Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Haul: Because you can never have too many lipsticks

Everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to have come across the wonder that is the £1 lipstick from MUA Makeup Academy. Smooth texture, highly pigmented and pretty long lasting, these lippies have become a bit of a collectors item. I've seen lots of blog posts featuring various lipstick bundles but thought I'd throw in my two cents and do a haul post of my own, featuring my MUA lipstick collection. Because you can never have too many lipsticks, and you can never see too many swatches!

Lovely £1 lipsticks! 

I've got a pretty modest collection of eight colours, ranging from nude to peach to pink to fuchsia. The finishes available range from cream to pearlescent to glitter, and I have two colours in particular that count as firm favourites. 

L-R: 15 Juicy, 16 Nectar, 11

L-R: 15 Juicy, 16 Nectar, 11

'Juicy' is one of my favourite colours. As you can see in the swatch above, it's a pale orange coral with hints of pink. Perfect for wearing with a tan, this is such a summery shade. The finish is creamy with no shimmer. 'Nectar' is a brighter, stronger orange, also with a cream finish. '11' is a lovely browny-pink nude, again with a cream finish. 

L-R: 7, 6, 2

L-R: 7, 6, 2

'7' is a golden coral peach colour with a pearlescent finish. I really like the gold shimmer and love this when worn with a slick of clear lipgloss on top. I find the pearlescent finish a little dated when worn without gloss, but this is just my personal preference! '6' is a deep pink, again with a pearlescent finish, and '2' is a purple-plum colour with hints of violet, also with a pearlescent finish. I really like '2' for a dramatic lip look. 

L-R: 12, 3

L-R: 12, 3

I've got two pink shades from the collection, although I only intended on having one of these! I'd had my eye on '3' for ages and was waiting for my local Superdrug to restock their MUA stand. When they eventually restocked I went on a little MUA spree and in my excitement managed to accidentally pick up '12' instead of my beloved '3'. Disaster! '12' is a glittery bright pink, and to be honest I'm not a huge fan of glitter when it comes to lipsticks. Still, it gives a nice wash of colour and is a fun shade to have in my collection. You never know when it might come in handy! 

'3' is my absolute favourite from the collection. It's a hot pink fuchsia with a smooth cream finish, and it looks so gorgeous on! I'm loving bright colours at the moment and it's a great quality bargain addition to my lipstick stash. It applies easily and neatly straight from the bullet and lasts a long time if you blot your lips following the first coat before applying another coat to finish. 

Each lipstick comes in simple black and silver packaging, and they all have a pleasant sweet scent. Only a couple of the colours have actual names, hence the numbers referred to throughout, but as long as you know which number you're looking for you should be fine (although clearly I couldn't quite cope with only having a number to go by, hence my pink lipstick mistake!) It's pretty awesome that my stash of eight lipsticks only cost £8 in total. MUA might not have the colour variety of a brand like MAC, or the staying power of some other high street brands, but for £1 each and a good quality finish you really can't go wrong. 

According to MUA's website there are 16 shades available, so I've still got lots more swatches to come! 

Browse MUA lipsticks here

Review | Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks blushers

There are some products I return to again and again, and often it's the random bargain discovered during a bit of an eclectic shopping spree that stands the test of time. Natural Collection is arguably a rather neglected brand in the beauty world, the bargain bucket of Boots with plain white plastic packaging and super cheap prices. I'm certainly guilty of having overlooked the Natural Collection stand on many occasions in the past, but having discovered their Blushed Cheeks powder blusher pots Natural Collection has come to hold a special place in my beauty loving heart. 

Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in 'Peach Melba' and 'Pink Cloud'

Each Blushed Cheek blusher delivers a beautiful matte flush of colour, has a soft powdery consistency that makes blending a doddle and lasts well throughout the day without disappearing by mid morning. For only £1.99 each these blushers are both a bargain and a staple essential in my make-up bag. I'm on my second pots of both shades pictured and my love for them is still going strong. 

I favour these little blusher pots when I want a natural look with minimal sparkle or shimmer. As much as I love shimmery blushers and bronzers sometimes I want something that will add a subtle hint of colour, and these are absolutely perfect for that. They're fairly highly pigmented and you only need one swipe of a blusher brush to catch a good amount of colour. 

'Peach Melba' is my favourite during spring and summer as it works on my pale skin as a gentle matte bronzer. I look much healthier with a little peach on my cheeks! I tend to pair it with nude lips and bronze-brown eyes. 

'Peach Melba' swatch 

'Pink Cloud' is perfect during autumn and winter if my skin is seeming dull and lifeless, although I also use this during summer for a pretty pink flush. I love the matte finish and the pure pink of the colour; there are no lilac undertones, which I've found in lots of other powder blushers. 

'Pink Cloud' swatch 

The only teeny tiny fault I can find with these is that the pans are quite shallow and they don't last as long as some other high street blushers. But I reckon they'd last a good few months if used every day and they're so cheap that I really don't mind having to restock every so often. It's worth it for the matte finish and natural colours available in the range. I'm faithful to these little beauties and have a new found respect for Natural Collection! 

Click here to view  Natural Collection's full range of Blushed Cheeks blushers 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Weekly Roundup feat. Soap & Glory, Revlon and Maybelline

Another week, another roundup and once again I've found it tough choosing just three products to shine the spotlight on! I've actually cheated a little this week as although *technically* I've chosen three product types, I've thrown in an extra product from one of the same product lines just to add a little something special. I've settled on featuring Soap & Glory's new One Heck of a Blot mattifying face powder, two of Revlon's newest Lip Butter shades, and a Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Color double ended lip colour. All three (well, four) products have featured prominently in my make-up bag over the past seven days and I'm excited to have a bit of a ramble about what makes each one so special. 

Let's start with Soap & Glory's newest offering, the brilliantly titled One Heck of a Blot Super-Translucent Mattifying Powder, cleverly developed to suit all skin tones. I've loved Soap & Glory toiletries and cosmetics from the very beginning and I've never been disappointed in any of my Soap & Glory purchases... and there have been quite a few! Fresh from my joy at their new Peach Party blush brick (which I reviewed here) I spotted One Heck of a Blot and had to try it out. I remember ages and ages ago reading a thread on their facebook page asking fans to suggest products they'd like to see and I remember thinking 'a pressed powder!' Et voila, my prayers were answered with this little beauty. 

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot, £12 at Boots

I love Soap & Glory's kitsch packaging, from the use of fun puns in the product titles to the retro photos and bold pink font. The powder comes with a little embossed powder puff and a handy mirror in the lid, and it clicks shut easily, keeping it nice and secure in my ever expanding make-up bag. The powder truly is translucent  translating from a super pale looking shade in the pan to an invisible wash once applied. It's extremely light texture-wise and doesn't chalk or cake at all. I apply it with a big fluffy powder brush to set my foundation and concealer and it doesn't dull my base or make my skin look sallow, unlike some pressed powders I've tried in the past. 

The embossed 'POWder' logo is a nice touch, no?

Unblended swatch 

Blended swatch- invisible!

Does it work? It sure does! My face, notorious for turning into an oil slick come midday, has needed a lot less touching up during the day and One Heck of a Blot really helps keep my complexion matte and fresh. I'm not surprised at the great quality as Soap & Glory always release fantastic products at reasonable prices. I love that this powder doesn't leave any hint of a chalky finish and doesn't cling to patches of dry skin at all. It's invisible and super light weight yet so, so effective and I'd say £12 is a brilliant price to pay for a shine free face. This has worked much harder at keeping my make-up intact than any primer or powder I've tried previously!

Revlon recently introduced some new summery shades to their ColorStay Lip Butter collection and I immediately had my eye on sheer tomato red 'Wild Watermelon' and sheer fuchsia pink 'Sorbet'. While some of the Lip Butters give a shimmery, more opaque finish these two give sheer washes of shimmer-free colour. Although they have the consistency of a mosturising balm they're actually very pigmented and it's easy to build up a stronger lip look with a few swipes straight from the tube. 

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in 'Sorbet' and 'Wild Watermelon', £7.99 each at Boots

I love the texture of Revlon's Lip Butters and find they manage to keep my lips moisturised while delivering quite a long lasting dose of colour. My usual favourite is 'Berry Smoothie', a review of which you can find here, a shade which goes with everything and feels so comfortable to wear. I'm loving the sheer glossiness of 'Sorbet' and 'Wild Watermelon' (and I'm a sucker for the juicy names) and count these are my two new favourite fresh summer colours. 

L-R: 'Sorbet' and 'Wild Watermelon'

Again, 'Sorbet' and 'Wild Watermelon'

final purchase was a bit of a random one, and I didn't even swatch it in store. As I'm currently being a little more adventurous with my lip colours I felt drawn to trying one of Maybelline's Color Stay 24 Hour dual ended lip colour shades and although I worried it might be a little too purple it's actually a really beautiful red berry shade once applied. 

Maybelline Super Stay 24 Color in 'Raspberry'

The idea behind Maybelline's Super Stay dual ended lip colour is that you apply the long lasting liquid lipstick first, allowing it to dry fully before slicking on a coating of the clear balm to keep your lips moisturised and to prevent them from drying out, a common problem with long lasting lipsticks. Now, when Maybelline recommend letting the liquid colour dry, really do let it dry! I didn't on my first go and ended up with a horrible mess of patchy colour... But only because I didn't read the instructions given on the side of the tube! My second attempt was much more successful. The raspberry colour is highly pigmented and delivers a good even colour, although I did end up with a bit of a stronger lip line as I lined my lips with the tip of the foam applicator first. I did find that pressing my lips together too often before the colour dried made it a little patchy, so I'd recommend resisting the temptation to do so until it's fully dry or until you've applied a layer of balm on top. I would definitely recommend being extra careful when tracing your lip line as the colour really does stick immediately, and it's near impossible to dab away at mistakes without resorting to a make-up remover soaked cotton wool pad. It really does have super staying power!

Maybelline Super Stay 24 Color in 'Raspberry', £8.99 at Boots

Clear balm to be applied on top of colour

'Raspberry' is a gorgeous berry shade with blue/purple undertones. It makes my teeth look whiter which is always a plus! Plus it smells like berries which is a delicious plus in my eyes. I can't stress enough just how long lasting this is; I applied it in the morning to test it out and it was still going strong well into the afternoon without needing a top-up. It did eventually start to get a little patchy but another swipe of the balm helped even it out again. I also swatched it on my hand and the swatch didn't budge for two days. Two days! There's still a faded mark on my hand, and yes, I do wash my hands regularly! To take it off my lips I use a cotton wool pad soaked in make-up remover and have to rub quite firmly to take it all off. It really does lock to your lips, making it perfect for nights out when you want a low maintenance but bold lip look. The colour doesn't bleed or smudge and although you have to be very precise when applying it, it's well worth the effort. 

'Raspberry' without balm 

'Raspberry' with balm on top

Although the swatch looks a little sheer the colour is very much opaque and bold on the lips. It dries to a matte finish, and the balm adds a glossy sheen to it. You could wear it without the balm although it would depend on the condition of your lips. I absolutely love this shade and also picked up a bright coral peach colour as well, which I can't wait to review. At £8.99 each these are a little pricey but I'd say they're definitely worth it as they deliver on their promise of long lasting lip colour (although 24 hours? I can't say I've needed to leave it on for quite that long!) 

There you have it, my Weekly Roundup done and dusted for another week. What have your favourite products been this week? Have you discovered any hidden gems or have you been using your old favourites? Feel free to share below. 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The nude lip: An oldie but a goodie from Maybelline's Moisture Extreme collection

The quest to find the perfect nude lipstick, similarly to the quest to find the perfect red, is a potentially perilous one. You risk wading through reams of shades that are too brown, too pink, too berry, too red, too purple, too beige, too orange, too yellow; swiping swatches from your finger tips to your shoulders in an increasing state of desperation all the while getting no closer to finding that one nude that makes all your nude lip dreams come true.

*Sigh *

I'm a lover of the nude lip look and have a collection of nude-toned lipsticks, glosses, tints and balms. I need more of a pink based nude than a beige or brown based nude and while browsing the Maybelline stand in my local Boots recently my eyes were drawn to the little row of lipsticks lying lonely, forgotten, at the bottom of the stand. Who remembers Maybelline's Moisture Extreme lipsticks? Housed in sleek red and silver packaging, which I actually prefer to their newer translucent lipstick tubes, the lipsticks stocked in my local Boots from the Moisture Extreme range form a capsule of nude shades, among which my perfect nude resided. 

Maybelline Moisture Extreme, 'Pinky Beige 721', £5.19 at Boots

Not too brown, not too beige, with the perfect pink base and a super creamy finish to boot. I'd never come across these before and guessed they must be an old release as they do look quite different to Maybelline's more recent lipstick collections, but just because something is from an older collection doesn't mean it isn't worth using! I'm glad I went for it because it has become my favourite nude lip product and I know I can slick it on every day without worrying about whether or not it clashes with what I'm wearing or whether or not it's suitable for whatever occasion  I have lined up that day. A bit of a make-up bag essential, really. 

Like all of Maybelline's lipsticks it has a sweet, pleasant smell and the pigmentation is high, even though the finish is quite sheer. It feels very creamy and moisturising once applied, although this does mean it tends to fade quite quickly after application, unlike lipsticks with a matte finish. The colour is truly natural and gives a lovely enhanced pink sheen to the lips. 

'Pinky Beige' quite heavily swatched to catch a good shot of the colour and finish

I'd say that in real life 'Pinky Beige' appears slightly paler, although I did swatch it quite heavily to give a good impression of the shiny finish. It's easy to build up the colour with extra layers, although I prefer a lighter finish with just one or two swipes. One of the benefits of buying from an older collection is the price difference, with Maybelline's Moisture Extreme lipsticks retailing at £5.19 each as opposed to the new Colorsensational Vivids lipsticks retailing at £7.19 each. 

A beautiful nude lipstick at a bit of a bargain price. I think my quest is pretty much complete... Until the next nude I fall in love with!

Check out Maybelline products here

A bad reaction to Superdrug's Cucumber Cooling Clay Mask for sensitive skin

I've always known Superdrug's range of own brand products to be excellent quality. I use their Naturally Radiant products every morning and evening along with their Vitamin E hot cloth cleanser and Pro Vitamin range of shampoos and conditioners. So I figured I'd give their range of face mask sachets a go, especially as they were on offer at four for £3 (although I actually picked up five, as I couldn't decide which one to let go!)

As part of my Saturday morning pampering ritual  I decided to use the Cooling Cucumber Clay Mask, containing soothing cucumber extract and dead sea minerals, and labelled as being 'ideal for sensitive skin'. I used to love clay masks when I was younger for unclogging pores, and the added benefit of cucumber seemed like a gentle approach to tackling my crazy sensitive combination skin. 

Cucumber Cooling Clay Mask, 99p, Superdrug

Interestingly under the 'care and advice' section the instructions state 'do not apply to... sensitive skin', which seems to be something of a contradiction. Unfortunately this is something I didn't see until slathering the mask all over my face, based on the reassuring label on the front! Admittedly it does also say to 'test for irritancy first' but again, I didn't see this until after I'd applied it, and as it's a product targeted towards sensitive skin I wouldn't have thought this would be a major necessity. Oops. 

I went ahead and applied the clay mask to cleansed skin. It smells lovely, very refreshing, slightly floral with hints of cucumber. The consistency is thick and creamy, and there's enough in the sachet to stretch to two applications which is great value for money. I noticed that the mask stung slightly around the nose upon first applying, but as I've experienced this with masks before I wasn't too concerned. Perhaps I should have realised that a clay mask, purifying as it is, while excellent for acne areas might be a little strong for sensitive skin... But as the label determined it to be targeted towards sensitive skin I wasn't too concerned. Again, oops. 

There's something truly satisfying about the sensation of a clay mask hardening and cracking as you contort your face into all sorts of expressions (just me?!) You just know that once you've rinsed it off the tightness of the clay will be gone and you'll be left with super soft, refreshed skin.  I waited the full fifteen minutes as stated on the sachet and then rinsed the mask off with the aid of my regular muslin cloth.

My face suddenly felt oddly hot and looking in the mirror I noticed that little red bumps had started to appear across my cheeks and chin. They felt and looked just like the type of rash I get when my sensitive skin has an allergic reaction to a product. Damnit! I'd used the mask with the intention of rescuing my skin, not making it worse! I tried to take a good photo but could only get a slightly blurry close-up of one of my cheeks. Still, it sort of shows what I'm describing:


I slathered on some Avene Recovery Cream, my go-to for when my skin is going through a crazy phase, and after a couple of hours my face felt a little less hot and the rash was less inflamed. But it's still there and it feels very rough and bumpy, which isn't really the look I was going for. 

I'm really disappointed as although my skin is sensitive and reacts to products on occasion, I didn't really have any indication that this mask wouldn't be suitable for my skin type, what with the 'ideal for sensitive skin' label on the front. The 'do not apply' on 'sensitive skin' warning on the back of the sachet strikes me as odd, and I feel it needs some sort of clarification. I know, I know, I could have done a little patch test beforehand, but generally when using a product specifically designed for and marketed towards sensitive skin I don't, although I will be doing so from now on. While it hasn't totally put me off using the other Superdrug masks I purchased, I will definitely be doing patch tests before use to avoid any similar skin care nightmares. 

As for the rest of my Saturday, I've spent it hiding away make-up free in the hope that my rash will clear up by this evening. While I generally love Superdrug products I'm feeling a little wary and day I say 'sensitive' after using this cucumber concoction. Soothing it ain't! 

Do you always do a skin test before using a mask, or would a sensitive skin label reassure you enough to apply it straight away? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Add a pop of colour with Collection Colour Pro Intense Colour Lip Lacquers

Lip gloss obsessive that I am, when I spotted Collection's new Colour Pro Intense Colour Lip Lacquers in Boots I couldn't resist having a cheeky swatch (before anyone mentions my spending ban, I paid with my Boots points!) Candy colours and a fabulous glossy opaque finish? Sold. 

Colour Pro in 'Prom Queen' and 'It Girl' £6.50 at Boots

'Prom Queen' and 'It Girl'

Available in four shades including a bright coral and daring fuchsia, I opted for the pale nude pink 'Prom Queen' and bright summery pink 'It Girl'. I've started being more adventurous with my lip colours recently and am keen to try out brighter pinks alongside fail safe neutrals, hence the combination. Plus, they're extremely pretty! 

Collection claim their Colour Pro Lip Lacquers 'deliver an intense burst of colour, with a high shine finish' and they're not at all wrong. Both glosses are of a thick, creamy consistency and slick on easily. I'd avoid wearing your hair down if it's windy outside, unless you like the whole hair stuck to lips smearing lip gloss across your face conundrum! I actually don't mind a thick, slightly sticky lip gloss as they tend to have good staying powder, and these lip lacquers really do stay put for longer than your average tinted gloss. With one swipe of the wand shaped applicator you get a good opaque dose of colour that can be built on easily for added plumping and shine.  If you like a super shiny, super colourful gloss then these are perfect. I love that neither shade contains glitter or shimmer; they give a great, strong, solid block of colour. The lacquers smell sort of 'cosmetic' rather than scented, which isn't unpleasant but is a little bland, although this doesn't bother me much in the grand scheme of all things lip gloss related. Each tube is made of sturdy plastic and comes with an easy to use wand applicator, making it super easy to guide colour flawlessly on to lips. 

Swatch time!

'Prom Queen'

'Prom Queen' is a lovely pale pink colour, and although the photo might look a little sheer it's actually opaque upon application. I love this for during the day as it's still a little punchy yet natural enough for all sorts of situations, be it work or play. 

'It Girl'
'It Girl' is actually a little brighter once applied and really stands out (in a good way!) once on. I've been loving this for when I want to wear a statement lip and I can see myself wearing it a lot throughout the summer. There's something so fun about having a bright pink super glossy pout and although my lovely Mum told me I look like a Barbie doll when wearing 'It Girl' I don't care- it's an awesome colour!

The bold lip look seems to be here to stay, and I for one am fully embracing it with my ever expanding collection of bold pink, red, coral and berry lip products. I'd highly recommend Collection Colour Pro Intense Colour Lip Lacquers for those on the same quest for a bold, glossy pout at the very reasonable cost of £6.50 each. 


Browse Collection cosmetics here

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Review | Garnier Fructis Spray-On Serum 5 in 1 with Moroccan Argan Oil

What with having highlighted hair I like to use a serum or oil to add shine and nourishment to my parched strands. I tend to prefer a thicker serum/oil as it somehow feels more satisfying to really work it into your hair, but when I saw Garnier's new Spray-On Serum 5 in 1 I was intrigued. Could a spray really deliver the same kind of nourishment as a bottle of oil or serum? Infused with nourishing Moroccan Argan Oil, it seemed like an interesting idea and so I decided to give it a go. 

Garnier Fructis Spray-On Serum 5 in 1, £3.89 (150ml)

Garnier's Spray-On Serum claims to do 5 things: smooth, add shine, tackle frizz and flyaways, act against humidity and deliver a weightless feel. According to the blurb on the back of the can it 'combines the lightness of a spray with the power of a serum'. I'll admit I was skeptical, as clearly I wouldn't be experiencing the satisfaction that comes with smoothing a liquid serum on to the slightly sad ends of my hair! But I was pleasantly surprised to find that this spray really does do a good job of achieving all five of its aims. 

My immediate impression upon spraying my freshly washed and dried hair was that my hair looked instantly smoother, with an added shine boost (tick, tick). My hair is quite fine and can be prone to flyaways, which is really irritating; this sorted them out in no time (tick). It just so happened that after using this yesterday I had to make a trip into town, in the middle of an extremely hot and humid afternoon. I felt so unbelievably uncomfortable in my long sleeved top and jeans, but when I returned home and looked in the mirror my hair still looked super sleek and tamed. Phew! Anti-humidity? Tick! I couldn't 'feel' the spray once I'd spritzed it; it doesn't leave a tacky residue, so in terms of weightless feel it also delivers on its promise. Another tick! 

While I love the finish it provides and how shiny it makes my hair look, I find it doesn't quite nourish or soften dry ends as much as liquid Argan oil infused products do, although this is perhaps understandable considering the way in which a liquid can be targeted directly at dry ends in a way that a spray can't (although I did try!) With this in mind I'd use a liquid serum first, to really coat and penetrate parched hair, and then spray my hair with Garnier's Spray-On Serum afterwards to give a really glossy finish. Bearing in mind I'm in desperate need of a haircut, the spray alone could be enough when not battling extremely dry ends that should really have been chopped off by now! *Guilty face*

As an additional bonus, Garnier's Spray-On Serum happens to smell absolutely incredible! It has a really fresh fruity scent that I can't get enough off, and for that reason alone I'd be willing to use it every day, regardless of whether or not it fulfills its promises! It smells so, so yummy. Luckily, though, it not only smells delicious, it also delivers on all five aims as labelled on the front and back of the can. A surprise success for me, I'm sure this is going to become an everyday essential. It's unique, it works and it smells amazing. A definite hair success. 

Find Garnier Fructis Spray-On Serum 5 in 1 here

The face wants what the face wants... feat. Maxfactor Face Finity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation

I like this foundation. I like this foundation a lot. So much so that I'm starting to feel awful pangs of guilt every morning when applying it as part of my everyday make-up routine. I'm doing the dirty on my beloved Revlon ColorStay and I just can't seem to stop myself!

When Maxfactor first released their Face Finity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation I wrote it off as being a bit of a gimmick, and I assumed it wouldn't suit my skin type (combination that turns into shine central come midday). I'm not sure where I got this idea from, but I recently purchased a bottle and it has totally exceeded my expectations, hence the serious case of make-up adultery I've got going on. 

Maxfactor Face Finity 3 in 1 Foundation, £11.99

The reason I've always loved Revlon ColorStay so much is because it gives full coverage and a matte finish. Maxfactor Face Finity does both these things but in some ways it manages to do them even better than ColorStay. It has a fairly thick, creamy texture, thicker than ColorStay, but it's super easy to blend and doesn't drag on the skin at all when applying. In my opinion it gives a slighly higher level of coverage than ColorStay, in that it seems to cover blemish marks and dark circles even better and makes the skin look more even prior to applying concealer and powder. It gives a very even finish and a very matte finish, which is what I like in a foundation. 

Face Finity lasts a little longer than ColorStay, in terms of not needing a powder top-up for at least five or six hours after first applying. I tested Face Finity's 'All Day Flawless' claim yesterday when it was particularly humid outside; after walking home from the shops my hair was stuck to the back of my neck, my top was clinging to me, but my face was still matte and my make-up hadn't budged. Woohoo! Top marks from me, as I'm usually a slave to the face powder during hot weather. While ColorStay has great lasting power, it can start to tire by the end of a long day, becoming a little patchy in places, unless I set it with the matching face powder. I haven't had this problem with Face Finity so far. Perhaps this is because of the 'primer' included in the foundation, as there is definitely a difference. It does feel like it 'sticks' well to the skin when applied. 

As for the concealer claim, while Face Finity does do a good job of evening out my skin tone, calming down the appearance of blemishes and dark circles, I still need to use a separate concealer to cover problem areas fully. This doesn't really bother me as I like using my MAC concealer pot and I use a concealer brush to target individual spots and blemishes. I reckon if my skin was clearer I could get away with wearing just the foundation, as it does provide great coverage, but for the moment this isn't really an option (my skin is a work in progress!)

Maxfactor Face Finity in 'Light Ivory 40'

The one slight downside of Face Finity is the limited colour range. I picked 'Light Ivory' which is the palest shade available, but it isn't quite a perfect match; I could do with a shade *slightly* lighter, especially come winter. It doesn't look noticeably odd or mismatched, but it's something that bugs me a little. On the plus side, Maxfactor foundations tend to have pink undertones which is in contrast to many of the 'ivory=yellow' high street foundations I've encountered in the past! On the colour front, Revlon ColorStay wins as it really is a perfect match for my fair skin and I know I can apply it without every worrying about having to be extra careful when blending around the hair line and jaw line. 

As far as packaging is concerned, Maxfactor Face Finity comes with a pump which wins out over Revlon ColorStay in terms of ease of use. Things are a lot less messy with a pump! Both foundations are housed in sturdy glass bottles, and although they're a little heavy they look and feel quite expensive, which is a nice little plus.

I still can't quite believe I'm saying this (oh, the guilt!) but Face Finity has become the foundation I reach for every morning, even more so than my bottle of Revlon ColorStay. Which makes my previous review of Revlon ColorStay a little awkward... Check out the title of the post to see why! What can I say? The face wants what the face wants! Aside from the minor colour matching issue, everything about Face Finity is perfect. From the texture to the excellent full coverage to the matte, long lasting finish, I'm totally hooked! Out of all the full coverage high street foundations I've tried so far, this is the clear winner. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to give it a go!

Visit Maxfactor's official website here

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Is this the perfect blue polish? Um, YES.

I love the idea of bright colours on my nails, but they never seem to translate very well when applied. Yellows, greens, blues... I often love what I see in the bottle but then don't like how they look once applied. I'm not sure if it's my skin tone (very pale!) or the shape of my nails (quite narrow and small) but certain 'non-traditional' colours look a bit bizarre on me. Take the pale mint green phase, for instance. Unless it's super pale, almost white, green just looks weird on my hands. I can't carry teal or grass green, and you can forget about neon! 

I've always loved the idea of blue nail polish, from deep dark navy to light baby shades, but I've never been able to find a shade I feel totally comfortable with. Until now. 

I have finally found the perfect blue and I'm obsessed with it! Allow me to introduce you to Maybelline's Super Stay Gel Nail Colour 7 Days in 'Surreal':

It's actually a little paler in 'real life', with more of a creamy white base. But you can see from the photo that it's a sort of mid-denim blue, a pastel with punch. But not too much punch. Because too much punch in blue polish doesn't seem to suit my nails! This, however, is just PERFECT. 


Everything about this polish is brilliant, from the colour to the formula to the brush. It has a good thick formula which delivers a high shine finish without the need for a top coat if you happen to be in a hurry. I can't stand it when you apply a nice nail polish only for it to dull straight away. I always use a top coat, but it's nice to think that should an emergency arise you can skip one! Plus, this is the ONLY polish I've used claiming to give a 'gel nail' finish that actually delivers on its promise. I'm looking at you, Barry M and Rimmel...

One coat of this gave pretty good opacity, although I prefer applying two coats for maximum colour depth and shine. It's totally streak free, doesn't drag at all and comes with a wide brush, making it quite easy to apply neatly. I'm definitely not the neatest at applying polish, but I think I did a pretty good job this time, all things considered (i.e, my complete lack of hand eye coordination). Drying time is around two minutes per coat, which is a little longer than some polishes but I'm happy to wait considering the shiny end result! As well as delivering glossy shine and streak-free colour, the Super Stay range is fortified with strengtheners, which my brittle nails seriously appreciate! And, on top of this, each polish promises to deliver 'up to 7 days' of chip-free colour. I'm currently on day 2 and so far, so very, very good. I can't fault the quality of this product at all. It really is my perfect polish.

Another pic!

I would have thought I'd need a lighter blue but I just love this mid-blue hue. I did actually pick up two other shades from the Super Stay range as I'm loving the range of colours available:

L-R: '615 Mint For Life', '635 Surreal', '265 Divine Wine'

Look, a gorgeous super pale mint! And I always love a good red wine/raspberry colour, especially for my toes. Maybelline just keep on impressing me at the moment, with my love for their Colorsensational lipsticks also remaining strong. Their Super Stay polish is definitely my favourite high street formula out there at the moment and I can't emphasise enough just how good the quality and shade range is, a snip at only £4.09 each at Superdrug

Why you need to hot cloth cleanse!

For the past two or three months I've been hot cloth cleansing every evening without fail, and the difference it's made to my skin is incredible. I don't have perfect skin by any means and I'm still on a long running quest to vanquish blemishes and soothe occasional patches of dermatitis; but since double cleansing with a muslin cloth and cream cleanser every night before bed my skin has really started to improve. 

For years I relied on face washes and scrubs marketed at 'problem skin' and while they can be great when used sparingly, my face was starting to suffer from a constant bombardment of  such strong and varied lotions and potions. I came across an article in a magazine suggesting that cleansing with a warm muslin cloth is far more effective at unblocking pores and boosting the skin's radiance than using just a plain old face-wash which simply lifts surface dirt without doing much else to help rid skin of spots. With this in mind I decided to start using a hot cloth cleanser every evening to remove make-up and it really does feel different to using a regular wash or cleansing water on cotton wool pads. Don't even get me started on the damage caused by face wipes..! My skin overall has never felt better. 

My routine consists of washing my face lightly with Simple's Refreshing facial wash gel to remove initial make-up and grime, before massaging a cream cleanser on to dry skin. This ensures the cleanser is making good contact with clean skin rather than simply massaging old make-up around my face! I pay extra attention to my chin, which gets rather clogged and spotty, and my nose and forehead, where blackheads tend to congregate (urgh, I hate those suckers). The great thing about cream cleansers designed to be used with a muslin cloth is that they generally don't strip the skin of moisture at all, meaning they work well on all areas of the face; I also massage my slightly dry cheeks. I then rinse the muslin cloth in warm water and begin wiping off the cleanser, making circular movements to massage and remove simultaneously. I then rinse with warm water and pat dry before applying moisturiser (at the moment I'm using Superdrug's Naturally Radiant night cream, which is working wonders at evening out my skin tone). 

The difference hot cloth cleansing makes? My skin feels miles smoother and softer than when I use just a face wash or cleansing water; it feels exfoliated but not at all dry, tight or rough. I look healthier, with more of a glow, I'm guessing as a result of the regular massaging. My dry patches have almost completely gone and flare up far less often, and while I'm still struggling to control existing blemishes on my chin I'm having far less breakout attacks overall. Moisturiser sinks in easily and in the mornings foundation applies smoothly without clinging to flakes or dry blemishes like it often used to. I am a total convert to hot cloth cleansing! It's a gentle yet effective way of unclogging pores, freeing your skin of grime and dead skin and enhancing radiance. It works well at tackling both dry skin and spot prone skin, a balance I've found so difficult to achieve with other products. Try it for a month and I promise you'll start to notice and feel a real difference. 

I've been using two hot cloth cleansing products, both produced by Superdrug. I'm a huge fan of Superdrug's range of own brand products as the quality is always brilliant, and although I've also used Liz Earle's infamous hot cloth cleanser I'm more than happy to stick with the following, cheaper, versions: Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser, designed to brighten and even out skin tone; and Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser, designed to soothe dry skin. 

Superdrug's Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser £5.99 150ml

I've been Naturally Radiant in conjunction with the matching day and night creams, which have really helped reduce pigmentation patches left behind by dermatitis attacks. I love the texture of this cream cleanser; it feels thick but not at all clogging and it's very soothing. It also smells  lovely, quite fruity. 

While the Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser is marketed towards normal/dry skin types I've found it works just as well on oily/blemish prone areas. 

Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser £4.99 200ml

The texture of the Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser is similar to Naturally Radiant; thick and creamy, yet not at all clogging or cloying. It has a creamier scent, which I think I prefer overall, although they both smell great. 

I started off using Naturally Radiant and then grew curious after seeing the Vitamin E cleanser in store during a shopping trip. Of course, I couldn't resist! I like to swap around every so often to mix up my routine a little, and doing so doesn't seem to have any negative effects on my skin. Naturally Radiant has slightly less product in the tube than Vitamin E and costs a pound more (£5.99 for 150ml compared to £4.99 for 200ml) I'm assuming this is because Naturally Radiant contains targeted ingredients aimed at brightening and evening out skin tone, whereas Vitamin E aims just to soothe dry skin. I don't mind the difference in price and size as they both work brilliantly and are really reasonably priced compared to other hot cloth alternatives. 

The muslin cloths provided are excellent, generously sized and soft but firm on the skin; you can feel them exfoliating gently as you cleanse. I chuck them in the wash after a few uses to keep them nice and clean, especially if I've been removing heavy make-up or a thick face mask. If I have a particularly sore or swollen blemish I have a mini hot cloth facial trick; I press the warm cloth against the affected area for a minute or two and it really helps to open up the pores and calm down problem areas. I seriously cannot rave about hot cloth cleansing enough! If you haven't tried it yet, get yourself down to Superdrug and pick up a box because I can guarantee your skin will thank for you for it, whatever your skin type. As well as being an annoying blend of spotty and dry, my skin is also very sensitive, yet these cleansers but have been nothing but gentle every time I've used them. My skin feels toned, supple, soft and it has a much more noticeable glow than before. It's also steadily getting clearer, thankfully. I'm well and truly hooked! 

Browse Superdrug Naturally Radiant
Browse Superdrug Vitamin E

Are you a fan of hot cloth cleansing? Would you try it if you haven't already? 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Weekly Roundup feat. Neutrogena, Maybelline and MUA

Wowzers, hasn't this week flown by? I found it quite tricky picking my top 3 products this week as I've been using and loving so many different beauty bits and pieces. I settled on the following as I've been reaching for them every day and I haven't got at all bored of them, which is always a good sign! 

First up is Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Blackhead Eliminating Triple Action Cleanser 7 Day Rescue (what is it with long titles recently?!) It can be used in three ways: as a wash, scrub and mask. 

£4.49 at Superdrug

From what I can tell, this is a more concentrated version of their regular Blackhead Eliminating scrub and it's designed to provide intense, targeted action against blackheads with visible results apparent after only 7 days. On the back of the tube is the very impressive claim that '100% of users showed visible results after 7 days'. 100%?!! Well with a statistic like that I had to try it out! The percentage is based on 30 people using the wash twice a day for 7 days straight, which to be honest I'm not really sure my sensitive face can handle. I'm using it once a day on my t-zone (my chin in particular) and I will be reporting back in a future blog post to let you know if it really does have an impressive effect. 

What I can say so far is that, like all Neutrogena products I've used in the past, the quality of the  wash/scrub/mask is fantastic, from the fresh subtle fragrance to the way it makes your skin feel unbelievably silky soft after rinsing. The wash itself has a sort of very finely ground paste texture; it sort of reminds me of Arm & Hammer's baking soda toothpaste in that the scrub particles are very small and not at all rough. I'd forgotten how much my skin likes Neutrogena, and I've found this gives a lovely deep clean without drying my skin out at all. It's a wonderfully prep for make-up application and it has really been a joy to use so far. As for whether or not it actually eliminates blackheads? I'll let you know! 

My second pick this week is my current favourite lipstick, Maybelline's Colorsensational in '910 Shocking Coral' from the Vivids collection. Until discovering this and its sister colour 'Fuchsia Flash' which I reviewed here, I'd disregarded Maybelline lipsticks as 'not my thing'. This was based on never being able to find a colour to suit me, although in hindsight I think I was just looking at the wrong colour palette. Anyhoo, I picked up this bad boy of a lippie and I'm now a total fan of what Maybelline has to offer pout-wise. 

£7.19 at Boots

'Shocking Coral's is a very pink neon coral, which I really like as it's unusual compared to the more popular orange coral colours around at the moment. Super pigmented, super creamy, super comfortable, super easy to apply and super long-lasting, I haven't a bad word to say about it. Along with Soap & Glory's lipsticks, Maybelline's are now my faves. 

Two coats of Maybelline Colorsensational '910 Shocking Coral'

I had a bit of difficulty trying to get a good shot of me wearing 'Shocking Coral'... Sorry for the slightly bizarre beams of sunshine flooding the photo! It was the end of a loooong day and I didn't want to keep attempting to capture the colour in different locations around my house! I'd say it looks a little brighter in person but it does settle to a pinky coral as shown and I LOVE it. 

My final pick this week is MUA's Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter. I've had this for months and months, and went through a period of using it every day without fail before abandoning it to test out other highlighters. But, as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it; I've rediscovered it and I'm loving it even more than before. 

£3 Makeup Academy online store

The beautiful pearlescent silvery pink colour shows up really well on my pale skin and highlights  my cheekbones, temples, nose and browbones perfectly. It's subtle but can be built up in layers for extra impact, and I also use it as a brightening eye shadow. It's easy to blend and gives a lovely glow. Plus I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and the powder looks lovely in the pan.  

Quite an intense swatch, applied with fingers to show colour clearly

I apply it on top of blusher and it makes for a lovely finishing touch. I also use the matching under eye concealer which I've reviewed here, which is also great quality. I'm a big fan of MUA's Undress Your Skin range and am looking forward to trying the matching foundation at some stage in the future. 

What have been your favourite products this week? Share your Weekly Roundup in the comments below!