Makeup tutorials when I feel like it.

In Review: Illamasqua Summer 2014

illamasqua
Matte lovers, hide your wallets: it’s time to review Illamasqua‘s Summer 2014 releases.

Velvet Blusher in Flirtatious

Once again, Illamasqua’s velvet wonders tug at my blush-hating heartstrings with new shade, Flirtatious. This peachy pink is a perfect match for pale skin (potentially too sheer for medium-dark skin tones) and offers a demi-matte, long-wearing finish.

Matte Veil

Since the Hydra Veil’s release, Illamasqua junkies have begged for the arrival of this product. Now – with an unusual number of scorching days on the horizen – this exceptional matte primer’s unveil is making a lot of women very happy. As I prefer to use primers with my hands, I adore that the Matte Veil pot comes with a hygiene spoon on the inner cap. A small scoop of the light and water-based primer  keeps your make-up in place throughout the day and breaks down the oil in your skin without drying it out.

Skin Base Mixer

While the skin base mixers are available exclusively at Illamasqua counters, they are worth the trip out of the house. The Mixers are colour correction cosmetics at their finest. On offer, we have White (a badass highlight), Amber (excellent to counteract redness), Terracotta (warmth in a tube), and Chesnut (a heavy and long-lasting contour). As the cherry on top, even the tiniest brushstroke of product goes a very long way. Swatches below.

Matte Lip Liquid

I couldn’t imagine these formulas budging even if you had the sweatiest lips in the world (side note: poor you). While liquid lipsticks are renowned for drying uncomfortably, Matte Lip Liquids dry to a ‘moisturised lips’ feel in no time at all. Then stick around through smooches, cocktails, et al. I mean, bravo. Currently, you can get your hands on Surrender (a warm peach), Exotic (a deep, vivid orange), and Forbidden (a sensual violet-pink that looks incredible on dark skin tones). Swatches below.

matte veil
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Summer Beauty: Oxygenetix, Lanolips, and Murad,

oxygenetix foundation
As minimal as my make-up regime is (at least for a former beauty editor), I tend to strip things down to the bare minimum for Summer. With a bit of colour on my skin, my need for pale-girl dark circle concealer dissapears and my rosacea almost looks like blush.

Almost. (Delusion at its finest.)

In my opinion, the only summer beauty products needed are the following three:

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation

Holy Grail product alert. As I’m not using concealer over Summer (anything that truly ‘covers’ tends to be comedogenic, therefore terrible in hot conditions), I have been on the search for something healthier that could help with dark circles or angry spots of rosacea.

As hard as I’ve tried, I simply can’t find fault in Oxygenetix.

Created for extremely sensitive skin, this foundation is a natural beauty lover’s dream; non-comedogenic (though buildable to a high coverage), oil free, fragrance free, organically certified, hypoallergenic, and incredibly light. The foundation’s oxygen complex – Ceravitae – even instigates collagen cell and connective tissue growth; we’re talking effectively treatment for wounded/scarred skin, here.

I will be buying this again and again (though the tube could probably last a year – a little goes a long way).

lanolips lip ointment with colour

Lanolips Lip Ointment with Colour

Lanolips has long been considered a wonder product, but my embarrassingly large box of hoarded lip balms and butters has stood in the way of purchasing yet another box-fated balm. Until I realised they released a version with colour….COLOUR!

I’m a sucker, but a pretty happy sucker in this case.

The colour pigment (‘Rhubarb’ – a pink/red, seen here) is blended with over 60% Ultra Pure Grade Lanolin, vitamin E and SPF 15 to make an ultra-natural and shockingly rich gloss. Approved by dermatologists (and their animal friends), the ointment is practically the only thing I’ve worn on my lips for the past month. The hydration is high, the gloss is pretty (but not sticky), and the finish…like you’ve just eaten a handful of juicy cherries.

murad essential c sun balm

Murad Essential-C Sun Balm

As if I was going to do a summer beauty blog without discussing SPF.

Because I’m not wanting to bore you to death, I’ll forgo the “wear SPF every day!” rambles and get straight to the good stuff.

1) Murad’s Essential-C Sun Balm has an SPF of 35.
2) If you let it sink in for a few minutes, it works as a beautiful make-up primer.
3) It smells like SORBET (most likely due to the moisture-locking tangerine butter).
4) The broccoli extract stimulates the skin’s natural defence against UV damage
5) It is packed with vitamins A, C and E for immediate and long term skin renewal and protection.
6) It features “MuraSol™ Antioxidant Defense” (a secret antioxidant sheild full of free radical neutralisers).

Buy it. Your skin will thank you.

In Review: Sheer Cover

sheer cover
You can only watch an infomercial so many times before the product ends up on your doorstep. Case in point: Sheer Cover. Like many fellow insomniacs, I’ve watched their products paint an invisibility cloak over acne scars, pigmentation, rosacea and more. Like many fellow skeptics, the little voice at the back of my head responds to said images by screaming ‘Hollywood editing!’.

Yet, here I am, reviewing Sheer Cover (and as I refuse to post negative reviews, you can probably guess there is no Hollywood magic to be reported).

Say hello to the Sheer Cover Studio™ Deluxe VIP Kit.

I am not much of a foundation girl, but I have preferred the idea of BB creams and tinted moisturisers over loose powders when it comes to foundation alternatives. Something about powder has always felt very high-maintenance to me: keeping a pressed powder in your purse, touch-ups, even needing to do a touch-up is beyond the effort I’m willing to put into my face.

Sheer Cover changed my mind on powder.

Their first set of brownie points came down to the fact that their products are very natural; the loose powder – or ‘Perfect Shade® Mineral Foundation‘ – is full of healthy, breathable minerals that are extremely light on the skin. They may offer only a light to medium coverage, but when combined with the Conceal & Brighten Trio, you simply don’t need more coverage. The two concealers (and accompanying highlighter/’Brightener’) are professional grade and incredibly easy to work with. I felt the accompanying ‘Sun-kissed Bronzing Minerals‘ were a great call on Sheer Cover’s part – the three-tiered bronzed powders add just the right amount of warmth to the skin without looking fake or chalky.

The kit rounds out with a Foundation Brush, Concealer Brush, and Bronzer Brush that pair perfectly with their accompanying products, as well as Sheer Cover’s Lengthening Mascara and Lash Extending Fibers (not a miracle product, but a good staple when you want to ‘pump up’ the lashes).

After a good week of trials, I can see anyone from a teenager to an OAP loving this kit. No Hollywood magic, just a mineral-packed answer to natural flawlessness.

sheer cover
sheer cover
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In Review: Illamasqua Glamore Lipsticks and Nail Varnish

illamasqua glamore
You guys know I love Illamasqua. Each collection is like an aesthetic holiday for my brain, and the Glamore collection is no exception.

Having played around with four of the products for some time now, I am review ready.

The Nail Varnishes

I am not a ‘nail girl’ by any stretch of the imagination, but these chip-resistant micro glitters (meaning instead of just throwing some glitter in an existing varnish – something a lot of brands do – you are painting actual glitter onto your nails) are amazing. I have been wearing Trilliant (a very pale silver/pink) all week with Marquise (a gold-flecked coral) as an accent nail. Though they haven’t budged, they are really easy to remove if you soak the nail in remover for a few seconds.

The Lipsticks

My bread and butter. As the campaign imagery shows, they have released three colours that suit every skin tone you could imagine. Luster is a Barbie-looking pink and garish until you get it on the lips. Because of a rather blue undertone, it actually warms up the skin and stays on the wearable side of becoming too pink. Soaked – on the other hand – is a deliciously bright coral red. Behold, M’Orange wearers…this is the orange obsession you’ve been dreaming of.

I wouldn’t call the texture of the lipsticks moisturising but I am really pleased with how comfortable they are to wear. They also get brownie points for fading into a stain rather than peeling and smudging as so many other lippies do.

Thankfully, I’ve been given the heads up that Illamasqua plan to develop a full, non-limited edition collection of Glamore lipsticks for release later this year. Time for a make-up bag clearout to prepare.

Tip: I’ve been putting Luster on my top lip, Soaked on my bottom, and rubbing them together quickly to make a gorgeous burnt pink colour.

illamasqua glamore
illamasqua glamore
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Drugstore Dupes: March 2014

drugstore dupes
When it comes to drugstore dupes, MUA (Makeup Academy) is a brand I’ve come to rely on. Having recently emptied the tube of one of my favourite lip products, I was due a trip to Superdrug to find a replacement and was immediately taken by the MUA display.

First unnessecary grab? Two MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers in Reckless (a blue-toned red) and Atomic (a coral). I cannot believe these are only £3. I have spent £20+ on comparable products that don’t last half as long. MUA’S velvet lacquers are matte, smudge-proof, long-lasting (even through two cups of coffee!), and non-drying.

Tip: The shade ‘Kooky’ is a perfect dupe for Lorde’s omnipresent deep purple lipstick.

To restrain myself from buying all the lacquers I ‘compromised’ (ahem) by taking the MUA ‘Undress Me Too’ Eye Palette home, as well. With this very review in mind, I swatched and brushed and dipped and blended to my heart’s content, finally deciding to create the eye look you see below.

Get The Look:
Shy – a pearly-hued nude used over my entire lid. main shade, pearl
Lavish – a sheer brown (more matte than other shades), blended throughout the crease
Wink – a shimmering deep purple, used in the outer corner to lift the eye
Exposed – a duotone grey/purple used to blend ‘Wink’ into the crease and lid
Corrupt – a soft, matte black, used wet as liner

(Shades in the palette – left to right, top to bottom: Naked, Devotion, Shy, Fiery, Lavish, Dreamy, Tranquil, Exposed, Reveal, Wink, Obsessed, Corrupt.)

For £4, I can’t think of any eyeshadow – let alone eyeshadow palette! – that offers better value. MUA have earned themselves a true fan in me.

drugstore dupes
drugstore dupes
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