Now this is what you call a big empties review. Basically these are some of the main beauty products I have used over 2014. I will try and keep this short and snappy with a mini review on each product. And yes the pictures are Christmas themed; lets just say this post got delayed due to the mountain of work I received upon my return to college. Each product type has its own heading so feel free to skip to the products you are interested in. :)
First up is the clean and clear dual action moisturiser. I went to this towards the beginning of 2014 as I began to suffer some terrible breakouts. Like many of us in our early skincare stages I went "great, the more salicylic acid I can get on my face the better" and it was oil free. Oh boy was I wrong! My spots seemed to clear up about 50% however they kept on coming back. This oil free, salicylic nightmare completely dried my skin out, to the point were it hurt to move my face. Because my skin was so dry it obviously kept producing more oil to try to combat the dehydration, hence why those pesky spots kept returning. For anyone with dry or combination skin I would say steer clear of this moisturiser and try an alternative spot treatment. For those with super oily skin I would say give this a try however just make sure your boosting your moisture levels by adding a hydrating serum to your skincare routine to avoid the flaky "I can't move my face" disaster.
Now I most certainly did not buy the Estée Lauder Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme as it is a tad to expensive in my eyes for a moisturiser, at £36. So basically I ran out of moisturiser and my mum said I could use the last bit of her Estée Lauder, as she prefers her Clarins. So obviously I was expecting miracles from this highly priced creme; well I was getting my hopes up really. My skin felt slightly less dry however the product just didn't bond well with me. I found it didn't sink well into my skin and when I would go to apply my make up it would rub off like eraser shavings. Repurchase? I think not for this product.
Philosophy Hope in a Jar was a sample I received in the early months of 2014. I hadn't really heard anything about the product at all. Upon use I noticed this was a light weight moisturising cream with a slight orang-y, lavender scent. The cream felt lovely on my skin and left me with a more moisturised yet matte finish. The only problem I had with this moisturiser was that if I got it too close to my eyes it would sting. However I have recently been using this product again and have not had this problem. Philosophy claims that it is " a high performance moisturiser" and I would agree that it does add some moisture to your skin however for the price you pay, £34, I think you can find equally effective products in the drug store.
La Roche Posay Effaclar K Renovating care for oily skin was a product I swooned to after hearing how remarkable the brand was for spot prone skin (bearing in mind at the time I went to this product my breakouts were awful). Now to be honest I think I got confused with the whole French labelling to begin with and after hearing rave reviews I think I was supposed to pick up the Effaclar Duo. However I ended up with this similar looking product that I presumed to be a moisturiser? Anyways, straight to the point this "product" (whatever the hell it is I still don't know) did successfully clam some of my acne and left a comfortable matte base, perfect for make up application. Despite this I don't know if I would purchase this product again as it didn't really contribute to the moisture side of things, which is what you're looking for in a moisturiser isn't it?
Clarins Daily Energizer Cream was a sample I received. The Clarins assistant informed me that this was good for young skin and this range wasn't too expensive. Well its actually £21 for 30ml, which is a little steep I feel for this product. The sample lasted me for about two weeks and I was so glad when it was eventually empty! The product not once was absorbed by my skin. When I went to apply my base the moisturiser would often peel of in rubber-like shavings. This product did nothing for my skin in terms of moisturisation and I definitely wouldn't purchase it personally.
The last and probably best out of all the moisturisers I tried last year is the Simple Kind to Skin + Protecting Moisture Cream SPF30. If I can remember rightly I purchased this in late July thanks to a Zoella recommendation, just in time for my holiday. The product lasted me until mid December, meaning it lasted five months. Almost half a year seems pretty good value for money when it costs £3.99. And simple it is. The product does exactly what it says on the tin. It sufficiently left my skin moisturised to an acceptable level and not once did my face get sun burnt last summer (even in the baking heat of the south of France!). This product also did not seem to break me out, which is a major bonus. Although it didn't do any extra wonders, like calm the redness of my acne or even my skin tone, the product was good enough for me by leaving me with no dry patches and juicy skin.
Going back to the early moths of 2014 when my acne decided to have a tea party all over my entire face I picked up the Bioré Pore Unclogging Scrub. I got this from Asda and from double checking it costs £5 there and I don't think you can get this in Boots. The product its self was a white scrub with blue exfoliating beads.To be honest I can't remember the results of using this product, which in its self says it wasn't too impressive. However what I can remember is the smell. Oh gosh it smelt like disgustingly sweet, chemical apples and it had a gloopy texture like porridge. If I can recall I remember the smell popping into my head once and the though of the stuff near my mouth made me want to gag! Ok I now feel sufficiently sick and this product did squat all so its a big no no from me.
Next up is the L'Oreal Skin Perfection Purifying Gel Wash. From Boots this costs £4.49, so its going to be around the same price from other places. The wash is a smooth, gel-like texture that lathers extremely well (I was impressed with the bubble-age). What springs to mind when this product is mentioned is its delightful refreshing effect. Instantly felt alive and awakened after using this product. I can't recall this product doing any miracles for my spots but it seemed to keep them under control the an acceptable level. This is a lovely, basic face wash that would be perfect for anyone who needs a little pick-me-up in the mornings.
The Boots Botanics 80% Organic Hydrating Eye Cream was something I swooned to in a time of eye crisis. Previously I had never used eye creams; I just always relied on my face moisturiser for that area too. However after hearing a horror story about eyes and creams I was panicked into buying a suitable eye cream. I was also in desperate need of an eye saviour as the Clean and Clear moisturiser had dried my face out like a raisin, need we say no more on the crusty state my delicate eye skin was left in. Now I think Boots has certainly upped its prices since I last bought this as I can remember it costing around the £5 mark. However now it costs £9.99! (Just wait till they have a deal on they always do; its £6.66 at the moment with the "up to half price off" offer). Well despite the extortionate price this product did last me for a good majority of the year. It also did a marvellous job at moisturising my drained eye area. Yes I would definitely recommend this product for even the driest of skins however I would wait till Boot has an offer on as £9.99 for a didy eye cream is a bit silly.
Ahhh the Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous anti-ageing Retinoid Eye Repair. Now this is a sample size I have here but the real deal is £32 for 15ml. Ok so I would pay full price for this but ohhh it's such a dreamy product. The matted, creamy texture is delightful and to be honest that's why I loved it so much. Now this product claims to help "speed surface cell turnover and support natural collagen to dramatically improve the look of wrinkles and discolouration" due to this fancy Retinoid stuff. Well I'm 16 and dark circles aren't really my thing so I can't comment on that. Although the product did successfully keep my eye area moisturised and was dreamy to apply. My advise on this one, just ask for a sample and you can see if it suits you.
Philosophy Full of Promise was another sample I received. Now this is quite unique as it comes with separate creams for your upper and lower eye area. Sounds impressive I know. The two each have different textures suited to that specific eye area, which I think is quite nice. The product did keep my eye area moisturised however there wasn't enough product for me to test it for long enough to see the effects. The full size costs £35 for 15ml, yikes! I don't think I would purchase this product as I didn't see any wonders however if you are interested I would recommend it for those who want something lifting and firming, as that is what it seems to aim to do.
La Roche Posay Serozinc was something I had heard being raved about in the beauty world last year. Lots of people had claimed it has helped their acne prone skin and with mine driving me crazy I decided to give it a go. I picked mine up in a French pharmacy and I don't remember it being too pricey. However its longevity disappointed me; it only seemed to last about two or three months. During my time using it I found that it controlled oiliness well, without drying out the skin. It definitely controlled by acne. There were considerably less yellow heads (eww gross I know) and inflammation. Despite this though the redness still remained and because of this and the fact the product didn't last long I wouldn't repurchase.
The Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil was the very first facial oil I have used. I must say at first I was slightly nervous that this oily substance was going to cause the Break Out of all Break Outs yet I did not experience any trouble in that department when using this product. Each night I applied a pea sized amount, pressing it into my skin, all over my face. Oh my was this oil nourishing. It left my skin like a cushion of moisture. I also feel it helped to balance the oils on my face and in regards to that my spots definitely seemed to be less angry. Another great thing is that this tiny sample size lasted me for about two and a half weeks. Because of its excellent longevity I don't think £32 is too bad, especially for a facial oil/serum. If you skin is dry, sore or angry I think this could be the magic you are looking for.
Ayy yes, were haven't you seen the Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub? This sweet, sugary lip exfoliant is the most divinely smelling thing. If you love sweet smells and have fond childhood memories of the sickly sweet Calpol then I think this is the lip product for you. When applied and rubbed between the lips this exfoliant leaves your lips ever so smooth. I love to use this before I apply lip balm and then lipstick, as it creates a perfectly smooth base. Only tip I would give is don't dip your finger in twice, use a separate, clean one. My first pot I found went horribly smelly and it was still in date. My new one, that I do not double dip my finger into, is still smelling perfectly sweet and delicious. For £5.50 I think this is perfect for a special treat and it will last you the year.
Now I must say I'm not a fan of the original Batiste as I feel it doesn't really do much for eliminating grease however this one I loved in 2014. Do you ever have that problem were it's a dry shampoo kind of day and yet your dry shampoo may soak up the grease but still leaves your hair looking flat? Well look no further; the Batiste XXL Volume will solve your woes. Volume, yes, there you go. This never fails to make my hair nice and voluminous even on the fourth day (OMG she doesn't wash her hair for four days?! It took training I tell you). I think this will remain my holy grail dry shampoo until another one pops along. Only thing is it can leave your hair feeling a little heavy with product build up. I got mine from Boots for £3.99 which kind of bugs me as I wish it would last a little longer for your money. However most dry shampoos are around the same price, which makes it fair enough I suppose.
I really enjoyed using the Vo5 Heat Protecting Styling Spray. The product claims to "protect against damage from heat styling, reduce frizz and add shine" and I can most certainly agree with all of that. The product not only protects my hair successfully from split ends it also adds a beautiful shine and has a lovely fresh scent. The dispersing of the product was also great from the dispenser; the product fanned out in a fine mist when dispensed. I would highly recommend this product for anyone looking for a decent heat protector. It costs between £3.69 and £4.19 depending on where you buy it from.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Now I must say I do chop and change my shampoo and conditioner each time as I like a bit of variety in that department. So far I am still seeking for my holy grail shampoo and conditioner yet the L'Oreal Elvive Smooth and Polish shampoo and conditioner was a lovely one. The scent was refreshing and cleansing and it seemed to leave my hair shiny and smoothed. I can't comment much on its efficiency for damaged hair as mine isn't in too bad of a condition however my hair was not in a bad state at all when using this product. The only annoying thing was I feel they didn't last too long compared to the Tresemme Shampoo and Conditioner I am using now. But that's just being picky and for 2 for £4 in Asda I would recommend giving this dazzling duo a try.
Ahhh the Rimmel Match and Perfect Foundation SPF 18; an "oldy but a goody". I think I've been through a couple of bottles of this in my time and it's the only foundation I have ever repurchased ( ok apart from when I was in my Maybelline Matte Mouse stage, we've all been there). For £6.99 this is a steal. I can't begin to describe how much I love this foundation. Its got a super pale shade, good coverage for even the angriest of my spots and lovely and blend-able.The only thing I would say is that when my Clean and Clear dried my face up to the point of a desert this foundation did cling to my dry spots, so if you have very and I express VERY dry skin I would think twice about purchasing this foundation. Never the less whether your skin is slightly dry or oily I would say definitely give this foundation a go. Most definitely if you are super pale or need a good coverage foundation. And no this foundation has never broke my out also!
The famous Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. Oh yes I was most certainly drawn in by its amazing full coverage claims and miracle wonders and I must say it lives up to these expectations. However on me this was not lasting perfection; it caked and slipped of my face in the space of a few hours. I was most disappointed when I re-encountered my pesky spots that day after covering them up in the morning. It also clung really badly to my dry patches, which didn't bode well when you are trying to dry out a spot or two. To further add to the disappointment it also oxidized really badly on me, bearing in mind that I also had the fairest one. Despite all this the coverage was delightful at first and at £4.19 it is certainly cheaper than other concealers. To be honest I would quite like to give this concealer another try. If oily skin is your thing I would say definitely give this a go but with powder on top. However I would most certainly say avoid if you are super fair skinned or have dry skin.
If I can remember rightly after my oxidizing nightmare with the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer I was on the hunt for a Much creamier and much paler concealer. That is when I came across the 17 Stay Time Concealer. This is my holy grail concealer without a shadow of a doubt! Super pale people friendly, yes, good coverage for even the angriest of spots, yes, cakey, no, clings to dry patches, no, affordable, yes. For £4.49 you can't go wrong and I cannot wait to repurchase this concealer when my current one runs out.
Despite my delight with the 17 concealer my full coverage craving was still not satisfied. With my No 7 Boots voucher making a home in the bottom of my bag I decided to utilize it and try a slightly more higher end concealer. I was drawn in my the idea of a stick foundation as it seemed much thicker in consistency. I purchased the No7 Match made concealer and I'm pretty sure they matched me to the palest shade. Honestly after using this I feel so on the fence about it. At the time it seemed really good yet now I am not remembering an amazing reactions to the finish it gave. The coverage seemed decent and the colour wasn't too bad. That is all I can say really about this concealer, it wasn't bad. Yet I most certainly wouldn't pay £7.50 for it, so if I were you I would utilize one of your Boots vouchers living at the bottom of your bag and give it a go if you're interested.
Here we have n Essie Button recommendation, Maybelline the Rocket Volum' Express Mascara. I loved this foundation sooooo much and also felt the price, £7.99, was decent enough for a good mascara. This left my lashes voluminous and lengthened more than every with a lovely curl to them. It was also very long lasting and barely smudged at all. The thick applicator really helps to volumize the lashes and the tapered effect makes it easy to get those tiny lashes in the inside corner. I would highly highly highly recommend this mascara if volume is what you're looking for because this one really does what it says on the tin.
Similar to the Maybelline the Rocket is the Max Factor False Lash Effect. The brush is almost identical to the Maybelline the Rocket yet with a few more, slightly longer bristles. The result this mascara gives is similar to the Maybelline the Rocket yet 10 times better. Lashes are still voluminous yet with more length, more curl and the world's most amazing staying power. If I applied this mascara at 7:30 it would stay exactly the same, curl and all, until the moment I took it off that night. It is also the only mascara I have ever used that does not smudge AT ALL! Although it's a little more pricey at £10.99 I would still most certainly recommend this any day to anyone who wants to be wowed by their lashes.
The Righteous Body Butter was a most delightful body moisturiser to use. It was excellent at providing my skin with moisture,keeping dry patches at bay and keeping my skin plump. This was my signature skin staple during my holiday to France! It left my skin with a heavenly baby soft feel to it with a hint of that good old traditional Soap and Glory scent. I would most definitely recommend this body butter to all, especially those with dry skin, as it works wonders. At £10.50 the price is ever so slightly steep but that's just being picky because you get a hell of a lot of product! If this is slightly out of your price range I would suggest to wait till it goes into the gift sets (I got mine in a half price Christmas set. Bargain I tell you.)
What would I do without my Mitchum Advanced Control deodorant ay?. I always go back to this deodorant whether its the same purchase again or after trying a new deodorant and being disappointed. Well what can I say; I have been using a deodorant since the late days of primary school and I can confirm that NOTHING I have ever tried has beaten this or even come close. This is the only deodorant I know that successfully prevents sweating and also unpleasant smells. It leaves my under arms fresh and dry THROUGHOUT the day, no joke. I swear by this deodorant.It smells fresh and keeps me fresh all day long. I doubt this will ever let me down in the under arm department. For £2.89 it's a bargain. Go try it for yourself and admire the wonders!
Gosh did I use the Nivea Smooth Nourishing Hand Cream a while back! Despite this I can still remember how delighted I was with this little product. Received in a gift set I was reluctant this cream would do any wonders for my hands but oh my was I mistaken. This was the best hand cream I had ever used. It most certainly left my hands nourished, with not a dry spot in sight. The scent (which I cannot remember but seemed pleasant whatever it was) was not over powering, which removes the need to avoid eating because your hands smell yucky. This tiny bottle of miracle hand cream lasted me for ages and for the measly price of £3.05 I would most definitely repurchase.
Again another wonder in the hand department was the Crabtree and Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy. This was another gift set piece so it was only 25g however you can buy the full size (100g) for £10 at the moment. Like the Nivea hand cream this product left my hands heavenly soft and nourished and banished all my dry patches. The smell was also a lovely natural rose scent, quite literally as though you were smelling an actual rose flower. If you like to invest a little more in your hand creams I would most definitely recommend this one.
I think Lush Snow Fairy has to be one of my all time favourite shower gels. Every year I pick up a medium bottle (which lasts a good while may I add) and save it for some time in the year. Now if you love sweet scents you are going to adore this product. Think Calpol. Yes this shower gel does resemble those childhood memories of that delicious medicine we used to be fed on our poorly days. Topped off with the pink colour and subtle sparkles this shower gel is fit for a princess and is an absolute bargain in the Christmas sales. Only problem is it is limited edition to lush's Christmas stock. So basically I am pre-warning you; when it comes to Christmas you sweet scented lovers better get ready to get your sticky paws on this beauty!