Review: NIVEA Express Hydration Primer

The primer craze which has hit the cosmetic world has given rise to so many innovative products such as primers that promise to correct dark spots, hydrate the skin, illuminate sallow skin tone; the list is endless. Nivea aren’t one to miss out on the party and have launched their own hybrid formula of a primer and moisturiser in one, the ‘Express Hydration Primer’. Available in two versions, one for normal skin and one for dry sensitive skin, I chose the latter as I suffer from both these problems. With high expectations for Nivea’s answer to the primer revolution, I was pleased with the bargain £4 shelf price, cute glass jar packaging and most importantly, the signature ‘sun cream’ Nivea fragrance.

Image NIV

Nivea promises their product to ‘provide an even and smooth base for effective make-up application and helps your make-up stay put’. Unfortunately, my experience with the product was far from smooth. After moisturising and attempting to brush on a face of flawless foundation, Nivea’s product was much more a hindrance than a help. When attempting to apply my foundation, the hybrid primer would separate and make application very patchy and uneven; exactly opposite of what a primer sets out to do. I would argue that the product could be used as an isolated moisturiser but even then, applying any makeup on top would be problematic. I attempted using an additional primer after applying Nivea but to no avail. Frankly, I am surprised that magazines such as Cosmo’ have been getting so excited about the product. My advice is to stick to your separate moisturiser and primer routine girls. Get back to the lab’ Nivea; surely you can do better than this!


Fragrance *****

Sensitivity *****

Cost              *

Refined Face: Estée Lauder, Idealist (Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher)

I came across this product when raiding my mum’s makeup bag on a visit home. I was dubious about whether a third product to prepare for a face of makeup was necessary.


But Estée Lauder’s idealist is a real treat to the skin, providing a refined base for a face of makeup with less need to cake it on. Idealist is a skin refinisher, it reduces the appearance of pores by up to 1/3 of the size and can give your face that subtle boost to give it a natural, radiant glow. With the 50ml bottle coming in at a hefty £41 retail price, it’s easy to see why some shy away from trying ‘Idealist’ for the first time. But ladies trust me, when you’re next having a selfish, treat yourself day, pop this in your shopping basket. Presented elegantly as all estee lauder products always are, the packaging has the high end appearance of a glass bottle but is unfortunately plastic. I think when paying so much, a glass bottle would have been nicer to set on my vanity desk. It has a slight lemony scent, which I love as citrus fragranced products are amongst my favourite. This should be applied before moisturiser. The texture is between a serum and cream and is quickly absorbed into the skin, no greasy finish to disrupt your flawless foundation application! It even helps my tired eyes look more awakened and has even lightened my dark circles with it’s luminescent quality. I find that using idealist makes my makeup stay thorughout the day, and keeps my face looking matte and fresh. I also have occasionally dry skin and Idealist has not caused me any problems at all. Skin sensitivity test has been passed with flying colours! So, all in all this is a fabulous product to use if you’ve got the cash to spend. If you’re looking to sort out an uneven skintone Estée Lauder are here for you!

Treat yourself here 

Fresh Faced: Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz

Nothing screams amateur beauty blogger more than someone who’s only just started using toner. Yep, that’s me. I thought toner was just an industry ploy to get me to spend more on an ever increasing skincare routine. But, following increasing pressure from my housemate, I decided to give toner a go and see what all the fuss was about. Most of the time I have clear skin, so I guess that meant I never felt toner was necessary.

How wrong I was…



Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz £3.49

I think I just got lucky with this one. I knew that I wanted a spritz bottle to decrease my use of cottonwool pads and this was the first bottle I saw on the shelves (also helped that it was on offer then too). Boots Botantics is an incredible natural brand that uses active plants extracts approved by Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens. Their refreshing rosewater spritz has a citrus, floral scent that leaves you feeling fresh and awake. Immediately after a few sprays on your face, your pores feels tightened and smooth, ready for your moisturiser before bed or preceding makeup. This product also passes my skin sensitivity test, paraben free and full of skin loving natural goodness. Botanics rosewater toning spritz is a product I’ll be investing in again.


What toner do you use? Are there any other skin care products I’m missing?!

Lush Haul

I’ve recently tried out some new lush body care products, some good, some not so good. Lush is definitely one of my top trusted brands, as it’s natural ingredients don’t play havoc with my sensitive skin. However, I’ve  found some of their products too overpriced to warrant including them in my daily routine.

 Aqua Mirabilis Body Butter £6.25


This is one of Lush’s exfoliating body soap bars, ideal for buffing down your legs in the shower. Exfoliating is made much easier with a bar as you can glide it down your legs and use the bar itself to work it’s magic. Tiny ground up almond shells gently scrub away any dead skin cells, and a combination of almond and cocoa butter leave a biscuity fragrance with a smooth moisturised finish. Lush pride themselves on it not being greasy but the fact you’re using it in the shower would make that quite difficult anyway. My only critique would be that it can be used up quite quick as it melts into a lather so easily, so it isn’t really worth the money.  Therefore, I wouldn’t use this in my regular routine, just as a treat before a night out.

Soft Coeur Massage Bar £4.95


My housemates got this for me as a birthday treat and I was pleasantly surprised by the power such a small little heart could have. Although it looks quite small, a little goes a long way and your legs feel baby smooth after gliding this over them; the perfect after shave finish. Made up of shea butter, cocoa butter and almond oil; these are the perfect mix of skin softening ingredients. With added toffee fragrance, this massage bar is great for those who love sweet smelling body care, although I usually prefer a floral scent. All in all I’d definitely recommend this as a gift for a friend, it’s cute, sweet and feels great.




E.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadows

I’m lucky enough to have a fully fledged e.l.f. store where I live (Cardiff) and I never leave empty handed when I visit. I’ve tried several of the products and their low priced range is surprisingly high quality. Today, I’m giving special mention to their range of mineral eye shadows, which are something I re-buy over and over. I’m someone who wears heavy eye makeup, especially on a night out, and there’s nothing worse than having to scrub at eyeshadow palettes because the colour isn’t strong enough. E.l.f have a range of cute little loose powdered mineral eyeshadow pots that go for just £3 each! Available in 27 different colours, it’s easy to see why I’ve started collecting them.


The strong, metallic finish really does last throughout the night, especially if you use an eye primer. It’s mainly the strength of the pigment that I love. Just tap some of the powder into the lid, use some decent eye brushes and you’re ready to go.  Here’s my friend  Josie when  I did her makeup, she also has a blog so check it out. I used the shades; angelic, elegant and golden blended across each lid and used angelic in the corner of her eyes to highlight them.


Get collecting here 

ILLAMASQUA SKIN BASE foundation review

I’d been coming towards the end of my ‘Benefit Hello Flawless’ bottle and felt like trying something new. I feel like once you’ve tried higher end foundation it’s impossible to go back to the cheaper self service stands. But, if you know of any bargain high quality foundation let me know! Spending just a bit more on foundation is a sound investment, not only does it look better but it lasts longer. My friend had raved about Illamasqua’s skin base, but at £32 a pop I was reluctant to try. Unlike other makeup brands Illamasqua promises a HD finish and claims that it’s Asian balm inspiration is unlike anything else on the UK market. So here’s my experience…

BEFORE: Here’s the bare faced truth, makeup free, dark circles ‘n’ all!



So after cleansingmoisturising and priming my face (at the moment I’m using Benefit’s POREfressional ), I apply ‘Skin Base’ with a flat foundation brush. You don’t require much as it is such high coverage. Make sure you spend enough time blending the product  into every curve of your face with your brush; and whatever you do, don’t use your fingers, this can look patchy and uneven. ‘Skin Base’ is so smooth and creamy, that brush strokes aren’t an issue. It moisturises and absorbs into your skin as you brush it on, providing a natural, buildable coverage. Ensure you apply little at a time so you’re not left with a coverage you’re not comfortable with. A little goes a long way with this stuff!

AFTER: This is post ‘Skin Base’ application, I haven’t applied any other makeup but ‘Skin Base SB 07’ . As you can see my skin tone is far more even. It leaves you with a soft textured and matte finish, without drying your skin out as some solely matte foundations tend to do. I have very sensitive, sometimes dry skin and haven’t found any problems with ‘Skin base’.  However, in other reviews some users have said that it’s not a foundation suited to oily skin. It lasts throughout the day without needing to be touched up and is my favorite ,but most expensive, foundation to date!


I would then go on to add a multitude of products  to end on my usual day look…but I’ll save the details for some new blog posts.


You can buy Illamasqua’s Skin Base here 

But I’d advise going to a makeup counter so you get an accurate colour match.


What’s your favorite foundation?




My Moisturising Treasures

It astounds me that so many people don’t moisturise. Perhaps it’s my sensitive skin that makes me far more attentive, but come on girls, it’s the best known preventative measure for ageing, don’t come crying to me when those crows feet come creeping in. Not only that, but it makes the application of foundation easy and slick therefore preventing any cakeyness, So here are my facial moisturiser saviors!

SIANA Moisturising Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream £1.89


This incredible moisturizer was sitting in the bottom of my skincare hoard, underneath more expensive creams like Estee Lauder but it wasn’t until I’d exhausted all other options that I discovered the treasure I had been guarding all this time. My nanny had given this to me from the excesses of her beauty storage so she’d also suffered the same fatal error. Believe it or not, the SIANA moisturiser once graced the shelve’s of Aldi , but as housewives realised it’s cheap, smooth hydrating quality they gathered in the stock and sold it over ebay. I haven’t really considered whether it’s anti-ageing properties work but it does contain a retinol complex to stimulate cell growth and chemicals to help regenerate vitamin E. What I like about the cream , is it’s a deep rich quality. After applying to the skin, after a minute it’s fully absorbed and leaves a nourished, smooth texture, perfect for the application of primer. The pot says it can be used on any skin type, but as someone who can get dry skin this has been very helpful. It isn’t too heavy like a lot of moisturisers can be and since using it people have remarked on how soft my face is.  SIANA also make a nightcream which I also use, it is slightly thicker and works it’s hydrating magic throughout the night, now that’s what I call beauty sleep.

If it’s no longer in Aldi, buy here at an inflated price, but it’s worth it:


Enchanted Eye Cream by LUSH  £11.95


Another shock to me is that people use their facial moisturiser on their eyes. NO NO NO, a thick penetrative moisturiser can make your eyes puffy. The skin is far too thin and sensitive in the eye area, you need to use a light eye moisturiser. After having an allergic reaction to an eyeliner I have always been very strict about moisturising my eyes, and who came to the rescue but the the trusty natural products of Lush again! Lush’s enchanted eye cream is a made up organic oils and soothing honey coming together as a harmonious, light refreshing treat to your skin. Don’t expect this cream to combat dark eye circles, it’s a simple formula is just intended for smooth hydration and keeps the eye area firm; don’t expect miracles. Enchanted Eye Cream comes in a small bottle dispenser and seems to be never ending, you only need to use a tiny amount on each eye so I can see my bottle lasting for 2 years easily!

Buy it here:


What are your moisturising saviors? Has anyone tried the lush facial moisturisers?

My Facial Cleanser Saviours!

I’m not really one for writing beauty posts, but I do have a passion for skincare and  makeup in everyday life. So, after reading some really useful beauty blogs today, I thought it would only be fair to share some of my findings too. I have very sensitive skin, so when it comes to cleansers and eye makeup remover I have to be extremely careful that I use all natural ingredients. I remember a few years back, when using a ‘Simple’ eye makeup remover, my eyes transformed into monstrous puffy frog eyes, despite the fact that ‘Simple’ was meant to be a hypoallergenic brand. So after trying out numerous makeup removers throughout the years here are two which I highly recommend. Nobody should have to suffer the frog eyes ever ever again.

Ultrabland Facial Cleaner from Lush £6.75


Made with almond oil, rose water, beeswax and honey, Lush’s best selling cleanser ‘Ultrabland’ is calm and moisturising to the skin as well as as acting as an effective makeup remover. No more scrubbing at your eyes with cheap makeup wipes, just dab a small amount of ‘Ultrabland’ on a cotton pad and your warpaint gently wipes off.  Particularly on the sensitive skin of your eyelids and undereye, this wonder cleanser is soft and gentle, keeping that sensitive area supple and hydrated. Lush say that ‘Ultrabland’ cares for all skin types. Personally, I can sometimes get dry skin and this has worked wonders. I bought this at the start of my second year, which was 4 months ago, and I still have way over half a pot left; much more efficient than a pack of wipes that’re gone in a week.  My only critcism would be that it doesn’t smell great (a bit waxy), and also ensure you don’t use too much as it can leave your skin feeling slightly greasy.

Buy it here:


Oleo Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover  £7.70


If you’re feeling really organic, this great natural skin care company called Oleo make an amazing eye- makeup remover. Made with cocoa butter, calendula oil, rose and floral waters, Oleo’s remover has a much more pleasant fragrance than Lush’s ‘Ultrabland’. All stubborn eye makeup is removed with a gentle sweep of a cotton pad and the cocoa butter leaves you with a soft moisturised finish. Particularly in the eye area, the calendula oil acts as a soothing anti inflammatory, therefore keeping any frog eyes at bay. I much prefer the dispenser to the lidded pot of ‘Ultrabland’ as it’s harder to waste. You’ve also got the added bonus of supporting a smaller company and having a beauty secret to set a trend with.

Buy it here:

What about you?  What are you facial cleanser saviours?