Thursday, 28 September 2017

NARS x Christopher Kane Chrome Couture Review

Hey Guys,

This week I am bringing to you the much anticipated NARS x Christopher Kane Limited Edition Chrome Couture Collection which features the Hardwired Eyeshadow Palette (£34) and Holographic Lipstick in Chroma Chrome (£23). If you don't know, Christopher Kane is a Scottish fashion designer and he has collaborated with NARS before in 2015. When I heard there was going to be an eye shadow palette in the new collection I knew I would need it. And when I set eyes on it, well to be honest I didn't even look at the price tag!

The packaging says it all. The holographic cover ensured me I was in for a treat. I couldn't wait to get inside! Let's start with the eyeshadow palette. It's a collection of six eyeshadows, three of which I would class as duo chrome, in that they shine two colours, two highly metallic shimmers, and one matte base with flecks of shimmer. My favourite has to be the duo chrome blue/purple shade (III). It is so stunning and just stole my attention straight away. The consistency of all the shadows are very smooth and creamy. All swatches are a one touch swatch, so you can see below that they are highly pigmented. I can't wait to start creating some make-up looks!

Low lighting. Top to Bottom VI, III, V, II, IV, I

Natural lighting. Top to Bottom VI, III, V, II, IV, I

One thing I was disappointed with is the size of the product. It is Limited edition so I didn't think it would be very big, but in fact, it is actually tiny. And to top it off I don't feel as though the pans are actually full of product as there is a good millimetre of metal pan visible around each eyeshadow. So I wouldn't exactly say this is value for money, but you are paying for quality and a designer product.

Swatches top to bottom, II, IV, I (eyeshadow palette), Chroma Chrome (lipstick)
Now for the Holographic lipstick. Going by the name, I think I was literally expecting it to be, well, holographic. But then I thought maybe this wouldn't be as wearable as I would hope. Still amazing though. I would class the li[stick as, a beautiful metallic pink colour with a slight highlight of rose pink running through it. So when the light catches it it gives you this beautiful highlight. It is very comfortable on the lips and is actually quite subtle which is not what I expected at all. The colour may be a little light for my skin but I love it and will continue to wear it. Once again, it is on the small side. Definitely not a full sized product but more of a deluxe sample size.

Now the big question is would I recommend? Of course! If you're an eyeshadow addict like me then you need this in your life. The fact it has duo chrome as well as highly pigmented shimmers all in one palette meant I had to have it, as they are the one thing that is was missing from collection. If your bank balance can take the hit, then I would definitely say it's worth it. Will you be buying? Tell me your all time favourite palettes!

Amina xx

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Curly Hair Saviours & GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys,

This week I am bringing you my hair story with a happy ending and a giveaway to celebrate, so make sure you read all the way to the end. My hair has always been frizzy, curly, thick, coarse and altogether horrible hence 'Curly hair problems'. I sometimes style it straight, but most of the time wear it tied up if it's curly. However, I felt sick and tired and thought what better way, than to ask for some advice on Instagram. I was sent loads of suggestions for curly hair and decided to test some products out. The results I have been left with are so much more than I could ever have hoped for and I'm over the moon that I can let my natural curls bounce like they are supposed to.

First up, let me introduce you to my new hair washing routine. I have heard so much about the Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula range* it seemed so perfect for me and my unruly hair. I had used coconut oil on my hair in the past but sometimes found it too greasy. However I was intrigued to see how it would work in a shampoo and conditioner. Before I give you my verdict, let me explain that I have used the shampoo and conditioner on their own, together and with other products from the range and every time have seen a difference in my hair. I wash and condition my hair twice a week and since using the Coconut Oil Conditioning Shampoo and Repairing Conditioner my hair has been much more curlier and much less frizzier. I also recently tried the Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning Protein Pack and the effect it left my hair with was so lovely. Full curls, which looked shiny, bouncy and had movement without the flyaways.

After washing my hair I have been using the Coconut Oil Leave-in Conditioner. You simply spray from root to tip, and I find this just gives a little bit of added moisture and structure to my hair, without leaving it feeling sticky or greasy, which is always a bonus as I hate that feeling in my curls. If you have curly hair you will know that curls vary depending on what day after washing it is. Day one for me is always the best and they gradually get worse, in that my hair get's frizzier, the curls fall out, my hair becomes misshapen when I sleep on it. That's where the Coconut Oil Dry Oil Mist comes in, the perfect refresher for day two and three! You simply spray it onto your curls and it revives the shine in them. If you have fine or greasy hair I would stay away from this product as it's extremely greasy. Perfect for my hair though!

The great thing about the Coconut Oil Formula range is definitely the ingredients. Coconut Oil to add moisture, Monoi Oil, to add hydration, organ oil, to add shine and Sea Kelp which will promote growth. They contain no sulphates, parabens, phthalates, miners oil, gluten or dyes, only the best for your hair!

Another item I have been loving is the Umberto Ginaninni No More Frizz Curl Serum. It is one of the best serums I have tried for reducing frizziness. Sometimes I can get away with applying this to my  damp hair and nothing else and it will give me a lovely defined curl for day one. I do have to use a lot of this and this is the problem with my hair , it absorbs product like there's no tomorrow, due to it's dryness. I find with most products I have to put more in than the recommended amount, as it is never enough. When I apply this I usually use the OGX Curl Styling Milk to give it a little added help. This just gets rid of any frizz and binds the hair together. This is also a good product to use on day two and three. Sometimes I just dampen my hair to redefine the girls again and reapply the OGX cream and I am left with day one curls again. Can I get a whoop whoop.

The final product to have upped my curly hair game is the Xtava 5 in 1 Curling Tong (£45.99, currently on sale for £21.99). I very rarely heat style my hair curly. Whenever I do style my hair, I straighten it or add loose waves. The fab thing about this curling wand is you can achieve five different types of curl as there are five interchangeable barrels which vary in circumference. So When I want a tousled effect I can achieve that with barrel five for example, but when I have my hair curly it allows me to just give my curls a little bit more shape and definition by using barrel one ,which is the smallest. If you have curly hair, you will know the struggle of randomly having a chunk that hasn't curled, or an area of just frizz. So this allows me to grab the random pieces that haven't curled and just give them the little help they need. It also allows me to refresh my hair on day two or three after washing. It has 9 heat setting which range from 130 C - 210 C, which is perfect for different hair types. It also comes with a heat protective glove, so there is no worry of burning your hand. All this for £21.99. I only wish I was introduced to it earlier.

I am besotted with my new curls and that is all thanks to the new products I have tried. This is my hair routine for now, but stay posted as I will continue to test out products and keep you up to date. Now for the giveaway! You can win an Xtava 5 in 1 curling tong for yourself! Just fill out the gleam giveaway below. Ends 18th October. Good luck!

Amina xx

*PR Gifts. All opinions are my own

Win the xtava Satin Wave 5 in 1 Curling Wand #19

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.

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