Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What to buy when you have No 7 Vouchers

I'm quite surprised that we hear little about No 7 on blogs, especially as Lisa Eldridge was the Creative Director for them up until recently and we all should bow down to anything she puts her name against. Other reasons I'm so surprised of it's absence from blogs is that they offer a colour matching service for foundations so there's no 'mistakes' and of course I'm sure we all have purses bulge with money off vouchers from our other other numerous beauty purchases.

Being the inquisitive soul that I am I wanted to see if the reason for the lack of coverage from fellow beauty bloggers was because it quite simply wasn't up to scratch or it was just a brand that is overlooked. Armed with my latest pile of vouchers (which were replaced instantly on making my purchases with more!) I hit Boots to see what I could find.

No 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser link

I have been using Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish for as long as I can remember and it's a simple and effective part of my skincare regime. It works a treat for me and whilst I've educated myself about using cleansing balms of an evening C&P is still my No 1 go to for a morning cleanse. 

For this reason it seemed natural to see how No 7's quite obvious homage to this holy grail product compared. Firstly my favourite element of the C&P is it's one pump distribution of the product. It takes out the guess work (especially on early mornings) and opportunity to use more than necessary, No 7 have the pump sorted although they offer theirs in a 100ml bottle Vs 200ml of Liz Earle coming in a tube - which I'm not a fan of. 

Next we have the price difference. 200ml from No 7 is £9.95 and that's without any offers in place, the equivalent from Liz Earle will cost you £24.75 - that's some saving. Of course 'money is no object' when it comes down to products you're applying to the skin (in an ideal world) and Liz Earle will undoubtedly trump on natural ingredients but in terms of how both products physically compare I can tell very little difference.

I've been using No 7's Hot Cloth Cleanser for about a month now, mixing up between morning and night and my skin is left feeling cleansed, soft and without irritation or break outs. There's a slight scent, which isn't unpleasant but might put some off (but the same came be said about C&P) but I would certainly say if you're on a budget this is one to try.

Your No 7 cleanser will come with the standard muslin cloths to use but I discard these and reach for my flannels instead.

No 7 Beautiful Skin Pore Vacuum Mask 

Since my appointment with Caroline Hiron's I've ensured that at least once a week I tackle my blackheads with a clay/mud mask. She'd also given me the go ahead to spend as much or as little on them so I thought No 7 Pore Vacuum Mask was an obvious and safe choice. This was pricier than I would have expected at £14 (before discounts) but I liked the fact it was a peel off version unlike many others available. 

I actually came straight home, cleansed my skin and popped this mask on to give it a try and was quite shocked with the results… and not in a good way! Firstly it's texture is very thick and like applying paint to the face but this wasn't too unusual. It instantly begun to tighten and cool the skin but so far nothing untoward. After 10 minutes I took to the bathroom to begin peeling away my mask and that's when the trouble begun.

Unless the distribution is spot on parts were still thick and wet that they wouldn't peel and others were too thin that I was having to literally scratch away to remove them. There were one or two areas that I had a sense of elation and could peel away a portion but in the end I was juggling fingertips, cloths and considering living with whatever mask was left on my face as I was just about ready to give up ever removing it.

I don't have particularly sensitive skin but my cheeks especially felt tender and sore, whether from the mask or my excessive scrubbing to remove I wouldn't like to say and whilst my skin felt smooth and brightened as one would expect from a mask it was no a pleasant experience - the whole removal took nearly 30 minutes!

I decided to give the mask a second attempt to try and see if it was initial user error but quite frankly I'm ready to ditch this straight in the bin. I carefully applied layers trying not to be too thick or thin but again after the 10 mins I was unable to remove it cleanly without the assistance of a cloth and my skin felt like it'd been unpleasantly abused.

This mask says it's suitable for all skin types but I'd hate to see what it would do to someone with sensitive or dry skin. If you're super oily it may be just what you need but definitely use with caution.

No 7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation link

I'm pleased to say I'm ending on a good note and a big thumbs up for No 7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation. I believe this is the newest foundation from No 7 and whether a coincidence or tick in the sales target box was the formula the assistant teamed me up with. 

I don't know about you but I hate trying to match foundations myself so I loved the nifty machine which matched my shade to Deeply Ivory and was spot on. The sales assistant asked my shade and formula preferences and picked out this for me.

No 7 claim this to be 'life proof' (what does that even mean?!), '24 hour wear' and 'flawless coverage with a barely there feel'. Whilst I cannot comment on 24 hour wear - who wears their foundation for 24 hours - it certainly holds up to a day in the office. I find with most products whatever their longevity claims if I were to head out from work I need to put some touch ups in place but otherwise I'm completely satisfied. 

Offering a light-medium coverage which you can certainly build up it does actually give a barely there feel as they offer. I'm becoming more accustomed to wearing foundation lately but at the weekend whilst giving this its final test for this post I put nothing on but this and was forgot it was there and fooled into believing my complexion is really as flawless as it looked. I like nothing better than allowing my skin to breathe at weekends so a foundation really needs to have a lightweight feel for me not to reach for the cleanser within the hour if I'm just sitting at home.

The packaging offers both good and bad points. I actually enjoy it's compact plastic bottle (usually I'm a fan of something more luxe) which I think would be perfect for travelling with no danger or smashing glass. Sadly it doesn't have a pump but just a small opening which you dispense the product from which makes for some messiness inside and around although it is easy to distribute from.

They advise using fingers or sponge (again does anyone still use sponges?) but I go with the Real Techniques buffing brush and/or fingers for a flawless base and it has been my go to foundation since I purchased it.

So that's my round up of what I've tried from No 7 and I'm not too disappointed with my findings. I'm quite keen to try some more from the make up ranges but think I'll do some more research before I dabble in skincare again. I'd love to hear you recommendations if you have any, I think I already have some more vouchers burning a hole in my pocket.

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  1. There's something about No 7 that just doesn't excite me and I'm not sure why! I've tried a few products before and I liked them, but not enough to repurchase.

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

    1. I'm glad it's not just me wondering why it's so overlooked! x

  2. Hi Victoria,
    I have tried both the hot cloth cleanser - didn't like the scent, thought it seemed quite synthetic smelling, and the mask - which I absolutely hated. So difficult and painful to remove. Mine went straight in the bin as well.
    I did have my skin colour matched and bought the Lift & luminate foundation. The colour is great but I'm not wowed by the foundation itself. I do like No.7's eyeshadows though!

    1. Agree about the synthetic scent of the cleanser. And yes the mask is definitely one that should be removed from the shelves - I can't believe I haven't heard more shocking reviews about it.

      I'll have to try the eyeshadows next time I'm exploring the No 7 range.

  3. Hi I nearly always use No7 make up but not so much the skin care. I have used their lipsticks, powder, foundation, blusher for years. Mainly because of vouchers and I cant afford 'posh' brands.

    1. Glad there's someone giving the make up the thumbs up. I definitely think my next haul from there will focus more around the make up.

  4. I guess I never feel that it's a 'treat'; prefer the 'thrill of the find' at TKMaxx/Homesense.
    Mind you, foundation, that Holy Grail that I never quite find, well, might give that a go!
    Funny tho', I used to love their 17 (?) range when I was, um, 17, or there abouts. It always seemed fun, but No 7 just seemed 'old lady' stuff!
    Age, eh?
    Z xx

    1. I have a review coming up next week of a TK Maxx find actually although it's not somewhere I look for beauty products frequently. Do let me know if you try the foundation, it's definitely one I've reached for most often of late whereas often I'll use once or twice and try something else. x


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