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APRIL BEAUTY FAVOURITES

Saturday, 30 April 2016



Sanctuary Spa 1 Minute Micro Dermabrasion Polish

There was quite the buzz around the Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask at one stage, and, having used it and repurchased on more than one occasion, I can claim to be quite the fan. The self-heating formula is something I really enjoy and that I feel my skin benefits from when it comes to allowing pores to open up and deep cleanse - drawing to the surface, all the dirt and impurities that have managed to gather throughout the day. And, the polish works very similarly; but, with the added benefit of a light exfoliation to boot. The consistency itself is most like a paste and contains super fine polishing particles of marine earth and natural kaolin that help to gently buff away dead skin cells . It isn't too harsh, doesn't my leave my skin red or feeling irritated, and does a great job as you would expect with it being part of their 'Radiance' range, of leaving my skin feeling ultra soft and glowy after use.


A new range of shades was added to the Chanel Le Vernis line recently - replacing the majority of the existing shades with 15 brand spanking new ones, and, along with the introduction of the new colours was their new formulation - claiming to provide chip free manis for six days straight. The shade 'Garconne' immediately called out to me - a gorgeous greyish green (not quite khaki), the likes of which I haven't seen before - and so this was the one I picked up. Though I never really had the same issues with the original formula as a lot of people seemed to when it came to chipping and the like - I did feel that this formula seemed thicker and more opaque with just one coat. It has been lasting a good 4/5 days without any real visible signs of wear (and that's with me being lazy and neglecting to apply a base/top coat), and so if you did I should imagine it would go the six days without a problem. The shades Organdi and Monochrome are next on my list!



Following my having being sorely disappointed after investing in the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation last year, I was originally rather skeptical regarding this new release. The former had managed to dry out my combination skin in all the wrong places and only added to my oily t-zone issues. Against my better judgement though, and having seen the Matte Moisture Tint pop up with reviews backing up not only the moisturizing and the matte claims but also the medium finish - three of the things I often go for in a base - I decided I would throw caution to the wind and give it a go to see whether these so often talked about NARS bases really were worth the hype.

In all honestly, I think I must have been unlucky with my first choice, because this is the stuff of dreams. I went for the second to lightest shade (Finland) which is a great match for my fair complexion (for reference I'm normally the shade 'Mont Blanc' when it comes to other NARS offerings) and it glides on so nicely that I feel confident in saying it is my favourite tinted moisturiser I have tried in terms of application. This is due to the fact that its silky texture means it sinks in like something more sheer but still has the coverage of a foundation meaning a flawless end result with any redness having disappeared without the need to layer. I like to use my fingers to apply, not only because it is quicker, but because I prefer the finish this way - it's somehow smoother. And, on a side note, remember that that a little goes a long way. Where durability is concerned, the lasting power is impressive - it doesn't noticeably cake or fade throughout the 12 hour days that I have been subjecting it to, and though I have felt the need to powder on a couple of occasions, so long as I am out and about and not sat under the office's unflattering fluorescent lights, it isn't anything too severe and could without doubt be judged as being more of a glow than a shine that appears. It has been my go-to every day base of late and I can't see that changing any time soon.


Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

I have been completely obsessed with face oils lately, and this one from Sunday Riley is no exception. It has received a lot of hype and of that I was mindful when I made my purchase, along with the fact that it is aimed at targeting signs of ageing (something I'm not sure how easy it is to assess) along with renewing skin cells and making your skin look youthful and radiant.

The first few times I tried this, to me, it was one of those 'meh' products. It was nice, it kept my skin feeling hydrated, it felt luxurious to apply and smelt delicious - no doubt something to do with the avocado, chia and concord grape seed combination. However, there was no 'wow' factor that made me think the £85 I had spent was worth it. It wasn't until maybe a week or two of use, and, one evening, having swapped this out for another oil in my routine, that I realised what a difference it had been making. With it, my skin looked more awake - I woke up with it looking plumped and refined and it didn't seem to dull even throughout the day and with make up wear. Without, it was just left feeling a little lacklustre, hence why I have been reaching for it every day ever since.

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara

Another grower in that when I first tried this I wasn't a fan at all - the formula was way too dry for me and though it didn't flake, I didn't feel like it gave my lashes the oomph I wanted it to and I wasn't overly keen on the bristle brush either. I like voluminous yet separated lashes that are big and black and it just didn't seem to be giving me those. After a little bit of experimenting though, I have found that the key with this one is to layer - be it two or three coats on it's own, or as I have sometimes been doing - using it over my Lancome Hypnose Volume-a-porter Mascara (which I raved about here), it gives you volume like you wouldn't believe, minus the clumping - perfect.

YSL Touche Eclat (Slogan Edition)

Despite its longstanding cult status in the beauty world, it wasn't until recently when I was drawn in by the cute slogan editions of this that I decided to give it a go. Never having really been one for concealer or having suffered when it comes to dark circles, I skirted over the thought that I might benefit from an illuminating product such as this but boy was I wrong. It brightens my under-eyes up beautifully and applies and blends in so easily without creasing throughout the day, that I have really fallen for this and can completely understand why it has received so much love by so many for so long. Plus there's the added bonus of how pretty it looks in my make up bag ;)

Have you tried any of these products? What it is you've been loving this month?

Sarah x

CAUDALIE VINOSOURCE: THE POWER OF THE GRAPE

Saturday, 23 April 2016

If you’ve read my 'French Skincare Staples' post, you will already know that one of the latest additions to my face mask stash has been the Caudalie Instant Detox mask – something which until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t realised was part of their Vinosource line. In fact, it wasn’t until Caudalie contacted me and kindly offered to send over some of their new products set to launch as part of the collection, that it registered what a big fan of it I already am – not only already owning the mask, but also the Overnight Recovery Oil and the S.O.S Serum, both of which I have been using for quite some time. 

Much of the Vinosource range itself is formulated using organic grape water set to soothe and hydrate skin, eliminating redness and leaving it looking and feeling refreshed - things that I had found the products I had already tried, to tackle brilliantly. And, having been trialing out the new products in the line over the last couple of weeks, I can happily report that they too, seem to be living up to these claims. I have really been enjoying using them, and, more importantly, am super impressed so far, with the results I have seen in such a short space of time. 

My two favourites amid the bunch, have been the Moisturizing Sorbet* and the Matifying Fluid*, both of which have now become daily staples in my skincare routine. The former is a beautiful, lightweight moisturiser with a gel-cream consistency that means it turns to liquid upon contact with the skin and sinks in instantly. It has a wonderful, delicate fragrance containing notes of mandarin blossom, lemon tree leaf, cucumber and fresh mint, which aren’t at all overpowering and make it a joy to apply. I know when I really love a moisturiser, when I find myself using it both in the evening and before getting started each day, which is exactly what I've been doing with this. Thanks to its easily absorbed formula, it is perfect for use under make up, and, at the same time, can be mixed with your oil/serum of choice in the evening to give your skin that extra little boost of hydration – something I have been doing each night by adding in a few drops of the Overnight Recovery Oil/S.O.S Serum that I mentioned. As a result, my skin has felt smooth, plumped and hydrated but without the tacky/greasy feeling I’m often left with after moisturizing with something heavier. 

Alongside the sorbet*, I have also been using the Matifying Fluid* each morning underneath my make-up and have found it to be a fantastic primer, not only for keeping oil at bay thanks to the Java tea leaf extracts present, helping to absorb and regulate sebum production, but for ensuring my base product of choice doesn’t cake and break up throughout the day. It doesn’t feel at all silicony and leaves my skin feeling moisturised and velvety smooth before I apply make-up. I have noticed a remarkable difference between how my face looks at the end of the day after wearing this compared with when I forget to apply it. 

As far as the Grape Water* itself is concerned,  I don’t feel like I have had chance to thoroughly test this out as yet, though I have used it on a couple of occasions as the toning step within my skincare routine, and can confirm that it both smells beautiful and is great for if you’re looking to quickly cool and refresh tired skin. I have no doubt though, that once the warmer weather arrives, this will become a handbag essential for me, especially thanks to the aerosol spray that provides a nice even application as opposed to some of the ‘squirtier’ alternatives out there! 

If you’re into your lightweight formulas when it comes to skincare then I would definitely recommend giving these new additions to the Vinosource line a go. Whether you’ve dry skin in need of a hit of hydration, want to battle a touch of rouge or eliminate shine, I feel like the line up has something for everyone and could benefit all skin types. I have yet to try the two other new releases in the range – the Intense Moisture Rescue Cream and the Moisture Recovery Cream - but now that I’ve been wowed by these, I feel like it won’t be too long before temptation gets the better of me and I give them a go. 

Have you tried anything from the Caudalie Vinosource range yet? Do any of the latest additions catch your eye? If you want to get your hands on them, you can do so here as they officially launch today!

Sarah x

PERRICONE MD: NO MAKE UP SKINCARE

Sunday, 17 April 2016

When I first heard about this range of products from Perricone MD, I liked the sound of it but was a little sceptical of the concept. Essentially, it has been developed with the aim of trying to address dull looking skin (something that becomes more common with age) by giving it a natural radiance without it looking like you've loaded the make-up on.

At the same time, the products contain ingredients that are beneficial for the skin and that over time claim to have it looking plumped and more youthful with continued use. Both the No Bronzer Bronzer and the No Highlighter Highlighter for instance, contain Vitamin C ester, which support natural collagen production and diffuse existing sun damage. Though I can't really comment as to the skincare claims as yet, as I have only been using these for a couple of weeks, I can definitely attest to the radiant skin claims and say that the No Make-up range has so far completely surpassed my expectations in that respect.

The No Foundation Foundation provides a pretty sheer coverage, which for me is fine as I've been enjoying a lighter base lately (just using concealer to touch up the under eyes and any particular patches that need it). The texture is beautiful - it's so smooth that it applies more like a moisturiser than a foundation, and takes little blending as it almost melts into the skin with very little effort required. I went for the shade 'Light', which is a pretty perfect match for my pale complexion, although the more bronzed amongst you may struggle as there are only two shades available - light and light/medium. Ingredients like antioxidant alpha lipolic acid are present, along with SPF30 which look to both protect the skin and minimise the appearance of pores and fine lines - something I find the foundation to do well despite it's lightweight formula - which, on a side note, also means that it is long-lasting, wears well and doesn't cake. 

When it comes to the rest of the base products, again I was equally wowed - the liquid formula of each meaning they were super easy to blend and ended up looking incredibly natural on the skin. The No Bronzer Bronzer is warm toned but in no way orange, and what I like about it most as with the other base products, is how easily buildable it is. A little goes a long way but blends out easily, and so it's really hard to overdo it. The same goes for the No Blush Blush, which as you would expect, adds a beautiful rosy glow to the cheeks - adapting to each individual skin-tone, and, when combined with the No Highlighter Highlighter that contains light-reflecting pigment pearls, creates the most gorgeous luminous finish.  

The No Lipstick Lipstick is more of a balm and applies relatively sheer, though again, you can layer it up for more coverage.  It leaves lips looking smooth, plumped and feeling super hydrated with a natural rosy tint. I have also already noticed a notable difference with the condition of my lips with this one - any dryness having disappeared after just a couple of uses. The fact that it contains SPF20 is a huge plus for me, and claims that the presence of neuropeptides to help activate surface renewal and regenerate skin, really seem to ring true so far.

If you haven't already, I would thoroughly recommend giving the No Make Up collection a go. Other than perhaps the foundation, I think the shades would work well with the majority of skin tones, and if it's incandescence with a side order of skincare benefits that you're after, then this lot will fit the bill perfectly.

Sarah x

THE ILLUMINATING LINE-UP

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Fresh faced and fancy free is a look I have really been enjoying lately. I think it's a subconscious thing after seeing so many spring 'switch up' posts floating around that have inspired me and made me want to strive to achieve a healthy glow.

When it comes to base, the two products I have been reaching for on an equally regular basis have been the NIOD Photography Fluid and the BECCA Backlight Priming Perfector. I first spotted the former when I was watching one of Jess's videos where she paired it with the By Terry Cover Expert Foundation. Her skin looked incredible and so I picked them both up on a whim and haven't looked back.

Since then, I have seen the Photography Fluid gracing the blogosphere on a much more regular basis and have heard rave reviews each time I have seen it mentioned. Personally, I find its 'camera hue correction technologies', great when it comes to helping me tone down the redness in my skin and though I can't stipulate as to its performance in front of the camera (something it apparently excels at), I can say, that I have fallen big time for its oil-free yet hydrating formula which sinks in effortlessly and blurs any imperfections, leaving my skin looking and feeling flawless and radiant. I like to apply as I do with most primers and use a layer under my foundation, as I find that products tend to apply more evenly this way. Though equally, you could mix a few drops in if you wanted to save some time and I am sure the final effect would be very much comparable.

In many ways, the BECCA primer works similarly - again, helping to boost the luminosity of your skin compared with what a stand alone foundation would have the power to do. The texture of this stuff is a lot more creamy as opposed to the photography fluid which as you would expect is more of a liquid consistency, and so this does take a bit more working into the skin. Despite this fact though, it does have its pros in that this means it is  somewhat more multifunctional and as well as using this as a base/primer, it can also easily be used as a 'regular' highlight on the high points of the face to add a little something.


And speaking of highlighters, these are something that admittedly I can be a bit of a floozy when it comes to usually. I've a number in my collection and a number on my current wishlist (with BECCA's Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone sitting at the top right now), but these two have been the main contenders for favourite that I have been reaching for lately. 

Not an awful lot needs to be said about the first - the same BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector but in Champagne Pop has received so much hype lately that of course I caved and gave it a go. Just a smidge of this will go a long way and give you a beautiful sun-kissed glow. It is shimmery, but thanks to the beautiful finely milled, buttery formula of the BECCA highlighters, there are no huge chunks of glitter in there. When used sparingly, this stuff will give your cheekbones a real wow factor - just remember not to go all out and end up looking like a disco ball rather than achieving that subtle sparkle you were after.

Then there's the MAC Creme Colour Base in the shade 'Hush' - a creamy highlight with a peachy glow that works especially well when it's the 'golden goddess' look that you're going for. I love pairing this with my NARS Deep Throat blush, a smokey brown eye and a slick of gloss in a neutral shade for when I want that 'glow' to be taken to the next level.

And for the grand finale and to compete the line up - the piece de resistance - Tatcha's Dewy Skin Mist. Another much talked about product in the blogging world recently, and, as far as I am aware, still only available from Sephora to ship over from the US. A couple of spritzes of this goes a long way in not only adding a burst of radiance to the complexion, but in ensuring your make up doesn't fade or cake as much as it might usually do throughout the day. Just don't overdo it or again, you might end up with more of a gleam than a glow with this one! A beautiful product though, and with dreamy packaging to boot.

What products do you enjoy using to create that fresh-faced look all day long?

Sarah x

FRENCH SKINCARE STAPLES: DRY/SENSITIVE SKIN

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The last week or so my skin has been feeling a little temperamental - not helped by the fact that I suffered a rather unfortunate incident involving a glycolic peel mask and some poor time keeping issues (don't ask!). And so I found myself reverting back to a few of my favourites when it comes to dealing with problem skin (namely dry and sensitive in this instance), and soon realised that the majority of these sat in the 'French skincare' category. If it's a soothing hit of hydration, minus the irritability and without the need to compromise in any other area of your skincare routine, then these four products should have you covered.


Gel cleansers aren't something I indulge in often.  The Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel is absolutely sublime, and now that I think about it, I need to stock up, but if it's something non- offensive and super kind to your skin that you're after then look no further than this stuff. Fantastic for if you have particularly sensitive skin, or indeed if it's just acting up and having a temperamental moment - the fact that this is enriched with moisturising agents means your skin is left feeling soft and supple after use. It's also great for use around the eyes if you suffer with sensitivity there too, and if you do as they suggest and follow this with a spritz of your favourite spray toner your face is left feeling beautifully cooled and refreshed.

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask

A more recent addition to my skincare stash, but already a firm fave nonetheless. This stuff has what I would describe as being a cross between a gel and a cream like consistency, applies clear and yet dries as a clay would - opaque and relatively quickly during the 5-10 minutes it's recommend you leave it on for. It really is unique in terms of texture when compared with any other mask I have tried, though the effects remind me a lot of the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing mask that everyone raves about and of which I am also a big fan. For me though, I think this one pips it to the post in that it really doesn't dry out the skin as some clay based masks have a tendency to do. It doesn't irritate my skin either, but it does do a great job of tightening and de-congesting. I am also a big fan the ingredients it contains - pink clay (which aids to balance my combination skin), grape marc and coffee, and papaya extract (helping to smooth whilst also ensuring things smell amazing!). The more I use this,  the more in love with it I fall, and I can't wait now to try out more of the masks in the range

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Power Serum

This one is an old faithful that I have been using for years now, and with a name like that, I guess you really are led to expect great things. Luckily, it lives up to the expectations and really packs a punch when it comes to hydration. The best part though, is how it manages to do this - gliding on and sinking in beautifully without feeling tacky or greasy on your skin, instead, leaving it plumped and smooth. It's one of the only serums and indeed skincare products that I enjoy and feel comfortable using underneath and as a base for make-up, and so I tend to slather this stuff on both morning and night when I'm in need of a real moisture boost. I've seen a lot of comparisons between this and Hydraluron, and though I am a fan of both, the more liquid consistency of this and the fact that a little goes a long way with the effects seeming to last longer means this one wins the battle between the two.

Nuxe Ultra Comforting Face Cream

Another product if you want to bring out the big guns to tackle dry, sensitive skin. With a pretty thick consistency, you might expect this to take a lot of working in, but in fact it sinks in relatively quickly and 'comforting' is the right word as for me at least, it feels as though my skin has been coated in a luxurious, soothing, protective barrier that locks in the moisture and helps to hydrate - a hug for your skin if you will. I find that it helps to soothe and eliminate redness and that a little goes a long way when you're applying. Though it's not a moisturiser I would use every day unless I was suffering a particularly bad dry spell (I like to mix it up and use a lighter moisturiser over serums/oils when I can), for those of you that suffer with permanent dryness, there's no doubt that you should be picking this one up pronto!

What are your favourite products when it comes to French skincare? If you fancy stocking up or trying something new, then there are currently some amazing deals over at Escentual where you can save up to 1/3 on French pharmacy products this week. Be sure to let me know what you pick up if you decide to treat yourself!

Sarah x