Are The GlamGlow Face Masks Really Worth The Hype?

Maybe I’m just getting old, but increasingly I seem to be wearing my cynical hat and wondering when we all got caught up in the hype of ‘wonder products’ and their extortionate price tags. Although there are some truly wonderful innovations our there that really do make a difference, a lot of the time a product can be over hyped and over praised by those that won’t even truly benefit from the ingredients it has to offer. With so many beauty editors and influencers confessing to adore everything going, it’s hard to know whether or not the excitement is justified – or if you’d be better off saving your cash for something else entirely. GlamGlow is definitely one of those brands; I remember when it first launched and every beauty enthusiast was desperate to try this ground-breaking mud mask in an effort to revolutionist their skin. At the time I tried it and thought it was pleasant, but distinctively average, but a few years later (and with many more additions to the range) it was time to put Glam’s Glow to the test once again. Can these little pots of coloured goo really give you the skin you’ve always dreamed of?

YOUTH MUD (TO SMOOTH)
Originally designed as a ten minute ‘professional facial in a jar’ for celebrities about to walk the red carper, this smoothing mask gently exfoliates the surface to leave behind a softer and more glowing complexion. It’s not exceptionally abrasive, but it does gently buff the skin to leave it feeling like its had a bit of a work out; but the key here is to use it before a big meeting or night out, rather than as a bathtime pamper. The results aren’t groundbreaking, but they are noticeable – however, they’re also achievable with your usual facial exfoliator and a good manual massage. (Just saying!)

THIRSTY MUD (TO HYDRATE)
Apparently this uses ‘the most advanced hydration active technologies’ (nope, me either!) to hydrate, restore, replenish and calm the skin. First up, it’s a lovely balm-like formula that’s a pleasure to apply (helped by the fact it smells amazing) and can be used for a 20-minute hit or even overnight for a more intense treatment (when it’s £39.00 a pot I’m totally down with not washing it down the drain.) I love a hydrating mask and this is definitely a good one, but you’d get the same impact via a hardworking moisturiser or night cream – this just makes the experience a little more pampering.

FLASH MUD (TO BRIGHTEN)
Developed to create luminous skin, this treatment contains Betulin, Betulinic Acid and Ellagic Acid to create an improved ‘colour balanced’ skin tone. It also includes three types of exfoliant to slough away dullness and drive the ingredients deeper into the skin, as well as (wait for it) diamond photoluminescence to increase the reflecting level of the skin and make it appear more radiant. When I tried this is actually made my face bright pink and slightly warm for an hour or so after – and I’m not sure that that was the look they were going for. In all honesty I didn’t see or feel much difference at all, so this one was completely lost on me.

POWER MUD (FOR A WEEKLY POWER CLEANSE)
This was the mask I was most intrigued to try, but also most confused by. Was it a cleanser, a mask, a treatment or combination of all three? Power Mud aims to remove the build-up of cleansing product and excess grime, providing a more intense weekly power cleanse to those of us that use a lot of product; particularly handy for those who suffer with breakouts and dullness, this lightweight mud turns to an oil-balm when mixed with water. You leave it on the skin for ten minutes (presumably so it can ‘suck out’ all the bits of leftover product) and then wash off; it’s a very gentle and pleasant cleanse, but it’s also impossible to know if it’s really doing anything more than my usual cleanser.

GRAVITY MUD (TO FIRM & LIFT)
Currently available in a limited edition Sonic Blue shade, this is apparently an ‘instant tightening and firming treatment that contains mega-targeted ingredients that work together to help skin’s contours feel firmer and look more defined.’ So in a nutshell it’s supposed to contour your skin, while tightening those saggy bits. The rather gloopy formula is quite tricky to apply (and gets everywhere FYI – my bathroom plughole is still blue!) but once it’s on it’s a comfortable way to pass ten or so minutes while it dries; you can either pull it off in one piece or massage away with a warm damp flannel (if you’ve a lot of facial fuzz I’d recommend the latter.) As for the results, my skin was definitely left smoother and a little plumper, but I can’t say there was any contouring or lifting going on. Because of the nature of the formula you get a lot more from this than the other masks, but I’m just not convinced this delivers on its promises.

So there you go; each one of the GlamGlow masks tried and tested for your pleasure. Although each of them are perfectly pleasant to use (and also smell amazing,) for me there wasn’t enough of a difference or immediate result to warrant the price tag. Most provide similar results to my usual facial exfoliators, night treatments and anti-ageing skincare – which probably also work out cheaper per use, knowing how much mask you need to slap on. None of them are horrendous, but none of them rock my world either. If you’re feeling the need to get spendy then by all means make a purchase, but if you’d rather invest in a great skincare regime you can enjoy every single day, then that’s probably a wise decision too.

Have you tried any of the GlamGlow masks? What did you think?

The GlamGlow masks are available online, priced £39.00 each for the 50g pot. (15g sample sizes are also available if you want to test before you invest!)


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The White Company Launch A Capsule Skincare Collection (But Is It Worth The Price Tag?)

Overpriced pillowcases, fluffy socks and candles are my guilty pleasure – and there’s no better place to seek them out than The White Company. It’s become a destination in its own right because of the purity of the colour scheme and the quality of the items within, but until now they’ve kept their focus very much to homewares. I was surprised to find out that the founder of The White Company was originally a beauty journalist and therefore incredibly passionate about skincare, so it makes complete sense that this year the brand are trying their hand at launching a capsule range of beauty products that very much fit within their ethos of minimalistic and aspirational shopping. Rather interestingly they’ve partnered with Deciem (who really know their stuff – they’re the people behind The Ordinary, Niod, Hylamide, Fountain and Hand Chemistry) to bring this collection to life; if you want the industry to stand up and take notice, then these are undoubtedly the guys you’d turn to for help. Using their expertise to develop a collection that consists of a cleansing balm, night oil, moisturiser, concentrated serum and eye treatment, the result is a five piece line-up that provides a great basis for any skincare regime. But is it worth the hype, and more importantly the price?

The stripped back approach to skincare they’ve developed matches the brand aesthetic completely, remaining in-keeping with their approach to everything from candles to bed throws. There’s no fluff or faff, just a range of easy-to-use and incredibly beautiful formulas that will undoubtedly appeal to The White Company customers old and new; even the packaging is simple, elegant and timeless – ensuring that this appeals as much to a 25 year old as a 65 year old. Although the capsule collection is somewhat refreshing, it does mean if you want a more bespoke skincare regime or have specific needs that you’ll need to look elsewhere – or at least add in a product or two from perhaps the standalone Deciem ranges. Let’s take a closer look at each in turn…

SUPER SERUM £40.00
Featuring a blend of grape vine stem cells, protein-rich amino acids, green-tea and marine extracts, this intelligent serum offers protection against UV damage and ageing while also helping it to look plumper, smoother and more even. This is probably my favourite from the range, as it’s incredibly light and more like an oil than a serum; my skin soaks it up within a few seconds, leaving a pretty radiant complexion behind that’s ready for my moisturiser. It’s a great all-rounder for all ages, but you will need a touch more punch if you’re wanting to tackle any bigger issues than ‘I just want to look after my skin.’

ADVANCED HYDRATION £30.00
Blended with an advanced form of hyaluronic acid, nourishing Amazonian oils and soothing aloe-vera butter, this lightweight moisturiser is non-greasy and absorbs quickly to leave skin feeling hydrated and comfortable. It’s delicately scented with lavender, rose and orange essential oils to make the experience evocative (although the lavender puts me to sleep a little!) and luxurious, but despite that it’s a relatively standard moisturiser. In my opinion the price is a little steep considering the amount of product you get, and the downside is that I’m a little disappointed there’s no dressing-table appropriate pot.

EYE REVIVE £20.00
This ultra-light gel formula claims to diminish the appearance of dark circles, visibly reduce puffiness and helps to lift the upper eyelids. It’s definitely cooling and pleasurable to apply, and thanks to a blend of Persian silk tree, oxygen-boosting actives and probiotic technology there’s the possibility that it could actually brighten over time too – but again, it doesn’t provide the immediate difference I look for and it’s not amazing enough for me to stick with over a longer period of time.

SUPER BALM £25.00
A cleansing balm that’s designed to deeply, yet gently, cleanse and dissolve all traces of make-up while instantly boosting hydration, this is a great staple for anyone that needs a good cleanser at the end of a long day. It starts as a cream, melts into a lightweight balm upon contact with the skin, and then emulsifies when mixed with water to leave a creamy cleanse behind. You get a lot of product for your money too, making this a relatively affordable and effective option that I wouldn’t think twice about recommending.

NIGHT OIL £30.00
Formulated with an enriching blend of Amazonian oils, anti-oxidants and poppy-flower extract to ensure that you’ll awake with deeply nourished, super soft and firmer-looking skin, this night oil smells delicious and is a great texture for those nervous about applying oils. Although it’s certainly pleasurable, I don’t think there’s anything groundbreaking going on here so you’ll definitely be investing in more of a sensorial experience rather than hardcore skincare – but if that’s your bag, you’ll love it.

Overall the range is great to use and provides a simple approach to skincare, but it’s not rocking my world. I feel like you’re definitely paying a premium for it being in White Company packaging, rather than for what’s inside; my main concern with this range is the fact that partnering with Deciem means that you can get the same level of expertise and quality of ingredient from them directly – for a much cheaper price point. (The Ordinary starts at only a fiver, and if you know how to use it the range will be a life changer.) It’s the perfect addition for the usual customer that pops into The White Company for a bathrobe or Christening gift and I completely understand why they’ve made this brand extension, but for those of us that expect great things from their skincare product it may be worth investing your cash elsewhere. (Or just picking up a load of Deciem instead.)

What do you think about The White Company’s skincare range? A great addition, or a waste of money?

 

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So Sephora Isn’t Coming to the U.K After All

Sephora Isn't Coming to the U.K 2017

Late last year, the news unofficially – as in it didn’t directly come from Sephora but rather very trusted sources – broke that Sephora had plans to finally set shop up in the U.K once again; sure it would only be one location (London) but for many it was better than nothing and raised the hope of the possibility for further British branches. For weeks, it was all anyone could talk about and the announcement was received with unprecedented excitement levels, well dear reader I’m afraid Sephora is no longer arriving on the U.K shores anytime soon, if ever.

Why? From what I have gathered no one really knows. Perhaps Sephora felt it was too little, too late? Maybe they decided that that the supposed location of Westfield Strafford was not ideal as it isn’t exactly central, nor somewhere those pushed for time would venture; as a Scot that has been to London several times – with my tourist blinkers on – I would imagine that Oxford Street would be a more fitting address – central and a hotspot for both local and visiting traffic. There is also the fact that a lot of brands that Sephora stock are exclusive to other retailers within the UK – for example Kat Von D is only sold within certain branches of Debenhams and Tarte can only be found on the QVC website. Of course, this is all speculative and the real reasoning most likely will never come to light.

Sephora Isn't Coming to the U.K 2017

Although I wasn’t the hugest champion for the U.K unveiling – despite it’s European roots, I feel that the U.S is the real “home” of Sephora – I am a little sad that the expansion has not been granted the green light – the beauty industry has never been more booming and just about every blogger and YouTuber who as much as wears lipstick has undoubtedly uploaded some form off Sephora haul in their time. I am not deluded enough to as much as hint we alone keep the beauty sector afloat but all that free brand promotion certainly can’t help the brand. I have said in the past that I don’t think the U.K version of Sephora would be as impressive as those further afield but I did agree that there certainly is more than room for a one-stop cosmetic and skincare shop within the U.K – a gap said brand could more than fill.

I also assumed (foolish I know) that with a new international location that a British website wouldn’t be far behind meaning no more costly importation fees, nor lengthy waits for said delivery to arrive (well in theory – we’ve all had encounters with dodgy couriers). An online U.K based Sephora presence would also open up the brand to those who are unable to travel be it to London or elsewhere, and of course allows for those late night and often regrettable splurges. Even if said website only sold own brand products – which I would argue are as good, if not better than some high end products – it would be a start and a move very much welcomed by many.

There are rumbles that perhaps Sephora will go down the concession route within the U.K; opening up small counters in already existing department stores, something that is already in play in hundreds of J.C Penny stores within the states. Again this is better than nothing and also allows customers to see and try products before purchase, and in the long run could serve as a test to how well the company is received within a market it has neglected for so long.

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Where Did All The Opinions Go?

Back in 2010 when I started documenting my love of makeup online, bloggers were all about the opinions. We reveled in being able to share our loves and loathes, provide honest feedback on our purchases and discuss issues that were important to us; opinions were at the heart of the bloggersphere and absolutely what made it stand out amongst the run-of-the-mill and diluted glossiness of magazines. Collectively we had turned against mainstream media as we couldn’t necessarily trust the opinions and edits presented to us, especially when big brands and mega budgets were having an increasingly negative impact on the information between the covers. Bloggers were honest, transparent and not afraid to share exactly what they thought; a week didn’t go by without one of us getting a ‘cease and desist’ letter from a brand that didn’t like what we had to say, and were using their legal teams to scare us into censoring opinions. It was brilliant. It was wonderful. It was a turning point in time. Not everyone loved the same things or had the same opinions on a new launch, but that was ok – because that was a reflection of what was happening in the real world.

I like to refer to this as the ‘golden age’ of blogging: before it became as glossy, edited and mainstream as the media we were rebelling against. Over the last decade the bloggersphere has evolved (both positively and negatively) to the point that it’s almost unrecogniseable from where we started; the editorial style of writing, fashion magazine standard photography and beautifully curated social media feeds that make every 20-something look like their living the life of Gigi Hadid are just the tip of the iceberg. The big issue? As a veteran of the blogging world I’m increasingly aware and concerned about the lack of real opinion – it’s like the industry has become too scared to provide insight that’s not 100% positive, or to share thoughts that aren’t always ‘on brand’. You can find literally thousands of cookie cutter blogs out there, but very few of them offer insight or comment beyond ‘I love it!/It’s so pretty!/This is a must-have!’

With the growth of the blogging community I understand that we’re all in constant competition for the latest product sample, press trip or sponsored campaign (and that often playing it safe provides higher return in the short term.) I understand that brands want you to say nice things about their products, because their end objective is to make as many sales as possible. However, what I don’t understand is why so many within the bloggersphere are happy to ride the safe train at the expense of their reader. In the words of Caroline Hirons during a recent post: “God forbid you say you didn’t get on with something. God forbid you use your platform to give your readers genuine feedback on an experience, even when it’s done so constructively and without resorting to blanket negativity. Having an opinion does not make you a bitch, and it certainly should not make you ashamed.” Amen Hirons, amen.

The digital space has successfully evolved into something aspirational, motivational and incredibly curated, but in my opinion this has been at the expense of raw and unedited opinion – which is why we all started in the first place. We’re on very dangerous ground right now as blogs become increasingly fluffy and bland. I find myself continually fighting to be recognised as an intelligent woman with a well-rounded background and informed opinion, but when there are so many others out there focusing on the prettiness of their online space rather than what impact their words have, it becomes somewhat of a losing battle. Super styled beauty images, professionally shot outfits and hired locations that wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of Vogue are great, but it’s also important for us to use the power of the written (or spoken) word to make positive change or share valuable opinion.

As an example, recently a new beauty concept launched into the UK under the name of ‘Beauty Pie’; this subscription platform seemed great on the surface, but when you started to scratch away and look deeper there were a number of issues and problematic areas that needed addressing as part of a comprehensive review. (You can read my full feature here.) What concerned me was the number of features that praised the service as something revolutionary and overwhelmingly positive, without letting readers know about the potential pitfalls (of which there were many.) I’ve literally read hundreds of articles on the concept, but could probably count on my hands the number of sites that dared to say anything negative (or worse, even bothered to do their own research rather than just repeating what was on the press release.) Everyone is free to give their opinion and share their own thoughts (positive, negative or neutral) because that’s the whole point of the bloggersphere, but when there’s no opinion at all? That’s when it becomes worrying.

I feel incredibly uneasy about the future of blogging right now, because I think we’re in serious danger of becoming as edited and vacuous as the magazines that we’re supposed to be replacing. Too many are focused on whether everything is ‘on brand’ for them, rather than using their voice and influence to impart knowledge or advice; too many are worried about losing out on that next press trip or bundle of free lipsticks, rather than focusing on creating a strong persona that their readers can relate to. Too many of us are being shot down for having an opinion or told that we should just get back to talking about lipsticks, while the blogging elite are focused on their next big pay rather than whether they would genuinely recommend a product without it. I’ve always made it a priority to share my true thoughts and bring you an honest account of my experiences; a great brand will understand that not everyone will adore every product, and a reader won’t expect you to. Opinions are vital to the bloggersphere and how it operates, but they seem to now be as rare as a limited edition Mariah Carey lipstick. I think it’s about time we brought them back…
But you know, that’s just my opinion.

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The Iconic Lipliner Becomes a Lipstick

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk needs to introduction, it is the nude go-to lip liner for myself and many others for two very good reasons: the shade – the most wonderfully, flattering, lip plumping nude-come-blush pink, coupled with a silky, soft and easy to apply formulation. Now as wonderful as Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk is, due to the pencil format, constant application and of course all but daily sharpening of the pencil, it is not the most economical lip purchase – not that this is an expectation from a luxury brand. If like myself your Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk habit has somewhat become a situation of finical crisis, then the arrival of Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk will be something of a revelation.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk

What can I say about the Charlotte Tilbury copper, intricate and very much art deco inspired, lipsticks and compacts that hasn’t been uttered before? Truthfully not much but I do think it is worth noting that aesthetics aside, the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks – regardless of what shade you choose – have been constructed for ease of use. From the weighted tube, to the chiselled lipstick bullet – everything is for convenience and precision, elements that you don’t see all that often within the world of lipstick and the hidden little extras, that enhance the overall application experience.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk

If you have yet to try the staple pink toned nude that is Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk, the applied shade will depend on the natural hue of your lips – there is a slight blue undertone which can optically brighten the teeth, but can also result in Pillowtalk leanings lightly mauve toned on certain complexions; best described it is a mid blue toned, pink based nude that in my opinion is universally flattering. A few have asked if Pillowtalk is in any way similar to Secret Salma and the answer is no: one is far more blue toned and deeper than the other which you can hopefully decipher from the above photos.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk

For those familiar with Pillowtalk and perhaps on their third or forth pencil, I can vouch that there is absolutely no differentiation nor discrepancies in terms of colour or tone, between the two forms of the now iconic lip shade – the main difference is the finish and comfort levels. Typically – and I do say typically as how you wear any beauty product is up to you – lip liners are not aimed at overall lip application and as such can be both a little firmer and drier, which can result in a less than enjoyable experience. With the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk, you have the same, pretty, everyday nude shade you have come to know and love, coupled with a by far more nourishing and dare I say slightly more matte finish.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillowtalk

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