Saturday, 30 August 2014

Monthly Favourites: August 2014

Today's post is going to be my August favourites, now that its the last weekend of the month and Monday brings in a brand new month and season too. I find it hard to believe that summer is almost over once again for another year. August was a bit of a funny month for me makeup wise as I didn't really purchase anything new or make any outstanding rediscoveries, and I mostly continued using all the makeup I loved in July. However I did enjoy quite a few beauty items in the month that I thought I would share in my favourites.

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Body Butter and Solid Lip Balm.
The standout products from the month are part of The Body Shop's brand new Argan Oil range, I only picked up the body butter and lip oil but I can't wait to explore the collection a bit more. I've written a post talking about both the products if you want to read a more in depth review on these, which you can find here. These both smell so luxurious, and more on the nutty side I would say. I absolutely love the consistency of the body butter, its so creamy and leaves my skin feeling incredible. The lip oil has also been a life saver at keeping my lips soft and smooth, I like to use this in the evenings or before bed.

Exfoliating Gloves.
Sticking to the bath and body related products, a new one for me has been these exfoliating gloves. I picked these up from Wilko for under a pound or something ridiculously inexpensive and they have worked wonders at buffing away at my skin. I begun to notice that once my tan was a couple of days old my skin was starting to look a bit patchy and uneven in all those pesky ares (ankles, knees, elbows, you get the gist of it!) So the reason I picked these up was primarily to scrub away at those patchy areas and it certainly did a good job at smoothing the area over and preventing that uneven look in all those stubborn areas. I like these gloves because they're not too coarse but they have enough oomph to do the task at hand. Definite thumbs up for preventing that awful patchiness!

 John Frieda Go Blonder Shampoo (and Conditioner)
I'm pretty predictable when it comes to my hair and a shampoo/conditioner duo I have been relying on for years now is John Frieda's Sheer Blonde (I usually go for the ones with pink or purple tubes.) I had used the Go Blonder shampoo and conditioner from John Frieda about four years ago and remembered enjoying it and so I decided to give it a whirl again. You might notice as I did, the strip at the top that claims to make your hair '2 shades lighter' and I'm always up for lighter hair come summer time. This shampoo/conditioner duo has definitely made my hair look so much lighter, I've even had people ask me if my hair was a different colour since using these two products together so if you're looking to make your hair a bit lighter without a trip to the hairdresser I would recommend picking these up!
The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Gel.
Another skincare product that was a life saver in August was TBS Tea Tree Blemish Gel. My skin was acting up quite a lot and I resorted to this blemish gel each time I had a nasty spot. Not only does this gel feel really soothing on those hot angry blemishes but it also seems to tackle the inflamed area of the spot. I love how affordable it is compared to other higher end spot treatments as its under £10 and often in 3 for 2 offers as well. I've written a full review here if you are interested to find out a bit more about this product. 
MAC Cherry Lip Pencil.
If you caught my last post all about red lips you will have seen this product from Mac pop up. Cherry lip pencil has probably been my favourite beauty product of the month and is such a great lip pencil to help achieve a gorgeous red lip, which I have been obsessed with lately. The colour is such a classy and sophisticated shade of red that I can imagine would look amazing on virtually every skin tone. This is very matte in its formula and helps your lipstick last for absolutely ages. If you're looking for a red lip pencil then this is the one for you!
QOTD: What were your favourites in August? Are you sad to see the summer go?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Red Lipstick Pout

I'm really into my red lips at the moment. There is something so timeless about red lipstick that creates a look that is both classic and bold enough to make a statement. I think you can pull of a red lip any time of the year, although I mostly enjoy rocking a red lip towards the festive months my hands have just been lingering towards my red lipsticks of late. Red lips are just gorgeous all day, every day in my opinion although I know that they aren't for the faint hearted. I had a really crappy week last week, I had a bit of a cry and mope around feeling sorry for myself but thankfully I managed to snap myself out of it. The next day I pulled out Mac's Russian Red, a fierce matte lipstick that is one of my all time favourites. Once applied I instantly felt a hundred times better, confident and ready to bounce back. Its taken me a little while to master the art of rocking a red lip, so I thought I'd share a few things that help me achieve that perfect red lipstick pout.

The perfect addition to one of my favourite reds, Russian Red is the lip pencil Cherry also by Mac, the colour is near enough identical but is also just a classic red shade that would go with a lot of reds I would imagine. You can use this lip pencil in a few different ways, the first and most obvious way is literally as a pencil to outline the shape of your lips - I actually prefer doing this after I've put the lipstick on my lips rather than before. Or you can use this like a lip crayon to fill in your entire lips, I don't often opt for this way of using it as I just find that it makes my lips a little too drying - the lip pencil is very matte. The beauty of the lip pencil is that the staying power is incredible so it will help you carry off those red lips for a lot longer. If you are looking for the most fuss-free way of wearing a red lip always opt for a matte option and avoid anything that is creamy unless you're prepared to be heading to the bathroom for touch ups every 30 minutes.

Handy tips and tools.

The Night Before:
The night before (or well in advance) it is preferable to prep your lips for that red lipstick by ensuring they are as smooth as can be. I have been loving The Body Shop's Solid Argan Oil for nourishing my lips and religiously pop this on before bed so when I wake up in the morning I don't have any dryness or cracks in my lips. Doing this will create a perfect base for your red lipstick to sit on and will aid for a better application and wear time.

The Morning Before:
The morning before scrub your lips to exfoliate the skin and further achieve those lusciously smooth lips. You could just gently use a tooth brush to do this but I like using my lip scrub from Lush which is awesome for scrubbing away those dead skin cells and making sure my natural lips are looking their best.

Prime and Highlight:
Priming your lips with either a concealer or highlighter like the Touche Eclat from YSL makes your lipstick last so much longer. It will also make a really neutral base for when you apply the lipstick which I find makes the redness appear even bolder. I like to use my Touche Eclat to highlight my cupids bow to make my lips appear fuller.

I wouldn't ever even attempt to pull of a red lip without the help of a lipstick brush, my favourite is from Real Techniques which you may have seen pop up on my blog a few times before. I've written a review on this brush and the advantages of using a lipstick brush here if you fancy checking that one out. Make sure you have a pencil sharpener at hand to keep your lip pencil as precise as possible. And I also like to have a tissue nearby for any mistakes or to blot with.

Go Glossy:
And if you're feeling really brave and fancy why not pop a gloss over the top? This may be a little more high maintenance but red glossy lips are seriously gorgeous. But maybe best saved for a special occasion?

QOTD: Do you love a red lip?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sleek Eyebrow Stylist Review (Light)

Swatch taken in natural day light
I deliberated when it came to writing this post on Sleek's eyebrow pencil as its been one of those products that when it comes down to it, I have mixed feelings about. I picked this up a few weeks ago and have been testing it out ever since in my search to find a holy grail eyebrow product. I've heard that this is a dupe for the Hourglass eyebrow pencil, however I havent tried that one so obviously I can't make any comments about that.
I thought I would start off with the things I do like and think are good about this product. Of course one of the biggest things in this product's favour is its price tag, sitting neatly under the £10 mark (I believe it currently retails for £6.99 in Boots) this is a hugely affordable high street brow pencil. A lot of high street or drugstore branded brow products are pretty bog standard but this does come with a spoolie at one end and at the other end you twist up the pencil. For a product that is under £10 I think that the packaging is pretty neat to be honest. Another thing that I like is that this doesn't feel at all waxy which can often be another tell-tale sign of a drugstore brow pencil, it has a firmness to it which enables for a precise application.
However, its downfall? For me? The colour looks awful. Now this is the shade light, and for someone with fair hair I find that this has quite a coppery/ginger undertone to it, I'm not sure if this comes across in the swatches but it definitely does in person on me and it looks too dark. I really don't like the colour when its applied to my brows and it sort of makes them stand out in an odd way as the colour just doesn't match my skin tone or hair at all! Its a shame because if the colour was a little bit better I think I could really like this product a lot as it does have some things going for it. I would like to see Sleek come out with a shade tailored more towards blonde haired girls as I just don't think this one cuts it. As with everything though, this could be ideal on someone else but personally for me it just doesn't work. And with that, I conclude that I am still on the hunt for that holy grail brow product.
QOTD - Have you tried Sleek's Eyebrow Stylist?

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil - A Couple Of Bits

 Another day. Another trip to The Body Shop. I just can't get enough of TBS lately, as you can probably tell if you've been following my blog from the beginning. So it goes without saying really that I was excited to learn about their brand new Wild Argan Oil collection. I had previously only thought Argan oil was something you use on your hair but the collection features an array of both hair and body products. Watching Fleur De Force's video on the origins of Argan oil and how TBS create the products really enlightened my knowledge on this multifunctional beauty ingredient. I would definitely recommend giving that a watch if you're interested to learn more about the method behind the making of these products.

So anyway I picked up a couple of products from the new range to try out for myself. The first item was the Wild Argan oil body butter (as you can never have too many body butters can you?) I detect a slight shift in my tastes recently as I never would have put myself down as a lover of more 'nutty' scents, nearly always opting for a fruity option. However this is definitely not one of the fruity fragrances from TBS, instead having a nutty, quite rich scent which smells so luxurious in my opinion. Isn't there something so satisfying just in starting a brand new body butter? The consistency is literally like a dream - because of the oil inside its super nourishing without that slick greasy feeling some body butters tend to give you. I find that this absorbs into the skin beautifully and leaves it feeling and looking so much smoother and generally healthier.

The other item I picked up from the new range is the solid lip oil, which comes in a small round tin which reminds me exactly of the classic Vaseline tin except this is way cuter with its fancy gold packaging and lovely scent. Its the same every year, as soon as spring/summer come around I forget to take care of my lips which doesn't really make for ideal lipstick applying standards. In a bid to keep my lips smooth and healthy I thought this neat little product would do the trick nicely.

Similarly to the body butter, I find that this manages to find the perfect level of providing you with plenty of nourishing goodness without feeling too heavy. This sits comfortably on the lips as its not greasy or sticky but its still smooth enough that it leaves your lips feeling instantly softer. This transfers onto the lips as just a standard translucent balm creating the same effect as a clear lipgloss
does. Another hit from The Body Shop in my opinion, I can't wait to try out a few more different products from the collection!

QOTD: Have you tried any of the new Wild Argan oil range from The Body Shop?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

MAC Coppering Eyeshadow

Swatch taken in natural light. 
When it comes to eyeshadow I tend to play things pretty safe. Take a peak in my eyeshadow draw and you will find 90% consists of neutral palettes and what I would deem easy to wear shades. So my latest eyeshadow, Coppering from Mac is pretty different to what I'm used to. Bright. Bold. Daring. Super intimidating both in the pan and swatched. Coppering could not be more out of my comfort zone. But I've completely fallen for it.

I did my research and it seems that despite its 'out-there' statement many people like to wear Coppering in lots of different ways. For me personally I have found that I like it just worn on the lid, with black eyeliner and lots of mascara. A word of warning, this eyeshadow is best applied with a lighter hand as its super pigmented as you can see and its definitely better to start with less and add more colour as you need to.

I have been loving using Coppering all over the lid, with a little bit of Amber Lights gently blended through to add in a golden twist, and then I take Nylon in the corner and a nude eyeliner along the water line to really brighten the look back up.I find that the warmth of the coppery tones make my eyes look crazy blue.

Although I would say that if you're not careful this eye look could make you look tired where its so in your face, and so I would definitely recommend covering any dark under eye circles with a high coverage concealer before hand to be on the safe side!  As for the rest of my makeup, I keep it very simple with just a touch of bronzer and a neutral lip, I opt for Angel which is my go-to nude lipstick. A great transitional colour now that we are in August towards the end of summer, as I think that you could play around with this and add some brown into the mix for a more autumn inspired look too so I will report back on any combinations I find to work if anyone's interested in that.

QOTD: Have you tried Coppering from MAC?

The Spot Saviour

I'm always a little bit sceptical about these spot treatment/blemish sticks that claim to reduce the appearance of spots. However in the last year or so I have discovered the benefits of tea tree oil for its antiseptic and healing powers, I used it back in the winter on my breakouts and while it did improve my spots I found that it dried my skin up so badly. I know that Origins do a spot treatment however its like over £10 for a tiny little bottle which I didn't really want to pay out for. So I was intrigued to try this blemish gel from The Body Shop which currently retails for £6 for 2.5ml of product, which is still quite pricey but considerably less than other brands.

In England we have been experiencing like heatwave type conditions in the last few weeks and last month I was suffering from terrible breakouts from the change in the weather. I find that I get very hot doing my new job, I was exercising 5/6 days a week and I've also noticed that I seem to be sweating a lot more during exercise (more than normal) all of these factors I think just made my skin breakout and it wasn't looking its best. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I'm pretty obsessed with TBS skincare so naturally this was the first place I headed. I picked this up in a 3 for 2 offer, I will be reviewing the other products I got in due course too but this has definitely been a stand out product for me.

The product comes with a wand/ doe foot applicator and the first thing I noticed was how soft the wand is on your skin. Some of these doe foot applicators you get can be a bit harsh but this feels so soft and refreshing. Depending on how fussy you are you can take the wand straight to the blemish or swipe a bit on the back of your hand to keep it a bit more hygienic then use your finger to apply it.

The gel is very cooling and feels lovely on those angry, hot blemishes I sometimes suffer from. I like to use this before bed and upon waking up the blemished area is considerably less red and swollen. I have been really impressed with the way that this reduces the appearance of blemishes, redness etc without over drying the area. I also think that you could use this on blemishes that are no longer active as tea tree fights infection and will speed up the duration it takes to heal the area. This has just been a saviour in helping clear my skin and gives me that confidence back. I wished I had known about this as a teenager!

QOTD: What products do you reach for when you have 'problemed' skin?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. Where do I even begin with this post? There are so many reviews on this foundation, most of which I have stalked to death as this has been one of my most coveted items since getting into the world of beauty. So I'm not going to call this post a review as such as I don't really want to duplicate what other people have already written a hundred times before - not to mention probably a lot better than I could. Instead I'm just going to do a general chat and throw in a few of my thoughts and feelings on this product as I go along.

As I mentioned above this was a product I had been coveting over for so long and the main reason I never got round to picking it up is purely because I don't live near a Nars counter. There was no way I was risking making a stab in the dark and ordering this online without properly checking out what shade matches my skintone first. One trip to Selfridges later and the foundation was finally mine. Obviously being July when I got this I did end up getting matched to a darker shade than I normally would as I have been tanning recently, I got medium 3 in Stromboli which is quite a nice warm colour that I absolutely love.

One of the first things that I noticed when using this was that you really do want to make sure your face is well moisturised before applying it. The first time I used this I had the tiniest dry patch from a spot that was healing up and it did actually show up - nothing too drastic by any means but it was my first time using it so I didn't really know what to expect. The following time I ensured I had applied enough moisturiser to provide a smoother base for the foundation and the results were incredible. I used a sample of MAC's Prep and Prime for primer which further made for a silkier base and set it with my Body Shop Vitamin E face mist.

Wearing the foundation.
I've never owned a high end foundation and I am just beyond impressed with this - it makes my skin look flawless without that obvious 'well she's wearing foundation' kind of look. I suppose what I mean is that this gives the illusion of your own skin rather than simply looking like foundation. I usually opt for my Real Techniques Expert Face brush for foundation but I've currently been enjoying using a bit more of a fluffier, less dense brush with the Nars foundation. So instead I've been taking the Multi Task brush as I find that it gives for a slightly more softer, natural finish. One pump is enough to give your entire face a beautiful finish with medium coverage, a tiny bit of concealer to hide blemishes and you're pretty much good to go. I love the way that this seems so light on the skin and doesn't feel at all like you're wearing foundation.
Another thing I am really impressed with is the lasting power, in the picture above I had been wearing the foundation since the morning and I took this selfie before heading off out for an evening meal. I only needed to reapply a tiny amount around my mouth and nose area where it wears away naturally through eating and drinking, and I also powdered my t-zone to prevent any oiliness showing. But it still looked pretty flawless even after all those hours of wear. This is definitely worth the hefty £30+ price tag in my opinion as it just gives the most stunning results and it certainly lives up to its 'holy grail' status. Needless to say I am smitten with this purchase.
QOTD: Have you tried Nars Sheer Glow Foundation?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Summer Beauty Haul

This weekend has been filled with all of my favourite things: family, friends, food and of course shopping. It had been a busy but awesome week that filled me with those feel good vibes and I was ready to see the weekend in. Saturday started bright and early with my alarm clock (aka Peggy) waking me up at precisely 5:17am, needless to say two coffees had been consumed before the 8oclock news sounded on the kitchen radio yesterday. I had arrangements to meet up with my friend Camilla who I've been in touch with for a few years now but never got round to meeting before yesterday for a little trip to Bluewater. It was really nice to finally meet up in person and get in a spot of shopping.

Naturally I felt the need to do a bit of haulin' for you on the blog today to share my purchases. One of the first shops we stopped in was Topshop where we were both drawn to the cute and colourful display of nail polishes. Neither of us had owned a Topshop nail polish before so we both decided on getting one. Originally my hands were lingering towards a pastel orange shade until I reminded myself of the drawful of orange nail varnishes sitting at home. What I am in shortage of is a green to go with a few of my holiday dresses. Venus Fly Trap was the colour I settled for in the end which is the perfect hue of greeny yellow - quite a warm shade that will hopefully look lovely on some tanned fingers in a few weeks time.

Boots was another shop in which we found ourselves and I was on a mission to pick up a brow pencil. I'd heard good things about Sleek's eyebrow pencil and the £5.99 price tag was definitely appealing to me. After swatching the tester samples I settled on Light, I'm excited to give this a try for a week or so and will hopefully pop up a review of it in the next little while if anyone's interested to see what my thoughts are on this product.

It wouldn't have been a shopping trip without a stop off at the MAC counter which was where I made my last purchase of the day with this 'out-there' eyeshadow. I've been loving my Mac shadows lately and Coppering was the latest one to win me over. I can't wait to play around with this bright beauty!

QOTD: What summer inspired purchases have you made recently?