30 June 2014

June Favourites & Fails 2014

What an eventful month June was. On the 16th I finished law school, and am now on my way to finding a career for myself - very exciting stuff! If you ever have any questions about studying law, feel free to ask - I've now done both the accelerated GDL (an 8 month Graduate Diploma in Law) and the normal  LPC (Legal Practice Course). Of course this has translated into me posting on my blog at a rate I haven't since 2012.. whaaaa'?!?! (So remember to catch up if you haven't already ;))

It was also my birthday at the end May and this has led to an aweeesome Michael Kors purchase courtesy of my lovely parents, that I have not let go of since I got it last week - take a peek on my Instagram :)

Football :D
And of course, like most of the world, I have been enjoying the World Cup to no end. I played football (or 'soccer' as I called it then) all throughout school and have been known to stay up until 6am to watch matches when I lived in Tokyo, and all the tournaments were in the Western hemisphere.. much to the joy of my mother.

As for wedding prep.. well, you're just going to have to wait for my next post ;)

One of my birthday gifts from Ben at the end of last month was a Kindle (I elbowed my old one and have been Kindle-less since), and I went from not having read and finished a book for pleasure since 2011, to finishing 2 and moving onto my third in the last month! So far, I've read 48 Hours: A City of London Thriller and As A Crow Flies, both of which are crime thrillers, and now am rotating 180 degrees and taking on the third instalment of the Bridget Jones series, Mad About the Boy. Coincidentally, the second book was the said book I finished in 2011!

On the beauty side of things, I have to say that not a lot of make-up had me flailing my hands in the air with excitement, but I have lots of non-make up things that I've enjoyed. And I've got to say, I'm happy to be doing favourites again cuz I've been nothing but a slacker when it came to these this year so far! Enjoy!

If you haven't already, remember to follow me on Twitter and Instagram ! Both under @LetsMakeYuUp :)

read more

29 June 2014

Review: Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream (with Before & After Photos)


Left: No BB Cream; Right: BB Cream


My blogging mojo super-activated when I started using this product and you guys probably noticed - I haven't stopped banging on about it. So it's really only right that I gave it a full review.

I love this tube thing that Bioderma has going on, because it's flat. Bobbi Brown do the same thing and it just makes a tube a little bit cooler.. I know, it makes no sense.

The squeezy tube isn't the classiest, most vanity-displayable of products but it's a oldie and a goodie - because you can get every last drop out.

What I haven't told you about the photographs above is that these were after a post-run shower. I'm not sure what goes on in my body, but running and exercise turns me into a tomato (it's almost like being a werewolf on a full moon..). I've kept my hair wet throughout the photos to show that it's not like I sat there and my redness went down - these photos are like 5 second (okay maybe more) intervals. And I hope you appreciate my 2008 Backstreet Boys concert t-shirt.. damn, I'm old.

You can see for yourselves above that Bioderma meant it when they said Anti-Redness. For acne scar sufferers and half-blood tomato-ites alike, this AR BB Cream delivers when you're talking coverage.

The words "soft cream" comes to mind because this product is just sooo smooth and creamy, and applies beautifully onto the skin. It's so blendable and it has a nice semi-matte, skin-like finish. It also doesn't fare too badly above dry spots despite its coverage and weight. Speaking of weight, it's not completely undetectable, but it's not what I'd call heavy either.

The longevity is decent as well, and lasts throughout the day with a nice finishing powder on top. No complaints there.

My only niggle is with shade. My shade is in Clair Light, and from what I understand, this is the only shade available and I'm around a NC25/30. Bioderma claim that the AR BB Cream has shade-adjusting technology but I'm yet to come across a product that claims that and actually delivers. Perhaps I'll commandeer a paler friend and see what happens.

And it also has SPF 30. Winning.

You can get the Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream for £14.50 from John Bell Croyden, but it's now on sale at Escentual for £9.66.

read more

27 June 2014

bareMinerals READY Blush in The Aphrodisiac

Left Column: MAC Style, NARS Orgasm
Middle Column: Benefit Coralista, Benefit Bella Bamba, bareMinerals The Aphrodisiac, NARS Torrid
Right Column: Tarte Blissful

Although I've been out of the beauty loop for a while, I feel like the bareMinerals READY Foundation didn't live up to the reputation of their loose powder sisters. Personally, I wasn't convinced either. However, surprisingly enough, my experience with their READY Blush in The Aphrodisiac has been completely different.

The packaging is exactly like the foundation and I find it a bit too bulky for a blush. I understand that the READY line is for on-the-go and so the brush was appropriate, but the whole thing could've done with being a little less fat.

The shade is gorgeous, and is a pretty pink-based coral with a very subtle sheen and minute gold shimmers. The comparison above isn't great, but here's the gist:

Benefit Coralista: Nowhere near. Coralista is much paler and much frostier, and is peacher in tone.
Benefit Bella Bamba: Bella Bamba pulls more fuschia next to this, and again is much frostier with a silver frost rather than gold.
MAC Style: Much lighter, and much more peach with a strong gold frost.
NARS Orgasm: Slightly similar in tone, but Orgasm is perhaps slightly peachier. Orgasm also has more of the gold running through it.
NARS Torrid: Extremely similar in finish, with the satin touch and subtle gold shimmers, but Torrid pulls more red/orange.
Tarte Blissful: Blissful has no shimmer whatsoever, but the underlying colour is also much brighter and has a stronger pink vibe to its coral undertone.

Overall, I found it pulled quite warm on my NC30 skintone. I also loved the finish because it created some dimension to your skin ever so slightly with its sheen, but was never overpowering with too much shimmer. I think it'd work for most skintones, although as I'll mention in the next session, a light hand is recommended for some as it's super pigmented!

As I said, I was very surprised to find the blushes completely different from the READY foundations, because the formula on these are great. Again, they are super pigmented, but they are also really soft and easy to blend on your cheeks. I also found them to last well, perhaps until 3pm or so. I was the most impressed when it didn't resemble any of the foundation's characteristics, like being easily broken down with facial oil and being prone to cakey-ness. It sits so naturally and not powdery at all.

Overall, these get a thumbs up from me!

You can find the bareMinerals READY Blushes for £22 at Debenhams, or some shades including The Aphrodisiac at a £17.99 at Chemist Direct.

read more

26 June 2014

MAC Playland's Lots of Laughs Tinted Lipglass

My natural lips

It's been ages since any MAC collection intrigued me and to be honest, Playland wasn't that different. But a few weeks ago, I had popped into my local MAC to check out the Lipglass in Underage for a sheer nude lipgloss. While I liked it, I was looking for something pinker. So imagine my delight when Playland released Lots of Laughs, and I was gifted a MAC gift card by my future sister-in-law for my birthday.. you can put 2 and 2 together ;)

The Lipglasses get bad press for being gloopy and thick, but I don't think they deserve it. Yes, they're thick but that means their longevity is off the charts for a lipgloss. As for gloopy.. well, I'm either completely out of tune with gloopiness ratings, or those people are applying way too much.

Something else I've noticed is how they don't dry out my lips. I'm not sure if it's the jojoba oil in their formula, or if the thickness just kinda protects them from the elements, but this is definitely a plus in my books - it's ridiculous how many lip products actually dry out your lips with continuous use.

As much as my love for Chanel lipglosses continues, I do prefer smaller packaging and MAC's fit the bill - I'm always afraid a long applicator will make me underestimate how close my face is to the applicator.. yes, I'm the kind of person that lipgloss-on-nose incidents happen to. MAC also has a doe-foot applicator - Dior's brush applicator has put me off a purchase for years now. The only thing I was a bit disappointed about was how quickly the MAC logo rubbed off of the side.

I suppose what's really got me addicted to this Lip Glass is its pigment. You can see above how warm and pigmented my lips are - and this was on a good day. But Lots of Laughs seems to not only cover up the redness, but still remain pink enough (and not turn milky white.. eugh) to give me some no-brainer, goes with anything, juicy baby pink lips - if I say so myself.

For the summer, I'm almost always a lip gloss gal. I love that you can usually apply it without a mirror, you can kind of see the lips through the product, and I love that it's so glossy and fresh.. very in keeping with summer's carefree image (which I realise doesn't always turn out to be the case, but pretty make up always helps..).

You can get MAC Lots of Laughs for £14 at Debenhams.

read more

25 June 2014

Review Series: Sun Protection #1

Left to Right: Murad, Bioderma, L'Occitane

I have no idea where to start when it comes to SPF. All I know is that I need it to be the perfect consistency and not interfere with the rest of my make up for it to encourage me to use it everyday - and it also has to be effective. You really can't question the importance of incorporating some sort of sun protection in your routine, and this page by the Skin Cancer Foundation is a great place to start. Luckily enough, I've come across these 3 sun protection products that might make your search a bit easier for the coming rays.

Murad Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30 (£39 from John Lewis)
The good thing about this one is that it's also a moisturiser, so it'll be easy to incorporate in your existing routine. I've reviewed its features as a moisturiser on this blog post. Briefly though, I find it incredibly hydrating as well as quite emollient - as you can see, it's the thickest of the three - so I'd recommend it for people with drier skin or with dehydration. In terms of suncare, it's Broad Spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays - it has SPF 30 (which protects against UVB) and PA+++ (which I think protects against UVA, which is the main cause of aging etc., from the sun). As to packaging, I love it. The spout is huge and the squeezy tube is perfect for ease of use.

Bioderma Photoderm Spot SPF 50 (£15.50 RRP - £10.33 from Escentual)
This is probably my favourite of the lot due to its consistency - it's virtually undetectable after you apply it on the skin. It's neither heavy and creamy, nor light and greasy, and just seems to disappear onto your skin. I've never known a facial suncreen that is so comfortable to wear! In addition to having both UVA and UVB protection, this one was picked out for me because it has extra protection for people with damaged skin, like my acne scarring. Again, the packaging is super practical and I would truly recommend this to anybody.

L'Occitane Jenipapo Face Protection Veil SPF 30 (£26 - from L'Occitane)
This one is from L'Occitane's recent Brazil collection (blog post here), and also has the UVA and UVB protection. It's a super light consistency that initially feels like it might be greasy, but when you blend it in, it is also virtually undetectable. It softens the skin more than Bioderma though, as it also doubles as a moisturiser but I prefer to use a moisturiser under it anyway - it'd be great on its own for oilier skins as the finish is quite natural anyway. As with many L'Occitane products, it has a strong smell - this one is like the classier, more flowery version of those Escada summer perfumes. I'd say this one probably has a teensy bit of a white cast. I'm not a massive fan of the packaging, as I feel like it's quite runny so most people wouldn't dispense too much on the first squeeze - while you apply the first squeeze, you'd want to just place the bottle down without worrying about the product spilling, but I'm always afraid it'll start dripping on its side. It hasn't happened yet, but I feel like maybe a pump would've been wiser..

read more

24 June 2014

Tutorial: A Subtle Daytime Bronze Eyeshadow Look

Most days, I'll wing it and use whatever eyeshadow I feel like that day. But sometimes I'll find a combination that I love and I'll work on it, tweak it and start wearing it almost everyday. These past few weeks, it's been this daytime bronzey look, and seeing as I haven't done an eye-look tutorial in yonks, I thought it might be about time!

The thing I particularly love about this look is that it's so glowy and summery, without being so 'in your face' bronze, because the contrast between the 3 shades I use are so limited - they're really only subtley different in terms of their darkness.

I also want to caveat everything with the fact that I'm not a make up artist, and all the things I express in this video are from my experience only :) Enjoy!

read more

23 June 2014

Season Nails: L'Oreal Color Riche Banana Pop & Jacava Top Coat

In 2008 or 2009, Glamour released one of their magazines with a gorgeous spread of summer brights. It's insane to think that almost 5 years later, I can still remember one of their models wearing bright yellow nails. Fast forward a few years, and there was a summer where the bright yellow of Rimmel's Lasting Finish Nail Polish in Sunshine was all that touched my tips.

This mood/obsession is back again in 2014, and this time, it's L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Polish in Banana Pop 834, paired with my absolute favourite top coat, Jacava Top Coat, which is also summer perfect as it has UV inhibitors infused in the formula.

The colours aside, these formula are fantastic. L'Oreal's Color Riches are easy to apply, relatively quick-drying and pigmented, with gorgeous gold and sleek packaging. Jacava's Top Coat, despite its reformulation late last year, still remains my favourite, as it blurs imperfections and dries so so quickly, whilst leaving a beautiful gloss (I have to say it's not as glossy as it was in its past life as the Top & Base Coat). What's good though, is how Jacava don't use a lot of the chemicals that are common in nail polishes, including formaldehyde, toulene, phthalates and parabens.

L'Oreal Color Riche nail polishes are £4.99 from Boots, and the Jacava Top Coat is £14.50 from Jacava's website.

read more

21 June 2014

Let's Compare: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine vs. Dior Addict

Left: Dior, Right: Chanel

Left: Dior, Right: Chanel

This is a serious question guys. This sh*t blows Aniston vs Jolie, Edward vs. Whatever out the water. Summer is upon us, and we have to know.. Chanel or Dior?

The Chanel Rouge Coco Shine and the Dior Addict lipsticks are both relatively sheer lipsticks that would be perfect for the warm weather - they are both light, and add a perfect tinge of colour. Here, I'm comparing the shades 85 Secret from Chanel, and 343 Miss Dior from Dior.

If you were hoping to make the decision based on this, I'm sorry - I have to say they are probably about the same. They are both lighter than my natural lip colour (which is pretty bright) but still manage to add enough tint to change, and even lighten the shade. Miss Dior is more of a peach/apricot, while Secret is more of a peachy baby pink. If I REALLY had to pick though - I'd probably say Dior was that a touch more pigmented.

This is what really matters, and you'd be happy to know that they're really quite different. Chanel gives a lot more of a slip and almost a wet feeling, while the Dior one is more of a super pigmented lip balm. Personally, I prefer the Dior because I find it a bit more nourishing and easy to apply and wear - there are no fears of it getting everywhere. In fact, I believe Dior lasts longer on my lips for this reason.

I've had the Dior one for a few years so it might be that the scent has disappeared over time, but I never remember it being overpowering. To me, it's quite scentless - almost like a really mild NIVEA. Nothing  too specific, just quite a general, mild scent. Chanel, on the hand, is like having a bouquet of roses shoved in your face. I'm personally not the hugest fan of this, especially after it's on my lips (I can't get over the thought of eating rose/lavender etc.,) and would prefer Dior on this front as well.

Could the two be any different? Chanel opts for the classic shiny black with the gold band, while Dior goes for.. sci-fi futuristic? I'm not sure what it is, but it's friggin' huge too. I'm not bothered by the Dior one by any means, and it's super easy to use because of its size, but I suppose it comes down to taste.

Colour Range
It's hard to tell but using Boots as a reference point, it would appear that Dior has a handful more shades than Chanel, but they both seem to have quite a good spectrum of shades. As a nude-lover, however, I've found the Dior range to have nice nudes.

As you'd expect from two competitors, Dior comes in at £1 less at £24, and Chanel at £25. Although, half of £48 sounds a lot better than half of £50..

The Verdict
I suppose it's pretty obvious at this point that when it comes to sheer lipsticks, the winner in my books is Dior. The packaging doesn't bother me, the formula is more my preference and I really do love the colour range. As much as I love Chanel as a brand, Dior wins on this front!

You can buy the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine and the Dior Addict at Debenham's and other department stores.

read more

Discovering: Antonia Burrell Skin & Antonia Burrell

"There's only 3 types of skin."

*explosion noise* 

As I sat in the slightly darkened and steamy room in the Urban Bliss spa on Portobello Road, I couldn't decide if I was very sceptical or whether my mind was blown - but renowned facialist, Antonia Burrell, seemed pretty confident.. after all, she's the expert with years of experience, and a skincare product line which launched after 2 years of R&D in 2010.

The three types of skin are dry, oily and normal, and these are genetic make ups that you cannot change. Anything on top of that - whether those are spots, dehydration, redness, sensitivity, are all temporary conditions rather than skintypes. So Antonia has made her products to tackle these conditions, and bring you back to your core skintype, at which point you can then focus on reaching 'equilibrium' - or a balance of sebum and water content in your skin. Even without her German 10 billion times magnifying machine, she could tell my skin was of the oily variety. Good news gals, it seems the whole thing that oily-skinned people age slower is true (phew).

Antonia's main approach to skincare is through plants and a holistic approach to solving problems - for example not just the spots themselves, but the itching, the redness, the scarring etc.,. Over the years, I have gone on and off on plant power. It's not that I question whether they have healing properties, but how often have I bought 'natural' products just to realise they aren't natural at all, or that they don't even work? Really, the only other truly plant-based brand that I've loved and believe in, is Bodhi.

Surprisingly enough, Antonia and Bodhi have something in common that explains everything - the Violett Glas storage. These glasses were used centuries ago to store perfumes and beauty products for royalty, and this is because it preserves whatever is inside. You can see a test they ran with chives after 2 months in this photo here.

And off she started, on the Antonia Burrell Bespoke Facial, explaining and applying each of the following products to tackle my skin:

Natural Glow Cleansing Oil
You guys know my love for cleansing oils, but I heard glass shatter when Antonia said using mineral oil-based oil cleansers can have really negative effects even if it's just to wash off your make-up. This AB oil is luxurious and smells divine, but I also popped to Boots to check out the Una Brennan one, which would be a good budget option, at less than half the price.

Luminous Light Polishing Powder
This product excites me to no end, and I'm so glad to have a tub to try out in the next few weeks. This is basically a powder with teensy bits of tea tree leaves and other plants to really gently exfoliate your skin daily. In fact, it's so mild that you wouldn't think it was polishing, but it actually it is - you can feel the difference! It also foams into a glorious lather, which means it's very gentle.. and surprise, surprise, it smells AMAZING.

Pure Therapy Facial Serum
I have to be honest, Antonia and I didn't talk about this serum too much but it's an anti-blemish serum. I don't generally tend to go for anti-blemish products in fear that they'll dry me out, but Antonia assured me that this, nor any of her products will do this because of the holistic approach of solving blemishes. I am a massive serum lover, and am pleased to find a blemish treatment that isn't just burning your skin off!

Forest Dew Skin Conditioner
Antonia describes this as a liquid conditioner that softens your skin, and acts like a conditioner for your hair. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about that, because I wonder if that's what moisturisers are meant to do. It's something more along the lines of a facial mist, I think!

Cream Supreme Facial Moisturiser
The first thing I noticed about this was how gorgeous it smelt! It smelt earthy like all the other products, but with a bit more musk. It was super luxurious and felt nice on my skin. I did feel like my skin was a bit dewy at the end though so maybe it's something I'd use for the nighttime - it's definitely more on the heavier side of creams.

After that routine, some extraction, customised masks and scrubs, and some galvanic electrotherapy (I wondered if I might get shocked and wake up like Frankenstein, but all is fine.. I promise), my skin feels great. It's looking brighter and softer, and Antonia assured me there will be even more effects in the next 2 or 3 days.. yay! You can see the rest of her facials on her Treatments page.

One thing she did say that I was not expecting was some insane congestion on my skin. I'm considering going for relatively regular treatments in the lead up to the wedding (not that we know when that is), as she said it might solve my overall breakout problems.. now wouldn't that be the dream?!

I had such a good time speaking to Antonia and learning about the products from her - I think the first four that I mentioned above are really promising products! It's really pulled me back into using products with good ingredients - especially when she said my cleansing routine with cleansing mineral oils was probably what was causing all the congestion! Gross.

The Luminous Light Polishing Powder will be thoroughly tried and tested over the next few weeks so watch this space for further thoughts on Antonia's products :) Until then, you can check them out on the Antonia Burrell Skin website.

read more

19 June 2014

Tutorial: The Summer Skin Make Up

If there's one thing about everyday make up that dramatically changes for me (and probably many others) between seasons, it's the base. For me, achieving that lightweight and glowy look is so difficult, because I need coverage and I need oil control - MUFE Mat Velvet+ and mattifying primers aren't really an option. You see people with naturally gorgeous skin saying things like, "I just popped on some random tinted moisturiser, some bronzer and I'm good to go!" and you're like "... No." I would look like you could fry an egg on my face in 2 seconds.

For those of us that require a bit more care in selecting our products to get this glowy skin, and can't really skip on powder or just turn to any old tinted moisturiser - it can be tough. But I feel like I've sussed it out to an extent that I can give some heads up on products and techniques. From super redness reducing BB creams, to the skin-brightening blusher, these products are the winners in my book for that summer glowy skin (without turning greasy!). I hope these help!

Massive apologies for that title page fail.. it's been a while.
read more

18 June 2014

Review Series: Serums #1

Bioderma Hydrabio Serum (£17.50 - link here)
As part of my skincare assessment with Debbie Thomas, I was given this Bioderma serum for tackling my dehydration, and I am blown away. It is one of the most hydrating serums I've used, and actually pairing it with a moisturiser is almost too much for me - but it's in an awkward space where not using one is not enough. But if you suffer from extreme dehydration (pinch your cheeks - do you get horizontal wrinkles?), or you're looking for a lightweight, gel-based product to use instead of a moisturiser - this is an affordable option to try. As for the formula, it is a gel texture that sinks in beautifully and the packaging is also super practical. For the price, I'm very impressed at what it can do!

Lancome DreamTone Serum 02 for Medium Skin Tone (£69 - link here)
After being so impressed with L'Oreal's Skin Perfection Serum, I really expected for Lancome's skin correcting serums to be magical (L'Oreal owns both brands, and you may notice throughout their products that L'Oreal often produce the high street version of popular Lancome products) - especially with their reputation in the Genefique and Visionnaire lines. Unfortunately, it really didn't do much for my acne scars in the long term at all, unlike the L'Oreal one - maybe it brightened my skin for the day.. but no one should have to pay £69 for that (I thankfully won this in a giveaway by one of the department stores).

And what's even more infuriating is how they have organised this product. Number 1 is for fair skin, to correct redness. Number 2 is for medium skin, to correct dark spots. Number 3 is for dark skin, to correct scarring. Now obviously, this misleads consumers as to whether they should purchase according to their skintone or their needs. I obviously went with skintone, and it was a mistake. There's some serious rebranding needed here.

The texture is great - it sinks in well, and creates a really nice and smooth base for your primer, but the skincare benefits were virtually non-existent for me. It doesn't do anything bad, but for the price, you want some big time results.

skinChemists Bee Venom Facial Serum (£135 - link here)
The price tag on this baby also sends shockwaves through my body, but at least it delivers.. and oh, does it deliver! This is a step up from Bioderma, in the sense that it is super duper hydrating and I could eaaasily get away with not wearing moisturiser if I use this. It's a thick gel consistency that smells like honey (I'm not a massive fan, but the smell does go away - phew). It sinks in beautifully and leaves with you with plump, hydrated and smooth skin. I'd go so far as to say it was a 3-in-1 with serum, moisturiser and primer which really more than justifies its price - you can easily find products that are £40+ in each bracket. It's a hefty amount to part with in one shot, but I can't question its quality. skinChemists sometimes run sales on their websites to encourage new users, so keep an eye out - you're talking £100+ products on sale for £20 :)

Origins Make A Difference Skin Rejuvenating Serum (£34 - link here)
This has been my day serum of choice for ages now - it's just perfect. A smooth liquid that is weightless, and sinks in very quickly to give you a nice hydrated base. This is one I pair with a moisturiser (currently the Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Soothing Moisturising Cream) and it keeps my oils at bay and my skin nice and hydrated. Because of its light texture, I could recommend this to pretty much anybody - I can't imagine it being too much for many people. It's a "does what it says on the tin" serum - it hydrates, and won't intervene with anything else you've got going on. This is a ridiculously minor point, but I have this problem of taking lids off pump-based products and just never putting it back on - this one comes with a twist lock and no lid so it's pretty much made for me.. pretty much.

read more

10 June 2014

Review Series: BB Creams/Tinted Moisturisers #1

Clockwise from top left: Pixi, SkinChemists, Nivea, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Bioderma

First things first, the title is deceptive: this post in fact has pretty much every alphabet in the beauty world, including CC creams and DD creams, as well as the mentioned BB creams and tinted moisturiser :)

Despite having acne scarring on my face, as the years go on, I'm more and more curious about the lighter coverage "non-foundations", and this year has been especially successful on that front. Now that it looks like the UK is finally ready for summer (she says, for the 3rd time this year), I imagine many people will be looking for that slightly less heavy base.

Bobbi Brown Original Tinted Moisturiser SPF 15 in Light to Medium Tint (£29 - link here, review here)
I could quite literally go on and on about this one - but I'll keep it nice and short. Last year's summer favourite, this tinted moisturiser gives you the most natural glow with a coverage that is higher than most other tinted moisturiser. It also has an inexplicable ability to blur pores and give you a smoother finish. Super blendable and with gorgeous packaging, this is one of my favourite bases ever!

MAC Studio Moisture Tint SPF 15 in Medium Dark (£21.50 - link here)
This is more for the oilier gals out there, who want a slightly more matte finish. This was my go-to when I had oily skin, because it didn't leave me looking like a chip pan and the higher coverage meant my spots were well covered too. Again, very blendable and definitely not explored enough in the beauty world!

NIVEA Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle CC Tinted Day Cream SPF 15 (£10.99 - link here)
This, on the other hand, is definitely for the dry-skinned. For me, it was much too dewy with too much moisture, and with little coverage. I'd recommend this more for people with dryer skin who just want a glowy, light wash over their face, perhaps to give themselves a bit of a tint but there was really no coverage involved here. The skincare qualities would also make this suitable for more mature skin. Probably the most affordable of the lot today as well!

Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream with SPF 30 (£14.50 - link here)
The newest addition to the Bioderma line, I didn't have high expectations for this one. But these days, I cannot keep it off my face. It's absolutely brilliant. It gives a natural finish - not too dewy nor matte, and an amazing redness reducing quality. It has a patented technology called ROSACTIV, and normally I shrug these things off as a yellow tinted pigment that just counteracts the red. Not this one - it blends it away like the redness never existed. I was lucky that the shade matched me, but you'll have to refer elsewhere to see if their automatic shade matching technology lives up to their claims.

skinChemists DD Cream with SPF 20 in Medium (£77 - link here)
This one also has a dewy finish and a lighter coverage.  It has a touch more coverage than NIVEA, and the dewiness was more controlled, elegant and not "shiny" (fine line!). I was impressed that despite my combination skin, I wore it as a glowy dewy finish, without looking greasy. This is infused with insane skincare qualities like UVA and UVB protection, ingredients that eliminate free radicals and yummy antioxidants, as well as anti-aging qualities. Again, this is also a better option than the NIVEA for the skincare benefits if you're willing to splash out a bit.

Pixi H2O SkinTint in No2 Nude (£21 - link here)
Last but definitely not least, another one of my best finds this year is this brand new Pixi H2O SkinTint. This has a coverage more like a light foundation, and leaves you with a more glowy-leaning natural finish. What really sets this apart for me, is it reaaaally cools you down. It's like you feel the water on your face, just soaking in. You can read more details about my thoughts here :)

I've heard a lot of raves about the NARS Tinted Moisturiser, and of course the Chantecaille one, both of which flutter in and out of my wishlist! Which tinted moisturisers are your favourite?

read more

8 June 2014

RMK Summer 2014 with Akgun Manisali

When I see a Japanese brand break into the UK market I'm always amazed and curious, because the two markets are completely different. Obviously Shiseido seems to have sussed it out to a certain extent, but it seems RMK is the next in line. Make up in Japan is super expensive, so I was actually pleasantly surprised to see RMK at the lower/middle part of the high end brands.

Last week I had the opportunity to check out the new Summer 2014 collection with their brand ambassador, Akgun Manisali. He was totally my kind of guy - brutally honest, super creative and very practical-thinking. I've looked up some of his work, and I was clearly in the presence of a genius!

So here are some of the products he introduced me to..

This Customise Case A is the centre piece of the new collection, and it's a magnetised palette that you can fit either 4 eyeshadows, 2 blushes or 2 eyeshadows and a blush. Not to fear - there is no depotting mess to be had here, because everything is already magnetised. Also, when you buy individual products, they come in their own case but have a pinhole at the back where you can lift the pan up and pop it directly into your palette. It also means you can fit 2 eyeshadows in your empty blush palette! Dear MAC - please take a leaf out of their book.

For the contents, Akgun picked these three out for me:

Ingenious Powder Cheeks (£19) in EX-03 Shiny Pink
Recently, I've been venturing into pinker blushes but this was brighter than most I've tried. However, Japanese make up are often relatively sheer as it's slightly looked down upon to really over-do make-up (you wouldn't guess with the historic geisha make-up..). Which means this turns into a gorgeous sheer pop of colour that blends beautifully and lasts the whole day.

Ingenious Powder Eyes (£15) in 07 Beige
Akgun and I both wanted 08 Pink Beige but unfortunately it was out of stock. But as luck would have it, Beige is GORGEOUS. It's a very warm beige, but with a sheer wash all over the lid it, it really makes your eyes pop. I think it looks great with a matte brown contour.

Ingenious Eye Shadow Base (£13.50)
In my opinion, Japanese eyeshadow bases aren't great and unfortunately, RMK's offering hasn't changed my opinion. They are usually powder-based, which means they're much lighter than my usual MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre and much less messy. However, they don't do much for enhancing eyeshadow colours or prolonging the wear.

It's very lucky that Akgun is as creative as he is, because he offered me 2 alternative ways to use this product. One was in the morning after you wash your face, your eyelashes are often damp and don't hold curl as well. A dusting of this will dry them up, and read to hold the curls. The second, is to use it as a setting powder for undereye concealer - the yellow will counteract the purple. Like I said - genius.

Original Brush Set
The mini brush set you see above is also actually part of the Summer 2014 collection. The brushes aren't anything to write home about in terms of their selection, but they're really good quality, both in terms of the handles and the bristles.

I use the big brush for blush as well as for setting my undereye concealer with the Ingenious Eye Shadow Base. The smaller one is great for eyeshadow application, as is the sponge tip if you want a more concentrated application. Like I always say, most of the sponge tips that come in Japanese cosmetics are actually very good quality because people often have to pay extra for them and it's very common for people to expect to be able to use them with their purchases.

The thing that I adoooore about this case, is how you can slot in your Customise Case A in a compartment right behind the brushes like in the second photo. How cool! It also has a rubber band that keeps everything shut for your handbag. Perfect. That being said, I do think if the Customise Case was for travelling, they should've put a mirror in somewhere.. although the clear lid is actually really nice to look at and they couldn't have kept it so slim and compact with a mirror.

I also got a few samples of their skincare, and my goodness - this Cleansing Balm is delicious in every which way. It smells like a massive bouquet of roses, and the balm texture melts into oil as you apply it on your face. It does an amazing job of removing all traces of make up, including waterproof mascara. I always rave about oil cleansers being the best, and this is another example! I've never come across a solid oil cleanser before, but RMK makes it work, no question about it.

Totally forgot to photograph it, but I've also been trying RMK's SkinTuner Smoother Moist which is a liquid moisturiser. You heard me correctly - a liquid moisturiser. I'm so surprised at how moisturising it really is, it's almost too moisturising for my combination skin! It basically feels like water or a toner, but after applying it your skin itself feels like but very plump and moisturised. The concept actually isn't uncommon in Japan - my mom never understands how I can stand applying creams on my face!

Lastly, something I haven't tried but am itching to get my hands on in the future is RMK's new powder foundation, UV Powder Foundation, which has water infused in it. Being science-stupid, I cannot get my head around it, but apparently they've found a way to do it, which makes powder apply more smoothly and more hydrating. Mind blown.

Let's just say I'll be keeping a much closer eye on RMK in the future..

You can view the whole Summer 2014 collection on RMK's website here, and purchase most of the RMK products on the Selfridges website (link here).

read more

5 June 2014

Duped? Illamasqua Trilliant & Orly Colorblast Rose 3D Glitter

Left: Illamasqua; Right: Orly

This is the kind of post where the non-beauty-addicted are like "..what is the point", and us beauty psychos are like, ARE YOU JOKING THEY'RE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Love it.

Anyway, had one of those de javu moments and thought - hah, dupe. This time, it's the Illamasqua's Trilliant from their Glamore collection (post here) and Orly's new Colorblast Rose 3D Glitter. Here's how I think they compare.

Orly wins in my books. Not only do my OCD tendencies go apeshit when Illamasqua's lid doesn't screw on completely square, the ergonomic shape and the rubber grip on Orly's handle is absolutely fantastic.

They tie when it comes to brushes though - they're pretty much identical. Illamasqua's might be a touch flatter, which is that little bit easier to use.. if we're picking at straws here.

This is the fun bit right? Well. I'd say Illamasqua is slightly warmer with an almost coppery rose tone, whereas Orly is very much silver-based. On my warm skintone, I do prefer the pink-leaning Trilliant, and there is a noticeable difference in which one looks better when I put the swatches against my finger. It's weird though because on looking at the swatches, I actually prefer Orly! (and this is how you justify dupes, everyone) But let's face it - if you've already got one, you're not going to need the other (different story when you've already got both ..right?). That being said, if you're choosing between the two, this is what I'd decide it on!

I'm going to be super boring here and say that both Illamasqua and Orly nailpolishes across the board, are some of the best nailpolishes I've tried. They're pigmented, easy to apply and dry in a decent time. So naturally, these are both neck and neck. I also noticed that these both last quite well before they start shrinking/fading. If I absolutely HAD to say a difference, I'd say this particular Illamasqua shade dries a bit faster, and has the more textured surface. But again - picking at straws.

Illamasqua Trilliant is £15 from their website here, and you can get Orly Colorblast Rose 3D Glitter for  £9.50 from Boots, here.

read more

4 June 2014

Launch: L'Occitane Au Brazil Collection

Yes this collection is from Brazil, but not to worry football-haters, it's not World Cup-related. In fact, the story behind L'Occitane's newest Au Brazil Collection starts when L'Occitane decided to expand to Brazil.

This was when they discovered that the local import tax laws meant the prices would have to go up massively - almost to the point where L'Occitane would simply be inaccessible to most consumers. So, they decided to create a brand new lines just for Brazil which sourced ingredients directly from local producers in Brazil.

Now, they've brought some products from two (or three-ish) of the lines here to the UK as a limited edition collection. One of these is the Mandacaru line, which is available online only (link here). The rest, which I'll be reviewing here, are the Jenipapo line and the Vitoria Regia line, which consists of Day Flower and the Night Flower lines.

The products are also decorated with illustrations from local artists, Andres Sandoval (Jenipapo) and Joana Lira (Vitoria Regia). You can see more about the source of ingredients and the artists in these videos here (Vitoria Regia) and here (Jenipapo).

Jenipapo (link here)
The Jenipapo range are the orangey coloured products you see above. These, smell, FANTASTIC. The Jenipapo flowers grow on top of super tall trees, so they can make the most of the glorious Latin sunshine. The products in this line smell a lot like a classier, more natural version of those Escada perfumes - so you're talking super summery and floral at the same time.

My Top Pick: I especially love the Shower Oil. If you've never tried the renowned Almond Shower Oil, or you want something slightly fresher than that, you MUST try this one. It's got the same nourishing qualities as the Almond one, but with a different scent.

I was also quite impressed with the Face Protecting Veil SPF 30. Buried in a predominantly bodycare line, I was worried about using this on my face but it's great, and doesn't make me oily or dry and doubles as a primer. It's similar to one of my favourites, the Maquillage primer, which I can only get in Japan. If you're keen on more SPF, the Protecting Body Oil from this range also has SPF 15, and a Body Jelly Milk with SPF 20.

For those of you who can't get enough of the scent, build the layers of scent even more with the Perfume Oil Roll-On.

Vitoria Regia (link here)
Vitoria Regia, to the less green-thumbed of us (hello!), are HUGE water lillies named after Queen Victoria, whose reign it was when they were discovered. The beautiful story behind the Vitoria Regia is that they only bloom at night - and for one night only. During the day, the Vitoria Regia is shut to protect its delicate petals from the harsh sun rays. *Sigh*. SO. ROMANTIC.

My Top Pick: I've been smothering - and when I say smothering, I mean, SMOTHERING myself in the Day Flower Eau de Cologne. It seems like L'Occitane just hits the nail on the head for me when it comes to fragrances, because I feel like everytime they launch something, I'm going on about how it's my favourite scent yet. But seriously - favourite scent yet.

It's a SUPER fresh, light and greeny scent with a hint of delicate flower - nothing sweet about it. Because of this light nature, and the fact it's an Eau de Cologne makes this perfect for the summer heat.

Now the Night Flower scent doesn't draw me quite as much - it has a more musky, powdery and sweet tone to it, which is meant to be more for the nighttime. Before I sign off, can I PLEAAASE draw your attention to the beautifully carved Night Flower Flower Soap? BEAUTIFUL.

You can find the full collection on the L'Occitane website.

read more