Photograph-a-holic's style diary


September Beauty Favourites (and not so favourites!)

September, what a complete mixed bag of highs and lows in the beauty sphere!  I’ve finally gotten around to trying most of the Soap & Glory products I’ve been bought, as well as one that’s been tucked at the back of the beauty/toiletries/make up cupboard since I bought it (at least) six months ago.  Tut tut me.


Ojon Shine and Protect Shampoo & Conditioner – 6/10: After reading Lily’s review about the Dry Recovery version, I was super excited to try this.  And well, it was ok, I guess.  It smells kinda nice, cleans my hair nicely, but that’s all I’ve got.  It’s ‘nice’.  And for a top end priced shampoo and conditioner, I want to climb Kilimanjaro, shinning locks swishing, yelling “well look at me and my bouncing, shining, luscious brunette waves – I bet you wish you had this shampoo and conditioner set! ha”  But I don’t, I just say it’s pretty nice.  It does what I expect of pretty much any high street shampoo.  I’ll happily use it up, but my hard earned £££ will be entering someone else’s hands next time.

Grab it!

Soap & Glory’s The Righteous Butter9/10:  This was originally going to hit my ‘Ditch it’ category.  I don’t choose ‘favourite’ body bits when I’m moisturising, when I moisturise, it goes top neck to toe, and everywhere in between.  And with this product, a lot goes a little way!  It kinda sunk in a bit too quick for me, and it has the usual Soap & Glory smell, which was just a bit strong for an all over dousing and got up my nose for the rest of the night.  If you’re a huge fan of the smell I’m sure you’ll love it, but I’m a creature with a delicate nose, and my delicate nose wasn’t feeling it!  However, it redeemed itself in two ways.  Firstly, my skin did actually feel lovely and smooth the next morning.  Secondly, whilst it just got a bit annoying applying it all over when it sunk in so quick, as a hand cream I LOVE this!  It’s been demoted from an all over body butter for me, and is being well and truly kept as a hand cream on my desk, and I’ll probably buy another for the bedside table!  None of that horrid greasy hand cream business here, 60 seconds and it’s sunk straight in and I can fiddle around with my hair again to my heart’s content without filling it full of cream that has no right to be there.  It’s a keeper.

The Aromatherapy Co’s Peppermint, Tea Tree and Lavender Foot Balm10/10:  In advance, I’m sorry.  But I’m also gutted too, and I’ll be using this sparingly.  THIS I bought in TK Maxx around 6 months ago, and has only just been tested!  THIS I come to find I love.  THIS can only damn well now be bought in New Zealand & Australia (and some select places in Asia).  So if you’re in that neck of the woods, oh so lucky!  (And you know, if you want to hook me up with some more…)  Put your hand up if you take super regular care of your feet too, and don’t leave them to get a bit dry/rough/unloved at times… I don’t see many hands.  This is like an easy little miracle in a tube, all whilst giving you that awesome tingly refreshing feeling as only tea tree and peppermint can.  Super thick, you spread the balm on and leave.  After a few minutes, my feet are miraculously soft, and feel like I’ve covered them in some sort of liquid talc.  You know how your face feels when you put a make up primer on, that super delicate, my face has never felt so soft kind of way?  Yeah, well that, on your feet!  My next trip to NZ, I’ll be testing the luggage weight limit stock piling on these!

Ditch it!

Soap & Glory’s The Scrub of your Life & Flake Away1/10:  Now, when I want to exfoliate, I want to exfoliate.  I haven’t found an exfoliator yet that you actually use in the shower to work, and this hasn’t either.  Nowhere near enough scrub to actually exfoliate your skin.  Yes, both did leave my skin feeling smoother, however that wasn’t down to the ‘scrub’, it was down to the slight residue it leaves on your skin.  I’d be fine with that, if I didn’t actually want to exfoliate and give my skin a good kick up the derrière into life again.  If you want some gritty bits swishing around your skin, give it a go, if you want to exfoliate, put your money somewhere else.

CK One Shock for her5/10:  It actually pains me to do this.  I love LOVE LOVE this smell.  For daytime, I’m all about the sweet girlyness, to which this is bursting.  AND I like the simple, chic, modern bottle (I think I have a theme running).  So where’s it all going wrong??  It’s got zero staying power.  When I spray it, I adore it, and so does anyone else who’s wafting passed me at the precise second I spray.  But after that second has passed, that’s it!  No more lovely, sweet, girly smell!  Sniff myself as hard as I might, I can’t smell it!  And I’ve never received a single compliment whilst wearing it (even when getting a big squidge from BF – and he’s not afraid of a compliment in the good smell department).  Woe is me and my CK One Shock.  If this came in an eau de parfum I’d give it another chance, but if I buy a damn good smell, I want to smell damn good.

Have you tried any of these?  What did you think?


REN : Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel : Beauty Review

I’m in LA.  I’m standing in a glass front beach house with THE most divine view of the ocean.  It’s a crisp summer’s day, the sun is shinning, but there’s a refreshing bite to the air from the sea breeze.  I’m stood in the oversized white bathroom, preparing myself for the glorious day  ahead.  I splash my face with water, instantly waking any sleepy vibes, with delicacy.  A freshly laundered white cotton towel dabs my face and unveils wakened skin…

…Ok, I’m not in LA, I’m not in an oversized bathroom overlooking the sea, with the smell of a beautiful spring day, but I feel like I am.  When my eyes are closed, the water splashing my face removing this cleanser, I’m there, right there.  This is one of the most refreshing, delicate, spring smelling, refreshing cleansers I’ve used.  Strange, considering I’m not a fan of rose smelling products (I don’t need to smell like someone’s nan), but this is different.  You can tell it’s rose, but in a much fresher, modern way.  And you know if you use a product for sensitive skin, and it has that super light, super delicate refreshing smell?  Well this has that.

It’s a beautiful cleanser to wake up to in the mornings (even when you’re just daydreaming you’re in LA), firm 9.5/10 from me.

REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel – £17

Pump up the Volume! : Hair Review

I’m about to introduce you to your new best volumising friends.  Reader, meet Redken’s Quick Tease and Powder Grip, Quick Tease and Powder Grip,  meet my lovely reader.  Now the pleasantries are done, let’s get down to business.

You’re going to wonder how your hair ever lived without these two dear friends.  Really.  You know those days when you’ve just washed your hair, and you pump it full of dry shampoo in the vain attempt to get some control?  To tame down those uncontrollable, flyaway strands?  Well, we can do better than that, much, much better.

Redken Powder Grip – 10/10:  Purchase this now.  No really, PURCHASE THIS NOW.  You want volume?  THIS is the first thing on your list.  Ditch that dry shampoo attempting to give you some control, some texture, which is does, in a weight your hair down – can’t use too much else your gunna look like you’ve been dunked head first in a huge pot of talc – kind of way.  THIS, this is what’s gonna do the job you want, give you all that texture with just a little dusting of powder at the roots.  You’re gunna just just tease it a little with you’re fingertips and poof!  Whatch it volume up before your very eyes.  Texture texture texture!  And none of that hideous weightiness.  If you have super fine hair like me, it gives you some vain attempt at getting a style (that holds!) going on.

Redken Quick Tease – 9/10: Backcomb in a can!  I know, genius right?!  Who needs to distress their hair and tangle it up when you’ve a can that does just the job, in a no fuss kinda way?!  Lift your hair, just as you would as if you were backcombing, and give a little spray of this stuff.  You’re gunna get that puzzled look on your face as you release your hair, watching it fall with great volume as if you’d just gone backcombing crazy.  Just a little spray is all you need, don’t go crazy or your hair will go a little nuts, but damn, is my hairdresser THE best person EVER for introducing these to me!  If you have regular hair, I’m sure you’re gunna give this a 10/10, but us fine haired people are going to find that whilst we love it, it doesn’t have a 100% hold with our flyaway tresses.  A mix of the two however, and a decent hairspray, and you’ll do just fine.

Feline Eyes : Make Up Review

The never ending quest for the best eyeliner and mascara…  I’m getting closer, much closer!

Grab it!

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara – 9/10: And grab it with both hands!  Single handedly THE best daytime mascara I’ve found to date.  Jet black, easy to apply, layers easily and doesn’t clump your lashes.  Love it love it love it.  The only reason it’s not getting a 10/10 is I don’t see the ‘false lash effect’.  This is a great an awesome daytime mascara, but for the evenings out, I want a bit more.

Soap & Glory Supercat Liquid Eyeliner – 7.5/10:  Beautifully easy to apply with it’s super sharp marker tip to create perfectly pointed cat eyes.  It’s one of my favourite liquid eyeliners, BUT, it loses a couple points just because I find I have to apply two coats for a super jet black finish.  Until I can find one eyeliner that can do the job just as well as this in one coat, it’s staying as a make up bag staple and will remain my daily reach for.

Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner – 8/10:  First gel eyeliner I’ve ever tried.  Well.  Can’t I just see the difference between a gel and a regular liquid eyeliner!  INSTANTLY fell in love withe this product as soon as I tried it.  It comes with it’s own applicator brush which does the job fine.  The literally just glides across your eyelid with no dragging at all.  Super intense black that just sweeps across.  I’m about 1/4 to 1/3 through, and I have found it’s started to dry just a little, so isn’t quite as easy to apply as when I first bought it, and that’s the only reason it’s not getting a straight 10/10.  Overall however, GREAT gel liner I can’t see you being disappointed by, just remember to remove the excess gel from your brush after each use!

Ditch it!

YSL Shocking Mascara – 4/10:  I wanted to love this, and well, I did when I first applied it, and do even time I apply it.  So what goes wrong?  Well, to start, I LUUUUUUUURVE the packaging, it completely gleams up my make up bag. Tick.  I really like the fragrant smell when you open it (I was worried as it’s quite strong it would irritate my sensitive eyes, but it doesn’t at all).  Tick.  Easy to apply, and easy to layer. Tick.  After two coats you’ve super jet black, super intense lashes, perfect as an evening mascara. Tick!  However, and here’s where it all goes wrong…  Considering the price tag, this one dries out much quicker than any mascara I’ve ever bought, and I had to repurchase another sooner than I expected.  I’d kinda live with that if I kept it for an evening mascara solely, however after an hour or so of wearing, this mascara becomes flaky, and I find little black specs all across my cheekbones.  NOT a good look.  If it didn’t flake I’d be ranting at how much you need to buy this product as it’l give you super intense lashes, but if you don’t want your mascara anywhere other than your lashes, give it a miss.

What’s your favourite eyeliners and mascara’s?  Have you found one to top these?

Skin Food : Beauty Review

You know when your skin (and hair) is just screaming out for a big ol’ drink?  Yeah that’s been mine lately.  It’s wanting a good dose of nutrients and moisture, yet I have cranky skin.  It’s the definition of fussy.  I’d class myself as having ‘normal’ skin, it likes to be moisturised and hates me if I don’t, yet if you give it too much, it’s like I’ve turned into some rampant 15 year old and it’s break out central.  Yeah, I’ve cranky skin, it likes what it likes, and it’ll soon let you know if it doesn’t like what you’re feeding it.

So, these are some of the things I’ve grabbed my hands on lately, moisture moisture moisture!  Some I like, some I don’t.  Let’s begin.

Grab it!

Lush Ultrabalm – 8.5/10:   I’m always a massive fan of all things Lush, and this has happily lived up to my Lush standards.  I tend to mainly use this at home in the evenings on my cuticles, and any dry bits around my feet (I’m an addict at moisturising, so I tend not to have any other dry bits).  It only has 3 ingredients, and none lend themselves to the most fragrant of smells, however this stuff works.  It does feel a little grainy and greasy when you first put it on, however leave it for 5-10 minutes and you’ll have it all sinked in.  It doesn’t leave that horrid greasy feeling some balms do, and you definitely get the feeling you’re using a natural product (bonus points).  Any little rough bits you have will disappear, and if you use it like me, it’ll last you AGES.  Cute little tin, and always love the simple black and white packaging.

Eve’s Balm – 8.5/10: Whilst I tend to you the Lush Ultrabalm at home and just slather it on, I keep a pot of Eve’s Balm in my handbag. Completely different texture, this is a lot firmer, like a solid wax, and has a beautiful smell of lavender, mint and chamomile.  Because it is firmer, you can’t just slap it on in huge doses (hence I use both), but is perfect when you’re out and about and your skin needs a little pick me up.  Again, your skin will be a little shiny when you first apply, but after about 5 minutes it all sinks in and those dry bit around your cuticles just disappear.  I first tried this when it came in one of my Glossybox’s, and it’s definitely hit my repurchase list.  It does exactly what you need, smells great, and also raises money for charity.  Win:win:win.

Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturiser – 7/10: This has been my every day foundation for just over a year.  It’s a weird one, whilst it’s a tinted moisturiser, I find I still need to moisturise first before I apply it.  Whilst it’s not a heavy coverage and more balances out your complexion, it’s one of the most pigmented tinted moisturisers I’ve ever tried.   With other foundations, but the end of the day my skin is starting to look really dry, hence this has stuck in my make up bag as it isn’t drying at all.  I do on the other hand tend to find I need some sort of setting powder/matte finisher otherwise my skin will look a little shiny.  It’s a really fluid foundation, and super easy to apply (I usually just use my fingers), and for medium coverage, it’s definitely worth a purchase.  It’s only a small bottle, however even with using it daily, this lasts me at least 3 months, so super purse friendly.

Nip + Fab Pistachio Sundae Dry Skin Fix Body Butter – 7.5/10:  The smell.  Ohhhh, the smell!  Sweet pistachio heaven in a 200ml tub!!  I don’t have dry skin, but for my skin to smell this delectable, this heavenly, I’m smothering my skin in it!  Whenever I use this, and bf snuggles in, I always get a “you smell so good” comment.  Bonus.  It’s not thick and sticky like other body butter’s, and I’ll literally dose myself in this head to toe, it’s super easy to apply and absorbs easily.  So, why is this Nip + Fab body butter not getting a high mark with all these wonderful comments?  Whilst it smells divine, applies easily, sinks in easily, my skin is moisturised, I’m not left felling like I’ve just moisturised.  I know, those comments contradict.  My skin doesn’t feel dry at all, but it does feel ever so slightly tacky to feel.  I’ve never experienced it with any other moisturiser before.  So, yes I love it, yes I’ll be repurchasing, but the after feeling leaves me a little, hmmmmmn, wanting for me?  Wanting for more whilst I’m in my blissful smell comma.  

Lush Oatifix fresh face mask – 8/10:  Yum!  For a start it smells delicious!  Smells like the perfect oaty breakfast, and a little tub keeps about 3 weeks in the fridge.  It’s not my favourite lush mask, but when my skin it wanting a good feed, this is the first thing I purchase!  Leave it on for around 10 minutes and rinse off.  Your skin gets a good wake up and plump up!  I’ve found it the most difficult Lush mask to apply due to it’s consistency, but hey, we’ll let that slide when it works this well.  It does state it’s more for dry skin (which again mine isn’t), so if I use this too regularly I find I get tiny bumps on my skin, so I keep this for no more than once a week.   If your skin is feeling tired and wants a good feed, head straight to your nearest Lush store.  Just refrain from eating it, you will be tempted!

Ditch it!

No.7 Heavenly Hydration – 4/10: This appears to have had a name change since I purchased it, and I’ve linked to the renamed product.  When all other facial hydration products run out, I try this out again as it’s always hanging around my beauty products.  I’ll say, it’s alright.  I don’t have any huge negative things to say about it (bar the fact it feels a little greasy and your skin is super shiny whilst you have it on).  I’ve used it both as a thick mask and washed off, and as a thiner face balm and slept in it overnight.  It does make my skin feel like it’s had a bit of a drink, but I’ve found far far better products that do the job much better.  I’m sure I’ll use it in emergency situations again when I’m out of everything else, but It’ll be the last product I reach for when my skin is yelling “feed me!!”.

Love Peace & the Planet, Tigi Let It Be leave in conditioner – 0/10: I’ve read other reviews on this since I’ve purchased, and it appears I’m on my own with my über blunt 0/10!  I found this in a discount store, and being a big fan of cherry and almond, and this smelling of a beautiful combination of the two, I decided to give this leave in conditioner a go as my hair also has decided to have some cranky time too, and the ends have been feeling super dry lately.  I didn’t notice in the store that it’s a TIGI product, and if I did I wouldn’t have purchased.  As much as I’ve wanted to love TIGI, and I’ve tried nearly a dozen different products of theirs, my hair has never got on with a single one of them.  Sad times.  But, as I’d already purchased, I thought I may as well keep an open mind.  After washing my hair, I applied this and dried as normal.  I don’t get it, I just don’t get it.  I’ve super fine hair and this weighted it down just a little, but did it feel any softer, shinier, conditioned?  No, not at all.  It smells lovely, but for me, it didn’t so anything ‘it said on the tin’.  Other reviewers have said much nicer things – so I may give it to a friend who’ll hopefully have much more luck!