July 05, 2015

the holiday hotlist


I absolutely detest mosquitos. They make the most demonic noise known to man and intimidate me no end. I also hate those hideous canned mosquito sprays that smell deathly and are almost worse than the real thing. The wonderful people at Alfresco Beauty have successfully combatted both of those problems, with their Insect Repellent range. My favourite is their Fine Fragrance Spray (£30) which has a light and delicate scent whilst remaining powerful at keeping bugs at bay.


Obviously the first and foremost important thing when it comes to packing up your beauty essentials comes suncreams and aftersun lotions. Lately I've been loving the Garnier Amber Solaire Dry Mist (£8.50/2 for £11) as it's ridiculously easy to apply and doesn't have that typical suncream smell. For my face, I prefer to use Benefit Dream Screen (£25/overpriced) as it seems to last that little bit longer and is the perfect beach bag size. Talking of being on the beach, my ultimate essential for down by the sea is Avéne Eau Thermale (£6.50), it's pretty much just a fancy mist of water that refreshes and instantly perks up hot and bothered skin. 

Once things have cooled down a bit and the sun has said farewell for the day, aftersun is just as important to keep your tan lasting longer and to soothe any redness. I opt for Holland & Barrett Aloe Vera Gel (£3.99) on any burnt patches and Vaseline Aloe Fresh Body Gel (£4.99) to cool down the rest of my skin.


Models Own have just launched new five shade for the polish for tans collection, which includes every bright shade of polish that you could want after for a summer holiday. My personal favourites are Sarong Wrap (the orange) and Turquoise Sea (£4.99 each).


Aveda are killing it when it comes to skincare. I rarely ever use a product up before I get bored of it (beauty blogger problems) but stuck with their Green Science Firming Face Cream (£46.50) until the very end, and I'd go as far as to say it's the best face cream I've ever used. I absolutely cannot wait to get stuck into the Botanical Kinetics Soft Creme (£35) and Eye Creme (£28) on my hols. 

I've used the original DHC Cleansing Oil (£21.50) for the last couple of years to remove my make up and give my skin a cleanse at night, I typically have very dry skin so an oil based cleanser is an absolute must for me. The Pore Cleansing Oil (£25) is slightly thicker in texture to the original and has a delicate fresh scent making it perfect for after a long day in the sunshine.

Although you could always buy a shower gel once you get there, or see if your hotel stock your room with minis, I couldn't not pack Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Relaxing Body Wash (£15) as it smells like a holiday in a bottle, plus it's a handy size for packing.

Having a mid-holiday pamper night isn't the same without a face mask, and for dry and damaged skin, it has to be of the super moisturising kind. Clarins Hydra Quench Mask (£29.90) is the one I'm taking this year as it claims to both quench dry skin and revitalise the complexion too.


I've yet to have a go with any of these Phyto products as I'm saving them all until I get there (does anyone else do that?) but I thought I'd feature them anyway as I've read great reviews on them all. I'm particularly looking forward to the Recovery Spray (£13) and Protective Sun Veil (£15) as my frizz prone hair always plays me up when it comes to any sort of heat and humidity.

When it comes to styling, I always use a salt spray to give my hair beachy texture. This mini sized Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (£9.50) is perfect to take on a two week holiday and that along with regular hairspray is pretty much all I use whilst I'm away. 

I've got a couple more holiday themed posts coming up, including what's in my make up bag and a little guide to pre-holiday prepping, and I've also put up a huge blog post over at thejessicalife.com all about what clothes I've been buying for my trips away. 

May 03, 2015

skincare sunday | 02

Three weeks after my first skincare sunday post and I'm back with another, yes, I've even surprised myself in managing to keep fairly consistent for once. I've been addicted to trying out new skincare products as of late, and have found some real gems as a result.

I've tried out plenty of day creams but have never tried anything as lightweight yet affective as Aveda Green Science (£45). This has been part of my daily morning routine for the past month or so now and it's soon become one of my all time favourites. I have typically dry skin so prefer a moisturiser that is hydrating yet doesn't coat my skin too much so that my layer of foundation can sink in properly, usually I've found that you can't have best of both worlds but this little pot delivers everything I'd want from a day cream. The same can all be said for Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream (£40), which is similar in the way it works but is slightly thicker and is what I go for on days where my skin needs that little bit extra loving.

With the weather starting to warm up it's super important to make sure you're dosed up with a good level of SPF. Benefit Dream Screen (£25) is perfectly lightweight and applies like a dream. I've also been getting my scrub on with Soap & Glory The Greatest Scrub of All (£6) which I use in the shower every couple of days and always reveals bright and radiant looking skin.

My favourite product of all lately has most definitely been Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (£69), seriously, why have I only just got round to trying this stuff out. I've known about it for years and years due to it's holy grail product status and rave reviews. I've now been using it for a fair few weeks each night and have noticed a big difference in the overall brightness of my complexion. I've even noticed that I haven't been wearing as much foundation as I have that natural looking glow to start with. I know it's on the pricey side, but if you are to invest into one special skincare product then make it this.

April 28, 2015

how to achieve killer brows

It's taken me a good number of years to finally achieve brows that I'm happy with. They started off life full and bordering on bushy, then at the age of around 13 I had a terrible waxing experience consisting of the therapist taking it upon herself to shape them down to half of their original thickness. I spent a good few years trying to grow them back properly, then ended up with them looking uneven until I discovered brow serum and started to gradually get them to a decent shape. Even after all that, I'm still learning the best products to use on them and have gone through pretty much all forms of pencil, shadow, gel and cream to find the best brow routine. I let my brows grow as unruly and unkept as I could bare for the before photo above, just so that you could all see what a huge difference using the right products can make. Here's what works for me. 

| Regularly use a brow growth serum. Even if your brows are already nice and thick, you may want to consider applying brow serum to any sparse patches to get them looking a great shape when you aren't wearing make up. I've been using M2 Beauté Eyebrow Renewing Serum on the inner part of my brows as they are a little too sparse for my liking but have so far noticed more hairs coming through since starting using the product.

| Only pluck/reshape your brows once you've drawn on the shape you want to achieve. Over plucking your brows is the ultimate sin and is something which I think is fair to say we've all been guilty of. To avoid any disasters, first draw in your brows as you normally would, and only then start to pluck away stray hairs. I always find this is far easier than trying to guess at the shape I want to go for without seeing what they will end up looking like.

Use an ash toned shade. This one is completely personal preference, but I've had a rule for a couple of years now to never ever use warm toned shades on my brows. I found in the past that doing so gave the danger of me ending up with almost orangey looking eyebrows and I just generally much prefer the look of an ashy tone. I always go through my brows using Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade and then set with a powder. No prizes for guessing my most loved shade from the HD Brows palette.

| Start by applying product in the middle of the brows, then outwards, and use the product left on the brush for the most inner part. Having a thick, drawn on and fake looking brow is my absolute nightmare. Sharpie brows don't do anyone any favours. Use short and gentle strokes and take time to go through each brow. The Nars Brow Defining Brush is seriously incredible for this and is unlike anything I've ever come across before, it makes filling in brows absolutely foolproof. It's hard to imagine that one brush can make that much difference, but I promise, you need this.  

Brush through brows with a spooly (real word). I'd heard about this trick a while back but for some reason had only waited until recently to put it into practice, not expecting it to work half as well as it did. I'd always hated before how I so easily applied too much product to my brows and they ended up looking too drawn on for my liking. The spooly trick brushes away all excess product to ensure brows are left looking natural yet defined, if there's one trick you take from this post then seriously give this one a go. You will be amazed at how much of a difference it will make.

| Set the brows using a clear coloured brow gel or mascara. I tend to prefer using a clear coloured brow gel over one with pigment in as it means that I'm not overloading my brows with different shades of product. If you want to ensure that any product you use stays set all day then be sure not to miss out this step.

As you can probably sense, my eyebrows are what I consider to be the most important part of my make up routine and what I spend most time trying to get just right. I'd absolutely love to hear what  you favourite brow products are and what your routine consists of, please do leave a comment and let me know.