Thursday, 25 January 2018

Aldi Lacura Caviar Illumination Serum, 3 minute mask and Cuvee Royal Cream Mousse - the verdict


Aldi Lacura Caviar Skincare Review

Aldi wasn't exactly the kind of place I had in mind for finding my next skincare holy grail product. I mean, everyone loves a special buy, but I wasn't seriously expecting much from their skincare range. However, my interest was piqued by rave reviews, impressively luxe packaging and a lot of Lacura Caviar : La Prairie and Lacura Cuvee: La Mer comparisons being touted about. Aldi also recently were awarded cruelty free status for their cosmetics and cleaning products. This winning combination resulted in the haul you see before you.

Now. A disclaimer. I am not rich enough/on the spectacular PR lists for mega-glorious products like those produced by La Mer and La Prairie. On the other hand, I've spent a small fortune on skincare in my life, and have quite hard-to-please combination/oily, sensitive, acne prone skin. I'm also a huge fan of things that just work, regardless of price point. Make of that what you will.

The Lacura Caviar Cell Renewal 3 Minute Mask is supposedly Aldi's answer to La Prairie's Cellular 3 Minute Peel, which costs a magnificent £168. The packaging is (I'd imagine deliberately) very similar, with a brush and a hefty glass jar. The formula relies on papaya enzymes, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, as well as caviar extract (don't think about it too much, fish eggs, ick) to provide chemical exfoliation. This thing packs a punch. As a PTR Pumpkin Enzyme Mask devotee, I'm pretty used to seriously powerful masks these here days, and the Lacura Caviar mask has shot right up there to the weekly-use box. The smell is inoffensive and cosmeticky, and the texture is a thin cream. This won't set to a peel-off mask, just rinse it off after 3 minutes, but it is properly good. My skin is smooth, refined and exfoliated without being stripped of all moisture. I was genuinely amazed at how good this mask is.

Aldi Lacura Caviar Illumination Serum Concentrate Review

The Lacura Caviar Illumination Serum Concentrate is another beautifully packaged product (this time with a decent, airtight pump). The blurb on this is that each little suspended bead in the oil/paraben free serum contains ceramides, as well as Chrondrus Crispus extract/caviar extract (again, don't think too much about it) and Corallina - a seaweed with antioxidant properties which is also found in some Elemis skincare. The formula also contains humectants, other antioxidants and skincare compounds like decarboxy carnosine HCL - sounds terrifying, but basically a quick flick through Paula's Choice ingredients encyclopaedia of dreams shows that this stuff means business. The serum texture is absolutely feather-light and absorbs very quickly into the skin, leaving no sticky residue at all. If you are dry skinned, you may need a moisturiser on top of this serum. I cannot stress to you how much I love this product. I've been using it religiously, morning and night, for 3 weeks now, and my skin has honestly never looked better.

Aldi Cuvee Royal QT40 Intensive 24hr Cream MousseLast, but certainly not least, is the Lacura Cuvee Royal Intensive 24hr Cream Mousse. Again, super-luxe packaging, and this little tub comes with one of those annoying (but hygienic, I suppose) little spatula things that you find when you clear out your skincare cupboard. The texture is a light, smooth, creamy-mousse that doesn't overwhelm my oily skin at all. The formula contains grape seed extract, and again a highly Paula's Choice approved ingredients list.

I'm using the Cream Mousse as a night cream, and it is just lovely. Moisturising without smothering, really soothing and a joy to use, it is just as good, if not better, than my usual moisturisers.

Aldi, you've nailed it.



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Monday, 22 January 2018

Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texture Mist

Hair By Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texture Mist

Texture Mist? Isn't "texture" just what a whacking overdose of dry shampoo and a few days of benign neglect will do for you?

Well, yes. Yes it is. If you want to forgo the required general dilapidation required to get there, Sam McKnight seems to have basically bottled it. Friend to the fun-bun, the big braid, the effortless updo and the I'm-too-cool-for-a-hairbrush brigade, Cool Girl Texture Mist is a complete surprise winner in my styling product drawer.

Cool Girl Texture Mist really comes into its own for me when it comes to plaiting of any kind - a quick skoosh of this into the braid, a bit of teasing and hey, presto: enormous covetable bohemian braids. I can get that deliberately tousled, not dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards thing that I think people with more malleable locks find a bit easier to achieve. I don't find it remotely drying (and bear in mind, I have a bird's nest of twigs for hair) and doesn't leave hair crunchy at all.

Oh, and the best bit? This smells absolutely divine. A lush forest on a cool, misty Spring morning. It's botanical, fresh, light, and delicious. I'm not even kidding. I've had more people ask what my perfume is on Cool Girl days than any other day.


Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texture Mist

Some links above are affiliate links. All products mentioned bought with my own money. 

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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Bria Organics Organic Relief Repair Replenish Balm Review

Bria Organic Skincare Organic Balm Review

Winter and I are not friends. I have Raynaud's phenomenon (hello ghost fingers), eczema, dry lips and flaky, irritated skin. Nice. Despite this, I love a good hillwalk/ski/generally being outdoors. This combination basically means I spend from December to February smothered in emollients, wearing gloves, and moaning. What a treat!

Thankfully this year, for the dry skin side of things, Bria Organics Organic Balm is really doing the business.

This Relief Repair Replenish Balm is entirely naturally derived - with an incredibly short ingredients list. Borage oil is used for its moisturising properties, chickweed oil to soothe sore, inflamed skin, and beeswax to protect. This is fragrance free - and, in this case, that means it does have quite a distinctive (and not entirely pleasant) smell. It's definitely for needs-must, heavy duty use rather than as a delightfully scented body lotion, but when used in that category, it is a winner. I use this as a one-hit-wonder - cuticles, hands, elbows, dry patches, cracked heels - the works. I find it to be very effective, and minimally irritating on my sensitive skin.


The texture is thick and almost waxy, but it smoothes away into an easily absorbed oil very quickly. I find it's making a real difference to dry, sore patches (and to my husband's quality of life - complaining is down about 70%) and it's a brilliant barrier cream if you spend a lot of time outside in the cold over the Winter months.


This product was sent to me for my consideration. All views are, as ever, my own. Ensure you consult your doctor regarding medical skin complaints before using ointments - I am not a doctor!
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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation Review and Swatches


Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Review and Swatches
It's no secret that I'm a Dior makeup fan - their lipstick and Pump N Volume mascara were huge favourites of mine last year. Their newest foundation launched at Selfridges a couple of weeks ago and it had me at hello. Promising high pigment, lightweight, long lasting full coverage, Dior's Diorskin Forever Undercover 24h Wear Full Coverage Foundation has been on my face every makeup-wearing day since I bought it.

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation Review

Diorskin Forever Undercover is water-based foundation, and as such is feathery-light on the skin. The foundation is designed to provide exceptional coverage ("neo-camouflage", apparently) but still look natural and soft, and I think it does just that. Not by any means glowy, but not flat-matte, I think this will appeal to anyone who likes to look flawless and perfected. It's supposedly water-resistant (though I haven't run under a waterfall with it on for you, soz) and certainly has excellent wear - I get a no-problem 10-12 hours without any weird separation or patchiness. It is fairly transfer-resistant until about the 6 hour mark on my skin. I will say it gets significantly glowier throughout the day, but that happens with literally any foundation for me.

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation Swatch 021

The coverage is medium to full, and I see what they mean about pigment - this stuff will cover a multitude of night-before complexion sins. Despite that, it feels like nothing on the face, doesn't look like a mask, and doesn't settle in to my fine lines at all. If you like to look very put together without veering into drag, this will be right up your street. It is quite unlike most fuller coverage foundations around at the moment. If MAC Face and Body had babies with Armani Maestro - this would be the result.

The shade range is ok - Dior tends to cater better for lighter and rosier complexions overall - but 021 is a good match for my light olive skintone. I love the squeezy tube packaging!

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation Review

Overall? I love this. I just keep on reaching for it.
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Monday, 15 January 2018

Kevyn Aucoin The Making Faces Beauty Book Review and Swatches


Kevyn Aucoin The Making Faces Beauty Book Review and Swatches

THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: You're going to need this.

I'm not at all into holiday makeup sets, as I mentioned in my previous By Terry holiday palette post, but this year there seem to be some incredible exceptions to the usual holiday set rules. By and large, "limited edition holiday set" is code for "lower quality stuff we weren't sure what to do with so we lumped them in special packaging to flog to you". NOT in this case. If you can still find this, (at time of writing, this glorious palette is still available at Space NK) the Kevyn Aucoin Making Faces Beauty Book has got to be one of the best buys of 2017/18, and I urge you to have a look.

The Making Faces Beauty Book is a clever little magnetic trio of travel-friendly palettes, containing some of the finest makeup money can buy. Oh, and talking of money, considering an individual Pure Powder Glow in Dolline is £30.00, and you're getting two full size blush pans in this set - it's a good deal. The ingredients list for the powders do vary (only slightly for the blushes, more markedly for the highlight and bronzer) from the original single pan powders, so they are not exactly the same. Don't let that put you off though - these powders are still high quality, blendable, and beautiful. I am in love.

Kevyn Aucoin Making Faces Beauty BookKevyn Aucoin Making Faces Beauty Book

Everything is swatched below. You can see that the eyeshadows edge to the cooler side of neutral (which is refreshing) and whoever thought that sparkly blue was what this palette needed needs their head checked, but in general the colour scheme is beautifully wearable. I find that the colour scheme is geared towards lovely day looks, or looks to complement a bold lip. the dark "smoky" shades (black, brown and deep navy) are best used as a lash enhancing smudgy liner - they are a slightly drier formula to the main eyeshadow book. The formula has moderate pigmentation, feels like silk (except you, sparkly blue) and good 7 hour wear-time before creasing when used with a primer.
Kevyn Aucoin Making Faces Beauty Book Eyeshadow Swatches

The cheek shades are a joy. Terrifyingly bright in the pan, deliciously blendable and not at all pantomime dame on the cheek. They are satin-matte in finish and play well with every other face product I use (and that is a LOT of stuff, dear reader). I tend to mix the two (see the furthest right swatch below) as suggested by the palette insert, and it really does give the rosiest, freshest flush to the cheeks. The wear-time is at least 8 hours, and I absolutely love the formula. even the fairest skintones can definitely make use of these shades.

Kevyn Aucoin Making Faces Beauty Book Blush Swatches

The contour book is a winner for me too. I've heavily swatched all three shades below - the bronzer is warm and yellow-golden, so medium skintones and yellow undertones will love this one (not so much rosier, fairer cheeks though!). The highlight is the KA Candlelight powder, and the contour is the medium shade of the cult classic Sculpting Powder. Pigmentation is good to strong, so use a light hand. I use all three of these every day, and it literally takes me seconds to look sculpted, fresh, and well. A serious Winter pick-me-up in a palette.

Kevyn Aucoin Making Faces Beauty Book Contour Highlight Swatches

Overall, if you have a light to medium skintone, don't question it - this is the one!

Some links above are affiliate links. All products mentioned bought with my own money.

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Thursday, 11 January 2018

By Terry Preciosity Eye Designer Palette Review and Swatches


By Terry Preciosity Eye Designer Palette

This palette was one of those Christmas gift sets that, quite honestly, I didn't have massively high hopes for. Many brands don't produce their finest work for the holiday season. I was in the market for a grab-and-go everyday palette, and happened to find this one lurking in the Space NK sale - you can still find it currently at Net-a-Porter.

If you need (and by need, I mean even slightly interested in) a new, super easy, very wearable collection of shades, this is worth looking out for. The shadows are creamy, blendable, and gorgeous. They slick over the lid effortlessly - even the crinkliest of eyelids will love these shadows - and the longevity is good. I get about 7 hours' wear with a good primer. The pigmentation is medium-buildable - think Chanel eyeshadows. I find that this makes them very I-have-three-seconds-to-get-ready friendly. They can be built up into a smoky eye with little difficulty. The shimmer shades are sophisticated and not in any way over the top - they remind me a lot of a powder version of the incredible Ombre Blackstar formula.

By Terry Preciosity Eye Designer Palette Swatches

Ok, so the colour scheme isn't going to change your life forever - but isn't it pretty? warm to neutral, medium shades, with a lovely shimmery taupey-pink and a cool, smooth, satin-matte grey. I find this is wheedling its way into my travel bag with unrelenting frequency.

Have you tried By Terry eyeshadows? What did you think?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products mentioned bought with my own money.
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