Thursday, 24 August 2017

Beauty Lately...

So, a few weeks ago Mum and I went out for lunch (if an ice-cream sundae qualifies as a meal!) and I'm making a point of wearing makeup when I leave the house now (rare occasions, but I'll take that). I didn't have long to get ready but used a few new things and thought I'd share my thoughts, alongside some other new items I've been playing with.   makeup, fragrance and skincare product reviews I've been using lately

I mentioned on Instagram a few weeks ago that mascara really bugs me. It's only since I've stopped wearing makeup regularly, that I've realised it irritates me (and I mean it annoys me, not that it causes a reaction). My lashes feel heavy, clumpy, they stick together, I can spy them out of the corner of my eye and yes, the amount of times I rub my eye and forget I'm wearing makeup that day, d'oh! That's my fault though and not the mascara. I'd never leave it out of my routine entirely though. I need the definition, it opens my eyes and it completes my look, especially when wearing eyeshadow. You just look unfinished without it. I may have found a solution with the BeneFit They're Real Tinted Primer £19.50 (or £10.50 for the mini version shown here), which I received in a GWP. It's a mink brown shade which can be used alone for natural, feathery lashes or to boost mascara, providing extra length and definition. I used it alone (purely because I forgot to apply mascara after) and was really impressed. It gave me the definition I needed without any weighty, clumpy feeling. My top and bottom lashes didn't get stuck together, they just looked really long and sleek and separated, yet rather natural. I'd say MLBB (my lashes but better). I did notice some smudging later in the day under my eye, which I seem to be really prone to just now. Though I think I forgot to put some Urban Decay Primer Potion (UD PP) on, because I used the primer again last week with UD PP and I had minimal smudging (just noticed a little when I went to take off my makeup at night and I'd been caught in the rain earlier in the day). So yeah, I think this is the answer to my mascara woes and I'm already planning on a buying a full size when this mini one runs out (and my stash of 100's (quite nearly) of GWP mascaras are weeping right now).  BeneFit They're Real Tinted Mascara Primer  BeneFit They're Real Tinted Mascara Primer Brush Another BeneFit product I tried for the first time (again I'd received a sample), was the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick £23.50. I still love highlighting and contouring when wearing makeup and usually use a powder bronzer (The Balm Bahama Mama) applied with a traditional flat foundation brush, then blend using a bigger, buffing brush. So I thought this Hoola stick was the answer to my prayers, as it's a cream bronzer and would be easy to apply (straight from the stick) and all it would require is blending. The first time I used it, I was unknowingly heavy handed. It looks reasonably light in the tube, but once applied it is very dark (bearing in mind I'm pale as and actually Bahama Mama is also very deep toned, so that's not really the issue).  I think I had way too much product around my forehead anyway. I felt I spent a lot longer blending than I usually would because of that. I loved the precise line I got when using it under my cheekbones, much less hassle than the usual powder. The product is very soft (cream to powder formula) and this is perhaps where it went a bit wrong for me. Once I began buffing and blending, it really migrated. That perfect thin line, became bronzed all the way down to my jaw. I tried it again last week, using less product, but still found the same issue with my cheeks-that it blended out way too much. I found myself applying more highlighter on the lower part of my face to counteract that.  It's also a bit too orangey toned for my colouring.  The forehead was a lot better this time and lately I've been skipping the nose, but used Hoola on it and it was so easy to apply, especially with this dinky sized version. So I'm a bit mixed with this one. I wanted to love it and will continue to try and make it work for contouring, but sadly I can't see me buying the full size. BeneFit Hoola Quickie Contour StickBeneFit Hoola Quickie Contour Stick swatch on pale skin
Next up is Clinique Pop Oil lip & Cheek Glow £16.50.  What is this stuff? I received a full-size in shade 01 Poppy Glow in a GWP a wee while ago. It's a bright, blood red and not usually a colour I'd opt for, so it sat unused. I mistakenly thought it was a lip and cheek stain (the bold colour fooled me), so because we were eating out, I thought this would be perfect and fancied something different from my usual nude. I was so wrong. For a start I couldn't imagine using this on the cheeks at all. It's a real glossy gloss, but not much tint or stain left behind, so I'm not sure how well it would blend on the cheeks, if it would just disappear into the skin leaving no colour or if it would look very 'wet'. However I was using it on the lips, so I lined and filled my whole mouth with an old red lip pencil and then applied this on top. I definitely used too much product, because I hadn't realised it was supposed to be "a subtle pop of dewy colour for lips and cheeks", but I did so, because I was struggling to get an even, bright colour all over.  I kept dipping in for more and unsurprisingly my lips were pretty saturated and gloopy by the end of it.  I was a little concerned that pressing my lips together would result in the colour migrating outwith the lip line.  It did feel very pleasant on the lips though, light but nourishing.  By the time I took some photos for the blog, I noticed my lip colour wasn't looking as bright as when first applied. On closer inspection, it had almost completely disappeared. I was left with a darker red rim around the outside of my lips (basically the lipliner) and a faint pinkness to the rest. I applied more of the Pop Oil before leaving the house, but foolishly didn't line my lips again (because I was still thinking it would stain). Obviously after lunch, I had to reapply again, but once more I was aware that within 30-45 minutes, the product had disappeared.  It was a windy day and I was super thankful my hair was in a turban or else there would've been more gloss on that than my lips.  Regardless, this is a total fail for me.  Even once I've read what it's supposed to do, it doesn't live up to that, I don't think.  You can see from the swatch below how difficult it would be to get an even finish, as it's accumulated at one end, but absorbed into the skin at the other.  It might work better as a topper over a lipstick, because there's not enough (if any) staining when it fades and the lasting power is almost non-existent.  A standard lipgloss would probably last longer on my lips.  Plus the natural reaction to get an even finish is to apply more and that just uses too much product.  I definitely wouldn't buy this in any of the colours it comes in.      Clinique Pop Oil red lip and cheek oilClinique Pop Oil Poppy Glow red lip and cheek glowClinique Pop Oil Poppy Glow swatch on pale skin
Ok, so confession time, I am mask obsessed. Like super obsessed. I've been averaging on buying a new one every week or two, I just can't get enough. I was super indulgent last month and ordered the new Dior Hydra Life Pores Away pink clay mask £45.50. It's way more than I'd usually spend on a mask, but I was getting freebies, so my brain goes out the window when I see that (if you haven't already guessed from the GWP laden reviews in the post thus far). I figured if I actually used it, then it was money well spent, as I have a tendency to freak out when it comes to pretty and/or expensive beauty products and keep them "for a special occasion" i.e. never use them and that's just silly. So I took the plunge and have been using this regularly (2-3 times a week) ever since. I really like it. Now, be warned it's fragrant. Like there are perfumes out there, with less scent than this.  It hits you as soon as you open the lid and it has another cover after that! It's a peachy colour and what I love is that it only needs 3 minutes to work. Sometimes I don't have time to sit for 10-15 minutes and the darker coloured masks can be quite messy to remove, but no such troubles with this one. I don't want to tempt fate, but I'm convinced I'm seeing an improvement in my skin overall since using this. My problem areas are reducing, blemishes are healing quicker, appearing less frequently and I just catch myself looking at my reflection and thinking how clear it is.

Alongside the mask, I'm also adding using a brush. I wish I'd started doing this sooner, as applying masks with a brush is much more efficient than with your hands. You can get specific tools for this-such as the Boots Face Mask Brush £3, fan shaped MV Organic Skincare Facial Mask Brush £12, Origins Facial Mask Brush £12, Anne Semonin Applicator Brush for Masks £12, Ecotools Facial Mask Mates £12.75, BareMinerals Mask Applicator Brush & Washcloth £14 or spatula style Origins Ritualitea Tool £15, but you don't need to break the bank or necessarily buy a specific tool in my opinion. I'm currently using a traditional flat foundation brush, that I got in a Lancome GWP ages ago, so you might already own something like that or here are some cheaper versions; Freedom £1.99, Makeup Revolution Pro F101 £3.99 or if you prefer the prettier Spectrum A03 £7.99 or SkinnyDip £10. I never use this style of brush for foundation any more, so I'm glad I've found another use for it. I have more control over applying the mask, so it's a neater application and I most definitely use less product than with my fingers.  Next on my shopping list is a face flannel to use specifically for removing masks, as I think this will be a lot easier than the splashing water method!Dior Hydra Life Pores Away pink clay mask and lancome foundation brush
Another Benefit product, yes, I've been loving the brand recently, are the POREfessional Instant Wipeout Masks £17.  Again I received a sample sachet in a GWP, then another and I've already bought the full size pack which contains 8.  If you follow my Instagram, I did a little application process/review on my Stories one day.  Now let's be honest, BeneFit can be gimmicky.  Their packaging (imo) is to die for, gloriously kitsch and retro and cute, but I know this can work against them, as some people think it's all pretty aesthetics and no function.  That's not true, there's some great formula's and clever concepts behind the outer shell.  So inside the adorable little cardboard 'case' are 8 sachets and inside the sachet is a pore strip, which can be used on the forehead, nose or chin (I've been using it on the latter because this is where I break-out).  You press that 'button' to release the serum into the sachet (it feels gooood), then open the packet to take out the folded, saturated mask and apply to the face.  Leave on for 10 minutes, then use the other (bumpy) side to wipe away excess serum.  The mask is a decent size and shaped well, that I could see it fitting any of the three designated T-zone areas.  Don't mistake this for a pore strip that rips out blackheads (visible on the strip), it's more like a sheet mask.  I've been using it for congestion rather than to minimise pores, so I can't really discuss how it fares in that respect, but my skin feels refreshed and tightened after use.  It's cold, but tingles a bit when it's on, but not enough to burn uncomfortably.  My only gripe is it's a bit costly if you were using 2 a week as suggested (though I've just noticed they are on sale, so ordered a couple more boxes and am hoping it doesn't mean they are discontinued and update, they've sold out, so I've changed the link above-GWP available on that one currently), though I suppose that's a box a month, which isn't too bad.  I'm not convinced yet that it's a miracle worker, but like I said earlier, my problem skin has been less of a problem lately, so perhaps it is doing something.  Regardless, I love using them and as Helen Mirren said recently, that's what matters.        BeneFit the POREfessional Instant Wipeout Mask sachet review
Yet more samples and I had a couple of really big beauty hauls, that involved loads of GWP's including a rather large goody bag filled with different brands and products.  In amongst it were lots of perfume vials and the Dior mask order earlier also involved another gift with a couple of their perfumes in.  So I've now organised all my samples, so I really use them, instead of cooing over them, then forgetting where I put them and letting them go to waste.  I have a bulging cosmetics case with all the fragrances together and am using a different one each day.  It's actually been a lot of fun, trying something completely new.  Two of my favourites so far are Givenchy Live Irresistible Delicieuse EDP £47-£80 and Dior Poison Girl EDT £42-£87.  The Givenchy one immediately reminded me of (and I think out of the dozens I've got the correct one here), Harajuku Lovers L'il Angel (the original).  It's a more sophisticated version, but it has that same initial yummy, fruity/floral scent.  I've just looked it up and it has top notes of Madeleine cake accord.  Like cake-cake?  No wonder I like it!  A base of tonka bean which I don't pick up so much here and heart notes of rose and orange blossom.  When I'm feeling flush, I'm so treating myself to this-my Mum always comments on how lovely it is when I'm wearing it.  The Dior one, aside from J'Adore, I don't get on that well usually with Dior fragrances.  They are too overpowering for me, so I was a bit reluctant to test this one out (when I worked on the beauty counter as a teenager, I used to hate if people wanted Chanel or Dior sprayed, because it gave me a headache for the rest of the day and I'm pretty sure the original Poison was one of the culprits).  Poison Girl, I immediately fell for though.  I smelt the tonka bean right away and couldn't help but be reminded of YSL Manifesto, which I love!  I finished my bottle a while ago, but just recently repurchased because it was such a good price.  PG does come in an Eau de Parfum, but I think the Eau de Toilette I've been using is strong enough for me.  It will certainly go on my wishlist, probably to buy after my Manifesto is finished.       Givenchy Live Irresistible Delicieuse and Dior Poison Girl fragrance samples Givenchy Live Irresistible Delicieuse and Dior Poison Girl perfume vials
And that's it.  I'm hoping to make this a regular feature; little reviews on new products or techniques I've been trying across all things beauty related.  Let me know what you think and you can find me on Instagram and Facebook in the meantime.

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