Matt vs Shine with Essence

My lipstick obsession has got out of hand since last Summer. My collection seems to grow each week and I have every colour and texture imaginable at this point. The one thing I just can’t make my mind up on is which finish I prefer though- one day I’ll be sporting a vampy matt lip and the next I’ll be wearing something sugary sweet and glossy.

One of my favourite brands for lip products is of course Essence, the super affordable brand stocked exclusively at wilko.com and in selected Wilko stores. With a huge array of lipsticks and glosses coming in at under £3 per piece I find it super hard to resist temptation- and really, what’s the need when you can get several new looks for under a tenner?

I was recently sent a selection of lip products as part of their Matt vs Shine campaign. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I really can’t decide which team I’m on but I’ve popped up some little reviews of each shade and how I’ve been wearing them (minus the evidence because once again, I fail at taking photos of myself!)

In the first picture we have a trio of lip glosses. The pale pink at the top is hands down my favourite Essence lip product to date- it’s the shine shine shine wet look lip gloss in shade 02 (smile, sparkle, shine) and features an awesome prismatic glow whilst remaining subtle enough for daily wear. It’s probably my most worn lip product at the moment and I have a back up ready for when it runs out! The middle shade is another shine shine shine gloss in shade 07 (happiness in a bottle). This is a bold pinky neutral shade with a lovely shine, it gives the coverage of a lipstick whilst remaining light with a lovely shine to it, as the name would suggest. This is such a great colour for this time of year and I’m loving it teamed with a berry toned outfit and my copper hair. The third product in this photo is a matt matt matt long-lasting lipgloss in shade 05 (simply be an icon). I found myself reaching for this on a night out in Scotland- it’s light to wear and not at all drying whilst giving a super bold punch of colour that didn’t budge all night, even several vodkas in. This matt shade costs £2.30 whilst the shine glosses are £2 each.

The second picture plays host to two lipsticks that couldn’t be more different if they tried. First up is the sheer and shine lipstick in the shade candy love (12). For anyone who loves a “your lips but better” look this is the lipstick for you. It’s so sheer in colour and so light to wear you wouldn’t really know you’ve got anything on. I’ve been popping this on when I’m running late and want to look a bit more polished in a hurry. This has become the ultimate handbag staple for me! Secondly we have the matt matt matt lipstick in shade 08 which is a deep, dark burgundy colour perfect for wearing with this season’s Victoriana trend. This isn’t a lipstick for the faint hearted as it really doesn’t budge once it is on, but it has a super light texture and non-drying formula that I love. Both of these products cost £2.30 each.

Are you team matt or team shine when it comes to lipsticks? Let me know in the comments.

end

Products sent to me by Essence for blog post consideration.

Xtava Twist Curling Wand review and giveaway

Over the last twelve months I’ve really got in to styling my hair, ever since I took the plunge and went for a new style and bold colour I’ve been determined to make more of an effort with it, both in taking care of it and in how I wear it. My army of tools is basic- a dryer, straightener and a curling wand. My current wand has definitely seen better days so I welcomed the chance to try out a new one as well as give one away to one of my readers.
This is the xtava twist curling wand* which costs a very reasonable £20 from Amazon. Call me a snob if you must but I do seem to have fallen in to the habit of spending a fortune on hair tools with the belief that they’ll somehow be better for my hair, or give greater effect so I was interested to see how a budget curling wand would perform.

This is the 1-1.5 inch conical wand, it’s thicker than the one I currently own and for me that’s a good thing. I prefer a looser curl over tight spirals and this gives me exactly that. In true Laura style I haven’t yet managed to photograph the results (watch this space!) but it gives a wave type curl (technical term) which I’m really enjoying for an every day laid back vibe.

In terms of quality I’m really happy. It uses ionic technology to keep frizz at bay and the barrel is coated in tourmaline and ceramic to help minimise heat damage to the hair. There are many temperature settings on this wand with a guide of what heat will suit your hair type best- the LCD display is a helpful feature too as you can keep track of how hot you’ve got it.

The look and feel of this curling wand would have you think it costs far more than it does- from the luxe packaging to the weight and feel of the tool itself- I’d definitely recommend this for anyone looking out for a new curler whether you are on a budget or not.

I also have one xtava curling wand to give away to one of my readers so you may get to try it out for yourself! Just follow the simple instructions below.

Win the xtava Twist Curling Wand #11

Let me know in the comments what your favourite hair styling tools are and if there are any you’d especially recommend.

end

Beauty- my first ever Glossybox

I think pretty much every blogger out there has heard of Glossybox. It was the first subscription box I was ever aware of and tempted by, yet for some reason I had never got around to it.
It would appear that August 2017 was a great month to finally get acquainted with Glossybox as I was pretty impressed with every product inside it. The box itself was pretty special too- a gorgeous pale blue and emblazoned with “girls just wanna have sun” (so very true, I’m so tired of grey skies and rain) which just added to the experience.
As with any kind of subscription box I think it’s pot luck each month as to the actual value of the products included. I haven’t done the maths on this one but I’m pretty certain it exceeds the price paid for the box- and to be honest, the box could be packed through of high value products that were frankly rubbish, just as much as it could contain cheaper items that make a big impact. Although this box was sent to me free of charge I can hand on heart say I would have happily paid for this one.
I was very excited to see Essence products included in the box having already given their my must haves palette a rave review. I love the pretty packaging on this one and the shades included just so happen to be right up my street- for me this was the star product of the August Glossybox and it’s been in near constant use since.
Other highlights included the suede lips pencils from Rodial- again the shade is right up my street and this gives an amazing, soft looking matte lip that lasts.
I’m also a big fan of the safari sun bronzer from model launcher cosmetics. Obviously bronzer is a pretty essential summer product for many and this one is up there with the best I’ve tried in terms of being a good suits everyone shade, and it has a great texture.

I’m yet to try the hair care products- I’m intrigued by the 2in1 shampoo and conditioner from Batiste, it’s designed to shampoo the roots and condition the lengths which sounds perfect for my thick and often unruly hair. I’ll be packing this for my holiday next month as a week in a caravan in the Highlands means dry shampoo is going to be 100% necessary.

Probably the most intriguing product in the box is the ice hair mask from Total Repair- this apparently has a cooling effect which powers up the macadamia oil it contains making even more efficient at hydrating the hair. My hair is in dire need of a cut and colour, it’s long overdue which also means the ends are somewhat fried right now…I’ll be giving this a try next time I was it and will report back if anyone is interested…

Anyone here a Glossybox subscriber? After the success of my first ever box I am sorely tempted to sign up and make it a more regular thing but I do worry that it won’t consistently live up to the hype, I’d love to hear other people’s experiences in the comments.

end

Glossybox sent me this box for blog consideration, I was under no obligation to post and all opinions are my own.

Beauty: Slay the Eyeshadow and Eyeliner Game with These 4 Tips*

Making your eyes pop is probably one of the most challenging parts of putting on makeup. This step requires an eye for detail, a steady hand and mastery of different brushes and liners. Of course, slaying the eyeliner and eyeshadow game also entails a bit of research. Fortunately a lot of makeup enthusiasts and artists have made a plethora of information available through social media. But if you want to join the ranks of the pros you have to go beyond just watching. You will also need to put these 4 tips into practice:

(Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash)

1. Choose a Brand That Fits You
Although high-end makeup brands do claim to be the best in the industry you don’t always have to purchase expensive products to look good. Brands like ABBAMART offer a variety of long-lasting eyeshadow and eyeliner items that won’t put a dent in your budget. Don’t be afraid to explore eye makeup brands that are easy to apply and feel free to try out different types of eyeshadow and eyeliners to see which looks great on your skin type. Eyeliners for example come in different forms like pencil, pen, liquid, felt-tip and gel or cream. The application method for each kind of eyeliner slightly differs so choose one that feels comfortable in your hand and fits the manner of your strokes.

2. Remember the Do’s and Don’ts
Beauty gurus didn’t just arrive at their killer eyeshadow and eyeliner game; they honed it. In addition to interest and talent people get better at something because they experiment, set guidelines and find methods that work incredibly well for them. It takes tons of practice to apply eye makeup perfectly and that includes making a lot of mistakes too. If you’re new to the eye makeup scene here are some standard practices that work well for most people, followed by a list of practices that don’t:

The Do’s
Always apply primer first. Primer conceals the unevenness and blemishes of your eyelids. It also holds the makeup together, giving you a clean, flawless makeup job.

Adding a transition shade makes it easier to blend the colors. When using transition shades go from light to dark.
Be slow and gentle when blending the colors.

When connecting the shades to the crease bring it upwards to lift your eyes.

If you have monolids use gel or cream eyeliners and draw an arched line above your lash line. The line has to be thicker than you think so when you open your eyes you’ll get perfect-sized eyeliner.

Remember to smudge-proof your eyeliner to make it last the entire day.

The Don’ts
Don’t use dark shades for transition colors. They’re difficult to remove and blend.

Don’t use hard brushes as they don’t blend well.

Never bring the dark shade up to the space between your eye and your nose.

Don’t be heavy on the eyeliner, particularly at the bottom lid of your eyes. Putting too much eyeliner on that area can make your eyes look smaller.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Hacks
Surprisingly, makeup hacks are welcomed in the beauty world. Hacks are often used by beginner and expert makeup artists alike because they allow fast and easy makeup applications without the hassles of doing things the ‘traditional’ way. Some of these hacks include:

Using the edges and curves of a spoon and the edge of a business card to master the cat-eye flick

Using a pencil liner as a guide for tricky liquid eyeliner applications

Applying white eyeliner first to create a less pigmented eyeshadow

Freezing crumbling eyeliner for 10 minutes before applying it on your eyes

4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, if you want to slay your eyeshadow and eyeliner game you have to keep practicing. Becoming a queen doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll probably spend several hours looking at yourself in the mirror with bad eye makeup on before you see signs of progress. With lots of practice and determination however you’ll earn your crown and start seeing your face as a canvas for works of art. Who knows? Maybe the next time you post your look on Snapchat or Instagram it’ll be your turn to serve as an inspiration and a guru to other makeup lovers.

end

Your summer beauty regime, sorted!*

Whether you’re jetting off on holiday or prepping for a summer wedding perfecting your skin will be high on your list of priorities. After all, there’s no place for tired, dull skin — or worse still, spots in the wedding photos or holiday snaps!
To help, Dermalogica retailer Pure Beauty has shared these tips for perfecting your summer skincare routine.

(Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash)

Silky smooth skin
Getting your legs ready for summer is important. To ensure your pins are perfectly polished exfoliate before you shave or get waxed. Use an exfoliating scrub across your legs, moving in circular motions. This helps to open pores and remove dead skin minimising the chances of in-growing hairs.

Swap your moisturiser

In the winter, it’s all about thick nourishing creams that protect your skin from low temperatures. However, in the summer a lighter moisturiser is much more suitable. This doesn’t mean that your skin will be any less hydrated —it just makes absorption easier.
It’s worth choosing a moisturiser with an SPF factor to protect your skin as you go about your day-to-day activities.

Sip a shiraz
Even with precautions in place sunburn can happen to the best of us (says the girl who burns through factor 50!). It sounds too good to be true but drinking red wine can help to reduce redness in acute sunburn. It’s all to do with resveratol, a naturally occurring phenol found in red grapes that are known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Of course, take it easy with this tip — always drink responsibly!

Take cold showers
The thought of taking a cold shower may send shivers down your spine but they can be really beneficial after a day in the sun. Hot showers can further damage and dry your skin after a long hot day, so soothe your skin with a cold shower.
They’re especially important if you have been sweating a lot as they unclog pores and decrease the risk of those dreaded acne breakouts!

Don’t forget your pout
While the cold leaves your lips dry and chapped in the winter the summer sun can also can dry out our lips leaving them sore. Thankfully lip sun protection products are available with a built in SPF factor — look for SPF 15 as a minimum although a higher factor will offer greater levels of protection.

Do you have any top Summer beauty tips to add? Leave them in the comments below.

end