Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I've Changed My Mind | NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is one of those cult beauty products that every beauty obsessive either owns or wants to own. I was definitely no exception, and I purchased my first bottle about a year and a half ago when my curiosity eventually got the better of me and I had finally convinced myself that it was acceptable to spend forty odd euro on a bottle of foundation. My only issue was that there is only one NARS counter in the Republic of Ireland, and at the time I lived on the other side of the country. But I was so interested in finding out what all the fuss was about that I ended up purchasing online, and I stupidly didn't really put too much thought into what shade I would go for. I went with the shade 'Light 1 Siberia', presuming that the palest in the range would be a good match, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't make it work for me. There is no denying that I've got a naturally fair skin tone (thanks to those good 'ole Irish genes), but 'Siberia' was a couple of shades lighter than my skin tone and made me appear ghost like. They say it's always better to go lighter with a foundation shade rather than darker, but it just didn't work for me even when I dried to warm it up with  bronzer. But it wasn't just the shade that I was nay impressed with - I wasn't wowed by the formula either and I couldn't see where all of the hype was coming from. I tried it in numerous different ways, but it never seemed to sit on my skin properly and always seemed to highlight dry patches. Which was annoying as my skin definitely leans more on the oily side. All of that meant that I didn't get much use out of it, and even when I was at my absolute palest I didn't bother with it as I preferred to mix a foundation with a formula that I favoured more with my Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus. 

A couple of weeks ago, however, I had a sudden craving to get properly matched up at a NARS counter and re-purchase a bottle in a shade that actually suited me. I don't really know what possessed me, especially considering the fact that I wasn't wildly enamoured with the formula of the bottle that I owned previously. I was matched to the shade 'Light 5, Fiji', and I have to say that I'm delighted with it. It's a perfect match and I feel like I could wear it at any time of the year. It's nice having a foundation that I don't have to alter with other products to make it suit my skin tone better, and I feel like it's worth the extra few quid just for this alone. Maybe I ended up with a dud the first time round, but I instantly fell in love with the formula of my second bottle. It blends into the skin so seamlessly, and doesn't sit on top of the skin or exaggerate dryness like I experienced with my first purchase. I have professed my love for a light coverage base more than a few times on this blog, but I've definitely taken a liking to the medium coverage that this foundation offers. Maybe because it's not too heavy, doesn't look too mask like, and feels lightweight and comfortable on the skin. It leaves a satin finish, and after a few hours appears more dewy when the natural oils in my skin begins to shine through. I've written about a lot of foundations that I love on this blog, but this is probably the first foundation that I've used more or less continuously since first purchase and I love it more and more with each wear. I just love the way it makes my skin look, and for that reason I have no doubt that I will be forking out for this foundation again once I come to the end of my current bottle. I have a pretty impressive foundation stash (which may be described as 'obscene' by others), and a foundation really has to stand out for me to consider re-purchasing it. I love it so much that I'm even willing to let it slide that I had to purchase a separate pump... But at least I'll have it for my next bottle. 

Are you a fan of NARS Sheer Glow Foundation?
Lots of love, Rachael 

Monday, April 6, 2015

March Favourites

I may not have had much time to blog over the last month which was down to a jam packed work schedule, but I sure did seem to find the time to shop and try out lots of new beauty bits. I probably could have fitted twice as many products into this favourites post, but I decided to narrow it down and showcase a select few. 'Cause otherwise we would be here all day. 

I'll start the post with what is quite possibly my favourite beauty discovery of the year so far - NARS Sheer Glow Foundation. And no, I actually haven't been living under a rock for the past few years - I have owned this foundation before but because I was stupid enough to buy online I ended up with completely the wrong shade, which meant that it has been lying virtually untouched for well over a year. Sickening, I know. A few weeks back I decided to get matched up properly at a NARS counter (I now have one near me, finally!) and ended up going home with the shade Fiji, Light 5. Which turned out to be absolute perfection. I plan on going into more detail in an upcoming blog post on why I've been loving this foundation so much recently so I'll save it all for then. I haven't worn anything else since I've purchased it, and I think that it's going to be an instant re-purchase which is certainly saying something. The only downside is that it doesn't come with a pump, and the pump itself seems to be permanently out of stock which sucks. But I did strike lucky yesterday and managed to pick one up - happy days! I finally came to the end of my MAC Prolongwear Paint Pot in Painterly last month which has been my eyeshadow primer of choice for years, and as I was stuck I ended up using a sample size of the NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. And whaddaya know, I only went and fell in love with it didn't I! So as soon as I finished it I went out and bought the full sized version and have been using it every day since. I think I prefer the formula of it to MAC Painterly - it's more lightweight, the silvery white colour really helps to brighten up the eye area and it holds eyeshadow in place just as well. Only thing is, there doesn't seem to be much in the tube so I can definitely see myself flying through it. For eyebrows, I still haven't steered away from my Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade just yet but I have been teaming it with my Benefit Gimme Brow. I like to use this on it's own on days when I'm wearing more or less no make-up but still want a little something through my brows, but lately I've been enjoying using it as a tinted brow gel to give my brows a more defined look and hold them in place for the day. I love how the fibres adhere to my baby brow hairs and darkens them which makes my eyebrows appear fuller, and that's a look that I definitely favour. 

I had been after the Soap & Glory Solar Powder for ages and I finally managed to get my hands on it in March - the fact that it seemed to be permanently out of stock made me want it even more, and I was also intrigued by the fact that it had been likened to the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow. I'm a huge fan of the Filmstar Bronze & Glow, but I did want something a little easier on the pocket that I could alternate it with so I wasn't ploughing through it at lightening speed. At €65 a pop, it's not something that I want to have to repurchase too often. This S&G bronzer offering contains a lighter and darker shade and both just work for fair skin - I use it by swirling the two together and then lightly dust it across my cheekbones, jawline and forehead to give a beautiful sunkissed glow. Another great quality product from Soap & Glory (I never seem to be let down by that brand), and one that I would thoroughly recommend. For blush, I have been using the Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Nude Mauve for most of the month, the formula of which has been likened to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes. And I must admit that they are very similar. The dusky rose/brown shade is so so beautiful and right up my street - I basically love anything neutral that contours ever so slightly and brightens up the complexion. Lip product wise, it was (and still is) all about MAC Lipstick in 'Brave' which is a, forgive me for saying it, but a real 'Kylie Jenner-esque shade. Like half the beauty blogger population at the moment, I'm really into 90's mauvey/brown lip shades and 'Brave' is a perfect shade to start off with. It has a touch of pink to it which makes it that bit more wearable, and it's a real classic everyday kind of shade. I finally managed to get my hands on Soar Lip Liner at the weekend, and I can't wait to see how the two work together. 

I fancied a new eye cream last month, and one that I had my eye on for a while was the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado - now that I'm in my mid twenties spending ridiculous amounts on eye creams is totally justified, right?! I'm normally rubbish at remembering to use eye cream, but I've been keeping this one on my bedside table and using it nightly. It's quite rich and hydrating so it's definitely one that works better when applied in the evening, and I've been totally loving it so far. It feels comfortable and nourishing, and I feel like it's doing my under eye area good so I'll definitely continue to use it. And finally onto my favourite fragrance of the moment - the Diptyque Eau Rose Roll On, which has been my latest obsession. I wanted a roll on that I could throw in my handbag and touch up with throughout the day, and after sniffing all of what Diptyque had to offer every time I passed Space NK I decided that Eau Rose would be mine. The packaging is seriously dreamy, and the mix of bergamot, lychee, rose, cedar and musk scents are ideal for spring. I can't get enough of it at the moment, and now I totally want the Diptyque Roses candle to match.   

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Current Haircare Favourites

Hair has never really been my thing. I've never been one of those girls who devotes a certain amount of time each morning to styling her hair, and I would probably put that down to a combination of laziness and the fact that I have pin straight hair which simply refuses to be moulded into something other than a lifeless mop no matter what I do with it. As a result hair products have never been high up on my beauty wishlists. A few weeks back, however, I decided to go for 'the chop' and cut off the long locks that I had sported for years, not because it seems to be the blogger thing to do at the moment, but because I craved having manageable hair once more. And it seemed to have ignited a newfound interest in me in all things hair. New hair always equals new haircare products, and today I thought I would go through my current favourites. 

For Christmas, my sister bought me one of the Lush Solid Shampoo Bars and I have to say that I was really quite surprised with how good it was. They are a bit messier to store compared to regular shampoo, but they lather up so well and last for ages. At the moment I'm alternating between Seanik which contains seaweed and sea salt and adds shine and volume to my hair, and Jumping Juniper which I love for it's clarifying properties. The Unite 7 Seconds Conditioner is more of a long term love at this stage rather than a current favourite as such, but I had to include it as it is a product that I genuinely couldn't be without in my haircare routine. If I want to have hair that I can get a brush through that it. Though pricey, it is one of the few products that I know I will re-purchase for a long time to come - it is the best de-tangler that I've ever come across and it makes post washing hair management a pain free process. My hair is quite fine and gets weighed down easily so I can't use heavy conditioners and treatments too often - this Unite offering is ideal for frequent use as it does everything (detangles, acts as a thermal and UV protector, repairs, protects and strengthens my hair) without weighing it down. Whenever I stop using it for a few days (like when I'm away on holiday and can't bring it with me) I always notice the difference in the condition of my hair and how much more difficult it is to manage post washing. Speaking of products/tools that make de-tangling my hair that bit easier, the Wet Brush was a relatively recent addition to my haircare arsenal but something that I instantly knew would be sticking around for a while. I have been a true Tangle Teezer fan for the past few years, but I haven't so much as looked at it since the Wet Brush came into my life. For something that looks so cheap and flimsy, it certainly delivers in terms of getting through knots and tangles. I used to dread the process of brushing through my hair after washing it, something which took a while and was often quite painful, but this brush makes everything so much easier and faster and I have noticed a huge difference in breakage and hair fallout. 

I have always had a pre-occupation with having voluminous hair and now that my hair is shorter and easier to manage, I have been experimenting with different products without fear of creating a birds nest and having to shave all my hair off. I picked up the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray (along with a mini Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner) back in January with some Boots points that were burning a hole on my card, and I've been using it after pretty much every hair wash since. I spritz it all over while my hair is still damp and then blow dry it, and it creates a bit more body in my hair which lasts for most of the day. In a nutshell, it makes my hair look less like I've just come out of the hairdressers and they've straightened and serum-ed the roots to within an inch of it's life, and more like it's just naturally thick and bouncy. I've read a few reviews where the user has commented on it feeling sticky, but I really don't notice it in my hair at all. The Oribe Dry Texturising Spray has become another staple in my routine when I want some va-va-voom in the roots and I can really see why everyone raves about it. It creates texture in my baby fine hair without making it feel sticky, crunchy or dirty and it holds impressively well. I purchased the full size (simply because I had finally convinced myself that I needed it and I went into Space NK only to be told that they were out of stock of the smaller size), and I can really see it lasting a long time. Which softens the sting of parting with forty odd euro for a can of hairspray just a little. I never quite got the hang of teasing my hair, but lately I've been using the Denman Dressing Out Brush with the Dry Texturising Spray to get a little more height into my roots and it really does turn backcombing into a relatively simple process. I always have to have some sort of a dry shampoo in my collection, and one that I'm really liking at the moment is the Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder. It's an 'all in one' hair powder that offers oil absorption, volume boosting and style extending benefits and it's super handy for throwing in my bag and using on the go. I'm not sure if it's worth spending the extra money on over a can of Batiste, but I've been enjoying using it all the same. 

What are your current favourite haircare products?
Lots of love, Rachael