Smashbox + Casey Holmes Highlighting Palette

2017, April

For some reason I assumed that this was an US only palette. I had resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on one of these until latter this year when I’ll be visiting US. So when I popped in-to my local Boots to pick up some vitamins and saw this at the Smashbox counter I couldn’t believe my eyes! I swatched the shades and straight away I was so impressed with the quality. The powders are very soft and buttery.

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I went for the Perl palette as this seemed more suitable for paler complexions but there is also a Gold version available which as the name would suggest has a bit darker golden shades.

I’ve played around with the shades for about two weeks now so I feel I’ve got a good understanding on how the powders perform. The powders are quite pigmented and despite the loud shade names I think this is a great everyday palette. There are tree shades:  Turn It On – a champagne cream which is my favourite of the bunch, Crank It  Up – a cool rose gold that’s a bit more bronzy, and Blow a Fuse – a slightly rosy and quite sparkly shade that I use as a topper for more evening appropriate looks. My only gripe with the palette is that the shades are bit hard to blend so you have to be quite targeted with the application. But the overall the quality is good and the palette is very compact and versatile.

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The main claim of this palette is that the powders will not accentuate any texture and it’s definitely true – the powders glide on the skin very smoothly. Casey has done an excellent job. I’ve been watching her videos for several years now and I mean it in the nicest possible way when I say that she is a great inspirration to many people with facial skincare issues. Her make-up application skills are a true testament to the transformative power of beauty products. Watching her videos has made me a lot more confident about the way I look even when I’m having a bad skin day.

You can purchase the palettes HERE and HERE and they are £26.00 each.

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Skincare update – April 2017

2017, April

Most of my skincare products are still going strong so there are only a few new additions to my routine. Looking at these products it very much is a YouTube-made-me-buy-it edition.

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For the morning cleanse I use the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (£29.50/100ml). I must be the only person who doesn’t like this cleanser – it’s an oily gel that’s very hard to wash off even after scrubbing your face a few times with a wet muslin. I will finish the bottle but I’m definitely not repurchasing.

Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream (£66.00/75ml) is my new nighttime mouisturiser. I adore this stuff! It smells absolutely divine – like vanilla custard with a hint of peppermint. It’s quite thick but pliable at the same time. It makes my skin feel super soft and nourished. Luckily the shop assistant told me to use only a tiny bit. If I would have tried applying it like other regular moisturisers it would have felt way to heavy. And since you only need a small blob this should last me ages.

I use the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (£32.00/50ml) once a week. It’s good but not as good as the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (£39.50/150ml). I feel that REN’s offering is less effective at eating away the dead skin cells and it also takes a bit longer to work. It would be a good option if you’re new to glycollic peel masks, however. It has a nice jellylike texture and it smells very fruity and citrusy.

I use the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial (£49.00/15ml) once a week. It basically feels like a facial oil. The smell of this is a major issue for me, it’s very difficult to describe the fragrance – it’s almost a bit ammonia like. Thankfully it doesn’t linger for too long but I’m still not a fan. I also can’t see that it’s doing that much for my skin so I’ll use up the bottle up but I won’t repurchase.

What are some of your current skincare favourites?

Read more about my skincare routine HERE.

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Inside My Travel Make-up Bag

2017, April, Uncategorized

I’m going away on a mini break next week and I thought it would be interesting to tell you what make-up products I’ll be taking with me. Long gone are the days when I lugged around with a pile of beauty products that wouldn’t even fit in a single suitcase. I now travel with as little make-up as possible. And you’d be surprised how little you actually need. I’ve also learned that I’m quite lazy when it comes to using makeup products when I’m away so I really only need the bare minimum.

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I already mentioned the Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant look in a palette (£49.00) HERE and it really is a travelers dream – it has all the face powder products you need save for a setting powder but if you use a decent base product you can easily skip it. I really can’t recommend this palette enough.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick #02 Blush (£20.00) – a recent addition to my collection this is a great one-stop lip product. A lot more pigmented than I expected it applies like butter and has SPF 15 so it dubs as a protective lip balm.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream ($15.00/12ml) – extremely hard to get hold of in the UK it’s a great travel friendly base product – the finish is beautiful and the added SPF 50 means that this will have you covered in most climates.

Real Techniques Shading Brush (£6.99) and Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush (£35.00) are my favourite one-size-fits-all eye and face brushes.

Add mascara as necessary – my current favourite is the Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara (£10.99) and it’s really quite good. It has a thick rubber wand that adds volume and separates lashes without clumping. One of the best drugstore options in my opinion.

I’m also bringing the Delilah Brow Line in Sable (£20.00) with me. It’s one of my all time favourite brow products – it’s a skinny retractable pencil in a super sleek packaging with a good quality spoolie on the other end and the shade match is perfect for me.

What are some of your travel make-up favourites?

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Five Products I’m Currently Loving

2017, March

Once I find a beauty product I like I tend to stick to it so I don’t normally have that many new favourites. Doing a round-up of my top 5 every few months works much better. So here are my current favourites:

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Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (£55.00/30ml) – I’ve had this in my collection for about a year now and for some reason I’ve never really been that impressed. I started using it again a month or so ago and I just can’t get enough of this primer. It is by far the best primer I have ever used – it smoothes the skin beautifully, it brightens the face and makes is slightly more matte without feeling siliconey or dry. A definite repurchase.

Clarin Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil #01 Honey (£18.00/7ml) – it’s not the most nourishing lip balm, it’s more of a maintenance product for lips that already are in a fairly good nick. Not to say that it’s a bad product, it’s absolutely beautiful! I really like the packaging, the massive doe foot applicator and the honey-like fragrance. It’s not too sticky and leaves a nice shine on the lips so works well as an easy everyday option. There are also tinted versions available.

Ole Henriksen Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths (£12.00/30 wipes) – this is a product I never expected to see in my favourites. I actually wanted to include face wipes in my “Unnecessary beauty products” list HERE. Every single packet of face wipes I’ve bought so far has been left pretty much untouched and gone dry. But then I tried these – I only use them once or twice a week after gym if I don’t have time for a full skincare routine straight away. They’re great at wiping of the sweat and refreshing the face. The smell is divine – it’s citrusy and fruity and they somehow seem less harsh than other face wipes I’ve tried. Another definite repurchase.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (£34.00/50ml) – this has been my go to base product for the last couple of months. The coverage is quite light but it’s enough to even out my skin-tone and make me look a bit more put together. Just a very basic product that works really well!

Tanya Burr Lipstick in Pink Cocoa (£6.99) – a great budget friendly everyday lipstick. It applies creamy and feels very moisturising on the lips. The pigmentation is decent enough and the shade works well with all make-up looks. A very comfortable product that I’ve been reaching for a lot lately.

What are some of your current beauty favourites?

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Top 3 Nail Polishes for Spring

2017, March

I’m not someone who adheres to strict rules when it comes to makeup but I definitely agree that some colours suit particular seasons better than others. When it comes to nails I always play it fairly safe so my top picks this spring are all very classic and versatile.

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Essie Limo-scene (£7.99/13.5ml) – I’ve never been able to get the white nail trend right, on me it looks like straight up corrector nails. This, however, has some beige pink in it and it’s quite sheer even with multiple coats so it’s much more wearable.

Mavala Smokey Blue (£4.75/5ml) – as soon as I saw this I wanted to wear it. It’s the most beautiful greyish blue nail polish I’ve ever seen. It has some teeny-weeny blue shimmer particles running through which makes it even more special (I really tried to get the shimmer to show up in the picture but it just wouldn’t work, sorry for that guys).

Chanel Rose Confidentiel (£18.00/13ml) – a beautiful muted fleshy rose that looks just so chic. It’s one of those can’t-go-wrong shades that will suit any outfit.

What nail polish colours will you be rocking this season?

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Top 3 Lip Products for Spring

2017, March

These are my favourite lip products for spring. There’s one for every mood and occasion.

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Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour #34 La Raffinée (£26.00) – If you’re not quite ready to part with your winter berries this is a great alternative for spring. It has some pink mixed in so it’s less edgy. It definitely wins in terms of packaging – the Chanel click mechanism just feels so luxe! It’s very comfortable on the lips and you only need to apply a thin layer for a full colour saturation. It’s not as long lasting as you might expect, but if you’re careful you’ll get good 2-3 hours of wear.

L’Oreal Infallible Sexy Balm #103 As If (£4.99) – A shinny, juicy balm with a lovely fruity fragrance. It’s a pinky nude shade that will suit most complexions. Great one to pop in your handbag and apply on the go. It’s such a happy product! The only thing I’m not too keen on is the name. Sexy Balm? Really?

L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipstick in #228 VIP (£6.99) – This one just screams spring! I’m genuinely excited thinking it’s almost time to wear this lipstick again. It’s such a beautiful bright red pink with a hint of orange that looks neon bright on the lips. It’s perfect for those sunny spring days. Pigmentation is excellent and it’s more of a satin mate so it feels very comfortable on the lips.

What are your favourite lip products for spring?

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Clarisonic Mia 2 v. Foreo Luna Play

2017, March

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I’ve been using the Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Skin Cleansing System (£120.00) on and off for about two years now and I’ve always been a massive fan. When the Foreo Luna Face Scrub Brush & Anti-ageing Device (£129.00) came out I was a bit sceptical since I like the Clarisonic so much. I wasn’t sure whether the Foreo would top the Clarisonic and I didn’t want to invest in a full size device just to compare the two. The Foreo Luna Play (£29.00), however, is much more afordable so I decided to test the travel version first. I’ve used it for about six weeks now so I’ve got a pretty good idea on which one I prefer.

I do realise that this comparison is not completely fair since I’m not comparing full size devices but I’m trying to be as objective as possible. If I hadn’t already had the Clarisonic I’m pretty sure I would have bought the Foreo because it just makes much more sense – the price is pretty much the same, Foreo is easier to clean and you don’t have to repurchase a new brush head every few months like you do with the Clarisonic. The Foreo also needs to be charged less frequently. However, I’m so glad I went for the Clarisonic because my skin responds to it so much better than it does with Foreo. I use the Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head  (£25.00) – the Sensitive Brush Head (£21.00) that was originally included with my device was a bit too harsh. I like how easy it is to alternate between different cleansing needs when you use Clarisonic – you just pop on a new brush head. If you want the Foreo to suit different skincare needs you need to buy a whole new device so Clarisonic is definitely more flexible.

Something I noticed straight away with the Foreo was that it dried my skin and I’m not really sure why, it just doesn’t make much sense for a device to be doing that. I initially used it with the Foreo Celestial Melting gel (Night Cleanser) (£35.00 for a set) and I was convinced it was the cleanser that was drying my skin. But the same thing happened when I used it with the Lancome Gel Eclat Clarifying Cleanser (£23.00/125ml) which has never made my skin dry in the past. It might be that I need a different Foreo device and I don’t think the travel versions differ in terms of the skin type suitability but at the moment given my experience I wouldn’t go for a full size Foreo device.

The travel version also doesn’t have a set cycle to tell you it’s time to move on to the next area of your face but from what I understand you do get that setting with a full version device. A full version Foreo also has two speed options instead of just one so both full version devices are identical when it comes to set speeds and cleansing cycles.

Yes, the Clarisonic requires a continuous investment because you will need to buy new brush heads but for me it’s worth it. I also understand how it can be inconvenient because you have to charge the Clarisonis much more frequently and it takes 24 hours to complete a full charge but it doesn’t really bother me that much. You just plug it in and leave it, it’s not like you’re required to do anything else while it’s charging.

There is no argument that the Foreo Play wins in terms of the size – it is much more travel friendly and that’s what I will use it for from now one. I will go back to the Clarisonic for an everyday use at home.

I hope this was helpful if you’re thinking about buying one of these.

Have you tried any cleansing devices? Which one is your favourite?

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Unnecessary beauty products

Uncategorized

One of the things I’m focusing on this year beauty-wise is reducing my beauty product stash and I will talk about this in more detail next month. Today I wanted to tell you about some of the products I never find myself reaching for and there is really no need for me to have these in my collection. I do appreciate this post might make me sound very lazy but I’ve always been a big fan of multitasking and I find other products I already use can easily cover all the steps mentioned below.

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Body oils – I used to think these were a luxurious treat for special occasions only so it kind of made sense that all my body oil bottles were pretty much untouched. I’ve now realised the special occasion thing was just an excuse and I actually really don’t like using body oils. The application is messy and I always end up spilling the oil on the bathroom floor which then needs to be cleaned up. They also take ages to absorb regardless of how dry they’re claiming to be. I really just prefer a standard body lotion or a body cream to moisturise my skin.

Solid body butters – see above, except they’re even messier.

Body scrubs – first off – there are not that many good body scrubs on the market anyway, most leave a greasy film on your skin or are way to harsh and scratchy. I use a bath lily most days and if I ever do need some extra exfoliation (I get that feeling once every few months) I just pop on a pair of shower gloves.

Hair masks – I’m lucky enough to have a pretty healthy looking hair so most of the time a decent conditioner does the trick and I don’t need any additional treatments. A proper hair mask is just too much of a faff for me – you usually need to keep them in for good 10 – 20 mins and I just don’t have the patience for that.

Hair oils/serums – most of the ones that I’ve tried leave my hair feeling quite greasy. It might be that I use too much or use it incorrectly but I have tried different methods (wet hair/dry hair/ends only) and none of them seem to work. I use the Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-in Treatment every time I wash my hair and I absolutely love it! Even if I apply too much product it doesn’t leave any residue on my hair and my hair still feels soft and clean.

Cuticle oils – these are lovely to use but I just never, ever reach for them. Most hand creams are now designed to nourish the nails as well as the hands and I use hand creams all the time!

Make-up setting sprays – I’m not a professional make-up artist and most days I don’t need my make up to last for much longer than 5pm mark. I always use a primer under my makeup and I find that works very well at keeping my makeup in place all day. Adding a setting spray just seems a bit over the top. I’d probably use one or the other and I’d have to go for the primer since I’m more familiar with the format.

Foundation brushes – one of the main things I now test whenever I try a new foundation is whether I can apply it with my fingers. Beautyblender is as far as I would go with introducing a beauty tool to apply a foundation since I already use one to apply concealer. I also find Beautyblender is much easier to wash and look after than a brush and it generally gives a nicer overall finish.

What are some of the beauty products/steps you don’t mind skipping?

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Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask and Hydrating Mist

2017, March

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The Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask (£1.49) is not a new product per se – these have been on the market since last year, but I’ve never tried a sheet mask before so it was all new and exciting for me. The Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Multi-Protecting Hydrating Mist (£9.99/75ml), however, I haven’t seen in the shops before so I assume this is actually a brand new launch. Both products are quite gimmicky so I went in not really knowing what to expect.

First off the mask – I’ve heard many good things about the Hydra Bomb sheet mask so it seemed like good one to try. The application was mess free (a great bonus) and the mask felt nice and cooling on my skin. After removing the sheet my face was still quite wet with the product. I patted it in and initially it felt a bit sticky but after about 10-15 mins this dried to smooth matte finish. Foundation applied on top very nicely so  it’s definitely not a night-time-only mask. As far as the skincare benefits go Garnier’s claims are quite bold. I can’t tell you whether this actually delivers enough hydration so that you can skip serum for a whole week but it certainly works as a very decent one-off treatment. The sheet masks are sold in single use sachets making these perfect for travel. I’ll definitely be picking up a few more next time I’m at the Boots.

The hydrating mist, however, is a completely different story. On a paper it sounds great – a product that provides hydration, high SPF and anti-pollution benefits all packed in a convenient lightweight spray! I’ve got a few trips planned in the coming months and I was hoping this would be a great travel size product to carry with me and to spritz throughout the day.  The mist clings to the tiniest of hairs making you look like you’re covered in dust. And you need to pat the dusty layer in as this does not absorb and when you do you’re left with this greasy feeling film on your face. If you spray it on top of your makeup you have to be very careful when you pat it in because it your makeup will just roll off. It literarily feels like spraying dry shampoo on you face – it’s just wrong! I wanted to wash it off as soon as I applied it. A total fail! I’ll stick to my regular Avene Thermal Water Spray (£3.00/50ml) for reliable hydration on the go.

How you tried any products from the Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb range? How did you get on?

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La Mer x Glossybox UK

2017, March

Ok, so the box itself is no longer available – apparently it sold out in under an hour so well done if you managed to get your hands on one of these limited edition glossies! Nevertheless, I thought it still might be interesting to give you my thoughts on the individual products.

This is more of a first impressions post (since the products are so tiny) and I do appreciate that with skincare you sometimes need a bit more time to see whether it’s working or not. I have, however, used other skincare products in the past and seen instant results so it’s not a completely unrealistic ask, especially when it comes to products with such hefty price tags as these!

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Something that I noticed with all La Mer products was the almost non-existent fragrance. It seems like such a simple thing yet it’s actually pretty hard to come by a non-fragranced product these days. Another thing that I noticed – and I’m not sure whether it’s a La Mer thing or it’s more about how my skin reacted to their skincare but I had a slight warming sensation every time I applied one of the products. Nothing too uncomfortable and there were no other side effects, just something that I thought was a bit peculiar.

So now on to the individual products:

The Cleansing Micellar Water (full size £70.00/200ml) – this for me is one of those brains-says-no-but-heart-says-yes products. I only really use micellar waters to remove eye and lip makeup before going in with a more heavy duty cleanser so it seems such a waste to invest in an expensive product. La Mer’s offering is so nice, though! It so gentle and calming and it really feels more like an actual skincare product. If you use micellar waters as your main cleansing step I’d say definitely go for it! Even with how little I use micellar waters in my routine I might buy the full size product and if I do I would use every last drop of it and enjoy every second of it.

The Treatment Lotion (full size £100.00/150ml) / The Revitalizing Hydrating Serum (full size £145.00/30ml) – I have grouped these two together because as far as I understand they both have almost identical function – to hydrate and to help any skincare that you put on top to absorb better and deeper. Both products have very light, liquid textures that soak in very quickly and they don’t interfere with products that you apply on top. I definitely wouldn’t buy or use both and if I had to choose one I would probably go for the serum mainly because it’s a format that I am more familiar with. But even then  – I can’t say that I noticed that much of a difference in my skin to justify the £145.00 price tag. Sure, my skin was in a great condition for the whole week I used the La Mer products, but then it’s been pretty good anyway and I’m not expecting a sudden decline now that I’m back to my usual skincare routine (you can read more about my current routine HERE).

The Eye Concentrate (full size £150.00/15ml) – it’s very nice and hydrating. Is it £150.00 nice? Probably not. Eye creams are very tricky in that it’s difficult to tell whether their working or not until you stop using them. Once I reach the point in my life when it’s time to bring in the big guns I might revisit this eye cream. For the time being, though, I’ll be trying a few cheaper alternatives and I reckon there is a fair chance I’ll find something that works just as well as this product does.

The Intensive Revitalizing Mask (full size £115.00/75ml) – this did not work for me at all. I did no see any hydration whatsoever even when I used it as an overnight treatment. There are much better and much cheaper face masks on the market – try Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (£24.00/100ml) or Lancome Hydra Intense Mask (£33.00/100ml).

Moisturising Cream (from £115.00/30ml) – now, the cult classic. This is the one product that comes to mind when you hear words “La Mer”. It has fairly thick texture but once on your face it melts in and absorbs beautifully. It keeps skin nice and hydrated all day long. I really can’t fault this product – everything about it is great: the application, the fragrance (no-fragrance), the packaging. And it does work! It’s so basic yet so brilliant at the same time! Don’t be surprised if you see a full size product pop up in one of my skincare update post at some point later in the year. One thing to note, however, – if your skin is oily the original formula might feel a bit too rich. Not to worry, though, – the cream is available in four other formulas so you can pick one that best suits your skincare needs.

Have you tried any La Mer products? How do you justify high price tags when you buy beauty products?

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