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Thursday, 29 October 2015

October 2015 Beauty Favourites

During October, I really enjoyed using Autumn inspired shades and you can definitely tell from the things I've used the most...

I rediscovered Benefit Hoola bronzer (£23.50 via Benefit stockists) this month. I was rummaging through my muji drawers one day looking for something else and thought 'oh yeah, I forgot I had that', which is probably pretty bad but for the last few months I've been distracted by Soap and Glory and L'oreal's offerings. The L'oreal one I've been using until recently really is pretty pigmented and I have to be careful with it even in the Summer. I feel like I need something a bit lighter/ less pigmented in the colder months and Hoola is the perfect option for fair skin. Not too dark and very brown rather than orange.

I finally got my hands on the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette (£15.50 via BeautyBay here) this month (read more about it here) and I have used it almost every day since it arrived. The shades are lovely for Autumn and it's also a very versatile palette-I've used it for everything from a very simple everyday eye makeup to a dramatic smokey eye. It's out of stock on the website at the moment but BeautyBay is the only place to get it unless you want to pay for international shipping on the Zoeva site. I'd recommend just checking BeautyBay every now and then if you want to buy it because it does seem to go in and out of stock.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation (£22 via the MAC website here or other MAC stockists) has been carried around in my handbag all month. I originally bought it to use as an all over powder foundation but I have since come to realise that I am just not a fan of the finish pressed powder foundations, even on my combo-oily skin. It has been great, however, for my handbag because with having a bit more coverage than your average powder, if I start to lose coverage towards the end of the day (which tends to happen on my oily nose/ chin if I'm out for a long day), I can use a blotting sheet then use this to top up on coverage. It blends well into whatever make up I'm already wearing.

Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes in 'Seductive Pink' and 'Gorgeous Berries' (£6.99/ 3 for 2 via Superdrug herehave been my two most used blushes this month. 'Gorgeous Berries' is a gorgeous shade for Autumn and would be great on fair and deeper skin tones alike. I apply it with a duo fibre brush for a light application (read more here). Seductive pink has been very well used since I bought it and I actually just finished my first one and repurchased it, so that's why the one pictured looks so new. I must say that it's a long time since I've used up a whole blush as I have quite a lot of blushes to choose from, so that shows you how much I love this one. I have enjoyed wearing this shade when I go for something a bit darker on my eyes or when I'm getting ready quickly for work. It's an easy 'slap on and go' sort of blush because the formula of these almost blends itself.

I have gone back to using my Revlon Lip Butter in 'Berry Smoothie' (£7.99/ 3 for 2 via Superdrug here). This was one of my favourite Autumn lip shades last year as well and there is now just a little stump left (it is wound all the way up in the photo). It is an easy to wear berry shade if you don't want to go for something too dramatic. The formula is moisturising and glossy but I like to apply it then pat it into my lips with my finger so it's more of a satin finish than super shiny.

I've been enjoying Paco Rabanne Lady Million this month (the best deal I can find online at the moment is 30ml for £32.95 via here). I tend to wear fruity or fruity-floral perfumes in the Spring and Summer but I like something a little stronger/ heavier as the weather gets a little chillier. This one is quite sweet but has patchouli in it, making it a bit heavier than my Summer scents. It lasts very well on my skin and I seem to received compliments whenever I wear it.

What were your favourite beauty products this month?

Em x

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Autumn in a Palette: Makeup Revolution New-trals Vs Neutrals

I came across the Makeup Revolution 'New-tral vs Neutral' palette when browsing the Superdug website recently, googled some swatches and knew I had to have it. The bottom row of the palette seemed nice enough, but that top row! Those shades are quite different to anything else I have and I've been enjoying using them lightly in the crease to really warm up my eye make up.

I'm impressed with the packaging for the price of the palette (£6.99). The front of it has that slightly rubberised feel that NARS products do, and the plastic case feels really substantial and good quality considering it is such an affordable product. The palette also contains a really good sized mirror.

As you can see from the swatches, the pigmentation is great. Some of the shades are slightly dusty when you put a brush into them, so it's advisable to tap off your brush before applying to the eyes to avoid the shadows falling down onto your cheeks. I don't see that as a major deal, however.

The palette also comes with a double ended brush. It's a flat shader brush on one end, suitable for packing colour onto the lid, and a small blending brush on the other. They're far from the best brushes I've used but for something included in a palette, they're pretty decent and far more useable than the foam tip applicators often included in budget palettes.

Overall, I'm really enjoying this palette and it's a good way to try some warm orangey shades for Autumn if you've never used them before (which I hadn't). You can find the palette here via Superdrug for £6.99.

Have you tried the Makeup Revolution New-trals Vs Neutrals palette? What do you think?

Em x

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Review: Nip + Fab Deep Cleansing Fix

There's a bit of a back story to this product in that I didn't actually mean to buy it. I bought a set of the Glycolic Fix scrub and what I thought was the Glycolic Fix pads from Nip + Fab on ASOS, but it turned out that they had the wrong picture on the item and it was actually the scrub and this. I emailed their customer service about it and they said I could return it for a refund and also sent me a 10% off voucher code for the inconvenience. However, since they were a bit of a bargain (£8.99 here and the scrub is £9.95 full price on its own), I decided to keep them and give the Deep Cleansing Fix a go.

The Deep Cleansing Fix is a bit of a weird multi tasking product in that it can be used as a cleanser, moisturiser, mask and spot treatment. Nip + Fab actually claim that it has 6 uses...

The 6 different uses of Deep Cleansing Fix are:
1) Removes make-up
2) Deeply Cleanses
3) Can be used as mini 10 minute mask
4) Leave on overnight as an intensive hydrating mask
5) Can be applied directly to blemishes
6) Exfoliating action when used with muslin cloth

Now if you ask me, the sixth one is a bit of a cheat because let's be honest, it's the muslin cloth that is doing the work and it doesn't come with one. I was mostly interested in using it as a cleanser after removing my make up at night and trying it out as a spot treatment.

My first thought when I opened it is that it has a very strong smell. It's not a bad smell, but if you don't like the smell of eucalyptus and tea tree oil then you won't like it. It is a very thick cream that comes in a pot with a screw lid. This isn't my preferred packaging (I prefer a pump or a squeeze tube because it's more hygenic), but I've been getting around it by scooping a bit out with a spatula I had from a long-gone foundation that came in a pot. One thing I will say is that is contains a huge 300ml which will last quite a while even you're using it every day.

So how does it work on the skin? Well as a cleanser, I feel like it does a good job of cleaning my skin without drying it out. It's thick texture feels nice and moisturising but doesn't leave a greasy film after rinsing it off, so I imagine it would be good for all skin types. I have oily skin and I still like to use something that doesn't strip my skin too much since that only makes it more oily in the long run. I haven't risked going near my eyes with it because I have quite sensitive eyes and the strong smell seems like it might not mix with sensitive eyes very well. This isn't really an issue for me though since I remove the majority of my make up first then use this as a proper cleanse afterwards.

As a spot treatment? Well, since it does contain tea tree, it does seem to help clear them and I feel like it's a nice thing to use as a targeted mask. If you're around the house, then putting a bit onto any blemishes and leaving alone for a while does seem to help. However, as a bedtime treatment (which is when I'd usually use something like that) I much prefer to use the Nip + Fab Overnight Purifying Gel (see my post about it here, buy it here) if I'm generally a little bit spotty/congested or the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment (£3.99 here) for a more targeted treatment on a larger spot. I get a more noticeable result with either of those, seeing any spots drastically reduce overnight.

Overall? For my skin, this is definitely best used as a cleanser. On drier skins, I can see that it would work nicely as a hydrating mask with added slight blemish fighting propeties because it is so thick and moisturising feeling. I'm not about to try that on my skin because I've no doubt that it would be too much for my combo-oily skin. I feel like it would be more of a multi use product for drier skins but personally I will just use it as a cleanser/ 'around the house' spot treatment.

The strange thing is that I wasn't wowed by this cleanser at first but I've been using it for a few weeks now and I must say that it's grown on me. I feel like it works well for my skin and I have been reaching for it over the other cleanser that I have open at the moment. I also feel like it works out to be really good value considering the size of the pot and the fact that I have hardly put a dent in it. You don't need to use a lot, either.

Have you tried the Nip + Fab Deep Cleansing Fix? What do you think?

Em x

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

L'Occitane Magazine Freebies

I picked up not one but two copies of Marie Claire magazine yesterday because they have L'Occitane hand creams (which I just love) free with the November issue. I've tried a few of their scents in the past and they all not only smell lovely but are nicely moisturising without being too heavy to use during the day. I have a few hand creams so it's hard to justify the full price of them (£8 for the small 30ml size). However, the magazine is only £3.99 so it's like getting a half price hand cream with a free magazine as a bonus! I bought my 2 copies in Tesco where you can actually buy 2 seleted magazines for £6 so I grabbed the last two copies.

The first hand cream is the 'Vervaine' cooling hand cream gel which has a gorgeous zingly lemon scent. I just love anything with a lemon/ lime fragrance, I think citrus is so refreshing (hence my slight addiction to the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush line haha). The gel cream texture is ideal for using during the day because it sinks in super quickly while still adding some moisture.

The second is 'Vanilla Bouquet', which as you would expect, smells of vanilla mixed with a floral scent. This one contains 20% shea butter  and feels more moisturising so is ideal for the colder weather when my hands tend to get a bit more dry.

Both are 30ml in size and ideal for popping into your handbag or a coat pocket. I thought they were worth mentioning in case anyone reading hadn't spotted them-definitely worth picking up the magazine for!

Have you tried L'Occitane hand creams?

Em x

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Bargainous Stila and Too Faced Goodies

I popped into TK Maxx last week and had a rummage around their beauty section. I love to go in there from time to time but it tends to be very hit or miss. Sometimes there is nothing interesting at all and other times I find all manor of bargains! This time, I actually had to hold myself back or I would have ended up spending a fortune! There were lots of higher end make up items for 'drugstore' prices, or in some cases even cheaper than the drugstore equivalent would be. Other than the things I bought, they had the Too Faced Bonjour Soleil bronzing palette (which I believe was a Summer limited edition), the Too Faced Colour Bomb lip balms, various Stila bits and a lot of Illamasqua nail polishes, lip glosses and a few blushes. I was really tempted by the nail polishes but I have a lot of nail polishes already so decided to give them a miss in the end. It was a shame that none of the blushes were in shades to suit my skin tone (they were all super dark) because I love Illamasqua blushes in particular! Everything was at vastly reduced prices. Anyway...this is what I ended up coming away with...

I picked up the Too Faced Amazing Face Foundation Powder in the shade 'Vanilla Creme', which is a very close match shade wise to MAC's Studio Fix Powder in NC15 (see photo below). It was a steal at £6.99 when the full retail price is £24 (find it here via Beauty Bay). I've been enjoying the MAC one lately, not to use as a powder foundation (I don't really like the finish of them even on my combo-oily skin) but if I feel like I need a little extra coverage on particular areas of my face (particularly good if you're trying to cover a very angry spot) or for touching up later on in the day if any of my foundation begins to disappear. I've just hit pan on my MAC one so I'm hoping this will be a good replacement at a fraction of the price.

Left to right: MAC Studio Fix NC15, Too Faced Amazing Face Vanilla Creme
Next is the Stila Smudge Crayon in the shade 'Pink Violet', which is a darker plum shade with some brown in it, with a brighter purple shimmer. They call it a 'waterproof eye primer + shadow + liner', but I imagine I will use it mostly as an eye shadow base to layer powder shadows on top of. These are curently on the Stila website here for £7, down from £14, but mine was just £2.99!

I bought two of the Smudge Stick waterproof eyeliners for £2.99 each (full price £13 here). I already know I love the formula of these and I already own a few shades. They are super smooth and highly pigmented and give you some time to smudge them out before setting to a long lasting finish.  I picked up shades 'Blue Ribbon' (which is actually more of a charcoal grey with a slight shimmer) and 'Peacock', which is just that, the perfect peacock turquoise shade.

Left to right: Smudge Crayon 'Pink Violet'; Smudge Stick 'Peacock', Smudge Stick 'Blue Ribbon', Colour Balm Lipstick 'Avary'
Lastly is a Stila Colour Balm lipstick, which I hadn't tried before, but judging by the description on the box, it seemed to be the one of the more sheer, moisturising lipstick formulas that I often like to wear for everyday, work etc because they are lower maintenance and usually wear off nicely instead of it being glaringly obvious. I got mine in the shade 'Avery', which is a coral/ peach type shade that I feel I'll probably get the most use out of come Spring/ Summer. These contain peppermint oil so have a minty scent. You find them here for the full price of £16 but mine was only £3.99!

Have you come across any beauty bargains at TK Maxx or anywhere else lately?

Em x

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Review: Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette (finally back in stock!)

I have been trying to get my mitts on the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette for a couple of months now, having heard about how amazing it is from various youtubers and bloggers and seen how beautiful the shades look online. I have had the page on Beauty Bay bookmarked for the last few weeks and have literally checked back daily. To my delight, it was finally in stock again when I checked a few days ago. I ordered it with the free delivery option (which I believe should take two to three days)and it landed on my door step the next morning. Amazing service I have to say!

On to the comes in a cardboard sleeve that has the same beautiful design on it as the outside of the pretty! It's very compact and super thin, which means that it seems to take up next to no space in my make up bag and it would be great for travelling with.

Inside, there are 10 beautiful eye shadow shades that are just made for Autumn if you ask me, although they would of course be great at other times of the year too. The 10 shades are 1.5g each, which is the same size as a MAC or Urban Decay eye shadow for reference. However, whereas MAC shadows are £10 (for the pan to put into your own palette) and Urban Decay are £14, these work out at a bargainous £1.55 each since the whole palette is £15.50 in the UK.

My personal favourites from the palette are the bottom 3 shades on the left and the top middle shade. I just love golds and warm browns in the Autumn and I've never seen anything like the cranberry shade in this palette. It has a slight orangey/ bronzey duo-chrome to it that is just stunning, which I hope comes across in the swatches below. I also like that the palette has a good mix of mattes and shimmers. I like to wear shimmers mostly on my eyelid and the inner corner of my eye but keep the crease and brow bone matte a lot of the time so I don't get on with palettes that are completely shimmery.

All the shades are nicely pigmented and easily blended but the more metallic shades are super strongly pigmented as you can see below. They are even better over my usual eye primer and last just the same as any other more expensive shadow. The matte highlight shade on the top row doesn't show up much in the swatches but that's because it is only a little bit lighter than my skin.

I just love the shades in this palette and it's great quality for the price when you consider the cost of both single eye shadows and palettes from other brands. This would also make a gorgeous Christmas gift if you're on the lookout for a not-too-expensive gift or a larger stocking filler-I know I've been on the look out for gifts already!

You can find the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette here via Beauty Bay for £15.50 with free delivery. 

What do you think? Have you tried this palette or any other products from Zoeva that you'd recommend?

Em x

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Perfect Autumn Berry Blush: Max Factor Gorgeous Berries

I believe I had every shade apart from one in the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes, until a few days ago. I love the formula of these (so much so that I've nearly finished one shade). They have a slight sheen to them without being too shimmery/ glittery. They give the cheeks a flattering glow and are so blendable that they almost blend themselves so require very little effort. I recently spotted one shade that I didn't already own, called 'Gorgeous Berries' and thought it would be the perfect berry blush for Autumn/ Winter.

I must admit that as someone with fair skin, this shade looks quite scary in the pan but applied with a light hand (I like to use a duo fibre brush to avoid looking like I was slapped in the face), it's one of those 'I just came in from the cold' type colours which is so pretty in Autumn and Winter. I it imagine that it would also look fabulous on darker skin tones too as it is definitely a strong enough colour to show up.

I think this is going to be something I get a lot of use out of over the coming months.

What do you think? Have you tried this shade of the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes?

Em x

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review and Swatches: Makeup Revolution Mono Eye Shadows

I ordered a few things from the Superdrug website recently and picked them up in my local store. I often do that if I'm going to buy things from there because my local store isn't always very well stocked so I go to buy something and they're sold out. Among my order were four more of the Makeup Revolution Mono Eye Shadows. I already had two in the shades 'Touch Me' (a very nicely pigmented matte ivory shade that is great as a matte brow bone highlight on fair skin) and 'Delicious' ( a cool toned matte brown). I really like both of them and in fact have used up two of the 'Touch Me' shade so I googled some swatches and chose four more.

At £1 each, these are such a bargain. All of them are nicely pigmented and easy to work with. They last just as well as any other eye shadow when worn over my usual eye shadow primer. It makes you wonder how companies like MAC can justify charging around the £10 mark (although I do love me a MAC eye shadow).

Top left to right: Touch Me, Base, Finally
Bottom left to right: Promised Lane, Pure, Delicious
The only slight downside is that they are quite 'dusty' in that when you put a brush in, it kicks up quite a bit of loose powder. However, I can get over that when I look at the price and the pigmentation. The packaging is very basic as well, but it's what is inside that counts, right?

The four shades I bought this time are 'Base' (a shimmery white-gold), Finally (a pale shimmery peachy shade), 'Promised Land' (shimmery rose gold) and 'Pure' (a matte medium brown). Promised Land reminds me a lot of MAC All That Glitters (a shade that I love and have just finished). My favourite look using these recently has been Promised Land on the lid, Pure in the crease, Touch Me as a matte highlight and either Base or Finally on the inner corner to make me look wide awake. 'Delicious' doubles up as a great brow shade for brunettes if you prefer a cooler toned shade.

Left to right: Touch Me, Base, Finally, Promised Land, Pure, Delicious
Just look at those swatches! Overall, I'm really enjoying these and am super impressed at the quality for such a bargainous price point. You can find them via Superdrug here or via the brand's website here.

What do you think? Have you tried the Makeup Revloution Mono Eye Shadows?

Em x

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Fashion: Lace It Up!

I've been eyeing these lace up pointed flats for a while now and I been seeing them everywhere. A lot of websites seem to be referring to them as 'Ghillie shoes', which I believe are actually the lace up ballet sort of shoes worn for Irish and Highland dancing (google it and you can see where the inspiration came from!). They're one of those styles that have definitely come back-I remember having a very similar style back when I was in school from the brand Rocket Dog, but the laced part was actually elastic so they slipped on rather than needing to tie them.

A good pair of smart/ casual flats that I could wear with jeans and a nice top for going of for dinner/ casual drinks etc was something I felt was missing from my shoe collection. I have my Clarks flats I wear for work (they're not that glamorous but are super comfy for being on my feet for most of the day) and a few pairs of ballet flats (black, pink, gold, glittery) but I wanted something black, flat and a bit more stylish.

The ASOS 'Lana' flats in the black shade seemed to fit the bill and are £28 here (they also have them in a bright red, a cobalt blue and snake print). I like that these particular ones have a bit more shoe and a bit less lace if that makes any sense, since the shape of the shoe comes up at the sides. I figured it might be a little more comfortable than having just the lace up part right across the top of the foot. I am generally a size 6.5 in shoes but sometimes buy a 7 depending on the style and whether they come in half sizes. ASOS don't do half sizes so I went for a 7, figuring that the pointed style actually makes them a little smaller on the toes. They seem to fit well so I'd go up if you're in between sizes.

I feel like these look really chic and lady like for some reason (maybe it's the pointed toe?) and they make me feel a bit more 'grown up' than a pair of ballet flats (she says, at the age of 28 haha). I've also seen a similar pair with a rounded toe in a berry shade from Next (find them here) that I think would be a gorgeous shade for Autumn. Do I need two pairs in similar styles? Probably not but I could be tempted.

Have you tried out the lace up flats trend? What do you think?

Em x

Sunday, 4 October 2015

My 5 Favourite Eye Make Up Brushes

Left to right: MAC 17, Sigma E25, Sigma E55, Sigma E45, MAC 219

Today I thought I'd hare with you my favourite eye make up brushes. I have quite a lot of make up brushes but I tend to come back to the same few for my everyday make up. Consequently they're not the cleanest they could be in the photo above but I needed to use them for my make up this morning.

My absolute favourite has got to be the MAC 217 or Sigma E25 (they're very similar) because they are so multipurpose. With either of these blending brushes, you can apply your eyeshadow, blend it and apply eye shadow into the crease of the eye. I have one of the MAC ones and 2 of the Sigma version because it's good to have a cleaner second, cleaner, blending brush sometimes, especially if you're working with darker colours.

Another brush I have more than one of is the Sigma E55, which is a flat shader brush. This is great for packing shadow onto the lid and getting a strong colour payoff.

Then there is the Sigma E45, which is the 'small tapered blending brush'. This one comes to a point and I find that it's ideal for deepening up the outer corner/ crease with darker shades because you can more easily apply a small amount with it, nice and precisely.

Another brush that I use virtually every time I do my make up is the MAC 219, which is a pencil brush. I use this mainly for blending out eyeliner because I generally like to apply a pencil eyeliner to my upper lash line then blend it slightly so it's a little bit smokey and not as harsh. It's also great for applying shadow into the inner corner of the eye or smudging underneath the eye.

I do have other eye make up brushes, a few of which are from Real Techniques, but I rate their face brushes more than their eye brushes so their eye brushes don't make it into my daily routine, only really getting used when I need extras. I also have some from Revlon, Boots No. 7, ebay and long discontinued brand Pout.The brand I'd love to try next is Zoeva. I've had my eye on their rose gold brush sets for ages because they get so many good reviews online and they're so pretty, too!

What are your favourite eye make up brushes? Are there any others you would recommend?

Em x