Sunday, 30 June 2013

june favourites

My skin has been changing for the better this month, and it's mainly down to the Alpha-H Liquid Gold. It's completely obliterated any dry patches I had, meaning that foundation is a hundred times easier to apply, and that factor alone makes it a winner in my book. Full review here.
Another gamechanger for me has been Benefit's That Gal highlighting primer. I've not been using it as a primer as such, instead I've been applying it on my cheekbones, forehead and on the bridge of my nose. I reach for this when I'm wearing a matte foundation as I find that my face can look rather flat and two-dimensional, and That Gal is perfect for giving a very natural glow and brightening my face up. As for mascara, a new one has worked it's way into my daily makeup routine, and it's Maybelline's The Falsies Volum' Express. When I first bought this I didn't particularly like it, but I think that was down to the formula being a bit too wet as now it's perfect. I do find that my Covergirl Lashblast 24HR mascara gives slightly better results, however The Falsies is so much easier to remove and still doesn't smudge throughout the day - and I'm lazy and can't be bothered actually trying to remove a stubborn mascara.
The Ulta Lip Crayon in Glamour has been on my lips for most of this month as it really does just go with everything, is easy to apply and the stain it leaves behind is gorgeous. if you fancy reading the full review (with lip swatches, wooo), it's hereI've been turning to the Wet 'n' Wild palette in Comfort Zone for my eyeshadow kicks (from the lovely Katie), the top three shades on the left are my favourites - they're the ones I've swatched - and they look so gorgeous once applied. I need to get my hands on some more Wet 'n' Wild eyeshadows, they're such good quality.

If you've done a favourites post for this month be sure to leave me a link to it in the comments, I'd love to have a read of it!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

yon-ka masque 105

My skin is all over the place. In the summer it's oily, yet in the winter it's as dry as can be, as well as being prone to dry patches, large pores and the occasional blemish. As such, I have to use a whole host of products meant for different skin types, with each serving their own purpose and targeting a specific issue. The problem is, they sometimes counteract each other, such as any heavy-duty moisturisers that I put on my nose to get rid of dry patches will block my pores, resulting in more blackheads. And any blackhead-zapper that I apply will dry out my skin, meaning more dry patches for me. It's a lose-lose situation, and I'm always on the hunt to find gentle products to calm my skin and stop it zipping between two extremes like a crazed animal.
Enter the Yon-Ka Masque 105. This clay mask is to be applied for fifteen minutes, 1-3 times a week and is meant to be kept damp whilst on the face, which I do with a toner spray. It has to be one of the most gentle masks I've ever used, it helps balance out my combination skin, help with dry patches and redness and I've noticed that my pores look smaller after I've washed it off - it's also slightly easier to remove than other clay masks, perhaps down to how it doesn't fully dry. The price tag may seem daunting, but I think that I could easily get at least ten uses out of the 75ml tube and considering that this is a luxury product, I'd say that's pretty good going.
Yon-Ka also do a mask that's aimed for more oily skin types, the Masque 103 if that's more up your alley.

What's your favourite face mask?
*PR sample.

Monday, 24 June 2013

notd | sprinkles

If your memory fares you well, you may remember the Nails Inc's 4-piece Sprinkles Collection being released around this time last year, and it caused rather a stir - along with the many dupes that followed. The only dupe I found that was almost identical to any of the Nails Inc originals was W7's Mosaic (swatch here), which was a dead ringer for Pudding Lane and I absolutely loved the finish it gave, so when I was offered to try the other three Nails Inc shades I jumped at the chance!
The trio comes with Sugar House Lane, Sweets Way and Topping Lane. Sugar House Lane is my favourite of the three, it has black and silver glitter suspended in the mushroom-y taupe base colour. Sweets Way consists of a milky off-white base that contains blue, pink and white glitter, and Topping Lane has a pink base with purple, fuchsia and silver glitter.
I've shown three thin coats for all swatches even though Sweets Way could've easily gotten away with two, but I'd highly recommend applying a thick layer of top coat as the finish is quite rough. As for removal, it was pretty tricky but no more difficult to get off than ordinary glitter.

Which is your favourite?
*PR sample.

Friday, 21 June 2013

june birchbox

Colour Club Wanderlust Collection in Reign in Spain and Mod in Manhatten | ModelCo Eye Define Eye Pencil 
Noble Isle Bath & Shower Gel | Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber | Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle

Oh I do love Birchbox. It's the nicest thing, you know, after a long day returning to a surprise box of goodies to come home to. So they've had a little rebrand this month, and whilst I don't think much of a few of the aspects - the bag that houses this month's products isn't the prettiest (jeez I sound shallow) - the contents inside are what count and boy are they good!

The first thing I saw on opening the drawstring bag was the ModelCo black eyeliner, which I'll start using as soon as I've finished up my Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero - I'm trying to get rid of it as it really doesn't work well for me and always smudges. On the other hand, the ModelCo pencil claims to be smudge-proof so we'll see how it fares. I'm also interested to see how well the face sunscreen will work, which may sound like an odd query but as I'm mildly allergic to most sunscreens I'm always on the hunt for one that doesn't break me out in a rash. Although weirdly any moisturisers or foundations with SPF seem to work fine, not sure what's up with that.
The Noble Island shower gel is going straight in my travel bag so I remember to take it with me next time I'm going to stay at a hotel. It smells divine, although there's no pump or anything and it's pretty hard to actually get the stuff out of the bottle. As for the leave-in conditioner, well that's going to be cast to one side for a while as I'm currently working my way through a huge big bottle of a different one.
Last but not least, we have the star of the show here - Color Club nail polish. I received two since there's a little mint box inside with a second Color Club nail varnish to give to a friend, but honestly I may just end up keeping both as the colours are so pretty! They're from the Birchbox-exclusive Wanderlust collection, and I have my eye on the other two colours too. Unfortunately the colours are only being sold as a set so I've taken to eBay and bought myself London Calling, which is the most gorgeous neon green shade I've ever set my eyes on.

If you fancy signing up to Birchbox you can do so here, what did you get in your box?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

uk magazine freebies - june 2013

I'm a bit late with this month's magazine freebies post, there are so many this month that it's hard to find information on them all without looking like a complete weirdo that stands and stares at a magazine rack for ten minutes whilst discreetly noting all the details on my phone - what's that? Oh no, I'm just looking at my "shopping list".

First up is a mini Ciate nail duo from Marie Claire (£2.50), which is apparently worth £10 and contains a 5ml Cookies and Cream polish along with some caviar pearls in Shooting Star. I've never jumped on the caviar nail art bandwagon, so I'm slightly apprehensive about how the testing of this will fare, but the nude shade looks lovely. Also in the mag is a mini Oral-B toothpaste and sachets of the John Frieda Sheer Blonde shampoo and conditioner, and the promise of a mini Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Black in next month's issue!

Glamour (£1) is offering a choice of five Model Co products, an eyeliner, lip liner, two lipglosses or the Lash Xtend mascara are the options. With InStyle (£3.90) is a 50ml Neals Yard Power Berry moisturiser, worth £12, and Cosmopolitan's freebie is a choice of three different styles of sunglasses, along with a pack of Mentos. Company (£2.50) has designed three makeup bags that are free with this months issue, and Elle (£4) is giving away three shades of the Rodial Brazilian Tan - Clear, Light and Dark and the sample size is 58ml. Red (£4) is offering a 15ml mini of the Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm.

I've heard other bloggers talk about there being a Leighton Denny Nail Polish Duo in six different shades with Harper's Bazaar (£4.20), Tatler coming out with some free sunglasses, and Traveller magazine has a free 50ml Neom hand cream with it as well.

We're certainly very well catered for this month, it seems that almost every single women's mag has a freebie attached to it! Are there any that I've missed out?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

life in colour #2

let's go on an adventure | off the beaten path | blossoms
now showing | train station | PRO PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLZ (with a three-year-old phone camera. two whole megapixels.)
wearing new ARK jumper (hauled here) | saturday afternoons, 5-6 | midnight reading
reorganised my bedroom and found these little guys | handmade father's day card | in the bin with you
surprise in the mail courtesy of l'oreal and bubblegum balloons | empty top decker of the bus

With this recent sunshine I've been trying to squeeze in as many walks in the countryside as I can, as the weather is sure to turn soon...such a pity. In other news, I finally got around to having a mini clearout of some makeup that I really shouldn't still own - for some reason I've been hanging on to that fake Benefit palette (even though I have the real deal) and some concealers that I must've had one too many spoonfuls of calpol (thug life) whilst buying as they're all in the shade medium. And there is no way my skin is anything other than palest of the pale.
It's father's day tomorrow, and I've spent the whole evening dipping various fruits and crystallized ginger in dark chocolate cause he loves that stuff, and painting that little bear that you see up there. I'm off to bed to finish reading The Ask and the Answer with my beverage of choice, a strange concoction of lemongrass and green tea that was in last month's Birchbox. Nighty night x

Thursday, 13 June 2013

ulta lip crayon in glamour

The love affair with oversized lip pencils continues (to see part one of this thrilling saga click here), and this one's by Ulta's own brand. Before we delve into the review I'd just like to point out that the lovely Katie sent me this in our makeup swap (who is being so lovely and patient as she still hasn't received her second parcel after the first one got lost, I'm going to have to send out a third at this rate. Royal Mail what the hell is wrong with you?!) so yes, this is impossible to get hold of in the UK and I am sorry for taunting you with what you can't have. If you live stateside however, you can find it Captain obvious over here.

Now when you call a shade "Glamour", I'm expecting to put it on and feel pretty goddamn glamorous. But alas no, this doesn't transform me into some kind of 1950's pin-up per se, but gosh it is a lovely bright, bold colour. It's a tad too pink to be classified as a "proper" red and I would deem it more summer appropriate than it's classic red counterparts.
The pigmentation packs a punch and doesn't budge on the lips for a good while, and when it finally wears off it turns into a stain that will stay there till death do you part the whole day. It doesn't transfer or bleed and is easy to sharpen with one of those large sharpeners (NYX sell one). 
Unlike the more sheer jumbo lip pencils, this isn't very moisturising on the lips. Don't get me wrong, it's not drying by any means but with lips as parched as mine I need all the moisture I can get as any lipstick will make my lips flaky after a few hours (which is literally the only reason that stops me wearing MAC's Party Parrot all day, every day. Damn you matte formulas). Overall I'd highly recommend this if you can get your hands on it as it's fairly cheap and really great quality.

Do you have any recommendations for chubby lip pencils? I'm a bit reluctant to buy a Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain as they seem a bit too expensive, especially as MUA do the same thing for about two quid. Are they worth it?

Monday, 10 June 2013

would you rather: makeup edition

I was tagged by the lovely Cathi to do this spin-off of some classic would you rather questions - I hated these as a kid as I could never choose between the two (usually rather grotesque) choices. Still, I doubt that this beauty edition will contain the same horrific scenarios that plagued my childhood (a few of those questions really did scar little seven-year-old me).

Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks and lipglosses or lose all of your palettes and eyeshadows?
I'd rather lose all of my palettes and eyeshadows, I don't even own that many palettes and don't wear eyeshadow on a daily basis so it wouldn't be that much of a loss to me!

Would you rather chop off all your hair or never be able to cut it again?
I'm one of those people that always admires girls with short hair, but never has the guts to get it all chopped off myself. But if it came down to it, I'd shave off all my hair in an instant - never being able to cut it again would be awful. It'd give me an excuse to buy a tonne of hats too.

Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?
Coral all the way. I find it hard to pull off both orange and hot pink blushes, so coral is a happy medium for me.

If you had $1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes or makeup?
I can't imagine ever using the amount of makeup $1000 can buy at the same time. Clothes are much more expensive than makeup and I never go on huge shopping sprees, so it would be amazing to just go wild and buy anything I laid my eyes on. Also, all the makeup would go bad after a while, probably before I'd even had a chance to try half of it out - so I'm 100% going for clothes as my answer.

Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner or eyeliner as lipstick?
I actually wouldn't mind both. If I had a really thin brush and a deep plum lipstick it could work as eyeliner, and I'm imagining that bright blue eyeliner as lipstick would look pretty good too. I'd go for the eyeliner as lipstick though, I'm all for strange lip colours.

Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?
Considering the UK is yet to be graced by the presence of a Sephora, I'm going to substitute it for something the likes of the Selfridges Beauty Hall. I can't imagine only shopping at MAC though, I need more variety so I'm going with Sephora for this one.

Would you rather only use one eyeshadow colour or one lip colour for the rest of your life?
Well, this is easy. I'd definitely rather only use one eyeshadow colour as I just can't let go of my lipsticks. It'd probably be a shimmery champagne sort of shade.

Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?
They both sound awful! I'd be far too hot bundled up in a jacket in the summer, and I'd have to stay inside all day with the air conditioning on, but if I had to wear summer clothes in winter I wouldn't be able to go outside either as I'd freeze up. I guess I'd rather wear winter clothes in summer just as I hate being too cold more than I hate being too hot.

Would you rather have dark nails or bright nails all year round?
Bright nails make up most of my nail polish collection, so I'd go for brights. Even in winter I do occasionally bust out a hot pink or mint green polish, so I wouldn't exactly suffer much.

Would you rather give up your favourite lip product or your favourite eye product?
Favourite eye product, as I'm not even sure if I have one. I'm indifferent towards most of my eyeliners but I do have more than one that I like, and I also have more than one favourite mascara so I think I'd be fine. Plus, my favourite lip product is lip balm and I ain't giving that up anytime soon.

Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a ponytail or a messy bun?
I never wear my hair in a ponytail, so a messy bun it is!

Would you rather never be able to paint your nails again or never use lipgloss?
Lipgloss has fallen by the wayside for me over the past year or two, and I hardly ever wear it any more. And seeing me in a state where I could never paint my nails again would be tragic. My nails would be in excellent condition though.

Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all or sharpie them in every day?
If I shaved my eyebrows, would I still be able to fill them in? Assuming I would, I don't think that the results would be that bad - and they would grow back, right? RIGHT? But a big no thanks to black sharpied eyebrows.

Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?
I'd rather live without nail polish. As much as I love it, it doesn't give me the confidence boost that makeup does.

Let me know if you've done this tag in the comments below!

Friday, 7 June 2013

i'm lusting after...

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
These wishlist posts are becoming far more frequent than I expected -  I just have my eye on so many things! Is that bad?

1. After trying countless eye creams and not a single one doing anything for me (including the ever popular Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream), I'm a bit fed up and want to splurge on something that works. I've read so many good reviews on the Origins GinZing Eye Cream and I trust Origins, so this seems like an obvious choice. The Boots website is also offering a free 30ml Drink Up Overnight Mask with two Origins purchases, and I've just run out of my Super Spot Remover...hmm..

2. A tiny sample of the B.liv by Cellnique Off With Those Heads Pro Sebum Gel was in a beauty box way back when, and I've just started using it. It's amazing, I've noticed a considerable difference on the blackheads on my nose even though it doesn't work very well for regular blemishes, but we'll always have the Origins Super Spot Remover for that. The full size is three times the price of the Origins Super Spot Remover, but also three times the size.

3. I have never cared about which bag I used for my makeup while travelling, I don't lug anything around with me on a daily basis except for lip balm and hand cream so it's never really crossed my mind to use anything other than the makeup bags that come with gifts with purchases, as I'm only ever going to use it when I'm staying somewhere overnight. However, I simply cannot resist how pretty the Ted Baker LEDA Wash Bag is, and the thought of it sitting on my dressing table is almost enough to make me click "Checkout" immediately. It looks pretty roomy and is so gorgeous in the Powder Blue colour too!

4. It's high time that I invest in a specific contouring shade, as most bronzers look just a bit too orange on my skin tone for my liking. The Taupe blush shade by NYX has been mentioned by a few different people that deem it perfect for contouring, and it's so damn cheap compared to any NARS alternative that I'm going to run out of excuses to not buy it soon.

5. Well, what's one of my wishlists without a lipstick, eh? I've had my eye on the Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Etole for a while, ever since I've heard that it's comparable to MAC's Brick-O-La (my all-time favourite lipstick, review here) but with slightly more of a raspberry red to it and more muted, and if course it's Chanel. I don't like being a brand snob, and I promise I'm not (most of the time) but you understand, right? Right?
I've a fear that I'll never end up owning this lipstick since I know that if I find myself at a Chanel counter I will end up going for a bright pink, as much as I'll try and restrain myself. It's in my blood.

6. Never have I ever used an eyebrow powder. I guess there are a good few inexpensive brow kits out there, but my brows are such an odd colour that I want to get matched to a specific shade - the problem is, I don't visit MAC counters very often! I've shown Omega as it's the shade that many people use for their brows, but if I get matched to a different colour then so be it. And I can just use the product as an eyeshadow if end up hating the way it looks on my brows. See? I've thought this through.

*Stock images are not my own.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

alpha-h liquid gold

This is somewhat of a cult product here in the blogosphere, you need only type the name of the product into Google to be confronted with review after review singing praises to the glorious elixir that is Liquid Gold - and that sort of hype is difficult to ignore. I managed to secure a little sample of this through What's In My Handbag and needless to say it was love at first use, because as soon as I'd plucked up the courage to part with £30+ for one skincare product, the deed was done and the bottle was winging its way to me by mail.
Alpha-H Liquid Gold is essentially a concentrated chemical exfoliant, which breaks down dead skin cells using enzymes - much more gentle and effective than most mechanical exfoliants that require you to scrub your face raw in order to get the same results.
A couple of points about the bottle: when you take off the cap there is another flip-top lid inside, which I was relieved to see the first time I opened it as I was scared the liquid was going to go everywhere and that would be £30 down the drain. Also, the bottle isn't completely opaque and if you hold it up to the light or shine a torch through the bottle, you can see how much is left in there.
I use the Liquid Gold at night twice a week, applying it on a cotton pad like a toner. For a more intense treatment I skip moisturiser, which I was very wary of doing at first but after trying it once and not experiencing the same withdrawal symptoms my skin usually has when I forgo moisturiser (instead of my skin feeling very tight and dry, there was just a slight tingling sensation for the first few minutes after applying it), this is my preferred way of using the exfoliant.
The results are amazing. Whenever I apply this, I wake up with much smoother skin with any redness all but gone, smaller pores and less dry patches. If I have any blemishes, they'll be smaller and less red. I'm testing to see if it does anything about the little bumps under my eyes, I think they're called milia or something along those lines - obviously using a cotton bud to carefully dab the Liquid Gold under my eyes as I'm guessing that this would sting pretty badly if it did come in contact with my eye.
Overall, I love this stuff and I can see it working well for all skin types, save for those with extremely sensitive skin. In any case, I'd recommend trying to get your hands on a sample before committing to the full size as everyone's skin is different - but for me? It's become one of my holy grail products.

While I've got your attention, I'd like to spread to word about a new television series idea that Hat Trick Productions is casting for with Channel 4 about payday spending. They're looking for people who live for payday and spend a large chunk of their wage on beauty products - if this is you, they'd love to hear from you. Contact or call Tara on 0207 184 6735 - I'm not being sponsored or anything, it just sounds like a great opportunity if this sounds like your kind of thing!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

notd | rainbow confetti

L'Oreal Confetti Top Coat
Nails Inc Peach Sorbet (from last year's InStyle mag) | OPI Steady as She Rose | Sally Hansen Green Tea | Essie Bangle Jangle

I'll be honest, when I first saw L'Oreal's Confetti top coat it didn't appeal to me at all. 
I like glitter nail polish because it's sparkly and well... glittery, so matte glitter? I'll pass. But I gave in to the hype, as you do, and I've completely changed my mind. It's gorgeous. I know you're probably sick of seeing blog posts about this top coat, so I'll shut up about it now - but only if you promise to buy it. Think of it as 2013's Max Factor Fantasy Fire (remember the hype around that?).
Every time I apply OPI's Steady as She Rose I fall a little bit more in love with it, and that's coming from a person doesn't even like pink nail polish... however much my previous two nail posts beg to differ. It's the perfect light pink-purple and it's not ridiculously sheer, hell yeah. I'm also loving the mint Sally Hansen shade, I own a few shades in this particular kind of Sally Hansen nail polish and the formula is always great - so cheap too!
Despite buying Essie's Bangle Jangle over six months ago, I've never even swatched it before today so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that it was opaque in two coats, however the shade is darker than the bottle and online swatches would lead you to believe.

Do you own the L'Oreal Confetti top coat? What's your favourite base colour for it?