March Favourites

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March Favourites

March saw me getting a whole load of new makeup and skincare, some of it sent to me and some of it  bought myself *cough*CharlotteTilbury*cough*, I like to really thoroughly try things out before I feature them on the blog though and so most of it probably won't be making an appearance for a while. I have discovered some fantastic products this month still and there's also one product that's a result of 'shopping the stash', something I'm finding myself doing a lot lately and it's really very satisfying.

First up is the 'rediscovery' shall we call it and that is the Dior Diorblush Cheek Creme in Capri. It was a toss up between this and the Topshop Cream Blush in Afternoon Tea but it's definitely Dior that I've been wearing for the majority of the month. I bought it a good couple of years ago, wore it non-stop and then it sort of slowly disappeared into my mass of other blushers, only to have it resurface recently and I'm so glad it did. It's unlike any other blusher I've used before; it's like a solid sort of gummy thing that gives a powder finish but because it's not actually a powder doesn't leave the skin looking flat. The colour Capri is a light, brightening pink with minuscule silver shimmer which gives a bit of glow - love.

For months now I've been using the Collection Fast Stroke  eyeliner but it's finally starting to run out and while I do love it my one gripe with it is that it's so liquidy that it gets all over my eyelashes everytime I apply it. I've now moved onto a pen liner from MeMeMe called the Eye Sweep Precision Eye Definer* and I'm really very impressed. There's something about the controlled formula (there's no excess liquid spilling out like some eyeliner pens) coupled with the shape of the nib that makes it incredibly easy to create a really precise, fluid line with no skipping. It's definitely not as long lasting as the Collection liner and it'll be interesting to see how long it lasts before it starts drying up (the one downside of pen liners) but for now it's doing a very good job.

After using the Urban Decay Primer Potion as my sole eyeshadow primer for literally years on end the Nars Smudgeprood Eyeshadow Base recently came into my life and oh how I'm glad it did. It has the exact same crease-proof power as Primer Potion but it's so much lighter and really silicone-y so glides onto the lids making blending eyeshadows on top of it really easy, something I sometimes found difficult with the Primer Potion. It does still have its downsides though (the price, for one) but  instead of parroting on and repeating them I'll direct you to my comparison post of the two here.

Finally there's the one and only skincare product which is the Organic Surge Replenishing Facial Oil*. Just a couple of drops keeps my skin moisturised and nourished but what I love most is how light it feels and how it sinks in relatively quickly compared to my other oils meaning I'm not left with a greasy face for hours on end. It's packed with ingredients like Argan Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil... it's basically a dry-skinned person's dream and is an absolute treat to apply at night post-cleansing to pack some much needed moisture back into my skin.

So that concludes my favourites of this month, like I said I've been trying out a whole load of new stuff recently including skincare and so that'll all be making its way onto the blog (slowly, we all know how long skincare takes to try out) and hopefully even into the coming monthly favourites posts.
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10 Under £10

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10 Under £10

It's time for round three of 10 under £10 (see round one and two) in which I showcase some of my favorite affordable beauty products that I've discovered in recent times.

I've never really been one for contouring on myself but I'm slowly - very slowly - getting more and more into it. I do now have the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow in my life which you'd think would entirely negate the need for a cheapo sculpting product but Bronze & Glow is more of a bridge between a contour and bronzer than a straight up contour. Seventeen are one of my absolute favourite affordable brands and this little duo is really rather good - ok so the contour side does have a little bit of warmth to it but it is completely matte and the formula spot on. The highlight side is actually matte too which I find a little weird but actually it works well as a brightening powder through the t-zone. I've recently ordered the Real Techniques Sculpting Brush which looks awesome and I'm hoping the two will be a match made in heaven.

Trust the hype on this mascara because it is seriously good. Despite the name while I find it adds some volume on initial application it's not really one you can keep building up with and layering. But the thick plastic wand grabs every lash, the formula lengthens well and it is fantastic at holding a curl which is always my number one criteria in a mascara. Plus, I've had it around four months and it still hasn't dried out so it gets massive brownies points.

Zoeva 317 Wing Liner Brush £5.95
I'm pretty anal about my eyebrows being perfect and for that the perfect brush is needed. It has to be quite thin and the bristles cut perfectly in order to get the definition I want, remotely fluffy brushes need not go anywhere near my brows. The Wing Liner is fab and although not specifically made with brows in mind is the best brush I've found for them to date. I've also just ordered the Zoeva 322 Brow Line Brush which is a lot shorter and thicker to see how it compares, I shall report back in due course.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £4.19
I kind of need to eat my words because admittedly I've bashed on this concealer a bit in the past - I just didn't think it was all that great and didn't get the hype. But when my second tube of Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer bit the dust I had to dive into my collection for a suitable alternative and this came up trumps. It's far from a dupe - the Nars concealer is much, much creamier and a pleasure to apply but in terms of coverage and lasting power they're both great. Plus it gets points for being available in a shade that's genuinely pale - bravo, Collection.

I've become nothing short of a lip liner fiend and while MAC's lip pencils will always be my absolute favourite for an affordable option this one from Rimmel is really good. It's really creamy, pigmented and the colour Eastend Snob is a perfect soft pink that isn't too much on the light side and looks equally pretty worn alone as it does with a colour over the top. I love pairing it with the Bourjois Colour Boost in Proudly Naked and MAC Faux for a more satin finish. I've heard people tout this as a dupe for the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk but Pillow Talk has more of a peach tone to it and actually, I prefer Eastend Snob. So there ya go.

Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 05 Rosy Brown £6.90
I seem to have inadvertently accumulated an awful lot of shadow sticks recently and so dug out this Kiko one to see how they all compare. Given the price it actually beats out a lot of the more expensive ones for having a creamier, non-budging formula and the colour is just to so pretty. When I first swatched it in the shop I instantly thought 'By Terry Ombre Backstar Misty Rock dupe alert' and after some googling realised I wasn't alone in that thought. I very nearly splashed out on Misty Rock but after finding a dupe at a quarter of the price I'm very, very glad I didn't.

We all know how much I love the Colour Boosts and Proudly Naked which has recently been added to the line is another triumph. If no-fuss, throw on and go lip products are your thing you'll love the glossy wash of pink that this gives that's subtle but not too subtle. I happily wear it alone on my lazing about days and over lip liner on my 'doing stuff' days and it works equally as well for both.

Topshop Cream Blush in Afternoon Tea £7.00
I realise it looks like I basically haven't used this blusher but trust me I have, it's just so damn pigmented that I've barely scratched the surface. Afternoon Tea is the most beautifully brightening pink colour and while I'm not usually a big fan of cream to powder blush formulas I've found it perfect for a work day (especially at ridiculously early in the morning) as just the smallest amount  on a stippling brush adds an instant pop of colour and lasts all day long.

Maybelline Colour Drama in Keep It Classy £4.99
A dupe for the Nars lip pencils these are not (they don't have the same velvety formula) but they stand out on their own all the same. The Maybelline lip pencils are creamy and seriously pigmented and the colour Keep It Classy is a deep, pinky plum that can be patted on for a pink stain or swiped on for a full on colour.

This stuff has been around for donkeys years, as in, I used to use it back in my school days (at least nine years ago, eek) then recently made a repurchase. Oh the nostalgia. This stuff is inky black and lasts better than any other liquid liner I've ever used. The short, stubby brush can take a bit of getting used to and the formula is very liquidy so goes all over my lashes but for the results it's worth it. And it's £2.99. Srsly.
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Skincare from Organic Surge

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Organic Surge

I was first alerted to the world of Organic Surge way back in 2013 when I bought a whole load of products for mega cheap (check out my post here) and I was very impressed. Organic Surge is an all-natural brand with no harsh chemicals and no artificial colours or fragrances which can only ever be a good thing for my ridiculously dry skin. Except for the Eye Gel (would it be gross to admit I still have and still use it? Probably) I'd only ever tried their body products and it wasn't until recently that I began using their skincare and let me tell you, they must have stepped it up a notch or ten because it's nothing like the budget stuff I used in the past, this stuff is luxury with glass bottles and fancy ingredients. The products I've been using are all from the Extra Care range which after a bit of research I've found is actually targeted towards more mature skin but because it's a natural/organic brand everything's basically made up of lots and lots of oils (which makes me very happy) and so it's far from exclusive to the older generation.

The day cream is aimed at normal to dry or mature skin and designed to be used as your daily moisturiser. Despite it being jam packed with ingredients like Argan oil (third ingredient(!)), Coconut oil and Damask Rose oil it's just not moisturising enough for me to be able to wear it under my makeup as my skin's too dry and I need something that's a bit more emollient and heavy duty (Oilatum I'm looking at you) although I know a lot of people would absolutely love how light it feels and how it sinks in quickly. Of course that's not to say I can't use it full stop and so instead I've been applying it on a nighttime when I'm not using any other treatments to give my skin a bit of TLC and it makes my skin feel ridiculously soft. Besides, who says a day cream must be used during the day? 

I know, I know, why would I need an oil control lotion when I have dry skin? It's not oil controlling in the sense that it contains mattifying, oil-absorbing ingredients but rather the formula is incredibly light with a runny, almost watery texture yet it still doesn't skimp on the hydrating ingredients (there's Argan oil again, Safflower oil and Sweet Orange oil to name a few). It's said to be a great base for makeup (which for oily skin I imagine it would be) but again, it's far too lightweight for me to use alone under makeup and so instead I've been applying it under my moisturiser as an extra boost of hydration. I don't know if using it this way has been contributing to my skin becoming a whole lot less dry (after months of it being really dry and dehydrated and none of my bases applying nicely) but something, somewhere has helped make the change, or maybe it's just a culmination of switching up my skincare routine and using lots of new products.

Now this, this is far and away the star of the show for me and I'm pretty sure I actually like it more than my Trilogy Rosehip Oil. I think it's the texture that does it for me as it feels a bit lighter on the skin and sinks in more quickly which is great because no one likes an oily pillow (though it's still an oil so doesn't sink in super speedy or anything) and I really look forward to using it on a night. It's made up of Safflower and Sunflower Seed oil, Argan Oil, Lavender Oil... you know the drill. My skin loves oils, drinks 'em up and this one has found a solid place in my skincare routine. The design is great too - the oil is dispensed by pressing down the button on top rather than having one of those squeezy rubber droppers. I don't know, it really is the little things that make me happy!

I think Organic Surge has massively upped their game since I last used them a couple of years ago with a skincare line that is natural but also luxurious. This stuff doesn't come in cheap either with prices ranging from £18.50 for the Oil Control Lotion (50ml) to £23.50 for the Replenishing Facial Oil (30ml) but the brand definitely does not skimp on the ingredients and I guess the price reflects that.
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A Charlotte Tilbury Haul

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Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick Las Salinas, Filmstar Bronze & Glow

Can you technically call something a haul when it's only three items? Well, I think you can when said three items total up to £112 *cries a little* I'm kind of ok with it though, because I've seriously lusted after one certain item for so long (probably more than I've ever lusted after one piece of makeup, ever) that really the purchases were way overdue. I mean I should have just bought it when I first decided I needed it in my life but you know, £49 ain't pennies and it took a while to get the guts to part with that amount of money for a bronzer.

I am of course talking about the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, if you follow me on Twitter you'll probably have seen my countless tweets from as long ago as last year about how very badly I wanted this. Well, it's finally mine *angels singing*. Can we just touch on the packaging first because oh my goodness it is beautiful. Stunning. Even the box it comes in is gorgeous. Art Deco-inspired, rose gold and weighty, you start to slightly understand just why the price is up there. In terms of the product itself (y'know... the important bit) it's still very early days as I've only had it around a week and have used it maybe twice because basically I'm really scared to ruin the beautiful embossment. I know, I know. As soon as I get over it you can bet I'll be doing a proper review and I'll be singing its praises, I'm sure (I better bloody be).

I also got the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush because, well, I felt like going the whole hog and I'd heard it was pretty awesome. I actually bought the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set which is the bronzer and brush together and you save a whopping two whole english pounds by doing so. Bargain of the century here, people. I'd heard a few people say the brush isn't actually the softest thing in the world and it's not hugely, amazingly soft but it's soft enough and I don't have a problem with it. The shape is perfect for getting right in the hollows of the cheeks for contouring and the only thing I have in my collection that is a remotely similar shape is the Real Techniques Contour Brush which I only ever use for highlighting so it's definitely filled a hole in my collection.

As if £82 on two products wasn't enough money to drop in one go I also treated myself (it had been my birthday, ok?) to the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Las Salinas. Being the die-hard fan of cream blusher that I am it was an obvious choice and the colour Las Salinas, a fresh, cool pink an even more obvious choice. I've never owned a blusher in stick form before as they always seem to be matte and that ain't my thing but after watching some videos it seemed to have some glow to it - so into the basket it went. It's one of those lip to cheek products too and we all know they're usually useless on the lips but this is just as gorgeous as it is on the cheeks and I can see it being my absolute staple product come the summer.

Like I said, it's early days and all that but I just had to share with you my purchases because Charlotte Tilbury. In fact I'll probably be featuring the brand a lot more on the blog as my boyfriend also got me some of the makeup for my birthday (easy for him and makes me very happy). Now I just gotta get over the fear and dig into that Bronze & Glow properly, here goes..
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Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base Vs Urban Decay Primer Potion

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Nars Eyeshadow Base Vs Urban Decay Primer Potion

I've used the Urban Decay Primer Potion for years. I'm talking a good six or seven back when the packaging was the solid genie shaped bottle and it was impossible to get the majority of the product out without literally carving it open (to which Urban Decay actually listened and changed it to the squeezy tube - power to the bloggers!) I'd never considered using anything else until more and more people started talking about the Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base which seemingly came out of nowhere. Better than Primer Potion?! Nah, can't be. Well, I've been using it for a month now and I'm here to tell you my thoughts.

The number one thing that the Nars primer needed to deliver on in order for me to deem it as good as/better than Urban Decay is, obviously, how well it prevents eyeshadows from creasing. The reason I've relied on UDPP for so long is because it is amazing at keeping eyeshadows right where they are and stopping creasing dead in its tracks. For weeks on end now I've been testing this out by applying one primer on one eye and one to the other, applying my eyeshadow as usual and seeing how they both perform. The result? The Nars Eyeshadow Base stops eyeshadows from creasing just as well as the Urban Decay Primer Potion and both perform the same in terms of eyeshadow longevity, as in, they both keep eyeshadows on and stop them from fading. So, I guess what it then comes down to is a matter of weighing up the good and bad points of each and creating a good old pros and cons list. Can't beat it.

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Pros:
- The product is flesh coloured so covers veins and helps brighten the eyelids
- Squeezy tube makes for easy dispensing (ensuring you can get every last bit out) and is very hygienic
- Only a teeny tiny amount is needed so it lasts for ages
Cons:
- The product is very thick and this can (occasionally) make eyeshadows difficult to blend

Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
Pros:
- It is smoo-ooth. Super silicone-y and glides onto the lids
- Again, only a tiny amount is needed
Cons:
- Product goes on clear and so doesn't add any colour at all. This could be seen as a good or bad thing depending on your preference but for me I like an evened out, neutral base on which to put my shadows
- The doe-foot applicator can make it quite difficult to get the product out and I can see a fair bit being wasted this way
- It is considerably more expensive at £19.50 for 0.28 fl oz compared with UDPP at £16 for 0.37

So if you can't tell, I'm conflicted and sadly there's no clear winner on this one. If you put the formula of Nars in Urban Decay packaging and with the flesh colour of UDPP you would have the best eyeshadow primer ever. I mean would that be so much to ask?! 
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The Neverending Dry Skin Battle

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Lightweight Bases

My skin's been drier than dry the past few months and not one of my foundations has been sitting right on it, instead they've been clinging to all my dry patches and been quite uncomfortable to apply (despite moisturising and applying oils and serums like crazy). As a result I made the switch to my lighter bases as I could just no longer bear the thought of applying anything remotely heavy to my skin. I've been a total floozy with them, though, flitting between them and not not sticking to any one for any length of time because still I haven't found the perfect one that works for my skin's current state. I am so, so desperate for warmer weather when my skin will go back to normal.

On the far left we have the Dr Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm which is an oldie but a goodie and should probably get chucked in the bin but I just can't bring myself to when it still works perfectly well. It's a relatively thick cream and oil-free yet is quite hydrating on the skin - in fact in the right light you can actually see the product sort of glistening which I'm guessing is the 'Water Bead Technology' in action. Pretty neat, huh? The product comes out quite greyish looking in tone but actually I think the colour is very skin-like - there's certainly no orange to be seen and it always seems to match me quite well. My skin usually loves this but right now when it's going through its really dry phase it's not performing as well as it usually does. Damn you, skin!

Next in line is the REN Satin Perfection BB Cream which is just ah-freaking-mazing in the summertime. Seriously, just go and read some of my (many) raves about it here, here and here. Although it looks scarily orange in the tube the light, mousse-like product always manages to somehow melt and blend in with my skintone and - in the summer at least - makes my skin look so incredibly glowing and healthy. Right now it's ok but not great on my skin but you can bet that as soon as it warms up a little I'll be wearing this all day er'day.

Now we get to the cheapest of the lot with the Garnier Miracle Skin Cream and guess what, this is the one my skin is liking best at the minute - by far. It's one of those 'rub and release' products which comes out white and as you massage it in the tiny beads burst to reveal colour which may sound gimmicky but actually it works really well. It's the most moisturising of the lot by a long stretch and is the only one that doesn't make me shudder when I apply it to my face post-moisturiser. The only downside is the colour - it's preeetty orange - so I have to apply very small amounts and make sure it's really sheered out and blended properly. As I apply so little the coverage is very minimal but with some concealing the result is hydrated, non-flaky skin with a glow. Oh, the glow. How I love it.

I very excitedly bought the Nars Purely Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in Finland last year but I'll be honest, since then I've used it maybe a handful of times. I'd say it provides a bit more coverage than your average tinted moisturiser which I like but it gives quite a satin, skin-like finish with no or very minimal dewiness and I can see why people would love that (and a lot of people do) but it's just not for me, and especially not right now. I feel like I might actually be the only person who doesn't love this stuff. Please tell me I'm not alone!

The other week I was really at my wits end with my skin and the way nothing was really working for me and went on the hunt for a new, lightweight bb cream/cc cream/something along those lines. I had a discount code for Feel Unique and ended up buying the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream in Very Light and oh my goodness I don't know if I have a dud or what but it's weird. It's really thick and really difficult to blend and when you have dry skin that is a complete no-go. Colour-wise it's a really good match, actually, and Very Light has some slight pink tones to it that makes it look more natural than say the Nars Tinted Moisturiser which is very yellow. With a lot of blending (with fingers, a brush just does not work with this) the result is quite nice but it feels so awful and weird to apply that I just can't bring myself to use it. A good one for dry skin this is definitely not.

I'm not doing so well with them really, am I? I'm starting to think that it's maybe a combination of the cold weather and the central heating making my skin both dry and dehydrated but I'm one of those people who is perpetually cold so I ain't cranking down the heating any time soon. Please, if you have any suggestions of lightweight, genuinely hydrating/moisturising bases then hit me because I'm more or less hating everything right now including products that are usually my absolute favourites and it sucks.
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Eye Makeup Tips for Girls with Hooded Eyes

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Hooded-Eyes-Makeup

Where's my fellow hooded eyed girls? Not gonna lie, if there was one thing I could change about myself it would be to give myself those classically beautiful almond shaped eyes which any and all eye makeup looks amazing on *swoons*. Sadly genetics have left me with hooded eyes with little visible lid space and no visible socket. Eye makeup for us girls isn't easy but over the years I've taught myself how to best enhance my eyes and with the right applications and techniques I can transform them into my favourite feature. This is why I love makeup so much. Isn't it just wonderful?

Keep the Lid Light
Light brings forward and dark recedes. This is so important to remember when applying makeup to hooded eyes as the aim is to make the eyelid appear bigger with light while receding/pushing back that hanging skin with dark. If I wear a dark colour on my eyelids it only serves to make my eyes look even more hooded; in contrast wearing a lightly shimmering, brightening colour works wonders in creating the illusion of lid space and even if I'm not wearing a 'crease' colour I do this most days as it helps to keep everything looking bright and awake.
My favourites: Urban Decay Virgin, Urban Decay Sin

Keep Your Eyeshadow Above the Crease
This is the ultimate tip and is imperative when doing makeup on hooded eyes as the act of blending eyeshadow above the crease creates the illusion of a socket. I mean, it's all well and good having the prettiest eyeshadow when your eyes are closed but as soon as you open them it all disappears and all that hard work has gone to waste. With a fluffy blending brush and your crease colour of choice find your socket bone (it is there you just can't see it, and it's easiest to find it by tilting your head back),  press the brush in and keep blending, blending, blending. It's important you keep your eyes open when doing this - when doing a smoky eye I'm constantly switching between tilting my head backwards with my eyes pointing down to get everything blended and looking straight ahead to make sure that the socket line is being defined and smoked out.
My favourites: Urban Decay Hustle, Soap & Glory Mudhoney

Eyeliner is Not Really Your Friend, Sadly
I mean, it can be - I wear the stuff every single day - you just need to know how to apply it. This is one of the things I find most frustrating about having hooded eyes. I absolutely love that thick, winged liner look but due to my eye shape I just can't wear it. If I make it just a millimetre too thick so that it covers all of my visible lid space it really, really drags my eyes down and I look awful, frankly and so the line needs to be kept thin enough so that there's still some lid space showing. If I do want to make my eyeliner thicker then I absolutely have to put some eyeshadow on to create a socket and push that hanging, hoodedness back which has become about 10x more apparent due to the thickness of the eyeliner.
My favourites: Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner, Collection Fast Stroke

But Eyelash Curlers are Your BEST Friend
The aim is to keep the eyes looking bright and awake and unless you have naturally curly eyelashes then this is a must. I dread to think the amount of times I pump away at my eyelashes through the day but long, curled lashes instantly takes my eyes from looking dragged down and like I'm constantly frowning to being wide open and pretty. Curled eyelashes makes a huge difference to my face.
In short, keep it light on the light, keep it dark above the crease, keep it thin on the liner and curlers are your bestest friend. It'd be much easier to see all of this put into action rather than in writing so I've found a Youtube video here which shows to do's and don'ts and of course one from Queen Lisa Eldridge here. When I was first starting out with makeup I used to get so frustrated when I followed Youtube videos because they just never looked the same on me but over the years I've learned that with hooded eyes you just have to do things a certain way to get them looking their best, and I'm ok with that. Fellow hooded-eyed people I'd love to hear from you!
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