Sunday, 20 April 2014

Going Green....

I think green eyeshadows look beautiful with brown eyes, especially if you have dark hair as well. Although I would consider myself a neutral eyeshadow lover, when building my MAC palette (see here) I didn't just want to buy 15 different shades of brown/beige and instead decided to add a little bit of colour in the form of green neutrals. Now almost a third of my palette is dedicated to these kinds of shades. Although four of the five eyeshadows I am going to show you are MAC, I also have one from No.7 which is well worth a mention!

Let's start with MAC. These unfortunately are not cheap, they cost £10 in pan form (which slot easily in to a pro palette like mine) or £12.50 if you want them in an individual little pot but they are beautifully pigmented and long lasting.

Sumptuous Olive over the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze with Espresso in the crease and Wedge to blend.
MAC Fiction over the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze with MAC Coquette in the crease.
My two favourite MAC greens are Sumptuous Olive and Fiction as they are beautiful easy to wear shades which can be swept over the eyelid for an everyday makeup look or built up for a beautiful green smokey eye. They are quite similar in that they are both olive/khaki based shimmer shadows but Sumptuous Olive has warmer golden undertones and Fiction has cooler grey undertones. Both are stunning and I find khaki greens to be the most flattering on brown eyes as they really make the colour pop. 

Although Coquette is not a true green, it is a matte mid-tone brown with a slightly green undertone which really shows when paired with other green eyeshadows. For this reason Coquette is one of my favourite crease shades when using either Sumptuous Olive or Fiction.

MAC Club over Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze, small amount of Wedge to blend.
MAC's Club is more unusual in that it is a brown/teal green duo chrome eyeshadow. The teal green shimmer really shows when the shadow is packed on to the eyelid using a dense flat brush and appears as a warm dark brown when blended out with a fluffy brush. It is a very beautiful eyeshadow but not as wearable for everyday at work (although that hasn't stopped me!) This one is best saved for special occasions.

No.7 Khaki over Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze, Coquette in the crease and a small amount of Wedge to blend.
That takes us on to No.7's green offering, their Stay Perfect Eyeshadow in Khaki. I have had this one for a very long time (probably too long!) and the packaging, along with the amount of product you get seems to have changed over time. I believe this shade is still available in the No.7 collection but is now called Khaki Shine.

This is is very similar to Sumptuous Olive in the pan but is more green when applied whereas Sumptuous Olive definitely looks more gold. The formula of the No.7 eyeshadow is also fantastic. It is very soft and pigmented so a little goes a long way. If I didn't already have too many eyeshadows, I would definitely look at getting some more from No.7.

I have been tempted to buy MAC's Humid eyeshadow which is a bright almost emerald green shade but because it is so bright I'm not sure I would use it as much.

Do you wear green eyeshadow? Which is your favourite? 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Stila Convertible Colour in Petunia - Review & Swatches

How scary does this blusher look?? It's practically neon!

You may already know about my love for the Stila Convertible Colour in Lilium, a creamy blusher which can be used on the cheeks and lips in a gorgeous vintage rose pink (see this post). The Convertible Colours have quite a glossy texture which leaves a very healthy fresh look on the cheeks and provides a glossy finish on the lips which is comparable to the Revlon Lip Butters.

I must have used Lilium everyday for about 2 months until I forced myself to share the love with my other abandoned blushers. Due to my everlasting love for Lilium, I obviously had to purchase a second shade! Obviously. As there are no Stila stockists nearby I had to rely on photos and blog swatches to choose a colour.

I finally decided on Petunia. It really didn't look that bright on the websites. Had I realised just how bright it was, I may have chosen a different one, but actually I quite like how bright and fun it is. Petunia is a bright coral-pink which creates a youthful summery look that would look particularly good with a tan! (Which I currently do not have).

My favourite way to apply the Convertible Colours is with the Real Techniques Stippling Brush. I just dab it in the pan and because of how pigmented it is I usually need to dab off any excess on the back of my hand before applying it to the high-points of my cheeks. The duo-fibre brush hairs blend the product perfectly.

To apply to the lips I usually just use my finger but you could also use a brush. The cute packaging which includes a decent sized mirror makes this a perfect product to pop in to your handbag for cheek and lip applications on the go!

I do love Petunia but it isn't quite as easy to wear as Lilium, especially in the colder months so I can imagine Lilium still being my most reached for blusher.

Have you tried any of the Stila Convertible Colurs?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

I am sure that you are all already familiar with the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes but I just had to do a quick post on my Naked 2 Palette. I bought the original Naked Palette to do my own wedding make up but now that I have fallen in love with the Naked 2 Palette, I feel like this one may have been even better (although I do still love the original palette and was very happy with my makeup on the day). 

The main difference between the Naked and Naked 2 Palettes is that the original palette has warm toned eyeshadows with shades such as bronze and gold, whereas the second palette is more cool toned and has mainly taupe and greige shades. 

From left to right - Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve and YDK.
From left to right - Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted, Blackout.

A couple of shades can be found in other Naked Palettes, for example Foxy can be found in the Naked Basics Palette and Half Baked can be found in the original Naked Palette. There are three matte shades, Foxy (a yellow based highlight shade), Tease (a mid brown-taupe with slight purple  undertones) and Blackout (a matte black) with the rest having shimmer and satin finishes. 

Photo taken without flash.
Photo taken with flash.
Some of the shimmery shades such as Suspect and YDK can be quite crumbly so you need to be careful to prevent fallout.

Not only does the palette come with 12 high-quality beautiful eyeshadows but it also comes with one hell of a brush! This is actually one of my most used eyeshadow brushes. It is double ended, one side is flat and densely packed which is perfect for packing colour on to the lid. The other side of the brush is longer and fluffier which is perfect for blending colour in to the crease and for softening the edges.

My favourite eyeshadow look using the Naked 2 Palette is really easy. I simply apply Suspect over the whole lid and then blend Snakebite in to the crease and outer corner to darken the edges and add a smokey effect. 

My favourite combinations are Suspect and Snakebite, Verve and Pistol and YDK and Busted. Bootycall is a great highlight shade as it has a slight shimmer which catches the light nicely. Having a matte black shade in the form of Blackout is also useful as it can be used to create a smokey eye or can also be used as an eyeliner when applied with a thin angled brush.

Suspect on lid and Snakebite in the crease.

Do you own the Naked 2 Palette? What are your favourite eyeshadow combinations?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

FOTD - Face of the Day

Being a retail slave, my 'weekends' are always midweek. On this particular Tuesday off, I had some extra time so I thought I would share my Face of the Day with you.

I didn't have any special plans but my hubby was off work too (another retail slave!) so we decided to spend the morning working on our hobbies (me blogging and him painting) and possibly pop out and do some shopping in the afternoon. So, although I slapped on some makeup, I went for quite a natural and simple look, mainly aiming to add some colour to my cheeks. I also wanted to try out my old abandoned MUA Heaven and Earth Palette to see how it compares to all the high-end eyeshadows I have been using lately. 

For base I used the Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation in 005 Light Beige (my current favourite) applied with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush and then used my MAC Pro Conceal and Correct Palette in Light, a full coverage concealer palette, to cover any blemishes and correct the dark circles under my eyes. I then used the Clinique Redness Solutions Compact Powder to counteract any redness and set my foundation.

To add some colour to my cheeks I used the No.7 Ballerina Blusher which was a limited edition blusher from last summer (sorry, it's just so pretty!) and then used The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in 01 to contour and warm my face up a bit. This is a new purchase for me and although I was sceptical that I would find a bronzer that would work for me I am actually really happy with it so far. I do still have to apply it with a light hand though.

For eyes I used the Elf Eyelid Primer for a base and then applied three eyeshadows from the MUA Heaven and Earth Palette. They don't have individual names but I used the 3rd, 4th and 6th from the left on the bottom row. I used the 4th (a shimmery taupe brown) all over lid, the 6th (a darker version of the 4th with more of a purple undertone) in the crease and a little of the 3rd (a champagne shimmery beige) to blend and highlight.

The pigmentation and application of these eyeshadows definitely isn't as good as MAC or Urban Decay and they are prone to fallout as they are quite shimmery/glittery but I think they are pretty great considering that this palette is £4! This palette also has a great variety of neutral shades to work with that are easy to mix and match, making it a perfect palette to pick up if you're looking to expand your neutral eyeshadow collection without spending a fortune.

To finish off the eyes I curled my eyelashes and applied the Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Waterproof Mascara. I used my Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner to make my lashes look fuller and to create a slight wing at the edges, and then of course used my trusty Une Eyebrow Pencil in B05 pencilled in to my eyebrows and then blended out with a spoolie for a more natural finish. I forgot to include it in my photo but I also used the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliner in West (a warm dark brown) on my bottom lash line for extra definition.

And finally, I applied a slick of MAC's Patisserie Lipstick for a subtle pop of colour to my lips. 

This is a pretty average Face of the Day for me, one that I wear most days for work and I just change the eyeshadows and lipstick a bit for variation.

Have you tried the MUA Heaven and Earth Palette? What are your favourite high-street/drugstore eyeshadows?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Easter Nails - Models Own Speckled Eggs Nail Polish

I already mentioned the green Speckled Eggs nail polish in my March Favourites (read here) and because I loved it so much, I decided to buy the lilac one (shade Swan), and a friend of mine loved it so much she asked me to pick up the pink one for her (shade Dove).

The Models Own Speckled Eggs range is a collection of 5 pastel shades (green, blue, purple, yellow and pink) with matte black specks in a range of sizes which, when layered, creates (as the name suggests) a speckled egg appearance.

The nail polish dries reasonably quickly and about 3 layers are needed for the desired effect. In my experience so far they last about 3 days before chipping which I am quite happy with as my nails always chip quickly!

My Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat polish got a bit too gloopy recently so I also picked up the Models Own 5-in-1 Top and Base Coat. This does seems to slow down the drying time as opposed to speeding it up which is a bit annoying but I haven't had the chance to test this one out fully yet so will keep you updated.

I have a feeling these are going to be my most worn nail polishes this Spring, I think they are just so damn cute!

Have you tried any of the Speckled Eggs collection? What are your favourite nail polishes for Spring?

Monday, 31 March 2014

One Year Ago Today....

To celebrate our first wedding anniversary, I thought I would share some of my favourite pictures and moments from our perfect day.
My sister/chief bridesmaid helped me to get ready on the morning of the wedding. She did my hair and helped me with my makeup. I think she did a very good job!
My Ellis Bridals wedding dress was perfect, it made me feel really beautiful and I am so sad that I can't wear it again.
There were lots of buttons though... Thanks mum!
My beautiful bridesmaids - my best friends Harriet and Hannah and my sister Clare.
Getting a bit emotional just before the ceremony.
The ceremony and reception were held in a Georgian manor, which was beautiful. We had the whole house to ourselves, it was all very intimate and cosy! Perfect for two people who don't like being the centre of attention.
This is one of my favourite photos, we had just kissed and been pronounced husband and wife. I was a bit emotional and Mark wasn't keen on my lip gloss haha.
We were surrounded by our favourite people in the world all day =) I think this photo captures the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
Our wedding was on Easter Sunday so our theme was a mixture of beautiful bright and pastel spring colours.
Our cake was made by a family friend and it was exactly what we hoped for. Beautiful and yummy!
To carry on the Easter/Spring theme we made little jars of mini eggs as place cards and wedding favours.
And we gave the kids Easter eggs and colouring books, which they seemed very happy with!
We kept the ceremony and wedding breakfast quite informal with around 35 - 40 of our closest friends and family. The speeches were lovely from my Dad, Mark and his Best Man.
It was lovely to see the kids having so much fun.
After the wedding breakfast and all the photos it was time for our first dance to Etta James' 'At Last' and then the evening reception with lots of drinking and dancing and the arrival of the evening guests. It was an amazing day, I don't think either of us had ever smiled so much. I wish we could do it all over again!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

March '14 Favourites

I love March, the beginning of Spring is always one of my favourite times of the year. I am reminded that the sun does actually exist, that colour in the form of blue skies and pretty flowers will re-appear after the never-ending grey of the winter. I am also reminded that people can be pleasant afterall, and that the entire population must have all been suffering to some degree with Seasonal Affective Disorder all winter. Although, I must admit, I am one of them. It is crazy how much better I feel when the sun is shining. So let's hope it carries on...or maybe I should just move abroad?

The second reason I love March is that it will now always be the month of our wedding anniversary, this year will be our 1st and I can't believe it has been a full year already! I will be putting up a blog post on the 31st with a few of my favourite photos from our happy day to celebrate. 

Anyway, I am rambling, let's get on with my monthly favourites...

MAC Pro Conceal and Correct Palette in Light

I have already written a detailed review on this one (read here) so I won't go on about it too much. This handy little palette has 4 of the MAC Studio Finish Concealers in both NW and NC shades (an indication of either cool or warm undertones) and two correctors, a pale yellow and a pale pink. This palette allows me to conceal blemishes easily with the creamy, full coverage concealers and then camouflage under-eye dark circles and areas of redness with the two correctors. The range of shades mean that I am covered in both winter and summer and could perhaps even try my hand at contouring. Love it!

Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Waterproof

After accidentally picking up the non-waterproof version of this mascara on not only one occasion but two (yes I am that stupid), I finally got my hands on my favourite mascara again. I have been using Maybelline's The Rocket Waterproof for a few months and do really like it but was eager to give this one a go again to compare. This one seems to hold a curl slightly better and gives you the nice fluttery eyelash effect but things can get a bit spidery when you try to layer too much. To be honest, I love both mascaras and would be happy with either.

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation in 005 Light Beige

I picked up both this foundation and the Revlon ColorStay Foundation (featured in last month's favourites - read here) at the same time and have been going back and forth between them, but over the last couple of weeks I have found myself reaching for this one more. It gives a lovely natural finish with decent coverage and is a great shade for my skintone. The Revlon ColorStay has started to separate on my skin after a few hours whereas this Maybelline one has great longevity. I am very impressed with it!

Models Own Speckled Eggs Nail Polish in Magpie

Around this time last year Illamasqua released a nail polish in a range of pastel colours with tiny pieces of matte black glitter (can it be called glitter if it's not sparkly??) which when applied to the nail resembles the appearance of a mini egg. Cute or what? I really wanted to get it in the pale blue colour to wear to my wedding as it was on Easter Sunday. We had jars of mini eggs for the guests as wedding favours and my bridesmaids wore a similar bluebell colour so I thought it would tie in perfectly. However, I couldn't justify paying £14 for one nail polish and instead used the money for a proper pamper shellac manicure instead.

This year Models Own brought out their own version for just £5! Well I couldn't resist. It is available in 5 pastel colours. I picked up Magpie, a pastel mint green, but I also have my eye on the lilac shade Swan for after payday. I haven't tried Models Own before but am so far very impressed with the formula. I applied three coats but could have got away with 2 and it lasted 3 days before chipping, without a top coat (pretty good considering that I work in retail and that stock rooms are the natural enemy of manicures).

Maybelline Color Tattoo in On and On Bronze

I know, I know, I can't believe I am going on about this one again! By now pretty much everyone has tried and loves this product but I just can't get enough of it. It's just so easy to swipe over your eyelid in the morning without anything else, it looks lovely and it lasts all day. A friend of mine is off to America next month and has kindly offered to pick up some makeup for me. I am hoping she can track down the Maybelline Color Tattoos in the limited edition nude shades as I know I will get a lot of use out of them and unfortunately we just can't get them in the UK.

And finally my last favourite is this super cute makeup bag that my mum made! She has recently started up her own craft business and makes makeup bags, aprons, purses and more. She uses such cute and high-quality fabrics and the time and detail she puts in to them is amazing. Each product is uniquely customised and very reasonably priced. I'll leave a link when she has set up her ebay shop in case you fancy having a look.

What have been your favourite beauty products this month?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Foundations for Pale / Fair Skin

As someone with a 'porcelain' complexion, I know how hard it can be to find the correct shade when it comes to foundation. After almost a year of blogging I now have a better understanding of skin 'undertones' and finding a suitable colour match. I have now road-tested a fair amount of foundations and thought I would share my findings as it may be helpful to someone else. From the lightest shades I have found on the high-street, to which brands are better for 'cool' and 'warm' complexions.

I currently have 8 foundations sitting in my collection...

Vichy Dermablend Ultra-Corrective Cream-Stick Foundation in Porcelain

This foundation was going to be the answer to my much needed coverage prayers but unfortunately, I have never been able to make it work for me. When swatched on the back of my hand, it is smooth, blends effortlessly, has a fantastic full coverage and leaves a youthful desirable finish. For some reason this just doesn't transfer to the face. Instead it is a thick cream foundation that applies in patches and clings to every dry area on the face. I have tried it over primer and thick moisturiser, I have applied it with fingers and a brush but it just won't work. In my experience I would say it's for oily skin only. The shade however, is great for my skin tone, if maybe even a little too pale.

Price - £19
Shade Range - 7 shades from Porcelain to Coffee
Coverage - Full (if you can get it to work)
Undertone - Neutral
Rating - 1/5

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

This foundation has the weirdest shade range! I own the two lightest shades, 010 Light Porcelain and 100 Ivory. Ivory is actually the darkest out of all the foundations I own and Light Porcelain is by far the lightest shade I have ever come across in the high-street/drugstore. I personally need to mix equal parts of the two shades to match my skintone. If you are very pale and really struggle to find a shade to match, I would highly recommend trying Light Porcelain.

This foundation has great coverage and leaves a matte finish. Even though it is matte it works pretty well with my dry skin and it lasts a reasonable amount of time. Because it is a mousse foundation, it's best to avoid it if you have a lot of hair on your face as it will make this more obvious! (Pictures of me wearing this one - here).

Price - £5.99
Shade Range - 6 shades with a very pale option (010 Light Porcelain)
Coverage - Medium - Full
Undertone - 010 - Cool, 100 - Warm
Rating - 4/5

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation in 005 Light Beige

This is a reasonably new foundation for me which I have been road-testing on and off over the last month. It is fast becoming a favourite and I find myself reaching for it on a regular basis. The shade is one of the best I have found, pale with a cool/slightly pink undertone. It has a reliable medium coverage with a very natural finish (not too matte but not too dewy) but still evens out the skintone and reduces the appearance of redness. I have a feeling this is going to be my new go-to daily foundation!

Price - £8.99
Shade Range - 8 shades (005 light beige is the lightest)
Coverage - Medium
Undertone - Cool/pink
Rating - 4/5

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in Shade 51

A favourite in the beauty blogosphere, this foundation has a lovely texture and a healthy/dewy finish. Although it is pale, it has a very warm/yellow undertone which is way too warm for my own complexion so this one really doesn't get used. If you're pale but find most pale foundations too pink toned I would highly recommend giving Bourjois foundations a try. I would say that it is a light-medium coverage, whereas I personally prefer a medium- full coverage.

Price - £10.99
Shade Range - 6 shades all with yellow undertones (51 is the lightest)
Coverage - Light - Medium
Undertone - Very warm/yellow
Rating - 3/5

Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in 110 Ivory

This foundation is available in two formulas, one for combination/oily skin and one for dry skin. After reading a few reviews, a number of blogs actually recommended the combination/oily formula for those with dry skin as well. I have however, found that it does sometimes cling to dry patches and perhaps the dry formula would be better for my skin type so I am tempted to try this one in the future

When first applied it leaves a lovely semi matte finish and sets quickly so that you can layer. With one layer I would say it was a light-medium coverage but this is buildable to an extent. I do love the finish of this foundation when it is first applied but after a few weeks of use I have noticed that it seems to separate on the skin after 4 or 5 hours wear, sometimes quite noticeably! I then need to blend it again with my fingers.  I am very impressed with the shade range that Revlon offer, this shade in particular being the second lightest foundation that I own, I am however not impressed with the price as it is definitely one of the more expensive high-street brand foundations. (Pictures of me wearing this one - here).

Price - £12.49
Shade Range - 9 shades (110 Ivory is the lightest)
Coverage - Light - Medium (but buildable)
Undertone - Neutral
Rating - 3/5

Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hr Foundation in 005 Light Beige

I used this foundation for years before I started blogging and actually wore it on my wedding day. I didn't realise at the time that there were foundations with much better coverage and longevity and that dry areas on my face didn't need to be quite so obvious. The shade is the same as the Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation (005 Light Beige - pale with a cool/slightly pink undertone). It is a nice foundation but there are better for my particular skin needs. This one would perhaps be better for oily skin. (Picture of me wearing this one - here).

Price - £8.99
Shade Range - 8 shades
Coverage - Light - Medium
Undertone - Cool/pink
Rating - 2/5

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Mont Blanc

The Nars Sheer Glow Foundation definitely has a blogger hype surrounding it and it is one of the only high-end foundations that I have invested in so far. It has a slightly yellow undertone but no where near as much as the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum so instead it just works nicely to counteract redness on my skintone. When applied it has a lovely dewy healthy finish and although it is described as 'sheer' it is actually more of a medium coverage.

I thought I would love this foundation more than I do. Don't get me wrong I do think it is a beautiful foundation but something is missing considering the hefty price tag so I probably won't re-purchase it when it runs out. It is also disappointing that this foundation does not have a pump and being quite a runny liquid foundation it can be tricky not to accidentally pour too much! (Pictures of me wearing this one - here and here).

Price - £31.00
Shade Range - About 20 (Mont Blanc is the second lightest shade, Siberia is the lightest).
Coverage - Medium
Undertone - Slightly warm/yellow
Rating -3/5

Based on the foundations/shades that I own...
Best for a cool undertone - Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin or SuperStay 24Hr Foundation
Best for a warm undertone - Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation
Best for a neutral undertone - Revlon ColorStay Foundation
Palest shade - Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in 010 Light Porcelain
Darkest shade - Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in 100 Ivory
Best for a dewy finish - Nars Sheer Glow Foundation
Best for a natural finish - Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation
Best for a matte finish - Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation 
Cheapest - Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation 
Most expensive - Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

It is certainly easier to find pale foundations with higher-end brands as they tend to have a much larger shade range than high-street offerings. One foundation I am tempted to invest in is the Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation, a buildable medium coverage foundation with a vast shade range and a weightless finish. The woman at the counter tried this is on me and for reference I am shade 1.0 (the lightest shade is 0.5 which really is very pale!). At £27 it is slightly cheaper than the Nars Sheer Glow. 

It is hard to justify buying a new foundation when I have 8 already in my collection but I am yet to find that perfect foundation that does everything I need. Any suggestions??