Essence Colour & Care Strengthening Nail Polish

Essence have launched a new, albeit small line of nail polish made with natural ingredients and the lofty claim of strengthening your nails. To be honest, I was sold more on the color than anything else. I had been lusting after a soft powder pink for months, and couldn’t pass this one up. It is PERFECT and has most definitely become my holy grail shade, but I want to really touch on the nail care aspect of this product.

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I have been religiously using my Viridian Nail & Cuticle Oil at night and wow, you see a difference immediately. But with this polish? To be honest, I’m not convinced it does much of anything to strengthen or protect. And that’s not necessarily a fault of this product itself – I just not convinced any nail polish can really make your nail healthier while simultaneously painting it. What do you think?

I cannot shout about the Viridian Nail Care oil enough, it’s amazing. But I will definitely be repurchasing this product for the color alone.

Let me know your thoughts – what’s your nail care routine?

MTL X

Hello hello

Hello lovely friends,

I have missed this little corner of the internet!

It has been a ridiculously long time since I last posted, and for that I am raging with myself. I had written a big post about where I have been, what’s been happening but you know what? They’re just lame excuses really. Work, university, exams, driving tests… they’ve shaped the last few months, but that’s not what I want to focus on.

I have so many blog post ideas, and I really hope I can kick my butt back into action over the summer. From my holy grail face products, nutritional reviews to lifestyle posts, I hope to resurrect mirrorthelove

Thank you to all who have stayed subscribed and those who have joined this journey! I appreciate it so very much. I should also add that I cannot use Instagram anymore, so apologies for the barren nature of my feed lately… technology is not my forté!

I look forward to catching up on a lot of your posts and send hugs to you all!

MTL x

Are They Cruelty Free? | 3 Simple Questions

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When cosmetic companies are writing their website blurbs, they really do try to cover up any potential issues. Unfortunately, this includes animal testing. A number of massive brands have now begun to state that they are cruelty-free, using legal mumbo jumbo as a way to disguise their activities, for example citing European law while ignoring the fact that they distribute their products elsewhere. Let me put it bluntly – if they sell in China, they must, by law, test on animals. If they are owned or affiliated with a massive corporation, for example L’Oreal, they test on animals or at the very least, purchasing from them funds  testing on animals (E.g. The Body Shop; Urban Decay). If they hire a third party to do the testing for them, they are still animal testing.

I truly believe that in our hearts, everyone has compassion. It’s not enough to just adore our beloved dogs and cats, while turning a blind eye to those locked in cages and being prodded with chemicals so that we can have a cheap mascara – and yes, dogs, cats, rabbits and monkeys are just some of the animals used in cosmetic testing. We must put our fists down and say: We will not support this! If you wouldn’t want it done to your pet, how can you be comfortable with it being done to others? I believe that if people knew the real truth behind their cosmetics, they would start to make the switch. I really do believe that compassion wins out over materialism.

So here’s what we need to do – ASK.

Write to the company and ask outright. It’s not enough to read their websites and take them at face value. We must push forward, ask if they test, demand to know what goes into these products that we slather all over our porous skin! The chemicals that are going into our bodies and cause breast cancers, hormonal imbalances, testicular cancers, abnormalities in our children and Alzheimer’s, to name just a few of the many side effects. So what to ask?

Just three simple questions:

  1. Does your company test on animals?
  2. Does your company hire a third party to test on animals?
  3. Does your company sell products in China?

 

Then SHARE the responses. Let people know. Post it on your blog, or let me know in the comments below so I can update the lists of companies that are cruelty free and those that are not. It is a simple, free step, but it is vital in the fight for our right to safe products, and animals’ right to a safe life.

Want to go cruelty free? Here are my 5 tips to make the switch!

MTL x

mirrorthelove@gmail.com

Organic Nail & Cuticle Oil | Viridian Ultimate Beauty | Vegan

Viridian Ultimate Beauty Organic Nail and Cuticle Oil

 I was recently lucky enough to be sent a gift package from Viridian, an eco-friendly, ethical and natural company aimed at increasing health and well-being from the inside out. When it comes to natural and ethically sourced ingredients, Viridian are at the top of their game, as reflected in their numerous awards and accolades. Having previously purchased products from them, I was over the moon and itching to post about it, but I had to wait to give things a good try first!

I’ve mentioned before that I am a nail-polish magpie – if I see it, I’ll buy it and while it’s fun and makes me feel more “put together”, there’s no denying the impact that constant chemicals can have on your nails. Over the years, mine have become very fragile and peel extremely easily. Needless to say, I was delighted to see this nail and cuticle oil in the parcel and began using it immediately (about a month ago now), though I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even realise nails would absorb anything to be honest!

Viridian Ultimate Beauty Organic Nail and Cuticle Oil

 As you can see, this product is as organic and chemical-free as you could ever get and I love that. It has a gorgeous citrus scent that smells so fresh and clean. A little goes a very long way and I don’t even have to squeeze the pipette dropper; I just touch it onto my nail and it’s more than enough. It’s only £12.95, so it’s not a massive splurge but nevertheless, it’s great to know it’ll last a long time. They recommend applying twice a day so I do it once during the day and then right before I fall asleep. It absorbs within 5-10 minutes, so I’d recommend doing it after washing your hands, when you won’t be eating immediately and when you’re ready to settle down for the night!

Viridian Ultimate Beauty Organic Nail and Cuticle Oil

My conclusion? This stuff is gold! Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it – as I said, I didn’t even realise my nails would absorb anything so I was a tad skeptical but this product had far exceeded any expectations I could have had. My nails feel stronger than ever and they haven’t been peeling whatsoever. I haven’t painted them as frequently so that I could really see if the oil had any significant impact, and I can say without doubt it has. I will most certainly be repurchasing this and I’ll be getting my mum some for Mother’s Day this month because she’s a nail-woman like me!

Have you tried any Viridian products? What’s your favourite natural product right now?

Want to see what I used one of my other Viridian products for? Click here!

MTL xx

mirrorthelove@gmail.com

 *Viridian Nutrition kindly sent this product to me, although I had previously purchased their products personally. All opinions are my own and I have not received any financial reimbursement for this post. I have tested this product thoroughly before writing this review and all opinions are honest!

DIY Body Lotion |à la Wellness Mama

Have many of you heard of Wellness Mama? Her blog is incredible for all things natural and eco-friendly, providing recipes for everything from foundation to lip balms. She really is the Queen of Green (*cheesy puns*) Eco-friendly, natural, organic, no animal testing or chemicals – right up my street! So I decided to give it a whirl and use her recipe to create my own body lotion using just THREE ingredients. I’ve mentioned before that I am not a skilled baker whatsoever and for some reason, I expected that lack of talent to transfer into this process but it was actually so simple and took less than twenty minutes. Tempted to give it a try? Here we go…

I take no credit for this recipe – this all Wellness Mama’s!

DIY lotion bars wellness mama

Ingredients

  1. Coconut oil – I am using Viridian 100% organic, raw coconut oil** and it is simply divine. It is also a massive 500g jar, so you’ll get a lot of batches of lotion out of it. I was really keen to use high quality coconut oil because it will be going all over my skin, and the less processed the better as far as I’m concerned. Remember, what goes on goes IN!
  2. Cacao butter – Wellness Mama says cocoa, shea butter or mango butter work too, but I find cacao butter gives a lovely fragrance that means you don’t need to add any other scent. Plus, I couldn’t find shea or mango conveniently, whereas cacao butter is in every health-related store these days and it’s not too pricey either.
  3. Bees Wax – Unfortunately, this recipe is not vegan because of this ingredient, but I will investigate alternatives and keep you posted! I found this bar in The Health Store, but from some brief searches online it looks like it can also be purchased in a more granular form, so whichever is more convenient for you!
  4. Silicone Cake Cups – These little gems were only €1.50 for 12 in a local store and they’re perfect for this task – no sticking, no paper waste and they’re reusable so you can get a lot of use from them! I’ll be keeping this pack for future batches – they’re also handy for storing the lotion bars in.

 Because this was my first attempt and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, I cut the recipe a little bit and used a half cup of cacao butter and coconut oil, and half of the beeswax bar. From this batch I got four large lotion blocks, so you could increase or decrease according to what you would like!

DIY lotion bars wellness mama

Step 1: I created a very improvised bain-marie to melt the three ingredients together. By that I mean, I put them in a bowl over a pot of boiling water and the heat melts them… It sounded fancier as a bain-marie… Please, please be careful using this method as it’s extremely easy to scald yourself or get a nasty steam burn. I had oven mitts to hold the bowl in place as I stirred and make sure to let steam escape constantly so that you don’t effectively create a pressure cooker! This is not a job for little kiddies to be involved in.

Step 2: Stir the ingredients until they are in a pure liquid form.

Step 3: At this stage, remove them from the heat and if you want to add essential oils, do so now. As I said, I didn’t because the cacao butter gives  a delicious scent by itself.

Step 4: I had my silicone molds in a cupcake tray to keep them in position. Carefully pour the liquid into the molds – I actually spooned it in very slowly to avoid any waste and/or burning of my hands and would strongly endorse this method. Any spills can be easily cleaned because they’ll dry almost like wax immediately and can be wiped/scraped off. Nevertheless, I’d do this on a counter-top rather than an expensive wooden table #commonsense

Step 5: Leave the bars to cool fully – I did this at around 8pm so I left them until the next morning. By then they were completely solid and ready to pop out of the molds.

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I gave one to my friend, one to my mum, have been using one myself and have a spare waiting for when I run out. So far – a resounding success! They begin to melt as soon as they touch the skin, so keep them somewhere cool and dry. They aren’t the quickest drying product, and the skin will look wet for longer than it physically is, but as with all moisturising products it’s really an individual skin-by-skin case. I use it before bed each night to give it time to really absorb without any worry about my clothing.

So… what do you think? Tempted to try them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ MTL

mirrorthelove@gmail.com

**Viridian kindly sent me this beautiful 100% raw organic coconut oil. It is grown in accordance with the Soil Association guidelines for organic farming and production, and for every purchase of a Viridian product, they donate a portion back to charity. Viridian are the leading brand of ethical vitamins, maintaining a strong ethical philosophy at all stages. This means no animal testing, non-GMO, non-irradiated and 100% active ingredients with no additives, no added sugars, no colourings and no artificial flavourings.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Cruelty-Free Summer Glow: St. Moriz Tan

It’s the depths of winter here in Ireland. Okay, it’s not snowing, but there’s certainly no chance of sunbathing! As we enter spring (February is spring as far as I’m concerned) and gradually shed the heavy coats and infinite layers, I must admit I like seeing a little glow on my skin. Despite my dark hair, my skin is largely anything but and any real colour has to come from a bottle. Fortunately, I have found the perfect self-tanner.

Cruelty-free and an absolute steal at less than €5 per bottle, St. Moriz has become my holy grail tanning mouse. It’s incredibly easy to apply, doesn’t dry out the skin, comes out in a dark chocolate mousse so you can clearly see where you’ve already applied, and shows up almost immediately. I swear, I’d go so far as to say it’s fool-proof. As my skin is so fair usually, I go for the medium colour and I reckon I’ve mastered the application pretty well, if I do say so myself. So here are my tips and tricks…

Step 1: Shower. I always apply this immediately after I shower, and when I have given my body a good exfoliation. Pay specific attention to areas that have, well, crinkles basically. Knees and elbows are hot spots for caking of the self tan when it gets lodged in the folds and can give that orange hue. I find I get the best exfoliation from exfoliation gloves in this case, rather than a product alone. Also! If you shave your legs, be aware that tan may apply unevenly over the hair follicles. If you shave, exfoliate again afterwards and then shave again. This will give an extremely close cut, catching the hair that can often be trapped under dead skin cells and missed the first time round.

Step 2: Dry, moisturise and dry again. I use cocoa butter by DermaV10 (my review here) for the perfectly soft skin (which I must add, also prolongs both fake and real tans!) Let the moisturiser fully dry in before applying your tan.

Source: St. Moriz

Step 3: Application! Shake the bottle and using a glove (I repeat – use a glove!), pump two swirls of mousse tan onto your mitt. I like to apply a slightly deeper colour to where the sun would naturally hit my skin, and then a lighter coat on areas that would naturally stay paler, for example the “underside” of my arm. To do this, spread the tan firstly where you’d like to be darker and using what is almost the leftovers, blend it out into the paler areas. This technique is also ideal around the wrist area and on your hands. Remember that as you wash your hands, your fake tan will fade away, so blend it in such a way that it’s not distinctly noticeable. Also be extremely careful around the knuckle area – I also strongly advise against applying in your armpits and don’t go near your palms! I find with good blending, you can spread the colour gently down your hands.  Just make sure to let the tan dry well before you start bending and flexing your joints. Blending it key to this and practice makes perfect.

Over time and experience, you’ll learn how much you need to apply to get the desired tone for your skin. I’d advise against being too liberal your first time as it will develop gradually throughout the day. For example, I find that doing two pumps per arm, then two per chest (blending it all together) and then another one per arm is perfect. It can also be handy to practice on a lesser seen area of the body.

And there you have it!

The colour will last for several days, prolonged if you moisturise. You won’t notice much wash-away during the shower in my experience, unlike others that can really wreck the bathroom if you’re not careful. As I tend to apply early in the day, I rarely notice any residue on my sheets, but any that does appear washes out instantly. I have never noticed any on my clothing, which is miraculous. As for the smell, it can be a touch heavy at first application but fades very quickly and can be easily masked by a splash of perfume (wait until your tan has dried to apply, as it will make it run).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below! Have you tried this brand?

MTL x

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove

Farfetch Competition Entry | My Red Carpet Look

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I like to think my picks reflect that I am a classic kind of girl. I love elegant, feminine, timeless beauty and classic silhouettes, with little or no pattern (lace excluded… of course!).  I’m all about the shape and fit, and as a small-chested girl straps are a must! I think it’s all about what works for you and making sure that you feel like you’re the star that you are – everyone deserves that. Farfetch have an exquisite collection of pieces and designers, and browsing their site ticks every items on my wishlist. Let me know what you think and tell me your favourites on the Farfetch website!

This caped evening dress is nothing short of exquisite in my eyes. It is spot on trend with the cape, but looks effortlessly elegant and blends feminine/sexy with pure class.

Farfetch Halston Heritage Cape Evening Dress

Halston Heritage | Cape Evening Dress

 

I adore the simple elegance of this red dress. Nothing screams confidence like bold red, and this dress reminds me of the one that really put Jennifer Lawrence on the radar several years ago. This beauty reminds me of vintage Awards circa Grace Kelly.

 

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Victoria Beckham | Sweetheart Neck Evening Dress

I think this dress is one that would suit any number of shapes and sizes. I love being able to eat at events and the cut of this dress is perfect for a nice dessert (who’s with me ladies?!). With a flow just beyond the waist, it nips right where you want it and looks comfortable.

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Marcia Lucia Hohan | Rita Dress

And for shoes…

Sergio Rossi | Embellished Sandals (left) or Sam Edelman | Ankle-Strap Sandals (right)

I particularly love the Sergio Rossi sparkle and bootie-esque style, but there’s something so delicate and pretty about the Sam Edelmans. I also think both would make any number of outfits stand out, ranging from red carpet dresses to a classic skinny jean date night look.

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I found out about this competition through Natalie and I highly recommend heading over and checking out her wishlist! Link me to yours if you enter, or let me know below which dress and shoes you’d choose!

~ MTL x

mirrorthelove@gmail.com

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove