I am in Love – Again

A little while ago I talked about my love for the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Blush.  I was also slightly (an understatement of epic proportions) disappointed that I couldn’t get hold of the Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Gilded Honey.  I looked everywhere for it; only finding it on the QVC UK website where, next to the picture, were those words we all dread: Out Of Stock.  I added myself to the waiting list, never expecting it to come back in stock.  Well, imagine my excitement when I received an email last week to say it was on its way!

Anyway, long story short.  Here she is:

 

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This illuminator is just as wondrous as I knew it would be. Just like the blusher, it is creamy and oh so pigmented.  It is also, admittedly, very gold, but what’s the point if your highlighter doesn’t blind innocent bystanders as you sashay down the street (or through the school gates in my case)

Here is a swatch:

 

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And a close up:

 

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If I could spread the golden loveliness all over my face, I would.  Maybe I could start a new trend.  Forget Strobing, I will call it…. Golding.

 

What is your favourite highlighter, have you tried the Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator?

 

 

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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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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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Topshop – is ‘High Street’ Makeup worth it?

It would be an understatement to say that makeup and cosmetics are huge business in 2015, so it makes sense that high street clothing shops would want to get in on that action.

I was intrigued to discover whether the products that can be purchased along with your fashion items are any good, and can they take the place of other makeup staples?

First on my list is Topshop.  The makeup range in Topshop is not a new one, by any means. In fact they are currently celebrating five years of beauty.  I purchased a couple of nail polishes a few years ago and swore I never would again, as my nails became dry and flaky after one application.  I also have an eyeshadow or two that are not recent purchases.  I haven’t included them here, because they are no longer available.

 

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BB Cream Light-Medium – £10:

I am so confused by this product (it doesn’t take much, to be fair).  Applying it is not exactly a joy; it is quite dry and yellow, and although it is described as ‘Lightweight’ I struggled to blend it – even with a damp Beauty Blender.  The first time I applied it, I absolutely hated it, because it just seemed to sit there looking obvious.  After a little while though, it settled in and became a lot more natural looking.  It also has quite a strong scent, so if you are bothered by smells then you may not take to this BB Cream.  So although I didn’t love it to start with, it has definitely grown on me.  For the price though, I really don’t think it compares with other brands.  I will finish the tube, but I would not repurchase.

 

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Mono Eyeshadow in Explorer – £5:

I don’t know if I am just cheap (probably), but £5 seems a lot to spend on a single eyeshadow.  I think it would have to be pretty special for me to consider that good value, and this Topshop eyeshadow doesn’t really cut the mustard, unfortunately.  It is very pigmented, I’ll give it that, but it is very hard, and not at all blendable.

Lip Varnish in Merry Go Round – £9

Now this, I do not like.  The colour I picked looked nothing like the tube when it was actually applied, but that isn’t even the main problem. It is sticky and uneven, and difficult to remove.  It was all over my teeth and I ended up with some sort of lip halo on the inside of my lips where it just clung to the skin there.  Complete fail in my opinion.

Cheek Jelly in Reign – £7

This Cheek Jelly on the other hand is great.  The formulation worked really well on my dry skin, to give a lovely flushed,  just-been-for-a-run-look.  This jelly is glossy in the pot, but it goes on quite sheer and isn’t sticky on the skin.  It also lasted well throughout the day.  Compared to some blushers I own the price is a little high though.

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3D Curve mascara – £10:

I do love a good mascara. I have more than I can possibly use before they dry out beyond recognition, but still I buy more! I wasn’t expecting much from this Topshop offering, especially after the other failures, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The actual mascara is fairly nondescript, but the brush does allow you to get right into the base of the lashes, and it separates them as you go.  It’s a little more expensive than, say, a Rimmel or a Maybelline mascara, so I think that would stop me buying it again – it wasn’t that good.

 

Overall the Topshop beauty range is not a hit with me, I think the prices are too high for the quality of the products.  I can’t really see a reason to shop there for makeup, rather than Boots or Superdrug (when looking for affordable makeup).  I did notice while searching for links to include in this post, however, that most of these bits are not available on the actual Topshop website, and those that are have been included in their most recent sale.  Perhaps that should tell me something about my choices….

 

Have you ever tried any of the Topshop Beauty Range?  Did you like?

 

 

 

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My Super Speedy Summer Everyday Makeup

If I am truthful, and truthful is my middle name, I only wear ‘full – on’ makeup maybe once every fortnight.  Twice at a  push.  This is purely because of a lack of time, not desire.  I LOVE to do my makeup; I find it strangely therapeutic.  I adore choosing what I am going to use, and experimenting with different eye looks.  However, I am already late everywhere I go without spending an hour blending out my eyeshadow beforehand.  So here, my friends, are the products that I can pop on quickly for a fuss-free look, when I will be just pottering around and running errands.

 

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I start with my Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, mixed with a little Dream Bronze Sunkissed Glow Perfector BB Cream.  The Bronze BB cream is designed to be used alone, but it is quite dark, even in Light/Medium, so I prefer to mix it with my favourite BB Cream.  Lovely Jubbly.  I then follow with the Freedom Makeup Pro Correct Palette.  This is a fairly new purchase, but I am really loving it for under my eyes and other areas that need a little more coverage.  It doesn’t completely cover my under eye circles – I have yet to find anything that does – what I like about it is the consistency. It is light and not at all drying, and I like being able to mix the exact shade that I need.  I choose not to set with any powder, because my skin can get very cakey if I am not careful.

Another new(ish) purchase is the Bourjois Aqua Blush in No.3 Pink Twice.  I am no stranger to cream blushers and cheek stains (I used the Body Shop lip and cheek tint for years, until quite recently), but this is the nicest I have ever used.  The colour is just right for my complexion (not the fairest of them all, but close) and it leaves a lovely hydrating little flush.  It doesn’t shift at all during the day either.  My bronzer of choice is the Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in No. 2.  This is a really lovely bronzer; it is subtle and buildable, and not at all glittery.  It looks nothing in the pan, the shade I have is only slightly darker than a face powder, but it is magical on the skin.  Next up is highlighter.  On ‘natural’ days I like to reach for my Makeup Academy Shimmer Highlighter in Pink Shimmer.  This has just the right amount of glow; which makes it visible, but not blinding.

To finish I curl my eyelashes – of course – and add a little bit of my current favourite mascara; Maybelline Big Eyes Rebel Black. I love this little guy.  It is thick, but not clumpy, and the little mini brush is perfect for the lower lashes.   I then follow with Maybelline Brow Drama in Dark Brown.  This is the only brow mascara-type product I have ever used (other than plucking them I have pretty much left them alone until recently), so I don’t know how it compares with other similar products.  I find that it gives me just enough colour to fill in any sparse areas, and holds without going rock-hard or flaky.

And that is it.  I can usually slap this little lot on in around five minutes, and be out the door in another 120 minutes or so (do you have any idea how long it takes to get a baby and a three year old ready? Ages, that’s how long).

Disclaimer:  Despite appearances, this post is not sponsored by Maybelline, I just happen to like quite a lot of their products.

Thanks for reading, as always!  Let me know in the comments below what your favourite quick-face products are, and do you switch it up depending on the season?

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Bitesize Review – The Balm Betty-Lou Manizer

Betty-Lou and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love the colour, the consistency, and the pigmentation.

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The Balm – Betty-Lou Manizer

 

 I also HATE the pigmentation.  Good grief is she scary to use.  The first time I tried her (other than swatching here, there and everywhere) I made the mistake of dipping my Kabuki brush straight in and rubbing it around like a woman possessed.  Then I swept it on the top of my forehead (y’know – like all the pros do).  Biiiig mistake.  I looked as though I had dipped my head into some shimmery cocoa powder, mixed with brick dust.  As I tried to get my panicked breathing under control, I took my trusty Real Techniques buffing brush (that baby can sort out all manner of overzealous makeup application) and buffed.  Then buffed some more.  I buffed as if my life depended on it.  Once the redness had died down – from all the buffing – and my eyes had cleared from the tears of fear, I took a look in the mirror.  Expecting to see a big brown mess, I was pleasantly surprised that I looked fairly normal, just gently bronzed.  It was then that I took a vow.  I promised myself that I would only place that brush back on my face with minimal bronzer on, and only after tapping the heck out of it first.

Since then, you’ll be relieved to know, I haven’t had another disaster involving Betty.  She has been kind to me.  I still get a little shiver of terror when I first go to apply the brush to my face though, followed by a sigh of relief when I know it’s all going to be alright.

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Brand Focus #1 – Makeup Revolution

I don’t think I am unique when I say I Love Budget Makeup.  As nice as it is sometimes to splurge on a high end product, there is something very satisfying about popping in to Boots, or Superdrug, or even the supermarket, and picking up a handful of exciting new products to play with. A few months ago, I was on a super speedy (all shopping is carried out double quick when accompanied by a three year old and a not yet one year old) trip into my local high street.  I ran into Superdrug and headed straight for the makeup stands.  Although I had seen Makeup Revolution before, I don’t think I had ever purchased anything from their line before.  First I noticed the eye shadow palettes, or should I say, the space where the palettes should have been.  Empty.  Then, the lipsticks.  Empty.  My eye then travelled to the highlighters, and seeing two different shades (Pink Lights and Golden Lights) I quickly grabbed them.  I decided then that either the products were super amazing, or so terrible that Superdrug hadn’t even bothered to restock. Well, it turns out that they are super amazing.  I mentioned the highlighters in my May favourites because I love them, and wear one or the other every time I wear makeup.  I have since made several purchases on their website – this seems to be the best way to see the full range.  I am now the proud owner of, well, pretty much everything on there. After a LOT of arguing (with myself, that’s normal, right?) I have chosen a few favourites to share with you.

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Firstly, I have the Mermaids Forever eyeshadow palette (£8).  I really can’t speak highly enough of this 32 shade collection; there is not a dud in there, in my opinion. The colours are all super pigmented, and blend extremely well.  As do the shadows in my other favourite – Run Boy Run.  These colours are a little more neutral, and there are some matte shades in there too.  The colour payoff is still excellent though, and at £6 it is amazing value.

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Mermaids Forever Eyeshadow Palette
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Run Boy Run Eyeshadow Palette

The blusher is a baked blusher, so it is pretty hard, but the colour is perfect.  Not crazy pigmented, so that it’s scary to use, but not so pale that it looks as though you haven’t bothered.  And it is £2.50!

 

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Vivid Baked Blush – All I Think About Is You. E101 and E103.

Next are two highlighters; the Goddess of Love triple baked highlighter in Goddess of Faith; and the Vivid Baked Highlighter in Peach Lights.  These are both really great,  and shiny without being glittery.  These are priced at £4.99 and £3 respectively.  Goddess of Faith is a little more subtle, so it can be built up.

Goddess of Faith Triple Baked Highlighter
Goddess of Faith Triple Baked Highlighter
Vivid Baked Highlighter - Peach Lights
Vivid Baked Highlighter – Peach Lights. E102 and E104.

I have also included four brushes; this is the full Pro Eye Brush Collection £7.96).  They are the E101 eyeshadow brush; E102 Eyeshadow contour brush; E103 eyeshadow blending brush and E104 eyeshadow brush.  For budget brushes, I think these are fantastic.  They don’t shed, and they do the job they were designed for very well.

Finally, we have one of the very extensive range of lipsticks.  This is an Amazing Lipstick (that’s the name, not just the description) The One, a pretty nude colour.  I like this lipstick, because it is creamy and pigmented (how many times can I use the word ‘pigmented’ in one post…?).  It doesn’t last a particularly long time, but I have yet to find one that does that doesn’t also dry my lips out beyond recognition. These lipsticks come with a little pot of lip balm (or something) in the end, in the matching colour.  To be honest, this smells awful, and I am not really sure what its purpose is.  It certainly isn’t moisturising, and I struggled to even get a finger inside it to test it.  I can overlook this one little error though, when the rest of the collection is so exciting to me.  Oh, and these lip colours are £1.  Yes, that’s one pound.  One can’t really go wrong with those prices.

Amazing Lipstick - The One
Amazing Lipstick – The One

It was so difficult to narrow down the palettes in particular, as they are all wonderful.  I have been using nothing but for the last few weeks, even choosing them over my beloved Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette.  I know, right?! So if you are looking to venture into the world of Revolution (they do ship internationally I believe, although I am not sure what this would cost) then I say go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

Once again, I purchased all of these items myself, and yes that is fake grass.  Ask my husband why we have fake grass in our garden.

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I’ve Been Shopping…

I took a quick dash into my local town today, with a list of three or four things that I wanted to pick up.  I came home with a LOT more than that.

.DSC_0073 DSC_0076 I’m really looking forward to trying everything – obviously – but in particular I am excited about the MUA Makeup Academy palettes (top picture).  They were very reasonably priced, from Superdrug, and they seem pretty pigmented.  Also, the new Bourjois Aqua Blush 12 Hour.  I bought mine from Boots, but it also seems to be readily available elsewhere.  I also purchased the Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde mascara.  Mainly because of the packaging, but also because – as I have mentioned before – I am always on the lookout for the perfect mascara.  Boots are currently offering a free gift of a Maxi Delight bronzing powder; Bronzing Powder Brush; and a Color Boost Lip Crayon in the colour Peach on the Beach, when spending over £15 on Bourjois products.  So I HAD to get the mascara to bump the total to more than £15.  I had to, alright?

I’m planning to do a first impressions post on a few of these babies, so check back soon for that.

Disclaimer: as usual I have not been paid to mention any particular shop, product or brand.  These are simply the products that called my name the loudest when I was shopping today.

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ColourPop

I am seriously obsessed with ColourPop .  It seems every (America based) Beauty Youtuber worth their salt either raves about them, or has done a collaboration with them.  What I want to know is; when will they start shipping to the UK?  According to their FAQ page, they are hoping to ship to Europe soon, but not soon enough in my opinion.  I want to get my sweaty little hands on most of the collection, but I think their highlighters would be top of my list.  Or maybe a few eyeshadows… or blushes, wait no – definitely a couple of bronzers.  I wonder if I could justify buying one of everything? Would my husband decide I had finally lost it and leave me? I’m not sure I’d even notice if he did, to be honest; I would be so busy swatching, and spreading those gloriously pigmented colours all over my face and laughing with delight.  Too much? Yes, probably.

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