The unsung heroes

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While I happily blog about almost every new beauty product that makes its way into my arsenal, it occurred to me recently that there are a number of my most used, most loved beauty items that go slightly unnoticed. They may not be the prettiest products – or the most glamorous – but without them, I would be lost. All hail the unsung heroes.

Kicking off with haircare, we have a whole heap of helpful items. First up, the Invisibobblea seriously clever creation that allows you to tie your hair up without worrying about any unwanted kinks when you take it down. Genius. Especially for someone like me whose hair is constantly going up, down, up, down depending on my mood. The second two items are slightly less ingenious – but so handy all the same. The Goody Ouchless Clear Elastics not only protect my hair against snags and breaks, they also make styling a lot easier. Braids and updos, you name it and with these bad boys you can do it – particularly when coupled with some handy Boots Large Hair GripsWinner.

After haircare is taken care of, we move on to the multi-taskers, starting with Q-Tipsknown to us Brits as Cotton BudsAs well as their obvious purpose, these can be used in so many different ways. Neatening up nail polish, cleaning up smudged make up or applying eyeshadow on the go, there’s no end to their uses. Same goes for the humble shower cap. While not the most fashionable of items, it is without a doubt one of the most handy. Whack it on to keep your hair dry – or, even better, use it to make your hair mask that much more effective. Hair mask on, hair up, cap on, leave for 30 minutes and your hair will be so much smoother.

Another must-have in my beauty stash are the Tweezerman TweezersSharp and precise, they’re just so much better than any other alternative I’ve tried and help me to keep those bushy brows at bay. Next to my tweezers sits my Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm for LipsNow the product name might sound weird but this stuff works wonders on chapped lips and – I discovered recently – on dry cuticles. Definitely worth investing in, perhaps purely for the entertaining name!

Last but not least is a bit of an interesting one that I wasn’t sure I would actually use but it’s really come in handy. The This Works In Transit First Aid is an on-the-spot antiseptic rollerball that’s packed with natural oils and can be used on spots, cuts, blisters, burns and anything else that’s causing you pain. And given how accident prone I am, it sure has come in handy! *rollerballs latest blister*

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Perfumed polish: Revlon Parfumerie

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I’ve been going a bit wild for Revlon’s unique new releases recently; first their click-together eyeshadows and now the new Revlon Parfumerie Scented Nail PolishesAs someone who paints their nails a minimum of once a week, I’m always looking for new nail lacquers to bring a bit of spice and variety to my at-home manicure routine. Enter the perfumed polish.

Now the first thing I noticed about these – before realising that they were individually scented – was the amazing colour range. There are so many different shades in the collection, from simple muted colours to bright bolds and glittery shimmers too. Something to please every polish palette. The second thing that caught my eye was the cute packaging – the little bottles (and they are quite little) are really unique and really do stand out from the crowd in all their perfume bottle-style glory.

When it comes to the fragrances, each of the polishes is supposed to have a scent that coordinates to its colour. For example, the deep wine colour above is Bordeaux – in name and in scent – the bright green is Lime Basil and the sparkly turquoise (which is my favourite and a pretty good drugstore dupe for Deborah Lippmann’s Mermaid’s Dream) is Wintermint.

In the bottle, the polishes smell pretty much like regular ole nail polish – chemicals, mmmm – but it’s when they dry on the nail that the scent is really meant to come alive. Hmmmm. After much nail sniffing (bit weird, I know), I came to the conclusion that, while it’s not particularly powerful, the fragrance is indeed there. But for those of you hoping to waft around perfectly perfumed nails, I’m afraid this polish isn’t going to provide that kind of strong scent.

On the whole, I’m a pretty big fan of the range, although bizarrely that’s not because of the perfume aspect, but rather because of a whole host of other reasons such as the amazing colour variety, the smooth application and the long-lasting formula. The subtle scent is just a nice plus to be honest!

What do you guys think of the concept of perfumed polishes?

Easter beauty treats

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Easter conjures up so many happy images for me. From all the bright colours and deliciously sweet treats to the pretty pastel patterns painted onto eggs, there’s so much excitement to look forward to during this time of year. With all that colour in the air, I couldn’t help but notice that some of it had started creeping into my day-to-day beauty choices.

Bright egg-shaped treats in the form of the eos Lip Balmssomething sweet courtesy of the Bomb Cosmetics Candy Box Soap and a whole collection of pretty pastel colours for eyes, lips, cheeks and nails. Everything you need for the perfect Easter – with a few chocolate treats thrown in for good measure, of course.

One of my favourite picks for the holiday is the Models Own Speckled Eggs Nail Polish in MagpieDesigned to give your nails a super sweet Mini Egg-style speckle, it leaves you with a manicure even the Easter Bunny would envy. For the eyes, I’m echoing the same bright blues with turquoise eyeliners from MAC and Lancôme and coloured mascara from bareMinerals

For cheeks and lips, I’m leaning towards pretty pinks; a super subtle slick of colour comes in the form of the Revlon Baby Stick for Cheeks and Lips and the Maybelline Baby Lips and Color Sensational Lip Gloss. If you’re in the mood for something a bit brighter, the & Other Stories Blush in Voile Pink and the Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick are amazing choices.

What are you guys going to do to celebrate Easter this year?

Building blocks for beauty lovers: Revlon ColorStay Shadowlinks

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Yep, that’s right, I got pulled in by yet another quirky product pitch in the aisles of Boots. Say hello to the latest Revlon release, the Revlon ColorStay Shadowlinksa unique build-your-own-palette collection of connectable eyeshadows. Now I’ve chosen a trio of pretty neutral colours - ok, really neutral colours - because that’s what I tend to wear on a day-to-day basis but there is a much wider colour selection available if you fancy something a bit brighter.

So, beyond the obvious exciting element of clicking together your own eyeshadow palette, how do these shadows measure up to expectations? Well the first thing I should point out is that each individual product is pretty teeny weeny. As you can see, three clicked together only measure up to about two thirds of a bog standard eyeshadow brush and given that they’re about £2.99 each, putting a whole palette together is actually quite pricey by drugstore standards. To give you some idea, a Revlon eyeshadow quad is around £7.99 and for four of these you’re looking at £11.96. In other words, you pay for the gimmicky aspect, which I admit was pretty much what sold it to me in the first place!

Looking at the shadows themselves, they’re pretty nice. Nothing spectacular, but they apply nicely with a good colour payoff – and they last a good few hours without slipping. If you’re prone to creasing though, I would recommend using these alongside a primer as they do tend to gather in the creases quite quickly.

Needless to say I’ve enjoyed indulging my inner child with these lego-style shadows, but I’m not sure that the building block fun alone is enough to warrant the elevated price… What do you guys think?

Perfume pairing

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Unlike a lot of people I know, I don’t have a ‘signature scent’. I much prefer shaking up my fragrance preferences depending on a whole heap of different factors: how I’m feeling, what the weather is doing, what outfit I’m wearing and so on.

Recently however, I’ve been trying out something a bit different with my scent choices. Rather than sticking with just one fragrance, I’m really enjoying pairing perfumes at the moment to create the perfect scent. Now, I don’t have any specific formula for this – it’s really just a case of trying and testing different combinations until I find something I like – but on the whole I find I tend to lean more towards a deeper, muskier scent paired with something lighter and more floral. The lighter fragrance tends to be what you smell first and then it fades out into the lingering deeper scent.

The first of two perfume pairs that I’ve been wearing most frequently is the Karl Lagerfeld For Her and the YSL ManifestoThe floral notes in the Karl Lagerfeld fragrance blend beautifully with the muskier sweeter tones in the YSL scent and the whole combination just works beautifully – and I find that the scent lingers a lot longer throughout the day.

The second fragrance combination is the Diptyque Eau Duelle and the Balenciaga RosabotanicaMuch like the previous pairing, it is the mixture of the spicy vanilla notes in the Diptyque fragrance and the fresh green tones in the Rosabotanica that make this combination work so well. The bright floral notes blend out into the deeper honeyed scent throughout the day, leaving you with a spicy lingering scent that is a bit more unique and interesting than anything else I own.

Have any of you tried perfume pairing? What combinations do you like the best?

Famous five #95

* boots haulin' *

* boots haulin’ *

The five best bits: meeting Olga, G’s parents’ amazing new corgi puppy. She is just the cutest! + the Spider-Man 2 premiere. Andrew Garfield is such a babe and I really enjoyed the movie. Although G was a bit grumpy about how different it was to the comics… + a mahu-sive YouTube catch-up. I sat down and watched all those amazing beauty videos that I had been storing up for weeks and boy was it good + G’s mum’s shepherds pie. Seriously. It was ruddy delicious and made for the perfect treat after a looong day of blogging + I was having a really crap-ola day and someone managed to cheer me up with something as simple as buying me a cookie. It made my day

Beauty product pick of the week: as I mentioned in this post last week, I’ve had some seriously dry cuticles of late and have been relying heavily on the Trilogy Everything Balm to soothe my chapped skin

On the agenda: lunch and a catch-up with old friends today and then, who knows? I’m not really sure what this week is going to bring (other than work, that is)

News flash: I wish I was at Coachella

Pause for thought: the news about Peaches Geldof’s tragic death has been on my mind a lot this week. That someone so young has had to leave two small babies and a family behind is just awful. Without wanting to sound like too much of a cliche, it’s motivated me to do some serious thinking and a bit of reflection. In truth, I’m a really lucky girl and am lucky to have some pretty incredible people in my life. Now I just want to spend a bit more time hanging out with them

I hope you all have a lovely week!

If you’d like to see more of my Instagram photos, please do pop over there and follow me @CharlieLankston

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* spiderman premiere fun *

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* you can’t sit with us: modelling the new truffle shuffle sunnies *

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* everyone meet olga *

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* new favourite tee *

 

My first Perricone MD purchase

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Perricone MD is one of those skincare brands that receives compliments from pretty much every person who tries their products. But while I’ve tried and tested my way through a boatload of samples from the brand, I’ve never committed to buying any of the products in their full size. I’m not really sure why; I’m going to say it probably has something to do with the fairly hefty price tags attached to each one but I’ve been known to splash a whole load of cash on skincare before so I’m not sure that’s really an excuse.

Nevertheless, thanks to a delightful discount code, I finally made my first Perricone purchase in the form of the Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester SerumThere are a number of reasons why I opted for this product in particular. Promises of radiant, bright-looking skin sucked me in at first glance and, coupled with a focus on diminished dark circles and a healthy, hydrated complexion, I was sold. And I haven’t even mentioned the incredible zesty scent - oh boy, the scent - which is almost identical to a freshly-peeled orange. Mmmm.

But beyond the packaging, did it measure up? I hear you ask. Well, three weeks post-purchase and I have to admit to being slightly on the fence in terms of its effectiveness. I do genuinely think my skin is brighter – a pretty impressive achievement given how ruddy tired and run down I’ve felt recently – and I can see a bit of improvement in the dark circle area – again, very impressive given the aforementioned sleepiness. But really I think I wanted more from the product – although I admit, I think my expectations were a little bit out there, mainly because I had heard (and experienced through samples!) such incredible things about the brand…

Now don’t get me wrong, the serum is lovely and I absolutely plan to keep using it until that last drop has been pipette-d out of the bottle. Would I buy it again? Probably not. Has it dulled my curiosity about the brand in general? Absolutely not. In fact my finger is already hovering over that ‘purchase’ button for the next product… Watch this space.

The Nail Files #7: a marvellous new mint

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Yep, that’s right, another mint nail polish. But please, hear me out because this one really is something seriously special.

When US-based nail brand Deborah Lippmann first hit shelves in the UK, I have to admit I was a bit meh about the brand – mainly because of the hefty price tag attached to each bottle (they retail between £16 and £18). But, as with so many of these things, it didn’t take long before I was won over by the countless number of glowing reviews and positive pieces.

So, with a very handy Selfridges voucher burning a hole in my pocket, I picked out one of the pricey polishes - Deborah Lippmann’s Flowers in her Hair. Holy moly was it worth it. This beautifully pale mint green lacquer not only applies like a dream – opaque goodness in just one coat – it also remains chip-free for a ruddy long time, particularly when paired with my favourite Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Top Coat.

Shade-wise, it’s a tad lighter than Essie Mint Candy Apple and a slight bit greener than Maybelline Forever Strong Nail Polish in Mint for LifeIn other words, it is pretty much my perfect mint. The only issue now? Stopping myself from buying the whole Deborah Lippmann collection…

Gimmick or greatness? Babyliss Argan Oil Finishing Brush

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I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to a good gimmick. Lip glosses that come complete with mirrors, self-heating face masks, light-up compacts. You name it, I’ve tried it. So when I came across this latest haircare offering from Babyliss in Boots, it didn’t take much for me to throw it into my basket.

As you can see, this is pretty much your average hairbrush – but with a couple of key differences. The most obvious being the argan oil-infused strip that runs down the centre of the brush and promises to help condition and treat your hair while you brush. The second difference is the dual brush element – half of the bristles are plastic, which tackle the tangles, the other natural boar bristles, which help to smooth and de-frizz hair.

My main concern with this brush was that it was going to leave a residue on my hair, or create unwanted greasiness. In all honesty I can feel a slight something on my hair post-brushing, but nothing heavy or particularly greasy. The argan oil doesn’t weigh down hair and it doesn’t leave any grease. I do tend to concentrate my brushing efforts on the ends of my hair – where I suffer from the most dryness – and avoid the roots, just in case.

So, gimmicks aside, does it actually work? After around two weeks of use, I have noticed an improvement in terms of frizziness – my hair is smoother at the ends and feels a bit softer. The difference is by no means drastic, but it is noticeable and for the bargain price of £9.99, I’d say it’s worth adding into your routine if you’re suffering from unwanted frizz or dryness.

Better than the average gimmick? Oh yes. But I can’t say it’s quite achieved greatness.

Ready-made MAC

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Now before you guys say anything, I know that I have developed something of a neutral palette problem. In the past year I’ve built up a pretty impressive collection of these beautiful shadow shades – from a variety of different brands, both high end and drugstore – and yet I just can’t stop myself from buying more. And more.

Enter the MAC Cool Neutrals Palette, a beautiful 15-pan eyeshadow collection full to the brim of some of the brand’s most loved cool neutral shades. Now I’m sure most of you will have seen these palettes in some form or another at some point – the majority of which will no doubt have been built up shade by shade rather than being bought all as one. Now I have a few single MAC eyeshadow shades but have never accumulated enough to build my own palette - although I am getting there. So when I saw that two new ready-made palettes were now being offered by the brand, one cool, one warm,I knew I had to have one.

Now I haven’t had a huge amount of time to play around with the palette as yet – no doubt you’ll be seeing a lot more of it from here on out – but wanted to give you guys my first thoughts, in case you were leaning towards purchasing one of the palettes yourself. Shade-wise, there is a brilliant variety of colours, both matt and shimmer, which are sure to suit almost every skin tone and colouring. All of the shades are very neutral which may not appeal to some who like a bit more spice and variety in their eye make up, but for me this palette is ideal for creating a whole host of looks, from daytime to nighttime to night-out.

Being a true shimmer-lover, the middle column trio – which top to bottom are Sun Tweaked, Crushed Clove and Cumulus – are really rocking it for me on a first impression-type basis but no doubt I’ll find time to embrace the rest as I get a chance to experiment a bit more.

Formula-wise, as you would expect from MAC, the shadows are pretty brilliant. Buttery-soft to apply (although I’ll admit not quite as soft as my Clarins The Essentials Palette), crease-resistant and long-lasting. Plus, the whole thing is a pretty impressive bargain; while £65 might sound like a pretty heft price tag, if you were to build this bad boy by yourself, I estimate it coming in at around twice that - give or take. So provided you’re a fan of all the shades and you love a good neutral - who doesn’t?! - this palette really is tops and a total must-have.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself and my debit card…