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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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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