First Aid Beauty: Serum for Starters

first aid beauty ultra repair hydrating serum review

I wrote about the Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum a little while ago for my post on dehydrated skin, but I’ve tested it far more extensively since then and it most definitely deserves its own write-up. It’s made by First Aid Beautya US skincare brand who make very effective, yet easily tolerated products that are nicely priced. If ever I want something to target a specific skin concern – red, flaky patches, for example, or really tight and dry skin – then I find that this brand usually has something to suit.

Skincare: do I really need to use a serum? 

I’m a serum fan and have been for quite some time, now. Read the post linked above if you need some convincing, but in a nutshell, I feel that serums usually provide a good, concentrated hit of active ingredients in a lightweight, suit-all formula. They are the shot of espresso in a big cup of milky, frothy coffee (forgive me if this analogy is wrong, I’ve never drunk a coffee in my life but it seems like a good comparison!) or the vodka in the – er – vodka cocktail. More often than not they are of a liquid, watery consistency, but sometimes face oil blends are called serums too.

The Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum is a great, relatively inexpensive serum for those who want to start using a serum but don’t really know where to begin. It’s a water-based, almost weightless gel that slides on easily beneath your moisturiser and – though it doesn’t promise any ridiculous, overblown anti-ageing miracles – it takes brilliant care of the skincare basics. It tackles hydration (the serum contains hyaluronic acid and collagen), soothes irritation (colloidal oatmeal and allantoin) and helps to protect the skin from the daily onslaught of what the beauty industry has snazzily labelled “environmental aggressors” (pollution, cigarette smoke, etc).

The fact that this serum is non-oily, hydrating and soothing makes this a great all-rounder; acne-prone skin that’s raw and irritated, dehydrated skin that’s on the oily side, skin that tends towards redness. You can’t really go far wrong. My own face is relatively “normal” at the moment – very slightly oily in the t-zone, sometimes tight and dry elsewhere – and the Ultra Repair works perfectly. It juices things up nicely, boosting moisture levels without adding a layer of “gunk” to my face, if I feel as though I want to keep things fresh and simple. If you hate having to wear layers and layers of product in the daytime then this serum works very well directly beneath foundation, if it’s a relatively nourishing one, or BB cream or tinted moisturiser.

A brilliant “starter” serum, then, but this actually stands up to products that are multiple times the price, and I’ve found myself repeatedly reaching for it when I want something gentle and soothing to apply before moisturiser. Great for sensitive skin, oily skin, dehydrated skin and spot-prone skin that’s also all of the above, you can find it online (with full ingredients list) at LookFantastic here – it’s £26.

Hourglass Sheer Colour Trio: Perfected Summer Glow

Hourglass Illume Sheer Colour Trio Review

Cream cheek products can be rather hit and miss; too sheer, too difficult to blend, or quite often simply too creamy so that they slide about and streak and set in all of the wrong places. But few things rival a cream blush or bronzer if you’re looking for that truly dewy finish – they are sheer in the way that a powder would struggle to ever be, allowing the beauty of the skin beneath to shine through whilst giving just enough colour to achieve that properly healthy glow.

And who better to give us a trio of dewy, healthy creams for the face than Hourglass, the experts in subtle-but-believable glow? Their Ambient Lighting powders have quickly won cult status for their ability to brighten and illuminate without shimmer, and now their Illume Sheer Colour Trio brings us an all-in-one face-pepping solution that works beautifully over foundation as well as lighter bases and clean, moisturised skin.

This is the type of palette that quickly becomes indispensable; an understated highlighter for tops of cheekbones and underneath the brow, a suit-all blush and a warm bronze that can be buffed seamlessly into your base.

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I like to use a brush to apply the bronzer (here it’s the Kat Von D Light and Shade, though it’s not really the most appropriate!) and then really buff it out. You’d think that the bronzer would be a bit wishy washy, what with the palette being called sheer, but it actually has phenomenal pay-off. You need to be quite careful – it’s easy to go overboard!

ruth crilly a model recommends

But carefully blended (keeping it to the sides of the face and not allowing the colour to creep too far towards the nose) it just gives a beautiful warmth to the skin. And the blush, layered over the top, stops things from becoming too “beige”:

ruth crilly a model recommends

Look at that rosy glow! It suddenly brings everything alive, doesn’t it? And if you’re wondering about the strength of the highlighter, then an easy way to see it is to look at my cupid’s bow – I have it on in the pic above, but not in the ones beforehand. Can you see how it just adds this gorgeous spotlight?

I was going to finish this post by saying that the Illume Sheer Colour Trio in Sunset isn’t a necessity for summer face-making – it’s expensive and you can probably cobble together similar things from your makeup stash – but, by jove, if you love your luxe-feeling makeup then you will adore this. Punchy, long-lasting formulas and with that perfected velvety finish that you seem only to get from the higher-end versions. It’s £54 at John Lewis here – it appears to have completely sold out and done a runner from the Space NK website, which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

The post Hourglass Sheer Colour Trio: Perfected Summer Glow appeared first on A Model Recommends.

© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full “about” section and disclaimer.  A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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The Gorgeous Hair Discovery Box.

The latest Naturisimo Discovery Box is, as usual, well worth your time and money. This haircare themed box is packed full to the brim of luxe haircare samples for just £12.95 but is worth £37.

I’ve had the box for a week or two now and have had a chance to use almost everything on my hair before and after it was bleached (uhhh, more on that another time…) and have been really impressed with everything. The box contains 3 new releases and everything is generously sized from the beefy 10ml sachet to the 60ml styling spray.

Evolve Organic Beauty Superfood Shine Shampoo & Conditioner 60ml each – These are my favourites from the box and are brand new releases from Evolve. I have used them twice so far and love how soft and manageable they left my hair, especially now it’s a lot more damaged than usual. The conditioner is nice and thin so it rinses out clean, but still detangles and smoothes well, whilst the shampoo bubbles up nicely and really cleans without irritating my fussy scalp. Both use the superfoods baobab and pomegranate to add shine, strengthen and reduce frizz.

John Masters Rose & Apricot Hair Milk 30ml – I already have the full size of this and just love it. I use it both as a quick pre-shampoo nourishing mask and as a leave-in conditioner on the days when I don’t condition my hair in the shower. It’s the perfect lightweight cream for all hair types and leaves it feeling silky and soft without any grease or heaviness. Love.

John Masters Sweet Orange & Silk Protein Styling Gel 10ml
– Styling gels scare me, aren’t they for boys who want to spike their hair up like a hedgehog? I decided to brave it anyway and give this a go when I lightly curled my hair the other day- I added a pea sized amount to my hands and scrunched it lightly through the curls and roughed up the roots a little for volume – and I think it worked! More testing needed on this new world of styling gels but my hair had extra bounce and shine so that’s got to be good.

Swell Ultimate Protect & Renew Serum 30ml – This is a very generous travel size as the full size is £20 for 50ml! This clear gel is designed to be used on wet/damp hair to protect it from heat styling and smooth away any frizz, it’s silicone free and very lightweight. My hair is quite short so it’s hard to say how well this works after two uses, but any heat protection at all is welcome in my books.

Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing Spray 60ml – I love the Intelligent Nutrients line but have never tried any of their hair styling products before. This spray is meant to be a styling and curl activator spray on wet hair and a finishing spray to add volume and hold on dry hair. I didn’t even read this before using it and just sprayed on my roots before drying my hair for a little lift, I think it worked and it didn’t make my hair greasy at all like some volume sprays can. I will have to get back to you once I’ve actually used it properly.

What do you think of this box? They usually sell out at top speed so be quick if you fancy trying out some new organic haircare! Get it here.


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Easy Festival Makeup and The Quickest Smokey Eye

youtube makeup tutorial

I’ve been a bit out of sorts for the past few days, so apologies for the lack of post yesterday, I know how many of you look forward to the Sunday Tittle Tattle! I’ll be back into the swing of things shortly, but for now here’s the latest video – a very quick and easy smokey eye look. I’ve called it “Festival Makeup” but – in all honestly – that’s only because I filmed it as everyone was trotting off to Glastonbury. It’s a great little look for just about any occasion; slightly grungy and undone.

The most festival-appropriate part of the look is the incredibly quick smokey eye – you could smudge this about on your face even if you were half cut, lying in your tent, squinting at the person next to you and wondering whether you’d landed in a parallel universe. Or whatever it is that happens at festivals. All you need – for the smokey eye look – is one of those jumbo eye pencils, and there are loads of them about, and a blending brush. The brush does make things a little neater, but you could just as easily smudge using fingertips or a cotton bud. Or – and I’m improvising here, because of the festival theme – a small twig wrapped in a piece of napkin. Or the pointy end of a (clean, unwrapped) Lil-lets tampon. Good grief, imagine a picture of yourself doing that ending up on Instagram! But would it work? I feel a new video coming on…

Enough of my ridiculous speculating: here’s the video. I’ve listed the products beneath the screen, for easy reference.

Products Used:

Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50:

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation in shade 52, Vanille:

Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer in Light Medium:

L’Oreal Glam Bronze Cushion de Soleil:

Louise Young Foundation Brush LY34:

NARS Laguna Bronzer:

Rimmel Scandaleyes in 03 Bronze:

228 Luxe Crease Brush from Zoeva:

Miss Hippie Mega Volume Mascara:

Charlotte Tilbury Barbarella Eye Pencil:

Charlotte Tilbury Nude Kate Lipstick:

The post Easy Festival Makeup and The Quickest Smokey Eye appeared first on A Model Recommends.

© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full “about” section and disclaimer.  A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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Weekly Window Shop: Rain, Rain, Go Away…

weekly window shop

Some rain essentials for you, this week, seeing as though the UK is experiencing a seemingly relentless downpour. Man, I need a holiday…

burberry black kensington trench coat

Wading on in with an investment piece, first of all: the Kensington trench from Burberry. This needs to be the sort of investment you make for life, not just for a season – it’s prohibitively expensive – but a classic Burberry coat, luckily, will stand the test of time. You can find it online here – there’s also a monogramming service if you fancy splashing even more cash…

handbag raincoat

You may be wondering what’s going on in the picture above: brace yourselves, for this is something so genius and ridiculous in equal proportions that it might just take your breath away. It is a raincoat for your handbag. Yes, dear readers, a Handbag Raincoat. Why the hell haven’t I seen one of these before? I need one in my life. Imagine being able to cover up your luxury bag as soon as the first raindrops begin to fall – it’s like lovingly blanketing your vintage car when the frosts set in, or wrapping your palm tree trunk with bubble wrap in the winter. Or whatever it is that you’re supposed to do. I can only see a US website for this, so if anyone finds a UK stockist then let me know – prices start at $25.

fulton birdcage umbrella

For those without a handbag raincoat there’s always the faithful brolly. The Birdcage umbrellas from Fulton are always a good bet – you won’t catch these turning themselves inside out at the slightest hint of a breeze! Deep enough to protect your whole head and shoulders from even the most enthusiastic of showers, it’s handily see-through so that you don’t walk into walls/lampposts/other people. These people at Fulton, they think of everything… Find the Birdcage umbrella here – it’s £18.

givenchy couture mascara

Givenchy’s Noir Couture 4-in-1 Mascara has had a bit of a makeover, with special flowery-print packaging. A new overcoat, if you like. This mascara is seriously waterproof, to the point that you need a toolkit, complete with chisels and hacksaws, to remove it – it also boosts lash volume, lengthens and curls. Find it online here – it’s £25.

short hunter wellington boots

The internet is flooded with affordable wellies, but I still have a thing for a classic Hunter boot. This short version is really smart, I think, and is 40% off at The Outnet here – £45 instead of £75.

Right, that’s it – enough of this rain. Next week it’ll be shorts and t-shirts. Everyone send positive summery vibes!


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