Sunday, 13 April 2014

Travel Companion

Laura Mercier Colour to go palette
I always find the hardest and longest part of packing for a long weekend is the beauty bits. For me, getting my toiletries and makeup in order is a long and painful process, and always a negotiation in what makes the cut and what is staying behind- particularly when you need to negotiate what you can actually carry!  

Thankfully, those geniuses at Laura Mercier have thought about our predicament and come up with the Laura Mercier Colour to Go palette. This is a limited edition product but Laura Mercier do seem to release different versions around Christmas, I have the palette in Natural Nudes. This double decker palette houses three eyeshadows, a powder eyeliner, lipgloss, blush and bronzer- all in all the perfect palette to bring away for a short holiday or weekend away. 

The eyeshadows in this palette come in a matte cream, a shimmery red brown and a matte brown with a purple undertone. The powder eyeliner is a matte deep brown which can also be used to smudge under the eyes. The lipgloss is called sweetheart and is a shimmery pink which goes really well with the shimmery pink peach blush. Finally the bronzer is a warm brown with a hint of shimmer in it, although this doesn't transfer to the face when used as a contour or to warm up the face. 

This is a great palette to bring away on a long weekend, just toss in mascara, concealer and foundation and you're good to go. I ordered mine from the lovely people at Blow and talk about knocking the presentation stakes out of the park! It arrived in a black embossed Chinese box, and the palette was wrapped in blow tissue paper. It looked amazing! Good work Blow! x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Beauty Gifts

Stila Colour Me Glossy lip glaze and YSL Very YSL Palette 
You know you have good friends when the presents they get you for christmas are all beauty related! It was a while ago but I was gifted with the YSL Very YSL palette and the Stila Colour Me Glossy lip glaze set which have been circulating my beauty schedule for the past few months.  

The YSL palette is the prefect companion to travelling, which is probably why its only available at Duty Free! It houses four eyeshadows, a blush, two lip colours and three mini brushes to use. The eyeshadows encompass a slightly glittery black, a shimmery white, a shimmery peach and a golden bronze, enough range for a easy day look which can be converted to a dramatic evening smokey eye. The two lip colours and a deep raspberry red and a deep pinky purple colour which have a slight sheen and quite long lasting. The blush is my favourite piece of the palette which is a bright barbie pink colour and embossed with the YSL logo. Im never a fan of brushes within a palette and this one is no exception. Shout out to makeup brands, ditch the brushes and include more product! overall i found the eyeshadows to go on smoothy but are fairly low in pigment, particularly the gold bronze where you would benefit in using a primer underneath. The lipsticks are much more pigmented and the blush creates a beautiful pink flush to the cheeks. 

The YSL Very YSL Palette is available from World Duty Free for £37.95.

The Stila Colour Me Glossy lip glaze set is the perfect set for anyone who doesn't have many lip glosses- this set houses every colour you could possibly want! The lip glosses are shiny and very pigmented, with each lipgloss different to the last. Some are a deep pigment whereas others are more sheer, and others providing tiny glittery particles. The colours included are cranberry, dazzle berry  passion fruit, wild berry  kaleidoscope, melon, persimmon, strawberry cream and amaretto. My favourite is Melon which you can see on the swatch below- the perfect colour for upcoming spring! The lip glosses are long lasting and easy to put on, just twist the tube and go!

The Stila Colour me Glossy lip glaze set is available from the Stila website for £29.50

Sunday, 30 March 2014

YSL Touche Eclat Foundation vs YSL Youth Liberator Foundation

I had had my eye on these two YSL foundations and despite the multitude of research I had done reading blogs I couldn't decide which one to opt for! Luckily for me the post christmas sale gods came to my rescue and I managed to get my hands on both. 

The biggest difference between the two foundations in the shade range. The Youth Liberator (YL) comes in seven shades, whereas the Touche Eclat (TE) comes in 22 shades. This for me was a big factor for which foundation I preferred as there is nothing more annoying that having foundations you can't use! I need to mix my YL with another foundation to ensure I get the correct shade for my skin.  

YSL foundations work differently from many other brands and come in three different undertones, which is separate from the shade range. B stands for beige, which can be cool or warm undertones, BR for rosy undertones (those that burn or are prone to redness) and BD for those that tan easily. The undertones in YSL foundations work really well and do a lot for improving the skins look in a natural way. 

The YL is a medium to full coverage foundation, long lasting and is a hybrid gel texture which glides onto the skin. It is based on the youth liberator serum, which is supposed reduce wrinkles but I can't really comment on that! It has excellent lasting power and would last over ten hours, sans primer. The TC is a more medium coverage, less long lasting foundation but imparts a youthful glow. It makes your skin appear more radiant and illuminating and would last a full eight hour day. 

Left: Youth Liberator, Right: Touche Eclat Foundation

In terms of the way they appear on your skin, the TC makes your skin appear radiant, youthful and imparts a healthy glow without a heavy, cakey finish. It seems to be able to make your skin look like you've had a full eight hour sleep and lived on green leafy vegetables for a week. This foundation is "your skin but better" in a bottle, and is definitely my YSL foundation of choice. This foundation would suit normal to dry skin types. 

For those days where you feel like you need a little more coverage, I use the YL foundation which is longer lasting and provides more coverage, although I would definitely use highlighter pen to impart a little glow. I do have to mix this foundation with another lighter version because of the poor shade range, and for that reason I wouldn't purchase the YL again. This foundation would suit most skin types. 

The winner for me is the YSL Touché Éclat foundation, amazing skin in a bottle! 

You can get both of these foundations from House of Fraser 


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Cleansing Favourites: hair and face

Bioderma*. The one and only cleanser known to every beauty blogger, copied by many, bettered by none. Bioderma* is a micellar water, which is a fairly new trend in the cleanser world but in short, means that is it a non rinse, soap free water that contain micellar molecules. When you pop these on a cleansing pad, or tissue, the molecules deploy and work efficiently at removing makeup, pollution and other dirt particles on your face, without the need to wash off with water. Bioderma* is also fragrance free and is made specifically for sensitive skin. 

I use Bioderma* every evening to remove all my makeup, and given the amount of makeup I wear this cleanser has its work cut out for it. Its super gentle, removes even the toughest of mascara and doesn't leave a greasy film or sting your eyes. I always follow up with a second cleanse, be that a balm or a cream to make sure every scrap of makeup and London filth is removed. Bioderma* can also be purchased in mini version, which is perfect for travelling. I have not been without this cleanser since I first purchased mine from Escentual! A definite must buy. 

Another cleansing favourite Ive had the pleasure of trying is the new Klorane* shampoo with nettle for oil control. I wash my hair three times a week and hit the gym four times a week, so coupled with living in London my hair needs some seriously hardcore shampoo to keep my hair oil free and soft. Many oily hair shampoos I have tried leave the rest of your hair super dry, and unfortunately I am blessed with greasy roots and dry ends. 

When I first tried this shampoo my hair was ridiculously soft. I am talking swishy-hair-shampoo-add kind of soft. I figured this couldn't be down to just the shampoo so  I have tried the shampoo multiple times and I'm telling you, I'm expecting a call from Loreal any minute now, my hair is so velvety. I also love the smell, its a more natural smell that I really like. I haven't noticed a massive change in my oiliness, but it does say that is depletes the amount of oil your hair produces over time, so we'll see what happens! But quite frankly, for Nicole Sherzy type hair, Im sticking with this shampoo for a long time coming... It even led to a cheeky Escentual shop to try out a few more Klorane products! 

Have you tried any of these products?

Both the Bioderma and Klorane shampoo are available from Escentual

*These products have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush review

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radient Magenta
You know you're a desperate beauty blogger when you find yourself in the isle of Liberty of London waiting to get your hands on the new release Ambient Lighting blush the day before you are leaving on a three week, very expensive holiday! But this I just had to have. 

I had been stalking all the USA sites for swatches of these before they were released in the UK, and as soon as Temptalia  had all six blushes swatched I was on the Liberty site for pre ordering! It was a tough decision, but as three of them were fairly pale hues (Ethereal glow, Dim Infusion and Luminous flush) I thought they would not work on my medium toned skin. I ended up opting for Radiant Magenta, which is a golden fuchsia shade which has fuchsia and golden shimmer marbled through the blush. They are similar to the Ambient lighting powders, in that instead of leaving a coloured hue like a normal blush, they leave more of a glow to the cheek, which is not shimmery or glittery, that seem to blend in with the rest of your makeup and provide more of a "flush" rather than a full on cheek colour. 

Even though the colour Radient Magenta looks fuchsia in the pan, when it is swiped on the cheek it is  a much more subtle pink glow, and I find they look decidedly different again from a swatch on the hand to blended on the cheek. Whilst it does have golden marble etched through the blush, the shimmer does not transfer to the cheek. 

I wasn't as blown away by these in comparison to the Ambient Lighting powders, I much prefer those and use mine on a daily basis. I do find with the Ambient Lighting powders that the Hourglass brush works much better with them than any brush I own, so I would be interested to know if it makes the same difference with the blush. I find myself reaching for this blush for more of a simple day-time look, as it looks natural whilst imparting a healthy glow to the face. Im interested in trying the blush in Mood Exposure which looks like more of a plum shade. 

Have you tried these blushes? 

Available from Liberty of London for £28.00. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Morning Skincare Favourites

I am one of those annoying people that go to the gym every morning before work. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people that look glamorous whilst working out and usually emerge from my post workout shower looking like a red, blotchy mess. Enter, my morning skincare favourites. 

At the recommendation of the skincare guru Caroline Hirons, I purchased the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel which was a revelation to my morning skincare. A light gel, this cleanser has a bright, uplifting scent and a gel to creme texture that wipes away any morning after makeup or sweat (charming!) and leaves the skin feeling clean, smooth and revitalised. This cleanser is particularly good for dry or sun damaged skin (shout out to any aussies!) as its utilises Vitamin A as well as Vitamin C and E for their soothing and restorative properties. 
Oskia Renaissance Cleansing gel is £32.50 from Cult Beauty

Mario Badescu Facial Spray
At this stage in my routine I am still quite hot, and I do have skin prone to redness. Another Caroline Hirons enabled purchase is the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater, which I spritz all over my face as a refreshing and super hydrating toner. I had not used a toner previously in my morning routine and since introducing this spray I have noticed a big change in my skin. My skin is much more hydrated, plumper, dry patches have disappeared and my skin is much smoother- making makeup application a dream. The smell is great too- a definite must have. 
Mario Badescu Facial Spray is £6.98 from

Following on to this I use an eye cream (haven't found a favourite yet... suggestions welcome!) and then use my Ren Ever Calm Anti-Redness Serum. This serum is used to reduce redness, boost cell lifesan and hydration levels and keeps skin looking younger. I can't vouch for all those results but I can say it definitely acts as a moisture booster and calms my skin down after a tough workout. 
Ren Ever Calm Anti Redness Serum is £28 from

What are your skincare favourites? 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

YSL Terre Saharienne Bronzing Powder and NARS Blush

NARS Day Dream Blush and YSL Bronzer
Not that anyone needs an excuse to buy makeup, but when an email from Feel Unique  popped into my inbox advertising a YSL sale, well quite frankly it would be rude not too. Annoyingly I had wanted to get my hands on the YSL Touché Éclat foundation and had purchased it the day before at House of Fraser where it was also on sale, but for not as much. Annoying! 

In the interests of trying to save pennies for my holiday, I settled for just the one product, the YSL Terre Saharienne Bronzing powder in 03 Golden Sand. I do have a love for bronzers and in the interest of my upcoming holiday down under I thought it would be prudent to warm up my sunless complexion. As usual from anything YSL, the packaging is beautiful, a deep brown case embossed with gold on the top. The bronzer is embossed with the YSL logo on the top. The bronzer has a slight shimmer to it, which is a shame as I prefer a matte bronzer for contouring. It is not entirely noticeable although I have not examined in direct sunlight. The colour is a soft warm brown, not overly pigmented so it would be difficult to go overboard. Overall its a nice addition to my stash. 

After spotting a fabulously made up Nigella Lawson in Stylist Magazine, I just had to recreate the look. I love 60's makeup and her makeup in this shoot was incredible (link above). The 60's is all about porcelain skin and dramatic eyeliner, complete with nude lips and peachy cheeks. Her contoured cheeks really stood out to me, so I had to go for the blush, which was the NARS blush in Day Dream, part of the Guy Bourdin summer collection- limited edition. Day Dream is a soft pink, slightly peachy blush with a very faint shimmer. After purchasing the NARS One Night Stand palette (review here) I am hooked on NARS blushes, which are super pigmented, long lasting and come in some fantastic flattering colours. This is definitely one of my favourite blushes and really brightens the complexion, and works well with contouring. I purchased this from Space NK but it is no longer in stock, although I found it online at HQ hair here


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Revlon Colourburst Lip Butters Review

Revlon Lip Butters
These babies are like, the bomb. Im more of a high end fan when it comes to makeup, but unfortunately I have been born with worlds driest lips which means any form of lip colour ends up a dry, peeling mess. I have tried every lip scrub, lip balm, gallons of water but I have resigned myself to living with colourless lips for the rest of my life. 

Revlon Lip Butters, Candy Apple & Sweet Tart

Until now. Revlon Colourburst Lip Butters are a super moisturising, long lasting balm/lipstick hybrid that provide the benefits of a balm combined with the colour of a lipstick. They aren't as pigmented as a lipstick but for someone who does wear a fair bit of eye makeup the pigment on these are perfect. It also means that you can whack them on without really needing a mirror, you can't get it super wrong like you can with a strong lipstick. I find they are perfect for the day, I have the colours Sweet Tart, which is a bright, blue toned pink and Candy Apple which is a muted, warm toned red. At £7.99 from Boots, I am definitely going to pick up a few more! They look great and I find at the end of the day my lips are in a fairly moisturised state, which for me is quite an achievement! Eleven thumbs up!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Laura Mercier: A couple of faves...

Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour and Secret Brightening Powder
Once upon a time during a day out in St Albans, I just so happened to fall (read: directly walk into) into a Space NK. I can wander their isles for days but due to the boyfriend huffing and puffing next to me I focused on one of my fave brands- Laura Mercier. 

I opted for the Secret Brightening Powder, a repurchase for me. Not because I have run out but because I have a separate makeup bag for the gym and can't possibly be without one of my holy grail products. This power is perfect for setting concealer under the eyes, it is entirely translucent so doesn't affect the colour of the concealer. It is very finely milled and you only need a tiny bit on your brush to set your makeup. The girls at Laura Mercier recommend dipping your brush into the lid, so you don't use too much. It has a brightening effect, but doesn't use any glitter or shimmer, therefore its perfect to dust over any brightening concealers to stop them settling into any fine lines or sliding down your face. 
From Top: Secret Brightening Powder,  Eye Colour in Opal Fantasy

The second purchase was a spur of the moment one, and comes from the Laura Mercier White Magic collection. Its the Illuminating Eye Colour in Opal Fantasy. I really like paring a cat eye flick with a pale, shimmery eye colour as I find it makes me look more awake, without looking too done. This is the perfect shade for day time, it has great colour payoff and lasts a good eight hours, without primer. It could also be used for a brow or inner eye highlight. 

You can get the Illuminating Eye colour for £20.00 and the Secret Brightening Powder for £18.50 both from Space NK.

What products do you love from Laura Mercier? 


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Disappointing Products- Xen Tan Fake Tan

I consider myself a bit of a fake tan guru (if I do say so myself- ha!) I have been fake tanning for around ten years and have tried just about every fake tan out there. My holy grail tan is the St Tropez Mousse in Dark which I use every time without fail, but after reading a number of positive reviews on the Xen Tan I thought I would give it a whirl. 

Originally I purchased the Deep Bronze Luxe (RRP£28.99), and subsequently purchased the Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe (RRP£39.99) which is supposed to be darker. Given I usually use the Dark Mousse in the St Tropez range, I expected the darkest range in the Xen Tan to be a similar colour. Unfortunately it was much, much lighter in colour, similar to the original St Tropez colour. The colour itself was lovely, not at all orange but when you are expecting a deep brown tan it was quite disappointing. I didn't find the colour between the two to be different at all, and one is much more expensive than the other! 

The texture of the tan is a thick creamy texture, which did not have much "guide" colour once you started spreading it on. It was difficult to see if you had smoothed it on evenly, although in saying that, it was not patchy at all the next day although I am not sure if thats down to the texture or because I have been tanning for donkeys years! Additionally, I had to use ALOT of product to cover my limbs, I would say double to even triple the amount I would use of the St Tropez. 

The tan took a long time to dry and felt wet and tacky for hours afterwards- I did not want to sit down (even on a towel) for fear of it rubbing off completely. 

I always put fake tan on at night, all tan smells strange and any type of moisture (sweat, rain) will ruin the tan you have put on. However in the name of reviewing I did follow the instructions for this tan, which says it only needs three hours to develop. I left it four hours before washing off and basically the whole tan came off. So disappointing after all that work! 

The one plus I would say is that it makes a fantastic facial tanner. The perfect colour, smoothes on well and doesn't clog pores. I actually find the body version better for your face than the Xen Tan lotion specific for the face!

If you are a first time tanner or not looking to have a great deal of colour then perhaps Xen Tan is for you, but for the tan addicts out there I would say give this one a miss! Sorry Xen Tan! :(