Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara

I haven't tried a Bobbi Brown mascara before - though I've heard a lot of good things about them there are a lot of mascaras out there to try, Bobbi Brown's always seem quite pricey and this is the most expensive of the lot. The Smokey Eye Mascara is the one I've wanted to try the most and I actually remembered to ask for it for Christmas (get me). It took a little while for me to get used to the formula but out of all the mascara's I'm using at the moment this is definitely my favourite. Possibly my new favourite mascara full stop!

In a world where you can seem to get any size and shape of mascara wand the Smokey Eye mascara has quite a traditional shaped bristle brush with a slightly tapered tip and thicker base meaning you have every part of the lash covered. The reason I really like this mascara is it's properly black and it's kohl-pigmented formula means your lashes look fuller and longer. It is the kohl-pigmented formula that takes a little while to get used to though. Initially it seems that it's clumpy and has a funny texture but once you get used to it one good coat of this and you have really dramatic lashes perfect for complimenting a smokey eye. Hence the name.Though you don't need this to do great smokey eyes...

If you like dark, dramatic lashes that look like they have mascara on then this is one for you to try - seems to be great on my slightly stubby ones. This is not waterproof or specifically smudge-proof, after a full days wear this doesn't smudge or flake and doesn't have a horrible rigid feel on the lashes. Not cheap at £22.50 for 5ml but lovely packaging, a good size for your handbag and beautiful results. I have to say the cost of this precludes me from shouting 'run out and buy it', there are cheaper mascaras available that have a similar effect but for me it ticks all the boxes.

What You Need to Know - Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara

Friday, 23 January 2015

Neutrogena Norweigian Formula Deep Moisture Body Lotion for Dry Skin - Quick Review Friday Video

This has shot to the top my list of favourite body moisturisers. Helps the horrible itchy dry skin I get at this time of year and I feel moisturised for 24 hours. There is no need to spend all your money on a good moisturiser - this is £4-5 for 400ml

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Maybelline Colour Drama

I picked this up on a whim, Boots is pretty lethal like that. They've put all the baby stuff at the back of the shop and then the make-up in a long corridor by the tills so you have to look at all the lovely things. Yes I know it's deliberate and I should have more will power. But I don't and this is a prime example of my weakness.

I love the trend at the moment for pencils, spurred on I suppose by the Clinique Chubby Sticks, you can now literally draw all over your face and I'm always on the look out for something new to scribble with, they make your daily routine so incredibly quick. When I'm into something I will very quickly check out every available one in whichever shop I happen to be in, it doesn't mean I'll buy anything but when I pulled the Maybelline Colour Drama lip pencil in 140 Minimalist out I didn't even think twice about getting it - for me it is the perfect colour. It was £4.99 so I was willing to risk it not being very good.

Bad swatch of 104 Minimalist
I have to confess I love it. It's not the most fantastic lip product I've ever tried. It is, as billed, creamy... sort of. It's creamy whilst being quite present and feeling eventually quite dry but what I love is it's versatility. If I'm having a can't-be-arsed day (frequent when I'm pregnant) then I can just scribble it on without a mirror and feel a bit more presentable (you always look more put together with something on your lips even if it's just a lip balm), if you can be bothered to use a mirror then you can use the tip as a lip liner to give more definition and pout before colouring in the rest of the lips. Because it acts as a sort of stain if you really rub it into your lips, this is lovely under a similar shade of lipstick (I usually put it on before Charlotte Tilbury's Bitch Please) to give an extra depth of colour and insurance for when you chew your lippy off and it goes brilliantly under a gloss.

I actually prefer this to the Chubby Sticks - no, the texture isn't as nice but my god it lasts longer (still not that long), it's available in 10 shades and it's £4.99 which is incredible value.

What you need to know - Maybelline Colour Drama
  • £4.99
  • 10 Shades
  • Available in lots of places including, Boots, Superdrug, and anywhere you can buy Maybelline make-up

Monday, 19 January 2015

Some of my Favourite Make-up Artist Instagram Accounts

I am a big fan of Instagram, admittedly nowadays my pictures are mostly dog and baby-related (I always forget to take pictures when I'm doing make-up) but as a make-up artist there are some really beautiful and inspiring accounts to follow so I thought I'd list a few of my favourites. Some are more well known than others, all are incredible. I'm going to do five now and five next month...

  • Pat McGrath (@patmcgrathreal) - I may as well start of with one of the biggest names in make-up artistry. A woman everyone wants to work with and everyone who has worked with her, loves. She's self taught and has made-up the faces of anyone worth making-up - if you love glitter, liner and beautiful skin this is an account to follow. For me Pat McGrath is queen.
  • Andrew Gallimore (@andrewgallimakeup) - If McGrath is queen then Gallimore is king and the book of his work photographed by Rankin (Andrew Gallimore by Rankin) was the make-up book of the past couple of years. The first UK Ambassador for Dior he is the master of colour and texture and he doesn't limit himself to creative shoots, he has done the make-up for a long list of celebrities including Jessie J, Annie Lennox and Beth Ditto to name but three. 
  •  Kenneth Soh (@kennethsohmakeup) - combining two of my favourite things make-up and food (though not usually at the same time) Kenneth Soh is the creator of flawless, beautiful shoots by day whilst cooking mouth-watering feasts in his time off. The perfect blend of make-up shoots, products and life, I love seeing his latest work, what's inspiring him and what he's eating!
  • Laura Louise (@lauraloumakeup) - combining sass, humour and an awe-inspiring trainer collection this talented make-up artist is completely on the button with everything cool that's going on in the industry from latest products, trends and styles she creates gorgeous looks not only for her work but also on herself most days.
  • Lottie (@lotstar) - it's not surprising this US make-up artist has over 53 thousand followers, if I'm flicking through Instagram in a hurry and something makes me stop and go back to have another look nine times out of ten it'll be Lottie's work. An impressive list of print work and assisting credits she not only creates beautiful wearable looks but my god she's amazing with glitter!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Butter London Nail Foundation Flawless Finish

Since using this base coat I have not bought or used another one, even when I go for a manicure or pedicure I take this with me - it is my absolute number one nail base and I can't see that changing.

I originally bought it when I was first pregnant with Ned and was worried about the amount of toxic things I was no doubt pumping into my body without realising - I got my hair coloured throughout my pregnancy, wear make-up everyday and have nails painted most of the time. Butter London is a fantastic company which not only does the most stunning range of colours and finishes (and has recently branched out into make-up as well) but does a 3-Free range meaning no Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, and Formaldehyde. I supposed there was no point buying 3-Free lacquer's if I wasn't careful about what was in my base coat which led me to trying the Nail Foundation

The colours are not the longest lasting I've tried (though this is more due to my lousy application - it was their colour Snog that lasted months when I had the best pedicure I've ever had) but this base coat is so good that, if you are a fan of nude nails, you could wear it on it's own. It is like a make-up primer for the nails, creating a smooth surface covering all ridges and leaving a lovely silky matte finish. Fast drying it creates the perfect base on which to paint the colour of your choice and prevents staining even from the most treacherous colours and keeps nails in great condition.

What you need to know - Butter London Nail Foundation

Monday, 12 January 2015

Babyliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves

If the long bob is the 'trend' hair cut of the moment the soft wave long bob is the ultimate and now it is really easy to create this look at home and it won't take five hours to do it. If you have longer hair and struggle to find a curling product that suits the length then the Babyliss Boutique Soft Salon Waves may well be for you.

I have terrible hair at the moment. I haven't had anything done to it for a year, it's dry, it's damaged, it needs a good cut and it's not at all the full, glossy mane you are supposed to have when you are pregnant. I am at a loss to know what to do with it so I jumped at the chance to try out the Babyliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves curling wand. I have actually wanted to try this out for some time but my hair will never successfully curl when I try to do it myself so I was reluctant to spend the money on something that may not work.

Now, having been a blogger for nearly a decade (what!) I thought I knew quite a lot about hair care and styling. So the first time I tried this I made sure it wasn't on newly washed hair, spritzed in some heat defence spray, glanced at the instructions and got going. Not a success. The curls just didn't really happen. How awkward, I thought, the lovely PR is going to want to know what I think and I'm going to have to explain about my crap hair and say it didn't work. But then I checked out the Babyliss YouTube channel and realised that, as could have been predicted, I was doing it wrong. So I tried again and it worked and I loved the result and I love the curling wand.

First things first, in the (rather lovely) box you get the curling wand itself, a heat wrap and a protective glove. The heat wrap is to protect whatever surface you are using to rest the wand on (though it does have a very nice integrated heat rest but this gets hot so if you did knock it over you want it to land on something heat resistent) and to wrap the wand in when you have finished and store it in, it will take a little while to cool down. The glove is to protect the hand that is wrapping the hair around the barrel.

Now to the wand itself. Unlike a lot of curling wands that have a clamp this is just a barrel but it is long enough to curl all long hair so that every part of the hair touches the heat and creates an even curl and it is wide to create a big soft curl which is the point of this product. There are five digital heat settings, going up to 210C, and it heats up and is ready to use in 30 seconds. If you have coloured, fine or delicate hair you will need to use a lower heat setting and it's always best to start with the lowest setting first and heat it up as you find it necessary.

There are so many different tricks to getting the perfect curl that I really recommend watching some of the videos in the link below, I've embedded two that I think are the most useful, but for basic, easy, natural looking waves then you need to section the hair, brush it through and starting about an inch away from the root with the tip of the barrel pointing diagonally down, start wrapping your hair away from you, around the barrel making sure the hair is touching the heat and not wrapping around more hair (otherwise you won't get an even curl). Hold for about 5 seconds then if your hair is in good condition, remove the wand and let the curl gently drop down. This is where I was going wrong, my hair is not in great condition and if this is the case with you then catch the curl in your hand as it drops of the wand and cup it there until it has cooled a bit, I can't believe it was that simple to fix a problem I've had with most curling products I've tried.

If you want to look just-stepped-out-of-the-salon then you can leave them as they are when you've finished but if you want a more natural, tousled look then run your fingers loosley through them without pulling too much on the curl. For more red carpet curls the wrap the curls towards your face - this will look more put together and glamorous. Have hair spray and heat defense spray to hand - for best results with this you want products that make your hair more textured rather than serums and smoothing products.

I am finding it hard to find fault with this product. It's reasonably priced at £40, looks great, has a five year gurarantee and does exactly what it is supposed to do. And if, like me your hair tends to frizz at the slightest sign of rain, you can curl it with this and avoid the only other option - straightening it flat. The best curling wand I've tried - check out the videos.

What You Need to Know - Babyliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves


Monday, 5 January 2015

Monday's Make-up Muse - Gwen Stefani

Ok so a new feature I've been thinking of for a while. How many times do you see a picture of someone or watch TV and think 'next time I do my make-up I'm going to try and do that'? Well I do it all the time and for so many different kinds of women purely depending on my mood. So I thought I'd have a look at each of my 'make-up muses' and pick out the bits of their look, style and make-up that I love. Now this may seem done to death but this is my blog and these are my make-up muses so some of them may be unexpected and Audrey Hepburn will not feature. It will be the first Monday of the month and you can search for them by clicking 'Muse' in the tag cloud in the right sidebar.

Thought I'd start this off with Gwen Stefani because, apart from the classic icons she has been one of my make-up muses since school and is still doing it! Whenever I see a picture of her even if I don't particularly love the outfit it is guaranteed that there will be a fab item of jewelry or a new lip colour that I covet. She is a modern version of the classic 50s icon - the blonde hair, the red lips and nails, even her eyebrows but she is so up-to-date it hurts.

I suppose with Gwen we should start at the top with the hair. When I fist went blonde a billion years ago it was party because I wanted to look like all the fantastically cool 80s metal bands that I loved (yes they were men, what?) and then along came No Doubt and Tragic Kingdom and she looked so cool and I wanted her hair. How the hell does she maintain it? How? I need her hairdressers number. I'm having to have a break from dying mine because it was so damaged and she never even has a root visible. There's a secret I know there is... I need to find it out.
Her make-up (what I think of as being classic Gwen Stefani though she actually changes it up quite a lot) usually involves a flick of varying degrees of drama, a red lip, and flawless skin with not a whole lot of blusher and bronzer going on... just enough. She always hits the right note of made-up but not overdone, again a real classic look that's hard to do. What makes the eyes work is the use of pale shadows and slight contour to make the shape perfect and the ideal backing for the black liner and lashes. Even when she goes for more dramatic eye make-up and a nuder look she still seems to ooze classic style.

What I always feel when looking at Gwen Stefani is that if there were no stylists and make-up artists in the world she would probably look pretty similar to what we see. If you remove the bindi in the Don't Speak video you'll see she's already got her signature make-up look going on. Love, love, love her.

Gwen Stefani Make-up Must Haves:

Eye Shadows - neutral tones and slightly darker matte shades for contouring are the best backing for a classic looking flick liner. For neutrals try Brulee or Blanc by MAC and for the darker shades Wedge and Omega are great. Or you can get a palette with similar colours in - Sleek Make-up I-Divine Palettes in Au Naturel or Oh So Special are my picks but the Barry M Glow Palette which I've yet to try looks good too.

Eye Liner - choose a gel liner like my favourite 77 from Inglot or Blacktrack from MAC with either an angled brush (266 from MAC is my preference) or a Real Techniques Fine Liner brush or a pen liner if you find that easier. I prefer the ones from Eyeko or Collection

Lips - the most important thing is to get a red that suits your skin tone. My favourite red pencil is Redd from MAC but in terms of an actual lipstick there are so many out there to choose from. MAC Ruby Woo is a bestselling favourite but YSL, Chanel and Charlotte Tilbury are also worth checking out. For more affordable brands Barry M's Lip Paint in 121 would work and I've heard great things about Natural Collections Crimson though I've not tried it myself.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas - What I'd Like

Initially this may seem like a strange category for a gift ideas post. However, I’ve tried really hard not to recommend anything that I haven’t tried myself make-up and skincare wise and there are a few other really specific things that I want that may click with you but I wouldn’t suggest as a gift for everyone, if that makes sense. So here are the things I haven't tried but want to with a few extra things thrown in.

Besame  - Besame has been available for a while in the UK but they are widening their distribution and they are a must for any fans of vintage make-up.
Apricot cream rouge – for use on lips, cheeks and eyes 
Violet Brightening powder – great if you are prone to redness or dark under the eyes 
Cashmere Powder Compact – this chunky compact is small enough to go in even a clutch and the powder in it is gorgeous  

CharlotteTilbury – god there’s a huge list of her products that I want (being allergic to her Magic Cream has in no way cooled my ardour) including her make-up bag (which I recommended for make-up lovers) but also (and not limited to!) the colour chameleon eyeshadow pencils (they do them to suit eye colour so this is a great make-up present to buy for someone as long as you know your eye colour - I would like bronzed garnet please) I’ve heard fantastic things about these pencils and finally her Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk

Birchbox – a great gift for someone who is a make-up and skincare fan (as long as they don’t already have this). The gift that gives month after month after month

Real Techniques Nic’s Pics – I love these brushes and have a lot of them in my personal and professional kit but I haven’t tried Nic’s pics and would love them (not just for their silver handles)

DrDennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel wipes – I’ve never tried anything by Dr Dennis but Caroline Hirons raves about these so I feel I really must give them a go. This is very me specific but if you know someone who’s been banging on about acid toning etc this could be a go-er.

Orbie – so many products that I want to try from this hair care range that is so popular with celebrities and hairstylists and celebrity hairstylists once again including but not limited to...
L’Occitane Magic Key – a great stocking filler if you live with a handcream obsessive 

Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask – a real cult product now though very expensive 

Bobbi Brown Smokey Lash Mascara – this is the next mascara on my list. I can’t believe I’ve never tried a Bobbi Brown mascara

Origins - I'm a real sucker for Origins face creams and this is one I've yet to try.

NudeStix Magnetic Eye Colour Pencil – These are new and exclusive to Space NK in the UK. They look easy to use, long lasting and are suitable for those with oily lids. Angel, Twilight and Spirit look particularly gorgeous.

Pom Pom lights – I love fairy lights and all my moves over the years has depleted my supplies. I would love some plain yellow fairy lights for my kitchen but I’ve always yearned for some Pom Pom lights for my office if I ever have one worthy of them - nice pastel ones.

One Line a Day Five Year Diary – you’re either a diary writer or not. I am, or rather, I was but now I have a child I have let the diary writing lapse. But I love being able to look back and see what I was doing when. This diary means you just need one line a day

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