Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Naked 3 One Year On

As soon as I saw the first sneak peaks of the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette on their Instagram last year just before Christmas, I, along with many other Urban Decay fans put the palette right at the top of my Christmas list. I was so excited to receive the palette on Christmas day, but with all the hype surrounding it, I think I was a bit too quick to pass judgement. Which is why I want to share my thoughts on the offering, one year on.

Have I used the palette as often as I'd have liked to? No. I honestly don't think the shades in the palette are all that wearable at all. They're all beautiful shades, but probably not for every day. It could be down to my colouring, but I generally don't tend to ever reach for the pink shades in the palette as much as I'd have hoped.

This being said, the second half of the palette with the darker sides are absolutely beautiful and are the real redeeming factor for it. Generally, the first half up to the rose gold colour doesn't get touched much at all unless I feel like going for a really pretty eye look. I use the darker shades way more than the pink ones, but I definitely wouldn't say that they're worth buying the palette for.

Just to clear things up, I'm not saying that I hate this palette, because that isn't the case at all. I love the packaging and I think it's beautiful. The darker shades from the palette are stunning and I really do get the use out of them. And as for the pink shades, they are equally as lovely. I just really don't see why Urban Decay would create a palette for the 'Naked' range, which really isn't that neutral at all... I just don't think it really fits in with the 'family'. If you're looking to invest in a Naked palette that's going to work for you every day and in every situation, I'd definitely recommend going for one of its two predecessors.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Products Worth All The Hype

When I was just starting out with makeup, I was one of those frugal teenagers who purchased the MUA dupe palettes in hope of saving some pennies. Gone are those days and I'm so pleased I bought one of the Urban Decay palettes. The quality of these shadows are next to none and I use every single shade in the Naked 2. I also own the Naked 3 but it very rarely sees the light of day because I like this one so much. All the shades are so wearable and so affordable, coming in at under £40 for 12 shades. When you think a MAC palette (which I don't rate the quality of) would cost you around 3 times the price, you can't go wrong.

Being a lover of all things Summer (real-life Olaf over here), I was bound to love this perfume. The only way I can describe the smell is that it takes you back to childhood holidays abroad, when your mum slathered you in suncream and you constantly tried to sneak a sip of her Miami Vice cocktail. Just me? I'm savouring every last drop of this perfume as we go into Autumn & Winter. I miss Summer!

Every single penny I paid for this serum, I would pay over and over again. It just does things to my skin that no other skincare product can. It locks in moisture, stops any under the skin spots coming out and generally controls my skin from breaking out into a red, bumpy mess. I'm just a bit scared that I'm going to be an old lady, scrimping pennies from down the cracks of the sofa to buy another bottle of the stuff. It's an expensive habit to keep up!

All the brushes from the Zoeva Rose Gold set are absolutely incredible. I used to be an avid user of Real Techniques brushes, but I now can't find a brush from them that Zoeva hasn't done 10x better. The silk finish foundation brush is my favourite of the bunch. It blends foundation like a dream and is so easy to get a good coverage from. Put these on your Christmas list if you haven't given into the hype already.

Having really hooded, oily eyelids, I'm really surprised it took me so long to invest in a damn good primer. You need the tiniest amount of this to keep your eyeshadow on all day and night. The stuff's virtually bullet-proof and incredible value for money. I can't see myself ever running out of this.

I'm not a lip gloss girl in the slightest but this offering from Clarins converted me. They give just the right amount of colour, gloss and moisture and smell absolutely insane. They are pricey, but 100% worth it. I only have this and a few other glosses in my collection because this satisfies my gloss needs completely.

Every time I heard yet another beauty blogger talk about yet another Nars blush, I rolled my eyes in disbelief. "Could they really be that good?" Yes. YES YES YES YES YES. They are just the nicest quality blushes and blend like a dream. I only own Douceur at the moment, which unfortunately has now been discontinued, but I definitely want to try some more. Deep Throat is next on my list - ooh err!

Finally, this little beauty. I saved up all my Boots points for this back in the day and it was a purchase well made. I've used it so much and it's one of those nudes I always turn to if I'm not sure what lipstick to wear. The quality of these lipsticks are second to none and apply so nicely. I've only just realised that this is the only colour from this range I own and I'm not even sure why. I'm definitely on the hunt for another so if you have any recommendations, do let me know!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Making A University House A Home

You'll have to excuse the awful photography and editing on this one (I have asked for a new camera for Christmas!) but I really wanted to write a post on how I achieved a homely bedroom at university when I'm 3 hours away from home.

Everyone who's gone to university will understand the struggle of being given a plain, clinical-looking room and having to attempt to make it somewhat homely in fear of going insane before the year's out. I have been so lucky this year to have found a really lovely home in Bath, but for those who haven't been so lucky, I've got a few tips to make your room seem much more live-able in.

My first year bedroom was way beyond the point of being calm. With clashing pink floral prints everywhere, it was almost enough to give you a headache. This year my taste has changed a lot and I opted for a grey and white colour scheme. Some people would probably say that grey's really boring and cold but for me, it's just really clean looking and calm. Make sure you try to stick to the colour scheme as well as possible. It will look much better in the long run.

Honestly, this makes such a difference to how cosy your room feels. I'm speaking from experience when I say that you'll be so thankful you have all those throws and cushions to keep your bed as warm as possible at night time. I've definitely been wrapped up in 3 throws and a 13 tog duvet on numerous occasions, so bear that in mind! They not only keep you warm but they definitely make your room feel less empty and much more homely.

For me, of course it's my makeup. Without my Muji stack taking pride of place on my desk, I'd probably just have to put uni stationery there and that's not nice for anyone to look at all day.

Being a real home/family gal, it's really hard for me to be such a long way away from home for such long periods of time. For me, having photos of all my best friends and family in my room made things much easier last year. This year I don't have as many photos out simply due to space, but whenever I look at the photo of my baby brother smiling away, it always warms my heart.

Whether it's something you've brought from home, or a letter from home, it always helps to have something from home in your room reminding you of what there is to go back to. Last year I used to pin all my letters from home on my pin board so that when I was feeling particularly homesick I could go back, read the letters, and you know... feel even more homesick! Not really, it does help.

The world is a whole lot better when you come home from uni, walk into your room and it smells really nice. Sometimes student houses can be really old and often damp, so having a nice reed diffuser and candle in the room just really helps to mask the smell when there's very little else you can do to get rid of it. I'm not saying to go crazy and buy a Jo Malone reed diffuser and a Diptyque candle, but you can get some really nice and affordable candles that really make the room smell lovely and much more homely.

With me, this is a bit of a 'practise what you preach' situation, as the majority of the time I have underwear and worn clothes spread all over the floor and makeup I used that morning still on my desk. However, if I have the chance, I do like to tidy my room and make sure it's nice and clean. I know if any of my housemates are reading this, they'll laugh at the hypocrisy of me! It's not always easy to keep your room 100% tidy 100% of the time, but it's true what they say. Tidy room, tidy mind.

Friday, 14 November 2014

You Need This: Nars Copacabana Illuminator

It's very rare that I find products that I would go out and recommend to absolutely everyone. With so many new beauty products constantly on offer, I never really get the chance to fall in love with certain products the way I used to. This is why, as soon as I find a firm favourite in my collection, I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops. And thus, a new series in my blog was formed: You Need This.

Today's You Need This comes in the form of Nars Copacabana Illuminator.
Have you ever sat and watched a Hannah Maggs vlog in awe of her dewy complexion? You're not the only one. As I knew this was one of her favourite products, I decided to just take the plunge and purchase it. As someone with oily skin, I never ever thought that I'd be putting something like this on my face and I certainly never expected to fall as in love with it as I have.

I personally mix a small amount of this in with my Nars Sheer Glow foundation for the perfect amount of dewy-ness. Then, just to give my face some more life after bronzing, I stipple a small amount onto the tops of my cheekbones, on my brow bones, on my cupid's bow and down the bridge of my nose.

Not only is it such a long-lasting formula, which is really surprising for a liquid product, but it is crammed full of good ingredients;
Polar Berries - known for their antioxidant properties
Bisabolol - a good anti-inflammatory
Indian Frankincense - good for soothing and comforting the skin
Vitamin B5 - conditions skin
Sodium Hyaluronate - hydrates the skin

This illuminator alone converted me to cream highlighters and as a product that I think will suit everyone, you couldn't get a more natural looking glow.

Monday, 10 November 2014

I've Finally Sussed Cream Highlighter

I've said it before, highlighter is my thing. With a whole Muji drawer dedicated to giving my dull skin a healthy glow, I have all sort of formulas tucked away. However, as much as I loved a lot of them, I could just NEVER get cream or liquid formulas to work for me. You know that streaky line you get when you try and blend your Benefit High Beam into your foundation? That was me. Day. After day. After day.

I recently found the solution to this in something I've had in my makeup brush pot for the longest time. The Real Techniques Stippling Brush. Simply dab your cream highlighter onto the tops of your cheek bones sparingly, stipple in and blend carefully, add more if need-be and voila! Without fail it blends the product into other products seamlessly and there are no horrible streaks in sight.

I'm so glad I've finally found a way that I can make the use of my cream highlighter formulas without looking like half of my foundation has smeared across my face!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Autumn Shades for the Faint-Hearted

Left-Right: Benefit Rockateur / Nars Douceur / Chanel Inspiration

Left-Right: Rimmel East End Snob / MAC Peach Blossom / Rimmel 107
Eyeshadow: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow - Birthday Suit

There are some people in this world that can pull off everything. Doesn't matter how dark of a lip colour, how bright a blush, it will still look good. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. As much as I adore makeup, I'm not one to go out and buy the likes of MAC Rebel because a) I don't think it would suit me and b) I'm just too scared to ever don a colour so daring. Autumn is the time of year when all these lucky can-pull-off-anything people start wearing all the typical dark seasonal shades. But, I've rifled through my collection to find some products I can wear this season without being too scared to leave the house.

For cheeks I've picked three staple blushes. Benefit Rockateur, Nars Douceur and Chanel Inspiration. Rockateur is your classic rose gold blush that gives so much life to a pale face. It's glowwy sheen makes the darker shade that bit more wearable. Nars Douceur gives a similar bronzing effect but without the sheen, so if you're going for that typical Autumn/Winter matte look, this will be a great shade. Finally, a really un-typical blush to chose for Autumn, Chanel's cream blush in Inspiration. I love cream blushes more in the colder months as I find they sit much nicer on my skin when it tends to get drier. The colour is one of those pink shades that gives you an 'English rose I've-just-been-for-a-brisk-walk-in-the-woods' flush to your cheeks and because it has a nice velvet finish, it gives a really nice look to your face.

Next, lip products. My favourite Autumn lip pick is Rimmel's Exaggerate Lip Liner in East End Snob. It's a dark dusky pink that looks really nice and velvety on the lips. It's like your nude 'my lips but better' shade, but even better than that. Also, it's perfect if you need something that's going to last all day. MAC's Peach Blossom is my nude choice for the colder months as it's a little bit more brown toned than I'd normally go for and it looks really nice paired with all my Autumn blush choices. It wouldn't be an Autumn post without a mention of Rimmel's 107 berry shade. I much prefer this dabbed on and blended into the lips as it's a much more fail-safe way to rock a burgundy lip.

Finally, I tend to switch up my eyelid primer as the seasons change, and I've been loving Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit. It's a really nice taupe-y champagne shade that goes perfectly with all my lip and blusher choices and it really does live up to it's name. Crease-free and really easy to blend.

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Ultrabland Challenge: Before

When I first heard about the Ultrabland Challenge, my skin was in a pretty bad way. This is why, without hesitation, I headed into town the next day to purchase the biggest tub possible. Basically, the whole concept of the 'Ultrabland challenge' is to use the cleanser alone (with no other skincare products) for an entire month.

Honestly, the thought of going a whole month without putting a drop of my beloved Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair or even a bit of moisturiser on my face made me want to cry a little bit. As a product junkie, I couldn't imagine using just a cleanser for a month. The whole concept of the challenge is to starve your skin from all the products you put on your skin to alter it, and take your skin back to it's natural, acne free state. That's why I decided to give up the gun (or the cupboard full of skincare products) and take the Ultrabland challenge.

As I type this I've been doing the challenge for just under a week and I'm starting to notice a difference in my skin. However, I'm going to be doing a full post on my experience when the month is up. I've done some research and seen some incredible results, so I really have got my hopes high for this.

Have you done the Ultrabland challenge and has it worked for you?