Thursday, 31 October 2013

october favourites

Ooh, we're really getting into winter now, aren't we? I've started wearing scarves on an almost daily basis now, and foundation has made an appearance on my face more often than not. Over the whole summer I reached for BB cream and concealer and not once touched foundation (well, maybe a few times) but the colder weather has upset my skin and I found myself returning to my old favourite, the Covergirl NatureLuxe foundation (I'm the lightest shade, Alabaster). The coverage is light/medium and is such a good match for my skin type - doesn't accentuate dry patches, covers up blemishes and redness and stays all day. If you want to get hold of this in the UK, I'm fairly certain that the Max Factor Xperience Weightless foundation is identical.
The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (old formula) has been my staple serum for almost a whole year, but I've always used it sparingly and only once or twice a week as it is so expensive and I can't afford to be replacing my bottle every four months. However, this past few weeks have been an exception and I've been using this almost every night since my skin has been playing up recently. I can't tell you exactly what this serum does as, well... it kind of does everything. Any redness and dullness on my skin seems to vanish the morning after I apply it, and dry patches and blemishes both quieten down. My moisturiser absorbs better, makeup applies better and my skin looks like it's glowing. I cannot speak enough praise of it and I'm eager to try the new formula (not so keen to part with the cash though).
The weather hasn't been kind to my lips either, so I've busted out my NUXE Rêve de Miel despite promising myself to not start using it until I've worked my way through a few other lip balms in my stash (tell me I'm not the only one that does that). But my lips have been in such bad condition that I cracked it out of its packaging anyway, and my lips have thanked me. Rêve de Miel is heavy duty stuff. It's one of those one-in-a-million lip balm that don't leave your lips feeling dry as soon as it's worn off, and in fact I can put it on at night and wake up with softened lips. At £10 it's a pricey little thing, but it does the job and it does it well.
Moving on to eyes, I've been alternating my Collection Eyeshadow Pencil in Vanilla Sky that I mentioned in last month's favourites with the Bellapierre Shimmer Powder in Champagne for my inner corner highlight. The loose pigment is a shimmery, more golden version of Stila's Kitten and delivers a natural-looking brightening effect that make me look wide awake (when really all I want to do is curl up with a blanket and Sherlock on DVD) - it also works well as an all-over lid colour. 
The bright blue NYX eyeliner in Azure may look a little out of place for autumn, but it fitted right in while I was on holiday and I was wearing this almost daily. The formula on these NYX Slide-On Eye Pencils is incredible, they last all day and do not budge - even cleansing oil had a tough time getting the swatch off my arm. I honestly think that NYX have trumped Urban Decay and their famous 24/7 eyeliners with their formula, and the range is just beautiful too - Golden Olive is next on my hit list.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

notd | androgenie

This is Androgynie. Three coats of a mix of fine micro glitter and larger hex glitter on a black base and oh just look at it. There's something about glitter nail polish on a dark base that makes me weak at the knees, and this is no different. I'd been after this particular polish for a few months now, ever since I'd seen swatches of it but at over £10 the price was unjustifiable, even for me. But by pure coincidence, I stumbled across a sole bottle of Orly polish in TK Maxx and, surprise surprise, it was the very one I'd been hunting for. For five quid.
The formula is thin, with a tendency to pool at the cuticle. However this does mean that the drying time is fairly quick, and the black is quite opaque - I could've left it at two coats, but I applied another for MAXIMUM GLITTER. In order to end up with any hex glitters at all on the nail, the bottle needs to be stored upside down or shaken for a good few minutes before applying, otherwise the glitter sinks to the bottom. The glitter doesn't stand out at much as I would like it to, due to the black base washing over the glitter and making them stand out less. However, as I've shown on the nail wheel, a layer of another glitter top coat can give Androgynie an extra "something". On the left I've added a coat of Revlon Galaxy, another mix of (predominantly blue and silver) hex glitters and micro glitter but with a clear base that allows Androgynie to show through. The right swatch has a layer of Miss Sporty Transformers Sparkle Touch over the top, which has small silver glitter and slightly larger blue and pink glitter in it.

So yes, Androgynie is definitely a more muted take on glitter and does take some work in order for it to look at stunning as it could potentially be, but worth it? Oh yes.

Friday, 25 October 2013

blackhead killers

If your skin is anything like mine, then the very existence of blackheads will probably annoy you. They may not be visible to anyone else, but I know they're there and I obsess over them more than I should. Pore strips don't do much except leave my nose in a very dry condition, and although spot treatment do have an effect they leave my skin looking very dry and sorry for itself. I'm always on the lookout for a new miracle cure, so needless to say I was eager to try the promisingly-named Blackhead Killers.
The product presents itself as a face mask, taking the form of a sticky black goop that is almost impossible to wash off, but once dry - after 10-15 minutes - peels off in the same way that any other peel-off mask does. It really does work. After one use, my t-zone looked far better and the situation on my nose had significantly improved as well. Three uses and my forehead and chin had all but cleared up and my nose looked half as bad as it did before. After two weeks my skin had barely any blackheads at all - the thing is that the results aren't incredibly long-lasting, and the blackheads will return (albeit not quite as bad) after a few weeks. The mask also works on other kinds of blemishes, however the results aren't quite as profound and my Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Face Mask does the job better - but for blackheads, that goop really does what it says on the tin.
I managed to squeeze five uses out of one sachet, applying the mask only to my t-zone four of the five times so really you're looking at around 25 uses for one box. At £15, the Blackhead Killers are much better value for money than those overpriced nose pore strips - and if you try it and it doesn't work for you, you can get a full refund!

How do you deal with blackheads?
*PR Sample.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

uk magazine freebies - october 2013

Starting off with InStyle (£2), which has a little travel kit from REN worth £12 including a 10ml Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk, 10ml Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream and a 3ml Vita Mineral Active 7 Eye Gel. These are different samples than the ones that were offered last time a magazine came out with some REN samples, back in July so if you fancy trying out a few more things from REN then here's your chance! Inside there's also a sniff of Diesel Loverdose Tattoo and Angel by Thierry Mugler.
Marie Claire (£3.90) is offering a choice of four 30ml L'Occitane hand creams, the scents are Subtle Violet, Passionate Jasmine, Rose Tenderness and the original Shea Butter. Company (£2.50) has two own-branded nail polishes with every issue - the shades, if I remember correctly, are a bright coral and a muted dark grey purple.
Red's (£4) free gift is one of two This Works products, each issue will either have a 50ml Really Rich Firming Lotion or a 50ml Daily Boost Body Scrub. Cosmopolitan (£3.60) also has a free body product with their magazine in the form of a 50ml St. Tropez Instant Tan Face and Body Lotion in Light/Medium.

Have you took advantage of this any of these free gifts?

Monday, 21 October 2013

october birchbox

Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm For Lips | theBalm Stainiac | Laura Mercier Foundation Primer | Akane Mask Cocoon Nocturne | KMS California Silk Sheen Styling Creme
Lifestyle Extras: UltraDEX Wire-Free Interdental Brushes | Egyptian Magic

Check out the contents of this box! Definitely one of the best beauty boxes I've received in a while, Birchbox, you've nailed it. They've also done away with their Birchbox mag, in favour of a few postcard-type cards that give you some basic information of the products in the box.

There's two makeup products in here, in the form of a sample of theBalm's Stainiac and fairly large 14.7ml tube of the coveted Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. I can't wait to put these both to good use as I've just ventured into the world of foundation primers so can't wait to give one of the most hyped up ones in the beauty world a whirl, and I do love a good lip stain.
The Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm For Lips is a lip balm that I've had my eye on for a while now, but have never bought as I own far too many lip balms to justify another. Luckily, there's a 3ml sample in the box to satisfy my curiosity and I'll report back if I like it enough to buy the full size. The same goes for the KMS California Silk Sheen Styling Creme, although it may take me a while to get around to using it as I seem to have been overrun with hair products as of late. This creme claims to provide heat protection as well as controlling frizz, so it does sound pretty good.
There's a face mask from Akane that, from what I can tell at first glance, seems to work the same way as the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask so it'll be interesting to see if it matches up to my Origins favourite - the Akane one is a few quid cheaper too, so here's hoping!
The lifestyle extras are a few sachets of Egyptian Magic cream (I've wanted to try it for ages) and UltraDex Wire-Free Interdental Brushes, which I thought was a bit out of place but will be useful nonetheless (I mean who doesn't need little tiny toothbrushes in their lives?).

Birchbox have mentioned that there will be more Laura Mercier goodies in November's box, so if you fancy a bit of a treat you can subscribe here.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

travel skincare

Travelling on planes with only hand luggage can be rather difficult if you're as into skincare as us beauty-obsessed folk are. Trying to jam all these tiny bottles of various lotions and potions into one see-through bag is a trial I have to deal with every single year, so this time for my get-away I attempted to only take the bare essentials with me. 
A good makeup remover is a necessity, and rather than risking buying a miniature bottle of something I'd never tried before and end up hating it I decanted some of my L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil (this stuff is brilliant, you can read my full review here) into a spray bottle. For my cleanser I took the Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Soap with me, although ideally I would use a hot cloth cleanser as the second step when I do a double cleanse at night but taking a muslin cloth and having to clean it every night seemed like a bit of a bother. Plus I had this sample of the Mario Badescu cleanser in my stash and it does the trick, even if it does smell a little like bathroom cleaning products. 
I didn't actually bring the Bioderma primarily for taking off makeup, but instead for cleaning up winged eyeliner with a cotton bud. A very specific use, yes, but the bottle is so tiny that it takes up next to no room. The cotton buds also came in handy to scrape the last out of my Origins Super Spot Remover, which is on its last legs now and I need to purchase a new one as it is so so effective.
Surprisingly I couldn't find any samples of moisturiser in my stash - I'm usually overrun with them - so I had to make do with the Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser that I bought in Superdrug in the travel section, which from what I can tell after using it for just over a week is rather good. The consistency is nice and light, perfect for a hot climate (although annoyingly it doesn't contain SPF) and provides a good base for makeup.
Weleda Skin Food is just an all-round must have. It's a basic intensive moisturiser that can be used to solve all manner of skin-related woes; I like to use it as a lip balm at night and on any dry patches as well as using it as a moisturiser if my skin is feeling particularly dehydrated. There are a few other creams out there that do the same job, but I already had a tube lying around that was just the right size to bring with me.
I also make sure to chuck a few sachets of various skincare products into my bag as they don't take up any room, and they're great if I feel like my skin needs something extra. A face mask or two always work their way into my bag (I'd already used them by the time I took the photo) as well as a few intensive moisturisers, including the Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins and the Yon-Ka Hydra No.1 Creme*, Serum* and Masque*. 
Other necessities that aren't strictly skincare include a lip balm with SPF, hand cream and antihistamine cream to soothe the many inevitable mosquito bites I end up with.
*PR Sample.

Monday, 7 October 2013

notd | yummy mummy

Yummy Mummy must be Butter London's most talked about shade, so you can imagine my surprise (speaking as a nail polish hoarder) when it was included in the Latest in Beauty Ultimate Summer Nails Box for only a few pounds more than the nail polish alone costs.
The polish itself is a nude beige colour, with a very slight shimmer that from far away could easily be mistaken for a creme formula. It took three coats to be opaque and didn't take long to dry, but I've got a problem with the wear time. I'm not sure if maybe I have a bottle from a bad batch, but the polish chipped the very next day on more than one finger. That was with OPI Nail Envy as a base and the Nails Inc Kensington Caviar top coat, and after I repainted over the chips for the sake of taking photos (you can still kinda see it on my index finger but oh well) they chipped again the very same day. Not very impressive when you're paying £12 for a bottle. It was so close to being the best nude polish ever.

On a side note, thanks for all your birthday wishes yesterday on Twitter! I'm off on holiday later today, and like an idiot I forgot to write up any posts in advance, so I'm sorry but this blog is going to be a bit barren over the next week or so. I'll make it up to you by bombarding you with posts as soon as I get back, so watch this space!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

autumn wishlist

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Guess who's gone on a bit of a dark lipstick rampage? I probably will end up buying all three of the Collection Gothic Glam lipsticks soon, as they're so cheap. The only problem is that Collection lipsticks don't come all sealed up and I'm always paranoid that someone has already used them, so I'm going to have to order them online so that I'm safe in the knowledge that someone who doesn't know what testers are haven't wiped their grubby paws all over my brand new lipsticks. Luckily the Superdrug website currently has free delivery so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
I've also been eyeing up a Topshop lipstick in the shade Depth (it was a toss-up between this and the Sleek True Colour lipstick in Mulberry) as it looks like such a gorgeous deep dark colour. Plus I don't think I already own any Topshop lippies, and they get nothing but good reviews.
Two Origins masks already take pride of place in my skincare stash and I love them, so it seems only natural that I try the third one - the Out of Trouble mask. It's specifically aimed at problem skin and despite face masks being the one skincare item that I have hoards of (I use them in rotation so I never manage to use any up), I can't help but buy more as I get a kick out of seeing the instant results. I'll happily admit that I sound a bit odd.
Another jacket never goes amiss and this one from New Look is absolutely gorgeous, although it does seems to have the sort of cut that would either look stunning or very misshapen. I went into New Look a few days ago with every intention of trying this on, but I couldn't for the life of me find it and ended up buying a burgundy fedora (this one). Sorrynotsorry. I'll try harder next time.
A few more Real Techniques brushes wouldn't be sniffed at either, they really are of a superior quality to my old Sigma brushes and I feel like I *ahem* need to expand my collection. I've been applying both my blush and my setting powder with the Buffing Brush (the Expert Face Brush deals with my foundation) so I'd quite like to get my hands on the Blush Brush. Whilst watching some YouTube tutorial I saw a girl blending in her undereye concealer with the RT Setting Brush and it made application seem effortless... and the Stippling Brush because, well, why not?
I've never been much of a MAC fangirl, I've bought the occasional lipstick here and there but have never fully committed to trying out the brand - mainly because I'm not able to buy more than one item at a time without becoming broke. But I have to admit that I've been drawn to a few items recently. More specifically, the Cranberry eyeshadow looks beautiful and perfectly suited to this time of year. I've also got my eye on a fair few lipsticks (nothing's changed there then) including Rebel, Cockney, Diva and Party Line.
*Stock images are not my own.