Friday, November 27, 2015

Milani Baked Blush - Berry Amoure

I picked up this beauty while in Florida in February.  I ummm'd and ahhh'd over which one to choose, much to Darren's annoyance ("Heather, we've been looking at the same thing for 10 minutes, just. pick. one.!" I think he said!).  The tricky thing is, that in american drugstores, they don't actually have testers, so I couldn't swatch any of them.
The shade I eventually plumped for was Berry Amoure.  It's a pretty mix of a cool-toned pink with bronze-peach marbling.  If I'm honest, I've spent many minutes admiring the prettiness of this blush in the pan.  I think i'm weak for these kinds of 'baked' products!
As you can see from the swatch'y goodness above, the colours combine to create a lovely warm-toned neutral pink with just the right amount of shimmer to impart that healthy, i've-just-been-out-for-a-brisk-walk look!

I had worried that, like the Bourjois baked blushes, these may have poor payoff, however that isn;t the case.  In fact, if anything you need to go a bit steady when swirling your brush in this, or else you'll apply far too much!  It's a lovely smooth formula which lasts a good 8 hours on me before starting to fade a little.
Here it is on my cheekies!  It's very natural in colour and texture.  I only wish I'd bought more, since these are unfortunately not available in the UK.  However, GB girlies might be able to find these in a blog sale or on eBay, so keep an eye out!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Products Not Worth The Hype

It's always disappointing when you lust after a product for ages and when you finally get your hands on it, it's so underwhelming you just cannot understand what everyone else saw in it.  Doing as much research as possible does help minimise any let-down, but I have come across a few products which, despite my almost obsessive trawl of Google/Instagram/Twitter etc. etc., still haven't lived up to the hype.  While it's never nice to slate a product or brand, I think it's important to be honest - not every product will work for every person.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation
On paper, this foundation should be my holy grail; full coverage - check, lightweight - check, natural luminous finish - check, lasts all day - check...but no matter how hard I try I cannot get this product to work for me.  I have tried every conceivable way of applying this base, I've used fingers and brushes, primers and oils, tiny amounts of product, powders, setting sprays - I have tried it all.  The issues with this product start with application.  The pump dispenses the teeniest drop of product, which apparently is all that is required for the whole face.  Now, I'm under no illusion hat no matter how wonderful this product is, a drop of foundation no bigger than a couple of grains of rice just ain't gonna cut it to cover scars and redness.  However, use more than this and all hell is unleashed (well..not quite, it's just foundation..).   The problem with this foundation is that while initially it looks beautiful and flawless, it very quickly begins to almost separate and slide around on my face.    On my skin this happens fairly quickly, usually with the first hour of wearing it.  Less than ideal given the hefty price tag.

Bourjois Round Pot Blush
Blush is my absolute weakness, so the Bourjois stand draws me in like a tractor beam to their little pots of cheeky goodness.  I love the compact size of the products, the way they are subtly scented and the way the packaging matches the colour of the blush contained within.  All sounds good so far, right?  Unfortunately the baked texture of these products makes it nigh-on impossible to get payoff on my cheeks.  Seriously, you'd develop RSI in your wrist trying to get product onto the brush!  I have swirled, stabbed, and even scraped the damn thing and at the end of the day it's just not worth the hassle.  I've already used up far too many minutes of my life trying to get some colour payoff - I have even considered rubbing the little pot directly onto my cheeks..! Such a shame, as the colour I have (Sienne), is a beautiful muted pinky brown.  Let's hope Bourjois reformulate these soon.

Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade
My brows are very low maintenance.  A quick tidy up with the tweezers and a brush with a brow comb and they're happy.  Last year with my wedding approaching, and having decided that I wanted to do my own make-up, I thought I would treat my brows to a bit of extra grooming and ABH Dip Brow Pomade ( Pom-ade or pom-ad?) seemed like the ideal choice.  The colour is perfectly ashy, and it's relatively easy to apply once you realise that you need a very very small amount of this.  Plus, when it dries down it ain't going anywhere til you remove it.  The one major downside of this product is how quickly it dries out and becomes flaky and crumbly.  This, along with the fact you need very little means that it would be impossible to even make a dent in this by the time it starts to dry out.  Perhaps a smaller pot would be the answer?  Or a rethink on the packaging?

My tips for avoiding being let down (by beauty products....):
  • Research.  Blogs, Google, Pinterest and Instagram are all good sources of information.  Check out swatches on different skin tones.  
  • Don't rush.  There's always a fair bit of hype surrounding new releases, usually followed by a swathe of positive reviews.  If you sit it out a bit, you tend to find more honest reviews appear and you can make a more rational choice.
  • Try before you buy.  This might sound obvious, but if it's available at a counter or stand, get yourself down there and ask the sales assistant to try the product on you then wear it for a few hours.  This will give you an idea if it's worth the splurge.
Are there any products which have disappointed you recently?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Frank Body Coffee Body Scrub & Balm

Taking cheesy selfies in the shower...perfectly acceptable behaviour..?!

A good body scrub is hard to find.  I have had high hopes for many a product only to be disappointed when, after scooping some product out of the tub, the grains immediately dissolve/rinse away before I can even start scrubbing.

When I first came across an article for Frank Body, I had pretty much given up hope of finding a good body scrub and instead had been using exfoliating mitts.  Don't get me wrong, they do a great job of smoothing my skin, but they can feel a bit harsh and were leaving my skin red and tender.  

This particular article I found touted Frank Body coffee scrub as a miracle product for those with various skin concerns, ranging from acne to stretch marks.  I had to try it!  I ordered up the An Original Introduction bundle which contains the original body scrub and body balm.  As a side note, the website is super cute and stylish, it's well worth a nosey.  I think the branding is spot on, it's a bit cheeky and a bit naughty, but without being seedy or sexist.  

Anyway, I digress...a couple of weeks later the package arrived and inside the blush pink box were my goodies.  I literally ran to the shower, and for someone who doesn't run often, this is a big deal folks.  There's a bit of a knack with using this product; switch on the shower and get the skin wet, then switch the shower off and rub the scrub into damp skin for 5-10 minutes.  This seems like such a long time when you are loitering around in the shower, gradually freezing your tush off, but it's really important to leave it on to get the most benefit from it.  The first time I rinsed this off I was amazed by just how soft it made my skin, leaving a thin veil of sweet almond oil behind afterwards.  This thought was closely followed by pure shock at the state of the shower cubicle - it is a messy job and the coffee grounds were everywhere but, it rinses away easily and it entirely worth it.  I blotted my skin dry and then followed up with the body balm which is an unusual squeezable oily balm.  This is also a pretty special product and left me stroking my skin in a very unnecessary way for the rest of the evening.

I have used this product once or twice per week for the last couple of months (the website suggests continuous use for maximum benefits on conditions such as cellulite and stretch marks - this ain't no quick fix) and can't recommend it highly enough.  It has noticeably improved the texture and elasticity of my skin and I can imagine that the results will only get better the longer I use the scrub.

An Original Introduction - £29.95 from frank body

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