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John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion 14/05/2014

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion Root Booster

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion Root Booster Please note that although the name of this product varies slightly from its previous incarnation on the Ciao website, it is the same product - just with an 'upgraded' name. Looking online today, I could see that retailers' websites still show it with the same heading as the original name - although their photographs clearly show this new version. Some time ago I was lucky enough to be sent a box of John Frieda's updated range of Luxurious Volume products to trial. I had already starting using some of the Luxurious Volume range, and my two favourites were the shampoo and the Thickening Blow Drying Lotion. I am always looking to add volume and bounce to my hair, and I also want to keep it looking shiny and healthy – I think that's really important when you have grey hair. I was interested to see that the Thickening Blow Drying Lotion had been re-named, and was now called Blow Dry Lotion Root Booster. This can be used on its own, and is also designed to be used in conjunction with the Fine to Full Blow Out Spray. There used to be a little video on the John Frieda website that shows how to use these two products, and also how you can use them together to get the best from your hair. Although I couldn't find the video on the website when I checked today, you can find it on YouTube. I have already reviewed the Fine To Full Blow Out Spray, which I found disappointing. Although it initially gave my hair a reasonable ...

John Frieda John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow-Out Spray 12/05/2014

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray

John Frieda John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow-Out Spray John Frieda Luxurious Volume Fine To Full Blow-Out Spray Last year I was lucky enough to be sent a box of John Frieda's Luxurious Volume products to try, and this included the Fine To Full Blow-Out Spray. This particular spray was new to me, although I had previously used a different styling spray from this range. I was interested to see how it would help my hair. Although each individual strand of my hair is thick, there is less of it than there used to be - perhaps because of a combination of age, ill-health and medication. No matter what the cause, I am always on the hunt for the perfect product - one that will provide me with lasting volume. The John Frieda website has a little video that shows you how to use this product, and they suggest using it in conjunction with the revised Blow Dry Spray (now with the added 'Root Booster' description). The Fine to Full Spray when used on its own doesn't quite do a good enough job for me. It's easy to use - simply spray through your wet hair, making sure to cover the hair from root to tip, and then blow dry as usual. The information given on John Frieda's product page suggests that for fuller hair you should reapply when your hair is almost dry, and then continue styling with a round brush. Once I have dried my hair, I am pleased with the thickness and volume of my hair, but I am quite picky. I want my style to last more than a few hours. Every time I have used this spray I find that my hair feels very fly-away the next ...

Nails Inc Silver Vitamin E Oil Pen 07/04/2014

Nails Inc Vitamin E Cuticle Oil Pen

Nails Inc Silver Vitamin E Oil Pen Nails Inc Vitamin E Cuticle Oil Pen I won a Nails Inc Vitamin E Oil Pen in a beauty competition some time ago, and I've been using it for about a year now. It's an elegant addition to my manicure kit, as it comes packaged in a sleek silver tube with a pretty white pattern at the top. Pulling this patterned lid away from the tube reveals the brush beneath. To gain access to the product the first time you use it, you should twist the base of the pen several times, and gradually the softly-coloured lilac/purple oil will become absorbed by the brush. Once the brush is damp, you should use this to apply the Vitamin E oil along the cuticle, and also to the sides of your finger nails. Once I've done all ten nails, I let the product sit for a while, to make sure that this oil is well absorbed. Then I gently rub the oil into my cuticles, and into the rest of my nail. I have found that using the product at the side of my nails prevents any irritating hang nails from forming. On the Nails Inc product page, they state that users have a tendency to overuse this product, and this certainly happened to me the first couple of times. I applied too much oil, and this left my cuticles so moisturised that they stood proud from the base of my finger. I quickly left them alone to absorb the excess product, and after a while they returned to normal. Nails Inc also recommend using this cuticle oil twice a day, but I have found that three or four times a week (or less) is more than enough to ...

Member Advice on Fibromyalgia 28/12/2013

Vitamin D - my armour in the fight against Fibromyalgia

Member Advice on Fibromyalgia My armour in the fight against Fibromyalgia (This is a heavily revised/re-written version of a post I originally published here on 24th April 2011.) I am not writing here about a particular brand of Vitamin D, but rather about the usefulness of this supplement in combatting the pain of Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME in early 2004, although I had been suffering from symptoms for a long time before the tests and diagnosis. Anyone who suffers from these illnesses will be all too aware of the limitations they can place on your life. And for those who don’t know what it's like - it's a battle you fight constantly but feel you can never win; they are hidden diseases that other people cannot see, and who therefore cannot understand why you look so well when you are practically housebound; they bring pain and suffering and frustration as well as an almost limitless determination (in my case at least!) to beat the odds and 'mend' yourself. As soon as I was diagnosed I felt enormous relief, which may seem like an odd reaction. But finally there was an explanation for why I had been feeling so ill for so long. Then I began my research. With illness, I believe that knowledge is power, and the more I could read - whether it was written by a professional or a patient - the more I was arming myself for the big fight. I learned about how to get a better quality of sleep, how to protect myself against sensory overload - when ...

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Retractable Lip Brush 17/12/2013

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Retractable Lip Brush

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Retractable Lip Brush Pretty in Pink - The Vintage Cosmetic Company Retractable Lip Brush A few months ago I began my hunt for the perfect retractable lip brush, and I was glad to find this lovely pink brush from The Vintage Cosmetic Company. I love Real Techniques brushes, and I have two of their ’Detailer’ brush - I use one as a lip brush, and the other to apply concealer. I really wish they did a retractable version, but they don’t (not yet, at least!). There are two things I really like about this brush, and that is both the shape of and the firmness of the bristles. However, the brush isn’t suitable for carrying around in my handbag (wrapping it in a piece of cling-film or a freezer bag to keep it clean and hygienic simply does not appeal), and so I did my usual intensive online search in the hope of finding one that had very similar qualities. In fact I came up with two possible contenders. One was the Mac 318 Retractable Lip Brush - which costs £18, and which I couldn’t afford at the time (although I did buy it later, and it is the subject of a separate review) - and the other was this excellent offering from The Vintage Cosmetic Company. I bought it from Amazon for £7 with free UK delivery. That price, with free delivery, is still available (as of 17th December). You can also buy directly from The Vintage Cosmetic Company’s website for the same price, and they also offer free UK delivery. They accept PayPal, which I like as it means I can buy myself cosmetic treats without having to ...

MAC 318 Retractable Lip Brush 29/10/2013

Expensive but excellent - MAC 318 Retractable Lip Brush

MAC 318 Retractable Lip Brush Expensive but excellent - MAC 318 Retractable Lip Brush For some time now, I have been buying fabulous make-up brushes from Real Techniques, having been alerted to this excellent range by Violet1278 - she described one of their foundation brushes during a foundation review, and I’ve been hooked ever since. One of my favourites is their Detailer Brush, which is part of the ‘Core Collection’ set, and you can usually find a few singly on eBay too. The Detailer brush has a dual-purpose - it’s great for applying concealer, and is also a superb lip brush. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t come in a retractable version. Although the brush and its handle are very slender, I still don’t want a lip brush lying around loose in my handbag. And wrapping it in a little freezer bag just doesn’t seem very chic. I have been using Lancome retractable lip brushes for many years now, which I obtained in a couple of their ‘Gift With Purchase’ treats. Having tried the Real Techniques Detailer brush, I was so impressed by the shape, size and texture of the bristles, that I found going back to my old, softer retractable blushes a bit ‘meh’. And so I began my quest for a retractable lip brush that would be as close as I could get in terms of quality and feel to the Real Techniques Detailer brush. I even asked Pixiwoo on their Facebook page if they could recommend one for me. They were very kind, and came up with a few ideas. Most of these ideas were really quite pricey, and the one I ...

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Recovery Complex 19/09/2013

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Recovery Complex Battle the signs of ageing - Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex Estee Lauder has a series of products under the ‘Advanced Night Repair’ banner, which are all designed to help your skin overnight - refreshing and renewing, acting to protect your skin and to repair it at the same time. For some time now I have been using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex - a very wordy way of describing a lovely eye cream - and I am absolutely delighted with the results. This eye treatment is designed to help battle the signs of ageing, ‘reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles’, and also reducing ‘the look of dark circles, puffiness and crepiness’ - quotes are from the leaflet contained within the box. Estee Lauder’s own product page describes the main benefit of this eye cream: ‘Reduces the look of past damage around the eyes’. Because the skin around your eyes is four times thinner than anywhere else on your face, I do think it’s necessary to use creams and treatments especially designed for that area. This eye cream comes packaged in Estee Lauder’s traditional aqua-blue box, and the front of this box features the gold Estee Lauder, the name of the product, and the information that it is suitable for all skin types. The rest of the box gives a description of the eye cream in a number of languages - including English, of course. You are told that this product has been formulated with Estee Lauder’s ‘exclusive Chronolux Technology ...

Maxfactor Max Factor Glossfinity Nail Polish 16/09/2013

To Glossfinity and beyond! Max Factor Glossfinity Nail Polish

Maxfactor Max Factor Glossfinity Nail Polish To Glossfinity and beyond! Max Factor Glossfinity Nail Polish Towards the end of last year, I found myself tempted by Max Factor’s new Glossfinity Nail Polish, which I eventually bought in Noisette. I’m delighted to say that this nail polish has definitely stood the test of time, and it has become one of my favourites - so it’s probably about time I tried some other colours! One of Max Factor’s claims for this polish is, quite obviously, the ‘Glossfinity’ effect - ie a glossy finish that lasts. I was keen to test this out, as I love to wear nail varnish, and I also I like my manicure to last a decent time. The product page on Max Factor’s website gives the following description: ‘High gloss means high glamour - pure, elegant, glossy nails that last for up to 7 days in our specially formulated range.’ I really liked the promised look of Noisette - a lovely taupe with a purple/violet shimmer - and I have found that this colour has suited all seasons. It’s lovely in autumn and winter, but also looks beautifully subtle during the warmer months. Glossfinity comes in a small, rectangular bottle which has a long black handle. The brush initially seems quite narrow, but it spreads to a good, full shape, and I am able to use my preferred three-stroke application - one stroke in the centre of the nail, and one each to either side. After giving the bottle a good shake, I have been pleased to see that there is no excess at the neck of the bottle once it’s opened, and this has stayed ...

Estee Lauder Perfectionist Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum 27/08/2013

Estee Lauder Perfectionist (CP+R) Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum

Estee Lauder Perfectionist Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum Superb serum - Estee Lauder Perfectionist (CP+R) Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum A little while ago I was lucky enough to be sent a 7ml trial size bottle of Estee Lauder’s Perfectionist (CP+R) Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum. I’ve been using this for a few weeks now (although not religiously every single day), and feel so delighted with this beauty product that I wanted to write about it. However, this beauty tale has a sting in its tail - which is the price, and I’ll come to that later. The serum promises to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and also to help banish age spots. My skin is in pretty good condition for a woman of 57, and I have tried to take good care of it since I was a teenager. However, there are some parts that I don’t care for overmuch - the deep-ish lines above my upper lip, the tram lines that run from my nose to my mouth, a few dark brown age spots on my face (that I can no longer explain away as larger-than-usual freckles), and finally the scar I have on the side of my nose caused by skin cancer - a morphoeic basal cell carcinoma - which had to be removed and the area covered by a small skin graft taken from the side of my face. I’m lucky enough not to have deep frown lines on my forehead, even though I think I’ve probably done my fair share of frowning over the years. I love Estee Lauder, and she generally loves me back. However, I had problems a little while ago with her Resilience Lift Face and Neck Cream. My skin felt gorgeous, ...

Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara 23/07/2013

Shocked by the Volume! Le Volume De Chanel Mascara

Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara Shocked by the Volume! I was recently lucky enough to win a sample size (3g) of Chanel’s new Le Volume mascara, which came packaged in an elegant mirrored cardboard box. I really like my lashes to look full and long, and rely on a good mascara to achieve this look - my own lashes are less than impressive in their natural state - and so I was eager to try this product. I have owned a few pieces of Chanel make-up in the past, although it’s a long time since I’ve treated myself to anything from this premium cosmetics brand, and I have always been impressed by their high quality. Whenever I receive a lovely treat like this, I always Google the product to find out more about it, and to check the price. I was quite astonished to discover that a full-size mascara (6g) costs a whopping £24, and I thought that Le Volume Mascara must be staggeringly good to warrant such a high price. The card that came enclosed with my sample made the following statements: ‘Discover new Le Volume De Chanel Mascara with this luxurious sample compliments of Chanel. The Shock of Volume; The Shock of Colour; The Shock of Style. Available now from your nearest Chanel counter.’ Before trying the mascara, I first applied a light coat of pressed face powder to my eyelids and lashes. I always do this before applying eye make-up as it provides a good base for eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. Then I opened the potentially magic little tube. I was pleased to see that no excess mascara came out with the wand, ...

Kleenex Eye Make-Up Removal Wipes 15/07/2013

Kleenex Eye Make-Up Removal Wipes

Kleenex Eye Make-Up Removal Wipes Environmentally friendly, but I still don't love them - Kleenex Eye Make-Up Removal Wipes A little while ago, I decided to buy a packet of Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipes after reading some positive reviews. While I was in Superdrug, I saw that Kleenex also make removal wipes especially designed for the eyes - and that these wipes claim to remove waterproof mascara. As I was about to go on holiday, and thought that these wipes would be handy to pop into my suitcase, I had a rush of blood to the head and bought both types of wipes, at full price - they cost £2.99 each. I have since learnt (thanks to reviews elsewhere) that they can be bought much more cheaply in shops like Home Bargains and the Pound Shop. When I’m wearing waterproof mascara, I always remove it using Lancome’s Bifacil Lotion (which is the subject of one of my earliest reviews). I’ve been using this product now for nearly thirty years, and it’s the best eye make-up remover I’ve ever found. Although it’s expensive I don’t use it all that often and so one bottle lasts me for absolutely ages. When I’m wearing ‘normal’ mascara, I tend to use Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Quick Thinking Wipes, which are very effective at removing both facial make-up and also my eye make-up. However, these wipes cost a whopping £7.00, and so I only ever buy them if I have one of No7’s £5 vouchers to reduce the cost. This is why I was keen to investigate other wipes, and these investigations led me to this purchase. As well as the claim ...

Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat 18/05/2013

Crystal Clear - Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat

Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat Crystal Clear - Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat I was first introduced to the Leighton Denny range of nail polishes after reading an excellent review on here by ladybracknell. I have since bought a few polishes from this range, and have been very pleased with them. I discovered Leighton Denny’s Crystal Finish Top Coat when I was looking through the Tesco Clubcard’s rewards catalogue. I had some spare vouchers to use, and after having a happy browse, I came across the Beauty Expert website. Using a £5 Clubcard voucher gave me a £10 token (via an emailed code) to spend on this beauty website. I exchanged a couple of vouchers, and one of my purchases was Leighton Denny’s Crystal Finish Top Coat. It was a choice between this and Seche Vite, and although I found a number of good reviews of Seche Vite, I decided on this occasion to buy Leighton Denny’s top coat, and I have been using it for some time now. The squat, rectangular bottle - the same modern shape as the Leighton Denny nail polishes, with the same stylish perspex lid - comes packaged in a clear carton. The silver cardboard insert at the back of the carton gives information about the ingredients of this product, as well as a caution that the product is flammable and should be kept away from heat and flame. It should also be kept out of the reach of children. At the top of this card is a quote from Leighton Denny (four-times winner of Nail Technician of the Year), which says: ‘All nail colours can be protected ...

Lancome Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Perfecting Makeup Duo 11/03/2013

Magic Makeup - Lancome Teint Visionnaire

Lancome Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Perfecting Makeup Duo Magic Makeup - Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Perfecting Makeup Duo Lancome have used their Visionnaire serum to create a foundation and concealer combo that is designed not only to provide a flawless finish, but which also acts to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be sent this new product to trial, over an eight-week period, during which I had to apply the foundation every day. This isn’t something I would normally do, as I usually only wear full make-up when I’m going out, and ill health has kept me at home more than I would like. Nonetheless, I adhered to my testing regime, and I have been absolutely delighted with the results. I was sent shade 01, Beige Albatre, which is slightly darker than I would have chosen for myself, but which still worked really well on my fair skin and pink cheeks. This month’s Good Housekeeping magazine (April edition) features this new product in its beauty pages, under a section called ‘The Trend: Dermo-cosmetics’, which they translate to ‘Make-up that behaves like skincare’. This is a perfect, concise description of Lancome’s Teint Visionnaire. This product is described by Lancome as a Skin Perfecting Makeup Duo, and it combines 30ml of foundation in a pump-action bottle, together with a concealer neatly hidden in the lid (which has a decent mirror inside the top of the lid). The foundation, which has SPF20, contains 2% of Lancome’s Visionnaire Serum, which makes it beautifully easy ...

Olay Regenerist Replenishing Cream 06/03/2013

A much-loved old friend - Olay Regenerist Replenishing Cream

Olay Regenerist Replenishing Cream A much-loved old friend - Olay Regenerist Replenishing Cream I’ve been using Olay moisturisers since I was a teenager, back in the olden days when it was still Oil of Ulay. When I first began experimenting with make-up, both my mother and my grandmother suggested that if I was going to wear cosmetics then it was also time to start taking proper care of my skin. It was excellent advice, and I’ve always been grateful for it. I have used Olay more or less ever since, with occasional forays into Estee Lauder, Lancome and Elizabeth Arden when funds allow - or when I am sent a freebie or given a lovely gift. At the RRP of £21.95 (I found it for £12.92 online, with free delivery), this is by no means a budget moisturiser. Nor is it as expensive as premium range skincare such as Estee Lauder and Lancome. At both price points, I think it falls within the same price range as Boots No7’s skincare. . Over the years, Olay has always suited me, my age and skin type, and I’ve tried a number of their ranges. I love the Regenerist range, and the Replenishing Cream has been a real pleasure to use. It comes packaged in a black and red box, reflecting the colours of the Regenerist brand. There’s a little plastic window on the front so that you can see the tub of moisturiser within. At the base of the box, you are offered ‘dramatically firmer younger looking skin’. I’m afraid I foolishly discarded the box after beginning my last tub (and after very carefully taking a photo of just the ...

StriVectin–TL Strivection Tightening Body Cream 25/02/2013

Rebuilding my skin - StriVectin-TL Tightening Body Cream

StriVectin–TL Strivection Tightening Body Cream Rebuilding my skin - StriVectin-TL Tightening Body Cream Towards the end of last year, I was lucky enough to win a small (50ml) tube of StriVectin-TL Tightening Body Cream, and I was very interested to try this product, and to see whether its performance matched its claims. It’s not a product I knew much about, and isn’t something I would have initally thought of buying for myself. The RRP for a 200ml tube is about £49, which seems expensive for a body moisturiser, but if the cream did what it advertised, then perhaps I would have second thoughts about the price. As well as being a rich, anti-ageing body moisturiser for women, this cream has also been designed to firm the skin. On receipt of my prize, I decided to take a look at Strivectin’s website, to see what this new treat was going to offer me. Strivectin also make a number of other products, such as Neck Cream, Face Serum, Retexturising Scrub, Hand Treatment, Stretch Mark & Wrinkle Cream for Sensitive Skin, Replenishing Cleanser, and others. On the product page for the Tightening Body Cream, I found the information that this cream contains ‘NIA-114 + protein tighteners’ which are designed to ‘enhance skin density, and restore skin barrier to help retain vital moisture’. NIA-114 technology was discovered during research into the prevention of skin cancer. It is a form of niacin, and it apparently helps repair damage to the skin and to rebuild skin layers. The ingredients of this cream also include Soybean oil, Shea ...
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