Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Balms for Days

Even though they're only on your skin for a minute or so, I think that a good cleanser can make such a big difference to your skincare routine. Whilst I do prefer a cream cleanse, the Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm is a new favourite of mine. It's a much more solid balm than its Emma Hardie equivalent, with pieces of oatmeal thrown into the mix for a hit of exfoliation.

This cleanser would be idea for facial massage, which I have found to make a massive difference to the look and texture of my skin. It's not the easiest to wash off, and I have found it to leave a slight residue if I'm not careful to wash it off thoroughly with a flannel. However, it makes for a wonderful second cleanse and the ingredients list is cleaner than clean. What's not to love?

Friday, 4 April 2014

Coming Up Roses

First things first: apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. This is my first day off work in about three weeks so time has been a bit tight for me. When I can post, however, I shall do my best to do so.

Back on topic... Over the last couple of weeks, I've not been able to turn down rose-hued makeup. Slightly dusty, off-pink tones have always held a strong appeal to me, but I think that they're just perfect for Spring. These products are easy to wear, manage to look relatively effortless (yeah, right) all whilst flattering my olive-y skin.

The obvious centre piece for this edit would be the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette. If rose is your thing, you need this in your life. The quality is astounding, the matte shades are as appealing as any of the shimmers (if not more so, in my opinion) and creating an entire look for both the day and the night couldn't be easier. For a two minute day look, I wash the two darker mattes, Limit and Nooner, all over my lid, through the crease and under the lower lash line, add liner and finish with mascara. To add some shimmer, Liar is a good option, as the rose hue is made more complex in this shade.

On the cheeks, NARS Douceur is a wonderful option. I keep raving on about it, but for a good reason. This stuff is good. It has your warmth and contour sorted in one fell swoop, so is great if your pressed for time. I don't find longevity to be an issue, and considering I sometimes start work at 9 and don't finish until 11 at night, this is saying something. The tone of this blush negates the need for bronzer, whilst complementing any rose tones on the eyes.

My lips are actually quite rosy naturally, but a splash of Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Lipgloss in the shade Cranberry never goes amiss.

I really like this sort of look for easy, pretty chic wash of colour that requires minimal effort. You in?

Friday, 28 March 2014

Extra-Comfort Cleansing

Things are pretty busy for me at the moment (hence the abysmal lack of posts this week, and a brief post today). Between working two jobs, making time to see my family and the Boyfriend and going to the gym -I know, I know - I haven't really had any sort of time off in a while, really. As such, I need a darn good cleanser on rotation just to ensure that there are minimal delays between me and my bed. And here's a secret for you: I love my bed more than I love skincare.

Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Crème has been doing a bloomin' good job of this. The rich and creamy formula feels amazing on my skin at any time of day, making it ideal for both morning and evening use, but also after I've been to the gym. It doesn't dry my skin out in the slightest, keeping my acne-prone areas calm, but does a right number on makeup/grime removal. Used regularly, the benefits are only becoming more visible.

So if you're in the market for a creamy cleanser that isn't going to make congested skin worse, that will add moisture and that works well for facial massage, I think that you're going to love this.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Makeup Collection & Storage #1

Half the joy of having a relatively large collection of makeup is finding a good way to store it. My collection isn't enormous by any means, but it certainly is larger than your average makeup bag... But I'm guessing I'm in good company here. I'd say that I've gradually been hoarding my makeup over the last three years or so, and, out of necessity as much as anything else, have come up with a way of storing it that works for me. You name it, I've probably tried it... From drawers (forgot what I owned, ended up with about three of the same nail polish), to boxes (too flimsy), to good old fashioned makeup bags (pre-morning coffee, it's too difficult to find what I'm looking for), I've finally settled with my MUJI acrylic storage. Beauty Blogger cliché galore, yes, but I bloomin' love it. 

In a dark corner of mine and the Boyfriend's bedroom (he had no idea what he was getting himself into, I can assure you) I keep one drawer for tinted moisturisers, BB creams and foundations, with come concealer and an illuminator (or two) thrown in for good measure. This isn't my ideal way of storing them, but I've just bought a new desk organiser from Rymans that I may well use for this purpose. Below that are my NARS palettes, blushes and the single eyeshadow that I own, and with them I keep my MAC powder and the four eyeshadows that I own. That brings us onto the lipstick drawer, AKA my happy place. All of my lipsticks can be found in here, and in here they fit very nicely. Again, I'd like to find a lipstick stand for them, but I don't really have the space in which to keep one. 

To the right of this set, I keep my smaller drawers. I'm not such a fan of these, as I always find they're just a little bit too small for what I need, but maybe I'm being picky. The first two drawers are dedicated to eye makeup; the top for all things in a pencil form or tube, and below it some single eyeshadows, a couple of smaller Inglot palettes (that don't get nearly as much love as they should) and my eyeliners. Then we come to yet more single eyeshadow pans - because a girl can never have too many, y'know - and finally my single blushes, mostly from Bourjois and Benefit. Then we have the overspill that takes the form of my Urban Decay Naked Palettes... But let's not dwell on those.

What's your preferred way of storing your makeup? Any suggestions?

Friday, 21 March 2014

Spring Has Sprung, Apparently.

The sun is shining, birds are singing, and a multitude of blog posts have emerged announcing the return of light foundations, pastel nails and bright lips. It's happened, spring has arrived.

Seasonal change doesn't particularly affect the way I wear my makeup. In fact, I've been reaching for Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in the shade Black Cherry far more than is probably appropriate of late. I'm also well known for only wearing black come the summer months, something that the Boyfriend finds highly amusing.

There are, however, some products that I deem to be quintessentially spring. And, conveniently, here they are...

When it comes to bases, I'm currently into keeping things light. Between NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30 in the shade Alaska and the Dr Jart+ Waterfuse BB Cream, I should be able to keep things covered. Powdered into place, these provide a long-lasting yet dewy and fresh base, and the former is my current go-to. To add a little bit more glow, because let's face it, you can never have enough, I opt for Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter in the shade Pearl, although Opal is also on my hit-list. This is literally glow-y-ness in a bottle. It rocks.

For cheeks, I present two powder options and a cream blush. Benefit Box O Powder in the shade Dandelion provides a fresh hit of brightening pink to the face and is an old favourite of mine. NARS Blush in the shade Douceur may be new to my collection, but I haven't been able to stop myself from applying it. It's very effortless, and isn't that what spring is all about? If you're more into your cream products, however, then the Bourjois Cream Blush in the shade 2 Bonne Mine may be a good option to try. The formula isn't too sticky or slippy, has great pigmentation and doesn't highlight textural issues.

I'm a big lover of bright lips any time of year, but the Revlon Colourburst Matte Balms are outstanding. I've already raved about their excellent levels of pigmentation and moisture, but the bright hit of colour really would be a perfect pick for this time of year. If you prefer things a little bit glossier, then I'd recommend the Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in the shade 639 Riviera for a glossy punch of orange red. This has been in my makeup bag for two years now and I love it as much now as I did back then. I've already said in this post that I can't seem to leave the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in the shade Black Cherry alone, and I really can't. A small amount smudged out over lip balm is just so darn pretty. As intimidating as it is in the tube, it sheers out to a 'just-bitten' cherry stain.

For eyes, I always seem to go back to the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette this time of year. The wide selection of cool-toned lighter shades that are amazing at brightening the eye area holds a lot of appeal for me. It's a bit of a classic, and for good reason.

So now that's spring done, bring on summer...

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Line Up, Line Up

I love a good lick of eyeliner. Sadly for me, I was not blessed with the ridiculously full lashes that some ladies are lucky enough to possess. As such, a little bit of extra definition never goes amiss. There are a few in my arsenal that I go back to time and time again to add a hit of definition with minimal effort.

I don't opt for a classic kitten flick that often - having slightly hooded eyes means that it's not the most flattering look for me - but when I do, I prefer gel eyeliner. On the go at the moment is B. Defined in the shade Black. It's not the best formula, as it takes a couple of layers to reach the desired intensity, but it's not bad either. The lasting power is great and it came with a rather good brush too, if memory serves.

If I'm looking for something a little bit softer, or to smoke out a cream eyeshadow look, I have two options up my sleeve. The first is Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in the shade Black Gold. This has a really smudge-y formula, which means that it's absolutely perfect for adding drama, but isn't so great as a traditional eyeliner. It's still one of my most-used products, however, and I wouldn't want to be without it. When I don't fancy the gold-flecked intensity of that particular eyeliner, I tend to go for a warm, golden toned kohl. Currently in my stash is a now-discontinued little nub of one from 17, which is awesome... But not much use for anyone but me. Saying this, Smashbox have some lovely-looking offerings, as do Sephora, so they may be worth checking out if this sounds up your street.

On minimal makeup days, I take a small amount of the Laura Mercier Crème Eyeliner in the shade Violet and run it under my top lash line. This vivid purple isn't the most pigmented and doesn't look like much in the packaging, but can easily be built up to held define the eyes. What's more, the purple pops against my green eyes, to add a little somethin' somethin' to my otherwise plain makeup.

What are your favourite eyeliners, and what do you think is the best way to wear them?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Shrek It Out

What is it with me and green face masks? If it's not the inevitable Mask of Magnaminty from Lush, it's this: The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask. Aimed at blemish prone skin (i.e. mine), this is a bit of a find. I've used the tea tree range at TBS before, but find some of the products to be a bit drying. This however, takes down the redness and size of my spots, but doesn't dry them out.

Containing kaolin clay and tea tree oil, both of which are bloomin' awesome when it comes to fighting blemishes, this mask packs a serious skincare punch. Whilst also allowing you to continue to practice your best Shrek impression, obvs. The creamy texture applies easily, and isn't as messy as some other masks of a similar variety. It doesn't dry down, meaning that if you want to leave it on for a longer length of time, you can do so very easily.

At £10 for 100ml, you can't go too far wrong with this one. Plus there are normally offers galore in The Body Shop, so whilst you at it, you may as well treat yourself...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Tidy Blog, Tidy Mind

If you've recovered from reading the mammoth post below, have yourself 10 points on me. Good work, trooper. Sophie Makes Up now has an easier way of finding posts that may interest you. I've actually labelled my posts properly. Looking for some L'Oréal loving? You can now find all posts that mention that brand in one go. Not exactly revolutionary, I know, but it should make your experience on this site a hell of a lot better. Go, read things!