Thursday, 14 September 2017

Benefit's 'They're Real' Collection

Hey Guys,

This week I am bringing to you Benefit's 'They're Real' Collection in collaboration with Debenham's Beauty. You all know how much I bang on about Benefit's eyebrow products. I use their 'Goof Proof' Brow pencil religiously and love their 'Ready, Set, Go' Clear Brow Gel to keep my brows in place all day. Just have a look back at any of my make-up look blog posts and you will see how I adore the brow pencil.

More recently, I have been using a few other products from their eye range. I am excited to share them with you, one, because they are great quality and long lasting but two, because they have been saving me a lot of time in the morning, which I am definitely in need of now I have the school run to add to my never ending list before work! 

First up we have an amazing set, The 'Big Lash Blow Out' (£20.50) which includes the famous 'They're Real!' Mascara as well as a handy travel size mini. I had heard so much about this mascara so couldn't wait to see if it lived up to the hype. And guess what... it did! The lift and curl it gave my lashes (see below) was exactly what my flat stubby lashes needed. And with two coats it's even better. I love the brush head on the mascara as it is not your typical brush. It is made from silicone bristles which vary in size. They also extend out from the tip of the brush so you can use it to get product on those hard to reach lashes.

I have been using the mascara together with the 'They're Real' Tinted Mascara Primer (£19.50) and it just gives your lashes the added drama they need. It is tinted a mink brown and adds a coating onto your eyelashes so the mascara applies smoothly. No one likes spider leg lashes! It can also be used on it's own to give your lashes a naturally more defined look.

Now for the time saver's that I mentioned earlier! Did you know Benefit do eyeshadows?! Not just any eyeshadow. This is an eyeshadow duo that requires no skill, technique, or blending. Yes please! It is literally effortless, while giving you a professional look. It's the 'They're Real' duo Eyeshadow Blender in 'Beyond Nude' (£19.50). This innovative compact comes with a sponge ball applicator which allows you to simply swish the ball back and forth in the product, and then repeat on your eye making sure the middle line is horizontal. I apply it so the darker shade applies in the crease and the lighter shade on the lid. The colours give a slight shimmer but nothing too dramatic and can literally save me five minutes of my morning routine.

This paired with the 'They're Real' Push-up Liner (£20) takes this look from day to evening. The push up liner, twists up, so no need for sharpening and is a gel-like formula which comes out of a silicone nib. The silicone nib is so soft that it can be pushed along the water line without it causing any irritation whatsoever (unlike normal wooden/plastic ones).  It can also be used above the lash line to create a feline flick. It's pigmented and pretty budge proof which is always a bonus!

The final product I am going to share with you is the 'They're Real' Lipstick and Liner in one (£16.50). And it is exactly that! No need for a separate liner, which usually takes me half an hour to find, before then searching for my lipstick! Benefit have combined the liner and lipstick into one to give you an all in one product that leaves you with luscious 'ombre effect' lips. The liner is slightly darker and lipstick lighter to give the illusion of fuller lips. The tear-drop shape of the lipstick gives    precise application of product.

Swatches left to right: 'They're Real' Lipstick and Liner in Lusty Rose, Push-up Liner, Duo Eyeshadow in Beyond Nude.

Overall I have been thrilled with the products and can happily add them to my growing collection of Benefit Products. Have you tried Benefit before? What products do you swear by?

Amina xx

*PR gift. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

New perfumes in my collection!

Hey Guys,

This week I thought I would share with you some perfumes that I have recently purchased, or been gifted, that I am loving. It's funny how it's not until you do a blog post, you realise how many perfumes you have. But it just so happened that I had run out of a few perfumes, and it coincided with my birthday, so I decided to treat myself. I'll stop trying to justify myself now.

Perfumes are definitely a very personal thing, however I have got a mixed bag of scents coming up, so make sure you have a look through to see if anything suits you!

So first up I have this amazing Jo Malone Cologne in Woodsage & Sea Salt. I was lucky enough to receive a voucher from my friends for my birthday, so decided to splurge on this beautiful perfume and an accompanying shower gel in Peony & Blush Suede. I felt very spoiled when I attended the store as I managed to get a lovely arm and hand massage, which added a little bit of luxury to my experience. And this is totally what this brand is - luxury. Because of this you can expect the scent to linger for ages and to be honest their scents are very original and not your average. I opted for  Woodsage & Sea Salt, as I love woody fragrances with a little bit of spice. It has a top note of ambrette seed which gives a very opulent feel and a base note of sage which makes it very earthy and fresh. What makes it even better is it is unisex, so the hubby and I can match (barf!)

Carrying on with the luxurious feel, next up we have Monsoon's signature fragrance - Rose Gold. You all know what I'm going to say... ROSE GOLD! *Heart eyes emoji* As soon as I saw the packaging I was like forget what it smells like, this is going pride of place on my dresser, and it hasn't moved since! But the beauty doesn't stop at the packaging, it truly is a lovely fragrance too. When I sprayed it, I loved it straight away as it just oozed sophistication. It is a feminine scent, with vanilla, musk and amber notes. It has a fruity accord with notes of mandarin and lemon, which when combined produce a more-ish fragrance. It's definitely one I would wear on date night and I can see myself using for a very long time - it has become a favourite.

Now for another great addition to my collection, Lovelily by Accessorize. When I saw the packaging I immediately thought it would be a very floral and sweet scent, which is totally not me. However I was pleasantly surprised at how wearable this fragrance actually is. I thought it would be over-bearing, and a little heady, but it's not at all. I would describe the overall smell as floral, as it has hints of jasmine and vanilla. It's quite a fun fragrance and I could definitely see myself wearing it when I go out shopping or when meeting my best girl friends for a catch up. It's quite versatile, in that I have also found myself spritzing my little girls with it and it would be perfect as a gift too. I love the packaging and how the bottle is hexagonal. The little flower in the lid just adds that extra bit of excitement and I like how the pink follows down into the bottle to resemble a stem.

Primark Private collection - Rose Oud (EDP, 100ml, £8)

Now when I say bargain, I actually mean BARGAIN. Seeing how this product is eau de parfum (EDP), meaning it has a higher percentage of pure perfume compared to eau de toilette (EDT) or eau de cologne (EDC), this is value for money.  I love rose-scented products and had heard so much about these in the blogosphere, that I had to get my hands on whatever stock Primark had, which just so happened to be Rose Oud and Jasmine & Honey scents. Rose Oud is not for the faint-hearted, it is a very strong smell which is quite opulent and decadent. It is floral with quite a woody top note. It reminds me of sandal wood incense and I'm still not sure the scent is for me. However, the price is for me and it had to be bought. In terms of staying power, I wouldn't say it lasts quite as long as other EDPs I have, so maybe it's on the lower percentage of pure perfume, but it is definitely worth a purchase!

Primary Private Collection - Jasmine & Honey (EDP, 20ml, £3)

I bought this perfume because of the fantastic size it comes in, I thought it would be perfect for my hand bag when I need a quick top up and it really has been. Again I bought this because it was one of the only scents that were left but I have really enjoyed using it. It is not a stand out scent, in that I don't think it will get people asking you what you are wearing, if you know what I mean. However it is a very pleasant smell which is quite sweet, zesty and refreshing at the same time.

So those are my recent perfume buys and none of them really break the bank (well apart from the Jo Malone), but I think I also have some great alternative options to the standard designer brands. What's your favourite perfume? Have you tried any of these recently?

Amina xx

*PR Gift. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

How to get the perfect base!

Hey guys,

Recently I have been loving my base and thought I would share with you what I have been using to create it. (Cue "All about that base" by Meghan Trainor). I am all about the flawless finish to my skin when applying make-up and love for it to look it's best all of the time. I think that might be where my  skin care obsession comes from and, needless to say flawless skin leads to flawless make-up application. I was recently sent a few products by Image Skincare, a brand that was new to me, but I am so glad to have been introduced to them, as their products have upped my skin game. More about them in a little while.

So, to start with, I would recommend a good skincare routine prior to foundation application (see my post here for details).  I cleanse my skin with DHC Cleansing Oil, apply Pixi Glow Tonic as my toner, and have then been using a trio of Bio-essence products. I start with their 24k Gold Water, followed by the 24K moisturiser and then finish off with the 24k Miracle Finisher, I have a whole blog post about this miracle primer here.

If you are looking for that extra glow to your skin I recommend using a sheet mask either the night before or a few hours before make-up application. If you watch my Instagram stories (@aminaali_mua) you will have seen I was blown away by the Image Skincare Bio-molecular Anti-ageing Radiance Mask (£9). It rejuvenated my skin. It contains volcanic water, red algae and anti-oxidants, all of which help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and also work to brighten the skin. I felt like it had literally reset my skin and left it feeling brighter, plumper and even.

Image skincare are the 'fastest growing skincare company in the world'. From what I can see so far this is totally understandable, as I saw results after one use of their mask. I was also sent their foundation, which is another stand out product. The I-conceal Flawless Foundation SPF 30 (£50) is a medium-to-high coverage foundation with a dewy finish. Perfect for the likes of me, who likes to glow! If you have oily skin I would recommend a matte primer. The smoothness of the foundation is lovely and leaves your skin looking silky - almost like a second skin, and the texture is just how I like it. It is more than just a foundation and has a whole host of skincare inside which continues to work on your skin all day. The only down side to the foundation is the lack of shade range. It comes in six colours, however I found the shade I'm wearing (Beige) slightly too light on me and the next shade up would have been too dark. I would love to see some more added to the range, as it grows in popularity, as I could see it as a staple in my kit. The great thing is, I feel like I've finally found that medium-to-high coverage foundation that doesn't leave my face looking cakey. 

I applied it using the Image Skincare 101 Flawless Foundation Brush (£38). This was a brush I knew I would like a soon as I set eyes on it. The perfect density, softness and fantastic shape makes it ideal for foundation application. The brush is angled so meets the skin at exactly the right angle and is so comfortable to hold. I started off by dabbing the product evenly across the skin and smoothing it out and then finally used a patting motion to really set it into the skin. I didn't use powder, as I wanted to demonstrate the true effect of the foundation (see below), however I would usually set with MAC Mineralise Skin Finish and then a fix spray like MAC Prep & Prime.

So that's it guys. I am totally obsessed with my base at the moment and this is how I achieve the perfect one. You can purchase the Bio-essence products  from Superdrug and they currently have 1/3 off! Image Skincare is a professional skincare brand, so you can only buy from stockists. To find your nearest stockist call 0345 504 0461 or email What are your base must haves?

Amina xx

*PR gifts. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Palmer's Facial Oil and Exfoliating Scrub Review

Hey guys,

So this week I bring to you a review of some of Palmer's fabulous face products. When I think of Palmer's the first thing that comes to mind is definitely their Cocoa Butter Formula. Their Cocoa Butter Body Lotion is something I have used for years and I don't know why it didn't occur to me that they might do other great products too. So when I was contacted to review some of their other skincare I literally jumped at the opportunity. I love facial oils and if you follow my blog you will know that I love my St Ives Invigorating Exfoliator, so I was intrigued to see if this could compete.

I have been using the Multi-Effect Perfecting Facial Oil and Micro Fine Exfoliating Facial Scrub for a few weeks now. First with the Facial oil, I started off applying it twice a day, morning and night and added it to my skincare routine quite comfortably. However I did find my skin feeling a little too greasy, so I gradually found myself reducing it to once daily at night, as this way my skin could continue to absorb it while I sleep. 

The facial oil comes in a dropper style bottle which makes it really easy to apply straight to the face or drop into the hands. Once applied, I simply massage into the skin. Straight away you feel a suppleness to the skin and your skin is left with a healthy glow. What I have found with continued use it that my skin definitely feels more plump and hydrated.  Some deep lines I have in my forehead have also become less visible. This really fascinated me and encouraged me to look at the ingredients. What I found was some great key ingredients such as Retinol, which increases cell turnover, Vitamin C, which brightens the skin, and Vitamin E, which is great for scarring and Squalene which helps with surface hydration. The fact that you get all these fab ingredients and more all for £9.99 makes it a winner for me. I also love that it doesn't give you that horrible oil smell that some other facial oils have and, occasionally, when I want a really natural but dewy look, I wear this in the day and the natural highlight it gives my cheekbones is the BEST!

Now for the Micro Fine Exfoliating Facial Scrub. Like I said earlier, I like my facial scrub quite invigorating and for the little bits to be quite big to really get the dirt out, as my skin's sensitivity is normal. So as soon as I read 'Super Fine' and that it contained Evening Primrose, which is perfect for soothing, I thought that it would probably be more suitable for sensitive skin. However, when I tried it, I have to say I really liked it. Yes the crushed walnut shells and cocoa powder particles are very small, but it still leaves my skin feeling clean, fresh and smooth. 

Furthermore, because it is so gentle, it just means I can use it more often! I actually found myself using it three times a week, whereas I usually only exfoliate twice a week. Again the smell is lovely and that traditional cocoa butter formula definitely shines through. You can pick it up here for £5.49.

Overall I have to say I am impressed at the quality and ingredients within these products and at such a decent price. I now have my eye on other Palmer's products and definitely want to try some from their Coconut Oil Formula range, especially the hair care for curly locks!

Have you tried anything from the Palmer's range? What's your go to skincare at the moment?

Amina xx

*PR Gift. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Ethical Beauty with ENESS Cosmetics

Hey guys,

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the new launch of ENESS's vegan and natural ranges. ENESS are a cosmetics and toiletries brand I had not heard of before, however their flagship store is in the very centre of Birmingham, and only a short walk from Grand Central on Cannon Street. (For all of you make-up lovers, the shop is where the old MAC pro shop used to be!) and they also sell online.

We were treated to some lovely vegan bites, but unfortunately as I had just had my wisdom tooth removed I couldn't try much! Boo for me, but more importantly I was introduced to their two new ranges. ENESS are all about being ethically responsible and have definitely incorporated it into their products with them being natural, sustainable, vegan, and cruelty free.

Olive & Avocado Range

Cocoa Butter Range
Their two new ranges incorporate all of these features and come in two scents Olive and Avocado, and Cocoa Butter, and come in various types of products, from body creams to reed diffusers. The stand out scent, between the two, had to be the Olive and Avocado as the scent is just so gorgeous, I can only describe it as fresh but a little bit different too. I would be happy for my home to be filled with this scent and have enjoyed lighting the candle I received.

Exotica Africa Argan Range

Strawberry Range
Some other popular ranges include their Exotic Africa Argan Range which is free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and petroleum and is highly moisturising and nourishing and I think would be perfect for a gift. They also have more basic ranges such as the Strawberry Range where prices start from only £2.

One of the great things about ENESS is that they really care about their products and the environment their products are sourced from, and that's why they support the Save The Rhino Trust in Namibia. So every time you buy an ENESS product you are in some way helping to support this trust too!

I have really enjoyed trying their products and have incorporated them into my daily routine by placing the Cocoa Butter Handwash and Lotion on my bathroom sink. I have been lighting the candle frequently and am besotted with the scent!. Who knew I loved avocado and olive so much?!

So if you are in Birmingham City centre be sure to pop in and check them out, or if it's a little far from home then head to their website here where you can have a browse.

Amina xx

*PR event. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

3INA review and make-up look!

Hey guys,

This week I have created a make-up look using some of 3INA's (pronounced MINA) best sellers. I first heard about 3INA when I was in London around November for a girly weekend, and decided to pop into their Covent Garden branch. I was quite impressed with the range and affordability, but due to time restraints, only walked away with a few bits and bobs. Since then, they have gone from strength to strength and when I was sent some products for review, I was ecstatic as I couldn't wait to try them out properly. 

I was sent three of their bestsellers, and it's pretty clear to see why they are sold out on the website. I received The Cream Eyeshadow in 312 (£8.95), The Longwear Lipstick in 505 (£7.95) and The Highlighter in 201 (£10.95). I had been playing around with them for a few days and decided to use them all to create a make-up look. 

Swatches from top to bottom: The Highlighter in 201, The Cream Eyeshadow in 312, The Longer Lipstick in 505.
I have to say I was really impressed, in particular with The Cream Eyeshadow. It dries to a powder and has fine particles of glitter and shimmer mixed in, which gives the beautiful effect of glitter, without the hassle of gluing it on and the aftermath of glitter everywhere! I think out of the whole range this blew me away the most and for £8.95 was an absolute bargain. The effect it gives is comparable to the Stila Magnificent Metals, but at a third of the price! I am planning on buying quite a few of these for my kit as they are long lasting and there is a range of 18 colours! These can also be used as a highlighter on the cheekbone to add that extra dimension to your make-up.

The next item I loved was The Longwear Lipstick. Long-lasting, pigmented, and a decent liquid lipstick. The formula is creamy and still has a little bit of movement so it doesn't completely dry your lips out. The colour I was sent, in 505, is the perfect brick colour and suits me to a T! Once again, for the price you can't go wrong. Again, these come in a range of 13 colours including a mint green, which is quite intriguing. I can definitely see myself ordering more.

Finally, we come to The Highlighter in 201. The Highlighter gives a very subtle and soft effect which is perfect for everyday wear or for those who don't want a sharp highlight. It is very natural and gives a 'veil of radiance' as described by 3INA themselves. Personally, I like my glow to be lit, like blinding, the kind where it leaves an imprint on the retina. So for me, this isn't something I would buy again, but I can see why it is a sell out.

Now for the make-up look. I used all three products together. For the eyeshadow, I  used a mix of colours (Red Ocre, Venetian Red, Love Letter and Cyprus Umber) from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette and cut a half crease out on the lid with the 3INA Cream Eyeshadow in 312. I used Kat Von D Tattoo liner and applied Nouveau Lashes Glamour Style 3 Strip Lashes  (£4.96) My blush is Charlotte Tilbury in The Climax and is brought quite high up around the temples too. I finished the look by applying 3INA's The Highlighter in 201 and The Longwear Lipstick in 505. So easy, but the Cream Eyeshadow steals the show. All pictures are taken on the iPhone 7 plus and are unedited to show the true effect of the makeup.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you tried 3INA products before? What do you think of the range?

Amina xx

*PR Gift. All opinions are my own.