domenica 20 aprile 2014

March Favourites.

MAC Face & Body Foundation N1 // MAC Studio Sculpt SPF15 Foundation NC15 // Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Diffused Heat // Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon Fuchsia Libre // Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Cocoa* // Beautyblender // Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. //
As soon as the weather started warming up, I waved goodbye to the winter blues and quickly embraced the fresh faced spring trend; hence my March favourites are all about luminous skin, hot pink lips and fresh pinched cheeks.

The Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£25) is the new undisputed king of my skincare routine. It's a mild, non-irritating - and therefore more appropriate for my sensitive skin - take on the popular Alpha-H Liquid Gold (£31.50). It's gentle enough for frequent use but I find that a few drops swiped all over my face and neck after my cleanser once a week, are more than enough and give me super soft, gorgeous radiant skin without going too overboard. Besides being so delicate and yet so effective, I prefer this to other chemical exfoliators as it doesn't rule out the rest of my overnight treatments and I can combine its action with my serum, oil and moisturizer to keep my dry skin under control.

Moving onto face makeup, my current favourite foundation is actually a combo of two MAC bases, the Face & Body Foundation (£21.50) and the Studio Sculpt Spf15 Foundation (£25). Together they turn into such a breathable, lightweight base that has the longevity, glow and thin consistency of F&B and great coverage and just a hint of spf like the Studio Sculpt. It's the best of both worlds, utterly perfect for springtime.
The award for best purchase of the month and outright game changer goes to the Beautyblender (£16). I can't believe it took me so long to cave in and pick this sponge up. It gives an absolutely flawless finish and grants the same amazing results with pretty much any kind of texture or product; on lazy days I use it for my whole face, starting with my moisturizer and moving onto primer and foundation and even apply my blush and finishing powder with it. It's the ultimate multi-tasker and it's pink, it doesn't get any better than that.

My blush stash got a little out of control lately but one product really stole the show and kicked the rest of the gang at the bottom of my makeup drawer. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush (£28) in the shade Diffused Heat hasn't left my cheeks since it landed in my mail box: it applies like a dream, it blends out and diffuses so nicely. Not only is the texture out of this world but despite the powder formula, it doesn't sit on the skin and gives a gorgeous 'flush from within' kind of look that looks natural and healthy.

For lips, I can't stop reaching for the Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon (£7.99) in Fuchsia Libre. It's moisturizing, glossy but not too slippery and it has spf15 which is a nice extra for sensitive lips like mine. It's hot pink and bold yet, somehow, it looks easy and effortless as well. A total winner in my books.
Finally, I've been switching all month between grungy, Olsen twins-style chocolate smokey eyes and soft defined eyeshadow looks and the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour (£20.50) in Cocoa* is my go-to product for both styles. It goes on smoothly, is highly pigmented and stays on forever; it's amazing both as a base or dotted around the lash line and smudged with a pencil brush like you would do with a pencil liner and the slightly reddish deep chocolate brown makes my eye colour pop beautifully.

Have you tried any of these products?
*Press Sample
***

giovedì 17 aprile 2014

Spring Giveaway: BECCA Bundle

Becca Jewel Dust in Laila // Becca Eye Colour Wash Brush #36 // Becca Sheer Tint Lip Colour in Leticia // Becca Creme Blush in Amaryllis
Are you just as excited as I am for spring or do you need a little help to get in the mood?
Today I'm giving away a few products from one of my favourite makeup brands to celebrate the new season and by that, thanking all of you for the love and support.

It's time to update your makeup bag with some spring appropriate products and hopefully these Becca bits to give you a hand with that. I bet you'll love them just as much as I do.
The prize includes a gorgeous Jewel Dust for eyes in the shade Laila, the oh-so-soft #36 brush, a lovely Sheer Tint Lip Colour in the shade Laeticia and a cream blush in Amaryllis to go with it.
Just be sure to follow this blog on Bloglovin, read the Terms and Conditions and follow the directions of the widget below for a chance to win these makeup goodies.

Terms and conditions:
- This giveaway is open internationally. It opens today April 17th at 12AM (GMT+2) and ends in a month on May 18th at 12AM (GMT+2).
- One winner will be chosen at random and contacted within the 48 hours following the extraction. If the winner will not get back to me within the following 48 hours, I'll pick a new winner.
- All participants under 18 must have parental permission to join this competition.

Good luck!

***

martedì 15 aprile 2014

On The Go Beauty Essentials.

ELF Contouring Blush & Bronzing powder // Clarins Ever Matte Shine Control Mineral Powder Compact // Clinique Airbrush Concealer // Clinique High Impact Mascara // Laura Mercier Undercover Pot  // Whistles Small Clutch // BeautySoClean Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist // Paul & Joe Blotting Paper // Sigma Brushes // Bumble and bumble. Thickening Hairspray // Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Color Fresh Raspberry
I'm not the kind of person that usually reapplies her makeup throughout the day, but I like to be prepared and carry a few essentials in my bag every time I'm out and about, just in case something comes ups. However, being the over-packer I am - seriously, Mary Poppins is no match for me - a few things obviously turned out to be an awful lot of stuff.

The one thing I make sure to never leave home without is the Paul & Joe Blotting Paper (£11). Everyone needs to carry around some great mattifying sheets and these come in the cutest case, which is also extremely neat thanks to the decent mirror, really handy for quick touch-ups on the go. The blotting sheets easily absorb the excess oil and get rid of any unwanted shine in nothing flat. Also, they aren't powdered and allow me to add any extra product myself. If the case, I grab the Clarins Ever Matte Shine Control Powder (£27) and dust a little bit of it on my T-zone with a Sephora travel brush. You need the tiniest amount to achieve a fresh, demi-matte finish and the best thing is no matter how many layers of this powder you apply, it never looks cakey.

The Laura Mercier Undercover Pot (£29) is another makeup bag staple; I'd be lost without it. With the Secret Camouflage to easily cover even the worst blemishes and the Secret Concealer to correct any darkness that may pop up around the eyes, I can face pretty much any skin emergency and with a pinch of loose powder I know everything will stay in place till cleansing time. If I'm just in need of a little pick-me-up, the Clinique Airbrush Concealer (£18) is simply brilliant to brighten the under-eyes and instantly refresh a look. It's light, blends seamlessly and it's not overly shimmery or too light reflective and it'll hardly flash back in pictures.
Also from Clinique, a mini size of the ultra black High Impact Mascara (£16.50) is great to add volume to my lashes whilst keeping them defined as well. It's excellent for layering over my everyday mascara for extra, clump-free drama.

The ELF Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder (£3.95) is something I make sure to pop into my makeup bag every time I know I'll be out all day and going out at night as well. This uber cheap take on the NARS Orgasm/Laguna duo comes really in handy when I need to refresh my blush or give a little oomph to my base with a bit of bronzer for some extra definition. My lipstick of the day - lately I've been loving the Laura Mercier Creme Smooth (£20) in Fresh Raspberry - and a wee bottle of the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray (£7.50) to tame unruly locks and add texture and fullness to the hair, close the product line-up.

Of course I'd feel completely naked without a couple of good brushes on me: along with the Sephora travel brush for powder products, I pack a mini Sigma E25 (£9.95) - similar to the 217 brush by MAC - which is a great all-arounder and works for precise powder placement, to blend concealer in and to add a little bit of bronzer in the crease for a quick contoured eye look, and finally a Sigma L05 (£8.95) for lippies and such.
For quick fixes and damage control I've put together a small plastic pouch that contains a few pointy q-tips, some Eye Makeup Remover Filled Cotton Buds (£3.99), a couple of cotton pad and a mini lash glue; these little guys come with me everywhere I go, along with a pair of tweezers, a moisturizer sample and a teeny-weeny bottle of micellar water which is super handy when I need to take my makeup off if I'm having a counter makeover or simply a bad lipstick day. Finally the Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist (£9.50) comes out whenever a tester doesn't look particularly well-kept in store and I really need to dip my paws in it. A must have for hygiene-freak beauty bloggers on duty.

Everything fits nicely inside my Whistles Small Clutch (£35) in Pale Green - it's surprising how much you can squeeze inside these beauties - and stays nice and tidy and organized in my purse.
I bring the 'better safe than sorry' business to a whole new level, don't I now?
What's in your on-the-go makeup bag?
Are you part of the Mary Poppins tribe like me or do you manage to slim it down for real?

***

sabato 22 marzo 2014

The Let-Downs.

NARS The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette // H&M Makeup Sponge // MUFE HD Microfinish  Powder // Bumble and Bumble. Surf Spray // Guerlain Rouge G L'extrait in Paresse // Illamasqua Precision Gel Liner in Infinity // Estee lauder Double Wear Stay-in-place Makeup
One of the thing I enjoy the most about beauty blogging is browsing the internet for new products to try; I read loads of reviews, look for swatches if the case and gather as many information as possible. Every so often though, no matter how thorough my research was, some products fall short, don't live up to the hype or simply don't work for me. I try to keep things positive around here, because, let's face it, writing about amazing products it's just so much more fun, but I think the time has finally come for you to meet some of the products of my flop list.

First up is my most recent fiasco, the NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette (£55). Infuriating doesn't even begin to describe this palette and my experience with it. It's undeniably gorgeous, with the perfect mix of warm and cool neutral shades and a combination of matte, pearl and shimmer textures. Unfortunately the eyeshadows themselves are totally rubbish, chalky and extremely hard to blend; also, the pigmentation is so poor is not even remotely comparable to the intense color pay-off that most of the shadows offer in their single and duo form. Also, after reading a lot of enthusiastic reviews I realized that the quality is not consistent from palette to palette - either that or people don't know what buttery soft and super pigmented mean -; there's no way to control this aspect, therefore I highly recommend you stick to the single eyeshadows or simply check out other nude palette offerings.

I've been raving about Bumble and Bumble. products lately as I love pretty much everything I've tried from their range, but there's one product that really doesn't work for me. The uber popular Surf Spray (£21.50) does everything it says on the bottle - gives volume and an effortless, tousled beach look - but sadly doesn't get on well with my hair: it makes my sensitive scalp oh so itchy and feels a bit drying on the ends as well. I kind of like it but I get the same result with more gentle products, like the fabulous and beautifully scented Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray (£7.50).
Illamasqua is another brand that I absolutely adore and hardly ever lets me down. The Precision Gel Liner (£18) in the shade Infinity is extra black and incredibly pigmented but for some reason it doesn't set and ends up smudged on the upper lid and in the inner corner of my eyes. The formula is supposed to be long-wearing and water-resistant but it doesn't quite keep its word. I also tried it on a client and experienced a lot of blotchiness and a very difficult application: as I was refining the wing, the more product I applied the more it came off with the brush. Not a winner in my books, sorry.

The Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-place Makeup (£27.50) is possibly one of the most hyped up foundations on the market and, for that reason, it was a huge letdown for me. At this day I still can't understand what all the fuss is about. It's heavy, it looks like makeup - a lot of it actually -, smells like moldable paste and above all it feels like a clay mask on the skin because once it sets, I feel the weirdest pulling sensation. I used it during summertime, with primers, I mixed it with lighter foundations... Nothing I do seems to work to make this base any better.
Another top rated product that everyone but me seems to love is the Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder (£24.95). My biggest complaint with this is that it looks ashy on pretty much every skintone I've tried it on, whilst the Laura Mercier Universal (£29) or the Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder (£14.50) for instance, are actually invisible on the skin. Apart from that, it's ok, I guess, but nothing more; it does mattify the skin but not as well and for as long as other similar products and it does blur pores but, again, not as well as more recent releases. There're so many amazing setting powders on the market I wouldn't spare this one a passing glance to be honest.

Plenty of very positive reviews at the time convinced me I needed to try the Guerlain Rouge G L'extrait (£29.50) but as it turned out, I could definitely do without it. There's something really upsetting about this liquid lipstick. It could be the dopey packaging, which weights almost as much as my phone does, or the dark pink shade - I own Paresse - that looks a bit dull due to the not-quite-matte, not-quite-satin finish. On top of everything, it's quite sticky and not at all long-lasting on me and I actually ended up eating all of it along with my quick lunch once, which was quite annoying to say the least.

Lastly, there was a time I thought sponges couldn't be bad - I mean, a sponge is a sponge, right? - but something clearly went wrong with the H&M Makeup Sponge (£1.99). It's rough, it doesn't apply foundation evenly and is so dense it's definitely really unpleasant to bounce around the face. Don't let the cute bubblegum pink and the price tag fool you; those two are actually the only good aspects about this blender.

Have you tried any of these products? Any fans out there or you're just equally disappointed as I am with these guys? Do you have any beauty let-down to share?


***

lunedì 17 marzo 2014

February Favourites.

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk // Bumble and Bumble Bb Thickening Dryspun Finish // Caudalie Baume Gourmand Corps* // Eve Lom Dynaspot // Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum // Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream // Clarins Instant Concealer
February has been for sure the month of the new finds. A lot of product testing happened in the last few weeks and some of those said findings not only turned out to be great, but jumped straight to the top of my 'most loved' roster.

First up, I've become quite the cleanser obsessive lately and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (£16) (former Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk) is the one I can't stop talking about. It's unlike any other cleansing milk I've tested in the past - rich, almost buttery - and it has done wonders for my dry and dehydrated skin from the very first use. It's so soothing, gentle yet effective, and while I prefer using it in the morning to start the day off right with an extra moisture boost, it does remove makeup quite well, with just a wee bit of struggling with the long lasting and waterproof kind. It's absolutely dreamy and definitely something I look forward to using every day.

Another skincare favourite of the month is the Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum (£41.99). I've been using it morning and night before my moisturizer and right after a couple of days I could already notice a difference: my skin felt deeply nourished and looked so much brighter and more even. It's such a great all-around serum: it brightens, reduces redness and dark spots, protects the skin from environmental damage, prevents aging - can't swear about this one but my skin feels great thanks to this little guy and I'm confident it won't disappoint on the long run -, keeps my complexion supple and hydrated, you name it. It's not the most affordable serum on the market but good skincare products are always worth splurging for in my opinion. Oh, and did I mention it smells like strawberries?

The Eve Lom Dynaspot (£22) has truly been a life saviour; my skin misbehaved quite a bit in reaction to a product that clearly didn't work for me and was in need of a good quick fix. Thanks to salicylic acid and other natural antiseptic ingredients this spot treatment helps get rid of blemishes and quickly knocks down redness and irritation without drying out the actual spot or the skin around it. My favourite way to use it is as an overnight treatment, dotting it around where needed, but it can also be used under makeup, blended out as if it was an off-white, opaque corrector. Definitely a hero product for me.

You might not be aware of this yet but although I'm completely obsessed with my facial skincare routine, I am quite lazy when it comes to moisturizing my body daily. Which is why I love the Caudalie Vine Body Butter (£19)* so much: it's super creamy and so moisturizing I can get away with using it every other day and it melts so quickly into the skin I'm good to go and ready to slip into my pyjamas in nothing flat. The unique scent - a mix of grape and bitter oranges that is tart, sweet and fresh at the same time - is such a treat after a hot shower and I absolutely love how it lingers both on my skin and my clothes for hours.

On to makeup, I think everyone of us said 'Lisa Eldridge made me do it' at least once - more like a million times as far as I'm concerned but still - and this is definitely the case. I don't know about you guys, but I'm so over the whole bb and cc cream thing, I swear just hearing the word makes me cringe these days; nonetheless, after watching this video I had to get my mitts on the Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream (£9.99). No wonder it has been scooping up amazing reviews everywhere since its release: it's so light it feels like nothing on the skin and gives that beautiful perfected look without actually looking like makeup. I do need to use concealer here and there but it still offers enough coverage to correct redness and dark spots, almost as well as the Healthy Mix foundation does. If lighter-than-air texture and gorgeous, glowy finish are what you seek for in a base definitely give this cc cream a go.
Next up on my fresh faced lineup is the Clarins Instant Concealer (£21), my latest discovery in the concealer department, and I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it is. Creamy and easy to blend, it gives a striking glow to the skin. It's brightening but provides an amazing coverage, hiding both dark circles and blemishes, and doesn't settle into fine lines despite the moisturizing formula. Extra brownie points because I don't need to set it with powder and therefore I can enjoy its dewy look all day. A true winner in my books! Is it too soon to call it 'The One'?

On to hair at last, I'd eyed up the Bumble and Bumble Bb Thickening Dryspun Finish (£21.50) for a very long time but I simply couldn't justify the price tag for a fancy hairspray. I finally bit the bullet when a Sephora birthday coupon landed into my mailbox at the end of January and seriously, I've been mentally-kicking myself for how long it took to add this fabulous product to my hair wardrobe ever since. This sits somewhere in between a hairspray and a dry shampoo, as it gives a soft demi-matte look to the hair while adding a bit of fullness but also enough hold to make the extra volume last without making the hair look or feel crispy. I absolutely adore the tousled, second day-hair finish; the extra body and grit make my otherwise thin and fluffy hair so much more manageable and easier to style.

What have you been loving last month?
*Press Sample
***

mercoledì 26 febbraio 2014

On My Wishlist This Week #19

wishlist19
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze // Jo Malone Earle Grey & Cucumber Cologne // Clinique Cheek Pop Blush // Chanel Le Blanc De Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base // Clarins Cream Blush
001 You may be aware already that Laura Mercier is one of my favourite makeup brands. The quality of their bases and primers is over the moon, so of course when I heard they were bringing out a new foundation primer I got really excited to say the least. The Foundation Primer Radiance (£29) is one of my all time favourites and I can't wait to get my mitts on the Radiance Bronze (£29) one, which promises to bring a pop of summery radiance to the skin. Those who love a matte finish should definitely look away but I'm all over dewy golden skin, especially with such an awful weather outside.

002 Whenever I pop along at the Jo Malone counter I take my time to stick my sniffer into every candle jar and glass bottle on display but somehow always end up leaving with Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne (£78) lightly sprayed over a paper sample. It's light and green, with fresh notes of bergamot and something that makes me think of peaceful English summers and white china. I'm not overly fond of citrus scents in general but there's something about this fragrance that really tickles my fancy.

003 I don't think I need to say anything here. Look at that gorgeous blush! I still haven't found any information about the release date for the stunning Clinique Cheek Pop Blushes (£16.50) but there's a blush shaped hole in my life that needs to be filled and I already know that a couple of these beauties would do the trick.
Ok. Who am I kidding? I don't need more blushes in my life but since when has makeup anything to do with need, right?

004 Now, I'm still on the fence about this one. I've heard a lot of people swear about the Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base (£31) and all those rave reviews made me quite excited; however during my last trip at Sephora's I've swatched it on the back of my hand, and while it looked nice and glowy at first, after a couple of minutes I couldn't tell any difference with my un-prepped skin. Uhm. What do you think, is this brightening base worth the hype or not?

005 Clarins does Spring and once again I'm hooked. Somewhere in-between a cream and a powder texture, these Clarins Multi-blushes (£18) come in four juicy shades and look absolutely perfect for springtime. That little golden compact is just impossibly cute and knowing me, I'll probably end up buying them all. Oh well. At least they won't take up too much space.

What's on your wishlist this week?

***

lunedì 24 febbraio 2014

January Favourites

Babyliss Curl Secret // Urban Decay Naked 3 // Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne // Shu Uemura S Curler // MAC Lipstick in Syrup // Caudalie Miel De Vigne Hand & Nail Cream* // NARS Blush in Sin
It seems like twenty fourteen is slipping away at breakneck-speed and I can't keep up. However, I really wanted to show you the amazing products I've discovered and loved last month, so, please, humor me and ignore the calendar just this once.

First on my list is the Babyliss Perfect Curl (£170), which is probably my favourite find of the month. It's been love at first use. With painfully straight hair which constantly struggle with holding even the laziest waved styles for more than an hour, unless it's been prepped with a ridiculous amount of product, I was more than a little shocked when my curls lasted up to three days, barely dropping as the time went by. Wow.
Perfect curl is simply genius and extremely easy to use: you just need to section your hair and decide how much heat you want to apply onto your locks and for how long, and it'll do all the work for you. If you too are looking for seriously perfect curls - spot on name, by the way -, this wand is the way to go.

Since we raised the subject, another fantastic tool to achieve the perfect curl is the Shu Uemura S Curler (£20), which kicked its well-known precursor in the back of my makeup drawer as soon as it came out of the box. Don't get me wrong, I still love the basic Shu Uemura curler, but this little guy here allows me to reach even the shortest, most stubborn lashes in my inner and outer corners without breaking a sweat, and adjust the curl depending on my mood or the look I'm going for. Definitely should be on top of a lot of ladies with unruly flutters' wishlist.

For lips, I've been using one of my favourite MAC lipsticks pretty much everyday without fail. MAC Syrup (£15) may look a little weak in the bullet but it's such a great everyday color. It's absolutely stunning, goes on beautifully, it doesn't dry my lips out and it feels quite moisturizing, which is fantastic in this weather. It complements more or less any type of makeup, from sultry smokey eyes to natural, muted down looks, and with a soft pop of mauve it's a nice change from your typical nudes and light pinks.
Next up is an oldie but a goodie I dug out of my stash. NARS Sin Blush (£21.50) is literally MAC Syrup in blush form and gives a beautiful plummy flush shot through with a diffused gold radiance to the cheeks. It's one of the most striking and unique shades I own and a true must have. Like the rest of the blushes in the range, the color is vibrant and beautifully pigmented as well as super finely milled and therefore, easily blendable. If you're on the market for the next blush to add to your collection, I highly recommend this one.

Sticking with the mauvey pink theme, I've fallen head over heels for the gorgeous Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (£37) since the moment I yanked it out of my Christmas stocking. I haven't used anything else for my eye makeup throughout January and it's still going strong in my everyday routine. The beautiful mix of pinks, plums and taupes works for a huge variety of looks and it's extremely flattering on my skin tone. Although I'd gladly swap one of lightest frost shades for a dark matte eyeshadow, I really love the colour combination and the soft romantic hues. On lazy days I like to wear Strange all over the lid and up to the brow bone as a base and barely-there highlighter. I then work Nooner in the crease to create a template for the rest of the eyeshadow and a nice transition to blend to other shades into, for a gentle gradient. Liar all over the lid, Mugshot in the outer v and Factory softly blended in the crease help me create a beautiful, subtle smokey look, perfect for everyday.

At last, hand creams are something I can't live without in wintertime and the Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream Grapevine Honey (£5.70)* is my current bedside and on-the-go buddy to keep my hands nourished and protected 24/7. The grape and honey scent is absolutely gorgeous and the grease-free formula quickly melts into the skin, leaving my hands and cuticles smooth and super soft for hours.

Speaking of lovely scents, back in December I stopped by the Jo Malone counter to give a good sniff around and after just a couple of minutes I knew that the Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne (£39) was coming home with me. Among so many amazing fragrances, Peony & Blush Suede stood out to me for its sophisticated yet flirty vibes. The powdery notes of musk and blush suede are nicely balanced by hints of peony, jasmine and red apple and the final result is a charming, not-quite-grown-up floral scent, which lingers on the skin all day without getting too overwhelming. I absolutely adore it and I'm already contemplating my next Jo Malone purchase.

What have you been loving last month?

*Press Sample
***

martedì 11 febbraio 2014

Quick Reviews: Foundation Remix #6

foundation reviews5
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer spf20 // Laura Mercier Moisture Supréme Foundation // L'Oreal Nude Magique Eau De Teint // Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation
001 If you know me a bit by now, you'll know I like my foundations with medium coverage and flawless finish, therefore I don't usually care for tinted moisturizers and such; there are however a few exceptions, with the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free (£33) being one of them. For some reason, despite my dry skin, I never considered the basic one but went straight for the oily/combination skin version, which is wicked in summertime. During my latest visit at the counter the makeup artist insisted I tried the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (£33) and gave me a generous sample of the shade Cameo. This is possibly the most raved product of the range and for me is definitely a hit. It's moisturizing and glowy without being greasy, and it's basically undetectable on the skin. The coverage is sheer - actually lower than what you get with the oil-free alternative - but enough to even out the complexion and cover minor imperfections and scars on lazy days. It lasts about 6 hours on me without powder but I wouldn't expect anything more from this type of product. For me it's a good skin-day kind of base but it's one of the best tinted moisturizers I've tried - second only to its oil-free twin, I think -.

002 The Laura Mercier Moisture Supréme Foundation (£33) is absolutely heart-stopping. It gives a fantastic luminous and perfected look, thanks to its hydrating formula and great pigmentation. The coverage is flawless; this stuff is so highly pigmented I hardly need any concealer at all when I wear it. It gives the illusion of beautiful, incredible skin, which appears to be tighter and fuller, and astonishingly radiant. It stays put all day without sliding around or looking greasy rather than luminous. I dare to say this could be the perfect foundation for dry and mature skins, and ultimately anyone on the market for a medium-high coverage base which is truly moisturizing and long-lasting at the same time. Quick shout-out for Porcelain Ivory which is one of the few yellow-based shades for fair skin tones on the market, and therefore helps correcting redness and discoloration on top of everything else.

003 I've wanted to try this foundation for a very long time, mainly because I've heard someone compare it to the Armani Maestro one. Now that I finally got my mitts on a sample of the L'Oreal Nude Magique Eau De Teint (£9.99) I can tell there're some similarities between the two: they both apply seamlessly, leaving the skin velvety soft and completely matte all day with no need for setting powder or a primer underneath. The coverage is easily buildable, depending on which tool is used for the application: it goes from barely-there, light coverage when blended in with fingertips, to medium-high when applied with a sponge or a dense foundation brush, such as the Real Techinques Expert Face (£11.99). Although I personally don't enjoy this opaque finish - which makes my dry skin look even drier, especially in this weather - I do understand why so many people seem to adore this foundation. I do appreciate the lightweight formula and its lasting power and I'll be curious to try it again next summer and see how it holds up in the hot weather; however, by this time I'm not wowed.

004 Powder foundation and dry skin don't go along very well in my experience but as usual Laura Mercier exceeded my expectations. The new Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder (£32) is super soft and extremely finely milled; it goes on so well, smoothing pores and covering imperfections and redness. The color pay-off is great and easily buildable up to medium coverage when used dry or pretty much full when dabbed on with a damp sponge. I feel the best and most natural way to apply it is with a dense yet fluffy brush, such as the Real Techniques Multi-task Brush (part of the Travel Essentials Kit £20.99) to gently work it into the skin and layer it only where needed. It's the kind of foundation that looks better as the day goes by, when some natural oils start breaking through, therefore I think it might be more suitable for normal to oily and combination skins. It's also tremendous for touch-ups on the go because it mattifies the skin and adds a bit of extra coverage as well, without looking cakey or too flat. The color stays true throughout the day and the soft satin finish looks extremely natural despite the powder formula.

Have you tried any of these foundations?

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martedì 28 gennaio 2014

Best 13 Finds Of 2013

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask // Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Booster // Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream // Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation // NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer // Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Concealer // Diptyque Philosykos edt // Living proof Prime Style Extender // Bumble And Bumble BB Texture // Tangle Teezer // Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder // Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow // Charlotte Tilbury The Golden Goddess Eyeshadow Palette
Looking back at 2013, there are a few products that pop into my mind whenever I think about my best beauty discoveries. Last year I stumbled across some amazing releases and caught up with some blogger favourites and recommendations and these are the 13 products that made it to my favourites list - get comfy, it's a long one -.

Starting up with skin, last year I developed a wee bit obsession with skincare products and face masks in particular; I've collected a few along the way but the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (£30) is probably the one I've used the most and the one I reach for every time I long for that extra boost of radiance. It's a great way to approach chemical exfoliators for all skin types - including sensitive complexions like mine -, because it's packed with amazing ingredients and gentle but effective at the same time. It leaves my skin feeling and looking uber bright and like new in just a handful of minutes.
For a daily dose of luminosity I couldn't live without the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (£23), which not only brightens and de-puffs the under-eye area but creates a flawless base for my concealer. Soft pink hues and loads of natural reflective particles help to banish dark circles and make you look fresh and awake.
I also fell in love with the Hydraluron Moisture Booster (£24.99), a fantastic serum that helps lock the moisture into the skin and quickly improves the appearance of dehydrated complexions. I use it every morning before my moisturizer and it's definitely one of the best skincare products I've tried.

Moving on to hair stuff, I'm still deeply in love with the Living Proof Prime Style Extender (£18). This amazing hair primer - which is still a quite odd thing to think about - really changed my styling routine: my hair stay clean for longer without losing their volume and also hold whatever style I decide to create twice as long as before. It doesn't weight my hair down and a tiny blob goes a very long way, so it's definitely worth the investment.
Another styling must have for me is the Bumble and Bumble BB Texture (£10), absolutely great to give extra grip to freshly washed hair without making them look greasy. It's perfect to tame soft and fluffy hair and make them more manageable and a lot easier to style, while adding some extra volume as well. Of course it couldn't be a serious hair talk without my beloved Tangle Teezer (£10.20) in Disco Purple. At first I purchased the travel size brush, which comes in handy on the go, but the full sized one has really changed my life. It makes it easier to brush my hair while still in the shower and work hair masks and styling products into my locks. I definitely noticed less fly-aways and decreased hair loss lately; if you're wondering if it's worth the splurge, you get a big thumbs-up from me here.

Makeup wise, I think the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (£38) in Diffused doesn't need any further introduction at this point. It's easily my best purchase of year and something I cant live without anymore: it's a Photoshop brush that blurs away pores and imperfection, disguised as a luminous setting powder. It's definitely worth the hype.
For concealer, at the beginning of the year I kept going on and on about the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (£21) which is excellent for the under-eye area, as it offers the perfect combination of moisturizing yet long wearing formula and great coverage. Early in September, however, I fell and fell hard for the Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Concealer (£17) that made me put its NARS counterpart aside. It's moisturizing, a perfect match for my skin tone and really brightening, thanks to the peachy hues. I use it on my dark circles and on my blemishes as well and I can't go without it anymore. I have a soft spot for treatment makeup - you all know that by now - and this product is definitely a top favourite of mine and possibly a forever repurchase.
Last but not least for the base, I can't stress you enough about how amazing the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (£34.50) is: it's light on the skin, long lasting and looks absolutely flawless. The finish is radiant and oh so natural and the coverage is easy to customize for effortless day-wear or nifty night-outs.

Of all the beauty brands I've approached in two thousand thirteen Charlotte Tilbury's own makeup line is the one that truly stood out to me and completely knocked it out of the park, thanks to fabulous textures, stunning '20s-inspired packaging and an overall outstanding quality. Something I use on a daily basis is the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (£49) to bring some Hollywood glamour to my skin. The luminous powder gives the most stunning candlelight glow to my cheekbones, bridge of the nose and Cupid's bow, while the tan side is great both to warm up my complexion and sculpt the hollows of my cheeks for fuss-free, day-appropriate contouring. Finally, my crush for the amazing Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette (£38) in Golden Goddess can't simply go unnoticed. It features three buttery soft eyeshadow and a pressed glitter shade to spice up any look; the shades included in this quad aren't particularly groundbreaking but their quality is absolutely striking and I can't recommend it enough.

Lastly on to perfumes, I've never been the loyal type when it comes down to fragrances but the Diptyque Philosykos edt (£50) won my heart and became my signature fragrance throughout summer and fall, with some little features here and there even in winter time. It's sweet and fresh, persistent but never overwhelming and if you've been around here long enough you'll know everything about my fig obsession, so I'll stop rambling right now.

Have you tried any of these products?
What product really stood out to you in 2013?

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mercoledì 1 gennaio 2014

Winter Skincare Upgrade

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum // Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream // Soap & Glory Hand Food  // Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask // Antipodes Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream
With my skin not at its best, thanks to freezing temperatures, central heating and the trails of a spectacular flu, I thought it was time to revive my skincare routine and update it with some old wintertime essentials and a few new bits to bring some moisture back to my poor, distressed skin.

First off in my daily routine is the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum (£26.10), a thin milky serum that goes straight to the deeper skin layers to really tone and moisturize from within. This fellow here kept my skin in great condition all through last winter and now is back into my everyday routine to get me past the colder months once again. It's one of those products that make such a big difference from the very first use: there's no flakiness in sight, any redness is pretty much gone and skin looks overall fuller and healthier. It provides an awful lot of nourishment without in fact weighting down the skin or bothering my makeup as the day goes by. Same goes for the Antipodes Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream (£25.99), the next step of my morning lineup. I bought it on a whim a few months ago - without reading any review first, which is not something I do very often - and it actually turned out to be a great purchase. As the name suggests, it's a lightweight moisturizer that sinks in quickly, leaving the skin nice and plump and uber soft; although the texture itself is quite thick and requires a little bit of work, my skin just drinks it up without a hitch. It's not your typical thin moisturizer for daytime but I wouldn't call it heavy either; it's simply perfect to keep me hydrated even on the chilliest days without leaving my complexion feeling greasy or congested.

I do love a good, rich cream at night time and I've recently rediscovered the Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream (£32.99), which truly does wonders for my skin while I snore blissfully. This evening moisturizer it's like a facial in a jar; it's absolutely overflowing with natural oils, vitamin E and honey which are a perfect fix for dull and pesky skin and the strong herbal scent is so relaxing and soothing it makes me fall asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow. It gives that lovely 8-hour-sleep glow and completely sorts out any blotchiness or dry patches; it makes such a huge difference and really changes my skin when I use it.
If all these extra nourishing products weren't enough for my thirsty skin, my trusty Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (£21.50) is always ready to step-in in times of need and save the day. It's a great all-around face mask that cleanses the skin deeply, unclogging pores and soothing redness and blemishes, while bringing intense hydration and nourishment to the skin. It also doubles up as spot treatment on not-quite-raised pimples: I simply pat a little blob wherever I'm feeling a sore spot lurking underneath the surface and leave it on overnight to control the damage.

Nothing to say about hand creams except that I'm absolutely obsessed with them and also a bit of an hoarder. Lately I've been loving the Soap & Glory Hand Food Hand Cream (£2.50), a great fuss-free moisturizer that sinks in quickly without leaving any residue or greasy finish behind. It smells gorgeous - like fruit salad and fresh cut flowers - and I love this little travel size, great to just pop in your handbag for on-the-go application.

How do you handle these seasonal changes?

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