Products I've Hit Pan On

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Soap-&-Glory-Solar-Powder, Illamasqua

While my last post was on empties and using a product up completely, this one is focusing on those products I've yet to use up in their entirety but that I've achieved the elusive and coveted status of 'hitting pan' on. If anything, it's actually more difficult to hit pan on a product than it is to use up say a bottle of foundation as those pan-form products generally take a lot longer to get through. So you know I must really like these.

First up let's take a look at the glaringly obvious one that was the inspiration for this post: Soap & Glory Solar Powder. I can only imagine how boring my face must have looked before I discovered this because it makes the biggest difference by adding so much glow, warmth and dimension. Of course, that is the job of all bronzers but this one in particular is just the absolute bomb. The colour is perfect for my skintone (not too dark and not orange) and the formula one of the best I've come across (pigmented and non-powdery) meaning it applies and blends beautifully into the skin. Basically, the love is real and as soon as I've finished it up I'll be repurchasing instantly as I use it every single day without fail. Actually, you might be wondering what's going on with my Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow and why I'm not using that everyday instead and the reason is I've been using it in my kit on brides (yep, it is as amazing as everyone says) and coupled with how precious it is and the fact it has more of a sculpting effect than Solar Powder means I like to use it on myself only on more special occasions. It really deserves its own rave - I'll have to get on that.

Next up is - totally unintentionally - another Soap & Glory product with the Lid Stuff Palette in What's Nude. I've been raving about this palette for a long time and it finally seems to be getting the hype it rightly deserves. As you can see there's one shade in particular that I love over all of the others and that is Mudhoney, a matte brown that's not too light and not too dark making it the most perfect shade for day wear, night wear and everything in between. It's my go-to crease colour for all occasions and just like Solar Powder the formula is fantastic. Pigmented but not powdery with no fallout and easy blending = one perfect eyeshadow. I think this and MAC Twinks might be the only eyeshadows I've ever managed to hit pan on so it's definitely something special.

Last but not least is not a powder product but a cream and it'll be no surprise that it's a cream blush - my fave. I've had Illamasqua Promise for a lonng time now (probably too long) so it's actually taken me quite a while to hit pan on it but that's because it's just so ridiculously pigmented that only the teeniest tiniest amount is needed. Promise is a very cool-toned, cotton candy pink kind that works perfectly with my complexion and unlike a lot of cream blushers which can be quite dry in texture this one is seriously very creamy which personally I love as having dry skin means I want all of the glow. I've been using this solidly for the past few weeks and it's only in the past two days that I've instead been using and loving Stila Gerbera which is a bit more of a summer shade.

It really does take an awful long time to hit pan on a product, doesn't it? I mean I can get through moisturisers, foundations and even lipsticks at a rate of knots but powder products are another matter altogether and even cream blushers too when they're as pigmented as the ones I use. So I guess we'll see how long it takes for these to turn into 'empties' although Solar Powder is definitely on its last legs.
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Things I've Used Up #6

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Empties
I haven't done an empties post on this here blog since October 2013... yikes. It's because I decided that nobody likes those types of posts but actually, I do, and so I thought sod it - I'm doing one. God, if I'd have kept all the makeup and beauty bits I'd finished since my last post I don't think it'd all fit in one picture - I'm one of those people that uses one product religiously and will then go out and repurchase it. It boggles my mind when I hear people say they've never used up a lipstick or bottle of foundation! I apologise in advance because you've most likely heard me babble on about these products a lot already but I mean, there's a reason I've used them all up. On with the rave train, shall we?

This is a failsafe foundation for me and one I'm happy to repurchase again and again because I know it works. The lightest shade Vanilla Clair isn't a perfect match and could do with being a bit less yellow but as long as I blend it down my neck it's absolutely fine. The light, hydrating formula makes it perfect for dry skin (but not really dry skin as I discovered) and the coverage perfect for evening out the skintone  just enough, and with some concealing where necessary I can get flawless looking skin without feeling or looking like I'm caked in makeup. There's a reason I've been through more bottles of this than I can count.

Another one I've been through god knows how many tubes of. This moisturiser is the best damn thing for dry skin. Ever. It's thick, it's greasy and it takes a good while to sink in which might have some people running for the hills but that's exactly why I love it. If you struggle to find a moisturiser rich enough for your skin that really does genuinely, deeply moisturise (you'd be surprised how many don't) then give this a go. You won't regret it.

This concealer costs £5.49, I've had it since October 2013, used it daily and it's only just ran out. How's that for value for money? I swear by pinpoint concealing as the last step in my base routine for getting my skin looking totally perfected and honestly, this one from Seventeen is one of the best I've ever tried, even better than the MAC Studio Finish Concealer which I used to swear by. It's actually marketed as an undereye concealer put I wouldn't put it anywhere near my eyes as it's far too thick and heavy coverage but for blemishes it is absolutely fantastic. This would be an instant repurchase but out of curiosities sake I've recently bought the Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer instead to see how it fares - so far I am loving it but I'll keep you posted.

Collection Illuminating Touch Concealer
I swear they've changed the formula of this because the tube that I've just finished up is far from how I remember it being in the past. It's heavy coverage, thick and settles into the fine lines under my eyes which is far removed from the brightening, light coverage I want and remember getting from it in the past. It actually performs well as a concealer for blemishes due to the high coverage and if you have bad dark circles it might be a godsend but I certainly won't be repurchasing it and have instead bought the Maybelline Lumi Touch Concealer which I already like much more.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
Yep, another concealer. What can I say, I really love 'em. When my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ran out instead of repurchasing (£££) I used what I had lying around and hey, I totally get the hype now because the Collection concealer is really very good. It's not on the same level as Nars (what is?) but it covers really, really well, lasts all day and the lightest shade is a really good colour match for me. Plus, it's around a fifth of the price of the Nars concealer so I can't ask for anymore really and it's already been repurchased.
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April Favourites

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April Favourites

The month of April saw some actual genuine, hot weather for the first time in a very long time which in turn meant my makeup immediately got turned down a notch; the eyeliner was the first thing to go and I also tried to go a bit lighter on the foundation - I'm sure it won't be long before I'm ditching the stuff altogether for tinted moisturisers and BB creams. April was also the month I decided to start growing my hair out and so Project: Grow Long Hair began - this meant that lots of new hair products were purchased to help with the process. Of course.

I don't know why it is but as soon as the warm weather hits the eyeliner goes. It's like clockwork. I was still going through the eyeliner phase when I repurchased the previously much-loved Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara but found that the non-volumising formula got lost against the inky black liner and it only worked when I applied Urban Decay Perversion over the top to add a whole load of thickness. However... the day that I stopped wearing liner I put the mascara on and wow, I remembered exactly why I loved it so much. Like I said it's not remotely volumising but what it does do is give amazing amounts of length and holds a curl so well, which we all know is my #1 priority in a mascara. If you like your lashes long, curled and defined then this is most definitely one to try.

Keeping on the theme of curly lashes (my fave) I've totally ditched my Shiseido Eyelashes Curlers in favour of my Shu Uemura ones. Long time readers might know that ever since discovering the Shiseido curlers a few years ago I claimed they were much better than the Shu's (for my eye shape at least) for being flatter in shape and giving a better curl as a result - in fact, you can see my comparison post here which also happens to be my most viewed post ever (thanks, Reddit). The problem is, though... that I've owned one single pair of Shu curlers for, oooh, probably a good five years now and in that time I've owned either two or three Shiseido curlers because they seem to have a shelf life of about a year before they become misaligned or something and just stop working. There's no doubt they are amazing when they do work but they're just not durable enough especially when you consider the cost. So I'll be sticking with my Shiseido's for the foreseeable future, those things are seriously hardwearing.

You may or may not know that I have a second job as a makeup artist and one of the (many) things I love about it is the fact I get to use all different kinds of makeup on people that I would never use on myself. It's only since using the Real Techniques Blush Brush on other people (being a cream blush fanatic I have no use for it) that I've realised how bloody good it is. While it is big it's tapered at the end which allows for controlled application and it's just so fluffy and soft that it's difficult to go overboard with making it especially good with really pigmented blushers.

Last up is a quite rare appearance from a haircare product, something I never used to really bother with but since deciding to grow my hair out I've been going all out with the masks, leave in conditioners and serums. One of my favourite purchases is the Macadamia Deep Repair Masque which smells amazing, glides through the hair and conditions it really well without leaving it feeling remotely heavy or weighed down with product. The Nourishing Leave in Cream is equally as fantastic and I've been applying it daily, multiple times a day to take away any frizz in my hair which it does without ever feeling greasy. It's amazing stuff. As a little update on the whole hair thing it's been two weeks now and heat hasn't been anywhere near it - considering I used to blow dry it everything after washing and straighten it daily I'd say that's pretty good going. Yay me!

A little side mention has to go to a favourite that's not a product or a thing, really... it's applying foundation with my fingers. I don't know what it is but I've just been finding my Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum has been applying so nicely since ditching my usual brush; I think it's the warmth and smoothness of my fingertips that melts and blends the foundation in more nicely and evenly. I guess sometimes hands really are the best tools!

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Space NK Shopping

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Diffused Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector

When there's a £10 off £40 spend at Space NK.... what else is a girl to do? Well actually, I thought I wasn't going to end up getting anything as the one thing I really wanted - the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - were sold out but in a twist of fate it ended up that the offer got extended and the powders came back in stock. Yay!

After a great deal of deliberation and googling of reviews and swatches I ended up going for what by the end seemed to be the obvious choice with Diffused Light. It's described as a 'soft, warm, pale yellow that reduces redness and gives skin clarity'. All of the other options seemed to be either too dark or too shimmery; what I wanted was a powder that gave the skin a blurred, candlelit glow and Diffused Light seemed to be it. Now I have it in my hands I can attest that the product itself is absolutely stunning - just looking at it in the pan it's like no powder I've ever seen before with a slightly raised shape and an almost very subtle, barely detectable marbling effect that takes it to another level. And that's just the aesthetics of the thing. I'll be honest in that I've only used it once so far, partly out of fear of ruining it and partly because I feel like I don't have a good enough powder brush to do it justice - my usual mini Ecotools brush certainly doesn't. I'll report back on this once I've given it a good go and will be able to tell you whether it's worth the £38 price tag *winces*.

The powder being £38 I was only £2 off the offer and so instead of just buying something cheap (or as cheap as you can get at Space NK) I decided to just go for it and got that one product I've wanted to try for literally years but never got round to buying... we all have those kinds of products on our wishlists, right? Sometimes it just takes a 'to hell with it' moment and that moment for me came with the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl. This one has a bit of a cult status to say the least - it receives praise upon praise from beauty bloggers to makeup artists for achieving a truly glowing complexion without looking fake or overdone. I've tried it out by using it under foundation but that only masked the effect it gave, however it does work well over foundation along the cheekbones and down the nose. I think if you had perfect skin with no need for a base this would look amazing on its own applied sparingly. Again, I need to use it more before I can give an informed opinion but first impressions are very good and I reckon it's probably the best liquid highlighter I've used so far.

I know I certainly wasn't the only one who was overly excited by the prospect of £10 off at Space NK so do let me know if you also took advantage and got anything. I love reading about what other people buy although I am very easily influenced so it'll all just probably end up going onto my wishlist amongst about a billion other things...
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Project: Grow Long Hair

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Grow-Long-Hair

I am a woman on a mission. And that mission is to grow my hair out to be long and healthy and beautiful. Well, maybe the latter part is wishful thinking but certainly the first two. A couple of years ago my hair was below boob length (accurate measurement) after spending a good while growing it and I ended up absolutely detesting how long and lank and damaged it was and got it cut to collarbone length with absolutely zero regrets. I loved it and declared I would never have long hair again. Two years on and after keeping it the same length and having one bad haircut too many I've done a 180 and now hate my short hair that has zero style, is still damaged and that goes in a triangle shape if I don't straighten it enough. Basically, it's a constant cycle of never being happy with my hair.

The deciding factor to start growing it out once and for all was flicking through old Facebook photos and seeing my hair all long and curled and I couldn't believe how pretty and feminine it looked. I miss it so much. The only way I managed to grow it to the first time round was by more or less completely ditching the straighteners save for special occasions (which is probably why I hated it so much) and getting the split ends trimmed regularly but still it wasn't in good condition - it constantly had knots in so bad that brushing my hair was nearly impossible and on more than one occasion the knots had to be literally cut out of my hair. 

So this time round I want to do things differently. My hair as it stands is split-end free thanks to pretty regular haircuts however it is still damaged. A good few months ago my hair all starting splitting off at the top of my head (to this day I have absolutely no idea why it happened) making it look a mess and thanks to overuse of straighteners a section at the front of my hair is really thinned out. Already I've cut down on heat - I'm letting my hair air dry where possible and trying to only straighten it when I have to (I've been to work a few times now with air-dryed, non-straightened hair and it isn't so bad). I've also started using heat protection consistently (nope, never used to use that regularly... I know) and am slathering on hair masks like they're going out of fashion - I'm currently using Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor and Macadamia Deep Repair Masque (which both smell incredible), again, they're something I'm ashamed to admit I wasn't using regularly before. I've even started taking skin, hair and nail supplements in the vain hope they might just do something. It's worth a shot, right?

In reality I know that for my hair to grow long and healthy I need to just look after it, it's that simple. No heat and lots and lots of moisture are what it needs. But if you do have any tips or tricks or product recommendations then please let me know as I'm all ears. I mean all I really want in life is Pineterest hair... a girl can dream, right?
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The Best of the Best for Dry Skin

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Dry Skin Products

To say I have dry skin would be an understatement; I've been plagued with really bad eczema/dermatitis on my hands and feet for a good few years now and it's only in the past few months that it's finally, finally started clearing up (touches all the wood). This means that for the first time in forever I've been able to put away the steroid creams and all the prescribed lotions and potions and can finally start pampering myself a little with something a bit more pleasant than Epaderm Ointment (as much as it's been my absolute saviour - srsly, praise be to Epaderm). Of course my skin is still very dry - always has been always will be - and so I need to continue to use very moisturising products, they can just be a little nicer than the un-scented, un-coloured, un-everything products I've been using for the past few years.

FACE
While the skin on my face has always been dry it has very thankfully never been afflicted with eczema, but it's still in such a condition that I must use really highly moisturising products to keep it in a somewhat normal state. My daily moisturiser of choice is my HG Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream which has now sadly disappeared off the shelves of my local Boots so I have to order it off Amazon, but that's ok. If you have dry/really dry skin you need Oilatum in your life - it's heavy duty stuff so it's thick (but not too thick) and takes a good while to sink in which would have some people running for the hills but it's exactly what my skin needs. The only other moisturisers apart from Oilatum that I've used and loved and that have given my skin the level of moisture it needs are the Eucerin Even Brighter Day Cream* and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream but sadly both are very expensive and a bit out of my price range for a moisturiser (the Kiehl's was a massive splurge in King's Cross one time).

While I've been using Oilatum for years the Organic Surge Replenishing Facial Oil* is a very new addition but has very quickly cemented its place in my routine. I just love using oils on my skin at night and this one from Organic Surge is the nicest I've come across to date; it soothing, feels light and sinks in more quickly than say the Trilogy Rosehip Oil (but not hugely quickly, it is still an oil after all) and gives my skin the moisture and hydration it needs after cleansing. It's jam-packed with stuff like Safflower Seed Oil, Argan Oil (fourth ingredient(!)), Lavender Oil... basically all of the oils, and I love that.

BODY, HANDS & FEET
I'm so happy to say that I've finally, for the first time in years been able to ditch the prescribed products for eczema, although actually I stopped used Dermovate, an incredibly potent steroid ointment quite a long time ago and I'm sure it's no coincidence that since then my skin has cleared up... but that's a story for another time. I still use my hydrocortisone creams from time to time when a patch of eczema springs up but on the whole my skin is 1000x better than it was this time last year and I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

If my skin is feeling particularly dry but but not yet at the eczema stage I'll try and stop it in its tracks and for the past couple of months have been using the Weleda Skin Food* which is a thick, rich cream that's particularly good for really rough areas like the hands, feet and elbows, the latter being where I use it most. It's an all-natural product made up of Sunflower Seed Oil, Lanolin, Sweet Almond Oil, Beeswax, Chamomile... all of the good stuff, basically. It's hailed as a bit of a miracle cream and while I haven't seen miracle-like results quite yet it is very good at protecting and healing the skin. A lot of people use it on their face and I've heard it heals blemishes, helps reduce scarring, all sorts of claims. I personally haven't used it on my face yet but I'm so going to - it is very thick but warmed up in the hands and then patted on I think it could be amazing. I'll report back on that one.

While I have always gotten eczema on my body it was my hands and feet that were really, really bad for a few years (I can't really emphasise that enough, I should probably do a post on it) but for some reason it's all cleared up and I no longer have to slather on Epaderm like it's going out of fashion and wear white Michael Jackson-style gloves near enough constantly, hooray! My skin is still dry and I don't want it to come creeping back so I'm keeping on top of things with products that are a whole lot more pleasant than what I've had to use in the past. I'd never tried Burt's Bees until I got a gift set for Christmas and I've been so impressed with everything I've tried, especially the lipbalm, hand cream and foot cream. The Almond & Milk Hand Cream is less of a cream and more of a balm; it's thick and takes a while to sink in so it's one you need to wear cotton gloves with but the result is super soft, moisturised, marzipan-smelling hands... yum. The Coconut Foot Cream is not at all like a cream either; it's a gloopy gel that turns into an oil when you start massaging it in although it does seem to sink in quite quickly (socks are still a must) and it smells of peppermint with a hint of coconut. Again, delicious.

You might think it's silly of me to use all these scented products but when I had patch test the only irritants that were flagged up were those in line with atopic eczema. Besides, I can't tell you how nice it is to finally be able to use non-medicinal products and pamper myself a little.
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Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

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Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette
Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette


What do you do when you have a Debenhams voucher that's been burning a hole in your pocket for far too long? Well me, I made the rather frivolous purchase that is the Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette, not a necessity by any means but really, what else are gift vouchers for?

The Naked On The Run palette is one of those everything you need in one place kind of deals and usually I have pretty much no interest in them (I generally find them a bit... rubbish, for lack of a better description) but when I saw this particular one I was attracted to it like a magpie to shiny things and kept going back to it and looking at it until I knew I had to make the purchase. What attracted me most (apart from the packaging, seriously it's so gorgeous) was the fact that everything is very neutral; there's no crazy eyeshadow colours or shade of eyeliner that you'd never in a million years wear, instead it's all very wearable and very much follows the who Naked ethos - bravo, Urban Decay.

Inside the rose gold casing (*swoon*) you'll find a mascara, eyeliner, lipgloss, six eyeshadows, a blusher, a bronzer and a huge mirror in the lid to top it all off - that's a whole lot of makeup right there. As you come to expect from Urban Decay the eyeshadows are all very good quality and the colours are all so gorgeous. There's Dive, a very shimmery/leaning towards glittery (but not in a bad way) rose pink/peachy colour, Fix, a light matte brown, Resist, a sheeny browny taupe, Dare, a darker matte brown, Stun, a shimmering chocolate brown and finally 5050, a very light peachy shade with a very subtle sheen to it. There's not a single colour in there that I wouldn't be happy to wear - the sign of a very well curated collection of shades.

As for the other two powder products, well, we all know of my undying love for Soap & Glory Solar Powder and for cream blushers in general so although I have tried out the bronzer and blusher in the palette I haven't been using them consistently. The matte bronzer is definitely on the warmer side although it is fairly light so I can still use it on my pale, cool skin without it clashing. The lightly shimmering blusher with its bright pink colour and blue undertones, however, is perfect for my colouring and although my love for cream blush is neverending I would be more than happy to use it if I had to work solely from the contents of the palette.

The remaining products included are a mascara, eyeliner and lipgloss. Now I'm not a huge lipgloss fan but when the formula is done right - no gloop, no stickiness (I'm thinking Nars Turkish Delight) - I can love them. Sesso is quite a dark pinky shade with very subtle shimmer (it reminds me a bit of MAC Syrup) that's not too far removed from my natural lip colour and gives high gloss with minimal stickiness - tick, tick, tick.

The eyeliner in Stag is a dark brown and can I just say thank you, thank you, thank you Urban Decay for not including a black eyeliner. I've lost count of how many black pencil eyeliners I have and that's without buying a single one as they're always given away as freebies and included in these types of sets. Plus, I much prefer wearing brown on my waterline and lower lash line as it always looks much more flattering and forgiving. I'd never actually tried the famous 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils before this one but I get the hype because they are seriously creamy and pigmented although I do think that nowadays there's a lot out there  - and cheaper, too - to rival Urban Decay's.

Finally we have the Perversion mascara and oh buy I love this stuff. It has a traditional bristle brush and the formula is super black and super-duper creamy, creamier than any mascara I've used before. When I first tried it I felt a bit 'meh' because it didn't curl my lashes very well and didn't add much length or separation but when I tried it over my Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara great things happened. It adds so much volume and thickness without becoming clumpy, gives the blackest of black lashes and because it's so creamy it never goes crispy or flaky. It's probably the standout discovery of the whole palette for me (aside from the beautiful eyeshadows).

In all, I'd say the Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette is very well rounded and is one I can genuinely see myself taking with me on my travels and using everything in it - it could only be made better if it was a bit slimmer as then it would be truly travel-friendly. At £37 I'd say it's a pretty fair price when you consider everything you're getting and the fact that the quality of everything is up there as you expect from Urban Decay. In writing this post I've learned that the palette is actually limited edition, it was released around December I believe and given that we're now in April I'm not sure how much longer it'll be around for so if you want it you're probably best off picking it up sooner rather than later. Having said that it's not sold out anywhere and it's been around a lot longer than most limited edition products are so it doesn't seem to be hugely coveted... can you imagine the carnage if Urban Decay brought out a limited edition Naked palette? Eek!
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