Top 3 Bronzers

2017, June

I’m not much of a tanner but I do like adding some colour to my cheeks and décolletage especially in the summer months when my chest and shoulders are more exposed. I’m one for a subtle tan look and these are my favourite bronzers for achieving just that.

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Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base (£32.00/30g) – a bit of a Marmite product, I am strongly in the “love” camp. It’s a very firm cream bronzer so it’s fairly difficult to pick up too much product. It blends out effortlessly and adds beautiful colour to the face. The shade is kind of golden but without any annoying shimmer. Beautiful, beautiful product. So worth the high price tag.

+ I use the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (£9.99) which has densely packed medium length bristles to apply and blend this bronzer.

Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer ($14.99/) – it’s notoriously hard to get your hands on this product the UK. But if you manage it it’s definitely worth picking up. I have the shade Light Bronzer and it’s a slightly muted cool toned shade. It’s not overly pigmented so agin – not a scary bronzer to use. The powder is so soft and buttery – it applies and blends like a dream. The powder is also quite strongly fragranced. It smells like the sweet coconut holiday scent and it does linger for a while. If you’re not a fan of that particular smell you might want to have sniff before you buy.

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder (£36.50/10g) – such an iconic product. It actually took me a while to warm up to this bronzer. It does look a bit orangey in the pan but it doesn’t look too warm on the skin. It’s definitely a dry powder but the pigmentation level is just right. I also didn’t notice any powder fall out with this so it definitely lives up to it’s high quality standard. Again – it’s fragranced. To me it smells like an old school perfume, but thankfully it goes as soon as you put it on your cheeks. There are nine shades available in different finishes. I’ve got shade #01 Clair Brunettes which is the lightest of the matt shades.

+ I use the Kiko’s Face Brush (£16.90) to apply powder bronzers. The brush is huge and super soft. It applies and blends product very evenly and quickly.

What is your favourite bronzing product? Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine xx

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Current Beauty Favourites – June 2017

2017, June

It’s time for the next round of my current beauty favourites. Being such a creature of habit I was very surprised to discover that some new players have actually entered the scene. There’s nothing ground-breaking here and it’s very likely that you have heard of all these products before.

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Origins Out of Trouble Mask (£24.00/100ml). I love the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (£39.50/150ml) but it just stings so much! Origins offering leaves my skin just as smooth and radiant and there is no discomfort, it feels very soothing and refreshing. 10 minutes of this is all you need to sort out your skin for the rest of the week. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray (£1.99/25ml). I got my hair chopped much shorter a couple of weeks ago and when my hairdresser recommended to a salt spray to style my new cut I was a bit apprehensive because my track record with salt sprays has not been that great. Most of them leave my hair feeling sticky and greasy. My hairdresser mentioned the John Frieda Salt Spray specifically and when I discovered that it also comes in a mini 25ml size bottle I decided to give it a try. I ended up really liking it – it’s very light so it’s hard to over do it, it gives hair some grit and texture yet it still feels fresh and clean. It also has that artificial sweet coconut smell which I actually don’t mind, it’s very holiday like.

Nars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (£19.50) – this has been an absolute game changer for me. I used to use the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (£17.00/10ml) before the packaging was updated to include an applicator. I still think it’s a lovely product but I would always end up using way too much (I really should pick up one of the new tubes that come with a doe foot applicator). Nars’ version has always had an applicator and it really makes it so much easier. It delivers an exact amount you need and it helps even the most hopeless of eyeshadows last all day.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk (£24.00) You might have read my post on MACxFleaur de Force collab and I am still absolutely obsessed with that lipstick. However, it was a limited edition item and it’s no longer available to purchase so I thought I’ll include the runner up instead. It’s just as stunning and it’s more permanent-ish. The shade is a no brainer – it’s a slightly pink muted mauve that gives your lips that little bit of pigment. The texture of this seems more creamier than other matte revolution lipsticks that I’ve tried, but the pigment is definitely still there. I have always thought that if you’re going to splurge on a lipstick it should be a shade you can wear every day and the Pillow Talk is just that.

YSL Touche Éclat (£25.50/2.5ml) – if you red my post on the Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer you’ll know about my recent struggles with dark under eye circles. I know Touche Éclat is not technically a concealer but that’s what most people I know use it for. I had used it before but I was never that impressed. I picked up a new pen a couple of months ago and it’s been fantastic. I now have this on most days, it’s a great brightening product (I use shade #1). It’s very easy to apply, it lightweight and you can blend it out with fingers. It also never creases on me.

What are some of your current beauty favourites?

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Viseart Minx palette

2017, June

IMG_2044.jpgViseart palette has always been a bit of bucket list beauty item for me. I don’t really use eyeshadows that much to ever be able to justify spending £64 on a palette. The big palettes also look a bit intimidating – I’ve always felt that you have to be a make-up artist to get the full potential out of the 12 shades. A six-pann, on the other hand, seemed a lot more manageable. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down to only one palette since all the shades in the smaller size palettes are so beautifully selected (currently they are available in five colour-ways). In the end I went for the Minx Theory Palette (£36.00) because I’m still very much in-to that rusty eyeshadow trend – it just suits my green eyes so well!

The pigmentation of these is insane! The shades look just as pigmented on your eyelids as they do in the pan. They almost become alive when you dip the brush in the pans and you can see this extra layer of vibrancy. Three out of the six shades look matt but only one of them is a true matt (the top left). The other two are slightly satiny and have this almost duo chromatic sheen. The powders blend beautifully so you don’t have to be worried that the pigmentation will be too intense. The packaging is very light and small and all the pans are removable so you can mix and match your shades. I’m so, so happy that I finally picked this up – it’s absolutely perfect and I can’t recommend it enough. So worth the money!

What is your favourite eyeshadow palette?

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The Ordinary Foundations

2017, June

I finally got a chance to try out The Ordinary foundations and it’s been a bit of a hit and miss.

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The Coverage Foundation (£5.90/30ml) – having read some of the early reviews I knew I definitely wanted to try it. This foundation sounded right up my street – highly pigmented yet lightweight foundation that doesn’t crease and has the added benefits of SPF 15. This is available in 21 shades split in several categories so even if you’re placing an online order it will be very easy to find your shade.

First off – I was very impressed with the packaging – the bottles are supper light and dinky and they come with a lockable pump so they’re an absolute dream for traveling. The formula of this is quite liquid and once you’ve had the bottle still for a few hours you will see some pigment separation so you have to give it a good shake before each use.

Unfortunately as soon as I applied the foundation it was clear that it does not work for me. It applied a bit patchy and it made the dry areas on my face very noticeable. It’s definitely not the type of coverage I would expect from a foundation branded as “high coverage”. It’s medium at most. Surprisingly it was a bit dewy on me so I felt I had to set it with a powder (I use NYX High Definition Finishing Powder in Banana £9.00/8g). The foundation settles a bit throughout the day and it actually looks better few hours in than it does on first application. Still – it was a bit of an disappointment.

I wasn’t planning on purchasing The Serum Foundation (£5.70/30ml) but when I placed my order I noticed my shade (1.2N Light Neutral) was available in this so I decided to give it a go. I also thought it would be great to compare the two formulas. I went in not expecting much but I actually ended up liking it more than the Coverage Foundation. The texture of this is very liquid – it’s almost water-like. It applies less patchy and doesn’t cling to dry areas as much but I still felt like I had to blend it a fair bit. Again it’s a light medium finish in terms of coverage. On me it actually looked fairly matt so I didn’t sett it with a powder. In terms of staying power  – I was quite impressed – it held up very well even after eight hours of wear. It comes in the same handy bottle and the shade selection is identical to the Coverage foundation.

All in all they’re not bad products but they’re not that amazing either. The prices are great but are the end results so fantastic that it’s worth waiting four weeks to get your hands on them? Definitely no. If you’re intrigued by the brand (like I am), by all means, give the foundations a go but please don’t fall for the hype (like I did). They’re not the best thing since sliced bread.

Which is your favourite foundation?

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Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer

2017, May

Having no dark under eye circles used to be my thing. Seriously. I never really had a need to use a concealer and whenever I did I was always left a bit disappointed because I could never really see that much of a difference. That was until seven months ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby daughter. When you have a baby the lack of sleep you have to deal with is out of this world. The decline was fast, within days I had dark under eye circles like I’ve never seen before. And the worst part is that it looks like they’re here to stay so now I need all the concealer help I can get.

I haven’t seen a single negative word said about the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer so it seemed like a great product to try. But is it really that good?

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First off – it’s extremely hard to get your hands on this if you live in the UK. Most of the basic shades are sold out but a new waiting list is open every few months on QVC website HERE. If you don’t want to wait and for a much bigger shade selection Tarte’s website is your best bet – but it’s not cheap. Together with the delivery and tax charges I ended up paying almost £40!!! It’s cheaper than amazon and ebay, though.

The formula of this seems to be based on one of the new generation foundations that are very liquidy and lightweight but deliver extremely good coverage at the same time. The applicator is huge and it deposits quite a lot of product, maybe even a bit more than I would like. The product can be a bit drying (don’t expect any radiance or dewiness from this!) so the best way to apply is with a damp sponge. Since it is a bit drying you don’t have to set it and it doesn’t collect in creases during the day so it’s a great timesaver. In terms of coverage it’s a very decent high to medium coverage concealer. It won’t go as far as covering tattoos but then how often do you actually need a concealer of that strength anyway?

All in all it’s a very good product but there is definitely some room for improvement. On the days when my skin is feeling particularly dry this unfortunately doesn’t work for me so at this stage I’m not sure I would repurchase.

What are your favourite concealers? I would love to hear some recommendations.

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MAC x Fleur De Force Lipstick

2017, May

I was so excited when back in January Fleur announced she was collaborating with MAC to bring out a new lipstick. If you’re familiar with Fleur’s content it probably came as no surprise that she’s picked a neutral shade. It’s more nude than I expected and it’s not really a shade I would have normally picked for myself. There were some early swatch photos available before it went on sale and again I can’t say that I was instantly sold. I did decide to pick it up anyway and boy do I like it! I newer thought a nude lip would suit me but I was so wrong! I am completely obsessed with this lipstick and now I’m kicking myself for not picking up a back-up since it was a limited edition.

It’s what I would call a true nude – there are no noticeable traces of pink, red or orange, it’s more of a light caramel brown. I can see this being a perfect match with a smokey eye or a bronzed up look in the summer. It also works great as an everyday lipstick with minimal makeup. It’s a creamsheen formula but it seems more pigmented and longer lasting than other creamsheen lipsticks I own.

At the time this post goes live this lipstick has been sold out online from all of the official retailers. If there are any left in stores at Selfridges or Brown Thomas or if they pop up on ebay grab one. Or two. That is of course if I don’t beat you to it. Cracking job Fleur, it’s my favourite beauty purchase of the year so far.

Which is your favourite everyday lipstick?

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Makeup Revolution palettes

2017, May

It’s a weird one for me because I don’t really know how I feel about this brand. I’m all for good quality afordable makeup and Makeup Revolution fits that bill perfectly. The product selection is huge and there is something for everyone – the average buyers like me get to try out trend products without breaking the bank, professionals can find super cheap additions to their kit and makeup virgins are able to build a very decent starter set by picking up just a couple of the brand’s palettes.

It’s the dupeing thing that bugs me. Sure, they’re not trying to sell a fake Urban Decay, Lorac or Kat von D palettes. They’re more like the Topshop version of the super expensive Gucci shoes. We could call it the inspired makeup I guess. But then looking at my very modest collection of four my two favourites are actually the inspired ones. So I’ll start with those:

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Makeup Revolution Eyeshadow Pallet Iconic Smokey (£6.00) – this is a dupe for The Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette (£39.50). I first tried applying the shadows without an eye primer and the lasting power was absolutely rubbish – they were gone in a matter of hours. Having said that, it can easly happen with some of the high-end shadows too. With a primer (I used The Nars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base £19.50) it’s a completely different story  – they lasted beautifully all day without any creasing or smudging. I’d say pigmentation is better than average. It’s not a high end palette and as long as you don’t pretend that it is I think you’ll be very happy with the results. My favourite thing about the palettes is the shade selection – they really are great shades for creating all kinds of smokey eye looks, but it’s not like I can give Makeup Revolution any credit for that. And that’s the thing – the inspired makeup feels right and so wrong at the same time.

 

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Makeup Revolution Beyond Radiance Palette (£8.00) – from what I gather this is a dupe for The Hourglas Ambient Lighting Palette (£59.00). I own only one of the original Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (£40.00) and I think I actually prefer the Makeup Revolution’s version. It’s a very sattle product that instantly livens up your face and gives you that glow from within look. I wouldn’t say it’s a highlighting palette but you could potentially use the middle shade as a very gentle highlight – it has a bit more shimmer than the other two. Using this palette has actually made me think about look in-to buying the original Hourglass palette so maybe there are more benefits in the dupeing thing for the original brands than I realise.

 

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Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette (£8.00) – I’ve never really been able to ace the contouring thing so I bought this in attempt to get some practice without spending a fortune. Most of the shades are actually too dark for me as contouring powders but they work well as bronzers. And the two sparkly shades are not as horrible as they look – ther’re actually both quite nice highlighters. It doesn’t work as a countouring palette for me but that’s my own fault for choosing shades that don’t suit my skintone. If these shades work for you I think you will really like this palette.

 

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Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush Palette Sugar & Spice (£6.00) – this is definitely a more traditional  than other Makeup Revolution blush palettes. My most used are the two shades on the top left. And similar to the countouring pallette the two shimmery shades are not actually that scary. They can look nice as toppers with your blush-  just make sure you’re not too heavy handed. It’s a good palette to try if you like switching up and mixing your blush sahades since there are quite a few to choose from.

Something that all of the palettes have in common is obviously the packaging which I actually really like – the palettes are very sleek, reasonably sized and all of them have a huge mirror inside. Something else I noticed with all of the powders is that there is quite a lot of fall-out and they can be a bit hard to blend, but the pigmentation is still there so they’re well worth those extra minutes you’ll have to spend blending.

Have you tried any Makeup Revolution products? How do you feel about the inspired makeup thing?

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Stenders Cosmetics – first impressions

2017, May

I talked about one of my favourite Latvian beauty brands Madara Cosmetics last week (you can read my full review HERE). Another favourite of mine is Stenders Cosmetics. Something that always comes to mind when I think about Stenders is bath-bombs. It was all the craze 10-15 years ago and back then they were pretty much the only bath products I used. But Stenders does so much more now – there are beautiful bodycare, skincare and even suncare products available from the brand. This time I picked up four products:

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Coffee Cream Lip Balm (£5.40/4.8g) – it definitely smells a lot more like a cream than coffee and smell only lasts for a couple of minutes once you apply the balm so the fragrance isn’t an overpowering one. The lip balm itself applies like butter – it’s very, very soft and glides effortlessly on the lips – I could happily just sit there and apply this all day. The thing is, though, – it doesn’t really absorb. It will stay on your lips and protect them while it’s on but once it comes of your lips will go back to their original state. So it’s not really a lip treatment product. It’s still very nice, though. The packaging is small and lightweight so it a great one to pop in a handbag or a travel makeup bag.

Apple Blossom Hand Cream (£5.90/25ml) – I was very interested to find out how this smells because there isn’t really a particular smell that I associate with apple blossoms. Turns out it’s very sweet and floral and a tad bitter and earthy and I absolutely love it! It’s just perfect for this time of year! The hand cream itself is pretty light and absorbs quite quickly. It’s not your heavy duty every day hand cream in terms of what it does to your skin. And since you only get 25ml per tube you will probably want to keep it as a special treat anyway.

Seaberry Nourishing Body Cream (£19.90/200g) – I haven’t really seen sea buckthorn used by any of the international mainstream brands but it’s widely used in Latvia both as a skincare and a food ingredient. The Stenders Seaberry line encapsulates the smell of the berry beautifully – it’s fruity, citrusy and very sweet at the same time. The texture of the cream is quite thick but it’s very easy to apply and it absorbs quickly. It didn’t do anything above and beyond of what a generic body moisturiser can do and the smell didn’t last all that long so it’s more of a shower/bath experience product. I used it with the Seaberry Softening Shower Oil (£14.90/245ml) and had a bit of a Herbal Essences moment. These two products just make me so happy to shower and to moisturise my body.  If you use the shower oil on it’s own the fragrance won’t lasts beyond the bathroom door so you don’t have to worry about it messing with your perfume.

Have you tried anything from the Stenders? Any product recommendations?

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Madara Cosmetics – first impressions

2017, April

Every time I visit my hometown Riga I try to pick up some Latvian made beauty products. I’d say Madara is probably one of the main Latvian beauty brands and they’re best known for using natural and organically sourced ingredients in their products. I picked up four new items this time and I’ve used them for a couple of days now. So this is what I thought:

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Micellar Water (£14.00/100ml) – I use micellar waters as a first step in my makeup removing routine so I always wash it off with my second cleanse product. This is definitely one of those micellar waters that is trying to be more of a skincare item rather than a makeup remover. It’s actually not that great at removing makeup at all, quite a lot of effort was required to get my mascara off. I do appreciate the added benefits of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera and the icy fresh smell. If this was marketed as a tonner my opinion would be very different. Unfortunately as a makeup removing micellar water it’s completely useless.

Infusion Vert Moisture Soap (£10.00/300ml) – this actually ended up being my favourite of the bunch. It’s such a very gentle soapy gel with a herbal/meadow-like smell. There is no SLS in this so don’t expect this to lather much. It feels very quenching and refreshing on the skin and I imagine it would be great for hot summer evenings or after a workout. Big thumbs up from me.

Cloudberry & Oat Hydrating Lotion (£11.00/100ml) – this is actually part of their Baby&Kids range and I picked it up mainly because I’ve used their Cloudberry & Oat Milk Solid Soap in the past and I love the smell of that! This smells quite different, though, – it’s very sweet and sugary and for that reason alone there is no way I would use it on my baby daughter. For myself, however, this turned out to be a very nice lotion – it left my skin feeling very soft and smooth.

Daily Defence Cream (£15.00/60ml) – I have read so many rave reviews on this and it has been marketed as an absolute miracle cream so I was very excited to finally try it. I like the fragrance – again, they’ve used a cloudberry and sea buckthorn oils which I seem so attracted to. It work’s great as a hand cream – it’s quite heavy duty but it doesn’t leave your hands feeling overly greasy. 60ml tube is not going to get you very far if you use it on your body. The texture is too light to use on the lips and because of the strong fragrance I would be cautious about putting this on my face. So really – they need to drop the multi action claims and re-market this as a hand cream (especially since Madara’s Protecting Hand Cream isn’t actually that nice).

Have you tried any products from Madara? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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New in – lipsticks

2017, April

I’ve added three new drugstore numbers to my collection. All quite neutral – they’re all great everyday options.

IMG_0474L-R, Bottom to Top: Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolor #705 Dawn, Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick #160 Delicious, L’Oreal Color Riche Matte Obsession Lipstick #640 Erotique

Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolor #705 Dawn (£7.99) – is a beautiful nude pink with a bit of a golden shimmer running through. It looks slightly berry toned on the lips and it’s surprisingly pigmented. It has a quite strong candy-like fragrance but it only seems to  last for about 15-20 minutes so it shouldn’t be a major issue if you’re sensitive to fragranced products. You’ll get a standard few hours of wear – decent enough for a drugstore product. I love the sleek packaging, it’s very handy for popping in-to a handbag.

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick #160 Delicious (£7.99) – another nude pink, but this one is definitely a lot more on the pink side. If you look closely there is some shimmer in the bullet but this does not show up on the lips. I don’t see these being mentioned a lot but the Velvet Touch lipsticks are one of my favourite lipsticks from the drugstore. They’re super pigmented and with a lip-liner they last all day!

L’Oreal Color Riche Matte Obsession Lipstick #640 Erotique (£6.99) – part of L’Oreal’s recently launched matte range this is my favourite of the bunch. It’s super wearable muted brown red. It can feel a bit drying on the lips but it’s definitely more of a satin matte so still very comfortable. It fades beautifully – it leaves a slight stain on the lips so you don’t get any funny looking harsh lines once the colour is starting to go.

What are your favourite everyday neutral lipsticks?

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