Loving It! Black Jack Lip Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF25

Friday, December 30, 2011

I take my lip care seriously and my stash of lip balms is evidence of this. I loathe falling victim to dry lips and so always have at least one lip balm rolling around at the bottom of my handbag at all times. Until recently the latest lip balm to grace my lips was Aromatherapy Associates Moisturising Lip Balm*. Despite being a fan of their lush bath oils and facial skin care (hello Overnight Mask!!), their lip balm doesn't quite cut it for me.

I've given it a good run, using it almost daily for two months and I feel the same as I did after day one. I found it felt a little 'bitsy' on my lips and I'd immediately try and smooth the graininess I could feel by repeatedly smacking my lips together. I also had to reapply it quite frequently, especially when I was outside. The dinky pot is cute, but I prefer my lip balm in a tube as I hate rummaging for a tissue to wipe excess product of my fingers.

It was while pondering over what my next lip care purchase could be, that I stumbled upon an old blog post written by Krissy of Addicted to All Things Pretty, which was raving about Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balms. I did a quick Google to compare more reviews and didn't need telling again -  a couple of flavours soon found themselves on my wishlist.

I bought this limited edition Balm Squad Lip Quad from Sephora (sold out now online), which contains four flavours in a dinky gift box.

- Lemon & Chamomile 
- Natural Mint & Shea Butter 
- Shea Butter & Vitamin E 
- Mango & Mandarin 

I love how smoothly they apply, they're not heavy or greasy at all feel I have the added protection of SPF25 in them too. Layering glosses or lipsticks over them is a breeze and they keep my lips looking in tip top condition. They're also free of sulphates, synthentic dyes and other nasties which means nothing to me in the grand scheme of things, but is comforting to know nevertheless!

A couple of the Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balms can be found on Feeunique.com where they've been reduced in the sale to £5.80 each. Remember Feelunique offer FREE worldwide delivery too.

What's your favourite lip balm?

Product marked * was provided as a PR sample.

Sales Swag: Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Trio and Souffle Body Crème Sampler Set.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amongst the items I've purchased over the past few days, are my first Laura Mercier products. Having seen the Crème Brûlée Honey Bath get inches of coverage in the press over the years, my curiosity finally got the better of me and I swooped when I spotted a few gift sets in the online Space NK sale. My order arrived quickly, this morning in fact and only took two days.

The limited edition Crème Brûlée Trio was reduced from £50 to £25 and includes soufflé body crème, exfoliating scrub and honey bath complete with a cute mini honey dipper. I've had a quick sniff and I think I'll like the Honey Bath. I think the scrub smells alright but I'm not taken with the body cream. It'll most likely be used in small doses as I don't really want to walk around smelling like a pudding. In hindsight I wish I'd bought the Almond Coconut Trio instead, why didn't I?! Hmm we shall see...I'll use it all this evening and see how I get on.

I also bought the Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set which contains 4 x 85g tubes of varying scented lotions - again limited edition and reduced to £20.50. I think I got seriously carried away here. I really don't need these and I'm notoriously fussy when it comes to my body lotions anyway.  Having smelt them all and rubbed them on my forearm, I can categorically state that I don't like the crème brulee lotion, nor am I overly keen on the crème de pistachio either. I do however, really like the Fresh Fig and Almond Coconut Milk. I'll most likely use them after a shower/bath before bedtime rather than for use during the day though. Meh - you win some, you lose some!

Big Apple Beauty Buys - Haircare

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Despite being back from New York for three weeks now, I've been so busy that I've barely had time to catch a breath, let along play with my recent purchases A fun-filled day with Helen of  Beauty Scribbler, resulted in a few more buys - some essential, some not so much. I've decided to split my buys into separate posts, it's just easier than way.

I recently (well back in September) decided ditch my braids and go fully natural. It's been a rollercoaster of a ride so far, both amusing yet frustrating at times that I appear to struggle with managing the very hair I was born with, on almost a daily basis. I bought some new hair products in the hope they'll make my natural hair journey a little easier.

1. Eco Styling Gel - An apparent staple which will aid me when I do twist outs, so I thought I'd try it and see how I get along with it. This can be found in most afro hair shops here in the UK.

2. Ojon Intensive Hydrating 2-minute Hair Mask  - I featured it here and loved the results, so was thrilled to see whilst browsing Sephora.com that Ojon is considerably cheaper stateside. Buying another tub of this, was top of my list!

3. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie - another product used to aid the art of twisting. The trouble I've been having when mixing up natural shea butter concoctions is that they've failed to 'hold' my twists or retain any definition, thus resulting in my hair looking like a frizzy mess by the time I've stepped off the tube en route to work!! This had had good reviews, so I'm hoping this cream works when I eventually get round to trying it out - I bought two tubs of it!

4. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk - Another product (a lotion this time) which can be used for wet or dry twist outs. You can buy Shea Moisture products on Gidore.

5. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist - My hair needs moisture and plenty of it, so I bought this in the hope of combating any dryness. I think it's alright. I dunno ..ask me again after a few more trials.

6. Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-in-Conditioner- I recently reviewed the Curl Defining Cream   for Black Hair Magazine and loved the immediate difference it made to my curls adding more definition, so on that basis I thought I'd try the leave-in conditioner to how I got along with that. I used it after washing my hair on Christmas Day and it was okay. My hair smells lovely and is really bouncy and fluffy at the moment as I've just had it out in a 'fro ever since. Jane Carter products can also be found on Gidore in the UK

I'm off work at the moment and taking time to finally view the dozens of  videos I've saved on You Tube over the past few months, filmed by natural hair vloggers and I've been experiencing some serious hair envy! I can't wait to see how much I can grow my hair throughout 2012.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wishing you all a lovely Christmas with family and loved ones! 


Flash Giveaway: Free £100 voucher Up For Grabs with Skin Health Spa and more!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Skin Health Spa is the UK's leading aesthetic clinic, with luxury locations and spas in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leamington Spa and Nantwich. They offer a huge selection of fantastic skin treatments including skin rejuvenation, microdermabrasion, derma roller, skin injections (BOTOX), laser treatments and many more.

London clinic

They're offering one lucky Vex in the City reader a £100 voucher to spend on treatments. 

All you have to do is follow them on Twitter and Tweet the following:

Follow @skinhealthspa for top tips, exclusive offers and the chance to win £100 treatment vouchers – with @VexintheCity

This tweet will automatcially enter you into the £100 voucher draw.

And that's not all ..EVERYBODY who follows them on Twitter (@skinhealthspa) will be sent a £35 voucher too, just tweet the following:

Follow @skinhealthspa for top tips, exclusive offers and a free £35 treatment voucher – with @VexintheCity

You'll then receive a DM (direct message) explaining how to redeem your FREE £35 voucher.

The competition and giveaway will run from today until Thursday 22 December at 10:00pm (GMT) - tomorrow, so get Tweeting!

The winner of the £100 voucher will be selected on Friday 23 December, so the voucher will arrive in time for Christmas!

Good luck!

The Vanity Project: Estelle

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When Estelle burst onto the music scene with her nostalgic hit '1980' back in 2004, it struck a chord with many as we gleefully reminisced about Connect 4 and LA Gear trainers. It wasn't until she left UK shores and collaborated with U.S rapper, Kanye West and released 'American Boy' in 2008, that her profile soared and she soon became a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.

Currently promoting upcoming single 'Back To Love', the Grammy award winning artist, took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few burning beauty questions I had for her.

You always have lovely, glowy skin - what are your fave skincare products? Do you have a routine that you stick to?

Thank you and yes, I do a routine. I I try and get facials regularly and I use Dermologica Calming Skin Face Wash. Because I fly so much, I have to keep my face under control, it gets dry, I break out…it’s a moment, so I try and use that all the time. I also use Creme de La Mer face cream, it costs everything in life, but it’s worth it. It’s heavy, and when you’re travelling a lot like I do, with many late nights, you don’t want your skin to break out. So I wash [my face] and moisturise with it.

A few days a week I use a toner, I found a brand new one by YSL and it’s like a make-up remover and toner at the same time. It’s the truth! I use the Clarasonic face wash too, and then I use the toner.
Black people, especially dark skinned, we get pigments, so I try not to use anything with hydroquinone in it, or as little hydroquinone in it as possible, because it doesn’t help your skin. I get microdermabrasion too, which takes off the top layer of your skin, is which is made up of dead and dry skin.

I'm somewhat of a blush addict, what are your favourite blush shades?

I’m not really a blush girl. I go for contouring more than blush. My cheek bones, as they are, when I smile they pop up anyway. But when I do use it, there’s a really, really dope one by MAC called Gingerly, which works for everyone. It makes you look fresh faced, not like you’re trying to look like your Aunty in the 80’s. No red! Gingerly, and maybe a bit of pink in it too. It works for black girls too – all shades. It’s the best!

Photo Credit: Roxanne Lewit

Which foundation(s) do you use?

I use Make Up For Ever foundations, their HD ones, they’re the best for everyday, as I work a lot. But for general wear I love Georgio Armani in 6 and 7 Face Fabric, just for like running down the street and you don’t feel too peppy or your skin is having a moment. Georgio Armani Face Fabric feels like you have nothing on. Just literally put it in your hand and rub it on and it works!

I use it in number 6 and 7 and mix them together because I’m like 4 shades. We’re all really like about 12 different shades, never stick to one, mix them together. The bottom half of your face tends to be darker than the top half, you always want to highlight your eyes, your nose and your T-zone, so you use your lighter shades in the middles and your darker shades around the sides. Mix them and blend them!

You attend a lot of prestigious award ceremonies, have you ever experienced make-up artists who have found it difficult to work with black skin?

Oh yeah! I have my own make-up artist with me, or I do my own. The first year, when you’re trying to be a nice, agreeable artist, I rock out with what they have, and then you end up looking like a clown, and then everyone’s upset by the entire thing! I found it makes sense to fight for your people so you look good. If we look crazy, then it’s all a waste of money, outfits and trips, because if your face looks crazy, you’re gonna sit there looking stupid. I always fight for the right people to make me look good.

What has been your worst beauty disaster?

When people don’t quite get black skin and they go for the bog-standard. I think a lot of brands are yet to formulate their best foundations for black skin, as many can show up a bit ashy after a while.
You need people you really understand your skin tone and the type of skin you have, and there’s not a lot of make-up artists who have access to the right shades as well, so they just do the best they can. Everyone thinks you want to be lighter than you are or darker than you are and it’s like, “No, I just want to be the colour that I am!” So you have to be really sure and clear with them about the colour.
When you find a really good make-up artist, you realise how much of a fine art it is. You’re matching someone’s skin tone, and trying not to over their look or anything different. You just want to enhance their beauty.

Christmas Gift Guide: Perfume Sets

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fragrance is one of the most popular gifts exchanged over the festive period - but you have to get it right. It helps if you know the kind of scents the person you're buying for favours. There's no sense in buying a musky, heady perfume as a gift for somebody who loves clean, fresh scents - however much you may like it!

Here are a small collection of what's available in department store beauty halls across the country!

Marc Jacobs Eau So Fresh Fragrance Set - £50

Vera Wang Princess Fragrance Gift Set  - £36

Calvin Klein Forbidden Euphoria Fragrance Gift Set - £33

Vivienne Westwood Naughty Alice Fragrance  Set - £47.50 

CK One Shock  For Her - £23
CK One Shock For Him - £23

Check out the following websites for fragrance gift set inspiration:

Boots.com - Order before 2:30pm for delivery pre-Christmas
The Perfume Shop - For Next Day Delivery, last orders by 2pm Wed 21st December
Feelunique -Last Orders -MIDNIGHT Sat 17th  Free UK delivery/ MIDNIGHT Wed 23rd UK for next day delivery

All Eyez On Me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

For those whom the title of this blog post strikes a chord with, sorry to dissapoint you, but this isn't a Tupac revival session!

I haven't worn glasses since about the age of six, where merciless teasing at school resulted in me abandoning the glasses which had been placed on my short-sighted face.

Well I finally got my act together (better late than never), stopped putting it off,  had an eye test and am now the new owner of these lovely Bvlgari frames, which I've had for a few weeks now.

I bought them from Eyewearbrands.co.uk which is home to hundreds of designer frames at competitive prices. Ordering my glasses online saved me over over £200 as the price (£141.50) I paid included my prescription, anti glare and anti scratch coatings. Delivery was free too.

Vision Express fug you!
The ordering process was simple, I entered my prescription online and then scanned a copy of it over to them, so they could check I'd entered my details correctly. Delivery took approx 10 days and I was kept updated via email at each stage i.e when my frames had been selected, when my lenses were being inserted and finally when they had been dispatched. I thought it'd take a while to get used to them, but it only took a few days. My Mum keeps trying them on and as they really suit her, she now wants the same pair *eye roll*

I ordered these D&G sunnies last night in their sunglasses sale for £39 down from £177.

I just need to transport myself somewhere sunny in order to wear them now!

Get £10 off your order by using discount code FACE10 - the sale was supposed to end at midnight but it's still up!

Christmas Gift Guide: Philosophy Christmas Sets

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today has been hailed as the busiest shopping day of the year, as thousands descend upon the shops to by last minute Christmas presents.

If you're one of them, take a look at the offerings from U.S brand, Philosophy. They have a wide variety of affordable Christmas gifts which will help bring some festive cheers on Christmas morning. From yummy smelling bath treats, tasty lip glosses  to body lotions that will make you want to gnaw your own arm off, there's something for beauty loving gals of all ages.

Here are just some of the gift sets on offer:

You can find Philosophy on Boots.com (who are offering 1000 extra Advantage Card Points when you buy 3 or more selected Philosophy products). John Lewis and QVC.
Prices start from just £7.00

Winter Warmers from Zalando

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've been browsing online for a pair of suitbale boots to take me through the worst of the winter weather, which I have a feeling is yet to come and I've been particularly attracted to a pair of Emu Iloura boots, which you can see modelled here in all their furry glory by Ann-Marie, writer of ReallyRee.com

Ann-Marie sporting Emu Illoura boots

I was dismayed to see the Illoura's cost a hefty £250. Unlike Jennifer Lopez, my love doesn't come free ..and it certainly doesn't stretch to £250 fo a pair of boots I'll be wearing only half the year. So imagine my delight when I received an email this morning telling me that for one day only, Zalando are slashing up to 50% off all Emu boots and they now cost £125. Wahey!

I now have until midnight to decide if I really want these. They look so warm and cosy, but I just bought these Sam Edelman boots in black yesterday for the bargainous price of £39 (Yes, I know the bargain of the YEAR!) and still have my Christmas shopping to do, so need to chill on the spending.

If Emu boots aren't your thing, then you can also find a host of other footwear brands available to browse on Zalando, such as Buffalo who actually have some decent boots. I like the look of these boots but they've sold out in my size, but I'll keep an eye out to see if they're restocked if I can find them elsewhere.

They don't stop at footwear either, selling a range of fashion labels such as French Connection, and Vero Moda and . They even sell beauty products too Korres, L'Occittane and Butter London amongst others can be found on the site too.

Anyway I digress. To buy or not to buy that is the question....

Guest Review: Sassoon Ceramic Straighteners

Monday, December 12, 2011

I haven't used a pair of hair straighteners for over two years and since going natural, I have no need for the heated appliances at all, . So when I was asked to review an affordable pair of hair straighteners, I enlisted the help of my work colleague Becky, to put them to the test - and here are her thoughts.

High School was not a good time for me hair wise; sleek and straight was all the rage and my hair definitely was not that (the decision to get a fringe didn’t help either, but that’s a whole other story). I don’t mean to say I have crazy curls ala Brian May, my hair is classic wavy – not straight and not curly – with a penchant for creating major kinks whilst I sleep.  To add to this minefield, my hair is also pretty thick, so when hair strengtheners became readily available to the masses I was probably one of the first of my friends to get a pair.  

I couldn’t wait to transform myself into a poker-straight-haired lady. I imagined it would be like the makeover scene from ‘She’s All That’! Unfortunately this was not the case, my hair looked straighter but I never achieved that glossy Pantene advert look I was chasing.  Neither, may I add, did I manage to get Freddy Prince Junior round my house to lovingly watch me walk downstairs looking like a babe.

That makeover in teen flick 'She's All That'.

When I was at university my friend introduced me to GHD’s and they have been with me ever since, they heat up quickly and make my hair the straightest I will ever achieve at home, with my feeble coiffure skills. So when Yinka asked me to try out the Vidal Sassoon Ceramic Straighteners, they had a challenge on their hands. 

You Tube Wonder: Amazing Face

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We all have those days when we want to stick a paper bag over our heads, when we're convinced our skin looks ghastly. My skin is far from perfect but my whining was soon put into perspective when I watched 19 year old, Cassandra Bankson speak openly about her acne and share her daily make up routine.

I came across this video when I was away (yeah, I'm back now) and it really left a lasting impression on me. I really admire her for being so brave and sharing her the extremity of her skin condition to the masses (we all know how unforgiving and brutal You Tube audiences can be) and love how she's expertly guises her blemishes, boosting her self confidence in the process.

Those of you who suffer from severe acne or skin problems in general may find solace in the useful advice and product recommendations she shares on her many videos.

Cassandra's You Tube channel is DiamondsAndHeels14

How to Survive the Walk of Shame ...Harvey Nicks style.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Have you seen this ad by posh department store Harvey Nicks, which is currently doing the rounds? I always chuckle to myself when I see somebody partaking in 'the walk of shame'. The one and only time I've fallen victim to this act of public embarrassment myself was absolutely mortifying and I'm still scarred by it 12 years later *shudder*

Come on, own up ..who else has dragged themselves home in last night's gladrags in broad daylight looking as if they've been dragged backwards through a cat flap?!

It's Here: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - Swatches!!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

So, you've seen my first post, right, which features the all important UK (and U.S) release date info? No? Then may I suggest you shimmy your way over and take a look!

The Naked 2 Palette has five new shades and I've highlighted them in bold make them easier to spot and without further ado, here are my swatches.

With Flash

Without Flash

Foxy – cream bisque w/ matte finish
Half Baked – golden bronze w/ shimmery finish
Booty Call – shimmery cork 
Chopper – copper shimmer w/ silver micro glitter 
Tease – creamy pale brown w/ matte finish 
Snake Bite – dark bronze shimmer w/ metallic base 

Christmas Gift Guide: NARS Holiday Presents the Modern Kabuki

Thursday, December 01, 2011

NARS have whipped together a series of gifts for the festive season, and we love a bit of NARS, don't we? Check out a few of the gifts I spotted at a press event earlier this year...

Encased in an ultra-luxurious keepsake wooden bento box with red lacquer interior, this exquisite five-piece brush set is named for the principal musical forms in Kabuki theater and includes two new brushes exclusive to the set.

Products include:

NEW Kabuki Eye Brush (exclusive to the set)
Botan Brush
Ita Brush
Yachiyo Brush
Kabuki Lip (exclusive to the set)


The set includes four mini-sized, bold and vivid nail polish colors based on shades traditionally used in Kabuki theatre.

Shades include:

Yoshiwara- red
Shiro-Nuri- white
Kata- black
Senryou- gold


A collection of six mini, top-selling and limited edition Soft Touch Shadow Pencils. Creamy, blendable and long-wearing crayons.

Shades include:

NEW Tall Tale- deep metallic purple
NEW Magic Moon- deep metallic navy blue
NEW Ballets Russes- silver
Aigle Noir- black infused with gold shimmer
Palladium- turquoise with silver glitter
Skorpios- copper


Japanese for “flower path,” the Kabuki theater walkway that extends into the audience was the inspiration for this eyeshadow palette, featuring a Kabuki-themed design and is accompanied by a mini Kabuki Eye Brush.  The colors are evocative of shades found in Kabuki theater- an icy white with flowers in rich shimmering deep rose and gold and matte black.

My least favourite gift. I just don't think the shades in this eye shadow palatte are flattering - as you can see from my swatch.

For more gifts and prices, click here

It's Here: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - Pics and Info

Thursday, December 01, 2011

You've heard the rumours and possibly already seen the broken embargo photos (tut tut!), so yeah, the world's worst kept secret is finally out of the bag;  due to the unprecedented success of the original Naked Palette, Urban Decay have released the Naked 2 Palette.

Did you know that after two years on the market, Urban Decay's Naked Palette still remains the best-selling palette in the beauty industry?

Available from today on Urbandecay.com in the U.S, the 12 shade eye shadow palette, comes in new packaging and unlike it's predecessor there's not a 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in sight! The Naked 2 Palette instead comes with a custom double-ended full size shadow/crease brush and a mini Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Naked.


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