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.
When 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!
Another 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.I 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
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?My 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.
You 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.