Friday, 28 June 2013

Smashbox Treats!

So recently I went to Cheshire Oaks Outlet Mall and of course I checked out The Cosmetics Company store- filled with all the best high-end make-up brands with huge discounts- impossible to resist! As usual I had to tear myself away from buying everything in store, but above all, I was drawn to the Smashbox stand; a brand that I had heard fantastic things about but never actually tried myself. Smashbox is also a brand that I have never been able to get hold of here in the UK, although I do believe Boots now stock it and you can order online. So anyway, the first thing which alluded me was this Eye Enhancing Shadow Palette especially for blue eyes. I absolutely adore neutral based eye-shadows; I live by my trusty Urban Decay Naked palette and basically anything with neutral tones, which I find to really accentuate blue eyes, hence this palette had me written all over it. What I love about this handy little palette is that it consists of six shades, three mild shades to create a soft, wearable everyday look, and then three darker shadows to create that perfect smokey eye. This looks like the perfect ingredients for an extremely captivating smokey eye; I much prefer to do this using brown tones as opposed to heavy black shadow which can be a little overbearing- with this palette you can look sexy and sultry yet still subtle. 

As you can see, the top row consists of shimmery light shadows. The first is a gorgeous off-white shadow which is perfect for highlighting the inner corner of the eye and brow bone. I love the bottom trio most, particularly the middle brown shadow which I have found to be a perfect match for my brows to create a soft brow look which shows how versatile this palette can be. The dark brown is also a great brow colour if you have much darker brows like me; it does have a slight shimmer however which is not desirable for brows as obviously it isn't natural looking, but this is actually barely distinguishable, hence it is passable if you mix the two together which create a perfect brow colour.

(Soft Trio)

(Smoky Trio)

Another great thing about this palette is how it includes these easy to understand application tips, perfect for girls who are only just starting to explore make-up. It has the easiest tips for creating the perfect eye look, guiding you on where to apply the highlight and crease etc.

The other item I reluctantly picked up from Smashbox was this cream shadow in Amethyst- which is the most beautiful deep purple with vivid shimmer and pink undertones. Initially I  resisted buying this item, I swatched it on my hand, loved it, and then somehow found the willpower to walk away. It wasn't until after a few hours when I realised that the swatch on my hand hadn't budged at all- this was after washing my hands a few times and trying to rub it off- yet this beut refused to budge AT ALL. All the many other swatches on my hands had vanished throughout the day, yet this baby stayed and for that, I obviously couldn't resist a product with such unbelievable staying power as the pigmentation is incredible. As I have often said, I have seriously oily eyelids which often results in unsightly creasing and smudging which means I tend to struggle finding eye products that stay put, which meant that this gem would be perfect for me. It claims to have limitless 15 hour wear which makes is the best cream shadow I have ever come across in terms of longevity, and what's more the colour is absolutely divine and will make any eyes pop instantly. This stuff is literally bullet-proof, so get your hands on one if you are looking for a great cream shadow which will actually stay put all day, especially perfect for the summer heat!
Seen as I purchased these products at a discount store, I got these considerably cheaper, but if these catch your eye you can purchase these on the Smashbox website or Boots:

Have you guys tried any products from Smashbox recently?

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Monday, 17 June 2013

My Three Favourite Foundations: Best For Each Skin Type

These three foundations all from the drugstore are my tried and tested favourite foundations possibly ever. I go through phases of using each one depending on how my skin is feeling and what look I am going for. I have absolute confidence in recommending all three to you depending on your skin type, and it just goes to show that you don't have to spend an extortion to achieve great looking skin!

My pick for combination skin:
How do I know if I have combination skin?
If your skin is combination, you have fairly normal skin which means that you may have normal skin with an oily t-zone which is most common, or maybe you have dryness around your cheeks but not all over. Your skin will have a comfortable feeling with a smooth, even texture with small pores. You may experience moderate shine and larger pores on the forehead, nose or chin, but not excessively so.

If this sounds like you, you are lucky in the sense that any formula of foundation will probably suit your skin. A favourite of mine is Rimmel's Match Perfection liquid foundation. This is a great stock foundation; it is perfect for normal skin as it provides good light to medium coverage and evens out your skin tone without masking your skin or leaving your skin feeling cakey or heavy. This can be shiny on my skin without powder, but on combination skin this would be perfect to control the skins oil and also provide a natural glow. It is not overtly dewy or mattifying which makes it the perfect middle ground for foundation. This foundation is also incredibly pocket-friendly at £6.99. Rimmel also has a fairly good shade range of 12 shades so you can be sure to find a suitable match for your skin tone; my shade is 103 'True Ivory' which is probably a little light for me this time of year but has still been a great colour match nonetheless. It also has a great SPF of 18 so you can forget about applying sunscreen; this beauty has it built in which is one less hassle to worry about which makes it a great summer foundation. All in all I find this product to be something of an ideal everyday foundation and certainly one I will be repurchasing in the future. It leaves me with a radiant finish but still manages to cover near enough all of my imperfections. It also smells lovely which makes its application all the more nicer, whats not to like?

Oily skin:
How do I know if I have oily skin?
Having oily skin can be a complete nuisance sometimes, I find that I get needlessly oily throughout the day and have to carry a compact powder around with me all the time to stop 'the shine' from occurring. If like me, you have oily skin, your skin will be shiny, especially through the T-zone (the forehead, nose, and chin); it is a condition caused by overactive sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands. You may find you have large, visible pores, especially on the nose and forehead, and are also prone to frequent breakouts as these are caused by the excess oil on your face.

The best foundation for oily skin for me personally, is foundation Revlon Colourstay especially for oily/combination skin. If you have dry skin I would completely stay away from this foundation as it would do nothing to hydrate your skin, although there is another formula of this that you can use. This foundation is oil-free and quite heavy, but not heavy enough to feel like your skin is blocked and cakey. I personally find the texture of this foundation to be just right for me because it is not too liquidy as it is quite thick, but this is great for concealing blemishes, acne scarring, hyper-pigmentation and all the rest that oil-skinned people often have. The only thing about this foundation that can be annoying is that, for one it has no pump which I really hate because it means that you can't always control how much you get out. But also, as soon as you put some on your skin you must work it into the skin right away with a buffing brush; I recommend using the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for a flawless, airbrushed finish. If you dot some around your face all over and then expect to blend it at the end, this will make it extremely difficult to blend as it starts to set into the skin which makes it hard to move. If you start blending each section right away though, It is not a problem. As much of an annoyance that this technique can be, It is also probably the best thing about this foundation as once it is in place, it will not budge at all until you take it off. It is completely bullet-proof which means that no amount of heat or oil will cause this to melt off your face which makes it the perfect foundation for oily skin. I don't wear this on an everyday basis unless my skin is really unclear or I'm having particularly troublesome oily skin, but I always wear this for a night out because longevity is key and I trust that it will keep my face looking matte and fresh all night. The real test for this foundation was my prom in which I had this on from 4pm-4am, and it was still firmly in place at the end of the night; a true testament to how great this foundation is. You can get this foundation for a very reasonable £12.49.

Dry skin:
How do I know if I have dry skin?
If you have dry skin, your skin will feel tight after washing and may look dry or flaky. Pores will be small, almost invisible and the texture may be rough and uneven; dehydrated.

Liquid foundation is therefore necessary for dry skin in order to hydrate it and smooth your skin out. I have tried using Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, but I have found this slightly oily for me due to my skin type, yet this would be perfect for dry skin. I can however, get away with this when I use a fair bit of powder, purely because I love the radiant effect on my skin which is beautifully fresh for summer. It is super hydrating and makes your skin look luminous and dewy, not shiny. I do like to use this when my skin is less oily as it creates such a radiant glow, but it is not mattifying which I rather prefer. I have heard so much about Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, but I think the foundation gives more coverage. I would say this gives medium coverage, but it can be applied quite lightly. In a similar way to the Revlon foundation, I find you have to blend this into the skin quickly and then it sets and looks great. It does not hold up on me as long as the Colourstay foundation, but this is due to my skin type most probably and for dry skin it would last a lot longer. Whether or not it lasts the supposed 16 hours is debatable, but this depends on how you prime your skin and your skin type. It does smell gorgeous however which I love, it has a super fruity scent which is beautiful for summer and it feels like it does a lot of good for my skin. It contains crystalline pigments for an even complexion and a healthy glow and also contains apricot for radiance, melon for hydration and apple to protect your youth. You can get hold of this for £9.99. 

I hope some of you guys found this post helpful; I was wearing the wrong type of product on my skin until I realised I had oily skin! The important thing is that you find the best foundation that works for you, for your own skin type.

My Summer Skincare Essentials

1. Neutrogena Visibly Clear oil-free moisturiser
Oil-free moisturiser is an absolute necessity for me in the summer due to my oily skin which becomes even more of an annoyance in the summertime; I therefore do everything I can to keep excess oil and bay and keep my skin looking matte. This one from Neutrogena is hands down my favourite one; it keeps my skin clear and feeling fresh and it smells unbelievably like grapefruit which is perfect for summer. It isn't heavy on the skin and absorbs quickly leaving me free to apply my make-up instantly. The best thing about this moisturiser is how it leaves a tingly feeling on the skin; you can feel that this product is doing your skin wonders as soon as you apply it which I love. It does not clog pores due to how it is oil-free, thereby leaving your skin blemish free for summer. This lightweight formula has a delicate hint of pink grapefruit to not only uplift your senses and make you feel fresh and fabulous, it leaves your skin feeling invigorated and fresh. 
This moisturiser is available at around £5 and you can get hold of it here: 

2. Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer
Another summer necessity for me is primer. I tend to wear a primer most days anyway because I feel it keeps your make-up looking fresh and in place for much longer, but in summer I regard it as essential due to the excess heat, (if your lucky to get some sun this summer!) This primer from Nivea is absolutely fantastic. I could not feel more confident in recommending a better primer to you guys as I have tried and tested this for months now and I still absolutely love it. I love everything about it from the fragrant fresh smell, to the smooth appearance it gives to my skin, to how it hold my make-up in place all day. Foundation goes on so much better when I apply this as it creates such a smooth canvas for make-up. I feel like pores are minimized and any imperfections are smoothed out; make-up will no longer cling to stubborn blemishes or dry patches of skin if you use this. I think this is an all round great, reliable primer for everyday wear for all skin types, if your oily like me, or if you have dry skin. This product also functions as a moisturiser as it hydrates and replenishes your skin whilst also priming your skin. It is instant absorption so there is no waiting for make-up application which, for me, makes this a fantastic, no-fuss product. This is perfect for summer as you can be assured that your make-up will hold up in the heat. This is available at £4.99 here: 

3. Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing toner
I love using this toner after I have cleansed my face in order to remove any excess oil on before make-up application. This one is my favourite toner because it is incredibly soothing and thereby perfect for even sensitive skin. It refreshes and cleanses impurities which makes it perfect for removing any residue of make-up whilst also controlling the oils on your skin. It combines water lily extract and pro-vitamin B5 in a gentle, non-irritant formula to provide an intense fresh sensation on the skin. Skin is therefore left feeling soothed, supple and fresh. This is perfect for the summer when skin is most oily, perfect to cleanse your face after you have been out in the heat and keep your oil production under control and shine at bay. This is available for £3.99 here:

4. Dove Summer Glow Gradual Self Tan
Before trying out this tan myself I had heard so many recommendations from friends and fellow bloggers that this tan was the best around. I finally decided to try it out a few weeks before my prom to see if it really lived up to the hype. Before this my experience with false tan had never been fuss-free; it had always resulted in a streaky tan that was obviously false and stained hands. This is without a doubt the best gradual tan I have ever tried, and I have tried a lot of them now. It applies just like a body lotion and it has a very distinct smell which is fruity and exotic and I actually really like it. It builds a natural looking tan gradually without looking at all streaky. What I found most remarkable about this tan was how it didn't erode completely in the shower, something all the previous tans always seemed to do which kind of defeated the point of building up a tan gradually. This one remained just as dark but more natural looking, and didn't start to peel/flake away to leave that fake tan residue. I therefore built up a nice tan for my prom which left me with a subtle tanned glow. I used the medium to dark formula to get a more intense tan, but the colour was by no means orange, it was the colour of how I usually tan in the sun which makes this my favorite tan for a natural glow. I also stopped reapplying this after my prom, and even though I tried to exfoliate it off afterwards, I was still left with a nice subtle tan for at least a week after applying. You can get hold of the tan that is voted No.1 gradual self-tan body lotion in the UK for just £2.50 at Boots:


Saturday, 15 June 2013

My Summer Make-Up Essentials

So seen as it is summer I thought I would create a post on all my summer beauty must haves, especially products that are bullet proof/heatproof as there is absolutely nothing worse than heavy make-up slipping and sliding all over your face in the heat. I personally love wearing less make-up in summer as I prefer the more natural look and usually with a tan, I don't feel the need to wear nothing more than the basics. But at the same time, a lot of people still like to wear their usual make-up but just change to products which are much more long lasting and will keep your make-up looking fresh all day long. 

In the summertime I usually still like to wear a foundation, purely because I have a bit of hyper-pigmentation from acne scarring which I prefer to cover up, but if your have near enough perfect skin I would totally skip wearing foundation; a bit of concealer will have you set perfectly. I like to switch to something that is quite light in texture so it doesn't feel like I have make-up on, but at the same time, something that gives me decent coverage and generally makes my skin look better. I love wearing my good old trusty Rimmel Match Perfection foundation; this is my go-to foundation and I wear this on a daily basis purely because I trust that it will look good without being heavy. This is perfect for the summer too because it is light and can be applied sparingly using a buffing brush for an almost sheer, tinted moisturiser finish, but is also very build-able and provides a good amount of coverage. What makes it ideal for summer is that is has SPF in it of 18 which is perfect; it means you can skip the sunscreen step on your face which is a lot more convenient. 
An alternative to wearing foundation is a BB cream; I have recently started testing this one from Rimmel which is better if you have near-perfect skin as it doesn't provide a great amount of coverage, which is why I prefer the foundation. This is perfect for holidays though when I don't like to wear a lot of make-up; it has SPF 30 which is fantastic, and is super lightweight so it doesn't feel like you have anything on your skin other than moisturiser. This product claims that it has 9 steps in one, including primer, concealer etc, which makes it the perfect one step product for holidays to stop you carrying around heaps of make-up. 
On top of this I've also been testing the Wake Me Up concealer, also from Rimmel, which I have seriously been loving. I think this is the best concealer for summer because it is super light yet still covers dark circles and blemishes, without creasing which makes this an essential in my summer make-up bag.

Also, If you are going on holiday and you know that your skin will most definitely change colour, I would advise getting hold of your foundation/BB cream one/two shades darker depending on how much you tan, that you can mix into your regular shade in order to adjust to your new skin tone. 

In the summer I would absolutely not be without bronzer. It accentuates your already fabulous tan and if you haven't got a tan, it is all the more believable that your bronzed glow is real purely because it is summertime! My favourite one at the moment is the one from Bourjois; I have used this for a few months now and I think it is the most natural looking one I have used. Dust the bronzer on anywhere on your face that you would usually tan the most; the bridge of the nose, the temples, and highest points of your cheeks. Then blend down into the jawline and neck in order to match and create a flawless finish. Not only does this bronzer smell unbelievable, but it is perfect for me because it is matte, with a very slight soft shimmer which makes it more natural looking. When I am tanned on holiday, one of my favourite looks is to just wear bronzer all over for a tanned glow, with a bright coral lip to bring some fun and colour to the face.

As well as bronzer, powder and highlighter are also essential for summer. For me, there is only one powder I turn to all year round, but for summer especially I use none other than Rimmel Stay Matte powder. There is a reason that this powder is a firm favourite in so many beauty guru's kits; it is fantastic. For somebody who has oily skin, I can vouch that this powder will keep your make-up in place and keep you looking matte and shine free all day! 
For highlighter I have been drifting between my all time favourite Benefit High Beam which is amazing as it provides such a pigmented glow to the cheeks, perfect for summer as it makes you look radiant and luminous. I have also been trying out MUA's Undress Your Skin shimmer highlighter, which is great for the price and I absolutely love the marble effect finish of the packaging. It is not as long lasting as Benefit's High Beam, and at times it can be somewhat chalky, but it does have strong pigmentation and if you apply just a little bit, it gives a lovely shimmery finish which is perfect for summer.

In the summertime, although I still wear powder blush most of the time, there is something about cream blush which makes them perfect and much more suitable for summer. Lately I got hold of Revlon's Photoready cream blush in the shade Pinched, which is a beautiful peach, natural toned blush. It has a lovely texture and finish on the skin, and if you set this with powder it will stay put for ages! A much more natural, 'barely there' make-up look for summer.

Like with the cream blush, cream shadow is so much better for summertime because it has stronger staying power; powder has a greater tendency to melt off the skin, especially if you have oily eyelids like me! I have therefore been gravitating towards my favourite shades of Maybelline Color 24HR Tattoo cream shadows, in 'On and on Bronze' and 'Pink Gold'. The pigmentation in these is unbelievable and they look amazing on the eyes alone, or you can use these underneath eye shadow which will really help keep it in place all day long. Another I have been loving is the Rimmel Scandaleyes eye shadow stick in 'Bulletproof Beige'. This colour is so gorgeous because it is a super subtle beige, gold colour with soft shimmer, which makes this perfect for a natural look and also as a base for shadow. These are really easy to blend out with your fingers, and once in place they set and stay place for absolutely ages.
Another essential for summer in my opinion is waterproof mascara. This will ensure if you are swimming or just in the heat and you find that your eye make-up smudges, that this will stay put.  Although I absolutely adore Maybelline's The Falsies, I couldn't find a waterproof formula, but I have been loving Max Factor's Clump Defy waterproof version. This is super bulletproof, but it also gives a natural looking effect and is true to its name as being non clumpy which I think is perfect for summer because it doesn't actually look like you have loads of mascara on; just that you have lovely long lashes. 

Bold lips is probably my favourite  trend for summer because I think it can transform a look and make it fun and edgy which is perfect for the laid-back style summer look which I love. I don't like super matte lips in the summer because it can be quite drying; I much prefer lips that are soft and moisturized with colour, hence Revlon's Lip Butters are perfect. They are super moisturising so you don't need balm, but I would advise wearing a lip balm with SPF because burning your lips is horrible. My favourite shades of the lip butters are 'Wild Watermelon' which is a beautiful red, coral tone with bright pink undertones, and 'Raspberry Pie' which is a pink fuchsia with a hint of purple if you build it up. What I love about these is that you can apply only a  bit and blend it out with your fingers to create a soft stain and hint of colour, or you can build them up to create the same effect as a bold lipstick, but with these you have the benefit of having soft, hydrated lips too. 
Summer is probably the only time of year when I wear lip gloss  I'm much more of a lipstick girl, but in summer I think gloss is beautiful. I have been using this gorgeous pink gloss with hints of gold shimmer from Model co, courtesy of Glamour magazine this month, so get your hands on it because it is such a steal! It is not too sticky; one of the reasons I dislike gloss most of the time is because of the glossy texture that always sticks to my hair!

What have your been loving for summer?

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Perfect Everyday Bag

Hey guys!

Recently I came across this gorgeous, practical, classic and utterly perfect bag for everyday use. I probably own far too many bags already, yet I have never found the perfect go-to bag for everyday wear; the multi-functional dream bag that will go with everything so that you never have to buy a bag again. I am somebody who has to carry around everything imaginable in their bag 'just in case' , a 'Marry Poppins bag' so to speak, hence when I saw how spacious and organised this bag was I absolutely had to have it. What I love most about this bag is how it is structured; it has three large zip compartments, including the middle padded section in which you can transport your iPad/ laptop, and also two sections in between, (That's an unbelievable FIVE compartments!) with neatly organised sections for your phone, business cards, and discreet pockets to store anything you like. In my eyes, this makes this the perfect office bag, school bag, everyday bag for the person who just loves to transport their world around with them. I thought this would be ideal for starting university in September as it is the perfect size with the capacity to store and sustain everything you need. Besides from the practicalities of this bag, I think it is aesthetically wonderful as well; it reminds me of a particular Prada bag in the way it is structured. It is also super sturdy and durable which makes it the most ideal everyday bag for books etc, you know it will not break after a few weeks unlike other bags which I am sure we've all experienced. Moreover, I think this bag looks super expensive and classy; it will most likely go with any outfit and can be styled for the daytime and nighttime transition; all of which, in my eyes, make it the perfect bag. 

This bag has been pretty popular already; I managed to grab the last one in my local store, but it is still available on the website. You can grab this bag from Zara for £50. 


Prom: Leavers Ball!

So I know I am super late with this post seen as my prom was in April... But I've just been incredibly busy and stressed doing my A-level exams which are thankfully now finished, which means I can fully get back to blogging yay! 

First of all, I found my dress unexpectedly in Ted Baker outlet; I loved how simple and classic it was in the typical 'prom' shape, but I thought the added bronzed beading on the bust made it more interesting and perfect for prom. Seen as this was in Ted Baker outlet, I got this dress for a perfect steal at £100 instead of the original £265 price tag, so I was pretty happy with that bargain! 

Bag- Monsoon £25
Shoes- Mango £30 

Earrings- Miss Selfridge £10

The key thing about prom make-up is that it is ultra long-lasting. I applied my make-up at around 4.PM, and was out until 4. AM, so it had to be long lasting or else my face may have melted off completely. Besides, I have oily skin so I it was paramount for me to make my make-up as long lasting as possible in order for me to keep stress free. Having said this, I can safely say that my make-up stayed in place for this full amount of time, with me only having to touch up on powder/lipstick once throughout the night. So I am going to recommend these fantastic products that kept my make-up in place! 

First things first for longevity is to use a primer; even if you don't have oily skin I would advise using a primer for an occasion like prom in order to make sure your make-up does not budge. I swear by Nivea Express Hydration primer; it is super smooth and dries instantly and really keeps my base make-up intact. 

For foundation I used Revlon Colourstay Foundation for oily/combination skin which I can honestly say is the best foundation I have ever tried for oily skin. It gave super good coverage which was perfect for an occasion like prom where you want a flawless finish, and it did not budge at all. Although, as a result, this foundation is quite heavy, I feel like it is absolutely worth it for the full coverage and longevity provides, which was a complete life saver for me at prom. If your looking for a super long-lasting foundation, I seriously recommend this!

The final product which I would seriously not be without at prom is a powder in order to set your make-up firmly in place. I used my trusty Rimmel Stay Matte powder and took this with me to touch up throughout the night. This powder is truly amazing and set my base perfectly; it did not disturb the colour of my foundation or allow my oiliness to break out which I half expected due to my oily skin, but the combination of this and Revlon Colourstay was a serious miracle worker! 

I was also seriously impressed with how my eyelashes stayed perfectly intact all night! I half expected to have one eyelash falling off throughout the night and took glue with me just in case  but my Eylure Cheryl Cole lashes miraculously stayed in place perfectly.

I went quite bold on my eyes with a bronzed, golden, smokey look, so I went for fairly neutral pink lips and used my favorite Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Wild Rose, which is also a super long-lasting formula which is perfect for prom. These lipsticks are beautiful and moisturising, yet provide a highly pigmented colour on the lips which lasts all night.

Me and my gorgeous friends at Prom!