Review: Illamasqua’s Gel Sculpt

Illamasqua’s Gel Sculpt was heralded as the new thing in contouring. It would usher in a new era of defining the face, they said. But, for what it’s worth, I’m unconvinced.

I remember the social media posts leading up to its launch: monochrome, abstract, mysterious. The hype surrounding the unveiling was huge and I was completely sucked in. I had my phone on my desk at work, continually checking my emails until it dropped into my inbox: ‘Available now.’ But then the delivery arrived and compared to the enormity of its billing, the box was teeny tiny. 

It’s so good that you won’t need to use a lot…It’ll last forever, I told myself.

And yes it probably will, because – two months later – I’ve only used it once.

Take off the cap and you’ll find a cylinder of solid gel (it reminds me of roll-on deodorant) with a fresh floral smell. Weird, but I can handle weird. Scoot the gel across your hand and it gets weirder. What, in the bullet, looks like the perfectly cool, deep IMG_4456taupe transfers to the skin as a pale coffee hued smudge. Gel Sculpt is really a glorified cheek tint and a strange one at that.

In their quest to create the first ‘natural’ looking contouring product, Illamasqua have skimped on the colour-punch that typifies their brand. Silhouette, so far, is the only shade intended to ‘sculpt’ the face so I understand that they needed to produce a shade that would suit every skin tone, but the truth is there isn’t a universal colour that will please everyone and, even if there was, I don’t imagine it would be as warm toned as this. I guess the name ‘Silhouette’ implies its intention to mimic natural looking shadows, but I can’t help but think it should be called ‘Obvious.’

The picture on the left was taken after just one stroke on my hand, immediately after application. As you can see, the colour is wish-washy, the coverage sheer and the finish oddly glossy. When I first used this on my face, I quickly applied more coats, presuming the colour would deepen as desired, but the sepia only became more opaque… in patches. With a slight hesitation, I took up my make-up sponge to dab off the excess and start again, but by that time the gloss had turned to matte, the gel had dried and my contour was fit to survive pollution on a nuclear scale.

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L-R: One stroke; Two strokes; A desperate amount of strokes.

A waterproof contouring product that won’t fade or rub away throughout the day? Amazing!

If you actually like it…

I just can’t seem to get my head around this product. I’ve tried applying it straight from the bullet onto my cheeks, but it dries too quickly leaving an unyielding streak of bronze that refuses to blend. I’ve also tried Illamasqua’s recommended method of application: the gel is applied to the fleshy part of your palm beneath your thumb on one hand; then bounce your palms together to distribute the product over both hands; finally, with your thumbs parallel to your ears, dab the product onto your cheeks, cradling your cheekbones.

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What I mean by “the fleshy part of your palm beneath your thumb.”

This method is great for creating a subtle hue around the face… if you’re careful. But as there’s little to no precision involved, it’s quite difficult to stop the product from straying into your hairline or down onto your jaw (and there’s no hope of neatening it up afterwards). I tried this method just before writing this post and had to apply more foundation underneath to try and sculpt some sort of shape from the brown splodge, which I eventually completely covered in NYX’s Taupe blush. Fail.

Perhaps, in a different shade, I’d appreciate Gel Sculpt a little more. The formula is innovative, but fraught with practical issues like ‘how on earth do I apply this?’ If the gel wasn’t to set as quickly as it does, it would be a whole different story, but for now it will sit gathering dust on my dresser.

What do you think of Illamasqua’s Gel Sculpt?

Hope you like!

Molly x

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Essentials: Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil

There’s a lot of hype, and an equal amount of confusion, surrounding Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil. What is it? What does it do? Why does it look like that?! Well as someone who battles with flaky, dry skin, anything with ‘hydra’ in its name is an instant hit with me. Saying that, at £30, this product isn’t cheap and with its exact purpose somewhat ‘veiled’ in mystery (BADDUM-TSCH), it’s been one of those items that I’ve been lusting after, but not quite had the guts to buy.

Then payday came around and I got a little spendy.

I understand that there is a thread throughout my posts on the theme of “I bought this thinking it was [blah] when it turned out to be [significantly different blah].” Please trust that I really, really, do do my research on products before I buy them, but Hydra Veil seemed to evade any form of definition. What is a primer? What is a moisturiser? Neither or both?

So I bought it thinking it was the former; my foundation, particularly Illamasqua’s own Skin Base, has been settling into my fine lines a little too quickly of late, so I thought I’d invest in a good primer.

Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil is not a primer.

Well, not technically. Neither is it a “skin care” product as it doesn’t offer any long-term benefits to the skin – it won’t prevent those crow’s feet from forming and it won’t treat blemishes. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not absolutely AMAZING.

Illamasqua describes this as a “cosmetic care” product…

What I imagine they’re trying to get at is that Hydra Veil is geared towards enhancing the appearance of your makeup (your ‘cosmetics’), rather than treating or repairing your skin. With this instant hit of hydration, your skin becomes the perfect canvas.

In a typical Illamasqua-esque tub, all black, sleek and simple, there is a pool of clear jelly and a tiny little spoon. Cute, but a weird start to my getting-ready routine. It’s like no other beauty product I’ve tried before: just scoop out a pea sized amount and smother it all over your face. The veil has the texture of a semi-set jelly which barely holds its shape, so as soon as you apply a small amount of pressure it completely breaks down to a water-like consistency, making it easy to spread across the skin. If you apply the correct amount (more on this later), the product melts away in seconds to create that velvet soft, ultra smooth feeling that you would usually achieve with primers.

This is probably where all the confusion comes from as Hydra Veil does leave the skin feeling ‘primed’ for makeup. However, primers work by effectively placing a ‘lid’ over the top of pores and filling in fine lines. Any makeup applied afterwards therefore sits on top of this primer rather than falling into these crevices. This ‘lid’ also reduces the amount of oils secreted from the pores meaning that you’re less likely to develop shiny patches throughout the day.

Ilamasqua’s Hydra Veil, on the other hand, does not create such a ‘lid’ and it doesn’t fill in fine lines; this super smooth feeling is caused by the veil providing the skin with a huge, instantaneous hit of hydration which swells skin cells to leave that healthy, plumped feeling – an ideal base for makeup. Because of this, there’s no guarantee that your makeup will stay put for longer. It will, however, help to prolong that freshly-applied look by creating a delicately dewy glow.

Why not just splash your face with water? Water evaporates too quickly, particularly from a warm surface like skin, and can actually draw more moisture out than that it allows in.  Hydra Veil contains Glycerin (which I spoke about here), a product often found in mixing medium as it evaporates at a much slower rate than water. This means that products stay ‘wet’ for longer = the secret to that extended fresh-faced look.

I have noticed a huge difference when applying my foundation after Hydra Veil; my base seems to glide on effortlessly, no uneven patches, no difficulty blending, no caking or scuffing across dry skin. In particular, Hydra Veil works brilliantly in conjunction with Illamasqua’s SkinBase, the formula of which is given to highlighting every lump and bump. I haven’t noticed as big a difference in the longevity of my makeup, only that it looks ‘fresher’ for longer – which is obviously a massive bonus! Applying a spot of primer underneath my eyes and around my nose after the veil soon sorts this issue for a smile/frown/squint-proof base. It is especially good at waking up tired, puffy eyes, so massage some onto your lids to open up your peepers. (Illamasqua also recommends this as a post-shave balm (for guys, of course) to help soothe broken skin with a moisture punch)

The strengths of Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil are also its weaknesses; while it’s innovative formula works wonders, it can take a little getting used to. A very little goes a very long way; too much will only sit on the surface of the skin and have to be dabbed away = wastage and for an expensive product, wastage is a big no-no. It is worth experimenting with this product to see what is best for you: how much do you need; what areas of your face take to it best; what primers/foundations work best with it; they’re all questions raised by its weirdly wonderful design, and though it may take a few attempts, it will definitely be worth it in the end!

Would you consider Illamsqua’s Hydra Veil?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Review: Illamasqua’s Embellish Eye Trio

I was sceptical as to whether the huge reduction on this set was because it wasn’t very popular. Was it the case that Illamasqua needed to shift an old bulk order that wouldn’t sell? Surely not… The gel liner? Unpopular??? I can’t speak for the brow gel as before now I’ve stuck to relatively cheap pencils to lightly shade in my eyebrows. But to think that ‘Embellish’ isn’t popular either astounds me. I already own the Vintage Metallix in ‘Courtier’ – a light beige-pink with a soft gold shimmer – and ‘Embellish,’ a medium brown with the same hint of gold, was next on my list.

On reflection, maybe it was just too expensive. The thought of buying this trio at the original price of £49.00 made me sweat a little, so when it was first reduced to £25.00, I added it to my basket. But with reluctance – it was still just that bit too expensive to be a sale bargain (though I then spent £26 on four new eye shadows without a second’s thought *facepalm*). Finally, after a long day at work, I received the email. ‘FINAL REDUCTIONS.’ And there it was. £14.70.

FOURTEEN POUNDS.

Whaaat.

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Bish, bash, bosh (and after a slight skirmish with PayPal), it was mine.

As a quick aside… Illamasqua’s delivery system is second to none, so if you can’t find something in store, don’t hesitate to order it online. I always opt for their free delivery, quoted as 3 – 5 working days, but have received my items within just two days of ordering. You even get a text with the name of your delivery driver and a verrrrry exact ETA (my last one was 11:42 to 12:42).

So these three gems arrived in their swishy presentation box and I was quick to dig in.

Brow Gel in ‘Strike,’ (single pot, £18.50)

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As I said earlier, though I envy those brows ‘on fleek,’ I don’t think a heavily sculpted eyebrow would suit my face and I can’t afford too dark a shade with my complexion and hair colour. When I googled Strike it seemed an ‘okay’ colour – maybe I’d get away with it – but I had a feeling that it would end up getting dusty at the back of my make-up table. But, two weeks in and I’ve used it every day.

‘Strike’ is a medium brown with a cool undertone so it suits my naturally ashy hair perfectly. I’d particularly recommend it for those with bleached or coloured hair like mine – pastels or brights – as it is a ‘safe’ colour, not too dark, not too light, not too blonde, not too brown. ‘Safe’ seems like an awful word, but I mean it in the best way: as much as I’d like to walk around with lilac eyebrows, I haven’t got the guts to bleach and tone them, so for now I need a neutral colour that doesn’t look to obvious.

In terms of application, I use my Sigma E65 Small Angle Brush to apply the gel. It has quite a loose consistency so the smallest dot of product will easily cover one brow. Once it dries, though, it won’t budge. Naturally, some of the gel can stick to your eyebrow hairs so I like to run over them with a spoodle just to remove any excess product.

I would recommend this for those, like me, who are looking to ‘tweak’ their natural brows, either by filling in gaps or neatening edges as the gel, by nature, is well pigmented, but has a semi-satin finish. If you are looking to re-sculpt your brows, then I think a product with a thicker consistency, higher colour pay-off and a matte finish would be better suited – like Illamasqua’s Brow Cakes, which have a powder/paste-like texture and come in a range of colours (‘Strike’ is the only brow gel available at the moment).

Precision Gel Liner in ‘Infinity,’ (single pot, £18.50)

I bloody love this stuff. Compared to the epic fail that was Urban Decay’s Gel Liner, Illamasqua’s version is what dreams are made of.

The key to a good gel liner is its consistency; you need it to be loose enough to apply it in as few strokes as possible to achieve a sharp, fluid line. This liner has a very similar texture to the brow gel in that it applies thinly, but with great, consistent pigmentation. And unlike a liquid liner, the product won’t crack or flake on the eye. I tend to apply my liner in layers, starting with a skinny flick and adding an extra layer until I have the thickness I want; doing this with a liquid liner can lead to cracking as the product begins to dry. And once it’s cracked, with the slightest touch or puff of wind, it begins to flake away.

A gel liner, by comparison, dries with some degree of ‘flexibility’ meaning there’s no risk of unwanted negative space. I’d very highly recommend this for anyone who’s go-to look involves eyeliner, but to get the most out of this product, make sure you buy a suitable brush to apply it with!

Vintage Metallix in ‘Embellish,’ (single pot, £16.50)

The Vintage Metallix are a collection of three gel-like eyeshadows and are amongst the newest products produced by Illamasqua. Each one – Courtier, Embellish and Bibelot – have a muted, ‘vintage’ colouring with a delicate gold shift.

I first bought Courtier, a lovely pink-beige, under the impression that it would act much like MAC’s Paint Pot (mine had turned horribly dry and thick at the time – I’ve rescued it since!). The Metallix can work this way, pigments cling to them particularly well and powder shadows can be easily blended into them, but their intended use is as cream eyeshadows. Once the cream has had time to set, it won’t be going anywhere; the Metallix’s staying power is amazing with and without primer so they’re a good choice for most skin types.

Embellish is, I think , the secret weapon to a smoky eye. If you’re not too confident working with darker shades, I’d definitely recommend this. Its rich chocolate colour is just dark enough to make an impact, but not so dark that it seems to close the eye up, as some deep/black shadows can if not applied just right. The hint of gold lends itself to both day and night looks and can either be exaggerated by adding a gold pigment or muted with darker shadows and lots of liner. With just a dip of the finger and a swipe of the lid, you’re done! There’s no need to fret about placement or blending due to its loose, buttery texture. It really is fool proof!

This set was most definitely a bargain at just £14.70. I’d even stretch to £25.00 (£49.00 still sounds like a lot of money…)! I would wholly recommend each of these products – whether bought separately or in this set – each have their own way of speeding up the getting-ready process.

Would you consider the Embellish Eye Trio?

Hope you like!

Molly x

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

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

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?

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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