Makeup tutorials when I feel like it.

In Review: Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection

real techniques bold metals
Real Techniques Bold Metals collection brushes, meet my beloved blog readers. Blog readers, meet my new favourite make-up brushes.

Sam and Nic Chapman latest collection of rather luxurious gold (base), silver (eyes), and brass (finish)
brushes truly rival the bests of my kit. Though Real Techniques have already gained a plethora of beauty-loving fans, this collection kicks things up to premium level.

Bold Metals – as a seven-piece collection – features a lot of tapering (which generally does most of the work when you’re hoping for a natural finish), weighted handles, and super-soft white bristles (ideal for gauging product pick-up). Personally, the three best brushes from the collection are the Arched Powder Brush 100 (for airbrushed faces), Angled Liner Brush 202 (for getting right inside the lashline without bristle drag), and the Tapered Blush Brush 300 (for living in sculptor’s paradise).

I recently hosted a blogger dinner party (more on that next week!) and even purchased a few more Bold Metals brushes to include in an unplanned prize pack to share the love. They have some lovely collections already tied up with a bow, but this piece-by-piece collection will get my vote every time.

Real Techniques Bold Metals - Arched Powder Brush (100)

Real Techniques Bold Metals – Arched Powder Brush (100)

Real Techniques Bold Metals - Angled Liner Brush (202)

Real Techniques Bold Metals – Angled Liner Brush (202)

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New Beauty: Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

Though it seems like less than a week before the seasons last changed, I think it is safe to say that we are truly on the cusp of Winter. I am not sure if the same happens for everyone, but every time the weather shifts my skin tends to do the same. From Winter to Summer, there are obvious changes (like adding SPF to your skincare regime) but from Autumn to Winter, it is not quite as straightforward. For me? This is the time when exfoliation becomes a real necessity; not only to stimulate my skin, but to make sure any additional moisturisation is able to penetrate through thicker skin barriers.

When the Clinique Sonic System Cleansing Brush hit the shelves I was intrigued but dubious. Any beauty lover will be well aware of the leading cleansing brush in the market – we shall call it the Shmarasonic – and the similarities between the two had me thinking that a newcomer might simply be a half-assed jump on the bandwagon.

However, an extensive look at the Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush’s reviews had me neuralize those thoughts (five points for anyone who gets the movie reference). Like all Clinique’s products, it is dermatologically tested (imperative for such a tool), it utilizes sonic technology (which means it is gentle on the skin while cleansing deeply), waterproof, and has two bristle types for targeted cleansing in hard-to-reach, contoured areas of the face where dirt hides.

I have yet to make the investment, but I have certainly tickled my own fancy. Have you?


In Review: Illamasqua Summer 2014

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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