Monday, October 12, 2015

An Overdue September Favourites

This month's beauty favourites post is so overdue that I debated calling it an early October favourites. I've been slacking on the blogging front a lot recently, for no good reason other than I haven't really been feeling it as much lately, and I find that a good favourites post always helps me to get back into the swing of things. Even though my motivation to blog has wavered slightly, my love for make-up definitely hasn't and I'm excited to share the products that have made their way into my everyday beauty routine since my last favourites instalment.

This time of year, it's impossible to pen a good favourites post without mention of at least one autumnal themed product. My pick? The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure which I had coveted for so long. Seriously, this baby had been on my wishlist since the blush range was first released, and since I owned so many similar blush shades I kept putting off the purchase. The fact that it's a pricey little number didn't help either. But I am a sucker for getting all seasonal with my make-up and this purchase was bound to happen sooner or later with the arrival of the autumn months. And I'm so glad that it did. I do love me a good neutral toned blush and this is probably the prettiest one I own. Applying blush is a step in my make-up routine that I tend to skip more often than not, but now that I have this in my life it's become the part of my routine that I most look forward to. It somehow manages to contour my features and warm up my complexion at the same time, and the finely milled formula blends into the skin beautifully. It's early days yet, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I can see this one becoming an all time favourite blush. For mascara, I have discovered an unexpected favourite - the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara. I say unexpected because I hadn't ever come across a Maybelline mascara that blew me away (and I had tried quite a few), until now that is. A couple of weeks back I was getting ready to re-purchase the Make-Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara after coming to the end of it, but when I spotted the newest addition to the Maybelline mascara family on offer in Boots I decided to pick it up and give it a whirl. And I haven't actually worn another mascara since! It has quite a wet formula and reminds me of L'Oreal Telescopic which is an old favourite of mine, except as well as separating and lengthening the lashes Lash Sensational also adds volume. I love it so much that I'm half thinking of picking up the waterproof version too... The Becca Shadow & Light Brow Contour Mousse has been getting a lot of love from me ever since my Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade dried up, and I'm happy to say that it's been a hit! The shade may be the teeniest bit too warm toned for my liking but I've still be wearing it on a daily basis and liking the results. I apply the 'arch defining creme' to my brow bone most days too and I have found that it makes a huge difference to my overall look. Highlighting my brow bone is not a step that I would have previously incorporated into my daily make-up routine, but this little duo means I never forget. 

I've been getting more use out of my Bite Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Fig & Date recently, and I'm totally obsessed with the buttery smooth and rich formula. Why oh why must Bite Beauty be a Sephora only brand?! The shades are very autumnal which is why I've been getting more wear out of them, but to be honest they do sit firmly in the neutral category so they could be worn any time of year really. Last month seemed to be the month that I came to the end of a lot of products (which inevitably equalled a big bill for beauty repurchases... post coming soon!) - the NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base was one such product. Even though I got along really well with it, instead of repurchasing it I decided to go for the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow Primer which I had been interested in using for a while. I picked up the original version which is non-tinted meaning that it doesn't interfere with the colour of your eyeshadow. It's basically a lightweight primer which evens out and camouflages any discolouration on the eyelids, and creates the perfect canvas for what ever eyeshadow is to be applied on top. It prolongs the wear of eyeshadow and eyeliner, and my eye make-up always looks freshly applied even at the end of the day when I'm wearing this stuff underneath. A little goes a long way, and I can imagine this tube lasting for a hell of a long time (which is a plus compared to the NARS offering). And lastly, we have skincare. I've switched my evening skincare routine up slightly (maybe it's time for an updated post), and after coming to the end of my Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial I decided to see what all the fuss was about with the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I haven't been using it every night because it's fairly heavy duty stuff, but on the nights I have been using it I have definitely noticed a difference in the suppleness and hydration levels of my skin the next morning. I think this will see me through the winter months just nicely!

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The One Wash Wonders

I've been having a bit of a moment with single eyeshadows recently, especially those shades that serve as what's come to be known as 'one wash wonders' in the beauty blogging world. Don't get me wrong, I still love me a good eyeshadow palette and they'll always hold a special place in my make-up loving heart, but lately I've been rather enjoying the process of selecting one shade that I know I will wear to death. I own my fair share of palettes, most of which are neutral toned it has to be said, and I do adore being able to create multiple eye make-up looks with just one product. But I'm not gonna lie, I definitely have my favourite shades in each of my palettes and there always ends up being a few that I wear a lot more than others. Have you ever discovered a really great shade and ended up wearing it until you've finished it, only to find out that it only comes with the palette and not on it's own? I know I have. And, yes, I have actually contemplated re-purchasing an entire palette just for one shade (Charlotte Tilbury The Golden Goddess, I'm looking at you). I can never understand how some girls manage to find the time or patience to blend together what seems like ten different eyeshadows to create one look - 99% of the time I just whack one shade on all over the lid, and a darker colour worked into the crease or an inner corner highlight is about as crazy as it gets for me. Today, I'll be letting you in on three recent 'one wash wonder' finds, and boy are they good 'uns. 


It all started when I ran out of one of my all time favourite eyeshadow shades - the 'enhance' shade from the Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess Eyeshadow Palette - and, not wanting to fork out €50 on a whole new palette when it was only the one shade that I was after, I began the search for a good dupe. Laura Mercier are not a brand that I think of when it comes to eyeshadows, but the Lustre Eye Colour in the shade Topaz caught my eye when I was passing by the counter one day, and a side by side hand swatch with the CT Golden Goddess shadow confirmed that the two were indeed very similar. I am obsessed with taupe eyeshadow shades at the moment. After discovering that it is the shade which flatters my skin tone and eye colour the most, I just can't seem to get enough of them, and I can see my collection growing at an alarming rate. I always thought that warm toned bronzey-brown shades were more up my street, but I'm now all about the cool toned taupe colours - I guess the grey undertone offers a better contrast against my dark brown eyes. On the lids, Topaz definitely isn't an exact dupe for the CT shadow - Topaz has stronger grey undertones - but it's still super pretty and I've been wearing it a lot. It's quite sheer, but that's not to say that the pigmentation levels are poor. It leaves a slightly shimmering finish, which incidentally is my favourite kind of eyeshadow finish, and I have no problems with the wear time when I pair it with a good lid primer. My favourite way to wear it at the moment is all over the lid (no shit...) with a little smudged into the lower lash line, and instead of adding black liquid liner like I always do, I've been tightlining and waterlining with a bronze toned kohl pencil eyeliner (MAC 'Teddy' is my favourite). And of course adding a good deal of mascara. It gives a sultry look which I love, but the sheer formula of the eyeshadow and the fact that I like to wear it with a brown kohl pencil means that it's day time and work appropriate.   


I had been hankering after a Burberry eyeshadow for the longest time, but the fact that the brand was so difficult to get a hold of in Ireland meant that I could only lust after it from afar. When I noticed that Feel Unique were finally stocking the brand, I decided that it was about time for a 'treat yo'self' moment - believe me, those Burberry shadows are darn pricey. Pale Barley was the shade that I originally wanted, but since it seemed to be permanently out of stock, I decided to do a bit of online swatching and see what other shades tickled my face. In the end I opted for Rosewood a taupe brown shade with a hint of a rose undertone, and I'm glad I did. The quality is incredible and unlike anything I've tried before - buttery soft and almost creamy in texture. The colour pay-off is incredible, and apparently it's even more intense when worn wet. Although the price makes me cringe, I can't help but want to try more shades from the range. 


I had to throw a cream eyeshadow into the mix because aren't they all just made to be one wash wonders? One of my favourites at the moment is the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in Marie Antoinette which, being a coppery bronze shade with a warm golden undertone, totally goes against what I said earlier about cool toned taupe eyeshadows being my thing these days. This one was so pretty that I just had to make an exception! I used to be a sucker for a good cream eyeshadow, and I've been getting back into wearing them a lot recently. They're just so quick and easy to use - in my experience they have better lasting power than a powder eyeshadow and so don't require a primer to be worn underneath, and they can even be applied with fingers. A must have for us lazy girls. 

 What are your current favourite 'one wash wonders'?
Lots of love, Rachael 

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