Sunday, 29 March 2015

March Beauty Favourites: Makeup, Hair & Skincare

March-Beauty-Favourites-Spring-2015-makeup-skincare-hair

I’ve been a bit lax on posting about my favourite products lately and sometimes catch myself raving about the latest thing and realise I’m not sharing enough about the ones that make it into my everyday stash. If I was to share all of those bits, we’d be here for days, so believe it or not this is a heavily edited selection of the beauty products I’ve been loving this month. Maybe it would be easier if I made this a weekly thing…

I’ve divided everything into makeup, hair and skincare - these are the products that have made my heart beat a little faster this month…

MAKEUP

Smashbox-Double-Exposure-Palette,Soap Glory-Solar-Powder,Bobbi-Brown-Calypso-Blush-palette

A mix of old favourites and new releases that moved straight to favourite status and ended up being used every day. As you can see. You don’t mind if my makeup looks a little loved do you? I think it’s kind of endearing, like an old teddy. Kinda.

Ok, starting bottom right and going clockwise, we have:

Bobbi Brown Calpyso Cheek Palette: 2 matte and 1 shimmer blush in pinky coral tones that work beautifully both separately or swirled together; lightly (with a duo fibre brush) or as a bright pop of Spring colour.

Soap & Glory Solar Powder (on 3 for 2) had to be mine after I heard multiple bloggers rave about it. I now know why - its cool tones are very flattering on pale skin and give such a natural finish. The darker shade works as contour; the light adds subtle warmth and mixed together they add a lovely bronze that doesn’t look ridiculous on my Winter pallor.

Smashbox Double Exposure palette was my first foray into the brand’s eye shadow and boy am I impressed. Velvety, buttery soft and beautifully blendable in a mix of matte and shimmer day to evening shades. This isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of this. Out of all this month’s favourites, this is hands down my Number One recommendation.

BD Secrets Dream Shine Highlighter is part of Barbara Daly’s repackaged collection for Tesco - and gives a subtle, glowy highlight rather than in your face glitter. It’s a liquid cream with a pump mechanism and looks lovely alone on cheek and brow bones, or mixed with foundation for a radiant look.

KIKO Crystal Eyeliner in 02 Technological Brown is a metallic taupe with fine shimmer, which adds definition and a pretty sheen while looking soft and natural. It comes in a twist up pencil with built in sharpener, sets quickly and has brilliant lasting power, akin to others at 2-3 times the price. I also have the Reflect Burgundy shade (dark copper-plum) and will definitely buy more of these.

Bare Minerals Frame & Define Brow Styler in Universal Light is a repurchase of an old favourite. Brilliant for blondes (similar to the lightest Anastasia Brow Wiz), this twist up pencil has a spoolie at one end, is quick and easy to use and lasts all day on my brows.

Real Techniques Bold Metals Pointed Crease brush gets better the more I use it - or the more I get used to using it! I use this a lot for applying precise colour in the crease as well as blending out liner. The point applies the colour while the sides blend it softly and it works well on a half open eye. Oh and it’s super soft.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in So Hap’pink is my favourite of 3 new colours in this line. It’s a lovely everyday bright that adds a pop of really wearable colour that isn’t too in your face - stronger than a nude, softer than red or fuchsia. I’ll swatch all three for a separate post this week.

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer in Light Beige has floated in and out of my stash for months and become a daily staple as it’s really the most versatile concealer I’ve tried. It’s the only one I have that works equally well on under eye shadows, redness and blemishes, can be sheered out or built up, has good lasting power, doesn’t sit in creases or accentuate dryness. Pretty amazing right? PS Think I’ll try Light Golden next time - this comes in so many shades, another big plus!

HAIR

Bumble-BB-Straight-blow-dry-cream-frizzy-hair,Ojon-Rare-Blend-tamer-wand

I’ve made quite a few new hair discoveries lately, which I’ll feature soon, but these two are my new must haves.

Bumble & Bumble BB Straight Blow Dry is a styling cream for curly, frizzy hair which tames, heat protects and adds a little natural hold. I only need a small amount of this and it really does make a difference, even on my very unruly fringe! NB I rarely use this for straightening, more to smooth waves and add shine!

Ojon Rare Blend Tamer is a finishing/ touch-up treatment for flyaways and frizzies, which works really well on baby hairs and tames that annoying layer of surface fuzz on my crown. It has a serum texture and is really easy to apply with the mascara-style wand. I mainly use this most for touch ups throughout the day (handbag size helps) and to give up-dos a more polished, sleek finish. PS it doesn’t leave my hair oily or crispy.

SKINCARE

Aveda-Botanical-Kinetics,BurtBees-Lipbalm,S5-Calm-Serum,Clarins-Camomile-Toner   

Burt Bees Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E and Peppermint has taken up residence on my bedside table - it’s really softening, 100% natural, keeps my lips hydrated all night and I love the fresh scent.

Clarins Camomile Toning Lotion is great for dry skin, with Alpine Herbs, Linden and Camomile to soften and rebalance. Even the scent of this is soothing and I love to use it after cleansing, pre-serum.

S5 Calm Serum has a lovely milky texture that feels instantly soothing on my sensitive-prone skin. It contains marine bioactives and peptides to reduce redness, sensitivity and skin stress, while hyaluronic acid plumps skin and locks in moisture. My skin often feels in need of calming and I think this has really helped.

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Intense Hydrating Rich Creme is one of those moisturisers that’s an absolute joy to use. I love the texture; it’s super hydrating and feels delicious on my skin, every time. Not a dry patch in sight since using this.

Have you tried any of these products - or would you like to? If you only treat yourself to one, I can’t recommend the Smashbox Double Exposure palette enough!

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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Clinique Pop Lip Review & Swatches

Clinique-Pop-Lip-review-swatches  

If I was a lipstick I’d be a Clinique Pop Lip - as this new formula has just about everything going for it that a girl lipstick could ask for. Colour and Primer in one, Pop Lip coats the lips with smooth, intense colour and instant moisture. It’s probably easiest if I transcribe the list of reasons why I love these, starting at the shallow end…

  • Chic, colour coded packaging (immediately justifying more than one - just so that you can pick out your favourite with ease)
  • 16 beautiful colours in Nudes, Tawnies, Pinks & Violets to suit every complexion (I’d wear at least 12 of them)
  • Moisture without compromising on colour. I do like a sheer coloured lip, but a proper pop of colour that feels like balm = winning. Shea Murumuru butters help with this.
  • Longevity. That’s the primer bit - essentially built in primer to add lasting power. A moisturising finish AND longevity. Is this magic?

Clinique-Pop-Lip-BeigePop-WowPop

SWATCHES

 Clinique-Pop-Lip-Swatches-Poppy,Wow,Beige,Melon-Pop 

Gorgeous, right? Poppy Pop is the kind of orange toned red that I just love for Spring & Summer. Wow Pop is a bright, blue toned pink that’s softer and more wearable than fuchsia. Beige Pop is about as nude as I can go minus mannequin lips - I need a serious smoky eye to balance this one out. Melon Pop is a really pretty peach that has graced my lips most days this week.

Clinique-Pop-Lip-PoppyPop-MelonPop

Poppy and Melon (above) are my favourite of the four, but there are TWELVE more to choose from - and personally I can’t wait.

The RRP of £16 is neither cheap nor extortionate… considering that so many lipsticks are now priced at £26 or even £36 these days, I think you’re getting a lot for your dollar here - and I have a feeling my Lipstick Wardrobe will be growing very soon. (no that doesn’t actually exist)

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer Lipstick, £16 at Boots

PS - Ohhh I thought these were launching tomorrow, but they appear to be available now at boots.com!

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Monday, 23 March 2015

Pixi Beauty: In the Spotlight #3

Pixi-Beauty-Makeup Skincare

Pixi Beauty is a London based brand developed by a Swedish makeup artist, which aims to make fuss-free beauty accessible to all women. The makeup and skincare collection is all about achieving a glowy finish with pretty pops of colour. Pixi’s hero product is Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner, which I’ve used for years, but the makeup line has been on my radar since discovering the tinted lip balm - and I’ve been trying out more of the line since. It includes some real gems, some of which have made their way into my regular routine.

“My aim is to achieve flawless, lustrous makeup to bring out the best in you. Women need a treat, so makeup should be skin beneficial, as natural as possible & multipurpose. If you look better, you feel better – it’s as simple as that.  Petra Strand, Pixi founder

Petra’s inspiration comes from busy real women like herself – ‘working women and mothers trying to look awake, fresh and pulled together in 5 minutes’. Don’t know about you, but as the mum of 2 young children, this is definitely something I can relate to! Yes, I’m beauty-product obsessed, but on a day-to-day basis, I often don’t have time to fuss around with my beauty routine. In fact to do so is an indulgence for me - and ironically, most often occurs when I’m not going anywhere or doing anything - as that’s when I have the time!

Here are a few of my favourite things from the Pixi range…

GLOW TONIC & GLOW MIST

Pixi-Beauty-Glow-Mist,Glow-Tonic

I ordered my first bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic (and a lovely serum, which I’ve only just remembered about!) by phone from its Carnaby Street store, long before the product gained a cult following and became widely available online. It’s since been repackaged to look a lot more chic. Essentially a more gentle and effective method of exfoliating than a gritty scrub, I use this daily, immediately after cleansing. A 15 second swipe over my face, neck and décolletage with a cotton pad helps plump, decongest and remove dead skin cells for healthier looking skin. It’s alcohol free, non drying and contains 5% glycolic acid, aloe vera and ginseng. I only stop using this if I’m testing another product - and my skin always looks clearer and brighter when I return to it.

Glow Mist is PIxi’s latest skincare launch, a lovely fine facial spray with 13 natural oils, propolis, aloe vera and fruit extracts. I mostly use this for hydration - both pre-skincare and throughout the day - but it can also be used to add a dewy finish to makeup (or just bare skin). If you’re used to a water-only face mist, you should notice the additional benefits of using this.

PALETTE BRONZETTE

PixiBeauty-Spring-Palette Pixi-Beauty-spring-palette-eyeshadow-swatches  Pixi-Palette-Bronzette

Pixi Palette Bronzette is the brand’s newest release for Spring and includes blush, bronze, highlight and 4 sets of eye trios designed for use as liner, crease, lid and highlight colours. I do mix and match them as I love the khaki and olive tones on my lids or in a smoky eye. (NB These swatches were not intended for inclusion in this post - so apols that they’re a bit minimalist). Cheek colours include a pretty soft pink blush, which might be a bit light for deeper skins; a matte bronzer and flattering gold highlight, which is more shimmery than I’d normally go for, but somehow works. Some of the eye colours are more pigmented than others and I tend to use the liner colours wet, but most are buttery and blend beautifully - I’ve been really happy with the various looks I’ve done with them and find this palette particularly useful for daytime. NB most of the eye shadows are quite shimmery, but not glittery - and can be blended out to look quite sheer or built up over primer for a more metallic finish.

NATURAL BROW DUO | CORRECTION CONCENTRATE | FAIRY DUST

Pixi-Beauty-Brow-Duo,Correction-Concentrate,Fairy-Dust-pics

This Natural Brow Duo with Vitamins C, E and brow-strengthening panthenol, includes a hard waxy pencil and slightly tinted gel in a great colour match for me and very handy for on the go. Correction Concentrate in Brightening Peach is one of my favourites from the range to counteract the darkest of shadows quite dramatically. Creamy enough to blend yet with good lasting power, I only need the tiniest amount of this. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me rave about finding the perfect gold eye shadow in the form of Olive Gold Fairy Dust - you can see me wearing it here. This is a no-mess powder pigment, applied with the spongy tip of the wand for a gorgeous gilded effect.

LIPLIFT MAX | TINTED BALM

Pixi-Beauty-LipLift-Max,Tinted-LipBalm

LipLift Max in Petal Ice is an almost clear glossy plumper that smoothes out lip lines and can be used under or over lipstick. I’m a big fan of the tinted lip balms with shea butter - this one is Ripe Raspberry - as they add proper colour as well as nourishing my lips.

I’ve only tried a couple of Pixi products that didn’t really work for me - the mascara (I need more va va voom) and Tinted Brilliance Balm in Lucent Glow (a bit frosty for my taste) - but everything else I’ve really enjoyed.

SWATCHES

Pixi-Beauty-palette-swatches

Swatches of my favourites from the colour products… the tones are all quite gentle and very skin flattering. I don’t feel overly made up with them on - this isn’t shouty, dramatic makeup - it’s pretty, feel-good makeup that’s quick and easy to apply. My top skincare pick will always be Pixi Glow Tonic and my makeup favourite is the new Palette Bronzette, which I know I’ll get loads of wear from this Spring/Summer.

The full product range is available at pixibeauty.co.uk

Have you tried anything by Pixi Beauty?

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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom: Blue Skies & Blossoms

Jo-Malone-Osmanthus-Blossom-Blue-Skies Blossoms 

If the first glimpse of blue skies and a whisper of warmth in the sun make you want to push heavy Winter scents to the back of the cupboard (along with your jumpers) then look this way. Jo Malone London is releasing a limited edition collection of its most popular blossom scents to capture the essence of Spring. Blue Skies & Blossoms includes Sakura Cherry Blossom, Plum Blossom and Osmanthus Blossom, beautifully presented with pink, purple and green metallic lids and matching striped bows.

Fragrance Director, Celine Roux describes the trio as ‘fresh, natural, authentic and much easier to wear’ than the ‘traditional heady bouquet scents’ worn by our grandmothers. As someone who doesn’t love heady or super sweet florals, I must admit I’m all over this concept... give me freshness every time.

Originally released in 2013, Osmanthus Blossom is effervescent with peach and Petitgrain on a base of cashmere wood. It reminds me of sticking my nose into a giant bouquet - green, citrussy and fresh, yet soft. Very much a daytime perfume to my nose, Osmanthus Blossom is the kind I want to spritz generously and inhale. Jo Malone claims that it works well layered over Blackberry and Bay - which I had to try as this is my current favourite - and must admit I love how it mixes with the herbal notes. 

Have you ever tried mixing fragrances? It’s not something I’ve tried before, but I love the idea of creating my own unique scent.

Jo Malone Blue Skies & Blossoms collection launches soon at jomalone.co.uk rrp £86.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Spring Makeup: A Pop of Colour

Spring-2015-Makeup-bright-colours-coloured-eyeliner-mascara

While I’m not totally over the deep sultry tones of Winter, I’m definitely ready for a pop of Spring colour - in both my makeup bag and my wardrobe. If you’d like to add colour in a very wearable, non 80s-tastic style, here’s how…

Rich jewel colours are both easier to carry off and more forgiving than neon brights and the easiest way to add sophisticated, grown-up colour is with a slick of eyeliner. Think interesting rather than obvious - a little something, something when you bat your lashes. Pair it with soft, peachy coral lips and nails for a palette that looks fresh and pretty without fighting for attention. Here are some of my favourites…

LINER

Lord Berry-Supreme-Eyeliner-Smart-Green-Purple-Blue-review-swatches-photos

Lord & Berry Supreme Eyeliner is the star of this show and comes in 3 beautiful jewel tones: Smart Purple, Smart Green and Smart Blue. I’m all over the rich forest green, (brilliant on tired red eyes!) and the blue isn’t far behind. The colours are slightly blackened - like a mix of black and colour - yet have a freshness to them and slight metallic finish that catching the light without shimmering, really wearable for all ages. Made with jojoba, they apply like butter without dragging and don’t set, so they can easily be smoked out. The waterproof formula has pretty good lasting power considering how soft they are, though I do find that primer on my lashline helps.

LASHES

RMK-W-Color-Mascara-04-Green-Blue

I know this won’t be for everyone, but I do think the duo concept of this RMK W Color Mascara is really clever and could be paired with coloured eyeliner or worn alone with a neutral shade. The bigger blue wand is for upper lashes and the tiny green wand fits perfectly on lower lashes; the whole thing fitting together in one double ended tube. The actual formula and performance of this is great for length and definition (in fact I’d like it in black!) though I prefer to just use the blue, which lengthens and defines with a subtle hint of colour. My lashes are so pale that the green looks very bright on me and would probably work better on darker lashes, or on tips over black mascara. This comes in 5 colourways, all much more playful than this one! I’d actually LOVE it in black and brown as I prefer brown for my lower lashes (boring I know!).

LIPS & NAILS

BarryM-In-a-Heartbeat,GOSH-Forever-Lipshine-FLirty-Dreams,RMK-Vintage-Drop-Gloss-01

Much as I love a mega bold lip, I prefer to take things down a notch when paired with a colourful eye look. These options still add Spring-like colour without being too in your face. GOSH Forever Lip Shine in Flirty Dreams adds a balmy layer of coral, while RMK Vintage Drop Gloss adds the prettiest pale pink sheen that looks lovely on its own or layered over a deeper colour. And lets just take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous swirly design - that’s the actual glosses - not just packaging and is supposed to look like sweets. LOVE.

Of course I couldn’t talk about pops of colour without mentioning nails and a soft coral like Barry M Quick Dry ‘In a Heart Beat’ (2 for £6) is perfect. See my swatches of it in this post.

SWATCHES

Bright-colored-eyeliner-mascara-swatches

Swatches all labelled above, though can I just say that the Lord & Berry Supreme Liners look way more WOW in real life. You can see me wearing Smart Blue in this pic, where you can hopefully see that it’s quite subtle and still gives good definition.

Would you be game for wearing colours like these?

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Monday, 16 March 2015

SensatioNail Launches Nail Shields, Gel Matte Top Coat & 10 Colours

Sensationail-Nail-Shields,Gel-Polish-Matte-Top-CoatSensationail-Jade-Treasure,Tropical-Punch-new colours March 2015

The thing that puts a lot of people off a gel mani is the removal process… it’s not difficult, just time consuming and a bit of a faff. SensatioNail has come up with a clever solution in the form of Nail Shields, which allow you to peel off a gel mani when you want to switch colours. They’ve also released 10 new colours and a matte top coat - more about those in a minute.

Nail Shields are essentially little thin stickers, attached to nails in a similar style to nail wraps, which protect the nail bed from damage and allow you to remove your gel mani in 5 minutes. No acetone, no wrapping finger tips in foil or soaking them for ages. A game changer. They don’t affect application, wear time or any other element of your gel manicure. In fact they reduce a couple of steps as there’s no need for primer or base coat with these - you can just go straight in with gel polish (NB SensatioNail rec that you apply primer & base coat over the Nails Shields, but I didn’t find that necessary).

Sensationail-Nail-Shields-reviewSensationail-Nail-Shields-how-to  Sensationail-Nail-Shields-directionsSensationail-Nail-Shields-demo-review   

NAIL SHIELDS: User Tips

I’m not gonna lie, while I think the concept of these is GENIUS, I did find them a wee bit tricky to apply at first, so here are my tips on getting it right:

  1. Make sure nails are completely clean, grease and dust-free (avoid hand cream or cuticle oil the day of application).
  2. Cleanse nails with Gel Cleanser and make sure you’re in a well lit room, with natural light if possible. These are very thin and you need to see what you’re doing clearly.
  3. Hold each nail up next to the sheet of Nail Shields and work out which will fit each finger. Number two sheets of stickers from pinky to thumb so that you don’t have to keep stopping as you go along (assuming your nails are similar sizes on both hands). If your nails are quite short, each sticker can be cut in half and used for both hands.
  4. Use tweezers or an orange stick to lift the Nail Shields - avoid touching the sticky side with your skin as this can interfere with cohesion.
  5. Starting at the cuticle, press the sticker onto your nail and smooth it out to get rid of any air bubbles. This is the trickiest part and it’s important to get it right, as bubbles or loose edges could cause your mani to lift. The orange stick or Removal Tool both help.
  6. Fold any excess over the tip of your nail (as in my pic above) and file in a downwards direction. Filing sideways will cause it to lift and allow dust to catch underneath. Been there, wasted some of mine - learn from my mistakes!

That’s it - go straight in with the colour of your choice, no need for primer or base coat. Two coats of colour, Top Coat and you’re done. For removal, soak nails in water for 5 mins, then gently lift the Nail Shield at the base of your nail and peel back. Job done.

Pretty cool, huh? I’m wearing them under my mani below. If you’re not a Sensationailer, I don’t see any reason why these wouldn’t work with other brands of gel (or glitter) polish and they’re quite reasonably priced at £8 for 88.

NEW COLOURS

Sensationail-Jade-Treasure,Tropical-Punch-swatchesFullSizeRender (6)IMG_3282 

There are 10 new colours in total, mostly nude shades, but I opted to try out the two brights of the bunch: Tropical Punch and Jade Treasure. Tropical Punch is a vivid orange-coral with a subtle hot pink duochrome, typically difficult to capture on camera, but trust me - it’s gorgeous. Jade Treasure is another beaut, but looks nothing like a.the colour on the box/bottle or indeed the colour in my swatch. It’s a really bright jade green, almost too bright for my pale winter skin, but I know it will be gorgeous with a Summer tan. The Matte Top Coat should be applied in one coat over any gel polish, replacing the usual top coat. Personally, I’ll always prefer glossy, but will definitely use this for nail art - eg to add matte tips, lines or dots.

I applied this Tropical Punch mani over the Nail Shields - and although it looks slightly thicker than usual (I applied an extra coat just to be sure), I don’t think anyone would notice a difference.

Sensationail Nail Shields, £8; Matte Top Coat, £10; Gel Polishes, £12.50 - all available at sensationail.co.uk

* PS If you’re interested in trying SensatioNail, I’ve just spotted the Starter Kit on offer for £45 (from £69.99) at Boots.com * (read my review on how it all works here)

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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Erborian Korean BB Crème Au Ginseng

Erborian-BB-Creme-Cream-Clair

Over the whole BB Cream thing? Me too… or I was until I tried Erborian BB Crème au Ginseng. This 3-in-1 formula of moisturiser, sun protection and foundation gives me that elusive combination of coverage, while looking as if my skin is bare. Like, actually bare - a no makeup look that literally looks like no makeup - feels like tinted moisturiser yet provides coverage. Am I the only one to get excited about this? I know some people love to squeeze all their favourite makeup on their face at once, but personally I don’t like to look like I have loads of foundation on my skin. Not because I want to pretend; I just prefer a more natural finish.

Don’t get me wrong, this has not replaced my foundation, but I do roll it out several times a week - when I’m racing out on the school run, going to the supermarket - everyday stuff. I’d describe the coverage as almost medium, certainly more than I’ve had from any tinted moisturiser or BB/CC/DD/EE Cream (yes all 4 do exist) in the past.

It bridges the gap between wanting the light finish and easiness of a tinted moisturiser while craving a little more coverage.

Erborian-BB-Creme-Cream-Clair-swatch-lightest-shade-review-photos

Now you can see some of the blended product on my skin in this pic to the left of the blob - I could have blended it more - but it doesn’t look like a thick layer of foundation either, right? And can you see how my skin to the left of the blob looks softer and smoother than that on the right (which frankly, looks kinda dead in comparison). The finish of this product has been described as baby skin - and mad as it sounds - I get that. NB These pics were taken in sunlight, which is making the colour look a bit warmer than it is, which is actually quite a neutral beige tone. I couldn’t wear any lighter - and I’m around NC15-20 for ref.

If I had to draw one minor negative (I’m literally trying to think of something) it’s that the finish is a fraction too matte for my liking…. you know I’m all about the dewy finish. It’s kind of velvety, which a lot of people will love. What that does mean though, is that lasting power is pretty good, unlike a lot of others. I get around this by using a moisturiser underneath (I even need moisturiser under tinted moisturiser!), while oily or combination skin types might get away with using this on its own. PS as well as looking good, it has skin healing benefits and Ginseng to encourage skin regeneration.

Erborian BB Crème comes in 2 shades: Clair (which I have) and a darker shade, Dore and is designed to colour adapt to your own skin when blended in. It looks a fraction chalky when I first apply, but once blended, it’s a pretty good match for me. It goes on well with fingers or a brush, though I generally apply it with fingers as it’s quite a thick cream and I think the slight warmth helps blend it.

The Erborian range is available at spacenk.com and selfridges.com

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mothers Day Essie Radley Stila 

 

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and I don’t know about you, but I’m still not organised! Here are some beauty gift ideas that I hope will inspire anyone else in the same boat!

1. Narciso Rodriquez For Her - super glam gift set with 50ml of the sensual, feminine For Her eau de parfum and matching body lotion with a sequinned pouch.

2. Stila Spirit eye shadow palette - be still my beating heart… this suit-everyone palette comes in gorgeous rose gold packaging and is filled with the brand’s best-selling shades in satin and shimmer neutrals, mattes and deeper contrast shades. A perfect day to evening option and really well priced for what you get.

3. Narciso Candle - the cutest miniature candle by Italian brand, L’Erbolario, scented with narcissus to make your home smell like Spring!

4. Radley Perfume - best known for its handbags, Radley has released its first eau de parfum, a premium fragrance developed by renowned perfumer Azzi Glasser. A fresh, modern floral with warmth and depth, it features Sicilian Bergamot and peony on a woody, musky base with frankincense, oud and myrrh.

5. Loved by You - Boots has a 3 for 2 offer on its most popular skincare picks if you fancy topping up your mum’s favourites or spoiling her with pampering treats.

6. Connock London Kukui Oil Luxury Essentials Collection - the floriental Connock London Kukui eau de parfum, Kukui Oil hand lotion and Wonder Balm. The heady scent makes me think of tropical holidays and I love the hand lotion as it’s SO luxurious and smells incredible. I’ve just spotted a candle too, which I’m sure is just dreamy. You can rest assured that My Showcase packaging alone will wow your mum!

7. A beauty subscription box - this month’s Habitat Birchbox is particularly cute - all about home and beauty makeovers. I love these kinds of gifts that just keep on giving throughout the year. 

8. Sewlomax SOS Kit - these new Sewlomax kits are both genius and adorable, available in a range of options to suit different lifestyles and all packed with every day essentials to keep in your handbag and make sure you’re not caught out on the run! Everything Sewlomax is pretty dreamy to be honest so it’s worth checking out their website for more ideas.

 

If you’d rather give your mum an ‘experience’, rather than a tangible gift (highly recommended by this mum!) then I’d opt for:

  • A personalised facial or massage - Merchant Hotel Spa is my local favourite
  • Afternoon tea - I’d go for vintage style with pretty chandeliers and cake stands in my latest discovery, Maryville Tearooms, which I raved about on my Facebook page yesterday if you’d like to see a pic.
  • A picnic packed with her favourite treats (made by you of course!) - somewhere picturesque, preferably near the sea and mountains!
  • A home made cake , which to my mind can never be over rated

 

Mother's Day hand made gift

Alternatively you could give your mum a hand-made gift like this one my little girl gave me yesterday, which I personally cherish over all of the above!

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Bobbi Brown Hot Collection: Spring 2015 Colour

Bobbi-Brown-Hot-Collection

If you thought Bobbi Brown was neutral-only territory then think again; her new Spring collections are all about adding a pop of colour - from peachy coral cheeks to WOW orange lips. I’m more than ready for a brights at this time of year and a bold lip with neutral eyes is right up my street, so I’m all over this! Read on to find out more about the Hot Collection, Monday to Sunday Lips and a Pretty Powerful product in support of International Women’s Day.

THE HOT COLLECTION

Bobbi-Brown-Calypso-Cheek-Palette-swatches Bobbi-Brown-Calypso-Cheek-Palette-swatches-photos 

Calypso is my favourite of three new Limited Edition Cheek Palettes, also available in Pink and Berry. These are designed to be applied using a sweep of the softest colour across cheek bones, with a pop of the brightest shade on the apples, finished with the highlighter shade. Highly pigmented and buttery soft, I really can’t fault them. I’ve mostly been wearing the lightest pinky coral with a little of the highlight on upper cheekbones. Unlike the more subtle Brightening Bricks, these are all about bringing the face to life and a little goes a long way. A light dusting is all I need and the colour is very buildable, so I think this shade would also work beautifully on medium/tan skin tones.  (I’m wearing it in this Instagram pic). My swatches show a single swipe of each, with a blend of all three at the top.

See all three Cheek Palettes, £34 here

 

HOT LIPS

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The lip colours for this collection come in the form of mega bright, highly pigmented Art Sticks with a matte finish, or a softer - but still bright - sheer lipstick. Both formulas are right up my street and also work well layered together (sheer on top for extra moisture). The Orange Art Stick (a red-orange) has a similar effect on me to a new hairdo, pair of killer stilettos or a caffeine shot, but quicker, easier and available on repeat.  LOVE. I do need a slick of balm underneath, but I can live with that. (Swatches show a single swipe of colour.)

Find the Hot Collection, from £19.50 here.

 

MONDAY TO SUNDAY LIPS

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A tonne of new Monday to Sunday lipstick shades (around 30) hit Bobbi Brown counters this month in 3 formulas: sheer, creamy and matte.  I love all 3 finishes to be honest and have worn the nude matte shades a lot this winter, but the creamy formula is my favourite as it combines a truly creamy, moisturising texture with great lasting power. My love for these goes way back. I first featured ‘Brown’ 3 years ago here and it’s still an absolute favourite and one of the most flattering shades I own. In fact you can see me wearing it in this Instagram pic a few weeks ago.

The swatches above show Pink Tulip Creamy Lip Color, a slightly blue pink, which I think is really pretty but doesn’t do a lot for my skin tone and Hollywood Red Sheer Lip Color, a filmstar red that I love. Not exactly what I’d call sheer as it’s very pigmented (compare it to the Hot Collection sheer swatches above) but *feels* like a balm on the lips. Despite transferring easily, it has pretty impressive lasting power, but if you’re after a lasts-through-dinner red, I’d go for Hot Red in the creamy formula or Heart in the Matte.

You can check out all the new shades here, £19.50 each

 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

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Last - and far from least - a limited edition Pot Rouge for International Women’s Day (today!):  Bobbi’s best-selling, multi-tasking lip and cheek formula in Pretty Powerful ll. 100% of the £19 cost (exc VAT) will be donated to Smart Works, the chosen charity for this year's Pretty Powerful Campaign in the UK. Smart Works is a non profit charity, which helps out-of-work women find employment by providing them with a set of interview clothes, styling advice and interview training.

Pretty Powerful II is a lip and cheek cream in a medium toned pink, specially designed to suit every skin tone. I’ve tried it and it’s a beaut. This the first time I’ve heard of a beauty brand donating 100% (exc VAT) to a worthy cause. Kudos.

Get yours here.

 

Anyone else get mega excited about new Spring makeup?!

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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Four New Moisturisers: Plump, Brighten, Hydrate & Rest

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I’ve been putting some new skincare releases to the test in recent months and discovered some great multi tasking moisturisers. While I generally depend on what goes beneath my moisturiser to actively improve the appearance of my skin, these four have been particularly impressive. Most are quite rich and best suited to 30+ dry and/or dehydrated skin.

Indeed-Labs-FillumeVichy-Liftactiv-Supreme MoisturiserAveda-Botanical-Kinetics-rich-creme-moisturiserClinique-Repairwear-Night-Cream

THE INSTANT PLUMPER - I’m always excited when Indeed Labs release a new product and this one didn’t disappoint. Indeed Labs Fillume is a volumising moisturiser that gives skin an instant boost of mega hydration and plumps it up at surface level for a temporarily smoother, more relaxed effect. It works for me and I’m saving it for special occasions! NB just to keep things real, this won’t plump up deep creases and folds, but makes fine lines and pores look less obvious.

SKIN BRIGHTENING - If you find that your skin looks increasingly dull throughout the day, you may like to try Vichy Liftactiv Supreme, (£10 off at Escentual) with optical correctors to give skin a more radiant appearance. Designed to keep skin looking its best all day (I couldn’t really measure this accurately), this rich cream visibly improves the appearance of my skin - instantly and temporarily - with a similar effect to applying a primer. It’s quite strongly scented, which might not be for everyone, but left my skin well hydrated and makeup applies beautifully on top, with notably less foundation required when tested on one side of my face for comparison.

SOOTHING & HYDRATING - I first tried Aveda Botanical Kinetics Intense Hydrating Rich Creme shortly after a reaction to another product (none of the above) when I was feeling quite apprehensive about dipping into anything new. From first use, I knew I was on to a good thing as it felt instantly soothing and so nourishing on my skin. Although quite a rich cream, the texture doesn’t feel at all heavy and sinks in quickly - a definite favourite.

NIGHT CREAM - Many skincare products now claim to sculpt and firm facial contours, which I just don’t buy into, but aside from that, Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream is a gorgeous moisturiser that I’ve been reaching for a lot. I don’t typically use a specific night cream - and am pretty sure I could get away with this during the day too - but it does feel like a treat to use and has a luxurious, silky cream-gel texture that my face drinks up gratefully. Not a dry patch in sight!

Which moisturiser are you loving right now?

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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Real Techniques Bold Metals Review

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Real Techniques recently added to their makeup brush line with the launch of premium collection, Bold Metals. The creation of Pixiwoo makeup artists and sisters, I’m forever raving about and recommending the originals - which I use daily - so couldn’t wait to try out the new releases and see how they compare.

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Designed for use by professional makeup artists or serious makeup aficionados, these come in at a higher price point than the regular Real Techniques line. This has received some criticism, which I don’t really understand as there are sp many premium brushes out there at equal and much higher price points. Made from super soft, high quality synthetic bristles, Bold Metals have long, tapered handles and are colour coded in silver, gold and rose gold. Weighted for control, they sit well in the hand during use (I don’t find them overly heavy) and the angled handles mean better balance - both during use and on the table (no more rolling off!).

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I was sent four to try out: Pointed Crease, Oval Shadow, Tapered Blush and Arched Powder, all of which are completely different from the originals - or any brushes I’ve tried before. The eye brushes are bigger than average and the face brushes are wide and slightly flattened as you can see above, rather than the more round or oval shapes I’m familiar with.

FACE

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I’m a recent convert to the Real Techniques Blush Brush, which I use the tip of to add product and then blend in circular movements. When using the Bold Metals Tapered Blush Brush, I add product to one side of the brush, then pat it on, before blending out. It’s smaller with quite compact, dense bristles, so it picks up quite a lot of product. Personally, I find the original easier for powder blush, but find the Bold Metals one gives me more precision and control for cream blush. I also like to use it for adding a small amount of powder to my T-zone.

The Arched Powder Brush is huge, luxuriously soft and the bristles have a lot of ‘give’. Again, the process of using this one is different from what I’m used to… I’d normally swirl powder lightly over my face, whereas with this, I tend to sweep or stroke on the product. I prefer using it with loose powder or bronzer, while my Eco Tools powder brush remains my long term, budget-friendly fave for pressed powder.

With both of these brushes, application feels like it involves more precision than I’m used to, though I do think there’s a getting to know you phase involved with new brushes. I’d be really interested to know how professional makeup artists (besides the Pixiwoos of course!) find using these.

 

EYES

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The two eye brushes are definitely my favourite of these four and I’ve been using both pretty much daily over the past few weeks. The Oval Shadow brush is perfect for placing a quick sweep of shadow over the whole lid - I’ve been using this with MAC Patina for an every day look and it literally takes seconds. It’s quite a bit bigger than my other eye brushes, almost the same size as my eyelid, which might not be for everyone, though personally I’m a fan.

As the name suggests, the Pointed Crease brush is designed to place shadow in the crease of your eye socket - again it’s quite large and does work for this, though my preferred use is for blending shadow sticks or eye liner along my lash line. It’s finally helped me to master By Terry Ombre Blackstar (in Brown Perfection), which I love, but find so intensely pigmented that I struggled to create that perfect smoky eyed look with it - and this really does all the work for me. Again, some may prefer a smaller brush for this kind of thing (if so, Zoeva do a great version).

If I was only buying one brush from the Bold Metals Collection, I’d definitely go for the Pointed Crease.

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I took this pic to try and show how much ‘give’ each brush has. As you can hopefully see, the first and third powder and eye shadow brushes have the most, while the second and fourth (blush and pointed crease) are more firm.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed trying these out and will continue to use them all… the eye shadow brushes definitely come out top for me and have become part of my daily routine (alongside a gazillion original Real Techniques brushes). I honestly think Bold Metals are best for someone who is competent and confident in applying makeup, so my final verdict from the brushes I’ve tried is: Pros & makeup aficionados - go Bold Metals; beginners and average makeup users - stick to the original line (though everybody needs a Pointed Crease in their life!).

Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection (£10-25) is available at Boots.com in the UK and Ulta.com in US.

 

 

SHOP

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