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Tuesday 27 January 2015

A New Favourite: Zoeva Luxe Colour Blush in 'Shy Beauty'

Zoeva really have taken the bloggosphere by storm this past year.  I've had my beady eyes on their stunning brush sets for ages now (haven't we all?!) and I reckon I might be making a purchase as soon as pay-day rolls around, but to keep me going until then, I decided to treat myself to one of their Luxe Colour blushes.  As a bit of a blush addict, I really couldn't resist - the sleek black packaging and gorgeous colour selection had me all of a flutter and after much debate, I finally settled on 'Shy Beauty' - a light peachy coral.  

Described on the website as a 'universal light peach brown with an ethereal matte finish', Shy Beauty is a fabulous all-rounder set to suit the majority of skin tones.   I have to say this has fast become one of my favourite blushes - I just adore everything about it.  The powder itself is velvety soft to the touch, incredibly smooth and super pigmented.  Enriched with Apricot oil and vitamin E to nourish and soothe the skin, the blush is an absolute dream to apply and gives the most beautiful airbrushed finish to the cheeks.  It blends easily, and the 'fade proof' formula ensures a long-lasting finish - just a quick sweep of a brush is all you need to last you all day.  The matte finish gives such a flawless appearance yet doesn't dull or flatten the skin - the colour really does define the cheeks and gives that 'lit from within' sort of look.

I love the peachy pastel colour - it's right up my street and actually not too dissimilar to Illamasqua's 'Lover' blush which happens to be one of my all time favourites (featured here).  I find Zoeva's slightly more wearable at the moment as it's just a touch more subtle and the undertones compliment my winter skin.  It instantly awakens the complexion and i always look so much more fresh and healthy when I apply it.  

Needless to say, I'm completely blown away by the quality of this blush.  I cannot wait to add more to my collection and I'll certainly be doing so in the next few weeks - there's a beautiful range of shades!   Some of the more brighter, vibrant shades will be perfect for the summer months and I currently have my eye on 'Gentle Touch' - a light pastel pink.  Priced at £6.95, Zoeva Luxe Colour Blushes can be found on the BeautyBay website here and also on the Zoeva website here.

Have you tried anything from Zoeva? What would you recommend?

Sunday 25 January 2015

Neal & Wolf | 'AURA' Hair & Body Fragrance

When it comes to haircare, Neal & Wolf have to be one of my favourite brands.  I fell in love as soon as I first tried their 'Harmony Intensive Conditioning Treatment' a while back now and I use their Heat Guard spray on a daily basis.  My hair has never felt so soft after styling! As much as I love their products and think they work a treat, one thing I do enjoy is the 'Neal & Wolf' scent.  It really is so unique and my hair is always left smelling salon fresh and totally gorgeous after I've used their products. Seriously - it's just divine! I've had a fair few people comment on it actually and I often wished they would create a hair perfume of some sort so I could keep the scent going for longer. Well, the hair-care fairies certainly answered my prayers when I heard that Neal & Wolf had released their 'Aura Hair and Body Fragrance'* - I was a happy girl indeed. Their fragrance is very much a signature scent and I know that so many people adore it - me included. I couldn't wait to get my mitts on it.

Packaged in a sleek box, the Aura fragrance is presented in a gorgeous glass bottle - it all feels very luxury.  The scent itself is very musky and identical to the smell of Neal & Wolf's other products. If you aren't familiar with it, it's described as being a 'blend of delicate blossom, white thyme and saffron combined with lily, ylang ylang and vanilla' - a truly beautiful blend which smells so sophisticated and luxurious.  It's not incredibly long lasting (around the 5 hour mark I'd say) but if you're a fellow Neal & Wolf fan like myself and you 'layer' it up with their other haircare products - the scent is somewhat intensified and lasts much longer.  Like i said, I use their Heat Guard spray on a daily basis so my hair tends to smell very much like it to begin with - if i use the shampoo and conditioner to go with it then the scent lasts even longer. The perfume doesn't effect the condition or texture of the hair and doesn't dry it out - my hair feels perfectly soft even after a few sprays.   What's more, it also doubles up as a body spray - I always spray a little around my neck/d├ęcolletage area to finish off. 

Overall, an amazing product from Neal & Wolf.  If you're a fan of their products and adore the unique scent like I do, I guarantee you'll love this perfume.  It's become quite the must-have for me.  It retails at £20.95* - so it's a little indulgence but well worth it considering you don't need to use much at all.  You can find out more about it on the Neal & Wolf website here - keep your eyes peeled for this one! It's sure to be a winner.

Do you love Neal & Wolf as much as me? What's your favourite product?

Wednesday 21 January 2015

2015 Beauty Wishlist


I don't often post wish lists on my blog but as I've recently started my new job, it's got me thinking about all the beauty bits and bobs I've been wanting to try for a while and it seemed like the perfect excuse to put one together - who isn't partial to a pay-day treat or 3?!   I've resisted very well the past year (*pat on the back*) but I do think it's about time I treated myself.  I certainly won't be buying my entire wish list (that would be rather extravagant) but I'll certainly be taking my pick amongst these gorgeous goodies that happen to be on my ever expanding beauty wish list.  I thought I'd share with you a few things I've had my eyes on... Sharing is caring after all!

Charlotte Tilbury // Filmstar Bronze & Glow // £49.00 // Link
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a complete contouring addict.  It's just something I enjoy experimenting with and this compact is right up my street. The shades look so delicate and natural, and the luxurious packaging sends me all of a flutter... *swoooon*

Hourglass // Ambient Lighting Palette // £56.00 // Link
A girl can dream, right? I don't know if i could ever justify the price tag for this as admittedly, I'm not the biggest highlight junkie and I stick to what I know - but either way, Hourglass as a brand has really grabbed my attention and I'd quite like to try something from them. This is without a doubt an absolutely stunning palette.  I'd love to try one of their blushes or a singular compact maybe but there's something about the trio of shades that really does tickle my fancy...

Tarte // The Sculptor // $24.00 // Link
I'm gutted that this product isn't easily available in the UK, but I think it's a really great concept.  This contouring crayon is perfect for controlled sculpting of the face and is said to be great for areas like the nose and chin.  I need it in my life.  As a fan of the Nars Matte multiples, this seems like a fabulous option for a slightly more controlled application.  

Estee Lauder // Double Wear Lip Liner // £15.30 // Link
I adore these lip liners. I used to have the shade 'Spice' and I'd love to re-purchase it this year as I really do miss having it (a perfect K-Jenner shade if you're interested, by the way!).  I have to say it was probably one of the most long-lasting liners I've ever used and the fact they're so creamy and smooth to apply made them all the more dreamy. I'm tempted to grab a mauve sort of shade too. Boots Advantage Card points?! Prepare to be spent!

Giorgio Armani // Luminous Silk Foundation // £35.50 // Link
I'm definitely going to be treating myself to this beauty come pay day! It's often raved about and is said to provide a flawless, long-lasting coverage which photographs well and applies like a dream.  I love trialling foundations so I can't wait to give it a whirl.

Nars // Radiant Creamy Concealer // £17.50 // Link
I absolutely adore Nars Sheer Glow foundation and although I've read mixed reviews on this concealer, I'd love to give it a go.  I love Nars as a brand and always seem to get on very well with their products.  I'm drawn to the 'radiant' claim too - it's something I look for in a concealer as I mainly use it underneath my eyes.

Becca // Lowlight Sculpting Perfector // £32.00 // Link

I discovered this product in SpaceNK a couple of weeks ago and it's something I'd never heard of before until I saw it.  I used to love the Mac Contouring Creams a while back and was rather sad when they were discontinued, so this seems like the perfect replacement for my trusty Mac contour shade.  I always find it easier to contour with a cream consistency (and i also think it looks more natural) so this is very much my kind of product. The dark colour sheers out so it isn't as scary as it looks in the pan. I think this may be my first Becca purchase...

Nars // Audacious Lipstick in 'Barbara' // £24.00 // Link
I don't own a Nars lipstick but as a brand, they have to be one of my all time favourites.  I really like the look of this creamy brown/pink shade - right up my street! I'll be nipping into SpaceNK for a cheeky swatch very soon. I have to say I've never been tempted by Nars lippies before but the Audacious ones really do appeal to me...

Charlotte Tilbury // Eyeshadow Palette // £38.00 // Link
Do I need an explanation for this? I feel as if I've committed a crime against the blogging world simply for not owning one of these quads.  I'm not sure if I really need any more palettes in my collection but I'll definitely keep them on my radar... A possible birthday treat maybe?

Nars // Blush in 'Douceur' // £21.50 // Link
I adore Nars blushes and have wanted to try 'Douceur' for ages - I believe it's actually been discontinued so I'll have to be quick off the mark if I want to snap it up.  Its a gorgeous pink-brown sort of shade which is said to really enhance the cheekbones.  I adore Mac's 'Harmony' blush which is said to be similar so I'm pretty sure I'll get along like a house on fire with it!

Stila // Smudge Stick // £13.00 // Link
I loveeee my Stila smudge stick in 'Damsel' which I received with the 'In the Light' palette. It made its way into my 2014 favourites and I just think it's one of the best liners I've ever tried. Not the best for precision but the lasting power is incredible - even in the waterline.  I've decided I want to treat myself to the black version, as well as another brown shade and possibly a coloured version for summer.

Zoeva // Rose Gold Brush Set // £56.95 // Link
It's going to be a good day when I get my hands on these brushes.  I've been craving them for aaaages.  I'm particularly interested in the 'petit crease' brush and the 'Silk Finish' - but I'd love them all I'm sure.  The little hold-all bag the set comes with is the perfect finishing touch.  I might actually pick one of these up for my mum too - she would love them! 

So there we have it - some things I have my eye on for the new year.  I won't be splurging on all of it but there's a couple of gems in here that I cannot wait to get my mitts on - the Zoeva brushes and Armarni Luminous Silk are top of the list, closely followed by my re-purchase of Estee Lauder's lip liners and Becca's Lowlight Sculpting Perfector.   If you want to have a nosey at what other beauty bits and bobs I have my eyes on, I regularly update my beauty wish-list on Pinterest.  You can find that here.  Do send me yours if you have one! 

What's on your 2015 beauty wishlist?

Sunday 18 January 2015

Laura Mercier Lip Glace Collection

Laura Mercier is a brand that's always tickled my fancy - I've heard so many amazing things and as a result, I have a fair few of her products on my never-ending blogger wish list.  Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to recieve one of the Laura Mercier Mini Lip Glace Collection* sets containing 5 travel sized versions of the popular Lip Glace glosses.  Ranging from a milky, pale nude all the way to a bright pink-red, this particular set really does have a good variety of shades to try.   As someone who experiments a great deal with lip colour, a set like this was the perfect addition to my collection and I've really enjoyed using it over the festive season and well into the new year.  Although it's difficult to get your hands on these sets now that Christmas is well and truly over, I thought I'd go into a bit of detail about each shade and the overall appearance and performance.  If you're a lipstick-aholic like myself, I reckon you might be tempted to get your mitts on one of these...

Angelic is exactly the sort of shade you'd expect it to be from the name.  This is the palest colour from the 5 and I'd describe it as being a very milky pale pink-nude.  It transfers onto the lips quite sheerly so it makes for a nice layering gloss for use over lipsticks.  It is slightly too pale for me to wear on it's own but it's actually quite a nice one to dab onto the lips for a little bit of dimension if you're wearing a pale shade to begin with.  

Bare Pink is a little more 'me'.  It's still very pale but the slight coral hint to the pink compliments my skin-tone a little more and for this reason it's much easier to wear.  Again, it is slightly more sheer but this really does work in its favour as it's a good one to layer over lipsticks, making it much more versatile.  It works well over Mac's 'Shy Girl' lipstick or any similar shade.

Pink Pop is a mid-pink shade with a hint of brightness to it. Although it's a slightly more vibrant shade it's not over the top and it still looks really sophisticated and pretty.  It brings a lot of focus to the lip area and adds a touch of brightness to the complexion. Very flattering and one of the favourites from the set.

Tulip is a slightly more toned-down, cooler version of 'Pink Pop'.  With a slight lilac/purple hint, it's one of the more pigmented shades of the set and looks beautiful worn on its own.

Wildflower is the favourite of the bunch for me! It's almost in-between a lipgloss and a lip laquer - it's the most pigmented of the bunch and has a slightly more opaque finish.  Again, like the rest of the set, it's perfect for layering over lipsticks but this one in particular works amazingly well on its own.  Its a gorgeous vibrant berry red shade with a slight hint of raspberry pink - very brightening on the complexion.

Swatches & Order of Photographs:  Angelic // Bare Pink // Pink Pop // Tulip // Wildflower

Each gloss has a beautiful, vanilla-like scent which only adds to their appeal for me - I do love a yummy fragrance and it makes them all the more luxurious and pleasant to apply. Consistency wise, they are slightly sticky but definitely not gloopy or thick - just the right sort of texture for a nice, longer wearing lip gloss.  You can feel them on your lips but they aren't unbearable - I just apply a thin layer as I'm quite fussy when it comes to glosses! They're very easy to apply thanks to the doe-foot applicator and smooth texture - making them the perfect product to throw into your handbag for on-the-go application.

Overall, a lovely little set from Laura Mercier.  Like I said, I'm not entirely sure you can get your mitts on these collection sets now the Christmas is over, but if you're a lip product fan and fancy treating yourself, I really recommend taking a look at these glosses.  If you're fussy about consistency, they might not be for you, but if you're after a good quality, longer wearing lip gloss with a luxurious edge then these are the perfect treat (I've had a little mooch around at other reviews on various websites and they do seem to receive quite a bit of praise!)  Priced at £19.50* each, they certainly aren't cheap, but well worth a swatch if you're a gloss fan! You can find a good variety of shades on the Urban Retreat website here (i really like the look of 'Daiquiri' and 'Garnet'!)

Have you ever tried these lip glosses? What would you recommend from Laura Mercier?

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Getting the Most Out of Your Post: 6 Tips

I'm sure that any blogger will say that there really isn't a set of rules for writing a blog.  We'll all agree that what's right for one person isn't for another and ultimately, the key is in making it yours - the beauty of the blogosphere is that everybody approaches it in a slightly different way and the reason blogs are blowing the glossy magazines out of the water is simply because they're written by real 'everyday' people with different (and honest) opinions and approaches.  There's no right or wrong and part of the fun of it is just learning as you go. However, one thing I really have had to grasp along the way is how to get the most out of my blog posts. There's definitely been a shift in blogging the past couple of years - even though I've only been doing this 3 years I've noticed such a change in that amount of time. People expect much more from blogs these days - everything's become much more visual, there's more pressure to get everything right straight from the get go and ultimately, social media is the key to getting your content out there (when i first started blogging - I didn't even have Twitter - shocker!)  I thought I'd share a few simple tips I've learnt along the way when it comes to getting people to click that 'read more' button...

1. The 'intro' image
First impressions count for everything - and it's no different in the blogging world! The first image you place in your post will have a big impact on whether or not your readers choose to click the 'read more' button. Blogging is very visual and the header image can totally make or break a post, no matter how well written and informative it is.  The majority of readers will make up their mind on whether or not to read a post on the cover image alone. I always spend some time considering which image out of the 4 or 5 I'll usually use within the post is the strongest.  Composition of a photograph often has a lot to do with it. Do you want to place some text on the image? Therefore you might want to choose one that has a good bit of 'blank space' ... or possibly one where the product isn't central in the photograph so there's room for a snazzy title. If it's a 'collective' sort of post (such as a 'haul'), you might want to pick one where you can see all of the products clearly or choose not to give everything away by using one taken at an angle with some products out of focus.  If it's a review, you might want to pick a more 'obvious' image.  I used to post my images in a logical order, for example - the product in the packaging or box first.  Although it can make for a nice image, especially if it's a luxury item and the packaging is quite sleek, I often find that using a photo of the product open/in use where you can clearly see the colour in the pan is much more interesting and enticing than a neatly packaged box.  It all depends what you want your post to look like. 

2. The post title
Similar to the header image, the way you word your title will also have a large baring on whether or not people choose to read your post.  Try to get a bit creative with your titles.  In my earlier blogging days, I simply used to type the name of the product and the word 'review'. Although it's obviously appropriate to feature the name of the product, try and think about what else you can say to gather a bit of intrigue. For example 'the perfect winter blush | *product name*', or 'a new found favourite... | *product name*' It just makes things a little more interesting and hints towards what you're going to discuss in the post.   People will want to know why this product is your new favourite and are therefore more likely to read your post. Collective posts or hauls are always the perfect excuse to get a bit creative with your titles too...

3. Day and time
Throughout my years of blogging, I've become quite 'in-tune' with the best times to publish my posts.  This can differ for everyone depending on what your blog is about, who your audience is and where in the world your main audience is from - but in general, I'd say the best days to post are always Sundays or early to mid-week.  Timing wise, early evening seems to work best for me (around 7.00 - 8.30) as that's when the majority of people are home from work or school and have sat down on the sofa with a cuppa! If I post on a Friday or Saturday night, I always find that my post is a slow burner because that's the time when a lot of people are out socialising. It's well worth getting Google Analytics, having a gander at your stats or posting at different times to judge what's working best for you and your blog. Posting at the right time can make a huge difference as to how many views your post gets.   

4. Length and layout
Ok. So they've clicked onto your post - how do you keep them reading? I don't think there's any right or wrong answer for this one simply because everybody has a different preference, but it's well worth considering how you're going to lay out your post.  If it's a short and snappy review, it's often nice to have a couple of paragraphs together after a couple of photographs, with maybe a swatch at the end.  If it's a haul or favourites styled post, I find it best to break up the text with individual photographs of products just to give the post some pace and make it easier for people to dip in and out as they please.  In some instances, your reader might only want to find out about one particular item so this layout style comes in very handy.  If you already have a full review of a certain product you've featured in a collective post then it's always good insert a link to it so they can easily find out more. In general, large blocks of text can put people off and it makes readers much more likely to skim read. A lot of people will skim-read regardless, especially if they're not a regular reader - so have a think of ways to keep their attention. Maybe pop the price of the item and a link in bold at the beginning, or think of a few sub-headings to break up the text - think about where you're inserting a line break. All in all, It's your blog and you make the rules but it's well worth thinking about what keeps you reading when you click on to other's blogs.

5. Sign it off...
It's always nice to try and encourage people to interact with your post and your blog.  A good way of doing this is asking a question at the end of the post (but only if you're genuinely interested at what others have got to say and only if it's appropriate!) If I've tried something from a certain brand and liked it, I might ask people what else they could recommend from the same brand.  I might be interested to know if other people have had a similar experience or have found a better version.  Similarly, if I've not enjoyed a product, I'm always intrigued to know if others have found the same problems or niggles and how they might have overcome it or used the product in a different way.  Blogging is a fab way to discover products you might never have tried before and I'm always amazed at how helpful and chatty other bloggers are. It's always good to start a discussion.  

6. Promote, promote, promote!!!
I'm the worst for this one and it's one thing I really want to concentrate on more in 2015 - promoting your post is so important. When you've spent time and energy tapping away, taking and editing photographs and putting a post together (if you're a blogger you'll know that even the shortest of posts can take hours of work from start to finish) you want to promote it as best you can in order to get it seen! Twitter and Instagram are probably the best ways for doing so (personally, I don't use Instagram but blogging has definitely shifted in favour of it the past year or so) As soon as your post goes live, pop out a tweet to let your followers know.  Drop in a link and the #bbloggers hash-tag - and if you've got a particularly good header image, why not tweet a picture too? Beware of over-promoting though - as this can do the exact opposite of what you intend to do, but it's well worth tweeting about it a couple of times over the next few days in order to gain more exposure to your post from different groups of people. Readers may have missed your update in their Bloglovin' feeds so Twitter is a fab way of making sure you get it out there and maximising your potential exposure.

Have you got any top tips for getting the most from a post? Sharing is caring! Let me know :)

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Organic Surge | Super Rich Body Butter in 'Lavender Meadow'

Body butters are an absolute must-have for me.  I kid you not, it's like the body butter version of Jenga on the sides of my bath right now - I'm obsessed.  I often have a few on the go at the same time and new to the towering stack is Organic Surge's 'Lavender Meadow' Super Rich Body Butter (£15.75*).  As winter takes its toll on my skin, I often find myself searching for something slightly richer than your average and Organic Surge's offering sounded sure to be just the ticket.  Enriched with natural oils and with a super-thick, buttery consistency - it's the perfect treat for dry, thirsty skin.  

The butter itself seems to have a pearlised effect when you take off the lid - it really is quite inviting and looks luxurious.  I have to say, the lavender scent really is quite strong.  Now, I love a dose of lavender as I find it helps me to sleep, but even for me - this is quite overpowering and floral.  It's not one that I'd apply before a night out as it could have a tendency to completely take over your perfume - but it's lovely for use in the evenings after a bath before you go sleep.  It's very soothing to the senses.  The butter itself is very thick in consistency and feels very rich - almost like a moisturising paste.  Personally, I found it took quite a while to get it to massage in but it doesn't leave a greasy residue whatsoever - in fact, it doesn't leave any sort of tacky feeling on the skin at all.  It's not what I expected and usually I do prefer for my skin to feel a little more 'quenched', but if you're the type who likes to moisturise and go then this would be perfect.  

Although it is without a doubt very moisturising, I'm not sure the consistency is for me.  I've been enjoying using it before bed - particularly on my arms and chest as I do find it helps to relax me if I'm feeling a bit stressed but I'm not sure if it would be an instant re-purchase for me.  It takes a little more working in than what I'm used to.  It's nice little treat to use in the evenings and seems to work best when your skin is a little warmer and you've just got out of the bath, but I prefer something a little more creamy. Overall though - I've enjoyed using it and I'd recommend it if you're really suffering with dry skin and want something a little more sumptuous.  You can find the Super Rich Body Butter on the Organic Surge website here, priced at £15.75*.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Longer Lasting Makeup | 10 Tips

1. Leave enough time for your moisturiser to sink in.
I always leave a good 5 minutes for my moisturiser to sink in before I even think about applying my base.  Even though I use one with a fairly light consistency of a morning, I always leave it just that little bit longer before I go in with primer even if it does feel as if it's fully absorbed.  Try doing something in between - like putting your rollers in for example - and allow the product to fully absorb into the skin and settle.  If you're applying makeup right on top of a moisturiser, it's going to be more likely to slip off during the day.  

2. Consider what moisturiser you're using.
If your morning skincare is slightly more thick in consistency or has a tendency to be a little heavy or greasy, it might be worth saving it for the evening and trying to find something a bit  lighter.  If your skin is particularly dry and you simply can't get away with a lighter texture - just use a tiny 'dab' of the heavier one on the problem areas (for me it's my cheeks) and use a lighter consistency everywhere else.  Similarly, if your skin is oily it might be worth searching for a moisturiser with 'mattifying' benefits.  

3. Primer. Primer. PRIMER!!
So many people I know never use a primer and consider it a bit of a pointless step in their makeup regime. Honestly, if you want your foundation to last through the day then it's well worth taking some time to find a primer that works for you.  Personally, I do think some primers on the market are a bit of a gimmick and don't actually have any 'staying power' benefits - which could be the reason why so many people give up - but do your research.  My ultimate favourites have to be Benefit's Porefessional (review here) and Loreal's Smoothing Resurfacing Primer (review here) and I use either one depending on what my skin needs (Loreal's is slightly heavier). I never apply my foundation without a primer first and it's such a key step in my makeup regime - it makes the world of difference. 

4. Applying your primer.
Instead of applying your primer in a similar way to moisturiser, try using pressing motions instead of sweeping motions - particularly around problem areas like the nose.   This will ensure your primer is absorbed into the skin properly and settled into all the nooks and crannys instead of simply sitting on top. It also helps prevent your foundation from settling into pores.

5. Foundation: Less is more
Finding a foundation that 'sits right' with your skin is important, but no matter what you use, if you apply it in a slap-dash manner it's not going to want to stick around as much.  I actually spend quite some time applying my foundation - I buff it in slowly working from the middle of the face and blending outwards.  I'll apply a very light layer first and then leave it to settle before applying another layer if I want a fuller coverage or want to further cover up any problem areas instead of using one thick layer.  

6. Buff it in.
This is just personal opinion but I definitely think my foundation lasts longer when I've applied it with a buffing brush instead of my fingers or a standard foundation brush.  I hardly ever use another tool aside from my trusty RT buffing brush to apply my foundation as I just find it offers the best coverage at the same time as helping it to sit on the skin much better.  Instead of 'painting' the product on you're essentially buffing it into your skin - not only does it look much more natural and flawless but it will give your makeup a much better chance of lasting all day.

7. Find a good setting powder.
I used to stay away from powder because my skin isn't overly oily and I didn't think my skin  really needed it - but find a good one and you'll find that powders can offer so much more than just oil control.  I use Mac's Mineralise Skinfinish Natural (review here) and it's the perfect finishing step in my base routine. It sets the foundation, prevents shine and also makes my skin look much more polished. It softens the appearance, blurs imperfections and means that any powder blush or bronzer you apply on top will sit much better and blend more easily.  Mac's offering really does effect the longevity of your makeup and I use it daily - it makes the world of difference to my foundation and keeps it looking freshly applied for much longer.

8. Use a setting spray for extra staying power.
I like to use Urban Decay's Setting Sprays (review here) if I'm going on a night out or if i've got a long day ahead in order to boost my makeup's staying power.  I don't use it daily as I don't think it's really a 'must-have' but it definitely does help your makeup last longer.  I use this after I've completed my makeup - eyeshadow, eyebrows, blush - the lot... it just helps to lock it all in place.

9. Keep your mitts off!
This is easier said than done and it's a fairly obvious one to mention, but try your best to keep your hands off your face!  You're probably not aware of just how much you actually do it but try your best to stop yourself when you become conscious of it.  It really doesn't do your foundation any favours!  When I'm sat at a desk all day, my makeup comes off quicker than if I've been shopping all day - which sounds a bit stange but it's all because of bad habits.  

10. Touch-ups.
If all else fails, carry a little touch-up kit with you.  No matter how hard you try, problem areas like the nose and chin are going to show a little bit of wear through the day.  Instead of just piling on another layer of foundation (which isn't going to look exactly fetching in an hour or so) you're much better off carrying a powder and small concealer which matches your foundation shade.  Before you even apply any product, try blending the makeup you already have on your face to cover the problem area - if it's just not going to work, apply a small amount of concealer or simply blot the area and blend some powder over the top.  Tiny touch ups work better than trying to overhaul the whole face!

What are your favourite products to use for getting your makeup to last longer? Anything else you can recommend?

Thursday 8 January 2015

The 90's Nude Lip | 'Kylie Jenner' Inspired Shades

I always swore to myself I'd never use the typical phrase 'Kylie Jenner lip' in a post...yet here we are. That's blogging for you. I'll be honest - I'm not one of these people who gets caught up in celebrity hype too much but you simply can't get away from the ol' KJ inspired lip at the moment can you?  Personally, I've always been a fan of a darker nude lip and so it seems like the perfect time to share my collection with you all.  It's amazing how much definition shades like this bring to your lips without looking overdone. There's something about spicy browns and brick hues that really do make the lips appear plumper, fuller and altogether more perfected - it's such a sophisticated look that brings a lot of attention to the lip area without having to opt for a vibrant, statement shade - perfect for everyday wear. So, I thought I'd introduce you to my trusty bunch of '90s' inspired shades... I definitely have my favourites amongst them so if you're of a similar skin tone to me and are seeking out some Kylie Jenner inspo - hopefully this post might be of some interest...

Mac // 'Half n Half' // £15.50 // Link
One of my all-time favourites, 'Half n Half' has featured quite heavily on my blog over the past year or so.  It's a slightly lesser-known version of the infamous 'Velvet Teddy' but I much prefer the finish and texture of this one and it's virtually the same, maybe a touch lighter. The amplified finish gives the lipstick a slightly glossy finish and it's also incredibly opaque - it's absolutely stunning.  It's featured in my Mac Lipstick Collection post here.

Mac // 'Paramount' // £15.50 // Link
This isn't exactly a nude shade but it would have been daft if I didn't include it!  If you're a statement lips fan and aren't sure you'd really suit the '90s nude lip' trend, this one is for you.  It's a beautiful bold burgundy/brown shade - slightly gothic in appearance. I have a full post on it here, and it also features in my Mac Lipstick Collection post here if you want to see it in more detail.

Mac // 'Velvet Teddy' // £15.50 // Link
This lipstick has fast become the classic Kylie Jenner shade. Said to be a firm favourite of hers, Mac stores have been sold-out of this beauty for weeks on end.  I've owned it for about a year now and it's been one of my 'classics' since my second year of uni... it has that much sought after matte finish whilst providing amazing pigmentation.  It's really understated and classy, yet brings so much focus to the lips.  I featured it in my Mac Lipstick Collection post here.

Lord & Berry // 'Brick Lip' // £9.60 // Link
Similar to Velvet Teddy but with a slightly more brick-ish, red hue.  If you're unsure about overly brown toned lips then this one is a fabulous option.  It definitely lives up to it's name.  Lord & Berry's lipsticks are super long lasting and provide a similar look and finish to Mac's Matte finish lipsticks.  I featured this shade in a favourites post here if you want to see it in more detail.

Rimmel // Lasting Finish in 'Undressed' // Discontinued?!
I think I might shed tears when this one finally runs out, as I reckon Rimmel has discontinued it.  I've seen it lurking on eBay and Amazon but I hate not being able to really guarantee what I'm getting! This has to be my ultimate favourite... it's probably the lightest of the bunch but it's so incredibly wearable and that's why I love it.  It's completely battered from being in my handbag! It's actually very similar to Mac's 'Half and Half', and whilst it's a slightly lighter offering, it still has that staple 90s brown hue to it. 

Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Colour // 'Pink Spice' // £8.99// Link
I featured this product in a favourites post last year (here), and I always opt for it if I want something really long-lasting.  Trust me, it doesn't budge.  It applies like a lip laquer, dries matte and gives intense, rich colour pay off in an instant.  It can, however, feel really drying so it's worth popping in your handbag so you have the balm with you.  The double-ended product has an intense moisturising balm at the other end which adds a bit of gloss and sheen, at the same time as stopping the stain settling into lines and drying out your lips.

Elf  Studio Matte Lip Colour in 'Tea Rose' // £3.50 // Link
The newest addition to my collection.  I've been wanting Mac's 'Faux' for a while now but if you've seen my Mac Lipstick Collection, you'll know I realllllly don't need any more... I found this shade on the Elf website and took a gamble - my goodness - it's perfect!  It's my new obsession! It's the perfect lilac-brown shade.  I love the crayon format, the fact it's so long lasting and not to mention the affordable price tag.  

Barry M Lip Liners // (not sure of names - sorry!) // £2.99 // Link
These 2 Barry M liners are the perfect companion for the majority of the lipsticks and shades featured here.  The nude one is simply perfect and I actually wear this on it's own very regularly with a clear gloss over the top.  The reddish one is perfect for use with brick-toned lipsticks such as Lord & Berry's 'Brick Lip' or Maybellines 'Pink Spice'.

Mac Lip Liner // 'Spice' // £12.60 // Link
The most long-lasting lip liner I own.  This is also a 'Kylie Jenner' fave. A shade that's been massively hyped over the past couple of months, 'Spice' lives up to its name.  It's a beautiful spiced pink/brown that looks beautiful on it's own or teamed with a lipstick.

MUA // Power Pout Lip Crayon in 'Rendezvous' // £3.00 // Link
This is the perfect layering crayon for me.  It doesn't look as intense in the swatch but it's actually quite pigmented... I always layer this over Mac's 'Spice' pencil or either of the Barry M liners and it always looks so put together.  The slightly glossy finish means that it isn't drying on the lips at all, and it's actually quite long-lasting.  It wears off to a stain. I often wear this when I'm working, layered over a lip liner as I know it's going to last all day. I have a full post here.

Lipstick Swatches L-R: Rimmel 'Undressed // Mac 'Half n Half' // Mac 'Velvet Teddy' // Lord & Berry 'Brick Lip // Mac 'Paramount' // Crayons Swatches L-R: Elf 'Tea Rose' // Maybelline 'Pink Spice' // MUA 'Rendezvous // Barry M Liners // Mac 'Spice' Liner

Apologies - I've just realised I didn't swatch these products in the order they appear on my post (bad blogger alert!) so please do refer to the text above if any of them take your fancy.  

Are you a fan of the Kylie Jenner lip? What are your 90s lipstick favourites?

Tuesday 6 January 2015

The Lilac/Brown Nude Lip: Elf Matte Lip Colour in 'Tea Rose'

You know how it is.  It's winter. You're bored. You casually tap away on the interwebs searching for some makeup inspiration and before you know it, you've only gone and bought your entire online basket.  We've all been there and felt the guilt, I'm sure - but E.l.f has to be one of those websites that's perfect for a spontaneous treat now and again.  With their super affordable products and wide range of beauty goodies, I often check back and see what's new.  As soon as I saw Elf's 'Tea Rose' - I knew it had to be mine.  I'd been wanting a lilac/brown shade for quite some time but I didn't want to spend the earth on a shade I wasn't entirely sure would suit me - if you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know I love my 90s inspired browns and darker nudes, but I wanted to try something a little bit different.  With a splash of lilac, 'Tea Rose' reminds me somewhat of Mac's 'Faux' lipstick - one that's been on my wish list for ages.

I have to say I've been quite impressed - the shade is exactly what I've been searching for and I've satisfied my craving for a lilac-brown neutral lip.  At just £3.95, Elf's Matte Lip Colour crayon is amazing value for money and of really great quality too.  The simple twist-up mechanism is perfect for use on the go, and the matte black packaging is also right up my street - very sleek and simple.  The crayon itself is just the right size for defining the lip shape and the formula glides on fairly easily to say it's a matte finish, whilst providing pigment rich colour.  Personally, I prefer a glossy lip so I just add a balm or a gloss on top and it looks stunning - it really seems to plump up the lips and when used alongside a lip liner, gives that really amped up 'full' effect - dare I say it - but it's very 'Kylie Jenner-esque' (beauty blogger phrase right there!)

Overall, I think these lip crayons are well worth the £3.95 price tag - there's a nice range of shades for any occasion and they're the perfect handbag companion. The smaller size makes for a more precise application.  You can find 'Tea Rose' on the Elf website here.

Have you tried any of the Elf Lip Colours?

Sunday 4 January 2015

Top 14 of 2014: The Beauty Edit

In true beauty blogger style, I thought I'd sum up 2014 with a few beauty favourites consisting of products I've discovered throughout the year.  It was a tough task indeed - I've certainly uncovered a few new favourites the past 12 months but there's a select few that really do stand out to me.  Originally, I was going to pick one product for each category, but when I discovered that not much has changed from last year and the fact that I've got 4 bronzing/contouring products I've enjoyed using - I thought I'd just go ahead and narrow it down to my 'Top 14 of 2014' instead. All products featured have been new additions to my makeup collection this year and the majority of them all have full reviews or features on my blog.  I've included links to all separate reviews (where you'll find swatches - sorry for not including any in this post but my arms are only so long!) as well as handy shop links.  Here's my Top 14 of 2014 in no particular order...

1. Illamasqua // Sculpting Powder Duo // Review // Link
This Illamasqua palette has been a firm favourite throughout the year and is perfect for any contouring addict like myself! The cool toned bronzer gives the most intense yet natural sculpted look to the cheekbones, and the champagne highlight is simply stunning worn on the cheeks, brow bone and even in the corner of the eyes. Both powders are incredibly pigmented, soft to the touch and easy to blend.  I shall be repurchasing for sure... 

2.  Seventeen // Instant Glow Bronzer // Review // Link
By heck - have Seventeen pleased me this year! This powder bronzer is a fabulous every day product that blends really well and gives a subtle sun-kissed look to the complexion.  The matte finish gives such a natural appearance, and the colour pay off is really impressive - a complete drugstore gem of a bronzer that warms the complexion and gives the perfect 'just got back from my jollies' look.

3.  Jane Iredale // Daytime Palette // Review // Link
The palette of the year for me.  These 5 matte, super pigmented shades became my ultimate 'go to' in 2014. Easy to travel with due to the slim, lightweight packaging - it's so handy and the perfect companion for a neutrals lover like myself. It has featured heavily on my blog the past few months and for good reason too - I can't wait to invest in more of these eyeshadows. They've seriously impressed me.

4.  Benefit // Gimme Brow // Review // Link
I love the dinky little wand and ease of application of these brow mascaras - I've tried my fair share and I have to say these are the best I've tried in terms on longevity, formula and ease of use. I use them as a 'finishing step' once I've filled in my brows and they just give such a defined, perfected finish. I tend to use the lighter one in the daytime and the darker one for nights out when I want a slightly more defined appearance. My eyebrows stay perfectly groomed and in place all day.

5. Anastasia // Dip Brow // Blonde - Review // Medium Brown - Review //  Link
2014 will always be the year I discovered Dip Brow! It's one of those products that I genuinely have no idea how I ever lived without.  I have the shades 'Blonde' and 'Medium Brown' and use both together in order to create a natural, defined finish. My eyebrows always look perfectly in-tact at the end of the day and I've had so many compliments.  If you want a professional 'HD Brows' finish, I really recommend looking into these pots!

6. Tanya Burr // Lipglosses // Review // Link
I'm usually not a lipgloss person whatsoever but Tanya Burr's range really did change my mind this year - I can't be without a tube now! I loved using these particularly through summer and I was completely addicted to the red shade on holiday - it sets off a tan like no other! They're pigmented enough to wear on their own (very similar to a lip laquer) and they're perfect to just throw in your handbag for on the go.

7. Mac // Lipstick in 'Half n Half' // Review // Link
2014 was the year of the 90s nude and Mac's 'Half n Half' was my go-to shade.  It's a gorgeous medium toned brown, very similar to the infamous 'Velvet Teddy' but with a slightly more glossy finish and more creamy in consistency.  It's very easy to wear as an everyday lipstick and it just goes with any makeup look at any time of the year.  I love it! It featured in my recent favourites here as well as my Mac Lipstick Collection post.

8.  Benefit // Hoola Bronzer // Review // Link
2014 saw me fall head over heels in love with this Benefit Box 'o Powder! Hoola is the perfect shade for contouring the cheekbones and the handy little brush it comes with is just the right size - I don't usually use brushes that come in compacts but this one is lovely and soft.  In my opinion, it's the perfect shade for subtle contouring - it deepens a tan, sculpts the face and just gives a naturally defined look to the cheeks. 

9. Bourjois // CC Cream // Review // Link
This CC Cream has to be one of the best discoveries of 2014 for me The coverage is seriously amazing and it just gives the most natural dewy glow to the skin.  It instantly awakens a dull complexion, helping to counteract dark circles and cover any redness - whilst smoothing out the skin and blending seamlessly for a natural yet flawless finish.  It always feels so refreshing to apply too. One of my favourite bases and perfect for daily wear.

10.  Seventeen // Falsifeye HD Mascara // Review // Link
This mascara really wow'ed me this year - it separates and fans out the lashes, instantly creating a fuller appearance.  As well as holding a curl really nicely, the wand coats even the smallest of eyelashes, making them appear so much more volumised and incredibly defined from root to tip.

11.  Stila // Smudge Stick in 'Damsel' // Review // Link
This eyeliner has fast become a holy grail product for me  - I'm going to treat myself to the black version very soon but this year - I've really enjoyed using this dark brown shade.  It looks beautiful with a subtle, neutral eye and lasts really well both on the top and bottom lash line and on the waterline. It doesn't run and stays put all day. I love it.

12. Mac // Lip Liner in 'Spice' // Review // Link
I've been using this lip liner all year and I just love it.  It's so long-lasting and is the perfect companion for all of my trusty brown toned lipsticks.  I also like to wear it on it's own with a touch of gloss on top. I went even more crazy for it when the 'Kylie Jenner lip' hype hit the bloggosphere...

13. Nars // Matte Multiple in 'Altai' // Review // Link
2014 saw me really get in to contouring using cream products.  I adore the Nars Matte Multiple in the shade 'Altai' and it went everywhere with me this year.  I just love the shade of it - it creates a lovely natural sculpted look without dulling the complexion and it blends like a dream. I also use it as an all over bronzer - incredibly versatile and a complete must-have for me.

14. Benefit // Porefessional Primer //  Review // Link
I use this primer daily and I have to say I think it's the best one I've ever used.  It creates the perfect base to apply my foundation and my makeup always lasts incredibly well because of it.  It really does help to smooth out the skin, blur imperfections and camouflage pores in order to create a flawless finish to the skin.  Well worth investing in. 

What have been your favourites of 2014?