Saturday, 31 August 2013

MAC Pro Palette Project - Month Two

Hey guys! Today I have for you the second instalment of my ever-growing MAC pro palette. I've already spoken about my first two bolder additions Cranberry and Sumptuous Olive, both of which have been getting a fair amount of wear recently (yay for being more adventurous with eyeshadow shades!) This month I decided to veer away from the more "out-there" colours and go for what I describe as the inbetweener shadows ie) something in between bold and neutrals that I know will still get a lot of wear. This is where Amber Lights and Nylon come into play...

Amber Lights is described by MAC as peachy-brown with shimmer but, as you can see from the pan and swatch, I would say it has more of an orange/copper tinge. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just don't see the brown tones in the eyeshadow at all. The frost formula is great; shimmery with no fall down which is just what you want! I personally think this shade would look fabulous on blue and green eyes because it will really make them pop. I love the colour pay-off - you can apply lightly over the lid and build up to a super pigmented look, or simply enhance your eyes with this shade as a stand-out eyeliner.

Nylon may be one of the most versatile additions to my pro palette. It's described by MAC as pale gold with an icy shimmer and frost finish. As a shadow on its own it's way too bright, unless of course you're into costume makeup, but I like to use this on my brow bone or inner corner of my eye as a highlight and it just makes my eye makeup look more complete. It's soft and smooth to work with, and easily blends with my MAC 217 blending brush. I've also found that it's great used sparingly on the tops of the cheekbones and blended out - it gives the skin a nice luminous glow without look too shiny. 

Do you own either of these eyeshadows? If so, how do you like to use them?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Favourite Higher-End Bases

I have to admit it; at times I truly struggle with foundations. Whether it's the right shade or formula for my skin tone is always something I have to question profusely before purchasing (thank god for samples and swatches!) And, of course, these are the factors you have to really consider before spending your cash on the more expensive brands. Today I give you four of my current favourite bases to work with - some on the daily, others for special occasions.

NARS Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc - £30.50: This has to be my ultimate favourite and my definite go-to foundation. I love it! Since discovering it, I can safely say that it works really well for my dry skin and I tend to keep coming back for more (I'm almost onto my third bottle of the stuff but it's lasted ages each time) Even though they describe Mont Blanc as being "light with pink undertone" I would say that it's much more neutral, which is way better suited to my real skin tone. It has a wonderful buildable coverage so you can work your way up from medium to full in no time at all and skin looks pretty much flawless every time. The next time I repurchase this I'm definitely going to buy the pump that goes with it so there's less product wastage - just a little tip for future purchasers!

Illamasqua Skin Base in 3.5 - £27.00: This base was more recent purchase but has had a huge impact on me nonetheless. The formula is quite thick and semi-matte with a dewy finish. I love the scent of it too; it almost smells like toffee when applying it to the skin! If you're looking for a foundation that caters to both pale and dark skin tones then I would suggest taking a look at Illamasqua's shade chart (they also compare the shades to NARS Sheer Matte/Glow and most MAC foundations - super handy if you're unsure!) The only gripe I have with it is that the squeezy plastic bottle it is housed in is quite stiff to work with, and doesn't hold as much product as I would like. Other than that it has become a solid favourite in my makeup bag!

Vichy Idéalia BB Créme in Light - £14.00: I won't go into much detail on this once as I've already done a lengthy review earlier this month, but I will say that this BB Creme works really well on my face when I'm having a good skin day. The coverage is good for a BB cream, sheer but light to medium. There's also the added bonus of not having to apply extra highlighter over the top because the light formula contains micro pigments which help give the skin a healthy glow.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation in Ecru - £28.50: My current most luxurious of the higher-end price tag, I use this foundation for special occasions and for when I have a bit of tan but require extra coverage. I can't fault the name choice here, the formula is thick, indulgent, and absolutely doesn't budge once applied. Having said this, it does mean you need to scrub your face to get it off at the end of the evening but that's nothing a good cleanser/micellar water won't clear up. The coverage is medium but buildable and has great staying power, especially in humidity. I also love the packaging - a classy thick glass bottle with a gold screw top adds to the expensive feel.

So those are my current favourite higher-end bases. What are yours?

Monday, 26 August 2013

YSL Babydoll Mascara

Ahh, YSL... I think I really do have a bit of a love/hate relationship going on here. I mean, some of their products really work for me and there are others that don't do me any favours whatsoever. But, like a jilted ex, I tend to keep pining after certain products and popping them on my wish list in the hope that one day we'll work it all out. YSL Babydoll mascara was one of those guilty of the crime, and now I can say that I'm firmly in love again!

Unless you've been living under a rock this summer (and why would you, it's been quite lovely here!) then you'll probably know all about this much sought-after beauty product. I was originally introduced during to this mascara after watching a makeup tutorial by Pixiwoo on YouTube, and thought "yeah right, can't be that fantastic" as I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to hyped-up products. As usual, the results on the ladies just looked amazing so I decided to give in and have a go with it myself!

Babydoll is packaged in a very sleek gold tube - a YSL mascara staple - with a girly pink scrawl on the side. I can never fault higher-end brands and their super ability to make the packaging just as gorgeous as the product itself; it makes the price much more justifiable. The rubber brush is thick yet completely manageable and boasts two type of bristles: thick and spaced on one side to coat the lashes and create volume, and fine closed bristles on the other side to reach every lash you possess - even the smallest ones at the corner of your eye, very handy! The formula is thick yet doesn't clump the lashes so much that it's noticeable, and dare I say it actually smells quite nice? It lasts incredibly well all day, despite it not being waterproof, and doesn't flake or leave me with smudges under my eyes.

I've also now done away with the old false eyelashes in order to make the "wide awake" appearance much longer lasting. I honestly feel like I don't need to use falsies anymore, especially for everyday use; the odd special occasion is just fine with me! I'm really digging the more natural lash now that I've discovered this magic mascara wand of wonder!

Babydoll retails at £24.50 (save up your pennies, ladies) and is available in black, brown, navy and violet. I suggest taking a trip to your local YSL counter if you feel the urge to splurge! And if you have tried this mascara before, how did you find it?

Monday, 19 August 2013

MAC Lipstick in See Sheer

Hello all! It wouldn't be a successful month without a MAC lipstick review and this month is no different. This August you may even get treated to two lipsticks as I did splurge a little after payday (it was a long time coming, believe me!)

MAC describes See Sheer as "grapefruit pink" but the more I look at it in bullet-form I can't help but think it reminds me of Revlon's ever-popular lip butter in Papaya. I actually think that would make a pretty good dupe! Its lustre formula means that it provides lips with quite a sheer finish but I really like that in a lippy as it doesn't get everywhere when you're eating or drinking. Of all the lipstick formulas that MAC produces, lustre is definitely the most moisturising on my lips, and with proper preparation it can feel so light and beneficial. Admittedly however, it doesn't have the ideal staying power. Unless you're dedicated to reapplying throughout the day or night then it's most likely that you'll have major fading.

Overall I give See Sheer a big thumbs up! The shade is great - a lovely juicy papaya-esque coral that gives lips a natural pop of colour which is suitable enough for daytime wear and for Spring and Summer. It's versatile and neutral enough to go with any outfit which is always a plus; it's a real no-fuss shade! Of course, I'm well aware that MAC lipsticks are now £15, but hey, when has a price increase ever stopped anyone buying these gorgeous products?

What do you think of See Sheer? What's your favourite MAC lustre lipstick?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Vichy Idéalia BB Cream

Hi guys! I feel a bit like I've been failing as a blogger this month, due to both inspiration deficit, being super busy at work and rounding off my driving lessons (my test is in two weeks and counting, eek!) Plus, I've been on a budget for the past few weeks so haven't had the funds to buy nice things I want to buy but I finally get paid on Friday! With that said, to those of you who do take the time to read my blog, I'd just like to thank you for sticking with me because it really does mean a lot! 

Right, onto today's post...

On good skin days I absolutely love to use BB/CC creams. I don't tend to suffer from terrible breakouts anymore, just the odd persistent spot, so I can afford to try much lighter coverage creams and foundations these days. I held off buying the Vichy Idéalia BB Cream for a little while as I like to see what my favourite beauty bloggers think first before I concluded as to whether or not it may be the right product for me. Figuring it was worth the plunge, I decided to try it for myself.

"The first Idéalia BB cream that reveals more beautiful skin in one step thanks to its formula enriched with a unique complex (kombucha + UV filter system) and light reflecting pigments to instantly help illuminate a dull and grey complexion."

Now, I'm actually a big fan of the Vichy Idéalia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream so I was pleasantly surprised (okay, super happy) to find that they share the same gorgeous scent. It's really fresh with a subtle floral hint, and as I write this I can't stop smelling my hand where I've swatched the product. Vichy boasts one formula which provides skin with six actions. These are to illuminate instantly, hydrate, visibly smooth wrinkles, refine the skin's texture, reduce dark spots, and they also make a point of containing UVA and UVB protection. Where I may not be able to comment on one of the six (no wrinkles here, thanks young skin) I have to say I am impressed with the other "actions". As soon as I applied the product to my face I saw an instant change in the brightness of my skin - you may even be able to see the shimmer in the "blended" photograph above which, for me, is a huge plus. I do love a bit of illumination without having to apply extra highlighter!

A particularly versatile product, I like to use the Vichy BB Cream either by itself, as a base for heavier coverage makeup, or even mix it with my foundation - I'm currently loving Illamasqua's Skin Base - to create a half-and-half formula. The latter is my preferred method when I need more coverage but still want a dewy look - it provides me with an even base whilst still giving my skin that much-needed hydration. It blends great too. If I'm going for a lighter coverage I tend to use my fingers, and if I mix it with foundation I apply it with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or my Buffing Brush.

The product claims to be for all skin types, but I've heard a few complaints from people with oily skin who say that it makes them look too shiny after application. In that case, I think either combine and set with a powder (but that kind of defeats the object of the dewy look) or avoid purchasing completely. I think it tends to cling and hydrate on my dry skin comparatively. It's currently available in two shades: light and medium. I purchased it in light and it seems to adapt pretty well to my skin tone once blended properly.

In the future I would love to try out the Dior BB Creme as well. It appears to be quite comparable with Vichy's so it would be interesting to see if it's truly worth that £30 price tag. But for now this is my go-to light coverage BB cream and I'm pretty chuffed with the results.

What's your opinion on BB Creams? Have you ever tried Vichy or Dior before? I would love to know some opinions!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Haircare Heroes

As a longtime choice hair bleacher, I know it's hard to maintain that healthy just-out-of-the-salon look at home. These are just some of the products I live by when going about my hair routine. 

First of all I tend to use Clynol's Colour+ Care Reflex Silver Shampoo treatment once or twice a week in order to get out those horrid brassy/yellowish tones which the hair takes on once bleached with peroxide. I love this stuff! It's the craziest deep purple colour that contains added keratin and UV filters which helps to nourish and protect the hair from damage. You only need the smallest amount to make a huge difference, and it doesn't dry out my hair like other silver shampoos I've tried before (Touch of Silver, hello). A word of warning though: be careful not to leave it in too long before rinsing because it will tinge your hair purple otherwise! After my usual shampoo/conditioning routine I like to pop some of the Macadamia Nourishing Leave-In Cream through the lengths of my hair and allow it to dry naturally (I use way too much heat on my hair which has really damaged it so I'm trying to use less nowadays). The cream contains properties that can extend the life of colour treatments and smells so lovely. My hair is always left feeling super soft once this has been applied. On really off days, I extend my Macadamia usage and treat my hair to the Deep Repair Masque. I can't rave enough about this product! It revitalises dry and damaged hair - I mean, how can it not when it contains macadamia and argan oils with tea tree oil, chamomile oil, aloe and algae extracts? All those fabulous oils really do make a difference to the condition of your hair! I will definitely be repurchasing the biggest version they have!

After the initial washing and conditioning of my hair I always pat it dry with a fluffy towel (never rub!) and bask in the invention of my recent Tangle Teezer addition. I then use a small blob of MoroccanOil Treatment and run my fingers through the mid lengths and ends of my hair. I was really surprised when I received this, mostly because the bottle is tiny compared to the picture on most websites I've seen it on! I've always been a bit hesitant about using oils but I really love how this instantly absorbs, nourishes and doesn't leave my hair feeling greasy at all. This treatment has so many benefits including UV protection, nourishment for damaged hair, healing, adding softness, restoring shine and, perhaps best of all, can aid hair growth! It's also fabulous to use on hair extensions so that's an added bonus. Once my hair is dry and styled, I like to use one of three main products based on which style I've chosen. For sleek and straight hair, I just juzz up my roots a bit by spraying some VO5 Dry Backcomb Spray. If I want more of a wavy beachy feel, I'll spray some KMS California Sea Salt Spray through my hair and really ruffle it up (this stuff smells amazing by the way!) And finally, If I want a much more polished look, or if I decide to pop my hair up into a top knot or tight bun, I'll use my TRESemmé Superior Hold Touchable Finish Hairspray. This is the only hairspray that has so far truly worked out for me. It's really light, doesn't make you choke when you spray it because of its scent, and is totally workable and manageable once applied. Plus, it doesn't dry out your hair or make it that gross crispy texture - it's just enough to hold your style into place and then easily brushes out after a night out.

These are just some of my haircare heroes. What are yours?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mists

Happy August, everybody! I can't believe we're already eight months into 2013; my workplace is unbelievably starting to get in Christmas stock over the next few weeks - crazy! But let's forget about Christmas for a while, and head over to the lovely solace of sunny warm August and the world of summery fragrances.

I bought these Victoria's Secret fragrance mists after Becky recommended them in an Ebay wishlist post recently. Thank goodness for her; I've always lusted over Victoria's Secret and therefore I did a little squeak of joy upon discovering the post! Taking practically zero convincing (and having the hard work of searching the good deals done for me) I didn't hesitate to pop a couple of these in my virtual basket. The only real difficulty about the transaction was having a plethora of gorgeous scents to choose from! In the end I went for Love Spell and Forever Pink. Before I describe the scents themselves I just wanted to tell you guys how much I absolutely love the packaging of these mists. Large clear spray bottles with feminine flowery backdrops will add a colourful touch to any bedside or dressing table. Now onto the smell...

Love Spell is described as a flirty, floral fragrance. A vibrant, irresistible blend of lush cherry blossom and juicy peach. The refreshing formula is infused with conditioning aloe vera and calming chamomile. I love this scent, simply because I don't have any kind of perfume that smells similar in any way and it's fabulous to just spritz on before leaving the house.

Forever Pink is described as a flirty blend of pink tuberose and pear. This refreshing fragrance mist is part of their VS Fantasies collection, and is infused with aloe vera and chamomile just like Love Spell (and all other mists in the collection). I'm glad I opted for this one; I really love floral notes in fragrances so this one is much more familiar for me!

One thing that pleasantly surprised me about both fragrance mists was their staying power. I sprayed them on each arm one morning as a test and they ended up lasting practically all day which was great. I've also had a lot of compliments on how they smell after I'd raved about them. At £7.99 each (and less than a quid postage) I'd say these mists are a bargain buy which will last the wearer all the way through until next summer!

Have you tried any of these? What's your favourite summer scent?
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