How many times have you looked down at your nails when you’re at home or in the office only to wish you had your own in-house manicurist?  Whilst unpainted nails are, I admit,  #firstworldproblems, it can sometimes be hard to schedule in nail appointments when you are juggling the stresses and struggles of everyday life and work commitments.  “If only I could use an app to have a manicurist come to me at a time and place that’s totally convenient” I hear you say.  WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW…there is.  Step forward, Blow Ltd.

Hailed as Uber for beauty – by no one except me, probably – it’s a one-stop app for nails, blow drys, makeup, massages, lashes and even yoga.  Hop onto the app and you can select your service and then choose a time, date and location that suits you.  It’s super easy to do and because there are so many beauty professionals working for them, there’s always loads of times available – and they work from 7 am to late too.

I was really lucky to be offered the chance to try out a complimentary gel manicure, thanks to my friends at Carousel PR.  I wanted to get my nails done the day before I flew to Ibiza but because I had lots on that day I was really limited with time I had available.  Luckily, because Blow Ltd’s beauty experts start work so early, I was able to snag a 7.30 am spot which was perfect for me as I get up really early to go to the gym anyway.

As expected, the girl that arrived at my front door was so lovely and professional.  She works in a salon full time, so she takes the early morning and evening slots and is more than skilled in her area of expertise because this is what she does day in, day out.  The only thing Blow need to do yours nail at home and work is a single socket to plug the lamp into so you really can have them done wherever is convenient for you.  I plumped for the kitchen, and after my professional had set up, she got to work preparing my nails.

Blow Ltd Manicure | Jacinta Dawn

Just like in a salon, Blow Ltd have tons of nail colours with them for you to choose from.  Even though it was September and summer was technically over, I wanted something bright for Ibiza so chose an amazing neon coral colour – after two coats it was super bright and would really show off my holiday tan.

I was really impressed with the professionalism and the speed of Blow Ltd.  In no time at all, my gel nails were finished and the appointment had flown by so quickly thanks to the chatty and friendly manicurist.

What about the nails?  Well, I was really impressed with them too.  They lasted me through Ibiza and then some without any chips or peeling and I finally removed them a few weeks later.  Thanks so much Blow Ltd.

NOW FOR THE EXCITING BIT…

Blow Ltd have been lovely enough to give me my own discount code to pass onto you!  Enter code DAWN15 at the checkout for 15% off ANY Blow Ltd app.  Don’t forget to tag me in photos after if you use it – @jacintadawn.

Download the Blow Ltd app on the App Store or Play Store.

Disclaimer: this service was complimentary and gifted to me by Blow Ltd via Carousel PR.  My review has, in no way, been influenced and reflects my honest opinions.

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Last week I was thrilled to be invited by Ledigo PR to a blogger’s brunch hosted by local Wilmslow company, Simply Argan. Held at the beautiful Victor’s in Hale, the event was an opportunity to learn more at the company, what they do and how their products can be used.

I tootled along to it with my friend Ellie, of Eleanor Graceful, and we were seated with Emmi and Emma. Other blogger guests included my friend Janet from SoHale, who I’ve worked with over at Made in Cheshire for around a year now, and the fabulous Missy Thorley from Contour Allure.

Whilst we sipped on our yummy ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ smoothies, the lovely ladies from Simply Argan talked us through their products. I only recently got onto the whole argan oil vibe – my friend Natalie bought me some beauty products a few months ago and I really liked them – so it was really interesting to listen to how and where they source their oil and how it can be incorporated into your daily beauty regime. We were lucky enough to have been gifted some amazing – and very generous amount of – products in our goody bags and they talked with such passion about the benefits of their high quality oil.

Victor’s is one of my favourite places to visit anyway because of their gorgeous wisteria-covered room and beautiful interior and their delicious chocolate covered pancakes only served to cement them in my mind as a local brunch hotspot.  After a week of healthy eating they were definitely deserved and were so good Ellie even felt she had to dip in and steal some from my plate 🙂

It was a really lovely morning and I couldn’t wait to use my products.  I’d initially been scared about using argan oil shampoo – although my hair wouldn’t be described as greasy, it definitely doesn’t lack moisture and I was worried anything oil based would be too heavy.  Nevertheless I gave them a go and I was really pleasantly surprised by them.  First thing to note is the shampoo and conditioner smell insane – when I read the ‘smell’ was argan and violet I didn’t expect it to smell like actual Parma Violet sweets but it does and it’s amaaazing.  The second thing to note is they literally leave your hair feeling silky smooth.  Seriously – I was ready to be signed up as a hair model as I walked down the street.  I’d say, on the whole, I was more impressed by the conditioner than the shampoo as I felt the shampoo didn’t lather as much as I like, although, I do suspect that was down to the ingredients being a lot more natural than other brands so perhaps it’s a case of swings and roundabouts.  Either way, I’m sold and would definitely repurchase both again.

For similar reasons to my hair, I was a bit dubious about how well my skin would react with the night oil.  I generally don’t use any oil-based products on my skin for fear of getting a shiny face but curiosity, coupled with having been sleeping really badly recently, prompted me to try it.  I mention my sleeping because the night oil contains lavender to aid you getting to sleep and generally just relaxing you.  I can honestly say, hand on heart, my skin didn’t feel greasy at all the next morning, it just felt really soft, so I’m definitely happy with the outcome.  I would say though, not to put it on if your hair is clean – ultimately you’re going to end up with it touching your face at some point in the night so it’s probably best to do it on a night when it needs a wash.

The two other products we were gifted were the pure argan oil and the coconut and vanilla coffee scrub.  The pure argan oil is, like the rest of their products, 100% organic and in this product hasn’t been diluted or mixed with anything that would impair the effectiveness of it.  It’s great for using on your body and hair and apparently has really good results for things like stretch marks and scars.  I have a pretty big scar on my calf that was a result of an ice skating injury so I’m keen to start using this to see if it improves the look of it at all.  I’m SO excited to use the coffee scrub because I’ve heard such amazing things about it.  Even through the sealed packet it smells incredible and I have a feeling it’ll be a great exfoliator pre fake tanning so I’ll report back on how that goes when I give it a whirl.

It was fantastic to meet the lovely ladies behind the brand and it was such a fab event.  If you’ve not tried Simply Argan before I urge you to give them a go – they’re natural, fair trade, organic and not tested on animals so you really don’t need any more excuses.

Have you tried Simply Argan?  Let me know in the comments or tweet me @jacintadawn.

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How amaaazing is Charlotte Tilbury?!  Literally the most beautiful packaging known to man and the lipsticks are no exception. Hailed as the nude that suits everyone, the modern-matte Pillow Talk is part of their Matte Revolution range and is the ‘ultimate lip colour…for naturally fuller, wider lips’. I’m completely in love with it; it absolutely makes my lips look fuller and the colour is so flattering. I must admit, it’s a little darker than it looks on the photos – it’s more of a darker nude than a flesh-coloured nude – but I still think it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s matte without being drying and it manages to stay on my lips much better than any of my MAC lippies did.

I’ve been a fan of CT for little over a year now and think Charlotte’s makeup is exceptional but recently I’ve also been trying to make a move to solely cruelty-free brands. I’ve become increasingly aware of the fact that some brands still actively condone animal testing and even more aware of the ones that say they are cruelty-free yet still sell in China. For those of you that don’t know, if you sell in China it’s mandatory that the products are tested on animals before they are allowed to be sold. This, quite frankly, makes me sick and I’ve realised I can’t support companies that claim they care about animals yet are willing to sacrifice their welfare for profit. I get it, in a sense, I really do: China is a huge market and huge chunk of their profits but for me, personally, I can’t put my vanity over animals’ comfort. I’ve been a fan of MAC since I first started to wear makeup and although it pains me that I’ll never have another Honey Love lippie or Melon pigment (it’s insane as a highlighter and that makes me super sad), I’m happy to look at alternatives to stock my makeup bag with.

Charlotte Tilbury don’t test any of their products on animals and, perhaps more importantly, they state on their website their suppliers don’t either. I think it’s really important to look into a company’s cruelty-free stance, if this is something that’s important to you, and really dissect the language they use. I’ve found many have been clever with how they word things, implying they don’t ask their suppliers to test on animals or that they can’t guarantee that all ingredients are cruelty-free. For me, this isn’t good enough and is skirting around the truth – if Charlotte Tilbury can confidently say their suppliers don’t, then other brands should be able to too.

Although it seems like a minefield researching which brands are cruelty free and which sell in China, it’s really not as hard as it feels and there’s lots of great resources available, like Peta, to help you make an educated purchase. With more and more brands wising up to the fact that consumers are more conscious of this matter, I’m finding more than ever that the ones committed to cruelty-free cosmetics tend to shout about it.

Are cruelty-free cosmetics important to you? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @jacintadawn.

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Okay, I admit it, usually I’m super mean and don’t tell anyone my best beauty secrets.  Selfishly, I kind of just like to have something really amazing that no one else knows about.  I literally cannot keep quiet about my latest discovery though – I love it so much that I just want to tell everyone I meet about it!  Girls, I present to you the best mascara in the world: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

Quite a bold claim to make, I know, ‘the best mascara in the world’ – but this product honestly warrants it.  What I think is important to point first of all, is that the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash does work best when combined with your existing mascara.  That’s right…it’s not a substitute for your current brand, but more like an add-on.  For best results, start with a thin or normal coating of your existing mascara and wait for it to dry.

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

Then this is where the magic happens.  Basically, you get two mascara-shaped tubes when you buy this product.  The first, slightly larger one, is the transplanting gel and the second is the natural fibres.  Once your original mascara is dry, you take the transplanting gel and coat your lashes in the same manner as when you do your normal mascara.  The transplanting gel is, technically, more or less the same as a normal mascara and serves in this first step to wet your lashes.  Immediately after you have done this, taken the second wand with the fibres on and go over your lashes.  The fibres are 100% natural, hypoallergenic and animal cruelty-free and are made out green tea leaves.  As your coating your lashes you will notice the fibres sticking and effectively elongating and making your lashes thicker.  Don’t put too much on it one go or they’ll just flake onto your face – you can always add a second coat after.  As soon as you’ve finished this, take your transplanting gel and go over the fibres on your lashes to seal them in.  To make the whole process easier, I do an eye at a time and make sure both tubes are unscrewed and ready to be used.

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

I literally can’t emphasise to your enough how amazed you’ll be at how your lashes look.  I’m lucky and have quite long, dark and thick lashes anyway and even I can see a noticeable difference.  One coat is more than enough for day-to-day wear but if I’m going out at night I’ll occasionally just repeat the process and as a second layer.  Check out my serious pouty selfie in my March roundup post to see how my lashes look with two coats!

I honestly never want to be without this mascara – I can never imagine not wanting to re-buy it.  Younique is one of those companies that has reps working for it so I bought my mascara (and one for my mum!) off a lovely girl on my Facebook for £23 each.  Younique has a website where you can buy it though and some of the reps even have their own website/FB pages so a quick Google will find you somewhere to buy it.  It’s way more then I would ever usually spend on a mascara but I can honestly say it’s worth every penny and it even comes in a snazzy case!

Let me know what you think!

Jx

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When Katy said us bloggers could choose our own product to review this month, I felt like a kid in a sweet shop.  Straight onto www.katyscosmetics.co.uk I went and started perusing the various products and cosmetics deciding what to ask for.  I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try a product I might not risk usually – foundation.  I am constantly on the search for the perfect foundation and although I think I’ve come pretty close with Smashbox’s 15hr Studio Skin Foundation, it’s incredibly pricey and I really wanted to find a ‘drugstore’ alternative.
I decided on Max Factor ColourGenius Foundation And out of the two shades available I chose ‘Natural No.2′ – surprising maybe for some to hear but it actually looked relatively tan-coloured.  When it arrived it diiiid look quite light in the bottle, and I did think I’d made a mistake but on the skin it actually was the perfect shade.
Usually, much to my mother’s distaste, I tend to go a little heavy on the makeup, mask my ‘natural beauty’ and opt for medium to heavy coverage.  This foundation is light to medium coverage, and I was a little nervous about wearing it and it not quite covering my slightly red skin and the odd blemish.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I first tried this foundation on when I went to Tesco one night with little risk of bumping into anyone.  However, I needn’t of worried.  It is definitely more of a medium than a light coverage and definitely has the ability to be buildable.  I felt completely comfortable wearing it, and with a dash of bronzer I definitely feel that, amazingly, it actually makes me look made up but natural, in a completely good way.  I DO NOT like the word natural and would definitely not use it unless I thought it was a genuinely good quality of the make-up.
I don’t have greasy skin, but as I’ve mentioned in other reviews, sometimes I tend to have a bit of a shine on my nose and chin and therefore don’t really like nor suit dewy foundation, much to my disappointment.  I’m happy to say this foundation is a lovely matte consistency and needed hardly any powder to set it at all.  It really is one of the best high street foundations I’ve ever used.
The ONLY negative to this foundation is the smell.  Much like when you first try a MAC foundation, the funky, plastercine-esque smell really is noticeable for the first couple of wears.  However, I was assured no one else could smell it and after the first few times you really do get used to it.  The only thing I would say though is that maybe  it’s not suitable for people with strong allergies or are really sensitive to fragrances.
To conclude, I am extremely impressed by this foundation.  It’s consistency, coverage and shade were just perfect and I really wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again.  My quest for the best high street foundation may finally be over – and for just £4.50 from Katy, who could complain!
JDsig
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