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.

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?

My Handbag Essentials

If you have a large handbag, it’s so easy to take everything bar your vanity mirror with you on your daily ventures – after all, you never know when you might need to reapply that lippie, or spontaneously stay at a friend’s house overnight. But if you don’t like toting around a comically large Mulberry, or find that dragging your entire makeup bag everywhere is weighing you down, then it might be worth having a sort through your stash and narrowing your beauty essentials down to a few multitasking products. These are my handbag essentials for travel:

Dr Jart+ BB Beauty Balm is great for multitasking as it keeps skin hydrated and acts as a light coverage foundation. This is quite thick for a BB cream, which I think is perfect as it’s very moisturising, and gives decent coverage. Great for perking up post-partying skin. I also take NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer with me most places. It’s great because it takes up so little space, and gives me that little bit of extra coverage if my dark circles are looking particularly pandery the morning after a visit to Monsieur Raptor’s. Using this plus the Dr Jart+ BB cream eliminates the need to bring a moisturiser, primer and a foundation.

A lipstick is also a great idea, as it can really pull a look together, but that’s not the real reason I love to bring it along – my Clinique Different Lipstick is the kind of shade that can double as a blush! I just rub a little on the back of my hand, then apply it to my cheeks as I would a cream blusher. No one will suspect a thing!

I also love to include a petroleum jelly product, such as Vaseline, or this Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm in my bag-stash. Not only is it great for chapped lips, but can also be used for removing makeup, highlighting cheekbones, grooming eyebrows, and even as a thick moisturiser if you’re stuck somewhere overnight and your skin needs a drink.

A perfume also never goes amiss. I love Jo Malone’s 30ml bottles because they’re so dinky and handy to keep in a bag – the bottles may not be the most exciting shape, but that makes them excellent for travel. At the moment, I’m loving Blue Agava and Cacao because it’s a great Winter scent for day or night.

What bag would be complete without a resident hairbrush? I’ve had this one for years as it’s a great size and shape for storing in my handbag’s secret pouch. You could go for one of those mirror/brush contraptions, but I find them rubbish for brushing my hair, so I prefer to use a regular brush.

Lastly, not pictured here is Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Powder Compact, which I occasionally take with me on my travels to Monsieur Raptor’s when I have work the following morning. This is great because it pulls together my makeup look by mattifying the BB cream, but there’s also a little mirror and sponge included in the compact, so you don’t need to bring a separate mirror or powder applicator.

What are your handbag essentials? 

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.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm | Review

I bought this on a whim while visiting Monsieur Raptor. I’d never read any reviews for it – a rare occurrence for me! – but I felt like I was on holiday, and thus deserved to treat myself (to a tinted lip balm, naturally).

The packaging is kind of weird, a little deceptive, but in the best kind of way – the balm is packaged in a cardboard tube about 3x the size of the actual product, making you wonder if the product itself is equally bulky. It isn’t, thankfully – it’s the same size as Burt’s Bees’ regular lip balms.

Although it’s quite sheer, as it is a tinted lip balm, the pigment in this really surprised me – it’s so good. Like, almost on par with some of Clinique’s chubby sticks. It leaves lips a lovely, just-bitten kind of red, but in a very natural way; it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a lip product, it just looks like you have naturally red, glossy lips (I guess it helps that my lips are quite already quite dark – a blessing and a curse, because I am unable to wear some lovely pinks and corals, and am restricted to reds and plums – so it will probably look different on those with lighter lips).

It’s very hydrating – possibly moreso than Burt’s Bees’ original lip balms.

This photo shows how it looks, with no colour filter.
This photo shows how it looks, with no colour filter.

I rate this so highly: I’d actually go as far as saying “get one of these before you buy a Clinique Chubby Stick as it does the job almost as good for 1/3 of the price!”. There’s a pretty good selection of shades too – the Boots website only shows, like, 3, but if you go in store, or to John Lewis (or buy online!) there’s about 9 different colours. I have this in “Hibiscus” , but I’m already looking at getting “Red Dahlia”.

Here's how it looks swatched on my hand, no colour filter.
Here’s how it looks swatched on my hand, no colour filter.

It’s also a bonus that it’s a 100% natural product, made with coconut oil, shea butter and bee’s wax.

Have you tried Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm? 


Overall Rating: 10/10. Best tinted lip balm I’ve ever used!