Sunday, June 30, 2013

June: Beauty Favourites

So it's the last day of the month again - it's come around so quickly! But along with another month of memories, comes another monthly favourites post, which I really enjoy. Today, I've taken my camera on a little outside venture, to try and capture some of the absolutely beautiful weather we've had over the weekend! In amongst the flowers, are just a handful of my 'of-the-moment' beauty products...


Neom Candle | Restore
Everyone loves a Neom candle and I myself am no exception - they create a little atmosphere of heaven. I've treated myself to the 'Restore' home candle this month, which is a gorgeous, natural aroma of Jasmine, Ginger and Sandalwood. With a guarantee to burn for up to 50 hours, with Neom you will always find assured quality and even when the wicks haven't been lit, the delicious smell will fill the room. With this particular fragrance, classic Jasmine is combined with a zing of Ginger and a touch of mellow Sandalwood, in the endeavour to create the ultimate feel-good scent. I really do find that after burning this for 10 minutes or so, I feel more collected and rejuvenated within myself! Magic! And at the moment you can get your hands on this gorgeous home accessory for just £25, nearly half price. I find that these make wonderful presents, so if you're stuck for ideas at the moment, treat the birthday girl to a little bit of luxury - you can't go wrong. Visit the Neom website, here.


Elizabeth Arden Beauty Box
I've best known Elizabeth Arden for her 8 Hour Cream for a while now, however have never had the opportunity to try any of her make up products. That is, until Me and Mum picked this gorgeous set out in TK Maxx, at the discounted price of just £16. We thought it would be an ideal 'holiday' compact, as it contains just about everything you need to create a gorgeous look - but in miniature! Firstly, I absolutely love the 'Red Door' theme and it reminds me of the telephone boxes in London, which won me over straight away. Inside the compact, are an array of gorgeous Eye Shadows perfect for the warmer months, as well as a Blush and a powder Highlight. What I really like about this palette, is that the colours are really versatile and would suit an array of skin tones; as well as neutrals, Elizabeth Arden has included some fabulous brights which really make your eyes pop. To accentuate even more, the Eye Liner Pencil is soft and very easy to blend if you want a more dramatic, smokey look. Also, for travel size, the Mascara is really powerful and separates lashes so well - you'll never complain of clumps with this one! Finally, the two Lipsticks, Lip Liner and the Lip Gloss really complement the shadow colours and I've found them to have surprisingly great staying power. The RRP for the 'Red Door' Beauty Box is £42, however I've found it for you here for just £24.99! I've not really been able to do these products justice in this description, so I will plan to do a more detailed post, but please do take a look if you are after some show-stopping Summer colours!


Technic 'Highlights' 
I did a full review on this gorgeous beauty bargain earlier this month, which you can read here, but basically, this is an absolute dupe of Benefit's 'High Beam' liquid highlight. Just much, much cheaper. I use this nearly every day now as it gives a beautiful, lasting dewy glow which I absolutely love! I apply it to the top of my cheekbones, my brow bones and cupids bow, using my Pointed Foundation Brush from Real Techniques and can always rely on it for a stunning illuminating effect. At £1.99, I really cannot recommend this product more and it will be one of my favourite products for months to come - one of my top beauty steals of the year so far. 


NAT. Face Organic Rosehip Oil
I've been fascinated with this recent beauty craze over Rosehip Oil, so went out and bought this lovely little product from NAT. Another TK Maxx find, I picked this up for around £5, whereas it's available online here, at natskincare.com, for a more pricey $28. Bargain! Rosehip Oil is described in many places as 'natures way to achieving your most beautiful skin'. The beauty team at NAT, claim that their formula in particular helps fight fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of ageing, leaving you with a smoother, more even skin tone. It's regenerating, hydrating and healing properties have really made a positive difference to the overall appearance of my skin, which I've been really wow-ed by. Those not-so-nice imperfections which are left behind by spots and pimples, are now less noticeable - even after just 3 weeks! I would recommend you get your hands on some Rosehip Oil if you're interested in trying it. I love this particular product as it is completely organic, pure and skin friendly. Also, the easy little pump applicator is always a winner! Let me know how you get on if you do give this a go - I find it so nourishing and luxurious to apply to my skin. 


St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse
When it comes to Self Tanning, my holy grail brand is St. Tropez. I will rarely stray far when I want a flawless, natural looking Summer glow. Their Bronzing Mousse is on my favourites list this month as I still maintain it to be the best holiday-prep fake tan. I applied this the night before I went away to Tenerife for the week and it provided me with the natural colour you always want when you arrive at the beach on the first day - rather than looking like you've just flown in from England! The mousse consistency makes it so easy to apply and I use the St. Tropez Tanning Mitt to achieve that streak-free finish, which is so easily attainable with St. Tropez. With the right exfoliation and moisturising, this self tan will not become patchy and just fade out whilst your natural skin colour enhances from safe sunbathing! Or alternatively, you can build up and darken the tan so easily by reapplying. I'll always stand by this product. The 120ml can is available here, for £13.66.


Crystalline Foot Cream
There's no hiding our feet away during the Summer months and come Spring, I dedicate Sunday nights to the 'DIY Pedi'. After using the Scholl Express Pedi, which is absolutely FAB (full review coming up next month), I've been applying this delicious, rose-scented foot cream, which leaves my feet feeling incredibly soft and smooth! The hydrating formula contains nourishing minerals from the Dead Sea, which really appeals to me after visiting the renowned Salt Lake! Also, eucalyptus oil is in there too, to help alleviate tired soles and replenish vital moisture. I've never heard of Crystalline before now, but after a bit of research have really warmed to their products, which specialise in the benefits of Dead Sea minerals. Have you tried any great foot creams recently?


What are your beauty favourites this month?


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On Holiday!

I'm in Tenerife at the moment with little wifi opportunity, which means I'm unfortunately away from blogging for another few days! But I have lots of exciting fashion posts to come and a holiday style diary lined up, so stay tuned for some summer wardrobe inspiration! 


Here is a snapshot of my view at the moment, enjoying a very fruity cocktail on the beach in Los Cristianos! If you'd like more pictures, follow my Instagram @emilyjbenton.


Lots more to come... looking forward to a weekend of blogging!


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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No 7 Stay Perfect Foundation

No 7 is something of a holy grail brand for me. I think I bought my first ever beauty product from here many years ago - so there also lies some sentimental value! Anyway, today I'm reviewing their absolutely amazing Stay Perfect Foundation, which I first started using about six months ago and stuck with! I think most of you will agree that buying high street foundation is a bit of a chore - at the MAC or Dior counter you can rely on the helpful knowledge of beauticians to help decide with you. However, in Boots with the absence of natural light, I always seem to end up choosing completely the wrong colour. But no more! Last year, No 7 introduced their Foundation Match Made Service to the high street which claims to 'measure' the colour of your skin and match their products to your individual skin tone. I found this little machine to be surprisingly accurate...

(No7 Stay Perfect Foundation in Warm Beige, available here.)

After having a chat with a very helpful assistant, I walked away with the Stay Perfect Foundation in Warm Beige. This really does suit my skin tone which I was surprised with. Within the range, there are 17 shades, which is a huge variety for a drug store brand and means that just about anyone should be successful in finding Stay Perfect, or any of the No 7 products, in their correct, individual colour tone. As a foundation, it blends into the skin incredibly well and stays put for most of the day. No 7 say that it lasts 16 hours, but even using a primer I wouldn't say it quite goes to this length. However, I would say that this could be a great formula for you if you have more oily skin, as it does have great staying power. For the same reason, it is really safe bet for a Summer foundation and also contains SPF 15. Those with more sensitive skin are also in luck as this product is skin friendly and completely hypo-allergenic. The medium coverage is wonderful and I find myself wearing hardly any concealer with this as it tends to cover up any imperfections. However, if you do prefer your foundation with a little more coverage, Stay Perfect is really build-able and allows you to achieve the look you want, without looking cakey. 

A few years ago, I would refuse to buy any foundation other than DiorSkin Nude by Dior. This gorgeous fluid foundation has amazing coverage and in my opinion, really does give you that flawless finish you want from a high-end formula. No 7 Stay Perfect is almost my everyday replacement for my much-loved Dior formula, as it really does give such wonderful coverage and in my opinion, a similar finish. 

 (Left: DiorSkin Nude 020 | Right: No 7 Stay Perfect Warm Beige.)
(Blended)

As you can see from the image above, in natural light the No 7 formula is a little darker, but I put this down to the fact that I had my skin 'measured' when I had just returned from holiday, so my skin tone would have been a little more bronzed than it was when I was matched to Dior's 020. But a much more noticeable difference between these two foundations, is their cost! The Stay Perfect fluid foundation is available for just £14, half Dior's expensive price tag. When Boots have the £3 No 7 vouchers in store, you can pick up this amazing product for just £11! I've been recommending it to friends for a while now and have heard great reviews back - if you're looking for a new foundation to suit your natural skin tone, take a trip down to Boots and ask the assistants at No 7 for their help!

Have you tried No 7 Stay Perfect Foundation?


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sally Hansen Sheerly Opal French Manicure Kit

For Summer Ball, I wanted to create a natural nail look so popped into boots in the search of an affordable french manicure kit. I finally settled on a safe bet with this one from Sally Hansen, which I picked up for a very reasonable £5.30. The set includes a French White Tip colour and also a natural overcoat - 'Sheerly Opal', both of which I have been really impressed with. 


Firstly, it is really easy to get on with the French White Tip lacquer. It is always difficult to achieve that 'salon perfect' finish when you're attempting a DIY manicure such as this. However, this varnish has really great pigmentation and is also very buildable - if you're looking to create a stand-out tip. The 'precision' brush is dainty and quite easy to handle, making it ideal for any nail length and shape, however don't expect too much from the word 'precision' as the applicator is just a thinner version of a standard nail varnish brush.

(Sally Hansen Hard as Nails French Manicure Kit, available here for £5.30.)

I was a little less won over with the 'Sheerly Opal' polish, which has a somewhat unnatural blue sheen. However, saying this, the staying power of the varnish is top-notch and lasted me a good few days. To create my natural look, I firstly applied a base layer of Leighton Denny's 'One For All', created a white tip with Step 1 and then sealed the white tip with a coat of 'Sheerly Opal'. To strengthen the nail and make the varnish last longer, I applied a final layer of Leighton Denny's clear polish. You can see the benefits of this gorgeous base and top coat in more detail, in my advice on Nail Health and Beauty for S|S 2013


I have been really impressed by the quality of this set for what I paid for it, but I think if I was to repurchase a Sally Hansen French Manicure Kit, I would go for the 'Nearly Nude' set, which doesn't seem to have that bluish sheen finish that I find quite unnatural. But ultimately, if you're after a DIY French Manicure set and you're on a budget, I would really recommend this.

What is your latest nail venture?


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Salon Chic Argan Oil; Pure Moroccan Oil For Under £5

I've been back to Bodycare! Another bargain, this time in the hair care section. I've not heard of Salon Chic before now, but have been really impressed with their Moroccan Argan Oil Formula. Pure Moroccan Oil is renowned for it's unique ability in restoring health and shine to tired locks, but also as an expensive and highly sought after ingredient, due to the difficulty of extraction. In some cases, it can take as long as a week to yield a single litre of oil. However, this 'miracle' product is now available on the market for under £5 in the form of this little beauty from Salon Chic...

(Salon Chic Moroccan Argan Oil, available here.)

I've been using this lovely formula for a couple of weeks now and apply a small amount to my hair after washing, making sure to focus on the ends which are in need of a little more TLC! I then comb the product through before blow drying, to ensure the oil coats the hair evenly. I've been so pleased with the results - my hair is much more manageable and so glossy. It has been given a new lease of life! Often, I find myself using a flat iron to tame the ends of my hair and keep any fly-aways under control. However, natural sterols within the Argan Oil, which work to retain moisture, keep any unwanted frizz at bay.

Due to the dainty size of the bottle, it seems absolutely perfect for taking away with you on holiday this Summer, to pamper sun damaged hair. Argan Oil is renowned for offering natural UV protection, so this is a perfect organic alternative to some of the more synthetic sun shielding products on the market. Also, the high levels of naturally occurring Vit E will help to revive hair which has been damaged by sun, sea and wind. You can buy it on Ebay here, for £3.95 but I picked it up for a mere £2.99 in Bodycare last week. I have always been a bit reluctant to splurge on the more high-end Moroccan Oil products, especially on my somewhat tender student budget and after using this incredibly cheap alternative, I am even more disinclined! If you want to try out the amazing benefits of this 'miracle oil' for yourself, then start here. 

What wonder products have you tried containing Argan Oil?


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I've always been under the impression that in terms of foundation, you will always get what you pay for. This is certainly true in some senses however, this product breaks all the rules! I picked up Rimmel's Wake Me Up Foundation in Superdrug last week and after reading so many rave reviews, expected only good things. But actually, this foundation surpassed my already high expectations and I am absolutely besotted with it. If this isn't already in your make up bag, I strongly recommend that you give it a go!

(Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in Ivory, available here for £8.99.)

I chose to purchase the foundation in Ivory, which is actually a really great match with my skin tone. I was torn between this shade and True Ivory, however eventually decided on the lighter of the two as True Ivory has more of a pinkish, rosy undertone to it which doesn't really suit me. Rimmel claim that the formula has an anti-fatigue effect, which I totally agree with. The light reflecting particles give a really beautiful, dewy finish and leave your skin looking fresh and radiant. No more tired-looking skin walking into morning lectures! I would say, that because this foundation endeavours to leave you with an alluring glow, that maybe if you have somewhat more oily skin you might prefer a more mattifying product - particularly in the Summer months. The staying power of this is really wonderful, but as my t-zone becomes more oily throughout the day, it can tend to slip and I sometimes find myself having to apply translucent powder.

In terms of coverage, I think it gives about medium and when I apply it with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush, it has a completely flawless, even finish AND covers any blemishes. Perfect! If you prefer a foundation with more coverage, Wake Me Up is also really buildable. For this reason, I see it as a perfect product to take you from day to night, if you need to enhance your make up base for an evening event. It is also such amazing value - Superdrug have £3 off Rimmel at the moment so I bought this for just £4.99! But ultimately, for many reasons, say hello to my new favourite everyday foundation!

Have you tried this brilliant product from Rimmel?


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

St. Aidan's College Summer Ball

Last night, a long awaited event took place on the hill at Durham University: St. Aidan's Summer Ball. This college has been my home for the last 9 months and what a time it has been - I seriously don't want it to end! But to complete such an amazing Freshers year, SocCom worked endlessly throughout the last few weeks of term to produce the most wonderful celebration, in the style of 'Alice in Wonderland'. It was certainly an unforgettable 11 hours, so here is a just a small taster from the party of the year.




The dining room transformed into a banquet hall

The walls of the JCR all covered in paper flowers

The 'Hatter's house' bar


Just a few of the fairground rides!

Katie's hair, held in place with over 100 grips - my own masterpiece of the evening!

Thank you SocCom for working so hard to produce such an amazing event!! 

For more of a fashion insight into the event, you can see my post on Summer Ball Outfit Ideas here, which is inspired by some of the best loved 'Alice in Wonderland' characters!



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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Empties #1

I've really been looking forward to doing my first 'empties' post, as it shows you which products a blogger truly loves - down to the last dregs! I've faced quite a few empty bits and pieces in the last month, so here goes.


Estée Lauder Gentle Make Up Remover.
This is one of my favourite Make Up removers, it is so gentle but really gets rid of everything when you need it to. It's hypoallergenic, oil-free and fragrance-free which I really like, particularly in the Summer months when I don't like excess oil on my skin. You really don't need a lot of product for it to do its job - I got this for Christmas in Estée Lauder's gift set, which gives you an idea of how long its lasted me!! Definitely recommended - delicate but effective, it leaves the eye area feeling soft and fresh.


Clinique Airbrush Concealer.
I always pick one of these miracle pens up when I pass through duty free. At £17 it has quite an expensive price tag, so I stock up when I can get some money off! But this really is worth the pennies. I've used it as my under-eye concealer for a few years now and even when I've been enticed to try out similar ones, I always return to trusty Clinique! I use it in the shade 04 neutral fair which is really well suited to my skin tone and the light reflecting particles inside makes it really effective at covering up tired eyes. The formula is smooth, flawless and doesn't crack as some concealers can do. This is one of my holy grail products - the only niggle I have is that with the click-pen applicator, I can never tell when it's going to run out! 


Manuka Doctor Foaming Facial Cleanser.
I absolutely love love love the entire Manuka Doctor range and this cleanser in particular. It targets troubled areas by relieving daily impurities and blemishes, to the extent that it has even been recommended as an alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of acne - yes, it's that good! After wearing heavy make-up, my skin sometimes tends to look tired and experience breakouts. However, after using this cleanser day and night for the past month, there has been a drastic improvement. I rub a pea-sized amount, together with a drop of water, onto my face before removing it with a warm cloth and flushing my skin with cold water. When I use this product, my skin instantly feels bright, radiant and wonderfully clean. I will definitely be repurchasing! You can see my full review on the ApiClear and also the ApiNourish range from Manuka Doctor, here


Aussie Take The Heat 3 Minute Miracle Deep Treatment.
Aussie is my go-to hair care range; the one which I use the most regularly and really feel like I can rely on. I love their concern with different hair types. At the moment, I've been tonging and blow drying my hair quite frequently for end-of-year parties at uni, so I've turned to their 'Take The Heat' deep conditioning treatment. My favourite of the 3 minute miracles, is the 'Reconstruction' formula, which is a real treat for your hair and fab at replacing lost moisture from dry cuticles. But I've also really enjoyed using this one. I haven't had to worry about using heat protector spray in my hair care regime and I can confidently style my hair stress-free. To protect your luscious locks, it contains Australian Jojoba-seed oil, which is used by the natives of the country to heal skin. This makes it smell gorgeous and also leaves your hair sot, shiny and manageable. A definite re-purchase around party season. 


Murad Firm and Tone Serum.
As part of my Summer-ready skincare regime, I've been using the Firm and Tone Serum from Murad. I've always been lucky enough to have a slim build but after my first year at uni, catered food and frequent toastie trips to the shop have taken their toll! So with the Summer months fast approaching and limited time to get to the gym, I was looking for a firming cream that really worked. After reading rave reviews about this Serum, I decided to purchase and I am so pleased I did. At £49.95-£63.00 this product has a hefty price tag, but if you're looking for a last minute quick-fix for a fast approaching holiday, this is for you. The formula contains revolutionary (but quite obscure) ingredients, such as Cayenne Pepper, Tiger's Herb and Cat's Claw which all work to firm and smooth the appearance of skin. It claims to make improvements of up to 80% and guarantees visible results within 8 weeks. I can really say that I feel much more confident than I did 6 weeks ago and the serum has become a staple in my bikini-ready preparation! It doesn't have the most appealing scent, but otherwise this is the wonder product to introduce into your skincare routine this Summer. 


St. Tropez Body Polisher Exfoliant.
When I'm in T K Maxx I always hunt around the beauty shelves for some cheap as chips St. Tropez, as this is my absolute favourite fake tanning line. I love their exfoliator, which is extremely effective at removing patchy colour and getting rid of dead skin cells. It also creates a smooth, soft base when preparing the skin for fake tan and ensures a flawless finish. I'm never without it!


L'Oréal Elnett Satin Hairspray with Pro-Keratin.
Elnett is my holy grail hairspray and I can make a 400ml can last me a long time! I tend to go for the 'Very Volume' formula, which is enriched with Pro-Keratin. The Elnett formula is micro-diffused, which means you are never left with that sticky, stiff look which can sometimes be the case with cheaper products. Instead, your hair is left soft and shiny and if you're unhappy with the style after spraying, it simply brushes out. I also feel like the Pro-Keratin is doing my hair some benefit, rather than suffocating it with harmful product. 


Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara.
Unfortunately, I expected great things from this product but have been really disappointed with it. The formula itself is lovely, but the wand always comes out with too much product on - I have to really work hard to scrape off excess and prevent my lashes from becoming clumpy. So this one is not quite empty, as its now more effort to use it than not, but I thought I'd include it as I've finished using it. I've just picked up Rimmel's Scandal Eyes Lycra Flex Mascara as a replacement, which I'm really excited to try - full review coming soon!


What empties have you thrown away recently?


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