Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Drugstore Starter Kit..

UK DRUGSTORE MAKE UP
Despite having a rather excessive make up collection, I love these types of posts and feel like they really allow you to see what others would recommend if they were starting make up from scratch. I had a few ideas about how to do this post, although in the end I decided to go with the products I love from each category and would recommend to anyone else, as apposed to the cheapest products or ones I'd recommend for younger skin, because you can be just starting out with make up at any age!
MAYBELLINE BABYSKIN PRIMER, REVLON NEARLY NAKED FOUNDATION, BOURJOIS POWDER, ESSENCE
Firstly I'm talking bases, and everything you need for clearer looking skin! I have four products to recommend here; primer, foundation, concealer and powder, although I know not everyone will want to use all four which is perfectly fine. It's also important to note that what each person wants in a product will vary which is why I have added some additional recommendations to each depending on your skin type.

Primer
Personally the main problem I want to combat with my primer is pores, and this Babyskin one from Maybelline (£7.99/22ml) is perfect for that, while allowing my make up to stay in place all day! You only need a tiny amount too meaning this tube will last me a long long time! Although Primers aren't just for minimising pores. In fact there's a huge range out there ready to solve a magnitude of skincare issues. For example this colour calming one from No7  helps combat redness and this Bourjois one aims to Luminase your skin!

Foundation 
For me one of the hardest choices for this kit was Foundation! Although in the end I went with the one I find myself reaching for most, Revlon's Nearly Naked Foundation (£8.99/30ml). This just offers me an ideal amount of coverage for everyday looks, and doesn't leave the skin looking cakey! (See my full review on Revlon's Nearly Naked Foundation here) Although if you're looking for something with a little more coverage and want to maintain that glowy look I'd recommend Rimmels wake me up foundation (£8.99/30ml).

Concealer 
To be honest, the concealer I find myself reaching for on a daily basis has an extremely expensive price tag, although occationally I find myself gravitating towards Essence's Stay all day concealer (£2.50/7ml)which offers a really nice coverage. I haven't reviewed this fully so expect a post soon!

Powder 
Personally I'm a fan of the glowy look, so my powder pick is an illuminating one in the form of Bourjois Java Rice Loose Powder (£9.99/3.5g).  I just really love how illumining powders leave my skin and you can see my full review on this one here. I do however appreciate that not everyone loves the glowy look as much as I do, which is why I'm recommending Rimmels stay matte powder (£3.99) as an alternative product.
TOPSHOP, CREAM BLUSH, HIGHLIGHTER, PLAY UP, HEAD OVER HEELS, SOAP AND GLORY, SOLAR POWDER
Once we've sorted our beautiful base, Its time to add some definition to the face. I have three essential finishing products, which is why I'm recommending a bronzer, blush and highligher!

Bronzer
The bronzer I'm recommending is this Soap and Glory Solar Powder (£11.00/9g), as I reach for it on a daily basis, While this is on the slightly pricey side of 'drugstore makeup' it's worth every penny and looks wonderful on the skin! This is one to try if you're a paler girl like me, I simply sweep this below my cheekbones with an EcosTool brush for a more sculpted look.  (See swatches, and my full review here)

Blusher
It's no secret that I have a huge love for cream blushes, which is why I'm recommending this Topshop Cream Blush in 'Head over Heels' (£7.00/4g) while this looks shockingly scary in pan form, this applies so beautifully and gives a really natural flush to the cheeks. Its really easy to work with and would be a great product for anyone starting out with make up! I simply add a little of this onto my Real techniques stippling brush and stipple it into my cheeks (See swatches and my full review here)

Highlighter 
I love a good highlight and have been enjoying this glow stick from Topshop in the shade play up (£10.00). I picked this one as I felt like it had an easier formula to work with than some of my liquad/powder highlights, and it gives such a lovely glow! I apply this to the tops of my cheek bones and down my nose with my fingers (See swatches and my full review here) 
COLLECTION, MUA, ESSENCE EYELINER PEN
 For me eyes are one the most important parts of my make up application! Even before I started wearing a lot of make up on a regular basis, I would always wear mascara and I think an eye look has the ability to change the look of someones whole face! Personally I'm a lover of the natural look which reflects in my make up picks!

Eye shadow Primer
 For me, a good eye primer is essential with any eye shadow look, which is why I've included this MUA eyeshadow primer (£2.50/7.5ml), This primer just insures that my eyeshadow stays put all day and is at a great price point too! I simply apply this all over my lid prior to eyeshadow application and let it work its magic!  (To see my full review click here)

Eye Shadow 
While brands such as MUA and Make up revolution offer palettes which are full to the brim with pretty shadows. I find it so hard to pick what shades I want to put together! This collection palette in nude (£3.99)  makes creating an eyeshadow look so easy as users are given a step by step guide on the back.. perfect for beginners ..and people who suck at eyeshadow in general.. (To see my full review and swatches, click here)

Eyeliner 
I'm rubbish when it comes to eyeliner, so an easy to use eyeliner pen is essential, I haven't put this one from Essence (£2.50)* down since discovering it a few months ago, It applies effortlessly and doesn't budge all day! (To see my full review click here)

Mascara 
This was a hard category to pick from as I love so many mascaras, although finally I settled on Essence's Maximum Definition Mascara(£2.80)*, because quite frankly this stuff is amazing. Not only does it deliver amazing length and volume, Its super cheap too! (To read more about this click here)

Brow gel 
To be honest, I'm not one for filling in my brows. Instead I like to keep them in place with a clear mascara. This MUA one (£1.00) does the trick for me and is really affordable too. I honestly don't understand why anyone would pay more for a brow gel as this does such a wonderful job!
LIPS
Since I started my blog,  highstreet lip products have become a bit of an obsession. I couldn't just pick one, so am recommending a Lip crayon, a lipgloss, a lipstick and a tinted lip balm!

Lip Crayon
For me, no one beats Revlon when it comes to lip crayons, both the regular and matte crayons were a huge hit with my make up bag! Although recently I've been reaching more for my Revlon colorburst matte balm in Elusive (£7.99). As the name suggests this is a matte lip shade, although unlike a lot of mattes I've tried this isn't drying on the lips and feels very comfortable. It also lasts for a good few hours too! This is one of the few products featured in my starter kit that I haven't reviewed, so If you would like to see a post on this, let me know in the comments!

Lipgloss
Lipgloss has come a long way in recent years, and this L'extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick in Molto Mauve (£8.99) happens to be my favorite. I just love the non sticky glossy finish this gives, making it so easy to throw on!  (To see my full review and swatches click here) 

Lipstick
I'm not the biggest fan of Matte lipsticks, but when they're done well they can be amazing! This Kate Moss for Rimmel lipstick in 101 (£5.49)  is the perfect example of that, this was the first ever lipstick liked, and is still my most worn lipstick nearly two years later! I just get so many complements whenever I wear this shade and love the look of it on! (To see my full review and swatches click here)

Tinted Lip balms
I'm such a huge fan of tinted lipbalms, although these Babylips (£2.99) are still my favourites. The shade pictured above is cherry me which leaves a lovely red tint on my lips, although you can read my thoughts on the whole range here.

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Becca Cream Concealer

BECCA CREAM CONCEALER
 A while back now Fragrance Direct were selling a load of Becca products at a significantly reduced rate. I picked up a few things from the range, including this £3.99 concealer, which normally retails for a hefty £30 on the Becca website! HIGH coverage concealer
This compact concealer houses two pans of product, each containing a concealer with a different level of coverage. While one claims to give 'extra-cover', the other offers 'medium cover'. I was really impressed with the shade range Becca had to offer, and picked up 'Parfait', the second lightest shade from the thirty available.
UK BEAUTY BLOG
I have used this product daily for months now and while both sides have rather big dents in, I can tell this is going to last me for a good while yet as a little goes a long way. This cream concealer is just perfect at masking any blemishes I may have, and blends into my skin like a dream with the Real Techniques deluxe crease brush. Once set, this also lasts for the best part of the day and the need for touch ups is minimal.
Overall I love this concealer and will continue to use it daily as I love the coverage it provides, Would I buy it again? At £30 it's unlikely, although it has converted me to cream concealers in general, and I cant wait to try what the high street has to offer!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Minimising your holiday makeup bag..

Collect Minis
Not only are mini products super cute, they save you so much suitcase space! Such samples are really easy to collect year round, so a holiday is the perfect time to use them up! You can either collect samples online for free or find them in places such as beauty boxes or magazines. Often when a new product is launched you can find samples online, for example a few months ago I got this Maybelline foundation sample free by signing up on the brands website. Brands will often reward their followers too, and I got this MAC primer sample free online for liking their Facebook page! Some good ways to keep in the know about free samples are following pages like student money saver, or 10 ways to make money as a student without working on twitter or facebook. 

If you're a beauty box or magazine fanatic you'll probably find you have a few minis lying around too! I'm always writing about magazine freebies and I've collected my fair share goodies through buying magazines! Its also worth considering that you can buy mini products too, for example benefit offers little sets with mini products in such as this good time gals one (£15.00) and sites such as latest in beauty allow you to buy mini products in their build your own beauty box section.
Multitasking Beauty products
It's not only mini products which will save you space in your suitcase! Multitasking products will save you money too! Some well known multitasking products include cream blush as lipstick and Bronzer as eyeshadow. Although you get bonus points if you can find a mini multitasking products such as this Mini benefit cha cha tint!

It's also worth reading up about your favourite beauty products too, I was recently reading about my favourite CC cream on the Boots website when I discovered it could be used under the eyes as a concealer too.. result!
Make use of palettes or gift sets
If your half as lazy as me at packing, this could be the idea for you! The right palette can really save you room in your make up bag, as well as time picking products! A palette I would really recommend if you're going away is this Stila one, which I reviewed here. In the palette you get 5 different shades, which can be used in a range of different ways. In effect you get 4 different blush and lip shades along with one highlighter making taking this tin along so much easier than taking all of those individual products! If you're really stick for space it's also worth noting that you could even fit a few products into the space under the black plastic!

Make up gift sets are one of my favourite cheat ways to pack, with a set such as Benefits The bronze of Champions, reviewed here, You literally have your whole face picked out for you minus a few base products with minimal effort on your part!

So there you have it, the three ways I use to minimise my holiday makeup bag.  How do you minimise yours?

Friday, 15 August 2014

My bad skin day saviours

Despite our best efforts we're all prone to the occasional bad skin day! Personally I find that break outs like to creep up when I'm super busy, So going make up free and allowing my skin to breathe isn't an option! Now I love a lightweight coverage foundation as much as the next girl, but on days like this its time to pull out the big guns!

 Lately I've noticed that the skin around my spots tends to get a little drier than other areas, so its important to insure I've prepped my skin properly with a good moisturiser. My current favourite for the mornings is this The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream (£11.00/50ml) which I'm running awfully low on as I use it so much. I simply leave this to sink into my skin before I use a primer. I hate having to touch up my make up throughout the day, so using a primer is essential to insure my make up lasts as long as possible with minimal effort. To counteract any redness breakouts my cause, I like to use this 3W Clinic Collagen Make up base* I recently got in a Memebox, although there are lots of green primers on offer in the UK too such as this one from No7. Personally I think green primers/concealers are such underrated products and well worth a go if you suffer with redness.

Next I use higher coverage foundation such as this Wake me up foundation from Rimmel (£8.99/30ml). I really enjoy using this on bad skin days as allows me to still achieve a nice glow while still wearing a higher coverage foundation. After blending my foundation, I like to go back in and conceal any unwanted blemishes that are still peeping through with a high coverage concealer such as this dual coverage concealer from Becca (£24.00), I have used this non stop since discovering it, and am getting dangerously close to hitting pan! If any of you guys can recommend a cheaper alternative, please let me know as I'll be so sad to finish this up! Finally, I like to use a matte powder over the concealer to insure it lasts for as long as it can! My favourite is this Stay Matte pressed powder from Rimmel (£3.99) which just sets the concealer nicely without adding any extra coverage or caking. 

So there you have it, the make up steps I take to achieve flawless looking skin on my worst days! Do you have any tips for better looking skin?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Memebox special #11 Cacao

MEMEBOX SPECIAL 11 CACAO
Two of my absolute favourite things are beauty and chocolate, so when Memebox emailed to say they were sending me the Cacao Cosmetics box* I was over the moon, as I probably would have brought it for myself anyway. If you don't know the drill already, Memebox are a beauty box service who ship directly from Korea to 44 countries around the world. They're not a subscription service meaning you simply pick the boxes you wish to receive. Prices range in value with the average box being under $30.
MEMEBOX SPECIAL 11 CACAO
As I've mentioned, this time I was lucky enough the sent the Superbox #11 Cacao Cosmetics, and its quite possibly my favourite Memebox yet!. Filled to the brim with six full sized products, The Cacao Cosmetics box retails at just $23 (£13.70) and contains a amazing $81 worth of products!
MEMEBOX SPECIAL 11 CACAO
Etude House Milk Talk ($7.00/200ml) - I feel like committed some kind of blogger crime in never trying an Etude House product before, I hear so much about their products from the community and am excited to try something from the brand for myself! This is basically a body wash/bath milk which smells just like chocolate milkshake! I used it in a bath yesterday and it left the whole room smelling of chocolate - heaven! The packaging is also super cute, I think even after I'm finished this I'll have to keep it proudly on display!

WondeRuci Cacao Brightening Mask ($38/100g) - This Cacao brightening mask smells (and looks a bit) like brownie mix! It comes packed in the most beautiful looking pot, ensuring that it's easy to get to every last bit of product. I used this on my skin last night and found that it really helped to brighten up my face, it also left my skin feeling lovely and smooth too! This is pretty sticky so I would recommend using an old foundation brush to apply, not only will it make the mask mess free, you'll be able to get a super easy application too! Incase your wondering below is what the mask looks like inside.
MEMEBOX SPECIAL 11 CACAO
Pure Smile Essence Mask Chocolate Milk ($1/23ml) - This is a chocolate scented sheet mask which claims to be rich in milk protein nutrients, cacao extracts, vitamin E and collagen. I haven't used a sheet mask yet so am really excited to try, as it claims to hydrate and smooth out uneven skin texture! 

Eva Vitamin Cleansing Dessert Magic cream soap Coconut & Cacao ($18/130G)- I know I've already said it but I'm loving the packaging of everything in this box, everything is either really expensive looking or really cute like this magic cream soap which you can see in the first image. I've never come across anything like this cleanser before, as you can see above it has a mouse like texture which claims to reach deeply into your pores leaving your face clean and smooth. I look forward to putting this to work once I've finished my current cleanser!
MEMEBOX SPECIAL 11 CACAO
Pure Smile Choosy Lip Scrub ($11/25g) - I've had a couple of choosy products in past boxes so I'm excited to try more from the brand. This lip scrub contains; sugar, cacao extracts, bees wax, shea butter, jojoba oil, macadamia oil and claims to remove dead skin, nourish deeply and add extra luster to your dry chapped lips

Purederm Nose Pore 6 strips Choco Cacao ($6) - I've used nose strips before, but never scented ones so I'm interested to see how there work. There are six in this box, so they should last me a good while too!
MEMEBOX SPECIAL 11 CACAO
So there you have it, everything in my favourite Memebox yet! I just think this would make a perfect gift for anyone as chocolate obessed as I am! Sadly I've just Looked at this box appears to be sold out! Although there's tones of new boxes to look at here! Have you tried memebox yet?!

You can get $5 off any order throughout August with the code 96ZGKX

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

All about sunrise

 If there's one palette I've been loving lately, it's this beauty from Essence! Filled with six shimmery shades, the All about sunrise palette* is my perfect summer companion and makes creating different eye looks a complete breeze. I have to admit when I first saw this palette I was a little scared as this it is filled to the brim with shimmery shadows. But a couple of months later, I have found myself reaching for this on a regular basis as its just so versatile!
There are four different eye shadow palettes in the 'all about' range, containing six pretty eyeshadows each. Although this one happens to be my favourite! As you can see from the below image these shadows are nicely pigmented, meaning you're able to get a really intense look on the lids (which with a primer lasts for the duration of the day). Although I'd recommend applying before the rest of your make up as things can get a little messy during application!
Despite that, I love this palette and think if you love a bit of shimmer, this is the palette for you! At just £3.50, this little beauty knocks other budget brands out of the water and is well worth a try, You can find this online here.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The battle of the Essence mascaras!

As you may know, a while back now I attended an Essence event where I seem to have accumulated a fair few mascaras after a long talk with a product developer, who recommended some of her top picks! I have a whooping eight Essence mascaras to share with you guys, so for the past eight days have been putting a new one to the test everyday. I'll point out that I always curl my eyelashes regardless of the mascara I use as I find it really helps. It's also worth noting that I do have a preference for plastic brushes, and don't really tend to suffer from fall out/smudging.  Now I haven't taken eye images for because A) My eyes seemed to look terrible in every one I tried and b) Mascara looks different on everyone's lashes anyway. Instead I choose to focus on the brush and formula of the mascara itself!
Day one
I love Extreme crazy volume mascara (£2.80/12ml)* - This crazy volume mascara has a big plastic brush complete with short bristles, these actually continue onto the top of the brush meaning you could use this to get into hard to reach areas. I haven't owned another mascara with a brush quite like this one, so was interested to see how this applied on my lashes. I found the formula of the mascara to be quite wet,  and a little messy at times although this was super easy to clean up. I was actually pleasantly surprised with this one, and in my opinion you only need one coat for really black and voluminous lashes. I found on the second coat that things can get a little spidery if your not careful, although with a little attention you can get a lovely 'flash lash affect', I guess it just takes a little practice. The effect lasted all day, although the curl did fall a little. There was no fall out and I found this was easy to remove with a cleansing water. If you love dramatic lashes you'll love this!
Would I buy this again? Yes, the formula may take some work but the results were nice and well suited to a night out (as long as I had some make up remover near by!). I will also add that although the other mascaras give a nice effect, this gives the most dramatic effect of all eight mascaras used, and actually looks like you're wearing falsies!
Day Two
I love Extreme Volume Mascara (£2.80/12ml)*-  I decided to put this to the test straight after the I love Extreme crazy volume mascara as they're from the same line. Unlike its crazy friend, the I love extreme volume mascara comes complete with an over sized fiber brush. This makes the mascara a little tricky to apply and slightly harder to work with, although the formula itself seems less wet and I found there was less to clean up after using this. I found the results were less 'spider leggy' and clumpy than the other mascara in the line. I also found that this gave me longer looking lashes, as well as a little volume. I really liked this one and felt it was a lot more wearble than the other version, you can also apply more than one coat without things getting clumpy. There was no fall out and I found this was easy to remove with a cleansing water.
Would I buy this again? Yes, I really loved the look of this one, Its a wonderful alrounder.
Day Three
Get BIG! Lashes volume curl mascara (£2.30)* - This mascara has a curved fiber brush which to be honest I found a little difficult to work with. Despite this I didn't find this mascara to be quite as messy as the other two. This is just an average mascara, and although I really liked it, It just didn't have the wow factor of the other two products! I found that it lengthened my lashes well but there was little volume given. There was no fall out and I found this was easy to remove with a cleansing water.
Would I buy this again? Possibly, Its not a bad product I just preferred the other two over it!
Day four
Multi action mascara (£2.50/9ml)* - To be honest I didn't expect much from this one. It has a classic shaped fibre brush which is pretty easy to use.While it didn't offer extreme lashes, it didn't claim to do so. I found that this gave my lashes a nice effect in terms of volume and length. It could also be built upon to create a more intense look. It just goes to show you don't need a gimmicky product for good results. There was no fall out and I found this was easy to remove with a cleansing water.
Would I buy this again? If I was looking for a less dramatic everyday mascara maybe.
Day Five
Lash Mania reloaded false lash mascara (£2.80.10ml)* - I'll start by saying this is my favourite mascara so far. Not only does it look a little more expensive than the ones I have reviewed, The plastic brush and formula are both super easy to work with meaning there was no mess at all! Lash Mania gives a really lovely 'false lash effect' to the lashes which lasts all day with zero clumps! There was no fall out and I found this was easy to remove with a cleansing water. This honestly feels like a £10+ mascara so I was so shocked to learn it was juts £2.80!
Would I buy this again? YES! and I'd recommend you do the same!
 Day 6
Maximum definition mascara (£2.80/8ml) - After loving yesterdays mascara so much, I didnt expect to love another Essence mascara! But this one took me completely off guard! Housed in a traffic cone orange tube, this mascaras thin plastic brush makes it so easy to apply. This ticks my three boxes in terms of volume, length and colour. It gives such an amazing effect that I was actually asked if I was wearing eyeliner on the day I tried this out.
Would I buy this again? 100% yes, Again I'm amazed at the price tag as it performs like a much more expensive product and can see myself using this for years to come!
Day 7
The Lash Curler Mascara (£3.30/10ml)* - This one really interested me as it has a manually rotating brush which supposedly curls your lashes. I'll be honest in saying this is my least favourite Essence mascara, I found that I had to curl my lashes before using this, despite the fact that this is the mascaras selling point. Even when I did curl my lashes, I found that this mascara only added length, and the curl dropped after hour. To be honest this didn't last the day as it wasn't for me, and I applied a different mascara before leaving the house.
Would I buy this again? No, although perhaps ideal if you love the natural look.
Day eight
Colour Flash volume mascara (£3.00/9ml)* - Just a glance of this one tells you it isn't your everyday mascara! Before this I had no experience with coloured mascara, and pink was a pretty daring place to start! This can be used in a range of ways, alone on the lashes, layered on the lashes to make an ombre effect and in the hair as highlights. I found that alone this added length, but certainly wasnt my ideal shade, and over a black mascara you could faintly see this. I didnt dare to try it in my hair! Perhaps ideal for fancy dress and festivals but for everyday use I'm steering clear!
Would I buy this again? Not in this shade but I really want to try some of the other shades on offer such as the blue!

So there you have it, eight essence mascaras over eight days.  I really enjoyed trying these mascaras. To be honest, I didnt know any of the mascara prices until after I'd finished testing them for the day, so as you can imagine I'm impressed!I normally spend £7+ to get a good mascara, so am so pleased I've finally found a brand that does descent ones for under £3!  Essence are also on 3 for 2 at the moment, so if you have a spare fiver hanging about I'd strongly recommend picking up; I love extreme crazy volume, Lash mania and the maximum definition mascara!