Huge Summer Beauty Haul | July 2016

Huge Summer Beauty HaulI don’t know if it’s the increase of fake tan or the fruity scents that make me think of poolside cocktails – mmmm pina colada – but I love the little beauty switch-up we tend to make in the summer.  I’ve picked up quite a few new products lately that have helped give my beauty drawer a summer revamp, so though I’d talk y’all through them. While they’re not all summery products per se (I mean, live your life, but I’d recommend using toothpaste all year round personally FYI), they’ve injected some much needed variety into my routine.

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Hollywood Lashes | Review

I think we all agree that one of the most important things in life is to have a hobby. Some people like knitting, some  have a great passion for tennis, while others enjoy a snorkel every now and then. My hobby, however, is a little different. I, dear readers, like getting various bits of plastic, hair and other materials stuck to me to make my body parts seem longer.

Hollywood LashesYes, on top of my hair extensions and acrylic nails, I have now started branching into the world of semi-permanent false eyelashes. And I’m NEVER going back.

A few months ago you may have seen my review of Angel Eyes Eyelashes, which were my first venture into the world of lash extensions. I was really happy with them, but as that particular technique is only offered in some salons around the country and my nearest was around half an hour away, I didn’t end up getting the infils. However, this summer I had a hectic few months with loads of events including a holiday, hen parties and my sister’s wedding, so I wanted to give falsies another whirl. This time I opted for Hollywood lashes, which are a much more common type of eyelash extensions found in salons all over the UK. I first got them done in  July, and have now had 3 sets applied so feel I’m finally ready to review the whole process properly.

Hollywood Lashes
How do Hollywood lashes work?

Hollywood lashes are applied individually, with each lash being bonded with glue to your existing lashes. There are various lengths and thicknesses available, and your lash technician should be able to advise you on the best ones for you and the effect you want to create. I think I have the thickest lashes but not the longest – my sister had the longest ones fitted once and warned me she couldn’t wear sunglasses because they would literally touch the lens, so I steered clear of this camel way of life and went for a slightly more natural finish. When you first go to get the treatment you should be able to talk through which ones are right for you.

The whole application process takes between 45 minutes to an hour. I didn’t find it remotely uncomfortable; the glue did make my eyes water but my eyes water if there’s a bit of a strong breeze so that’s not surprising. There was no stinging or anything like that though, and the whole process was actually really relaxing.

How long do Hollywood lashes last?

As with things like hair extensions, the length of time Hollywood lashes lasts does vary depending on how well you take care of them. They’re estimated at lasting anywhere between 3-6 weeks, and longer if you get infils, which are recommended every 2-3 weeks. My first set lasted almost perfectly for around 3 weeks, and that included my holiday where they were exposed to heat and sweat. My second set, which I also left for 3 weeks, didn’t last as well but that’s because it was a very stressful few weeks for me and I STARTED TO PICK THEM. Which was stupid and entirely my fault, but it was either pick my lashes or chin a colleague out of frustration, so…

How much do Hollywood lashes cost?

If you find salons in your local area that offer Hollywood lashes, you’ll probably find that prices for a first set are around £40-50, with your infils/maintenance costing around £25. This is obviously pretty pricey and not the sort of thing a lot of us can shell out for every couple of weeks, so, like most treatments like this, I recommend finding someone who does them mobile. Most mobile lash extensionists are likely to have had the same training in applying Hollywood lashes, but will usually charge a lot less. I paid £30 for my first set and only £15 for subsequent maintenance sessions.

HollywoodLashes Before & After


When it comes to finding a mobile lash technician, you can check out Facebook as a lot of them tend to have pages, or you can have a look on Gumtree or Yell. However, whether it’s for a spray tan or nails, I always tend to go with mobile therapists who are recommended to me by a friend, as I think word of mouth is really the best recommendation you can get. The girl that I go to was recommended me to be my sister who had gone to her before, so I knew I was in safe hands (on a side note, if you’re from the Coventry area and would like the name of my Hollywood lash technician then let me know and I can pass on details!)

Can you still wear makeup with Hollywood lashes?

The general advice with Hollywood lashes is that you can still wear mascara and eyeliner, though they should be oil-free products as the oil can loosen the bonds. I personally don’t feel the need to wear mascara over my falsies, as they are thick and dark enough, and also blend very well with my own lashes. When I wear eyeliner I’m just careful with my makeup removal – obviously don’t scrub at your eyes or you’re likely to dislodge lashes or pull them off. I tend to use a cotton bud with an oil-free makeup remover and gently wipe near the lashes.

Are Hollywood lashes worth it?

In a word, YES. I would definitely recommend them for holidays, as they’re great for making you look a little less tragic on no-makeup, hair-scraped-up-by-the-pool days; and also perfect for the evening when you don’t want to faff about with eyelash glue and just want to drink vodka on the balcony.

I know some people may think it’s too high maintenance to carry on getting them done after a holiday or special occasion, but I still think they’re worth it in everyday life. I genuinely adore my lashes now; they make such a difference to my appearance and make me feel more groomed, without looking too over-the-top. Here’s a snap of my lashes just before my sister’s wedding –

10377525_10153153443957786_7770707652727420089_nThis set had actually already been fitted for 2 weeks at this point and were in need of maintenance,  but you can see what a difference they still made.

I’m 100% converted to semi-permanent false eyelashes, but what do you think?

Karora Tinted Self Tan Mist | Review

Karora Tan 2Happy Sunday chicas! Today’s review is for all my fellow fake tanners out there (shout out to the girls for whom white bed sheets can only ever be a dream – the struggle is real, so real).

Last week I was invited to an event in Manchester by CiCi PR, where I was lucky enough to come away with a bottle of Karora Tinted Self Tan Mist to try out. I hadn’t heard of Karora before, which actually isn’t too much of a surprise as it’s quite a high-end tanning brand and I considered myself to be quite the fancy Nancy when I progressed from £3 St Moriz to £6 Cocoa Brown. Karora retails for between £14.99 to £26.99 so is out of my usual price range, but I was crazy excited to give it a go.

Karora prides itself on being a ‘botanical bronzing range with skincare status’. The Tinted Self Tan Mist which I tried is packed with skin-benefiting ingredients including aloe, acai berry, argan and coconut oil, meaning that you get the bronzed glow without any of the chemicals found in other fake tans. Usually I’d be all ‘chemicals schmemicals’ about claims like that, but I’ve got to admit that the tan did feel much more moisturising and nourishing to apply than any other tan I’ve used before. It goes on light, but with a handy guide colour, and leaves a faint citrus-y smell.

Karora Tan Before and AfterI applied before bed and then when I woke up in this morning, ta daaa! I know these photos were taken at different times of the day and even the carpet looks a tad anaemic but I assure you the difference was as prominent.

The colour was beautifully even and, dare I say it, natural-looking (not that I have any memory of what a natural tan looks like, so long has it been since my pasty body graced a beach). I tried out the Light-Medium shade and am still really impressed with the colour; for a night out I would probably prefer the Medium-Dark shade, but as a day-to-day tan for the working week this is absolutely perfect.

It’s also definitely worth pointing out that I only used a couple of spritzes for each part of my body to achieve this colour, so I think the bottle should last a fairly long time.  When you compare that with a cheaper brand like St Moriz that I used to plough through at an alarming rate, the higher price tag suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.

The Tinted Self Tan Mist retails for £17.99 and can currently be found online or in Lloyds pharmacy.

Have you ever tried Karora?

A Cheat’s Guide to Nail Art: Primark False Nails

Primark Nails 1Happy Easter err’body! I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, frankly because I have a hangover and a Sunday dinner is waiting for me (I love this blog, but I love gravy more).

While I was in Primark last week I decided to pick up a pack of their false nails to give a whirl. I usually wear clear false nails from Boots and paint over them, never attempting any sort of nail art because I’m what’s known as a ‘cackhanded idiot’ and it would just go terribly wrong. So I liked the idea of trying these out and getting an instant bit of nail art on my hand-toes.

Primark Nails 2I’m actually really impressed with these, especially considering the teeny tiny price tag. I didn’t struggle finding nails that were the right size – which is good in itself seeing as I have spade hands – and they felt sturdy once on. You get about 20 nails in the pack too, so you can easily replace ones that fall of or give yourself a completely new set. The pack also comes with glue, which was surprisingly good. The nails lasted for about four days before one or two started pinging off, at which point I got impatient and started picking at them anyway.

My only beef with the nails is that there isn’t a great choice in terms of patterns in the range. There seemed to be a few aztec ones, a neon leopard print and something weird with rabbits on (let’s hope that was an Easter novelty) – so nothing I was particularly amazed by aside from these ones. Overall though these are brilliant for people like me who will never be able to do nail art without it looking like some horrible accident has happened.

Have any of you tried the Primark false nails?

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Primark ‘PS Love’ £2 Volumising Mascara | Review

PS Love 1Everybody who knows me knows that I love Primark, A LOT. In fact, if I ever turn up on the missing persons’ list then the first place people should check is my local store, as the chances are I could have just been crushed by a pile of jeans, or be in the changing rooms trapped inside a dress (which yes, has happened to me – twice…)

Anywho, Primark have been gradually expanding their collection over the last couple of years. By stocking a range of beauty products, from fake tan and eyelashes to face wipes and moisturisers, they were certainly becoming a one-stop for all of those ‘popping into town for a few bits’ needs. This goal seems even closer to being achieved now with this month’s release of their brand new beauty range, PS Love. With prices ranging from just £1 – £2.50 and including false nails, lip crayons, eyebrow pencils, eyeshadow palettes and more, they’re seriously reaching out to the cheap and cheerful shoppers out there.

PS Love 2OBVIOUSLY I couldn’t resist trying at least one item from the range (even though makeup from anywhere other than Boots or Superdrug makes me anxious), so opted for the Volumising Mascara in Ultra Black. I’m a huge mascara fan (and you can click here to read our other mascara reviews) so was intrigued to see what Primark were putting their name to and whether it could deliver for just £2.

PS Love 3Firstly, I was quite happy when I opened it to find the brush is a plastic one. These are definitely my preferred type of wand, as I find they separate my lashes much better than fibre brushes. It’s also nice and chunky, which bodes well for the volumising claims. Other than that, it’s quite a crude brush (by which I mean it’s very basic in design, not that it tells saucy jokes). We’ve grown used to a mascara market saturated with bendy, curly and twisted wands that are designed to catch each and every lash, so using something as no-frills as this definitely feels a little weird and you have to go quite steady to avoid a) making a total mess and b) taking an eye out.

However, once on the formula of the Primark mascara is actually pretty good. The ‘Ultra Black’ claims are 100% founded – it really is black. It also goes on nicely; not too wet like some mascaras but also doesn’t feel like it’s clumping your lashes together. The best part for me is that it lasts really well, with no flaking throughout the day – and it really does stay VERY black.

PS Love 6So what’s my overall opinion? At the end of the day, the Benefit team aren’t going to be losing any sleep over the PS Love mascara knocking They’re Real off the top spot or anything; but for just £2 this really isn’t bad. In fact, it’s better than a fair few drugstore mascaras that I’ve paid four times as much for. Even if you only pick one up to keep as a spare, I would say it’s definitely worth the money.

Have any of you tried this, or any of the PS Love range yet? What do you think?

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Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan | Review & Photos

CB 8We’ve all been there. You decide fairly last minute that you’re going ‘out out’ and have to start a rushed attempt at getting ready. You’re paler than Pale Gail the Paleontologist and realise with horror that you’ve fully run out of instant wash-off tan.

You now have two options: 1, you go out pale. That’s not happening, obviously. So 2, you risk putting on a layer of normal developing tan and just not washing it off, figuring that the club’s dark anyway so it doesn’t matter if you progressively get more tanned throughout the night. Then you see the pictures the next day and realise you started the night as a bronzed goddess and ended up looking like Sir Trevor McDonald. 

Well thankfully – no offence Trev – those nights are now in the past.

Cocoa Brown fake tan, developed by Irish beauty expert Marissa Carter, promises to give you a golden glow that develops in just 1 hour. I was really excited when I first heard about this; it effectively could mean the end of overnight tanning sessions and maybe, just maybe, mean that I can allow myself to have white bedsheets again for the first time since I was 15.

I was in Primark last week and finally remembered to pick up a bottle. I’ve tried it out twice now and can confirm: it’s really bloody good.

CB 7Cocoa Brown is a mousse, which is my favourite form of fake tan anyway as I find that it tends to apply more evenly and with less mess than sprays or liquids. It’s also got a pale coffee colour to it, which is dark enough that you can see where you’re applying the tan but not so dark that you have heart palpitations when some drops on your cream carpet. 

A lot of the reviews I’ve read so far of the tan have commented on the smell – or shall we say, lack thereof. Cocoa Brown is missing the traditional biscuity smell that we all know and love; it’s lightly fragranced but nothing too overpowering – and certainly doesn’t smell like a Custard Cream.

But enough chit chat, WHAT ABOUT THE RESULTS?

CB Collage flashBefore Application / After Application

As you can see, the tan left me with a lovely, even coat of colour after just one hour of development. It’s not the darkest tan in the world, but I think this is still really good for one layer and of course you can layer up. The tan also gets darker the longer you leave it on for, with the Cocoa Brown website saying that three hours is all that’s needed for a dark glow.

The tan dries quickly and doesn’t feel at all sticky, and after one hour you’re ready to wash off and get on with your life. Having first used it last week I can say that it’s one of the best cases of fading I’ve experienced with fake tan; whereas St Moriz can go very speckly and leave you looking a bit like you’ve got some sort of disease, Cocoa Brown fades nice and evenly.

At £6, it’s not as cheap as brands like St Moriz – but I do think the formula’s got the edge here. Overall I’m completely impressed and a total convert to the Cocoa Brown brand. So that’s another reason for me to pop into Primark each time I’m in town – farewell, funds.

Have any of you tried Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan? What do you think?

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How to Save the Blowdry!

STB 5Anybody that knows me well probably knows this rather vile fact about me: I don’t wash my hair very often. Twice a week is my absolute maximum, and that’s only if I’m going somewhere or if like, a bird has pooed on me or something. My main reason for this is that I have a weave, and to take care of my extensions I need to avoid exposing them to too much heat styling. Rather than letting them dry naturally or anything boring like that, I choose to keep actually getting my hair wet to a minimum and prefer to keep things fresh with dry shampoo.

It was for this reason that I was genuinely so excited to receive this brand new shower cap from Save the Blowdry. I use a shower cap most days and while it generally gets the job done, I usually end up having to still style my hair a bit after as water inevitably sneaks in at the bottom, or the humidity leaves me looking poofy. Well – NO LONGER, MY FRIENDS.

STB 4The shower caps from Save the Blowdry have two layers. The outer layer is the waterproof plastic bit you get on others, and the inner layer is an absorbant micro-weave towel. It’s this part that makes it so different to others, because this layer protects your hair from the condensation and humidity.

STB 3And, as an added bonus, the shower cap can be turned inside out for when you’re using a hair mask and want to increase the intensity of the treatment with added heat.

I was so impressed with the concept of Save the Blowdry that I couldn’t wait to try it out – and my impressed levels hit the roof. The cap is massive, so will keep your hair in no matter how much you have or how thick it is. The elastic edge is also super-secure so there’s no danger or water dripping in whatsoever. After removing the shower cap my hair was as bone dry as it was beforehand. And on top of this – LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS.

STB COLLAGE 1I would like to state, just to stop you all from having nightmares, that I was actually fully dressed when taking these photos. Fully dressed. Standing in my shower. God, the things I do for this blog.

Overall, as if you can’t tell from my gushing, I’m really happy with this product. The packaging is cute too, so I think it would make a really good Christmas gift for anyone you know who’s into that Soap and Glory-esque, vintage vibe. These retail for £14.95 and can be bought online from Save the Blowdry.

The Best Beauty Products For Summer.

I’m vaguely aware that we’re basically half way through summer at the moment and we should all be being fashiony and thinking about autumn/winter BUT I SAY NAY. We still have at least a month or two left of warm-ish weather and lots of us have holidays abroad to look forward to  (except for me and Claire…we are peasants.). View Full Post