Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette Review

Ok so I know, I know, I’m joining DROVES of bloggers in reviewing this mega-hyped product, but I just can’t help myself. Sleek’s Solstice Highlighting Palette is incredible, and I just HAD to rave about it myself.

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There’s something so wonderfully cheering about opening up this bright, colourful palette in the morning. The gorgeously pretty shades look like a sunrise to me, and on more than one occasion I’ve caught myself staring deeply into Equinox’s intricate swirls (I have a rough time in the morning folks, this could also be described as ‘falling asleep in my highlighter’).

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The formulas are wonderfully buildable, so you can achieve a subtle sheen, or a seriously powerful glow. As you can see on my swatch, they are really pigmented. When you apply a slightly less liberal amount you get a look that’s either warming and cheerful, or cool and edgy – and of course the effect varies depending on your skin type.

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Personally Equinox is my everyday fave because it suits my skin perfectly and gives a more workday appropriate highlight. However, if I’m going for a moodier, darker eye makeup look I like to use Hemisphere to give it an edge. When I wear a cream blush or a bronzer Ecliptic blends into it perfectly, and if I need a bit more oomf I really like shimmery Subsolar since I can layer it up without getting an obviously unnatural colour. I also love using Subsolar on my cupid’s bow, and the tip of my nose when I want to look like a sparkle fairy.

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For normal every day application I use my NARS Yachiyo Kabuki but if I want to make myself shiiiiine I do it with my finger. I lost the brush that it came with immediately, and I think that would be my only complaint with the product – the brush seems a bit unnecessary, and looks quite cheap. Then again, if someone doesn’t have a brush, it means they don’t need to buy one, so it’s nice to give people one with the product I guess!

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For the price, this palette is unquestionably one of the best on the market. It lasts all day, and it goes on without any fuss. It’s buildable, suits every skin tone and the formula blends seamlessly. Guys, it’s £10. When you think about how expensive a single highlighter shade can be with other brands, I don’t know how anyone could question the decision to buy this phenomenal palette. Get it from Feel Unique for £9.99 – here

 

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Pixi Glow Tonic Review

Let’s get this out of the way first: my skin is sensitive. Like, really sensitive. Most moisturisers, toners, SPFs and anything with salicylic acid in it are totally off limits for me. So when I first started hearing of the hype around Pixi’s world famous exfoliating toner, Glow Tonic with 5% glycolic acid, my first thoughts were ‘definitely not for me’. That was until a friend (who has far more severe skin problems than me) and I wandered into Pixi’s Covent Garden shop, and she told me that her dermatologist has got her on a glycolic acid serum to treat her sensitivity. 

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It makes sense if you think about it – by gently exfoliating your skin with an acid toner you make the skin healthier – less dead skin to block it up, more chance for it to successfully regulate itself. As we spoke, I started to think it might be worth a go. After all, I have a boyfriend who loves to receive my skincare cast offs when a product doesn’t work out! So, I picked up a bottle of Glow Tonic, and tried it out that night.

Ok…I didn’t try it out that night. It took me about three days to pluck up the courage to sweep a cotton pad sprinkled with the tonic over my skin! I was so convinced that I’d have the same experience as I do with salicylic acid. Yet when I woke up the morning after, my skin was totally fine and calm. And it was fine the next time I used it too. So I carried on – slowly at first, only twice a week. Over the course of a couple of months I built it up to about five or six times a week, which is how often I use it now.

I have to say that Pixi Glow Tonic lives up to every hype ever created around it. My skin is radiant, soft, smooth, clear, scars and redness are reduced, plus I swear my skin is less sensitive now! I went through a bit of a purging period to begin with where some blocked pores came to the surface, but now practically every pore on my face is empty and invisible. Honestly I cannot believe what a transformation my skin went through! I’ve been working hard on my complexion for a long time, but this is without question the thing I was missing. Just look at my face now!

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This is how my skin looks 90% of the time now. I used to always have at least one spot hanging around, or a blotch of redness or a dry patch. Now my skin’s default position is this, which is amazing! For someone with such sensitive skin, it’s an absolute revelation to be able to use a product like this. I suspect there must be witchcraft in the formula – that or Petra Strand is a skincare genius.

I recommend that literally everyone gives Pixi Glow Tonic a try – pick it up on the Pixi website for £18 – link

Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm Review

I absolutely hate taking my make-up off. It’s a hassle, its not a particularly comfortable experience for my delicate skin (cotton pads scraping across my face, urgh) and most of the make-up removal products I’ve tried leave my skin irritated. Wipes and micellars are a nightmare, and most creams leave my skin feeling dirty. It’s a hard life. I’ve found a few gems though, so let me tell you about my latest love…

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I’ve been curious to try Trilogy products for years, but I’ve just never gotten round to trying them. However I was invited to try something from the range and I settled on Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm.* I was actually pretty sceptical, because the things I’ve heard people say about this product defy belief. That it lifts make-up away effortlessly and completely, that it leaves skin perfectly cleansed, that even sensitive skin becomes soft, clear and comfortable after using it…

To use, you scoop out a serving (I push my thumb in and gouge out enough to generously cover my nail) and massage it well into dry skin. If you’re wearing eye make-up, eyebrows or lipstick, give it a really good massage to loosen the make-up. Dampen the soft facecloth that comes with it (or another clean flannel/face cloth – just make sure you only use them once and then wash them! NOT OPTIONAL!!) and wipe the balm off your face. I usually rinse the flannel, turn it over and go in for another swipe afterwards, just to be sure.

After this, you’d probably assume that you’ll need to double cleanse, to really get the make-up off, right? Wrong. Trilogy’s Cleansing Balm has removed every iota of make-up from my face every single time. I check by spraying my face with Avene Thermal Water Spray and gently wiping my face with a cotton pad…my face is always perfectly clean. It’s insane, I don’t understand how a balm can be so effective!! But there it is. Now, I never use waterproof mascara or heavy eye make-up because I have very sensitive eyes, but I can tell you that it removes normal mascara as easily and quickly as it removes the rest of my make-up.

The balm is a blend of sunflower, olive, coconut and their famous rosehip oils, together with soothing camomile extract and antioxidant vitamin E. It smells gorgeous, and I love the way it instantly melts onto the skin. At £19.50 it isn’t cheap, but it’s 100% natural and leaves my skin feeling amazing.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Yes! Despite it seeming fairly pricey, it’s lasted twice as long as my other favourite make-up remover and I still have some left, so it’s definitely worth the price!

Get it on Look Fantastic – link

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion

I’ve used Weleda’s Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion on and off for years, so I thought it was time I finally wrote about it!

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This is a very basic, simple product that I come back to time and time again, particularly when my skin is playing up and I need a gentle make-up remover. With only seven ingredients, it’s perfect for people with sensitive skin who need to keep their exposure to skincare ingredients to a minimum.

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Just in case you needed proof that I really love Almond Cleansing Lotion! I bought a load on Black Friday to keep me going. I know no matter what other products I have on my shelf, I’ll end up reaching for it frequently.

The consistency is kind of like a thin facial cream – not quite liquid, but not entirely solid either. When you squeeze it out it looks like there’s little balls in it, but you can’t feel them when you massage it into your skin. I squeeze it out onto my fingers and apply it all over, rubbing lightly and in small circles to loosen the make-up. Then I wipe it off with cotton pads. Usually I have to apply and remove twice to get all the make-up off, unless I was wearing a bb cream, in which case once is fine.

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The smell is lovely, it’s a light almondy/marzipan scent, though obviously the product is fragrance free. Despite having two lovely, nourishing oils in it, the lotion leaves my skin feeling so clean and fresh, and for that reason, I find myself reaching for it when my skin is oily. This deep cleansing effect comes from lactic acid (an AHA) and alcohol, so I wouldn’t suggest it for people with dry skin, but for any other skin type, it’s great!

I love this cleanser. I started using it around the time I first realised I had sensitive skin, and the fact that I’ve come back to it so much ever since really says something about it’s effectiveness, gentleness and quality. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Weleda are cruelty free and environmentally conscious! Get it for £9.95 off Look Fantastic – link

Spring Beauty Wishlist

After moving house more times than should ever be necessary this year, I had to pare it back with the beauty spending a little. But that didn’t stop me thirsting over just about everything I saw, oh no sir-ee. Here’s my Spring Beauty Wishlist! If you’ve tried any of these babies, please let me know in the comments! And link me if you’ve written a post on them 🙂

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Korres Equisetum Deodorant: I was having a little Sephora session when I came across this beautiful little tube. I’m always on the look out for a nice deodorant as I don’t use anti-perspirant, and I loved this formulation – bisabolol is a calming agent and equisetum is a herb that protects and deodorises.

Origins Make a Difference+ Treatment Lotion: My skin doesn’t really get dry unless I piss it off with harsh products, but it gets dehydrated really easily. I love the idea of using a toner to boost hydration, and I’ve read wonderful things about this one!

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush: I’ve been desperate to try this FOREVER. I’m still kicking myself for forgetting about it last time I went to New York. I love blushes because I don’t really have time to highlight or contour in the mornings, so blushes are my only way of getting some definition on my face. I love everything about this one – and yes, this is the colour I’d choose. I wanna go BOLD.

Origins Original Skin Mask: Ok I admit I was initially drawn to the packaging when I saw this in a shop. Then it was the gorgeous scent. Then it was the pun in the name. And THEN I finally decided to be responsible and actually read what it was for. At the time my skin was in a really good place and I didn’t need anything like this, but after being indoors with the heating on all winter and going through a period of excruciating stress, my skin is rubbish and I definitely need this! Update, I bought this! Click to read my review.

Rose Waterfull Mask: This is thanks to a post by Little Miss Fii who’s gorgeous pictures instantly convinced me that I needed it in my life immediately. After reading up on the ingredients I was even more desperate to try it. I rarely use products with acids in them, and would like to get my skin used to them so I can fade a couple of pesky scars. I really think a hydrating formula like this would be the perfect way, especially since it’s Korean so I immediately trust it!

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser: Who doesn’t want this, I mean come on. From what I’ve read it sounds like the best cleanser ever to exist. The only question is…how in the hell do I get hold of it?!

A’Pieu Bal Cheek Blusher: Another lovely blogger, Jasmine at Kkochsongi wrote a post on this and it sounds SO adorably lovely. In spring I would really like to dial the makeup down a bit, but being very pale I need some colour to my cheeks all the time. This is how I’m justifying putting TWO blushers in my wishlist.

Herborist Invigorating All-Day Body Lotion: I’ve been curious about this Chinese brand for ages, ever since stumbling across them on Feel Unique. Unfortunately, I can’t find their ingredients list or any reviews, so I’m a bit apprehensive about buying it, but perhaps I should just be brave and go for it?!

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint: Another ‘who on earth doesn’t want to try this’ product. I ADORE All Day Luminous Finish Foundation from NARS and have used it for over a year. In the warmer months though, I would love to give a skin tint a whirl, and can’t think of a brand I trust more! – Update, I bought this! Did not care for it. Had a huge allergic reaction, would not recommend…

What are you dying to try? Anything I should have added?

Elizabeth Arden Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream

I am SO disappointed in this product. I don’t write negative reviews very often, because it doesn’t feel good, but I recently realised that it really wasn’t fair to people who are trying to work out whether or not they should spend money on something. So, here we go…

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The product claims are promising. It’s supposed to help moisturise flaky skin, dry hands and cracked lips, you can use it to shape brows, (though I have no idea what this brings to the table that an eyebrow pencil would not) and to ‘revitalise shine’ (I’m assuming this translates to ‘makes you shiny’).

Over the Christmas period I was getting a few flaky patches on my face, and being a sensitive skinned individual, I decided to try the Fragrance Free version of Eight Hour Cream. I have to say, I completely swallowed the hype. Looking at the ingredients now (salicylic acid, lanolin, petroleum jelly, corn oil, vegetable oil, castor oil and two plant extracts, one of which doesn’t have any skincare benefits – seriously, tonka bean extract is JUST a perfume) I don’t know why I bought it, I should have known better.

My skin was not happy about it. First of all, it did nothing but make my lips and hands sticky when I tried it as a lip balm/hand cream, and it smells vile. I put it all over my face as planned, for three nights in a row. I used it for three nights despite hating the texture and smell because I wanted to give it a fair chance at getting rid of my dry patches. Well, they actually got worse. Plus, by the end of the three nights the rest of my face was red, oily and I was starting to get spots. Usually, I have a very even complexion, and spots are a rarity.

I think perhaps I had too-high expectations for this legendary product. I’ve used it as a foot cream a few times since and it’s very nice for that, but I haven’t liked it for anything else. I know some people say they use it for eczema but I tried that on my hands and it made me so itchy! It could just be that my skin really is quite sensitive, and a thick balm with salicylic acid in it (although I really did think the simple base would make it ok!) just isn’t going to work for me no matter what. Either way, Elizabeth Arden’s Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream is just like every other multipurpose balm, but with a ridiculous £26 price tag and a dreadful smell. You’re much better off spending a tenner on some Weleda Skin Food because at least that smells good and will actually do something about flaky patches.

What do you think of Eight Hour Cream? Did I use it wrong? What do you use it for? If you’re looking for a good multipurpose product, here are some links to a couple I’d recommend:

Lush Elbow Grease

Dr Paw Paw Balm

Spectrum Brushes – The Glam Clam

For the longest time I was of the opinion that make-up brushes should be bought as cheaply as possible. However, after receiving Spectrum Collection’s STUNNING Glam Clam set as a gift from my boyfriend, I’ve gone completely full circle and I am now OBSESSED with these beautiful, premium, incredible brushes.

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They give the most gorgeous finish imaginable, and I’ve done a little demo to show you just how good they are. I’ve never found the time to get into makeup, so it doesn’t usually get more complicated than foundation-powder-brows-blush. But after getting these babies? I may even attempt some of the looks I’ve seen on YouTube! Let’s have a closer look at this adorable perfection…

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Here are the brushes I used:

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I used the large flat buffer for my foundation, the lip liner for my concealer, large domed powder for powder (obviously), the fine detailer for my eyes and the small angled blush for my blusher.

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The thing that struck me about these to begin with was how soft they are. I’d been using the same cheap brushes for years so these felt like fairy kisses in comparison. The large domed powder blush literally bounces off your face as you use it, and it’s SO soft. The small angled blush gives a really soft-focus colour application, and the large flat buffer is resilient but still really soft when you’re patting foundation in – my skin is so delicate that some brushes I have actually scratch my skin, enough for it to be uncomfortable, but these are absolutely wonderful.

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Top left is make-up free, then with concealer dotted on any blotches and blemishes, then after foundation, then after powder. I know I’m making stupid faces – these were my first dslr selfies! I love the even finish the brushes give – I know it was the brushes because I’ve had the same make-up routine for the past three months at least, and it never looks this good!

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Here’s my finished face, with eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and lips. I am SO impressed with the small angled blush brush too, it distributed the blusher perfectly.

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I know that at £60, the full Glam Clam set is definitely a luxury, and I would never have been able to justify buying it myself (thank you boyfriend!) but if you’re looking to treat yourself with some brushes, this is absolutely the way. I mean, look at how beautiful they are. It’s like having art on your make-up table. Spectrum also sell gorgeous individual brushes and smaller sets, so if you’re on a budget you should definitely check those out! But really, why not go big or go home, because if you do, your dressing table could look like mine 😉

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Have you ever tried Spectrum Brushes? What did you think?