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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

My Top 5 | Blushes

I'm a blush girl, I love how a different blush can completely change up your look. It can be subtle and compliment your makeup or it can be bold and give the makeup a new dimension. I decided to share with you my favourite five blushes that I wear a lot. Apart from one limited edition blush, all the others are still available. Four of them are matte and one is shimmer.

1. Sleek Squash
Sleek Squash is the bright pink blush in the Sleek Blush by 3 Palette in Pumpkin which I reviewed here. It's a bright pink matte powder blush. As you can see by the swatch, this is the brightest blush and it is possibly the brightest powder blush I own. I love wearing this in summer as it gives a lovely pop of colour on the cheeks. You can layer this for an intense look, or only use a bit and blend it into the skin for a more subtle look. I love that I can achieve two different looks with this blush depending on how I apply it.  This is slightly harder to work with than the other blushes (which are all high end) but the pigmentation is one of the best, and it lasts for ages too.

2. Illamasqua Katie
I already reviewed this blush here, I love this blush and would say it is possibly the favourite blush I own. I can already feel a bit dent in it, and am worried I will run out soon :(. It's a pale pink which really compliments my pale skin and adds a very subtle glow to my cheeks. I'd say it has the best formula of the bunch, it is incredible soft and very easy to apply and blend into the cheeks. It isn't powdery at all and lasts all day.

3. Nars Oasis
I've already reviewed this blush in more detail here. This is the only shimmer blush pictured. I actually prefer how shimmery blushes look, but as I often wear shimmery eyeshadows, it would be a bit overkill to wear shimmer on the cheeks. This is the darkest blush out of the five, it is described as a 'sparkling pink champagne'. It leans more brown than pink on my skin as I'm fair. This is less subtle on my skin as it is quite a bit darker, but it blends it well and I love wearing this on a night out. As with all Nars blushes, the pigmentation is great and the wear time is superb.

4. MAC Immortal Flower
This is the only limited edition blush of the collection. I didn't want to include it as it was limited edition, but as I wear this one so much, I figured it'd be silly not to include it. This is a peachy-orangey shade. It is a pale shade, and if you have tanned skin you won't be able to wear this. In fact, without lots of layering I would only recommend this to people with light-light medium skin. I love the way this blush compliments my bronzer and gives me more colour in summer. The formula is really nice and easy to blend into the skin.

5. Stila Convertible Colour in Gerbera
I already reviewed this here. Although I have dry skin, I tend to prefer powder blushes than cream blushes as I find they last longer. However, this blush is the exception. It stays on my skin for ages and blends into it seamlessly. As it's a cream formula it's not powdery or cakey at all. It is also very easy to apply and you can apply with your fingers or a brush. I love the colour of this, it's noticeable without being too in-your-face.

Those are my top five blushes in my collection that I wear regularly. Are any of these your favourite blushes too? What your top 5 blushes? Let me know in the comments!

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera | Review and Swatch

I don't tend to be much of a cream blush person, I much prefer my powder blushes. However, I have always heard so much about the Stila Convertible Colors and decided to try them out. I have the colour in Gerbera, and its quickly become a staple in my makeup bag.

The Claim:
 'Stila's ingenious lipstick and blush-in-one proves to be irresistible. This versatile favourite brightens cheeks and lips with creamy, translucent colour. Tap onto cheeks and press onto lips. The sheer tint adds an inherent glow to the cheeks while lips bloom with fresh, radiant colour. Our two-in-one compact holds the key to easy, monochromatic makeup. A must-have in every Stila girl's kit. '
The shade I have is Gerbera, which is a light peachy-pink. It's a gorgeous colour which I think would suit any skintone. I find it looks natural on me, and is great when I've got quite heavy makeup on my eyes, so that my cheeks don't look overdone or take away from my eye makeup. You can apply this lightly to have a very subtle effect, or layer it to create a more intense blush. Stila Convertible Colors currently come in 9 shades. Stila also offer two trio sets, which contain 3 of the Convertible Colors.

The Application of this is lovely. It is very very creamy and very easy to apply and blend into the skin. You don't need much of the blush to get the look you desire either. You can also use this on the lips, however it can be quite drying so if you have dry lips it's a big no-no.The formula is quite thick, especially compared to some cream blush formulas so it is harder to apply subtly. I find I can apply this with either fingers or a brush, however a brush tends to work better because it is a thicker formula.

Lasting Powder:
Out of all the cream blushes I've tried, this lasts the best on me. I get 7+ hours wear out of this, with it still being noticeable.

I love the packaging of the Convertible Colours. They are very compact, including a mirror. They also shut securely so they are ideal for taking in your handbag. The packaging is also very pretty with the floral design on the front. I also like the fact each packaging is similar to the colour of the blush, so you instantly know what type of colour each blush is without having to open them up, ideal if you have quite a few of them.

Availability and Pricing:
The Stila Convertible colours are priced at £16 each, and you can buy them from Stila UK.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Sob | Review and Swatch

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know Illamasqua is one of my favourite makeup brands (I've blogged about them here, herehere, and here.) One of the first products I ever bought from them was their cream blusher in Sob. I'd heard so many good things about their blushers, and had never tried a cream blush before. I loved how Sob looked on the website and so ordered it.

The Claim:
'Tease, hypnotise, use to effect. Use Cream Blusher to highlight your cheekbones, shape your face, build and blend with fingers or a brush to create the colour intensity you desire. Use over foundation for impact, or under for a captivating glow. However you apply it, be daring.'
Sob is a cool-toned pink colour. It looks quite a bright pink in the pan but it is easily sheered out and can look very subtle on the face. However, the shade can also be layered to create a very pigmented look. You only need a little bit of product, so this blush will last you a long time, even if you use it regularly. The main thing to consider though is that this is a very cool-toned blush, and this may not work on all skintones. I sometimes find this doesn't look quite right on me because I have a warmer undertone, so it is one you may need to swatch in store. 

Illamasqua have a range of cream blushes available, including the shade 'Lies' which is often used as a highlighter.

Application of Illamasqua blushes is really easy. The formula is very creamy and very easy to apply and blend into the skin. I prefer to use my fingers with cream blushes, but I've also used brushes with this too, and they give a good finish too. It gives quite a dewy finish to the cheeks

Lasting Power:
The cream blushes don't last as long as powder blushes, but I find that is true across all brands. I'd say these last about 6+ hours before they start fading which is pretty good for a cream blush. Wear time can be extended with powder and setting sprays.

Availability and Pricing:
The whole range of Illamasqua Cream Blushes are available from Illamasqua  and Debenhams for £18 each. At £18 they are one of the pricier blushes, more expensive than MAC but still cheaper than Nars. Illamasqua offer one of the best formulations in their blushes that I have ever used, so think the price is justified. They often have sales on their websites, with their blushes sometimes selling for as low as £10.

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Friday, 18 October 2013

Top 3 | Highlighters Feat. Benefit, MAC & Sleek

I love highlighters. I love how they can make you look like you just have that 'inner glow' and how they make you look fresh and radiant. I have three favourite highlighters each best for different purposes. I thought I'd share them with you to see if you can discover some new favourites. It was incredibly hard to swatch these, especially the MAC one as it's quite similar to my skintone. Hopefully you can see them well enough.

1. Benefit Watt's Up! - £24.50
I have already got a more in depth review of this here. I love this highlighter, especially in the summer. The champagne colour helps add a golden glow to the cheeks and looks great paired with bronzer. It has the best colour pay off of any highlighter I've used and the shimmer is gorgeous. It is more noticeable on the skin than some highlighters, but that's why I like it so much. It's a cream to powder formula, so easy to blend into the skin for a flawless application.

2. MAC Mineralise Skinfinish in 'Lightscapade' -£22
I don't think there's much that needs to be said about this one. Mac's Mineralise Skinfinishes are very well known. I only own one of them, in Lightscapade, which is described as a 'soft candelight beige'. On me it's quite similar to my skin colour so really blends into my skin and makes the highlight look more natural. You can use as little or as much as you want in order to get the look you want. It's a powder highlighter and easy to apply to the face with a powder brush. The powder is finely milled so won't make your face look cakey and won't highlight pores. The MSFs are available in a range of shades, with new limited editions ones constantly being released.

3. Sleek Face Contour Kit in 'Light' - £6.49
This is my most recent addition and is definitely the cheapest product shown here. It only costs £6.49 but you also get a good contour shade with that. I really like this higlighter. In the swatch you can see it's similar to the MAC higlighter, but a bit more yellow toned and the shimmer particles are much more noticeable. This is a great highlighter when I want a bit more of an obvious higlighter (it's never over the top though).

Those are my top 3 highlighters at the moment, but I'd like to try more. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

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Monday, 14 October 2013

Natural v Synthetic Brushes | What's the Difference?

I've always known that there are two types of makeup brush you can get, natural or synthetic, and I've always had a preference for synthetic brushes. However, I never knew much about the difference between natural brushes and synthetic brushes, and if one type of brush was better suited to certain things than another. However, after doing a lot of research, I now understand the difference between the two types of brushes and thought I'd share it with you.

What are they made of?
The two types of brushes are differently because they are made using different types of hair. Natural hair brushes are made using natural hair from animals. Hair from squirrels and goat are some of the most popular types of hair used for makeup brushes. Synthetic brushes are man-made, usually from materials such as Nylon or Taklon, but they can be made from anything which is similar to animal hair.

What they look like
 You can usually tell which type of hair a brush is made from by its appearance. You should be able to see that the two types of brushes look very different in the photos above. Natural hair brushes tend to feel a bit rougher and won't look uniform. There will be longer and shorter hairs, and there may be strays. The hairs also tend to be dyed, with common colours being black, brown or white. Synthetic brushes tend to be more uniform as they have been man-made and will often feel very smooth and may look shiny. They tend to be dyed in gradients, for example the white and brown you can see in the photos.

Which type of brushes are better suited for certain jobs?
I never used to realise that certain types of brushes (natural/synthetic) were better for certain makeup application, I thought they all did the same thing. However, natural hair brushes are much better for powder products, such as blusher, bronzer and setting powder. They naturally pick up more product than synthetic brushes as the natural ridges in the brush pick up the product better than the uniform hairs on the synthetic brushes. However, synthetic brushes are much better for use with cream/liquid product. They don't absorb the liquid like natural brushes do and also absorb less product. They are good for foundation as less product will be wasted in the process. They are ideal for foundation, lipstick and cream blushes/eyeshadow. They also allow for more precise application as there are less stray hairs, so they are good for precise concealing.

Is one more hygienic?

Synthetic brushes are actually slightly more hygienic than natural haired brushes. Because of the irregular surfaces on natural brushes they are more likely to trap dead skin cells and bacteria in them, so they need washing more often than synthetic brushes. They are also harder to wash than synthetic brushes are often take longer to dry. People can also be sensitive to animal hair or have allergies which can be an issue.

Is there an ethical issue?
The main issue with natural brushes is the sourcing of the hairs. Although some companies state they are cruelty free it is hard to know exactly how the hairs are sourced or the company's concept of what 'cruelty free' is, particularly from the smaller, lesser known brands. For this reason, some choose to avoid using natural haired brushes.
    Which ever type of brush you decide to go for, it is important that you know how to care for them correctly, and make sure that you are deep cleaning them regularly. If you don't know how to do this, check out this post.

    I hope this post has helped you to learn the difference between the two types of brushes and I hoped this was useful!

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    Friday, 11 October 2013

    theBalm Cosmetics | Brand Wishlist

     Hey everyone, 

    So I know I already do monthly beauty and fashion wishlists, but I can never fit all of the products I want onto one wishlist. So I've decided to start doing brand wishlists, where I tell you all the products I want from a particular brand and why. I love reading these sorts of posts so I hope you do too!

    I've recently fallen in love with theBalm Cosmetics, their packaging is funny and cute and I've heard amazing stuff about the quality too. I've yet to buy anything but there is a lot I want.
    I've heard so much about this palette. It's a neutral palette (which of course I love) and the quality of the eyeshadows looks amazing. I also love the design and how compact it seems to be, great for travelling!

    I have seen swatches of this and it looks amazing. It seems to be a very intense highlighter, but that is what I like! It's also cheaper than quite a few higher end highlighters too.
    I love the branding of this! There are two types of mascara, the 'Tall Dark and Handsome' which is for length and this one, which is meant to add volume. I much prefer volume to my lashes than length so am really interesting in this mascara, love the packaging too!

    Love, love, love the look of this. The theme of the palette is lovely and they've done well to show it throughout the palette. It comes with eyeshadows, highlighter, blush and lip colours, a great palette for traveling as it has so much in it!

    I always want to try out new bronzers and this looks lovely in the pan, the product is really cute too!

    I've never tried any eyeshadow primers apart from the Urban Decay Primer Potion, so I really want to try another one to see if there is any difference. I've heard quite a few things about this one, and I love the squeezy tube, easy to carry around.

    I know, I want/own too many eyeshadow palettes. But this is a nude MATTE palette. I always find it hard to find matte eyeshadow colours, but they are so much more forgiving than shimmery eyeshadows and work better for a more subtle look. A whole palette full of matte neutral eyeshadows sounds amazing.

    I have heard so so much about this blush. It looks like a a gorgeous colour and I love the compact packaging. I love blushes, so any excuse to add a new one to the collection and I jump on it!

    So that's it!
    Do you like the look of any of the products? Are there are of these you own? I'd love to hear what you think of them.

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    Wednesday, 9 October 2013

    How to | Spot Ebay Frauds!

    I love Ebay, and I'm sure a lot of you do to. I love the adrenaline rush of that last-minute bidding war to see if you've won the item, or buying that bargain piece of clothing that is still full price in the shops. Sadly, there are also tons of people on Ebay trying to scam innocent buyers. I've noticed it is a major problem when it comes to high end makeup and nail polishes, which is an issue when so many turn to Ebay to get bargains. I've been shopping on Ebay for many years, and have also sold on Ebay. You need to be careful when shopping, so I've come up with my list of how to avoid frauds on Ebay.

    Check their Ratings
    Checking  a seller's rating is easy and can be a good indication as to whether or not they are a trustworthy seller. If a seller has very few pieces of feedback they are likely to be new to Ebay so it's more difficult to gauge. However, if the seller has below 90% feedback I tend to steer clear, if 1 out of 10 of their feedback reviews are negative, I don't want to waste my money to potentially be cheated. There are many sellers on Ebay with 95%, in fact, there are tons with over 99%, who I would rather do my business with.  There are also also 'high rated sellers' on Ebay which had little ribbons next to their names, these are people who have consistently had high amounts of positive feedback over a long time. If I want to buy anything I tend to try and buy it from these people as they will most likely be trustworthy.

    Check their Feedback
    I always make sure I check out a person's feedback, even if they seemingly have a high rating. For example, if the the seller has really good reviews but their last few reviews are negative, maybe the ebay account has been hacked or it has been taken over by a new seller who isn't so trustworthy. Also, check to see if they have sold any similar products to what you wish to purchase, and see if the feedback is positive. A seller may be very good at selling clothing (which is more difficult to fake) but when it comes to games/dvds they may be knowingly or unknowingly selling fake produce. For example, I once bought a game off of Ebay and was so delighted at the cheap price I got it for, however when it came it was clear it was a fake. I had checked out the reviews of the person beforehand and they had all been really positive. However, upon further inspection there were two negative reviews that said the seller sold fake games. I'd chosen not to listen to the minority feedback but it turned out it was accurate. Always read all of the negative reviews before deciding to purchase something.

    Check the Photos
    This applies mainly to beauty products, such as Nail Polishes or high end makeup. If the seller has included actual photos of the product they are selling, check them against blogger's photos of the product to make sure it's the real deal. I remember when I used to buy OPI Nail Polishes on ebay occasionally, I'd always make sure they were authentic by looking at the photographs of bloggers to see if they matched up. For example, simple things like making sure the name is spelt correctly, or that the same font is used can help you avoid buying a fake item! If the seller has only used stock photos of the product, I tend to steer clear. You have no idea what you are getting or what condition it is in.

    Use Paypal
    Sellers have to list paypal as a payment option but upon paying some may ask you to pay by cheque or bank transfer - don't. Paypal is brilliant because it offers you protection in case something goes wrong, you won't have that protection if you use another payment method.

    So those are all my tips! Let me know if this helped you and if you have any tips you use to make sure you avoid frauds on Ebay.

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    Friday, 4 October 2013

    Liz Earle EyeBright Soothing Eye Lotion | Review

    Liz Earle is a well-known name in the beauty community, their cleanser (The Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser) is a cult product and is often raved about by people. I currently own Liz Earle's 3-step skincare regime (cleanser, toner, moisturiser), and love it. However, I also own some of their other, less talked about products which I also love - one of these being their Eye lotion.

    I originally bought this in a set with the Liz Earle 3 step skincare system. At first, I thought that I'd use this as I had it but I didn't think I'd repurchase it once it ran out. I didn't think it would be a necessary product in my skincare regime. However, having used it for a while now, I will definitely be repurchasing this once I run out.

     What does it do?: 
    Liz Earle claim:
    "Wake up and revitalise eyes with cotton wool pads soaked in this gentle, soothing herbal lotion"
     I completely agree with this claim. This product really helps to wake up your eyes first thing in the morning when you are feeling groggy and your eyes are half closed. After using this my eyes are always wide awake and I feel ready to start the day. This product is also good at reducing the puffiness of eyes too. This product is amazing to use if you've had a late night or an early start and you are particularly tired. It really helps to make you feel awake. This can also be used as a gentle eye makeup remover, but I usually use a separate product to remove my eye makeup.

    I have quite sensitive eyes, and I agree that it is gentle and it hasn't irritated my eyes in the slightest when I've used it.

    What's in it?:
    According to Liz Earle this contains:
    "Naturally active ingredients include the grassland herb – eyebright, witch hazel, organic aloe vera and cornflower to help tone, cool and refresh tired, puffy eyes."
    Liz  Earle also claim that this is suitable for contact wearers.

    How to Use:
    This can be used in two ways depending on the treatment you want. You can either apply the lotion to cotton wool pads and then sweep it over your eyes or you can soak two cotton wool pads and place them over your eyes for 5-10 minutes. Depending on time, I usually do the latter when I first wake up in order to wake up my eyes.

    If you own the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, the opening is the same as that. The lid is a screw cap which opens up so you can pour the product onto the cotton wool pads. I love this opening as the dispenser is small so you don't waste excess product.

    This is £10.25 for the 150ml bottle (the one pictured) or £5.25 for the 50ml bottle. In $, it is $18.50 for the 5. fl.oz bottle.

    Available from Liz Earle (UK) and Liz Earle (US).

    Would I repurchase?:
    I would definitely repurchase this! I think for the price 150ml is a lot of product and will last you ages. I didn't feel like I'd need this when I first got it, but now I see it as a necessity.

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    Tuesday, 1 October 2013

    Paul Smith Eau De Parfum in 'Floral' | Review

    I've had this perfume for a while and have recently come to the end of my bottle, so I thought I'd do a review on it for you! I never really hear much talk about this perfume, so hopefully this will be useful to any of you looking to buy it :)

    Heart Notes: Magnolia, orchid, osmanthus
    Top Notes:Orange, grapefruit, ginger
    Base Notes: Musk, amber, exotic woods, tonka beans

    As the name suggests, it is a very floral scent. I can personally really smell the orchid when wearing this. If you don't like floral scents, stay away from this one. It's a very girly scent and it makes me feel very feminine when I wear it. I love this fragrance in the summertime, it's more of a summer day scent than wintery scent. I'd also say this is a daytime scent than a nighttime scent too.

    Lasting Power:
    For the price, this has pretty good lasting power. I find it lasts about 6+ hours on me with the scent still being pretty noticeable.

    The packaging of this is really cute and girly. It's a luxurious packaging by any means, the bottle is made out of plastic and is very lightweight, but this makes it travel friendly.  The pink and white colour scheme is lovely and would look really lovely on a dressing table. I think the packaging reflects the type of person this scent is targeting, it's aimed more towards the girly girls who love sweet, floral scents.

    Availability & Pricing:
    Available for 12.99/30ml from The Perfume Shop.

    For the price, I think this perfume is really good value. I think this is ideal for those looking for a cheap fragrance, or perhaps for younger girl who are just starting to get into wearing perfume.

    Have you tried this perfume or any other Paul Smith Fragrances? Let me know in the comments!

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