Friday, 14 December 2012

Cybercandy - American goodness.

As many of you may know I'm a huge lover of America and of course there's certain things we just cannot get here in little old England. This is why a Cybercandy order happened, for those of you who don't know, cybercandy sell food products from all over the world including thing's like Lucky Charms, Reece's and Hershey's.
I wanted to get my friend a little Christmas treat and myself too so I ordered a couple of Tru Blood drinks as we are both huge fans of the TV series True Blood so I thought it'd be a cool quirky little present. Plus 'friends don't let friends drink friends'!
The bottles are made out of glass and are great replications of what you'd see in the series. I've not drunk mine yet but I'm pretty sure they will taste great (and nothing like blood haha...more blood orange!).
Tru Blood, True Blood, drink, Pop Tarts, American,
I also got some pop tarts as my favourite flavour Hot Fudge Sundae isn't sold here. I'm pretty sure it was this flavour I tried once upon a time when I took part in Camp America and fell in love with! We'll soon find out. I ordered a pack of 2 but got an extra one...not sure if this was an accident or generosity but I thank you Cybercandy!
The service overall was pretty good, I even received text messages about delivery and when I'd be expecting my parcel with options to change the delivery day which was nice.
Everything was packaged very well, bubble wrapped and poptarts bedded in their own little box. I loved the big box everything was in too with a super cool Mr Cybercandy Robot.
I'd recommend this company for sure if you are after some yummy goodness that you can't get in your country, they have gift boxes too which would make unique Christmas presents.
Cybercandy Robot

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Product's I'm loving: Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

Nuxe reve de miel nourishing lip balmNuxe reve de miel nourishing lip balm

This lip balm has to be one of my favourites, Nuxe in my opinion is a great French skincare brand. It come's in a glass jar with 15g of product at the cost of £9.50 available at M&S.
It's smell is like terry's chocolate orange without the chocolate (mmm).
The texture is thick and smooth so a little go's a long way and has a clear non-greasy matte kind of finish which to me make's it a unique lip balm and great for under lipstick. It feels like it really is nourishing and sinking into your lips rather than just coating them with a film of moisture.
It contains Shea butter, honey, grapefruit essence and plant oil, very natural and free of mineral oil and parabens.
Overall I think it does the job well in nourishing your lips and leaving them feeling moisturised and I'd recommend it to those after a good and effective lip balm.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Chemicals in beauty products..Parabens, Sulfates, Silicones

So I just thought I'd briefly talk about some of the most common chemicals found in beauty products nowadays and why there supposed to be bad for you. I think being aware of them is important and I do recommend for you guys to research into it some more and make an informed decision on products you use. Just type in the word and there's literally tons of information.
With all these ingredients/chemicals as one would expect there is research and information 'for' and 'against' the use of these ingredients in beauty products. I am simply sharing information I have learned and come across over time.
This is going to be long but hopefully informative for you guys!

Sulphates- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS/SLES)
Sulphates are used as cleansing and foaming agents therefore can be found in shampoo, toothpaste, shower gel and other washing products.
Why are they bad?
Sulphates/Sulfates are surface active agents (surficants) which dissolve dirt and allow it to stay liquid so it can be washed away but also boost foam and lather. They are effective in cleaning but the issue with it is that it can over strip the hair. This isn't great for coloured or chemically treated hair as it will strip away what's been put into the hair.
In general as it's so harsh it can strip the hairs natural oils and leave you with dry and limp hair. For some people it can also irritate the scalp.

 In a beauty product, mainly hair products anything ending in 'cone' tends to be a silicone. Silicones are one of those controversial ingredients. You can find them mainly in conditioners, serums/oils and sometimes shampoos too. Many products that claim to give you 'smoothe' and 'frizz free' hair will more than likely have silicones in them. Yes they do a great job at making your hair feel nice and smooth but silicones work by basically coating and sealing off your hair giving you a 'quick fix' but in the long run they don't really fix your hair at all.

Silicones are not water soluble either so they can build up on your hair if you use silicone based products continuously. If you think about every time you use a product with silicone in your adding a layer on to your hair. This stops other products from penetrating your hair (such as pure oils/treatments) and in the long run cause your hair to become dry and brittle.

However if you use a clarifying shampoo (they remove build-up and impurities) once or twice a week or maybe even less (depends on how much product containing silicone you use on your hair and how frequently) this will strip the silicones off.
But again clarifying shampoos contain sulphates which are harsh and strip your hair therefore using it sparingly is better and deep conditioning your hair after would be good.
boots build up remova shampool, pantene clarifying shampoo

These are a class of man made chemicals used in products as preservatives so they last longer and to fight bacteria and fungus from growing. They are cheap to manufacture and can be found in a lot of products. In the ingredients anything ending in paraben such as 'Butylparaben' is what you need to look for.
Why are they bad?
There has been studies about parabens some saying it's not harmful as it's used in small quantities but other studies have found they can irritate the skin and eyes, a link with parabens and cancer also has been identified. As Parabens cannot be broken down the worry is that it can build up which will then become harmful.
How you may wonder? Well Parabens can mimic a hormone called estrogen which is known to play a role in breast cancer. Parbens have also been found in breast tumors by researchers .

Mineral Oil
Again a common ingredients in beauty products (eg Vaseline, baby oil, make up) it's apparently more expensive to dispose mineral oil than purchase it. It comes from crude oil/petroleum and coats the skin like cling film making it a good barrier. It can slow down the loss of moisture making it an effective ingredient.
Why it's rumoured to be bad?
Well just thinking about it, if it coats the skin and works like a barrier than it means nothing can get in or out and it can be debated whether that is a good or bad thing. But it is said that it inhibits the natural immune barrier stopping the skin from 'breathing' blocking pores and  preventing absorption of natural moisture/nutrition. This can also then play a role in acne and blemishes and the renewal of cells promoting premature ageing and the removal of toxins. You can read some more about it here.

However it is said that mineral oil used in beauty products is highly refined and purified making it safe to use and a thin layer slows down the loss of moisture from the skin. There is a ton of debate about this ingredients you can read some things here and here in defence.

I'm personally not too alarmed about this ingredients as when I was researching about mineral oils in beauty products it was hard to find any solid research/studies which found mineral oil is proven to be bad.

In general it's hard to avoid many of these ingredients as it's used in a lot of mainstream, cheap and generic products. However there is alternatives, they may cost a little more but they exist! Personally in general I have started using more natural products as I just think why not? It's surely going to do less harm than any normal products right?

There is a ton of sulfate free/ low sulfate products on the market. For instance at the moment I am using Liz Earle's shampoo which contains no sulphates, it may not foam as much but it still works just as well! More 'natural' brands will use natural ingredients that do the same thing (in terms of cleaning) but in a less harsh way using alternative ingredients.
Again you can find products without silicones too and pure oils rather than 'Morrocanoil' and 'Macadamia oil' which tend to be full of silicones.
TRESemme Naturals
TRESemme 'Naturals' shampoo is low in sulfates and the conditioner is silicone free, Australian Native Botanicals, Tara Smith are just a few haircare brands which are free of the naughty chemicals. Also Apivita, Liz Earle, Nuxe and Korres are some more natural skincare/beauty brands that are free of ingredients that are not supposed to be good for us.
Some of my more 'natural' skin and hare care products

Sunday, 4 November 2012

This is why you shouldn't keep old or expired make up...

mac, make up, old, expired, mould
...Because bacteria starts growing in it and it turns pretty nasty as you can see the white mould type  produce in my MAC concealer tube. I should have thrown it away a while ago but because I had so much product left I didn't but I have learned my lesson! I can only imagine the kind of infections and skin break outs it could cause!

Monday, 29 October 2012

...and the winner is

Congratulations to Kerys for winning the Sleek Mattes palette and thank you to everyone else for entering, I'll be having more giveaway's in the future! Please email/twitter DM me with your address!

Also some of you may have noticed my new layout and blog name, what do you think? I'm still unsure on the name but better than Moonshine!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Sigma Make Me Classy Brush Set Initial Thoughts/Review

I had been lusting after these Sigma Make me Classy brushes for so long, especially after seeing you tubers being sent them and talking about how wonderful they are. Although almost £100 seems a little too much to me for make-up brushes but I went for it and bought some. After all it works out cheaper than buying individual MAC brushes right?
 You know when you have wanted something for so long and then you finally get it and every aspect of it excites you? haha this happened to me as sad as that may be. The packaging is really nice and I even got a free travel sized blending brush with the kit. There was also a leaflet which tells you what each brush is for and what it's made out of.
This set comes with a mixture of brushes in the sense that some are natural hair bristles whilst others are synthetic. Seven of the 12 brushes were natural bristles. I already own one Sigma brush which I actually love (Flat top synthetic kabuki F80).
 Most the brushes I own are synthetic with the exception of some of my MAC ones. But I thought I'd give this kit a try regardless as I had read natural hair brushes are better for powder application and I use a powder foundation most the time.

Initial thoughts
Let's start with the positives..
-Pretty packaging and inside the box everything was packaged well, most of the brushes came with plastic 'shields' as you can see in a picture above.
-They come in a very handy case which is perfect to travel with, turns into two great brush holders for when your using them and also when you pop the lid on it's a cleaner storage solution.
-The brushes themselves are very soft and dense.
-You get a good range of brushes.

Now the not so positives...
Although before I start I do want to mention I didn't actually use these brushes on my face as I wanted to wash them first but after washing them I didn't want to use them at all.

-After playing with the brushes, just touching/feeling them I noticed a couple of the natural hair brushes (mainly F30 and F40 the powder and contour brushes) had an incredibly strong and disgusting smell..I can't even describe it but I found it incredibly off putting. Even after washing them the smell was just as bad.
- I also noticed with the natural bristle brushes, before washing, during and even after...Shedding!! Already?! Okay I understand there can be a few loose hairs but I did experience a lot of shedding.So this made me wonder if some of these brushes are shedding will only get worse right..

So overall although these brushes have some good positives the negatives even though my issue is mainly with the natural brushes really put me off. In comparison to my natural hair MAC brushes (which barley shed and don't smell) the sigma brushes loose. Although for the prices and the amount of brushes you get Sigma is of course better value compared to MAC.

I was considering getting the 'Mr Bunny' kit which is all synthetic brushes which I know I would be happier with but I decided not to as I feel there is better and cheaper (and easier obtainable in the UK) brushes out there compared to Sigma such as Real Techniques, EcoTools, even ELF and I have also heard a lot about Crown brushes too.
I didn't end up keeping the brushes so I can't make a fair comment on performance but I have read a huge amount of reviews where people have had to deal with the  handle becoming loose and eventually the brush end falling off the handle. Even reading the comments people left on the gorgeous Rissross's instagram picture makes me feel glad I didn't keep these brushes!

Do you own any Sigma? What do you think?

Friday, 14 September 2012

A little Sleek Giveaway, just because.

I've not hosted a giveaway for my lovely followers in a long time so I thought why not?
I chose the sleek palette I reviewed about here as I personally loved it and think you guys will too, I feel the colours can work with most people and last of all I know it's hard to get in countries outside the UK so yes it's international!
sleek mattes
Picture taken from Sleek.

                                                   To enter use rafflecopter below.
Some quick rules:
For my blog followers only.
International followers are welcome to enter.
Once a winner has been picked I will make a post to announce it.
A winner will be chosen via through rafflecopter.
Do not leave a comment for this post, use rafflecopter below to answer and enter!
EDIT: Please make sure you leave a link to your blog or tell me your google connect name  when you answer the question on rafflecopter, many people have not done this! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 8 September 2012

It's here! Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Rose & Lavender

I recently blogged about this cleanser here and it's now available to buy here. I was kindly sent this Special Edition Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser in Rose and Lavender.
It's bigger bottle than the usual hot cloth cleansers (150ml opposed to the normal 100ml) and has a pretty design incorporated onto the front.
The cleanser feels and looks exactly the same as the original, the only difference is the addition of rose and lavender essential oils which in result give's off a fragrance. It's especially recommended to use in the evening because of the relaxing scent.
After using this version for the past week I found that the smell was just right, not too strong and I could smell the lavender more than the rose which I personally don't mind.
A great product with a great cause, £2.00 of the £19.75 will go to The Princes Trust.
Will you be buying this cleanser?

Friday, 31 August 2012

Sleek i-Divine Ultra Mattes V2 Darks Palette swatches & Review

I bought this palette a while ago and thought I'd do a post on it before I throw away the packaging it came in. I'm a fan of matte make-up and liked the idea of having a palette of all matte shadows hence this lovely Sleek purchase!
 The palette contains 12 1g eyeshadows in a range of gorgeous 'dark' colours. I bought mine for £7.99 and there is also a 'Brights'(they don't lie about this, bright for sure!) matte palette.
Here's some pictures I snapped up, unfortunately my 'better' camera is recharging right now so I hope these pictures do the job.
Sleek darks matte palette
Sleek darks matte palette eyeshadows
Sleek darks matte palette eyeshadows
Sleek darks matte palette eyeshadow swatches pigmentation
Hello pigmentation!
Sleek darks matte palette eyeshadow swatches pigmentation
Sleek darks matte palette eyeshadow swatches pigmentation
My favourite has to be 'Orbit' followed by 'Ink', I quiet like 'Paper Bag' too (picture does no justice) but it's a nice brown. 'Flesh' is uh...very flesh toned on my skin so you can't see it as well.
-The eyeshadows are easy to blend.
-Most of them are very pigmented.
- The range of colours is nice.
 -Affordable and come's in a sturdy black palette with a good mirror.
 - Not all the shadows are as pigmented, there's a few exceptions.
 - A little chalky- I had loose 'bit's' of shadows when I was swatching which you can see in the second picture.
Overall I'm impressed, I personally don't think it's easy to find a decent matte set of eyeshadows so I'm pleased Sleek released this one!

Do you own this palette?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Liz Earle Prince's Trust Special Edition Hot Cloth Cleanser with Rose & Lavender

Just thought I'd give you lovely people a heads up about the Liz Earle Special Edition Hot Cloth Cleanser with Rose & Lavender. It's existence comes about because of 'The Tomorrow Campaign' which was created to inspire the next generation and so six Prince's Trust supported young people have had iconic mentors working with them to create a product where a contribution of the price will go to The Prince's trust. Liz had worked with a young entrepreneur called Rebecca Taylor and together they have come up with this very relaxing and calming sounding hot cloth cleanser. A donation of £2.00 will be made to the trust which helps young people into jobs and training. A great cause right?!
You can get your hands on it from the 6th of September. I'm personally a huge supporter of products that contribute money to a charity and think this is great.
There is also free P&P on the Liz Earle site until the 31st of August which is celebrating the CoolBrands award they have received! Happy Shopping :)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Addicted to Instagram

quorn, the lorax, cat, socks

Mac Purchase / Skull top that I love / Love this sauce/ American Indian entertainers in Leeds/ Clinique lipstick in Flamenco/ My first Black Milk Purchase!/ Trying to eat healthier with Quorn / Watched The Lorax (such a cute movie!) Quote at the end./ Me/ My lovely friend/ Neighbours gorgeous cat/ New socks.
My Instagram name is Monikarr, follow me if you like :)
<3 p="p">

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Liz Earle Lash Definition Smudgeproof Mascara Review

As many may already know Liz Earle branched out into make-up 'Liz Earle Colour' not long ago offering blusher, mascaras, eye-liners and many other products. In general I really enjoy their skincare range so was pleased and excited when I found out about the new addition of make-up.
Now I finally have one of those items to try, the Liz Earle Lash Definition Smudgeproof Mascara RRP £14.50 for 8ml.
Liz Earle Lash definition smudgeproof mascara

The packaging is sleek and simple, I really like the two tone shimmery tube the mascara is in. There is also a little note about the mascara and how to apply, tips and suggestions.
Liz Earle Lash definition smudgeproof mascara
This mascara is said to be lightweight, water resistant, long lasting and defining. The brush is designed to help even the shortest of lashes and contains Vitamin E for nourishment.
I got the mascara in 01 Black, it comes in two shades with the other being Brown.
Liz Earle Lash definition smudgeproof mascara brush wand
I thought I'd test out the mascara on bare lashes without curling them first and here's how it looked..(FYI I have naturally long eyelashes which you can't really see in the 'Before' picture.)
Liz Earle Lash definition smudgeproof mascara swatch
You know how with some mascaras when you apply it and there's too much product and it go's clumpy? This was the opposite I had to work in that mascara! I applied the first coat waited a few minutes and then applied the second coat. It's recommended to use on curled lashes which I would have done if I could find my curlers, they tend to really open up your eyes and make your lashes look longer in my opinion.

If you are used to a more intense/dramatic look you may be disappointed as you would have to use at least three or more coats and even then it would lengthen more than volumise.
I really like that this mascara gives more of a natural look, it's s the perfect mascara to separate, elongate and yes 'define' your eyelashes with and give you that wide eyed look without any clumps. As you can see from the pictures it did lift my lashes too. I would suggest this mascara if you want a buildable natural look.
I wore it to work and had no problems with this mascara, I don't touch my eyes much so there was no smudging despite the humidity.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

July Lux Box- What's Inside.

This Lux box I have been looking forward to as I, along with the rest of the subscribers were contacted asking to choose a foundation colour which could only mean one thing!
Let's have a look see at what was inside the box of surprises.
Contents in all it's glory.
Magnifibres Brush on false lashes RRP £20 Full Size.
Seems like the description for this product on the information card is from last months box for the Murad cleanser (oops!). This is a lengthening mascara that you apply between two layers of mascara which results in dramatically lengthened lashes by up to 5mm. I love anything to do with eyelashes so this...I'm looking forward to testing out.
Gatineau Essential Skin Corrector- £69 for 50ml, this is 15 ml
This product is applied to the skin after cleansing the face and is said to smooth out first signs of wrinkles and improve radiance and comfort. It contains antioxidants and probiotics which sounds great!
Yana Cosmetics Foundation Full size is RRP £25 not sure on the size of this.
A lightweight, creamy foundation which is full coverage, blendable and gives a airbrush look. Said to be long lasting, not tested on animals and non comedogenic. Everything you want in a foundation right?

BRTC Gold Caviar BB Cream Full size is RRP £17.00
A Korean skincare BB cream that has real caviar extracts, is great for anti ageing, lightening, wrinkle repair, cover and moisturising the skin. It has a massive SPF 50 and contains omega 3 and vitamins A, B, C and D. So overall this bb cream should give a radiant, natural and healthy skintone. There's tons of information on the site, it sounds like a pretty amazing product.
Inika Certified Organic Eye Liner This is Full Size- RRP £13.50 (Peacock Blue)
This is a brand I have heard of before, mainly from reading about people getting something in a beauty box. Said to be rich and creamy, glides on easily with an even depth of colour and a real stay-ability.
From swatching this eyeliner I have found this colour is gorgeous it's a lovely blue purple (picture does no justice!) and I do agree it with the description although I am yet to test the staying on ability.
Overall Thoughts
I absolutely love the content of this box, there's some interesting products which I am looking forward to trying out! Well worth the money too as there's some great full sized product. There's more make-up type products for July's box whereas the June box was more skincare orientated...I really like that it varies a lot each month!
<3 p="p">

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My Black Milk Wishlist

My Black Milk Wishlist
I have always admired the weird and wonderful items of clothing by Black Milk, a brand which I am sure many of you already know about and if you don't...where have you been hiding?!
So these are my current want's...
1. Ribs Swimsuit ($90AUD/£60)- A classic, this is one of their staples and I have wanted this for the longest time.
2. Shark Vs Mermaid ($90AUD/£60)- I just love everything about it, especially the little mermaid ...cute!
3. Burned Velvet leggings- Now, when I saw these I was instantly in love but they were completely sold out with no signs of returning (yet) but will be on the top of my list to buy if/when they do.

Do you own any Black Milk? <3 p="p">

Friday, 27 July 2012

My Current Beauty Favourites.

I believe if I did a monthly favourites it would almost be the same things over and over again, so here's what I'm loving right now..
Bioderma crealine, caudalie grape water, MAC, Elf powder brush, avon super shock, wet n wild,
MAC Studio Finish Concealer- My all time favourite concealer, it's thick and creamy and works well to cover my beasty dark circles. I have tried a few other concealers by MAC but they don't cover as well as this one. I have also tried Bobbi Browns creamy concealer which did an awesome job at covering but unfortunately creased like crazy! I am yet to find something as good as or better than this, it even has SPF 35 which is a bonus.
Mac Studio Fix Powder Foundation- I wear this almost everyday or at least the days I want to wear make-up. I only use liquid foundation now and again as this foundation is good enough for me. Light and natural looking but also has up to medium coverage.
Elf Powder Brush- My go to brush to put on my powder foundation, dirt cheap, soft and a good quality brush in my eyes.
Avon Supershock eyeliner- A great jet black eyeliner that glides on very easily and a decent price of £6 when I got it.
Wet n Wild Lipstick 904B- Andrea sent me this and I just love the colour it's a gorgeous rosy pink and very pigmented. Not as easy to get in the UK (that I know of) but it's a pretty cheap brand and I'd definitely recommend trying it out if you have access to it! 
Bioderma Crealine H2O - This cleanser is my go to for removing make-up, it's very gentle and refreshing rather than oily feeling and although in my opinion it's not the best for getting rid of eye make up such as mascara it's still a great cleanser. 
Caudalie Grape Water- This little baby I adore, my friend from Paris sent me it and it's 100% organic grape water in an aerosol can. It's supposed to be moisturising, refreshing and soothing and I'd agree to this to an extent, I still have to use moisturiser. I just love this product as I find it very refreshing to spray over my face especially on hot days and mornings. It's also great to spray over make-up to set!
Maybelline Lash Stiletto- My all time favourite mascara which I have mentioned before here. I think it's good as Benefits 'They're real' and much cheaper too. Great for lengthening and defining your lashes. 
Benefit 'They're real' mascara- Again a great mascara for lengthening and defining lashes. I've been using this alot since my Lash Stiletto ran out and I really like it although it's on the pricey side. I originally gave in to the hype and bought it to see what the fuss is about but don't think I'd repurchase as Lash Stiletto is just as good but cheaper. 

What are your favourites?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

What I got from Links of London..My pretty bracelets.

I have been meaning to do this post for a while now! I randomly strolled into Links of London and it turned out there was a sale going on that had just started so I picked up a couple of things.

The first bracelet I got is this rainbow threaded friendship bracelet, each one was unique some were brighter than others, some had more pink or blue in them but I was drawn to this one. Not sure if I'm going to keep it though..

Links of london skull
And the other one is this gorgeous skull bracelet, I have wanted one of their skull friendship bracelets for so long, originally the black one but could never justify the price for them but when I saw the pink one on sale I was so pleased! I love it.