Beauty: How I Build Facemasks Into My Routine

Now, every girl loves a good facemask. A time to slather it on, light a candle, brew a cuppa and read a good book or magazine. Don’t get me wrong, a mini pamper evening is right up my street. But quite often I just don’t have the time to spend half an hour doing nothing.

 photo 2017-01-22 11.08.24_zpsp4hpc13t.jpgThat’s quite depressing, really. But true. Some weeks I don’t really have half an hour to spare to just sitting and relaxing. I mean, if I stopped with the incessant scrolling of social media, if I used my lunch hour a bit better, if I worked a bit smarter, then sure. I’d probably have more time that I know what to do with. I am of the mindset that any spare time I have from now until April (and then June-September. And repeat for the next few years) should be spent studying. Pamper evenings are becoming rare!

So whilst it’s a ‘no’ to regular pamper sessions, I can’t quite give up how good my skin both looks and feels after a facemask. It’s smoother, more radiant, makeup applies better and last longer. It just looks good. So now I just squeeze in a quick facemask session into my general skincare routine. I get the glowy skin, I get the pampered feeling, but I don’t feel like I’m procrastinating (too much).

 photo Bodyshop Facemasks 12_zpsyq2rxjn3.jpgBefore I wash my hair (so every 2-3 days) I throw on a clarifying mask – I’ve used the Warming Minerals one for years, but I’ve noticed a sneaky packaging/naming change so I’m hoping it still agrees with my skin. Because of the consistency of this (it’s quite thin, especially to a damp face), I find it works well to remove makeup – obviously taking off mascara first. A quick rinse with a facecloth whilst under the shower and I’m fully cleansed.

This particular mask is warming as you apply it, adding to the pampering feel. It’s slightly tingly (and God forbid you get it in your eyes!), and the end result is soft, smooth skin. Clear pores, yet no tight, dry feeling. It also brings out lurking spots like nothing else I’ve tried.

 photo Bodyshop Facemasks 13_zpstmbn7sro.jpg photo Bodyshop Facemasks 19_zpscmk8o5ez.jpgWhen my face is feeling a bit lack-lustre, I’ll go in with either an exfoliating mask or a more nourishing one.

My exfoliator of choice (currently at least!) is this Acai Energizing mask. I confess, I don’t use it as a traditional mask. I simply massage it on, concentrating on any drier ages, then rinse off with a facecloth. Smooth, revived skin in just a few minutes. I also find taking 30 seconds to massage my face so relaxing.

I find this mask great for reviving my skin after a long week. It smells good, feels refreshing (a Godsend after a long Tube journey!) and leaves my skin looking and feeling much happier. And it looks like raspberry jam…what more can you want?!

 photo Bodyshop Facemasks 11_zpsvdwxftwd.jpg photo Bodyshop Facemasks 5_zpsodbw1br8.jpgThen there’s the nourishing mask – and my skin has definitely needed nourishing this winter! It’s taken a battering with cold weather, a bombarding of air conditioning and heating, and the recycled air on the underground. Plus London water is not kind to skin! I find I get the best results from any kind of moisurising mask if I apply to wet skin then leave on for five minutes. Anything longer and it tends to block my pores (or become itchy), anything less and it just don’t do anything.

This Honey Mask has been great during the winter, though I’m not sure I’ll be a fan of it’s sticky texture when it gets warmer (I’m hoping to pick up the Rose one for then – I’ve tried it out in store and it smells gorgeous!). I tend to apply it just before bed, then go about doing all the bed-time things. Brushing my teeth, getting my cup of tea prepped for the morning, pushing allllll the cushions onto W’s side of the bed (because it’s the annoying things he loves most about me!). I’ll then rinse off quickly and pop into bed – waking up with soft, smooth skin that’s hell of a lot more plumped up. I find it revives my complexion, leaving me with even toned skin. Definitely a must-have for me – I’ve been using it every other day for the past few months.

 photo Bodyshop Facemasks 10_zpsepsek4e6.jpgPlus, these new Bodyshop facemasks are just so prettyyyyy on my bathroom shelf. I’m a sucker for good packaging!

Typically, despite having flawless skin at the time of writing, just before posting my skin decided to have a major breakout. Thanks hormones. So to those of you who see me around now, my current skin is not a reflection of these products!

Are you a fan of facemasks? Do you prefer proper pamper evenings, or just slotting them into your routine?

Fashion: The 2016 Favourites (+Best Beauty Bits)

Throughout December, in an attempt to stop Christmas taking over entirely, I’m putting together a few posts to review my 2016. The best one (favourite eats – obviously!) will be going live on Thursday but today it’s time to talk all about my fashion and beauty favourites from the year.

This was kind of a difficult post to write, really, as I can’t actually remember much about the first few months at all. Then we hit exam season and I was lucky if I found time to moisturise my face, let alone put on makeup. My final-year of university saw me wear jeans more times than I think I had done in my entire life. Then I started work. My makeup is in a bit of a rut and I alternate between suits and pyjamas. All that said, this has been the year I’ve really experimented with foundation. I’ve found two of my all-time favourite lipsticks. I bought a graduation dress I love. My workwear wardrobe is perfect for both my corporate profession and my style. And I’m slowly, slowly updating my hairstyle.
 photo Autumn Walks 13_zps9xr4lpur.jpg

New Hair

Trying to grow out shorter, choppier layers is a slow process. So is going from a side parting to a centre one. It’s leaving me with some horrific hair days, but slowly they are becoming less frequent. When I have a REALLY good hair day it’s obvious. Take last Friday for instance. Randomly my third day hair looked pretty much perfect. Curls, volume, falling just right. I had so many compliments and it made my day. Saturday evening, on the other hand, it was horrific. Though to be fair I had walked in the wind and rain around the park (twice) waiting for the dog to do his business…

Next step is to figure out what I’m doing with the colour. I love coppery tones, but trying to keep it that colour is so difficult. Especially as L’Oreal seems intent on discontinuing any shades I grow to love.

Best Beauty Bits

I’ve picked up quite a few favourite bits and pieces this year. I’ve found a range of haircare that my hair seems to love and which doesn’t upset my bank balance (Dove, FYI, full review to come at some point). I picked up my go-to foundation, though I’m still on the hunt for one which may make the cut for my wedding day makeup. I’ve found my perfect bold lip in the form of MAC Diva. I’ve finally found a concealer that will hide my under-eye circles.
 photo Christmas Dresses 6_zpstx14v8j6.jpg photo Christmas Dresses 4_zpsvai4bvyp.jpg photo Christmas Dresses 1_zpsxgiqufnv.jpg

The Christmas Dresses

For the past five years (and I say that a little red-faced) I’ve worn the exact same dress at Christmas; a plum jumper dress. Warm and cosy and forgiving on the tummy department, it was my safe option. And I’d never found the perfect Christmas dress. Something festive yet comfortable, smart enough to feel special but casual enough to roll about on the floor with the dog.

This year, I’ve found two.

The first I came across back in October, spying it on the rack in Next. In all sizes but the one I needed. I stalked their website for weeks, made trips on a twice-weekly basis to the five stores within walking distance from work. And it finally appeared one day. It fits perfectly, is SO comfy and makes me feel super slim (even after Bill’s Mac’n’Cheese on Sunday!). It’s the perfect length, feeling sassy yet demure enough for Christmas morning church.

The second is my work-party dress* – and I’m not sneak peak on here as I’d sooner keep the whole outfit under wraps until then! For the price I think it’s excellent quality, and it looks smart enough for the office under a black jacket. It’s quite different to what I would usually go for (bodycon is not my thing!) but the lace means it doesn’t look too clingy. I’m looking forward to pairing it with my new KoKo Couture Clutch* (another bargain, though deceptively small), a red lip and heels. Quiz have some lovely things in right now – and so much is in the sale too!
 photo IMG_2070_zpspkjc9e6n.jpg photo IMG_2072_zpsjzatm5z8.jpg photo IMG_20160711_210217_zpscuhrj94s.jpg

Graduation

I actually felt really stressed about finding a dress to wear for my graduation ceremony. I wanted it to fit (seeing as most of my clothes at the time were pre-weight loss). I wanted it to reflect my personality (i.e. it needed to be floral). I wanted something classic, something I’d be happy to wear again, but equally something special and not “every-day.” I was lucky; I decided on the first dress I tried. And I loved it.

Love my new cord pinafore! #weekendfashion #cord #pinafore #cordpinafore #ootd #fotd #redlip #macdiva #whatastudentwears

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Cord Pinafores

One thing I’ve discovered and LOVED this year is cord pinafores. Practical (because who doesn’t love pockets?!), warm and cosy and so easy to wear, my favourite are the Topshop ones. Pricey but I’ve found they wash extremely well, and the halter-neck style of straps is more flattery than some of the other styles. I’ve got one in burgundy and one in black – worn with either a jumper or a stripy t-shirt I could probably live in them!

They also hide food babies extremely well. Win win!
 photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 9_zpsrscrvwm5.png

Wedding Dress

Oh, yep, just a little one here! Way back in May, before we’d set a date and a massive 2.5 years before our wedding, I put down a deposit on my dress. I’m lucky enough to be getting a bespoke design from a British designer and I’m SO excited to be part of the process. Eeek!

So yep, it’s been a pretty good (and hugely expensive!) year shopping-wise. Next on my list is to find a pair of work trousers I feel comfortable in, and the perfect pair of pointed ankle boots. Wish me luck!

What has been your favourite outfit of 2016?

 

Beauty: No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation Review

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the effect air-conditioning has on my skin. Within a week of starting work it was dry, irritated and sensitive to everything. It meant none of my previously used foundations sat well, with the Max Factor being too heavy and the Bodyshop powder being too drying.

Much as I love an excuse to shop, having my skin suddenly look terrible was not an excuse I really wanted!

 photo No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation 3_zpslvwq2q8r.jpgAfter a few hours of countless of research, far too many testers and a ridiculous number of options discarded for their rather-lacking shade options, I picked up the No. 7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation. At £14.50 this certainly wasn’t the cheapest foundation, but is it worth it…? So far, I’m saying yes!

Despite it looking pretty boring, I actually quite like the compact plastic tube; it’s perfect for travelling and throwing in the bottom of your bag (unlike a lot of foundations)! However, the squeezy tube and thin formula means you are in danger of wasting a lot of foundation. Getting the right amount of product out takes a lot practice – unfortunately this has meant I’ve gotten through my first tube a bit too quickly for my liking!

 photo No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation 7_zpsyir0lhel.jpgThe water-based formula claims “life-proof foundation with up to 24 hours wear, for a super-natural, flawless complexion with a barely there feel“. The formula is meant to be suitable for all skin types – how much this is true I don’t know, but for me it hasn’t drawn attention to any dry patches I have suddenly developed, doesn’t settle into pores and sticks around all day.  The coverage is advertised as light/medium and buildable – I would say it’s definitely medium on me, with a second layer taking it up to full coverage. That said, my skin is pretty clear of blemishes right now. It stays put for a good work-day (including the sweaty broken-down tube – which happens far too often!), needing only a dab of powder if I’m heading out for a few post-office drinks. And the best thing? It blends into the skin like a dream. I have no patience for difficult-to-blend formulas, and this applies beautifully in less than thirty seconds.

 photo No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation 4_zpslrwbn3sw.jpg photo No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation 5_zpsf6vkizch.jpgThe colour (lightest shade, Calico) matches me almost perfectly as it has a slight olive-undertone – strange I know, when I had my face done by a makeup artist she said my skin was one of the most difficult she’d ever had to match! This is by far the closest match I have got, though I have noticed that it can oxidise slightly and go a little over-dark = the one downside! Other than that, the Superlight foundation gives me a natural, radiant yet non-shiny finish which I love. Definitely worth the price!

What’s your current go-to foundation?

 

Beauty: Brightening Tired Eyes

One of the things I really, really would love to change about myself is my dark circles. I’ve managed to learn to love my curves, my wonky eyebrows, my difficult-to-control hair, but I simply cannot train myself to like my dark circles. I think it is the inability to hide them – I always seem to look pretty exhausted, and anything that alleviates the blue tones tends to look cakey, heavy and 100x worse.

Well, that was the case up until a few months ago…

 photo Brightening Tired Eyes 8_zpszxwmakgv.jpgI finally discovered a concealer colour corrector which manages to hide my dark circles pretty well, stay put all day, not irritate the hell out of my eyes and not add 20 years worth of wrinkles. Win win! The thick ‘putty’ like texture of the NYX Dark Circle Corrector (read more about my experience with NYX here) does mean I did to do a it of prep work – eye cream around five minutes beforehand – but as someone conscious of ageing I do this daily anyway. Patting in the product, followed by a tiny dusting of powder means I’ll at least look awake all day, even if I don’t feel it!

On extremely tired days I top with a more brightening concealer for extra coverage and highlight – the Barry M one is my current favourite. Mainly because that’s the only option I have – can you tell I’m not a beauty blogger?! Oh, and any puffy cheek redness is easily hidden by the NYX Concealer in Green. I can’t say how much I’m loving colour correcting right now!

 photo Brightening Tired Eyes 7_zpsapjev5tw.jpg photo Brightening Tired Eyes 5_zpscpjyrs5p.jpgAnother NYX product I’ve been loving for ‘waking myself up’ is their Wonder Pencil. Aimed at neutralizing any redness on the waterline, I find it does that and more. It adds a subtle highlight, perfect for the inner eye and almost under the brow-bone. That little touch not only makes me more awake, but adds a bit of definition to my face which helps me look more put together. Definitely not a bad thing when I’m spending 5 minutes on my makeup each morning…

 photo Brightening Tired Eyes 4_zps1nalnwbq.jpgAdd in a lash-lengthening mascara and some brow definition and I’m good to go. These products have really revolutionized my work-day makeup. I find that as my dark circles are covered I spend less time adding in ‘distraction’ elsewhere; I don’t need to have perfect eyeshadow or a bold lip everyday. This means more time in bed in the mornings – always a good thing in my book!

What is your favourite makeup item? What is your everyday makeup routine?

Beauty: NYX Picks (Worth The Hype?)

At first I wasn’t hugely tempted by the launch of NYX in Boots. The stands were always surrounded, testers were missing or empty, there were no unopened products left to purchase. It reminded me a little of Primark at the end of the day; nothing in it’s correct place, messy and just not quite worth the hassle. Then the first stampede died down, reviews started being posted, stands were restocked and I was able to get an idea of what I actually wanted and needed.

 photo NYX Picks 8_zpsqgnzav2n.jpgI’ve ended up being really impressed with everything I’ve bought so far. Not one dud product, nothing I can see myself throwing away in a few months, and in fact none of these have left my ‘everyday’ makeup bag which I’ve been relying on whilst most of my stuff is waiting to be unpacked. I’ve found the quality is excellent for the price, the packaging looks more high-end than it is (nothing irks me more than cheap-looking packaging). Definitely worth the wait!

Butter Gloss in Tiramisu (link). My love for MAC lipsticks is well-documented here, my dislike of lip-glosses also. I hate my hair sticking to the gloss, the chance of smudging, having to reapply having eaten. I’ve said I’m more of a brown-nude rather than pink-nude girl. So my love for this is a little odd. The colour is just pink enough to add a bit of girliness, but it’s brown enough not to weird me out. The finish is glossy, but it stays glossy, even a slice of pizza didn’t smudge it up. And most importantly? Hair does definitely not stick to it in the wind. Whilst my addiction to lipsticks remains, this is becoming a greatly loved ‘no-makeup’ day product.

 photo NYX Picks 1_zpsvddwsybp.jpgDark Circle Concealer (link). This was the product that originally drew me in; I have suffered particularly horrendous dark circles (particular since my sinus surgery) and it’s one of the things I’m hugely self-conscious about. No matter how well I eat, how much I sleep, I still look a little like I’ve been doing a few rounds in the boxing ring. And this vanishes them. Admittedly it took me a while to get to grips with – it needs a base of eye-cream (which I use anyway due to puffiness), then a good blend, before setting with powder. It doesn’t quite last all day (my only real gripe) and in the winter I’ll need to layer with a paler brightening concealer to ensure it sits right with my skin tone. But for now? It’s a keeper!

Wonder Pencil (link). I’d used one of these a few years ago, before it ended up being picked up by the dog during one of his mad-half-hours (not a puppy, he turned 10 this year!). I remember my old Rimmel liner being okay at making me took more awake, but going a little crusty after a few hours. This lasts a lot longer – it’s great for lining my waterline to get rid of discolouration. I’ve also used it to highlight my inner eyes and underneath my brow, and define my cupid’s bow. Perhaps a bit gimmicky, but I’m enjoying using it for now. It’s also great to hide away in my bag for use as an impromptu concealer!

 photo NYX Picks 5_zpskgfw1per.jpgConcealer Jar in Green (link). Yep, a green concealer. W thought I’d gone mad when I swatched it and, trying not to giggle, asked him if he thought it suited my skin tone. Used to reduce the appearance of redness, I’ve found this little green pot excellent for hiding away healing spots, scars and the damn insect bite on my cheek that just won’t quite heal up. The tackiness of the formula (there is a more liquid wand available) means that this does stay on all day, though it needs a decent amount of blending. I can see myself popping back for their full coverage concealer soon (which, by the way, comes in a super-pale shade).

High Definition Blush in Taupe (link). Ah, the blogger-made-me-buy-it purchase. I’ve been failing at finding a completely neutral-toned contour powder for while now, I’d seen various reviews of this wafting around the bloggersphere and once I found a pan in stock I snatched it up whilst I could. The verdict? Definitely neutral toned, definitely a good contour for pale girls. The downside is that it is SO pigmented it is easy to over-apply, but a good brush and decent blending is all you really need. Definitely one worth the hype.

 photo NYX Picks 6_zpskbfwsn7f.jpgSo, NYX? Is it worth the hype? From the bits I have tried, I would say yes. Though I say so cautiously – I’m not so sure any makeup is worth the swarming round shelves, grabbing whatever you can get your hands on, setting stock notifications. It’s a good makeup brand, it’s cruelty free, it’s a great price, I’ll probably pick up some more bits. But I’ll perhaps put in an online order…

Have you tried anything from NYX yet? What do you recommend? 

Beauty: Dressing Table Dreaming

One of the things I have always, always wanted, ever since I was a little girl, was a grown-up dressing table. When I was younger there was something so impossibly glamorous about the idea, even though no-one I knew had one. Somewhere to sit and get ready for the day, somewhere to display my perfume, and the pretty bits of my makeup collection.

 photo Room Tour Summer 2016 1_zpscbjysfmu.jpg photo Room Tour Summer 2016 3_zpsmd7mskvu.jpgWhen showing you my ‘summer room‘ (i.e. how I’d done up my old childhood room for the last few months I’d be spending in it, post-university and pre-graduate job), I introduced my mini-dressing table. Made up of my fold-up desk (Argos), and wicker drawers (similar in Wilkinson), and then my makeup storage, this fits in perfectly next to my sofa bed and lets me have all my bits and bobs to hand – so useful as I’m here, there and everywhere this summer. I’m not too sure that, other than Brighton, I’ve spent more than two nights in the same place since the beginning of July!

Unfortunately I’m not to sure whether Ian bring this set-up with me when I move – whilst it isn’t overly big, and our flat isn’t ridiculously small, I know I’d sooner use any spare space to set up a little desk. After-all, when working full-time I know damn well I’ll be running around in the morning, throwing makeup on whilst eating my breakfast, so someone dedicated to sitting and getting ready just isn’t worth it.

All above photographs taken, in order, from the blog posts linked below.

That hasn’t, however, stopped me lusting after other bloggers’ dressing table set-ups though! One of my favourite type of posts to read is room tours (what can I say, I’m nosey!). Jasmine has given me some major goals with the products she has on hers, plus I have major respect for this girl – so much stuff, yet it all looks so tidy. I don’t know how she does it! I adore Kate’s interior style, and have done for years, and her dressing table is no exception. I love how modern it looks, whilst still being luxurious. If my flat looks half as lovely as hers does, I’ll be one happy girly! Sticking with the more modern look, I love how Kerry has combined a dressing table with a workspace, this is definitely something I’ll have to see if I can squeeze into the flat. I’m loving the motivational quotes too! Belle’s dressing table is a lot more traditional, a lot more like my childhood dreams and I’m definitely in love. One thing I’ll definitely be doing in my new flat is adding a bit of greenery to the space; I’ve been desperate for some catci/succulents for a while now, so this is the perfect time. I love how Rebecca has mixed cacti onto her dressing table, giving the feminine beauty products a more masculine background!

 photo Room Tour Summer 2016 2_zpsipxjbxzi.jpgSo many gorgeous dressing tables out there, the blogging world is full of inspiration. And don’t get me started on Pinterest, I may as well have my own ‘dressing table dream’ board on there. In fact, I may just create one right now…

Are you a fan of dressing tables? If you’ve posted a room tour post, please send over the link!

Beauty: Graduation Makeup

First confession: I’ve been slowly planning my graduation makeup look for a long time, well before I even faced up to the fact that I was actually finishing university. I think this is part of the reason I got into makeup, actually, as I wanted to ensure I’d look my very best on graduation day.

Second confession: I’m also treating this as a mini-trial run for wedding ideas. Obviously it’s WAY too early to actually be planning that, but at the same time it’s at the back of my mind. I’ve always wanted to do my makeup myself, and so slowly building up a collection of ‘perfect’ products seems the best way to go about it.

 photo Graduation Makeup 1_zpsfdwdlxeu.jpg photo Graduation Makeup 6_zpsyj7jk6xh.jpgIn the end, I’m really glad the planning paid off. I was super happy with my makeup yesterday, and I think it stayed in place pretty well. I went for a slightly amped-up version of my usual look. Nothing too out there, nothing too different, and I still felt like myself. I’d highly recommend doing this – I reckon it minimises looking back at the photos and regretting. If you usually rock a bold lip, go for it. If you usually wear very little makeup, now is not the time to start piling it on. The most important thing is to be comfortable and be yourself. And with that in mind, my go-to neutral eye and berry tones got another outing.

If I’m honest, I was really stuck at first, debating whether I was going for a bold red lip or not. I’m definitely not averse to wearing it on a casual day, quite often wearing one to lectures (perfect way to make the jeans-and-t-shirt look like a bit more effort has gone into it!). However when I found my graduation dress it went well with the berry colours I love so much – problem solved!

 photo Graduation Makeup 2_zpsnbvrcgmz.jpg photo Graduation Makeup 3_zps4unzvz98.jpg photo Graduation Makeup 9_zpszfejo6sb.jpgMy base was my new favourite – Max Factor Miracle Match (full review) is the only foundation I have regularly worn since I bought it at the beginning of the year. I was debating going a shade up as I still have an ever-so slightly tanned complexion, but decided against it in the end. Mainly because nowhere had that shade in stock. 17 Stay Time Concealer hid the blemish-marks leftover from exam season, and my new love hid (that’s right, completely hid) my under-eye circles. NYX Under-Eye Concealer is the only thing that has ever really worked on my dark circles, and I’ve been addicted since I picked it up a few weeks ago. I doubt the pot will last long, but I love how awake I’m looking! I topped up my base just before my ceremony, buffing on Bodyshop’s Mineral Foundation. At that point my foundation was a good 5+ hours old, but still holding strong.

 photo Graduation Makeup 7_zpsbpecmed9.jpg photo Graduation Makeup 8_zpsx1ozaaeu.jpg photo Graduation Makeup 10_zpskvfhxc1z.jpgTo add colour I went in with Nars Douceur. No amount of moaning will explain just how gutted I am that this is discontinued, though my Tarte Exposed blush is almost as good. A little Hourglass Powder as a highlight and my face is pretty much good to go!

Eyes relied on my Charlotte Tilbury Quad, something which gets a lot of use. I used the two lightest shades during the day (for my lunch and School Awards Ceremony), and then amped it up a little for the graduation ceremony by blending the grey around the outer crease and adding Rimmel’s Kajal Liner in grey. A good healthy dose of mascara (Max Factor False Lash Effect) and filling in my brows completed the look.

 photo Graduation Makeup 4_zpsorcpryt0.jpg photo Graduation Makeup 11_zpsay9ftkvz.jpgAnd then, of course, lipstick. I knew roughly the shade I wanted, having fallen in love with MAC Mehr on my trip to Switzerland. However I knew that I would sooner have a non-matte formula for the whole day, and so treated myself to Fast Play. A gorgeous shade, slightly plummier than Mehr, hydrating, and giving a natural sheen to the lips. I can see this becoming a favourite!

What makeup do you rely on for a special occasion? Good luck to all those graduating this month!

Beauty: Bath Time

There’s nothing I love more than taking an hour or so in the evening to relax and pamper myself – I’m looking forward to allowing myself that time again once exams are over! In fact I’ve been stockpiling some of my favourite products ready for the ultimate ‘bath night’ (wild student lifestyle, hey?!)

 photo Bath Time 2_zpsgo5tgbeu.jpg photo Bath Time 4_zpsk4bqfuqh.jpgIf I’m going all out, luxuriating in a long hot soak (with multiple hot-tap top-ups) then I’m going to do it properly. I’m going to use my favourite bath products, I’m going to take in a book or magazine, I’m going to take in a cup of tea, maybe even a cheeky glass of wine. I’m going to make sure my towels are warming on a radiator for when I get out, and my favourite PJs are clean and ready to slip on afterwards.

Having said all of that, I’m not a fan of the more ‘popular’ bath products. I have never tried a Lush bath product I’ve enjoyed using, with the majority making my skin feel dry. I seem to have a reaction to anything with any trace of lavender in, coming out in acne-like rashes. Bubbles annoy me as they tend to make my hair greasy, and to make me even more fussy? Citrus scents aren’t allowed in our house due to allergies. It can make choose a bath product a little more difficult! There is one standout product I’ve used in the past year though, and I have unexpectedly come to love it. Sure, this Eygptian Milk & Honey Bath Powder might be awkward and a little messy to use (I’ve prefer a tub rather than flimsy bag!), but it smells divine, leaves my skin feeling soft and soothed, and makes me super relaxed. A bit pricey perhaps, but the one bath product I’ve found that I’m willing to splurge on.

 photo Bath Time 7_zpsmudnz58r.jpg photo Bath Time 9_zpskp51taic.jpgAs I’m sure I’ve moaned enough recently, it’s probably pretty obvious that I’m going through a rather stressful and intensive revision period. There’s definitely no time for a long, relaxing soak (and my mind won’t shut down long enough for it anyway!) but I have been making an effort to squeeze some pampering into my showers. Using some of the bits and bobs my mum put together as part of my Christmas present, I’ve come up with a super-quick routine that leaves me feeling treated and relaxed, whilst not taking up much additional time at all.

 photo Bath Time 13_zpspe3cgnt4.jpg photo Bath Time 12_zpscu39iorj.jpgThe Breakfast Scrub is the only Soap & Glory product I’ve absolutely loved, and it’s perfect for buffing my skin up. The Argan shower gel from the Bodyshop smells absolutely divine, and Lush’s Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner leaves my skin so, so soft. Even on days where time is really short, taking 30 seconds to properly massage my moisturiser in, apply some lip-balm and spray a pillow spray before bed leaves me feeling much more relaxed.

What are your go-to bath products? I’d love to try a bath oil sometime soon…

 

 

Beauty: Absolute Essentials

I’ve spoken before about my daily makeup, though in truth there’s probably even less that I would consider absolutely essential. This past week has seen me stay at W’s for a good while, and I had extremely limited space to pack my clothes and makeup…

 photo Everyday Beauty Essentials 1_zpszr3c9zhr.jpgPut it this way, my suitcase comfortably fitted four lever arch folders. Anything else had to be squeezed around the side of them…

It made me really re-evaluate what I saw as essential. I didn’t want to be suddenly in need of something, but I didn’t want to pack excessively. Turned out the teeny-tiny makeup bag I brought was more than enough to cope with late-night library sessions, wedding dress shopping and a cocktail night out! My clothes packing wasn’t quite so on point. Let’s just be thankful that Primark knickers are so cheap!

Skincare

I do keep a small amount of ’emergency’ skincare at W’s – I hate travelling with it normally as I’m terrified it will leak. I decided to risk just sticking with what I had, despite normally only relying on it for two nights maximum, and I was pleasantly surprised. The Garnier cleansing lotion has bee a firm favourite of mine for years, I’m pretty sure it was the first cleanser I ever used. Even now I keep a bottle lying around for late nights as it’s a purely lazy option, but so much better than wipes! I also stuck with my trust Garnier Moisture Match moisturisers – perfect for a foundation-free glow.

I will say, though, that my skin did start to break out towards the end of the week. Luckily I dug out a sample size bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic, which got my skin back on track. Turns out this is also an absolute essential for me!

 photo Everyday Beauty Essentials 2_zpsbxfnnkse.jpgBase

Forgoing foundation is something I do most days, however going away without it?! A risky game to play, it felt quite strange without the ‘comfort blanket’ of knowing I could hide away breakouts if needed. That said, the bits I did decide on taking worked perfectly fine – I was more than comfortable heading out for the evening (and standing in wedding dresses surrounded by mirrors!) with what I had.

For days in the library, a combination of concealers hid a multitude of sins. The Barry M Light Reflecting one is simply the best I’ve tried for under-eye circles, managing to hide late nights effortlessly. Whilst it’s not high-coverage, it’s reflective and moisturising, keeping the eye area naturally refreshed and awake-looking. And for any chocolate-induced spots (my late-night library snack of choice last week was half-covered hobnobs…) 17’s Stay Time is my go-to. Ridiculously pale, and stupidly long-lasting, this is definitely one of the best concealers I’ve tried at actually concealing.

Eyes

My original plan was to just grab a mascara (Max Factor False Lash effect is currently in use, but it’s pricey – I’ll be back to Natural Collection next!) and go, and it would have worked fine had the week just been about studying, and possibly a casual drink down the local pub. However some of the bits and pieces I gt up to needed just a little bit more, so I was super grateful to find a dark matte brown eyeshadow lurking in W’s cupboard. Perfect fr tidying up brows and adding a touch of definition to my eyes, it made me look so much more done.

 photo Everyday Beauty Essentials 3_zpsu0hewjym.jpgLips

Ah, now this was the tough one for me! As you all know, I love my lipstick and I usually take longer to deliberate over which one to wear than I do to get dressed in the mornings! In the end I just forced myself to grab some as I was leaving the house, taking the time to make a decision would have resulted in far too many being packed! Keeping it simple with a red, a pink and a nude meant all bases were covered. Yes, I might have wished for a more dramatic dark oxblood-red on one day, but was it the end of the world? Not really!

What are you absolute makeup essentials? What couldn’t you live without?

Beauty: A Natural Blush

Up until around this time last year, I rarely wore blush. It seems like an unnecessary step in my routine, I occasionally threw on a light highlight-contour combination but felt that my blotchy skintone was just exaggerated with a swipe of blush.

 photo Blushers 1_zpshtxdvkff.jpg photo Blushers 5_zpsluntmkdw.jpgNow I rarely head out for the day without blush. It’s become almost as necessary as lipstick…

The obsession started when I finally got my mitts on Nars Douceur just as it was discontinued. It’s an extremely easy shade to wear, a brown-tinged rosy pink that is matte and overall neutral in colour. It can be used to add a pop of colour to the apples of the cheeks or into the hollows as a natural-looking contour. I’ve found myself slightly contouring with this even on ‘no-makeup’ days as it’s simply so easy and quick to do.

 photo Blushers 4_zpsyh25qy7p.jpgDespite having a good half-pan left of the Nars, I panicked. And bought Tarte Exposed. The colours are pretty much spot on, though I find the Tarte offering to be a little more plum-pink-toned. It’s also a little trickier to get perfectly blended, though once it’s on it lasts slightly longer.

Then my lovely housemate picked me up Milano Dolce Pink for my birthday. Probably my first foray into non-matte blushes (apart from my first ever bit of high-end makeup, which I really should have the courage to wear more often!), this requires a very light touch to ensure I look fliushed rather than disco-ball. It’s worth it though – the colour it gives is utter perfection with my skintone. Slightly peachy, not to warm, not to cool, just a light glow. I can imagine this will become a staple once the weather warms up!
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What blushes do you were regularly?