This year I've been very quiet on the social front, with no regrets. I'm learning a lot and getting everything needed in order, which feels so good. I'm losing people but gaining strength in the loss. Being more in tune with my mind and the people I allow into it, is important. I decided to write this post on letting people go and growing as a person to be more positive.

“I pick my friends like I pick my fruit.”
-Being selective in who I befriend. Picks friends of good quality, as you normally would with fruits.
Here’s the deal, in life there are things we can choose and things we can’t. Family being a thing we can’t and friends being the things we can. In short, friends are the family we choose for ourselves, we spend maybe as much or more time with them than family & more information. Over the past few years’ people have come and gone, they go as quickly as they come because the friendships weren’t built on anything solid. As I get older I realise I don’t need a squad of people around or to talk too. I rarely try with people so when I do, it’s a sign of me making an effort but as soon as someone disrespects and disregards all I’ve done for them – I’M GONE! People eventually show their true colours, whether it takes 5 days, 5 months or 5 years. It might sound as if I just friend & dump people but it’s not like that. I speak to people but there has to be boundaries before you let someone in completely. Earn each other’s trust, unfortunately some can earn your trust and still do you dirty cos anyone can. Although how many times can you give someone a chance if they don’t change? Why repeat the past if you want the future to change?
"Cut ‘em out. If they aren’t right."
-If someone isn't doing right by you, let them go.
Our brains are one of the most powerful but misused organs we have. It can be taken for granted, our thoughts manifest into things and that’s why I’ve not felt guilty or sad that I’ve cut people out for misusing me because their negativity isn’t to be focused on, focusing leads to manifesting – that negative downfall isn’t what I want or need in my life. What other people think of me is none of my business. If you don’t want something in your life STOP thinking about it, focusing on it & allowing your emotions to be involved in the creation of it. Direct your attention away from the thing that you do not want in your life. In order to find peace, you must manifest positivity in all you do ... the universe gives you what you give it. Trying to get my mind right is a continuous battlefield and when I come out of the other side of the battle, I always have my truest ones there. Sometimes I wonder why cos when I’m going through my battles whether alone or with them there, I often ponder, why do they stick it out, be patient, wait for me to come around? But it’s probably because there’s understanding, a solidarity and a mutual ‘I want my friend to win in life!” But the winning starts with your own mind – winners don’t see themselves losing. Unfortunately, with every one person trying to win, there are more not wanting to see you win.
“Accept Yourself as You Are, Even When Others Don’t”.
-When you learn to accept yourself, you're likely to find that others will accept you too.
At times, myself and others can find solace in the fact that others like who we are – through good or bad but sometimes we can be pretty hard on ourselves and start to pick on the things that others may have commented on about our personality, maybe even our looks. Focusing on the negative does nothing but pollute our way of thinking of ourselves, so when we look at the reflection of ourselves our mind is continuously telling us all the negatives. We become what we think we are. You can't have a negative attitude towards yourself and see yourself make something positive out of your life. Positivity with the mind, body & soul starts and ends with ourselves. It’s nice to be complimented but the everlasting compliment is from ourselves, instead we should believe that we’re unique, irreplaceable, beautiful, smart, blessed & much more even if others do not see that. Kill them negative thoughts with kindness & remember what other's think of me isn't my business!
"Grow from The Dirt They Left You In."
-Like a lotus that grows out of muddy water; stand above it pure and unsoiled.
But no matter what, try to keep positive towards others who did you wrong or not. Send them positive vibes because they need them just as much as you. Grow and be better, staying positive takes a lot of work & we've got to remember to be good to ourselves as well as others. No matter what's happened to you, it's trying to find the positives in your life & not focusing on the negatives. Even if it's waking up and writing down at least 5 things you are grateful for in a notebook, look for the good. I saw this journal by Natalie Fox I want to get - think that'll help immensely.

How do you stay positive & deal with negativity?

illustrations from Regards Coupables

Thoughts are Things.

One of my favourite Embryolisse products has been the Embryolisse Hydra-Mat Emulsion for it's lightweight but moisturising elements, amazing for a makeup base but I've not ventured deeply into the Embryolisse range as much as I'd like too. Here are two products from their Artist Secret range, help to combat tired, skin and eyes. Normally for me water and sleep is enough but sometimes even the most faithful to the two need a pick me up now and again...
Radiant Eye
These two products are from the Artist Secret range, Radiant Eye Radiant Eye is good for all eye types but what I found to be a good selling point, is the constant coolness that this soft stick cream provides. It helps reduce the visible effects of fatigue, by using an invisible firming film. The cooling effect relieves the congestion of tissue to reduce puffiness, soothing the eyes. It can be used anytime of the day, best first thing in the morning. I like to use it if my eyes feel tired and need a little wake up or when I've removed my makeup to moisturise and soothe my eyes and gently rub in the remainder, there's no residue and absorbs effortlessly. It's easier to have when travelling or out because it's small and keeps cool (btw it can be put into a fridge for an extra cool sensation) opposed to carry an eye mask around.

Smooth Radiant Complexion
If you suffer from skin that's lacking hydration & suffering from fatigue, this can go hand in hand with the radiant eye stick. The aim for this cream is to give an instant plumper, smoother, feel & appearance. Hyaluronic acid is a moisturiser based on biotechnology that saturates the skin with water. "the oat extracted natural sugars leave a tensor and lifting film over the face; the skin is smoothed out, fine lines are erased, the features are rested, allowing a better capture of the light." It also contains mother-of-pearl pigments to give a natural blur to give the skin an enlightening appearance with radiance. It can also be used to diminish puffy eyes and dark circles. The addition of vitamin E protects the skin from UV, pollution and fatigue. It's a gel-cream, quite cooling also, a little pump spreads to a lot of product. It even gives this gold glistening appearance, which is what I put down to make it look radiant. I like. I had a late night and early morning and this was needed for my skin to feel more alive, I don't favour my skin after a lack of sleep. It looks dull but I found this and a combination of oils on top make for a good combination. I was quite surprised. It makes a good smooth base for makeup and my skin looked brighter, can't say it really helped the dark circles which I would've loved to see.

How do you combat fatigued skin?

Purchase: Embryolisse Smooth Radiant Complexion, Embryolisse Radiant Eye



Samples.

Embryolisse Smooth Radiant Complexion & Radiant Eye.

ASOS Power Beauty Player
Benefit Exclusive Contouring Kit, this 5 piece kit has a 33% discount against the total cost of what you would pay if you purchased these individually. Included in the contouring set are 2 boi-ing concealer in shades 01 (light) & 02 (light/medium), Dandelion shy beam liquid highlighter a nude pink matte radiance. Hoola Bronzer, matte bronzing powder & the POREfessional PRO Balm, sample size.

I've tried two of these products previously before such as the Hoola Bronzer & the POREfessional, which I like for places that my pores are slightly larger, that being my nose and my cheeks sometimes. Hoola bronzer is becoming it's own cult, I like it for a subtle contour on the forehead and cheekbones. The boi-ing concealer is very creamy, needs warmer up using the fingertips for better application so that it glides on. Benefit say it's crease resistant and conceals dark circles & blemishes, the two shades unfortunately are too light for me and I think there should be more kit options with different concealer options as it only makes it useful for those with lighter skin tones. I like the Dandelion Shy Beam, I've got other Benefit highlighters that are on the bronze / gold side this being on the nude pink side, gives it a softer appearance on the skin.

I used all of the products but the boi-ing concealer in the look above. For a subtle, daily daytime look.

On the nails Roxanne Campbell - Nude Tights

Do you use Benefit?

Purchase: Benefit ASOS Contouring Kit - Exclusive £43


Samples.

Benefit ASOS Exclusive Contouring Kit


Roxanne Campbell is a fashion manicurist. She's worked on New York & London Fashion Week, models such as Winnie Harlow, Jourdan Dunn & so many others in her credentials. Roxanne has now branched into launching her own nail lacquers - Roxanne Campbell Nail Lacquer.

" Dedicated to perfection, Roxanne draws on fashion icons and season trends, transforming her vision into a unique range of colours, some subtle, others flamboyant; each designed to enhance, inspire and uplift.....Using the finest quality nail lacquer, Roxanne’s customised formula provides a smooth, even application and a high gloss finish. "

I love a white & nude nail polish. Perfect for every occasion for me, so I requested: Nude Tights & Snow Fight.

Please keep in mind, I'm no nail professional I'm just giving my views & if you've have feedback please do let me know!

It comes in a 12ml bottle, made in the UK & it's cruelty free - erm, winner! The formula with this nail lacquer is thick and it doesn't drip or run very easily which to me means less product is used or wasted. This was my first experience with both, I applied my nail strengthener as always and allowed to dry before shaking the bottle vigorously and applying my first coat, as I've already mentioned it's quite thick so I did remove some excess product on the bottle rim before applying. I continued for both hands and went back for the second coat and I found 2 coats was all I needed as it's pretty opaque but as it dried I noticed bubbling. This happened with both Nude Tights & Snow Fight.
So round 2, I decided to leave it to dry and cover my nails as much as I could with the first coat and it didn't matter if it was streaky as the second coat would finish that off. Which is what happened. I did shake the bottle in between both hands and coats and I got a happy nail lacquer finish. I'm going to swatch Nude Tights - which I love for a future nail post. I think it's the perfect nude especially for women of colour.

The collection launches August 1st for £10 a bottle.

What are you currently wearing on your nails?

Purchase: Roxanne Campbell Nail Lacquer

Samples.

Roxanne Campbell Nail Lacquer

I rarely now blowdry my hair because sometimes I feel my hair benefits without the heat but occasionally my nan likes her hair to be blowdried sometimes so the perfect opportunity to try this primer. It's an innovative formula that works to strengthen & shield from breakage while allowing you to use heat up to 230°C while deliver

They say it's good for all hair types, dry, thick or coarse. My nan's hair is quite similar to mine but it's quite fine, so the less product the better but it needs moisturiser. It's a non greasy cream, quite lightweight and it easily absorbs into the hair and I sectioned it as I apply to get an even distribution of cream. Before I blowdry I always apply hair grease too so the hair doesn't dry out while I apply heat, with the hair being slightly damp, about 80% before I started the process of the cream & styling...I didn't find that it made the hair sticky or dried out the hair to the crispy state at all which I don't like about these blowdry primers that help speed up the drying process. They also state that it'll help prolong the blowdry outcome of your hair so you'll get voluminous 2nd day hair.

I would recommend this if you like to have something to help protect the hair while helping it speed up the drying process.

Do you use any hair primers or speed dry products?

Purchase: Redken Pillow Proof Blowdry Primer Cream



Samples.

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry

The sun is finally shining and with the weather set to be good for the rest of the week, skin is in and out. Keeping the skin glowing and looking healthy by the sun is always a nice option but in the long term maybe not the best solution. I've got 4 products as a suggestion to get a glow and keep you cool! With the debate over DHA lately but with a lot of jurors still out, I've got you covered if you prefer DHA or that you'd like to avoid the ingredient (think the paraben debate)...

Hand Chemistry Glow Oil, this is DHA free, you may know that DHA is a sunless tanning agent that is safer for the skin but this Glow Oil is different and contains none of that instead it's developed it's own a raspberry-based keto-sugar, it develops a gradual golden glow to the skin that's meant to be more healthy looking than a deep bronzed tan from Hawaii. This is a dry oil, with invisible golden prisms within the formula that needs shaking up. This is to be used up to twice daily and then cut back to once daily to maintain the look or desire appearance. It can be mixed with moisturiser if you don't like the feel of a dry oil but I found that give it at least 5 minutes and it starts to absorb well into the skin. I find it smells similar to it's Retin-Oil, a nice watermelon smell which makes it better although the next day I started to smell that faint biscuit smell, which I was disappointed with, I don't know if I applied too much of the oil or this is what happens. On day 2 the smell had disappeared as I didn't top it up the night before. I notice very subtle change to my skin, I apply this to my arms, legs and chest. I don't see any shimmer after application or in the sun but I used it on my nan who's about 3-4 shades darker than me and she was left with a golden glow to her arms that gradually faded. As the days go by, there's a nice colour appearing and it's fuss free, non-drying and no mess! On the 2nd day maybe it was the combination of the sun and the product but people were giving me compliments on how good my skin was glowing.

Image below was on the first day applying the dry oil on my inner arm.
Hylamide Glow Radiance Booster, another DHA free product with Keto-Sugar, Reactive Glutathione, Melanin Peptides and Radiance Peptides...This is another gradual tanner for the face please be aware of that, it's not a wash off product, this'll build up a glow for the face in 2 - 3 days so if you do use this please remember to take it down onto your neck so you're not left with any sudden lines on your jawline. It helps lackluster, uneven tone and dull skin all in one. Since I've been using it, there is no jaundice look which I worry about. It has an ingredient I've never heard of before but as soon as I see the word Melanin - I'm down. Melanin Hexapeptides is the first ever peptide technology to target melanocyte function (to produce and distribute melanin ), that'll encourage a glowing, natural radiant colour. I don't know how I'm going to do without either of these products now...

If you prefer DHA products Sukin Sunless Bronzing Gel is a vegan product, this can be applied daily to clean skin for a gradual glow. I like that this product hasn't got a bad smell which is what puts me off with products included within the ingredients are Australian lemon myrtle and lime oils which helps the scent within this bronzing gel. The active bronzing ingredient is dihydroxyacetone (Stainers) more commonly know as DHA, this is the most commonly used ingredient because you don't need the sun to activate it. DHA, is a colourless 3-carbon sugar, when applied to the skin it causes a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the surface cells of the skin, thus producing a darkening effect. Within this product you'll find NO parabens, sulphates, synthetic fragrances, animal derivatives, harsh detergents, propylene glycol, artificial colours, triethanolamine, mineral oils & EDTA. Making it a brilliant choice for people to get the benefit without harming the body inside and out, it's good for all skin types and for face and body.

Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner, is another Sulphate and Paraben Free product and also alcohol free. Alcohol free toners are what we all should use, takes me back to American Psycho when Patrick Bateman says to never use one with alcohol because it dries out and ages the skin or to quote "with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older." I like to use this to spray throughout the day also because it's very light mist, smells fresh and uplifting and I put that down to the Rosewater & German Chamomile. Chamomile is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant, making it good for those who suffering from redness or irritated skin. Chamomile does a good job of keeping our natural oils from over or under producing making the skin balanced. Because it has emollient properties it helps the skin to maintain moisture while working perfectly with natural oil production of the skin to perform at high levels.


What would you pick? Are you fussed about DHA in your sunless tanning products?

Samples.

Sun Free Glow.

I've read and heard all the buzz about green tea before & I'm sure you have too but the one time I tried green tea, I wasn't keen on the taste, at all! Which is a bummer being that I enjoy most herbal teas. I was contacted by Dragonfly Tea and in the email they mentioned how most find it bitter which had me feeling not so isolated with that thought but they gave some reasons as to why :

• The reason that most people believe green tea is bitter is because more often than not the leaves are poor quality (true of much green tea available here in the UK). The bitterness is then masked by adding overpowering flavours to make it more palatable.
• Even the greatest green tea may taste bitter if brewed for too long or with water that is too hot. Boiling water can scald the delicate green leaves making the tea taste bitter, so try letting the kettle cool for a couple of minutes before pouring.
• Truly quality green teas correctly brewed are remarkable; fresh, smooth and delicately complex with a full aroma and naturally fragrant sweetness.
• In true Dragonfly Tea spirit, instead of disguising a poor quality green tea with overpowering flavours, they decided to use the very highest quality, premium green teas and subtly infuse and enhance them with delicious complimentary notes. Dragonfly Tea spent over a year developing their new green teas and they have tasted dozens of different versions along the way.

What's the big deal?
Bioactive compounds in tea leaves have a large amount of nutrients but a lot of these do not make it into the final drink. Flavonoids and catechins are powerful antioxidants, just like in our skincare it can help reduce free radicals from forming in the body, protecting cells and molecules from any damage...which means slowing down aging and diseases.

EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is a powerful antioxidant it's been used to treat various diseases & possibly the reason as to why is has such amazing medicinal properties.

Green tea has been touted as an aide for weight loss, which was one reason I wanted to get into regular green tea drinking as it helps you to lose body fat. Lowers the chances of strokes, heart disease, type 2 diabetes. It kills bacteria meaning that your dental health will improve and lower risk of infections. In the long term it can help protect the brain, lowering risk of alzheimer's & parkinson's. In the short term it keeps you more awake & smarter thanks to the caffeine that it contains (not as much as coffee) because it's a stimulant.

...I was sent 3 boxes, different flavours Pure Green, Citrus Green and Berry Green. Pleasantly surprised to see the Citrus Green it was the first I tried and I liked that you got that hint of lemon through and the few ingredients of 'green tea, natural lemon flavour and other natural flavours, natural oil of bergamot' blended well together that it didn't take me long to finish a cup. So I decided to true the Pure Green & you can guess the ingredients are just that 'Pure green tea', the taste was smooth, certainly no bitterness which was a relief, not as refreshing as the citrus as that had more flavour but this has converted me to this brand's green tea. Berry Green has a blend of 'Green tea, rooibos green tea, natural flavour, natural vanilla extract', I'd say this really carries a berry smell & a fruity taste.

I was pleasantly surprised, it can take a brand to just change my mind and help me to like something and thankfully Dragonfly Tea has done that, so I'm grateful to them for that & I hope with the addition of green tea alongside my water addiction I'm going to see long term benefits.


Do you drink green tea?



Purchase: Dragonfly Tea - Green Tea collection £1.65 for 20 bags


Samples.

Dragonfly Tea - Green Tea.

Create Your Look From The Hair Down
When Summer swings round, it brings familiarity with hair & make-up. Festival looks, brighter lipstick, facial stickers and beach waves, dip dye ends and balayage. TONI&GUY are encouraging you to create your look from the hair down and with these ultimate holiday essentials. I personally don't use a lot of their products because not everything my hair loves and it's pretty contented as am I.

I did like to see the Radiating Tropical Elixir, I mentioned it last year in a previous TONI&GUY post, it smells intoxicating, it's light and great to just rub in the hands and run through the hair - especially while straight. Gives it a shine boost while protecting hair from UV rays, perfect all year round especially during the hotter months. Dry shampoo, I've started to get use too, being natural, everyday isn't wash day so I find if the hair needs any oil or sweat absorbed from the hair and needs a little refresh here and there - dry shampoo is a good option. A few spritzes here and there, don't harm nobody & certainly doesn't harm me but I don't rely on it.

Sea Salt Texturising Spray, always an option to get hair beach wave ready, it'll hold the waves for that carefree beach look. Honestly I don't ever recall using sea salt in my hair, I've always felt it'll dry out my hair plus with it being a mix of waves and curls already seems pretty pointless. I do get concerned when I see sodium chloride in ingredients as it's basically table salt, I did read... "when it is placed in a liquid, it dissociates into charged sodium and chlorine particles. It's probably in hair products to attract other ions and pull them out of the hair." I love the way it smells, reminds me of hair salon.

TONI&GUY have teamed up with Superdrug to design a beautiful & bright tote bag that you get free when you purchase two TONI&GUY products until 28th July.

Have you used TONI&GUY products before?

Purchase: TONI&GUY at Superdrug.com


Samples.

TONI&GUY Create Your Look From The Hair Down.

Just like I don't support testing on animals as much as I can, I won't be supporting businesses/business owners who are outwardly racist or bash women in the past or now. I loved Jeffree Star Cosmetics and have purchased so many liquid lipsticks from the brand but after the mess the other month - that's no more. I've read how people said you've go to separate the brand and the person behind it. Fuck that! Be more consciously aware, in a “satirical” video that was done 10 years ago, keep in mind he's a young adult, who understands racism and the fact that doing any video with someone in blackface isn't funny and highly offensive but it's ok doing something for shock value...racism for shock value, cos it's funny to joke about black lives, black skin was and is still hunted like a sport by white supremacists, black face / minstrels is racist and all the pain that lies behind that, he's aware of what he's saying and doing, no young & dumb BS. If you've got respect, shock value to make fun of others wouldn't even come to mind. Social media from even then got people showing their asses. In the video he said how they should send over their sister because she's only good to mop the floors and that he'd throw battery acid on a black woman to make her skin lighter so it'll match with her foundation.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."

Why would I want to give money to someone like that? With everything going on being more aware who is getting your coins should be a priority, not giving a misogynoir, elitist, racist, coins to live lavishly. He feels he's done a lot for women of colour in beauty, it takes a lot more than making shades friendly to be 'doing a lot'. Forget the fact that his assistant or whoever is black, that don't mean shit. He not only bashes black women by calling them degrading names & threatening to beat them up ( Just because you wear makeup as a male doesn't make you a woman...) but women in general, it's more than a race issue, it's a sisterhood where's the stand if you fall for a lipstick shade, highlighter & bonus, the IG like? For that, I'm going to use what I've purchased but won't be giving the brand another coin or others with questionable policies. Like I try my utmost not to purchase from brands who treat animals like they have no feelings and aren't worth the life they were given for my own personal use the same with businesses like JS Cosmetics.

How do you personally feel about brands with questionable owners? Are you able to separate brand from the brand owner?


NOTE: You may see certain brands featured because it's a 'use up, what I've got' situation.

The Jeffree Star Controversy.

I was surprised by the amount of contents in this box - 8! #TVK33 was packed with hearty and delicious snacks and treats...

I liked seeing Virtue Lemon Ice Tea, within the box. I love lemons and this is low in calories of only 63 per can. No refined sugar and nothing artificial. Which is also good for diabetics, my nan drank some and said she could of easily "backed off two of dem!" - exact quote. It had a slight taste of lemon, not enough for me as I like mine very acidic.

Some of my favourites Yushoi Soy and Balsamic Vinegar Snapea Rice Snacks, they remind of of chipsticks. I love the combination and it's probably the slight taste of vinegar that I can taste that's capturing me. Healthy alternative.

Angelic Gluten Free Chocolate Coconut & Oat Cake Slices, are baked with cocoa, dates, coconut and oats. It's soft but quite chewy possibly down to the contents of the dates. This is a good source of fibre and energy making them a good snack inbetween meals.

Not a fan of olives, I know there's different kindsand these black olives, Oloves Chilli and Garlic Black Olives, do have an interesting seasoned combination. I had to admit the sauce was pretty nice To taste.

Unfortunately the Conscious Chocolate Goju & Coconut Mini Bar was already melting as it come out the packet but was still edible, literally was a mini snack, in the mouth and gone, rich cacao and goji berries and coconut chips combination.

Does anyone know how much I have been missing cola bottles, literally a few weeks ago I mentioned them, I spoke and the universe provided or well TVK did, these Goody Good Stuff Cola Breeze Sweets, is gelatine, lactose and gluten free but you'd never know, these didn't last long.

Harpers Bizarre The Raspberry Kind Candle, the brands one of my favourites. Inexpensive and smell good enough to eat, I wouldn't suggest it, if you do get hungry. This is an exclusive, fresh & fruity scent to TVK courtesy of Harpers Bizarre. I have two other tins I purchased from the brand still waiting to be burned but sometimes they smell too good, it's nice to be able to have an uplifting sniff once in awhile.

Fry's Family Food, I had the chance to be introduced to them not long ago, read about it here. So seeing this Plants of Fire BBQ Recipe Book included this month, is awesome, filled with amazing ideas and beautiful photography. No vegan is left out at any BBQ this Summer.

What would you try?

Purchase: TheVeganKind

Samples.

TheVeganKind #33

So far this year I’ve been lucky enough to start trying other oils in my skincare routine that I’ve never used before but have heard of, another two that’s on the list are Cacay & Moringa Oil. I'm going to focus on Cacay Oil & Moringa today... We use oils as a natural solution to skin and hair problems, dryness, hyperpigmentation, redness, irritation, acne and aging, if you're a regular here, oils for me are everything.

Cacay Anti-Aging Facial Oil.
botanical name - caryodendron orinocense Karst

Cold pressed Cacay oil from wild Cacay nuts that are harvested in the Colombian jungle from the Cacay Tree. With 50% more Vitamin E and twice the amount of Linoleic Acid than Argan Oil, 3 times more Retinol than Rose Hip Oil it’s quickly becoming the new IT Oil on the scene.

FACT: In ancient times Amazonian villagers used Cacay oil to treat burns, skin irritations and other injuries. Studies have shown it indeed does help with cuts and wounds.

Linoleic acid aka omega-6 fatty acid makes for a lighter oil, thinner consistency. Skin that is more sensitive and acne prone should seek out oils high in Linoleic Acid. This is because acne-prone skin tends to have low percentage of linoleic acid and it’s believed because of this, acne occurs. Although Cacay is suitable for all skin types. It’s often used in soaps for its emollient properties, meaning it provides long lasting hydration for the skin. Protects the skin against irritation and dehydration by repairing the hydrolipidic layer which is the layer that covers the entire skin.

For my people with sun spots (UV induced hyperpigmentation) it’s been said that it may help reverse the effect nothing is concrete but worth a shot, wonder if that works for just hyperpigmentation in general? It’s pretty high up in there with the Vitamin E which is meant to be amazing for pigmentation and I always include it in my own oil blends.

It’s almost like a dry oil, the consistency is thin and it absorbs into the skin, pretty fast to the point it can be used under make-up and I don’t have to wait for it to sink in. Another good point, there’s hardly any smell to it, any scent goes undetected to my nose. Another little goes a long way, it’s a dropper bottle and I feel one squeeze is enough for me. It’s known for its anti-aging properties as it smooths and improved visible appearance of wrinkles, while improving texture, firmness and elasticity of skin and restoring skins radiance. I like to use this daily in the morning, there’s no fuss, little to use and my skin stays hydrated. I don’t suffer from dry skin but it’ll be good to see come the colder months how this holds up for a barrier. Now don’t look to this for just the skin, it can be used on the hair too, Linoleic acid is something we naturally have but a lack of it means our hair suffers creating dry hair and loss. Putting this directly onto the hair means that it’s just what it needs preventing split ends and repairing damage…dare I say more?

Purchase: Ooh! Oils of Heaven Natural Cacay Anti-Aging Face Oil 30ml

Moringa Anti-Oxidant Face Oil.
botanical name - Moringa oleifera

This comes from the seeds of the Drumstick tree, I've not used this one as regularly as the Cacay oil. As the name says it's an antioxidant which help slow down the effects of aging and by stopping the effects of free radicals on the sun but it has other benefits also. Plus I'm looking forward to using this one more as it targets acne, blackheads and dark spots, a little bit similar to Cacay. If your skin is looking dull & tired the Moringa gives the skin a natural glow by fighting the ill effects of pollution. Rich in Vitamin C that'll help any post-acne marks, sun damage, pigmentation to fade. It's also a disinfectant, so it aides in cleaning and treating wounds & also can be an exfoliant by gently riding your skin of dead skin cells. Moringa is also a good hot oil treatment as it nourishes & strengthens hair roots, diminishes dandruff and soothes scalp irritations. Whereas I feel Cacay is more a dry oil, this leaves behind more of a film of moisture behind but not greasy as it absorbs nicely almost silky to touch and it gives a nice sheen, so I can see how over time it'll give dull skin a glow.

I'm going to probably start rotating this with the Cacay oil and mixing with essential oils for other home treatments. Oils are powerful and most have similar properties, although research is needed because some benefit skin/hair problems more than others.


Purchase: Ooh! - Oils of Heaven Organic Moringa Anti-Oxidant Face Oil

Samples.

Ooh! Oils of Heaven Cacay & Moringa Oil.

...I guess I'm an exfoliating nut.

Alerted to a website called Trouva & their beauty section, I took an interest in this Meraki Scrub. The no frills packaging designed by Scandinavian aesthetics and free of Parabens, Colorants, Endocrine disrupting substances. I found interesting as endocrine is a group of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things, having certain ingredients in products can cause disruption and unfortunate long term affects on our body.

Why Walnuts?
Within the ingredients it does have ground walnuts, which have hard shells but they give the smoothest results on skin as they're ground down to fine particles, sterilized and packaged up. You can always see the light brown particles within the scrub being that they are very hard they don't break down within the scrub. With them being so hard they'll give an effective exfoliation it is noted that this scrub isn't safe or to be used on the face and I believe it's due to the fact the walnuts are hard and the face and especially the delicate eye area it'll break down the skin.

Walnut Scrub
When someone strokes my skin - not a regular thing - I like that they compliment that it's smooth and soft. I put it down to dedicated exfoliation & natural homemade moisturiser. Now you should know by now I love a coffee scrub, wooooo! *ric flair voice* but it's not ideal for everyday because it's a dampen skin, rub down skin, let it dry for about 10 minutes, rinse. So...need something that's more that on the go.

Ingredients : Aqua, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Juglans Regia Shell Powder, Sodium Hydroxide, C12-15 Pareth-12, Sodium PCA, Sodium Levulinate, Potassium Sorbate, Farnesol, Limonen/d-Limonene, Linalool.

Enter...Meraki Linen Dew Walnut Scrub with it's slight minty aroma. I noticed it has Juglans Regia Shell Powder which is a soft walnut shell powder,that they've immersed in the fatty acid from coconut oil. The texture is a watery gel consistency, once on the skin it's gliding and helping o move those walnut shell particles. Bottom line, it's effective, doesn't dry out the skin, keeps it a little hydrated most of these ingredients are natural making it all good for the skin. It's £15.50 for 250ml, has a bit of a price tag on it but then I purchase coffee scrubs for around the same cost.


Tried a walnut scrub before?

Purchase: Meraki Linen Dew Walnut Scrub

Sample.

Meraki Linen Dew Walnut Scrub

I feel finding good makeup brushes are key, I have various brushes from different brands and now I've been trying out these cruelty free brush kits from L.A.B.2 which means " Live And Breathe Beauty". The 3 different kits available: I'm Turning Pro, Strokes Of Genius & Lash Out Loud.
Packaging
A black sleek box with a neon coral inner, inside the I'm Turning Pro & Strokes Of Genius kit sits a foam block the same colour scheme as the packaging that holds the brushes - once the packaging is opened you can lift the foam block out that's glued down and have a holder if necessary. I've kept them in the block, quite liked it. On the back of the packaging you'll notice you can cut out a "How To Use" guide for each brush available, I think that's great for novices. It also notes on the box that it's been made with love, cruelty free & vegan & hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested!
I'm Turning Pro
A 4 piece set of makeup brushes, created to cover your everyday, makeup application needs. Made from FiberLuxe™ Technology specially designed with the softest and highest quality filaments. While using these I've experienced, no fall out. When washing them, no dye has run out of the brushes

Contour Brush - medium to high density angled brush, the brush head is a small to medium size meaning that you can get a more precise contour instead of a larger brush that'll cover such a huge area, this'll allow more control and room to build up.

Foundation Brush - this is a flat tapered flat brush, with medium density, soft bristles, I experienced no scratching or bristle fall out. As it's quite a small head it's ideal for using on & around the nose and eyes but I like to use this more for heavy concealing under the eyes with a liquid concealer, the bristles are quite flexible allowing long strokes but for foundation I found short, quick strokes over the face gives a light, natural appearance. I used this with cream foundation and loved it. I don't like to have lots of foundation on and found that even using just the brush with the foundation swiped on once was enough coverage and it was flawless to use. Once applied using the brush again to spread the foundation on and blend it out was all I needed to do. I don't see why others are giving it a bad rep for foundation use.

Eyeshadow Brush - I found this was good to pack on eyeshadow, it's stiff enough to picks up enough product to use on the lid space stiff. It's not too stiff of an e/s brush, it leaves room for movement to sweep the eyeshadow across, I liked to use this to blend out colour, it fits into those areas on my eyes perfectly and the bristles work a lot better.

Buffing Brush - a high density brush, it's a good size for a buffing brush, it's not as large as other buffing brushes I've got, when buffing in any powder like setting powder it allows better application on smaller faces and smaller areas on the face. I've not tried it with foundation but this could be a multi-use brush.

Strokes Of Genius

Eyeshadow Brush – A very different e/s brush to the one above. More dense, little slimmer and picks up more product to pat onto the lid.

Crease Brush – dome shaped brush, makes it easier to do a defined crease, it's a medium size so it's good if you've got the crease for it. It picks up product well, I tap off excess before going into the crease.

Pointed Eyeliner Brush – small, slim tipped brush. Good for liner, giving small strokes but I'll tell you what I do really like to use it for, detailed lipstick outline, it's small enough for that, to do a precision lip line.

Brow & Liner Brush – It's dense and a little stiff but has slight movement, it picks up a fair bit of product. I generally use a pencil for my brows now but if I need a brush that's going to give me a fair amount of product such as with a powder or pomade, I'd use this. Even for an eyeliner it works well especially for a thick wing.

Brow & Lash Groomer – What I do like about this especially is that the spoolie is on the end, I didn't expect that when I took it out of the foam. It's your standard brow and lash groomer.

Conclusion

So far with all these brushes, I've not experienced any cons. The brushes all follow the same bristle consistency with the touch, being soft on the face and eyes. The fibres on these bristles have a micro-studded surface, mimicking the exterior cuticle of the finest natural hair. They say that due to the fiber technology it''ll not lose shape, breakdown or degrade, basically they're built to last and keep shape. The metal used to clamp the bristles into place is of the highest quality, non corrosive, resistant to damage. Also it's double crimped to prevent the bristles shedding and detaching - makes sense as to why I've not had any shedding as of yet. The rubber matte black handle, allows good gripping and also displays the kit name and brush type so you'll always know what collection it goes from & what you can use the brush for. Making these good brushes for gifts, personal and professional use.

Lash Out Loud
12 disposable mascara wands, 3 of each in bright bold colours. I think this is really good to have brushes of different types available for different reasons : CURLING. LENGTHENING. VOLUMIZING. DEFINING.. It gives you the opportunity to use your favourite mascara with different results thanks to a brush. I've found these online for £4.99 These are to be used once and then disposed of. I think these are a good idea, it could get costly and might not be for everyone. Make-up artists would probably love to have these in our kits but cheaper & more bulk options might be found elsewhere.

Heard of L.A.B.2 before? What do you think of the brushes?


Purchase at BeautyMART: I'm Turning PRO £20 , Stroke Of Genius £17 & Lash Out Loud

Samples.

L.A.B.2 Cruelty Free & Vegan Brush Kits.

For the beauty conscious millennials - Winky Lux is a relative new American cosmetics brand whose beauty products are exclusive to ASOS overhere, WL celebrated its launch on October 19th, 2015, so the brands in it's infancy but by the looks of it, will make ripples throughout the cosmetic industry. I was sent their Matte Lip Velour Lipstick in the shade Voodoo and being partial to black lips, it's a welcomed addition. The lipstick casing, is small with a gold rounded bottom & silver cap, perfect size for any small bag for a touch up during the day. The best part of the brand is that it's cruelty free. Looking through the other available shades, I'm falling back in love and want for lipsticks, for the best part of a couple of years it's mostly been liquid lipsticks for me but these shades are interesting and I appreciate how ASOS has grouped them, gives you a chance to look through the swatches of similar colours, reds + pinks, mermaid, nudes & purple + darks. I would say there's something to suit everyone.

I read how every month Winky Lux will release one shade per month - sounds like an beauty advent calendar, type of thing but they have said that limited edition shades once gone, will not be coming back. So, their like rare Pokémon. Each lipstick has it's own hashtag - unique. But don't worry a sticker will be on each lipstick bullet to let you know.

#WLvoodoo

"Channel your inner temptress with this gothic chic shade. Voodoo’s mode noir can bring a swipe of edge to any ordinary look."

Voodoo - make no mistake, this lipstick leaves no room for mistakes. With bold, adventurous, out the box colours I always find black and most darker colours need control with applying. Try a invisible lip liner for a barrier, lip pencil brush to go around the outside cos if it smudges.... It's a matte formula but it's moisturising which gives it a slight sheen on the lips, it's not so matte it's dehydrating and the formula itself drags on the lips. It's comfortable to wear and I agree with the brand that it's a soft mousse texture. It sounds like it shouldn't work as some mattes are notorious for being uncomfortable & drying but Winky Lux is proving this incorrect.

Have you tried or heard of Winky Lux?

Purchase: Winky Lux - Voodoo £13.00


Sample / Cruelty Free

Winky Lux - Voodoo Lipstick // #WLvoodoo.

One thing I always say I love about Essie polish in general is how fast they dry and this new Gel Couture collection is no different, maybe even quicker than normal polish. With 42 new shades and with a promise of 14 days wear with a no LED lamp application - could it be too good to be true?I was sent 3 shades & a top coat: Signature Smile is a sharp fiery rosé, Hang Up the Heels – jet black accessorized with jade shimmer & Bubbles Only – classic burgundy crème.

The designs of the gel bottles set them apart, with a twizzled body shape and the same goes for the applicator, which is wider, flatter and allows you to push the brush down and stroke up with ease - meaning you apply less coats as it covers the nail bed. Because the applicator has a swirled body, the polish can gently run down, instead of running down a straight body and you getting a blob of polish that you didn't want - you know what I'm talking about.

So far I've tried Signature smile, that took 2 coats and came off using regular nail polish. I did only wear it for a couple of days as I really wanted to try the 'anti Summer' shade, Hang Up The Heels, the jet black with jade shimmer running through it. I only needed 2 coats and by the time I had finished both hands, the gel top coat was ready to go on and nothing smeared, smooth application. It's important to cap the free edge of nails to prevent any nails from chipping or peeling. It'll be interesting to see if through, showering, cleaning and whatever else if these hold up for 14 days.

Available at Boots & Superdrug - online & instore; RRP £9.99 each

Do you like gel polish?


Samples.

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

Here's another ASOS Beauty Power Player & I can see why. I remember when these had sample tubes in beauty subscription boxes, even then I noticed, a little went a long way. You can tell this cream has a thick but creamy consistency but it's not greasy for me. Very hydrating. It's good for all skin types but I assume that dry skin really benefits. When I was using the dermaroller, I used a sample of this during the day as the skin was healing, it needed protection and a super moisturising one at that. It's enriched in Vitamin E, Vitamin B2 and Camphor, making sure the skin is soothed & protected.
Vitamin E we are always told is good for skin because it protects the skin from environmental pollution, protecting action against UV radiation – although it cannot be classed as a sunscreen, an excellent moisturiser, contains powerful anti-inflammatory action – and this can prevent the signs of premature ageing, as inflammatory conditions in the skin is a leading cause of skin ageing and it has excellent wound healing properties. Vitamin B2, helps to keep skin clear, helps wounds heal quicker and prevents conditions such as acne & eczema. This cream, does smell strongly of Camphor when you first use it, but I've found you adjust to the scent and it fades quick enough. A little goes a long with the use of this and being that it's safe to use all over the body, lips, face and hands it's a good size to pop into your bag or when travelling to keep skin hydrated and soft.

Have you used Yu-Be Moisturising Cream?

Purchase: Yu-Be Moistrising Skin Cream


Samples.

Yu-Be Moisturising Cream.

I like Superdrug's own brand, it's vegetarian & vegan friendly & also cruelty free making it easier. Superdrug have said that in the last decade there's been a 350% rise in people looking for more ethical products and with Superdrug realising that, they make it easier for those wanting to lead that lifestyle. A couple of products available are the Superdrug Charcoal Nose Pore Strips & Superdrug Refreshing Eye Gels.
I've never tried pore strips before but these were effective and pretty gentle, with ingredients such as Volcanic ash, Charcoal powder, these help to absorb excess sebum while removing any dirt & grime. I used this after I washed my face and it helps the strip adhere to it a lot better, I left it on for about 20 minutes as I was doing other things but once I began to lift it up and gently peel away the strip, I noticed 2 blackheads were extracted.

A good antioxidant for the eyes algae is an ingredient within these eye gels. Helping to reduce puffiness and to revive tired eyes. Thankfully I don't get puffy eyes but they can feel tired and need a boost, sometimes I use a cool eye mask but they can't be practical when you need to be getting ready. These eye masks are easier to pop in the fridge to cool them before peeling the back off and gently placing under the eyes, being careful not to get any residue in the eyes. After 10 - 15 minutes, peel off and massage the leftover gel.

Each packet you get 2 patches and 2 strips and for the price, they're effective especially the pore strip. The eye gels are a nice boost, can't say over a long term period of use what the benefits will give but for that morning or night out, definitely good enough.

Purchase: Superdrug Charcoal Nose Pore Strips £1.29, Superdrug Refreshing Eye Gels £1.49

Samples.

Vegan Beauty Charcoal Nose Pore Strip & Eye Gels.