Beast of Beauty

Hi! I am a bit of a product junkie, so I figured I might as well recommend or review a few things from time to time. Below are a few products that are new (to me) favourites and heavy in my rotation as of late.

LUSH: I had abandoned LUSH for a while, to be frank their prices have become a bit ludicrous. £5 for a travel sized shower gel LUSH, really?! £8 for soap that melts in a week?! You are having a laugh. Someone must be keeping them in business though. Anyway I did wander in a few weeks ago on a whim and came out with a couple of things that I must confess I have been liking indeed. And just like that I’m sucked back in!....

Lush 9 to 5 Cleanser: This was a new one to me, the last cleanser I tried of theirs was that solid balm-y one which I just couldn’t be bothering faffing* with. 9 to 5 is a liquid, non-foaming cleanser. It has a slightly herbal smell which isn’t too overpowering (not quite as strong as Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish but a similar sort of scent family), so it might not be for everyone. It contains orchid milk and almond oil. This is a lovely moisturising cleanser – I have combination skin but too much harsh cleansing can strip my skin, so I do like to use this one when my skin is feeling a bit drier, as it tends to do in the winter. I like using this in the morning, with a wash cloth as if you rinse only it can leave a slightly filmy feeling – also sorted by using a toner. I don’t find it particularly cost effective for removing makeup it must be said. I like to save it as a treat cleanser when my skin is makeup free. It was around £5 for a rather minuscule bottle but since I know I like it I am tempted to buy the bigger bottle for slightly better value.

Lush Full of Grace Serum: Confession: my skin HATES serums. Every time I read a magazine, it’s serums this, serums that, and I just can't relate. I have tried quite a few, from high end to low, and with a few noteable (sadly expensive – if Santa wants to bring me Lancome Absolute Genefique that would be nice!) exceptions, they break me out, no matter what. But I get weird dry patches occasionally, and need a moisture boost that is stronger than my moisturiser – enter the Lush Full of Grace serum. I say “serum” – it is actually a solid bar, which contains weird Lush-y things like mushrooms and calamine. Lush is all natural, no animal cruelty/nasties, etc., so at least those extra pennies are well spent. It has that lovely LUSH smell in subtle form, and a very soothing and moisturising effect on the skin. You warm it in your hands or smooth onto face directly – it’s not the most hygienic thing I guess but I really love that it delivers serious moisture with no discernible greasiness. I can layer this with another moisturiser if I wish no problem, but on oilier days it is fine on its own. I haven’t used it daily enough to gather more long term benefits, but in general I am a fan, it has really helped clear up my weird dry patch between my eyebrows and does seem to calm down facial redness when I use it. Its packaging is a bit of a pain, you need to find a container for it, otherwise it is vulnerable to melting. It cost £8.25 and I can see it lasting for quite a long time. It has a surprisingly matte finish on the skin which is also pleasing to me.

Clarins Gentle Brightening Exfoliating Toner: £25 for a toner?! Oh good lord, I apologize. I got a sample of this with another Clarins order a while ago, and of everything I purchased, this was the standout product by a country mile. The word “gentle” is misleading – this has a relatively decent dose of glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acids, enough to give your face a very decent exfoliating/mild peel effect without the faff of a scrub. It also contains “tamarind fruit extract and white nettle”, which the Clarins site emphasizes. Weirdly they don’t mention the acids in the product onsite (the bottle does warn against sun exposure to be fair), so this product has remained a sort of beauty insider secret type deal. My skin is spot prone, somewhat sensitive, and doesn’t like plenty of things. Every single time I used this (at night), I woke up the next day looking as good as it gets for a 39 year old. My skin was less ruddy/more even toned, brighter, not a spot in sight. No oiliness, no dryness, just perfectly behaved, glowy looking skin. It is rare for me to actually see such a discernible difference with any one product. Ack I really need to go buy some. You can get away with using this a few times a week I think, it is supposedly gentle enough for everyday use but I found beneficial effects using it less often. The cheapest I’ve seen it is here – but Clarins' own website often has good deals on with free gifts and whatnot.

Benefit Posietint: OK, so this has been around for quite awhile, but I’d always wanted to try it. I love the ChaCha tint and original Benetint, and this one is just as nice. A more pinky/peachy blush, one layer looks naturally flushed on my pale skin. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s great slap on and go, instant complexion boosting type stuff. It does dry rapidly so you need to be fairly quick, but it's pretty hard to get this wrong. I really love these as lip stains also; they give such a pretty, natural looking effect. Something about Benefit just makes me want to collect it all – the Christmas Box O’ Blushes is seriously calling my name. I bought the mini Posietint in a Boots gift set that also contained Bad Gal mascara (my favourite, wipes the floor with They’re Real, I don’t care what anyone says!) and a mini POREfessional, which as a primer phobe I do think is very nice indeed. Benefit is pretty pricey, so I like to buy the kits that have samples/gifts where possible to test things out first.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry (nail polish top coat): Oh wow. How did I ever live without this? I have tried other “fast dry” nail polish type products; none of them hold a candle to this. Instantly, completely dry nails within seconds, miraculous! I’m halfway through my bottle and it has yet to go claggy** the way many top coats do. It’s truly the bee’s knees. It’s shiny enough but I wouldn’t mind if it was a tad shinier. Overall it's an amazing product that does what it says on the tin.

Nivea Body Irresistibly Smooth: This unassuming, bargainous lotion in a blue bottle is seriously good stuff. I’m kind of a die hard Body Shop body butter girl, but since trying this I’m reaching for it over most things. It is super moisturising, non-greasy or tacky, and best of all, absorbs into skin virtually instantly. I have never come across another drugstore lotion that compares; normally you are rubbing them in for ages which I have no patience for, and they still don’t absorb as well as this lotion. I do wish it came in a more exciting range of fragrances, but other than that it really is perfect. It’s a very mild, almost undetectable to me scent, so it is suitable for most who don’t want a scented lotion I would imagine.

OK well, thanks for reading – please share any beauty bargains or must haves of yours in the comments. I’m always looking for my next fix!

*Brit slang for "messing with" (approximately) U.S. readers! As in "This salad is a faff to make, I will just eat a cookie instead." (I started the Slow Carb/4 Hour Body diet yesterday, so I may be thinking about cookies more than usual. I dreamt about pizza last night - one day on a diet and my brain is coming at me in my sleep demanding carbs!).

**claggy: Brit for clumpy. I'm sorry, readers, my slang is a muddled transatlantic mutt.

(all opinions my own, items purchased by myself, etc. etc. amen!)

As a child of the 80's I got some perhaps skewed beauty ideas from Mommie Dearest!

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