Three Ways with: MAC’s Prep + Prime Fix+

“You’ve spent £15.50 on a bottle of water?”

Well, no. MAC’s Fix+ may look like water, feel like water and taste like water (an accident..), but it is anything but water.

Admittedly, I searched for this under the false impression that it was a setting spray, aimed at making your make-up last longer by creating a thin film that withstands various ‘pollutants’ (hence the phrase, “hairspray for your face”). I even paid for it, brought it home, unboxed it, stared at it, bragged about it and tested it before realising that it is not a setting spray, but something much, much better.

Use 1: Skin Refresher

So if I had actually read the box, I would have noticed that MAC describes the spray as a “skin refresher” or “finishing mist.”

With my dry-combination skin, the spray works best as a “refresher” used after moisturiser. Spritzed over my face just before my primer/foundation, Fix+ gives my skin an extra kick of hydration so my base applies like a dream. The delicate scent of citrus and green tea is not only calming to the nostrils, but also to the skin – a detox in a bottle.

For those of you with oily skin, Fix+ is a must-have “finishing mist.” On those days when my t-zone is a little oilier than usual, I find myself applying layer and layer of powder in an attempt to ‘blot’ the not-so-dewy-more-like-sweaty shine that appears down the centre of my face. Fix+ is the perfect tool to avoid that overdone cake-y look caused by excessive powder applications. A few sprays and the mist is quickly absorbed into the skin (and powder), evening out the complexion to leave a beautiful glow as though you’d just woken from an 8-hour sleep on a crisp spring morning.

Use 2: Eyeshadow Brightener

I would pay £15.50 for this use alone. If you have read my last post on pure pigments, you will know that I am always searching for ways to amplify the colour of my eyeshadows and Fix+ is one of the best, if not the best, method I have found so far.

I can’t count the number of times I have typed “how to make eyeshadow brighter?” into Google. A common answer was to dampen the brush with water and simply ‘dab’ the shadow onto your eye. Not so simple. I tried this with Naked 3’s ‘Dust’ – notorious for it’s low colour pay-off – and have ruined it in the process: the shadow became damp, the water quickly evaporated and I’m left with a chalky mess 😥

The difference between water and Fix+ is that the latter contains glycerin, a chemical used in all mixing mediums as it helps retain water (i.e., no evaporated chalky mess). Fix+ is, then, a diluted mixing medium as well as a skin “refresher.” A little spritz on to your brush and the pigments in your shadows are given an immediate boost. In the picture below, I swatched from my gorgeous new MAC ‘A Harvest of Greens’ quad with and without FIx+ and the difference – particularly with the first two lighter colours – is huge!

 Use 3: Cream Thinner

Please excuse the less than elegant name… In my ‘November Favourites’ post I wrote about how my love for my MAC Paint Pot had come to a sad end due to it’s woefully short shelf-life; after only a few uses, the cream had become so thick and dry that it was impossible to blend. With a little bit of Fix+, however, the cream came back to life and was, in my opinion, a better texture than before, thinner, smoother and easier to work with.

I’m yet to try it out, but I’d imagine that the same process can be used to thin out foundations, concealers, cream highlighters and blushes. The possibilities are endless!

So how do you use your Fix+ spray? If you don’t have it yet, would you invest in it?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Advertisements

How to Make the Most of Pure Pigments

It’s the perfect time of year for adding a touch of sparkle to your make-up routine and pigments are by far the best way to do so. With Christmas parties and New Years Eve in mind, I recently bought both Beguile – described as “light shimmer” (?) but actually an iridescent white – and Furore – “champagne peach shimmer” – by Illamasqua.

Having swatched them under bright lights in store, the colour and sparkle was self-evident, I had to buy them! But when I applied them to my lids the next day, I was a little underwhelmed by the pay off. So here is a quick guide on how to make the most of your pigments.

Of course, you could just simply apply the powder to your bare skin for a simple, stripped back look, but the party season demands something a little more dramatic. The strength of your pigment depends on the base they are applied to; below I swatched the pigment alone; with Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel; with Illamasqua’s Vintage Metallix in Courtier; and with MAC’s PaintPot in Painterly.

Beguile

Beguile

Furore

Furore

As you can tell from these pictures, the difference is striking. On my pale skin, both pigments, particularly Beguile, are barely visible when used alone and only add a slight shimmer (which could work well as a subtle highlighter, though Beguile is a little less ‘natural’ due to its iridescent pink and green tones).

MAC’s PaintPot was also pretty useless; I initially thought an eyeshadow base like this one would be perfect for pigments, but the formula is too heavy and thick to allow the powder to be distributed evenly.

courtier

For a daytime look, I was looking for a product that would carry my pigment as well as tone down the glitter. My favourite thing to do this would be Illamasqua’s new Vintage Metallix in Courtier (£16.50). This cream-gel is intended to be used alone (Courtier is a gorgeous “vintage nude” with slight gold shimmer) as a smudge-resistant eyeshadow, however it provides a light but opaque, smooth but slightly tacky base – perfect for a layer of pigment!

For nighttime looks, I needed something that would make my pigments ‘pop’ (cringe… but you know what I mean), so I opted for Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel. This dinky bottle may seem expensive at £7, but it’s uses are endless. It is a mixing medium revered amongst make-up artists for turning eyeshadows into liquid eyeliners. However, if you place a few drops on your eye lid, tap with your finger until it becomes tacky. Once your pigment is applied on top, you’ll see an unbelievable transformation: the colour is bright, the shimmer intense and the coverage even (no lumps of gunky glitter clogging your lid).

This is my version of a day and night look using Pure Pigments (Furore on the left, and Beguile on the right):

How do you make the most of your pigments?

For FOTDs and previews of my blog posts, follow my instagram: http://instagram.com/beautsoup

Hope you like!

Molly x

My Skincare Routine

I have a few confessions to make… I hate the taste of water; the only fluids I’ll willing consume are tea, gin and custard. I never manage my five-a-day (or is it seven-a-day now?) and often have cake for breakfast. And, worst of all, I am a picker; spots, blackheads, random lumps that appear on my forehead, all feel the force of my two forefingers.

All things considered, I should be prone to spots, blemishes and wrinkles. Though I have my genes to thank for my relatively clear skin, I have developed a skincare routine that helps keep break-outs at bay, as well as one for when that monster zit appears on the very tip of my nose.

Make-up Removal:  Simple ‘Kind to Skin’ Cleansing Wipes, £3.49

10814254_10152459363036128_1917527980_n

I have been using these make-up removal wipes for as long as I can remember. My skin is highly sensitive to strong perfumes (even Johnson’s Baby Moisturiser stings 😦 ), but these wipes have never caused any irritation. Simple’s wipes are produced with different formulas, each tailored to different skin types – Cleansing, Exfoliating, Oil Balancing, etc. – I use Cleansing because I prefer full-coverage foundations and concealers that need an equally thorough removal. The only one I would not recommend is the Exfoliating wipes as their course texture can leave your skin feeling a little raw. 

No7 Beautiful Skin Eye Make-up Remover, £8.5010859346_10152459363021128_1544665499_n

The amount of eye make-up I wear means that I have to be careful not to scrub away at my eyes too much when removing mascara and eyeliner. This remover is excellent for lifting off those last bits of glitter, crusted eyeliner (eww) and waterproof mascara. As it is oil based, those with particularly oily skin may not take to this product, however, I would recommend it for anyone with dry or combination skin as it both cleanses and moisturises that delicate skin around the eye.

Cleansing and Toning: No7 Soft and Soothed Gentle Cleanser and Gentle Toner, £8.00 each

Boots No7 is a brand I completely trust when it comes to taking care of my skin. Their products are hypo-allergenic and ph-balanced so as not to cause irritation. As well as having a beautifully silky texture, they also have enough power to sink deeply into the skin, leaving it feeling fresh and hydrated.

10850834_10152459363026128_509900888_n

I know it’s kind of gross but this picture is of the cotton wool pad I use to cleanse my face. This is AFTER using a make-up wipe. Though make up wipes will remove make-up on the surface of the skin, cleansers penetrate deeper into the pores, helping to lift out the residue inside.

Obviously cleansing is crucially important, but why use a toner? Many people skip this process, but toning is essential for restoring the ph balance of your skin. When I wasyounger my mom told me that while cleansers open your pores, toners close them; I don’t have the dermatological evidence to back this up, but it does enforce the equal importance of cleansing and toning (ideally twice a day). My favourite moisturiser is also No7, I review it here.

Blemishes: No7 Colour Calming Primer, £10.50

In this col10850801_10152459363016128_1593091137_nd weather, my skin can often look red and mottled. To solve this issue I use this colour calming primer, again by No7. The lotion is green – opposite to red on the colour wheel – meaning, once blended, it is particularly effective at reducing redness and helps to even out your complexion (as you can see from the picture below).

10859403_10152459363011128_1963183408_n

When I do have break-outs, I often apply this to the area using a concealer brush, working it around the spot to mute that angry red colour.  The key to this product is blending: a little goes a long way and, without effective blending, can leave your skin with a peculiar green-grey undertone. Once foundation and concealer is applied, however, the green colour is not at all noticeable.

What products are key to your skincare routine?

Hope you like!

Molly x

November Favourites

10833916_10152439226856128_1134093714_n I confess, most of these things were bought last Friday during the sales so they are very recent favourites, but favourites all the same.

Face – MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in ‘Painterly’ (£13.50) and Benefit’s Hoola Bronza (£23.50)

As I have very dry skin, a primer usually exacerbates the look and feel of my eyelids, making them cracked and crispy. I bought MAC’s Paint Pot as an alternative and it works beautifully. The cool-toned nude is a gorgeous colour for those with pale skin, disguising any redness or blueish veins on the lid as well as evening out the skin’s texture ready for eyeshadows. The only issue I’ve faced is keeping the paint pot from drying out. I now store it upside down (as recommended on various forums) and heat it briefly with my hairdryer before applying. I’ve recently read that MAC’s ‘Fix +’ fluid is ideal for loosening the mixture so I hope to try this out soon and get back to you with my verdict 😉

I know I’m a bit late to the Hoola party, but until now I have been using a NYC Mosaic Bronzer that I bought for 99p around two years ago. I stumbled across NYC’s powder and was so pleased with the colour (not too orangey and not packed full of glitter) that I didn’t dare to try another. But I’ve since watched numerous beauty vlogs where Hoola is so obvious a choice that it barely gets mentioned. I had to go buy it. It’s soft matte brown colour is perfect for contouring the cheeks, jaw and forehead and adds a subtle, healthy glow to the skin. With a dinky fantail brush included, the beautifully designed box is a handy addition to my handbag so I can top up on the go.

Lips – Lime Crime’s Velvetine in ‘Salem’ (£13.50) and Illamasqua’s Lipstick in ‘Buff’ (£18.50)

I set out with the hope of picking up ‘Styled in Sepia,’ but it turns out that ‘limited edition’ is very, very limited when it comes to MAC lipsticks. Ilamasqua’s ‘Buff’ was initially my back-up but, in hindsight, I prefer it’s grey-taupe colour to MAC’s warmer version. It’s texture is also that bit creamier than MAC’s mattes and, oddly, Illamasqua’s matte ‘Posture’ that I bought last week.

I hesitate to call this a ‘nude’ as it is considerably darker than the brand’s other offerings ‘Starkers’ and ‘Naked,’ but it’s deep colour means it translates well from day to night, and keeps your face from looking ‘washed out’ in these colder months.

Lime Crime’s Velvetine… a highly pigmented, long lasting (!) opaque lip colour that applies like a gloss but dries completely matte. Amazing. Every colour in the range is gorgeous but I couldn’t resist this matte chocolate brown, ‘Salem.’ You might know from my earlier post (here) that I have a thing for brown lipsticks, so ‘Salem’ was an obvious choice for those days when I want an extra oomph 😍. It’s claim to be long-lasting is no exaggeration, it survived the most rigorous of food and drink challenges (the things I do for you bloggers…), and only began to wear away on the inside of the lip after 4 hours.

Clothes – Lace Tier T-Shirt, Topshop (£48)

 The majority of clothes that I bought in the sales were replacements for the basics in my wardrobe (like last year’s jumpers that have now shrunk, stretched or bobbled). This t-shirt was my special purchase and is now put away ready for Christmas cocktail hour. Despite it’s casual loose-fitting shape, the sleeves are made of a delicate lace and the colour palette – black, grey, silver and pastel green – is uniquely sophisticated. It’s a little bit of 1920s Gatsby in my wardrobe.

Accessories – Tan Handbags

I have always assumed that tan handbags are just for summer, where black bags are for winter. These, however, are surprisingly versatile and add a bit of interest to the typically bleak winter palette of grey, navy and black. Tan leather also compliments this season’s berry and burnt orange shades perfectly; a 1970s tooled leather saddle bag will take you through to Spring where the era is set to make a comeback.

What are your favourite purchases this November?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Review: Urban Decay’s Vice 3 Palette

You could say that I bought this palette by accident, and now I know the meaning of ‘serendipity.’

I was originally looking for Vice 2, released September last year, to add a welcome addition to my palette collection with it’s perfect mix of neutrals and bold pinks and greens. But then I saw this!

In the clam-shell style typical of Vice’s past, this palette comes complete with a full-size mirror and a double-ended synthetic brush (warning: it’s reflective cover holds no mercy when it comes to mucky fingerprints).

The colours are undoubtedly beautiful with four matte transition shades (‘Truth,’ ‘Undone,’ ‘Downfall’ and ‘DTF’) accompanying 16 shimmers. The variation in colours is perfect, with warm tones narrowly out-numbering cooler tones (it is the season for reds, coppers and browns after all!).

My favourite thing about this palette is that, if you take each row separately, it offers a ready-made combination of five colours, each set combining neutrals with an unlikely pop of colour. Champagne meets emerald, taupe meets red.

As always, I have a few complaints. While the shadows have an amazing colour payoff, they are particularly powdery. I’m not sure whether this is more noticeable here because of the number of shimmers (prone to a crumbly texture – think ‘Dust’ from Naked 3) or whether it is an unusual oversight by UD. Regardless, be careful of this excess if you have already applied your foundation and concealer!

I’m also not a huge fan of the brush; the bristles seem too sparse to effectively blend shadows together. Instead, I use it to sweep over my lid when all the blending is done, just to pick up any stray powder that may be lurking there.

Special Mentions:

Unknown

DTF: ‘Taupe Matte with Subtle Floating Tonal Pearl’

This is my favourite of the mattes. It is a perfect transition shade for a smoky eye, subtle or dramatic. I think ‘taupe’ doesn’t really do it justice, it has a purple-grey tone in a natural light that blends beautifully with warm and cool colours alike.

Last Sin:Unknown2 ‘Champagne Shimmer with Silver Micro Glitter’

Last Sin was the colour that immediately caught my eye when I lifted the lid; to me, it’s the perfect shade for the festive season and, like DTF, blends well with coppers and browns as well as blues and greens.

Dragon: ‘Bright Metallic Green Shimmer’

I’ve never tried a colour like this before; the thought of green eyeshadow has never really appealed to me, but this colour is gorgeous, whether over the entire lid or just under the lash line. It particularly suits the pink and purple shades in the top row of the palette.

Sonic: ‘Metallic Red-Copper’

I wanted to try out this colour against my skin in anticipation of buying Lime Crime’s ‘Venus’ palette which comprises of these rusty red tones. And I love it! Blended with coppers and golds, Sonic adds something a little bit different to those usual autumn looks.

In this picture I used: DTF (transition); Last Sin (lid); Bobby Dazzler (highlighter); Sonic (lower lash line) and Defy (crease). Lips: Lime Crime Velvetine in Salem (ohmygodthebestlipcolourontheplanet).

Would you consider buying Urban Decay’s Vice 3 palette?

Hope you like!

Molly x

In Defence of: the Ugly Jumper

It’s that time of year again. The time when that jumper, blazoned with snowflakes, reindeers and christmas puddings, is unearthed for the office party or dinner with the family. It has become a collective, if embarrassing, token of our festive cheer.

But why should the ugly jumper only be for Christmas?

By ‘ugly’ I mean garish, OTT, outlandish and out-dated; the jumpers abandoned in charity shops and vintage markets. They’re hidden gems – the uglier, the better!!

This was my first: an eighties beauty with a bold geometric design found in my local vintage shop. It soon became my go-to “lectures are too early and I can’t be bothered” jumper. It’s bat-wing shape is so comfortable to wear and, with jeans and a simple jacket, can add colour and kookiness to an outfit without any fuss (the pink stripes are interweaved with wisps of white thread).

My next new-old jumper is this zebra print crop found in Cow Vintage. Okay, it’s not exactly ugly, but it’s different to anything I’ve seen in TopShop or Urban Outfitters recently. Its monochrome style means that it can be paired with anything from Levi’s to a pencil skirt.

And finally… my ultimate ugly jumper. Another eighties throwback with bold stripes of different coloured animal print. This jumper knows no bounds when it comes to colour combinations and clashing patterns. Like the first, it has an exaggerated bat-wing sleeve and a loose fit, but it’s gorgeous v-shaped back shows a little bit of flesh in a way that is both unique and feminine.

Throw on a pair of black leather-look jeans and voilà – a complete outfit sans effort, but with tons and tons of character.

What do you guys think of the ugly jumper?

Hope you like!

Molly x