Friday 30 September 2011

Denman Brush Review

With my hair naturally being very flat at the roots, I'm always looking for ways to give it more life and body.
I do back-comb my hair in order to achieve this, and I have heard a lot of people rave about back-combing brushes. Though I could not find them anywhere on the high street.

Whilst watching a youtube video by the lovely Sailor Jennie, I spotted she had one of these brushes. She told me she got hers from Amazon, so I went and purchased one straight away (I checked on ebay too, but they were more expensive there).
The Brush:

I chose the Denman brush for just £3.50. It arrived really quickly, and in great condiotion.
The bristles are very strong, and barely move. You can see from the photos below that the brush contains 3 rows of these firm bristles, and they are relatively compact.

How I Use It:
I used the narrow handle to section off the top half of my hair, and clipped the top layer up.
Holding my hair out at a 90 degree angle, I used the brush to backcomb my roots.
I then applied my favourite hairspray to hold the hair in place.
This process was continued all the way up to the crown of my hair.
To stop my hair looking like a birds-nest, I lightly brush the top layer of my hair to smooth it.

Before & After:
Before: Very limp roots                                                                           After: Lift & body   
Overall Effect:

As you can see my hair isn't stuck to my head (like it would be naturally).
This is more of a subtle lift for the day. If you want more volume you can easily achieve this with a bit more back-combing, and doing it further down as well as at the roots.

Overall I am really happy with this brush, and it was such a bargain!


Thursday 29 September 2011

Better Late Than Never!

So it's been an absolute nightmare trying to get hold of my first Glossybox (The Royal Mail lost it), but it finally arrived yesterday!

This is going to be a short one as I'm sure you've read enough reviews on the September box already, but I thought I'd share my thoughts on my first ever box.

Here's what my box contained:

01) Green People Day solution: 
"Suitable for all skin types this alcohol-free daily moisturiser helps to balance & nourish the skin."
02) HD Brows Palette (Bombshell): 
"Eyebrow experts have developed this fantastic multi-use palette containing four matte eye-brow colours. They double up as and eyeshadow and eyeliner & last 24 hours!"
03) Moa The Green Balm: 
"Crammed with organic yarrow and lots of other lovely natural stuff this little pot of Moa balm has many weird and wonderful uses."
04) Plum by Mary Greenwell Eau de Parfum: 
"A stunning classic chypre with a memorable modern twist."
05) Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner: 
"For longer, stronger hair. Adds bounce, body and shine. Ideal for colour treated hair."

My first thoughts:

01) From swatching it it seems like a really good moisturiser. Though I doubt I'll ever be able to get past the smell of it :/
02) I was so happy to see this in my box, as I've said before I am eyebrow obsessed. Though, having dark hair, I'm quite disappointed I got this in 'Bombshell' as it's clearly for blondes. Having said that, I haven't tried it out yet so I won't judge it too much until I've used it.
03) This has quite an unusual smell, but I actually really like it! I love multi-use products, so I will definitely be looking up all its uses.
04) At first I didn't think this perfume was anything special, but once applied it's really growing on me! Its a lovely musky floral scent, and I really would consider buying this (though the £90 price tag does put me off).
05) Finally the shampoo and conditioner: They claim to do everything I want in a shampoo and conditioner. I really cant wait to try these. They supplied 2 sachet's of each, so hopefully I'll get a good enough impression to do a review on them.

Value for money? With the HD palette alone, this box is definitely value for money!

Glossybox's customer service in regards to my lost box was amazing, and I couldn't have asked for any more from them. I always think customer service is so important in a company.
For this I would definitely recommend them to others.

As for the box, (despite the colour of the palette) I am really impressed with it as they definitely fit my beauty profile, and I can't wait to see what's in Octobers box!


Wednesday 28 September 2011

Holy Grail: Haircare

This post was quite hard to write because I'm still learning what works for my hair, but here are the Holy Grail products that I continue to buy over and over.

Without further adieu, here are the products and tools I love:


I use hair spray a lot, particularly when getting ready for a night out.
I use the L'oreal hair spray to hold any curls, or at the end to hold the overall style. I find this works really well.

My absolute favourite is Umberto Gianni's 'Backcomb in a Bottle' (read my review here).
I love volumnous hair, but naturally my hair is quite limp. I use this spray to aid in my backcombing, as it holds it well. Yet it feels like it does less damage when I use this.
-I recommend this to anyone who back-combs, or who needs that extra oomph.


These are two more products I use to give my hair volume. In slightly damp hair I spray Catwalk's Root Boost into my roots (sectioning my hair to reach most of the head). I then massage it slightly in, and lift my roots up whilst blow drying.

I also use John Frieda's Blow Dry Lotion before hair drying, spraying it through sections and brushing through. It works especially well if you blow-dry with a round brush (which I'll admit I cant always be bothered to do!)


I have used GHD's for nearly a decade now, and I can't see myself ever using another hair straightener. In that whole time I've only had to replace them once, and that was only because I stood on my 1st iron :'(


If your hair is limp like mine, you'll probably find no high-street dryer has enough power to give it lift.
Sallys stock dryers with a higher wattage than on the high-street, and they supply hair dressers so you know you're getting the best!

This hair dryer came from Sallys, and it is amazing. With normal dryers I always felt like I'd get more power from having someone blow on my hair instead. It's a little pricey (around £40-50),  but the power is enough to actually give my hair body! Plus it comes with 6 attachments. I can't claim to know what they're all for, but I love using the 2nd one from the right to heat up rollers.


On the left is a cheap brush from Superdrug, which does the basic job of keeping my hair knot-free. The bristles are quite firm, so they are very good at getting through my very knotty hair.

The comb I use to section parts of my hair, and then tease/back-come it for more lift.

On the right is my compact Tangle Teaser. This is for when my hair is a little too knotty, and its amazing at brushing out back-combed hair.


I wear these on a night out, or if my hair is looking a bit limp or thin.
I don't wear them for length (my hair's the same length of them anyway), but I do wear them to make my hair look thicker.

These came from Sallys, and were about £20 each (I have 3). I got them nearly 3 years ago, and they've lasted amazingly as they're 100% natural hair.
I would definitely recommend this for people with limp hair, but don't want to back-comb for thickness (though I'd recommend 4 for volume, or 3 for length).

So that's it for this week! My next Holy Grail post will be up next Wednesday.
Until then I'd love to hear your Hair Holy Grails.


Tuesday 27 September 2011

Boots 200 Clear Nails Review

As much as I hate to admit it, for most of my life I was a serial nail biter. From about the age of 2, up until I finished college, I continued to bite.
I dreamed of having beautiful long nails like everyone else around me, so by the time I did eventually stop I was very disheartened to discover I was never going to have nails like that.

My nails are very weak and bendy. I have grown them quite long(ish) before, but their shape is very distorted and they are very prone to breaking. So I've finally admitted defeat and decided to give falsies a go!


A friend of mine absolutely raves about Kiss's pack of 100 nails, so I popped into Boots to buy some (I tried their Everlasting Nails at the beginning of the year, and they were incredible!).

However, when I go there I saw Boots had their own version, but instead of 100 nails this pack contained 200, at less than £1 more. So I figured I'd give these a try (though I was a bit doubtful about the strength of the glue in this pack).

The pack contains 10 different sizes (20 of each) and nail glue.
Unlike Kiss's sets, these don't come with a nail file, which I think it could have needed.

-To begin with I picked out all 10 nails that were the closest match to my nail size.
-I then applied the glue to one of my nails, and then placed the allocated false nail on top, holding it firmly in place for a few seconds.
(note: I recommend cutting your own nails as short as you can before fixing a false nail to it, especially if your nails are prone to breaking)
-Once the nail glue has set, you can trim and file the nails to your desired length, and then you're done!

To remove these you simply soak them in acetone nail polish remover, and wipe away the nails and glue when soft.

Finished Result
I did go on to paint my nails, and no surprise I went for my absolute favourite colour: Tempting Taupe by Famous (see here).

My nails are naturally flat, but you can see these false nails are not. I have used false nails in the past but with disasterous results. Within 10 minutes I'd notice at least one was missing (with the rest soon to follow), and the glue would barely hold.

BUT, I've had these on for a few hours now with no problems at all! And they promise to last about 7 days.
I will update you to let you know if they lasted the full 7 days. So far, though, I'm very impressed.

I have 2 jobs which are pretty hands on, so if these can stand up to my lifestyle then the are pretty damn good!

I'd love to know if anyone else has tried these before?


Sunday 25 September 2011


At the end of August I said I'd be starting my Project Pan (here), where for the whole of September I wasn't going to spend any money on make-up, skincare or haircare.
HOWEVER.... I confess I broke my ban :(

You may have all seen that E.L.F. have frequently been offering very tempting deals, and had a few 50% off. Though I had managed to ignore them and resist the urge to spend. Until last week when I received an email from them which read "Last Ever 50% Off!"
-I had managed to resist their offers thinking that they do them so often that they'd have another 50% off by the time my ban was over. But this email showed this was potentially my last chance, so I logged on and and purchased :(

I thought I'd share with you the 9 products I succumbed to:


You may have seen a previous post (here) I wrote in converting an E.l.f palette to house my Dior 5 Couleurs eyeshadows. I wanted to get more to store my other one, plus any other awkward sized shadows I have floating around in my collection.

I got 4 as they're so cheap, and wanted at least on spare in case I need it in the near future.

Eyebrow Kit in Medium
        With Gel                                                                                       With Gel & Powder
You may know that I am a little eyebrow obsessed, so it's no surprise I bought this! I wasn't sure which shade to go for, so I played it safe and got it in Medium. 
I'm so glad I did as you can see the dark would have been way too much, as medium comes out quite dark as it is.

I'm very happy with this product.
The compact has a little mirror inside, and also comes with a tiny brush.
-And when I say tiny, I mean TINY! The dual brush it comes with is ridiculously thin. It's so difficult to handle as it's so small, and this is coming from someone with small hands :/ 
So I don't use the brush it came with, but other than that so far I love this!

Matte Lip Colour in Tea Rose
This is great for both lining and filling in the lips. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to add more definition to their lips.

I love this colour. This is the colour I've been hunting for for months. Its a lovely petal/neutral colour, with blue undertones (it's best for my skin tone, and perfect for whiter looking teeth). It's very soft, not too muted and not too in your face. For me this is perfect.
(Lip Swatches found down below)

Fantasy                                                                                                        Gypsy
When buying online it's difficult to truly see what colours your choosing, and these look a bit different to what I thought.
Out of the 2 colours I'd say Fantasy was more suited to my skin tone. Gypsy is a bit too 'in your face' for me, and I can't see myself ever having the confidence to wear this. Though Fantasy isn't really 'me' either. Though I can definitely see these suiting others.

They're definitely good quality lipsticks. It's just a shame the colours don't suit me!
(Lip Swatches found down below)

      Bark                                                                                            Pink Lemonade
I hadn't seen any reviews on these (due to me not looking for them) so I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the feel of the 'liquid'. I guess I was hoping it would be very smooth, yet when I applied it it did have a sticky consistency.

Now I'm really not a big fan of lipglosses, because I hate the feel of having thick sticky goo on my lips. But the stickyness of this is very tolerable. It didn't feel like my hair would be likely to stick to it (if, say, I got caught out in wind) and these glosses give a nice minty, cooling sensation when applied. They're very subtle colours, so I will be using them on top of lipsticks to make slightly custom colours.

                 Tea Rose                                 Tea Rose with Bark (bottom lip)
Fantasy                                                         Gypsy

I haven't had a chance to use this yet, though I've been wanting to try this for ages.
I'll review this once I've got round to using it.


I had my eye on this for a while as I have a few travel-sized brushes, yet I had nowhere to store them or keep them safe.
You can see it's a little long for my travel brushes, BUT it's better than having them rattle around my bag.

Alternative Use:

You could always use this to organize any make-up you take with you on your travels.
This would store eyeliners & mascaras too, though lipsticks would get lost.

This was my total spend:
Elf Quads: £1.50 (75p)
Eyebrow Kit: £3.50 (£1.75)
Matte Lip Colour: £3.50 (£1.75)
Lipstick: £1.50 (75p)
Liquid Lipstick: £1.50 (75p)
Brush Cleaner: £3.50 (£1.75)
Brush Case: £5 (£2.50)
Total: £13.72

I know I've broken my ban, but this was potentially the last time they have 50% off for at least a few months, so I've saved money in the long term. And other than for swatches, none of this will be used until my spending ban is over. And I will continue this ban until the end of the month regardless.

It probably doesn't count, but it's better I see this as a bump in the road, instead of giving up and spending money with the idea that 'I've failed, so I might as well start spending again'.

Did anyone else take advantage of this offer? Would love to know what you got!


Thursday 15 September 2011

Holy Grail: Face Products

Continuing with my Holy Grail series, I will now show you my favourite face products that I use everyday (or at least every time I do my make-up). There is a mixture of high-street bargains as well as high-end.
I already dedicated a post to my foundation, but here you'll find the rest of the products I use to enhance the look of my complexion: Blusher, Bronzer, Highlighter and Finishing/Setting Powder.

They are all listed in the order I use them in:

W7 Honolulu Bonzer, £1.99 from Savers

You can probably tell by the fact that it's almost finished that I like this bronzer a lot! 
I first heard about it from Nicoletta's Beauty Blog, and at such a low price I felt I had to go out and try it. She recommended it as a bargain dupe for Benefit's Hoola bronzer. Once I started using this bronzer I felt no need to look elsewhere for one. 
Once I run out completely I will 100% be getting this again!

Famous Shimmer Brick in Pink, £7 from Superdrug
GOSH Natural Blush in True Cinnamon, £6.50 from Superdrug
I use two blushers to help enhance the appearance of cheekbones (as I am completely lacking in that department). 
-I use the Lighter one by Famous on my cheek apples, and then the darker one by GOSH to contour lightly from my hairline, and along my cheekbones, to meet the other blush.
Note: I have to stress that you really do not need to use a lot of blusher, just apply it lightly and build up if you think it needs it. 
I just use these to add a subtle colour to give my face a little more definition.

Liquid Highlighter
Clarins Instant Light, £24 (full-sized)

This is a sample I got from Clarins, and it's designed to be used as a base to enhance your complexion. However, I've been using it as a liquid highlighter, applying it just to my cheekbones, and I think it works perfectly. You only need a small amount, so even this sample lasts ages.

Because I mostly wear mineral POWDER foundation, I don't get to use this often. Though if I do turn my powder into a liquid foundation/tinted moisturiser, I use this to highlight.

Powder Highlighter
M.A.C Eyeshadow in Tissueweight, £9.50

Most of the time, whilst using my powder foundation, I love using this eyeshadow to highlight my cheekbones. 
I just take a small contouring brush, lightly pick up some of the eyeshadow, and sweep it across my cheeks. It gives a lovely subtle highlight, and you really don't need a lot of it so the eyeshadow definitely doesn't get wasted by using it this way.

George Pressed Powder in No.1 Porcelain, £4 from Asda

Finally, I apply this powder to mattify after I've applied the above products (but before I do my eyes or lips). 
I discovered this on a whim whilst shopping in Asda, but I really didn't hold out much faith that it was going to be any good. Though it proved me wrong.
It's no miracle powder, it does what it says, and its a lot better than many pressed powders I've used.
The colour matches mine perfectly, the powder doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, and doesn't look cakey or orange. 

This powder is very good value for money, and I'll be back for more once its gone.


Tuesday 13 September 2011

DIY Acne Treatment: Sea Salt Toner

Acne is something I suffered with through my teens, and I know how it can knock confidence. While I had it I was given next to no advice on how to clear it (other than to clean my skin twice a day, and then given a foul smelling topical treatment to apply which did not work for me at all). I was not told to avoid foaming cleansers (seriously, do avoid them), and was definitely not told about the healing
properties of salt.
Many people with acne find that after swimming in the ocean their skin looks a lot clearer. This is because salt is a natural antiseptic, and helps heal the skin.
Though, as autumn is already upon us, I doubt many of us would brave a dip in the sea!

This is a very quick, and extremely cheap, DIY tutorial to help give you clear, beautiful skin:

Difficulty Rating:

-Fill a spray bottle with water.
-Add (approx) 1tsp of ground sea salt to the water, close lid, and shake well until the salt disappears.

-Shake well before each use.
-Spray toner onto a cotton pad, and apply to your skin (after cleansing)
-Moisturise as usual.

Use this as you feel necessarry. Everyone's skin is different. For example: If you find it a bit too drying use it every other day, as apposed to everyday.

I got this recipe from one of my favourite Youtube Guru's: Andreas Choice.
I no longer have acne, but do get troubled skin from time to time. I started using this toner today, and will report my thoughts on it once I've had a chance to use it more.
But it is all natural, and salt has been used for centuries to cure skin ailments, so I do have a lot of faith in it.

For more sea salt skincare recipes (including this one) check out her video here.

I would be very interested to know if anyone's used salt to clear acne before, and how well it worked.

@ Beauty Not Just Skin Deep.