Sunday, 26 June 2011

Goody Spin Pin: Review and a video of me putting buns in my hair

Goody Spin Pin

I received a press release last week about Goody Spin Pin and it reminded me to go out and buy it. Apparently the Goody Spin Pin has sold out across the UK thanks to a successful TV ad campaign. Keep on reading to see my (debut!) video demonstration and a few pictures of the buns I've been making with the pins.

I've never had any success with hair buns because my hair is abnormally thick and straight so I've been meaning to try Goody Spin Pin ever since I heard about it last year.

The instructions are really simple - just spin the two spiral pins into your hair and you'll end up with a nice, secure bun - no hair bands or other pins required.

Goody Spin Pin instructions

To show you how the pins work, I thought it'd be easier to record this video. I've never filmed a video of myself before (my facial expressions make me cringe) and it turns out I had my camera on some rubbish recording resolution so the video is quite blurry *sigh*.

Here are a couple of photos of the buns I've made using Goody Spin Pin - a standard centre bun and a side bun thrown in for good measure. These buns are quite loose but you can create neat ones too.

Beauty Scribbler Goody Spin Pin hair bun

Beauty Scribbler Goody Spin Pin side bun

In the UK, Goody Spin Pin is available from Boots, Superdrug and Claire's Accessories for around £4.95. In the US, I bought it from Duane Reade for $7.

Update (16th October 2011): I found out that Goody Spin Pin is also perfect for creating tousled, beachy waves - read my post here!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Belated update on my laser eye surgery... Good news!

This photo was taken by the brilliant Kensa Photography at a very fun wedding in Taunton, Somerset that I was at a couple of weekends ago. I'm using it because I am doing my best "stock photo" face which I feel conveys the elatedness of being able to see perfectly without contact lenses or glasses.

I was meant to blog after my two month check-up but it's actually been four months now since I had my epi-LASEK laser eye surgery in February. I am pleased to report that at my two month check-up, my vision was tested to be better than 20:20 at 20:15 (which means I can see at 20 feet away what normal people can see at only 15 feet).

For those of you who checked in with me about my left eye which I said was a little less sharp than my right eye, it still isn't quite as sharp as my right eye. This isn't to say that the vision in my left eye is bad - it's just that my right eye is extra, extra sharp now. I would never know that my left eye wasn't as good as my right eye if I didn't keep covering up each eye in turn to see the difference. The difference is only at very far, far away distances and is only noticeable for things like text.

Apart from the vision, I'm also happy to say that I'm not getting any glare/halos, dryness or any other common issues. I was worried I might end up with these problems but it turns out I had nothing to worry about.

I can't describe how great it feels to go from being -4.75 and -5.00 to seeing perfectly. I went to a ballet performance recently and sat quite far back so the dancers were just tiny figures in the distance. But I could see them with a crispness that I've never had before even with contacts. It's like switching from normal TV to HD.

I love being able to see when I wake up, having naps without contact lenses suctioning onto my eyeballs and not having to remove and clean lenses every night. But so far, the best it's been is travelling and not having to quadruple check that I've got all my contact lens supplies and just being on flights and not having to wear my milk bottle glasses. There was also that one time after a long, hard week and one too many gin and tonics that I passed out fully clothed on my bed and woke in the morning thinking "WOOHOO I haven't done that since I was 16!! God bless laser eye surgery!"

So as you can probably tell, I'm ecstatic with the results of my laser eye surgery. It couldn't have gone any better, so I feel really lucky.

As I said in my last post about my laser eye surgery, the only thing I would change is to have had the surgery in a less dry season. The humidity in New York was 10% for weeks after I had my surgery (optimal humidity is around 50%), so even humidifiers couldn't help that much (especially not when I was out and about). My first few weeks would have been a lot more comfortable if I'd had the surgery during Spring! I would also have taken more days off work because my eyesight was unworkably blurry for two weeks, although my recovery was probably hindered by the dry air.

Anyway, a few of you wanted to see the video that was recorded during the surgery, so I finally got round to uploading it. The video is just of my right eye because the treatment of my left eye is exactly the same. But I'm warning you - don't watch the video if you are squeamish or if you are considering having laser eye surgery and don't want to see the gritty details of what actually happens in case you chicken out. Just a reminder - I had epi-LASEK, which is the procedure which doesn't involve cutting a flap in the cornea.

Thanks everyone for all the tips, moral support and general curiosity over the last four months!

[Update: For those of you who asked whether it was uncomfortable or painful during the surgery, I literally couldn't feel a thing! I was completely dosed up on Valium and I'd had a bucketload of numbing drops put into my eyes (which stop the blink reflex as well as numbing any feeling).]

Sunday, 12 June 2011

L´Oréal Lash Architect 4D false lash effect mascara: Review

I was in London the last two weeks and bought a tube of the new L´Oréal Lash Architect when I saw it at the introductory price of £7.99 (usual price £10.99) in Boots. I quite liked the original Lash Architect Midnight Black, so I thought this might be a successful buy too.

The mascara claims to provide a false lash effect, leaving lashes volumised, lengthened, texturised and curved. It also apparently contains "sculpting fibres".

I'm not sure if you've seen the TV ads for this mascara but it looks like L'Oréal have finally got the message that we're not fooled by mascara ads with ridiculously obvious fake lashes on the models. Milla Jovovich appears in the ad with her real lashes loaded up with mascara. As much as I realise the make-up artist probably didn't use the advertised mascara on Milla at all, it still made me curious to try it.

The wand of this mascara is relatively skinny and slightly angled just below the brush, which some people might find handy for reaching every single lash, but you could also just bend any old mascara wand and get the same effect. The brush comes out of the tube looking heavily loaded with mascara, but it transfers evenly onto the lashes.

The mascara formula itself has an elastic quality to it, and does in fact feel like it's stretching and lengthening the lashes. However, it also has a stickiness which glues lashes together, giving them a spindly look and completely destroying any volume.

Here is what my lashes look like curled but BEFORE mascara...

And here's how my lashes looked AFTER one coat of L'Oréal Lash Architect 4D mascara...

I found the mascara dropped the curl out of my lashes quite quickly so as well as them being spindly, they were also pointing in different directions and generally looking messy and not very plush. The only good thing I have to say is that lasting power is great... even after a sweaty, humid day in New York, my lashes were still shiny and black, with no transfer or flakiness under my eyes. Yet it removed easily with a face wipe.

But hmmm... I definitely wouldn't buy (or even use) this mascara again. There is nothing "false lash effect" about it at all! Back to Maybelline Volum' Express The Collosal for me...

Update (16th October 2011): I've been perming my lashes and am finding that this mascara is brilliant as long as lashes are already curled and so the problem of curl drop no longer exists. It thickens and lengthens in one coat, with no smudging or smearing. And because I don't need to worry about it weighing down my lashes, I can brush more of it on, giving a more sculpted and dramatic look than I achieved on my non-permed lashes. If you have naturally curly lashes, I recommend trying it! Here's an updated photo of L'Oréal Lash Architect 4D on my permed lashes (about two weeks after the last perm):

L'Oréal Lash Architect

NIA 24 Sun Damage Prevention UVA/UVB Sunscreen SPF 30 PA+++: Review

During the summer months, I always switch from using a moisturiser with SPF to using a "proper" sunscreen to make sure I minimise the number of new freckles that crop up on the tops of my cheeks.

This summer I've been using NIA 24 Sun Damage Prevention UVA/UVB Sunscreen SPF 30 PA+++. It caught my eye because it's a chemical sunscreen rather than physical sunscreen (physical sunscreens which contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are reflective and thus make me look like a shiny greaseball) and it's also PA+++ which is the highest rating of UVA protection (equates to 4-5 UVA protection stars in the UK).

The product description was appealing too:

Patented Pro-Niacin® rebuilds the skin barrier, your skin’s natural protective and moisture barrier and is clinically proven to visibly improve skin tone, texture, fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots and hyperpigmentation. Chemical sunscreens protect against UVA & UVB rays, together providing the ultimate in sun protection and repair in a lightweight, hydrating formula.

This sunscreen isn't designed to be a moisturiser on its own, but it does have some moisturising properties. I use it straight over my serum in place of a moisturiser and my (usually dry) skin hasn't complained so far.

I really like the way this sunscreen is non-greasy, silky and lightweight to apply and just feels like wearing moisturiser. Most sunscreens with this level of UVA protection are really thick and heavy on the skin and make my skin feel like it can't breathe. There aren't any weird, reflective patches on my skin when wearing this either so it's great for everyday use.

I'm not sure if this product will noticeably improve existing freckles or improve skin tone and texture, but I'm just content knowing that I'm wearing a good sunscreen (with bonus skin benefits) when the New York sun is beating down on me.

This sunscreen costs £37/$45 for 75ml which sounds quite pricey for a sunscreen, but that's how much I would spend on a moisturiser anyway (which generally lasts me around six months), so I would definitely shell out for another tube next summer when this PR sample runs out.

You can see more product details on the NIA 24 website or on the Space NK website.

Note that this is a different product to the NIA 24 100% Mineral Sunscreen which is a physical sunscreen and works by reflecting UV rays rather than absorbing them.

The full ingredients of NIA Sun Damage Prevention UVA/UVB Sunscreen SPF 30 are:

Active Ingredients: Homosalate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, Avobenzone 3.00%, Octocrylene 2.60%.

Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua/Eau), Dipropylene Glycol, Myristyl Nicotinate, Polyester-8, Caprylyl Methicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Panthenol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Ceramide 2, Ceramide 3, Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract, Vaccinum Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Cetyl Alcohol, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyidimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Polyacrylate-15, Polyacrylate -17, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide.

Disclosure: PR sample
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