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5 Sheet Masks to Feed Your Face

Do you eat enough leafy greens? I know I don't; I start off with all the best intentions in the world but there are only so many ways you can dress up kale, before you swear you'll never serve up anything green again. Admittedly most will be chowing down on nutrient rich vegetables for more than their skin boosting and repairing qualities but it is a great bonus. If you find adding green vegetables to your plate a somewhat chore - have you considered skincare products that draw inspiration and technology from such leafy greens we were forced to eat as a child? Thanks to the marvel that is Korean and Asian skincare, whatever your needs, budget or ingredient lists, there is a mask ready to be go and almost at your fingertips too. Below I have rounded up five of my favourite "green" masks so you can feel less guilty the next time you skip the salad.

5 Sheet Masks to Feed Your Face

Tony Moly I'm Real Avocado Sheet Mask (£1.73 each) - This is one of my favourite sheet masks of all time: it soothes, it softens the skin and is perhaps one of the most moisturising sheet masks you will find on a tight budget. If you suffer from dry/dehydrated skin and/or fly frequently, ensure that you forever have a few Tony Moly I'm Real Avocado Sheet Mask to hand, your skin will thank you for it.

My Beauty Diary Aloe Sheet Mask (£1 each) - Okay, okay we don't really tend to consume Aloe all that often but if you have stressed out skin, that requires both cooling and calming, along with a little additional hydration then look no further than Aloe Vera. For the sake of convience I fully recommend trying out the My Beauty Diary Aloe Sheet Mask, this ultra fine mask instantly soothes, moisturises and calms inflamed skin - a summer must-have for sure.

Real Nature Kelp Sheet Mask (£2.26 for three) - So I've never willingly ate Kelp to the best of my knowledge but I can vouch that very few sheet masks leave my skin as glowing, nor as fresh as Real Nature Kelp Sheet Masks. I reserve this mask for those days in which my skin is dull - perhaps a lack of sleep is to blame or any other excuse I can muster up to hide the fact I've stayed up to 5am watching Gilmore Girls - and needs an instant pick-me-up. This skin quenching mask instantly brightens, refreshes and moisturises in under 15 minutes.

Skinfood Everyday Broccoli Sheet Mask (£3.55 for three) - Fun fact Broccoli is my favourite green vegetable of all time, it is straight up delicious - especially with a cheese sauce. Yum. Before I loose myself to food once again, let me share a brief overview of a mask that may sound disgusting but is actually a skin care secret of mine and many others. This super rich sheet mask, quickly and efficiently hydrates even the most dehydrated skin, promotes glowing skin and surprisingly doesn't have a pungent stench. I also find this mask helps calm any redness and inflammation from blemishes, especially those large, pesky, under-the-skin hormonal blighters. If you are seeking a sheet mask that goes to work quickly and will help increase skin radiance too, this is the one for you.

Innisfree It's Real Bija Sheet Mask (£2.86 for three) - Typically sheet masks aren't prescribed nor suggested for blemish prone complexions; the reasoning is that such mask type lowers the skin temperature and may, increase blemish causing bacteria. As someone with acne prone skin, I can't say I have found that to be the case but if you are a little concerned, I suggest testing sheet masks that contain ingredients such as Tea Tree oil, Lemon and rather surprisingly Bija. The Bija plant is often used within Korean skincare products to calm and clear blemishes. With the Innisfree It's Real Bija Sheet Mask you can relax while you treat your complexion. Blissful and multi-tasking - can you really ask for more from a sheet mask?

Now only if the above constituted as one of our five a day.







What They Don't Tell You About Wearing Contact Lenses

For a few years now I've needed glasses for long distance purposes (driving, not confusing a fire engine for a bus...that sort if thing) and quite happily wore, lost, broke and forgot my spectacles on a near daily basis. Not so long ago, during a routine eye check-up my optician asked if I had ever considered contact lenses for ease and the answer was no. A very stench no.Yes I may be forgetful but as it goes my eyesight is fairly good (I wear one prescription up from glass) and contact lenses seemed so permanent; unlike glasses, throughout the day I can not pop a lens in and out of my eye when I wish, well not without running the risk of infection at least. Needless to say after much deliberation, I decided at least try lenses to see if they were for me and a year later, on occasion I do wear contact lenses - normally when I've got no other choice. Glasses break so easily don't they?

In my mind, I'd go to the opticians they'd hand me a two boxes of contact lenses, briefly explain how they work and send me on my merry way. Nope, not even close. For no less than three appointments (over three days may I add), I had to attend what is best described as a contact lens workshop, in which I was to demonstrate not only the proper hygiene required but both the correct application and removal of the fiddly lenses.

I personally know a lot of people who opt for contact lenses over glasses but at no point did anyone mention: a, how tiny and tricky the lenses can be to place in the eye and b, just how one little plastic disc can be so malleable is beyond me. The first time I was handed a pack of lenses, I sat bewildered staring at the little round gel shape - they are far softer than you may have imagined and there certainly is an art of application, an art that did not come easily to me.

What They Don't Tell You About Wearing Contact Lenses

You may want to pop the little clear circle on your eyeball for perfect vision but I have news for you, your eye isn't that keen. To apply, you all but have to hold both your top and bottom eye lids in a vice like grip and then gently place the lens on to your eye. An optician will make it sound and look easy but I'm here to tell you it's not; it will fall out, it will be irritating and generally make you wonder if 20/20 vision is all it is cracked up to be. Once you do get that first lens in place, it's all fun and games until you realise that what goes in, must come out. For me mastering the removal process was the most daunting and something I'm still not overly confident about - it involves a pinching manoeuvre and in my instance a whole lot of flinching and lost lenses. However with practice comes perfection...or at least a little less blinking and watering eyes.

Once you have mastered, y'know stabbing yourself in the eye, the world really is your oyster - you can choose normal clear lenses or natural, fun or bold coloured choices. I will be entirely honest in saying that I have yet to be fully convinced by coloured contact lenses - especially when applied to dark coloured eyes, up close they don't look all that convincing but hey to each their own.

The one thing I can not recommend enough is adhering to the correct hygiene methods when applying, trying or removing contact lenses - nobody, and I mean nobody wants a nasty eye infection. Rather surprisingly, my optician didn't explain that if sporting monthly lenses you do have to change the solution within the storage case daily, as well as rinsing the actual case each day too. Luckily my sister informed me of such necessity but if signing up for lenses do ensure that you ask all the questions you can think of during your appointment, and of course take care of both your eyes and the physical lenses.

If you have any other nuggets of advice in regards to contact lenses, I'm all ears...or should that be eyes?

5 Lesser Known Online Beauty Retailers to Try

So you have your Boots card, you've collected more Advantage Points than you'd care to admit to, you know all about Superdrug's reward system and you've placed several orders with both Sephora and Space.NK. Heck you are so familiar with certain online retailers, that you don't even need to bust the matte black envelope open to know inside nestles your latest MAC order,  but I'm willing to bet you won't be familiar with at least one of the merchants below. If you are feeling adventurous, grab your bank card and let me talk you through five of my must-try online beauty haunts.

5 Lesser Known Online Beauty Retailers to Try

Luna Tu - As many will know, I am hugely enamoured by Korean and Asian beauty products and find myself trawling the internet for the latest innovations and launches. One late night lead search lead me to Luna Tu and as they say the rest is history. Luna Tu stocks everything from general Korean skincare (Innisfree, Etude House, Missha etc) must haves such as sheet masks and nose strips, to cleansers you really need to try to believe, along with make-up, foot care and even circle contact lenses - and the postage to the UK is not only affordable but quick as it is a UK based retailer.

Love Aroma - The dark nights - and days - seem to be quickly rolling in and I don't know about you but I use the Autumn and Winter seasons as the perfect excuse to purchase a candle or two. As you may have noticed along the way, I am quite the candle obsessive and do like to not only mix and match brands but home fragrance options too. The downside with such habit does mean that in the past I have forked over a lot of money on postage and handling alone, so imagine my glee when I stumbled across Love Aroma - an online store that sells all the best selling high street home fragrance brands and some lesser known options too. At the moment I am having a Woodwick Candle moment (who can resist the flickering, crackling sound of the wooden wick) but often use Love Aroma to purchase Yankee wax tarts and candles as well as the odd Lily Flame splurge.

Haus of Gloi - This is my suggestion that I am a little hesitant to share as it is not a stockist for large, well known brands but rather an independent creator of wonderful fragrances and bath and body products. Typically I do count down the days to the launch of the Haus of Gloi Autumn/Halloween as the scents really appeal to me - forget candied pumpkin notes and imagine deep and often mysterious blends that perfectly encapsulate the season (and make me think of movies such as Hocus Pocus). Don't take my word for it, pop over at some point and marvel at the beautifully created handmade soaps, dream about just how fluffy and soft the Pumpkin butter is and generally indulge. As a side note products do sell out quickly - don't say I didn't warn you.

5 Lesser Known Online Beauty Retailers to Try

Amazon - Yes seriously. Forget eBay and running the risk of purchasing a knock-off product, Amazon is a beauty treasure trove waiting to be discovered. The next time you are ordering a book, dvd or whatever you may need search their beauty department and I think you may be pleasantly surprised what you find. Personally I often use it to stock up on sheet masks and hard to source US beauty items.

& Other Stories - Yes chances are you are more than familiar with the store and clean aesthetic of the brand, but I'm willing to bet that as this is not a well represented store here on the UK high street you may well have forgotten completely about the wonders of & Other Stories. Admittedly the shipping fee is not the cheapest but if you are in the mood to splurge on gloriously scented bath and body products, I can think of no better place. Personally I rate the hand care items - I know hand wash is pretty boring but there is something special about the & Other Stories offerings. A quick Google search will also lead you to plenty of beauty reviews - I hear the blushes are a must have.

Feel free to add to the above list, let's make beauty shopping more interesting than it has been of late.




autumn

Forgive me but I am not a Summer person in the slightest: from dodgy tan lines, being too warm and generally having to bare some level of skin and packed beaches - nothing about the season other than the fragrance launches really appeals to me. Rather I spend most of August counting down the days until I can unpack my woollens, wrap up in several layers and of course burn a candle or ten. It of course goes without saying that I have already composed a wish list of beauty products, ready for the hopefully crisper days.

1, Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick (£42 vis Space.NK) - I first tested the latest Hourglass foundation launch whilst in New York last month, I decided against purchasing a stick as I was fairly tanned and didn't want a shade that would be too deep within a few weeks, or an altogether mismatched shade. What I did note that the slightly heavier than usual texture, coupled with the creamy consistency might be perfect for drier complexions which tends to happen due to artificial heat, coupled with a colder climate. I think I might treat myself to a stick later this month once I'm able to pop into Space.NK and colour match myself.

2, Diptyque Nourishing Lip Balm (£16 via Space.NK) - I'll admit that I don't need another lip balm and that the fancy, super slick packaging calls to me more than the contents. However it seems that Diptyque Nourishing Lip Balm is more than just a quick way to moisturise the lips - it promises to be light, non-greasy, hydrating and along with being packed with delicious ingredients such as rose, violet, and poppy flower extracts, it protects and primes the lips. If this is anything like the Diptyque skincare range, sign me up!

3, Diptyque Vanille and Eucalyptus Candles (£42 each via Space.NK) - Two candles? Yep, it's my wish list and around these parts what I say goes...kinda. Now I know what you are thinking, surely one candle is enough? Nope, not even close. In a dream world, I would come home and light Diptyque Vanille Candle in the evening and let the soft, creamy notes comfort me. Then the sharp, almost medicinal natural note of Eucalyptus would be reserved for all the dreaded Autumn/Winter colds, to help congest without the need of a sticky balm. Yes, I can justify just about any purchase, it is quite the talent.

4, Byredo Mojave Ghost Soap (£17 via Liberty) - Hear me out...I have a thing for soap. I like nothing more than purchasing cute, precisely cut squares of beautifully scented soap and stashing them in my bathroom. In the past I have purchased from Etsy as I love to support small businesses but since testing out Byredo Mojave Ghost Soap I can think of little else. The one issue is that I think £17 for a chunk of...well soap is ludicrous; after a week, I'll worry it is riddled with germs (ridiculous I know) and then disregard it. Maybe I should purchase something more practical but with the same scent?

5, Byredo Super Cedar Eau de Parfum (£90 via Liberty) - Speaking of beautiful scents, please may I introduce you to Byredo Super Cedar Eau de Parfum. It's modern, ever so slightly "masculine", clean, green, sharp and a little woody. It has the crispness of a morning frost, coupled with the warmth of freshly cut wood - I realise this sounds bizarre on paper but trust me, it is beautiful. Think of it as the wilderness bottled, minus worrying if you brought an umbrella or if you are wearing the correct shoes.

6, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Body & Hand Wash and Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Body and Hand Lotion (£38 each via Jo Malone) - Last Autumn/Winter/cold season, I neglected my hands and as result they quickly became cracked and down right painful. This year I have vowed to take better care and not only source a moisturising hand wash for all sinks in my house, but aim to add a nourishing hand lotion too. My logic is that if the hand cream is in plain view, I'll perhaps be guilt tripped into applying it. I'm not saying I will splash out on the aforementioned Jo Malone set but I do have a gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket, and I can think of nothing more luxurious can you?

7, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Scent Surround Diffuser (£62 via Jo Malone) - I can think of no real justification for this divine home addition, other than I really, really want one. The warm, rich and Autumn ready scent that is Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir will make my home that little more cosy and I'll feel hella fancy - do I really need any more reasoning?

8, Too Faced Melted Matte in Naughty by Nature - What is Autumn without a deep, matte lipstick or two? Currently ranking highly on my wish list Too Faced Melted Matte in Naughty by Nature - not quite a nude, not a berry tone but a deep, brown that has all the warmth I need from a lip colour. I can't wait for this line up to launch.

9, In the Autumn I don't tend to wear a whole lot of blush, rather I use bronzer for a warm flush-come-glow. Typically speaking I'm not a huge fan of liquid blushes or bronzers for that matter but there is no denying that NARS are king of bronzers, so if any can sway me, it will be NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer....well here's hoping anyway.

I'm slightly annoyed with myself that I have completed a wish list post with an uneven amount of wishes, so to round the number up I'll finish by saying that no lounge - or Autumn evening - is complete without a Woodwick Candle or two. I plan on purchasing Woodwick Campfire Marshmallow and Woodwick Biscotti candles, a string of fairy lights and a good book. Bliss.

What is on your current wish list?



Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser

I'm unsure if I have sung the praises of Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser in the past or not, but it is a long time, warm weather staple, within my household. As someone with oily skin, come July I have to be very careful with what I apply to my complexion to avoid the monster of all breakouts - which trust me is easier said than done. At times I am tempted to altogether skip moisturising at night; typical night creams all but feel suffocating but at the same time I know better than to skip hydrating my skin, enter Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser.

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser

I don't care if your skin is dry, oily, dehydrated or anywhere in-between, you need a pot of Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser in your skincare rooster for balmy weather, or for those days when the idea of anything lighter-than-air sitting on your skin seems less than ideal. The beauty of Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser is the texture: a super lightweight, cooling crème-gel consistency that instantly melts into the skin hydrating, calming and soothing as it goes, and all without any sticky residue. There is no moisturiser more comfortable than this. Think of Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser as a tall glass of water for the skin - and all without the need to fill the ice trays. As a matter of a fact I liken it to an after-sun for the face but with skin care benefits and no icky cucumber fragrance.


Now forgive me for the skimpy ingredient write up, as it goes Clinique don't really list them online and my memory is fairly poor. From what I have gathered, Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser is oil free - meaning it won't clog your pores, nor will it overload or overwhelm even the most oiliest of complexions. As you'd expect from any great moisturiser, Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser does indeed contain hyaluronic acid to plump, naturally retain water (it holds up to 1000 times its weight in water) and generally moisturise the skin for up to 24 hours. If that is not enough, it is 100% fragrance free and has been tested no less than 7200 times in conception to ensure it is safe for even the most sensitive skin types.

My advice would be to somewhat move past the lack of ingredients and go on gut instinct that Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser is a skin care marvel - the lightest, skin quenching moisturiser that you will find, and as an added bonus you will want to apply it when the British Summer rolls around. That or when you board a flight to somewhere more tropical. Probably the latter but either way you need a tub of this at your beck and call.

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturiser £34/50ml via Boots - link.





The White Company Spa Collection Review

The next time you happen to browse or stumble into The White Company, make sure while adding a candle and new linens to your basket, that you stop by the new and rather chic The White Company Spa products. From bath oils, rich moisturisers, scrubs and all that is in-between, if you can dream it The White Company offer it and coupled with spa like quality and fragrances, creating your own little oasis in the space of your own bathroom.

As to be expected the entire range of spa products launched by The White Company are more than beautifully presented - think simple, clean packaging that is modern and of course more often than not transparent and white. This is a bathroom range for grown-ups and a collective that you will not only enjoy using but one, that you will display with pride.

The White Company Spa Collection Review
The White Company Spa Collection Review

Due to a self tanning habit, a body scrub is all but a necessity to keep my skin both smooth and of course ready for a fresh slick of paint so to speak. When it comes to scrubs, I am pretty particular: it must be gritty enough to remove all traces of dead, dull and dry skin, yet not overly so - an abrasive, irritating body polish is the last thing I want. Admittedly at £20 The White Company Spa Restore Skin Brightening Body Scrub does not come cheap but it is effective, well presented and loaded with skin softening ingredients which sometimes - and I do say sometimes - you may struggle to source on a budget.

The White Company Spa Restore Skin Brightening Body Scrub has a buttery soft base (coconut and jojoba oils) that melts onto the skin and instantly feels hydrating; couple this with the natural grit of olive-stone and you have one pretty wonderful body exfoliator. I should also add that due to a blend of neroli, geranium and eucalyptus oils this not only invigorates and awakens the senses but leaves the skin feeling tingly cool too.

The White Company Spa Collection Review

For those who struggle to sleep be it due to restlessness or constant travel, then you may want to check out The White Company Spa Relax Sleep Well Pulse Point Oil. This dinky little, roll on treatment helps to soothe, calm and relax using the power of aromatherapy; as it is so little, it can neatly be popped into the smallest of travel bags, ready for when you need it.

To use, simply roll and dab onto the pulse points and gently inhale, the delightful blend of calming lavender, cooling clary sage and soothing peppermint, all of which fuse together to create a refreshing yet almost sleepy blend. I can't vouch that this rocked me to sleep but I do find it helps to calm frayed nerves - especially when flying, or double up as a light fragrance-come-pick-me-up oil.

Luxurious doesn't even begin to cover The White Company Spa collection, try it and prepare to feel pampered.

  
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