Skin Newbies

by Sophie Brown

The world of skincare is a constant fascination for me, YouTube skincare videos being a source of all of the Boots shopping lists loitering in my bag.  The 5 products below are items that are new to my bathroom cupboard, that I have been really impressed with and that are mostly really reasonably priced.

The Ordinary is a new brand that I discovered recently, nothing is priced over £15 and it has had a real positive blitz of coverage. It has a guide on it's website to what combination of products works for each different skin type which is a lifesaver as sometimes what is on offer is confusing. I went for the Hylauronic Acid and Buffet which was recommended for dry.dehydrated skin types.  Together they came to around £19.  Buffet is a peptide serum aimed at targeting signs of ageing, I use it at night before moisturising and I definitely have seen a difference in the clarity of my skin. The fine lines that I get in my forehead are not as pronounced and my skin doesn't look as tired in the mornings. The Hylauronic Acid is brilliant also, my skin feels plumper and softer in the morning and my make up goes on without as much effort as there is more moisture in the skin for it to bind with. I usually use Vichy serum to get a good dose of Hylauronic acid but this works just as well and is a third of the price. Mega impressed!

For my lips, which usually crack and have a hissy fit in the winter, I have started using La-Roche Posay Cicaplast balm. I have used the face and body version of this before and was so impressed with it's richness and ability to heal skin so I bought this and love it. As it is a balm rather than a cream or a salve, it has that extra thick healing property which makes all the difference.  It has kept my lips happy all Winter and also really plumped them up (I could be imagining this). So easy to apply and cheaper than all the number one lip balms that are talked about on blogs that cost a crazy amount.

With the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, I refused to buy into the hype for so long and then I got vouchers and I thought screw it. If Liv Tyler loves it then so will I! Initially when I first spritzed, I thought I was going to bring up my breakfast as it is such a distinct and potent minty smell. But, once you use it a good few times and the liquid has had time to settle and mix,  it actually becomes very familiar and comforting and is a really lovely, awakening spray for the face. It is lovely for when your skin is feeling tender or tight from cleansing or just as a freshener in the midst of a busy day. I wouldn't say it is a miracle worker but definitely something that is nice to reach for when your skin is calling out for a little attention.

Finally, I  bought Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. After turning 30, I just thought it was the right time to start looking after my precious binoculars. It also appears in pretty much every Top Shelf on Into The Gloss so away I went and purchased.  I have only been using it for around a month so I can't really talk about long term benefits but I will say that it feels very nourishing on my under eyes and that my concealer doesn't crack as much in the day now due to them being more moisturised so overall a positive experience.


Vichy- Your skin's best mate

by Sophie Brown

This small blue bottle of white semenesque (don't let that put you off) liquid may look harmless and yes it is but it is extremely successful in it's job of hydrating parched skin. Thanks to this and Sali Hughes, my skin has really taken a turn down a good path.  

I always used to think I had dry skin and bought products according to this self assessment but after watching a YouTube video of Sali Hughes defining skin types, I realised my skin was actually dehydrated. It always used to feel like a lump of uncooked dough in mornings after nights out and my make up would be receding on my face by the end of a long day of work. This was because my skin was so thirsty it would just suck up anything on my face which lead to patchy make up. In the words of Alan Partridge, it was an A-Haaaaaa moment when I realised what the problem was. 

Sali Hughes recommended this serum on her blog and I thought I would give it a go as it had all round brilliant reviews on all websites I looked on. I got it for £15 instead of £22 on, my go to for skin products as they have year round sales and I started using it every night, patting it on my skin before applying moistuiser. I can genuinely say I saw a difference in my skin straight away. My make up stayed fresh and quite dewy all day, no patches. I also woke up with softer and more plumped feeling skin and I find that I don't get spots as often on my chin too. It has been a part of my skin routine for around 4-5 months now and I could not be without it. It is worth the investment and if you look out for sales and shop wisely you can get for a good price.  Total must have for all dehydrated gals! 

She's a Star

by Sophie Brown

Like a sugar crazed kid in a candy shop,  my last trip to duty free got me all hyped up and I decided to be decadent and buy a fancy pants foundation.  Usually I go for Bourjois foundations as they are pretty reasonably priced and really good. Dewy, good coverage and also a really good match for pale skin. As I was on my way to my honeymoon I decided I needed a grown up foundation which would look great on my bathroom shelf so I headed to the Dior counter to pick up Dior Star as I had seen many a good word spoken about it on the web. 

Superficially speaking, this foundation is beautiful. The glass bottle and silver trimmings with the signature Dior lid is so classy, you feel like it would be a staple in many a french lady's make up stash. But what is inside is just as impressive. This foundation is so pleasant to wear.  It is light, dewy and natural looking and gives great coverage, blending beautifully into the skin covering all my red patches and unifying my skin tone. I use a Real Technique brush just to buff it in as I find that works better than fingers.  As I have dry skin, foundation usually cracks and looks patchy around certain parts of my face throughout the day but with this it looks fresh and radiant until I get home which makes a pleasant change from being horrified when I look in my bathroom mirror.  I have it in the shade 010 which I would recommend for any fair skinned ladies as it matches my skin without making it look sallow or pasty.  Another plus point is that it is SPF 30 which means I can now skip my sunscreen stage in the mornings.  It is build able so if you want more of a flawless evening look just layer it up, it layers beautifully without looking cakey. I can safely say this was worth the investment and a little goes a long way so the bottle should last a while. If your feeling flashy, give it a go! 

Red Lip Season

by Sophie Brown

I have re-found an amazing red lip for summer from my Sleek Lip Palette in Siren. Super cheap and super lovely, it is the Love Me shade in the palette. Perfect complement to any lip crying out for colour and the perfect shade to go with a tan, fake or real. In an instant, it will take you from tame to tenacious, a real confident boosting treat. 

by Sophie Brown

Calling all St Tropez Fans!

by Sophie Brown

Calling all St Tropez fans in the North with access to Home and Bargain! The One Night only tan is in stores now for only three quid, reduced from 11. I love this tan, it is great for pale gals like me who just want a touch of colour without the hassle of a sleepless night in bed trying to stay still so not to get crease lines in your developing tan. It is moisturising too so it blends on well and in the morning you can just wash it off in the shower alongside the memories of too many sambucas. Poirfect! 

Mo Make up, Mo Problems.. (but not really, mo make up is always great)

by Sophie Brown

As it was the year I got engaged, I would have to say 2014 was a pretty good one. Make up wise, it was very restrained, controlled, get the picture.   I stuck to Boots and Superdrug and dupe versions of my favourite , over the top expensive brands. Luckily for me I came into the possession of some luxury beauty vouchers for Christmas and had a wild splurge on some fantasy products that I want to show you now. As well as some Superdrug purchases too, got to keep it real. 

For so long, I have wanted to take the plunge and invest in some Laura Mercier products. I feel they are the sophisticated girls's go-to make up line. There is a particular beauty editor that I follow on Instagram called Jessica Diner and she posted about the virtues of Laura Mercier radiance foundation primer after having a particularly boozy weekend which had left her skin a bit grey. So that went on my list and off I headed to Harvey Nics Beauty Bazaar armed with vouchers and a mission to glow. Whilst there, I got my primer and picked up the Secret Concealer too in shade 1.  So, review time. The radiance primer is really beautiful on application, it has a flattering pearlescent sheen feel to it which is not glittery so perfect for every day use. If you had great skin or a good tan then you could get away with using it by itself but my skin is pretty bad at the moment so i wear foundation on top.  I don't have much to compare it to as I don't usually buy primers but I reckon there are probably similar versions that are just as good and cheaper at Boots. For the price, I wouldn't say it was a must buy but I am happy with the results, it definitely gives your skin a good boost of radiance. The concealer is great. You just need to dip your finger in, warm it up a bit and apply, dotting round your eye. The shade 1 looks quite dark in the pot but when applied, it does blend really well with my very pale skin tone and doesn't crease. It feels lovely and smooth on the skin and is a pleasant change to the ghostly white concealer that is usually recommended to me. I think the key to masking dark circles is making the under eye skin blend with the rest of the face, not to have two half moons under your eyes. 

My Space NK Vouchers got me some Nars products that I ordered online. I went for a Matte Multiple in Laos and one of the new Dual Intenstiy Eyeshadows in shade Dione.  The Multiple is brilliant as it just takes a small swipe on your cheek and a a little rubbing in with a finger to create a lovely, natural flush look. Laos is a rosey pink that looks really fresh and chic on  pale skin. I think the colour pops most on fair skin but would give tanned skin a great pink glow too.  I love the easy peasiness of this product, you can pop it into your bag without worrying about a brush and it is really long lasting. Plus the packaging is a work of art, I just stare at my tube at times. The eyeshadow is gorge, a truly flattering pop of metallic shimmer on the eyes. It is a true neutral, it goes with any look you are trying to achieve. I teamed mine with nude lips and some Laos on the cheeks.

The last two gud'uns are much more kind on the purse, they are good drugstore buys.  The Bourjois CC cream has been sold out every time I have gone to buy it so I dived on it when it came into my eye line at Superdrug. Lisa Eldridge used it on one of her videos with Sophie Dahl and it is as dreamy as you would expect. The Ivory colour blends in wonderfully with my palid, pale skin without the washing out effect. It provides a good level of coverage and is totally without tidelines, my pet hate! Teamed with the Bourjois Health Mix Compact powder, I have found an idyllic face make up dream team. I swirl a bit of this powder on top of the CC cream to just seal the make up in and it feels so light and lovely. My next mission is to find the ideal wedding day make up so beauty blogs here I come! 

The Prettiest Version of You..

by Sophie Brown

So here's another wedding post everyone, suprise, suprise!  As you can imagine, I am a little infatuated with all things bridal at the moment and I just want to share everything I find. 

I have now chosen my dress, bought my shoes and picked out my veil which just needs picking up. I am hesitant to have it in my house as I know it will end up being tried on and paraded round to the sound of Taylor Swift on a daily basis but hey ho. I might let it migrate over to my mum's house just so temptation is not so ever present. 

I have now started to think about hair and make up and just like the dress selection process, it is proving hard to select down from all the possible options. It does make it slightly easier knowing what style my dress is but having a very oval shaped, long face means that not everything I like will suit me.  One thing I do know, is that I do not want to look like an overly groomed, "cookie -cutter" bride. No thanks. 

A great link I found for advice for a bride who wants to look cool on her wedding day is on the American Vogue website.  The article is full of great tips on how not to have too much of a curated look for you and your bridesmaids and how to plan your bridal style. 

I am a massive fan of braids and very relaxed looking hair but also at the same time, I think sometimes a more formal and simple style can look so chic too.  It does totally depend on your own personal style and what suits you and also what the feel of your wedding as a whole is. 

With beauty, I know I will stick to an amped up version of my daily make up. Very natural and healthy looking glow, pink cheeks and bronzey eyes. I adore it when women go all vintage and have red lips and pin curls and fabulous winger eye-liner but this is not my style and I know I would definitely not be able to pull it off.  It is the day when you want to look like the prettiest version of yourself so it is important that you feel comfortable and not like your face may crack if it moves.  I have been advised to have numerous make up and hair trials which I really look forward to and without doubt, I will be taking my Ipad to show my bridal beauty Pinterest boards. 

A Little Skin Kindness

by Sophie Brown

My skin loves to shock. It loves to surprise me now and again with little red patches dotted around different areas of my body, usually on my torso but recently they have been showing up on my face which is just dandy! They usually show up when there is a change in weather interestingly but anyway when they do like to make a surprise entrance, I have found a lovely cream to calm them down and bring back moisture to the area, Cicaplast Baume 5 by La Roche-Posay.  In the past I have always used E45 for dry patches of skin which did work a treat but I feel my skin has built up a form of resistance to it as it doesn't solve dry areas as well as it used to on me.  

I decided to try Cicaplast, firstly because Lisa Eldridge recommended it in one of her videos saying it was a staple product in her make up kit for when any of her clients had problematic skin and secondly because I love La Roche-Posay products in general. They work well on sensitive skin and are reasonably priced and easy to get hold of.

 It soothes irritated skin, immediately calming the redness and repairs, making skin smooth due to the shea butter content. The main component of the cream, Vitamin B5,  is known to be soothing and when you apply the cream it does instantly feel better. If I apply it at night to a red patch, the redness and swelling is almost always gone by the morning. It is multi-purpose as you can use it on grazes or burns too and also chapped lips. I bought the smaller tube available as it is great to carry round in your bag in case of any skin incidents during the day. Overall, it is a great all round product to have even if you don't have sensitive skin and a definite must have for your beauty stash. 

H&M is Bananas..B A N A N A S !

by Sophie Brown

H&M is always my first stop for all things clothes related but it also has a brilliant beauty section which I have only just noticed. I am yet to delve into the the make up and skin care products but I did purchase this amazing beauty bag the other day,  it makes me smile every time I reach for it in the morning, a little tropical twist to the start of my day! 

Her name is Rio!

by Sophie Brown

If you are looking for a red lip colour for the summer then look no further than Rio Rio by Topshop. It is the perfect orangey-red that looks just right with minimal make up and suits all ranges of skin tones.  Once slathered on the lips, it feels like wearing the visual equivalent of a fog horn on my face as I am usually a lip nudist and it is a very beaming colour. But I love this, it's kinda exciting. Usually worn on Friday nights, it signals time to whip those heels on and cast off the Asda pumps that frequent my feet all week long.  It is very long lasting too, not budging at all after a good number of slushy raspberry tequilas consumed last weekend. 

I first came across it when reading an interview with Liv Tyler on Into the Gloss and she casually mentioned that her pal Alexa Chung  had recommended it to her. I had finally name checked the amazing red lippie Alexa wore!  It was a slow day so bare with me on these levels of excitement at this news.  I have squished myself in between Alexa and Liv below in an crazed attempt to convince myself that we are all celebrity friends. Like I said, bare with me. 

Spring Beauty Picks

by Sophie Brown

With the beginning of Spring teasing us with bursts of sparkling sun and powder blue skies, I began to compile my favourite beauty picks for Spring that I have been using and that I love...........

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Spring Beauty Inspiration

by Sophie Brown

Even though today there has descended a dank, dull haze over Liverpool, the past week or so has been full of the joys of Spring and with this has come a refreshed attitude to style and beauty. When the sun peeks round the corner and gives us a bit of pure daylight, I think naturally we want to dress accordingly and make our make up brighter and full of glowy goodness. Like with my style section, I have posted some spring beauty inspiration and looks below that I aim to try out in the (fingers crossed) following bright and sunny months. I am going to follow this up later with a post on my recently purchased summery beauty buys that I have been loving so look out for this too! 

My Life in Scents

by Sophie Brown

A women's scent remains dancing through the air in a room long after she has left so it figures that it should be something special and something that represents her. Certain scents are so synonymous with women I know that when I walk past someone with the same scent, even if they look nothing similar, I still have to do a double take.  If I ever get a whiff of Gucci Rush, it quite literally sends me hurtling back to my teens. To a time when me and my friends, after an hour of applying copious layers of Sunshimmer and Barry M cement like foundation, would douse ourselves in it till our eyes watered.  It reminds me of dizzy fun times, when we would skip into bars quite obviously being underage and often be asked to leave, giggling on our way out.

One of my current perfumes, Chanel No 5, is a scent that makes me feel like I am back in my Grandma's kitchen, reaching under her sink into her beauty cupboard to steal a spritz of her Chanel No 5 Body spritz spray while she was distracted by the crazy family dog. I don't quite know how this transpired but I have the exact same spray now in my bedroom, it must be at least 10 years old but it it still sitting there exuding that black and gold combination of timeless sophistication. My boyfriend bought me a bottle of the Eau de Parfum for an anniversary present and I like to think it is a scent which will remain a part of my life and be passed down the generations, with it's beautiful combination of Ylang, Ylang, Mayrose and Jasmine. It is a transition scent, for when a girl becomes lady. 

Florabotanica by Balenciaga was an impulse choice when I was asked what scent I wanted for Christmas a few years ago and has become a favourite. The bottle in itself is a mini work of art, a true representation of the Balenciaga aesthetic. It is a zingy and sophisticated scent  with oriental floral notes and a hint of mint which is a striking alternative to the usual sweet, girly scents that you can detect in the atmosphere on any given day.  It has become a part of my daily routine, as essential as brushing my teeth and I often get asked what it is. I like to try and pass it off as my natural scent but alas I always have to give up it's name. This scent again has become entwined with certain memories of life especially with it being used as a pick me up after big nights out during the Christmas period when I first started using it. If perfume bottles could talk hey. 

With the spring weather approaching (fingers crossed) I will begin to use my Eau de Jardins by Clarins again.  This is the most gloriously uplifting and summery scent, when I untwist the cap it is like opening the door to a flourishing flower garden in Provence.  A mixture of essential oils and plant extracts, it not only smells divine but it is nourishing for the skin too. Just smelling it makes me feel like I am basking in warmth, taking me back to last summer when I visited Palma and Paris and wore this scent every day. It makes me think of water and suntan lotion and minimal clothing.

I rarely buy new scents but my most recent purchase was Black Amber from Zara as it was only one pound so I thought I should give it a whirl. If it smelt like raw sewage then no loss at only a quid.  Fortunately it was more than pleasant. It is a rich, sultry and quite fruity smell made for night time adventures. If I had to describe it using human personality traits, I would say it was cheeky and ultra feminine. An undeniably attractive combination. No memories are inextricably intertwined with this scent yet but I I am wearing it tonight so I will keep you posted. 


Nivea Trivia

by Sophie Brown

Whilst I gaze upon my battered blue pot of Nivea, eyeing up the spectacularly 80’s font I think to myself, what a wonderful ahead of its time product Nivea cream is and also how much it reminds me of Eldorado, the short lived 90’s BBC soap set in Spain. In these times of multi-purpose wonder products such as CC and BB creams, Nivea stands out as THE original multi functioning beauty product.

Below are a few of the ways I use mine.


 As a hand cream.

 I massage this into my hands at work, hoping that for the next 5 minutes while it dries, I will not be required to stick my hand in a printer. It is an instant gulp of moisture for dry hands and makes them all glossy and nice.  

Overnight face Mask/cream.

If my skin is feeling a bit weepy and sallow and like it needs some TLC,  I whallop great big scoops of this onto my face and let it sink in overnight. I recommend doing this the day before you change your sheet covers as your pillow will look like a dark silhouette of your face has been painted onto it, this will just be a film of grease. But it’s good grease.

For general dry areas

    When I roll up a sleeve during the day, I will often be scared at how dry my elbows are. One dollop on and they are sorted.

Bit of perfume

To me, Nivea smells like holidays and my youth. If I have forgotten my perfume and need something nose pleasing to put on, I just dab a few drops of this on wrists and behind ears. It makes me feel brand new.

 General body and face moisturisation

If the rumours are true, it works just as well as Crème de la Mer so I just use it as a normal face/body moisturiser often.  I will never own Crème de la Mer products so I will just have to take everyone else's word for it.