December 31, 2014

Top 5 Favourite Products of 2014

As it's the last day of the year, I thought I'd finish it off with an ultimate favourite post. I've already covered my favourite lipsticks, shadows, palettes and nail polishes if you're interested. I've even counted down my most disappointing products that I've tried this year, so with a rather negative post, I thought I'd finish the year off on a more positive note.

MAC Heroine | Easily my favourite lipstick of the year, as I've already mentioned before, I've not featured it in any look outside of my review but out of all my non nude lipsticks this is definitely the one I reach for the most. It's a gorgeous wearable purple with a slight pink undertone. The formula of the lipstick was surprisingly decent and I do kind of understand the hype behind MAC lipsticks now (although limited edition lipsticks selling out in hours will never be acceptable, urgh).

Illamasqua Vintage Metallix | The Vintage Metallix range by Illamasqua really isn't hyped up enough in the beauty world. The concept of cream eyeshadows has always been terrifying to me but the Vintage Metallix range are just so effortless. They're my go to eye product when I stumble out of bed with 15 minutes left to leave the house all I need to do is dip my finger into the pot and blend it onto the lid for a glittery finish. They're also long-wear and the finish on these are stunning but impossible to capture on camera, definitely worth checking out.

Urban Decay Electric Palette | I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing about the Electric palette and even though the shadows aren't the most accessible, it's the palette that definitely reignited my love for eyeshadow. Not only that but the shadows are so pigmented, I didn't even use primer in the swatches in my original review. You can easily use this for colourful Arabic eyes, Desi weddings, festivals, club nights or to add a pop of colour to an otherwise very neutral look.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion | I've already raved about this before, so I'll keep it short and sweet, it's fragrance free, allergy free and doesn't break me out. It's also been the only thing that seems to heal any eczema on my face, I've had prescribed creams that only seemed to make things worse.

Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray | I've not gotten around to doing a review of this yet and I admit I've not had it for especially long. I've never been 100% certain on setting sprays, but the Urban Decay setting spray definitely makes a difference. It wasn't as obvious on my first day trialling it at work but when I didn't use it the day after, I noticed how much my makeup actually fades after a shift. Currently, it's been far more reliable than any primer I've had in ensuring my makeup doesn't budge.

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December 29, 2014

Top 5 Palettes of 2014

By the end of last year and into the new year, it seemed as though I was done with eyeshadow hoarding ways. However, it seems like the only thing that was holding me back was lack of funds as by the end of 2014 I had my eye on almost every single new palette that brands were releasing. Since I actually bought way too many palettes, I'm actually able to only feature ones that launched this year. Fingers crossed this won't be a habit I carry on with next year.

Urban Decay Electric Palette | Before this released, I had definitely gotten into the rut of only applying lipstick and generic eyeliner. It had also been a fair few months since I last really played around with eyeshadow. Once this palette was available in the UK, I instantly rushed into town to get it. Although, it's not the most wearable to some, the bright rainbow goodness of the electric palette deserves a number one spot for rekindling my love for eyeshadow. It's also worth mentioning that the pigmentation of these colours are insane.

MAC Bloody Brilliant Palette | I think the fact that I mentioned this in my most disappointing list and in this shows how much of a love hate relationship I have with this palette. I thought this deserved a place on here because it was one of my tamer eyeshadow purchases in a long while. I learned that just because the eyeshadow colours in a palette aren't neon bright or super colourful, you can still achieve some dramatic looks.

Kat Von D's Chrysalis Palette | Aside from the amazing butterfly artwork on the cardboard packaging, the quality of almost all of the eyeshadows in this palette are excellent. It's a great way to wear colour in a more subtle way and you can create some surprisingly vampy looks with it too. The only thing I'm not a huge fan of is the choice of colours in the larger pan as they're meant to be 'base' shades but they are way too pale for me.

NARS And God Created the Woman | This was an impulse purchase but I had been meaning to replace my first eyeshadow palette which I'd use to to create a dark smokey eye. I had also been lusting after NARS eyeshadows for a while but as the single shadows cost £18, I never took the leap until I saw this palette in all it's glittery wonder. I was expecting to be disappointed by it but they were exceptionally pigmented. The palette is tiny which makes it excellent to just throw into your handbag if you're on a day trip or between work and an evening out.

Urban Decay Vice Limited Palette | When people originally saw the Vice LTD palette online, a lot of people were quick to assume it was a fake. Yet it did end up appearing on the Sephora website for a short while and was available in Selfridges here in the UK. The shadows online seemed boring and it might not be the most colourful palette but when I saw it in store, I fell in love with all of the shimmery, glitter finishes most of the shadows had. I'm unsure if it'll be possible to get this anymore, but you may be lucky to find one at one of the stand alone Urban Decay boutiques in either London or California.
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December 27, 2014

Top 5 Lipsticks of 2014

As the end of the year is less than a week away, I'm counting down my favourites of 2014. When I first got into makeup, I only owned maybe 3/4 lipstick shades but my collection and addiction has seriously grown over the last year and a half. So trying to chose my favourite lipsticks of the year has been incredibly difficult especially as I've loved so many of them. In the end, I somehow managed to decide on five.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Sexy Sienna | As my first highend lipstick, I admit this is a superficial choice. I don't know if I'd actually love this as much as I do if it weren't for the packaging. It's not the most long wear lipstick I own, but it's definitely not drying. It has a creamy feel to it while applying and dries down to a matte. The 'golden-coral' colour makes it excellent for everyday wear, it's my go to lipstick on days where I'm in a hurry.

Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick in L.U.V. | Although L.U.V seems a bit too purple in the tube, it's actually a lot closer to Pretty Zombie Cosmetics' Purple Poison liquid lipstick, which is a colour that I get a load of compliments on. Thankfully Kat Von D's formula doesn't have any of the shifting problems that I had with Purple Poison, once L.U.V sets on the lips, it refuses to budge.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Licorice | How can I not love NYX butter lipsticks? They're affordable without compromising pigmentation. As it's not a matte lipstick, it's not the most long-lasting but it's still rather durable. While I do enjoy my intense, dark, bold lip, the butter lipstick finishes allows for a softer, more work appropriate finish.

Melt Cosmetics lipstick in DGAF | The most unwearable shade out of the lot but as the name perfectly suggests, I don't give a damn, it's just such a badass shade. It definitely has underground goth clubbing vibes. I admit I haven't gotten much use from it but it's just such an unusually gorgeous lipstick, I had to include it.

MAC Matte Lipstick in Heroine | While I may have not featured Heroine in many looks, it's definitely been my most loved and used lipstick of the year. I was a bit apprehensive originally just because there's always a lot of hype around MAC but for a matte lipstick. I love how it's actually a legit purple lipstick even though it has obvious pink undertones, making it a lot more accessible.

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December 24, 2014

Top 5 Single Eyeshadows of 2014

I can't believe there's only just over a week left until 2015, I've had a busy few months but fingers crossed you'll be seeing more posts. In the meanwhile, I'll be finishing off December with a bunch of favourites. Today I'm covering my favourite single eyeshadows, so expect to see another post on my favourite eyeshadow palettes before the year ends. 

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Beguile | As a colour addict, I definitely underestimated Beguile when I had received it as a freebie for spending a lot of money at an Illamasqua counter. I admit after receiving it, I hadn't even touched it until this Spring. It adds a beautiful subtle shimmer to your face, while I've only used it on my eyes, I know a fair few makeup artists have used it for a shimmery highlight. The major downside to the pure pigments is that they really aren't affordable at £16.50 although sometimes they'll appear in their summer sales.

Fyrinnae Loose Eyeshadow in Meerkat | After making my first Fyrinnae purchase, I quickly understood why the brand is raved about so much in the indie community. They're easily the most complex shadows I've owned and being an indie brand, they're incredibly affordable. It wasn't long after my first order that I made another, my current favourite out of all of them is Meerkat which is a vibrant pink purple with gold shimmer and sparkle highlight.

Illamasqua Vintage Metallix in Embellish | I've already mentioned that the Once collection is the first one in a long while by Illamasqua's that's caught my attention. Unlike their old cream eyeshadows, the vintage metallix shadows are crease-resistant and incredibly long lasting. If you're a lazy girl at heart or often find you just don't have the time to do a full face of makeup, the vintage metallix are so effortless as all you need to do is dip your fingers into the pot and blend it onto the lid for a beautiful finish.

Concrete Minerals Mineral Eyeshadow in Swamped | I admit I haven't been reaching for my Concrete Minerals shadows much anymore but on the few occasions that I do, I'll find myself reaching for Swamped which is a lovely deep green with golden undertones.

Sugarpill Loose Eyeshadow in Olivia | Unfortunately this Sugarpill loose eyeshadow was limited edition, which is a huge shame as it's a wonderfully vibrant green gold that's a lot tamer than a lot of their other shadows, which means I've managed to get a lot of use out of it. It seems to be the only limited edition shade that actually sold out quickly too, fingers crossed, we'll be seeing something similar release by them some time in the future. 

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December 10, 2014

5 Most Disappointing Products of 2014

As I'm counting down my favourite products of the year this month, I thought I'd balance things out by writing up some of my least favourite products this year. I want to emphasise the fact that this isn't a worst products of the year post, just products that disappointed me the most as I've been lucky enough to not have many products that are so bad that they're completely useless.

The biggest let down for me has definitely been Illamasqua's matte lip liquid range. I've already mentioned in my review that I've always loved the brand, they're responsible for my makeup addiction problems, I decided to give them another try and tried out a second hand one in the shade Exotic (orange) and was still disappointed. It crumbles away and doesn't apply easily. I think Illamasqua knew they mucked this one up as the product disappeared off their site soon after.

Next up, is MAC's matte eyeshadows, I think between my Bloody Brilliant palette and my All About Beige palette, there was only one matte shadow that performed well. Having to use a white base for such a popular brand is ridiculous. I don't understand how people can rave about their shadows, even though their other finishes perform well, I've tried better.

Both Benefit's They're Real Push-Up Liner and Rimmel's Apocalips were rather hyped products. Rimmel even expanded their apocalips range to include matte lip liquids but I've been put off them personally, I don't seem to get along with the entire Rimmel brand for some reason. I found myself having to constantly reapply the matte Apocalips. The Benefit they're real push up liner was a great concept but ultimately, I find using a gel pot and a brush is significantly easier and more cost effective.

Last but not least is the NYX Macaron Lippies, while I love how fun and affordable these are the longevity and durability of these are a joke. These are great for shoots but if you wanted to use these for a cosplay or fancy dress you will find yourself having to constantly reapply these over and over. The formula is too creamy which causes these to fade within an hour, in the most unflattering way, I find it has a habit of settling into the cracks of your lips.

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December 08, 2014

Shiro Cosmetics The Tributes Eyeshadows

With the latest Hunger Games film releasing somewhat recently, I thought I'd finally share a few swatches of my mini Hunger Games inspired eyeshadows. Shiro Cosmetics has named the collection the Tributes, it contains the same number of shadows as there are districts (as far as we knew in the first book), 12. However, I only picked up 3 shadows that really caught my eye.

Rebellion is a deep blue-black with green and purple shimmer. When applied wet, it leans more blue but if you were to blend it out it comes off a lot more black. I admit though that when I received this colour I couldn't help but wonder if I received the wrong shade as all online swatches it seemed a lot more black/gray.

Beyond the Fence is my favourite of the three, it's a shimmery forest green with subtle brown-gold tones. Gold-greens shadows currently seem to be my latest obsession. Beyond the fence comes off a lot brighter in some parts depending on how the light hits it.

Mockingjay is described as a metallic brown copper bronze and it was easily the most pigmented shade of the three. It makes for a gorgeous inner corner highlight and if you use very little product, you can blend it out for a lovely gold highlight.

I created the eye look by applying Mockingjay into the inner corner first and then spreading it along the lower lash line. Next, I applied beyond the fence all over the lid, then blended in Rebellion into the outer corner of the lid and blended it into the gold on the lower lash line. I then blended MACs Tickety Boo into the crease. I finished the look off with liquid liner and used a kohl pencil on the outer corner of my lower lash line. While I normally like to go neutral/nude on the lips whenever I apply a lot of eyeshadow, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone instead with NYX's burgundy butter lipstick in Licorice.

If you're interested in trying any of Shiro's fandom focused eyeshadows, you can purchase a sample shadow for $1, a mini jar for $3.50 or a full sized jar with 2g of product for $6 on the Shiro website.

Have you already watched the first Mockingjay film? Or are you waiting for part two to release first?

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December 05, 2014

Favourite 5 Nail Polishes of 2014

Since it's December, I thought it'd be a good idea to finish the year with a couple of favourites of 2014 posts. As I've drastically cut down how much I spend on nail polishes, I don't specifically mean polishes released this year but general favourites regardless of the year they released. 

Revlon's Parfumerie Polish in Autumn Spice was the first polish out of the entire Parfumerie range that caught my eye. It's a gorgeous dark brown shade with bronze shimmer, the perfect combination of dark and glitzy. While the spicey scent is a hit or miss, I found it almost energising. But, most importantly of all, the polish applies so well, it's almost a one-coater.

Picture Polish's Imperial has been great for nail art or just on it's own. I actually own two nail polishes by the brand but keep neglecting the other shade for Imperial's hex glitters. It screams indie, unique nail polish and it's an awesome bright in your face purple. 

Barry M Gel Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Blue Grape originally released last year and for some reason I've still not gotten around to reviewing my mini hi-shine collection. I suppose because everybody has been raving about them and I pretty much have nothing unique to say about them aside from I loved them last year and still do. Blue Grape is a glorious bright royal blue.

Illamasqua's Melange was part of their Sacred Hour collection. It was their only collection this year that caught my interest and Melange was definitely the centrepiece of it. It's a wonderful teal with flecks of gold. It's easily one of the most beautiful and unique polishes I own.

Urban Decay's Blackheart has been a surprising favourite, it's also impossible to capture it's complexity. It's a smoky 'greige' with red and multi-coloured shimmer and a gunmetal feel to it. Blackheart is my go to vampy polish as it seems to pair well with everything.
If it's not obvious, this year complex nail polishes have been a favourite for me. Have you tried any of these nail polishes? What are your current favourites? 

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December 03, 2014

Holy Grail Products #4 The Moisturiser That Made Me Believe in Moisturisers

It's been a while since my last Holy Grail post and this one is a little personal. After all, what works for my skin won't necessarily work on others. Moving from the desert to the UK, I found the harsh winters took it's toll on my once oily skin. My first British winter led to flaky skin on my face which severely lowered my confidence levels and I had no idea how to deal with it as a lot of moisturisers just seemed to dry it out more. After several months, I decided to try out a sample that was randomly handed to me in the middle of Birmingham city, Clinique's dramatically different moisturising lotion+.


What is it?
There's not much to really say aside from it being a moisturiser. It's originally one of Clinique's very first products, the dramatically differently moisturising lotion was reformulated last year. 

Why is Holy Grail worthy?
The tl;dr version is, it's both fragrance-free and allergy-free. I've actually tried out several moisturiser samples from various brands and had skin reactions to them. When I pulled out Clinique's moisturiser sample and noticed the back read fragrance free, I still didn't expect much. Within a week, I noticed a huge difference in my skin. All of my eczema induced flaky skin had healed up with no skin reaction nor any spots. If you have especially dry skin, this is probably the moisturiser you're looking for. 

Application Tips
While it's easy to use a lot in one go, I would avoid applying too much at a time as a little goes a long way. When I had my little sample, I tried to be as frugal as possible. When I went one size up, I admit to have gone through most of it rather quickly. 

Price and Availability
You can purchase Clinique's dramatically different moisturising lotion + from any Clinique counter. It's one of those brands that seem to be available everywhere, Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Selfridges tend to have Clinique stands from £17.50 to £30.

Do you have a holy grail moisturiser? Have you tried Clinique's?
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November 29, 2014

MAC Keepsakes All About Beige Eyeshadow Palette for Holiday 2014

I've been making a lot of impulse purchases lately, one evening, I made the serious error of walking into Selfridges on the same night that MAC's Holiday collection had launched. Being the magpie that I am, I fell in love with the glittery victorian portrait packaging and how small it was. I currently have so many shadows that I feel like buying any more with too much product would just go to waste, and prefer smaller quantity shadows that I know I can finish up.

Although I wasn't completely won over by my Kelly Osbourne quad, I thought I'd give MAC one more chance to prove their shadows were decent quality. The palette comes with 8 shades in a variety of matte, lustre, satin, veluxe pearl and frost finishes. The shades on the top row from left to right include Her Mistress which is a soft pastel egg in a matte finish, Sweet Sovereign a frosty gold champagne with a lustre finish, Faire Maiden is a bright coppery gold with a lustre finish and Tempting is medium-dark gold brown with subtle sparkle.

The first shade on the bottom row is Omega which is a soft muted beige taupe with a matte finish. Next is Quintessential which is described as a dirty olive in a frost finish, then Mystery is a muted plum brown with a satin finish but seems matte and Night Whisper is a rich blackened brown with a veluxe pearl finish but seems very matte when applied. I find the matte shades to not apply very well, both the lights and dark shadows were a pain to use with just a primer. I did manage to create a lovely look with the matte shades over a white base (the look on the right). However, for a hyped brand like MAC, I honestly expect better. That said, all the shades with shimmer/frost applied effortlessly when I created a look with them (look on left with choker).

Ultimately, I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this palette. It's an adorable little palette that makes for a cute gift but the quality in some of the shadows are definitely lacking. It's not bad but it's definitely not great or even good, it's ok at best. From now on, if I'm ever considering purchasing a MAC palette, I'm going to make sure it has little to no matte shades. It's incedibly obvious that the petite NARS and god created the woman palette is much better quality. Although to be fair, that palette doesn't have any pure mattes, as even their more matte shades include very subtle sparkle in them.

The MAC Keepsakes All About Beige palette is still available at Selfridges for £32. You can get 10% off with the code SELF14 until Sunday 30th November.

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November 26, 2014

Is it worth picking up Sephora's Give Me More Lip Set?

As someone who doesn't celebrate really Christmas, I admit I love indulging in all the commercial holiday gift sets and limited edition makeup items anyway. Since it's that time of the year and the new 2014 edition of the lip set has already released, I thought I'd finally weigh in my thoughts on last year's Sephora Give Me More Lip Set.

Reds - Kat Von D Adora, Hourglass Icon, MUFE, Bite Beauty
Pinks - KVD Backstge Bambi, Smashbox Gloss, Too Faced, Bare Minerals Never Say Never
Berries - Stila, Buxom, OCC Lip Tar, Tarte
Nudes - Stila, Buxom, Laura Mercier Gloss, Smashbox

In both this years and last year's set, the lip products are split into 4 colour families, reds, pinks, berries and nudes. It includes four varying lip products (glosses/lipsticks/liquid lipsticks) from each family and this year's includes a lip pencil as well. While most are sample sizes it also includes 5 full sized products. The minis allow for less commitment while also giving you the satisfying feeling of using up an item. The only problem with having such a big variety of products in a gift set is that while I did find myself loving a fair few shades, I also really disliked a fair few of them too, there's no guarantee you'll love them all.

 Personally, I had already planned on picking up a few items in last years set. The kat von d backstage bambi liquid lipstick, a too faced lipstick, an OCC lip tar, the Stila stay all day liquid lipstick and the hourglass liquid lipstick were all already on my wishlist. Ultimately, it was the ultimate opportunity to buy all those products in one go and get a bunch of extra samples as well.

While the mixture of minis and full sized products with different colours make it a great gift for both makeup newbies and addicts. If you have bought last years set are considering this one though, I wouldn't bother. In my opinion, there are too many similar-ish products, including Hourglass' Icon liquid lipstick and Buxom's Menace lipstick. They also include similar products from last year's but changed up the shades, such as Kat Von D's liquid lipstick and normal lipstick, Laura Mercier glosses, a Too Faced lipstick, a lip tar and a bare minerals lipstick. Unless there are specific shades you're excited about in this set, I wouldn't buy 2014's set as I own last years'.

One of my problems with the set is that it contained a few items that became discontinued shortly after. The Tarte lipstick was easily one of my favourites and the first product I managed to finish so it was such a shame that I can't ever pick up a full size version of it. 

If you'd like to see more indepth reviews of each of the products in the set, you can check out my review of the red, pink, berry, and nude colour families. The Sephora Give Me More Lip Set 2014 is still available on the Sephora website for $59.

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