Thursday, 23 May 2013

Crap High Street Mascaras: Starring Cargo, Rimmel, Bourjois and 17

It seems every month I'll head to the High Street and buy what I hope will be some fantastic mascaras (not this month though, since I am on a beauty spending ban!) 

Unfortunately, it is often the case these new mascaras don't live up to my expectations and so I am forced to take a punt on some alternatives the following Pay Day...the cycle seems endless!

crap high street mascaras
Perhaps the key is to start paying £20+ per wanded-tube but I'd rather not if I can help it!

Anyway, I decided to sort through some of my makeup collection yesterday, and get rid of any products I know I won't use, or have become a tad too old to justify keeping (germs...ewww!) Amongst the bin-booty were the following four mascaras...

Crap High Street Mascaras KatSick
Before I tell what I don't like about each of them, let me just say that each responsible brand offers some really great cosmetics, but I was left really disappointed with these lash-licking offerings.

I'd be interested to know if you have tried any of them - I've read some really positive reviews of each in the past....maybe my naturally long lashes are just very fussy!

Cargo Lash Activator Triple Action mascara

Cargo Lash Activator Triple Action Mascara
9.5ml, £1 (from Savers)
I picked up this Cargo mascara when I spotted it for just a £1 in Savers. I've seen it retail for £15+ in the past and so it seemed a real bargain! Also, I'm a bit of a magpie and so I was instantly attracted to the shiny box.

This really is a terrible mascara, and definitely the worst of the four discussed in this post. 

While I do prefer waterproof mascaras (because my eyes are really sensitive to bright lights and cold weather), they're not as widely available as non-waterproof variants, so I do buy the odd non W/P every now and then. I didn't think it was possible to make a non W/P formula THIS bad though! Most are at least smudge-proof, but Lash Activator leaves you resembling a panda after even the faintest touch.

Additionally, it takes a ridiculously-long time for this mascara to dry and your eyes will sting and water like Hell should you dare blink! The mascara is almost impossible to layer up, and it does not makes lashes look curlier, like the cited "90%" on the box apparently claim.


Rimmel Waterproof Volume Flash X 10 mascara

Rimmel Waterproof Volume Flash X 10 mascara
8ml, £5.99, (from Boots)
This mascara actually got better as it got older - the formula was far too 'watery' during the first week of use! I switched back to this after two weeks or so though, and it had thickened up allowing me to have greater control during application, i.e. I could move stray lashes without moving every other already perfectly-placed lash, and build up layers with ease.

The helpful thickening saw the mascara dry out pretty quickly though. Boo!

I expected more - I usually love Rimmel products.

Bourjois Volume Clubbing mascara (Ultra Black)

Bourjois Volume Clubbing mascara (Ultra Black)
11ml, £7.99 (from Superdrug)
I actually reviewed the waterproof version of this mascara ages ago, and loved it! I took a risk and bought the non-W/P version last month, simply because it was on offer in Superdrug and was £2 cheaper than the W/P.

While the W/P left my lashes looking longer and perfectly fanned out, this one left 'em very clumpy (in fact, I was left looking as if I had just 10 lashes on each eyelid!) The very-black formula turned really thick after just a few uses too (and not to a usable degree like Rimmel's Volume Flash!) The W/P one does not suffer the same fate in my experience.

Still it's staying power is 100 times better than that of the before-mentioned Cargo mascara!

Seventeen (17) Va Va Voom waterproof mascara

Seventeen (17) Va Va Voom waterproof mascara
8ml, £6.29 (from Boots)
I was attracted to this mascara because of its large and bushy brush, and its price - £6.29 -  seemed pretty fair. I assumed it would leave my lashes wide, bold and flirty-looking like the previous reviews I read suggested but no...

Attempting to apply more than one layer (which I always do!) left me with horrendous spider-lashes, and the cumbersome brush means it's far too easy to poke yourself in the eye while using this mascara.

To make matters worse, the formula became thick and stodgy rather quickly (not helped by the residue inadvertently left around the screw-top every time the too-big brush was re-inserted into the tube).


Have you tried any of these mascaras? What do you think of them? Do I just have really fussy eyelashes?

Kat x

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Spending Ban Empties #1: Bodhi face oil, Carmex Lime Twist and Mary Greenwell EDPs

bbloggers spending ban empties KatSick

We're more than a week into May and I have so far managed to adhere to my self-imposed, month-long beauty spending ban (yes, I'm as shocked as you are!)

As promised, here is the first of my spending ban 'empties' posts - what goodies from my stash have I been enjoying while the beauty counters are out of bounds?

Here's my thoughts on just five, but stay tuned - there's more to come soon!

Mary Greenwell PLUM and LEMON EDP review

Mary Greenwell PLUM and LEMON EDP samples
RRP for each 100ml version: £90. 
A classic chypre with a memorable modern twist. Plum begins the story of femininity and joy, a fragrance of uncomplicated chic and sensual warmth. Top notes of English plum, blackcurrant, peach, bergamot and lemon blend with heart notes of gardenia, tuberose absolute, orange flower absolute, rose absolute and jasmine absolute with a base of precious woods, sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli, amber and white musk complete the intoxicating scent.* 

The scent is one of sparkling freshness. The livelier, younger, and wreckless sister of PLUM, LEMON is an intense burst of fabulousness, unique, vivid and born to be cool.*

*Description from

PLUM comprises an appealing (and vast) mix of fruit, floral and musk fragrance-notes - I doubt there'd be a single woman out there who wouldn't like it!

This eau de parfum is warm and fruity, without being sickly sweet or heavy. I was left impressed with it's longevity - 12 hours after application and I was still enjoying the delicate muskiness on my skin (and accepting compliments down Tesco's fruit and veg aisle...)

I was pleasantly surprised by LEMON, which I prefer over PLUM. The fragrance has far more depth than I expected - there's many "earthy" notes in addition to the expected sharpness of the yellow-skinned fruit. The scent is really fresh, with no artificial hint (so there's no danger of smelling like Shrove Tuesday, don't worry!)

I would definitely like to try another sample of LEMON before deciding whether I'm willing to spend £90 on the 100ml, gold-plated cap version. I suspect I would be though!

Both PLUM and LEMON samples can be bought from, for £2.50 each +P&P. 

Neroli Lucé Revitalising Face Oil review

Bodhi Neroli Luce face oil review
 5ml, RRP £12.
Neroli Lucé Revitalising Face Oil is instantly absorbed to nourish and hydrate skin, leaving it toned and radiant without feeling greasy. Vital vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids help revive a lacklustre complexion, increase elasticity, boost resilience and rebalance the skin’s natural hydration system. Skin is protected from free radical damage and cocooned in the vibrant aroma of Mediterranean orange blossoms.*

*Description from

This face oil is a real TREAT! Over the past week, I have been using it after exiting the shower each morning. It's quickly absorbed, reviving the complexion and eliminating any pesky dry patches, leaving skin glowing and in ready-for-make-up condition.

Oh, and it smells absolutely divine! The scent is more masculine than I expected, but by no means is it unsuitable for women.

I must admit, I was a bit to discover the 5ml size included in my Brighton blogger meet goody bag actually retails for £12 (with a 15ml version costing £32). While this explains why my skin appreciates this oil so much, it's probably a little too expensive for me to justify currently, especially because I like to apply it fairly liberally. Still, I may treat myself eventually and I'll be keeping an eye out for any Bodhi special deals, in case I can pick this up for a lower price.

Neroli Luce really is a great skin oil, so I'm sad I can't add it to my skin care routine on a more permanent basis.

Lime Twist Carmex lip balm review

RRP £2.99
I fell in love with this lip balm the second I applied it for the first time. My lips instantly tingled (oooooh!) and were left more supple thanks to its Ultra Moisturising formula, This lip balm has quickly become the number one choice from my ever-mounting lip goo stash.

While this lip balm is currently far from empty, I felt it made sense to discuss it as part of this post.

If you're a fan of flavoured lip balm  this probably isn't the ideal choice for you, since it tastes slightly menthol and not at all fruity like it's extremely mouth-watering (!) and ZINGY mojito-like scent might suggest.

This is the only "downside" of the product in my opinion, though flavour is not all that important to me...I want to keep balm on my lips, not be encouraged to lick it off! The tingly sensation is great for reminding me to reapply the balm too - once it's worn off (usually after two hours or so), I know it's time to get some more on m'smackers!

Lime Twist is also SPF 15, meaning I can continue to enjoy using it should the sun ever decide to make an appearance.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for similar Carmex products in the future.

Natio Aromatherapy Renew Radiance foam cleanser review

Natio Aromatheraphy Renew Radiance foam cleanser review
100ml version: £6.80 from
Soap free cleanser with a neutral pH. Extra low foaming to avoid stripping skin of vital moisture. Leaves skin feeling pure, soft and moist.*

*Description from

This one of those 'does-exactly-what-it-says' skin care products. Pearlescent-white and fragrance free, this cleanser is ideal after a long day wearing makeup. It leaves skin feeling squeaky clean, without causing that horrible 'tight' sensation.

A little Renew Radiance goes a long way, despite the fact it's been formulated to be low foaming. I would definitely buy the full size version for £6.80. Hmmmm, maybe when the spending ban is over I'll pop to Debenhams and treat myself...

Which of my spending ban empties would you most like to try? 

Kat x

Thursday, 2 May 2013

No Makeup and No Shampoo! The #bbloggers Spending Ban

My relationship with retail therapy...

I've been in the financial red for a while now, thanks to the Amsterdam trip I stuck on my credit card back in February (an essential, not a luxury, from my overworked perspective!) and some recent overspending.

I was never really a "retail therapy" person. I have always been quite careful with my money, preferring to have at least £200 or so saved in the bank at all times for unforeseen circumstances.

However, emergency funds are now provided by my overdraft facility, which is obviously far from ideal!

I've felt quite low during the last couple of month's, though I've done well to hide this from those around me. A new lipstick, bottle of conditioner, face pack, or mascara (etc.) has been my daily cure; a placebo in reality.

My little flat is now COMPLETELY LITTERED with unused make up, hair and beauty items, though I should point out that PR samples account for around half. Regardless, I really need to make my way through at least some of the mounting stash before I even think about buying anything else!

When Kat (of told me on Twitter that a number of other bloggers are adhering to spending ban in May then, I just had to join in!


My spending ban rules

Spending absolutely nothing during May would be impossible, though I would LOVE to ignore balance-draining overheads like rent and electricity!

I've also been sleeping on the floor for months (don't ask...), and I'm in constant pain as a result (hence feeling down in the dumps), so there's going to be some Bank Holiday bed shopping this weekend. This will be another credit card buy but I'm desperate at this point.

OK, so I've not banned myself from spending money entirely in May. Rather, these products are completely off-limits to me because I have a surplus:
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Shower Gel
  • Skin care (in all forms)
  • Mascara
  • Foundation
  • Eye shadow
  • ....actually ALL MAKE-UP!
Basically, I'm not allowed to go to Boots, Superdrug, or makeup counters, for four weeks! Oh, unless of course I receive money/vouchers for either when my birthday rolls around on the 12th... ;]


Will I be successful? 

Well, it's the second day of the month and I've survived so far...

There's really no excuse for me not to adhere to this self-imposed ban, especially considering the bounty of products and samples I received during last weekend's Brighton Blogger Meet! I also received a lovely £30 gift voucher for ESPA at the event, so I can treat myself to a few bath and beauty goodies using that too later this month.

I am hoping to write a number of 'empties' posts throughout May, to share my thoughts on each of the samples and/or full size products I use up while my purse strings are tightly pulled.


Will I pass my month-long spending ban, or will I fail like last time? Stay tuned to find out. 
Have you ever successfully completed a spending ban?

Kat x