Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January 2018 Favourites

Hooray! January has come to an end, and my relief cannot be overstated. That's 31 looong days of post-Christmas blues, post-Christmas bank balance and general dreariness over with for another year!

Having gathered together the products I've been loving most this month, I realise this is a pricey bunch of picks. I've been completely broke since New Year but, as I always have an overly large makeup stash to shop, my face hasn't had to experience the absence of money the way, say, my social life has. I may have done little more than go to work, but at least I was going to work looking bronzed and glowy, eh!

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil (£22)
For years, all I've used to remove my makeup is micellar water, but my skin is particularly dehydrated and flaky at the moment, so I decided to switch things up. I've been wanting to try this cleansing oil for a while, and it hasn't disappointed. It effortlessly melts away makeup, it's water-soluble so can easily be rinsed away, and it's gentle, unscented, non-comedogenic, non-clogging... All the things a cleansing oil needs to be to meet the many demands of my awkward skin. I use this to remove makeup before going in with a second cleanser, and it does the job perfectly. I'd recommend this for literally any skin type, including oily and blemish-prone types that wouldn't typically get along with an oil cleanser.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation (£30)
My two most-used foundations of the last year (NARS Sheer Glow and the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint) are down to the dregs, so the time has come for me to get some use out of the rest of my base collection. Earlier this month, I did a bit of rifling, dug out my CT Magic Foundation, applied it to my face, and immediately wondered why on earth I'd been neglecting it for so long. I forgot just how flattering this is on my complexion! It's matte enough to play down my shininess, but also glosses over flaky patches that most foundations would cling to. It has a satisfying smoothing effect, and a good medium-buildable coverage that holds up exceptionally well on my oily skin - even on my nose, which has always been a real foundation-repeller.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (£49)
Half the joy of owning a product like the Filmstar Bronze & Glow is revelling in its luxuriousness. Just to hold it in your hands is a treat. This was a Christmas present, and after gleefully unwrapping it, I stared at it for a borderline-embarrassing amount of time. That rose-gold compact is the epitome of aesthetically-pleasing packaging! But, more importantly, both products inside are fantastic. The 'Sculpt' powder functions as a bronzer rather than a contour on my fair skin, and serves that purpose beautifully. Its undertone has a nice amount of warmth, and its texture is silky and oh-so-blendable. The 'Highlight' powder looks quite creamy and pale in the pan, but has a warm golden sheen once applied - of the smooth, non-chunky variety. The combined effect is the sort of expensive-looking sun-kissed luminescence you see on the red carpet. And yes, I feel pretty darn fancy whipping this out of my makeup bag.

NARS Overexposed Glow Highlighter in 'Double Take' (£28)
When I haven't been wearing the highlighter from the CT duo, I've been wearing 'Double Take'. It's a coppery gold shade which you can see looks too dark for me, but the formula is good enough for that not to matter. A light dusting on the cheeks easily diffuses into a softly-glowing peachy gold haze. Excuse my swatch below, which is doing nothing to showcase its sheen. Blended out, the colour actually reminds me of Becca's 'Champagne Pop'. If you like that one, you'll like 'Double Take'. I know this highlighter is limited edition and sold out almost everywhere, but it's still in stock at Space NK, so... I don't know why you aren't over there buying it right now.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in 'Mood Exposure' (£32)
This is another product I take far too much pleasure in just looking at. I will say that the pretty marbled effect doesn't exactly give you the most accurate impression of the blush colour, but it does do something to convey the sort of subdued, back-lit sheen the formula imparts. In the pan, 'Mood Exposure' looks like a mauve with a rather heavy purple-leaning, but on the skin, it's significantly warmer and rosier. I always find myself getting a lot of use out of this in the colder months - something about the way it looks on the cheeks says 'winter flush' to me. Plus, it makes the perfect partner to a plummy lipstick.

Glossier Boy Brow (£14)
I mentioned Boy Brow back in my November favourites, and it has consistently been a favourite ever since, but especially over the last few weeks when natural (read: lazy) brows are all I've had time for. My reluctance to peel myself from my bed every dark, cold morning this month has made running late a regular thing, and when I have all of ten minutes to get ready, pencilling my brows into matching shapes is pretty low on my list of priorities. On these occasions, it's no brow product at all or Boy Brow. That little colour and volume boost it gives is all I really need most days.

What have you been loving this month?

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

4 Beautiful Barely-There Blushes

Nude blushes are the only kind of blushes I've been wearing lately. I'm all about those muted, biscuity shades, that give a whisper of colour to the cheeks rather than an overtly flushed look. My blush collection is full of these kinds of shades because a) I'm a shopaholic, and b) I know I'll get a lot of use out of them. They're as perfect for minimal everyday makeup looks as they are for more dramatic eye/lip-heavy looks. They're great for everything in between too. They go with everything.

If you don't have a nude blush in your makeup bag, now's the time to rectify that. And if you'd like some recommendations, here are a few I've been reaching for recently.

MAC Mineralize Blush in 'Cosmic Force' (£23)
Here we have the ultimate barely-a-colour, non-blush blush. It's basically beige, with the kind of extremely subtle rosy tint that's only just about perceptible to the human eye. It's a blush you see in the pan and think: 'That's gonna look like a whole lot of nothing on my face'. I'm not selling it to you, am I? But I promise it's fabulous, and one of the most used blushes in my collection. It gives a bit of soft definition to the face, which is perfect when you don't particularly want to pinken the cheeks, but do want to add dimension to them. The formula is also a dream; it's matte but it's baked, so it doesn't have the typical flatness of a matte powder. The texture feels more like a satin - there just aren't any shimmer particles.

Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 'Nude Mauve' (£8.99)
Despite the shade name, I wouldn't call this a mauve. It's actually very similar to 'Cosmic Force', but with a slight, almost negligible hint of mauve thrown in. This one does contain shimmer particles, but they're subtle, satiny shimmer particles - the kind that impart classy, low-key sheen. It's really difficult to find good nude blush shades like this at the drugstore, and I don't know why. Maybe I just haven't explored enough because, I'll admit it - I'm a bit of a blush snob. If you know of anything similar on the high street, please share!

MAC Powder Blush in 'Blushbaby' (£19.50)
If the previous blushes are a bit too nude for your liking, I recommend something like 'Blushbaby' - a natural browny rose, which more closely resembles the colour of flushed cheeks, while still being very muted and neutral. This one's pink enough to perk up the cheeks, but nude enough to be versatile and compliment a lot of different makeup looks. 'Blushbaby' is part of MAC's 'Sheertone' range, which means what it sounds like it means - it's a sheer blush formula. Very lightweight and always diffused-looking. Very hard to go overboard with.

Glossier Cloud Paint in 'Dusk' (£15)
I always think of 'Dusk' as a rosy brown nude, but looking at it swatched next to the other blushes, I realise that it's actually more of a peachy brown nude. Whatever you want to call it, it's a beautiful neutral blush. A your-cheeks-but-better kind of blush. The light, gel-like formula blends effortlessly and sheers out in a watercolour-esque way, leaving a natural wash of colour on the cheeks. My unnecessarily large, heavy swatch does nothing to demonstrate this, but the little blob I dispensed onto my arm turned out to be about a week's worth of product... Take it as a demonstration of just how much bang for your buck you get in this tiny tube. A little goes a long way.

What are your favourite nude, barely-there blushes?

Saturday, 20 January 2018

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils | My Collection

I've mentioned in a couple of posts that the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils (£21) are my all-time favourite lipsticks, but I don't think just saying it here and there quite conveys the enormity of my love for them. I think they deserve a whole post to themselves.

In an attempt to keep the oncoming rave down to a digestible size, I'm going to tell you five things I love about them. Because five makes a satisfying list length, and I just thought of five things. Here we go:
  1. They have a very chic, meshed-with-the-lips, true matte finish - almost powdery-looking. It's my perfect finish, and I haven't found any other formula that does quite the same thing.
  2. Despite said matteness, they glide on with ease, and feel comfortable and non-drying.
  3. They're very long-wearing, and when they do eventually fade they do it prettily, leaving an even-looking stain on the lips.
  4. The crayon-like shape makes neat application easy.
  5. They come in a whole bunch of beautiful shades.

If you're yet to try out this formula, stop what you're doing, buy one right now, and try not to dwell too much on the price. They're worth every penny!

I currently own the following eight shades, and love every single one of them.

Dragon Girl: A very cool-toned, very pinky red. So pinky, I think it can only just about get away with being called a red.

Cruella: The most beautiful red lipstick to ever have graced the world with its presence. It's a little cool-toned and a little on the deeper end of the red spectrum.

Consuming Red: A dark red with warmer undertones, erring into burgundy territory. I find the formula of this one a little different from the rest that I own. It's slightly less pigmented and slightly less matte on the lips.

Damned: A cool berry, with quite a versatile level of opacity. It can be worn as a light wash of pinky berry, or just as easily layered for a deeper, more purple-toned look.

Pussy Control: Questionable name but fabulous shade. A slightly greyish lavender-purple that I dig out when I'm going for a bit of an edge.

Train Bleu: A very vampy, dramatic, blackened aubergine shade. A close second-favourite of mine after 'Cruella'.

Lonely Heart: Straight-up dark brown. There isn't a whole lot of red in there, which makes it quite a statement lip shade.

Iberico: A very bright orange (and unfortunately a limited edition shade which is no longer available.)

Have you tried the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils? Let me know if I'm missing any shades you'd recommend. Because yes, I will happily buy even more of them.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

10 Beauty Products on My 2018 Wishlist

I absolutely do not need to do any kind of beauty shopping any time soon. If I was sensible, this would be a post declaring spending less on makeup my new year's resolution. But compiling a list of some of the things I'm most keen to get my hands on in 2018 sounded a lot more fun, so I did that instead.

Some of these products are here because I think they'll fill a gap in my collection, some of them just because. Okay, most of them just because.

Pixi Peel & Polish (£26)
I'm yet to come across an exfoliating product of any kind that I really love, and I'd like 2018 to be the year I find one. I've heard a lot of great things about this Pixi treatment, so who knows, it could be The One. Other recommendations are welcome!

Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil ($72 / £54.84)
Here are my four main skin concerns: oiliness, blemishes, redness and dehydration. This facial oil sounds like it could potentially help with every single one of those things.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation (£30)
I was binge-watching some old Karima McKimmie videos on YouTube the other day, and one of those videos was a review of this foundation. She gave it a big thumbs up, as did Sharon Farrell, who popped in for the end of the video - and the two of them have completely different skin types. Colour me intrigued, Make Up For Ever.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer (£19)
This has been sitting on my wishlist for far too long. I don't know why I haven't bought it already.

Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion (£28.50)
One of my favourite recent purchases has been the MUFE Pro Light Fusion highlighter, so now of course I have to try its bronzing equivalent.

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Blusher in 'First Love' (£30)
I'm obsessed with nude blushes, and most of the ones I already have are matte, so I can totally justify splurging on this shimmery one, right?

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in 'Trooper' (£16)
Apparently eyeliner pens with brush tips rather than felt tips are the bee's knees, and the Tattoo Liner in particular has been the subject of enough rave reviews to make me want it.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (£39)
I don't know how I've spent so long resisting a beautiful-looking neutral palette that smells like chocolate, but that resistance is wearing thin.

Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette (£32)
Okay, I obviously don't need the Chocolate Bar Palette and this one... But I want them both anyway. My makeup collection has long since expanded beyond the point of need. If you've tried both palettes, let me know which is your fave!

Glossier Generation G Lipstick in 'Cake' (£14)
I have a hell of a lot of bold lipsticks, but not so many natural, everyday options. And we all know Glossier is THEE brand for natural, everyday everything.

Have you tried any of these products? If so, let me know which are worth picking up!
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