DISCUSSION: Do You Really Know What's In Your Shampoo?

So I recently read a blog post by Amy at blondeamy.co.uk raving about the Macadamia Oil Extract range you can pick up from most 99p stores.  I know you can pick these up in other stores as well such as Savers and Home Bargains, so while I was in Cardiff this weekend I popped in to see if they had them in stock! Unfortunately they didn't have the full range, but these Keratin Classic products caught my eye and so I picked them up instead.  The packaging is simple and looks much more expensive than the £1 I paid for them!  

I thought since I'm reviewing these "Keratin Classic" products I should probably read up a bit more about keratin and the other ingredients listed on the bottles so I can impart my new-found wisdom with you!  So treatments and products containing keratin have been around for a while and claim to smooth and straighten hair.  Keratin is a protein and your hair is made up of around 80-95% keratin.  When this protein is applied to the hair as a treatment, it is absorbed and improves the hair's texture, elasticity and strength. The ingredient found in most keratin products, including the Keratin Classic shampoo and conditioner, is called hydrolysed keratin, and this basically mean that the protein is broken down into smaller segments which makes it more effective for bonding to the hair and repairing it.  Products containing this ingredient are great if you use heat on your hair a lot (me) or colour it regularly.  However, just bare in mind that using protein too much will eventually damage your hair more than it repairs. Relating this back to the actual product, the ingredient hydrolysed keratin is not too high up on the ingredients list (about 8th or 9th) so its not particularly protein-heavy.

With this in mind, I thought "great! A cheap product with lots of benefits!" but I thought it would also be wise to look at some of the other ingredients.  There has been a lot debate about the use of ingredients such as Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) in cosmetics due to some studies finding health risks after long-term use of products containing them.  However, thousands of brands (including LUSH cosmetics - a brand I've loved and trusted for years) use these ingredients in their products still and there is a lot of research contradicting those that found health risks.  For me, finding these ingredients in products does not particularly bother me, but I thought I should mention it in case this puts you off purchasing these products.

Enough of the science lessons.  So I used these products for the first time today and so far I'm really impressed! The scent is lovely and fruity (quite a generic smell but pleasant nonetheless!) and the consistency and applicability of the product is as you'd expect for any good shampoo and conditioner (I say this because I used another cheap hair product recently and the consistency was really odd and gloopy and it really put me off the product).  

I let my hair dry naturally and it feels so smooth and looks healthier and shinier already! I'd definitely recommend this product to anyone on a budget who isn't too fussed about sulphate ingredients.  Let me know in the comments what you think too - have you used similar hair products before? Do the benefits of these low budget products outweigh the cons?

REVIEW: MUA Twelfth Night Eyeshadow Palette - Swatches and Daytime Look!

MUA recently had an amazing winter sale on their website so I couldn't resist picking up some goodies! I believe this particular palette is still available on their website for a teeny tiny £2 (true as of 18/03/15) and it comes with 12 beautiful "winter" shades, the majority being shimmery but there is also one matte colour.  I like the fact that MUA have the names of each shade on the back of the palette (it also makes it easier to review too!) as it makes it seem so much more professional and expensive.  Although MUA describe this palette as containing winter shades, I can definitely see this lasting me through spring and possibly even into summer as it boasts some lovely neutral browns, coppers and beiges, as well as the darker greens, purples and greys.

The actual packaging is nice and simple and it comes with the standard double-sided sponge brush. I would like a mirror on the inside, but the palette was so affordable so that might be asking for a bit too much! This might just be me, but I tend to have trouble opening the actual palette occasionally! I've found this with a couple of MUA eyeshadow palettes and it has resulted in a couple of chipped nails.  However, this doesn't put me off the palette of course, I do eventually get my claws into it!

Onto the shades! Let me start off by saying I was so shocked at how pigmented these eyeshadows were! I am constantly surprised at the quality of budget eyeshadows nowadays and it really puts me off buying more expensive brands - surely it can't be worth the price difference?! My favourite shades that I know I'll be wearing again and again are: Ice, which is a beautiful shimmery highlighting colour; Oudh, a glittery copper colour; All Spice, which looks like a light-ish brown but comes out quite burgundy; and Star Shine, which looks great in the outer corner and under the eye.

In my everyday look, I used the colour Ice on the inner to the middle of my eyelids, All Spice in the middle and a little bit of Star Shine on the outer corner and underneath my eye.  I did actually use the sponge brush included in the palette but generally I would use a normal eyeshadow brush (I'm needing to buy a new one), and I blended it using an eyeshadow brush from ELF.  The look I created didn't completely stay put for the whole day but not to the extent that it looked bad - there was still clearly a lighter shade in the inner corner blending out to a darker shade.  However, I was really pleased with the overall look.  I completed it with Collection's Extreme 24 Hour felt tip liner (click here for tips on how I apply this) and Benefit's They're Real mascara.


Overall, I'd say if you're on a budget you really can't go wrong with this palette.  Even if you're not on a budget it's a pretty great find! I'm looking forward to trying out some looks for nights out with this palette in the future and being more adventurous with some of the more unusual (well, less neutral!) colours they've included!

Let me know what you think - do you think these budget eyeshadow palettes are as good as the high-end ones?  Do you have a favourite? Leave a comment below!

How To Wing Your Eyeliner Like A Pro!

Since kohl eyeliner always manages to work its way down my face by the end of the day, liquid eyeliner is a bit of a godsend for me.  I'm particularly fond of the felt tip liquid eyeliners which I find much easier to apply, and I'm currently using Collection's Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner (as mentioned in my 14 Favourites of 2014).  I know a lot of people who struggle to apply liquid or felt tip liner, but I use a real fuss-free way to apply it, wings and all.  So today I'm going to share with you how I apply my felt tip liner really easily and super-fast.  I'll even time it.  Just for you.

STEP 1. On a day-to-day basis when I go to work, I tend to just wear felt tip liner, mascara and a teeny bit of eyeshadow on my eyes.  This is the look I'll be showing you today.  I start off by applying my base makeup and do my eyes last of all (in the pictures here I actually have no base makeup on at all because they were taken on a lazy Sunday afternoon).

STEP 2. I apply my felt tip liner in the rough shape I want it.  There is no need for accuracy quite yet! It doesn't matter if it's too thick or the wing is too long at this point.  Just make sure you apply as close to the lash line as you can so there are no gaps.  As you can see, my application is incredibly wonky and I'd get some seriously strange looks if I went out like this.

STEP 3. Here's the clever part.  Wet the end of a cotton bud and carefully trace it along the wonky eyeliner.  This is a lot easier than achieving a straight line from your first application of the liner and creates a beautiful smooth edge.  You can use the cotton bud to fix the length and thickness of the wing of the eyeliner if you're not happy with this too.  You don't even need to use an eye makeup remover on the cotton bud, just water will do at this stage as it shouldn't have dried thoroughly yet. As you can see, the wing on my eyeliner isn't that long as this is just a typical look I'd wear to work.  If I was going on a night out I tend to go for a more winged look, and this can easily be achieved by using this method of winging and cotton bud-correcting as you go.

STEP 4. Stand back and admire your gorgeous eyes.  If you've accidentally taken off too much, it's much easier to just top up the liner now.  I finished off this look using mascara (Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde) and a tiny bit of highlighting eyeshadow in the inner corners of my eyelid (third shadow in on the top row of the MUA Undress Me Too palette).

And that's it! If you want to apply more eyeshadow, the liner may go slightly grey but this can be easily rectified with another quick sweep to accentuate the liner underneath.

I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any other tips!  And for those of you who are wondering, I timed it and I created this eyeliner look in 2 minutes and 19 seconds.  Perfect for those days when that extra five minutes in bed is really needed!