Autumn/Winter Budget Beauty 

I did a post like this for summer, so I thought it was only right to do something similar for winter! I’ve chosen nine products that are great budget items to see you through the winter season in style, so enjoy…

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1. Revlon Nail Polish in Vixen, £6.49

This nail varnish is probably my all time favourite ‘drug store’ purchase. Firstly, I absolutely love the colour. It’s a gorgeous autumnal plum which is perfect to take you from daytime and into the evening! I also think the quality of Revlon nail polishes is great. The consistency is always really smooth and lasts a good few days (with a top and base coat) before starting to chip. If you want something to ‘autumn’ up your beauty routine this is my top recommendation!

2. The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream, £12.00

Our skin always need a little TLC during the colder months, and layering up your moisturiser is the easiest and most affordable way to do this. I love this Body Shop vitamin E cream, firstly because it suits all skin types. Secondly, vitamin E is an antioxidant for the skin (so really helps to protect and repair), which also helps to slow the ageing process! Alongside this, the shea butter and aloe vera also combines to make it a really soothing cream on the skin. Whilst this is one of the higher priced products here, the good quality ingredients included really do make this great value for  money. Plus, all Body Shop products are vegan, natural and cruelty-free which makes investing in this brand even more worthwhile!

3. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in Pomegranate, £3.69

This lip balm was featured in my summer beauty bargains as well because it’s just so great! In my opinion it’s the best lip balm out there. It’s super nourishing, has a gorgeous pink tint to it and most importantly, is friendly on the bank balance! This is the perfect accompaniment to your make up bag especially during the winter months when heating and cold weather causes your lips to dry up.

4. St. Ives Blemish Fighting Apricot Scrub, £4.00

This was the first face scrub I ever used and it still maintains it’s superpower status in my eyes. It’s gentle on sensitive skin yet really penetrates to uplift dead skin and remove impurities and at £4.00 it’s a steal. It’s oil free and has 100% natural exfoliants which is why it’s so amazing for your skin. Use this once a week, or twice if you feel your skin needs it, to help fight the combination of heating and cold air, and, those winter nights where you cake your face in make up to hide the fading tan!

5. The Body Shop Down To Earth Eye Shadow Quad in 54588, £15 (trust me, it’s worth that little bit more!)

My first ever eye shadow set was from The Body Shop. Does anyone remember when they came in a clear box with four small cubes? This blue colour palette is a winner for me because it compliments my skin tone (and makes my blue eyes pop), and is perfect for those Autumn nights out! You can build as dramatic a look as you wish for the nighttime with the darker colours or opt for a subtle shimmer during the day with the silver. The colours are really pigmented (especially when wetting the brush), and although this is the steepest product here, I really do think this is great value for money, as it will easily carry you into next year.

6. Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Starry Eyed, £4.99 

If you know me, you’ll know I love a plum lip, so I have hunted high and low for both budget and items to splurge on, and this Rimmel number has come top of my list for the budget end! I firstly absolutely love the colour (I compared it to a Burberry colour last year) because whilst it’s dark, it has a gorgeous warm undertone that makes it perfect for taking you from daytime to nighttime. As well as this, the quality is great. It’s nourishing, long lasting and doesn’t dry out my lips which is impressive even for an expensive lipstick! A big thumbs up all round for this product.

7. Rimmel Glitter Bomb Nail Polish in Mistletoe Mischief, £3.99

Everyone needs a bit of glitter in the build up to Christmas and this nail varnish is the perfect fit – it’s called Mistletoe Mischief which just says it all! I love a glitter polish because you can either use alone or over another colour; and, my personal favourite, I love to apply messily at the top of my nail to give an edge to the normal  all over glitter nail.

8. Superdrug Dead Sea Purifying Clay Mask, 99p

With the temperature dropping and heating being blasted out it’s no shock that our skin can tend to get a little clogged up with make up and sweat. This face mask is one of MY FAVOURITE cheaper alternatives to use to help unclog the pores (I’d say it’s the budget version of the Kiehls face mask which I’ve reviewed here). The clay helps to really dig deep and draw out those impurities, whilst the cool eucalyptus helps to soothe and nourish skin. My skin always feels refreshed after using this mask, and at £0.99 per packet, i think it’s a fantastic bargain buy.

9. Soap and Glory Hand Food, £6.00

This hand cream has featured in one of my reviews before, but I can’t leave it out! It’s the perfect formula for dry, neglected hands as the shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow extract (yum!) combine to create a lovely, nourishing formula that delves deep to soothe the skin. It also absorbs really well into the skin, so you don’t need to use much to see it working its magic!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and found some of these suggestions useful! I would actually recommend these products whether you’re on a budget or not, so let me know if you test any out!

Thanks for reading X

Sunday Reviews 

This is the second instalment of my Sunday reviews, where I share three products I’ve beeen testing over the past week (as a have a fair few samples to get through). This week I’ve been testing a N07 bronzer, the Caudalie Beauty Elixir and the Polaar lip balm, so keep reading to see how I got on…

N07 Bronzer in Golden Sand 

I received this as part of an exciting delivery from the Boots team and it does not disappoint! I’ll start with the look: the pattern of the bronzer is so pretty and makes it look much more expensive that it actually is! I remember seeing a Clarins bronzer earlier in the year that had the same ‘wow’ factor, so I was already impressed before using it. The product itself, whilst having a subtle shimmer actually gives a great colour when built up. As I have fully succumbed to dressing for winter, by dressing entirely in black to mourn the loss of summer, I need something that’s going to give me a boost, and this does exactly that! It’s gives you a glow without being too in your face and compliments my pasty skin, which is fantastic. And, it says it suits sensitive skin which is a win win!

It’s a 5/5 for me. The gorgeous glow it gives combined with the beautiful pattern makes this a winner for me!

Caudalie Beauty Elixir 

There’s no two ways about it; I love this beauty elixir! I’ve been reading about this for some time and being hailed as ‘the secret of make up artists’ I knew I had to try it. So, I decided to invest when I was at duty free recently and I’m so glad I did! It’s not only gorgeously refreshing on my skin, it helps to tighten pores AND acts as an amazing setting spray for my makeup. I’ve used this everyday as the final stage to my make up routine and I’ve definitely noticed a reduction in the oiliness of my skin at the end of a long day. I’ve also found that my make up lasts longer generally, which is fantastic news (especially for after work drinks)! This beauty elixir is also amazing on flights. I used it every couple of hours on a long haul flight recently which did wonders to my skin. I felt so much more awake, and I didn’t come away with that horrible dry/greasy feeling. If you don’t have this, I thoroughly recommend investing!

5/5 for me. It’s an all round winner (plus it smells amazing) !

Polaar Lip Balm

If you follow my blog you’ll know that I like a lip balm or two, so it takes a lot to impress me. But I have to say, I was quite taken with the Polaar lip balm. I received this as part of my Look Fantastic beauty box last week and as it’s ‘the genuine Lapland cream’ I knew I had to try it straight away! It’s super nourishing on your lips and has a great consistency that isn’t too thick, but still gives a really intense moisturised feeling. I did find that the more I used the more I felt I had to apply as my lips dried out easier, so I would say that more is less. Another thing I would have liked (although this is completely personal preference) is for there to be a tint. As I have pale skin, my lips have a tendency to go especially pale when cold, so a gorgeous pop of colour would have been great.

It’s a 3/5 for this one. It’s a great treatment for dry lips, but I still prefer other balms.

Hope you found these mini reviews useful – thanks for reading 🙂

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Elemis Biotic Mini Facial

So this evening I headed to the Elemis counter at John Lewis where I was treated to a lovely mini facial using products from the Biotec range. The brand have been really trying to promote this range, as the therapist told me that not a lot of people firstly understand what it is, and secondly how it actually works. So, they’ve been offering a host of these treatments to allow customers to experience the products and thus go on to spread the word! And here I am doing exactly that…

I was firstly sat down and then dressed as a hospital patient (see dashing image below). I was aware of the busy shoppers around me but actually, as soon as I closed my eyes and my lovely therapist started to take my makeup off I did not care one bit! I even found the sound of the man outside playing drums rather therapeutic.

She firstly started by cleansing my face of make up and she then used the biotec skin energising cleanser facial which you’re supposed to use on freshly cleaned skin. You basically apply on dry skin and then wash off using water (it reminded me of the Liz Earle cleanse and polish). This has a trio of acids sat in an electrolyte solution which means the product works really deep to help remove oil and impurities by resurfacing the skin. She then used the papaya enzyme facial scrub which is one of my absolute favourite products! If you’re looking for a gentle exfoliator this is AMAZING. Next, came my favourite part: the sheet mask. It was oh so cooling and has really left my skin feeling super soft and hydrated, plus it smells gorgeous! I’m sat on the tube writing this and rather than getting the usual odour of sweat or McDonald’s a delightful orchid sense is filling my senses. This was left on for around five minutes during which, I had a lovely hand and arm massage. After taking off the mask the residue was massaged in. I finally had the Biotic skin energising night cream applied, which is a mixture of two consistencies, and then I was ready to face the world!

Would I buy these products myself? Absolutely, I love Elemis products for the science behind them as well as being long lasting! But at £38 for the cleanser and £85 for the night cream, these products are something that will be going on my Christmas list.
As a brand, Elemis is also great to invest in. The therapists are so knowledgable and being offered the opportunity for a free facial is reflective of their customer loyalty. If I could, I would buy a lot of my skincare from there! So it was a pretty good introduction to the Biotec range. The products felt amazing against my skin, and I came home feeling refreshed which is a novelty after being on the tube! If you’ve tried any of the products before I’d love to hear what you think!
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Hot vs. Strip Wax

If you’ve ever experienced a bad wax that left you watery eyed and with a slight limp in your walk, like me, you’ll understand the importance of firstly finding a good salon and secondly knowing what wax suits your skin and hair needs best. I have extremely sensitive skin when it comes to waxing, which I am always reminded about when having a wax… although surely everyone goes a little pink, especially uh, em down there. I also have a pretty high pain threshold as discovered when getting a bad Brazilian where the therapist actually took a layer of my skin off. So I’d like to think I know a little about a good and bad wax. Probably the most important factor is finding a good therapist as although it will still smart a little, they should be able to quickly and efficiently remove all hairs covered in one little tug without causing too much pain.
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What I have come to fall in love with in my quest to find the perfect wax is hot wax. Using a wooden stick the wax is applied to the area and then left to dry until it has hardened and is slightly tacky; then, this will be stripped off and voila you’re left hair free! This may sound more painful that wax strips but it is really so much less so! Because the wax is left to cool down, it means it has more time to properly attach to all of the hairs in the specific areas so the therapist doesn’t need to repeat over the same area, which is good news all round for your skin. Because the hairs come out so cleanly, it means that you experience less ingrown hairs which is a bonus!

As well as this, the closeness of the wax to your skin means that your skin doesn’t experience as much of a ‘tug’ which not only makes for an all round more pleasant experience, but also means that your skin maintains its elasticity. Hot wax is much better for sensitive skin (because it’s more hydrating) and thus particularly sensitive areas such as your underarms and bikini area. Hot wax is only a few more pounds than strip and I really do think it is the way forward! If you are a wax virgin and are considering waxing I would 100% recommend you try hot wax first.

A few other top tips to make sure your wax is as pleasurable as can be…

  • Don’t go when you’re on or due on your period if you have a low pain threshold. If you’re feeling sensitive already, having someone attacking you down there won’t be nice!
  • If you’re worried about how much it’ll hurt, take a paracetamol beforehand – it works wonders!
  • Make sure to exfoliate the area in between waxes to ensure normal hair growth (by preventing ingrown hairs)
  • If it can be helped, try to plan your wax around the weather. Going on a cooler day is so much better than a hot day. Wax can react when applied to hot skin as it doesn’t take as well (as I’ve painfully learnt) so the cooler you can be, the better
  • Finally, trust your instincts with salons. If it doesn’t feel/look right it probably isn’t!
I hope you found that a little helpful if you are unsure whether to try hot wax – if you’re looking for UK based recommendations I am more than happy to help. Would love to hear of any experiences/ tips and techniques that make for a more pleasurable experience!
Thanks for reading!

This Week’s Tried and Tested 

Each week I’ve decided that I’ll try a selection of some of the endless testers I seem to have accumulated on my travels firstly to clear some space in my room. And, of course for you lovely lot!

 

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Intensive Moisturising Hand Cream 

This is undoubtedly one of the best hand creams I’ve tried – and I don’t throw those words around often! It is so intensely moisturising that my hands have the loveliest, dewy effect. They weren’t particularly dry before, however after being in constant 30 degree sun for a week they needed a little extra TLC. The formula absorbs so easily into the skin and doesn’t leave any kind of sticky residue; plus, as it says on the tin it really does give your hands moisture lasting 8 hours and over! I also love this for moisturising my cuticles and keeping my nails extra healthy. I can’t fault this hand cream so it’s a 5/5 from me!

 

REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist
This mist is a hard one to review as I haven’t got round to inventing my time machine, so I can’t tell you the long term benefits. However, what I will base it on is how my skin and make up felt after using. I have to say my make up stayed looking fresher for a lot longer than usual, and I didn’t get the usual oiliness that I would around 3pm when my body kicks into its sleep mode at work. Also, it’s a great spray for giving you an extra dewy look or simply to freshen up your skin throughout the day! I guess with this one you just have to trust that the experts know their stuff about protecting your skin from polluting agents and go with it. If anything it’ll give you great skin for perfecting those selfies! I would rate this product 4/5

 

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm
I always feel like I’m cheating on my favourite products if I swap, so I felt that testing this was bitter sweet because of my love affair with the OGX coconut milk serum. But, I must admit that I actually quite liked this! It’s not the best hair product I’ve used but it certainly helped condition my hair and helped nourish my damaged ends. I used a small amount on towel dried hair all over, focusing especially on my ends which gave it an overall healthier look and softer feel when blow drying compared to not using any product. My first criticism of this product is that it felt quite heavy when styling. I don’t like the feeling of having product in my hair so I struggled to get to grips with this. I kept touching my hair as it felt quite unnatural! Also, because of this I was dubious to put much on my roots, so it didn’t help to control my frizz. I will use up the rest of this tester but I’m afraid I probably won’t invest in this again, so it’s a 3/5 for this product.

Sneak Peak into Good Ship Benefit

I have been wanting to go to this for AGES and yesterday I finally clambered aboard the Good Ship Benefit moored on the Thames. If you like make up and wine and cocktails and food then you’ll probably manage to keep yourself occupied. Wandering down the walkway I found myself thrown into a pink world filled with plush sofas, a brow bar and even pink gin – it’s what dreams are made of! 


There’s a mini Benefit shop on board, the opportunity to have your brows waxed (although if you get sea sick like me I would not recommend doing that!) as well as a restaurant and bar with seating on the deck where you watch life go by whilst admiring the London Eye. Dreamy…. 


The ship has been hosting a range of events throughout the summer from pop up events to films to yoga classes to bottomless brunches which is the perfect after school activity for any Benebabe! Sadly there weren’t any events when I popped by, but I took a few sneaky pictures so take a look and enjoy…. 

My Favourite Summer Beauty Products Under £10

Sadly gone are the days of living at home rent-free where I could spend my Saturday picking and mixing my favourite products from Bobbi Brown to Eve Lom. Whilst I will remain loyal to my favourite brands in times of hardship, I’ve had to tighten my purse strings in some areas and look to products that have a friendlier price tag. So, as we are in the midst of summer with hot weather headed our way in the UK (wahoo!), I’m going to share my favourite products with you that are each under £10, but still great at getting you in ship shape for summer!

 

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1. OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti Breakage Serum, £7.35

This coconut hair serum is AMAZING. Firstly, it smells great. And secondly, and probably most importantly, it really does nourish my hair! I apply a 1p amount to towel dried hair to help control frizz and nourish damaged ends. When my hair is nearly dry I’ll also apply a little more to the crown of my head to control any fly aways. I promise this is all you’ll need on holiday for lovely natural waves!

2.Soap and Glory Flake Away, £6.40

I’ve tried A LOT of scrubs in my time (including some higher end products) and I can whole heartedly say this is my absolute favourite. It really does help to eliminate any uneven skin patches as well as brightening and leaving you with baby bottom smooth skin. It also smells fantastic, lasts me a couple of months when using every other day and at £6.40, it’s the reason I still haven’t strayed after first using 8 years ago!

3. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Conditioner, £4.99

If you haven’t tried this brand, why not! I could sit here and write for hours about everything I love to do with Aussie hair care… but instead, I will tell you my two favourite things. Firstly, every product from the brand smells amazing! Secondly, the products and in particular this conditioner all really work to repair and protect your hair. I always use this as my conditioner on holiday as I know that my hair will need a good treatment after spending the day in blazing sun alongside jumping in and out of chlorine-filled pools. Go into the shower a hot, bedraggled mess and come out looking and feeling like an Australian goddess with this conditioner!

4. L’Oreal Sublime Self-Tanning Elixir, £7.99

If you are scared of using fake tan this WILL BE your new best friend. The formula is a lovely serum-type formula that is  so easy to apply and takes to the skin effortlessly. It doesn’t have that normal biscuity fake tan smell and it doesn’t come off on sheets. It lasts at least a week and gives an amazing coverage. A friend told me about it recently and I’m genuinely upset I haven’t used it for longer!

5. Soap & Glory Foot Buffer, £8.75

To get those feet sandal-ready, this buffer really is amazing at removing any hard or dead skin. It has three parts: one for really getting rid of the rough skin, another for smoothing out and a third for getting in between your toes- and it really doesn’t hurt at all! Finish with a little foot cream and you’re good to go.

6. N07 Perfectly Bronzed Bronzing Pearls, £9.95

If, like me, you were ‘blessed’ with English Rose skin, bronzing/tanning products undoubtedly will be one of your best friends during the summer months. I love these pearls as they give a gorgeously subtle glow where the different colours blend together to give a lovely definition. I like to also take one of the darker pearls and use directly on my cheekbone area and then blend to help contour. It’s also great for eye shadow!

7. Wilkinson Sword Intuition Naturals Sensitive Care Razor, £7.49

If you have sensitive skin this razor will be your saviour! The gentle, creamy soap containing aloe acts to really moisturise and soothe your skin as you shave away. It is oh so lovely on my underarms and leaves my legs looking silky smooth – and there’s no need to worry about remembering shaving foam!

8. Revlon Nail Enamel in One Perfect Coral, £6.49

I don’t know about you, but I have my staple nail colours that I rotate on a seasonal basis; plum for Autumn/Winter, nude for Spring and coral for Summer. This shade from Revlon has been part of my summer beauty bag for some years now simply because I love it! It compliments my pasty skin tone well, and my tanned skin even better after a holiday; and, it’s great quality! The colour gives a really good depth and it stays looking good on my toes for a couple of weeks even when jumping  in and out of the sea!

9. Bert’s Bees Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil, £4.00

Not only is this probably the most nourishing lip balm I’ve owned, but it also gives such a gorgeous natural pink colour. It’s perfect to make sure your lips are prepped for any strong UV rays, and is equally great at protecting them when you’re out in it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**All the prices shown are based on products available in Boots**