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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Skincare, Bodycare and Perfume Empties with Mini Reviews

Following on from my Makeup Empties post, here is the rest of the stuff I accumulated. There’s a real assortment so I’m going to do my best to keep it short and to the point.

I had this mini size of the ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (£40). I absolutely loved it as it was delightful to use; it felt so luxurious and nourishing. I’d love to say I would buy it again but I don’t think I could bring myself to pay the large price tag… Maybe if I ever have a very well paid job! But if you do have the money to spend on luxury skincare I totally recommend.

The Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash (£16) was not to my taste at all. I didn’t hate it, but the formula is more of a (as it says in the name) ‘wash’ and is kind of foaming and I prefer balms or creams. I didn’t like how it felt and I didn’t like the smell.

I’ve written a whole post on the Trilogy Make-up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (£20.50) so if you want more detail have a read of that but in short I think it’s a fantastic cleansing balm and I enjoyed using it and would buy it again.

A collection of makeup removers next…

I really didn’t like the Boots Time Delay Daily Cleansing Micellar Cleansing Water (£4.49). I found it really stung my eyes and wasn’t that effective at taking makeup off. It took a lot of cotton pads drenched in the stuff to get everything off. I would not buy it again.

The next product however I have already bought again – Botanics All Bright Soothing Eye Make Up Remover (£2.50). I really like this eye makeup remover and I agree that it is soothing. It has a very oily, silicone-y feel on the skin which will probably not be to everyone’s taste but I love it and it’s probably what I find soothing about it.

Another Botanics product, the All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution (£2.50), was okay. It was better than the Boots Time Delay one but it still wasn’t the most gentle on my eyes. I found it slightly drying also. As I’ve spoken about in earlier empties posts, I love the other micellar water by Botanics – the Hydration Burst 3 in 1 Micellar Cleanser (£4).

The Lush Eau Roma Water (£4.50 for 100g) was a bit of a meh product for me. It took me ages to use it up as I just didn’t really enjoy using it, probably partly to do with the fact I don’t really love the smell of lavender. I also found it would irritate my eyes if they were feeling a bit sore already. I wouldn’t repurchase.

A product however I love, and have given it’s own post, is the Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz (£4). I really like this product and I think it’s great value. It’s very refreshing and gives a boost of hydration. I would definitely buy it again.

The Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) is such a popular product within the beauty community and I count myself as a fan. I already have another bottle on the go! I didn’t find it performed any miracles for me personally, but that’s likely because I was no stranger to glycolic acid when I first used it so my skin was already in pretty good nick. I just find it a gentle, reliable liquid exfoliator that I can use morning and evening to upkeep my skin condition.

The Antipodes Joyous Night Replenish Serum (£39.99) took me a long time to use up. This is a pricey product and I’m afraid I don’t think it was worth it, even though when I bought it I got it for around £25. I didn’t really notice any benefits from it that I hadn’t seen from less expensive serums. I love Antipodes as a brand and how natural everything is and you can tell this serum (to me, it’s more like an oil) is beautiful quality with lovely ingredients, it just personally didn’t do much for me. Hence, I would not repurchase.

I bought the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£22.50) when I was looking for a good hyaluronic acid serum. I read a good review on it on Paula’s Choice so I thought it’d be a good one to try. I did really like this serum but it didn’t completely wow me in terms of hydration. I also found I finished it really quickly which was annoying as it’s not cheap. Having said that, I think I probably would buy it again as I did like it and apparently it’s fantastic for anti-oxidants.

The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (£22.99) seems to be a popular mask among the blogs I read and rightly so! I enjoyed using this mask and reaping the benefits of the anti bacterial manuka honey. It was great for stubborn spotty skin and I would definitely buy it again.

A rather fun to use product is the Pixi Glow Mud Mask (£18)! It’s a black colour and makes you look rather terrifying when you put it on. I loved/hated how it would dry and I could see all of my pores as black dots on my nose and cheeks! The tube surprised me with how tiny it is but actually it did last me a long time as you really don’t need to use much. However, I’m not sure I noticed any real, tangible benefits from using the mask, and it’s not exactly cheap so I’m not sure I would buy it again.

As of right now, the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 (£28) is my holy grail daily moisturiser. I have written its own dedicated post which you can read here if you’d like to know why. I’m onto my third tube now I think.

The unscented Salt of the Earth Spray Deodorant (£3.99) is a pleasant enough natural deodorant however I much preferred the other version shown here which is the Salt of the Earth Pure Aura Women’s Natural Deodorant (£5.99). I just prefer my deodorant to have a scent and this one smells incredible. I have written a whole post on these deodorants if you’d like to read more. I would definitely buy the Pure Aura one again!

I absolutely love this body lotion and can’t believe I hadn’t tried it before. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Body Lotion (£3.75) is so thick and creamy to use and I feel it really does give deep moisturisation as well as smelling amazing. I’ve already purchased another bottle of it and I love that it’s so affordable and available in so many shops.

I finally finished up one of my favourite perfumes – Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gioia. It had started to smell a bit funny tbh because I’d had it so long so I was making a conscious effort to use it up before it went past the point of no return. Unfortunately, Giorgio Armani is not a cruelty free brand so I’m not sure if I will repurchase in the near future. It’ll be hard not to because I love it but hopefully one day all cosmetics companies will go cruelty free.

I don’t think this Antigua fragrance by Next is available anymore but it smelt bloomin’ gorgeous! It seems to be available as a reed diffuser and candle though. I may have to buy that candle…

Lastly, I got this sample size of the this works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (£16) from a magazine. I rather optimistically hoped this would miraculously knock out my anxious mind every night but, alas, it did not. It smells good and like it should be calming and I believe that it does work for some people but for me, I just seem to be resistant to this sort of stuff.

Phew, we have reached the end! I hope you enjoyed reading my opinions on these products I’ve finished and remember to subscribe or follow me on Bloglovin!

Best wishes, Nicole xxxx

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Latest Makeup Empties with Mini Reviews

I am back with another makeup empties post! I never know how popular these are but I personally find it really interesting to see what people think once they’ve finished a product. Finding out whether they would buy it again, or not, is surely one of the most indicative pieces of info to help you decide whether something is worth buying.

First up is a trio of base products.

Let’s start with the Essence Stay All Day 16h Concealer (£2.50). I was hoping this would be an affordable gem but I did not get on with this. In fact, I didn’t even finish it because I found it did nothing, but I did give it to my sister to try to see if she likes it; we all have different preferences so who knows, it might work for her. I used it under my eyes and I personally found it to have very poor coverage! It was quite a liquidy, watery formula and I do tend to prefer concealers that are quite creamy and thick. It was a fail for me.

Next up, the bareMinerals Illuminating Mineral Veil (£21). I bought this to use as an all-over setting powder and I actually quite liked it! However, if I were to buy it again I think I would get the non ‘illuminating’ version. I didn’t find it ridiculously ‘sparkly’ or anything, but it was just a little bit too much for me. However, the formula is great and it helped my makeup to last all day and it didn’t look cakey. I also like the packaging, which has a twist closure to keep the product locked in so it doesn’t go everywhere like many loose powder products are prone to.

Something I was very sad to find in my empties was the eye wateringly expensive Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (£40) in the shade Diffused Light. These are truly gorgeous powders and I used it all over my face as a setting powder, similarly to the bareMinerals one I spoke about above. It ensured I never looked too matte or powdery but it helped my makeup to last. It did give a luminous effect, I won’t go too crazy with hyperbole because it’s not a complete miracle worker, but it does give you a pretty, natural looking glow and doesn’t look too ‘made up’. If I was feeling flush I would buy again but I would probably try a different shade, just because I love trying new stuff! If you saw my recent Space NK Haul you’ll see I bought the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette which has a new shade of the Ambient Lighting Powder, so I’m covered for the time being. 🙂

I think I discussed this NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray (£7) in a previous post I did on my NYX Collection, so I’ll keep it fairly brief. I did really like this setting spray. I haven’t tried loads of others so can’t say it’s the best in the whole world but for the price it does pretty much everything I would want it to. The main thing for me is to keep my face looking as fresh as possible and not too powdery which I felt this did. It helped my makeup to all mesh together. I probably would repurchase!

Onto mascaras I’ve finished and I’ll begin with the best – the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (£19. I’m not one to venture frequently into high end mascaras as I don’t think it’s a product you need to spend loads of money on for results. However, I will definitely buy a full size of this in the future! It is a brilliant mascara that makes your lashes so thick and full! The brush is pretty big and it took me a while to get to grips with, but once I learned to apply it and not get it all over my eyelids I fell in love. If you love big lashes then I definitely recommend trying this.

An affordable mascara that unfortunately did not impress me and I would not repurchase was the SEVENTEEN Falsifeye HD Mascara (£6.99). I like big lashes and this didn’t give me them. I feel like the brush just doesn’t pack enough product onto the lashes and the plastic bristles are quite short and insubstantial.

I bought this Kiko Unforgettable Mascara (£7.20) last year when they had a deal on their website. It was okay. I had high hopes for it as the brush looked promising however it didn’t wow me and I wouldn’t repurchase. I think the brush was maybe a little too dense so that it couldn’t quite grab and completely envelope the lashes to make them reach their full potential.

I’m pretty sure I’ve raved about this next product before on my blog. NYX Micro Brow Pencil (£7) is an excellent, fuss-free eye brow pencil. It’s twist up so no need to sharpen (perfect for the lazy among us, *guilty*) and has a brush on the other end to tame your brows. I had the shade Ash Brown which was a pretty perfect match for me and I have already bought another one.

The next product is very similar and equally as good. The Soap & Glory™ Archery™ 2-in-1 Brow Filling Pencil & Brush (£8) is likewise a twist up pencil with a brush on the other end. The application and formula is just as good as NYX’s. The only downside is that there is only two shades so unless one of these suits you, you’d be stuck.

Last up, I’m afraid it’s another Seventeen product that I really thoroughly disliked and didn’t actually finish because I just couldn’t bare to use it. The SEVENTEEN Make Your Mark Soft Eyeliner Pen (£3.99) is just not comfortable to use at all! The tip of the pen is just far too stiff and rigid and scrapes against your eye! Eyes are sensitive things and I don’t want to feel like I’m scratching my eye out, it was genuinely painful at times! Additionally, it was not super black either and I couldn’t bare to press any harder to see if I could get better colour pay-off. I definitely wouldn’t buy this again, but I do actually like Seventeen as a brand so despite having a bad experience with two of their products I’ve talked about in this post I will continue to keep up to date with things they release and try new things.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these products I’ve finished and make sure you sign up to my email subscription or follow me on Bloglovin!

Love Nicole xxxx

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NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks | Sandstorm, Soft Spoken, Tea & Cookies

Another post on the items of makeup I own the most of – lipsticks! These are from NYX and are called Liquid Suede. I have three colours in this formula and I love them!

‘Sandstorm’ (which is my favourite) is a browny, pink nude , ‘Soft Spoken’ is a red, brown nude and ‘Tea & Cookies’ is what I would consider a true pink colour!

nyx liquid suede cream lipstick lipstick review sandstorm tea and cookies soft spokennyx liquid suede cream lipstick lipstick review sandstorm tea and cookies soft spoken swatches swatch (2)

NYX describe them as a cream lipstick that glides on like silk and sets to a velvety matte finish. I agree with all of this. The formula is creamy and smooth and the applicator is great and makes it easy to apply. Pigmentation is good and I generally find one layer is perfectly adequate. It’s quite a thick formula so I find it takes a while to set, longer than most other liquid lipsticks I’ve tried, however because it remains so comfortable on the lips I really don’t mind that it takes longer to dry down. Once dry, I think velvet matte is an accurate description of the finish. It’s definitely not completely matte and retains a little bit of sheen. I think calling these liquid suedes was spot on and I absolutely love the finish it gives.

Due to this not-super-matte finish I find they wear very nicely, even on their own with no lip liner underneath. Once dry I find they can last a good few hours comfortably on your lips. It can sometimes be hard to know when they are completely dry so I have had a few transfer issues on occasion but this doesn’t really bother me!

The shade range is decent but I personally love nude colours so I’d love if they expanded the range with more nudes as I love the formula so much. I have seen on their website that they’ve launched a few new shades, one of which called ‘Brooklyn Thorn’ looks appealing to me so I might have to snap that up if it’s available in the UK.

These sell for £6.50 each and are available from Boots, Feel Unique and ASOS. I think they are well worth the money and they are definitely one of my favourite liquid lipstick formulas that I’ve ever tried.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Dose of Colors Matte Liquid Lipsticks | ‘Truffle’ and ‘Bare with Me’

As a huge lover of all things lipstick, I had to try the matte liquid lipsticks from Dose of Colors. They go in and out of stock on Beauty Bay and I am still patiently waiting for ‘Stone’ and ‘Desert Suede’ to come back into stock long enough for me to order them! I’ve had the link bookmarked for months and despite checking every day I always seem to miss them, or maybe they’re just not getting restocked!

The shades I do have however are ‘Truffle’ and ‘Bare with Me’ and they are gorgeous! ‘Truffle’ I would say is a brown, rosey nude whilst ‘Bare with Me’ is a more of a peachy, nude pink.

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The pigmentation of these is fantastic; the texture is creamy and moussey which I really like. They dry down to be super matte and whilst this can make your lips look quite dry, they don’t actually feel drying, which is a major plus as I hate products drying out my lips. I do find they wear off in a rather unappealing way sometimes however, where bits start to flake off and separate and you get that kind of line around the inside of your lips. They don’t always do this so I can’t quite put my finger on why they do it some times and not others. I think I have much better success with them when I wear a lip-liner underneath, they don’t seem to wear off as badly so maybe that’s the secret. Application is easy as the applicator is a great shape and one dip is enough for the whole lips.

These are some of my favourite lip products and I love wearing them. They look so nice on and the colours are perfect. The packaging is really cute, I love the frosted glass, and the brand is proudly cruelty free. <3

Love Nicole xxxx

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My High Street/Drugstore Go To Skincare Brands

As much as I love dabbling in premium skincare I am always trying to find great affordable products in the likes of Boots and Superdrug. I really enjoy trying lots of new products and when you come across a brilliant, affordable product it’s much more satisfying than purchasing a £30 cleanser! Also, there’s far less room for disappointment when you’re paying less for a product.

Today I thought I’d share which brands I gravitate towards when I’m in Boots or Superdrug and share any product experiences. As far as I am aware, all the brands I am going to mention are cruelty-free which is something I actively seek out.

nip and fab glycolic fix daily cleansing pads no 7 boots cleansing melting gel superdrug vitamin e naturally radiant hot cloth cleanser boots botanics super facialist vitamin c

Nip + Fab

Nip + Fab is the great, affordable sister brand to the premium brand Rodial. They make some fantastic products, my favourite of which being the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Pads. They are definitely worth a look if you’re wanting something effective but affordable and they are often on special offer. Nip + Fab is available in both Boots and Superdrug.

No 7

Boots’ No7 brand is, in my experience, often overlooked in the online beauty world, but they really do have some lovely products. Their Melting Gel Cleanser was very nice to use and I’ve just bought the Hot Cloth Cleanser which I cannot wait to use tonight! It looks really luxurious and I used one of the £5 off No7 skincare vouchers that are periodically given out so I got it for a great price.

Superdrug Vitamin E Range

This is an extremely budget friendly range and I really like the scent of it. It’s obviously nothing fancy but I’ve never had a bad experience with any of the products and I am really loving the Toning Facial Mist at the moment. I really need to try the Hot Cloth Cleanser from the range too.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Range

Another Superdrug own brand that is super affordable whilst having really great products. The Hot Cloth Cleanser is gorgeous.

Boots Botanics

Back to Boots now and I am a big fan of the Botanics range and always check it out whenever it’s on offer. It uses lots of natural and organic products and extracts which is a plus and is a purse friendly price point with nice packaging. I particularly like the Rosewater Toning Spritz and the Hydration Burst Micellar Cleanser.

Super Facialist

If you’re after a more premium feeling brand but with a more appealing price tag, then Super Facialist by Una Brennan may be one for you to check out. There are some gorgeous products for a variety of skin concerns and the packaging is so pretty! I’m currently trying out the Vitamin C+ Eye Cream which I am enjoying so far. Some tried and tested products that I really like from the range include the Rose Hydrate Cleanser, Anti Blemish Clay Mask and Vitamin C+ Cleansing Oil. As far as I’m aware this range is only available in Boots.

Good Things

Another brand which I think is only available in Boots, Good Things concerns itself with including only ‘good things’ in their products by omitting many of the nasties of the skincare world like parabens and mineral oil. I think it’s probably quite good for teenage skins as there are lots of products aimed at clearing skin and they have a lovely manuka honey range which is anti-bacterial therefore great for treating spots. And of course, it’s affordable for young people who might not have access to lots of money! I really need to try the Manuka Honey Face Mask; I can’t believe I haven’t already!

Yes To

Yes To is a majority natural based brand. Their product range is vast so you’re bound to find a range to suit your needs. They also do hair care and body care so there’s plenty to try. I had good experiences with the Yes To Carrots range; it was nothing phenomenal but it did the job. Yes To is available in Boots and also on ASOS.

So, there’s eight great ranges for you to check out if you’re searching for more affordable skincare. 🙂

Love Nicole xxxx

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My Favourite Chemical Exfoliants | Nip and Fab, Pixi, Alpha H, Paula’s Choice

I am a big advocate for the benefits of using chemical exfoliants. In fact, as you may have seen in my Current Skincare Routine post I use them every single day and night! I used to have quite bad, spotty skin, and I still think I would if I didn’t control it to some extent with the help of these products. They essentially help your skin cells to turnover therefore hopefully lessening the chances of pores getting blocked and forming spots. I still have far from perfect skin, but it is much, much better than it was before I introduced products such as these into my routine. I am generally much happier being seen minus makeup and when I am wearing makeup it looks so much better because of fewer lumps and bumps.

And just in case you don’t have a clue where these would fit in your routine, they should be used straight after cleansing and before any moisturisers, serums or oils.

pixi glow tonic nip and fab glycolic fix daily cleansing pads alpha h liquid gold paulas choice skin perfecting 2% bha liquid exfoliant

I love and recommend all of the products pictured but I thought I’d try to break them down to help you see which one might be best suited to your needs! Most of these are AHA (glycolic acid) products but there are a couple which contain BHA (salicylic acid).

If you’re on a budget…

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads (£12.99) and Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme (£14.95) are absolutely amazing if you’d prefer to keep costs down. The prices in brackets are just the RRP but I’ve never paid full price for these as they are nearly always on some sort of offer at either Superdrug or Boots. I got this pot of the original pads for £5 from Superdrug last month – absolute bargain! I love these pads and they were the first chemical exfoliant product I tried and they completely changed my skin for the better with daily use. The extreme version contains both AHAs and BHAs so if you have particularly problem skin they could potentially be a good choice.

If you have sensitive skin...

I was surprised how gentle Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) was when I first tried it! The formulation is quite natural based and refined and it is an alcohol free formula which is great in terms of not drying out or irritating your skin. However, the ingredients list does include fragrance which surprised me as it doesn’t really smell of anything at all – maybe that’s the idea. Overall though I think this a brilliant option if you have a more sensitive skin type thanks to its gentle formula containing soothing ingredients.

If you’ve used glycolic products before and want something more extreme with noticeable results…

If you’re looking to brighten your complexion and even out your skin tone all whilst effectively resurfacing your skin to help prevent blockages, then Alpha H Liquid Gold (£33.50) may be a worthwhile investment. Again, shop around and look out for discount codes and offers and you can save yourself £££s off the hefty price tag. I do really think it’s worth a splurge though – this is my second bottles of it, which I got in a supersize! I generally use this as an intensive treatment overnight whereby I cleanse and then apply this to my skin and leave it overnight without applying any subsequent products. I find I wake up with my skin looking much brighter with less redness which is amazing.

If you’ve got oily and/or problematic, spotty skin and/or you don’t get on with glycolic acid…

This is my one recommendation that is a solely BHA product containing 2% salicylic acid. It is from Paula’s Choice and is called the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£25). This is excellent at getting into pores and controlling spots thanks to the salicylic acid. It feels almost velvety on the skin when you apply it which I found surprising – it does not feel harsh at all. However, whereas with all the other products I have mentioned which I would use every day and night, with this product and the fact salicylic is stronger and more drying than glycolic, I would only suggest using this one a maximum of once a day either morning or evening. I found when I used it both morning and evening my skin began to dry out and look a bit flakey which would look awful when I applied makeup. So I reckon once a day or once every other day would be the ideal, depending on how much your skin can take! If you’re particularly oily maybe you could cope with it twice a day, but that definitely wasn’t the case for me as someone with normal/dehydrated skin.

I hope you found this somewhat helpful and that I’ve intrigued you enough to make you try one of these great products. I couldn’t imagine my skin care routine without a chemical exfoliant now!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Makeup of the Evening – FOTD

This is a bit of a rushed post as I had nothing scheduled or planned for today, but I’d been doing so well so far managing to post every day in October I didn’t want to let a day slip by with no post.

So I thought seeing as I’m going out tonight I’d share what makeup I’m planning on wearing. It could change but this is what I’m planning on trying and hopefully it’ll look good! My partying and drinking every Saturday is behind me but tonight I am going for a meal with my two best girl-friends to celebrate their birthdays (which are a week apart). We’re going for an Indian so I’m looking forward to that!

Here’s what I’m planning on chucking on my face…

nars sheer glow foundation mont blank collection lasting perfection concealer fair nyx banana hd powder nars steven klein palette hourglass ambient lighting powder diffused lightanastasia beverly hills illuminator so hollywood nars steven klein face palette collection lasting perfection concealer fairnars sheer glow mont blanc becca backlight priming filter hourglass ambient lighting powder diffused light nyx hd banana too faced primed and poreless primernyx brow pomade make up geek creme brulee eyeshadow the balm mad lash by terry ombre blackstar misty rock soap glory eye liner supercat lily lolo urban decay primer potionnars semi matte lipstick scarlett empressnars semi matte lipstick scarlett empress swatch

For my face I’m going to use Becca Backlight Priming Filter (£32) all over face and then some Too Faced Primed and Poreless Primer (£24) on my nose and apples of my cheeks, as this is where my pores are largest and most noticeable. For foundation I’m going with Nars Sheer Glow (£31) which I have in the shade ‘Mont Blanc’. My favourite concealer is still Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19) in the shade ‘Fair’ so I’m going to use that under my eyes and on any redness that’s still peaking through. I’ll then set my under eye area with the NYX HD Finishing Powder (£8) in the shade ‘Banana’ which is brightening. I’ll then set the rest of my face with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (£40) which I have in the shade ‘Diffused Light’ (this is virtually empty now, can’t bring myself to repurchase it with that insane price tag)!

To add some colour and life back to my skin I’ll use the Nars One Shocking Moment Cheek Studio Palette (this was a limited edition palette). It has the  Laguna (£28) bronzer and a great shade for contour. My favourite blush is the palest pink one so I’ll probably go for that one. For highlight I think I might go with this one called ‘So Hollywood’ from Anastasia Beverly Hills. This too was unfortunately limited edition and I can’t find it anywhere linked online, sorry!

For eyes I’ll go in with the Urban Decay Primer Potion (£16) and curl my lashes with these cute eyelash curlers from Primark. To line my upper and lower water line I use the Lily Lolo Eyeliner Pencil (£6.99) in black. I don’t like faffing around with eye shadow so I think I might go for my fanciest eye shadow stick which is By Terry Ombre Blackstar (£29) in ‘Misty Rock’. I’ll then probably just define my crease with Makeup Geek Eyeshadow (£5.50) in ‘Creme Brulee’ which I always do as it looks so pretty and defines the eyes beautifully. For mascara I am absolutely loving theBalm Mad Lash Mascara (£15) which I wrote a whole post about which you can read here if you would like! I might add some falsies but we’ll see how I am for time! Got so much to do… paint nails, straighten hair, do makeup, choose outfit! And I can never be without some eyeliner, so I’ll just line my upper lash line with some Soap and Glory Supercat (£6).

For eyebrows I absolutely love NYX Brow Pomade (£5.50) which I use in ‘Brunette’. This stuff is awesome and can still look really natural or you can go bolder. Great stuff.

I’m still very unsure on which lip colour to rock, but I’ve yet to don a dark, berry lip shade this Autumn (how criminal of me) so I am considering going for the Nars Semi-Matte Lipstick (£20) in ‘Scarlett Empress’. But, let’s be honest, no lipstick is going to last the course of me eating an Indian meal anyway so a top up will be essential!

So that’s my current thinking for tonight’s makeup… What do you think? I hope you enjoy your Saturday night whatever you’re doing.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Current Skincare Routine

This Sunday I thought I would talk about one of my favourite things: skincare. I’m pretty happy with my current routine but I’ll explain any products that I’m not particularly taken with and wouldn’t recommend or buy again. I always make sure to use products up as I absolutely hate waste! Unless they’re causing me some kind of bad reaction then I use everything.

I am using different products for my morning routine and my evening routine so I will go through them separately! Just as an FYI, I have normal/dehydrated/spot prone skin.

current skincare routine normal dry dehydrated skin pixi glow tonic boots botanics rose water toning spritz first aid beauty serum paulas choice spf 25 skin recovery daily moisturizer

Morning Routine

The cleanser I am using in the mornings at the moment is the Superdrug Clearly Youthful Cream Cleanser (£3.69). I was excited to try this as it has AHAs/BHAs in it which are great for gentle exfoliation and of course, it’s a fantastically affordable price! Unfortunately, I don’t personally enjoy using it and I find it stings my face and feels quite harsh. I’ve not had any horrible reaction to it, it just doesn’t feel nice to me. However, I think this would probably be great for people with oily and/or more mature skin.

I then go in with a cotton pad soaked with Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) all over my face. This is a lovely gentle exfoliating toner that I didn’t find drying. I didn’t experience any miraculous results from it but I will definitely buy it again as I do think it helped to keep my skin smooth and keep spots in check.

Next, I use about four spritzes of Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz (£4) all over my face. I recently did a whole post dedicated to this product, which you can read here. This adds some hydration and refreshment.

For my serum I am using the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£26). I chose to buy this after reading a very positive review on Paula’s Choice. I have to say I agree with most of it now I’ve used it! It’s a very refreshing gel formula that has good ingredients to help improve your skin’s condition. It does initially quench dehydration however for me it’s definitely not enough on it’s own and I still need extra moisture from a moisturiser or oil. According to Paula’s Choice though it has excellent anti-oxidants so that’s a big plus.

The eye cream I’m using, which seems to be never ending and is lasting for ages, is the First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Eye Cream (£23). It has a nice, almost velvety smooth feel to it which makes application very pleasant however it’s hard to notice with eye creams whether they’re actually doing anything. It hydrates which is the main thing but I’ve already bought a different eye cream to try once this one is empty. I’d like to try something that can help brighten the under-eye area.

Lastly for my morning routine is my moisturiser. It contains SPF which is now an absolute must for me as I’ve pledged to use SPF everyday but I can’t be bothered with having a separate SPF. It is the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 (£28). I’m planning on doing a whole separate post on this product but I really like it and this is my second tube. It’s a thick, whipped, creamy texture with mineral/physical SPF protection. This means it’s gentler and generally safer and suitable for sensitive skin. I hugely recommend and we should all be wearing SPF daily if we want our skin to age well.

boots micellar water alpha h liquid gold hydraluron indeed labs face theory lush aroma toning water trilogy make up be gone cleansing balm

Evening Routine

For that initial makeup removal I use a micellar water. The one pictured here that I’m currently using is Boots Time Delay Daily Cleansing Micellar Cleansing Water (£4.49). I am not a fan of this as I don’t feel it’s particularly effective at removing makeup and it really stings my eyes! I will not repurchase this. My favourite is still Botanics Hydration Burst 3 in 1 Micellar Cleanser (£4).

For my evening cleanse I am using Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (£20.50). Again, I hope to do a whole individual post on this product where I can properly rave about it. If you love cleansing balms like the ones from Emma Hardie or Elemis, or you wish you could try them but find them just too expensive, this is a fantastic value alternative. I appreciate it’s still not super cheap but with deals and discount codes you can easily get this for around £15 like I did and it’s beautiful!

Now’s my exfoliation step where if I’m not using Pixi Glow Tonic or if I feel like my skin is crappy and needs something more powerful, I will use Alpha-H Liquid Gold (£33.50). This is my second bottle of it which I got in a supersize 200ml. If my skin really needs help I will apply Liquid Gold with a cotton pad and leave it there as regards to my skincare for the night. This gives an intensive treatment and it’s one of the few products that when I wake up in the morning after using it, I feel I genuinely notice a positive difference; my skin just looks brighter and more refined with less redness.

If I’m not going for an ‘intense treatment’ then I have been following the exfoliating toner step with Lush Eau Roma Toning Water (£4.50). This is nice to use in the evening as the lavender scent is relaxing, however, while this may be the case I’m not a huge lavender lover so I’m not sure I’d buy this again.

I then use Indeed Labs hydraluron™ moisture boosting facial serum (£24.99). I really like this and have to say I find it more hydrating than the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum that I use in my morning routine. Again, it’s a water based gel formula containing hyaluronic acid. It has relatively few ingredients which I like however this does mean it lacks the anti-oxidants of the First Aid Beauty offering. I quite like having both of them though and utilising the anti-oxidants of the First Aid Beauty one in the day time and then using the more hydrating Hydraluron over night.

Next I follow up with the same eye cream as my morning routine.

Lastly, as a night time moisturiser I am using Face Theory’s Relaxing Night Cream M10 (£10.99) which contains 1% Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Argan Oil. I like this a lot and the formula and ingredients are great. A little goes a long way. It’s very rich so ideal for normal-dry skin but probably not for oilier complexions. Face Theory are a small UK based company and it’s nice to support businesses like that, especially if they have great products with good ingredients at affordable prices.

Love Nicole xxxx

Blogging every day in October! (Or trying to)

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