I was set a challenge by Vouchercodes to try out some beauty products to see wether paying more for your products really pays off.
I experimented with bronzers, false eyelashes and dry shampoo from three price brackets; Under £5, Under £10 and Under £20, or 'bargain', 'mid-range' and 'high-end', whichever you prefer to say.
I have been using these products for the past three weeks, so I've given them all a good go and I feel that I can now post honest reviews on everything... and the results are definitely interesting!
I am a big fan of dry shampoo, and I use it almost on a daily basis, not just to refresh my locks but also to add volume and texture to my hair, so I do feel like I kind of know what I'm talking about in this category.
Before giving any of these a try, I have always used dry shampoo from the bargain price range and I've never actually considered paying more. If I'm completely honest I didn't even know that you could buy 'high end' dry shampoo! Interestingly and surprisingly, I found that after giving the three products a try, I was most impressed by the priciest of the bunch. It left my hair feeling conditioned and very soft (as opposed to the crispy kind of feeling I am used to with dry shampoo), yet still full of volume which seems to hold for much longer than usual. My hair was instantly refreshed and it leaves a lovely smell to the hair with no white residue at all - it's completely transparent and applies as more of a mist rather than a powder. This was the selling point for me, it really is a completely different formula to the others yet it does the same job (and slightly better). Another thing to justify the price is the fact that it feels like I used a lot less than from the other brands, so you're getting more for your money and you're using less each time.
My second favourite was the bargain option which includes ingredients from plant extracts high in vitamins and properties which moisturise, soften and protect the hair. There was really nothing wrong with this product, and if I hadn't given the high end dry shampoo a try, I wouldn't have had any complaints at all... the only thing that made this slip into second place for me was the fact that it does have a slight white powdery look to it when it's applied to the hair. This does brush out easily and I think it's something that is expected from a dry shampoo so it's not a negative, it was just pipped to the post. Klorane products are all cruelty free and natural, which is a bonus for me - I always say when I find enough products that work for me that aren't tested on animals, I will only use them, so I will definitely be keeping this brand in mind! It also comes in a cute, travel size bottle which is really handy for carrying around in my handbag. For value for money this one is definitely a winner.
In last place, and only really because I had to be harsh and one of the products had to come last is the Philip Kingsley One More Day dry shampoo - which I love the name of! This was the mid range option, which works really well to combat grease and give some natural volume to the roots without leaving the hair feeling weighed down or crunchy to touch. This doesn't have much of a scent to it, which may be a positive to some people, but I do prefer a little bit of a scent to my dry shampoos. The only other reason that this slipped into 3rd place was that this is the whitest of the three when sprayed into the hair. Again, it does brush out and gives great results, but it took a little longer to work into the hair which is my only complaint. I am a fan of Philip Kingsley hair products in general, so don't let me put you off this one - the only problem here was that all three dry shampoos worked great!
In complete opposite to the dry shampoo, I am a bit of a novice when it comes to falsies... I have used them a few times before, but really I'm useless at applying them so usually don't bother!
My favourite lashes were the mid range ones which are a from the Millie Mackintosh and Nouveau Lashes collaboration collection. Not only are they a really pretty, fluttery lash which when applied still manage to look quite natural yet full and thick with slightly exaggerated length on the outer corners but they are actually quite easy to apply! In the box you are supplied with instructions, glue and some mini tweezers to help with application - such a nice little extra. The strip the the lashes are on is really thin, so they don't look obviously fake when they're applied and after wearing them and peeling them off, they're as good as new, so there's definitely the option for wearing them again and again. I was really impressed with these!
When it came to the Eylure lashes, I kind of knew what to expect as I had used some of their lashes (although a slightly different style) before. These are really light weight, and when applied although I could feel them on my eyes at first (probably because I'm really not used to wearing lashes) after an hour or so I actually found myself forgetting that I had them on, which was a massive surprise for me as I've always thought of lashes as quite uncomfortable to wear... I must have got the application of these just right! I used my Nouveau Lashes tweezers from the Millie pack to apply these and they stayed put for a good four hours before I removed them. I had to trim them down a tiny bit as they were a little long for my eyes but it's nothing really to complain about... I even kept the ends to layer up if I ever want to go for a less natural look. They blended in well with my own lashes as they are made from natural hair and they added some extra length which if you're a false lash wearer, would be fine for daytime wear.
In third place, and only because the others were so good for less money is the Laura Mercier lashes. These lashes give volume and length to the lashes, and look really beautiful on. Much like the other two styles I tried, they're full and fluttery which seems to be my preference when it comes to falsies.
They recommend that you don't wear mascara with these, which is the only bad point for me... maybe it's because I'm not an expert at applying them, maybe if someone had applied them for me I would have felt they looked better, but I was a tiny, tiny bit paranoid that you could tell they were false lashes (which I suppose some people aren't bothered about) but for me, I felt more confident with the other two pairs of lashes and a coat of mascara to bond the lashes to my own. Due to this and the price, I had to have these as my least favourite option, however for a special occasion, I would consider these again because they're really beautiful and the quality is amazing.
I feel like I have tried a lot of bronzers over the years from many brands are price ranges, however I've never settled on a favourite, so I was quite excited about trying three new brands in hope of finding my 'holy grail'.
I was most impressed with the Topshop bronzer, which first of all has the most beautiful packaging! It's a very finely milled powder which applies really smoothly and the matte finish gives a very natural look to the skin either for contouring or to give an allover glow. The shade itself is really warming without being orange or too dark... it's probably the best shade I've ever used for my skin tone. I've found that people have been complementing me on days that I have worn this which is always a good sign, I have ended up reaching for this as my every day bronzer and will definitely repurchase!
In second place is the Seventeen cream bronzer, the only cream product of the three. It's very lightweight and applies really nicely with a smooth, buttery finish. Although quite glowy (due to a slight shimmer and the creamy consistency), this is buildable and can give quite a deep bronze colour which is ideal for contouring the skin. For an allover bronze I have applied this underneath and on top of my foundation to achieve different looks - it really is quite versatile. It's a real bargain price point, the only bad thing is that it seems to be used up a lot faster than the powder bronzers so I would need to repurchase this one more often than the others... although this won't put me off.
The Stila bronzer has a very slight shimmer without being glittery, so it gives a fresh sun kissed look to the skin. It is slightly darker and more orange toned than the Topshop one, but when applied lightly it still looks really natural. For contouring I found it to be really buildable but ever so slightly orange toned so you do have to be quite careful with how heavy you apply this one, however when you do it right, it does look amazing. For someone with a darker skin tone this one would be a contender for first place, but for me personally it comes in third... I would reach for this one on holiday or afterwards to work with my tan.
Ranked in order of preference:
1st - Mid Range, 2nd - Bargain , 3rd - High-End
My results aren't massively conclusive... I was kind of hoping to like the bargain products the best in every category just so that I could prove that money doesn't really matter and I am a little disappointed that the bargain's weren't my favourite in any category although I did enjoy using all three. I am happy that high end wasn't always my favourite though; in fact high end only won once and came in last place twice!
I guess mid-range is the way forward for me and my favourite product of them all was the Topshop bronzer from the Under £10 category... you don't have to spend crazy amounts on high end products to get the best results, but sometimes paying that little bit extra does get you something a little better for your money.
I think I've spoken on here before about my little obsession with high end jewellery. I own plenty of costume jewellery, and love every piece, but there's a little part of me that longs for one super piece of jewellery... a real statement piece that I can wear over and over again and feel proud to wear.
The trouble is, I'm a little too fickle, and I can't ever set my mind on one thing that I really want.
If I was to make the commitment and splash out on a piece of expensive jewellery, I would have to be 100% sure and happy about the piece I was buying. I'm the same when it comes to handbags and shoes... I just daren't make the purchase because I keep changing my mind!
One day I hope to find the piece that really jumps out at me, and I'm hoping it will be love at first sight and I will know that I've found 'the one'. Until then, I will continue to browse jewellery websites admiring the rings, necklaces and bracelets to my heart's content.
While spending some time on the George Pragnell jewellers site, I found some really unique pieces of antique jewellery, something which I had never really considered investing in, but now I'm thinking maybe it is the way to go... there are some really classic pieces of jewellery and some more quirky pieces, the list is pretty endless.
Do you have a dream item you long to own and show off proudly one day?
It's no secret that I hate feet... in fact, I think a lot of people do, but when the weather is this hot the only option for feet is sandals so the feet have to come out.
I thought I would show you how I prepare my feet, to make them look the best that they possibly can, for days when I'm 'getting my toes out' aka wearing sandals.
The first step in my routine is to treat my feet to a Footner Exfoliating Sock experience, and it really is an experience! After wearing the socks on your feet for an hour while you're watching TV or painting your nails the magic begins... within a few days the peeling effect begins and all of the dead skin on your feet starts to peel off (now this may sound horrible, but it really is worth it!) once the peeling has finished (up to ten days later) you are left with baby soft skin allover your feet.
To keep on top of any dry skin I use the Soap & Glory Heel Genius which I apply every other night, I massage it into my feet and then sleep with little socks on to help the moisture really soak in. I love having my feet massaged, and this lotion is really cooling and refreshing after a hard days work... definitely a treat for the feet!
The final touch to the perfect Summer feet is freshly painted toe nails, I would never wear open toes sandals without a lick of paint on the tootsies! I like to go for something bright on my toes, my favourites at the moment are from Nails Inc.
If you follow these three easy steps, you'll be good to go with beautiful feet!
You know those days when comfort comes before style? That's what today was like for me, although I kind of think this side of comfort is actually kind of stylish!
I've wanted a pair of Converse for as long as I can remember now and now that I've finally got a pair, I'm not too sure how I managed without them. In fact, I'm already trying to decide the next colour to add to my shoe collection.
Initially I was just wearing them with jeans but I think they look great worn with dresses and skirts too, they're the most versatile shoes ever and they're unbelievably comfortable.
I bought myself this dress a few weeks ago on a bit of a whim, mainly due to the cute print and the fact that I'm a little obsessed with smock dressed. I thought it would be ideal for Summer days, and I was right! It's so cool and comfy and I find that I can just throw it on and go. I never imagined I'd be styling it with Converse, but it's my go-to easy outfit at the moment with just the right amount of 'girly' to counteract the trainers, keeping it true to my style.