Sunday 12 July 2015

Evening Summer Makeup Routine - Summer, summer, summertime...

I'm back after a much longer than anticipated time away. As summer is now here I thought a post on what makeup look I like to wear for a summer's evening would be the perfect post to come back with, especially as I have a glass of Rose and a BBQ lined up for tonight - the perfect British summer evening.

Now, I know they say in summer you should be wearing less makeup and going with the more natural look but I have to admit I struggle with this. I am sure to regular readers of my blog this won't be too much of a surprise.  However, as I know not everyone is into a "full on face" I will also talk through products for the more "natural" summer evening look too. This is a look I often aspire to and want to do but in reality it just isn't me. It's a bit like how I imagine that I have the Kate Moss look going on when I wear a pair of cut-off denim shorts when the reality is a whole lot different!

In Summer, I love all the golds, bronzes and corals and tend to stay away from the greys, purples and reds. To me summer makeup is glowing, healthy skin and I like to achieve this with some nice shimmer and highlighter.

Starting with the base and I like to use a primer first as the sad reality for me is that in Summer the hot and humid weather can make my makeup slide off my face by the time I get to the bar for my first glass of Rose. I am still liking my Laura Mercier Foundation Primer and I then apply my Bourjois Paris BB Bronzing Cream 8 in 1 I wasn't too sure about this product at first but I have really grown to like it. It definitely adds a healthy glow to my skin.  You can finish your base here or just apply a tinted moisturiser and in the daytime this is what I would do but of an evening I still like to use foundation and I still love my NARS Sheer Glow foundation - just be sure to change your foundation in summer as your skin gets darker.

I like to mix my foundation with NARS Liquid Illuminator in Orgasm in the summer as this adds a lovely glow to my skin. This is such a great summer product and can be used as a highlighter too and there are different colours to choose from - the fantastically named Copacabana also looks a great colour for a more pinky highlight.   As you can tell I am all about the glow in Summer! Sadly, my black circles and/or spots don't disappear in the summer and I have been liking either my Clarins or NARS concealer recently. I find the NARS one to be better under my eyes as it's more of a light reflectiing concealer.  As my skin can be oily I like to fix my makeup in place with my trusty Rimmel Stay Matte Powder. Though, I only really powder my nose, chin and my forehead as I want to keep the dewy look my base has given me.

To me Bronzer is a key part to any summer makeup look and I am currently loving my Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder. Now, I don't like a glittery bronzer or one with too much shimmer but this is just personal choice.  I am not about the contouring and like to apply my bronzer to the areas of my face where the sun would naturally catch it. Just blend, blend, blend to keep it all looking natural and light. I then apply highlighter which to me is another integral part of any summer makeup look. I adore my Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow. It's a powder highlighter and it just gives the most lovely highlight to the tops of the cheekbones. If you prefer a cream highlighter or want maybe a more natural look I also love and use in the daytime the MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush. The old favourite blusher next and in summer I tend to go for a more coral colour and am currently loving the NARS blusher in Orgasm - the perfect summer blush I think.

Base done, it's time to move on to the eyebrows - I have recently had the HD treatment on my brows (I am very impressed and there will be a blog post coming soon) so they don't need too much work just a little brush through and a spot of filling in and for this I use my Maybelline Brow Drama.

On my eyes it's all the golds and bronzes in summer. Over my eyelid I either use Maybelline's And On Bronze which is a lovely goldy colour and this could be worn on its own with some eyeliner for a more natural look - but I like it for a bit of base colour and it also works as a primer to my eyeshadow.   I am also loving my By Terry Ombre Blackstar which is an eyeshadow stick. It's so easy to use and as above I apply this all over my lid but also use it under my lower eyelashes too and in the inner corners.

I have been then applying either a gold or bronze glittery shadow (though it gives a shimmer not a glitter) over the whole eyelid and then on the inner third of my eyelid I have been using a beautiful gold eyeshadow called Sable Lame by L'Oreal (I love this). I then sweep a darker bronze over the crease and I like the dark bronze in my Charlotte Tilbury La Dolce Vita eyeshadow palette. If I was going somewhere glamorous I would also apply a bit of the gold, glittery colour from this palette to the centre of my eyelid. As always the key to good eye makeup is blending, so blend, blend until you can see no definite lines in your eye colours.

In the summer black eyeliner can seem too much or too heavy but I still like to wear it so I apply a line of liquid black eyeliner on my top lid - am still loving my LancĂ´me Artliner and then use my MAC black eye pencil in Smoulder in my waterline. However, a bronze or brown pencil would look great with this look both on the top lid or/and in the waterline. I have a couple of lovely ones from Top Shop and Barry M such as this one. I then curl my lashes using my Shu Uemura  eyelash curlers and apply Mascara - I have gone back to an old favourite recently which is Maybelline's The Falsies.

Nearly there, just lipstick to go and I love the corals and orangey/reds in summer. I line my lips with my Boots No.7 lip pencil in Paprika and for the evening I am loving either my Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Lost Cherry or my Laura Mercier lipstick in Portofino (on my facebook page I posted recently some other coral lipsticks I like). Though, I met a friend recently who was wearing a gorgeous coral lipstick by Tom Ford but I can't remember its name - hopefully she will read this and let me know! Gloss is also pretty in summer but thinking about it I don't own a coral lip gloss. This is obviously a glaring hole in my makeup kit so any recommendations greatly received!

Obviously, you don't need to wear all this makeup for a summer evening out and when I am on my French Campsite this summer I wont be popping this all on to go to the bar so here is a more streamline version of the above:

Bourjois BB Cream
Highlighter (MAC)
My By Terry  Ombre Blackstar or Maybelline And on Bronze eyeshadow
Eyeliner and Mascara
Lipstick or gloss

Enjoy these long summer nights - I feel a Grease Song coming on......

Thursday 5 February 2015

Bobbi Brown Makeup Lesson

We can all get stuck in a makeup rut so when a friend suggested a makeup lesson I was totally up for it. Combined with a trip to London and a Prosecco or 2 afterwards what wasn't too like!

We chose Bobbi Brown as they have opened a new store in Covent Garden offering a range of different makeup lessons. They have a menu which you choose from including Instant Makeup and Secret to Perfect Skin, but this time we opted for Bobbi's Ultimate Makeup Lesson. It lasts 45 minutes and covers everything. One of the good things about the Bobbi Brown lessons are they are free - though I think it would be difficult to leave without buying any products at the end. Or so my friend and I found!

The lovely girl who gave me my lesson asked what in particular I wanted to learn about. For me it was a new lipstick colour as I find lipsticks hard. I seem to buy and buy but never feel like I have hit upon the exact colour, especially for the daytime. I also wanted advice on achieving the perfect base.  I wanted to know how to make my look more polished. 

Obviously, me being me I didn't go up to London without wearing makeup  and so they remove your makeup with all the Bobbi Brown skincare products first.  I have to admit I haven't used any of their skincare range before. It did seem lovely though and definitely made me want to try more. Their Hydrating Face Tonic is one that I would consider buying. It smelled lovely and felt so nice on my skin. The makeup artist said she liked what I had done with my eye makeup so she didn't remove that and chose to enhance it instead. 

I always wear foundation as for whatever reason I feel I have bad skin but she suggested using their BB cream. I have never used a BB cream before - I don't know why but I always worry that they wont give me the coverage that I like. But I have to say I was very impressed. The colour and coverage was perfect for my skin and I will definitely buy this when my current foundation finishes. I think it will be particularly good in the summer. 

Not that I like to bang on about this but I have dark circles! I mentioned this as one of my concerns and I really liked how she covered them  up.  She applied a corrector first to neutralise my dark circles and I could see a difference straight away. Then she applied a concealer over this to lighten the area. I really liked the effect of this and I wish now that I had bought the corrector when I was there.

Bronzer was next and I already use a Bobbi Brown bronzer (which I love) but she suggested a different shade to my normal one. I was surprised by this, but she said the undertone of my current one was maybe too pink. I have to say I did like the tone of the one she used and is now another item on my "wish list" (this seems to grow and grow!). It just seemed a bit warmer and more golden than my current one. Then it was time for blusher and I was very interested to see what she would suggest! Bobbi Brown have a new product out and these are called Brightening Bricks and come in 5 shades (I think) and this is what she used on me. The colour she used was coral and it is shown below:

The Brightening Bricks are a mixture of bronzer and blusher and are designed to give a lovely glow to your face. I just loved this and bought it! I adore the mix of colours, but I was surprised that she used Coral. I don't think I would have gone for these colours myself, as they have ones that are pinker and more what I would naturally choose. But the Coral did as the tin says and brightened my skin up. Such a lovely product.

They didn't really do anything with my eyes in terms of shadow. They just added some sparkle which was pretty but I have to say not as nice as the pressed pigment in my Charlotte Tilbury Palette.  I have previously been for a Bobbi Brown makeup lesson and this was before I got married. This is now nearly 14 years ago but I do remember from then buying a lovely gel eyeliner and I had totally forgotten about this. I now always use my Lancome pen eyeliner. The gel eyeliner though gives such a lovely line and look and again I wish I had bought this. You apply it with a thin brush and it just gives such a nice finish. My friend bought this and the brush as they used it on her too and we were both so impressed with it. My eyes were finished with mascara but I didn't think much of this either way to be honest.

Lastly, it was the lips and she asked if I like matt or gloss and what kind of colour I usually wear. In my helpful way I said I liked both and all colours. Such a help! She chose a neutral pink which is a very versatile colour and then applied a gloss over the top and the combination of both I really liked and wouldn't have chosen myself.

When my makeup was finished I did have a couple of questions mainly why didn't she apply black eyeliner in my waterline - something I always tend to do - and also that I normally apply my eyeshadow underneath my eye but she had left that with nothing on. She told me that this wasn't the Bobbi Brown look and that this was the same for my pink blusher. I thought that was very interesting. Bobbi Brown definitely has an image/look and I think this is a grown up and sophisticated natural glamour. If you want bright or heavy makeup, Bobbi Brown isn't the place for you. I think if I wanted one of my heavier eye looks MAC or NARS would be the place to go. But this is why I liked the lesson as it was different to my normal way of approaching my makeup which can often be more is more and made me appreciate a more stripped down look.  Though I would like to go for the Smokey Eyes lesson next to see how they do that as that is definitely where I tend to go quite full on with my makeup!

My friend and I both found the makeup artists friendly and helpful and though obviously they want you to buy the products at the end we didn't find them to be too pushy.They also make a note for you of all the products that they have used on you which is so helpful as I forget everything! We were encouraged to come back again for more lessons.

It was definitely a fun treat to have on a Tuesday afternoon when normally I would be taking my child swimming! Thank you husband for that!


Friday 30 January 2015

Charlotte Tilbury - The Dolce Vite Eyeshadow Palette review

I thought I would start doing reviews of individual products that I think would be of interest to you all.  Let me know of any products or any particular areas of beauty or skincare you would like me to review or look into. I am going to start with Charlotte Tilbury as I am loving her range at the moment.

As with all Charlotte Tilbury products the packaging of the Dolce Vite palette is super glam and sleek. The compact does feel a tad plasticy, but her make up makes me feel quite grown up which I like. The palette is expensive at £38 but I think it's one that I will get a lot of use out of. The colours are very wearable and you could apply them for a daytime look or layer them up for a more intense evening look.  All the colours in this palette are very flattering.

I love browns and bronzy colours on my eyes and they are my go to shades for both day and night. For the evening I like to apply more, and layer it to get more depth to my colour and I also like to add a bit of shimmer or glitter if I am in the mood.

This Dolce Vite palette has all the colours I need in one handy but beautiful little place. I still like to put on my MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist first as I find this helps my eye shadow stay on longer and enhances the colour of the shadows I put on afterwards.  Though if I was going for the lighter colour in the palette over my whole eye I wouldn't use it.

Charlotte Tilbury has (rather helpfully I think) numbered each colour on the back of the palette, so you know where and how you should be applying the colours:

The lightest colour in the palette you can either put all over your eyelid,  just under the eyebrow bone or in the inner eye. It is a lovely light gold/champagne colour.  It isn't the most pigmented of all the shades and you may need to build it up when applying, but all the colours go on so well and can be easily blended.

The smoke shade is a dark brown with gold shimmer or undertone to it.  This would work well applied to the crease of your eye and also to the outer third of your eyelid. You could also bring it under your eye. This shade would work well with any brown/bronze smoky eye you are doing.

The enhance shade is a beautiful burnt bronze/copper colour. I just love it. I would apply it over the middle section of my eye or all over the lid if I was going for a smoky eye. For a daytime look I would wear this colour on its own too just with the prime colour in the palette.

The glittery bronze is I think very glittery so don't apply too much! It is fine like a pigment and is so beautiful. Apply it by pressing it on your lids with your finger. I tend to apply this to the middle of my eyelid.  But if you want a more dramatic look you can apply it all over your lid.

This is me wearing the palette for an evening look:

My photo doesn't do the shadows justice. The glittery bronze particularly is a whole lot better than my photo suggests. I need a better camera and lighting - watch this space!

I am sure I read that Emily Blunt at the Critics Choice Awards 2015 is wearing the Dolce Vite palette and I just loved her make up that evening.  And her fabulous dress too! I am thinking of doing a make up tutorial on this look in the near future if people are interested.

I want to try  The Sophisticate Eyeshadow Palette by Charlotte Tilbury next. This also has 4 very wearable colours which I think would look great again for either a day or evening look.

Charlotte Tilbury palettes are expensive so I have been looking around for some more affordable ones. I haven't tried any of these but I think they could be good options to try and everyone likes a bargain! There is one by a brand called NYC and is their Individual Smokey Eye Palette. I have never used this brand but this is an excellent price at £3.99 and the colours are very wearable and I like how they tell you where to apply which shadow. I also think the Quad Smoky Stories eyeshadow Upside Brown by Bourjouis looks very pretty and is again a good price at £7.99. Finally, this L'Oreal Color Riche Eyshadow Palette Beloved Nude also looks lovely and at £7.99 is very reasonable.

Let me know if you have used any of the high street brands above and what you think of them or if there are other ones you use that are good.  

To any lovers of Charlotte Tilbury make up I would so recommend this palette and it is Valentines Day coming up so a gift to yourself is truly justified!


Sunday 25 January 2015

Concealer - "Cover me, come on baby, cover me..."

I couldn't face the world without some concealer on. It is one of my must have products along with blusher and mascara for making me look healthy and awake even if  I don't feel it. Which is most of the time! 

I thought a little review of the concealers that I like to use might be helpful as there are so many out there. I have some more affordable ones up to the more high-end. I like to use liquid concealers. I find they just work better on my skin. My skin currently is what I would call combination with an oiler T-zone but drier cheeks but it can also be oily at certain times of the year. I do suffer from hormonal spots still which I just love and as I have mentioned I have dark circles too which I also just love!

I use a hard concealer to cover my spots so I do have one of those but otherwise I like to use liquid concealers for my under eye circles, redness around my nose and any other areas and sometimes on my eyebrow bone too for highlighting. Concealers are also used when contouring and highlighting the face (post on this coming soon).

I tend to apply the liquid concealers just with the applicator they come with and then blend in with my fingers. But as mentioned in my brush post you can apply concealer with a brush if you prefer. I have just ordered a Real Techniques Setting Brush for my concealer so I will let you know what I think of this.

With concealer you have to be aware of your skin type and colouring. Are you looking to colour for black circles or redness?  Be careful though if your concealer is illuminating you don't want to use to use it on spots as it will just attract attention to them, the opposite to what you want, but illumination under the eye is good as this will reflect the light.

As a broad rule choose a concealer in one shade lighter than your skin tone. Don't go too light as this can highlight problem areas rather than cover them and also you will be left with that obvious white look under eyes.  However, too dark wont hide anything and will look rather silly.

I will go into more detail on skin colouring, undertones etc in a future post.

The Concealers

Collection Lasting Perfection concealer - £3,99

I just love this concealer. Lots of beauty bloggers raved about this so I gave it a try. I don't normally buy much from Collection but I haven't looked back since I got it. I use it under my eyes as I find it covers my circles so well and lasts. I don't find it drying or cakey . I also use it on the redness around nose and have used it on blemishes too. It is quite thick and creamy and I like this but some people don't like it under the eyes due to its consistency.  However I think it's great for that area. I just love this and for the price it is a dream.

Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer - £7.99

I was intrigued by the applicator of this concealer. It is so different to any other concealers out there and l couldn't decide if the sponge applicator would make it harder or easier to put on than normal concealer.

Having now used this I do love it! It took me a couple of goes to be at one with the applicator and to get the right amount of product out but I love the coverage it gives and use it under my eyes and around my nose etc. Under the eyes this is perfect for me. Great coverage and brightening.  Though I am not sure I would find it that good at covering spots/blemishes partly due to the applicator and the fact that it is brightening.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer - £5.49

I had forgotten about this concealer. I have used it in the past and really liked it but since discovering the Collection one it had been abandoned.  I do like it for under my eyes as it is 
light reflecting and so is well suited for this area though I don't personally find it gives me quite enough coverage.  This concealer would also be good if you suffer from bags under your eyes.  I wouldn't recommend this so much for blemishes/spots as it is illuminating.

I also like Wake Me Up foundation which is also very reasonably priced.

Laura Mercier Secret Concealer - £19.50

This is my go to concealer for covering spots and blemishes. I don't know why, but I prefer this type of concealer to a liquid for covering my spots. Sadly, spots are something I still get especially, around our favourite time of the month ladies and they can be quite red and fierce. Oh the joy and glamour! But I find this concealer covers them well (make sure you apply some powder to help the product last). Though the product description says it's for under the eyes on the website but I wouldn't find it creamy enough for there. I think as we get older we need to be careful with products under the eye as the skin there is so fine.

Clarins Instant Concealer - £21.99

This is a new favourite of mine. Like the Collection one I kept reading how amazing this product was so I felt it was my duty to try it out. It is excellent for covering my under eye circles and to be honest I have only really used it here and not on my redness or any spots. I squeeze some on the back of my hand and apply with my finger. I love the coverage it gives and it lasts.  It is is creamy but again, I don't find it drying or cakey around my eyes.

NARS Radiant Concealer - £22

This is one I don't currently have but definitely plan to buy it very soon. I have read and heard a lot of good things about this and it is meant to be particularly good if you suffer from black circles. It is meant to be amazing for covering them but not so good over wrinkles etc so it would be best to use it just in corner of your eyes where you shadows are darkest. Will let you know what I think when I get it.

Charlotte Tilbury - The Retoucher - £25

As with everything in her range I want to try this it says it is not illuminating so can be used on spots and under the eyes too.

By Terry Touche Veloute - £35

This is the most expensive of all my concealers and it is a great product though I am not sure it's worth the money. It does a great job and looks luxurious but I think the other less expensive concealers do just as well. It is illuminating but also gives good coverage. It has an applicator end similar to the Touche Eclat but 
its consistency is thicker.  You can apply straight on to your face but I tend to click some out and put it on with my finger.

Let me know what concealers you use. Always love a recommendation.


Wednesday 21 January 2015

Eyebrows - "For Your Eyes Only.."

Everyone wants to have fabulous eyebrows so this post is as much to help me as you. I want my brows to be fantastic but as yet I haven't done enough to actually achieve this. I want to change this!  I do believe great eyebrows give definition to your face, accentuate your eyes and help finish off your makeup look. Helping us to look polished and glamorous. All those grown up things I want to be in my "40 & Fabulous" year!

I get asked a lot about eyebrows and how to do them. I think eyebrows are a tough area. It's quite personal as everyone tends to have a look they like and also you have to work with the eyebrows you have, your colouring and your face shape.

This is a little guide from my beauty course on which eyebrow shapes are meant to be best for which face shape:
In the daytime I like to go for a more natural brow but for evening I like to go a bit darker.  I do need to be careful though as there is a fine line between a dark eyebrow and a very scary, dark eyebrow. We have all seen them!

I brush my brows through and upwards first with an eyebrow comb, then using a matt brown eyeshadow I fill in my brow. I use the MAC 266 brush.  Small, upward strokes make the colour look as natural as possible. Brush the shadow just so it fills in gaps between the hairs and don’t allow the shadow to go beyond the edge of your brows or it will look unnatural. Once I have applied colour to my brows I brush them upwards again with a spoolie to keep them natural looking.
Finding the right colour for your brows can be tricky and can take a few attempts to find the right shade but as a general guideline blondes should go one shade darker, brunettes one shade lighter, redheads a sable colour and greys for a taupe colour. 

Some experts say to start at the arch of your brow and work down to where your eyebrow would naturally end, then go back to the front and up. (If you begin at the end of your brow, you may get an obvious dot showing where you first started, so it's better to start in the arch, where you can blend outwards more easily.) But to be honest I always start at what I would call the top of the brow by my nose as I just find this easiest.

I am not a fan of a pencil for applying colour as I tend to be a bit heavy handed. But saying that there are some fabulous new pencils out there that I want to try.  I have heard so much about the Anastascia Brow Whizz and then on the more affordable end there are a lot of good reviews of the Soap & Glory Archery 2-in-1 Brow Filling Pencil & Brush.  I definitely want to try these two out. If you do use a pencil be sure to apply it with fine, feathery strokes and not a hard strong line. Though I know my beauty blog readers wouldn't do this!

I just use any matt powder from my collection (matt being the key word. I don't think anyone wants sparkly or shimmery eyebrows!) but there are specific brow sets from Benefit, and a more affordable one from Rimmel. The Benefit one has a wax as well as powder. I haven't used a wax before but they are meant to be good for covering sparse patches in your brows and for good, long-lasting coverage. Writing about this makes me feel the urge to go and buy a wax product.

For an evening brow look I do the same as before but I use a coloured brow gel to add a bit more colour and volume. I like the Maybelline one but there are plenty of others out there including this one by Anastasia. Lots of people like to apply a clear eyebrow gel in the daytime such as this Body Shop one but I must confess it just feels one step too far for me in the morning. The gel though would set your look for the rest of the day.  If you have lighter hair, you should always make your brows one shade darker, so a tinted gel is preferred. If you have dark hair, to make sure that the darkness doesn't overpower the frame of your face, you should go one shade lighter or stick with a clear gel!
Eyebrow shapes (like most things) are affected by fashion and at the moment a fuller and more natural look is on trend compared to the skinny brow of a few years ago.  Your ideal brow shape should be a better version of your natural eyebrow and one way of getting this shape is to outline your desired shape with an eye pencil so you can simply remove the hairs that fall outside the lines. Most brows should have a natural curve or arch and this should be exactly above the centre of your eye.

The outer edge of your eyebrow should be about 45 degrees past the outer edge of your eye. Determine the right spot by holding your eye pencil against your nose and lining it up with the outer eye. The point at which the pencil meets your eyebrow is the correct spot for your eyebrow to end.

The main thing I would say with eyebrows is not to over tweeze but also to invest in a good pair of sharp tweezers such as these Tweezermans. Tweezers with a slanted edge give you the best results. Tweezers do get blunter over time and so you should replace your tweezers every so often. And we should really be cleaning them in alcohol to get rid of any oily build up on them but that does seem quite the effort unless you really love your tweezers.

Plucking 2 or 3 hairs can make a big difference to the shape of your brows so pluck one hair at a time in the direction of hair growth. I remember on my beauty course that we were told not to pluck any hairs from above your eyebrow but I can't think why you shouldn't and I merrily do this and big thick hairs haven't grown back.

Now, this is so not glamorous but I like to pluck my eyebrows in the car. There is something about the light and that little mirror in the visor that works for me. So if you see someone plucking away in Waitrose car park, don't worry it's only me working on maintenance! If you want to be a bit more discreet with your plucking invest in a magnifying mirror as this is really the best way to see your brows up close and personal.   

It is so hard I think to get the exact shape on both of your eyebrows yourself which is why I think it's good to go and get your eyebrows shaped by someone else. Then if you are happy with the shape you can stick with that at home. Though there are many stencil kits you can buy now so you can see what shape would work best for you. Such as this one from Shavata.

I like to have mine threaded.  This works for me and I find it quick and easy. I am a big wuss so I haven't tried waxing but I imagine you do get a lovely shape with this.  Though I don't know how good waxing would be if you have sensitive skin around your eyes. Anyone tried this? Electrolysis is another option and this would remove your hairs permanently but as someone who is scare of waxing I don't think this is an option for me.

One reason why I do like a pencil is that I have a scar in one of my eyebrows and brow pencils are more corrective and great covering a gap or a scar or making your arch more defined. But brow powders are best for adding plushness to the brows rather than dealing with brow issues .

If you have over plucked you can buy products now to encourage your eyebrow hair to grow including this serum. I have never used a product like this so I have no idea if they work or not. If any of you have any experience of a product like this I would love to know if they worked or not.  Or apparently, you can even get an eyebrow transplant for a few thousand pounds!

Do leave me a comment below. I have now opened these up so you don't need to sign in to any strange things first!


Monday 19 January 2015

Thank you - "Thank you for being a friend.."

Hope you all survived Monday.  This is meant to be the worst Monday of the year so yay to us all for getting through it!

Today, I have been thinking about what topics to blog on over the next few weeks and would love to know if there are any specific topics you would like me to write about. From product reviews, make up tutorials, best buys - to maybe any celebrity make up looks you would like to see recreated.

Also, would you find photo tutourials helpful? On topics such as a smoky eye look or highlighting and contouring? And would videos be of interest?

Let me know, any feedback is most welcome and thank you so much for reading my blog. I am having the best time writing it.


Friday 16 January 2015

Brushes - "Brusha Brusha Brusha"

Brushes are an important tool when applying makeup but there are so many different types out there. It's just really hard to know which brushes do what. Which are the brushes that we really need and which ones are just nice to have?

With this post I want to share the brushes that I like to use and what I use them for but also brushes that I would like to add to my collection. 

Brands that I like to use are MAC especially for eye makeup and Real Techniques. Prices of brushes range from the affordable to the very expensive and I like to mix and match mine. Though in an ideal world I would have a beautiful set of Charlotte Tilbury or Trish McEvoy ones.

Makeup Brushes

Foundation - I don't tend to use a brush to apply my foundation. I just haven't got on with them. Lots of makeup artists do use them though and say they give you a more flawless finish. They do give more coverage and I like this from my foundation especially around my nose and chin area, so I may invest in this Bobbi Brown Brush.

Concealer - Again, I don't tend to use a brush for my concealer.  I like to use my ring finger to apply it or I use the applicator they come with. You can use an eye shadow brush to apply concealer to your under eye area or around the nose. There are though specific concealer brushes such as this one from Top Shop.  Concealer brushes are narrow and tend to have a tapered edge.

Blusher - As regular readers of my blog, you will know how much I love my blusher. I love to use a big, fluffy brush to apply it but I have been reading that really I should be using a more medium sized brush which is full and round. So I have just purchased the Real Techniques Blusher Brush . I will let you know what I think about it. When applying any powder products such as blusher or bronzer I like to give the brush a little tap first to get rid of any excess product that might be on the brush.

Bronzer - I need to invest in a new bronzer brush as the one I currently use isn't the right shape. An angled one will help you to apply the product under the cheekbones without streaking. The one I would love is this Charlotte Tilbury one but at £60 I do think this is a bit excessive for a bronzer brush when there are many more affordable ones on the market.

Contouring - Here you want a soft brush with an angled edge (these are often good for applying bronzer too) such as this MAC one.

Highlighting - I always apply my highlighter with my fingers as I like to use a liquid highlighter rather than a powder one but if you are a fan of a powder highlighter or like to apply liquid with a brush, a good one would be the Zoeva Luxe Highlighter Brush.

Powder - A meduim sized brush such as this one by Real Techniques is best for powder as it will let you apply the powder to the areas of the face you want to, rather than all over the face. I sometimes apply mine with my Louise Young Fan Brush or use this brush to make sure all my blusher and bronzer is well blended and not streaky.

Eyebrow - Instead of using a pencil to apply colour to my brows I like to use a brush and I like to use a thin brush like this MAC one. Then I brush my brows through with a Spoolie brush afterwards brushing the hairs up to make it look as natural as possible.

Eye shadow - I would always use a brush for my eye shadow unless its a cream (though I would still blend this out with a brush) as they go on better and a brush enables you to be more precise. My absolute favourite brush for applying eye shadow is the MAC 217 Brush. It is the perfect size and applies the product so well. I also recommend having a clean 217 brush when applying your eye shadow as it is the perfect brush for blending.  A definite must buy.

Eyeliner - A thin brush with short stiff bristles is perfect for applying any gel eyeliners or  a thin line of eye shadow. I use this MAC 266 Brush and this is also the one I use for my eyebrows too.

Lips - Being quite lazy I don't really use a lip brush. I tend to apply my lipstick straight from the bullet or use the gloss applicator. However, when applying a red or dark lip a lip liner is good as it helps you be more precise.  A good one to try would be this Clinique Lip Brush  or a budget buy would be this one from H&M.

There are so many other brushes out there that you can have, such as stippling and buffing brushes, smudger brushes and crease brushes to name but a few. I am sure I should be using them! If any of you do use a brush that I haven't mentioned let me know what it is and why it's good. I could always do with an excuse for buying a brush!

You can always buy make up sets. Real Techniques do this one or at the more luxury end Bobbi Brown do this one.

Washing brushes

One of my 2015 Beauty and Skincare resolutions was to wash my make up brushes more regularly. I am aiming for every Sunday night. This hasn't happened so far so maybe once a month might be more realistic!  I wash my brushes with a gentle soap or baby shampoo with warm water. I keep cleaning them until no more colour comes out of my brushes.  You can buy specific brush cleaning products, MAC and Boots both do one.  Make sure you dry your brushes lying flat. I lie mine on a towel on the bathroom floor, my husband often asks why are my brushes sunbathing! Dry them flat and not upright otherwise moisture can collect in the bristles and loosen them.

Who knew there were so many brushes out there and so many uses for them.  I hope this post has helped a bit.


Sunday 11 January 2015

Evening Skincare Routine - Sweet Dreams are made of these....

As I near my 40th birthday I feel I need to become more grown up with my skincare routine, more like a Parisian lady - I imagine them to have excellent skincare routines.

I can be particularly lazy where my evening skincare routine is concerned. I can either feel too tired to do anything much or I just can't really be bothered. I have been known on more than one occasion to sleep with a full face of make up on which results in the most shocking look in the morning and a very colourful pillow case! Or I will use makeup wipes which I know aren't the best for your skin but I think on these occasions something is better than nothing. Wipes, I think as a rule should really only be used after a very late night, when you are camping or are at a festival (I never actually go to festivals but I feel cool saying that!).

When I am being good though I do have a routine which I follow and I now have new products that I want to start and which I hope will improve my evening routine.

Cleanser first.  Previously, I was a bit lazy and tended to use my Bioderma Sensibo H2O Micellar Water not only to remove my eye makeup but also to remove all my other makeup.  This does work and is fine to do but I think a deeper cleanse is probably better.   Now though I have my Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. This is not a liquid but a more solid balm which you apply to dry skin and remove with a flannel and warm water. Massage it into your skin well to really remove all the dirt and makeup from the day.

As in the morning I tend to still use my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water to  remove my eye makeup due to the fact that I do wear quite heavy eye makeup and like to make sure I have removed as much of it as I can. I then apply my eye cream and I use the same product as in the morning. My Kiehls Midnight Recovery Eye.

It is this next stage where I would use a mask. But to be honest I am not very good with masks and need to find a good one. Any recommendations? I do have a Dermologica ???one which I use twice a week when I remember which I do like. 

Toner is next and again I plan to use my Clarins Exfoliating Toner 2 or 3 times a week and then if I was being extra good I would use a moisture spray to spritz my face. I currently don't own any of these products so I need to do a bit of research into these and will let you know if I find any good ones.

Serum next and I am currently using the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate which I have heard so many good things about.  I apply this to my skin and hope it works its miracles on my skin as I sleep. I have only just started to use it but will let you know what I think.

Moisturiser on next but often I just leave it with my serum as my skin sometimes feels overloaded. Though this maybe due to the night cream I am currently using which is Elemental Herbology Facial Souffle Overnight Cream. This product smells lovely but I find it to be very thick and heavy and just seems to sit on my skin. I am on the look out for a lighter night cream.

I then take to bed and wait for the products and nature to take their course but as I am a bit of an insomniac I think the products don't always get the time they need to work properly.


Thursday 8 January 2015

2015 Make up and Skincare resolutions - same old brand new you

I am not a big fan of New Year's resolutions as I feel they just put extra pressure on to ourselves so this is a more fun look at where I think I can improve in my make up and skin care life.

I am 40 this year and I want to be "fabulous and 40" (said in the voice of Samantha from Sex and the City) but as much as the next person I can get stuck in a make up rut. We find a look we are happy with and are either too scared to change it or too lazy to.  So I plan to implement a few changes. These can be big or small. Am thinking mainly small. I don't want to go too crazy.

Top 10 2015 Make up and Skincare Resolutions
  • I want to go for a makeup lesson for some new ideas and tips. I love NARS makeup and they have makeup lessons at Harrods' Urban retreat. I feel this has to be a pre-birthday treat to myself.
  • To always remove my make up in the evening and try not to use make up wipes (well at least not too much!)
  • To start using both face masks and hair treatment masks. I feel these are what I should be doing to look after my skin and hair but never actually get round to doing.
  • To try and not always wear black eyeliner. I know this can be harsh and ageing and that browns are better but I do love my black!
  • To not always be so gung ho with my blusher. This one will please my husband!
  • To look after my nails better. Use nail and cuticle oils and give my nails days when they are free of varnish. Also, not to pick my nail varnish off. An awful habit and so bad for my nails.
  • Wash my makeup brushes more and throw away old makeup that I have had for over a year.
  • Be better at wearing SPF - I need to start slowing down that ageing process.
  • To exfoliate more regularly in the shower and to always moisturise my body morning and evening (I can already tell this won't happen!)
  • Find out about all the BB, CC, DD and EE creams and find a good one for me.
Let me know what your beauty and skincare resolutions are.


Sunday 4 January 2015

Morning skin care routine - And rub it on your face An' go blud-dle-ud-dle-ud-dle Ud-dle-um-dum

This post is about my current morning skincare routine but I will also talk about things I should probably be doing and I am not! 

My skin currently is combination to oily, though having said that it has felt quite dry over the last couple of weeks. I think this is the result of being inside more over the festive period and cranking up the central heating when I get the chance (I would be very happy living in an old folks home!).  This along with over indulging in alcohol and sugar filled treats has left my skin dry and grey and in need of a spot of TLC.

I also still get hormonal spots, mainly on my chin at that "time of the month" and being 40 this year I do wonder if this will ever stop. I just tend to leave my spots and definitely don't pick them.

First thing in the morning after brushing my teeth I hop into the shower. Here, I don't help my skin either as I like my showers really hot and I find I can't wake up properly unless I stand with my face under the water for a good couple of minutes. This is not good for my skin and definitely dries it out in the colder months.

After my shower I cleanse my face. It is important to cleanse your face in the morning even having done a thorough cleanse the night before.  It cleans the skin and gets it going, along with preparing it for any make up you want to apply later.

I use a cleansing oil. I like a foaming cleanser but I keep reading how drying they are to the skin so I have gone for an oil and I use the Nude Perfect Cleanse.  I have recently learnt I have been applying my cleanser incorrectly as I was putting the oil onto damp skin when I should have been putting it on to dry skin. I then massage the oil in and remove with warm water. One of my skincare aims of 2015 is to use a warm flannel to remove my cleanser as everyone seems to suggest this is the best method and to use a new one everyday.  I feel a trip to Primark coming on to stock up on flannels.

I have just purchased Origins GinZing Refreshing Facial Scrub Cleanser which I plan to use a couple of mornings a week to really get my skin going and the blood circulating. It also happens to smell fab.

I don't use and haven't tried the Clarisonic or the like and I have heard mixed reviews from friends who have used it so I would love to hear any thoughts or views you have on this way of cleansing.

My cleansing oil is enough really to remove eye make up as well but I do like to quickly use my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water on my eyelids to get rid of any remnants of eye make up which might not have shifted when I cleansed the night before. I have to say I am loving this product and it is a total bargain.

The next two steps I don't currently do but am thinking of introducing this New Year. These are to use a toner and then spritz with a hydrating toner or moisturisng water. By toner I don't mean the pungent, stripping toners of years gone by but the new exfoliating ones.  I have the Clarins Exfoliator Brightening Toner for night time use which can also be used in the morning or I have seen a lot of ex foliation pads which can also be used.  After using the toner a facial spray is recommended but I think this could be a step too far for me in the morning.

I then apply my eye cream and I put this on before my serum to give it more time to work.  I am currently using Kiehls Midnight Recovery Eye and dab it gently on the skin around my eyes.  As I have mentioned before I suffer from black circles so this tends to be the main focus when buying eye creams along with reduction in lines. If you know of any good ones do let me know by leaving a comment below or on my Facebook page. I don't tend to suffer much from puffiness under the eyes but if you do and know any good ones let me know about those too.

Serum next and at the moment I am using the Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil.  I love the smell and feel of this. I rub it into my finger tips and massage it into my face. A little bit of facial massage in the morning is great for getting the blood flow going and waking your face up. I have heard good things about the Kiehls Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate and I did try a sample which I liked. It felt slightly tingly and tightening which I personally liked.  Serum penetrates the skin deeper and will help your moisturiser take to your skin.

Moisturiser is the last step and due to my combination skin I don't tend to go for a very heavy one and am currently using Neals Yard Yarrow & Comfrey.  A 10 pence-sized amount or less is good and massage it in, not forgetting your neck.

SPF I am a bit rubbish with. Especially in the winter when there is not much sun and what there is we need for Vitamin D. In the summer I tend to use a separate SPF to moisturiser but I don't really know why.

I will also do a post on my evening skincare routine which tackles removing all that make up I love to wear.