28 May 2011

Coping with Keratosis Pilaris

I mentioned in my Nair Silky Sensations post I suffered from Keratosis Pilaris on my legs and I had a few questions about products I'd recommend to deal with it. As an inherited skin condition, frustratingly there is no cure, but there are palliative treatments which can calm the condition.

I've found the best solution to treat KP is to kill it with kindness. With plenty of TLC, I've found the condition can be managed and exfoliation and hydration are key to lessening the appearance of inflamed bumps.

Body Brush
Body Brushing has been a saviour for me when it comes to KP. With daily use, dry body brushing gently exfoliates and improves circulation. If you persevere, body brushing miraculously transforms rough bumps and ingrown hairs into soft, smooth, beautiful skin. I use a body brush from The Body Shop which I bought years ago, they seem to last forever!

For use in the bath or shower, The Sanctuary Salt Scrub (£10.20) gives a double whammy of love and care to your skin. The salt ever so gently removes dead skin cells and resurfaces the texture of the skin, whilst almond, coconut and jojoba oil leaves a protective moisture barrier. Skin is intensely hydrated whilst dry skin and rough bumps are kept at bay.

For a luxurious treat after your shower, Lush Dream Cream (£10.25) is the ultimate antidote to KP (and apparently amazing for eczema too.) Lavender, chamomile and rose calm skin irritations whilst cocoa butter, olive oil and oat milk soften dry skin. Containing an abundance of essential oils and tea tree (a mild antiseptic), Lush Dream Cream is literally a dream cream for those suffering with KP.

Hair Removal Cream
I've only recently discovered cream is the best way to remove hair for those with KP on their legs. Shaving aggravates the bumps and can be painful, whilst waxing is notorious for causing ingrown hairs - the last thing you want when you have keratosis pilaris! Cream is gentle on the skin and results in the smoothest finish.

For other treatments for KP, keep a lookout for products containing Glycolic Acid (AHA), Lactic Acid, Urea and Vitamin A.

25 May 2011

Nair Silky Sensations

I haven't experimented with hair removal cream since I was a teenager so when I was offered Silky Sensations, the latest hair removal product from Nair, I was keen to try them after an eight year interval and see how things have changed. 

Cream should really be my hair removal method of choice as I suffer from keratosis pilaris, (those annoying bumps you can get on your skin.) Whilst shaving from ankle to knee bares no problems, shaving my lower thighs aggravates the small bumps I have and makes them more prominent, not to mention painful and red. Hair removal cream seemed like the perfect solution to this problem. 

Available in Sensitive and Normal formulas, the candy stripes make the cream look very appealing and I mistook them for body moisturisers when I first saw them. With Pomegranate and Kiwi labelled on the packaging, it all sounded very promising. Application is simple; apply to skin, leave for 3 minutes and remove with a wash cloth. I was so hoping to smell the delights of fruit when I used this cream, but unfortunately, it smells how all hair removal creams smell - strong and chemical.
Smell aside, the cream performs amazingly well. Silky Sensations is a very apt name for this product. My legs were left so incredibly soft and smooth I couldn't quite believe it! It's also an effortless way of removing hair, it makes me ponder why I ever bothered with shaving which is such a laborious task - especially if you have long legs. Better yet, my skin wasn't irritated (and I didn't even use the Sensitive version) and it's hard to miss any hair as you can clearly see where you've applied the cream. Overall, I've been won over! I'll be ditching my razor in favour of creams from here on in.

Nair Silky Sensations Hair Removal Cream is available exclusively at Boots and retails at £6.99 for 200ml

24 May 2011

Sigma Makeup Brushes Essential Kit

The Sigma Complete Kit with brush roll has been all I've used since last summer so I thought it was time I dedicated a post to it. It's given me a good amount of time to test out the brushes thoroughly and I have nothing but praise for it. The kit includes 12 professional quality makeup brushes for $99, offering a saving of $53 if the brushes were bought separately.

Since the Sigma brushes arrived in my life, I haven't wanted for any others. They're a great alternative for those who don't want to splash out a small fortune on a full set of MAC brushes and offer enough range so you won't need to buy more. The quality of the brushes is amazing. They're incredibly soft, wash well and I've had little experience of shedding (unlike the MAC 109 which is a nightmare to use for all the hairs it leaves on your face). The brushes look and feel professional with their sleek black handles - each imprinted with the Sigma logo and name. I love the brush roll. Not only is it ideal for storing brushes and taking travelling, it has the novelty of making me feel like a professional makeup artist each morning!
Large Powder - F30 - Very dense with a rounded top. Ideal to apply powder products on face and body. Natural bristles.

Duo Fibre - F50 - Specially designed to generate an ‘airbrushed’ finish when used to apply liquid foundation. It can also be used to apply blush, highlight shades and loose pigments. Blend of synthetic and natural bristles.
Large Angled Contour - F40 - The angled shape makes this brush ideal to apply blush or contour shades. Natural bristles.
Foundation - F60 - Can be used to apply liquid or cream foundation. It is also recommended to apply moisturizers and conceal large areas. Synthetic bristles.

Concealer - F70 - The rounded, tapered, flat shape makes this brush ideal to conceal the under eye area. It is also recommended for a precise application in small areas. Synthetic bristles.
Large Shader - E60 - Flat shape is ideal for application of cream formulas and eye shadow primers. It also works great with loose eye shadows or pigments. Can be used to apply color all over the lid or precisely on the lash line. Natural bristles.
Tapered Blending - E40 - Rounded and tapered top. Specially designed to apply and blendcolor on the crease. Natural bristles.
Eye Shading - E55 - Soft and dense with a rounded finish. Can be used to apply pressed or loose eye shadows and pigments. Ideal to build intense color on the eyelid. Natural bristles.
Medium Angled Shading - E70 - Angled, tapered, flat top. Ideal to apply highlight shades underneath the eyebrow and on the inner corners. It can also be used for a precise application of darker shades on the crease area. Natural bristles.
Pencil - E30 - Precise application of color on the crease, outer corner, and upper and lower lash line. Also ideal to smudge out pencil liner. Natural bristles.
Eyeliner - E05 - An extra-fine tipped synthetic fiber brush that delivers a precise, firm, even stroke to line the eyes. 
Small Angle - E65 - Essential for the application of gel or cream eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line. This brush is also excellent for filling out the eyebrows. Synthetic bristles.

The Sigma brushes Essential Kit is priced at $98 and is available to buy online from Sigma

21 May 2011

Ardell Demi Wispies False Lashes

I've been experimenting with false lashes more than usual recently as our wedding is drawing closer and I'm searching for the perfect pair. I'm still planning on trying out some eyelash extensions which may take preference over falsies in the end, but until then, I'm having fun trying out different variations. 

I'd heard good things about Ardell lashes, and at just over £5 a pair and with so many styles to choose from, I had high hopes. Ardell Demi Wispies offer everything I look for in a pair of false lashes - volume, a bit of extra length at the outer corner and a fluttery finish.

Ardell lashes are priced at £5.11 and are available from Boots.
Do you have any recommendations for other full and fluttery natural looking lashes?

20 May 2011

Halo Hair Extensions

As a fan of big, voluminous Kim Kardashian hair, I was thrilled when a couple of months ago I was offered the chance to try Halo Hair Extensions. As I already have long hair, I went for the 20" extensions in Chocolate Brown which matched my own length.
 The colour match is perfect. The hair extensions have the same red and copper multi tones as my own and blend in seamlessly. Being made from 100% remy human hair, these extensions can be curled, washed and dyed and obviously look a lot more natural than synthetic hair would.
There are 8 pieces all together, weighing in at a total of 100g. As you can see, it creates quite a mass of hair all together! I particularly love how well curl holds in these. My own hair is ridiculously fine and silky so I have to frazzle my hair with a curling tong multiple times and abuse it with half a can of hairspray to hold a wave, so these were a dream come true.

Here are the extensions in action. Because I have a small head and a weird parting at the crown which drives me mad (and would show up the clips if they were around that area), I only can fit on two lots of extensions. Below I'm wearing a 3 clip piece and a 2 clip piece. I love the extra volume it adds to my hair. I can't imagine how big it would be if I used all 8 pieces!
Halo Hair Extensions are available in 16", 20" and 24" lengths. 
Prices begin at £49.99 for human hair extensions.
Available in 31 shades.
For more info, head to http://www.halohairextensions.com/

19 May 2011

Diana Vickers Very Vintage Clothing Range

I was delighted when I saw that Diana Vickers is launching her own clothing range for Very. The eight-piece capsule collection, Dee V, takes inspiration from the 60s and incorporates floral prints and pastel shades. Diana has said the theme of her collection with mid length hemlines and chic A-line cuts has been designed with the American TV series, Madmen in mind. With dresses and playsuits in whimsical blossom and bird prints, this range is a fusion of everything I love! I especially love Diana's hair in the promo shots...

Click here to view the full Dee V range.

What do you think? Will you be making a purchase? 

18 May 2011

Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub

It's that time of year again when all the skin that has been hidden under layers upon layers of clothing has to see the light of day again. Transforming your body from snake skin to smooth silk is a laborious task, but thankfully there are a few products that make this process enjoyable.

Soap & Glory's Breakfast Scrub came to my attention when I received the Pink Big box as one of my Christmas presents. I didn't think anything of it, scrub is scrub after all, but then I unscrewed the lid whilst in the shower and the delicious scent of sweet maple syrup whooshed up my nose and I was smitten. This is the best smelling product I have ever had the delight of encountering (Philosophy's Hot Buttered Rum & Hazelnut Espresso shower gels are close seconds). Each time I use it I am oh so tempted to eat a bit. Just to see if it tastes as good as it smells.
The wonderful scent aside, this is a great regular use body scrub. Oatmeal grains and sugar give skin a thorough but gentle exfoliation whilst Shea butter and banana, almond and honey extracts leave skin feeling soft and nourished. 
My experience with scrubs up til now hasn't been the best as the association is with scrubbing skin red raw to remove patchy fake tan, so it's lovely to enjoy using a mild body scrub for a change. The scent lasts on the skin after you've stepped out of the shower so don't be surprised if you're sat watching TV and suddenly want to nibble on your yummy smelling arm.

Soap & Glory's Breakfast Scrub is priced at £9.45 for 300ml and is available from Boots.

17 May 2011

Pin Up Perfection

Have you ever seen a lip balm more prettily packaged than the retro style tins below from W7? I can't recall where I first saw them, but once I'd laid eyes on them I headed straight to eBay as they had to be mine!

Too often lip balms are packaged in a practical way so it was lovely to see something different from W7. Cheeky Cherry, Perky Peach, Saucy Strawberry and Ravishing Raspberry each feature a different pin-up girl in a peekaboo pose. 
Each lip balm has a scent to match its name and offers a sheer hint of colour to the lips.
They are small enough to pop in your handbag, easily accessible with the slider style opening and look pretty on your dressing table when you're not on the go.
At just a couple of pounds each, these are an affordable way to add a bit of retro glamour into your makeup collection!

Do you have any recommendations for other prettily packaged lip balms?

16 May 2011

Giveaway: ESPA Lift & Firm

Espa, the internationally renowned skincare and spa brand have unveiled a bold new look for 2011 and will be launching some exciting new additions to their award-winning product range.

Espa's new Lift & Firm collection has been specifically developed to tackle the signs of ageing and is packed full of age-defying properties to revitalise the skin and treat fine lines. Each product has been created to nurture the skin and help it look soft, smooth, supple and radiantly youthful. The new age-defying collection includes the Lift & Firm Mask (£45), soothing Serum (£47), nourishing Moisturiser (£38), firming Intensive Eye Serum (£55) and Eye Moisturiser (47.50). Everything you need to keep skin youthful and beautiful!
I have one set of the range to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, simply write a comment below letting me know you'd like to be included in the draw along with your email address so you can be contacted if you win.

- One entry per person
- The giveaway is open to all in the UK
- Entrants must be a follower of my blog
- The giveaway ends in 1 week, on 24th May 2011 at 11pm
- The winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email

*This is a sponsored post

Paula's Choice

With a career spanning 30 years in the cosmetics industry, Paula Begoun has studied, analysed, tested and critiqued thousands of skincare formulations and makeup products. From her extensive research and quest for high quality yet reasonably priced products she created her own line - Paula’s Choice - with a team of cosmetic chemists utilising her own formulations. The Paula’s Choice range consists of state-of-the-art formulas based on reliable, published skincare research. All products are 100% fragrance, colourant and cruelty free – no products are tested on animals at any stage of product development.

Two of the Hero products from Paula's Choice are the RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment and RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid is a must-have product for those who want their skin to look and act younger. The innovative daily-use formula with glycolic acid and salicylic acid continually renews your skin's texture, evens skin tone, smoothes fine lines, and stimulates healthy collagen production via exfoliation and by delivering a potent blend of antioxidants that help fight free-radical damage.

RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is a state-of-the-art serum which addresses multiple issues that cause skin to look wrinkled whilst also reducing inflammation and the visible effects of sun damage.

Win the Chance for Afternoon Tea with Paula!
Paula’s Choice are offering fans of the range the chance to win an afternoon tea with the lady herself! Paula will be heading over to the UK all the way from LA so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to discuss all your skin care concerns and get your very own personal skin care consultation. The exclusive afternoon tea with Paula will be held at the Rose Lounge at London’s swish Sofitel Hotel on the 13th of June 2011. During the afternoon tea you can discuss all your skin care concerns and get your very own personal skin care consultation. Plus Paula will be on hand to bust the latest myths from the beauty industry with an insight into what’s going to be the latest must have ingredients to watch out for.

The Prizes:

1st prize: Three people will win afternoon tea sessions with Paula Begoun (including transport to London)
2nd prize: Two people will win Paula’s Choice skin care sets worth £135 per set
3rd prize: Ten people will win a personally autographed copy of Paula's best-selling book 'Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me.'
Winners will be informed via email by 1st June 2011. 
Restricted to UK citizens only.

How to enter:

Simply click here or enter via facebook here and subscribe to the Paula’s Choice monthly newsletter before 31st May 2011 to be in with a chance.

*This is a sponsored post

14 May 2011

Take My Hand & Walk With Me...

I've been a bit AWOL lately. Wedding planning has been taking up a lot of time and then with the long Easter break, blogging took a back seat. The 11 day Easter break was like a miniature summer holiday. The weather was perfection and it gave my fiancĂ© and I much appreciated time together just to relax and enjoy each others company. Here's how we spent it...

We started off the break by having lunch at The Riverbank, which as the name suggests, overlooks the river. We sat outside with the sun beating down, tucked in to a delicious deli board and it truly felt like we were abroad. 
We took a stroll down the river bank after lunch, had an ice cream and marvelled at the prettiness of our surroundings...
We then spent a couple of nights in London at The Sanderson Hotel. It was the first 5* hotel we've stayed in and we were suitably impressed with the art gallery style lobby and the many weird and wonderful rooms.
The breakfast was our favourite part. We gorged on danish pastries, fresh fruit, muffins and croissants...
...before moving on to a cooked breakfast. Eggs Benedict is my absolute favourite so I had it two days in a row but I was very tempted by the waffles and pancakes on offer!
We ate other yummy things whilst in London...
We visited the National History Museum and National Science Museum where much fun was had...
Finally, we took a trip to the jewellery quarter to try on some wedding rings in Tiffany. On the way there we passed some stores which displayed the biggest diamonds I have ever seen...they were the size of thumb nails. Needless to say, theses stores had some rather burly men guarding the doors! It was a successful journey as after months of searching, I found the perfect wedding ring to sit with my 3 stone engagement ring. It's a dainty little ring with 9 delicate diamonds. It was a relief to find something so beautiful and I can't wait to be wearing it in a few months time!

Hopefully a more regular blogging schedule will be resumed as I have a huge list of things to blog about!