Lotions/ Creams -Garnier - Body Repair restoring moisturiser for extra dry skin
EmmaMo 10/4/2011 2:18:00 AM
I've tried practically all the body moisturisers available in Boots (e.g. Vaseline, Dove, Johnson's, Neutrogena, Jergen's, Soap and Glory, The Sanctuary, St. Ive's) and this is definitely my number 1 daily moisturiser. My skin tends to be dry; nothing too horrendous or problematic but I do find I need to moisturise every day. This moisturises fantastically well for a lotion (only a body butter/oil could do better IMO). It even does a reasonable job on areas that usually need extra help like elbows and heels. It's also incredibly spreadable and sinks in very quickly. It smells a little too sweet for my taste but this fades pretty quickly and it doesn't interfere with my perfume. The smell is nowhere near as strong as Garnier Hydalock. It's a great price for the quality of the product and with offers I find I can get it for approx 5 for 400ml. Packaging is functional: typical Garnier bright red plastic with a small flip cap. Overall, highly recommended!
I have this in #17 Rose Dahlia, a beautiful pinky-coral-rose which is strong enough to be somewhat of a statement lip yet subtle enough to not overpower your makeup/outfit. It's a very unique colour and it's a great alternative to a bright pink/red lip, especially during the day. I find it really lifts my complexion. It was the only colour that really stood out for me in this line: there are a lot of typical nudes, beiges and the obligatory red. The finish is satiny and it feels nicely moisturising but not slippy on lips. It wears away evenly over a few hours (reasonably long-lasting) and leaves a pretty tint if you can't get to reapply in time. I kept smacking my lips when I first tried this as I loved the moisturised, slightly bouncy feel it gave my lips. The packaging is the usual YSL shiny gold and while it looks luxurious initially the finish tends to dull. However in the early days it's great for using as a mirror to reapply. It has a rose/powdery fragrance which I didn't love, but didn't hate either. I love lipsticks and to be honest this is probably my favourite one: interesting colour, wonderful finish, lasts well. The only downside is the price (around 30) which is a lot steeper than I'd like. However I would repurchase (I haven't found another lipstick quite like this one) and will be checking out other YSL lipsticks to see if they can compare to this. If these are more expensive than you would be willing to pay then I'd recommend Bourjois lipsticks: great pigmentation and a decent satin finish with lovely packaging.They're especially good for red lipsticks.
If you find most shower gels dry out your skin then this is a good pick that's very widely available. I've always found that Dove produce good basic-but-moisturising body washes. They're not the most luxurious but I've found that they perform better than many mid-level shower gels (e.g. The Body Shop, Soap and Glory) and they would be my 2nd choice (after shower oils) if my skin was dry. This range is even more moisturising than most Dove shower products and has a lovely rich creamy lather which cleans without stripping. The scent is, admittedly, strongly synthetic and soapy (more noticeable than the usual Dove fragrance) but it does fade and I don't find it too intrusive. I've had no problems at all with the packaging and have managed to use all the product. 200ml is slightly less than the usual 250ml amount but I find this product is worth the tiny difference in price. Speaking of price, this is ridiculously cheap for how well it performs and I would be willing to pay a lot more for it. I bought this for less than 2 recently which I thought was great.
Moisturizers -Olay - Total Effects Moisturizing UV Formula
EmmaMo 10/3/2011 11:36:00 PM
When I started getting more diligent about my skincare a couple of years ago I found it difficult to find a chemist/drugstore moisturiser with broad spectrum spf at a reasonable price. My mother had used this for years and after trying it I was a total convert. I have slightly dry skin and hardly ever get spots but I can have problems with roughness/poor texture if a moisturiser is too rich. This is a very pleasantly scented thick cream which smooths on and absorbs quite quickly. It doesn't sting my eyes as ferociously as other spf creams and doesn't have that tacky, over-rich texture they often have either. It provides a lovely base for makeup and instantly freshens up my tired morning-face. I don't really have wrinkles (yet) so I can't comment on that aspect. However it keeps my skin feeling smooth and does a good job maintaining an even skintone. I think the spf 15 is perfectly adequate for day-to-day use in Ireland (or Britain). It also contains niacinamide, vitamin c, vitamin e and green tea extract, which I think is a pretty good combination of antioxidants for a non-cosmeceutical cream. I feel I don't need an extra serum for day use; I just use a retinol/peptide one at night. The only downside is that I think this is overpriced (18-20 for 50ml) for something sold in chemists/supermarkets. It's usually discounted however, which I think is when most people buy it. Overall, I'm really happy to use this consistently as my day cream. I'm considering trying the Regenerist only because it has broad spectrum spf 30. Still though, this is such a great product that I think it's one I'll always come back to and it definitely deserves a 5 star review.
Cleansers -L'Oreal - De-maq'Expert Elixir Concentrate
EmmaMo 10/3/2011 10:14:00 PM
I usually favour hot cloth cleansers but I wanted to try something new for travelling as I hate carrying around lots of cloths which you can't clean/dry properly on the move. I also like oil cleansers but they really aren't the most portable! After some digging around it seemed like Clarins Pure Melt Gel was ideal but I was loath to pay over 20 for it. I saw this spoken of as a dupe so I got it on Ebay for approx 5 for 100ml. This works really well and takes off every scrap of makeup. It comes out as a pale yellow oily gel and has an inoffensive, if synthetic, soapy/caramel scent. It spreads out in a pleasantly thick oil on a dry face and needs about 30s of working into the skin. It emulsifies nicely but needs a couple of rinses before getting rid of all the residue. Like other reviewers have said it can blur your vision slightly (I've found most oil cleansers do the same) but there is absolutely no stinging in my eyes. I dried my face with a white towel and there were no marks left on the towel, not even mascara. I don't think I've ever had such a thorough cleanse without using a muslin/microfibre cloth. I know others have said that they need another cleanser after this but tbh I find this adequate by itself if I rinse it properly. I didn't feel as though it left a film on my skin; it was just clean and comfortable with no burgeoning dry patches. It's packaged in a tube with a sturdy flip-top lid which makes it perfect for travelling. I didn't expect to be able to use it without cotton wool which is an added bonus. Unfortunately I think L'Oreal are discontinuing this where I live and I can only get it on the internet. I can't believe I ignored it for all these years. I'll have to frantically stockpile it! The only reason I'd try the Clarins version now is if it smelled amazing (which I've heard it does) and if I get a good price, because I can't imagine it working better than this one. I'm a bit hesitant to give this a 5 star review as I feel I haven't used it for long enough. However, if I develop any problems with it I'll be sure to update.
I try to avoid calling something HG but to be honest this is one product that probably deserves it. This mascara lengthens and gives fantastic volume without any clumping (I hate mascara-clumping with a passion). It's very layerable as well, so I don't need 2 mascaras for day/night like I did with others. My sister and I both use this mascara constantly and we have been asked numerous times about our false lashes/lash extensions. I've stopped using false lashes (which I hate applying btw) because of this. It takes a while to get used to the brush, especially if you're used to more traditional-style wands, but the effects are worth it. You get a lovely fan of defined, lengthened, but incredibly thickened lashes. My lashes are pretty curled so I can't comment on the curling effects unfortunately. The colour is good; not an incredibly inky black but close enough. I recently picked up the black/brown by mistake and found it was great for a less harsh day look (I've always used black mascaras in the past). I've used lots of different Rimmel/Maybelline/L'Oreal mascaras, as well as nearly every single Lancome mascara and this beats them all. The only mascara I would put on a similar level is Diorshow. For a pharmacy/drugstore product this is at the higher end of the price range (15) but I generally stock up when there's a 3 for 2 offer on. Also you get 13.1ml of product, in comparison to a lot of other mascaras with 8ml. This can be a little too fluid when first opened; I find it's best consistency is after a couple of weeks of use, at which point I have to make sure to tighten the cap well after each use. It can dry out quite easily if you're not careful. In summary, this is the best mascara I've ever used. Every time I try something else it makes me realise how great this actually is. Buy it!
Gels/Soaps -L'Occitane - Amande Cleansing and Soothing Shower Oil
EmmaMo 10/3/2011 6:26:00 PM
Usually I have to moisturise after every shower as I have pretty dry skin. However, when I'm in a rush and have to skip the moisturiser I use this and it really saves my skin from drying out. It forms a milky, very light lather and has a sweet almond smell. I'm not the biggest fan of almond scents but this dries down to be quite subtle and pleasant. I like the balance between cleansing and moisturising properties, but if you need a really thorough clean you probably need something with more lather. This is also great for shaving your legs instead of using gel. The packaging works well although eventually you will probably get water trickling into it and thickening the oil. However it's not half as bad as with other shower oils I've used and the slightly sqeezy container is better than a pump. I've used Nivea, The Sanctuary and Nip + Fab shower oils in the past. L'Occitane remains my favourite: it smells better than Nivea/The Sanctuary (though not as lovely as Nip + Fab) and is more moisturising than Nivea or The Sanctaury. I found the Nip + Fab one the best for moisturising but it did a very poor job of actually cleaning me! This is expensive (18-20 for 250ml) but as I use it infrequently and it's such a pleasure to use I don't particularly mind. I've given it to people as a gift numerous times and would definitely recommend it if you have the money.
Cleansers -Boots - No 7 Radiance Boosting Hot Cloth Cleanser
EmmaMo 10/3/2011 5:21:00 PM
This is a product which works so well I tend to forget about it. I've used it for almost 2 years, ever since I decided to move on from foaming cleansers which dried out my skin. I like all my makeup to be removed at the end of the day and although I like a thorough cleanse I hate having to faff around with separate eye makeup removers and toners. It's a thick whitish cream which melts in to dissolve all my makeup easily (including heavy eye makeup/liquid eyeliner). I don't have to scrub or tug at my skin for it to work. It rinses away cleanly after using a hot cloth and my skin is left feeling comfortable and residue-free. If I don't put on moisturiser for a couple of hours my skin doesn't get dry and tight like with other cleansers. I never wake up with panda eyes after using this. The pump dispenses the right amount and it's easy to travel with. There's a very subtle creamy floral scent to it (a lot less strident than Liz Earle C&P). My one criticism is that the supplied cloths are thin and a little scratchy. They also don't hold the heat in well. I prefer to use muslin cloths from The Body Shop or facecloths. I find one container (200ml) lasts 4-5 months with once daily use. It costs around 12 but I usually get it with Boots vouchers, making it fantastic value. I've also used Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish (which, let's face it, the No7 cleanser is a pretty direct copy of) and I found the C&P had a strong eucalyptus scent (quite like Olbas oil) and required more working into the skin and more product. Another similar product is The Sanctuary hot cloth cleanser which I think is the most inferior one I've tried. Overall this is a brilliantly effective, gentle cleanser at a great price which I think would suit most skin types.
Cleansers -Boots - No7 Quick Thinking 4 in 1 Wipes - All Skin Types
EmmaMo 10/3/2011 4:51:00 PM
I don't like using wipes to cleanse but I always have these on hand in case I'm too "tired" at the end of a night out or if I need a quick cleanse before redoing my makeup. They're wet enough, don't irritate my skin, remove makeup well (for wipes) and have a subtle scent. They don't leave a greasy film on my skin (which so many other moisturising wipes do) yet I find my skin isn't parched in the morning if I forget to use moisturiser. There's a hard plastic snap lid which is great to prevent them drying out, especially if you use them as infrequently as I do. I would find it difficult to shell out for these at full price but thankfully Boots give out vouchers so frequently that these end up being really cheap. I can't see myself changing from these any day soon seeing as 1) I can't see wipes getting much better than this and 2) I don't think cleansing wipes are a category deserving of a frantic search for HG product.
Cleansers -Unlisted Brand - Nip + Fab Clean Fix Cleansing Oil
EmmaMo 10/3/2011 4:21:00 PM
I was excited to finally see a cleansing oil available in my local pharmacy but unfortunately this failed to live up to expectations. It smells wonderful, a mixture of citrus and orange blossom, which is one of the reasons I continue to use it occasionally. It also does a reasonable job removing my makeup. However this stings my eyes and I've woken up with puffy eyes after using it (usually I have very few problems with sensitive eyes). I think this is probably due to the strength of the fragrance which is a pity. If I don't put on moisturiser soon afterwards my skin starts feeling a little tight, which is exactly what I hope to avoid when I use oil/balm cleansers. Also the oil tends to seep out of the screw-on part of the pump. For the amount you get (120ml) it's not particularly cheap (I think about 16). I will try to use it up (it's pleasant in the mornings when I don't have to massage it in near my eyes) but I definitely won't be repurchasing.
This is a pretty palette that's good for a weekend away or if you're the type to touch up your makeup a lot during the day. However if you're looking for a dramatic smoky eye then there's no way the shades are pigmented enough. It contains a shimmery pewter and pink shadow duo, a matte dark grey shadow, eye bright, brow zings, black eyeliner pencil, double sided brush (fluffy/slanted) and a mini tweezers. The standout is the highlight shadow which gives a beautiful non-glittery sheen to cheekbones, browbones and cupid's bow and is probably the best powder highlighter I've used to date. The other shades are pretty for an inoffensive day smoky eye which you can layer up for a light evening look. Eye bright works well but can be hard to dig out. Brow zings is too reddish-toned for me. The blender brush is quite good though the slanted brush is too thin. The tweezers do a good job and the eyeliner is pretty meh, though decent in a pinch. It comes with an excellent mirror (something I always appreciate in a palette). Overall I wouldn't be rushing out to buy this again (although I'd love to get my hands on an individual pink shadow) but I suspect I could be swayed as it's quite a handy thing to have in your bag and can give a very pretty finish.
If you don't have many eyeshadows or want a decent-sized palette to travel with then you can't go too wrong with this. There's a great selection of neutral/smoky shades and they have the usual high-quality pigmentation/blendability/vibrancy that you get with Sleek. Packaging is great, I like the mirror especially, although the applicators should be thrown away. The shadows can be a bit crumbly and one shattered after (admittedly) an awful lot of rough usage. This was all I used for eyeshadow when travelling for over a month in South America and I was really impressed. The matte black shade is also great as a powder liner. I do agree with the reviewer who said that the addition of a matte/semimatte highlight shade would make this even better (If you're looking for a cheap shadow for this purpose then Boots 17 do a good one in Ivory Coast). This is a definite repurchase for me.
This is a great product, not just "for the price". The shadows are creamy, nicely pigmented, blend easily and last well. All the finishes are shimmer, some of them much more sparkly than others so beware if you prefer a matte/subtle finish. Really impressed with the bronze/green shades and pink shades in particular. The packaging is great; very portable and I use the mirror a lot. However the shadows can crumble a little in the pan. Overall, I'm really happy to have bought this and would probably repurchase.
This is probably one of the best pen-type concealers out there (definitely the best of the chemist/drugstore brands). I've used it for what seems like years at this stage and every time I try something new I return to this with a sigh of relief. I recently bought YSL touche eclat in the new formulation (2nd lightest shade) and I did a direct comparison (each applied to one undereye area over the course of 1 day). I found this had better coverage, lasted just as well and the colour was a much better match. However IMHO touche eclat is better used as a highlighter or if you have very minor pigmentation. I have reasonable dark circles (nothing too scary but I find I always need concealer) and this does a great job of covering them without drying out (or being too watery) and lasts well. I find that 1 pen lasts for ages as well. The colour range is good, with a wide range of undertones although it's hard to figure out what shade you have once you take off the sticker to open the cap. I think it's pretty expensive for a chemist/drugstore product though still a lot cheaper than dept store. Will definitely continue to buy this until it's discontinued.
I've always been wary of Maybelline foundations, having tried some disastrous ones in the past; however I was instantly converted when I sampled this one. I've used this foundation for over a year now and I'm still very happy with it. It's very blendable, gives a light-medium satin finish and is buildable if you want more coverage. Lasting power is pretty good for a non-longwearing foundation and I'm always surprised by how much comes off at the end of a long day. It applies excellently with fingers or a flat-top brush but I wouldn't bother with the included sponge. It feels nicely creamy on the skin (not too silicone-y) and you only need a small amount of product. Plus it's widely available and cheap. Luckily the lightest shade is a great match for me (I tend to have some trouble matching foundation) but the shade range is quite poor, especially if you have darker skin. I don't particularly like the packaging: it's very portable but I would prefer a mirror and the twist off cap can be finicky. I used to use Bourjois 10 hr sleep effect but I find this less heavily fragranced, easier to apply and it gives a slightly less shiny finish although the overall fresh-faced result is similar. Another similar product is Benefit Some Kinda Gorgeous Lite although the Benefit is much sheerer, has a lighter, more silicone-y feel and is more expensive for less product. I like foundations that give an even, slightly dewy effect but don't give a mask like finish and Dream Creamy really delivers. I've gotten many compliments on my skin (people thinking I'm not wearing any foundation) and most people mistake this for a much higher-end finish. Overall this is going to continue being my staple foundation and I highly recommend it.