Friday, 24 May 2013

Illamasqua 'Masquara' Review

Illamasqua Masquara in 'Raven', £16.50 for 10ml.

It was going to take something really special to follow in the footsteps of Lancome 'Hypnose Drama'. You can read a review of what I thought of that one here but today I am going to tell you about Illamasqua's mascara- Masquara in shade 'Raven'.

The brush is quite large, rounded, and fibrous. The bristles do a good job of coating each lash but I do think the main factor to discuss here is the formula. Masquara is very wet, even a couple of months down the line it has maintained it's moisture which is surprising. Apparently it has built-in lash conditioner, and while I can't say I have noticed a host of new  lashes growing, I have noticed that they feel a bit more luscious and soft. Due to it's high moisture content, it takes longer than the average mascara to dry but I do believe that the results are worth it, it adds natural, but bold volume (and you have to work quite hard for it to show any signs of clumpiness.) The brush and moist consistency lengthen the lashes and once it has dried it does a good job of keeping my lashes curled throughout the day, which is a problem I have battled with in the past.
The colour is Raven black as the name suggests and is non flaky. Considering this mascara isn't waterproof, I have experienced absolutely no smudging or flakiness since using it and it even seems to suit my sensitive, watery eyes. 

Items like mascara are easy to over look when shopping with a brand like Illamasqua as the colour range will immediately distract from 'core' basics. However I was pleasantly surprised by Masquara as I really wasn't expecting it to be very good. The price has just increased by a pound from when I purchased it which I think is cheeky however it remains fairly affordable and is one I will definitely be buying again.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Spring 'base' makeup

My 'base' makeup of choice at the moment is very different to what I have been reaching for the last few months.  The rich foundations with high coverage have been swapped for something a bit lighter.

One reason I prefer a lighter coverage is because it lets my (pathetic excuse for) freckles show through. I love freckles. Whenever I am on a makeup job I hope for a model with freckles because I just love making them a feature, and while I won't step foot in the tanning booth again (Summer 2010 was my tan bed hay-day) I do wish there was a way to make my own more distinguished. Lancome used to make a freckle crayon but I am not sure I have the guts to paint freckles on my own face just yet. I'll get back to you on that one.

I've been prepping my skin with a pea sized spoonful of Hydra Veil from Illamasqua, I don't buy all of the benefits they claim it to have, but to be fair it is the best primer I have used so far. While it offers a 'wave' of hydration to the skin (and a definite cooling effect), it keeps the appearance of my skin surprisingly matte and I do notice my makeup stays put for a bit longer than normal when I use this. It is a very unique jelly- to- liquid consistency, I don't like the presence of the alcohol content on the ingredients list but at least it is paraben free unlike a lot of their cosmetics, and it does contain hyaluronic acid which is of course a plus (great for glowy skin.)

Next I warm some of Yves Saint Laurent's 'Le Teint Touche Eclat' foundation between my fingers and work it into my skin. I really do think this foundation works best using fingers, and it isn't often you would catch me saying that (please just make sure your hands are clean first!)
I tend to ignore powder these days, but if I do use any I just dust some lightweight translucent powder on my t-zone. I follow by working a cream blusher into the apples of my cheeks, which maintains the radiant finish of the foundation. My current favourites are MAC Cremeblend blush in 'Something Special'- a bright peach pink, and Illamasqua Cream Blusher in 'Dixie' -a deep coral. For the ultimate lazy finish, I dab a bit of whichever cream blusher I have chosen for my cheeks onto my lips.

That's my current base makeup routine- fresh faced, lightweight, quick and very easy. The foundation does contain an SPF of 19 but I would advise adding your own SPF with your morning moisturiser.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Midweek Post: Another SLS free shower gel.

Burt's Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint and Rosemary Body Wash, £9.99 for 350ml.

This is the third post in my sort-of mini series about SLS and paraben- free shower products. Natural bathing products interest me and feel so much more indulgent than those that are not, because I know that they aren't full of cheap chemicals. If you missed my post about these naughty ingredients, you can catch up on it here.

In comparison to the L'occitane Almond Shower Oil that I featured last time, this one is a bit more purse friendly, costing £9.99 for 350ml compared to the former at £17.50 for 250ml. This lathers up so well, it is so foamy and rich with a gorgeous scent of peppermint with a hint of herb (that would be the rosemary, but it in no way has an overpowering influence, it's all about the mint here.)

There's also other 'flavours' in the same range that I am keen to try. My discovery of the Burt's Bees body washes was a nice surprise, I wasn't aware that they were SLS and paraben free until I looked at the ingredients list when I was browsing in store one day. It is nice that I managed to find a body wash in Boots that ticked all the boxes. In terms of my skin, I have noticed a small decrease in the irritation/itching I would get after washing, but knowing my shower gels are chemical free help put my mind at ease rather than anything else.

I would completely recommend this, it's a perfect morning shower gel because it is so freshly scented and lathers up just as well as any shower gel packed with SLS.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 13 May 2013

So fresh and so clean.

Untouched lipsticks make me happy. These two have been sitting in my drawer since December but have remained untouched until this week. Partly because the packaging fills me with a content, warm feeling every time I open my storage and see it shining back at me, but partly because I felt the shades weren't right for the season until now. 

I picked up Tom Ford 'Wild Ginger' on a staff order last year, back when I was able to receive a rather generous discount on TF products. I had been eyeing up this shade for an awful long time, I am a sucker for an orange red. This is my second TF lipstick and as usual I have been very impressed by the quality- heavy, click shut packaging paired with a smooth formula that is high in pigmentation and comfortable to wear. This colour is most striking worn with fresh, flawless foundation base and barely there eye makeup or a small and tasteful eyeliner flick.

Ben bought YSL Rouge Pur Couture in no.52 as a christmas present for me. He knows how much I love YSL but I would rarely treat myself to a lipstick from there. This is a bright coral pink, a little reminiscent of a couple of limited edition MAC lipsticks I have,  which were favourites of mine last summer. Similarly to my weakness for orange reds, I do love me a coral. And you all know I love me a bright lip, so this was always going to be love.

A little bit of luxury does everybody good, I am not sure I could ever justify a Tom Ford lipstick full price and I am kicking myself for not picking up more when I had the chance. The traceless foundation stick in Alabaster is also calling to me. Are you girls loving these shades as much as I am, or are they a bit daring for you?

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Botanics Cleansing Balm

Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, £8.99 for 65ml.

I'm on a budget at the moment, and it has hit me hardest when trying to buy skincare. I've got enough makeup to last me years, but skincare inevitably runs out and needs to be replaced. 
When I spotted a budget cleansing balm, claiming to be 97% organic I thought it sounded promising. From Botanics, Boots' own range of affordable skincare with a nod to the natural, this cleansing balm contains ingredients such as jojoba oil, almond oil and shea butter and comes in a 65ml tub.

Similarly to other cleansing balms I have used, the product is a stiff substance, that massaged into the palms of your hands under warm running water remains thick in consistency but semi melts, ready to massage into the face. It has quite a 'natural' scent that is difficult to describe, not overwhelming like the Emma Hardie balm, that although delicious, smelt too strong for my liking. It is a deep yellow, almost green in colour and comes with a large muslin cloth.

For reviews sake, I tried using this without a muslin cloth. It is so thick that it is near impossible to remove with hands and water, a residue remains. The cloth is essential as the muslin grips and removes the product with ease. My skin feels soft and hydrated after using this, but no matter how hard I try it always ends up in my eyes and although it doesn't sting or feel uncomfortable, it makes my vision cloudy for about ten minutes! 
I still use this every evening, it is nice to use and I would probably repurchase as it is gentle and makes my skin feel supple. Plus it is free from nasty ingredients and is paraben free which is always a bonus in my eyes.

Give this a go if you are interested in cleansing balm or if you are into organic products :-)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Emerald, the colour of 2013?

Each year trends in both clothes and makeup are inevitably affected by the Pantone 'colour of the year'. After the Pantone View is published, fashion usually follows suit and the chosen colour is often reflected in areas ranging from interior design to floristry. I find this whole idea of a 'chosen' colour absolutely fascinating, I would love to own a Pantone brochure just so I could oggle at the beauty of colour all day. I think we definitely embraced last years Tango Orange, the colour was in all of the shops and seeing girls wearing a bold orange lip became more and more common, however I feel that this years choice of 'Emerald Green' will take a bit more adjusting.

In makeup, colour is often considered hard to embrace, and it absolutely is. I am a strong believer that it is deemed more socially acceptable to embrace colour through clothing than it is through makeup. Most of you probably wouldn't think twice seeing somebody use an emerald green clutch bag as a colour accent to an outfit, but in terms of wearing it on your face I imagine only a fair few would be comfortable doing. 

However, as this is a makeup blog it only makes sense that I document my embrace of the Pantone Colour of the Year 2013 in a makeup look, let me know what you think or how you would choose to wear the colour. My Emerald Green of choice is a powder eye shadow from Illamasqua called 'Fame'. Illamasqua are definitely my first go-to brand when searching for new pigments, they have it all. I paired it with a copper bronze eyeshadow in 'Bronx', lashings of mascara and a pair of falsies. If you're going to use a bold colour such as green on the eye, I do think lashes are a must, to make it a feature and complete the statement look.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 6 May 2013

My Make Up Artist Lip Palette

Top row L-R: MAC Blankety, Pink Plaid & Rebel,. Illamasqua Immodest, Flare and Apocalips..
Bottom row L-R: Illamasqua Drench & Russian Red,  Vegas Volt. Illamasqua Wanton, Plunge, Corrupt and MAC Up The Amp
I finally got my act together and made my lip palette. On most jobs, a lip palette is ideal because it saves both space and weight in an already heavy kit bag. I would only use lipstick straight from the bullet for a 'special occasion' such as for a bride on her wedding day or if I was to ever work on a high profile client (though that is a long way down the road.)

I've seen this process done in many ways, some use a whole lipstick, others a slither. Some melt the lipstick and pour into the box, others cut and smush. I made that word up by the way, but I'm totally sure you all know what I mean. 
I decided that I didn't want to sacrifice a whole lipstick to a Muji pill box. Instead, I cleaned all of my lipsticks and used a third to a half of the product, leaving some remaining in its packaging. Why did I choose to do this? Firstly, because I wanted some lipsticks left over, you never know if the Muji box will become damaged or god forbid, lost. If I had used 12 whole lipsticks and then something bad happened then I'd be waving goodbye to £150+ worth of makeup. Secondly, (as mentioned above) some clients would prefer to see an MUA working from a lipstick bullet rather than a messy palette of smushed up colours. (There's that word again.)

I also decided not to melt my lipsticks. I can't help but feel it is a massive faff for no reason at all, plus I am sure that melting and drying lipsticks will alter their original texture. I want my mattes to stay matte, and anything with glitter in I want to stay evenly distributed.

For this palette I only used a combination of MAC and Illamasqua lipsticks, because they are good quality and high in pigmentation, and not so expensive that it felt a sin to cut them up.

The process is straightforward but fiddly at times. I cleansed each lipstick and used a sharp knife to slice off the desired amount, then smoothing it into its section in the pill box. I later pressed down on each segment to secure it in place. Not as neat looking as those who have melted, but it'll do the job and that's what matters. 

I have used this a few times now and so far it delivers well. It is such a good way of keeping an amount of lipsticks succinct and it also makes it easy to mix different shades on the back of my hand!

Thanks for reading,