Thursday, 19 July 2018

Holiday Essentials: SPF Special!

Hi everyone,

This week I have got a bigger smile then usual spread across my face as I am going on holiday! For my 30th Birthday my lovely family have bought me a holiday to Ibiza with my sisters (and without the babies eek!). I am so excited to get this party started. I mean it's not even my birthday month yet but the festivities have definitely begun. Going on holiday can be really stressful and there always seems to be something I forget, however one of the most essential things for holiday, especially if you are going somewhere hot, is your Sun Protection Factor or SPF as we like to call it. A good sun cream will have a high rating for both of the the sun's UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. These are responsible for premature skin ageing, skin cancer and damage to the eyes, which no one wants. I have collated a few products I love to use to guarantee protection and popped them into a post for you so that is one thing off your to do list!

This is the most lightweight high coverage SPF I have ever tried. I can't take credit for finding it as it was recommended to me by both Fashionicide and Svphie. It seriously hasn't disappointed and literally melts into the skin. I can't believe how there is no resonance of any product left on your skin. That horrible greasy feeling is but a distant memory of long ago and I think more and more brands are striving to achieve this non sticky texture. I tend to use this solely on my face as I do not want to add any grease to an already greasy situation and from a price point it is quite pricey for the amount of product you are getting. So I justify it by using it solely on the face. It just fits in perfectly as the last step of my skincare routine. This has become something I apply daily, rain or shine.

Now as SPF goes, this is on the total opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to greasiness. It is very heavy and thick in consistency but light enough to be able to be 'sprayed' on. Technically this doesn't exactly spray for me but kind of squirts out into little puddles. I find it a better way of applying rather than squeezing into my hands. It is just a way of spreading the cream out really. However even though this is on the heavy side, I use this all over my body and on my children.  Price wise it is pretty cost effective and I don't mind my body being greasy as much. I also prefer the consistency on my kids as it makes me feel like they are actually protected as I can visually see the product. This is not for everyone, but it does the job. It is also water - resistant so perfect for the pool.

This beauty of a product is perfect for topping up your SPF, maybe when you are out and about or lounging by the pool. It is transparent in colour and does actually spray out of the bottle as it is very thin in consistency. It feels quite hydrating and this could be due to the fact it contains Aloe Vera Water. Once again you are not left with any residue but more of a velvety feel just as the bottle suggests. Unfortunately it doesn't come in a SPF 50, however I think it is ideal for when I have had my Nivea Sun on for a while and it may be starting to wear away and I just want to top up for that extra protection. Once again it is water-resistant and protects you from UVA and UVB so therefore protects against short term and long term effects of the sun.

I bought this a few weeks ago and I have been wearing it everyday. I know I definitely do not think about lips when it comes to sun protection but recently I have noticed my lips have been getting slightly darker and I put it down to the month long drought that we are going through. I have never experienced this type of heat before in the UK and for so long, so this is me taking my skincare to the next level. SPF for lips is essential now!

Once again sun protection doesn't just stop at the skin. UV can be harmful to the eyes so wearing sunglasses in the sun is very important. Some people mistake them for a simple fashion accessory but they are so much more than that for me. Too much sunlight can cause me severe migraines so I always make sure if it is really bright outside I have my sunnies on, especially when driving. These Polaroid sunglasses have 100% UV protection and are also polarised meaning they reduce glare, so sharpen your vision in intense sunlight. The Sunglasses Shop have such a great range of sunglasses all with great protection, in a variety of styles to suit everyone. They even include measurements in the description to make it easier for you to select a style to suit yourself.

So this is what I am using and I hope you find this post helpful. Be sure to keep protected while the lovely weather lasts. Please let me know any other SPF's you would recommend in the comments below.

Amina xx

*PR Sample. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Playing with New Makeup & GIVEAWAY!

Hey Guys,

This week I am reviewing some recent additions to my make-up stash. That's not all, I have got something so exciting for all of you! It has been a while since I have done a giveaway and a lot of exciting things are coming up including my 30th birthday, so I thought what better way to celebrate then with a giveaway for all of you. So make sure you scroll all the way down to enter!

First up I have the Laura Geller Gelato Swirl Highlighter in 'Diamond Dust' (£21). I was lucky enough to win this as part of an Instagram giveaway giveaway recently hosted by Trishna from Tips Capsule. I knew I had to have this limited edition colour, which can only be explained as an iridescent pink. I had heard a lot about the baked formula of the gelato swirl and it lives up to the hype, it is so beautiful and applies like a dream. I love the consistency of the product as it is not too soft whereby too much product applies but just hard enough to be able to build the product to your desired amount. It blends effortlessly and now the only problem is I feel like I need all the other colours in the range. It definitely has a place on any make-up addict's or non addict's dresser.

Next up is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Medium (£34). I have been using this for a fair few months now. The hype around this product unfortunately doesn't stand for me, however I will continue to use its I just can't waste £34 worth of product. I did enjoy using it at first, especially on my face, however I just find it creases too much on my under eye. It is fine for a couple of hours and does produce an airbrushed effect on the rest of the face, however by hour three it really starts to gather into the creases under my eye. I may need to try baking with a loose powder in order to avoid the creasing.  If you don't have wrinkly under eyes like me this could be a great option for you, however the bags are real in my case so I will keep hunting for another product.

A new brand I have finally tried is Gerard Cosmetics. This relatively small and unknown brand is so overlooked. I have heard the likes of Dress Your Face endorsing them for a while and always loved the look of their products, but because they weren't as accessible in the UK, I never tried them. However recently, I got my hands on them via  I hadn't actually heard of before they contacted me, which is pretty surprising as they are one of the fastest growing beauty websites in the UK and they stock products from so many amazing brands. So I jumped straight at the chance to try Gerard Cosmetics and I am so happy I did. I love the formula of their *Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick (£7.99). It is exactly as it's name suggests, hydrating but super matte. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen it lasted me 8 hours without reapplying or feeling yucky and this made me so happy! In the pics below I am wearing shade '1995' and is it me or does the name just sum the colour up perfectly?

Another brand I was lucky enough to try through is Coloured Raine. Another cult makeup brand whose swatches have been smothered across plenty a beauty blogger's youtube. But again quite obscure in the UK. The *Coloured Raine 'Cheers to the Beauty' Eyeshadow Palette (£45) palette just appealed to me because of the sheer amount of colour it contains! I had so much fun playing around with it and created two totally different make-up looks. The quality of eyeshadow is fantastic, the swatches in the pictures above are one swipe swatches. I found them lovely to apply and found using my finger to apply the metallic colours best for most impact. There was little to no fall out and they blended beautifully. With the range of metallics, bright colours and neutrals it is one of those palettes that is just so versatile and I can see myself using it a lot!

To create this look I applied Vintage Feels and Debonair from the Coloured Raine Palette to the crease and blended through. I then applied Black Butterfly across the Lid and with my finger applied opulence to the centre of the lid. From the same palette I used Luxurious Bling as my highlighter. I am wearing Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte liquid lipstick in 1995 on the lips.

To create this look I blended Raise a Glass, Vintage Feels and Debonair through the crease blending downwards. I then applied a cream eye based primer over the lid and using my finger applied Nightingale. In the waterline I applied Make Up For Ever Aqua XL eyeliner in 'M-92'. I am wearing Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte liquid lipstick in '1995' on the lips, Laura Geller Diamond Dust highlighter on my cheekbones and Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Powder on my face.

Now for the Giveaway! are giving you the chance to win the Coloured Raine 'Cheers to the Beauty' Eyeshadow Palette. To enter please complete the rafflecopter widget below.  Make sure you are following both our accounts on Instagram, the rest of the options are optional and gain you extra entries! Good Luck! The giveaway ends 31st July 2018.

Amina xx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*PR Samples. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Recent Skincare: To buy or not to buy?

Hi Guys,

Recently I have been trying a few new bits of skincare and I thought it was about time to give my verdict on them. When it comes to skincare I have my usual set of products that I swear by, but I find my skin goes through strange patches of oiliness and breaks out, so occasionally I switch it up a little in order to see if the change will make a difference. Recently I saw a lot of hype around the Aldi products, including the Hot Cloth Cleanser and the Glycolic Pads. I usually use my Nip and Fab ones so wanted to see if these could work as a cheaper alternative. I also was kindly sent the Swiss Clinic 2mm Derma roller*. I had never used one before and was intrigued to see if this could add anything to my skin, especially regarding the pigmentation around my mouth.

Swiss Clinic offer a Skin Renewal Treatment for £89, whereby you are sent a derma roller, along with a rejuvenating serum complex. You use the roller all over the face on cleansed skin. I did this in the evening rather than the morning and spent about three minutes slowly rolling over all parts of the skin even down to the neck, but avoiding the eye area. The roller is covered in 540 silver plated micro-needles and I expected it to be a little painful, after all no pain, no gain, however I didn't find it painful in the slightest and would definitely opt for the 5mm roller next time. Once completed you then apply the  rejuvenating serum and any other skincare you wish to. The product is supposed to be absorbed up to 300% more due to the little channel the roller has created!

You do this for 5 days and then have 5 days of rest and continue until you get the desired effect. Swiss Clinic also offer a Cleaning Spray which I would say is a necessity as it ensure the needles are thoroughly clean before penetrating the skin. 

So here is my verdict, I have been using it for 5 weeks now and have completed four cycles of the 5 days on and 5 days off. I have seen a small improvement in scarring around my mouth area. I suffer from coldsores and have one particular scar from my teenage years that is still quite prevalent, I have seen a small improvement in its appearance. However the overall pigmentation around my mouth I feel still exists and I'm not sure I will ever be able to get rid of it. The use of the derma roller is also supposed to encourage the production of new skin cells, but in the first few weeks of using it I did find my skin breaking out quite a bit, I wasn't sure if this was due to the fact my skin was getting used to the product or the product itself. It has now calmed down, however I am still battling with spots around my mouth and forehead area, but this could be hormonal too.

I found the rejuvenating serum really refreshing after I have rolled as it is quite cool, although apart from this I am not sure what it has added to my skin regime. Overall I like the derma rolling process and will continue to do this, however I think I might stick to using my own skincare products with it. Only time will tell with the derma roller and I plan on continuing to use it, I feel as though it is one of those products which is a long term investment and you need to be in it for the long haul to achieve the desired result, as well as be willing to go through some ups and downs along the way. In the big scheme of things I haven't really used it for long enough to get the effects I want, so I will keep you posted with updates.

Part of my breakouts might have been due to the change in use of products. As I said earlier I purchased some skincare from Aldi. Firstly with the Hot Cloth Cleanser (£3.99), I have really enjoyed using this. I have a section on my Instagram highlights (click here) where you can watch my first impressions but overall I really think it works great as a cleanser. My skin feels clean and quite soft after using. Even though my skin hasn't been its best recently, I don't think it is due to the cleanser as it throughly cleanses my makeup and the skin feels pristine after. It contains eucalyptus oil which is the overwhelming smell that hits you straightaway, as well as cocoa butter and extracts of chamomile, all perfect for soothing and leaving your skin soft. So next time you are shopping, pick one up, I would definitely say it is worth a try.

One product I haven't been so impressed with is the Glycolic Daily Cleansing pads (£2.49), unfortunately I don't feel as though they are strong enough and blame my breakout on this. I feel like the fact that they don't state the percentage of glycolic acid is a tell tale sign. I don't get the same effect compared to the nip and fab or my pix glow tonic and maybe this is what my skin has been missing. Again the pads are convenient as they are ready to use, but without the right amount of acid they just aren't effective.

Overall from the new skincare products I have been using I can honestly say that the Hot Cloth cleanser, as well as the derma roller are products I will continue to use, however when it comes to the glycolic pads I am going back to my nip and fab. I am also on the hunt for a new serum to use after derma rolling so would love any suggestions in the comments below.

Amina xx

*PR sample. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Best Drugstore Buys!

Hi Guys,

This week I am bringing you a round-up some fantastic 'drugstore' products that I think are more than worth the money they are priced at. By drugstore I mean shops like Boots and Superdrug who stock a large variety of high street make-up brands. Some of these products are cult products that have literally become staples in any makeup addict's collection. But what's really great about these brands is that it just goes to show, you don't always need to spend money to get a luxury feel. I have been really surprised by the quality of some of these and I hope I inspire you to explore your 'drugstore' or chemist, whatever you prefer, a little more. 

First up I have the Sleek Summer Solstice Palette (£9.99) . I remember the hype around this when it first came out and I convinced myself I wasn't going to buy into the hype of it and I didn't. But the thing is the hype never died with this product. People still go on about it now and I can see why. It has 4 beautiful shades, two cream formulas and two powders, which are gold, bronze, pink and a champagne colour. So really, apart from silver, every shade of highlight you will ever need. I think this may be why it is so popular. Of course if you are an addict like me and drawn to shiny things one highlighter palette could never be enough, but for a normal person I'm sure it would be! Sleek eyeshadow palettes were also some of the first I ever owned, so always have a special place in my heart.

Now no drugstore post would be complete without mentioning Revolution Beauty, this brand has gone from strength to strength and even though I am not always a fan of there duping strategy, they do have a large range of makeup and brands within drugstores and you can always manage to find the type of product you need with relatively good quality. More recently I have been really impressed with their pro range. I mean just look at these swatches! You can read more about my thoughts on these here. But in general if you haven't tried Revolution Beauty, or one of their sister brands then you really should!

One brand that I keep going back to is Nip+Fab, I was actually first drawn to their skincare, in particular their Glycolic pads, which I love and use daily, but I have more recently tried their make-up and am also really enjoying it. I spoke about my admiration for their liquid highlighters here but wanted to focus in on these fantastic Lip Toppers (£7.95)*. These look beautiful on their own or over a lipstick and remind me a little of the Jouer lip toppers, but at half the price. I am totally in to my sparkle and these would work great as a sparkly/glossy eye too.

Right to Left: starlight, hypnotic, shooting star, galactic, pink rockets

swatches top to bottom: starlight, hypnotic, shooting star, galactic, pink rockets

One of my favourite drugstore products that I use everyday are the Loreal Infallible foundation/highlight/blush sticks (£8.99). These have been added to my everyday make-up routine purely for ease of use and how quick they are to blend. If you haven't tried the foundation yet click here for my in depth review or head to my Instagram stories highlights for a tutorial using them. I have been using them for 6 months and don't see myself stopping any time soon. Loreal telescopic mascara is also one of my all time faves and I own a number of their lip products.

I couldn't write this post without including NYX. The first time I used NYX was when I was a teenager, selfridges used to stock them and I remember my sister purchasing some of their eyeshadow. Even as a teenager I found the pigment and blend ability amazing. Then I started purchasing from IMATS, and when I heard they were coming to Boots I lost my sh*t and overloaded on products. Now I have calmed down a bit I still think their products are great quality and are professional quality too. Their correctors are some of my fave and I loved these Cosmic Metals Lip Lacquers from their range.

So these are my top five must try drugstore brands. There are so many more I could have chosen and I really think drugstore has grown leaps and bounds the past few years. I don't feel the need to splurge in order for it to feel like a treat or luxurious. I am more than happy browsing the tiles of boots or super drug looking for good quality makeup. So if you are a makeup snob and  haven't tried any of these yet you are missing out big time! Who would your top 5 be?

Amina xx

*PR samples. All opinions are my own.