Skincare from Organic Surge

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

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


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
- 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
- The product is very thick and this can (occasionally) make eyeshadows difficult to blend

Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
- It is smoo-ooth. Super silicone-y and glides onto the lids
- Again, only a tiny amount is needed
- 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

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


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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The (Pink) Creamy Blush Edit

Cream blush, blusher, pink blusher, Illamsaqua, Daniel Sandler, Topshop, Dior Cream-Blush-Swatches

Since losing my favourite ever cream blusher Sweet Pea* from Cosmetics a La Carte (RIP, cries forever) I've had to suck it up, dust off the rest of my collection and get to finding a new favourite. As is evident, I like my blush pink. Pink is the colour that brings life to my face, and the colour that makes me look... well... human. Now this isn't even a quarter of my blusher collection (or even of my cream blush collection for that matter) but these are the ones that I've been rotating and enjoying using most and that have gone some way to filling the Sweet Pea-shaped void in my life.

The Cream Cream - Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Promise
(corresponding swatches start bottom to top)
If you like your cream blushers to be exactly that (with none of that cream to powder business) then this is your guy - it's probably the most creamy cream blusher I've ever owned and I love it for that reason. Promise is a really bright cotton candy pink with I'd say lilac undertones and is super pigmented (it looks like I've barely made a dent even though I've used it a lot) so only a teeny amount is needed. With the very lightest of hands it translates as a really pretty pink flush on the cheek and because it's so creamy it imparts a real dewiness to the skin which I love.

The Liquid (Yup, that's a thing) - Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Flush
So this one obviously isn't a cream but it's been on rotation and is so brilliant that I just had to include it. You gotta shake it up before you use it, put a few drops on the back of your hand, dip your brush in (I use a stippling brush for all my blushers that aren't powders) and gently sweep/stipple it onto the cheeks. The result? A seamless, natural flush of colour that blends into the skin so perfectly and lasts. Like seriously, this stuff lasts all day long. Flush is a b-e-a-utiful pink colour again with some lilac undertones. I'm so glad I dug this one back out because it's just so gorgeous and actually liquid blushers are pretty fun to use, who knew?

This is a true cream to powder and while admittedly they're not my favourite formula I still much prefer them to actual powders. When I first bought this I felt a little 'meh' towards it but I'm liking it more now, in fact I was complimented while wearing it and told that my cheeks looked more 'subtle' in a good way (thanks, mother!) I find this to be the most powder-like cream-to-powder I've tried and it doesn't give the greatest colour payoff but that does mean it gives a very natural result if that's what you're after. Marionette is a soft pink and as is evident in the swatch has a bit of red in there. It also has some subtle shimmer running through which helps give some glow through the powder finish which I need - I really have to have some glow somewhere, anywhere. While I have been using this I really think it's overpriced for the quality - you can get much, much better options even from cheaper brands.

The One That Doesn't Know What It Is - Dior Diorblush Cheek Cream in Capri
Seriously, this one from Dior doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a cream? Is it a powder? I don't know, all I know is that the texture is weird with a gummy-like feel that moulds to where you press your fingers. It's an odd one but it works. Capri is a light yet quite bright pink that when applied leaves a pink flush that is very flattering and brightening (aren't they all?) and the silver shimmer running through is just the icing on the cake as it gives the powder finish some dimension - again, I need me some glow somewhere. As you can see I've hit pan on this one - I wore it a lot when I first bought it and it's always one I crack out in the summer.

The Budget Friendly Option - Topshop Cream Blush in Afternoon Tea
Unintentionally most of my creamy blush picks are on the higher end of the price scale but thankfully I've also been enjoying a more affordable option. I own three of Topshop's cream blushers but Afternoon Tea is my favourite for its bright pink colour (what's new) that really enlivens my face. This is another cream to powder formula but is very different to Paul & Joe's version as it's much more pigmented and much creamier which I'm all for. Topshop's cream blushers are a really good, affordable way to get into cream blush, I think, and they do the most beautiful colours.

As is very evident I'm all about the pink, all of the time - there's really just no other colour that works so well for me, and more specifically the cooler it is the better which is probably why I loved the very lilc-pink tone of Sweet Pea* so much. I'm still lamenting the loss of it (I'm getting over it, slowly) but it has forced me to get back to using the rest of my collection - which can only ever be a good thing.
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My Experience of Working Backstage at London Fashion Week

Photo credit:


So last Friday (February 20th) I had the crazy, whirlwind experience of being part of the makeup team for a show at London Fashion Week. It was an incredible experience and I wanted to share with you all what it's like to momentarily be in another world. I literally found out a week before that I was going so I didn't have much time to really panic or get nervous about it (how on earth did I get to go, you might be wondering - the head makeup artist Ariane Poole asked me and her friend and fellow makeup artist Jo Leversuch if we'd like to be part of the team!) The next thing I knew Friday was upon me and I was on the 7am train to London... was this really happening? I had to keep pinching myself.

The show I was working on was for the designer Ong-Oaj Pairam for his Autumn Winter 15 collection, held at The Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden. He's not at Somerset House yet but here's hoping because he is an incredible designer and his clothes are absolutely to die for. Everyone was just blown away by his collection; it all greys with rich purples, metallic greens, all different types of fabric and some seriously show stopping dresses that I could only dream of wearing. I can't do it justice in words so I'd urge you to check the collection out here but for now let's get back to the makeup. Ariane and the hair stylists came up with a late 70s/early 80s theme and so the makeup was far from shy and retiring - think matte red lips, heavy sculpting and a smoky, winged out 70s eye with a metallic green on the lid - it all worked so perfectly together.

Call time was at 1pm and we entered the big ole' room which was next door to the room where the runway was. It was all systems go and after a demonstration by Ariane and as soon as the models turned up (twenty female models and three males) we each (seven of us plus Ariane) got assigned one and began doing their makeup. Ok, now I was nervous. My first model was a gorgeous blonde girl - I'm ashamed to admit I don't even know which country she was from. I believe quite a few of them flew in from their home country and this was their first show, although you wouldn't know it. They were all so confident! My model just would not stop talking to her friend next to her and had a cold which made things slightly more difficult but you really just have to get on with it - you have roughly half an hour per model but let me tell you the time flies. Getting my speed up is something I really need to work on and I definitely took longer than I should have to do her makeup. The thing I learned about fashion shows is that it's less about precision and more about making sure that the makeup is really going to stand out on camera and on the catwalk, so I had to go much heavier on the contouring and eyeshadow. Thankfully my second model was a breeze in comparison - I just generally found her face easier to work on, isn't that weird?

Around this point there was a full dress rehearsal which we got to watch and when the models started coming out and when the music began I got shivers right through me. It was amazing. There were so many different people milling about and I had absolutely no idea who most of them were, although Ong's team wore t-shirts with #Ongtourage on the back (genius). At this point it was around 4:30, the show was due to start at five and the models' hair was still in rollers, there were models with their makeup half done and one model was still at another show so it was slight panic stations. At one point a model was having her makeup, hair and nails done at the same time. It was basically a case of grab a model when you could for last minute touch ups - it was interesting to learn that all the separate departments (hair, clothes and makeup) really do not work in unison together.

Five o' clock rolled around and still the show hadn't started. We were all backstage now knowing that everyone was waiting just outside. There were half-naked models everywhere getting into their clothes (you really can't be shy doing that job) and hair and makeup were making sure everything was absolutely perfect. Finally the show began and for all the mania backstage (I can't imagine what the bigger shows are like) it was all absolutely effortless and serene on the catwalk. By six o' clock, just half an hour later the culmination of everyone's hard work was over.

The icing on the cake was seeing all the tweets and write-ups flooding in after the show and seeing the models I made up on the Vogue website! The dream. It was truly a one of a kind experience and I'd love to be able to do it again, but even to say I've done it the once is good enough for me.

P.S. See if you can catch a glimpse of me in the second video below!

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