How to Get More From Your Make-Up Brushes

I am going to be pretty direct here.  If you wear more than one eyeshadow colour at a time, then you need the Vera Mona Color Switch in your life.

I spend a fair bit on make-up, perfume and various other non-essentials, so when I find a tool that is relatively inexpensive AND useful, I get very excited, and I have to share it with everyone I know.

 

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The idea of the Color Switch is to take all the colour off the brush, in theory allowing you to use a single brush for an entire make-up look.  For someone that likes to experiment with colour (despite my complete lack of make-up artistry skills), this handy tool is probably one of the best purchases I have ever made.  Yes, I feel that strongly about it.

Having seen it used several times on YouTube videos, I decided quite early on that I must have one at some point. In all honesty, I expected it to be mega expensive, so didn’t exactly rush to search for one, but it was always in the back of my mind.

Recently though, I was browsing on Beauty Bay, trying to get my order over £15 to get free delivery (I was repurchasing the wonderful Mario Badescu facial spray, which is £10.25, if you’re wondering).  I stumbled across the Color Switch and was surprised that a) it is stocked in the UK (these things so often are not) and b) that it was only £13.50 (Here).  (£13.50 may sound a lot, but the sponge can be washed, and it will last a very long time)

 

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Above is a nice clean (never used) eyeshadow brush.  Below, is the same brush after being dipped in purple eyeshadow.

 

vera mona color switch colour switch make-up makeup brushes cleaning clean eyeshadow

 

And then…. as if by magic….

 

vera mona color switch colour switch make-up makeup brushes cleaning clean eyeshadow

 

This is the same brush after being swirled around on the Color Switch.  It takes seconds, and couldn’t be simpler.  Now, as you can see, there is a little bit of staining to the brush, so it’s not ‘clean clean’.  But it is definitely clean enough to continue on with another eyeshadow shade.

Of course, brushes still need to be washed regularly, because the Color Switch won’t sanitise them.  (For that, I like to use this little tool).

 

I really can’t recommend this little wonder from Vera Mona highly enough. (And no, this post is not sponsored or paid for in any way.)

 

Have you tried the Color Switch? What do you think of it?

 

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Glossybox – October 2015

After the disappointment that was September’s Glossybox, I was not overly excited about the contents of this month’s pink box.  Fortunately I was at home when it was delivered this time – unlike last month, when I had to face the horror of the never-ending queue at my local Royal Mail Delivery Office.

I am not afraid to admit that I was a little anxious about opening it.  I know this sounds dramatic, but the fact is funds are pretty limited in our house at the moment, and when my lovely parents gave me some money for my birthday I put a lot of thought into which subscription box to choose.  Knowing that I possibly won’t be able to renew when this subscription ends, I was obviously hoping for fantastic contents each month.  Unfortunately Glossybox weren’t aware of this, otherwise I am sure they would have put more effort into my first box.

October-2015-Glossybox

 

Anyway *spoiler alert* I am more than happy with October’s box.  Yay.  So before I get on with what’s inside, let me mention that the contents this month are ALL full size, and the total value is just over £70! Not bad for around £10 (the amount you pay varies depending on the length of the subscription, and P&P is added to that amount – more info here)

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So Susan Haute Light Highlighting Pencil – £15

A pinky ivory crayon, designed for highlighting and bringing radiance.  So Susan claim that this pencil can also be used on dark circles to brighten.  I’m not sure about that, because it has the typical feel of a pencil product – waxy yet dry at the same time.  Personally, I would stick to using it to line the waterline, to make eyes look more awake.

 

Talika Photo-Hydra Day – 30ml – £24.85

Described as a deeply hydrating moisturiser, apparently this is the ‘first cream to use energy from natural light to delve deep into skin and moisturise it’.  I have no idea what that even means, but it sounds exciting! I have skincare coming out of my ears at the moment, so I have left this generous tube sealed for the time being.  As soon as I get an opportunity though, I will use it and will report back.

 

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Jelly Pong Pong Fairy Lashes Curl Mascara – £17.95

I have never used anything by Jelly Pong Pong, although their packaging is gorgeous, and their products are 100% cruelty free.  This mascara contains Moringa Seed resin, that ‘dries down and holds the curl of lashes for long-lasting results’.  I have used it a few times, and I do like it.  I am planning a more detailed review of it; this will follow in a few days.

 

Nicka K Airbrush Blending Sponge – £6.50

Blending sponges are a very handy tool for applying all sorts of liquid products.  Used damp they can give a really natural finish to the skin, when used to apply foundation. Of the four that I have used (read more about those here) the Nicka K Airbrush FX Blending Sponge is most like the Lottie London Blend and Snap sponge in texture.  It is quite heavy, and dense, which can make it feel a little hard and uncomfortable when pressing it on the face.

 

Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream – 50ml – £8.99

A hand cream that also kills germs?!  Not something I have ever seen before, but when I saw the Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream, I wondered why on earth not.  I do tend to carry around a hand sanitiser since having children (it’s a mum thing – I always have tissues and baby wipes too).  I don’t spend a huge amount of time thinking about germs, but I do like to clean my hands before eating and after touching any of my children (I jest!).  I do find hand sanitisers to be quite drying, and they sometimes sting a bit too, so the idea of a hand cream/sanitiser hybrid is genius.  In reality, however, putting hand cream on just before eating, or when hands are grubby, just feels a bit yuck.  The actual hand cream itself is lovely; it is very moisturising, and it soaks in quickly.  The scent is quite strong, which could be off putting to some sensitive skin types.

 

So that is the contents of the October Glossybox all unwrapped.  All in all, an excellent value box, with some really excellent products.  I am already looking forward to next month, hoping it will be just as exciting.

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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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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.

2015-07-09

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