Nyx Makeup Setting Spray – Dewy Finish

I don’t think there is much that is more frustrating than spending precious time applying makeup, only to have it melt off your face within minutes of stepping away from the mirror.  I have heard of using hairspray as a setting spray, but I don’t even like using fake tan that’s intended for the body on my face, so hairspray on my face is certainly not my thang.  I read once that the quicker you do your makeup, the less time it will last before making a bid for freedom.  I don’t know if this is necessarily true;  it takes me ages to do mine most of the time, and it certainly doesn’t always last ages.

 

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Nyx Makeup Setting Spray – Dewy Finish

 I have been trying the Nyx Makeup Setting Spray this week, in the Dewy Finish.  I bought it a while ago, but hadn’t got around to actually using it.   Nyx claim that this spray will keep makeup in place whatever the weather, while leaving a dewy finish to the skin.   It doesn’t have a strong scent, which can be taken as a plus (or a minus if you like smelly stuff, like me).  It is very light, and undetectable on the skin, both on the inside (as in I wasn’t aware of it) and on the outside (to the touch).  As with any sort of spray, I find that it is best applied after mascara – to avoid transference of the mascara to other places it really has no business being.

I can also report that as a setting spray it is very effective, although I didn’t notice a change to the dewiness of my face (my skin is on the dry side though).  On average I wore makeup for 7 hours, and found that my face looked very much the same at the end of the day as it did at the beginning.  Overall, very impressive.

The Nyx Makeup Setting Spray can be found for around £6.50 here on Amazon, or £8 from Very here.

Which setting sprays have you tried, and which have you found most effective?

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Battle of the Beauty Sponges – Time for my Twopence Worth

Do you ever see a trend happening around you in the beauty world, and think ‘I won’t succumb, it must be a gimmick, it can’t be as good as all that’? Well, that is exactly what I thought when I noticed the kerfuffle surrounding this new little pink sponge called a Beauty Blender. I was determined I didn’t need one, and certainly not when they cost £16. And indeed I held off until very recently. I purchased a Stila Double Ended Blending Sponge last year. Then, more recently, a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. It kept niggling away at me though, and eventually (as I knew I would) I gave in and bought one. So, being me, I really couldn’t leave it at that. I decided to pit them against each other in the ‘Great Battle of the Beauty Sponges’. I also included, to make the numbers even, the Lottie London Blend and Snap Sponge, a fairly new offering from a newish brand.

 

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Firstly, let’s talk about the Beauty Blender.  It is very light and doubles in size when dampened.  It feels like a sponge. albeit a dense one.  It is very soft; and cooling on the face when damp.  It has a pointed end, which makes getting into the crevices on the face very simple.  I found that it doesn’t suck up too much product, which means that it doesn’t waste foundation (excellent), but also that it gives good coverage.  I particularly like using it on my under-eyes, as it stops the skin there looking too ‘cakey’.  I really can’t fault the application, and I can see why it is so beloved.  However, the Real Techniques sponge is also an excellent little tool.  It has a very similar texture to the Beauty Blender, it works well damp and feels soft and pleasant on the skin.  I, personally, much prefer the shape of the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, the flat side just seems to work better when applying foundation (or BB Cream), and it also has the pointy end for smaller areas.

 

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The Beauty Blender
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The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

I happen to love Stila makeup, but the Double-Ended Blending Sponge on the other hand, me no likey.  I have mainly used it wet (I have no idea if this is what it is designed for, but dry doesn’t work either) and it just doesn’t cut the mustard I’m afraid.  When damp it feels almost slimy, and not nearly as nice on the skin as the others.  Because it is more rounded it isn’t as easy to use; I find myself using it sideways to cover the most skin in one go.  Not my favourite.  It is also quite dense, so bouncing it on the skin feels a bit like punching oneself in the face.

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Stila Double- Ended Blending Sponge

 

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Lottie London Blend and Snap Sponge

Finally, the Lottie London Blend and Snap Sponge.  I thought this sponge looked quite promising when it arrived.   It has a very similar texture – at first glance – to the Beauty Blender, and obviously it is the same colour.  It works fairly well too.  In order to test the sponges properly, I used two at a time, one on each side of my face.  When it came to comparing the Lottie London sponge with the Beauty Blender, the main difference seemed to be that the Lottie sponge drew in a lot more foundation, and deposited far less on my face.  So, great if you want a very light coverage, but not so great if you don’t like wastage.  In contrast, the application between the Real Techniques sponge (how many times can I write the word ‘sponge’?) and the Beauty Blender was identical, in my opinion.  Of course, I am not Lottie London’s target audience – apparently they are aimed at teenagers – so I don’t suppose they give a tiny rat’s a** what I think.

What about price though? The Beauty Blender sells for £16 for the original – pink – version. They also offer a white ‘pure’ sponge, mini green ones, and a large black Body Blender. These are available online, and I believe in Space NK stores.
The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge is £5.99 and is readily available online, and in Boots and Superdrug stores.
The Stila Double Ended Blending Sponge is £11.00 and seems to only be available online, it may be found in some stores, although I have never seen it.
The Lottie London Blend and Snap Sponge is £5.49, and is available from Superdrug stores and online. I purchased mine from ASOS.

My final conclusion?  The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is easily comparable to the Beauty Blender, and is almost a third of the price, so I say go for that.  I know there will be some die-hard BB fans who will think I am talking rubbish, but this is just my humble opinion.  While the Lottie London sponge is ok, if you are going to spend £5.49, I suggest you splurge the extra 50p and get the Real Techniques sponge instead.

What do you think?  Are there any even cheaper alternatives out there, that work just as well as the Beauty Blender?

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A New (to me) Gem – Ciate Mint Chocolate Nail Polish Remover

I have recently made a conscious decision to maintain tidy nails as as much of the time as possible. Previously I did not much care if they were chipped and different lengths, as long as they were smooth – I have never been able to abide ragged nails that catch on anything and everything.

Although they are certainly nothing to envy now, I like to think they are the best they can be. What used to put me off painting them was the thought of removing the polish a few days later. I have extremely sensitive nails, and using the wrong nail varnish remover would leave me with sore nails. They would hurt – ache, really – for around 24 hours after using remover. Whether this was the surrounding skin, or the skin under the nail I have no idea. A quick Google search suggests that it was the top layer of my nails being stripped, leaving them exposed and sensitive. Is this common? I really don’t know, but I have never come across anyone else who suffers from this weird affliction. I have tried many different nail polish removers over the years, always opting for ‘sensitive’ formulations, and even acetone free. Nothing has worked, until now … (Cue dramatic music)

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Ciate Mint Chocolate Nourishing and Gentle Nail Polish Remover

 

The Ciate Mint Chocolate Nail Polish Remover has vitamins B5 and E to condition the nails. It isn’t a new product, so perhaps I am the last to know about it (probably), but it is new to me. It also has a mint chocolate scent, that is supposed to leave nails smelling delicious. Now, firstly the smell. I took a big old whiff of it when I first used it. I can report that this was not a clever thing to do. It does smell a little of mint chocolate, but smells more strongly of nail polish remover. In addition to this, I always wash my hands straight after taking the polish off anyway, so I can’t say I am particularly fussed about a lingering smell. However, the reason I am so pleased with this purchase is that it did not leave my nails tender and aching! That, for me, is the biggest plus – and the reason that I hope I will always be able to purchase it, or something similar anyway.  It also does a good job of taking the polish off, with a little bit of persistence. It isn’t the best I have used in that respect, but that is a small price to pay for un-stripped nails.

Have you ever experienced this problem with your nails, or am I really one of a kind?  Can you recommend other gentle nail polish removers?

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Hair Talk – Trevor Sorbie Keratin + Argan Magnetic Multi Wand

Over the last 12 months my hair has gone from below shoulder length to jaw length.  That sounds accidental doesn’t it – but no, I have short hair voluntarily.  Unlike skincare and makeup, I like to keep things extremely simple with my hair.  If I could get away with just washing and going, I would.  Unfortunately my hair has frizzy tendencies, so needs a hairdryer to calm it down.  I then either straighten, or curl.

Even if I had the time – which I don’t – I still doubt that I would spend longer than 10 minutes styling my hair.  I prefer a more natural ‘I woke up like this’ look.  My styling tools of choice are my Ghd straighteners (of course), which although expensive have lasted me over 10 years (!) and the Trevor Sorbie Keratin + Argan Magnetic Multi Wand.

 

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L – R large wand; small wand; and bubble wand attachments

This curling wand has three attachments; a small barrel for tight curls, a bubble attachment for a more natural wave, and a larger barrel for big curls.  The attachments are magnetic, so super easy to swap, and are ceramic – which minimises damage to the hair.  There are multiple heat settings, between 150 and 200 C, which allows you to control how much heat you subject your hair to.  A useful feature for those whose hair needs a little more TLC.  I always make sure I use the heat resistant glove, after the time I badly burnt my finger – I still have the scar to remind me, should I forget.  Another handy feature is the heat resistant storage bag, which opens out flat, a must for resting the wand on while hot.  My husband still hasn’t forgiven me for the hole in the carpet caused by my Ghds.  Oops.

When my hair was longer I would use the bubble attachment, for a beachy wave.  Now that I have less length to play with, I use the small barrel.  This still gives a relaxed curl, that when it drops looks just how I like it.  On my hair the curls do last until the second day, when I spritz with a low-hold hairspray after styling.

Which tools and products do you like to use on your hair? Have you ever rocked a beehive, or do you like a more relaxed look?

PS: This is what happens when trying to take photos with small children around.  My youngest wanted in on the action.

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To Tan or Not to Tan (the face)

I have sporadically self-tanned my body for a few years, but tanning my face is something that I have avoided.  Not because I like the two-toned look, but because I don’t like the thought of using products formulated for the body on my face.

So, when I came across this new little gem from Clarins it would be an understatement to say I was excited.  The Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster is a teeny tiny little bottle, containing little drops of liquid sunshine.  It is designed in such a way that you can push on one end, and a drop will come out of the dropper.  Simply add 1-3 drops with your usual facial moisturiser, mix in the palm  of your hand and apply to the face.  It will then work its magic on your skin to create a golden glow.  Simple pimple.

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What I love about the Golden Glow Booster, is exactly what frustrated me about the St Tropez Gradual Tan in-shower lotion; it is very subtle. I personally don’t want to go to sleep with my face one colour, and wake up quite another. That’s fine on my body – I can hide that – but my face is so… well, public.  Anyway, I have found that three days of mixing three drops in with my night cream creates the perfect colour.  Not unnaturally brown, but simply healthy looking.  My skin, although not hyper-sensitive, can react to some products.  If I overdo it with new things, or use anything too harsh, I will end up with soreness across my cheekbones, and/or bumps along my jawline.  After using the Radiance-Plus Glow Booster for a week, I have had no adverse reaction whatsoever, so I would expect that most – if not all – skin types will get on with it.  There is no smell that I could detect, so if you wanted a double dose you could apply in the morning too.

I really cannot rate this amazing stuff highly enough.  At £18 for 15ml, it is not cheap, however, a little goes a long way, and I can see it lasting well beyond the end of summer.

 

If you are a self-tanner, what do you do? Choose a darker foundation to make up the difference, or do you use body products on your face? Let me know in the comments below!

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Primers – My Choices for Fabulous Skin

A couple of years ago I had never even heard of makeup primers, and now they are everywhere.  Primers are exactly what they say; products to prime the skin before applying makeup.  I can’t pretend I have tried them all, but I have sampled a fair few.  Here are my favourites.

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Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water:  I was full of disdain for this primer when I first tried it.  I had heard good things so I thought I would give it a go.   To begin with I was very disappointed; it doesn’t behave as I thought a primer should.  It doesn’t conceal pores, or even out skin tone.  What it does do is act as a refresher.  I like to use it after moisturiser, and before my other primers of choice, (keep reading for those…) for a blast of hydration.  It is also lovely as a little pick-me-up during the day.

 

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I always follow this with Too Faced Hangover Primer.  This primer feels very much like a moisturiser, it’s a light, non-silicone-y lotion.  It contains all sorts of wonderful ingredients like coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers, which apparently work together to boost hydration and smooth the skin.  It might sound a bit too good to be true, but this primer is just lush.  It is also vegan and paraben free.  I love it so much that I am feeling a bit nervous about coming to the end of my current tube.  It isn’t readily available in the UK (I bought mine on Amazon from a US Based seller) and although Too Faced do ship here, it would cost £22 for the primer, and almost another £20 for shipping.  A little bit steep for this Hangover fan.

 

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On days when my pores are looking a little obvious, or when I want a really long lasting flawless finish, I will use the L’Oreal Nude Magique Blur Cream This is a tinted silicone type primer that ‘blurs’ the pores on my nose and leaves me with smoother looking skin. It doesn’t ‘roll up’ like some products can, it just leaves the best possible base for foundation or BB cream.

Using three products may seem like a lot of fiddling around, but the whole routine only takes a couple of minutes, and it is definitely worth it for longer lasting makeup and (almost!) flawless skin.

 

What is your primer of choice?  Do you have more than one?

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The Perfect Summer Nail

 I posted this picture on my Instagram page last week, and thought I would share it on here too.  This BarryM Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Passion Fruit is just the most perfect orangey red shade.  It looks fantastic on tanned fingers and toes.  It’s so summery that it makes me want an ice cream just thinking about it.

 

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I love the formula of these Gelly polishes, I have a few and they are all fab.  They go on smoothly, and are lovely and shiny.  I do like to do three coats, so need to allow quiiiiite a lot of drying time, but it’s worth it.  They are also very reasonably priced – currently £3.99 from Boots (here) or Superdrug (here).  There are a few more shades calling out to me actually, I’ll be right back…

So, tell me, what is your favourite summer nail shade?

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Exciting New Makeup Brand – Freedom London

June was an exciting month in the beauty world, lots of new products and a whole new brand launched. Freedom Makeup has been developed by the name behind Makeup Revolution – Adam Minto (AKA Mr Makeup). Being a pretty big Revolution fan, I couldn’t wait to get my grubby mitts on some Freedom bits and bobs. I ordered almost immediately, and waited eagerly for my delivery.

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It is billed as a professional range, which I am not, but it is available for us unprofessionals too. So far all purchases must be made online, but I believe they may be launching in stores soon.

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Pro Curve Mascara

First up Pro Curve Mascara– of course there would be a mascara, this is me we’re talking about. This mascara is ok. It isn’t anything special, but it’s £2. That’s two pounds, people! If you are on a tight budget, then this mascara is perfectly adequate, it just won’t give you the fattest, longest lashes of everyone in the room. Well, unless you’re the only one there, then I suppose it will.

Purr and Meow
Purr and Meow

Next, two of the Pro Glow powder compacts (of which there are four) Meow and Purr; £2.50 each. I’m not entirely sure what to make of these, they are designed to be swept over the skin to create a glow, or you can pick out individual shades. I found that these are more bronzer than anything else – which is fine by me – and they are very soft and powdery. So a light hand is definitely needed, I all but rammed my brush in to Purr and it made quite the mess.
I mentioned the Pro Correct Palette (£5) in my Super Speedy Routine post I really love this palette. As someone who literally dreams about finding a concealer that will actually hide their dark circles, correctors and concealers are extremely exciting. This one is very creamy, and not at all drying under the eyes. I have used it almost every time I have done my makeup in the last month.

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Pro Correct Palette

I also went for a highlighter; Pro Highlight, in Brighten, because I just can’t get enough highlighters. I do love to get my glow on. This highlighter is a very useful addition to my growing collection, it is not overly pigmented, but is just glowy enough to wear on more natural makeup days.

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Pro Highlight in Brighten
Play Kit and Stunning Rose Kit
Play Kit and Stunning Rose Kit

The eyeshadow palettes that I purchased are a bit hit and miss, if I’m honest. The Pro Shade and Brighten palette ‘Play Kit’ contains some lovely purples and blues, with a pretty green thrown in for good measure. These colours are mostly great, with excellent pigmentation, although the plummy purple colour disappears when it is blended. The ‘Stunning Rose Kit’ palette on the other hand, is fantastic; pigmented, soft and blendable. What more can a girl ask for? At £2.50 each, these palettes are a steal. Being very small palettes, they are perfect for popping in your bag for touch ups.

Overall, I have been very impressed with Freedom Makeup. If you have thought about purchasing, but have been undecided, then I say go for it. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Have you purchased anything from Freedom yet? If so, what did you get, and what do you think?

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Vaseline Spray and Go Body Moisturisers – A Quick Burst of Moisture

I am always on the lookout for body lotions and creams that are not too heavy, but still do the job. I suffer with dry skin all over, so moisturising is not a step I like to skip. On weekday mornings particularly, when I have to get four children ready to face the day, time is of the essence. This means I can’t be waiting around in my undies until my body lotion decides to soak in.

In other words, I expect a lot from body moisturisers. I want good moisture, a pleasant but not overpowering scent, and for it to sink in quick smart. I don’t want much do I?

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I can say that these Vaseline Spray and Go moisturisers deliver exactly that. They are both nicely scented – I actually don’t have a preference – but not so strong that it interferes with my perfume of the day. They are moisturising enough to keep my flaky skin at bay. Because they are in spray form they are quite runny, but I don’t find them messy to use at all.  I picked these up from Superdrug here and here, they were only £4.99 each, and they last for ages.

All in all a successful purchase, and I would buy either again in the future.

What body lotions or creams do you like?

Not a sponsored post, just me sharing a new love 🙂

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The Smallest of Hauls & First Impressions

I have been nearing the end of my Origins GinZing moisturiser  over the last few days.  And, being as fickle as the day is long I have decided not to repurchase it.  As much as I have enjoyed using it, I just don’t feel that it is ‘The One’.

 Despite my decision to have a less spenderific July, I found myself in Boots yesterday.  I did manage to keep my spending to a minimum (honest, guv) and just picked up two Soap and Glory moisturisers (and some nappies for the baby, but they are kind of essential).  I went for Speed Plump and For Daily Youth.  I’m not greedy, but there was a ‘Buy one, get one half price’ offer on, so I thought I would get two, in the hope that one will knock my socks off.

 

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Speed Plump (here) promises to give ‘tighter, brighter, firmer, smoother looking skin’ and apparently has ‘Moistureplump’ technology.  For Daily Youth (here) is a 6 – in – 1 Multi-Active moisture lotion, which will ‘Mazimize moisture levels, soothe stressed skin, rejuvenate tired skin, improve elasticity, soften and smoothe the skin’.  Wow.  Both promise great things, I hope at least one will prove to be my new must-have skincare product.  If results were in any way related to packaging then I would be on to a winner – I just love Soap and Glory packaging.

I used Speed Plump today, and so far so good.  It is for dry/dehydrated skin, but it’s not in any way heavy. A little bit goes a long way, and it disappeared into my skin without leaving a legacy in the form of a greasy film.

I will see how I get on over the next few days, and will report back… Stay tuned!!

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