Sunday 31 March 2013

Elemis Fresh Skin Mattifying Moisturiser: Review

Back on to the subject of skincare for today my lovelies!! Specifically the matter of combination/oily skin. I had a bit of a nightmare searching for good quality moisturisers that don't make my t-zone light up like a Christmas tree. I recently reviewed the Elemis Balance and Purify Cleansing duo (Here) and, following that, I quizzed the peeps at Elemis as to what moisturiser they would recommend to work in tandem with the cleanser and toner and they recommended this...

Elemis Fresh Skin: Skin Clear Mattifying Moisturiser*

This moisturiser is specifically formulated for oily and blemish prone skin types of which, technically, I am neither. However, I need a moisturiser that will not amplify my shiny t-zone and that will make a great base for my makeup. I like that the active ingredients in this moisturiser are naturally derived and that the formula isn't too heavy. The texture of the product is actually on the thicker side, yet goes on very well and you only need a little bit to do a whole face.

The product comes in a pump top bottle. In fact, one pump tends to give too much product for me so I have to be very gentle with it to avoid wastage. The product has quite a medicated scent which isn't to my taste, but that's really the only thing I don't like so much about it. It is very quickly absorbed once applied and provides a lovely, velvety, smooth result which I can then follow up with a primer. I'm not sure if it's the most effective at refining pores but it does enhance the performance of my BeneFit PoreFessional. I love that it moisturises my dryer areas (this is due to the presence of shea butter) whilst de-shining my nose and forehead. 

The product claims to promote cell renewal, maintain a matte finish for up to 8 hours and drastically reduce redness as well as t-zone shine. I don't have much of an issue with redness but, on the odd occasion that I do, I find this product to be very soothing. My t-zone is definitely less noticeable after using this product and, at £20 for 50ml I'd say it's good value as you only need half a pump or so for each application. If you're on the oilier side I definitely recommend giving it a go! 

Elemis products are available from most major department stores and online from sites including Time To SpaFeel Unique and QVC

HOWEVER, if you act FAST and get in there quickly, you can still get a sample size of this product for FREE in the March issue of Cosmopolitan (UK)

What are your favourite moisturisers for oily skin types?? What do you use to combat the shine factor?? What Elemis products do you rate??

Saturday 30 March 2013

My Top 5 Drugstore Lip Products

Morning beauty seekers!!
I meant to post this last night, but I got kinda distracted downloading fonts and before I knew it 10pm had been and gone and I decided to keep it for this morning instead. Anyhoo, I was rummaging around in my lippy drawer the other day and came to the conclusion that my drugstore lippies could use some more love. After having a bit of a think I decided to pick out my top 5 and do a little swatchy post telling you why I love them. The products are featured in no particular order...

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in 700: Nude Delight is an old school favourite of mine. I actually have 3 of these dotted around in various handbags as I find it a great lipstick to have around in case of emergencies. The formula is super moisturising and it's just the perfect, peachy nude for my medium skintone. It's dark enough not to be concealer-y but light enough to look pretty yet natural. Great for dry lip days. 

Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Peaches and Cream is one of my all time favourite Spring/Summer lip colours. It's perfect for either day or evening and I find it lasts a long time on the lips. I only own this and one other Sleek lipstick (Fuchsia, which I'll admit I don't wear very often at all) but I like the formula. I hear the matte shades are a little drying but this is very comfortable to wear, although not as moisturising as the Rimmel one. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick in No5: Brun Boheme* is the newest of the 5 products in this post. I was introduced to it by the MUAs from Bourjois during London Fashion Week and I utterly ADORE it! It's very different from the usual nude shades I tend to stick to. It's darker for one, but it's a brown toned dusky pink that looks so chic and is very versatile. It's neutral enough to wear with a toned down daytime look, yet dark enough to vamp up at nighttime. I find it to be long wearing and it feels lovely on the lips. 

I didn't go as mental for these lipsticks as a lot of people did. I only picked up 3 shades of the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters but this one ended up being a big favourite for Summer 2012 and I can't wait to bust it out again this year. The lip butter formula is intended to be a hydrid of lip balm and lipstick and offers amazing moisturisation. I don't find it lasts amazingly well, probably because it's more of a balmy product, but it's one of the very few PALE pink lip shades that I find I can wear easily. Certainly the only drugstore one anyway (the others are MAC's Hue and Creme Cup). Massive thumbs up for this product! I also adore their Just Bitten, Kissable Balm Stain in Cherish which is a very similar shade.

This is another recent discovery of mine. Again, Rimmel Apocalips were MASSIVE all over the blog-o-sphere when they were released yet I only managed to pick up a couple of shades. I chose well though. Celestial is an extremely wearable dusky pink which is slightly darker than any other similar shade I have in my collection. I also love the 'lacquer' formulation of the product. It applies like a gloss, but with the opacity and pigmentation of a lipstick! Genius! Super shiny and long lasting too. Extremely quick to apply and you get a glossy pop of colour that really lasts. 

So there are the swatches for all of the above lipsticks. I love how they're all so different. I feel like I can be more experimental with drugstore lip products as they're really affordable (none of the products in this post retail for over £8). You really can pick up some gems!! 

You can pick up all of these products in your local Boots or Superdrug and you won't have to spend a fortune. Perfect shades for the upcoming Spring/Summer season (when the sun finally decides to get it's hat on, that is).

What are your ultimate drugstore lip products?? What shades will you be reaching for for SS13??

Thursday 28 March 2013

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation: Santa Fe

I've recently gone from 0-60 in terms of foundations. I'd used up the last of my MAC Matchmaster and was kind of just surviving on whatever was on offer at the drugstore with no clear idea of what I wanted to replace it with. Yes, I found some decent drugstore foundations along the way (read my recent review of the Look Beauty Airbrush Base Here), but nothing I instantly fell head over heels in love with. Then in the last month I've acquired 2 new foundations, 2 new BB Creams and my BeneFit Hello Flawless powder! Not bad going eh?! I've been aware of the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation for a little while now and, on a recent shopping jaunt up town with the lovely Jayne, I finally decided that enough was enough and treated myself from their Selfridges counter. 

 NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Santa Fe (Medium 2)

With all the heartache I've had with my skin lately (probably nothing compared to what some go through, but a hell of a lot more than I've ever had to deal with previously in my life), I really wanted a lightweight, hydrating product that gave a more radiant finish than what I usually go for. As a combination skinned girlie I usually shy away from glowy foundations but I'd heard some fantastic feedback about this one from other blogging ladies with similar skin types. Plus, I'm a sucker for NARS packaging and I made a vow in January that I would try more of their products this year.

Santa Fe is Medium toned shade which leans slightly warm. I find it to be on the lighter side of medium but it's a great match for me at the moment. Since NARS Sheer Glow does not come with a pump (seriously, for the price, they could have just thrown that in couldn't they??) I have been dotting it around my face with my fingers and then blending it out with my hands. The formula of this foundation was designed to be applied with the fingers so the product goes on very smoothly and spreads evenly when using this method. I haven't tried it with a brush yet. The coverage is good: not full coverage, but enough to even out and smooth the skin. I'd define it as medium but buildable if required.

I love how lightweight this foundation is. I can hardly feel it on my skin, yet it makes my face feel so soft and smooth. On me, it lasts most of the day, with my MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural over the top, without moving or oxidising. I'd only feel like touching it up if I was going on a night out. The radiant finish really brightens up my face and I feel like I look much healthier. No photo of it on my face as yet (the ones I snapped quickly on my phone didn't come out great) but I'm going to have time tomorrow to do proper photographs so will add one in when I can. 
In my opinion (despite the lack of pump), this foundation is worth every penny. My skin feels so smooth and I've had several compliments on my skin at work this week! Not bad considering that, a fortnight ago, I was tearing my hair out because of my face haha. I think this, teamed with my new BeneFit Fakeup concealer may be my dream base combination for the Spring!

NARS Sheer Glow retails for £30.50 (30ml bottle) from department stores, and other online retailers.

Do you rate NARS Foundations?? Are you prepared to splash out that little bit extra for a great product?? What other NARS products float your boat??


Monday 25 March 2013

Celebrating 10yrs of Flawless Skin with BeneFit!

Monday again?? Bleh....
This Monday, however, I am having a little mini celebration here at London Beauty Banter. As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to attend BeneFit Cosmetics' launch of their NEW Hydrating Concealer 'FakeUp' (read my post and see the swatches HERE), but it seems that there is a DOUBLE celebration to be had and it comes in the form of their cult powder coverup product Hello Flawless* which is currently celebrating it's 10th Anniversary. In honour of this milestone achievement, we were all colour matched on the night and given our own to take home! Sooooo I thought I'd beat the Monday blues show it to you in all its timeless GLORY!

BeneFit Hello Flawless is a versatile powder foundation which can be applied in a variety of ways. The finish is totally customisable and can be either swept on lightly with a brush for a barely-there, sheer finish or applied with a sponge to eliminate and disguise blemishes and imperfections. 

This seems like a great product to have and I suspect that this will take a permanent place in my makeup bag over the warmer months (whenever they finally decide to arrive). It can be worn as a powder foundation when blended out using a foundation brush, as a lightweight finishing powder when swept lightly over moisturiser or primer, or concentrated in certain areas using the sponge to remove all trace of unwanted blemishes or discolouration. It also contains SPF15, making it even more essential as a summer product. The compact is also perfect for carrying around, with a great sized mirror and everything you need for coverup on the go.

I was colour matched by Head Makeup Artist, Trend Advisor and Brow Specialist (check me out people, I know her full title off by heart now) Lisa Potter-Dixon, herself, and was sent home with the shade "Cute as a Bunny" Honey which is a warm medium toned shade. 

I am very impressed with how this product swatched and I will definitely be featuring it in a FOTD type-post very soon. I can see that it's going to be a must-have for over the summer to combat the sweat-factor as well as disguise those annoying little freckles i get when the sun comes out. 

This product retails at £24.50, which is getting towards the higher end for a base product. However, you get both the sponge and a powder-type brush in the compact and it is a product which has a multitude of uses so you wouldn't need to spend money on any extra concealer or foundation products to wear it with (although I suspect that it could also work well when combined with another lighter coverage foundation for a more matte finish). 

I cannot wait to play with the new products I took home from BeneFit that night and I will definitely report back on how this product fares on my skin. I tried FakeUp for the first time under my eyes yesterday and it's LOVE!! I just need an excuse to get out and put a full face of slap on and show it all off now. 

Hello Flawless is available from all BeneFit Boutiques and Counters as well as at

Are you a fan of Hello Flawless?? Do you rate powder products as a coverup?? What are your favourite BeneFit products??

Sunday 24 March 2013

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint: It's Love!

Morning ladies!
I know I'm not the only one to be harping on about these particular polishes lately, and I'm not one for jumping on bandwagons unless I REALLY feel like I have to, but I've been enjoying these Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint shades so much recently and I really wanted to share the colours with you and give you my thoughts on the range. I'm not a massive fan of the regular Nail Paint but I've really been embracing these ones and have been very impressed. 

As you can see, the shades I have are...

GNP5 - Blueberry
GNP6 - Prickly Pear
GNP12 - Greenberry

There are a total of 13 shades in the range, so I have yet to even scratch the surface, but these were the ones that most appealed to me from first discovering the range and I'm sure I'll catch up eventually. I seem to be picking them at a rate of 1 per train commute to University as I just can't resist the Boots store in London St Pancras. 

Greenberry is just that little bit brighter than any other minty green shade I have in my collection (and I have about 7) which makes it a bit special in my opinion. This shade was all over my Instagram and I just fell in love with it immediately. I find it slightly gloopier and harder work to apply than the other 2 shades I have from the range, but I'm not sure if that's just because I got a dodgy one or whether the formula really does differ from polish to polish. 

Prickly Pear (bit of an odd name for a pale, greyish Lilac shade in my opinion) is so pretty. It's the palest out of the 3 and takes a little more building up than the others, which I could probably get away with a single coat of if I was in a hurry. This one definitely requires a second coat, but I usually always do a second coat anyways so it's not a massive issue. 

Blueberry was the first shade I bought from the range and I love it. For some reason I've been hankering after blue nails a lot recently and there are several other blues on my list. It's a lot brighter on the nails than it appears in the bottle in my opinion, particularly in natural light. I did a Monday Manicure post with it not long ago (Link) and teamed it with the Denim Nail Paint as an accent. 

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint costs £3.99 for a 10ml bottle which is a great price. I find the polishes to be extremely glossy AND long wearing (which is something I haven't always associated with Barry M polishes). I do tend to add a top coat just to protect it that little bit more, but the swatches above were done using 2 coats of Gelly only. 

I'm sure you all know where you can purchase these polishes by now (Boots, Superdrug, yadda yadda yadda...) but if you want more info on the polishes, mail order and to see the full range of shades, do check out

Are you loving Barry M polishes lately?? Which shades are your favourite?? What colours will you be wearing on your nails for Spring/Summer?? 

Saturday 23 March 2013

Instant Obsession: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

It's not often I'm rendered gobsmacked by a product after a first use. Usually, if I'm sceptical or suspicious of a product, its for a good reason and I'll analyse it over and over and try it every which way before I commit to make a final judgement (I'm a Virgo, what can i say). I should tell you, I was a complete unbeliever when it came to oil cleansers. In fact, I've had a sample size of this very product tucked away in my cupboard for a couple of months now and had never given it a second glance but, now I've had my eyes forcibly opened on the subject, I'm here today to tell you about the wonder that is....

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil*

For those of you unfamiliar with DHC, I'll give you a little back story...
DHC are a Japanese-born mail order cosmetics brand who are MASSIVE in Asia and in the States and have recently been making a similar splash here in the UK with their extensive range of skincare and cosmetics which you can order online via their website, or by phone. 

The Deep Cleansing Oil incorporates a blend of Vitamin E and Olive Oil (an ingredient put to great use by DHC is all manner of products) and claims to unclog pores and remove all makeup and impurities from the skin to leave it clean, fresh and free from free-radicals. I'll admit now that, with my combination skin, I would avoid this like the plague if I hadn't had it explained in detail to me at an event held by DHC this week. I initially believed that it would turn me into a total grease-monkey. How wrong was I?!?!

The cleanser itself is like a very thin oil and you only need a couple of pumps to do a whole face (in my limited experience of using it). I've been smoothing it all over before wetting my face with water and massaging the product into my skin. The product turns milky on contact with the water and leaves no oily residue whatsoever when rinsed off. It removes ALL of my makeup and leaves my skin feeling the cleanest it has felt in a LONG time! 

I've been using this product in tandem with my Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser (review HERE) just because I am still a little wary of it.... There has to be a catch somewhere, right?? Perhaps wrong, but time will tell. It is thoroughly effective at removing all traces of makeup and leaves the skin feeling silky smooth as well as clean. 

The cleanser comes in 3 sizes. 200ml, which is featured here, 70ml and 30ml. The largest size retails at £21.50, however, through until 30th March, you can get it at a discounted £18 on If, like me, you're a little sceptical and would prefer to give it a road test before committing to such a massive bottle, the 30ml size is only £4.50 and well worth a try! Since sharing this product over Instagram, I can't believe how many ladies have popped up saying how much they love this product. Safe to say, I am now one of them and will be repurchasing the hell out of it! 

How do you feel about oil cleansers?? What products do you rely on to get your skin REALLY clean?? What skincare products can't you live without??

Friday 22 March 2013

Mystery Solved: BeneFit Fakeup!

Hello there my lovelies!
Last night I was super excited to go along to Spitalfields in pursuit of the Mysterious new product known as BeneFit Fakeup* which launches nationwide from 30th March! Now, I'm excited about this launch BIG time as, just lately I've found myself feeling very tired and yuck and my skin is reacting horribly, and in a way which I have never really experienced before. What perfect timing to go and learn about and unravel the Mystery behind BeneFit's new baby. 

 (iPhone images from the event. Apologies they're a little grainy)

There has been a big build up to the release of this product. The BeneBabes have been on a whirlwind tour up and down the country of late, to educate Bloggers far and wide about the new product they are so proud of. They kept the Londoners waiting until last so we were all very keen to get the scoop on this fantastic new concealer...

The lovely Lisa did a demo with the product, whilst we enjoyed pink fizz and canapes, and put us through our paces with a pop quiz for prizes. As usual I was too slow, but I was very interested to learn a few fantastic facts about Fakeup, its uses and the whirlwind journey it has been on just lately. So I'll share them with you!!

Fakeup comes in 3 Shades:
Pretty standard for a concealer, you might think, but the shades (Light, Medium and Deep) are intended to be used together and at the same time. Using a combination of these shades you can hide dark circles, smooth your skin and diffuse light to create flawless perfection. I'm actually very excited to use the darkest shade as a contour. And the pale will work a treat on my undereye circles (which seem to becoming a permanent fixture of late - Boooooo). Kimmy K eat your heart out! 

Fakeup has amazing Hydrating properties:
The creamy core concealer is surrounded by a layer of moisturising loveliness containing a blend of Vitamin E and Apple Seed Extract so provide immediate hydration that lasts up to 6hrs and does not crease. The formula is lightweight as well as long lasting with a silky texture. I've only got as far as the swatching stage so far, but the product feels lovely on the skin and blends very well. 

Fakeup was used on models at the recent Matthew Williamson show for LFW:
In fact, Cara Delevigne was so taken with it, she insisted on taking one away with her. Lisa admitted to us that, as time was so tight to get the models ready, the BeneFit artists ended up using Fakeup ALL OVER the faces of the models in place of a foundation. 

Fakeup can be applied to treat dry patches:
For girlies with dry, sensitive skin this could be a breakthrough! Use Fakeup to conceal these areas whilst providing instant hydrating relief.

The shades are super creamy and blendable and, for a change, i just KNOW that I will get use out of all 3 of these. I suppose, by definition, my official shade would be Medium, but I look forward to playing with Light and Deep to create different looks and help brighten up my tired face. I haven't been featuring my face very often on the blog recently and I hate it! I've just felt so tired and pale and have a couple of troublesome facial cysts so I just haven't felt like I wanted to share those with the world. It may well be all in my head but I hope Fakeup can help me find the guts to start doing makeup looks again soon! I really miss doing them.

How creamy are these swatches!! The texture is so smooth and the hydrating layer feels almost Vaseline-like when applied. I cannot WAIT to play with these on my face and bring you a full review as soon as time (and my face) allow. I'm also interested to see how it compares to my Boi-ing concealer. 

Thank you so much to the lovely ladies from BeneFit for inviting me to their lovely event. I was gutted that I had to miss out on the previous event for Fine One One, but this more than made up for it! I bumped into a few blogging faces that I hadn't seen in AGES and it was a pleasure to meet Lisa, Joanne and the team from BeneFit. 

Fakeup launches in BeneFit Boutiques and Counters from 30th March and costs £18.50, however you can get your mitts on it ahead of time at

Are you excited about the launch of Fakeup?? What are your facial dramas?? What coverup products can't you live without?? 

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Seascape Peppermint Lip Balm: Review

One of my favourite new beauty brand discoveries came during London Fashion Week when I was treated to a lovely arm massage courtesy of Seascape whilst visiting the Handpicked Media Suite. I was also treated to some lovely products to take home with me. One of which was their Peppermint Lip Balm*

The thing that really grabbed me from the offset with this brand was their values and dedication to keeping their products free from any nasties such as parabens, SLS, silicones or petroleum as well as being against animal testing and suitable for vegetarians and mums-to-be. Their Peppermint lip balm contains a mixture of Jersey Beeswax, Honey and Jojoba seed oil with pure essential oil (all ethically sourced, locally). No artificial colours or fragrances. Just minty loveliness! The Seascape range is inspired by the natural beauty of Jersey, in the channel islands. 

This product makes a welcome change from the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie lip balm stick I carry around in my handbag for everyday use. This product feels like a real treat and I have been using it as part of my night time skincare routine as more of a lip 'treatment'. It is quite solid in the pot and takes a little warming up but it applies easily.

What i really like about it is that it has quite a rough texture which feels like it exfoliates on application and then melts into the lips leaving them feeling gorgeously smooth and soft and hydrated and ready for lipstick in the morning. 

This product is priced at £10 which I would definitely pay for it if I decide to repurchase it in the future (which I would seriously consider). HOWEVER, currently on Seascape.Com you can get it for FREE when you spend £30 or more on other products from the range, which are all equally as gorgeous. For other stockists, refer to the website.

Are you a fan of natural skincare?? Do you prefer your products to be ethically sound as well as great quality?? What are your current favourite lip products??

Monday 18 March 2013

Monday Manicure #5: Nails Inc Leather

Bit of a late one this week. I'd planned to have this post up early-evening, however, a quick nip to the corner shop ended in me being detained for 2 pints at the pub I work in (you know how these things go) and we don't do Tuesday Manicures on this blog. It's a Monday thing! 
The polish I'm featuring today is actually one I have featured before on this blog, although not in any great detail as I only got my mitts on one of my own yesterday. 

Nails Inc Leather Effect: Shoreditch Lane

Nails Inc describe this shade as 'Mulberry Leather Effect', in comparison to the other shades in the range which are your regular black and tan leather shades. I had it applied to my nails back in December when I attended Nails Inc's Spring/Summer '13 press event and it was instant infatuation. At the time, however it was not available as an individual polish. In fact they didn't release this shade at all until this month. The other shades in the range (Soho Mews and Noho) have, up until now, only been available as part of the 'Skulls and Leather' gift set with the awesome little skulls decals, but are also now available as individual polishes. 

(iPhone image from the event, showing all 3 shades)

I'm crushing on this polish big style! It's just so chic! If you weren't a fan of the Nails Inc Concrete Effect polishes, but still fancy trying something a bit different, then I urge you to give these a go. The texture is much more subtle and they have much more of a shine to them. The photo above is 2 coats of Shoreditch Lane with NO topcoat. Topcoat kills the texture and I find the polish is shiny enough without anyway. It's a lot easier to apply than the Concrete polish as well. It goes on glossy and the leather effect appears as it dries. 

This is my original leather mani, which was applied by one of the lovely ladies at the event in December, featuring those amazing skull decals I mentioned earlier. I managed to salvage them as well, so I may well be rocking this look again in the near future! 
I definitely prefer the Leather Effect to the Concrete. Not that I dislike the Concrete, it's just that I find this polish to be longer wearing and easier to apply. I'm now thinking that I may also need Soho Mews (Tan Leather) in my life!!

I picked this polish up for £12 from House of Fraser on Oxford Street but you can get it from any Nails Inc Concession/Counter as well as Nails Inc stores and on It's worth every penny so feel free to treat yourself! 

What nail trends will you be following this season?? Are you a texture kinda gal or do you prefer your polish to be more BLING?? Do you go for brights or neutrals when the weather gets warmer??

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