Thursday, 27 June 2013

Early Pregnancy Beauty

More know as "Before you get the glow"

I need to put a little disclaimer here before I start, this is what has worked for me, I cannot guarantee that it work for other women. Early pregnancy is really tough, whatever people have told you - treble it. I've been sick, signed off from work two weeks with an infection that I had to have rest for (which I also fainted in a shop with), and could challenge a dormouse to a sleep off and win. To everyone who is suffering in silence until the 3 months is over, hang on in there and you're doing great. It shall pass.

I noticed the first thing to suffer was my skin - it looked pale apart from the break out of spots that the hormones were causing. I also found my skin had also become more sensitive to products, and I had to throw out most of the pre-pregnancy skin care (apart from Antipodes Divine Oil, which survived. I have reviewed it here previously).

After raiding my sample bag I found Avene's Cleaning Gel (£11.50 Boots) delicate clean/powder scent, that cleans everything off including eye make up. I like this because I found a didn't need a large amount, the sample bottle has lasted well at over a week, but most of it didn't inflame my skin. I also been reaching for Dermlogica Microexfoliant (£40 for 200ml), it's gentle that it leaves the skin softer by using Rice-based enzyme powder that you mix with water to the consistency you would like.

To then brighten and smooth out I used Estee Lauder Idealist (Starts at £40 for 30ml) resurfaces the skin and illuminates. It's worn under moisturser during the day (I've been using Estee Lauder Daywear plus) and I have noticed that any make up I've been wearing has been wearing longer and smoother.

A quick note about dental care (as in my other work I am a dentist receptionist) - I found my breath smelt even worse than normal because your mouth waters more. It is more important to look after your oral hygiene as your gums will bleed more which can lead to infection. I switched to a softer brush, sanative mouthwash (no drying alcohol which can make bad breath worse) and flossing more. I noticed an improvement after a few days. You are also entitled to free dental care when pregnant (and 12 months after the child is born).

Preparation done, time to cover and conceal - I converted over to my slightly higher coverage foundation just because it made my skin tone even out and covered blemishes better. For this I went back to my old faithful Estee Lauder Double Wear in Ivory (£27.50). I used YSL's Touche Eclait (£25)  to brighten my dark circles around my eyes (you will be getting up in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks) and MeMeMe Beat The Blues (£5.50 Superdrug), a neutral illuminator that you can put on the areas you would like or mix it in with foundation for an all over glow.

I did keep most of my look simple, a slick of mascara and the new Bourjois cream blush in Healthy Glow (£6.99), a peach toned blush that goes on creamy but then goes to powder. It an also be built up so tailor how much glow you want.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Concrete Mineral Eye Shadows

It's not often that I spot something on Twitter and stalk the website until something is launched, it's also even rarer after telling everyone how much I want the new launch that the company goes, "OK, we'll give you a few to play with as you like the look of them that much". This is honestly a dream come true and I cannot thank the company enough for the opportunity, they did not disappoint.

Concreat minerals were launched in 2009 with the purpose of providing pigment rich mineral make up that fun and funky, as well as preservative free they are 98% vegan friendly. For me the biggest pay off is the bright colour, which is rarely seen in a mineral make up. I wanted to wear them for a few weeks before actually writing about them. I would recommend putting a primer underneath just to extend the wearing life, but other than that they last well.

From top to bottom: Kinky, Smut, Hi-Fi and Bulletproof (In dull daylight, no primer)

In the Concrete range there are two sections: Concrete Minerals, which are you're shimmer everyday wearable colours, then the Pro-Matt which are you're screaming bights with a matt finish. The colour palette is the first one where I can look at all the colours and genuinely want every single one (even the Pro-Matt lime green called Toxic). When my skin finally behaves, I'm really wanting to for looks with these especially those bright matt colours!

They are available now at CutECOsmetics £6 for the Concrete Mineral and £7 for the Pro-Matt. Great value sets with brilliant names of Zombie Girl Collection, Sugar Skull Collection, Sugar and Spice Collection and Naughty and Nice Collection (Starting at £22 -£25).

Saturday, 8 June 2013

You Give Customer Service A Bad Name

Today's hottest topic from Twitter has been customer service on make up counters, after Goss Make Up Artists YouTube video on people's worst experiences. Some of them are shocking, one ending with the customer being called 'fat' by the brand's make up 'artist' and being escorted out of the building by them. I could of honestly cried for the poor woman, all she wanted was some help and to feel fantastic and had her self confidence ruined.

As it was point out by Goss, not all counters are like this - I should know as I was a Account Manager for Estee Lauder for 3 and half years. Part of my role was to oversea that my staff did their job, that they made the customer feel like they had an experience and found the solution they were looking for. This was done in coaching sessions, observation work and open discussion. I was extremely lucky, my team were amazing and all of us not only worked incredible hard but loved what we did (One is now a published Make Up Artist in top Asian Media).

However, I did see the dark side of sales - Pushy sales people and are only there so they can get their discounted make up for their kits. I've seen the leaning on counters and the I'd rather be somewhere else attitude. I have been guilty of not feeling motivated on the days where I've been on my feet for 8 hours, one member of staff has called in sick so this means I would normally would have to work longer. It is still my job and the customer is here for my advice and help not listen to my upsets.

What advice can I offer from the other side?

If you do met someone that you connect with and like them, get their name and what hours they do. They will get a percentage of your money for what you purchase and I look at it like this - If you were in restaurant and thought that a person had gone the extra mile you would leave a tip. Don't like what they were, take your money elsewhere (no one earns commission on internet purchases).

Treat them like a real person, treat them how you would want to be treated yourself. You will not believe how many rude customers I have still carried on serving, I am still a professional but I am also a person. Kill it with kindness is still my favourite motto.

I know the biggest bug bear with everyone is samples. I have sat in regional meetings and asked until I'm blue in the face for more sampling. Times are changing - foundation sampling is now more wide spread and I now has decreased the returning of foundation (which is the biggest amount of items returned). Samples are limited, and they are there to be used as a promotional tool. At least be prepared to hand over an email address in exchange (I have an email address, just for this purpose). Ask if you want bring in a clean pot so an amount can be added in, if you have shown an interest in the product there really shouldn't be a problem (but it is at your own risk and don't expect a huge amount).

I do miss my days on counter, making a customer feel fantastic after months, years of frustration cannot be brought. It is with a heavy heart that I read people's experiences of bad customer service, it makes me want to scream that it's not like that. There is a huge percentage of us who love make up and have a huge passion for it. If you do not complain then it won't be dealt with, and don't leave it until you get home - get the manager and cause a stink, it has more impact and will embarrass them into doing something rather than dismissing an email.

Please do not let one person put you off going to counters, but don't let them get away with it easier.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Antipodes Organic Avocado Oil & Rosehip

After trying the Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ and falling in love with it, I was determined to try and investigate facial oils more. I had always dismissed them as I think, like others, that if you add oil to oily skin it would make it oiler. I was very wrong, after trying Trilogy out for a week it improved my skin without adding any other oil to it.

How did I come to Antipodes? That would be the influence of other beauty bloggers, there are bevy of them who adore good skin care and this product came up time and time again.

I took to Google and searched out the product online, the first thing I was impressed with was the price £19 compared to Triogy's £29 for the same amount, and second was the ingredients list that got my aromatherapy side twitching. Base oils of Avocado, Macadamia Nut, Jojoba and Rosehip oil - all filled with fatty acids (great for scar healing), vitamin A, B1, B2, C and D as well as Omegas 3 and 9. These will help skin healing, neutralize free radicals that lead to aging, and helps skin look less stressed. Essentials oils of Ylang-Ylang, Sandalwood and Jasmine give a delicate fragrance but contribute to the psychological effect of feeling less stressed and soothes rattled nerves.

I got my bottle when I went to the London Bloggers Meet Up in April from Selfridges, and every blogger that saw in my bag said it was the best purchase I could of made that day. I got this just as the right time because my normal moisturiser has just ran out, I patted 3 drops over my face with the option of putting a cream over the top if you feel you need a bit more moisture to the skin. After a week the redness I have on my sensitive cheeks has reduced, my skin did look a lot smoother and more refreshed. When my skin started to get more blemishes (which I didn't realise at the time where the result of my pregnancy), it even helped with the healing of these.

Do I love this? A whole hearted yes, and I recommend it to everyone who wants a good value facial oil that still delivers the results of the higher value. I am already eyeing the skin masks in the range, which is great timing as one of my favourite natural websites Nature's Healthbox have announced they are stocking it so I do not have to wait for my next Selfridges trip.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

End of Spending Ban

I officially finish tomorrow when I get my pay into my account, I'm not extending but I am still going to be keeping a few of the rules in place as I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would these include walking into work.

The thing I'm also proud of is that even though a lots of brands did offers over the mouth, namely the Illamasqua 50% sale, I didn't break and eagerly read other peoples haul posts and have added more items to my wishlist. I have even not brought anything for Bubba yet, however now the pregnancy is registered I have two bags full of freebies to go through and be stored for when they are here. This will change this week as I'm buying a moses basket off of my friend which is beautiful, hardly used and has been offered at the a great price.

I have realised that I have hoarded far too much, to the point that our flat could easily turn into one for the hoarders programme on channel 4. The aim of the next month is to try and shift some of this stuff out because it's now starting to over take us. The end of July I will be attending the London Bloggers Meet Up and want to be able to have a good clear out by then so I can have a shopping trip a lot less guilty.

Good luck to anyone who's decided to carry on or start one, give yourself a focus and go for it!