Review: The Body Shop Lip Scuff

26 January 2015

body shop lip scuff body shop lip scuff

Plump, pillowy and smooth are not words that anyone would use to describe my lips (that would be my post-Christmas stomach). Rather, I’d use the the more unsavoury adjectives of shrivelled, dry and rough, which isn’t helped by my love of Sahara-desert-inducing matte lipsticks. I’ve been trying everything to inject some life into them, but nothing seems to work long term. My lips will form a scaly, peeling texture (do you feel sick yet?) most days which does not translate well under bold or matte lipsticks. I usually use the Lush sugar lip scrub beforehand but my pot has got to the point were I have to dig in with my finger and it gets stuck under my nails, which makes me feel a bit horrible.

I stumbled across the Body Shop Lip Scuff when I was buying yet more lipsticks I’ll probably never wear. Being in a lipstick-like form, it’s perfect for anyone else who’s averse to sticking fingers into messy pots, you just twist it up and rub it over your lips.

From what I gather, it’s made mainly from coconut oil – it’s solid at room temperature and gently melts into your lips on contact with heat. The little exfoliants within the stick aren’t too rough but do a decent enough job of smoothing away dead skin, helped along with lanolin and marula oil, which help condition dry lips. It’s also minty, so leaves a pleasant cooling sensation on the lips.

Long term, this hasn’t really improved the condition of my relentlessly dry and scaly lips but it’s definitely something I reach for when I’m doing my makeup and decide to go for a matte lip. I still use the Lush sugar scrub in my evening cleansing routine every few days for a more industrial effect but I really like the Body Shop lip scuff as a quick fix at the dressing table. I just pop it on, leave it for a few minutes and wipe off with a bit of micellar water on a cotton pad. Like I say, it won’t work miracles but it’s perfect for prepping your lips before lipstick with minimum effort.

The Body Shop Lip Scuff is available in Body Shop stores and online for £8.00.

3 Rules for a 5 Minute Face

15 January 2015

makeup time saversWhen I’m pushed for time or just can’t be bothered with a full face, there are a few rules that I follow to make sure I don’t look like I’ve just rolled out of bed and straight onto the bus.

Don’t underestimate eyebrows
Neat, filled-in eyebrows make a surprisingly big impact on your face, making you look instantly more groomed. Have you ever done a full face of makeup and not put your eyebrows on? See?! Getting brows perfect can be time consuming, so after sorting out any kind of all-over base (if I’m wearing any), I always do eyebrows next to get them out of the way. There’s nothing worse than trying to get them done when you literally have 30 seconds left to hurl yourself out the front door. Don’t bother with a brush or wax or shadow – a brow pencil is your friend here. Lately I’ve been using the Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike (review here) to fill in my weirdly short eyebrows which has an extremely useful spooly on one side and a dark brown pencil on the other.

Forget the foundation
Obviously some people will recoil in horror at the thought but if your skin allows it, ditch the foundation. Trying to get a flawless base in less time it takes Usain Bolt to run 200m is, unsurprisngly, impossible and will only end in rage-inducing cakey disappointment. Instead, use a perfecting cream (I love Garnier Miracle Skin Cream – review here) which you can slap on in 20 seconds, instantly perking up your complexion.

It’s in the eyes
Hide all evidence of your hectic schedule by focusing on brightening your eyes. For me, my biggest issue is dark circles. Making sure my under eye area is well moisturised, I take a brightening concealer (usually something like Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer (see it in action here) or Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer) and pat it into my skin in a triangle shape. When you’re in a massive rush it’s absolute clown shoes to think about eyeshadow – arm yourself with a pair of eyelash curlers and a lengthening mascara instead for a wide-awake fresh look. Keep away from anything too volumising – thick lashes and no liner or shadow will just look weird.

Remember to keep a tinted lip balm or a sheer lipstick in your handbag that you can deploy once you’re on the bus – and there you go! An acceptable face in no time at all. I hope you’ve found these tips useful – I’d love to know what you do when you only have 5 minutes to put your face on!

Review: Topshop Brow Pencil Spike Brown

14 January 2015

topshop brow pencil reviewtopshop brow pencil reviewAnother day, another eyebrow product to try out. I’ve been using the Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike pretty solidly for the past few months. On the days when I can’t be bothered with my Anastasia DipBrow, this is all I’ve been using and it could well become a staple.

As far as finding the perfect eyebrow pencil goes, I don’t think there is one, however the Topshop offering comes pretty close. I love any eyebrow pencil that comes with a spoolie anyway but this pencil is legitimately great. You can see from the photos that the colour isn’t 100% right but it’s not enough of a big deal to keep me up at night. It’s almost there, which for a cheap-ish pencil is quite impressive.

A lot of people like much harder, waxier textures (perhaps like the Soap & Glory Archery pencil) – the Topshop one is much more pigmented and doesn’t require as much exertion to get the colour translate onto the skin. However, it certainly isn’t so soft that it will end up all over your face. Because it’s a little softer and more pigmented than a lot of other eyebrow pencil, it blends out nicely with the spooly, I especially like the effect it gives at the front of the brows which can easily go horribly wrong otherwise. And because it needs sharpening, you can always make sure you have a sharp point for more precise work – something that a lot of wind-up pencils struggle with.topshop brow pencilI will say that this isn’t the one for the gym or any strenuous activity as the tails will slip off – you’d better stick to a waterproof wax for that. I do MUCH prefer this to the Soap & Glory Archery and the Sleek Eyebrow Stylist (review here) – it’s one of the best budget options I’ve found.

On a side note – MAC do a brown eyebrow pencil also called Spike which I had a few years ago. I’m guessing it didn’t make enough of an impact for me to repurchase – you might be better sticking to Topshop’s Spike.

Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike is available at Topshop, John Lewis and Selfridges for £6.00

Review: Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils

4 January 2015

maybelline velvet lip pencil reviewmaybelline velvet lip pencil review
2014 seemed to be the year of the lip crayon and with good reason. If like me, you’re rubbish with lip liner and lipstick but still want to look like you’ve at least made a bit of an effort, lip crayons and pencils are your friend.

When Maybelline released the Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils, I was so excited to see a drugstore matte pencil that I bought five of them completely blind. We’ve got In with Coral (a neon coral pink), Red Essential (a blue toned, deep red), Fab Orange (an orange-red), Nude Perfection (a brown toned nude) and Berry Much (a deep reddish purple). I think there are 10 shades in the collection so you are guaranteed to find something that tickles your fancy.

These pencils are easy to apply and extremely pigmented. I’d say that In with Coral is almost too pigmented – to the point that it’s a bit too intense and creamy. It covers absolutely every trace of your natural lip line so you’ll need a steady hand otherwise you’ll end up with clown-face. I get a few hours of wear with these but I would recommend you moisturise well before putting these on otherwise they do drag a bit and look a little dry. But with a little lip balm on underneath, these pencils are creamy, comfortable and a joy to wear. The finish isn’t completely matte – there’s a little bit of sheen which stops your lips feeling like the Sahara but it’s by no means glossy.

A lot of people moan about these needing sharpening rather than being twist-up but personally I like that as it means you always have a sharp end – and with such intense pigmentation, you need it. Yes, you do end up wasting a bit of product but at less than a fiver each can we really grumble?maybelline velvet lip pencil reviewmaybelline velvet lip pencil reviewMy most worn shade is, unsurprisingly Nude Perfection. It makes me look ‘done’ but isn’t over the top. If you’re after a nude that isn’t pink – try this one. My favourite one however is Berry Much which I whip out on the weekends – it’s striking and sexy but I don’t feel too self-conscious wearing it. As for the other three, I tried them for the first time taking these photographs and I was flabbergasted at the loveliness of Red Essential. To me, it’s basically a much easier to wear version of Ruby Woo. A darker, blue toned red that will look good on literally anyone. The only one I don’t like is In with Coral – I’m sure it would look absolutely hot on other people but for me it just looks wrong. It’s far too bright on my skintone and the texture like I mentioned above is far too intense. Weirdly, I quite like it in the photo but in real life it’s a no from me.

I’d recommend these in a heartbeat, especially if matte lips are your thing. It’s nice to see the high street taking matte lips more seriously – well done Maybelline.

Has anyone tried any of the other colours? I’d love to see what they look like on.

Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils are available from Boots and Superdrug at £4.99.

The Best of 2014

3 January 2015

best of 2014You might have noticed a lack of festive posts on TBL so I thought I’d bid farewell to 2014 by revisiting my most popular posts according to Google Analytics. This idea is totally ripped off from Jen, aka British Beauty Junkie so go check hers out if you haven’t already.

Interestingly (actually not that interestingly), the top posts were all reviews and month after month there wasn’t much change in the most popular ones. Reviews are my favourite to type of posts to write and read so hopefully they’re yours too – otherwise you might want to skip this one. Looking at this type of stuff is useful too for knowing what people are searching for and gives me an idea of what sort of products or brands to review. It also gives me a chance to revisit products that I loved at the time and have forgotten about since – much more sensible than buying yet another neon pink lipstick that I’m never going to wear.

Review | YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat
My most popular page by far was my review of the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat foundation. I loved this over the summer and wore it pretty solidly for a couple of months. I’m sad to say I’ve barely used it since August as it’s a little dark for my winter skin but come spring, I’m definitely going to whip this one out again.

Review | Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Patina
This lipstick breaks my heart every time I see it in my drawer. I LOVE the colour and the smell of this – it’s the perfect nude for my skintone. However, I was never able to get on with the texture of it once it dried. Dry, peeling flakes are not my thing but I’m keen to persevere with it – everyone else seems to love these lipsticks.

Review | Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful CC Superfluid
Another one that I used constantly earlier in the year but recently has been relegated to the back of the drawer. Looking back at my review, I can see why I loved it so much and it’s something I’ll give more attention to on days when I want less coverage.

Review | Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfector Orange/Yellow
Ah, this was one of my first ever reviews and one that still gets a lot of page views. Although not a popular product in the beauty world, it really is a gem. I use it on days when I want my complexion to be flawless and is one of the few truly orange correctors that counteracts darkness that I’ve come across.

Review | Rimmel 3D Plumping Topcoat
I don’t know what possessed me to turn up the exposure on these photos in such a garish manner – I can only assume I was pretending to be P Diddy at the club and wearing sunglasses indoors. Anyway I have no idea why so many people Google this topcoat but there you are. I can’t say I’ve used this since as nothing has topped my beloved Seche Vite – soz Rimmel.

Motivational Monday #6

22 December 2014

healthy foodIt’s been over a month since my last Motivational Monday and I wouldn’t blame you if you assumed I’d fallen off the wagon and have been spending my days in front of the telly shovelling a share-pack of Tangy Cheese Doritos down my gullet with no actual intention of sharing. Surprisingly though, you would be wrong.

If you read my last Motivational Monday, you’ll know I was getting back into running in the mornings which was great – I was feeling energised and was losing weight steadily. But in the back of my mind I knew that all cardio and no weights wasn’t going to get me the body and general health I truly wanted. I kept putting it off until a friend of mine put me in touch with his personal trainer. I’d never had one before and although I was curious to try, I didn’t fancy squirming unattractively on the ground while a big buff man barked orders at me. But, as the saying goes, a shy baby gets no milk.

So, I’ve been doing three sessions a week with my personal trainer for the past two weeks and it’s been an experience to say the least. The sessions are intense and exhausting and half the time I feel like I’m going to vom, but as he says himself, if it was easy we wouldn’t be doing it. No two sessions are the same which keeps things interesting; I’ve been doing a mixture of running, sprinting, boxing, weight training, high intensity interval training, core exercises and everything in between. He’s also given me a diet plan, educated me on supplements and generally got me in the right mental head space.

Surprisingly the sessions aren’t particularly embarrassing. Do enough squats in someone’s face and you get pretty comfortable pretty quickly. It’s just been a relief having an expert tell me exactly what to do, how long for and when without having to think about it or getting stressed out about it. Before, I’d go to the gym and just mill around not really knowing what to do and end up doing yet another treadmill run.

I have spent most of the last fortnight in astronomical pain and aching in places I didn’t know existed. But otherwise I’m feeling good. I don’t want to weigh myself just yet but I can definitely feel my clothes getting looser and my posture feels better. And more importantly, I genuinely feel stronger. I even did my very first weighted sit-up yesterday – these small steps really are more important than what the scales say.

Diet wise, he recommends the ‘Bulletproof’ way of eating which is basically Paleo. It’s not for the faint hearted but luckily I have dabbled in Paleo in the past and generally live a low-carb life so the transition hasn’t been too bad. The photos above show some of the things I’ve been eating – lots of eggs, oily fish and vegetables.

Obviously personal trainers are expensive but if you can afford it I’d highly recommend giving it a go, especially if you need a little motivation or feel a bit overwhelmed at the gym. If you’re shy like I am, I promise you get over it before the end of the first session, and no, he’s not looking at your bum when you’re planking! (I sincerely hope not anyway).

Empties #4

18 December 2014

beauty emptiesI hate to start yet another blog post with yet another apology but my photos have been shocking thanks to the total absence of any daylight. I’ve got an empties post today which is about as festive as Gordon Ramsay’s mood on a bad day. Is anyone else feeling a bit fed up with all this Christmas stuff? I know I am.

Garnier Miracle Skin Cream, £12.99
(Review here) I love this and wear it pretty much solidly in place of foundation. Brilliant skincare option for the lazy girl.

Repurchase? Already have

Nivea Daily Essenitals Express Hydration Primer, £4.99
(Review here) Another great product for the lazy girl. Are you sensing a pattern? A moisturiser and primer in one, and super fast drying – I always have one of these in my stash for when I’m in a rush.

Repurchase? Already have

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, £4.99
You’re probably sick of hearing about this micellar water so I won’t go on about it too much. A good, reliable staple that should be in everyone’s skincare collection. Even if it’s just to clean up blusher explosions in your makeup bag. It’s a monster size for less than a fiver (and relentlessly on offer) so no need to be shy with it.

Repurchase? Already have

Clinique All About Eyes, £42 for 30ml
This was a free sample, which despite its tiny size, lasted an absolute age – a little goes a long way. It’s got a cooling gel formula and it’s everything you’d need in an eye cream – smooth, hydrating, quick drying, reduces fine lines, makes your concealer go on better. Not sure it reduces puffiness and circles as it claims to but it’s nice to use nonetheless. However I’m not loyal to one eye cream, and I’m not keen on the finger-pot action so probably not a repurchase.

Repurchase? No

Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Makeup Remover, £3.59
(Review here) I clearly enjoyed using this when I reviewed it. However, as time went on, I found that speed at which it separates became even quicker and I ended up using unequal amounts of liquid to oil, causing disaster and reduced effectiveness, and rather a greasy finish. The search for the perfect eye makeup remover continues.

Repurchase? No

Burt’s Bees Refreshing Lip Balm with Pink Grapefruit, £3.69
I don’t know how excited you can get about lip balms but this was nice enough. It’s not going to set the world on fire but it is moisturising, smells delicious and doesn’t leave an overly glossy appearance. Perfect for chucking in your handbag or keeping by your desk. I rarely repurchase the same stick lip balm over and over, I prefer to try different ones each time so probably not a repurchase.

Repurchase? No

Sleek Eyebrow Stylist Dark, £5.99
(Review here) I found this colour to be a bit off for my eyebrows and not quite pigmented enough. However, since writing my review, I’ve found the Sleek Eyebrow stylist is actually quite nice to use on the front parts of the eyebrows, if like me, your eyebrows don’t start close enough to the middle of your forehead (this probably makes no sense). I’m still very undecided as you can probably tell.

Repurchase? Maybe

Review: Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment

17 December 2014

glamglow supermud reviewglamglow supermud reviewHere ye, here ye. Today’s review is of the fairly overexposed Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment – which I’d relentlessly been hearing about and agonising over the decision to buy it. But as Aristotle himself said, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I snapped up the 30ml version as part of a gift set at Marks & Spencer a few months ago which came with the Youthmud (I can’t remember exactly how much it cost but there was an offer on, making the set cheaper than buying the Supermud on its own – so keep your eyes peeled at M&S – they have surprisingly good beauty offers on now and again.

I’ll cut to the chase as all of you are probably aware of the ins and outs of the Glamglow mask. I’ve used this a couple of times and have enjoyed it each time. You can see from the photos my forehead and nose are a little less shiny and the pores on my nose look a bit smoother. It does leave my skin clean, soft, smooth and ready for makeup application, albeit a little on the dry side. However, I’m going to go against the masses and say that, for me, Glamglow isn’t necessarily worth the price tag. BUT I will point out that I have a pretty anal skincare routine and quite honestly, there isn’t a lot that will make my skin any better – it’s at its best ever right now. Nevertheless, I’ll keep using this before big nights out to get my skin as soft and smooth as possible.glamglow supermud reviewglamglow supermud reviewglamglow supermud reviewUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that most people rave about this mask and they’re probably justified. All I’d say is that if you’ve already got great skin, this isn’t necessarily going to stand out from the crowd as much as you were expecting. In all honesty, the Una Brennan Super Facialist Pore Purifying Clay Mask (review here) will do a very similar job at a fraction of the price (and without having to stick any curious fingers into any pots).

Apologies for my close-up gormless resting-face.

Please let me know how you got on with this mask – anyone else a bit on the fence?

The 30ml version is available a little cheaper at £34.99 from Look Fantastic here.

Review: Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush

7 December 2014

laura mercier angled eye liner brush reviewlaura mercier angled eye liner brush reviewlaura mercier angled eye liner brush review
If you read my eyeliner post a few months ago, you’ll know I swear by this winning duo. However, my liner life of late has been turned upside down with this purchase – the Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush. Take a look. You might be thinking ‘Er…I think it’s broken, you blind old bat’ but its bent shape makes it unlike anything else I’ve ever used.

Getting a thin line close to my lash line has always been impossible. You know that eyeliner meme with the eyes not matching? That is literally my life. Doing my left eye is always a traumatic experience and I usually have to set aside 10 minutes of my makeup routine if I dare decide to wear winged liner.

I’d heard that using a bent eyeliner brush makes the winged liner process a bit less time-greedy and allows you to get a better view of what’s going on. Needless to say I was keen to get my hands on one. A few brands do a similar brush (Smashbox, Elf and Coastal Scents to name a few) but for me, Laura Mercier is the easiest brand to get hold of in real life…but also the most expensive. It did take me several attempts to get hold of this brush as most places were sold out but I finally tracked it down in Space NK in Battersea – it was the last one in the store so there seems to be some kind of national shortage. Or you could just cut to the chase and get it online – you won’t be disappointed.

The Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush is made from synthetic fibres so it’s perfect for gel liners. I’m still using the Maybelline one (review here) every day and they are a match made in winged liner heaven. The handle is quite short too which you might feel will give you better control. I love that the tip is super fine and if you apply more pressure, you get a thicker line – ideal for creating the perfect outer flick. The bend in the brush somehow just works – I can’t explain it but it makes it impossible to mess up your eye look.

I’m LOVING life with this brush and get my eyeliner perfect in less than a minute. If you’ve ever struggled with eyeliner, I URGE you to pick this up. It will truly make the process a little less frustrating.

The Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush is available at Space NK, Selfridges and other Laura Mercier stockists and costs £16.

FOTD: Everyday Drugstore Look

5 December 2014

everyday fotdWhen I say minimal, don’t be fooled – it still takes me three and a half years to do this look. No matter how early I start my makeup, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll still be frantically hurling myself out the door in a cloud of panic and confusion. However, if unlike me, you have your shit together, you can do this look in 15 minutes so don’t let my bad example put you off.

I’ve been opting for less makeup recently, gradually weaning myself off heavy eyeliner, and most days I go foundation-free.

Apologies for the horrendous lighting – it’s dark when I get up, it’s dark when I get home and the spotlights make for extremely shadowy photos. Flash is all I had left.

Disclaimer: This is almost all drugstore products – the lipstick is MAC but I’m sure you’ll get over it.

COMPLEXION
Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer
Maybelline Instant Anti-Age Eraser Eye Concealer Nude
Soap & Glory Kick Ass Instant Retouch Pressed Powder
Sleek Face Form Medium
Accessorize Merged Baked Blush Scandal (review here)

EYES
Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner Black (review here)
Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara Black
Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Liner Black

EYEBROWS
Topshop Brows Pencil Spike

LIPS
MAC Lustre Lipstick Syrup

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