Makeup

Beauty: the KIKO focus

Posted on 6 min read

KIKO is fast becoming one of my favourite beauty brands. Although I now rely heavily on high-end (bloggers, I blame you) KIKO ticks all my expectations and I actually see it as the superior side of cosmetics because of its impressive standard.

 

There’s not a product I’ve come across that I haven’t loved; the diverse range is super affordable and excellent quality whilst providing a variety of colours and effects to suit everyone individually. It’s a cutting edge collection of makeup that does wonders to my complexion and truthfully, I’ve already found some holy grail products within KIKO that I can see myself depending on for a long while!

Having a KIKO store within a ten minute bus ride away is pretty dangerous for the bank balance, I may have gotten a little spendy in there recently and there’s still so much I want to buy (including that dreamy contour duo from their new Rebel Romantic edition). As well as repurchasing some old favourites, I ventured into the world of shadows, polishes and face enhancers and thought I could create a post based around the basic summary of what’s to offer at KIKO. So, without further ado, I’ll quit the admiration centered rambling and crack on…

FACE | unfortunately I don’t think KIKO sell the Masterpiece bronzer anymore but I still thought it deserved a mention! If you are keen to learn how to contour but can’t quite grasp it, this is the product you need. The compact combination of light to dark shades is so beneficial for creating the desired look. From subtle, to bold, it’s so easy to build up to produce those chiseled angular cheekbones. There’s still plenty of other options of course, the Silk Pearl Illuminating Bronzer looks very similar and just as pretty. The range of Soft Touch blushes are a new addition to my makeup bag, there’s so much choice to cater for all skin tones and seasonal changes. I opted for shade 102 ‘Natural Pink’ a fine balance between a nude and a rose; perfect for reforming those naturally flushed cheeks in the A/W. I’ve talked a lot about the Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter and the instant hype I felt has never gone away. The shade 100 Gold is a stunning light shimmer to radiate and highlight the upper cheekbone. It adds that glowing finish to your features, smoothing out and setting the shape of your face proportion. The Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush is an extremely similar match; just in the form of a brighter, yet still gentle, intentional top up of colour. I love the idea of being in control of how much product you want to apply and the beautiful texture of the blush ensures that. As a pop of pink is my go to shade for a complete composition, Natural Rose is what I went for. You can even match up the sticks with the powder blushes for a full on combo!

EYES | it’s safe to say I love a good mix up of eyeshadows. There can never be one shade that is the same as another, they may be on the edge of idential but there’ll always be something distinctive that draws me to it. I don’t go wild with experimentation when it comes to the eyes and KIKO is the place to be for those sort of neutral, delicate colours. The Infinity Eyeshadow‘s are super cheap but super lovely (and a pretty decent size!). They come in a range of matte, satin and ultra-pearly finishes and supply a whopping 96 shades to meet everyone’s preferences. The shades I picked (which was a hard decision indeed) were 201 Sparkling Silk, 236 Pearly Champagne and 238 Mat Light Taupe. The first two I had in mind for purely highlighting the corners of my eyes but I’ve actually discovered they’re pigmented enough to use alone for a lightweight finish. The Mat Light Taupe is the ideal versatile base cover and is perfectly blendable and buildable along with having a soft, velvety consistency. As I increase my collection, I’m definitely considering purchasing a KIKO palette to hoard my shadows more professionally! Another gorgeous united eyeshadow is the Colour Sphere Duo Mat & Pearly Eyeshadow which is a set of two shades, a standard matte and then a glimmering effect; the idea of the pair together is a great one and I really like it. I have shade 208 and overlapping the two means the light is contrasting and can go from an everyday look to a dazzling one depending on how you want to multiply it.

NAILS (and others) | as well as a huge range of eyeshadows, KIKO also have a huge range of nail polishes and there’re different types. I find the pure colour Nail Lacquer so long lasting, I can paint my nails and it be chip resistance for a good few days. Not only that, the application is smooth, the brush is just the right thickness, and it doesn’t go on patchy (which is something I always dread with cheap nail varnish). I only own two shades but am certainly planning on extending that. I have 319 Light Dove and Tea Rose, which are a couple of seriously wearable shades that take me through day to day and are such a quick pick me up when I fancy treating my nails to some well needed colour; whether that be a cool toned grey or a warm toned rosy pink. The KIKO Natural Concealer is a one off product I tested but one which I was pleasantly pleased with. Despite it’s small size, a little does go a long way and the coverage is fabulous; especially for those dark circles and problematic areas. It’s not cakey nor noticeable when blended and sinks into the skin with a simple purifying action. Plus, the choice of 7 divergent shades means there’s something to suit everybody (I had 03 medium for when I was tanned *silent sob* but I think usually I would reach for the natural).

 

LIPS | if I had to pick a section of KIKO that I’d gladly entirely yearn for, it would be their lipsticks and lip liners. I possess 4 styles of lipsticks; Velvet Mat in shade 613 Pink Carnation and 608 Apple Red, Luscious Cream in 500 Shell Rose and Smart Lipstick in 915 Mauve, and I just can’t stop myself from going back for more! The Smart lipsticks are so handy, their rich and nourishing texture make for a pair of silky lips. For a small tube, it’s ridiculously powerful. The tints are bountiful, transferring a real striking amount of colour with a buttery finish, and the edging of the lipstick makes it easy to apply with no risk of smudging way further from your lip line (which I tend to do a lot). The Luscious Cream is just that; a delightfully creamy and intense lipstick which goes on smoothly and carefully with that gliding – I can run my fingers across my lips feeling. Shell Rose is such a gorgeous colour and really brings out the natural lip. It’s not heavy, maintains moisture, and revitalizes the whole appearance. The Velvet Mat has to be my favourite of the bunch. The hues are sublime, such a mellow pigmentation which defines your lips entirely. Some designed matte lipsticks can be clingy and drying but this one is the complete opposite, it provides an opaque satin sheen and weightless finish. Not to mention, I adore the fancy, gold packaging!

 

The KIKO lip liners are bound to impress because I think they’re both acceptable for using as a pre-lipstick outline and to cover the entire lip with colour without that haunting smearing. The Smart Lip Lip Pencils are smooth enough to use as an entire base and both appear and feel as though you are wearing a lipstick due to its feathery finish. I have the shades 703 Rosewood, a lovely nude, and 706 Classic Red, the only red which balances between light and dark and is the perfect meet in the middle shade. The Precision Lip Pencils are more of a liner to precisely trace the structure of the lips (although I guess they can be used the same as above) and what a grand job they do. The outlined colour of the lip liner brings out the shine in the topped up lipstick. I have shade 302 Natural Pink (anyone would think I like natural) which is the most beautiful dark nude. It’s going to be a real compliment on my freshly updated Autumn lipstick collection.

 

With the wide availability, KIKO makes it easy to become addicted to their ever so engaging collections. Next on my list is a foundation and then I think I’ve tried a bit of everything!

 

Do you own any KIKO merch?

 

Bridie x

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Beauty: Makeup Forever HD Foundation

Posted on 3 min read

 

It’s not often I write an individual product review. I used to in the blogging beginner days but now I just think they’re a little dated and dull. However, there comes a time where you discover one holy grail that is worth shouting about!

This time it’s in the form of foundation, the controversial cult favourite Makeup Forever HD Foundation. I originally purchased this because I was on the hunt for a wedding-suitable foundation that was going to remain invisible both on and off camera and with absolutely no signs of horror-flash face. From the moment I pre-tested last month, successfully got through a shine free wedding event, up until now, it’s been my ultimate relied upon base and I haven’t looked back!

 

As I was still spouting my holiday tan, I opted for a darker shade than I’d usually go for. I have the shade 130 which is Warm Ivory, a subtle mid neutral shade. Despite the difference in colour, it matched perfectly to my skin tone and still does despite losing the bronzing of my face. I do think it’s a prime summer shade and can see myself having to swap to a different, alternative product once the paleness of the winter hits back fully but for now and due to its decent sized bottle and simple pump, it will last me a lifetime (well, not quite because sell by dates and all that but you do only need a smidgen to fully coat the face).

 

I apply the foundation with my fingers but have found using a brush or a blender gives a complete perfected appearance. I’d also say it works best with a water based primer, paired with my Smashbox Photo Finish means I get the subsequent soft touch effect. The foundation formula has a lovely consistency, it’s not too thick nor watery and the application is super smooth without sticking to dryness or leaving any patches. It’s a medium coverage and certainly build-able, just a few pumps is enough for me to hide blemishes and even out imperfections. Topped with some under eye concealer and my face is done within a few minutes! As it’s a HD foundation I was concerned it would feel too heavy on the skin but surprisingly, it was the complete opposite. It’s gentle, lightweight and actually leaves a softened feeling as well as a gorgeous glow and healthier looking skin.

 

I’m in love with the flawless, satin finish of the foundation. It leaves my complexion radiating luxury and most importantly, remains natural looking whilst doing so. The fact it’s oil free is a major perk as tackling my troublesome over-oily skin can often be a problem. I do find it difficult maintaining long lasting power but this definitely does the job; at the end of the day my makeup is still firmly in place. Another bonus is it maintaining any signs of breakouts, redness or overly clogged pores. I can often react badly to certain products and I’m always weary when trying out something new so I was pleasantly pleased it not only ensures high quality coverage but is calming on the skin. It’s a shame it’s now harder to get hold of with it being discontinued and replaced with Ultra HD in some places. I think I may have to give this one a go next!

 

Have you tried either foundation? What are your views?

 

Bridie x

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Beauty: a summer glowing makeup look

Posted on 5 min read

Throughout the summer, I love to have that natural gleam but having only just adjusting to the odd highlighting and contouring here and there, I’m still learning. I have moved up in the world in terms of beauty products and I’m finding myself coveting the higher end brands purely because I love the quality upon my face. I’d be lying if I said I stretch far beyond my means in the makeup area because truthfully, I’m boring and tend to stick to the safe smokey eye and basic bronzer. However, this warm weather has got me craving a subtle, nude eye with shimmery, glowing cheeks and a pink lip which is why I collected all my new bits and bobs together (along with some old favourites) to create a playful mix up of my usual routine.

 

 

Although all this holiday stress is starting to show in my dull skin and dark under eyes, a good primer, base and concealer can resolve the issue the best it can (which in my case can only do so much justice until a hella’ good filter arrives on the case). Starting with my under layer, I applied the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, a new addition to my makeup collection but one I’ve been missing out on. It gives the ultimate smooth complexion successfully ridding of any prominent pores and blemishes. Next, I followed on with the Jane Iredale Glowtime Mineral BB cream, I swapped to this after some expert advice at a previous blog event and haven’t looked back since. My skin has shown great improvement since using a mineral BB cream, I do still get the odd spot (as you can see one unexpectedly popped up on my chin) but it tends to be much clearer and controllable. This BB cream has the coverage of a brilliant foundation but feels less heavy on the skin. With the SPF, it does have a shiny finish but the more satin kind, not the horrible oily kind. It brings your skin alive for the adventurous summer months.

 

Once that is done, I then focus on the cover up, using my trusty Bobbi Brown Corrector to erase any blue-toned patches underneath and around the eye area. Still being on the subject of concealer, I then use the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer on any visible marks, spots, red patches or blemishes and blend in carefully. I feel this is definitely the best concealer on the drugstore market and this is the one preventing me from falling victim to all high end! Once the base is complete, I then powder with Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder which is the perfect combination of setting your face  with some extra non-colour changing coverage whilst maintaining that natural radiance.

 

 

Next is the focal point in this formation, and that’s the eyes. This is the first time I’ve practised combining all four shades in my MAC palette but I’m happy with how it turned out. With the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush I applied Satin Taupe directly over the lid, the most gorgeous cool toned starter base shade, then using my Real Techniques Shading Brush, I blended from side to side along the crease with Naked Lunch and All That Glitters in the outer corners to bring out that shimmer. Then using my Real Techniques Angled Shadow Brush, I highlighted above the mixture of colours and in the inner corners with Shroom. To then balance the match of tones, I brought out my barely used Stila In The Light Palette and reached for Bliss and Sunset to fix a stronger rose colour but not too in your face pink completion to the look. All the shades were then buffed with my Zoeva Luxe Soft Crease brush to make a whirl of colour.

 

For the brows I stuck to the natural look again and groomed each eyebrow as equally as possible with my MAC Gelcreme in Dirty Blond and my Zoeva Wing Liner brush to trace the hair into structure. As I’m becoming more expertised in winged eyeliner, I swiftly added a fine line of my favourite Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Eyeliner as the fully formed pointed tip is always a winner for my desired eye creation. I then finished off with my number one mascara, Maybelline Lash Sensational for an intense noticeable cat eye flutter of the lashes.

 

Moving further down the face to the cheeks to achieve that flushed definition, I used my brand new Kiko Masterpiece Bronzer which not only looks beautiful but is also beautiful once applied to the skin. It’s nice and gentle, just the right amount of golden to give you that sun-kissed glow and when paired with my Zoeva Sheer Cheek Brush sits on the shadows of the cheekbones to develop a natural contour. I also lightly dust the bronzer in the famous 3 shape under my chin and around my forehead and nose where the light would naturally hit. On top of the bronzer, I then pat in a sweep of the Mary Lou Manizer Luminizer in a triangle shape underneath my eyes, along my jawline, higher cheekbone and along the bridge of the nose. The stunning champagne shade makes the ultimate difference to brightening up your complexion. To then add a lighter illumination, on my brow bone and at the sides of my nose, I then use my Kiko Radiant Touch Highlighter Stick as the creamy formula makes it easier for me to reach those sparse parts. Wanting to be flushed but not too I-represent-Tinkerbell like I then finish off with the Sleek Blush in Rose Gold to match the softer tones and make my face pop. I adore this blush and think it’s suitable for any decided makeup look! Plus, you don’t need to pile it on as it’s so pigmented.

 

Finally, I slide over my lips with the Lord & Berry Lipstick Pencil in Intimacy which is the loveliest vibrant nude/pink and reminds me of the NARS lip crayons with the creamy formula. The pencil style makes shaping the lips a simpler task and the lasting power is fantastic. It can be used with a lip pencil to be more precise but I think this alone is just as effective.

 

Phew, and we’re all done. Typing this seemed to give the impression this was harder than it looked but actually, it’s a simple everyday look with a dramatic effect. What products do you rely on to glow?

 

Bridie x

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Beauty: products I’m currently testing #2

Posted on 5 min read

 

 

 

Another month, another chance for me to hoard a group of products together and waffle on about them over on my blog. I’ll try and keep these mini reviews as short as possible but if you know me by now, you know the talking can get out of hand. Let’s start with the favourites of the bunch, shall we?

 

La Roche Posay have always been my one holy grail skincare saviour brand I can rely on and their new launch of micellar water proves no different. The La Roche Posay Gelle D’eau Micellaire* is a cleansing product that works as a magnetic field to remove makeup and all impurities. With the name ‘micellar water’ I instantly thought of the likes of my Garnier and L’Oreal staples so I was unsure on what to make of this solution when I realised it was a pump with a thicker, gel like substance. Going with the flow, I went ahead and used as normal, aside from the fact I massaged into the skin opposed to applying to a cotton pad. I do think this works best as a mild cleanser as it’s non greasy, soothing and moisturizing to the skin leaving behind a fresh feel but in terms of removal of makeup, I don’t think it’s as thorough as I’d like it to be. I still felt like I needed to use something on top of (or before) this to fully rid of the built up daily grime but, what I can say, is that it most certainly improved the balance in my skin, helped banish any redness, does the job of keeping my oily, spot-prone skin at bay and provided comfort with a lovely, delicate richness that’s suitable for us sensitive skin types.

 

This brings me on to the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, another genius product that leaves my skin feeling soft and super replenished. I’ve been dying to get my hands on this for a long while now so when the lovely Helen was selling one in her blog sale, I knew I had to snap it up. I’ve been using it every morning and night and I’m so impressed with the results. I’m new to the whole adding a facial oil into your regime thing. The thought of adding a heavy oil to natural oil within the skin did terrify me but after finally biting the bullet, I’ve seen it does make the world of difference and found out that actually, it doesn’t feel so loaded on to the skin but has a gentle, velvety texture that soaks efficiently into the skin. Not only is it continuing to help even out the blemishes, up my hydration level and refine my complexion but it’s also doing a fine job of de-congesting my pores to reveal a brighter, healthier skin tone without those pesky impurities getting in the way. Plus, you only need a tiny amount for it to be effective so it’s going to last me a decent amount of time.

 

Environ is a newly introduced skincare intuition which I discovered at a blogger event a couple of months back. I was kindly gifted stage 1 of the AVST range in moisturiser form and it’s safe to say, it’s become a product I would feel lost without. This starter product has maintained that bounce of moisture and nourishment my skin needs on a daily basis but without those hidden ingredients that can irritate your skin. I’ve had nothing but beneficial results with this; my skin is soft without feeling too packed with product, it smooths out my skin and leaves room for a choice of base foundation to radiate. I should really follow up with the continued sequence but to see me through, I’m happy to stick with the one.

 

I’m a novice when it comes down to hair products, I don’t do an awful lot to make sure my hair represents that as a princess (and let’s be fair, it could do with some taming most of the time) so I’m always willing to try out some new products to allow my hair to shine with flowing volume. Dry shampoo is always a rescue for when I just cannot be bothered maintaining my hair when it becomes greasy after ONE DAY but I struggle to find one that makes my hair feel nice and refreshed, instead of even worse than when I started. Redken’s Pillow Proof Blow Dry Genius Extender definitely rates up with the dry shampoo’s I’d reach for in a hurry without having to worry about whether my hair’s turned white or appears to be matted. It gives my hair that boost for the day without the powdery feel you can find with drugstore shampoo’s but unfortunately, it stays at just the one day. It’s said to be a two day extender but my unruly oily scalp says different! I’m still carrying on the hunt for one that ticks all boxes. The Redken Iron Shape 11 is also another little stand out product that helps to strengthen and protect hair. I don’t blow dry or straighten my hair often but when I do I love to use the finishing thermal spray as A) it doesn’t weigh the hair down, B) helps with frizz and C) keeps the ends of my hair looking healthy and silky.

 

Finally, we’re on to the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation; a foundation I’ve heard nothing but great reviews about but unfortunately, a foundation I was disappointed by. After switching to high end and finding a few foundations I absolutely love, I’ve found myself disagreeing with the usual ‘hyped’ drugstore products so I don’t know whether it’s just my snobbish expectations (which I apologise for) or my unpredictable skin. It does have great, buildable coverage and certainly lives up to the designed matte finish but I think it’s too matte, if that’s possible? It tends to be drying and overly clingy to my skin which is unusual as I am a very oily skin sufferer but it just doesn’t work all that well for me. I feel as though my face misses that natural sheen; I hate being totally shiny as the day progresses but wearing this made me crave hydration. It’s a shame because it definitely amplifies a clear complexion but it’s just not doing it for me. Maybe I’ll give it another go sometime soon to see if it was just a couple of off days I had.

 

Have you tried any of these products?

 

Happy Friday!

 

Bridie x

(I do love having a name that rhymes with the best day of the week)

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Beauty: my recent makeup and skincare buys

Posted on 6 min read

 

It’s been a while since I had a good beauty splurge, in fact I can feel another one brewing in my bones but until I get my money priorities straight, these current buys will do me fine and see me right through the year (well, apart from the fresh Lush mask with a sell by date of course). I love it when I purchase a group selection of both makeup and skincare products and not one of them disappoints. It’s a job well done.

 

There’s no denying, I’m becoming a bit of a lipstick hoarder. I’m a firm believer in the fact you can never have too many shades. One staple nude? Don’t be silly, there’s at least 20 more with that extra tinge of differentiated colour. Two drugstore lip products I have picked up recently are the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Don’t Pink Of It! and Maybelline SuperStay 24hr in Pink Spice. Both are more of a glossy formula with a simple and typical foam swipe applicator but they are more lightweight with a matte finish, taking away the sticky feeling some other glosses may have.

 

The Bourjois Velvet Lipstick have a range of gorgeous shades and it was quite difficult to choose a favourite in the 3 for 2 Boots’ deal but since my style masterclass I’ve been warming to some softer toned lippies and eventually ventured for this lovely, rich pink colour which can be classed as a lighter nude. I absolutely love the bold appearance once smoothly applied to the lips. It’s a highly pigmented liquid and is extremely buildable giving you the opportunity to choose on the subtle to dramatic scale but the great thing is, it doesn’t stay super tacky. It drys easily with a soft, velvety texture and if lips are properly exfoliated, it stays swiftly sleek and doesn’t cling to patches. The only negative I have to identify from this is the slightly chemical smell it has to it but apart from that, the staying power is incredible without any smudging, it’s comfortable and wearable and the intensity of colour stays vibrant throughout the day. The Maybelline SuperStay 24hr has very similar attributes to the Bourjois Velvet. I love the two-step process of this, starting with the gloss end and finishing with the conditioning balm. Pink Spice was the perfect colour choice for me, a gorgeous, versatile browny-nude which is easily transferable and glides on in quick time. As the applicator has a slight point I find it ideal for precising the shape of the lips giving you a fuller appearance. It’s definitely one of those long lasting lipsticks. Not quite 24 hours (especially when eating those oily foods), but for a decent duration indeed. The conditioner side fixes the colour in place giving it a shiny effect with a non-heavy yet sturdy finish and no visible crumbling and when it comes to fully removing, it is a tough cling on.

 

Moving on to the higher end products; Bobbi Brown is a brand I’ve been dying to try for years now and I thought it was about time I got my hands on the luxuries. Blogging has been a huge influence on me heading towards the higher end in comparison to the drugstore but I’ve also found my skin disagreeing with the lower end products since discovering high end. It does work out as more pricey, yes, but I also think it’s the quality worth paying for as I’ve found with these two star pieces. I don’t think I need to go into detail about the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Extra Light Bisque as I’m sure you’ve heard all about it but what I will say is, it’s a little miracle worker. I don’t know how I ever went without it. Without a doubt, my dark circles are horrendous. Thanks to my insomniac sleeping pattern I rock the zombie look every morning but dabbing a fraction of this on top of my foundation and under my concealer has made a hell of a difference. The peachy tones blur out the blue hue and brightens the whole eye area in an instance and to add to the efficacy, it applies smoothly and without that dry, caking appearance.

 

I struggled figuring out what shade would match up to my skin tone in the Bobbi Brown Sheer Pressed Powder but with the colour charts, I braved the risk and went for Pale Yellow. Thankfully, it is a suitable shade for me; yellow based but not at all yellow once applied. The sheerness evens out my skin tone and compliments my pale cast by giving a natural finish without the piled on, cakey look and feeling. It did come with an ordinary puff applicator but I prefer to use a powder based brush for that ‘you can’t even tell I topped my face up with a dust of powder’ emergence. I adore how amazingly smooth and silky my face feels after applying this; not only does it mattify, reduce shine and absorb oil, it also rids of the imbalanced dullness and highlights the complexion giving it that fresh glow. I wouldn’t suggest it for full coverage as it is a light powder but that’s what I love about it. It contains Vitamin C so hasn’t irritated my skin or *tries not to jinx it* caused any breakouts AND the beautiful minimal monochrome packaging is a bonus.

 

On to skincare now. REN is the one brand I can rely on for sorting out my troublesome skin. I own the Clarifying Toner (and it’s my holy grail!) but fancied a cleanser to go with it. After reading some reviews, I decided to go with the Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser and it hasn’t let me down. It’s a lovely gentle cleanser with a creamy, lightweight texture and a refreshing, herbal scent. You only need a teeny amount for it to lather and cater for the whole of the face which is brilliant. Never have I had my skin feel so revitalized, tingling and purified. It’s almost like a treatment for the skin, whilst deeply cleansing at the same time. Since using it, my pores have noticeably minimised and appear less clogged, and any angry redness has certainly calmed. I always feel so renewed after use, it feels as though it rids of all the lurking bacteria without any harsh stripping of the skin. It’s the one product that keeps my skin at bay but doesn’t dehydrate, dry out and leave my skin feeling tight like other breakout and blemish combating products can do. Not only has it reduced my spots significantly and prevented me from having continuous monster breakouts but my face looks so much more healthier and luminous.

 

Finally, a magic face mask from one of my obvious favourite beauty providers. Lush’s fresh face masks are something I always reach for to restore the radiance back into my skin but Catastrophe Cosmetic has become a firm favourite. The ingredients included (wholesome blueberries, and the vitamins and minerals) accumulate the most incredible scent and it feels like heaven when layered on to the skin. It’s one of those all round face masks which caters for skin in need of TLC. My skin has moments of lacking moisture and energy but this mask instantly soothes, calms and brings back a clearer, more pure complexion. If I may say so myself, the morning after using this my makeup looked absolutely glowing and I’m pretty certain Catastrophe Cosmetic contributed to this rare occasion.

 

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts?

 

Bridie x

 

As this Friday marks my 2 year blogging milestone, I’ve extended my NARS giveaway/celebration an extra week for all my fellow and loyal readers. Don’t forget to get your entries in!

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Beauty: products I’m currently testing

Posted on 7 min read

 

Since Christmas time, I’ve behaved and resisted the temptation of buying into any beauty hype but now March is here, I thought it was only right in me treating myself to a few goodies. I’ve also kindly been sent a few products over the past few weeks which has given me the chance to step out of my usual zone and indulge in some surprises. Without me boring you with a life story, I’ll crack straight on with it.

 

First up, we have two treatments which are brand new to my knowledge; the Jica Lash* and Nail Magic*. The lovely Kenzie generously sent me over these little boosters to try out on behalf of Jica. When I received them I was impressed by how petite and handy they were, there’s plenty of product in there but it is more compacted making them bulk free and easy enough to handle. Being pretty clueless about how the formulas worked, I was eager to dig in. I began with the Jica Lash and followed the instructions given to me. It is described as a natural lash fibre which adds volume and length to your natural lashes without any of the harm caused by permanent lash extensions. To apply the product, you wand between coats of mascara to give your lashes that fluttery definition that you yearn for. I must admit, I found it a tad strange to use at first. I expected a mini mascara but instead it was a dryer brush filled with mini black fibres. However, once I grasped the concept, I found it was really simple (despite being a bit of a messy process, I recommend looking down facing the mirror and with a brush handy to get rid of the left over flakes!). It definitely did make a difference to how my lashes looked (I should have really taken a picture but silly me forgot), you can see straight away how the fibres stick to your ordinary lashes making them appear thicker, stronger and more voluminous. For the best results, you do need to be quick at applying midway through spreading the first layer of mascara and I found using the wand in a rolling, curving motion is more beneficial. Continuing with the desired amount of mascara on top of that allows the fibres to be sealed in so they stay put all day, providing a healthy finish and eyelashes to be proud of. It is such a brilliant alternative to the non-natural type of lash extension and I can see myself using this for a long time. It amplifies my already long lashes, gives them that extra boost and does so much justice to how they curl and spread out naturally.

 

Now, the Nail Magic couldn’t have arrived at a better time. My nails have been so brittle in the winter months and they keep breaking just as I grow them to a length i’m happy with. Touch wood, since using this, I’ve had no problems and 10/10 nails feel strong and intact; any weakness and splitting has vanished. The idea is to apply the polish to bare nails twice a week for the first 8 weeks and once a week thereafter. You are supposed to give this nail strengthener and conditioner its full term usage to receive the full benefits but I’ve noticed positive changes and results in just a couple of weeks which I’ve heard is common (and extremely great news, plus if you don’t find it’s working, you get your money back!). I was so impressed with how fast drying this is; with the corrupt glue like smell I thought it would be a really heavy, sticky product but I was totally wrong. It is lightweight, and you only need a couple of thin coats to make it effective. As well as stimulating healthier and sturdier nails, it also gives a subtle shiny finish so you can wear alone as a base coat if you wanted. I’m so glad I discovered Nail Magic, it’s certainly diminished the fear of tearing a nail wherever I go and whatever I do! If you’d like to get your hands on either of those, I have a discount code for my readers. You just need to quote NMCO1 (expires May 1st) and you’ll even receive a free mini sample of Nail Magic Cuticile Oil with your order.

 

Moving on to another product gifted to me for trial; the Pro Fix Oil Control Makeup Fixing Spray*, a brand new exclusive from Makeup Revolution. The product aims to help deflect surface shine for a neutral matte finish by gently spraying a good few inches away from your finished face, onto your freshly applied makeup. I jumped for joy when the Makeup Revolution Twitter page took the time to ask anyone if any oily skin sufferers would like to review this. As a royal oily skin owner, I’m always open to try out new approaches and products to stop the hated shininess and greasiness of my troublesome face, so as you can imagine I was excited and intrigued when it was delivered through my door! I’ve found that so many oil controlling products seem to defeat their way through my stubborn skin which is why retaining fresh looking makeup is important to me.

 

The thing I loved the most about this spray was how lightweight the mist felt. It dries almost instantly and settles delicately onto the face with no sign of any heavy residue and that pesky, uncomfortable tight feeling you can sometimes get, meaning my face felt almost product-free; it didn’t feel or appear as though I had anything there at all. The fragrance is also lovely and gentle, not overpowering, a barely there scent and feels refreshing when spritzed. As with the application, it is an ordinary pump spray, nothing complicated and straight forward enough to just quickly spray, even when you’re in a morning rush and it’s completely smudge resistant which is always a bonus (let’s be real, nobody wants to look like a panda with white spots).

 

I do struggle to keep that ‘just-applied’ look all day and I wouldn’t say I agree with the claim that it leaves you matte for 12 hours BUT it definitely leaves a smoother, more luminous and glowing complexion as soon as it subsides and it definitely helps blend the focused makeup together for a natural appearance. I have seen a difference since using this, even if it is just a small one. My makeup has stayed in place noticeably longer than before (especially around my nose and forehead area) and I’ve not had to wince as much at the intense oily radiance cackling back at me through the mirror. I think I’ve finally found something that fixes my makeup into place for the few crucial hours at the start of the day. It certainly doesn’t completely rid of greasiness but it helps stop your makeup sliding off so rapidly. For £5, you can’t expect a miracle but you can rely on it to make you less oily than normal, and most importantly (for us combination victims), it isn’t the slightest bit drying on the skin. If you are looking for a budget product that extends longevity and minimises shine, this is the one to buy!

 

Admittedly, the final two products were the jumping on the bandwagon type and to be brutally honest, they’re not as brilliant as I’d hoped they’d be. I’m sure you’ve seen a gazillion reviews on that Benefit Roller Lash sample from the Elle magazine but I thought I’d briefly give my input. I’m still undecided about this; the first time I used it, I found it applied fine, the wand wasn’t anything spectacular and I have used better but it definitely added great length, definition and natural curl to the lashes. It didn’t apply with clumps and it equally allowed each lash to separate BUT I found it to be overly wet, even after I’d allowed enough time for it to dry. Maybe that’s just my dodgy first use technique and my thick lashes, or maybe I layered too much because the second time I used it I felt it was much nicer and I was happier with the outcome. I will give it a massive thumbs up for the non-smear formula, the intense blackness opening the eyes and the easy removal which makes a difference from the They’re Real!

 

Finally, we have the popular La Roche Posay Serozinc. I am a great worshiper of La Roche Posay, I swear by the Effaclar Duo but my skin doesn’t seem to be getting on with this. Ever since I swapped over products and changed to using this as a toner, I’ve had nothing but frequent breakouts. I’ve stopped and started several times but my awful red and angry spots just don’t seem to be budging. I will hold my hands up and say I’m still not entirely sure whether it’s purely this that’s causing it, or whether my skin is acting sensitive to something else and it does certainly have its benefits so i guess it’s not all bad. It’s the perfect after cleansing product, it effectively gets rid of all grime to leave your face feeling youthful, refreshed and well groomed and it hydrates your skin at the same time. I will praise the spray for contributing towards balancing out the oils in my skin and the zinc ingredient helping to hide my blemishes as this side of it is resulting in a much more calmer, soothing complexion. The spray, however, is another problem. It seems to fly everywhere and I’m yet to find the best way to add the product to a cotton pad. I’ve found applying to clean hands and then rubbing in is most effective as even spraying directly onto the face means a lot of the mist can be wasted! I am hesitant in carrying on using this but I’m also eager to see if I’ll have different results the longer I go on. Maybe it’s just bringing my spots out In preparation for them to be zapped. Who knows?

 

Have you tried any of these? What products are you currently testing out?

 

Bridie x

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