Saturday, 27 February 2010

Skin MD Shielding Lotion Review and Discount


The premise behind shielding lotion is that everyday contact with cleansers and environmental pollutants strips away skin’s own protective layer leading to loss of moisture and an increased effect of irritants. Traditional creams temporarily add artificial moisture to the skin without treating the problem, this moisture can’t be retained so we have to keep applying more. The skin can then get used to the constant supply and stop producing it’s own oils so the problem only gets worse. However, shielding lotion is different as it restores the skin’s integrity, protective ability and urges it to be active thereby treating the cause of dry/ sensitive skin as well as its symptoms. 
Shielding lotion is hypoallergenic, colour, fragrance, paraben free, and packed full of effective natural ingredients that make it suitable for all types of skin. Given that our skin is in contact with multiple irritants on a daily basis I really liked the idea of this lotion and was excited to try it out when given the opportunity a few months ago.

I thought it would be useful to include a full list of ingredients as those with sensitive and easily irritated skin would benefit from seeing exactly what it contains.
Deionized water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe Vera), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Arnica Montana Flower Extract (Arnica), Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract (Comfrey), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract (Chamomile), Achillea Millefolium Extract (Yarrow), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol

Aloe Vera has been used to treat skin problems including eczema and psoriasis for many years. I personally use Aloe Vera gel as after sun or on sunburn and it works much better than any cream I have ever tried! Studies show that Aloe Vera improves the skin's ability to hydrate itself, aids in the removal of dead skin cells and has an effective penetrating ability that helps transport healthy substances through the skin.

Arnica is used to heal wounds and prevent bruising and swelling (though in my experience it has never helped my healing). It also has a pain relieving effect, reduces inflammation and clears fungal and bacterial infections.

Yarrow and comfrey are both good at reducing inflammation, while chamomile softens and soothes the skin.

If you want to know exactly what each ingredient does and why it has been added the Skin MD Natural website is very detailed!

I have used this lotion on my face and body intermittently for about two months and I have to say that I really like it. Although my skin is not typically dry it is sensitive and easily irritated so I do get some very dry areas, such as my hands. This lotion is absolutely lovely to apply, the texture is between a lotion and a gel and it sinks in extremely quickly without leaving any residue. It is cooling and energizing, not in the same way as menthol infused lotions, but in a more subtle ‘I just had a refreshing, cool shower on a hot day’ way. Sorry I can’t explain it better!  It is recommended that you apply the lotion every couple of hours until the area appears healed, and then once or twice a day. I didn’t really stick with that as it’s hard to reapply lotion to dry knees on the tube in the middle of winter ;). 

Although I would not say this lotion worked like a miracle, it did moisturise without being greasy and felt extremely soothing. Of course I can't comment on the barrier function of my skin being restored, but I hope that it was! I tried it on my bf’s eczema and though it didn’t get rid of it completely (maybe because he only used it for a few days) there was a marked difference in the reduction of dryness, redness and irritation. I also used it after shaving and unlike other ‘sensitive’ creams it soothed the area without further irritation, stinging or itching. It gave the skin on my face a semi-matte finish and was a good base for applying makeup unlike most creams for dry/ sensitive skin, which tend to be greasy causing my foundation to slide off extremely quickly.

Overall, I think this cream is a great find for those with sensitive, dry and problem skin. I like the way it can be used on any skin type and state, by which I mean that you can use it on eczema, rashes etc. while most moisturisers are not recommended for use on ‘broken’ skin. The only slight negative for me is the price. For $18/£12 you get a small bottle of 120ml. This is perfectly reasonable if the lotion is to be used predominantly on the face or hands. However, as an all over body lotion, even though a little goes a long way, for me it would only last one or two weeks. 

I mentioned to the company that the price was my main concern and kindly they made a discount code for my followers. The discount code is FGM and it will give you 20% off when ordering from www.skinmdnatural.com

Have you ever tried a ‘shielding’ lotion as a substitute for normal moisturising creams? Do you have your own method of preventing and curing skin problems, dryness and irritation?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

New hair colour- Garnier Nutrisse Review

The last time I coloured my hair was in the beginning of December. Originally I loved it as the highlights added some lovely dimension to my hair, but 8 weeks later the colour had lifted considerably and started looking brassy.
As my natural hair colour is a little more ashy the orange tones made my roots look even more obvious. You can see them peeping through above.. eek! 

I needed a quick change before Valentine's Day so I decided to go for something a touch darker, but still on the brown spectrum. The colour that caught my eye was Garnier Nutrisse 6.3 Deep Reddish Brown (really imaginative name).
 
The application was pretty standard, though I did start to worry a little when the cream began taking on a purple hue! The only thing I noticed is that there seemed to be less product than in most box dyes (and believe me I have tried my fair share from a range of brands). I know if you have long hair it is recommended to use two boxes, but I have never had a problem before as I take my time during application and spend the 30 minutes waiting time in an attractive shower cap that also seems to help the colour spread evenly.

So ladies, remember we were hoping for a rich 'reddish' brown...
 

The flash actually makes it look a little better, but straight after the dye my hair definitely had more than a tinge of purple. It was also uneven, with the ends being a lot darker than the roots, which is strange as I applied the least amount of product there and the dye was on the ends for the shortest amount of time.
 
After a few washes it seems to be evening out a little, though this is only because it won't stay in my hair! 

Even though this dye is marketed as a permanent dye, hence the horrible ammonia stench, every time I wash my hair it runs much more than any semi-permanent I have ever tried. When first rinsing it out I noticed that the dye just kept running and running and it took almost half an hour until the water became somewhat clear. The next time I washed it in the bath it was a scary sight! Now, 3 washes later I am at a loss as to what to do as it seems deterimined to stain every towel that I own, and given the current rain I am scared of what will happen if I don't keep it under a hat and umbrella at all times.

Garnier Nutrisse gets a big thumbs down from me :(. As much as I enjoy having pink foam all around me every time I have a shower it's a little worrying that my hair can start leaking at any sign of precipitation! 

Have you guys ever tried this range of dyes? Did you have a similar problem or is this just my luck ;)?

OPI Designer Series- Extravagance

I haven't done one of these NOTD posts for a while, but I just had to share this colour with you all!
 
This is two coats of OPI extravagance from the Designer Series. This is what I think of when someone describes a polish as holographic. It has so much dimension and seems to glow from within.
Unlike other glittery polishes this one still looks multi-dimensional in natural light, but in artificial lights it really begins to dance. The lights in my bedroom are similar to those deceiving halogen spotlights you get in most stores. I'm sure you all know the ones! (They make everything look so pretty in the shop, but when you get it home it's just a bit 'blah'). This has resulted in me endlessly staring at my nails in a quest to figure out exactly what colours are in this magical polish. I can see pink, silver, orange, green and even blue glitter particles. Yumm!!

Well done OPI, but now please stop distracting me with your irridescence and let me get some work done! :)

Monday, 15 February 2010

Valentines and Chinese New Year Celebration

Hello my lovelies,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and Valentines day/ Chinese New Year yesterday! Valentines is not exactly my favourite holiday as I find it a little pointless. Every couple has their special day, be it the anniversary of the first time you meet, your first date or even your wedding. So why do we all need to celebrate the 14th of February? Nevertheless, the bf and I still celebrated in quite a traditional way with a lovely meal out on Sunday night.
Since I never miss an opportunity to dress up I decided to make an extra effort (and for once he couldn't complain about how long it took me to get ready hehe). 
I bought this dress about 3 years ago from Warehouse and always save it for special occasions. I absolutely adore it! It has corset boning on the inside, which provides great support and flatters an hourglass figure- sexy without being too revealing. For bigger busts I prefer a strapless dress to be a little longer to balance the look. Being tall I always find it so difficult to find one as any sophisticated dress always ends up at bum skimming length on me. Luckily, this one is cut with boobs, bums and legs in mind! The shoes are 'delicious' from Carvela with bows on the back from last season, but they have some very similar ones in the current collection.
Though it did take me about 2 hours to figure out how to hang this picture my bf got me for Christmas I am so glad that I did. My room is slowly coming together and I really can't wait 'till all the carpentry is done and I can have a proper dressing table, wardrobe and shelves!
 
Hehehe.. he's probably going to murder me when he sees that I put this up!
In case you were wondering I based my makeup on my first Valentine's tutorial video here
Face: Maybelline superstay silky foundation
NARS laguna bronzer
MAC well dressed blush
MAC petticoat MSF

Eyes: UDPP
MAC e/s dazzlelight on lid, wedge, scene, quarry, print in crease, vanilla to highlight.
MAC blacktrack gel liner
L'Oreal voluminous mascara
Shu Uemura smoky layers lashes (would you like a review on these?)

Lips: Mac creme cup lipstick of course ;).

What did you do on Valentine's or Chinese New Year? My single friends had a lovely meal to celebrate in my favourite Chinese restaurant- Phoenix Palace in Baker Street.. yumm yumm! xxx

Jergens Naturals

This winter my skin has been incredibly dry and dull and I can't seem to slather on enough moisturiser to keep it looking healthy. I was therefore happy to be given the opportunity to try the new Jergens'  Naturals range. This line contains over 96% natural ingredients, is paraben free, and is not tested on little bunnies :).
 

The main ingredient is of course cocoa butter, which I have always loved as it smells delicious, is deeply hydrating and also helps to improve the appearance of stretch marks. Other ingredients include vitamin E, which protects skin from cell damaging free radicals, shea butter, sunflower oil, soybean oil, jojoba, olive oil, oatmeal and avocado. 

The whole list of ingredients can be found on the Jergens website here. I think it's fantastic that they not only list the ingredients, but if you click on each one it also tells you it's purpose/ benefit. I wish all companies would do this as it makes it much easier for the consumer to understand exactly what is in their product.

I have been using this moisturiser for about 2 weeks and am absolutely loving it so far. (It is definitely comparable to my favourite deeply moisturising Garnier Hydralock, which is perfect for dry and sensitive skin. My bf has eczema on his back, and both of these moisturisers sooth and heal the area effectively and without further irritaion. Big thumbs up so far!)

In consistency the Jergens Naturals cocoa butter is a very smooth and thick cream without being overly greasy. Be careful not to use too much as it is deeply nourishing and a little really goes a long way. Usually I use a lot of moisturiser (more is more when it comes to my legs), so I over applied the first time I tried it and ended up with those white streaks that take a while to massage in. This isn't the kind of moisturiser that sinks in immediately and it does leave some residue on the skin, which some people may really dislike. However, if you have dry skin you will love this as it really helps keep your skin hydrated all day long!

The new Jergens Naturals Range is available at Boots, Tesco, Superdrug and Sainsburys RRP £4.99 for 200ml. 

Have you tried anything from Jergens? I used their gradual tan and moisturisers when I lived in Bermuda, but since they only came to the UK in 2009 I'd love to know what you guys think of the brand!!

Dear FTC: This product was sent to me for review purposes. As always I love my readers more than freebies, so these are all my honest opinions :).

John Frieda Giveaway Winner

The winner of Natalya's Wonderland Giveaway is Lovisa Devereux. Well done!!

Please e-mail me with your address so I can send you your prize of the John Frieda Go Blonder Shampoo and Conditioner ASAP :).


The correct answer was Tate Modern. Thank you to all those who entered and if you didn't win this time, do not worry, you will have plenty of chances in the future ;).

Currently I am hosting a giveaway on my YouTube channel where one lucky subscriber will win a beautiful sparkly case for their phone. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below the video of what your favourite design from the luxaddiction.com website is. The giveaway ends on Sunday 21st Feb, so you have a week to enter as many times as you like :).



Good Luck lovelies xxx

Friday, 12 February 2010

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair

An oldie, but goodie, this product has really stood the test of time. I believe it has been around for 30 years or so and I am always finding it in top ten lists in magazines and given great reviews online, which to me is far more important!
I have to stress that I am not at all a skincare expert and what works for me may not work for you. However, this product seems to be one that transcends the skin type boundaries that companies like to label their products with. I think it would work for all skin types, which is great if you are like me and your skin doesn't quite fit into the standard nomenclature. Every time I have a facial or ask a professional about my skin I get different answers. I seem to be floating in the oily/ combination/ sensitive/ sometimes blemish prone area, which makes choosing quite difficult. I normally don't stick to a routine, but give my skin what it needs on a daily basis. Your skin changes every day, and mine is very temperamental depending on the weather/ time of the month/ stress, so I find it best to mix up products.

I won't bore you with the long blurb as this can easily be found on the Lauder site here if you are interested. In my understanding this serum aims to:
  • Repair the appearance of past damage (lines and uneven skintone) using chronolux technology (Environmental stresses can damage your skin cells' DNA, hence if the genes are out of sync the skin can't regenerate effectively and we get wrinkles. ANR helps to synchronize clock genes so that your skin's natural repair process can function optimally at night).
  • Repair the appearance of damage by environmental assaults (UV light, smoke, pollution and even emotional stress).
  • Create an optimal environment for repair by enhancing hydration using Hyaluronic Acid.
  • Soothe the look of daily irritation and builds rich anti-oxidant reserve to help replenish skin's own natural protectants (barrier function).
So in essence it aims to repair past damage and protect the skin from future damage. Pretty much what we all want then!

Now, I can't report on how well it reduces lines as I do not believe in using anti-wrinkle creams at my age (23) and don't believe that girls in their 20s have 'wrinkles' no matter what friends/ companies/ magazines tell me. Yes, I have lines on my forehead because I talk with my eyebrows a lot, but honestly it's not something that causes me anguish. Sometimes I feel like the whole anti-wrinkle cream industry would have us slather babies in the stuff!
I purchased this product in the beginning of December. While at my boyfriend's house my skin had started really acting up due to the freezing snow outside contrasting with the stuffy dry air inside. The heater in his room just blew hot air at me all night and in the morning my skin was as shrivelled as a Twiglet! I have never suffered from dry skin before and none of my moisturisers seemed to make any difference. With the party season looming I decided that desperate times call for desperate measures. In my case this was £36 for 30ml of golden serum.

I have used this product every night since and I can't praise it enough. No, it's not a miracle worker as some would have you believe, but it will give you visible results. Having very fair skin any minor blemish is not only extremely visible, but once gone the redness fades very slowly. I'm talking months. In general I bruise very easily and heal very slowly, a winning combination. Unlike anything I have tried before ANR really does speed up the healing process for me, be it from blemishes, irritation or rashes.

It also helps to keep my skin hydrated without being oily, greasy or taking a long time to soak in. I usually apply about 5 drops after toner and can apply my moisturiser straight away.  In the past if I need to use a moisturiser targeted for acne I would mix in a pump of a richer moisturiser to prevent my skin from drying out. However, if I apply the serum first a light moisturiser is enough. I feel like it makes your moisturiser work better, though that's a little difficult to gauge.

The only part I'm not crazy about is the smell, which is somehow herbal and clinical at the same time, but it is not strong enough to offend, and most people don't seem to find it a problem.

Will I be repurchasing? Yes!! Since the second I lightly touch the corner of a table, or play with Maxie without trimming his claws, I am covered in blue bruises and scratches that won't heal till... Oh who am I kidding I still have a bump from a bruise I got in late 2008! I wish they would make a big enough bottle that I could bathe in!

Have you ever tried any products from the Advanced Night Repair range? What was your experience? Are you tempted to give it a go? Are you bored of my rambling yet ;)? xxx

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Jelly Pong Pong- First Impressions

It has been a while since the sight of pretty cosmetic packaging has really excited me! However, yesterday morning while sleepily tearing open a parcel my heart was sent aflutter.

I hadn't heard too much about Jelly Pong Pong before, but had wondered about the brand as the prices were not low enough for it to be geared towards teens, as it's name would suggest. I was therefore excited to be given the chance to try some products out.

Susan Chyi, the founder says "Jelly Pong Pong.. a name which will always be strange to many, was born from the notion of wanting to invoke the eccentricity that is innate in all of us." According to the website "Jelly Pong Pong places an ardent emphasis on creating products which evoke the dreamer in you and which clearly define what it means to be passionate about cosmetics. With such pride in our creation comes a focus on product integrity & efficacy. Great-quality products that work."  Also, all their products are made in Italy and they don't test on animals :)!

Now, let's get to the fun part of this post. The photos!! The packaging for these cosmetics is absolutely adorable, probably not the most practical, but it sure does look pretty on my dressing table.

The first thing I was sent was the Lip Orchid in Petal Pink, a soft pink gloss in a beautiful orchid embellished pot.
 
(Without flash)
 
 (With flash)
The Lip Orchid contains Aloe Vera extract and vitamin E to heal and reduce the appearance of fine lines. As you can see the top layer of the gloss is a vibrant hot pink, but below it's a much softer and lighter pink with silver shimmer. This seems a little strange, but as I actually prefer the lighter colour I can't complain too much. 
The gloss itself has a slight floral scent, is well pigmented and feels light on the lips. I would compare it to a MAC tinted lip conditioner, but less creamy and slightly more opaque.

My favourite (probably all time) packaging has to be this Shadow Taffy. A beautiful soft pink bird cage tied with a lilac ribbon with a white bird inside. Yes, I almost forgot it was makeup too.
 
The Shadow Taffy is described as a 'melted-down eyeshadow thicker than a cream, more long lasting than a mousse'. However, I would describe it as a very smooth cream eye shadow. I have yet to try it on my lids, but given that it contains beeswax as its main ingredient, closely followed by palm oil and coconut oil, I envisage this is one that needs to be worn on top of a good primer and set with a powder eyeshadow. The pigmentation of the shadow is good and it is very smooth and blendable. I will therefore be trying the pink side for use on the lips and cheeks too!

The shadow taffy and lip orchid can be purchased as a set for £10 here.
Next up is the fairy lashes mascara which promises to 'make eyelashes flutter & flap". It has a thick water resistant formula to make lashes thicker, curvier while still keeping them soft and light. 
  
  
I was sent the shade Maiden, a warm deep purple. I can't wait to try it as the colour looks rich and the wand is just the right size, tapered and bushy. I have high hopes :).
  
 The last product is the supermodel stain in No Breakfast.  This is designed for use on lips and cheeks. It is well pigmented, smooth and has a light sweet vanilla scent. I have tried it on my cheeks and it created a lovely natural soft flush. A little of this goes a long way!

I hope you guys enjoyed this review! I will be writing a more in depth one after I have played with these for a couple more days. So far I am very pleasantly surprised as, like the brand promises,
these products are innovative, original and the packaging is absolutely adorable!

Jelly Pong Pong can be found on their website, as well as ASOS.

Have you ever tried Jelly Pong Pong? What do you think of the brand? Do you think packaging is important? xxx

Giveaway- Natalya in Wonderland

Hello lovelies,

I just thought I would do a little giveaway today for one of my beautiful readers to celebrate the weekend. The prizes on offer are a set of John Frieda Go Blonder shampoo and conditioner.
All you have to do is guess where this photo was taken (clue: it's not the real Wonderland) and I will use randomizer.org to pick the winner from the correct entries :).
 
You have until next Sunday (14th) to enter, it's open to anyone and you can guess as many times as you like!
Good luck ladies!! xxx

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Valentines Makeup

This is my take on Valentine's makeup. It's pink and pretty, but still defined and smokey. I wanted to keep it light and girlie, but still make an impact.
 
 


What is your idea of Valentine's makeup? Do you guys have any ideas for Valentine's Day tuts? xxx

Monday, 1 February 2010

Yes, IMATS

As some of you know I was at IMATS on Saturday. It was my first time at such a show and I'm glad I went, but I have mixed feelings about it.

First of all, the location. As lovely as Alexandra palace and its view is it is inconvenient for most people to get to because it is not in central London, and also quite a walk (as I discovered on that frozen morning) from the tube station. For the size of the exhibition the venue really did not have to be that big! Had a smaller space been rented no doubt the ticket price (about £40) would have been much reduced.
Which brings me on to my next point- the ticket price was far too high for what it promised- only entry. For example, a ticket to London fashion weekend last year was £40, which not only let you in to sample all the discounted stalls, but gave you seats in a fashion show and a goodie bag worth well over £100. Also, by the time I got there (about 9.30am) the queue to pick up pre-paid tickets was snaking all throughout the front entrance and it took a good half an hour of patience before we could be even allowed in.
By 10.00am all the stalls were extremely crowded and it was pretty much impossible to get in and view products (MUFE and Crown brushes in particular) and unfortunately many items had already sold out (less than half the colours of OCC lip tars were left). This leads me to wonder, since most people had pre-booked tickets (there was no queue for tickets on the door), the organisers must have been aware of how many people were attending, therefore setting up small stalls, where only about 3 people could safely swatch, seems counterintuitive. 

The show did offer some amazing discounts (35% off MUFE) and brands that are not normally available in the UK. I didn't pick up too many things partly because I had planned on being strict with my money, and partly because at most stalls no cards were accepted so you had to either pay with cash (and yes, you guessed it, the queue for the sole cash machine was enormous) or have your card details written down and billed later. I gave in and paid by this method at OCC because I was desperate to get at least a couple of lip tars, though most of the colours I wanted had sold out. I also purchased a couple of brushes from Crown, a back-up of my favourite MUFE HD foundation, some of their full cover concealer and smoky lash mascara as well as a few eyelashes and a Z-pallette. 

One of the highlights of the day was meeting Koren of EnKore makeup. He is as lovely and bubbly in real life as he is in his videos! I am only sad that I couldn't go back on Sunday to watch his talk on naked pigments with his beautiful model- ooglemakeup!
I also really enjoyed all the creative work on exhibition and it was fun to watch the works progressing throughout the morning.
 
 

However, with an early start, a long walk in the freezing cold, a grumpy bf who needed feeding, and after having to fight to the front of every stall I didn't last very long. I wish I had taken advantage of everything on offer, but because it was so busy I didn't feel I could look at everything I wanted to. I'm not really one for big crowds, and prefer to browse in my own time. Although this post seems a little negative I really did enjoy my time at IMATS and would recommend it to any makeup junkie. I just wish I had been more prepared and arrived earlier with cash in hand ;).

Did you visit IMATS this weekend? What did you think? Would you recommend it to a friend and would you go again? I would love to know what you guys thought! xx