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

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)

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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

Bringing Back the Mod Look

I recently came across an article on Harper’s Bazaar’s website that claimed that mod hair is making a comeback (here it is incase you fancy a read). With a hair-cut like mine, there’s hardly room for “envious volume” and a “Bardot-inspired bouffant” so, not wanting the mod revival to pass me by, I thought I’d channel my 60s alter ego with a casual cut-crease and a polo shirt dress.

The Wearable Cut-Crease

Tutorials for the cut-crease abound on Youtube and with good reason: it’s a striking look that allows you to use those eyeshadows that always seem to get neglected in the palette. Because your lid is left pale or relatively light and the colour kept to the periphery, the style can withstand the darkest and brightest of colours without looking carnivalesque.

That being said, for a day-to-day look I opted for light and neutral shades. Below is my tutorial:

Step 1: Apply primer all over your eye, right up to your eyebrow, and sketch out a horizontal tear-drop shape across your lid as I have done here with a kohl eyeliner (I use Rimmel Soft Kohl Pencil in ‘Sable Brown 11’).

modeyeprog1

Step 2: Blend the eyeliner up towards your eyebrow using a similar coloured eyeshadow (I used UD’s Naked 2, ‘Taupe,’ with ‘Busted’ towards my outer v to add a bit of depth). Before I do this, I like to place Sellotape underneath my eye to help me achieve a sharp, straight line.

Step 3: Using a flat eyeliner brush and a thick concealer (I use MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 in NC15) retrace the tear-drop shape to neaten up any unwanted smudging. Apply highlighter just below your eyebrow, making sure to blend this into the eyeshadow you have just applied (I use Rimmel Glam Eyes Mono Eye Shadow in ‘Glam Ice’).

Step 4: Add a light colour of your choice to your lid (I use UD’s Naked 3 ‘Dust’). Using a liquid eyeliner, draw a line from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner and another that curves up to the tip of the tear-drop shape, like I have done in the first picture.

Step 5: This step really tests your patience, but it is hugely important for the end result: gradually build up your eyeliner to create a thick sweeping line.

Step 6: For a daytime look, I like to keep eyeliner to my upper lash line and only apply the taupe eyeshadow underneath my eye.

Step 7: Finish with mascara, and/or lashes, and voilà!

Looking at photographs of Edie Sedgwick or Mia Farrow, the rest of the face should be kept light, fresh and youthful; I skipped the bronzer and opted for a little blusher at the top of my cheeks (I use No7 Natural Blush in ‘Soft Damson 10’) and used my Glam Eyes white eyeshadow as a highlighter just below my eyes and round towards my ears. I wanted to keep my lips equally pale so I used a very sparing coat of MAC’s ‘Snob,’ a light neutral pink.

Of course, there’s plenty of scope to make a cut-crease more dramatic: you can change it’s shape, it’s colouring and it’s definition, as I have done in this picture. Instead of the tear-drop shape, I’ve flicked out the corner of the arc to mimic my eyeliner; added UD’s Naked 2 ‘Blackout’ to my crease; and brought the eyeliner underneath my eye into a point at the inner corner to create a cat-eye effect.

The Outfit

modoutfit

Dress, Cooperative at Urban Outfitters;

Shoes, Dr Martens (Polley); Jacket, Barbour.

For this look, with quite intricate make-up, I wanted to wear something that was a little boyish, but at the same time feminine (a style typical of Twiggy with her pixie cut and boxy, short dresses). My polo shirt dress is perfect; though it’s colour and shape first appears simple, the material falls perfectly to create a feminine silouhette. My oversized Barbour jacket and Dr Martens, both iconic in men’s mod fashion, add a clunky, kooky feel to counter my dress, bringing the look into the twenty first century.

What elements of mod fashion will you be adopting this autumn?

Hope you like!

Molly x

In Defence of: Brown Lipstick

Think Jennifer Aniston in the first season of “Friends,” or a young Drew Barrymore. After a short revival last summer, brown lipstick has again disappeared… far far away. It seems to be bundled with other cringeworthy 90’s trends – scrunchies, JNCO jeans and mood rings. But if chokers and jelly sandals can make a proper comeback, there’s surely room for coffee, chocolate and chestnut coloured lips.

I was first interested in trying a brown lipstick after swatching MAC’s ‘Velvet Teddy.’ Thanks to Kylie Jenner, the shade has become extremely popular and I was intrigued to try what’s described as a “deep-toned beige” on my skin. I was really disappointed 😦. It has a warm pink undertone that is very close to my natural lip colour; and if I’m paying £15.50, I want people to notice what I’m wearing!

So before investing in a more expensive brown lipstick, like MAC’s ‘Paramount’ or Bobbi Brown’s ‘Über Beige’ or ‘Über Suede’ (£19.50), I thought I’d test out some cheaper drugstore versions.

The ‘Gateway’ Brown – NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in ‘Stockholm,’ £7.99.

Okay… this isn’t brown. But if you’re not convinced about going all out with a cocoa or latte colour, then why not try a lipstick with a cooler base instead of a pink undertone? This NYX lip cream, which I bought from an eBay stockist, would be a gorgeous nude colour for those with olive skin and, on pale skin, it’s an unusual peachy coral shade. (An added plus: it smells like cake batter!)

As much as I love its matte effect, I think it looks a little flat by itself so here I used Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lipliner in ‘Spice,’ blending the colour into the centre of my lips to create an ombre effect.

The Everyday Brown – Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in ‘Mink, 671′ in £7.49. 

Aah, I love this colour! It has a rich taupe pigment which means the colour pay off is great and makes a definite statement; it’s caramel shade is unlike anything I’ve tried before.

I do think that brown lipstick is more versatile than people give it credit for. With minimal eye make-up, it can add a kooky edge to your face with almost no effort needed. With bold dark eyes, it perfectly compliments almost any colour eyeshadow, but particularly suits metallic shades – copper, bronze and gold – that are so on trend at the moment.

Lipliner: Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lipliner in ‘Cocoa Mandoria,’ £2.99.

The Smokey Brown – Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in ‘Coffee Shimmer, 264,’ £4.99, and Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick in ‘Trespassing Taupe,’ £4.49.

For this look I began with Rimmel’s ‘Coffee Shimmer,’ a super glossy russet coloured lipstick. The colour is nice, if a little nondescript, so I wanted to add a little bit more interest. As strange as it seems, my Scandaleyes shadow stick was a worthy stand-by. It has the same smooth texture and glossy finish that I would want from a lipstick and helped to cool down the warm reddish tones of ‘Coffee Shimmer.’

Lipliner: Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lipliner in ‘Capuccino,’ £2.99.

I don’t know quite how to describe it, but brown lipstick has a way of bringing your whole face ‘together.’ Where a pink-nude lip is subtle, almost meant to be ignored, and a red lip demands it’s own attention, a brown shade is somewhere between the two, perfectly complimenting and completing your look.

So have I convinced you to try it out?

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