Bioderma Alternatives: L'Oreal 3 in 1 Micellar Solution vs. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water | Review & Comparison

For years, whenever friends were visiting France, I would only request one thing; Bioderma. I'd like to think pretty much any beauty buff who's tried the infamous product has experienced the same desperate need to purchase the product in bulk, but the truth is that I probably had a bit of an unnatural obssession with the 'micelle solution'. So much so, in fact, that I ordered five bottles of the stuff when I first found out that Escentual had started stocking it, in the UK.
In hindsight, I suppose it was only a matter of time before UK 'drugstore' brands began producing their own versions of the increasingly popular cult product, and I finally caved in and bought the L'Oreal Paris 'Skin Perfection' 3 in 1 Micellar Solution a few months ago, when the last of my beloved Bioderma stash ran out. It wasn't quite the same, but at £4.99, it was far more affordable than the French import, and was available at my local Boots, so I was sold.
And then something happened; casually browsing the skincare range, in said Boots, earlier this week, I stumbled across this little find; Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. Although UK brands are seemingly becoming wise to the popularity of micellar solutions, it's hardly an oversaturated market, so I was pretty surprised to see another version on the shelves
It retails at the same price as the L'Oreal equivalent, and is double the size, so, naturally, I had to give it a try.
The Comparison:
L'Oreal's Micellar Solution is probably, out of the two, the most similar to the Bioderma original; it's a very liquid solution, although perhaps to a fault; the Garnier alternative is slightly thicker, and honestly, I find myself preferring it. My skin feels cleaner when I use the Garnier cleansing water, and I use much less of the solution to get all of my make up off. Having said that, this does come with a considerable pitfall; after using the Garnier solution, my skin is tighter, and I feel as though it could be quite drying, in the long-run; luckily, I use a very heavy night-time moisturiser, but without it, I imagine I'd have quite a problem. L'Oreal's solution doesn't leave me with this problem, and instead leaves my skin feeling refreshed. It also has a much more pleasant scent than Garnier's, but I'm not sure it's worth twice the price.
Overall? If you don't suffer from dry skin or have a very good nighttime moisturiser, I'd really recommend the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water; at the same price with double the formula of L'Oreal's, it's definitely the most budget-friendly, and whilst I find the bottle's claims of '400 uses' sound a little extensive, I don't doubt the formula goes much further than its competitors. However, if dry skin is a serious concern for you, L'Oreal Paris 'Skin Perfection' 3 in 1 Micellar Solution is the way to go; it's a much more moisturising formula, and although it requires slightly more product to remove all your make up (sometimes I end up using a cotton pad on each eye, if I'm rocking winged eyeliner, that day), it leaves your skin smoother, softer, and much firmer than the Garnier alternative.
L'Oreal Paris 'Skin Perfection' 3 in 1 Micellar Solution is available in Boots stores nationwide, or on their website, here, for an RRP of £4.99 for 200ml.
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is available from Boots stores nationwide, and here, on their website, for an RRP of £4.99 for 400ml.
Are you a fan of Bioderma, or are you still new to the world of micellar water? Would you try any of the drugstore offerings, or stick to the original?
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Escentric Molecules 'Escentric 01' Fragrance | Product Review

When it comes to perfume, I am a total bore. I have my favourites (Marc Jacobs 'Daisy', 'Alien' by Thierry Mugler, Vera Wang 'Princess', and, of course, 'Flowerbomb' from Viktor & Rolf), and I rarely try anything new. I tell myself it's' because buying a perfume you don't like is a pretty pricey mistake to make, but the truth is, I've been stuck in my florally, sweet-scented comfort zone for a while. However, after spritizing myself with 'Escentric 01' from Escentric Molecules a couple of months ago in Liberty of London's incredible fragrance department, it was love at first sniff. When three or four friends wanted to know what perfume I was wearing later that day, I knew I had to have it.
The lesser-known cousin of Escentric Molecules 'Molecule 01', it contains the same innovative fragrance as the original (Iso E Super, which interacts with your natural pheromones to create a unique scent), but with a much more peppery, sharper, undertone. Like the original, however, this creates a smell that lingers, resurfacing now and then to keep it fresh, and keep the compliments rolling in.
The travel size will set you back £38, including the case, with refills costing around £27, so it's a worthwhile investment. It's pretty great to know I can just throw my perfume into my handbag/suitcase without having to worry about it shattering, and it looks pretty good on my nightstand, too.
Obviously, with perfumes, I'd always recommend you go and try it out before you make the commitment to buy, but I'd definitely suggest you make a beeline for the Escentric Molecules stand next time you spot one (the only stockist I can seem to find is Liberty of London or Harvey Nichols, but if you know of any more, please do share!).
Escentric Molecules 'Escentric 01' with the travel case is available in Liberty of London, or on their website, here, and from Cult Beauty, here, for an RRP of £38.
Are you in a perfume 'comfort-zone', or do you like to try new scents?
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Be My Valentine | Nail Tutorial

francesca sophia's hand, with white polish on her finger nails and pink glittery hearts painted on each one
Oops, two nail posts in a row - and featuring the same polish - I'm such a bad blogger!
I really wanted to share this look, though - it's a cute, fun little salute to Valentine's day, and is much easier to replicate than it looks. Personally, I'm having a Girls' Night In with my housemate this Valentine's, so I felt like this was an appropriate way to get into the mood. 
from left to right; cellotape, scissors, pink glittery nail polish (models own northern lights), and white nail polish (models own hypergel in white light), all lying on a floral duvet
All you need to replicate this look is a pair of scissors, some sticky tape, and two nail polishes (you could always mix it up and use a few different colours, if you wanted to, though); I used Models Own HyperGel in White Light, and 'Northern Lights' from their Wonderland collection. 
a piece of cellotape folded in half, over a girl's finger a piece of cellotape folded in half, over a girl's finger, with half a heart shape cut out
The first thing you want to do is prepare your heart stencil; to do this, take a piece of sticky tape and press one end of it over your forefinger of your less-dominant hand (you'll need the other one to cut with), and fold the piece in half (as shown above), looping the end around the other side of your index finger. This will make it easier to unfold the tape when you're done. Now, you just need to cut half of a tiny heart out of the folded piece of tape, and unfold your stencil; hopefully, it should look something like the one below.
a piece of sellotape with a heart shape cut out of it
The rest is pretty simple; paint your nails with two coats of your base polish, and allow to dry thoroughly - I'd recommend giving them at least 30 minutes, otherwise the adhesive on the tape with ruin the finish. Then, stick your piece of tape over the top of your nail, placing the heart wherever you'd like it to go (I did mine all slightly off-centre because I thought it looked cute), and paint two coats of polish over the top of the stencil, being careful not to move it around too much. I used glitter polish just because it dries so much quicker, so give it a few minutes to dry if you're using a regular polish. Once it's dry to the touch, peel your piece of tape away, and repeat on the rest of your nails. I'd just run out of top-coat when I did mine, but if you have it, it'll really increase the wear of your Valentine manicure!
francesca sophia's hand, with white polish on her finger nails and pink glittery hearts painted on each one

What are your nails wearing this Valentine's Day?
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