Spring Cleaning my Beauty Cupboard

Seeing as it’s the first day of Spring and International Happyness Day, I decided to do something positive and have a product Spring clean. Sorting through your skincare and makeup stash was one of my tips in my post 6 Simple Beauty Tips Which Make a Big Difference what a good day to follow my own advice, ha!

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This was all of the skincare products I owned and as you can see they are pretty much all over the place, with face, body and hair, old stuff and new stuff all mixed up. After going through everything this is what I learned…

  1. I had so much oil! I could easily just use the same one for my hair and body and a lighter one for my face.
  2. Out of all of those products I only had one face moisturiser.
  3. I found products that had changed consistency or were nearly empty and all of those were expired.
  4. I still had tanning oil from my twenties! o_O
  5. I buy face masks because they are on offer in pound shops and NEVER use them.
  6. I thought I needed to stock up on miceller water and cooling eye gel as I was running low but then realised I’d originally bought them in two’s to save on postage.
  7. I had a stupid amount of body butter.
  8. I’ve rediscovered cruelty free beauty brands I’d totally forgotten about!
  9. I had bits and bobs from various razors and waxing kits that I stopped using ages ago.

I’ve reduced the above to a single crate and the cute wicker basket. The rest is either in the recycling, the bin or my dressing table so I actually remember to use it daily.

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Here is all of my makeup, apart from what I’ve thrown out and repeats of the same thing and yeah, it’s still a lot!

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Here’s what I’ve thrown out.

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A slightly smaller pile, heehee.

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Here’s my main big-ass makeup case, my daily makeup case and my travel/wash bag with miniatures and samples in. Here’s what I’ve learned…

  1. Even though I treat my makeup fairly well, there were still spillages and products that felt sticky – eeew.
  2. If it’s really broken, through the damn thing away! You are not Stig Of The Dump or a Womble.
  3. If it doesn’t suit your skin tone or texture and it can’t easily be mixed with something else, then throw it away or swap it/give it to someone.
  4. There are lots of reasons why buying two of the same thing can be a good idea but hoarding the same type of product, or buying several before you’ve even tried if the product works for you is not a good idea.
  5. How many golden-brown eyeshadows and copper-brown toned lip products can one person reasonably own!? Five eyeshadows and eight lip products it would seem ;0)
  6. I still have products I bought before I went totally cruelty free. That was TEN years ago!

As you can see, I still have the big makeup bag but now my little ‘everyday makeup bag’ includes the best of my base, mascara, tools, contouring kit (I missed out the wonderful Pixi contour kit in the first photo) and three eyeshadows and eyelinners that I rotate on a monthly basis. This means that everything is easy to keep track of/clean/sharpened, quickly to hand, and I don’t forget to use all of the lovely colours I own.

I hope this helps! Let me know if it has or if you also do some of the bad habits I’ve mentioned.

<3Chrissie<3

 

 

 

 

J-Pillow for Sleepy Upright People

Even with chronic fatigue I still struggle to sleep upright. This is why I decided to review J-Pillow (£19.95 Amazon), a pillow which is supposed to support your head and neck in the correct position so you don’t put any strain on your spine.

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It’s a bit clumsy so I’m glad it comes in a travel bag and also has a little loop to hang up. There is a reason I’ve orientated the pillow this way as it looks reminiscent of something else (just me?) when stood upright.

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This one is a lovely blue-teal colour (described as ‘Navy’ also available in Red and Fern Green) and it feels so plush! It comes with an instruction leaflet with photographs, which I was glad about. It also has a handy loop with press-stud to fasten around a bag or case.

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When sitting in a normal chair at home (one suggested use in the leaflet), the pillow only works with a high-backed chair and is only good good for a light doze. If I were to nod off properly, my head and the pillow would start sliding off to the side.

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The main idea of the J-pillow is that when travelling, you squish the pillow between your head, the back of the seat and the window. I’ve found this works perfectly because I fell asleep!

When using a basic neck support when my head dropped forward I’d drool a bit (classy) and when my head was leaning back I’d start snoring (even classier). Because of the front support here, my head is kept upright so neither of these things happen.

Chrissie

Nail Super Hero by Ciate

Nail Super Hero £9.60 is part of the Ciate treatment range (five in all) and has been formulated to strengthen weak and bendy nails, whilst hydrating them too.

The flip up cardboard packaging is quite novel, showing you just how much product you actually get for your money, although I’m not sure why the box is needed at all.

 

I’ve been using this for two months and I have seen a good improvement in the strength of my, usually very bendy, nails. They aren’t splinting or bending as much so any nail polish that I use is staying on longer. Considering I have the collagen disorder Hypermobilty Syndrome (which also seems to effect keratin) this is pretty amazing!

I like that Ciate have called this a ‘basecoat’ because when I applied four coats over the top of each other, over seven days, I ended up with a squishy, dull mess! I’ve since found out that there’s no need, as one coat lasts for up to two weeks.  It moves with the nail, rather than flaking of and dries down to a satin, rather than a shiny finish, so nail polish grips it easily.

Just what I’ve been waiting for all these years!

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Gluten and Dairy Free Crisps from Aldi

I think I’ve found the Holy Grail of crisps for people with dairy and gluten intolerance!

Wait, what actually is a food intolerance?

Food intolerances, although not as dangerous as some allergies, can have a very real and detrimental affect on daily life. Sometimes causing severe bloating/water retention, facial redness, shortness of breath, bad skin, serious gut pain, bowel problems and fatigue. As a result of the body seeing this food as alien, it not only raises histamines (very stressful for our immune system) but the body doesn’t absorb much goodness from the food so vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common.

Can’t you just avoid cheese, milk, pasta and bread then?

This is exactly what I thought at first, until I discovered that Lactose (a milk sugar) and Gluten (a grain protein) are often used in flavourings to bulk them out and to get them to stick to the snack. I’ve honestly been in so many supermarkets where I couldn’t buy ANY crisps or flavoured rice cakes or popcorn, not even trusty Salt & Vinegar flavour sometimes because of either Lactose or Gluten in the flavouring. The big bags of ‘posh crisps’ tend to be a little better I’ve noticed but they are so dear!

So do they taste any good?

All of these flavours taste unique and wonderful. Ranging from sweet but spicy Serrano Chilli & Yucatán Honey along with Tomatillo Salsa, to the spicy, smokey but slightly sharper Chipotle and Lime, to traditional Sea Salt and Black Pepper and the more unusual, zingy Sea Salt and Lime. My fave surprisingly.

Any other good stuff?

Both ranges are pleasantly affordable and the textures are crunchy but not too hard, a lot like handmade tortilla chips you would get in a hipster bar.

The Specially Selected range contain 2.5% seeds, including Golden Linseed, Sunflower Seeds, Brown Linseed and Millet. The Tortillas With Spirit are made from Whole White Corn and Green Lentils.

Nom, nom…

A big handful of these dipped into hummus, chunky salsa or dairy free yoghurt are so filling and energy giving that I’ve been having them for lunch (on slower days) rather than just as a snack. Also, very nice crushed and sprinkled over salad for extra protein and texture.

🖤Chrissie🖤

6 Simple Beauty Tips Which Make a Big Difference

 

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How to stop eyelashes clumping or looking spiky

If you have medium-to long eyelashes that are fairly straight, don’t use a mascara with added fibres or a thick formula. Curl and separate your lashes, then use a mascara which glides on easily and brush straight up (no wiggling from side-to-side). Apply no more than three coats and let them dry in between.

How to keep track of the makeup & skincare you own

So most skincare and makeup will have a little picture of a jar with a number on saying how many months your product will last for once opened but who can remember when they actually opened it? I write it on a little piece of paper and stick it on the jar with clear tape. I store everything in a wide, open basket with 3 smaller basket inserts to separate everyday skincare from pampering skincare and replacements (which I’ve stocked up on before the first product runs) so I can see everything I have with one glance.

For makeup I have an everyday-makeup pouch and a huge vinyl makeup bag, divided into sections which I store my going-out-makeup in. Again it’s easy to see what I have so I don’t keep buying the same stuff by mistake every few months! I store my makeup brushes in a sparkly pencil case because I’m allergic to dust so I can’t have them sitting about in the open, even though they are pretty pastel unicorn ones.

The order you should use your everyday skincare in

Get the most out of your products by knowing which order to apply them in so they compliment, rather than block each other.

Exfoliate: My skin is not great at goodbyes and likes to cling onto old skin, rather than letting it invisibly float off over the day like it should. To give it some help I use a gentle Glycolic Acid to weaken the bonds between dead skin and new skin. I have a weaker treatment that I can leave on and a stronger one which I leave on for ten minutes and then gently wipe off with a face cloth and then rinse my face. I found that no matter how many face scrubs I tried with the gentlest, tiniest granules my face would become bright red and my skin still didn’t feel smooth.

Serum then Moisturiser: Now skin is able to absorb the lovely things you are giving it. I use Hyloronic acid (which sucks in moisture like a sponge), swiftly followed by a light moisturiser. If you just use hyloronic acid on it’s own in a dry attmosphere, without using moisturiser after, there is a chance it can pull moisture from the deeper layers of your skin up to the suffice. You want to keep that moisture where it is and help it absorb MORE moisture.

Facial Oil: Sometimes there is a difference between dehydrated and dry. I can apply moisturiser and sometimes my skin sucks it up immediately or sometimes it just sits there but either-way, my skin still feels a little dry and looks dull, like matte paper. This is when I realise it needs oil. Another clue is when you’ve moisturised but your skin gets oily in the afternoon or evening. It new it was dry and wildly over compensated – oops! I tend to apply a light layer of oil all over my face – even around my T-zone (sounds crazy but give it a go) and on my collar bone – because that just looks nice!

Layering makeup and textures to get the best look for your skin

I’ve found you can have too much of a good thing – such as similar textures – and prefer to strike a balance by using a mattifying moisturiser with a lightweight foundation or a lightweight moisturiser and then a mattyfying foundation. Applying all mattes and powders or all liquids and shine can look OTT, in both directions so to avoid this, I love liquid highlighters and cream blush with matte foundation. Alternatively, a powder highlighter and blush when I’m using a very light BB cream or foundation to help it stay put. I’ve tried the Korean ‘glass’ skincare look and it did look amazing…For around 60 minutes before the makeup slid off and the shine – so much shine – stayed with a vengeance. I really do think that layering combinations of textures can give the most realistic, long wearing and flattering look.

Get ideas from makeup tutorials but never ignore your own eye/lip/face shape.

If I follow the usual Western eye shadow looks, all my eye makeup disappears into the folds of my eyes and I have giant highlighted brow bones. If I use ones for hooded eyes, then my eyes look rounder and you can see the eyeshadow but it doesn’t look like me and I think it’s actually playing down one of my best features! Now I follow normal smokey eye tutorials but I just extend the makeup up AND out, making sure to highlight where my inner corners curve inward to compliment the natural cat like shape.

If I applied blusher all over the apples of my cheeks I would look like a scary doll, no matter how subtly I applied it. I tend not to bring it inward too much and sweep it up and outward instead.

If I applied contour directly under my crazily-high cheek bones it would make the rest of my face beneath look way too long. I tend to lower it ever-so-slightly and then blend it out the lower down it gets.

Essentially, get all of the tips and ideas you want from others but do what works for YOUR face, after all, you know it best.

Give your skin the chance to do stuff for it’s self

I’m sure everyone has been in that vicious circle of using products that are too harsh and strip your skin – then your skin produces oil to try and balance i’s self – so you use tonner or cleanser and it dries out for a while and then the oil starts again. You should aim for balancing your skin, correcting it (gently) only if it really needs it. If you keep throwing all of these products at your face how will it know when it needs to act and how to regulate it’s self? It’s best to try and stick to a routine (ironically difficult for a beauty blogger who reviews everything) and every six months just to let it be for several days so it acts naturally and then possibly reassess what it needs.

Perfect example: My lips have always lacked natural oils and look dry and even cracked on a regular basis. Turns out it’s a reaction to allergies and central heating. As a kid I was slicked in thick lip balm; as a teen in kiwi lip balm from The Body Shop; in my twenties in Lancome Juicy Tubes lip gloss; in my thirties I’m using natural oils such as Almond and Hemp. The problem steadily got worse and worse however, until my bloke said “Stop using lip stuff so much. Try to anticipate when they might need it so you apply it before they are dry, otherwise let your skin sort it’s self out.” That was so difficult for a lip product obsessive like me. So I accepted looking like the walking dead and after five days it actually worked! My lips where naturally smoother and looked plump and hydrated.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts and any tips you’ve discovered yourself!

Chrissie

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

What the brand says….

‘The ultimate high gloss, high glow celebrity-skin-filter-in-a-bottle! This was born on the red carpet makeup, inspired by technology, for real life, in real time that looks amazing on-screen or off.

Smoothing airbrush polymers roll over your complexion for a poreless-looking, creamy finish.

Glossy Oil is a lightweight moisturising oil that reflects and adds light to your face where you need it.

Finely milled powders soft focus, makes lines and pores appear smoother which means it only ever looks as amazing in real life, as it does on camera.

Porcelain Flower Extract is a brightening ingredient derived from a Thai flower with natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to enhance microcirculation and brighten skin. 

Ideal for superstar-lit skin whether you want a subtle glow or a mega-watt complexion.’

What I want this for…

As you probably know, I have uneven skin texture thanks to having bad skin into my early twenties and I easily get bags (from dehydration/gluten indulgence) so big they carve two lines into my cheeks. I’m proud of how clear and fairly even toned my complexion is these days but I still need a hand with the overall texture and a little redness sometimes. I like CC and BB creams but find they can either be too pale, making me go from tomato red to an eerie green-yellow or they are too transparent and shiny. I chose Flawless Filter as it offers medium coverage, is available in a surprising amount of shades, and then there’s the whole ‘flawless filter’ part.

Before purchasing Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter £30 I read a lot of reviews; a huge amount said it very good but a few said it was awful but unlike me, they had dry skin.

The packaging…

I love the recyclable glass bottle but would prefer a pump rather than the doe foot applicator as it totally fails at applying this type of product and leaves a massive amount in the bottom, which you’d have to tip onto the back of your hand like 1990’s foundations.

The bigger problem with it…

Above; before using the product, makeup free in dim afternoon sunlight. Not too bad but not great either. Much worse, in fact when there’s a lot of contrasting light and shadow.

Here’s me wearing the product. Talk about unflattering – contrasting light! I’ve taken the photo in the same dull afternoon light but it’s still managed to highlight all of my pores, lines and the orange peel effect on my cheeks and even eye bags. Thanks for that Tilbury. I can see how it might work on me in blindingly bright California sunshine but even then, as soon as I went indoors it wouldn’t.

My conclusion….

I have to say the coverage is surprisingly good and the realistic skin tone shades meant that number 3 Light/Medium was perfect for me – not usually an easy thing.

If you have smooth skin but slight redness or dark circles this could be great for medium coverage and added radiance.

If you are older but have been lucky in the genes lottery this might be incredibly flattering for you.

If you are like me you really want avoid it, unless you want to use it as a very expensive highlighter.

On days where I’m very red, I use a full coverage foundation from ELF and I’ve started mixing a teeny-tiny bit Flawless Filter in with it, so my skin doesn’t look as matte and flat with just the foundation. I also use it very sparingly as a realistic looking highlighter on my cheek bones, collar bone and down the front of my shins.

Rating 2/3

🖤Chrissie🖤

Essential Style Basics for Winter to Early Spring

These are from my fave high street shops Peacocks, budget friendly but always modern and stylish.

The earrings. I’ve added a bit of everyday sparkle to dull weather days by using the hoops in my lobes and the studs going up the sides. How cute are those little bows.

The bandeau top/bra. I’ll be wearing this as a cute modesty panel with low cut dresses or sheer tops when the evenings get milder.

The brush. The plastic paddle type are the only brushes that tame my hair and make it shine. Important as I can’t keep washing it and letting it air dry into its natural waves in the winter. My bloke saw this flat side up (looking just like a paddle) and thought Agent Provocateur or Anne Summers must have a unicorn theme running!

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The shawl. I’ve wanted a warm black shawl forever and was so pleased to find this in the sale at Matalan.  This is encompassing and dramatically swishy enough, as shawl go.

Clint Eastwood, the goth years.

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It’s so soft and I love the length. An excuse to wear a comfort blanket that also covers your rude bits when wearing leggings.

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The longline cardigan. This one from Evans actually buttons up – no ‘waterfall’ nonsense here. They start at size 14 and as I’m a 12 and wanted anough room to wear this as a cardigan -dress (I’ve started a thing) and found this to be just right. I love the neckline and the overall length, so I can wear a pretty vest underneath, tights and heeled boots if I want to dress it up. Look at that snuggly sleeve length! Oh, and it also has pockets that your phone won’t fall out of.

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The boots from Lands End for Debenhams. My old brown Ugg type boots have sagged and make me look like Shazza the basic-bitch hobbit. So I replaced them with these pale grey, structured ones with sleek black soles. They keep feet warm with a short-pile fluffy lining throughout but let ankles and calves get some air with a fabric outer.

 

 Which of my Winter – Spring basics do you like?

🖤Chrissie🖤