Skin Saver: Antonia Burrell Radiant Light Facial Serum

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

antonia burrell
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I adore serums and oils. I love it even more when you get a serum that is an oil, especially when it's been packed with so many good ingredients. Back in August I read an amazingly helpful review from the wonderful Kal from the Cluttered Closet about the Antonia Burrell Radiant Light Facial Serum, and for some reason, I couldn't get the thought of it out of my head. Something about the fact it was completely natural, packaged in a completely black glass bottle that meant business, and had rave reviews convinced me to buy it.

The Radiant Light Facial Serum is a deep orange serum oil which includes Frankincense, Rosehip, and Carrot Oil amongst other things. The aim of this serum is to reduce scars and pigmentation, evening out skin tone, as well as whacking in moisture into your skin. The Antonia Burrell site gives a full list of ingredient which you can list up, but I'm sure most people who are interested in beauty will have come across something that has Rosehip in for its benefits. Frankincense helps protects your skin as well as assisting the Rosehip with scar reduction. To be honest, every single oil that has been included in this serum has some benefit to the skin, and you can tell that they have been carefully selected to create something amazing.

I've been using this product religiously everyday since buying it back in August, both morning and night. It was a little bit heavy during the warmer weather, but I really didn't mind it at all. After using this, my skin immediately feels comforted and hydrated, so that feeling alone has been worth more than enough to spend a little time letting this sink in in the morning during those warmer times. The smell might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's the kind of scent you should expect with something that's packed with so many natural ingredients, and personally, I find it kind of comforting. In terms of results, I think it has helped reduce my acne scarring, although since I get hormonal acne a lot, I keep getting new spots that need to clear up and heal while I've already got skin that is healing. What I have really noticed since introducing this into my routine is how much more moisturised my skin feels overall. I also think it has been helping to balance out the oily vs dehydrated parts of my face. I'm not quite even in that sense yet, but I've seen a huge improvement. This is my first product from Antonia Burrell, and I am so impressed with it, I can't help thinking that I should try some other products because I'm convinced they'll be just as fantastic.

The killer here? The price: £58.80 for a dinky 15ml bottle. Ouch. Serums and oils have always been something I tend to spend more money on, simply because I think they are the powerhouse of my skin routine so I'm not actually that freaked out I spent so much money on it. Also, seeing just how much I rely on this product, and the fact that you only need one pump at a time, it's actually delivered on the value for money front, as there is just so much left in the bottle despite the fact I've been using at least two pumps a day for the past two months. I was actually really lucky that I managed to use a discount code for lookfantastic.com and bought it from there, saving myself nearly £20! Honestly though, I've come to love this product so much, I'd actually happily buy this again, even at full price. I think if you were really not keen on spending this amount of money, you could make do with the Pai Bioregenerate Oil, but personally, I've seen and felt much better results with the Radiant Light Facial Serum, so there's no doub tas to what I'll be repurchasing again!

Do you think you will give this serum a go? Have you tried any other Antonia Burrell products? Let me know in the comments!

Catching the Urban Decay Bug

Sunday, 25 October 2015

urban decay
Recently, my makeup stash has begun to overflow, so in my efforts to try and rearrange my beauty bits and bobs (and generally failing), I've realised that I've kind of caught Urban Decay fever. This time last year, I had very little from Urban Decay. I'd used and liked the Primer Potion, and regularly used the Naked 2 Palette which I've had for some time, but not much else for a long while. Then they opened up their store in Covent Garden, and slowly but surely, it's been creeping its way more and more into my beauty cupboard. Their lipsticks which were raved about in lots of blogs last summer got my interest up, but it was actually visiting their store during my lunch break that gave me the time (and space) to swatch, and walk away with a lipstick.

But, it was only really this year since August that the fever really got a hold of me. In fact, I can pin it to the exact date. 6th August. I know, I know, it might sound sad, being able to pin the date, but this was the day that lovely Heather from Porcelain Beauty hosted a meet-up and demo of the Smoky Palette at the store, and talked through all her favourite products that really got me interested. After buying the Smokey Palette, I've since gone back and invested in another eyeshadow palette, foundation, eyeliner and shortlisted a whole load of other things to try.

I think the reason for it is the fact that Urban Decay have come such a long way from the garish bright colours that I always used to associate them with. Yes, they'll always be known and loved for their Naked palettes, but for some reason, for years I've associated them with vivid and scary pinks as well as electric blues for eyeshadows. They've really moved on in the past few years, and it's a great positive change, because their products can appeal to everyone across the board, no matter what kind of look they like.

I still feel a bit unfamiliar with the brand, so would love to know which products I should prioritise getting. You can see pretty much all the UD products I've got right now, so let me know in the comments which things you think I should get next!

Dior Star Foundation

Thursday, 22 October 2015

diorstar
I've been having a bit of a foundation funk lately, where nothing in my foundation stash has really been appealing to me, not even my usually reliable Chanel Perfection Lumiere. I've been ill for a while recently, and you can really tell with my skin, so I've been in need of something that covers or blurs any scarring or imperfections on my skin, without feeling heavy and cloying. It's funny how tastes change so dramatically. A little over a year ago, I would have said I only ever want to use really thick formulas when my skin was in this state, now I want something that I can't feel.

Well luckily for me, the Diorskin Star Foundation is pretty much exactly what I need. Lightweight but still very buildable, this foundation is a dream to wear. I did actually try this on last year as soon as it launched, and did like it, but didn't feel the need for it in my foundation wardrobe (or possibly because it came out around the time I usually have to buy all my family members birthday presents, I was kind of broke?). Now I know better. I should have invested in it straight away. The formula for this foundation does apply really sheer on the skin when you dab with a light hand, giving the thinnest veil of coverage, or can be built up to blur out scars. It's very comfortable to wear, and at no point do I really 'feel' it on my face like I do with some of my other formulas. It also manages to still make me look healthy, which is kind of amazing considering I've been so under the weather. I feel like my skin sort of gives off an actual glow, but somehow it manages to semi-mattify everything so I don't look like a glaring lightbulb at the end of a working day. Even skintone, good coverage, lightweight, and so natural looking, I really see myself making sure I always have a bottle of this in my makeup drawer.

I also decided to give a different sponge applicator a go, investing in the Dior Backstage Blender which is a definite step up price wise from my Real Techniques sponge, and also a real step up in terms of quality. Comparing the two, the Dior version is much denser and more solid, which you can really tell when you squeeze the two to see which one compresses more. I also think that the Real Techniques one absorbs too much product which ends up wasted. I've been told that the Backstage Blender has been made with a more solid internal core, with only the outside part of the applicator being porous, and after using it, I think this probably is the truth rather than marketing spiel. Anyway, I am so glad I've been using this, because it makes applying foundation really easy to use, and the finish looks a tad more even than with a brush. If I were using a brush, I'd probably finish off with the sponge anyway, so it makes sense for me to just go in with this one. I have been seriously loving using this sponge, I've actually not used a brush once since I got it. Less washing for me to do at the end of the week, win win!

Conclusions here are that if you are looking for a foundation that can make you look like the picture of health with 8 hours sleep a night, then this is the one for you. If you want it to get a much more even and smooth finish, or are just looking for a new applicator, then investing a little bit more in the Backstage Blender is something I won't hesitate to recommend. Time to celebrate the end of my foundation love dry-spell, I'm all starry-eyed over this one.

A nail collection fit for winter: Essie Cashmere Matte

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

essie cashmere matte
The cooler months have people reaching for their knits in England, and nothing beats the comfort of cosy cashmere. There's something to be said about pulling on that cashmere jumper or wrapping yourself in a cashmere scarf that brings a little sophistication along with that snug feeling. Essie, very aptly, have brought out a collection that sums up the cosiness of cashmere, both in the colour and texture.

The Essie Cashmere Matte collection features six very pretty shades that all dry out to a matte finish, but there's something rather unique about them that has sort of converted me to matte nail polishes. I'll admit, my first encounter with matte nail polishes (OPI's You Don't Know Jacques) several years back was accidental, and I really didn't like the finish. I found it too weird, and just far too flat for my liking. With the Essie Cashmere Matte collection, this is completely avoided somehow, which has really surprised me. The colours either have shimmer running through them, making them duochromatic, or if they don't have shimmer, somehow really glowy looking.

I made use of a 3 for 2 offer in Boots on all Essie polishes and picked up: Cozy In Cashmere, a greige-taupe that turns purple in certain lights because of the blue shimmer, All Eyes On Nudes, a lovely café-au-lait colour, and Coat Couture, a mauve-grey hybrid. These colours are all stunning. I am absolutely in love with Cozy In Cashmere, it looks so pretty on. I thought Coat Couture would be my favourite, but Cozy In Cashmere has completely stolen its thunder. I didn't expect to like All Eyes On Nudes so much, because I was worried it would be too flat on the nail, but it really does exude that strange glowy quality I talked about, it just looks perfect on and is that wonderful caramel-y shade I've been looking ages for!

Such pretty colours, gorgeous colour effect, and glowing quality, there has to be a catch right? Yep, I'm afraid so. My recent purchases from Essie have vastly improved in longevity, but my encounter with Cozy In Cashmere just didn't work out that way unfortunately. A little streaky to apply, and only 3 days before major, and I mean major, chipping ensued. Chunks out of it. Not a great performance there, which is such a shame because I adore the colour. It's possible that this happened because I didn't put a top coat on, but I only have shiny or gelly topcoat in my collection, and that would completely defeat the point of wearing a matte polish, right? Oh, the dilemma! I think I can get away with painting a shiny topcoat over All Eyes On Nudes, but I rather like the matte effect of the other two colours.

If anyone can give me suggestions on what I can apply over the top to keep these on my nails for longer, send them my way immediately! The colours in this collection are just so pretty, that I'm sorely tempted to buy some of the remaining ones in the collection, but the longevity issue is really holding me back from committing to the collection fully!

Keeping track of your nail stash

Sunday, 18 October 2015

nail polish organisation
I have a lot of nail polish. A lot a lot. I always seem to be trying to clear my stash out, successfully managing to remove two or three bottles, and then finding that a trip to Boots or somewhere ends up with me putting two or three new bottles into my stash. Whooops.

During my periodic tidying up of my collection, I sometimes find that I've ended up with colours that are just too similar to each other to have really justified buying, or accidentally bought dupes. I keep my polishes in old Jo Malone boxes, so that I can keep space wasting to a minimum, but it doesn't really help eliminate accidental dupe-buying. I can't be the only one who has accidentally gone home with a polish colour that is already in their stash! In an attempt to be more organised and less spendy with my nail polishes, I knew that I had to do something to get more organised, and I think I may be onto something here.

What I did was to buy 50 plastic nail art display tips (is that their name?) off eBay for £3, went through my polish collection, painted and using a cd pen, labelled each one. After that, I organised the swatches into colour families, e.g. blues, reds, etc and took photos of the groups with my phone. This way, every time I find myself tempted in the aisles of Boots or Space NK, I can refer back to my pictures and see whether or not I've already got something similar. It might not completely stop me from buying a colour if I find myself desperately wanting it, but I think it will help me stop and think first before buying bottles willy-nilly.

If you find yourself in the same situation, hopefully you'll find this advice helpful and try it out too! It is a bit of a faff at the beginning, but if it saves you some pennies or 'accidental dupe frustration', I think a little effort is worth it. Let me know if this post has inspired you to tidy up your nail polish collection too!

Shine On with Dior Addict Lipsticks

Thursday, 15 October 2015

dior addict lips
Dior have recently relaunched their Dior Addict lipsticks, with brand new packaging and a new formula. Just look at how everything shines! The box, the packaging, the lipsticks, everything literally gleams. Described on their website as a lipstick with a 'hydra-gel core with a mirror shine', I really wouldn't disagree with the description. Made with three oils (I have yet to work out what oils have actually been used), this is a very moisturising formula, so have no fear of your lips drying out with this formula, or of it tugging at your lips. Dior have labelled their oils as the 'sensorial', 'comfort' and the 'shield' oil, all rather fancy names for their different functions. From what I understand, the Sensorial one helps keep the formula smooth and easy to use, the Comfort one is, quite naturally, for keeping your lips moisturised, and the Shield oil is to help keep the colour on your lips for longer.

I'd call the new lipsticks a crossover between a thick lipbalm and a lipstick. I suppose you could say that it is a lip tint, but it goes much further than that in the colour department. They're more like a really thick version of the MAC Huggable lipsticks, but go on much more smoothly, sit far more comfortably on the lips, and pack a load more colour. I have the shades 578 Diorkiss and 976 Be Dior; Be Dior is the shade you see Jennifer Lawrence wearing in the ads, which is a bright raspberry colour with a fuschia shimmer, while Diorkiss is a warm rosy pink.

It is possible to get a really precise line with these lipsticks, using a lipbrush, but I like these for a more casual look, smoothing it on the lips straight out of the tube. For more colour, and to get the really shiny effect, you'll need to go into the lips a few times, as a one-coat slick won't cut it. It seems a bit more effort, but to be honest, they are so easy to apply, and I find these a great option for adding colour to my lips with minimal effort, and keeping my lips hydrated at the same time. My lips have been having a bit of a tough time lately from illness and stress, and I've been opting for these when I need to keep myself from looking like death warmed up but still want a little tender care on my lips.

If there's anything I'd advise about these, you don't really need lipbalm before applying. If you do, the colour might end up sliding a bit too much over the place, and frankly, that's not a good look for anyone! These do verge onto lipgloss territory, but I think they're much more longlasting and a tad less sticky than most lipglosses I've come across. Verdict: if you're looking for something comfortable to wear on the lips during the colder months, but still want something that has colour, I highly recommend these.

The new Dior Addict Lipsticks retail at £26.50. I got mine from Boots because they had a 'buy 3 products and get 1000 points' offer on.

MAC Guo Pei collection

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

mac guo pei
I think it would be an understatement to say that this collection has been highly anticipated. A collaboration between MAC and the Chinese designer Guo Pei has been making some waves on social media, and it's not hard to see why. The beautiful gold packaging with beautifully floral-printed yellow fabric covering makes for a more decadent, and decidedly premium-priced makeup collection. Guo Pei is famous for her extremely elaborately decorated and hand-sewn pieces, and you can see (and read) how her attention to all details has been applied to this collection. Not only did she sketch the fabric covering design herself, she also designed six dresses as inspiration for the collection that took three years to develop. Three! I don't read much about the inspiration or timelines behind other MAC limited edition collections, but this strikes me as the work of someone who is dedicated to detail and is extraordinarily passionate about what they do.

The collection itself has sixteen pieces, including eyeliners, lipstick and blushes amongst other things. I was actually sick the day of the release, but forced myself to stay up and refresh constantly in the hope that I would catch it as soon as it was out online. Then of course, I told myself it wouldn't hurt to sleep for an hour to help me recover, and lo and behold, it is released. When I wake up, most of it is sold out. Weep. I was lucky enough to catch the Beauty Powder from the website though, and a pilgrimage to Selfridges yielded me my lipstick and blush choice, so everything worked out in the end for the most part.

The pieces are stunning to behold. I'm not surprised MAC slapped up the price for these, in fact, I'm sure they're a tiny bit more expensive than the usual limited edition pieces, though I may be wrong. The packaging is very very light, and almost fragile. I personally won't be carrying the blush anywhere with me for fear of breaking or scratching it. I also think the fabric covering (the first time MAC has ever used fabric coverings) might well pick up dirt rather easily, although it's more densely woven than some material, so if you want to keep it looking pristine, it may survive being carried around in a clean cosmetics bag. The etched flower on the powder and blush completes the beauty of these products, though it does make it a little bit harder to bring myself to swirl my brush in!

I bought myself the blush in the shade Red Water Lily, which is a light coral pink. I would advise a very light hand with this one, as before I knew it, I had made myself look like I'd had one drink too many far too early in the morning, and this was using my RMK blush brush which I use to tone down my more pigmented blushes. With a light touch, it's a pretty blush to get that flushed look on your face. It isn't the most unique colour out there though, as it reminds me of one of my NARS blushes.

I also picked up the lipstick in Ethereal Orchid, described as a mid-toned dirty coral. In the tube it looks more like a nudey-brown-tinged pink colour, but really does come off coral on the lips. It's in a Lustre finish, quite shiny and rather thin, so don't expect it to hang about for very long. I had to reapply quite often, but that's probably because of my bad habit of biting my lips more than anything else! I would say though, each application with minimal drinking/eating in between should last you about three hours before you need to apply another coat. It's not the most moisturising formula, but it's not the most drying either, so I would suggest treating your lips to some lipbalm before wiping it off and applying the lipstick.

As for the Beauty Powder? Well, unfortunately I can't review that, because I had to send it back straight away. MAC in all their wisdom, post products by Royal Mail, and in minimal packaging, so it came in a simple thin jiffy bag with no extra padding. I opened the bag up to find that it had been dented, bent up at one corner, and it must have been knocked really hard because the lid no longer aligned to the bottom. Needless to say I was very upset and had to return it. I wrote a note to point out that it arrived damaged, and even wrapped it in more bubble wrap to stop it breaking. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll get a refund, and will then try my luck in Selfridges to see if they have any stock in left still. MAC, if you read this, I don't want you to go down the other route where you used massively oversized boxes to send things, but considering how much money I paid for one product, perhaps using small boxes might be an idea?

So, thoughts. Apart from the disappointment of receiving a damaged product, and the possibility of never getting it (the power of the words 'MAC' and 'Limited Edition' tend to do that anyway), it's a very pretty collection. I wouldn't say the products themselves have blown me away entirely, and the colours seem fairly dupable. The prices are also eye-watering/heart-stopping/"oh my god my boyfriend/mother is going to kill me if they find out I spent this much!"-panic inducing, especially when what you're really paying for is the packaging. However, if you read the inspiration and thoughts Guo Pei had about this collection, 'the garden of the soul' and the spirit of happiness, I think you'd find it difficult not to feel a little happiness and tranquility when you look at this collection. One word of advice though for keeping up that calm 'garden of the soul': just don't look or show anyone the receipts for these, ok?

Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge

Sunday, 11 October 2015

face paint 1
On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to secure myself a place at the At Home with Lisa Eldridge pre-book launch event for her new book, Face Paint, where in a series of small hour-long sessions, we would get to hear Lisa (yes, I'm going for first name terms!) talk to us about what inspired her behind writing this book, a small q-and-a, watch a funny short video she has started for the promo, view some of her vintage makeup collection, as well as receive a copy of the book before everyone else and have her sign it.

Hosted in the Liberty Heritage Lounge, Lisa had a hand with how it was decorated, transforming it into something akin to her home, so that we would feel like we were in the House of Eldridge itself. Let's just say it must be a very cosy and undoubtedly stylish house because there were some gorgeous furniture pieces in there. I went for the earliest slot, but even this was completely packed as, so popular is Lisa, that I expect everyone who read her post about it immediately subscribed booked themselves for the event.

As for the lady herself, Lisa is exactly how you would expect from her videos, and more: beautiful, charming, and funny. Truly, she was absolutely lovely in person and so down to earth. Talking about the process and inspiration behind her book, she revealed that she had actually originally written it as a documentary, but had been turned down when she approached a producer, long before she moved into YouTube. At the same time, Lisa had been building up her vintage makeup collection, colleting pieces that signified different aspects of makeup history.

Well, I'm extremely happy that she kept up her passion for vintage and historical makeup, because she has produced a wonderful book, that has been thoroughly researched, beautifully photographed and presented, and more importantly for me (I studied history), organised extremely well. A walk through the history of makeup could be a very long and extensive one, and I'm sure Lisa could write a few more books on the topic, but she managed to organise the book into two sections, the history of makeup and the creation of the makeup industry.

The history of makeup could have been a very long section, but Lisa managed to channel her focus around three colours: red, white and black. I think if she had tried to do it chronologically, it would be all over the place, and possibly a little boring to follow. Instead, Lisa takes us around the world through various cultures and time periods to talk about the different makeup trends and attitudes. She also slots in various different quotations and smaller snippets of stories. You can also tell from the presentation and layout just how much of a hand Lisa had in the design of the book; everything is aesthetically pleasing and the art design is second to none.

face paint 2
The second section of the book focuses on the development of the makeup industry and the different ingredients that are incorporated into products. Throughout the book, you'll also find a lot more of the "who's-who" of the women who have led the way in terms of makeup looks, including Twiggy, Elizabeth Taylor and Amy Winehouse amongst others.

This book will be a lovely addition to anyone's library, and not just for a makeup-lover. Lisa's writing shows just how passionate she is about the subject which really carries through in her writing, and more significantly, it doesn't just chronicle the history of makeup, it tells a history of women, and their place in society with it. It seems rather ridiculous now to not have thought of it before, but during the talk and in reading this book, I came to appreciate even more the fact I've been born in this time. Something that I take for granted is the seemingly small and unimportant act of putting on makeup each day, is in fact a symbol of my freedom. I can choose and create a new look (or wear the same as before) everyday, because I feel like it, without having to worry about conforming to the judgement of religion, politics or men. I have that choice, you have that choice. The story of makeup is very much the story of women, and hearing Lisa talk, as well as reading about it has made me not only appreciate that I'm continuing the tradition of beautifying myself with products in the same way Ancient women have done, but also my place in society now.

Sorry that this has become an extremely long post, but it's hard not to have been inspired from meeting the brilliant Lisa, and reading such an interesting topic. I hope that if even if you don't buy it, you get the chance to read it somewhere, not just for its fantastic visuals, but also for the thought-provoking writing inside it.

The book is officially launched on the 13th October.

Chanel Autumn

Saturday, 10 October 2015

chanel autumn

Oh yes, it's Autumn. Time to get out your hats and scarves, dig out your jumpers, and if you're like me, start wearing darker and moodier colours that just don't work during the warmer months. Berry and dark navy colours rule supreme for me at this time of year, but a certain Chanel release had me on tenterhooks as I waited for them to appear in store, and this was the Autumn 2015 release. Rather unusually centered around the colour green, I was immediately intrigued. A quick visit to the Chanel store in my lunch break let me satisfy my curiousity with the two things that picqued my interest the most.

I love Chanel polishes because of the wide choice of colour, and will almost always only buy a nail polish from their limited collections, and this was no exception. The colour that really had me jumping up and down was the brilliantly dark Vert Obscur. I saw swatches of this about a month ago and thought that there was a gap in my collection that needed to be filled by this. An intensely dark green, this colour has a bit of a blue base, so if you don't apply enough or use really really thin layers, the green will look more of a teal. That's where I hit a problem with this nail polish. I found the formula really difficult to work with. I did my best to make sure each time I dipped the brush back in, that it was covered with the same amount of formula or I removed the same amount, but with two layers, I only really managed two or three nails per hand that looked the same, and would end up adding another layer to those ones, only for them to end up much darker than the ones I thought were right. This ended up with me applying three or four layers on some nails just to get them to match as much as possible. As you can expect, this meant it took ages to dry and solidify completely. The killer? The ridiculous number of layers on my nails meant that they stayed softer for longer, so I ended up with nail wear within three hours. Three. Gah! If the formula weren't so difficult to work with, then this polish would be lovely. I will give you that my nails are a pretty colour that can look black or dark green in different lights, and is so so shiny even without a topcoat, but I'm going to have to really want this colour on again before I put in all that time to use it again.

Fact: when I went to my Leavers' Ball (the first one, GCSE year), the only makeup I wore was green eyeshadow. Oh yes, you read right. Green eyeshadow. I remember it exactly even now, it was a Seventeen by Boots eyeshadow in a clear round plastic pot. It was a sort of khaki brown-green that had a tiny bit of shimmer running through it. I adored it, but since I didn't really wear any other makeup again until a few years ago, I never wore it or bought another green like that again. Well, now I am sorted for my green fix. The Tisse D'Automne quad is a beautiful but slightly unsual combination of pink tones and green tones. One shade is a definite pink, the one diagonally opposite is a sort of caramel, while the last two are very much green. The top left is a khaki green, and the bottom right is a very dark olive green. It sounds odd, but these colours work together beautifully, and I've been reaching for this palette on a daily basis since I bought it. Aside from the colours, I am very impressed by the palette in how comfortable the shadows feel on the eyelid, they are really blendable and stay on the lid for my whole working day without any real fading. While I'm not fussed about the other Les Quatre Ombres since I have colours that are similar for most of the permanent range, this particular palette fills a gap in my eyeshadow collection, so I'm happy I made the commitment to buy it.

If you are more patient or better at applying nail polish than me (not hard, honestly, I sort of slick it on and hope for the best), or want to buy the beautiful palette, then you'll be happy to hear House of Fraser still have some in stock, although the palette is going to sell out much faster for sure. The palette is something I highly recommend, I think everyone would be able to create a look they like from this, whether it be a bit edgy or a bit more ladylike, just be prepared to become obsessed with it!

Bioderma Hydrabio Riche: the one to fire me up about moisturisers?

Thursday, 8 October 2015

 photo bioderma hydrabio.jpg
I'm a moisturiser floozie. For someone who is obsessed with hydrating their skin, I'm not actually that fussed about moisturiser as a product. Yes I will always use it, but I never find myself fired up over it. You'll find me cooing over masks, treatments and serums, but quite 'meh' about moisturisers. I do always finish off with one before I apply my makeup, to try and seal all the other products in, and to create a little bit of a barrier between my skincare and my makeup, but only because I feel like I ought to, not that I want to. Since I always tend to get GWPs or extra large samples of moisturisers with things, I haven't actually gone out to buy one in a long time, I just work my way through samples that I don't really care about, then toss them away to try samples of something else, hoping I'll find one that makes me want to buy a full size.

Truth be told though, I've been getting a bit bored with this approach, so decided to knuckle down and get on with looking for one. A 3 for 2 offer in Boots on skincare, as well as the fact that they had just landed in store, meant that one dreary afternoon after chatting to a sales assistant, I walked away with the Bioderma Hydrabio Riche, in the hopes that it would make me interested in moisturiser again, as well as deal with the dehydration I constantly battle.

I had high hopes here, after all there are several key phrases on the bottle: 'hydra', and 'very hydrated sensitive skin', and 'deep care generating hydration'. It's also colour coded blue. Yes I know, seems trivial, but in my mind, I link blue with water, so makes sense with this range to colour code it blue. It comes in a very easy to use pump system (and a good solid one at that), which is my favourite, because it's hygienic, can dispense exactly the right amount for your needs. It also comes mostly unscented, and in a way that is hardly detectable or noticeable, which is perfect for anyone who doesn't like fragrance in their skincare, or gets irritated by it.

Perhaps it was because I picked up the 'Rich Cream' version, but I don't feel myself loving this moisturiser when I put it on. It feels like the emollients I used to have to pick up on prescription and would have to smother myself in. Yes, all moisturisers are technically emollients, but applying this to my face makes me see that word in my head. It feels so industrial. I also don't feel like it's really making all that much difference in the hydration department on its own, but I guess I've not been using it long enough to really see dramatic improvement. It definitely forms a very solid layer between the rest of my skincare and any makeup I put on afterwards, to the point my skin feels heavy. This all sounds like I'm going to end on a down note, but I'm hopeful that as the weather gets steadily colder, and my skin will want more comfort, this moisturiser may well come into its own. If not, I'm willing to give the other moisturiser in the Hydrabio range a go once this is finished, as well as the serum, but then again, I might be tempted by something else instead. Clearly, if you put your moisturiser in blue packaging, and slap on the word 'hydra' somewhere, you'll have my attention.

Bioderma is (happily for us all!) available in Boots. The Hydrabio Riche Rich Cream is £14.00

Hourglass Arch Brow Pencil comes in new colours

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

hourglass arch 1
The Hourglass Arch Brow Pencil has been something that has been in my makeup routine for some time now. Its wide nib deposits a wonderful waxy formula that holds my hairs into place, and in the easy format of a pencil which I get on with really well. I can alter the way I'm holding the pencil so that the angle is different for whichever purposes I needed it. Trying to draw in extra hairs, or add fullness in different areas, this does everything. What's even better is that the colour range has finally been extended. I was using Dark Brunette which leaned a teensy bit warm in the brown territory for me. I much prefer mine with a grey base, and Hourglass have answered my prayers, and probably the prayers of many other people, because they've added not one or two new shades, but six. SIX. I bought myself the shade Darkest Black. I know the recommendation is to go a shade lighter than your natural hair colour, but considering how my hair is very dark anyway, and the fact that this has a very ashy-grey base, it really does work. I always reach for my Hourglass eyebrow pencil because I can work very quickly with this and still get really good results, it comes with an excellent brow brush (they should sell this as a separate tool I think!), and stays on all day. When I say all day, I really do mean it. My foundation may slide, my eyeliner may smudge, but my eyebrows look exactly the same as they did in the morning when I first put my makeup on. Now that they've added just the colour I need, what more can I ask for? If you haven't tried this out, you might not get the hype, but believe me, it really is worth it! Get yourself to a Space NK now and try it yourself!

The other Real Techniques tool

Thursday, 1 October 2015

 photo miracle complexion sponge.jpg
I know that I've technically ended my Budget Beauty Month Series, but there's at least one thing I felt I had to talk about anyway, and that's the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, something which I was a bit sceptical about before, but now find that I have to make a little extra time for in my makeup routine. Essentially, it's a sponge, no getting round it. While I normally prefer not to use sponges for applying makeup, this sponge is really very good at helping to smooth out and finalise the end 'product'. It pairs perfectly with my Louise Young Foundation Brush, which if I'm not careful, can leave faint brush lines in my foundation. With the Miracle Complexion Sponge, I'm able to smooth at my face with the flat side, and tap and blend with the rounded side, as well as get into little nooks and crannies round my nose with the pointed end. It might not look much, but this little tool is a trooper at getting your foundation to look like your natural skin!

Now why would you spend £5.99 on this instead of some random sponge which you could probably get off of Amazon or eBay for half the price? Well, I think I've already gone over how the different shapes and sides of the sponge can do different functions, so that's why. I haven't yet bought a Beauty Blender to compare it to, since that's the daddy of the makeup sponges, but since that is almost three times the price, I'm not sure I really need it because I'm happy with the Real Techniques version. As with all applicators, it can get a little grubby looking during a week, but it washes so easily, you don't have to worry about it. Function and form for a great price, can't ask for more really!