November 26, 2013

Hello again! Mineral makeup, anyone?

After having taken such a huge break from blogging, I’m just going to post something normal that will let me pretend that I’ve been here the whole time! I now work at the Body Shop, and a big part of my job is putting makeup on anyone who stands still long enough that I can catch them. It’s really fun, and it also lets me practise my makeup skills as well as allowing me to work with different kinds of products that I would otherwise have to buy and test for myself. I’m writing about a Body Shop foundation today, but this is just because I happen to use it on clients a lot; I’ve not been asked to write this, and my only motivation is that I wanted to mention it for myself. My boss doesn’t even know I have a blog!

A big deal at the Body Shop is mineral makeup. Obviously, as a more ethical and responsible company, the Body Shop want to be sure that they aren’t giving people lots of nasty ingredients that will be bad for their skin; the ‘Extra Virgin Minerals’ mineral foundation is made of 5 mineral ingredients, so it’s nice and simple (and talc free). The main reason that I like it though, is that it actually comes in a pale enough colour for my face! This is depressingly rare, as many of my pale-skinned sisters will attest. Clearly, it’s not offensive in the way that failing to cater for ladies & gents with much darker skin is offensive, but it is a royal pain in the behind sometimes when makeup companies or retailers think that everyone in the world is some variant of ‘medium beige’. So it’s nice to be able to give light-skinned girls a really pretty makeover that’s right for them, rather than trying to fob them off with orange stuff.

The coverage is medium, but buildable if you really work the product hard. It isn’t as full coverage as bareMinerals powder, not quite, but it feels lighter on the skin, which I know for a lot of people is a worthy tradeoff. I do prefer a fuller coverage personally, and it doesn’t quite glide onto the skin in the same way as more expensive mineral powders, but it is definitely adequate for most people. The packaging is the same, and contains the same 5g of product with a plastic sifter in the top. It’s just as messy when you’re in a hurry in the morning, which never fails to annoy me, but that’s probably my own fault!

On me, it stays quite matte for quite a long time. Again, this is impressive in comparison with the bareMinerals matte (which I also currently own), as this product doesn’t keep its promise for very long. Admittedly, I work hard under strong lights, so someone who isn’t always hot might not find it melts so much, but the Body Shop powder definitely stays put longer on me. (For example, I’ll work for a bit, then touch up with Body Shop mineral powder, then not have to touch up again for a LOT longer.)

Finally, I don’t feel that it clogs my pores or does anything bad to my skin, which is great as I am a bit acne-prone these days. I like a matte finish all year round, but especially in the autumn and winter, and oddly enough this is the time of year when I often reach for my mineral makeup. I think perhaps it’s because you get up in the dark, do your makeup in funny light, and don’t want anything complicated or tricky! Or maybe that’s just me (I’m almost impossible to drag from my duvet in these winter months). 

I apologise for the lack of a proper photo, but this stock photo of the product will have to do for now. Anyway, I think the Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals powder foundation is a great option for those who need something gentle for their skin, but prefer a matte finish and the ease of a throw-it-on powder that lasts on the skin. Also, it sells for £15 on the website, which is a reasonable price for a midrange foundation that should last you a good 5 months even with a lot of use. 



January 22, 2013

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes!

So…I’ve been away for 5 months. I’m sure most people thought I’d gone forever! During those 5 months I have moved house twice, nearly got into a serious legal battle, graduated from university, lost my job, broken up with my boyfriend and – as a result of all that stress – had a major skin meltdown.

Because of all that, I hope anyone who still reads this can understand why I couldn’t be a faithful blogger during these last few months. Right now, everything is still up in the air and pretty stressful, but I’m now at a stage where I’d like to come back because talking about makeup might be therapeutic! So WordPress, please take me back. I never meant to hurt you…

I’m going to play around with the theme etc. of my blog a little over the next few days, and then hopefully get straight back to makeup chat as before! I’m going to pretend it’s a ‘relaunch’. Indulge me 🙂

August 5, 2012

Juicy Red Lips for Summer

The beauty brands/fashion houses may all be bringing out their autumn collections, but here in the UK summer is only just kicking in. One thing I love to wear during the summer is a really fresh, juicy red lip – and I was desperately hunting around for a gloss that was just the right texture (something like a Lancome Juicy Tube) with enough pigment to be a proper red, that didn’t cost as much as – well, a Juicy Tube. My search was in vain.

Until I opened my cupboard and realised that I had it all along! My YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in no. 6, a gorgeous red, with the sheer juicy effect but with enough colour to balance out natural summer eyes. It is exactly what I was looking for – I’m so silly 🙂

That’s the danger of having more glosses/lipsticks/makeup in general than I really need (but we all know I can’t help myself)!

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July 28, 2012

I am alive, I promise – and I have Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24h

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I am really excited.

For the first time in a couple of years, I have a proper high-end foundation (that isn’t MAC – I am not a fan of their foundations really and wouldn’t consider it ‘high end’, as it’s a pro brand) – I splashed out and got the new formula Lancôme Teint Idole. It’s all the fault of the wonderful RaeView on YouTube, as I watched her review of it and instantly knew I wanted to return to my previous love, Lancôme.

As a student I bought quite a few foundations, but all of them from Superdrug or Boots. As my debut into makeup at the tender age of 15 or so was pretty much all high-end stuff (not that I was rich, far from it; my mum just refused to buy me cheap things!) I expect a lot from my foundations, and have never found a drugstore one that met my requirements. In general they feel awful on the skin – you can never forget that you’re wearing them – and they almost never come in a pale enough shade for me. My main problem with them other than shade is that they always feel like a layer of oil or ick on my face, even if they are in fact oil-free; a case in point is the MaxFactor Xperience Weightless foundation, which is indeed weightless but still feels greasy and sweaty on my face. (Sorry for the gross imagery there!) Teint Idole sinks into my skin making it feel unbelievably soft and lovely, without me actually really noticing that I have makeup on at all.

Lancôme have restored my faith in my face. (That’s catchy; I like it!) The new Teint Idole holds up well even in the heat that we’ve been experiencing lately, and doesn’t have any kind of mask-like look to it despite its pretty decent coverage. One thing that I’ve missed about high-end foundations is that you can generally just stick a bit more under your eyes to conceal dark circles and they do the job without looking cakey or even detectable. As long as I didn’t have tons of blemishes, I’d rather have a high-end foundation than a high-end concealer for this reason.

It smells gorgeous and fairly posh, another thing that I’ve missed. I really feel that my makeup should feel luxurious and exciting when you use it; even if you don’t like scents, the beautiful packaging will do this for you. I want to feel like the lady in the YSL or Lancôme adverts who clearly lives her life among lovely perfume bottles and sleek lipstick bullets, wearing exquisitely tailored clothes, even if I can’t actually be her. Obviously if you are sensitive to scent this point won’t be a plus for you, but as a general rule I think it’s fab.

The finish, as I kind of mentioned, is not mask-like but actually semi-matte. It does make a vague attempt to be matte, but it leaves the skin looking luminous at the same time – super oily skins may need to powder this foundation, which is fair enough in my opinion. I don’t bother to powder it as I like the finish and it works OK with my skin type. I wouldn’t say that the luminosity would rule anyone out though; even a few years ago when my skin was much oilier, I think I could have worn this one without any problems.

Basically there’s not much more I can say! Unlike so many of my other foundations (except my powder ones, I always seem to use those up) I think I will reach for this on an almost daily basis, and I can definitely see myself needing to repurchase when I eventually get to the bottom. Ooooh, that reminds me – one final brilliant thing about this foundation, and about most high-end ones that I’ve tried is that a little goes a long long long long long long way! To compare with the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation, when applied with the same brush, I would use half the amount of the Lancôme and get more coverage out of it. Draw your own conclusions.

I am back in the Lancôme fold, and I love it. I don’t know why I ever left (er, actually I do – the love of my life set me back £27)! However, now that I’ve remembered how wonderful it is, and how much money I must have wasted on cheaper foundations, I don’t regret it for a second. LOVE.

July 1, 2012

Trying To Breathe Calmly

Oh my goodness, I am so scared.

My degree result comes out tomorrow and I’m terrified! I really, really, REALLY need to have done well!! I’ve been waiting so long…all my Facebook friends in the same year as me have all got their results already, some as early as two weeks ago!

My skin’s been going mental because I’m so nervous. I’ve been trying to calm it down with Vichy, but there’s only so much I can do.

The worst part is the result doesn’t come out until 5pm or even later – and I have to go to college to get it, as they post them on a piece of paper on a noticeboard in the department!

Sorry. Nervous rant over. Now I just have to turn to my beloved Revlon Colourstay to cover up my nervous skin…and paint the confidence on my face that I don’t have in my head!

June 11, 2012

Getting Away With Pulling an All-Nighter!

I possibly should have written this during exam season and not after…oh well! Last night I got very little sleep and I had to be up pretty early for a meeting, and as I was desperately doing damage control on my face, it occurred to me to write about it! Everyone misses out on sleep now and again, no matter how virtuous you usually are – and I am pretty nocturnal, so it can be hard for me to get enough.


The first thing I do in the morning, regardless of how much sleep I’ve had, is to use my Botanics Rosewater toner to gently clean my face. My skin is super duper prone to going bright red if I wash it with a flannel; unless I’m in the shower, I try to avoid it in the morning as it takes ages to calm down again. My toner makes my skin feel fresh and clean while also reducing redness – winner!

Next I’ll reach for the most effective eye cream I own – Origins GinZing. Clearly, the name is a play on ‘ginseng, and according to the website, “Origins proprietary complex of Caffeine from Coffee bean, Panax Ginseng, Magnolia Extract and natural optic brighteners rapidly wakes up, refreshes and restores radiance to tired eyes”. Not too specific, but it sounds clever!
It really does do a good job of brightening up my eyes. I don’t actually own a full size version of this; I have a little tester, which I carefully guard and save for the most shocking of morning dark circles. This morning I looked like a panda that had been in a bar fight; I think I was dehydrated, which really does not help matters!

Once that’s been patted in, I’ll go in with my moisturiser. I only have pore-refining serums at the moment, and those tend to make my skin look more dull – definitely not what I’m after in my sleep-deprived state, so I’ll skip it. I used my Botanics Sweet Gale Oil-Free Moisturiser first, with about 1 and a half pumps less than usual (I’d normally use 3 to 4!) as I was planning on double-teaming my products. This is a very light gel, which feels lovely and liquidy on the skin but disappears quickly. It smells like absolute hell though, just a warning.

My star product was my Origins Brighter By Nature moisturiser, which really does brighten remarkably well and totally saved my face this morning. However, if you value your eyes, keep it well away! And I mean don’t go near them! You might think you’ve kept it away from the eye area, then about 1 minute later…the burning starts, and doesn’t stop until your eyes are red and watery and seriously unattractive. Really, no matter how much I love this cream (and I do) this has always been a major downside to it for me.
However, I knew that already, so I did keep it well away. The result was skin that upon close examination may not have been 100% perfect, but looked one heck of a lot better than the awful apparition that was staring at me from the mirror 5 minutes before, and definitely looked like I’d managed to hit the pillow for more than 2 hours.


I had to keep my makeup fairly low key as I was going to work, and that was fine by me as I was a) yawning hugely and b) aware that more makeup would not necessarily make me look more awake. So I concentrated on brightening. As the Origins moisturiser and eye cream left my face looking quite dewy, I wanted to go with that but not look quite so…moisturised. So I used some MAC Studio Finish concealer liberally all around my eye area; this completely obliterated the dark circles and brightened up the area. Its creamy formula also blends really easily, and doesn’t diminish the fresh look I was after. I stuck a little bit on other areas too, but it was mainly the eyes which made the difference.

I did that first because I was planning to use a powder foundation. I know that sounds a bit odd, if I was after fresh skin, but I apply MAC Studio Fix Powder + with a light hand and a soft brush – this mattifies and perfects my skin without ever looking cakey. Forget the sponge it comes with though, unless seriously in an emergency situation. That way cakefacedness lies.
My technique for applying this foundation quickly but lightly has been perfected over several years of waking up 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave for lectures. I use the e.l.f. Studio Complexion Brush (NOT the deadly Powder Brush – see my comment about the sponge) and whack it on all over. This brush breaks up the application enough that it looks natural and pretty rather than powdery.
One reason I really like this powder is that it seems to come up fairly light. On me this translates as brightening and nice rather than too pale (seriously, I swear I could use the white Face and Body) and so it’s brilliant for looking awake in a flash.

One of my new favourite products ever is my Pixi blush/highlighter duo which I bought from All Cosmetics Wholesale. I have the palest one, and the blush seems like it’s going to look really unnatural and pastel-y, but it doesn’t at all. The texture is beautiful and the highlighter, though sparkly in the pan, is ever so subtle. This is my new favourite thing to wake up my face! I apply it with a small MAC dual-fibre brush – can’t remember the number but it’s the baby cousin of the 187 – which makes sure it’s sheer, but gorgeous.

For my eyes, I didn’t want to look overdone for work so I just put some brown eyeliner pencil on the outer half of my upper and lower lashlines and waterlines. Brown is obviously more forgiving than black, especially at that time of the morning! A hasty swipe of shimmery peach eyeshadow on the inner corner of my eye, a coat of Maxfactor False Lash Effect and some Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait and I was out the door. I did then get rained on for a good 20 minutes but I’m sure I still looked a lot less miserable than I would have done otherwise!

It’s not that hard, or that time-consuming, to fake sleep! (But don’t do it too much, you can only push yourself so far!)


June 6, 2012

The Touche Éclat Conspiracy

I used Touche Éclat wfor the first time when I was probably around 15, and back then it was just ‘nicking my mum’s concealer’ – not a big deal, as my mum loves YSL and so pretty much anything I borrowed would have been too expensive really to waste on a teenager! Of course, now there’s so much hype around it, it has achieved mystical status – something which I think is a little over the top. Don’t get me wrong, I love the shiny gold highlighting magic pen as much as the next person, but I think that in terms of actual results, it can be done for less.

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I first thought this blasphemous thing a few months ago, when I finally tried out the Collection 2000 long-lasting concealer (I forget its name because it’s such good quality that all the writing on the tube immediately rubbed off as soon as I bought it) – it’s fairly light in shade, not at all too light but enough that it really brightens up my eye area as soon as I put it on. In fact, it does a much better job of brightening than my mum’s Touche Éclat (I’ve never bought my own!). Of course, it has a matte finish, and sets extremely quickly – great if that’s what you want, but if you like the light consistency of Touche Éclat, it’s not going to do. Another alternative which I have also tried is the Clinique brush/pen concealer (again, can’t remember the exact product name but they only make one I think!). This is obviously the same format as the Touche Éclat and I found it quite comparable. Light coverage, and has a highlighting effect – especially if you buy a shade which is fairly light on you, as I always do anyway.

There are also several cheapie versions of highlighting pens springing up. Collection 2000 have one for the low price of £4.99, called ‘Illuminating Touch’ I believe, and L’Oreal have their Lumi Magique Highlighting Pen which is under £10. Given that I find simple concealer to do the job, I’m sure these are quite effective; I’m going to try the Collection 2000 one soon, but haven’t yet.

Basically, my point is, obviously the Touche Éclat is a beautiful and luxurious thing to have – but from my own experience, I am not convinced that it’s necessary to shell out £25 if it’s the product and results you want, rather than the packaging!

May 31, 2012

Advantage Card Points Shopping!

So..I have one more exam tomorrow, and then my degree is over! Scary stuff. Anyway, I realised the other day that I have about £34 on my Boots Advantage Card and I thought I’d treat myself once I’d finished my finals. I’m going to go to the huge flagship store on Oxford Street so I’ll be able to get basically anything they sell!

I can’t decide what to buy – £34 seems to be just over what I’d need to get one expensive thing, or enough one and a half pretty nice things…anywho, here’s my wish list! If anyone has any thoughts or recommendations, please tell me! These are just all the things I want or need from Boots, regardless of price.

Real Techniques Brushes, the Core Collection – £21.99
Vichy Aqualia Thermale Light moisturiser – £16
Clinique Even Better foundation – £22
Lancome Teint Idole – £27
Origins High Potency Night-a-mins Night Cream – £32
YSL Touche Eclat – £25 (might get one of the new cheapie versions of this one though, I’m curious to see how good they are!)
YSL Teint Radiance foundation – £31
Some kind of exciting eye palette, depending on what I see when I’m there.

I wanted to get more expensive things rather than lots of smaller cheaper things because, as my long-suffering friend pointed out (I always drag her around when I’m shopping for makeup!) I’ll probably end up buying the smaller things at some point anyway, and I want this to seem like a treat!

Any thoughts? 😀 yay for the end of university! Terrifying but exciting!

May 25, 2012

Vichy Cleanser Love!

White/blue tube of cleanser

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This cleanser costs £11 from Boots, and at first you might, like me, think that’s pretty steep for something that’s basically just taking off your makeup and is on your skin for under a minute. But I was after a cream cleanser, and I like Vichy, and…it just happened. Later that evening when I used it, I was SO happy that it did!

It’s a light creamy cleanser which smells gorgeous but not overpowering. It takes off my makeup extremely easily (though I don’t wear waterproof mascara so I don’t know how it’d work on that – I guess it’d do well). It says on the tube that it cleanses, takes off makeup and tones the skin; I don’t know exactly what that means, as I have no idea what it’d feel like without the ‘toning’ part! Still, my skin feels wonderfully comfortable and soft when I’ve just used this, so maybe there’s something in it!

My skin seems to love this cleanser, to the extent that if I go away and don’t take it with me, my skin ‘misses’ it after a day or so. Nothing hugely noticeable, but when I get back and use it again, I can definitely feel the improvement immediately! I haven’t touched any of my other cleansers for ages now, and I have no real reason to – definitely repurchasing this baby when I run out (not that I will for a while, with 200ml in the tube)!

Total 5 star hit! Recommended.

May 24, 2012

Oh My Gosh It’s Summer And My Legs Look Like This

…yeah, no, there’s no way I’m putting up a picture of my legs! But figuratively speaking, my legs look like *this*. Ie., awful. Last week it felt like the depths of winter and there was absolutely no motivation to start preparing for summer, and then BAM. Sunburn and shorts all round.

I’ve always had a thing about my legs; I just don’t like them. They could be as slender as you like and I’d probably still worry that someone was looking at me and thinking “ooh, she should NOT be allowed out in shorts”. Some of this is down to my mother’s eager encouragement of ballet when I was a little girl, and my own eager cycling habits; my calves are irretrievably muscular. Anyway, the point is, if I want to wear shorts without feeling self-conscious I have to work HARD. So this is what I do!

For four weeks, I follow this set of exercises for my legs. This is basically the only thing I’ve ever done where I’ve been able to see visible and encouraging results from exercise, so I know it works (at least for me – don’t sue me!) – it’s just a combination of squats and heel raises:

1. 20 squats with my legs about hip-width apart.
2. 20 heel raises, as above.
3. 20 squats with my legs close together.
4. 20 heel raises with my toes turned inwards about 45 degrees in order to work the outside of the calves.
5. 30 squats with my legs as wide apart as is comfortable and sensible(!) – this works the inside of the thigh.
6. 30 heel lifts with my toes turned out as far as is comfortable (in ballet this would be 1st position).
7. 20 squats with legs hip-width apart as #1.
8. 20 heel raises as #1/2.

This only takes a couple of minutes to go through and, if I do it every day, does significantly improve how my legs look and feel. Obviously, if anyone feels like trying this or something similar, don’t hurt yourself, don’t do anything that feels weird, and don’t blame me – goodness knows I don’t know what I’m talking about. There, disclaimer disclaimer’d.

The reason I do 30 of a couple of them is because they are the most effective (I feel) and so I want to get the most out of them.

I also try and run as much as I can, but when it’s this hot it’s hard..!

All this plus some Garnier body lotion with self-tanner stuff in means I actually managed to leave the house today in something shorter than knee length! Hooray for summery weather!

What do you guys do to prepare for summer? Or are you all perfect all year round? 😛

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