Sunday, 16 March 2014

No7 Blend & Contour brush

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A blending brush is an essential to any eyeshade lover. A good one will beautifully buff out, smoothly blend eye shadow and quickly apply a wash of colour in a pinch. The Mac 217 is a prime example, the cult favourite blending brush, but at £18, it isn’t for everyone.

My blending brush of choice is the No7 Blend & Contour brush. Now I don’t own the 217 so can’t give a comparison but I can let you know why I love it.

The bristles are lovely and soft and tapered to give a slight dome to the top. It picks up colour well and works well at applying colour and blending it in one move. It’s equally useful to blend our any colour you pack on with a flatter and more dense brush (especially if it’s clean).

I remember the first once or twice I washed this brush I think that it shed a few bristles, but since then it’s been wonderful. It hasn’t thinned out at all and is good as new after every wash. I find occasionally if my eyes are particularly sensitive and I’m using it roughly it can be a little scratchy.

All in all it’s a daily staple for me, and easily performs the task of several brushes at once – applying shadow and blending. It works best with powder but also does a good job at applying and blending cream or liquid shadow (although you will need to wash it after use as heavier formulas weigh down the bristles).

Perhaps in the future a 217 may sit in my price range but for not I am completely content with my No7 offering. You can pick it up for £7.25 from Boots, or £4.25 with a No7 voucher!

Friday, 7 March 2014

The Best of Autumn Winter 2014 Beauty Trends

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Gucci, Versace Roshas and Diane Von Furstenberg

Dolce & Gabanna AW14Giorgio Armarni AW14
Michael Kors AW14Gucci AW14
Clockwise: Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armarni, Gucci and Michael Kors

Burberry Prorsum AW14 Cara DelevigneDiane Von Furstenberg AW14
Valentino AW14Versace AW14
Clockwise: Burberry Prorsum, Diane Von Furstenberg, Versace and Valentino

Now that fashion week is over, I took a look back at the AW14 beauty trends and selected a few favourites that are suitable to try out at home.

The first trend that I am loving is the beautifully pretty doll like eyes seen at Gucci, Roshas and Versace above. Models at Gucci and Versace wore fluttery false lashes creating a very pretty effect.

This is an easy look to achieve, for day time I would suggest wearing a few individual lashes. Focus longer lashes in the centre to open eyes as they were at Rochas and Gucci, and for wide winged eyes focus your individual lashes at the edges of your lashline, as seen at Versace. Keep the rest of your make up natural and pared down.

The romantic slightly sixties eyes at Dolce & Gabbana are my favourite look of the season. Pat McGrath went for a minimal base – flawless but natural and pretty. The eyes were defined with winged liner, curled lashes and mascara.

At home, use matte shadows to contour your eyes using a light shade over the lid and a sculpting brown in the crease and outer edge. Use a gel or liquid liner across your upper lashine and flick up at the outer edge toward the end of each brow. Use a pale cream eyeliner on your lower waterline, curl your lashes and go to town with a few coats of lengthening mascara.

Something else that stood out on the AW14 catwalk was purple shadow. Seen at Burberry Prorsum and Diane Von Furstenberg above, also at Chloe (not pictured). At Diane Von Furstenberg, models were very pretty and glowing with soft lilac eyes, contoured cheekbones and dewy skin. At Burberry Prorsum things were a bit more grunge. Skin was matte and unfussy while an aubergine shade was worn on the lids often with a ‘worn in’ creased finish.

Wearing colour might seem daunting but purple is a great shade to work into your daily look. Start with taupey purples which will look very natural on the lid. If you go for something brighter, use a brown contouring colour in the crease to anchor the look. If you’re a little braver, embrace lilac this spring and wear a block of purple hue over the lid with a natural base and lots of mascara.

At Michael Kors, models were bronzed and sunkissed with defined eyes and brows. Lips were a pretty bitten colour, as if they had been devouring blackberries but in a softer way than we are used to seeing in autumn/winter.

To recreate the look, bronze cheeks, don’t be scared or a slightly warmer tone. The look is sunkissed not contoured. Groom brows and use a powder to fill in. For eyes, invest in a soft brown eyeliner, apply to your upper and lower lashline and blend. Reline your upper lashline and finish with mascara.

Finally, I’ve loved seeing grey shadows on models eyes as they were at Valentino and Giorgio Armani. At Armani, the look was more romantic and dark. Linda Cantello went for strong brows and soft berry lips to go with the smoky grey eyes. At Valentino the look was more youthful and bright. Pat McGrath used grey liner to define the eyes, paired with glowy highlighted skin.

At home use soft washes of grey shadow over the lids for a subtle nod to the trend. For the evening, amp it up by using a pencil to define brows, a light berry stain and add to the grey shadow, smoking it out and bringing it underneath the eyes.

All images via Vogue.co.uk

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush

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The Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush was all over the beauty blogs in the summer and I wasn’t one to be left out so I picked up the shade Soft Pink.

I’ve been using this now for well over half a year and it’s something I read for everyday. The formula is creamy, it feels buttery but not greasy. It blends well and can be applied quickly with fingertips. It is well pigmented; not too scary to warrant an emergency foundation covered buffing brush, but with enough colour that even after six months use I’ve hardly made a dent.

The lasting power could be better, but I find that all blushes fade quickly on me. Although the packaging is simple, it’s very convenient. Small and light, perfect for your handbag as you don’t need a brush to apply on the go.

It’s a lovely blush and if it’s sitting in the back of your collection, or you fancy picking it up from boots (there’s a 3 for 2 offer on – what are you waiting for!) then it’s a perfect rosy shade for spring.

You can buy the Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush for £6.99 from Boots and Superdrug, or for £5.03 from Amazon.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution

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There has been quite a lot of hype about L'Oreals Micellar offering in the past few months and since I stocked up on another two bottles of the stuff a few days ago (two for £5 in Superdrug!) I thought it was about time that I wrote about it.

Now the only other Micellar water I've tried is this one from Etat Pur, which I enjoyed but wasn't wowed by. I've not tried Bioderma, but I have spent approximately 5/6 nights a week for the last six or seven years taking off my make up so I can confidently say that this is a brilliant make up remover.

The water feels, well, like water on your skin, very gentle and soothing. Instantly refreshing but somehow magically it takes off all traces of my make up in a few swipes. Now I don't wear waterproof mascara but I have read that it comes off very easily.

In my cleansing routine I count this as a half/full cleanse depending on how thorough I want to be. Followed by a cleansing balm or cream (or two) all traces of make up are thoroughly removed and my skin feels lovely and clean.

Overall I absolutely love using this cleaner, it's so refreshing in the evening (especially after a long day) and makes removing my make up an easy task. My only complaint is that I get through it at a ridiculous speed.

I often see this on offer so scout around if you want to pick one up. They are currently available for 1/3rd off in Boots and Superdrug or for £4.99 full price.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Revlon Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon

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Heavily swatched

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After about an hours wear

I love Revlon's lip butters, they are well pigmented while slightly sheer and buttery soft. It might surprise you then to know that until a few days ago I only had one in my collection.

Revlon launched their Lip Butters well over a year ago now and they immediately because a cult beauty favourite. While the formula was fantastic, the shade range was slightly lacking (in the UK anyway). There was a wide choice but many of the colours had a slight shimmer which put me off them.

Earlier this year Revlon launched four new shades in the UK. And there isn't a hint of shimmer in sight, just beautiful balmy lipsticks.

I picked up the shade Wild Watermelon which in the bullet looks like a bright orange toned red but looks a lot pinker on the lips, especially once worn for a while.

Like the other lip butters the texture is lovely, buttery soft, glossy but balmy not sticky. The pigmentation is good, easily buildable until it's opaque but you could also wear a sheer wash of colour. I found that the wear time was quite good. If you swatch the colour heavily it dies down quite quickly but it takes a long time to completely fade away leaving you with a slight stain. The lip butters are really easy to apply on the go anyway so isn't too much of a problem if you find that it wears quickly.

The only quibble I have with the Lip Butters is that they don't contain much product, just 2.55g. Most lip sticks have about 4g of product so that's a little disappointing.

You can buy Revlon Lip Butters for £7.99 in most chemists including Boots and Superdrug

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Eco Tools Fresh & Flawless Set

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Wandering the isles of Boots recently I began browsing the Brush section - always a dangerous pursuit. I spotted a cute little box containing a set of five of Eco Tools face brushes. The box promised a 'Smooth Airbrushed Finish' and 'Beautifully Soft Brushes' and was under £15 so I popped it in my basket and left Boots a happy girl.

Firstly, I think that these brushes look really cute. They're travel size so perfect for popping in your handbag or taking on holiday. The ferrules are also different colours, unlike the usual Eco Tools brushes, and have pretty leafy and floral designs on. The ferrules are also made out of recycled aluminium, and the bristles are cruelty-free so you can feel good about yourself for being eco too!

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The set includes five different face brushes which I could easily use for ever step in my makeup routine. All of the brushes are of a lovely quality, I love the bamboo handles and the bristles are nice and soft. They aren't quite up to the softness standards of a Real Techniques set but they are cheaper and perfect if you're just delving into the world of beauty and want a nice set of make up brushes to start out.

Firstly the Precision Foundation brush, this is very similar to the Foundation Brush in the Real Techniques Core Collection. It's a small flat foundation brush perhaps a little petit for applying foundation but it is perfect for blending out under eye concealer.

The Buffing Concealer brush is a bit like a tiny buffing brush, it's quite densely packed with a slightly rounded top. I like to use it to blend out concealer. I did find this a little bit more scratchy than the other brushes but works fine used with a soft hand.

The Flat Concealer brush is a reasonably dense flat brush with a rounded tip. It's fairly small so great for applying concealer precisely over spots and blemishes.

The Complexion Blending brush reminds me of the Real Techniques Buffing Brush but a lot smaller, it's also slightly flat and nor completely round. I reach for it instead of my Buffing Brush to blend out foundation, concealer or blusher if I'm travelling as it's so tiny. I've also found it to be a great shape for contouring.

Finally the Full Powder brush is a nice soft fluffy brush, less densely packed than the Complexion Blending brush. I use it to apply my face powder or a powder highlighter.

I love this little set and use many of the brushes daily, especially when I'm travelling as they're just so handy and small. I would definitely recommend this, it would make a perfect gift for somebody new to make up or a handy travel set if you just want to expand your collection.

I picked up my set in Boots but for some reason these aren't on the Boots website. If you can't find any in store you can buy these from Feel Unique for £11.99 which equates to about £2.40 per brush - bargain!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara

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I picked up this Max Factor mascara in a free gift box with a purchase a few weeks ago. I'd not heard anything about it online so didn't have high expectations but when I reached for it on a whim one morning I was pleasantly surprised with it.

First up the brush, which plastic with soft plastic bristles, does a great job of getting in-between each lash and gliding through. With a little brushing back and forwards it's easy to create thick, fluttery lashes.

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The formula works well, it gives my lashes good length, great curl and wonderful volume. It's also a very black formula and doesn't give me any clumps. I really like the effect it gives, my lashes look full and almost have a false effect while still looking quite natural. It's buildable too so you could easily opt for a subtle natural look with one coat or build it up a lot for something quite dramatic.

They also hold a curl very well. I'm very lucky and have quite naturally curly lashes so I don't have trouble with the curl falling throughout the day but I have noticed with this mascara that they still look very curly eight hours on.

The staying power of this mascara is really commendable. I'm wearing it now and after about 9/10 hours wear and it looks almost exactly the same as when I applied it this morning. I have the tiniest amount of smudging underneath my lower lash line but I think I can blame that on hay fever and itchy eyes.

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Overall this is a great mascara, since I started using it I haven't been tempted to pick up my previous favourite Benefit's They're Real mascara which is nearly twice the price. I will definitely repurchase this when I run out of my travel size tube.

Max Factors Masterpiece Max mascara is £9.99 and available in Boots, Superdrug and many other pharmacies. It's also currently on offer for £7.99 in Boots and comes in blue and brown as well as black.