Monday, 22 May 2017

Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette Review


Ahh, Huda Beauty. The Dubai-based beauty queen is at it again, this time dropping two stunning highlighter palettes to add to her ever increasing collection of beauty essentials - but are they any good?

I've waxed lyrical about her liquid lipsticks - in my opinion, they are some of the best formulas on the current market, comfortable and easy to reapply, the same goes for her lip liners or 'Lip Contours' as she dubs them. I'm also pretty die hard for her Samantha Lashes too, so I had high hopes for the launch of her 3D Highlighting Palette. I opted for the Pink Sands Edition

Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette Review
Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette Review

Now, I'll be honest. I wasn't entirely convinced of the 3D highlighting concept. As Huda herself demonstrated on her Insta Stories, she's developed the palettes around a four step highlighting principle:

1. First you PREP with a cream highlighting base

2. Next you SET with the lightest shade to really bring out the glow and lock the cream base in place

3. Then you SCULPT using a darker highlighting powder underneath the cheekbones to add dimension

4 Finally, you FLUSH with a pink-toned blusher shade

Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette Review

I wasn't sure if the whole concept was genius or a tad gimmicky. She's not the first beauty blogger to endorse using a powder highlighter over a luminous cream base to bring out a more intense glow so I was intrigued to see how her palette performed once all the steps were followed.

Here's my face without any highlighter or contour:

Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette Review

Here it is after using the Pink Sands Edition Palette... FYI, I have scary brows right now!

Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette Review

So here's my thoughts:

Firstly, I think the powders are really pretty swatched. They're very finely milled and have a beautifully soft texture that blends out well. Applied with a natural fibre brush, the highlighters aren't as intense as I anticipated them to be, which I don't necessarily mind, but it's something to consider if you like your glow to bounce off Jupiter. Santorini is the lightest powder in the Pink Sands palette and it has a subtle gold shift to it which works really well with my skin tone. Ibiza, the blusher shade is also stunning. It reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favourite MAC blusher shades, New Romance and sparks all the same wonderful feelings of joy. 

Okay, so here's where it gets confusing. 

Capri, the cream highlighting shade. It's a champagne-beige-toned glossy highlight. I don't know if it's because I live in Duabi and well, it's hotter than hell outside currently but the formula itself is very 'wet'. You only need the slightest touch to pick up ample product on your fingertips. Now I don't know if it's just my usual aversion to cream highlighters speaking, but I don't love the way this sits on my skin. It heavily emphasises texture and pores and doesn't give the flawless finish that I'd like. Layering the powders over the top just leaves everything looking choppy and so I've been forgoing the cream step altogther. 

I also don't really understand the inclusion of the 'Sculpt' shade, Azores. Whilst yes, it's a gorgeous pale gold highlight, putting it underneath my cheekbones feels weird - and involves adding way more shimmer to my face than I currently feel comfortable doing. Maybe that's the reason why they're not as intense as I'd anticipated! And then on top of all that, I don't think this palette alone is enough to give me the sculpted cheeks of a Victoria's Secret Angel so I still have to go in with a contour powder to chisel out what my mamma never gave me... and five steps later I'm wondering what happened to the good old days when you didn't need an hour to fake what 10 minutes standing out in the Dubai sun can offer you for free?

Maybe I'm just being cynical but for me, it's four steps too many. I can't be bothered. Plus, at AED 250 or roughly £50 a palette, I honestly don't think it's all that necessary. Yes, the powders are nice and yes, the packaging makes my ovaries tingle but unless you're an absolute highlighting palette junkie or you don't have anything similar to the shades on offer, I'd give this one a miss. 

Sorry Huda... I'll just stick to stockpiling your lipsticks instead. 

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The White Room Spa, Dubai


On Sunday, I was very kindly invited along to The White Room Spa in Dubai's Motor City to indulge in a relaxing, pamper day and try out some of the spa's essential beauty treatments. 

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

Its clean, white aesthetic sets the tone and the spa's extensive treatment menu offers something for everyone at really affordable prices.  Whether you're looking for a massage, skincare treatments, nail enhancements, hair styling or more, The White Room has it all. They even offer a variety of 'pick and mix' menus (check them out here) that allow you to create a tailor-made pamper package to suit your specific needs and budget. Plus with branches across Dubai, they're well worth checking out!

I kicked off my morning with a relaxing Back Massage. The treatment lasts 30 minutes and is designed to relieve tension in the upper back muscles as well as soothe lower back aches and stimulate blood flow to the area. The treatment room was simple, yet contained everything you would need. A fluffy robe to change into, candles, aromatherapy oil burners and ambient background music to set the scene plus a large, comfortable bed to relax on whilst the therapist works her magic. It was a decent massage too. The therapist was attentive and made me feel at ease right away. She was adept at soothing away the tension in my shoulders (which I always seem to carry) ensuring that I was comfortable with the pressure whilst working out all of my knots. 

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

After the massage, it was time to get dressed, (thankfully the therapist conducting my massage had offered to remove any excess oil from my skin to save my clothes - brill!) and choose my polish for my mani/pedi. The White Room Spa has a HUGE selection of nail products to choose from and carry brands such as Opi, Essie, Gelish and more. I opted for a Gelish manicure/pedicure in the shade 'Passion' which is a gorgeous, hot coral/pink. I was absolutely thrilled with how the colour turned out. Two technicians worked on my hands and feet simultaneously for maximum efficiency whilst I relaxed in the spa's large, comfy seating area.

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

Once my hands and feet were looking fabulous, it was time to hop into the hairdressers chair for a shampoo and blow dry. The White Room Spa offers all blow drys for just AED 65, regardless of hair length or style which is an absolute bargain! After a discussion with the stylist over what type of look I wanted to go for, I opted for big, bouncy blow dried curls which the stylist delivered whilst I kicked back with a magazine. 

The White Room Spa Dubai Review / Life in Excess Blog

And my transformation was complete. After a couple of hours, I was ready to walk out of The White Room Spa a brand-spanking new woman and feeling like I'd just been given an entire beauty overhaul. 

Whether you're looking for an express treatment or something a little more indulgent, I couldn't recommend The White Room Spa more. The staff are welcoming and the service friendly - and with a price list that you really can't argue with, I know I'll be back for more. 

For more information, visit The White Room Spa website. Branches are available in JLT, Motor City, Marina Plaza and IBN Batutta Mall. 

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Trying Yankee Candles


My Mother. Creator of fine, human specimens and scented candle habit facilitator. 

As I never made it home for Christmas last year, we held a small Christmas celebration when my family came to visit the other week... in April... we played carols. It was glorious.

Yankee Candle Votive Haul & Review - Life in Excess Blog

Anyway, my Mum came bearing gifts, which included a box stuffed with loads of Yankee Candle votive candles, in a whole range of scents so that, in her words, I could try them all and find out which ones are my favourites. 

Bless her. She's a good egg.

So that's just what I'm doing. Burning my way through Yankee Candles and giving them all the sniff test. Here's the scents that I'm loving so far:

Fluffy Towels - Smells like fresh laundry. A really clean, comforting scent that would work perfectly for the bedroom. I couldn't resist and lit this one straight away. 

Lavender - I'm not usually the biggest fan of lavender scents but this isn't too overpowering. It has a nice, spa-like feel about it which I think is really calming. 

Wedding Day - Again, a very fresh, floral scent with notes of citrus, mimosa, jasmine and rose to name but a few. 

Oud Oasis - This is a candle that I wouldn't typically pick out for myself but one that I actually really like. It's very apt, considering where I live and has a rich, warm scent with notes of oud, jasmine and amber. 

Champaca Blossom - This is another fragrance that has a spa-like vibe to it. It's a mix of fruity, floral scents with notes of orange, violet leaf, melon and cedarwood. 

Summer Scoop - This strawberry ice cream scented candle smells almost good enough to eat. It has a vanilla base with strawberry and pink cotton candy notes. 

I don't have a whole lot of experience with Yankee Candles but I have to say, I'm really impressed with the amount of fragrance these small votives give off when lit. They really do fill a room, despite their size, with each candle having a burn time of up to 15 hours; although you wouldn't need to have it going for that length of time in any one sitting. 

The votive size candles are such a great way to sample the various scents on offer from Yankee Candle, and I'd definitely like to try more in the near future. 

Well done Mum!

Let me know if you've tried the sample-size, votive candles from Yankee Candle and/or what your favourite scents are from the brand. I'd love some recommendations. 


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