Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October 2017 Favourites


October has been a very busy month for me, which means my blog has gotten off to a pretty slow start. I have so many blog post ideas and so little time to write them! I have a bunch of new beauty products to try but am yet to give any of them a good test drive! November will hopefully give me a chance to do something with all this potential I have lying around, but in the meantime I'll tell you about the tried and true faves that have been getting my face through the last few hectic weeks.

Lush Tea Tree Water (£9.50)
Earlier this month, I ran out of the smaller bottle of this I had, and during the single week I went without it, my skin kicked up a real fuss... When I finally got around to popping into Lush, I happily handed over the extra few pounds for the big bottle in my eagerness to avoid a similar incident any time in the near future. This refreshing antibacterial facial spray is by far one of the most effective spot-fighting products I've ever used; it very noticeably reduces the number of breakouts I suffer from, and helps any spots that do pop up clear away significantly faster.

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (£6)
This concealer is another recent repurchase. I first tried it out a few months ago, quickly made my way through an entire tube, and I have no idea why I didn't immediately buy another because it's a fantastic product. Its texture is so light, thin, and truly skin-like, it practically blends itself. I feel the need to stress this a little more - hardly any blending time is required. (Perfect for my work-morning rush!) It effortlessly melts into the skin and looks so incredibly natural, but has all the coverage you need to brighten up your under-eyes. And at only £6, there's no reason not to give it a whirl.

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in 'Translucent' (£29)
This is a favourite of the past several months that I forgot to mention in my September round-up. Powder is one of those products it's a little hard to get too excited about, but when you're as oily as I am, it's the most essential item in your makeup bag. During summer, I bowed down to the blogger hype and ordered this cult favourite, and I've used it every day since! It sets my foundation in place nicely, mattifies my shiny t-zone, and really prolongs the wear of my base. That's just about everything I need from a powder. It is worth noting, however, that this is the only loose powder I've ever used, so I can't tell you what sets it apart from more affordable alternatives.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette (£39.50)
As soon as autumn rolls around, everyone's all about the warm-toned eyeshadows, but the palette I've found myself drifting back to this month actually leans a little toward the cooler side. Naked 2 seems to be one of the less favoured members of the Naked family, but I love how versatile it is. There are some lovely grey and taupey shades, but there's also a bit of gold and copper thrown in. I've mostly been using this for my two favourite all-over-the-lid shades of the palette: 'Suspect' and 'YDK' (worn separately, not together.) 'Suspect' is so beautiful but so hard to describe - kind of like a muted blend of gold, beige and taupe tones, with quite soft, subtle shimmer. 'YDK' is a cool bronzey-taupe with the barest hint of a mauve undertone in there. It has a more intense, reflective type of shimmer than is visible in the swatch below. (I do have trouble capturing the complexity of certain shades with my humble iPhone camera.)

NYX Full Throttle Lipstick in 'Locked' (£6)
Dark lipsticks in general have been a favourite of the month (as always), but I think the one I've been reaching for most has been this NYX pick. It's a rich, deepened raspberry shade with quite strong purple undertones, and I adore the true-matte formula. It's creamy upon application, but quickly sets to the type of fully flat-matte finish you typically only get from a liquid lipstick. The effect is bold, glamorous and gorgeous. You can see it swatched in my autumn lip post, but I have to say my arm swatch doesn't quite do it justice; the colour looks much more saturated on the lips.


What were your beauty favourites this month?
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Autumn Lip Edit


Lipstick shades that are considered 'autumnal' are my favourite kind, so this has been a particularly fun post for me to put together. I've broken the autumnal lip colour spectrum down into a few key categories, and included some of my own recommendations for each of those. I have an embarrassingly large number of autumn-appropriate lipsticks, so the selection you're about to see is, unbelievably, the result of some restraint... Get comfy - I'm about to do a whole lot of waffling about warm tones and matte formulas.

The Browny Nude

A flattering nude is a year-round staple for all makeup lovers, but transitioning to a slightly deeper, slightly browner variation is a nice way to switch things up for autumn. My go-to product for this is the MAC Matte Lipstick in 'Velvet Teddy' (£16.50) (groundbreaking, I know.) It's such a flattering blend of rose, brown and beige tones - very 90s without being too overtly brown or greyish. It's matte, but a very comfortable modern kind of matte.

That being said, if matte lipsticks aren't your thing but you like the colour, I have the perfect recommendation: the NARS Audacious Lipstick in 'Barbara' (£26). As you'll see in the swatch photo below, it almost completely matches 'Velvet Teddy' in tone, but has a satin formula, so has a little more shine and feels softer on the lips. It's a pricey pick, but the formula is surprisingly long-lasting and beautifully pigmented - we're talking one-swipe-only pigmented.

The Browny Rose

As is the case with nudes, a bit of a browny tinge tends to make a rose lipstick look a little more autumnal. A popular pick in this colour category that I love is the MAC Satin Lipstick in 'Twig' (£16.50), which is a beautiful mix of rose and brown tones, with a little dash of mauve in there. Against my fair skin, it's somewhat on the deeper end of the everyday lip shade spectrum, but still very muted and wearable. This is one of those lipsticks that really looks different on different people - your skin tone is going to play a big part in how pink/brown it looks, so I suggest popping into MAC to give it a swatch!

If 'Twig' looks a touch too brown for you, a similar but slightly pinker option is the Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in 'Sultry' (£7.99). Or if you want something marginally cooler, with a little more mauve in there, the Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lipstick in 'Tawny Pink' (£23) is gorgeous, and my personal favourite of the three. All three lipsticks I've mentioned in this category have a comfortable but pigmented satin formula (despite the fact that two of them claim to be matte.)

The Rusty Terracotta

ColourPop is my go-to brand for trying out new lip shades, because their fabulously low prices allow me to get a bit experimental without having wasted too many pennies if it doesn't work out. And that's how I discovered that I love a rusty terracotta lipstick! The ColourPop Lippie Stix in 'Ziggie' ($5) is exactly that and it just screams autumn. I wasn't sure if such a warm blend of orange and brown tones would be flattering on my pale face, but it looks beautiful, so I can only assume it would look lovely on most skin tones. It's part of the 'Matte X' range which is very matte and very long-lasting - exactly how you want your bolds to be.

I've also photographed a swatch of the Lippie Stix in 'Secret Stash' ($5), which is similar but a little more red-ish. Sadly, I've since discovered that it's been discontinued, which is such a shame because it's been one of my favourite lipsticks of the year. If you know of a potential dupe, please do let me know!

The Deep Berry

Autumn has become pretty much synonymous with berry lipstick, and I couldn't talk about this shade category without mentioning the old blogger staple: the Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick in '107' (£5.49). It's easy to see why this is such a popular one; it's a lovely universally-flattering berry-red, with a comfortable formula (mostly matte but with a bit of lingering sheen and slip.) Shades like this are great for easing you into vampy lip territory.

If you like a touch more purple in your berries and a true fully-matte finish, I have two recommendations for you here: the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in 'Damned' (£21) and the NYX Full Throttle Lipstick in 'Locked' (£6). You'll see from the swatches that they're very similar in tone, but the NARS formula is thinner, meaning the NYX one has a bolder, more saturated finish. The NARS pencil can however be built up, making it another good entry-level vampy option - you have a little control over just how dark you want it to look on the lips.


The Vampy Burgundy

I adore burgundy lipsticks and love seeing them step into the limelight at this time of year. They're bold, they're sexy and they completely transform the face. My go-to burgundy is the MAC Matte Lipstick in 'Diva' (£16.50) - a perfect shade name because that's exactly what you feel like when you wear it. It's beautifully matte but doesn't tug the lips upon application, and it's that classic deep wine shade that looks good on everyone. I think every makeup collection should include a shade like this, so I feel compelled to mention a more affordable dupe too - the Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipstick in 'Divine Wine' (£6.99) is almost identical.

Alternatively, if you'd like to feel extra safe in the knowledge that your vampy lip won't budge, I'd recommend going for a liquid option, like the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in 'Ricco' (£16). 'Ricco' is an even richer, deeper burgundy - a real showstopper. The Stila formula is extremely pigmented, applies very evenly and is completely kiss-proof.

The Dark Chocolate-Brown

Finally, for those of you feeling extra bold, a dark chocolate-coloured lipstick is a nice way to take those autumnal brown tones to the extreme. The MAC Matte Lipstick in 'Antique Velvet' (£16.50) is a nice place to start, with its warm red undertones. That redness gets more pronounced the deeper your complexion is, so I find this lipstick looks particularly beautiful on those with dark skin. If you're pale like me, you're going to see a lot less red pulling through, meaning you get a particularly dramatic look - on me, it's very much a blackened brown, as you can see in the swatch below.

Lip colours like these can be a little daunting so again, I have a bit of an entry-level recommendation and again, it's a NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (£21). The colour 'Lonely Heart' is pretty much the same as 'Antique Velvet', but the formula is thinner and more matte, and the pigment less saturated, which I find makes the shade a tad more wearable. Just a tad. Again, this will look redder on darker skins and cooler on paler faces.


What are your favourite autumn lipsticks? (Because I clearly need more recommendations...)
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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Long-Standing Beauty Staples


When your beauty collection gets as unnecessarily large as mine, you've got to switch things up fairly frequently if you want to get a reasonable amount of use out of everything. There are products that I gravitate towards most in every category, but this post is dedicated to the ones that haven't been rotated out of my everyday routine at all in a very long time. They're my must-haves. The ones I'm yet to find a match or rival for. The workhorses that keep my face in presentable condition. You get the idea.

Lush Tea Tree Water (£4.95)
I'm thankful that this is so cheap, because I repurchase it a hell of a lot. It's a simple (but very effective) tea-tree-infused face mist that helps to keep spots at bay, as well as tackling existing breakouts. I use it straight after washing my face, both morning and evening, as you would typically use a toner. I completely rely on this to keep my number of blemishes to a minimum, so if Lush ever discontinues it, I'll be in serious trouble.

Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (£33)
I don't want to sound dramatic, but this facial oil was a life-changing discovery for me. I've always had extremely oily skin. As a teen, I'd put on my makeup in the morning, which included several pounds of mattifying powder, and my t-zone would be slick with grease again within an hour. Not just a bit shiny - I'm talking looking-like-I-dipped-my-face-in-a-chip-pan levels of grease. When I heard that facial oils are great for regulating sebum production, I was sceptical, but it's the best skincare advise I ever took. Incorporating this one into my daily routine reduced my oil levels so much, I can now get through pretty much all of my 9-5 work day without becoming overly oily. I never get as greasy as I used to, and not having to constantly touch up my makeup is liberating.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm (£9.50)
This lip balm is in a league of its own. It's more intensely nourishing and softening than any other lip balm I've ever tried, by about a million miles. A single application easily sees my lips through the whole day. It's very thick and looks matte on the lips - an unusual texture when you're used to more slippery formulas - and it smells like lemon cake, which makes it a joy to use. If you're yet to try it out, buy it right now, and prepare to forget what it feels like to have chapped lips.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (£15)
For the life of me, I cannot use a brow pencil without the result being a horribly drawn-on effect. I find a pomade (used with a fine winged liner brush) much more user-friendly, and this has been my pomade of choice for years. It's pigmented, its consistency is just the right combination of creamy and waxy, and its wear-time is seemingly endless. Applying it with a heavy hand will result in unsettlingly bold brows, but use light brush strokes and the effect can be wonderfully natural.

Benefit Gimme Brow (£20)
As I'm writing this, I realise that this is already my third time mentioning Gimme Brow. Please forgive me for inadvertently ramming this product down your throats. As mentioned before, this is my lazy brow product. The one I use in place of filling in my brows when I get up late or just can't be bothered to make the effort. Or, on occasion, if I'm feeling like a particularly bold brow day, I'll brush it on over the pomade for a bit of added texture. It's just such a handy product, and I'm yet to come across another that does quite the same job.

L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim (£6.99)
I love how winged liner looks. I do not love the application process. I'm rubbish at it, even after years of regular practice. It took me a good portion of those years to find one that I can use with relative (very much relative) ease, and this is it. The nib is very fine and precise, and just the right amount of flexible - perfect for creating a sharp wing. The product itself is just the kind of deep, inky black you want your liquid liner to be, and lasts all day on my lids. I have zero complaints and haven't even bothered to try out alternatives in a very long time.

What are your irreplaceable beauty staples?
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Empties


This blog has been a long time coming, and at some point many moons ago, I started keeping hold of my used-up products for the empties posts I would eventually write. Now that I've finally stopped thinking about blogging and started actually blogging, I have a whole big box of junk to make my way through and enough material to write several epicly long empties posts, starting with this one. I'll try to keep my musings on each product brief so that getting through this post doesn't require ten hours of scrolling.

REN cleansing gels are my go-to cleansers, and this one is my favourite. It's light, gentle, non-drying and (you guessed it) smells like roses. I'm currently trying out another cleanser, but when I'm done with that one, I will be repurchasing this one.

This is very similar to the Rosa Centifolia one. Its texture is the same and its effect on my skin is pretty much identical. The main reason I prefer the Rosa Centifolia one is that it has a nicer smell. This one has a more herbal scent.

I've made my way through two bottles of this skin-quenching serum, and I'll most likely buy a third. It has a thin, fluid consistency so layers nicely under moisturiser, and its hydration-boosting properties really pack a punch. It's quite heavily fraganced, but I enjoy the scent and have never experienced any irritation from it.

Speaking of pleasant smells, this Origins moisturiser smells like oranges and makes my nose happy. Its perky, zingy scent is designed to give you a boost in the morning, and its lightweight gel-cream texture absorbs into the skin immediately - perfect for when you want to put on makeup right after application. I did like this moisturiser, but there are others I like more, so I'm not sure how likely I am to repurchase. (Despite how tempting that smell is.)

Bioderma Hydrabio Light Cream (Discontinued)
This was my perfect moisturiser. It was the best face cream to ever come into contact with my complexion. I say 'was' because by the time I'd used up this bottle, it had been discontinued and I'M STILL DEVASTATED. My skin is extremely oily but prone to flakiness which, as you can imagine, makes finding a suitable moisturiser a Herculean task. This was The One. The perfect lightweight-but-intensely-hydrating formula. And now it's been replaced by a not-even-slightly-similar reformulation.

In happier news, this face mask knocked my socks off, and I can/will repurchase it. It's a deep-cleansing and exfoliating clay mask that's kind to sensitive skin but still highly effective. It has quite a light and creamy consistency for a clay mask, but while it feels less intense during wear-time than its thicker peers, its effects are even more visible. It effortlessly unclogs pores and sloughs away dead skin cells. It makes my face feel so thoroughly clean and smooth and fresh, without drying it out or irritating it the way so many other clay masks do.

There was a time when the mere thought of paying almost £10 for a lip balm would've had me scoffing, but I've now repurchased this cult favourite several times over and it has been worth every penny. No other lip balm comes close to matching the lip-nourishing power of this one. I can put it on in the morning and not have to reapply for the rest of the day. I can put it on at bedtime and still feel it doing its work the next morning. Minimal amounts are required to keep my lips in perfect condition all the time. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is one of very few products I actually feel I can't be without.

If you're looking for a simple but effective primer that prolongs foundation wear-time and works for pretty much any skin type, you're looking for the Max Factor Facefinity Primer. It's a no-frills kind of product - it doesn't promise to erase pores and make you glow and all but give you a new face - but it does what it says on the tin, and it's fab. I've already repurchased it.

Lightweight and satiny, this is a powder for those of you who like to set your foundation without really mattifying it. It has a very natural, skin-like finish; it doesn't look at all powdery on the face. And it smells like apricot - a happy bonus. I'm not likely to pick up another one because my greasy t-zone requires a powder with more potent shine-busting properties, but I do think it's a great product and would recommend it to anyone whose skin is more on the normal-to-dry end of the spectrum.

I talked about this bronzer in my previous post, and the one I mentioned there was a repurchase because this is a real gem. The shade '01' is a pasty girl's best friend, and the powder itself has a nice light texture that looks natural on the skin. This was the first bronzer I ever purchased, and it's still my go-to.

I also mentioned this in my previous post - the one in the photo above is the last one I used up in the old packaging. Gimme Brow is a real staple for me. If you're too lazy to fill in your brows but you'd like them to look just a little more groomed, pick up this product and prepare for your world to be rocked.

No other brow gel plasters those hairs into place like this Anastasia one. It's brow superglue. It's fantastic. The one you see above is a mini version I got in a little Anastasia gift set last year, and it lasted an impressively long time, so I can only assume that the full-sized one contains half a lifetime's worth of product.

This is a good liner pen, especially considering its teeny tiny price tag, but it doesn't quite fit my preferences. The brush isn't precise or flexible enough for my tastes, but it's definitely worth checking out if you prefer a firmer nib. I know a lot of liner-beginners find them easier to work with.

It's been a little while since I used up this mascara, and the main thing I remember about it is regularly stabbing myself in the eye with its very firm, spiky plastic brush. As that brush description would indicate, this is more of a lengthening and separating mascara than a volumising one. Its standout feature performance-wise was its lasting power - I found it more difficult to remove than most other mascaras I've used - but I didn't really like it as much as I do my drugstore faves. I'm yet to be converted to high-end mascaras; they just don't do anything their affordable counterparts can't do!

Moving on to another hyped-up mascara... And I totally don't get it. I really don't like this mascara. The curved plastic brush is clunky and awkward. It picks up too much product, transfers it to the lashes in clumps, and smudges bits onto my lids and under-eyes almost every time I apply it. I suppose we can't completely rule out inept application on my part, but I don't have this problem with other mascaras...

I didn't quite succeed in being brief there, did I?

What products have you used up lately?
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