The ‘beat the heat’ skincare edit

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Holy moly has it been HOT recently. I know we Brits tend to kick up a bit of a fuss when the mercury rises above 15°c but believe me when I say, this time has been different. We’re in full on heatwave mode y’all and as a result I’ve had a bit of a skincare shake up, swapping out some of the heavier formulas in favour of light, cooling products that help to leave my skin feeling fresh and bright even in the face of some serious heat. Did I mention it’s been hot?!

Cleanser-wise, I’ve shelved my favourite balm cleansers and instead have turned to lighter-weight oil formulas like the Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse to take off my make up. In the morning however, I have been using the Garnier Fresh Radiance Boosting Scrub (which is a pretty ace dupe for the Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub) which gives my face an immediate boost of citrus-y freshness and leaves my skin feeling so fresh. And apparently there’s a bit of a citrus theme going awn in my beat the heat line-up because I’ve also been using The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver which is an incredibly lightweight serum that smooths your skin while giving it a good ole boost of radiance. It doesn’t feel heavy at all but still manages to leave your face feeling nice and nourished.

In an attempt to battle any heat-induced puffiness around my eyes, I’ve been relying heavily on my REN Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel, which I’ve actually been keeping in the fridge so it has even more of a cooling effect and feels marvellous when applied. Similarly, my Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly has joined my eye gel in the fridge, alongside the milk and cucumber, obviously, and together these products have fast become my favourite skincare step thanks in large part to the cooling gel effect that they both have. Trust me, it’s incredible. Both are such lightweight, yet nourishing, formulas that they are the perfect product option for warmer weather days.

If I’m feeling a bit of a bead during the day, I whip out my La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water for a quick refreshing spritz. If you find yourself in need of a make up touch-up during the day, this will also really help to freshen up your face before you apply any additional product. If you’re lucky enough to have a fridge on-hand in the office or wherever else you might be during the day, this is another fridge-friendly product that will prove all the more cooling when chilled.

Last but not least, SPF, a must have for any warm weather day. I try to wear an SPF on my face every day – I don’t always remember, but I do my best - and the Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid SPF50+ is the lightest formula that I’ve found so far. It works really well under your make up, won’t clog your pores and thus far, hasn’t resulted in any break-outs or blemishes.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take an ice bath *melts on floor*

About these ads

Pretty in pink, purple and peach

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Last week Clinique added some new brilliant products to their incredibly popular Chubby Sticks line, not only rounding out the lip line-up with some sheer balm tints, the Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint Balmsbut also adding a small selection of cheek colours (four to be precise) to the collection.

Available in four shades, the Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balms (the first swatch photo) offer amazing pigmentation, a really blendable formula and fairly fool-proof application, making them the perfect product to use while out and about and on the go. When it comes to application, you can use your fingers to blend in the colour, but I find that a bit messy - and potentially a bit unhygienicparticularly if you’re out and about in London! - and prefer to use a brush. The Real Techniques Stippling Brush is pretty ace for this.

Having put these bad boys to the test over the past few days, I have to say the staying power isn’t the most brilliant I’ve tried, but won’t let you down if you’re looking for your blush to survive for just a few hours, as opposed to a whole day. They’re so handy when it comes to on-the-go application however that I’ve just been carrying one – or all! – around in my handbag so that I can whip it out whenever needed.

Moving on to the lip products and I have to admit I’m head over heels for these Baby Tints. They give your lips a really sheer wash of colour, but unlike a lot of similar products the colour is really visible and can be built up to create more of a bold shade if desired. They’re really nourishing on the lips without being overly slick or shiny. A serious winner in my eyes *claps hands*.

The products are due to launch in stores at the start of August but are available online now if you’re keen to lay your hands on ‘em early. Needless to say I’ve already got some more Baby Tints lined up in my basket…!

Maybelline neon nails: yay or nay?

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While browsing through the aisles of Boots the other day - one of my favourite lunchtime activities - I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the the latest launch from Maybelline, which features a seriously impressive selection of summer brights, from neon green polish to fuchsia lip colours.

As far as I could see there weren’t any new products of note included in the selection, but rather an amazing variety of old favourites in new mega watt shades, a range which just so happened to include one of my all-time most-loved Maybelline products, the Maybelline Forever Strong Super Stay 7 Days Nail PolishI’ll admit I wasn’t so hot on the lime green shade – call me crazy but it just didn’t look like it would suit my nails – however I was immediately intrigued by both the bright pink - Pink Volt - and the bright orange - Orange Punch

Both colours serve as brilliant dupes for two of the current Essie summer shades - Too Taboo and Serial Shopper – and come complete with an incredible chip-free formula that can easily last up to a week when paired with the right top coat (which for me is the Nails Inc Kensington Caviar). But despite my initial excitement over the amazing shade range and incredible vibrant colours, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant when it came to actually applying the polishes. They’re really just that bright.

But as you can see, I put my fears aside and decided to completely embrace the neon nail, a look which has actually grown on me a lot in recent days. Provided I don’t allow my nails to catch any direct sunlight, it’s all good. Right?

Pre-tan // pre-holiday prep

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With the UK currently being bathed in a rare, but incredibly-welcome, few days of warmth and sunshine, it’s honestly felt a bit like being on holiday recently, even through I haven’t actually left London. But with the warmer weather comes bare legs and there are a few little pamper type products I like to whip out pre-leg flash in order to ensure the state of my pins don’t have people running away screaming.

Whether you’re lucky enough to have a natural tan, plan to indulge in a little sunbathing (please use SPF!), or prefer applying a bit of fake tan before you head on out, this quick pre-tan pamper will have you ready to roll in no time at all and ensure that your tan lasts a hell of a lot longer.

To get your skin ready either for a long-lasting sun-kissed tan or for a streak-free fake tan, using an exfoliator to slough away any dead or dry skin will work wonders and leave your legs looking healthier and happier, with or without a bit of colour. My favourites are the Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub for the body and the Origins Never a Dull Moment Skin Brightening Face Polisher for my face. I follow that up by shaving - TMI? - with the Gilette Venus Olay Razor which doesn’t dry out my skin or irritate my legs in any way.

Post-shower, it’s time for a mega moisture session. Legs, arms and body get a generous helping of the Garnier Intensive 7 Days Softening Nourishing Lotion while I like to treat my feet to a serious dose of hydration courtesy of the Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask which helps to tackle any dryness and er less than attractive crusty foot bits. Sorry, but it does. Elbows and knees get an additional helping of hydration - a must if you’re going to fake tan - with the Boots Coconut Body Oil which leaves them feeling so smooth, you’ll find it hard to resist stroking them. Just me? 

Last up is the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oilas I’ve mentioned before, I suffer really badly from dry cuticles and hands and I find that a good dose of this really helps to combat that and ensures that my manicure lasts a lot longer.

Granted I’m not due to jet off on holiday until September, but if this amazing English weather continues, this routine may have to become more of a regular thing in my house. *Crosses fingers, grabs SPF*

The best blemish-busting masks

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My skin has been a bit tricky recently and it’s felt like, no matter what I do – drinking loads of water, eating my greens, double cleansing – I’ve had to endure some pretty vile blemishes during the past couple of weeks and really the only thing that has helped to calm them down is my various assortment of brilliant blemish-fighting face masks.

When it comes to calming down my skin, reducing redness and helping to clean out any nasties, I turn to the Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Maska great clay formula mask which really helps to get rid of any and all dirt and grub, while helping to reduce redness. Similarly, the Origins Out of Trouble Mask is another ace option when it comes to cleansing and soothing the skin and I find it slightly more gentle so probably a better choice if you have sensitive skin.

When it comes to battling the blemishes themselves, I have two top masks that I turn to. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Purifying Mask and the Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish MaskBoth work either as an on-the-spot overnight treatment, which helps to reduce the size of the spot and stop any pain or swelling that might have come along with it, or as an all-over 10-minute at a time mask which will work to tackle blemishes and fingers crossed prevent any more from appearing.

Last but not least is the Nude Miracle Maskan exfoliating face mask full to the brim of AHAs and rice beads which help to slough away any dead skin and ensure that you aren’t left with any dry, flaky bits around the spot - TMI!? It’s my go-to when it comes to clearing up any mess that the blemishes may have left behind and always leaves my face feeling brighter and healthier.

What products do you guys turn to when you’re suffering a blemish-y break-out?

Famous five #108

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* the best mug ever *

Can we please talk about this heat for just a quick tick? I don’t know where this impressive 30 degree heat has come from but holy moly do I hope it hangs around for the whole summer. Or at least long enough to top up my NYC tan..

Five favourites:

Place: Anywhere outside in the sunshine. When you work in an office all day, being able to escape into the sun, even if it’s just for a few minutes, is just the best thing ever

Food: Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Macadamia and Cranberry cereal bars. I’ve eaten an entire box in the last week. They are too tasty

Experience: Seeing The Cat Empire perform at Somerset House last week. The weather was ace, the setting beautiful and the band amazing. It was a great evening

Read/watch: I’ve just started watching American Horror Story (ever so late to the party) and I’m completely hooked. It’s seriously freaky but really addictive

Beauty bit: I’ve been putting my Hydraluron Moisture Jelly in the fridge in an attempt to combat this heat and it has the most amazingly cooling effect on my face. It’s my favourite thing to use every morning

Don’t forget to follow me over on Instagram @CharlieLanks!

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* my oh-so mature desk decorations *

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* double trouble *

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* the new topshop metallics range is ace *

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* casually hanging out at the bottom of my bag *

Then and now: Pixi Glow Tonic gets a makeover

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One of my all-time favourite beauty products, the Pixi Glow Tonichad a cheeky makeover quite recently (don’t worry, it’s just the packaging that has changed, the stuff inside is just as ace as ever) and I thought what better time to chat to you all about what it is that makes this product so whiz-bang special.

For those of you that don’t know much about acid exfoliators, I’ve done a whole post on ‘em which you can read here, but essentially they buff away your dead skin cells and all that other nasty stuff you might normally scrub away using natural acids like salicylic, glycolic, lactic and so on. Rather than being abrasive on your skin like a beady scrub can be, they work in a different way to leave you with radiant, glowing skin and this marvel from Pixi is, in my opinion, one of the best ones out there.

Full to the brim with good-for-you natural ingredients including aloe vera, witch hazel and horse chestnut, it does a brilliant job of ridding your skin of any nasty bits, while ensuring it isn’t left feeling stripped or dry. For anyone out there who is a fan of the P50 Biologique Recherchethis is a much cheaper alternative that will leave you with very similar, superb results.

In terms of its snazzy new packaging, I’m actually a big fan. While I always love a pump on a product, the new pump-free bottle is far more easy to transport – plus you don’t lose a single ml of product. In other words, while the Glow Tonic continues to be one of Pixi’s best-sellers, they haven’t tried to grab an extra buck from you by changing the packaging and giving you less product, or by whacking up the price; it still rings in at a very reasonable £16.

Thanks Pixi people, this one’s a real winner.

The new thang: Topshop Freckle Pencil

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Earlier this week I trooped over to Somerset House for the launch of Topshop Beauty’s AW14 collection. Holy moly are there some exciting things to keep your eye out for in the coming months; October will bring a selection of gel blushes and lip colours (think Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee but with slightly less colour pay-off), while August will see a beautiful range of metallics hitting Topshops around the country. (Trust me when I say, you’re gonna want to get your hands on the metallic cream blushes. They have the most amazing sheen to them, incredible shade varieties and look stunning when applied.) Another exciting launch includes the Topshop base range – a selection of lovely foundations (a high street dupe of Giorgio Armani Maestro), a concealer palette which includes a brilliant setting powder and an incredible concealer which I’m still dreaming about even as a type. In other words, Topshop be bringing it. 

For me however, the most intriguing product of all was the Topshop Freckle Pencil, a marbled brown pencil that enables you to create a cute ‘freckles brought out by the sun’ look, without having to expose your face to a single harmful ray. The whole concept might sound strange but, as Topshop make up artist Lily Keys explained, it’s an amazing way to add an extra dimension to your make up look and brings a bit of character to the face.

I know freckles are a bit like Marmite to a lot of people - you either love ‘em or hate ‘em - and I know a few of my friends who have a lot of freckles and aren’t too enamoured with them at all. Having not really ever had any freckles of my own, I was so excited to try ‘em out and couldn’t be happier with the results. The pencil itself is a bit harder than an eye kohl so you won’t risk ending up with unrealistic brown blobs as opposed to subtly-coloured freckles. While applying my freckles, Lily made sure to vary the pressure with each application to ensure they were all different shapes and sizes and looked as natural as possible. A quick swipe of setting powder over the lot and you’re ready to roll!

Now I admit I haven’t quite mastered the technique to the same high standards that Lily was working to but I’m getting there and my freckles look more and more realistic with every application. Just gimme a few more freckly days and I’ll be perfect! But I’m dying to know your thoughts on the freckle pencil – is it a yay or a nay?

Beach & pool day essentials

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There’s nothing I like more than a day at the beach, or a day spent chilling by the pool. I plonk myself on a towel/sun lounger and that’s where I tend to stay. All. Day. Long. 

And in order to facilitate the aforementioned day-long vegetation, I like to ensure that I lug along every item that I might need during my water-side chill time. Call me over-prepared but I personally think it’s nice to know that when you leave your hotel room – or if you’re lucky enough to live nice and close to a pool or a beach, your house! – you’ve got everything you could possibly want or need right there in your beach bag.

We’ve got the most basic bits and pieces - suncream of choice is the Garnier Ambre Solaire Light and Silky SPF 30 Sun Cream, an SPF 50 lip balm that I picked up in a goody bag, sunglasses – make sure they have proper UV protection! – and a good book to keep you occupied while you enjoy some tanning time. I’m currently re-reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgensterna beautiful book that I haven’t been able to put down since picking it up a few days ago. A quick tip when it comes to books however – make sure that you keep them in the shade whenever you’re not reading otherwise the sun will melt the glue that binds the pages together and you’ll end up with bits of book scattered everywhere. If y’all have hair as knotty as mine, a handy hairbrush is no doubt an absolute must-have if you’re by the beach. The Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash is a good choice if you’re after something that will take care of knots quickly and effectively without yanking out clumps of hair.

Moving on to some more luxury items… I like to bring my iPhone along so I can listen to some music (or even play a game of Tetris!) when I’m not focusing on my book. My current summer tune of choice is Iggy Azalea Fancy which I am obsessed with. We’re talking eight or nine listens a day… Too much? While I know the big over-ear headphones might be too much for some people by the pool, I find the in-ear options so uncomfortable and these Zumreed Headphones can actually be used as little mini speakers which is super handy if you decide to host an impromptu pool party.

Deodorant comes in handy if you’re out and about for a whole day and want to throw on a cover-up at the end of a long day of sunbathing and socialise with people pre-shower. My deo of choice is still the Secret Scent Expressions Clear Gel Tango Passion Deodorant which smells amazing and dries really quickly with minimum muss and fuss. For an added sweet scent, it’s nice to throw in a small bottle of perfume that you can use on the go. I’ve really been enjoying Beyonce Midnight Heat when it comes to a subtle dash of scent on the go – it’s warm and slightly spicy without being overbearing and it’s incredibly cheap so perfect to throw in your beach bag and take with you when you’re out and about.

For the ultimate luxury, it’s nice to bring along some kind of refreshing face mist to help cool you down in times of over-heating. There are loads of amazing choices out there but my personal favourite is the Sol de Janeiro Posto Cool Coconut Water Cooling and Hydrating Mist which leaves my face feeling incredibly fresh and nourished. The last item is perhaps the most important of all – apart from the SPF that is! - waterIt’s so important to keep nice and hydrated while you’re out and about in the sunshine and it’s well worth taking along some kind of bottle or sealable cup with you that you can keep topping up with ice and water while you’re out and about.

What beach bag must-haves will you guys be carrying this year?

Lovely new lippy: Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stains

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Revlon3* c/o revlon colorstay moisture stains £7.99 each *

That’s right everybody, there’s yet another ace drugstore lip product on the block; our favourite budget-friendly brands just seem to be bringing it recently in the lip department and this latest release is no exception.

Say hello to the Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stainsa unique liquid lipstick meets gloss meets lip stain which leaves your lips with a hydrating dose of colour and shine without a single trace of stickiness. Sounds too good to be true huh? Well in this case, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Having put each of these colours to the test over a day’s worth of wear, I have yet to find a flaw in the formula – or the application.

Packaging-wise, they look pretty sleek, particularly for a drugstore product, and I love the way that the cuboid shapes line up oh-so-neatly (sad but true!). The uber wide doe-foot applicator fits really well on the lips and makes it easy to apply a good amount of product without ending up with an unpleasant amount of excess that you feel you have to blot off which I find happens a fair amount with other glossy lip products - just me?! I personally find that two thin layers of the lip stain works best for me in terms of building up the amount of colour and shine that I like but that’s really all down to personal preference. The colours are easy to build and the light formula layers really well.

All in all, I have to say I’m sold on these bad boys - hook, line and sinker - from the jetset names to the 12-strong colour range. These bad boys are currently due to hit stores in August and I’ve already got my eye on a few more shades to add to my collection. Barcelona Nights I’m comin’ for ya…