21 August 2010

Blush + bronze me up ♥

I think no look is complete without a bit of bronzer to warm up the face. I also HAVE to wear blusher and I love how a dusting of girlie pink blusher can really brighten up the face and accentuate cheekbones - after all "When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of her beauty".....

♥ Bronzer - Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

I have tried many bronzing powders - e.g. MAC bronzing powder, Estée Lauder Soft Matte Bronzer - but Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder definitely wins hands down. It costs £23.50 but it lasts AGES and a little really does go a long way. It comes with a small brush which I personally think is awful and ensures nothing but a streaky application of the powder. So I use my Ecotools Retractable Kabuki Brush which is pretty amazing and so affordable compared to HE brushes of the same quality.

This powder is quite dark but suits medium/olive skin perfectly.I sweep a little across my chin, cheeks and forehead for a healthy, natural looking bronzed glow. I also use this to contour my cheeks by sucking my cheeks in and applying a little product in the hollows of my cheeks. I also dust some along my jaw line and blend downwards which is meant to give the illusion if a more defined jawline - I'll try anything ;) In the evening if I want a slightly more sunkissed glow I can build it up for a bit more colour without it looking too "muddy" or heavy - it also photographs extremely well.

I love that this powder has no shimmer particles so it looks completely natural and doesn't highlight any blemishes or emphasize my oily skin. Yet it doesn't look dull in the slightest like some matte powders can do and adds a really nice radiant glow. Defo a winner :)

♥ Blusher for the daytime - MAC Mineralize Blush in 'Dainty'

I absolutely LOVE this blush. It is my first Mineralize purchase from MAC and I have to say it is my favourite blush ever. Prior to this I used to wear MAC's 'Pink Swoon' or 'Well Dressed'. I found 'Pink Swoon' too cool and wanted something to warm up my skin and complement my warm undertones. 'Well Dressed' took a look of building up to show up although it was a very pretty shade - I think it would suit paler skins a lot better as it provides such a pretty, pink girlie flush. 'Dainty' is a warmer pink...it is easily buildable if you want to increase intensity of colour but it is so pigmented I only have to use a quick sweep of product on my cheeks for the daytime and can build it up more for the evening if I want to.

It is basically baked minerals refined into a powder formula to provide a sheer and lightwight application but is so easily buildable without becoming too heavy on the skin. I also LOVE how this highlights my cheekbones. Other blushers tend to have a matte finish which leave my skin looking a little dull. This enhances my cheekbones with a luminious, pearlized shimmer. This shimmer is so so subtle and pretty without making me look like a complete glitter-ball. This blush looks perfect with golden eyes (e.g. 'Woodwinked')...soft brown eyeliner....and girlie pink lips. I can see this being a staple in my make-up for a long time :)

♥ Blusher for the evening - Benefit 'CORALista'

For the evening or anytime I want a slightly more coral spalsh of colour on my cheeks, I use Benefit CORALista. This is a gorgeous coral blush for a nice tropical flush that looks stunning on tanned skin. It works really well to highlight the cheekbones, so much so that I don't even use a separate highlighter. It is a nice pinky-corally colour rather than being an orangey-brown coral which I sometimes find coral products to be.

This comes with a little brush just like the bronzer does but this brush is perfect for the application of this blusher. The bristles are nice and soft but firm and it is so easy to use. Simply suck your cheeks in and sweep the blush in a upward direction from the hollow of the cheek up towards the hairline.

I wear this if I create a nice coral look with golden eyes and pinky-coral lips (currently Barry M lipstick in shade 53). This looks perfect in the warmer weather or if I'm wearing a dark colour and want a nice, slightly bright flush of colour. Perfection :)

♥ Highlighter - MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (MSF) in 'By Candlelight'

This is my first MAC MSF. I have tried highlighters in the past - such as Benefit 'High Beam' which did little to highlight but rather "smudged" my foundation & bronzer and created a bit of a mess rather than a glorious highlighted sheen - my skin just does not suit cream/liquid formulas. I have been on the lookout for a powder highlighter which was dark enough to show up on my skin and had a nice delicate sheen rather than a full on glitter-ball effect.

This MSF is gorgeous. It is quite pigmented so a little bit does go a long way. However, it is quite light in colour so I do have to build it up to ensure it shows up on my skin. Having said that...there is so much product in the containter..I can't see me ever finishing it! It is such a luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish which smoothes on to highlight cheeks and the brow bones.

I apply this with my finger, making a figure of the number 3 from the inner brow line round to the top of my cheekbones. It provides a gorgeous golden pink deluxe polish to the skin which is so subtle yet effective at really accentuating the cheekbones. I should really try applying it with a brush to see how this alters the application and finish....I am also eager to try NARS 'Albatross' Highlight Blush Powder....

*** TIP: I think using good quality, clean brushes is essential as poor quality brushes can make the bronzer/blush go on streaky and uneven and highlight your face in completely the wrong way!! I make sure I use good quality Ecotools brushes. I would love to be able to afford all MAC brushes but, although they are certainly an investment if you look after them, they are very costly to pay out for. The Ecotools brushes are such good quality and really affordable (available from Boots or online). I have owned one MAC kabuki brush (no.192) which I brough cheap from Ebay and not entirely convinced it was authentic...but these Ecotools brushes, in comparison to my MAC brush, are just as good if not better in my opinion. I make sure I clean my brushes once a week if I can to get rid of any bacteria and keep my skin clear plus keep the quality of the brushes in tact. I clean them with baby shampoo, which is a lot gentler than normal shampoo, and soak them in lukewarm water then let me dry naturally (do NOT use a hairdryer to dry them). and voila... clean, good as new brushes :) ***

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Get your pout on ♥

I cannot stand my lips to be any colour other than a nude/pale pink. I have fairly pigmented lips which I really don't like especially since I always accentuate my eyes with taupe/bronze and lashings of mascara. Nude lips work sooo much better with these colours. I used to absolutely adore lipglosses but in recent months I have been experimenting with lipsticks more and I find these suit me better. I also have never managed to find the "perfect can't live without" lipgloss. I find it hard to find lipsticks which suit me and have purchased many lipsticks which I have later found to be too sheer, too dark or simply not suiting to my skintone.

Lipstick - My cannot live without colour - MAC Satin Lipstick in 'Myth'

♥ I cannot explain how much I love this colour. Back in the days of school I used to blot my lips out with concealer/stick foundation because I hated dark lips even back then (it wasn't a good look!). This is a much better alternative. It is a "pale muted peachy-beige" which primes the lips perfectly for a pink/peach lipstick or lipgloss. It can also be worn alone with smokey-eyes although I prefer to mix it with another colour to avoid that washed out look against my olive skin. The only downside to this lipstick is that it can be slightly drying (as can most lipsticks) but I avoid this by ensuring my lips are properly nourished and moisturised before I apply this.

♥ I find applying 'Myth' first helps my lipstick/gloss look truer to the colour it is in the tube. Often when I test lipsticks/glosses on my hand I think I have found the perfect colour but then on my lips the colour looks a lot darker/duller. 'Myth' helps tame the pigmentation of my lips and creates the perfect base for application of lipstick/gloss. I have also tried MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in 'Crème d'Nude' which also works well but is quite sheer and less pigmented than Myth so doesn't cover the lips as well. I want to experiment with 'Crème d'Nude' and lipglosses as I think this could work :)

Lipstick for the daytime - MAC Matte Lipstick in 'Please Me' or MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in 'All Styled Up'

♥ 'Please Me' lipstick is lovely for the daytime although it is a bit "dull" and has cool undertones which do not go well with my skintone. HOWEVER I warm this up by applying 'Myth'then 'Please me' then 'Myth' again. This creates the perfect pink nude which is perfect for daytime and sealing the lips with 'Myth' first stops my lips drying out since the matte formula of 'Please Me' can be quite drying.

♥ This is described as a muted-rosy-tinted pink which is an accurate description - sometimes i wish it was slightly less rose. This is not HG yet...I think there is better out there. But it works well for now....

♥ If I don't wear 'Please Me' I use 'All Styled Up'. Since this is a cremesheen formula, it has a slight sheen to it and isn't as pigmented as 'Please Me'. I think this works somedays and looks awful others...probably due to the slight blue undertones! I dab this on after applying a thin layer of'Myth' to my lips to block out the pigmentation of my lips a little.

♥ This works better if I have a slightly darker eye as it is not as "rosy" or dark/dull as 'Please Me'. I often wear 'All Styled Up' with'Sable' eyeshadow and 'Dainty' blush. This lipstick can also be layered up for more pigmentation and I often do this if I wear it on a night out. Unfortunately this lipstick is Limited Edition although I've heard that 'Gaga' is very similar!

♥ Lipstick for the evening - MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick in 'Saint Germain'

♥ I have tried to find the perfect lipstick/lipgloss for years to go with my smokey-eyes for a night out. This lipstick is clean pastel pink, which worn alone looks like a pretty bright barbie pink colour. I always wear my trusty 'Myth' underneath. This tones is down perfectly and creates such a pretty pink colour which looks stunning with smokey-eyes.

♥ Being an Amplified Creme lipstick, I find this moisturising yet quite highly pigmented which I love. I have worn this without 'Myth' but I find it looks far too "Barbie" on me which doesn't suit my skintone or hair colour. If this looks too "harsh" I wear 'All Styled Up' which I find slightly more wearable as it is not as pigmented as 'Saint Germain'.

♥ Lipgloss - 'Underage' lipglass

♥ I used to wear this lipglass ALL the time when I was younger. I loved it. I used to wear it on its own and go through tubes of the stuff. Now I find it far too opaque/milky/pale looking on it's own. I haven't worn it for ages but then rediscovered it and it looks PERFECT when applied over 'Myth' with 'All Styled Up'. I only apply a small amount and it just adds a nice finish.

♥ My lipglass is quite old and I do find that these lipglasses do go a bit thick and gloopy after a while. This is the only lipgloss I currently wear as I do find lipsticks more wearable...and my boyfriend gets covered in lipstick enough as it is without subjecting him to sticky gloopy lipgloss too often :)

*** TIP: To make sure my lips are well moisturised I use The Body Shop Yes YesTantalising Lip Butter. This can also be used to tone down darker lip colours. It smells and tastes delicious and really does nourish the lips. I use this at bedtime and anytime during the day if my lips feel a bit dry. ***

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The base line ♥

Hi everyone...

I want to talk about are the products I use to achieve a "flawless" base. This includes primer, concealer and foundation. I will give an honest, personal opinion of all products rather than a load of product "blurb" :) I have tried so many products in the past and always seem to be on the lookout for the next best thing...but these products work really well for me right now and suit my skin tone and skin type so well...

♥ Primer - GOSH velvet touch foundation primer

♥ I have tried quite a few primers from various brands - namely MAC, L'oreal, Laura Mercier...but none have really made any difference to the application of my foundation, contolled oil or made my make-up last any longer. GOSH primer, however, is amazing. It's £13 which for a drugstore product might be deemed a little steep but you only need the tiniest amount - I really do think this will last me forever! Plus this is pretty cheap in comparison to other primers.

♥ This glides on like a gel and really does create a "velvet" canvas for your make-up. It fills in lines and deep pores in the skin, creating a uniform, matt and silky soft surface. It evens out my skintone and my foundation applies like a dream. I have very oily skin, particulary along the t-zone, but this primer does control oil and certainly makes my make-up last longer. It also prevents my foundation looking cakey. A must have for a perfect airbrushed-look base...

♥ Foundation - MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus

♥ Without a doubt my fave foundation is MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus foundation in shade NC35. It gives amazing coverage and suits my skin, which is pretty oily, perfectly. I always get asked by people (even people serving me in shops?!) what foundation I use because they like the look of my skin and quite a few of my friends now use this too. It costs £19 which is a little steep but so so worth it. I've tried lots of foundations in search of a cheaper alternative and literally none match up to this. I have tried the liquid version - Studio fix fluid - but I didn't get on with this really mainly because I don't really like liquid foundations I think - I hate the thought of product literally slipping off my face which is what happens as my skin is pretty oily. Studio Fix powder also contains Silica which helps to maintain a matte finish by absorbing oils.

♥ I apply this with my Ecotools bamboo foundation brush. I used to apply this with the sponge provided but I think sponges absorb the product so easily and tend to soak up a lot more product than you need. Hence, I was using too much product to ensure it was applied evenly which resulted in a rather "cakey" looking base. Using a foundation brush creates a much lighter, flawless look and prevents the foundation building up and looking too heavy. This foundation brush is amazing - affordable, and earth-friendly as it is made from soft, cruelty-free bristles and from natural & recycled materials. I simply blend the Studio Fix upwards and outwards using the brush and it provides perfect coverage.

♥ I love that Studio Fix combines excellent coverage with ease of application. The one-step application of foundation and powder is much more appealing to me than applying liquid foundation and setting with powder. This foundation feels light on my skin and i feel like my skin can "breathe" - it does not feel clogged up at all. I very rarely use concealer on blemishes as this foundation offers enough coverage as it is so buildable. Using my GOSH primer with this foundation leaves me with a smoth, velevety, flawless, all-matte, medium-full coverage finish. LOVE IT!!

♥ Concealer - MAC Studio Finish Concealer

♥ I use this concealer in shade NC30 mainly for the under eye area. I used to use Benefit Lyin' Eyes but this was expensive considering a tube didn't last that long and it is now being discontinued. So for now, I use this MAC concealer. My Studio Fix powder gives me good enough coverage that I don't really use this concealer anywhere else on my face although I have tried it on blemishes and it does cover well. It retails at £12.50 which, compared to most top brand concealers, is quite reasonable and this little tub actually lasts ages.

♥ I use this pre-foundation because this is the easiest way to ensure it blends in properly. It is lightweight, creamy and very concentrated....without being too thick and obvious. A tiny amount really does provide excellent opaque coverage and conceals skin imperfections and discolourations perfectly. It is also enriched with Vitamin A and Vitamin E which prevents it from drying out the delicate skin around the eye area - it actually feels moisturising without being at all greasy. It also contains Silica which apparently helps to absorb the skin's oils. I apply this with my ring finger rather than a brush as my finger warms up the product allowing really easy application and blending of the product.

So this is how I achieve a hopefully flawless base. Next I'll be talking about my fave bronzer and blushers....

*** TIP: I always apply a light 'Simple' moisturiser after cleansing and toning my face in the morning. Once this has soaked in, I apply my GOSH primer and my eye paint in 'Untitled' (used as an eye primer). Once this has all set, I apply my eyeshadow BEFORE I apply concealer & foundation. This allows me to wipe away any excess eyeshadow that drops down without ruining my base. I then dot my concealer under my eyes...leave for a few seconds to set into my skin...before lightly blending in. ***

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What's in my make-up bag? ♥

Hi everyone...

So I'm new to this blogging business but make-up is such a big passion of mine that I thought this would be a fun thing to do :)

These are the products which currently live in my gorgeous Lulu Guinness make-up bag. These are my current staples - although some of these are almost certain to change as I experiment with different looks. I will properly review these items later on....

♥ Clarins Liquid Bronze (used as a primer)

♥ GOSH velvet touch foundation primer

♥ MAC Studio Finish concealer in NC30

♥ MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NC35

♥ Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

♥ MAC Mineralize blush in 'Dainty'

♥ Benefit blush in 'Coralista'

♥ MAC Paint Pot in 'Untitled' (used as eye primer)

♥ MAC Eyeshadow in 'Woodwinked'

♥ MAC Eyeshadow in 'Sable'

♥ L'Oréal Carbon Black Telescopic mascara

♥ Benefit black kohl eyeliner

♥ MAC eye kohl in 'Teddy'

♥ Shu Uemura eyelash curlers

♥ MAC Lipsticks - 'Myth', 'Crème d'Nude', 'Please Me', 'All Styled Up'

♥ Body Shop Yes Yes Tantalising Lip Butter

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