skincare

Skincare blog post StyleRarebit.com Cardiff

The Marine Spa At St. David’s Hotel

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So a few weeks ago I turned 27 and not only was I stressing about getting old but also that I didn’t have any plans. I had booked some time off, but as it was a Tuesday I was pretty sure everyone else would be at work. So it was the luckiest coincidence that St. David’s Hotel reached out about reviewing their Marine Spa and totally saved me from a boring birthday.

The spa has been ranked one of the top 5 in the UK by Condé Nast Traveller, so I knew it was going to be amazing. I was also excited because I really love the hotel, the decor is beautiful and it has some of the best views over Cardiff Bay. I highly recommend grabbing a drink at the bar and sitting on the balcony if you don’t believe me!

As part of my day the team booked me in for a facial at 2pm so I decided to head to the pool for a few hours before, to make the most of my day pass. When I got to the front desk the girls gave me a key for my locker which was stocked up with my robe, towels, flip flops and some skincare goodies from the spa. How amazing is that? It was such a nice touch and it made me feel really welcome right from the get-go. It’s that insane attention to detail, from the moment you get there that makes the whole experience really special.

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You need to try the hydrotherapy pools…

Once I was ready and feeling super glam in my spa dressing gown, I hit the pool. It’s in the most gorgeous location, right on the top of the hotel and overlooking the bay. There are two hydrotherapy pools, as well as an exercise pool and a sauna, alongside loads of lounge chairs for ultimate relaxation. I decided to head to the hydrotherapy pool with the fountains first as it had the best views. The water in these pools has been treated to replicate seawater so it’s rich in minerals and sea salts. These are really beneficial to your skin and help to plump, hydrate and detoxify while you relax. So not only do you feel better when you get out but you look amazing too.

You can literally lay in the hydrotherapy pool and watch the boats sail by, it’s like a movie and so relaxing. The way the two pools are laid out there’s loads of room too and plenty of privacy, so you don’t feel like you have to wait for a space. My favourite spot was in the main pool at the end as the seats are way bigger, you can lay down and totally relax. It was so peaceful and it was lovely to have a swim or just sit in the bubbles for a few hours and think about nothing.

After I was feeling totally zen, I decided to hit the sauna to give my skin a boost. There was loads of room which is perfect as I love laying down and letting the dry heat work its magic. It’s great for rejuvenating your skin and perfect if you’ve been to the gym as it’ll relax your muscles, ease joint pain and improve blood flow.

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What treatment did you go for?

They have 10 treatment rooms upstairs, a relaxation room and spots to get your nails done for a total body pamper. I was booked in for the Ishga facial with a super relaxing neck and shoulder massage followed by a facial using their organic seaweed based products. The Ishga brand was actually founded in Scotland by a husband and wife team. They use organic seaweed to make skincare products which harness the anti-oxidant and healing powers of the seaweed. I was so excited to try this as I love discovering new brands and it was a great introduction.

My facial was amazing, the products were really gentle on my skin and it even included the mask where they pour the product onto your face. The products were mainly oil based and as my skin was quite dry it was a total godsend. My favourites in particular were the Regenerating Organic Face Serum and the Nourishing Facial Oil which you could easily work into your skincare routine. 

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I need to go back…

This day was such a nice treat and it made me realise how important it is to take a break from reality. I’m actually thinking of becoming a member, as it’s really close to the office and would be a great way to unwind after a long day. If you’re feeling the same and would love a pamper then you can check out their spa menu here for a full list of treatments. It was a great experience and I’m so grateful, what a birthday to remember!

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How To Get Glowy Skin

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You know how glowy and fresh your skin looks after a facial? That’s exactly what I aim for after doing these steps. Glowy skin is the epitome of beauty goals and achieving that fresh, dewy look is important if you want to pretend like you drink 2 liters of water a day and get eight hours sleep. Because honestly, who actually does that??

how-to-fake-glowy-skinExfoliate!

Exfoliating is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get glowy skin. This is because it speeds up the skin shedding process to remove dead cells and product buildup that’s clogging your pores. You can use a traditional exfoliator for this but I prefer to use a liquid/chemical one and my favourite is the Pixi Glow Tonic. It uses glycolic acid to exfoliate your skin and ginseng to improve circulation. It also has a huge cult following so you know it’s good and there’s no need to wash your face afterwards so it’s hassle free.

how-to-fake-glowy-skinMoisturise

Dry skin will never look glowy so it’s really important that you’re regularly moisturising in the winter. It’s best to moisturise everyday, especially in the morning if your skin is looking a little dull. My go-to at the moment is the Vichy Mineral 89 Serum which is a gel based moisturiser. It’s really light but the effects last all day and it absorbs really quickly so it’s perfect under makeup.

how-to-fake-glowy-skinUse A Mask

If your skin is looking really dull and you need a quick fix then it’s definitely worth investing in a mask. I always keep a few sheet masks in my skincare stash in case of emergencies and I find they’re the best at de-puffing and making your skin look dewy. I have a few favourites that I always go back to including the Garnier Moisture Bomb which is REALLY hydrating, the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Sheet Mask which is basically an instant facial and also her Goddess Skin Clay Mask which brightens, tightens and reduces your pores.

Highlight

Fake it till you make it honey and by fake it, I mean using a TON of highlighter. I remember at uni I went through several bottles of Benefit’s High Beam trying to hide how exhausted I was! Highlighters have come an awful long way since then though, so there’s really no excuse not to have one for emergencies. I was recently sent two from Topshop beauty and I’ve been really loving them for a quick fix. The first is their Glow Powder highlighter in Solstice which you can sweep over your cheek bones using a fan brush and the second is their liquid highlighter in Blaze which you can either dab on top of your makeup or mix into your foundation for a more serious glow.

how-to-fake-glowy-skinDrink Loads Of Water

I know it’s really obvious but this is the one thing that will help above all else. I always notice how dull my skin looks when I’m not drinking as much water, so if you know you need to look fresh tomorrow then get drinking. Water also helps to flush out toxins which is good for beating blemishes so it’s definitely worth it. Something that really helps with this is getting a water bottle, that way you can carry it around with you everywhere you go. There are loads of cute ones in Homesense if you’re on a budget but I’m currently coveting a fancy one from S’well.

how-to-fake-glowy-skinTry Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Balm

I’ve been using this for so long and as you can tell by how battered the bottle is, I really love this product! It gives you an instant supermodel glow and if I could afford to, I would cover my whole body in it. It’s not as glowy as a highlighter but is way more natural so I either apply it all over my face before makeup or mix it in with my foundation. It’s honestly worth the crazy price tag and it’s the absolute best thing to revive your skin.

how-to-fake-glowy-skinBronze & Blush

So, if all else fails or if you’ve simply run out of time then the quickest way to look more glowy is to bronze and blush. Even if you’re having a bad skin day it’s amazing how much difference a flush across the cheeks can make. Just start by using your bronzer on the high points of your face where the sun would naturally hit you and then use your blush to add a rosy glow to your cheeks.

These tips are so simple but they really help me when I’m feeling tired or when my skin needs a pick me up. These products are also cult classics so they’re worth investing in and will last you forever as they’re such good quality. If you liked this post i’ve also written one on the Pixi Beauty Toners which is worth a read if you love skincare.

Escentual.com Beauty Gift Guide

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Honestly, how is it December?

It feels like yesterday that we were trying to get through January and then all of a sudden 2018 has nearly disappeared. If you’re anything like me then you’ve likely been putting off Christmas shopping until the last minute and still have 20 people to buy for… eek! Which is why a good old fashion gift guide is definitely necessary. This week the lovely people at escentual.com have sent me some of their best Christmas gift ideas and I’m so excited to share them with you. There’s something here for everyone and a few extra special products that I know you’re going to love.

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If she’s beauty obsessed…

I don’t know a single girl on the planet who doesn’t love an Urban Decay palette and their new Naked Cherry edition is no exception. It has the prettiest mix of warm pinks and shimmery shades that are highly pigmented and buttery soft. The packaging is also really beautiful and includes a compact mirror and brush so that it’s really easy to create eye looks on the go. These shades are also particularly flattering on green or brown eyes so this is definitely something to consider if you’re still not sure!  

escentual-christmas-gift-guide-2018-style-rarebit-blog escentual-christmas-gift-guide-2018-style-rarebit-blog If she loves fragrance and killer heels…

If her shoe cupboard resembles the footwear department at Selfridges then it’s likely she loves all things Jimmy Choo! So, for something just as special as a new pair of heels the Fever fragrance would be perfect for her. It’s an oriental scent with top notes of lychee, plum and grapefruit, a heart of warm vanilla orchid and a base note of roasted tonka bean and sandalwood.  It’s a sweet and musky scent that’s perfect for any girly girl who loves getting dressed up. 

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If she wouldn’t leave the house without lipstick….

I’ve been a huge fan of the brand Guerlain since I was a teenager not just because of their amazing makeup but for their packaging and branding. Just google their Champs-Élysées store in Paris and you’ll see what I mean… They’ve recently come up with a really good idea of refillable lipsticks to match with limited edition cases that would make a really special gift. The Rouge G Lipstick Case in Electric Gold is particularly Christmassy and paired with the Rouge G Lipstick Refill in No°22 Bright Red will create an instant classic that she’ll cherish forever.

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If she’s a workaholic…

Vichy’s Mineral 89 Serum is perfect for anyone who takes the early commute to the office and needs something that will seamlessly fit into their skincare routine. It’s made with the highest concentration of their mineralising water and hyaluronic acid to plump up and freshen her skin while creating a barrier to protect from pollution. It’s also fast absorbing and won’t leave a sticky residue so she can apply her everyday makeup over the top really quickly.

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If she loves a glam makeup look… 

If you’re wondering why that shimmer is sooooo shimmery it’s because the Make Up Forever Star Lit Diamond Powder is made with pure mother of pearl. Not even kidding! This is a highlighter that packs a major punch and is perfect for anyone who loves to go all out with their makeup. This pot is in the shade 106 – Grenny White and is probably the most versatile of the all shades as you can put it over the top of any eye shadow colour. You might want to pick her up a bottle of the Aqua Seal Waterproof Liquid Converter too so that she can waterproof the powder for maximum staying power.

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If she travels a lot…

The worst part about travelling is trying to cram all your beauty products in with the truck load of shoes you need to get through a two day trip. Just me? So if you’re buying for someone who loves travelling it’s a good shout to pick her up something that’s multifunctional. The Ace That Face! Conceal, Contour, Bronze & Highlight Palette by Benefit would be perfect. It has everything she needs to get a flawless base but is small enough to fit in her luggage without taking up too much room. It includes their cult classic products the Boi-ing concealer, Watt’s Up! Highlighter and Hoola bronzer as well as a really useful step by step guide for applying all the products. 

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If you’re shopping for him…

Men’s fragrance can be tricky to navigate, especially when you’re not sure on their taste or are trying to avoid anything too heavy. We see you Old Spice… So if you want something special that’s also fresh and wearable then the Dunhill London Century Eau de Parfum Spray would be a great option. It’s a fresh and spicy fragrance with top notes of citrus and mandarin, a heart of cardamom and neroli and a base of sandalwood and musk. This makes for the perfect balance of fresh and masculine without being too overpowering and the bottle definitely makes for a gorgeous gift too.

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If she needs a pamper…

If you haven’t heard of Nuxe before it’s one of the best french skincare brands and their signature dry oil is a cult classic. This gorgeous gift box would be a great introduction to the brand and perfect for anyone in need of a pamper night in. It has everything she needs to get really glowy skin including a huge bottle of their Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil Spray, their scented shower oil, 48hr moisturising cream and a candle to add to the experience. The box is also really beautiful and would make a great gift for someone you really want to treat this Christmas.

 

If you’re as unorganised as me then I hope you found this escentual.com gift guide useful. I can’t believe how close we are to Christmas but I’m also really excited to take some time off and spend it in my pyjamas! I hope you all have the best day and leave me a comment if you pick up anything from this guide. I would love to know what you guys think…

Everything You Need To Know About The Pixi Beauty Toners

pixi-beauty-toners-style-rarebit-fashion-blogOk, ok so I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this but for the first time ever I tried Pixi’s Glow Tonic this month. The shame I feel is real guys and as a self confessed skincare junkie I honestly have no excuse for not trying it sooner. Getting it in a blogger package was REALLY special though and I feel like the luckiest girl ever that I got to try all three of the Pixi toners in one go.

Rather than just writing my thoughts on them though I thought it would be WAY more useful to fill you guys in on each one in more detail. Skincare is bloody confusing as it is so I’m going to give you the main benefits and some quick tips to help you pick the right one for you.

How do you apply them?

Before we get into it I thought it might be good to squeeze this in just in case! To apply the Pixi toners I would blot them onto a cotton pad and then sweep them over your face, neck and chest. I also saw on the website that you should use around a 10p size worth of product.

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The Rose Tonic

What is it: So I did a little research and figured out that the Rose Tonic is a rose hydrosol based toner which means the rose oil is suspended in water. This makes it really light and gentle so it’s great for hydrating your skin and calming any redness. The Rose Tonic also helps to balance pH levels and gently remove impurities to leave you with a clear and super refreshed complexion.

Main benefits: This is great for gently hydrating your skin while removing excess oil and dirt.

Pro tips: Rose water helps to remove excess oil so apply it before makeup to your t-zone for a mattifying effect.

When to use it: You can use this both in the morning and the evening but I prefer using it before applying my makeup in the morning. I just find that it calms any redness and preps my skin really well for foundation because it balances the oil levels.

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The Glow Tonic

What is it: This is Pixi’s most well know product so it’s likely you’ve already heard of it but I’ll fill you in on what it’s for anyway. The Glow Tonic is a liquid exfoliator with the main ingredient being glycolic acid which helps to remove dead skin cells, treat discolouration and defend against early signs of ageing.  The formula also includes aloe vera, ginseng and horse chestnut to gently hydrate and improve circulation for a super glowy finish.

Main benefits: The Glow Tonic is perfect for everyday exfoliation to keep your skin looking fresh and glowy. Glycolic acid can help to reduce pigmentation over time too and reduce acne scarring.

Pro tips: You can use the Glow Tonic on your lips to gently exfoliate them if they’re really dry and on your elbows and knees to prep for fake tan application.

When to use it: You can use this both in the morning and the evening but I personally use it at night.

pixi-beauty-toners-style-rarebit-fashion-blogThe Retinol Tonic

What is it: Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A which is really good at reversing sun damage and signs of ageing. That’s why there’s such a buzz around it right now! Pixi’s version is also a time release retinol so it’s way less harsh and perfect for beginners.

Main benefits: Retinol is amazing at reducing fine lines, smoothing your complexion and boosting collagen production to firm your skin.

Pro tips: Use sunscreen in the day and retinol in the evening to banish wrinkles and give yourself a flawless complexion.

When to use it: Retinol breaks down when it’s exposed to the sun so it’s best to apply this in the evening after cleansing.

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I hope you loved this post and found it really useful! For more skincare click here.

The Acne Fighting Bubble Mask You Need To Try Out

7th-heaven-bubble-sheet-mask-review-style-rarebit-blogLast week I was sent the 7th Heaven Charcoal Detox Bubble Mask to review and to say I was intrigued was definitely an understatement. I LOVE face masks (if you watch my insta stories you’ll definitely know that already) but I’ve actually never tried a bubble mask before. This one is a little bit different though because it doesn’t come out of a pot it’s a sheet mask. Weird right? Which made me even more excited to try it.

As you can see from the pics this isn’t the most flattering face mask ever but what it lacks in good looks it makes up for in good ingredients. As soon as it arrived I had to put it to the test and have popped my thoughts below incase you wanted to try it out.

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What it promises

The main ingredient in the 7th Heaven Charcoal Detox Bubble Mask is charcoal, which is the best ingredient for cleansing your pores and removing any excess oil that can lead to spots. It’s used in lots of acne fighting products and paired with the bubble effect of this mask it can really dig deep into your skin for a much clearer and fresher complexion. The mask also includes Star Anise which is a natural antioxidant that will help to soothe any breakouts and fight spot causing bacteria. It’s also good for making your skin look really glowy and fresh, which is always a good thing!

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Easy to use?

There’s way more product on this mask compared to any other sheet mask I’ve tried and it’s quite hard to open without it getting everywhere. Once you’ve unfolded it though it’s super simple to line up and press onto your skin and it doesn’t slide around at all. In fact because there was so much product it held on really well, especially under my chin so my whole face could benefit from the mask. Once it’s on you just leave it for 5-10 minutes before pealing it off so it’s a really easy process altogether.

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How does it feel?

I wasn’t sure what to expect but in terms of how it felt there wasn’t any tingling or stinging at all. The mask was really light and it felt gentle on my skin so I could barely feel it working. I also couldn’t feel it bubbling but I could hear it and it’s quite relaxing which is perfect if you’re having a pamper eve.

7th-heaven-bubble-sheet-mask-review-style-rarebit-blogHow did my skin look?

When I took the mask off my skin looked really dewy and fresh and it really helped to brighten my complexion. I also noticed that the skin in my t-zone looked a lot clearer and it helped to take down some redness I had from breakouts. I actually think this would be a good pick me up before a night out or a special occasion as my skin was so clear it gave me a good base for applying makeup.

7th-heaven-bubble-sheet-mask-review-style-rarebit-blogThe day after

For the sake of being really honest I wanted to mention that I did get a little spot on my nose the day after using this mask. I’m guessing that this is because the charcoal helped to draw out some of the junk that was deep in my pores so it’s definitely not a bad thing. I think that’s something to be careful of though whenever you use skin clearing products, especially if you have something planned the next day!

Tried this out? Let me know your thoughts and mask recommendations below, I’m always up for testing new skin care…

7th Heaven Charcoal Detox Bubble Mask

Rimmel Sun Shimmer Fake Tan Review

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When I was 14 I decided to regularly coat myself in a layer of tangerine god-knows-what until I resembled an Oompa Loompa at worst and a young tan mom at best. Thankfully my fake tan skills have developed a little bit and I’m no longer walking around with brown palms and tiger stripes. And this summer I was definitely back on the tan band wagon (that’s what a heat wave will do to you) so I was beyond grateful that Influenster sent me some Rimmel Sun Shimmer fake tan products to try out.

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Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan with Gradual Glow Light Matte

I used to use the Sunshimmer Instant Tan years ago as an easy way to bronze my legs and it’s even better now than it was then. When it first comes out it looks too dark for me (check swatch above) but as you buff it in it just leaves a really subtle, build-able glow. I’ve also found that it doesn’t transfer either which is why I’ve started using this over the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs as I kept getting it on my clothes. This one is in the matte formula too and I love that it looks really natural but they also have a shimmer version if you wanted something more glossy.

rimmel-sun-shimmer-instant-fake-tan-review-style-rarebit-fashion-blogRimmel Sun Shimmer Self Tan Mousse Light Matte

I LOVE this fake tan mousse so much that I’ve nearly finished it already. I find it’s really easy to blend as just like the other products it’s tinted so you can’t miss anything. It’s also a really good colour for me (being beyond pale) and still looks really natural. I think this is the longest lasting tan in the Sunshimmer range too as it stays on for up to a week so it’s perfect if you don’t want to have to keep reapplying.

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Sun Shimmer Self Tan Lotion with Chia Oil, Light/Medium

Next up is a self tan that lasts a bit longer than the instant. The lotion is formulated with Chia Seeds so it’s really smooth and smells sweet which is a bit nicer than the normal biscuity fake tan smell. This shade is very light, I think it’s more like a gradual tan but it’s definitely something that you could keep topping up. As it’s really balmy it’s nice and moisturising though and I felt like my skin was way smoother after using this, especially on my legs.

Wishtrend’s Mandelic Acid is here to give you flawless skin…

wishtrend-mandelic-acid-review-style-rarebit-fashion-blogWishtrend reached out to me a few months ago and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. As it promised to brighten up my complexion and reduce pigmentation I was more than happy to try it. Turns out this is the secret ingredient I’ve been waiting for my whole life as I’ve finally found an acid that doesn’t irritate my skin. It does however still give me all the benefits of something a little bit stronger. Here’s everything you need to know…

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What is Mandelic Acid?

Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates your skin in the same way as salicylic or glycolic. It also accelerates skin cell turnover and with that reduces fine lines and improves skin tone, texture, pigmentation and acne scarring. Mandelic acid is also anti-inflammatory so it helps to keep break outs under control as well as taking down any redness.  Not only that but it’s way more gentle than salicylic as it’s molecules are bigger so it doesn’t penetrate your skin as deeply. Sounds perfect right? So if you have sensitive or acne prone skin this is going to be amazing for you.

How do you use it?

I apply Wishtrend’s Mandelic Acid to clean skin using a cotton pad and gently pat it on without being too rough. I don’t tend to use it in the morning, but if you do just make sure to apply an SPF afterwards as it can make you more sensitive to the sun.

Ingredients?

Mandelic Acid, Beta-Glucan, Panthenol, Centella Asiatica Extract and Sodium Hyaluronate.

Recommended skin types?

It’s perfect for sensitive skin types as it causes less irritation because of it’s bigger molecular structure. The skin prep water also includes Panthenol which is perfect for dry skin and it’s also great if you’re prone to acne or have scarring/pigmentation.

wishtrend-mandelic-acid-review-style-rarebit-fashion-blogWhy I love Wishtrend’s Mandelic Acid?

The first time I tried this I put a small amount on my skin before going to bed as I was worried about how I would react. I haven’t tried a lot of acid products before and my skin doesn’t like salicylic so I wasn’t convinced that it would work for me.

The next day I woke up looking insanely fresh and with way less pigmentation and redness but without a single bit of irritation. I feel like it really helped to clean up the texture of my skin too, it was way softer which gave me a better base for applying makeup. I also feel like my skin looks a lot fresher and brighter after using this. I’m not sure if that’s just because it softens the pigmentation but I definitely thought I looked healthier!

Shop here: Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water

Too Faced Hangover Primer Review

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A few weeks ago I went to a little blogger event at Too Faced in Cardiff and picked up their famous Hangover Face Primer. Despite the fact that I’m supposed to be on a makeup spending ban, I don’t feel too guilty about this one as it’s something you can use everyday. Anyway, to justify my purchase I thought it would be cool to do a quick review and share my thoughts.

As far as primers go I haven’t tried that many but it’s something that I want to start to explore. I’ve noticed that during the day my makeup comes off in patches and I think incorporating a primer into my routine could stop this from happening. I’m also up for anything that promises to revive my face after getting no sleep. I mean… who wouldn’t be?

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First Impressions: I swatched this on the back of my hand at the counter and I liked that it felt quite balmy and thick. It also seemed to sit really well on my skin and it wasn’t oily either which is perfect as I’m combination. It’s also really light and cooling and I noticed a difference between my hands immediately, always a good sign!

The Smell: It took me a while to figure out what this smells like but I realised that it’s supposed to be Coconut Oil. As Too Faced products are quite heavily scented I wasn’t that surprised but I don’t love it. It’s not a totally natural scent and is a bit manufactured, kind of like a flavoured gel pen you had when you were 12. Harsh but true.

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On my skin: It’s so dewy which I’m guessing is why it’s called Hangover because it really does pump a lot of moisture back into your face. It also plumps up my skin, especially my cheeks and under eye area to make me look way fresher overall. It doesn’t slide around either and feels a little bit tacky which I like because I think that’s how it holds onto my makeup. I feel like my skin looks really bright and glowy after using this but as I have an oily T-zone I need to tame it down with powder before I leave the house. The one thing I will say is that I feel like it very much sits on top of your skin rather than sinking in, but I’m not sure if that’s just how it works as a primer?

Longevity: It does help my foundation to last longer during the day and I noticed that my skin looked a lot fresher than it normally does. My foundation also wears off more evenly on top of this, so I don’t get any patches or dry spots.

Packaging: I love anything in a pump or spray bottle because it’s just so much easier to use. I find that it’s perfect for using the right amount of product too, so you don’t waste anything. I would say you need around 1-2 pumps to cover your face but it depends on how thickly you want to apply it.

I’ve definitely found this product really useful for making my foundation last longer. It’s also amazing for brighting up my complexion and despite the smell, I think it’s a really great primer.

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Lush Spa Cardiff Blogger Event

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This is going to sound so lame but being invited to a Lush event made me feel like I’m officially a blogger…

Lush is the brand most associated with blogging, in my opinion anyways and I remember one of the first YouTube videos I ever watched was a Zoella lush haul. It doesn’t take long to understand why either as the packaging, cool names and beautiful stores are all Instagram picture perfect.

I’m going to be honest and say that for a long time I didn’t think Lush was for me and from a distance I thought it was literally just gimmicky bath bombs and not much else. I was SOOOO wrong though. Lush is actually pretty revolutionary in terms of their ingredients and products and the fact that it’s completely vegetarian, ethical, anti-animal testing and all handmade makes it even more amazing.

The new Lush Spa in Cardiff is probably the best place to go and try out the brand too. The shop is insane and has every kind of product, even perfume which I was so surprised at! The staff in there are also amazing and I honestly don’t know how the girl showing me around could remember so much. It was like having my own personal dermatologist for an hour.

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The best part of the night was going up to the spa. It was like being at an exclusive country retreat…

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I’ve never seen a spa like this before! It looks so homely and it feels really welcoming rather than clean and clinical. This vibe actually makes it a lot less intimidating. Some spas are so white washed it’s overwhelming but the warm colour scheme and county furniture make you feel instantly relaxed.

They showed us around the main ‘living room’ area first where you can have a hand or head massage and pick the oils and balms for your treatment. We then went into the treatment room with two beds (if you want to make it a gals trip!) and a bath. I need to find out what that treatment is because when in your life does anyone else run you a bath?!?! So worth paying for.

I think the Spa experiences are a little pricey but definitely worth it. I’ll pop the link to the shop page here so you can find out more on that. The best thing about it though? It’s totally sound proof. So you can really escape the city without even having to leave the city!

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Best Beauty Products of 2017

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I’m wearing my amazing Custom Dressing Gown by TuneToo UK

I get that some highly organised internet people had their favourites together last December and a post about the best beauty products of 2017 might now seem a bit late, but nevertheless her I am with mine! I’ve really changed up my beauty routine this year and fallen in love with new products and brands that have really changed my skin, makeup and hair routines. At the start of this year I was working as a Visual Merchandiser at M&S and having a discount card for their beauty department has a lot to do with that. Even though I no longer work there though my desire to discover new things and try new looks has definitely stuck with me.

Before we get into it, I want to warn you that this post is a little bit long. So get comfy, put your feet up and be prepared for your beauty wishlist to get a lot longer.

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Makeup

Foundations: My skin has been the best it’s ever been this year and so trying out foundations has become way more exciting. My two favourites are the Nars Sheer Glow (which I’ve talked about a million times!) and the Kat von D ‘Lock It’ Foundation which is absolutely game changing. Before I get into both products I want to mention something that I think might be useful. I’ve started to swap out my normal shades this year for slightly darker ones, with a yellow base and I’m finding that it makes me look way more alive. For example in Sheer Glow I’m normally Mont Blanc, which is a really popular shade but I’m now wearing Fiji. It just makes me look a little sun kissed while still blending into my neck. I’m not sure if this is useful but I just thought it might be worth mentioning! As for Sheer Glow itself, it’s an iconic product for a reason and the healthy, dewy glow it gives me will never be matched by another product. The Kat von D Lock It gives me a much higher coverage though and has become my go-to night out/dinner/want to look flawless beyond belief foundation that is also 100% vegan and cruelty free. If you want to learn some more about it though you can read my full review right here.

Kat Von D ‘Lock-It’ Setting Powder: Baking was a big thing this year and became way more mainstream thanks to our favourite beauty guru’s on YouTube. I love baking my face. Yes, I’ve had some shockers with it already (flash photography is a no no) but if you want to look ‘snatched’ this is how you do it. I was given the Kat von D ‘Lock It’ Setting Powder with the foundation and it’s so glowy and light. It mattifies my face longer than anything else but doesn’t make me look cakey at all.

Bronzer: I’ve included this Laura Geller one for the sake of a pic but honestly, this year I’ve been loving bronzer in absolutely every way, shape and form. I use it to contour and also as an eyeshadow and there just isn’t any other product that makes me feel quite as alive as a good bronzer!

Mascara: I got these two Dior products for Christmas, so they’re a last minute addition to my list but still amazing. The lash primer is so ridiculously good, it makes your lashes look HUGE and helps you to separate them all evenly to get the best look. The mascara is the one Bella Hadid has in the advert where she squeezes the tube and combined with the primer it gives you the biggest lashes ever. It has a high concentration of wax and elastic fibres which plump and lengthen each individual hair.

NYX Lip Liners: These are quite a new discovery too and they’re also £3 so definitely the cheapest on the list. As I have super thin lips I like to just overdraw them and colour them in with liner and the NYX ones come in so many shades I can always find one I love.

Makeup Brushes: This year my two most used makeup brushes have to be the PUR Cosmetics foundation brush and the Zoeva crease brush. The PUR brush is the key to flawless coverage and makes my foundation look really even and well blended. It takes a while to get used to the shape but I’ve found it helps to work in a small amount at a time. The Zoeva one is what I use to put bronzer on my eyelids and it just makes blending and getting the powder in the right place so easy. I couldn’t find the exact brush on their website but I think this one is pretty much the same shape.

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Skincare

Charlotte Tilbury: Charlotte Tilbury is good at literally everything to do with makeup, so it makes sense that she would bring out the best products to prep your face. The Goddess Skin Clay Mask has been one of my go-to products all year to tighten my pores and brighten my skin, especially before weddings or going out for dinner. It’s so good and definitely does what it says on the tube, giving you baby smooth skin. I’ve also written a full review here if you want to take a look. The second thing I wanted to mention is Wonder Glow, an illuminating face primer that seriously saves my skin when it’s looking tired.

Avene: I love Avene products and use the micellar water and cleansing foam everyday. Their products are so gentle and work really well for sensitive and acne prone skin like mine.  I’ve also recently picked up the Physiolift night balm and it makes me look super fresh in the morning.

Glam Glow super-mud mask: This is the best face mask if you have oily or acne prone skin and you can literally see it draw the dirt out of your pores. It works really well to clear spots and calm redness without being too harsh or leaving you feeling dry. I’ve actually written a full review of this here if you want to take a look.

Emma Hardie Amazing Face: Finding a good day cream is so hard but this has been my holy grail find of the year. This cream makes your skin look so glowy and fresh, as well as having SPF 30 to protect you from the sun. Unfortunately it’s really pricey, so you might want to keep an eye out for offers if it’s something you want to try. Like most of the things on this list, I have a full review of the cream right here too. 

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Blemish Formula: My go-to spot product is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo but it’s pretty pricey so I was up for finding a cheaper dupe. The Ordinary was definitely one of the biggest beauty brands of 2017 and is so forward thinking and affordable, it’s definitely made me re-think the products in my skincare routine.  Their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Blemish Formula works in a similar way to Effaclar Duo and soaks up the excess oils leaving my skin mattified. It also reduces congestion and regulates sebum production to prevent spots and keep breakouts under control.

Liz Earle Eye Bright: I can honestly say I will use this product for the rest of my life. It’s insane. If you have dark circles or puffy eyes this gets rid of everything and makes you look totally refreshed.

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Haircare

Paul Mitchell Express Dry Wash: I’m a bit of a dry shampoo junkie. Not just for greasy hair days but to add some much needed volume to my messy buns. I was sent this one to try and wasn’t sure how I would like it seeing as I’m quite picky with hair products but it was actually amazing. It sucks up any oil without making your hair look dull and adds lots of texture too, making your hair look fuller and freshly washed.

Kenra: I was also sent some stuff from Kenra to try this year and can tell you that the hype around their products is 100% justified. I have two faves and my first is the Blow Dry Spray which cuts down drying time and also helps my hair to hold a style making my blow-dry last longer. The second is their Silkening Mist which basically gives you super shiny, healthy hair immediately and is great at hiding dry, crispy ends. I’ve actually written a whole guide to Kenra haircare that you can read here.

Josh Wood Radiant Hair Oil: This is hands down the BEST hair oil I’ve ever tried and works really well to make my locks look healthy and shiny, especially after lots of heat styling. The oil is really nourishing and smells amazing and I love putting it in my hair when it’s wet so that my blow-dry looks super shiny.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme: If you’ve over bleached your hair, this is exactly what you need to bring it back from the dead. The Elasticizer hair mask is really nourishing and repairing and replacing moisture that is lost from dying and heat styling. It’s a holy grail product for me and has really helped this year while I grow out my awful hair cut.

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Body

Autograph Tan: I love wearing a thin layer of fake tan to take the edge of how pale I am and I also think it helps to cover any redness in my skin tone too. The worst part about fake tanning is getting streaks and over the years I’ve found it really hard to find a formula that works for me. The Autograph tan range from M&S is the best I’ve ever tried, even over the more expensive ones. My favourite is their dry oil as it’s easy to apply, smells amazing and never leaves me streaky.

Hotel Chocolate Body Butter: I was given this butter for Christmas last year and it’s by far one of my favourite scents ever. I’ll be honest, before this I didn’t even know they did skincare but I’m so glad I’ve found out about it. It’s a great moisturiser and is really rich but not too sticky or oily.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs: I get that this has been around for a million years but my friend suggested it to me for a wedding this year and now there’s no way I would go bare legged without it. It’s essentially a foundation but gives your skin a golden glow while making your legs look completely flawless. Just make sure to avoid white sofas!

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Fragrance

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: This bottle makes me happy every time I look at it because it’s just so beautiful and I’m so excited to have it back in my collection. I actually used to wear this scent when I was younger too and it’s one of my absolute favourites as it’s girly without being overly sweet or floral. It’s main notes are orange, violet and rose making it a really sophisticated take on a feminine fragrance.

The Scent Intense by Hugo Boss: This is a new discovery of mine and was sent to me for a collaboration with Fragrance Direct. It has top notes of honeyed peach and freesia blossom which are feminine but not too sweet. This is mixed with the warm scents of cocoa and vanilla which combined makes it a perfect shout for the winter months. I am also completely in love with the bottle, it’s so luxurious and the colour is totally divine.

Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne: This is my all time favourite scent and if I had to name a perfume that was most me, it would definitely be this. I love rich fragrances and anything that includes Oud or Amber I’m instantly drawn to. It’s unfortunate that this is unbelievably, ridiculously and outrageously expensive though but I guess in a way, that’s what makes it so special. If you’re not into typical girly or floral fragrances I would definitely recommend this.

Marc Jacobs Decadence: Of all the perfumes I’ve ever had, this one has brought me the most compliments. It’s mix of scents like Italian Plum, Iris and Saffron that make it a really rich and glamorous fragrance. I think this year they have developed a new version of this too, so it’s definitely one that’s sticking around.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thank you so much for reading! It’s a little bit crazy how many beauty items I’ve worked through this year but I’ve definitely learnt a lot about what works for my skin. If you have any 2017 favourites of your own or have tried any of these, let me know what you think in the comments below!

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