It’s Giveaway time! Although I’m a tiny plankton in a very big sea of beauties, I’m so grateful to each of my sexy readers. As a little thank you and because I’m feeling a little loose, I’m hosting a giveaway – one of you sensual ladies will win an iconic YSL Rouge Volupte lipstick of your choice. All you need to do is either follow me on Twitter or Bloglovin’ to be in with a chance. I’ll be buying the prize and sending it personally so the giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway closes on June 19th 2014 so get your skates on, and good luck!
I’m not sure how I feel about doing an Empties post as I don’t think anyone particularly wants to see my bruised and beaten empty bottles which might have seen better days. However, I realised that quite often, when I chuck something out, it’s chucked out of my memory too because something else usually takes over and I easily forget about the gems over time. Anyway let’s get started!
Dior Duo Express Instant Eye Makeup Remover, £21.50
I bought this in a moment of sales assistant pressure-induced madness. This is one of those bi-phase removers which is excellent and does what it promises. It’s slightly more effective than its cheaper alternatives, you need much less of it and it’s noticeably much less oily but do you need to spend five times more than normal for an eye makeup remover? In a nutshell, no.
L’Oreal Eye & Lip Absolute Make-Up Remover, £5.49
Another bi-phase eye makeup remover but with a price tag much less likely to give my mum a heart attack. It does what it says, although I did get through this a lot quicker than the Dior and it’s a bit oily but I can handle that. It’s usually on a ‘two for £5’ offer at Superdrug so weirdly it’s cheaper to buy two. Not that I’m complaining, I’m just heavily confused. Anyway, it’s a great staple, and although it’s not perfect, it proves that you don’t need to spend stupid amounts to get a bit of mascara off.
Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Firming Night Cream, £14.99
Plumpy and surprisingly luxurious feeling, I really enjoyed using this. I can’t really decide if it did wonders for my skin (it MIGHT have been responsible for getting rid of my forehead wrinkle) but it was pleasant to use, the pump being a star feature. I used it almost every night for literally months on end so it ended up being a good little investment. There are far too many night creams I have on my list to try so this might be going on the back burner for a while but may well be revisited at a later date.
The Body Shop Satsuma Body Butter, £13 for 200ml
Technically this wasn’t completely empty but it was beginning of smell a bit funky so I turfed it out along with the other empties. Satsuma is my all time favourite Body Shop scent and I’ve been through a couple more tubs of this in my time. The world and his wife had tried one of these body butters so I don’t need to tell you how good they are.
Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash, £6.50
After the plethora of rave reviews I read about this, I succumbed to the peer pressure. The scent, I can confirm, is to die for. It really does make Monday mornings a bit less depressing and helps put me in a good mood. My only gripe was that it didn’t foam as much as I thought it would. I really do love a good lather and this just didn’t do it. But the smell alone alone is enough for a repurchase and it lasted a good a couple of months even with Mr TBL helping himself to it every day.
For years, I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect eyeliner combination and I’m excited to say I have finally found it. If you like the smoothness of liquid liner but hate the mess, like the intense staying power of gel liner but can’t find the right brush, or if you like the ease of felt-tip liners but don’t like the dragging you get after the first few uses, you will adore this combo.
I stumbled upon this method completely by accident after my L’Oreal Superliner Perfect Slim ran out of juice. I’d had it a couple of months, and while I liked it, it very quickly became a bit too dry. The liner wasn’t as intense as I’d like and I had to go back over the line to get a bolder finish and it really lacked the gliding consistency that eases the process of winged liner. I then reached for the Maybelline gel liner pot but I was struggling to use any suitable brushes. I needed a very slim nib but the hairs on my precision liner brushes were splaying and made the whole thing a bit messy.I was going to chuck away the defunct L’Oreal Superliner but had the genius idea of dipping it into the Maybelline gel liner and using it as a brush instead. Oh my golly gosh, it was the perfect combo. The nib is perfect, long and pointed so you can get your line as thin or thick as your dreams desire. It’s stiff enough so it doesn’t flop all over the shop, staying where you need it but has enough give to glide effortlessly along the lash line. The gel liner is creamy, intense and thick enough so you don’t get the dreaded print on your eyelid, which is usually liquid liner’s crime. Plus the staying power is unlike anything else I’ve used. Since discovering this devastatingly glorious combo, I’ve not once messed up my winged liner even when I’ve been in a rush. These two really are the perfect winged liner combo – if you have a similar felt-tip eyeliner on its last legs, I implore you try this dreamy duo!
First up, just a little disclaimer as I’m aware that people other than my mum read this blog. This is my skincare routine which obviously works for me and helps keep my skin clear and glowing (I have absolutely no base makeup on my face in the photo above) but it may not work for everyone, so don’t like, hunt me down if your face falls off if you entertain my suggestions. But people are always commenting on my skin and I always get questioned about what I use so I thought I’d reveal my routine.
Now for a bit of background, I don’t tend to suffer from breakouts apart from a couple of hormonal spots around my chin now and again. I don’t know if that’s genetics or having a good skincare routine but I’m guessing it’s a combination of both, although I’ve definitely had compliments on my bare skin left, right and centre since I ditched the face wipes and learnt how to clean my face properly. My skin is on the dry side and isn’t particularly sensitive which means I can be pretty heavy handed without suffering too many consequences. My nose is the only area that gets a bit oily during the day and I’ve had a lifelong, rather unsavoury battle with blackheads which I’m finally winning. I’m 26 so I’m at the stage where I want to be preventing signs of ageing rather than treating them.
I blast in with the first step in my skincare routine after I have a hot shower to allow my pores to open, prepping them for the impending attack. I dampen my face with warm water and apply an exfoliating wash. I often switch these up day to day, currently I’ve been using Lush Let the Good Times Roll or Clean & Clear Morning Energy Daily Facial Wash, however my all-time favourite is Sanctuary Brightening Facial Radiance Exfoliator which gives a bit more of an industrial clean. I rub in the scrubbies for a minute to polish my skin, soak a white face cloth in hot water and press it on my skin for 30 seconds, sometimes longer if I’m feeling patient. Then I carefully rub off the face wash in circular motions until it’s all off. I cannot stress the importance of face cloths enough, I’m certain they’re the reason my skin has been transformed from ‘okay’ to ‘fabulous’. I get mine for about 50p each from Asda, and get through one a day before chucking it in the wash. I follow up with a toning spritz such as Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz and wipe off the excess with a cotton pad. Next is eye cream or gel (I don’t really have a favourite but have been using Clarins Eye Contour Gel or Clinique All About Eyes) and moisturiser with an SPF if I’m heading out such as Una Brennan Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Skin Defence Daily Moisturiser or an SPF-free moisturiser if I’m choosing the hermit lifestyle for the day – I really like Clarins Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Correction Cream.
If I’ve been wearing a lot of eye makeup, I’ll remove it first with a cotton pad and some kind of bi-phase eye makeup remover. I’ve tried the drugstore and high end offerings and they all do the same job with varying degrees of greasiness. I’ve been using both Dior Instant Eye Makeup Remover and L’Oreal Eye & Lip Absolute Makeup Remover. Once the bulk of my eye makeup is off I’ll go in with a micellar water to take the rest off. Again, Bioderma, L’Oreal, whatever, I’ve not noticed much difference between them and don’t feel the need to spend much dosh on this particular stage. I’ve been loving the jumbo sized Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. Once my face is largely free of slap, I like to use a cleanser with something a bit special going on. If my skin is feeling dry I want something rich and moisturising, so I’ll use Champneys Super Rich Cleansing Balm (review here), if I want to brighten my skin, I’ll go for a cleanser with some kind of fruit acid like Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean and if I simply want something fresh and soothing it has to be Sanctuary Fresh Faced Purifying Wash. Again, I’ll gently work these in with a hot face cloth and wipe off. Sometimes I’ll then spritz on some of the same toner I use in the morning. Then at bedtime, I delve into my little collection of bedside treats. This really helps when you’re tired as everything is within easy reach. First I pop on some serum (I’ve been using Korres Wild Rose Brightening & Line Smoothing Serum), then eye cream (yet to find one I love but I’ve been using No7 Beautiful Skin Overnight Revitalising Eye Balm), then moisturiser or oil. I really like Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Night Firming Moisturiser and This Works Active Oil For The Face. A slick of Reve de Miel lip balm then it’s finally sleepy time!
TWICE A WEEK
After my nightly cleansing, I’ll follow it up with some kind of microdermabrasion product, I love the more industrial strength exfoliation but my skin can take it. I either use The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion or Vitage Antioxidant Micro-Exfoliator to get a proper polish on. When it comes to moisturising at night, twice a week I’ll not do any of it and just use a glycolic acid treatment instead. I use Olay Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir at the moment.
ONCE A WEEK
In the evening I’ll treat my face to a face mask, usually something clay-based. I find these make a massive difference when my face is looking a bit lacklustre. Current favourites include Una Brennan Super Facialist Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask (review here) and Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. Otherwise I’ll use something acid-based like REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask or the absolutely stunning at-home facial peel, Philosophy Microdelivery Peel.
TWICE A MONTH
Shock horror – a couple of times a month, apart from a quick cleanse, I put absolutely nothing on my face for 24 hours. No makeup, no moisturiser and no night treatments. I just like the thought of my skin breathing and having a well-earned break from it all.
ONCE A MONTH
As mentioned before, I’ve been plagued with blackheads for as long as I can remember but I’m now fighting back and tremendous success. I use Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips once a month which take out any lingering blackheads. If any are missed, I use The Body Shop Double Ended Blackhead Remover which despite looking like a Victorian torturing device, is a crude yet effective little tool.
I know this routine looks massive but it only take 10 or 15 minutes out of a regular day and I have seen massive results by taking care of my skin. Heck, even my big forehead line has disappeared and unless I’m doing anything special I don’t even have to bother with foundation anymore. Do let me know if you have any tips as I love trying out skincare products if they’ve been tried and tested!
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation BD60, £30.50
I won’t bang on too much about this as I have a full review with photos here. I’ve been loving this especially when the sun is shining, very nice!
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer 25, £5.99
I’m not sure what makes me reach for this every morning but it’s what I’ve been choosing over the NARS Creamy Concealer nine times out of ten. Its packaging is really similar, although feels a bit cheaper (probably because it is). It’s creamy, easy to blend and covers up the dreaded dark circles without being heavy. Be warned though, the packaging is horrendously leaky.
Max Factor False Lash Effect Fusion Mascara Black, £11.99
I’d run out of the regular False Lash Effect but the recent mass hype for it meant I couldn’t find it in any of my local Boots or Superdrug stores but I did find this ‘fusion’ version. Not sure what makes it fusion but it seems similar to its more popular cousin. Length, volume and no flaking – yes please sir. I especially love what it does to my bottom lashes (photo at the bottom on this post).
Sleek Blush By 3 Palette Lace, £9.99
This was one of these products that lurked in my drawer which I never really gave the time of day to. Well this month I have been bumming it with a passion, especially the coral shade, Chantilly and Guipure which is almost idential to the always sold out Rose Gold. The colours are so pigmented so I can see this palette lasting until kingdom come.
Sleek Brow Kit Dark, £8.49
This has been my eyebrow product of choice this month. Unless I’m in a massive rush I’ve been using this shockingly good brow kit every day. I’d swatched this on my arm and the wax literally didn’t rub off for about two days despite a few showers. I like to use the wax to lightly outline the shape and blend the colour into the hairs, then set with the powder. Includes two little brushes which I do use and a pair of tweezers which are quite honestly too frustratingly small to use.
Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow On and On Bronze, £4.99
I had this for ages but didn’t use/appreciate it until last month and now I feel like quite the guilty owner. But now I’m smothering it with love as well as feverishly smothering it on my lids. I’ve been using this every day as part of my daytime look and loving it. I simply swipe a bit on my lids with my finger and that’s it! The understated shimmer adds dimension without the hassle of blending in other colours, ideal for me because I’m generally lazy and in a rush.
Barry M Gelly Nail Paint Blue Grape, £3.99
I came across this when Gabby from velvetgh0st mentioned it in one of her videos. She said it would look insane on tanned or dark skin so I had to give it a go because it’s something I’d have overlooked. It’s fine with one coat but I prefer two but the colour is beautiful. I feared it would look too young and zany but it was surprisingly classy and unique – it’s true love.
I’ve decided to address my worrying spending habits and go on a bit of a makeup spending ban for a month or two but I thought I’d have one final hurrah in the form of a Bobbi Brown spree. Here’s what I picked up.
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Honey, £29.00
I’ve always been curious about trying a foundation stick but had dry, cakey visions a la 90s stick foundations. The Bobbi Brown version was the only one I’d really heard people raving about but I was still sceptical about how my dry skin would deal with a solid foundation. But when I heard it had been re-formulated and released as the new ‘Skin” version, enriched with shea butter, coupled with Wayne Goss’s sparkling review, I knew I had to have it. I had the lady at the Bobbi Brown counter do my face with it and I was sold. The shade Honey is a perfect match for my golden toned medium-dark skin.
Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach, £18.50
While I was getting my face put on at the Bobbi Brown counter, the makeup artist hid my dark circles by applying this corrector first. The shade peach is a, err, peach shade which is what I like to use to cancel out the darkness before applying concealer. It’s a similar shade to my Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfector (review here) but a little lighter and creamier. Not sure if I needed this but it was pay day and I was feeling loose.
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Honey/Pale Yellow, £24.00
The final thing I bought from the counter when I got my makeup done was this concealer duo which was used under my eyes, on top of the corrector. I’d heard so many good things about this and was definitely in the market for a high end concealer. I didn’t need much convincing and am excited to play around with this.
Bobbi Brown Nectar & Nude Eye Palette, £37.50
The next day Mr TBL and I went to John Lewis on Oxford Street to spend some vouchers we were given recently. I was literally begging him to indulge in some skincare products but he was weirdly timid. I finally convinced him to get a Clinique moisturiser but he told me to spend the rest on myself, how gallant! After an eternity traipsing around the beauty hall feeling very uninspired but in the market for an eyeshadow palette, I found myself at Bobbi Brown again buying the Nectar & Nude palette as the mix of nudes are to die for! It’s so pretty that I haven’t used it yet but I will be soon!