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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette // Review & Swatches

Okay, I’ll admit it, didn’t exactly need a new blusher, bronzer or highlighter. But I had to have the NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette, especially after missing out on the NARS Guy Bourdin Palette last year. Plus, it’s just so pretty...

The palette which is exclusive to Space NK was released just before Christmas last year as part of the NARS 2014 Holiday Collection. The palette costs £45.00 and frankly is fantastic value for money with a combined retail value of £117, which is a saving of 62%! You receive more than a full sized laguna bronzer, which alone would cost you £27 and for the cost of just over two full-size blushes, you’re getting five shades. So really, I have no complaints in terms of cost. It’s worth every penny.

The packaging is just beautiful, with a white pattern overlay, a large mirror and not an ounce of rubbery NARS packaging in sight. It’s timeless and looks very pretty on my vanity (may I add). It’s also compact and will fit into the average makeup bag. But I would note it is a little weighty, so maybe not as travel friendly as I would have originally thought (but I can look past that). What is so great about this palette, is that is covers all bases, as it includes not one, but three blushers, a bronzer and a highlighter! 

I love all the shades in this palette and Im certain I will put them all to good use. However, the quality of the blushers just isn’t as amazing as their stand alone blushers (which can I just add are possibly my favourite blushers!). I’m not saying the quality of this palette isn’t up to scratch, however they are a little more faded. Why this is I am not sure, the palette could have been made in a different factory, or by different machinery? Who knows?! But nevertheless, the blushers have a lovely soft, creamy texture making them blendable and easy to work with and look beautiful on the skin. They also last a good 6 hours. The Miss Liberty Highlighter although a little glittery, looks lovely when worn on top of the cheekbones and on the eyelids. And NARS Laguna Bronzer is an oldie but a goodie, which featured in my 2013 favourites. It is great for both warming up the face and as a contour shade. 

Miss Liberty Highlighter (Permanent): is a very light, golden peach with white flecks of glitter. 

Deep Throat Blusher (Permanent): is a medium, pinky coral with a slight golden shimmer. It’s a popular shade and one of which I have always wanted to try and I’m not disappointed. 

Laguna Bronzer (Permanent): is a medium-dark brown bronzer, with a golden sheeny finish. It looks quite scary in the pan, but is actually quite light and buildable. This bronzer works best with a big fluffy brush. Denser brushes can make it appear a little muddy on the skin.

Sex Fantasy Blusher (Limited Edition): is matte cool-toned dusty lavender/pink. The texture is soft and finely milled, but it is powdery. It is super flattering on the skin a lot like MAC’s ‘Well Dressed’ blusher.  

Final Cut Blusher (Limited Edition): is a softened, medium coral-orange with warm undertones and a matte finish. It has good color payoff and the texture isn’t as powdery as ’Sex Fantasy’. It’s more on the silky side. It reminds me a little of Tarte’s ‘Tipsy’ blusher - the perfect blusher for this spring. 

Now I just need to buy the NARS Yachiyo Brush #27... any excuse! 
Did you manage to get your hands on this palette? 
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Monday, 26 January 2015

The Perfect Post-Workout Pair

That’s right. These two products pictured here will have you looking like Millie Mackintosh in no time... I joke, I joke! But with January being the unofficial month of weight loss and healthy eating, I  have recently joined Regiment Fitness, where I roll around in the mud (literally), lift tyres, run with half filled jerry cans and sweat buckets. So as a result I have introduced a couple of new products into my beauty regime, both of which have been working wonders together after my hardcore boot camp sessions. 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Body Wash £6.00
My love for The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil range is only growing stronger with the recent addition of their Tea Tree Body Wash. The soap free, antiseptic, gel formula is great at removing any workout grime and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and super clean. I for one, get a few little spots on my chest and this body wash has been really effective at clearing them up and keeping them under control. In fact, my chest had completely cleared up after just 3 uses! Furthermore, it doesn’t dry out, or strip my skin and although it doesn’t lather well when applied on its own, it does lathers up really nicely when used with a body polisher/bath lily. 

Liz Earle Energising Hip & Thigh Gel (Discontinued)
Feeling the burn during a workout is a good thing, but hobbling around the office the day not so much! But I have a solution; the Liz Earle Energising Hip & Thigh Gel, which has been great for getting rid of those aches and pains. I personally like to apply this product straight after the shower, as it can leave the skin feeling a little sticky when applied straight onto dry skin. I massage the gel in circular movements over my thighs, hips, upper arms and stomach and it absorbs really quickly, leaving my skin feeling smoother, more hydrated and instantly tighter. The gel is cooling and uber refreshing and the herbal scent is therapeutic and lasts all day. I have noticed a difference since using this product (bare in mind I have been exercising and drinking lots of water). My cellulite is less noticeable, my stretch marks have faded in colour, and my legs and stomach appear more toned and firmer, not to mention when I use this product after a workout, I defiantly hobble a lot less in the morning! However, there is one MAJOR downside. This product has been discontinued! How Liz Earle can discontinue a beauty bible award winner and five star product is beyond me! If anyone has any recommendations or knows where I can pick up another bottle please let me know. Otherwise it looks like I will need to pick up the Energising Body Lotion instead! 

What products do you like to use post-workout?
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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

New & Upcoming Beauty Products For 2015

It’s the new year and I for one am definitely struggling with a bout of the January Blues. But what has perked me up? Hot, new, fresh, up and coming beauty launches and I’m pretty darn excited...

[1] Real Techniques Sculpting Brush £9.99 | Bold Metals Flat Contour Brush £22.00
I’m sure I’m not the only one who swooned when they saw Sam & Nic's Instagram snaps of the new Real Technique brushes last year. And I’m sure we can all agree the new premium collection is simply stunning, with long elegant weighted handles, soft bristles and how can I not mention the silver, gold and rose gold feature. I may not have the budget to pick up the whole collection, but my non existent cheek bones love a good sculpting session and the flat contour brush looks like it might just do the trick. However, I spy another new brush from RT that hasn't exactly been in the limelight as of yet, another contour brush which is a permanent addition to their basic range and costs just half the price. Which one would you go for?

[2] NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation - Release 1st Feb £32.00 
Are you a fan of NARS Sheer Glow? Well, NARS are upping their game and adding another foundation to their range which promises to be lightweight, natural, flawless and breathable, whilst offering full coverage in a single drop, for a full 16 hours! The formula also includes an exclusive 'even tone technology', which works to help reduce any redness or discolouration. And that there is how I would describe my ideal foundation. Sold.

[3] Maybelline FaceStudio Master Conceal - Release unknown 
After reading that Maybelline’s new concealer is comparable to Make Up Forever’s Full Cover Concealer, over on Jo’s blog A Little Pop Of Coral, I couldn’t be more excited about its release. The Master Conceal by Face Studio From Maybelline has a formula that camouflages imperfections and dark circles with ultra-resistant full coverage and I have a feeling that this concealer is going to be a hit this year.

[4] NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow Palette £45.00
NARS have released yet again another beautiful palette, but this time with eight shades of their dual-intensity eyeshadows, all incased in a black palette with a mirrored front. All eyeshadows can be worn dry for a sheer finish, or wet for a more intense finish. The palette also comes with a very handy NARS wet/dry shadow brush. If you know me, you’ll know I’m finding it difficult resisting this one!

[5] Benefit Roller Lash Mascara - Available March 
I was never particularly a fan of the much loved They’re Real Mascara, or any of the Benefit mascaras for that matter. But Benefit’s new mascara 'Roller Lash', from the fun coral packaging, with the promise that you won’t need to use eyelash curlers, to the curved plastic wand, has me feeling very hopeful for uber long, luscious lashes. In fact, the wand is very similar to my favourite mascara from SEVENTEEN cosmetics. I have high hopes Benefit! You can pick up a sample of Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara in ELLE’s March issue (released early Feb) before it ‘rolls out’ in stores which you can pre-order here.

[6] Love Tanya By Tanya Burr - Release 29th Jan £10.99 
I have a feeling I might not be the right target audience for Tanya Burr’s first book in terms of age. But I will defiantly be popping a copy into my online basket and gifting it to someone (my sister maybe?) or I will just keep it for myself! The book encompasses everything from fashion, beauty, love, friendship and YouTube. Tanya hopes the book will become a keepsake to those who read it, who will turn to it when they need some guidance or a little pick me up.

[7] L’oreal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray - Release Unknown
Hooray for a new setting spray! L’oreal are extending their Infallible range with both primers and a setting spray which is described as 'a lightweight mist that locks in makeup for a ‘just applied’ makeup look all day'. With a formula that is dermatologist tested and non-comedogenic, I will certainly be picking up a bottle of this when it arrives here in the UK. 

[8] bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream - Release Unknown 
This product from bareMinerals may have the worlds longest name, but boy does it sound promising. This mineral-based formulation combines both skincare and coverage. The gel cream is formulated to help energise, replenish and protect the skin whilst giving a sheer to medium coverage. With an added bonus of a SPF of 30. One for the summer wish list maybe? 

[9] The Glam Guide By Fleur De Force - Release 12th Feb £10.49
With the recent hoo-ha over ghost writing (I’m pretty sure we all know what I’m talking about), I’m excited to read a book that has been written by Fleur, from Fleur De Force. The beauty lover started making youTube videos back in 2009 and I have been an avid watcher/subscriber since 2010. In a sense I feel excited for Fleur, as it is apparent she has worked very hard on this book. The Glam Guide will share all her secrets and knowledge from makeup tips, wardrobe cheats, first-date pointer, healthy eating and lifestyle motivation. 

What beauty releases are you excited about? 
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion By Sali Hughes

Pretty Honest is truly a wonderful book and by far the best beauty book I own. From the blush pink hard back cover, to the 330 pages of content - I just can’t fault it

For those of you who may have not heard of Sali Hughes, she is a Welsh journalist and the Beauty Editor for The Guardian newspaper. She has heaps of experience writing for big time magazines (20 years worth of beauty related wisdom to be precise) and this is reflected through every chapter of her book, Pretty Honest. 

Now, I for one associate beauty books with big lavish glossy pages, full of models with the most beautiful skin and the most incredible makeup, which the average Joe would struggle to recreate. I love these books as much as any beauty addict, but Sali Hughes's book is different, it’s full of achievable tips and advice written in a no-nonsense, witty, informative and honest style - without the big glossy pages! 

I may be a beauty blogger, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still find the beauty industry overwhelming, with thousands of products to choose from, glossy ad campaigns for the latest lipstick and various beauty recommendations. But this book isn’t filled with jargon and it covers everything from teenage beauty, waxing, ingrown hair, cleansing, things that work, motherhood, sunscreen, acne, scars, age spots, skin types, mature skin, fast fixes, brushes and cc and bb creams just to name few! For me, this book is a breathe of fresh air in a beauty industry built on hype and I have taken notes throughout of the products I want to get my mitts on! 

Sali Hughes: 'I never recommend anything I haven't personally tried on myself, or on someone I know well. There is nothing more satisfying than looking at someone's beauty kit and letting her know she simply doesn't need that £80 eye cream, that the £25 moisturiser will work much better, or that one concealer swapped for another will make her look fabulous in photographs.' 

Pretty Honest is a thought provoking and a classic read. Whether you’re an ammeter, novice or professional beauty lover, this book has something for everyone. It's without a doubt my beauty bible and my ‘straight-talking beauty companion’. I can’t recommend it enough! 

Have you read Pretty Honest?
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