A few new additions...

I fancied doing a post on the new additions I have accumulated this month as, well, it's not a few is it; it's an abundance, and I'm pretty sure my bank card needed a lie down afterwards. So before I begin to resent myself for that, here's the lowdown starting from the left of the picture:

Elizabeth Arden Skin Balancing Toner & Exfoliating Cleanser
I did a full review of these two here; because I was a little hesitant of whether they would perform having purchased them on a whim, but trusted that they would work as I worship the ground of anything Elizabeth Arden creates.  My skin really has benefited from this duo - in both clarity and radiance - and they seem to have kept my face a breakout-free zone so that's a serious commandment as far as I'm concerned!

Alpha H Liquid Gold
So far so good - I won't go into too much detail on as I did a post about this beauty yesterday, but as it stands it's most likely definitely something I will be re-purchasing.

Clarins Multi Active Night
Something that has been on my 'want' list for ages, this is solely aimed at younger skins wishing to prevent premature wrinkles. I haven't ever tried anything from Clarins before (I think only because I thought it was aimed at an older audience) but this has really packed a punch! I love the navy glass tub, very classy and the product itself feels wonderful to apply - really hydrating and seems to nicely 'plump' my skin. 
Bad points - predominantly, the smell! It smells like old people! That aside, although it's a really hydrating cream I feel that it's a little too greasy for my combination/oily complexion. It's not caused any problems to my skin at all, and you only wear it to bed so it's no biggie; but I know that their Multi Active Day also comes in a cream-gel consistency for oily skin, so I would love it a little more if that option was available for the night, too.

Origins stockpile!
Origins is a brand that has always intrigued me but that I have never dabbled in as I didn't know too much about them. Having read incredible reviews about a couple of items I decided it was worth trying them out; and now I have a list to try as long as my arm and some new favourites!

#1 - Super Spot Remover
This is a blemish treatment gel which I have heard amazing commandments from Kate and Anna about, and having spot-prone skin myself it sounded like a godsend. I have only used it once so far (on a very annoying little buggar right on the end of my nose!) but first impressions are pretty good - the squidy little bottle itself is lovely, it's so dinky! Some people complain that the size is misleading, but in reality you don't need any more - and it's the perfect size to pop in your makeup bag should you want to. The consistency is actually quite sticky so I don't know how well it will hold up with makeup ontop but I will report back if there's a problem. Quick note on the smell aswell, seeing as I'm such a smell obsessive: it smells like pepper and it's lovely ;).

#2 - GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
People are known to hoard this stuff so it had to be tried! Typically I only go for eye creams with anti-ageing properties, as I've already got some fine lines (or more truthfully, my dad has crows feet and I'm terrified). The high recommendations are hard to ignore though, and it's always good to have helping hand when you're tripping over your eye bags of a morning! GinZing promises to brighten and depuff tired eyes - think of it as the eye-equivalent of your morning coffee/s. The cream is a pearlescent, powder pink shade which really gives my eyes a little lift; next time you go by an Origins counter, pop a little on the back of your hand and you'll see how much it brightens! The bottom line is, this + touché éclat will save your ass of a rainy Monday. I'm all for that.

#3 - Plantscription Anti-aging Eye Cream
Well bearing in mind what I have just said, I couldn't justify the above without also getting an anti-aging accompaniment, could I?! This little wonder moisturises intensely with the aim of preventing crows feet (yay!), sagging skin and fine lines. It also comes in the form of 'Anti-aging Eye Treatment', which is the same product but in a gel consistency. I've got a preference for my eye creams though: they must be a cream and they must come in a pot! I've not had chance to road-test this yet but will feed back in due course.

#4 - Make a Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment
This is the best thing I have ever used and I love it love it love it ARGH. Seriously, ladies, if you want super smooth, can't-stop-stroking-my-damn-face skin get your hands on this, I beg you! I honestly can't praise this product enough - it smells like pure heaven (floral, with spearmint and lemon thrown in their too) and I could just smooth it into my skin every day for the rest of my life! Swoooon.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry
Estee, one of my absolute favourite bloggers is a die-hard fan of this shade and I can see why - it's gorgeous! In the tube it's a terrifyingly dark burgundy/brown shade, but a vampy mauve-wine once applied. Something that makes this even more attractive is the fact that the colour intensifies coat-by-coat, meaning that by dabbing one coat on with your finger gives you a sheer, bitten tinge and a further few swipes leaves you with an opaque, yet nicely glossy finish. A bit like this:

Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Valparaiso
One thing you will learn about me is that I have a real soft spot for daring lip colours, but never actually have the courage to leave the house wearing them. This is a product which has fallen into that trap! The Nars Pure Matte range is known for great staying power but being quite drying, and this is apparent as soon as you apply - it tends to drag as you try to swipe it, so moisturising the lips before and using a lip brush would be recommended! The colour is a stunning fuschia and the tube has a very satisfying 'click' when you put the lid back on, but other than that, I don't think this is a range I would buy from again. 

Korres Nail Polishes
Full post here. To cut a long approval rant short, these are the most luxurious to apply, long lasting and intense shiny colours I have ever come across. Highly recommended. 

Kerastate Elixir Ultime
Pay attention ladies: I think this may be better than Moroccan Oil!
I purchased this hair oil after being blown away from a sample and definitely feel that this product is underrated! 'Replenishing and Beautifying Scented Oil': it does exactly what it says on the (very attractive) bottle, smells like incense sticks and leaves my hair feeling so luscious it's unreal. Unlike serums and heavier oils that tend to leave a layer of grease on top of the hair shaft, this is a thinner consistency which enables it to be soaked up whilst still leaving a healthy shine.
The range offers three options dependant on your hair type: normal (gold bottle), damaged (green) or fine/sensitised (lilac), and I will firmly recommend that you get it from LookFantastic as it's heaps cheaper than anywhere else I looked!

Bioderma Solution Micellaire
You've heard it all before from every blogger, their nans and their dogs but I also vouch for the fact that this is a wonder product. It's simple yet oh-so effective and doesn't cause the slightest bit of bother to my eyes - no mucking about. This is my first bottle and I already know that be I will not go without it, ever.

.....told you it was an abundance! I really hope I have inspired at least one addition to your wish lists after all that ;)
Now I'm going to get ready for bed, incorporating as many of these products into the process as I possibly can! You have no idea how excited I am right now...


Alpha H Liquid Gold

Call me old fashioned, but I have always obeyed a religious - obsessive, even - routine when it comes to skincare; and cemented in my mind is the fact that lack of moisture = premature wrinkles. Therefore, sacrificing my trusted serum and moisturiser festivities every other night to wipe a cotton pad soaked in ACID all over my face seems purely insanitary. Surely, substituting my trusty ANR (link) would reap havoc on my (already very temperamental) skin and strip away the goodness?

Well, apparently not - because in actuality, a face full o' good old glycolic acid does absolute wonders for refining and rejuvenating your skin. Without getting sciencey, Liquid Gold from the highly commended skincare powerhouse Alpha H works by sloughing away dead skin cells with the aim of improving skin tone (or just plain kicking pigmentation's ass, horrah!) and texture; working away to leave skin flawless and oh-so smooth. Glycolic acid is also the main ingredient in chemical peels designed to reveal glowing skin, so you can see the result we're aiming for here!

In my never ending quest for baby soft skin I have been using Liquid Gold for around 6 weeks now, every other night. The bottle advises that you saturate a cotton pad in solution and wipe over just-cleansed skin for best results. It gives the option to use moisturiser after, too, but my skin doesn't tend to be too dry so I go it alone in order to hopefully achieve the best possible effects. (Obviously, if you have more sensitive skin you should follow with your night cream to save discomfort).

So far so good - my skin seems to be keeping breakout-free and looks much more clarified; although, I must admit I'm not certain that this is solely down to this product, as I am using quite a few different potions alongside it. Time will tell.
One bad point, which is immediately tellable: the smell. MY GOD it smells like neat vodka and it is vile. Definitely not something you want to be swiping across your face after a heavy night; although, I haven't heard that complaint before so maybe thats just me (the girl with oh-too-many bad vodka-induced experiences). Moving on....

I got the 100ml bottle from LookFantastic.com for £31.50, which may seem steep; but bear in mind that you're only using the product every other night. I've been using mine for approx 6 weeks and still have at least 3/4 of a bottle left. If you're conscious of a sluggish complexion I would 100% recommend that you give this a whirl!

Sarah x


Korres Myrrh & Oligoelements Nail Colour

My nails just have not been behaving these past few months, so I've been religiously sticking to my staple nude (Nails inc Basil Street, I'm looking at you) and even dabbling into pastel territory so as not to draw attention. This is a far cry from my love for a neat, dark nail - sultry reds, plums and all accents of black; so when I found this beauty... Well I just wanted my bloody dark nails back! So I caved.... And I love it.

The new nail colour range from Korres is not only absolutely stunning, but good to nails too - vitamins and Myrrh extract are kind to talons and the lower sulphate levels mean minimal havoc reaked on them! Hoorah!

This is a seriously high quality little polish. The silky consistency makes it ever so smooth to apply and leaves opaque colour with a stunning, intense glossy finish. Colour-wise, there are 20 luscious shades to choose from; other personal favourites being Watermelon and Midnight Blue - pretty self-explanatory colours - which I have also now ordered. Oops. The luxe little number featured here is 97 Light Grey, which I picked up from ASOS (where they have now been reduced to £5! Go go go!)

So, after walking around with my hands straight out in front of me to admire the colour, I can report back that it is a very creamy colour; which sounds weird, but in compared to cooler, more steel-toned greys it's definitely got a softer edge. There are definitely faint chocolate/khaki undertones, and in sunlight, lavender. An instant staple; it's got my approval!

Have you picked up any of the Korres polishes? x


Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference

I was excited to hear of the launch of the visible difference range by Elizabeth Arden as I'm a die hard 8hr cream fan (full review here) and couldn't wait to see if it lives up to my expectations.

The range is built up of cleansers, toners and moisturisers tailored for three different skin types: dry, combination or oily, along with universal serums, eye creams and masks. I chose the Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser and Skin Balancing Toner; opting not to go for a moisturiser as I'm super happy with my Eight Hour Cream Moisturising Lotion (and if we're going down the 'you get better results using a same-brand routine' road.....)
Soo after the trauma of having to get a replacement toner following the first one being thrown over the fence by a novice delivery driver (don't you know the importance of toner?!?!), here they are:

Ok, first thoughts: plastic bottles - really? Not impressed. There's just something about plastic bottles on skincare that make them feel very.... I don't know... Cheap? They're just far more elegant in glass, or at least a sturdier plastic?! I'm rambling here. But my point is that the cleanser is in a squeezy tube (not good when you are forever squirting too much out. A pump dispenser is far better for quantity control) and the toner, although it actually doesn't look that bad, has THE biggest pouring hole. It just gets everywhere, it's not pretty.

Moving on. Upon using the cleanser it's a really nice consistency. It's creamy and foams when wet, which I'm a sucker for as I feel it really leaves your face squeaky clean. It's also slightly exfoliating which is lovely. My only criticism (moaning hell I sound like such an old bag) would be that it leaves your skin quite tight/dry! Off the top of my head I would liken it to the way your skin feels after you've used a bar of soap? (hope you're scrambling for a bar of dove right now!). The toner smells wonderful - very floral - and leaves my face feeling smooth and mattified which is a definite thumbs up!

Now, I don't like to jump to conclusions with skincare as, especially considering my problematic skin, sometimes things seem fine for a few weeks then bite me on the ass. So, four weeks on and Elizabeth Arden, you have not let me down! I'm seriously impressed. My skin is much smoother and definitely feels more refined. I've had no breakouts, either, which certainly warrants approval.

Having had another mooch online I'm interested in trying a couple of the other items from this range, too; namely the Optimising Skin Serum and ESPECIALLY the Peel and Reveal Revitalising Mask, an exfoliating mask which retexturises to minimise blemishes (pores, lines, general nasties) and leave skin soft and glowing. Swooon.

Have you tried any of the Visible Difference range? I'd love to hear comments on the serum and mask I'm keen to try x


Esteè Lauder Advanced Night Repair

Let me introduce you to the love of my life:

Estée Lauder products have always been trustworthy in my eyes because the women in my family have always, always used them. One of my first foundations (and always a firm favourite) was Double Wear, and Advanced Night Repair was another item we all swear by.

Having read review after review absolutely raving about this product, I had my heart set on getting my paws on it and I picked it up in duty free last year for a pretty good deal.

Now, although I was over the moon to finally have it lined up on my dresser (it looks so luxurious, so classic), I didn't integrate it into my skin care routine until around Christmas time. Honestly, I think the only reason was that - although nobody could say a bad word about this beauty - I have always had problematic skin. Therefore realistically, I shouldn't be trying to battle wrinkles before I had grown out of my teenage spots.

For reference, my skin is oily in areas and almost constantly spotty - basically, it's the bain of my life.
Let me tell you: this. works. WONDERS! After only a few evening's wear my skin texture was visibly improved and my spots: zapped. Literally, this GOD of a product smoothed and cleared like nobody's business. I'm sold. Whole heartedly, sold.

The smell is interesting: it's how you would imagine old fashioned medicine to smell. Personally, it always reminds me of my nan - she religiously has at least 2 bottles stocked up - so it brings a smile to my face every evening.

I cannot recommend this product enough, it's a life saver!

Definitely worth the money as it lasts quite a while (30ml £44, 50ml £58). It works wonders on every skin type, too - whether it's for prevention or the healing of existing problems. (And don't be put off it you have problematic skin, I can vouch for that!).

Have you tried Advanced Night Repair? Do you love it as much as me? x


Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture: Heartbreak in a Tube

(First of all I would like to apologise for the diabolical quality of these pictures. They were taken on my iPad, as I'd left my camera on the train. Long story.)

Right then.

One of my life-long missions is to master the perfect red lip. But there's one problem I keep coming across - the damn things just won't stay on!

Although I'm a huge YSL fan, I had never ventured onto their lipsticks; and picked up the ultra-glamorous Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in N°1 Le Rouge.

Look. At. That. Packaging. Look at it! It certainly embodies the luxurious element of the brand. The colour itself is absolutely fantastic, too. A real classic, vibrant pillar box red that really sets off my olive skin tone.

Application is a dream because it's just so silky smooth - seriously, I could sit and swipe it across my lips all day - and it smells like roses (must resist the urge not to lick it off!)

So, why have I titled it 'heartbreak in a tube?' - because as gorgeous as it is, it lasts for all of 10 seconds. And no, that is not because I keep licking it off.

The danger with lipsticks which have an overly creamy, smooth consistency (as much as we love 'em) is that they tend to slide off; and sadly this YSL beauty has fallen into that trap. Within only a few minutes of wear it's already smeared above my Cupids bow and I haven't even spoke/eaten!

As much as I WANT to love this lipstick, the only way you could wear it out of the house confidently is if you wore a red lip stain underneath; but that kind of defeats the object doesn't it?!

Oh well, the tube looks nice in my makeup drawer.....

Holy Grail Products: Eight Hour Cream & Lucas' Papaw Ointment

I am one of those people who are armed with tubes of cream in any emergency. Scar? I've got something for that. Burn? Let me at it. Scratch? This'll sort that right out. But with an influx of celebrity-backed repair creams sneaking into view, this post is going to be about the two I love and why!

Ok, first up is the utterly outstanding 8hr cream - or, as I more commonly name it - 'magic cream'. Sweet Jesus, this stuff is UNBELIEVABLE. Honestly, believe the hype ladies. Believe the hype. I can see it may look as though I'm exaggerating here but literally, if I have a scratch (yes puppy, I'm looking at you) or anything similar... Two days' applications of this bad boy and there is no trace. Yes. I know.

It's meant to be used for 'minor skin irritations' - everything from peeling to sunburn and abrasions - but personally I keep it for scratches etc and healing spots. You wouldn't think it would be great for spots being greasy, but I slicked some on one evening to try and combat a horrendously stubborn dry spot and voila! It's also a constant staple on my desk for rubbing into cuticles and any scars I want to disappear.

My ONLY criticism is that, for some reason, it's not good for my lips? Well it doesn't taste the best for a start (kiss repellant) but it's also quite a thin consistency so I find it doesn't last very long. There is the stick variation (they do tinted versions of these too) which I tried but no difference there. It also ran out in about 48 hours - I kid you not.

Now for the newbie - Lucas' papaw ointment. A new kid on the block over here, this is a well-known remedy from Australia. I like the look of this, it's classic. It also resists looking a bit grubby when left in the realms of your suitcase/bag, which is something 8hr fails on. The intended uses are the same as 8hr (although a little more gruesome - boils and gravel rash, anyone?!) but realistically, I think it's much more of a glorified, better-performing Vaseline. It doesn't have AS incredible healing abilities as 8hr, but as it's a bit of a thicker consistency I really like using it on my lips; it's really soothing and feels 'cushiony' - if you understand what I mean here I salute you.

A lot of people complain of the smell of 8hr (it's quite medical/lemony but I really don't mind it), but there is now a fragrance free version, no excuse now ladies! It's also pretty pricey at around £25 for a 30ml tube; but then, it does last. A tube will last me for 5-6 months as you only need a dab whereas the papaw will only be around 6 weeks as I smother that mother on. Either way - I declare myself an avid fan of both and won't be giving either of these gems up ANY time soon.

You can pick up Eight Hour Cream from any Boots, department store or FeelUnique.com (best value); but Lucas' Papaw Ointment isn't readily available in the UK. I get mine from eBay - link to the seller I use here, they're great.

Are there any other die-hard fans of these products out there? Which do you prefer? x

(Ooh, I almost forgot - I use the Eight Hour Cream facial moisturiser, too, and it is just as fantastic! Let me know if you'd like a review lovelies!)