My Favourite Foundations: Rimmel, Illamasqua and MAC

You’ve heard it all before, especially of late, “It’s all about that bass base.”

Having recently bought – though I feel better about the price if I say ‘invested in’ – Illamasqua’s SkinBase Foundation, I thought it would be fitting to write a review on my three favourite bases.

Rimmel Match Perfection in 001 Light Porcelain £6.99

So when I wake up at 6am, bleary eyed and puffy faced, it feels like a waste to apply my ‘best’ foundation for work. In the stuffy air of commuter trains and busy offices, I want a light, breathable foundation that won’t leave me feeling icky by 5pm.

Colour and Coverage : Seeing these foundations side by side, it’s clear that ‘pale’ doesn’t always mean pale; too peach, too pink, too orange, I’ve tried the lot.

Rimmel’s ‘Light Porcelian’ is truly the perfect colour for me; a fairly neutral shade with a slight pink hue that helps warm up my pale bits and tone down my blotchy bits. As the consistency of this foundation is very runny, when blended out, its coverage is sheer to light. It is therefore better intended for evening out complexions rather than concealing dark circles or blemishes. That being said, it is relatively easy to build up to a light to medium coverage if you apply a layer, set with powder, and then apply another layer.

Finish and Staying Power: You’ll have to pardon my lack of technical terms, but this foundation is very ‘wet.’ It is runny when dispensed from the bottle and has a similarly moisture-rich feel on the skin which is both a good and a bad thing. The dewy, satin finish means that I can fake healthy, hydrated skin even in this bitterly cold weather. I reviewed this foundation as part of my ‘Five Steps to Dewy Skin’ (read it here) and still believe that it is the best for achieving that desirable ‘glow from within’ look.

For those with oily skin, though, it may proof just too greasy feeling. I often find that, as the day goes on, the product slides away from my nose and down between my eyebrows where my skin can get oily. On the train home from work, the last thing I’m bothered about is my foundation, but if I were to wear this foundation for an event, I would recommend applying powder throughout the day to blot the excess moisture. Overall, though, it’s not bad for only £7!

The Weekend Foundation: Illamasqua’s Skin Base in 02, £32

At the weekend, I want the same breathable feel as my weekday foundation, but with a fuller coverage. So at the other end of the price spectrum is Illamasqua’s SkinBase Foundation, my weekend foundation. I had read a lot about this foundation before committing myself to buying it and, on the whole, I’m not too disappointed.

Colour and Coverage: 02 is the lightest colour offered by the SkinBase range, excluding pure white. As you can tell from the swatch, the difference between Illamasqua’s and Rimmel’s lightest shades is huge! 02 is described as ‘Pink Undertone with Yellow’ meaning it has the same balanced tone as Rimmel’s foundation, but is a lot lighter. If anything, this is a little too light for me so I often mix it with my Rimmel or MAC products to suit my skin.

The consistency of the product shouldn’t fool you; though it is just as runny as Rimmel’s foundation, it is considerable more pigmented. So while it can only be applied in very thin layers at a time, you’ll probably need fewer layers to mask those dark circles and blemishes. This cuts out that gross greasy feeling you get with heavy foundations and avoids clogging up your pores – yay!

With a good medium coverage, the SkinBase will even out skin tones, minimise dark circles and go someway towards hiding those angry spots.

Finish and Staying Power: The finish is somewhere between satin and matte as the formula is based on a BB cream rather than a standard foundation. BB Creams are full coverage foundations with a multi-functional purpose, acting as a primer, foundation, concealer and sun-screen. Amazing, right? Well, yes – if all of these functions work perfectly. As a foundation/concealer, the SkinBase is great but susceptible to over-working. I always apply my foundations with a beauty blender and have found that with too much dabbing the foundation begins to lift away, causing uneven coverage. The product also transfers easily to my fingers without using a substantial dusting of powder to set it. This means that any touching or poking at my face can leave behind noticeable fingerprints. But I guess that’s the price I have to pay for its silky texture.

As a primer, the SkinBase is so-so. I have experienced no sliding, caking or break-down before 5-6 hours of wear. Buuuuuut (and there’s always a but), it does have a habit of settling into my pores and fine lines soon after I apply it – and by soon, I mean about 10 minutes. It similarly clings to my dry patches, so be sure to moisturise well before using it! Using a primer beforehand does limit this, though that defeats the purpose of the ‘multi-functional’ formula. Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil primer, for example, is £30 and I feel that spending £62 on an effective primer/foundation combination is too expensive.

 

The Day to Night Foundation: MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid in NC15, £21.50  

With MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid, I don’t need to use a primer, but can rely on it alone to take me from a day in the office to a night in the pub!

Colour and Coverage: As you can tell from the swatch, this is the darkest shade I own, even though it is the lightest shade produced by MAC. The colour looks so different to the two other foundations because I opted for the yellow toned (NC – Neutral Cool) rather than the pink toned (NW – Neutral Warm) shade as I felt that NW15 was that bit too pink for me to pull off (just google any comparative swatches to see what I mean).

Many people assume that Studio Fix Fluid is full coverage, but it is actually a build-able medium coverage foundation, which puts you in control of where the most product should go. This means that I rarely need to use a concealer and even when I do, it is only to cover particularly dark circles or very angry spots.

Finish and Staying Power: This foundation has a natural matte finish; it is shine-free, but not so matte as to make your face appear flat and lifeless. Perfect!

As it contains silicone and various powders, the formula can zap moisture from the skin so those with dry skin should be sure to properly moisturise before applying to achieve the most consistent finish. For those with combination or oily skin, however, this is actually a bonus. As the product absorbs excess oil, there is very little movement throughout the day. I have found that it stays even and fresh looking for around 8 hours!

As you can probably tell, I have very little negative to say about MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid. If anything the colour is slightly off, but I do lighten it with powder and highlighter. It would probably my favourite out of the 3, but I try to mix up my foundation routine throughout the week to save clogging my pores with too much highly pigmented, heavy coverage product.

So what are your favourite foundations?

Hope you like!

Molly x

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My Contouring Routine

I’m a recent contouring convert; ever since that photo of Kim Kardashian, I’ve been trying to add some definition to my face, drawing various lines in various colours in various places.

I’ve tried taupe, bronze and dark brown eyeshadows, eye pencils, creams and blushes in the hope of achieving the right look and after many attempts (and some utter disasters), I think I’ve finally cracked it!

Shading

Illamasqua’s Skin Base Lift in White and Cream Pigment in Hollow (both £17.50)

My first step is to ‘shade’ my face, or to map out where I want the light and shadow to be; I find that by first adding a subtle glow and depth to the skin, any extra definition added later to the nose and cheekbones looks more authentic. To do this, I’ve found the best products to use are cream pigments, essentially colour-rich concealers.

After applying my foundation and a very light layer of concealer around my eyes (just to even out those blueish veins), I apply the two pigments in those places that I feel need an extra oomph.

(Please excuse the damp hair and pyjamas…my getting-ready routine isn’t at all glamorous)

My favourite products for this shading are Illamasqua’s Skin Base Lift in White and Cream Pigment in Hollow. The Skin Base Lift has a beautifully silky, almost gooey, texture that blends easily with my foundation without losing any of its brightness. While it adds a visible glow to my skin, I don’t rely on this as my sole concealer. Illamasqua claims that each of the Skin Base Lifts has a peach undertone that perfectly counteracts blueish hues, particularly around the eyes. I guess having chosen the white shade, which obviously has very little peach to it, I have had to compromise on this full coverage. Nevertheless, I would recommend this product for those with pale skin who may struggle to find a contouring product light enough to make a noticeable difference.

Hollow is another product ideally suited to paler skin types due to it’s cooler tone. Before using this, I had been using Benefit’s Hoola to define my cheekbones: Hoola is known for having a cooler tone than most bronzers meaning it works well on even the fairest skin, but I personally prefer Hollow as its colour is cooler still, meaning it adds shade without any unconvincing ‘tan’ or orange hue.

Once applied, I then blend these pigments out with my beauty blender being sure to avoid any streaks, but also to keep the colours within their demarcated ‘zones.’

Defining

NYX Powder Blush in Taupe (£6.00) and Illamasqua’s Gleam in Aurora (£21.50)

For adding further, more defined, shadows to my face, I prefer to use a dark powder. As I like to add a little more colour to my nose (which, due to my combination skin, can get oily), I use a powder to avoid adding more product, which can lead to caking.

I use NYX’s Powder Blush in Taupe, a similar grey-brown to Hollow, to carve out my cheekbones with a dense blusher brush and to shape my nose with a detail brush, as shown below. As a powder, it is much easier to build up substantial colour without clogging the skin with too much product.

That being said, for my highlighter, I would have typically used a white eyeshadow with a light shimmer, until I discovered Illamasqua’s Gleam. I recently bought a bundle from eBay which included this Gleam and now I can’t stop using it.

gleamaurora

Many reviews I have read have complained that this highlighter’s sticky formula can lift off foundation and it certainly does (I have caused all kinds of blotches because of it) if not used sparingly. To me, it is less of a cream and more of a gel-like consistency and, though quite peculiar to work with, produces the most ethereal delicate glow.

My Gleam, Aurora, is a lovely champagne colour which works well with warmer shades of eyeshadow and lipstick on fair skin. With cooler shades of make-up, I would probably opt for a similarly cool toned highlighter – I’m waiting for Illamasqua to bring out a white/silver Gleam!

My face is now ready for eyeliner, mascara, the works! Contouring can look lovely and natural when just set with a little powder and left alone, but can also provide a base for adding a little blush or extra bronzer. In the look below, I chose to keep it simple with an ordinary contour and neutral lips and eyes.

What are your favourite products for contouring?

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

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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.

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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).

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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

My First Purchases from Illamasqua: Lipstick and Skin Base Lift

I’ve had two items on my Christmas wish list for a while now: Illamasqua’s Lipstick in ‘Posture’ and Skin Base Lift in ‘White.’ I know it may not be Christmas jussst yet, but it’s close enough so here they are!

Posture

Though Autumn is the perfect season for vampy, dark lips, I fell in love with Posture’s unusual ‘cool mauve’ colour, and thought it would bring something a little different to my usual go-to looks. Here I’ve compared it to LimeCrime’s D’Lilac to give you a better idea of how unique – and amazing! – this colour is. 10904910_10152536767286128_60703277_n-2

Along with a vivid violet lipstick, ESP, Posture was released last April as part of the brand’s ‘Paranormal’ collection and I’ve read quite a few reviews that criticise it’s ‘corpse’ appearance.

I would agree that Posture is a colour that won’t be to everyone’s taste; it’s cooler tones work well on an equally cool complexion, but may need something extra to suit those with warmer skin. I sometimes use NYX’s slim lip pencil in ‘Dark Purple’ before adding Posture over the top. This helps to add more definition to the lips as well as deepen the colour in a way that would suit all skin types.

This is my first Illamasqua lipstick and it won’t be my last. It’s texture is much similar to MAC’s matte range, if a little dryer, but that is to be expected with any lipstick that doesn’t offer a satin finish. It’s staying power is also on a par with MAC, if not that bit better, my MAC Sin tends to disintegrate and flake away if exposed to too much water (or gin…) where Posture stays put regardless.

Skin Base Lift in ‘White’

I’ve recently been experimenting with contouring; I’ve always been skeptical of the technique as it can mean caking the face with too much product, and it often isn’t a look that easily translates from the catwalk into every day life. Another obstacle I found was that, typically, highlighting demands a foundation or concealer two shades lighter than your normal skin tone. That’s where the Skin Base comes in… Here I’ve compared it to my ordinary concealer – MAC’s Studio Finish in NC15 – and the difference is huge!

Illamasqua’s Skin Base is designed as a ‘brightening concealer,’ but in my opinion it works best at brightening rather than concealing. The nature of 10928166_10152536776821128_485425217_nthe colour means that, when applied to the cheekbones, nose and forehead, the whole face looks fresh and gleaming. However, as you may be able to tell from the picture, it does not offer as full a coverage as my MAC alternative.

Maybe I have been spoiled by MAC’s rich, thick formula, but Illamasqua’s concealer didn’t cover my blemishes or under eye circles as well as I’d hoped. Mix the two superpowers together, though, and the end result is the almightiest of cover-ups!

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To top it all off, Illamasqua shared this photo on their instagram earlier today! Even more reason for me to go out and buy allllll of their things 🙂 don’t forget to check out my page: beautsoup.

What do you think of these products, would you try them out?

Hope you like!

Molly x

What I Wear To Work

I’ve recently started work at a local university (hence why my posts will now have to wait till weekends) and so, while I need to look smart and professional, a little self expression is always welcome.

Outfit

In terms of outfits, I like to stick to neutral colours – white, black, grey and navy – but play around with textures and patterns. Mohair, lace, cord and viscose help to add a bit of interest to block colours and each have their own particular way of clinging to my figure or flowing loosely. I have a definite thing for all things check and tartan and recently bought a two piece check co-ord set from Marks and Spencer. The top piece is a gorgeous peplum shape, the fit of which nicely balances out the straight legged trousers.

Make-Up

My work make-up follows the same principle as my outfit: I tend to keep my eyes neutral, but use a bold colour on my lips. Benefit’s ‘Big Beautiful Eyes’ palette is the perfect little contouring kit containing a creamy ‘industrial-strength’ concealer and three different colours to help create a gorgeous muted smokey eye.

The palette offers a concealer in ‘Boing 02,’ an alabaster pink base eyeshadow, a cocoa shimmer contour shadow and a deep chocolate liner colour, each of which have their own designated brush specially designed for their specific forms of application.

Benefit’s ‘Boing’ is a shade darker than my usual concealer so I tend to use it to cover blemishes and opt for MAC’s Studio Finish Concealer in NC15 under my eyes. My base is completed with a sweep of Bare Mineral’s Touch Up Veil in ‘Light’ – a lovely lightweight compressed powder that helps to minimise shine and even out my complexion.

Finally, my current lipstick of choice is No7’s Moisture Drench Lipstick in ’02 Plum Beautiful,’ which not only has a lovely satin finish but also doubles up as a lip moisturiser.

Make-Up Bag

It’s rare that make-up applied at 6am will stay put until 5pm, so I carry a mini make-up bag with me to help top up throughout the day. Inside I carry my lipstick of choice, a dinky reel of dental floss, a mini tube of hand cream and a travel bottle of perfume. I also take my Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in ‘Fair 1:’ this concealer is considerably lighter than that in the Benefit kit so I top it up at lunch time to freshen up my face and stop my eyes looking heavy and tired.

What make-up essentials do you take to work?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Five Steps to Fresh, Dewy Skin

For me, the colder months of the year don’t just bring fireworks and Christmas presents, but also cracked lips and a peeling nose (eww). My skin has always been woefully dry, so the trend for a fresh-faced, dewy look was one I’ve been keen to get right.

It’s taken a bit of time, but I think I’ve finally cracked it! Here are my five steps for that sought-after glow:

1. Moisturiser – No7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for Dry/Very Dry Skin SPF 15, £12.50.

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I’ve tried all sorts of moisturisers but this is by far my favourite. Unlike others I’ve tried, it doesn’t sit on top of my skin, but gets absorbed almost immediately. It also doesn’t over compensate by making my face feel heavy and oily.

(I’m yet to be convinced that I need a night cream too, I just use this every morning and every night).

2. Radiance Fluid – No7 Skin Illuminator: Radiance Boosting Beauty Fluid, £11.00.

highlighterThis is my ultimate secret weapon. This fluid has a pearlescent finish that has no other purpose (that I know of…), but to make your face glow. It’s like 12 hour’s sleep and a long soak in the bath in a bottle! It can be used alone, under or over foundation: a light sweep is great for adding a subtle shimmer, while a thicker coat is perfect for highlighting.

My only complaint is the method of application; you have to squeeze the cream through a clumsy brush extension which can make it difficult to control how much is dispensed at any one time. Definitely worth a try!

3. Foundation and Sponge – Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation, £6.99 and Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, £5. 99.

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Two months ago, I would have sworn by MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid as the perfect foundation. It offers brilliant, full coverage with a gorgeous matte finish (and smells like old school paint!).

For a dewy-look, however, this Rimmel foundation offers a great alternative – it makes my skin look and feel perfectly hydrated.

I’m also a recent convert to the beauty blender; I bought this cheaper alternative to test it out (I’ve always used my fingers to apply my base) and will never look back!

When damp, the sponge is perfect for tapping and blending foundation into the face, leaving a flawless, dewy look.

4. Highlighter – No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter, £9.95.

This is a very new addition to my make-up collection, but so far I am really impressed.

It comes in a variety of colours, but I chose a gorgeous champagne shade, which offers a healthy warm shimmer without any glitter or exaggerated sparkle.

It’s rollerball applicator is extremely easy to use and combines the benefits of a powder and a liquid highlighter: it can be blended easily like a liquid, but is light and build-able like a powder.

5. Gloss – Vaseline Lip Therapy Petroleum Jelly, £2.18.

Good old Vaseline! With the recent trend for bare-faced beauty, vaseline offers the perfect light sheen to the lips to complete the dewy look.

It can also be used on bare eyelids or on top of eyeshadows to create a unique glossy finish (like that used by MAC at London and New York’s AW14 Fashion Week).

A thin coat of Vaseline on your eyelashes before bed is also meant to nourish longer, thicker, stronger lashes (something I am in definite need of).

What are your go-to products for radiant skin?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Concealer for the Palest of the Pale

I’ve recently finished my dissertation and have the under-eye circles to show for it. Having headed to the shops to find something to hide them with, I encountered every pale girl’s worst nightmare: finding the right concealer. Over the years I’ve accumulated my fair share of ‘under-eye illuminators’ and ‘cover-up sticks,’ some great and some shockingly bad, so I thought I’d share a few of them, and my current favourites.

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1: Collection 2000 – Cover Up Stick in 01 Light Translucent, £1.99. This is a great concealer and is, dare I say it, slightly too light. It’s warm tone is great but it offers very little coverage (without having to paste it on). 5 out of 10. 

2: Collection 2000 – Lasting Perfection Concealer in 1 Fair, £4.19. Brilliant. Really brilliant. It is the perfect colour for me and the fact that it is liquid, rather than a paste, means it’s easy to apply without having to pull at my skin to blend it in. If you require a matte concealer this may not be ideal for you, but I personally like it’s dewy look. 9 out of 10.10719233_10152319045236128_576622008_n

3: Rimmel – Hide The Blemish Concealer Stick in 001 Ivory, £3.99. This is a nice colour but offers only a light coverage and remains oddly sticky. 6 out of 10. 

4: Rimmel – Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer in 010 Ivory, £4.99. I remember buying this when, after living off pick ‘n’ mix at uni, my face broke out in spots. The concealer has a green core that works to neutralise redness in the skin so it is particularly effective at covering blemishes and sore spots. 7 out of 10.

5. Revlon – Photoready Concealer in 002 Light Pale, £6.49. This is good value for money and offers a medium coverage that requires very few touch ups. 8 out of 10.

6. Max Factor – Mastertouch Under-Eye Concealer in 303 Ivory, £7.99. Ivory? I beg to differ. I found this in the very bottom of my make-up bag and am slightly worried that it is almost empty. The ‘precision tip’ sponge applicator is very useful but the colour is far from pale. 4 out of 10. 

7. MAC – Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC15, £15.50. I have dry combination skin so this emollient-based (moisturising) concealer is perfect for avoiding that dreaded crepey look. I also prefer its full coverage to hide those dark circles and any veins showing just below my skin. The only issue I have found is, as a paste, the concealer is difficult to apply evenly. 9 out of 10. 10717544_10152319045231128_370844991_n

8. MAC – Pro Longwear Concealer in NW15, £17.00. I recently read that NW (neutral warm) shades are better at hiding the blue-purple tones of dark circles than NC (neutral cool) shades. I’ve always opted for cooler shades assuming that warmer ones would look too orange on my skin, however, this colour is perfect! It’s liquid application means it’s easy to distribute and, as the name suggests, it lasts amazingly throughout the day with no need for touch-ups. 10 out of 10. 

If you are looking for a full coverage concealer without that greasy feeling then MAC’s Pro Longwear is a worthwhile investment. At £17.00 though, it is a little pricey for such a tiny little bottle, so if you’re willing to top-up your make up throughout the day then I would recommend Collection 2000’s Lasting Perfection Concealer – it may not last, but it is almost, almost perfect!

Hope you like!

Molly x