Saturday, 28 November 2015

Updating My Makeup Bag for Autumn/Winter

It's finally rolled back around to my favourite time of year, so I'm more than excited to swap out my summer staples for my winter ones. So I thought I'd do a basic rundown of which products I'm dusting off and getting ready to use on pretty much a daily basis.

Goodbye BB creams, hello coverage. As the seasons have changed, so has my preference towards my base, I'm embracing flawless skin with wide, open arms. My foundation picks for the upcoming months are the L'Oreal True Match and a mix of my well loved Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk and Nars Sheer Glow. I'm in between shades at the moment which is why I'm having to mix the two, but I love this combo a lot so I'm not too fussed. Although I just can't get on the matte skin band wagon, I do love a dewy face regardless of the time of year.

Going smokey this winter? Yes I'm actually venturing into smokey eye territory, I'm still shocked at myself if I'm being honest. I'm usually such a natural girl when it comes to makeup, ask anyone I know, it's even become an 'in' joke with the girls at college. And if it wasn't enough of a shock to see me going darker, I'm also trying cranberry/purple shades on my eyes as well as the regular gold. I know, hold the phone, I'm going absolutely wild. For my purple smokey eyes, the Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist Palette has been such a beauty to use. It has so many gorgeous purple and cool tone shades with a lovely selection of matte colours which I like to use through the crease; African Violet in particular is stunning. For my cranberry eye, I either use 452 from my Inglot Freedom System Palette or my recently purchased Tanya Burr Cosmetics Candy Glam Beauty Essentials Palette, which is just beautiful. I love Plumberry, Creme Brulee and Date Night in Paris, they compliment each other so well on the eyes. For my more traditional golden look I have recently been reaching for the Maxfactor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow in the shade Bronze, then using Macs Woodwinked over the top to add more depth to the eye and to set copper in place so it won't crease.

Dark lips for dark nights. Of course it wouldn't be this time of year without a vampy lip option and I have two which I'm especially excited to crack out. The first being Macs Media which is a deep purple shade, this is always the first lipstick I turn to if I want a dark lip. I think it looks super pretty with a golden eye, so that's usually the makeup I wear with it. The other lipstick is also from Mac and it's Viva Glam I. This is more of a dark red shade, so it's a nice alternative to Media. I like how it puts a vampy twist on the classic Christmas red lip.

Full Fluttery Lashes. I've started to dabble with false eyelashes a lot more within the past few months and I have a feeling I'm going to keep doing so throughout Winter, especially for the Christmas and new years partys. But even if I'm feeling particularly fancy on a morning, I might just pop on a pair of natural strip lashes or a few small individual lashes to finish off my makeup and I'm good to go. I would seriously recommend the Fleur De Force by Eylure Lashes in Simply Fleur. I'm in love with these eyelashes, the ones pictured are a repurchase (they are also used but I couldn't wait to wear them before photographing, sorry!) and I know I'm going to be buying them again. They're so naturally pretty and incredibly easy to apply, I can't say a bad word about them. As for individuals, I've been using the Tanya Burr Cosmetics Individual Lashes (I managed to photograph this pack before using them, go me!). These are also just as brilliant, I'm not sure what it is about them but I just prefer these lashes to other individual ones I've tried, others just aren't the same.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Drugstore Dupes

One of my worst habits by far is getting overly excited at a makeup counter, buying a product spontaneously, then going home to find I own a duplicate but at a fraction of the cost. 
Every. Time.

But whenever I do this I tell myself it's okay because, 
'I can add it to a dupes post to help others from doing the same thing!'

Or the classic, 
'At least I have a backup in case I run out!'

And not forgetting my new, and personal, favourite,
'Now I can use one of these in my makeup kit for my course!' 

One of those tends to do the trick.
For some reason, with the one exception, this only seems to happen with Mac lipsticks. 
Why is this a pattern? What is it about Mac lipsticks?
I really wish I knew, but anyway, here are the duplicates I have accidentally come across.

Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful II / Revlon Charmed Enchantment
These two blushes are identical in colour, just not so much in formula. I've found that Charmed Enchantment has slightly less pigment, however this isn't particularly a bad thing as it does prevent you from going overboard, which is fairly easy to do with Pretty Powerful II. But they both blend nicely and don't leave any staining or patchiness. I do think the Bobbi Brown blush is a tad creamier, although that might just be because my Revlon blush is getting on a bit, so don't hold me to that!

Mac Mystical / Rimmel Kate Moss 19
I'm going to be honest, I did buy Mystical purely for the packaging. I just couldn't resist. I haven't seen packaging quite like that before! And it was limited edition so I felt the pressure, you know the one - you just have to buy the product before it sells out forever. If you did miss out on this though and have been kicking yourself ever since, head down to boots. These two lipsticks are pretty much the same, only someone with an extreme keen eye could notice that 19 has a more peachy undertone whereas Mystical is more purple. But that's the only difference because they're both lovely and creamy with great pigmentation. 

Mac Russian Red / Kate Moss 01
If someone asked me which lipsticks best represented the classic red, I'd say these two every time. If you swatched them, Russian Red would be slightly more blue toned (which does mean your teeth will look that extra bit white!) and 01 more orange toned, but on the lips it's barely noticeable. The formula of these two is dissimilar as the Mac Lipstick is matte and the Rimmel lipstick is more creamy, but that doesn't impact on the pigmentation, which is fab for both.

 Mac Media / Revlon Black Cherry
Ahh yes, I remember this one distinctly. I was fairly irritated that I couldn't buy Mac Rebel (due to my mum at the end of the phone saying I already owned enough lipsticks) so I stomped into boots, picked up the first dark toned 'rebel' lipstick shade I could find, and whipped out my debit card. Take it from me, don't buy anything when you're fueled by mild resentment. These two lipsticks literally look identical. The only thing that distinguishes them from one another is the formula, Black Cherry applies slightly creamier than media, as Media is a satin finish. But once on the lips I couldn't tell you which one was which, they both settle down and feel comfortable and creamy. Even the colour pay off for both is brilliant!

I hope my careless spendings can help you save your cash, and if you've come across any dupes, let me know, it may not seem like it but I'm always up for a bargin!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Caroline Forbes Inspired Evening Makeup

Some time ago I was introduced to the show The Vampire Diaries by my chum Emily, (how can I ever repay you?!) It's incredible. So incredible, in fact, that I purchased the box-set; and I don't go around buying box-sets willy-nilly, it has to be a darn good show for it to have a home on my dvd shelf. I'm also not ashamed to say I have re-watched it many times, it's one of those shows that's just as good the second and third time round.
One of my favourites from the show is Caroline Forbes, she's amazing; in character, and in makeup. Her makeup is actually stunning though. To be honest, all of the makeup on that show is to die for. But a particular smoky eye of Caroline's caught my eye. I thought it would be perfect for an evening meal I'm going on this week. (To the one and only Wagamamas, eek!) So this is how I recreated it.

The Giorgio Armani Light Master Makeup Primer is a good'n for giving your skin a lovely dewy glow, as well as making your makeup last, so I smoothed that all over my face.
For foundation I went for the L'oreal True Match. This is fairly new to my drawers, so I'm still forming an opinion on it. But it's buildable and doesn't stick too badly to dry patches, so it's looking good so far!
Then due to my skin deciding to break out like crazy this morning, I took the MAC Studio Finish Concealer on a mac 286 brush, and covered, essentially, my entire face. For a change, I've quite liked applying it using this duo fibre brush because it helps to prevent the concealer from looking too heavy, which it can be prone to doing.
To brighten my under-eyes I also blended Collection Illuminating Touch Concealer with the 286, and blended any excess along the high points of my face.
To set everything in place, I dusted my trusty Bourjouis Healthy Balance Powder onto my t-zone and the areas I concealed. It probably won't come as a surprise to hear that I managed to smash it yesterday evening, I genuinely feel like I'm cursed into smashing every powder I own!

 To add shape and colour back to my face, I cracked out my old fave, the Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer 10. I lightly bronzed up my skin and sculpted my jaw and cheekbones. I don't use this as often as I should because it does take longer to apply than a simple powder bronzer, but it is completely worth the effort, it always looks beautiful on the skin.
I set that into place with a dusting of Nars Laguna Bronzer, then I moved onto blush.
I used a combination of two, the first being the Bobbi Brown Blush Pretty Powerful II. Which, I'd just like to mention, is an awesome creme blush. It's so easily blendable, and it can go from 'naturally flushed' to straight up 'embarrassed as heck', depending on how you want to apply it. For this, it's more of a natural look, so only a light touch on the apples of my cheeks and blended along the cheekbone. For the second blush, I swept a bit of the Sleek Blush Rose Gold over the top.
To finish off the face, I blended the Benefit High beam Highlighter along the tops of my cheek bones to give a subtle glow.

On to brows. I've recently switched up my eyebrow routine, I now start with the Rimmel Brow This Way Gel and then give them some shape by filling them in with MAC Mystery Eyeshadow. I find using this method makes doing my brows so much quicker, but I can't quite put my finger on how?

Once I did that, it was time to prime my eyes. I patted the MAC Soft Ochre Pro Longwear Paint Pot over my eyelid, then used Vanilla Nuts from the Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist Palette over the top to set it into place.
For the actual lid colour I packed MAC All That Glitters onto my eyelid and mixed Sparkling Dew and Vanilla Nuts from the Laura Mercier palette over the top. I then blended MAC Mystery through the crease, bringing it two thirds of the way into my eyelid, before blending it from the outer corner into my top lash line. To add intensity, I did the same with Laura Mercier Espresso Bean but focused the colour, only blending it a little to make it look really defined. I also applied this along my entire bottom lash line.
Next, I applied a thin line of Maybelline Black Gel Eyeliner along my whole upper lash line, smudging it slightly with Naked 2 Blackout to make it a little softer. I actually used the same black eyeshadow through the crease and on the lower lash line to make it even more smokey.
Not forgetting mascara, I applied the Rimmel Wonderfull Mascara to my top and bottom eyelashes. I literally opened this today, so had no idea what it was going to be like, turns out it's not too shabby!
For more umph, I placed a selection of individual eyelashes along my lash line. I put four short lashes ranging from the middle of eye to the outer corner then added around two or three medium lashes on the outer third of my lash line.
I then went back over my gel liner to make sure no glue could be seen, because even though it says it dries clear, I swear sometimes it's still noticable.
For finishing touches I patted Laura Mercier Vanilla Nuts onto my brow bone and to the inner corner of my eyes for a natural highlight.

Lips-wise I applied Mac Mystical Lipstick onto my lips first, then used Laura Mercier Cinn-Ful Lip Parfait over the top to pink things up a bit. Before finally adding a touch of gloss with the Sephora 09 Volume Booster Gloss Serum.

I love this look, I barely do smokey eyes, so wearing this out is going to be so much fun. Now I just have to decide between the Chicken Ramen or the Yaki Soba...

Monday, 21 September 2015

Living Proof: Full Thickening Cream

Painting my nails is a task that I find most laborious, but second to that, is styling my hair. I'm so lazy when it comes to doing anything whatsoever with it, probably because I'm actually awful at making hair look pretty. I even find a pony tail difficult. If I can, I'll just leave it on a morning; or if I'm feeling fancy, I might even do a quick once over with my straighteners. But since having the majority of it chopped off, I've really needed an extra boost to help my fine, straight hair, rock a short style. So I researched, a lot, and came across my new hair holy grail - the Living Proof Full Thickening Cream.

It claims to be a 'Lightweight cream that creates touchable fullness and body with light conditioning that lasts throughout the day. It's never stiff or crunchy.' and I agree with all of it. Which is rare for me because I find most hair products to be ineffective. Is it just me? 
But this just gives my hair that natural umph to make it appear full, thick and healthy; without that greasy, heavy feel that most creams have. It even appeals to my lazy nature because my hair falls better after drying: no flicks - no straightening! Not to mention the scent, boy do Living Proof know how to make great smelling products. 

I think with a product as good as this, its worth the splurge, I'll definitely be repurchasing. It's even helped me to venture into curling my hair. Shocking, I know.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Morning and Evening Skincare Routine

I have always marveled at the vast array of luxurious skincare Space NK had to offer, but I've never actually had the courage to pull out my purse and follow through with a purchase, to be quite honest I had no idea where to begin. But since my skin has been quite problematic recently, I thought it was about time I invested in quality skincare to get it back in check, hence calling upon the shelves of Space NK. Although I didn't walk in completely blind, I had done my research prior to visiting the store. I did the usual read up to see which products designed for my skin type were spoken highly of, along with the pros and cons for each one. However, as I was informed, it doesn't matter how much research you do, products are going to act differently on everyone because we don't all have the same skin.

So the manager suggested I booked myself in for a skin consultation in order for us to have an in depth chat about my skin and test out a range of skincare to get together a dream team of products that would work with my skin and solve the problems I was having. So I did, and can I just say how truly incredible the experience was. If you are thinking of buying some new skincare, I couldn't recommend a consultation enough. They're completely free and just ensure that the products you're purchasing are going to work with your skin and be beneficial. No point buying skincare on a whim, especially if the skincare you have your eye on is quite pricey. Also if you are near Harrogate and are thinking of booking one - ask for Jane. She is honestly incredible; like a real skincare pro. All the staff mentioned how her recommendations had worked wonders for their skin, and I agree, my skin has improved massively since following this new routine.

As obligatory with these posts: a quick debriefing on my skin type.
It has fluctuated quite a lot over the past couple of months, but at the moment it has settled with being combination - oily on my T-Zone and normal on my cheeks; although I can be prone to dry patches on my cheeks also.

On a morning my routine is pretty simple and short, great for me as I'm usually tired and in a rush so don't want to be dealing with anything too complicated.
On a cotton pad I take the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water and give my face a quick cleanse. I find cleansing water to be the best for the early hours of the day as its incredibly light and fresh.
Then to give my skin some hydration I take the Nude Purify Balancing Moisturizer and gently massage 1-2 pumps around my face. I've never really found the one when it comes to moisturisers, however I'm quite enjoying this one. It's very light and sinks into the skin fast without it leaving a tacky layer afterwards. But I do like how it hydrates my skin without over moisturizing the oily parts, just does a great job of balancing out my skin.
Then to finish off, I slowly tap the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado along my orbital bone, followed by the series of drainage movements I was shown during my consultation. The effects of the movements were instant, it was unbelievable when they were first shown to me. The puffiness and dark circles were immediately reduced and under my eyes looked so much brighter.

On to my evening routine, which consists of a few more steps.
With my fingers I massage the Eve Lom Cleanser onto my face, to begin with it's quite solid, then as you warm it up between your fingers it turns into a thick oil. I'm totally obsessed with this product. As well as it being incredibly moisturising, it has a slight grittiness to it, which acts as a very gentle scrub. Sometimes if my skin is horrifically dry one morning, I'll change up my routine and use this in the morning instead of micellar water because it just seems to banish all dry areas.
After I've applied this to my face and neck, a few times a week I will follow through with face drainage movements. Here are the steps that Eve Lom recommends their clients to do. I find this just helps to brighten up my face and encourage the blood circulation, and because the cleanser turns into an oil, it makes doing the movements so easy and relaxing.
With the cleanser still on my face, I then turn on my Clarisonic Mia 2 and brush it around my face in small circular motions. I then use a dampened Liz Earl or Eve Lom Muslin Cloth to remove the excess cleanser by gently wiping it around my face.
To sort out those pesky problem areas, I pump the Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum onto my ring finger and apply it to any blemishes or scarring I have. I also do the same with the Evologie Stay Clear Cream, however I apply this to spots, or areas that look like an outbreak could appear. I rate these products a lot, this year in particular I've suffered with mild acne, and they have really helped to combat this. They've reduced my spots, scarring and redness, I'm so pleased with how my skin is looking, people have even started to notice how much better my skin is!
Finally, just like my morning routine, I apply the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado to my orbital bone to give my eye area a good surge of hydration, and then I'm done! 

I honestly couldn't be happier with this new routine, I think my skin is also extremely grateful for it too. Skincare is definitely becoming my new obsession... oops.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Natural Drugstore Makeup for College

Can you even believe it's the end of Summer?? I'm sat here in denial that I have to go back to college this week. A part of my brain keeps saying 'nah it's still the holidays, college can't really begin in the morning' and I'm desperately hoping it's right, even though I know it's not. One can dream, right? But as I'm sure no one is prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn to get ready for the day, I thought I'd share a makeup look that helps me to actually look bright and awake at 8am (even though I'll be ready to fall asleep at any point during the morning).

I always start my makeup with a primer because otherwise I get to the end of the day my makeup is gone - I have no idea what my skin does to it. So I like to apply The Body Shop Insta Blur Primer to my face, concentrating on my t-zone. It has a really odd texture, I honestly don't know how to describe it, but when you smooth it onto the skin, it does feel like its blurring out imperfections and pores.
Onto the base, The Body Shop BB Cream is a nice light dewy coverage and for me, adds a little bit of warmth. When I'm a bit paler, maybe too much warmth, but nothing a good blend down the neck won't fix! As for my blemishes, the Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer isn't to shabby when it comes to hiding my spots. It has a really nice coverage with a yellow undertone, so its pretty good at cancelling out any redness.
 To set everything in place, I love to use the Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder, and I mean love. It's finely milled so mattifies the face, but it still leaves a natural shine behind. Since my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder smashed and left a round powder shaped hole in my heart, this has been nicely filling the space. If you thought the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder was a tad too heavy and too mattifying - try this!

Brow-wise, I usually reach for the Rimmel Brow This Way Eyebrow Gel or the Soap & Glory Brow Archery Eyebrow Pencil, depending on how bold and defined I want them to look. But as I have quite fair, sparse brows, I prefer using the pencil with short, light strokes to make my eyebrows appear fuller. I rate the pencil a lot more than the gel, the gel slightly crumbles a bit towards the end of the day and the wand picks up too much product, which might not be an issue to a lot of people, but I like things to be easy and low maintenance.

The Max Factor Excess Shimmer Creme Eye Shadow: 20 Copper was a recent purchase but a damn good one! It has a whipped creamy texture that looks like a light, shimmery rose-champagne colour when applied. It blends incredibly easily and looks naturally beautiful on the lids, Max Factor definitely have it down with their creme eye shadow formulas.
After a quick curl of the eyelashes, I put one or two coats of the Maxfactor False Lash Effect Mascara on my top eyelashes, sometimes on my bottom eyelashes; depends how I'm feeling that morning.

To add colour back to my face, I sweep the Sleek Blush: Rose Gold onto the apples of my cheeks. I always forget about this blush, probably due to the black packaging. But then once I remember it, I love it and can't put it down. Last week I found this blush again and now I love it just as much as I did before. It's a beautiful rosy pink shade with gold flecks running through it. I would recommend a quick tap after loading up the brush to get rid of any excess product as it can be a bit strong applied straight. But it kinda acts as a blush-highlighter in one, and for rushed mornings 2 in 1's are my best friend.

This makeup looks really pretty finished off with a soft pink lip, the Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick: 705 Lets Get Naked is a lovely natural pink shade, and for this look I think applying it from the bullet, then blending it with your finger gives a nice subtle effect. If it doesn't feel particularly windy outside I might opt for a pink lip gloss instead, taking precaution against the ol' hair blown and stuck in lip gloss difficulty. Sometimes it's worth the risk.

Monday, 31 August 2015

The First Development

Taking photography at A-level has really spurred on my passion for cameras and photography; it got me particularly interested in the world of film cameras. So a few months back, I took the train into Leeds and purchased a second hand film camera and a 24 exposure film. 

24 pictures later and I'm still getting to grips with it! Some photos turned out really well and others... not so well. But this was mostly a test run to see what the camera was like and which conditions it worked best in. I love the outcome though, the natural vintage filter on the photos is so beautiful. It's a real long shot but eventually I want to be able to develop photos in my own dark room, maybe one day!

The camera I use is the Pentax ME Super, and in these photos I used either the Soligor Wide-Auto 28mm F2.8 lens or the Cosina Cosinon Auto 50mm F1.7 lens, all on the Fuji Film Superia X-tra 400.
The photos below are a few of my favourites from the roll.