chanel palette essentielle compact

Makeup splurge alert! Whenever I'm in an airport Duty Free, I feel like I need to buy something. It's most likely the whole 'spend to save', bargain hunting element of my nature. That, or the fact I have a blindingly obvious makeup addiction...

Wind back a few weeks. I was flying to Malta on my second ever press trip, passing through the airport departures in a cloud of 'I can't believe this is happening to me' and then I saw it. The World Duty Free shop. Like a moth to a flame, I instinctively headed in.

 What to buy though? I always use Duty Free as an opportunity to stock up on beauty essentials for less (cheap Benefit Rollerlash mascara & Kiehl's Midnight Concentrate being the recurring purchases here)

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Beauty treat! My New Chanel Palette Essentielle Compact From Duty Free

zoe dubs london blogger presenter

Okay guys and girls, some beauty blogger skincare tips coming your way. Over the last few months, I've been really focused on skincare - basically trying to get the clear, calm adult skin that I've always dreamt of.

How do we get great skin? Well, some people are born with good skin genes, others have to work harder at it and those who eat badly and drink heavily need to try EVEN harder. (I'm not going to admit which of these groups I fit into but anyone watching my Instagram - I know you KNOW!)

So what's the plan here? What does "better skin" look like? 

Ideally I wanted to find a way to minimise breakouts, even out any patchiness in my oily yet 'these bits can be dry' combination skin, cut down on heavy foundation and focus on getting that smooth, glowing base that's neither dewy nor shiny but LUMINOUS. 

At the beginning of the year, I wouldn't have left the house without at least a light coat of concealer. Obviously, it'd be nice to not give a shit about this sort of thing (THANKS SOCIETY) but until then, getting better skin is the plan!

How did I do it?

So at the beginning of the year I decided to commit to a real skincare routine. A proper routine where you use the same products, at the same time, every day for at least a month without being tempted by newer, shiiinier products. It's practically a relationship, given the level of commitment involved.

Until this point, I'd been constantly dabbling with products, the beauty blogger in me desperate for another hit of 'something new' and although we ALL know we should be patient with products, I just couldn't commit to one for 4 days let alone 4 weeks.

New Year's resolution sorted, I went ahead and did it. And now? I'm pretty pleased! So much so that my next YouTube video is about my new skincare routine, and I'm not going to be wearing ANY foundation. Seeing is believing right?

Until then, here are the basics of what I changed in my skincare routine. I hope you find it useful because it worked for me!

zoe dubs london blogger presenter

First up - it's time to commit. Select your desired arsenal and stick to it for at least a month (unless it's causing you irritation or sensitivity). Due to the cycle of skin renewal, you won't be seeing long-term benefits for a few weeks. Plus, if you're chopping & changing, you won't know which product has done what. HOW will you know what to buy again?!

Secondly, I decided to abandon my previous go-to corporate brands (the Estee's, L'Oreals & Lancomes of the world) and move towards brands with a more natural & organic focus. Hello Antipodes, Sukin, Jurlique, Moo Goo, Liz Earle to some extent, Caudalie and other such brands! I did this mainly because many of the big commercial formulas I used were full of big commercial filler ingredients.

Getting knowledgeable about product ingredients is key - I abandoned SLS, parabens and most products packed out with silicone & other such nasties. Brands like La Roche Posay aren't natural or organic but they're free of 'bad' ingredients like this - so if you still want to buy a big commercial brand (they do tend to be cheaper & easier to get hold of), at least do it in a clean way.

Chuck in a couple of tips and techniques around product application, facial massage and HELLO. My skin has improved dramatically and my dream skin is almost within reach. I say almost, because honestly, will we ever be happy with what we've got?!

zoe dubs beauty blog launch party

I'll be doing a full video with my skincare routine & product recommendations but until then - here are some tips I picked up at the Jurlique launch last week.

How do you apply your skincare? 

Just dot in on your face and rub in? Applying too much pressure and rubbing too hard can actually damage the skin, which is why eye creams always to tell you to pat. One of the techniques promoted by Jurlique is what I call "the warm and press".

Warming product in your hands can activate ingredients and help product to spread better, thus using less product in the long run.

Press products into skin, don't rub. Pressing gets the formula to the deeper layer of dermis (i.e. the non dead stuff on the surface)

When applying, don't rub the eye area.

Delicate skin like this needs to be treated gently. Just use your ring finger to pat cream into the skin.
There's also no need to go all around the eye and overload the area - applying product just around the orbital bone

jurlique herbal recovery review tips

The fridge is your friend

The soothing qualities of calming products and toners are boosted when chilled in the fridge. Put your face mist in the fridge before you reach for it on a hot day - it works a treat and really invigorates skin during summer. It's particularly great for eye creams, and gives an instant de-puffing effect.

You learn something new every day

Finally - one thing I haven't tried yet but has been recommended by the experts at Jurlique. Use arnica on dark circles. I'm very familiar with arnica, having used it on bruises and the theory is that it works in the same way to shrink visible blood vessels.... will keep you posted! Dream skin is within reach!

What do YOU think? Have you got a fixed skincare routine? Any skincare tips you swear by? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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How To Get Better Skin - My New Skincare Routine

Last month was a huge milestone for me - I went on my first ever international press trip. Aka giant free holiday after years of blogging and writing. I can tell you that the perks of Lifestyle blogging don't come as often as beauty blogging but when they do, they are PERKY AF. Time to become a travel blogger? PIVOT.

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FACE VALUE TRAVEL BLOG? My first press trip to Sardinia

You don't have to know me to know that I’m not a fan of the gym. At all. But, if there’s anything I dislike more than exercise it’s dieting. For those of you subjected to my Instagram Stories, you now I practically LIVE in McDonalds. I never thought I'd be writing about diets on my personal blog, seriously.
But what if I told you there was a healthy eating plan you could try that STILL let you eat chocolate and drink wine for five days of the week? A bit more interested now?

Well, that’s exactly what I thought when I heard about the 5:2 diet. It was so intriguing that, out of curiosity, I decided to trial the plan for 30 days as part of my weekly beauty feature for Yahoo!Style.. From someone who feels the constant need to eat, the results were quite surprising. (SPOILER ALERT - I'M STILL DOING IT!)

Don't get me wrong, you will NEVER see me become a healthy living blogger but surprisingly this works for me, so I decided to do a video to share my experience
Check out the original post I wrote over on Yahoo Style for the full details but here's my personal video with what I learnt from the diet, easy ways to stick to the 5:2 diet and tips you should try.

On days where I was too lazy to meal plan, I tried the fast packs from LighterLife Fast. on this programme, you can have up to 800 calories on your fast day, eating 4 of their fast packs. They range from porridge, to soups, to bars and shepherd's pie - so not your average.

I also tried out a meal plan from the Exante Diet - which also had packs that you could mix & bake in the oven - like mini scones and chocolate puddings. Still sounding like a diet to you? Didn't think so - take a look at the video!

When LighterLife Fast heard that I was doing this video, they offered to run a giveaway - you can win your own kick starter set to have a go at the 5:2 - all you have to do is follow and RT on Twitter! An EASY COMPETITION for you all!

What do YOU think? Are you, like me, not about running or diets? Could this be interesting for you?

 Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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What I Learnt From The 5:2 Diet & How To Do It The Easy Way!

What a difference a BROW makes. It's funny how your attitude to makeup changes as you grow older. Ten years ago, if you asked me what I considered as my one essential 'can't live without' makeup product, I would have said eyeliner. 

Partly because I was a huge moody emo goth who knew that eyeliner was as essential to a gig as a mosh pit but ALSO because I genuinely thought my eyes were the one thing that couldn't go without makeup. (Well, more so than the rest of my face - plenty of teenage angst those days!)

These days, it's still in the above cheek area but it's not my eyes that I feel the need to define, it's my brows. Despite having dark hair, I think they're practically invisible without brow makeup. I genuinely think I look like Uncle Fester without them. Case and point below. HIYA.

Perfecting your brow makeup technique isn't a complex skill to master but it does take a bit of practice and a few learnings. Biggest learning from me is about the COLOUR. 

As if it wasn't hard enough shaping the brow, you need to take colour into account. I never took brow colour seriously - I always just reached for the darkest - until I started changing my hair colour and realising that my brow colour needed to be adjusted too.

Err, Zoe, don't you have blue hair? Sorry to disappoint. I'm not talking about matching blue brows just yet. I'm talking about the tiny shade steps between darkest and second-darkest. Deep brown vs soft brown. What's the difference?Should we even give a shit about it?

The only way to show you is by demonstrating. Let's go.

So for today's blog post I'm using the new Sleek Brow Intensity sticks  - a double ended brow product with a liquid brow colour on one end and a highlighting crayon on the other.

The brow colour is a sort of waxy, liquid that you paint onto your brows with the spongy end. It also has a mascara spoolie brush which allows you to spread the gel through the brow hairs. Both are super necessary for natural looking, defined brows.

The gel texture fully dries in about 30 seconds and it won't budge afterwards, so you only have a short time to fix any mistakes or blend anything out. Great for oilier skin but be sure to use a light hand when applying if you want it to look natural.

It comes in 5 shades from light to black and today I'm showing the impact of the colour you use.

Sleek Brow Intensity in LIGHT

Sleek Brow Intensity in DARK

Sleek Brow Intensity in EXTRA DARK
When scrolling through these photos, you might not notice much of a difference. Mr FV said they all look exactly the same.

It's true, the shade differences are barely noticeable if I don't draw attention to it but take a look at them all side by side below. Which do you think looks best?

The lighter colours are less severe but add an unnatural warmth that make the brow look quite fake and drawn on. The darkest colour looks the most natural in tone although it needs a confident shape in order to wear it.

When applied thickly, the Brow Intensity is probably more suited for a night out where I have time to really shape the brow but there are ways to reduce the intensity.

What to do when your brows look a bit too strong

Blur and remove some of the colour by buffing with a clean fluffy brush, or lightly rub a cotton bud over your brows.

Use a powder rather than a liquid brow product. Powder gives a much softer look than gel. Eyebrow powder is also great for filling in gaps and creating shape, something like these new Rimmel Brow Shake Filling powder.

The only downside of powder is that it's not as accurate and can smudge during the day.

Ultimately, I think there's a brow product for every situation.

If you have fab brows like Cara Delevigne that don't need any colour, but just shaping - then try a brow mascara to direct hairs in the right direction.

If you have full, hairy brows that are a little bit gappy or just need a bit of extra definition then try powder.

If you have fine brows like me - in the daytime, I use a powder for the bulk shape and then tiny, featherlike strokes with an eyebrow pencil for extra definition.

If you want a powerful girlboss brow, then gel makeup provides a sharp, well defined shape that lasts longer than other eyebrow makeup. Perfect for a night of throwing embarrassing shapes out on the dancefloor.

Shopping list

Sleek Brow Intensity
Rimmel Brow Shake Filling Powder
Maybelline Master Sleek Brow Mascara
CLINIQUE Superfine Liner For Brows

What do YOU think? Does brow colour make a difference? Do you always just get the darkest or lightest? 

Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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Does Your Brow Colour Make A Difference? I compare NEW Sleek Brow Intensity & Rimmel Brow Shake Powder

Not to show my age but I've been a big fan of Benefit Cosmetics for over a DECADE. It's a brand that doesn't take itself too seriously and that's exactly what I'm about. They have easy to use, effective makeup in fun and relatable packaging. Today's Benefit product is no exception to the rule.

For me, the cult Benefit beauty products have to be their blusher boxes. From the days of Dandelion, I was a collector (until I realised that keeping them for years was pretty manky in terms of makeup bacteria - but they DO last for ages

The newest addition to the blusher box collection is the Benefit GALifornia blush, a golden pink powder.

With 7 shades currently available, I did wonder if Benefit could come up with ANOTHER colour in the shade range but it doesn't disappoint. Let's take a closer look....

Infused with the signature GALifornia Dreamin' scent, it smells like pink grapefruit & vanilla. Even the brush has had an upgrade from the regular square shape - the GALifornia brush is rounded, for a softer more diffused application.

The colour itself is similar to Benefit Cosmetics Coralista blush, but slightly pinker & more glowy. Both would look fab in the summer with a tan. BRING ON THE SUN.

I first discovered the GALifornia blush backstage at Mark Fast where Lisa Potter-Dixon, head makeup artist for Benefit showed me how she created the catwalk look.

If you can't be bothered to watch the interview, here's a spoiler - SHE USED BLUSH ON THE EYES. Yes, coral blush on the eyes!

For me, pink eyes just says conjunctivitis, or pink-eye right? Well I decided to have a go at recreating the makeup look myself, in the comfort of my bedroom (just in case it didn't work out) and the results were surprising!

GALifornia blusher on the eyelids and blue They're Real mascara - who'd thought it would be so wearable?!

|What did I learn? Well, blue mascara is just 👌🏻 - especially layered on the tips, over black mascara.

Also, coral eyes are surprisingly wearable - ever since I tried red eye makeup at Halloween, I've been more interested in trying this colour. Definitely will be seeing more of me in this soon!

What do YOU think? Pretty pink eyes, or still just pink-eye? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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Pretty in Pink Eyes: LFW Hero Makeup Benefit Cosmetics GALifornia blush gets put to the test!

As a beauty blogger, I am up to my ears in fun stuff to try, test and review. A special soap for my nose, a speed drier for my brushes, you'd think I have enough to keep me entertained but the beauty junkie in me will always find something else to crave. It genuinely is a bit of an addiction.. I'm definitely in the right business!

February is the month of love and lust and the beauty item I've been lusting after this month is the Pro Blo Curl Me set. The team over at treated me to £50 off my Febrary lust-have and it was an absolute no brainer. Pro Blo, you must be mine!💓💓💓

What is the Pro Blo? It's essentially a barrel brush with detachable barrels. Basically THE blowdry product that I've been waiting years for. The Prince Charming of hair styling.

It's essentially a barrel brush with detachable barrels so you can curl your hair and clip them in like rollers.

To be honest, I'd love to be one of those ladies that gets a regular blowdry at a salon, but frankly it's time consuming and expensive. With the Pro Blo brush, I can now get big, bouncy curls that last all day. Even on my straight hair!

No more will I be getting a round brush stuck in my hair. No longer will my curls be going straight with minutes. The Pro Blo does what it says on the tin - it's a professional blow dry, at home.

Let's see it in action

It's official - I'm in love. My bank balance loves it too as I'm no longer paying for costly salon styling. The only people suffering are all those who can no longer see behind me due to the bounciness of my hair! (Oh yeah, and poor Mr FV who has to deal with me bouncing around on a regular basis - but even he can see a difference though!)

What do YOU think? Do you like salon blowdries or would you rather be able to do them at home? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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February LUST HAVE : Pro Blo CURL ME Youtube Review & Blowdry Tutorial

Okay, I'll admit it. For a long time I thought face masks were pointless. Do face masks work? Do they even make a difference? For a long time I didn't believe in them at all. And then it all changed. 

I genuinely think I'm a bit addicted now. I've got a whole drawer just full of face masks! I realised that the main reason why I never understood what they can do was because I was using 49p pouches of gimmicky mud mask (chocolate bubblegum flavour or some bollocks like that), and when I did use them, it was maybe once every few months.

I've since realised that to see the effects (and appreciate the magic) - you need to follow three simple rules:

1) Face mask more regularly.

2) Don't skimp on the ingredients
3) Use the right mask for your skin concern

Let me elaborate further.

How it works for me now

I now use face masks at least once a week - and sometimes up to three times, depending on how I'm feeling (read: how many days I've got no social plans)

I don't rely on just one kind of mask either. Different parts of my face have different concerns, at different times. Have you heard of multi masking? Different masks for different areas of your face? Well it makes sense.

Face Mask Cheat Sheet

Mud based masks draw out oil and impurities. Great for big pores, my nose and the t zone.

Cream based masks are great for hydration, soothing itchy skin and anti-ageing. For me, that's forehead, cheeks and neck. (Yep, don't forget the neck!)

Sheet masks are the new "it" thing. They work on the concept that the mask ingredients are held close to the skin under the face-shaped sheet, so that the goodies are absorbed quicker and more effectively. 

Sleep masks - possibly not even on your radar but I am a CONVERT. These are basically intense night treatments that you sleep in. And no, before you get ideas of mud all over your pillow, most of the ones I've tried are either like heavy night creams or gels which are relatively absorbed by the time you hit the hay.

Acid masks - whether it's fruit acids, glycolic, lactic or enzyme masks, these work on the basis of sloughing off the top layer of dead skin to reveal radiant, smoother looking skin underneath. I tend to use these more in summer as my skin is more sensitive with colder weather.

My favourites

These are the products that I've tried and would buy again. I do have a good list of masks I like, but first, the ones I that I consider as skin gamechangers.

Sukin Anti Pollution Charcoal Mask

First up - the charcoal mask from Sukin, a natural brand from Australia. I'm OBSESSED with Sukin. It's organic, vegan, reasonably priced and lovely to use. One of the first brands to make me believe that natural skincare can pack a punch.

This clay masque feels absolutely sublime when slathered onto your face in a generous layer. It's a classic mud mask that dries within 20 minutes, but it doesn't pull at my face as much as other mud masks I've tried. (y'know, that feeling like your face is in a cast?!)

Ever since my trip to Australia, I've used this mask regularly and that's when I noticed the difference. I feel like my skin has become less oily and smoother to the touch. Also, as a Londoner, I like the "anti pollution" purpose, but I couldn't tell you whether it works in that respect.

It's available in Boots and online but if you buy it from Lookfantastic via this link, I'll get about 3% commission- WAHOO!

Antipodes Aura Mask
Next up, my favourite cream mask. It's the Aura mask by Antipodes - another great beauty brand from down under, this one by way of New Zealand

The key ingredient of this one is manuka honey, the powerful do-all (read: expensive) honey. Manuka joney is antibacterial, so this mask is actually great for oily or blemish prone skin.

Good news it's only £14.70 right now from HQHair here - that's a third of RRP. GO.

So yeah - here's a picture of it half used... MORE PLEASE.

Sephora Sleeping Mask

Finally - a more recent gamechanger. The SLEEP mask.

Fairly self explanatory, you apply a generous layer to your face and let it sink it for a few minutes before bed. Then you can sleep as normal (though, I'll be honest, I do try and sleep on my back more than usual)

I recently discovered these Sephora Sleep Masks. Initially I was a bit sceptical. I don't think they're entirely free of nasties and they do look like mass-produced commercial masks. However, when I used these for the first time, I actually looked in the mirror the next day and immediately noticed a difference. 

I love the Turquoise ones, the Purifying Algae masks (which are like a thick night cream) and the Green Tea mattifying masks (which are more of a gel).

Each pod has about 3-4 applications, so at $4 a go, I think they're very well priced. I was so impressed after buying 3 myself, that I asked my American friend to bring back TEN after her Xmas break. TEN.

Finally - what would a post about masks be, without a picture of me in a mask?! 

So, to summarise - have a regular treatment, don't be afraid to mix and match for different parts of your skin and definitely try masks outside of the regular mud mask category! (watch out for Sheet masks...)

What do YOU think? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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Are Face Masks Worth It? My Recommendations & How I've Made Them Work For Me

GOODBYE 2016! Another year has flown by and since I've had a few days of holiday, I've actually had time to make another YouTube video - 2 vlogs in 2 weeks?! 

People always ask me, as a beauty addict who gets to try so many products, is there anything you'd actually pay for again with your own money? 

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BEST OF 2016 - Which Beauty Hero Products Would I Buy Again?

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