Having a L’Oréal Moment

 

Believe it or not, these are the only L’Oréal make-up items that I own.  Just three. I’m not sure why, L’Oréal have never done anything to offend me, I just never think to check their products when I’m in the mood for some spending.

 

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I had been eyeing up the L’Oréal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer (£7.93 here) for a while before I purchased it in the summer.  As a brightening primer, this one is the best I have ever tried.  I would compare it to the Mac Strobe Cream, but it is less heavy and thick.  When first applied, it is a little scary, as it leaves a white shiny cast across the skin.  Give it a minute though, and it settles and gives just enough glow.  It can be used alone, but I prefer it under make-up to leave my skin glowing and fabulous.

I am a serial mascara and concealer purchaser.  It simply isn’t a shopping trip unless I buy one or the other, sometimes both.  The L’Oréal True Match Concealer (£4.80 here,  or £6.99 here) is just lovely.  It offers good coverage, but isn’t in the least bit drying.   It is the perfect balance of wet, but not runny, and blending it out is ridiculously easy.  My only little grumble would be the colour selection.  I usually go for the lightest shade in a concealer (or second lightest, occasionally) and this one only has five to choose from.  Vanilla is the lightest (the one I have) and it could do with being a little paler, in my opinion.  This can be solved by adding a brightening concealer over the top, but not everyone is going to want to fiddle about doing that every day, I’m sure.

As mascaras go, the L’Oréal False Lash Architect Mascara is up there with the best in my collection.  When it comes to mascara, I am supremely fussy (I really should have named this blog The Mascara Diaries, it would be more fitting), but I actually really like the False Lash Architect (£10.99 here).  It’s not clumpy, and it adds a decent amount of length, without weighing down the lashes too much.

Now that I have dipped my toe into the L’Oréal pond, I may well be making some more purchases.  Next on my list? The L’Oréal Color Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colours – £8.99 look gorgeous; these Infallible Eye Shadows – £6.99; and despite the mixed reviews, I am intrigued by the Color Riche La Palette Nude Eyeshadow Palette Rose – £14.99.  FYI Boots have 3 for 2 on selected items at the moment, so it would be rude not to get all three.

What are your top L’Oréal purchases, if you have any?

 

**This post is NOT sponsored by L’Oréal, or Boots. Sadly.**

 

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Nars Crystal Powder – A Flawless Finish Even for Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, setting powders can be both a blessing and a curse.  While useful for setting concealer – to stop it moving around, and creasing – powders can also simply highlight the areas that you really would like to keep under wraps.   Personally, I have tried a few over the years, and loved only one.  The Nars Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Setting Powder is that one.

 

Nars-Translucent-Crystal-Light-Reflecting-Setting-Powder-Loose

 

 

It comes in both loose and pressed form – I have the loose variety.  What makes it so lovable for me, is the texture,  It is silky smooth, and so finely milled that it is hard not to inhale it while applying. I am pretty sure the inside of my lungs reflect light like the moon.  A little bit goes a long way, and a light dusting over concealer is enough to brighten and set the under eye area.  Being so lightweight, it doesn’t cause that dusty dried out skin that is so ageing – which is particularly wonderful.

I also like to use the Nars Crystal Powder on my forehead, where I can suffer from visible pores.  Rather than clinging on to dry patches and settling into lines, it simply glides over the skin leaving my forehead as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  The lasting power is reasonably good, and it fades naturally without becoming patchy or lumpy. Oily skin types would probably need to reapply during the day, but fear not, it still does not cake.  It really is miraculous!

The one downside is the price – £26.50 here, or £25 for the Light Reflecting Setting Pressed Powder here. ( I haven’t used the pressed powder myself, but I have heard that it is also excellent.)  However, the pot is a large one – 10g/0.35oz – and will last for ages.  So assuming one doesn’t breathe it all in, then it will last a good while.  Well worth the cost in my opinion.

 

You may also like to read: Affordable Foundation for Dry Skin 

 

 

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W7 Eyeshadow Palettes : Review

 

W7 In the Buff, In the Night Eyeshadow Palette

W7 is a brand that I have not had much experience with, but I have seen other reviews of their products recently.  The general consensus seems to be that their range is good quality and affordable, so I thought I would check them out.  They started in 2002, and have apparently been building gradually over the last 13 years.  Prices are reasonable, although I found them to be not particularly consistent across online stockists.  For example, the two palettes I have range from around £4 on Amazon, to £9.99 on the W7 website (which you can’t purchase from, incidentally).

The W7 In The Buff Eyeshadow Palette contains 12 nude shades; 3 mattes and 9 shimmer shades.  The colours are typical nude colours; golds, browns and taupes.  It also has a matte black, which is a useful addition to any palette.  The colours are reasonably pigmented, although not intense (which allows the colour to be built up) and blend well.  I also found that they lasted well on my eyes – although admittedly I don’t usually have an issue with creasing or shadows relocating elsewhere on my face.  When buying eyeshadow palettes – which I do frequently – my main concern is whether I can create a complete look from it. I don’t want to have to rummage around in my collection to find complimentary colours, or a transition shade.  So it is pleasing to me that the In the Buff palette contains both light and dark colours, in shimmers and mattes.

 

W7 In the Buff Eyeshadow Palette

 

W7 In the Buff Eyeshadow Palette

 

The W7 In the Night Palette, on the other hand, contains only one matte as far as I can see (it’s black).  The colours are fab though; if you like smoky purples, pinks and heather/greys.  And shimmer.  Again, the colours are fairly pigmented, and easy to blend.

Unusually for an eyeshadow palette, they also both contain a decent brush.  It is double ended however, and has one of those useless sponges on the other end (why do they even bother – I always put these straight in the bin).  They also both come in a tin, rather than a plastic palette, which makes them sturdy, yet lightweight.  They remind me of the tin pencil cases we used to have at school, except these don’t have tippex graffiti on them.

 

W7 In the Night Eyedhadow Palette

 

W7 In the Night Eyeshadow Palette

 

 

 

Having looked at the website (here) I can see that the range is impressive, but the buying options seem limited, as I mentioned earlier.  I haven’t personally seen anything by W7 in an actual shop (as opposed to a virtual shop – my favourite kind).  I bought these both from Amazon, and didn’t pay more than £5 for either, which I think is pretty good value.

 

Have you ever tried anything by W7? Is it stocked in a store near you?

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H&M Beauty Collection – How Does it Shape Up?

A couple of months ago H&M launched an updated beauty range; they have offered makeup and body care products for a while now, but not on this scale.  Some of the previous items were impressive (blushers and brushes), and some (body sprays), well, not so much, so I was curious to see how the new offerings would shape up. I talked about some of the body care range here, and now it is time to discuss a few of the makeup items. In typical H&M style it is all very affordable, with prices starting from £1.99 for a makeup sponge, to £9.99 for eyshadow palettes.

 

 

H&M Beauty

 

H&M Beauty Gossamer Lip Stain - Gauzy Mauve

 

I’m going to start with something I really didn’t like; H&M Gossamer Lip Stain in Gauzy Mauve. I was disappointed from the get go with this, I’m not sure if it is deliberate (as in they have added perfume/flavour) but this lip stain tastes vile. It is very hard with lip products, especially those of the liquid variety, not to end up with some of it in your mouth (or is that just me?). Usually I would choose no taste or scent for makeup – it just seems a bit wrong. I would have been prepared to overlook that in this case though, if it dried and that was it. This lip stain did dry, but that was not it. As soon as I had a drink, there it was, wet again. And slimy. Not characteristics I look for in a lip stain.  If you can get past that though, the colour is very pretty, especially for the upcoming Autumn days.

Staying with lip products for now, the next item I have is the Lip Primer. I have never tried a lip primer before; I usually just reach for good old fashioned lip balm to get my lips ready for lipstick. Unfortunately the H&M Lip Primer is so hard that it just drags painfully across the lips, depositing uneven white lumps. This then, obviously, looks pretty awful under lipstick.  I would not recommend this at all.  Unfortunately I couldn’t take a close up picture of it, because my youngest daughter decided to wind it up and smoosh the lid down – destroying the end.

 

 

H&M Beauty Lip Colour-to-Go - When in Rome

 

The Lip Colour-To-Go in When in Rome is a vast improvement.  This lipstick pencil has a soft creamy consistency, making it pleasant to apply. The colour lasted well, and it wasn’t drying on my sensitive lips.  I would certainly choose this formula over the liquid lipstick any day.

 

 

H&M Beauty Cover-up Concealer - Ivory

 

The Cover-up Concealer in Ivory was a very pleasant surprise. I have mentioned many a time that my dark circles are a force to be reckoned with. They want to be seen, dammit, and will show through even the thickest layer of concealer. I therefore wasn’t expecting too much from this one. In all honesty, no it doesn’t cover everything, but it offers decent – medium – coverage and it doesn’t dry out and cake on my dry skin. It also lasted fairly well throughout the day. I definitely think this concealer would work well for those lucky, genetically blessed people with not much to hide.

 

H&M Beauty Solar Flair Bronzing Powder - Sheer Tan

 

In the absence of any sun in the UK, bronzer is a must in order to actually look alive. This Solar Flair Bronzing Powder in Sheer Tan ticks all the boxes for me, it is warm and not muddy or glittery.  As the name suggests, it is an almost sheer colour, which can be built up to give a nice bronzy glow. It is also subtle enough that it’s not frightening to use (not like one other bronzer I could mention).  Most definitely a hit in my eyes, and it even comes close to rivalling my holy grail bronzer – The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder.

 

 

H&M Beauty Eye Colour Palette - Smoky Nudes

 

Now, on to the Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky Nudes. This is a lovely neutral palette, containing five soft matte colours, and four shimmers.  The colours are fantastic, if you are looking for a neutral colour selection, and the eyeshadows themsleves are blendable and very forgiving (if you are a bit heavy handed like me).  I think H&M could do with offering a little bit more choice (there are currently four palettes to choose from), with a bigger colour selection.

 

 

H&M Beauty Pure Velvet Cream Blusher - Dusty Rose

 

 

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, is my favourite of all the H&M makeup range that I own. The Cream Blusher in Dusty Rose. I realise that the world is divided when it comes to cream blushers (I expect it is being debated in Parliament right now) but I am of the opinion that they are pretty great. I have yet to come across a cream blusher that interferes with the layer underneath, or that slides off during the day. Maybe I have just been lucky, or maybe they just work well with my skin type. For whatever reason though, I love cream blushers. And this one could well be my absolute favourite. I have not stopped wearing this blusher since I bought it. I love everything about it; the colour, the consistency, the longevity. Everything.   I find it is best applied with a stippling brush, rather than fingers. This helps it to go where it is needed, without disturbing anything else.

 

Overall, I find the H&M Beauty range very exciting.  The packaging is classy looking (although it is all plastic – so won’t impress everyone), and sturdy, and the products inside are – mostly – great.  I would definitely recommend a look next time you are passing a store – or browsing online.

 

Have you tried any of the H&M Beauty range? What did you think?

 

 

 

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Glo & Ray – A Review

 

Now, I certainly don’t claim to know all the beauty brands, and I definitely – despite my best efforts – haven’t tried them all.  So, when I was recently introduced to Glo & Ray, I would liken the feeling to that of a child on Christmas Day.  New toys to play with! Glo & Ray are a UK based company, and are available to buy online They offer a good selection of products, from CC Creams and foundations, to eyeshadows, lipsticks and makeup remover.  Their prices are a little more towards high-end products, rather than high street.

 

Glo & Ray

 

The products themselves feel high-end though.  The packaging is sleek and smart, and reminds me of Nars, but without the dirt-grabbing rubberised finish.  The eyeshadow quad is heavy and solid, and the lipstick is – dare I say it – sophisticated (not that I know the first thing about being sophisticated, mind).

 

 

Glo & Ray Mariposa Quartet Eyeshadow Twilight Nude 403

The Mariposa Eyeshadow Quartet in Twilight Nude (£12.50) is a shimmery little quad, in lovely neutral colours.  The shadows themselves are soft and easy to blend.  As much as I love shimmer shades, I do need at least one matte that can be used as a transition shade, so I can’t do a complete eye look with this quartet. Of course, they can be used alone to create a more natural daytime look – which I have done with great success.  However, with the addition of a matte shade, and perhaps another colour entirely, is where they really can add depth and interest.

 

Glo & Ray Lasting Sky Breaker Silk Eyeliner Champagne Pink 302

The Sky Breaker Lasting Silky Eyeliner in Champagne Pink (£5.50) is a neutral, but far from boring, liner.  It could do with being a little softer and less glittery, in my opinion, but the colour is very pretty. If you like to just draw a line and leave it then this eyeliner would be perfect.  I prefer a more messy un-done look though, and like an eyeliner that is easy to smudge, which didn’t really work with this formula.  I have tried it as a base for eyeshadow and found it a little hard to blend, so it is probably best used in the traditional way.

 

Glow & Ray Creamy Matte Lip Colour Venus 610

In contrast to the relative hardness of the eyeliner, however, is the gorgeously soft La Amo Creamy Matte Lip Colour in Venus (£12.00).  Firstly, the colour is just the perfect nude; not too pink, not too brown.  If you have read any of my previous posts,  you will know that I struggle with lipsticks.  My lips can be dry and sensitive, and I have yet to find a formulation that ticks all the boxes.  This little guy comes pretty close though – it is creamy, long-wearing and comfortable on the lips.  It survived through my lunch, without being clingy and drying.  And did I mention the colour?!

 

Overall, I have been really impressed with the little corner of the Glo & Ray world that I have tried.  I would recommend that anyone wanting quality products (errr, isn’t that everyone?) that aren’t tested on animals, give the range a try.

 

What about you, have you tried anything Glo & Ray?  What did you think?

 

*This post contains PR samples.  All opinions are entirely my own*

 

 

 

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Review: Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara

I have been on the lookout for an amazing mascara since the beginning of time.  Not to brag, but I am blessed with pretty decent lashes, however that doesn’t mean I don’t want them even bigger and longer. I have yet to find the perfect mascara, but that certainly doesn’t deter me from excitedly buying new ones every time I enter a makeup selling establishment.  My latest purchase is the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express (here)

Maybelline Colossal Volume Express Mascara

Maybelline claim it will give colossal volume (9x the volume no less), with no clumps.  This mascara, although perfectly acceptable, did not give me colossal anything, and not even 2 times the volume, let alone 9 times.  The brush is quite large and nondescript, the formula is quite wet (and therefore heavy) and the smell is weird.  In fact, the scent is so strong I can smell it when it is on my eyelashes – which just seems so wrong.

  Now, generally speaking, I am a huge, you could even say colossal *snickers*, Maybelline fan.  I always gravitate towards the Maybelline stand before anything else when shopping, and would probably use my last £10 on something from them, over any other brand (assuming the kids didn’t need, like, food or anything).  So, I was disappointed that the Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara did not live up to Maybelline’s claims.

Having said all this, the price is decent (£6.99) and for someone with shorter lashes it may actually work. That may sound odd, but my lashes – although long and dark –  don’t hold a curl well (unless I go sans mascara).  Because of this I prefer a slightly dryer formulation that gives me length and fatness, without weighing my eyelashes down.  Maybe I will wait until this one dries out a bit more, then perhaps we can be friends.

In the meantime though, the search continues.

Do you have any mascara recommendations? Please let me know below! Or tweet me!! @JoyfulThings_J

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July Favourites

I don’t know about you but July has really dragged for me, it seems like ages ago I was compiling my June favourites.  That’s fine with me though, the further away winter is the better.

So, without further ado, here are my monthly loves for July.  Don’t forget to leave me your own recommendations in the comments below!

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Sedona Lace Makeup Brushes
Top-Bottom: EB15 Pointed Crease; 904 Pencil Brush; 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome; 305 Eye Shading Brush; EB09 Universal Blender.

Firstly, some makeup brushes.  Sedona Lace is an American brand, but their prices are very reasonable even when converted, and they often offer discounts and/or free worldwide shipping.  These brushes were around £7 each, and are fantastic quality for the price.  I particularly like the pointed crease brush, it’s nice and soft, and blends without scratching the heck out of my eyelids. The brushes above are:  EB15 Pointed Crease; 904 Pencil Brush; 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome; 305 Eye Shading Brush; EB09 Universal Blender.

 

 

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster

Next up, the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster.  I reviewed this in more detail here so I won’t waffle on for too long now, but let’s just say I’m still loving it for a way to gradually tan my mush.  Another Clarins skincare product I’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks is the Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion.  I love using this each evening to remove the last traces of cleanser; the soothing aloe vera ensures it doesn’t sting like some toners can.  Although not the cheapest, it is a large bottle, and I can see it lasting a good few months.

 

Clarins Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion

 

Bourjois Color Boost

The Bourjois ColorBoost Lip Crayon in On The Beach (with SPF 15) was actually a free gift included with some other Bourjois purchases.  It isn’t a colour that I would normally choose, but I recently gave it another go because I was going to my daughter’s sports day and I couldn’t find a lip balm that contained an SPF.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that with a tan I could – just about – pull off this bright peachy colour.  I have actually purchased another shade, in a more appropriate nude colour, because I love how easily it goes on.  I didn’t find that it lasted 10 hours, but these crayons are super moisturising and just the right side of glossy, without being even remotely sticky.

 

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

 

Finally, the gorgeous Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent. This is a limited edition perfume that is re-released every spring/summer with a different bottle.  It smells like coconuts and beaches, and I just love spritzing it from head to toe – and back again.  I have tried, and owned, many many perfumes since I was a teenager, and this wins joint first place with my other long term love; a D&G perfume that my husband surprised me with a couple of years ago.  It is really a summer scent, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to give it up come autumn.

 

Thanks for reading, and see you next month!

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My Top Three: Eyeshadow Palettes

I have been thinking about writing an eyeshadow palette collection post for a while now, but I haven’t quite been able to pull my finger out and actually get started.  The issue is, I just have far too many palettes to mention.  I wouldn’t describe it as an addiction exactly, but it’s just that I need all the palettes.

So, with great difficulty,  I thought instead I would choose my current top three instead.

 

eyeshadow palettes

Makeup Academy Eyeshadow Palette – Spring Break – £4

Apart from the fact that this little palette is a real so-and-so to open, I love it; it is a lovely mix of mostly muted colours.  Of the 12, there is only one matte brown, and the rest are shimmery shades.  There is a deep plummy purple, complemented by neutrals and pinks, and the mint green is a gorgeous pop of colour.  For the price, this is a great addition to any makeup collection, and it is slim enough to fit in a bag for touch-ups throughout the day (if you are so inclined).

Makeup Academy Spring Break Eyeshadow Palette
Makeup Academy Spring Break Eyeshadow Palette

 

Makeup Revolution Affirmation Palette
Makeup Revolution Affirmation Palette

Makeup Revolution Affirmation Eyeshadow Palette – £8

This super affordable 32 shade palette is in my top three for the range of colours, 12 of which are mattes, and 20 of which are shimmers.  There is a good mix of golds, browns and purples with charcoal and rose pink thrown in for good measure.  This is one palette that can be used to create a whole look, without fiddling around elsewhere for a transition or crease shade.

 

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette -£39

This palette will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was my first Too Faced purchase, and it started my love for the brand.  Admittedly, this is a creepy loitering in the bushes kind of love, but it’s love all the same.  The colours in this particular palette are a mix of golden shimmers, and neutrals complemented by pinks and plum shades.  The colour payoff is superb, and to top it all off, it smells like chocolate.  It can be used for a complete eye look, including two brow bone highlighting shades (one matte, one shimmer).  It is less affordable than my other two choices, but I think it is worth it.

There they are, my three favourite, and most used eyeshadow palettes.  Except, I just have to give an honourable mention to the Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette £38. I can’t really include this in my top picks, because the colours are not what I would describe as easy to wear.  I have used it; I love wearing the pink and purple shades together, and I have used the silver all over the lid on top of a less vibrant purple.  It is just so gorgeous though, the colours are mind-blowingly pigmented, with a soft blendable texture.

 

Urban Decay Electric Palette (2)     Urban Decay Electric Palette

 

 

Do you have a favourite palette?  What do you love about it? Let me know below; I am always on the look out for new eyeshadow palettes!

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A Tool to Make Washing Brushes Less of a Chore? Yes Please!

 

Hands up if you hate washing your makeup brushes… I realise you can’t see me, but my hand is waving madly in the air.  I really dislike doing it, and the thought of it actually makes me a little cross.  Ridiculous? Probably, yes.  Anyway, while browsing Amazon looking for something completely unrelated, this intriguing little gizmo popped up in my recommended items. This tool has made washing my make-up brushes easier, and slightly  less painful.

 

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The BrushEgg

It is a little rubber sleeve that fits over two fingers, and it can be used to aid the cleaning of brushes.  The process couldn’t be simpler; just pop some soap/brush cleaner/baby shampoo on the end of the brushes (or directly on the BrushEgg) and rub it over the little grooves on the flat side of the rubber egg-shaped tool.  It creates a lovely lather, and all the grime and makeup can be washed away never to be seen again.  There were no instructions included (I like instructions, they are my friend), but according to the item details on Amazon, the technique is to create lather with the little nubbins (that is the technical term, in case you are wondering) on the end, and then use the grooves to agitate the bristles and give them a good clean.

 

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Using it is a little awkward; it is a pretty tight on two fingers, but too spacious for just one.  I was doing a mass clean when I used it, so it did get a bit uncomfortable towards the end of the process.  It definitely made cleaning my brushes easier and quicker though, as opposed to rubbing each brush on the palm of my hand, as I usually would.   There doesn’t seem to be any damage to the bristles, although it is quite soon to say for sure if regular use will be too harsh. The best thing about this tiny tool though? The price: find it for between £1 and £5 online.  This one cost me £1.40 from Amazon. It really is a good egg (yeah, I went there).

 

Have you ever tried anything like this? Do you use any other useful tools for the dreaded task of brush washing?

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Affordable Foundation For Dry Skin

Although I don’t choose to wear foundation every day, there are times when I just want to look a little bit more flawless (ha, I wish), or maybe I need my base to last a little bit longer than usual.  There are two foundations that I use for this, depending on how dewy I want to look.

 

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On cooler days, when I won’t have a natural ‘glow’ anyway, I like to use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (around £10). This foundation is a lovely hydrating light-medium coverage foundation.  It blends well, and is buildable to a point.  The application is a dream, because the consistency is more like a BB cream, or tinted moisturiser.  There is quite a strong perfume smell to it, however, which may irritate some sensitive skins.  The finish is lovely and dewy – or disgusting and dewy, depending on how you feel about a shiny face – so I usually give the Pixi Glow Mist a miss (I learned this the hard way).  It lasts a good few hours, more with a setting spray, and doesn’t settle in lines any more than any other foundation I have tried.  The bottle is plastic, and has a pump top that dispenses a good amount of product first time.

DSC_0124

If I am looking for a less glowy look, then the Maybelline Fit Me is my go-to foundation.  The bottle is glass (not ideal for travel) and has a pump, which always seems more hygienic than an open top (or worse, a jar).  Again, I would describe it as light coverage, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that prefers higher coverage.  Although not as hydrating as the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation, I don’t find that the Maybelline Fit Me settles on my dry patches, and doesn’t leave me with cake face.

Maybelline Fit Me
Top – Bottom: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 115; Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in 52 Vanilla

The lasting power is fairly good, and for the price (around £8) it really is an excellent foundation.  There seems to be a good selection of colours; I have 115 which is a bit more pink than it looks in the bottle, and of course Maybelline offer the complimentary concealer (one of my favourites, incidentally) and powder.

 

What about you, lovely readers, do you like a high end foundation? Or do you like a more affordable brand?

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