Boxing day sale finds.

dicembre 27, 2014

Right after Christmas and the delicious food, the Boxing Day sale is the thing I look forward to the most during the Holidays - Christmas money needs to be spent at some point after all and I can't say no to a fine beauty deal, especially if I don't need to get out of my pyjamas to get my hands on it -. I can't help thinking that last year sales were a little more interesting and better assorted, nonetheless after browsing the sale section of my favourite websites, I've found some sweet deals and great bargains. Take a look!

For all the beauties, a peek at the SpaceNk sale is pretty much mandatory. There's always a great selection of Christmas gifts on sale for half the usual price, along with some great limited edition or soon to be discontinued products from our favourite luxury brands. Within the Laura Mercier lineup, the yummy scented Tarte au Citron quartet caught my eye right away. It includes a shimmering mist, a honey bath with its cute honey dipper, a body scrub and a fab body soufflé all infused with the beyond delicious lemon curd scent. Just like last year, all the skincare obsessers will love the REN selection. My pick is the Sensitive Skin Travel kit that features a mini size of my favourite morning cleanser and matching full size serum and day moisturizer, all for the price of the serum only.

I've been lusting over the Multi Facet Palette in Aura for ages now but I never got around buying it. Of course the second I've spotted it in the Illamasqua sale I slipped it in my cart without a second thought. Safely housed in this sleek palette are some of my favourite products from the brand, such as Cream Pigment in Hollow, Gleam Aurora cream highlighter and Tremble blush, along with four powder eyeshadows and an Eyebrow cake, plus a cute little double ended brush. Such a handy little palette, perfect for traveling and on the go.

Beautybay always does well on the sales and it's definitely worth a look. First Aid Beauty is on 3 for 2 at the minute and the Stila Merry and Bright 4 Piece Gift Set will soon be mine. For less than the price of the stunning Convertible Lip Colour in Tulip alone, you get an eyeliner, a lip gloss and a cute headband as well.
Spotted on Beauty Expert, the whole Foreo Luna range is 20% off right now. I've been thinking about upgrading the travel Mini with the full size Sensitive/Normal skin one for quite some time now, since I love it so much and use it every single day, and this might just be the clue I've been waiting for.

Over at Asos, there's a huge sale across the site going on and although anything really caught my eye in the beauty section, I quickly picked up the Frends Ella in ear Headphones that look absolutely gorgeous. I've been eyeing the Taylor ones before Christmas but I much prefer in ear headphones when I'm out and about and I don't want to mess up my hair too much.

Finally, many thanks to Anthropologie for having such a great range and helping clear out my bank account this morning. I'm sure my paws will be warm and stylish for weeks to come thanks to the beautiful Faux-fur Cuff Gloves that are now down to £22.95. I've also treated myself with some brilliant bits and bobs for the kitchen and the house I can't wait to get and set up.

What bargains have you found?


Six to wear on christmas day.

dicembre 24, 2014

I can't believe there is only one sleep left before Christmas! Seriously, where has December gone?
Even if Christmas day is pretty much a chill-out day dedicated to spending some quality time together with close friends and family - and eating all the food of course -, I still enjoy the rituals of getting ready and putting my makeup on. I tend to keep it simple but chic, and while falsies and glitters lay forgotten in a drawer for a little bit, Santa reds and soft golds come into play. Here's the makeup menù...

Having dry skin means that I'm always on the hunt for illuminating primers and highlighters to give that extra oomph to my complexion and add a bit of luminosity to it. The Burberry Fresh Glow in Nude Radiance (£34) is a little bit of both, as it hydrates my skin and smoothes it to help foundation slide on without effort, adding a touch of dewiness and freshness to it at the same time. It doesn't make me look super shimmery or shiny at all - the effect is quite subtle and natural, actually - but it adds just the perfect amount of glow for a healthier appearance. I also like to stipple it on the high points of my face or - since it's pretty much clear - even mix it with my base if I fancy a dewy finish, so it's a great multitasker.
Also from Burberry is the absolutely divine Complete Eye Palette in Gold #2 (£40), which features a combination of soft hues that go from pale gold to dark chocolate infused with fine gold shimmer, passing through a gorgeous golden khaki and a unusual mellow bronze. It has everything you may need for rich, intense eye looks and the quality is of course superb. This has been released as part of their limited edition Holiday collection but it's somehow still available on counters and online, so I strongly recommend you grab one before is too late.

The Maria Galland Ombre Unique in Eclat Doré* is a cute little number that comes in handy to add some extra sparkle to a look, taking it from day to night in nothing flat. It's a pale metallic yellow gold shot through with pearl sparkle that looks a bit too much for all over the lid, but makes for a great inner corner highlighter and it's beautiful dabbed on top of other eyeshadows like an uber festive shimmery top coat.

For my pout, I've found a super Christmassy combination that should stand its ground during lunch - let's be real, I'm sure I won't care too much about my lipstick with all the delicious food I'll be stuffing my face with; nonetheless, this combo is pretty long lasting and I'm sure won't end up smeared all over my face after a couple of bites -. MAC Cherry Lip Liner (£12.50) is a classic that never disappoints and something any red lipstick lover should own, as it goes so well with a great deal of red lippies on the market and looks stunning on its own as well. I use it to line my lips and fill them in for extreme longevity, and then apply a touch of the beautiful Maria Galland Le Rouge Infini in Rouge Pur* - a true red with a great matte formula that feels very moisturizing - only in the center. The slightly darker and cooler hues of Cherry create a nice contrast with this pillarbox red, giving the illusion of fuller lips thanks to the subtle gradient, while Rouge Pur makes sure that the lip liner doesn't feel too drying and chalky on the lips. They're indeed the perfect pair.

My current favourite nail polish, The Body Shop Relish the Moment (£5), adds the perfect finishing touch and ties the look together. Before this beauty popped out of my advent calendar I wasn't even aware that The Body.Shop made nail polishes, but now I'm officially obsessed and I can't wait to get my hands on another shade, or ten. The formula glides on smoothly and it's fully opaque in one coat, and with the exception of minor tip wear after five days or so, it wears beautifully for over a week without chipping. Relish the Moment is the kind of bright glossy red that works all year round and for that price is a total winner in my books.

What about you, will you be wearing any makeup at all tomorrow?
Oh, and Merry Christmas, everyone!
*Press sample

November favourites.

dicembre 16, 2014

This second to last favourites installment of the year is coming to you a bit later than planned but, as I'm sure you'll all understand, my Christmas shopping had to come first and I've been quite busy elbowing my way in and out of utterly packed department stores and festive street markets in the past few days. Now that all the items in my to-do list have been checked, I can finally sit and ramble about these lovely products I've absolutely adored throughout November.

On with the makeup first, the showstopper of the gang is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Love Liberty (£23), a fab matte raspberry housed in the most exquisite rose gold bullet - the kind you'll proudly pull out of your purse in the middle of an event to touch up, although you'll find these lipsticks are incredibly long-lasting and don't really need retouches -. I've recently raved about the absolutely superb formula here so I won't rant too much about it. All I will say is that these lippies are beyond amazing and worth every single penny. Love Liberty in particular is the little black dress inside my makeup bag, as it looks so effortlessly chic and adds something extra to any outfit or makeup look.
For the eyes, I've been really into mustards and golden browns lately and I've worn a combination of the Nabla Cosmetics Eyeshadows (£5) in Caramel and Glitz - respectively a matte ochre and a burnished bronzy gold - pretty much every single day without fail. I never get tired of the signature Olsen twins heroine-chic smokey eye that's so in trend at the minute and I love the way these shades make my eyes look brighter and more intense.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (£56) really speaks for itself. With three gorgeous blush shades, it's a big hit for those lusting over a lit from within glow and definitely something that should be part of any beauty junkie's collection. Luminous Light on the left gives a beautiful Snow White rosiness to the cheeks, while the pop of peach in Incandescent Electra in the middle is seriously uplifting. My favourite of the three and the one I've used the most lately is Mood Exposure, a luminous mauve that instantly brightens the skin and lights up dull complexion in one swipe. Next is another blusher I've reached for a lot, the Stila Covertible Color in Lilium (£16), - a nude-ish pink with just a hint of coral - that is moisturizing and dewy but somehow stays put all day. It's one of the 'best bang for the buck' products I reach for when I'm running out the door or on lazy makeup days, as it immediately lifts the face with a lovely and uber flattering healthy flush.

For the base, I went back to an old friend, the Clarins Instant Concealer (£18.45), to conceal any darkness and brighten the under eye area, whilst keeping the skin nicely moisturized at the same time, as I've been experiencing a little dryness around the eyes recently. Like 8 hours of sleep in a tube, this concealer fakes fresh, radiant skin like no other and covers redness and pigmentation surprisingly well, considering its lightweight formula. If you can find the right shade for you, definitely give it a whirl.
I've also been giving some love to the Wayne Goss Brush #13, which is everything I've ever wanted the MAC 109 to be and even more, as it's ridiculously soft and doesn't shed at all. I particularly love it with liquid and mineral foundations but it's also great to use for contouring and highlighting, and even blush if you're after a rather precise placement.

My hair is not loving autumn/winter weather at the moment and it can use all the help not to fall completely flat at the roots and loose shine. Last month I've rediscovered the Redken Body Full Volume Amplifier (£12), a great pre blow-dry texturizing and strengthening spray infused with wheat for instant fullness and volume, and soy for extra strength on the long run. I spray a good helping at the roots then dry my hair upside down for maximum lift that stays around all day - and it's easy to refresh with another spray and a quick shot with the hairdryer -.
Finally, a word about L'Occitane Almond Delicious Hands (£8) hand cream that hasn't left my side for weeks - really, I'm at my second tube already -. The smells is simply divine - not your typical nutty almond scent, but there's a bit of tartness in it that keeps it fresh and interesting - and it leaves my hands feeling soft and supple for hours.

Let me know what your November favourites are in the comments below. Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?


Party Essentials.

dicembre 06, 2014

Now that November is out of the way, we're finally allowed to get overly excited for the party season and dig out all the glitters. Whether you plan to party hard every night or sit through a four hour long meal with friends and family, I got you covered with long-wearing and reliable products that will see you through the Holidays without fail. It's time to glow!

Starting with the base, my first choice is of course a primer, to make foundation go on more smoothly and make it last a lot longer. A personal favourite is the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance (£29), which leaves my skin looking healthy and more supple and gives it a gorgeous glow that shines through the makeup in a very subtle way, whilst of course keeping everything in place.
For foundation, I always go back to NARS Sheer Glow (£31) as it's ideal for photos, has a flawless radiant finish and stays perfect throughout the day - or the evening -. Despite the buildable medium coverage, it looks natural and I find that when I wear it I don't need to touch up at all during the day, 'cause my skin never looks oily but simply glowy.
To get rid of blemishes and dark circles I've recently rediscovered the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (£22) and, seriously, what was I even thinking when I put it on a side? It's brightening and moisturizing but it doesn't move around, and gives an amazing coverage without that caked-on effect that only makes imperfections look more obvious.

On to the fun part, I love me some sparkle and falsies, which I'm guessing you all know by now, and I especially love them for the Holidays. ESQIDO mink lashes are my go to falsies at the minute because they're so comfortable to wear - thanks to the cotton band - and make my lashes look absolutely fab without going too overboard. The Unforgettable ($42.99)* ones fall more on the natural side of things and add just the right amount of volume to give a subtle fuller look with a soft gradient that gives a great cat eye lift to the face. If fake lashes aren't your thing, you'll need an extra black mascara that doesn't flake or smudge, holds the curl all day and night, and adds clump-free volume. The NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara (£18.50) ticks all the boxes and has been my number 1 mascara for years now. I strongly recommend it.
The Burberry Effortless Liquid Liner (£23) comes in handy to conceal the lash band and draw a crisp line to give definition. I'm a gel liner girl to the core but I'm seriously impressed with this product: it has a very firm felt tip applicator that allows to draw both super thin lines and extra bold flicks, a great formula that is blacker than black and sets to a beautiful satin finish, and above all it's incredibly long wearing.

When it comes to glitters I have two favourites, MAC Glitter Reflects (£17), either in Pearl or Antique Gold, and Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment (£16.50). The MAC number is utterly perfect for an ethereal, almost wet shine - and can be mixed with anything, from gloss to nail polish to add extra sparkle to any look -, while the Illamasqua offering is a complex mix of burnished gold pigment and a mesmerizing blend of white, copper and green glitter particles - very Christmas appropriate - that brings a simple smokey eye to a brand new level.

A party look is not complete without a red lip and of course I have to mention NARS Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (£18) which is my must have red at the moment. The long-lasting, non-drying formula lasts well through countless drinks or a full meal and the chubby pencil fits even in the smallest clutch for touch-ups on the go. If it's not red it has to be berry and the Charlotte Tilbury Matter Revolution Lipstick in Glastonberry (£23) is the most perfect deep mulberry out there. The formula is out of this world, comfortable yet long wearing and oddly multi-dimensional, so much that it makes the lips look soft and plump, almost lit from within in a way. For mistletoe-ready lips these are the way to go.

If you find that you need an extra help to make everything stay in place, the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (£20) is great to seal everything in and finish off the look. The gentle mist acts like a top coat for your makeup and makes everything sweat and heat proof for up to 16 hours. It's oil free, it doesn't dry out my skin and I often use it in place of my setting powder to make sure my base looks fresh and glowy yet stays put till cleansing time.

Enjoy your Holidays!
Which are your party essentials?
*Press sample

an early christmas wishlist.

novembre 25, 2014

I haven't done one of these in so long I was dying to get back into the routine. These posts are actually quite useful to keep track of what I really want to buy throughout the month and now that we're only four weeks away from Christmas they're perfect to drop a few hints here and there for Santa...

001 I'm obsessed with NARS pencils at the minute and Biscayne Park Satin Lip Pencil (£18) - a peachy nude with a sixties vibe - is right up my street. It's one of those shades that can easily go unnoticed as it doesn't pop out as much as its hot pink and deep red counterparts but I saw it the other day on a friend of mine and I fell in love with it instantly.

002 Can you believe I still don't own any NARS Audacious Lipstick (£24)? I check them out every time I pop at Sephora but I just can't decide which shade I like the most and I always end up leaving empty handed. I mean, I clearly need all 40 but that's simply not going to happen and I need to sort out my priorities ASAP. Which one do you recommend?

003 Five years later my old GHD is still going strong but I can't stop thinking about the beyond gorgeous GHD Rose Gold Styler (£130) - my obsession for rose gold is showing -. Do I need another flat iron? Probably not, but I know I'm probably going to buy it myself if Santa doesn't get to it first.

004 Face oils are one of my many obsessions and Caudalie are one of my favourite brands when it comes to skincare, so of course it seemed logic to start lusting over the new skincare offerings from the brand. The Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil (£26) is designed to soothe sensitive skin and nourish dry and dehydrated complexions while the Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil (£29) calms and detoxifies the skin and is apparently a close dupe for my beloved and much more expensive Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial. They both sound so appealing I'm really not sure which one should I buy; on one hand I really enjoy the Polyphenol range but on the other hand I think the Vinosource offering would work better for my skin. Decisions, decisions...

005 One look at the Burberry Holiday 2014 collection and I was sold. Everything looks utterly gorgeous - that gold packaging should become a regular thing - but after checking in out in real life there were only two pieces that really caught my eye and I'm seriously considering picking up: the Complete Eye Palette Gold #2 (£40) features four beautiful variations of gold shadows with that signature dreamy buttery texture Burberry powders are known for, whilst the Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Nude Radiance (£34) is the perfect cross between a moisturizing primer and a liquid highlighter that leaves the skin smooth and glowy, ready for foundation.

What are you thinking to buy at the moment?


10 Beauty Finds Of 2014 So Far.

novembre 17, 2014

Product round-ups are usually a first-of-the-month or of-the-year kind of thing but recently I've seen a few of these posts pop up in various magazines and in my Bloglovin' feed - last but not least, Vivianna's one - and I thought it would be fun to jump on the bandwagon as well. With a few weeks to go till the end of 2014, there' still plenty of time for some new beauty discoveries to find their way into my top list, but here's a little round up of my ten favourite finds of the year up to now.

001. Bumble and bumble Dryspun Finish (£21.50) - A cross between a dry shampoo, a texturizing spray and a light hold hair spray that gives just the right amount of grit to my hair without making them look or feel crispy or dirty. It gives to freshly washed locks that second-day hair look that makes styling so much easier, as it allows the hair to catch on itself and build more volume and texture rather than falling completely flat.

002. LORAC Unzipped Eyeshadow Palette - I'm a big Lorac fan and their palettes are definitely a staple in my collection. With an incredibly silky-soft texture and great pigmentation, this swoon-inducing offering features all my favourite shades for an everyday look and is hands down my most reached-for at the minute. If you're a fool for rose gold, bronze and berry shades like I am, this palette will truly knock your socks off.

003. Foreo Luna Mini (£99) - It's pretty much the answer to all the prayers for a gentle cleansing device that doesn't aggravate sensitive skin whilst still delivering great results. One use is enough to experience smoother and more luminous skin and after using it consistently for a few months I can say that my skin has never looked better.

004. Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial (£45) - I always have it on hand for when things get extra stressful, but on a day-to-day basis I like to use it at least once or twice a week to give myself a good face massage and then leave it on to pamper my skin overnight. This delightful mix of oils is a proper skin hero and leaves my complexion ultra radiant and deeply nourished come morning.

005. Hourglass Diffused Heat Ambient Lighting Blush (£28) - If I had to pick one blush to wear everyday for the rest of my life, it would have to be this gorgeous poppy shade swirled with my favourite Ambient Lighting Powder. It gives the most perfect healthy flush with a lit from within glow to the cheeks and, unlike other powders, it doesn't sit on the skin but blends perfectly into the base for a beautiful natural finish.

006. Daniel Sandler Cherub Watercolour Liquid Blusher (£14.50) - Pinched cheeks in a bottle, that's it. Cherub is a soft petal pink with a waterproof formula that blends like a dream and doesn't budge, and it's basically undetectable on the skin. It's the ultimate bonne mine blush that looks like fresh skin flushing from within.

007. Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint Cologne (£40) - I've been completely obsessed with the whole Jo Malone range, but this one is still the top of the class for me. It's such a lovely combination of mint, white flowers and a subtle hint of rain and manages to be bright and fresh but still quite feminine at the same time.

008. Rae Morris Magnetic Brush range - Beware of Japanese brushes, for they are addictive. My piggy bank is not very happy for my penchant for artist brushes, but I really can't help it and in my defense, Rae's line is simply spectacular. All the brushes are hand-made, oh-so-soft and perfect for precise and controlled application of any kind of product. My favourite picks have to be the Ultimate cheekbone, which is a must have for contouring lovers, and the Liquid Foundation brush, perhaps the best duo-fiber brush I own.

009. NARS Velvet matte Lip Pencils (£18) - Velvety soft and not drying, the formula of these beauties is absolutely spot on. With my chronically dry lips, I used to avoid matte lip products like the plague, but these lovely lip pencils had me change my mind in a second - they stay put all day without making your lips feel like they could fall off at any minute and the shade selection would make even the harder to please squeal with excitement -. My must have shades are Cruella, Never Say Never and Sex Machine.

010. Anastasia Brow Wiz (£15.50) - My go-to product of the moment to cheat the perfect arch, Brow Wiz has a super fine nib to draw all the missing hair and fill in the brow with precision, and a build-in spoolie to blend everything and keep things natural. I tend to use it when I want my brows to look polished and quite defined but not painted on. It's really the best brow pencil out there right now.

What's your favourite beauty find of the year so far?


Evening makeup.

novembre 15, 2014

It may be my inner-grandma talking but there's nothing better than a chill, easy Saturday night at home, possibly involving a nice dinner, pyjama bottoms and a cup of hot coco with mellows. Tonight it's not the night though, and with a fancy evening out waiting for me and hours to get ready - for once I'm not doing anyone else's makeup and I'll make sure to celebrate that with a glass of something colourful that comes with a mini umbrella - I decided to make an extra effort and pull out my million-dollar products.
In the end it's all about the classics, red lips and gold glitters.

For the base, Nars Sheer Glow (£31) is the most obvious choice for special events and any occasion that may involve pictures, because it looks absolutely flawless for hours and has zero spf in it. Its medium coverage formula is easy to build and it leaves the skin looking glowy and perfected, with little to no need for concealer. It has only one downside, which is its tendency to accentuate and cling to any dry patches, but a good moisturizer or a hydrating primer underneath should do the trick. For special occasions I like to pop out my Charlotte Tilbrury Magic Cream (£70), which is flipping expensive but it truly does miracles for dull and thirsty skin, making it look instantly fuller and more radiant.
Since I want the focus to be on eyes and lips, I keep the skin natural with subtle definition, opting for creams rather than powders. I'm far too pale to even consider skipping on blush and a tiny drop of Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush (£14.50) in Cherub is enough to add a hint of colour to the cheeks that instantly makes me look fresher, while Illamasqua Hollow Cream Pigment (£17.50) makes those cheekbones of mine stand out a little bit more without going too overboard. Normally I wouldn't neglect highlighter - seriously, not even during the apocalypse - but a light dusting of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (£38) in Diffused all over is all I need for an immaculate, gorgeous glow and to set my makeup as well.

For some reason I forgot to include an eyebrow product in the picture above but I would never forget to fill in my brows, especially if I have a bold lip going on, as well defined brows are essential to balance out and ground red and dark lipsticks. I've been raving about the Anastasia Brow Wiz (£15.50) for months, so I'll keep it short and sweet: precise and long-lasting, lots of great shades to choose from and absolutely stunning yet believable results. Can you tell I'm in love?
For the eyes, the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette The Dolce Vita (£38) always does it for me. The combo of shimmery off-white, bronze and antique gold is kind of a comfort zone for me and something I wear all the time, but it's absolutely beautiful nonetheless. The quality of these eyeshadows is pretty amazing - they glide on the skin so easily and blend like a dream - and I love that little pop of pressed glitter that can easily elevate even the simplest look and turn it into something really special.
To finish off the look, enter a generous coat of mascara and a pair of gorgeous falsies to make up for the lack of naturally long, jet black, luscious lashes - thanks for nothing, Mother Nature! -. I'm currently completely obsessed with ESQIDO Mink Lashes and with their Oh So Sweet ($45.99)* offering in particular, as they look so full yet are so comfortable to wear. They give this my-lashes-but-ten-times-better look that makes people wonder if you got lash extensions overnight or if you've simply got your mitts on the ultimate mascara that does it all. They're soft and fluffy, and also incredibly durable - I think I've worn this pair over ten times already and they still look like they're brand new -.

For lips at last, I've finally got my fingers on the long coveted Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (£18) in Mysterious Red and I honestly can't put it down. It's the most perfect medium-dark blue red with such a great dimension to it despite the matte finish. It goes on smoothly, without tugging the skin and lasts pretty much forever. I love that comes in a pencil form because this kind of colour can be a little tricky and easy to mess up with, but the pencil allows to outline the lips with precision and then fill them in in a couple of strokes - that's how pigmented this stuff is -. I'm officially obsessed.

What is your night out line up?
*Press Sample 

8 beauty staples + giveaway.

novembre 10, 2014

Next to the products that make me fall in love or fill me with excitement every month, there're those few trusty staples I never quite mention or I don't speak about as often as I should - because they're the ones I either use pretty much daily, most of the time without even thinking, or I've temporarily put on a side but never stopped loving -. Today I thought I would round them up for you to show some well deserved love.

I love MAC lipsticks like the next person and of course every time I visit the store I find new shades to lust over but there's only one colour I can't get enough of and I keep repurchasing over and over again. A semi-sheer watermelon pink with a glossy finish, MAC Lustering Lipstick (£15.50) is a great example of a muted bright that can potentially suit everyone and goes with any kind of look, because despite being definitely hot pink, it's not a complete scene stealer. It's pretty and brightening and so easy to wear I don't think I'll ever be without it. Another MAC love has to be the 217 Blending Brush (£19), which is one of my top five must have brushes and beyond any doubt one of the most versatile I own. I use it with creams and powders, to pack eyeshadows on to the lid or to diffuse the color in the crease, as well as to blend concealer under the eyes and over imperfections. I can't stress it enough, everyone should invest in this brush.
Finally the 33 Lashes (£10.50) are my go-to falsies for any occasion. Those little clusters of brown and black hair look natural but also a bit flirty and complement any kind of look, from the most romantic doe-eyed ones to the sultriest smokey eyes. Sometimes I even cut them in half and wear them as accents on the outer corners to subtly elongate the eyes. They're so dreamy, I really recommend giving them a go.

When it comes to blushes NARS are my favourite brand and even if I get often distracted by new launches and formulas I seem to always go back to their amazing shades at some point. My most recent addiction, the Nars 413 BLKR Blush (£22.50) - a dark rosebud with a soft satin finish - is absolutely perfect for fall and winter as it gives to the cheeks that healthy 'Snow white flush' we all love during the colder months. Just like the rest of the shades in the range, this blush really packs a punch. Such an intense pigmentation calls for a light hand and an extra fluffy brush and one of my top picks for the job is the Sigma F15 Blush Brush (£16.50). It's soft and precise, and delivers a wonderful HD finish with both powders and liquids, and it's also brilliant to apply foundation. An all-around winner in my books.

Illamasqua Raindrops (£14.50) - a sheer light grey with just a hint of light blue and tiny opalescent specks that look like raindrops, hence the spot-on name - is probably my favourite ever nail polish. It's so effortlessly chic, it goes on smoothly and it has one of the longest lasting formulas out there. I really can't fault it. Since we're speaking of great formulas, I have to mention the Rouge Bunny Rouge Long Lasting Eyeshadows (£19). The texture of these shadows is excellent, soft but not crumbly and with a great colour payoff; each shade is easy to blend and so multidimensional it can be used alone as a wash of colour all over the lid or easily mixed with other eyeshadows. My favourite out of the lot has to be Delicate Hummingbird, a gorgeous frosty plum with a soft pink shimmer that I think would look good on anyone.
Lastly, if I had to include one fragrance I'd say Diptyque Philosykos. Our love story goes back to last year and is still going strong. With delicious notes of fig leaves, it's sweet but not sickening and ultimately fresh, like an early summer day - although it's not just a summer scent but I wear it all year around, sometimes even mixed with other fragrances -.

What about you? What are your all time favourites?

Now, without any further ado, on to the giveaway. To celebrate Strawberry Makeup bag's third birthday, I want to share some love with you as well and thank you for all the support by giving away all the beauty products pictured above to one lucky subscriber.

To enter read the Terms & Conditions and then use the Rafflecopter form below.

October Favourites.

novembre 03, 2014

Less than two months till Christmas, everyone! Aren't you beyond excited? I surely am but I'm trying to stay focused and instead of thinking about decorations and gifts, I thought about the great products I purchased or rediscovered in my stash in October and, trust me on this one, I've got some seriously good stuff here for you.

I've had two foundations on rotation lately and they're both filed under 'glowy and moisturizing', which is my favourite combination when it comes to foundations in general but also almost a necessity when the weather gets colder and my skin starts to suffer from it. Probably my favourite drugstore base of all time is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (£10.99) that combines decent coverage and lasting power to a great radiant boosting treatment that keeps my skin feeling nicely hydrated all day long. I can't get over how beautiful this foundation looks and how much more expensive it feels on the skin. It goes on beautifully, is slightly yellow toned so it counteracts redness really well and overall feels light and looks very natural.
My second love is the Chanel Les Beiges All in One Healthy Glow Fluid (£34) that I purchased only a couple of weeks ago but I've worn everyday without fault ever since. This falls more into the tinted moisturizer category, but instead of being rather pointless like some sheer bases can be, it evens out my skin so nicely and gives me enough coverage that I only need to add concealer under the eyes and over particularly angry-looking spots. The finish is absolutely gorgeous and out of this world - glowy and uber radiant but not dewy -, and it works really well underneath other foundations to prime the skin and add some extra luminosity as well.

Can't forget the awesome brush I've been using in combination with both of these bases and basically the only one I've used for my whole face lately. The Rae Morris Liquid Foundation (£47.50) is super soft and simply fantastic to stipple and blend in foundation. It doesn't soak up product or leave streaks, and works wonderfully with loose powders and mineral foundations as well as with liquid ones.
Speaking of makeup brushes, I've also been loving the Clean Lavender Goats Milk Brush Shampoo (£11.95) to deep clean them. The goat milk in this soap bar removes all the stains from the bristles and then softens and nourishes the hair without leaving a film on them, like some oils and conditioning products can do. It's a very nice alternative to liquid shampoo, especially for natural brushes with white bristles, and I adore the faint lavender scent it leaves behind.
Last on my list for makeup is my current lipstick obsession, the Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (£17.50). A beautiful deep fig shade that's oh-so-chic, this looks awesome as a semi-sheer tinted balm that can be built up for a slightly more intense payoff, or layered on top of a dark lip pencil for a deeper and sultrier result. It's the kind of shade that draws a heap of compliments in every situation and it's quite moisturizing, which is a great extra.

Moving on to skincare, I'm well and truly addicted to LUSH Full of Grace Serum Bar (£8.95) and LUSH Yog Nog Soap (£3.40). The first one is a wonderful solid serum that sinks in pretty much instantly and leaves my skin soft and bouncy. It's not the most hydrating serum out there, but it's calming and soothing, and I can see it work for all skin types all year around. Yog Nog on the other hand may look like a regular soap bar but it has the most delicious of scents - spicy egg nog and cocoa powder - and, thanks to the soya yogurt in it, it's extra creamy and really moisturizing. It's a limited edition for Christmas and I suggest you scoop it up before it's gone, but be aware you may find yourself washing your hands about fifty times a day just to keep the lovely scent around.

My final pick is The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (£10), which is my current cleanser of choice to remove the bulk of my makeup in the evening. I spend a couple of minutes massaging it into the skin to melt all of my makeup off and break down spfs and any waterproof formula, boosting my circulation at the same time as well. It's quick and efficient and doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped or irritated, but it's actually quite nourishing.

What have you been loving in October?


September Favourites.

ottobre 03, 2014

NARS Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil // Clinique Voluptuous Violet Chubby Stick // Essie Parka Perfect Nail Polish // Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush // Oskia Bedtime Beauty Boost // Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne // Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Love Is The Drug Blush // Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer. //
Can we please take a moment to appreciate that summer is finally and fully behind us and now that October is here I can start obsessing over autumn trends, Halloween, scarves, scarves, scarves! and all that jazz? Fall, how do I love thee!
Anyways, as usual as the previous month wraps up and a new one begins, I look back and find my most loved products of the month: here's what I either used everyday, came across or rediscovered throughout September.

My first favourite is a dreamy new entry in my skincare lineup. The Oskia Bedtime Beauty Boost (£45) is a thick night cream with a balmy texture that does miracles for my skin whilst I snore peacefully. Despite its thickness it does sink in surprisingly quickly and provides deep hydration while promoting skin renewal, so that when I wake up my skin looks more supple and radiant. It's quite the luxury treatment but it makes a big difference, especially when my skin is a bit stressed out, and it has quickly become a staple in my special occasion/post-breakout pampering routine.

As for makeup, I have two lipsticks on rotation at the minute. The Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm (£17) in Voluptuous Violet is creamy and moisturizing, with just a hint of colour and a lovely non-sticky glossy finish, while the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (£18) in Cruella is to die for in terms of pigmentation and longevity. The Clinique offering is definitely a safe choice for the day but also a discreet way to say goodbye to summery textures and approach more Fall appropriate berry shades; on the other hand Cruella is one of those crowd-pleasing reds that go with everything and make you feel extra special on an average day.
I've also been reaching for the Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Swish & Pop Blusher (£30) in Love Is The Drug - that's a name and a half - over any other powder blush. Both the texture and the packaging look and feel really expensive and, you know me, I can't resist a brightening pink blush. There's a soft shimmer running through it that instantly lifts and wakes up the skin and a pop of the bright candy pink in the center, applied right on the apple of the cheeks, it's all you need to fake the perfect chilly out-gone flush. Too pretty to ignore!

I've own the Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki (£16.50) for almost 4 years now; I used to be madly in love with it and then for some reason - maybe the other ten million brushes in my collection had something to do with it, ehr - I put it on a side, till last month when my crush for this brilliant brush came back full force. It makes quick work of any liquid base and delivers beautiful results in just a few swipes. The bristles are so soft and so tightly packed, you can either build or sheer out the coverage really easily and achieve the most flawless finish in any occasion.
My last makeup favourite is the Essie Nail Colour (£9.95) in Parka Perfect, a beautiful dusty light blue shot through with a subtle shimmer, which is simply perfect to embrace a bit of colour as the weather gets cooler. The formula goes on a little blotchy at first but it's so pretty is definitely worth the extra effort.
On to hair, I fell head over heels for the Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer (£19). I'm a big fan of double duty and multipurpose products, especially when it comes to haircare, as I don't want to weight down my fine hair too much and therefore the fewer products I use on them the better. This lovely oil mix acts as a leave in-conditioner, detangler, fly-aways tamer, primer to make styling the hair much easier and make any hairdo last much longer, and finally protects the hair from UV and heat-styling damage. On top of everything, it leaves my hair super soft and makes them smell absolutely delicious.
Speaking of gorgeous scents, the Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne (£40) is my fragrance obsession of the moment. Although I only purchased it a couple of weeks ago, I'm already addicted to this gorgeous scent. I love how Jo Malone's fragrances can evocate places and images so well and this one in particular reminds me of a wintery trip to the seaside, with the waves hitting the cliffs and the driftwood resting on the sand. With notes of wood, musk and sea salt, it's sophisticated yet crisp and clean, perfect on its own or for layering with other scents for fall.

What have you been loving last month?


July Favourites.

agosto 22, 2014

LORAC Pro Eye Shadow Palette // Ciaté Dangerous Affair Nail Polish // REVLON Colorburst Matte Balm in Standout // Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze* // Eyeko VisualEyes Liquid Eyeliner in Mocha // Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in Blonde // Yankee Candles Salted Caramel. //
It seems November has taken over my July favourites as the products that have been rocking my boat recently are not terribly summer appropriate, but with the on-and-off weather we've been having lately, this rather fall-ish selection shouldn't be too surprising.

On to nails first, generally I tend to change my nail color weekly but this month I've been completely obsessed with Ciaté Dangerous Affair (£9), a deep burgundy with a cherry base that looks stunning especially on short nails. Although this shade doesn't last as long as I'd like and it's starts wearing off at the tips around day three, I love the way it looks on my nails so much I can't stop staring at them.
Something I've really been loving this month is the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm (£7.99) in the shade Standout. The formula is to die for - hands down the most comfortable matte lip product I've ever tried - and the deep berry red has just a pinch of that vintage vibe that makes you feel sophisticated and oh so chic without going too far out. It wears so well throughout the day I can easily overlook its terribly tacky minty scent. I own a couple other shades but this is by far my favourite and I've been wearing it non stop all month.

A gorgeous bronze glow is the perfect complement for a bold lip during summertime and the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze (£29)* is the ultimate summer staple for the lazy fake-tanner or the girl who's trapped in the city when everyone else is on holiday: it gives a beautiful been-away-for-the-weekend healthy glow to the skin and makes my makeup last easily 'till supper even on those random scorching hot days. I've been mixing it with my foundation for an all-over radiance and to add a bit of warmth to my base, but also to create the right shade to match my skin tone now that I'm looking slightly less pale than usual. It's a great multi-purpose product that doesn't add any coverage but makes a huge difference and never fails to draw a few compliments on the way my skin looks.
With a slightly bronzed base, my ashy blonde brows have been looking a little too stark for my taste. For that reason I scooped the Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brown Gel (£16.50) in Blonde out of my kit, to add some gold into my brows and match them to my golden highlights. I still like the clear one better to set my brows and keep the hair in place all day, but this tinted gel is perfect for quick fixes and to adjust the colour of the hair without having to grab the dye.

A fairly recent addition to my collection that I've been loving a lot lately is the Eyeko Visual Eyes Liquid Liner (£15). I'm not usually a big fan of liquid liners but, instead of the typical sharpie-like nib, the Eyeko offering has a super thin brush that gets really close to the lashes and allows me to draw an extremely sharp and crisp line. The formula is also opaque in just one swipe and completely smudge proof. I chose Mocha - a dark chocolate brown - and I can't find a single thing I don't like about it.
Finally, the Lorac Pro Palette is all I've been reaching for for my eye makeup lately. With a beautiful assortment of matte, metallic and shimmer shades and a buttery-soft formula that blends like a dream, it's a true winner in my books, as it allows me to create an endless number of eye looks and features pretty much all my most used shades.

That's a wrap. I'll mention one last non-beauty favourite which is currently a staple on my hallway cabinet. In the past few weeks I've burned my way through my stock of Yankee Candles Salted Caramel tarts (£1.49) and I absolutely adore the deliciously creamy burnt sugar scent with a hint of sea salt that fills the whole house every time I light one up. It's uuhmazing, believe me on this one.

What have you been loving lately?
*Press sample

Skincare On the Go.

luglio 29, 2014

Sarah Chapman Daily Essentials Collection // Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV defence SPF50 PA+++ // Bioderma Crealine H2o Solution Micellaire // Avene Eau Thermale // REN V-cense Revitalizing Night Cream // Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream* // Foreo Luna Mini // Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm. //
Packing is such a chore for me. I'm forever tormented by doubts and ominous what-if scenarios in which obviously I'm going to need the only thing I decided not to pack and of course it takes me literally hours to makeup my mind and get my bags ready. This time, however, picking up my skincare goodies was somehow surprisingly quick and utterly painless to be honest. Maybe after years of beauty blogging I got really good at guessing what my skin really needs...

The very first product that I always pack is a mini bottle of Bioderma Micelle Solution (£4.50), which I use mainly to take off the bulk of my makeup before the actual cleanser or to quickly fix any mistake I might do with eyeliners and such. It's extremely gentle, so it's perfect for the eyes, and rinse-free and so very convenient to keep at hand. Other favourites I can't travel without are the Avene Thermal Spring Water (£3.15) - simply perfect to soothe congested skin, keep redness at bay and also doubles up as a toner and setting spray -, and my Foreo Luna Mini (£99) to deep clean and unclog my pores, get rid of dead skin cells and above all to enjoy a mini facial twice a day even on the go. I'm obsessed.

I make sure to pack an eye cream as well and my current choice for the day is the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream (£26)*, as it works well underneath concealer and keeps my under-eye area perfectly moisturized all day long, which is pretty much all I ask to an eye cream these days.
Something I use daily and I need to take everywhere I go is the Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm (£9.50). This stuff is so good it's easy to overlook the not-so-travel-friendly glass jar. A good helping before bed makes wonders for my chronically dry lips and leaves them nourished and uber soft, ready for the bright lippie of the day.

I also like to travel with some kind of rescue treatment in case my skin acts up for the long journey, the conditioned air or simply because I'm a little stressed out. My current favourite is the Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial (£45), which is amazing to perk my skin up, bring back some radiance and decongest my complexion. The full-size is not so ideal for travelling purposes but luckily I've found a little deluxe sample of it inside the Sarah Chapman Daily Essentials Collection (£49), which is a great way to try out the best-seller of the brand but also a genious little set to carry around on the go. It includes the Ultimate Cleanse that I use to remove my makeup at nighttime and cleanse my skin in the morning, a light creamy serum that tightens and gives a nice glow to the skin, and a daytime moisturizer with basic spf.

Samples are obviously a great solution to save space and try out new beauty things at the same time. With me I'm taking a tiny tube of REN V-cense Revitalizing Night Cream (£32), a resurfacing balm with an amazing calming scent, that doesn't feel too heavy on the skin. Finally, a while ago I popped at the Kiehl's counter and managed to snatch a mini sample of one of my favourite spfs, that I've been saving for my trips. The Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily Moisturizer Spf50 PA+++ (£31) is a great non-sticky lotion that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays and doesn't interfere with my makeup at all, but actually does feel a bit like a primer as well. A real must have if you're going to spend some time outdoors all year around, really.

There you have it. I'm quite happy with my little capsule skincare wardrobe.
What skincare staples are you taking away with you on holiday?


June Favourites.

luglio 25, 2014

The.Body Shop Mango Body Sorbet // Caudalie Polyphenol Anti-wrinkle Defense Serum* // Dove Hair Therapy Leave-in Conditioning & Care Spray // L'Oreal True Match Foundation // Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer #57 Brush // MAC Prep+prime CC Cream spf30. //
This favourites post comes a wee bit late this month, and with 'wee bit late' I mean that is horribly overdue, but I had very little time to sit down and write in the past few weeks. However, despite being a busy little bee, I still managed to treat myself to a lot of retail therapy and I'm really happy with some of the products I've found. I've also switched up a couple of skincare products in my routine and finally got my hands on a foundation I've wanted to try for months.

Starting with skin, I've been enjoying the latest offering from the Caudalie serum range a lot lately. The Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Defense Serum (£35)* is light and moisturizing, and packed full with anti-oxidants that aim to tackle premature ageing whilst protecting the skin from daily aggressors such as stress and smog. A few drops every morning leave my skin feeling instantly nourished and looking fuller and more glowy whilst not suffocating it like some moisturizing products can do when it's really hot outside.
If on one hand I'm always happy to take two more minutes to look after my face, on the other hand I'm extra lazy when it comes to moisturizing my body and I'm always on the hunt for a very low maintenance body cream or lotion that doesn't need to be rubbed in for three hundred years. The The Body Shop Mango Body Sorbet (£8) is super refreshing and hydrating, with a delicious scent that lingers on the skin for a few hours without being too overpowering; on top of that, it's nice and cooling and sinks in pretty much immediately without leaving any residue behind.

On to haircare, I've rediscovered the Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Leave-in Spray (£3.59) again lately, as I'm trying to apply minimum heat on to my hair to avoid melting in the process and I needed something to smooth the frizz out and make them look more shiny and glossy. Not only does this leave-in conditioner make my hair so much more manageable and easier to brush through and style, but it smells utterly divine and keeps my locks soft and tangle-free in between washes without weighting them down.

Lastly for makeup, I have three amazing new discoveries that I'm sure will live in my everyday makeup bag for quite some time. I've wanted to try the L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Perfecting Foundation (£8.49) for months and my sky-high expectations weren't disappointed. It is indeed a very beautiful foundation that could easily rival its high-end counterpart, that is the Armani Luminous Silk, for high pigmentation, gorgeous radiant finish and longevity, and the spf17 makes it excellent for the day. N1 is the perfect match for my skin tone - something that has never happened before with a drugstore product - and I just love how great it looks on the skin. Another recent purchase I'm completely obsessed with is the Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57, which is incredibly soft and therefore blends my concealer without tugging at the delicate skin around the eyes, buffing the product in so beautifully the result is seriously close to perfection.
My last pick for this post is the MAC Prep+Prime CC Colour Correcting Spf30 (£24) in Adjust, which really does help correcting any redness and makes my skin appear more even and glowy. I love it as a primer but I absolutely adore it as an effortless base for lazy or scorching hot days, when I can't be bothered with foundation or full-on makeup. It doesn't really add any coverage but it corrects beautifully any discoloration, perfecting and smoothing the complexion.

What have you been loving lately?


Tag: The Makeup Timer Test.

giugno 30, 2014

Wait, is that my face in a blog post? Omg...
I'm pretty much the queen of multitasking and I hardly ever sit down and do one thing at a time without getting sidetracked by something else, and that includes my makeup as well. A few days ago while catching up with some of my favourite blogs, I stumbled upon Lily's tag and I figured it was finally time to find out how long does my daily makeup routine actually take once I manage to cut off any distraction. I came up with a respectable 15 minutes and 11 seconds, which is not bad if you consider the eyeliner and the sweet time I take to define my eyebrows. I'm just gonna talk you through what I've got on my face...

Brows: I begin with my brows, outlining them first with a flat liner brush and a touch of Illamasqua Skin Base Lift (£17.50) in the shade White that gives me sharp edges, a clean canvas to draw all the missing hair in and also acts as a subtle highlighter once I blend it in with my foundation. To fill in my brows I've been reaching for the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo (£17) in Ash Blonde/Taupe. I absolutely love Anastasia shadows for brows: they're buttery soft, highly pigmented but easy to blend for a softer look and they cling on the skin for dear life all day, especially if I set the whole thing with the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel (£16.50), which is one of the best I've tried. - 2.30 minutes.

Primer & Foundation: For primer I've been loving the MAC Prep+prime Natural Radiance (£29) in Radiant Yellow lately, as it gives me beautiful glowy skin, makes my base last longer and lightly corrects the redness around my nose and on my cheek area. For base I can't put down my favourite combo of the moment: when mixed together, MAC Face & Body Foundation (£21.50) and Studio Sculpt (£25) create a flawless, sweat-proof base that doesn't look like makeup and last effortlessly till supper. - 2.15 minutes.

Concealer:  Concealer is a girl's best friend and my current best buddy is the RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-up (£28). I put it underneath my eyes and on any blemishes I have, blending it thoroughly with a synthetic fluffy brush. It has an amazing nourishing formula that's quite forgiving on dry patches and flakiness, but it's also really long wearing, highly pigmented and never looks cakey. - 1.59 minutes. 

Blush, Sculpting & Powder: My go-to product to add a bit of colour to my cheeks is the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher (£14.50) in Cherub, which is the perfect blush for fair-skinned ladies looking for that lovely and oh so natural shy girl blush. If I'm just chilling around the house or running some errands I tend to skip contouring, but I can't resist to the beautiful glow that the Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight (£23) gives to my cheekbones. Finally, I powder any unwanted shine away with a thin layer of MAC Mineralize Foundation Loose (£25) applied mainly on the T zone, leaving the rest of my face looking fresh and glowy. This mineral powder sits nicely on the skin, adds a little bit of coverage and prevents any product migration for a long time without going patchy or loosing it's natural finish. - 1.33 minutes.

Eyes: To create my signature soft, blown out smokey eyes with just a hint of definition I've been reaching for a mix of shadows from the LORAC Unzipped and Pro-to-go palettes. Lorac eyeshadows are absolutely amazing: buttery soft, easy to blend and so pigmented I barely need to touch the pan with my brushes to get an excellent color pay-off. As of lately I've jumped back on the gel liner bandwagon and I'm reaching everyday for the MAC Dipdown Fluidline (£15) to define my lash line with a thin line and a tiny flick. MAC Teddy Eye Kohl (£14) on the upper waterline and the MAC Nc15-Nw20 Chromagraphic Pencil (£14) on the lower one are my secret weapons for ticker looking lashes and wide open eyes and to complete the look I pop on a few coats of my favourite mascara, the NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing (£19), as a finishing touch. - 5.49 minutes.

Lips: My lip products change all the time but lately I've been completely obsessed with MAC Ravishing (£15) for my everyday makeup. It's an incredibly flattering orange-y nude shade with a fun '60s twist, that I can either dab lightly on the lips for a soft wash of colour on lazy days or wear full on to embrace the orange pout trend without going all out. - 1.05 minutes.

Have you tried any of these products? How long does your everyday routine take?
If you want to give this tag a go simply do your makeup routine as usual, without rush, and record your timing for each step using a stopwatch, then write down a blogpost with a list of what you used.


Loves & Leaves: Something New From Maybelline.

giugno 20, 2014

*Sponsored Post
Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Lightweight Primer* // Baby Skin Instant Radiance Primers* in Warm Apricot & Cool Rose // The Colossal Go Extreme! Volume Mascara* // Baby Lips Lip Balms* in Hydrate, Intense Care, Mint Fresh, Cherry Me, Pink Punch and Peach Kiss. //
Although my secret passion for luxury products is not really a secret anymore, back in my high school days, I used to spend my spare time and all of my pocket-money at the drugstore, looking for budget gems and new offerings to lust on. Lately, I had the chance to try out some of the most recent launces from Maybelline, which used to be one of my most reliable beauty-dealers at the time, and after a few tests and experiments, here's a run down of my loves and leaves...

Down with the Loves list first, the Baby Lips Lip Balm (£2.99)* in the shade Cherry Me was an instant love and has been living in my makeup bag for the past few weeks. As I said in one of my previous post, I'm having a serious moment with pinks and Cherry Me is the perfect sheer bubblegummy pink with a fun glossy finish. Comfortable to wear and infused with vitamins, honey and aloe to protect the lips, it's super easy to touch up on the go and fades into a light kool-aid-ish stain. When the warmer season comes nearer I tend to reach less and less for heavy lipsticks and turn to light as air textures such as stains and tinted lips balms, and with a soft pop of colour and cheerful popsicle scents you can't really go wrong. If you're partial to cool pinks, Pink Punch is the way to go, while nude lip lovers will find that Peach Kiss - a low-key caramel shot through with gold shimmer - is perfect to tone down their lip color a little without washing them out.

The Colossal Go Extreme Mascara (£6.99)* is another hit for me. I'm a huge fan of big mascara wands and the egg-shaped brush of the latest Maybelline offering grabs the lashes right at the roots and applies lashing of mascara in thin layers, allowing to pile it on without loosing on definition. The formula is seriously spot on: extra black and loaded with collagen, it doesn’t crumble or make my lashes hard and crispy, although it does hold the curl pretty well for a non-waterproof mascara.

A product I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I do is the Baby Skin Primer in the shade Warm Apricot*, a color correcting primer with a touch of pale orange to neutralize tiredness and ashy tones and quickly revive tired skin. With a special blurring formula, it mattifies and refines the texture, leaving the skin baby soft and looking polished and overall firmer. I also really like the Cool Rose* version but, due to my redness-prone skin, I tend to save it for extra dull days, as a hint of brightening pink in my base can instantly perk my skin up and provide a much needed pick-me-up. The formula is super light and doesn't feel greasy or too slippery, and I would recommend these for all skin types, especially during the summer months.

The Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Lightweight Primer (£7.99)* unfortunately does fall in the Not-for-me's group. With dry skin and rather small pores I don't find myself reaching for it very often. Also, silicone-heavy formulas tend to have catastrophic effects on my sensitive skin and actually make my makeup last less than usual. I do think that oilier skinned girls might enjoy this primer better than I do - it's a good and purse-friendly take on the blogger favourite Benefit Porefessional after all -, but for me there's no room for it in my routine.
Last on my Leaves lineup, the clear Baby Lips* balms didn't wow me at all. The SPF20 is great for on the go and the scents are really nice but I can't find a place for them in my regular lip care rotation. Suffering from chronically dry lips, to keep my lips flake-free I need to use something that is truly hydrating and moisturizing and not simply soothing or smoothing that will actually make my lips feel drier on the long run.

Have you tried any of these products? What Maybelline product do you recommend I should try next?


May Favourites.

giugno 14, 2014

Sephora Formula X Nail Color in Unmistakable //Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher in Cherub // Kevyn Aucoin Eyelesh Curler // Real Techniques Setting Brush // Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint Cologne // Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnigh Facial // Filorga Time-Filler Eyes*. //
I'm forever in search of amazing products to love and new ways to use my old favourites and love them even more. This month I'm particularly happy with my picks: I've got a little bit of everything, some exciting new entries and even quite a few runners for the holy grail status, along with an old fave of mine. Also, I seem to have almost sorted out my timing with the monthly favourites post, and that deserves a celebration of its own...

For skin, I've had my eye on the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial (£45) for a while and you all know by now I can only resist for so long to swoon-inducing skincare offerings. It's one of those instant-wow products that completely change your skin overnight but also give amazing results on the long run. A good helping of this luxurious oil blend twice a week is enough to keep my skin radiant, well balanced and in great condition, especially in combination with a good face massage. Another product I fell head over heels for is the Filorga Time-Filler Eyes (£44)*, a super light moisturizer with a bouncy gel-like texture and an amazing quenching formula, that quickly sinks into the skin, leaving it deeply nourished and hydrated but not greasy. I've been noticing a huge difference in the way my concealer sits on my under-eye area, which is now softer and appears much plumper and overall brighter.

There's only one makeup favourite this month that seems to have put the rest of my cosmetic buys in the shadows. The Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher (£14.50) in the shade Cherub is something special for sure. A gorgeous pale pink, perfect for fair and light skin tones, it gives a healthy flush of colour that looks completely natural and oh so flattering on the cheeks. The formula is one of the best I've tried: easy to blend and build up, it's breathable and lets the skin shine through, and it does stick around all day no matter what.

For tools, I've been giving some love to the Real Techniques Setting Brush (£6.99) which is my current brush of choice to blend in foundation and concealer - yup, you read correctly -. If I'm in a hurry I tend to reach for something bigger and denser but this one is absolutely fabulous if I have the chance to really work on my base. Its super soft, long bristles are extremely gentle on the skin and move the product around without bothering the skin underneath it and I love the sheer airbrushed finish it gives, especially when paired with very runny formulas, such as F&B or cc creams. Lately, I've been relying on the Kevyn Aucoin Eye Lash Curler (£17) to curve my lashes and I've been reaching for it over any other curler I own. It opens twice as much as the Shu Uemura one, allowing me to grab every single lash and give a good squeeze right at the base for long-lasting, perfect curls. The metal band cradles my round eyes so nicely and doesn't disturb my makeup underneath. I've already named it my Holy Grail lash curler *gasp* and that really does speak volumes.

Nail wise, I've been completely obsessed with the Formula X for Sephora Nail Polish in Unmistakable. Ever since I bought it I wore it religiously both on my paws and toes, sometimes pairing it with a glitter top coat - Demolition also by Formula X is a thing of beauty as well - to perk it up. It's a one coater, it lasts up to eight days with minor tip wear and although I didn't really need another mint polish in my collection, I just couldn't help it. A girl needs her options, right?

Lastly for fragrance, I may have found the most perfect summer scent during my latest quick run at the Jo Malone counter. The Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint Cologne (£39) is unlike anything I've smelled before. With gorgeous floral notes and a hint of jasmine topped by the soft scent of grass and herbs, it smells just like a gentle drizzle in a garden. It's feminine and romantic but also fresh and, thanks to a sprinkle of mint, completely unexpected.

What have you been loving in May?
*Press sample

Fresh Faced Lineup.

giugno 01, 2014

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze* // MAC Face & Body Foundation in C1 // RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-up Concealer 00 // Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Anti-Aging // Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethist // N7 Pop & Glow Cream Blush Stick in Rose Blossom // Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight // NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara // MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Fearless. //
I don't know about you but as soon as I see the first hint of sunshine I put all my powder products and heavy textures to one side and reach for everything creamy and sheer and glowy. I do love a sultry, sexy winter look as much as the next person but there something about fresh, dewy skin and minimal makeup that makes me incredibly happy. Creamy textures can have a downside though; they can slip and move around your face and go from gloriously radiant to sweaty disaster in no time but I've got you covered. All these products have something in common: they last, and last, and last...

Starting with base, there's a new primer in town and I absolutely love it. The Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze (£29)* is like a foretaste of summer in a tube: light as air, extra luminous and gives a beautiful bronzy hue to the skin, whilst helping the rest of my makeup stay in place all day. It's quite pigmented and it's easy to go overboard with it, but a little goes a long way and it's excellent to cheat a been-out-in-the-sun-for-days glow in no time. For foundation, the MAC Face & Body (£21.50) is without doubt the star of my spring-summer makeup selection. It's sheer but easily buildable, sweat-proof and unrivaled when it comes down to perking things up and letting your perfected skin shine through. The RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-up Concealer (£28) is another fantastic product to achieve flawless yet natural-looking skin. With a fully organic formula and a mix of cocoa butter and coconut oil, it's moisturizing and nourishing and does a great job of brightening the eye area and concealing darkness and redness, giving the impression of naturally unblemished skin.

To fake the most perfect pinched-cheeks flush my go-to product is the N7 Pop & Glow Cream Blush (£9.95) in Classic Rose. Hard to go wrong with a long-lasting, easy to blend cream-to-powder formula that leaves a gorgeous pop of bright pink on the cheeks and lifts and brightens my complexion in just a few dabs. To finish off my base I reach for the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo (£23) in Sculpting/Candlelight to add dimension and give shape to the face in the most subtle way. It's crazy how much of a difference a faint definition can make and this duo is absolutely perfect for the job.

On to eyes, whenever I need a cream offering that won't budge all day, I have a firm favourite: the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour (£20.50) range. The formula is spot on, there's a shade for everyone and, although they're infused with shimmer, I don't find them excessive or tacky at all. My top pick is Amethyst - a soft bronze-ish mauve that makes my brown eyes pop in a very sophisticated way - but there are at least other three shades in my wishlist at the moment. The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Anti-aging (£10.30) is super handy when I want to rock the naked-lid look as it evens out my skin and conceals those annoying tiny veins, but it's also great to keep my brows in place and seal any powder product in.
For lashes, I've already shared my love for the NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara (£18.50). Extra black and water-proof, it's an absolute nightmare to take off but whenever I wear it I know it will hold the curl and stay in place till cleansing time no matter what.

Lastly for lips, the MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencils (£14.50) have completely stolen my heart. I have enough chubby-style lip pencils and the like coming out of my eyeballs but the colour selection is gorgeous and I'm really enjoying the long wearing, super glossy, borderline stain-ish formula. If you couldn't tell by now, I'm having a serious moment with bubblegum pinks and the shade Fearless is right down my alley.

What are your go-to products to look polished but fresh faced?

*Press sample