#UDxGWEN – MY FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS GIFT

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A few months ago, when the Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani palette was announced, I think it’s fair to say that I was pretty excited. Pretty excited is perhaps an understatement considering I’ve been a die hard Gwen Stefani fan since I was 11 and have been waiting for a collaboration like this for YEARS. So yes, I was *pretty* excited.

Now I have to give full credit to my BFF Hayley for this Christmas gift, she was on it like a bat out of hell getting this palette online (which sold out in minutes – go Hayley!).

The palette itself is Gwen ALL OVER. Literally, from the black and white polka dots, to the Gwen-related names of each shade, to the nod to an old No Doubt song Magic’s in the Makeup in the corner of the mirror, this couldn’t be more Gwen if it put on a platinum wig and taught you how to spell ‘bananas’.

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Can we just take a moment? How DELICIOUS is this? There is not one colour in here that I wouldn’t use, even the crazier colours Harajuku (the bright pink), and Danger (the blue), are actually wearable and can be so easily transitioned from bright statement shades to blended out, more muted tones. Punk is a fab shade, the maroon in the top right corner, great deepening the crease without being as harsh as a black. My favourite shade though has to be Baby, it just seems to really bring the green out in my eyes and it’s nothing like anything I own, which I love but also hate because it means that once this runs out, that’s it.

From the gorgeous gold, black and white case, to the samples of upcoming lipstick shades (!!!!!!!!!!) this hasn’t disappointed in the slightest. This is basically my favourite palette, partly because I would buy anything that’s even vaguely associated with Gwen Stefani, but mainly because I genuinely really love these eyeshadows. Well done Urban Decay, you have a very VERY satisfied fan.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette £40.

IMG_2338.JPGTold you I’m a fan.*

 

*THIS WAS 2011, DON’T JUDGE MY APPEARANCE.

 

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I FINALLY JUMPED ON THE BEAUTY BLENDER BANDWAGON…

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£18 for a sponge is ridiculous by anyone’s books, am I right? It is literally just a sponge, I can’t even imagine how much money they’re making on them. However… IT’S THE BEST THING SINCE THEY INVENTED FOUNDATION. No, really.

I fully expected not to think much of the much-raved-about Beauty Blender, I bought it on a whim when I was feeling particularly spendy – so much so that I didn’t even take photos before I used it when it was brand new, sorry about that.

The magic of this sponge is that it makes your skin look FLAWless. Completely smooth, poreless, and baby-soft. I can’t believe I haven’t owned one sooner.

I’ve used all manner of ‘dupes’ for the Beauty Blender and I totally understand why none of these products even come close to the real thing. How do they even manage it? Surely a sponge is a sponge? Apparently not.

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There’s not much to say about the sponge itself – how do you go about describing a sponge?! All I can say is that for some reason, it is different to all other sponges. It doesn’t seem to drink up as much foundation as the dupes, it seems to be perfectly shaped to get a full coverage really quickly without having to use a brush or another sponge to blend it out.

All in all, I really wanted to hate it (although I’m glad I don’t considering it’s the most expensive sponge I’ve ever bought/ever will buy) but I simply don’t.

Is a Beauty Blender an essential? No, I wouldn’t say you need it over, say, dinner. But it has definitely become my most-used tool in my collection, and I would for sure repurchase it.

I’m totally converted. Damn.

10 MAKEUP TO-DO’S WHEN YOU HAVE A SPARE MINUTE

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There are so many chores that come along with having a larger than normal makeup collection, some are more pleasurable than others (although still chores…) and some are just a burden. Here is a non-exhaustive list of potential chores to do when you have a spare minute to deal with your (if you’re anything like me) no doubt ever-expanding makeup collection.

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  1. Wash makeup brushes
    This one is a given, but it is possibly the most important and also my most dreaded. Clean brushes are always so nice to use, it’s like getting into nice clean sheets at bedtime.
  2. Sharpen eyeliners & lipliners
    This one doesn’t take long at all and can actually save you so much time in the mornings if you like your sleep like me and then have to do your makeup in 5 minutes flat.
  3. … And empty the sharpener
    Another given, but hey, it has to be done!

  4. De-dust powders, blushes & eyeshadows
    This one is another annoying one that maybe you wouldn’t think of as a standalone job, but “de-dusting” any powder products to get rid of any excess dust that’s sitting on top can really reduce the amount of mess that you make in the mornings when doing your makeup. It also greatly reduces the amount of crap that sits at the bottom of the interior of my makeup drawers.
  5. Clean inside drawers
    That brings me onto cleaning the inside of the drawers. So much crap gathers in these drawers from pencil sharpenings, glitter, blush/powder/bronzer dust, dried mascara, gloopy bits of kohl liner, smears of lipstick… Gross. Making sure to keep these areas clean also keeps your makeup in tip-top shape and it makes getting ready in the morning a pleasure rather than just sighing every time you look at the mess.DSC_0008
  6. Organise & tidy up makeup
    Tidying up your stash really makes the world of difference, it helps you to see exactly what you have, and what you do and don’t use.

  7. Clear out products you won’t use
    On the same note, organising your makeup can help you to see which products you never use and can’t see yourself using. My advice would be to just get rid. If you haven’t used something in the last 6-8 months then the chances are that you won’t use it again. Clearing out these sorts of products gives you so much more breathing space to see the products that you really will use again.

  8. Bring forward any forgotten or less-used products
    Clearing out your stash allows you to see any products that you may have forgotten about or cast aside for “another day”. Bring these items to the forefront of your collection to bring them back into view for the next time you do your makeup. you never know, you might re-discover a product as a new favourite!

  9. Throw away any “stuck” mascaras
    Mascaras are my most-hoarded product. I always just seem to keep them as I always think that they’ll get used. But once I finish one and go to use one of the others, they’ve all dried out. So, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to throw away any stiff or gooey (haha) mascaras and just use ONE AT A TIME.
  10. List any replacement or missing items
    My last tip is the best one… Write a list of all the things that need replacing or that you’ve found to be missing. A few months ago I did this and realised that I was missing a decent brown kohl pencil and it’s now something that I use almost every single day. Go through your lipsticks and note any missing shades or shades that you could possibly stock up on if it’s an everyday nude or something that you wear all the time.

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I hope you liked these 10 tips, let me know if you have any others!

HOW TO MAKE FOUNDATION LAST ALL DAY ( & VICHY FOUNDATION REVIEW!)

Having oily skin can be such a burden throughout the day. There are some days when I wish that I knew what it’s like to have NORMAL skin. If I’m honest, I don’t believe that ‘normal’ skin exists, but if it does and you have it, I hate you. Rather than curl up into a ball and rock back and forth forever and ever, I have been pro-active and found what I’m calling a ‘Power Quad’ (don’t shoot me for the slightly half-witted name) for keeping my foundation in tact for a long day.

I’m usually applying my makeup at around 6am, with a 3-hour commute to uni which includes a sweaty, sooty, smelly ride on the disgusting never-ending void that is the London underground, having a day at uni and then repeating the commute home again in the evening. Sometimes, this means I’m out of the house for a total of 14 hours, and my makeup has to last that length of time too. Most of the time I can’t be dealing with touch-ups, ain’t nobody got time for that.
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So here is my Power Quad: Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (fabulously snappy name there), Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation*, KIKO Soft Light Powder and Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray (mine is the travel-size version).

STEP 1 // PRIME
Primers have always been a love/hate thing for me, most of them don’t work on me, some are even a burden to wear as they don’t allow makeup to apply well over the top. The one that I’ve found that works the best is the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Perfecting Primer. There are quite a few negative reviews online for this product (although mostly great ones) and I genuinely think that the negative reviews are down to those who don’t know how to apply it properly. I take a pea-sized amount in my hands and warm it up before applying it to my t-zone area. It allows makeup to easily smooth onto the skin and looks flawless. It’s expensive, but definitely worth it.

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STEP 2 // FOUNDATION
I wanted to do a mini-review of the newly re-packaged Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation in this post. With an expanded range of shades, I can finally find this in the right shade for me (Yay! I’m shade 05 Porcelain). I have to admit, I was excited to try this foundation as I’ve never used Vichy foundations before, however I’d heard great things and I love their skincare. The thing that impressed me most was the pigmentation and coverage, I hardly have to use any of this product to get a full-face-full-coverage look with it, great for helping the product to last. The shade match on me is ever so slightly too yellow, but once I’ve got the rest of my makeup on (bronzer, contour, blush etc.) it’s not noticeable. One thing I have noticed with it though, is that it really does make my skin look FLAWLESS. It’s not cakey in the slightest and the high coverage means you don’t need a concealer – I even tried this when I had a major acne breakout on my chin and the foundation did all the work in covering it. And as for the lasting power? It stayed looking fresh for around 8 whole hours which is a miracle for me. Overall, a really fab foundation – one that definitely rivals my favourite Estée Lauder Double Wear.

STEP 3 // POWDER
I always powder my face, no matter what makeup look I’m doing, where I’m going or the weather. I tend not to re-purchase the same powder over-and-over as there are so so many different ones out there to try, and if I’m honest I don’t believe that I’ll ever find a miracle powder. The one that I’m currently using (and really liking) though, is the KIKO Soft Light Powder. It’s nice and light (as the name would suggest, duh) and does a good job of keeping my face shine-free for a few hours.

STEP 4 // SETTING SPRAY

If I want to give my face that extra chance of staying out for the day, I’ll use a setting spray. I’ve been using the Urban Decay De-Slick setting spray for a couple of months now and I’ve been really impressed with it. 

What are your favourite long-wearing products?

To see my favourite foundations for oily skin, click here.

*PR sample from Escentual.

MY FAVOURITE PRODUCT FROM KIKO

I’m not someone who likes to spend ages and ages in the morning getting ready. I’m sure my family will disagree and say that I take an age to get out of the door, however I can be up and out the door in around 30 mins, which I think is pretty good (no?). Part of the get-up-and-go process does include a full face of makeup, and I wouldn’t be without my KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyshadow.

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They go on easily, blend easily, make your face look polished and STAY ALL DAY. Shown here are my first 5 shades, however I do now own 10 of them – I just love them THAT much. I also own the high-end version of these stick eyeshadows, the By Terry Ombre Blackstar, but I prefer the KIKO ones by far.

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First of all, let’s talk price. KIKO – £6.90, By Terry – £30. EACH. Okay, so maybe the By Terry has more product inside? Nope, KIKO contains 1.64g of product compared to By Terry’s 1.2g. Go figure. Performance? They both perform about the same, in my opinion, however I much prefer the colour range of the KIKO ones over the By Terry shadow sticks.

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My favourite shade in the range is definitely 05. I’m almost out as I use it everyday. It’s possible that it is my most-used makeup product ever, even more so than any foundation. The bronze-y warm tone really suits my green eyes and looks just as great on its own as it does with a full-on ‘look’. The wearability knows no bounds.

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I can’t rave about this product enough, I use them everyday, have them in 10 shades and would buy 10 more. If they ever discontinued these, I’d have to go into mourning… Seriously.

THE PALE SKIN GIRL’S CONTOURING BEST FRIEND

Contouring the face can be a daunting process in the application of makeup for many people. “Will I have a chiselled complexion or look like a muddy disaster?” is usually my thought process every morning when sweeping that matte bronzer underneath my wannabe carved-out cheekbones. Contouring gets that much more difficult for us pale gals, bronzers are too orange, traditional contour shades are too dark, or too brown, or still too orange and never ashy enough. Until now. I think I may have found my holy grail contour shade. Girls, meet Hollow.
DSC_0078DSC_0083I know I’m not the first blogger to talk about Illamasqua’s Hollow (by far) but after procrastinating one evening when I should have been doing research for my dissertation, I came across many, many bloggers raving about Hollow as a contour shade. I was sceptical at first, cream face products have never appealed to me – I’m always scared I’ll apply too much and end up looking like I was just in a bad car accident.
DSC_0081Officially labelled as a ‘cream pigment’, the product can be used anywhere – as a base for eyeshadow, on the lips, face or body. The shade Hollow is the perfect amount of cool tone and not too strong to add the perfect amount of shade to particular areas of the face, without coming off too “done”. Now, I’m not professing to be a makeup artist here – all I know is what I’ve read on blogs, seen on YouTube and tried on my own face, but from personal experience I’ve never come across a contouring product that is SO suited to pale skinned girls. Both subtle and effective, you’ll go a long way to find another product that matches Hollow.
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21 IN PARIS

DAY ONE
Spending my 21st birthday in Paris with Hayley, my BFF was a dream come true. From the minute we scrambled off our EasyJet flight like cattle, to the moment we stepped into the lobby of our 5-star hotel, we were in awe. I’ve visited Paris twice before, however only for the day and I would highly recommend doing so if you are able to, however staying in Paris overnight (we stayed for three nights) is magical. We stayed at Hotel Baltimore Paris Champs-Elysées, of which we couldn’t have asked for a more chic hotel experience.

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The view from our room was everything we’d imagined a Parisian view to be, I took most of these photos with my DSLR camera, however the photos we took on our phones came out just as dreamy – dreamy photos are par for the course when visiting Paris.

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Is this too much makeup for a 4-day trip? Hayley brought just as much as I did – overindulgence in makeup products is why we’re friends.

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No fancy filters or lighting tricks needed, the Eiffel Tower is always at her best. Our first night in the City of Light was spent ogling the famous tower, not much explaining to do other than heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji.

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Day one in Paris was truly majestic, days 2, 3 and 4 were just as much so. I’ll have posts up on each of those days as well as outfit posts and the most important aspect of our trip, FOOD.

Au revoir!

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Follow me on Instagram for more up-to-date posts xo

MY TOP 5 MAC LIPSTICKS

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In my humble opinion, MAC reigns supreme when it comes to lipsticks. The sheer diversity of shades and textures can be beaten by no other brand. Lipstick is my favourite thing to put on in the morning and I shamelessly own 16 MAC lipsticks so I think I’m in a substantial position to be able to give my favourites.

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1. Relentlessly Red | 2. Faux | 3. Happy-Go-Lucky | 4. Speak Louder | 5. Angel

I love lipstick and I’ll wear most shades, the only one I won’t/can’t wear is orange – it makes my skin and teeth look yellow. These are my top picks from MAC, there are so many that I love that it was so hard narrowing it down!

Relentlessly Red (Retro Matte)
The perfect vibrant retro red. My favourite deep red used to be Ruby Woo, however that has now been cast aside for Charlotte Tilbury’s Red Carpet Red. Relentlessly Red lasts alllll day with a liner and is the prefect red for summer.

Faux (Satin)
This shade is more of a winter one for me, I am the palest of pale girls and this can come out quite dark on me if I haven’t fake tanned, whereas it’s too pale for my mum who has slightly more olive skin. It’s my version of the “Kylie Jenner” lip (as much as I hate to use her as a reference).

Happy-Go-Lucky (Amplified)
This is my favourite cool-toned bright pink, it’s more on the matte side so it lasts for ages and looks good with or without a tan, which is always a plus! I always feel like my skin looks healthier when I wear this shade, it brightens up my whole complexion.

Speak Louder (Cremesheen)
This is my go-to everyday red. It’s nicer to wear than matte lipsticks as it doesn’t dry your lips out, but it’s still long lasting, especially if you wear it with a liner.

Angel (Frost)
I tried to avoid mentioning shades that I thought were too “obvious” however I can’t not mention my perfect nude, Angel. The classic shade that everyone seems to talk about, Angel is so versatile, I can use it as a nude without liner, with a darker liner underneath for more texture and with a gloss on top for some sheen. It just seems to go with every makeup look possible and is the one shade that I grab for when I don’t know what else to put on.

What are your favourite MAC lipsticks?

A BESPOKE FACE

We live in a world where everything is instant, we have everything at our fingertips to make our lives easier, more efficient and tailor-made to suit us perfectly. There are many devices and services specialising in personalisation available to us now, simply ranging from personalised coffee cups in Starbucks, to more quirky devices such as apps that can check that you locked the house before you left for work this morning. This new custom-made lifestyle is about to extend to our faces. We are already well aware of the many cosmetic and surgical procedures available to us in which to create a new face – the invasive needle-jabbing, slicing, dicing, nipping and tucking that all occurs on an operating table. But now there are services available to us that allow for a completely personalised visage without the intrusion, pain, recovery or expense of invasive cosmetic procedures.

Two years ago, Boots announced a service offering a foundation colour-matching service, exclusively associated with their No7 range of products (they have since extended this service to lipsticks). It was a huge phenomenon on the high street at the time it was launched, however this colour-matching device miss-matched many customers, myself included. This particular colour-matching service only matches customers to products readily available in the No7 range (as a free service this is, of course, to be expected) so wouldn’t it be great if such a service was available that custom blended foundation to your skin’s own requirements?

Lucy McRae, a ‘body architect’ from Australia says, “there are no boundaries with technology relating to the human body, the future is completely wide open and unknown”. Right now, there are companies that strive to create the ultimate bespoke makeup experience. A La Carte London, based in Knightsbridge, offer custom-blended products such as lipsticks, foundations and concealers from £250. This service allows you go back and re-order your exact shade for a further £50. A small price to pay for a truly tailor-made experience. Beauty blogger Thea Malone likes the idea of a customized shade of lipstick, “That’s such a good idea, because if you want a red, it’s quite hard to find one that suits your skin tone so if you can have one specially made then you know it’s definitely going to work for you”. Fellow beauty blogger Katie Brooks agrees, “The lipstick is a great idea – especially as brands are now bringing out more limited editions. With this you can be reassured that you’ll be able to have it again. It’s heartbreaking when your old faithful has been discontinued.”

Bite Beauty are another company, based in NYC, that have expanded their makeup brand into customisable lipstick shades, launching the Bite Lip Lab in SoHo. Beauty blogger and vlogger Amelia Liana has tried and tested the service with glowing positivity, writing on her blog: “Coming in at around £22 a lipstick in total I would say it’s definitely an experience to try. Simply awesome.” The Bathory is a company that offer a personalised bathing experience with a concoction of your chosen salt mix and oils. I have personally used The Bathory to create my own bath salts, I chose the “Detox” salt with oils of eucalyptus, grapefruit and ylang ylang which were supposed to make me feel “revived, inspired and sexy”. I’m not quite sure how much I would vouch for any of those qualities, I personally just smelt nice. But I’m always down for a gimmick (or four).

A recent beauty release is Charlotte Tilbury’s Supermodel range of products, boxes with a full face inside that also provides a handy tutorial video that begins playing as the box is opened. With a choice of “supermodel” looks, Tilbury shows us how simple it really is to create a better version of our faces. And who wouldn’t want to look like a supermodel?

With technology evolving faster than some of us can apply mascara on the way to work in the car whilst eating breakfast (it’s true, some of us can do that…), it’s no wonder that revolutionary services in the beauty industry are being brought to our attention. Experts say that in the not-so-distant future we will have fully customised hair care, skin care and makeup regimes. Now if that is not an example of a 21st century face, then I don’t know what is.