Sunday, 26 January 2014

January 2014: Used, Abused & Reviewed.

Air Wick Colour Change Candle 'White Vanilla Bean': Picked this up in Semi Chem just after Christmas along with the sweetpea scent. They were both under 2 quid and yes the whole colour changing thing is a complete gimmick but the big kid in me enjoyed it. The scent throw isn't as good as more expensive candles but it filled my living room nicely and I love the frosted glass/white candle combo, looks really clean. I cleaned the glass out and now have my liners stored in it.
Repurchase? Yes.

Yankee Candle Medium Jar 'Clean Cotton': I've worked my way through so many Clean Cotton candles and wax tarts. Every home needs a bit of Clean Cotton, smells like freshly washed bed sheets.
Repurchase? Yes, once I get through a few more in my candle stash.

Liz Earle Brow Pencil 'Fair'*: The only brow pencil I use and even though my hair is dark, I use the fair option. I'm wanting to try 'dark' for nights out but worried it will be too red toned. Let me know if you've tried it. Full review here.
Repurchase? Already have.

Orla Kiely Geranium and Myrrh Mini Reed Diffuser and Candle*: I adored this set, it came in a gorgeous gift box (see here) which I'm now using to store wax tarts. They may be small but both lasted a lot longer than I expected and if kept in a small room, the scent fills it in minutes.
Repurchase? Yes, think I want to try the Basil & Mint scent next.

Britney Radiance Perfume: Certain Britney perfumes are my guilty pleasure but this one didn't really do it for me. Not sure why I bought it in the first place, was probably on sale in Boots. It's a bit nothing really and needs topped up constantly.
Repurchase? No.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Micellar Solution: Reviewed this and used it up back in 2012 (link) but somehow ended up with another bottle. It doesn't remove mascara instantly with one swipe of a cotton pad but it does remove it more easily than other micellar waters I've tried.
Repurchase? More than likely not, in my opinion it's overpriced. The L'Oreal micellar water is always on a BOGOF offer, I'll stick with that.

La Roche-Posay Toleraine Ultra: Loved this stuff! It's heaven for my sensitive skin but I've worked my way through all the samples I got while in Paris so now it's time to order a tube. Feels quite thick but sits well on the skin, even under make up and doesn't turn my t-zone into an oil slick.
Repurchase? Yes.

Hotel Chocolat Perfume Samples 'Revive' and 'Repose': Not sure how I feel about these. To me 'Repose' smells exactly like a perfume from AVON. Can't remember the name and I'm not sure if it's still available but they're identical and I'm sure the price difference is eye watering. 'Revive' is more my cuppa tea but even it smells similar to perfumes I've tried before.
Repurchase? More than likely not.

If you've tried 'Repose' and know the AVON perfume I'm talking about, let me know. It's driving me maaaad!

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*PR sample

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Fake A Healthy Face With BECCA Illuminate Wash Liquid Highlighter

For me, 2014 has been a good'un so far. I've gone from being a hermit who was stuck in a rut and couldn't be bothered with nights out, to actually having a social life and flying to other parts of the country on my own to meet up with certain friends who I don't see often enough but I've also been catching any and every bug there is. The latest I'm blaming on the air conditioning from a recent flight blowing a whole lotta nasty around the place. Seriously, as soon as I stepped off the plane I felt like death. Does this happen to anyone else? As I type this I have tissue stuffed up both nostrils (TMI?) a bright red hooter, bloodshot, watery, droopy eyes and a complexion which would rival that of corpse.There's one recent beauty purchase that has came to the rescue though - Becca Illuminate Wash Liquid Highlighter in the shade Moonlit

BECCA is a pricey brand but if you head over to Fragrance Direct you'll be able to bag yourself a few BECCA bargains. If you're placing an order, definitely add this to your basket if it hasn't sold out. As a rule, I don't like liquid highlighters. There are a few I love but generally I always go for powders. The texture of IWLH can only be described as perfect, not runny in the slightest nor is it thick and gunky. It's definitely a liquid highlighter as the name suggests but it feels very creamy which is why I think it works so well. It can be worn under foundation (light-medium coverage) as well as over. The brush applicator allows you to apply product exactly where you want it, for me this is cheekbones and down my nose then I pat it into my skin with my finger tips. When I think of BECCA I think of natural, barely there makeup and was worried this would completely disappear once worked into the skin but I'm really happy with how it looks. It does contain shimmer and is obvious but not in an obnoxious way. The colour looks quite solid in the swatch but once you start patting it into the skin the colour breaks up and you're left with more of a sheen and teeny tiny gorgeous flecks of champagne shimmer that catch the light. 

Anyone with dull skin will love this, it instantly perks up the skin without leaving any residue behind and on me it lasts until I remove it.

Have you grabbed any BECCA bargains yet?

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TIGI S Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray Heat Defender

Want to protect your hair from heat damage, keep frizz at bay and have sleek, glossy locks that smell great without weighing down every strand with a handful different products? Of course you do so read on.

My hair can take a lot of different products at once as long as I don't apply them too near the roots and I kinda enjoy the whole hair care routine ritual that takes place everytime I wash my hair but I know a lot of  people steer clear from thermal protectants and styling products as they can sometimes overload the hair and lank locks are never something we aim for. TIGI S Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray Heat Defender* offers protection from heat styling and daily UV rays but because the texture is very fine, light and almost oily it helps tame frizz and adds a gorgeous healthy looking shine to the hair. For me it acts as a heat protector, frizz serum and a shine spray. I even use it on the ends of my hair after styling once my hair is fully dry to seal any split ends then run whats left on my hands over the rest of my hair. The formula contains vitamins A and E to condition and nourish the hair and protect hair from enviromental damage.

The scent of this heat spray is going to be the decider for most people as it's very sweet which I know everyone isn't a fan of but if you're like me and don't mind your hair smelling like a bag of Pick 'n' Mix, it won't be an issue. It would be great for travel too as it's easily decanted into a travel sized spray bottle and cuts down on the bulk of hair products you'll need to bring.

What heat spray do you use?
Have you tried this one from TIGI?

TIGI S Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray Heat Defender, RRP: 16.50 but only 9.22 from

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*PR sample

Lately I've Been Lovin' #14

I've been slacking on the monthly favourites front lately. Truthfully I just don't switch my products up often enough to have a brand new batch of goodies to list monthly and when I like something, I stick with it. So, instead of Lately I've Been Lovin' making a monthly appearance on the blog, it'll be whenever I find 5 or more products that get a thumbs up from me.

L'Oreal Super Liner Black Lacquer: Needed a new black liquid liner, headed straight to L'Oreal and I'm pleased to say I wasn't disappointed. If glossy black liner is your thing, look no further. The sponge tipped applicator isn't too thick or too thin, it allows you to get a neat line in the thickness you desire, easily. Pigmentation is great, you get a solid black line without having to go over and over the same spot, and it lasts untill you soak it off.

Urban Decay NAKED Palette: Still my favourite eye shadow palette of all time but this month instead of being a lazy sod and sweeping just one shade (usually Sin) across my lid, I've been getting involved with the whole crease/outer v shabang and this palette has everything I need.

NEW CID I-Perfection Colour Adjust Foundation*: My perfect foundation for nights out. It doesn't look matte, flat or cakey yet doesn't need to be set with powder. Doesn't go patchy and lasts for hours. You can see my full review here.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush 'Coral': Possibly the prettiest blush I own and the fact it's laden with gorgeous golden shimmer means I can skip the highlighter. Definitely worth a swatch next time you're near a Bobbi Brown counter but it might be wise to keep your purse shut, tight. I dare you, daaaaare you to try leaving the counter without 'Coral' in your possession. Swatches and Review here.

Dior Addict Lip Polish Spin-On Lacquer Smoothing Glow '002 Fresh Expert': AKA the lip gloss boss. Expensive for a gloss but worth every penny in my opinion. If you read my (link) you probably knew it's make an appearance in this months favourites.

What have you been loving this month?

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*PR sample

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Shopping My Stash #19

The post Christmas make up shake up!

Becca Rejuvenating Primer: I very rarely use primers but still feel the need to buy a new one every now and then. Haven't tried this one from Becca yet but my hopes are high and a review will follow. Let me know if you've tried it.

MAC Paint Pot 'Rubenesque': Back in June I bought two Paint Pots from MAC - Rubenesque and Painterly (link) Painterly is something I use almost daily but Rubenesque always seems to slip through the net. Even though it's a gorgeous colour and so easy to wear, it doesn't get much love from me.

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara: The original Grow Luscious mascara is my current fave (if your lashes struggle to hold a curl, try it!) but in a recent 3 for 2 Boots offer I picked up this plumping version to try. I'm so hooked on the original though and haven't gave this one enough of a chance. I'll report back soon and let you know how they compare.

Maybelline The Eraser Perfect & Cover Concealer: Concealer, something I can NEVER skip. Garnier's Tinted Roll On is my go-to under eye concealer. It's just so easy to apply and even though the coverage may not be the best, it barely creases and lasts all day on me. I need to mix things up a bit though and get my concealers on rotation so Maybelline's offering is first on my hit list. You can see my review here.

Amie Skincare Bright Eyes Make Up Remover*: I've just finished off another bottle of micellar water so Amie Bright Eye's is next in line. I think I tried it out once or twice but from what I remember it wasn't as effective at removing mascara as others. Maybe not the best for anyone who wears waterproof mascara.

Have you tried any of these products?

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Blush Love: Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush 'Coral 3'

Before I get on to my thoughts on this Shimmer Blush from Bobbi Brown can someone clear up the shade name for me? On the box and on the back of the blush packaging it says 'Coral 3' yet on the Bobbi Brown site and all other stockists I can only find 'Coral' listed in the Shimmer Blush shades. It's definitely real, I walked into Debenhams and bought it. Just not sure what the craic is with the name.

Name aside, I'm in blush heaven! This is my first dabble with Bobbi Brown blush and I'm already adding more to my ever growing wish list. My photos don't do this beauty any justice at all, it really needs to be seen in person and swatched. If you can do that and walk away from the counter blush-less, you're a stronger woman than I'll ever be. The texture/pigmentation is very similar to Urban Decay eye shadows (my fave) the swatch above hasn't been built up, that right thuuuuur is one swipe! Don't be put off by that though, applied with a fluffy brush (I've been using my Zoeva 106 Powder Brush) it looks incredibly natural and adds the most gorgeous glow thanks to the golden shimmer. I'm not sure how well the colour would show up on dark skintones, might work as more of a highlighter than a blush but I've tried it with some fake tan and when I'm my natural pale self, it looks great both ways. With a tan the golden sheen is more obvious which I prefer, it illuminates without looking glittery. For me it's the perfect day to night blush.

What are your thoughts on Bobbi Brown blushers?
Have you tried this shade?

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush, 19 quid directly from Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag

Daniella from Famous In Japan  recently came up with a tag, one we can all relate to. The Blogger Made Me Buy It, the tag for every beauty blog reader and their depleting bank balance.

1: Who are your most influential bloggers? Who are the ones you really rely on for reviews and swatches? 
This is an easy one, I didn't even need to think twice! Back in the day, years before starting up my own blog and before I even knew there was a beauty community out there, I stumbled across Laura from Buy Now Blog Later who back then had a YouTube channel. Her taste in beauty products is second to none and I love how her make up is always neutral and classic, she always looks polished. Seriously, this girl could use mud as bronzer and I'd do the same. For swatches and reviews I always turn to The Sunday Girl and Fleur De Force. Their reviews are always informative and swatches are accurate.

2: Do you buy a product soley as a result from one review from your favourite bloggers, or do you look for more reviews from others?
Only if it's something I've been considering buying. Usually I'll read more than one review to find out why a product did or didn't work for someone and get a better idea if it'll work for me.

3: What's your most favourite item that you've ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
Off the top of my head I would have to say MAC Paint Pot in 'Painterly' If you have noticeable veins or any discolouration on your lids, you'll never want to be without this which looks like the most boring pot of nothingness.

4: What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
During one of my swaps with Lina she asked for Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 Shortly after receiving it she sent it back to me as she couldn't stand it but didn't want to chuck it in the bin. I instantly agreed with her after the first sniff, it's baaaad. Fragrance is a personal thing and I hate saying something smells bad, it's obviously going to offend people who wear it but I'm sorry, I wanted to claw my own skin off to get rid of the scent.

5: Name 5 products you bought recently as a result of blogs.

6: Have you ever given in to blogger hype? If so, which hype?
Many times - Hydraluron, La Roche-Posay Serozinc, the original NAKED Palette, REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, Stila 'Kitten'Caudalie Beauty Elixir, MAC All That Glitters. I could go on for hours.

7: Have you ever avoided blogger hype? If so, which hype?
Like many, I'm currently avoiding the NAKED 3 palette. I don't wear eyeshadow often enough to justify another eyeshadow purchase. I also avoid the hype that surrounds every new MAC collection. Not that I have to make an effort to avoid, most of the products look a bit samey now and the collections are so frequent, it gets old, fast.

8: Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review?
I almost always read reviews first but lately I've bought a few things blind. The most recent being the Dior Addict Lip Polish Spin-On Lacquer Smoothing Glow. Stupid name, brilliant product.

I tag ClaudiaSandraJenny and Tania along with everyone who reads this post. :)

I'm off to Liverpool for the weekend so I'll catch up with all your blogs when I get home.

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Dark Circles Eye Cream

For the last 5+ weeks (day and night) I've been trying out the Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brightening Dark Circles Eye Cream* which claims to target dark circles under the eye area with a proven anti dark circle peptide.

 Eye cream is one product I don't think will ever make it on to my Holy Grail list as not only do I have horrendous dark circles but I also have bags, fine lines and puffiness, and am yet to find one product that tackles all. Straight away I have to say I haven't noticed much, if any difference in the dark circle department which is disappointing especially after reading a few reviews on how it makes dark circles disappear after 3 weeks but all isn't lost - it hydrates my fine lines making them invisible and doesn't make the puffiness any worse. It sits well under concealer, keeping the under eye area hydrated all day without feeling heavy or greasy. The texture is very light which at first made me question how moisturising it would be but I needn't have worried. Even though the texture is light a little goes a long way and is easy to spread around the eye contour. It's also worth mentioning it absorbs quickly meaning concealer can be applied straight away instead of having to wait around for a few minutes before cracking on with your make up.

As far as affordable eye creams go, it's a good'un and one I would recommend but not for it's intended purpose. If your dark circles aren't too bad, you may have more luck with it than I did.

Have you tried this?
What's your favourite eye cream?

Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Dark Circles Eye Cream, 12.99 (currently 8.66) from Boots

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*PR sample

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub

2013 was the year where I was well and truly converted to Soap & Glory body scrubs. I've already declared my love for The Breakfast Scrub (link) at the same time I bought that I also bought the Sugar Crush version but haven't had a chance to share my thoughts on it, until now.

I love both scrubs, they both do the same thing - exfoliate, but for me they serve different purposes. The formulation of Sugar Crush is much looser so therefor isn't as intense as The Breakfast Scrub and can be used more often in the shower. If you exfoliate several times a week and want something that gets the job done without being too harsh, I would recommend Sugar Crush, however, If you're a bit lazy when it comes to exfoliating and don't do it very often or want a scrub that will get rid of every trace of lizard pre fake tanning then The Breakfast Scrub is the way to go. Neither leave any residue on the skin and I haven't found them to be drying either but the skin on my body isn't overly dry to start with.

If you love sweet scents then you're in for a treat, Sugar Crush is a smashed brown sugar scrub with lime. Sounds like a weird combo, one I was certain I wouldn't like but I love it! Do I prefer one scrub over the other? Yes, The Breakfast Scrub gets my vote. The dense texture means not much falls off the skin and disappears down the drain, I find it to be more exfoliating and I prefer the scent.

Which scrub from Soap & Glory is your favourite?

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub, 8 quid from Boots

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

L'Oreal Glam Shine Balmy Gloss '915 Die For Guava'

Another lip crayon? Go on then.

Whilst looking for a new liquid liner on the Superdrug website and wanting to take advantage of the usual 3 for 2 offer, I added this little gem to my basket. I haven't tried all the dupes for the original Chubby Stick from Clinique so can't compare but what I can tell you is I prefer L'Oreal's offering over the much hyped Revlon Kissable Balm Stains.

L'Oreal Glam Shine Balmy Glosses aren't anything new, just about every affordable high street brand has jumped on that bandwagon. Essentially they're tinted balms in crayon form with pigmentation, texture and finish varying from brand to brand. After reading a few reviews on the L'Oreal version I was expecting the pigmentation to be poor. I'm not sure how the other 5 shades in the range fare but Die For Guava is strong enough to offer full coverage but can also be applied lightly for a barely there look. The formula is non drying, wears off evenly, keeps lips feeling hydrated and is easy to apply. Thanks to the twist-up packaging there's no need for sharpening and as promised, the finish is glossy but not overly so. The only downside is wear time. You will need to reapply often but I still think it's an absolute bargain even at full price (under 7 quid) but chances are you'll find it on offer. 

Die For Guava looks great when worn with only mascara and makes an easy daytime lip product but it's also great for nights out paired with winged liner and lashings of mascara. :) And for those who aren't a fan of minty lip products, there's no obvious scent.

What other shades from the Glam Shine Balmy Gloss range should I try?

L'Oreal Glam Shine Balmy Gloss, 6.99 from Boots and currently only 4.99 from Superdrug

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Operation Fix Face FT Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads and Balance Me Radiance Face Oil

Over Christmas and the start of the New year my skin was terrible! I wasn't feeling well which usually results in the fine lines under my eye's being more apparent but this time I developed what can only be described as a beard of dry skin. My whole face was dry but I was able to keep it in order to a certain degree, halfway down my cheeks to my chin though, I looked like lizard girl. The usual mixture of removing cleanser with a flannel, using a mechanical scrub and my beloved Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage aka a chemical exfoliator wasn't doing anything to help. Even after cleansing with a balm my face felt tight and the flaky skin was still there. I couldn't use foundation without it looking 10x worse. The only skin bases I could use were extremely moisturising BB creams and tinted moisturisers that would usually slide off my face. Hydrating masks did nothing to help but there are two things that did..

Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads*: These are AHA and BHA multifruit acid based pads. They exfoliate, encourage cell turnover, tighten pores, reduce lines and have a firming effect on the skin. The pot contains 60 pads which are drenched in product, each pad has a textured side which I use first after cleansing and toning then turn over to the smooth side as the pad is drying out. There's an instant tingling sensation, I found the tingling to be more intense in areas where my skin was very dehydrated but once the tingling stops you're left with skin that doesn't feel stripped, it feels as if I've applied a light hydrating serum. I use one pad each night and the main difference I've noticed is how bright my skin looks in the morning. It's one of those products that makes your skin look like you've applied a gradual tanner to the face but the product is completely colourless. The texture of my skin has also improved, my lizard face is on it's way out and it's an extra step in my PM skincare routine that I really look forward to. If you like to avoid parabens, you'll be pleased to hear that the exfoliating pads are paraben free but they are quite costly. If purchased from Space N.K they'll set you back an eye watering 65 quid! Bought directly from Radical Skincare, the Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads are a slightly easier to swallow 45 quid plus free P&P and free samples. Not sure why there's such a big difference in price but I know where I'll be ordering my next pads from.

Balance Me Radiance Face Oil: A face oil is a face oil, or so I thought. This 100% natural oil has now taken the place of my night time moisturiser plus I apply it to the lower half of my face if I'm in the house and don't really need to go out anywhere. It's available in a 30ml bottle, 30 quid, or a  handy 10ml rollerball, 15 quid directly from Balance Me. This is magic in a bottle for anyone with dry skin, not only does it hydrate and plump the skin, it loosens and dissolves dry patches (TMI?) when you take your time and really work it into the skin. I leave it for around an hour then apply more and keep doing this throughout the day. 

The skin on my face is far from fixed but with the help of the dream team it's getting there.

Do you have any recommendations for dry skin fixes?
Have you tried either of these products?

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*PR sample

Monday, 6 January 2014

L'Oreal Nails a Porter 'Drama Queen'

Over the last month or so I've been dabbling with falsies, something I haven't done since I let me nails grow 6-ish years ago. My experience with falsies back then wasn't great and to be honest I wasn't expecting much to have changed since then but it really has. The quality is better, wear time far exceeds what's stated on the box and the amount of designs/different nail shapes we can get our hands on now is insane! The House Of Holland 'Dotty' nails definitely weren't my cuppa tea where shape was concerned but wear time was fantastic! They lasted 10 days as claimed and I have no doubt they would have lasted another 10 days if I hadn't removed them. I got the itch to try more but in a shape and design I was comfortable with.

L'Oreal Nails a Porter in 'Drama Queen' were an obvious choice for me. I love black and gold and whilst the shape is a bit more on the almond side than I would have liked, they've nailed the width. I didn't have to file any to fit my narrow thumbs, the only thing I had to do was file down the length slightly on my texting thumb. They were easy to apply and come with sticky gel tabs which are a lot kinder on nails than regular glue yet still feel really secure, I'm not worried about them pinging off at all. Some of my nail beds are narrow but at the same time they're long which makes my natural nails look much longer than they really are which brings me to one teeny con - The nails are short. This won't be a problem for most people but if like me you have long nails beds you're going to have to file your natural nails down quite far which can make stubby fingers like mine look stubbier. 

All 5 designs in the L'Oreal Nails a Porter range are Parisian inspired and claim to last upto 5 days. I'll report back on wear time.

EDIT: The nails on both thumbs and index fingers came off within a day. If you like the Nails a Porter designs but want to wear them for longer than one night I would recommend using nail glue instead of the glue pads.

L'Oreal Nails a Porter, 7.99 available from Superdrug

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Mother Of All Glosses: Dior Addict Lip Polish Spin-On Lacquer Smoothing Glow

First of all, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are having a great start to the new year. I've been away from my blog for the last couple of weeks, I was busy with Christmas, caught a bug, ended up with tonsillitis then just as it was going away something else kicked in. I really wasn't in the mood for blogging so rather than bust out some posts for the sake of it I decided to have a wee break. Everytime I get sick my skin suffers but I don't think it's ever been as bad as it has over the last few weeks so expect a post in the next couple of days on a few products which have helped clear up the lizard like skin on my face.

Dior Addict Lip Polish Spin-On Lacquer Smoothing Glow is available in 3 shades on the Debenhams site. I went for '002 Fresh Expert' as it looked the pinkest of the bunch but as the pigmentation isn't OTT I'm tempted to pick up the other two, that's how much I love it. Whilst the pigmentation isn't enough to offer bold opaque colour, it's enough to tone down my natural lip colour which is very red. It's not very often I'll buy blind now, I usually read lots of reviews when I'm thinking about buying a product but for Christmas one of my friends gave me a Debenhams gift card and for once I had no idea what I wanted to buy. The one thing that caught my eye was this gloss from Dior. Now, I'm not sure if it's new but I hadn't heard of it before or read any reviews but in this case buying blind paid off. 

This is without a doubt the best gloss I've ever tried, I even love the applicator which rolls over the lips as you apply the gloss. The gloss itself is very lacquer like, the shine it adds to the lips is unreal and unlike most glosses, it lasts a long time. Even when the shine has worn off you're still left with a really comfortable balmy feeling. Dior claim that after 15 days of use, the firming and moisturising agent within the formula helps to smooth fine lines and redefine lips with lasting results. I can't say if this is true but the formula is gorgeous, my lips instantly look fuller thanks to the lacquer finish plus they look and feel smooth. I haven't been a gloss girl in a long. long time but this beauty has reignited my interest and I'm now dying to try more from Dior.

If you've been thinking about buying this gorgeous gloss, I say go for it!

Have you tried this?

Dior Addict Lip Polish Spin-On Lacquer Smoothing Glow 22.50 from Debenhams

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