Xtava Infrared Straighteners and GIVEAWAY!

My unruly hair is pretty much the bane of my life. I’ve spent years looking for serums and lotions and potions to help tame it slightly, but unlike with makeup or skincare, my heart really isn’t in it! I do straighten my hair from time to time using my Mums GHD’s but they’re too thin and I didn’t really want to splurge on the wide plate version. So when an opportunity came up to try out the Xtava Infrared Straighteners*, I thought I’d put them to the test as anything that can cope with my hair, must be pretty damn good!

First things first, these are wide plate straighteners so they’re definitely made with thicker hair types in mind. The plates are 5cm wide meaning I can take bigger sections at a time and cut the length of time it takes me to do my hair almost in half! I was so chuffed with how I didn’t have to go over each section hundreds of times, two or three did the trick!

In terms of ease of use, I don’t think these could be any easier! There’s an on/off button and increase and decrease temperature buttons and that’s about it. A small screen lets you set the temperature you would like and it also lets you know when it’s reached the temperature. There are 11 temperature settings to choose from between 130 and 230 degree celsius and it only takes up to 90 seconds for the straighteners to come up to temperature. Perfect if, like me, you want things done yesterday!

IMG_0033.jpgI feel like the design of these straighteners is both simple yet well thought out. It has a nice long cord which rotates 360 degrees to avoid those awkward moments of getting tangled around your dressing table! The bag that these come in is entirely heat proof so you won’t be burning any surfaces or holding them until they’ve cooled down. I found this to be perfect for travelling and it also kept them away from anything else in my bag. I also liked the matte black casing and I felt that they really matched the design quality of brands that are a lot more expensive!

For me though, the best thing about these is the price, they retail for only £29.99 and I would happily pay double that! Anything that can manage my hair is a huge deal for me and I have exclusively been using these on my hair since I received them. They are available on Amazon and if you have prime then they can be delivered the very next day. The best part of this post is that I have a pair to give away to one of you too! All you have to do is click the link here: Win the xtava Pro-Satin Infrared Straighteners.

I can’t wait to see which one of you wins these and I really hope whoever does loves them as much as I do! Above is a quick before and after of my hair, these aren’t taken on the same day but on the left is what my hair looks like if I do nothing to it and on the right is after using these straighteners.

Much Love





All You Need To Know About MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid & Face & Body Foundations!

I seem to have acquired a fair few new foundations recently and it’s taking me a bit of time to get round to writing up reviews on them all. Today i’m going to combine two new MAC ones i’ve picked up to see if I can help you determine the formula for you! The two I’ve got my hands on are Studio Fix Fluid and Face & Body. Studio Fix Fluid is an old favourite of mine that i’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with over the years and Face & Body is a new addition that i’ve always wanted to try.

Starting with Studio Fix Fluid, this is one of the most full coverage foundations I own without being heavy on the skin. When I wear this, I feel like i’m having a good skin day, everyday! This one retails for £23.50 for 30ml and doesn’t include a pump to dispense the product, that’s an additional £4.50 making the whole product £28 if you don’t want to smack the bottle on the back of your hand every day. I feel like MAC are really taking the piss a bit with this on as charging that much for a pump is extortionate. I know they say it’s a one time purchase as you move it onto your next bottle, however the one time I did buy one, it broke before my bottle was over.

In true MAC fashion, there are a whopping 46 shades available in this formula which I think is brilliant. They have definitely added lighter shades in recent years and I assume they’ve expanded their darker shades too as there are some really deep ones available now. They also differentiate between undertones too which I love as I’m very yellow toned and hate when the right shade for me has pink undertones to it. In MAC shades, the letter C has yellower undertones and W represents the pink toned shades. In addition to that, they go up in number order with 10 being the lightest. They do make the shades a little confusing though as I always thought they simply went up in multiples of five e.g NC10, 15, 20 etc and that the numbers were applicable regardless of your undertone (C or W).  However, there are certain numbers available in one undertone and not the other. For example there is an NW18 and an NW13 but neither or these are available in NC.

To be honest, I’m quite straight forward, I like a yellow undertone so head to the NC’s and I’m fairly light so I pick NC20 in the summer and NC15 in the winter. Simple. However, I would strongly recommend getting colour matched as I don’t think it’s very straightforward as a general system. The one thing I would also say though is that make sure you are really happy with your match before you leave the shop, i’ve been matched terribly in the past and that caused me to dislike this foundation for a while when it was actually just the shade.

Shade battle aside and onto the actual formula. As I mentioned, it’s a fuller coverage foundation that offers a natural matte finish. I would totally agree with this as I find I really don’t get oily at all when I wear this. It doesn’t make me look flat but it does let a little glow through which I love. I’d probably say it’s a satin finish personally. I find that this does set into place but not so much that you can’t apply more layers or touch up should you wish. For me, this is one of the most easy to apply and perfectly blendable foundations i’ve tried. I find it just works seamlessly with my skin and now i’m more confident on my shades, I’m determined to make sure I always have a bottle of this on the go. Yes there are a few gripes such as the pump and a slightly clearer shade range however, the actual formula performs impeccably and gives me so much confidence in my skin that i’ve really been lacking over the years. Every time I wear this, someone asks about my foundation and/or skin and that gives me such a boost as i’ve struggled with my skin a lot the last few years!

On to Face & Body and this is a much lighter foundation and is a totally different price point to Studio Fix! This retails for only £29.50 for a huge 120ml and you don’t need to buy a pump. If you include the cost of the pump, on a ml by ml basis, Studio Fix is about 94p per ml whereas Face & Body is about 25p. That’s a huge huge difference right from the get go! To be honest, apart from them being from MAC, that’s about the only similarity of these two formulas as F&B is the total other end of the coverage spectrum! If i’m honest, i’ve had more coverage from a tinted moisturiser or BB cream! This is one of the lightest coverage foundations i’ve ever tried and I would have to be having an epically good skin day to be able to wear this alone.

It’s again, very blendable but it does pretty much blend into nothing. The formulation is very liquid and the bottle is a plastic bottle rather than glass. MAC says that this is light-medium coverage that is buildable, but for me to get this to work, I would have to have about 10 layers on to feel like it had concealed what I wanted it to. It’s said to be moisturizing and long-lasting though so if you have drier skin and want something very natural then this could be for you. I’ve yet to be able to wear this on it’s own as I felt like I looked like I didn’t have anything on sadly.

I want to keep playing with this product though as it’s a really holy grail for many bloggers and I want to know why and how! Whilst i’m still discovering how to get it to work for me, I’ve been mixing it in with my Studio Fix to sheer down the coverage a little for days when I don’t want to be quite so full on! It’s also a touch lighter shade wise than my Studio Fix so now that i’m not far off my Winter skin colour, it’s helping make the transition easier! I’ve really been enjoying using it in that way as it is more moisturising so helps with the slight drier patches i’m starting to get now we’re heading towards Autumn.

Compared to Studio Fix, F&B has a pretty poor selection of only 11 shades available which I find pretty damn strange, especially as one is a white mixer shade so really, there’s only 10! The shades are again rather confusing to decipher with there being both C and N shades available, but this time the numbers seem to run from 1 to 6, but again both letters don’t necessarily have the same numbers available. I wish MAC would make it easier for us!

I feel like although this is an okay shade for me, there probably is a better shade in the range. This one was kindly inherited from Sophie so I didn’t pick the shade myself. I get the impression that again the C shades are more yellow toned so I think perhaps C2 rather than N2 (which is the one I have) would have been best for me! Saying that, it’s probably fairly clear I’m not a huge fan of this formula though so I can’t see myself buying a bottle in a different shade any time soon.

I quite fancy trying out some of MAC’s other foundations as I don’t hear much about some of the others! The one’s I fancy are the Studio Sculpt, as I think this will be like Studio Fix but more hydrating for winter, and I also quite fancy the Studio Waterweight as I think that could be a slightly more accessible version of the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation that I love! Have you tried either of these foundations or any MAC foundations for that matter? Which one is your favourite and why?

Much Love


Review: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation!

Tarte is a brand that I had been lusting over for years, but living in the UK, it’s pretty hard to come by. I know the QVC sell it, but only really in sets rather than individual items, so when I was in the US, I made sure I tried a good few products out in Sephora to see if any of them took my fancy. One that really interested me was the Rainforest of the Sea Foundation, but I didn’t want to jump into anything so took a sample home to see if I liked it.

I guess this is a bit of a spoiler for the rest of the blog post, as it’s clear to see that I did really like it, enough to track down the full size bottle. Now Tarte do ship to the UK, but unlike Colour Pop & Kylie, the tax and duties are clearly visible and more importantly, payable when placing your order. This means you don’t get any of that sneaky £10 Royal Mail ‘Holding Fee’ bumping up the charges. When I went to order, they were having a discount day, basically meaning that the amount of discount I received, covered the tax on the foundation so it was pretty handy!

The first thing to comment on with this foundation really, is the sheer liquidity of it. It’s a very watery consistency and is a lot thinner than any other foundation I’ve ever tried. It is described as a lightweight, full coverage foundation that contains a non-chemical, broad spectrum SPF 15. In my opinion, it is definitely light weight and has very good coverage. I would probably say medium or medium to full rather than simply full coverage, from my own experiences with the foundation. For me that’s good though as I’m really not a huge fan of very full coverage bases.

tarte-foundation-reviewUnlike many foundation formulas, this one is water based, rather than oil based which would definitely explain it’s consistency. The product is actually 20% water which aims to help quench dry skin and give it a boost of hydration for up to 12 hours. Due to it’s consistency, the applicator for this foundation is actually a dropper rather than a pump, which I’m not 100% sure that I’m a fan of. It’s a little bit of a faff, mainly for the second collection of product should you need one, as it can get a bit messy and then you’re desperately trying to get more product with half of it all over your hands. I do think it’s right for this foundation, however I’m not sure whether I like actually using it myself.

From first use of this foundation, I felt like my skin looked absolutely flawless but in no way masked or cakey. It doesn’t cling to dry patches or fade throughout the day; it doesn’t get oily or greasy and it seems to just blur imperfections whilst still looking like skin. Whatever the magic ‘Rainforest of the Sea Complex’ is, it’s clearly pretty damn good! It does come at a bit of a price though as a standard 30ml bottle of this will set you back £30 before shipping & tax. As I mentioned, I think I paid around £30 all in due to the deal so I’d definitely recommend waiting and doing that if you can as they always have some kind of offer floating around.

Do I think it’s worth the money though? For me, definitely! I get such a confidence boost when I wear this foundation as it just gives me the skin i’ve always wanted. My real love is just how light it feels on the skin and the fact that it really does wear well throughout the day. The only thing I wish I’d done is buy a slightly darker shade as i’ve been wearing a shade or two darker in some foundations recently and I’ve found it’s been blending with my body much better. It’s still going to be completely perfect for winter though so I’m dying to get back into using it daily. If you’re interested, the shade I picked up was Fair Neutral and it is a really nice shade when I have zero tan. They have a fantastic 21 shades in the range though, spanning from very light to very dark so I think they’ve done a really good job in making it accessible for all!

Have you tried this foundation? What did you think of it?

Much Love



The New Setting Spray On The Block?| Rimmel #Insta Fix & Go Spray!

If you’d asked me a year ago whether I used a setting spray, the answer would have been a big fat no. What on earth could spritzing ‘over-priced water’ on top of my makeup do to benefit me really? Well, I was wrong. I now use a setting spray every day and I’m always on the hunt for new ones to try, be it from high end brands or brands available in Boots. With all that being said, it’s safe to say that when Rimmel London came out with their new setting spray, I was very eager to get my hands on it to see if stood up to some of my favourites.

In terms of the packaging first of all, I think it’s okay. It doesn’t wow me and jump off the shelf saying ‘buy me’ nor does it put me off. Yes Rimmel is a more affordable brand so their packaging is a little cheaper so it never bothered me in the slightest. They are by far my favourite drugstore brand so I’d rather buy them for the quality than the packaging. However, the packaging contributes to my biggest gripe about this product, the spritz. The spritzer on this bottle is one of the worst i’ve come across and I actually tweeted Rimmel to see if I had picked up a dud, but sadly they failed to reply. Setting sprays need to be a fine mist, or at the very least a mist of some description. However, this one fires out in one direct stream and hits you straight in the face! Imagine the setting spray equivalent of a hose being used on the ‘jet’ setting.

Needless to say, we kind of fell at the first hurdle as I couldn’t use the product to properly try it out. So, when my last Urban Decay All Nighter bottle finished, I thought i’d put it to good use and empty the Rimmel spray into the bottle so I could at least try it out better! I’ve since been using it with a fully working spritzer in a couple of my Urban Decay bottles and I’ve thankfully been able to test out it’s ability to set makeup rather than simply it’s ability to blind me.

There’s one more issue with this product for me though sadly, again before we even get onto it’s effectiveness, and that’s the scent. I despise anything that smells of cucumber and this is one of the strongest cucumber scents i’ve ever experienced. So much so that I used it the other day and Tom asked from across the room where the cucumber scent was coming from. It is very overpowering and does linger a little on the skin although thankfully not for too long!

Finally, onto the actual product and overall it is a nice setting spray. It sits nicely on top of my makeup without making it go funny, its lightweight and refreshing and seems to do a pretty good job at keeping it in place all day. Naturally, these are all the things I look for in a setting spray and at only £6.99 it is a real bargain too! It’s also meant to be double use so you can use it as a primer too which is a real plus. I’m just so disappointed at the scent and the terrible spritzer. The scent is a preference thing and I know that most people like cucumber scents so I may be outnumbered there, but one key thing to get right with setting sprays is the spritzer. I did do some research and a lot of people rave about it being such a ‘fine mist’ so maybe I DID get a dud.

For me, the scent alone puts me off buying it again, however, had it been a different scent and just the spritzer that was the issue, I would potentially buy it again and decant it as the product inside is pretty good. As I say, I’m a HUGE Rimmel London fan so I was sad that this wasn’t an instant win for me but I guess not everything is going to work for you every time. Have you tried the Insta Fix & Go Spray? If so what did you think of it?

Much Love


Everything You Need To Know About The Ordinary Foundations & Primer!

The Ordinary is a brand that has been seriously doing it’s rounds in the blogosphere lately and the products that intrigued me the most were the foundations and the primer. I didn’t want to chance it and order a foundation online, so when I went to London earlier this month, I headed to the Covent Garden Deciem store to give them a swatch. The store is actually very modern and chic and I’m so glad I swatched the foundations as they came up very light in my opinion!

Let’s start off with the foundations first then and the number one thing to know is that there are two formulas! The first formula is a ‘Coverage’ formula and the second is a ‘Serum’. For the sake of the blog, I picked up both formulas to try in the same shade, 2.0YG. When buying foundations, I normally go to the second lightest shade or the lightest shade with golden undertones first. The shade 2.0YG here is actually the 12th darkest shade on the website which in my opinion shows that they come up pretty damn light! There are five shades on the website that I would say come into the category of ‘dark’, but out of 21 shades this is pretty slim pickings for darker skin tones!

To break down my shade for you, the 2 represents the fact that it’s in the medium skin tone category (I would definitely say i’m normally ‘light’) and the .0 represents that it’s the lightest shade in that category so this one is described as light-medium. The Y represents that the shade is suited to skin tones with Yellow undertones and there are also P (pink), N (neutral) and R (red) undertone options available. Something I didn’t know is that the G in my shade means that there are slight gold flecks in the foundation for added highlight. I probably wouldn’t have picked this had I known, but there was no 2.0Y as an option and this was the best shade match. There is also an S (silver) option in some shade for silver flecks but as I can see this is only available on one shade out of the 21.  On their website, they state:

these shades use natural-looking and exceptionally fine dispersions of metallic effect pigments for added highlight. The Ordinary will introduce individual enhancers and highlighters in the near future to customize all shades.

To me it seems a little random to have this in certain shades only and also, to not offer those particular shades without the highlighting effect? I’ve got to be honest and say it hasn’t really effected me massively, however this would probably explain why I’ve felt extra glowy when wearing these foundations. In hindsight I would say it’s a touch TOO glowy for me but I might try it with only a tiny amount of my regular highlight next time I wear them and see if that improves it. I usually prefer a satin finish so perhaps the glow is just too much for me. I’d love to try it without but as I said, they don’t do my shade without the added gold particles, whereas the other shades that have the shimmer particles, have an identical counterpart shade without them. To me the shade range seems all over the place to be honest and a little bit more care should have been made when creating the range. which_foundation_from_the_ordinary

Onto the actual formulas themselves, my favourite is definitely the coverage over the serum. I believe that the actual formulation is very similar but the coverage formula includes higher quantities of the actual pigment. I do prefer a more medium coverage I would say so this was definitely more suited to me. I found that it covered the issues I have with my skin pretty well and actually stayed put most of the day. I loved how this applied and it felt like I was wearing absolutely nothing on my skin which was great and exactly what I look for in a foundation.

The serum foundation, as mentioned above, is pretty much the same formula just with less pigment so it’s more like a light coverage foundation. To be honest, I never wear light coverage foundation so found I needed to compensate with more concealer in those more troublesome patches. I also found that the first time I wore this one, I came out in a lot of spots which was a bit frustrating. They were like tiny, under the skin, bumps that were particularly obvious across my brow and forehead. I did try it a second time and it wasn’t so bad so maybe the light weight feel was a shock to the skins system originally!

The key difference for me was simply how much more liquid the serum foundation was compared to the coverage. This is clearly due to the pigment quantities and perhaps it was the liquid feel that my skin didn’t like so much. I may see if I can sell the serum formula and buy another coverage as it is just too lightweight for me. For £5.90 each these are an absolute bargain and the quality of both of them is incredible. I did expect there to be more of a difference in terms of formula between the two foundations, however it does make it easier to decide which one you’d like best, simply depending on the amount of coverage you like. The final thing to mention on these foundations is the packaging, which is simple and matte with a pump that can be locked to avoid spillages in your makeup bag. I think it’s really nice and chic, without too much fuss and to be honest, it’s completely perfect for a foundation. Lightweight, plastic and lockable, what more could you ask for.

Finally, onto the Primer and I actually have only one of the two formulations that they have on offer. I have the High-Adherance Silicone Primer which retails for only £3.90. I have to say I had pretty low expectations for something coming in at such a low price tag, however I’ve been pretty impressed so far! I feared that with it being silicone-based, it would feel greasy and heavy on the skin and give that really fake-feeling base for make up to go on top of. I was wrong actually and it’s more like a moisturising feel when you apply it, yet you can tell it has some silicone in as it’s so smoothing and evens out the texture really nicely. I noticed some difference in the longevity of my makeup when I wore it and I’ve tried it out with a multitude of foundations (not just The Ordinary ones) and it worked well under them all.

Whether you’re on a budget or not, I feel like this primer is a great buy as a tiny amount goes a really long way and creates a lovely smooth canvas, without feeling fake, greasy or cakey like many other silicone primers do. For me, this is the perfect combination of a hydrating primer and a smoothing primer and I’m really enjoying using it. You get a full 30ml in the tube which is crazy considering the cost and I would say you definitely don’t even use 1ml each time. This means it costs you around the 13p mark each time you use it which is ridiculously cheap! Again, I really like the packaging, simple yet effective and unlike some cheaper products, the packaging doesn’t disintegrate or the writing rub off after one use!

Overall I’ve been really impressed by The Ordinary products I’ve tried. I feel like they’re simplicity at it’s best and I’d like to try out some of their skincare range out now! In terms of the foundation, if you’re a lightweight girl then go with the serum foundation, if you want more coverage then definitely the Coverage foundation. I would completely recommend swatching the colours before you buy it as they are very fair in my opinion! If you have any questions, please let me know, if not, I hope this covered everything! Have you tried anything from The Ordinary? If so, what was your favourite?

Much Love



ABH Brow Wiz Dupe?| Billion Dollar Brows Universal Brow Pencil!

Everyone and their mother has probably heard of the infamous Anastasia Brow Wiz but I haven’t every used it apart from a swatch in Sephora when I was in the States. For me, I always found the pencil to be very hard and that always dissuaded me from purchasing it. I know it’s a cult favourite but I really don’t like to use hard pencils on my eyebrows as I find them really difficult to work with.

Bring in Billion Dollar Brows (BDB) and their Universal Brow pencil* which, visually, looks very similar to the ABH Brow Wiz with a retractable pencil on one end and a spoolie  brush on the other to brush through the brow hairs. The pencil is designed to be suitable for all brow shades, by pressing lightly for lighter hair types and pressing harder, or building up the colour, for darker hair types.

These are the different shades I managed to get with the same pencil using different amounts of pressure when applying.

I would say I have a fair/medium hair tone but I do like my brows to be a little bit darker so they stand out and frame my face. I have had no issues with the shade and I find it works really well with both my complexion and hair shade. I also love the soft feel of the pencil as I find that it applies really easily and sticks to the hairs offering a nice colour.

My issue with this pencil lies with how thick the nib of the pencil is and I find it very hard to stay ‘within the lines’ of my brows and that it ends up looking a bit smudged and messy. The way I’ve found to counteract this is to use my regular brow product (Benefit’s Ka Brow!) and use the BDB pencil to fill in those tough, sparser areas. This has really helped me to conceal gaps in my brows and to give them a really seamless look that I’ve been loving.Billion_Dollar_Brow_Universal_Brow_Pencil_Review

The pencil has been working great for me in terms of colour, texture and ease of use. However, I feel like they’ve missed a trick by not making the nib that little bit thinner. Had this of been the case, I would imagine it would have been a pretty good dupe for the Brow Wiz, yet for me I don’t feel like they are directly comparable in this aspect as with the Brow Wiz you can almost draw in individual hairs as the nib is so thin.

In terms of price the BDB pencil is £12.95 from AllBeauty and the ABH Brow Wiz is only £15.50 on Beauty Bay so they are very close in price to be honest. I would say that the BDB pencil is best for filling in large areas and if you prefer a softer pencil whereas the ABH Brow Wiz is more suited for individual hairs, small areas and is a much harder pencil. Overall, I’ve enjoyed using the BDB Pencil and find it to be great for giving a really flawless finish but it’s difficult to use for sharp edges of precise brow hairs. I do think it’s worth the money for the price, however if you are lusting after the Brow Wiz, it is only a few pounds more for that so you wouldn’t be saving yourself too much money realistically.

Have you tried either of these pencils? What is your favourite brow product?

Much Love


*Post contains PR samples and some links are affiliate links.

Worth The Hype? |Fleur De Force Lip Glosses!

I’m not one for buying into YouTuber products really, as I often find they’ve just slapped their name on somebody else’s products and are reaping the benefits. However, I bought a gift set from Feel Unique at Christmas and this gloss was one of the products inside. I decided to try and avoid making any early judgements as I really like Fleur and hoped that this product would be a good’un!

This is one of the most pigmented lip glosses I have ever tried; it’s a strong colour in one swipe and has a similar colour payoff to a liquid lipstick but with a glossy finish. I really like the way it looks on the lips as it pack a punch with the pigmentation, but with a more natural finish because of the gloss. The colours available are all reasonably neutral but this red one, in the shade Lucky Star is a lovely addition!

What I like about these lip glosses the most is just how reasonably priced they are! You can get them for as little as a few pounds and it means they’re accessible to everyone! Fleur has also put a lot of her personal style into the packaging with a sleek gunmetal top and her logo, complete with stars, on the packaging. You can clearly see what colour the product is as the packaging is either clear or the exact colour of the product inside. The applicator is quite a traditional doe foot, however it’s comfortable on the lips and also precise enough to get a nice neat, crisp edge.

The lasting power of this lip gloss is not too great as you can probably imagine. Not down to the product itself but the glossy finish does wear away easily! It does leave a little stain to the lips which is nice so that adds to the longevity. The best thing about this gloss is that it is completely non-sticky! I’m sure you’ve all experienced the horrible hair stuck in lip gloss scenario so it’s nice to have that avoided for once!

I’m a bit annoyed as i’ve had this post in drafts for a few months and I’ve finally got round to writing it and it seems they are no longer sold on Feel Unique! I have found it on Amazon for £7.50 here if you do fancy getting your hands on one. I do think they are worth that price to be honest as they are a really lovely, quality product. A quick glance told me they sell the other shades on Amazon too if you are interested!

Have you tried one of Fleur’s glosses or any of her other products for that matter? If so which one is your favourite?

Much Love