Thursday, 12 March 2015

the pore post

It's the never-ending battle... girl has blackheads, girl spends TONNES of money on every spot-banishing product on the market, girl religiously applies product for all of a week before girl discards her extensive daily regime, and then... girl has blackheads.

As someone who has never suffered from "real" spots, you may be thinking I am the wrong person to be advising you on how to achieve that pore-free, airbrushed complexion.  But let me tell you this, blackheads have plagued the bridge of my nose since the first swipe of ill-coloured gloopy foundation found its way onto it.

I've tried everything, each overpriced scrub and wash sure to zap those zits, and suck out every remaining drop of moisture from my skin in the process.  As someone with combination skin, although my nose may be home to some little pore-invaders, the skin below my cheekbones and down my jawline was approaching the texture of sandpaper in this weather (and don't get me started on my poor poor lips).

The main problem I found with these products is that you become dependent, your body recognises that the oils naturally produced by your skin are no longer there, and produces more to compensate.  So as soon as you stop using the products, its grease central, population... your face.

For a while now I have ditched the buffers, scrubbers and soakers altogether and have relied on my ever faithful Dove soap.  At 80p a bar it lasts forever and my skin feels clean and smooth, and although my blackheads are no smaller, they're no bigger either.  Soap works people.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a sucker for skincare products, just ones that actually WORK, here are the lucky few that are gracing my bathroom cabinet...

I adore Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Cleansing and Toning Lotion (£3.59, Boots), its a product that I have bought time and time again and it really does the job.  After washing my face, I soak a cotton pad with the stuff and wipe it liberally over my forehead and nose.  It's tingly, especially if your skin is still damp or has other products on it, so make sure your skin is freshly washed and towel dried.  But I like to think that tingly means it must be doing something.

Face wipes face wipes face wipes... please just buy the basics!  Aside from removing your makeup theres very little else it can do for you, especially as you quickly proceed to wash any residue off when you wash your face.  I use Boots Simply Sensitive Face Wipes because - funnily enough, if you aren't already aware - I have sensitive skin and don't want anything too... chemically (is that a word?), plus they're always on an end-of-aisle offer! (£2.79, Boots).

I love nose pore strips, the somewhat sick pleasure of actually seeing those little blackheads stuck to a strip after you tear it from your nose is sooooo satisfying!  I have used Bioré strips (£7.99, Boots) and Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel strips (£4.99, Boots) and although the Bioré ones felt slightly more effective, at a saving of £3 the Boots ones still do the job.  A word or warning, if you are struggling to remove the strip, WET IT.  I spent two days looking like I'd walked into an open kitchen cabinet after ripping off a particularly well-stuck Bioré strip and bruising the bridge of my nose in the process... not the look I was hoping for but hey, I go through this so you don't have to!

So they are my regular favourites... now for some newbies that I HAD TO try!

Nothing beats a lovely bubble bath with a glass of wine, candles and some Real Housewives catchup (of course)!  I like to multitask and slap on a face mask to maximise my relaxation experience, a true Bridget Jones moment.

I have never been a fan of over the top face masks that look like they'd give you a spot simply by opening the packet, if I'm going to use a mask it needs to be practical.  I usually lean towards anti-spot masks, not because I believe that they will actively banish and spots, I just believe that they cannot possibly create any MORE spots for me.

It's been a while since I treated myself, and when I saw that Boots had released a Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Charcoal Mask (£3.59, Boots, pictured below)  I had to try it.  As I am sure you can already tell, when I do buy skincare products, I tend to stick to Boots own brand.  The essence of tea tree products are the same whether you are spending £4 or £14, tea tree is a natural product that cannot be really be altered in many ways other than by adding a huge... price tag.  So keep it simple!

I had heard a lot about the beneficial effects of charcoal, so I gave the mask a go and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised.  Aside from leaving my skin silky smooth (something I was not expecting considering the drying nature of anti-spot products), I noticed a reduction in both the size and number of visible pores.

This photo is just to show you I wore it...  you're welcome.  Word of advice, make sure you exit the bath before removing the face mask and wash it off in the sink.  I have just spent the past 15 minutes chasing bits of charcoal down towards the plughole!

As it was 3 for 2 I also thought I would try the new Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimiser (£5.99, Boots),  I know I know, it's a scrub and a face wash and all the things I stand against (long live the Dove bar soap!!), but I got sucked in by the charcoal and the words "new", "pore" and "minimiser".  It is more than I would ever usually pay for a skincare product, but Bioré have been good to me before with their effective pore strips and a part of me will always hold out a scrap of hope for that miracle blackhead eliminator.

Okay so it may not be that miracle I've been waiting for... I still have pores, BUT its the next closest thing right now!  I gave it a good scrub over my nose and T-zone with my fingertips, lathered it up, and rinsed.  There was that tingle I love, making me feel like something was happening, and it was!  My pores were visibly tighter and I must say, I'm impressed.  As with the face mask it hasn't dried out the rest of my face, so I can only conclude that it is the wonders of charcoal that prevents over-drying.

If you're on a budget please don't rub your face into your BBQ briquettes... it is not the same thing.

To finish my 3 for 2 haul I picked up a Garnier Skin Naturals moisturiser (pictured above).  There is a range of Moisture Match products available to satisfy different skin needs, but I picked up the Skin Naturals Moisture Match Shine Be Gone Mattifying Fresh Cream (£3.99, Boots), what a mouthful!  When I first applied the cream, I noticed the slight gritty texture and was preparing myself for disappointment, but I was wrong.  The cream is light and non-greasy, after application the grittiness vanishes, and it has an incredible smell which penetrates both your skin and your pillow when you go to sleep, mmmm!   Does it mattify?  I guess you could say it doesn't ADD shine like many moisturisers, so that's somewhat of a success.  It is incredibly hard to find a moisturiser that will give you both "moisturisation" and "mattification" (they'll be in the dictionary in no time!).

So after all that, here is a summary of my current skincare regime...
1) face wipes (nothing fancy)
2) Dove soap, applied with hands, lathered and rinsed off with warm water
2.5) Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Face Mask (once or twice a week)
3) Bioré charcoal pore minimiser, lather and rinse
4) Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Cleanser and Toner, cotton pad over the T-zone
5) Garnier (mouthful) moisturiser


BUT, I have one more secret for you... Revlon recently released their new PhotoReady Prime + Anti-Shine Balm (£9.99, Boots)

It claims to be both a primer and anti-shine "top-up" balm, to combat midday shine.  After testing the product regularly over the last couple of weeks, I can safely say it successfully fulfils one of these two jobs.  It makes an excellent primer, smoothing my skin and combatting shine (see image).  However, due to its solid "balm" nature, the idea of dragging or even spotting this over foundation should scream disaster, and rightly so.  The sponge provided successfully removes every remnant of already slipping foundation (well it must be slipping if you're reaching for the anti-shine, right?).  If you want my advice, stick to a powder compact and brush to lightly dust a mattifying midday layer.

So yes, it's an alright primer, but then there are other equally good primers on the market (and better... sorry).  I have long strived to achieve that illusive all-day foundation perfection, and have tried MANY primers - that should be a post soon - so do I think its good?  Yes.  Will I buy it again?  No.

I would also not recommend this particular type of primer after exfoliation, when your skin is super smooth, adding this just provides the ice skates on which the foundation can glide off the end of your nose.  After exfoliation always use a more fluid primer that will penetrate the skin to create the dewy texture for foundation.

In conclusion, be savvy about your skincare, prime with caution, and - if in doubt - always have a bar of Dove in your bathroom and a powder compact in your bag.  I am sure many beauticians will be horrified by that comment, but...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Signing out, EG x

Sunday, 1 March 2015

SS15 primark goodies

After a spontaneous trip to Primark, I felt it was only right that I share my purchases with you so that you too can grab a few bargains for spring!

SS15 has brought with it beautiful pastels that extend throughout Primark's clothing, accessories and homeware collections (and I flippin' love it!).

Firstly, I HAVE TO talk about this gorgeous blouse with zip detailing down the front.  It's only £10 and available in a range of colours... still my eternal love for monochrome drew me straight to the off-white shade!

I have worn this a couple of times since I bought it last week and I cannot recommend it enough, its a flattering length and can be dressed up with black jeans or PU leggings and shoe boots OR dressed down in the day with jeans and pretty pumps (or, dare I say it, sandals if the weather hots up!).  It will go with anything and is a classic wardrobe "go-to".

Due to the nature of the fabric however I would advise the addition of an under top... at least in the day!

I always stock up on accessories in Primark, fashions change so quickly that there is little point investing tonnes of money into a particular season, plus I'm a student!  I will only spend serious money when its a piece (like a coat or bag) that will see me through.

Like I said, the pastel craze has extended beyond the new clothing collection in Primark, this beautiful pastel flower necklace is only £3 and features five flowers in pale pink, green, bluey lilac and a pale orangey gold colour.  I'm not big on bling, but the subtle gems in the centre of each of the flowers just add a little bit of sparkle without it being tacky.  I also bought a simple double bar gold necklace that was just £2, I mean its CRAZY prices!

I spied a cute pair of wayfarer-esque sunglasses in a matte tortoiseshell with narrow gold arms, very simple and chic.  They definitely look more expensive than their £2 price tag!  I buy far too many pairs of sunglasses, but I go through them so quickly (hence why I will never shell out more than £12 on a pair!).

I did invest £1.50 in a matte black snakeskin effect sunglasses case with a spring opening.  It is ridiculous that places will charge beyond £5 for a sunglasses case, so these are an absolute steal and the spring opening will keep your sunnies exactly where you want them.

I am a sucker for candles, and as I walked past the home section these two scents jumped out at me, who wouldn't love a bubble bath surrounded by pineapple and ginger or vanilla and coconut scents.  The glass holders are also veeeeeery nice (once the labels have been removed of course), and I think they look far more expensive then their teenie £2 price tag.  The range includes a few more fragrances as well as other sizes including tealights, I can't remember if they also do reed diffusers but I'm sure I would have bought some if they did... I will HAVE TO go back and check!

I won't talk about the undies too much except to say that they're only £1 a pair and are the comfiest I have ever tried, also look at the pretty seasonal colours!

Finally my beauty buys, I never used to look twice at the beauty section of Primark, but I have since heard great things so I thought I'd give it a try!

I have wanted an EOS lip balm for AAGGGESSSSSS, but at £6.50 (Selfridges) I just cannot justify it!  So when I found this alternative in Primark for £2 I grabbed it straight away.  It also contains shea butter like the EOS balm and smells amazing.  The applicator is somewhat of a gimmick, but with a smooth silky matte case it will definitely be a talking point and again looks like its worth far more than just £2.  I've been using it daily and I must say - for someone who suffers with chapped lips in this cold weather - my lips feel surprisingly smooth.

I also grabbed two nail polishes, I wanted to try both a gel one and a standard polish, as they are both available for just £1.  Before I had even made it home, the nails were painted, and after three thin coats of the gel polish... here is the result!

I was really happy with the colour and the coverage, plus it smelt like blueberry scented gel pens (not sure if thats intentional as they did not specify it was scented... but to all you 90s kids out there, I swear it does!).  I did find that I had a couple of small chips in the varnish the next day, but I hadn't applied a top coat and I find that even my priciest polishes chip... so maybe I just do it wrong!

I haven't tried the red polish yet, but it's a beautiful raspberry red colour and I can't WAIT to try it!

Finally I grabbed a couple of glass nail files for £1 as I had heard really great reviews and I like to keep a file in my handbag.  The carboardy paper ones never last so I will let you know how these go down!

Phew! Sooooo that's everything, hopefully you have been inspired to hot foot it down to Primark and grab your SS15 essentials before they're gone!

Signing out, EG x

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Find me on Bloglovin'

A VERY short post tonight...

It's nearly midnight on a Saturday, but rather than being out on the town, I'm creating my bloglovin' account, so check me out and follow me for updates!

Signing out, EG x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

what a difference a brow makes

So it's time for my first product review, exciting!

As an impressionable teenager who was forever trying to keep up with the trends, my once full eyebrows (that I would die for nowadays) were shaped and plucked until very little remained.  It was only as I got older and really started to pay attention to each of my features when applying make up that I realised the importance of perfect brows and how they can transform your face.

You know, tweezers should really be a restricted item for sale to over 18s only... just sayin'.

During my first couple of years at uni I experimented with brown eyeliner pencils, brow pencils, powders and coloured gels, but none gave me the fullness that I really wanted NEEDED.

It wasn't until my first trip to the Benefit counter that I discovered brow palettes, with a coloured wax compartment for filling out the brow line and shaping, and a powder compartment to fill in the gaps.  I've never looked back, these palettes are a lifesaver!

If you, like me, are craving Cara Delevigne-esque thickness and the perfect arch of Miss. Hadid.  These products are for you.

Well... I say these products, but there really are only two main contenders, I know this because I have bought almost every wax/powder palette going (with a high street price tag, of course) and - as someone who now cannot leave the house without my brows - there's no one more qualified to give you my honest opinion.

First up...

Rimmel "Brow this Way" - £3.99 from Boots

I bought this a few months ago after a brow emergency during a shopping trip.  As the cheapest of the four, I didn't expect much, but as a handbag back up for a quick fill-in after a rather aggressive hair flick, it does the job.

It's small, the powder section is good and brushes are supplied, so I will be keeping this in my handbag for future emergencies.  The wax, however, is rather... "wet", so it just doesn't have the staying power of some of the other products.

There are two shades available, mid brown and dark brown, so I wouldn't recommend this if you are very fair unless your'e going for the Agyness Deyn look.

Overall I'm going to give this a reasonable 3/5

The second palette is...

L'Oreal Paris "Brow Artist Genius Kit" - £9.99 from Boots

Not a fan.  I was expecting great things from L'Oreal - who have produced miracle products such as their Studio Secrets Resurfacing Smoothing Primer (£14.29 from Boots) and Nude Magique Blur Cream (£9.99 from Boots) - but I was thoroughly disappointed.

I saw this on a shopping trip in London a couple of weeks ago after it had just been released and I knew I had to try it... after one use it has made its way to the bottom of my makeup bag never to be used again.  The wax was far too solid and barely spreads across the brush let alone your eyebrow.  I also did not like that they only supply one brush and then one "mascara head" brush.

 You either have to use the one brush end for both wax and powder - which quickly clogs up the brush - or apply powder with the mascara head end which is far too large and clumsy, so unless you like dusting brown powder over the general region and calling it an eyebrow (sorry, remind me what definition is again?) this product is not for you.

One plus is that it comes with a built in mirror... and tweezers, but come on we all have a million pairs of those lurking around already!  I'd rather they charged me a couple of pounds less and just gave me the make-up that I want, or in this case, don't.

1/5... no, 2/5, the mirror and the tweezers y'know?

Next up...

Sleek "Brow Kit" - £8.50 from Sleek Make-Up

I have been faithful to Benefit Browzings for a couple of years now, but during a particularly desperate financial crisis I was forced to lower my brow budget.  I scoured the internet for a good alternative and came across Sleek Make-Up's Brow Kit in the summer of last year.

In all the excitement of finding a product at roughly a third of the cost of my usual brow kit, I ordered the dark palette... silly me.  So after a few weeks of super statement dark brows, I invested in the light palette and I have to say I am very impressed.  The wax is a good consistency and spreads across the brow well with the angled brush, it is slightly wetter than the browzings gel so is a bit easier to smudge, but i have years of practice of not touching my brow region, so I'm set.

Just make sure when applying the wax that you don't overload the brush or you risk getting thicker wax regions in your brow line that don't set and just cause "clumpage" when the powder is added.

This too comes with a mirror and tweezers, but it is also available in four shades, yes four!  Just make sure that, unlike me, you pick up the right one.

I must admit that I hadn't heard of Sleek prior to last summer (sorry guys!) but this product deserves its (almost) five star rating on their website and I have since bought the I-Divine eyeshadow palette (£7.99 from Sleek) and I love that too!

Well done Sleek, 4/5!  

And finally, my favourite...

Benefit "Browzings" - £24.50 from Boots

I know I know, you all assumed it would be this one because it's the most expensive and I so wanted to shock you and say that the cheapest was the best, but I can't, Benefit have nailed brows.

It's worth every penny...

The wax is the PERFECT consistency, it has all day staying power and is resistant to smudges.  The powder gives you amazing coverage with no clumping and - most importantly - a palette lasts me three months, yes THREE MONTHS and I use it religiously everyday.  So relative to my £11 mascara which lasts about a month, it's not exactly bad value for money.  You just have to be prepared for the initial handover of £24.50, gulp.

It comes in three shades, light, medium and dark.  The light palette is darker than Sleek's light palette however, so if you are really fair you may want to consider the Sleek Brow Kit.

Sometimes it really is worth investing in a good product to get the look you want.  Eyebrows are so important as they frame your face and can transform your look, even if you have a full face of make-up on.

5/5 Benefit, I've never had a bad brow day with Browzings!

So there you have it, my honest review of four high street wax/powder brow palettes!

Hopefully this has helped you to decide which product you would choose if you found yourself in a bit of a dilemma in Boots.  I am currently using the Sleek Brow Kit in Light and am, of course, saving up those pennies for another Benefit Browzings palette.

Just to show you the difference a brow makes... here's me before and after brows, no comparison!

 Signing out, EG x

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

my first post... ish

Hello everybody and welcome welcome welcome to my blog!

After an attempt at the blogging scene a few years ago (if you can call three posts an attempt...!) I am back and determined to give this a proper shot... so here it goes!

Rather than dive straight into a blog about what I've been buying, wearing, applying or eating, I thought it was only right that I tell you a few facts about little old me.

My name is Emily Georgina

I am 24 (I forget how this happened as I'm sure I was 18 yesterday)

I have an MChem from the University of Bath... yes, I am a "Master of Chemistry"

I am a Chemistry postgraduate research student

I live in Bath

I'm now officially a Bath local after stepping onto the property ladder in my hella cute home that I love more than anything in the world ever its amazing I could talk about it forever I can't get over how perfect and cute it is no punctuationnnn runnnnning out of breathhhhhhhhh

As a result 80% of my blog posts will be DIY / home related, sozbutnotsoz.

I used to have a phobia of dogs

I want a dog

I also want a little house bunny, a blue grey dwarf lop would be ideal, so if you are one... apply within

I love apple strudel, it is my favourite dessert of all time... especially with too much custard

But I don't like apple crumble, make sense of that why don't you

My hometown is Worthing, it's a stones throw from Brighton which was the best city in the world to grow up in

I have lived in my childhood home my whole life, people who say that home is where the heart is and not the bricks and mortar of the house itself are wrong.  Fact.

Guilty pleasure: I could watch the Real Housewives of ANYTHING (US only... sorry Cheshire you don't make the cut, two snaps for you (Nene reference) sigh, I love it.)

I enjoy talking my way through a film only to criticise it at the end for being too complicated or boring, or better still, having the cheek ask for a complete plot run though from someone even though I have just ruined their whole viewing experience for the past two hours

I need a sunglasses stand

I am writing this, my first ever blog post, in a giraffe Kigu... the hype isn't over people, they're still the bomb.  True story.

Terrible habit: Paydayitis.  Spending £250 on wantneedmusthaves from ASOS that have been in my "saved items" for forever (such a cruel tease), only to realise that it is in fact the WRONG season for any of the items that have turned up... yes bikini, you are beautiful, but no one will see you aside from my mirror, and maybe the hoover if I'm feeling adventurous of a spring clean

Due to my size 8/9 feet, when the shoe fits, I buy it.  This has led to an unhealthy shoe obsession and a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe in my house devoted to my collection.  
My boyfriend doesn't even have a drawer, you're welcome.

So there it is, 20 facts about the enigma that is Emily Georgina, I look forward to many more blog posts and the start of something beautiful...

Signing out, EG x