Monday, 27 June 2011

Murad Anti-Aging Acne Skincare Review

Back towards the end of February, I attended an event where we were introduced to the new Murad Anti-Aging Acne range. In the past I have used several products from their existing Anti-Blemish line, so was interested to see how this new range faired as it's designed in particular for adult acne but also addresses fine lines and wrinkles.

The range features 'an advanced Multi-Active Acne Fighting System designed to reduce existing blemishes while preventing new blemishes from forming. Products include Kombucha Collagen Defense™, a proprietary formula which includes Lipid filling and Anti-Glycation agents, Hyaluronic filling spheres, Glucosamine and a unique blend of Amino Acids, which stimulates collagen production while significantly diminishing its breakdown. Silver, a natural antibacterial, eliminates bacteria that have invaded the skin's environment; and encapsulated Salicyclic Acid technology provides hours of sustained treatment'.

All sounds promising, so here's how I got on.

Time Release Acne Cleanser
This is rinse-off cleanser in the form of an unusual whiteish gel, as it looks a little bit like a balm/gel hybrid but acts like a gel. Comes in a standard flip-top tube with a generous 200ml which will last me a good while - the cleanser in the regular anti-blemish line lasted me about 6 months and I think this will be a similar time as I had hardly used much in one month (I used it AM and PM). This feels very gentle and as it has a very mild (almost non-existent) lather, it doesn't leave my skin dry at all.  This 'features encapsulated Salicylic Acid Technology,  the cleanser sustaining wash off by depositing Salicylic Acid with gentle release over time'. I am a bit dubious about this claim as it is hard to tell if it's done anything of the sort.  While it is quite pleasant and gentle to use and leaves my skin feeling clean, I can't really see if it's done much to my skin.

A big dollop, and a little spread out

Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser Ingredients

Anti-Aging Moisturiser SPF 20 PA++
A pleasant, light cream formula that is easily absorbed and doesn't leave any residue. It is off-white in colour but leaves no visible trace as it absorbs well. I like that it has the added sun protection with the UVA as well and still feels very much like a 'normal' moisturiser so I feel happy using this and I have been reaching for this quite often these past few months. I find it helped a little with oil control when the weather was colder but now that it is hotter it doesn't offer enough although I haven't ever come across a product that keeps my face shine-free all day anyway. I quite like the packaging with this one as it has a pointed nozzle to control the amount well. It does a good job of keeping my skin soft, supple and nourished although I haven't seen any extra benefits from using this. The added sun protection is a plus as I don't need to use a separate product.

Murad Anti-Aging Moisturiser Ingredients

Acne and Wrinkle Reducer
This is the standout product in the range for me as I actually noticed a difference when using it. I had a few large red bumpy spots when I first started using this and it has helped to flatten them and minimised the chance of possible scarring which I easily get with these types of spots. This has a gel texture that is quite easy to spread but doesn't leave a sticky residue or film over the skin so it can be used underneath a moisturiser. I only used a small amount at night everyday (on it's own and no moisturiser) and found that considering the effectiveness, it did not dry my face one bit, I didn't wake up with any flakiness etc. I find it doesn't work on every type of spot, for me it seems to be the redder, bumpy, bigger ones it helps out more which is fine by me as these are the most annoying ones that seem to hang around forever but this stops them in their tracks! This doesn't prevent me getting spots as after about 3 weeks I did get quite a horrible breakout and I don't think it was caused by a product but to be sure I did stop using this and then came back to it and have found that my skin is fine so this is helping my post-breakout skin to recover better.

I am 27 and do not have any deep wrinkles, only a few fine lines across my forehead and around the side of my mouth so I cannot really say how it would work for more serious lines but for mine it did help to soften their appearance and overall refine the look of the skin so it feels smoother. I think it also helped a little bit to soften the appearance of some past acne scars I had.

Murad Acne and Wrinkle Reducer Ingredients

All the products have a sage, tea tree and geranium scent which is quite refreshing and not strong, although not much of a deviation from some other acne ranges. 

Overall I didn't find the range harsh in any way and it has been quite pleasant to use, but it is the Acne and Wrinkle Reducer that impressed me out of the three products.

Disclosure: Products were provided without charge at the event

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Hissyfit Saving Face SPF 50 Review

Depending on what moisturiser I am using, many of them don't include an SPF so I have to apply a separate sunscreen or use a base that has a good SPF.  I don't really like applying layers of product in the summer as it can feel a bit heavy and I do get rather shiny.

I had heard of Hissyfit a while back and the brand had stuck in my mind as it is one of the few brands I have came across that have a high SPF in a base colour product.

Saving Face is marketed as a 3 in 1 product as it is a foundation, SPF 50 sunscreen and has anti-aging properties in one. It is a more natural base as it includes ingredients such as anti-aging Australian Daisy cehami, green tea and pomegranate.

Hissyfit Saving Face - Fresh

It is a quite a thick cream, a bit sunscreen like in texture, and coloured like a foundation, providing sheer to medium coverage which is better then some tinted moisturisers I've tried. I would say it has similar coverage to something like Laura Mercier Oil-free Tinted Moisturiser but is less dewy-looking (with the LM, powder is a must for me). It's easy to slap on and blend with fingers so great for a quick face.

I have the shade Fresh which has a more tan, less yellow tone which works ok for summer but I think Sand may be a better match as that seems more yellow (I bought this online and that website didn't have Sand).  The tones are warm and leave no gray/whiteish cast on the skin.

The finish is natural but slightly dewy, so I use some translucent powder to tone this down as I do have a shiny t-zone which only gets more shiny in summer (I really must look into some mattifying products). I still use a bit of concealer as it doesn't quite cover spots/marks although it does help to even the skin tone well.

Overall it does make quite a nice alternative to using a separate sunscreen and foundation (I still use a light moisturiser underneath) but I would probably like it more if it felt a bit lighter as it does have a sunscreen like feel.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Young & Pure Eye Make-up Remover Review


I was tempted to buy this after reading this teaser on Oxford Jasmine's blog as I am always on the lookout for gentle eye-makeup removers that can get off hard-wearing products.

This is quite a light feeling liquid, more water like and non-oily so it doesn't leave any greasy residue on the skin. It does a very good job of taking off heavy eye makeup, even my YSL waterproof eye pencil came off quite easily. Most of my mascaras it doesn't have trouble with but my NARS Larger Than Life lengthening (which even though is not waterproof it stays on very well) it couldn't quite get it off so I did have to use a balm to remove this.

This has a fairly mild citrusy/ginger scent that smelt quite nice although the addition of ginger I found to be odd at first as it's something I've come across in body products more.


I don't consider myself to have sensitive eyes and don't wear contacts (although as a child I had a habit of rubbing my eyes and still do on rare occasions) and found that this feels a bit drying and my skin would feel a bit tight in this area in a slightly uncomfortable way. When I first started using this it's not something I really noticed but with continual use it seemed to feel more and more drying.

Sadly this one wasn't for me, although I have finished it up (I feel bad wasting things).

Aqua (water) Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Glycerine, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed wheat protein, Panthenol (Vit B5) Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Peel Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract,Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract,Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Sodium Ascorbyl phosphate (Vit C) Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid

This is £4.99 for 125ml and I bought from (not an affiliate link)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Nail Polish Removers: Priti NYC & Andrea Fulerton

Priti Soy Remover, Andrea Fulerton Remover

I change up my nail polish about 2-3 times every week so my nails are prone to feeling dry and peeling/breaking. I used to just rely on Superdrug's acetone free nail polish remover or another cheapy one but I don't think they really helped to maintain the strength of my nails.

When Cult Beauty had their pop-up shop in Selfridges a few months back, I had a chance to properly look at Priti NYC's Soy nail polish remover which I had been curious about. I purchased a bottle and I've been using this for a while now and have tried it on various different polishes to see how it fares.

This feels very different to conventional removers as it has a more oily texture so as I am applying it on my nail, I kind of feel I am rubbing a nail/cuticle oil onto my nails. Initially it seems that this will not remove a thick layer of polish, but using a small amount (about half of what I would normally use if I was using a standard remover), it surprisingly does remove all polishes effectively (glitters take a little more work but it is more effective then the Superdrug one I was using before).

I really like this remover, but it does take a little bit longer to remove the polish and before you can apply a fresh coat of polish, you do need to wash the oily residue off. On the plus side when I do wash my hands, my nails feel nourished rather then dry so it's like I've given them a treatment rather then just taking old polish off. I am not very good at using cuticle oils so this kind of serves that purpose to me a bit and I think my nails are in better condition and don't break as often.

Priti's remover comes in quite a dinky 118ml plastic bottle with a screw-top lid which I initially thought that I would get through rather quickly, but in the few months I have used it I am only just now getting to halfway through the bottle.
At £18 it is a rather a lot for a nail polish remover, especially as I'm used to paying no more then a couple of quid, but I like the way my nails feel with this. Yesterday I was applying a fresh colour and like a doughnut I managed to mess up my polish before it dried and I did this twice! Anyways I used this remover and it didn't feel stripping at all.
Ingredients: soy ester, corn ester, orange oil, vegetable glycerin.

When I do feel a bit impatient and need to take off my polish super-quick, I reach for Andrea Fulerton's Nail Boutique Pump It Up Nail Polish Remover. A really convenient salon-style pump bottle that contains 120ml of product for £3.99 and is acetone free.
This really dissolves polish quickly and cleanly and doesn't feel drying. It removes glitter polish quicker then any other remover I've used. I actually prefer this over Zoya's Remove +.
I haven't had this as long as the Priti, but I have gotten through 1/4 bottle quite quickly as I do need a bit more remover. I don't mind this so much as it is very effective and doesn't cost as much.
Ingredients: Ethyl Acetate, Iso Propyl Alcohol, Aqua, Iso Prpoyl Myristrate, Parfum - Contains: Limonene, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Coumarin, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Tocopherol Acetate, Panthenol, CI 47000, CI 61565.

Both of these removers don't smell like conventional acetone type removers - the Andrea Fulerton has a subtle soft minty scent and the Priti has an unusual, slightly orangey scent so they don't fill the whole room up with overly strong, chemical smells.

I love both of these and will repurchase them when I run out. Overall, excellent stuff!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Favourite Nails: Rimmel 60 Seconds Rose Libertine

Rimmel 60 Seconds Rose Libertine (405)

Rimmel 60 Seconds 405 Rose Libertine is a slightly salmon/coral sort of pink and is a cream finish with no shimmer. This is one of my favourite nail polishes as it's not too pink so when I feel like something less Barbie like I reach for this.

The formula is nice - not too thick and applies well (I accidentally dented the finish on one finger before it completely dried). Pic is after a days wear with a fast-dry topcoat so there is a tiny bit of shrinkage.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue (pic heavy)

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue
Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue
Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue

Jumping on the Eyes To Kill bandwagon, I recently purchased shade 1 which is Blast of Blue (don't know why the name isn't mentioned on the actual packaging).

These shadows are in their own league as from testing these on counter they are simply stunning and have an unusual, almost creamy metallic powder consistency. There is such depth and interesting mix of tones that it is difficult to pick just one as some others that I immediately liked were Pulp Fiction (4) and Purpura (3).  I would love to own them all but the £24.50 price tag is the highest I've ever paid for a single eyeshadow.

Flash: Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue Swatch

Natural light: Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadow: 1 Blast of Blue Swatch

Blast of Blue is a mid silvery blue combined with gold to create an interesting mix that in some lights takes on a subtle aqua tone.
What really impressed me about this shade was how well the colour translated from the jar to my eyelids as it remained pretty true to how swatches. Some eyeshadows that have a duo tone don't really show up when applied whereas this is so rich that I get equal amounts of blue and gold shining through.

I have done a simple eye look with this all over the lid and halfway in on lower lash line then a little Mary Quant eyeshadow blended in outer corner and outer lower lash line (I think the shade is B-06, but not 100% sure as this is a custom palette and I threw the single pan packaging away).

Mary Quant Eyeshadow B-06 (top middle pan)
Top: Mary Quant B-06, Bottom GA
I have lined the upper lash line slightly with YSL waterproof eye pencil in black, the waterline with MAC Shadestick in Butternutty and the mascara is GA Eyes to Kill Excess.

Natural light, no flash
Natural light, no flash
With flash
Complete look

Other products used:
Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer in NSA on blemishes
MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer in NW35 on undereyes
Lily Lolo foundation in Warm Honey
Illamasqua Powdered Metal in Erzule
MAC Lipglass in Style Warrior

I bought Blast of Blue from the Giorgio Armani counter in House of Fraser Westfield.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

No7 Sunset Metallic Eye Palette FOTD

When it came to spending my No7 £5 off voucher there was one product that I already had my eye on from testing instore beforehand, so that is what I ended up getting:

The Sunset Metallic Eye Palette is part of No7's summer collection and consists of 4 metallic/shimmer type shades.

No7 Sunset Metallic Eye Palette - Flash
No7 Sunset Metallic Eye Palette - no flash

No7 Sunset Metallic Eye Palette Swatches
L-R: Dark, blackened green shade with hints of golden shimmer, the next is a golden tan shade, then a pale gold shade with frosty shimmer and lastly a golden olive green with a golden sheen finish.

The dark black/green and the olive green shades are more smoother and better pigmented with a slightly more pearl sheen shimmer then the two golden shades which have less refined shimmer particles and need to be built up a bit more to get a good payoff. I think these work better when layered over the darker shades.

The two green shades are more unique then the golds and are what drew me to this palette, overall I really like the colours and they are quite easy to blend and work with.

I have used the light gold in the inner corner and inner half of lower lash line, then the golden olive shade all over the lid, the darker black/green on the outer corner and lining lower lash line and then the tan golden shade blended on top in the centre and crease. When blended together the colours sort of remind me of Rouge Bunny Rouge Abyssinian Catbird eyeshadow although that is much more metallic looking.

I have lined the upper lash line with Rouge Bunny Rouge Anthracite Essence liner and the mascara is Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Excess (this is a sample I got with a purchase).

Rest of products used:
MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer NW35 - undereyes
Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer pencil in NSA - on blemishes
Lily Lolo Mineral foundation in Warm Honey
Beauty UK Baked Blush in Baked Peach
Rouge Bunny Rouge Gleaming Temptations Lipgloss - No Strings Attached

Evolve Multi Protein Shampoo & Conditioner Review

A couple of months back my scalp was not feeling too good - it was dry, flaky (kinda gross I know) and I really wanted to find a natural range to help with my scalp woes.

Just to note my hair is just below my shoulders at the moment, has a natural wave and is quite fine and dry. I have never chemically coloured it (I have only ever used Lush Cacas) and I do blow dry it 1-2 times a week, sometimes using straighteners.

I was at the Vitality Show earlier this year and it was nice to be able to speak to some of the people working on the brands face to face and be able to get advice and information about the products and my concerns which is not always available easily with some niche brands (well not in the same way as if I was to waltz into Debenhams and go and speak to someone on say Clinique).

Anyway, I spoke to a lovely lady on the Evolve stand and told her I find it hard getting an effective natural shampoo. She had said they have reformulated their haircare and suggested I try the Multi Protein shampoo and conditioner as it has ingredients beneficial for itchy/flaky scalps.

I didn't get anything then but I kept a mental note and after a bit of a shampoo clearout at home I did go and buy the suggested range from Wholefoods.

The Multi Protein Shampoo is a gel liquid formula that is a little runny so it flows out of the bottle better. I mix this with a little water after applying onto wet hair and this helps it lather and spread out more easily. It rinses out ok but if I use too much I have found it sometimes feels like it hasn't rinsed out properly and then my hair ends up looking greasy (I only found this initially as I was getting used to using this).

That being said the shampoo is excellent on my scalp, it has really improved the flakiness, it doesn't feel itchy or dry, and I think it also stops my hair nearer my roots from getting greasy quickly. My hair feels nourished (and maybe a bit stronger?) and I think I shed a little less hair then before.
For my lengths this isn't quite right, but now I only use the shampoo on my scalp and then use a different lighter shampoo on my lengths which works better for me.

I am definitely going to continue using the shampoo (I have used it for about 2 months now and have about 1/4 of the bottle left), and plan to repurchase it as it has really helped control my scalp problems, I really hope I don't become resistant to the effectiveness of this!

The conditioner feels like a normal conditioner - creamy and moisturising. Again, for my fine hair I didn't need much and this rinses out fine. If I use this after the shampoo, I find it a bit too much for my fine hair and it feels weighed down a bit where as if I use a lighter shampoo before this conditioner then it works better and it does make my hair feel soft, moisturised and a little shiny. It doesn't give me quite the definition I would like to help promote my natural waves so I am not sure if I would repurchase this.

As with all Evolve products, they are natural and certified organic by Ecocert. Both products contain wheat and almond proteins to help strengthen the hair. They also have a sweet almond milky scent that I find a bit unusual to find in a shampoo as it's more the type of scent that you would find in a body lotion but I do love it and because it is unexpected, I sort of forget that these smell like this and it's always a bit of a surprise every time I use them!

Evolve Multi Protein Shampoo ingredients

Evolve Multi Protein Conditioner ingredients

These are 200ml and £9.99 each. I bought mine from Wholefoods but there are quite a few online retailers that stock the range.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Hot Weather Cooling Combo: Origins Peace of Mind & Burt's Bees Lipbalm

Origins Peace of Mind, Burt's Bees Lip Balm

We're not quite there yet in terms of stuffy, humid hot weather here in the UK, but when it does arrive getting to sleep becomes a bit more difficult for me, so to help me nod off I have these two trusty products - Origins Peace of Mind On the spot relief and Burt's Bees lipbalm (original peppermint).

Origins Peace of Mind On the spot relief
This is a light lotion that has key ingredients of peppermint, eucalyptus and basil (unfortunately I've thrown the box away so don't have the full list). This is supposed to aid in times of stress although I mostly use it as a sleep aid (I don't find lavender all that relaxing).
Some aromatherapy products I have tried have been quite subtle, and the effect rather weak but this is quite strong which I like as you can properly feel a cooling and rather relaxing effect where applied. I use this on my temples, behind the ears, back of neck and sometimes on my wrists. This does make your eyes water if you get it too close to them which I have done accidentally a few times.

It comes in a handbag-friendly little pump bottle which houses 15ml of product. You only need a little so I usually buy 1-2 bottles a year depending on how much I use. This has been my most repurchased product from Origins and needless to say is my favourite item from them.

I think the Origins on it's own is pretty effective, but not content with leaving my lips out of the equation and seeing as I already apply lipbalm before bed, I usually use Burt's Bees original lip balm when I use the Origins as this has peppermint in it too which helps to cool my lips, so altogether the effect is much more potent. This is also one of my favourite lip balms to use before lipstick/gloss as it is has a slightly more harder, waxy feel to it that primes the lips nicely and prevents them from drying out.

Both these products are must-haves for me and if they were ever discontinued I would be very cross!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Bright Purple EOTD (well, yesterday:)

I fancied something brighter yesterday so my mind went straight to my Barry M Dazzle Dusts!
I have a matte purple shade (LED 2) that is one of my favourites as it is well pigmented and really livens up the eyes. Unfortunately, I think this was a limited edition colour and am not sure if you can still get it (sorry!)

The lighter purple has faded a bit on the centre of lid (this is at end of day)

I think that it does look a little brighter in real life but generally I do like the way the purple really stands out, using the Barry M pigment first then working the other colours on top intensifies this well.

Products used:

Bloom Eye Paint - Chocolate - as a base
Barry M Dazzle Dust - LED 2 - used middle of lid to inner corner and lining upper and lower lash line
Barry M Dazzle Dust 34 Cherry - mid to outer lid
Myface Blingtone - Purple Haze - centre of lid
Everyday Minerals Pearl Beige concealer - as inner corner highlight
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner - Lust - to line upper and lower lash line
Rouge Bunny Rouge Quartz Eyeliner Anthracite Essence to finely line upper lash line
Boots 17 Photo Flawless Mascara - Top lashes and a bit on bottom lashes.