Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil – Second Impressions

When you have dry skin, applying make-up (particularly base products) becomes a bit of a battle.  For the last few months my skin has been drier than a cracker.  We’re talking dry patches, tightness and scales.  It’s been real ugly.  My usual favourite primer (Too Faced Hangover, if you’re interested) has not been cutting it.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare

When I saw the new Photo Finish Primer Oil from Smashbox, I was very intrigued.  Initially I wondered how an oil could possibly be a good idea.  Surely it would be too heavy and disgusting to wear under make-up? (I use Almond oil sometimes as part of my skincare routine, but only at night, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to get away with wearing it under make-up).  I couldn’t leave it alone though, and had to have a little play when I was in Boots.  And then… I bought it.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare


Surprisingly, this Primer Oil is not heavy or disgusting.  It’s much lighter than a normal oil, and it sinks into the skin like magic.  In fact, this is what made me part with 28 squid in the end. I put a generous amount on my hand when shopping, and by the time I had finished talking myself out of buying all the Smashbox it has disappeared. It had soaked in, with barely a trace.  Now, £28 won’t be a lot to some, but to me it kind of is a lot for one product. Especially when I really didn’t know anything about it.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare
One drop of the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil when first applied. It’s runny and has a thin consistency.


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare
This is the Primer Oil when rubbed in lightly


primer face make-up smashbox phot finish primer oil moisturiser moisturizer serum hydrating skincare
This is the Primer Oil a minute or two after rubbing in.


Smashbox actually suggest that the Photo Finish Primer Oil should be used as part of your skincare routine, both morning and night.  I have simply used it as an extra step before applying make-up, because that’s when I need it most.  And I have to say, after using it a couple of times,  I am most impressed.  I apply it after cleansing, serum-ing and moisturising, and give it a couple of minutes to soak in.  That’s all it takes for the magic to happen. I should probably point out here that I like a dewy finish; matte is not my friend.

What I find I am left with, after using the oil, is a smooth, hydrated base for my foundation.  Dry patches be gone!  After such a long time of hating the way my skin looks with make-up on, it is so nice to not to cringe when I look in the mirror anymore.  Despite liking a dewy finish, I really don’t like a sticky, tacky feeling (who does though?).  When using the Smashbox oil, I find that it is the perfect amount of hydration.  Dew without the shine, if you will.


Of course, this is only my second impression, so I am hoping that there won’t be any nasty effects. My pores have a habit of becoming clogged when I overdo the moisturising products, so fingers crossed that this won’t happen with the Smashbox Primer Oil.  I’ll let you know how I get on after a few more uses – be sure to check back for updates.






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Money Saving Make-Up

Does your make-up work hard enough for you? Does it save you money? Does it?

Do you ever justify a completely unnecessary sale purchase by working out how much money you have saved? Conveniently forgetting that if you didn’t buy it at all, it wouldn’t cost a penny.  I do this quite a lot.

Another fun way to deceive yourself, is to buy make-up that can be used in multiple ways.  It’s just good sense!  These are a few of my favourite multi-purpose make-up products.


make-up multi-purpose topshop shuffle the cards revlon highlighting palette paul and joe face and eye colour


highlighter topshop shuffle the cards chameleon glow eyeshadow


I am only going to mention powder products today; I am resisting the urge to include the Babylips Balm and Blush despite my love for it. The Topshop Chameleon Glow in Shuffle The Cards is an eyeshadow and highlighter in one.  It is the most gorgeous multi-coloured gold, with pink shimmery bits in.  Initially, I used it as a highlighter, but it is also gorgeous as an eyeshadow.  It is particularly spectacular layered over other shadows, to add dimension and an extra pop.  The Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose Glow is another little gem that I originally bought as a highlighter.  It is more than that though.  A generous sweep over the whole face gives a pretty glow, for those days when you want to feel like a shimmery goddess.   It is also perfect for eyeshadow, and blusher.  A good all-rounder.  Excellent value for £9.99 – here. 


revlon highlighting highlighter make-up palette eyeshadow blusher blush shimmer brick bobbi brown


I have, of course,  saved the best ’til last.  The Paul and Joe Face and Eye Colour CS 094 has it all.  All the colours are gorgeous on the eye, if that’s what floats your boat.  The powders are soft and pigmented, and blend like a dream.  Personally, I do not contour, but I think the brown could be used for adding dimension to the face.  The darker pink is a perfect blusher, and the pale pink is a pretty highlighter. I tend to only use the turquoise as an eyeshadow.  I can’t say I have found a second use for that one. Yet.  If you travel a lot, I think this would make a handy addition to a scaled down make-up selection.  I also have to mention the packaging, which – at the risk of sounding like a giddy tween – is soooo cute.  It has flamingos on it.  And it’s gold.  And the powders have faces on! Get yours here.


paul and joe eyeshadow and face palette cd 094 spring 2015 ciollection famingos powder highlighter eyeshadow blusher


Of course if I were to try hard enough, I could probably use almost any make-up product for something other than the use it was intended for. But, really, where’s the fun in that? As satisfying as it is to use one palette all over my face, it is also exciting to have an extensive collection of daft and unnecessary make-up items.


What about you? Do you like a one size fits all approach to your make-up collection?


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Easy Squeezy Make-Up When Time is Short

Usually I am an all or nothing make-up wearer.  Because I don’t have the time for make-up every day, I like to do it properly when I do do it (doodoo. *chuckle*).  Sometimes though, for whatever reason, things just go awry.  Do you ever have days where you have approximately 20 seconds to get ready and out the door? I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Sunday was one of these days for me, and I thought I would share my tried and tested favourites for an easy make-up look.



clinique too faced cheek pop melon pop physicians formula maybeliine too faced chocolate bar make-up quick speedy fast mum mom mother


I don’t know about you, but when I have limited time, the last thing I want to be doing is fiddling around with new products that I have never tried before.  Routine and consistency is key in these emergency situations! These are my top picks for a quick and natural look, when I have under ten minutes to get my ready-to-be-seen-in-public face on.

I always start with a moisturising primer, like the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer.  While this primer doesn’t increase the lasting power of my base, it does add a much-needed hydrating layer to my dry skin.  It’s not the cheapest, but I would repurchase this over and over again.  I just love it, and a little goes a long way.  £27 – here. 


Despite having the largest concealer collection in the history of the world, I can count on one hand the few that I actually rate.  In times of need, my top pick is the Maybelline Fit Me concealer (I use no. 15, and I also have no. 10, which is actually darker than 15,weirdly).  It is an easy to use, affordable concealer.  It doesn’t cake, or settle into fine line, and it does an admirable job of covering dark circles and blemishes.  Not bad for £5.99 – here.


w7 bronzer bronze make-up highlighter busy mum mom mother face easy quick


I don’t bother setting with powder when I’m in a rush, because I can’t stand the disappointment quite frankly.  I always think it will be a good idea, then feel frustrated when it ages me by 30 years. Bronzer, highlighter and blusher go on to mostly naked skin.  I don’t know what it is about using a palette, rather than individual pans, it just feels as though it is saving time.  I’m pretty sure it makes no difference whatsoever, but whatever.  Recently, I have been loving this W7 Bronze and Glow duo.  The highlighter in particular is gorgeous.  The bronzer is very subtle (not a bad thing) and looks a little shimmery in the pan, but it isn’t glittery on the skin.  The best part? It is only £2.98 – here.


For blusher, I gravitate towards the Clinique Cheek Pop in Melon Pop, when I am rushing. The colour is absolutely gorgeous (read about my love affair with peach blushers here) and because it is very subtle, it is perfect for a quick sweep on the cheeks. Any more colour, and it would be too scary to use in a hurry.



eyeshadow palette too faced chocolate bar quick easy make-up mom mum mother


My favourite palette of all time is the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette.  It was my first high-end palette, so it has a special place in my collection anyway, but it’s not just that.  The colours are perfect for both natural, and more intense looks.  There is a good mix of matte and shimmer, and cool and warm toned shades.  The chocolate smell is divine, and makes it a pleasure to use.  When I am rushing, I definitely don’t overdo the eyeshadow, and I tend to stick to the warm browns in the Chocolate Bar, with a shimmer on the brow bone if I’m feeling fancy. If you don’t have one yet (er, why not?) get it here.

The Maybelline Big Eyes mascara is a well-loved member of my hoard.  It has two wands; a normal one, and a tiny one for the bottom lashes.  The formula is easy to work with, which makes it one of my favourites for slicking on in a rush.


Finally, lips.  I have a bit of a thing for tinted lip balms at the moment.  I love the ease of them, and the moisturising properties, when my lips are dry and cracked.  The Physicians Formula Super BB All-In-One Cheek and Lip Beauty Balm in Berry Pink is my current fave.  It is a pretty, pale pink and it is easy to pop on as I run out the door. No mirror required.  Physicians Formula is not easily available in the UK; I purchased this from Amazon (here).


blusher blush physicians formula make-up lip balm tint busy mom mum mother


I can slap all this on in around ten minutes, maybe even less if I am not interrupted (which is rare). It is quick, fresh and perfect make-up for busy mums, or just busy anyones.


What do you think? If you’re rushing, do you have favourites that you come back to?


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Getting my Glow on: How I Achieve Dewy Skin

Regardless of the latest trends in make-up, I will always favour a dewy finish to my skin.  A few years ago I decided to renounce all powder products.  I stopped powdering after concealing, and with the exception of eyeshadow would not let anything other than a cream or liquid within 5 metres of my face.  Over time, however, I have reluctantly reintroduced a setting powder.  Glowing skin is still my goal though, and there are several products that I consistently reach for to give me more glow than a sweaty, oiled-up mackerel.


dewy Pixi by petra maybelline MAC bourjois blusher highlight stila concealer cream blush strobe cream


Call me boring, but I have blogged about several of these products before, there are a couple of newbies too, though.


Firstly, after moisturising, I will slather plenty of MAC Strobe CreamThis thick pearly white luminiser is super moisturising, and leaves a pretty sheen to the skin.  An alternative to the Strobe Cream is the L’Oréal Lumi Magique Primer, which gives a similar effect, but is much thinner in consistency.   Next up is my favourite BB cream of all time; Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, I have been using this since last spring, and my love for it is still going strong.  It offers the perfect amount of coverage for a normal day, as well as being hydrating.  Next up I use the Stila Perfecting Concealer. Apparently I was a panda in another life, and my dark circles  seem to get darker by the day.  I also have the driest undereyes EVER, and struggle with concealers caking and looking generally disgusting.  This Stila concealer is one of the better ones I’ve tried, and is high coverage, without being drying.


h&m cream blusher revlon shimmer rose highlighter


I will skip a setting powder, but will sweep a generous amount of the Revlon Highlighting Palette.  This rose coloured powder has a hint of shimmer, and gives a healthy glow without being glittery.  The pinks in this little palette are also perfect for a bit of subtle colour on the eyelids, when I don’t want to go full-on smoky.

I have a few cream/liquid blushers, but my favourites are this H&M Cream Blusher, and the Bourjois Aqua Blush. I almost prefer cream blushers over powder blushers, and when I’m going for a glowing finish, then I will usually reach for one of these lovely pinky creams.


laura geller gellar highlighter gilded honey


To really get that glow going, my first choice of highlighter is – of course – the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Highlighter in Gilded Honey.  When I finally got my hands on this highlighter I was beyond excited.  My feelings haven’t waned, and if I could only keep one highlighter from my collection Gilded Honey would be the one.

As if all that glow wasn’t enough, I will finish with the Pixi Glow Mist.  This spray looks pretty unappealing – it’s quite oily – but to give a dewy finish it really can’t be beaten.  For me it’s an essential step, except for on the hottest summer day, when it can be a little too much – even for my parched skin.


After all that, my skin will be left looking luminous, dewy and healthy.  Despite the number of products used, it is actually a fairly quick process too, and I can slap all that on and be ready to go in ten minutes.  Assuming I have somewhere to go that is….



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Haul / What’s New on the High Street

On a rare child-free afternoon last week, I ventured in to my nearest shopping centre and had a mooch around Boots and Superdrug. So thank you to my parents for looking after my youngest little monster, allowing me some time for some retail therapy.




There were a few bits and bobs that I wanted to try, and some others that caught my eye on the day. I believe most of the products I bought are new to stores, which makes them all the more exciting in my opinion.



First up the Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft-Matte Hydrating Foundation in Ivory. Under normal circumstances, I probably would never have been drawn to this foundation, what with my skin being so dry. The word ‘matte’ strikes fear into my dry, dusty soul. However, I have seen many of my favourite dry-skinned YouTubers rave about it, so I thought I would give it a go. I will let you know how I get on.

To go with the Dream Velvet foundation, I picked up the little sponge applicator. Ordinarily I would have ignored this Dream Blender as a gimmick, but there was an offer on in Superdrug, so for the sake of a couple of pounds I thought I would give it a try.


Now, I need another mascara like I need a hole in the head, but I wanted to try the Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara. It was the ‘push-up’ bit that got me. I have mentioned a million times before that I generally look for a mascara that lifts and separates my lashes. Lengthening and thickening are a bonus.


No, your eyes do not deceive you; that is a second foundation. What can I say? I don’t get out much and I need to grab things when I see them, or forever hold my peace. Also, because I am slightly nervous about the Maybelline foundation, I thought this one might be slightly better suited to my skin. The Bourjois City Radiance Skin Protecting Foundation, in Ivory Rose, sounds right up my street.

In addition to this, I purchased the Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory. Like mascaras, I have yet to find the perfect concealer, and I NEVER miss an opportunity to try another. I think this is going to be a little more of a brightener than a concealer, but I need to have a play with it. When I swatched it in the shop, it reminded me of YSL Touche Elcat, which is no more of an under eye concealer than I am a tree.

Next, this funny little lip balm. The Maybelline Babylips Balm and Blush is designed to be used as both a lip balm, and a blusher. Yes, really! Did the name give it away? I have tried this, and on the lips it is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. I have the colour Innocent Peach, and it is a wonderful sheer, peachy nude tint. It is best applied while doing an impression of a duck, because it is so MASSIVE that this is the only way to apply it where you want it. It feels a little sticky on the cheeks, but the colour is nice and subtle. I popped it on as a quick test just before washing my face, so I can’t say what happens after any length of time. It may simply slide away, but I will try it properly and see.





The Sleek Makeup Barekissed Illuminator in Monaco is a liquid highlighter. It can be mixed with foundation; applied alone, or simply used to highlight the high points of the face. I love highlighters. Seriously. Adore them. I don’t recall ever using a liquid one, so I am looking forward to experimenting with the Barekissed Illuminator.



And finally, the Smashbox Double Exposure Eyshadow Palette. I was actually looking at the smashbox stand because I was eyeing up their new Primer Oil.  I decided against that (regretting that now) and started sticking my fingers into the tester of this palette instead. Oh boy, is it pigmented. The colours are all gorgeous, and the shadows can be used wet or dry. As soon as I swatched the silver (top middle/ left in the above pic) I knew I had to have it. I genuinely cannot wait to use this palette.


I plan to do full reviews of most of the products here, so come back soon for those!


Is there anything here that you have tried? Or anything that has caught your eye?


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