Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Swatches – Kim KW & Very Victoria

I got these lipsticks for either Christmas or my birthday – it’s hard to remember which when your birthday is on Boxing Day! I thought I’d do some swatches and share my thoughts on them in case you were interested in purchasing them for yourself, or like me, you just love lipstick.

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These lipsticks come in gorgeous, vintage-style rose gold packaging and feel very luxurious in your hand. The lipsticks themselves are slightly different to your standard lipstick because of the squared off tip. I’m not convinced this makes a dramatic improvement to application though so it makes no difference to me.

The two shades I have here are Very Victoria, which is in the Matte Revolution formula, and Kim KW, which was part of the Hot Lips collection and I believe is in the K.I.S.S.I.N.G formula. I hadn’t seen these in person before I got them so I had to go off pictures I found online. Luckily I was happy with the colours – they are beautiful. I was hoping Very Victoria would be a shade close to MAC’s Velvet Teddy and it’s not too far off.

charlotte tilbury hot lips kim kw kardashian west review swatch

Kim KW is such a gorgeous, pale, pinky-peach nude! It’s probably not to everyone’s taste but I love it and it’s certainly the kind of shade that Kim Kardashian-West became known for.

The finish of this lipstick is quite high-shine and glossy which is a nice change when you’ve been wearing matte lips a lot. I will say that I occasionally find the formula a bit gloopy so it definitely looks best if applied to freshly exfoliated lips otherwise you could become victim to the dreaded inner lips lipstick line. It does feel lovely on the lips though, you can feel it there but not in a bad way and it does help hydrate. Despite being fairly glossy it’s not sticky and it lasts rather well! I love this one and it’s my favourite of the two.

charlotte tilbury matte revolution lipstick swatch review very victoria

Very Victoria is a hard to describe shade, I’d say it’s kind of a brown-pink nude. It has a matte finish but not the kind of matte you get from a liquid lipstick. It’s still got that tiny bit of sheen that allows it to still be hydrating and non-drying.

I like this lipstick but I don’t love it. There’s something about the pigmentation and application that just didn’t wow me – and you kind of want to be wowed with a price of £24. It could partly be to do with the fact this colour is fairly similar to my natural lip colour. Without trying another colour lipstick in this Matte Revolution formula I can’t say for sure. It is however a nice enough lipstick that feels good on the lips and lasts a reasonable amount of time. A lack of creaminess and super amazingly intense pigment just makes me question whether at £24 it’s really worth it. I think I need to try it with a lip liner and see if that changes anything! I’m still on the fence with this one.

So, a quick re-cap. I love the Kim KW shade and am not head over heels for Very Victoria. I’m not convinced these lipsticks are all they’re raved up to be for £24 either. As much as I love Kim KW, it’s more the shade than the formula that wins me over. I also think the photographs on the Charlotte Tilbury website are inaccurate! Maybe it’s just my screen resolution but when I look at these shades on the screen and in real life they just don’t look the same – studio lighting does not give the truest representation so I hope I’ve helped someone with my natural light photos haha.

Charlotte Tilbury is widely available now in John Lewis and House of Fraser, and online at CharlotteTilbury.com, Feelunique and CultBeauty.

Love Nicole xxxx

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KIKO Extra Sculpt Volume Mascara Review

I bought the KIKO Extra Sculpt Volume Mascara (£8.90) when I was in need of a new one after hearing the beautiful KathleenLights rave about it in her YouTube videos. It was pretty affordable at £8.90 (I paid full price but it’s often on offer for £3.90) and she made it sound so amazing and as good if not better than high end alternatives! Thus naturally, it was an obvious choice when I was in need of a new mascara.

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I understand KIKO is not the most accessible brand in the UK but it is getting more and more so. Stores are popping up over the country and it’s easy to order online if there’s not one near you – I had a very good experience ordering from their website.

The packaging of this mascara is a bit bulky in my opinion and it’s not my favourite! I do prefer a more simple, round tube but having said that this angular shape makes it a hell of a lot easier to take photographs of, ha!

The effect this mascara gives is wonderful! I certainly agree that it’s a volumising mascara and I didn’t find it clumpy – I don’t mind a bit of a clumpy look anyway! It held the curl I achieved with my eyelash curlers well and it didn’t smudge or run despite me being prone to watery eyes. It did however flake a bit but it was nothing of major concern to me.

Despite really liking the look it gives I do find you have to work for it. This is because of the rather giant brush. I like the shape of it and I do think this helps with reaching the corners of the lashes however I tended to make a right mess when I used this mascara! I like to really get in there and coat everything multiple times as I like my lashes as big as possible (without looking like spider legs though) and I found I got it everywhere. The bristles are very dense and don’t really envelope the lashes very well so you do need to repeat a lot to get into everything nook and cranny leading to, for me anyway, a bit of a clean up job with a cotton bud after. The brush definitely took me some getting used to but I did get better with it and gradually made less of a mess each time I used it. If you’re more into a quick coat of mascara and are not all that bothered about drenching your lashes in the stuff like I am then I think you’d be really happy with the quick volumising effect it gives!

Overall, it really is a great mascara and offers good value especially if you buy it when it’s on offer for £3.90. I don’t completely love it because of the clunky brush and the mess I make with it but I would buy it again!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Gosh X-Ceptional Wear Foundation in Porcelain Review

Foundations are one of my favourite type of products to try so I have to hold myself back from buying loads of different ones! I try not to have more than 5 at any one time so that I can make sure I can use them all up before they go past their best. I do love trying affordable foundations but now that I try to buy products only from cruelty free brands my options are more limited. I bought the Gosh X-Ceptional Wear Foundation (£7.99) last year to try and now I’ve used it all up I can share my thoughts on it!

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The foundation comes in a tube and is nothing fancy but this does mean that it’s hygienic and easy to travel with. I chose the colour Porcelain which was probably slightly too pale for me but I was a bit concerned that the next shade, Natural, would be too orange for me. When this is the case I would always suggest going for the paler option and make it work by bronzing your face up afterwards! Other than that, the shade Porcelain is very nice and seemed to have the right sort of undertone for me and wasn’t too yellow.

I used a Beauty Blender to apply this (as I do with most of my foundations, I’ve completely gone off foundation brushes) and it gave a very nice, natural looking finish that didn’t settle in my rather large pores and wasn’t at all patchy. The formula of this foundation is quite thick and creamy but I didn’t find it heavy on the skin. On the back of the tube, Gosh describe it as a matte finish however I wouldn’t really say it was an exceptionally matte finish, it still looked healthy and natural.

As for coverage, it wasn’t as full coverage as I ideally like from a foundation. Even after applying many layers I still couldn’t completely camouflage all trace of the red marks on my cheeks and chin. It definitely did a good job of evening out my skin tone in general though so I would say it gives a medium sort of coverage. With my loose powder on top I was still happy enough with the coverage to go out and about without extra concealer so it really isn’t bad. 🙂

I don’t recall having any complaints about the longevity of this foundation. However, I do always use a primer and set with a loose powder so that of course helps!

Overall, I’m a bit on the fence about whether I’d buy this again. For the price, it really isn’t half bad. However, I do really love trying new foundations so I have to be truly wowed to buy the same one twice. If I did buy it again, I would possibly risk trying the next shade up, Natural, and seeing if it was a better match or too orange like I feared!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Things I’ve Been Loving Lately

I thought it’d be nice to share a few things I’ve been loving and enjoying recently! As well as beauty products, I’ve got a few more ‘lifestyle’ things to share too. Let’s start of with the beauty bits first though!

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette (£41) (read my dedicated review and see swatches of it here)

I’m so happy that I don’t regret purchasing this! With the high price-tag I was worried it wouldn’t be worth it but it really is a gorgeous palette and I reach for it a lot whenever I’m wearing makeup that day. I’d say my most used shades are Buon Fresco, Raw Sienna and Warm Taupe.

Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm (£2.50)

I bought this stuff on a bit of a whim as I had an offer on my Boots Advantage card for triple points on a purchase from the Botanics range. This was super affordable and I had read a couple of positive comments about it on other girls’ blogs. I really like this stuff! It’s very fluid so you only need the tiniest bit to cover your entire face. Lately I’ve been using it on no makeup days for some extra hydration or as a primer under makeup to likewise add some hydration but also some glow! It feels very cooling on the skin and for the price I think it’s a lovely product to use.

The Body Shop Honey Bronzer Bronzing Powder 01 (£14)

This is such a beautiful bronzer! My Nars Laguna bronzing powder (which is gorgeous) is running low so I wanted something in stock ready for whenever that runs out. However rather than using up Laguna first like I intended I keep reaching for this Body Shop one instead! I was worried it would be too light and unnoticeable on my skin as I chose to buy the lightest shade but it turned out to be just what I hoped. I don’t really like a super deep, orangey bronze on me, especially when I’m pale after Winter so this is a perfect shade that just gives me some colour and definition without being too much. A separate review and swatch is on my to-do list!

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer Fair 1 (£4.19)

I still love this concealer so much! I’ve tried the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer and I still prefer this one over both of them! It does have similarities with the Nars one but considering the price difference I still have to say I prefer Collection’s. I use this under my eyes, down the nose, on my chin and on the centre of my forehead and blend it in with a damp Beauty Blender.

B. Clean Melting Gel Cleanser (£6.99)

I bought this when it was on offer for a crazy good price to use as my next makeup removing cleanser once the current one was finished. I am loving formulas like this at the moment! I remove my eye makeup separately and then use this to remove my base by applying some to my dry face and massaging it all over to melt away the makeup and remove any leftover traces of eye makeup. I then wipe it off with a damp cloth or flannel and it works brilliantly! I’ll then proceed on with a second cleanse with a different product. I wouldn’t use this as my ‘proper’ cleanse, only to remove makeup.

That’s it for beauty products, now a few other favourites!

Chinti & Parker (clothing brand)

This is more of an inspirational favourite as I don’t own or plan to buy anything from this brand. I came across them numerous times on Instagram and I just love their designs, particularly the jumpers! They’re a premium brand that are way out of my price range but I love browsing their Instagram. 🙂

Yoga with Adriene (YouTube Channel)

I have fallen in love with this woman! She’s so soothing and seems to have a wonderful personality. I bought a yoga mat a few months ago but only recently got around to actually using it! I searched ‘yoga’ on YouTube and Adriene’s channel was the first listing so I tried out one of her videos. I’ve now done some yoga every day for the past week and I’m really enjoying it which I must credit partly to Adriene. She has dedicated videos for beginners so there’s no excuse not to give it a try if you’ve ever contemplated taking up yoga. I think it’s going to have a really positive effect on my mental heath too – I hope so anyway!

Mikey Pearce (YouTube Channel)

I bloody love Mikey! I’m an avid viewer of YouTube and came to know Mikey through his cameos in Joe Sugg’s videos. When he made his own channel I had to subscribe because I absolutely loved his personality. He’s so funny and quirky with his ‘posh’  sounding accent and constant exclamations of ‘Corrr’! I think he just comes across very sweet and genuine. My favourite videos are his skits or comedy sketches; they have me laughing out loud. He’s also openly talked about his body insecurities and how he’s trying to work on getting fitter which is very endearing, bless him. I think we often forget about men when we talk about body confidence etc!

And thus ends this post! Thank you for reading and if you have any recommendations or suggestions you think I might like after reading this, please let me know! 🙂

Love Nicole xxxx

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Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits: Prosecco Pop and Amaretto

In January I snapped up one of these Champagne Splits from Becca’s collaboration with Jaclyn Hill. There was a choice of four split pans containing one highlighter and one blusher. I wanted to get the ‘Amaretto/Prosecco Pop’ split as I really liked the look of the blush colour ‘Amaretto! Plus, I hadn’t treated myself to a new blush in a loooong time.

I know I’m a bit late posting about this as it was Limited Edition, however, Becca have recently introduced ‘Prosecco Pop’ into their permanent collection so it’s still worth showing a swatch! Who knows, maybe even ‘Amaretto’ will be released as a separate, permanent blush in future.

Firstly, the packaging is gorgeous. It’s in Becca’s signature little ‘spaceship’ compact as I like to call it, but this time the outside is gold! How beautiful?! <3

Whilst this little duo swatched nicely, I’m sad to say they didn’t really impress me on the face.

Regarding ‘Prosecco Pop’, the highlight shade, I think it’s mostly a case of the shade just not really suiting my complexion! This is a true gold and I think it could look very pretty on medium-darker skintones but on my skin it doesn’t really show up much. It mainly looks like I’ve just got some glitter on my cheeks because, as with most Becca pressed highlighters, it’s pretty sparkly! However, I wasn’t really expecting to love ‘Prosecco Pop’ and I mainly purchased this product to try out the cheek colour – ‘Amaretto’. I do love their ‘Champagne Pop’ highlighter shade though which was Jaclyn Hill’s first release with Becca – that one suits me much better!

Unfortunately, I haven’t fallen in love with ‘Amaretto’. Whilst I do love the colour, it’s a kind of terracotta shade, I’ve found it quite hard to work with. It is highly pigmented so it’s best to use a light hand and build it up slowly to ensure you don’t go overboard – especially on paler skins! I also found it quite difficult to blend which means if you do go a bit over the top and apply too much, it’s not the easiest to blend out to tone down. It just seems quite dry and heavy! I think this shade will be pretty in summer when I’ll hopefully catch some sun. I’ll continue to use it of course but it’s not left me excited to try any other Becca blushes.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette – Swatches & Review

I’ve had this palette since Christmas so I’ve had enough opportunity to test it out and gather my thoughts. This is the Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette (£9.99) that you can buy from various retailers like Superdrug, Boots and Feel Unique. It contains two baked powders, one cream formula and one shimmer powder.

I love all the shades but I must admit I’ve not actually used the cream formula on my face yet. Creams are not really something I reach for on a daily basis but it swatched nicely so I might get around to using it one day! My favourite is probably Subsolar (the shimmery, yellow shade) closely followed by Hemisphere (the pinky shade). I’ve found that they last well on my face.

As you can see in the swatches, this palette has some pretty intense colour payoff! However, the swatches are with my finger so of course this is not the effect you get on your face when you use a makeup brush. I use a fan brush from EcoTools to apply these highlighters and I find that works really well and picks up enough pigment to still deliver a very intense highlight but not leave a ‘stripe’ of product. I’m sure some people would find it too much but for me I love the finish!

The highlighters are encased in a beautiful gold case which is quite unusual and luxurious for an affordable, ‘drugstore’ brand! Yes, it may be prone to finger prints but it’ll look beautiful on your Instagram feed. 😉 Speaking of which, follow me @nicolelauraxo!

If you want an intense highlight for an affordable price and that is easy to get hold of in the UK, then you can’t really go far wrong with this palette from Sleek.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Skinny Dip

I wanted to share this absolutely gorgeous shade of liquid lipstick. It is one of the Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipsticks (£11.50) and is in the shade ‘Skinny Dip’. I don’t know exactly how to describe the shade, it’s a nude that leans towards pink and brown but I feel like there’s a hint of mauve too. Whatever it is, I think it’s one of my favourite shades!

The formula of these is really nice. It’s not at all drying for a liquid lipstick. The application is lovely; it’s creamy and opaque and you can do your entire lips with one dip. It takes a few minutes to dry down to a matte finish. When it does it gives a velvety, plush appearance and I find it doesn’t enhance the lines on my lips as much as some other liquid lipsticks. It’s not completely faultless, I have had a few incidences where it’s broken apart slightly or formed that weird white line around the inside of your lips, but this isn’t the norm and is probably caused by me not exfoliating my lips beforehand or eating something! So I wouldn’t let that put you off and I say definitely give them a go if you love the matte lip look. It is a very nice formula and not too expensive. The frosted glass packaging is also a nice touch. 😉

What do you think of the colour? If you have any questions on the formula, please feel free to ask me in the comments!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit – Surreal Light Review

While it’s still available, I wanted to do a quick review of the most recent Ambient Lighting Edit from Hourglass. You can still buy it from Space NK (£69).

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To look at, the palette is undeniably gorgeous. Encased in luxurious, matte marble, plastic packaging are 5 different ambient lighting powder products. There is one all-over setting powder (that’s the largest pan), two blush shades, a bronzing shade and a strobe powder. Here is the description of the different powders taken from the Space NK website:

“• Surreal Light: a sheer nude powder evoking the magic hour of perfect lighting

Surreal Bronze Light: a neutral tan shade fused with Surreal Light, for a subtle, natural warmth

Surreal Glow: a pale peony pink blush mixed with Surreal Light for a delicate flush

Surreal Effect: a cool, pink rose fused with a soft, warm peach for a pop of flattering color

Surreal Strobe Light: a glimmering peach powder imparting an alluring highlight”

The palette is a perfect travel companion too as it’s got all you need in terms of complexion powders.

One thing I will say is the pans are pretty small so using big brushes is not the easiest. Especially with the setting powder and the bronzer, where you tend to use a bigger brush, you have to kind of squish your brush so you don’t pick up product from the neighbouring pans! It’s not a big deal though and I’ve gotten used to it. 🙂

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L-R: Surreal Light, Surreal Glow, Surreal Effect, Surreal Bronze Light, Surreal Strobe Light

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I really love this palette! When used all over my face as a setting powder, the Surreal Light shade makes me look so healthy and glowy – it’s beautiful. These ambient lighting powders are gorgeous because they don’t look particularly ‘powdery‘ on your skin. This means you can set your makeup without having to look completely matte or cake-faced.

The blushes are beautiful shades and give a pretty, healthy pop of colour to your cheeks with an added glow.

I actually really love the Surreal Bronze Light shade! I’m fairly light-skinned so what I love about this shade is that I find it almost impossible to go overboard with. I know it’s pretty pale as far as bronzers go but that’s what I like about it. It just warms up my complexion and has no orange-ness to it. It looks so natural and gives me such a gorgeous, healthy colour! However, I can see this being pretty useless as a bronzer on medium-dark skin tones.

The last shade to talk about is Surreal Strobe Light, which is my least favourite in the palette unfortunately. It’s a gold toned shade to be used as a highlighter. My problem with it is how glittery it is! There is a lot of glitter in here. I feel like when I apply it to my cheekbones there’s not all that much colour pay-off or sheen, the overriding effect is glitter, which is not really my vibe for highlighters. I’ll still use it, it’s not terrible, it’s just not my ideal highlighter.

Overall, I am very happy with this palette and don’t regret buying it! Hourglass’ powders are beautiful and I love how convenient this palette will be for when I’m staying overnight at my boyfriend’s or going on short trips and need to pack light.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette – Review

I had resisted buying this palette for so long! But there is such fuss (and it is frankly unavoidable on Instagram) whenever it is restocked that the latest time it was restocked on Beauty Bay I caved and paid my £41 for this hugely hyped palette.

So, what do I think of it and do I have any regrets? It’s not exactly a cheap palette after all!

The short answers to those questions are: it’s beautiful and no, I have no regrets.

I would say this is predominantly a warm toned palette and the colours very much appeal to me. I think it is a very thoughtfully put together palette; it has a fantastic range of colours that can be used to create all sorts of different looks. There are plenty of matte brown-y shades that make great crease colours or all over lid colours for a neutral look. Also, there’s the dark brown ‘Cyprus Umber’ if you want to make things a bit darker and more smokey. Then you have non-neutral options in the form of the reds, pinks and purples. Finally, there’s ‘Tempera’ and ‘Vermeer’ which are gorgeous ‘highlight’ type shades. ‘Tempera’ I find is beautiful under the brow and ‘Vermeer’ is a lovely inner corner highlight. But of course, you can do whatever the hell you want with each colour!

The formula of the shadows is quite powdery however I don’t find this a problem when applying them to my eyes. I don’t find I get much, if any, fall-out under my eyes after I’ve applied them. They are a gorgeous texture and super pigmented; the swatches were so easy to do, that is what they look like with one swipe! I don’t think there are really any ‘dud’ shades as such, I initially had a few problems blending ‘Warm Taupe’ but I’ve learned it’s better to build that one up slowly. Overall they are pretty dreamy eye shadows!

A word on the packaging: I bloody love it! I don’t think it can get anymore ‘up my street’ than pink velvet (give me pink velvet boots, skirts, cushions…) so this palette is a thing of beauty to me inside and out. I can see how it can potentially get very dirty and be difficult to clean but I am going to treasure mine and keep it as clean as possible in its box.

The only downside I can find with the palette is that it says it has a 6 month expiry. What is that about?! That seems really short for a powder product so I don’t know what’s in the shadows that has warranted such a short expiry date. However, I view the dates on products as a guideline and if there’s still plenty of shadow left in this palette after 6 months, which I suspect there will be, I’ll just be using my common sense as to whether it’s still okay to use. I’m not going to just chuck a £41 palette in the bin! However, it has made me conscious to use this often and not be precious about it.

So, do I recommend buying this palette? If you like the colour range and have the funds, then absolutely! I was prepared to be disappointed after all the hype I’d read/seen about this one but I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I love this palette!

Love Nicole xxxx

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P.S the brush that comes with it is actually not half bad! A usable brush in a palette for once – shocker!

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Hylamide Low Molecular HA – Review

I wanted to talk about my new favourite hyaluronic acid serum! This is the Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster (RRP £18). Hyaluronic acid is a popular skincare ingredient that we do have in our bodies naturally but when used topically it can really help to hydrate the skin! I have used two other serums with a notable amount of hyaluronic acid in them – Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Facial Serum (RRP £24.99) and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£22.50) – however this one from Hylamide is definitely the one I have personally found most effective in terms of hydration.

I really like the look of the packaging, it looks very high-tech and scientific! I’m not completely sold on the pipette dispenser, but it has come in handy now that I’m running very low on the serum as I can use it to suck up the last bit at the bottom. When it was new I just tended to wipe off the excess on the pipette and use that as opposed to squeezing it out – looking back this probably wasn’t the most hygienic thing I could have done lol. I’ve gotten used to the pipette now so it doesn’t put me off repurchasing it but I do always prefer a pump.

The serum itself is more liquid that the other two hyaluronic serums I’ve tried (mentioned in the intro) that were more gel-like. I think I prefer it being more liquid as I reckon this is partly why I have found it so hydrating. Having said this it’s still by no means incredibly runny and doesn’t move like water, it still clings to the pipette and is not drippy.

The more I’ve used it the more I’ve found that a little can go a long way. At first I was probably using too much and I could have made the bottle last a lot longer. Using it both morning and evening on most days, I reckon by the time I’ve finished the bottle it will have lasted about 2 .5-3 months which is not bad for a product that RRP’s at £18 and that you can often use discount codes on.

I have definitely noticed a difference in the hydration of my skin since using this serum. The texture when applied to your face is initially a bit sticky but it sinks in very quickly allowing you to apply your moisturiser. When I’ve used this I no longer wake up with ‘tight’ feeling skin in the morning which is great! Maybe the 5 forms of hyaluronic compounds said to be within this serum are the secret to its effective skin quenching abilities!

I definitely recommend trying this if you think you have dehydrated skin, which you can have with any skin type, even if you’re oily!

Love Nicole xxxx

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