January Favourites

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January-Favourites

I'm not gonna lie, just like putting together my December Favourites was a bit of a struggle January's has been much the same. I've been wearing the exact same makeup, using the exact same skincare for months on end and have only finally started switching it up towards the latter end of the month thanks to some new purchases. Thank god.

I originally bought the MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush for blending in concealer - which it's great for - but I've also found it's great for, y'know, blending in eyeshadow. Like, the job it was designed to do. Who'da thunk? While my MAC 217 will forever reign supreme as my ultimate blending brush sometimes my eyeshadow can be a little too harsh at the edges and the relatively dense bristles of the 217 can't save it. This is where the 224 steps in as the bristles are less compact (though also less soft) allowing the shadow to really get properly blended out. And voila, seamless eyeshadow. I only wish I'd done this a lot sooner as I've had the brush a really long time. Doh.

See that nameless black double ended stick? Well once upon a time it had 'Maybelline Brow Satin' written on it but it all melted off onto my handed at approximately the second use. What's all that about? The product inside makes up for the shoddy packaging thankfully and Medium Brown is a good fit for my brows. The twist up pencil is nicely pigmented and thin allowing for a good defined shape and the other end has a cap and sponge loaded with powder which I initially thought would be pretty gimmicky but actually it works well to bulk out the brows. It's the first time in a very long time that I've stepped away from my powder and brush to fill in my eyebrows and it's really nice to have just the one product to do all the work.

I've used the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer daily since I bought it as I just love sweeping the big domed sponge under my eyes, it's just so easy! The formula is quite light and creamy (but not too creamy, I don't have a problem with this creasing) and covers as much as I need it to although I don't really suffer from dark circles, I just need a lil' bit of brightening going on under there. I have the palest shade Light which is unfortunately the only downside as it could really do with being lighter especially with it being an undereye concealer. Come on Maybelline, you're very nearly onto a winner here! It's so, so close to being amazing.

Ok so I know, not the most exciting products ever featured and there there's not a great deal of them but they're legit my favourites of the month. Sometimes you just don't have a lot to show, you know? I can almost guarantee next month will be swarming with new products though - I've done my fair share of online shopping recently and am lurrrrving everything. I think it's time for my bank card to go back into hibernation.
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The Masks that Fixed My Face

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Face Masks, REN, Nuxe, Una Brennan

My skincare routine of late has gotten Boring. With a capital B. I can't remember the last time I used a face mask, can't remember the last time I used an exfoliating toner and I can actually tell; my skin's got more post-blemish marks than it's had in a while, my foundation's (still) not sitting quite right and it's just looking and feeling blah for lack of a better word. As much as I love my Oskia cleanser it's not a miracle worker and alone isn't enough to cater to all my skin's concerns - so I've spent the past week or so giving my skin a much needed pamper with my favourite face masks, the one product designed to guarantee an immediate result, and using them again has felt so so good. I don't know why I got so lazy.

The Hydrating One - Nuxe Creme Fraiche de Beaute*
You all know my skin type, it's as dry as the dessert and the skin on my face is only saved with the aid of lots of moisture usually in the form of my HG Oilatum face cream. Sometimes though it's just not enough and I need to crack out a hydrating mask, my favourite of late being this one from Nuxe. I use this one of two ways: either as a traditional mask with a massage on, leave, massage off routine or as more of a heavy duty moisturiser with a lighter layer - definitely the more cost effective option given that it's £19.50. Eek. Either way it's really good for adding a heavy hit of moisture which sometimes (a lot of times) my skin really needs.

The Quick Fix - REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial
Flash Rinse really is like a super speedy facial in a tube, ok maybe not with the same results as an actual facial but considering it takes one minute to leave my skin seriously baby soft I think it deserves its title. Flash Rinse comes out a toothpaste-looking greeny blue colour with soft grainy bits that seem to melt as you massage it into the skin. Leave for a minute, wash off and you're left with soft, zingy and refreshed skin. I don't think it's a necessity by any means and it doesn't provide any long lasting benefits but for a quick fix it's just what the doctor ordered.

The (Gently) Resurfacing One - REN F10 Smooth and Renew Mask
The sensitive skin-friendly version of the popular Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, this one has unfortunately now been discontinued and I have no idea why because it's pretty great. It does everything that the Glycolactic mask does only on a more toned down scale; it smells the same, looks the same and exfoliates with fruit acids leaving the skin soft and rejuvenated only without the possibility of any redness or irritation. It's a real shame this has been discontinued as it makes a fantastic choice for those whose skin can't quite handle the stronger exfoliators.

The Traditional Clay Mask - Una Brennan Deep Clean Pore Purifying Clay Mask
If there's only one type of mask every person should own it's the classic clay mask. Clarifying, cleansing, blemish-busting, there's not many skin concerns it doesn't address. Una Brennan's may be cheap but that doesn't make it any less effective, in fact it's the best clay mask I've tried yet - yep even beating out the ever hyped Origins which I hated. The Una Brennan mask applies so smoothly and feels so cooling, and once removed leaves a soft and smooth complexion that's had a deep cleanse, all without leaving my skin itching for moisture Pretty impressive, eh? I think this one has now actually been replaced with the Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Clay Mask which I think might be exactly the same product only with a slight different name as my version already contains salicylic acid. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

I'm not kidding, using these masks has really got me back into the skincare game and I promise I won't be so slack with my routine again (although I really don't subscribe to the whole 'sandwiching' in skincare phiosophy, sometimes less really is more). Already I've purchased a certain ridiculously hyped spray to see what all the fuss is about and repurchased a certain liquid-something that worked wonders on my skin many moons ago and I'm hoping will do the same again. Keep your eyes peeled.
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My MAC Blushers

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MAC Virgin Isle, Cubic, Subtle Breeze, Fleur Power, Something Special MAC Virgin Isle, Cubic, Subtle Breeze, Fleur Power, Something Special

Since buying Cubic blush for my kit recently I realised that although I own quite a few MAC blushers I don't really use them as often as I should which doesn't really make sense considering I'm a total blusher friend and is a total shame because just look how pretty they are. Digging them back out spurred me on to start using them again and here's what I think.  Let's commence, clockwise from top left and top to bottom on the swatches.

Virgin Isle. Oh Virgin Isle, how I love thee. When summer rolls around this is the blusher I have on my face basically every single day. The colour is intense, it's a bright almost neon (in the pan at least) red based coral that is super pigmented but applied with the lightest of hands it imparts the most beautiful pink flush that somehow manages to look incredibly natural. The formula is a true cream with none of this cream-to-powder business and despite how much I've used it have barely scratched the surface - it's that pigmented. It's just utterly beautiful and is one I've already added back into my daily makeup drawer.

Cubic. My most recent purchase, this one is for my kit but since I won't be using it for a while yet figured I may as well make the most of it and try it out on my own face for the time being. I was after a more neutral colour since all of my makeup stash is dominated with pinks and... well... it's definitely a pink. You can do all the research online you want but the lesson here is a computer screen will never give you a true reflection of the colour. Still, it's very pretty and now that it's in my possession I'm glad I have it. MAC call cubic a 'soft muted pink' which is a pretty accurate description although when swatched next to the other colours it looks entirely beige in comparison. I imagine this could actually make a really good contour shade for super pale girls, and maybe even on myself. I'll be tying it out for sure.

Subtle Breeze. You know when you pull out all of that makeup you never use and are just left thinking why haven't I been using you? That is me, with Subtle Breeze. I'm totally shopping the stash again. It's the only Mineralize blush I own from MAC and now I want more because they are just lovely with a formula that's pigmented and silky smooth. Subtle Breeze is a blue based pink with subtle shimmer so very flattering on my skin and I've been really enjoying using it these past few days. Another one added to my daily makeup drawer.

Fleur Power. I got this one in my makeup kit back in 2013 and on myself I'm not really a fan as it's a warm coral-pink but I did once use it lightly on a bride together with a statement red lip and it looked beautiful, I think because it has some red undertones to it. It's definitely not for me but one I'll be keeping in my kit, in fact it will soon be getting depotted into my blush palette (depotting is really fun by the way, who knew?)

Something Special. Another cream blush, you know how much I love them. This one is quite pale, almost pastel-looking and very much in the coral colour family although it's still got some pinkness to it (it's less orange than it looks in the swatch). I thought it might be quite similar to Stila Gerbera but actually Gerbera is a lot more pink which is probably why I love it and MAC's not so much. It would be super, super pretty on the right person so it will be coming out of my personal collection and going straight into my kit.

So it seems I've totally shopped the stash, again, and have now added a couple of blushers into/back into my daily makeup drawer. Using a powder is even a total change for me because before I started trying these out again I'd been using cream blush solidly for literally years and it's quite strange not seeing the dewiness on my cheeks. Creams will always reign supreme for me but it's really nice to switch it up now and again.
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A Long Overdue Boots Haul

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Maybelline Eye Eraser, Brow Satin, Color Drama Lip Pencil

Soo, you know my last post about shopping the stash? Well err, Boots might have happened. In my defence I've barely bought any beauty stuff these past couple of months (I'm not counting my MAC purchases as they're for my kit), I literally mean maybe a few things max but let's not waste any more time dithering over whether or not they're justified buys (they're totally not) and let's get on with the good stuff.

I've wanted the Maybelline Instant Anti-Age The Eraser Eye for ages but for a long time my local Boots only stocked shades that were too dark. When I found Light I snapped it up but I have to say it's still a teeny tiny bit too dark for me and will definitely be too dark for for you really pale girls out there. Otherwise so far I like it and while a tad unhygienic the sponge-tipped applicator feels really pleasing to run under the eyes. The formula is light and creamy and while it wouldn't offer the heaviest duty coverage for really dark undereye circles for me it works just fine.

I love me a good brow product and while I like the idea of using a pencil I almost always seem to be dissatisfied with them for some reason - I'm talking Soap & Glory Archery and MAC Eye Brows which I used to love but have since kind of fell out with. I think it's because of the waxy aspect a lot of them have as they don't tend to give good colour payoff but when I swatched Maybelline Brow Satin I was pleasantly surprised to find that the twist-up pencil is nicely pigmented. I picked the shade Medium Brown over the darker and ashier Dark Brown as I actually think an ever so slightly warmer shade suits my hair colour better and looks more flattering on me. There's also a sponge loaded with powder on the other end to fill in the bulk of the colour and soften things out and I actually find it works well in conjunction with the pencil. So far I really like it and for the first time in a long time I've stepped away from my brow powders which is really saying something.

As it turns out Maybelline was on 3 for 2 so I decided on a Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Keep It Classy, a deep raspberry colour. Lots of people are claiming these to be a dupe for the Nars lip pencils but I have to disagree. I also disagree with dubbing them 'velvet' as they actually have a very creamy consistency rather than the real velvet-like feel of the Nars ones. I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all as they glide over the lips with ease and are so pigmented although I don't find the colour lasts an overly long time. You don't get a matte finish with these either, instead it's more semi-matte with a definite sheen to it which you may or may not like depending on your preferences - personally I don't mind a bit of a shine. I'll definitely be picking up Minimalist next - it's a nude pink so I mean come on, how could I not?

I'm still into lip liners in a big way and bought the No7 Precision Lips Pencil in Nude, something I've had my eye on for a while and I finally caved after seeing Grace rave about it. It's a warm peachy-nude shade which I like for outlining my lips to enhance the shape - if I fill in the whole of my lips with it the colour just looks off on me. I'm determined to find my perfect neutral lip liner, I mean I really thought the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat was going to be it but - and I feel like I might actually be the only person who feels this way - I'm just not in love with it like I was expecting to be. Shocker, eh?

...Oh lord I just checked and I have £40 of points on my Boots card...whatever shall I get? Hit me up with your recommendations, I'm feeling spendy.
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I Shopped the Stash and I Liked It

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Shopping the Stash

January seems to be the month that I dig deep into my drawers, dust off all that forgotten about makeup and actually get to using it. You'd think with it being the New Year and all I'd be buying up a load of new stuff but no, 'shopping the stash' seems to be the theme of the month. The products featured here are the ones that actually made the cut that I've been either enjoying using or making an effort to use out of the whole heap of makeup that I dug out.

Narsissist Palette. Do you remember the hype on this one? It was huge and I was one of the smug ones that managed to pre-order it. I hate to say it but before I got this back out I'd used it about four or five times since I bought it, how bad is that? I've just never managed to love it, somehow. All the eyeshadows are pigmented and buttery-soft as you'd expect from Nars but the colour selection just doesn't really do it for me. The lighter shades are largely warm-toned and - while very pretty - don't suit me that well and the darker colours are too dark for what I go for. I've made an effort with it, I really have, and I do like the more purpley shades like Lhasa and Brousse #2 but I think this one will be going into my kit where I can see it actually getting some love.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick in 04 Rose Tweed. I don't really know why I let this one gather dust. I have two or three of these Rouge Edition lipsticks from Bourjois because I love the formula - they're pigmented, creamy and hydrating. Rose Tweed is a dusky pink-beige and is one of those 'wear to death' lipsticks because it's just so easy and fuss free. Admittedly it's not the most exciting colour out there but sometimes you just need a staple neutral to chuck on whenever and wherever and this is just that. 

Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight. You all know how much I love a cream product so why I hadn't used this contour and highlight duo since I bought it I really don't know. I think first of all I need to admit that contouring just isn't for me - a bit bit of bronzer to bring shape and warmth to the face I like but actual contouring is a no-go. Highlighter though, always yes, and in this duo is the cream version of the famous Candlelight powder highlighter. It's quite thin and light in consistency and very creamy with an incredibly fine shimmer that is barely detectable - this brings a real dewiness to the skin rather than any kind of fake-looking shimmer which I love. Like I need another highlighter in my life, I know, but this one gets a thumbs up from me and has been added to my daily makeup drawer.

L'oreal Skin Perfection Perk-Up Cream. I've always liked this one, it's just that it ended up hidden away once the winter months rolled along and I started piling on the foundation once again. But the problem is right now that I'm not really enjoying wearing foundation too much. I'm finding everything's looking a bit caky and feeling a bit too much on my skin and I would love to just let it breathe even for a day. Sadly I'm not quite at the stage where I can share my bare face with the world just yet so at the minute I'm applying the Origins Vitiating-esque product under my foundation to try and get away with wearing less of it. The hope is that eventually I'll be wearing the cream on its own, I mean come on, I used to do this all the time in the summer with barely-there bases and some concealer but there's something about the winter time that makes me feel like I need to hide behind a mask of foundation. Well, no more, because I'm determined to get back into lighter, more breathable formulas and this is as good a place as any to start.

On this round I've added three products to my daily makeup drawer which certainly isn't bad going. Why I buy things and then sometimes don't even so much as touch them I really don't know, I mean what a waste! In fact, some of my favourite ever products have been those that I've cast aside only to later discover their amazingness and kick myself for it.  I think I'll be shopping my stash more often from now on.
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