Beauty: Pampering with Lush

Confession time: I’ve never really liked Lush. I don’t particularly like the bath bombs (without fail all the ones I have tried have left me with sore skin), and the smell really, really puts me off. I can’t stand the smell of the bathroom after one has been used, let alone a full shop of them. I’ve used a couple of products in the past; Volcano foot mask (effective, but messy); King of Skin (probably my favourite, but hard to use – I would repurchase this if I could brave the store again!); and some form of solid cleansing bar that I can’t find on the site (caused spots galore). You get the impression, I’m just not a Lush kinda gal! Even so I couldn’t help get excited when my boyfriend came home from work with a bag crammed full of goodies. Here’s my mini-reviews of what I received.

 photo 2014-07-08103846_zps74c21797.jpgDisclaimer: These products were given to my boyfriend free of charge by our local Lush store, something to do with the neighbouring shops helping each other out. They were unaware of my blog, and all opinions are my own. I haven’t marked this with a * as it isn’t really a blog ‘freebie’ as such!

 photo 2014-06-28212331_zps1e8baf15.jpg photo 2014-06-28212650_zps7b2898dd.jpgCupcake is a chocolatey face mask, and was the product I was most excited about. The day of receiving this I happily slapped it on my (normal-dry) skin, and persuaded my boyfriend (combination skin) to try it too. Not sure if it was a coincidence, but my trip to see Coldplay at the Royal Albert Hall had me fashioning a side-fringe to hide the growing mountain on the side of my forehead. It wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t come alone. Yep, pretty sure this mask broke both of us out. My love for Lush certainly wasn’t growing at this point…

Things started to look up with the Brightside Bubble Bar. I love all things citrus but rarely get to indulge seeing as my sister has a severe allergy. This zingy bar produces loads of bubbles and bright orange water, smells delicious and leaves my skin soft. It does feel odd to soak in orange water so I do shower down afterwards – but this did win me over.

 photo 2014-07-08103827_zps6f7b2e86.jpgOnto another facemask; Oatifix has actually really impressed me. The smell isn’t pleasant, but it isn’t the typical overpowering Lush smell so I can cope. Yes it looks like you have spread sick around your face, and it does make a bit of a mess, but for me the results are worth it – this leaves my skin soft, hydrated and glowing. And, wait for it, it doesn’t break me out! I’d actually buy this again, if I could work out how on earth you could use it all before the best before date. I was unable to, and I only had a teeny tester pot…

Now soap. I love bar soap, I’ve even confessed to use one as my cleanser of choice. I was intrigued by Noriko soap, particularly as I can only find this one the US site. Having said that, mine looks nothing like what is featured there, so I wonder what I’ve actually got! I actually adore the smell as its subtle, fresh and just rather nice. It’s also a pretty moisturising soap too – I’ve taken to using it instead of a shower gel as it also has a teeny amount of scrubby bits. Bonus, it looks great on the bathroom side too!

 photo IMAG2306_zps1496a0b4.jpgI’ve still got a couple of products to try; Mask of Magnaminty (the one I have is self-preserving, something I’m quite intrigued by as one of my problems with Lush is the short shelf life) and Hair Doctor. I can’t say I’m particularly willing to try Hair Doctor due to reports of it stripping colour out – I’m pretty picky about my hair colour, and having had my preferred and back up colours both discontinued I’d sooner not dye my hair unless absolutely necessary!

I have to admit, some of these products have changed my mind slightly about Lush. I still won’t be tempted to venture into a shop, but I’d consider an online order if I needed a gift for someone and a few treats for myself.

What are your favourite Lush products?

Review: Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Foundation

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I was sent this foundation to review in early December, on the condition that I wore it every day for at least three weeks before reviewing. Admittedly I’ve left it a lot longer than three weeks, but that was because I was kind of on the fence about this product!

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation is being marketed as a multi-tasking foundation, providing instant, flawless coverage for up to 13 hours. It claims to be long wearing and skin improving, and has impressive (especially for the price of £8.99) ingredients including Magnesium, Copper, Zinc and provitamin B5. I think the most intriguing addition is glycerin, an ingredient which should help to keep skin moisturised.  If the ingredients weren’t impressive enough, this foundation comes with some pretty big claims – “reducing the appearance of the visible effects of stress including bumps, dullness and redness, add brightness and give the skin a long lasting glow.”

Do I agree with all these claims? Well I have to admit that after using this foundation for around 5 weeks (the last fortnight it has not been applied every day) my skin is in very good condition, quite possibly the best it has been in a long, long time. The majority of the red patches on my cheeks have faded, everywhere feels plump, I’m definitely less spotty, and my pores seem slightly reduced. That’s not to say my skin looks great though, simply better than before!

One thing I will add though is that after a week of wearing this everyday I seemed to go through a purging stage, with a couple of really nasty spots appearing on my forehead. I can’t say I loved that reaction to the foundation, but it was over pretty quickly! Other downsides include a glass bottle (I’m clumsy so this worries me!), but I forgive Maybelline totally as it has a pump.

Now, the actual look of the foundation. I received the shade ‘Warm Beige’ which actually is very pale (although still a little dark for me) but perfect in terms of undertone. I’m neither pink nor yellow, so this suits me well. The one review currently on Boots suggests that Ivory is the palest shade, and is very dark, so I would suggest trying Warm Beige (which is a ridiculous name for a pale shade…) if you are struggling. Though obviously the best option is to go into store and actually swatch for yourself!

In terms of its finish, when applied well (and that is key here) I love the foundation. Its like my skin, but perfectly. I’d say it offers medium-to-full coverage, with a natural ‘real skin’ finish. A little bit glowy, but not shiny, definitely not matte though! I really do like the finish, it covers redness and blemishes seamlessly, and feels comfortable on the skin. It also seems to last rather well (though not 13 hours!) without primer or powder, which is a massive bonus.

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But here is the problem – I hate applying it. Its quite a thick foundation, so you have to be quick blending it. Or it won’t blend at all. I’ve tried blending with fingers, but that really didn’t work for me. Foundation brush is better, but still difficult. I find that making sure I have properly exfoliated and moisturised is a definite help, but this will show up any dry patches. The most guaranteed good application I have found it mixing with a spot of moisturiser, but this kind-of defeats the point of a high-coverage foundation! I’m considering ordered a buffing brush (something similar to Real Techniques) to see if that helps, but at the moment I’m concentrating on ridding my skin of dry patches first!

So, would I say I like this foundation? Definitely. As long as it applies nicely (which to be fair it does probably 80% of the time) it looks great and lasts all day.

Would I say this is my Holy Grail foundation? No, the application issues make me feel I could find better.

Would I repurchase? Possibly, depending on which other pale foundations I discover.

Would I recommend? Yes, but not for dry skin. Its also the best budget foundation I have tried – at £8.99 it really is a bargain!

So, if you have normal-oily skin, redness and blemishes, and on a tight budget, then I’d definitely recommend trying this foundation. I’d avoid if you have dry skin though. And I have to say I’ve changed my mind about Maybelline foundations (their Dream Matte mousse put me off almost permanently in my early teens!) and I was pleasantly surprised.

What’s your favourite foundation at the moment?