martedì 29 luglio 2014

Skincare On the Go.

Sarah Chapman Daily Essentials Collection // Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV defence SPF50 PA+++ // Bioderma Crealine H2o Solution Micellaire // Avene Eau Thermale // REN V-cense Revitalizing Night Cream // Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream* // Foreo Luna Mini // Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm. //
Packing is such a chore for me. I'm forever tormented by doubts and ominous what-if scenarios in which obviously I'm going to need the only thing I decided not to pack and of course it takes me literally hours to makeup my mind and get my bags ready. This time, however, picking up my skincare goodies was somehow surprisingly quick and utterly painless to be honest. Maybe after years of beauty blogging I got really good at guessing what my skin really needs...

The very first product that I always pack is a mini bottle of Bioderma Micelle Solution (£4.50), which I use mainly to take off the bulk of my makeup before the actual cleanser or to quickly fix any mistake I might do with eyeliners and such. It's extremely gentle, so it's perfect for the eyes, and rinse-free and so very convenient to keep at hand. Other favourites I can't travel without are the Avene Thermal Spring Water (£3.15) - simply perfect to soothe congested skin, keep redness at bay and also doubles up as a toner and setting spray -, and my Foreo Luna Mini (£99) to deep clean and unclog my pores, get rid of dead skin cells and above all to enjoy a mini facial twice a day even on the go. I'm obsessed.

I make sure to pack an eye cream as well and my current choice for the day is the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream (£26)*, as it works well underneath concealer and keeps my under-eye area perfectly moisturized all day long, which is pretty much all I ask to an eye cream these days.
Something I use daily and I need to take everywhere I go is the Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm (£9.50). This stuff is so good it's easy to overlook the not-so-travel-friendly glass jar. A good helping before bed makes wonders for my chronically dry lips and leaves them nourished and uber soft, ready for the bright lippie of the day.

I also like to travel with some kind of rescue treatment in case my skin acts up for the long journey, the conditioned air or simply because I'm a little stressed out. My current favourite is the Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial (£45), which is amazing to perk my skin up, bring back some radiance and decongest my complexion. The full-size is not so ideal for travelling purposes but luckily I've found a little deluxe sample of it inside the Sarah Chapman Daily Essentials Collection (£49), which is a great way to try out the best-seller of the brand but also a genious little set to carry around on the go. It includes the Ultimate Cleanse that I use to remove my makeup at nighttime and cleanse my skin in the morning, a light creamy serum that tightens and gives a nice glow to the skin, and a daytime moisturizer with basic spf.

Samples are obviously a great solution to save space and try out new beauty things at the same time. With me I'm taking a tiny tube of REN V-cense Revitalizing Night Cream (£32), a resurfacing balm with an amazing calming scent, that doesn't feel too heavy on the skin. Finally, a while ago I popped at the Kiehl's counter and managed to snatch a mini sample of one of my favourite spfs, that I've been saving for my trips. The Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily Moisturizer Spf50 PA+++ (£31) is a great non-sticky lotion that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays and doesn't interfere with my makeup at all, but actually does feel a bit like a primer as well. A real must have if you're going to spend some time outdoors all year around, really.

There you have it. I'm quite happy with my little capsule skincare wardrobe.
What skincare staples are you taking away with you on holiday?

***

venerdì 25 luglio 2014

June Favourites.

The.Body Shop Mango Body Sorbet // Caudalie Polyphenol Anti-wrinkle Defense Serum* // Dove Hair Therapy Leave-in Conditioning & Care Spray // L'Oreal True Match Foundation // Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer #57 Brush // MAC Prep+prime CC Cream spf30. //
This favourites post comes a wee bit late this month, and with 'wee bit late' I mean that is horribly overdue, but I had very little time to sit down and write in the past few weeks. However, despite being a busy little bee, I still managed to treat myself to a lot of retail therapy and I'm really happy with some of the products I've found. I've also switched up a couple of skincare products in my routine and finally got my hands on a foundation I've wanted to try for months.

Starting with skin, I've been enjoying the latest offering from the Caudalie serum range a lot lately. The Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Defense Serum (£35)* is light and moisturizing, and packed full with anti-oxidants that aim to tackle premature ageing whilst protecting the skin from daily aggressors such as stress and smog. A few drops every morning leave my skin feeling instantly nourished and looking fuller and more glowy whilst not suffocating it like some moisturizing products can do when it's really hot outside.
If on one hand I'm always happy to take two more minutes to look after my face, on the other hand I'm extra lazy when it comes to moisturizing my body and I'm always on the hunt for a very low maintenance body cream or lotion that doesn't need to be rubbed in for three hundred years. The The Body Shop Mango Body Sorbet (£8) is super refreshing and hydrating, with a delicious scent that lingers on the skin for a few hours without being too overpowering; on top of that, it's nice and cooling and sinks in pretty much immediately without leaving any residue behind.

On to haircare, I've rediscovered the Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Leave-in Spray (£3.59) again lately, as I'm trying to apply minimum heat on to my hair to avoid melting in the process and I needed something to smooth the frizz out and make them look more shiny and glossy. Not only does this leave-in conditioner make my hair so much more manageable and easier to brush through and style, but it smells utterly divine and keeps my locks soft and tangle-free in between washes without weighting them down.

Lastly for makeup, I have three amazing new discoveries that I'm sure will live in my everyday makeup bag for quite some time. I've wanted to try the L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Perfecting Foundation (£8.49) for months and my sky-high expectations weren't disappointed. It is indeed a very beautiful foundation that could easily rival its high-end counterpart, that is the Armani Luminous Silk, for high pigmentation, gorgeous radiant finish and longevity, and the spf17 makes it excellent for the day. N1 is the perfect match for my skin tone - something that has never happened before with a drugstore product - and I just love how great it looks on the skin. Another recent purchase I'm completely obsessed with is the Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57, which is incredibly soft and therefore blends my concealer without tugging at the delicate skin around the eyes, buffing the product in so beautifully the result is seriously close to perfection.
My last pick for this post is the MAC Prep+Prime CC Colour Correcting Spf30 (£24) in Adjust, which really does help correcting any redness and makes my skin appear more even and glowy. I love it as a primer but I absolutely adore it as an effortless base for lazy or scorching hot days, when I can't be bothered with foundation or full-on makeup. It doesn't really add any coverage but it corrects beautifully any discoloration, perfecting and smoothing the complexion.

What have you been loving lately?

***

lunedì 30 giugno 2014

Tag: The Makeup Timer Test.

Wait, is that my face in a blog post? Omg...
I'm pretty much the queen of multitasking and I hardly ever sit down and do one thing at a time without getting sidetracked by something else, and that includes my makeup as well. A few days ago while catching up with some of my favourite blogs, I stumbled upon Lily's tag and I figured it was finally time to find out how long does my daily makeup routine actually take once I manage to cut off any distraction. I came up with a respectable 15 minutes and 11 seconds, which is not bad if you consider the eyeliner and the sweet time I take to define my eyebrows. I'm just gonna talk you through what I've got on my face...

Brows: I begin with my brows, outlining them first with a flat liner brush and a touch of Illamasqua Skin Base Lift (£17.50) in the shade White that gives me sharp edges, a clean canvas to draw all the missing hair in and also acts as a subtle highlighter once I blend it in with my foundation. To fill in my brows I've been reaching for the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo (£17) in Ash Blonde/Taupe. I absolutely love Anastasia shadows for brows: they're buttery soft, highly pigmented but easy to blend for a softer look and they cling on the skin for dear life all day, especially if I set the whole thing with the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel (£16.50), which is one of the best I've tried. - 2.30 minutes.

Primer & Foundation: For primer I've been loving the MAC Prep+prime Natural Radiance (£29) in Radiant Yellow lately, as it gives me beautiful glowy skin, makes my base last longer and lightly corrects the redness around my nose and on my cheek area. For base I can't put down my favourite combo of the moment: when mixed together, MAC Face & Body Foundation (£21.50) and Studio Sculpt (£25) create a flawless, sweat-proof base that doesn't look like makeup and last effortlessly till supper. - 2.15 minutes.

Concealer:  Concealer is a girl's best friend and my current best buddy is the RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-up (£28). I put it underneath my eyes and on any blemishes I have, blending it thoroughly with a synthetic fluffy brush. It has an amazing nourishing formula that's quite forgiving on dry patches and flakiness, but it's also really long wearing, highly pigmented and never looks cakey. - 1.59 minutes. 

Blush, Sculpting & Powder: My go-to product to add a bit of colour to my cheeks is the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher (£14.50) in Cherub, which is the perfect blush for fair-skinned ladies looking for that lovely and oh so natural shy girl blush. If I'm just chilling around the house or running some errands I tend to skip contouring, but I can't resist to the beautiful glow that the Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight (£23) gives to my cheekbones. Finally, I powder any unwanted shine away with a thin layer of MAC Mineralize Foundation Loose (£25) applied mainly on the T zone, leaving the rest of my face looking fresh and glowy. This mineral powder sits nicely on the skin, adds a little bit of coverage and prevents any product migration for a long time without going patchy or loosing it's natural finish. - 1.33 minutes.

Eyes: To create my signature soft, blown out smokey eyes with just a hint of definition I've been reaching for a mix of shadows from the LORAC Unzipped and Pro-to-go palettes. Lorac eyeshadows are absolutely amazing: buttery soft, easy to blend and so pigmented I barely need to touch the pan with my brushes to get an excellent color pay-off. As of lately I've jumped back on the gel liner bandwagon and I'm reaching everyday for the MAC Dipdown Fluidline (£15) to define my lash line with a thin line and a tiny flick. MAC Teddy Eye Kohl (£14) on the upper waterline and the MAC Nc15-Nw20 Chromagraphic Pencil (£14) on the lower one are my secret weapons for ticker looking lashes and wide open eyes and to complete the look I pop on a few coats of my favourite mascara, the NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing (£19), as a finishing touch. - 5.49 minutes.

Lips: My lip products change all the time but lately I've been completely obsessed with MAC Ravishing (£15) for my everyday makeup. It's an incredibly flattering orange-y nude shade with a fun '60s twist, that I can either dab lightly on the lips for a soft wash of colour on lazy days or wear full on to embrace the orange pout trend without going all out. - 1.05 minutes.

Have you tried any of these products? How long does your everyday routine take?
If you want to give this tag a go simply do your makeup routine as usual, without rush, and record your timing for each step using a stopwatch, then write down a blogpost with a list of what you used.

***

venerdì 20 giugno 2014

Loves & Leaves: Something New From Maybelline.

Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Lightweight Primer* // Baby Skin Instant Radiance Primers* in Warm Apricot & Cool Rose // The Colossal Go Extreme! Volume Mascara* // Baby Lips Lip Balms* in Hydrate, Intense Care, Mint Fresh, Cherry Me, Pink Punch and Peach Kiss. //
Although my secret passion for luxury products is not really a secret anymore, back in my high school days, I used to spend my spare time and all of my pocket-money at the drugstore, looking for budget gems and new offerings to lust on. Lately, I had the chance to try out some of the most recent launces from Maybelline, which used to be one of my most reliable beauty-dealers at the time, and after a few tests and experiments, here's a run down of my loves and leaves...

Down with the Loves list first, the Baby Lips Lip Balm (£2.99)* in the shade Cherry Me was an instant love and has been living in my makeup bag for the past few weeks. As I said in one of my previous post, I'm having a serious moment with pinks and Cherry Me is the perfect sheer bubblegummy pink with a fun glossy finish. Comfortable to wear and infused with vitamins, honey and aloe to protect the lips, it's super easy to touch up on the go and fades into a light kool-aid-ish stain. When the warmer season comes nearer I tend to reach less and less for heavy lipsticks and turn to light as air textures such as stains and tinted lips balms, and with a soft pop of colour and cheerful popsicle scents you can't really go wrong. If you're partial to cool pinks, Pink Punch is the way to go, while nude lip lovers will find that Peach Kiss - a low-key caramel shot through with gold shimmer - is perfect to tone down their lip color a little without washing them out.

The Colossal Go Extreme Mascara (£6.99)* is another hit for me. I'm a huge fan of big mascara wands and the egg-shaped brush of the latest Maybelline offering grabs the lashes right at the roots and applies lashing of mascara in thin layers, allowing to pile it on without loosing on definition. The formula is seriously spot on: extra black and loaded with collagen, it doesn’t crumble or make my lashes hard and crispy, although it does hold the curl pretty well for a non-waterproof mascara.

A product I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I do is the Baby Skin Primer in the shade Warm Apricot*, a color correcting primer with a touch of pale orange to neutralize tiredness and ashy tones and quickly revive tired skin. With a special blurring formula, it mattifies and refines the texture, leaving the skin baby soft and looking polished and overall firmer. I also really like the Cool Rose* version but, due to my redness-prone skin, I tend to save it for extra dull days, as a hint of brightening pink in my base can instantly perk my skin up and provide a much needed pick-me-up. The formula is super light and doesn't feel greasy or too slippery, and I would recommend these for all skin types, especially during the summer months.

The Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Lightweight Primer (£7.99)* unfortunately does fall in the Not-for-me's group. With dry skin and rather small pores I don't find myself reaching for it very often. Also, silicone-heavy formulas tend to have catastrophic effects on my sensitive skin and actually make my makeup last less than usual. I do think that oilier skinned girls might enjoy this primer better than I do - it's a good and purse-friendly take on the blogger favourite Benefit Porefessional after all -, but for me there's no room for it in my routine.
Last on my Leaves lineup, the clear Baby Lips* balms didn't wow me at all. The SPF20 is great for on the go and the scents are really nice but I can't find a place for them in my regular lip care rotation. Suffering from chronically dry lips, to keep my lips flake-free I need to use something that is truly hydrating and moisturizing and not simply soothing or smoothing that will actually make my lips feel drier on the long run.

Have you tried any of these products? What Maybelline product do you recommend I should try next?

Maybelline Estate 2014 *Sponsored Post

***

sabato 14 giugno 2014

May Favourites.

Sephora Formula X Nail Color in Unmistakable //Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher in Cherub // Kevyn Aucoin Eyelesh Curler // Real Techniques Setting Brush // Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint Cologne // Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnigh Facial // Filorga Time-Filler Eyes*. //
I'm forever in search of amazing products to love and new ways to use my old favourites and love them even more. This month I'm particularly happy with my picks: I've got a little bit of everything, some exciting new entries and even quite a few runners for the holy grail status, along with an old fave of mine. Also, I seem to have almost sorted out my timing with the monthly favourites post, and that deserves a celebration of its own...

For skin, I've had my eye on the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial (£45) for a while and you all know by now I can only resist for so long to swoon-inducing skincare offerings. It's one of those instant-wow products that completely change your skin overnight but also give amazing results on the long run. A good helping of this luxurious oil blend twice a week is enough to keep my skin radiant, well balanced and in great condition, especially in combination with a good face massage. Another product I fell head over heels for is the Filorga Time-Filler Eyes (£44)*, a super light moisturizer with a bouncy gel-like texture and an amazing quenching formula, that quickly sinks into the skin, leaving it deeply nourished and hydrated but not greasy. I've been noticing a huge difference in the way my concealer sits on my under-eye area, which is now softer and appears much plumper and overall brighter.

There's only one makeup favourite this month that seems to have put the rest of my cosmetic buys in the shadows. The Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher (£14.50) in the shade Cherub is something special for sure. A gorgeous pale pink, perfect for fair and light skin tones, it gives a healthy flush of colour that looks completely natural and oh so flattering on the cheeks. The formula is one of the best I've tried: easy to blend and build up, it's breathable and lets the skin shine through, and it does stick around all day no matter what.

For tools, I've been giving some love to the Real Techniques Setting Brush (£6.99) which is my current brush of choice to blend in foundation and concealer - yup, you read correctly -. If I'm in a hurry I tend to reach for something bigger and denser but this one is absolutely fabulous if I have the chance to really work on my base. Its super soft, long bristles are extremely gentle on the skin and move the product around without bothering the skin underneath it and I love the sheer airbrushed finish it gives, especially when paired with very runny formulas, such as F&B or cc creams. Lately, I've been relying on the Kevyn Aucoin Eye Lash Curler (£17) to curve my lashes and I've been reaching for it over any other curler I own. It opens twice as much as the Shu Uemura one, allowing me to grab every single lash and give a good squeeze right at the base for long-lasting, perfect curls. The metal band cradles my round eyes so nicely and doesn't disturb my makeup underneath. I've already named it my Holy Grail lash curler *gasp* and that really does speak volumes.

Nail wise, I've been completely obsessed with the Formula X for Sephora Nail Polish in Unmistakable. Ever since I bought it I wore it religiously both on my paws and toes, sometimes pairing it with a glitter top coat - Demolition also by Formula X is a thing of beauty as well - to perk it up. It's a one coater, it lasts up to eight days with minor tip wear and although I didn't really need another mint polish in my collection, I just couldn't help it. A girl needs her options, right?

Lastly for fragrance, I may have found the most perfect summer scent during my latest quick run at the Jo Malone counter. The Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint Cologne (£39) is unlike anything I've smelled before. With gorgeous floral notes and a hint of jasmine topped by the soft scent of grass and herbs, it smells just like a gentle drizzle in a garden. It's feminine and romantic but also fresh and, thanks to a sprinkle of mint, completely unexpected.

What have you been loving in May?
*Press sample
***

domenica 1 giugno 2014

Fresh Faced Lineup.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze* // MAC Face & Body Foundation in C1 // RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-up Concealer 00 // Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Anti-Aging // Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethist // N7 Pop & Glow Cream Blush Stick in Rose Blossom // Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight // NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara // MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Fearless. //
I don't know about you but as soon as I see the first hint of sunshine I put all my powder products and heavy textures to one side and reach for everything creamy and sheer and glowy. I do love a sultry, sexy winter look as much as the next person but there something about fresh, dewy skin and minimal makeup that makes me incredibly happy. Creamy textures can have a downside though; they can slip and move around your face and go from gloriously radiant to sweaty disaster in no time but I've got you covered. All these products have something in common: they last, and last, and last...

Starting with base, there's a new primer in town and I absolutely love it. The Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze (£29)* is like a foretaste of summer in a tube: light as air, extra luminous and gives a beautiful bronzy hue to the skin, whilst helping the rest of my makeup stay in place all day. It's quite pigmented and it's easy to go overboard with it, but a little goes a long way and it's excellent to cheat a been-out-in-the-sun-for-days glow in no time. For foundation, the MAC Face & Body (£21.50) is without doubt the star of my spring-summer makeup selection. It's sheer but easily buildable, sweat-proof and unrivaled when it comes down to perking things up and letting your perfected skin shine through. The RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-up Concealer (£28) is another fantastic product to achieve flawless yet natural-looking skin. With a fully organic formula and a mix of cocoa butter and coconut oil, it's moisturizing and nourishing and does a great job of brightening the eye area and concealing darkness and redness, giving the impression of naturally unblemished skin.

To fake the most perfect pinched-cheeks flush my go-to product is the N7 Pop & Glow Cream Blush (£9.95) in Classic Rose. Hard to go wrong with a long-lasting, easy to blend cream-to-powder formula that leaves a gorgeous pop of bright pink on the cheeks and lifts and brightens my complexion in just a few dabs. To finish off my base I reach for the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo (£23) in Sculpting/Candlelight to add dimension and give shape to the face in the most subtle way. It's crazy how much of a difference a faint definition can make and this duo is absolutely perfect for the job.

On to eyes, whenever I need a cream offering that won't budge all day, I have a firm favourite: the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour (£20.50) range. The formula is spot on, there's a shade for everyone and, although they're infused with shimmer, I don't find them excessive or tacky at all. My top pick is Amethyst - a soft bronze-ish mauve that makes my brown eyes pop in a very sophisticated way - but there are at least other three shades in my wishlist at the moment. The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Anti-aging (£10.30) is super handy when I want to rock the naked-lid look as it evens out my skin and conceals those annoying tiny veins, but it's also great to keep my brows in place and seal any powder product in.
For lashes, I've already shared my love for the NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara (£18.50). Extra black and water-proof, it's an absolute nightmare to take off but whenever I wear it I know it will hold the curl and stay in place till cleansing time no matter what.

Lastly for lips, the MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencils (£14.50) have completely stolen my heart. I have enough chubby-style lip pencils and the like coming out of my eyeballs but the colour selection is gorgeous and I'm really enjoying the long wearing, super glossy, borderline stain-ish formula. If you couldn't tell by now, I'm having a serious moment with bubblegum pinks and the shade Fearless is right down my alley.

What are your go-to products to look polished but fresh faced?

*Press sample
***

giovedì 29 maggio 2014

Diptyque Art du Soin Skincare Range.

Infused Facial Water // Protective Moisturizing Lotion // Radiance Boosting Powder // Multi-use Exfoliating Clay // Nourishing Cleansing Balm. //
Being a huge fan of their swoon-inducing candles and gorgeous fragrance range, when I found out Diptyque was launching a skincare line I tried not to clutch my pearls too hard, although I may have screamed a little.
It looked sophisticated and absolutely intriguing, with one-of-a-kind textures, gorgeous natural scents and multi-purpose products that change entirely when mixed together. I had to try it.

One of the stand out products for me is the Protective Moisturizing Lotion (£44)*. Nice and moisturizing but not too nourishing, it sinks quickly into the skin to set to an almost completely matte finish. The texture is quite unique, fluffy and airy, with an incredible zesty scent that feels super energizing. The opaque look is perfect for the upcoming warmer months and will definitely make anyone with combination and oily skin feel a little more confident with their base. On the other hand I can already tell that this moisturizer won’t make it to my winter lineup, as my dry skin usually needs something heavier and richer to face the cold. The spf 15 makes it very city appropriate and overall it’s a lovely way to jump start my day.
The gorgeous smelling Infused Facial Water (£35)* is another favourite. Vitamin-infused waters are always a great way to bring back some moisture into the skin after cleansing and this one can be used in multiple ways: as a toner, a quick morning cleanser or can be mixed with the other products of the range to get even more benefits from them. It's a great radiance booster and what with the gentle fragrance and the wonderful formula, which is both soothing and refreshing, I find it really hard to put down.

The Radiance Boosting Powder (£38)* was quite a surprise to be honest. Apparently powder cleansers are the coolest thing in Asia right now and of course Japan and South Korea know a thing or two when it comes down to luxury skincare. I simply pop a wee bit of powder in the palm of my hand, add a few drops of lukewarm water - or Flower Infused Water even - and gently rub my hands together. It lathers beautifully to a soft foam that cleanses the skin and erases any trace of unwanted oils and night treatments residues, to get the skin ready for the rest of my morning routine. Usually foaming face washes can be a bit too harsh and stripping but this one doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry and tight at all and I can definitely see some improvements in the brightness department after using it.

To remove my makeup at nighttime I’ve been using the Nourishing Cleansing Balm (£44)* which unfortunately didn't wow me as much its powder equivalent. It does melt away any type of makeup without effort but it's very rich and it leaves a heavy oily residue behind. The scent is once again out of this world – easily the best smelling cleansing balm I had the chance to try – but its performance is easily comparable to other cheaper alternatives and I’m not sure I could justify the outrageous price tag simply for the scent.
Last up, the Multi-use Exfoliating Clay (£44)* is a 2-in-1 clay mask and scrub with extra fine marble powder to gently remove impurities and dead skin cells. I usually stay clear of mechanical exfoliators as my skin can react badly to too much friction and although this one feels fairly mild, I don't find myself reaching for it very often. I also used it as a mask and it wasn't particularly groundbreaking either. Overall I'm not impressed with this one.

Expensive skincare is not everyone's cup of tea and the price tag here is high enough to make my piggy-bank uncomfortable; also, the selection is quite limited and clearly targeted toward normal and combination skins, however there's enough uniqueness in the textures and formulas to tickle any skincare fiend's fancy. I know I'm charmed, that's for sure.
Have you tried or do you plan to try anything from the Art du Soin range?
*Press Sample
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giovedì 22 maggio 2014

April Favourites.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser //  Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Foundation #20 // Benefit Gimme Brow in Light/Medium // Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Caramel // Wayne Goss Brush #14 // Foreo Luna Mini in Magenta // Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect spf30 PA+++. //
As a makeup and skincare hoarder I own quite a lot of products and I tend - or try at least - to switch them up on a daily basis; last month, however, there were a few stand-out products that I couldn't just leave alone and I ended up using pretty much every single day.

At the beginning of the month my skin reacted badly to a product and got a little spotty; whenever that happens, I like to strip down my skincare routine to the very bare minimum and dig out the Liz Earle Cleanse&Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser 200ml (£24.75). Despite being quite a basic cleanser, it's still pretty amazing and I always make sure to keep a bottle around all the time, in case something like this happens. It melts away all the makeup and grime whilst nourishing the skin and calming any redness, soothing and cleansing without too much fuss. Rather than with the muslin cloth that comes with it, I've been using it with my Foreo Luna Mini (£99), simply washing it away with warm water afterwards. The Luna Mini was an easy choice for this favourites post as it is now a staple of my everyday routine and definitely something I look forward to using morning and night. In just one minute it dislodges dead skin cells, refines pores and leaves my skin baby soft and radiant and ready for the rest of my skincare lineup.

On the beauty front, as I've mentioned in my previous post, I've been absolutely obsessed with brow products in the last few weeks and I have two on rotation at the moment. With a couple of extra minutes to spare I reach for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (£15.50) in Caramel to draw all the missing hair and fill out my far too short brows, for a defined look that doesn't look artificial or too painted-on.
For quick fixes and busy days, enter the Benefit Gimme Brow (£17.50) which is great to set those unruly hair and give definition either on its own or in combination with pencils or powders. Light-medium is an amazing shade for ladies with fair brows like me, as it's not too warm or too ashy and looks very natural and flattering. The gel definitely makes the hair appear thicker and the brows generally fuller, although I can't really see those fibers everyone keeps talking about. This one goes in the essentials pile for sure.

For base, I have a new favourite primer/foundation combo. I've been testing out the Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Foundation (£26) for my pro kit and, while I'm not a big fan of matte foundations on my dry skin, it's impossible not to enjoy the perfect shade match - which is such a rare thing for me - and the long lasting formula that goes seamlessly from day to night without need for setting powder or touch-ups along the way. To keep it light and fresh, I buff an uber thin layer on top of my current primer of choice, the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect (£29). It fits somewhere in between the Oil-free formula and the Radiance one, combining a mix of clear glow that shines through the base, great lasting powers and an spf of 30 PA+++ which is an absolute must-have for the warmer days to come.

I'm always on the hunt for the ultimate makeup brush - not the cheapest activity, I'm afraid - and recently I've got my hungry mitts on the Wayne Goss artist brush range. One of my top pick has to be the Wayne Goss Brush #14 (£22) as I reach for it daily to dust on my Hourglass powder, a super sheer layer of bronzer and blend everything together for a flawless base. The uber soft bristles are also ideal to apply anything from insanely pigmented blushes to glittery highlighters and achieve the most natural finish.

Last on my list, the Dove Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo (£4.59) is now a staple of my styling routine and also a great option for anyone on the market for the perfect mix of texturizing and volumizing spray and of course an extra help to keep the hair looking fresh in between washes. It smells divine, doesn't leave any awkward grey cast behind and gives a second day-hair feel without making my locks look gross or in need of a wash the next day. So far the best dry shampoo I've tried.

What are your winning products for the month of April?

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lunedì 5 maggio 2014

A Cult Beauty Haul.

Foreo Luna Mini in Magenta // Jouer Anti-blemish Matte Primer // Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Caramel // Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel // Jouer Luminizing Mini Moisture Tint in Opal //Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting Medium/Candlelight. //
Apparently everyone and their grandmothers know about my pee-wee shopping addiction, since one of the most frequently asked questions I get is about my favourite websites to shop at. There's plenty of course, but Cult Beauty is definitely at the top of my list with its amazing selection of standout products and beauty junkies favourites. Most of the time I'm simply happy to browse their incredible selection and read through the witty product descriptions but a few weeks ago I've placed not one but two very naughty orders and as usual my picks took my breath away.

The Foreo Luna Mini Magenta (£99) may be the best thing since ice cream. My skin has never looked this good: it's baby soft, radiant and incredibly even. I'm still a bit shocked by how effective this little thing is: it lifts dead skin cells, unclogs pores, drains and de-puffs with no sign of redness or of the faint discomfort that usually comes with other exfoliating devices. It works beautifully with all kind of cleansers but I especially enjoy using it in combination with the OSKIA Renaissance Cleansing Gel (£32.50) which is my new number one cleanser and likely ultimate Holy Grail. I find this works best at night time as it melts away every last bit of makeup, stubborn waterproof mascara included, in just a few rubs. It leaves a small residue behind that doesn't feel unpleasant at all and actually seems to improve radiance and elasticity and nourish the skin, fully harmonizing with the rest of my routine.

I do like my medium coverage foundations but every now and then I feel the need for something a little bit lighter, both in coverage and texture, and that's when the Jouer Luminous Moisture Tint Minis (£17.50) step in. I was already addicted to the Matte alternative of this tinted moisturizer, but this heart-stopping radiant formula has now snatched the crown of best sheer base in my stash. It's extremely lightweight and sheer, but not so much that it becomes pointless, and it evens out my skin tone beautifully. What I love the most about it is the utterly perfect way it reflects the light, only in the right places, making my skin look firm and healthy and my pores almost invisible. Also from Jouer, I picked up the Anti-blemish Matte Primer (£30) on a whim, because I've been looking everywhere for a silicone-free mattifying primer. I'm a huge fan of treatment makeup and this primer is the ultimate skincare hybrid: it calms redness and treats blemishes whilst helping prevent new breakouts and of course keeps the skin shine-free but not overly flat, which I really like. I'm still testing it out but I'll keep you posted.

Last month at Cosmoprof the gorgeous Anastasia - yes, the Anastasia as in Anastasia Beverly Hills, I'm still in awe - gave me a brow makeover and I've been completely obsessed with brow products ever since. I've put aside my precious MAC Fling for a moment and I've treated myself to a Brow Wiz (£15.50) in the shade Caramel, which is a great match for my light golden brown hair. I love that it twists up and down - unlike Fling - and since the nib is extra fine and stiff, I can draw every single hair and fill in any sparse area in just a few strokes. It gives great definition but the result is surprisingly natural and the built-in spoolie is super handy for quick blending and taming. Holy Grail material for sure.
Another great pick is the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting/Candlelight (£23), something I've coveted for the longest time as I absolutely adore its powder counterparts. It's my current go-to product for fresh, glowy skin: Candlelight gives a stunning, uber flattering sheen to the cheekbones and even if Sculpting looks a little bit dark and scary, it blends seamlessly and mimics the perfect shadow to sculpt and define.

Have you tried any of these products? Did anything catch your eye?

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domenica 20 aprile 2014

March Favourites.

MAC Face & Body Foundation N1 // MAC Studio Sculpt SPF15 Foundation NC15 // Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Diffused Heat // Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon Fuchsia Libre // Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Cocoa* // Beautyblender // Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. //
As soon as the weather started warming up, I waved goodbye to the winter blues and quickly embraced the fresh faced spring trend; hence my March favourites are all about luminous skin, hot pink lips and fresh pinched cheeks.

The Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£25) is the new undisputed king of my skincare routine. It's a mild, non-irritating - and therefore more appropriate for my sensitive skin - take on the popular Alpha-H Liquid Gold (£31.50). It's gentle enough for frequent use but I find that a few drops swiped all over my face and neck after my cleanser once a week, are more than enough and give me super soft, gorgeous radiant skin without going too overboard. Besides being so delicate and yet so effective, I prefer this to other chemical exfoliators as it doesn't rule out the rest of my overnight treatments and I can combine its action with my serum, oil and moisturizer to keep my dry skin under control.

Moving onto face makeup, my current favourite foundation is actually a combo of two MAC bases, the Face & Body Foundation (£21.50) and the Studio Sculpt Spf15 Foundation (£25). Together they turn into such a breathable, lightweight base that has the longevity, glow and thin consistency of F&B and great coverage and just a hint of spf like the Studio Sculpt. It's the best of both worlds, utterly perfect for springtime.
The award for best purchase of the month and outright game changer goes to the Beautyblender (£16). I can't believe it took me so long to cave in and pick this sponge up. It gives an absolutely flawless finish and grants the same amazing results with pretty much any kind of texture or product; on lazy days I use it for my whole face, starting with my moisturizer and moving onto primer and foundation and even apply my blush and finishing powder with it. It's the ultimate multi-tasker and it's pink, it doesn't get any better than that.

My blush stash got a little out of control lately but one product really stole the show and kicked the rest of the gang at the bottom of my makeup drawer. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush (£28) in the shade Diffused Heat hasn't left my cheeks since it landed in my mail box: it applies like a dream, it blends out and diffuses so nicely. Not only is the texture out of this world but despite the powder formula, it doesn't sit on the skin and gives a gorgeous 'flush from within' kind of look that looks natural and healthy.

For lips, I can't stop reaching for the Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon (£7.99) in Fuchsia Libre. It's moisturizing, glossy but not too slippery and it has spf15 which is a nice extra for sensitive lips like mine. It's hot pink and bold yet, somehow, it looks easy and effortless as well. A total winner in my books.
Finally, I've been switching all month between grungy, Olsen twins-style chocolate smokey eyes and soft defined eyeshadow looks and the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour (£20.50) in Cocoa* is my go-to product for both styles. It goes on smoothly, is highly pigmented and stays on forever; it's amazing both as a base or dotted around the lash line and smudged with a pencil brush like you would do with a pencil liner and the slightly reddish deep chocolate brown makes my eye colour pop beautifully.

Have you tried any of these products?
*Press Sample
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