Monday, 31 March 2014

New Discovery: Stila Convertible Colour

When Stila had a 25% off code I immediately ordered a Stila Convertible Colour in Lilium, a lovely dark pink shade. I love multi-use products and thought that a blush and lip colour in one sounded amazing.

To be honest, I've never worn blush regularly so it might seem a little strange that I bought a blusher for £12 - not the cheapest option I know! However, I have used it everyday since it arrived in the post and my make-up routine has now changed.

I use a small brush to lightly dab it across my cheeks and blend it a little with a large blusher brush. It has a dewy finish that provides a really natural healthy glow, I can't believe how much difference it makes.

It's safe to say that I'm officially converted to cream blusher, I will definitely be considering the other shades in the range which also look gorgeous. The fact that it doubles up as a matching lip colour is just brilliant.

Is anyone else a fan of the Stila Convertible Colour? Any recommendations for other shades?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Back to Basics: Skincare

I have recently started using a cleansing balm in the evenings to remove my make-up instead of using a face wash (again I was inspired by Caroline Hirons' blog). To really do a good cleanse and exfoliate a little I have been using face cloths to wipe away the cleansing balm with warm water. 

Implementing a proper skin care routine hasn't actually felt like a chore as you might think, it is more relaxing and pampering - a nice treat when I get home after a busy day! 

Anyway, I know that Primark flannels are recommended as you can get three for £1.50 and it doesn't matter that they are so cheap, they need to be machine washable. I found some even cheaper ones at Wilkinsons which are only 30p each - they are 100% cotton so they are soft enough for daily use. I ordered 15 online (and picked up in store for free) - this will mean I have enough for two weeks before I run out. I would definitely recommend picking some of these up, they are great value.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Highlighter Line-Up

I love highlighters. Powders, creams, primers - anything. Here are a few that I currently have in rotation.

Sleek MakeUp Face Contour Kit (Medium), £6.49
I don't do a lot of contouring - my first attempt went wrong and I haven't tried again since, however I use the highlighter from this kit almost daily. It is subtle and light, and doesn't have the dreaded glittery shimmer. I like to apply it with the Real Techniques Contour Brush as it picks up just a little powder.

Collection Blush and Highlight in Peaches & Cream, £4.19
The highlight in this is quite solid - it doesn't blend easily but it is great at brightening, it works well above my eyes.
This is the best multi-purpose highlighter - it can be used under foundation, mixed in with foundation or over foundation in the places where you want to highlight more. I love using it as a finishing product across my cheekbones for a nice dewy highlight.
The newest addition to my collection, it is so silky and soft - I really like the application of this. I use it in a similar way to the Seventeen primer, but it's much quicker to use as you just need to swipe it across your cheekbones and blend a little.
This one I use as a primer underneath foundation when I feel like my skin needs brightening all over, it is perfect for this.

Does anyone have any other highlighter favourites?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Skincare Wishlisting

Images: Pixi Glow Tonic, Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm, REN Clarifying Toning Lotion, Hydraluron, Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream, REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream

So recently I've been reading up on skincare a lot more than usual, in particular on Caroline Hirons' wonderful blog. I tend to go through phases of what I'm interested in, such as lipsticks or eyeshadows, right now it seems to be skincare! This has led to a rather lengthy wishlist of products that I would love to try - these are my top picks.

First up, Pixi Glow Tonic for twice a day toning as a gentle chemical exfoliant.

Merumaya Melting Cleansing balm which has had several good reviews for a lower-priced cleanser.

REN Clarifying Toning Lotion as another exfoliating toner.

Hydraluron which is supposed to be the ultimate hydration boost for dry skin - something I am saving my Boots points for (nearly there!).

Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream as a really nice simple moisturiser that will provide good hydration and base for make-up.

REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream also looks like a good day moisturiser.

Has anyone tried these? I would love to hear your opinions!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Revlon Highlighting Palette - Multi-Tasking Wonder?

I recently picked this up from Superdrug for £6.99 though it is currently on 3 for 2 at Boots if you were planning on buying anything else.

It contains five colours: pale pink highlight, pink, brown-toned bronze, warm-toned bronze and light-toned bronze. Each strip is wide enough to use alone as you can easily pick up just one colour with your chosen brush, or you can swipe your brush through as many shades as you'd like to mix them up.

The colours are very soft and subtle, it would be difficult to go OTT with this product so it would be perfect for a first-time venture into highlighting powders.

I like to use the Real Techniques Contour Brush to apply a mix of all five colours across my cheekbones, or sometimes just the pale highlight shade. When you apply it to your face it doesn't look shimmery at all, so I am happy to use it everyday.

Now I love it as a highlighter but what about as an eyeshadow? I tried this out today with a combination of the bronze shades and the highlighter, it is quite shimmery as I used quite a lot but it looks nice. If you were really pushed for space in your make-up bag you could definitely get away with just this for eyes and cheeks.

Has anyone else tried this palette?

Friday, 14 March 2014

No7 Buys, Take 2

Okay, so I may have been back to Boots with my second lot of No7 vouchers (£5 off skincare and £3 off make-up) to take advantage of the current 3 for 2 offer. I couldn't help myself, I really wanted to try the new highlighter stick and I'd seen some good reviews on the cleansing balm.

The items I bought were, it cost £11.45 altogether so very good value:
No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter, £9.95
I've only had a quick play with this but first impressions are that it is so silky and looks amazing - more on this another time!

No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm for Dry-Very Dry Skin, £9.50
Definitely getting into skincare a lot more now, I'm looking for a good hydrating cleanser and hoping this one will be nice.

No7 Soft Soothed Gentle Toner, £8.00
I went for this one as I've been looking for a good toner to use in my skincare routine. I checked the ingredients and found that it is alcohol-free and contains glycerin, which is recommend in toners so I thought I'd give this one a go.

I'm only slightly tempted to go back to Boots with my last set of vouchers.. Anyone else snapped up a No7 bargain?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sleek Make-Up i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette - Au Naturel

Sleek Make-Up i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette - Au Naturel, £7.99
First I just want to say how much I like the packaging of Sleek products. It's so simple and compact, the products look really elegant. The size of this palette would make it perfect for travelling - while I admit I have been using nothing but the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette for the past two weeks, I wouldn't take it away with me so the Sleek palette will really be useful for trips.

It has a lovely mix of matte and shimmery shades, with a decent variety of colours. The pigmentation is fantastic but they don't last all day even with a primer. My favourites are the matte taupe, Regal, and the dark shimmery brown, Conker. They work well together for a nice smokey eye look.

I haven't tried many products from Sleek but I am really impressed with this palette. I would recommend it as it is good value for only £7.99 (I bought mine on Amazon for £5.75, it's not always in stock though).

Has anyone tried any of the other Sleek palettes?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ultimate Lip Care Duo

Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips and The Body Shop Aloe Lip Care
I have discovered a fantastic lip care duo to combat dry lips that can often come from using a lot of matte lip products! I recently received the Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips (£11.50) in the You Beauty Discovery Box and purchased The Body Shop Aloe Lip Care (£5.00) upon essiebutton's recommendation in this video.

The Dr Lipp balm has quite a thick consistency and feels very hydrating so I've been using this overnight to really soften my lips while I sleep. In the day I apply my lip colour or gloss in the morning (usually a Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm or Maybelline Color Sensational High Shine Lip Gloss) and then take The Body Shop balm with me to work. This one is much lighter but still feels very moisturising. The applicator is great for quickly applying throughout the day.

The combination of these two products has really helped to make my lips soft, which means I can use matte lip crayons as much as I like!

Has anyone else tried these?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box March 2014

After a few disappointing boxes from Glossybox I started a search for a new beauty box as I really like the idea of a monthly box of treats that might introduce me to new products. You pay £6.95 each month (including P&P) and can choose two products from a selection - there are usually around 10 options. You also receive a couple of samples in addition to the items you choose. I would recommend choosing as soon as you can on the 1st of each month as items do go out of stock quickly if they are popular.

This month I chose the Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter 90ml & Muslin Cloth (RRP £12.00) and the Original Nipple Balm for Lips 15ml (RRP £11.50) - both full size products. I have yet to try these but I have read good things about both so I am looking forward to using them.

The extra items were two Dragonfly teabags and The Vintage Cosmetic Company Tweezers - these are nice additions to the box, something a little different!

Overall I am very impressed with the contents of this box, the cleansing balm and lip balm alone are worth £23.50 so it is definitely good value for only £6.95. Although it's not a surprise when you receive the box I am really enjoying picking what I like each month. If you're looking for an affordable beauty box treat where you can avoid products you won't use this would be great.

Did anyone else get the You Beauty Discovery Box this month? What did you receive?

(FYI - the cleanser is already out of stock but there are still some other good choices available)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Boots No7 Offer

After reading a tip on Money Saving Expert about using the No7 vouchers in conjunction with the current 3 for 2 promotion I thought it sounded too good to be true.

Here's the idea: at the moment if you spend over £5 in store you receive vouchers to get £5 off No7 skincare and £3 off No7 make-up. You can then use both vouchers with the 3 for 2 offer.

So I took my vouchers along to Boots and asked the No7 staff if the vouchers would work with the 3 for 2 offer as I was a little apprehensive about taking the products and vouchers to the till in case it didn't work. It was confirmed that it would work, so I chose two Stay Perfect Nail Polishes (Pink Blossom and Cheeky Chops, £6 each) and the Beautiful Skin Quick Thinking Wipes (£7) and paid only £5. I even received another set of No7 vouchers to use!

I went for the products recommend by Money Saving Expert to get £19 of products for £5, but you could choose any combination and save money. I'm thinking about going back before the 3 for 2 offer ends to get some more of their new products.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Battle of the Budget Eye Primers

W7 Prime Magic Eye Primer, £1.99
MUA Pro Base Eye Primer, £2.50

After weeks, maybe months, of checking Superdrug for the MUA Pro Base Eye Primer I finally found it last week! It is also now in stock on the Superdrug website for anyone who can't find it in their local store.

I have been using the W7 primer since I bought it in November but I wanted to test the MUA version as well. I decided that the best way to compare them would be a head-to-head test.

My plan for today is to use on on my left eye and the other on my right eye. I will then apply the same eyeshadow and see which one lasts best throughout the day.

Top: MUA, Bottom: W7
The MUA primer is much thicker and as you can see it is more beige coloured, whereas the W7 primer is a lot more liquidy and has a pale pink colouring. I find that the MUA primer feels nicer to apply and it's easier to blend across my eyelid. The eyeshadows I used today were from the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette - shades Nooner and Liar. At the end of the day (8am - 7pm) the results were:


As you can see, the W7 shadow has creased considerably more - the crease on the MUA is much less visible.

Overall I prefer the MUA primer, I would definitely recommend it.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Speedy Nails

Is everyone enjoying the brighter mornings that have started appearing? Once you get over the "it's too light I must have overslept" panic it's quite nice to see some sunshine coming through the curtains!

Anyway, onto today's topic - I like to change my nail colour every 2-3 days, purely because I get bored easily and it means I don't have to deal with the chipping.

To maintain this I need speedy methods or it becomes more of a chore to do my nails. First up is the best and super cheap method for removing polish, Pretty Perfect Twist and Out. It is similar to the Nails Inc, Bourjois and Maybelline pots that contain a sponge soaked in acetone. I haven't tried these versions but I haven't felt the need to - the Pretty Perfect one does the job well. It is £1.99 on Amazon but I bought it in Bodycare for 99p - they have had them in stock for a few months now so I'm hoping they'll stick around.

As the sponge inside is white to begin with it does start looking dirty pretty quickly, though it is usable until the sponge starts falling apart. It only costs 99p so I'm happy to replace it every other month.

All you have to do is wipe your nail against the sponge, twist it around a little and the polish is removed! It doesn't fare too well with glitter polish, but what really does?!

This takes hardly any time and then I'm ready to apply my new colour of choice. As soon as I've finished painting one hand I'll spray each nail generously with the Elegant Touch Rapid Dry Spray, which completely dries the polish within a couple of minutes. The texture does feel quite greasy, especially as it gets all over your hands when spraying. This spray has helped me to do a quick nail change up and dash out of the house very quickly a few times!

I received the Elegant Touch spray in a Glossybox a few months ago, since then I have picked up a 99p version from Bodycare in the hope that it will do the same job - I will report back on this when I try it, the Elegant Touch spray has lasted well and is still going.

So these are my favourite products for a quick manicure - does anyone else have any tips?