Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sick Skincare Routine

Ordinarily I love winter; the scarves, the boots, the warm and decadent dinners, even the rainy mornings. But this year the season has been a little cruel to me and I am just now over my third bout of a cold/flu. Not fun, let me tell you.

It's one thing to feel sick but I find that when I know I look sick too it just makes me feel so much worse. Luckily, this year I have found a collection of products that have been able to keep my skin in pretty good condition throughout illness, so I thought I would share my top picks for keeping away a dry and luck-lustre complexion.

Winter Skincare

Cleanser:
When your skin is dried out the last thing you want to use is a cleanser that it going to take any of the much needed moisture out of your face. However I definitely felt like I needed to refresh my skin each day and get rid of the oily congestion that seems to accompany a cold. I used The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter as my second cleanse each night after removing my makeup (with Bioderma, it's my go to). I found that this cleansing butter is best used when massaged into dry and clean skin and left on to soak in for a minute, however it can be used as a first cleanse to remove makeup too. The scent is really subtle and non-offensive, the ingredients are suitable for sensitive skin and good for use on very dry, flaky skin (from constant nose wiping!) and it leaves skin feeling moisturised and nourished but still clean and fresh.


The Body Shop Sumptuous Cleansing Butter TBS

Eye Cream:
When my eyes are puffy I love to layer on a gel to help hydrate and cool, but as my skin was very dry and dull I opted for a creamier consistency in the form of the Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream. Typically I find this cream is too thick and rich for regular use but while I was sick this was perfect. It was just the right amount of soothing richness to keep the area hydrated but still fast-absorbing enough that my dry skin drank up all the avocado oil, and so it didn't settle on top of the skin or cause me any break outs.


Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream

Serums:
I'm a big fan of serums at the best of times, but add in a bout of the flu and I become completely addicted. These two products are actually part of my everyday skincare routine normally, even when I'm not sick. First I combine a couple of drops of Hylamide Low Molecular HA with a drop or two of Hylamide C25 on the back of my hand and press it into my skin. The pink bottle is a hydration booster and it contains five types of Hyaluronic Acid so it can hydrate the skin in a number of ways on multiple levels. The orange bottle is a Vitamin C booster so it helps improve radiance and glow in the skin.


Hylamide Low Molecular HA and Hylamide C25

What was new to my routine was incorporating this gem of a product. The Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum has a gel consistency and is cooling and soothing on the skin, which is perfect if your skin is feeling inflamed and irritated. This product contains Ginseng and Ceramides for hydration and also has little to no scent which I appreciated when my skin was broken and dried out. I used this hydration booster on top of the other serums once they had soaked in and it worked wonders.


Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum

Moisturiser:
I'm going to do another product pairing here because these products are great when used alone but they work unbelievably well together as a duo so I always recommend them as a pair. The Korres Wild Rose Advance Repair Sleeping Facial and the Odacite Pomegranate, Rose and Geranium Serum Concentrate. All you need is a drop or two of this thick, oily serum mixed into your moisturiser of choice and it will add a huge hydration boost to your cream like you wouldn't believe. The Korres is already a great overnight moisturiser but combined they work wonders. If you really don't like the scent of rose probably best to steer well clear of these two products, they both have a very natural fragrance but it is quite strong. This moisturiser alone works especially well over night when slathered on your nose to help repair flu-induced redness and soreness.


Korres Wild Rose Advance Repair Sleeping Facial

Odacite Pomegranate, Rose and Geranium Serum Concentrate

These products are all items that I use and recommend individually all year round, whether I feel sick or not, but I found when used all together as a routine they do an amazing job at keeping my skin hydrated and plump and my complexion looking bright and healthy.

It really is amazing how much better you feel when you look that little bit better. When you are sick a full skincare routine can feel like a lot of work but I think it's important to look as good as possible when you are unwell because it really does influence your mindset, boost your energy and will often help make you feel better quicker.


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Colourpop Haul and Review

When I saw that Colourpop was releasing a new formula of liquid lip colours in the way of Ultra Satin Lips I was very intrigued to try them. But, as I don't find myself regularly reaching for the Ultra Matte versions I thought it was probably a product I could do without.

Then Colourpop went and released brow products, and loads and loads of vloggers started sharing both these new offerings online and before I knew it I was entering my card number and confirming shipping details. 
Colourpop Cosmetics Haul Liquid Lipstick Ultra Satin Gel Liner Brown Pencil
 
I'm a really big fan of Colourpop. I recommend them to all my friends who are wanting to update their makeup bag without a massive splurge, or want to try something new without the risk of been dramatically out of pocket if they hate the look on them. The products are a great price and generally great quality, however, some of the items are better than others.
With this little order I grabbed four of the new Ultra Satins Lips (USL) which retail for $6USD, two Brow Pencils which retail for $5USD each and a good old black Crème Gel Colour which is also priced at $6USD.
 
I have spent the last couple of weeks trying all four of the USL and I have come to the conclusion that I wouldn't actually describe them as having a satin finish. They dry to a matte in my opinion, not as dry-matte as the Ultra Matte Lips (UML) formula but still quite matte. Unlike the UML the USL do transfer. Oddly enough though, I can get lipcolour all over my coffee cup and yet my lipstick still looks mostly untouched, so although they move they don't fade off the lip or leave you looking patchy. Which is a win in my book.
Colourpop Cosmetics Haul Liquid Lipstick Lips Ultra Satin Gel Liner Brown Pencil
L - R: Lost, Cozy, Frick N' Frack and Echo Park
The consistency of the USL is almost like a mousse; it's not as fluid as the UML and I find this helps with a smoother and more even application. I also found the USL felt a lot more comfortable to wear than the UML. So, if you are tossing up between the formulas I would definitely recommend going for the Ultra Satin Lips. They are more comfortable to wear, don't dry out your lips as much and have equal staying power, I can apply these in the morning and still have colour at the end of the day.
Colourpop Cosmetics Haul Liquid Lips Lipstick Ultra Satin Gel Liner Brown Pencil
L - R: Lost, Cozy, Frick N' Frack and Echo Park
I watched a few swatch videos for the brow products and decided the pencil would be best for me, quick and easy, over the pot. However I couldn't tell which colour would suit me so I ordered the Blondie Pencil and the Dope Taupe Pencil (the lightest and third lightest shade, the second, Honey Blonde, looked way too warm for me) and just as well because together they work brilliantly. I have been doing my whole brow in Blondie Pencil and then using Dope Taupe Pencil to add some more dimension with a few very short strokes throughout. The packaging annoys me slightly, the pencil cannot be wound back down again and the product seems to always be blunt so consistent turning whilst using is required. But for $5USD these are things I can definitely get over. I would say that this is very comparable to the Anastasia Brow Wiz in finish and staying power. Packaging, ease of use and colouring is where they differ in my opinion.
Colourpop Cosmetics Haul Liquid Lipstick Ultra Satin Gel Liner Brown Pencil
L - R: Swerve liner thin, Swerve liner thick, Dope Taupe Pencil and Blondie Pencil.
Now I didn't have the highest of hopes for the Crème Gel Colour (I got the pot, not the stick) but I'm thrilled to say that I was pleasantly surprised from the first use. The texture is very creamy; sometimes with gels I find as I try to build up colour or thickness I end up taking more off than I am putting on, not the case here. Perhaps because it is quick drying it is really easy to build up a nice thick line with wicked colour intensity. I have predominately been using this with a small angled brush and it works a treat for both subtle, thin lines and more dramatic wing looks. I have found this lasts really well throughout the day, no smudging or fading but also isn't too difficult to remove at the end of the night. I'm a black liner girl through and through but this eyeliner comes in a heap of colours and for the price I can definitely see myself experimenting with other hues, maybe a navy or emerald next?
Another great haul from Colourpop Cosmetics, this brand keeps getting better and better in my opinion and I can't wait to see what they come out with next.
 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Palette Review

I'm going to be really controversial here...I am not a fan of the Too Faced Bon Bons Palette.

There. I said it. I know it has heaps of lovers out there in the beauty community; just about every blogger and vlogger has hauled one and sang its praises over recent months, but I just don't like it. It's not awful, I just think that there are much better palettes out there you could spend your money on.

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eye Shadow Palette

The palette is available at Mecca and retails for $78, which works out to be about $4.80 per shadow (two large pan shadows at 2.2g and 14 smaller heart shaped pans at 1g) and it has a very mild cocoa scent, much lighter than the two previous palettes. 

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eye Shadow Palette

Looking at the palette I thought it would be right up my street. The colours are a great mix of cool toned taupe-browns, some rich metallics and a few bright pops of colour in the way of pinks, dark teal and purple. The colours swatched nicely enough and the packaging is also good.The palette itself is metal so it feels durable, and is thin and sleek in design with a mirror inside so it would be good for travelling. So far, so good I thought.

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eye Shadow Palette

However I found the formula to be quite inconsistent, some shadows are really chalky, some are not very pigmented and almost all of them seem to get quite muddy when blended. That last complaint is something that I was told about when buying, the sales assistant told me to get the greatest colour payoff it is best to wet your brush slightly before picking up the shadow. Apparently this goes for all the other Too Faced Chocolate palettes too? I don't know about you, but I really can't be assed with a lot of faffing about in the morning, so shadows that need to be wet down in order to perform are never going to work for me, not in my daily routine anyway.

I also found that the shadows in this palette don't tend to last as long on me as the others in my collection. I often work long days and I notice after 12 hours these shadows are almost always creased and faded. There are also a number of colours in the palette that I will never use. I think having three pink shades is a waste of space, I can't imagine anyone needing as many pinks as medium browns. I also think some of the light taupe-brown colours are too similar to justify needing them all in the one palette, I think a dark matte brown for the crease and a few more light and simple lid colours would have been better choices.

Below are swatches of all the shades.

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eye Shadow Palette Swatches
Left to right: Cafe' Au Lait, Cotton Candy, Cashew Chew, Malted, Molasses Chip, Sprinkles, Satin Sheets and Almond Truffle.

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eye Shadow Palette Swatches
Left to right: Divinity, Earl Grey, Totally Fetch, Pecan Praline, Dark Truffle, Black Current, Mocha and Bordeaux.
 
I can't compare this palette to the other Too Faced Chocolate palettes because this is the first one I have tried. I hear so many people who adore the other Too Faced offerings and recommend them often, but I heard the same about this and I can't see what all the fuss is about. Maybe this latest version isn't as good as the earlier editions? I'm pretty annoyed honestly because I wanted to love this palette, I wanted the hype to be warranted but in my opinion, there are much better eyeshadow palettes out there.

Funnily enough, I still really want to try the first Too Faced palette, it was the original and some say it's still the best one so maybe that will sway me about Too Faces shadows but as for Bon Bons, I'd give it a miss.

Monday, 28 March 2016

The Body Shop Lightening Shade Adjusting Drops Review

Despite the constant product launches and globally distributed brands now available it is still really hard to find pale foundations here in Australia. I'm sure it's an equally frustrating experience for dark skin toned girls who face the other extreme, but for any of us who fall outside of the usual 'Beige' to 'Tan' colour spectrum that brands exclusively cater for, it can make buying base products an absolute nightmare.

Which is why when I saw that The Body Shop had brought out Lightening (and Darkening) Shade Adjusting Drops I knew I had to give them ago.


This isn't a new concept. Whitening liquid to mix with foundations have been around for a long time and a few brands (MAC and Illamasqua come to mind) have similar products on offer but what I instantly loved about the Lightening Drops was that they aren't a flat, white colour. The drops are lightly hinted with a subtle pink tone which keeps the finished mix from looking ashy or too washed-out. The light pink tone also acts to cancel out yellowness but as someone who has a very pink toned complexion it really helps to keep my base colour looking natural and matching my neck and body.

The product instructs that one drop of the Lightening Drops makes a foundation one shade lighter, but really the amount you will need will vary depending how much foundation you use to cover your face, whether you like a thin veil or a heavy slathering.

The drops come in a 15ml glass bottle with a pipette to measure out drops and retail for $29.95. Although it is a small bottle, I have been using them daily for the last eight weeks and still have loads of product left. The pipette isn't the best, if the tube isn't completely full the liquid tends to bubble and drip rather that come out in measureable drops. No biggie, just an observation.

The Body Shop Lightening Shade Adjusting Drops
L: Straight from the bottle     R: Blended out
To use this product I mix the foundation and drops together on the back of my hand, I think the warmth of your hand helps combine the formulas but if you are a palette kinda person then I'm sure that would be just as fine. I add a bit to the foundation at a time until I get what looks like my colour (usually one decent drop) and then apply as normal. Pretty simple.

I do however think that the drops change the consistency and finish of the foundation. I tend to use liquid foundations with a dewy finish so they are generally quite thin in consistency to begin with but I do find these drops thicken the formula and almost 'dry' it out a bit. They also leave me with a slightly more matte finish than the foundation alone, at least it did with the four or five that I have tried so far. It hasn't been an issue for me but it's worth noting if you have drier skin, it could make your foundation less hydrating than your skin will tolerate or take away that bit of glow you want to see.

NARS, Rimmel and Bourjois
In the above swatches from left to right we have NARS Sheer Glow in Siberia and then it lightened with the drops, next is Rimmel Match Perfection in 10 Light Porcelain and then it lightened with the drops, and on the right the pair is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in 51 Vanilla and then it lightened with the drops. I didn't blend them out because I wanted you to be able to really see the change in colour but they blend out much the same, if anything I find a little less slip as it is a bit drier as mentioned earlier. 

The Shade Adjusting Drops aren't just for the super pale either. They would be great to make your medium foundation a light-medium now that your tan might be fading, or if you have a foundation that you love but you picked up a shade too dark.

I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone but if you have a drier or really dehydrated skin type I would suggest picking up a sample in-store and testing it out yourself with the foundations you currently have before buying.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Brand Chat: Sunday Riley

In all honesty, Sunday Riley wasn't a brand I had heard of until last year. The magical-looking blue face oil burst on to the Instagrams and blogs of people everywhere and after multiple posts assuring me that it wouldn't stain your skin blue I ventured into Mecca.

These products aren't cheap. I started with a sample of each before committing to forking-out for the full size but after months of regular use I can still say that I love them as much now as the day I got them, so they're worth the splurge in my opinion.

Sunday Riley Range, Artemis, Luna, Good Genes, Ceramic Slip Cleanser

Luna Sleeping Night Oil:
This oil is incredibly dark in blue colouring, a trait that stems from the inclusion of the Blue Tansy flower in the formulation. First and foremost this is a night-time, retinol treatment for your skin. Retinols (a type of vitamin A that are often beneficial for the skin) come in a multitude of different types but the one used here is Trans-Retinol Ester. This type of Retinol tends to be gentler on the skin than other types while still achieving the same results. It helps to minimise the depth of lines and wrinkles on the skin surface and to help correct the impact of environmental factors such as sun and stress.

It also contain lots of ingredients that work to calm irritation and inflammation while plumping fine lines such as German Camomile, Avocado Seed Oil, Chia Seed Oil and Cape Camomile. When I use this I tend to apply about four drops over my whole face (on top of Good Genes) and massage in thoroughly until it feels absorbed into my skin and any hint of a blue tinge is gone. 

As much as I like using this oil I can't use it everyday; if I use it consecutively for two or more days I tend to break out around my chin. However using it twice a week or using less drops more often gives me a glowing complexion and plumps the skin to give a more youthful and rested appearance. NOTE: Not appropriate for use whilst pregnant.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

Good Genes:
This is my favourite Sunday Riley product. I use this pretty much everyday and can really tell the difference if I skip a night. This is a Lactic Acid product, so it works to exfoliate dead skin cells and refine the skin which inturn brightens and smooths your complexion. Lactic Acid also helps allow anything you put on top of it to penetrate the skin deeper, which means you will see stronger results from whatever you layer on top.

I apply about a pump of this all over my face and down my neck and it makes my skin feel softer and look more radiant. My makeup also goes on much nicer in the morning after I have used this the night before. Other ingredients include Lemongrass, Liquorice and Anrica, all of which boost circulation and increase radiance but the Arnica also acts to reduce any sting you might feel from the Lactic Acid.

Although it is an acid and it aims to remove dead skin cells I have always found this to feel hydrating on the skin but I do always follow with either an oil or a moisturiser (or a mix of both) over the top.

Sunday Riley Good Genes and Ceramic Slip Cleanser

Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser:
This cleanser is heaven in a bottle for me. I use this as a second cleanse and it leaves my skin feeling clean but nourished. It contains essential oils which act to tone and balance the skin but the inclusion of French Green Clay is what makes this cleanser so great in my opinion, it feels as though it removes all the impurities from your skin without taking away any of the good stuff you need like moisture.

Other ingredients include Vitamin C, Neroli Essential Oils, Black Pepper Essential Oils, Jasmine Essential Oils, Frankincense Essential Oils and Sandalwood Essential Oils. Between the purifying clay and nourishing oils you are on to a winner, but in all seriousness, I find the scent of this absolutely intoxifying. I know scents are very individual but the fragrance of this cleanser calms me like nothing else and just adds something really special to my skincare regime when used.  

Artemis Face Oil:
Now I must confess, I haven't personally ever used this. But I decided to include it because I have seen the transformational effect it had on my sister's oily and break-out prone skin so I thought it may be good to read about.

It has two key medicinal, native Australian plants (Lemon Ironbark and Lemon Myrtle) that work as anti-bacterial agents on the skin. This oil is fast absorbing which is vital for someone with an oily skin type and the citrus botanicals work so well due to their purifying and cleansing properties. Other ingredients include Pink Grapefruit Essential Oils, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Black Cumin Seed Oil and Flaxseed Oil.

Using this oil immediately after cleansing reduced the number of break-outs my sister was experiencing and minimised the visible oiliness on her skin throughout the day. Don't be afraid of oils just because you have oily skin, they can work wonders!

Sunday Riley Artemis Face Oil

I have heard this brand described as a company that uses botanical ingredients to provide clinical results. I'm not a chemist so I'll take their word for that but what I have noticed with all the products is that they don't smell like typical commercial skincare ranges. They have strong scent profiles individual to the different products that result from the ingredients inside. I have also noticed that these products make a difference to my skin immediately. The morning after I used Luna and Good Genes for the first time I woke up with dramatically plumper and fresher feeling skin, my face looked like I had an amazingly night's rest.

These products are not in everyone's price range and I completely understand that, I didn't go out and buy all these in one day, they were accumulated over several pay days. Having said that, another great thing about these products is that you will see results immediately, you will see the benefit the next day which is unusual for skincare really. If you are looking for some new additions to your skincare regime or you have some on-going skin concerns I suggest popping in to a Mecca Store and grabbing some samples and giving these products a go for yourself, they have definitely made a huge difference to my (and my sister's) skin and I honestly can't imagine what I would do without them. 

Also, here is an interview of Sunday Riley by Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo. Sunday goes into a lot of depth about the creation of the products and explains skin behaviour in a really simplified way, if you are interested in upping your skin knowledge give it a watch.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette Review

I'm not one to battle Boxing Day crowds but more and more beauty releases are launching the day after Christmas and selling out really quickly. This year it was the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eye Palette that caught my eye and rather than trek into a store I placed an online order with Mecca and had the palette just a couple of days later.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

The packaging of this palette is really lovely. It is a reasonably weighted case with a magnetic shutter and black, white and gold finishes. The mirror inside is huge, taking up the whole lid which I love, and it hinges all the way back so you can lay it flat on your bench.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

Now for what really matter, the shadows.

What I love about the fifteen colour selection in this palette is that if you ignore the bottom row of shades what you have is a gorgeous selection of ten beautiful, mostly warm toned neutrals which are my absolute favourites to wear. When you consider the bottom row, although they look incredibly bright, you have a wonderful highlight colour, a black (which every palette should have) and a couple of brights that are incredibly easy to incorporate into more wearable looks with the above neutrals or to create more dramatic coloured looks.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

As for the formula, they are true to Urban Decay standard; blendable and highly pigmented. There are some that are more pigmented than others and some which leave a bit of fallout but I will go through them all below individually.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette Swatches

As swatched right to left:

Blonde - is a barely there, pale yellow-toned beige shimmer. This swatch too two swipes to build up the colour, the shimmer was immediate but the beige tone took an extra swipe.

Bathwater - is a light, golden beige shimmer that makes a perfect inner corner highlight colour.

Skimp - is a peach tone with a slight sheen.

Steady - is a warm copper shade with more shimmer in person than shown in the swatch. It looks beautiful as an all over the lid colour.

Punk - is a matte, warm toned, dark brown with a hint of a burgundy undertone.

Baby - is a rosy champagne colour with a silver shimmer, it is cooler toned than Steady although they look quite similar in the pan.

Anaheim - this is my favourite colour in the palette. Boring, I know, as it's a simple matte brown but it has a lovely tone which is not too warm and not too cool making it a perfect pairing for most of the colours in this palette.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette Swatches

Stark - is a warm toned, matte beige colour.

Zone - is a medium toned, matte brown shade.

Serious - is a lovely dark charcoal shade. This is perfect for darkening up the outer corner when you think black may be too harsh. This has a slight silver/purple shimmer.

Pop - is a true champagne shade with silver shimmer. It makes a beautiful cheek highlight for more pale skin tones too.

Harajuku - is my least favourite colour in the palette simply because I'm not a fan of pink eye looks on myself. This is a cool toned pink with a silver shimmer.

Danger - this colour is a gorgeous rich navy with a blue shimmer. It does leave a bit of fallout so consider doing your eye look before your base if you were thinking of using this.

1987 - is a true yellow toned gold.

Blackout - is a classic matte black but this one does leave a little fallout.

I really like palettes that give you a range of different options by offering a range of colours, tones and finishes, and this palette delivers on all of that.

My favourite combination for a quick and easy work look these last two weeks has been to use Bathwater on the inner third, Anaheim over the outer two-thirds blended up into the crease and then using Punk to add some depth to the outer v.

Another favourite combo I wore the other night was Baby all over the lid with Danger used to smoke out the outer corner and lots of black liner. The combination of rosy metallic and navy is one of my all time favourites.

If you can still get your hands on this palette and are looking for a predominately neutral palette with some extras I think this would fit the bill perfectly. I can definitely see this palette coming on holidays with me and not needing anything else to create a wide range of beautiful eyeshadow looks.
 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Beauty Favourites of 2015

Okay, so technically, the first week of the year was last week. But I have mentally classed it as this week because it has given me a few extra days to do 'new year' preparation things. I have cleaned out my wardrobe, bought (and built I might add, courtesy of IKEA) a new desk and chair and done a massive spring clean...well, a summer clean but you know what I mean. I now feel very ready to welcome 2016 and all that it holds. I have some exciting things planned for this year, one of which is to make more time for this blog.
 
This blog has always been, and will always be, a spot to write about the things that interest me. My aim has never been to be the most read or the most followed, to me the success comes from finding like-minded people who enjoy talking beauty as much as I do, finding out about new products and sharing what has, and hasn't, worked for me.

With 2016 well and truly began I thought I would share some of the products I reached for the most in 2015. I thought about doing a best of the year, but some of my best finds for the year would fit into the same category, so instead I thought I would do a favourites within each category and hopefully I can keep it as as short as possible. Wishful thinking...

I figured we would start with my favourite category, skincare, then hair then makeup.
 
 
Favourite Toner:
This year I was introduced to the Pixi brand by Caroline Hirons, specifically the Pixi Glow Tonic. It is an exfoliating toner with a five percent Glycolic content and contains Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel and Ginseng. This toner has the most enchanting fresh rose scent and is gentle enough to use twice a day. At first I thought my skin was too sensitive for toning twice daily but my skin has changed over the last year and now I use it every morning without fail. I find that this actually has kept that afternoon t-zone oiliness I used to get at bay because it clarifies my skin of a morning enough to last the whole day. This would be a really good addition to your skincare regime if you get oily but wouldn't classify yourself as actually having oily skin, or if you are just starting out with exfoliating toners and are looking for something mild.

Favourite Treatment:
Sunday Riley's Good Genes is marketed as a corrective treatment that brightens, exfoliates, plumps lines and increases radiance. I would definitely say that it does all of those things, and my skin is definitely happier when I have used this. You will notice changes to your skin overnight; not huge changes but changes nonetheless. I find my skin looks more radiant and plump after I have used this, for me it is like a 'great nights sleep and plenty of water' in a bottle.

Favourite Moisturiser:
This one is another introduction from Caroline Hirons. The Alpha-H Essential Hydrating Cream is seriously moisturising but it never feels oily on the skin. It absorbs beautifully and has a clean almost herbal scent and I have used this everyday under my makeup (and on every makeup free day too for that matter) since finding it.
 
Favourite Serum:
Last year I discovered Hylamide and decided to take the plunge and try some of these little rainbow bottles. I bought two, one I am still waiting to try, but this one is the Low-Molecule HA Rehydration Booster (the pink bottle). This serum soaks into the skin really fast and feels like it absorbs very well. It has a very mild scent, nothing offensive and it gives my skin a plumper and more hydrated feel and appearance in the morning after I have used this. I do get some dry skin on occasion around my face and this clears that up super quickly. For me this is a definite drawer fixture and I will use this year round whenever I feel like my skin needs a drink or feels dry.

Favourite Eye Cream:
Last year I had about four eye creams that I used depending on whether I was oily or dry or the combination of other products I was wearing that day. However the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream has been my most reached for without a doubt. I wear this every morning as it doesn't disrupt my makeup and keeps my eye area hydrated but I also often use this at night when I want a cream that isn't too heavy or gel based.


Favourite Remover:
Bioderma. I know this is a miceller water which isn't really a remover as such, but this is what I use to take my makeup off every single day before I cleanse my skin. It does a great job, even with eye makeup.

Favourite Setting Spray:
I don't always set my makeup with a spray, but when I remember/need to I use MAC Fix+. It will get rid of any powderiness if you have been too heavy handed with your setting powder and I do think it makes your makeup look and feel better on the skin. Not sure if it makes it last longer but it definitely looks and feels better.

 
Favourite Hair Treatment:
I use the Joico K-Pak Styling Oil very sparingly at the ends of my hair when my strands are feeling dry. I get my hair coloured regularly so sometimes after a colour my scalp feels a bit dehydrated too so I will use the tiniest amount to massage through but this product can easily be overused and will weigh your hair down, especially if you have thin hair like I do. Great product, use with a light application.
 
Favourite Hair Product:
I have been using Paul Mitchell Heat Seal for the longest time. Although this is a thermal protectant it actually helps my very straight hair to hold curls for way longer.


Favourite Eye Palette:
My most used eye palette for this year would have to be the Urban Decay Naked Palette, the first one. I have used it almost every day for my work makeup and it has all the colours you could need for a neutral eye look. My favourites shades are Virgin, Naked, Dark Horse and Hustle and despite using these heaps I still haven't hit pan on any of them.


Favourite Setting Powder:
For my complexion the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light is the perfect setting powder for me. I don't need to use powder everywhere, just down my t-zone and on my forehead, and this powder is just a touch darker than my skin naturally so it gives a nice bit of dimension while still adding some life with the light sheen that the powder imparts.

Favourite Bronzer:
The Bourjois Bronzing Powder is a great warm tone that gives a near matte glow to the skin. When you look at the bronzer in person you can see tiny gold flecks of glitter but these don't transfer on application. What I like about this bronzer is that it is very easy to get a light application, I'm pretty pale so I like that this imparts a small amount of colour which is easy to control.

Favourite Highlight:
It was a toss up between this and Benefit's Watts Up but The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer won because I tend to wear this more often. You need the smallest amount to get a gorgeous glow and it looks great on a huge range of skin tones.


Favourite Mascara:
This was a new find quite late in the year for me but the L'Oreal False Lash Wings Intenza gives me the best lashes of any mascara I have ever used. Big claim, I know. As much as I love mascara few can give me the perfectly long but wispy, natural but bold lashes I want, This comes the closest of anything I have tried.

Favourite Neutral Lipstick:
I picked up the L'Oreal Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in 640 Erotique in a Priceline sale on a whim and it swatched nicely so I threw it in my basket. Now I wear this shade at least twice a week. It lives in my handbag now and it is the perfect go with everything shade.

Favourite Red Lipstick:
I adore red lipstick, I would wear it everyday if I could. And as such I have an unreasonable amount of red lip options. Last year though my most reached for shade was NARS Red Square, it is a gorgeous orange tone of red and is long lasting but still comfortable to wear.

Favourite Lip Liner:
The fact that I had to go on a wait list for this liner earlier this year tells me that it is a lot of people's favourite liner. Soar Lipliner from MAC shot to stardom when the Kardashians credited their plump pouts to it (hence the waitlist) but what I love about this shade is the actual shade. I think it looks especially great on pale people (I may be biased) but as far as warm browns go I think it is a definite winner. I often wear this alone with a gloss, I just colour the whole lip in.

Favourite Eyebrow Product:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe. I rarely leave the house without it on, even if it is the only makeup product on my face.

Favourite Eye Shadow Base:
Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit is a gorgeous colour all on it's own, and I do wear it alone sometimes, however I always use this as my base for powder eyeshadows. It gives a great neutral canvas for shadows to stick to and as the name suggests, limits creasing and movement of colours.

Favourite Eyeliner:
I don't really like using liquid liner, I like the result it gives but I much prefer using a gel liner and a brush. For most of last year I used the MAC Fluidline in Black Track and have loved it. It doesn't smudge and it is easy to use with a range of brushes. I feel like I have had this forever so trying something new may be on the cards but this was a definite favourite for last year.


Favourite Foundation:
This is no surprise because it has been my favourite foundation for the last hundred years, but the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia is amazing. I tried a few other bases this year but I kept coming back to this, it gives good coverage without looking too heavy and it wears well throughout the day. I think what kept me reaching for this though is how perfectly the colour suits. I don't have to worry about mixing colours or about applying it down my neck and shoulders, it just works and makes applying a base each day super easy.

Favourite Concealer:
I have long been a fan of the NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, I think this would be about my tenth tube of the stuff. I use this every day under my eyes and on any spots and I find it brightening and to have great coverage, especially once set with a powder.

So, that rounds up my year in beauty products. If you have lasted to the end of this post then a massive thank you, chatting through a years worth of products is hard to keep short and sweet so I really thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

MAC New Year Haul

New year, new makeup... 

Well sort of, new shades maybe but they're certainly firmly within my usual colour palette. 

I took a little trip to MAC last week to pickup an eyeshadow and a lipstick. Two products, that's all. Then I spotted another eyeshadow that I have had on the list for a longtime and before I knew it there were five shadows in my hot, little hands.

You know what I mean when I say 'list'? The mental list of products that bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers constantly talk about and you think to yourself 'I must look at that next time I'm in MAC'...yeah, that list. The wishlist.

Anyway, Mehr lipstick and Patina eyeshadow have been on my list for ages but because I can't be disciplined and just stop at one neutral eyeshadow I bought a few others that looked gorgeous aswell. 

I picked up a replacement Brule because I have well and truly hit pan on mine and it's only a matter of time until it's gone completely and I need a newie, such a great base lid shade for pale gals. I use it for nearly every neutral eye look, it's an absolute go-to shade. 


L-R: Patina, Concrete, Brule, Copperplate and Quarry
The other colours I grabbed were Quarry; a dusty matte purple-brown, Copperplate; a warm grey tone, Patina; a bronze with a good shine but without the glittery shimmer and Concrete; a warm toned grey-brown.



I picked up Mehr lipstick first, it looked just as wonderful in person as Instagram had indicated, an easy to wear dusty rose hue and I also picked up a shade I hadn't heard of before called Pretty Boy. Don't let the appearance fool you, it looks like it's going to be a bright neon shade but it goes on sheer and gives a lovely warm, pink slick to the lips with a good amount of shine. A couple of swipes and you can definitely build it up to be a more concentrated watermelon colour, but you still keep that glossy shine, great for summer. Note the below swatch is about three swipes. 


L-R: Pretty Boy and Mehr

Finally the two eyeliners of choice were Powersurge and Prunella. Both are Eye Kohls which mean they are very soft formulas and easy to blend. 

L-R: Powersurge and Prunella


Prunella is a deep matte purple shade, it looks almost brown at a glance but it is a good alternative for black if you are looking for something softer. Powersurge is a fiercely metallic dark gold shade which you could use on the lower lash line to complement any gold eye look or even as a base for a similar toned shadow to really intensify the colour. 


I'm very happy with my little loot, it's funny how buying a few new variations of neutral eyeshadows can get you so excited, or is that just me? Happy New Year everyone!