Category Archives: Beauty

Why I still Love A Beauty Box

Scrolling through Twitter recently I couldn’t help but notice an increase in negative feelings towards beauty Subscription Boxes. 

A couple of years ago it seemed the likes of Glossybox and Birchbox could do no wrong. Based on their success everyone wanted a piece of the action and there are now a huge variety of boxes to choose from. If you want high end there’s Cohorted. Is French Beauty your thing? We have My Little Box. Want something to make your monthlies a bit more appealing? Pink Parcel has you covered. Has the novelty worn off though?  Am I in the minority? I still love a beauty box you see. 

To settle my curiosity I ran a little Twitter poll. 


Of the 39 people that responded 56% said that they no longer enjoyed a Beauty Subscription Box. Perhaps they are falling out of favour then! 

If you are one of those people I would love to know why this is. For now though I’m going to share my reasons for still loving a Beauty Box. 

  • I love trying out different beauty products but don’t necessarily want to purchase a full size. What if I don’t like a product? What if it isn’t right for me? I’ve either wasted my money (If I really cant use it) or I’m stuck using a product I don’t like. 
  • It means I can afford to try out those expensive Beauty products I wouldn’t usually be able to afford. You can usually make huge savings if you are savvy. This is why I love Latest In Beauty. There is the option to curate your own box from a Huge menu of products. I usually do a little bit of googling to find out the RRP of products so I get the best value for money. 

    • I’m still discovering new brands all the time. QVC’s Tili Box is particularly good for this. I am eagerly anticipating their latest Box that is launching on September 1st. 
    • I am pushed out of my comfort zone. Often those surprise boxes contain types of products or shades that I wouldn’t ever consider choosing myself. I’ve discovered some of my favourite products in this way. 
    • It’s something to look forward too. I still get excited about the anticipation of receiving my monthly box of goodies. It almost feels like receiving a present. 

    I have to admit I do tend to get bored after a while if I am subscribed to an individual subscription for too long. Each company definitely tends to favour a few brands over others. 

    There are loads of different services I haven’t tried yet so I will just switch to someone else. I have my eye on The Vegan Kind as I would like to be using more cruelty free and natural products. 

    If you love a beauty box service do share your favourite in the comments below. 

    Nude by Nature Perfecting Concealer 

    I’m always on the look out for a good Concealer. To be quite frank when it comes to Concealer I’m hard to please. 

    I want something that provides high coverage, blends easily, doesn’t cake and  stays put, all without clogging my pores and aggravating any breakouts. Oh and I almost left out non creasing. 

    As part of Feelunique’s pick & mix service I recently tried out this Concealer from Australian brand Nude by Nature. Though it’s not perfect, it does come very close. 

    Nude by Nature produce Mineral Makeup using Australian native ingredients.The products do not contain any synthetic ingredients or preservatives, and are 100 % Cruelty Free and PETA certified 

    The combination of ingredients offer Makeup with skincare benefits. 

    Key Ingredients includes;

    Kakadu Plum – An anti-oxidant and natural source of highly concentrated Vitamin C.

    Ceramic Extract – Provides anti inflammation and hydration.

    Avocado oil – Moisturisers, repairs and protects.

    Jojoba Oil – An anti-oxidant and helps to restore skin elasticity.

    Kaolin Clay – Purifys and helps to remove toxins. 

    Shea Butter – Provides an intense hit of moisturisation. 

    The packaging is Gorgeous. It looks and feels luxury with its rose gold caps and lids. 
    I have tried this out as both an under eye and spot covering Concealer. 

    The formula is very creamy and feels hydrating. As an under eye concealer it works great. It blends well and doesn’t crease or settle in fine lines. I like to use the pointed end of a beauty blender to tap it on.    With setting spray it lasts well enough throughout a full 8 hour shift at work. 

    I found that it covered skin discolouration and imperfections well but didn’t fully cover major spots. A key pro for me though is that it didn’t aggravate or make spots any worse. 

    As Concealers go this is teetering towards the more expensive end of the spectrum with an RRp of £20. Feelunique are currently selling it with 20% off at £16 

    At this price I am definitely tempted to purchase a full size of this concealer. Fortunately for now I do have a second sample of this concealer that I am currently using. 

    Brand Focus | Exuviance Skincare

    Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite skincare brands. US skincare brand Exuviance has been scientifically developed by renowned dermatologists Drs Van Scott and Yu. They are the creators and patent holder of the first gylcolic peel. 

    The brand offers Salon quality skincare, using clinically proven ingredients, that you can access in your own home as part of your daily skincare regime. 

    There are specific ranges available for different skincare needs including dry and sensitive skin, oily and acne prone skin and age reverse. As well as targeted treatments and makeup and skincare hybrids. 

    I sometimes find it difficult to know what skincare products are suitable for my skin type.  I have had my fair share of skincare fail horror stories. Thankfully Exuviance has this covered. The Patient Condition checklist area of Exuviance’s website is very helpful as it matches products to specific skin concerns, helping you choose the right product for you. 

    I have had the opportunity to try out a variety of products as I was gifted these at various blog events. Here’s a little run down of the products I’ve tried. 

    £35 age reverse eye contour 

    I was absolutely gutted when I ran out of this eye cream. I will most definitely be purchasing it in the future. (I’m just using up the other ones I have first).

    I was starting to see fine crows feet before using this but they have virtually disappeared. Not a bad look for someone in their mid thirties.

    Don’t expect instant overnight results, but with prolonged use and a little bit if patience you can see great results. 

    free shipping Skinoracle.com

    £23.39 gentle cleansing cream 


    This is such a lovely cleanser. Every time I use it, it feels like a treat for my skin. The milky cleanser feels super gentle yet still provides effective cleansing. 

    You can use this cleanser in two ways. Either as a classic cream makeup remover that you would massage in and tissue it off or use with water to increase the creaminess of it and achieve a deeper cleanse. 

    I use this as part of my morning skincare routine. I love that I still get a true clean feeling without stripping my skin of moisture. The knock on effect of this has been far less breakouts. (Previously I had been told by a dermatologist that dehydrated skin was the cause of my breakouts). 

    £20.89 purifying clay masque 

    This clay mask has quite a tingling feeling on the skin. I would describe it as similar to the feeling you would get if you put toothpaste on a spot but the difference is it doesn’t dry your skin out. 

    This mask really does work hard to lift and extract the dirt from you pores. Do be prepared to see the odd breakout post use. These minor pimples cleared up superfast though so are literally the dirt being lifted to the surface. Sounds gross I know, but effective! 

    I am yet to come across an Exuviance product that has disappointed me. It is truly great skincare that gets better the more you use it. 

    I would love to try out more of their products in the future. Let me know if you have tried any of Exuviance’s other products. I’m always up for recommendations.

    Beauty Blenders | Splurge, Spend or Steal? 

    When it was first released The Original Beauty Blender caused quite the the stir on the beauty scene.  Developed by celebrity makeup artist Rea Ann Silva It revolutionised the way many of us beauty fans  applied our makeup. 

    Priced at £16 it definitely falls into the investment purchase bracket. That will be why everyone and their mama has since launched their own budget ‘dupes’. 


    In the interest of research I decided to test out some of these ‘dupes’ and see how they compare to the Original. 

    I’ve always loved splurge, spend or steal posts so thought heck, lets base my comparison around this format. 

    Well…. Can a cheaper Beauty Blender hold its own against the Original?  

    Packaging and Appearance 

    When comparing to the original it is very easy to spot the dupes. Packaging is very basic. Once outside of their packaging though they are all very similar but with some variation on shape. 


    Pictured from left to right.

    The Original Beauty Blender retails for £16 from Beauty Bay

    Avon’s offering, the precision makeup sponge, retails from between £3.50 & £6.50 depending on their current offers. 

    Primarks 2 pack of blender sponges retails for a mere £1.50 

    Contents

    The original beauty blender is latex free and so is Avon’s sponge. Avon’s website describes it has a latex free PU sponge. Primarks sponge contains latex, so not good if you have an allergy. 

    Feel

    Avon’s offering is closest in feel and texture to the original. Something about it is off though, it just doesn’t feel as smooth. 

    Primarks version feels very dense in comparison and doesn’t feel anywhere near as nice as the original. 

    Reaction to Water

    If you are familiar with the original beauty blender you will know that when it is held  under water it absorbs the water and expands. 

    Avon’s blender does exactly this. In fact it grew a fraction bigger than the original. Primark blender doesn’t expand at all. 

    Performance 

    To try to keep a fair test I used the same primer and foundation with each blender. This was Smashbox photo finish primer and Loreal Infallible foundation. I also tried to stick to just using 3 pumps of foundation. 


    Pictured left to right

    The original blender by far gives the best and most even coverage. I feel my foundation looks very natural a flawless in this picture. 

    Avon’s blender absorbed more foundation than the original so gave a less even coverage. It also makes an odd hollow sound when you tap it against you face. This im guessing is because the sponges fibres are less compacted and smooth and would be why it absorbs more foundation.

    Primarks blender I found quite hard and uncomfortable on the skin. I had to work much harder with it as it seemed to move the foundation around my face rather than blend it in. This is especially noticeable around my eyes. 

    Ease of cleaning 

    All three blenders actually performed fairly equal in terms of getting them clean. They have all stained a small amount.



    My Verdict – You get what you pay for! 

    Primark’s offering as far as I’m concerned is a complete dud. I don’t like it. It doesn’t perform the same as the Original and actually felt a bit uncomfortable to use. As far as I’m concerned this is being passed onto the kids as a painting sponge! 

    I was plesenty surprised by how well the Avon sponge performed. If you have never tried the Original Beauty Blender because perhaps you feel that £16 for the original is too expensive then this is a very good dupe. 

    If you like the original beauty blender and want to save you self a good £10 then Avon’s sponge is definitely a good buy. I don’t think you would be disappointed. 

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out SchoolRunBeauty.com.

    Product Review | Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mouse 

    I don’t know about you but I am so ready for summer now. I’m desperate to put away the winter jacket and get into my shorts and floaty dresses. One thing I’m not ready to do is expose my milk bottle legs. Yay for fake tanning products then! 

    It was definitely time to shop my stash and dig out my sample of Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mouse rrp £33.99 for 236ml. Yes that’s pricey but I’ve done some digging and found that Justmylook.co.uk currently have this on offer for £17.99. That’s is by far the cheapest I have seen it available for. 
    This celebrity favourite tanning brand has won numerous beauty awards including from the likes of Harpers Bazaar and Elle Beauty. 

    The brand was developed by US tan enthusiast Dera Enochson after she found the already available tanning products were not fulfilling her desire to achieve that much coveted natural looking olive skinned tan. 

    Xen-Tans lightweight foaming mouse claims to provide a buildable natural looking tan whilst also providing antioxidant, cellular protection and moisturising skincare benefits from a range non toxic ingredients including Green tea, Aloe Vera, Ginko Biloba and Vitamins D and E. So how does it perform? 

    I certainly found this easy to apply. I used a tanning mitt which I found helped to blend the formula evenly into my skin. 

    It dries down very quickly so I was able to get dressed after about five minutes. I didn’t experience any product transfer onto my clothing. 

    This isn’t an instant tan, the colour develops   over time. You are advised not to have any contact with water for at least three hours after application.

    PRO’s 

    • No horrible smell. It is supposed to be grapefruit scented though I feel it has a cocoa type smell to it. 
    • Easy to apply. 
    • Can use on face.
    • Added skincare benefits.
    • Doesn’t leave dark looking pores. 
    • No staining. 

    CON’S

    • Does feel a little bit sticky. 
    • No guide colour.

    Below is a before and after shot after using 1 layer of application and allowing to develop for several hours. The difference is very subtle. Where I do notice the the tan the most is on my shins. They are very white in the first picture. 

      I am happy with this level of tan for everyday wear. It is very natural looking and certainly doesn’t have that fake orange look to it. Zen-Tan do advise applying a second layer for a darker tan. 

      I found this a really easy to use product. My only negative is the lack of guide colour to ease application. I did miss a patch on my foot, whoops! Good job a shoe will be covering that! 

      If you have any recommendations for easy to apply fake tans do let me know as I’m always open to trying out new ones. 

      My April Latest in Beauty Box 

      I have had my fair share of beauty boxes in the past. I went as far as cancelling them all I’m over the previous appeal of the monthly surprise now. Particularly when you end up with a back log of products that aren’t right for you. 

      This is where Latest in Beauty is different. Each month you choose exactly what you want to receive in your box from an extensive menu.

      There are three tiers of subscription level. 

      • Beauty Novice £9 for 3 products.
      • Beauty Enthusiast £15 for 6 products.
      • Beauty Guru £18 for 9 products. 

      All levels of subscription include postage. 

      I have the Beauty Guru subscription, this works out as £2 a product.

      I’m really enjoying the service and see it as a cost effective way on getting my hands on the beauty products that I actually want to use.

      The value of my picks for April is £84.09, that is a huge saving!

      Here is what I chose.
      Omorovicza Refining Facial Polish (worth £21.67)

      Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirdt Quenching Serum (worth 9.67)

      St Tropez In Shower Tanning Lotion (worth £3.44). 

      I love this stuff! It took some getting used to when I first tried it out back in 2015 but I’m a pro now! I always add it to my beauty box when available. I have done a full review off this user friendly tanning lotion previously on the blog which you can check out here.

      The White Company Mini Orange Grove Candle (worth £10) 

      I work very close to a branch of The White Company and love popping into smell all the candles. They are rather pricey though So I usually only treat myself to one at Christmas. Yup this was going right in my basket! 


      Nugg revitalizing face mask (worth £3.99) 

      Masque Bar Green Tea Sheet Mask (worth £3.33) 

      This is supposed to help with dark spots and pigmentation irregularities. I have a fair bit of scaring from recent breakouts so I’m hoping this will help. 

      Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Blue Streak (worth £6.99) 

      This is a great formula so I was happy to be able to grab another shade of this polish. 

      OGX weightless hydration coconut water shampoo & Conditioner duo (worth £5) 
      I’ve had my eye on this particular shampoo and conditioner for a while as I love anything with coconut in it. These handy travel sizes are a great way of trying it without committing to the full size product.

      Lastly I nabbed another 111Skin Bio Cellulose Treatment Mask. (Worth £20) 

      This is something I will always add to my box as long as it is featured on Latest in Beauty’s Menu. For a single use mask it is so expensive. The trouble is the more I use one of the masks the more I love it. 

      This is another product I have previously reviewed on the blog. You can check that out here

      If you want to see any of these products featured in a review let me know in the comments section. 

      What do people really think about grey hair? 

      In recent months it’s has become much more noticeable that I’m getting the odd grey hair. At 35 this was bound to happen sooner or later. 

      Worried about this ageing me, I’ve been pondering what do do with my greys. Ignore it, pull them out or reach for the hair dye. 

      I decided to do a little bit of research as I was curious to see what people really felt about grey hair. Particularly as 2016 saw granny hair being a big trend. For the record, I didn’t get the ‘grey hair trend’.

      One 24hr twitter poll later I had a slightly better understanding. 

      Almost 3/4 of the people who responded to the poll agreed that they weren’t actually that bothered about going grey as it happens to us all. That’s kind of good to know, I’m not suddenly past it! 
      Interestingly though 100% of people agreed that society is more acceptable of men having grey hair. 


      From a personal perspective I sit very much on the fence with my feelings about my hair turning grey. 

      My hair is currently its natural colour. I grew out any colourant that was present and then had the remnants cut off. 

      I would describe my hair as mid brown, it is actually a lot lighter than I remember after it being dyed a darker brown for so many years. In the past year I have had my first noticeable greys. They actually sit under my parting so are only really noticeable if I pull my hair back. 

      The texture of these are different though and feel much coarser. 

      I can deal with this for now but am unsure how to proceed with my hair when it becomes more noticeable. To be quite frank I can be very lazy when it comes to my hair. One of the main reasons I stopped colouring it in the first place was that I found it such a chore keeping on top of the roots. 

      I also think very white or silvery looking hair can look quite stunning on the right person. 

      When it came to peoples response to grey hair, using hair dye was the most popular response. Though I was actually surprised that leaving greys alone was a very close second. 


      I’m not rushing out to dye my hair anytime soon. I also get enough fall out all ready that I’m not going to voluntarily pull out any extras.   For now I’m in the ‘leave it alone’ camp and am comfortable with that. If these results are accurate people aren’t actually that bothered by the odd grey hair anyway. 

      Do you agree with this poll? 

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. 

      My Weekly DIY Facial Routine 

      One of my favourite indulgences is to have a facial. Now I can neither afford to do this on a weekly basis or have the time for that matter. I do like to give myself a bit of a DIY facial once a week though. If you want to know my routine and the products I use then carry on reading…

      The Double Cleanse 

      I like to use a cleansing oil to break down any makeup I might be wearing. I am currently using the Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Cleansing Oil £12 When massaged in with water this turns into a lovely milky constistency. 

      I then like to follow with Bioderma Sebium Miceller water from £5.10, to remove any last residue. 

      Exfoliation

      I’m not the worlds biggest fan of exfoliating. This is because I usually end up feeling like my skin has been over stimulated and have some kind of reaction. Exfoliating is important though as it stimulates and speeds up cell renewal. 

      At a recent facial appointment I was recommended Decleor Phytopeel £28. 

      Rather than containing abrasive exfoliating particles this exfoliating cream contains lemon, marjoram lavender and thyme essential oils to provide a much gentler form of exfoliation. 



      Facemask Time

      My current facemask of choice is Origins Out of Trouble Mask, £24. I might be in my mid-thirties but I still have problems with frequent break outs. This helps to combat that and calm the inevitable redness. 

      I have written a full review previously, you can check that out here.

      Toner

      Once I’ve removed my mask I like to follow with a natural toner. This makes sure I’ve removed every last drop of mask and also helps to prime my skin ready for moisturiser. 

      My current toner of choice is Madre Labs Unscented Witch Hazel Toner, from £1.61. 

      This is a really cheap toner that is worth picking up from iherb.com. 

      Serum 

      I think of serum as an intense hit of superfood for my skin. In the past I have been told that my skin is dehydrated so I opt for a serum designed to maximise hydration. 

      Clarins new Hydra-Essentiel range is perfect for this. The Intensive Moisture Quenching bi-phase serum  £44 has had a dramatic impact on my skin since I started using it. 

      Moisturiser 

      If I am giving myself a DIY facial I tend to do this in the evening. It makes sense for me to use an Intensive night cream at this step. I am currently using The Body Shop Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream £29. 

      This feels very luxurious and indulgent on the skin and I do feel my skin is looking and feeling plumper Since I started using it. 

      Eyes 

      The skin around the eyes is a lot thinner and much more delicate. I always use specifically targeted products for this area. 

      I am currently using Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour £41.

      Now this is very pricey in my opinion but I was lucky to be gifted this at a blog event last September. I am still working through the same bottle so it does last a long time. 
      It was explained to me at the time that with Exuviance products the effect isn’t instant, the benefits are seen over a period of time (I’m talking months). Six months in I am definitely seeing the results. There are no lines around my eyes whatsoever! Big claim I know….

      So I know that sounds like rather a complicated skin care regime. Do bear in mind that this is my once a week DIY facial. On a daily basis I’m too lazy to double cleanse and if I exfoliated everyday I’d have no skin left. Using a good nightcream and eye cream though are a daily essential for me. 

      Dupe Alert! | The £5 alternative to Illamasqua hydra veil 

      I am a huge a fan of Illamasqua hydra veil £32I did a full review of this hydrating gel primer back in December. I won’t go into too much detail about that product now as I would just be repeating myself. If you want to read that indepth review you can do so here. What am going to talk  about  today  though is a budget dupe I have for the primer.

      The Skin Define Hydro Prima MUA £5 is a great purse friendly alternative to the Illamasqua’s cult primer.

      Now I’m going to get the flaws of opting for the budget alternative out of the way first. You aren’t going to get the same skin care benefits of the original from the MUA offering but it is 1/6 of the price.

      However If you are looking for a hydrating aqua based primer that performs in a similar way then this will do just that.

      It feels just as light and refreshing on the skin and plumps up those fine lines so you have a perfectly smooth base for applying foundation.

      In terms of longevity it isn’t quite as good as the Illamasqua primer but not enough to stop me using this for work on an everyday basis. Let’s be honest here for special occasions I will always reach for the original.

      Visually and texture wise the product is very similar. Both have a very jelly like texture that settles back smoothly in the jar after being disturbed.

      The MUA packaging is very basic looking in comparison but then if it had super fancy packaging it would cost a lot more than £5.


      The MUA Skin Define Hydro primer is a budget dupe definitely worth trying out if you can’t justify spending out £32 on Illamasqua hydra veil. 

      Have you tried either of these primers before? If you have tried both do you agree with me? As always share your thoughts in the comments. 

      Anne Semonin Express Radiance Eye Cubes | Product Review 

      Today I have for you a product review. I’ve been having a play around with the Anne Semonin express radiance eye cubes. Some might say that this product is an expensive gimmick, I however quite like them. 


      My misspent youth saw me have one too many late nights and regularly falling asleep drunk with my eye make up on? Yep I was a bit of a bad girl! 

      Meanwhile my partner in crime bestie, no matter how drunk she was, would always remove her makeup. She has always had better skin than me. Hmmm….I wonder why that is? 

      Eventually her good example did rub off on me. That and being freaked out by a story once told to me by a makeup artist.  Apparently every time you go to bed with your makeup on it ages you by 10 days. Bugger! 

      Yes so I’m a changed women and and religiously remove my makeup of an evening, followed by a good cleanse and moisturise. 

      Here’s the thing though…. very occasionally I revert back to that bad girl of my youth. Usually this is when I may have had one to many and had to put to bed by the husband. Yes the poor man has seen me in a few states. Trouble is now in my mid thirties that bad behaviour will show on my face the next morning. I end up looking a swollen puffy hot mess! Thank good for these stashed in my freezer then. 

      Here is what the brand has to say about them; 

      Anne Semonin’s Express Radiance Eye Cubes are perfect for soothing stressed, irritated eyes whilst firming and nourishing the delicate eye area.
      These little ice cubes are made using  Marine Spring Water & Hyaluronic Acid to help provide hydration & condition the delicate eye area.  Ginkgo Biloba helps stimulate micro-circulation and Gourd Extract alleviates inflammation and puffiness. Bioflavonoids dramatically improve the appearance of dreaded dark circles so eyes instantly appear brighter, tighter & well rested.

      I keep my ice cubes stored in the freezer so that the are good to go when I need one. Each cube is  in individually sealed in a capsule to keep them hygienic. Once removed from the capsule you pop it into the little bag provided and press this under each eye till it has melted. Im guessing the bag is to protect yourself from accidentally giving yourself an ice burn. 

      This does feel very refreshing, especially if your eyes are feeling sore and tired. 

      Now I’m not going to lie. At £45 for 6 that is an expensive price to pay for being naughty. These are for emergency use only! 

      Expense aside, If you look at my before and after pictures these do work wonders. Yes I got away with my bad behaviour on this occasion didn’t I! 


      As these are so expensive I am going to have a little experiment to see if I can make my own. If I’m successful I will share a little DIY 

      Have you any tips for getting rid of puffy bags? 

      Do share in the comment section.