Saturday, 5 January 2013


I love REN. To be honest, I wasn't really a big cleanser until a couple of years ago, though I've been moisturising my skin for years. It was a friend that informed me of the importance of cleansing (and the amazing results hot cloth cleansing can give you... er, hello, Marilyn used to do it and have you SEEN how amazing her skin was?!), and after seeing the results, I've not been able to stop since!

I've tried the cheaper cleanser, sure. I got Nivea Visage Pure and Natural Cleansing Toner, but having oily skin I found this didn't feel like it really got into the pores... to be honest, it feels more like you're slathering a thick moisturiser all over your face. I would totally recommend it for those with dry skin, though perhaps not if you have sensitive.

Howeverrr, the one cleanser I've found that really works (and that I keep coming back to) is REN. It's around £18 so not exactly cheap, but it's a nice sized bottle and you only need half a pump a time. And it really WORKS. I first got the REN T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel as I have moments where my nose especially gets really oily. It claimed to gently dissolve the excess sebum (the substance that makes the skin oily) and remove dirt. Though it was still better than the other cleansers I'd tried, it didn't make my skin feel INCREDIBLE as I wanted it to. Still definitely recommended by me if you do have oily skin, my skin is far from sensitive and likes the more heavy duty treatments. Eventually,  I found another REN product that was even better than this!

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk is my favourite cleanser of all time (at least, I haven't found anything as good yet!) It claims it's for sensitive skin, which surprises me as normally products for sensitive skin don't even touch my skin - 'Simple', for example, it completely rubbish for me - it has a thin, creamy texture and smells really nice. It smells fresh and clean and... good! I can feel it working to clear the dirt off my skin. Once I've done the hot cloth cleanse technique (soak a flannel/cloth in HOT water and gently buff the cleanser off, several times if necessary) my skin always feels clean and clear (make sure you splash your face with cold water or use a toner after to close your pores back up!) Most importantly, it doesn't feel like I have anything left on my skin - when using the Nivea, it always feels like I have a film of left over cream on my skin that I just can't get off. With this, I feel like my skin has been cleaned down to it's deepest layers, and it makes putting on my moisturiser easy peasy. I can see myself using this for years to come!

Now, on to my other REN products. Whilst staying at the Sanctum Soho Hotel in London I got the opportunity to use a couple other REN products, including the 'Oat and Bay Conditioning Shampoo', the 'Pro Vitamin Hair Conditioner', the 'Neroli and Grapefruit Body Wash' and the 'Neroli and Grapefruit Body Cream'.

The shampoo has a nice smell, quite fruity... it kind of smells a little bit like Christmas cake?! But cleaner and fresher! I have a lot of hair so I like to shampoo twice when I can, but I can tell this shampoo is really good and cleaning the roots of your hair. If you have oily roots I would recommend this; if you have thick, coarse hair in need of some TLC I would look for something creamier with a bit more power to it. This shampoo is very gentle and lovely, but not for those of us who need a bit more power!

The conditioner is pretty great, actually. It's very conditioning and moisturising, you can tell even by using a little. I tend to use quite a big of conditioner and leave it on for a while to really penetrate my coloured hair. Would I buy it? Yes, probably... it smells like a milder version of the shampoo, very clean and fresh and... well, clean! It leaves hair soft and manageable, though it didn't really sort out the frizz.

The body wash is, again, lovely. It smells really gorgeous, quite hard to describe... certainly like nothing I've smelt before! I would say it was refreshing and invigorating, a pleasure to use in the morning. It feels very cleansing and cleaning on the skin. I really like this body wash!

The body lotion is really good. It smells like a milder version of the body wash, and is thick and creamy in texture. It's not sticky and it absorbs surprisingly quickly, which I love as I love to slather it on before bedtime. I would probably buy this again, to be fair... it's rich and smells beautiful and is just a lovely product!

Anywho, I hope you've found this useful! Overall I just love REN. They use nothing but the best products in their range so you can buy safe in the knowledge their products are doing nothing but good for your skin/hair!

Meli X

Friday, 4 January 2013

My Lipsticks - Review

Ok, I admit it - I have a lipstick obsession! I have a make-up bag purely for my lipsticks and glosses, in fact. It's a problem, I know, but I just can't resist a bargain! The other reason I buy so many is because I like to see which ones suit my complexion and hair. I struggle with this quite a bit - I'm very pale while I'd like to be tanned, and I have red hair that I don't want to clash. Hence, I have lots of different shades of lippies (particularly reds - I always photograph what reds look like before wearing them out on me because they tend to look different!). I'm sure I'm not the only one with horrid pictures of themselves wearing what was first thought to be a beaut lip shade, but actually looked horrific in the after photos!

Sooo with that in mind I've decided to do a review of my current lipsticks! This is also so both you and I can see which ones work under flash and which ones don't.

So, on with the show!

This is how I look with nothing on my lips so you can compare (also, apologises for how tired I look, I'd been out all day - plus please ignore my roots, I'm getting them done this weekend, honest!):

I have two Chanel lipsticks. One is the Rouge Hydrabase in Barcelona Red (70). 

Now, in my opinion the actual lipstick colour looks WAY different in real life than it does in the product photo, don't you agree?

Now, I'm not gonna lie, I was really disappointed at how different the true shade is to the one in the promotional picture.
Having said thaaaaat, it's actually quite a beautiful dark red lipstick:

I've seen worse on myself, anyway! But it's probably not a lipstick I would wear out; I'm not a huge fan of how it looks on me in photos. I think it photographs slightly more orangey? But I think with a gorgeous dark eye, this lipstick would come into its own!

My second Chanel lipstick is a favourite. I wanted this for AGES and got it as a gift this Christmas, yay!

Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Cambon (31) is supposedly the perfect red lipstick for redheads, though to be honest it's more of a reddy pinky delight:

It's just beautiful, no?! I'm told this is the lipstick Christina Hendricks wears. This is how it looks on me with flash:

I always get compliments when I wear this lipstick, I just LOVE it!

Enough with Chanel, now I have a Rimmel London nude to show ya'll.

Rimmel London lipstick in Notting Hill Nude (720).

I love a good nude, and this was is pretty good. Though many people love the packaging, however, I really don't like it! I think it looks a bit cheap and unclassy!

This is how is looks on:

Love it, I wear this ALL the time, plus it was a right bargain!

My next lippie is by Max Factor.

Hyperfull Lipstick by Max Factor in the shade Voluptuous (130)

Though I much prefer the usual bullet shape for a lipstick, this one is pretty compact which means it'll squeeze into the tiniest purse for a night out.

This is how it looks on:

Wayyyy too orangey for my liking! Though that's with flash, without it looks much more blue toned, so I'll save this for going to lunch rather than for nights out!

My next lipstick is from Elizabeth Arden. It's called Colour Intrigue in the shade Posh (18).

Again, love the packaging on this, very classy and simple. The lipstick itself is kind of a metallic reddy brown. 

On me, it looks like this:

More brown than I'd prefer, but not as bad as I thought it would look! I love wearing this lipstick in the day time during the winter and it has a pretty, wintery, metallic feel to it. Again, probably wouldn't wear it out to a club! Without flash, this lipstick looks a lot darker and, in my opinion, a lot nicer.

My next two lipsticks are from Rimmel London.

The first is in the shade Pink Blush (006)

Luuuurve the packaging, it's like a dark purple bordering on black... pretty cute! The colour itself it a very light girly pink (something, as a redhead, I've been told to steer clear of...)

But this is actually a lipstick I used to wear out all the time (mostly because you don't really need a mirror to apply it)... I think it's a nice shade for when you wanna go heavy on the eyes, and I'll probably still use this on nights out!

My other Rimmel lipstick is called Signature Red (175)

This lipstick is a really dark blue toned red - it's pretty stunning, but VERY bright - beware, if you're a little nervy about rocking a red lip, steer clear of this as a starter, because this is for the brave!

Look s a bit lighter in colour here due to the flash, but I still love this lipstick. LOVE. And it was a bargain!

My next lipstick is from Revlon. Again, this is supposedly a good lipstick for us redheads:

Revlon Moon Drops lipstick in Poppysilk Red (714)

Bright green packaging so not a lipstick for those of you who like your lipsticks encased in elegant, classy bullets...  and though I admit I do prefer my lipsticks to be elegant and classy, this packaging doesn't offend me at all!

The lipstick itself is actually quite similar to Chanel in Cambon, so if you're looking for a dupe, look no further! Cambon is slightly redder in tone though whereas this is slightly more pinky, in my opinion.

Looks really orangey in the photo due to flash (damn you flash, damn youuu!) but, actually, I think it still looks pretty nice, and again I always get compliments when I wear this out! I got this off Amazon for a really cheap price I think, so definitely worth a try!

My next lipstick is by Cover Girl. I got this online as I'm a UK gal and I must say more than anything I was just a bit curious! The closest brand to Cover Girl we have hear in the UK is Max Factor. 

The lipstick is called TruShine, and the shade I got was number 485 (no name, which I found disappointing as I love lipstick names!)

The packaging is pretty unique, it's silver but has a rainbow effect when the light hits it (you can kind of see if in the picture on the right!) I looooove the texture of this lipstick - it kind of feels like Vaseline, it is that smooth! It also, in my opinion, looks a bit more like a gloss than a lipstick:

The colour looks more intense WITHOUT the flash, if anything - but I think it looks gorgeous with... maybe even more gorgeous with! Who'd have thought it?! Go Cover Girl!

My next lipstick is a Revlon coral colour. It's called Super Lustrous Lipstick in Coral Berry (674)

This lipstick has a thick, creamy texture - me likey!

Obviously it's pretty orangey as it's a coral, but with flash it's no where near as bad as I thought it would be! Not a bad colour at all!

NEXT - Revlon Super Lustrous in Love That Red (725)

I got all these Revlons together when I went on a mad lipstick binge, if you're wondering! They were all cheap as chips and had a beautiful texture. 

More orangey than my other darker red, and not as nice IMO... but still not a bad shade for such a cheap item! It looks darker than this without flash.

Ok, I have many more lipsticks but for now I'm going to do one more! This one is by Barry M and is shade 101 (it possibly had a name but it may have rubbed off, I've had this one for a while!)

It's worth mentioning that, applied like a normal lipstick, this looks bloody awful!! However once worked into the lip with my finger it looks a lot better. It's a VERY light nude - I'd say it's a great base instead of using concealer on your lips for when you want to wear a very dark eye or if you are planning on using a nude/light coloured lipstick or gloss on top. It also has a better texture than using concealer, but boy have you got to work it into the lip to make it look half decent!

On it's own it looks like this:

Aghhhh!! I heard your screams of horror from here! But try to imagine it with a dark, smokey eye, and you might have found your perfect nude... maybe...

Aaaaanyway, I hope this was useful! Please remember, though, that these lipsticks DO look different in the light of day. I was merely trying to show you how these lipsticks would look on a night out if you had a picture taken with flash, which I often do and worry about!

Comment your favourite look! What's your favourite lipstick?

Meli X

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Real Technique Make-up Brushes

Hey! So I figured I'd do a post today about my favourite make-up brushes by Real Technique (Samantha Chapman from Pixiwoo). I got the full set just before Christmas after coveting them for what felt like a million years.

I've watched Pixiwoo on Youtube for years - Samantha and her sister Nikki are professional make-up artists and have pretty much done it all. Their videos are funny, current and brilliant - make sure you check them out! You can also follow them on Instagram and they have their own amaaazing blog.

On to the brushes. I bought them all together and got a discount because of it - it cost me around £120. You can obviously buy them seperately, but I just couldn't choose between them - I had to have em all!

They all have their names and purposes written down the side of each brush, but to be honest I like to mix them up and use them for different things. I'm not a massive fan of the foundation brush - in my opinion, foundation brushes in general leave my skin looking streaky. I much prefer the buffing brush, as it really works my foundation into my skin and leaves it looking polished and flawless. I've also tried using the stippling brush for foundation application, but I found I really like using it for my cream blusher - like I said, I like to mix them up!

All the brushes are soft and easy to hold and use. I love the large powder brush, it feels like heaven! I need to powder my skin quite a lot as it's quite oily and shiny so this brush is a godsend.

The kabuki brush is a little strange as it splits in half and I haven't found myself using it a great deal - that is, until I bought a new powder foundation from Bare Minerals. It works beautifully applying the powder and it feels really soft and gentle on the skin. I think the fact it splits it a tiny bit annoying though; I think the idea was so that you could split it to use for contouring, but I find the other brushes do that job better.

I adore the blush brush - I love the shape, the look of it and obviously it applies my powder brushes beautifully. All the eye brushes are great, particularly the crease brush - it's thick and I love to apply my base eye-shadows with it. I even use one of the eye-shadow brushes to apply my concealer, as it buffs the product on rather than plastering it onto my skin.

My dog Freddie seems to like them!
I love the fact there is a travel set as I love to travel and finding something small enough to carry my brushes other than a roll has always bothered me. The black cases have elastic to slide your brushes under, and you can even flip it open and use it as a stand! Very practical.

All in all I'd say these brushes are definitely worth the money. They wash well and are great quality. I'll be doing more in depth discussion about the individual brushes soon!

Meli X