Sunday, 28 September 2014

Introducing: Bobbi Brown's Sheer Powder Brush

If there was one beauty tool I could only ever dream of getting my hands on, it would be without question the Suqqu Cheek Brush. A favourite of Lisa Eldridge (makeup queen) and many other artists worldwide, the perfectly tapered, expertly crafted, and supposed "kitten paw" softness really do make this my most desirable brush. Unfortunately, the £80+ price tag means it will without a doubt always remain a dream and nothing more.

For months now, I've been browsing the 'Brushes and Tools' section of every beauty website under the sun to find a brush similar enough to Suqqu's offering (a small and amazing quality cheek brush) in hope to delete the Selfridges Suqqu page from my bookmarks.

I think I may have come quite close; enter Bobbi Brown's Sheer Powder Brush.

Firstly, shape and size - roughly the size of my nose (completely useless comparison, but nothing in my Real Techniques stash compares) with long flexible bristles tapered enough for contouring, but flat enough for powder, this seems perhaps ever-so-slightly larger than Suqqu's but still half the size of my RT Blush Brush. So far so good.

Secondly, application. This seems to pick up the precise amount of product (although a tap off of excess is always advised) and blends all forms of everything onto your face like a dream. Blush, bronzer, highlight, contour and powder - it works amazingly with them all. Not to mention, as much as I love my RT brushes, the appearance of this one is much more luxurious and feels that tad more professional.

Finally, price. Coming in at £30, the Sheer Powder Brush is almost a third of the cost of the Suqqu one, yet is well over the cost of four Real Techniques brushes. For me after trying this one, I am more than happy paying that much more for an increase in quality, and more importantly for the unique shapes of brushes that can't be found on the high street as they can make such a difference in makeup application and the overall look.

If you're looking into buying a higher-end brush, the Sheer Powder is a great place to start because of it's multi-uses, and no doubt it will last for years. Also, if you can't get your hands on this Bobbi Brown option, Charlotte Tilbury's Powder and Sculpt, and Trish McEvoy's #48 look fairly similar.

What are your favourite makeup brushes? Any new ones I should try?


Monday, 1 September 2014

An Affordable Make-Up Starter Kit

Since first being mentioned in this post, I have been gathering together a selection of products ideal for any makeup newbies. My recommendations are just a rough guide, so of course depending on your skin type and preferences, feel free to swap things around and add or take away bits and bobs of your choice. I've done my best to cover all grounds here so I hope you find it helpful!

Foundation: Rimmel Match Perfection - A good all rounder foundation with a satin finish and buildable coverage, plus an amazing shade range (if you're comfortable without foundation or have lovely younger skin, just opt for concealer alone or something lighter like the Bourjois CC Cream)

Concealer: 17 Stay Time - Again, a good all rounder for blemishes and undereyes with an easy-to-work-with creamy texture

Powder: Maybelline Matte Maker Powder - This finely milled powder offers a lot of bang for your buck with an impressive 16g of product

Bronzer: NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny - A warm but not muddy matte option that works well for general bronzing and light contouring

Blush: MaxFactor Cream Blush in Soft Pink - I don't think there's a skin tone or type this blush would not work beautifully on. 'nuff said;)

Highlighter: Topshop Glow in Polished - Another cream product providing a stunning iridescence to cheekbones and highpoints. Love it!

Cream Eyeshadow: Maybelline On and On Bronze Colour Tattoo - Works so well as a base or on it's  own. There's also an amazing shade range to these so you can opt for practically whichever colour you  fancy

Powder Eyeshadow: Natural Collection Duos in Mocha/Latte and Mink/Sable - For the price, these little pots are incredible! FYI Mocha doubles up as a great eyebrow powder for fellow dark blondes or brunettes

Pencil Liner: Rimmel Scandaleyes in Bronze - You can't go wrong here; a people pleasing shimmery brown for subtle or smokey definition

Liquid Liner: Collection Extreme Liner in Black - My favourite liquid liner to date thanks to it's fine nib, opaque colour and of course, bargain price

Mascara: L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic is a firm favourite of mine. A good'un for both volume and length with great staying power and opacity

Brows: Soap and Glory's Archery Pencil and Brush - Fab for filling in sparse areas if your're blessed with fuller brows or for completely shaping and colouring in practically invisible ones like mine. I'd also suggest a clear mascara for setting; my fave is from Nautral Collection

Lips: Here's where it really gets down to preference.. For pink fans I'd suggest the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Pink Pong, for red lovers I'd point you in the direction of Kate Moss' Rimmel Line (01 in particular) and for nude junkies I'd recommend Rose Petal by Natural Collection. Thought I'd also throw in Maybelline's Cashmere Rose Gloss for good measure

That's all for this jam-packed post. Let me know some of your drugstore favourites in the comments for perhaps another 'Recently Purchased';) Thanks for reading!


Monday, 25 August 2014

An Identical Dupe? ( & Comparison Swatches)

A few months ago, a life changing product entered my makeup bag; the Anastasia Brow Wiz in 'Medium Brown'. A cult self-sharpening pencil complete with spoolie and not to mention the closest shade of brown ever to match my hair. It was a big step up in terms of price from Rimmel's Brow Pencil in 'Hazel' (which was way too orange toned) but boy did the quality show. Super perfected yet natural looking brows in a pencil. The only downside was at £15.50 a pop, I wasn't too willing to repurchase it on a regular basis.

After trying multiple drugstore alternatives including the Sleek Brow Stylist in 'Medium' (again too orange for my ashy dark blonde hair) and Eylure's Brow Shape and Shade in 3 (too yellow and dry to work with) I very recently stumbled across Soap and Glory's Archery Pencil and Brush in 'Hot Chocolate'. At a much more reasonable £8, and no ginger-tones in sight, this purhcase was practically immediate.

Everything down to the packaging, shape, size, most importantly - colour, and even spoolie is in my eyes identical to it's higher-end competitor. They even contain the same 0.085g of product and, although irrelevant, are made in the same country... say whaa?

All in all, this dupe, or should I say twin? is completely faultless! In this case, I'd say save your pennies and opt for S&G's new thing. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

My Cream Blush Picks

I while back, I wrote this post giving the low-down on my top three powders from all different price points. Seeing as it is my most popular post to date, I thought I'd make it a regular thang. Without further ado, my cream blush picks:

By one single penny, Max Factors popular offering comes in at the cheapest - £6.99. Believe it or not this is one of the first makeup products I actually owned and is now about 5 years old (probably should replace this soon). In recent years this has got a whole lotta loving thanks to it's delightfully creamy and super-blendable texture, convenient diddy packaging and beyond flattering shade. I love it both for cheeks and lips so much so that I haven't bothered trying any other shades in the range. Definately one of those 'desert island products' for me and would certainly be in my drugstore makeup starter kit. Post coming soon.

On the brighter side of things brings Topshop's 'Head Over Heels' - £7. A beautiful perky coral with a cream to powder finish. This is a fab option for summer down to the shade and works wonders paired with mascara and concealer for minimal makeup days. Although only recommend for cheeks, I've found that with a swipe of lip balm underneath, this product makes for a great velvety muted coral shade on the mouth that really brightens the face. Lovely.

Bumping up the price now, Stila's blush option stands at £16. The colour 'Lillium' is somewhere between a peachy nude and ever-so-slightly blue toned baby pink (if this awful description leaves you as confused as it did me, I'd very much recommend a google search for swatches;) ). Anyway, super creamy and easy to work with on the cheeks, adorable packaging, plus the most perfect pink pout on the lips, this blush is gorgeous but certainly more of a treat than a necessity, but hey - everyone needs a splurge here and there... am I right?

That's it for todays roundup. Let me know what products you'd like to see my favourites of next time; I'm thinking bronzers maybe? Thankyou for reading:)


Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Mini NARS Round-Up

Oh, NARS. Probably my most coveted brand of all time until recently. Two years ago when I first started watching youtube and venturing around blogs (mostly Zoella's I must add, surely I'm not the only one who used to trawl through the archives on a much too regualr basis..) this brand kept cropping up everywhere. Something about the sleek matt black packaging and nothing but good reviews of almost everything they sold, not to forget the amount of gorgeous limited edition palettes they've released over the years. The only issue for me was accessibilty. As much as I could order online with a few clicks, there is nothing more satisfying than leaving a counter with an armful of swatches and a newly bagged purchase (or two) in hand.

Ramble over, a few months back I took a trip to London for my brithday only to end up in John Lewis Oxford Street (I think you can guess which counter). Happy as larry I left with Laguna Bronzer and the (not anymore) 'sold out everywhere' Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla - victory was mine. To add to my happiness I also recieved a single eyeshadow in Ashes-to-Ashes as a gift and could not be more pleased with all the new additions - warning, serious praise to come.

First up, the concealer. Lets just say I've used this almost every. single. day. since I bought it and am never as happy with others if I dare try a different one out. As I'm sure you've all heard, this covers everything with no issues and has never caked. It hides blemishes, brightens under eyes and looks so flawless yet leaving a natural finish that lasts. Holy grail stuff here!

Another product that nothing in my collecition seems to compare to is the Laguna Bronzer. It sculpts, adds warmth, contours, works beautifully as an eyeshadow, contains a big mirror, is matte in some lights but radiant and slightly shimmery in others, is...lets face it, bronzer perfection.

Finally, probably my favourite mono eyeshadow (I did warn you;) ) besides All That Glitters. Bare with me for this part; the shade is a stunning mix of taupe, lilac, frosted bronze, slightly warm, slightly cool toned shimmery goodness topped of with great pigmentation and easy blendability.

I must say it was certainly worth the wait to get my hands on some NARS products, I honestly cannot fault any of the above. Hope you enjoyed my round-up, let me know some of your favourite bits from the brand for me to try next;) Thanks for reading!