Thursday, September 3, 2015

August Favourites

Skipping over the part where I write a compulsory few lines about how ridiculously fast the summer has whizzed by and OH MY GOD how are we into September already, and moving directly into the good stuff... August beauty favourites. Unlike last month's post, this one, I feel, is a bit more jam packed thanks to a few splurges here and there throughout the month (including a moment on where I dropped the equivalent of my monthly food bill in the space of a few minutes) and finally getting around to organising my make-up stash which resulted in one or two re-discoveries. Going through my make-up stash made me realise just how much make-up I actually have (and I still end up using the same products more or less day in day out...), and most of it is collecting dust, so a blog sale may be on the cards this month?   

I'll begin with my personal favourite - the Becca X Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop which is definitely the product of the moment in the online beauty world. I would forgive you for thinking that this was the whole point of my online Sephora order, but the truth is that I didn't have a whole lot of interest in purchasing it when it first came out. Partly because I already own a thousand other highlighters, and partly because (yes, before I say it, I know I'm in the minority here) I had never heard of Jaclyn Hill before. But then I needed another product to allow my order to qualify for a flat rate delivery charge of £6 (make's total sense) and, well, Champagne Pop happened. It really is true that Becca know how to do highlighters - they just seem to blend into the skin so seamlessly and give the most natural looking dewy glow. Other highlighters can leave me with a reflective stripe across my cheekbones, but this Becca offering always manages to just look like a part of my skin. I don't wear highlighter every single day, just because I prefer a more subtle look for work, but it is one of my favourite make-up products to use and I have really been going to town on it this month whenever I have got the chance.

I used to be a palette girl through and through, but lately I have really been getting into single eyeshadows. I'm not very adventurous when it comes to eyeshadow and I generally stick to the same ones, and whenever I discover one that I like I wear it to death. So I prefer picking out a single shade that I know I will get plenty of wear out of, rather than a palette where it usually happens that I like a few and then leave the rest. Seems like such a waste, even if they do work out better value for money. I have coveted a Burberry eyeshadow for the longest time, but Burberry is an incredibly difficult brand to get a hold of in Ireland. It seemed like fate when I discovered a few weeks back that the brand was finally available on Feel Unique and that coupled with the fact that there was a twenty per cent discount to be availed of meant that the Sheer Eyeshadow in Rosewood was finally going to be mine. I originally wanted Pale Barley, but since it seems to be permanently out of stock I went for Rosewood, a taupey-brown shade with a hint of rose and a sheeny finish. The quality is just incredible - the powder is so silky and finely milled that it applies like a dream, and the pigmentation levels are something else. I have been enjoying wearing it all over the lid and underneath the lower lash line, with a brown kohl eyeliner for an every day look. Which brings me onto my next favourite - MAC 'Teddy' Eye Kohl. I've had this one for years but I've only recently dug it out again and have come to realise just how much of a gem it really is. It's a beautiful bronzey medium brown shade with subtle metallic sheen, and makes a lovely change from a standard matte brown pencil. I love wearing it in my tightline and waterline, with a little smudged into my top and bottom lash lines and it just looks so pretty and natural. I've gone eyeshadow crazy this month, and a second one that I've been loving is the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in Marie Antoinette, a coppery bronze shade with a warm undertone and a subtle shimmering finish. I've come to realise that when it comes to eyeshadows, cooler tones suit me better than warmer tones and I now tend to opt for taupey-brown shades rather than bronze shades. But Marie Antoinette is one that I make an exception for, because it's just so darn pretty when it's on. 

I have a bit of a thing for Origins skincare, and I don't think I've ever tried a product that has let me down. I adore their moisturisers, and when I ran out of my High Potency Night-A-Mins Renewal Cream I knew that I wasn't going to turn to any other brand. This time I opted for the Make A Difference Night Moisturiser, the formula of which I have found to be just perfect for my combination skin. It has quite a light gel cream formula that absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn't leave me overly oily, but is still hydrating enough to replenish my skin with moisture overnight.

Onto bodycare... And I think I've found my holy grail fake tan. I have used quite a lot of self tans in my time, but the St Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse has blown every other tan I have used out of the water. It can be left on for one to three hours, depending on the level of darkness you wish to achieve, before rinsing it off to reveal a beautiful golden olive colour. The mousse absorbs into my skin in seconds - I prefer this type of formula to creams and lotions which tend to take a lot longer to dry - and it doesn't smell too bad either. It lasts for a few days and fades nice and evenly, not a patch in sight. I always try to moisturise my body the day before I apply it to ensure a smooth application, and the one I have been using the most recently is the Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner. I use it in the shower and apply to cleansed, damp skin before rinsing it off. I love the rose scent which lasts for hours, and even though it's quite a heavy duty moisturiser, it doesn't leave any film or residue on my skin. 

What were your favourite beauty products from August? 
Lots of love, Rachael 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Online Sephora Haul & First Impressions

Last week, in a moment of total weakness, I placed an online Sephora order and said to hell with the expensive shipping, duties and taxes charges. A bold move, I know. Dropping a serious amount of money on more make-up that I, quite frankly, didn't need definitely fell into the category of 'reckless spending', something which I've been trying to make less of a habit of recently, but the feeling of elation when my order arrived packed full of goodies not available on this side of the Atlantic made it well and truly worth it. Living off beans and toast for the rest of the month is a small price to pay, wouldn't you agree? Last year, Sephora started delivering to the UK (offering a flat rate delivery charge of £6 on orders over £75), and it was really quite a momentous occasion when American beauty brands that we never before had access to without hopping on a plane were finally within easy reach. Thing is, I don't live in the UK... And since Sephora don't ship to Ireland, how did I manage to place my order? That, my friends, would be down to the wonders of Parcel Motel, which allowed me to send the order to a UK address in Northern Ireland which was then re-directed to a more local address. I spent quite a while adding to and altering my online basket before placing my final order - I only wanted brands and products that couldn't be purchased in Ireland, and then there was the issue with restrictions on the shipping of certain items to the UK to contend with. For me, it was really only the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream that I had to remove from my basket, and being honest it wasn't too long before I replaced it with something else anyway... 

I'll start with the Becca X Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop, because it seems to be the product of the moment in the beauty blogging world. I wasn't actually intending on purchasing this when I was placing my Sephora order -  I didn't know who Jaclyn Hill was beforehand, and I already have plenty of highlighters which I love and get plenty of use out of anyway. But then I couldn't get the Goat Milk and I needed to get something else to allow me to qualify for the flat rate delivery charge... You know how the story goes. Turns out that it's probably my favourite product from the order! It's a beautiful golden shade with warm peachy pink undertones, and has an almost creamy texture to it. It's not a subtle highlighter by any manner of means, but I still can't help but wear it during the day anyway (just with a slightly lighter hand). It blends into the skin better than any other highlighter I've tried, and kind of gives a wet/sheeny appearance to the skin. It's love I tell you, love. I also picked up the Becca Shadow & Light Brow Contour Mousse in the shade Mocha, which was actually the first product into my basket. I am still deeply in love with my Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade but it's starting to dry out, and I wanted to try something different. It's a split pan product which contains a 'brush on brow mousse' on one side, and a peachy pink highlighter shade to accentuate the brow bone on the other. The brow mousse supposedly contains ultra fine fibres which adhere to both the brow hairs and skin to enhance eyebrow volume and fill in any sparseness. Out of all of the eyebrow products that I've tried - pencils, ink, tinted brow gels - mousses/pomades are by far my favourite, and I find that they're the only product that give me the shape I want. I have only tried this Becca brow offering once, and I do like it, but I'm not sure if the shade is as spot on as my Dipbrow Pomade. I re-purchased the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper and boy am I happy to have it back in my life. I've professed my love for it many times before so I won't waffle on about why I adore it too much, but suffice to say that it's the best brush tipped liquid liner that I've ever tried. 

I'm still obsessed with the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but I have been wanting to try a new under eye concealer for a while now and so I decided to go for the Marc Jacobs Remedy Concealer Pen in Rendezvous. I've used it a couple of times and so far I'm a little undecided. It's one of those clickable type concealer pens where the product is dispensed through a 'palladium applicator' - the problem is that I have to click a few times to get anything to come out, and then a ton comes out all at once. I definitely prefer a brush or doe foot applicator. Yes, it may be less hygienic but at least there's less wastage of product, and this concealer certainly wasn't cheap! It contains an eraser, brightener and corrector all in one, and the metal type applicator apparently helps to reduce puffiness on contact with the skin. I'm happy with the shade (I wanted something very brightening), but it does tend to crease slightly. Maybe I'll try setting it with a powder. The last product I picked up was one of the Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo's in the shades Fig and Date. I've heard good things about Bite Beauty, and even though I own an unhealthy amount of lipsticks I wanted to try something from the range. First impressions, these lipstick duo's are teeny tiny. I didn't realise that it wasn't a full sized product when purchasing it, but then again it was only $12 (reduced from $24) which isn't a bad price for getting to sample two shades. Both shades are right up my street nude-wise (I'll live in them come autumn), and the formula is really great too - creamy, pigmented and non drying. One thing is for sure, I'll definitely be getting my hands on a few more of these babies at some stage! 

Have you purchased anything from Sephora recently?
Lots of love, Rachael 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Handbag Beauty Essentials

If my memory serves me correctly it has been about a year since I last did a 'handbag beauty' type post, and I thought that it was about time for an updated version when I realised that there were a couple of new additions. Bear in mind that my handbag make-up bag doesn't always look this minimal and this is a fairly edited version - we would be here for years if I was to ramble on about the fifty different lipsticks rolling around at the bottom of my handbag - but these products are the staples and the ones that never get sent back to the dressing table. 

I always carry around a hand sanitizer with me, and I'm loving the Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash at the moment. It's a handy pocket sized alcohol-based hand wash that's basically just a fancier version of the likes of Purell. This is definitely one of those 'don't-really-need-but-just-kinda-want-it' products, but I will admit that it's a lot less drying than other hand sanitizers that I've tried and I really enjoy the scent of the mandarin orange, cedarwood and lavender essential oils (which manage to nicely camouflage any underlying alcohol scent). And, well, it's Aesop. Need I say any more? My on-the-go fragrance of choice is the Diptyque Eau Rose Roll On, which was one of those scents that I just instantly fell in love with the moment I tried it. I find a roller ball incredibly handy for touching up with throughout the day, and the fact that it comes with a little velvet pouch means I don't have to worry about the glass packaging smashing in my handbag. I am so addicted to the scent that I've been tempted to get the full sized version for a while now, but the price is a little off putting. But when has that ever stopped me?! I'm not one for topping up my make-up throughout the day when I'm at work, but I do like to keep a good concealer in my handbag, y'know, for emergencies. The one that I'm carrying around at the moment is the Clarins Instant Concealer which I like a lot. Because it's in my handbag and not on my dressing table, I don't really use it on a regular basis. It really is a great concealer though so I must make more of an effort to use it more often. As I said, I don't have time to touch up my make-up when I'm at work but concealer is a handy product to have if something last minute pops up after work and I need a little something to revive my make-up. I love the Instant Concealer because it works on both under eye dark circles and any facial imperfections, covers well but still manages to leave a satin finish, and blends into the skin so seamlessly. If I'm on the go, I just use my fingers to apply it (making sure to use the Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash first of course!) - I dab a couple of dots onto the areas that I need it most, blend it out and I'm good to go! 

Lip products are a major weakness of mine, and I always have a fair few knocking about in my handbag. If I decide to have a clear out though, there are always four lip products that I will leave in my make-up bag - a lip primer, lip pencil, lipstick and lip balm. I think that's acceptable, right? I have been using the MAC Prep + Prime Lip* daily since first receiving it, and it really has been a game changer for me. I use it before applying any lip pencil or lipstick, and I really couldn't imagine being without it. It ensures the smooth and even application of any lip product and prolongs the wear time, and really helps to stop my lips from drying out so soon after applying a lip pencil or matte lipstick. I'm running through it at an alarming rate, but it's definitely one of those products that I will pick up again as soon as I run out. The Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Pencil in Pillow Talk and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick in Satisfaction is my go-to lip combination, and I wear one or the other or both pretty much on a daily basis. The two work together so beautifully and create the most gorgeous nude shade that, dare I say it, flatters my skin tone incredibly well. Yeah, I've definitely found my 'holy grail' nude lip combination, and even when I stray to other shades I always come back to these two. Of course, I always have to have a lip balm with me (can't leave the house without one) and the one that has been in my handbag since forever is the Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine. I love the Korres Lip Butters because they are incredibly lightweight and easy to wear during the day, and unlike other lip balms don't dry my lips out the more I wear them. I have them in a few shades but Jasmine is my favourite, a very subtle and natural light pink shade.    

What are your handbag beauty essentials?
Lots of love, Rachael