip scrub. I think it's quite difficult to describe a scent, especially when this scrub isn't as one dimensional as simply smelling like mangoes. I can't put my finger on exactly what the smell reminds me of, but it definitely smells a bit like a Solero ice lolly, which I think is a wonderful surprise. It's very sweet, but considering it is made from mostly Castor sugar that is to be expected! If anyone wants to share with me what they think this product smells like in the comments then please do, as it smells like something from my childhood that I can't quite put my finger on and I would love to see if you had any ideas!

This scrub is edible (in the sense that you can lick it off of your lips, not spoon it into your tea), and has a very pleasant taste when licked off of the lips. It tastes how it smells, if that's something you can imagine! Very sugary and with a tropical like taste that doesn't seem artificial. If you don't like the thought of licking it off however you can remove the remaining granules with some tissue or wash it away, but I personally don't find that I would use enough at a time to justify going and washing it off - especially when it's been made to be edible and tastes like a fresh mango!

To use, I used about a finger tips worth of this product and buffed it in circular motions on to my lips for a minute or two to remove any dry or flaky skin. I don't really have much of an issue with dry lips, so it was hard to tell how effective this was as my lips were fairly soft before and after. I did however use this to remove the stubborn residue/staining from darker lipsticks and lip stains that are typically hard to remove completely, and this worked an absolute treat! It even got rid of that awful 'lining' of lipstick that some lipsticks can leave on the inside of the lips after a few hours (does anyone else know what I mean!?), which is usually really difficult to remove. I can imagine it would be equally effective at removing stubborn skin, seeing as it did such a good job of removing lipstick staining etc. My lips definitely felt more moisturised afterwards too.

Afterwards, I applied some of the Grounded Chocolate Orange Lip Balm (which deserves a post on its own to be honest... it smells JUST like a real Terry's chocolate orange) to moisturise after all that scrubbing. Although described on the Grounded website as having a rougher texture than other lips scrubs, I actually found that it had quite a fine texture which is easy to scoop up and work with. I loved how crumbly it was in the pot too, I found it really aesthetically pleasing for some reason! In terms of texture, I have only ever used one lip scrub before, the bubblegum flavoured one from Lush, and that was much coarser and quite rough - not to mention more expensive. I think that considering how much more delicate the skin on the lips is compared to the rest of the face, it is much better that this scrub is finer and therefore a bit more gentle. It also contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and extra virgin coconut oil, which is known to be quite the little miracle worker in the beauty world. Plus it's free from parabens and other nasties!

Overall I was really impressed with this product. A little goes a long way and I can see this pot lasting me a long time. It smells, tastes and feels lovely to scrub with and combined with a lip balm gives you the perfect base for lipstick - especially ones that usually show up any little imperfections!

You can buy the Grounded Mango Edible Lip Scrub here for only £4.95

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Mac Nutcracker Sweet Lipstick - Saucy Little Darling

I haven't always been, but for the past few years I've been a real sucker for MAC. I usually end up buying at least one product from almost every collection they release, even if I'm not really that fussed on it (That's called a problem, Leaha...). Because of this, I have tried and tested a wide range of their products, from foundations to blushers to mascaras, but the one thing I keep coming back to is their lipsticks. 

I used to only shop high street makeup well into my late teens, and a MAC lipstick was the first 'high end' product I ever bought myself (Russian Red, if you were wondering!). Since then, I've never really looked back. MAC lipsticks just look so iconic, and I love the quirky little names they always seem to have! I have to admit, sometimes I will even buy them based on that alone... Ahem, but aside from my weakness for product marketing, I find that these lipsticks rarely seem to fail me in terms of colour payoff and staying power, and that's what really brings me back time and time again. So, when the Nutcracker Sweet collection came out for Christmas this year, I just had to get myself a few little treats! Christmas and lipstick are among my favourite things, after all, so all the better to combine them!

This particular shade is called 'Saucy Little Darling', and is the only lipstick I bought from this collection - surprisingly! It comes with the most beautiful shiny pink and almost matte purple bullet with a candy cane striped box in the same shades - which is a nice change from the usual black MAC lipstick bullets. This particular shade has an amplified cremesheen finish, which typically I find a little harder to work with than cremesheens due to the thicker consistency and brighter colour payoff. I do however find that cremesheens typically last for a good while dependant on the shade (the darker the lipstick the longer they tend to linger on the lips), and this one certainly did not disappoint. It lasted a good 6 hours on the lips, and after the initial sheen and hydration of the lipstick had worn off it seemed to leave a thinner, lighter pink colour on the lips - which I pictured below when the lipstick was worn for around 4 and a half hours. I did find that this settled in to the lines of the lips more than most MAC lipsticks I have tried, but this was easily fixed by simply patting the lipstick in to the lips, which created a really soft natural look which I actually prefferred to the initial coverage. The bullet itself still comes in the classic subtle vanilla scent as do all MAC lipsticks, which I think is really lovely.

In terms of application and colour, the lipstick glided on really smoothly with no tugging at all and had an opaque finish. It was fairly hydrating and smooth, and I thought that it almost felt like a balm, but with a bit of a thicker consistency. The shade is described on the MAC website as a 'deep coral red', but I would definitely describe it more as a coral pink than a red. I think the fact that this lipstick has quite warm undertones can give it a slightly red appearance at times, especially in the bullet, but as soon as it is applied to the lips it loses this and instead maintains a bright pink, bold hue with a tinge of coral. The colour was like a toned down, darker version of the pink shade on the lid of the lipstick. I have pictured the lipstick on my lips below straight after application, for comparison with the photo above after around 4 and a half hours.

If you wanted to purchase this lipstick, you can buy it here for £17 :)

Monday, 21 November 2016

Maybelline Pumpkin Spice Baby Lips Lip Balm

Pumpkins. I know Halloween is a bit of a distant memory, but regardless of the time of year, I bloody love pumpkins. I'm not exactly sure what it is about them. Maybe it's the fact that they remind me of fairy-tales... or that they're a similar colour to my hair... or even that they only come about for a short period each year, and that makes them just feel kind of special. Either way, anyone who knows me personally will tell you I'm obsessed with these big bulbous veggies. So, when I saw this little bad boy in the shops, you can safely say my heart skipped a beat... Let me introduce you to Maybelline's (holiday special) Pumpkin Spice Baby Lips lip balm.

As cult as they seem to have become, I've never tried one of Maybelline's baby lips balms before. There's no particular reason for that, but I'll admit that I can be pretty lazy when it comes to lip balm... For this one though, I think I can make an exception. In terms of packaging, I can tell you now it's love. The colour of the main part of the packaging is (not surprisingly) orange, with a clear lid adorned with tiny little pumpkins! The lid is also decorated with some leaves too, which gives things a real autumnal feel. I know not everyone gets on with the baby lips packaging due to it seeming a little juvenile and because it's plastic, but I think for £2.99 it fills it's purpose pretty darn well. I find it has a very satisfying 'click' when it shuts and it feels really sturdy. I also find the font of the 'baby lips' part of the packaging really cute, it reminds me of graffiti or bubble writing from school!

One of the biggest claims of this lip balm has to be that it keeps your lips moisturised for 8 hours, and I feel that's where I have to burst the bubble just a bit with this product. This is a huge claim for any product, and I found that this balm in particular only lasted between 1-2 hours on the lips before feeling like you're not wearing any balm anymore. After this time though, my lips do feel a hell of a lot less 'dry' than had I not worn any balm in the first place, and it definitely helps to keep them feeling hydrated for a couple of hours after it's worn off of your lips. So, if we add in the time after the balm has worn off where your lips still feel soft, that's at least 4 hours of moisturisation - which I will happily take considering the price.

This product comes with a simple twist up balm that looks quite solid to begin with, but upon applying to your lips I was pleasantly surprised by how it melts on like butter - it feels like an absolute dream. I'm not even kidding when I say that this stuff makes your lips feel like satin when you rub them together. It's definitely enough to have you reapplying all day, before we even get on to the scent, which although I didn't really find very 'pumpkin' like - is really nice. The smell is almost fruity in a way, with some seeming hints of coconut and a spicy warmth that makes you think of cosy Autumn nights. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but I'm glad it's not too overpowering, Pumpkins don't really smell that great on their own anyway, to be fair!

My overall verdict is really positive for this one guys, and not just because I'm biased towards orange veg... The scent, the packaging, the results and the price ticked all the right boxes for me, and the sheer wash of colour it leaves on your lips was a really pleasant surprise too (I have to be honest, I wasn't holding my breath). I was hoping it would give me a nice coral/orange wash of pumpkinesque colour for fall, and I think it did that really quite nicely. It could almost pass as a glossy, subtle nude lip! If you like the sound of this balm, Maybelline's Baby Lips holiday range also includes a Vanilla Cupcake and a Chai Tea Latte flavour. And if you fancied all 3? Superdrug even have a 3 for 2 offer on at the moment. You're welcome! :)

If you like the sound of this product, you can buy it here

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Grounded Coconut & Lime Face Scrub

Before I go into any detail about this product, I just wanted to welcome you to my first ever blog post - and thank the hell out of you for reading this! Blogging has been something I have wanted to do for what seems like a very long time, and finally taking the plunge and writing this post feels like a huge step for me. So, without further ado, let's (very eagerly) talk about the coconut and lime face scrub from the brand Grounded Body Scrub.

Now, I'm a huge fan of anything even remotely 'beachy' smelling. I think my love of all things mermaid related is partly to thank for that! So even though it's well in to November, picking up this coconut and lime face scrub was a no brainer for me. Upon opening the pouch, the scent hits you like a big tropical tonne of bricks. In a good way! The most powerful part of the fragrance is definitely the lime, with the coconut notes taking somewhat of a back seat. The coffee is pretty strong too, which is always a good thing... Personally, I feel like it smells like chocolate limes (those little boiled sweets you can get!) combined with freshly brewed coffee. A strange combination that surprisingly works! The idea is for the caffeine to soak in to the skin and give you a bit more of a revived, rejuvenated look, like your skin has just had a nice cup of coffee.

There is something oddly satisfying about just getting in there and scooping a scrub out of a packet. Maybe it's just the fact that it's a little unorthodox! I will warn you now though, this stuff is messy, so you should definitely pop it on and wash it off close to a sink or shower. For the texture, I found it was a lot finer than most coffee scrubs, which in theory is great because that means it's going to be a lot less harsh on the delicate facial skin. Don't get me wrong though, this stuff is still pretty gritty as far as scrubs go and it really scrubs. I feel as though it wouldn't be the most ideal product for ladies with more sensitive skins, as it did feel a little warm and slightly irritating at first, and my skin is typically anything but sensitive. I mostly put this down to the fact that I had just come out of the shower and my pores were open - plus I have a ruddy terrible cold! I left the scrub on after rubbing it in for around fifteen minutes, which is recommended if you want more of a 'face mask' type result. After this time it had dried on and soaked in to my skin ready to be rinsed and gently scrubbed off.

Overall, I was pretty darn impressed with this scrub. I loved that you could smell the coffee and lime the whole time it was on, and I feel like it left me with a definite bit more of a 'glow' afterwards. Plus, I think this product is really satisfying to look at once it's on your face and looks really awesome with all the little coffee grains! It also really seemed to help with the more flaky patches of skin that I have (remember that cold I mentioned? Yeah), but that's not usually a major issue for me. I plan to continue using this scrub on a regular basis, especially as I have an oilier skin type, which I feel benefits much more from a grainier/coarser scrub. I'm really excited to try some other products from this brand after trying this scrub - their body scrubs in particular have had some huge results online for tackling eczema and cellulite among other things, and their hair masks look so mega nice (mango crush, anyone?). Keep your eyes peeled!

If you like the look of this scrub you can buy it here :)