Saturday, 21 April 2018

Soft Focus Powders | An affordable option from Freedom?

Freedom Pro Highlight Powder in Ambient

I'm sure a lot of you will know what a soft focus powder is, or would have heard about the Hourglass ones. However, I was a bit late to the party and if you're also like me, you might be wondering what on earth they are?! To put it simply they're almost like a very subtle highlighter but one which you can use all over your face as a setting powder (well maybe with the t zone left out).

I first heard about this concept when I was reading some reviews on the Freedom Pro Highlight Powder in Ambient. I don't have many powder highlighters (my dry skin prefers cream/liquid formulas), but I wanted one or two just to try out, and this one was on offer for £1.50 so I thought might as well! (In hindsight maybe I should have just gone for one of the MUA ones). Anyway, a lot of the reviews were saying it's a very, very subtle highlight and more of a finishing powder to give a natural glow. I'm all about the glow these days (although to be fair I've never been hugely bothered about contouring, I prefer the dewy high cheekbones look).

I really wanted this product to work for me because who doesn't want their skin to look glowy with minimal effort?! However, the first obstacle was the shade range. With the choice of only two shades and both of them quite cool toned, I went for Ambient as it seemed like the only feasible one for South Asian skin. The other option was Diffused which was much cooler. Although on the Revolution Beauty website it seems like they also do two more shades in Brighten and Glow (but those swatches aren't appealing to me either).

Freedom Pro Highlight Powder in Ambient

When I first got this, I loved trying it out on a daily basis. It was definitely a bit more pink toned but it blended into the skin so it wasn't too apparent, and I loved how smooth the formula felt and how it melted into the skin to give it a very soft reflective sheen. However, the more I used it, the more I started thinking that wait this isn't actually working! I would swirl a massive powder brush into this and go around the perimeter of my face a few times, really getting a lot of product on the brush but it barely showed up. Then when I overloaded it, I realised yes the powder was smooth but it felt too ashy on the skin, then it would layer up to look a bit powdery (with quite a bit of fall out too). Layering up the shade would also give a pinky-grey tinge which is far removed from the glow we want.

So to sum it up, I love the idea of a soft focus highlighting powder but this isn't the product for it (it might be a coincidence but they've also discontinued it on Superdrug). The formula doesn't really have any glow imparting properties, especially for those of us with dry skin. I can't help but think a base, like a radiance primer or hydrating serum, would be more effective. However, I do have to mention the packaging is really amazing for such a low budget product, what with all the swirls and the sturdy compact (makes you think where all the money goes in high end products!).

Freedom Pro Highlight Powder in Ambient

However, I will not give up in my quest for a soft focus powder! I've scoured the internet and some good options so far seem to be; Wet n Wild Reserve your Cabana (for fair skin), Models Prefer Soft Touch Mineral Powder (for fair - medium skin), Essence Pure Nude Highlighter (for medium skin, this one seems to be a bit more shimmery though), Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder (for fair - tanned skin), or the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. The Elf illuminating palette was going to make a feature but it seems like they reformulated it for the worse.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be many more options, especially for tanned skin, but I'll try to update this once I hear of any!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have you ever tried soft focus powders, and do you have any recommendations?

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Saturday, 7 April 2018

My New Obsession: Lariat Necklaces

Hello, so it's been a while! By the time you read this, I would have completed my first three professional exams yesterday for my job, and good news I found out that I passed them all today (life update post to follow!). Honestly, some of the hardest and most stressful exams I've ever done so far, so a break is very welcome! I can finally focus on getting stuff done, and sorting out my life haha (it's always the way that stuff stops working or goes a bit awry when you have enough on your plate).

Anyway, moving on to the post; Lariat necklaces. I can't remember where I saw them (heck I didn't even know what they were called!). I think it must have been on Instagram, but I knew they would be on my buy list this summer. I initially brought a simple one from Acessorize a few months back now, and I recently received some from Tobi to try out. I think it's the fact that they look quite dainty and elegant that appeals to me. I am over the chunky necklace phase now (honestly I was having a clear out the other day, and my first thought was why did no-one stop me?! There were some necklaces that were atleast an inch wide!).

From the ones I received from Tobi, I have to say the Starry Light Gold Stud Earrings* here are my favourites. For the last few years I actually haven't been much of an earring fan because I find them too chunky or they feel like they pull down on my earlobes too much, and my ears are a bit on the small side, but these are the perfect size and the perfect level of bling-iness for me. I love the way they sort of peek out from under your hair and the detailing is so cute, but at the same time they look quite subtle and understated. The outside of the stars is a a gold shade, whereas the centre has little silver diamantees. These are available for £7.

The two necklaces I received from Tobi also have a gold theme. The Daydreaming Crescent Gold Layered Choker* here is a three layered lariat style necklace, not so much of a choker apart from the flower layer that sits a bit higher. Again, I love the detailing of this one, I love the little moon and the flower detailing. I'm a bit of a daydreamer, so I think the theme of this one is quite relatable! This one is available for £22, which I admit is a bit more pricey compared to their other pieces.

Lastly, I received the Conquer The World Gold Layered Choker Set* here. This one is again made of three layers, where the first two sit as a choker. I like this one too but I wish the third chain layer didn't sit so much below the others as it can look a bit odd. Maybe it would look better with that layer removed? This one is available for £5.

The one I brought from Accessorize has two layers, with one simple chain layer and one more detailed bit. It does look silver, but it actually has a more slight rose gold theme, but it's a pain to photograph! This one is considerately longer than the others, so I think it would look best with a more v shaped neckline or a blouse. Unfortunately, it looks like they no longer stock it, but I think they might still have similar ones. This one cost me £12 which actually isn't that pricey in terms of Accessorize prices I guess.

Here is an awkward collage of me trying them out haha! Honestly, photographing necklaces was more difficult than I imagined so these aren't the best shots but hopefully they're a bit helpful.

I also received a shift dress* from Tobi which is perfect for a simple work dress, see here. Unfortunately, the sizing doesn't work for a UK 6, but then again I have that problem in a lot of high street stores too. Sigh, because the scallop detail is really pretty, if I manage to get it altered I'll show you!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What style of jewellery do you prefer?

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

ColourPop Super Shock Eyeshadows (+ Highlighter)

It's been a while since I posted my ColourPop Haul (see here). Unfortunately, because of travelling around and the dreaded effects of winter (namely dry skin and lips), I didn't get as much use from most of these products over the last few months, especially the liquid lipsticks (which you probably saw me mention in my previous post). However, and this was quite unexpected for me too, I have gotten quite a bit of use from the ColourPop Super Shock eyeshadows, and I can safely say they are some of my favourites!

The shades I ordered were; Cornelius, Kathleenlights, Sequin, and I got Party of Five thrown in as one of the anniversary items.

I was kindly helped with recommendations by Sal from UmmBabyBeauty and Sultana from SultanaSays .

They both recommended Cornelius as an everyday lid shade, and boy were they right! It's perfect, it's very similar in colour to the natural shade of my lids (an almost medium beige) but makes them look slightly brighter and wider (which is good because I don't actually have much lid space, I'm literally all big eyes and very small lids, slightly hooded). That's one of the reasons that I'm giving up eyeliner (which would have been my signature look if you asked me 2 years ago!). That, and also I simply can't be bothered, so I find myself foraying more into single eyeshadows instead. Cornelius has a matte finish, and I don't think most people would be able to tell you had eyeshadow on, it's almost indiscernible. As it blends in with my skin, sometimes I like blending other colours on top of it slightly, like Sequin, just to give it that bit more of a glow and pink tint.

The next shade that I was looking forwards to was KathleenLights because it's always good to have a strong gold in your collection. First of all, I was blown away by the pigmentation of this! The pigmentation of Cornelius is decent in terms of a matte finish, but the pigmentation of KathleenLights has to be in one of the top eyeshadows I've ever tried. It's a bold, coppery gold with a shimmer finish, which you can simply tap into for full liquid gold (yep it's that intense!). I like applying this around the centre of the eye lid, and it looks just as intense hours later as it did when I first applied it.

I'll admit that when the rose gold trend first came out I wasn't too interested, and thought it would die out soon, but honestly I'm like a magpie nowadays; anything gold, rose gold, shimmery, glittery and I'm away with the fairies! (I even brought another glittery midi skirt today - a bargain for £12 I must say). Getting back to the point, I had to get Sequin just for those rose gold vibes. Sequin is a rose gold, albeit with a slightly more pink tone, with fine gold glitter flecks running through it. Whilst it's a shimmer eyeshadow, I would say it has a bit of a metallic look too. The pigmentation is again amazing, although not quite as shocking as KathleenLights, but still one of the nicer formulas around. I actually find Sequin quite wearable for a daily basis too, it can came across more pinish if not build up (it reminds me of the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Pink Gold), but the rose gold definitely comes through when it's layered up.

Lastly, I received Party of Five as one of the anniversary free items, I think the 5th anniversary items all had a purple theme. The container does differ from the other items with a white casing, as it has a burgundy one instead. With Party of Five the shade is actually really reminiscent of Sequin, the obvious differences for me is that it stands out a bit more as it has a vivid purple-pink tint, compared to Sequin where the pink tint is slightly more subdued. Otherwise, they are very similar in terms of pigmentation, the gold glitter flecks running through them, and the shimmery (slightly metallic) finish. I don't think party of five really matches up to the purple theme (it's more pink than anything), but I'm not complaining as it still makes a really pretty shade, like Sequin.

Finally, one of the other free gifts I got was the SuperShock cheek highlighter in High Five. It did arrive cracked, but I'm not hugely fussed as I don't reach for powder highlights that often and I left it too late to do anything anyway. The texture of this is just as buttery as the eyeshadows, and it goes on so smoothly. The shade is a bit baby pink, which I didn't think I could pull off as it's probably best suited for cooler skintones. I also prefer highlighters that give the impression of a sheen, but this one does have noticeable shimmer particles. However, when I came to wear it, I just couldn't do it. It's glitter overload! The highlight shade doesn't show up well, so I ended up adding more and more, and all you could see was the glitter. I like applying my highlighter down from my eyebrows in a c shape, and it just looked like I'd been playing around with eyeshadows. On that note, it does actually make a nice eyeshadow because the pink shade comes through when you pack it on, so hey looks like I got 3 pink eyeshadows to play with. But as a highlighter, no.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What are your favourite eyeshadows?

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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Dry Lips SOS

I know my new year's resolution was to post regularly, but unfortunately this is actually the first weekend of 2018 I've had to myself. One of my grandparents was quite ill so we've spent every weekend up until now in the hospital, they are doing much better now though and I've got some catching up to do!

Starting with this post that has been in my drafts forever. For some reason, every winter my lips get incredibly dry, like so dry they would literally get quite swollen and the skin underneath starts to shrivel up, and I then have to wait until it peels off for it to fully heel. It is as gross as it sounds (that is one ID pass photo you do not want to see!) Not only have I been missing out on trying out all of my Colourpop liquid lipsticks (or any lip products for that matter), but this year it was particularly bad as I was living out of a suitcase for a few weeks. The only option was to apply Vaseline every 10 minutes to soothe my lips.

I've since brought a few more products so I thought I would just run through them all, and show you when I'd use them.

First of all, Vaseline is pure petroleum jelly, and this is a by product of the oil industry. Therefore, it's available in huge quantities and it's quite cheap, it's also included in a lot of health/beauty products. In my opinion, I really don't think Vaseline is a moisturiser because petroleum jelly basically forms a barrier to trap moisture within it but does not moisturise itself. However, it works really well as a barrier to stop your lips from drying out further, and I find that it helps them heal quicker. Therefore, when my lips are really dry I'll apply an intensive lip cream at night, and then apply this over the top to help it work over the night. I'll also use it during the day sometimes when my lips are so dry that lip balm just disappears every 5 minutes, because I find that it soothes my lips and it helps stop the skin from cracking anymore.

Your best bet is to get a lip balm/cream that really works for you. Personally, I don't use the cheaper lip balms or products like Chapstick anymore because they're a very short term fix and I found that they made things worse for me in the long run. Some lip creams will look like a big investment for a tiny bottle, but honestly these tiny bottles last ages and you will see the difference!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask £15.60 (here)
One of the new products I purchased was the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. I've been umming and ahhing about this for years. After I saw it on Hannah's old blog (post here) I put it on my to buy list for definite, but it wasn't until this whole dry lip episode I finally purchased it. It also arrived so quickly (from Hong Kong), which was great because at this point I was loosing all patience. I put it in my suitcase to take with me, and although results were slow (but that was because I left my Lush lip scrub at home, and that would probably have helped with speeding things up), my lips just felt so much better as soon as I applied it. They didn't dry out within 5 minutes of applying it, and slowly they started healing. They weren't as swollen when I woke up in the morning, and after 2 weeks they are almost back to normal. I say almost, because one side has cracked again! I guess that's what happens when you get complacent, so apply it regularly.

The formula of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is a world away from what I was expecting. It looks like a pink jelly or slime (however you wish to phrase it) in the tub, and it applies like a thin layer of jelly on the lips. It's hard to describe, it's completely unlike a lip balm but it doesn't feel like a lip cream either, it's almost like a serum but for your lips. Plus, let's just talk about the packaging! One word; AMAZING! It's a huge 20g tub, that will not only last ages, but it looks pretty impressive with the pink stained glass. It also comes with the cutest applicator which is just perfect for applying it with, honestly, how did I live without it?! The lip mask also lasts a reasonable time on the lips if you don't eat or drink. However, it is something most people use at night, and it does seem to work well throughout the night, although my lips could do with another application in the morning.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Nouishing Lip Balm £9.50 (here)
Moving on, the Nuxe lip cream was my firm favourite (before Laneige came into my life). I previously wrote about it back in 2016 (here), and it's now more than a year later that I've almost finished it. This was one I swore by, and it's also one I know a lot of people love. However, my problem was that because the consistency of this is very creamy, it didn't really work if my lips were really dried out and covered with dead skin, it kind of just sat on top of them. With the Nuxe lip cream, I really think it works best just after you've already exfoliated or if your lips are in an okay-ish condition, it helps to maintain them. I still think it's one of the best available lip creams on the market though, and definitely worth the price tag because it lasts ages! I've repurchased another tub of this already. The Christmas gift set is still available on the Nuxe website here, although it seems like they upped the price because it was only £12 when I brought it (they do pop in a lot of free samples with your order though!)

Nuxe Lip Moisturising Stick £5.50 (here)
Before my Laneige arrived, I was so bored in my hotel room that I decided to just go and browse the local M&S. I don't really buy stick formats of lip balm, but I figured if it works it would be really handy for on the go, plus I was in one of those treat yourself moods! I actually didn't open it until I got back home, but guess what, it is actually good! It feels very similar to the pot version above, maybe a bit more emollient-y, but it's perfect for wearing underneath lipstick or if you're in a hurry. This will definitely be going in my handbag all year around.

EOS Lip Balm (Summer Fruits - £6.50 here)
I did initially dismiss EOS as being another one of those gimmicky lip balms, but I'm now on my second one. Sure, it's not as moisturising as say the Nuxe Lip balm, but it is still a good choice if you're in a hurry or if you're lips are in pretty decent shape already. I like using it whilst I'm doing my makeup so my lips will be softer when I get around to them. I do think the ingredients in the EOS live up to it's 95% organic claims as well, as I find that my lips stay hydrated if I have it on. However, I think EOS does go off much quicker than other lip balms, my first one got an odd smell and wasn't as moisturising as it was previously after having it opened for a while. Although, I think that could be a design fault as the whole lip balm is effectively exposed when you're using it. I think EOS is best for on the move or in the morning. (A quick update: I haven't had my second one opened for that long and even that one has started to smell a bit off which is annoying).

Lush Lip Scrub (Bubblegum - £5.95 here)
Lastly, we have the Lush Lip Scrub. Just like skincare, you can put all the fancy products on your face, but how effective will they be if you haven't exfoliated to get rid of the dead skin beforehand? Even with lip care, I find that if you carry on piling the lip products on, it just leads to a gunky mess rather than a solution. That's why I already reach for the Lush lip scrub when my lips are especially dry to get rid of any flaky, dead skin, so that when I apply lip products they actually stand more of a chance of working. Although, you don't need a specific lip scrub, you can always make your own solution (honey and sugar), I've heard a toothbrush works well too! I've had this pot for a long time (probably a bit too long), but I'm not even half way through it yet.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post! These are my tips and tricks that have worked for me so far, I'd love to know what works for you?

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