Wednesday, 31 July 2013

EOTD: Coloured Smokey Eyes

Hey! Recently I've been experimenting with bolder night looks; partly for a change from my standard daytime neutral/gold eye, and partly because my Urban Decay NYC Palette has gorgeous colours in, but has been so unloved!

So these are what I came up with, and by no means were these first attempts!

left: green smokey eye | right: blue smokey eye

My eyes are a strange mix of blue/green with hazel in the very centre which look different depending on light/ what I'm wearing/ what day of week it is (probably)... the list goes on. But anyway, I thought I'd try and intentionally bring out these colours in my eyes with respective eyeshadow colours. I'm not sure I really achieved this, I think they've just ended up being a greeny-brown in both versions. Ah well.

So for the first look, I have used the greens of the Urban Decay NYC Palette (Kush in the middle, Loaded in the outer third) and a gold colour (Maui Wowie) for the inner third. I have reflected this in my lash line too. I've tried to 'wing out' the look too, so it's more prominent even when my eyes are open.

For the second look, I've used a combination of blues and purples, for a peacock-y smoked eye (or so I like to think). The purple doesn't show up too well in these photos, but the colours I used were: Haight all over the lid, then a mix of Radium and Rockstar through the crease. Below the eye is Haight again, with Radium in the outer corner.

To finish both looks, is a flick of black eyeliner (along the top lashline and in the bottom waterline), and a good black mascara for top and bottom lashes. I would definitely recommend Clinique's Bottom Lash Mascara, especially if you have pesky long bottom lashes and tend to end up with panda eyes!

I definitely think I could replicate these looks, and hopefully you can too! My tips would be to practice first, and have a decent blending brush or two. I'm glad I've found some use for these bright (and slightly intimidating) colours, and my Urban Decay NYC Palette is now depotted into a Unii Palette, but more on that another day!

Would you wear this sort of makeup for a night out?


Saturday, 27 July 2013

A Comparison of Nail Art Pens

Last year, nail art took off in a big way. Since then, many brands have jumped on the bandwagon and released their own products to help create pretty designs for your nails at home.

Of course you can but sets of nail art brushes, and dotting tools etc but what I like to use most are nail art pens. I particularly like those which include a striper and a fine nib, but that in no way means that all are the same. So today I thought I'd compare the various ones I've tried and offer my opinion on them.

First up, and the first ones I got (in black, white, silver and silver glitter), are the Orly Instant Artist colours. Not quite nail art pens, the applicator is a striper, and is easy to use for precise striping. Because the length of the striper is quite long; I find these best to use for small details and dots too. I like the formula of these best too, the consistency is not too thick and colour pay-off is good in one coat (wouldn't expect any less really, Orly are one of my favourite nail polish brands). The other thing I love about these is the range of colours available! You can buy these online for about £5 each, or there are 'starter kits' available with basic colours.

Next are Model's Own Nail Art Pens, originally a collaboration with Wah Nails (follow them on Instagram for great design inspiration!) and the recent pastel colours are a collaboration with Artstix. These have a striper and a fine nib. I would say these are the best for versatility, as you can use these to create very detailed designs. Having said that, I'm not so keen on the striper in these, sometimes the line created is too thick for my liking, or not opaque enough. These are more widely available, they can be found in most Boots stores or if you're looking online you can buy sets of 5 for £20 on the Models Own website.

Finally we have the Kelly Brook Nail Art Duo, which I picked up in New Look the other weekend for £2.99. I'd been visiting my friend and promised to paint her nails for her birthday, only to forget to pack any of my nail art pens. Oops. So I got this last minute, and while it did the job, I can't say I'd recommend it at all. The pen itself is similar to the Models Own ones, but formula of the polish itself is so thick it's hard to work with. It does come with gems to create some 3D nail art; the clear ones look quite tacky on but the blue ones are okay. If you are looking at purchasing some nail art pens, I would say skip these and pay a little extra for decent quality.

So that's all the nail art pens I've tried so far. I'm pretty intrigued by the Barry M Nail Art Pens, as they seem to have a felt tip style applicator.

What nail art pens have you tried?


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Review: Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Foundation

Hey! As promised, today I'm going to review Clinique's Stay-Matte Oil-Free foundation. 

What seems like ages ago now, I had a sample of this to try (I always like to sample foundations first, after a bad experience with one breaking me out and being unable to return it) and when I'd finished the sample I bought this.

I was trialling this at the same time as Smashbox's Studio Skin, and I chose Clinique for a few reasons:
1. Slightly cheaper
2. Pink undertones instead of yellow
3. Preferred the packaging
4. Clinique had a GWP offer, I'm a sucker for those things!

Neither of the two have SPF, although for some reason I thought Clinique's did until I just checked, oops. The Smashbox foundation looks incredible in photos I have from a previous night out, but I felt this one would be better for everyday wear.

blended out on the right

Clinique's Stay-Matte Oil-Free foundation does indeed stay matte, and while I had previously thought it's lasting power was pretty good, in this recent heatwave it seems to be disappearing quite quickly. It is oil-free, which is great for my combination skin and I have to say, Clinique's foundations are generally pretty good at not breaking me out (I've previously had the Anti-Blemish foundation too).

I also really like the packaging of this, although bottled foundations certainly look sleeker and more high-end, when you get to the end of your foundation there's not a lot you can do with a bottle, whereas I like to cut open the tube to get the last of the product out - you'd be surprised how much actually ends up being left!

Overall, I would give this a 7/10. I had hoped this would be a great summer foundation, but alas I think it'll be better suited for Autumn. My quest for the Holy Grail Foundation continues!

Any recommendations?


Friday, 19 July 2013

Everyday Face

Hey! Today I though I'd share with you the products I've been using pretty much every day, to create a simple, natural makeup look.

I'm pretty lazy, so on a morning, the more time I get to stay in bed the better. If I can keep makeup time down to a minimum - great! I think it only takes me about 5-10 minutes to do my makeup on a morning and on a side note, I've been using sleep-in rollers for my hair so that saves time too!

It's very natural makeup as I mentioned before; I would say this is like 'my-face-but-better'. If I'm in a rush (read: pressed snooze too many times) then I might skip any combination of blusher, face powder, brow gel and eyeshadow, but I just can't leave the house without mascara!

The products I use are as follows: 

Base: Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Foundation, Rimmel Clear Complexion Transparent Powder

Eyes: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Urban decay Naked 2 Palette, Seventeen Doll'd Up Mascara in Brown/Black, Natural Collection Lash Care Mascara in Clear (using as brow gel)

Cheeks & Lips: Benefit Coralista Blusher, Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick in 016

You might notice that I haven't listed any concealer, that's because my skin has been behaving itself recently and I haven't really needed it as much, only on days where I have mad under-eye dark circles! I have however forgotten to include the primer I've been using, which is Benefit's Porefessional -  great for pores but I'm not sure it actually makes my makeup last any longer. Other than that, my base is pretty simple, foundation (full review soon) and a quick dusting of powder for an extra flawless look.

For eyes, I tend to gravitate towards my Naked 2 palette purely because the colours are all so wearable for everyday and it means I can subtly switch up my look day-to-day. I always apply an eyeshadow primer (this is the only one I've ever used, you know what they say; if it ain't broke don't fix it!) otherwise my eyeshadow would crease for sure. No eyeliner for daytime, and a brown mascara to keep it natural. Finally, a quick sweep of 'brow gel' to keep my eyebrows in place, and for £1.99 this clear mascara does the job just fine.

As final touches, I apply a touch of coral blusher to the apples of my cheeks and this has the perfect pigmentation and blendability (yep, that's a word now) for me. I've only recently started bothering with blusher, but it really does make a difference! Last step is a lipstick, in a summery pink, which isn't as bright as I normally go for but this is for work after all!

What makeup do you reach for everyday?


Sunday, 14 July 2013

Weekend Wishlist #2

Hey! I know, I know, two post in one weekend is pretty keen! But I just had to share some of the things I've been lusting after recently. 

Most annoyingly, I've actually put myself on a spending ban (for materialistic things) this summer so it's even more frustrating seeing all these lovely things I want. Fear not though, I still have a few things I bought before my spending ban which I'm going to review, and plenty other ideas for posts!

Clockwise from left:

1. Valentina Assoluto Eau de Parfum - £61 for 50ml (available at with 20% off)

2. Lancôme L'Absolu Mat Cashmere in 301 Prune Elixir - £21 (£10 in sale)

3. Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask - £22

4. Lancôme Colour Design Palette (from Spring 2012 collection) - £16.50 in sale

5. Nars Sheer Glow- £30.50

6. MAC Temperature Rising Nail Lacquer in Tropical - £11

7. Mavala Nail Colour in 304 Bamako - £4.50

8. Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Guava - £3.99

9. Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit - £24

10. Nars Foreplay Palette - £39.50

So this wishlist is very beauty based, and it's been a real test of willpower not to buy some of these as I've seen them! First up is a perfume which smells incredible, it's supposed to have notes of apple, peach, jasmine and vanilla. I could definitely smell the peach and the vanilla, but not the cheap vanilla scent you sometimes get with cheaper perfumes. As it's an intense version of the orginal Valentina perfume it should last longer on the skin, and I might buy this when winter comes round as I prefer lighter fruitier scents for summer.

The two Lancôme products caught my eye as they were both reduced by over 50%. I'd never actually seen a high end makeup brand sale before so I found it intriguing. The lip lacquer is a deep plum, which can be applied in a thin layer for a tint of colour, or it is buildable to a full colour. The eyeshadow palette (which I can't seem to find anywhere online, damn) has some gorgeous aqua blue colours I think would make for fab summer eyes.

The Origins mask is on my list because I got a sample of it when I purchased their Super Spot Remover a couple of weeks ago, and it really does live up to the hype online! After using it my face looked so fresh, and  any redness was visibly reduced. On a side note, the Super Spot Remover wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be, although it does help with blemishes.

Nars Sheer Glow is widely appreciated by beauty bloggers/vloggers so I'd like to see whether it really is that good. Having had some applied for a colour match already, I can definitely say it isn't sheer or glowy (who exactly named this product?!) but the price and fact that you also have to buy a pump continues to put me off. The Nars Foreplay Palette includes the blush colour Orgasm (cheeky) which is also a cult product in the beauty world, and I figured this would be a more economical/versatile way of trying it.

I'm also lusting after three nail varnishes, for different reasons. The MAC one is like no other nail colour I've ever seen before (which is saying something) and I've seen a tutorial where it's layered over purple and that looks awesome. The Mavala one is a gorgeous deep teal and while I already own a teal colour (China Glaze - Turned Up Turquoise), it's a bit brighter than this and it chips so easily! Finally we have Barry M's Gelly Nail paint in Guava, because I really want to try their Gelly range (I know I'm late to the bandwagon) and also it's a good dupe for OPI's Can't Find My Czechbook which I used to have a mini of, but it recently suffered an accident and is no more.

Finally we have Bobbi Brown's Creamy Concealer Kit. This is meant to be great for those pesky dark circles and at the moment my regular concealer isn't doing a fantastic job for under eyes.

Phew! That's everything, hope you're having a lovely weekend!


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Review: bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0 The Next Big Thing

Hey! Remember the bareMinerals eyeshadow quad I had on my wishlist a few weeks back? Well I've now bought it and used it a couple of times so I thought I'd review it.

I previously mentioned it was the £29 price tag that put me off, but then I found it on eBay as an auction starting at £8.50! A much more reasonable price, and as the only bidder I managed to snap it up for the starting price (plus postage). I know some people are a bit dubious about makeup items on eBay, but I have a feeling this is mostly MAC products and when this arrived it looked and felt like the genuine thing.

First off, I looove the packaging it's so sleek and summery looking! It also has a nice big mirror if you wanted to use it on the go, although I haven't used the little foam applicator yet as I prefer to use brushes.

The four colours are Rising Star (a pale golden colour), Smash Hit (a coral colour), Hoopla (an intense gold colour) and Ensemble (a plummy brown colour). These colours are perfect for creating a gold smokey eye, using Rising Star and Hoopla with the addition of Ensemble in the outer corner/crease for a night-time look. Smash hit is lovely used in the outer third of the lid over a base of Rising Star, but I have also used it very lightly as a blush colour when travelling (less to pack, saving space).

The two gold colours have a nice shimmer to them, and the other colours have a matte finish. All four are a fine powder (almost a creamy texture), so I've found there is very little fallout from these, and they last really well too. Having said that though, I haven't tested these without primer, since I always use an eyeshadow primer (Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion) otherwise any eyeshadow would crease on my lids.

I originally thought some of these would be close dupes for some of the colours in the Urban Decay Naked/Naked 2 palettes, but on closer inspection (and swatching) there are subtle differences.

Top (left to right): Urban Decay; Bootycall, -, Half-Baked, Busted
Bottom (left to right): bareMinerals; Rising Star, Smash Hit, Hoopla, Ensemble

Rising Star has a lot more yellow tones compared to Bootycall and is slightly more shimmer to it. Hoopla is a much more pigmented, intense gold than Half-Baked and Half-Baked has a slight copper tint to it. Ensemble is actually quite different to Busted, as busted looks slightly plummy in the pan but this doesn't transfer. Ensemble definitely has plum undertones, and is also matte instead of shimmery.

The three Urban Decay shadows are from the Naked 2 palette, so if you already have this (or the first one, or even either of the MUA dupes) I'd say you wouldn't need this eyeshadow quad as the colours are close enough really. I got mine because I'm actually running low on Half-Baked and then I dropped and broke my Naked 2 palette (one of the clasps has come off), so it's not fit for travel any more. :(

The eBay version is no longer available but its still available directly from bareMinerals here although it is limited edition so I don't know how long it will be there for!

Have you tried any bareMinerals products?


Monday, 8 July 2013

My Weekend: Instagram Style

Hey! Today is something a bit different, and I totally meant to put this up yesterday but I was so tired after a busy weekend! It was my best friend's 20th so I went to visit her for celebrations. We had a delicious meal and cockails in Las Iguanas (sadly, not pictured) followed by ice cream at Creams (also not pictured, sorry!) on the Friday, and on the Saturday (her actual birthday) we went shopping and then clubbing.

I'd baked some popcorn and choc-chip cookies (recipe here) from Joy the Baker's blog (highly recommend these, so yummy!)  and promised to do nail art for her. This actually ended up turning into nail art for her housemates too, and we had a bit of a mini salon going on in the back garden!

Our outfits seemed to have a bit of an electric blue theme going on (love that colour) and I finally decided to brave the crop top trend!

What did you get up to this weekend?


PS Apple Sourz and Coke make an oddly nice drink...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Purple Ombré Hair

Hey! So today's post is one I've wanted to do since I started blogging, mostly because it's something I searched for several weeks back but couldn't find quite what I was looking for. 

It's about dying your hair a bright colour, but what the results would be without bleaching it first. My hair is naturally dark brown and I had red ombré for a while, which faded to copper. The red ombré was done with a red colour which already had lightening ingredients (not sure if that's the correct term!) so there was no need for bleaching and it came out really bright! If anyone's interested I'll try and find out what the exact dye was.

Anyway, after I'd kept the copper for a while I decided I fancied a change and thought purple would be a good idea. I chose Schwartzkopf Live XXL Ultra Brights in Purple Punk and although I knew it wouldn't be as bright on my copper ends as it would on bleached hair, I wasn't sure exactly how it would come out.

I tried to find reviews of people applying it to non-bleached hair, but no such luck so hence I'm writing this post!

please excuse the overexposure on my face!

I was pleasantly surprised by the results, the colour had more red undertones in it than pictured on the box, but it was definitely purple! As it was a semi-permanent colour it did fade quite quickly, first to burgundy and then after about two weeks it had returned to copper (although I still have one pink-y streak which seems to have held onto the colour). 

I used the whole tube to cover the bottom half of my hair, so if you have long and/or thick hair like me you'd need to buy two boxes to cover all the hair. The one awkward thing I found with the dye, is that it was very thick to apply, but this is just a minor thing really.

Overall I was pretty impressed with it, and would definitely buy Schwartzkopf products again, although I'm keeping my ombré copper again for a while as I'm currently on an internship, and I'm not sure they'd appreciate brightly coloured hair!