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January 28, 2015

January Beauty Empties

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: January Empties 2015

Welcome to a seriously tasty instalment of sharing-my-used-up-beauty-products. I didn't write an empties post for December - I was really ill for about two weeks over the New Year and it completely threw off my schedule. BUT, the good news is that this month's post is absolutely packed full of goodies. I've finished some really wonderful products over the last couple of months which I'm obviously I'm sad about. However, when you finish a product you can tell if you really liked it because you notice it's not there anymore. Well, quite a few of the products in this post are those sorts of products which means I've found some keepers! 

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: January Empties 2015

available online or in Lush stores for £9.95
I received this as a birthday present last summer and although it isn't a scent that I'd have chosen for myself the heavy jasmine aroma of Flying Fox is actually pretty sexy. I found that the scent did last better on my skin than with other shower gels, and I'd reach for it whenever I wanted to follow up with a slightly heavier, muskier perfume. I think that Lush's shower gels are generally a bit overpriced but there are a few scents (including this one) that I could see myself repurchasing.

available online from Escentual for £5.10
This is a really light and easy absorbed hand cream with an incredibly delicate rose scent. I like carrying these Roger & Gallet Hand and Nail Creams in my hand bag, partly because they look lovely but also because the formula is better for use on-the-go than at night before bed. 

available online at £25 for 75ml
I was sceptical, really sceptical, but I can attest that this really did help me sleep. I don't know if it's a placebo effect but whenever I used this spray I did fall asleep quicker and I would sleep more deeply than when I didn't reach for it. I think it's an expensive lifestyle extra but it might be worth it if you really do struggle to sleep - I know that when you're in that position anything is worth trying, and this actually might help. That being said, I won't be repurchasing this immediately but I would definitely consider buying it for a friend or family member if I thought they could benefit from using it.

available online at £8.99 for 200ml
I really love the sandalwood scent of this line from Urban Veda. The Soothing Body Scrub wasn't a favourite of mine but it still did a good job of gently exfoliating the skin. I think I tried my favourite product from the range - the Soothing Exfoliating Facial Polish - first, leaving me with very high expectations. However, if you're after a cruelty free body scrub that's SLS free AND comes in hard wearing packaging (it won't look funky even after months in your shower) then you might just like to check it out.

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: January Empties 2015

available online at £12.59 for 30ml
This is the only foundation that I've finished since I started blogging. It offers medium-full coverage depending on how you apply it, and I find that it lasts all day on my skin without ever going patchy or emphasising the dry or oily parts of my face. I've already repurchased a new bottle (in the next shade along - Sand Beige).

available online at £5.99 for 250ml
I've used this shampoo for what seems like ages and it's been a constant favourite. It always leaves my hair soft and shiny and has never weighed it down. I really like L'Oreal's no sulphate range and the EverRiche range is particularly good - I'd also highly recommend the matching conditioner, especially if you have particularly dry hair.

available online at £6.50 for 100ml
I really, really like this conditioner. It has an incredibly light feel to it but it does a wonderful job of revising dry ends without weighing hair down. If you want something easy to use without nasty ingredients then I'd definitely recommend it. I'd like to repurchase the larger size once I've used up the other conditioners in my collection.

available online at £19.95 for 200ml
I would definitely repurchase this cleanser - it was one of my favourites from 2014. It strikes the perfect balance of being gentle and calming whilst still getting the job done and leaving my skin clear and smooth. If you have combination skin that's a bit difficult to manage, then this is a nice all-round cleanser from a lovely brand.

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: January Beauty Empties 2015

available online at £5.50 for 15ml
I liked this face mask quite a bit! I'm all in favour of chemical exfoliants and this AHA mask did a good job of brightening my skin without ever feeling too harsh. I think that the price is definitely right for the quality of the product and a small 15ml tube lasts quite a few uses - roughly six. I think that if I was to repurchase it I'd opt for the larger 60ml tube which offers better value for money. All this being said, I still prefer Elemental Herbology's Facial Glow but at the moment it's still unaffordable for me.

available online at £10.20 for 300ml
This wasn't my favourite body scrub. I found that it had quite a liquid formula with very large exfoliating particles and the whole thing just didn't work how I would have liked it to. Additionally, although the packaging looks cool it is almost impossible to use in the shower. It might be better for those taking baths, but I can't recommend it for fellow shower lovers.

available online at £18.99 for 30ml and £22.99 for 30ml
I was very kindly sent samples of both of these oils and I'd just like to say they they're really, really nice. They're not like other facial oils I've used before, they seem to have a little bit more oomph to them which my skin loved. If you want oils that won't sit heavily on your skin and will instantly get to work softening and smoothing then you might just want to give OV Naturals a try. I definitely preferred the Rose Geranium Oil - it had a little something extra to it, and it smells beautiful!

available online at £11.50 for 15ml
I got through this pretty quickly because it was my go-to lip balm for most of November and December. It has a really thick, hydrating formula (similar to Lanolips' 101 Ointment) and I loved the mini tube, it was perfect for popping in my handbag. I'd definitely recommend this and I'd quite like to purchase a full size.

available online at £59.00 for 10ml and £35.00 for 75ml
These are two seriously expensive skincare products, so it makes me sad to say that they're both really, exceedingly nice. I particularly liked the eye cream which was really thick and hydrating and seemed to completely overhaul the look and feel of my area. I'd absolutely love to purchase a full size but the RRP is incredibly expensive. The exfoliant paste was also really nice, creamy with very fine micro-exfoliating particles that didn't overdo it. I'd recommend both to anyone looking to begin an expensive skincare habit!

Have you tried any of these products before? Have you finished anything this month that you'd recommend trying?

January 26, 2015

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask Review

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Natural Face Mask for radiant clear skin
One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Balance Me Natural Face Mask for clogged dull skin

When I went for my Balance Me skin consultation back in December one of the products that was highly recommended to me was Balance Me's Radiance Face Mask*. It was recommended to me because I have clogged pores and combination (dry/oily skin), and I needed something to help me gently but effectively exfoliate my skin - and this mask is good for all these skin concerns. It's first ingredient is water, followed by clay, so it is a clay mask but it's very light and the high concentration of sweet almond oil keeps it from being too drying. Essentially, the complex base formula is a creamy, light clay mask that does some cleansing but also helps to soften and balance the skin, making it perfect for combination skin-types.

In and among the clay you can also find small particles of walnut shell which add a touch of exfoliation. It's quite a gentle exfoliation but it might still be too harsh for incredibly sensitive skin, however, for me it's just enough to brighten and soften my skin without leaving it looking red. I like to gentle work Balance Me's Radiance Face Mask into my face when I first apply it, I find that this gets all the exfoliation out of the way at the beginning of the application so that the rest of the mask's ingredients can really get to work on my skin. I wait about ten minutes and find that a lot of the product seems to sink in and disappear. Once this has happened, I remove the face mask using a flannel soaked in warm water using small circular motions. The product is incredibly easy to remove so it won't irritate sensitive skin, and I find that the brightening and softening effects are immediately noticeable.

I've used a couple of 15ml mini tubes of Balance Me Radiance Face Mask before and they tend to give about three to four full applications. This means that a 75ml tube will give you approximately 15-20 applications, which I think definitely justifies the price. I picked mine up on for £18.00 with free delivery, but you can also find the 15ml tubes which are available for £4.50. 

Have you tried any Balance Me products before? 
What's your favourite face mask?

January 24, 2015

My First Experience with Japonesque

A little while ago I was very kindly invited to John Lewis Kingston to have my makeup done at their Japonesque counter - which was the first one to open in the UK! I hadn't ever tried anything from Japonesque before but I had heard wonderful things about their makeup brushes. I met the very lovely Kim (a very charming and experienced makeup artist who's worked with celebrities such as the Saturdays and David Beckham) who expertly talked me through Japonesque's incredible range of products before doing my makeup. I was blown away by the quality of the brushes (I would highly, highly recommend the Japonesque Pro Stippling Brush for applying foundation - I've actually just bought it for myself so I'm sure a review will follow next month) and I also really, really loved their lightweight Luminous Foundation (in Shade Two) and Velvet Touch Concealer (in Shade One). When I left the counter I was also very kindly given a couple of products to take home with me. I wasn't asked to review my experience or talk about any of the products but I've been so impressed that I wanted to share my thoughts!

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Japonesque Makeup Brushes Review

 free with the  purchase of any two products from John Lewis Japonesque Counters
Kim showed me how to use this brush when she applied my makeup and she encouraged me to use this for concealer. It's quite a dense brush and it works perfectly at applying just the right amount of coverage under the eyes and around the nose, which is exactly where I need a bit of extra help! It's a gorgeously soft brush and this travel size is perfect for on-the-go touch ups, whilst the larger sized brushes have a gorgeous weight to them that makes them feel incredibly luxurious to use. Before I started using this brush I didn't actually use a brush to apply and buff in my concealer, but I can notice a big difference. I think the application is so much better, and more consistent, than just using your fingers. I'm a convert!

available from John Lewis for £15.00*
This is another brush that Kim used when she applied my makeup. It's quite a small brush which makes it perfect for smudging eyeliner or precisely applying eyeshadow. It also works very well for doing your eyebrows. I'm not sure how I personally feel about spending £15.00 on a small eye brush - it seems expensive to me - but the quality of the brush is definitely very high and it would be a good addition for anyone really into trying new makeup brushes.

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Japonesque Lip Lacquer in Shade 01 Review
available from John Lewis for £15.00*
This is definitely not what you might imagine when you think "lip lacquer". It's an incredibly creamy and luxurious feeling lip product that's really enjoyable to apply - especially as it isn't at all sticky! However, this does mean that it isn't as long lasting as you might want it to be. That being said, because it's so creamy it really works wonders at plumping up lips and making them look fuller. I love Shade 01, it reminds me a lot of my Ilia Lip Conditioner in These Days as it's a similar warm, bronzed nude with a similar hydrating formula. I don't, however, love the brush. It just doesn't feel as high quality as the rest of the products and applies product quite thickly onto my lips. I much prefer applying  a little bit of product from the brush and then blending the product into my lips using my fingers. 

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Japonesque Eye Definer Black Review

available from John Lewis for £12.00*
I'm not usually one to reach for kohl liner as I find that it can often smudge on my hooded eyelids. However, Kim used the brown shade on me when she did my makeup and I was really impressed at how quickly and easily this eyeliner could transform the appearance of my eyes. And no, it wouldn't last all day (I found it smudging underneath my eyes after eight hours) but it would last through an evening making it perfect for evening make-up looks. Kim recommended dotting it along the upper and lower lash line before smudging downwards into the lash line using the Small Eye Detailer Brush. As the Eye Defining Pencil has a very creamy, but not slippery, formula it's really easy to use like this and the finished effect leaves the lashes looking incredibly full and thick, without any heavy or thick line in sight. Overall I was really impressed and I'd recommend it over Mac's Kohl Eyeliners any day.

My overall experience with Japonesque's products has been overwhelmingly positive. Although there are a couple of things that aren't perfect, on balance all the products feel very high quality at a reasonable price tag. I particularly like their makeup brushes, they really are incredibly soft and luxurious. I've actually already gone and ordered the Pro Stippling Brush - coupled with the Point Foundation Brush it gives an incredible finish to the skin that I want to replicate everyday! My advice is to definitely stop by one of John Lewis' Japonesque Counters - and if you're in Kingston then do say hello to Kim, she'll be more than happy to help you :)

January 23, 2015

My First Murad Facial

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Murad Free Facial Review

At the beginning of the week I was very kindly invited to John Lewis Kingston to visit their Murad counter for a complimentary facial - an experience that is often made available to John Lewis customers! I was greeted at the counter by Felicity who expertly talked me through Murad's products and explained the holistic ethos of the Dr. Murad's company - the idea that skincare is only 20% of the solution and the other 80% has to come from healthy living. 

It was fascinating to have my face properly scanned and to actually see what my real skin concerns are. I was very happy to see that my eye area is much less dehydrated than it was when I had my skin scanned by Balance Me in December (regularly using eye cream makes such a difference), however, Felicity did help me identify that my real skin concern is pigmentation caused by sun damage. The only real way to battle this is to religiously apply products containing SPF, but she did also inform me that products containing high concentrations of Vitamin C can also really help minimise the appearance of dark marks and pigmentation. Murad actually has an entire Vitamin C range - I've been using their Vitamin C Cleanser since the beginning of December and it was one of my favourites from 2014 - and I'm really keen to incorporate more of these products into my daily routine!

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Murad Free Facial Review

However, my actual "facial" consisted of Felicity pampering my skin with a full skincare routine based on my scan. I was sat in an incredibly comfortable reclining chair, that despite being located in the beauty counter still felt surprisingly private and quiet. The treatment included a double cleanse using two of Murad's cleansers (Murad's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser followed by the Essential C Cleanser) followed by a facial treatment (the Blackhead & Pore Refining Duo). Felicity talked me through all the different products and made me feel incredibly comfortable with the entire process. When we'd finished my skin really did look much brighter and I felt great. I'd highly recommend the entire experience, especially as they're often available in John Lewis free of charge! It's a really great way to try out products before buying them and it's also just a wonderful treat that will leave you looking and feeling great.

I have to say a big thank you to John Lewis for arranging the entire experience for me, and to Felicity who was so friendly and knew so much about Murad. It was lovely to come across someone so passionate about the brand they work for, she knew the answer to every question I threw her way! If you have a John Lewis near you then I'd definitely stop by the Murad counter next time you visit to ask about their facials. They'll honestly be more than happy to help you.

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