Four must-have zoeva brushes.

luglio 31, 2015

The addiction to makeup brushes continues, unrelenting. Should I attend a support group for makeup brushes hoarders? Probably, although I have the feeling we'll just end up talking each other into buying more brushes - cue for the group scene in Confessions of a Shopaholic -.
I strongly believe that the right tools can improve any look immensely and, for as much as I love my precious and very pricey japanese artist brushes, I also believe that there's no need to spend a fortune to buy great tools, as some amazing gems can be found on the highstreet as well. Speaking of which, there's no denying that Zoeva are one of the top brands when it comes to low-cost brushes and every addition to their Luxe line has me weak at the knees without fail. A few months ago I've picked up a handful of their newest offerings and I've gotta tell you, these guys are to die for...

The Zoeva #310 Spot Liner (£6) is so tiny but so mighty. It's the ultimate tight-lining brush, perfect to push the product right in between the roots of the lashes, either from underneath or above the top lashes or directly onto the waterline, making the lash line appear thicker and more dense without any tell-tale line. The taklon bristles are firm but not too stiff, so that they don't sting or irritate the delicate area but still allow great precision. I also love it for brow work with gels and powders, to draw individual hair and fill in any sparse area for a softer look. Absolutely dreamy!

The Zoeva #220 Luxe Grand Shader (£7.50) is a large paddle brush that might not look particularly versatile but is actually a great one to keep around. The flat round shape is perfect to apply a soft wash of shadow all over the lid, but the tip is also fluffy enough to lightly blend colour into the crease and over the bottom lid without tugging on the delicate skin. I like to bring my eyeshadow quite far down on the lower lid and this brush is absolutely perfect for the job. It can also be used to sculpt and highlight smaller areas such as the brow bone, the bridge and the sides of the nose, the bottom lip. It's a more affordable and slightly smaller version of the MAC 227 and is just as handy.

To pack colour on the lid and layer eyeshadows with excellent control, enter the Zoeva #325 Luxe Brow Light (£6.50), another paddle brush with shorter and denser bristles compared to the 220. The mix of natural and synthetic hair make it perfect to work both with powders and creams, with dry and wet pigments just as well. With its tapered tip is ideal to smudge pencil liners along the lash line or to smoke out powders but I actually adore it for concealer. No joke, for crisp and perfectly shaped brows and super defined bold lips, just grab this brush and your favourite concealer and see for yourself. It's fantastic.

The density, softness and cut of the Zoeva #114 Luxe face Focus (£11) are sheer perfection, I really can't fault this brush. It's an almond shaped brush, roughly the size of a MAC eyeshadow, tapered at the top and pinched at the base. The hair are incredibly soft but they still have enough texture to pick up product rather nicely. As for its purpose, this brush is a real work-horse: it can do anything from blending foundation and concealer to applying a thin veil of setting powder under the eyes or anywhere on the face with extreme precision; from shaping and sculpting the features with creams and powders to adding a touch of blush over the cheeks, you name it. It's such a heavenly brush, one that will quickly become a staple in every routine and will make you want to hoard multiple back-ups.

Have you tried any of these? What's your favourite Zoeva brush?


A sephora haul.

luglio 27, 2015

So, I did some shopping... A few days ago I've posted a picture of a mini Sephora haul on my Instagram account and since I've got asked a couple of questions here and there about the products I purchased, I thought I might as well share my first impressions here and tell you what I think about my picks.

The reason I popped in was to grab a tube of the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (£16.60), that seems to be everywhere at the minute. Literally everyone and their dog seem to love this mascara and I really wanted to like it, but me and my lashes don't get on with it so well. The formula is not as volumizing as it is defining - it gives nice long, feathered out lashes but as soon as I start building the coats to get a fuller look it starts to clump quite badly - and it doesn't do anything for me when it comes to curling or holding the curl for what matters. Also, flakes! This stuff flakes like there's no tomorrow, which is not ideal for contact wearers like me. Definitely not the mascara for me, what a shame! I loved the pale pink tube and the weighted packaging, it feels extra luxurious. Sob.

The Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster (£19) has been on my wishlist for something that feels like ages and I'm so glad I've finally added it to my stash. This brilliant product allows you to turn your regular serum or moisturizer into a fully customizable fake tan by simply adding up to three drops to it and applying like you normally would. The result is a beautiful, soft golden glow that makes your skin appear more even and radiant, like you just came back from a weekend at the seaside. I'm so pale that normal fake tanners can look really fake and way too dark on me, but the colour this product gives to my skin is absolutely believable. If you're looking for an intense bronzy hue look away but if you're pale and want to look less like Casper the friendly ghost and more like a Victoria secret's model give it a try. I'm so happy with it and already have my eyes on the body offering as well.
Also by Clarins, I picked up the Daily Energiser Cleansing Gel (£13) on a whim, as I was looking for something less moisturizing and fresher than my usual cleansing milk to use in the morning. As far as foaming cleansers go, this is probably the first one that doesn't leave my skin feeling dry or tight. A little blob goes a very long way, it lathers well and lifts all the gunk and the excess oils, leaving the skin squeaky clean and toned but not stripped in the slightest. Such a lovely product to start the day!

Finally, two typical 'isle of doom' purchases. The Sephora Targeted Eye Remover Swabs are a handy little product I like to carry in my purse just in case I find myself facing a bold lip emergency or an eyeliner disaster. You simply snap the blue tip open, wait for the waterproof makeup remover to soak the opposite end of the cotton swab and you're ready for a quick, mess-free touch up. Brilliant!
The Sephora Green Tea Eye Mask was a true surprise. It's actually really nice, super cooling and smoothing, and perfect to de-puff and soothe tired eyes. I'll repurchase it again for sure, it's the kind of thing is nice to have around if you need a quick pick me up or if you're feeling a bit congested.

Have you tried any of these?


June Favourites.

luglio 16, 2015

As I slowly melt into a puddle of sweat - damn you, heatwave - I can't find the words to express how happy I am that we are already half way through July, which, as far as I'm concerned, means that we are one month closer to Fall. Honestly, I can't wait for the colder months already.
I've had a hard time picking up my favourites this month, as the amount of makeup I wear on a daily bases has drastically decreased of course, but there're a few products I just kept reaching for, no matter how unbearably hot it got.

I haven't been sleeping that much lately - I swear my dark circles could be seen from space, no joke -, but thankfully the Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher (£25) came to the rescue with a brightening formula that instantly banishes any darkness and make you look awake and well rested. It's like that one famous illuminating pen on steroid, offering a great deal of coverage as well as illuminating and lifting the skin. It's a seriously gorgeous product, also perfect for touch-ups during the day or in the evening, as somehow it does never look cakey and blends well even on top of powders.
A product I've recently rediscovered is the MAC Select Cover-up (£15.50), a beautiful lightweight concealer that easily covers everything from dark circles to scars and redness, and sets to a natural skin-like finish. It's thin and creamy enough for the under-eyes but it also has enough pigment to conceal spots and such, and once it sets it doesn't go anywhere. I remember not liking it that much when I first tried it years ago - not sure why, to be honest - but it's now one of my most used products and I'm not going to let go of it any time soon.

I'm aware that the heat gives quite an intense natural glow to the skin these days but the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (£33) - also available in this trio - is way to pretty to cast aside. As far as highlighters go, this is one of the most natural looking offerings and easily one of my all time favourites. The gorgeous pale rose gold it's so close to my natural skin tone, it literally blends into my skin, leaving behind the most perfect dewy finish. Love it!
To apply it I've been using the Real Techniques Fan Brush, which is part of the Collector's edition Sculpting Set (£22) - a set I strongly recommend, as it includes my beloved and uber versatile Setting brush and the newly launched Sculpting brush, another great multitasker -. I'm a huge fan brush lover and the RT offering is one of the best I own; I use it to dust a thin layer of setting powder and powder bronzer onto the skin, to knock off excess powder and fall-outs without disturbing my foundation, and even to blend cream highlighters and bronzers for a seamless look. It's really the kind of brush you don't know you need until you start messing around with it.

To set my makeup and make sure it doesn't melt right off my face, I've been reaching pretty much everyday for the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (£9), which is a true godsend and the ultimate must have for summertime. This non-drying, non-sticky spray has a subtle cooling effect and helps your makeup last longer, ensuring everything stays on the right side of glowy and doesn't turn into a sweaty mess instead.

Finally, I have to quickly mention the L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil (£18), which is an holy grail of mine. First and foremost, it smells absolutely divine, like fresh almonds and a hint of sour apple, a scent that feels extra energizing in the morning and is definitely addicting. In addition to it, this beautiful oil lathers into a soft foam that washes without stripping and leaves the skin silky soft and fresh, with no need for moisturizer afterwards. Win.

Have you tried any of these products?