Friday, 29 July 2016

The Bold Lip x 3



I'm really enjoying a bold lip this Summer and have been meaning to share these three favourites... when I realised it's National Lipstick Day (5 mins ago, thanks Instagram) I knew it was now or never. If I'm not wearing one of these, it tends to be a very natural sheer wash of colour at the other end of the spectrum - I'll save those for another day.


The three shades I've been reaching for on repeat are:

Tom Ford Lip Colour in Wild Ginger - a red-orange hybrid. I keep changing my mind about whether this is an orange-red or reddish orange and think it leans towards the latter. Once you get past the beautiful packaging and TF embossed bullet, the pigment-packed silky formula is gorgeous and I think every woman should own at least one Tom Ford lipstick. 

Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Hot Berry - the brightest fuschia. I love the creamy matte formula of these giant lip crayons which are so easy to apply. Each one comes with its own sharpener so it's easy to maintain a sharp edge. Wear time is excellent and I don't find them drying so long as I don't wear every day. (If you can't get hold of this, Hot Pink is similar)

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Feels So Grand - a neutral, true red.  I've only tried this colour so can't speak for the other shades, but have to say that for me, this formula knocks all other liquid lipsticks out of the park. Easy to apply, it sets and is pretty transfer proof, without looking or feeling dry, unflattering or as if it might crack - all of which I've experience before, eww. The finish looks velvety and lasting power is excellent. I like this worn in a light layer and patted in for daytime, or in two thin layers for a full-on evening pout. 

Natural Light

From the top: MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Feels So Grand, Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Hot Berry, Tom Ford Wild Ginger.

Direct sunlight
The orange, red and hot pink have me covered for most occasions and the power of a bold lip to bring a tired face to life never ceases to amaze me. I tend to pair them with a softly defined eye and natural looking, even (as possible!) base. 


I'm sure some people think colours like this are a no-no for redheads but I beg to differ, though I've never been one to play by the rules in that sense. You can see me wearing the Bobbi Brown Hot Berry here & here and MAC Feels so Grand here

If you're scared to try a bold lip (and want to), start with budget brands and practice wearing them at home - sometimes it's just a matter of getting used to them on your own face!

What your bright lip of choice?

Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples. See my full disclaimer here. 

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

MAC Brant Brothers 2016: Review & Swatches


MAC Brant Brothers is the brand's second collection with oh-so-beautiful New York socialites, Peter and Harry Brant (I hadn't heard of them either) and offers a palette of wearable neutrals for boys and gals alike. Much as I love a bright lip and pop of shimmer, my heart lies with products that make me look better without looking like I've applied a whole lotta slap. I'd much rather look good than have my makeup look good if you know what I mean? My eyes lit up when I saw this collection as I just knew it would deliver on that level and it absolutely does. The line, launching August, includes Pro Longwear Lipstain Markers, brow gel, black kohl and skincare, but my must-have is the eye shadow palette.


EYE SHADOW x 4:4 PILLARS


To be fair, I don't own any MAC neutral shadows, so maybe this is a bigger deal for me than most, but I'm so drawn to shades that mimic the natural shadows around my eyes, which these do. I very rarely wear black to be fair, except maybe pushed into the upper lash line, so I mainly use the other 3 shades in this palette.


The four shades in Eye Shadow x 4:4 Pillars (£27.50) are:

  • Mother's Milk - pale creamy beige satin (lid and brow bone)
  • Sandstone - matte taupe (socket)
  • Mystery - dark plum-toned matte brown (lash line and outer corner)
  • Carbon - matte black (upper lash line)
The first three make creating a very natural or smokey eye look in seconds an absolute breeze and I've used nothing else for several weeks. 


PRO SCULPTING CREAM DUO: TRYPHAENA & CLEOPATRA



I'm not really a contour-er but the Pro Sculpting Cream Duo (£26.50) almost makes me wish I was. Hands down the most natural looking contour and highlight I've tried. 'Crevasse' taupe contour is cool but not muddy and 'Climax' white highlight adds cool-toned glow rather than shimmer. If you're after the full on Kim K look, this really isn't for you, but it absolutely works for adding subtle definition, which is where it's at. 

PS The Pro Beyond Twisted Lash mascara isn't part of this collection... I just included it here as it's pretty and I've been loving it to coat lower lashes while I have extensions. The entire wand and brush can be bent into any shape you like, which anyone who has manoeuvred lash extensions or finds mascara application tricky will appreciate! I normally bend it at a right angle to avoid poking myself in the eye.


You can see how creamy and malleable the contour in particular is here. It just melts into skin rather than sitting on top of it. I find that both work best applied with fingers.

SWATCHES


Check out the deep gold Eye Kohl in El Dorado (£15.50) at the centre. To it's left, the Pro Sculpting Cream Duo and on the right, all four shades from Eye Shadow x 4:4 Pillars. I used the eye shadows to define my eyes in this pic.

The Limited Edition MAC Brant Brothers Collection launches in the UK in August 2016. 


Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples. See my full disclaimer here. 
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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go



Pixi's most travel-friendly version of Glow Tonic, To-Go Exfoliating Toner Pads, is about to hit shelves. I've come over a little nostalgic about it all after stumbling across my first posts on Pixi Glow Tonic... three whole years ago (here & here) and seeing how much the brand has grown. If that's not proof that it's remained a staple in my routine then I don't know what is.

For anyone unfamiliar with this gem of a product, it's an exfoliating toner which gently whisks away dead skin cells, soothes what lies beneath and helps speed up the growth of healthy new skin. In my personal experience, it progressively helps my skin look brighter and clearer, without causing irritation or triggering my rosacea. It won't work for everyone, (nothing does) but it works beautifully for a huge percentage of people, to the extent that it's reached cult status (thanks in no small part to a certain Mrs Hirons).


Pixi Glow Tonic normally comes in a bottle of peach liquid, applied with a cotton pad (see the usual packaging in this post). The new Glow Tonic To-Go is packaged in a tub of pre-soaked pads, the same size as an average cotton pad. 

Each one contains the right amount of product for a single use and is comfortable to use - ie not dripping wet. Just swipe a pad over your face (avoiding eyes), continuing right down the neck and decollete. This should be done after cleansing and before using other skincare products such as serum and moisturiser. 

If you have the original bottle of Glow Tonic then you don't need To-Go too - unless you're travelling - in which case, perfect. I have to say I really enjoy using these and find them easier than faffing with a bottle and pack of pads, though I am a bit of a lazy mare. 

I tend to use exfoliating toners less in Summer as they make skin more vulnerable to skin damage UNLESS you use a good SPF, which I do, so no logic there really! After a break of around 6 weeks, I've gone back to using Glow Tonic in its new To-Go form and was surprised to notice a difference in just over a week. I'm prone to congestion and annoying bumps just below the surface of my skin and this has made a marked improvement. Admittedly it usually takes several weeks at least for me to see a change, so I guess this was just what my skin needed right now.  Not complaining!


Glow Tonic To-Go Exfoliating Toner Pads launch on QVC on Tuesday 26th July and will be on shelves and online on the 29th, RRP £20.

Each tub contains 60 pads, enough for 1-3 months depending how often you use them. Some people use an exfoliating toner twice daily and others twice a week. Whatever works for you, but when introducing something new, it's best to start slow and see how you go...


Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples. See my full disclaimer here. 

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Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Body Sunscreens I took on holiday


I know I've been banging on about sunscreen quite a lot lately but it's really important to me and I hope I've helped some of you find one that suits. So far I've focused on facial sunscreens, but today I want to talk about those for the body.

The Ultrasun and Eucerin came on holidays with us last week, along with another bottle of the Eucerin Sun Lotion in SPF50 and KIKO Solar Protect in SPF30 (both used up). While Piz Buin Protect & Cool in SPF15 wasn't quite strong enough for a holiday abroad, it's available in SPF30 and is such a great formula I wanted to include it here. A mousse that cools the skin instantly on application, it's quick and easy to apply and feels lovely on - my kids love it, so a good option for any mums out there.

Speaking of kids, I should add that I chose to pack these specific products for a number of reasons. High protection is obviously top of my list - my daughter in particular is very prone to sunburn thanks to white blonde hair and porcelain skin (which strangely, does end up turning golden). She mainly used the Eucerin SPF50, which I reapplied regularly as she was constantly in the water.

As my son is prone to eczema, skin-kind Ultrasun has been our No1 since he was a baby. While we normally use the Family formula, new Ultrasun Extreme offers higher protection, has been developed for ultra sensitive skin and doesn't aggravate his dryness, eczema and prickly heat. Designed to offer a full day's protection with one application, I do tend to reapply (once or twice per day) in very hot conditions, especially when the children are in and out of the water.


I used Ultrasun SPF50 on my upper body and a mix of the Kiko and Eucerin SPF30 on my legs throughout the trip - and my skin remained well protected with zero burning. The Eucerin Ultra Light formula sinks in and dries super quickly, so it's great for on the go and the Kiko is extra moisturising.


We spent the week at Biarritz in South of France and I'd go back in a heartbeat... one of the most beautiful places I've been. 

All of these sunscreens sit nicely on the skin - no sticky limbs, white cast or greasy residue in sight - and I'll happily use them again and again. You can read about the products I used on my face in this post. 

Which sunscreen do you use?



Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples. See my full disclaimer here. 

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Jo Malone London Cologne Intense Body Creme: Velvet Rose & Oud



Jo Malone London has extended its Cologne Intense collection to include four indulgent new body creams... in weighty opaque black glass jars of pure decadence. Available in Velvet Rose & Oud, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Oud & Bergamot and Tuberose Angelica, the rich, sensual Cologne Intense fragrances pack more punch than the main collection.

I'm often drawn to body products as a softer way to wear heady scents like these and the Velvet Rose & Oud Body Creme lingers on my skin for hours. A definite evening fragrance in my book, the dark damask rose and smoky oud wood is balanced with touches of clove and praline. 

I am that woman who walks around sniffing her arms while wearing this... it's rather irresistible

I tend to restrict it to my upper body as it's so powerfully fragranced that I think of it as another way of wearing scent rather than 'just' a body cream. And I don't want to waste a drop. 


The consistency is a thick silky cream that leaves skin gleaming without a speck of shimmer, while feeling dry to the touch. Made with mineral rich samphire extract, it leaves my skin feeling soft and well moisturised.


While a definite luxe purchase, these are generously sized at 175ml and an absolute treat to use.

Jo Malone London Cologne Intense Body Creme is available now at Selfridges, John LewisJo Malone London or Bergdorf Goodman (US). 




Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples. See my full disclaimer here. 
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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Tinted Sunscreen: the easiest way to wear SPF



I know that a lot of people rely on SPF in their foundation for year round coverage, but in Summer I just don't think it's enough. A lot of brands have jumped on board to offer the reverse: sunscreen with a little colour and coverage - a clever, practical solution. 

Tinted sunscreen is the way to go for a light coverage with instant protection, especially good for anyone loathe to wear sunscreen. It just couldn't be easier.

These formulas can be worn alone, under foundation or paired with concealer, depending on how much coverage you need. I've worn them all three ways on different occasions and apply mine over my regular skincare.

Swatches from bottom up: La Roche Posay Anthelios XL BB, La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine, Eucerin CC in Fair. 

Three of the best I've tried are La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Tinted BB Cream (dry skin) and Tinted Anti Shine (combo/oily) formulas. Eucerin CC Cream SPF50 in Fair is my paler Winter skin option. This gives coverage similar to a light foundation, as does LRP Anti-shine, while the LRP BB is more sheer. Eucerin gives a satin finish, Anti-shine is very matte and the BB dewy. 

I'm currently using La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Tinted BB Cream, which looks dark in the swatch, but blended, pairs perfectly with a (self) tanned body. It's also been great on holiday when I didn't want to wear makeup OR look completely washed out.


PS you're not seeing things... I had to republish this post as it somehow backdated itself!



Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples. See my full disclaimer here. 
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Monday, 4 July 2016

GIVEAWAY: Stila Perfect Me Perfect Hue Palette



As promised, a giveaway to celebrate 5 years of Strawberry Blonde Beauty... I wanted to choose a gorgeous new product that would suit any one of my readers - and Stila's Perfect Me Perfect Hue Palette seemed... well, perfect!

The eye and cheek palettes are available in four shades to suit different skin tones: Light/Fair, Fair/Medium, Medium/Tan and Tan/Deep. Or you can choose whichever you prefer... I think I'd go for Light/Medium.

Each palette contains five eye shadows and two blushers in a mix of matte, shimmer and pearl finishes, all housed in a glam gold compact.



These swatches (by Stila) show how they look on the skin - every one of them looks stunning!

GIVEAWAY

One winner may choose their preferred shade of Stila Perfect Me Perfect Hue Palette, which I will order online and have delivered to them directly. Entry (via Rafflecopter below) is open internationally and closes on Tuesday 12 July at 12am GMT.

Best of luck - tell me in the comments which shade you'll choose if you win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



NB The winner will be selected at random and prize is subject to availability. If your colour choice is unavailable for any reason, vouchers of equal value may be offered as an alternative.
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