Monthly Favourites: March 2018

6865E7E0-A23A-4251-BB51-5E15D21F3FF1.jpgHappy Easter Sunday everyone!! I hope everyone is enjoying their Easter weekend and having chocolate eggs for breakfast. My weekend so far has been starting some spring cleaning and today I will be traveling to Hertfordshire to visit family. Such a lovely way to finish March, and here are my favourite products of the month which I’ve been enjoying-

Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser in Rose and Lavender
This month my skin has been quite problematic with breakouts and experiencing a whole range of different textures – dry, oily, then dry and flaky – it’s been a mess! When this happens I strip my skincare right back and go back to the products I know and trust. My staple cleanser which you will always find in my bathroom cabinet is Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser. I’ve used this one on and off for nearly 10 years and I can always rely on this to getting my skin back on track. I’ve been using this all month and my skin is finally getting back to normal!

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Levres Barrier Repairing Balm
This was a new find during the month of March. After watching Nadine Baggott’s video – Why Most Lip Balms Are Bad For Your Lips (and which really work) she recommended the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Levres Barrier Repairing Balm. Naddine explains in her video that those lip balms containing Mint, Menthol, Peppermint, Spearmint, Rose, Camphor, Lemon derivatives and even capsaican (a chilli derivative) actually irritate the lips, whereas the La Roche Posay Balm contains none of these ingredients just simply Panthenol to help sooth chapped lips. I’ve been applying this every morning and evening before bed, as it has really helped soothed my lips.

MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush
During these winter months, I tend to stick to a more heavier coverage foundation because my skin hates the cold so I try all I can to cover it. These bases however tend to remove all glow from my complexion so a cream highlight for me is a must. There are two cream highlighters I have in my collection – Glossier Haloscope in Quartz (a common favourite in the beauty blogger community) and MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush (which I picked up after the Pixiwoo sisters raved about it). Out of the two however, its been the MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush which I have been loving the most. It really suits my skin tone and gives me a really lovely glow on my cheek-bones. This also featured in my recent post – How Much Is Your Make-Up Bag as this has been in my everyday make-up bag for the past couple of months. Have a read of it – HERE

Bleach London Make-up
If you read my last post (HERE) you will know I’ve recently tried out Bleach London make-up range and for the whole of this month I’ve really enjoyed it! The eyeshadows (or Louder Powders) do not budge and are really pigmented, plus only £3 each – I’m looking forward to trying out more of these. The contour is my most favourite though. The highstreet and in fact some high-end brands have not managed to bring out contour shades for all complexions but Bleach London have managed it. This colour for me is light and subtle for everyday use – me and my round face have loved it all month!

LOreal Mega Volume Miss Baby Roll mascara in waterproof
Regular readers of StephiSays will know I have horrible lashes – they are straight and very stubborn. I am really fussy when it comes to mascaras, and only waterproof mascaras tend to hold a curl in my lashes. My absolute favourite mascara has always been L’Oreal False Lash Architect but when I couldn’t pick this up recently in my local Superdrug as it was out of stock, I decided to pick up LOreal Mega Volume Miss Baby Roll mascara. Apparently its new from LOreal and I picked it up to try because it was on offer and waterproof. Turns out it’s pretty good! Might have to do a closer comparison on these mascara soon – stay tuned!

What have been your March beauty favourites?

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First Impressions: Bleach London make-up

Doing my usual browse around Superdrug, out the corner of my eye I saw the perfect contour shade – actually a whole range of shades for all skintones. I then looked up and realised that it was from the brand Bleach London…I thought they only did crazy colour hair care products?! From the stand in Superdrug (I was in the Brighton store), it seems they have now turned their hand to make-up. Well if they are so good at bright hair colours, go figure they would be good at colour make-up!

Intrigued at what they had to offer I had a thorough browse of their stand. Their collection consisted of; eyeshadows in a huge selection of colours from neutrals shades right through to the brightest glitter shades I’ve ever seen, lip-kits, amazing bright highlighters, contour powders – all with the common theme of coming in a great range of shades and in beautiful, bright colours. Their packaging was quite interesting too. The collection is based around building your own palette with the majority of their products (contour powder, eyeshadows, highlighter, etc) coming in pan form within cardboard sleeves. Very clever marketing Bleach London – as for me just wanting to try out one of their contour shades resulted in having to purchase a small palette to store the product. Well seeing as I have a small palette now, I might as well try a couple of their eyeshadows to also go into my new palette…

My Verdict:

I ended up buying 4 products from Bleach London’s make-up range – Contour Shade called Countor-Nuity in Bones 4, two eyeshadows named Louder Powders in the shades TDME (red-ish shade) and in BME (bronze shade) and I also brought a small palette for £8 to house my three new make-up items.

Starting with the contour shade, as I mentioned above their range of shades really caught my eye as they offer a contour shade even for the palest complexion. I picked up the shade Bones 4 and I’ve worn it everyday since I brought it. I’ve tried many contour shades in the past, my favourite being Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in medium but deep down I know it can look a little too dark for me. This shade however is so perfect and subtle for a little bit of everyday definition. It was also an absolute steal at only £4.50!

When it came to picking a couple of eyeshadows to also try from the range I really wasn’t that adventurous, and stuck with shades I would normally wear – bronze and red tone shades (which I now love thanks to the Urban Decay Heat palette). For a £3 price tag for each shadow, I honestly didn’t hold much hope for these eyeshadows but they are amazing! They are so pigmented and have a strong staying power on my lid – even without using an eyeshadow primer! The girl who served me in Superdrug also sung their praises saying these were the best eyeshadows she has ever tried! I think she is right..!

The palette itself is practical but it’s no MAC empty pro palette which you can fill. It’s first of all made of cardboard and a magnetic lid with a flimsy plastic window. This will get grubby and I am a little bit terrified of putting this in my make-up bag and having something stab through the front of the palette and making a mess. I can however forgive Bleach London for this as the make-up products themselves are fantastic and really well priced! Overall I would really recommend checking out Bleach London Make-up range if you haven’t already!

Have you tried Bleach London make-up before?

Beauty Banks needs you!

Just in case you haven’t heard about Beauty Banks, I wanted to use my own little platform to tell you about their amazing work….

I would first of all (after reading this post) encourage you to have a read of Sali’s article on The Pool (Linked HERE) which kicked off their initiative to stop hygiene poverty, but in summary The Beauty Bank is a non-profit organisation providing toiletries and cosmetics to people living in serious poverty. Started by Sali Hughes (a journalist and broadcaster who is massive in the beauty industry) and Jo Jones (who has worked in beauty PR for years!) they saw the urgent need for those who are in desperate need for items such as razors, tampons, shower gel, toothpaste – basic hygiene products we all take for granted! They also saw the vast amount of beauty products which get sent to journalist and bloggers (often unnecessary amounts!) and saw the perfect opportunity to help!

Similar to how food banks work for those in poverty, why not donate those hygiene products to those who need it most. They encourage everyone to send any unwanted toiletries and cosmetics you may have, especially travel sized products as they are easier to carry for the homeless, and send over to the Beauty Bank HQ. They then repackage into parcels which they can send to food banks and shelters around the UK. Sali and Jo have even set-up an Amazon wish-list if you don’t have any products to donate. So if you want to contribute, you can order products online and send directly onto The Beauty Banks. You can find out more details and the address to send any beauty products you may have on The Pool (HERE).

Personally, I have started a box at home and I am dropping in all of my unwanted products in it so when it’s full, I will send it their way. Surprisingly I’ve discovered there is quite a bit in my beauty draws which I can donate –

  • Tons of beauty samples which are often travel sizes, so as mentioned before, these are really helpful for those who are homeless and have to travel with all their belongings with them
  • Unwanted products from gift sets – For example, when you get gifted your favourite perfume or cleanser and it comes with a matching shower gel or haircare – I never ever end up using these products, or I either try them once and end up giving them away to friends or shamefully throwing them out because I don’t like them. Knowing realistically I won’t be using them, I’m now adding these to my Beauty Bank box too knowing they will be greatly appreciated by someone who desperately needs them.
  • Spare products from those 3 for 2 deals – When I’m in Boots or Superdrug, or even supermarket toiletries aisle I always have a look out for any bargains and 9 times out of 10 there is always a buy one get one free, or 3 for 2 offers on my favourite shower gel or shampoo/conditioner. I then keep all the spare/free products from these deals in a box which we call the ‘spares’ box in our house but quite honestly this tends to be overflowing because I pick them up as and when I see them on offer – not really when I need them. And everytime I walk past it I now think of all those people who actually need these products. So going forward any free bottles I gain through these deals, I will be popping into my Beauty Banks box to send to the Beauty Bank team. So if you want to help, maybe you can do this too?

I know many of you might already know about their brilliant work, but just in case I can let one more person know about the great cause than I thought it was worth sharing this post! You can also follow them on Instagram too (linked HERE).

How much is your make-up bag?

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Inspired by an article I read on Glamourmagazine.co.uk – Amount women spend on beauty productsit got me thinking how much I actually spend on beauty – and I can already tell you its a lot! Reading the article, it was Fragrance Direct who commissioned a survey of 1,000 UK women to find out how much they were spending on their beauty regime -turns out on average we spend £482.51 a year. This includes everything from skincare prep to make-up products and they have created a online calculator tool for you to work out how much you spend. My total came to – £1,072.80 annually but to be honest it could be more than this as I tend to like trying out a lot of products. For example I will have maybe 2x mascaras on the go at once, or I will have a different type of foundation depending on what I am doing – one for everyday, one for evenings which has more coverage, maybe also a lighter coverage foundation for the weekend…. And let’s not even begin to add in costs of beauty tools and other beauty products such as body care, hair care, nails, etc.

face value final

So wanting to dive in a little deeper into this, I wanted to conduct a small exercise of pricing up my day-to-day make-up. These are the everyday products I use without adding in special products I use for special occasions, evenings, etc. So here is it:

*Side note – if you are my husband reading this, close this page down right now! Ekk!

Make-up bag breakdown- 

TOTAL: £173.98

There is of course a few side notes to make here, for example I could choose a cheaper lipstick one day, or decided not to wear any eyeshadow on the odd day. All and all though these are my desert island products if you will, and I will tend to use these products at least 5-7 times a week. It’s a little shocking however to think if I lost my make-up bag, it would be nearly £200 to replace – wow! 

If I were to price up my whole make-up collection and skincare, I think I would have a heart attack but hey – everyone has to have a hobby right?  In the grand scheme of things however, most of these products do last a long time so when you break it down to cost per use it’s not that bad….right?!

I thought it might be interesting to turn this into a bit of a ‘How much is your makeup bag’ TAG as it was quite interesting and also gives you a glimpse of what’s in my day-to-day make up bag. So if you’re up for it, give it a go yourself and tag me in the post – I would love to see your ‘what’s in my bag make-up bag!’

I TAG: Emily from The Auras of Life / Alice from Alice Anne / Holly from Golly Miss Holly / Rosie from Everything’s Rosie 

How much is your everyday make-up bag?

Trying out some Fenty Beauty…

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Towards the end of last year, Fenty Beauty was brought to the UK – and you know how much I love a new beauty release! If you haven’t heard of Fenty Beauty yet, it’s the make-up range by Rihanna and is described as “with promise of inclusion for all women. With an unmatched offering of shades and colors for ALL skin tones, you’ll never look elsewhere for your beauty staples”. And from the reviews I’ve heard already, her foundation offer – Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear foundation comes in the most amazing range of colours (40 shades!) and has received a lot of thumbs up for many in the beauty blogosphere. In the UK, her range is exclusive to Harvey Nichols, so I had to take a look for myself…

On a recent trip to London with my best friend, I begged her to let us have a quick look around Harvey Nichols before going to lunch. Knowing me all too well and still confused at my beauty obsession, we popped in for a quick look around the beauty counters with my focus of finding the Fenty Beauty stand! When we got there it was sooo busy that there was a 20 minute queue just to browse the counter…! I couldn’t bear to let my friend suffer the wait with me so I admitted defeat and decided I would make an order online instead. Then when we were having a quick browse of the women’s wear up-stairs, I saw another smaller Fenty Beauty stand which was less crowded – seems they needed two counters to manage the popularity of this range. Still unable to properly browse the foundation selection, I decided to simply pick up the Fenty Beauty Bomb Baby Mini Lip and Face Set for £19, just to allow myself a small purchase to check what Fenty Beauty had to offer.

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My Verdict:
This set is great value at £19 and let’s you sample one of Fenty Beauty’s famous highlighters in the shade Hu$tla Baby and their most talked about lipgloss – Glass Bomb in Fenty Glow. The highlighter first of all is very pigmented so a little goes a very long way – be sure to dab any excess product from your brush onto your hands before applying as you will end up with gold glitter streaks on your face. Would be great for festival season though!! I am more of a fan of cream highlighters during the day, but this is one I would bring out for a night out. It can also double up as eyeshadow too if you don’t mind a shimmery lid.

The gloss – Glass Bomb in Fenty Glow is definitely been my favourite of the two products. I’m not a huge fan of a gloss and tend to stick with lipsticks or liquid lipstick as I don’t like that sticky feeling of a lip gloss. This one however, doesn’t feel sticky at all and I’ve found myself reaching for this every weekend when I wear more minimal make-up. It almost reminds me of the Clarins Lip Perfectors which are one of my favourite lip products!  It’s a gorgeous, almost Rose Gold shade but still looks natural on the lips.

Seeing the quality of these products and hearing the great reviews, I still really want to get my hands on the Fenty Beauty foundation. I might however just have to take potluck and choose my shade online, however I must say they do have a great shade finder on their website actually showing faces with the foundation on which makes things a little easier.

Have you tried anything from Fenty Beauty yet – what did you think?

I got from my mama <3

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First of all Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums out there! I am totally bias but my mum is the best mum ever! She is not only my mum but my dad too – let’s get a huge applause for all those single parents. I’ve learned so much from my mum and she is a large part of who I am today, so I thought I would do a fun post today on things I got from my mama! Cue Mr will.i.am… (link)

My love of a beauty routine:
One of my earliest memories is sitting on my mum’s bed and watching her whole morning beauty routine. Religiously my mum will cleanse, tone and moisturize followed by her make-up. Her morning 3 step routine has always been using Simple products and her usual/day-to-day make-up look has always come from Rimmel – even to this day she uses the same products. From this, I always thought this was a part of a normal routine but I would then see my friends watch my mum with complete fascination when my mum was applying her make-up simply because their mum’s didn’t really wear any. From when I was small, I always wanted to have a peek inside her make-up bag and play around with all of the products. When she came to the end of her lipstick which was always Rimmel in Coffee Shimmer, she would give me the last remaining bit (basically a tiny stub of a lipstick bullet) so I could have my very own lipstick. Even to this day the classic smell of the Rimmel lipsticks reminds me of being a kid. I think from this, I’ve always been used to a morning routine which also contains a skincare routine and my make-up. It’s always been my ‘me-time’ of the day and I don’t feel quite ready if I’ve not gone through my whole getting ready routine.

Appearance:
When it comes to actual genetics, I also got a lot from my mum too. My height – we are both short – but the best things come in small packages right?! My hair is also exactly the same as my mum’s. We are both brunettes with thick hair which will never be 100% straight or 100% wavy – we always seem to get strange kinks in our hair which is so annoying. Thank goodness for hair straighteners though!

My parenting skills:
As some of you may know, I have a 9 year old stepson. He’s been in my life for nearly 6 years now and he’s awesome! Through my time learning to be a step-parent though I’ve noticed I’m saying all of those  annoying thing my mum use to say to me… “Because I said so….” and “I’ve found it in your room, so now you go and find it ”. I used to find these sayings sooo frustrating as a kid, but now having to use these phrases myself, I realise how much of a tough job it can be being a mum. Sorry mum! 🙂

The Lesson – Everything happens for a reason:
My mum’s favourite saying is “Everything happens for a reason” and I love it so much, I got it tattooed on my side. If ever I have a problem or a dilemma, my mum is the first person I call. She will always listen and then say “what does your instincts say?” “remember everything happens for a reason” and “what will be, will be”. And of course – mum’s are always right! This is one of the best lessons my mum has taught me. It reminds me that nothing is ever as bad as it seems and everything will be ok in the end.

My strength:
On top of anything else though, I owe my strength to my mum. Without going into any details, we went through some pretty tough times when I was growing up but my mum was my rock through it all. She handled everything herself, kept a roof over our heads, always made sure there was food on the table and was always there for me when I was sad, happy or even when I needed to shout and scream, she was always there to listen. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her – she is my bestest friend in the whole world!

Happy Mother’s Day mum! I love you lots ❤

Let me know what you got from your mama – do you look the same? What traits have you picked up? What lessons has your mum taught you?

REVIEW: Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque

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Pollution is a big topic in the skincare industry with a lot of brands bringing out their own products to combat the harmful effects such as; clogged pores, dark spots, ageing and leaving your complexion looking dull. A couple of months ago, I popped into Kiehl’s and ended up having a mini skin consultation as I thought I was suffering from oily skin (read the outcome here). During our skincare chat I also mentioned that I had concerns about pollution affecting my skin now I am working back in London. The lovely lady who was helping me in the Brighton Kiehl’s store suggested I tried the Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque and kindly gave me a few samples to try the mask out for myself.

So what does it do?
Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque is an overnight mask claiming to minimize the effects of pollution on your skin. The Kiehl’s website describes the mask as a ‘Nourishing formula (which) replenishes vital nutrients. Defends and replenishes skin leaving it renewed, radiant and more prepared to protect itself from daily environmental aggressors.’ The one thing to instantly flag here though is that Kiehl’s also do not supply a list of full ingredients in this product, so you do have to question how effective this product is when you are unsure what is exactly in it….! The ingredients on the website simply says:

  • Cilantro Extract – A natural origin oil extract rich in fatty acid that comes directly from coriander seeds.
  • Orange Extract – This is the dried young fruit of the Citrus Aurantium. Our extract is cultivated and sourced from the Mediterranean area and is typically harvested from June to December.

From a lot of online reviews I’ve read, there seems to be no real scientific evidence that these ingredients are proven to fight against the effects of pollution, so it might be a case of having to trust Kiehl’s word on this – no, I’m not  sure how I feel about this either…

How to use:  This mask is an overnight treatment, instructed to apply onto cleansed skin. They then say to leave on your skin for 5 to 10 minutes, followed by wiping off any excess of the mask with a cotton pad or tissue. This will then leave a thin layer on the skin which you can pat in to the skin allowing to work overnight.

My Verdict:
I do really like this mask which is why I went on to buy a full sized jar with some vouchers I received for my birthday. I tend to apply this after my evening skincare routine which I try and do as soon as I get in from work if I’m staying at home for the night. Once I leave this on my skin for 10 minutes and tissue off the excess, a thin layer is then left on my skin for a good couple of hours before I go to bed. This allows the mask to really soak into my skin before I hit the pillow. When I wake up the following morning my skin does feel very soft and plump. As for doing it’s job for fighting against pollution – I can only trust what Origins claims this mask does and hope it’s protecting my skin. What I can say however, is that I do like how this mask leaves my skin in the morning.

Have you tried the Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque yet? Or is there any other pollution defense beauty products you would recommend?