Category Archives: Beauty

Save, Spend or Splurge: Powder Highlighters

12 October 2015

powder highlighterspowder highlighters
When it comes to highlighters, I’m of the opinion that more is more. Highlighter is one of my favourite makeup products and rarely leave home without a quick swipe on my cheekbones. And with so much choice around at hugely varied price points, I thought I’d pick out a few from my collection to suit a variety of budgets.

SAVE: MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder, Pink Shimmer, £3.00
When once highlighting powders could rarely be found on the shelves of Superdrug, now they are a lot easier to track down away from the beauty counters. At only £3, Undress Your Skin in Pink Shimmer is a pretty decent offering. It’s not the most finely milled nor the most pigmented but for the price, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better. This would work especially well on lighter skin tones, and the swirl effect is to die for.

SPEND: The Balm Mary Lou Manizer, £17.50
I don’t have to say much about Mary Lou, do I? Much like most of the blogging community, I love this stuff and reach for it most days. Mega shimmer might not be everybody’s cup of tea on an average day but I personally can’t get enough. The most golden of the bunch, this flattering highlighter is guaranteed to look beautiful on every skin tone. You can see it in action here, although my photo definitely doesn’t do it justice.

SPLURGE: Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder, Candelight, £35
Do you remember before Mary Lou came along and everyone used to rave about this? If I’m honest, I hardly ever remember to use this these days. When I looked up how much I paid for it, I must say it smarted a little. However, I’ll be making a conscious effort to use the Celestial Powder more often. You really notice how finely milled and smooth this is after swatching the previous two highlighters, and it does give an almost ethereal glow. If Mary Lou is too full-on for you, and you have cash to burn, try this out. It gives a gorgeous gleam without much shimmer which is difficult to find in cheaper products. Gorgeous colour too – not quite gold, not quite pink but somewhere in the middle.

Have you tried any of these highlighters? Which one is your favourite?

September 2015 Favourites

8 October 2015

sept faves 2september beauty favourites
I was actually flabbergasted when I realised my last favourites post was almost a year ago. There have been plenty of products I’ve enjoyed so I can only put this down to laziness. Soz! Anyway I’ve got all of my favourites on my face for demonstrative purposes above.

Anastasia Beverley Hills DipBrow Pomade, Dark Brown, £15.00

I’ve just reviewed this and you can find it here. Basically I hardly ever used this until I ran out of my last Brow Wiz (review here) and I haven’t looked back. Sweat proof, perfect brows.

Rimmel Glam’Eyes Liquid Eyeliner, Black, £3.99

I’ve probably gone through about 20 of these in my life but stopped in favour of pen liners or gel liners. After about a two year hiatus, I’ve come crawling back to Glam’Eyes. Yes, it’s very wet, messy and doesn’t survive more than a drop of rain, which may seem pointless for anyone in a maritime climate, but for precision and smoothness, it can’t be beaten. Perfect for flicks.

L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Oil-in-Cream, Dry Rough Hair, £6.99

You know when you’ve been out in the rain, and your hair has gone all frizzy and you don’t have time to wash it so you attempt to ‘just run the straighteners through it’ and it ends up inexplicably looking greasy and dry at the same time? Well, this stuff is the secret ingredient – it turns weather-beaten hair into a soft and shiny mane. Plus it can be used as a leave in conditioner for wet hair or as a pre-shampoo mask.

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, £17.50

I’m sure I don’t have to go on about this. Stunning, stunning, stunning champagne highlighter with no obnoxious glitter.

Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil, Nude Perfection, £4.99

As far as matte lip products go, these pencils are some of the cheapest, least drying and easiest to wear I’ve tried. Nude Perfection is literally, the perfect nude and has been my go-to lip almost every day. Thinking about it, I think this is the only lipstick that I’ve ever finished and repurchased. Full review of the range here.

Review: Anastasia Beverley Hills DipBrow Pomade

1 October 2015

anastasia dipbrow reviewanastasia dipbrow review
anastasia dipbrow review
If you’re sick to the gills of hearing “brow game strong” and “eyebrows on fleek” then you’re in good company. All I’m here to do is talk about good eyebrows without the infuriating lingo.

I’ve tried more eyebrow products than I care to think about it so naturally I had to try Anastasia Beverley Hills DipBrow Pomade. I’ve had mine for a while but have only recently been using it on a daily basis since I ran out of my Anastasia Brow Wiz (review here) and haven’t gotten round to replacing it.

In case you didn’t know, DipBrow is a waxy pomade in quite a dry and pliable texture. The best way to describe it would be like a chocolate bar that’s been sitting out in the sun, minus the mess. I bought mine along with the Anastasia Mini Duo Brush #7, which has an angled brush on one end and a spooly on the other.

The Anastasia colour ranges are almost too good – I put off buying this as I was unsure which colour would suit me best – it could have been Chocolate, Dark Brown or Ebony. In the end, I tracked down where I could see it in the flesh (Blow Ltd, if you’re in London) and settled on Dark Brown. The colour match is quite frankly, perfect, for my almost-black eyebrows.

A little bit of this stuff goes a very long way – be warned. The easiest way I find to use it is to lightly outline my eyebrows, extending the tail slightly then brushing the product though, from top to bottom. Because it’s got quite a dry texture, your brush doesn’t end up slipping all over the shop when outlining, giving you a decent amount of control. It takes a bit of practice but these days I can do my eyebrows with DipBrow in a couple of minutes.

The stand out feature for me is the longevity. I’ve put this on in the morning, gone to work, then gone out, gone to bed, woken up the next day, haven’t washed my face and gone to work again (don’t judge) and my eyebrows have stayed perfect when the rest of me was a mess. If there was a nuclear blast, all that would be left is cockroaches and eyebrows.

Personally, I absolutely love Anastasia DipBrow but I’m generally an eyebrows kind of person. If you are too, then I would highly recommend you get your little paws on a pot if you want that perfect look you see on Instagram. If you’re not that bothered about eyebrows then I don’t think it’s a necessity – you’d probably be better suited to the equally brilliant but user-friendly Anastasia Brow Wiz (review here).

A few tips should you choose to proceed:

  • DO use the Anastasia #7 or #12 brush. The angled side is VERY thin and relatively stiff, giving you all the control you need
  • DO dust your brows with powder before starting if you’ve got your base on – things will be less slippery
  • DON’T load up your brush with too much product

Anastasia DipBrow is available online at Cult Beauty and in store at Blow Ltd and costs £15.

Current Everyday Face: Before & After

28 September 2015

face 09
Hi guys!

My makeup life has been very boring of late, which is probably why I’ve been AWOL. But, I have been enjoying cutting down on the time it takes to trowel my face on every morning. The extra time has been spent hitting snooze another 20 times while attempting to stop the cat from sitting on my face.

My skin has been pretty parched and any kind of base makes it look like the Sahara so I’ve been skipping it altogether and opting for a richer moisturiser with a bit of concealer to cover my dark circles. Nothing too heavy – Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer does the job. It doesn’t cover the darkness completely but improves the situation significantly. I set that quickly with some powder, I’m liking Bourjois Healthy Balance at the moment. I also put a bit on my nose to stop it getting shiny during the day, and a little through my eyebrows to get rid of any moisture before I go in with Anastasia DipBrow pomade. I buff in some Benefit Hoola bronzer on my cheekbones, jawline and temples to warm up my face and balance out the lightness of the concealer under my eyes. Then, a quick slick of mascara – I’m not particularly loyal to one particular mascara right now but Maybelline Lash Sensational gives a nice separated effect, making me look a little less sleep deprived. Finally, a nude lip finishes my face off before I dash out the door. I keep going back to Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet lip pencil in Nude Perfection is literally the perfect nude (full review here).

And that’s it! This look takes me 10-15 minutes to do which is a welcome change to the previous 45 minutes I used to take!

Review: Seventeen Falsifeye HD Mascara

7 May 2015

seventeen falsifeye hd mascara reviewseventeen falsifeye hd mascara review
seventeen falsifeye hd mascara reviewLast year, I was hovering around the Seventeen stand in Boots feeling self conscious about being at least a decade older than the target market when the Falsifeye HD mascara caught my eye. The apparently untouched before and after photos looked unbelievable so naturally in my basket the mascara went.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t bowled over by this mascara when I first used it. It’s got a plastic spiky wand and the forumla is on the drier side, and I felt like it wasn’t doing much for my lashes. At the time, I was drowning in new mascaras so I chucked it to the back of the drawer and didn’t use it for months.

However, recently I was after a natural look so thought I’d use it – I was astounded by the results. I have no idea if the formula changed (it’s by no means a ‘wet’ mascara) or if I was doing something different, but its lengthening and separating powers are amazing. There’s also barely any clumping so it’s great for the lower lashes too. It isn’t the most volumising but it layers well underneath volumising mascaras if that’s the look you’re going for.

If you’re after a budget friendly lengthening mascara, this is a great one to try (pretty sure Wayne Goss is a fan too).

Seventeen Falsifeye HD Mascara is available at Boots for £6.99.

Empties #5

30 March 2015

beauty emptiesI have quite the glut of empties today – does anyone else get a fuzzy feeling inside when you throw away a mountain of rubbish?

Radox Muscle Soak, £2.00
Not sure if this eases muscle ache any more than normal bubble baths but pleasant enough although nothing to right home about. Everyone has a bottle of Radox in their bathroom right?

Repurchase? Maybe

L’Oreal Elnett Hairspray, £2.60
I’ve tried countless other hairspray brands and this is the only one that doesn’t make my hair sticky and crunchy.  Forever repurchased – I’m never without it.

Repuchase? Already have

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme, £30
I have a strained relationship with my hair and don’t feel like it deserves high end products. However, for this cult product I’ll make an exception. I bought this pot after trying out a travel size, and was hooked. It genuinely makes me hate my hair a little bit less.

Repurchase? Yes

Garnier 2-in-1 Express Eye Makeup Remover, £3.49
I was neither here nor there with this. It’s one of those bi-phase solutions which you have to shake up. It did a decent enough job of removing eye makeup without too much effort but was a little greasy. Nonetheless, one of the better drugstore options.

Repurchase? Maybe

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash, £6.50
Out of all the S&G body washes, this one is my most repurchased and probably my favourite. It’s fresh and uplifting and the bottle lasts months, depending on how often you wash yourself.

Repurchase? Yes

Soap & Glory Orangeasm Body Wash, £6.50
Again, very fresh and zesty. I thought I’d like this more than Sugar Crush, and whilst it is indeed, orangeasmic, I think I just about like Sugar Crush more.

Repurchase? Probably

Avene Eau Thermale Micellar Lotion, £13.00 for 200ml
Not a lotion, just a water. I honestly can’t tell the difference between most micellar waters. Does what it says on the tin, and this tiny size was great for travelling and lasted forever (probably because I haven’t done much travelling). But there are cheaper options that do the same thing.

Repurchase? No

Murad Vitalic Energizing Pomegranate Cleanser, £28 for 150ml
I got this in a set, so not one I’d buy individually. Apparently foaming cleansers are to be avoided like the plague so I’ll probably steer clear. It was an ok cleanser, did the job gently but it didn’t blow me away, especially for the price. Also, I think it has been renamed to Pore Reform Daily Cleansing Foam, otherwise it has been discontinued.

Repurchase? No

Lush American Cream Hair Conditioner, £4.50
This is one of those conditioners that doesn’t feel like it’s doing much in the shower but when your hair has been dried and styled, the softness and shine is incredible. I’be only ever used this in conjunction with the Lush Braziliant solid shampoo so I’m not sure which is the praise worthy party. Maybe both?

Repurchase? Yes

Boots Time Delay Daily Cleansing Micellar Water, £4.49
This has a suspiciously high rating on the Boots website but I suspect those reviewers haven’t tried other micellar waters? I said most are similar but this is one that I hated. So much so I chucked it away when there was still half the bottle left, which is unheard of for a hoarder like me. It stung my eyes and felt weirdly sticky on my skin. Bizarre.

Repurchase? No

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, £2.99
I’m never without this exfoliator and always stock up on the travel sizes. It’s nice and scrubby without being overly harsh but really gives my skin a good polish. Makes a visible difference.

Repurchase? Already have?

Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz, £5.99
I really grew to love this and now it’s gone I miss it. It’s refreshing, hydrating and is perfect for wiping away the last traces of makeup after cleansing. I don’t even like rose that much but this was a joy to use. Apparently it visibly tightens pores but I don’t have a pore issue so can’t verify.

Repurchase? Yes

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum, £41.00

I need to do a review of this but this stuff genuinely works. My lashes are a fair bit longer and definitely fuller, but I find you have to keep using it to hold onto the benefits.

Repurchase? Already have

Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm Pink Tint, £4.49
One of the few pink tinted lip balms that actually show up on me. Lovely colour, minty and moisturising. I also like how it’s relatively quick to use up – there’s something very satisfying about finishing a product.

Repurchase? Already have.

Nair Argan Oil Facial Wax Strips, £5.69
I’m not especially loyal to one waxing brand but I liked the look of these. However, after using them, I wasn’t any less mustached than before. These literally pulled out about two hairs and lost their stickiness after the first yank. Next please.

Repurchase? No

Boots Cosmetic Cotton Buds, £1.40
Another constant repurchase. Here’s a tip (literally) – make sure you get the ‘cosmetic’ buds, not the normal cotton buds. The pointed end is perfect for cleaning up botched winged liner and too-fat eyebrow tails.

Repurchase? Already have

Superdrug Cosmetic Cotton Buds, £1.39
Exactly the same as the Boots ones, I just pick them up from wherever is easiest at the time.

Repurchase? Yes

Dove Beauty FInish Anti-Perspirant, £2.99
Does the job, smells good and doesn’t sting. I get through these pretty quickly.

Repurchase? Already have

No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm, £9.50
Don’t let the name fool you – this is most definitely not a balm, it’s more like a cream. This was ok, it left my skin feeling very moisturised and clean but stung my eyes horribly so not a good one for removing the last traces of mascara.

Repurchase? No

Philip Kingsley Re-Moisturizing Shampoo, £17 for 250ml
I don’t usually spend much on shampoo but this is genuinely one of the very few shampoos that actually felt moisturising on my coarse, dry hair. I’m in two minds about this as I’m pretty happy with my cheaper Lush option at the moment and I focus on conditioners and masks more when dealing with my dryness.

Repurchase? Maybe

Review: Bourjois Colorband

25 March 2015

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bourjois colorband review
bourjois colorband review
bourjois colorband review
I for one don’t need anymore eyeshadow sticks. But, with everyone raving about the new Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 eyeshadow & liners I literally couldn’t stop thinking about them. I’d swatched them in store a few times before committing to a purchase (I don’t know who I was kidding) and haven’t put them down since. I picked up ‘Noir Abstrait’, a matte black and ‘Brun Dadaiste’, a shimmery brown.

As you can see from the photos, the pigmentation is intense, and the texture is buttery smooth and easy to blend with fingers. You’re probably thinking, ‘yeah but what makes these so spesh?’ and I wouldn’t blame you – most shadow sticks these days can be described the same way. The most impressive thing about these sticks is the wear time and the lack of creasing. Seriously, these photos were taken at the end of the day, about 12 hours after application (I put the brown shade on my eyelid, and the black in my waterline and smudged it into the top and bottom lash lines). There’s minimal creasing (EVERYTHING creases on me so a little bit was expected) and just look at that waterline. Even Urban Decay 24/7 pencils start to wear off on me after 4 or 5 hours so this was seriously impressive. The black shade will definitely be my go-to waterline option. It’s a little chunky but the tip is pointed enough to give control over where it goes.

If you’re on the fence about succumbing to yet another shadow stick, I would totally recommend giving in.

Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liners are available at Boots and Superdrug for £5.99.

French Pharmacy & Makeup Haul

23 March 2015

french beauty haulApologies for my hiatus, I was busy getting married and mini-mooning in Paris! I had the BEST time but I know how boring weddingy stuff is if it’s not on your radar so I won’t go on about it. Anyway, I was more excited to get to Paris and feverishly raid the pharmacies and Sephora. Looking at my bounty, I’m both shocked and appalled at myself for not going more wild in the aisles. However, I am rather pleased with my purchases and got my mitts on a lot of products I’d been fantasising about.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
I already have this in a smaller size but it was a bit cheaper in France so I popped the larger tube into my basket. A nice and basic moisturiser for underneath foundation and great for travelling.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc
Apparently it’s sacrilege to set foot in France and not load up on this spray-on toner so I bought three. I’ve just started to use it to see what all the fuss is about and so far it’s a pleasant enough spritz, much like the Avene thermal water, just a little saltier. I’ve got some blemishes on my forehead so I’m excited to see if this magic water clears them up.

Bioderma Micellar Solution
Need I say more?

Caudalie Beauty Elixir
I’ve resisted giving into this for the longest time and still don’t really understand what it’s supposed to do but it was 7 or 8 Euros so of course I was going to buy it. Looks like a good one for the summer.

Caudalie Moisturising Toner
This French skincare haul seems to be full of things that have a very vague purpose. I’m not massively into toners but there was something about this one that caught my eye so I’m looking forward to incorporating this into my skincare routine.

Makeup Forever HD Foundation
This is what I was most excited about and despite a very dubious matching process with A LOT of language barrier issues, I came away with the perfect shade for my skin. I used this for the remainder of my time in Paris and it was flawless. I’m excited about using it more.

Makeup Forever HD Loose Powder
I’m not a big powder kind of gal but while I was getting the companion foundation, I had to stick my finger into this powder. And let me tell you, it was like stroking the undercarriage of angel kittens. I’m waiting for a decent night out with lots of sweaty dancing to put this to the test but holy moly, this stuff is special.

Review: Makeup Revolution Hot Smoked Eyeshadow Palette

19 February 2015

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With my wedding 9 days away and still no flowers ordered and music still not chosen, I did what any self-respecting bride-to-be would do and rummaged through my drawers (saucy) to see if there was anything new I could waste even more time playing with. The Makeup Revolution Hot Smoked palette is by no means new, and I don’t remember buying it but it was calling out to be used.

For £4, you get a very generous 12 shades in a mixture of matte and shimmer finishes – perfect for the thrifty among us or if you’re experiencing a personal credit crunch and happen to be desperate for new eyeshadows. I’m absolutely pants at determining whether something is cool toned or warm toned, but despite its ‘hot smoked’ moniker I’d say it leans more towards the cooler end of the spectrum. There’s no mirror in this one which is inconvenient but for £4 you can’t afford to be a fusspot.

You can see from the photos that these eyeshadows swatch quite nicely. My expectations of the matte shades were low but I was pleasantly surprised. The darker shades were especially good. The texture is smooth and pretty much what we have come to expect from ol’ Makey Rev. I wouldn’t go as far as saying these are the most buttery I’ve ever tried but for the price I don’t think you can find much better.

I did a quick look using a few of the shades to get a better idea of how they’re like to work with and that’s when things went a bit wrong for me.

Here’s the thing, I have very dry skin and all the oil that’s in my face is annoyingly confined to my eyelids. As you can imagine, this conundrum makes eyeshadow tricky at the best of times and eyeball-poppingly frustrating at the worst of times. I didn’t use any primer as I wanted to get a true picture of the Hot Smoked’s performance. Also, I couldn’t be bothered. I found the eyeshadows applied a little patchily on my lids and it was difficult to get an even colour. I wouldn’t say pigmentation is an issue with these, I just couldn’t get an even wash of colour. Blending out the edges with a fluffy brush was relatively drama free which is a bonus.

I tried very hard not to get mascara on my eyelid but alas, my rubbish hand-eye co-ordination failed me. The finished look isn’t too bad but you can certainly see where the shadows didn’t apply properly in the centre of the lid (maybe I should’ve gone for the primer first). Colour wise, I don’t think it massively suits me, it all looks a bit cool and grey, so I think this is would suit blue or green-eyed ladies a lot better. On the plus side, I didn’t get much creasing and it stayed pretty decent for most of the work day. All in all, decent quality for the insane price but it’s not really for me so I’m out.

Has anyone else tried this? I want to try another one that suits me better – any recommendations?

Review: Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz

12 February 2015

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If you’re anything like me, you’d rather go naked than without your eyebrows. Unfortunately letting my jumbalayas loose comes with all sorts of legal issues so eyebrows it is. My main issue with my natural brows is the weird shortness of them in relation to my eyes. Also, my eyebrows are completely different to each other. I know they say that eyebrows are sisters and not twins but mine are more like second cousins twice-removed-in-law. I use eyebrow products to elongate the shape and fill in the sparse areas, be it pencil, shadow or wax.

Unless you’ve been living the life of a hermit you’ll probably have heard about the Anastasia Brow Wiz. It’s got a waxy tiny-nibbed pencil on one side (sorry about the shoddy shadowy photo!) and a spoolie brush on the other. Mine is in the shade ‘Ebony’ which you can see is an ashy dark brown rather than black (I believe Ebony is the darkest shade available which is just as well – I learned the hard way NEVER to use black products on your eyebrows even if they are black!). You can see that the colour match is pretty perfect, which is something that the Topshop Brow Pencil (review here) missed for me.

I’m going to be honest and say that the first time I used this, I was a bit disappointed. My eyebrows needed threading and were a bit messy, and I found that using the Brow Wiz made things even messier looking. Also, my foundation hadn’t set yet and my skin was a little slippery so the pigmentation didn’t come off all that well. I was genuinely baffled by the hype.

But then I got my eyebrows freshly threaded and tried Brow Wiz again on a dry face and everything changed. Because it’s not super pigmented, it means you can really go to town with shaping your brows without ending up looking like Helga from Hey Arnold. The teeny tiny nib makes drawing on hairs much easier and the colour match is the best I’ve ever come across.

Being a pencil, obviously it won’t last as long as Anastasia DipBrow but it still gives it a ruddy good go. I’ve worn this during my gym sessions and it’s held up well and hasn’t needed touching up. It’s also a lot quicker to get a decent result, and getting my eyebrows to look acceptable doesn’t take half as long as it does with other products.

I was going to repurchase my Topshop pencil but having got the hang of Brow Wiz, this is definitely taking its place. It’s just a shame it’s more than double the price!

All in all, I’m recommending Anastasia Brow Wiz with gusto, especially if you’re after a natural look (if you want a more sculpted look and have more time on your hands I’d go for the DipBrow). Just remember to make sure your base has completely dried before attempting to use it, and pluck any stray hairs that might be bringing your polished look down.

Brow products are notoriously hard to colour match online so if you happen to be in London, Blow Ltd in Covent Garden stocks a range of Anastasia products if you want to test them out in the flesh.

Has anyone else tried this? Did you need to give it a second chance too?

Anastasia Brow Wiz is available at Cult Beauty and Blow Ltd for £15.50

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