Collection Velvet Kiss Moisturising Lip Creams

Watching people apply liquid lipsticks on Instagram is one of my favourite ways to spend a bleary-eyed morning or long train journey – there’s something so satisfying about watching people perfectly swipe these gorgeous pigments onto their lips! But I was always dubious about doing it myself because I have full lips, a very feathery lip line and they aren’t symmetrical, so I always feel like highly pigmented products look like I put them on in the dark. That was, until I was given Collection’s Velvet Kiss Moisturising Lip Creams* to try…

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The first thing to note about these Lip Creams is that they are sooooo cheap. At £2.99 each there’s no reason not to try a couple! Not only are they the perfect choice if you’re on a budget, they’re also brilliant for trying out a risky shade, or like me, working out if liquid lipsticks are for you.

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I’m wearing the shade ‘Cotton Candy’ in this photo, and I have to say that it’s become my my favourite lip colour, ever. It’s SO pretty! But let me show you the rest of the shades before I talk more about that…

Mango

Vibrant but not quite neon orange shade – perfect for anyone who wants to try an orange lip without going too bold.

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Rosie

Looks much darker in the tube – a gorgeous muted red with and amazingly consistent pigmentation and smooth texture. My second favourite shade.

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Mulberry

Beautiful purple shade with brown undertones, doesn’t apply as smoothly as Rosie but still pretty great. Make sure you exfoliate and moisturise your lips first because this one clings.

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Blackberry

Cool purple shade – the hardest to apply in terms of consistency but a really awesome colour. Definitely need more than one coat, as you’ll see in the swatch at the end.

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Cotton Candy

Requires no effort with application, smooth, thick formula that spreads perfectly and lasts all day. I love this shade.

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Here are all the shades together in the same order as above so you can compare. I did double layer Blackberry here and the coverage is much more consistent.

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In terms of the formula, I can confirm that these lip creams are really moisturising – I’ve worn them all day and my lips haven’t flaked AT ALL, unlike other matte lipsticks I’ve used that make my lips so tight, flaky and itchy that all I can think about it getting it off at the end of the day! They also don’t make my lips sticky, which I have found the some other brands to be really bad for. And while they’re long lasting, a quick swipe with micellar water and they’re gone. I absolutely love these lip creams, and really recommend that you give at least one a try sometime! There is one other shade called Caramel, but there was no way that one was gonna suit me so I didn’t bother with it. They’re available from Boots and Superdrug, whichever you prefer – have fun!

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Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette Review

Ok so I know, I know, I’m joining DROVES of bloggers in reviewing this mega-hyped product, but I just can’t help myself. Sleek’s Solstice Highlighting Palette is incredible, and I just HAD to rave about it myself.

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There’s something so wonderfully cheering about opening up this bright, colourful palette in the morning. The gorgeously pretty shades look like a sunrise to me, and on more than one occasion I’ve caught myself staring deeply into Equinox’s intricate swirls (I have a rough time in the morning folks, this could also be described as ‘falling asleep in my highlighter’).

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The formulas are wonderfully buildable, so you can achieve a subtle sheen, or a seriously powerful glow. As you can see on my swatch, they are really pigmented. When you apply a slightly less liberal amount you get a look that’s either warming and cheerful, or cool and edgy – and of course the effect varies depending on your skin type.

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Personally Equinox is my everyday fave because it suits my skin perfectly and gives a more workday appropriate highlight. However, if I’m going for a moodier, darker eye makeup look I like to use Hemisphere to give it an edge. When I wear a cream blush or a bronzer Ecliptic blends into it perfectly, and if I need a bit more oomf I really like shimmery Subsolar since I can layer it up without getting an obviously unnatural colour. I also love using Subsolar on my cupid’s bow, and the tip of my nose when I want to look like a sparkle fairy.

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For normal every day application I use my NARS Yachiyo Kabuki but if I want to make myself shiiiiine I do it with my finger. I lost the brush that it came with immediately, and I think that would be my only complaint with the product – the brush seems a bit unnecessary, and looks quite cheap. Then again, if someone doesn’t have a brush, it means they don’t need to buy one, so it’s nice to give people one with the product I guess!

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For the price, this palette is unquestionably one of the best on the market. It lasts all day, and it goes on without any fuss. It’s buildable, suits every skin tone and the formula blends seamlessly. Guys, it’s £10. When you think about how expensive a single highlighter shade can be with other brands, I don’t know how anyone could question the decision to buy this phenomenal palette. Get it from Feel Unique for £9.99 – here

 

How to pack your makeup bag

When it comes to daily life, I’m a big believer in convenience and practicality, combined with a healthy dose of prettiness. I never buy dresses or skirts without pockets for example, or a bag (no matter how small) without a zip up compartment. My makeup bag reflects this, as I hate nothing more than carrying extra stuff around with me – so I thought I’d share how I put it together!

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Let’s get the unglamorous essentials out of the way first. Money – you should always have an emergency stash of money in your makeup bag. For tipping, an unexpected empty Oyster card or a Big Issue you actually want to buy. First Aid – I always have plasters, antacids and paracetamol. You, or someone you know will undoubtedly need one at some point! Nail File – this one should be self explanatory, as should a Hair Tie. Anyway, now for the more interesting stuff:

Hand Cream – You really should carry hand cream at all times. I love this Dexeryl stuff by Pierre Fabre, it’s a really cheap, plain emollient for eczema but it sinks into the skin without any greasiness whatsoever, and doesn’t smell, making it perfect for an everyday cream.

Deodorant – Especially if like me, you don’t use anti-perspirant! This Weleda Sage Deodorant is amazing at eliminating any smell. I use a salt deodorant in the morning that works really well most of the time, but it’s never going to stand up to a 35 degree tube carriage or running to a meeting you’re late for.

Concealer – You know that point where there isn’t enough left in your concealer tube to properly cover things up in the morning, but you can still get a bit out of it? I use these semi-empty tubes in my makeup bag to top up throughout the day. You don’t need a thick layer when you’ve already applied, so it’s perfect for refreshing your look after lunch or before a date. I use NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer because it’s simply the best I’ve ever tried.

Blotting Paper – These work better than powder for refreshing your makeup and getting rid of shine. I am utterly obsessed with them, and these DHC ones are only £4! An absolute handbag essential, your friends will love you for them too. Amazingly, they don’t disturb your makeup at all, even if you’re wearing full contour/highlight/blush.

Hand Sanitizer – It’s nice to have, even if it doesn’t kill as many germs as people think. I really like the Merci Handy gels, and they have about a million scents/colours to choose from!

Lip Balm – Everyone has a preference, and you should never be without yours. I adore this Hurraw Coconut Lip Balm because it melts onto the lips instantly and leaves a lovely sheen of nourishment. Make sure your fave is in your makeup bag at all times!

Caudalie Beauty Elixir – There are a million facial mists out there, but this Beauty Elixir is my new favourite. The scent is bewilderingly refreshing and unlike anything I’ve smelled before, and your skin really does feel incredibly good after using it. The herbal mixture restores radiance and helps set makeup, so it really is the perfect mist for your handbag. Plus I don’t know any other facial sprays that come in a 30ml handbag size!

Perfume – These little perfume atomisers are amazing – you fill it by pumping directly out of your perfume bottle so the scent doesn’t degrade by coming into contact with air. This is perfect if, like me your perfume is bloody expensive.

Your Lipstick – This is a really good habit to get into: when you finish applying your makeup (I assume everyone else does their lips last too?) just pop your lip product directly into your makeup bag. As soon as you’ve put it on, go to your bag, take out yesterday’s and put today’s in. One of the easiest ways to refresh your makeup is to reapply your lipstick, so this really is essential.

This is how I pack it. You’re less likely to want easy access to hand cream, deodorant or a nail file as you need privacy or a few minutes to use these. So put them on the bottom, and fit everything else on top, depending on how often/much you’ll use them. My makeup bag has these perfectly sized pockets that all the small stuff slots into as well.

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As you can see, I’ve packed quite a lot in to this little bag. It’s an Oliver Bonas makeup bag, and while I think this lovely design is probably sold out by now, they always have loads of them with the same shape and different cute prints. I really love this shape of bag because you can pack loads in without it looking like it’s about to explode. I have one of their washbags too (just a bigger version of this shape) and they are SO practical. Check them out on the Oliver Bonas website here – link

What do you keep in your makeup bag? Anything I’m missing?

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation Review

I have been using NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation for a year now, so I think I’m pretty well prepared to give my impressions on them…

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If you’re in a rush, let me just tell you that these are the best foundation and concealer I have ever used. I’ve tried a LOT, and apart from a drugstore one I used when I was in uni, this is the only one I’ve ever re-purchased. In fact after I repurchased the drugstore one they’d changed the formula and it was rubbish, which is probably why I can’t remember the brand 😉

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NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (in shade Vanilla): I’ve read a lot of posts where people claim to have found a dupe for this – and it always becomes clear during the course of the blog post that no, they haven’t. They may have found a pretty good drugstore concealer, but a dupe for this it certainly is not. Radiant Creamy Concealer is basically the best concealer in the world if you ask me – the formula sinks into nasty blemishes like nothing I’ve ever used, and it has the most fantastic wear. Amazingly, while it has a brightening effect under my eyes, it has a neutralising effect on spots. It’s £22, and I think it’s a total no-brainer that it’s worth it, when it’s a colour corrector, blemish concealer AND under eye brightener all in one.

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NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (in shade Mont Blanc): Well first of all, this product does exactly what its ridiculously long name promises to do. It is weightless and exceptionally comfortable. It leaves your skin looking wonderfully healthy. And it lasts ALL DAY. I love the way that two pumps is enough to cover my face, the ease with which it blends out, the fact that it lasts me 6 months and the fact that the colour matches my skin perfectly. I have had the best skin of my life whilst using this foundation and I do believe it had a part to play. It’s £32, but it is SO much better than every foundation I’ve ever used, including one that cost me £50!

If you want to see some how they look on, here are a few pictures of my face! I was wearing both products in all these photos.

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Hope you enjoyed this review – have you tried NARS before? What are your favourite products?

Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm Review

I absolutely hate taking my make-up off. It’s a hassle, its not a particularly comfortable experience for my delicate skin (cotton pads scraping across my face, urgh) and most of the make-up removal products I’ve tried leave my skin irritated. Wipes and micellars are a nightmare, and most creams leave my skin feeling dirty. It’s a hard life. I’ve found a few gems though, so let me tell you about my latest love…

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I’ve been curious to try Trilogy products for years, but I’ve just never gotten round to trying them. However I was invited to try something from the range and I settled on Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm.* I was actually pretty sceptical, because the things I’ve heard people say about this product defy belief. That it lifts make-up away effortlessly and completely, that it leaves skin perfectly cleansed, that even sensitive skin becomes soft, clear and comfortable after using it…

To use, you scoop out a serving (I push my thumb in and gouge out enough to generously cover my nail) and massage it well into dry skin. If you’re wearing eye make-up, eyebrows or lipstick, give it a really good massage to loosen the make-up. Dampen the soft facecloth that comes with it (or another clean flannel/face cloth – just make sure you only use them once and then wash them! NOT OPTIONAL!!) and wipe the balm off your face. I usually rinse the flannel, turn it over and go in for another swipe afterwards, just to be sure.

After this, you’d probably assume that you’ll need to double cleanse, to really get the make-up off, right? Wrong. Trilogy’s Cleansing Balm has removed every iota of make-up from my face every single time. I check by spraying my face with Avene Thermal Water Spray and gently wiping my face with a cotton pad…my face is always perfectly clean. It’s insane, I don’t understand how a balm can be so effective!! But there it is. Now, I never use waterproof mascara or heavy eye make-up because I have very sensitive eyes, but I can tell you that it removes normal mascara as easily and quickly as it removes the rest of my make-up.

The balm is a blend of sunflower, olive, coconut and their famous rosehip oils, together with soothing camomile extract and antioxidant vitamin E. It smells gorgeous, and I love the way it instantly melts onto the skin. At £19.50 it isn’t cheap, but it’s 100% natural and leaves my skin feeling amazing.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Yes! Despite it seeming fairly pricey, it’s lasted twice as long as my other favourite make-up remover and I still have some left, so it’s definitely worth the price!

Get it on Look Fantastic – link

Skincare and make-up for sensitive eyes

I have the most outrageously sensitive eyes. At the faintest whiff of stress, harsh products, or god forbid, heavy eye make-up, they get weepy, and the skin around them breaks out in eczema patches. I have recurrent styes in my right eye too, which is particularly annoying as it means I can’t buy expensive mascaras or eyeliners since I have to chuck it out every time I have one! I have a skincare and make-up routine in place now that has kept my eyes in check for a long time now, so I thought I’d share!

Skincare

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Cleansing and eye make-up removal can be a big problem for many people with sensitive skin, but the solution for me was a lucky find – Klorane’s Gentle Eye Make-up Remover. Despite having fragrance and colour, this eye make-up remover is the most soothing product I’ve ever used. Even when I have eczema flare-ups (yes I still use make-up, leave me alone), it doesn’t sting. I use a normal eye cream most of the time, but when my eyes are bad, at night I apply XeraCalm from Avene*. This stuff is super thick, and unbelievably soothing. I love doing a little ‘eye mask’ with it in the evenings, and it’s great for my extremely dry, often itchy hands too. I can’t use it during the day though, as it’s so thick, so in the mornings I apply aloe vera gel.

Make-up

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It took a loooong time for me to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t wear mascara  – and even longer to get my every day make-up to a point that I was actually happy with the way I looked without it. I’m more than happy with this look though – I love it! It’s pretty basic, but I’ll explain anyway. I start with Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation all over my face, and then dot their Radiant Creamy Concealer on blemishes, and on the inner corners of my eye area. After that, I brush a thin layer of Clinique Almost Powder all over my face, followed by Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush on the apples of my cheeks. I fill in my brows with Benefit Brow-Zings, and then finally, on the outer corners of my eyes and over a bit of the lid, I pat on some BareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener. The Brow-Zings and brightener are kind of like a replacement for mascara – they give my eyes a wide awake, noticeable look, equivalent to that of mascara. Here’s the finished look:

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I usually throw on a bit of Lipstick Queen Frog Prince too, which balances my face out nicely. Amazingly, none of these products affect my eyes – I assume because they aren’t absorbed, instead they form a protective layer which is actually probably quite good for my skin!

Do you suffer from sensitive skin or eczema? How do you cope? I hope you found my skincare routine helpful!

Spectrum Brushes – The Glam Clam

For the longest time I was of the opinion that make-up brushes should be bought as cheaply as possible. However, after receiving Spectrum Collection’s STUNNING Glam Clam set as a gift from my boyfriend, I’ve gone completely full circle and I am now OBSESSED with these beautiful, premium, incredible brushes.

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They give the most gorgeous finish imaginable, and I’ve done a little demo to show you just how good they are. I’ve never found the time to get into makeup, so it doesn’t usually get more complicated than foundation-powder-brows-blush. But after getting these babies? I may even attempt some of the looks I’ve seen on YouTube! Let’s have a closer look at this adorable perfection…

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Here are the brushes I used:

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I used the large flat buffer for my foundation, the lip liner for my concealer, large domed powder for powder (obviously), the fine detailer for my eyes and the small angled blush for my blusher.

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The thing that struck me about these to begin with was how soft they are. I’d been using the same cheap brushes for years so these felt like fairy kisses in comparison. The large domed powder blush literally bounces off your face as you use it, and it’s SO soft. The small angled blush gives a really soft-focus colour application, and the large flat buffer is resilient but still really soft when you’re patting foundation in – my skin is so delicate that some brushes I have actually scratch my skin, enough for it to be uncomfortable, but these are absolutely wonderful.

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Top left is make-up free, then with concealer dotted on any blotches and blemishes, then after foundation, then after powder. I know I’m making stupid faces – these were my first dslr selfies! I love the even finish the brushes give – I know it was the brushes because I’ve had the same make-up routine for the past three months at least, and it never looks this good!

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Here’s my finished face, with eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and lips. I am SO impressed with the small angled blush brush too, it distributed the blusher perfectly.

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I know that at £60, the full Glam Clam set is definitely a luxury, and I would never have been able to justify buying it myself (thank you boyfriend!) but if you’re looking to treat yourself with some brushes, this is absolutely the way. I mean, look at how beautiful they are. It’s like having art on your make-up table. Spectrum also sell gorgeous individual brushes and smaller sets, so if you’re on a budget you should definitely check those out! But really, why not go big or go home, because if you do, your dressing table could look like mine 😉

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Have you ever tried Spectrum Brushes? What did you think?