e.l.f St Lucia Contour Duo

e.l.f St Lucia Contour Duo

It is such a shame that e.l.f is only available online in the UK (with a pretty large shipping fee, might I add) because a lot of their products are high in quality but very low in price and you know me, I’m a toucher shopper – I have to feel and test the products before I buy. I first saw Tanya Burr talking about this particular product on YouTube and quickly jotted ‘e.l.f. St Lucia Contour Duo’ down on my ‘list of things to buy in America’.  For $3 Target practically paid me to take it away, so a few minutes later I was taking this baby home with me ready to try her out for size, and months later I’m still loving it.

The bronze is a fairly good dupe for Nars’ ‘Laguna’ and is very pigmented. I would not recommend this for fair skin as it may be too orange toned, however, paired with my tan from spending the last two weeks of my American road trip in sunny Florida the product helps to warm up my face and create subtle shadows where appropriate.

(On a quick side note: does anyone else find that when they come back from holiday they have a lovely tanned body but their face has barely changed due to a combination of wearing SPF 15 makeup and face-exfoliator? It’s so frustrating, right!? So yeah, that’s why my face needed warming up!)

Anyway, back onto subject. The blush is a lot subtler and the minute gold flecks embedded in the powder create a healthy glow across the cheeks. I have found that the finish is actually better when this is applied with a firmer brush or even the pad at the base of your thumb, as opposed to the soft Real Techniques Blush Brush, which doesn’t quite pick up enough product.

The compact is the perfect size: small enough to fit in a little makeup bag for touching up throughout the day but large enough for a decent sized mirror in the lid – perfect for doing makeup on the way to wherever I may be jetting off to next!

My MAC Palette

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In the last few months I have aquired a fair few of these coveted shadows: the good, the bad and the ugly (I could never say ugly about a MAC shade, maybe disappointing is more appropriate!) and I thought I could share them with you in case you’re looking for advice for a purchase or even just as a quick read with your morning coffee on a Sunday much like today. So enjoy, as I have just as much fun rambling about my little pride and joys!

‘Phloof’ (top left of the palette) – I am obsessed with inner corner eye highlighting and therefore own a silly amount of shimmery white eyeshadows, so naturally when I was browsing the MAC counter I gravitated to the lighter shades on the shadow rainbow rack. ‘Phloof’ caught my eye as a perfect highlighting shade for both the contour areas on the face such as the top of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and the dip on the cupid’s-bow, and also as an inner-eye-corner brightener. The champagney silver tone is not sparkly but rather it holds a natural looking sheen making it much easier to use as a highlighter – a favourite in my collection!

‘Espresso’ (top right of the palette) – I first heard about this matte, chocolate shadow from viviannadoesmakeup as she often boasts it’s multiple uses as both an eyeshadow but also brow filler. I agree that it’s a gorgeous shade that is multi-functional, highly pigmented and very flattering on all eye colours – an all round winner!

‘Bronze’ (bottom left of the palette) – I have to admit I was a little disappointed, just a little. I had had my eye on it for a while but tried to find alternatives in the drugstores like the Loreal Infallible Pressed Eyeshadow, the Maybelline Colour Tattoo and the Rimmel liquid shadow dupes, but nothing beats a bit a of luxury in the end does it? So I gave in to the craving and picked one up, however having tried it I have to admit that I actually prefer the drugstore’s alternatives as, unlike other MAC Eyeshadows, I found this one to have a particularly light pigment coverage requiring a good amount of work packing the product on to get a good colour payoff. Once a good amount of pigment is applied the shimmery colour pairs beautifully with the matte ‘Espresso’ and I find it makes blue eyes in particular really pop, but I wouldn’t say this is anything different to the cheaper alternatives.

‘Rule’ (bottom right of the palette) – This shadow is unlike anything else in my collection so it was a bit of a gamble purchasing it, however I used Christmas as a perfect opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and ask for it as a gift! I use this rusty orange colour mainly to warm the edges of an intense black smokey eye or to create interest with a pop of colour on the lower brow bone area when sporting nude shades. But it does also come in handy when while I’m messing around with over-the-top makeup looks that you can check out on my Instagram (there’s a link to the right of the page!). Like ‘Bronze’ it’s not the most pigmented eyeshadow, however I’m willing to let them off on this one as I only use a light hint of colour in the fear of ending up with umpa-lumpa eyes!

‘All That Glitters’ (bottom separate pan) – a favourite for many MAC lovers: a charmingly subtle shimmery pink champagne colour that is perfect to incorporate into a brown smokey eye or even by itself swept across the lid to add a little interest to an otherwise naked eyelid. It was the very first MAC eyeshadow I ever purchased, however it did take much debate. I found that the true quality and colour payoff can only be appreciated fully in real life: on photographs the colour appears a little darker and the tone comes out flatter, so it’s a shade to check out during your next peruse around your nearest MAC counter!

‘Club’ (top separate pan) – I was convinced by the ravings of Lily Pebbles’ love for this particular one, however I have only used it once in the six months I’ve had it in my collection. I find this a very difficult shade to work with – when applied with a brush barely any product is brushed on the skin, when applied with fingers more product is packed on but it is so poorly pigmented that the colour appears more as a dirty brown than a greeny-black. The man who sold me this shadow did show me a trick to make the colour stand out more though: he grabbed a black eyeliner pencil and coloured in a centimeter by centimeter square area of his hand and proceeded to push the shadow on top. The black base ensured that the muddy colour of the eyeshadow alone was not visible and only the interesting colour-changing quality was seen. This is therefore appropriate for a night out or even fancy dress but not wearable during the day in my opinion.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Fiasco

MAC FoundationAfter a little research before a visit to Selfridges, I decided that I just had to get a MAC foundation. So when I had finished my little shopping spree I strutted out of the store with a small, yellow paper bag containing MAC Studio Fix Fluid (SPF 15) in NW13. I tried it once. I tried it twice. But now, it’s safe to say, it is tucked away in the back of my makeup drawer, never to be seen again.

The first thing I noticed was the over-powering stench that I have narrowed down to the odd plastic smell of the shiny material that covers everything at a children’s indoor play area, you know, the ones with the slides and ball pools? Too specific? Ah well. The colour was completely wrong for me, however I suspect this is due to the dim lighting in Selfridges disabling me from seeing the exact match to my face properly, and is obviously not a flaw of the overall product. Also, I am not exactly sure what skin type this foundation is aimed at: I have combination skin and this foundation seems to cling to the areas of my face that is pretty dry, like my around my nose, and the product slides off the more oily areas, like my forehead: because of this, the foundation not long lasting at all.

I know that this has been a very negative review but I am not ruling out all MAC foundations. In fact, I am currently looking more into the Studio Sculpt SPF 15 at the minute, making sure that I do enough research this time to ensure that this whole fiasco doesn’t happen again!

What’s your favourite foundation?

Bargain Haul

Bargain Haul

As a break from endless revision for exams I decided to pop out to mooch around some bargain shops, and what should happen but I end up coming home with a little bit of a haul! I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that there are some real beauty gems in those places, so I decided to share them with you… (Apologies if you don’t have the same shops over in other countries, but I’m sure the same bargaining principal applies!)

From ‘B+M Bargains’:

A set of three NYC nail varnishes in the shades Lincoln Center, Sidewalkers (my favourite) and Central Park – £1.99

Loreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara (I have been dying to try this out!) – £3.99

Rimmel Glam Eyes Lash Flirt Mascara (my all time favourite mascara!) – £2.99

Argon Oil Conditioner – £2.99

Aussie Volume Shampoo – £3.99

And From ‘Boyes’:

Technic Vintage Cheek and Lip Tint – £2.99

Rimmel Stay Matte Duel Action Concealer – £2.00

April Favourites!

April Favourites

April is one of my favourite months: the weather is just starting to turn, gracing us with glorious days of sunshine, the days are getting longer and the baby birds in the nest outside my window wake me up each morning with their cheerful chirping. Sigh… Anyway! There have been several products that I have been loving this month, and I thought I would share them with you!

The product I have been using most this past month has got to be the Jelly Pong Pong ‘lip stain’ (the shade Marshmallow Pink), another dupe of the Clinique Chubby Sticks and this featured in my previous post because I received this in the March GlossyBox. This is the best colour for spring since it is really bright and…would you know what I mean if I say it’s a ‘happy pink’!? The colour is also the perfect shade to contrast with my skin tone making my skin look tanned, just in time to welcome the upcoming summer months. This lip stain is really moisturising which is excellent to help treat chapped lips that have been affected by the harsh winter weather, and to protect against the sun that has gradually been making more and more appearances (yippee!).

Another makeup item that I have been loving this month is a peachy-pink natural blush that would suit all skin tones that I picked up when I was in London browsing those beautifully enticing counters in Selfridges; MAC Melba blush. I first found out about this from Charlotte who had this colour and had been raving about it. We stood in front of a huge shelf covered in a myriad of blushes and, by some miracle, she managed to point out ‘Melba’ to me immediately without having seen the names of any of them. The colour is THAT lovely! After a typical-girl-moment of giggling and freaking out about how weird it was that she could do that, I applied the beautiful colour to my face. Then, I kid you not, a lady approached me, who clearly did NOT work there, and asked me what the colour was that I had on my cheeks. I answered “MAC Melba”, and she replied “Oh, it’s beautiful!”, she promptly proceeded to pick one up and take it over to the counter to purchase! Yes. Proof enough.

The third item…well… items, are two hair care products that I think compliment each other really well; Batiste ‘light + blonde’ Dry Shampoo and Sassoon Spray Shine. I had been using the XXVolume dry shampoo by Batiste, which is very good at creating volume: ideal if you want to backcomb your hair. However, I was getting really fed up with constantly sporting an aging lady-in-denial-who-dyes-her-hair-blonde look due to the grey powdery residue left around the roots of my hair from the spray. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to brush all of it out. Enter Batiste ‘light + blonde’ Dry Shampoo! This is ideal for my hair colour as it does not leave behind the grey deposit, but rather dispenses a yellowy coloured spray, thus eradicating my problem. However, this product is not enough on it’s own; enter Sassoon Spray Shine! All dry shampoos leave a slightly dry, matte look to your hair so I simply spray a little of the shine-in-a-can to the lower two thirds of my hair to ensure naturally shiny, yet very non-greasy locks!

Finally, a couple of little extras…The Barry M Gelly Nail Varnishes have really been impressing me lately: the formula is great – it really has the appearance of gel nails and they are cheap as chips! My favourite shade is ‘Lychee’: a nude concrete colour with pink undertones. My non-beauty favourites of April include a necklace that I picked up in the Topshop spring sale. It was down from £8.50 to £1.50 and I absolutely love this tribal interpretation of an eagle design. It goes with pretty much any outfit as it can be paired with a casual everyday look, or added to a dressy outfit for an evening out. And lastly: Disney and Dreamworks films! This April has been a lovely month of reminiscing the good old days (the 90s!) when Prince Charmings sweep Princesses off their one-shoed feet and ancient Egyptian Princes save their suffering slaves (haha)! Hooray!

Happy Spring!

Why Thank You Kurt, ELLE; Always A Pleasure!

IMG_0177Magazines are one of the main reasons why time always seems to pass so slowly; I am constantly looking forward to the next month’s edition, of ELLE, Company and Living Etc. ELLE has not failed to impress; my previous post on magazine’s complimentary samples pale in comparison to the gem that was sandwiched between the glossy face of February cover-girl, Victoria Beckham, and the wallet of protective plastic surrounding it. The small, white card informed me that if I were to purchase this month’s read for £4.00 I would also gain a ‘£20 Kurt Geiger Gift Card, in association with ELLE magazine’! To quote new blockbuster, Pitch Perfect; ‘aca-scuse me?’ It’s safe to say, I bought two.

On my recent trip to London with Charlotte (http://concealandcover.blogspot.co.uk/ ) we popped over to the incredible, famous Covent Garden. I say ‘popped’, it was more like laboured; there is a complicated tube-train route and 193 steps from the tube to the cobbled streets teeming with men painted silver, beautiful boutiques and, the new addition, London Fashion Week VIP’s tottering around in designer heels and clutching goody-bags. We weren’t quite so glamorous: we rushed around in battered pumps, our faces flushed from the tube’s cramped carriages and struggling under the weight of four ELLE magazines (two each) plus a bucket load of bags we hauled from Oxford Street.

After finally finding Kurt Geiger, leaving to sit in a café to register the gift-cards online (turns out we didn’t read all of the small print) for an hour on my iPhone and then returning again after several odd looks from long-legged saleswomen, we surveyed the mirror-walled interior for items within our budget; inevitably small after half a day in the ‘shopping central’. We both spotted the beautiful black purse, elegant in its simplicity with a faux-leather snakeskin patterned material, a small exposed pocket under the logo branded in sliver print, ideally sized for an iPhone, and a lined interior. I am not normally one for silver-coloured detail, however the chrome zip paired with the stylish, chunky zip-tag suits this wallet perfectly. This purse does not have any other small compartments, for example, several cardholders like many other purses, however, it is ideally suited for a small handbag or a short shopping trip where only a couple of notes, a few pieces of loose change and a debit card are needed. One Kurt Geiger gift card down, one to go!

My eyes then caught sight of one small makeup bag, sitting by itself on the bottom shelf of a stand in the centre of the room. I snatched it up before the other covetous customers could get their hands on it! The material is similar to the purse with the leathery, snakeskin patterns, however this is different; the colour is a lovely dusty-rose while the gold coloured detailing and logo contributes beautifully to the case. The inside is lined with a creamy coloured fabric, and a small pouch (ideal for a couple of small makeup brushes) clings to the side. The colour of the inside may be a small problem, as all my previous makeup bags have ended their ‘run’ with foundation smudges, specks of powder and lines of dark eye-liner covering the interior. But I try to convince myself that the makeup inside will cover the inner, stained fabric, right?

So, in an essay style conclusion (I realise I have rambled on quite a bit here!), having bought myself two brilliant magazines for a total of £4 each, I have consequently acquired two, rather gorgeous, Kurt Geiger accessories for the price of a good read. I understand that I cannot read the same magazine twice over (I wish!), so one will just have to go to a friend. Sigh.

One ELLE magazine for me. One ELLE magazine for you. One Kurt Geiger purse for me. One Kurt Geiger makeup bag for…me also…

The ‘Benefits’ of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The ‘Benefits’ of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

‘Dazzle Me Dahling!’ – £29.33

I received this Benefit cosmetics ‘Dazzle me Dahling!’ set for Christmas, in the Christmas Eve sale, and I know it’s been quite a while since Christmas, but I have only just started using the products, and I wanted to tell you all about them; the good, the bad, and the ugly!

I know what you’re probably thinking; In a previous post (Once Upon a ‘ChaChaTint’) I was saying Benefit is over priced and not good value, so why would I have gone out and bought a whole collection; this is a bit hypocritical! Well, that may be true, but, despite still thinking that the full price of each product individually IS too expensive, I do really like the products themselves! The sale price for this kit was £29.33, and I worked out that this was actually quite good value; it was just like buying the full priced bronzer (I still think the full price is way too high) and getting the rest almost free, right? The set came in a cute cardboard trunk (which I am now using as a samples box), and included a large sized ‘BADgal Lash’ mascara, a full-seized ‘Hoola’ bronzer, a sample of the ‘POREfessional’ pore minimiser, a tester of the ‘One Kinda Gorgeous’ foundation and a sample of the ‘LeeLee’ perfume.

The Good

Okay, let’s start with the testers. The first sample that came in this set was the ‘POREfessional’ pore minimiser. This product is a lot like primer in its silky texture and lightweight application and works to fill large pores around the nose and lower forehead in particular. I’ll admit I was a little confused about this product at first because, being only a sample, it didn’t provide much information. I actually found myself having a debate at one point about its function and application with a friend! After using it, however, I have found that this product really does expertly work to conceal small facial lines and pores, and, if it weren’t £23.50 for the full size, I would definitely be purchasing this.

Another impressive product was the full-sized ‘Hoola’ bronzer pot with a brush included, which, at full price, is £23.50. A benefit (no pun intended!) of this product is the colour; there is no sparkle or shine that makes it appear more natural when applied to the face, perfect for the upcoming spring and summer! However, I have had a little trouble actually applying the product, but I think it is a problem I have, not the bronzer. The bronzer I used before this one was the H&M bronzer that happened to be very faint, therefore requiring quite a lot on the brush to notice a difference. This meant that the first few times I used Benefit’s soft bronzing powder and thick brush-bristles I ended up with a lot more than I expected, looking a little bit like the foolish lady coming out of a tanning spa who spends just that few hours longer than everyone else on the sun-beds! I don’t think I will be buying this product again as the price is a little bit ridiculous, à mon avis, as they say in France (I’m not sure where that came from! I must be feeling exotic with all this talk of holiday-look-tanning)!

The Bad

The second tester-sized product was the ‘LeeLee’ eau de toilette. This perfume has a lovely floral, yet citrusy, scent with a blend of melon, citrus, lily blossoms and jasmine (jasmine-perfect for me right!). An added bonus is also, to be fair, the price: I don’t think that the full-size price, £29.50, is too bad for a perfume, what do you think? Despite loving to try out new scents, I have mixed feelings regarding perfume samples in gift sets such as this one, and I’m never keen when they include them in my GlossyBox, for example. A good sized, posh bullet may be acceptable, however, with samples in a small plastic spritzer-bottle (you know the ones I mean) I often feel that I could have gotten it free of charge from a counter if I showed a particular interest in that particular perfume. I am, nevertheless, going to let this one slide as it is only an added bonus to a perfectly adequate gift-set, but only just, as the size of this perfume sample was a little disappointing. Let me know what your views are on companies putting perfume samples into sets that you pay good money for!

The Ugly

The ‘One Kinda Gorgeous’ foundation was the sample that I was least impressed with out of the three. The sample is absolutely tiny: just a little larger than the size of a ten pence piece, for starters! Secondly, I generally prefer foundations that have really good coverage; I have freckles on my nose that I try my hardest to conceal on a daily basis, and I found that this foundation didn’t cover well enough. Also this type of foundation did not seem suited to dry prone skin and it highlighted the dryness of the skin around my nose (I do have oily skin in general but the skin around my nose does appear the only part of my face that gets dry and flaky, I will soon be putting up a night-time routine post which shows how I deal with this problem).

Likewise, I was less impressed with the ‘BADgal Lash’ mascara than I was expecting. I was pleased with the full-size (priced individually at £16.50), however, the bad outweighs the good in my opinion. The wand is a standard size with thick bristles, but, paired with this formula, covers the lashes in a very thin coating, meaning that the lashes are lengthened but not volumized. This isn’t particularly ideal for me as my lashes are naturally long but not terribly thick. Also, the mascara in the set isn’t waterproof, which, in January’s cold and wet whether, is very inconvenient for durability during the day, but easy to remove before bed. So this product’s merits, I suppose, would depend on the individual, as it has pros and cons; ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’.

So there you have it: the good, the bad and the ugly in a Benefit makeup set!

P.S. Sorry about the long post; there’s just so much to say and so little space!

Removing Makeup the Primark Way

IMG_1238Primark – £1 for a 2-pack

Speaking of Primark products (my last post: ‘Bittersweet Pain-In-The-Neck-Lace’), this is a make-up wipe I cannot fault! Just £1 will buy you two good-sized packs of much needed make-up removal wipes!

I used to spend…I don’t even know how much, on expensive ‘Simple’ make-up removal wipes because I thought they were going to remove more with each wipe, while also being gentle on my skin, than cheaper brands. However, at the checkout in Primark, my eyes were lead towards a stack of wipes, packed in pairs, and the incredible price standing on top of them.
I bought four packs (I needed to stock up!), and even if they didn’t work out; I barely paid anything!

So, I was quite sceptical of them; I was worried I would end up going through five wipes to get rid of a small amount of foundation, when my ‘Simple’ wipes would get rid of waterproof mascara with one wipe, and my foundation with another (I don’t wear an inordinate amount of make-up, I just don’t like wiping a half dirty wipe around my face! Does anyone?). But, when I actually used them that night, I found that I was getting ALL the products off my face with just ONE wipe! Better than the other, more expensive brands. Plus, since using these, I have not noticed any negative impacts on my skin’s health.

I have found that looking on the back of products proves that all you’re paying for is the brand name, as they are always very similar ingredients, plus, no-one who cares sees the brand of make-up removal wipes your using…so why pay more?

I am living very happily with these and have a whole drawer dedicated to them! What? It’s only in case they stop selling them or something!