Monday, 31 May 2010

Foundation Ramble & Favourites

This post started life as the 2nd of my '5 Favourites' series... However, I soon realised that I actually don't LOVE any of the foundations I own or have tried.  I am still very much on the quest to find that one foundation that does everything I want it to....
  • Even out my skin tone
  • Help to conceal redness around my nose and on my cheeks (to be then topped up with concealer if needed)
  • Leave me with dewy, healthy, fresh looking skin (My skin is pretty much 'normal' but slightly on the dry side)
  • Look fresh all day - with only the occasional sweep of powder needed
Not too much to ask for is it?! 

The reality is that my skin is OK and in the last few months I have wanted to use this to my advantage. I therefore now look for a more natural, dewy looking foundation whereas before I aspired to a matte look.  It is this change of heart which means I am now lemming Bobbi Brown Skin, NARS Sheer Glow and Chanel Pro or Vital Lumiere.  I have always been a bit wary of buying high end foundations as the few times I have, I have always been colour matched wrongly or hated the product after a day. However now I feel more comfortable in my product knowledge and colouring I think I need to take the plunge.  I am hoping to get a few samples next time I am in Selfridges to see how they wear on my skin - I really do not want to throw £30 down the drain!

So for the moment, I can't really say I have five foundations that I really love or would highly recommend.  I have however used a few in the past that if push came to shove, I would happily use...
In no particular order:

MaxFactor Miracle Touch Liquid Illusion Foundation

This is the foundation that I am currently using and it has featured in my FOTD posts.  I did really like and I have purchased it a few times but I have recently changed my mind and I'm not so crazy about it anymore.
It is a solid foundation which turns to a liquid on contact with your skin and dries matte.  I apply this with a sponge and I would say it gives a light to medium buildable coverage which is what I like.
I am however finding it now slightly too matte for me and it also works out very expensive at £11.99 for only  11.5g which with every day use, only lasts a month or so..

Clinique Superbalanced Makeup

This was the first high end foundation I purchased and I still remember the thrill of sitting on the stool getting myself colour matched!  However, back then I didn't know to check in natural light first and was pretty upset when I got home, tried it out and realised how orange I looked.  I should, with hindsight, have taken it back but I decided to stick with it.  After a little fake tannage it looked OK and I actually really liked the finish.  It keeps you matte in your t-zone and hydrated in any dry areas.  I would repurchase this I think but get in the right colour..!

Ruby & Millie Sheer Base

I first really started experimenting with make up when I had about 20 of the Boots £5 No 7 and Ruby & Millie vouchers a few years ago.  I picked this up one day and used it for months.  It is a pump action brush-on foundation and gives a very light coverage, perfect for day time.  It does need a slight setting with powder on the t-zone but gives the cheeks a lovely glow.

L'oreal Studio Secrets HD Smoothing Foundation

Perhaps my favourite of this selection.  Another brush on foundation which provides a medium coverage.  It does leave me looking dewy but perhaps TOO dewy?  If my skin was slightly drier this would be HG material.  However, as it is, I still need to powder over the top.

Honourable Mentions
  • Revlon Colorstay - Of course, a somewhat cult product.  I don't mind this for evenings when I want a serious heavy duty foundation but for the most part I have to mix this with tinted moisturiser as I really am not a fan of the heavy matte look it provides.  It is OK, but I don't love it.
  • ELF Mineral Powder Foundation - I like this to set my foundation on nights out or over tinted moisturiser in the day for no-make-up-make-up-days.  I'm not sure it really gives any coverage though and the lightest colour only looks right on me when I have serious fake tan on.  I like it though for my first try of mineral make up.
I really feel like no matter how great your eye make up is or how pretty your lipstick is, your base needs to be as flawless as possible.  Foundation is therefore the one product I would spend the most on and invest the most time researching.  I am very fickle though and get bored and like choice.  Even if I found a HG product, I'd still probably search for a better one...!  I also hate shopping for it - the potential of getting the wrong colour and also needing one for when tanned; pale; in between - arrrggghh the drama ..!

What are your HG foundations and have you tried the NARS, Chanel or BB?


Sunday, 30 May 2010

IN & OUT #1


This fantastic weather we are - sporadically - having!  It is getting me all excited for numerous long lazy days in the park, road trips and all day long sessions in beer gardens - I love the summer!

KCav - Yes she is a bitch but I still love her..!  All that attitude and a fierce wardrobe... and Brody Jenner.  Jealous, moi?!

Decorated nails - I ordered about a million packs of nail stickers a year ago off eBay and never really used them.  But I found them recently and now my tootsies are adorned with flowers and butterflies - awww!  I would post a picture but I know 99% of people hate feet - me included.

St Moriz mousse - I would write a full review but I know every (wo)man and his dog has already beaten me to the post.  Basically: it applies like a dream; has no obvious fake tan smell; made me perfectly lightly bronzed and has worn off evenly. 10/10 from me!  I lurrrrve it!  I think it has taken over from Xen Tan - mainly for the price and also because it gives a more subtle colour which you can then build upon.  Xen Tan still holds a special place in my heart though... <3


Exams & Revision - I am so insanely bored!!!  I am pretending to revise but mainly day dreaming about everything I want to buy.  On Friday I will be finished for 14 weeks though so I can't really complain..

Having no dolla - The last installment of my student loan feels like a lifetime ago.  I have got a few jobs lined up over the holiday though so hopefully there will be some exciting hauls soon!

Having no chocolate in the house - Argghh I am craving it so badly!  Whenever I feel like this, I always think there should be an instant confectionary home delivery service.  Great idea don't you think?!  I mean you can order a chinese/indian/pizza and have it at your door in half an hour.  Cadbury's should really get on it..!


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Teeny tiny haul and LUSH Buffy Review

A quick trip to the Arndale Centre last week ensured I spent a few pennies but I was a lot more restrained than usual...

I finally managed to find St Moriz in TK Maxx (£3.99) - review coming soon.  I also picked up the Garnier Summer Body which I used to use a few years ago and, if I remember correctly, really liked it. For £2.99 (also from TK Maxx) it fits the bill perfectly for my planned gradual tanning a few days before going away.

I had to technically break my 20 pan project as I ran out of heat protector but it is really a necessity so it doesn't really count..!  I bought this Schwarzkopf one purely because I feel like I've used every single other heat protector out there - they all do pretty much the same job in my eyes.  My personal favourite is still the Lee Stafford one though - smells aaaamazing.

I then bought Buffy from LUSH (£5) as I was sucked in by the promise of a product that exfoliates as well as moisturises.  Well, as soon as I popped in the shower with it for the first time, I immediately regretted it.  It smells horrible - probably due to the rice and beans it contains (lovely right?) - and is no where near as harsh as I like a scrub to be.  As for the moisturising property - I just felt like it left an oily film on my skin and didn't really do anything to soften my skin deep down.  It also didn't help getting my tan off and for £5 it only lasted 4 full body scrubs.  I couldn't help thinking of my beloved FCUK Sugar Scrub which costs the same for a whopping 300ml tub and lasts for weeks...

This stuff is the real deal!  Buffs your skin to perfection, takes off all your dodgy, fake tan and leaves you silky smooth!  Why did ever stop buying it?!  I'll be popping to Boots a-sap to rekindle my love affair with it..!


Top: TK Maxx
Cardigan: Zara
Jeggings: Zara
Bag: Louis Vuitton


Saturday, 22 May 2010

Favourites: Mascara

I had a request on Formspring (link to the right) to post about my favourite products.  I thought I would do this as a series, detailing my top 5 products within each catergory.  

My favourite mascaras will be the first to come under fire...
As mentioned in a previous post, I only ever really have one or two mascaras on the go at the same time so I will be using Google images for this - hope you lovely ladies don't mind!  

For me, I like a mascara to give me results - curl, length and volume.  I usually curl my lashes before the application of mascara - or after one thin coat - but it is nice when a mascara can give you a curl without that effort!  I also look for a mascara that gives a natural finish with one coat but can then can be built up to give your lashes as much drama as you wish!

So without further ado, these are - in no particular order - my top 5....

L'oreal Voluminous - RRP £7.99

Lancome Virtuôse - RRP £20

Clinique High Impact - RRP £14.50

Bourjois Volume Clubbing - RRP £7.99

Natural Collection Water Guard - £1.99

There is nothing much to say about these five except they give long, luscious, thick black lashes and the mascara does not budge - important as my eyes regularly water for no apparent reason!  I love all of them and I gladly repurchase again and again - especially the Natural Collection which I held no hopes for but for £1.99 it really does the job!

Next up to try is the Eyeko -I've heard such great things and for £5 one can't really go wrong!  I also need to try the Rimmel Sexy Curves after watching back all of Pixiwoo's videos....

Any other recommendations out there?!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Xen-Tan Review

On my fake tan dilemma post lipstick_kisses requested a review of Xen-Tan and as I always wish to goes!

Xen-Tan do a number of products including daily gradual tanners, mousses and week long tanners but I personally chose the Deep Bronze.  I decided to go for the standard size (148ml - RRP £19.95) compared to the Deep Bronze Luxe (236ml - RRP £25.95).  This was purely down to the price - I wanted to spend as little as possible on my first purchase from the brand in case it all went horribly wrong!

The application

It comes out of the bottle a murky brown colour with a green tinge - the special aspect which makes this tan go brown, not orange..!
It smells gorgeous - sweet and like vanilla and glides on effortlessly.  The first time I applied it I used no gloves - BIG MISTAKE!  I washed my hands immediately after applying but it was too late, they were already horrendously stained - definitely use gloves or a mitt with this!  
When applying, it does turn sheer but you can still tell where you have applied it so you don't miss any areas.  After applying it all over my body - including my face - I rubbed a little moisturiser into my feet, elbows, wrists & underarms to dilute it a little then hopped into bed as it had dried pretty much instantly.

The next morning

I woke up looking like I had been away for 2 weeks - absolutely amazing!  I was a gorgeous deep brown, olive colour with no hint of orange in sight.  I had a quick shower to wash off any guide colour then applied a copious amount of body lotion and I was glowing!  No streaks - just a healthy & natural looking tan.

A week or so later...

The tan stayed even - even on my face and hands - for a good week.  I religiously apply a tonne of body lotion every day so whether this helped it I'm not sure.  As expected with any fake tan, it started going patchy around my inner arms, knees, neck and hands after about 8 days or so but this is much longer than I have lasted with St Tropez!
I then encountered the only problem I had with this product when I attempted to scrub it off - it just won't budge!  It took me about 3 days of scrubbing with salt scrubs, olive oil and sugar, nail brushes and exfoliating gloves to get rid of it all - luckily I was stuck inside revising otherwise I'd have got some very strange looks with my patchy half brown/half white skin....

Other things to mention:
  • I applied this once half and half with body lotion and it did nothing.  The moisturiser obviously affected its staying power and it just washed off in the shower
  • Keep the product on for at least 8 hours I'd say - after 5 hours it washed off on me.  I therefore find it easier to sleep with it on but the guide colour is very sheer so you could get away with wearing it in the day - just wear dark clothes as it does transfer to clothes/bed sheets!
  • The green tinge should be very dark - if the product comes out a light green the chances are it is out of date and just won't work.  Get your money back!
I don't have any specific before/after photos but using this picture again you can see my natural skin tone - unseen by anyone for years! - and the natural, olive tone the Xen-Tan gave me...

Would I re-purchase this?  Absolutely!  I'm not sure I'd buy St Tropez again....I have more faith in Xen Tan as a company and I will definitely be trying out some more of their products in the near future I'm sure!!

N.B. I am in no way affiliated with Xen Tan - I'm just a fake tan junkie who purchase this with my own pennies and thought I'd share my experience with you!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The best hangover cure in the world... shopping.  Ok, maybe not...especially if you had a really heavy night.  But after a few too many drinks on Tuesday night I had to drag myself in for a 10am lecture which I only made it through with the thought of some retail therapy afterwards.

So after an hour of listening to rambles about vertebrate palaeontology I popped into the city centre to pick up a few bits.  Did I get much?  Not really..but I thought I'd show you lovely ladies anyway...

I always wander through Primark but I honestly hate how much of an effort it is to shop there.  The hoards of people, clothes put under the wrong sizes and the mile long queues.  Also, after all that you always see a million and one people in the same clothes as you.  I therefore try and steer clear of the clothes - they also never wear that well in my opinion. 
But after spotting these accessories I had to brave the queue.  The belt I think looks like it cost £20 in Topshop but it actually retails at a mere £3---bar-gain!  
As for the shoes, the suede is real so for £12 you can't complain!  I love the gladiator trend but sometimes think they are a bit too fussy so these are the perfect balance between a standard flip flop and some of the completely over the top decorated gladiators out there!  These will be getting a lot of wear this summer I think!

Next stop was New Look... again not a fan of most of their clothes but I have been searching high and low for a bikini that fits my sizeable chest.  I was hopeful that the Kelly Brook range might offer something more substantial than the teeny tiny triangle bikini tops that are everywhhhereee but serve no purpose for anyone over a C cup... 

As it happens my luck was in and I found the last set of this gorgeous navy forties-esque bikini...

I love the bandeau style of the top and all the details with the little bows and ruffles.  There was also a promotion of 20% off swimwear on top of the usual student discount so the whole set cost me under £15. 

Now I have 3 weeks before my holiday to ensure I look like Kelly in it.... hahah I can dream!!

Friday, 14 May 2010

NOTD: OPI vs Essie

Seeing as it is currently exam time for me, absolutely any activity is deemed more exciting than actually revising.  I have therefore spent many hours this week cleaning and painting my nails (as if I really need an excuse!)

I have always loved doing my nails but until I discovered the online beauty commnity I never really realised just how many different colour polishes there are out there.  Couple that with being in the UK and having a pretty limited range of drug store colours and you get someone who thought a purple polish is just a purple polish.  Well after realising the true extent of the colour range out there and finding my favourite eBay seller I now realise just how wrong I was....!

I therefore decided to see just how much difference there is between OPI's Done Out In Deco and Essie's Lilacism.

The result?  A pretty big difference -

The OPI is a lot darker and more of a grey toned purple whereas the Essie is what I see to be a true Lilac.  They are both beautiful colours but I think I am leaning more to the Essie if I'm honest... it's just that little bit more summery.

As for the the difference in brands?  They both come in at 15ml (0.5oz) and lasted pretty much the same amount of time on my nails with Seche Vite on top - some slight wear on the tips after a few days but no major chipping to note.  The major difference I found was with the brush - OPI's is much larger and although this allows for a smooth finish over all, the Essie allows for a more precise and neater application near the cuticles.

My overall opinion?  Essie wins this one - I prefer the colour, it's easier to apply and comes in cheaper (£2.70/$3.99 vs £3.40/$4.99).

Which colour do you prefer?!  Let me know!  Also are there any great Essie colour recommendations you have for me?!  I need to build up my collection!


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

NOTD & A Product Rave

I applied my new beaut of a purchase Mod About You to compliment my dress for the ball on Friday. It was slightly thicker than some of my other polishes and did need a good two coats but I am in lurrrrrrve with the finished product....

It provides the most beautiful milky, baby pink colour that makes your hands look gorgeous.  I can't believe I waited so long to purchase this?!

I also cannot believe I waited so long to buy Seche Vite is amazing.  I never really believed all the hype about it but it is honestly fantastic.  I painted it straight over a wet second coat of Mod About You and before I knew it my nails were as dry as a bone and gorgeously shiny.  It does have a very strong smell of chemicals but I can get over that easily.  It really is a miracle product and will mean no more imprints of my bed sheets on my talons - bloody brilliant!

Monday, 10 May 2010


On Friday night I attended my end of year Geography ball.  I am studying a joint honours degree of Geography and Geology so we had the choice of two balls to attend but the Geography department won us over this year!  So together with two of my favourite Geography/Geology girls we got all dressed up and headed to the Globall.

It was a fantastic night of champagne, dinner, jazz and dancing - we all had such a great time.  It's nice to get really dressed up every one in a while and see the lads switch their Jack Wills hoodies for DJs and bow ties!

I wore my make up exactly the same as my last OOTN post.  I like it as it is a smoky eye but it is more subtle than my usual night eye make up and my hair was simply wavy and full of extensions, as per usual!

Alice, Myself & Imogen in her beautiful Pixie Lott for Lipsy dress

With our gorgeous friend Felix looking very dapper!

I hope everyone had a great weekend too! xxx

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Review: Bourjois Liner Effect Mascara

Unlike all my other multiples of products that I own, I only ever have 1 or 2 mascaras on the go at the same time. This is mainly due to the fact that I feel I have really small lashes and that no mascara ever gives me the length, thickness or curl that I want. I have tried so many that I just got in the mindset that no mascara could help me so I just always pick up a mascara I like the look of and deal with it. That or use false lashes.

My eyes also always water whatever the weather so a waterproof mascara is compulsory.

So when one day I purchased Bourjois Volume Clubbing waterproof mascara I was over the moon. It made my lashes look amazing and it didn't budge all day.

So when I ran out of my Volume Clubbing the other day, I rushed to Boots and stupidy decided to try Bourjois's Liner Effect waterproof mascara instead. Why? I have no idea. It is £1 more than its Volume Clubbing equivalent (£8.99) and has a plastic brush which I have always hated.

What does Bourjois say?

Bourjois Liner Effect Mascara has a flexible new-generation brush with long bristles to intensely lengthen lashes, and short bristles to emphasis roots for a liner effect. The formula is enriched with khol to coat lashes with intense colour to give a doe-eyed look which will have them falling at your feet....

My experience

My natural lashes:

Short and flat basically! As you can see in the top photo - they have no natural curl so they look non existent straight on.

With one coat:

I applied one coat by wiggling the short bristles into the roots then the longer bristles through the lashes. Yes my lashes look longer with a slight curl and obviously darker but it was extremely fiddly and hard not to make a mistake. There are definite marks left underneath my bottom lashes.

With two coats:

After a second coat, which was hard to apply as my lashes had dried to a rock solid finish, I'm not sure there is a positive difference? In fact, I think my lashes look slightly worse - in the top picture my lashes look flat again as if the mascara is weighing them down.

My final opinion

Honestly? I hate it. After a week's worth of usage I think the wand is a complete gimmick and no matter which way you use it or choose to apply, the effect is the same. It is so fiddly and time consuming to use and you are guaranteed to get marks everywhere. Definitely not one to use if you are rushing out at 8 in the morning.
It is also near impossible to build up as it dries to such a hard finish so quickly - perhaps due to the khol it contains.
As for the 'Liner Effect' I'm not convinced. In my experience if you wiggle any mascara into the base of your lashes they will look darker and give the effect of eyeliner.

So, would I buy this again?! Definitely not! This was definitely another £9 thrown down the drain and I will be reverting back to my trusty Volume Clubbing mascara a-sap.

Have you had any experience with this mascara?! Let me know!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

All the way from the U S of A

I placed another little order with my favourite eBay seller - BeautyZone2007

I refuse to pay the extortionate UK RRP for OPI etc so I always order from this seller.  The items are shipped so quickly and always packed well....big thumbs up from me!

I was therefore so excited when I got back from a weekend away and found a little package waiting for me holding these goodies...

I desperately needed some new false eyelashes for nights out but I hate spending £5 a pop when I always end up losing them after one too many...  I was contemplating ordering from Eldora but the only reviews I have read seem to be from people who were sent them free so I'm not sure whether to completely trust them or not..?  Has anyone actually PAID for Eldora?!

I therefore decided to go with a name you can trust and picked these Ardell lovelies for around the £2 mark...

These 110s are made from 100% human hair and are lovely flirty, natural looking lashes - perfect for some subtle extra length.

These 105s are also 100% human hair but are from the 'Glamour' range - i.e. longer, thicker and bloody gorgeous!  I can't wait to wear these on a night out and hopefully be good and not lose them...!

We only seem to have available a few styles of Ardell lashes here in the UK and they are in black packaging.  I'm not sure whether these are in old packaging or this is just how they look in the US?  If anyone could enlighten me I'd be very grateful!

Also, these lashes do not come with glue so if anyone was to order them, add some DUO to you basket too!

Next up - the polishes...

L-R: OPI Mod About You; Seche Vite Top Coat; Essie Mint Candy Apple

I have wanted Mod About You for as long as I can remember as well as Seche Vite, so these two are long overdue purchases.  As for the Mint Candy Apple - with a name like that, who could resist?!  I thought this was from their Art of Spring collection but turns out it is a permanent colour - I really can't wait to try this out.

Expect some NOTD posts coming soon...!

What has everyone else bought recently??  Link me to your hauls so I can have a gander!