If you read my recent post that invited you to take a look around my storage, you will have seen I was looking for a powdered highlight. I own a lot of highlighters (or 'illuminators') in a liquid form, but for the spring and summer months I feel I'd like something powdered. Say hello to my new powder highlight, NARS Albatross.
NARS Albatross is a permanent line highlight, it comes packaged in the classic and simple black and white box. The sturdy packaging helps me keep my nerves together if I ever drop my NARS palettes, I know that the pan will remain intact.
In the pan the shade is a pearlised white/yellow, it's very pale but don't be put off with its pigmentation in pan-form. The powder is well pressed and picks up onto a brush with ease without any fallout all over the pan, I can't stand it when I sweep my brush across a pan and blush goes everywhere.
My camera failed to pick up the gorgeous sheen Albatross gives the skin, so you'll have to take my word for it! When blended across the cheeks you get a gorgeous 'glowy' look, you can apply this to your temple and down your nose too for an extra boost of glow to your skin. This shade doesn't particularly add any warmth to the skin, it leaves a slightly frosty finish, but this can be altered if you blend it well. There is of course a hint of shimmer but its nothing too offensive, certainly no flecks of glitter.

NARS Albatross Highlighting Blush Powder retails for £21 from NARS stockists, such as House of Fraser and ASOS, and of course the NARS website.
No7 are high street store Boots 'luxury' own brand, which retails makeup, body care and skincare products. You may have seen through recent advertising that the No7 skincare line has had a bit of a revamp!
I rarely write about a brand in a bad light (always trying to stay balanced!) unless they've really done something wrong, but I most certainly have a bone to pick with No7 and I'm wondering if anyone else does too?
My first problem is that these wipes just don't seem to work for me, the top half of the pack is really dry and the wipes are barely moist - even if I store the pack upside down I see no difference. This makes removing makeup a nightmare, they remove barely anything and give a light burning sensation to my eyes and skin!
Since introducing these wipes to my regular skincare routine (for combination skin) my skin has been horrible, for want of a better word. It has been blemish central, dry and flakey, it's just awful and I'm quite upset about it! At first I wondered what on earth had caused such a drastic change to my skin, as soon as I stopped using these wipes the condition of skin instantly improved.
Does anyone else have this sort of problem with these wipes? At £7.00 a pack for just 30 wipes I don't think I'd purchase these full price or even with a £5 voucher again!

Boots No7 Wipes retail for £7.00 for 30 wipes at Boots stores and online.
Winner of the UK Beauty Awards 2011, the Liz Earle Energising Body Lotion (*) is packed with 19 naturally active botanical ingredients such as ginkgo biloba, horse chestnut and caffeine. It claims to smooth, tone and firm the body, suitable for everyday use with all skin types.
The Energising Body Lotion comes as just one product from a vast range of body care products from Liz Earle, including Botanical Body Wash, Body Lotion and Superskin Treatments.
I remain in firm adoration of the way Liz Earle products are packaged; they arrive wrapped beautifully in tissue paper and sealed with a sticker. The packaging is so smooth to hold, I know that sounds strange but it's so nice! The duck egg blue runs through the range, whilst the tube remains practical and easy to squeeze.
The formula is very lightweight, it sinks into the skin almost immediately! It isn't very thick, which means you can smooth it over the skin and rub it in easily; I like to apply mine straight after showering because it locks in moisture.
Liz Earle Energising Body Lotion is scented of Damask Rose Flower Water and Sweet Orange Oil, personally I feel the rose is more potent than the orange, but the orange does become more visible to scent when applied. If you like rose scented products this product is ideal for you, and although the scent is gentle it is still visible and remains until your next wash, so if you dislike rose scented products I would steer clear!
When smoothed across the skin I instantly noticed how soft my skin was, it feels really nourished and quenched. At first I found the claims quite extravagant but I shall eat my humble pie because this lotion does firm the skin, and the results are almost immediate! With repeated use my skin has felt a lot more plump and firm, I can't say its more toned but I'm guessing this comes hand in hand with taking great care of your body. If you're looking for something to compliment a fitness regime to take care of the skin you're in then this product is perfect! The scent will most definitely relax you, too.

The Energising Body Lotion retails for £17.50/150ml from Liz Earle stores and online, as well as selected John Lewis stockists. You can trial a 30ml tube of this product for £5.
These adorable 'easter eggs' come as the latest LUSH addition to the exclusive Easter range. Sized similarly to a small/medium easter egg, the Immaculate Eggception is a bath bomb with a difference! Shake the egg and you can hear a rattle inside, break pieces off as you would a chocolate egg to reveal an adorable bath ballistic chick or bunny!
Scented of uplifting grapefruit and lemon oils with a hint of vanilla, you'll be smelling sweet and delicious after a long soak with one of these. I can see the whole egg lasting four or five baths, possibly even more, because it's oversized compared to the permanent-line LUSH bath bombs. Dont forget your bonus miniature ballistic inside too; it's luck of the draw whether you get a chick or bunny which adds to the excitement.
This makes a great replacement as an Easter gift for those out there who dislike chocolate, just like myself (hint).

The Immaculate Eggception is available exclusively to LUSH in store and online for £7.00 each over the Easter period. Available in pink or yellow, as pictured.
We all know LUSH by now as the vegetarian and vegan friendly brand who have a strong ethos on being good to the planet and our animal friends. Ro's Argan Body Conditioner is enriched with Argan Oil, a rare oil produced only in Morocco rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E. It's packed full of other body conditioning products to help nourish and smooth the skin, including 15 natural ingredients. 
The Body Conditioner is to be used at the very end of your showering routine, you smooth it over wet skin then rinse it off before patting dry; it's supposed to help you skip the step of post-shower moisturising. 
PRICE: £15.50/225g

CLAIMS: 'Packed full of ingredients to feed and nourish the skin' - LUSH online

AVAILABILITY: LUSH exclusive available worldwide in store and online

PRODUCT: LUSH packaging has a rustic feel to it with its worn labels and basic containers, I quite like this as it's reflective of the brand; you can return five of these pots to any LUSH store and claim a free face mask.
The conditioner itself has a strange consistency which is smooth to the touch but feels like a paste with flecks of all I can describe as 'gritty bits'; it isn't the most pleasant thing to look at either (I shan't judge a book by its cover). The scent is called 'Rose Jam', inspired by its' creator Simons' visit to Turkey. The scent is potent, so potent I feel a little queasy when I open the lid of the conditioner and it reminds me of Turkish Delight. Now I've been to a Turkish Delight factory, and this smells very much alike a Turkish Delight factory explosion...which is my worst nightmare.
Following instructions on the lid I smoothed a light layer of the conditioner over damp skin at the end of my shower then rinsed it off before patting myself dry. Instantly I noticed a residue had been deposited on my skin which wasn't there before, it gave my skin a slightly waxy texture which I can't stand. After rubbing off the residue my skin was revealed to be slightly smoother compared to when I hadn't used the conditioner, but not as smooth compared to using a standard moisturiser post showering.
I'm sat here as I write this review stinking of Turkish Delight and feeling a little waxy, the scent lingers on the skin for a long time and remains potent albeit sweeter, I feel a little bit sick at the sickly scent of myself.

RATING: 3/10 - I can see this product being a hit with those of us who don't mind the potent scent of rose, and the product did add subtle softness to my skin. Considering the hefty price tag I would never repurchase this, the scent is too potent for me and the residue on my skin put me right off!

PRICE: £6.99 (*)
This product was received in the Cosmo Blog Awards goodie bag.

CLAIMS: 'Discover the new 17 BB Blemish Balm to reveal the magic of flawless skin with this all-in-one foundation plus skincare wonder product' - Boots website

AVAILABILITY: Boots exclusive online and in store

PRODUCT: The packaging feels luxurious considering its delivered from a high street brand, I really like the black box and black tube, which squeezes easily. The nib has a tiny hole which dispenses the formula, I would prefer it to be a little thicker for my liking to release product more quickly but that's a personal preference.

Formula wise the 17 BB cream is quite thin compared to some other creams I've used, and has no potent scent which I like. The formula is very creamy and soft, its easy to apply with a brush or finger and when applied to the skin its really moisturising, leaving my skin really smooth.
Shade Medium swatches as a creamy tan, when I applied it to my face it was far too pale for my olive skin, the range only comes in Light and Medium (featured) so I'm not too impressed with the limited range of shades.
I have to make it clear now this BB cream like many others gives very little coverage, so if you're looking for full coverage this product probably isn't for you! The formula is long wearing, it lasted a good 9/10 hours on my skin which is great! Unfortunately, I don't feel it had as many benefits as it claims; although my skin didn't secrete much oil during wear and the finish is quite luminous, I feel as though my skin didn't look 'perfect' and my imperfections certainly weren't covered during use! If you already have skin in good condition then this product may work well for you, I think it will be great to wear in the summer months too for lighter coverage, it's ideal because it has an SPF of 25.
To me, the 17 BB Cream is a tinted moisturiser which gives skin a luminous glow, it works nicely when mixed with another foundation for extra glowy skin but I could never wear this alone unless my skin was already near-perfect!

RATING: 7/10 - I much prefer this to the Garnier BB cream which is £3 more expensive, you can see my review to compare here, though I wouldn't purchase either again as I feel BB creams simply arent for me. This BB cream is ideal for you if you're looking for a light coverage BB cream which won't break the bank!

Do you find BB creams work for you or do you leave them on the shelf like me?
Allow me to introduce you to one of my favourite lip glosses - NARS 'Turkish Delight', tipped to be a favourite of Kim Kardashian for that gorgeous girly lip. Formula wise it isn't exactly my favourite, but I find the colour so gorgeous and girly I just can't resist it.
The packaging of Turkish Delight is classic NARS, it's plain and simple, showing the lip colour through the transparent packaging. The wand is easy to use and super fluffy, it's a perfect size to distribute the gloss, though I do find you have to purse your lips after application or this shade can look a little streaky.
'Turkish Delight' is described as 'pink sorbet', it's a very creamy baby pink which adds a slightly milky look to the lips. The colour pay off will vary depending on how pigmented your lips are, I have very deeply pigmented lips so I like to apply this over a nude base. For swatch purposes I have applied the gloss to just my lips as they are; you can see it seeps a little into the natural lines on my lips too, which is another reason why I prefer it over a lipstick or liner.
When applied to the lips the gloss lasts a good four or five hours, it feels lightweight on the lips and isn't at all sticky. As I said, I'm not the biggest fan of the formula - it leaves a slightly odd taste in my mouth after it's first applied which I'm not a fan of at all!
Although the gloss is very pricey the formula is long lasting and a gorgeous colour that I've not found anywhere else, this gloss remains a firm favourite of mine!

NARS Turkish Delight retails for £17.50 from Nars stockists, such as House of Fraser, ASOS and the NARS website.
Real Techniques brushes have taken the UK by storm since their launch in Boots this year! They're a constant sell out and getting my hands on the brushes I want is a nightmare, but finally the Powder Brush was in stock so I snapped it up!
As I mentioned in previous posts, Real Techniques brushes take on different colours depending on the collection they're from: orange for base, pink for finish and purple for eyes. As you can see, the Powder Brush has an orange handle so is a part of the 'Base' collection. I do use this brush to finish my style too however, it's perfect with MAC Finishing Powder.
I like the packaging of the Real Techniques brushes, it's so easy to open (finally plastic packaging that isn't a nightmare to get into) and you can use it to store your clean brushes in if you want. The extended aluminium handle is lightweight and easy to use, it gives you good grip and good control; I like the self-standing base as I don't have to rest the brush on any surfaces during use.
The bristles of the Real Techniques brushes are made of 100% cruelty free Taklon fibres which are so soft to the touch and gentle on the skin. The Powder Brush has a domed end, it's packed with bristles which pick up product and glide across the skin beautifully, you get a really even finish with this brush. I like using it to apply powder products such as powder foundations or finishing powders only, it's okay for contouring but I find it a little too large!
Compared to my Sigma E30 Large Powder Brush, the Real Techniques Powder Brush knocks spots off of it!
As you can see, the bristles are dry and discoloured, the brush has a lot of fallout of bristles and they are sticking out at odd directions! Compare this to the gorgeous smooth bristles of the Real Techniques Powder Brush and it doesn't fare well, it's so unpleasant to use!

The real techniques Powder Brush retails for £12.99 in Boots stores and at Boots online, as well as the Real Techniques website for international orders.
I introduced you to Greece's first natural skin and body care company a week or so ago with their face masks; today I bring you a selection of skincare products I was sent. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Apivita, I have a lot of products to post about, so have chosen to group them into categories.
Apivita skincare products are free from parabens, silicones, propylene glycol, mineral oil, ethanol amines and phthalates - all the nasties which can play havoc with your skin, essentially. Their skincare range is vast, so what I bring you today is just a snippet of what is available!

Apivita serums are available in four types with 96% natural ingredients: Hydration, Radiance, Anti-Wrinkle and Lifting, each has a unique scent and different coloured packaging. There is also a very special serum called 'Queen Bee', which is a firming and restoring serum containing honey and royal jelly.
I am a big fan of the packaging of the serum, the bright colour is fun and the design is practical, the bottle is very sturdy and the pipette delivers just the right amount of product.
The formula, which contains extracts of Bilberry and Vitamin C, is very milky in texture but a dream to apply! You apply this under your moisturiser, you can do it twice a day if you like but I prefer to apply it in the morning for an instant boost of radiance. I rarely use serums, this is the first I've used with consistency and I must say I am impressed - and rarely am I impressed by a product claiming to add radiance! You can see for yourself that this product really does add radiance to the skin in an instant, it smooths the skin and gives it a closed pore effect; it's so soft to the touch.

The Apivita Natural Serum in 'Radiance' (*) retails for £25.94 from the Apivita website.

The Apivita cleanser contains 96% natural ingredients to remove dirt and excess oil without stripping the skins surface or drying it out, it has a very fluid but gel formula which literally runs out the hands! The scent is beautiful slightly citrus with some woody undertones, not overpowering a tall. The cleanser is easily applied to a wet face, it has a gentle lather and washes off well. I've noticed since using this cleanser once a day in the shower that my skin has far less blemishes, I wonder if this is due to the Propolis which acts as a mild antiseptic? Either way I'm impressed, it's something I would purchase myself because the results have worked so well, my skin remains supple and soft and blemish free, I just wish the formula was a little thicker!

Apivita Cleanser (*) retails for £12.15/200ml pump from the Apivita website. It is also available for Normal/Dry skin with a gorgeous honey & orange scent, for the same price.

The Aqua Vita eye cream contains 95% natural ingredients and is opthalmologically tested, it's barely scented which is good for those who dislike strong scents on their face.
I really like the packaging of the Aqua Vita eye cream, it's so easy to dispense the product because it's a pump, as you only need a tiny amount it gives so much control.
The formula is very thin and slightly creamy, it sinks into the skin in an instant which I really like. I'm going to say this is hands down the best eye cream I have ever used and I will be repurchasing it (not that I will need to soon, as a little goes such a long way, you need the tiniest amount that is half the size of a pea for both eyes!). The results are fantastic, my eyes are a problem area for me as they are very dry and get hideous dark circles - both these problems have been banished whilst using this twice a day. It's become a saviour product for me because I hate having dry skin under my eyes, makeup just clings to it and it looks awful, this product has eradicated that issue.

The Aqua Vita 24 Hour Moisturising & Revitalising Eye cream (*) retails for £20.65/15ml pump from the Apivita website.

The 'Aqua Vita' 24 Hour Moisturising Cream-Gel is exactly that, a moisturising cream-gel, it contains 98% natural ingredients (which I say is pretty impressive)! The packaging is again lovely and practical, the glass jar feels really plush, the top screws off to reveal plenty of formula. I would say the formula leans more creamy than gel, but it has that cooling sensation that comes subsequent to a gel. The formula is really light on the skin and you only need a small amount, possibly only half of what I've swatched for a full face and neck application. It doesn't have a very noticeable scent, its very delicate but I can't quite put my finger on what it smells like. As I said, it's cooling on the skin, but also sinks in almost instantly leaving really smooth and plump skin. I apply this twice a day after my skincare routine and it has truly quenched the thirst of my skin without leaving any oily residue that I find some gel-cream formulas can leave.

Aqua Vita Moisturising Cream-Gel (*) comes suitable for a variety of skin types for £25.39/50ml pot from the Apivita website.

Have you ever used Apivita skincare products? I would certainly purchase them again, were you as impressed as me?
If you read my blog way back in July 2011, you may remember my order from gorgeousshop.co.uk, I was so happy with the service I blogged about it! When Gorgeousshop.co.uk got in touch to thank me for my post, I was bowled over to be offered the bareMinerals Radiant & Refreshed gift set as a thank you.
Gorgeousshop.co.uk retail top beauty, skincare and haircare brands, with many of the regular retail prices slashed up to 50%. Not only is delivery super fast, but with every order you get a free wash bag, which is perfect for travelling with. 
The bareMinerals Radiant & Refreshed gift set (*) is a '6 piece collection for a luminous complexion', most of the products are full sized and it has everything you need to create a fresh-faced, natural look whilst hydrating the skin.
The set includes the Flawless Definition Curl & Lengthen mascara, Prime Time primer, Pretty Amazing Lipgloss, Hydrating Mineral Veil, Eyecolour eyeshadow and a miniature Hydrate & Brighten brush.

The Flawless Definition Curl & Length mascara claims to deliver 'dramatically longer lashes with extra body and definition'. The dual-length skinny bristles aim to capture every lash, separating them with no clumps.
I'd go so far to say this is one of the nicest mascaras I've ever used! The results, as pictured, live up to the claims - my lashes are fanned and lengthened with no clumps. The mascara doesn't flake or run and didn't irritate my eyes at all.

Priming the skin before applying foundation gives it a smooth canvas to glide across the skin, giving a smoother and more even finish. Prime Time is an award winning primer which 'prepares skin for seamless coverage of foundation with a smooth and evenly textured complexion'.
It was hard to capture the results of Prime Time on my hand, because it's made for the face, so you'll have to take my word for it! You only need a really small amount of product, it smoothes easily across the face with a finger or brush and disappears in an instant, revealing very smooth almost velvety skin! I've used this under my foundation for the last three days and it's worked wonders, it's stayed in place without slipping or flaking and my skin looks a lot more even. I'd go so far to say it moisturises the skin under foundation too!

bareMinerals Pretty Amazing lipgloss hydrates the lips with gorgeous colour; available in 12 opaque shades you're spoilt for choice!
'Sass' comes as an exclusive shade to the Radiant & Refreshed box set, it's a gorgeous shade of coppery caramel with a hint of shimmer when swatched. On my heavily pigmented lips it gives a gloss of natural colour, it tones down the natural hue leaving them look made up but natural. The gloss isn't sticky and gives a good two or three hours of wear.

The eye colour shade is yet another exclusive to the gift box, it's a gorgeous metallic bronze with a gentle undertone of plum. When applied over primer this shadow lasts all day, it's so soft on the eyes and completely weightless.

bareMinerals Hydrating Mineral Veil has been specially created to fix your face with a feather-touch airbrushed finish, it can be used over foundation and blush to perfect your look or worn alone.
At first look I found the packaging really confusing, it took me a while to realise you have to press and remove the plastic pull-bar to release product for the first time! Slight packaging mishap aside, I think I've discovered one of my favourite powders ever! The Hydrating Mineral Veil is finely milled, meaning you only need a very small amount for a full face application. It picks up onto a brush so easily and glides across the skin in a breeze, subtle colour is instantly added to the face which is left feeling smooth and looking super airbrushed and refined! I didn't find the powder cakey and it has no scent at all, it barely transferred and lasted as long as my foundation with the Prime Time Primer.
'Tinted' isn't an exclusive shade to the gift set and is available to buy online, I'd say its a very tanned colour as you can see from my swatches. All is not lost if you have pale skin and wish to purchase this gift set, I found that when I don't have a tan this is perfect for contouring my cheeks!

Finally we have the Hydrate & Brighten Brush, a miniature version of a powder brush to apply bareMinerals mineral foundations and blushes.
I have to admit, the miniature size of this brush makes it hard to evenly distribute the Tinted Veil included in the gift box, in my eyes it would be better suited to applying blush to the apples of the cheeks! The brush is good quality with super soft bristles, I've been using it to apply my powder blushes.

The bareMinerals Radiant & Refreshed giftset retails for £33.15 from gorgeousshop.co.uk, a fantastic £5.85 cheaper than the RRP. With Mother's Day coming up this Sunday it makes the perfect last minute gift.

As part of the gorgeous shop refer a friend scheme, you can get a £5 voucher off your first order over £25, meaning you could get a further £5 off this gorgeous gift set or anything else which takes your fancy! If you would like to be referred for a £5 voucher, please leave your email below or drop me an email and I'll refer you.
Dry shampoo is a product popularly used by men and women across the world to refresh their hair between washes, it's become a hit product in the UK especially and many brands have been releasing their own 'dry shampoo'. Dry shampoos now take many variations, they can boost the roots, add volume, and now even add colour!
I chose three dry shampoos to put to the test three times each and see how they varied in price, results, and ease of use. The contenders are Batiste Dry Shampoo in 'Fresh', Tresemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo and Label.M Brunette Dry Shampoo (*).

PRICE: £4.99/400ml, £2.99/200ml, £1.52/50ml

CLAIMS:  'Contemporary, tantalisingly, cool & crisp notes make this unisex dry shampoo as liberating for blokes as it is for babes. It’s the ideal way to instantly clean and freshen up your hair between washes, whilst making hair feel thicker too!' - Batistehair.co.uk

AVAILABILITY: Boots, Superdrug, selected supermarkets

PRODUCT: Batiste dry shampoo has an aerosol nozzle, it distributes product through the hair really easily in just a few sprays; you do have to shake the can quite vigorously between applications. The formula is a very bright white colour, as soon as you've sprayed the product through the hair you need to ruffle the product through the hair with the fingers to work it into the grease and get rid of some of the bright white! After two or three minutes you can brush through the hair, I like to use my Tangle Teezer to ensure no white haze is left. Once I brushed through the hair there wasn't a trace of grease, my hair looked refreshed and almost completely clean again. These effects lasted for two days which really impressed me!

BEST FOR: All hair types

PRICE: £4.69/200ml, £2.99/100ml

CLAIMS: 'Removes oil and boosts body' - Boots.com

AVAILABILITY: Boots, Superdrug, selected supermarkets

PRODUCT: Once again the Tresemme Instant Refresh has a aerosol nozzle, you shake the can well before spraying it through the hair. With this product there is very little colour added to the hair, I prefer seeing where I have sprayed the product and use the colour as a guide so I found it quite hard to use in that respect. Once the product is sprayed at the roots I massaged with my fingertips and left it to work for two or three minutes, once I brushed through the hair I wasn't overly impressed. Although the hair had been refreshed it was really flat, the results were no where near as good as Batiste, but they did last for two days.

BEST FOR: Hair which is only one day unwashed and is not too greasy.

PRICE: £10.50/200ml

CLAIMS: 'Label.m Dry Shampoo Brunette refreshes hair inbetween shampooing using natural Rich Starch to disperse oil. Also works as a brilliant matt texturiser for a soft-touch,velvet finish to the hair' - Toni & Guy

AVAILABILITY: Toni & Guy salons, Toni & Guy website, Label.M online

PRODUCT: Like Batiste and Tresemme, Label.M Brunette Dry Shampoo has a nozzle lid, you shake the can well before spraying it through the hair. It is very hard to detect in the hair as the colour is brown to match brunette hair! After ruffling the product through my hair to blend it in, my fingers had been dyed a brown, which was a shame but this washed off easily with water. The colour transferred onto almost everything it touched, so if you use this dry shampoo do be aware that it will rub off onto fabrics, particularly pillows! The results after two or three minutes were really smooth and soft, but I didn't feel my hair was very refreshed at all, this product is better used to add some texture into the hair and to boost the colour of brunette hair, or colour over roots temporarily. The product only lasted for one day as I had to wash it out at the end of the day to prevent it from transferring onto my pillows at night.

BEST FOR: Brunette hair that needs a boost of colour, it's great to hide pale roots.

Personally, I would choose to buy Batiste Dry Shampoo again. With such a wide range of fragrances and a new 'Cherry' fragrance just released, the Batiste range has a lot to offer. Although it leaves a strong white cast on the hair, this is barely noticeable in blonde hair and can be brushed through really easily with a Tangle Teaser or comb. It left my hair feeling the most refreshed and the results lasted a couple of days, my hair also had a little added volume! For the price I am very impressed, you get the most product for your money out of the three with Batiste at a whopping 400ml!
Apivita were Greece's first natural skin and body care company, and since their emergence in 1979 have come strength to strength taking on eleven further countries and launching new products.
So what's so special about Apivita? They're a natural brand who are totally honest about what is natural and what is not, all their products contain no silicones, parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, ethanol amines or propylene glycol (all the harmful stuff, basically!). The ingredients in products are not only not harmful to you, but also not harmful to the environment - which I love.
With Apivita hoping to take the UK by storm this 2012, I was sent a huge box of products to trial at my leisure, I'm so excited to share these products with you because I've never been so impressed by something I was sent before.
The Apivita Express Masks (*) were introduced in the year 2000, based on Mediterranean diets. The range is vast, it aims to target specic problems for specific skin types, there's 21 masks in total with a range of fragrances and extracts.

The prickly pear face mask, with 92% natural ingredients, aims to 'moisturise' and 'revitalise' the skin. The formula is gently scented of pear, a scent which lingers after application and rinsing. It's easily squeezed from the sachet onto the finger and smooths over the skin with ease; it has a yoghurt-type texture which is instantly cooling when applied. What's special about the 'Express Gold' formula of this mask is its 'green tea infusion', an antioxidant which is great for the skin.
Although the mask doesn't 'dry' like clay masks do, you can tell when you need to wash it off because it will have turned tacky to the touch and sunk into the skin a little. Once you wash away the mask the skin is smooth straight away, it's really plump too without feeling tight.

The green clay face mask, with 89% natural ingredients, aims to 'deep cleanse' the skin by drawing away excess oils and dirt which can reduce and eliminate blackheads. The formula didn't have a particular scent for me, it isn't overpowering it just smells natural. You can easily squeeze the ultra-smooth clay formula from the sachet onto the finger which glides across the skin so easily, I've never used a clay mask so soft and pliable! The mask dries within five minutes, but it doesn't get uncomfortably tight at all, it's really easy to remove too with just water. Once the mask is removed, the skin feels plump and 'tightened' but not in an unpleasant way, I noticed particularly oily areas such as my chin and forehead were 'normal' after use and remained the way until the next morning. With continued use I can see this doing wonders to oiler areas of my skin, and possibly eventually even reducing blackheads.

The pomegranate face mask, with 89% natural ingredients, aims to 'revitalise' and 'add radiance' to the skin. It has a gorgeous scent of sweet pomegranate, which lingers after it's washed away. The formula is easily squeezed from the sachet onto the finger and smooths over the skin with ease; it has a yoghurt-type texture with small granules which give the skin light exfoliation as you apply the mask. Although the mask doesn't 'dry' like clay masks do, you can tell when you need to wash it off because it will have turned tacky to the touch and sunk into the skin a little. Once you wash away the mask the skin is noticeably brighter and smooth to the touch, the results are astounding because the skin is so smooth without a red-patch in sight, any dullness in my skin was instantly lifted.

In my opinion I would and will repurchase these face masks, I've never used a face mask so sumptuous and hydrating, all the masks have benefitted my skin greatly, I've even noticed a reduction in pimples having used one every other day to three days.

The Express face masks come in a pack of two sachets for €3.50 (which is about £2.92), from the Apivita website.
Rimmel's latest offering, Scandal'Eyes Mascara, comes with their biggest brush ever and ultra-collagen formula. Available in black, brown, and extreme black there's a shade to suit all for everyday wear, from morning to night.

PRICE: £6.99/12ml

CLAIMS: 'No lash can escape! Scandalous volume, no clumps!' - as pictured, product packaging

AVAILABILITY: Rimmel stockists such as Boots and Superdrug and selected local pharmacies

PRODUCT: The packaging is bright and noticeable in my makeup bag, I think the design suits the product quite well. The wand pulls from the twist end cap to reveal a mega oversized brush, it can be a little daunting at first and definitely takes some getting used to...particularly with the lower lashes.
Take great care when applying the mascara, the brush is quite large and catches the skin very easily, as you can see it's caught under my lower lash line onto my skin. The above is two applications, one swipe of mascara has little effect (so I found) but two adds great length and some volume, it's not the greatest I've seen but hardly the worst. The lashes are separated nicely and slightly curled towards the ends, you'd still need to curl your lashes before use however if you have naturally straight lashes as the brush and formula add very little curl.
What disappointed me about this mascara is its lasting power, the length and volume lasted three or four hours on my lashes before it began to disappear, it also ran down my face very easily under humid conditions. The formula was however very easy to remove with a cotton pad and removal fluid.

RATING: 7/10 - an excellent high street mascara which matches its price, I disagree however that the formula is no clumps and the brush takes a little getting used to. The results are good, plenty of length and a shot of volume!
How adorable is this sharpener for your eye and lip pencils from high street makeup brand Bourjois? I simply couldn't leave it on the shelf, particularly when I have lost my sharpener anyway.
The sharpener has a design I havn't seen before, then again I rarely shop about for a new pencil sharpener. The double-hole sharpener for both chunky and regular pencil widths is encased in a plastic box which snaps shut tightly around the sharpener, with room to collect shavings and empty them with ease.
The removable box encasing the sharpener means you have the freedom to travel with your sharpener without dropping shavings everywhere, but also gives you somewhere to cleanly and neatly store it too.
The blades are nice and sharp but remain safe and slanted, they sharpen pencils nicely without leaving splinters on the nib of your pencil, it gives a smooth and clean finish.

The Bourjois Pencil Sharpener comes in pink only and retails for £2.49 in Boots and Superdrug.
Following on from Tuesday's post (here) which introduced Real Techniques and the Blush Brush, I bring you the Stippling Brush - another brush from the 'Finish' range of products.
Stippling brushes are widely used to complete a look with an 'airbrush' micro finish; by patting or buffing them against foundations, cream blushes or highlighters they blend the product against the skin nicely.
Real Techniques brushes are packaged in chic plastic casing, the colour coded products make it easy to find exactly what you're looking for too, which is handy. Gold means base, purple means eyes and pink means finish; here we can see the Stippling Brush is a part of the 'finish' collection and so takes the pink handle; it can also be used as a base brush too though depending how you use it.
Once again the handle takes the easy-grip shape with a self standing base - useful for those who dislike laying their brushes against surfaces. The bristles are Taklon, a cruelty free synthetic fibre which is soft to the touch and safe to use on the skin.
Comparing this brush to my once beloved Sigma Flat Top Kabuki (here), it's a lot less dense and smaller in surface. Personally I prefer this, though at first I was apprehensive - the less dense but dual-fibre bristles allow for quick and easy blending without having to apply much pressure, they're also much easier to clean thank goodness!
I like to use this brush with foundation and cream blush, I apply a tiny amount of foundation to the bristles and blend it across the surface before 'buffing' it against my face, I do the same with cream blush but obviously only buff against the cheeks. I found it works best with thicker more emulsive formulas - such as Estee Lauder Doublewear Max (here), opposed to thinner liquid foundations, such as Chanel Pro Lumiere (here).
It can safely be said that this brush has replaced any other brush I used to apply foundation and cream blush, it blends so well and gives a professional finish that I've never achieved before.

The Real Techniques Stippling Brush is available from larger Boots stores and online, and in the US at the Real Techniques website.
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