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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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.

IMG_0396L-R, Top – Bottom: Turn It On, Crank It Up and Blow a Fuse

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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