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Monday, 30 March 2015

Drugstore Make Up Starter Kit


Make up can be confusing for beginners. Personally, I started out with a white/ silver Rimmel cream eyeshadow that I wore on its own all over my eyes (very 'space age') and a lip gloss. I thought I'd put together some product recommendations for anyone starting out, but they would be just as good for experienced makeup wearers who are looking for some bargainous, good quality products.

Base
Foundations are a difficult thing to recommend because it obviously depends on skin type and the level of coverage you're after. As an oily skinned girl, my main aim is to have something that lasts well on my skin and is more on the matte side. My favourite everyday foundation is Revlon's colorstay in the oily skin formula (they also do one for dry skin). I would say this one gives medium coverage that can be built up to full if you use a bit more. The L'oreal Infallible Matte foundation is a recent discovery of mine (see my review here) that has good coverage with a more lightweight feel. I think Bourjois as a brand is a good bet for lighter textured foundations and they have some lovely more dewy ones if your skin is more on the dry side. For a powder, I don't think you can go wrong with Rimmel Stay Matte. It's cheap and cheerful at £3.99 but does what it says on the tin and doesn't look cakey. If you want to venture into primers, which I find useful for helping to keep my makeup on for longer, I really like the Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer. As far as concealer goes, I like the Rimmel Match Perfection concealer for its brightening qualities underneath my eyes and the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer for any redness or blemishes since it has more coverage and sets in place.

Cheeks
Beginners may not necessarily want to use a bronzer since it's something that is so easy to get wrong. If you do want one, however, Soap and Glory's Solar Powder is a great drugstore option that isn't too dark so it's a bit easier to use. The one you see above is a brand new one because I only have a tiny bit left around the edge of my other one. For blush, my drugstore favourites at the moment are the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes (oddly named because they are in fact a powder). They have a bit of a glow to them without being overly shimmery so work well for both dry and oily skins. They are pigmented enough but not overly so and almost blend themselves so they're pretty much fool proof. You can also skip highlight on your cheekbones because of the pretty glow they have so it's almost like getting 2 products in one.


Eyes
Depending on the look you're going for, you may just want to use a mascara, in which case my favourite by far is Seventeen's Falsifeye HD (which beats a lot of more expensive mascaras hands down in my opinion). If you do want to try an eyeshadow then something neutral and simple to use is a good option. If you go for a cream shadow like Maybelline's Eye Tattoo in the shade on and on bronze or Max Factor's Excess Shimmer eye shadow in Copper, you can apply and blend it out with fingers. I also like the GOSH Forever Eye Shadow in the shade 'Light Copper', which you can literally draw onto your eyelid and smudge out with fingers. For powder eye shadows, the Collection Eyes Uncovered palette in the shade nude bronze is amazing quality for the price and you get 5 lovely shades to mix and match. If you want to add to the longevity of your eye makeup by using a primer, the MUA Pro Base Eye Primer is a bargain at £2.50 and keeps everything in place just as long as some much more expensive versions. I didn't really use eye liner when I first got into makeup and I think it's something you don't necessarily need, so I skipped it for this post.

Lips
The thing I tend to go for in lip products most is moisture. I don't often wear matte lip products because I prefer the feeling of something a bit more moisturising and that definitely shows in my top picks. My absolute favourite drugstore lip product is Soap and Glory's Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks. My favourite everyday shades are bashful, a sheer baby pink and nudist, a more peachy/ brownish nude. They are moisturising and give a hint of tint and some gloss without the gloop. The Revlon Lip Butters are a great moisturising lipstick formula if you're after something with a bit more colour. My favourite shade is Berry Smoothie. For more of a full, pigmented lipstick, the Rimmel Kate lipsticks are great quality for the price. You can see my full post about those here.  If you're more of a lip gloss girl, I like Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss , which has a nice amount of pigment and isn't too sticky, or the Bourjois Effet 3D glosses, which are more for the shine than the pigment but have 'Balm Action' and are pretty moistursing for a gloss.

So there are my recommendations for drugstore make up products to start out with. What do you think? Are there any others you would recommend?

Em x

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Beauty Favourites: March 2015


I know this is a bit cliche to say but I seriously do not know where the months are going. March was a very stressful month for me so I'm hoping for a better April. Anyway, here are the beauty products I've enjoyed the most this month...

MAC creme cup lipstick (£15.50 here) is such a pretty baby pink for Spring. I have been loving pink lips and cheeks lately (See my 'pretty in pink' post here). I also found an amazing drugstore dupe for it if you want a more budget friendly alternative (see the post here).

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in 'Eastend Snob' (£3.99 here). This is a lovely pink shade that I love to pair with creme cup (or any other light pink/ pink nude shade) when I want a more defined look and a more longlasting finish. I like that it's twist up because I don't have to worry about sharpeners, just be carefully not to twist up too much as it does snap off quite easily when you do.

Clinique cheek pop in plum pop (£16.50 here). I have lost count of the number of times I have mentioned this on the blog but honestly it is something that I keep coming back to and it has been used to death-it's definitely looking a little worse for wear, as you can tell. For those who don't know they have a really pretty flower design on the top, which is completely gone. It has an unusual finish that is almost matte but with a slight glow to it. I say glow because it's not shimmer and you don't see particles of sparkle on your cheeks, it just literally looks like you have healthy, glowy skin.

Max Factor creme puff blushes (£8.99 here). 
I mentioned the shade 'seductive pink' in last month's favourites post but I have since picked up more of these and they really are one of my favourite blush formulas. You can see a more full review of them here but again they are a glowy formula (a bit more so than the Clinique). It's so strange that I'm finding myself reaching for glowy blushes because as a combo/ oily skinned girl, I used to stick to matte. These days I like to keep my t-zone matte and allow my cheeks to have a bit more of a glow as it just makes my skin look a bit more fresh.

Soap and Glory's sugar crush range has got to be my favourite ever scent as far as bath and body products go. They have a sweet yet zingy lime scent that is AMAZING. I have gone back to using the body wash (£6.50 here), scrub (£8 here) and body butter (£10.50 here) this month and have really been enjoying them, particularly for morning showers because they make me feel so much more awake. There's also something very Spring-like about a nice fruity scent.

What were your favourite beauty products this month?

Em x

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Review and Comparison: L'oreal Infallible 24 hour matte foundation


I picked up the L'oreal Infallible 24 hour matte foundation a couple of weeks back but didn't want to mention it on here until I'd given it a good test. Now I have, so here we go...

Mine is in the shade '11 Vanilla', which is a decent match but is ever so slightly too dark. The palest shade, porcelain, was too pink on me (I have a lot of pink in my skin and rosy cheeks so I like to use a neutral or more yellow toned foundation to balance it out). I do wish there were a few more shades as there were only 6 in Boots. which are obviously not going to be perfect for everyone. I can make it work by blending it down my neck but I imagine it will be a closer match as the weather gets a little warmer and I have a little more colour in my face.

I like the packaging of this foundation, a simple squeeze tube with a narrow 'nozzle' (not sure what else to call it?!). This makes it easy to travel with, easy to get the right amount of product out and also easy get all of the product out, right down to the bottom...all for the budget friendly price of £6.99.

So....how does it perform on the skin?

L'oreal claim that the foundation has a 'matte result that lasts up to 24 hours. I must say that I find it more than a little bit silly when companies claim this....I mean who on earth wears make up for 24 hours? I have been testing this over my usual primer (Max Factor Facefinity All Day primer) and under my usual powder (Rimmel Stay Matte) so that I could fairly compare it with my favourite Revlon colorstay. I think it's a good one to compare to since both claim to be long lasting. I would say that the level of oil control is about the same. I have been blotting my nose about twice during an 8/9 hour day, which is about the same as when I wear colourstay. It seems to generally last well on the skin and doesn't transfer everywhere, which is one of my pet peeves about some foundations. Looking at ingredients list on the Boots website, it contains a fair amount of silicone, which probably helps the lasting power as it would help to stop oils breaking through.


One difference between this and the Revlon Colorstay is that it feels more lightweight on the skin. It does, however, have about the same level of coverage, in that it's medium when buffed in with a buffing brush but you can build it up to being more full by adding a bit more. It offers a very decent amount of coverage for a foundation that is more liquid than the Colorstay and feels lighter on the skin. For this reason, I can see me getting a lot of use out of this in the warmer weather, when my Colourstay feels too heavy. It is also, of course, far cheaper at £6.99 with Revlon Colourstay being £12.49.


Compared to the original Infallible foundation, which I also own, this is much more matte and oil controlling. I picked up the orginal Infallible foundation before this one was out and being honest, it doesn't really work very well for me oiliness wise. Since I paid for it, I want to use it up so I tend to use it when I'm just popping to the supermarket or something and it doesn't need to last a long time because I'm very quickly shiny with that one and it just disappears from my nose and chin as a result. You also get 30ml in the original instead of 35 and it comes in a glass bottle with a pump rather than a tube. I would definitely recommend that one more for drier skins.

Overall, I am really enjoying the L'oreal Infallible Matte foundation. It has good lasting power, pretty good oil control and easy to deal with packaging. It has a lightweight feel which is nice and offers decent coverage. If I was to suggest one improvement, it would be to expand the shade range. There are many more shades in my usual Revlon Colourstay and I can therefore get a closer match to my skin when it's at its palest.

Have you tried this foundation? What do you think?

Em x


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Affordable drugstore dupe: MAC creme cup lipstick


 In the above pictures I'm wearing two different lipsticks, but you really wouldn't know it, even in real life. I was trying on the Max Factor Colour Elixir lipstick in the shade 'star dust pink', when I thought to myself that the colour and the creamy texture seemed very familiar...and it's because it's almost identical to MAC's creme cup lipstick. I actually got the Max Factor one completely free as part of the gift with purchase that Boots recently had running, but it's normally £7.99. It's now on 3 for 2 at Boots. The MAC shade is available here for £15.50-almost double the price!

They look quite similar in the bullets and swatched on my hand...


Just to make sure, I applied the Max Factor onto 1 half of my lips and MAC on the other half...


I think you'll agree that on the lips, it's pretty difficult to tell the difference! I think maybe the Max Factor looks EVER SO SLIGHTLY more blue toned in real life but they really are so similar.

Do you know of any other good, more affordable dupes of MAC lipsticks?

Em x


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pretty in Pink


There's something so refreshing about a bit of pink on my lips and cheeks in the Spring and I've been wearing it a lot lately, so I thought I'd share my current favourite pink make up products...


Left to right:
  • Illamasqua powder blush in Nymph is a slightly lilac-y matte pink that looks slightly doll like on fair skin. It looks gorgeous applied with a light hand. I like to top it with a little highlighter.
  • Max Factor Creme Puff blush in 'Lovely Pink' is a gorgeous pale peachy pink that has glow to it without being too shimmery. This formula is one of my favourites at the moment and you can see a full review of it here.
  • Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 'Seductive Pink' is slightly darker with a slighty more coral-pink tone.
  • Clinique cheek pop blush in 'plum pop' is one of my absolute favourites and is very well used. It has a lovely satin finish-it just has a slight glow to it that stops your cheeks looking flat but isn't shimmery. I also love the fresh pink shade.
  • Sleek blush in Pixie Pink is SUPER pigmented. I use it with a stippling brush to avoid over applying it. It would look great on darker skins for this reason but it also looks lovely on fairer skins, just proceed with caution!


Left to right:
  • MAC lipstick in Creme Cup is a paler, baby pink. I have been using this a lot with the Clinique cheek pop on my cheeks so I imagine this will be in my favourites at the end of the month!
  • KIKO Smart lipstick in 911 is a medium pink with a nourishing formula. It's an easy to wear shade that brightens up the face.
  • Revlon lip butter in Lollipop is a bright pink that is actually very pigmented considering the idea behind these was that they were somewhere between a balm and a lipstick. I like to pat it on and blend it in with my finger to make it a bit more wearable for everyday purposes at work etc. For evening or if I want to go for a fun bold lip, I would wear it more full on.
  • Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker gloss stick in Bashful is a sheer, super moisturising formula that offers a lot of gloss without being goopy or sticky. It comes across as a wearable baby pink on the lips.
  • Boots No 7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Delicate Pink (mine is a mini size from a Christmas set) is another sheer formula, similar to the Soap and Glory but this one is slightly darker in colour.
  • Clinique chubby stick in Pudgy Peony is an easy to wear brighter pink. For me, there is just enough pigment in it to qualify as a brighter lip while still being very wearable for every day.


Left to right:
  • Tanya Burr lip gloss in Picnic in the park is a lovely medium pink that really brightens the face.
  • Revlon  super lustrous lip gloss in pink pop is slightly brighter and again, very brightening.
  • Revlon Colorstay moisture stain  in LA Exclusive leaves a stain behind once the gloss is gone. The formula is a bit funny with this one-I feel like I need to really work it into the lips to get it even, but it's worth it once it's on.
  • Too Faced Melted lipstick in Melted Peony is a long wearing liquid lipstick that I love the colour of. I did a review of it here.
TheBalm Downboy blush is also amazing. I forgot to include it in the pictures but you can see a review here.
What are your favourite pink make up products for Spring?

Em x

Beauty Empties #7: Skincare, Bodycare, Toiletries and perfume



This is part 2 of the beauty products I've recently used up. This time we're talking skincare, bodycare and toiletries. Here are the products I've used up and what I thought of them...


Skincare
  • Simple kind to eyes balm. This is a simple (sorry for the pun) eye cream that just injects a bit of moisture into the eye area without being heavy. It absorbs quickly so it great to use in the morning underneath makeup. This is something I've repurchased many times and I'm already on my next tube.
  • Simple age resisting eye cream. Again, this is quite a lightweight cream and isn't a super heavy anti aging eye cream but is supposed to be a preventative measure, which I like the idea of. I use this one in the evening and again have repurchased it already.
  • Garnier Micellar water. This is a staple for me and is great for removing makeup. You get a lot for your money, too, at under a fiver for a 400ml bottle. I'm actually near the end of another one now, it's taken so long for me to get around to doing this post lol.
  • Garnier simply essentials 2 in 1 makeup remover x 2. This is such a good eye makeup remover at a budget price. It's one of those dual phase ones you shake up and it gets even waterproof and havy eye makeup off really easily. Already repurchased.
  • Neutrogena Visibly clear cream wash. This is my favourite morning time face wash. It contains salicylic so is good for oilier skins prone to breakouts like mine but doesn't dry the skin out too much like a lot of products aimed at my skin type, due to its creamy texture. Already repurchased.
  • Nip and Fab Glycolic fix exfoliating pads. These are a super easy way to put an exfoliating toner into your routine. These are gentle enough to use every day and I have repurchased them already.
  • Nip and Fab Glycolic fix serum. This is a little stronger than the pads in terms of glycolic content and is just another easy way of chemically exfoliating. Again I have repurchased.
  • La Roche Posay Mat moisturiser. Another staple for me-I use this underneath my makeup. It's a gel-cream texture that's not too heavy or greasy on oily skin.
  • ASDA Skin System sensitive face wipes. These are £1 and I actually really like them. They're really wet compared to some wipes which means it's easier to get the bulk of my make up off without rubbing my skin too hard. I use wipes to get the bulk off then go in with a cleanser aftwerwards so my skin is actually being cleaned too.
  • Spa (at Home Bargains) fragrance free face wipes. I prefer the ASDA ones but these ones are super bargainous and do the job. I'm not too fussy about face wipes really as long as they get the bulk of my face makeup off.
Bodycare, Toiletries and Perfume
  • The Body Shop coconut body butter. This is my favourite Body Shop scent and the body butters are super moisturising, you can't go wrong! I will buy this again but not just now because I have lots of body products to use up.
  • Radox shower smoothies shower gel. I like the smell of this one but wasn't really fussed on the seeds in it. There aren't enough to really give any exfoliation so they just end up being annoying bits in an otherwise nice, creamy shower gel. I'm pretty sure it came in a gift set and I don't think I'd buy this again.
  • Marc Jacobs Lola EDP 50ml. This is quite a floral perfume, I used to love it but once Oh Lola came out I discovered that I preferred that one so I don't think I'd buy it again. If you like florals it's a nice one, but I prefer floral-fruity.
  • L'occitaine Jasmine Passion hand cream. I think this may have been a limited edition scent but I love the l'occitaine hand creams in general. The 30ml ones are perfect for handbags. I'd definitely buy them again but for now I'm using up some others.
  • Mitchum anti persperant roll-on. I'd read about how good mitchum was and honestly I wasn't impressed. It did the job but left a lot of white marks on my clothes and was just annoying really, I won't repurchase it.
  • Nivea Invisible anti persperant roll-on. I quite like this one. There's not a lot to say apart from the fact that it works and doesn't leave marks on my clothes. I go between this and the sure one generally.
  • Sure crystal anti persperant roll-on. As above!

Which beauty products have you used up lately?

Em x



Friday, 20 March 2015

Beauty Empties #6: Make up and Hair Care


Wow have I used up a LOT of empty beauty products lately, so much so that I've split it into 2 posts, this being the first of the two. They've been building up for a while and I had a bag full so I thought it was time to tell you about the products I've used up and what I thought of them...

Make up
  • Urban Decay All Nighter spray. I use this most days as it helps keep my makeup on for longer, it really does work! I'm half way through my next bottle.
  • Maybelline brow drama gel. I won't be repurchasing this one because I really didn't like the applicator, which has a weird ball on the end of it. It's near impossible to apply it neatly.
  • Collection lasting perfection concealer. Holy grail concealer for redness and blemishes. I'm halfway through my next tube. I wouldn't use it under the eyes though as it's a bit drying for that.
  • Rimmel wake me up concealer. Great for under the eyes. This has a light texture and a bit of a glow to it. I would repurchase this but I'm currently using Rimmel match perfection concealer instead.
  • Rimmel brow this way. I prefer this brow gel to the maybelline version and it's a good colour for me. I have already repurchased.
  • Soap and Glory sexy mother pucker gloss stick in shade 'bashful'. This is one of my favourite lip products ever and one that never leaves my handbag. I'm already using another.
  • Sleek brow stylist. This is a great easy to use twist up brow pencil with a slanted tip and a spoolie on the other end. It does the job nicely and is a good price, I've already repurchased.
  • Revlon Colorstay foundation (combo/ oily). My go to foundation. The shade buff is a good colour match for me and it lasts through a work day on my combo/ oily skin when not much else does. I've started a new bottle.
  • Max Factor Facefinity All Day primer. This really does help make up last and I like that it has SPF20. It has some silicone in it but not too much so it gives a bit of slip to your foundation without making it feel like my foundation's going to slide off, which a lot of primers do.
  • Rimmel moisture renew lipstick in soft coral. I'm throwing this one away because it's so old but I did enjoy the colour whne I bought it. The packaging on these has changed and I don't think the shade is even available any more.
  • Real Techniques miracle sponge. As you can see this has a chunk out of it now from repeated washing so I'm throwing this one out. I have 2 others so it's not urgent but I'll probably pick up another to replace it as I use them everyday and don't want to have to wash them every day.
Hair Care
  • Tresemme deep cleansing shampoo. This is a great value deep cleansing shampoo that removes oil and build up. I like to use it once or sometimes twice a week since I have quite oily hair. It's a staple item for me and I will be buying it again.
  • Batiste Tropical, large can. Again, this is down to my oily hair and it's a lifesaver. I'm already using my next can.
  • Aussie miracle hair insurance leave in conditioner. I love this for detangling my hair after I wash it. I spray it in and use a wide toothed comb and it gets the tangles out so much easier while also adding extra moisture. I will buy this again but not yet as I'm using up a Boots own one I already had, but I prefer the Aussie one.
  • Got2B Guardian Angel Heat Protectant. This is an essential for me that I buy over and over. It really does protect my hair from the heat. I use heat on my hair 2-3 times a week and my hairdresser always comments on the good consition of my hair so it must at least help.

Which beauty products have you used up lately?

Em x


Thursday, 19 March 2015

L'oreal Colour Riche Exclusive Nudes


Before we begin...please excuse the slightly chapped lips in the photos above...I have managed to get all the way through Winter without any chapped lips but I recently got a bit lazier with the lip balm, thinking it was warming up...but the last few days it's actually been pretty chilly and this happened. I intend to sort them out tonight with a lip scrub and Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm!

Anyway, that aside, the L'oreal Colour Riche Exclusive Nudes lipsticks have been out for a while I think, but I'd never noticed them before. I actually went to the L'oreal stand in my local Boots for a foundation I wanted to try (review coming up when I've had the chance to give it a good go) but I spotted this range of nude lipsticks. It's quite unusual to get a range of different nudes in 1 lipstick line where 'drugstore' brands are concerned, so I thought I'd try them out. The fact that L'oreal was on 3 for 2 and I had a lot of Boots Advantage card points to spend helped tempt me in too! lol.

I chose the shades 'Julianne's nude', which is more of a pink-nude and 'Eva's Nude', which is more peachy/ brown based. I love the colours and I think the concept is great. Each shade is designed with a celebrity in mind so in theory, you could pick the celebrity with the skin tone nearest to our own and it should suit you. Saying that, I definitely don't have the skin tone of Eva Longoria and still like the shade, so there might be other shades that will suit you as well.

The packaging feels quite luxurious for a £6.99 lipstick. The drawback to it, however, is that it has that Nars-esque rubbery finish, meaning that it may become grubby over time, attracting fingerprints and any makeup debris in your makeup bag. I can look past that but it might bother some people.

As the pictures demonstrate, the lipsticks do cling to any dry areas so really aren't the most flattering on dry lips. It is best to make sure your lips are in good condition before wearing them. Or, you could put a little bit of a moisturising gloss on top to give it more of a smooth finish if your lips aren't in the best of condition.

Something you need to be aware of about these lipsticks is the fragrance. I didn't think to smell them in the shop but after getting them home I realised that they've got that sort of old granny floral lipstick sort of smell. It sort of reminds me of Parma Violet sweets, which I don't like. That said, the smell/ taste doesn't seem to last long on the lips.

I feel like it sounds like I'm bashing these lipsticks but actually I don't regret picking them up. Overall, although they aren't necessarily my favourite formula, I think they're worth a look for the shades if you like nudes and want options at a reasonable price. There often aren't many nude options at the drugstore other than one standard beige shade that just doesn't cut it on every skin tone.

Have you tried these lipsticks? What do you think?

Em x

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Max Factor is Coming Up Rosy

Swatches left to right: Excess Shimmer eye shadow 'copper'/ Creme Puff blush 'lovely pink'/ Ciolour Elixir lipstick 'star dust pink'

I recently picked up a couple of Max Factor items from Boots. I had my eye on some things anyway but the great Gift With Purchase that Boots have at the moment made it all the more tempting. You get 3 full size items worth £27 in their 'Coming Up Rosy' set when you spend £15. I also picked all this up free with my Advantage card points, even better! ;-)

I have a bit of an obsession with the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes. I wrote a full review of some other shades I already have here and I actually have a bit of a collection now. They have a lovely texture a bit of a glow to them without being overly shimmery. This time I picked up the shade 'Lovely Pink', which is a baby pink shade with a slight bit of peach in it.

I have been meaning to pick up the Max Factor Excess Shimmer eye shadow in the shade 'Copper' for a while now. I swatched it in Superdrug a few weeks back but someone had dug their finger in the only one left other than the tester (why people do that when there's a tester I'll never know). This is a mousse consistency shadow that is a gorgeous colour. It is more of a taupe really though, copper is definitely not the most appropriate name for it.

In the Gift With Purchase, I first received the False Lash Effect 24 hour Mascara (which should be £11.99). I love trying mascaras, especially ones that promise to give volume and be long lasting so I will definitely be using this once I've used up a couple of other mascaras I currently have open. Next is the Glossfinity Nail Polish in the shade 'Pink'd'. Again, Max Factor has given it a strange shade name-this nail polish is very peach and not at all pink. This isn't really my type of shade so I imagine I will pass this to a friend/ family member, but it is normally £5.99. Finally I got the Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick (normally £7.99) in the shade 'Star Dust Pink', which seems from swatching it like it has a nice smooth texture and would be a great everyday soft pink shade. As well as these goodies there was a £2 voucher off a Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer (which is an everyday esential for me so no doubt I will use it for that), the All Day Flawless Foundation or the Skin Luminizer Foundation.

I was pretty impressed with the current gift with purchase! I'm not sure when it runs until but it is still available online as detailed here and was still in my local store yesterday, definitely worth a look!

What do you think? Do you have any favourite Max Factor products? 

Em x

Monday, 16 March 2015

Prom and Special Occasion Make up


As prom season is coming up in a couple of months and a few teenagers I know have talked about nothing else for months (just a little excited lol), I thought I'd approach the subject of prom and special occasion makeup. These tips also apply to wedding makeup and it will be wedding season before you know it! Personally I look back at pictures of my 1st prom when I was 16 and cringe, I really do. By my 2nd prom at the end of 6th form, my makeup skills and dress sense had definitely improved and by the time I was going to university balls, I had it sorted. So, here's my advice....

1) Don't go overboard. Personally I don't think you should go too extreme with prom makeup. You may well be looking back at these photos in years to come so in that sense it's similar to wedding make up. You want it to be enhancing and to give definition to your features without anything being too dark or extreme. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of shimmer but not all over the place....you are not a disco ball. If it's your first school prom and you're only 16 then you also don't want to look overdone....too much makeup can really age people and you should be appreciating your young face while you've got it :-) The same applies for fake lashes-as much as I love them for giving extra definition and a bit of flutter to the eyes, the thick, heavy kind can actually make your eyes look droopy and tired. My favourites are the Eylure exaggerate 141 lashes, which are very long and quite dramatic but still have a natural looking texture, or the Ardell Demi Wispies, which are slightly shorter but wing out slightly at the outer corner, giving an elongated look to the eye.

2) Practise, practise, practise. A lot of girls these days are having their makeup done for prom but honestly I have never been one to like getting anything beauty related done, preferring to do things myself (I actually did my own wedding makeup because the idea of someone else possibly not getting it quite right is quite stressful to me...possibly more on that in a future post?). All you need to do is decide the look you're going for and practise it a few times until you're happy with it.

3) Think about your outfit. You want your makeup to compliment it. Not necessarily match it, but compliment it. Wearing a pink dress or a print with pink in it? A pink lip in a similar tone might look nice. Sometimes I like to match in my makeup by thinking about whether I'm wearing a cool or warm toned shade...wearing a blue dress? Then cool toned makeup such a greys on the eyes and pink on the lips would go well. Wearing a coral dress? Then warmer browns/ golds on the eyes and a coral or peachy lip would work nicely. There are, of course, no rules, but it's something to think about.

4) Use SPF products with (a lot of) caution, or avoid them all together. There is likely to be flash photography and as many beauty enthusiasts will know, the ingredients in SPF bounce back when the light hits it and causes the dreaded ghost face. No-one wants to see their face looking miles paler than their body. Some primers/foundations with a low SPF still photograph well but make sure you try photographs wearing it first. Before doing my wedding makeup I did a trial run and got someone to photograph me with a flash-that way I could tell if I needed to switch products.

5) Choose your foundation shade carefully. This is important anyway, but especially so if your outfit exposes your decolletage. Either go and get matched at a counter or test foundations on your jawline, NOT on the back of your hand. Your hand and your face/neck can be totally different shades. Another tip would be to take a little pot with you when you want to try a foundation. If it's drugstore, in the UK you should be free to put a little bit from the tester into your pot to enable you to test it properly. If it's high end then the ladies on the counter will often not mind you having a little sample if you take your own pot and ask nicely, even if they don't have one. This way, you can try it properly at home to see how it applies and wears on your skin before going back for the full size. If you're going to fake tan for the event you're going to then this is obviously something to consider too.

6)Use long lasting products. Personally, when I'm on a night out or at a special occasion/ event, I don't want to be worrying about touching up all the time, I want to be getting on with enjoying myself. To help my make up last, I like to start with a face primer. The Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer (£10.99) is excellent for helping to keep your foundation on. It does contain SPF20 but strangely doesn't seem to cause flashback for me when layered under foundation. However, this is something you should test out for yourself with any SPF containing product to make sure, as mentioned in tip 4. For foundation, I love Revlon Colorstay (£12.49). It does have a very low SPF (SPF 6), but again I find that it photographs really well. I use the formula for oily skin but they have a version for drier skins, too. It really does last well, especially when set with a powder (I like the Rimmel Stay Matte, which is a bargainous £3.99). I would recommend using an eye primer as it's especially important to keep your eye makeup in place when you're going to be photographed. I love Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion, (£16). or for a budget option, MUA eye primer (£2.50) is great, too. I like using the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray when I've finished my make up. A few sprays really does help ,your make up last even longer. It comes in a 118ml size for £20 or a smaller 30ml for £9, which is great if it's something you want to try out before committing to the larger size.

7) Use tried and tested products. If you buy something new, make sure you test it out several times so you know it works well for you. You don't want to end up wearing a mascara that smudges on you or a foundation that doesn't last on your skin. Personally I like to use products I've used for a long time and I know won't let me down when I know I'm going to be photographed.

Do you have any more tips for prom and special occasion make up?

Em x

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Why Do you Wear Makeup?


This might seem like a bit of an odd question for someone who blogs about the stuff to ask, but I realised the other day that my attitude to makeup has changed over the years so I thought I'd address it.

I once met a teenage girl who informed me that she needed her (pretty extreme) fake eyelashes, (heavy) foundation and red lippy to look pretty. I found this really saddening...I mean surely makeup should be for enhancing your beauty rather than being something we solely rely on for confidence. Teenage girls look to celebrities in magazines for style inspiration...only what the magazines fail to tell them is that those pictures have been seriously airbrushed.

Saying this, I have a confession to make...there was a time when I was afraid to leave the house without makeup. In my late teens through to my early twenties, my skin was quite spotty and I felt like I HAD to cover it up. It wasn't until I got together with my now husband at the age of 21 that my attitude began to change. It seemed like a big deal for him to see me without makeup for the first time, but being the lovely man that he is, he reassured me that a few spots didn't matter to him and these days, quite frankly, I couldn't care less.

Don't get me wrong, I do like wearing make up (hence a lot of the content of this blog). I wear a full face of it for work every day because it helps me feel more put together. I love to get glammed up with a nice smokey eye and a bit of sparkle for evenings out. It's nice to know that my husband appreciates the effort I make when he comments on my make up. However, I also enjoy having a chilled day with nothing on my face. I often do this on a Sunday, when we often just go for a walk and keep things really relaxed.

So....why do I wear makeup? because I feel like it enhances my facial features, makes me feel more put together and makes me feel a bit more glamorous when I want it to. I do it for me, not anyone else, and because I feel like it enhances my face (rather than makes it). I feel like I have a much more healthy attitude to it these days. Being afraid to leave the house without it just doesn't seem right.

What are your thoughts on this? Why do you wear makeup?

Em x

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Since Mother's day is coming up (in the UK, anyway), I thought I'd put together a few gift ideas...


If your mum is a makeup lover, then a palette such as the Urban Decay Naked palette (£38 here) or Too Faced Chocolate bar palette (£39 here) would be lovely. If you're looking for a more budget option, you could gather a few 'drugstore)' products you think your mum would like and make a little gift set of your own, you could include however many products you like and a pretty makeup bag. Pictured above are a few of my drugstore favourites including Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer (£5.49/ 2 for £10 here), Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick in shade 04 (£7.99/ 3 for 2 here), Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara (£6.99/ buy one get one half price here), MUA pro eye primer (£2.50 here) and the Max Factor creme puff blushes (£8.99 here). Boots currently have a gift with purchase offer when you spend £15 on Max Factor so you could buy couple of things and bulk it out with the free full size bits you'll get, which include a lipstick, a nail polish and a mascara. Sounds like a good deal to me!



If your mum likes a bit of a luxury pamper, I think L'occitane is a great brand to go for where bath and body is concerned. Marks and Spencers have a few gift sets available, some of which don't seem to be available elsewhere. Personally I like the Verbena scent, which is a lovely fresh lemony scent to wake you up in the mornings. The Verbena gift set is available here for £20. I also love the hand creams from L'occitane, which are great quality, very moisturising and smell amazing too. They have a set of 3 available here for £22.

If she likes to read, then a bit of 'chick lit' so she can have a bit of me time reading a girly book would be a good option. I'd personally recommend Marian Keyes-I love her Irish sense of humour, which really comes across in her writing. I've read a lot of her books so any would be good but 'The Brightest Star In The Sky' is currently a mear £1.50 here on Amazon. Failing that, a book on a subject she's particularly interested in would also be a thoughtful gift.

There aren't many people who don't enjoy a bit of chocolate every now and then but I think Thornton's is a good place to go for gifts. You can find the 'I <3 Mum' truffles here for £3.50 and the alphabet truffles, which you can personalise with your own message, here for £15.


A fail safe option is a pretty picture frame with photos of your mum with you/ your siblings/ your family. All mums love to look at pictures of their children so I don't think you can go wrong. I like this silver toned heart frame with room for two photos. It's £10 from Wilko and is something I own myself, I just need to get around to putting some pictures in, as you can see.

What do you think? What will you be buying your mum this year?

Em x






Friday, 6 March 2015

Easy Nail Art: Glitter Gradient


Readers of my blog might well know that I'm a bit of a magpie where sparkle is concerned and nails are no exception. I spoke in my last couple of nail posts here and here about my recent love for pastel shades combined with glitter and these glitter gradient nails are a slight variation on it. Here's how I did it...

Step 1: Apply a coloured polish. I chose Maybelline's 'Mint for Life' (£4.49 and on 3 for 2 here)

Step 2: Apply a fine silver glitter to the top half of the nail. I used Model's Own 'Juicy Jules' (£4.99 here)

Step 3: Apply a more chunky silver glitter polish to the nail tips (I like to paint it onto around 1 third of the nail). I used Model's Own 'Blizzard' (£4.99 here)

I love this easy technique. Whenever I wear it people ask me if I've had my nails done but actually it requires less skill that you'd think!

What do you think? 

Em x

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Dealing with Stress


An old friend of mine gave some good advice lately. It went a little something like this...'I think it's important to every so often remind yourself how fortunate you are to be alive. From the very beginning of life you had to fight to get to this world and chance (or is it?) has picked you. That means you're not only special but you must be here for a reason. Never forget that.'

Add to that the fact that my stress levels have been quite frankly through the roof lately (mainly due to things going on at work and being in a very uncertain job position) and I thought now would be the perfect time to talk about how I deal with stress. It's something we all deal with at various times in our lives and if we don't know how to deal with it, it can get out of control. I don't think there's a miracle cure. Nothing will completely stop stress other than  removing the thing causing it from your life, which sometimes isn't possible. However, these are just a few little things I do that help me to feel better:

1) Think about what you have to be grateful for. It doesn't make the stresses of life any less irritating sometimes but I find it helps me get things in proportion if I remind myself that I have the important things in life: people around me who love me, a home and enough money to pay the bills and eat properly. For many people in the world, those things are luxuries yet it is easy to take them for granted. I also have my health and am fortunate enough to be alive. Even just being alive is something to be grateful for. The above quote from my friend, which came just at the right time when I was having a particularly bad day, pretty much sums this up really and also inspired me to write this post

2) Give someone you love a hug. It might sound really simple, but sometimes a hug from my husband or mum just makes me feel so much better. The stress just seems to melt away.

3) Spend quality time with someone you love. This can be anyone in your family, your husband/ boyfriend/ wife/ girlfriend or just a good friend. Making time to sit down with someone and have a cup of tea and a good old chat really releases tension for me. Sometimes getting things off your chest is good for you.

4) Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins that are the 'happy chemicals' in our brains. This can be as gentle or as strenuous as you like. Sometimes I just like to go for a walk and get some fresh air if I'm feeling stressed and I come back home feeling refreshed. I also think blasting your favourite song and having a dance around the house works wonders!

5) Write it down. If you have trouble sleeping because your brain can't switch off, which sometimes happens to me, try writing things down before you go to sleep. Writing down how you feel to get it off your chest can make you feel a bit more relaxed. If you are someone who has real trouble sleeping then keeping a pen and paper on your bedside table might be a good plan.

6) What's the worst that can happen...if you're in a 'what if...' situation, you might well be worrying about something that's not even going to happen (I'm very guilty of doing this). However, even if something does go wrong, how bad is is actually going to be? For example, people stress over school exams. Yes they are important, but if on the off chance you fail, it's not the end of the world now, is it? Life carries on and you can get back up and try again.

7) Get enough sleep. If you're short of sleep, you're not going to be in the best of moods to start with so if something is stressing you out and adding to it, you're just adding to the problem. It's amazing how much better an early night and a good night's sleep can make me feel. I like to take a nice bubble bath beforehand to relax to ensure I sleep through.



Is there anything in particular that you

 like to do when you're feeling stressed?

Em x

Monday, 2 March 2015

5 Purse-Friendly Spring Lip Products

swatches in daylight, left to right: Tanya Burr picnic in the park, Revlon moisture stain LA exclusive, L'oreal rouge caresse dating coral, Kiko smart lipstick 911, Rimmel Kate 16

Now that it's March, I can't wait for Spring to properly arrive. Here in the UK it's a funny mixture at the moment. I am seeing the daffodils begin to grow (a definite sign of Spring) and th sun is shining at times but yesterday it was hailing and sleeting. I'm hoping that it will start to warm up a little bit soon and I'm raring to go with my favourite Springtime lippies so I thought I'd share. It's always nice to find a lovely yet purse-friendly product too, isn't it?...

Tanya Burr's lip gloss in the shade 'picnic in the park' ( £6.99 here) is such a face brightening shade that has a bit of tackiness to it to help it stay put, but isn't overly sticky (I cannot deal with the hair in lipgloss situation).

Revlon Moisture Stain in the shade in the shade LA Exclusive (£.7.99 but on 3 for 2 here) is a more blue tones pink gloss that leaves behind a pretty stain once the gloss wears off. The texture of this one takes a bit of getting used to as you really need to work it into the lips to make it look even, but once it's on it's lovely and worth the effort in my opinion.

L'oreal Rouge Caresse lipstick in the shade Dating Coral (£7.99 but on 3 for 2 here) is a sheer, glossy coral that's very easy to wear. I can even slap this one on without a mirror.

Kiko lipstick in shade 911'Watermelon'( £3.90 here) is a sheer yet buildable medium to brighter pink that I really love, I bought this last Summer and wore it a lot. It will deinitely be coming out this year. I really like the nourishing texture of the Kiko Smart lipsticks, despite their bargainous price!

Rimmel Kate lipstick in shade 16 (£5.49 or 2 for £10 here) is my favourite coral lipstick I've ever owned. It's such a beautiful Spring/ Summer colour and looks so pretty with a sweep of coral blush. I also find this one quite long lasting, which makes sense since it's from the lasting finish range.

Have you tried any of these lip products? What are your favourite lip products for Spring?

Em x


The Unmentioned Essentials: Makeup and Beauty Tools


There are some makeup tools that I have used for years that are amazing yet don't seem to get a mention on the blog so I thought it was time to fix it :-) I'm not mentioning makeup brushes here because I think they qualify for a post of their own, which I may do soon.

I love the Mister Mascara tweezers and eyelash curlers. Not many people seem to have heard of the brand but I really think their beauty accessories are underrated. The lash curlers come with quite a few of the little cushion thingies (what is their technical name? lol), meaning that the curlers last a long time. I am not exaggerating when I say that I've had the tweezers for about 10 years and they have stayed sharp all that time. They also come with a mini-me version that I like to keep in the makeup bag I carry around with me. You never know when you will discover an annoying stray eyebrow hair! The bonus is, that both of them are very reasonably priced, too. They are available on beautybay.com for £6.50 (lash curlers here) and £6.95 (tweezers here). They are also available on Amazon, where the tweezrs are a mere £3.98 here. I know that people rave about Tweezerman tweezers but honestly when these have lasted me 10 years and are still going, I'm more than happy to stick with them!

Next is the Real Techniques miracle complexion sponge. Firstly, please excuse the dirty one in the picture but I'm being real here...it gets used....a LOT. It's something I use every time I wear liquid foundation and/ or concealer and I therefore own 3...what can I say I don't want to be washing 1 every day. I like to apply my foundation with a buffing type brush but sometimes I find this can leave brush marks or my foundation isn't quite as worked into the skin as I'd like. I quickly pat this over my face and it just makes it look so much better. I also really like it for blending in concealer-I use the pointed end for under my eyes and the flat side for anywhere else on my face. It costs £5.99 full price from Boots/ Superdrug/ lots of places online or it's currently £4.99 from Amazon here.

A wide toothed comb is a must for my long hair when I have washed it. Some people like to use the tangle teezer, but for wet hair I prefer something with the teeth further apart, which is less likely to cause damage when the hair is wet. It also detangles quickly without the pain. The one I use was a recent find in home bargains and cost something ridiculous....I want to say 79p. If you can't find that one, I also like the Tresemme one, which I used to own before it had an accident involving my foot lol. 

Speaking of the tangle teezer, I do own it and I like that it is compact for travel, but for everyday use at home, I have come to prefer something with a handle like the Michael Mercier detangling brush. Their uniquely designed brush is made up of 428 bristles all positioned in 32 different heights and 16 different diameters. It really combs through my tangly hair (and I have a lot of it). I feel like the Michael Mercier one is better if you have thick hair because there are 3 different variants of the brush, for thin, normal and thick hair. I own the blue one, which is for thick hair. I feel like it's better for actually getting through all of the layers of hair, whereas the tangle teezer is sometimes only brushing the surface. It's not that easy to find online (I found mine at TK Maxx) but this ebay seller has all 3 variants for £12.99 with free P+P.

What are your unmentioned makeup and beauty essentials?

Em x



Sunday, 1 March 2015

New in: Urban Decay Moondust eye shadow in ether


swatches in bottom right photo: left=on bare skin, right=over Maybelline eye tattoo in eternal purple

I fell in love with this eye shadow as soon as I clapped eyes on it. I love me a bit of glitter, particularly for evening wear. I'm like a magpie-anything shiny gets my attention lol.

I already own the shade 'moonspoon' from the Moon dust eye shadows, which is an amazing sparkly grey/ silver. You can see my post on that one here. Ether is a new shade from the Spring 2015 collection. It's dark purple that works amazingly for a smoky eye. I like to apply matte shades to the rest of the eye then use this on the lid. You probably wouldn't want to use anything else shimmery or glittery on your eyes because the moondust formula has a LOT of glitter/ sparkle in it. I think you get the best effect if you keep everything else matte, it just means that this glittery shade can be the the centre of attention. They are smooth and nicely pigmented but work even better over a slightly tacky base. I like to use a cream shadow like a MAC paint pot of a Maybelline eye tattoo. It means that all the glitter really sticks to the skin and gives more impact on the eye.

I have to say that it's difficult to capture just how beautiful the moondust shadows are on camera. The sparkle is best seen in real life, when, if you look closely, you can see pink and blue sparkles, so it's an interesting shade. I have photographed it swatched both on bare skin and over a base of Maybelline's eye tattoo in the shade Eternal purple. It is more of a subtle slightly grey purple on it's own but looks more of a vibrant shade over a purple base.

What do you think?

Em x