Affordable Beauty Haul | E.L.F xx Jen Atkin

Sunday 2 May 2021

Affordable drugstore beauty haul boots superdrug e.l.f jen atkin aussie kiss salon lashes

There’s a lot to be said for affordable beauty these days. 

Things have come a long way since the days of a couple of sad Rimmel powders and lipstick options, and brands such as Revolution, E.L.F, The Ordinary and Sleek have done so much to make high-quality, trend led makeup and skincare for friendly prices a really exciting space right now. 

Suddenly, it’s not just luxury brands that are generating all the buzz for their new launches, and that’s absolutely brilliant to see. 

As much as I love the particular thrill of a high-end lipstick or face cream, bagging a bargain is it's own kind of special. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding what is most effective, whatever the price point. I recently had a bit of a pharmacy spree, and these are the great new products that made it into my basket.

Hugo Boss The Scent For Her Private Accord

Hugo Boss The Scent For Her Private Accord review

Hugo Boss The Scent For Her Private Accord review

Starting off with a truly beautiful scent that I’ve fallen in love with. You know when you spray something and it just smells like ‘happy’? Well, this does that for me. It’s my best life - bottled. 

I’m very fussy with perfumes, and there’s only three I wear on a regular basis - either Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, which I’ve literally worn since the age of 16 and also chose for my wedding day, YSL Black Opium which is generally my pick for evening, and lately, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc. 

I tend to like orientals - anything light, feminine and a little sweet without being too fruity, cloying or smelling of raspberry bubblegum, like so many scents seem to do these days. 

A while ago, in an airport (remember when that was a thing we could do?) I sprayed Hugo Boss The Scent For Her, purely because the bold bottle design caught my eye and I fell in love. It’s a great everyday scent. 

I ran out recently, and decided to replace that first bottle with the Private Accord, which is the more intense version of the original. 

It’s a scent that I find luminous and sensual -  just enough and never too much.  Pink pepper, mandarin, orange blossom, coffee notes, osmanthus, freesia and a heart of cocoa. It’s not super shouty, so I find it perfect for wearing to work or out to coffee with friends. 

Funnily enough, Fragrantica ranks it closely to the other two perfumes I love from Chanel and YSL, so perhaps I really do have a ‘type’ when it comes to fragrance! 

Of course, we’re talking about the most subjective thing here, but to me this smells sophisticated, clean and gently sensual without being too in your face.  Definitely my top daily pick at the moment.

Aussie Kiss of Life SOS Shampoo

Aussie Kiss of Life SOS Shampoo review

Unlike perfumes, when it comes to shampoo I’m always happy to try something new. A hairdresser told me years ago that your hair gets used to formulas over time and they stop being as effective - since then I’ve rotated what I use each time I finish a bottle. 

I haven’t used Aussie hair products for years, but as this was on offer when I popped into Boots and the line has had a bit of a makeover, I thought I’d give it a try. 

Fully loaded with Australian superfruits, this formula promises to bring dry, damaged hair back to life. After a year of not being able to get haircuts and doing my own balayage, that sounds exactly what I need. 

Manuka leaf, wild peach, macadamia nut oil and avocado make a nourishing formula. This smells really pleasant and fruity, and it lathers up nicely. 

I’ve been using shampoo bars lately and I want to love them, but it feels like I have to use half the bar to get them to foam properly. Now, I know foam isn’t essential for cleaning hair, but psychologically I like it. 

Aussie are now trialling large refillable bottles that are kinder to the planet and produce less plastic waste, so I might invest in the refill pouches after this. My hair definitely came out soft, smooth and shiny. Normally the morning after washing I will use my GHDs - not necessary to get my hair straight but just because it can be really fluffy and frizzy. 

I was impressed that using this (along with my bargain favourite Pantene 3 Minute Miracle conditioner) meant that I could skip the straighteners and embrace my natural soft waves because my hair looked nourished. Impressed!

Schwarzkopf Keratin Heat Protection Spray

Schwarzkopf Keratin Heat Protection Spray Hairspray review

Recently, with salons shut, I’ve really been focusing on getting my hair into better condition, especially as it's fairly long and colour treated. 

To my eternal shame, I realised I’d been committing a big hair sin - not using a heat protectant every time I used to heat to style. 

I’ve actually been using my straighteners a lot less during lockdown, but all the oils and deep conditioners I've been diligently applying won't count for a lot if I don't use a protective spray when I do reach for them. 

This promises not only resistance up to 230 °C, but there's also humidity resistance and frizz control, while the keratin strengthens strands by forming a protective barrier around the cuticle.

It's really helped my hair to stay soft, and is such a bargain. 

Schwarzkopf Keratin Hair Spray

From the same range, I also picked up this strong hold hairspray. Again, the formula is infused with hair strengthening keratin to protect and smooth.  

It promises 48 hours of strong hold and protection from humidity and UV radiation, while also being non-sticky. I'd say this spray gives a great balance between hold and still letting the hair move and not look like it's been dipped in PVA glue. 

It's been working really well as a finishing touch to keep my hair looking sleek and smooth after styling and just give a bit more of a polished look. 

Essie Expressie Quick Dry Nail Polish

Essie Expressie Quick Dry Nail Polish review

There's nothing I hate more than waiting for nail polish to dry. I'm hugely impatient and have a terrible habit of painting my nails in bed (possibly because it's one of the only places I'm stationary for long!) which has resulted in some colourful accidents in the past! 

But nail polish is also one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your look a new season update, and nothing says summer more than a bright mani or pedi. So I couldn't resist picking up a couple of shades to try from this new line.  

The moody blue-grey 'Air Dry' looked sophisticated and would work really well against white and beige outfits. 'Crave The Chaos' is a bright pink that just makes me think of holidays and sipping cocktails in the sun. 

They promise a glossy, chip free finish in minutes which sounds great to me! 

Kiss Lash Couture Naked Drama Lashes - Veil

Kiss Lash Couture Naked Drama Lashes - Veil review

Kiss Lash Couture Naked Drama Lashes - Veil review

Kiss Lash Couture Naked Drama Lashes - Veil review

It's no secret that I absolutely adore lashes, and even though 'Naked Drama' sounds a little like a dodgy soap storyline, I do like the way it hints at that elusive balance between a natural look and the kind of amped up flutter that I crave. 

I recently invested in the Lashify system, and although I love it the high costs of getting the lashes shipped over from the US (there is now a UK stockist too, but annoyingly they don't carry the full range, including my favourites) mean I'm always looking for purse friendly Lashify alternatives. 

Lately I've just been using their bond and cutting regular false lashes into clusters to attach to my own. 

This style is a faux mink, meaning it has all the light, fluffy volume of mink lashes with none of the cruelty. They also feature split tips, which gives a pretty, natural 3D finish.  

As hinted at by the name, 'Veil' is a style that would work for your wedding day. I'm drawn to anything marketed to brides, as that ideal wedding day look - a sort of elevated natural, you but on your very best form. 

Well, that's how I'd like to look every day! 

Kiss Salon Nude Nail Kit - Breathtaking

Kiss Salon Nude Nail Kit - Breathtaking review

Kiss Salon Nude Nail Kit - Breathtaking review

Since salons have been forced to close for large parts of the last year and a half, we've all had to get a lot better at DIY beauty treatments - and the options and quality of at-home products seem to have improved alongside demand. 

As a full time working mum, I'm always looking for beauty hacks that save time, pandemic or no. And one thing I will be continuing to fill my basket with, even as the world gets slowly back to normal, are these nail kits. 

I've been a devotee of nail salons for years. I have a terrible habit of biting my natural nails, and they are weak and snap easily as a result. 

But I also know that having neat, pretty nails is one of those little essentials that makes me feel so much more polished. I became hooked on acrylics and gels, spending lots of time and money in the process. 

This began to change after I found myself with two young kids. I didn't want to miss out on time with them at the weekend, so for the first time in years I let my nails go. 

This kit is a game changer. I remember using home nail kits as a teen and they were awful. It was almost guaranteed that one or two would have pinged off half an hour after applying them, and making it to the end of the night with a full set in place was impossible. 

I knew things had moved on a bit since then, but this kit has blown me away. Not only do the nails look really natural, but they last for around two weeks! 

The thin and seamless fit is even better than some salon acrylic jobs I've had. The subtle fade from nude to whiter tips gives a lovely natural look, or painting them is also easy.  

They're so durable and although at £7.99 they aren't the cheapest kit out there, they're definitely worth every penny because they are a real alternative to salon visits. 

I'll be stocking up on these as my go-to solution. 

E.L.F xx Jen Atkin Let’s Elfing Do This Palette - Light/Medium

E.L.F xx Jen Atkin Let’s Elfing Do This Palette - Light/Medium review

E.L.F xx Jen Atkin Let’s Elfing Do This Palette - Light/Medium review

E.L.F are a favourite budget beauty brand, but not one I've shopped loads in the past. However, this gorgeous palette really caught my eye. 

The selection of shades makes it perfect to me - all the essentials. If we're ever allowed to travel again, this would be the ideal take along. 

Jen Atkin is a hairstylist and founder of the upmarket brand Ouai, best known for creating those beachy, s-bend waves that ever celebrity and influencer has. 

Clearly that philosophy of simple, effortless, cool girl style has translated into her first venture into makeup. 

This palette has four highly wearable eye shades, a blush, a bronzer and a highlight powder, all housed in a pleasingly chunky clear acrylic case.  

The shades are perfect - the blush especially reminds me of Nars Orgasm, and the eyeshadows are perfect for creating everything from a low key day look to an evening smokey eye. Pure love. 

E.L.F xx Jen Atkin Clear Hair and Brow Pomade

E.L.F xx Jen Atkin Clear Hair and Brow Pomade

I also shopped this clear brow pomade, which can be used to lockdown arches or tackle flyaways in your hair - well, I do like a good multitasker. 

A grippy little micro-brush makes this really easy to use.  The older I get, the more I realise that the devil really is in the detail, and that touching up those baby hairs or taming those brows really can make you look much more polished. 

That means this is the perfect product to throw in your bag and use for grooming on the go. 

E.L.F Poreless Putty Primer

E.L.F Poreless Putty Primer review

This hero product generated serious buzz online when it first launched. It's one of the few E.L.F products I've tried, although I bought the Illuminating version, rather than this O. G. 

A smooth, velvety balm, this glides on to grip make-up in place, blur out skin imperfections and give a flawless look. The formula is infused with Squalane, which adds protection against moisture loss. 

I find this a really great alternative to my beloved (but expensive) Trinny London Miracle Blur, and it's a great way to get that filtered look in real life. 

E.L.F. Lock On Liner and Brow Cream  - Espresso

E.L.F. Lock On Liner and Brow Cream  - Espresso review

I do love a product that works hard and has multiple uses. This little pot claims to work both as a brow pomade and a cream eyeliner - or even an eyeshadow. 

One of my secrets to getting glam in ten minutes or less in the morning is to go for products that multi-task, so I had to give this a try. It promises smudge proof, waterproof colour that lasts all day. Some reviews have even said it stays on in the shower! 

My only reservation is the colour. There are three shades available - Light Brown, Medium Brown and Espresso. I went for Espresso, the darkest, and it's definitely too heavy a shade for my brows. 

My actual brow hairs are quite dark, but I find that matching that colour can make me look a bit witchy! 

It's better to go slightly lighter - so I've misjudged the shade here. I'll still use it as a eyeliner but I'm a little annoyed it won't do what I intended it for. 

E.L.F Highlighting and Blending Sponge

E.L.F Highlighting and Blending Sponge review

Finally, I got a free gift from E.L.F, and it was this makeup sponge.

I use a sponge most days just for convenience, and I always prefer those that have a slanted edge like this, as they just seem to work better for detailed work. 

The unique thing about this one is that one edge is flocked. This makes it great for diffusing and blending as it gives a really soft finish. It works especially well with powders, but you can also use creams or liquids with it. 

A useful little tool that's given me nice results. 


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