30.9.15

Time-Saving Beauty Products

Time-Saving Beauty Products
It's fair to say my mornings can be a bit of a scramble. I'm either too tired, or have very little time to get readySo time-saving, double duty beauty products really help to speed up my morning routine and ensure I'm presentable and ready to leave the house come 7:30am. (Leisurely applying makeup is something I look forward to at the weekends.) But along with a couple of coats of mascara and the products listed below, I'm all-good to go.

Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water £4.99
The ultimate time saving essential is the Garnier Micellar Water. When I'm very tight for time, I like to use this micellar water in place of my regular cleanser and toner. There's no need to wash or rinse and a little of this micellar water on a cotton pad is great at wiping away any post nighttime grease and grime in an instant.

Filling in my brows at 7am is not my main priority, but the Maybelline Brow Drama is a brow product that deserves a lot more love and attention here on BBA. This tinted brow gel has been a staple in my makeup routine for around a year and a product I reach for every morning. It adds just enough colour to darken my brows and fills in sparse areas in seconds. It's effortless to apply, requiring zero precision and the result is natural, yet groomed. 

The bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream is your moisturiser, primer, coverage and SPF all in one. It's a great multipurpose product to add to your morning line up. Applied using my fingers the lightweight formula, helps to correct uneven skin tone, increase hydration, brightens, works on dark circles and offers a fresh natural coverage which is great for an everyday basis. If this bareMinerals base it out of your budget mix a little moisturiser with your foundation.

I usually shower and wash my hair in the evening, which frees up a little more time in the morning. But one way I like to lengthen the time between hair washes is with a spritz of dry shampoo. Dry shampoo and I have not always got on; I've got a sensitive scalp and find that brands such as Batiste irritate it further. However, the COLAB dry shampoo range is great. It doesn't irritate, absorbs any oil making it look and feel fresh again and it smells good too. Not something I would reach for before a date night, but it's without a doubt an early morning must have.

Maybelline New York Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Eyeshadow £4.99
Another Maybelline product has been thrown into the morning mix in the form of a cream eyeshadow. Cream formulas mean no faffing around with brushes and the Maybelliner New York Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Eyeshadows is instant eye makeup in a pot, is effortless to apply and long lasting. Two of my favourite shades are 'Creamy Beige' and the cult classic 'On And On Bronze'.

Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Cream £16.00
One way to quickly perk up your face is with a touch of peach blush. The Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip And Cheek Cream in Petunia is my favourite cream blush. Applied with my fingers, I like to dab the creamy balm onto my cheeks and it instantly brightens my complexion, making me appear more awake. The double duty 'convertible' product can be used on both your cheeks and lips too! 

What are your go to time-saving beauty products?
Emily
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27.9.15

Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Serenity'

Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Serenity'

Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Serenity' is amazing. I mean, truly. This nude one-swipe wonder, offers a signature Kylie Jenner pout for just £11.50. And it has some serious staying power.

I hadn't heard of Gerard Cosmetics up until now and spied this matte liquid lipstick online at Beauty Bay and in the spur of the moment, I popped it in my basket. The latest launch from GC sees the release of 3 Hydra Matte Liquid Lipsticks. The shade 'Serenity' is a collaboration between GC and YouTuber Manny Gutierrez (MUA). Admittedly I'd also never heard of Manny, but I did a little online research and stumbled upon a little controversy. But I don't care for drama. I care for lipstick. And surprisingly, this liquid lipstick has exceeded all my expectations. 

The Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick is packaged in a sleek frosted tube and has a doe-foot applicator. 'Serenity' is a beautiful pink nude with a hint of brown. It's by far the most flattering nude lip product I own, my colleagues approved and even Kylie Jenner is a fan - you can see her wearing it here. Along with the shade, the formula is also pretty close to perfection. 'Serenity' applies wet like a lip-gloss, before it dries down to a matte finish. Unlike most matte formulas I own, there is no need to prep your lips before applying and it's opaque in one coat. Usually this texture and applicator are a recipe for disaster, but it doesn't bleed, smudge, feather, peel or crack and although it's matte it's far from drying. It feels comfortable and light on the lips - not like a matte liquid lipstick at all! One word of warning though; there is no need to apply more than two layers; if you do things will get a little tacky. 

Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Serenity'
Now let me tell you about it's incredible staying power. It wears beautifully. I put it to the test and applied two coats at 7:30am. It lasted through multiple mugs of morning coffee, glasses of water and a jacket potato that I demolished during my lunch break. It did on one occasion transfer slightly onto my glass. But it wore for a solid 5 hours before it showed any signs of fading. In fact by the end of the working day, although the colour had faded, there was still a slight tinge of 'Serenity' on the lips. I would place my bets that you could wear this to bed and it would still be on by morning! 

I've never been a big fan of matte formulas, or liquid lipsticks for that matter. But Gerard Cosmetics has hit the nail on the head and produced a gorgeous matte liquid lipstick that is far better than any other high street offering and is priced at just £11.50 online at Beauty Bay
What's your favourite matte liquid lipstick? 
Emily
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25.9.15

Clarisonic SMART Profile | Face & Body Sonic Cleansing

Clarisonic SMART Profile | Face & Body Sonic Cleansing

Cult sonic brand Clarisonic has just released their most advanced model yet; the Clarisonic Smart Profile*. Their cleansing device has had an impressive upgrade and boasts new technology. So listen up ladies! If you already own a cleansing brush - it's time for an upgrade and if you’re yet to take the plunge, here’s why you might want to invest this autumn.

Cleansing brushes are popular and as a result near enough every major skincare brand now offer their very own cleansing brush. And it's not surprising as with regular use they can clear congested skin and bring dull, dry complexions to life. But up until now there have been two technologies on the market: vibrating and rotating. But the Clarisonic Smart Profile is a unique cleansing brush with sonic-vibration technology, which is more powerful than any other device on the market, removing up to 11x more makeup than hands alone, offering a professional cleanse at the push of a button. 

This unique cleansing brush is a versatile head-to-toe cleansing tool for the face, body and even your feet with pedi buffing brush heads available to purchase - something I will be investing in shortly! The waterproof brush is slightly bigger, but sleeker in design in comparison to other cleansing tools, yet is comfortable to hold. The brush also includes two SMART brush heads; the SMART Profile Dynamic Facial Replacement Brush Head (for all skin types) and the SMART Turbo Massage Body Brush Head. Both brush heads are surprisingly soft considering how dense they are, which is fab as firm brushes can be too harsh and often leave my skin red and a little sensitive. And the added body brush is great; as it works well as tackling ingrowing hairs and keratosis pilaris two things I admittedly suffer from. But get this; the brush heads have been embedded with a chip that indicates when it's time to change to a new brush head.

Not only are the brush heads SMART, the functionality is also. Firstly, there is a 60-second, four-stage intensity cleansing cycle and as each cycle ends, there's a beep to prompt you, with the changing intensity to move to a difference area of the face (forehead, nose, chin and cheeks). I personally love the timer, as I have the tendency to get carried away and generally overuse of cleansing brushes can lead to irritation, redness and sensitivity as mentioned before. There is also a turbo button, a feature not available on their other models, which allows you to shift into a higher strength cleansing speed at anytime, so you can add a little oopmh to more congested areas of your face and body. It's charging cord can be plugged into the provided adapter and your laptops USB port and the charger is magnetic - another feature only available on the SMART Profile. Battery life, is pretty good, lasting for up to 128 minutes and I'm still yet to charge mine after two solid weeks of use. Two deluxe samples of their Refreshing Gel and Refining Skin Polish are included and they both smell lovely and work well, although I prefer to use my regular skincare products.

It goes without saying that the Clarisonic SMART Profile is a vast improvement on their previous models. It's uh-mazing. I eased the brush into my routine and now use it once every other evening. But after the first use, I saw an improvement instantaneously - yes really. In fact, I couldn't get over the difference between my previous cleansing device and the SMART Profile, as I had presumed although it comes with all the bells and whistles it would have given similar, if not the same results. But I was so wrong. I love how my skin looks and feels after each use, my scars are fading and my skin looks far healthier. One of my biggest skincare concerns is blocked hair follicles on the sides of my face, which have always caused me trouble. But I have seen a huge improvement in my skin texture and cannot wait to see the difference it will make with continued use over the next couple of months. And I have since passed on my previous cleansing brush to my Mum (with new brush heads of course).

The one drawback is the price. Costing £199, the Clarisonic SMART Profile is a skincare investment. If your hesitant, I completely understand. But unlike other beauty tools, it won't be money wasted. I whole-heartedly recommend the Clarisonic SMART Profile and it is available online at Debenhams  here where you can collect beauty points and currently receive 10% off.


Have you ever tried a sonic cleansing device? 
Emily
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23.9.15

Anastasia Beverly Hills 'So Hollywood' Illuminator

Anastasia So Hollywood Illuminator // Review & Swatche
The Anastasia Beverly Hills 'So Hollywood' Illuminator has quickly found a place in my heart and on the tops of my cheekbones! ABH released four shades earlier this month online at Cult Beauty and I didn't think twice about purchasing a shade. 'So Hollywood' is b-e-a-u-tiful, pack a serious glow and is the essential finishing touch to my makeup... 

Anastasia Beverly Hills 'So Hollywood' Illuminator is a pressed powder highlight and is encased in a black-mirrored compact and embossed in a gorgeous (I don't want to put my brush in this) mosaic style design. Described as a “shimmery bronze hue” it’s a light-medium, yellow gold with warm undertones. It's actually very similar to MAC's Extra Dimension Skinfinish in 'Whisper Of Gilt', a limited edition cult favourite, that I failed to get my hands on. The formula is finely milled and feels creamy smooth, with no chunky glitter in sight. Application is effortless. Although it's very pigmented, so apply with a light hand - it's very easy to over apply and you don't want to be able to see your own reflection! Applied to the tops of my cheekbones, cupids bow and the bridge of my nose, the finish is borderline metallic, leaving a gleamy, high-shine in an instant. It's not natural by any means, but can be applied lightly and layered if a high-shine is what you're after. Unlike the highlighter 'Sand' from the ABH Contour Kit, it blends beautifully and to my surprise doesn't emphasise my pores. It wears for around 6 hours and does fade just a little over time, but this doesn't hinder it's illuminating potential. 
Anastasia So Hollywood Illuminator Review & Switches

ABH has thoroughly impressed me with her latest release. There is just something about highlighters that draws me in. I suppose I'm rather like a magpie in that sense! But 'So Hollywood' is unlike any highlighter I own and has fast become my favourite powder highlighter/illuminator. I think a fan brush is required - recommendations? The Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminators cost £28.00 and are available online at Cult Beauty and I don't need to justify the price. 

What's your favourite powder highlighter? 
Emily
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20.9.15

MAC Plumful Lipstick | Review & Swatches

MAC Plumful Lipstick // Review & Swatches

As much as I like a bold lipstick, I'm a nude girl through and through. But with autumn just around the corner, I've pulled out an old faithful MAC Plumful Lipstick - the perfect in-between shade, for any shy lipstick lover.

MAC Plumful Lipstick is a popular MAC lipstick amongst bloggers during the autumn/winter months. And it's not surprising as the transitional shade has a subtle boldness, yet is wearable and flattering on all skin tones. It's described as a “blossoming rose-plum”, but it's more of a pretty medium pink with a hint of plum and dependant on your natural lip colour, it can appear either more pink, or more plum. 

MAC Plumful Lipstick // Review & Swatches
MAC Plumful has a Lustre finish, which is one of my favourite lipstick finishes from MAC. The finish is sheer, but still has a nice level of pigment. Application is effortless; the bullet glides over the lips leaving a smooth, creamy pigment behind that isn't at all drying. The finish is sheeny opposed to glossy and it feels very light, making it a perfect daytime lippy. It wears for around 2 hours, which isn't surprising considering it's finish.

Costing £15.50 a bullet MAC Lipsticks don't come in cheap. However, this shade is a must have for any shy lipstick lover and can be found online at Fragrance Direct for £13.75.

Have you tried MAC Plumful?
Emily
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16.9.15

Scholl Velvet Smooth Diamond Pedi Electronic Foot File

Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi
The Scholl Velvet Smooth Diamond Pedi Electronic Foot File* has fast become one of my favourite beauty gadgets. The foot care device from Scholl is more or less a power sander for the feet and helps cheat a pro pedi in a matter of minutes.

Sandal season left me with cracked, hard heels and although I'm well aware that exfoliating my feet would prevent this, I'm guilty of neglect. I've tried multiple foot care products such as pumice stones, creams, foot files and the Ped Egg. But foot care is a chore and foot filing in particular is labour intensive and has never really left me with super soft feet, just a sore arm.

However, the Express Pedi requires minimal effort and in short is a relatively simple device, with a pumice stone style circular bar, which rotates and works through the hardest of skins. It's a given that it's heavier than a foot file, but the battery powered device fits nicely and comfortably in the palm of my hand. To operate you simply switch on and slide over the hard parts of your feet until the dead skin disappears in a puff of skin smoke. Pressing too hard stops the rotation of the roller head, but I presume this is a safety cut so you can't damage your feet. Having said that, it is advised not to use in the same area for more than 3-4 seconds at a time. And no it doesn't hurt. It's painless. In fact, I find the whole process weirdly therapeutic.

So what sets the Scholl Velvet Smooth Diamond Pedi apart from other electronic foot files?  Well, not only is it a miracle worker, the roller head with long lasting micro-abrasive particles now comes with finely ground diamond crystals making it even more abrasive and long lasting. The roller heads can be easily removed and rinsed and are available in soft touch, regular and extra coarse. Another big plus is the gap between the device and the roller head, an odd point maybe, but this allows the skin smoke to fall rather than clog up the device a feature other electronic foot files do not carry.

It's clear I'm currently obsessed with Scholl's latest member of its foot care family, but it does have a few minor drawbacks that I must mention. Firstly, it was hard work removing the device from its packaging, secondly it's very noisy and thirdly the roller head cover doesn't say on all that well. But I can happily turn a blind eye.

The results? Well I no longer shudder every time I get into bed and feel patches of dry skin catch on my sheets (just shuddering at the thought!). I'm now the Queen of smooth soles and incredibly happy with the results. In fact, I've already purchased replacement roller heads (back up beauty and all that jazz). And for the price of two pedicure sessions, it's well worth every penny. It's by far the best foot care product I've tried you could say I'm head over heels! You can buy it online here at Argos for £23.99.

How'd you like to treat your feet?
Emily
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13.9.15

The MAC Eyeshadow Quad Alternative

The MAC Eyeshadow Quad Alternative

It goes without saying every gal should own a neutral eyeshadow palette (or two). But for some, buying a MAC quad and filling it with MAC eyeshadows isn’t an option. But no fear, I’ve rummaged through my eyeshadow collection and found the perfect alternative to a MAC eyeshadow quad that doesn’t break the bank.

The Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palette (06 Warm) consists of four alternatives, to four of my favourite MAC eyeshadows. I say alternatives, as although the shades are very similar in colour, the formula of MAC eyeshadows will always triumph above the rest, as their pigmentation, blendability and longevity is second to none. But costing just £16.00, the Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palette is a complete steal, consisting of four wearable warm neutral shades, that have a beautiful shimmery (not glittery) finish, similar to MAC’s Veluxe Pearl eyeshadows. Don’t underestimate this palette, the formula is by far one of the best given price tag, but it’s worth noting they look stunning when applied wet. The four shadows compliment each other beautifully; helping to create both smokey and everyday eyeshadow looks. And although a universally flattering quad, the Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palette is the perfect quad for those with blue eyes. The cubes are individually wrapped in a palette, which is a tad smaller than the palm of my hand. The packaging can be a bit fiddly, but this can be removed. Ideal for travelling, just £16.00 and dupes for four of the best selling MAC eyeshadows, you’d be silly not to! 

MAC Satin Taupe <alternative> Body Shop Choc Chip
MAC All That Glitters <alternative>  Body Shop Marshmallow 
MAC Mulch <alternative> Body Shop Dark Chocolate 
MAC Amber Lights <alternative> Body Shop Honey Comb

The MAC Eyeshadow Quad Alternative
Left-Right: MAC Satin Taupe / Body Shop Choc Chip / MAC All That Glitters / Body Shop Marshmallow / MAC Mulch / Body Shop Dark Chocolate / Body Shop Honey Comb / MAC Amber Lights

Have you ever tried the Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palettes?
Emily
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11.9.15

The Don’t Stray Beauty Base

The Don’t Stray Beauty Base




There is nothing worse than looking in the mirror at the end of the day (or the end of a sweaty Beyoncé dance floor session) to find the makeup you spent an hour (or hours) applying has slid off your face. I've tried and tested countless products and have a few tips and tricks along with my favourite products to ensure your makeup will stand the test of time... 

MOISTURISE/PRIME
Skin preparation aka moisturising and priming is key before applying your foundation, as it stops your skin from eating up all your makeup and creates the ideal surface. Personally I like to prep my skin with a little lightweight moisturiser, I've currently been reaching for Origins GinZing Moisturiser, or Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Once applied I like to let it skink in, otherwise my makeup has the tendency to slide around my face. More often than not I find moisturising alone is enough, but sometimes I like to add a primer. Primers can luminise, minize pores, mattify, add longevity, create a smoother surface and is a must have in any makeup bag. Some of my favourites include; Clarins Flash Beauty Balm and Kiehl's Micro-Blur Skin Perfector.

FOUNDATION/CONCEALER
It's time to push your sheer bases to one side and opt for something with a fuller coverage. I highly recommend L'oreal Infallible 24H Foundation not only does it offer a quality long lasting finish it only costs £9.99! When it comes to applying my foundation I like to take my time and build my base by applying light layers and I then blend, blend, blend, blend (or bounce, bounce, bounce) like there is no tomorrow to secure it into my skin. I like to use a damp beauty blender to apply my foundation as it gives a flawless, smooth and even finish. For concealer, I can't get enough of Urban Decay's Naked Concealer and I like to apply it with either a damp beauty blender or my fingers. But remember to pat, do not drag.

POWDER
Applying a light dusting of loose powder is one way to ensure your makeup will last. It stops your base from transferring and helps set it in place. You can pass the powder if you have dry skin, but if you have combo/oily skin this is essential. Powder can change the colour of your foundation, settle into fine lines and can often be a little drying, so I like to opt for a translucent loose powder. Loose powders are a sheerer, fall into fine lines and there is no fear of it changing colour. I like to apply a light dusting to the centre of my face avoiding the outer edges, as I don't want to disrupt my highlighter, or any natural radiance. My favourite loose powders are MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder and Makeup For Ever HD Powder

GET MISTY
Facial setting sprays help prevent that dreaded makeup meltdown and are pretty revolutionary. A little like hairspray for the face (dare I say I used to spray my face with hairspray back in the day!), setting sprays are facial mists that can be sprayed before, during and after makeup application. My all time favourite setting spray is the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. It's lightweight and really does lock down my base. Another firm favourite is MAC Prep + Prime Fix+, which works like magic at taking that powdery 'I've applied too much makeup' look away. 

What are your favourite long-lasting products? 
Emily
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9.9.15

3 Brow Products To Try


Face-framers, aka eyebrows have fast become my favourite feature. Admittedly I'll never have big bold and bushy brows like Cara Delevingne & Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, but I do have 3 go to brow products that help to add colour, fill sparse areas and tame unruliness, that I quite simply couldn't be without... 

Eylure Dybrow In Dark Brown £9.49 
The Eylure Dybrow kit is simply fantastic and possibly the best beauty find of 2015 here on BBA. It's effective, affordable and the application is fuss free. Who would have thought at home brow tinting could be so darn easy? The rich brown dye helps my brows to appear naturally thicker and more shapely. Not to mention I've saved myself a small fortune - I wished I had tried it sooner.

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade £15.00
Until this pot of goodness came along from Anastasia, I was very much a powder kinda gal when it came to filling in my brows. But the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade is a brow game changer. It does take a little practice and patience at first, but with the correct brush and right technique, this product creates beautiful brows. I wear the shade 'Medium Brown' and have no complaints with the colour - it's a great matchUnfortunately it does have the tendency to dry out, but thats nothing a little drop of baby oil doesn't fix. Nevertheless, the formula is smudge resistant, waterproof and highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. 

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara £4.99
The Maybelline Brow Drama has been a staple in my makeup bag for the past year or so and for good reason. It's a tinted brow mascara available in 3 shades and my go to brow product for a simple 'no makeup makeup look'. The brow mascara adds a little colour intensifying and defining existing brow hairs and helps them stay in place all day. The brush may be a little odd, but it makes the product effortless to apply and can be worn alone or over another brow product. 

What's your favourite brow product?
Emily
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6.9.15

Debenhams Flowers | Discount Code

Debenhams Flowers | Discount Code


How beautiful is this bouquet of yellow summer roses from Debenhams? Not only do Debenhams sell some of my all time favourite beauty products, they also sell luxury flowers, which are the easiest way to inject a little colour, beauty and romance into our homes.
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4.9.15

August Beauty Favourites

August Beauty Favourites

Yes, September is here. But firstly I must address that whilst, I do love autumn (boots, laddered tights, hot chocolate) and everything in-between, we still have 19 days of summer left. So whilst I latch on to the hope of a little sunshine, let me take you through the beauty products I've been loving over the month of August...
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