Reviewing 8 Different Facial Mists!

Hello summer heatwave, that time where any skin friendly liquid found in a spray bottle becomes fair game for me and my face, tbh. Today I was SO insanely hot that I started to worry I was getting heatstroke – needless to say I generously availed myself of my collection of facial mists… I thought I would share my thoughts on all of them, since there are SO many mists on the market right now, perhaps this will help you decide which one to go for, when the next wave of inescapably warm weather hits (or, you know, you go on holiday).

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1. Avene Thermal Spring Water – the most basic but deceptively effective spray ever – this is pure water from a spring in France that has a uniquely soothing affect on the skin. When spring water is underground it sits in a cave and in the Avene water’s cave are microbes that excrete a completely unique amino acid compound. It’s this that has the calming and soothing affect on the skin, because the acids actually have an affect on the itch-receptors in the skin. If you have bug bites, heat rash or sunburn, or you want a spray to use on a baby, opt for this.

2. Caudalie Grape Water – this 100% organic grape extract has an intense moisturising action on the skin, increasing its hydration levels by 127%! This is thanks to an invisible layer of natural polysaccharides that keep moisture in the skin. I spray this all over myself, all the time. It’s also been shown to reduce redness from sensitivity in the skin by 61%. I would recommend this one for sunburn too, as it helps to hydrate as well as soothe.

3. Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist– if you like roses you will love this mist. Made from rosewater and aloe, it’s scent is calming and soothing while also feeling like a luxurious treat. I like to use this one when I feel really sad because it’s feminine, pretty scent is so uplifting. It’s wonderful on the feet too!

4. Caudalie Beauty Elixir – This is one of the most unique products I’ve ever used. The idea behind Beauty Elixir  is that it gives the skin a boost of radiance, resets and refreshes makeup and tightens pores whilst also having an aromatherapeutic affect on the mind. And it really works! A spritz of this when you’re feeling low, sweaty or stressed and you just feel ready to take on anything. It’s also bloody amazing for travelling, especially when you’re fellow travellers (or you) are smelling…less than fresh.

5. Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist – Interestingly then inspiration behind this mist is the same as the Beauty Elixir, but they are totally different and I don’t find this one anywhere near as good, despite it being almost twice as expensive. One benefit is that it contains Hungarian thermal water which is REALLY good for the skin, but the spritz is way too fine and I don’t really think it does much to refresh, soothe or hydrate. I tried using this as a toner for a long time to see if the thermal water would have an effect, but didn’t see any improvement at all.

6. Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist – I love this stuff so much. As a makeup setting spray it works wonders, and the rose with green tea scent is perfect for waking the skin up in the morning. I also find it’s amazing as a primer on bare skin before my foundation, and for dampening brushes and sponges before blending. It definitely helps my makeup to last longer, and I love how it’s more skincare than makeup.

7. Mario Badescu Facial Mist with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater – I used to love this stuff. A gorgeously light and refreshing scent, similar to the Pixi Fixing Mist and I found it was very cooling in summer. However, this contains phenoxyethanol, a preservative with a questionable safety record. You’ll find it in almost every skincare product because it replaced parabens as the cheap, effective preservative of choice. However there is research that indicates it’s just as bad as parabens, so I try to avoid it in any product that I actually leave on my skin, and definitely mists as you’re likely to inhale it too. So while this is a lovely product that I used to adore, I would give it a miss now for that reason.

8. Pixi Glow Mist – I use this instead of  the fixing mist when my skin is dry or irritated – the formula has a gorgeous mixture of oils including lavender, argan, avocado and evening primrose in it so it really helps to calm the skin and get a smooth finish when my skin is rough or flaky. It also gives a lovely dewy finish when used as a setting spray, which is really nice for going out – though I definitely prefer the fixing mist for everyday when I don’t want anything too shiny.

Stay cool xxx

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My Everyday Spring/Summer Makeup

As soon as the weather starts getting warmer, all I can think about is escaping from under the layers of makeup I live in during the winter. I enjoy makeup a lot, and I’m so pale that in the winter my skin looks ridiculous – red nose, pink cheeks, dry patches, white as death. So in the summer, when my skin is a little more…consistent looking…I like to scale the coverage back a lot. Plus, there’s also the fact that for the past two summers I’ve worked in an office with no air con, which I love because it means I actually experience summer instead of spending my days in a temperature controlled vacuum….but it also entails a fair bit of sweat, and sweating in heavy layers of foundation and powder is UNPLEASANT. So anyway, let’s get to the products!

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Base: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF30. I had been meaning to try this for years after it was recommended to me by several people, but I just didn’t believe it would give my skin enough of a boost. I picked it up on a whim in an airport, and haven’t looked back. The formula is free of everything I’m sensitive to (I’m allergic to a lot of chemical sun filters), and the shade is a perfect match. It sinks straight in, and keeps my skin ‘perfected’, hydrated, and protected all day. I’m so glad I’ve finally found a BB cream that works for me, and is the right SPF for everyday usage! Fun fact: unless you are a child under 3, have a specific skin disorder, work outdoors or are on holiday somewhere hot or at a high altitude, you shouldn’t be using SPF50 – not only is it pretty unnecessary, the chemicals are also a lot stronger and aren’t good for your skin over long periods of time. 

Concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. This has been my go-to concealer for about three years and I love it. There will always be days where your skin needs extra coverage somewhere, whether it’s dark circles or a pesky blemish, and this concealer gets rid of them seamlessly.

Anti-shine: DHC Blotting Papers. In the winter I would happily dust powder over my foundation to set it and prevent oiliness from sneaking through. But in the summer that just seems too much! So instead I use blotting papers whenever I need to. These from DHC are wonderful – they’re pretty cheap, and don’t smudge your makeup at all. I use them after I’ve applied my makeup to make sure there’s nothing residual, and then whenever I notice some shine during the day.

Blush: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush. I mean, I don’t think I’ll ever find a blusher I like more than this, and since I’ve owned this one for about two and a half years now (and it’s been my regular everyday blusher for that entire time) I can’t see myself every using a different one for any reason! I piled it on a bit in the photo below, but it wasn’t showing up in the photo so I went overboard.

Setting spray: Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist. Is there a better, nicer to use or more refreshing setting spray out there? I think not. This mist has the most beautiful fragrance of green tea and rose, and it really helps to set your makeup for the day ahead. One thing I love about it is that the spray is quite heavy – your face is completely drenched after you use it, but within seconds it’s dry and your skin feels refreshed and ready for the day. I always use this and then apply my mascara while it dries, and my face is completely dry by the time I’m done. It’s the perfect way to wake your skin up after a sticky summer night.

Mascara: Fairydrops Waterproof Scandal Queen. I LOVE this mascara, and what I love more than anything is that even though it doesn’t budge when you drench your skin in a face mist, or you’re sweating on the tube, it still comes off super easily (although that might be because I use the greatest makeup remover of all time, I dunno). It doesn’t flake, and its really buildable. You can get a very light layer indeed (way lighter than the photo) or you can get a proper night time look. It’s not a mega volume or curl mascara, it just enhances your natural eyelashes perfectly.

Lip product: Perricone MD No Lipgloss Lipgloss. I’m not sure how many more times I can bang on about how much I adore this product, but here I go again. This is honestly the best lip product I have ever used, in the most flattering shade of all time. I cannot think of a single person who wouldn’t look amazing wearing it. It’s beautiful. It moisturises the lips SO well, and leaves them looking super plump even though it doesn’t actually plump them. It lasts for a long time even though it’s a gloss, but the application is seamless too so you can easily reapply in seconds. Crucially, for a summer beauty product, it isn’t sticky at all, instead it just feels super smooth on the lips!

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So those are the products I’ve been using when the weather is hot. However, it’s equally as important to make sure your skincare fits the season, and if possible, helps you to achieve skin that you’re comfortable showing off under lighter coverage makeup. I’ve already written another post about skincare must haves for the summer, check it out here!

12 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Emetophobia

The chances are, unless you have it or someone close to you does, you won’t know that emetophobia is the extreme and irrational fear of vomit. Let’s be clear, it’s not just an ‘aversion’ to throwing up, its far worse than that. A phobia has the ability to take over your life, to tinge nearly every thought you have with fear and anxiety. Sufferers often feel a lot of embarrassment about their illness and go to great lengths to conceal it. Over the years I’ve learned that actually, the more people who know about my problem, the safer, happier and calmer I am. The more I openly acknowledge and express that side of me, the more I am able to reconcile it with the funny, smart, outgoing and warm person that I am, instead of feeling like I’m just a ‘neurotic nutjob’ with a humiliating secret. I am a person with a mental illness, and there’s no shame in that.

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Anyway, I thought I would share a list of thoughts, experiences and behaviours that are typical for emetophobic people. Every emetophobic person is different, so please don’t assume that this is all true for all of us. I have experience with some, but not all of these examples, and have chosen not to specify which ones I have direct experience with, and which ones I have learned about through other sufferers. If you’re looking to understand this illness better, for a friend, partner or family member, I hope this list will help you. However, please be aware that I am a sufferer, not a professional, and this is a personal account. For information from a qualified professional, click here.

Content note to my emetophobic pals: For the sake of clear communication, I have used nearly every trigger word there is in this post, and obviously I am discussing our phobia in depth, which could also be triggering. There are images in this post, but none of them relate to illness. 

12 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Emetophobia

1. We probably had a traumatic event involving vomit at some point in our lives. This will be the trigger for the phobia, and it can influence exactly what it is about vomit that we fear.

2. Some people are made phenomenally anxious by hearing words and phrases like ‘vomit’, ‘puke’, ‘food poisoning’, ‘nausea’. This creates an added stress that makes social interactions even more anxiety inducing.

3. Different emetophobics fear different things. Some fear themselves throwing up, some fear other people throwing up. Some people are fine with other people being sick as long as they know they can’t catch it. Some people have an extraordinary amount of anxiety about vomit but when they’re exposed to it, they cope perfectly well (and many others do not react this way at all).

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4. We often restrict and closely control what, when and how we eat. This can range from starving ourselves when we fear being sick, to obsessively eating healthy foods to avoid it, and never eating out or at other people’s houses. Eating disorders or disordered eating are common misdiagnoses of emetophobia as the behaviours are so similar. Whether or not it’s helpful to be diagnosed with both has not been established.

5. We are also rarely heavy drinkers, and many emetophobic people are completely teetotal as well. Pressuring an emetophobic person to drink or do drugs can result in them experiencing a massive amount of anxiety too – yet another example of the evils of peer pressure.

6. During winter in particular, we can show symptoms similar to agoraphobia (the fear of leaving one’s safe space) because we are worried about catching bugs. The reason it’s worse in winter? Norovirus. For many emetophobes, the winter months are plagued by the relentless stories of vomiting outbreaks in schools, hospitals and local communities. It can be utterly unbearable.

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7. Rashes, dryness and even nerve damage are par for the course if you’re the skin on an emetophobic’s hands. Most emetophobes engage in excessive hand washing, overuse of hand gels, using too-hot water to wash with and even going so far as to pour surface cleaners over our skin in a bid to eliminate germs. This, combined with washing utensils, surfaces, door handles, phones, everything, is why emetophobics are also often misdiagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

7. Our anxiety can get pretty amazingly bad, and it goes from 0-60 in no time at all. Often, all you need to say is ‘I don’t feel good’ or ‘I think that milk I used in your tea was sour’ and we’re off. It’s a horrible feeling that frequently comes out of absolutely nowhere, and it’s really, really hard to come back from. Self-soothing techniques are incredibly hard to learn, especially since it’s a poorly understood illness, so it’ll often go on for a day or more, particularly if we aren’t lucky enough to have someone in our lives who knows what not to say, or how to comfort us.

8. Because of this and the lack of medical knowledge (and therefore poor access to help) about emetophobia, many people end up developing unhelpful coping techniques. I’ve already mentioned a lot of them above (food restrictions, hand washing etc) but other ones include drinking grape juice or taking activated charcoal when they feel they’ve been exposed to a sickness bug, or drinking alcoholic or extremely hot drinks to try and kill germs in our stomachs.

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9. We are also aware of the absurdity of many of the things we do – believe me, it never needs to be pointed out, unless you’re extremely close to the emetophobic person, you have a good understanding of mental health in general and you know what their triggers are.

10. Close encounters with vomit can actually leave emetophobics severely traumatised, so it’s important never to assume that we’ll be ‘cured’ if we throw up, or watch someone else throw up. Life happens of course, and most of us do accept that it’ll feature in our lives at some point. We just prefer not to talk, or think about it.

11. Some emetophobics are unable to live the life they want, be it not travelling, not having kids (for women especially due to the amount of vomit that tends to be involved in a typical pregnancy) or not having the social life they may have enjoyed otherwise.

12. This all being said, many of us do manage to develop amazing control over our panic attacks, tortuous anxiety and obsessive behaviours. Personally, I know that I am still very unwell, but I’ve overcome a lot of the things on this list through years of constant hard work. I know I have definitely not suffered as much as many other people with the disorder, but I have been through periods where I was really, really struggling to cope.

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I hope this list has been informative for you, and that you are able to understand how someone can live with this and still be a worthwhile, valued member of society, who is worthy of your patience, kindness and love.

If you want to learn more about emetophobia from a professional, click here, and if you need urgent help, click here to visit mind.org.uk.

 

 

Spring Skincare Favourites

While I don’t believe in changing your body in preparation for warmer months, I do think there’s a lot we can do with our skin. In colder weather the skin can wind up dull, dry, lifeless and clogged, and unfortunately it’s often ignored because full coverage foundation and concealer are much easier to slather on in 7am half-darkness while you’re still basically asleep (this is how I spend my winter mornings, don’t know about you). I get a red nose in cold weather too, so there’s no point even thinking about going foundation free! In the spring, all I ever want to do is take a layer of makeup out of my routine, but to do that and feel confident, I need radiant, smooth and soft skin. Over the past few months I’ve been using some amazing products that have renewed and rejuvenated my complexion, so I wanted to share!

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The first product I wanted to talk about is Caudalie’s new Vine[Activ] Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum. This serum contains a complex of four anti-oxidants that increase your skin’s ability to product anti-oxidant enzymes by 255%, thereby helping protect the skin from pollution and stress. which for someone who works in central London, doesn’t sleep very well and is stressed all the time, is an absolute lifesaver. I’ve been using this for four months (one bottle lasted 2.5) and I have never seen a product work such wonders on my skin – it literally glows from the inside out, as well as being super hydrated, calm and smooth. It absorbs immediately, smells gorgeous and is 98% natural. It’s oil and silicone free, contains an exclusive anti-oxidant patent created by Caudalie, and is just about the highest quality product I’ve ever used. Get it for £36.

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Next up is Aesop’s Parsley Seed Cleanser. I adore this thick, gel cleanser and it’s gentle exfoliation from lactic acid. It leaves my skin soft and ready to absorb my skincare. I’ve been using it for quite some time now and it is honestly the best cleanser ever for helping to boost your skin into ‘only wearing BB cream’ territory. If you’re worried about pollution, using this together with the Caudalie Vine[Activ] Serum is the absolute dream team, because the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleanser helps to slough pollution particles away from the skin at the end of the day, while the serum defends your skin from the free-radicals during the day. Get it for £27.

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I feel like I’ve been looking for a BB Cream that won’t make my skin react or break out since the beginning of time. The Bobbi Brown BB Cream is the only one I’ve found that has a good SPF without containing any of the ingredients that my skin hates, and I absolutely love it. It’s so important to use an SPF everyday, so if you want to use a lighter product than your usual foundation and you have sensitive skin, this is PERFECT. The formula gives much higher coverage than I expected, and I feel like it evens out my complexion flawlessly – obviously it doesn’t cover blemishes completely, but I actually don’t feel the need to use concealer under my eyes, which is a bloody miracle. The coverage lasts all day and my skin feels nice and soft when I use this too. They have 9 shades and definitely don’t serve the darkest skin colours, so I wouldn’t usually recommend it, but my skin is SO picky and this really works for me. Get it for £29.50.

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Pixi’s Makeup Fixing Mist has become my favourite part of my morning ritual. It’s gorgeous light scent and fast-drying, refreshing consistency is absolutely perfect for perking my face and my mind up. I feel like it puts me in a positive mood whenever I use it, and it helps my makeup stay put ALL day. Seriously, it’s soooo good. My skin also loves it as a primer to help prepare for a full coverage face, but recently I’ve just been using it over the Bobbi Brown BB Cream and it’s leaving my skin looking smooth and radiant every day. Get it for £16.

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The last product I’ve been obsessed with over the past few months is Jurlique’s Skin Balancing Face Oil. This stuff is perfect for when your skin is just losing its mind, which always happens to me at the change of the seasons. It contains a blend of herbal extracts including marshmallow (protects and soothes), evening primrose oil (heals), macademia oil (nourishes without being heavy) rosehip oil (anti-wrinkle, healing) and chamomile (calming). I find that when I use this at night, dry patches and areas of irritation disappear. The scent of this product is absolutely unbelievable, it smells like a fragrant meadow in the sun, which just makes it even more perfect for use in the warmer months! It might not be suitable for hypersensitive skin types though, as it’s heavy on the essential oils. But I absolutely adore it. Get it for £30.50

What are your spring skincare essentials?

Homemade face masks with Latin Honey

Honey has been a beauty product pretty much since humans first learned how to harvest it. It’s anti-bacterial properties are well known, and is the reason that raw honey never actually goes off. This means it helps to reduce blemishes by eliminating bacteria, and it also helps to soothe irritation in some people because it purifies the skin without stripping it of natural oils. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties, and as if that wasn’t enough, honey is also moisturising, which makes it great for both the skin and hair.

I’ve never actually tried using honey in skincare so when Latin Honey invited me to try out their honey with a beauty perspective I was intrigued. Their honey is raw, organic, single origin South American honey and let me tell you before we begin that it is the best tasting honey I have ever tried. Raw honey is far more nutritious than pasturised honey as it contains enzymes that are apparently good for digestion, as well as some antioxidants.

But what does it do for the skin?

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My partner and I have very different skin types so we both had a go. Firstly I tried the Riviera Gum Honey* as a hair mask. I mixed it with shea butter and coconut oil, and applied it all over the front section of my hair. This part is very brittle, so it dries out and frizzes up much quicker than the rest of my hair. After I applied this mask and left it on for half an hour, it definitely felt different. The honey created a barrier to hydrate and to keep the oils in, and I’m absolutely certain that this mask repaired damage to my hair. It was very sticky and took a while to wash out, but my hair has been softer ever since.

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Then we tried the Volcano Sunflower Honey* as plain face masks – and this was amazing for me. After leaving it on for 10 minutes and rinsing with warm water my skin was so soft and smooth, with no sign of irritation or redness. In fact, some of the redness I already had was reduced, thanks to those anti-inflammatory properties! Some blemishes I had very quickly reduced afterwards too. I was really impressed that my sensitive skin looked so calm after using honey on it. I will definitely continue to use the honey this way, as I can’t quite believe how soft my skin was! It’s also worth nothing that because they’re raw, these honeys can be used to exfoliate thanks to the slight crystalisation that naturally happens in storage. I felt the granules when I was washing it off and it was very gentle, but definitely contributed to the smooth feeling.

For my partner, who has very oily, blemish prone and congested skin, we tried something a little more intense, and squeezed half a lemon into the honey before he applied it. The effect was amazing. His skin was much more radiant, mattified and super soft without being oily at all when he washed it off.

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We were so impressed by the honey’s effectiveness on its own. But of course we had to experiment, and we also discovered the best beard scrub of all time: mix a tablespoon or two of honey into roughly blended oats, and massage into the beard. This not only purifies the skin underneath facial hair by eliminating bacteria lurking there, it also softens the skin and hair, AND gets rid of dead skin buildup, allowing the hair to grow healthily. I think this could also be used as a really luxurious body scrub too, but I have so many scrubs to use up I haven’t gotten around to trying that yet!

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I am amazed by the quality of Latin Honey, they taste incredible, and the effect on my skin and hair is really impressive. By using a raw, organic honey as a face or hair mask, whether combined with ingredients or not, you’re also benefitting from using simple, pure skincare that you know is safe enough to eat – and when those kinds of products are actually effective, it’s definitely a good idea to give it a whirl! Latin Honey have a selection of four honeys which all look amazing, but here are the two that I’ve tried:

Volcano Sunflower Honey from Mexico: Tastes fruity and floral – this is amazing on toast. This is the honey I’ve used for face masks, which have left both my and my partner’s skin smooth, radiant and purified.

Rivera Gum Honey from Uruguay: Tastes buttery and toffee-like. I love eating this on porridge. It’s also apparently good for dandruff so this is the one I used this on my hair, and was very impressed with how soft my hair ended up.

Have you used honey in your beauty routine before?

Reviewing my entire lip collection

I own a lot of lip products, and when I thought about reviewing them all I had to roll my eyes. There’s only so much you can say about a lipstick, so I thought, why not just review all of them at the same time?! I’ll be honest, this is a long one. But if you like your lipsticks I hope you’ll enjoy reading about what I think of all mine! I’ve separated this into matte lips, lipsticks (+ lip stains) and glosses. Just an FYI, my ultimate favourite is the very last one 😉 enjoy!

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Matte Lips

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick – Lolita (£17)*

I like the way this looks on my lips and it goes on really easily, but I have to say I don’t find that it lasts very long. It comes off the second I take a bite of food or drink anything. The colour is amazing and it’s not as drying as some liquid lipsticks, but I don’t think it deserves cult status when it comes off so easily.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Maybe, but I would try a different colour – despite being the ‘cult’ shade I don’t 100% love Lolita.

Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream – Bittersweet (£4.99)

So insanely, unbearably drying. I cannot stand this stuff. It looks amazing when I first apply it but in a few minutes my lips are sticky, wrinkled and so tight they practically itch. Unsurprisingly, it has great staying power, but it feels like wearing PVA glue with some pigment in it.

Would I buy it again? No. It’s too drying and very uncomfortable, and makes my lips extremely wrinkly.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream – Ibiza (£6)

The formula of this is amazing, super pigmented and goes on really smooth, but I don’t really like this colour – too vibrant for me, as I spend all my time at work! I bought this one thinking it was a pretty pink but wasn’t too bright, but on the lips it’s very intense. It’s really hydrating and long lasting, so it’s a shame I bought the wrong colour.

Would I buy it again? Yes, but in a more natural looking colour.

Collection Velvet Kiss – Cotton Candy (£2.99)*

I am absolutely in love with this stuff! This is the prettiest shade and my absolute favourite matte lip. It’s gorgeous, lasts for AGES and is really hydrating too! It’s really easy to apply as well, which a matte lip ought to be if it possibly can. It’s the cheapest product I think I’ve ever tried but oh my god it’s so good. This shade is perfect for my skin tone, however, I don’t think the other shades are as good, they can get a little streaky.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Definitely, I will repurchase this forever.

Lord & Berry 20100 Maxi Matte Crayon Lipstick – Intimacy (£12)

I like this one, it’s a sample size so is very portable. The colour is lovely, it’s not very drying and it goes on easily. It’s not very hydrating but in comparison to liquid matte lips there’s nothing to complain about. However, it doesn’t really blow me away and I prefer the formula of the next one…

Would I buy it? Probably not, see below.

No7 Matte Lip Crayon – Raspberry Wine (£9)

This was a gift with purchase from Boots. We went out one day and I absentmindedly put this on. When we got back I looked in the mirror and was like ‘damn I look goooood’ and realised that this lip crayon had not only stayed on all day, it had kept my lips hydrated whilst still looking matte. It’s easier to apply than the Lord & Berry stuff and it’s really affordable, and very comfortable.

Would I buy it? Yes! I really like this stuff.

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Lipsticks and Lip Stains

Burt’s Bees Lipstick – Blush (£9.99)

Ohhhh I love this so much. Like, SO much. It’s the prettiest colour, so hydrating, natural and long lasting. It goes on smooth, the blush pink suits me perfectly and I cannot get enough of it. I wear it so often and feel like it makes my face look brighter and more awake.

Would I buy it? God yes, I will definitely be getting this one when it runs out.

Benefit Benetint, Posietint, Benebalm and Posiebalm (£24.50 & £15.50)

I got all these in a gift set together which was great, because I had been wanting to try the Benetint and Posiebalm (wasn’t too bothered about the Benebalm or Posietint but it worked out as half of it being free so…). I really like the Posiebalm, it gives a cute, subtle colour and is very moisturising. The pigment has a tendency to flake a bit when you wear and reapply all day, which is annoying, but I think that only happens when my lips are super dry. The Posietint is a waste of time for me, but my lips are very dark – I should try it as a blush but I really don’t trust cheek stains because I do my makeup in the morning with about three minutes to spare and I always think that stains are a risk when you don’t have a margin for error. I really like the Benetint, it’s subtle but very pretty, and I was surprised by how much I liked the Benebalm too – together, they look really lovely. I think you need to use the Benefit tints with a balm, because they leave my lips feeling very strange if I don’t apply something over the top.

Would I buy it again? I think I would buy the Posietint again, but I’m not 100% obsessed with it.

Tony Moly Delight Tony Tint – 02 (£8.80)

I bought this to try the really cute ‘ombre lip’ trend from Korea, and thought a lip tint from there would be the perfect product. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work for that as it goes super patchy, but when used all over the lips it’s a really striking colour. Like, really striking, I think I could use it in a vampire costume!

Would I buy it again? I don’t have much call to use it because it’s soooo bright, so I don’t really think I’ll need to repurchase any time soon!

Benefit They’re Real Double The Lip – Lusty Rose (£16.50)

The idea of this product is that it lines your lips and colours them in at the same time, making them look really full. Perhaps I got the wrong shade for my lips because I look like a flight attendant from the 90’s wearing this, the contrast is so stark between the two colours. It actually looks like I’m only wearing lipliner. I smudge it up and it and it looks better like that, but what’s the point in buying a whole product for that? It goes on very easily and the line is super even (which never happens for me when I try real lip liner!). I have super full lips anyway so I have no idea if I don’t like it because I don’t actually need it.

Would I buy it? No, but if you’re someone who likes to line their lips a different colour to make them look bigger, this would save you a lot of time in the mornings.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick – Rose (£21)

My boyfriend got this for free along with a load of other bits when he bought a tonne of Elizabeth Arden Cleansers for himself, so naturally I got the pile of free stuff. This formula is amazing, it’s SO hydrating and nourishing. It feels like a rich lipbalm but is intensely pigmented and doesn’t run. The only issue is the shade – it’s a very old-fashioned plum colour but with family large glitter particles in it. I simply can’t wear it which is such a shame because my lips love it!

Would I buy it? Definitely, but in a different shade.

Lipstick Queen – Frog Prince (£22)

One of my favourite lip products, I love the natural tint it gives and it’s always fun to put on a green lipstick. I also find it very moisturising. I think this lipstick is universally flattering too, which is a definite bonus, and it goes with every makeup look imaginable, because it just gives your lips a full, subtly glossy ‘just bitten’ look.

Would I buy again? Hell yeah, I love love love this stuff.

Lipstick Queen – Hello Sailor (£22)

The weirder sister of Frog Prince, this is a blue lipstick that goes on as a ‘berry’ shade. I like the colour, but you have to be careful to blend it in because otherwise you end up with blue smears on your lips. When you successfully apply it, you get a subtle dark tint, and again, this is nice and moisturising.

Would I buy again? No, because there are other dark berry/moody lip colours to try and I don’t think it’s that special. I still enjoy using it though, definitely not a purchase I regret.

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Glosses

Lancome Juicy Shaker – Meli Melon (£19.50)

Bleurghhhhhh this is horrible. It smells of that watermelon fragrance that was in everything in the 90s, but I mean exactly like that, not a modern, bearable reinterpretation. It doesn’t give much hydration, the colour doesn’t show but the sheen is quite pretty. To be honest, I get exactly the same sheen from my coconut oil lip balm which costs £4, actually moisturises and smells bearable.

Would I buy it? Absolutely not, you couldn’t pay me to use this again.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre – Blondie (£16.50)*

This is a golden gloss that gives a classic shimmer. It reminds me a lot of the glosses you would get in the 90’s, but it’s very pleasant to use and I actually think it’s really pretty and surprisingly modern (despite my concerns, it doesn’t actually look like you fished an old glitter gloss from when you were 9 out the back of a drawer in your childhood bedroom). I find myself wearing it more often than I thought I would, and it hydrates my lips fairly well (though considering it’s a gloss, it could be better).

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Probably not, I only wear it because I have it and I don’t think I’ll miss it.

NYX Intense Butter Gloss – Peaches and Cream (£6)*

I have two of these, one bright red and this candy pink colour. The bright red one is quite easy to apply and gives very nice colour although it’s just way too bright for me to wear, and the pink one has a very streaky formula that just won’t apply evenly on my lips, so I can’t wear it at all! They are very hydrating and extremely glossy, but they’re just too much for me.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Probably not, I am not bold enough.

Zoeva Pure Laquer Lips – Strong Career (£9.99)*

This is quite an incredible product – it’s as highly pigmented as Sleek Matte Me but GLOSSY AF. It’s actually too pigmented I think, because the formula doesn’t dry or set, it transfers way too easily. If you’re not careful it can literally smudge over everything so you really have to be careful not to let your lips touch a thing. However, for a selfie session, it’s great fun and I love this brown shade.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? No, but I actually really like it, it’s just not practical for me.

Perricone MD No Lipgloss Lipgloss (£25)*

I saved the best ’til last here folks. This is possibly my favourite lip product of all time. It feels GORGEOUS. It looks INCREDIBLE. My lips stay soft all day. It lasts for at least half the day which is insane for a gloss. It applies perfectly, the pigmentation and colour are absolutely beautiful and it doesn’t transfer.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? YES. FOREVER AND EVER. I don’t care that this stuff it stupidly expensive, it’s the nicest lip product ever.

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Collection Velvet Kiss – Cotton Candy (£2.99), No7 Matte Lip Crayon – Raspberry Wine (£9), Burt’s Bees Lipstick – Blush (£9.99)Lipstick Queen – Frog Prince (£22), Perricone MD No Lipgloss Lipgloss (£25)

Here’s a final picture just to recap my favourites! I hope you enjoyed this post. It’s interesting to see how many misses there have been, but I really do love putting some of these products on in the morning Let me know your favourite (or least favourite!) lip products in your collection!

12 Things men want women to know about sex – the feminist version!

Last week I went to a brilliant panel discussion by the Scarlet Ladies – it was called ‘Grill the Guys’ and was an opportunity for an audience of women to ask 6 guys with diverse sexual backgrounds any questions they wanted to about sex and relationships. It was really interesting to hear so many men talking about sex openly. Even people who have male sexual partners only generally get to talk to a few of them in depth, so this was phenomenally informative. My own partner was really interested in the points I came back with, so I thought I would share some of the best gems of knowledge from the evening, interspersed with some ideas my partner would like to share as well.

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A quick note: I found the event to be quite cis-heteronormative, for example the term ‘sex’ was often used to describe p-in-v penetration, with other forms of sex described as ‘foreplay’. I wasn’t sure about this so I’ve edited some snippets from the talk, however I recognise that people talking in depth about the kind of sex they have do need to rely on their own terminology.  As a group, the Scarlet Ladies welcome all women, so I don’t think this reflects on them, it was simply the nature of this particular talk.

12 Things men want you to know about sex:

1. A man can be really, super, ridiculously aroused but still unable to get it up. Sometimes it just isn’t happening and it can be for hundreds of different reasons. Since men are encouraged to push their feelings away, there might be something bothering them that they aren’t aware of. Or it might be something far more benign. Talking never hurt anyone so be nice, understanding, and encourage them to share their thoughts!

2. Similarly, it’s also true that sometimes penetration just doesn’t feel good for women. Don’t feel obligated to go ahead; communicate it with your partner and have sex some other way if you still want to. Be patient obviously; some of them might not be familiar with the fact that a woman is sometimes just unable to take a dick!

3. It’s very difficult to understand exactly what something feels like when you don’t have the same sexual equipment. This is why men can have a hard time with the clitoris, even when they’re genuinely trying, and this is why communication (and demonstration) is essential.

4. However, the pleasurable feelings that men and women experience are actually very similar (after all, they’re made from exactly the same stuff). By communicating the actual sensations you’re experiencing, you might be able to understand one another’s pleasure even better.

5. It’s easier for men to be lazy about sex because of how their orgasms are achieved. Encourage your male partners to explore the different responses of both your bodies, not just yours. Once they understand how their own body responds to different things, they will be able to better understand yours as well.

6. Embrace the fact that the way they touch you feels different to the way you touch yourself, and the way you touch them is different to the way they do it too. It’s not a bad thing; you can touch each other in ways its physically impossible to touch yourself – so embrace the differences and enjoy them.

7. That being said, for a lot of men there’s nothing sexier than watching their partner touch herself.

8. Sex isn’t just penetration – some people enjoy extraordinarily satisfying sex lives without ever putting anything in anyone else. Don’t limit yourself by considering penetration as the end game, and don’t let male partners limit your sexual experience  by doing this either.

9. If you can’t orgasm with your partner and you genuinely don’t mind …explain it to him. He has absolutely no right to be fragile about it. You have every right to expect the sex you want to have. Your orgasm isn’t for his gratification.

10. Most of the time, great sex is not beautiful sex.

11. Period sex is great – you don’t deserve to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Don’t be shy about asserting your desire to have period sex.

12. Neither party should ever assume that penetration a certainty. Even if you’re naked, in bed and kissing.

Alix Fox, the host of the discussion I attended, summed it up perfectly at the end; “There’s no right or wrong way to have sex and the most important thing is that everyone involved has a good time.” I’m really grateful to her, and the panel of men including Exhibit A, Master Dominic and Paul Thomas Bell for their time and insights!

The Scarlet Ladies is a fantastic member’s club that are working to dispel the shame and silence around women’s sexuality, enabling women to open up to themselves and their partners. They hold talks twice a month and I really recommend you check them out!