6 Beauty Items You’re Not Sure You Need

I think we all know what it feels like to constantly hear about beauty products we can’t live without. We could spend an absolute fortune on the latest must-haves and beauty trends, and that’s on top of our old faithful products that we already use on a daily basis. So we really want to know whether a product is really worth having – does it even make a difference?! Here are my thoughts on 5 beauty items that I’ve wondered if I even need.

Beauty items you might not need


This is the age old one – do I really need this additional step between cleansing and moisturising? What does a toner even do? Well apparently a good toner removes excess impurities (you’d be surprised what cleansers miss!), shrinks pores and helps with oily skin. Cult favourite Pixi Glow Tonic goes even further – it’s an exfoliating and conditioning toner which clarifies the skin to leave brighter, glowing skin. I’ve just started using this product and I do really love it. A lot of people really swear by it and say it’s transformed their skin.

My verdict: I don’t have problem skin so I have never seen toner as totally necessary, but I do think that if you choose the right toner it can make a noticeable difference.

Pixi Glow Tonic

Charcoal face masks

There are all sorts of face masks out there claiming to do various different things, and charcoal masks have been seen everywhere lately. I have to admit I love applying a face mask and relaxing in the bath, but apart from being a nice way to relax, do they really do anything? Well I haven’t tried any of the peel-off charcoal masks that you see everywhere, but I am a big fan of The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Mask. This mask really detoxes the skin and thanks to the purifying charcoal and the addition of tea tree oil it puts an end to spots quickly if I see any starting to appear.

My verdict: I swear by my charcoal mask for sorting out breakouts fast!

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal mask

Makeup primer

The point of a primer is creating a smooth base to improve your makeup finish, and it should also help your makeup last longer. People swear by primers and if you find your makeup doesn’t stay put then it’s probably worth investing in, but I’ve never noticed a difference to be honest. That’s why I use Illamasqua Radiance Veil, which is part primer, part illuminator, because at least I get to see a visible difference (see my review of Illamasqua Radiance Veil here).

My Verdict: It totally depends on your skin, but I don’t see it as an essential addition to my collection.

Illamasqua Radiance Veil primer

Body scrub

I always have a body scrub in my bathroom, and I have various favourites. I have even made my own in the past using sugar and carrier oils. Regularly using scrubs is recommended for buffing away dead skin cells and increasing circulation, and the result should be smooth glowing skin. You might not see a noticeable difference but its good skin maintenance to use a body scrub once a week.

My verdict: It’s not an essential daily use product, but it’s good to “scrub” every now and again.

Coconut Coffee Body Scrub

Lip scrub

If you love matte lipsticks you’ll know that if your lips aren’t perfectly smooth, your lip colour will highlight every imperfection! I bought a lip scrub to make sure I’m regularly buffing off any dry skin on my lips, and it works perfectly! But I am also perfectly aware that I could have sorted this problem by gently brushing my lips with a toothbrush…

My verdict: You can certainly achieve the same results in a different way, so really you don’t need this product. But £6 for a lovely Lush one is worth it in my opinion.

Lush popcorn lip scrub

Base coat

The point of a base coat is to provide a smooth base for nail polish and give it something to bond to so that it doesn’t chip as easily. I never used to use a base coat, and used to moan about how soon my polish chipped – even though I applied top coat! I have totally seen a difference since I start using one – a good one will really make your nail polish last longer!

My verdict: I actually swear by base coat now and I never apply nail polish without it!

Butter London base coat

What do you think? Are all these products essential to your beauty routine?

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Beauty products you're not sure you need

This Lipstick Lasts All Day

I’m dedicating this post to my favourite lipstick brand – Sleek Matte Me. If you’re looking for lip colour with staying power (who isn’t?!) I can wholeheartedly recommend this brand, and there are actually quite a few reasons why I love it so much…

Lipstick that lasts all day

It does not budge all day long

I now own 2 colours from the Matte Me range, and both of them just last for hours and hours. And I’ve never met a lipstick wearer who didn’t want their lipstick to last all day!

Sleek Matte Me lip colour

It has a perfect matte finish

Despite being packaged and applied like a lip gloss, Matte Me has a gorgeous matte finish (as the name would suggest), and I always prefer matte lipsticks.

It’s so pigmented!

The first thing I noticed when I tried Party Pink, the first Matte Me lipstick I owned, was the amazing vibrant red hue. It’s probably the most pigmented lip colour I’ve ever used! And even Birthday Suit (the perfect classy nude), is just as pigmented. It’s a much higher quality than its high-street price tag would suggest!

Lasting lipstick - Sleek Matte Me Party Pink

Lasting lipstick - Sleek Matte Me Birthday Suit

It’s cruelty free!

This is my number 1 priority when shopping for cosmetics, so I’m very, very happy that Sleek is a cruelty-free brand. (I also love their BB cream and eye shadow palettes by the way).

It’s a total bargain

It costs just £4.99, which is an amazing price for such a great lipstick. The Sleek range is sold in Superdrug stores, so it’s very easy to get hold of too.

Lip colour that does not budge

I cannot recommend Sleek Matte Me enough, and although I could go my whole life only using these vibrant red and classy nude shades, I’d certainly consider expanding my collection to try some of the others in the range.

Lush Spa – The Comforter?

It’s been on my bucket list for a while, and last month I finally got around to visiting a Lush Spa! I’m a big fan of Lush and their products, so I knew I’d love any of their spa treatments, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. My nearest Lush spa is actually in Liverpool (although here’s hoping that Manchester eventually gets one), and me and my sister booked ourselves in for The Comforter?

Lush spa - Liverpool

All Lush spas are themed to give the impression of a rustic English country kitchen to give off a homely vibe, and we certainly received a very friendly Lush welcome. We had a ten minute consultation before the treatments and were talked through the products that would be used – both of which are unique to the spa and cannot be bought from the store. The Comforter? is a full body exfoliation treatment and first uses a luxurious hot chocolate scrub which is melted into a teacup, and after the warm cacao scrub has been applied and removed it is followed by a delicious rose serum which is massaged into the skin. For the duration of the treatment we were kept cosy and warm under heated duvets, and only the portion of the body being worked on at the time is uncovered.

The Comforter Hot Chocolate scrub

The concept of this particular treatment is to remind you to take life less seriously and there are some cute surprises (I won’t reveal them) which add to the quirky nature of the spa. As with all of the Lush treatments a special soundtrack has been created to add that special touch to the experience, and for this one there is a chocolatey, playful and nostalgic vibe with plenty of recognisable tunes. Here you can hear a sample of the music that set the tone as we entered the room, which was glowing pink with twinkling starlight.

Lush spa - The Comforter?

I found this Lush treatment to be a luxurious, fun and magical experience, and one that I won’t forget easily. On top of that my skin felt (and smelled) amazing afterwards because of the gorgeous products that had been used. At £85 it is quite expensive for an hour-long treatment, but well worth it if you want something that is unique and a bit more special than your average massage.

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Time for a Facetox

There is no better time for a skin detox than now, just ahead of the Christmas party season when we all want to look our finest. And that’s one of the reasons I am giving Facetox a go – an organic, cruelty-free, paraben free, mix-it-yourself facemask kit that’s becoming a bit of a beauty craze. “7 day” kits can be ordered from their website and will arrive looking like this (I say “7 day” because each of the portions is very generous and I think would serve 3 or 4 uses rather than just the 1).

Facetox Aztec Healing Clay mask

Facetox Aztec Clay mask kit

The kit contains individual sachets of the “FaceTox blend” of Calcium Bentonite and Rhassoul clay powders (a dry mix), and sachets of organic rosewater, and you simply mix the two together to create your mask.

So here is what FaceTox say about their facemask:

“FaceTox is probably the most powerful face mask you will ever use. When the organic rose water is mixed with the FaceTox blend, it creates a negative charge which will;

  • Prevent and draw out blackheads
  • Reduce the appearance of scars
  • Even skin tone
  • Draw out external toxins
  • Heal and regenerate skin tissue
  • Unclog & shrink pores”

This is compelling stuff, and whether you have an issue with breakouts, or simply want your skin to look radiant, there are plenty of reasons to give these masks a try, even if just to see if they really do all that is promised.

I’ve been using FaceTox masks just once a week (which they recommend as a starting point) and as I’m not currently in the middle of a skin crisis, once a week is perfectly fine. And it’s an easy process of mixing 2 sachets together into a smooth paste using the bowl and spoon provided, and then applying evenly to clean skin, avoiding the eye and mouth area. It does take a little bit of prep compared to a ready-made face mask, and it is a bit messier too, but potentially worth the effort.

Facetox Aztec Clay mask

The only really time consuming bit is waiting while your mask does its good work – it slowly dries over 30 minutes, and they recommend you leave it on for 20-30 minutes. During this time you will feel it tightening on the skin as it pulls out your impurities, and deep cleans your skin. One thing to mention is that personally I find the smell of this mask a little bit off-putting (I put this down to the organic ingredients), but that’s something I can deal with to avoid nasty parabens.

Finally, I remove the mask using warm water and a muslin cloth. I like to take my time over this part, usually in the bath, because remember the mask has dried over 30 minutes and it takes a bit of effort to remove. I like to be really gentle and just moisten the mask with a warm damp cloth until it’s easy to wipe off, and I have found this to be the best way.

Facetox Aztec Healing Clay mask

So, does it do all it promises? Well it’s hard to say if you don’t have all the listed skin issues, but I can definitely tell the difference after deep cleansing with FaceTox. It has already stopped a potential breakout in its tracks, and my skin always looks much fresher and more radiant after using it. I have sensitive skin and these masks aren’t irritating it, but they are pretty intensive so I prefer to stick to a once-a-week regime for now. And I’m hoping my skin will stay Christmas party ready for the rest of the year!

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Sublime Repair hair care from Show Beauty

Show Beauty is Tamara Ecclestone’s glamorous and luxurious hair care range, which launched in 2013 with a range of styling products. Just recently they also launched a full range of wet hair care products, including Moisture and Volume ranges of shampoos and conditioners, and I have been using the “Sublime Repair” range. This range focuses on strengthening and repairing damaged hair, with ingredients such as Quinoa Protein (full of amino acids to rebuild damaged hair), plus luxurious white truffle and caviar.

As you can see they have gone to town on packaging. The aim was to have something that looked glamorous and beautiful on your bathroom shelf, and I’d say they achieved that!

Show Beauty Repair wet haircare collection

Sublime Repair Shampoo

I have been using the repair shampoo as my regular shampoo for a few weeks. It contains Quinoa Protein to repair damaged hair, as well as shea butter and vitamin B5 to nourish the hair.

I find that this shampoo is quite difficult to lather (because it is sulphate free), so it can be quite tempting to pile it on. However, given the expensive price tag of the product I would not recommend this! In fact, you don’t need to use much of this product to wash your hair. I have been trying to take my time washing my hair with it too, because of the repairing qualities of the ingredients.

I’d like to say that this shampoo has a noticeable effect on my hair, but I’m not completely sure of that. Overall I’d say that it’s the conditioner that has the greater effect, but it’s nice to use both products together.

Show Beauty Repair shampoo

Sublime Repair Conditioner

I’ve been using the repair conditioner as my regular daily conditioner, and have been leaving it on my hair for just a couple of minutes after shampooing.

Apparently this conditioner has “a multi-faceted protein-based complex which
builds strength from within, reinforcing hair to provide protection from
cuticle abrasion”, and I can actually feel the effect of the conditioner immediately and while my hair is still wet – it feels stronger and fuller as soon as I rinse off the conditioner.

And after using both products together my hair looks and feels shiny and strong. They do have an interesting scent – it sort of reminds me of fake tan – but I find it quite pleasant.

Show Beauty Repair conditioner

Sublime Repair Treatment Mask

This intensive hair mask treatment is definitely an indulgent treat! I am only using it once a week, and the key is to leave it in for 10 whole minutes to allow your hair to benefit.

It contains the same strenthening protein complex as the conditioner, plus hydrolysed pea protein and Quinoa Protein to hydrate and improve elasticity. Finally it contains extracts of caviar and white truffle to enrich and moisturise hair. This is really a treat for the hair, which feels amazingly soft and glossy after using it.

Show Beauty Repair treatment mask

So, the main downside of this collection is that it is quite pricey (around £35 a product), but it’s supposed to be a luxury product range so this is to be expected. The products are lovely to use and I am always will to pay a decent price for an amazing treament mask (plus this jar will last me ages!) In fact, I think these are the sort of products that would be nice as luxury beauty gifts for Christmas.

The range can only be bought from a few stores, including Harvey Nichols, and when the wet hair care range launched I went along to the Show Beauty blow dry bar in Harvey Nichols Manchester. Without washing my hair they gave me this bouncy, curly blow dry using their styling range, and I’d highly recommend popping along for one of their express blow dries if you want salon-standard hair for a night out (or just for a treat). It costs £20, but the money can be redeemed against Show Beauty products afterwards – so it’s basically free if you were planning to buy something from the range!

Show Beauty blow dry bar

Show Beauty blow dry bar Harvey Nichols

Show Beauty products and their ingredients are not tested on animals, and are not sold in mainland China. 

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The Body Shop Superfood face masks

Last month The Body Shop launched their brand new Superfood Face Mask range, with 5 luxurious-sounding (100% vegetarian) face masks made from key beauty superfood ingredients. Not only are they made from these amazing ingredients from around the world, they are also free from parabens, paraffins, silicone and mineral oils, so they’re a real skincare treat.

Body Shop superfood face masks

Body Shop superfood face masks

The masks are designed to fulfill 5 different skincare goals, so let’s take a look at the range:

After having my own personal skincare consultation the Body Shop experts explained the different jobs that each mask does, and how they are keen to promote the idea of “multi masking” if different areas of your face need different things. I had my own #DareToMask multi-masking experience in store, with the tingling Himalayan Charcoal mask taking care of my oilier T-zone, and the deliciously moisturising Ethiopian Honey mask taking care of my drier areas.



The Body Shop are keen to promote the idea of face masking in general, and the idea that it’s both fun and relaxing to paint on a mask and then get on with doing something else, such as watching TV, making a cup of tea or soaking in the bath. They are even giving away a free colouring book  with each face mask purchase to help relax you mask and relax, which I think is a great idea.

Face masks are extremely popular right now, so it’s unsurprising that this range has has been well-received (the Himalayan Clay mask was first to sell out!)  I’ve bought the delicious British Rose mask to be getting on with, although I fully intend to extend my collection and start multi-masking once Himalayan Clay is back in stock.

Body Shop British Rose face mask

Body Shop free colouring book

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Ready, pedi, go!

Summer sandals weather is here, and what better way to celebrate the sun than giving your feet a treat to get them looking their finest. Last weekend I booked in for a last minute pedicure at Spa Satori, which is my favourite spa in Manchester city centre. It’s tucked away in a peaceful corner of the Northern Quarter, and always feels luxuriously tranquil in there. I have been a few times for massages and for a pre-holiday shellac manicure but this was my first experience of a pedicure there, and I decided to give my feet a real summer treat with their Aroma Spa Pedicure.

Spa Satori Aroma Pedicure

The Aroma Spa Pedicure was a more indulgent treatment than the salon’s basic preen and polish pedicure, and started off with a relaxing rose petal foot soak before my feet were preened and my nails filed and prepped. The next stage was the most enjoyable – the pampering aromatherapy foot massage (I can’t get enough of foot massages, I think they might be my favourite thing), and of course the pedicure was finished off with a pretty nail polish. As a treatment it was so relaxing, and it was definitely worth upgrading to the aroma pedicure for that indulgent foot massage!

Pedicure Manchester

As I mentioned my booking was made at the last minute when the sun decided to show its face unexpectedly, and I used the Treatwell app to do it. If you aren’t aware, Treatwell is the new name for Wahanda, and if you aren’t aware of Wahanda or Treatwell then you should definitely check it out! Treatwell is an amazing online beauty booking service with 8000 spas and salons on their books and access to all their up-to-date booking details. This means you can find loads of last minute appointments in your area at any time, and even get them at reduced prices if they are off-peak or very last minute. You can also read reviews from other customers who have visited the salons to help you find the best one in your area. I use the Treatwell app on my phone whenever I fancy a last minute treat! And as a result I am now ready to ditch my boots and show off my feet in sandals.

Spa treatment c/o Treatwell

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