; une tasse: a beauty and casual fashion blog: September 2012

French crush

The hair, the style, the eyeliner and those cheekbones! Francoise Hardy is my newest girl crush. "Tous les garcons" and "Le temps de l'amour" are both songs my parents used to play when we were young and they have been on repeat in our house over the past week. Oh to be chic...

GOSH Instant Tan Gel (Medium) #TFWOC

Forgive me for running a little behind on part two of the TFWOC project but the latest product is GOSH's Instant Tan Gel, the only high street product myself and a few other bloggers have been reviewing over the past week. See here for a list of the other ladies taking part and do look out for reviews on Karamel & Brown which half of the group are reviewing instead.

Gosh Instant Tan Gel gives a beautiful, instant and natural looking tan that washes off with soap and water. Free from DHA. Simple to apply, absorbs easily and provides an even colour. Dries quickly, non-greasy and streak free. Is formulated with DayMoist CLR, a natural based moisturiser containing sugar beet root and corn starch which provides intense and long lasting hydration. Also enriched with Vitamins A,E and F, and organic Gojiberry. Will help protect skin from free radicals and premature ageing.

Mmmmm chocolate? No it's not! This wash off tanning gel is runnier than I expected and despite the dark cocoa like appearance it gave a light wash of colour once blended into the skin. I used my hands to apply and didn't experience any streaks nor staining of my palms but I did wash my hands pretty quickly after. Supposedly takes only 60 seconds to set but I found it took a little longer, especially the inside of my elbow which stayed tacky. It smelled a bit like washing up liquid to me when I first pumped it out but once dried it has a nice but inoffensive smell which I couldn't smell again unless I sniffed my arm closely. It says to try not getting your skin wet or sweating for at least four hours which I don't think I did?? And here is how my arm looked like a couple of hours after application.

I loved the result and actually think my non tanned arm is very pasty in comparison now. I had a fear it would look a bit unnatural but I personally think it looks like my skin does when naturally tanned by the sun. Bronzed and glowy! It did fade after a couple of hours so I wouldn't say it's long lasting at all but it's brilliant for instant colour and washes off easily with soap and water. I don't know about the whole protection from premature ageing thing but I did find that my skin was left soft and moisturised when compared to my other arm. It is suitable to use on your face too but I'm a bit hesitant to because the skin on my face has more natural oils and I think it would end up looking patchy. I really enjoyed using this and I'll be saving this for my arms, legs and feet.

GOSH Instant Tan Gel is available to buy from Superdrug (RRP £7.69 for 150ml) and comes in Light, Medium and Dark.

The great swimsuit search

In just over 10 days I am going on away on a beach holiday for the first time in YEARS and I've been searching for over a month for appropriate swimwear. The last time I was on a beach I was wearing something like this:

via Amazon

I do swim at my local pool but I won't get away with wearing my speedo boyleg suit on a sandy beach! But seriously, I've found it so hard to find something suitable which in my case is supportive, pretty and not too low cut. I don't do bikinis, one shoulder, strapless, cut outs, high legs or plunge front but it seems all that's available right now is a mixture of everything of the above which is so frustrating. Also something under £30 but of course all the ones that I've liked have been well over this. Seafolly have beautiful swimsuits but they're around £90 which I cannot justify spending for something I probably will only wear on this holiday alone.

L-R: Fifties swimsuit & Vintage swimsuit

I bought these two suits from the Boden sale but as gorgeous and well fitting as they are, they show SO much cleavage it's not even funny. My everyday bra has more coverage so back they went and I found this little number from Tesco for around £9 using an online discount code.

I have a thing for florals if you hadn't already noticed and I thought this was really pretty but once again, it is plop if you are a C cup and above. I took it for a test swim in the pool and thankfully I was wearing a cropped tankini top underneath (which made me look like an idiot) because in the water the front drooped down completely. Argh! I still haven't found anything else so looks like I'm going to have to buy an underwired bikini top to wear underneath.

Am I the only one with swimwear problems? :(


Bye bye long bleached green split ended hair, hello short and healthy locks. I like to go for the chop every so often and love having both short and long hair. I am never faithful to just one hairdresser and went to Splash Salon on Goodge Street after work on Thursday where they only do walk in appointments. Perfect for those like me who like getting their hair cut on a whim. I paid £30 for a wash, cut & blow dry as my hair was quite long but if you have shorter hair it's something like £12. Can someone please tell me how much you are expected to tip? I gave £5 because my stylist was so nice and he cut his finger in the process but he also showed me how to dry my hair so it wouldn't flick up at the ends. Is £5 too much/too little? HELP

Also, if you are a hairdresser, what is your blow drying secret?!! Even though I was shown, I went home and used the exact same technique but my hair wasn't sleek, swishy and shiny just dry and slightly fluffy. In fact my hair looks nothing like the photo now, it's more Dora the Explorer :(

I WILL persevere but do you have any blow drying tips for me? xx

Abi O BeauBronz Shimmer Tan Boost #TFWOC

First product to be reviewed in the TFWOC project is the Abi O BeauBronz Shimmer Tan Boost, a light tanning product with plenty of golden shimmer. Containing just 2.5% DHA (active tanning ingredient) there won't be a dramatic difference in tone but just enough to give your skin a nice glow which is exactly what it did for me.

The pump made application a doddle and it blended easily into my skin leaving a lovely golden shimmer which sparkled in the light. The overall smell isn't the nicest (think raw potatoes) but it wasn't overly unpleasant. However it is noticeable which bothered me and I felt that it did linger afterwards. Containing rose hip oil, vitamin E and aloe vera I expected it to be more moisturising than it was but this wasn't too important for me. My skin stayed slightly tacky for a while after application but didn't transfer onto my clothing or anything.

Personally I thought the change in colour was very minimal and didn't show up on camera but I believe repeat applications would have had a better result. It states that this product is best suited for tanned black or brown skin but I don't think it would work very well on darker skin tones in terms of tanning. However for the shimmer factor alone it would be great!

I think this would be more suited to legs, arms and decolletage rather than all over your body, and especially on nights out unless you like to rock the shimmer everyday ;)

All Abi O products are free from parabens, contain natural and organic ingredients and are cruelty free. I have the trial size which is £8 for 50ml and the full size retails for £26 for 200ml. Both are available to buy online at BeauBronz.

Tans For Women Of Colour Project #TFWOC

Did you know there were products available and aimed at women of colour? I certainly didn't and over the next few weeks I'll be testing various bronzing and tanning products as part of the #TFWOC project organised by fellow bloggers LaaLaa from Dolce Vanity and Annie from EpiphannieA.

It appears that the general consensus amongst the Asian community I have grown up in,  is that tans are unattractive and unappealing. I actually have friends who refuse to go out on fiercely sunny summer days but me? I love having a tan and I try and keep the sun kissed glow for as long as possible (just pointing out that I do wear the appropriate SPF). One of the main aims of this project is to find tanning/bronzing products suitable for WOC and in the words of LaaLaa, "encourage women to steer away from harmful and unsafe methods such skin bleaching by showing them how they can enhance and even out their skin by tanning and or bronzing and still be proud and beautiful."

You can also see how these products work on a variety of different skin tones as we have been split into groups according to MAC shades. I'm a NC44 and in Group C.

Group A (NC30 - NW30- NC35- NW35) Group B (NC37 – NC40 – NW40 - NC42) Group C (NW43 – NC44 – NC45 – NW45) Group D (NW47 – NC50 – NW50) Group E (NC55 – NW55)

The brands we will be reviewing are as follows:

Week of the 10th September : Review of BeauBronz
Week of the 17th September Review of Karamel & Brown
Week of the 24th September Review of Vita Liberata
Week of the 1st October Review of Xen-Tan
Week of the 8th October Review of  MakeBelieve

Other bloggers involved in the project:

Stephanie from Nerd about Town
Dija from Dijas World
Lola from LolaStar Hearts
Laa Laa from Dolce from Vanity
Sophia from Tattoed Tea Lady
Safiyah from FrootiBeauty
Grace from All That Slap
Annie from Epiphannie A
Yinka from Vex in the City
Hafsa from Muslimah Beauty

Stay tuned for my first post later this week!

My nightly skincare routine

I've always been more interested in makeup rather than skin care but over the past few months there have been a flurry of skin care posts by other bloggers and I decided it was time to up my game. To be honest I haven't always washed my face every night (the shame) and when I do, it's with a £4 face wash which doesn't cut it anymore, especially as I am now in my late 20s (!!). I've been trying my best to stick to this new routine instead of being lazy and just removing my eye makeup before jumping into bed.

I have a Clarisonic but I don't use it very often, preferring to use a flannel instead. I'm currently using this Avene gel cleanser which I apply to my dry face, massage in then remove with a hot flannel. Scrubbing with the flannel leaves my skin really clean and pink, you can really see the blood coming back into your face. It's not abrasive or painful in any way, just mild and very effective. It also really helped by unblocking my sinuses during the bad hay fever days. I can't recommend face flannel washing enough!

I usually follow up with this Trilogy gentle calming fluid which I received in a gift bag. As the name suggests it's typically used for soothing sensitive or irritated skin but can also be used as a light moisturiser. I hate using heavy face creams in summer because I can't stand having a sticky face! This fluid is almost serum like in consistency and adds enough moisture without being overbearing.

About twice a week I use this overnight intensive mask by Origins. I don't have very dehydrated skin but so many people have said how amazing this is and I wanted to see for myself. I had never used a leave on mask before and it felt a bit weird to apply it then not wash it off. It can be really easy to over apply which I managed to do a few times and you can really feel it on your face but it does work. Waking up in the morning my skin feels and looks plumper. It also smells lovely, like apricots!

I've also given myself a kick up the bum with eye cream. Day or night I always manage to forget. I had been using the Benefit one which was perfectly fine but I wanted to try something different. I couldn't decide between Origins Ginzing or Eye Doctor but eventually went for the latter as I felt my eyes needed more hydration. I don't think Eye Doctor helps reduce the appearance of dark shadows as it claims to do but it's very good at moisturing and soothing. No complaints so far.

So this is my nightly routine and whilst it's not the best out there it has been working well for me. I've also bought some other skin products but will be doing separate posts on those. What do you use in your routine and are there any must haves you can recommend?