Battle of the Beauty Blenders

  
I really love using beauty blenders during my make up routine and generally use them in two ways. First way, is using them to apply my foundation. I will usual dot the foundation over my face using my fingers and use the sponge to blend into the skin. Or the other way I use them is, once I’ve applied my foundation with a make up brush or my hands, I will then use the blender to bounce over my skin to give a more flawless complexions do balance out any excess product. It’s a step I wouldn’t be without in my routine now in my make up routine as it makes my foundation look amazing and I also think it also helps buffs the foundation (and concealer!) into the skin more making it last longer throughout the day.

The original beauty blender comes from BeautyBlender and I remember when they were first released or at least became popular in the beauty blogging community. I was still in my university days and the blenders starting around the £20 mark, so I could bring myself to try one.  My first experience of using a beauty blender/sponge however was using the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and I fell in love. I then noticed recently that other brands on the high street were bringing out their own versions of the beauty blender so was eager to test how they compared. Here are my thoughts on the beauty blenders/sponges I’ve tested out –

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – As I mentioned above, the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge was my first experience of using a type of beauty blender/sponge. I’ve since had one of their sponges in my make up bag for well over a year now and couldn’t be without this little orange baby! First of all the shape is awesome, all the sides, edges and corners are perfect for fitting into the contour of your face and I also find the sponge is the perfect density. It’s soft enough to buff the product into your face but dense enough to be able to bounce all over the skin with ease. It also washes really nicely too. I tend to wash mine once a week (sometimes once a fortnight when I’m being lazy) just with water and baby shampoo, and it never loses it shape! I’ll admit eventually after a long while, I have had to replace it that only because I’ve even lost it or I’ve had a chunk come out of the sponge because I’ve caught it in a zip (opps!) but other than that no problems at all!

Kiki Make Up Blender – You might recognise this beauty sponge from a Kiko haul I did a while back (LINK here). At only £6.90, I was intrigue to see if it was as good as the Real Technique’s sponge. The first difference you will see between the sponges is the shape. The Kiko Make Up Blender is more of a curvy (I kinda think it looks like mini fat snowman…just me?) and to be honest I couldn’t get on with the shape at first. There is a point to get to the eyes or nose and a rounded edge to bounce over the skin however I just feel the edges aren’t sharp enough to get into the difficult spaces (right in the corner of the eyes, etc). I also found this sponge harder than the Real Techniques Sponge which did feel a bit uncomfortable when bouncing it over my skin.  Considering the Kiko Blender is a slightly higher price to the Real Technique’s sponge (£5.99), I would say opt for Real Techniques.

Primark Beauty Sponges – These came in a pack of two for £1.50, so I had to pick these up and give them a go as well! One sponge is a similar shape to the Kiko blender and the other sponge more of an egg shape similar to the original beauty blender. For the price, I knew these wouldn’t be as great as the Real Technique Miracle sponge but I would recommend these if you have never tried a beauty blender/sponge before. I did find these soaked in a lot of product when I used these to apply my foundation, so maybe avoid using them for that purpose however just for bouncing over my skin after applying foundation to make your skin more flawless – they did the job!  Density wise, these are still a little hard in comparison to the Real Technique sponge but considering the costs of these, you can’t really complain!  With festival and holidays season fast approaching, I would definitely recommend picking up a couple of packs of these to throw in your suitcase because at £1.50 it doesn’t matter if you lose or damage them.

So the clear winner here is definitely The Real Techniques Miracle Sponge! And although nothing will probably be able to part me from my Real Techniques Miracle Sponge, I did enjoying testing other blenders on the market and I am now tempted to give the original BeautyBlender a test – so there might be a Battle of the Beauty Blender part 2 coming soon!

Have you tried any of these beauty blenders/sponges? What did you think? Do you have any beauty blender recommendations?

Advertisements

The empties #1

  
 I love these empties posts! It’s great hearing people’s review on beauty products but I think the real question is always – would you buy it again? Here are my recent empties and if they will be making an appearance again in my beauty stash – 

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – this is probably my 10th empty bottle! It’s the one cleanser I will always return to because it always seems the balance out my skin when it’s being problematic. It makes my skin feel amazing and although I love testing new cleansers, I’ll definelty be repurchasing the Liz Earle Hot Cloth cleanser to keep in my stash. Repurchase likelihood – 5/5

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum – I really liked this serum and this is actually my 2nd bottle. I used this mainly in the winter months when my skin felt very dry and the Vichy Aqualia Thermal serum really helped with hydrating my skin. I would reccomend this however I’ve not tried many serums yet so I am keen to tests some more before settling for ‘the one’. Repurchase likelihood – 3/5

Origins Clear Improvment Active Charcoal Mask – I hadn’t tried the Origins Charcoal Mask before so I picked up a smaller bottle to try it out. This is a mask you can use once a week and it works by pulling the dirt and any environmental pollutants from your skin, unclogging all your pores leaving you with fresh clean skin. I really enjoyed using this mask and I did find any spots or blemishes I had did cleared away quicker than usual. I think next time I’ll be buying the normal sized bottle. Repurchase likelihood – 5/5

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads – you will recognise these from a previous blog post (LINK here) so I won’t go into too much detail here but these are great if you want to begin using acid in your skincare routine. Repurchase likelihood – 5/5 (in fact I already have because they are currently on offer in Superdrug!)

L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Conditioner – does anyone else have the same issue with always finishing the conditioner before the shampoo?! I always do, as you can probably tell from these empties. I did a post on then new L’Oreal Clay range (LINK here) but would I repurchase? Probably not! I love the idea of this range but I think all the work comes from the Clay pre shampoo mask so I would buy the mask again but I probably won’t bother with the shampoo and conditioner. Repurchase likelihood – 1/5

TRESemme Beauty-Full Volume Pre Wash Conditioner – oh look, another conditioner! Again, I recently wrote my thoughts on the new TREMSemme Beauty-Full Volume range, so if you want to know more follow the link (LINK here). The thing I was most annoyed at is, when this shampoo and conditioner was first released, the shampoo was 500ml but conditioner was only 290ml. It might mean that you don’t need much conditioner for this treatment but I still need a good amount to get through my notty hair and now I’m still left just a part used bottle of shampoo…! I did however like the way it made my hair felt so I would maybe repurchase once they start selling a larger conditioner. Repurchase likelihood – 2/5

Have you used any of the above? What did you think and would you repurchase?

It’s time for Girl Talk with Veeda

 
Ok, ok it can be awkward talking about the ‘time of the month’ but its natural right? Every girl shares in the same experience but have you ever wondered what goes into the products you may use. The tampons and pads from those well-known brands we all know in the market are generally made from blends of bleached cotton and/or synthetic products. They can contain dioxins from the bleaching process, pesticide and herbicide residues, synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances and dyes. Considering these go near very intimate areas, it’s kinda gross when you really start thinking about it right…?!

To be honest, I myself didn’t take much thought into it before. When speaking to my girlfriends, a couple of my friends have been concerned on the chemical used but mainly concerned about the how these products have an effect on the environment and they have gone down the Mooncup route however personally I just don’t think I can get on board with using them. I was then left thinking there wasn’t any other alternative options than using the products which generally use all kind of ingredients. Then I was introduced to Veeda. Veeda recently got in touch with me to introduce their 100% natural products (hurray!), so I was eager to introduce the brand to you too!

Veeda was originally founds by two guys when a friend of theirs returned to her native Brazil and couldn’t find any natural tampons. They then realised that natural options were in short supply – and overpriced – all across the world and set out to make a change. Veeda tampons are hypoallergenic, 100% natural cotton tampons – no chemicals in sight! This means Veeda tampons reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TTS), irritation and allergic reactions. They currently offer applicator and applicator-free tampons in Lite, Regular, Super and Super plus and also offers a range of towels and liner, again all 100% natural cotton.  And if you have concerns about the products and packaging damaging the environment, well Veeda have thought about that too! All of the Veeda’s products are Biofilm packaging which means it’s all biodegradable, breaking down in 6-12 months and does not require special disposal, even the tampon itself is 100% biodegradable, even in landfill.

I think you’ll agree, Veeda really bring their A-game to the world of feminine hygiene. When you compare Veeda to other well-known brands who use ‘god knows what’ in their products, I know who I would choose! Veeda are available in most Boots store across the UK.

So what do think? Will you opt for 100% natural with Veeda?

Slimming World Sundays #2

 So it’s been a 3 or 4 weeks since I checked in with my progress with Slimming World, so wanted to give you a bit of an update and share with you the one tip that’s been keeping me on track this past week. It was weigh day yesterday morning and in total I have now lost 9.5lbs. The first couple of weeks were great, losing 7.5lbs and gaining my half stone award however the following weeks were a little less good. The week after I got my half stone award, I maintained on the scales and the week after I had as holiday and I went back home to Southampton to catch up with friends and family – let’s just say there was a lot of coffee and cakes….opps! Once I got back home on the Monday, I pushed myself to get back into the swing of things and stick to plan. Turns out it worked as this week I lost a further 2lbs! To be honest after my week off I was shocked at this result and was adamant I would have put on, but from Monday to Friday I made one change which I think really helped with my loss – I kept a food diary!

From day one at Slimming World they urge you to write down everything you eat and keep a food diary, and I’ll admit I did it the first week and then stopped. Reason I stopped writing my food intake down? I got lazy and quite honestly I thought it was a way of the SW instructor keeping an eye of you (which it is kinda, but just so they can help if you are struggling) but I think I thought I could just do it by myself. This week however I realised however powerful a food diary could actually be…!

I started writing my food diary again because I knew I had to be extra good this week to counter act how badly I ate the previous week. This is something I didn’t fill in every time I ate something but something I filled in after my dinner at home. Each day, this gave me 5 minutes to myself to reflect on my day and check in on how many syns I had during the day. My biggest downfall tends to be the evenings after dinner, generally chilling out on the sofa as this is the time I want sweet treats so by writing my food diary straight after dinner this allows me to see if I can allow myself a treat or not. A degree of planning the week ahead also helps with staying on track too but writing everything down really confirms how you are doing day by day.

So if you’re doing Slimming World too, or just trying to eat healthy, try writing everything down in a food diary. It’s amazing how much we can mindless eat throughout the day – that biscuit with your coffee in the afternoon or just grabbing a snack on for the commute home – it all adds up and its these things we tend to forget if we don’t write them down. Whether you write it on the notes app on our phones, or in a little diary like mine that you can keep in your handbag – write it down.

Do you keep a food diary when you are trying to eat well? Does it help?

L’Oreal False Lash Architect Mascara


*Sorry the photo came out a little dark but hopefully you can see the effect

My favourite current mascara is hands down the L’Oreal False Lash Architect mascara. Rewind back a year or two though and I would have said the L’Oreal Telescopic mascara was the mascara I couldn’t live without – turns out I had too because L’Oreal discontinued it *cry face*! 

The common factor with both of these mascaras though is they are both waterproof. I have very stubborn, straight lashes and all non-waterproof mascaras I’ve seemed to have tried before never held a curl, even after using my amazing Shu Uemura eyelash curlers. Both the Telescpoic and False Lash Architect waterproof versions both actually hold a curl in place all day and I’m certain it’s down the waterproof formula. I’m unsure the science behind it, but whatever they do to make the mascara waterproof seems to make a real difference!

L’Oreal False Lash Architect waterproof mascara is amazing if you have similar lashes to mine. Once curled, not only does this mascara holds the curl in place all day, it also really lengthens my lashes too. The brush is great as well for separating and really gets in tight to the root of my lashes to give them that lift. 

I actually have to admit that I love this mascara more than the L’Oreal Telescopic. The Telescpoic brush was one of those plastic comb-type brushes and although this was great at seperating my lashes the Arhitect mascara brush makes my lashes look my more natural. So, if you have straight, stubborn lashes like mine, I would definitely reccomend giving The L’Oreal False Lash Architect waterproof mascara a go!

What’s your favourite mascara? 

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads

  
As soon as the skincare queen, Caroline Hirons raves about a product I’m there…well if it falls in my price range! Since following Caroline Hirons a couple of years ago on her blog, I’ve tried to keep an acid based exfoliator in my skincare routine and I’ve tried a few in the past; Pixi Glow Tonic, First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads and the Clearasil Daily Clear Superfruits Refreshing Pads, but once I saw the Nip + Fab range on offer in Boots I knew I wanted to give these pads a test next.

If you haven’t used ‘acid toners’ before, don’t be alarm – it’s not as scary as it sounds. First of all, I urge you to go check out Caroline Hirons blog for a far better insight into the benefits of acid (she’s a professional and will be able to explain far better than I ever could) but basically, they act as an exfoliator and far less harsh compared to those gritty scrubs.They generally contain a form of acid such as Glycolic acid, which work at removing dead skin leaving your skin smoother and brighter.

As I mentioned before, I used a couple of acid toners in the past and although I love the Pixi Glow Tonic, I do really like the pad style exfoliators – basically because they are easier to use but also because I know I’m getting a certain amount of uses from one product (for example, if you get 60x pads I know it’s going to last 2months). From the pad style exfoliators I’ve tried before (First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads and the Clearasil Daily Clear Superfruits Refreshing Pads), I think I’ve found a new favourite with the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads.

These pads are fantastic because one pad works at doing several jobs in your skincare routine. These textured pads are soaked in; glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin, salicylic acid to unclog pores and combat blemishes and black heads, lactic acid to removes dead cells and smooth the skin and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. I use these every night after I have cleansed my skin and I have noticed a real difference in my skin. My skin looks brighter and I do find my blemishes don’t hang around as the salicylic acid unclogged and remove any dirt or impurities. These pads aren’t drying on the skin either which can sometimes be the case when using acids, however I do find they do leave behind a slight film on your face after use, but totally worth it in my opinion! I shall definitely be picking up these again, and it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled in Superdrug or Boots for when Nip + Fab are next on offer.

Have you tried the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads before? Do you use acids in your skincare rountine? 

Tasty Little Numbers

IMG_5149IMG_5419

Tasty Little Numbers was another brand I was introduced to a couple of months ago when I attended the #btonblogmeet. In a nutshell, “Tasty Little Numbers is the world’s first & only range of portion-controlled, multi-product ready-meals, snack pots, soups, confectionery, cakes & savoury snacks portioned to whole numbers of calories from 100 – 300.” I have a real sweet tooth, and really struggle finding low calorie sweet treats to satisfy my cravings so Tasty Little Numbers are right up my street.

In my goody bag from the meet up, I was given two of their biscuit bars (1x white chocolate and 1x dark chocolate) and a bag of the chocolate dusted blueberries to try. The blueberries were nice however the biscuit bars were really delicious. I’m one of those people who needs a little mid-afternoon pick me up, and if I had it my way it will be a coffee and a slice of cake every afternoon but that’s not good for anyone’s waist line, is it?! But these biscuit bars were the perfect substitute! And at only 100 calories per bar, it means you don’t feel guilty.

As you may know already, I’m actually doing Slimming World at the moment and these biscuits bars work out as 5 syns each. I’ll admit there are probably better ways in spending your syns but if you are a sweet/biscuit lover like me, I would really recommend giving these a go!

As if the biscuit bars don’t take your fancy, Tasty Little Numbers also offer a whole range of goodies which are all 100 calories each such as – Bombay Mixes, Chilli-Coated Crunchy Peanuts, Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans, Jelly Beans, Pretzel Mixes, and Yogurt Rosins. I think it’s great because it means there is no measuring and portion control needed – everything simply is 100 calories per bar/packet.

The only downside, is that they aren’t as readily available as say…a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, so it does mean stocking up on these to have in your cupboard for when you need a treat. From looking of their website, Tasty Little Numbers are available in Boots, Debenhams or Waitrose, or you can order online direct from their website or from Amazon or QVC. When you order online they tend to come in a pack of 5x bars/packets which is actually pretty handy for something to snack on during your working week!

I really want to try more from Tasty Little Numbers! Have tried anything from Tasty Little Numbers before? Any recommendations?