Cheap beauty?

So, if you haven’t gathered already from the contents of my haul videos on YouTube, I tend to have a small budget for things. It’s not really a habit I have deliberately, but I just can’t get past my frugal standards. This is something I’m going to talk about generally on my other blog, Reconstructive Demonstrations (and I’ll pop the link here when it’s uploaded), but here I’m going to focus on the beauty end of it.

I tend to buy cheaper versions of items first of all, as a test run, then if they’re absolutely no good, I upgrade to a slightly more expensive version. I never jump in to the £30 lipsticks and the £50 highlighters, because if I can get more bang for my buck with cheaper products, I will stick to them. I reckon, with certain things, it was probably cheaper in the end to begin with more expensive products rather than starting from rock bottom, but I will say that you won’t see me reaching for the Asda Smartprice shampoo, so I’m not that frugal!

An obvious pro: saving money, as just discussed. This is especially apparent for me when I’m clothes-shopping; yes, often there is a discernable increase in quality with more expensive clothing, but it’s very disproportionate when you’re talking £100+ on items that aren’t hiking boots, for example. When you’re talking tops, T-shirts, or leggings, there’s really not much need (for me, anyway) to immediately spend £50 on one, because the quality simply can’t increase fivefold from that of a £10 top; the quality increase does not reflect the increase in price, in general, if you ask me. I’m a pretty clumsy person, so I always run the risk of spilling stuff on my clothes, or catching or ripping them, and there’s no way I’m dropping a lot of money on something I know I might easily destroy in a matter of seconds. If you’re more upmarket with your purchases though, do your thing! There’s a good side to how you less thrifty folks do your shopping!

The biggest disadvantage: apart from sometimes having to go through five different shampoo types till you find the formula that works for you? Sometimes I settle for products; if there’s a better version out there that is outwith my budget, I generally don’t give in to my demons and purchase it, but rather live with what I’ve got. It’s ridiculous sometimes, when I have that block that says “oh, you can’t possibly spend more than £5 on a good skincare product; you just don’t have the money!” because 1) good skincare is the one thing I recommend investing in, if you have more problematic skin; chances are the cheaper stuff isn’t going to be as effective for you, and 2) I do have enough money to do that, happily. But I just can’t bring myself to do it sometimes! This has improved now that I’ve generally got a bit more money than I used to – my default maximum price I’d pay for things is increasing for most items, whilst still not becoming sky high.

I suppose it’s just trying to break out of that lifetime habit of having to watch my pennies – all my life I’ve been content without having to buy into the designer and high-end products, so I tend to want to retain that attitude, but I know I can relax it a bit and my wallet will still be grateful. It means I won’t have to deal with lipstick that fades quickly, dry shampoo that doesn’t do its job properly; I won’t have to forgo eyeshadow simply because what I buy is not long-lasting enough for my oily eyelids. I’m not going to start buying high-end products, because it’s really not ‘me’ to spend so much on one product, but there’s no harm in spending a bit more to get something that really works for me.

Now I’ve just got to tell myself that!

What about you? Do you have too low a budget to get the beauty products your heart truly desires? Do you think being cheap isn’t effective in the long run? Or do you think it’s ridiculous to scoff at the idea of a £30 lipstick if it’s a really great product? Let me know your spending habits!

Until next time,
Sascha x


Shampoo Review.

Over the past few months, I’ve tried out a few different shampoos and conditioners in a bid to find something that will work for my very oily-prone hair that doesn’t seem to want to appear very nice, shiny, or healthy, even on the day it’s washed. I have a few problems that I have to keep in mind when choosing shampoos – for example, despite the oil, I rather unpleasantly also have a dry scalp and lots of flaking – and I try to follow all the tips I read about having greasy or prone-to-grease hair (not washing with hot water, not using a towel for a prolonged time while drying, leave to air dry, don’t keep the product on the hair for a long time… the list goes on!), but I don’t find them very successful for me and my hair, so I’ve been trying to find a product I really love to keep these problems in check. Here’s a quick review of some of the latest products I’ve been trying.

For a couple of months, I used the Alberto Balsam Herbal Shampoo in Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner (both 400ml). I’ve been a fan of the brand for years (I usually use the Green Apple version for hair prone to oiliness, but was finding it lacklustre recently) but this was my first time trying these specific products. The website describes the products as such: “Alberto Balsam Herbal Shampoo Tea Tree Tingle is perfect for when your hair needs a bit of extra nourishment, this tea tree shampoo gently cleanses to energise and replenish moisture, leaving your hair looking and feeling fabulous.”

An additional benefit is for the scalp, which the website doesn’t mention at all – the primary reason I chose this product of all those in the range was the fact that it advertises itself for “healthy hair and scalp”. Because of the dryness on my scalp, the skin can become tight, sore, and flaky very quickly.

I found that the shampoo did soothe my scalp a lot, thanks to the tea tree, but be careful you don’t get it in your eyes – it does more than ‘tingle’! It helped reduce the dryness and flakiness of my scalp immediately, but the effects don’t last quite as long as I would have liked and after a few months, there was virtually no effect at all – I don’t know whether the whole ‘desensitization’ of hair to using the same products has any basis in truth, but I found with this product, and some other shampoos in the past, that the overall effect on my hair definitely became less and less as time went on.

The conditioner was not very good at detangling my hair, but the combination of both products definitely worked wonders for the overall condition of my hair. I’ve found that with some shampoos, my hair can be oily the next day or even the same day I wash my hair, but these products drastically reduced the oiliness of my hair – I had nice, clean hair that was able to be worn down for two days usually. My hair felt light and unburdened for most of the time I was using them, and I found that the color of my hair was a lot brighter too.

The 400ml bottles are only £1 each. In Scotland, and I think the UK, you can buy them in most supermarkets and drugstores. I know some people have reservations about cheap shampoos, but Alberto Balsam themselves claim (note I’m not a complete sucker for choice words in advertising, by the way) that “[a]s with all Alberto Balsam products Alberto Balsam Herbal Shampoo Tea Tree Tingle uses ingredients common to much more expensive products and leaves your hair with a firm natural scent; perfect for when you need to exude awareness”, and I am frankly too frugal to have disregarded them before giving them a try. The packaging of the bottles doesn’t scream ‘cheap’, the products have lovely rich smells, and they did their job (for a while). I was definitely pleased.

As I found the effects of the Alberto Balsam to be ‘wearing off’, so to speak, I decided to move on to a different shampoo; this time I selected Timotei Pure, an organic green tea shampoo (250ml) and conditioner (200ml) that have 0% silicones, 0% parabens, and 0% colorants – all the ingredients that it is apparently good to avoid putting on your hair. You can buy them in Superdrug for £2.99 each. The packaging is also 100% recyclable – a nice bonus! Now, I feel it’s almost unfair to give these products a review, as I did only use them once, and I was heavily disappointed in the result – BUT, a few factors mean that I am not ready to put this in the bin quite yet! Since my hair’s a bit unpredictable in terms of how lank and limp and greasy it’s going to look after washing, depending on what I do at each step – how much product I use, how hot the water, how long I leave it to air dry, everything mentioned earlier – I think a few of these spoiled the overall result. I intend on giving them another run, though I have been hesitant because I haven’t wanted to have to deal with limp hair any more often than I should! I’ll give a full, proper review when the time comes, but it’s safe to say I wasn’t exactly impressed with these.

The last product of this review, and the one I am most impressed and happy with, is perhaps surprisingly a Head and Shoulders product. Perhaps unsurprising when you take into account my dry scalp, but of course I have to be the weird person whose hair seems to dislike the organic products! I’ve used Head and Shoulders in the past – it’s often been my brand of choice – and when I saw that they’d released a version that is specifically “for greasy hair that needs some conditioning”, I jumped at it! A problem I’ve had in the past, through my own fault, is avoiding conditioner entirely, thinking it bad form to put moisture back into my oily hair, but of course, all that means is that my natural oils are stripped out, and the scalp and hair become starved, so overcompensate by producing too much oil to counter that. So to use a product designed for hair that needs some, though not intensive, conditioning seemed perfect for me. I use the ‘2 in 1’ version (you can buy this in Boots, Asda, or Tesco for £4.99 for a large 450ml bottle).

Packaging is average – I don’t think we expect elegant or particularly appealing designs from this brand. The product has a citrus scent, which falls on more of the pineapple end than the lemon that I usually find citrus scents smell of. It’s not an overbearing scent, and it doesn’t linger for too long a time. What I found with this product is that I can use quite a lot of it on my hair (usually using too much means my hair is overloaded, since it’s a fine texture) and it stays lightweight, shiny, soft, and not appearing greasy or limp. Result! The best combination for me is using this product and then blow-drying my hair, after using some heat protectant, of course! (Air-drying my hair adds to the ‘limp’ appearance.) I’ve been loving this product, and now that the bottle’s almost empty, I’m definitely intending to repurchase this. I can only hope that my hair doesn’t become ‘accustomed’ to it too much, because I’m glad I’ve found a product that, combined with the blow-dryer, will not fail me, which for me is no small feat!

I know many people are not very impressed by the Head and Shoulders brand, especially because of the presence of SLS and other things, but I’m fairly impressed because it works for my hair. What more could I want? 🙂

What shampoos have you been trying out recently? Have you tried these products in particular? What did you think of them – do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?

Until next time,
Sascha x

What’s In My Bag?

The first time I filmed a What’s In My Bag video, I hadn’t long started my channel. The video was dull because I was sitting in a place with crappy lighting, my hair was wet and in the way, and I was using a lot of stuff I’m not now using regularly. So with all that in mind, I decided to film a new one!

I find these videos interesting to watch, because I’m nosy like that; I like seeing what other people carry around with them daily, whether they use a small or large bag, handbag or backpack, etc. I like seeing whether people carry a whole load of makeup around or none at all. I like that they’re an ordinary peek into people’s lives, and I get to see the variety in what people deem necessary to lug around on a daily basis.

With all that philosophizing out the way, here’s my video. 🙂

Thank you, as ever, for reading my blog and watching my videos; it’s nice to know people out there are at least clicking over, if not watching or reading the entire post. I know I just do this blog just for fun, but it’s nice all the same whenever someone registers interest. 🙂

Until next time,
Sascha x

Chatty, Slightly Out Of Focus Collective Haul!

Two posts in one day, sorry about that! But since I posted a video on each channel today, it’s only right I also write the two accompanying blog posts today too 🙂

On DOTK I uploaded a collective haul video – makeup, clothing, notebooks, and another cute surprise! As I said in the video, it will most likely be the last haul video I do for quite a while; I’m in a bit of a financial pickle (nothing too drastic!), so I won’t be making many frivolous purchases. So I will be injecting some novelty into the DOTK channel, I hope, since I won’t be able to put haul videos on there!

And yes, as you can read from the title of either this post or of the video, it’s out of focus! The camera I use to film doesn’t have a flipscreen (I spotted a lovely one I wanted to buy, but of course, financial pickle, boo!) so I filmed the entire thing before realizing I’d been sitting slightly out of focus. Luckily you can still see the items – nothing is really compromised – so I hope you don’t mind that! I would have refilmed it but it was a long haul, and I’d been filming other videos that day too.

Anyway, here’s the video, the last haul in a long time:

The video does play; I’m just not sure why it doesn’t have a thumbnail!

Until next time,

Sascha x

Slightly Belated (!) Avon Haul.

I filmed this Avon haul a few weeks ago. Put it this way – I got my new order this morning, and it comes every three weeks, so I must have filmed it two or three weeks ago, but I just got around to uploading it now because somehow, in the midst of rearranging my bedroom, I managed to lose the laptop I edit my videos on! It’s a very old laptop and doesn’t close properly, so I put it away in a careful place to stop it being stored precariously, but I’d forgotten where that was! Luckily, I did find it, so here’s the video I filmed then:

Another haul video will on its way fairly soon, but I was strong with the Avon order this time and didn’t order anything! I discovered very recently that my bank balance is dangerously low, so I’m pretty much not buying unnecessary stuff from now on until I can get my finances sorted out. I guess this does cause a problem with the YouTube channel, because the bulk of my content on the channel is haul videos. But it will hopefully get me out of my comfort zone a little bit and trying some new things! It will too get me finally uploading the product review I wrote ages ago, and writing some new ones!

Hope you enjoy the video, and until next time,

Sascha x

The next chapter

Hello, and welcome to the new blog for my YouTube channels: Dance of the Knights (, and Fanciful Reality ( !

I’m not altogether positive that I’ll be using this page all too often, as I plan to only use it for when videos are  simply not enough to include everything on the subject at hand (for example, to post travel photos to accompany a travel vlog or discussion). However, this plan may change, so keep your eyes peeled!

Danceoftheknights is my beauty and fashion page, primarily. It was originally my hub for everything, and as such it contains some tag videos with facts about me, and some vlog videos. It shall go on ahead as a fashion page. Not that I’m too knowledgable about fashion – I like to keep things simple and ‘my’ way. I don’t personally post about fashion shows or designers or anything like that, but I do talk about make up and skincare products. It’s not a very serious endeavor, but just something silly that I started to get more confidence with filming, and continue to do for fun. 🙂

Fanciful Reality will include the type of ‘bloggy’ videos that I had planned to revamp Danceoftheknights with – non-beauty and -fashion related topics of discussion, from current events to travel diaries, and much more!

I hope to find my feet with this very soon, and I hope that you like what you find, stick around, and enjoy the experience too! See you soon,

Sascha x