Friday, 30 December 2016

The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi Protection Essence

The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF 50

What? Reviewing an SPF in the throes of winter?

Well, yes. Yes I am. Just because it's winter doesn't mean SPF goes down the tubes. And half of the world are in the middle of a glorious summer, so why not?!

I really struggle with SPF in general. I have an oily complexion, and so many formulations are greasy, sticky and thick - not cool if you're a greaseball before you start. SPF has improved dramatically in the last few years, but I think The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence has to take the prize for the most oily-skin-friendly complexion protection yet.

The Body Shop Skin Defence Review

Packaging - handy squeezy tube, very travel friendly, and relatively leak-proof. Winning.

Formulation - High UVA and UVB protection (which is what we are buying it for, let's be honest). It also contains antioxidants, red algae extract, and vitamin C for skin brightening purposes. Most vitamin C containing products recommend wearing a sunscreen when you are using them anyway, so I suppose this could be a two-birds-one-stone solution for the daytime.

The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF review

The best thing about Skin Defence though, is the texture. It is as light as can be. This feels completely weightless on the skin, and the borderline watery texture is very quickly absorbed. It is moisturising enough without being remotely greasy, and is certainly comfortable on my oily-combination skin. I wouldn't say it's mattifying, but it certainly doesn't exacerbate the oil situation. This plays very well with makeup on top - I find it provides a really nice base, and I don't always require a primer when wearing this SPF. Bonus.

The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF Swatch

You can see the light, watery consistency in the swatch above - it was speedily running down my hand so I had to be snappy with the camera! If you have a combination/oily complexion - this is definitely a daily SPF option to consider. I've already bought backups!

Have you tried this SPF?

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


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Make Up Store Sculpt Excellence Foundation Review

Make Up Store Sculpt Excellence Foundation

Make Up Store is a brand that's pretty tricky to get hold of in the UK. They're a Swedish luxury cruelty free makeup brand, and oddly (for a European-based brand) is easiest to buy in the UK from Australia!

 I first saw their full-coverage foundation, Sculpt Excellence, on the beautiful Karima McKimmie's YouTube channel. She's not only excellent, intelligent, beautiful and irritatingly talented; she's also similarly olive-toned to me, and has the same shade struggles when it comes to base products. If you're a fellow greenish-tinged human, you'll know that loads of foundations are just too yellow/peach/pink/anything toned to actually look real on your skin. Many's a time store lighting has told me a foundation is on the money, only to walk out in the real world and look ill/deranged/colourblind/all of the aforementioned. First world problem.

Well folks - look no further. all your greeny skinned dreams have come true in this shade - Make Up Store Sculpt Excellence Foundation in Coconut.

Make Up Store Sculpt Excellence in Coconut Review

First - packaging. Chic, clean, mock-croc and matte black. The applicator is completely bizarre - a spatula? really? Not going to win any design prizes, but honestly, I got over it in about ten seconds. The formula is thick enough not to splodge everywhere, and it does the job, albeit in a messy way. NBD.

The formula - described by the brand as " Oil-free, creamy foundation with high coverage" and providing a "smooth and semi-matte finish". I'd pretty much agree with that. The texture is a thick gel-cream, and feels very luxurious. Given the thick texture, you'd be forgiven for dreading blending Sculpt Excellence out - do not fear. This foundation blends easily with a sponge or a brush. The coverage is definitely medium-buildable upwards - mixed with some moisturiser you can get a lighter base. The finish is satin-matte - quite a natural finish, in a full coverage formula. This is by no means no makeup-makeup (I'll point you in the direction of this BareMinerals beauty for that) but for fuller coverage occasions, this is a really nice choice. 

There is no SPF to my knowledge in this formula, and I've not experienced any flashback with photography - it's an ideal night out/event option. I get an easy 6-8 hours' wear without touchups (with primer, and a properly lovely powder over the top). 

Make Up Store Sculpt Excellence Foundation

What really sets this apart though, is that olive undertone. Woah there. It's the most green foundation I've ever seen (in a good way, you understand). If you're about the same skin tone as me, this is a really fantastic colour - you can see below how it's just melted in to my NC25ish skin in the swatch below. This is a really easy foundation to blend with other formulations - if you have any foundations that are just a bit too yellow, a wee blob of this added in and you'll be colour-matched in no time.

Make Up Store Sculpt Excellence Coconut Swatch

Have you tried any Make Up Store Products?

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

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Purple Smoky Eyes - without looking like a bruise

Smoky Party eyes - MAC, Colourpop

I am a big smoky eye fan. The darker, smokier, grungier the better. Just put all of the purples on mah face. It is quite easy to just look like you've had a bit of a karate chop to the nose, however. I find that the best way to avoid the punched-in-the-face look is to go for a complex shimmer - all of the sparkles are just too deliberate to be the result of a painful altercation.

If you managed to pick up some of MAC's Faerie Whispers collection last year - there's a little smokey purple gem in there in the form of Magic In Your Eyes. This is a slightly less intense option - it's a warm, smooth, silvery purple and is very easy to apply and blend, with surprisingly little fallout.

MAC Faerie Whispers Magic In Your Eyes

Upping the ante significantly - hellooooo Colourpop Super Shock Shadows. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I love these cream eyeshadows. The shimmers are really outstanding. My two bright and bold faves are Coconut, an incredible, peacock-electric blue; and Bae - the smokiest, most beautiful, pigmented purple.

Colourpop Coconut Super Shock Shadow Swatch

I mean BAM. Look at that swatch! One swipe as ever. Incredible. It's mega-intense - this shadow makes a fantastic liner if you're not quite brave enough for full-lid-blue. As with other colourpop shadows, Coconut really doesnt budge, and gives a really striking pop of colour in the centre of the lid.

The we have Bae - a purple base, with a really complex blue-purple-green shift which is irritatingly difficult to capture on camera. This is a super-easy shadow to use, and blends beautifully to a deep brown base when blended at the edges, making it a no-brainer for a smoky eye. I can't get enough of this colour - I just wish I had more occasions to wear it!

Colourpop Bae Super Shock Shadow Swatch
Colourpop Bae Super Shock Shadow

And below - MAC Pressed Pigment in Black Grape (swatched on the right) is glorious. Rich, deep, dark purple with a smooth, velvety silver-purple shimmer, this is a really beautiful option. blended out with a warm brown in the crease, this is surprisingly wearable; and applied damp is a bangin' party option. Definitely use a decent eyeshadow primer with this one, and eyes before foundation - you will experience some fallout!

MAC Faerie Whispers Magic in Your Eyes and MAC Pressed Pigment in Black Grape
Left - Magic In Your Eyes, right - Black Grape.
What are your top party eye picks?

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

NARS Sarah Moon Collection Blush in Impudique

NARS Sarah Moon Blush in Impudique Review
NARS' holiday collection this year is in collaboration with the French photographer Sarah Moon - think ethereal, flowing, dreamy images with bold accents. The collection is really beautiful, but there was only one thing I really wanted to pick up - the blush in Impudique.

Having seen Temptalia rave about this "Orgasm but so, so much better" blush - I had to check it out. You'll know from previous posts if you're a regular reader that I'm a fan of NARS Orgasm - but I do find it a little muted and more peachy compared to the in-pan colour. It's not the most long-lasting blush, either - particularly on my oily skin. Impudique still had some work to do to convince me, however..

NARS Sarah Moon Blush in Impudique Review and Swatches

..And convince me it did.

Impudique is a rich, medium-deep raspberry shade, with a very soft, sophisticated, warm golden shimmer. I promise you - the shimmer is so beautifully fine that it just leaves a smooth sheen on the cheek - no glitter in sight, and it is pore-friendly. If you find Orgasm is just too much - Impudique has a much finer pearl. Yep, it's pretty bright, and is extremely pigmented - a duo-fibre type brush is your friend here - but it blends so beautifully that this really isn't a huge problem. The texture is very finely milled and smooth, and isn't too firmly pressed in the pan. One sweep of a blush brush is more than enough for a cheek!

NARS Impudique Blush

You can see below Impudique compared to Orgasm in the pan. Bear in mind the blush on the left is new and barely used yet compared to Orgasm on the right - but you can easily see the textural and shade difference.

NARS Impudique vs NARS Orgasm

And below - swatched. Less shimmery, more punchy. Gorgeous.
NARS Sarah Moon Impudique Swatch vs NARS Orgasm Swatch
Impudique on the left, Orgasm on the right.
I find that Impudique lasts an easy 9-10 hours on my cheeks with hardly any fading - a massive improvement on longevity compared to its peachier counterpart. This is a really beautiful shade - to my knowledge Impudique is limited edition, so snap it up quick!

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

Monday, 19 December 2016

Tom Ford Lips and Boys in Dylan - the ultimate Christmas red

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Dylan Review

When I think of luxury, Tom Ford is the first brand that comes to mind. Super-luxe, ridiculously expensive, and extremely alluring. I finally caved on my quest for the perfect Christmas red and purchased my very first Tom Ford makeup item - and I don't regret it one little bit.

Behold - Tom Ford Lips and Boys Lip Color in Dylan.

Prepare yourselves.

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Dylan Review and Swatch

Look at that packaging. I'm swooning internally. Luxe, heavy, gilded, with a satisfying click-close - and so it should be, at the price point. TF have nailed the luxury feel on this line of lipsticks. Lips and Boys lipsticks are quite a bit teenier than is standard, word to the wise, so don't be shocked at the weeny little bullet when you click that chic lid off your luxe lipstick. (honestly though, I am yet to fully finish a red lipstick, so I'm hoping this little joy will last for a while!)

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Dylan

Isn't it beautiful? The texture is a dream - creamy but not heavy; very light and comfortable on the lips; and unlike 99.9% of formulas on the matte end of the spectrum, I find this to be moisturising as time goes on. It fades elegantly with time, and leaves a smooth, comfortable, non-patchy red stain behind.

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Dylan Review and Swatch
Tom Ford Lips and Boys Dylan Swatch

And the colour? Perfect. Neutral toned, punchy, pigmented, medium red - this is a one-size-fits-all shade of red. There is nothing I don't love about this (except the price). If you're looking for a little Christmas treat for yourself or a lipstick-loving loved one - definitely consider this Tom Ford beauty!

Have you tried any Tom Ford lipsticks?

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

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Review

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Review

Rarely do I find a base that makes me double-take in the mirror. I mean a genuine, woah-there-what-did-you-do-this-morning level of double take.  I'm not exactly a fine-art portrait, but I know a good skin day when I see one - or a faux good skin day, courtesy of a mega-luxurious foundation hit from Guerlain.

 Guerlain's new(ish) formulation of Lingerie de Peau really is a beautiful creature. It is supposedly a "second skin" type foundation - no masky weirdness, all of the blendy-blurry goodness, and one pump is comfortably enough for the entire face. Lingerie de Peau is absolutely as light as the proverbial feather - and one of the few foundations I have ever tried that looks even better in strong natural light - hooray!

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Swatch

The texture is on the watery-gel side, and this stuff practically blends itself. You are speedily bestowed with a demi-matte, real looking base that lets the good bits of your skin through and just sort of filters out the red/dark/otherwise depressing bits - without looking remotely mask-like. It isn't full-coverage slap by any means, but it's the perfect glowy-not-dewy base for those of us with a bit of an oil situation, who don't want to look porcelain doll matte. It's a coverage step-up from the likes of Complexion Rescue, but nowhere near Kat Von D.

 I do need to powder Lingerie de Peau down a bit - but that's the norm for me with any foundation. I get a solid 6 hours of non-greasy wear without having to touch up - and even then, it fades away gracefully, as you would expect from a super-luxe product (and would certainly hope for at the price point!)

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau

All in all - zero complaints. Yes, it's at the pricier end, but you really don't need much, and use-wise covers just about any occasion (except, perhaps, a full-cover-red-carpet situation - but I am not ashamed to admit that's not a huge proportion of my life, let's be honest here).

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

Monday, 12 December 2016

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue - you, on a really good day

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Review

I'm forever trying out new base products. I love a full-on, laborious makeup routine as much as the next guy, but I find it really hard to find a decent throw-on-and-go type base product that really suits me (and is genuinely that easy to deal with).

BareMinerals is a brand that I have honestly had very little experience of. I know their eyeshadows are supposedly lovely, and their mineral makeup formulas get the thumbs up from many a beauty blogger - but Complexion Rescue is the first product I've given a go (thanks to The Sunday Girl - if you're reading, you are my enabler extraordinaire)  - and honestly, I'm pretty impressed.

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Creme is marketed as a bit of a one-stop-wonder. BB, CC, SPF30, and tinted moisturizer; and a wild percentage increase in hydration claimed to boot. Woah there. Can anything really cover all those bases?!

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue 4.5 Wheat

Well... sort of, yeah.

This is a genuine throw-on-and-go product. Absolute perfection for busy days where you want to look just a bit more polished than bare-faced, this does a nice job of providing sheer, unifying coverage. It is virtually weightless and practically blends itself - a busy person's dream.

You can see in the swatch below (I'm 4.5 Wheat at the moment, for reference, and NC25ish in MAC) it blends to almost nothing, but won't cover my arm freckle in a weird, heavy-foundation way. It's not going to give you mega-full coverage, but that's not really what it's meant to be doing either - it gives a beautiful, very natural, your-face-but-just-not-quite-so-shattered finish, which is lovely in the winter months.

one caveat - this is pretttyyyyy dewy for my usual tastes. Nothing a bit of mega-lovely powder can't sort, but in the summer I will really struggle with this (however, if you're less oily than me, I reckon this is a perfect summer base option!)

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue 4.5 Wheat Swatch

As for the hydration claims.. well, I can't claim to have checked my skin's percentage hydration beforehand, but this is essentially a super-lovely tinted moisturiser, and does that job wonderfully. A big thumbs up from me.

Have you tried Complexion Rescue?

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

Friday, 9 December 2016

My favourite Makeup Geek eyeshadows

Makeup Geek Favourite Eyeshadows

It's no secret that I am a huge Makeup Geek fan. I've waxed lyrical about my love for their affordable, high quality eyeshadows before - for the money, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better as a rule (and I've paid top dolla for plenty of worse shadows!). Here's my most beloved in my collection - if you're in the market for some good basic matte eyeshadows, I've got you covered!

Makeup Geek Vintage, Cocoa Bear, Americano, Shimma Shimma, Creme Brulee, Bitten, Petal Pusher

First off - Vintage. A smokey, purply matte medium brown. This is admittedly prone to a little sheering out on application, but it's fantastic for building in the crease and adding depth to any look.

Next - the one and only Cocoa Bear. A beautiful, warm, matte medium brown. Oh my days. This is just fantastic. Buttery, blendable, highly pigmented and a dream to use. This is beautiful all over the lid, in the crease, anywhere you like. I love it!

Americano - a very dark, warm, matte brown. The pigmentation is really nice (the swatch below does this shade no justice!) and works really well with Cocoa Bear for a super-smoky eye. It also works beautifully as a liner shade on a damp brush, without being as harsh as pure black.

Creme Brulee - the ultimate warm-toned transition shade for light-medium skintones. this is really pigmented, creamy and a pleasure to use - it plays well with others, and can be used to blend out chalkier shadows and smooth out the transition. This is a kit essential for me!

Bitten - if you're in to burgundy (which, it seems, is the colour of the season) you need this shade. Bitten is a rich, red-maroon, and makes a nice alternative to a standard brown smoky eye. It's super flattering - particularly on blue or green eyes - and again, beautifully blendable.

Petal Pusher -  This is pink, for those of us who don't do pink. It's a warm, rosy, pink-mauve matte shadow. This isn't mega pigmented compared to the likes of Cocoa Bear, but I think that's the beauty of it - you can add a subtle, warm, rosy tint to a look without looking like you've suddenly developed pink eye. 

And finally - Shimma Shimma. Gorgeous. Frosty, shimmery, beautiful - this is the ultimate highlight shade. It also makes a lovely, light cheek highlight when applied with a fan brush. 
Makeup Geek Favourite Eyeshadow Swatches
L-R Vintage, Cocoa Bear, Americano, Creme Brulee, Bitten, Petal Pusher, Shimma Shimma
As ever - one-swipe swatches. Not bad for a bunch of mattes (and one mega-lovely shimmer!)!

Are you a Makeup Geek fan?

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

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The under the weather beauty edit

The under the weather beauty edit - Clarins, Bourjois, Guerlain, NARS, Rituel de Fille

Ironically, as I write this, I am rather under the weather. Eugh. Hellooooooo Winter.

Mostly, I just want to curl up under a duvet until this is over, but sometimes - you just gotta get up and go. However - being told you look poorly when you are poorly isn't much fun, so I try to pick my face up from the floor and make myself feel a bit better with some easy, lovely makeup. I have a little collection of fail-safe products in my armoury for just such a rescue attempt.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm will be no surprise here - an ideal, easy, slap-it-on brightening and smoothing base. I follow this up with the most flattering, skin-like foundation there is - Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Natural Perfection Skin Fusion Foundation. It's got a bit more coverage than a super easy BB, but is still a dream to apply, and just covers up the dark and dreary bits with a lovely satin-matte finish. Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer has got those eye bags well and truly covered - base = done. Boom.

For cheeks - nothing too fancy. Let's be honest, you're feeling rubbish here. Rituel de Fille's beautiful Phosphene is the easiest, most blendable cream highlight and will impart a little wellness, and NARS' classic Orgasm will restore a much healthier flush to those cheeks. If you can be bothered with brows, SUQQU's brow pen does a lovely, easy, natural job that's pretty hard to get wrong, and for mascara - Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde is a classic for a reason - lashy, easy, fast-drying and lovely. Swipe on some glossy lip balm, and you're out the door, looking like you feel a lot better than you do.

What are your go-to easy face products?

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

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Lashings of Lashes - Lashes for the party season

House of Lashes Iconic Mini Review, Kiss Ritzy, Eylure Luxe Bauble

The festive season is well and truly upon us. Christmas trees are popping up everywhere, my street is full of fairy lights - and I love it. Christmas parties ahoy. and Christmas parties = smoky eyes and fantastic lashes. If you can't go lash-mad at Christmas - when can you?!

 I rarely have the patience for lashes, if I'm honest - I need more practice - but I love the wide-eyed effect they give, especially as I have hooded eyelids. And this list of little beauties are worth the effort. Cruelty-free, fluffy, luscious and dramatic - this is my shortlist of party-appropes lashes.

Kiss Ritzy lashes

First up - Kiss True Volume Lashes in Ritzy.  These are medium length and on the wispy side - no bad thing, they definitely look a bit more natural. The lashes have lovely tapered ends, so don't look too blunt and false, and gently taper to longer lashes on the outer edge - very flattering if you have small or hooded eyes. I really like these lashes, and I find them very easy to use - the band is flexible and clear, so they're a breeze to apply. And for £5.95? Bargain.

Eylure Luxe Bauble Lashes Review

Eylure have recently come out with their Luxe range - a cruelty free alternative to mink lashes. These are Bauble - they're voluminous and really finely tipped, but not so long as to be touching your brows. They give a beautiful, luxurious, full effect without being completely ridiculous. Just look at how fluffy they are! They're lightweight and surprisingly easy to wear - they do, however, have quite a thick band, so if you're a lash noob like me it might take a little practice to get them right!

House of Lashes Iconic Mini ReviewHouse of Lashes Iconic vs Iconic Mini

Then, the pièce de résistance - House of Lashes Iconic and Iconic Minis. Woah there. These are full on, no apologies, I'm-wearing-falsies-but-aren't-they-amazing lashes. Nothing natural about these bad boys. They have a thick band, so again, they take a little patience to apply - but all effort is worth it. 

Iconic Mini lashes are a few millimetres shorter on band length and on lash length - if you have smaller eyes, these are definitely your friend. I find I have to trim Iconic lashes a little bit to fit my eye shape, whereas Iconic Minis are perfect just the way they are. Both have the same thick, voluminous, criss-cross pattern, and flare to the outside - extremely flattering on just about any eye shape. I can't rate these highly enough - Iconic Minis are the ONES. 

What are your favourite lashes?

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

Friday, 2 December 2016

Lush Rose Jam Shower Gel and Lush Cupcake Face Mask Review

Lush Rose Jam and Lush Cupcake Face Mask

I'll let you in on a secret - I've never really been a Lush gal. Well - not a bath gal is more accurate. I get bored, anything I'm reading gets soaked, and I almost drown myself trying to keep said book dry... and by the time I settle down to read, the bath is cold. I think because of this, I've just kindof bypassed Lush until now. The blogosphere has a bit of a bath bomb obsession, and I'm just not a bath fizzy thing kinda gal. Soz. 

I do, however, love a good face mask. And anything that smells of roses/Turkish Delight/deliciousness. So on a recent Lush perusal (the smell drew me in, I'm not going to lie) I was drawn in by two truly delicious smelling delights - Rose Jam shower gel, and Cupcake Fresh Face Mask.

Rose Jam smells incredible. That's the bottom line. If you like things that smell nice, sniff this. Divine.

That's really the main thing, isn't it - we can all go and buy some shower gel for the purposes of purely being clean, but there's a real pleasure in using Rose Jam. It's vanilla-ey, slightly citrusy, rosy without making you smell like your gran, and just totally delicious. The scent hangs around (not in an offensive way) and makes you one-of-those-people-that-always-smells-nice. Everyone knows one of those. I'm one of those now. Result.

Lush Rose Jam and Lush Cupcake

Cupcake is a chocolatey-delicious fresh clay mask. It is, for all intents and purposes, a clay mask; but as much as it dries on the skin, it doesn't seem to dry out the skin in the process. It is infused with peppermint, spearwood and sandalwood oils, and perhaps this is the reason for the comfort factor. I'm really enjoying using this mask, and when washed off my skin does look really radiant and refreshed, and feels soft, not parched. It is designed with spotty, teenage skin in mind - my skin is less temperamental these days, but this is still a real treat to use.

Lush Cupcake Fresh Face Mask

A really nice foray in to the world of Lush for me - I'll definitely be checking out some other products! Do you have any recommendations of what I should try?

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