An obsession with skincare, makeup and all things beauty. Honest reviews and opinions.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Are iUNIK unique?!

When it comes to skincare less is sometimes more! Now you all know I love a lengthy skincare routine but is it really necessary?  Korean skincare brand iUNIK (pronounced eye-unique) think not!  

iUNIK is an acronym for Ideal Unique Natural Ingredients Knowhow. The brand philosophy, as their name indicates, is all about keeping things simple, using natural ingredients and knowing how to get the best out of them. Even their packaging is minimalistic. 

There are currently 12 products sold by the brand, with more to be added within the year. I was lucky enough to be asked to pick 3 to try. Here’s what I chose and what I think of them. 

Beta-Glucan Power Moisture Serum - this is suitable for all skin types and contains just one ingredient Beta-Glucan, which is made from a mushroom extract (from my understanding anyway - I’m not the best at science). Beta-Glucan is one of the latest advances in skincare moisturising ingredients as it is 20% more hydrating that Hyaluronic Acid! 
The serum comes in a large sturdy bottle, with a dropper applicator. The serum itself is sticky looking when it comes out the dropper but isn’t sticky at all upon application. It’s so unusual! It applies smoothly and instantly hydrates skin. There is no tackiness left after. There’s also no fragrance to it. It’s completely no frills but it does exactly what it promises - hydrates skin brilliantly! Such a good product. 

Centella Calming Gel Cream - this is for all skin types but especially sensitive skin. Centella Asiatica is a bit of a hero ingredient for sensitive skin, as it soothes and helps strengthen the skin barrier. The cream is oil free and includes one of my favourite ingredients, Niacinamide which helps control sebum production. The gel also contains Tea Tree which is also great to calm skin and helps acne too! 
The first time I used this, my acne had really flared up. It’s a clear gel, with barely a fragrance. It was beautifully cooling and soothing upon application. It absorbs really well, it seems to melt when it touched my skin. It left my skin super hydrated! I’ve been loving using this product so much.

Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalising Toner - this is again for all skin types and is designed to brighten skin tone. It contains Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and sea buckthorn extract which is rich in Vitamin C. It’s very similar texture to the serum. It’s thick and looks like it’ll be sticky but isn’t at all. Again there’s no perceptible fragrance to it. I’ve been applying it by putting it on a cotton pad and swiping over my face. It absorbs really well and is incredibly hydrating. Again it’s been a pleasure to use!

I’ve absolutely loved all three of the iUNIK products I’ve tried and can definitely recommend that you give them a try! Not only has the brand produced high quality products that perform, they’ve done it without charging the earth! All three of these products are less than £20 each which is an absolute bargain. YesStyle are a UK stockist. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what iUNIK brings out next! 

*Disclaimer - the above products were kindly supplied by the brand for me to try but all opinions and reviews are my own and were not expected or influenced in any way. This post contains affiliate adverts.

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Saturday, 23 June 2018

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic & Ultra Facial Defence SPF 50 review

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*This post contains affiliate links. 
Use of the affiliate links is hugely appreciated and is a great way to support my blog. I love knowing my review's are being put to good use!*

SkinCeuticals are a brand I’d seen on Instagram and added some of their high tech products straight to my wish list after seeing nothing but glowing reviews.
So when they kindly reached out and asked me to test some of their products, I didn’t need asking twice!

I was sent one of their Double Defence sets which includes a C E Ferulic antioxidant serum* and an Ultra Facial Defence SPF 50*. These are £135 at the moment as you’re actually getting the sunscreen for free. The two products are designed to be used in conjunction with each other to protect skin and prevent aging.

The C E Ferulic serum is a Vitamin C antioxidant that gives environmental protection to skin and improves lines and wrinkles. It contains 15% L-ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), 1% Vitamin E and 0.5% Ferulic Acid which work together to neutralise free radicals and strengthen skins natural protection against them. The serum is to be used in a morning after cleansing or toning. 
The serum itself is thin and watery in texture so absorbs instantly leaving no trace! I’ve found patting it onto skin works best. It’s got no real scent. After use skin looks hydrated. I didn’t see instant results but with continued use my skin has definitely looked brighter. It’s definitely one of those products that you’re not sure it’s working so stop using it, then really notice a difference and realise it’s been fab all along! Vitamin C is notoriously unstable and oxidises over time, rendering it useless. Skinceuticals claim there serum is stable and effective for 6 months after opening. It’s also within pH 2-3.5 which it ensures it is at its most effective.

The Ultra Facial Defence SPF 50 cream is a broad spectrum SPF. Upon application is does initially have the tell tale SPF scent but that quickly passes. It’s incredibly light and absorbs well. It’s completely non greasy but is still hydrating. It’s a perfect SPF for my combination / oily skin.

So in conclusion I’m very impressed with both of these products and will continue to thoroughly enjoy using them! Will I buy them after I’ve used these ones up? I’m not sure but only due to the price. It’s more than I like to pay for a serum but if I miss using it that much, I’m sure I would save up for it! 

*Products were kindly gifted by the brand but all opinions are my own and were not expected or required. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Reapplying SPF Over Makeup - Can it be done?!

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One of the most important questions posed to mankind - can you re-apply SPF over makeup?! Ok maybe I’m exaggerating slightly but we all know how important it is to wear SFP, right?! Now I’ll admit over the years I’ve certainly been an SPF offender - I’ve not re-applied after swimming, I’ve not worn a high enough factor and even not worn any at all! *shudders* 

Now I always make sure I have SPF liberally applied before I leave the house. But, and it’s a big but, we all know SPF degrades throughout the day, gets rubbed off, sweated off etc, so we should be reapplying it every 2 hours. I don’t know about you but I think it’s a pretty big ask to reapply that often! Especially if you have makeup on! It’s not like you can rub a cream over your makeup is it!

So began the hunt for a holy grail SPF that I could apply on top of makeup! 

The first product I bought was Touch In Sol Pang Pang Sun Cutting Powder SPF 30 PA+++. This is a translucent powder that you can apply as a makeup setting powder or use throughout the day for touch ups if you’re oily. I bought this from Cult Beauty for £20. Touch in Sol are a Korean brand. The powder comes in a round container with a press to apply sponge applicator. The powder is meant to go into the sponge when you depress it for easy application. Sadly I couldn’t get it to work! So I applied it with a Fenty touch up brush that I carry with me anyway. It applies and blends well. It does however leave a slight white cast. Luckily I’m super pale so it pretty much blends in. The powder definitely helps control oil. They re’s no fragrance. All in all it’s a great product to have with you and touch up your makeup and SPF at the same time! The only thing I’m not too sure about is how effective the sun protection actually is. With a cream SPF you’re advised to apply a generous amount to ensure adequate protection. I don’t know if this applies to SPF in powder form but as it’s very finely milled you can probably have a decent level of protection from a fine layer of powder. 
In summary; Pros - Controls oil, high level of protection. Cons - messy to apply, white cast. I’d give it 7/10. 

The second SPF I’ve tested is Kokuryudo - Privacy UV Face Mist SPF 50+ PA++++ which I ordered from YesStyle for £10.84. It promises to top up your SPF throughout the day by spritzing a fine mist over your makeup. It’s also moisturising. I’ve given this mist a good testing during hot weather. It’s portable and easy to apply. It’s a fab fine pump mist so doesn’t disturb your makeup at all. It quickly dries, leaving no residue. There’s no fragrance. I can’t sing it’s praises enough! 
In summary; Pros - easy to apply, high protection, no white cast, doesn’t disturb makeup, great value. Cons - none!! 10/10!

The third product I’ve tried is Garnier Moisture Bomb Multi Protecting Hydrating Mist SPF 30. I chose this as part of my Latest In Beauty monthly subscription box, but it’s also sold from Boots and Superdrug for £10. This product is designed to be sprayed over makeup to protect and hydrate. It’s an aerosol type spray so you have to ensure you shake it first else just air comes out! It’s a compact can. It doesn’t feel like there is much product in it. It applies well but I found it incredibly greasy. It basically left a layer of oil sat on my face that you can’t rub in! Not great. It’s also quite strongly fragranced. 
Summary; Pros - portable, high level of protection. Cons - greasy, will run out quickly, strong scent. 2/10. 

So there’s a clear winner - well done Kokuryudo! K-Beauty wins again! What’s your go to SPF?


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Skincare - sharing the addiction!

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Use of the affiliate links is hugely appreciated and is a great way to support my blog. I love knowing my review's are being put to good use!*

I’ve recently had a big sort out of my skincare collection. I realised I had products that I wasn’t reaching for anymore or that didn’t work for me. I’d been trying to use up products that were “ok” for my skin but would then be neglecting great products that are fab for my skin! It seemed silly to force myself to keep using them. Plus some could be a month or two away from expiring, I didn’t want to waste them. 

So I decided to pass products on to friends and family, to spread the skincare love! A much better option than forcing myself to use them up when they’re not benefiting my skin. Especially when I’ve got products to use that my skin loves! 

So here’s the list of what I passed on: 

Elemis Pro Radiance cleanser - it was nice enough but I just stopped reaching for it.
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in squalane - didn’t wow me. Much prefer Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol.
The Ordinary Buffet - passed on as had bought...
The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% - saw no benefit in using this at all! 
The Ordinary Niacinamide - I like this product but much prefer A.Florence Hydration Booster which contains Niacinamide.
The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin - saw no benefit and it leaves skin tacky.
The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed oil - lovely oil but too heavy. I know it’s great for healing acne scars but I just wasn’t reaching for it!
•Also passed on a number of Decleor products that I got in my advent calendar at Christmas - again they didn’t wow me. 

Now there’s quite a few The Ordinary products there - their products were a great and cost effective way for me to get into skincare and to begin understanding products and how they work for me but the more I try from other brands, the more I realise how basic some of the formulas are. That doesn’t make them bad but I certainly enjoy using other products more. The only exception really is their acid products as I think they’re outstanding! Plus with all the recent drama I’m not how I feel about the brand so if I can find alternatives I will do. 

As you can imagine, my friends were more that happy to help me get rid of products! 😂 Always nice to share when you can! 

How do you use up products that you don’t love?

Cult Beauty Ltd.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

A.Florence Skincare - A new brand worth trying!

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Use of the affiliate links is hugely appreciated and is a great way to support my blog. I love knowing my review's are being put to good use!*

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably have seen a new skincare brand called A.Florence Skincare featuring in my routines (if you’re not following me, what are you waiting for?! @toria_talks_beauty). 

A.Florence Skincare are a London based company founded by Tina Sanders. They produce micro-batches of science led products, using high quality natural ingredients. All the products are reasonably priced and designed to multi-task so you really get your money’s worth out of them! All the ingredients are organic, ethically sourced and are cruelty free. All but one product is vegan. Even the packaging is eco friendly! There’s no guilt with using these products!

So when Tina contacted me and kindly asked if I’d like to try out some of her products, I obviously said yes!  Especially after I’d looked at the products online - you can imagine my excitement after reading the ingredients lists. There’s a whole host of amazing ingredients that I recognise and love - from Niacinamide, Vitamin C, Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides and my ultimate favourite Salicylic Acid!

Now onto the products themselves...

First of all, how gorgeous do they look?! All the packaging is heavy and good quality. They look and feel high end. They all have clear usage instructions and ingredients on them and also batch numbers! At the moment there are 6 products in the range - a cleansing balm and 5 serums. 

Here’s my thoughts on them:

Balm to Milk Cleanser with Hibiscus, Rose & Zeolite - Designed to be used on an evening, it promises to gently remove all traces of makeup, SPF and pollution from skin without disrupting skin. It’s a beautiful texture very smooth. It melts quickly and releases fragrance, an orange sweet smell that I’ve completely fallen in love with! It took me ages to work out what the scent reminded me of - it’s very similar to Skinesis Overnight Facial!  You apply a small amount of balm to your dry face and massage. It removed makeup brilliantly, didn’t sting my eyes at all. My skin was left super soft. Absolutely love it! 

Hydration Booster Serum - It’s a fragrance free, oil free serum that includes Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Peptides, Vitamin C and Willow Bark (a natural exfoliant). It also contains prebiotics to keep skin healthy and is pH balanced at 6 so the Niacinamide performs at its best. It really does have it all! A little goes a long way with this, I used too much a few times but soon got the measure of how much to use. It’s very soothing and hydrating. This serum is designed to be used in conjunction with others in the range. I’ve been using this twice a day before other serums and I’ve really enjoyed using it, it leaves my skin looked plumped and hydrated.

Blemish SOS Clarifying Face Oil - This product jumped out at me straight away as I suffer from hormonal cystic acne. It’s designed for use day and night and is aimed at those with blemish prone skin. The oil contains a high dose of Salicylic Acid (2%) which is one of my favourite skincare ingredients, as it works wonders for me. Other ingredients include black cumin which has antibacterial properties, numerous anti inflammatory ingredients and 1% of Alpha-lipoic acid which slows down scarring caused by acne. This in particular peaked my interest as I’ve got bad acne scars on my chin. I also like that it’s an oil as they are often beneficial for acne. Fragrance wise it’s slightly medicinal and citrusy, very pleasant. You can also definitely smell the cumin. Texture wise, it’s quite a dry oil, it absorbs well and doesn’t leave skin greasy. It’s had a good test from me as I’ve had a few spots and acne cysts appear whilst I’ve been using it (nothing yet has stopped my acne appearing as it’s hormonal). I’ve mainly been using this once a day, on a night, after the Hydration serum. I’ve occasionally used in the AM as well as a spot treatment. I’ve had good results with it as it’s definitely helped clear up my spots quicker! Very impressed. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative to Sunday Riley’s UFO, then this is it!

Skin Barrier Restoring Oil Serum - this product is designed to nourish and repair compromised and inflamed skin. It’s perfect for acne sufferers, those with sensitive, reactive skin or for use after derma rolling. Its fragrance free. Ingredients wise it contains Ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol and Arctic oats, all to moisturise and repair skin. It’s a an oil texture, which again absorbs well. It can be used on its own, layered with other serums or mixed in with other skincare. Plenty of choice! I’ve been using this serum on a morning after the hydration booster. It’s helped keep acne inflammation to a minimum. It works great in a morning, I had no issues applying other products and makeup on top. I’ve also used it after using my derma-roller on a night and can say it worked brilliantly to soothe my skin.

Super Serum - Now this serum seriously lives up to its name! It’s a lovely, creamy emulsion that absorbs beautifully into skin, leaving it hydrated and glowing! 
It contains a multitude of powerhouse ingredients including hyaluronic acid, 10% Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (vitamin C), Niacinamide and ceramides. It also protects skin from pollution. What more could you want from a serum?! It’s designed to work in harmony with other serums, oils and moisturisers. It’s worked brilliantly with everything I’ve paired it with. More importantly, I’ve not had any dreaded pilling with it! I was a bit worried about it containing 24 carat gold in case it left me covered in glitter but I’m pleased to report that it’s super subtle and I had no issues with it. We all need a bit of sparkle in our lives, right?!

Intense Night Repair Oil - this oil is packed with anti-aging hero’s such as Retinol (0.2%), Co-Q10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid. These, along with other anti-inflammatory herbal ingredients work to reduce wrinkles and uneven skin tone. They also help with skin congestion and acne, which is a huge plus for me! The oil is very similar in texture to the Skin Barrier Restoring oil and is also fragrance free. I’ve found that only a few drops are needed to cover my face and neck, these absorb beautifully and don’t leave me greasy.

As you can tell, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed testing these products from A.Florence Skincare and will definitely be continuing to use and recommend them. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for future releases from this brand!

Disclaimer - Products were kindly gifted by the brand but all opinions are my own and were not expected in return for the products.

Space NK UK

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

May Empties

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Here’s a brief run down of this months empties!

Tula multi-spectrum eye renewal serum*. Really lovely, light serum. Easily absorbed. Love the applicator! So cooling. Would buy again.

Verso eye serum - nice light serum. Absorbed quickly. Has the same lovely scent as the 3 cream. I saw great improvement with my dark circles whilst using this. It’s definitely on my wish list!

Ven effect lip treatment - really lovely! It’s a cream texture, which I found odd at first as I’m used to balms. It left my lips really hydrated and plumped. Would work well under lipstick too. Only need a small amount. Would consider buying if I was feeling flush 🙈

Omorovicza Acid Fix* - a gel textured serum, gives a good acid tingle. Left skin looking great. Have now bought!

Origins Original Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay - A fairly standard clay mask. It was nice and left my skin soft but was nothing special. Wouldn’t buy again.

Veneffect Pore Minimising cleanser - a refreshing morning cleanser. Leaves skin soft. Probably won’t buy as prefer others.

Dr Barbara Sturm - A very light textured cream. Very traditional cream scented bit like Nivea. Didn’t absorb well at all! Sat on my skin for ages, to the point that it was travelling and getting in my eyes! Awful. Definitely won’t buy.

Eve Lom cleanser* - nice enough, does it’s job but really doesn’t wow me! Won’t buy again.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer - my holy grail concealer. Already replaced it.

Clark’s Botanicals Deep moisture mask - I loved this!  Super hydrating and soothing. Smells amazing. Would definitely buy.

Oskia Restoration Oil* - sample. A really lovely, light oil. Smells floral. Left my skin glowing. Had one issue of pilling but think this was because I applied it over a cream with SPF. Would buy full sized. 

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside 12%* - the smallest amount of this left but I think it’s oxidised. It’s been open a while. It’s a nice serum but I’m not re-buying at this time as I’ve another Vit C serum to use instead.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate cleanser sample - nice smooth cleanser, left skin feeling soft. Didn’t wow me though so won’t be purchasing full sized.

Rossano Ferretti Prodigio hair treatment - I liked this, it smelt amazing and left my hair feeling lovely. But I won’t buy full size as I get better results from Olaplex which is less than half the price! 

Skyn Hydro Cool Firming Face gel for forehead - wow was this good! Really temporarily  plumped out my frown lines. Would definitely buy again, great to use before a night out.

Skyn Plumping Lip gel - wasn’t impressed with this. Moisturised my lips a bit but certainly didn’t plump! Wouldn’t buy.

Collagen eye patches (free with my YesStyle order) - were very fiddly. Hydrated nicely but were nothing exciting. Won’t buy. 

And that’s it for my empties this month! Are there any you’ve tried or now want to try? Let me know! 


Friday, 1 June 2018

Buying Foundation Online - tips and tricks!

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Use of the affiliate links is hugely appreciated and is a great way to support my blog. I love knowing my review's are being put to good use!*

With me buying a new foundation, I wanted to do a mini blog post about the ones I own.

Bobbi Brown UK

Left to right - 
The Ordinary Serum foundation - 1.0p
Mac Studio Fix - NC10
Anastasia Beverly Hills foundation stick - Alabaster 
Kat Von D Lock It - Light 44

I’m including comparative swatches as I find these invaluable when looking for a new foundation. As I’m very fair skinned, I’d previously struggled with finding a foundation pale enough for me. I’ve had a few orange faced disasters over the years! Thankfully brands are now expanding their shade ranges further and further, in both directions, so I’m finding paler shades more readily available. I think it goes without saying that there’s still a lot of work to be done by brands to ensure darker shades are included in their ranges too.

It never ceases to amaze me how different in colour my foundations can be, yet all suit me! One thing that’s becoming more prevelant for brands at the moment is to ensure that there’s not only a good variety of shades but that different undertones are catered for too. There’s often confusion when it comes to undertones but basically there’s three types - warm, cool and neutral. If you have warm undertones you’ll probably tan, have peachy / yellow toned skin, suit yellow gold jewellery and your veins in your wrists will look green ish. If you have cool undertones (like me) you’ll likely burn / turn red from the sun, you’ll have pink toned skin, suit white gold / silver jewellery and your veins will be more blue. If you’re a mixture of the two you’re likely neutral. All of my foundations are cool / pink toned except Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk which is neutral and Mac Studio Fix which is warm toned, I’ve no idea why but it suits me better than NW10 which should be my correct shade!

Anyway, as my home town of Grimsby doesn’t have many decent shops where I can be colour matched for foundation, I often guess and place an order online. Luckily for me this has always worked out well and it’s matched! So I thought I’d share my tips...

1. Check different sites that sell the foundation - some shops carry all shades, some a selection. I’ve been nearly caught out before thinking there were less shades to choose from as the site I was looking at didn’t carry them all! You’re best place to start is the foundation brands website. Some will post details of the undertones of shades, there might even be swatches! Matching your correct undertone is pretty important. I’ve often found that colours shown on websites can vastly vary! 
2. Swatches and comparisons. Google is your friend! I’ll spend ages looking for comparison swatches. Pick a foundation you already use and match well to and search for that (including your shade) and the foundation you want to buy. For example I usually use Mac Studio Fix NC10 for my comparison as it’s a popular foundation. So I’d search “Mac Studio Fix Foundation NC10 Giorgio Armani Face Fabric”. I’ll start in the images and hope that someone has posted a swatch comparing the two. Seeing the two foundations next to each other is the best way to compare them. If there’s no luck in images, I go to websites. Often someone has blogged about their new foundation and stated what other brands / shades they wear for reference. 

3. Foundation matrix websites - some very clever people have set up databases where you input what foundations you match and it uses data given by others to match you to your shade in another brand. My favourite site to use is Temptalia
I’ve had accurate results from using her foundation matrix. It’s fun to test it out with shades you know you already match! Maybe that’s just me 🙈
There’s also 
It doesn’t hurt to check both! 

Using a combination of all of the above can give you a pretty good idea of what shade you need to be choosing! Obviously it’s not completely accurate so it’s always best to get colour matched in store if possible or order from somewhere that takes returns if you get the wrong shade (Bobbi Brown do this!).

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