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: 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: 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?

Beauty: Drugstore Favourites

I wrote a few weeks back about my high-end favourites, well today it’s the highstreet’s turn. Whenever I wear makeup it’s more often than not a combination of pricier items together with budget-friendly picks. For one, I can’t afford to plaster my whole face in high-end products, and two? I’m pretty sure that I’d struggle to find a higher priced alternative that does a better job!

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I must admit I shy away from cheaper lipsticks and eyeshadows, but everything else? I’m a magpie for a bargain!

These bits are all favourites of mine. Some of them I use every single day, other’s I have rediscovered over the last few weeks and need to refit into my routine. I can’t believe I’d forgotten about some of these gems!

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Bodyshop’s Mineral Foundation

This is on the verge of not being budget friendly, shooting up to a price of £15 nowadays (I’m convinced it was £2 less this time last year). However it is my most-commonly worn foundation, my everyday foundation if you will. A light dusting of this takes under 30 seconds to apply, yet evens out my skintone and lasts all day without feeling heavy. A pot lasts me a good eighteen months, so when there’s a 40% off code floating about it’s not too bank breaking!

Max Factor Match Masterpiece Foundation

My ‘going out’ foundation that has quickly replaced my entire Rimmel collection – the finish of this one just looks a lot more natural and it photographs well (full review here).

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No. 7 Illuminating Stick

One of my favourite products of 2014, since I’ve stopped wearing liquid foundations this has been a little neglected. It’s a shame as it’s a lovely daily highlighter – enough to add a glow, but not too OTT or glittery. I’m definitely aiming to use this more over the summer!

Max Factor Blushes

I’ve spoken about these a few times, they were pretty hyped up this time last year but (typically) the blogging world seems to have forgotten about them. By far the best drugstore blushes I have tried, these definitely deserve a lot more love! Pigmented, yet with natural colours, radiant without being glittery, super-blendable and a good shade range – these are on a par with Hourglass blushes that I have swatched and winced at the price of.

Barry M Light Reflecting Concealer

This is something that is hugely overlooked – it’s my go-to undereye concealer. With an amazing shade range for pale peeps, this is a light fluid that actually soothes the undereye area, brightens it up and makes me look a whole lot more awake. It’s not the highest coverage I’ve tried, but the fact that it NEVER creases means it’s a winner in my makeup bag. I would avoid using it as a spot cover though (I pick up 17’s Stay Time for that job!).

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Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear Lip Balm

Whilst I’ve a big lover of Nuxe Reve de Miel in evenings, I find it too heavy to wear during the day. I picked this up when visiting W one weekend (my lips suddenly decided to chap and I needed some form of balm). The scent is gorgeous, it’s hydrating yet matte, sinks in quickly and actually makes a difference. Kinda like what I hoped the Nuxe stick would be!

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Of course, there are other bits and pieces I love in the drugstore. There’s KIKO lip liners (of which I want to own alllll the colours), Revlon Matte Balms (though admittedly these now irritate my lips), Natural Collection mascaras (because nothing has done the job better), and Barry M nail polishes. Oh, and Collection’s Gel top coat – by far the best I’ve tried.

What’s your favourite bits and pieces of drugstore beauty?

Beauty: High End Favourites

I was really reluctant to write this post. I’m a student, I’m broke, and I don’t really want to advocate ‘spending all the money on makeup’ – however the vast majority of these bits were gifts, or bought using loyalty points. The main point, though, is that all of these are used, and used pretty regularly. I don’t see the point in ‘leaving makeup for best’ (I would never use it if I did!), so I tend to use a mix of high-end and drugstore bits whenever I wear makeup. And despite their high prices, I would repurchase every one of the products in this post…
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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Ah, so predictable! By far the most expensive piece of makeup I own (full review here), but by far the one used most often. It’s quite rare that I head out without a light dusting of this, and it’s also an essential for during-the-day top ups. It adds the perfect amount of coverage and glow, without being glittery or cakey. It sets foundation, adds a subtle highlight. My only complaint is the darkest shade is slightly too warm-toned for me, but making sure I use a light-hand fixes that. I’m so surprised I’ve not yet got near to hitting pan!
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Nars Douceur

The only one I can’t repurchase, I managed to get hold of this lusted-after blush just as it was discontinued. The perfect blend between rosy and brown, this adds a really natural looking flush and contour. It blends beautifully, lasts all day and is the perfect tone for my skin.

Real Techniques Bold Metals Tapered Blush Brush

And to go with the blush, what else other than my favourite ever brush?! The Bold Metals collection didn’t initially tempt me, the reviews aren’t great, but every brush I have (which is a fair few of them!) I’ve loved. This one is by far and away my favourite, it makes blending anything effortless, never sheds, stays in shape and is oh-so instagrammable. I keep one for blushes and one for foundation blending.
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Naked 2 Palette

It can’t be a high-end round up without a Naked palette, and the one I’ve gone for is Naked 2. I do love Naked 3, it being the first (and only!) bit of makeup W bought me, but I doubt I’d repurchase simply because I don’t use it quite often enough. Naked 2, however, almost wins the award for most-used palette. The combination of nude matte shades with slightly bolder, slightly shimmery shades is a winner, and combined with the buttery texture makes this palette a firm favourite – and for good reason!
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Charlotte Tilbury Sophisticate Palette

Now this is my all-time favourite palette. From the beautiful rose-gold packaging to the perfect shade selection, this quad is always in my makeup bag. The finish is somewhere between matte and satin, making them perfect for a natural look, they blend seamlessly and are the only shadows not to fade or crease throughout the day. To make my point: I recently had a busy day which involved getting ready at 5:30am. I adulted all day, rushed across Zurich, caught a flight, spent 3 hours on the UK rail network and still had to spend time removing this stuff just before midnight…If you want to spend all your pennies on just one eyeshadow palette, I’d go with this one. Vintage Vamp is next on my list…
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MAC Lipsticks

My lipstick of choice, I very rarely wear non-MAC lipsticks these days (I find quite a few other brands now irritate my lips?!). I wouldn’t say MAC are the highest quality I’ve ever used, but what I have found is the shade selection is miles better than anywhere else, particularly for warm-tones. The majority of my shades are the slightly less-popular ones, with my all-time favourites being Creme In Your Coffee and Diva.

Are you are high-end makeup fan, or more of a budget girl? I like to think I’m a mix of both – I’ll be posting my drugstore favourites very soon!

Beauty: Two New Lipsticks

You may have seen in my ‘What I Got‘ post that my lipstick collection was added to over the Christmas period. I’ve been quite restrained with my makeup buying in the last few months and (other than trialling wedding potentials of course!) I will continue to focus on using what I’ve got. However there were two lipsticks on my wishlist and I was lucky enough to receive them both.

 photo New Winter Lipsticks 3_zpszrcsm6aj.jpgThe first is my first ‘drugstore’ lipstick in a long, long time (the Halloween lipstick doesn’t count, right?!). I’ve been intrigued about Kate Moss’ collaboration with Rimmel for a while, but wasn’t taken with any of the original shades. Her Nude collection however was another story, so I asked to be surprised with either ’45’ or ’48’ – I ended up opening ’48’ and I’m really rather glad. It’s an extremely unique shade, unlike anything I own. Initially I wasn’t sure but I’ve grown to love it.

It’s like a vampier version of my all-time favourite lipstick. I do find the formula slightly tricky – it’s soft in the bullet making a fine line more difficult than what I’m used to, and I am discovering it is a little drying. Nothing extreme though, and the colour more than makes up for it. Whilst it isn’t particularly long-lasting I do find it wears off evenly and reapplies fairly well. If only the packaging didn’t feel and look so cheap!

 photo New Winter Lipsticks 1_zpsn3wfmunx.jpgThe second has almost, almost become my favourite lipstick. It’s definitely pipped itself right up there to become my top red lip, I absolutely adore it.

Slightly darker and cherry-toned, MAC Diva the ideal red lip for a pale girl with warm undertones. Nothing makes me look more ill than a blue-toned lipstick (despite the benefit it has on my teeth), and thankfully this is completely different. With hindsight maybe asking for this without a single swatch was a little risky, but it’s a risk that’s paid off. I love the darker, bold red, it lasts extremely well (a fish finger sandwich, chips, two glasses of rose and a whisky didn’t wash away this bad boy!), and I find the colour really rather flattering. It’s not the most comfortable lipstick in the world, but as a matte it’s far away from being the worst. If you’re looking for a new red lipstick I highly recommend giving Diva a swatch!
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What’s your current favourite lipstick? I’m on the lookout for super long-lasting ones so feel free to give a recommendation!

Beauty: Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review

Up until a few months ago I was perfectly content with my (rather small) foundation collection. In all honestly I’m not a huge foundation person; I don’t wear it on a day-to-day basis, I’m pale enough to make shade selection difficult and it’s all just a bit much faff for me. I tend to only wear it on an evening out, and it was during my birthday drinks that I noticed Rimmel’s Match Perfection definitely does not photograph well. Que wandering round Boots trying to find a foundation that was both pale enough and didn’t contain SPF. And this was surprisingly difficult.

 photo Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review 3_zpsfjyiimqt.jpgI stumbled across this offering, and swayed by the free gift offer (I may have picked up a nail polish too) it was quickly purchased. And it’s not a purchase I have regretted. I picked up the lightest shade called ‘Light Ivory’ and it’s *just* pale enough for my ghostly complexion. I can get away with it as I have a slight olive tone to my skin, if you have cooler undertones I’d possibly avoid this one!

On applying, this foundation feels quite refreshing on the skin, almost like a serum. It noticeably evens out my skintone without looking heavy, and gives pretty decent coverage over any breakout areas. I have noticed that it feels a little sticky when you first apply it but after giving it that few minutes to ‘dry’, the stickiness disappears and powders apply easily over it. I really wasn’t getting on with this foundation at all as I found powders were causing it to look cakey; waiting those few crucial moments completely solves this problem.

 photo Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review 5_zpsqoewazuy.jpgThe finish is quite radiant. It’s definitely not matte, but far from shiny. It’s full-coverage, yet doesn’t look flat, and I’ve found my skin looks awake and fresh. Despite all this, I’ve found it still looks really natural. Miracle Match is a foundation enriched  with vitamins high levels of water and glycerin (1st and 3rd on ingredients list respectively) to moisturise and treat the skin. Whilst I have next-to-no clue on the actual effects these have, I can say that this foundation feels comfortable to wear, is long-lasting and doesn’t seem to dry my skin out after a few hours. In fact this held out very nicely for my latest job interview; a nice 13 hours with just a quick powder at lunchtime.

It also wins on my biggest criteria; this photographs extremely well. With no SPF causing a whitecast, no tiny glitter particles to add shine, this looks natural both in person and in photographs. It’s quickly become my night-out go-to, and even became the only foundation I bought back from university at Christmas.

My one complaint? The smell! It’s that awful, pungent fake tan smell – thankfully it completely subsides very quickly after application but those few seconds are not pleasant. It’s a little bit off-putting applying something that smells that bad to your face, though W assures me he can’t smell it!

 photo Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation Review 10_zpsofrmzbsh.jpgSo, a brief review of Max Factor’s Miracle Match Foundation – a medium-high coverage foundation offering a natural finish that lasts all day and photographs well. As long as you don’t mind the smell of biscuits.

What’s your favourite high-street foundation? Any high-end ones you can recommend?

Beauty: Brands I Want to Try in 2016

2015 was the year I bought a lot of makeup, but I also discovered what I liked (bold lips), what I hated (cheap eyeshadows), and what suited my skin (not a lot!). Towards the end of the year I really cut down my spending, not buying myself a lot and only asking for a few special bits as gifts. Playing around with more ‘me’ pieces has led to some serious lust over the high-end alternatives and I’ve ended up with a lot of brands I want to try over the next year.

 photo Makeup 3_zpsumedhc0e.jpgAnd I know it’s wayyyy too early, but I’m planning on doing my wedding makeup myself. And I’m pretty sure it’s just so I have an excuse to treat myself…
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Nars

I treated myself to my first Nars product in the January sales last year; the now discontinued Doucuer blush. I love it – the formula is great, the colour perfect. And this has sparked a major interest in the brand. I’ve heard nothing but good things, so I think the next thing to investigate is their lip pencils!

The blush itself is the perfect colour for my pale complexion, adding definition and a bit of colour without being too dramatic. Why have they discontinued this?!
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Hourglass

Possibly a bit of an obvious one for me given my love-affair with the Ambient Lighting palette, but I definitely want to try more from the Hourglass stand! I’m mainly tempted by the powders and blushes – Mood Exposure will be mine!

Tarte

Oh, how I wish this was easier to get hold of! I’ve been super impressed with one of their blushes, but I’m desperate to get hold of their powder foundation. I’m a big fan of powder foundations but do find the coverage to be hit and miss so this sounds like the perfect answer!
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Charlotte Tilbury

Having tried an eyeshadow palette that has quickly become my go-to, this is a brand I know I’ll love. I’m most tempted by the lipsticks – the mattes seem to have the most amazing formulation and gorgeous shades!

The eyeshadow palette I have is ‘The Sophisticate’ and if I’m 100% honest I’m not actually tempted by any of the others. This one however is the perfect basic neutral quads. The shadows are satin finish – not shimmery, but not quite matte. They apply like a dream, blend beautifully, last a decent time and when they do fade do so evenly. I’ve found this palette perfect for daytime wear as well as amping up for an evening look – perfect for a weekend away!
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So, a bit of a mix, but it is (I say quite bashfully!) mainly high-end. It’s wishful thinking really as I know the vast majority of this is completely out of budget!

What brands do you want to try more of?