Weleda One-Step Cleanser & Toner
(£9.95 - £13.95 depending on where you shop)
I first came across this product in a Glossybox last year and fell in love with the sample I was given. It took one easy swipe to remove my face makeup as well as cleanse and tone - perfect for those nights when I get home late and can't be bothered to properly cleanse.
I found the large glass bottle very heavy and inconvenient for travelling. It's also too dark to be able to see how much product you have left.
It's made in France and contains Weleda Iris, Wild Rose, and Pomegranate.
Pros: affordable, cleanses well, convenient.
Cons: packaging, not suitable for use over the eyelids.
Bottomline: If you're in the market for a one step facial cleanser then definitely give this a go.
Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash
£16 for the full size (above is sample size)
I'm a huge fan of the Balance Me facial moisturiser and eye cream so I was really excited to try out this sample size of their cleanser. 98.8% of its ingredients are natural and it's made in the UK which means this product has a relatively low carbon footprint.
I found that this cleanser only works for me if I massage it in, rinse my face, then massage it in a second time and rinse it off again. For some reason just using it once doesn't make my face feel clean.
Pros: gentle, natural.
Cons: not very effective.
Bottomline: I'd give this a pass.
Monu Micro Exfoliant
Another paraben free and made in the UK product, but unfortunately this didn’t impress me either. The exfoliating beads were a good, comfortable size - not too abrasive and not non-existent either. The weird thing about this product is that afterwards I didn't feel like it really removed the top layer of skin or that my skin was very clean. It left my face feeling a little tight as well. I'm throwing it away before I've completely used it up, even though it's a sample size. That's how much I didn't like it.
Pros: paraben free, made in the UK, fairly exfoliating.
Cons: didn't make my face feel nice and clean afterwards, left if feeling tight.
Bottomline: Avoid this.
Monu Hydrating Moisturiser
Again this is a paraben free product that's made in the UK. I really didn't like this moisturiser. It felt quite thick and the SPF in it is so low, definitely not enough for daytime use. I'm throwing it away before I've completely used it up.
Pros: paraben free, low carbon footprint.
Cons: not enough SPF, too thick for oily/combination skin.
Bottomline: If you have dry skin I would recommend using this on top of a higher SPF before putting on your daytime makeup.
MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50
HOLY GRAIL - I'd use this baby all year round if I could afford it! This tiny bottle only lasts me 8 weeks max! I wish they sold it in a larger bottle (are you listening, MAC?). It's made in Japan as opposed to Canada, which I suppose is a good thing as Asian skincare is top of the line, no?
Pros: keeps my oily/combination skin matte, feels light on the skin, has a very high SPF, paraben free.
Bottomline: if you're happy to invest in a pricier facial SPF GO FOR IT! I cannot recommend this enough, AND you can Back To MAC it once you've used it up!
Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover
(I've put my half full bottle next to it so you can see what the liquid normally looks like)
I forgot which beauty YouTuber recommended this, but I had the same problem as her: Bioderma was just not cutting it at removing eye makeup. She recommended this and as I was not prepared to dabble in lower end eye makeup removers and go through a trial and error process to find a good and affordable one, I jumped on the bandwagon and purchased this baby - I haven't looked back since.
You have to shake the bottle before use and pour a generous amount onto a cotton pad. Usually 2-3 sweeps over my eyelids is enough to remove 90% of the eye makeup I have on. It's very oily as well which makes it super moisturising on the delicate eye area. On the bottle it says it 'removes waterproof and heavy makeup'. I have yet to use a waterproof eye product but I can definitely attest to the latter!
It's also made in France and we all know the French are also second to none when it comes to skin care, two thumbs up!
Pros: very efficient, moisturising.
Bottomline: if you're happy to splurge on a really good eye makeup remover, I highly recommend this one!
Nars Cactus Flower
This cream blusher was the first Nars product I ever purchased. It must be at least 5 years since I added it to my collection, and being a cream product, I am sure it's gone embarassingly past its expiry date! It breaks my heart to throw it away but it also did start smelling a little weird...
Cactus Flower is a GORGEOUS reddish pinky golden blush that looks beautiful blended out. As pretty as the effect it gives is, I found myself avoiding it as I didn't want it to smear my foundation. I've never really been one for cream products and only in the past year did I find that if I piled a lot of it onto a foundation brush and tapped it onto my cheekbones, it didn't smear my foundation underneath. I also set it with a translucent powder or a similar powder blush to make it last longer.
I think in future I will wait a while before investing in another cream blush as I would hate for another one to go to waste. If you have dry skin and prefer cream blushes, definitely give this shade a go!
Pros: beautiful colour.
Cons: does not last well on oily/combination skin.
Bottomline: swatch this if you're at a Nars counter!
Nars mini Multiple in Orgasm and Copacabana
These mini Multiples came in a Christmas trio along with South Beach back in 2009. I was so excited to try the ever talked about Nars Multiple, and in 3 shades no less! I quickly found out that I do not get on very well with them as I found them awkward to use.
If I swiped them on then they would certainly smear my foundation and I found that to be very annoying.
I tried picking up product with my fingers or a small brush and dabbing it on my cheeks/face but that method proved hard to blend out and the colour just seemed to sit there.
Pros: handy trial and travel sizes, lovely pigmentation.
Cons: didn’t bode well with my oily/combination skin.
Bottomline: If you have dry skin and these mini Multiple sets are out again this Christmas then definitely give them a go as they're great value for money. They're really handy as travel sizes if you're already a fan of the Multiples.
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Sponge-On Cream Makeup in Honey Beige
£17.60 - £22 full size (depending on where you shop)
I was very excited to get my hands on this foundation as I loved the Urban Decay Surreal Skin cream foundation so much (you can read my review of that HERE) so I was anxious to see how others on the market compared. This deluxe size sample was available in Debenhams last fall and I was colour matched to the shade Honey Beige. It's a shade or two darker than my skin tone but I could still make it work. This foundation glided on beautifully and blended out really well without sacrificing coverage. The only downfall it has is that the staying power is rubbish! I'm throwing away this deluxe sample before I've used it up because of this. I'd rather put something on that I know will last the day/night!
Pros: coverage, texture.
Cons: price, staying power.
Bottomline: if you have oily/combination skin then this won't last more than 4 hours on you, even if you set it. If you have dry skin on the other hand, definitely try it out as it might have longer staying power on you.
Bourjois Volume Glamour Max mascara in 52 Ultra Black
You can read my review of this mascara HERE.