Sunday, 24 August 2014

Nars Sheer Glow vs Sheer Matte

L-R Glow, Matte (both Mont Blanc)
I first purchased Nars Sheer Glow back in March (I think), and it quickly became my favourite foundation. Lacking an SPF made it great for photos, and the coverage/finish was lovely. A few months and an empty bottle later, I was in need of a replacement! Being the middle of summer, I opted to try the Sheer Matte foundation instead.

Having now used both, I thought I would do a little comparison post!

The packaging is pretty much the same for both - the iconic matte black that Nars use with bold lettering - although Sheer Matte has a frosted glass bottle so you can distinguish between the two.

I can't say if this applies to all the shades in the range, but Mont Blanc is very similar for both foundations with Sheer Matte pulling ever so slightly more yellow in tone, whereas Sheer Glow is what I would call a 'perfect neutral'.

Application & Coverage
The consistency of these two is very similar (not too thick, but liquid enough to blend easily), and both foundations provide a similar amount of coverage; although I would say that Sheer Glow blends just a tiny bit easier.

Quite obviously, Sheer Matte has a much more matte finish that Sheer Glow, but I find on my skin at least that Sheer Glow isn't massively dewy but just a nice natural texture. For summer, I would recommend Sheer Matte more, purely for the fact that you would need to powder a lot less.

Staying Power
Both of these have some great staying power. I can get a good 5-6 hours wear, and longer if using a makeup setting spray. Having said that, I do find my face gets shiny faster with the Sheer Glow if I'm on a night out and dancing a lot.

Overall, it's going to be down to personal preference as to which you think is better. For the moment, that's Sheer Matte for me but I might revise this when it gets to the colder months and I inevitably have drier skin!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Summer Empties

It can be weirdly satisfying to throw out a whole bunch of products at once. But also sad when they're all products you've loved using. Not quite the end of summer yet, but it is getting darker earlier and definitely not as warm as it has been! Just a gentle reminder that autumn is approaching...

TIGI Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo
Love the packaging, and this left way less white residue in the hair than cheaper dry shampoos.

Nars Sheer Glow
My current holy grail foundation. I replaced this with the Matte version due to warmer weather. Look out for a comparison post soon.

Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder
Alright technically this isn't empty but it will be soon, and moving back home after my summer placement I didn't see the point in bringing the rest of the empty packaging with me. This is right to the edges now and getting to be awkward to pick up product, but for a miniature version this has done well to last nearly a year.

Urban Decay 24/7 Liquid Eyeliner
This started to run out literally in the middle of application. Picture this: one eye with perfect winged eyeliner, one without any. Not a great look. I would definitely purchase this again, but I'm tempted to try the new felt-tip version - Ink for Eyes.

bB Creme de Coco Tropical Riche Masque
After my most 'recent' hair dying session (going blonde back in April), my hair has become quite damaged towards the ends. In order to remedy this, I've been using this hair mask regularly. I'd say it's helped rather a lot.

TIGI S Factor Smoothing Lusterizer
This helps to smooth the hair, and make it easier to brush through, but I dislike the glitter particles in the product. They're not obvious in your hair, but you do end up with glittery hands, and it doesn't seem to wash off!

Argan Gold Hair Vitality Oil
Another hair product, and it happens to be my favourite hair oil. An absolute bargain too, as it's only £4 from Asda!

The Body Shop Mango Body Butter
I have a love/hate relationship with these. On the one hand I love how great they smell, but hate how greasy they make my skin feel while they take years (ish) to sink in.

La Roche Posay Effaclar AI Targeted Breakout Corrector
A staple product in my skincare routine, and the best spot treatment I've ever used.

Super Facialist Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask
As featured in my Heatwave Heroes post, I've applied this pretty much every week all summer to relieve my face of excess oil built up through the week (lovely). It's also quite fluid for a clay mask, which makes it easier to apply.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Houndstooth Nail Art

Something I love to do but rarely end up featuring is nail art. I always forget to take pictures of each step! Anyway, I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to show more, and this time I'm sharing something a little more advanced: houndstooth pattern. Up close, it can look a little messy, but from the distance most people see your nails; this looks pretty impressive.

The first thing to do is protect your nails with a base coat, and then get your base colour down. I've gone for monochrome here, but feel free to try different colour combinations!

The way I do this pattern, is to get the basic squares pattern sorted initially (with a nail art pen) and I find by drawing lines first this helps with the spacing. Then add lines to opposite corners of the squares, and 'bunny ears' to the top corner in between.

Finish with top coat and you're done! This design is certainly easier said than done, it's pretty fiddly and time consuming, so approach this with plenty patience and a steady hand!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Macarons Made Easier

Macarons are known for being fancy, but also tricky to make. I haven't had the opportunity to actually bake for a while, but I wanted to share some of my tips on making macarons easier!

Of course, once you've got the hang of the basic recipe, you can start adding other flavours (I find it easiest to do this via the filling as the consistency of the macaron mixture is quite important). The ones you see below have actually been made with ground pistachios instead of almonds, and they were delicious! (If I do say so myself.)

A quick note on the difference between macarons and macaroons: macarons are what you see below, macaroons are made with mostly desiccated coconut.


For the macarons:
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
2 egg whites
50g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder

For the filling:
100g butter
200g icing sugar

Start by whisking up egg whites into stiff peaks (this is where you can use the bowl-upside-down-over-head testing method) and whisk in the caster sugar, this forms a basic meringue-y mixture.

Combine the grounds almonds, icing sugar, and baking powder; then GENTLY fold them into the meringue. Mix until you have a 'ribbon' consistency, being careful not to over-mix.

Transfer to a piping bag, and pipe equal blobs onto greaseproof paper lined baking trays, leaving sufficient space for them to spread. Bang the trays onto a flat surface to remove any air bubbles and leave for 30 minutes to form a hard shell - this helps form the 'feet' of the macarons.

After an outer shell has been formed, place trays in a preheated 180°C oven for around 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't over-bake! Once baked, leave to cool on the tray, and once completely cooled, then you can peel them off the greaseproof paper.

For the filling, buttercream is always a winner, made simply by mixing butter and icing sugar, then piping onto half of the macarons before adding lids.