Tuesday, 22 February 2011

My Nail Polish Collection - The Purples, Lilacs and Mauves

Right, time for another fascinating installment of my nail polish collection!  Today it's the turn of the purples, lilacs and mauves.

Top row left - right: YLS Belle de Nuit (one of a set), Barry M Dusky Mauve, Chanel Paradoxal, Revlon Plum Night (I think), Nails Inc St Johns Wood, Eyeko Lilac Polish, Avon - not sure what this is called.

Bottom Row left - right: ELF Mod Mauve, Elf - not sure of the name, Barry M Berry (I think), Mac - again not sure of the name, Mabelline - not sure of the name, Marvala Elle.

I've done NOTD posts on Belle de Nuit, Dusky Mauve, Paradoxal and Elle - not many really, as purples form the largest colour group in my collection

I've never worn the Avon or Elf polishes.  I love the colour of the Revlon polish in the pot, but it's really dark in reality - almost black.  I might try it over the top of a white polish to see how that looks.  The Barry M Berry colour is really difficult to work with - really bubbly and takes ages to dry.  The Nails St Johns Wood is really bright - almost fluorescent really!  I've had the Mabelline polish forever - it's probably the oldest in my collection.  It's a pretty sheer glitter, but more of a top coat rather than a full colour, as is the Mac polish.

Let me know if you have any requests for NOTDs or swatches!

Thanks for reading! xx

Sunday, 20 February 2011

My Nail Polish Collection - The Greens

So yesterday I posted my blue polishes - today it's the turn of the greens.  I seem to have quite a few green polishes - really quite amazing, as I never thought I'd be wearing green on my nails.

From left to right: Accesorize Aztec, Illamasqua Veridian, Chanel Khaki Vert, Mavala Bronze Green, 17 - not sure of the name, I think it has something to do with mints, Revlon Minted, Revlon Emerald City.

Here's another one I forgot to include in my earlier photo - Nails Inc Neal Street.

I've done NOTD posts of the Nails Inc, Accesorize, Illamasqua and Chanel polishes, but none of the others.  I've not even worn Emerald City yet.  I really loved the colour of Minted and have tried to do a good application of it for a NOTD post loads of times.  Unfortunately the formula is terrible - one of the worst I've ever used.  It bubbles, is streaky, needs about 4 coats to turn opaque, takes forever to dry and chips like anything.  I've never successfully applied it.  It's strange, as I love all the other Revlon polishes I've used.  My favourite colours are Veridian and Khaki Vert, although shockingly, I've only used each one once.  And I went to a lot of trouble to get Khaki Vert as well. 

Are you a green polish fiend? 

Thanks for reading! xx

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Bikini Beach Bum Bathing Beauty...

Hi everyone.  I've just ordered a lot of bikinis for my holiday in two weeks time.  I feel quite bad about it...but I fully expect to have to send some of them back, as it's unlikely that they will all fit me.  We intend on being quite active, taking part in beach activities, so I want something that actually gives me a bit of support and they cost an absolute fortune! 

It's great that you can now buy cup-sized bikinis for larger boobed ladies.  If you have boobs and you're a bit younger than me, you probably won't remember that cup-sized bikinis are a relatively new invention.  I've had big boobs since I was about 13, and I remember having two not great swim suits when I was a teenager - a blue one that just squashed my boobs downwards, and a black one that had underwired cups that didn't actually fit, but I rested the underwires half way up my boobs and it did the job.  Unfortunately both of these swim suits got ruined one camping holiday when the camp site owners got a bit too happy with the chlorine in the whirlpool.  The blue one turned a bleachy blue/pink/yellow tie-dye colour, and the black one when a horrible brownish colour.  Both had to go in the bin. 

By this time I was about 18, it was the late 90s, and great news - someone had realised that you could make bikinis in bra sizes!  How excited was I?  Well, my excitement diminished when I realised that a single bikini top cost around £75 and was only available in Alders (my local department store).  Anyway, I trooped off there to get a new bikini, but all the styles were horrible.  Whoever had designed them clearly thought only women of a certain age would need to buy a cup sized bikini.  Anyway, I couldn't afford £75 to spend on a bikini top (let alone bottoms as extra) - I mean I was going to uni soon and I was earning £2.42 an hour in my Saturday job in River Island.  It was bad enough shelling out £30 on bras! 

I did eventually find a bikini in my size on the sale rail.  There was just one, it fitted, and although it wasn't designed for an 18 year old, it could've been worse.  I think it was a swirly blue and white pattern, but the styling was not good.  I can't remember how much it cost, but I'm sure it was about £40, so I bit the bullet and bought it.  I had to buy the bottoms as well, which were yuck.  I used it for holidays throughout my student days, but then solved the bikini problem by not going on beach holidays or going swimming! 

In the last ten years I've gone on one beach holiday, about four years ago, and I bought just a plain black tankini top from Bravissimo.  By this point, the styles were much improved and the prices had come down, but I was a student again, so money was tight.  Not so tight that I wasn't going to get it though.  However, I did buy some bikini bottoms from Tesco for £3, rather than forking out £20 on the matching tankini bottoms.

Hence, here I am today.  Spending lots of money on pretty bikinis because I've not had the opportunity to do in the past.  I apologise for the ramble about my bikini buying history above - I was just going to show pictures of what I've ordered, but went slightly off track! 

Anyway, here are the bikinis:

From Bravissimo
From Figleaves Swimwear - the cheapest of the bikinis
Fantasie from Figleave - I've never worm a bandeau top, ever!  This is probably my favourite - hope it fits!
Pour Moi? from Figleaves - I doubt this will fit, but I hope it does!
I couldn't resist this Fantasie khaftan from Figleaves
The photos are the images from the Bravissimo and Figleaves websites - well, I'm not going to model these and do OOTD posts when they arrive, but I am very excited!  I hope at least one of them fits.  Also, I was a good girl and used a 15% off code for Figleaves and used Quidco for Bravissimo which gives you 10% cashback, so I didn't spend as much as I could've.

Do you have any horrific bikini buying stories?  It's good to share!  Maybe I'll tell you my sports bra stories from when I was a teenager - I'll save that for another time!

Thanks for reading!  xx

My Nail Polish Collection - The Blues

As promised - here's a blog post!  Today I've been sorting out my nail polish collection and tidying it into a new box.  Before I started blogging I rarely used to wear colour on my nails, but now I wear lots of outlandish colours and I think that nail polish is one of my beauty 'things'.  I've rushed out to buy the latest Chanel must-have and gone to considerable lengths to get my hands on certain colours.  Gone are the days of having a french manicure and a few reds, pinks, lavenders and a single brozey/gold polish which all fitted neatly into a small makeup bag.  Over the past 8 months my collection of polishes has expanded rapidly and I've had to change my storage several different time!

I know that I still don't have a huge collection - I have around 60 polishes, and I must admit that there are some that I've never worn, and some polishes that cost a lot of money and I've only worn once!!!  There are also a lot of brands I've never tried - China Glaze, Barielle, Orly and Leighton Denny are all on my wish list of brands to try. 

Rather than bombard you with a huge post full of polishes, I thought I'd break them down into colour groups.  So first off - the blues:

Left to right are Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe, Marvala Smoky Blue, Nails Inc Diet Coke Collection Denim, GOSH Gypsy Blue and Rimmel Sky High.

I've done NOTDs with the Lippman and Mavala polishes, but none of the others, so let me know if you're interested in seeing them.  I've worn all of them except the Nails Inc polish, and I like the colour of all the polishes.  I've bought all of these polishes over the last year - if you'd told me I'd have 5 blue polishes a year ago I would've laughed!  I bought the Rimmel one first, last spring, and I thought it was quite a bold and daring colour at the time.  I restricted its use just to my toes!  Now I'd think nothing of wearing the Mavala polish on my fingers to work... oh how things have changed.

By the way - I have the blue Mac Wonder Woman polish on order as well - I can't wait!

I have a few more of these colour themed posts to come - let me know if you're interested in seeing any NOTDs of any of the colours.

Thanks for reading!  xx

Catch up and Ramble

Happy Saturday ladies - hope you're all enjoying this (rainy) Saturday!  I've been a bit slack on the blogging front over the past week, something I hope to remedy over the next week or so.  The reason is, since I've been on a Beauty Diet and Project 15 Pan, there's not that much to report on really! 

The good (or bad) news is I've well and truely fallen off the wagon, spending a chunk of money on the new Mac Wonder Woman collection, and picking up a few other bits and pieces.  I'm waiting for my Mac stuff to arrive - lets hope it turns up today - so I'll do a review and swatches for you then.  I ordered my Mac bits on Thursday morning, but by coincidence, I happened to be passing Selfridges in Oxford Street yesterday so I took some photos of their fab window displays.  I popped inside, and the Mac counter was chaos - I'm so glad I ordered my stuff online - I reckon it would've taken an hour to get served, despite knowing what I wanted. 

The Selfridges window displays - I wasn't the only person taking photos of them either!

I know that a lot of people aren't really getting this collection, but for me it's the first Mac collection in ages that I've been stupidly excited about.  I love the Wonder Woman iconography, so what I've ordered is more for the packaging than the makeup.  Also, it's one area where mine and Mr TBBB's interests meet - he's a huge WW fan and a comic geek, so he's been reading about the collection on his comic blogs.  He told me that he read a review of the collection on one of his blogs that said it wasn't very good - this was before I had read a review of it on any beauty blog!

I'm not totally giving up on my Beauty Diet - I still want to use stuff up before buying more.  It's just that when you're using a product that doesn't work just for the sake of using it up, it's miserable and you may as well throw it away or give it away.  I'm still planning my whole year without buying shower gel challenge, and I'm working through my stash of lotions and potions.  However, I have splashed out on some haircare products - my hair was in a terrible state and needed some tlc.

I'm really looking forward to going on holiday in two weeks time!  I've fallen off the wagon in terms of weight loss, although I'm much happier about my weight than I was about a year ago. I'm over a stone lighter and at my lowest weight for a decade, so I can't really complain.  My skinny size twelve jeans fit, and even my Mum told me I was looking slim and she's not one for that kind of compliment, so I reckon I can survive the bikini baring!  The one problem is that I don't have any bikinis to wear, having not been on a proper beach holiday for years.  I have one tankini that is five years old and that is it.  I'm going to spend a couple of hours mooching on Figleaves and Bravissimo to pick out a few new bikinis later today.  I have F cup boobs, so I do have to spend a fortune on underwear/bikinis, but it really is worth it.

One of the good things about going on holiday in March is that the weather is cold in the UK at the moment, so I'm not flashing any flesh.  This has meant I've been able to grow my leg hair ready for a full leg wax (not just bikini).  I've not had a full leg wax for absolutely years, as I hate having the lower part of my legs hairy, and in the summer I like to wear knee length skirts, so I just shave them instead.  However, I now have very hairy calves, so I'll be able to get them all waxed off!  I've also decided to get my underarm hair waxed.  I've never had this done before, but I think it'll be so worth it.  I have quite thick, dark, underarm hair, so I tend to shave them everyday in the summer and it can really irritate my skin.  I'm looking forward to not having to think about this on my holiday!   I had a minor panic today as I tried to get a waxing appointment.  The salon near my office was fully booked on the few days before my holiday, and my favourite salon could only just squeeze me in at an inconvenient time.  I was worried I'd have to resort to some unfamilier salon or try and do the waxing at home, which isn't really an option.

Anyway, I hope to have some more posts over the next week, and proper beauty-related posts rather than just ramblings! 

Thanks for reading!  xx

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Elf Studio Corrective Concealer

Evening everyone.  I have quite a few blemishes on my face, so I get through a lot of concealers - I'm yet to find my HG concealer, although I've found some pretty good ones.  Last summer I spotted the ELF Studio Corrective Concealer on the ELF website for a bargainous £3.50, so I snapped it up.  What could go wrong?

Well, much as I love some of the products that ELF produce, this is very definitely a miss from me.  Don't get me wrong, it looks nice, is the expensive looking Studio black packaging, and it has a decent sized mirror inside the case as well as coming with an actually quite decent little (Studio quality) brush for applying the concealer.  However, appearances can be deceiving, and this one definitely had me fooled.

The website states that there are four colours:  green for neutralising redness, lilac for concealing yellow tones and a nude and beige shade for covering blemishes.  Well here's the first problem - I cannot tell the difference between the supposed nude and beige shade - I honestly don't know which is which, other than they're both an orangey shade and wrong for me.  With other concealer palettes I own, I like to mix up the different shades before applying to my blemishes.  However, ELF have handily designed this palette with the two blemish shades at opposite ends of the palette, so if you don't look down at what you're doing, you can easily dip you finger or brush into the lilac or green by accident and end up with a very weird colour combination.

Other issues I have with this palette are that it is underfilled in the pan, and not easy to get the product out with your fingers (which is usually how I apply concealer), and the terrible quality of the concealer itself.  I like a concealer to be a relatively firm consistency, although creamy, so you can apply it, blend it out and then it sets.  I've used other sub-five pound concealer palettes which have achieved this, but the ELF one is a big fail.  The consistency of the concealer is really soft, watery and slippy.  It is so insipid that it slips onto your face and you can't actually see where you've applied it, so weak is the pigmentation.  Actually, the lack of pigmentation is probably a good thing, judging by those frightening orange shades. The concealer is not buildable and it doesn't set.  So, if you cover a blemish and you can still see it, which given the terrible pigmentation is highly likely, you won't be able to apply any more concealer on top of it as it's so watery you'll just wipe off your first layer of concealer.  By the way, the green and lilac are just as poor quality as the beige and nude colours.

Here are some swatches, swatched in the order the colours are in the pan.  I took loads of photos and these are the best ones.  These were swatched onto my arm, after really rubbing my finger into the colours - no actually gouging out the colours, and my arm was dry with no moisturiser on it - imagine the lack of pigmentation dabbing these on to a moisturised face!

Well can I think of anything good to say about this, other than nice packaging and nice brush?  Well, I suppose it's so watery and soft that it won't dry out your skin like more cake-type concealers can do.  However, given that it doesn't actually do what it is supposed to do, that is to conceal blemishes and colour correct, then I don't think this is a unique selling point myself.

Incidentally, this is not the worst concealer that I've ever used.  Powderflage by Benefit is clearly the worst concealer ever marketed - I'll have to do a review of it sometime, as it is simply useless and conceals even less than the ELF palette.  However, you can use Powderflage as a highlighter instead of a concealer, so you can put it to another purpose...

The ELF Studio Corrective Concealer is one of my Project 15 Pan items, and is probably the item that I'm struggling with the most to use up as I just hate it.  I usually get through concealers really quickly!  I am trying my hardest though, so hopefully I can throw it out soon!

Have you tried this?  Did you have a better experience than I did?

Thanks for reading!  xx

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Beauty Diet and Project 15 Pan Update

Hi ladies.  Just a quick little update from me today on my Beauty Diet and Project 15 Pan.

Beauty Diet
I’ve got some more empties from my Beauty Diet:

  • Dove Firming Beauty Body Lotion
  • Body Shop Cassis Rose Body Lotion (don’t know how long this has been in my stash – I reckon years and years)!
  • The Sweet Boutique Toffee Apple Body Wash (loved this stuff)
  • SJP NYC perfume (also loved this)
I feel like I’m making progress with the Beauty Diet, and I’ve actually started to use some of the stash I got for Christmas and I’ve managed to fit all my shower gels into one box – only 10 left to go!  I should really use up some of the products I’ve had kicking around for years, but they’re not as nice as the Christmas stash!
I have ordered a face oil with free Serum from Angela Langford, as I blogged about over the weekend, but I thought this was too good an offer to miss.  So far, I’ve spent about £75 (including Boots points) on a few essentials, as well as Deborah Lippmann nail polish and this Angela Langford offer.  Not too bad, but it does make me realise how much I’m spending normally.

Project 15 Pan

My Project 15 Pan is going less well.  Of the 15 items I had earmarked to use up, I’ve managed only one so far – Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara.  I’ve sort of lost the will a bit with this project, and have started using the rest of my makeup more.  I really need to use the rest of the items up, as they’re in too bad condition to give away, and I hate throwing things away.  If I don’t use them up they’ll just hang around forever!

Here’s an update on the products in the challenge:
  • Mac Prep + Prime face primer – nearly finished
  • No 7 Organza eye palette – don’t seem to have used much
  • A random No 7 eye shadow sample – not much more gone
  • A Clinique blusher with a broken case – been using this daily, but no dent in it!
  • Rimmel kohl eyeliner – also using this daily, but still loads left
  • Chanel Inimitable Intense mascara – done, finished!
  • Elf minty lipgloss in Boston – nearly finished – the lid is completely broken
  • Elf eyelid primer – seems to keep on going, but doesn’t work well on my eyes
  • No 7 liplicious lipgloss – using this loads, but still lots left
  • Rimmel pressed powder – made a bit of a dent in this
  • Revlon Photoready Foundation – almost finished
  • Elf concealer palette – almost finished this
  • NYC Perfect and Reflect concealer palette – almost finished this
  • No 7 Intelligent Colour Foundation – hardly any left
  • No 7 Colour Calming Makeup Base – seems to last forever – still loads left

    Well, some of these are nearly finished at least!  The good news is I haven’t bought any makeup at all since I started this challenge.  I doubt I’ll be able to use up all the products before buying anymore, as seriously there are several years left in that Clinique blusher and No 7 lipgloss!  But, I’m not planning on buying anymore bits until at least the end of the month, where hopefully a few more products will be used up.

    Thanks for reading! xx

    Sunday, 6 February 2011

    Just Spotted This Angela Langford Offer

    Hi lovelies.  You may remember that I recently blogged about Angela Langford Natural and Organic Skincare here, and I really loved it.  Well I've just spotted a great offer on Angela's Facebook page and thought I'd share it with you all.

    Basically, if you order either Balanced & Beautiful or Repair & Renew Face Oils which cost £22.55 each, you will get Perfect Pores serum for free.  The serum is worth £26.55, so this is a bit of a bargain!  The link to the website is here.

    I've already put in my order for Balanced & Beautiful face oil!  It's a Valentine's Day offer, so I would assume this would be on for another week.

    Thanks for reading!  xx

    Sample Sunday - Lancome Genifique Youth Activator

    I've been a bit remiss on the Sample Sunday posts recently, so I thought I'd restart it again.  Today I'm trying Lancome Genifique Youth Activator.  I think it's a serum, so I used it as such, but it doesn't say on the packaging.  I got this as a GWP a while ago.

    The serum is a milky coloured liquid that my skin soaked up instantly.  I had expected it to be a bit slippy, as many high-end serums are, and it was, but this soaked up into my skin so quickly that I used considerably more than I had anticipated using, as I had to squeeze out a bit more several times.  I don't think I've ever used a more absorbent product on my face.  I reckon I've only got a few uses of this product in this little tube.

    I've never had a good experience with really high-end serums: I didn't like the Chanel one I tried, or the Murad one, both of which stung my skin and were very expensive.  However, this didn't sting at all, and although my skin didn't feel moisturised after using it, my skin felt great and toned, although not tight and so soft when I put on my actual moisturiser.

    So I like this product, but will I be buying it again?  Absolutely not at around £55 for 30ml is my answer.  That's shockingly expensive considering the product doesn't appear to stretch very far.  I don't think I can justify spending more than £30 on a serum, and that would be one that lasts a few months.  For £55, I don't think 30ml would last even a month, so it would have to be absolutely magical on my skin to spend that much!

    Have you tried this?  What is the most you would spend on a serum?

    Thanks for reading!  xx

    No 7 Exquisite Curls Mascara - The Start of a Beautiful Friendship???

    It’s always the way isn’t it?  You wait ages for the bus, then two come along at once.  Earlier in the week I asked my readers to help me choose my next mascara from the rather large pile I had accumulated.  No sooner had I chosen the Eyeko mascara, then a day later, the new No 7 Exquisite Curls Mascara arrives for me to try.  Usually, I would’ve put this in my drawer to use once I’d finished up the others.  However, I really wanted to test it out as maintaining a curl is my biggest eyelash problem, and this promised to do just that.

    I’ve blogged before about my lashes – although they are quite long, they have no curl to them at all – in fact they seem to grown downwards.  They are also a mousy brown colour with blond roots (although I’m not blond and never have been)!  So, for me, finding a mascara which holds a curl and is a good black colour is really important, especially at the moment when I’ve not had my lashes tinted and permed for a good 5 months.

    I’ve used No 7 mascaras for years and years, and with a couple of exceptions, I’ve always been impressed.  Now over the past year, with my ventures into blogging and burgeoning love of makeup, I’ve strayed away from No 7, experimenting with different brands.  So to try out this Exquisite Curls mascara was a bit of a revelation for me.  I absolutely love it, and having used it for only three days, I can say that it’s venturing into Holy Grail territory.  It’s certainly much better than the Chanel Inimitable Intense which I’ve just finished using and is twice the price.

    The mascara comes in a grey, shimmery tube which isn’t anything special packaging-wise, but isn’t particularly bad either.  The wand is curved – I was very interested to try this, as I’ve never used a curved wand before.  I was slightly apprehensive how it would work, as I do like to get right down to the roots for some detailed application to cover my blond bits.  However, I love the curved wand, it’s very easy to apply and actually makes it easier to get to those pesky blond roots.

    As for the curl, I have found that this does what it says on the tin – it holds a curl and holds it well. I know that it doesn’t exactly appear very curly on the before and after pictures - I'm not very happy with how they turned out - but believe me, for my lashes, this is a curl.




    What I also liked about this was the smooth formula, which was easy to apply, a dark black colour, coated my roots and dried quickly.  I’ve found that there was no flaking, clumping or streaking and it was also easy to remove.

    The mascara doesn’t appear to lengthen or volumise my lashes.  If you’re looking for this, then this probably isn’t the mascara for you.  However, for me, curls are all important, so this is a winner.

    I’ve used this only three days, so I know it’s too early to label it HG.  If it starts to dry up after a couple of weeks, I’ll continue with my search.  However, I’ve got high hopes for this, and I’ll let you know if it continues to perform.

    No 7 Exquisite Curl Mascara is currently available for £10, which is a bargain.  No 7 are also running a competition for the photo of video of the best wink on their Facebook page, with lots of goodie bags to win and a star prize of a pampering weekend with a make-over from Lisa Eldridge.  The competition runs until 15th February – I will be entering mine!

    Thanks for reading! xx

    DISCLAIMER: This item was provided free of charge for review purposes.  This has not influenced my review in any way - I always express my honest opinion on any product I review.

    Wednesday, 2 February 2011

    A Gift With Purchase I Could Do Without

    As you might know, I've been trying to use up all my lotions and potions recently by following a Beauty Diet: no unnecessary spending and trying to use up what products I do have cluttering up my cupboards.  One of the products I've been using was a GWP (gift with purchase) from Clinique - their Liquid Facial Soap in Mild.  This is supposed to be suitable for combination skin, which I have, without being drying.

    I know that some people rave about Clinique's skincare expertise, and there are some Clinique facial products that I absolutely love.  As you may know, I'm a massive fan of their eyeshadows as well. However, I've never used the three-step-system, so I've not tried any of their cleansers before receiving this one.  My verdict is I'm not impressed.

    I don't use soap on my face usually - infact the only soap I use is on my hands, as I find it very drying on my skin, and there are so many other lovely cleansers to use.  However, this Clinique Liquid Facial Soap is very definitely soap.  OK, it foams up well and appears to clean pretty well, but it smells like soap, acts like soap and it drys my skin out like soap does.  Despite the 'mild' claim, I don't find this any better than if I'd used a bar of soap and a flannel to wash my face.

    There's no list of ingredients on the bottle.  However, looking at the ingredients online, it's full of chemicals, including sodium laureth sulphate.  I don't know how this relates to sodium lauryl sulphate - is it the same thing? 

    I'm ploughing through it, as I don't like to waste a product, but I wish I'd never started it and just given it away instead!

    A couple of last things - although this is packaged cheaply as it was a GWP, the cap on the soap has broken and it won't shut properly (after I took the pictures).  I would expect better from such a high-end brand, even if the product is given away.  The other thing I dislike about it is the colour of the bottle - it clashes horribly with my lovely Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic which is a lovely pale blue colour.  Even if it didn't clash, I still dislike the colour of the bottle!

    I won't be buying this again, and if I receive it as a GWP, it's going straight to Give and Makeup!

    Thanks for reading!  xx

    Tuesday, 1 February 2011

    Product Review - Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

    I have a confession to make ladies - I'm not really a cleanse, tone and moisturise kinda girl.  I used to use toner when I was a teenager, but I read an article saying that if you use a wash off cleanser (which I usually do) then there's no point in using a toner.  And so, for probably around 15 years I've not used a toner.  I'm sure that the last toner I used was some astringent anti-spot formulation that was supposed to close your pores and prevent spots, but really just left your skin feeling tight, stinging, dehydrated and uncomfortable 

    When I was sent the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic for consideration, initially I wasn't sure how it would fit into my skin care routine, and with my hazy memories of my last toner experience, I wasn't sure how it would react with my sensitive skin.  I was hopeful I would like it, as it's alcohol free and I'm pleased to say that I've been converted to a dedicated toner user by this product - it couldn't be further from my teenage toner experiences!

    The Instant Boost Skin Tonic comes in an attractive, large pale blue bottle.  Now I'm usually minimalist about my bathroom shelves, and store all my lotions and potions away.  However, I've left this on my bathroom shelf since I received it, and it looks good.  The best thing about the bottle design is the twist lid.  You don't need to fiddle around unscrewing a lid and losing it or popping a cap off.  Just a small twist (which you can do one handed - I've tried), and you can open and close it - very neat and ergonomic.

    The scent is delicately fragranced and smells lovely without being at all over-powering or synthetic.  It is described on the bottle as "heavenly" and I can only agree with that description. 

    I've been using a generous slug of this twice a day on a cotton pad to tone after cleansing, and I have really noticed a difference.  Firstly, my skin feels really clean after doing this - much cleaner then after using a wash-off cleanser.  I'm also making sure that parts of my face and neck and ears which can get missed with a cleaner get a going over with the skin tonic.  It's easy to skip over these parts of your face, and given the amount of grime that comes off onto the cotton pad, I can tell I certainly need to cleanse these areas more often.  Once I've used the toner, my skin doesn't feel at all tight or stretched.  It feels soft, hydrated and very clean, with not a hint of stinging on my sensitive skin.

    Something I've really noticed since using this is that my serum and moisturiser applies really well to my face and sinks in much more quickly than without using it.  I don't know if you've ever experienced this, but sometimes, particularly in winter when I tend to load on the moisturiser and probably use too much, my moisturiser can sit on my skin and if I keep trying to rub it in, it can form little 'globules' or 'flakes' of moisturiser which sit on my skin's surface and I have to pick them off.  It's hard to describe this, and it might just be my weird skin, but it's something I experience from time to time and it doesn't matter which moisturiser I use.  However, I've not even had a hint of this since using the Instant Boost Skin Tonic, so I think I've got this problem sussed. 

    The only issue I have with it is that after years of not using a toner, I have to keep reminding myself to use it as part of my skincare routine.  There have been a few times when I've simply forgotten to use it and I'm already slapping on the moisturiser before noticing it on my shelf.  I just need a bit more training to get into the habit of using it regularly.

    So I'm going to give the Liz Ear Instant Boost Skin Tonic a big thumbs up! A 200ml bottle (which I reckon would last quite a while) costs £11.75 and is available from the Liz Earle website, as well as outlets around the country.

    Thanks for reading!  xx

    DISCLAIMER: This item was provided free of charge for review purposes.  This has not influenced my review in any way - I always express my honest opinion on any product I review.


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