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Monday 26 May 2014

Jane Iredale | The Daytime Palette

Jane Iredale | Daytime Eyeshadow Kit | £39.95* | Link 

Just recently, I've been very much in favour of the 'barely there' look.  As soon as summer rolls around, I really do take my make-up back to basics - a dewy base, a subtle dash of bronzer, a smudge of shadow on my eyelids and lower lash-line with a quick sweep of mascara and I'm pretty much done and dusted for the day.  I'm a neutrals girl through and through - nothing tickles my fancy like a good 'everyday' palette and I'll often just wear a matte shade swept into the crease of the eye as opposed to spending ages applying my shadow in layers (ain't nobody got time for that!) The past few weeks, I've really been loving this little beauty from Jane Iredale. 'The Daytime Palette' consists of 5 neutral hues and is the perfect size for travel - its slimline exterior and lightweight feel make it the perfect companion for on the go.  It's simple, understated and pretty - everything a neutrals girl could wish for when it comes to this time of year.

My favourite shades have to be the first 3 - 'Oyster' - a gorgeous creamy white which is lovely to use on the inner corners of the eyes, 'Almond' - a peachy yellow/beige which works well across the entire lid and 'Cappuccino' - a stunning light taupe shade that is just perfect for using in the crease of the eye for some definition.  Texture-wise, these shadows are lovely and blendable - they're soft to the touch and apply really smoothly.  I've even used 'Oyster' on my cheekbones (it's also perfect for the brow bone) - it has a lovely bit of dimension to it but it isn't shimmery or glittery so it makes for a really natural looking highlight shade. The only shade that doesn't seem as pigmented and one that can be a little chalky is 'Charcoal' - the black shade in the palette.  Personally, I don't tend to reach for blacks that much anyway so this doesn't fuss me - I actually find it applies more grey - which makes it a nice option if you're smudging colour under the lash-line for a subtle smokey effect.  It actually works in the palette's favour and the fact it's not an intense black means it fits in very well with the 'daytime' theme - but it's well worth baring in mind if you prefer a strong black as it's quite difficult to work up colour with.   The brush that comes with the palette is a nice little extra - I prefer to use it for blending instead of packing colour onto the lid as it's quite fluffy, but it's a very welcome addition nonetheless - i do like it when palettes include a little brush! Also, it's worth mentioning that the shadows are formulated with minerals and botanical extracts.  

If you're a fan of the natural look then it's well worth looking at this palette. At £39.95, I have to say it really isn't the cheapest to say you're getting 5 shades - I shan't sit here and tell you that there aren't cheaper options on the market that probably do a similar job.  I own 3 Naked palettes by Urban Decay and it's easy to achieve a similar look with those (it seems very similar to the Naked 'Basics' - which fortunately happens to be the only one I don't own!) - but I must admit I do find this palette much easier to use for daytime because it's so simplistic.  I can even pop it in my handbag and carry it around with me all day because it's so small and slim - It's lightweight yet sturdy, and the rose-gold frosted finish tops it off nicely - very understated and simple.  The 3 lighter colours have to be my favourite eyeshadow shades at the minute! I do love a good matte... If you travel a lot, or just fancy trying something new or branching out from your usual daytime options, it's worth looking into these palettes. They also do a smokier version for those of you who prefer a darker look.

Overall, a really lovely addition to my collection and one that I feel is quite different from the rest. For me, the 3 lightest shades really are stunning - I've been reaching for them one heck of a lot just recently!  You can find Jane Iredale makeup on Feel Unique - the 'Daytime' palette retails for £39.95 here.

What do you think to this palette?  Have you ever tried anything from Jane Iredale before?

Thursday 22 May 2014

Love Me Beauty Box | May Contents

Love Me Beauty Box | £12.95* monthly (including delivery) | Link

I feel like it's my birthday every month when Mr. Postie delivers my Love Me Beauty Box to my door.  I always manage to find something in each box that I really like - in fact, some products featured in past boxes have become some of my all time favourites (it's thanks to this box that I was introduced to one of my favourite brands 'Arran Aromatics'). I love the concept - the fact that you have some sort of input on what you receive each month makes this box all the more exciting for me as I can pick and choose from which selection takes my fancy. Here's my thoughts on what's in this months box...

Raw Skincare | Lipbalm in 'Hint of Mint' | RRP £1.98

I've heard quite a bit about these lipbalms on blogs the past few months so I was quite chuffed to receive one in this month's box.  Who doesn't love a good lip balm?! No handbag is complete without one! This one is really lovely - I find it really smooth to apply and I also don't find it to be overly waxy - it's just the sort of consistency I prefer in a balm.  I thought the 'hint of mint' might be irritating on the lips but that's not the case whatsoever - it's really refreshing, leaves your lips feeling plump (without the 'bee-sting' tingly feel) and it feels nice and cooling.  It's definitely one of the more moisturising lipbalms i've tried in a while.

Nail Girls | Nail Polish in 'Nude Pink' | RRP £13.50

I've never actually heard of 'Nail Girls' before - but that's why I love beauty boxes - It's great being introduced to new products and brands! At £13.50 a bottle, this one has to be on the pricier end of the scale so I'm expecting good stuff! I can never say no to a pink shade, me.  I'm quite looking forward to giving this a whirl soon - I'm hoping it has good staying power. I've actually had a little look on the website and there's a lovely selection of colours on there - well worth having a look at!

GO Stationary | Pocket Notebook Set in 'Vintage Daisy' | RRP £5

I was superly-duperly excited about seeing a set of notebooks in this month's box.  I am a massive list addict! I'm forever jotting stuff down and I'm always creating to-do lists so I get through notebooks like there's no tomorrow! I'm the most forgetful person you'll ever meet so things like this come in extremely handy for me.  These ones are a lovely size for popping in your handbag - I can't wait to start scribbling away!

Suti | Trial Pack (Purity Balm, Cleanse Balm and Foot Balm) | RRP £6.50

I've never ever tried a cleansing balm (i know, how big is that rock I've been hiding under?!) so I was really excited to receive this little set.  I really like the texture of the 'Cleanse' balm and I've used it a couple of times now - of course, it's only a trial pack so I can't really get a true feel for how it would work with my skin on the long-term but I'd definitely look into buying the full size.  All 3 balms feel really nourishing and smooth to apply and I can imagine these would be great in the winter when my skin gets a little more dry in areas.  I'm saving the foot balm ready for when I go on holiday this year - you can't beet a little 'at home' pedicure before you jet away, can you?!

Tea Pigs | 'Chocolate Flake Tea' | RRP £0.65 (per tea bag)

I am a massive tea belly so these samples were right up my street this month! I recently had the chance to try some of Tea Pigs' 'Festive Tea' (I'm aware it's summer now but they became my 'go-to' choice of teabag over the winter months!) - TeaPigs really know how to jazz up your average brew! This tea is absolutely divine - honestly - if you're partial to a bit of chocolate now and again (who isn't?), it's well worth treating yourself to some of these! Tea Pigs describe it as 'a hint of dark, rich chocolate - a choccie biscuit dunked in tea'.  I personally like my tea quite strong so I leave the teabag in a little longer than it says (naughty...) but it really is such a lovely little treat. Very comforting if you've had a bit of a cruddy day.

Overall, another fabulous box from Love Me Beauty - I really enjoyed the little mix-up of beauty and 'lifestyle' products this month - it's always good to have a little bit of variety. The chocolate tea made for a very welcome addition for me (I've saved the last tea bag because I can't bring myself to drink it until I've stocked up on some more...) You can find out more about the boxes and what they have to offer over on their website here.

Are you subscribed to Love Me Beauty? What's your favourite product this month?

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Benefit 'Big Easy' BB Cream

Benefit | Big Easy 'Multi Balancing Complexion Perfector' | £27.50*

During the summer months, I always like to switch up my foundation for a lighter base. I'm never really brave enough to go without unless I have a tan, but I do think that a lighter, sheerer coverage always looks much more flattering as opposed to a fuller coverage foundation when it's brighter outside. I like to let my natural skin show through but I also like a little bit of something to blur imperfections and generally spruce up my complexion. I've been trying out Benefit's new release the past few weeks and thought it was about time I threw my two pennies worth in.  I resisted judgement for a while with this one - mainly because my skin has been changing due to the time of year and I found the results differed over time. The product has definitely received a lot of hype since its release.  The 'Big Easy' balances moisture (perfect for those with combination skin like me) and controls oil whilst evening the skin tone with its light liquid to powder finish. Not only that, the oil-free formula contains ingredients that are said to help soothe and comfort the skin, and the added SPF35 is perfect for sunnier weather.

At first, I was somewhat iffy about the liquid to powder finish.  When it comes to bases, I much prefer a dewy, radiant finish as opposed to looking completely matte. I have normal/combination skin (depending on the time of year) and often have slightly drier patches around my cheeks which powder finish products seem to highlight. If you have dry skin, I'd advise you to do your research and see how people with a similar skin-type found this product as the first few times I tried this, it did seem to pick up my dry areas and I ended up taking it straight off.  However, my skin hasn't been as dry recently and I've been using it on the warmer days we have been having - i'm glad I persevered with it as it's actually a lovely BB Cream.  The powder finish doesn't appear too matte and it helps to combat any oilyness and shine - just what you want from a summer base product. I don't have overly oily skin but I did notice that I had considerably less need to powder when using this. Although the coverage does wear off a little around my nose and forehead, it seemed to stick around a little longer than other BB Creams I've tried in the past which I can imagine is due to the slightly more matte finish it provides.  I can imagine that it is going to be an absolute god-send in the height of the warmer weather, it will certainly be coming away with me in my suitcase should I actually manage to jet away to sunnier climes this year as I'd love to give it a whirl in a hotter climate.

Although the coverage is sheer, it does blur imperfections really well but bare in mind - If you have any blemishes, you will need to use a concealer.. If you prefer a good bit of coverage, you might be disappointed with this as it doesn't offer a great deal, but on good skin days - it works a charm.  Shade wise, there are 6 in total - not the biggest range ever however, one of the Big Easy's selling points is that it adjusts to your skin tone to give a seamless, natural finish.  Personally, I seem to be leaning smack-bang in between 'Light Medium' and 'Medium' at the moment (I can tell that 'Beige' will be perfect for me once I have a tan) and both of them look more or less undetectable when blended into the skin due to how sheer and light they are.  The consistency is so easy to blend - it's actually pretty creamy in texture and has quite a dewy appearance until it is sheered out on the skin. This works in the product's favour because it's easy to work with even though it does give a slightly more matte finish. 

Overall, a fabulous release just in time for summer from Benefit.  I'm not sure it's my all time favourite base but I have an inkling that it will become a summery staple for me - especially on holiday! Like I said, if you have dry skin, I'd strongly recommend you try before you buy. My skin has been pretty normal just recently due to the time of year, but before the dry patches evened out, the product seemed to highlight these areas and I found I had to moisturise considerably beforehand to counteract this.  If you have slightly oilier skin or are jetting away somewhere hot and scorchio this summer, it's well worth looking in to making this one of your pre-holiday treats (or one of your duty free buys ;)). The light, sheer coverage is just the ticket for everyday wear and it evens out your skin without feeling heavy or clogging up the pores.

Have you tried the Big Easy? What did you reckon to it?

Sunday 11 May 2014

Monthly Favourites | April

Nothing like a favourites post to highlight the fact that you have a serious beauty product obsession, is there girls? We're such a fickle bunch, us bloggers - never satisfied - constantly on the hunt for new products to get our mitts into because the substantial collection we already have simply won't suffice! Once you start blogging - there's no such thing as a fixed makeup routine and your bathroom cabinets and dressing tables become over-run with lotions and potions. April saw the weather brighten up a notch or two (although I can't say much for it now - it's raining cats, dogs and goodness knows what else outside my window) - I've found myself reaching for lighter bases, bronzing products and summery-scented goodies the past 3 weeks. Without further ado, I shall give you the run-down on what I've been loving for the month of April...

Barry M | Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in 'Rosehip' | £3.99
April saw me give in to the new spring shades of Gelly Hi-Shine polishes. Like the indecisive, impulsive little tinker I am, of course, I bought all 3. I adore these polishes. The glossy finish, smooth application and amazing pigmentation tick all my boxes for what makes a good nail polish. Admittedly, these spring shades can be a little streaky to apply and I do have to adorn my 'concentration face' in order to get a perfect application, but that I can overlook for the beautiful pastel, milky tones that these provide. My favourite is 'Rosehip' - a gorgeous white-pink shade. I won't harp on about it too much as I have a post on the full spring range here. (I also have a post on the rest of my collection here if you fancy having a read...although I have to say it's considerably grown since...)

YSL Touche Eclat in 'Luminous Ivory' | RRP £25.00*
I'm a massive fan of YSL's Touche Eclat foundation (it's my summer favourite!) and I love the dewy, flawless finish it provides - that's why I had high hopes for the ever-famous Touche Eclat highlighting pen. I was sent this product a while back and I must admit it didn't blow me away like I thought it would.  However, I've been using it quite a bit just recently to highlight my under-eye area and I've found that I've been reaching for it a great deal.  A lot of people believe this product is used for concealing dark circles and are disappointed with the light, sheer coverage it provides. It's actually more of a highlighting pen as opposed to a concealer and works a treat in bringing light and radiance to certain areas of your face. If you use it in the right way, it really is such a wonder-worker! I apply my concealer as normal before dabbing a few dots of this underneath the eyes, near to the tops of my cheekbones before blending out.  It gives such a lovely finish and the peachy tone helps to counteract any darkness that my concealer didn't quite cover. I also use this around my nose and on the centre of my forehead to highlight those areas. Will I purchase again once this one has had its day? I have to say I probably wouldn't considering that the foundation is only a few pounds more than this and there are now many fabulous dupes for it on the high street for a fraction of the price. However, I've been enjoying using it nonetheless and I can see why it receives the praise it does. It makes for a lovely treat now and again if you fancy something luxurious. I have a review of the foundation here.

Guerlain 'Terracotta' Bronzer | £31.00*

Ok. Let's just take a moment to appreciate just how beautiful this packaging is. The camera really doesn't show it up to its best potential but it is without a doubt one of the most luxurious bronzing compacts I've ever laid eyes on. The tortoiseshell-y domed lid, the way it fits so snugly in the hand and the way it clasps shut with a small 'click' of perfection... oh I could go on, I really could.  I'm now choking back tears because a week after I took these photographs, I opened the lid a little too hastily in my half-asleep slumber and it's now broken into two. I could have shed tears...  This bronzer is just divine.  I didn't expect to enjoy using it as much as I have.  The slight warm tone it has and the subtle shimmer would usually equal a bronzing nightmare for me but I have to say - Guerlain have got it just right with this.  The shimmer doesn't transfer onto the face - it just provides a touch of radiance and a slight sheen that awakens the complexion without turning you into a disco ball.  It looks incredibly natural and applies and blends like a dream (I use my Real Techniques Blush Brush with it).  It's perfect for bringing warmth to the face and giving your features that lovely 'sunkissed' look - it's almost impossible to apply too much because it's so light and subtle - but it's also easy to build up. To top it off, it even smells beautiful - it has a slightly perfumed, fresh sort of scent that only adds to the luxurious feel of this bronzer. I'm not sure if it quite overtakes my beloved Nars 'Laguna' in the 'holy grail bronzer' stakes but it is definitely a close second - whereas I'd use my Nars one for contouring and a stronger bronze finish, this Guerlain offering is much better for all over bronzing and 'general dusting' and it really does refresh and awaken the skin for a natural, sunkissed finish.

Bourjois | 123 Perfect CC Cream | £9.99*
Again, another product I didn't really expect to enjoy using as much as I have done. This CC Cream really is as good as everybody says it is. Yep - i'm sorry to say it but I simply must agree with the blogger hype around this one!  It blurs imperfections, smooths out the skin's appearance and feels nice and moisturising to apply.  It actually provides pretty decent coverage to say it's a CC Cream - it's definitely got the consistency and coverage of a light foundation as opposed to a sheer wash of colour. I have to apply a primer or powder over the top to get it to last all day but it's perfect for those days where you don't want to go all out with your base. It's easy to apply with fingers if you're in a rush but it also works really well with my buffing brushes - it gives a subtle, smoothed out effect to the skin without looking and feeling heavy or cakey. It gives a gorgeous dewy effect which I really like as it brightens the complexion and although I do have to use a few dabs of concealer alongside it, it does do a very good job of masking imperfections and counteracting dark circles/signs of fatigue. It also smells really fresh and lovely.  I'll definitely be getting another tube once this one runs out - it's going to be perfect for summer. I speak about this product a little more in this recent post.

Nars Matte Multiple in 'Altai' | £30.00
I won't say too much about this one as I have a full post on it here - i feel as if all I've done all month is harp on about this product. Broken record or what?! All I will say is that it's my new baby. I love it. For me, it really is worth every single penny! It's so versatile and I use it for all over bronzing as well as contouring.  It blends so nicely into the skin and looks so natural - providing that much desired airbrush finish. If you're a fan of contouring products, it is well worth checking out the new range of Nars Multiples. Have a read of my full post if you're thinking of treating yourself to one.

Barry M Lip Liner | £2.99
And the award for 'worst example of sharpening a cosmetic pencil' goes to.... me. Oh goodness - it looks as if I've tortured this poor little pencil within an inch of its life doesn't it?! Somebody needs to invest in a new sharpening tool for their makeup bag... clearly! Slightly wonky appearance aside, this pencil works a charm. I'm not entirely sure what the shade is called because it doesn't seem to have a label, but it's a lovely natural colour that is perfect for everyday wear. It literally goes with anything.  I've quite taken to just filling my lips in with this and popping a little gloss on the top - it's also perfect for outlining the lips and smudging slightly for a very natural 'just bitten' sort of look.  I love these lip liners - for £2.99 they're some of the best high street liners I've ever tried. They stay put and do a really good job of making your lipstick look more perfected as well as helping it to last through the day without bleeding or smudging.

Organic Surge | Moisturising 'Tropical Bergamot' Shower Gel | £4.35*
Organic Surge has fast become one of my go-to brands for all things skin and body care! I really like their range of shower gels as they last forever and lather up really nicely. This one is perfect for this time of year - it smells like Solero ice lollies (yummy!) and is really zingy and fresh. Nothing more I can really say about a shower gel aside from the fact it's stood at the front of my shower shelf all month... always a good sign.

Have you tried and loved any of these products as much as me?!

Monday 5 May 2014

New Favourite | Nars Matte Multiple in 'Altai'

 Nars Matte Multiple in 'Altai' | £30.00 | Link

As soon as I heard of the new Nars Multiples, I knew it was going to be a challenge and a half to resist them.  Nars have to be one of, if not my actual favourite brand. Oh yes that's right - I went there - a  BIG statement to make for a beauty blogger who's favourites change like the wind - but there's something about Nars that really appeals to me and I'm yet to be disappointed with any of their products.  I strolled into SpaceNK with the ever so innocent intention of just having a look at the newbie multiples and, lo and behold, I waltzed out 10 minutes later with a new cosmetic treat, a rather guilty grin on my face and a whole £30 lighter. Was it worth it though? Of course it was! Undoubtedly, there's been a few mixed reviews and I have to hold my hands up and admit I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with their 'Copacabana' highlighting multiple, however, this little beauty has completely shaken up my makeup routine and it really was love at first swatch.

Now then, I'll get my little bug-bear out of the way first and tell you that Nars have been very naughty with their new multiples. The matte range is exactly the same price as the originals, however, you get considerably less for your money.  They're notably smaller in size, and contain 7.5g of product compared with the originals which contain 14g - quite a whopping bit of difference there if I don't say so myself. This being said,  I actually find the smaller size works in the product's favour and I find it easier to apply straight from the bullet as it's a little more dainty. I also find the matte ones to be incredibly pigmented - much more than the original ones - so you could also argue that you're using less. Although slightly annoying, I can let the crafty little downsize slide...

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a big fan of contouring and bronzing/sculpting products are often tip-top of my wish list! I've used this product every day since I got it and I'm addicted to the effect it gives - I adore it! I've used it for both subtle bronzing and for contouring purposes and I love the finish it provides - it's matte but it doesn't look powdery or flat at all (the reason i usually stay away from matte products).  I use Nars' Sheer Glow foundation and I have to say it makes for a lovely combination - the products mesh so well together and give such a flawless, airbrushed finish. There's no shimmer whatsoever so it's perfect for getting a good bit of 'sculpt' going on around your cheekbones, and it's also amazingly buildable. It's very pigmented, but don't let that scare you off - you can go as sheer or as strong as you like with this beauty! Colour wise, 'Altai' is perfect for my skin tone. It might be a touch too dark for those with very pale skin tones but for me, it works a treat.  It warms up my complexion and gives my skin a healthy appearance that I struggle to get from powder products - it really is quite hard to describe.

There are a number of ways you can apply the product.  After speaking with the sales assistant about the best application, she showed me a variety of ways to use it and applied it to my cheekbones using a flat foundation brush.  This method is one that I haven't used before with my previous multiples but it's a lovely way to get an airbrushed finish - I would never have thought of trying it this way if she hadn't showed me.  You can dampen the brush so it's easier to sheer out, or you can just 'dab' the brush onto the stick and apply in sweeps to the cheekbones - I personally prefer a dry brush. If you want a stronger contour or flush of colour, it's actually quite easy to apply straight from the bullet (before or after your foundation!) and although it's scary at first to essentially draw the colour onto your face, it's very very easy to get a professional, perfectly blended finish. I've taken to applying my foundation, and then placing a small amount directly from the bullet to the very tops of my cheekbones and blending out, before taking some on the flat brush and sweeping gently down the face where I don't want the contour to be as strong. This method works a charm! The brush I use is by Lola (pictured below) - it's lovely and soft and is such a lovely size for working with the cheekbones (I featured it in my recent haul and speak more about it here - it's fab!)

So, as you can see, it is more of a bronzer as opposed to a true contour colour but there is no reason why you can't use this for scultping (the assistant in SpaceNK recommended it for contouring and I personally think it's lovely for this purpose). I've used grey toned contour colours in the past and I've found that they can make me look a little 'dead' if I'm not careful - so the fact that this has some warmth to it really is a plus point for me and it isn't orange or overly red toned either. It's such a nice shade for the upcoming warmer weather.

SO, needless to say, the new Nars Multiples get a massive thumbs up from me! I'm definitely in the love it camp... In fact, it's made me fall back in love with my highlighting multiple in and the two look amazing paired together.  I'm not sure if I'm drawn to the blush shades as much but with sunnier weather (hopefully) on the cards for summer, I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of use out of this beautiful matte bronze. It's definitely going to be packed away in my suitcase should I actually manage to get away this year... (one can but hope)  You can find the Nars Matte Multiples on the SpaceNK website here.

Have you tried the Nars Matte Multiples? What did you reckon?