Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Juliette Armand Skincare*

At the recent Irish Beauty Shows, I got the chance to speak briefly to Clare O'Hanlon from Juliette Armand Skincare. When Clare found out I was a blogger she gifted me with four mini tubes of the Elements Skincare range, some literature on the products and her business card. I was working like crazy this past week but on Saturday night I got the chance to trial them. 

Step 1: Dermabrasion Gel
Step 2: Hydrating Therapy Mask 

Step 3: Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Step 4: Hydration Cream

The Elements Collection that Clare gifted me was a four part system comprising of :
  1. Dermabrasion Gel
  2. Hydrating Therapy Mask
  3. Hyaluronic Acid Serum
  4. Hydra Action Cream
  • Dermabrasion Gel:

This is a lovely, clear gel with small nodes suspended in it, those granules being aluminium oxide and bamboo grain. It smells lovely, and it's really satisfyingly scrubby but not harsh in any way. My skin felt lovely and smooth after rinsing and didn't seem drying at all. Instead, it gently rid my skin of excess oils so I could go to the next step!

  • Hydrating Therapy Mask

The Hydrating Therapy Mask is a cream based product that you are meant to massage into your face and let it dry over the course of 10 to 15 minutes. Then, you rinse it off and pat skin dry thoroughly. When it dried it didn't even feel dry in the sense that it was not stiff. To be honest, it felt like it set, not dried. After I rinsed it off there was no residue and my skin felt plump to the touch. 

  • Hyaluronic Acid Serum:

First let me warn you this stuff is runny!!! It ran out all over my hand onto the floor, thankfully it's clear so it didn't leave a stain. I applied it to my face and neck and it dried in under 2 minutes. I noticed it left a slight tacky residue but it didn't matter once I applied the final step of the cream.

  • Hydra Action Cream

A rich cream, rich but not heavy, and very spreadable. 1ml as advised is more than enough!! I found it absorbed well and left a matte finish. I really think it would be good for under make-up as a general moisturiser. 

All of the range smells clean and fresh, with a slight hint of medical, which I adore. It took less than 25 minutes to go through the whole regime, and since it's recommended to use the whole range twice-weekly, it's barely an hour out of your week, which is no time at all when you think about it!! Even days later, my skin is looking and feeling soft and radiant. 
I need this whole range in my life and so do you!! 

Find Juliette Armand Skincare, including info, news and a full product range HERE

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Darkness FOTN + Photos

Last Friday night, the 6th of March, and 3 days after my 23rd birthday, I had the incredible pleasure and joy of seeing The Darkness live in The Spirit Store, Dundalk. It was an experience that I will never forget! Ugh, even just typing about it makes me feel giddy!! 

Anyways, I knew for the occasion that I would have to look the part. I mean, I was a rocker type in school, with black hair, and black clothes, but nowadays I look a bit less like the typical rock-chick! 

I started with my base routine, which you can read about HERE. I contoured lightly with the contour shade from the Sleek Contour Kit, applied the blush from my Look Beauty Cheeky Trio and highlighted with the highlight shade from it too. 

For my eyes, I used the Naked 2. First I took Half Baked over the inner half, and Snakebite on the outer half. Through the crease, I chose to run Busted through, brought out to the outer V. to deepen it even further, I very lightly took Blackout through the outer V also. On my lower lash-line, I took Half Baked and Busted through it and blended into the outer V for a seamless look. 

For liner I drew a little baby wing with Catrice Liquid Liner and then applied some Essence Frame 4 Fame falsies to finish the whole look. 

To do my brows, I took my usual Rimmel Brow Gel in Medium through them. 

On my lips I went vampy with Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Shame. Nothing says glam rock like a glam look! 

 What do you think of my look?? 


Friday, 13 March 2015

My Flawless Base Routine

That base, yo!! 
One of the things in your make-up stash that needs to be great is foundation. I've gone through so many brands trying to find my Holy Grail for my flawless base. Today, I'm going to walk you through my flawless base routine - including the brushes I use to achieve it! I used this routine for the look I wore to a gig I attended recently, which you can read about on Monday. 

First up, I take my skin through its usual cleansing and moisturising routine, using my Nivea Cleansing Milk, Refreshing Toner and Energizing Day Cream. 

After my moisturiser sinks in, I prime my skin, and to do that I use Benefit Pore-Fessional. I take it over my nose, cheeks, forehead  and on my chin. Then I blend it out with my fingertips, and give it a second to sink in. 

For foundation, I dot some Estee Lauder Double Wear in Shell over my skin, and then buff it in with my Blank Canvas Cosmetics F20 Flat Top Foundation Brush. I buff it into the skin for a medium coverage finish, work it down onto my neck and out to my ears. Once it sets a bit, I repeat, dotting the foundation once more, and pressing it into the areas where I need more coverage. The beauty of Estee Lauder Double Wear is that it's buildable and doesn't cake. Once the coverage is how I want it, I buff out the edges for a seamless finish. 

Double Wear sets by itself, but I've found that it sets matte, so I take my Real Techniques Powder Brush and my Physicians Formula Happy Booster powder, and pat it over my entire face to set the foundation with a slightly glowy finish. 

And there you have it!! My flawless base routine with a radiant finish!! 

What do you use for your flawless base??


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Lip Service: Bullies On The Tellybox

***This post is intended to educate, and hopefully inspire some conversations. This post is not intended to offend anyone, but it was spurred by this: 

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. I was bullied all through my life. On one occasion I was assaulted by someone younger than me who had a disdain for my hair and freckles. I used to be forced to go to the shop and buy those little cola flavoured frosty sweets in the red packet for two girls older than me and because of them I used to miss my bus home from school which made me scared and upset because I did not want to get in trouble at home when my school life was pretty bleak at the time. That was primary school. Secondary school was pretty bad for the first year, but eventually you find your friends and you carve your groove and things settle. That's fine for me, but what about the bullies?? Well bullies grow up, as we all do. Sometimes they change. In fact I would argue that the majority do. But sometimes bullies grow up, and then they get on the telly. 

So I'd be willing to bet that Katie Hopkins was one of those people, who as a kid had some misplaced belief that she was better than others around her, with a need to put people down to prove it, and grew up not letting go of that silly idea. Last night, (11th March 2015) at around 11.30pm, there was a debate on The Nolan Show, on BBC1 Northern Ireland with herself, and Baz Black. Now I've had the pleasure of speaking to Baz a few times, and his lovely lady Emma is the mastermind behind my latest tattoo, so I'm not just making stuff up when I say that he is a lovely chap, well spoken and a gentleman. His studio is my boyfriends local place, and it's one of two in the country that I trust completely. So when he was taking on Katie Hopkins, it was going to be good. If anyone has the metal to take on a grown-up bully like her on a live broadcast, its someone calm and educated in the topic at hand. 

Bullies will back down at the first sign of authority, and with 80% of his body tattooed, as Baz said himself, there's nobody else better equipped to take this one on.  Katie made her point that we all know and to be frank, it's getting old now: "I wouldn't employ someone with tattoos". Yes Katie, we know. What I didn't comprehend until last night though, was how much of a bully she is when she's not being agreed with. 

Baz made some very sound points about her lack of knowledge, her "opinion" being just that - an opinion, and then went on to remind her that the industry of modification is something she has absolutely no information on, unlike a whopping 22 million people in the UK. She doesn't understand and like a lot of bullies in the school-yard, she has no basis for the points she makes. She criticizes without understanding, and as a fully grown woman, it's pathetic... I'm sure if I met her, dressed in my usual attire of a cardigan and jeans and spoke to her like the polite, mannerly person I am, she wouldn't suspect that I've got 6 tattoos. Maybe I could even have her formulate a positive opinion, employ me and then unveil myself from below the neck! Wouldn't that be fun?! 

A great point was made about the industry wherein Baz works, that it is his passion. It's not just a job, it's not about money or anything, it's a love for the culture, the meaning and everything that goes along with it. For people who get mod work done, it's not just an action, it's not a destination, it's a journey, it's a whole experience and it's something you have with you for life. The question was put to her: "Why do you have your ears pierced?", to which the weak and feeble response came, "Because I thought it would be easier to put earrings in..." Have you ever heard such a pathetic excuse in your life?! Ear lobe piercings are a mod. That point alone rendered everything she had said and continued to say totally invalid. 

This was where this post was decided on: When Katie saw that the debate was clearly favouring the well educated and calm side in favour of mods, she then attacked Stephen Nolan, the host. Her loathing for obesity came out and she actually brought the audience and his MOTHER into it!! Who does that? Who humiliates a grown man on national television as part of some last ditch attempt to prove some pathetic point? All she did was prove to me that she is a bully and a bigot, prejudiced against everything that makes her uncomfortable, and there was no coming back from that. 

Of course I'm aware that some people don't like mods, my boyfriend of 4 years doesn't understand them but he doesn't go around with any illusions that people who are modified are any more or less unremarkable than anyone else. Just because people like being poked and coloured in does not give Katie Hopkins the power to use it as a stick to beat people with. 

In the end, bullies are cowards.So why do we let them on the telly??

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Powder*

One thing I adore is a flawless matte base. However in recent weeks I've been trying to give a fair chance to glowy "happy to be here" skin. It's not easy though, when you're paranoid your foundation is going to slip all over the place because you didn't set it.

At the Cork Meet Up, we were gifted some lovely Physicians Formula goodies in our generous bags that Zoe put together, one of which was the "Happy Booster" Powder. I admit I thought the name was a bit funny, but it only occurred to me one morning last week as I tried it out over my foundation, why it's called Happy Booster. It's because it's a very subtly glowy powder!

I used my Real Techniques Powder Brush to apply it over my Covergirl Outlast 3 in 1 and it left my skin very slightly glowy and radiant looking, while setting the foundation so it didn't move all day. So that's why it's called Happy Booster!

In the pictures, you can see that the powder has a slight glowy quality to it, and that's how it looks on the skin too. It gives you that "happy to be here" glow, without making you look like a disco ball! If you wanted extra glow you could take some highlighter over the high points of your face, but for a work environment, it's plenty by itself, especially coupled with a sheeny blush.

Happy Booster is amazing, you need it in your life!


Friday, 6 March 2015

It Works! Does It??*

Front Before
Side Before
A few weeks ago I was approached by It Works Independent Distributor Christina Probeyahn at about trialling and reviewing the It Works Single Application Wrap here, on Red Lips Red Hair. 

Full Disclosure: 

In order to replicate the photo perfectly every time, I put on the same bra before each series of pictures. I thought this might show the progress more honestly. I've also maintained some semblance of healthy eating (though this trial did run through my birthday) and gone to Zumba as I always do. 

Since I hate my tummy the most, I've chosen to trial it on that particular trouble spot. 

Front Immediately After
Side Immediately After

What They Claim It Does: 

"It uses all natural botanical ingredients to tighten tone and firm any area of the body where you choose to wear it. It is worn for only 45 minutes though it continues to work in your body for 72 hours. It works by penetrating the skin and affecting the fat cell under the surface of the skin causing it to release toxins. You drink water to flush those out. As you release these toxins, the cell shrinks. Other ingredients work to tighten and condition the skin externally. So the cell shrinks, the skin tightens and voila we see results!"

The wrap has a gel on it that penetrates the skin and affecting the fat cell under the surface of the skin causing it to release toxins. You drink water to flush those out. As you release these toxins, the cell shrinks. Other ingredients work to tighten and condition the skin externally. So the cell shrinks, the skin tightens and you see the difference. 

So earlier this week I took some before pics, applied the wrap, and let it do its job while watching The Notorious and Hey Ho Lets Go, sipping water all the time.

Side 3 Days Later
Front 3 Days Later
I noticed that it felt very warm as it worked, but not uncomfortable. In fact, it was a pleasant experience like a heat patch would be. The gel on the application wrap smells lovely and is made from all natural ingredients, so it's not hard to leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour, like I did! 

After an hour, I removed the wrap, massaged the rest of the gel in, and then had a look in the mirror. See for yourself. 

It's worth saying that I've had 1.5/2ltr of water every day since, spread out evenly over the course of my day, which is from 8am til I go to bed at 11pm.

What I Think: 

While it was working I was sceptical, unsure if the wrap was going to do what it claims to be able to. I thought the heat was good, because it really felt like it was doing something, even if I wasn't sure what that something was. 

Immediately after, I couldn't see if there was any difference but today, 3 days later, I've lost some of my scepticism. I'm almost sure that I can see some difference. The pictures show it more than I can see myself, but we are all our own worst critics. 

I've only used one wrap so far, and I will definitely be using the second wrap in the coming week to see if this progress can be built upon. 

I admit I was skeptical, but I think that this wrap lives up to its name... It Works!!


*It Works wrap was supplied to me by Christina Probeyahn for review, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Bringing Speccy Back!

Glasses Shopping. Possibly one of my favourite activities, and yet the most infuriating too. I adore glasses. I've been wearing glasses since I was 10, and to be honest, I don't think I would ever feel the need to get laser eye surgery. Without glasses, I feel like my face would be missing part of itself. 

Every two years I get to go to my optician, have my vision re-tested and then they set me loose in the store. Without fail this process takes upwards of an hour. I can't just choose!!! I try on everything that takes my fancy and debate the pros and cons with Michelle, my gorgeous friend who is also the manager of the local spec-emporium. I narrow down the selection to 6 of 8 pairs and then we get into the fine details- width, depth, colour, shape, thickness, add-ons. It's a hard decision, glasses are expensive and they're on your face for the major part of two years before you get to choose a new pair. 

That's where Specs Post come in! They got in touch a few weeks back and were kind enough to let me pick out four frames to trial at home and tell you guys all about the process. 

First up, let me tell you that they have an absolutely incredible selection to choose from and they provide the measurements for each frame in every listing. That means, if you have a pair of specs that fit your face well at the moment, you can find out the measurement and that will help you pick from Specs Posts' vast array. Also, if you know you don't like nose-pads, or metal frames or anything like that, you can refine the selection to show only what you like to wear. Personally I like thick frames with no nose-pads, so that was what I filtered out of the search, which helped me immeasurably. 

After hours, yes, hours (!) on the Specs Post website, countless tabs and more than 3 different Facebook chat windows, WhatsApping Tash and generally trying to figure out what I wanted, I went for these four pairs...
Top to Bottom: Colour Collection Clear Pink
Alexa Chung;
Ruby and Rose Kitsch,
Park Lane

 When they arrived, I immediately tried on and vetoed the Colour Collection Clear Pink frames, purely because they did not suit my colouring. The pale pink made me look a bit funny, so they were out. I think they would look amazing on darker skinned ladies. 

Ruby and Rose
So that left Alexa Chung, Ruby & Rose, and Park Lane to choose from. I have drafted in opinions from everyone I know, from Chris and Dec and Nick for a male perspective, to Michelle who knows more about glasses than I ever will, my (blunt as a two-by-four) mother, and now I'm asking you guys! As you can see, I am a bit of a creature of habit, with 3 pairs all quite similar in shape but not in colour. 

Alexa Chung

Park Lane

So now I put it to you all. Which ones do I keep??? 

Be blunt!