Thursday, 30 March 2017

Nars - Velvet Lip Glide in Playpen


As soon as I heard that NARS were launching a brand new range of lipsticks, I was excited to try them. I googled swatches of each shade and bravely ordered one without trying it (which I rarely do). The shade I ordered was 'Playpen' and luckily it was a good choice as I love it. NARS describes the colour as 'lychee pink', but I think it definitely does lean towards more of a coral colour, making the perfect shade for Spring!

The consistency is lovely, it feels moisturising but not sticky. The formula is pigmented and is a cross between a liquid lipstick and a gloss. The doe-foot applicator makes it easy to apply and to create a defined lip line, and I don't need to use lipliner with it.


Unfortunately, it isn''t very long-wearing but for this type of product, I am not surprised. After a while, they do dry down slightly to be a little less shiny, but I wouldn't go as far as to say 'semi-matte', but maybe that's just this colour. I also find that this lipstick makes me lips look plumper.

All in all, I really like the product, and I am tempted to get another couple of them. I really love the look of 'Bound' and 'Suck' - such cheeky names!

There's some great swatches of each shade on Temptalia.com if you don't have a NARS counter near you.
 Nars - Velvet Lip Glide (Playpen) - £22.00



Monday, 27 March 2017

Charlotte Tilbury - Pillow Talk Lipstick & Lip Cheat

I was lucky enough to be treated to this beauty for Valentine's Day this year, and it has quickly made itself in to my top five lipsticks of all time (and I have a lot)!


I bought Charlotte Tilbury's lip cheat in 'Pillow Talk' for myself sometime last year and every time I wore it, I thought to myself "this would make a great lipstick", even experimenting with making my own makeshift lipstick by applying it all over my lips and adding a little balm because I loved the colour so much. So when I heard that Charlotte Tilbury had released an online exclusive lipstick called 'Pillow Talk' which was supposedly the same shade as the lip liner, I knew I wanted to add it to my makeup collection. Luckily for me, my hint-dropping to my boyfriend didn't go unnoticed...

The lip liner is a lovely smooth velvety texture and can be used to re-shape and enhance your lips. I use it as a liner for my lips and I also fill in my lips and apply the matching lipstick over the top, which makes it last longer. It's waterproof and is transfer-resistant, claiming to last a whopping 6 hours (depending on quite how much you plan to eat, drink or kiss)!

'Pillow Talk' is my second Charlotte Tilbury lipstick, and the formula is described as a 'Luminous Modern-Matte'. The shade is a beautiful nude pink, and it looks absolutely amazing on every skin tone. The website shows the lipstick on ten women, so although the lipstick is available exclusively online, you can get a good idea what the shade would look like on you from the website, and you could also head to a Charlotte Tilbury counter and apply the lip liner in the same shade so you can see if you'd like the lipstick. You can read the review of the other gorgeous shade I own, which is called 'Super Cindy' here. 

For a matte finish lipstick, this is hydrating and extremely long-wearing. It contains orchid extract and glowing pigments which claim to create the illusion of lit-from-within lips, which make your lips look wider and fuller, which I have personally found to be true. This lipstick glides on beautifully and is easy to apply due to its square angled tip, which is a big bonus.

These lipsticks don't come cheap, but if you're looking for a 'your lips but better' kinda shade, then could be the perfect option for you! 


Top - bottom: Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick (Pillow Talk) & Lip Liner (Pillow Talk)
Have you tried any Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks? What are your favourite shades?



Monday, 20 March 2017

Top 3 Concealers for Spring/Summer

It helps us out when we're having a bad skin day or haven't had enough sleep, and let's be honest, we owe it more credit! Concealer has to be one of my favourite makeup products, and I rarely leave the house without any on. Foundation is great for doing most of the hard-work but sometimes we need a little extra helping hand. That's why I've put together a review of my favourite three concealers. You've probably heard a lot about them already, but there is good reason!




I think this concealer has to be my favourite out of the three, due to it's flawless coverage that leaves a luminous, semi-matte finish. It is very lightweight yet buildable and doesn't enhance any fine lines, making it perfect for use under the eyes, which is what I usually use this product for. It conceals and brightens any under-eye darkness beautifully, but it is absolutely perfect for using on blemishes too. Due to it's consistency, it can be used for a natural look if blended out, or a full coverage flawless look. I apply this directly to my skin using the applicator and then use a combination of my ring finger and a beauty blender to blend out. For me, there is absolutely no negatives about this product, apart from the shade range which is fairly limited with eight options. However, if you can find a shade that works for you, then I highly recommend you try it! This is one of those products that I will re-purchase again and again.

NARS - Radiant Creamy Concealer - £23.00 6ml (Chantilly & Custard)

I initially thought this product wasn't worth the hype when I first tried it in Space NK last year. I didn't buy it and forgot all about it, but after hearing so many people still raving about it, I thought I'd try it again, and this time, I loved it. I think I may have tried it when my skin was a little drier but with a good base of moisturiser and eye-cream, this product deserves the reputation it has earn. The coverage is medium-high and buildable and again, is great for under the eyes and for blemishes. 

Unfortunately, there aren't many options for people with light skin and yellow undertones like myself (there are 16 shades in total). As you can see from the swatches below, I own Chantilly (the palest) and Custard (the next yellow toned concealer) and there is a huge difference. I tend to mix the two but this is a very pricy way to do it! This concealer is long-wearing but I have to disagree with NARS' claim that the product is crease-proof. As the concealer is quite a thick consistency, unfortunately I do find it tends to crease and does tend to enhance some fine lines around my eyes. I have to ensure that I use a beauty blender to really work the concealer in to the skin to avoid this as much as possible.

After hearing that there was a high-street dupe of this product, I went to Boots to try it (Maybelline Fit Me Concealer), but it really disappointed me! I don't personally think it is a dupe as it isn't as thick and doesn't provide the same coverage or longevity. I would personally prefer to pay more for a higher quality product and use less of it, but if you are looking for a similar product and don't want to spend £23.00 then it's worth a swatch!


This concealer has also earned itself a great reputation amongst makeup lovers, and for good reason. It gives a really lovely, smooth, flawless looking finish, helping to conceal blemishes, pigmentation and under-eye darkness. It's also extremely long-wearing, water-resistant, transfer-resistant and there are 16 shades available. What's not to love? 

This concealer blends beautifully on bare skin and into foundation when you need a little extra coverage. It can be applied using fingers, a sponge or a brush but I prefer to use my finger to apply and then blend out with a beauty blender. 

I have a love/hate relationship with the packaging. The glass tube is hygienic as it comes with a little pump rather than an applicator like the other two concealers in this post, but the pump ejects too much product so you have to press very lightly to get a half pump out, or you end up with too much and it gets wasted. This style of packaging also means that the product is really hard to get out once it gets low, which is frustrating when you can see that there is still product left.

It is the cheapest of the three concealers and you get more product so although it is still pretty pricy compared to high-street alternatives, it is a really fantastic product and I do think it's worth the money!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer (Light Warm), Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (Chantilly & Custard) & Mac Pro Longwear Concealer (NC20)
Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

YSL - Touche Éclat Blur Primer

Some bloggers swear by primers for long-lasting makeup. I personally am yet to make my mind up regarding the difference the primers I have used make to the longevity of my makeup but they definitely help create a smooth base for makeup application and therefore in my opinion are an important step in creating flawless foundation. 

As soon as I saw YSL's Touche Éclat Blur Primer at the YSL counter, I knew I had to have it. The packaging is gorgeous and the product shown in the clear glass bottle is a golden sparkly dream. 


This primer claims to even the look of skintone, blur pores and fine lines and help makeup last longer. It's a gel like consistency and a you only need a little. You can wear under foundation or on it's own on a low-key day. Although the gel contains small golden sparkle, once this is on your face, it's barely noticeable and makes your skin look natural luminous and lovely. 

After I moisturise, I squirt a pump of primer on to my hand and spread evenly across my face using my fingers. I recommend waiting about 30 seconds before you start to apply your foundation, just so the primer can set a little.

This primer definitely creates a silky smooth canvas for makeup, and smoothes out my pores. I also find it prevents my foundation caking like it would without a primer, but like I mentioned earlier, I'm not quite sure yet if it makes it last longer!

Have you tried it? What do you think?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Chocolate & Raspberry Banana Bread Recipe

If you have some serious cake withdrawal but don't want to over-indulge, then this is the perfect guilt-free treat to curb those cravings. It's high protein, gluten free and absolutely delicious. I would actually choose to eat this over a slice of chocolate cake, and that is saying something!


Ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups ground almonds 
  • 1.5 cups coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup almond/peanut/cashew butter
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup
  • Frozen raspberries (no need to defrost)
  • 1 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground almonds & coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cocoa. Stir until it's combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth.
  4. Then mix eggs, nut butter, and agave syrup in with the mashed bananas.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until fully combined.
  6. Add dark chocolate chips and frozen raspberries, keeping some of each aside for the top.
  7. Line a baking tin (preferably a bread loaf tin) with baking paper.
  8. Pour the mix into the lined tin.
  9. Drizzle some additional nut butter on top for decoration and sprinkle with leftover chocolate chips and raspberries. You can also slice an additional banana up and lay on top.
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until firm. 
Approximately 250 calories per slice (1/10th).

I'd love to hear what you think of my recipe! Any questions, please let me know!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Liz Earle - Botanical Shine Nourishing Hair Oil

Hands up if you want luminous, healthy hair!?

Last year, I purchased the Ojon Rare Blend Oil, which I loved, but after finding it increasingly difficult to find (it was out of stock in all stores and sites) and being pretty expensive, I went on the hunt for a new holy grail hair oil, that would give me moisture and shine without weighing my hair down.

Throughout the years, I have experimented with a wide range of hair products and oils, that make promises that they can't seem to keep, either making my hair look greasy, weighed down or generally making no difference whatsoever...but after reading the endless positive reviews of Liz Earle's Botanical Shine Nourishing Hair Oil, I was sold, and it went on my Christmas list. I was lucky enough to receive this as a gift from my grandma and I am so glad I did as I absolutely love it.


Not only do you get a whopping 50ml worth of product (Ojon's oil was just 15ml), but it makes my hair look and feel silky, shiny and keeps it in amazing condition. Plus, it smells ridiculously good and protects against heat damage! The oil contains melon seed oil, coconut oil and radish seed oil, which are known for the softening and moisturising properties.

I squirt a pump or two of oil on to my hands and then spread evenly through the mid-lengths and ends of damp hair after I have washed it. I then blow dry it and style as usual. You can also use on dry hair for a bit of extra moisture and shine!

I don't get my hair cut as often as I should as I love to keep it long, so this oil really helps keep my split ends in check. I personally have quite fine hair, but this oil is suitable for all hair types so I would recommend anybody to try it if you haven't already! I am in love!

£17.25 - Available at all Liz Earle counters and online.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Top 3 Foundations for Spring/Summer

I can never make my mind up about what level of coverage and finish I want from my foundations. Some days I want something completely full coverage that will make my skin look flawless, and other days, I really want my skin to look like my own skin but a little bit better. My skin changes every time the weather does and this leads me to continue (what feels like) a lifelong mission to find the perfect foundation and I know I'm not the only one! We always seem to think the grass could be greener but I keep coming back to these three foundations, which are not only fantastic for all year round, but they all lend themselves particularly well to Spring/Summer makeup looks. Whether you follow the meteorological or astronomical seasons, there is no doubt that Spring is either here already or just around the corner (finally!), so I thought it was a good time to share these beauties!



NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is a dream as it gives the most gorgeously radiant satin finish, which is perfect for summer! It's hydrating, which is so important in the warmer months as your skin is battling with changes in temperature, including air conditioning. NARS even claim that this foundation will improve your skin's brightness and texture if used daily due to the anti-oxidants and turmeric extract it contains.

Sheer Glow is available in 19 shades, but I would recommend trying in-store rather than buying online as some of the shades seem to be in a strange order. For example, Light 6 (Ceylon) should be darker than Light 5 (Fiji) if you use their guide, but in fact when swatched it's the opposite! 

Nars recommend warming the foundation in the hands and applying with fingers so that the foundation can really melt in to the skin, but I think the foundation works just as well with a beauty blender, although obviously there is some wasted product with this method.

This foundation is recommended for normal, normal-dry and dry skin types so I wouldn't suggest it for oily skin as it is a hydrating foundation. The only negatives are that a pump isn't included (you can purchase one separately for £3), it does oxidise so be aware that it might suit you to order a lighter shade, and it doesn't contain any SPF.

Pros:
  • Buildable coverage
  • Makes skin look radiant
  • Good range of shades
  • Long-wearing
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hydrating

Cons:
  • Oxidisation
  • No pump
  • No sun protection


MAC's Face & Body Foundation is a very sheer foundation, which feels moisturising and lightweight on the skin, making it perfect for a fresh and natural summer makeup look. Although this foundation is low coverage, it is definitely buildable and leaves a really lovely natural skin-like finish. Even close up, this foundation is barely visible and blends seamlessly into the skin. 

My favourite way to use this foundation is to apply over my entire face using my fingers (brushes and beauty blenders soak it up due to it's thin consistency), then I precisely conceal any blemishes using a high coverage concealer, which gives the extra coverage where I need it, without losing the 'my skin but better' look. I also love to mix it with heavier coverage foundations to create a custom coverage.

There are 13 shades available and my pictured shade is C1 (the lightest yellow toned shade) but I am closer to C2 at the moment. You can also get a larger version of this (120ml) for just £29.50 so if you like it, it's definitely worth getting the larger size. I find MAC to be really good with giving samples of foundations so don't be afraid to ask for a pot of it so you try it out at home! I always do this as I like to apply a foundation myself so I can see how it lasts and gives me the chance to see it in natural light. I never trust department store lighting!

Pros:
  • Natural finish
  • Buildable coverage
  • Doesn't oxidise

Cons:
  • No sun protection


Don't let the fact that this is called a 'tinted moisturiser' put you off, because it actually gives more coverage then MAC's Face and Body, which is why I've included it in this foundation post. It gives more coverage than any tinted moisturiser I've tried and glides beautifully on to the skin.

This product is fantastic for wearing during the day in the Summer due it's SPF30 protection and it's also infused with naturally derived botanicals and ingredients that hydrate your skin. NARS claim that this product can also reduce the appearance of hyper pigmentation and dark spots. I love how NARS combine skincare into their foundations, so not only does the foundation make your skin look great instantly, but it should help your skin to look better without makeup too!

Pros:
  • SPF30
  • Easy to blend
  • Buildable coverage
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Oil-free

Cons:
  • Oxidisation
(Top-bottom): Nars Sheer Glow (Fiji), MAC Face and Body (C1) & Nars Tinted Moisturiser (Alaska). 
Have you tried any of these foundations? What do you think? Have you found anything that prevents the NARS products from oxidising?