Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Beauty and the Beach

Or the park, or the garden... or the roof (in Newcastle at least). When the sun shines anything goes. Wherever you’re enjoying this glorious sunshine you need to be prepared but not laidened down with a summer survival kit. Here are my top picks...

It's creams all the way...
Cream blush, cream bronzer, cream/gel eyeshadows.  Creams are our friend, especially in the heat. They melt seamlessly into the skin and look more natural than powder plus they're quick and easy to touch up - a little finger dab and you're done. Maybelline Color Tattoo has been my best friend during this heat wave (full review here). It doesn’t fade and lasts all day with no creasing. I've also been reaching for my Stila Convertible Palette for lips and cheeks (full review here) and Bourjois Bronzing Primer as a cream bronzer.

A Water Spritz - trust me, they work!
This Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Moisture Mist was my saviour in London a couple of weeks ago with temperatures of 30C plus. I whipped it out on the tube, in the park, in the streets... basically anywhere I felt like I was going to pass out. It cools, hydrates and contains minerals and nutrients to calm and reinvigorate the skin. It can be used on face, body and hair and makes a great travel companion. £9.25/200ml Lookfantastic here. Also check out Anatomicals Spray Misty, does the same thing but it’s cheaper.

I obviously wanted to show off my new shades - Urban Outfitters £8, but what I like about them is they're BIG. They protect about half of my face and they don't slide down my nose in the heat like my Rayban Clubmasters. Plus they were pretty cheap so I won't be upset if they get sat on or buried in the sand.

Sunglasses Urban Outfitters, Vest New Look, Skirt ASOS

Suncream that doesn't turn you into a grease ball
Hands up if you’ve spotted some pretty hideous sunburn lately? Leave the lobster look to Donetella and don the sunscreen. To avoid the grease slick go for a dedicated face SPF, my favourite is Ultrasun. It absorbs fast, doesn't look shiny and lasts for ages. It lets my face tan but never burn. I’m also hugely impressed with Coola Mineral sunscreen Rose Essence. Glossybox sent this gem just in the nick of time in July’s Seaside splash box and it’s an instant hit. Who doesn’t love a multi-tasker? Moisturiser, tint and sunscreen. The rosy tint is pretty, yet sutble, the formula absorbs quickly and is non-oily yet leaves a soft glow.


Eight Hour Cream
Because you can use it on your lips, dry skin, cuticles, sun burn... whatever you want. Plus I got this mini tube from Glossybox and as it’s so small and light I take it everywhere. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream £12.80/50ml Cheapsmells here.
Waterproof Mascara
If you can do without, do (if you're hiding behind your sunglasses they'll never know). If not it's waterproof all the way. Usually I'm not a fan of waterproof mascaras because they're such a damn pain to remove but if they work, they're worth it. I got this Covergirl mascara in my US Beauty Swap and boy does it work. It literally lasts for days. Face wash, even eye make up remover won't budge it so heat and humidity have no chance!
So that was my picks, tell me yours?

Monday, 29 July 2013

MAC Soba – My new staple brown?

What did I just say about not having many MAC eyeshadows? (see Holy Grail Series Part Deux) In my mind I heard “go out and buy more MAC eyeshadows”.

Soba was destined to join my collection. A warm golden brown with a touch of caramel shimmer. If there was an award for the most unassuming shadow – this would win. Let’s be honest it looks pretty dull in the pan, but my how it transforms when swatched.... better still on the eye. It’s a satin finish, although more shimmery and luminous that other satin shadows I know. It applies smoothly, almost buttery and has a very subtle golden sheen. It’s subtle, but buildable. Opaque and long lasting. It’s a great everyday shade - a wash of Soba all over the lids and I’m good to go. It’s also a great crease colour if you want to contour the eye or a base shade for a bronzy/brown eye.

Try before you buy! As beautiful as it is, I don’t think Soba would work for everyone on account of the warm, reddy-orange understones, but for me, it works a treat... I think? MAC Eyeshadows £12.50 each here.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Blast from the Past.... MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation

I’m a foundation floozy but I’m here to renew my Love for Studio Sculpt Foundation. It’s not that I stopped loving it, it just sort of slipped of the priority list and before I knew it I hadn’t used it for months.... until last month’s wedding makeup. So why did I fall out with Studio Sculpt?
I guess I just started to think it was a bit too think. More of an occasion foundation than a daily fix. But that all depends on how you use it! Recently I’ve been using a tiny dollop – I’m talking pea sized, and applying it just to the areas I need some coverage. A little really does go a long way. A tiny amount melts into the skin with its creamy texture. Rather than looking caked, I look fresh and dewy. Plus because it’s medium to full coverage I find it really saves on the concealer. And my does it have staying power. It lasts all day and doesn’t end up shiny. Other foundations (I’m thinking of you L’Oreal Lumi Magique) have a tendency to oxidise as the day goes on and I find myself having to fight the fire with copious amounts of powder.
Like I said, I’m a foundation floozy. I can't promise this will be a long term commitment, but for now I’m having fun with Studio Sculpt all over again. MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation £25/40ml here
If Studio Sculpt ain’t your bag, check out my favourite “dewy” foundations here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Holy Grail Series... Part Deux

And so the holy grail series continues... the best of the best, the crème de la crème.

Revlon Lip butters

Proving they were so much more than a flash on in the pan, Revlon Lip butters are still top of my list one year on. Best described as a lipstick/lipbalm hybrid. They look like a lipstick but feel like a balm, and unlike previous efforts, have amazing colour payoff.  
  • Sweet Tart, a bright, yet delicate fuchsia.
  • Strawberry Shortcake – the one I wear the most, is a beautiful blue toned pale pink.
  • Creme Brulee – a nude caramel
Each shade gives semi-opaque to opaque coverage and lasts around 2-3 hours. It’s surely the formula that makes these Lip Butters so popular; They’re slick and almost wet-like, so they glide on easily for even color application and feel so comfortable to wear. Glossier than a lipstick but less so than a gloss and more moisturising than anything I’ve ever tried. Lip Butters £7.99 Boots here.
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Soft and Gentle
The highlighter to end all highlighters! This is so gorgeous I do that really annoying thing of saving it for best. It’s a luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish.  It has a beige, golden colour which makes it very natural looking and the finely milled powders blend into the skin effortlessly. It gives me a soft, illuminating glow without being too in your face. I sweep along the highs of my cheekbones to make them pop or swirl all over for a radiant glow. £22/10g Debenhams here

MAC Eyeshadow Satin Taupe
I don’t own many MAC eyeshadows, but if I could only have one, this would be it. Satin Taupe has to be the most unique and versatile shade I know. A gorgeous taupe with hues of purple, plum. bronze and browns. It brings out the green in my (hazel) eyes and really makes them sparkle. It has a subtle shimmering frost finish and catches the light beautifully. It’s soft and easy to apply and blends beautifully. It can be a great daytime shade worn alone or mixed with others for a dramatic smokey eye. I wore it in my Wedding Make Up post to create a smokey eye that wasn’t too dark.  £12.50 Debenhams here


Stay tuned for part three and catch up on part one here.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Review: SensatioNail Gel Manicure Kits... They've won me over!

When it comes to gel nails, it's DIY all the way from now on! Having been less than impressed with my first professional gel manicure, which peeled off after a week on holiday, I decided that the gel manicure craze probably wasn't for me. But I'd heard great reports about SensatioNail at home kits so I had to give it another shot....

The Kit

SensatioNail Starter Kits contains all you need for ten perfect gel nail applications;
  • Gel Cleanser 14.6ml
  • Gel Primer 3.54m
  • Gel base/top coat 3.69ml
  • Gel Polish 3.69ml (Rasberry Wine)
  • Pro 3060 LED Lamp
  • Multi use Nail Buffer
  • Manicure Stick
  • 12 Wipes

Plus I got two additional colours (you know me, I like to have choice)....Guilty Pleasure - a bright orange with a hint of fluoresent pink and Disco fever -  a gorgeous granite grey  with loads of shimmer. I HAD to go with Guilty Pleasure first.

The How
3 Easy steps for a super high gloss shine and no dry time!
  1. Prepare
  2. Polish
  3. Protect

It struck me when I paid me when I paid 25 quid for a "pro" gel manicure how easy it was. It's basically painting your nails and sticking them in a lamp repeatedly - so I wasn't daunted by the process. I DID carefully read the instructions and there's a handy step by step summary leaflet with idiot proof pics to help you through. 

The process is pretty simple:

  • Clean nails of all polish and debris with acetone, then wipe off with cleanser and lint-free wipe
  • Apply primer around edges of nail (cuticle edges and free edge)
  • Apply one THIN coat of clear base/top coat and cure for 30 secs (until the beep) in the LED lamp
  • Apply one THIN coat of color gel and cure for 60 sec (until light turns off).  Repeat for a second coat
  • Apply one THIN coat of clear base/top coat and cure for 30 sec
  • Wipe off the tacky layer that's left after curing final coat with cleanser and lint-free wipe

I've got to admit the lamp part is fun, I felt like such a pro! The beep (it beeps after 30 seconds and switches off after 60) drove my dog potty... be warned. The whole process took nearly an hour but now I'm a "pro" I reckon I could halve that time. Plus I enjoyed a glass of wine and watch the TV whilst I was doing it... now you can't do that in a salon! And when you're done, your nails are done. Rock solid and dry in no time.

The Results 

Glossy gorgeousness......

I am so proud, it turned out amazingly well for a first attempt. Super gloss, super strong and super professional. As for Guilty Please it's a really striking in-your-face kinda shade. True to description it's a bright orangey pink and a touch fluro. The instructions recommend two coats of polish but it was still a little see through so I have to go for three. Although having looked at the reviews it's common in this shade. Others are opaque after two coats. 

The Aftermath

As a habitual polish wearer I've come to expect the chipping and fading to set in after 2-3 days... but not here. For days I kept marveling at how they still looked "freshly done" and that super smooth and glossy finish remained throughout.

After 10 days... one hand was still going strong but there was some chipping on the other. Although the two nails that chipped were already bendy and brittle.

Because of the two chipped nails I took them off after ten days, plus I was ready for a change of colour (I'm fickle). I've no doubt that if those two nails were in better condition we'd have made it to the two week point, even longer. I'd heard some horror stories about the removal process but it was fairly easy with the SensatioNail Removal Kit £10 here. Which is essentially a pack of foil wraps with cotton wool attached. Soak the cotton wool, wrap up your tallons, wait 5-10, unwrap the foil and the gel should fall off. A couple were pretty stubborn and needed a helping hand with a hoof stick.

Let's talk cost. This kit will set you back £60 and contains enough for 10 applications. That's £6 a manicure! Compared to the salon price tag of £25+ it's a steal. The process is a bit time consuming, but for two week results it's well worth it. I can't wait to try the other shades.

Starter Kits £60 Asda here and £69 Boots here. Gel Polishes £10 Asda here. Find out more about SensatioNail and follow on Twitter @SensatioNail

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Perfect Combination of Highlighter and Blush... Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Rose

They say sexiness doesn’t come in a bottle... what about a brick?

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick’s are 10.3g of sheer sexiness. It's one of those products I always liked the look of, but for some reason never bought.... now I could kick myself.
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Rose has five shimmery strips of cream/pink/bronze tinted shades. They can be used individually as a blush, eyeshadows or highlight OR, swirled together for an all over highlight.
Swatched individually

Swatched together
I used my Real Techniquest blush brush (because it’s large and soft) to swirl the shades together and lightly dust all over my face. The results are! It has the most gorgeous light reflective pearlescent shimmer that gives an all over glow, imparting radiance and adding a touch of pink warmth. The shades blend together seamlessly as if one. It’s not patchy or powdery. I then went on to intensify to the colour around my cheeks and up to the temples. It’s the most perfect combination of blush and highlight I’ve EVER come across. The pictures don't do it justice. In terms of the colour it’s sheer to medium, but buildable. The texture is soft and velvety and wear time is around 8 hours. The first day I wore this I got so many compliments and people asking me if I’d been on holiday... so maybe sexiness does come in a brick.

Plus it's huge! 10.3g makes it double the size of most blushers so it's actually quite good value, especially if you think of it as a two in one product. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick’s are available in six shades £30.50/10.3g at QVC here.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Seaside Splash: It's Glossybox July 2013

Summer has finally arrived and this month's Glossybox contains the perfect products to help you prepare for that seaside getaway. But before I show you the products, how gorgeous is the box? 

Anatomicals Spray Misty for Me Facial Mist Full Size 100ml/£6

Oh I do love a water spritz and in this weather they're a must have. Infused with Lavender, Aloe and Witch this handy little spray is refreshing and great for the skin. In my handbag it goes.

Ciate Paint Pot in Pocket Money Full Size 13.5ml/£9

Another full size product! And it's a nail polish and it's a colour I love - thank you Glossybox. Pocket Money is a gorgeous creamy fudge nude. I'm really feeling the love for nudes right now and I can't wait to give this one a go - feet and toes.

Pukka Ayurveda Radiance Serum 10ml sample. £32/50ml

Another "yes" product. Serums are an important part of my skincare regime and I'm always happy to try a new one. Enriched with aloe vera and manuka honey, this organic serum promises to leave skin fresh and bright. Sounds good.

Alterna Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist 25ml sample. £23/125ml here 

Forget perfect primped hair, and instead opt for effortless tousled "just back from the beach" waves with this weightless mist. Adds texture, volume and healthy shine.

Coola Organic Suncare Collection Mineral Face SPF 20 Rose Essence Tint 7ml sample. £29.99/50ml here

More than just a sunscreen - this one's organic and tinted! It provides complete UVA/UVB protection while soothing, toning and minimising pores. Can't wait to try.

It's 5 0ut of 5 this month! 5 great products I can't wait to try and love. Find out how to subscribe or buy one off Glossyboxes here

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Holy Grail Series... My All Time Favourites

Yes it's a series. It WAS going to be a post, then a two-parter, now it's a series. Let me explain.... I've had a few requests lately from people wanting to know what my all time favourite products are. Put on the spot I realised I didn't have a ready to go list of my make up must haves. So I dug deep to bring you the best of the best. The makeup I go to again and again. The ones I wouldn't hesitate to repurchase. 

HD Brow Palette in Vamp 

My number one holy grailer. My desert island pick. My wouldn't want to live without. The game changer. This little palette has revolutionised my brows. Whether I need a subtle infill or a strong defined brow. There's nothing better than HD Brow. Switching from pencil to powder I was blown away by how natural it looks. The matte powders in this palette create 3D dimension. My brows but thicker, fuller and better. It lasts forever, I've been using this one daily since Glossy box sent it to me June 2011 and there's still loads left. Oh and it's more than just a brow filler. These long lasting powders are great as eye shadows and liners. 

HD Brow Palette £19.96 available in 3 colourways here

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzing Powder in Brunette

Guerlain, the Rolls Royce of the bronzing world. The Four Seasons bronzer is a golden tan plus instant radiance. The brown and caramel hues are a far cry from the artificial orange shades we're used to. The powder is soft, luxurious, long lasting and gives the most amazing sun kissed radiant glow. So smooth and flawless; it's never powdery (no matter how many times you swirl your brush in the compact) and it blends like a dream. Plus with four shades you can customise your colour all year round. And like a "Roller" it's very expensive, but I've had this one nearly two years and still haven't "hit pan". See my full review and more pics here.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzing Powder 10g Available in 6 colourways £46.50 House of Fraser here

MAC Prep & Prime Highlighter in Light Boost 

An extension of my right hand ever since I saw Miss Maven use it in her Contour and Hightlight video. Until then I was a  Touche Eclat gal, but this is so much better... for me at least. Light Boost has a strong Yellow tone so if your undereye bags are blue like mine, this will magic them away. I use it under the eye (obvs), around the crows feet area, bridge and sides of nose, sides of the mouth, chin. In short, it conceals bags, highlights naturally and adds radiance. It's creamy, opaque and blends seamlessly for a natural coverage. 

MAC Prep & Prime Highlighter Available in 3 shades £18 Debenhams here

So that's the first three lovlies, come back soon for the next installment and I'd love to hear about your Holy-grailers.
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