Sunday, 28 January 2018

Turn Heads This Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and along with the roses, romance, and ridiculously priced chocolates, comes the pressure of having something gorgeous to wear.

Whether you're stuck for inspiration or just want to make a break from your usual outfit rut, why not book an appointment with the Debenhams Personal Shopper?  Their expert advice and fresh pair of eyes will know exactly what suits your figure, and flatters your frame.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Foundation

Bobbi Brown recently launched a new liquid foundation, and of course I had to try it for myself. I have used very few of their products so I really had no idea what to expect. The sample shade I was given is called 'Warm Natural', described as olive tanned beige with yellow undertones, as I am almost always wearing fake tan.

On my first use I had a minor panic as I thought it was perhaps a bit too dark, however once blended out it actually matched my tanned neck really well. It is more on the yellow side which I love and it smells quite herbally, much like Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. It's not a strong scent and it's quick to fade once applied to the face.
As far as finish goes, this is matte but not dry nor cakey. It gives a more natural matte look to the skin, but on me I also look glowy and fresh; The brand describes it as 'multidimensional'. It also contains SPF15 and is paraben free, something which gets a big thumbs up from me. I have included two photos in this post, the first taken in artificial light, the other in natural light, and neither have any editing nor filters applied.


Monday, 22 January 2018

Your New Winter Essential: Dr Lipp Nipple Balm

We all know winter can be extremely harsh on our skin. Going from outdoors to indoors, and from freezing, windy weather, to central heated rooms takes its toll.

My skin doesn't look dry, but I have noticed a slight difference over the colder months, especially in my lips. There have been days when I've literally been able to peel a layer of skin off my lips (lovely), leaving them red and very sore.

The constant use of liquid lipsticks and drying glosses probably doesn't help either, so over the last 3 months I have been dedicating myself to the use of Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm. Yes, that's right, it is called nipple balm, bear with me,

Someone somewhere must have discovered that nipple balm, used by new mothers would be beneficial in soothing, moisturising and being an overall lifesaver for dry, cracked lips. You can of course use this wonder product anywhere you please, as its uses are pretty extensive; cuticle care, eyebrow taming, pigment mixing, eye glossing, to name a few.

Apparently it is favoured by make up artists all over the world because it's colourless, tasteless and basically a staple in any beauty guru's make up bag.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Make Up For Ever Primer Dupe

I am quite oily skinned, so primer is an absolute essential for me. I had seen so many people talk about the Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer and so off I trotted to my iPad to make a swift purchase. At £14.20 for 15ml, I had high hopes; Does it make your dinner? Maybe it also sweeps the kitchen floor.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Beauty Lookbook

After running a poll via my Instagram story, I have decided to go ahead and create a monthly post on my favourite make up look. I just thought it would be a bit different, as oppose to the constant reviews and recommendations.

Each month will feature a photo of the look along with a detailed product list of exactly what I am wearing. I post so many photos of my make up on Instagram and sometimes I get private messages asking what I am wearing so I thought this would be an easy way for people to find out all the details. Plus, the majority of the looks I do are really easy (because most of the time I am just playing around with make up) and so it may help others learn something new or perhaps gain some inspiration.

So for month one, I have decided to use the following look which seemed to gain a lot of interest over on my Instagram (which you should of course follow!). I'd also like to place a disclaimer, as I am by no means a make up artist, I simply enjoy make up and how it can transform not only your appearance but also your mood. So here goes...

Primer: LA Girl Pro HD Primer
Foundation: Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation in the shade Warm Natural
Powder: Kat Von D Lock-It Translucent Loose Powder
Bronzer: Too Faced Sweet Tea
Highlighter: Becca Champagne Pop
Blusher: Mac Melba
Brows: Benefit Ka Brow Shade 3 & Benefit 3D BrowTones in Shade 2
Eyes: ColourPop Dream Street Palette & ColourPop Flexitarian Highlighter on inner corner. Also, MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy smudged along lower lashline & Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner on top lash line.
Mascara: Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Waterproof
Lips: Barry M Minimalist Liquid Lipstick & Peaches & Cream Hunny Lipgloss

2017 Beauty Favourites

Now that we are well into 2018, I thought it was a good time to reflect on all the amazing products I was loving over the past year. I have so many favourites, but I have whittled it down to a small(ish) collection of both new and old finds that I was so impressed by.

I know by the time I publish this I'll probably have thought of even more that I should have included, but in all honesty, who wants to read a post longer than the Bible? I've tried to keep it relatively short but also included some details on each product, and why I love them. Enjoy!

Firstly, it's The Ordinary "Buffet" Serum. You would have had to have been living under a rock during the last year not to have heard of this brand. This serum is among their slightly more expensive products (£13), and features peptides such as Matrixyl 3000 (sounds like a powerful, petrol leaf blower) to stimulate collagen, and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. It's like a drink for your skin, and I am currently on my second bottle with another waiting in the wings.

Another product from The Ordinary that has become a staple in my skincare routine, is the Glycolic Acid. It's a 7% toner, so slightly stronger than the Pixi Glow Tonic which is 5%, and I use it every evening after cleansing. It's also cheaper than Pixi at £6.80. Basically, it dissolves the gunk that holds onto dead skin cells, so the result is a brand new, beaming, smooth complexion. This is my third bottle, and when I stopped using it for a while my skin came out in small congested bumps on my chin, so I really cannot be without it. 

I have also been really enjoying using the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask. It contains pink clay that shows tiny dots of everything that has been extracted from your pores when it dries, so satisfying! This is a little on the expensive side (£22), so I am trying to make the tube last as long as possible. It is however probably one of the most effective masks I have ever used.

Origins Night-A-Mins is a night cream that I have really grown to love.  It's mineral-enriched formula helps to slough away dead skin cells while you sleep so you look lovely and refreshed in the morning. It also has a relaxing aroma that apparently helps you to relax and because it's so thick you only use the smallest amount, meaning this rather expensive pot (£36.50) will last you a long time. I bought this around October time in a set that worked out such good value, and I am so glad I did.

I received a tube of Dr Paw Paw Original Balm in one of my many beauty boxes, and it's been my best friend ever since. You can use it anywhere but I mostly use it on my lips because it really works at soothing and helping to regain moisture. It contains aloe leaf juice and olive fruit oil, and even works on a little sore, imflamed area I get on my eyelid sometimes. You can also buy tinted versions for your lips and it certainly doesn't break the bank at only £6.95.

Anyone who knows me knows my Too Faced Born This Way foundation obsession. Well, my holy grail foundation became a bit too moisturising for my skin, and me being on the oily side I noticed it wasn't sitting as well as it used to around my chin area. Don't get me wrong, I still wear it on nights out as there's no SPF, so no flashback, and with the right primer it stays where it's meant to be. However, I did come across the Maybelline Superstay 24HR Foundation, and it's actually brilliant for the price. I got two shades, Warm Sun & True Ivory, and mix them as Warm Sun is quite dark, but the tone is great for fake tan. It stays put and I don't end up super shiny. It's only £9.99 too so it's a perfect everyday foundation.

Another foundation that impressed me last year was the Sleek Lifeproof. I have a full review right here so I won't go into too much detail but it's cheap (£8.99), has an extensive shade range, and looks gorgeous on.

Since my beloved Cornsilk loose powder (ask your Granny) was discontinued, I struggled to find a setting powder that didn't go dry, cakey, or oxidise. I bought the Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder on a whim, and haven't looked back since. It's translucent so doesn't affect the colour of your foundation, sets without looking heavy, and ensures my blusher and bronzer blend seamlessly. At £22 it's not the cheapest powder on the market, but the pot lasts a decent length of time and it leaves my face really silky smooth. You can't put a price on great looking skin!

Another absolute favourite product from 2017 are the Bare Minerals Buttercream Lipglosses from the Gen Nude Collection. If you love lipgloss, or even if you don't, definitely check these out. They give you a glossy lip with absolutely no stickiness, high pigment, and they won't make your lips peel either. Forbidden is my favourite shade, a gorgeous pinky nude, but Groovy is also high up on my list as it's a proper nude, perfect to pair with a smokey eye. They have such a wide range of nude shades and retail for £17. 

2017 for me was the year of colour shifting nail polish. I discovered a brand called ILNP, at the end of 2016, but my collection grew quite substantially over last year. Life's too short for boring nails, and I like to paint my talons in eye-catching colours. My favourite has been a shade called Cygnus Loop; a purple that also shifts between blue and green. Everytime I wear any of the polishes from the range, the compliments roll in. Although they aren't cheap at £11, they certainly don't chip as easily as other polishes and are easy to remove with normal nail polish remover.

ColourPop is another brand that has become a slight obsession for me. Their Flexitarian highlighter was one of the first of their products that I tried, and although it arrived smashed to pieces after its long haul flight from America, I still love it. Luckily, because of it's slightly damp texture, it was easily pressed back into the pan, and it has become my go-to inner corner highlight. It is so reflective and bright, I get asked what it is basically every time I wear it. You can use it on cheekbones too of course, but I mean it is one of those beaming from high Heaven highlights. It's also only $8, and is pretty big so it's well worth the money.

The LA Girl Pro. Prep H.D Primer was one of those products I bought, used once, then flung into a drawer never to be seen again. It was only when I came across someone talking about it on Snapchat that I thought I would give it another go. It works perfectly with the Maybelline Superstay Foundation at smoothing my skin, and I've been using it as my every day primer. It's only £6 too which is quite reasonable considering the tube is quite small.

Maybelline became my favoured mascara brand in 2017. I've lost count of how many tubes of Colossal Big Shot Waterproof Mascara I've brushed my way through. It holds the curl in my naturally straight lashes all day, and being waterproof, it doesn't budge or smudge. The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara is another winner for me, but only on my bottom lashes. After finding it didn't do much for my top lashes, I started using it to define the lower lashline and because the wand is like a comb, it's very precise and does a great job at lengthening, without a clump in sight. Maybelline really give other cosmetic brands a run for their money, and at £7.99 each, these mascaras will definitely remain on my repurchase list in 2018.

A product that I purchased in 2017 and grew to be absolutely in love with, is the Iconic London Illuminator drops. It's basically the tin man in a bottle. Dab this wonder product on cheekbones or mix a tiny bit in with foundation for an absolutely gorgeous glow. I love liquid products like this as they tend to melt into the skin better than any powder ever could, so it looks more like a lit-from-within glow. They are £30, but I managed to get a bottle for £20 as they sometimes do offers so keep an eye out!

I am useless at moisturising my body, I pay more attention to my face and ensuring it looks hydrated and smooth, and less to my shrivelled up arms. I wear fake tan a lot, and coupled with the current cold air, my skin is feeling a bit neglected. I don't like moisturisers that take ages to dry or that leave me feeling sticky, so when I tried the Body Shop's Almond Milk & Honey Body Lotion, I knew I was onto a winner. Being a lotion, it's a lot lighter than regular moisturiser and absorbs into the skin reasonably quickly. I also sometimes mix a bit in with my fake tan when I'm tanning my hands to ensure an even application, and did I mention it smells absolutely delicious? At only £8.50 it's also a complete bargain.

This next favourite probably doesn't come as a big surprise to anyone, because this palette became the must-have palette of 2017. Of course it's the Jaclyn Hill X Morphe palette. I remember setting my alarm on my day off (dedication) to get up early and order this off Beauty Bay, and I am so glad I did. There is every colour you could ever need, and I am sure the quality and pigment is even better than other Morphe palettes I have tried. From watching Jaclyn's snaps when she was creating the shades, she basically tailored the formula to ensure maximum colour payoff. The only thing I don't like is how easily the cardboard packaging becomes dirty and it is extremely hard to clean, as you can see (sorry!). However, at £37 for 35 shadows that works out at just over a pound per shadow, which is absolutely fine by me.

ColourPop make amazing powder shadows, and I felt like I went a bit mad with them in 2017. I branched out and purchased shades I had never even dreamt of wearing, like bright pink, and tomato red. Love a good tomato. The blendability and colour payoff from these shadows is up there with the likes of Anastasia Beverly Hills, and they are a fraction of the price. I am not joking when I say you need to try these shadows, you will be hooked and you'll only have me to blame. They are $4...Yes, $4. Go! Go! Go!

I had been on an eyeshadow roll throughout 2017, and the Urban Decay Heavy Metals Palette was the last one I bought before Christmas rolled in. I have only used this a handful of times, because honestly, I have that much I forgot I had it at one stage. However, I am back in full swing and using away at it. It's a palette full of metallic shimmers and while this may not be to everyone's taste, it is certainly to mine. One side is packed with gorgeous brights, while the other features more neutral and warm tones. It retails for £43 usually, so I would only recommend buying it if you love intense, shimmery, gorgeousness.

Also in the Heavy Metals Collection are the Glitter Liners, and in 2017 I bought two. One in the shade Pyro (glittery white), and the other is called Punk Rock (purple with multi coloured sparkle). I love these for adding a bit of glam to any ordinary eye look and unlike the similar liner from Collection, these don't feel at all grainy or rough when they dry, there's no fall out and they really stay put. They are £15 each and are perfect for brightening up boring, old January.

Okay, we are nearly there! If you have gotten this far I really appreciate your patience. Philosophy's Purity Face Wash became my favourite cleanser of 2017. It doesn't create a moisture-removing, oil-stripping foam but it cleanses away leftover makeup that didn't quite get removed by my Micellar water, and leaves my skin soft and fresh. It's also super gentle around the eye area too so no stinging or irritation, phew! It is £8.50 for this 90ml bottle, and while the bottle looks ridiculous in size, it actually goes a long way as only a small amount is needed.

The Argan Oil Conditioner became my absolute saviour in 2017, as my dry ends were beginning to drive me mad. I have a full review here on why I love it so much so go over and have a gander. Did I mention it's a pound?

On to shower gel, and this Korres Water Lily Blossom is utterly divine. It has such a soft, clean scent and it isn't at all overpowering. There's no parabens, silicones, alcohol or mineral oil in sight, and it leaves skin feeling soft, refreshed and smelling delicious all for £8.

I love fake tan, and have tried so many over the years however 2017 saw me predominantly sticking to my beloved bBold, although I did discover another fantastic tan in November. However, bBold has been my number one for quite some time simply because it doesn't dry out my skin. At £12.95 it's actually a bit of a bargain and you can read more about it right here in my in-depth review.

BPerfect was my most recent tanning discovery and it gave me legs like a perfectly basted, golden skinned turkey. It was my tan of choice on my Christmas night's out, all one of them. But seriously, the Dark Watermelon shade gives the most amazing, deep tan and it dries really quickly. It is a tad drying on my skin though, but because of the tone and depth of the colour, I really do not mind. It costs £24.99 so it's on the more expensive end of the tanning spectrum, however you don't need to apply multiple coats to get a gorgeous glow. Have more of a read right here.

2017 was also the year that Bondi Sands changed our lives forever. Their Tan Eraser breaks down old tan, leaving you with a fresh canvas to start all over again. Yes it does work, I love it, and although it may be expensive (£14.99), you can't put a price on convenience. I wrote a full piece on it not too long ago which you can delve into here.

Lastly, is the Juvia's Place Mini Masquerade Palette. As you all know by now I love colour and this palette is brimming with just that. Between green, blue, purple and pink this palette certainly covers every colour craving, and it even offers intensely pigmented deep browns that don't turn ashy on the lid. It gets a massive thumbs up from me! There are swatches and photots galore in my review from last year. It's £30 and would be great for any of you who love neutral shades but enjoy switchng it up with some colour from time to time.

Okay, that's it done! I tried not to write too much but it's currently nearly 9pm and I still haven't got round to putting my face mask on. If you read right through to the end I really appreciate it and I hope you got something from it. If you have any favourites you found last year or more recently, feel free to share them in the comments below, I love recommendations. For now, I am away to uncover more favourites to tell you about this time next year!


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Glittery Eyes Without The Fuss: Touch In Sol

I love a bit of shimmer and sparkle, and try to look for products that don't require too much effort because I don't have time for glitter and glue every day.

Recently, I had been seeing a brand called 'Touch in Sol' cropping up on social media and ASOS's beauty section, and decided to try one of their 'Metallist Foil & Glitter' duos. They are a Korean brand, offering primers, mascaras, cleansers, these amazing eyeshadows, and so much more.

After some swatch research, I picked a shade called 'Margaret' and eagerly anticipated its arrival. The product is a double ended wand, one end holds the liquid, metallic eyeshadow, the other is the glitter. Both have an applicator built in to help with precise application and they distribute just the right amount of product.

Margaret is a coppery shade, and I was so excited when I pulled it out of the box. Touch In Sol suggest you use the liquid shadow as a base first, then layer on the glitter or you can use it any way you please. I followed their suggestion and after blending a crease colour and outer corner shade on my eyes, I went in with the liquid product.

It's honestly so pigmented you only need to use a small amount, and it is easily blended to get rid of any harsh edges. Soon after, while the product was still wet, I applied some of the glitter and again it was easy to apply. The glitter isn't like any other glitter I have tried, it is more like a foil. It seems to adhere to both bare skin and the liquid shadow really well, minimising mess.

It also blends out without looking patchy or uneven, and looks really smooth. I used my finger to pat it in so it stayed put and lightly blended out the edges. The effect was so pretty! It really does look like liquid metal on your lids, even in dull light it has a shimmery appearance.

I would of course recommend applying this product before you've done your foundation as with all glittery or loose pigment products, there was a tiny bit of fall out when I was blending it onto my lid. Nothing too bad, just some sparkle going AWOL.

I was in the bathroom admiring my eyelids under the bright lights, because it's amazing! The product doesn't transfer to your crease either which is something that can happen with liquid prouducts on your lids. If you really love glitter but don't enjoy the task of applying it, you should definitely give these a go. You could create a shimmery, metallic, glittery eye in about 5 minutes and you don't need to wrorry about it falling down your face during the day. There are five shades in this range, and I would love to own them all!

Touch In Sol is available on Cult Beauty.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

ColourPop: My Latest Order

ColourPop has to be my favourite eyeshadow brand, ever! I love playing around with many different colours on my eyes and rarely would I settle for a plain neutral smokey eye, so their wide array of shades make it so simple to jazz up my daily make up look.

The only issue I have with ColourPop is that it's not easily available here in the UK, so ordering it off their US site is the only option. Of course this also comes with the pain of high shipping costs and custom fees just to get it to your door. However, this doesn't put me off, and although I wouldn't order from their site too regularly because of this, I do bide my time and only place an order once in a while.

So what did I get this time? This order may be my favourite of them all, as I purchased all eyeshadows instead of lip or cheek colours. Firstly, I had my eye on their "Dusk 'Till Dawn" collection; a box containing six of their famous Super Shock Shadows. If you have never owned one of their Super Shocks, they are not like a standard powder shadow. They feel almost wet to the touch, and the pigment is like no other.

The shades within this collection are duochrome, so most of them colour shift when you wear them, and they look gorgeous! I am so glad I finally decided to buy this set, as it has now disappeared off their site, phew!

I also purchased the Dream Street palette ($16) which was created by Kathleen Lights. I didn't realise it was so small, so when I opened the box I was a bit surprised, but this doesn't bother me. The shade range within the palette is quite interesting, there are twelve colours and I'm sure I will wear all of them. There's a deep reddish brown, a metallic teal, and even a matte red, so the colour combinations are endless. You could create a soft eye for day or a more bright look for a night out, so for such a small palette it has a lot of colour combination potential!

Within my order I also chose some more of the ColourPop single powder shadows, as I have a few already and I use them almost every day. Their pigmentation is amazing, and because they are so cheap I am always in awe of how well they blend and maintain their colour. They also come in a pans much like a MAC eyeshadow, so they can be easily placed into a magnetic palette.

Finally, I also chose a single Super Shock Shadow in the shade "Cat Nap". This was one of the shades from ColourPop's collaboration with Laura Lee, and the profits from any of her creations go to Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organisation. Their Super Shock shadows are $5 each, while their single pressed powder shadows are $4, so you can't really argue with that. 

After posting some photos of my order on Instagram, I had a few messages regarding the postage and customs charges. ColourPop offer free delivery to international orders of $50 and above, which roughly works out at about £36. Then when it arrives in the UK, usually it will incur a customs fee. I have never been charged over £18 for customs, which I don't think is too bad. I only order from the site once in a while, and usually place quite a big order.

If you are worried about the charge, you could place an order for you and a friend and split the customs. I look at it as if the customs charge is basically the postage because the postage is free for a $50 order. If you don't want to order a lot, the postage is $9.99, and then the customs charge on top. I have also seen ColourPop do free international shipping, although this is quite rare, and you will still face a customs fee when your parcel arrives in the UK.
I am so pleased with everything in this order and although I definitely did not need it, it was a pre-Christmas order that I placed so technically it's a gift to myself... I also think you can never have too many eyeshadows, you have to have options, right?


Monday, 1 January 2018

The £1 Hair Conditioner I've Been Loving

My hair goes through quite a lot, between being rough dried with a hairdryer, constant curling, and numerous layers of heavy duty hairspray. Although I have been noticing a difference in the health of hair thanks to my Dyson Supersonic which you can read all about here.

It's due to the temperature of my hair curler and high levels of drying alcohol in the hairspray that I find my hair can become quite dull and dehydrated, especially the ends. I went on the hunt for some deep conditioning treatments a couple of months ago, and came across this Argan Oil conditioner in a Pound Shop, of all places.

I quickly scanned the ingredients, and saw castor, argan, olive, coconut, and avocado oils quite high up in the list so I decided to give it a go. Not to mention, the tube was a huge 300ml and it was obviously only a pound. Bargain!

From the first use I was so impressed with how silky and soft my hair felt. I only use it from my the mid-lengths to the ends to avoid weighing down the roots. There were no tangles, and my hair looked back to its swishy, healthy self again.

It smells lovely and fresh too, and the best part is you only have to leave it on your hair for around 3-5 minutes, so you can get on and wash the rest of your body in the meantime. 

I am almost finished this huge tube, and will definitely be repruchasing. There's also a shampoo in the range, although I didn't purchase it in fear of it being too much for my hair and leaving it a bit limp.

If you too struggle with dry ends and are looking for something intensely conditioning that doesn't weigh your hair down, you should give this a whirl. It provides a deep hydration and smoothing boost without having to leave it in for an inconvenient length of time.

I've tried so many different conditioners both cheap and more expensive, but I feel that this one really outshines them all, and now so does my hair!

If you don't have a Pound Shop in your area, you can also find it on Amazon right here! Go on, your hair deserves some (cheap) love.
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