Glowing Everyday Beauty

I love glowy makeup all year round, particularly in Winter when I need a little help to brighten my complexion... here are my current go-to products for instant everyday radiance.

Applied under foundation, Amazing Cosmetics' new Illuminate Primer in Glow adds a subtle radiance that catches the light in a very natural way. As I'm greedy for the glow, I like to use it both under and over foundation, patting a little onto tops of cheekbones and browbones. This adds a silvery white highlight that works particularly well on pale skin, adding a naturally luminous effect rather than high-beam highlight. This sheer, water based formula - also available in Rose and Bronze - is more about brightening the complexion than prolonging your makeup.

Clarins Everlasting Cushion foundation adds a light to medium veil of hydrating coverage with SPF 50. This is the first cushion product I've tried and while initially sceptical, I love how quick and easy it is to use, allowing me to do my base in seconds. It applies well with the compact, a brush or beauty blender, though I find a brush works best. Coverage is lightweight and buildable, leaving a natural looking skinlike finish with a little glow. I'm not sure about the everlasting claims but the light compact with built in mirror is so perfect for touch ups that I'm happy to let that slide. (I have the shade 103 Ivory)

Trish McEvoy Liquid Face Colour is my new blush crush: a sheer liquid formula in a pretty pink twist-up, brush-on tube. The soft pinky peach tones of Shade 1 bring life to my cheeks, instantly adding a wide-awake, post-forest-walk effect. The formula is easier to apply than most and so much more flattering and forgiving than powder.

I tend to wear lipgloss a lot in Winter... it has a similar effect to highlighter in adding a little life to the face and Pixi Lip Lift Max is an old favourite that I always go back to. Worn alone, with liner or over lipstick, it plumps, smooths and just works. I veer between this and Sheer Rose, a beautiful dusky pink in the same formula.

Daytime glitter is totally a thing, especially on the cusp of party season - and it doesn't come much prettier than Topshop nail polish in Unicorn. This coats nails with rainbow micro glitter in a sheer peach base for subtle sparkle on nude nails or layered up to make a deeper shade twinkle.

A citrus scent may seem an odd choice for a November perfume, but I can't get enough of Pomelo Paradis - and as it makes me glow from the inside, I felt it appropriate to include here! Atelier Cologne recently opened a counter in my local House of Fraser (Belfast) and the first time I spritzed this on counter it made me smile so much it had to be mine. With notes of pomelo, orange blossom and vetiver, I can't imagine a more feel good scent!

Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples & purchases and some links are affiliate. See my full disclaimer here.

SensatioNail Express vs Original Gel Nail Kit

The SensatioNail home gel nail kit was (to my knowledge) the first of its kind to launch in the UK several years ago. I've been using it regularly ever since, can't fault it and would probably include it in my top 10 beauty favourites of all time... reflected in my numerous posts and tutorials here. As someone who can't bear chipped nails, I love waking up to a perfect glossy mani daily for around two weeks - or until I get bored wearing the same colour. 

Over the last couple of months I've been testing the new SensatioNail Express Kit and thought it might be useful to compare the two and explain the main differences between them. 

The biggest selling point of the Express Kit is its simplicity. Essentially a one step gel polish system, all you need is an LED lamp and a bottle of Express Gel polish. It also comes with a buffer and orange stick, which I mostly use for clean up. That's it. 

Two coats of the polish are applied like regular nail polish, each cured under the LED lamp (comes on automatically when you put your hand in) for 30 seconds and that's you done... an instantly dry, touch-proof glossy manicure that lasts 7-10 days (according to SensatioNail). 

This pic shows me wearing two coats of SensatioNail Express in Red Your Profile (please excuse the pathetically short nails when this was taken). In my experience, the colour lasts more like 3-5 days, though to be fair I'm very hard on nail polish and most non-gel manicures only last me 2-3 days, regardless of brand or top coat. For me, this is a quick fix solution, as the name suggests.

So how does Express compare to the original?
This is what you get in the original SensatioNail Starter Kit (deluxe version pictured, with an extra colour). This application process involves multiple steps: primer, base coat, 2 x colour, top coat and cleanser - which takes me around 40 minutes. 

This pic was taken the first time I used the kit several years ago - can you sense the concentration?!

My favourite and most worn SensatioNail shade, Dusk til Dawn, sadly discontinued, though similar are available in both ranges. The original SensatioNail manicure lasts me for a solid two weeks. That's the difference. The extra steps mean it lasts longer on my nails, so if I want the colour to last, this is what I'll use. 

Initially, I was disappointed at the lasting power of my mani when using the Express Kit as the colour only stayed chip-free for several days, even when I did all the prep steps. I now 'get' that it's not supposed to compare to the whole shebang... it's a faster, more simple process for a quick, short term, instant manicure. I have continued to use it numerous times as find it so handy to have a perfect mani in minutes that I know will last all weekend at least - and have often been found applying it in the last few precious moments before a taxi arrives. For longer lasting results, I'll continue to use the original kit - or perhaps try the base/top coat with the Express. 

If I had to choose one SensatioNail kit, I'd personally go for the original Starter Kit as although a bit of a faff to apply, I find the application and results foolproof. If you already own the kit or like to switch shades regularly, it's worth trying the Express... just be realistic about your expectations. 

SensatioNail Express and original gel kits and colours are available at Boots

Products featured on Strawberry Blonde Beauty include press samples & purchases and some links are affiliate. See my full disclaimer here.
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