Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Favourites #1: Lips

I'm sure we all have a bit of a go to feel good look when it comes to makeup, something that you know will pep up either your mood or your makeup...or preferably both! For me over the past few months it has got to be the lip combo I am about to share with you.  It never fails to put a smile on my face (literally haha) and give me a little bit of confidence.

Please excuse the slight changes in the lighting of the photos in this post, I took some of them over time to try and show you the wear of the product and obviously that changes the amount and angle of the natural light...not a lot I can do about our position in the solar system! 

My weapons of choice are;
  • MAC Lip Pencil in Beet
  • MAC Lipstick in Impassioned (it's an Amplified Creme incase you were wondering)
  • MAC Tinted Lipglass in Pink Lemonade
Without further ado, I give you my step by step application of my favourite fuchsia lips! 

1 - I have to prepare my lips somehow because despite my best efforts they are as dry as the Sahara and at times flakier than puff pastry! I use any old lip balm I've got to hand, and slap it on before I do the rest of my makeup, or about five to ten minutes before if I'm just changing my lip colour not the whole face! 

2 - Using Beet I first line the outside of my lips, making sure I get right into the corners.  Once I'm happy with the shape I use the lip pencil to fill in the majority of my lips.

3 - Then, using a lip brush (my favourite is by Illamasqua) I apply Impassioned lipstick all over the lips.  I sometimes leave it as it is, but if I fancy a bit of extra shine, or my lips are feeling particularly dry I'll add an extra step.  The formulation of this lipstick, especially over the lip pencil means it does have a tendency to feel quite tight and drying on my already parched pout! 

4 - To add that extra sheen and injection of moisture I slick on Pink Lemonade, which has got to be my favourite Lipglass by a mile, and then I'm good to go!! 
As you can see this lip finish looks quite different depending on the lighting...and I love it however it looks!!

The wear of this combination is incredible, you don't need to touch it up all day; and I mean all day.  After six hours of drinking numerous cups of tea, stuffing my face with lunch (and maybe a little millionaire shortbread) and chatting away it puts up a damn good fight and begins to fade (see photo below).  And the fade is something I love about this combo; it doesn't go patchy, it doesn't all vanish at once, but it slowly loses its intensity but at no point does the colour die completely.  After I'd taken the photo below I went to an exercise class and did a flipping hard work out, and even after all the sweating (there was a lot) and wiping my face with a towel (again - quite a bit) the colour remained and took a damn good scrubbing to remove in the shower.

So there you have it, my favourite lip to wear at the moment.  Full reviews of the individual products are to follow if you're interested.  

What is your go to 'feel good' lip combo? I'd love to know so I can try them out and see if they can become my new favourite too! 

I hope you're all well lovely ladies


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Review (actually, it's a rave) Jessica's Phenomen Oil

I can't believe I've not written a post solely about this product yet, I know I've mentioned it before but it really does deserve its very own slice of the interweb! I give you Phenomen Oil by Jessica.  For those of you who don't know, Jessica is a professional nail brand and they offer some really amazing products (GELerartion is my latest love from them) and this 'intensive moisturizer' is no exception.  

Ingredients such as  Vitamin E, Jojoba, Sweet Almond Oil and Rice Oil really help to make this a wonder product.  It can be used on any areas that are crying out for some extra moisturisation (elbows and tough dry bits on the feet stand out to me as the areas that most need some TLC) but its original function is to act as a life saver for your cuticles and nails.  I don't know how it does it, but this oil really does seem to penetrate right down into the cuticles and dramatically improve their appearance.  Jessica also say that Phenomen Oil will help to strengthen your nails and keep them supple and healthy.  

While I wouldn't feel comfortable vouching for its effectiveness in terms of my nail strength, I am more than happy to sing the praises of this product with regard to the state of my cuticles.  I've tested it out,  and having used this every night for two months I decided to give it a break for a few weeks....man are my cuticles begging me to bring this puppy back into my nightly routine; they're dry, tight, hard and generally horrible and I do believe that this is all down to the fact that I've not been using Phenomen Oil.  I know that the cold weather wont be helping but it's not as if I've been standing outside in a blizzard.  I can now promise my poor little cuticles that this is now firmly back on the menu, and I shall once again resume my nightly application.

As for how to apply it; it's simples! It comes with a pipet (man I love them it makes me feel like a scientist) and all you need to do is place one drop onto each nail (I tend to do this at the base of the nail to coat both the cuticle and nail) and then give that area a good old massage and voila! The massage is important because it increases the circulation to the nail and promotes growth.  If you have any excess oil on the tip of the finger just treat yourself to a bit of a hand massage! By the morning the oil will have completely sunk in and 
you should wake up with soft mitts ready to start a new day!

Phenomen Oil ranges from around £9 to £14 depending on the size bottle you get, but I believe it is totally worth it and I will be repurchasing mine before it even has a chance to run out! 

Are there any products that you swear by? 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Brush Cleaning #3: The Deep Cleanse

And now, for the final installment of my brush cleaning series, I give you the big guns...the DEEP CLEANSE! If you're interested in parts one and two then feel free to check them out HERE and HERE.

It's a fact of a makeup addict's life that all that slap creates a bit of a mess as far as brushes are concerned, and it's important that we treat those brushes well - they're the tools of our trade and must be looked after! So, unless you apply your makeup with a trowel (in which case I suggest you use surgical spirit to clean it), then you've got to choose a cleanser that will suit your brushes rather than damage them.  A quick google or YouTube search will bring up a million and one different products which people wear are the best, and I have no doubt that maybe some are better than my method, but I'm just going to share with you my choice of product and method of giving my brushes a little tlc.

Johnson's baby shampoo is my preferred cleansing agent; it's gentle but effective and it doesn't have too much extra fluff and stuff (by fluff and stuff I obviously mean nasty chemicals and exotic scents!) it's also cheap which is a massive bonus in my eyes! 

Before you begin 'the big cleanse' you might want to prepare the area that you're going to use to dry your brushes.  Ideally you want to allocate the edge of a work top/dresser/table and place a towel along the edge, this way you can leave your brushes to dry really easily without waving around wet brushes as you fumble about one handedly trying to get your towel and then lay it out (I speak from experience or so I've been told)

Next up, gather all your dirty brushes, I keep mine in an old mug (it was a sad day when the mammoth crack appeared but I knew it's life wasn't over yet!) and take them to your sink of choice along with the Johnson's baby shampoo.

Then for the fun part! Rinse your brush under warm water, not hot but warm - it's important because hot water could melt the glue in the ferrule (the metal bit between the handle and the bristles) and this would cause your brush hairs to shed or your whole brush to fall apart! Another important thing to note, is that you need to keep the brush angled down at all times, again this is to prevent water from going into the ferrule and ruining your brush.

Once your brush is nicely wet take a pump of the shampoo (vary the amount based on what size brush you have and which products it has been used with - eyeshadow brush with light eyeshadow will require hardly any whereas kabuki style foundation brush that's been used for a week or so will use quite a lot of product) onto the palm of your spare hand (the one that doesn't have a brush in it!).  
Then gently start to swirl your brush in the shampoo so that it creates a nice foamy lather, the lather should be the colour of whatever product you're washing off the brush - it's ever so satisfying! You can rinse and repeat as many times as it takes before the lather is pure white, and believe me, some brushes will have you there for a while but don't give up because you'll get there in the end!

It's very important to rinse all the shampoo from your brush once it's squeaky clean, so I rinse and then swirl it on my hand again to see if any soap bubbles appear and keep rinsing until when swirled nothing happens.  With larger brushes, don't be afraid to pull the excess water from the brush, so run you hand in a clenched motion down the brush and over the hairs to get off any excess water, and just keep rinsing until the water is clear.  

Then give your brushes a final squeeze to get the bulk of the water out.

You're now ready to lay all your brushes out.  It's important to give them room, they shouldn't be touching because this could effect the shape that they dry into and nobody wants a deformed brush if they can help it.  This is also the reason why it's so important to leave the brushes overhanging the edge of a table, this way they don't end up with one flat side.  

The drying time will depend on the size of the brush, the density of the hairs, and the material the hairs are made from.  A small synthetic brush like the Real Techniques deluxe crease brush will only take about half an hour to dry, whereas the larger ones like The Body Shop face and body brush and the bdellium 957 will probably take a day or so.

Wait until they're all completely dry before putting them back in their usual storage or using them, and then relax and enjoy how wonderfully soft they are (it's ok, I wont judge you for giving your face a bit of a stroke with them, we've all been there!!)

I hope this was helpful, and I'm sorry it was such a long post!! 


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Super Sleepy Sunday

Boy oh boy am I feeling ridiculously tired today.  I'm finding it physically impossible to stop myself from yawning every five seconds...is there a cure for yawning?  On 24 Hours in A&E I saw a man who had gone to hospital with hiccups so maybe should take myself down there and see what they can do for my yawning?! Alternatively I could continue to do what I am doing right now, which is lying on my bed writing this post with the view to having a nap shortly afterwards! 

Roast - CHECK
In my defense, I have been fairly busy (not really) this morning; up and at body attack for 8.30 this morning, then coffee morning (eating pastries and drinking tea not only undoes all the hard work at attack but it's flipping exhausting  - back me up here Grace!), following that I went straight to my Grandma and Grandad's where my brother had cooked up a mighty fine roast.  I'm a little concerned that if I don't buck my ideas up soon though, I wont make it through Strictly Come Dancing which I recorded last night, and that would be a sin! I also need to tidy my room and do some homework but to be perfectly honest it all pales into insignificance when I weigh it up against the thought of sleeping through Strictly!! 

On a side note; how good is Autumn tv?! We've got Downton Abbey, The Great British Bake Off, The Paradise (love it!), and now Strictly...what more could you ask for (well, actually if they brought Waking The Dead and Spooks back I'd be over the moon)?

I do apologise for the fact that this is a totally uninspiring post, but I don't particularly feel like I've got it in me to write anything too mediocre incredible today! 

Hot Chocolate - has been substituted for plenty of tea, but there is still time! 

Primark's finest - coming right up! 
I hope you're all having wonderful Sundays! 


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Brush Cleaning #2: Spot Cleaning

In this post I talked about my choices of brush cleanser, and how and why I have chosen to decant them.  This post is on spot cleaning my brushes.  Because it doesn't require the use of water it makes it a much quicker method, so it's great if you need to use that brush again quickly (between colours or clients say) and it's also great for keeping on top of all the dirt and bacteria build up of brushes that will still need a deep cleanse (foundation brushes for example).  If you want to know more about the MAC brush cleanser that I use (price, why I decant it etc) do go and check my first brush cleaning post here.

So, first of all I need all my dirty brushes in one place! I seem to have developed a pretty large brush collection over the past couple of years (oops) so I don't store them all together, instead I get a selection that will do the job and put them all in this old (and cracked) Cath Kidston mug which lives in the bathroom which is wear I do my makeup.  Then, once they're in need of a bit of a clean (this tends to be once a week) I bring them all into my room to get down to business!

Because this is spot cleaning if there is one eye brush I'm particularly desperate to use but it's already covered in eye shadow I can get it back to working condition in a matter of minutes (particularly synthetic brushes) which is perfect! 

A selection of brushes all ready for a good old clean!

There are many different ways to spot clean your brushes, and if you'd like me to let you know some of the alternative methods please do let me know and I'll either explain to you personally or write another post.  To save this from being uber long I'm just going to focus on one technique for now.

I use an old towel to clean my brushes on, but you could use kitchen roll (I'd advice against toilet roll as it just isn't strong enough), couch roll if you have it (beauticians etc), an old flannel or muslin cloth, an old t-shirt or a bit of old sheet - you get the drift; it can be anything!  I simply place this on my work surface of choice and get ready for cleaning.

Place your brush on the towel or hold it slightly above, and then spray your cleanser onto the bristles.  You can turn the brush over if it is particularly dirty to ensure you've coated both sides.

Then, simple swirl your brush around on the towel.  Be very gentle with this, you don't want to end up scrubbing away at it, just use soft circular motions or gently sweep it one way and then the other in a line.

You can repeat the process if you need to, simply apply more product and gently wipe it over a clean section of the towel.  At the end of the process you should be able to wipe it over without leaving any makeup residue behind.

Once they're all squeaky clean you can either simply lay them flat on the towel, or place the towel near the edge of the surface and place it so the bristles are sticking just over, this prevents the brush from becoming misshapen as it dries.

Smaller brushes tend to dry in a matter of minutes using this method because they do not become too saturated in cleaning product, and the alcohol evaporates quickly, but do make sure your brushes are completely dry before you either put them back in their home (mug etc) or use them again. 

So there you have it, my spot cleaning process.  If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Next up - the deep clean!!

Happy Brush Cleaning!!