Friday, 30 May 2014

May Favourites

This month has felt like the longest of my life - looking back at April's favourites to see what I'd been using since then felt like looking back about six months! It's a mixed bag for you today of old and new loves, skincare, make-up and haircare. Let's go!

My skin has been enjoying the light almost gel-like formula of Vichy's Normaderm which, according to the label, offers anti-ageing, anti-imperfection, anti-wrinkle resurfacing care courtesy of my skin's favourite ingredient, glycolic acid. This is tinted a light green colour, which helps with any redness making it a great base for make-up in the mornings. An incredibly short flight to Copenhagen a few weeks ago wreaked an amazing amount of havoc with my skin, and this has really helped it to recover. Caudalie Beauty Elixir was also invaluable on that trip, for a spritz or two in the airport and to keep my skin refreshed on long days of Eurovision fever. I know the scent isn't for everyone, but I love it. It was on that same trip that I had forgotten my lipbalm, so took the opportunity to pick up a little globe of sweet, minty loveliness from eos. The packaging really is so adorable; I wish I had picked up a couple more flavours for popping in various handbags.

My hair has been looking sleek and smelling amazing courtesy of Aveda's Smooth Infusions Style-Prep smoother. My hairdressers' is an Aveda salon, so the scent of any of their products immediately makes me feel like I'm being pampered in a salon, not just at home in my bedroom. This smoother has been a favourite for years, and is a saviour when it comes to fighting the drizzle-induced frizz I've been dealing with lately. It really gives my hair a lovely, weightless gloss.  

Make-up wise I've been loving an old and a new product, both from Benefit, a brand I have recently got back into. The old favourite is my Benefit Watts Up, which I've been meaning to review for a while. I bought this some time last year, and absolute love using it just after my foundation and before any contouring/blush, for a glow that reminds me of dim, soft lighting. Plus I love the packaging - having my highlighter on a stick is so handy. My newest Benefit love is They're Real Mascara, a mascara with serious impact and staying power. I wasn't sure for the first couple of uses, but once I had got the hang of the spiky brush and wet-but-oddly-quick-to-dry formula, I fell in love. My mum, not really a mascara girl, took one look at me wearing it and genuinely asked if my lashes were false. When I said no, she bought the mascara that week! If that little anecdote doesn't convince you, nothing will!

Have you tied any of my latest favourites?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

MAC Crew Highlight Powder

As you've probably noticed, a new little website has taken the blogging world by storm with its incredible weekly discounts on the kind of products that are sure to send beauty fanatics into overdrive. I'm talking Naked palettes, NARS blushes, MAC lipsticks...the good stuff. Of course, that website is Cohorted, the social shopping site that gives bigger discounts as more people order an item. As one of this weeks cohorts is a repeat of a product I snagged the other week, I thought I'd give you my thoughts on MAC's Crew Highlight powder.

The stripy little beauty that is the Crew Highlight Powder was part of MAC's Hey, Sailor! collection in Summer 2012, so is no longer available to buy in stores. That was what did it for me; I cannot resist the words 'Limited Edition'. At a glance, I assumed the nautical stripes were an overlay, and that the beige colour was the main shade here. I appear to have been mistaken, and the beige is actually the overlay, meaning the three shades of the stripes - a coral, a medium-toned pink and a beautiful lilac -  run all the way through the product. They blend together beautifully with a quick swirl of a brush, and create a subtle pink that in different lights can lean slightly peachier. 

The finish is stunning; satiny and pearly, and ever-so-slightly luminous, which must be how it came to be called a Highlight Powder (because let's be clear here, this is a blush, not a highlighter). Despite looking very pigmented in my swatch, I would say that the colour is quite sheer, and very buildable. You could very easily build up to the colour shown in the photo, but you wouldn't need to worry about over-doing it, as it goes on as a light flush of colour. This is such an easy, pretty colour for Summer. 

Despite being unavailable to buy in MAC shops/counters now, Cohorted are selling these this week. When I bought it last time, I believe it was £17.50, but this time it is £14 (44% off RRP), a real bargain for MAC. 

Have you snapped up any Cohorted bargains? I've been terrible and bought loads!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Make Up Revolution Eye Shadow Palette in Essential Matte

So, before the little personal-life induced reluctant blog break I took, I promised a review of a Make Up Revolution palette I had just bought. I may be two weeks late, but I'm sure you'll let me off, just this once.

You might remember from my haul post that the brand had neither disappointed me terribly, nor blew me away with their cheek and lip offerings. Blogland has however been going crazy over their palettes, with the majority of posts featuring one of their Iconic palettes, which seem to be basically Naked dupes. I didn't want a dupe of a palette I already had, so went for the Essential Matte palette, because I didn't have an all-matte palette in my stash despite it sounding pretty, well, essential. 

The packaging is pretty much what you'd expect for £4; basic and kind of flimsy. I don't think anyone buys a palette for under a fiver for its packaging though, so we'll move past it swiftly. The contents are the key here, and at a first glance I was pretty impressed. A great array of muted shades, perfect for a bit of crease contouring. Happy to ignore the sponge-ended applicator provided (so many bonus points would have been given for a half-decent brush), I dived straight in, and used a shade from the palette the day I got it, adding a bit of definition to my crease with the sixth shade along, a chocolatey brown. Highly pigmented and it blended beautifully - I was excited to get swatching. 

As you can see from the photo below, they didn't all live up to the expectation set by the first shade I tried. Many of the shades are too chalky to be usable, and some just vanish within half an hour of application. The good ones however, are easily worth the price of the palette even if they were on their own. I'd happily pay £4 for the first shade I tried, as well as for the eight and eleventh shades along. The fifth along is fairly good as well. So although for me this palette had more misses than hits, overall I'd still say it was worth the money. 

make up revolution palette essential matte swatches
make up revolution palette essential matte

 Are you a fan of Make Up Revolution's palettes? 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Spring to Summer Lipstick: MAC Speak Louder

I've tended to talk about newer additions to my stash on this little blog so far, mostly because I am always excited by whatever recent finds I have snapped up. Lately though, I've been getting excited about an old favourite of mine, so decided to shop my stash and tell you about the lipstick that I find absolutely perfect for this time of year.

Enter MAC Speak Louder. I don't think I've ever read another review of this, and it deserves a little blog loving. This lipstick is the perfect poppy blue-based pink; just bright enough to make your teeth look pearly white, not so bright as to be inappropriate for daytime/work. It's like the slightly subdued little sister of the bright, almost neon lips that always seem to become popular on Summer nights. I know it's bright, and beautifully so, but trust me, it is totally wearable. The fact that it is a Cremesheen helps, the slightly glossy formula keeps things looking soft, and makes for a comfortable couple of hours of wear. It may not stay put all day long, but it fades evenly and is low-maintenance to reapply. I have had this lipstick for years, and fall back in love with it every Spring - I know I'll repurchase forever. 

Have you tried Speak Louder? Do you have an old faithful lipstick that always makes an appearance at this time of year?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Haul: Make Up Revolution, with reviews and swatches!

Make Up Revolution Haul Palette Blush Highlighter Lipstick

Unless you've been living in a cave, you'll have heard of Make Up Revolution, the super-cheap new brand on the beauty block, that bloggers are going crazy for. In all honesty, it's not my usual kind of thing - I'm a big sucker for pretty packaging and a total fool for ad campaigns - but with everyone and their grandma raving about the brand, and throwing around phrases like "high end quality for a pound!" I had to give it a go. My whole order came to less than £10, so I thought of it as a little beauty experiment. 

I was determined to pick up one of their much-hyped eyeshadow palettes, but didn't want to get the Naked dupes (Make Up Revolution call them Iconic 1, 2 and 3) as I already have the real thing. Instead I opted for the Essential Matte palette, because it seemed like a handy thing to have in my stash. I am planning on doing a full review of that with swatches, so keep your eyes peeled next week if you're interested! 

I picked up two cheek products, the first a powder blush in the shade Treat. I really like the colour of this, a pretty peachy coral shade, which I thought would be ideal for this time of year. I have mixed feelings on the blush really - you'll see from the swatch below that the colour is genuinely lovely, but it is a little powdery compared to the blushes I usually use. That said, it's definitely not bad, and is highly pigmented (which is more than can be said for the Bourjois blushes I have tried), and although the wear time is not brilliant (around 3-4 hours), what more could I ask for from a £2 blush? I had similar feelings about the highlighter I bought, in the shade Peach Lights. Dubious appearance aside (please tell me it's not just me - just look at it!), it's really a very pretty colour and although it can look a little iridescent for my taste in bright lights, does a great job and is again, very pigmented. And although it's not the best powder highlighter I have used by a very long way, for £3, how could I expect it to be? 

Make Up Revolution Photo Vivid Highlighter Peach Lights
Make Up Revolution Photo Vivid Highlighter Peach Lights Blusher Treat Swatches

 I've tried to be as reasonable as possible when reviewing these products, taking the price into account and not expecting NARS quality for Poundland prices. That said, I am really disappointed with this lipstick, as I had heard fantastic reviews of them. The shade itself, Divine, is beautiful and another peachy coral (clearly I was feeling the coral love that day!), which I was thrilled with at first sight. Until I tried to put it on. It's dense, dragged on my lips, looked patchy and uneven and felt totally uncomfortable. I took it off. I tried again the next day, having thoroughly prepped my lips. Still no good. I know it was a pound, but I've had Rimmel lipsticks from Fragrance Direct for that price that are among my favourites. I hate to give a totally negative review, and in fairness, it may be a dud shade - the others could be as incredible as many bloggers have claimed them to be - but I would not recommend this particular product. 
Make Up Revolution Amazing Lipstick Divine
Make Up Revolution Amazing Lipstick Divine Swatch

Overall, I do believe that Make Up Revolution offers exceptionally good value for money. I have definitely tried worse blushes and eyeshadows that cost far more. That said, I don't buy into the hype of 'high-end quality for a few pounds', as I truly did not consider any of these products to be on a par with the high-end brands I love. If you fancy experimenting a bit on a budget, I'd say go for it, but be realistic with your expectations. I don't think I'll order anything else from the website, but if I see their stand in Superdrug, I will go and have a look and would definitely consider picking something up if I had seen it in the flesh and knew it was nice. 

Have you caved to the hype and placed a Make Up Revolution order? Was it everything you hoped it would be? 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Manicure Monday - Orange Is The New Pink

So now Easter has happened and we've found ourselves in May, I'm starting to gravitate towards transitional Spring-to-Summer colours. Everyone, myself included, has gone wild for orange-hued lip products this year, but in the last week or so I have been tearing myself away from the pastel polishes and plumping for a bit of orange on my tips too. 

Barry M Tangerine is super bright, with a beautiful subtle shimmer running through it. This looks amazing with a tan, and although the formula is pretty thin, making it streaky on the first coat, a second coat sorts it right out. 

Equally bright, but shimmer-free, is Essie's Fear and Desire. This is actually on my nails right now, and is even brighter in real life than it looks in my swatches, probably because being on actual nails and having a topcoat really emphasises the colour. This polish has such a glossy finish, you could almost skip the topcoat, though I never would. 

The lightest of the bunch is Model's Own Zest A Peal, which is a bit like the paler, sparklier sister of the Barry M offering. I don't wear this often enough, and plan on getting it on my nails as soon as my Essie starts to chip, as the fine shimmer is really beautiful.

Finally, a little OPI polish that came in a set, and annoyingly has no name. I love the shade of this, as it's a little darker and more red than the others, making it a good choice for anyone who wants to try out the orange look but in a safer option. From the swatches I have seen, Big Hair, Big Nails from their Texas collection looks similar.

 Are you a fan of orange nails? I have been realised that they go with more outfits than I had expected, and look amazing with navy! 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

April Favourites

After March just wouldn't quit, April seems to have completely flown by, and it's been a slightly crazy month for me. It didn't take me long at all to pinpoint the items that I've been using and enjoying this month, and it's a mixture of old and new loves. 

The oldest love here is my Bobbi Brown lipgloss in the shade Bright Pink. I am a big fan of Bobbi Brown glosses, as they are just sticky enough to have some staying power, without being gloopy at all. This is my favourite pink gloss ever, the shade is just perfect and is always flattering. 

As you can see, I've been loving my NARS Laguna bronzer so much that I've hit pan, earlier than I would have expected actually as I've only had this for a couple of months. I have used it daily though, so it's a sign of true love. Contouring-wise, Laguna's been a game-changer, and I am going to order another one this week (I like to have my favourites 'in stock', as I am my Nana's grandchild). To highlight, I've been loving the MeMeMe Beat the Blues in Pearl Pink, a fantastic Benefit High Beam dupe I received in my Glossybox. I used to own High Beam, and never got around to replacing it when it ran out, so this has been like rediscovering an old favourite. Alternatively, I've used my Soap and Glory Glow All Out illuminating powder, as a sort of blush/highlight two-in-one. I love the soft-focus peachy glow it gives my skin.

The Naked 3 palette needs no introduction whatsoever, so all I will say is that I got it on Cohorted for around £17 (that website is my latest obsession and totally dangerous) and that I have used it way more than I expected to. Burnout, Nooner and Liar have been getting some serious use on my lids lately.

I reviewed the Nuxe Contour Des Yeux eye cream here, which you can check out if you want more details, but in a nutshell, it's kept on top of my dark circles in a month where sleep hasn't really been happening for me. Saviour. My hair's saviour has come in the form of Klorane's Shampoo with Nettle. It may be formulated for oily hair, which I don't have, but it's still been hugely useful in making my hair feel squeaky clean but not stripped. I've been able to go an extra day between washes, so obviously I now love this product forever! 

Have you tried any of these products out? Let me know what you've been loving this month!  

Friday, 2 May 2014

We Can Wear Pink On Fridays Too

So, I scheduled my posts incorrectly because I am too sleepy to function these days, and so my Mean Girls anniversary post is happening today instead of on Wednesday like everyone else's. Sorry about that!

In a conspiracy to make people my age feel suddenly old, people are going around saying that Mean Girls came out ten years ago this week. I know this can't be true, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to show you the first thing I bought on my first ever full-time grown-up-job payday. I think it proves how far from being a grown up I am. I spotted these bags by It's Not Me, It's You London in a shop in Brighton's North Laines over the Summer and had to have one, so took down the name of the brand and patiently awaited payday. I couldn't get the exact one I had seen at the time, which was one of their envelope bags,  but they change their stock constantly so it's worth checking their site from time to time to see what slogan/bag/colour-combos they have available. The bag is made of beautiful leather, and I love that the company print by hand in East London. Plus, I have ordered a few things from there since, both for me and for gifts, and the delivery is like lightning.

In the interests of Mean Girls lusting, I have put together a little selection of other Cady and Co. themed items. I know it's only a matter of time before I order those pencils, though I should probably not put them in the pencilcase I take to work...

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