Sunday, 29 October 2017

Benefit Christmas Collection 2017

I love the pre-Christmas period when brands start launching their festive sets, full of cult favourites at gasp-worthy prices. I usually find myself looking out for presents for other people then thinking, "You know who'd like that? Me."

If there is one company that knows how to make a great set, it's Benefit. The number one premium beauty brand in the UK always packs its sets full of bestsellers and handy tips & tricks on how to get the most from its products.

This year is no different, and I've a couple of amazing gift sets to show you. I would, however, like to address a slight issue that has come to light over the last few days concerning the ever popular Gimme Brow. You may have become aware that all sets containing Gimme Brow, and the product itself have been voluntarily recalled by the company, over concerns the ingredients may cause irritation to the eyes. You are probably saying to yourself, it's a brow product not a lash product, and you would be correct, however, Benefit are taking no chances and have offered all customers a full refund if they feel uneasy with the idea of using Gimme Brow.

That being said, if used for its intended purpose there are no issues with Gimme Brow, and I really hope it doesn't put people off buying it in the future when it eventually returns to our shelves. It is rather unfortunate for Benefit lovers as the majority of the Christmas collection, along with various other sets had to be sent back to the company, including the amazing Brownanza that housed five full size brow products.

However, I have two beautiful sets to show you to cheer you all back up again. First up is the 'B.Right! By The Bay' globe shaped tin. The skincare tins are always amazing value and this year is no different. The set contains a full size Total Moisture cream (£33), a full size Browvo Conditioning Primer (£23.50), a mini It's Potent Eye Cream, and mini Instant Comeback Serum. The price? An amazing £39.50. So basically you are getting the lovely Total Moisture and paying £6.50 more for three extras. Fab isn't it?

I know a lot of people underestimate Benefit's skincare, but it really does pack a punch. It's a company owned by Louis Vuitton, so you know it's going to be of luxurious quality.

This next set is one of my favourites and you'll soon see why. 'City Lights Party Nights' is a generously sized make up bag containing a full size Precisely My Brow (Shade 3), a mini Dandelion Twinkle highlighter, and a mini They're Real Mascara and lipstick (Nude Scandal). This is priced at £24.50, a complete bargain considering Precisely, My Brow is priced at £20 alone.

I know that the Gimme Brow fiasco is a major disappointment for some, and the fact most of the Christmas offerings and the advent calendar are no longer available is a bit rubbish, but there are still some great sets available. It also means that the Benefit products you have on your Christmas list will probably have to be bought as full size, so it's not all bad!

You can have a peek at the rest of the Benefit Christmas collection right here!


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Tantastic Dark Liquid Tan: Hit Or Miss?

I always look forward to marinating in a fresh layer of tan and there's nothing I love more than waking up with a golden glow. So when I received a bottle of Tantastic in a goody bag from Fashion Fest (Which you can read all about here), you can imagine my excitement.

Even though I love my usual bBold tan I do like trying other brands, and although I have heard so much about Tantastic I have never had to the opportunity to try it for myself. I received the liquid tan in dark, and to be honest I was a bit worried about just how dark it would turn out... Was I going to be hazelnut or mahogany?

I completed my usual routine of exfoliating off old tan, moisturising elbows and knuckles and ensuring my skin was free of oils. I then applied a layer of the Tantastic liquid using my favourite tanning mitt of all time from Bellamianta. If you haven't tried this particular mitt, where have you been? Here's the link, you can thank me later.

Anyway, I found the Tantastic tan applied really easily, however, I tend to get dry patches at the top of my arms near my shoulders and I found this tan accentuated this. The rest of the colour looked great though and I was really happy with how fast it dried and how I didn't feel sticky or clammy.
Left to right: Before, immediately after application, and after rinsing the guide colour
I got a quick shower the next day to wash off the guide colour, and to be honest I was left a bit disappointed. I felt that a lot of the colour rinsed off in the shower even though I was quick with no scrubbing and I was careful not to use shower gel with any oils in it that would break down the tan. I did end up with a light tan that was lovely, but it was by no means the deep shade I expected from a tan labelled 'dark'.

I also found it made the skin on my neck slightly itchy where I used to be prone to eczema, something which I have only found with cheaper brands of tan. My skin wouldn't be on the sensitive side these days, so I was quite surprised.

In saying this, I had heard from a few friends that Tantastic was hard to remove when it begins the wearing off process. Although by the time it did begin to fade it didn't leave me looking patchy and I found any remaining colour was extremely easy to remove with my trusty exfoliating mitt and some Soap & Glory Pulp Friction.

Overall, I had quite high hopes for this tan but unfortunately I was left disappointed and looking like an undercooked chicken, instead of well roasted. It goes on well and looks lovely and deep following application, however it did cling to small dry patches and aggravated a small area on my neck. That's not to say this is a useless fake tan, because it's not. I know plenty of people who use this and love it, I just didn't have an amazing experience with it. I will probably use the remainder of this bottle on my legs at some stage and maybe give it another go on my upper half sometime, but for now I think I'll stick to good old bBold.

You can try Tantastic for yourself here.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

October Glossybox Mermaid Edition

It's that time of the month again, Glossy time! This month they jumped on the mermaid/unicorn trend that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and created two gorgeous boxes.

I didn't have a preference as to which box I received as I'm nearly sure the contents were the same, the only thing that differed between the two was the colour of the box. As I write this post, Northern Ireland is currently bracing itself for the arrival of hurricane Ophelia, and luckily for me, work was closed today so I was at home to greet the postman when he delievered my box of tricks.

The box I received is the Mermaid box, and it's a lovely turquoise and purple colour, two of my favourite colours. This month there are five full size products to play around with, including an eyeshadow palette, a blusher, and a brush cleaning egg.

I don't know if I am overly impressed with the contents this month, as I feel that since the box already contains a Sleek Cream to Powder blusher, it doesn't need the Bang Beauty Cream Colour, which can also be used as a blusher and on your lips. Two blusher products in one box is a bit of a cop out, plus the fact that I know not everyone wears blusher, so one would have been more than enough.

That being said, the Bang Beauty Cream Colour is really shimmery and pretty so it will probably be nice over lipstick or on its own for a bit of a gleam. The Sleek blusher is in the shade French Rose, and again it's a nice peachy pink shade that I could certainly see myself wearing.

The full size Lord & Berry Magic Brow pencil is tiny! It retails at £14, which is a bit steep considering its size. It is a nice colour though and seems quite soft and easy to use.

There's also a Makeup Revolution Mermaids vs Unicorns Eyeshadow palette in the box, and while it is full of lovely, playful colours, it contains both methylparaben and propyparaben, two ingredients I try and avoid. It's a shame as it has a nice variety of colours, but the ingredients list kind of puts me off.

Lastly, Glossybox have thrown in a Kawah Enterprise Brush Cleansing Egg. I already own a cheaper version of this that I got off eBay quite some time ago, and I must say they are pretty useful. The nodules and grooves help to dislodge old makeup and grime from your brushes while ensuring the bristles realign without causing any damage. I will find this product quite handy as I am not quite sure where my other one has got to.

Glossybox are also offering their subscribers the chance to purchase a limited edition sweatshirt, with either Mermaid or Unicorn stitched on the front. They do look really cool, and I was tempted until I saw the price; £29.99 for a sweatshirt. No thanks.

Photo Credit: Glossybox Instagram
Anyway, if after all that you would still like to sign up to Glossybox, you can do so here! This box seems to be a bit of a letdown but the majority I have received have been a bit more exciting. There's a sneak peek on this month's card inside the box, it shows a make up brush coming next month so I'll just hold tight until then.

Pssst! Glossybox also have an exclusive reusable beauty case packed with over 20 products, including three full size make up palettes! It's said to be worth over £200 and could be yours in an exclusive pre-sale for £59.99. You can sign up for an email alert right here.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Fashion Fest Derry | Strabane 2017

On Saturday 14th of October I attended Fashion Fest with my good (and slightly loopy) friend, Christina. Not really knowing what to expect, we got all dressed up and made our way to the Guildhall in the hope of an exciting evening. 

It's quite scary going to such social events as you just know there'll be plenty of high flying, big personalities dressed to the nines, but the buzz in the atmosphere soon put us at ease. We were greeted with complimentary drinks courtesy of West Coast Cooler, and a rather impressive goodie bag, packed with treats, both wearable, and edible.

The catwalk showcased designs from the likes of Mangu Pango, Shauna Fay, Haus of Mohawk, and one of the most successful British designers, Jenny Packham. I half expected the majority of the outfits to be very 'out there', high fashion, and perhaps not suited for just walking down the street on a normal day. However, I was pleasantly surprised, as with the exception of a couple of more eccentric pieces, most were extremely wearable, and I found myself saying, "I'd wear that", on numerous occasions.

Jenny Packham has dressed many famous faces, such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Taylor Swift and Angelina Jolie, so I knew her creations were going to be special. She was showing her 2017/18 bridal collection, and they were all breathtaking. She has mixed simple, elegant designs with sprinkles of super sparkly embellishment, and anyone who knows me knows I love a bit of sparkle! I just couldn't pick a favourite, as they glittered and shone under the catwalk lights.

Haus of Mohawk was another collection that really stood out for me. The unique urban feel is something I myself probably wouldn't wear, but the way in which masculine hoodies and oversized tshirts were paired with over the knee boots really caught my attention.

There were so many beautiful pieces from both established and upcoming designers, and I really enjoyed the insight into the fashion world. It was also great to see the make up created by Rosemary Wright on all of the models, and the bohemian hairstyles by Hair by Sinead. Two ladies I had the pleasure of meeting on a few occasions when I featured in Local Women magazine myself.

Tan, Outfit, Hair & Make Up Details

I searched high and low for a dress to wear to Fashion Fest, and just when I thought I'd end up wearing a bin bag, I found one of the most sparkly dresses I have ever laid eyes on. I got this Parisian dress from DV8, and as soon as I tried it on I knew it was perfect. It was simple yet enough to wear without having to accessorise it too much. I wore a pair of barely there nude sandals from New Look and paired it with an embossed black clutch bag from Forever 21, and I quite liked the overall look. The dress was comfy yet glamourous and it really caught the light, which I loved.

For my hair, I used my Babyliss Tight Curl Wand to make tiny, tight curls that fluffed out when I ran my fingers through them. It was verging on being an afro, but I enjoyed something a little different and I felt it matched perfectly with the fun dress. Not so fun trying to get a brush through it the morning after...

I stepped away from my usual, trusty, Bbold tanning liquid, and used the Bellamianta mousse (another successful Irish brand!). I really loved the colour and tone of the tan, and it was nice and deep, perfect for night time.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know how much I have been loving the Morphe X Jacyln Hill palette, and I think I've worn a different eye shade from the palette every day since I received it. There's just so many beautiful colours with the potential to create endless looks. I really wanted to wear a dark, smokey, navy eye and so I did a quick YouTube search to see if I could find any tutorials for inspiration. I came across a video from Kathleen Lights in which she used the warm, rusty shades in the crease and the deep navy on the lid, so I set out to recreate it and it turned out really well, even if I say so myself.

I also must mention one of the highlights of my night at Fashion Fest. If you follow Make up By Julie on Snapchat you'll know how popular she has become for her down to earth attitude and impressive make up skills. She is a local lady who has built up quite the following and I was lucky enough to meet her as the night drew to a close.

I felt about 8 years old asking her for a photo, but she is just such a character and extremely likeable so I couldn't pass up the opportunity. She had been sat quite close to me all night, so I knew I'd probably get a chance to speak to her. Luckily our paths crossed just before I was going home and we snapped this quick photo. She is just as lovely in real life!

The Goodie Bag

I find it's always a major bonus if goodie bags are provided at events, no matter how much junk is in them. This one was actually quite generous and was packed full of Irish brands, such as Tayto, RiverRock, and Free'ist. Not to mention, a make up brush from local makeup artist Rosemary Wright's very own collection, a bottle of Tantastic and a reasonably sized tube of Vita Liberata tan. I love fake tan, so the last two products were right up my street. I loved the mix of both food and beauty products, as I cracked open the sugar free chocolate and had a mid-show snack; I felt like I was at the cinema. The bags also contained the most recent issue of Local Women, and a £10 off voucher for a Vita Liberata spray tan at Rosemary Wright's Ashburn Image. So all in all, the bag was certainly not to be sniffed at!

Overall, Fashion Fest was a great night out and the buzz both in the run up to it and during, was fantastic. If you have never been I'd really recommend attending next year, as it's something different, and a great excuse to get all dressed up, plus you might even get a packet of Tayto Cheese & Onion in your goodie bag. What's not to love?


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Benefit: Sunday My Prince Will Come

How pretty is this set from Benefit? Not only is the pink and gold bag 'very me', it's filled with some of my favourite products.

Sunday My Prince Will Come, contains Galifornia, (my favourite Benefit blusher ever), High Beam, Gimme Brow, and They're Real Tinted Primer, which gives lashes a mink brown tint and defines without looking false. The make up bag is also the perfect size to chuck into your handbag, which I could really be doing with as inside my bag is a disaster.

The make up kit range also contains three other variations, all with different products and styles of make up bags. So you can pick one depending on your favourite Benefit products, although this may prove difficult because they are all so lovely.

These little bags of joy are priced at £27.50, which is quite good as although the products are minis, they are of a reasonable size. Within the other bags in the range there are some other best selling products such as, Hoola, They're Real, Porefessional and Rollerlash, to name a few. So you're sure to find one to suit you!

You can have a look for yourself here.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Warm Toned Palette Under £10!

Autumn is the perfect time to switch up your make up look and embrace some seasonal shades, and I think I've found the perfect palette if you are on a budget.

This NYX eyeshadow quad in the shade 'Color Riot', has all you need to create an autumnal eye, featuring three matte shades and a pressed pigment. The palette contains a warm brown, a gorgeous deep berry, and an orangey, yellow shade.

All three are quite pigmented and I was really surprised at how well they blended, however, the pressed pigment shade is a bit of a letdown. It's a cream colour with flecks of gold, but the sparkle doesn't transfer to the lid and it pretty much blends out to nothing. This doesn't really bother me too much as the other three shades in the palette more than make up for it. You could probably use the pressed pigment to subtly highlight your brow bone or set your lid before applying the other shades.


For £9 this is a great quad if you don't want to splash out on a larger palette for fear of not using all of the shades. It's also fab if you haven't tried a warmer toned eye before and are looking to experiment. You could wear one of the shades alone, or wear all of them together for a perfect smokey eye.

You can find it here!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

YSL Tatouage Couture Liquid Lipstick

Liquid lipsticks have been huge in recent months, and although they have great staying power, they can sometimes feel heavy and extremely drying. I love a matte lip but I'm always on the hunt for a good formula that lasts yet feels light; Step forward the new YSL Tatouage Couture range.

YSL have created 18 highly pigmented liquid lip shades that promise to deliver a matte lip with a naked lip feel. I'm generally quite dubious about products claiming to be light formulas, so I was really interested in putting this to the test.

I was kindly gifted shade 7, 'Nude Interdit'. The packaging is very sleek, and it's the applicator that really intrigued me. It's not the usual doe-foot that we are all so used to, it's flat and angled making it so easy to line your lips and ensure a really precise application. This also means there's no need for a lip liner underneath as it creates such a sharp, neat lip.

This particular shade is also right up my street, it's what a nude should be, my lip colour but better. In the photos below, you can see I wore it with a full face of make up and also another more natural look, and it looked great with both. It makes my lips look so full, and it's not a super matte, drying finish either, it's satiny soft. You almost forget you're even wearing anything on your lips, as it doesn't end up feeling suffocating and crumbly. You could wear this all day and have no trouble with it as even when it begins to wear off, it's an even fade. I did however, take it off half way through the day and reapply as I tend to get that line inside my lips, but I get this with every matte liquid lipstick I use.

I really like this product, especially the applicator as I find it so satisfying to apply. It's luxurious and light and one of those shades that goes with every eye look. Plus, with such an extensive range of shades available, there's a shade to suit everyone! I've also seen some of the new lip liners YSL have recently launched, and they look fantastic. I swatched a couple on my hand and they feel soft, and creamy. They are also really fine so you can be precise with your drawing. Oh, and finally, I spotted a matte top coat in a tube. You apply it over your usual lipstick to create a soft, matte finish. Perfect for autumn!

YSL Tatouage Couture are priced at £29 and are available at Debenhams now.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette

If you happen to have Instagram, you are probably sick to the back teeth of seeing this palette splashed across your feed recently. Having launched in America quite a few months ago, last Thursday was the UK's turn to feed off the hype and try and get their hands on one for themselves.

After originally being told Beauty Bay had no plans to even stock this palette, I was overjoyed to learn they had struck a deal and were to be launching it at the end of September. Not wanting to miss out, I signed up to be notified and sure enough, after setting my alarm for launch day, I woke up bright and early to ensure I was able to get one without any hassle. It also arrived within two days of ordering which I found rather impressive considering the volume of orders they must have received.

I thought the service and swift checkout on the site was fantastic, although I did see quite a few angry comments online bashing Beauty Bay for not being prepared for the numbers of people wishing to grab the palette, which has sold out in America on numerous occasions. Anyway, I have seen on Instagram that it's to be restocked this month on their site, so if you missed it first time around you've got a second chance. Hooray!

So the burning question is, is it really worth the hype? You know those products you've seen all over social media that you feel like you just have to have, yet when you finally get one for yourself it's not all that great? Well, this is certainly not one of them.

I know warm toned palettes have been extremely popular recently, and although they are beautiful I am kind of bored of the same shades being churned out again and again. That's why this Morphe palette really stands out for me, as yes, it does contain some warm shades, but it also has an amazing purple, forest green, and even a minty colour. It has a bit of everything and because of this, the variety of looks you could create are pretty much endless.

The packaging is also much different to usual Morphe palettes; it's cardboard instead of plastic, but it does feel solid and well made. It's also a really nice silvery white, which looks great but I've found it's quite hard to keep clean as you can imagine it gets covered in make up easily.

So onto the nitty gritty, the pigmentation. It's most definitely just as pigmented, if not more, than previous Morphe palettes, and from watching how picky Jaclyn Hill was on Snapchat when she was creating this, I feel like all her work has paid off. She did say she kept sending shadows back to the factory because they weren't the high quality she was hoping to create, so you can imagine how great the colour payoff is now.

The first photo is taken in natural light and the second is with flash, so you can see that the colours look great in any light. I used a couple of the shades on my eyes yesterday, and even though it was a pretty basic look, the shades blended really well and looked lovely. I am so surprised at how pigmented the turquoise shades is as it's completely matte and usually shades like that can be quite chalky. The palette also contains a black shadow which is notoriously a hard shade to get right, but Morphe and Jaclyn have got the forumla just right.

For £37 this is a such a good palette as you get 35 shadows, that works out at just over a £1 per shadow. Plus the quality is of that of a much more expensive brand. I'd say the next drop of these palettes on Beauty Bay will be another sell out, so be sure to sign up to their email notificiations, as that's what I did and I was sent a link to early access about half an hour before it went officially live on their site. Just make sure you're following Beauty Bay on either Instagram or Facebook as details of the next batch will be available soon.


Monday, 2 October 2017

L'Oreal Hydra Genius

Over the past year I have become really interested in skincare, especially serums. Serums tend to be more of a watery consistency than moisturisers, and therefore absorb into the skin a lot quicker.

As you probably already know, since I mention it in most of my posts, I would be more on the oily side of the skin spectrum. Because of this I look for light moisturisers for daytime that sink in quickly, and don't leave a film on my face. L'Oreal Hydra Genius is a moisturiser-serum hybrid that looks, feels, and applies much like a serum, but provides the hydrating and soothing effect of a moisturiser.

This lightweight moisturiser contains aloe water and hyaluronic acid that hydrate and invigorate skin, and honestly it feels really refreshing. There are also three versions of this product, one for dry/sensitive skin, another for dry/normal skin and a third for normal/combination skin. Being quite oily, I opted for the latter version, only to find it contains methylparaben, a preservative possibly linked to breast cancer. It is quite low in the ingredients list though, so I have continued to use it as I do like the product and I don't particularly want to throw it away.

On closer inspection, I found that neither the formula for sensitive skin, nor the normal skin version contain any parabens, something that I find quite strange. I do try and check most ingredients lists before I buy anything these days, but somehow this one slipped through the net. I decided to just buy the formula for dry/normal skin for when I have finished my current bottle, simply because it's free from nasty parabens. I'm hoping in the future, L'Oreal will start removing those chemicals from all of their products.

Another downside to this product is that it contains dimethicone, a silicone used in products such as foundations and primers. It does smooth skin and help to lock in moisture, but I wouldn't use this product at night as I just don't like the thought of applying silicone on my skin before I got to sleep.
You don't exactly feel the dimethicone when you apply it, and it is great for daytime as it provides a smooth base for make up, but I just prefer to use silicone free products in the evening. In saying that, dimethicone or any silicone for that matter does not clog pores as it cannot physically be absorbed by the skin, so there is no need to worry about it causing spots or irritation if you were to use it at night.

Overall, I do really like this product, and it is a cheaper alternative to much more expensive serums on the market, such as the Vichy Aqualia Thermal (£25), which also contains hyaluronic acid and surprisingly, dimethicone. L'Oreal's Hydra Genius usually costs £9.99, however, it is sometimes on offer for £6.66 for the 70ml bottle. It does provide lasting hydration, sinks in extremely quickly, and feels really refreshing in the morning, plus the bottle is a reasonable size and feels very luxurious.

You can buy it here!

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