Affordable beauty: 5 things to buy in Boots

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Like a lot of beauty bloggers, it’s no secret that I do love a bit of luxury beauty in my life. With its pretty packaging, high quality formulas, and the wider choice of options that tend to be available, I admit I can be a sucker for it sometimes.

However, that’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of areas where you can save your money; from face masks to makeup removers, to mascaras to makeup brushes, the ‘drugstore’ offering is getting better and better when it comes to more affordable, yet effective, beauty products.

Boots is typically my store of choice, as it has such an expansive range of products from most price points. Plus, there’s always some sort of offer on, and I find it’s easy to build-up points on the good ol’ Advantage Card and save a few pennies!

There are also plenty of great, affordable brands that are exclusive to Boots, with one of the best known being Soap and Glory. Although there’s no denying that their bath and body care products are lovely (smell them. Seriously), there are some hidden gems in their makeup range. The One Heck of a Blot Powder is just one example; a translucent face powder that’s mattifying, but never looks cakey. Unlike a lot of the pressed powders I’ve tried, it also doesn’t go patchy when you apply other powder products over it.

Another brand I like to pick up in Boots is Una Brennan’s Super Facialist range. I’ve tried more expensive clay masks, but the Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Clay Mask is hands down one of the best I’ve tried. It’s not drying on my skin (which is pretty normal lately, yet sometimes oily in the t-zone), and I can always rely on it to heal spots quickly.

While we’re on the subject of skincare, I don’t see much point in paying a lot for eye makeup removers. As I wear waterproof mascara 80% of the time, I tend to use a lot and go through them far too quickly to justify spending more than a few quid. The Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover does the job and it costs less than £4, even when it’s not on offer. You just can’t go wrong.

Back to makeup, and two other affordable products I’d recommend picking up are the Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in Seductive Pink and the Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara. The latter is quite a wet mascara with a thick brush, but don’t let that put you off as it’s one of the most lengthening ones I’ve tried. The blush is also a lovely light, mauve-y pink that flatters my pale skin tone.

What are your favourite makeup and skincare products to spend your Boots points on? Chuck me some recommendations!

Current beauty and style favourites: March 2017

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It might seem a little early for a monthly favourites post but hey, I’ve been loving (and trying) a lot of new things lately!

Plus, as I haven’t updated in a while (I’ve been really busy with a combination of work, driving lessons, and going on holiday last month), consider this as a bit of a two-in-one as these are products I’ve been using a lot over both February and March.

So, as I have a few makeup favourites, let’s start with those…

I’ve been really into warm eyeshadow looks lately, and have been searching for the perfect red and orange toned palette. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette seemed like it would really fit the bill, and I must say I’m not disappointed. There’s a good mix of warm and cool shades, as well as mattes and shimmers, so you can achieve a variety of looks for both day and night with this. The quality of the shadows is also a lot better than I expected; extremely pigmented and easy to blend.

Make Up For Ever is a brand I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so when I stumbled across the counter in the Bristol Debenhams, I knew I just had to try a few things! One of the items I picked up was the Ultra HD Foundation. Not only does this have a great shade range (the lovely girl on the counter tried 3 colours on me before finding my match), but the finish is perfect on my combination-oily skin. It gives a medium level of coverage, seems to smooth my pores better than any other foundation I’ve tried, and lasts an 8-9 hour workday with minimal fading on my chin and around the sides of my nose.

Lipsticks are something I’ve been wearing a lot lately, and I’ve recently discovered two new favourites. The first is the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Super Cindy, which is described as being a “taupey nude”. I just find this to be really flattering on my paler skintone, and it’s versatile enough to be worn with a range of eye looks. The second lipstick to make it into my favourites is the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita I. This has a great formula (very creamy and long-wearing) and I love the mauve-y nude shade; it’s very 90s.

Primark are killing it lately; especially in the jeans department. When I visited the Bristol store a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the style and colour range of their skinny jeans, and I just couldn’t resist grabbing a few pairs as they were all priced at around £8-12 each. The only thing I’d advise? Try them on in store, if you can; although I bought the same size, some were harder to wiggle into than others!

As I’m like a magpie (as I’m attracted to anything shiny and sparkly), I also just had to get the silver loafers on the same trip. I love how they look with a baggier style of jeans (such as the Mom or Boyfriend fit), and if I remember correctly, they were only around £8 so they were a total bargain.

Still with me? Good, cause we’re nearly done! In terms of haircare, there’s only one product I’ve really been loving; the Bumble and Bumble Cityswept Finish. This is my go-to for nights out after I’ve straightened my hair as it adds volume and texture back in. As someone with a lot of fine hair, I find my hair can easily look flat without it.

Lastly, I’ve been slowly making my way through Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes, a book that I’ve really been enjoying. I think her attitude (e.g. that “it’s perfectly normal to love both lipstick and literature”) is great, and I like how the book gives honest advice on a variety of things, such as how to shop at beauty counters and apply makeup on public transport, as well as which skincare items you actually need to invest in. If you’re a beauty junkie like I am, I’d recommend picking it up!

What are your current beauty, style and lifestyle favourites? Have you tried any of mine? Chuck me some recommendations!

My 2016 beauty favourites: the best of makeup and skincare

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For someone as indecisive as I am, choosing my 2016 beauty favourites turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Nonetheless, if you’d have asked me to do the same thing this time last year, I think I would have struggled a tad; and this is no surprise really as I still didn’t know how to balance my combination skin without drying it out, and my idea of an adventurous makeup look was a bit of neutral eyeshadow and some blusher.

Fortunately, I think I’m finally finding my feet with this whole applying-makeup-thing. I now know (for the most part) how to control my oily t-zone and dry chin, I’m a master of eyeshadow blending (well, nearly), and this is thanks to a number of products that I’ll happily sing the praises of.

Cue my 2016 beauty favourites… (be warned: it’s going to be a long one!)

Starting with skincare, there’s one product that I’d recommend time and time again; the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. As many have said before me, this is unlike most gel cleansers as it’s quite thick and turns into a light oil, making it a great option for all skin types. It’s also gently exfoliating thanks to its pumpkin enzymes. While we’re on the subject of cleansing, Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Waters are another product I’ll always repurchase as they’re gentle, affordable and effective at removing makeup.

Now, let’s talk hydration. Although I am still on the hunt for the perfect moisturiser, I think I’ve found the oil for me. The Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil provides just the right amount of nourishment for my drier patches, while balancing my oiler areas and lessening oil production. It smells amazing as well; very herbal and spa-like. And when it comes to my under eyes? So far, nothing has helped with dehydration as much as Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

Last up in the skincare round-up is the Pixi Glow Tonic. This is an effective exfoliating toner that contains 5% glycolic acid, as well as soothing aloe vera and witch hazel (which is a good one for spots, just FYI). As my skin can get quite sensitive I only use this every other day, but I still find it brightens my skin and helps to keep it smooth and clear.

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Are you still with me? Good, because it’s time to move onto makeup… when it came to applying my base in 2016, there were two clear standouts; the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation and the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in-Place-Makeup. The former has pretty much been my daily go-to for the past few months as it’s really quick and easy to apply (I use the applicator it comes with) and provides a good medium coverage. The latter is the one I bring out for long days or nights out as it covers everything and is the only foundation that lasts for more than 3 or 4 hours on my t-zone. To set my foundation, I’ve also been loving the Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot Powder as it’s very mattifying but not too heavy.

For me, 2016 was the year that I really begun to hone my eyeshadow application skills (next on the list? Liquid eyeliner). As well as being thanked by the discovery of the MAC 217 Blending Brush, I’ve also fallen for a few creamy eyeshadows that can be applied in around 5 minutes. These are the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock (a taupey, silvery purple), The Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Mirage (a golden bronze) and the Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Eyeshadow in Pink Gold. All of these are great shades for the lazy girl as the shimmer makes them multidimensional, meaning they can be easily worn on their own.

I won’t harp on about these too much as I’ve already mentioned them a few times, but the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are definitely my favourite lipsticks. As I’ve said before, their shape makes application a whole lot easier, they last pretty well on the lips, and I’m convinced they have a red for everyone.

The Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks also come in a great shade range and I’ve loved Glastonbury from the Matte Revolution range; it’s a purpley-plum that leans a bit red on me, making it vampy but wearable. In terms of shades, another I fell in love with towards the end of the year was the MAC Viva Glam Lipstick in Ariana Grande II. It’s a hot orchid pink that instantly brightens up my face and I really like that it’s matte; these are the best of MAC’s lipstick formulas, in my opinion.

What were your favourite beauty products of 2016? Did we share any of the same favourites?

Bright lipsticks for every mood: reds, pinks and plums

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I’m a big fan of bright lipsticks, as is evident every time I look at my expanding lipstick collection. From the wide selection of colours and finishes to choose from, to their ability to instantly dress up any outfit with a little effort, they’re definitely my favourite makeup product to both buy and wear.

But while my younger (and for a while, braces wearing self) would shy away from anything too dramatic, I’m now firmly on the bright lip brigade; and though I love a classic nude or ‘your lips but better’ shade, sometimes you want something a bit different. This is where a good plum, pink or red comes in…

Because I do like a red lipstick and feel there’s a shade to suit everyone, I’ve featured a few options in this little products round-up. The first is quite famous in the beauty blogging world; the Rimmel Kate Matte Lipstick in 107. The colour is what I’d call a deep wine red (bordering almost on plum), and it just seems to suit everyone. This is probably because it sits somewhere between a plum and a deep red, and it’s berry-toned without being too dark.

If you do like your plums but want something that makes more of an impact, the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Hell’s Bells is a great place to start. As you can see from the bullets, this is far more purple and cool-toned than 107, and it has a hint of pink. It’s described on the Charlotte Tilbury website as ‘magenta-mulberry inspired’, which I would agree with.

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Moving back to reds, and next up is the Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Orange. Now, this might be described as a ‘pumpkin orange’ on the Bobbi Brown website, but it pulls more orange-red on me (for reference, I’m around a NC15 in Mac). Nonetheless, this is really bright and I like how it warms up my complexion, though I think it would suit a range of skin tones.

It’s no secret that I love the Nars lip pencils, which is why they’re getting another mention (see this previous post for reference). The brightest of the two is the Satin Lip Pencil in Yu, which is described as a “vivid pink” by Nars. This lipstick is almost neon in terms of vibrancy, but I still find it to be quite flattering for my pale skin tone as it’s blue-toned, rather than peachy.

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Last up is my favourite of the two lip pencils: the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. This is a cherry red shade with a hint of pink, making it a great option if you also have a paler complexion. In fact, it was Taylor Swift’s favourite red lipstick before she discovered Mac’s Ruby Woo (so you know it’s a good’un).

Do you enjoy rocking a bright lipstick? Which shades are your favourite?

Quick and easy makeup picks that will last your 9-5

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When you’re a beauty lover that likes a lie-in but starts work at 8:30am, getting everything ready in the morning can be a struggle. I constantly debate the pros and cons of having an extra half an hour in bed versus putting on eye makeup, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s found themselves applying mascara on the train on more occasions than they’d care to admit.

Fortunately, there’s now heaps of products available that make getting ready as quick and fuss free as possible each morning. So for today’s post, I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you…

For those who don’t want to skimp on the coverage by skipping foundation, the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Cushion is definitely something I’d recommend. Not only can it can be quickly buffed into the skin using the puff applicator (no extra blending required), but the medium, buildable coverage means you only need a little bit of concealer. For an easy option, I’d suggest a cream formulation that doesn’t need many layers, such as the SEVENTEEN Phwoarr Paint.

When it comes to my brows I prefer to fill them in with a powder or gel, but find this takes too long if I’m pushed for time in the morning. When this is the case, I’ll use something like the Benefit ‘Precisely, My Brow’ Pencil as it has a thin tip that’s ideal for filling in smaller sparse areas. It also has a spoolie on one end, which is handy for travelling.

Moving onto eyes, I find chunky pencils and creams are the best way to go; especially if they have a bit of a shimmer. Some good options are the Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadows, the By Terry Ombre Blackstars and the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleons as they can be applied messily all over the lid and blended out with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. The shimmer adds dimension, so I find you can get away with using just one shade.

For lips, the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and Satin Lip Pencils are where it’s at for me; there’s a great range of shades, they’re really pigmented and they last well on the lips. The shape of the pencil makes it so much easier for me to apply them, saving me valuable minutes in the morning.

Do you wear makeup everyday? Which products do you recommend when you need to get ready fast?

Some new additions to my Autumn skincare routine

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I’ve got a confession to make; I’m a bit of a skincare junkie. Rich cleansing balms, soothing facial sprays and oils… you name it. Like Pokémon, I want to catch (or rather use) ’em all.

This basically means that I change up my skincare routine quite often, though my combination skin type is another reason I’ve decided to switch to a few more moisturising products now that Autumn is here and Winter is fast approaching. So without further ado, here’s a peek into how that skincare line-up is looking lately…

I briefly mentioned this product in my last post (4 products to try from Lush Cosmetics) but it’s so good I thought it was worth mentioning again. Lush’s Ultrabland is a thick, waxy cleanser that I’ve been using to remove the bulk of my makeup; and although I’ll follow up with a micellar water or oil-based remover if I’m wearing eye makeup, this teamed with a warm, damp flannel does a pretty great job on removing the rest. I can see this being in my routine for a long time!

As you can tell, I’ve been loving Lush lately. This is why I decided to try the Tea Tree Water when I used up the last of my Serozinc from La Roche-Posay. One of the things I like about this spray toner is that it sinks in quickly, though I’ll have to use it a bit longer to see if it reins supreme over the Serozinc.

Going back to my evening skincare routine, and I’ve recently added two new products; Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and the Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream. I must admit that I’ve only tried the Kiehl’s oil a few times (so it’s too early to form a proper opinion), but I’m a fan so far; it absorbs surprisingly quickly and is helping to sooth my skin which has been a bit dry and sore recently.

I tried the Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream because Jasmine Talks Beauty is a fan and has a similar skin type to myself. I like it, but it’s very different to how I expected it to be. As it contains shea butter, I assumed it would be very heavy and creamy but it’s quite the opposite; it has an almost ‘whipped’ texture and like the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, sinks in nicely. It’s definitely a good one for those of us with dewier skin!

Have you tried any of the above products? What does your Autumn skincare routine look like?

4 products to try from Lush Cosmetics (that aren’t bath bombs or bubble bars)

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Being a beauty blogger and a Lush Cosmetics lover pretty much go hand in hand; it seems most of us just can’t resist their wonderful smells, natural ingredients and more quirky take on skincare and bath products (case in point: Fun and the Shower Jellies).

Although I’m late to the party, discovering the wonderful world of Lush this year has meant I’ve tried a lot of their products in a bid to catch-up- and boy, let me tell you, I’ve discovered a lot of firm favourites in that time. So if you’re also new to Lush and find yourself wondering what products to start with, here are my top 4…

First up we have Ultrabland, which is probably one of Lush’s most popular and well-known products. It’s a thick cleanser which is based on cold cream and contains simple, gentle ingredients such as beeswax and almond oil. Unsurprisingly, this has a waxy texture and feels quite greasy on the skin, but it does an excellent job of removing make-up when teamed with a warm flannel so I’m willing to let that slide; just make sure you get very last bit off before following up with a second cleanse!

Another popular product is the Snow Fairy Shower Gel, which is a Christmas exclusive. Now, although I do love this, it isn’t my favourite from the range- I just love Lush’s shower gels and shower creams in general. They lather well, last for much longer than expected (even the small size), and leave a lovely lingering scent.

While we’re on the subject of bath and body products, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner is just wonderful. It has the Rose Jam scent (which is my favourite) and is so easy to use; you slap in on in the shower, rinse it off, and you’re left with moisturised, rosy smelling skin. Glorious.

As someone with a lot of fine hair, I love using dry shampoo to inject a little bit of volume into my mop. However, I find that most of the sprays leave my hair sticky and hard to get a brush through (is anyone else cursed with permanently knotty hair)? The reason I like No Drought is that it’s quite a fine powder (so it’s easy to brush out), but it still gives my hair a good ol’ refresh. The lime scent doesn’t hurt either…

What are your favourite Lush products? Chuck me some recommendations!