Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Skin Wisdom cheap treats

Skin Wisdom Day Spa Gingerlily & Orange Wash 'n' Scrub (R.R.P £1.49) and Hand and Body Lotion (R.R.P £3.49)

Since starting my Master's degree, I have become more destitute than ever. I am now officially that annoying thrifty friend who orders the cheapest thing on the menu and then refuses to split the bill equally. This has also meant that my spending on beauty products has gone down significantly but, for the most part, I think I'm still managing to look like I have a home.

Part of the reason for this is discovering Skin Wisdom Day Spa body care products. Skin Wisdom is actually a range by TESCO so, as you can imagine, it's not all amazing. I tried their face scrub once and found it way too abrasive, but their Day Spa wash 'n' scrub and hand and body lotion actually tick all the right boxes.

Being a wash as well as a scrub as the name implies, the scrub exfoliates your body gently which means you could use it every day if you're that way inclined. I personally use it once or twice a week as I've never been one for exfoliating with every shower. I'm definitely of the opinion that less is more - it's good to let your skin breathe for a few days.

The lotion is even more amazing, considering the price, as it genuinely lives up to its name as a spa product. If I went to a spa and someone had sneekily swapped a £50 Elemis bottle of hand lotion for this one, I genuinely don't think I'd notice. It just smells so amazing and has a lovely creamy texture which rubs in really easily.

Have you discovered any good value skincare recently or had any experience of anything else in the Skin Wisdom range? Do drop me a line if so!

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

MAC Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack

Written by Niamh x

MAC crushed metallic pigment in summer stash (R.R.P. £18)

Now I know that living in England it doesn’t come as any surprise that this bleak British summer is seemingly never-ending. If you’re anything like me, you will have hit the shops in about April and bought a mound of bright and colourful dresses which are still hanging in the wardrobe avec tags. 

It’s time to take things in to your own hands, and inject a little bit of sunshine into your make up. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest some neon ‘Club Tropicana’ inspired look, but a little bit of shimmer on these grey nights just adds a sense of holiday that we all could do with.

I’m an absolute lover of a bargain, (who isn’t?), and in our local designer outlet, my sister and I came across a store which sold discounted, last season products, which rather surprisingly had some hidden gems inside. 

One of our fave purchases was a MAC pigment set, which comprises of four different coloured pigments, ranging from a neutral nude tone to a darker chocolate hue. It’s absolutely fab for adding a little bit of sparkle to a brown smokey eye or giving a natural look a bit of pizazz, especially if you’re heading to an ill-advised barbeque or garden party. 

Furthermore, the two neutral tones can also be used as highlighter, and when used on the cheek bones with a bronzer, give a lovely ‘holiday skin’ glow. Although the MAC pigments were a little bit pricey, it’s a great multi-use product which can easily take you through to the next season, with the browns and slightly purple pigments transferring perfectly to autumnal colours.

Want more? Follow Jo on twitter @jobancroft or like the blog facebook page

Introducing my brand new contributor - Niamh!

My gorgeous friend Niamh is gonna be helping me out for the next few weeks to make sure we can keep you updated on our latest beauty must haves! So without further ado, here's a quick hello from her...

Hi everyone, I’m going to be making a regular appearance on Your Average Jo to make sure you get your beauty fix!

Jo and I have lived together for three years, and in that time we’ve tried every fad, watched every online tutorial and experimented with the dodgiest of products to make sure we can spot a real gem when we see one. Whether its full drag-queen glamour, or everyday war paint, our favourite part of the day is getting ready; basically we’re two peas in a pod!

I look forward to sharing my tips with you over the next few weeks, and feel free to get back to us with your experiences, tips and favourite products.

Ciao for now!

Jo and I with identical hand-on-hip pose

Want more? Follow Jo on twitter @jobancroft or like the blog facebook page

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Lily-Flame Vanilla & Honey Scented Candle

Lily-Flame Vanilla and Honey scented candle (R.R.P. £8.50)

In the middle of the exam period, when I wallowing in self pity, I decided to invest in a new scented candle. I thought I deserved a little treat, and trawling the internet for candles was just the sort of procrastination that I was looking for.

During my search, I stumbled across the Lily-Flame website and was amazed at the huge range of scents which were on offer. I settled for this Vanilla & Honey tin and was ashamedly excited for its arrival in the post.

When it arrived, I obviously put all work aside and rushed to light it. Even before I'd lit the match, the sweet smell of the candle was really strong. When it was lit, my room was absolute bliss for about 15 minutes. After said 15 minutes, I began to get a bit of a headache. In reality, the candle does exactly what it says on the tin and is almost too much to bear. In my opinion, this is not a candle to be used all evening to create atmospheric candlelight. Instead, it is more like a flaming air freshener which shouldn't be left on for too long.

On the plus side, it claims to last for 30 to 35 hours so if you are using it in 15 minute bursts it could last you months and even years, making it excellent value for money! 

Have you tried any other Lily-Flame scents or can you recommend any other scented candle brands? Comment below!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or like my facebook page

Monday, 16 July 2012

D.I.Y HD Brows

HD brows is one of the fastest growing beauty trends that everyone is talking about. However, as much as I wanted the treatment done myself, I didn't fancy forking out between £25 - £35 on something that I could probably do at home. So, about a month ago I nipped down to Boots and picked myself up a brand new eyebrow pencil in the hope that I could beat the beauticians. Having practised my technique a fair few times now, this is my D.I.Y answer to the HD brow...

The first stage in the process is to pluck your eyebrows as normal, or leave them a little thicker if you want a bolder, more defined effect. Before plucking, I brush my eyebrows with a clean mascara brush. This ensures that all the hairs are brushed in the right direction before you begin to attack them. Trust me, this makes a huge difference when it comes to the accuracy of the finished result. I then pluck using tweezers by a brand called Two's Company that I have already blogged about here. If you happen to have any redness beneath your eyebrows after plucking, soothe with a cool, damp cotton pad and apply foundation to the affected area to hide imperfections.

The next stage is to pencil your eyebrows in. The eyebrow pencil I have been using is MaxFactor eyebrow pencil in ebony and I would thoroughly recommend it as it blends really nicely to give a natural finish, and lasts all day. As you can see from the picture below, it comes with a little brush on the lid but this isn't particularly helpful. The mascara brush works a lot better.

MaxFactor Eyebrow Pencil in 1 Ebony (R.R.P £4.99)

To begin, fill in any accidents that may have occurred during the tweezing process. Then, fill in the rest of the eyebrows to achieve the desired effect. I tend to concentrate more on the edges of the eyebrows to give extra definition. My eyebrows are naturally different shapes so this is also a great opportunity to even them out a little. Make sure that, when pencilling, you take a step back from the mirror after a few strokes to ensure that the eyebrows are equally shaped. Also keep a cotton wool pad to hand to help you blend the pencil in. This is especially essential when the pencil is at its sharpest because it will create harsher, darker lines.

If you want to keep your eyebrows looking polished for longer, you can always apply a little hairspray to your finger and run it over your brows to hold the hairs in place and seal in colour.

Do you have any techniques for creating the perfect eyebrows? If so, please do comment below!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or like my facebook page

Thursday, 12 July 2012

How to get voluminous hair like Kim Kardashian (well, almost...)

Picture courtesy of haircutshairstyles.com/ Getty images

Before I begin, I feel like I should justify my absence from the blogging community. Basically, the last few months has been absolutely hectic for me! What with revising for and sitting my final exams, taking a girly city break to Copenhagen, doing a mini tour of the U.S.A and graduating, I have had little spare time to sit down at my computer. From now on though, after all the excitement of the last few months, I'm looking forward to getting some routine back in my life and returning to the blogging scene!

One advantage of this long break is that I have tried and tested a fair few products in the time I've been away that I'm looking forward to sharing with my lovely followers. Let's start with TIGI Bed Head Totally Baked Volumizing & Prepping Hair Meringue. 

TIGI Bed Head Totally Baked Volumizing & Prepping Hair Meringue (R.R.P. £12.50)

I am always on the lookout for new ways to plump up my hair à la Kim Kardashian and when my hairdresser introduced me to this product during a pre-graduation trim, I bought it there and then. She suggested using one to two pumps of mousse to be massaged into the roots of wet hair before blow drying. Being the amateur that I am, my blow drying skills are not to be desired but this worked just as well when I used it at home myself. I simply applied the mousse and rough dried my hair, putting in large rollers when my hair was half-dry before continuing to dry. 

What's more, if you dry it in, it leaves no greasy residue unlike some cheaper volumizing mousses that I've tried previously. It also smells like Lemon Meringue Pie which is awesome, but perhaps not so great if you plan to go somewhere where there are likely to be swarms of bees and/ or wasps. 

So there you have it, my new volumising mousse of choice. And below, a cheesy picture of me at my graduation sporting said mousse. Enjoy!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft

Sunday, 4 March 2012

StyleSays - If you've not got an account, get one!

I recently received a message to my Independent Fashion Bloggers account, asking me if I wanted to become a featured stylist for the website StyleSays. I'd never heard of it before so decided to check it out, and it's such a great concept! I guess you could say it's like the Pinterest of the fashion world - you create and share fashion collections, and can 'like' other people's posts. The best thing about it, however, is StyleSays will notify you if an item you have posted goes on sale. I am a massive fan of Ted Baker, but often find it too expensive for my meagre purse so, as you can see from the print screen below, I have posted a few items from there in the hope that I can snatch them up as soon as they go on sale.

So, go ahead and get yourself an account! And check mine out at http://www.stylesays.com/#!/youraveragejo
As you can see, my page is looking a little sparse but I will be adding new items regularly and hopefully doing some outfit collections as a featured stylist very soon!

Do you know of any other similar websites for sharing fashion and/ or keeping an eye on the sales? Drop me a comment!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The MAC eye make-up remover that I cannot live without

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover 100ml (R.R.P £13.50)

Before I begin, I must apologise for not blogging for a good while. I'm in my final year at university and have taken on more modules this semester than the previous one. This may seem silly (strong word), but I really wanted to take courses that I enjoy. Although it's pretty hectic, so far I am getting good marks but often at the expense of things like sleep and, more importantly, blogging.

That aside, I thought I would share with you my love of MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover. The MAC Cosmetics website had an offer of free delivery a few days ago so I invested in a new bottle to replace the dregs which I was rationing from my previous one. It may be £13.50 for 100ml but it is 100% worth it. My first bottle was a Christmas present from my boyfriend as I've had a lot of trouble with eye cleansers due to my rather annoying, temperamental eyes. I have had a couple of bouts of conjunctivitis in recent years (sexy, I know), and I find that oily eye make-up removers clog up the pores around my eyes (again, sexy...).

I asked for this one after doing a spot of research. Many beauty bloggers were impressed by its non-oily consistency and how thoroughly it removes tough eye make-up, and I cannot agree more. It feels just like water and soothes the eye area as it cleanses. Plus, I haven't had any eye-related health problems since I started using it!

Although you all know I am a fan of a bargain, splashing out on a good eye make-up remover is definitely worth it, especially when you have sensitive eyes.

Have you used any MAC cleansers or any other cleansers which are kind to sensitive skin or eyes? Please drop me a comment!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

New purse from Matt and Nat

I had been searching for a new purse to replace my £3 Primark one for a long time. I'd never meant to keep my Primark one for so long; it was bought as a temporary replacement when the clasp on my previous leather purse broke, and then I got lazy and penniless and it nestled into my handbag for a good 5 months.

Last week, however, I decided to ditch the vile thing once and for all and replaced it with this purse by Matt at Matt and Nat:
 Matt by Matt and Nat Jules Wallet (R.R.P £50)

As you can probably guess from the presentation box, Matt and Nat portrays itself as a luxury brand but with a difference - their aim is to create vegan products, "developing beautiful (we hope) products for people who appreciate a smart, unpretentious, socially conscious brand characterized by minimalist design and utility". One of the ways in which they achieve this goal is by making all of their purses and bags out of 100% recycled plastic bottles, which is good news for both cows and the environment. Although I am partial to a leather product, I am very pleased with the quality and feel of the purse, but I have to admit that, even after a week of use, it still smells a little of synthetic materials. Otherwise though, I am extremely happy with the product and would recommend Matt and Nat to any environmentally-conscious fashionista looking for a new purse or bag.

Are you aware of any other brands who pride themselves on their efforts to protect animals or the environment? I would love to hear from you.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Two's Company Tweezers

As you may have heard me discuss before, I am a quarter Asian (Indian Malay to be exact). This comes with its advantages (year-round tan) and its disadvantages (high-maintenance eyebrows). Since my early teens I have been battling to control the beasts and I know this is a universal problem for a lot of women as keeping them in tip-top shape can be a time-consuming and not particularly pleasant experience.

Until Christmas, I always used slanted tweezers that I bought from my local pharmacy. They were nothing special, and I have wanted a pair of Tweezermans for a long time, but I could never commit myself to paying over £20 for a pair of tweezers, no matter how good they are.

Luckily for me, one of my mum's oldest friends who buys me a Christmas present every year got me these tweezers by Two's Company:

I had never heard of Two's Company before and I imagine they will be unfamiliar to most people. However, they are absolutely amazing. They grip really tightly, pulling each hair out from the root to avoid that annoying dot of hair that remains after using poor quality tweezers. They also come in a variety of different doll patterns, which is not useful in any way but adds some novelty value if you are that way inclined. 

I tried to find an official website or Twitter page belonging to Two's Company but they don't seem to own either. They should probably address this asap. However, here is a website where you can buy a pair of your own for only £3.99. Step aside Tweezerman.

For some reason my eyebrows look rather evil here, I hope this is not really the case.

Friday, 20 January 2012

How to get shiny hair like Kelly Rowland (well, almost)

Picture courtesy of zimbo.com
While watching last year's UK X-Factor, I was as captivated by the sheer glossiness of Kelly Rowland's hair as the performances of the rather average contestants. Every week her hair glowed and I decided to make more of an effort to get my hair into tip top shape. My hair is naturally quite smooth anyway, but still benefits from being smothered in various hair products. Kelly's hairdresser probably has a whole truck full of them.

Obviously, without a mega-pricey stylist and an extremely flattering light, us common people will never quite achieve Kelly's flawless locks. But here are the products which I think give us all a good shot at achieving A-list hair. You will notice that I am a massive fan of Aussie hair products; if you're not already a dedicated Aussie user, become one! 

As I have long hair, I use Aussie Luscious Long Shampoo and Conditioner. It's common knowledge that long hair is prone to split ends and can be very high maintenance. It's therefore essential to arm yourself with a shampoo and conditioner you can trust. For me, Luscious Long is just the ticket.

Aussie Luscious Long Shampoo (Retails for around £3.99) and Conditioner (Retails for around £3.68)
Before blow-drying your hair, apply a small blob of Take the Heat cream to the palm of your hands and run through hair, concentrating on the ends to avoid greasiness at the roots. Comb the product through before drying. This product will protect your hair against heat-damage and make it super soft.

Aussie Take the Heat Cream (Retails for around £4.99)
If you still feel your hair is lacking a certain softness, treat it to 3 Minute Miracle with your next wash. It's like a face mask, but for your hair.
Aussie Luscious Long 3 Minute Miracle (Retails for around £4.99)
Comb your hair. A lot. I never really have time for this but when done, it makes all the difference. Just spend a good 5 - 10 minutes combing through your hair. It could be completely knot-free when you start, but just combing it will stimulate some of the oils in your scalp and drag them down the length of your hair. Lovely natural oils.

Et voila! Super sleek hair! Oh, and to perfect the glossiness à la Kelly, use Soap and Glory's Easy Glistening on bare legs before an evening out. It's best to wait a couple of hours after shaving your legs before applying it though. Trust me, I found out the hard way.
Soap and Glory Easy Glistening Dry Oil Body Gloss (Retails for around £5.11)

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Ebay, you absolute beaut!

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! Hope you've had a fantastic holiday! I had an absolutely amazing Christmas and New Year but today's hangover has sent me back down to earth with a bump - it really is time to do some uni work!

But before I bury myself in a mountain of books, I just thought I'd share a little tip with you for snapping up bargains during the January sales. I had been coveting this dress by Lipsy for ages but at £60 I decided to wait until the sales in the hope that it would be a little more affordable. However, by the time Boxing Day came, it had completely sold out in my size both online and instore. Not holding out much hope, I thought it would be worth typing the product name into Ebay and luckily for me, I found it available for £35 from a top-rated seller called michandjez who are definitely worth checking out for bargain women's fashion.
Lipsy Ruched Front Mesh Panel Dress (R.R.P £55)
Picture courtesy of lipsy.co.uk

Obviously this doesn't work all the time but it's really worth searching on Ebay for fashion and beauty buys that have flown off the rails. Often people are trying to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents at this time of year, or things they bought on a whim at the sales before realising they don't actually like it/ can't afford it. I was absolutely made up with this LBD when it arrived; it was perfect for New Year's Eve celebrations and I have a feeling it may become one of my staple dresses.

Excuse the picture quality, it was taken on a BlackBerry!

Can you recommend any other ebay sellers who are worth checking out or have you found any great deals on Ebay recently? Do let me know!