31 May 2013

"Girls' Night In" is the New "Girls' Night Out"

I've always been more of a girl's night in kind of girl myself, but I also thought it was because I can be a bit of an old fart. However, recent surveys confirm that actually, 69% of women prefer a girl's night in over a girl's night out - whaddya know!

Unfortunately, only 35% of girls say they fancy a pamper on these nights in, and I can only assume that not many beauty bloggers were interviewed in the survey.. nonetheless, I began imagining what I would bring to a girl's night in, and here are the winning products..

OPI Nail Envy - £18.55
Perhaps the biggest reason why I would bring this coveted nail product is because the effects are just phenomenal. They really do strengthen your nails well and work great under a manicure. More people need to know! (And I need a new bottle..)

Boots Salon Cuticle Remover - £4.20
One of the most popular questions I get asked by my friends is, "What do I do with my cuticles and what is wrong with them?!" So I'd probably introduce them to this semi-scrub/lotion which softens them and exfoliates gently so it's easy to push back with an orange stick.

TanOrganic Fake Tan - €19.99
Who's ever struggled to fake tan your back because of a lack of a companion? Exactly, everyone. Take advantage of your friends' (but do return the favour!) presence and indulge in a bit of a sunny glow. I love this TanOrganic fake tan because it's 100% natural and gives as great results as some of the leading products on the market that may not be so eco or human friendly! Again.. more people need to know!

St Tropez Gradual Tan Firming Plus - £20
There's bound to be one girl in your night in that is very very pale, or is scared of fake tan. Which is why you should go armed with a gradual tanner, and recently I've been loving this one from St Tropez. I think it's especially suitable for the pale or tan-timid, because it really is gradual - much lighter than the Garnier one I'm used to! Either way, it gives a nice tan glow and doesn't turn you orange!

Elemis Freshskin Mask Duo - £15
What's a pamper without a mask? I highly recommend this duo from Elemis because 1) it has 6 sachets - and an average pamper party is between 4-5 girls and 2) it caters for all skintypes with 3 for deep clean and 3 for a hydration injection! As a combination-skinned gal, I benefit from both and can really say that they're both superb.. although the Magical Moisture may win by a teensy bit - how supple and hydrated your skin feels after this is amazing!

What would you bring to show off at a girls' night in?
Do you prefer a night in or one out on the lash?

*Partnered post with Ladbrokes Bingo.
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28 May 2013

The All Singin' All Dancin' Shimmer

Shimmer can be a bit of a hit or miss deal - are we talking big chunky glitter a la 90's, or are we thinking subtle, glowy gorgeousness?

It can also be difficult to find the right amount of shimmer. I've had experiences with the stark NARS Albatross, to the subtle Dior Amber Diamond, and the MAC MSF in Candlelight wedged inbetween. Recently I've come across the most gorgeous shimmer that falls under the 'subtle' category, but not only is it a perfect shimmer, it's also a multi-tasking product that can be used for a number of different things..

Bellapierre is a mineral-based brand so naturally, most of their products are loose powders. However, they've crafted this packaging that doesn't dispense much product at all. What you see above is about 2 or 3 shakes. For a highlighter, this is the perfect amount of control you want. The packaging gets a thumbs up from me - although I always do wonder what mineral-based companies have against click tops?!

Anyway, on to the product itself. It's a multi-purpose shimmer that's marketed as a product that can be used on eyes, mixed in with your foundation (a great alternative to MAC's Lustre Drops for those of us who like powder foundations better), mixed in with your nail polish or as a highlighter, which is my favourite way of using it. Depending on which colour you get, the uses will vary but there's loads of options like eyeliner, tinting your mascara and lip colour. The possibilities are endless! See a full list of suggestions here.

On to the formula. This is where this product really shines because without the basics, there's no use for a multi-purpose product!

The pigmentation is fantastic. As you can see, despite being a beige shimmer, it shows up really nicely even on my skintone. For NC25's and upwards, this shade is particularly amazing as a highlighter because it's so subtle and will catch just enough light to give you a healthy glow and dimension to your complexion. For me, this is a go-to for more professional events or for tinted moisturiser-wearers when you especially want to look like there's nothing on your skin.

As you can probably tell as well, there's no harsh lines or pigment clotting up in one area - the application is ridiculously smooth. This means that it doesn't cake up and look like a powder mask on your cheeks. This is great for us girls with drier cheeks, where products can sometimes look obvious. This seems to glide over smoothly as part of your skin and stay put for the day. Again, perfect for the minimal make-up look!

I know - I was scared of loose powders too, but the packaging is so well made that you really wont be getting any excess. In fact, you probably need to shake it more than most other mineral sifters! I also highly recommend the shade Beige because I think it opens the doors to all the ways you can use the product.. although a navy would be gorgeous too! I'd love to mix that in with mascara or use it as eyeliner and eyeshadow.

I'm super impressed with this product and can highly, highly recommend it - its ease of use and the sheer quality of it is insane. It also comes at a great price of £12.99, and comes in a whopping 56 shades which you can check out on their website.

Which colour do you think you'd get the most use out of?

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25 May 2013

Sleek is the Word.

I'm not one to follow catwalk trends, but I must say I've been very curious about the 'sleek' look from time to time. Do I like it? Do I hate it? Is 'sleek' in fact euphemism for 'flat'? With these questions in mind, I did a bit of mind-searching..

.. and I concluded in the end, that for the everyday person, sleek isn't about ridiculously tightly pulled back ponytails and stick-straight locks. It's more about that polished, perhaps slightly conservative look that's rid of fly-aways and frizz. Shiny, collected and controlled, and lightweight - but never dry! In search of this slightly oxymoronic concept, I discovered three fantabulous products..

When something makes me stray from my non-SLS ethos on shampoos and conditioner, it has to be really good - and these are very, very good. I've been using the Frizz Ease duo for smooth and sleek hair, and unlike many haircare products which I feel never actually do what they say on the tin, these really do settle down your frizz and make your hair look shinier. I've really enjoyed this because I'm wearing my hair down more, and I don't really have to straighten it or put hair product in it to keep it together. And when the wind blows I'm looking less like Bridget Jones in a top-down car..

I'm a massive fan of leave-in conditioner, but I really like this one because in addition to the rich texture, it also doesn't weigh it down or leave any residue, and it just makes everything really smooth. It's great with John Frieda's duo because it adds that nourishment to the otherwise slightly lightweight finish. It's also fantastic because it's vegetarian, the protein in it is plant-based, and it has no phthalates, artificial fragrances, dyes, sulfates, parabens or PEGs. 

Skin Nutrition is a great website for all things natural beauty, and their sister site Nutrition Centre has relaunched for their 40th anniversary and has natural health supplements for those interested :)

This, to me, is a wonder product. It's a solidified balm that turns into an oil when you warm it up with your fingers, and you leave it in your hair for 20 minutes before you take a shower and wash it out. It makes a huge difference - I feel like it smoothed every single hair individually, and the hairs just seemed to just slide off each other once I dried it! Definitely a must-have for people who want a smooth, TV advert hair and my favourite of the bunch.

Are you embracing the sleek?
What's your chosen hair style for the summer?

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21 May 2013

Tips! Learning to Bronze

In the midst of my day dreaming for the (hopefully) upcoming summer days, I realised something. During my early YouTube fascination days, I got so obsessed with the idea of contouring that.. I never learnt how to bronze. I know, how does that even happen?

As I hastily attempted to catch up by watching Bobbi Brown and Pixi Beauty's video on bronzing, I realised that I'd never used bronzer in the way it was meant to be used, and always just used matte-ish ones as a contour. So I became curious and started some experimentation, and these are the products I've been trying my new found (but not very developed) techniques with, and tips I picked up from the two very talented and successful make-up artists who founded the above brands.

The Physician's Formula Bronze Booster is the bronzer I've been using to contour for a while now, but I found that the shade was a bit too cool to be using it all over my face. It has a nice semi-matte finish so it's quite natural, but being a warm-toned gal and wanting a bit more sheen on the cheeks, this was a no go for bronzing.

MAC's MSF in Comfort, on the other hand, is super warm. Unlike most other MSFs, Comfort is relatively semi-matte with a sliver of sheen and shimmer, so it's actually quite brilliant for bronzing. My only problem is my heavy hand.. it's easy to pick up a lot of product, so until I can ensure I don't look like an oompa loompa, this is for the 'big kids'.

Thirdly, is the Dior Diorskin Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder *breath in* in Aurora. This powder is a natural-sheen base with the subtlest shimmers, and in retrospect, is probably made for bronzing rather than contouring. Out of the four above, I think this one is the best made-for-purpose bronzer. It's quite light in colour, so not OTT and has two pink/peach sections on the N and the E so it's a great 2 in 1. It also gives a gooooorgeous natural glow, so I've been using this one the most!

I mentioned this on my Tips! on wrong shade base products, and this is the Liz Earle Natural Finish Pressed Powder in Sheer Almond. Because it's a face powder, it has a nice natural sheen with no shimmer to it at all and the colour is super natural - it's only around two shades darker than my skintone. I think face powders with a slight sheen are a great option for those who are just getting into it, or who want a subtle bronze look. Since bronzers don't come in that many shades, face powders are a great option to get your tailor-made bronzing shade.

In fact, Petra, the creator for Pixi Beauty, mentioned in the video that her bronzers aren't very dark precisely for this reason. I remembered I had the gorgeous Early Bird Palette (see link for swatches) from the winter collection so dug it out and had a look. She's right! I was using the top shade for blusher, but actually, it's a gorgeous peachy light bronze that would mimic the sun so well. These all have a sheen and a bit of a shimmer so it gives a really nice highlighting effect too, and I'm really quite excited to be using them in the way they are meant to be used!

Something else I picked up on my research was Bobbi Brown's tip on using a really bright blusher just on your apples to bring a bit of colour after you bronze. It's all well and good to look like you've been on holiday but sometimes, some colour looks more natural than just the bronze. One of the brightest blushers I own is this Down Boy Blusher from TheBalm, which is this gorgeous bright baby pink. I use it subtly on my inner cheeks and it's just enough to give a pop of colour and brighten my face.

What are your top tips for bronzing?
Do you bronze or contour?
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18 May 2013

Some New Skincare Friends..

After settling onto a nice skincare routine, I seem to have.. run out?! As much as running out is a rare occurrence for me, it's also given me the opportunity to try out some new skincare bits. Now I usually don't like the vast majority of skincare products I try, but this time, I've been pleasantly surprised.. perhaps a skincare routine coming up soon? Perhaps indeed!

Ahava Time to Clear Refreshing Cleansing Gel - £14
Wary of the fact I was quickly running out of my favourite Elemis Peachy Perfect Face Wash, I thought to try something similar but from a different brand and I landed on this one. I've been super impressed with how it keeps my hormonal spots at bay, like Elemis, and doesn't strip the face of oils, so it's perfect for spotty combination skin like mine. However, the lack of nasties is significantly more obvious than in Elemis - it's much less foamy and you need a lot more product. But there's no question about the quality of this - super duper impressed!

Yon-Ka Lotion Yon-Ka PS - £33
After hyperventilating heavily at the thought of not being able to repurchase the NUXE 3 Roses Toner (they don't seem to stock it in the UK!), Yon-Ka came to the rescue with a non-alcoholic toner for dry skin, with healing and sanitising properties.. oh it's gorgeous. Not to mention the large, luxurious frosted glass and the pretty pink liquid, it's SUCH a hydrating product and has really helped to reduce some of my dehydration lines on my forehead that can sometimes look like wrinkles! I love to spray this for hydration (it's a bit big for carrying around though) and wipe away like most people do with a toner, but it works amazingly when I use it like Japanese people use toners - by pressing it into my skin. This is a step I like to do instead of the traditional Western method of wiping when I need some extra hydration.

L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution - £4.99
While I liked the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water, I didn't love it enough to pay quite a lot of money for it because it's not something I'd use everyday. I wanted to give this cheaper alternative a go and I've been in love. Aside from the given that it's easy to use, it's effective and doesn't leave your skin greasy or dry either. What's more, it doesn't sting your eyes when you're removing eye make-up - score! It's a must-try considering how cheap it is and how good it is!

L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil - £7.99 (£6.79 at FeelUnique)
Oil cleansers are my favourite. So when I heard about this drugstore oil cleanser, I was super intrigued, and now I'm super impressed. L'Oreal are really stepping up their skincare, I must say (needless to say a few years ago, I was heavily unimpressed by their scrublet facewashes..). This is a really light oil, so it's great for oil-cleanser converts, and it really works. It even gets rid of most of my waterproof mascara, and there's no fears of greasy residue - it'll leave your skin squeaky clean! You can't go wrong for the price-quality ratio!

DHC Cleansing Oil - (available from £4.50)
Leaning slightly more to the high end of the spectrum, the DHC Cleansing Oil is a cult status beauty product and I have no reason to dispute that. It's a nice, thick oil that smells like olive oil, and it removes every single trace of make-up. I'm talking waterproof mascara coming off to the point there's NOTHING between your eyelashes. Nothing. So it's a bit more effective than L'Oreal, and you also use less of this. So you can see the reason for the price difference!

Amie Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Wash - £4.95
You may know I love my industrial face scrub, LUSH Ocean Salt. But the idea of a daily exfoliator intrigued me. I started by using it as a morning thing and didn't really see effects and it didn't have the balancing and spot-preventing features of Ahava above. However, I started using it at night, and it really helps for the toner, oil/serum and moisturiser to sink in and do its work overnight! It does brighten your face nicely but for me, it's more the fact that it reveals fresh skin that will take in the hydration!

What new skincare products have you been trying?
Have you tried any of these?

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14 May 2013

I Need You. Twice.

After two or three years of obsessing over make-up and skincare, I suppose it's about time that you start settling on products that you really love. These past few months, I've gotten slightly tired of trying new things that continue to disappoint, so I thought to myself - I should just spend my money on things I KNOW I love.

This feature is slightly different from repurchases, because these aren't finished products. No no, these are products that are still remaining but in shades that I can't wear currently. That's right, these are products I'm dying to use all. year. long.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation 210 & 220
This is my favourite light to medium coverage foundation, and I love the smooth texture and the natural/dewy finish that you get. It works fantastically with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush (the combo of which I wrote about here), and it's also super affordable at only £7.99 from Boots and £6.79 from Feel Unique. I think the price had a lot to do with my purchase of a lighter shade, but I think the finish of this foundation is something that rivals high-end products. The lasting power is about what you would expect from a reasonable foundation - not too short, not especially long.

MAC Studio Finish Concealer NC30 & NC35
I realised I loved this concealer when I had a dabble around others and just didn't feel like it measured up. For someone that battles against spots on a daily basis, I need something that doesn't slide down from the little hill that is my spot. This clings to wherever you place it, and it stays there. It's also pigmented and comes in a really handy packaging, and super easy to use with your fingers.  You can get this from Debenhams for £14.50.

Dior Diorskin Forever 020 & 030
This holy grail foundation, unfortunately, was reformulated to not include warm tones. However, I loved it so much that I wanted a lighter shade to mix it up with so I can wear it all year long. It's the only foundation that has the right longevity, medium-full pigmentation, smooth blendability and natural yet lightweight finish. What's more, it has amazing skincare effects that improve my skin over time. I honestly have not come across anything like it. Despite being stubbornly anal about foundation shades matching, this is one I'll let the subtleties of this one slide because the formula is just perfect! These are £32 from Debenhams or Feel Unique. I have a review of the old formula, which as far as I can tell, is quite similar to the new one.

14/5/2013: Debenham's are currently holding 10% off of beauty items ;)

I definitely didn't appreciate how amazing these products were until I tried other products and realised many don't measure up to these. I think other products I'd want another shade of is the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Chanel Poudre Universelle Compacte, MAC Studio Fix Fluid and the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundations.. all absolutely gorgeous!

Which products do you want to use all year round and purchase different shades of? 

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13 May 2013

Why I Bombard You With Nail Instagrams

Yes, we've found a culprit for my incessant nail polish instagramming. Hooray!

The Maybelline Express Remover has been a joyous addition to my nail routine. I used to shy away from these because I thought they'd sting my fingers, which are always dry and therefore, cut. While this does sting on fresh wounds, they generally don't affect cuts otherwise. It's also great because it has a few nourishing ingredients including avocado oil which will have moisturising effects on your fingertips, and it's also free from parabens and acetone.

I also like that the inside sponge is grey, which means they aren't forever stained once you use an orange nail polish in them. I also really like the smell - I can't put my finger on what it is, but I think it's like the Clarins Hydramatte Moisturiser - that kind of cucumber + floral scent. There's really not much of a hint of the typical nailpolish remover scent which is great - so your finger tips smell gorgeous too ;)

Not only have I saved loads of cotton pads, removing nailpolish is so easy that even if I end up not feeling like a shade after finishing up, I don't have to think about the wasted cotton pads or time. It's also super useful if I want to show you guys a quick swatch of a nail polish I've been loving, but can't wear for the whole day because it clashes or I have to wear something a bit more conservative for the next day. Either way, it's given me a lot more freedom to swap my nail polish whenever I want to - that's always a plus with me!

Now I do apologise for those who are sick of knowing my nail shapes as well as myself.. but don't let that count against this product, it's brilliant ;) On the other hand, if you do love a bit of nail in your life, do follow me on Instagram here!

This will be available in Boots for £4.99.

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12 May 2013

Tips! Comparing MAC Shades

Just when you think you got this universal system of objectively describing your skintone, reality (or me) kicks in and goes, "Hmm.. really?"

Now on general terms, I can say I'm about NC30 to NC35 and most (beauty obsessed) people can get an idea of what that is. But is it really fool proof? When we use Temptalia's Foundation Matrix (all hail the team for that god-send), can we really say we are 'Medium' if we're NC30 in Studio Fix Fluid and 'Medium Tan' if we're NC35 in Pro Longwear Concealer? I have a few products from MAC that I have in NC30, so I decided to have a wee bit of an experiment.. granted I vaguely knew the results before I even started.

Please keep in mind these are my observations and nothing in this post is for sure :)

Here I have the Studio Fix Fluid (SFF) the Studio Finish Concealer (SFC) and the Pro Longwear Concealer (PLC) - all in NC30. The funny thing that really made me realise how different NC30's really are, was the fact that I bought these all in different times of the year - the SFF was bought in the summer, the PLC in the winter, and the SFC in the spring.. and these swatches explain A LOT:

Now I'm not really blaming MAC or anything, but let's face it - it would've helped if they made ALL NC30's the same shade. However, hopefully this will be a vague guide as to what shade you will be in another product, if you have one of these three in a certain shade.

The SFF is clearly the darkest out of the lot, followed by SFC, then PLC. SFF is also the most orange toned, and PLC the most yellow - but the SFC has a bit of a peach undertone. It's also important to remember that the SFF and PLC are powder-finish products so they do dry slightly darker.

If you wanted three that matches - I'd say the following formula may work..

SFF = SFC + 1 OR PLC + 2

PLC = SFC # in NW (and maybe even -1)

The numbers are the numbers of shades to go up or down on. This isn't a rule of thumb, just generally how I personally think it would work!

Opp, a new comer on the side there, looking a lot like SFF in NC30.. but surprise surprise, it's not SFF, nor is it NC30. This is the Studio Fix Powder Foundation (SFP) in NC42. I bought this because I wanted a powder that matched my other SFC in NC35. So really, you're looking at SFPs being the lightest of the lot - remember to go two or three shades darker if you're wanting one that matches your SFF, and one or two shades if you want it to match your SFC. And loads more for PLC!

What do you reckon about MAC shades?
Have you found the same with the products you own?

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11 May 2013

The Nude Brigade

I think 80% of my year is spent in a nude lipstick - 15% in lipbalm/lipgloss and 5% in a bright lipstick. And unlike my everlasting hunt for the perfect skincare routine or the perfect foundation, I was lucky enough to stumble upon my 'nude brigade' as I like to call them,  so I thought I'd share them if only to spark some inspirations! (I partly say that because 2 of them are limited edition.. I know, I'm so helpful.)

(I couldn't get them all to be in the same lightness, so please recognise the difference in skintone, especially for the Nude Delight picture!)

This is a recent favourite as it has a bit of a pink hue but is also relatively brown/nude toned. The formula is smooth, pigmented and it lasts really well. This is the kinda darkness that I can use any time of the year so it would suit a wide range of skintones ranging to NC/W 35, maybe even NC/W 40.

Unfortunately this is limited edition, but I'm led to believe it's quite similar to MAC's Blankety. It's also quite pink toned and pulls especially so on my warm toned skin, but it's really quite pale. As soon as I hit the NC30-ish mark, this starts looking a bit concealer-like and ashy so I'd recommend this for the light to medium skintones. This was my first ever MAC lipstick, and I absolutely love it - the formula is smooth, creamy and pigmented, and I'll never get over the scent!

I couldn't for the life of me, get this shade to show very well in the swatches, so please understand that it's quite a lot darker than the photos, but not as dark as the one on the right.

I feel slightly justified to start banging on about this one, because I really haven't for a while! But for those of you who have been with me for a while know this is my all time favourite lipstick. It has a heavy peach tone to it, which I love for the summer when I'm going for a lot of warm tones in my make up. It's a no-go/90's look when I'm any paler than NC30 though, because it'll pull slightly brown/beigey, but it's a perfect nude for anything darker than that. The formula is pigmented, smooth and it smells like sunscreen!

Another limited edition, but I hear this is dupable by Maybelline in the US with a lipstick with the exact same name, and a permanent line MAC lipstick called High Def. This is my mid-summer nude lip - it's relatively dark, so works as a nude when I'm about NC40, but it works like a my-lips-but-better shade during the year. This is mainly because of its undertone which is like a corally beige, which really sets it apart from the other nudes in the brigade! The only thing about Amplified is that, well.. they're amplified! So I find they can get everywhere sometimes, but a little goes a long way which is always a good thing :)

Ranging from palest to darkest, I'd say MAC Faerie Glen, Rimmel 03, Rimmel Nude Delight and MAC Warm Me Up. The pinkest to peachy-est is MAC Faerie Glen, Rimmel 03, MAC Warm Me Up then Rimmel Nude Delight.

What are your favourite nude lipsticks?

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9 May 2013

Tips! Wrong Shade Base Products

If you've ever spoken to me personally, you'll know my skintone changes quicker than Taylor Swift's boyfriends. So a lot of my foundation and powder collection is unusable at a certain point in time. With this consistent struggle, I have finally figured out a way to make the most of these products that may be sat there expiring/unloved!

Contouring & highlighting

a) I absolutely love using powder products to highlight and contour. Darker products can really work as a really nice natural contouring powder, and highlighters are great down the nose and on the forehead. With liquid products, if you're a bit more ambitious than myself, you can use it a la Kim Kardashian, and use the lighter shade down your nose, on your forehead, tops of your cheeks and chin, with the darker shade under your cheekbones and on your temples.

b) Powders are especially great if you have an oily t-zone and a mattifying powder like the Chanel Mat Lumiere above.

c) Because powder products like this are usually matte, they're actually better than some of the purpose-made highlighters and bronzers you can buy. I think matte-er highlighters look more realistic, and we've all heard about the struggle to find matte contour powders!


Don't throw them away just yet! A great way to make use of really light or dark liquid foundations is to use them to make another foundation slightly lighter or slightly darker.

Sculpting your Eyes

For darker powders, you can even use them as eyeshadow contours OR for lighter powders, you can use them as brow highlights.

The Last Resort

Fake tan is a beautiful thing, girls, both for the body and the face. It could save you some dosh if you're on the hunt for another foundation for just a slight skintone change!

How do you deal with skintone change?

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8 May 2013

FOTD: Shake It Up, Shake It Up

For one reason or another, life in my make-up bag hasn't been stable for a while. There's been lots of products coming in and out, depending on the weather and mostly, on my mood.

Recently I've been hungering for a tinted moisturiser. The warmth really does bring that out in people! I have a few BB creams, but the more I use them, the more I realise how heavy they actually are (and not my shade!). I have the MAC Moisture Tint which I love, but it's slightly dark for me. Is a Laura Mercier purchase on the cards? Or perhaps even Chantecaille given it's my birthday month.. we shall see!

Anyway, there's been a recent shake-up in the ol' make-up bag that I've stuck to for.. a few days now? Believe it or not, that's a record these past few weeks!

The products I've shaken up are above. I wanted to switch from the cool tones of NARS Douceur to something still muted and dusty, but warm and Liz Earle's Healthy Glow Powder Blush in Nude 03 is absolutely perfect for that. I've also ditched thick liner for something slightly more flexible, which lets me do precise single lines or a winged look like above, and that's the finest liner I've ever used - DHC Liquid Eyeliner EX. Since MAC's Faerie Glen is not only on its last legs, but slightly concealer lips for me now, I've been opting for a muted pink with Rimmel's Kate Moss Lipstick in 03. As for foundation, the oils are back! So instead of a hydrating liquid, I've been going for something light (to satisfy the tinted moisturiser cravings!) but mattifying, and that's the BareMinerals Matte Foundation in Golden Medium. I've been buffing this on with the Purminerals Chisel Make Up Brush, which is soft, dense and easy to control.

Other than that, I've been using the same old!

Have you been switching up your make-up?
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7 May 2013

Salon Confidential's Volumising Hair Extensions

I'm a total newbie when it comes to hair extensions, and most of the time I don't feel the need to have any as I have quite a lot of hair and it's also quite long! However, I had to give them a go when I heard a brand called Salon Confidential had pre-styled hair extensions, and hear this - one just for volume! This is Salon Confidential's Volume Wave hair extensions created by celebrity hair stylist Stephanie Stevenson.

With Salon Confidential, without Salon Confidential.

Within Salon Confidential, without Salon Confidential.

As you can see, the effects are amazing! And the best thing is, the 'before' pictures are not even styled.. and I can vouch for the fact that when you actually curl your hair beforehand, the effects are even bigger!

The whole point of these is that they are pre-styled, so I can just clip them on a bad hair day and just make things bigger and better, and more nicely styled with a lot less effort :) The waves are quite big with these ones and only at the ends, but there are other ones including Silky Straight and Bouncy Curl which are straight and tight curls respectively. You can take a look at them on models on the website.

Although I have quite coarse hair, I was surprised at how well these blended in with my hair, and the clips were really secure and it never felt heavy. I have the shade Dark Brown, which is slightly lighter but it does give a bit of dimension which is nice. All of these are synthetic, so not open to styling but I think that's the beauty of them!


One of the reasons why I haven't tried extensions is because of their price, but these are really affordable. The full set is £45 (and to be honest, I probably only use half a set at a time, there's so many in there!), and they also have an On The Go set for the Volume Wave range for £28. If you want to check out shades in store, they're also stocked in selected Dorothy Perkins shops.

I can highly recommend these and they have been a great first introduction to hair extensions. They're comfortable, easy to use and have great effects, especially for a lazy sod like myself!

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6 May 2013

Let's Compare: Nasties-Free Polishes

When I first started dabbling in the beauty blogging/vlogging world, I came across a brand called Piggy Paints and that was the first time I was told about some of the dangerous ingredients in nail polishes. Now I'm no chemist/biologist so not quite sure about how these ingredients effect you, but I'm sure other people are.

Recently, I've been trying a few new brands and realised that they were coincidentally all brands that have taken some steps to be 'nasties free' - these brands are Eve Snow, Jacava and Nubar. So as any self-proclaiming beauty blogger would do, I had a show down.

Eve Snow in Pixie, Jacava in Crimson Crush, Nubar in Citadel

1st place: Eve Snow
It was a close call between Eve Snow and Nubar, but I had to give this one to Eve Snow because even on the first layer, you hardly get unevenness. You're talking solid pigmentation and in some shades, I reckon only one layer would be okay. Nubar also has solid pigmentation but because of it's formula being relatively thinner, it has a tendency to streak - so one layer is probably not going to happen. Jacava has a certain translucency to it, which is elegant and nice in its own right but whether you prefer pigmentation or not, is up to you.

1st place: Jacava
As I said above, Jacava's finish is gorgeous. You're talking gorgeous gloss, and an elegant transparency that resembles a jelly-like finish. The second place would be Eve Snow, because it does gloss nicely but it's that transparency of Jacava that really gives it the depth and gorgeous finish. Eve Snow polishes are so heavily cream and has that flatness underneath the gloss - like a top coat. Nubar was undoubtedly the last place in this category because it dries relatively matte because the product is so thin. It's fine with shades that are cream, but with shimmery shades this becomes a disappointment because the depth of the colour with all the different sparkles gets lost! Of course, a top coat can solve this but it's never really the same ;)

Drying Time
1st place: Nubar
As I said earlier, Nubar's consistency is very thin so each layer dries very quickly - perhaps around 2 minutes? I'm an impatient person so this works great for me! Jacava dried as a normal polish would, but I would say Eve Snow takes quite a while longer.

1st layer: Eve Snow, Nubar & Jacava

Colour Range
1st place: Nubar
I suppose because Nubar is the most established, widely available and the only non-exclusively British brand out of the three, that it has the widest colour range. Jacava comes second at around 19, and Eve Snow at 16.

1st place: Eve Snow
I love flat brushes, and out of the three, Eve Snow is the only ones that has one! Nubar's brush, although round, actually works well because of the light consistency. Jacava's works, but it's too long and too thin and I think it would work better with a flat one. I also think I got a dud, and the bristles are attached quite slantedly..

1st place: Nubar
As both Jacava and Eve Snow come under the luxury category at £14.50 and £12 respectively, Nubar steals the price category at coming in at around £6-7.

2nd layer: Eve Snow, Nubar, Jacava.

Lasting Power
1st place: Eve Snow
This was a close one between Eve Snow and Jacava, but I think Eve Snow shrunk that little bit less. To be honest, I wasn't completely happy with any of these lasting powers, but I thought Nubar chipped very very easily. Eve Snow and Jacava did both shrink, but again, I think Jacava was that bit more noticeable.

1st place: Jacava
As I hinted above, the Jacava consistency is perfect. It's not too thick and gloopy, but not too runny. It's gorgeously smooth and it also sets itself, and doesn't apply streaky. I found Eve Snow quite heavy, and it's easy to get it streaky if you aren't careful how much is on your brush. Nubar, on the other hand, is very very thin - again, to the point it can dry quite flat and matte. While both of them are workable and nothing to complain about, I think Jacava's consistency is just gorgeous and is definitely one of my favourites even outside the Nasties-Free category!

1st place: Jacava
Out of the three, Jacava is the product that has taken out the most, including formaldehyde, toulene, DPB/phthalates, parabens and camphor, as well as not being animal tested. Nubar has taken out formaldehyde, toulene, and DPB/phthalates as well as being cruelty-free. Eve Snow has no formaldehyde, DBP and is cruelty-free, but it also has argan oil, ginkgo bilboa and vitamin E.

Overall, while each got 3 points, I think it really depends on what you want from a nail polish. In terms of the final quality of the polish, I'd say Jacava was my favourite pick. But I much prefer the colour selection in the other two, and I also prefer the Nubar packaging over any other nail polish brand because it's so ergonomic! I also have noticed the nourishing effects of Eve Snow because of their added ingredients, so they all have a lot to give!

Jacava polishes are currently 25% off with code '25SUMMER', and you can purchase Eve Snow from their website and Nubar from BeautyBay.

Which would you go for?

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5 May 2013

Nail Artin'

You guys may have gathered already that I'm not very meticulous when it comes to beauty - I want something quick and easy that looks nice. So needless to say, nail art isn't really my thing - a ring finger accent, or if I'm feeling crazy, a glitter top coat is probably my extent.

That being said, it's not that I don't like nail art - I think it looks so cool! So I was quite chuffed to be invited to a nail masterclass with Maybelline, and here are some shots..

These were the three that we were taught, and you can find tutorials for The Kiss and Flowers online but it seems there isn't one for the Ombre Leopard Print - which is incidentally my favourite! I learnt a lot of techniques in just these three looks, which could easily be transferred onto other looks I want to create in the future.

For The Kiss, we used this thin brush with about 3 strands of hair and it was probably the easiest of the lot. Flowers was challenging because of the shapes, but again, it was about where you put what shade and the thinness of the brush that made a difference - definitely watch the video, it's great to know how to do flowers for the upcoming warm weather! The Leopard Print Ombre was by far the most difficult and with the most technique involved because of the ombre! We painted the lightest colour all over, then the second lightest on the top 2/3 of the nail and blended it together with a sponge-tip eyeshadow applicator. It was difficult to get that blend because you literally have to do it right on the edge of the colours - any further up and you'll remove the colour! The print itself was okay, because you draw a bunch of C's and fill empty areas with blobs :)

Here's one I tried at home, but I don't think the brush was thin enough - they're a bunch of blue blobs, and the green was definitely too bright! In the class we used Moss by Maybelline Color Show, which was a great muted green you see above.

The class was loads of fun because we had Michelle Humphrey (I could listen to her talk for hours, she sounds like Jessie J - in fact, she kind of looks like her too!) walking us through the steps and it being blown up on a screen, AND we had our own set of Maybelline Color Show polishes to do it with (see below!).

I actually really like these polishes, they have a great balance of pigmentation and depth, they dry quite quickly and has a really nice gloss to them. The brushes are reminiscent of the Rimmel Lasting Finishes, in that they are thick and flat and super easy to use, and the consistency of the polish is just right - not too thin but not too thick. I also love the really long necks the bottles have, just for design. You wouldn't believe they're just £2.99! I toddled off to purchase the white shade in Winter Baby for the above look.

Something else I discovered in the masterclass was the new Maybelline Express Remover (£4.99) which is due to be released this month. It's one of those jars with a huge sponge soaked in polish remover that you dunk your finger in to remove your polishes. The good thing about this one, is that it's paraben and acetone free, and contains avocado oil which has moisturising properties.

Now I'm usually not a fan of these pots because of my dry finger tips and it usually stings and unfortunately, it's the case with this one. However, I've found it very encouraging to do nail art and swatch polishes for the blog because it's so quick, effective, mess-free and easy. My boyfriend's aunt had a pot that didn't sting but I can't remember for the life of me what brand it was from..

We finished off the polishes with Essie's Top Coat, and I have to say I was impressed by those as well. Very good drying time and a lovely gloss that brings the look together. It has a similar effect to my Sally Hansen Insta-Dri but with a less gloopy consistency!

Needless to say, I'm very excited to be taking on a bit of nail art into my repertoire, although I'm far from competent just yet.. I had a go at the leopard print with just 2 shades of ombre but again, my brush was too thick! I think I need to invest in one, because many people have complemented my nails thinking they were wraps! Hopefully with the bits and bobs I've learnt, the inspirations I've gained and my Express Remover, I'll be experimenting a lot more and mastering these techniques - who knows, maybe I'll be able to come up with my own designs!

Do you do nail art?
What's your favourite design?

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