Thursday, 30 November 2017

November 2017 Favourites

So November kind of passed me by... I don't know where the time went, but I do know that I spent some of it making use of some fab recent makeup purchases. I've got a few new loves and a couple of long-loved faves I want to rave about here, so without further ado...

Let's start with my number one favourite new discovery of the month. 'Bali Sands' has been on my face every single day since I purchased it. I love how light the shade is - it gives such a natural touch of warmth, and it's impossible to go overboard with it even on my exceptionally fair skin. The formula is great too - very smooth, very lightweight, with just the right opacity - so I recommend checking out the shade range no matter what your skin tone.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Copper Face Compact (limited edition - no longer available)
I'm sorry. This cheek duo was part of the MAC Nutcracker Sweet Collection from last Christmas, and is no longer available, so it's a little unfair of me to show mine off. But I've been reaching for it so much this month, particularly for 'Whisper of Gilt' - the gorgeous golden highlighter that makes up half of this compact. It gives the cheeks such a beautiful, bright golden gleam. 'Whisper of Gilt' tends to pop up in MAC limited edition collections every now and then, and always causes a bit of a frenzy. It was actually part of this year's Christmas collection, but now (unsurprisingly) seems to be sold out everywhere. I'd definitely recommend looking out for its next reappearance, but if you're after something similar, there are actually a fair few dupes on the market. MAC themselves now have a permanent Extra Dimension Skinfinish in the shade 'Oh, Darling!' which, from what I can tell, is virtually identical.

That's right, I'm still not done raving about my Glossier purchases. Consider me well and truly aboard the Glossier hype train. I'm not usually one for cream blushes, but the Cloud Paints are so much easier to work with than any other cream/liquid formula I've used before. The almost gel-like texture is so light, it blends out effortlessly without moving around the foundation beneath it at all. And 'Dusk' is the kind of nude, barely-a-colour shade I can't get enough of.

Boy Brow is my latest go-to brow product for lazy brow days (i.e. most days), and might just be the most lazy-girl-friendly of them all. It tints, it gives a bit of shape, it adds fullness and it sets. That's just about every function you could reasonably expect a brow mascara to fulfil. It's taken a good few years, but something is finally giving my trusty Benefit Gimme Brow a run for its money!

My Makeup Geek eyeshadows have been my most fun purchases of the month. I've loved Googling the swatches, hand-picking each shade and testing out various colour combinations on the lids. (Customisable palette systems make me go Full Makeup Nerd.) And I've been so impressed with the quality! They're soft without being powdery, smooth, pigmented and blendable. I can't even tell you which shades I've been loving the most because I've been loving all of them the most. You can see all the shades I currently own swatched here.

Another month, another vampy lipstick... 'Diva' is actually the first really vampy burgundy I ever bought, and years later, it's still my go-to whenever I want to slick on a lippie that'll instantly make me feel ten times more glam. It's just such a bold, sexy shade - there's no being a wallflower with this on your lips. MAC's matte formula is relatively creamy and comfortable, but still long-wearing, and that vanilla scent brings on happy makeup memories.

This is an all-the-time, every-single-day favourite, and I've just repurchased it for the millionth time so it's long overdue its moment in the spotlight. Sponges are the only thing I use to apply/blend my foundation because brushes tend to emphasise my skin's textural issues, and I've been using the Real Techniques one for years. It gives foundation that seamlessly-blended, meshed-with-the-skin look that you just can't get with a brush. I use it for a bunch of other things too: concealer, cream bronzer/blush/highlighter, and even powder. This is one of the most essential items in my beauty collection; I really couldn't be without it (or a sponge just like it.)

What have you been loving this month?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Building a Makeup Geek Palette | My Picks So Far

In my last post, I talked about a bunch of new makeup products that have made their way into my collection recently (y'know, just of their own accord), and as many of them as there were, that wasn't even all of it... I've also been accumulating some Makeup Geek eyeshadows, but I decided they deserved a post all to themselves.

I love building custom eyeshadow palettes. Back in the day I, like many others, spent an exorbitant amount of time and money creating my own perfect MAC palette, and had a whale of a time doing it. I actually felt a little sad when the whole process was over. So by the time Makeup Geek came to the UK, I was more than ready to do it all over again with pans that were half the price. Somehow it's taken me this long to get around to it, but the time has finally come. Over the last month or two I've purchased a few and received a few for my birthday, and now I suddenly already have 14(?!)

So far, I have 9 of the standard Eyeshadow Pans (£4.95 each), 4 of the Foiled Eyeshadow Pans (£7.95 each) and one of the Duochrome Eyeshadow Pans (£4.95 each). And I love every single one of them. There's not a dud to be found in this post.

The quality of these shadows is evident as soon as you touch the product. They're smooth and buttery and pigmented and every other overused buzzword you want your eyeshadows to be. They blend easily and the colour you get on the lids is very true-to-pan. And the Foiled Eyeshadows are something else. The clue is in the name; they very much have a foiled, ultra-metallic look on the eye - fab for a high-impact evening eye look. My swatch photo below really hasn't done them justice! They have quite a dense, creamy texture (Makeup Geek calls them a cream-powder hybrid), and I find you get the most intensity out of them by swiping them onto the lid with a finger.

Okay... Let's move on from the gushing and on to the shades I've picked up.

Bandwagon: Mid-tone taupe with a slight bit of warmth and a matte finish. Just a bit of this blended into the crease is an instant, easy, sophisticated everyday eye look.

Creme Brulee: Light, warm sandy-brown with a matte finish. An essential transition/crease/does-it-all shade in every Makeup Geek palette.

Sidekick: Very warm, reddish brown with a matte finish. I believe this is quite similar to the ever-so-popular 'Cocoa Bear'.

Bitten: Warm berry-red with a matte finish. I have a lot of eyeshadow palettes (a lot), but my collection was somehow sorely missing a shade like this.

Vintage: Taupey-plum with a matte finish. This is a little darker, a little less purpley and a fair bit more similar to 'Americano' than I had anticipated.

Americano: Dark brown with plummy undertones and a matte finish. This is a fab outer-V shade; it's so easy to blend (which is not often the case with eyeshadows as dark as this.)

Shimma Shimma: Shimmery creamy vanilla. It's very pigmented - don't let my pasty arm trick you into thinking otherwise.

Homecoming: Shimmery muted bronze-brown. I love how neutral this shade is; it's quite a taupey bronze, making it stand out from your typical golden bronzes.

Lucky Penny: Shimmery plummy bronze. For those of you familiar with MAC eyeshadows, this is very similar to MAC's 'Sable'.

Ritzy (Duochrome): Warm red base with olive-green shimmer/shift. For when I feel like dipping a toe out of the box.

Starry Eyed (Foiled): Metallic pale pinky champagne. This is basically a slightly pinker, slightly more frosted version of 'Shimma Shimma'.

Grandstand (Foiled): Metallic coppery rose gold. My pale skin seems to pull out a lot of the pinky/reddy tones in this, so it looks quite different on me than it does in swatches I've seen online.

Legend (Foiled): Metallic copper. A really rich, vibrant, high-shine shade, this one probably drew your eye first in the swatch photo above.

Showtime (Foiled): Kind-of-metallic plummy burgundy. I found the formula of this shade a little different from the others in the Foiled range. It's just as pigmented and creamy to the touch, but has a less reflective level of shimmer throughout. There are also some sparse, slightly chunkier specks of silver shimmer in there, but they aren't hugely visible on the eyelids.

In summary: I flipping love these eyeshadows. It's a good job they're so impressively affordable, because I feel quite the buying frenzy coming on...

Have you tried any Makeup Geek eyeshadows? What are your favourite shades?

Saturday, 18 November 2017

New to My Makeup Collection

My makeup collection always gets significantly bigger around this time of year. For one thing, my birthday is in October and my loved ones are kind enough to feed my makeup addiction. For another, the run-up to Christmas brings with it an abundance of exciting beauty releases, and a parade of increasingly enticing sales and special offers from my favourite retailers. So over the last month or so I've been gifted a few things, and I've picked up a few things, and here they are... Some of them I've tested and some I haven't. Just let me know if there's anything you'd like a future update on.

Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Palette (£34)
This was the very definition of a thoughtless, impulse buy. I have wanted it for ages and I was always planning on picking it up eventually, but I have no idea why I decided to take the plunge in October, when it's not at all seasonally-fitting and I'm unlikely to get much use out of it any time soon. I was in Debenhams, and there was birthday money in my purse and a line of pretty swatches on my hand... Before I knew it, I was back home gleefully unboxing my new face palette and having a good sniff of its peachy-scented powders. There's a warm glowy bronzer, a peppy peach blush and a golden-peach highlighter. I'm yet to properly test them, but all three look lovely.

Becca Sunlit Bronzer in 'Bali Sands' (£32)
I'm always on the lookout for good fair-skin-friendly bronzers, and Becca's 'Bali Sands' is as pale as they come. It's even lighter than my beloved Body Shop Honey Bronzer, which I was sure was the palest bronzer known to man. Only the fairest of the fair will get any kind of noticeable effect out of 'Bali Sands'; it gives a very subtle hint of colour on even my borderline-translucent complexion. It's laced with tiny shimmer particles but the shimmer isn't at all visible on the face - the effect is matte, but not powdery. This one's an instant love for me - it gives just the touch of warmth I want in my everyday makeup routine.

NARS Overexposed Glow Highlighter in 'Double Take' (£28)
Christmas beauty releases usually send me into a bit of a shopping frenzy, but so far this year, I've been good and only picked up one: this beautiful highlighter. It's part of the NARS Man Ray holiday collection, which includes so many interesting products, I'm not quite sure where I found the restraint it took to purchase just the one. 'Double Take' is a gorgeous warm, coppery gold - so gorgeous, I decided to ignore the fact that it's clearly intended for darker skin tones than mine. I can and will make it work.

Glossier Cloud Paint in 'Dusk' (£15)
I've already sung this blush's praises in my last post, and I'm going to go ahead and do it again: this is a fab everyday blush. I can't get enough of nude shades like this, that just give a subtle bit of colour and definition to the face. 'Dusk' is a true nude shade - basically brown, but there are soft rosy and peachy tones in there too. Sheered out on the cheeks, the effect is about as close to a (flattering) natural flush as you're going to get from makeup.

Glossier Boy Brow in 'Brown' (£14)
My one other Glossier makeup purchase has also been a success. I've been getting a lot of use out of Boy Brow! It's a tinted brow gel that fills in the gaps, gives the brows a little more volume and texture, and holds the hairs in place. It's an easy one-stop-shop for anyone who wants their eyebrows to look a tad more groomed, but still natural. It's very similar to Benefit Gimme Brow, so if you like that, you're bound to be a fan of this.

Zoeva Strobe Gel in 'Corona' (£11)
I've been curious about the Zoeva Strobe Gels for a while because they're unlike anything else I own. The 'memory gel' formula feels quite bouncy to the touch in the pot, but thin and watery when you actually pick up some product on your fingers. The shade 'Corona' is a soft rose gold, which sheers out a lot on the cheeks, so the effect is mostly just a bit of dewiness and a bit of shimmer. So far, the product's standout feature is that it's fun to poke and prod.

Zoeva Graphic Eyes+ in 'Mute' (£7)
It's been an age since I last used a gel-pencil liner like this. This one was gifted to me on my birthday and hasn't yet made it anywhere near my eyes because I'm almost unsure what to do with it... I've swatched it on the back of my hand, and it's very creamy and pigmented. That swatch was pretty damn difficult to wash off, so I gather it'll be long-wearing too. 'Mute' is a charcoal grey shade with a bit of a brown undertone - a very dark taupe, I guess. Perfect for a sultry, smokey eye look!

Zoeva Pure Velours Lips in 'Matte Chat' (£9.75)
This is a liquid lipstick for those of you who dislike liquid lipsticks. It looks and feels more like a traditional lipstick - it doesn't fully set and it isn't transfer-proof. It's moussey but light, stays creamy enough during wear for you to be able to rub your lips together with ease, and it's very comfortable. You don't get a fully flat matte finish - more a soft, velvety matte. It's a really nice formula. The shade 'Matte Chat' is gorgeous - like a cross between a dark red and a deep, muted rose.

KIKO Water Eyeshadow in '200 Champagne' (£8.90)
I never buy single powder eyeshadows, but I had a bit of credit left on a KIKO gift card, and this one caught my eye. It can be used dry or wet, but I've only included a dry swatch below (I've just realised - sorry!) I haven't yet used it on the eyes at all so I'm afraid I can't tell you anything about how it performs either way just now. What I can tell you is that it's a lovely shade and it swatches nicely. It's quite a complex colour - a pink-champagne with a hint of taupiness to it. I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks when used wet; I imagine the water will bring out a strong metallic shine.

Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color in 'Burgundy' (£24)
I bought this lipstick solely because I saw Jamie Paige wearing it in this video, and it looked so beautiful on her, I HAD TO HAVE IT. It's a burgundy shade, as the name would indicate, but it's a little different from your typical burgundy. It's more muted and a little more rosy. This, combined with the uber-matte finish, gives it a very retro vibe. Warning: if you don't like fully flat mattes and/or dry formulas, this is not the one for you. This is pretty much a liquid lipstick in pencil form. Fortunately for me, that's all right up my alley.

So... I've got a lot of playing about with new makeup to be getting on with! Do you own any of these products? If so, let me know your thoughts!

Monday, 13 November 2017

My First (Little) Glossier Haul

If you're reading this post, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that Glossier's UK launch finally happened last month, and British beauty lovers everywhere lost their shit. It took me very little time to jump right on that bandwagon and buy a few things I didn't need, but I was actually pretty darn restrained. I took a deep breath, I kept my cool, and I ordered the three products I was most keen to get my hands on. I actually made this order a good couple of weeks ago and this post is going up later than planned, so I have a few first impressions to share. Here we go...

Milky Jelly Cleanser (£15)
This is the Glossier product I've been dying to get my hands on for the longest time. Finding a cleanser (or any skincare product) that works well for me is difficult, because my skin is the worst kind of combination. It's very oily and blemish-prone, but also prone to dehydration and flakiness. Cream and balm cleansers tend to break me out, while most gel cleansers leave my face feeling a little tight. The Milky Jelly Cleanser sounds like just the middle ground my complexion has been craving. I've only tried it once - I'm very cautious about integrating new products into my core skincare routine for all of the reasons I've just mentioned - and I did enjoy the thickened gel texture. I'll update you on my thoughts when I've given it a proper go.

Cloud Paint in 'Dusk' (£15)
When it comes to cheek products, I'm usually all about the powders, but there's something about the Cloud Paints that drew me in. Maybe it was the cute packaging. Maybe it was the flood of rave reviews I read. Maybe it was the fresh-faced and artfully-flushed models on the Glossier website. Whatever prompted me to purchase, I'm glad I did because the Cloud Paint in 'Dusk' is one of the most beautifully natural-looking blushes I've ever tried. The shade is a soft rosy-brown nude - very subtle, very goes-with-anything - and the formula is so easy to work with. It's really lightweight, sitting somewhere between liquid and cream, and it blends effortlessly. It doesn't set to a powdery finish but it also doesn't stay wet and tacky on the cheeks; it has a very skin-like texture once applied.

Boy Brow in 'Brown' (£14)
My blog has barely gotten started, but I've already raved about Benefit Gimme Brow left, right and centre. Glossier's Boy Brow looked so similar, I couldn't resist picking it up to compare. And you know what... I might actually prefer Glossier's offering. Maybe. (I'm sorry Benefit; I feel traitorous even thinking it!) Like Gimme Brow, Boy Brow effortlessly bulks up the brows and evens out any sparse patches with just a few strokes of its teeny tiny brush. What gives it the edge, however, is that unlike its Benefit counterpart, it actually does a decent job of keeping the hairs in the position it brushes them into. And so it has swooped right in and stolen Gimme Brow's job as my go-to lazy morning brow product. For now at least.

Glossier You (Free sample - full size product is £45)
My order came with a little sample of Glossier's brand new perfume so I'm going to briefly mention my thoughts on the scent. I don't like it... It's very musky and woody, and a little floral. I've heard a lot of good things about it, but it's just not my kind of scent. I'm into fruity and citrusy fragrances, and You is nothing like that. (It's worth noting that there are very few perfumes I really like, and I dislike quite a lot of extremely popular ones. So I'm certainly no authority on fragrances.)

I'll admit it: before the UK launch, I had become just a little bored of hearing everyone and their mother gush about Glossier. But if all of their products are as fab as the few I've tried, I can maybe begin to understand the hype. I'm really impressed with my purchases and can't wait to try more from the brand.

What are your favourite Glossier products? I'm sure it won't take me long to cave and make a second order, so let me know what I should try next!
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