Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Italian Interlude Vol.4: Madina Milano Exact Color Lipstick

Madina Milano Exact Color LipstickAnother little treat for you from Madina Milano. I've already raved about their lovely blush and highlight formula - now it's the turn of the ultimate no-makeup lip - Madina Milano Exact Color Lipstick.

This is a really unusual and innovative product - as you can see in the photos below, it is a bright, transparent fuschia pink in the tube. Exact Color also smells like a Haribo factory - sweets ahoy! If you can stop yourself from just taking a bite out of the thing, it applies smoothly and feels like a very lightweight, more satin-matte lipstick - think Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution rather than a really moisturising formula. That being said, it's very comfortable to wear and not at all drying!

Madina Milano Exact Color Lipstick

It isn't exactly shocking pink when it's applied - it applies almost entirely transparent, and after a few seconds, reacts with the pH of your lips to turn a flattering pinkish hue. In the swatch below, you can see it's virtually clear on application.

I find that this provides the most natural, flattering, sheer hint of pink to the lips - perfect for rushing out the door; for no makeup days; or those days where you just feel you look a bit, well, grey; but cant bear the thought of putting on a full face of makeup/maintaining a banging red lip.

 This is an unexpected love for me - I am all about the lipstick life; but for when I'm in a hurry, nothing beats this little tube!

Have you tried a product like this before?

Some links above are affiliate links.


Monday, 29 August 2016

A Space.NK Haul - By Terry Ombre Blackstar

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock Bronze Moon
 We all love a gift card. Especially when they enable otherwise slightly obscene purchases such as the beauties you see before you.

I was lucky enough to receive an extremely generous gift card from a wonderful friend as a thank-you for doing her wedding makeup (just getting to paint her beautiful face was present enough for me, so I was taken aback by this crazy generosity!). This, in turn, enabled a completely guilt-free Space.NK splurge. Winner winner chicken dinner.

I have long had my beady beauty eyes on the By Terry Ombre Blackstars - reading about them time and again on Pixiwoo, Vivianna Does Makeup and Lily Pebbles, to name but a few. All these mega-bloggers can't be wrong, right?

RIGHT. Oh so right.

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock and Bronze Moon
Bronze Moon below, Misty Rock above - beautiful!
 I picked up Bronze Moon and Misty Rock: two wearable shades that can be applied very subtly for a chic, easy, and super-speedy daytime look; or blended out with a matte shadow in the crease for a really beautiful smoky eye.

The only way I can describe the shimmer in these is expensive - it just looks luxe, y'know? I mean, we're all aware that these little babies are NOT cheap, but they are, genuinely, the most beautiful eyeshadow sticks I have ever used. Bronze Moon, particularly, gives a real wet-look shine, and with a little light blending, you've got a low-effort eye look that appears to have taken you five YouTube tutorials and at least forty minutes to achieve. Oh, and absolutely no fallout whatsoever, so you won't look like you've sneezed in to a pot of glitter after a few hours.

You've got to be speedy with the blending - once these are set, they are not going anywhere in a hurry. I can imagine with the darker shades you may need to be mega-fast to avoid dodgy harsh lined. The two shades I have are very forgiving however, and I find as long as you've got a blending brush in there within about 30 seconds, you're golden. One eye at a time!

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock and Bronze Moon Swatch
Misty Rock on the left, then Bronze Moon.
 Honestly? I would buy these with actual real money. One every six months, perhaps, to psychologically deal with the dolla outlay required - but they are a seriously high-performing treat. I have super oily eyelids, and even without primer these will hang around for six hours. Unheard of. With primer, I can expect 9-10 hours solid wear without one single crease.

By Terry Baume de RoseSpace NK were also doing an offer this month for a beautiful little gift-with-purchase size of Baume de Rose. Isn't it cute?!

I have been loving this lip balm too - just the right amount of balm-y, without any stickiness; a slight nude-rose tint; and a delicate, non-overpowering hint of a classic rose scent. What's not to love?!

Have you tried any By Terry products?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products above bought with a gift card gifted to me.


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Italian Interlude Vol.3: Madina Milano Prisma Blush and Allover Highlight

Madina Milano Prisma Blush and Prisma Allover Highlight
Another little Italian Interlude for you - in the shape of Madina Milano.

Madina is an extremely tricky brand to get hold of if you're not in Italy - so thank you so much, Carolina! They only have four freestanding stores in Italy, and their website only ships to Italian addresses. Argh! So make sure, if you're planning an Italian holiday, that you factor in a trip to a Madina store - their products are amazing!

Madina Milano Prisma Blush and Prisma Allover Highlight
I'm told Pat McGrath is a huge fan of their highlighting stick (you can see Carolina's review on this page) and any endorsement by her is certainly worth a second glance! I was lucky enough to win a couple of Madina Milano's beautiful powder products - a Prisma Blush in 03 and Prisma Allover in 01, which is a beautiful highlight.

Both of these products have the most beautiful texture - super smooth, almost like a cream-powder hybrid, with absolutely no powder kicked up at all during use. I really have no idea how they get it so incredibly finely milled - I'm yet to use another powder quite like it! The design on the pans is really pretty too - it took a lot of willpower to break into them and use them - the things I do for you guys...

The Prisma blush is a really pigmented, bright, slightly-scary-in-the-pan shade - but on the cheeks, it is seriously flattering. A light hand is definitely needed if you don't want to look like a clown, but it's super long wearing (I get about 9-10 hours before any fading is apparent). The formula is also really luminous - any sparkle is so unbelieveably fine that you won't look in the least bit like a shimmer monster. The swatch below is a one-swipe and lightly blended with only my finger - you can see how easily the blush blends!

Madina Milano Prisma Blush 03 Swatch
Prisma Allover is a really special creature.

The texture is again ultra smooth, and is very forgiving on fine lines - if you find the likes of Becca Opal or TheBalm's Mary Lou-Manizer is just a bit too shimmery for you, you will definitely like this. It is a more subtle, sheeny highlight, and looks really sophisticated. It is subtle enough to be layered, if you're in to multi-highlighting, or to be used almost all over the face. I practically bathed myself with this today and don't look like Edward Cullen. Promise.

Madina Milano Prisma Allover Highlight
Madina Milano Allover Highlight Swatch
So basically - if you can get hold of these beauties - do! They are truly beautiful, and definitely worth the effort of seeking out if you are in Italy!

Have you ever tried any Madina Milano products?

Some links above are affiliate links.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

The MAC quad I actually use

MAC Blanc Type, Brun, Bronze, Haux

Hello, I'm Becky, and I am an eyeshadow hoarder.

I'm glad we've cleared that up. I can't be the only one though, right?! Tell me there are others out there with neglected green/pink/azure blue eyeshadow purchases (which seemed like a good idea at the time) which only come out for fancy dress parties these days? My Makeup Geek collection is largely pretty wearable, but for some reason, my MAC choices in the past have been a bit wild for being a veterinary surgeon on the daily. MAC Stars n' Rockets, anyone?!

I did a bit of a clear-out when we moved house and got rid of some pretty old/dire MAC eyeshadows (and also gave the perfectly useable but not-my-style ones away). I've been left with a little quad that I am genuinely getting loads of use out of - I can go for a light, matte, daytime look; or do a full on browny-mauve smoky eye, all with only these four shadows - MAC's Blanc Type, Haux, Bronze, and Brun.

Blanc Type, Haux, Bronze, Brun

I feel like Haux, particularly, is a seriously underrated MAC shadow. Sure, we all know about Woodwinked, All That Glitters, or Saddle; but this cool purpley-mauve matte shadow is a real unsung hero. MAC describe it as a "soft muted rosy brown" though I feel like its on the purple end of that spectrum. It is nicely pigmented but very blendable; can be warmed up or cooled down; makes a really nice alternative transition colour; and doesn't make you look like you've got pink eye. Winning.

Brun is another chap which is a little underrated - it gets a bit of bad blending press. Maybe I just got a good'un, but I feel like this shade is a real must-have - it's quite cool-toned, but this means it doubles up as a banging brow powder for the brunettes among us, as well as making a great eyeliner with a little mixing medium or Fix +.

Blanc Type, Haux, Bronze, Brun Swatches
Blanc Type, Haux, Bronze, Brun
Blanc Type is not insanely pigmented - but honestly, I feel like for a creamy white shadow this is not necessarily a bad thing. It's still very easy to blend, and plays well with others. It's great for softening out any harsh lines near the browbone, and also as a matte, day-to-day inner corner or brow highlight, if you aren't all about that shimmer life.

Bronze is exactly that - bronze. Straight-up, soft, shimmering bronze. It is so flattering on all eye colours, and can be built up to a really expensive-looking sheen - think By Terry. It is one of those shades (as with many MAC shadows, interestingly) that don't swatch very well but look really beautiful on the eyes - so you might have to just trust me on this one, or get yourself to a counter to try it out.

What are your favourite MAC eyeshadows?

Some links above are affiliate links. Products in this post were bought with my own money.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Italian Interlude Vol.2: Neve Cosmetics Blush Garden in Tuesday Rose

Madina Blush and Neve Cosmetics Blush in Tuesday Rose Neve Cosmetics wasn't a brand I'd ever heard of before winning my mega haul of Italian makeup the other week. The brand is based in Turin, in Italy, and focus on completely cruelty-free, high quality, beautifully packaged products. They also support various non-profit organisations, helping both people and animals - hooray for wonderful ethics! As a little aside, its really easy to find all their product ingredients on their page - I think some of the bigger brands have some catching up to do!

 And apart from anything else - can we just take a minute for this beautiful, creative packaging?!

Neve Cosmetics Blush in Tuesday RoseI can't get enough of this pretty little Tuesday Rose. It's a cream blush - but don't be alarmed if you're oily skinned, this beauty is hanging around for a while! I find it remarkably long-lasting, and not too glossy for every day either - a healthy, velvet-satin finish leaves cheeks looking bright and really, well, well. Tuesday Rose is described as a "deep coral rose" and I think this is a fairly accurate shade description - it is light, summery and pretty.

The swatch below is very lightly swatched and blended - you can see how pigmented this formula is. A little goes a long way! It is very easy to blend, however, and plays well with liquid foundation and powder bronzer/highlights. It's also silicone free, so if you find silicone-based formulations to have too much "slip" or break out your skin, the Blush Garden range may be worth checking out.

Neve Cosmetics Blush in Tuesday Rose Swatch
All in all, this is a welcome addition to my blush wardrobe - and has gone some way to converting me to cream blush!

Are you a cream blush fan? Do you have any recommendations?

Some links above are affiliate links.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

The BEST face mask I've ever used

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

We all love a face mask. To me, there's nothing better than smothering one's visage in a goopy face mask and reading Vogue for the day half an hour. Even if they're not all particularly effective every time regarding their inflated claims of giving you a cherub's bum for cheeks, they are certainly a welcome little spa-like treat at the end of a long day.

However - if you're looking for a super-active mask that really does the business, look no further than this delight - Peter Thomas Roth's Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. This slightly terrifyingly titled "enzymatic dermal resurfacer" is a three-in-one chemical/physical exfoliant combo that really will demolish any surface dullness in its path.

I first heard about this via the lovely Vivanna Does Makeup - who is completely obsessed with this mask too. If you're having one of those dull skin days; are feeling really oily and congested; or just want a really good glow on of a morning - this one's for you. Even my husband (who is minimally observant when it comes to anything to do with skincare) knows when I have used the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask as my skin is super smooth. Win.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

If you're really sensitive in the ol' skin department, this might be a bit of a struggle for you and may not be the best choice - it is a no joke, full-on face mask and does feel pretty zingy. The first time I used it, I only left it on for a couple of minutes (I think my skin was like WOAH WUT) and was a little pink for ten minutes or so - so go easy with this bad boy initially. I use a teeny thin layer of the mask about once a week (a pot will last you forever) and genuinely have to double-take in the mirror afterwards.

But the best thing? This mask smells of Christmas/October/Thanksgiving/Everything good about the darker half of the year. It's cinnamon-y, warm, pumpkin-y, and not over-sweet - I know this is a completely trivial point, but it really does smell delicious!

Have you ever tried this mask?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products bought with my own money.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

NARS Must-haves

Nars Orgasm and Nars Sheer Glow

Don't you just love it when a product just, well, works?

I've fallen back in love with two cult favourite products from NARS recently. I stray from both of these babies regularly in the name of science blogging, but always end up coming back to them - and for good reason. They just work. Beautifully.

First up - NARS Blush in Orgasm. If there was ever a cult classic - it is this beautiful blush. Pinky-peachy-shimmery goodness from NARS here - I'm sure this little beauty is funding a healthy pension pot for Mr. NARS somewhere! Even down to the naughty name, Orgasm has had people asking for it at counters in their thousands (or ordering it online, too embarrassed to ask for it in store - guilty as charged) since its first release. Sure, it gets released in some fancy packaging/limited edition somethingorother almost every year, which gets a little tedious - but there is no taking away from the fact that its just a freakin' beautiful blush. It's not too shimmery, It's a bit more subtle applied than it might look in the pan, but honestly, I'm a fan of that - I can go pretty crazy with application and not look like a rather flushed clown. Win. 

My other super-fave NARS number is Sheer Glow (I'm currently wearing the shade Barcelona). Now - this doesn't exactly do what it says on the tin, per se - it's not very sheer, or super glowy - but as an oily skinned lady this suits me down to the ground. It's a medium coverage, natural satin finish foundation, and it applies beautifully with either a brush or fingers. I have to use primer no matter what foundation I use due to the aforementioned oil situation, but this applies beautifully and lasts all day over a decent primer. It's very pigmented - a little goes a long way - and buildable. I really love this foundation - although I'm oily, I don't want to look flat matte, and I find that Sheer Glow is a perfect halfway house. It's not as long lasting as a powerhouse like Estee Lauder Double Wear, but it's up there with the best I've tried!

Are either of these on your ride-or-die list?

All products bought with my own money. Links above are affiliate links.

Monday, 15 August 2016

The One With All The Italian Makeup

So. I received a most exciting parcel this morning. Not going to lie, I did a little squeal when I saw the ParcelForce man. I hope he knows it was more because of the parcel.

This bumper haul is the result of entering a giveaway held by Carolina Braina when she was interning on Makeup and Beauty Blog, one of my very favourite blogs ever. Carolina's blog, Carol in a Page, is so fun and such a great, informative read - oh, and it's bilingual, so you can marvel at her incredible language skills too! I was lucky enough to win and bag myself a whole ton of beautiful Italian makeup products; which are either a bit tricky or impossible to get hold of in the UK. I feel very fortunate to be able to share them with you!

So as I've been at work today, I've not had time to road-test or mega-swatch every beautiful item in this parcel of joy, but I thought I'd give you a little taster in the form of some beautiful NABLA eyeshadows.

NABLA is a brand I had absolutely no idea about until reading Carolina's post here about them a few months ago. They're cruelty-free, largely vegan independent Italian brand, and produce lovely high-quality products for a reasonable price. They seem to be Europe's answer to my beloved Makeup Geek! They also ship worldwide direct from their website, and the site is really easy to navigate. There's not a whole ton of information and swatches out there, but what is there is all rave review material!

NABLA eyeshadows

Aren't they so darn pretty?! Above, top row is Desire, followed by Sandy, then Rust; bottom row is Caramel, Water Dream and Glitz. From a one-swipe swatch, these are all very pigmented (as you can see below) and feel very smooth. I'd imagine they blend beautifully - I'll update you properly once I've road tested them. Water Dream is a little more coarse in texture in the pan, but swatched it is absolutely stunning - if you're in to shimmer, you will love this one! They're all buttery soft, and I'm really looking forward to a proper trial run!

Swatches (top to bottom) are Desire, Sandy, Rust, Glitz, Caramel, and Water Dream. Sooooooo beautiful. Water dream is unbelieveably sparkly - this swatch does it absolutely no justice whatsoever. I reckon for a really amazing evening smoky eye this would be just perfect swept over a darker colour on the lid. Caramel is a really interesting camel-coat mustard brown - I reckon it'll make an amazing darker transition shade, I absolutely love it!

I'll continue a little Italian Interlude series in the coming weeks with the rest of this magnificent little collection - I hope you're as excited as I am!

All products above from a giveaway. Some links above are affiliate links.

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lips - the most comfortable liquid lipsticks!

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lips

It is no secret that we're all just a little bit in love with indie brands at the moment. Beauty Bay is stocking more independent and "niche" products/brands than I've ever seen before, and brands previously so tricky to get hold of in the UK are now becoming more and more accessible. Hooray!
Even the wonderful Colourpop have started to ship to the UK (though I hear some people have still been slammed with customs fees - is this true?!). I've been shipping over Colourpop orders intermittently from the US, and have acquired a collection or products that I really, really love. At the top of the love list are Colourpop's Ultra Satin Lips. 

Now. A quick disclaimer. As a rule - I'm not a liquid lipstick devotee.

I know. I'm sorry. I am just yet to find a formula that doesn't make my lips look like a cat's bum after half an hour/give the weird white ring thing at the corners of my mouth/actually survive eating the least oily food possible. I've tried a lot - from Anastasia Beverly Hills to Colourpop's Ultra Mattes - sure, they're pretty, but not all that practical.

Enter the Ultra Satin Lip. The liquid lipstick for those who don't do liquid lipsticks.

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lips - Prim, Lost, Toolips
Bottom to top - Spritz, Prim, Marshmallow, Lost, Naked Ladies, Toolips
These apply much the same as other comparable liquid lipsticks - very smoothly, easily, and without fuss. They set relatively quickly, within ten-fifteen seconds or so, but not quite flat matte - you will undoubtedly get a degree of transfer on to teacups, your other half, your dog's head (been there. Pink dog fur for a week), etc. They will show up a little texture, but are generally muuuuuuch more forgiving than your standard liquid lipstick formula. 

Once these are on, they are on - forever. Until you forcibly remove them with a cleansing oil. These hold up well with eating and drinking, and the darker shades will leave a stain behind (not forever, but it does allow more forgiving fading through the day). It's also easy to top up the Ultra Satin Lips - no need to remove the full bhoona and re-apply. 

And best of all? The comfort factor. Oooooooh yes. These babies won't dehydrate your poor lips to Sahara proportions. Sure, they're not exactly moisturising, but I find them infinitely more comfortable than any other liquid lipstick formula I've tried.

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lips

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lips Swatches
Above - London Fog, Spritz, Prim, Lost, Marshmallow, Naked Ladies, Toolips
If that wasn't enough for you, there's also a really nice range of shades - from standard pinks, nudes, corals and reds, right through to more daring lilac Marshmallow, grey Petit Four and lilac-brown Toolips (which, incidentally, is surprisingly flattering!). At $6.00 a pop, you can't really go wrong - it's a good opportunity to try out a shade outwith your normal comfort zone. I've recently picked up Petit Four - I'll let you know if I'm ever brave enough to wear it!!

Have you tried out the Ultra Satin Lips yet?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products bought with my own pennies.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Illamasqua Glamore Lipsticks - Neutrals for Everyone!

Illamasqua Glamore Lipsticks

I know, I know. Another Illamasqua related rave. There is a good reason for all of the Illamasqua love - their products are excellent. I'm certainly not sponsored in any way - I am a lowly when-I-can blogger - but they are by far my most repurchased brand.

I've already banged on this week about Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow - the ultimate natural cream contour - and now it's the turn of their nude lipstick collection - the Illamasqua Glamore Lipsticks. I own three of these delights - Tease, Rosepout, and Starkers.

Illamasqua describes these lipsticks as "colour-intense nude lipsticks with a long lasting satin finish" and I would pretty much agree with that. They are on the matte side of satin, if you see what I mean (You can see this in the swatches below) so they're a more comfortable option than a super-crazy drying liquid lipstick, if that's not your jam. The Illamasqua website has a handy shade selector too, if you're not sure which one to go for and can't get to a counter to try these out.

Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick Swatches: Tease, Rosepout, Starkers
Left-Right: Rosepout, Starkers, Tease, on approximately NC40 skin
The formula is much smoother and less drying than Illamasqua's previous matte lipsticks, so the comfort factor is pretty up there. I tend to use a moisturising lip liner with these lipsticks (The usual culprit is Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk) and they will last for a decent length of time - not as long as a liquid lipstick, but they will fade evenly and not do that weird cracky lip thing that so many matte formulas are guilty of.

Tease is a super-nude, 60's, pale pink beige. it's unbelieveably pigmented (see the one-swipe swatch above) and can look a little crazy on a medium skintone - I tend to use this dotted and blended in the centre of my lips over a more muted nude, and for this purpose it's beautiful. It's very creamy and comfortable to wear, and if you're in to a very pale nude lip, then this needs to be on your shopping list.

Rosepout is a beautiful pink-nude (though much more on the sweet pink side), and on a fairer skin tone (and for me in wintertime) is a really lovely everyday colour. I used this recently on a friend for her wedding and it was beautiful - and surprisingly long lasting. For cooler skins, or those a little afraid of a really nude lip - this one's for you.

Starkers I have mentioned before in my nude lips for sunkissed skin post. It is a beautiful, rosy brown nude colour - 90's but wearable, and is seriously flattering with a tan. I won't rave too much more about it here, you can see my full review on the previous post, but safe to say this will definitely be a repurchase.

Have you tried any of the Glamore Lipsticks?

Some links above are affiliate links.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Balm Mary-Lou and Bahama Mama Review

As promised - Mary Lou's just too good to share the spotlight with any other highlighter. I'm pretty sure she'd just about be on board with a joint post with her partner-in-crime from The Balm.. right?

Fun packaging aside, this little product duo really pack a punch (without completely annihilating your bank balance) in the highlight/bronze/sculpt department. I've been road-testing these for about six months now, and they have definitely made it in to the repurchase camp!

No matter whether you're a highlight addict or total newbie, Mary Lou-Manizer from the Balm is a must have. From very fair up to medium, olive skin tones, this champagne-honey toned highlight is seriously flattering. I reckon on a darker skin tone it could look pretty bright - but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it?! It's very buildable - one sweep with a fan brush for a light pop of shimmer, or go to town and layer up to Jamie Genevieve highlight levels. You may find this accentuates fine lines if you really go to town with it - but in day to day circumstances, this is totally beautiful. On my oily skin, this lasts about 8-9 hours normally (which is pretty sensational for a highlight for me!)

As with many of my favourite products - this has a double use. It's also a really beautiful eyeshadow; intense inner corner highlight, soft wash of shimmer, or full-on disco ball; Mary-Lou's got you covered.

Another total hero from the Balm is the glorious  Bahama Mama. This little baby is firmly settled amongst the cooler toned bronzers on the market - no weird orangey tones here whatsoever. Remember the days when you had to spend a zillion pounds on any bronzer/tanning product to avoid looking like an Oompa Loompa (i.e. the 90s in their entirety)?!

 This cool brown tone basically means that Bahama Mama is completely fantastic. It's about half the price of most comparable bronzer formulas, and although its a pretty teeny little package, it's so pigmented that you shouldn't go through this too quickly. It's like a bronzier version of the cult classic Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium, which means that it is actually possible to use this to lightly sculpt the face and add a little bit of warmth at the same time. What more could you want?!

Due to my currently NC40ish skin tone, this doesn't look that pigmented in this swatch - but rest assured, this stuff is fantastic. As with my previously mentioned cream contour/eyeshadow base love Illamasqua Hollow, this can also be used as a really lovely matte eyeshadow. I often use this as a wash all over the lid, but you could use it as a transition colour or just to define the crease of the eyelid. If you're brunette, this is also a really lovely brow powder and gives a nice, soft, full eyebrow. Beautiful.

If I'm travelling, I usually take these two powders, foundation and some setting powder - and that's it for the face. They just cover so many bases for a fresh, lovely, daytime look - and they're pretty robustly packaged, too!

Are you a fan of the Balm?

Some links above are affiliate links.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Highlights to Be Seen from Space - Anastasia, Hourglass and Mary-Lou

We all love a good glow, right? Even I, of oil-slick skin fame, cannot resist a shiny highlight powder on my cheeks. On those days where your skin just isn't playing ball or is looking a bit dull, there's nothing quite like a little pop of shimmer on the cheekbones to perk up your whole complexion. I've been using nothing but the selection above over the last few months. Everything from see-you-from-space to subtle and ethereal - I got you, friend. Read on.

Anastasia Glow Kit in Sun Dipped

Anastasia Glow Kit Sun Dipped Swatches
L-R:Bronzed, Summer, Tourmaline, Moonstone

First off, the BAM HELLO HIGHLIGHT palette of the year for me - Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in Sun Dipped. For me, this strikes the balance of super-intense highlight and actual wearability; my skintone could not cope with the likes of the new Moonchild Glow Kit on the day-to-day.

Each powder is seriously soft, beautiful, and very easy to blend, and I find they last on my complexion for a good eight hours. With a feather-light application using a fan brush, these are totes daytime appropes - but you can easily build them up to insane sheen with a blush brush and zero effort. Top marks. My only criticism would be that in practice, Summer and Moonstone are actually very very similar on the cheeks - however, they are both beautiful, so I'm not really complaining!

Hourglass Edit Palette

For a more subtle, but still completely beautiful highlight - the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit palette is the one. The powders are incredibly finely milled and beautifully soft, and impart a subtle-but-there sheen to the cheeks without being at all glittery - you're not going to look like Edward Cullen as soon as you catch some sunlight with these powders on your cheeks. All of these powders blend beautifully, and last for about eight hours-ish on the cheeks - a little shorter if you are like me and swirl the whole thing together on a massive brush and just slop it all over yo' face.

The blushes are also beautifully glowy, and the bronzer (just seen in the swatch - sorry, I'm a bit bronze right now) applies to make the skin look fresh and sunkissed without being sparkly. It's not a cheap option - this is definitely a luxury product - but if you're feeling spendy, head down to Space.NK and give this a swatch.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette Swatches
L-R: Dim Light, Iridescent Strobe Light, Diffused Light, Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush, Luminous Bronze Light

And The Balm's Mary Lou? She's amazing. She is, in fact, so brilliant, She's going to get a post of her own!

Some links above are affiliate links.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A few beauties from Topshop

Topshop Stripe Dress and Spot Pleat back Shirt

Topshop have been absolutely killing it this summer. I'm not going to lie - I had really gone off Topshop for a while. A lot of the stuff was too "studenty" or a bit too out-there for someone who's not in the super-brave category of fashionista. That, or the fit was completely weird - I'm a pretty standard shape, and there have been many times I've left TS disheartened as nothing seems to fit!

All is forgiven with these beauties, however. They are gorgeous. I am not a fashion blogger, I wouldn't class myself as super-stylish - but there are a few bits and pieces that I've acquired since returning, and just LOVE so much that I had to share with you. I'm a bit too scared to show you them actually on me, but here's a little sneak of some pretty pieces that should definitely find their way in to your wardrobe this summer.

Numero Uno has to be the Topshop Petite Stripe Wrap Slip Dress (say that after a wine or six) of Caroline Flack fame. This has so far clothed me for two weddings, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Not cut for the boobiest lady, but if you've got mosquito bites for chebs then this will sit absolutely beautifully on you. there's ample cake room (I've road tested this thoroughly) and it fits pretty true-to-size. Youll need to be brave and go sans bra for this dress - I'm a devotee of Marks and Spencers' various clever bra solutions, and they work amazingly well with this dress!

Another triumph is this Topshop Pinspot Pleat Back Shirt - this is all kinds of gorgeous. A super-flattering cut (again, loads of cake room, thanks Topshop) and the pleat back and collarless style makes this feel really high end. The darted front does admittedly look a bit weird on the hanger, but again is really flattering on. I've worn this daytime with a rosy-brown suede skirt and boots, or at night with faux-leather black trousers and killer heels - you can't go wrong. I feel like this is a really year-round piece too - if you're in to slow fashion, this one will see you right through to next year and (hopefully) well beyond. It seems to be sold out online, but I definitely saw this in-store the other day. Hurry!

Topshop Mini Skirt

A sale steal to pick up is this little Embroidered Jacquard Mini Skirt above (at last check, it was down from £38 I think to £18!) again, this is sold out online except in Tall sizing (soz) but have a peek in your nearest Topshop store, as it is really worth a rummage to find! It's relatively heavy material and is beautifully embroidered - it goes as well with a white top and wedges as it does with tights and boots. Another real transitional piece that I hope will last for a very long time.

And last, but certainly not least....

Topshop Lace Top

Topshop's Panel Lace Shell Top. Can we just take a moment for this?! Look how pretty!

I first saw this on Victoria from IntheFrow's Topshop Haul, and as all of my clothes at the time were destroyed from 7 months in Madagascar, it went straight on my list. Again, not cut for the larger chested lady, but it is absolutely beautiful. the lace is really gorgeous - it feels very premium - and the unusual neckline make this a weeeeeny bit more daring than your average white tank top. 

I mean, look at that edging! I've had so many compliments wearing this, and it goes with everything from shorts to skinnies. Again - this has loads of cake/food/ice cream room (obviously the most important thing in a clothing item)! It's easy to toughen up a bit with a leather jacket, or go all-out pretty with some pastel accompaniments. Versatile and beautiful - it ticks all of my boxes!

Have you picked up any of these beauties?

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Saturday, 6 August 2016

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow - Definition in a Pot

First off, apologies for the radio silence. It turns out moving house/country, getting everything out of storage to find half of it ruined, and sorting that whole shabang while starting a new job is quite a lot of stuff to be getting on with. I'm back now. Promise!

If you aren't already an Illamasqua devotee, I'm pretty sure I can convert you. I've already waxed lyrical about their incredible nail polish formula, and prepare yourselves - this is another rave review.

This beautiful, cruelty free, U.K. brand is bursting at the seams with incredible products - some very "makeup-artisty" but great for a special occasion; some crazy-out-there; and some absolute wonders of the universe that you'll repurchase time and time again. London Beauty Queen has a sneak peek of their newest collection, Extinct, which promises to be an absolute beauty for Autumn - but today I'm going to rave about an oldie but a goodie - Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow.

Ok, so lets be honest - it's not exactly a looker. This is, on the surface, the very embodiment of tiredness. You'd be forgiven for overlooking this little pan of putty coloured pigment in favour of some of the brand's brighter offerings first time round.

But let me tell you - this stuff is glorious. It is one of the beauty industry's genuine multitaskers. You can use this as a super long lasting eyeshadow base (sparingly mind - if used heavily, it will crease), or as a cream shadow all on its own. It's fab for accentuating or creating a crease on a hooded or puffy eye socket. If you're up for a really grungey, lived-in look, use this as a base for a smokey eye - it'll look incredible. Professional artist? You probably know about this wee gem already for accentuating shadows in all the right places.

This is also a seriously beautiful cream contour colour, especially on paler skins or cooler skin tones. It's cool toned enough to not look weird, but warm enough to look like you've not had a fight with some grey facepaint - it looks so natural. it blends out beautifully with a duo-fibre brush or a slightly damp makeup sponge, and really defines features without looking too "done". You hardly need any of it either - a pot will last you for a very long time, even if you're big in the contour scene. I usually just set it with a little Laura Mercier powder, but if you're Kim K you can use a powder contour over the top and it will sit beautifully. Even on my oily skin, Hollow hangs around all day.

Hollow is definitely a bit of an unsung hero - be sure to give it some love next time you're passing an Illamasqua counter!

Have you tried any Illamasqua products? What are your favourites?

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