January Favourites

Having not written about my December Favourites, this has been a long time coming. Of course, all the things I got for Christmas immediately became my favourite things in the world, so my January favourites include some Christmas presents that I’ve already reviewed elsewhere, some that I have now had chance to get used to and experiment with, and some new items I’ve bought since then.

Eyes

[Insert Lime Crime’s Venus Palette: read my full review here]

Sugar Pill’s Loose Eyeshadow in ‘Lumi’ (£8.95)

Pigments are for life, not just for Christmas.

10917666_10152607400031128_554375077_nThey’re now an essential part of my make-up routine, adding extra dimension to matte shadows, extra oomph to highlighters and extra sparkle to lip-gloss and nail polish. I was watching one of Mykie’s Youtube tutorials when she used this amazing iridescent powder to brighten the inner corners of her eyes. I’d only vaguely heard of Sugar Pill before and assumed, as an American brand, it wouldn’t be easily available in the UK. But thankfully, a local make-up boutique stocks their entire range – so here we are!

Lumi is particularly unusual in its colour and texture. When I saw it on Youtube, I thought it was white with a blue/pink shift – a more pigmented version of Illamasqua’s Beguile. In fact, in person, Lumi is ice blue-white. Because of this, I was hesitant to buy it, thinking it would be too hard to incorporate it into my usual looks that favour warm coppers and golds. But I took the risk and am so glad I did! It sparkles and catches the light beautifully, but isn’t loaded with glitter. I guess you could describe it as ‘shimmery’ rather than glittery, but that does no justice to its pigmentation and opacity. Its super fine texture means that it is extra concentrated, while still being light and easy to work with – there’s no need for adhesives or mixing mediums.

I love to pair Lumi with dark, cool-toned lipsticks – taupes and purples – for a kooky, high-contrast look, but, it is works equally well with lighter lip colours for a fresh, clean look like the one below.

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Lime Crime Liquid Liner in ‘Lunar Sea’ (£9.00)

This picture also shows my next favourite – Lime Crime’s Liquid Liner in ‘Lunar Sea.’ I have been searching for a white eyeliner for a while now so I can create different monochrome looks like this one. I’m a huge fan of Lime Crime’s other products so had no doubt that I would love this just as much as Venus and the Velvetiness. And I do; it has that signature, almost paint-like, pigmentation.

The fine brush is easy to use, particularly when drawing even lines, but, as it doesn’t taper to a fine point, it can be trickier to manage when sculpting flicks or curves. Like any liquid liner, too, layering the product can lead to cracking, so be sure not to overload your brush! With a little bit of practice, though, ‘Lunar Sea’ has easily made it into my list of all-time favourite eye products.

Face:

[Insert MAC’s Fix+: read my full review here]

Illamasqua Velvet Blush in ‘Peaked,’ (£21.50 £10.75)

10997230_10152607399916128_1193800173_nI had just hit pan in my usual powder blush (No7’s ‘Soft Damson’) when I saw this advertised as part of Illamasqua’s January sale at half the usual price. As it would be my first time using a cream blush (and I’ve heard the horror stories about how difficult they are to apply correctly), I confess that I would not have paid the full £21.50 for such a risky item. At just over ten pounds though, it was a bargain!

Having used it for around a month, I can safely say that it isn’t all difficult to use. As the colour pay-off is very high a little goes a long way so the cream need only be applied in very thin layers which helps to reduce the ‘patchiness’ that people had warned me about. I’ve tried applying it with my fingers and a blush brush as Illamasqua recommends, but found that each have their own way of moving the product around unevenly. Instead, my preferred method is to use a beauty blender; I now add this blusher into my contour routine and blend it out with my cream pigments (yes, I, too, have a ‘Neopolitan Face’ each morning – see my contour routine here).

I’d imagine that, with a lighter colour, uneven coverage would be less of a worry, but my skin doesn’t take to corals very well and bright pinks can make me look like a Cabbage Patch Kid, so I chose ‘Peaked,’ a gorgeous deep plum. This colour would look absolutely beautiful on darker skin tones, though, it’s slightly cool-tone means that pale girls like myself can still pull it off. It adds a bit of sophisticated rouge without looking hot and flustered (I was incredibly heavy-handed when taking my swatch, but you can see beautiful colour all the same).

In terms of the price, now I have used this item I would consider buying it at £21.50 – the pan is so big it will probably last until 2020! If you are considering it, though, I’d recommend that you go swatch it at an Illamasqua counter first just to ensure that the colour and texture will work for you.

MAC Cream Colour Base in ‘Luna’ (£15.50)

So in my contouring post, I said that I was waiting for Illamasqua to release a white/silver version of their Gleam highlighter. Well, alas, they haven’t, but I’ve found a brilliant alternative! MAC’s Cream Colour Bases are verrrrrry popular due to their versatility – they can be used as highlighters, concealers, blushers, eyeshadow bases and lipsticks.

I chose Luna – a pearlescent white – to be my new cool-toned highlighter and it works perfectly! The texture is quite solid (much like the Studio Fix concealers) so it is easier to work with when it’s warmed slightly in your hands (or you can try with a hairdryer but be careful not to get too close to the plastic!!!). That being said, it blends seamlessly with my base without losing any of its colour. I highly recommend Luna as an alternative to Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in ‘Pearl’ which is very difficult to get hold of in the UK.

Lips:

[Insert NARS’ Anna: read my full review here]

MAC’s Lipstick in ‘Smoked Purple’ (£15.50)

I love purple in all its shades so this was an obvious choice for me. With Spring on the way, it seems the season for vampy lips is coming to a close, but I don’t see why dark colours can’t be used to add a bit of drama to a floaty summer dress and sandals. Right?! Smoked Purple is a deeper, cooler tone than Cyber (which I’m also a fan of) so would probably suit a wider variety of skin tones. I’m not sure whether it’s just luck with MAC’s mattes, but my Smoked Purple is a lot creamier than my Sin and Styled in Sepia. With any dark colours, though, it’s worth mentioning that even the slightest bit of dry skin will snag and catch the colour making it highly noticeable – I now wear tons of lip balm (my tasty new EOS balm) as often as I can to stop my lips going crispy in this cold weather.

What are your favourite products this month?

Hope you like!

Molly x

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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

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

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

Essential Kit for Perfect Flicks

I discovered eyeliner when I was 14 and proceeded to smudge it all the way around my eye like Avril Lavigne did in her ‘Sk8r Girl’ video. Cringe.

Though a dramatic smoky eye just isn’t smoky enough without a bit of kohl eyeliner, nowadays I prefer the clean, precise lines that only a liquid pen can offer. So I thought I’d scoot through my essential kit for creating the smoothest curves and sharpest flicks.

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen, £6.99.

My starting point is always to trace the line I want to follow. No matter how thin and wobbly this initial line may be, it makes it so much easier to thicken later if you have a base to work from.

For this step I always use this liquid eye pen by Revlon. In my experience, these eye ‘pens’ often have a flimsy nib, making it difficult to draw a solid line without awkwardly trying to lay the pen horizontal to the eye, using the side of the nib instead of the tip.

Revlon’s offering is perfectly sturdy, with just the right amount of give as not to feel sharp against the skin. The issue with this pen is that the nib dries out quickly: its coverage is not entirely opaque and can become quite patchy. In a normal beauty review this is obviously a huge no-no, BUT, for the purpose of tracing a line that will later by thickened and defined, this flaw is really a huge bonus. A drier nib means that the flow of product is reduced, making it easier to control where the liner is going without fear of it smudging or bleeding onto the lid (which then ruins the eyeshadow that took so long to blend… we’ve all been there 😥 )

Rimmel ScandalEyes Precision Micro Eye Liner, £5.49.

So now I have traced my line, I begin to thicken it. Whether you want to taper the line as it reaches the outer corner of the eye, or widen it to create a gorgeous flick, this Rimmel eye liner is perfect. Its tip does not come to a point, but a sloped edge. So while it’s outer corner can be used to create ultra-thin wisps, its flatter edge helps draw consistent, thick lines.

Rimmel Glam’Eyes Professional Liquid Liner, £5.29.

Eye pens can sometimes leave a raw, broken edge, particularly when they begin to dry out. To correct this, my last step is to retrace the line with a liquid liner. This Rimmel liquid liner has a super fine brush that glides smoothly over the eyelid to neaten up any unwanted cracks or wobbles and is perfect for creating the sharpest of flicks.

My tip when using liquid liners would be to apply them in long sweeping motions; though the urge is to draw the line bit by bit to be ultra precise, I have found that the most fluid lines are drawn when the liner is applied with as few motions as possible. Having to continually retrace a line in order to smooth out dips and bumps usually results in eyeliner a dozen times thicker than your original line.

With these three steps – trace, thicken and define – you can go wild with shapes and styles like this 60s inspired graphic eyeliner.

So how do you achieve that perfect liner?

Hope you like!

Molly x

October Favourites

10743229_10152388564081128_2051728089_nMy October favourites are a reflection of the time of year and were mostly geared towards setting up and adding to my autumn wardrobe. That being said, my favourites for this month are all make-up or skin care based (although the backdrop to this photo is a lovely olive green tassel T-shirt I recently bought from Topshop).

Eyes – NYX Jumbo Pencil Eye Shadow Liner in ‘604 Milk’ (£5) and Pastello Eyeliner in ‘Cedrata/Gold’ (£3.99)

10744662_10152388564061128_655071255_n

NYX’s jumbo eye pencils are a mix of mineral oil and powder, a combination that makes for a gorgeously buttery application. I use this as a base for my eyeshadow, to brighten my water line and as a brow highlighter.

I’ve been looking for a gold eyeliner for a while now, but was not convinced by liquid offerings that tend to carry a ton of glitter. This Pastello pencil caught my eye as it’s a lovely gold colour with an olive undertone so it complements copper, taupe and brown eyeshadows beautifully.

I also purchased Sigma’s Warm Neutral palette this month, see my review here.

Lips – MAC’s ‘Sin’ (£15.50), No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in ’02 Plum Beautiful’ (£9.95) and Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in ‘Mink’ (£7.49)10754777_10152388564001128_259433765_n

MAC’s Sin is a colour I’ve been looking for for a while now; I wanted a deep red/plum with a matte finish that would be striking enough for an autumn evening – and here it is!

MAC lipsticks are most definitely my kryptonite, I’m yet to find a brand that matches their thick, tacky texture that stays put for almost 6 hours!

The other choices have been reviewed here and here. No7’s Plum Beautiful preempts SS15’s trend for plums on the eyes and lips, while Revlon is the star of my new fascination with brown lipsticks.

Nails – Rimmel Salon Pro Nail Polish in ‘397 Beige Babe’ (£4.49)

Prize for the worst name ever: cringy and inaccurate.

This colour is a re-make of a ‘Lycra Pro’ colour which was a little lighter, beige colour. However, the ‘Salon Pro’ version is a mid-taupe, a lovely accompaniment to the typical autumn shades: berry, burnt orange and aubergine.

Rimmel claims that these polishes are chip resistant for 10 days, which is impossible to achieve without keeping your hands away from water and sharp corners for that amount of time. If you’re willing to keep topping it up, though, I’d definitely recommend it.

Body – The Body Shop Almond Body Butter (£13.00 £6.50)

THIS IS THE BEST BODY BUTTER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I am a sucker for things that smell like ice-cream and this butter’s sweet creamy scent is just the thing that you want to slather all over yourself. I have dry skin not only on my face, but all over my body, and this is the only butter that my skin soaks up like a sponge. It absorbs in minutes, but the smell remains for hours. The only issue is that it’s discontinued (I have no idea why 😦 ), so while it’s nice and cheap now, it won’t last for long.

I should start a petition or something…

Fragrance – ‘Womanity’ Eau de Parfum by Thierry Mugler (£49.50 for 50ml)

Staying with the theme of smells, this is my favourite perfume ever. Like Mugler’s other perfumes ‘Alien’ and ‘Angel,’ ‘Womanity’ has a really unique, sweet-savoury, smell – top notes of sweet green fig, a heart of caviar and base notes of elegant fig wood – that lasts all day. It’s strength means I can still smell it on my clothes when I open my wardrobe ❤

Though it’s at the top end of the price-list, Mugler has developed these beautiful eco-friendly refillable bottles, which means you can top up your supply for only a fraction of the initial price (a refillable 50ml bottle is only £38.50).

What are your favourites this month?

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