Sitting on top of my wardrobe for many months now has been a big bag jam packed with makeup. Really good makeup. 'Why haven't you been using it?!' You cry. Well. I got this suff as part of a makeup course that I did in August last year (which was completely amazing), used it on loads of different faces but never on myself and ever since the majority has been untouched apart from random peeks into it when I get excited all over again. Eight months on and I think it's time to make use of it, don't you? First, let me take you on a tour:
Bobbi Brown Foundation Sticks in Cool Beige, Warm Natural, Warm Almond, Espresso
MAC Studio Stick in NW15 (discontinued)
MAC Kohl Power Eye Pencil in Feline and Fascninating
Lancome Rouge in Love Lipstick in Beige Dentelle
Louise Constad Brushes
Amongst other random bits like face wipes, lip balm and a nail file!
Not a shabby lot, is it? It's definitely a hell of a lot of makeup to be sat there not doing anything (although the gel eyeliner and eyeshadows are already in my stash) so - as of yesterday - I've started using it on myself. Of course the dark foundations and mascara will be coming nowhere near my face but the rest are getting slapped right on there. On first impressions the Bobbi Brown Foundation Sticks work fantastically with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and they're actually a lot lighter on the skin than anticipated. I'll be back soon with some thorough reviews and maybe if I can work a 'face of the day' out of it you'll be seeing that, although you might know I'm not the best at showing my face on the old blog. We'll see.
If I think back on my Uni days one of the main things I recall amongst my bad makeup choices is that I used powder much too liberally (along with too much blusher and too much eyeshadow). MAC Blot Powder was my dusting of choice and although that stuff is awesome I really did use too much of the stuff - all over my face. I recall the very day I decided to take a step back and only apply it to my t-zone and it felt wrong. Now? Now the thought of mattifying my entire face in powder makes me shudder. In fact recently I've found myself using powder less and less even to the point where I'm regularly having days where I don't use it at all.
I think this change has been spurred on my a number of factors, number one being Hannah Maggs. That girl has some seriously glowing skin and nothing else has made me want to ditch the powder and embrace the glow more than staring at her complexion. Hannah recently shared that she uses Nars Copacabana Illuminator mixed in with her foundation to achieve the glow and now I want it more than ever despite having recently bought three highlighters within a few days. Second factor is my general dry skin woes. I've recently switched from my usual Oilatum moisturiser to a less greasy one and while I miss it my skin's definitely a lot less shiny post-foundation and this has allowed me to skip the powder altogether - something I never thought I'd see myself doing. Third is that I just feel I no longer need to 'set' my foundation as much because *touch wood* I'm currently at a stage where I don't have a lot of blemishes or scarring to cover up and keep in place.
To create and embrace a glow I've been using Nars Le Teint Touche Eclat mixed together with Bourjois Happy Light for a lightly sun kissed look that's not my usual deathly pale colour and of course lots of highlighting. Today I used the Seventeen Skin Wow Highlighter underneath a Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick and I'm undecided on it. The highlighter is very pink toned for a start and once the foundation's on you can't see it anymore anyway - bit of a waste. What I am loving (still) is the Jouer Tint & Highlighter in Feather (not pictured), a creamy champagne coloured highlighter that creates the perfect cheekbones.
With all that said I am seriously hankering after the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused right now for some extra glow. I've never owned an 'illuminating' powder before and never really saw the point until these babies came along. Alas, it seems to be sold out everywhere at the minute. Behind the bandwagon, I know.
You know when you don't buy any makeup for what feels like ages - which actually probably equates to a few weeks - and then something snaps and you buy everything within a couple of days? That. I'm declaring this lot my allocated beauty buys for the month and am putting my bank card out of sight (which admittedly wouldn't make a difference as I know my number off by heart, it's both a good and bad thing).
A quick trip to Boots to restock on Oilatum (which they didn't have in, shocking) resulted in getting the Seventeen Skin Wow highlighter which is very highlight-y and so far I've used it mixed in with my foundation for that inbuilt glow. I haven't given it a good enough go yet so the jury's still out but what I am decided on is the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in Ivory which is so good! It's very lightweight on the skin, doesn't cake and offers a light-medium coverage which makes it perfect for under the eyes and it also works on blemishes - I don't think I've ever came across another concealer that does both so well.
Topshop was the place that really got the ball rolling, I simply cannot buy clothes from there without having a look at the makeup too and ended up coming away with the Glow Highlighter in Polish, an iridescent champagne colour which got mixed reactions on Twitter for its odd mousse-like consistency. I also realised I had a gaping hole in my nail polish collection for those duck egg blues (first world problems, eh) so obviously had to get the Nail Polish in Boy Next Door from their SS14 collection. I've had it on a couple of days and it definitely takes a good three coats to get an opaque finish but the colour is a real beauty for summer.
My next stop was Space NK where I spotted the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight. I love cream products. Love them. So when I came across the newly released cream version of the infamous sculpting powder with a cream highlighter in there too (that's three in this one post, how ridiculous) it had to be mine. In person it's teeny tiny but it's also a good £10 cheaper than most of the brand's products so I guess the price reflects that. I can only assume it sold out in record time as it seems to have disappeared from the shelves of both Space NK and Cult Beauty but if you're after it I'd stick around until Space NK restocks as it's £4 cheaper at £19.
The final destination was The Body Shop where they currently have a discount code for 40% off everything (code 14670) so I could finally take advantage and get a few things I'd been after for ages. The very first thing into the basket was the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter followed by the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil - I used these last night and on first impressions it's a big thumbs up for both. Of course I just couldn't go without a mask too and picked up the Honey & Oat 3 in 1 Scrub Mask which I used just this morning and can confirm that it left my skin very soft and smooth. No prizes for guessing which makeup product I got as it's having a bit of a moment in the beauty world right now. The Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder is - apparently - just perfect for pale skins and I settled on shade 2 in Fair Matte. Fingers crossed this will be the bronzer to end all bronzers, we shall see.
Not bad for a couple of days of online shopping, is it? P.S. I say I'm not buying anything else but if the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock comes back in stock on SpaceNK you can bet I'll be typing in those card numbers in a heartbeat.
Real Techniques rule for face brushes, no questions asked. But for the eyes? It's all about MAC. They're very pricey and definitely bit of an investment but (generally) the quality cannot be faulted and when you use them religious and couldn't be without them, well, they're worth every penny.
OK so this one I don't use for its intended purpose as an eyeshadow blender but instead it does a fantastic job of buffing and blending in liquid concealer. For years I used a near identical one from Sigma until the shedding became unbearable and I - reluctantly - bought the 224. It's the priciest of the bunch and for concealer alone it's good but not worth the money so I'll be road testing it from now on for its shadow blending capabilities. I don't know why I haven't done it sooner.
MAC 217 Blending Brush £18.00
The Queen of blending brushes. When I bought the 217 back in 2009 it literally transformed my eyeshadow application from harsh, blocky colour to beautifully soft and blended. When they say this does the work for you they're not wrong, it makes everything so easy. Nothing comes close to this and while I have very similar brushes from Sigma and No7 they're simply not as good. It's worth every single penny.
MAC 209 Eye Liner Brush £16.50
When I first bought this last year it wasn't as fine as I'd hoped but when I found a way to use it best I came to love it. I take the 209 with MAC Blacktrack Fluidline (although the Maybelline Gel Liner is near identical) and brush the liner on so that the brush goes flat and becomes super thin and precise. Instantly it makes applying gel liner a breeze and I've dumped all of my pen liners in favour of this technique which creates a more precise, polished and longer lasting result.
MAC 208 Angled Brow Brush £16.50
There's not a day goes by when I don't fill in my brows so investing in a brow brush seemed a pretty good idea to me. The 208 is thin and angled although again, not quite as thin and precise as I like - but then I am very picky with my brows. For getting that really neat brow I swear by a random angled HD Brows brush I got in a Glossybox which is very thin but for general filling in and shaping the 208 is a good 'all-rounder'.
Do you have any eye brushes you swear by? Anything to rival the almighty 217? Admittedly I haven't tried anything from Zoeva and the likes (although I would love to) so I can't compare on quality. All I know is MAC brings it with blending in that eyeshadow like nobodies business.
I honestly never thought I'd see the day when I'd be sporting anything other than a pink hue on my lips and cheeks at the same time but as it turns out that day arrived, it stuck around and it's kind of a big deal for an orange/coral/peach-phobe like myself. The products that managed to bring on this change? A blusher from MAC, a lipstick from Bourjois and a lipgloss from Maybelline.
I reckon I've already gone on about all three products enough but never spoke about the wonderful effect when they're all used together - it's a trio that just works for me where no other colours of the non-pink variety have managed to. First up is MAC Cream Color Base in Virgin Isle which very sadly and bafflingly has been discontinued in the UK for some time (I managed to bag mine in a blog sale). Virgin Isle is a very creamy, very pigmented red-based coral that translates as a pinky-coral on the cheeks and I'm convinced is one of those 'universally flattering' shades despite how intimidating it looks in the pan. A stippling brush and a very light hand is all it takes to get a light flush of colour that looks so much more natural than my usual pinks (despite how much I love them). Seriously, just read the reviews for this thing on Makeup Alley.
And next comes the lipstick. Bourjois Shine Edition in 123 Soleil doesn't go with any of my usual pink cheek choices but pair this with the above and boom, it's coral lips and coral cheeks galore and it doesn't look horrendous. As with Virgin Isle the lipstick also has some red in there which I think is what makes it look alright on me instead of it clashing with my skintone. The magic happens, though, when it's paired with the Maybelline Color Sensational Gloss in Cashmere Rose. The pinkness of the gloss tones down the orangey tones of the lipstick a notch and transforms the whole thing into a pinky-coral world of wonderfulness. It's a beautiful thing.
I can now officially say I'm a wearer of oranges and corals on the regular. Daily in fact. Never thought I'd hear myself say that but it just shows how stepping out of your comfort zone can result in some amazing discoveries. Now please excuse me while I go apply my orange lipstick. Oo-err.