Ren Skincare: Ren radiance micro polish cleanser & Ren glycolactic radiance renewal mask

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I first discovered Ren through a Birchbox sample of the gylcolactic mask – I had never heard of the brand but read up on it online and discovered a huge range of different products for all different ages, skin-types and specific needs.

Below I am reviewing my two favourite products (so far) from the brand – the cleanser and the mask!

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Ren radiance micro polish cleanser 150ml

Retail Price: £17.95 with free delivery in the UK from www.allbeauty.com or purchase through the Burchbox shop for £20.00 with free delivery + points.

Ren glycolactic radiance renewal mask 50ml

Retail Price: £24.95 with free delivery in the UK from www.allbeauty.com or purchase through the Birchbox shop for £32.00 with free delivery + points.

Ease of application:
Cleanser 5 out of 5
Mask 4 out of 5

The cleanser is a combined cleanser and exfoliator so has tiny beads which help to polish the skin – I use this in the shower 2 or 3 times a week and it leaves my skin softer than any other exfoliator / face wash ever has – even on its own with no other Ren products used afterwards this makes a huge difference to the appearance and feel of my skin. I have been using this for about 6 weeks now and over time my pores have become a lot less visible and I no longer struggle with blackheads down my nose and across my cheeks. After trying a lot of different face washes that state to solve this problem this is the only one I feel has genuine lasting results. (Also smells very fruity and fresh!)

I use the mask once a week directly after the cleanser – it is quite a thick gloopy mask and you do have to use a fair amount to get it to spread evenly. Once applied it doesn’t set or turn into a peel but you can feel it tighten slightly. I leave this on for 10 minutes and then remove with a damp cloth. It comes off easily and smells amazing!

Lasting performace:
Cleanser 5 out of 5
Mask 5 out of 5

On the day of using both the cleanser and the mask it feels like my skin is brand new – the surface is so smooth and pores almost invisible. I have never used products that makes me feel as though I can go make up free so i’m definitely sticking with this regime.
Using the mask once a week is enough and the cleanser every 2 or 3 days helps keep skin polished and bright. It really does bring back a glow to your skin – i’m looking forward to using this over winter when I struggle the most with keeping my sking looking bright.

Value for money:
Cleanser 5 out of 5
Mask 5 out of 5

Both score top marks as I am happy to pay that bit extra for products with such high quality and visible results from day one.
After trying the mask from a Birchbox sample I looked into buying some other sample packs to try out other bits without committing to a full size. I managed to find a tin (brand new and sealed) containing the cleanser sample, a full size mask, skin cloth, BB cream and resurfacing AHA concentrate for only £20 on ebay so keep your eye out for bargains! (photo at the top of the post)

Overall Opinion:
If you struggle at all with blackheads, visible pores or literally just want a smoother skin surface this is the best range of products I can recommend. I am excited to try more from the range and thank Birchbox for introducing the brand to me!

Birchbox is brilliant in that way and for anyone in two minds about joining I 10000% say go for it, you will not regret it!!

If you decide to join please use the unique link below as it will mean you start with 50 Birchbox points to use in the shop (100 points = £10.00 and you earn as you buy – 1 point per £ spent)

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/98p11

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L’Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation & L’Oreal Paris Infallible Mattifying Base

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L’Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation

Retail Price: £6.99 from http://www.boots.com (currently in the 3 for 2 offer)

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Mattifying Base

Retail Price: £7.99 from http://www.gordonsdirect.com (I bought this in a Boots store but I can’t find it online)

Ease of application:
Base 5 out of 5
Foundation 4 out of 5

The base is amazing (in my opinion!) – it goes on so smoothly and you only need the tiniest bit, it’s not greasy at all and you can see the transformation to skin immediately. It hides pores and evens skin tone.

The foundation I find applies best with a brush – with a sponge the coverage wasn’t quite as good. It spreads really easily and coverage is perfect! Not patchy or sticky at all.

Lasting Performance: 4.5 out of 5

The only thing stopping me giving this 5 out of 5 is that I don’t think it quite meets 24 hour coverage as it claims..but who needs 24 hours!! I personally like to sleep after about 16!

I apply it at about 7am before work and when I get home in the evening it is still going strong.

Value for money: 5 out of 5 (for both)

Especially while the 3 for 2 offer is on in store I would recommend buying these! I purchased these 2 and a Loreal concealer but wasn’t overly impressed with the concealer so I would buy maybe one base and 2 foundations – for around £15 this is fab!!

On the day I bought these I was intending to buy a much pricier foundation just for the fact I’ve never spent more than about £10 on one – this caught my eye mainly because it was one I hadn’t seen before (and the huge red NEW!! signs may have influenced me!) and I’m very impressed! I don’t need anything more than this so for me it’s perfect.

The tubes are a great size too so I don’t think i’ll need to replace for a while – they do also do larger glass bottles.

Overall Opinion:

If you’re after full coverage and even tones then this is great and for the price I’d like to find someone who isn’t impressed!

Liebster Award!!

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So today the lovely Asha from Step in Chic nominated my blog for the Liebster Award! I will be honest I had no idea what this was but now that I do I am extremely grateful!

So if like me you’re unsure here’s how the Liebster Award works. If you are nominated you:

– Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.

– Inform them of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog.

– Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and than ask your nominees 11 questions to keep the chain going

So to start with here are my answers to Asha’s 11 questions:

1. Morning person or Not? To be honest I kind of am, I work flexi-time so I would always rather start earlier so that I can have a longer evening.

2. Tea or Coffee? I’m a bit odd and hate any hot drinks, warm liquid in my mouth just freaks me out haha.

3. Blogging or Vlogging? I personally wouldn’t vlog as i’m not keen on being filmed but I find them very useful especially with new applicators or hair appliances.

4. Are you living in the same city where you were born? I sure am!

5. Do you watch reality tv? If yes which one tops the list? I’m afraid so…Ex on the Beach is my very guilty pleasure!!

6. Love pets? Have any? I have a dog, a cat and a bird!

7. Which blogger would you love to meet in person anytime soon? To be honest I quite like having an online world to escape to so i’m not sure I have thought about meeting anyone on here.

8. How much time do you invest for your blog in a day? I check any comments / likes daily but I haven’t posted as often as i’d like to – my aim is once a week.

9. Lipstick or Lipgloss? Definitely lip stick 

10. Foundation or BB/CC cream? BB cream all the way!

11. Do you live alone or with your family/partner/friends? I’m still living at home with my parents but will hopefully move out in the next year 🙂

The 11 beautiful bloggers I would like to nominate are:

Brazenrouge
Just Charlie G
Me My Girls & I
KittensandCashmere
Louiina
Trupowe
The Nerdy Girl’s Sparkle Shack
Dolled Up By J
Gracy Creations
Blogmebutiful
LuluMayBeauty

…and my 11 questions are as follows:

1. What made you want to start a blog?
2. Do you work within the sector you blog about?
3. How often do you post?
4. What is your all time favourite product?
5. What is your biggest hobby?
6. What is your ultimate dream job?
7. Have you or would you consider charity work?
8. The best place you have had a holiday?
9. Crazy night out or cosy night in?
10. Your favourite perfume?
11. Your hero in life?

Thanks again to Asha and don’t forget to post your new set of questions for the bloggers you nominate!

xxx

Revive – Makeup Blending Applicator

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Retail Price: £4.99 from TKMaxx (there are others available online such as the Beauty Blender Pro which I have found on Amazon for around £18.00 and then there are lots of similar copies also on Amazon for around £3.00)

I felt I had to try this out as they’re everywhere at the moment and I want to know what all the fuss is about!!

How to use:
So..first of all run this under the tap until it’s completely covered in water – the sponge will absorb lots of water so squeeze it out over and over until it doesn’t drip. (I squeezed mine in a piece of kitchen roll before using just to make sure it wasn’t too damp still) It will GROW rather a lot!!

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It’s really important that you use the right kind of foundation with this, too runny and it will soak into the sponge and you’ll get none on your face, too thick and it wont spread evenly it’ll just pull in streaks! I used it with a BB cream that I use daily :

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Ease to use: 5 out of 5
I really like this product, the shape works really well! The point is great for under the eyes and the crease around the nose and the round end is great for kind of rolling the foundation / cream across your face. I used it in a patting motion rather than pulling it across the face. I dotted the BB cream over my face first rather than putting the cream onto the sponge – I think this uses less product as not as much soaks into the sponge.

Value for money: 5 out of 5
At £4.99 I can’t complain! The sponge is obviously re-usable (as long as you keep it clean, using a delicate soap or cleanser) and I love how well it’s worked. I feel like I’ve been making a huge make up mistake using my fingers to apply foundation after trying this, as well as the results it’s a lot more hygienic (again as long as you keep washing after use).

I would recommend going for a cheaper option as I can’t imagine there being much of a difference between the £18.00 version to this £4.99 version.

Overall Opinion:

To be completely honest I have never used a sponge to apply foundation before so I can’t compare this to average make up sponges but I am convinced by this as the coverage is so even! I 100% recommend this especially if like me you have never tried a sponge applicator before.

My mug today below after using this (as well as showing off my gorgeous Tatty Devine magpie earrings I have rec’d for Valentines day!!)
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Jo Malone – Cologne & Body Creme

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Blackberry & Bay Cologne

Retail Price: £82.00 for 100ml (photo above) / £40.00 for 30ml from http://www.jomalone.co.uk (also available from John Lewis)

This is my absolute favourite perfume! Received as a gift from my best friend and now I’m addicted!!

This is the description on the website and i’m not going to attempt to describe it any other way!:

Childhood memories of blackberry picking…A burst of deep, tart blackberry juice, blending with the freshness of just-gathered bay and brambly woods. Vibrant and verdant.

Lasting Performance: 5 out of 5

This lasts for hours! I can put this on first thing in a morning and still smell it late in the afternoon. The smell isn’t overpowering, it’s nothing like any other perfume I’ve tried and I’ve tried way too many! I made the mistake of using this daily because I love it so much but it started to go down too quick and it’s not something I can afford to replace too often! I now save it for nights out and weekends out and it’s more of a treat. People notice the scent and it gets lots of compliments, can’t recommend this enough (although I quite like having something a bit different so shh don’t tell everyone!)

Value For Money: 5 out of 5
I’d usually only buy perfume from the airport and it’d be Thierry Mugler, Viktor and Rolf, Prada or something similar – these all cost between £50 – £80 for a decent sized bottle. I love them all but I don’t like to think in a group of friends 2 or 3 of you probably have the same perfume in your bag, it’s nice to have something different and the Jo Malone scents are definitely that.

I have had the blackberry and bay for over a year now and I did use it daily for a few months, I now use it perhaps twice a week and I still have a fair amount left. I imagine I’ll replace it over summer instead of my usual airport splurge. For the cost I think it is far better value for money than the more commercially advertised scents. Plus the bottle is super classy!

Overall Opinion:
Find one you love from the HUGE range, you won’t regret it!

Body Creme – Blackberry & Bay

  Nectarine Blossom & Honey

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Retail Prices:

Blackberry & Bay Body Creme : £50.00 for 175ml from http://www.jomalone.co.uk (also available from John Lewis)
Nectarine Blossom & Honey Body Creme : £50.00 for 175ml from http://www.jomalone.co.uk (also available from John Lewis)

Firstly the scents – the Blackberry & Bay is as above, the Nectarine Blossom & Honey has the below heavenly description online:

London’s Covent Garden early morning market. Succulent nectarine, peach and cassis and delicate spring flowers melt into the note of acacia honey. Sweet and delightfully playful.

Ease of application: 5 out of 5
This is really thick and smooth to apply, you only need the tiniest bit and it spreads really well. Both smell gorgeous and either worn with or without the perfume are amazing! I only use this on my arms, chest and neck – I’m sure it’d be fine on my legs but because it is so perfumed I’d worry about it aggravating shaven skin.

Lasting Performance: 4 out of 5
The scent doesn’t stay as strong as the cologne but they do make your skin silky soft and this definitely lasts!

Value for Money: 5 out of 5
More expensive than any body cream previously used but 100% worth it. Plus the glass tub is huge and will last forever!! You use such a small amount that it never seems to go down. Both my pots still look full yet I use one or the other almost daily – (I’ve had one almost a year and the other since Christmas).

Overall Opinion:
Not your average body cream, they are really thick and you can tell they’re such good quality. They last so long and the scents are gorgeous. However be warned, once you’ve tried it you won’t go back!

Sensationail – Gel Polish Nails at Home

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Retail Price: Starter Kit is available from http://www.boots.com for £69.99 and comes with everything you need including the LED light. (Claims to contain 10 applications)

What is it??

This 3060 LED light enables you to create professional looking gel nails within your own home.

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The process involves 3 steps (all products used in the below process are included in the starter kit):

– Prepare
– Polish
– Protect

So…to PREPARE you use the file and buffer to create a smooth smooth surface to work with, then clean your nails using the Gel Cleanser and pads provided.

Now apply the Gel Primer and leave this to dry naturally.

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Now to POLISH! Begin with the Gel Base / Top Coat and apply one coat (ensure you brush along the top of the nail in an across-ways motion and be careful not to get any on the skin around the nail)

I tend to do my 4 fingers on both hands first and then my thumbs last.

Place your hand under the light and wait for the 30 second beep. That’s the first job done!

Now apply one coat of your chosen colour and place back under the light but this time for a full minute (the light automatically goes off after 1 minute so don’t worry about timing this)
Apply a second coat and place back under the light for a further full minute.

And finally to PROTECT! Apply one coat of the Gel Base / Top Coat and place fingers under the
light for 30 seconds. This is the final use of the LED light!

Now all that is left is to remove the stickiness by rubbing the nails with one of the pads provided and the Gel Cleanser! Now enjoy your beautiful shiny nails!!

 

 

 

 

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How long does it last??

I have found it lasts well for about 7 days and then starts to chip / scratch slightly (I am quite clumsy and tend to catch my nails on things so I imagine some people can make it last up to about 2 weeks)

It’s easy to re-do one or two nails if they do chip, only takes a few minutes so a lot easier than re-arranging nail appointments!

 

Helpful Tips:

I have found a range called BlueSky (on Amazon and Ebay) that I find work just as well as the Sensationail polishes (sometimes they need an extra coat as they aren’t quite as thick but they vary between colours)

The sensationail polishes retail at £15.00 whereas the BlueSky polishes are available for £5.00 and there are SO many colours available…a few I have below:

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For Christmas I received a gift of the below oil:

 

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This retails at £12.50 from http://www.boots.com

I have only used this once but it made SUCH a difference. I do find that the light dries the skin on my finger tips and cuticles so applying this after using the light really helped. I also tend to use the light only once a month to stop it affecting my skin too much but perhaps with this oil it would now be ok. You can re-apply the oil daily but I only used on the day of using the light and it stopped the skin cracking at all.

 

Overall Opinion:

I absolutely love this, it allows you to achieve salon equivalent nails in roughly 20 minutes and without leaving the house (or spending the extra money!) Once you have used your starter pack products you can re-buy an ‘essentials kit’ from boots for just £25.00. I have not had to buy this yet and I have had the set for just over one year. I would say the set (not including the polish as I have bought additions) will allow for roughly 15 applications.

Definitely worth the initial cost and the results receive lots of compliments!! (Great for doing friends nails too or splitting the initial cost between a few of you!)

Benefit triple performing facial emulsion SPF 15

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Retail Price: £21.50 from http://www.boots.com or http://www.debenhams.com

This came with my first Birch Box (full size – woo!!) To be honest I had to google it to see exactly how to use it as it wasn’t very clear whether it was a moisturiser or to be used under moisturiser – all I knew was that it had a gorgeous bottle!

So..different people seem to be using this in different ways! I am using it as a moisturiser so bare this in mind with my review.

Ease of application : 4 out of 5

I use this as a moisturiser and then apply a primer on top of this before foundation / BB cream. I pump 3-4 drops into my palm and then apply across my whole face, I don’t find that it spreads too well so sometimes I use an extra pump to cover. It smells lovely and fresh and I have noticed a difference in my skins appearance – it isn’t sticky or greasy at all and makes a great base.

Primer applies easily on top of this and I feel skin looks more radiant than with my previous moisturiser.

Lasting performance: 5 out of 5

No problems at all with how this leaves my skin feeling – I have had no irritation but the list of ingredients are available at http://www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk

I love that this is SPF15 so I don’t have to worry about always using an SPF foundation / BB cream.

Value for money: 4 out of 5

I haven’t yet had to purchase this as it came with my Birch Box but I have a feeling I may be buying this once I run out – depending on how long this one lasts. It does worry me slightly that I have to use quite a lot to cover my face / neck and that I’m using this daily – at £21.50 I would like it to last.

In the past I have used Nivea, No7 and Garnier day creams but this definitely outshines those – this is more than double the price but it is a great cream.

Overall Opinion:

I am going to keep an eye on how long this lasts and then make a decision on re-buying but based on it’s performance it’s heading towards being a staple product for me!

..for you!