Random Monthly Favourite | Spectrum Makeup Brushes

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Famous Arthurian novelist T H White once said “a king can only work with his best tools”. Never have truer words been spoken. However, the same can be said for us makeup queens of the 21st century. Having the right tools can set you on the path to makeup heaven. A smokey eye, a perfectly blended contour and an ombré lip can all be achieved with the right tools in hand.

Many women over look the importance of a good makeup brush. Sure – we’ve since evolved from those God awful sponge-tipped applicators that once graced the packaging of many palettes. However, how many of us actually invest in a good set of brushes?

Makeup can be expensive (I’ve got the credit card bills to prove it), but not investing in a decent set of tools can cause dire affects to your overall makeup look. Splashing your cash on the latest Tom Ford palette may make you feel like a million dollars, but applying products with cheap, poorly made brushes or, even worse, grubby fingers can turn your look from glamorous goddess to drunken clown. Personally speaking, if my makeup were to take a turn for the worse I would like it to be at the hand of a highly alcoholic cocktail rather than anything else.

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I have an abundance of makeup brushes (way more than what is required for one face). Much like my sick obsession with skincare, I collect…correction…I HOARD makeup brushes. I’ve tried Sigma, Real Techniques, Luxie, MAC, Zoeva, Urban Decay and all that in between. I hadn’t, however, tried Spectrum collections – a quirky vegan friendly cosmetic company with a punch.

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Before we go any further, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these brushes. Imagine Ariel and a Unicorn had a baby…in the form of a brush…side note – I’m working on my analogies. I’m fully aware that they’re awful, but I just can’t help myself!

I first discovered Spectrum Collections on my Instagram news feed whilst browsing the pages of various TOWIE stars (*hanging my head in shame). They seem to have a huge celebrity following including the girls of TOWIE; which isn’t a surprise as I’ve never seen a makeup brush more fitting for their persona! I’ve never been one for actively seeking out vegan friendly cosmetic companies, but this is hardly a brand that you can easily bypass. Their brightly coloured quirky designs drew me in instantly and before I knew it I was lusting after a piece of the action.

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Spectrum Collections pride themselves on beautifully hand finished brushes using the highest quality synthetic hair on the market. If I had a penny for every time I heard that description I wouldn’t need to sob uncontrollably each time my credit card bill comes through the post. These are some of the most softest brushes I have ever tried, yet they still maintain their shape after a gentle cleansing. I tend to favour synthetic brushes over genuine animal hair as I find the colour payoff to be far better, but these brushes can easily be mistaken for super soft goat hair.

I decided to take the plunge with a brush collection rather than individual brushes that they also have available. It’s hard to choose between the collections; each one as beautiful as the last, but my heart settled on the 4 Piece Face Contouring set (£26.00) as I was already on the search for a new sculpting brush. The collection is made up of four brushes:

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B01 Flat Top Buffer Brush – This is ideal for buffing in foundation, giving a flawless finish. The brush isn’t overly dense; which allows for my application to be slightly ‘sheered out’ rather than full on cake face. The coverage can be built up, but if you’re used to a Beauty Blender then this will seem like a lot of arm work.

B02 Large Domed Buffer Brush – This is described as the perfect powder-based blending brush, but in actual fact, I much prefer using this to blend out my cream contour. The brush blends out colour seamlessly and makes cream contouring a doddle.

C03 Tulip Powder Brush – A bit of a ‘do it all’ kinda brush. It’s perfect for highlighting the tops of your cheekbones, setting under your eyes with powder, powder contouring or bronzing. If I could be bothered to wash my brushes after every brush, I would probably use this brush for all 4. However, I’m lazy and I plan on getting multiples so for the time being this brush is my ‘go-to’ bronzing brush.

C04 Angled Blush Brush – The angle on this brush is perfect for adding a flush of colour onto my cheeks and temples. The brush picks up the right amount of colour and makes me feel all special when I use it (sad I know).

In my opinion these brushes perform just as good as they look. At £26.00 for the collection, £6.50 for a singular brush is a bloody bargain. The individual brushes they sell retail at around £9.00 each, so getting your hands on a collection works in your favour.

The pop of colour that these brushes add to my collection make them very easy to spot and an absolute joy to use. I worried that washing these brushes would strip some of their natural colour from the bristles, however this hasn’t been the case at all.

You can purchase the Spectrum Collection brushes directly from their website; which provides you with a 10% discount on your first order. However, there’s a slight charge for shipping. Beauty bay also offer the Spectrum Collection range and offer free shipping.

American Drugstore Makeup Haul

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Good ol’ Blighty. Who doesn’t love Britain? Well I could name a few, but understanding why is entirely different. What’s not to love? We have glamour, culture, history, David Beckham (swoon), amazing fashion and an insatiable thirst for tea. Britain is an amazing place to live, but there’s one category which falls short against all others. The one category that has made me question why I continue to live in the UK. The one category; which is at the forefront of my mind whenever I travel further west of the globe. No second guesses required here. It is of course, makeup.

Beauty enthusiasts, like me, will know how hard it can be to source those ‘must have’ beauty releases that our cousins across the pond get to enjoy freely. Extortionate shipping charges, ‘US postal addresses only’, hidden customs charges and not forgetting ‘please allow 15-21 days for international shipping’ all seem to be attached to anything which I have loved dearly. I’ve crossed hell and high water to get my grubby, makeup hoarding hands on the latest product release and that’s no exaggeration. Having once verbally threaten the post man for charging me a ridiculous £21.95 for customs charges whilst standing at my front door teasing the prospect of a new package in his hand, I realised very quickly – I have no shame.

It’s not hard to believe that Americans have a much wider choice in beauty products than us Brits. With Ulta, Ricky’s NYC, Naimie’s and Sephora (what I lovingly call ‘the motherland’) right at their doorstep, it’s a wonder how people manage to save money. Of course, their makeup indulgence doesn’t stop there. Their drugstore (high street) makeup surpasses ours by far. Sure, we have Boots and Superdrug (said in a toddler-like, unenthusiastic voice), but it seems as though those living across the ocean really are living the American dream.

During my mother’s travels over the summer, I decided to seize the opportunity by requesting a little drugstore makeup collection. Mostly because I didn’t want to pay a small mortgage on the shipping charges (I use Borderlinx for ‘US postal address only’ orders for anyone interested) and also because…well…I wanted it. With that said, I decided to share with you all the goodies that I got. A little disclaimer – the products mentioned below are not currently available for purchase in the UK from high steet retailers. I have placed links to websites under each product; which I have sourced for your convenience. The prices of each product vary, depending on the retailer, but I have also given you a rough estimation of cost with each product.

Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Wear-Boosting Setting Spray

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Described as a lightweight, translucent, oil-free mist; which boots the longevity and protects the colour of makeup. The travel-friendly bottle holds 100 ml of product; which goes quite a long way considering you only need a couple of spritzes. In comparison to the Maybelline Superstay 24h Setting Spray; which is readily available in the UK, it doesn’t hold onto makeup as well, but the finish is lovely. I love spritzing this on when I’ve gone a little too heavy on the powder and I want to take some of that away. It also works wonders at giving you the perfect balance between dewy and super-matte skin.

The Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Wear-Boosting Setting Spray was pretty hard to locate in the UK. Amazon has a listing for £14.40 (inc shipping); which isn’t extortionate, but if you do get a chance to purchase it from America then Ulta stock it as well. I paid $12.99 (approx £10.00); which is slightly cheaper than Amazon’s listing, but…well…that’s life.

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base

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After using Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Face Base for many years, I was intrigued to find a drugstore alternative. It’s received rave reviews from beauty gurus alike and L’Oreal don’t tend to get a lot of things wrong (said with slight hesitation) so I anticipated that this would be a hit.

Rather than a moisturiser, it’s used as a ‘filler’ between your skin and the foundation. Imagine, if you will, your foundation being a layer of wall paint. Applying this primer or ‘filler’ after your plaster (moisturiser) ensures that the paint glides over imperfections seamlessly – I deeply apologise for that analogy. I know nothing about DIY and I felt like I was in too deep to let it go. Basically – it minimises the look of large pores, fine lines and skin texture.

Although I still have my Bobbi Brown Face Base, I still reach for this primer on special occasions, because it really does what it says on the tin and it feels A-MA-ZING on the skin!

Very sell this primer at £14.99, although it has a different name and slightly altered packaging. Target also offer this primer for international delivery at £8.97, but I’m not sure of the delivery charges.

Hard Candy Take It Off Makeup Remover

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The UK once had a brief encounter with Hard Candy many moons ago. The brand never really took off and was classed as a ‘teenage’ brand by many. However, after watching a demonstration of this makeup remover on YouTube one day, I knew that I had to give it a go.

This makeup remover is like paint stripper for makeup (can’t seem to let that DIY stuff go can I?!). It promises to remove stubborn makeup like waterproof mascara and certainly does keep to its promise! The consistency is like a really thick cream; which doesn’t dry out your skin. Applying a dollop of this between your fingers and smearing all over your face takes off every last bit of heavy duty foundation, glitter and liquid lipstick imaginable. A simple swish of water removes the residue from your face, however, I would go in with another product for a second cleanse (you know how I feel about clean skin). The packaging does look quite cheap and tacky, but it’s not a deal breaker for me as it’s incredible at removing those full on ‘drag queen’ makeup looks that I love so much.

You can find this at Amazon for £12.99 or various Ebay Uk listings for around the same price.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro Glow Foundation

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I’ve waited with bated breath for the UK release of this foundation ever since L’Oreal announced their final stages of production on Instagram. Months have passed since its US release in the summer and still nothing (the UK are usually 3/4 months behind the US). I’ve not anticipated the arrival of a beauty product so much since the release of Becca’s Champagne Pop so when this popped up on my online shopping spree I did the most rational thing that I could do – I panicked and ordered two.

This foundation is life, plain and simple. Much like its predecessor, Infallible Matte Foundation, the packaging is a travel-friendly squeezey plastic tube. Don’t be fooled by the word plastic, this foundation is heavenly. It gives you a ‘glow from within’ rather than straight up dew. The lasting power is pretty strong. I can’t say that it will last 24 hours as I’ve never kept my makeup on for that long (sober), but it lasts a very long time considering it’s not a thick, matte formula.

I’m not sure if the UK will ever be so lucky to receive this foundation as it wouldn’t make sense for them to release it during the winter months. It’s the perfect summertime foundation (thanks to the spf), but regardless, if you ever get your hands on this…do not hesitate! The shade selection is aweful; apparntly L’Oreal believe that there’s only 12 skin tones in the world. However, you could do what I did and mix two shades together to get your perfect blend (mine were 207 and 208).

Unfortunately I could not find any links in the UK that were reasonably priced, but, again, Target have all 12 shades in stock (£9.79) and offer international delivery.

Maybelline Eyestudio Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon

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We all know and love the Color Tattoo Cream Eye Shadows that already exist on our shelves, but did you know they also come in a stick form? Neither did I! I’ve always found those little pots a right pain in the backside to dig into, particularly with long nails. However, Maybelline have taken their genius formulation and placed it in the form of a stick. The same great long-wearing shades, but a lot faster to use. So why have they kept their shadow pots on the market? Well the sticks, unfortunately, do not have near enough the same colour selection and they tend to dry out a lot faster. However, with that said, these eye crayons are the best thing since stuffed crust pizza and do a wonderful job at giving you a smokey eye or a simple wash of colour in a flash.

I opted for the colours Barely Beige, Grey Crystal, Bronze Truffle (my fave), Lilac Lust and Creamy Chocolate. Each of these colours gives me a perfectly wearable look, day or night, when I want instant glam. I still use a primer with these despite their claims as I have pretty pigmented eyelids. If you do not have that problem then you can forgo the primer.

The Maybelline Eyestudio Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayons are available for purchase from Ebay at around £7.71 with £4.63 for p&p.

Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Illuminate Primer

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I’ve been on the look out for an ‘every day’ primer for quite some time. The Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Illuminate Primer promises to blur, hydrate and illuminate your skin with the added benefit of spf 30.

The formula is quite thin, much like a light lotion, and depending on which one you go for (there are three variations), it promises to deliver solutions to minute skin problems. I opted for the illuminating primer as I wanted to give my skin a healthy glow rather than a super-matte finish. The lotion is a shade of muted peach/pink; which I suppose counteracts ‘dullness’. I can’t say that it does wonders for my skin, but it feels nice and provides you with that all important sun protection; which many of us forget to apply. I have fairly dry skin so a moisturising primer like this feels like a real treat.

Amazon have all three variations of Maybelline’s Master Prime Primer on their listings and this one can be picked up for £10.10 here.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss

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Sounds like a complete oxymoron. How could you possibly get a matte gloss? Well apparently you can…and you can get it at Target. L’Oreal’s Infallible range (can you tell I’m slightly obsessed?) has done it again with these incredible lip glosses. I’m not much of a lip gloss girl anymore. Gone are my days of using high-shine, wet-looking, fruit-scented glosses; pursing my lips in the hope that they won’t stick together. However, these lip glosses offer a little more than your traditional gloss.

Described as a highly pigmented, whipped matte gloss, it promises to deliver intense colour payoff with all day colour. It’s basically a really comfortable liquid lipstick with a velvety texture. The doe foot applicator is super comfortable on the lips and delivers opaque colour in one swipe. I picked up two in the colours Nude Allude and Statement Nude. The nude shades looked more versatile than the others and I didn’t want to waste my money on colours that I might not like. However, I may indulge in a few more colours in the near future.

Target offer these at £6.48 a piece in all ten colours. The UK currently stocks L’Oreal’s Infallible Mega glosses at Boots and Superdrug, but we’ve not seen the release of the matte glosses. The concept is genius and they’re perfect for the girl who likes the comfort of a lip gloss/lacquer, but wants the longevity of a liquid lipstick.

L’Oreal Infallible 24Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush

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I promise this is the last Infallible product (L’Oreal hit me up for some shares). No American beauty haul would be complete without a purchase of the L’Oreal Infallible 24Hr Eye Shadow in Amber Rush. Us Brits are no strangers to the Infallible eye shadow range. Their highly pigmented pots of deliciousness offer seriously long lasting power in an array of amazing colours. They’re spread all over the counters of our high street and are, in my opinion, one of the best drugstore shadows that you could use. However, it seems as though Americans have won it again as there are a few shades which have never been released in the UK. L’Oreal, without sounding like the unwanted step child of the beauty community, you need to get your act in order – favouritism will get you no where!

Amber Rush is a cool-toned, pink tinged copper with flecks of gold and a hint of sparkle; which makes it the most versatile semi-pressed pigment that I’ve ever seen. I’ve yet to encounter a skin-tone that wouldn’t suit this shade and to be honest, it works well as a wash of colour in the day and as a spotlight accent for an evening smokey eye.

The consistency is almost gel-like upon first swipe, but it settles as an absolutely gorgeous shadow upon the lid. Unlike many pigments, you get zero fallout and if you do…it works as a beautiful highlight for the cheeks!

Amber Rush can be purchased from Vitamin Grocer for £9.22.

E.L.F. Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder

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In actual fact, this product is readily available in the UK, but it was there…it was on sale…so…you get where I’m going with this.

Described as a light-diffusing powder; which promises to conceal dark circles and imperfections. The Vitamin C & K infused formula claims to restore and strengthen skin for a revitalised appearance. Not sure if I agree with all of that, but it works great at setting my concealer – the sole purpose of my purchase.

The brush that it comes with is utterly ridiculous in my eyes (pun intended). It’s super small, scratchy and all round crap so if you do get this powder stick to a sponge or a different brush. The powder itself is a pretty off-pink hued translucent powder with a thin yet silky texture. The pink colour counteracts any darkness around the eyes and it doesn’t settle into the fine lines.

This powder is absolute bargain at £4.50 for 1.2g and can be purchased directly from the Elf website.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer

Excuse the overly squashed tube in the image above, my primer looks like it had a rough ride over here. Side note – what’s with all these primers?! I didn’t realise that I bought so many!

This is another pink hued primer; which uses light diffusing technology to detract from skin imperfections. We’ve all seen the Instant Age Rewind concealers (which I absolutely love), but this primer was foreign to me.

I can’t say that it makes my imperfections vanish instantly, although, I don’t really have ageing or problematic skin. However, it works great at filling in the pores and provides a great base for my foundation. The longevity that it gives my foundation is amazing and rivals any of my high end primers.

You can purchase the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer from Amazon for £6.68. Be warned though, you only get 25ml in the tube and it runs out pretty quickly so stock up!

What are your suggestions for American makeup hauls? Comment below with suggestions of what I should try next!

Happy 1st Birthday! | What I’ve learnt In My First Year Of Blogging

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Wow – that year went quick and what a journey it’s been thus far! From Insta-worthy pics to Thursday blog posts, I’ve learnt a few things along the way. Am I an expert? Absolutely, positively not! I’m just a girl who has a passion and loves to share.

So where do I stand today? Well that passion for all things beauty and lifestyle is still burning bright (possibly more so today than when I first started). I’ve fallen head over heels for what I like to call ‘the three Bs’ – blogging, beauty and business. ReenaJB-eauty isn’t just a blog, it’s where I pour my heart, soul and deepest thoughts into.

Today, as I mark my 1st blogging birthday, I reflect on what I have discovered along the journey. It’s been tough that’s for sure. I defy anyone who things that blogging is just an easy going hobby. I’m a perfectionist at heart, so giving anything less than 200% is simply not good enough. However, being a novice to the beauty/blogging world meant that I needed to educate myself along the way. I’m certainly not done learning, I will never be done, but continuing to grow is what makes life beautiful. So until my next milestone, this is what I have learnt so far…

Opinions matter, but mine takes president

The internet is a scary place. Putting your mind, body and soul on the net opens the doors to an array of other voices. The world may be small, but there are a lot of opinions out there. Some may be in your favour and others may think you’re a complete twat. Some may completely rip you to shreds on your latest Instagram post, whilst others may be more ‘polite’ and ridicule you behind your back. Whatever the case – criticism must be taken with a pinch of salt in this industry. Developing a thick skin is vital in maintaining your sanity. It’s not something that comes straight away, it’s certainly something that I struggled with in the beginning. However, just because one person says you’re shit, doesn’t mean you need to hang up your blogging gloves (see what I did there? My sense of humour isn’t what it once was).

Life is beautiful, especiailly behind a lens

I’m by no means a professional photographer, but I’ve learnt how to appreciate life behind a camera lens. There’s beauty in everything – from a fallen leaf to the specs of glitter in a highlighter and it’s taken getting behind a camera to understand that. Granted, I’m slightly annoying with my equipment (I’m the obnoxious one you go to dinner with and will not touch a bite until I’ve gotten the perfect shot), but I am seriously dedicated!

I know what I know, and I’m sticking to it

Blogging has certainly come a long way over the years. It seems as though everyone and their mother have turned to the blogging world, but what sets them apart? It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘I’m a blogger and I’m going to talk about anything and everything just to get free stuff’. The truth is, I know nothing about gardening, I’m not a mummy blogger talking about my kid’s first sneeze, I have little knowledge about cooking (although I like to try) and I’m not an ‘OOTD’ fashion enthusiast (mostly because sweatpants don’t constitute as fashionable these days). I love the cosmetics industry and that’s what I’m into, so why talk about anything else? Sure, we can have many interests, but when you get into multiple categories, things turn messy and you start to begin to lose your credibility.

You don’t have to be the best, but just be honest

Speaking of credibility. I’ve learnt that honesty is the best policy when it comes to blogging. The bottom line is – if you talk about yourself as if the sun shines directly through your rear end, people won’t relate to you. Similarly, if you’re blogging about a product that you really have no time for your readers will see right through it. I can safely say that I’m honest in my blog posts (a little too honest sometimes). I tell you about my pimples, my grey hairs, my awkwardly crooked big toe and my God awful laugh. I tell you about the real me, in all my ‘boring-as-hell’ glory, because being ‘real’ is way more attractive.

Don’t be an asshole

Perhaps I should start censoring my blog – I didn’t realise how much I swear…oh well. So, I’ve learnt to not be an asshole – my work colleagues can argue against that statement. However, it’s easy to let a bit of recognition get to you. Lord knows the first time that I got over 100 likes on an Instagram picture, I looked at my husband in disgust when he asked me to take the rubbish out. How dare he?! Doesn’t he know how I am?! Clearly he did and I was the one in denial. Being an asshole is more bother than it’s worth and I’m far too fabulous to be called a bitch (I’ll work harder at the asshole thing).

Writers block is good

Writers block is as enjoyable as thrush (told you I like sharing). It’s an awful feeling staring directly into the pit of your laptop and not finding the right words to say. Writers block happens to the best of us, although, I often got confused between writers block and not being imaginative. I’ve bashed my head against the wall a few times, hoping that an idea would fall out, but nothing worked. That was until I discovered the art of inspiration. Be it a quick shopping trip, a conversation with a like-minded beauty enthusiast or even taking time out to do normal day to day things gives me that time away from my laptop and allows me to go back in with a fresh mind. Inspiration is everywhere, you just need a clear head to find it.

Everyone needs a support system

Having a good support system is essential in all aspects of your life. For me, my biggest support system are my Mum, my husband and a few good friends who cheer me on every step of the way. My circle isn’t huge, but that’s just the way that I like it. Those I chose to have around me encourage, guide and support me through not only my blogging career, but through every trial and tribulation in my life. I’m grateful to have a support system that encourages me to go on even when I find it hard and to tell me off when I spend too much money on makeup!

Wishing my ReenaJB-eauties a very happy 1st birthday and thank you all for sticking with me. xoxo

What Sleeping In Your Makeup Really Does To Your Skin

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Guilty or not guilty? – that is the question. How many times do we hear the cardinal rule of never sleeping with your makeup on? It’s ingrained in our minds from the moment we discover the true meaning of mascara, but how many of us actually adhere to the rule?

I’ve been guilty of it in the past (many many times over). Late nights, one too many strawberry daiquiris and just plain laziness all get in the way of self motivation. The last thing that I want to do after a heavy night out is spend precious snoozing time wiping off the slap. So much so that I actually justify leaving it on – ‘if I sleep really really still then maybe, just maybe my lipstick won’t end up half way up my forehead’. Of course, that never works out for me and I awake from my deep slumber looking like something that’s been run over (twice).

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So running a makeup wipe over your face before bed is a good thing right? – wrong! I spent many of my youthful years believing that a simple makeup wipe would suffice for my night time skincare routine. That, of course, was when I was young, dumb and full of…fun, but now that I’m old(er) my skin needs so much more! Makeup wipes do wonders in taking off the initial layer of makeup (the Neutrogena All In One Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are by far my favourite wipes ever), but in order to get the real nitty gritty out from your skin you need a proper cleansing routine (check out my nighttime skin care routine here).

Sounds like a lot of work? It is! I can’t tell you how jealous it makes me feel when my husband flops straight onto the bed after a late evening leaving me to perform nothing short of a mini surgery on my face before I can even think about going to bed. Perhaps jealous is a harsh word to use, but I’m definitely envious – some of us aren’t born naturally as beautiful as others (I’ll take my cheque in the post husband). However, what if I were to tell you what happens to your skin when you don’t take your makeup off at night? Would it change your perception on things? Well let’s take a look shall we?…

Enlarged pores and blackheads – The most obvious result of not cleansing your face at night. Makeup, along with daily dirt and grime can cause excessive build up of your skin’s natural oil glands. Excess oil, mixed with other substances cause your pores to clog making it difficult for the natural oil to flow freely. This, in turn, causes the pore itself to enlarge to allow for the additional oil, but with great difficulty. Barriers such as makeup cause the oil to become trapped (particularly around the nose) and therefore leads to issues such as blackheads.

Sensitive skin – Sleeping in your makeup causes a lock-down on your skin. Foundations, concealers and practically any form of makeup that you put on your face creates a barrier against natural elements. Sounds like a good thing, but in actual fact, you’re reducing the amount of oxygen and moisture that your skin would otherwise receive if you had no makeup on. Irritants are essentially ‘locked’ into the skin, exacerbating allergic reactions. Feed your skin, like you would with any other part of your body when you’re ill and your skin will love you for it.

Dryness – Much like my previous point, lack of moisture and oxygen leaves you with parched skin obviously. However, not taking your makeup off at night reduces your cell renewal process therefore creating a backlog of ‘dead’ skin. This dead skin is further exaggerated by foundations and other base makeup. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can all be avoided by cleansing your face in the correct manner before you go to bed.

Eyelash reduction – Read what you will of the latest mascara to take the makeup world by storm, but the bottom line is – it’s a chemical that you’re applying to your natural lashes. Weighty chemicals worn for a prolonged period of time on your lashes can cause a breakdown of the hair follicles and therefore reduce the amount of lashes that we naturally reproduce. Treating your lashes to a growth serum or even a natural oil will encourage growth and ensure that your lashes stay in place.

Eye irritation – We naturally rub our eyes without thought. Now imagine rubbing mascara, eyeliner, shadow, glitter and all that in between into your eyeball therefore aggravating irritation. Allergens in mascara have been associated with contact dermatitis as well as conjunctivitis. You may not see it straight away, but continuously sleeping in your eye makeup can cause serious infections that can put a damper on your next night out.

Premature ageing – I once heard that sleeping with your makeup on for just one night can cause your skin to age by three days! Times this by 365 and you could like several years older by the end of the year! Sounds scary, but premature ageing is massively exaggerated by lack of makeup removal at night. Pollutants stick to makeup, causing what is known as Oxidative stress where skin is attacked by harmful free radicals. These molecular compounds cause damage to various cellular structures in the skin therefore decreasing the production of collagen. Collagen is needed to provide a little plumpness to the skin and if your skin is lacking it then things start to turn south, leaving you with folds and creases that you’ve never seen before.

Dry lips – I’m a firm believer in applying copious amounts of lip salve/balm to my lips before bed time. Not only is it a treat for the lips, but the feeling of soft lips in the morning is wonderful. Chemicals in lipsticks, particularly liquid lipsticks reduce the amount of moisture in your lips leaving them parched. Not forgetting that left-over lipstick smeared across your face in the morning is never a good look.

Lacklustre skin – Dull skin is caused by ‘dead’ skin build up on the surface area of your face. Anything that deprives your skin of much needed oxygen and nutrients will result in a dull skin tone that can only be relieved through cell renewal. Regular exfoliation and the right nutrients can encourage cell renewal providing free blood flow throughout your skin and therefore allowing you to shine from within. Don’t forget that no matter how much highlighter you may wear, if your skin’s texture is not on point, it will never look good.

It’s fair to say that removing your makeup at night is essential for clean, beautiful and healthy skin. Someone pass me the soap!

Asavea Hair Straightening Brush | Review And First Impressions

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The struggle is real – the hair vs straightener struggle that is. Curly haired girls know it all too well. Spending valuable ‘getting ready’ time trying to maintain some sort of normality to an otherwise unruly head of hair. Hair straightening doesn’t take a genius to work out, but it takes the patience of a saint for someone like me whose hair slowly but surely starts to twist and turn moments after spending my best efforts trying to straighten it.

Hair straightening has come a long way since my day. Being a teen in the late 90s/early 2000s meant that poker-straight hair could only be achieved using extreme methods. Hair straighteners didn’t exist back then…or at least weren’t available to us mere mortals. Straight hair was simply achieved with a towel behind the hair and a clothing iron directly on top. Yes you read that correctly…I once straightened my hair using an iron! Of course, I knew it was an utterly ridiculous idea back then, but what could I do?! The Jennifer Aniston look was in and I was certainly too cool (or at least I thought I was) to pass up on a trend.

Thankfully beauty lovers of today need not succumb to such extremities in order to achieve a sleek mane. From Keratin treatments to steam pods, there are so many options available on the market, we’re now spoilt for choice. However, the beauty world has welcomed a revolutionary new product; which promises to surpass any hair straightening expectations without the hassle. Enter the hair straightening brush…

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With so many brands jumping onto the ‘hair straightening brush’ phenomenon, it was hard to pick just one to test out. I stumbled across the Asavea range whilst browsing the pages of Amazon (typical I know). There are hundreds of brands out there, all mimicking the same design, style and concept of each other. The difference between the brushes was not apparent, except for the DAFNI, the original OG and the one which all other hair straightening brushes acquire their design concept from. The DAFNI also comes with a hefty price tag of £140. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent more money on my GHDs, but considering that I have a mini collection of GHDs at home, it seemed almost pointless to invest that much money into something which will give me the same results (here’s hoping). The point of a hair straightening brush is that it delivers the same results as a straightener with less fuss, better transportation and a more affordable price tag. With that said, I decided upon one of the dupes to test out and saved my money for more important things in life (pizza and makeup).

So what is a hair straightening brush I hear you ask. Well it’s exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an electronically powered hair brush; which delivers intense heat through ceramic ‘bristles’ therefore eliminating the need for a hair straightener and brush/comb. They claim to reduce hair styling time dramatically and provide you with a perfectly sleek mane without any hassle. Genius idea if I do say so myself, but definitely not original. This concept has been around for some time. Perhaps not for poker-straightening, but hot brush rollers have been around for many years promising salon-esque blow drys with minimal effort. Unfortunately they never worked for me, perhaps more suitable for someone with a shorter do.

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The Asavea Straightening Brush is priced at roughly £35.00 (depending on what colour you go for). They come in a selection of black, white and baby pink. I opted for the white as I’m not a fan of baby pink. There are cheaper alternatives on the market, with prices starting from around £20.00, however, I decided to go for this one taking into consideration the positive reviews. The price point doesn’t break the bank and together with Amazon Prime, it means that you can enjoy your new tool the very next day without any delivery charges.

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The brush comes complete with a travel bag, swivel cord which rotates to 360 degrees and a nifty little velcro fastener to help tie up the cord when the brush is not in use. I was a little disappointed that the box didn’t include a heat proof glove; which I think is necessary particularly when attempting the smaller baby hairs around your hairline. I purchased a separate glove from Amazon costing £4.06 so it wasn’t a big deal, but it certainly would have been a nice touch if it had been included.

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The brush itself is fairly weighty. It’s heavier than a traditional GHD so it requires a bit of bicep muscle. The temperature can be adjusted much like other hair straightenerst. GHD’s traditionally operate at around 230 degrees Celsius, however the brand claims that optimal heat styling should be set at around 180 degrees to avoid hair damage. I have fairly thick hair so setting the temperature to 230 degrees on the Asavea brush seems ideal in order for it to work to its potential. The temperature is displayed on a LCD screen at the front of the brush and takes around 1 minute to reach its maximum peak.

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My biggest gripe with the brush is that the operational controls are located at the side of the handle. Fairly easy in concept (there’s a button to switch it on or off, a temperature increase and a temperature decrease button). When gripping the brush, I found that my fingers would constantly get in the way and adjust the temperature or even switch the brush off completely without my knowledge. I would have preferred the buttons to be located away from the handle grip to avoid such nuisance, but I suppose there wouldn’t be anywhere else on the brush to place them.

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The brush head itself feels fairly harsh against the scalp so a light hand is advised. The bristles are ceramic so definitely not soft like traditional brushes. I do appreciate the fact that the ‘bristles’ are fairly long; which means that I can run the brush against the top of my head without causing third degree burns to my scalp. If you have fairly thin hair, I would suggest, however, to avoid the scalp area completely to be safe.

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Regardless of the claims, I wouldn’t forgo a brush to detangle the hair before going in with the straightener. The heated plate and bristles do run the risk of frying your hair follicles if it is left too long on the hair or gets caught in a web of knots. Detangling your hair before use will not only make the process pain-free, but will also ensure that you have a head of hair to straighten next time once you’re done.

I noticed two alarming points when using the brush for the first time. One being the smell – a hybrid of burning plastic and rubber. Not the nice kind (I actually like the smell of rubber), but the kind that leaves a horrible lingering smell on your hair. The second was the mist of smoke coming from the brush head once it was heated. I’m no stranger to hot hair tools so it didn’t really bother me much, but it can be a cause for concern for those with already damaged or brittle hair.

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So the real question here is – does it actually work? Well as you can see from the results – it does! I was actually shocked myself when I saw how well the brush straightened and tamed my naturally frizzy hair. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s on par with GHDs, but it certainly gets the job done. The finish is slightly different to what you would get with a traditional straightener. Firstly, it leaves you with stupidly static hair and secondly, it gives you a little bounce and a little fluffiness that you wouldn’t get with a normal straightener. However, both are easily overcome with a smidgen of serum/hair oil on the ends of your hair.

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I wasn’t expecting to like the brush in all honesty. Many of the adverts that I’ve seen demonstrate the straightening brush on already tamed hair. I didn’t feel like it would benefit me in any way, but I was so wrong! I quite liked the finish it gave my hair and the style lasted a lot longer than normal. Detangling my hair before straightening meant that my styling time was less than 5 minutes; which is excellent for thick hair like mine. I would normally section off my hair in parts when using a traditional straightener, but the brush aspect meant that I could run the tool over my hair like a traditional brush and get into the parts of my hair that are quite hard to reach with a traditional straightener. Running the brush underneath as well as on top of the hair ensures that all sides of the hair strands are covered and eliminates the possibility of frizz.

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Many of the reviewers on Amazon felt that the brush tore at the hair strands therefore creating a collection of broken hair in the brush. I didn’t really experience much of this myself. As you can see from the image above, there was very little fall out and certainly no comparison to the kind of fall out I get when i use a traditional paddle brush. I will say, however, to wait until your brush is completely cool (about 10 minutes) until you go ahead and clean the brush. Sounds like an obvious statement to make, but it’s very easy to forget that you’re not using a normal hair brush (I have the burn marks to prove it).

Would I suggest this brush to anyone looking for a hair straightening technique? Yes I would. I found that the brush worked well with my difficult hair and virtually cut my styling time in half. I would say, however, that if you already have a perfectly good straightener and you’re comfortable with the process then you won’t need this straightener. I am (as we all know) a beauty hoarder and love anything gimmicky, so for me, this brush was a pleasant surprise. It won’t give you the versatility of a traditional hair straightener (curls,waves), but it does give you straight hair with a little oomph. It’s perfect for those looking to style their hair in a short space of time or for those looking for a great travel alternative. It fits snug into a toiletry bag and is perfect for on-the-go styling when you need a little refreshing. Overall, it’s a massive thumbs up from me and I will certainly be using my Asavea Straightening Brush on occasions to come.

You can purchase the Asavea Straightening Brush from Amazon following this link here.

Have you used a straightening brush? Comment below with your thoughts on them.