Sunday, 25 September 2016

Four Products for Flawless & Long-Lasting Makeup


Four Products for Flawless and Long-Lasting Makeup

If you've ever looked at a photo of a makeup artist or model wearing a bold lip or a bright eye & wondered how they manage to make it look so polished, I can guarantee the secret to their look was a flawless base. Obviously there's nothing wrong with a more sheer look (I love that Rebecca Shores often rocks her natural freckles) but as someone with less than perfect skin I want my face to be a blank canvas. So, today I wanted to share with you my updated base routine featuring four products which are guaranteed to give you a flawless finish. 


Step One  //  Moisturise & Prime

As someone with super oily skin, I struggle to find moisturisers that are lightweight enough for use during the warmest months of the year. That's where MAC's Prep + Prime in Radiant Yellow comes in. Yes, at £29.50 for 50ml it's pretty pricey, but you only need two or three pumps to achieve smooth, moisturised skin that's ready for foundation application almost instantly. The yellow tone is supposed to counteract dullness, although it's definitely not pigmented enough to double as colour correction. I have noticed that in the last few days my skin has been drier so I've been reaching for my go-to moisturiser Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream but I hate having to wait for it to settle into my skin, so MAC's Prep + Prime is still my pick for days where you need to get out the door ASAP.

MAC Prep + Prime Radiant Yellow 

Step Two  //  Foundation

If you've followed this blog for a while you know that I used to be all about the super-matte base (Estée Lauder's Double Wear was my favourite) but over the Summer I had a bit of a revelation after trying Too Faced's Born This Way foundation. Born This Way can definitely compete with Double Wear's coverage but it looks far more natural, with a beautiful satin finish when you first apply it which becomes more glowy as it wears in. By the end of an eight-hour work day there's no denying that my face looks pretty shiny, but it's in a flattering kind of way, y'know? It's also worth noting that while Born This Way runs quite warm, Debenhams do now stock Snow and Pearl, the two lightest shades in the range.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Step Three  //  Concealer

As someone who flatly refuses to go to bed until we've seen what happened on the latest episode of Ex On The Beach concealer is a must. I used to be a big fan of the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer which has great pigmentation, but I started to find it quite dry so I switched to the Naked Skin Concealer for a more natural finish. It's definitely not as long-lasting as the Pro Longwear, but when patted in with a damp sponge & set with powder it's close enough. It also makes it easier to do on-the-go touch ups during the day as you can simply blend away any eyeshadow fall-out or smudged mascara.

Naked Skin Concealer 

Step Four  //  Setting Spray

I have pretty oily skin so a setting spray is a must. A good setting spray should both help minimise the appearance of powder on the face, giving a more natural finish, & keep your face looking fresher for longer. The Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day setting sprays are definitely less hardcore than more well-known brands like Urban Decay but for half the price they're a great affordable alternative. They also come in five scents, perfect if you can't stand the chemical smell of more traditional products.

Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray

I hope you found this post helpful & please let me know in the comments below if you end up trying any of the products I've recommended. I'd also be keen to hear your top tips for keeping your makeup looking it's best.


If you're serious about achieving flawless skin, check out my five-step skin-care routine.


 p.s. I want to quickly apologise for the month-long gap between this & my last post. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'll know that I recently moved house, & the combination of moving, unpacking, & then heading back to work at the busiest time of the year made blogging tough. I have loads I want to share with you though so hopefully there'll be lots of new content over the next couple of weeks!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Review: July's Papergang Stationery Subscription Box


Papergang Stationery Subscription Box Ohh Deer

I first reviewed Papergang - the new stationery subscription box service from Oh Deer! - back in April & since then the service has gone from strength to strength so I thought it was time I checked back in & did another unboxing post.

Papergang Stationery Subscription Box Ohh Deer

A quick run-down in case you missed my last post: Papergang is a subscription service from stationery giants Ohh Deer. For just under £10 a month you get a boxed filled with cards, notepads, pencils, prints & other papery goodness delivered to your door. The boxes generally have a loose theme (sometimes colour, sometimes an artist or illustrator) & most of the items are exclusive to Papergang (although they'll generally be listed on the site after a month or so, good for when your friends get jealous).

Papergang Stationery Subscription Box Ohh Deer

This month's box included: three cards (thumbs down for the cultural appropriation tiger); a little clipboard & calendar sheet for August; a pencil which has “on point” stamped in gold on the end; & three small, blank notebooks which I'd already taken into work when I took these photos (you can see them on Instagram here). These notebooks are hands down my favourite thing I’ve ever received in a Papergang box & I’ve had so many compliments on them, with my friend’s partner even signing up after seeing them.

Papergang Stationery Subscription Box Ohh Deer

If I’m being honest, this probably isn’t my favourite box I’ve received but then that is kind of the nature of subscription boxes - I’ve yet to find a service where every box is a winner. That being said, I feel like the quality & consistency of Papergang is still way above any of the beauty boxes I’ve subscribed to in the past, & I won’t be cancelling my subscription anytime soon.

Papergang Stationery Subscription Box Ohh Deer

As always, if you like the look of Papergang & fancy signing up yourself I’d love it if you used my referral link - I’m currently just one referral away from getting a free box thanks to a couple of readers who’ve already signed up, so thank you!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Review: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Shade 1993 (Comfort Matte)


Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte

As soon as Urban Decay announced they were releasing 120 shades of lipstick in a new formula with six finishes for £15 each I was HYPED - I couldn't wait to start looking through the promo images (Temptalia is my go-to site for makeup launch info) & noting down which shades I wanted.

There are easily 30+ shades I would love to own but moving house means my beauty budget has been slashed so I limited myself to just one (thankfully all the shades are permanent so I can always go back & pick up more). I was keen to try out the comfort matte formula as the idea of a matte lipstick which isn't drying is the stuff dreams are made of & I've been on the look out for a true brown nude for a while now, so the shade 1993 seemed like the obvious choice.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte

Packaging

First things first: the packaging. Urban Decay have kept the traditional gun metal finish for the main body of the barrel but have added gold accents to the base which I honestly love. As you can see, the company name is etched into the barrel & the logo is stamped on the lipstick itself, both of which are nice touches & not necessarily something you'd expect from a £15 lipstick. The cap still has the slightly warped finish, similar to the Revolution lipsticks, but I think the sharper edges on the rest of the barrel help it feel more polished.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte

Vice vs. Revolution

The gold accent is probably the most instantly noticeable change from the old Revolution lipstick line (right) but there are a couple of other alterations which are worth noting. Firstly, despite the fact that the Vice lipsticks are significantly shorter, that height has gone from the packaging & not the product - you're actually getting 0.02g more product with the Vice lipsticks (which is particularly exciting when you're paying around £5 less per lipstick). Urban Decay have also switched from the rounded to a more traditional pointed bullet tip - HALLELUJAH - making the Vice lipsticks super easy to apply, even in the trickier darker shades. 

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte Swatch
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Shade 1993 Comfort Matte Swatch

Finish

1993 is a medium, warm-toned brown which has satin finish. I'm a little disappointed that this isn't more matte but it is super comfortable to wear & you can always blot it for a more matte finish. The pigmentation is incredible, with an even colour pay-off from just one layer & the wear time is easily 5+ hours. This shade is really versatile & on trend (hence it currently being sold out on the Urban Decay website) - I love wearing it with brown eyeshadow & minimal blush for a super 90s look.

Overall, I've been really impressed with this reformulation from Urban Decay & will definitely be buying more shades in the future. Let me know which are your favourites in the comments below.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

OOTD: Biba Swing Dress



Early last week I realised that an event I'm attending this Thursday has a black tie dress code. Cue several days of frantically Googling a) what "black tie" actually means & b) plus size "occasion" dresses. Predictably there weren't a huge number of options & nothing was really jumping out at me. I did pick up this stunning patterned dress by Biba (from House of Fraser) but I'm still not convinced it's formal enough. Maybe with some statement jewellery & bold makeup? Let me know what you think in the comments below.


I bought this in a size 20 which is unfortunately the largest size this dress comes in. That being said, because it's a swing dress the main area where sizing is likely to be an issue is the sleeves, so if you're a larger size but have smaller arms it might still work for you. Personally, it is a little tight on my upper arms but not enough to be an issue.

I chose to pair it with black & gold accessories for a more formal look. However, I think because of the shorter length, it still feels more like a dress I might wear to work than a black tie event. It's definitely cute though & despite the bold print it feels like something I'll get a lot of wear out of.


The dress itself comes in two parts: a navy cotton slip (which is super comfortable) & the sheer patterned swing dress, making it super versatile. Remove the slip & suddenly you have a super cool retro cover-up, which you can wear loose for hanging around the pool, or with a belt if you want to go grab some food or drinks. For this look I paired it with my Gabi Fresh for Swimsuits for All bikini & my red leather Swedish Hasbeens.

While I'm not convinced this dress is "the one" for my event on Thursday, I'm glad I took the chance on it & it shows that sometimes it can be good to step outside of your comfort zone with clothes.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Step-by-Step Skincare Routine for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin



What seems like forever ago I made a post out-lining my top tricks & tips for acne-prone skin. I mentioned a couple of products but if I'm being honest I didn't have a clue what I was doing or why certain things were working. Over the past year I've made a real effort to teach myself more about products, routines, & ingredients (shout-out to Cora for being the fountain of all skincare knowledge ever) so today I wanted to share that knowledge with you.

This post is designed to outline the key steps that when used together & in order create a solid skincare routine for any skin type - I've also dropped in some product recommendations for you oily & acne-prone babes.

Some of you might look at this routine & be like Whaaat, I just wash my face with bar soap & I look banging, & to you I say GREAT! I'm genuinely happy for you & your A+ genes, but for many of us without careful management our skin can turn into an oily, spotty mess. Equally, if you do experience acne & have decided to just embrace it then I salute you & your self love - this routine is just a suggestion & I definitely don't think anyone should feel pressured to change the way they look simply to fit society's ideals.

I'm also aware that for a lot of people, such a long routine could be challenging to carry out on a consistent basis. Personally, I find my skincare routine really therapeutic but if you're struggling don't be tough on yourself! If you cleanse well & keep your skin moisturised you're doing A-OK.

Fiiinal disclaimer, a lot of the products I'm going to mention are super pricey but there are loads of more affordable alternatives out there - if you know of any, please do leave them in the comments below. When shopping for alternatives, look out for the key ingredients which will ensure the product is effective, read reputable reviews (I find the Beautypedia by Paula's Choice really helpful) & avoid products that contain lots of fragrance or other irritants.

& now on to the routine itself:


STEP ONE // CLEANSE


Regardless of your skin type, cleansing is a super important step - particularly at night to remove makeup & dirt from the day, although I also really like doing a light cleanse in the morning to help me feel fresh & awake. 

How you cleanse is totally a matter of personal preference. I wear a lot of really heavy makeup on a daily basis so like to do a two-step cleanse every night, but if you wear lighter makeup you might find one cleanse is enough - the trick to figuring out which option is right for you is to do your normal cleanse & then run a damp cotton pad round your face, if there's still product coming off on the pad you're definitely not cleansing enough.

The products I'm currently using are the Bioderma Sébium Micelle Solution which does a great job of removing most of my makeup followed by the Algenist Melting Cleanser (which is currently on sale for 50% off). I find this combo leaves my face super clean & because I remove the Melting Cleanser with a warm, damp cloth it allows me to sneak in a bit of gentle exfoliation too.


STEP TWO // EXFOLIATE


I used to be a loyal fan of the St Ive's Apricot Scrub & I know a lot of people swear by it (or similar products) for removing dead skin, but here's the thing... physical exfoliants are fucked up. What you're essentially doing is taking a nail file to your skin. In some cases your skin will bounce back relatively well & you might not even notice any issues, but particularly for those of us with acne-prone skin that damage can lead to slower healing & increased risk of infection. The most you should be doing to physically exfoliate your skin is gentling massaging it with a damp face cloth or cleansing brush.

All is not lost though! Let chat chemical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants aid the removal of dead skin cells by speeding up cell turnover - supporting your skin to carry out its natural process. There are two main types of chemical exfoliants: AHAs & BHAs. 

AHAs contain Glycolic or Lactic Acid which work on the skin's surface to loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, helping them fall off quicker. My AHA product of choice is the Pixi Glow Tonic which I apply each morning with a cotton pad.

BHAs contain Salicylic Acid which works deep in the pores to thin out oil & speed up cell turnover. BHAs are stronger than AHAs & some people with sensitive skin may react to them so it's best to test it out on a small patch before full committing & avoid using it every day. Luckily, Paula's Choice who produce my holy grail 2% BHA Exfoliating Solution do little tester sets & have a 30-day money back guarantee. If you start using a BHA exfoliant you may notice you break out after a couple of days which is totally normal, the acid is clearing out your pores but once it's done your skin should clear up quickly.


STEP THREE // TREATMENTS


This step is where you can really personalise your skincare routine, slotting in products which are designed to address any skin care concerns you might have. For me that means acne & acne-scarring. 

The Origins Super Spot Remover is hands down the best acne treatment I've found - just pop it on top of a spot (I use a cotton bud to keep everything clean), leave it overnight & in the morning I promise things will be looking a lot better. It feels pricey for such a small amount of product but a little goes a long well & it is designed to be a targeted treatment rather than something you cover your whole face in. For acne scarring I'm currently trying out the Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution although I haven't been blown away by the results.

I've also recently started using the Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM, which I've been super impressed with. Retinol is one of the few skincare ingredients that is actually worth the hype - if used properly it boosts cell turnover & increases collagen production, which reduces fine lines & smooths the skin's texture. Retinol is pricey as fuck but if you've got a serious beef with your skin it's worth trying.


STEP FOUR // OILS


This step is definitely optional but I love how soft the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate leaves my skin. The one thing I would say is that oily babes do not need to avoid skincare oils; the right routine & the right oil can do wonders for your skin so don't be afraid to test it out.


STEP FIVE // MOISTURISE



I'm definitely guilty of skipping this step & when I knew less about skincare I actively avoided moisturisers because I thought they'd only make my oily skin worse. However, the truth is that with a solid skincare routine behind you a basic moisturiser is just the cherry on top of a sundae - important but no need to be fancy. I'm currently using the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream which I like but to be honest most high street moisturisers can do the job just as well.

& that's it! I hope you've found this helpful - please do share it if you did - & if you have any questions about this routine or the products I use then please feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

OOTD: ASOS Curve Petal Pink Jeans


ASOS Curve Petal Pink Jeans

A couple of years ago I purchased a pair of white jeans - I loved how they were a blank canvas, & an alternative to blue & black denim for Spring/Summer. I'd seen plus size bloggers rock them but when I got my own pair they seemed too brash, too crisp, too stark against my pasty skin - so I ended up ditching them after only a couple of wears. Fast forward to today & I think I've found a compromise. 

These petal pink jeans from ASOS Curve have all the lightness of white jeans but the rips & frayed hem keep them from feeling too girly, & I think the fact that they're off-white makes them way easier to wear on a day-to-day basis. The hem also have me the opportunity to shorten them so they fit perfectly on my super short legs, something I struggle with a lot. 

ASOS Curve Petal Pink Jeans
Top - ASOS // Shirt - ASOS // Jeans - ASOS // Shoes - ASOS // Bag - Primark

I combined the jeans with a white top & light blue shirt for a super relaxed & slightly preppy look, perfect for a casual weekend lunch date. I love how this outfit is full of little details - the rips on the jeans, the frill on the top, the wood heel on the shoes - which make it feel just that little bit more special.

ASOS Curve Petal Pink Jeans

Thursday, 23 June 2016

OOTD: Blush & Black Polkadots


Bomber: Pink Clove (via ASOS) // Mesh Top: ASOS // Bralette: New Look // Belt: Primark // Skirt: ASOS // Shoes: New Look

I'm so into this outfit right now - it's that perfect blend of feminine & sporty, plus it's put-together whilst still being comfy (something that's super important since Summer has me really resenting society's expectations that I will be clothed whenever in public).


I'm totally on board the bomber jacket hype train & finally picked up this Pink Clove number I've been eyeing for a while. In person, it's this beautiful dusky purple & while the scuba fabric is a bit thick for Summer, it does mean it looks a lot more formal than your standard jersey bomber. I think this would look super cute thrown on over a fancy dress in the evening.


This bralette from New Look is surprisingly supportive - probably not enough to survive vigorous dancing or jogging up flights of stairs, but definitely fine for chilling/relaxing/hanging. I also find it much more comfortable to wear than a bra in hot weather, particularly when paired with a lightweight top like this mesh piece from ASOS.

I normally avoid polkadots as they always feel quite childish but because these are larger it gives it a more sporty vibe which I love. This top is quite long which I think could look cool if you were going for a full on athleisure look, but I prefer tying it up into a crop top & securing it with a hair band.

All about that fat girl crop top life.
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