NARS Blush in Gina Review

I feel that Orgasm gets so much hype and fanfare it overshadows all the other wonderful colours NARS has in its blush range. I’m currently trying out this NARS Blush in Gina.

By all means, if you’re looking to try out NARS blushers and don’t know what colour will suit you, Orgasm is a great all-rounder and is pretty universal in terms of suitability, but if you’ve got the time, then pop over to a NARS counter and have a chat with the SA to see if there’s a colour which might suit you better.

 

Nars Blush Gina

The shade recommended for me was Gina. It’s a lovely orangey coral – perfect for my skin, which has warm undertones, and tans easily in Summer, but also great for the transition into Autumn, matching the lovely russet tones of falling leaves.

It’s a matte colour, so there’s no shimmer/sparkle like with Orgasm. Sometimes that’s a good thing; sometimes it’s not. It depends on the day. Where Orgasm gives you a more dewy, glistening look, Gina adds depth and warmth, almost like a bronzer (but not quite).

Nars Blush Gina

It’s not going to be for everybody, but I think it’s a great shade for those with warm undertones, or maybe those who want to add a little warmth.

Lasting Power: All day.

Consistency: Matt powder. Very pigmented and easily applied – use a light hand!

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 5/5

Price: £22.50

Overall Rating: 8/10. It’s a great blusher, but I don’t think it’ll suit me through Winter when my skin has lost some of its glow. It’s still a great Summer/Autumn choice, but a shame I can’t wear it year-round.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick Review

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick Review

Story time: I had a free sample of the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick a few years ago. I didn’t think much of it (though I was impressed with the generous sample size) and just kept it in my bag as a touch-up product. I found it too thick and cakey-looking, difficult to apply and the wear-time, I thought, was poor.

Fast forward to last month when I was bumming around Cardiff (read: perusing each and every single beauty counter in all the department stores). I was mostly looking to buy one particular foundation (Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid foundation you are my one true love, don’t ever leave me) but of course I spent a long time looking at others because…well, trying new things is fun, isn’t it? I’m quite loyal to a few foundations, but I like to dabble here and there.

I went into House of Fraser to buy the Shiseido foundation, but I ended up chatting to the girl at the Bobbi Brown counter. I thought I’d test out the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick once again because it had been a few years and I felt like trying something different (although I wasn’t expecting much).

What was really interesting, though, was how the SA applied it: she used a fluffy brush, gently sweeping it across the top of the stick to pick up product, then applied it to my face. This made a huge difference to the finish of the foundation! I was seriously impressed with how natural this looked, especially considering the cakey finish I’d previously achieved. In fact, I was so convinced I bought a stick as well as the other foundation I was looking for!

The Product: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

The Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is a medium, buildable to full-coverage foundation in stick form. It seems to have a bit of a cult status among beauty gurus (Wayne Goss’s video on it prompted me to try it a second time).

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Here’s a little about the foundation from the Bobbi Brown website:

Designed to look and feel like skin, this award-winning foundation is formulated with a unique transparent base and skin tone correct pigments for the most natural-looking, skin-like finish. A Bobbi Brown original, the innovative formula features Smart Technology for targeted moisturization or oil control depending on what skin needs. Delivers medium to full coverage and comes in a convenient swivel-up stick for at home and on-the-go application. Available in 31 skin tone correct shades.

First time around I wasn’t totally convinved this was “skin-like” at all – it seemed really heavy and mask-like. Turns out I just hadn’t found the best way to apply it (for me, anyway).

How did it perform:

Really well! It’s not my favourite foundation in the world, but it’s great for everyday wear to work. I find it covers up redness really nicely, looks natural and doesn’t slip around on my face. It also doesn’t highlight any dry patches, which is a winner.

Wear-time was great – it lasted a whole day in work without moving or breaking up. I would probably say this isn’t best for a night on the town, however.

This blends really nicely, especially when applied with a fluffy brush as opposed to drawing it straight onto your face.

I got this in the shade Cool Ivory, but there are so many shades I ended up finding about 4 I could potentially use. I just picked this one because I like it the most. Most of the colours run pretty yellow/warm, but on the plus side, they cater to quite a wide range of darkers colours, so if you’re not pale and you struggle to find the right shade, this could be a good option.

My Verdict

Pros:

  • Applies really nicely (when you find the best way that suits you!)
  • Lasts a full day at work.
  • Looks really natural.
  • Huge colour selection.
    Doesn’t irritate my skin.

Cons:

  • Possibly not as hard-wearing as foundations like Estee Lauder Double wear. Better for daytime than partying til 5am.
  • Great colour selection, but possibly not best for those with lighter/cooler skin tones.
  • Kind of unhygienic? I can see the little bits of dust and crap that are gathering on the top of the foundation, which I guess is unavoidable if you’re applying this directly to your face or with your fingers. Gross. But then again I like to pick my nose when no one’s looking, so who am I to judge? (Don’t look at me like that, you do it too).
  • Pretty expensive for the amount of product you get. I only use a little bit day-to-day and have found I’ve used a fair amount in under a month – well, a lot more than other foundations in comparison.

Overall: 8/10. The Bobbi Brown skin Foundation Stick is a really beautiful for everyday wear, although I’m not 100% sure yet if it’s worth the hefty pricetag. On the plus side. it has no added fragrance and is great for sensitive skin.

The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Butter Review

I find makeup removers very hit or miss. They often irritate my sensitive skin and occasionally break me out (depending on how curmudgeonly my skin is being). The only makeup removers I find that consistently perform well are micellar waters, and even they aren’t 100% without fault (they often leave traces of foundation and NUXE’s micellar water left with with a constellation of whiteheads across my jawline). The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Butter is not like that.

The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Butter Review

I’ve dabbled in creamy cleansers (I had a brief and tempestuous affair with Liz Earle’s celebrated Cleanse and Polish) but have found them fiddly and time consuming to use. I saw some pretty good reviews of The Body Shop’s cleansers, so after finishing my Garnier micellar water, I decided to try one out – The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Butter.

The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Butter: Let’s review, shall we?

I’m pretty divided on the packaging. It looks nice and travels well, but something really grosses me out about dunking my fingers into the pot to rake out the product. I guess some may recommend using a dinky little spoon or spatula, but I’m not that refined – I’d rather just use my gross sausage fingers. I also never know where to start: do I just go straight for the middle like a greedy degenerate, or do I romance it a little and work inwards from the edges? Do circles even have edges? I’m pretty sure they don’t. I’m confused right now, so let’s talk about something else.

CONSISTENCY! Let’s talk consistency. The product itself really does live up to its name. It really is quite buttery. It actually reminds me a little of coconut oil in that it’s solid until you warm it up with your fingers (you know, when you’re gouging it out of the tin).

A little goes a long way. I apply a small amount* to my face, it turns sort of oily/buttery, rub it around a little, and all my makeup dissolves. It works on my Shiseido foundation which is a bastard to remove, and also on my mascara, leaving no traces behind once I’ve rubbed a wet flannel all over my face.

It’s worth mentioning you don’t even need to use a flannel because it’s water soluble. Just splash your face with some warm water and you’re good.

Perhaps best of all, it doesn’t irritate, not even just a little bit. It feels like nothing, even though it’s scented. What’s great is it also doesn’t break me out – in fact, my skin has looked its best since I started using this.

It also lasts. I bought a pot last June (that’s 8 months ago) and I’ve only just bought a new pot. That’s with 5-6 days a week use. Pretty impressive.

Overall Rating:

I’m going to give The Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Butter a 10/10. That doesn’t happen often, but this is a product I can see myself staying loyal to. I couldn’t recommend this enough, and I will continue to buy it as long as it’s on the market (do you hear that Body Shop? Don’t you dare take my one true love away!).

Seventeen Doll’d Up Mascara Review

Sometimes I purchase a product with little or no expectations and I’m blown away. It’s a lovely little surprise and usually makes day, if not my whole week.

This was not one of those occasions. No, I had expectations for Seventeen Doll’d Up mascara. Somewhat high expectations, one might say, considering the kind of reviews its had on MakeupAlley (5 lippies all around?! u wot m8?!).

I was a little skeptical because of the price and because it’s by Seventeen, a brand that’s not impressed me on the rare occasion I have encountered it, but nevertheless, my expectations were quite high.

Well, on this occasion, my high expectations were exceeded, which is the kind of lovely surprise that can make your entire month. Did you just fart, Seventeen Doll’d Up Mascara, because you have blown me away.

I love everything about this mascara. I love the packaging, I love the brush, I love the formula, I’m just bursting with love for this stuff, so much so that I’m not even going to include a section for the negative aspects because, well, there are none.

The Good

It’s incredibly pocket-friendly at just £6.29. SIX POUND TWENTYNINE? I’LL TAKE FIVE!

The brush is so satisfyingly comby, it ensures all my eyelashes are nicely separated, coated with product, and fanned out like a baby cow’s.

Seventeen Doll'd Up Mascara

The formula is amazing. It doesn’t dry too fast or too slow, which means it doesn’t glob everywhere and make a mess between coats, and dries quickly enough for me to add a few more coats before I need to leave the house in a rush.

To add to that, it doesn’t run or smudge (and I’ve tested it on a night out involving rain, humidity, and bumloads of sweat); it also helps my irritatingly straight eyelashes hold a curl, which is an absolute miracle.

It’s also easy to take off, no need to rub your eyes raw to remove all traces.

The packaging is cute as hell. It’s a nice shape and pretty to look at.

Did I mention it’s cheap as shit?

My Verdict

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’ll reiterate my point: I LOVE THIS MASCARA. It outperforms products 3 times the price and has given me faith in sparse, straight lashes (yes, all 6 of them).

100 kittens, puppies, unicorns and tap dancing liopleurodons out of 10.

Shiseido UV Protective Liquid Foundation SPF 30 Review

Shiseido is a brand I’ve had exactly zero experience with until now. I could write the things I know about them as a company on the back of a stamp – they do sunscreen, they are Japanese, they have classy packaging. That’s about the extent of my knowledge on Shiseido (hell, I can barely spell the word).

So, I know they have a pretty decent rep when it comes to sunscreen, and they have a pretty well received sunscreen/foundation which comes in a funky blue blob of a container. I’ve been meaning to try this for quite some time, so I popped into House of Fraiser to test it out.

I was reasonably impressed when the SA applied it to my face, but I was sold when she told me it was £14 instead of the £30 it normally costs. I also got a free gift in the form of a makeup bag plus 4 travel size face and body products #winnerwinnerchickendinner.

The Good

It looks nice. Like, really nice. As in, you can’t tell that you’re wearing makeup, you look like your skin was crafted from the finest marble by an Italian artist with an unreasonably long and hard to pronounce name. So smooth.

It’s lightweight. Like being kissed by a feather made of clouds. You can’t feel it on your face all day, it doesn’t feel at all heavy or cakey.

It lasts all day long. It’s actually a challenge to remove – get your most reliable oil-based remover out for this badass over here.

It suits my skin tone perfectly. Of course this is a much more personal note. But whatevs, I’m just very pleased that something finally matches my skin perfectly.

The bottle is cute and compact, and you get a lovely dinky sponge too.

The Bad 

It can be a ballache for dry skin because it’s so matte. If you have any flakies, back the fuck up and use something more moisturising.

The packaging is a pos/neg type deal – yeah, it looks swag, but you can’t see how much you have left. I’m getting anxious thinking of it running out already and I’ve only been using it a week.

It’s quite hard to blend and dries quickly, so if it doesn’t match your skin tone perfectly, you could end up with some obvious tide marks. Not a good look. Tbh, the sponge, although cute and soft as hell, does shit all for blending and absorbs a fuck-ton of product, which is like…sponge, could you not?

Yeah, I guess it’s expensive, but that’s down to personal stuff too – what’s expensive for one might be pennies for another, so I try not to take cost into account. But I will say I would be willing to pay full price..

It’s actually sort of hard to get off. My micellar water doesn’t quite cut it so I’ve resorted to using mineral oil to cleanse, which is not my preferred method of makeup removal. I imagine this will get right on my tits after a while.

My Verdict

I’m impressed. I’d buy this again at full price, especially for the summer months when my skin is a little more oily. I love the amount of sun protection too; this means I don’t have to worry about using a sunscreen with my foundation.

Overall, 9/10.

Shiseido UV Protective Liquid Foundation SPF 30 is currently £18 at FeelUnique.

bareMinerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara | Review

 

I’ve tried a lot of mascaras over the years, but I’ve only just heard of bareMinerals mascara. Who’dve thunk, eh? I’ve been sat on my arse thinking they just do foundations and other skin-based makeup and didn’t even think to check out their eye goodies. And I’m glad I did – this bareMinerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara has impressed the hell out of me. Here’s a few reasons why I love it:

  • It gives great volume and length. Once coat looks great, very natural for work, 2 coats gives a dramatic impact, 3 and I almost take flight when I bat my lashes. 
  • It doesn’t clump, like, at all. Maybe that’s because the formula is quite dry, I don’t know.
  • It dries quickly, so I don’t have to worry if I need to clean up any mistakes I’ve made. I can just give it a minute and then clean up with a cotton swab.
  • It doesn’t gloop everywere. This is a huge and gross problem I have – a lot of mascaras leave goop in my eyes. Hideous, I know. But this one doesn’t. It’s by far the cleanest I’ve used.
  • To add to that point, it stays put all day. I find that most non-waterproof mascaras will smudge and give me panda eyes, but this one doesn’t, even if I give my eyes a good ol’ rub. 
  • It’s easy to remove at the end of the day, which you wouldn’t think from such a stay-put mascara. One cotton pad covered in micellar water does the job nicely, and…
  • …it doesn’t irritate my eyes! Hurrah!

An overall winner from bareMinerals, a brand I haven’t really explored (watch this space…). 

I wouldn’t mind a little more length/curl, and apparently the formula expires after 3 months (which isn’t really bad considering mascara should be thrown away after that amount of time anyway), so I’m giving it 9/10.

 

Have you tried bareMinerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara?

Urban Decay Naked Skin Compact Powder | Review

I bought this completely on a whim because I’d splurged on a new perfume and thought “why not buy a new pressed powder too?”. #YOLO, or something I guess.

Anyway, I bought it in the middle of a heatwave, so I was desperately in need of a good powder that would help my foundation stay in place all day, without looking cakey and plastered on. The sales assistant at Urban Decay did a great job at selling me this, hyping up the following claims:

Designed to be virtually invisible once applied, our high-tech, jet-milled powder has an insanely silky texture that feels amazing on your skin. Optical blurring pigments instantly minimize imperfections, diminish shine and create a stunning soft-focus effect that looks professionally retouched. Unlike powders that leave skin looking chalky or cakey, Naked Skin Finishing Powder gives you a radiant complexion and NATURAL-looking Naked coverage.

It sounded great, so I thought I’d give it a chance. 

That was about 5 months ago, so I’ve had the chance to use it on my tanned skin in the middle of summer in sweltering heat, and also in November temperatures when my skin has lost its summer glow and the weather is a little kinder to makeup, so here’s what I found…

It doesn’t perform well over thick foundation in hot weather. I found it looked very caked on and noticeable. This was during a heatwave though, so I guess that can be forgiven. 

It does perform well in normal weather – normal British weather, that is, meaning “mild”. It gives a lovely, not-too-matte, not-too-polished look, so you won’t end up looking like a plastic doll – but I think that’s a good thing. 

Urban Decay Naked Skin Compact Powder isn’t not as good as my current favourite – Bobbi Brown’s Weightless Skin Compact – but it does a great job for a lower price.

The only thing I will say is that it doesn’t last long. I know I’ve had it 5 months, but I haven’t been using it for the entirety of that time period. I already touched pan after daily use after about a month, whereas I’ve been using Bobbi Brown’s compact almost daily for about 3 months and have barely made a dent.

I also don’t love the packaging – it’s a sort of gunmetal, metallic, shiny box which is trying to be luxe, but just fails because it’s covered in smudgy paw-prints from my makeup-stained hands. A bit gross, really. I do like that it has a mirror, and that it’s got a little compartment for a makeup sponge (the one that’s included is quite shit, but you could easily replace it).

I do like that it looks pretty natural and that the packaging is sturdy (so not much chance of breaking the product inside if you drop it) with a mirror and a sponge compartment.


Consistency: Finely milled so doesn’t look too “plastic” when applied over foundation.

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 5/5, no trouble.

Price: £22.00 at Debenhams.

Overall Rating: 6/10. Overall, Urban Decay Naked Skin Compact Powder isn’t perfect, but it’s not bad either. To be honest, Rimmel’s powders perform just as well.

Some Quick and Easy Halloween Makeup Looks

After a browse through my phone, I’ve discovered a few snaps of costume makeup I’ve done in the past. Two of them are simple enough to do with whatever makeup you have lying around, one not so much.

Black Swan

This is ridiculously easy to do. Just apply some white face paint to your face, perhaps mixed with a little foundation so it doesn’t look so harsh, mix some black and white to create grey for the contouring, and then use an eyeliner for the eyes. Add some silver or glittery pale blue in the in-betweeny bits of the eye makeup for a bit of sparkle. I found the easiest way to do this was to draw the outline, following the shape of the eye over the eyebrow, then to kind of spider-web the inside. I also used red lipstick, then added some black eyeshadow to create a gradient  for the lips. There was no real technique and it still looked okay. Red contacts optional.

Werewolf

This was also really simple. I used a cheap face paint kit with black, brown and white, then mixed the colours for some more shades. The mouth was quite hard to get right, but as long as you layer loads of white facepaint, the teeth look vibrant. You could easily use eyeshadow and eyeliner to create this. Again, there was no real method to the makeup – just random, light-handed strokes to create the fur.

American Horror Story – Moira the Maid

This was easy and quick enough to do, you just need liquid latex for the texture. I first covered drew a line around my eye area with the latex, then added some toilet paper for texture, and added a cotton pad over the eye. I painted the cotton pad black, then added red for blood, and foundation to blend it all. This could easily be done with black and red facepaint, you don’t necesarily need the textured effect. Just add a maid costume and you’re good to go!

Deer

I accidentally deleted this picture, but if you cover the top half of your face with light brown face paint or bronzer, then paint around the eye area white, add a nose and some white dots on your cheeks, you’ve got a deer! Easy, and you don’t really need face paint – you could use white eyeshadow. 

 

Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette| Review

I was so shocked when the sales assistant at Urban Decay told me this was just £22, I probably peed a little. Not really of course, because that’s disgusting and it’s a figure of speech, but you understand.

Generally, I’d grimace a little at paying £22 for one makeup product (though there are some I’d willingly pay that price for), but when it comes to high-end brands, that’s what you’re looking at paying for one blush, or one highlighter, one tube of concealer or whatever. But this handy little palette is 3 products in one, all for that price. Take a look at Benefit: their Brozner “Hoola“, and their “Sugarbomb” blush both cost £23.50. That’s £47 for just two of the three products you’d get in Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed palette. Say what you will, but this is excellent value for money.

I broke it :(
I broke it 🙁

I love that they’re all on one handy palette, making it easier to transport and carry with you from A to B. In theory, this is handy for travel, minimising the space 3 products should take up, but I’m not sure that this is all that practical. I’m sure the increased surface area you get from combining the three products in one palette makes it much easier for it to shatter because science and stuff – BUT I may be wrong. This actually survived a few trips in my makeup bag; it only shattered because I’m cack-handed and managed to drop it. I’d still be careful, but as long as you don’t throw it at your nan or something it should be fine.

I’m going to review the three products individually, then give my verdict on the palette as a whole.

The Bronzer

This is hands down the best bronzer I’ve ever used – although I’ve only used about 2 bronzers in my life, so I’m probably not the best judge. I love that it’s not sparkly, making it great for contouring (which is what I use it for), but you can always add a little highlighter over the top to give it some shimmer, if you’re that way inclined. The pigmentation is good, but what makes it great is that It’s so finely milled it makes it hard to use too much product, which can be a nightmare when using bronzer – you want to go for the sun-kissed look, not the “just rolled in dirt” look. Pigmented, finely milled, and buildable. A winner in my books!

The Highlighter

This one feels slightly less finely milled, so unless you want to look like Edward Cullen, I’d use a light hand when applying it. I guess this is a good thing – there’s so much of this product, but you need just a little, and it’s probably best used in the night, so this will definitely last me ages. It’s a lovely pink-toned highlighter, so it won’t make you look like a lightbulb.

The Blusher

This one is the most pigmented of the lot, and not that easily blended, so again, it’s best to use your gentlest touch. Like the bronzer, there’s no sparkle here, which makes it great for that “no makeup” makeup look. Wearing this alone will look beautifully natural, but you can always vamp it up with a little of the highlighter layered over the top. As it’s so pigmented, this one should also last a long time.

My Verdict

All three products in the Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette are absolutely great – much better than all the drugstore brands I’ve tried (granted, I haven’t tried a lot of bronzers or highlighters), making it exceptionally good value for money. If you’re investing in some new makeup and need all three of these products, it makes a great all-rounder. The blush is my least favourite of the three because I’m a NARS Orgasm devotee, but I’d probably buy this again even if just for the bronzer and highlighter. 

Have you tried the Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette?


Consistency: The bronzer is very finely milled but buildable; the highlighter feels a little more creamy; the blush is finely milled. All 3 are well pigmented.

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 5/5

Price: £22 from Debenhams.

Overall Rating: 9/10. You can’t argue with the value for money, but be careful with it as the design could leave it prone to breakage. I barely use the blush as I prefer a different brand, but I’d definitely buy the Naked Flushed Palette again and would absolutely recommend it!

Clinique Different Lipstick | Review

This lipstick has recently had a makeover, with new packaging that’s very pretty and metallic. I have the old version, which is a very clinical looking (and very Clinique) mint-green. I think it’s rather pretty, even if it does evoke mental images of NHS nurses in their scrubs…

Clinique’s Different Lipstick normally retails for about £17.50, but I bought this on eBay for, like, £5. Probably the reason for the old mint-green packaging – getting rid of old stock perhaps? 

I must say, Clinique’s lip products are by far the best I’ve tried and this is no exception. It goes on so smoothly, doesn’t bleed, feels hydrating, and the colour – Raspberry Glace – is so pretty: dark pink and a little sparkly, but still manages to look natural. It also stays put too. Most lipsticks don’t last more than an hour on me, but this easily lasts til lunch time. I love it. 

As you can see, it’s a lovely deep raspberry shade with a hint of sparkle. It’s just the right amount of sheer – I find too pigmented lipsticks can bleed and look really unnatural. 

All in all, a lovely everyday lipstick that lasts, hydrated and can easily make the transition from day to night.


Consistency: Smooth and silky, not too matte, not too sheer.

Staying Power: about 4 hours.

Price: £17.50

Overall Rating: 10/10. New holy grail product, can’t fault it.