A Beauty Gift Guide

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

-This post contains PR/Gifted items, no paid content. All opinions are my own-
I'm back again with a gift guide and this one is all about beauty! I do love doing beauty gift guides because I love receiving beauty gifts for Christmas (as well as fluffy socks and cosy jumpers or cardigans obvs) I've chosen an array of products that I think would be perfect for any beauty lover in your life which I've personally tried and tested myself either over the past year or recently for this gift guide.

If you're looking for some decent, affordable hair straighteners for someone in your life then I can't recommend the Lily England Hair Straighteners RRP £31.99 from Amazon enough. My old hair straighteners literally went bang one day so I quickly went online and picked up some more and guess what? The Lily England ones work just as well as my old ones, if not better! AND they were a heck of a lot cheaper than my old ones. I also think they look really nice with the white and rose gold and I'm a fan of the digital, easy-to-use display too.

Another gift idea which I personally love receiving myself at Christmas is perfume which I know I've already mentioned in my previous gift guide but I just think you can't really go wrong with perfume if you know what kind of scents the person you're buying for likes or what their all time fave perfume is. I'm currently really enjoying the Calvin Klein Women (50ml)* priced at £38.99 on Fragrance Direct. Another little tip if you're buying perfume/aftershave is to look on Fragrance Direct because you can usually get them at a discounted price on their website.

I think The Body Shop Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Face Mask RRP £17 would be a fab gift because it's suitable for all skin types and it's a nice in-the-middle kind of price for a face mask. It feels luxurious on the skin as it warms up slightly and just makes your skin look more alive right after using it. I love using it in the morning if I've had a rubbish night's sleep and I feel like I need waking up a bit. It also helps to reduce the signs of fatigue and helps to clear up any impurities too.

For a body care gift set I've chosen to feature the Lavera Sweet Moments Gift Set RRP £15.95* which is a limited edition set which includes a gentle body wash and body lotion which are both scented with organic plum and vanilla - which I think is a great comforting, winter scent! It's also made with 100% natural ingredients, suitable for vegans and cruelty-free too. 

For the skincare lover in your life I've got to mention the PMD Clean Pro RQ RRP £165* because using a silicone cleansing brush has honestly been such a game changer this year. I've found that it's helped with oil control, makes me feel confident that my skin is properly cleansed and I really like the warming Rose Quartz aspect on the flip side as because it's great to use with serums to help get maximum results as well as a relaxation technique before going to bed. You can read my full review here.

Another beauty tool I've been loving over the past month or so is the Magnitone London Fuzz Off 3-in-1 Rechargeable Precision Hair Trimmer RRP £30*. The reason why I love it is because it's so easy to use and it can be used on multiple different areas as well. You can use it on your brows, lip and chin hair, stray underarm hair and even your bikini line. It comes with different attachments for each area too. It's rechargeable via USB and 1 charge = 90 minutes of use. It spins at 300 times per second so that it removes all of the fine hairs and leaves the skin soft and smooth and it's also suitable for sensitive skin types. Highly recommend!

If you're like me and trying to get people in your life to start thinking more about the planet and reducing their plastic waste then the EcoPanda Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads RRP £20.90* which are available from Amazon might be a great gift idea! The set comes with 18 bamboo pads (8cm each), a bamboo storage jar to store your clean makeup remover pads and a cute little eco-friendly laundry bag. The pads are made from high quality bamboo, hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types. They are sustainable because bamboo is not only biodegradable but it also grows up to a meter each day which makes it a great eco material. I have a review with more info available here.

The Tropic Skincare Skincare Discovery Kit RRP £28* is a great way to introduce someone to Tropic Skincare who are definitely one of my favourite brands right now. The kit contains some of their best selling skincare products in a travel-friendly size which all come in a magnetic canvas cosmetics bag. So what's in the kit? You get their Smoothing Cleanser (50ml) which can be used to melt away and remove makeup or as a standard cleanser, a Bamboo Face Cloth, Vitamin Toner (30ml) which aims to soothe your skin and refine your pores, Skin Feast Nourishing Concentrate Cream (20ml) which contains 20 plant oils and extracts to leave you with a healthy glow and their recently released Rainforest Dew (5ml) which is a super hydrating serum. 

Lastly is the lovely Burt's Bees Naturally Beautiful Gift Set RRP £17.99* which contains their Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E and Peppermint, one of their Lip Crayons in the shade Sedona Sands (which happens to be one of my fave lip products right now!), a Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus and their Lavender and Honey Hand Cream and they all come in a sturdy red cosmetics bag. I feel like you can't really go wrong with Burt's Bees because everyone uses lip balms and hand creams, right? So I think this set is a perfect gift for someone you're unsure what to buy for. 

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Magnitone's SuperNaturals Skincare

Sunday, 17 November 2019

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-This post contains PR/Gifted items, no paid content. All opinions are my own-
Magnitone have recently released their first ever skincare range which is vegan and mainly aimed at oily/combination and blemish prone skin types. So it sounds perfect for my temperamental skin! They sent over all of the products from the range as well as the First Step Vibra Sonic Compact Daily Cleansing Brush which I'm also going to be reviewing in this blog post too. 

First up is the Pore-ify Breakout Knockout Anti-Oil Cleansing Gel RRP £8* which I've been really enjoying. Normally when products claim they are going to stop any oiliness then it means they contain ingredients which basically strip the skin back which then basically makes your skin super dry and also a breeding ground for bacteria because there's no barrier. However, I've found that it works in a more natural way and doesn't completely strip the oils from my face but just takes away any excessive oils. I'm also a fan of the fresh, clean scent throughout the whole range. The Cleansing Gel contains Activated Charcoal which is what pulls out and unclogs any rubbish from the pores, Wasabi which calms the skin overall and lastly is the classic Tea Tree which as we all know is great for dealing with breakouts. I am a little hit and miss with products which contain Tea Tree as they can make my skin go really red but I've been fine with this so far.

Next up is the Pore-ify Zero Shine Anti-Pollution Mineral Moisturiser RRP £10* which is a lightweight day cream which helps to combat oil production and absorb excess oils. The Magnesium helps with the oils, Zinc helps to prevent pore clogging and the Resurrection Plant Extract aims to protect and hydrate your skin. I've been really liking the Mineral Moisturiser and I think it's a nice, affordable day-to-day moisturiser to use and I would pick it up again. 

There's also the Pore-ify Vitamin-Mix Intense Night Cream RRP £10* if you think you're in need of some extra moisture. I'll admit, my skin isn't a massive fan of night creams or moisturisers just because they tend to be heavier on the skin. I tend to just use standard daily moisturiser for both morning and night. The formula is a little richer than the daily moisturiser but not super heavy. It contains Vitamin E from Soy which aims is to boost the skin's repair system, the Apple Alpha-Hydroxy Acid rejuvenates the skin's surface and the Bladderwrack (Seaweed) helps to soothe the skin. I probably wouldn't pick this up again just because I'm finding I'm not reaching for it a lot because I've been enjoying the Mineral Moisturiser more.

Lastly from the SuperNaturals range is the Pore-ify Peel & Purge Enzyme Clay Mask RRP £12* which I've been loving. At first because of the name, I thought it was a peel off kind of mask but it's not. It's a clay-based mask which is what I personally prefer as I find they work best with my skin. On the tub it says to use it once a week as a treatment which I have been doing. The Amazonian Clay helps to draw out excess oils from the pores, whilst the Pumpkin Seeds help to dry out oily skin (which did freak me out at first but it's not extreme), whilst the PawPaw exfoliates and promotes cell renewal. I really like this mask because I think it does help and I find it a lot easier to remove than other clay masks because it's quite a thin consistency. It also leaves my skin feeling super clean and soft. I'm definitely going to be picking this one up again!

Lastly is the First Step Vibra Sonic Compact Daily Cleansing Brush RRP £40* which is
USB Rechargeable (A full 8hr Charge will last a month), The brush contains Skinsoft(TM) Bristles which are anti-bacterial and it also comes with a 1 Year Warranty. The brush is completely waterproof meaning it's fine to put in your gym bag and to use in the shower or bath. It does seem to be on the noisier side which is why I personally prefer Magnitone's XOXO Sillicone Cleansing Brush RRP £40* because it's pretty quiet but if that isn't something that bothers you or whoever you live with and you want to use a cleansing brush then it's a great one to start with.

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Latest In Beauty The India Knight Edit Box

Thursday, 14 November 2019

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-This post contains PR/Gifted items, no paid content. All opinions are my own-
 I was recently sent one of Latest in Beauty's new boxes which is always exciting and brightens my day when one arrives unexpectedly. They recently released two boxes in collaboration with The Sunday Times Style both priced at £40 with an array of tried and tested products. I received the The India Knight Edit which is worth a whopping £210 but yours for just £40 on the Latest in Beauty website!

The India Knight Edit box is jam packed with products (10 to be exact) and contains a good mixture of skincare, hair, makeup and body care products to try - six of which are full size! I'm not going to lie, I couldn't wait to delve in and try everything out so I'm just going to crack on and talk about how I got on with each product.

The Sam MccKnight Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist* sounded perfect for when I want to wear my hair wavy. I always try to attempt to do beachy waves but my hair doesn't always cooperate so I tend to just spray it with some dry shampoo for some added texture because the sea salt spray I was using was actually ruining my hair. The Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist is a really light mist which I've been using instead of dry shampoo to add some texture and "grit" if you like. I definitely think it's been helping me to get that careless beachy wave look and it also smells so nice as it's kind of a spicy, floral scent. The full size is quite pricey at £25 but if I had the spare ££ then I would repurchase because I feel like I've seen a difference whilst using the product and you don't have to use a ton of product during each use either.

I was excited to see The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%* in the box because I actually already use Niacinamide on any breakouts and I do think it works really well. However I currently have a product by Dermalogica that contains Niacinamide and also the Glossier Super Pure and they both work really well but let's just say my bank balance isn't very happy with me when I repurchase them... So it'll be interesting to see if The Ordinary's Niacinamide works as well as the other two that are a lot more expensive. I haven't actually gotten around to trying it just yet but I will update you with how I'm getting on with it in a future skincare blog post.

Next is the BBB London Ultimate Arch Definer in Saffron* which is an eyebrow crayon on one end and then has an almost toothbrush looking brush on the other end to blend out the product. Unfortunately the shade Saffron is way to warm for my brows so I've not tried out this product. But it does look interesting if you're in the market for a new brow product. It also comes with an exclusive 20% off a brow shape at Blink Bar Stores which you can find out more about on the contents leaflet.

The Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil* comes in a glass bottle with a dropper style dispenser so you know it's an more luxury kind of hair product just by the bottle. The oil itself smells lovely and it's one of those scents that sticks in your hair throughout the day. You can use it on both damp and dry hair which I have been doing and I think it does a great job at defrizzing your hair. t's quickly become one of my go-to hair products at the moment!

I'm not super keen on night creams or overnight face masks because I have more of an oilier skin type so although the Elemis Pro-Collagen Overnight Matrix* is nice and hydrating, it's not something I would personally pick up a full size of because I just don't feel like I need it. I feel like a basic day time moisturiser works okay for me for both morning and night. However I did find that my skin looked a bit more awake and plumper after using it, so if you do have a drier skin type then maybe you should give it a try. 

Laura Mercier Matte Lipstick in Dominate and Zoeva Eye Crayon in Phonology
I've been thinking of buying a few new eyeshadow sticks because they're super quick and easy to use, especially for the festive season. So I was excited to see the Zoeva Heritage Eye Crayon (shades may vary)* in the shade Phonology which is described as a metallic caramel bronze. It is a little bit hard to blend out with a brush but it definitely makes up for it by how long it lasts on your lids. I've just been using my finger to blend it out instead but I think it's really pretty and it's definitely a shade I would've chosen myself because I'm really into golds and bronzes because I think they make my eyes pop.

When I saw the Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-replenishing Hydrator* I knew I'd get on with it because I do like an lightweight gel moisturiser. It's described as a glass of water for the skin and I think that's a perfect description. I think I would buy the full size version in the future because it is really nice and I think it would agree with my skin no matter how it's behaving.

I couldn't wait to try the Color WOW Dream Coat Supernatural Spray* because I've heard so many great things about it! It's described as a humidity sealant which stops hair from becoming frizzy even in the highest humidity. My hair is naturally quite frizzy and I'm always interested in products that claim to de-frizz and smooth out your hair. What I really like about the Dream Coat Supernatural Spray is that it's activated by heat and lasts between 3-4 shampoos. So even though it is on the pricier side, it will last a good amount of time. I do also use my normal go-to hair products alongside it just for extra protection when I'm using heat on my hair but I'm definitely going to be buying it again because I've seen such a big difference over the past couple weeks whilst using it.

I've never tried anything from Laura Mercier before so when I saw that the Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Dominate* was in the box, I was looking forward to trying it out. The shade Dominate is a cherry-red tone which is something I wouldn't normally go for but I suppose for the festive season I probably would. Although it's a matte lipstick, it's still comfortable to wear and it's one of those lipsticks that makes your teeth look whiter too which is always an added bonus. I really want to try more Laura Mercier products in the future.

I know this might sound odd but the Kiehls Nourishing Dry Body Oil* actually reminds me of my childhood because the scent reminds me of my old house where I used to live. I think my nan on my mum's side must've either used it or something that smelled similar because it reminds me of when she used to visit. So to me it's quite a comforting scent because I haven't smelled anything remotely similar for many years. The product itself is nice too and I think it's a great product to have at hand if you have super dry skin and your skin needs some moisture and fast. I am always wary of body oils because I worry that the oil will stain things but it sinks in pretty fast so I don't think I have to worry about that.

Have you tried anything in the LiB The India Knight Edit Box before? 

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Main Gifts & Stocking Filler Ideas

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


-This post contains PR/Gifted items, no paid content. All opinions are my own-
It's happening... My first Christmas Gift Guide for 2019! I thought my first gift guide should be about choosing what to buy as a main gift as well as some stocking filler ideas. There's so many fab things in the shops and online this year and it's been so hard to decide what to feature. But here's a round up of some gift ideas that I think would go down well this Christmas.

First up are some Feather & Down gift sets which I think are really great gift ideas because everyone needs to wind down and relax in the evening after a long day and a lot of people struggle doing so. Feather & Down have been my personal go-to brand for pillow mists for about two years now and they definitely help me when I'm struggling to relax or sleep. (Also just a side note... their Breathe Well Pillow Spray is fab if you've got a cold/flu!). They currently have an array of gift sets available and I'm sharing two of them in this post that I personally think look fab and are also not going to break the bank. These gift sets are the Bath Oil Duo gift set priced at £12* and the Straight to Sleep Set priced at £6* which are both available in Sainsbury's.

The Bath Oil Duo comes with two bath oils as the name suggests. One is the original Sweet Dreams Feather & Down scent and the other is the Breathe Well scent which as I've already mentioned is great for when you've got a cold or the flu. The bath oils turn into a lovely, luxurious milky consistency once added into your bath and they're just perfect to use as part of your winding down before bed routine. I think you get a good amount for the price too as both bottles are 50ml each!

The Straight to Sleep gift set which is priced at £6 features mini versions of their Original Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray and the Sweet Dreams Body Lotion. I think it's a great way to introduce someone to Feather & Down and because they're mini versions they're great for travel too. I really like the original scent because it's not super overpowering like some pillow mists can be. It's just very calming and relaxing. 

I feel like the PMD Clean Pro RQ priced at £165* is a perfect luxury gift for any skincare lover in your life. It really helps to deeply cleanse your skin and the Rose Quartz (on the other side) which heats up is great to use with serums to get maximum results or even just as a relaxation technique before getting into bed. I even use it when I have a tension headache! It's rechargeable, comes with a travel case and is also completely waterproof. I've got a full review on my blog which you can read here if you want to find out more info. Also some exciting news! I'm running a giveaway with PMD Beauty over on my twitter to win a PMD Clean PRO RQ. So head on over and follow the instructions to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

I always feel like buying perfume or aftershave is a good way to go if you're stuck on what to buy someone. Obviously you need to know what kind of scents your recipient likes but I think if the person you're buying for likes floral scents then any of the Marc Jacobs "Daisy" perfumes are a good kind of staple perfume to go for. I'm really enjoying Daisy Dream* at the moment which is why I've featured it in the photos.

Another great main gift choice is a luxury candle which not only smells gorgeous but looks nice too. Sara Miller London have definitely hit the nail on the head when it comes to their candles. There's a good range of scents to choose from Bergamot and Mint*, Cinnamon, Rose & Anise, Grapefruit, Yuzu & Tonca and Jasmine, Lemongrass & Ginger and more. Their candles are made with 100% pure soy wax and hand poured in the UK. The Bergamot and Mint* candle which I chose to feature in this post has such a crisp but winter-y scent and I just can't get enough of it. Even when it's not lit, it still smells lovely but not in an overpowering way like some candles can. I also like that the candles are set in gold lined glass to create a mesmerising hue and relaxing glow for a perfect, cosy winter evening. 

Above: Antique Bookstore Segment Pot
Above: Bedtime Baby Segment Pot

If your recipient doesn't like candles or can't use candles then there's always wax melts! You could even introduce whoever you're buying for to an electric wax burner and buy them some wax melts to use. I personally tend to receive wax melts as stocking fillers at Christmas because I'm a bit of an wax melt hoarder truth be told. I really like Sassy Shop Wax Segment Pots* priced at £4. They're separated into 6 parts so they're easy to break off and pop in your wax burner/melter. There's also plenty of scents to choose from (some of which are dupes of other things) such as Antique Bookstore, Snow Pixie, Bedtime Baby and more. I'm absolutely obsessed with the Antique Bookstore wax melt! They're also really pretty with the added biodegradable glitter and sequins sprinkled on top.

Above: Mermaid Sparkle Wax Melt Bar
Adding to that they also sell Wax Melt Bars too which I think are an great alternative to buy if you really want to buy someone chocolate but they can't or don't eat it. This is because I think wax melt bars kind of resemble chocolate if that makes sense. Again, there's plenty to choose from including Loverdose, Parma Violets, Mermaid Sparkle, Under The Stars and more so there's something for everyone.

If you are looking for affordable but meaningful jewellery to buy for someone then I can't recommend Soul Analyse enough. I'd never heard of them before they got in touch with me regarding my gift guides and after looking at their website there's many pieces that I really like the look of. I may even have to add one or two to my own christmas wish list this year! But for my gift guide I chose the Rose Gold Necklace RRP £25* which is engraved with the words "Strong" from the "I AM" affirmation range. I decided to choose the "Strong" necklace because it's just a nice little positive kind of reminder when I'm having a bad day with my chronic pain that I am strong and I've been through many bad flare ups over the past 18 months or so, so what's one more? However if the "Strong" one isn't to your liking then you can choose from two other options which are "Believe" and "Enough" and the necklaces are available in Silver and Gold too. 

I've been really enjoying Miss Patisserie bath bombs this year and I actually prefer them over LUSH because I think LUSH have gotten so expensive and I think they're being quite cheeky with their prices to be quite honest. Miss Patisserie Bath Balls are vegan and are priced at £4.50 and I just think they are fab for the price! There's different scents to choose from and they always put on a big display once you pop them in the bath. I've never had a dud bath bomb from Miss Patisserie either. You can buy them from their website, ASOS or Boots. I tend to just pop one or two in my basket when I'm running low when I'm doing an ASOS order. They also do other products such as their Bath Melts, Shower Steamers, Bath Dust and more (price may change slightly depending where you buy from). 

Lastly is Chocolate and Sweets because you just can't go wrong with chocolates or sweets as a stocking filler really, can you? You can also make more of a gift out them and you can add them into a hamper or you can add more bits such as bath bombs, stationery etc to make a main gift without spending a fortune. 

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An XLASH Cosmetics Eyelash Serum and Mascara Review

Sunday, 10 November 2019

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-This post contains PR/Gifted items, no paid content. All opinions are my own-
I'm always banging on about how rubbish my eyelashes are and I've tried a few different eyelash serums in the past but had a varied result. Also I'm not going to lie, I find it quite hard to keep on top of using an eyelash serum every night. However I know it sounds silly but I've realised that my crappy eyelashes actually get me down sometimes because I'll spend time doing my makeup and then my lashes will just drop as soon as I've curled them and applied mascara and then they just look short and stubby again. I find applying false eyelashes too fiddly and I can't afford to have lash extensions every 4-6 weeks. This is where XLASH come in... XLASH are a cruelty free brand whose eyelash serum works by prolonging the growth cycle of the eyelashes and stimulating the hair follicles which makes the eyelashes longer, thicker and darker. It's made from several natural plant extracts and other safe ingredients and they also offer 100% money back guarantee.

They kindly sent me over their Eyelash Serum 3ML RRP £37.99*, Mascara RRP £16.95* and their Carbon Black Eyeliner RRP £16.95*. I haven't tried the eyeliner because I avoid liquid eyeliner like the plague because I think wearing eyeliner makes my eyes look smaller. However I have been using XLASH's Eyelash Serum and Mascara for just over 2 weeks as I'm writing this and I wanted to share my overall thoughts as well as some before and after photos.

The Eyelash Serum* is available in both a 3ML and 6ML tube. A tube of 3ML which is priced at £37.99 will last approximately 2-3 months and you should use it once a day on your lashes for the first 28 days and then 2-3 times per week from then on to continue the course. I apply it at night and I've even set a reminder on my phone to tell me to put it on if I haven't already. XLASH claim that your lashes should grow longer within 28 days and that your lashes can get up to 70% longer whilst using their product. It's also safe to use with lash extensions as it's oil-free.

There's an easy to follow step-by-step guide on the product page of the eyelash serum but it's pretty straight forward anyway. Just make sure your lashes are makeup free and if you wear contact lenses make sure you remove them prior to applying the serum. Then apply a thin strip along the line of growth on the upper lashes and allow the product to absorb and soak in. 

On the website it says that it may take up to 4 weeks before you see an improvement. However as I've already mentioned I've been using the eyelash serum for just over 2 weeks and I've already seen some improvement already. As you can see from the before and after photos below, you can see that my lashes look a little longer already and they also feel stronger and less brittle. Also if you're wondering why I'm wearing mascara in the photos, it's because I have very fair coloured lashes (and brows).

Up Close Before and After (After 14 days of use)
Talking of mascara, I've very particular about my mascaras and what the actual brush is like and I do like XLASH's mascara RRP £16.95* and I think it works well with my lashes. The brush has been designed to catch every single lash, even those tiny, hard to reach lashes and it has a formula which multi-tasks to treat each individual lash with care whilst giving you some lush lashes. It doesn't flake like a lot of pigment rich black mascaras do which is obviously a good thing. It's also a waterproof formula and I do find that waterproof mascaras work better with my lashes in general and help to hold a curl for a little bit longer. But since using the serum and because my lashes seem to be healthier, they've been staying curled for a longer amount of time anyway. 

Overall I'm impressed with my results so far and I'm looking forward to seeing what my lashes will look like once I've used it for 28 days. If your lashes are in need of a pick-me-up or if you're interested in what other products XLASH have on offer then you can use my code KIRSTY20 to get 20% off across their website.

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