Review: MUA £1 Lipsticks in Shades 16, 4 and 7

The MUA £1 lipsticks have been much hyped in the blogging world with many budget beauty bloggers hailing them as highlights of their lipstick collection for not just price but formula and pigmentation. I'm a big fan of the MUA Plumping Glosses; Candy Pink is a permanent fixture in my make up bag, so while in Superdrug with a few coins to spare I thought I'd pick up a few of the lipsticks in the hope I'd like them as much as well.

After lots of hand swatching I settled on the shades 16 Nectar, 4 and 7 (shown in order in the photo and swatches above) out of the sixteen shades available. It seems weird to me that they've only named some and not all of their lipsticks, not that a name makes any difference to what's in the tube but it does gives the impression that they care about their products and aren't just churning any old thing out of a factory. The packaging isn't the most stylish but it's nice, I like that you can see the colour through the little screw-off pot on the bottom but as the pots are too small to fit my finger without digging my nail into the product they're a bit redundant unless using a lip brush.
On my hand numbers 7 and 16 looked like lovely colours- one a slightly shimmery dusky red-pink and the other a strong orange with smooth and evenly pigmented formulas. While I can't deny that they apply smoothly and start off glossy, number 16 has been mistaken for red after about 10 minutes on my lips and I really haven't got a lot of wear out of number 7 as I feel it looks much better on my hand than lips where it turns into a rather neither-here-nor-there colour. As these both dry down they look increasingly similar in shade despite being quite different in the bullet, as you can see from the photos. I've been getting more wear out of number 16 as a sheer cheek colour than on my lips so if you're looking for a super cheap sheer blush I'd actually recommend these for that purpose.
Shade number 7 is strangely a completely different formula to the two above, I loved the bright milky pink colour of the bullet but the tester in the shop was a bit mashed up so as it deposited a lot of product on my hand I thought the colour I saw was the colour I'd be getting. In actuality, number 7 is very very sheer, I have to literally swipe 10 times for it to show at all on my lips and while it is very glossy it really sinks into the fine lines. The colour doesn't last long on my lips and despite having a high shine and almost melting from the bullet onto my skin I find my lips a bit chapped and dry after reapplying throughout the day. If number 7 had a similar formula to the two above I would probably get a lot more wear out of it as I really like the colour when it actually shows up but as it stands this isn't a product I reach for very often.

This is a bit of a mixed review for these, I think if you're more of a dark pink/red type of person then you'll probably have a better experience than me as the colour I liked the most had a bit of a naff formula. To be fair they are nice for the £1 that they cost, kind of in the same way that socks from Primark are nice for the few pounds that they cost, but from all the good reviews I was expecting them to be more than just... nice. Shopping with MUA, I'd prefer to pay a couple of pounds more and get a product like the Power Pouts which are available in less colours but are more pigmented and have a formula I much prefer.

Have you tried any of the MUA £1 Lipsticks?


From Korea to the UK: Fun and Functional Products by
Touch in SOL

Today I've got such a cute Korean brand to share with you- I was very kindly sent some products to try from Touch in SOL, a company which has recently launched into the UK and who's items were a sell out at the Ideal Home Show a few months ago. All their products have really fun names and descriptions, and it's nice in a world of stern black packaging and to-the-point product descriptions to have a bit of whimsy! They specialise in primers, BB creams and make up but also offer sun protection and cleansing products, read on to find out what I thought about the products I was sent.

The first product I tried out was the Feel Like Honeymoon Skin Base (£11.30), which is a fun one to use around the OH as I can keep him on his toes by constantly mentioning the word 'honeymoon'. This product is used as the final stage of skin care as a moisturising primer and it contains Hydrolysed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Honey extract to increase skin elasticity and boost natural radiance. It also contains flower extracts to soothe and aims to firm and vitalize the skin. I have to say this is one of the strangest textures I've ever put on my face- it's a very thick gel that looks almost slimy but absorbs into the skin so easily leaving no sticky or oily feeling and I haven't yet had to pick off any of the gold flecks. My face definitely feels much smoother after patting on this base and my foundation or BB cream glides over my skin with flaky patches minimised. This product was included in the US Glossybox of August last year and has received wholly positive reviews on the website.

Next are a couple of BB Creams- I've been through a lot of BB Creams and I really think Asian brands do them best, the colours and formulas are usually much more suited to my skin than western offerings and tend they offer more long term skin benefits. The first I'm going to talk about is the Pure Dew Water Drop BB Cream (£12.70) which contains SPF 36 so is perfect for the current summer weather. This product is packed with natural extracts like Chamomile, Lavender and Green Tea which soothe the skin and features a 3D Matrix Moisturiser as well as a capsule system to ensure maximum hydration to the skin. It's only when it's very hot or my skins looking particularly nice that I'll wear a BB Cream on it's own and I have been really loving wearing this one under foundation. When pumped out this cream appears a greyish colour but changes to blend with the skin tone once it's rubbed in, it's a really good match for my natural skin colour but a bit too light to get away with on it's own when I'm wearing self tan. The capsule formula means it takes a bit of working in to apply and gives a light coverage but is really moisturising without feeling oily so is lovely under foundation or another BB Cream to even out redness and stop the skin drying out.

I had a 5ml sample of the I'm Covering you BB Cream (£12.70) which as you might have guessed from the name is has quite strong coverage. This is a traditional BB Cream in the sense that it contains whitening, anti-aging and UV screening properties, and it also contains Fermented Yeast Extract to repair the surface of the skin. This is probably the product that I'm most impressed with- the coverage is really excellent and provides almost the same level as my foundation but actually looks like skin. I need to use much less of this product than foundation as it has a thick creamy texture, and I've had 4 applications so far from this tiny tube. The colour has a neutral brownish undertone and is just lighter than my self tanned skin, perfect with a bit of cream bronzer and with a bit of powder is so long lasting even in the current heat. It also contains SPF50 which is highest I've ever seen in a foundation or BB Cream. The only downside is that used with no base the I'm Covering You is a bit drying on my blemishes with no base underneath, but to be honest no more so than any of my favourite foundations, and when my sample runs out I'll be very happy to pay the £11.40 for the full size product.

Touch in SOL also sell foundations and I was sent a sample tube of the Perfect Sebum Control (£22) in Natural Beige- not the most glamorous of names but at least you know right away what it's meant to do! This is a liquid foundation available in 4 shades with a powder complex and lasting polymer network system that aims to provide full coverage and control oil while hydrating with natural extracts such as Acai and Fig. This is truly a liquid formula and had more of a yellow tone than the BB Creams, despite being liquid it dries down on the skin with a texture that I couldn't quite describe until I learned it contained a powder complex. This product does act like a powder on the skin in that if you try to put a liquid or cream on top of it then blending becomes quite difficult and patchy. I found this to have actually a light to medium coverage rather than full and while it wasn't completely matte, the finished texture wasn't very forgiving on my pores or fine lines. I've worn this on a couple of very hot days, one being the hottest of the year so far and I had to walk up a big long hill which meant I was very unsexily drenched in sweat by the time I got to the top. Once the sweat had dried (lovely) my skin was still very matte with barely a hint of shine which is really impressive, but unfortunately my pores looked even more obvious and the foundation had collected in the lines under my eyes, on my forehead and around my lips. £22 is near the maximum that I would pay for a foundation and unluckily this one didn't suit my skin, it did though do exactly what it said on the tube so is worth trying out if you suffer with oil and shine in the hot weather but don't have such obvious pores as me.
Swatches left to right are Pure Dew Water Drop BB Cream, Perfect Sebum Control Foundation in Natural Beige, and I'm Covering You BB Cream. Above I'm wearing the Perfect Sebum Control Foundation after having walked up that big sweaty hill.

Finally is the Let Me Ask You More Flush Lipgloss in Milky Pink (£8.60). This is gloss is not only packed with moisturising ingredients like Macadamia Oil, Avocado Oil and Vitamin E but is also packed full of pink and silver shimmer that catches the light like nothing else I own. The colour is very sheer on my lips and the gloss gives an amazing shine without being sticky or heavy so I don't feel like I have to pout to keep my lips apart. This gloss is available in 5 shades from a strong cherry to a 'nuddy beige', and although it's a bit too eye catching for everyday wear I've been getting a lot of use out of it in the evenings both on it's own and over lipsticks to bring out the pink shimmer.

On the whole I'm really impressed with these products from Touch in SOL, not least because the colour range is well suited to lighter complexions and it's nice to see products without an orange tinge! There are also some useful and unusual products available for summer on the website- the Pang Pang Sun Cutting Powder which contains Witch Hazel and SPF45, BB Balm Compact with vibrating anti-bacterial application puff and powder foundations containing Dark Out which brightens the skin by preventing the creation of Melanin pigment.
Touch in SOL currently have 10% off all items on their newly launched website and offer free 2/3 day delivery within the UK.


Blog Sale Haul

In case you didn't know, I'm obsessed with blog sales. I'm quite picky and don’t buy all that much from them, but I do like to look through them to see what I might/could/would buy and be nosey to find out what the blogger's getting rid of! If you have a blog sale on I have almost definitely looked through it, and if you have Depop then I'm working my way through that too. My slight obsessions don't mean I'm mad though do they? That was a rhetorical question, we both know the answer to that.

Being in the market for some new bits and bobs recently, I thought I'd share some of my best recent blog sale purchases with you. My brain is frazzled at the moment and I can't remember the exact amount I paid for some of these so I've had to try and work them out from the invoices, all prices are without postage.

One thing I was particularly looking for was a light bluey pink lipstick, and wanting to try out a Mac lippie for the first time Saint Germain (£7, middle left above) caught my eye and I snapped it up. I love the colour, it looks slightly purple on me and can be worn strong and bold as its an Amplified formula or patted into the lips to make it slightly softer and darker. The formula did take a bit of getting used to as it's so pigmented but I've got a lot of wear out of this already. I thought the Revlon Lip Butters were the be all and end all of easy to use sheer moisturising colour but I changed my mind when I used the L'oreal Caresse in Cheeky Magenta (£2, middle right above) for the first time. More translucent but brighter than a lip butter, this strong pink is really effortless to apply and I'm so pleased with this purchase as I love a good bright pink.

You might know that I've had an NYX wishlist for a while and I wouldn’t normally buy something with a wand from a blog sale, but I had to snap up this NYX Matte Lip Cream in Tokyo (£2, far right above) as it was a colour and formula I really wanted to try. It's light and slightly more salmon than I was expecting, the formula is definitely unlike anything I've tried before and I'm still getting used to it! I've been wanting a bit of colour on my cheeks recently but I've gone off powder blush and don't like anything too strong so the Revlon Baby Stick in Pink Passion (£2, far left above) seemed like a perfect buy. Some reviews have said these are too sheer, but I wanted for sheer and once the colour is blended with my foundation it makes a lovely milky pink.

The Clinique Rinse-off Foaming Cleanser (£1) and Pore Minimizer Thermal-Active Skin Refiner (£1) (discontinued) minis were impulse buys as I didn't know much about these. I've only the tried the Pore Minimizer so far and only a couple of times as it has stung a little bit which is a bit worrying. I'm pleased I got these as it's always good to try out something new but I'm not too sure on them yet!
I have a bazillion cleansers on the go at the moment but most are hydrating and with this heat wave I've found them a bit too much for my skin. Having combination skin I thought the Checks and Balances Frothy Facewash (£1) mini would be perfect as it's specifically made to control oil and hydrate dry areas at the same time but my skin feels quite rubbery after using this and so far I've actually found it quite drying so time will tell with this one! In contrast the Zero Oil Cleanser (£1), which is meant to control oil without stripping the skin, has been a much better fit and I featured this recently in my Skincare Tag post as I've nearly used it all up and will definitely buy the big size version when this runs out! Foaming cleansers are a bit controversial at the moment but I really like this one and the minty licorice smell is perfect to start the day.

Finally, despite going off powders earlier in the year I felt in this weather my skin really does need one to control shine (and sweat!). I was looking for something high quality, finely milled and most importantly translucent, so when I saw the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (£15) for sale I thought I'd give it a try. I usually stick to highstreet brand powders (I used to go through Maybelline Dream Matte powder like there was no tomorrow a couple of years ago), but so far this has been well worth the money- fills in pores, keeps me matte, long lasting on the skin and most importantly for me has no colour. I've found the best way to apply is to tap off the excess from a curved sponge and then press and roll against the skin rather than patting, this really minimises my pores and creates a longer lasting finish than dusting on with a brush.

Not very often you get two posts from me in 24 hours but with the heat and not being well recently I've had lots to catch up on and lots to write about! Let me know your best blog sale buys and if you have depop do leave your name below (so I can be nosey!).


Little Avon Haul

A couple of weeks ago I got my first Avon catalogue from my mum and put in an order with her Rep. I used to think Avon was a bit old fashioned and mumsy, but with new TV ads and now Alicia Dixon and Olivia Wilde on their side, Avon seems to be more popular than ever and their products are popping up all over YouTube in tutorials. There weren't a lot of make up bits that I wanted, but I do like the look of their foundations so might get one in my next order as you can give it back to your rep for a refund if the colour isn't right which I think is brilliant!

One of the main things I wanted was the Supershock Gel Eyeliner in Flash, this is a reflective light pink that looks lovely on the waterline and really brightens up my eyes. The pencil is very soft but lasts for ages inside the eye and doesn't collect around my tear ducts like so many do! I also wanted to try out the Eyeshadow Brush as most of mine are very soft so are lovely for a wash of colour and blending but make it difficult to pack the shadow on. It's soft but has very firm bristles so is also great for going under the eye and it has a rubber smudger on the end which is useful but I can't say I actually use it. 

As well as the above I was also looking for a new peel off mask as I loved one I used to have from Avon ages ago. The only one I could find in the catalogue was the Clearskin Liquid Extraction Strip which doesn't do a great job at extracting blackheads when used thickly on the nose but does work well as a normal peel off mask in a thin blue layer all over. A free gift with the Clearskin purchase, the Blackhead Remover Tool seemed like a useful and sanitary idea. In reality its a bit more brutal than I was expecting and while it does work quite well for blemishes close to the surface I haven't found a good way to use it for blackheads or deep congestion yet. The Planet Spa Thailand Lotus Flower Deep Pore Cleansing Mask was on last chance offer and as it's clay based I thought it would be good to use as the base of a charcoal mask. It starts off light purple with a flowery scent and dries to white without being chalky and flaking off. 

I was after some room and clothing sprays and my mum recommended the Naturals Fragrance Spritzes to me so I bought Apricot and Shea, Lavender and Chamomile, and Raspberry and Hibiscus. The Apricot and Raspberry sprays are quite sweet and smell fruity but a little bit like squash, whereas the Lavender one smells more herbal and slightly masculine but it's definitely my favourite. 
I also bought the Back Comb Brush which I completely forgot to include in the photo because I'm daft! I'm still getting used to the brush as the bristles are thick and very firm but so far I like it and it definitely adds to the bedhead look I try to pretend I spent ages on! 

The final item was a bit of a surprise- I was telling my mum about a roll on coloured soap for kids in the catalogue that I thought was quite funny and she for some reason decided it would be the perfect present for me! To be honest 'Bath Time Body Paint' makes it sound a lot more exciting than it actually is as it's not very pigmented so is really just roll on shower gel, but shower gel is shower gel and it's quite handy to be able to roll it on so all isn't lost!

I don't usually buy a lot of products in one go buy it's really nice when they get delivered and you have lots of things to sniff/swatch/play with! This was my first time buying from Avon, have you ever bought through a rep?


Do or DIY: ACV Toner

While I do love beauty DIYs it isn't often I come across one that really knocks my socks off and I'd truly rather use than a similar shop bought product, but this really is one of those DIYs. I've in the past generally found toners pretty miss or miss- they either dry my skin out, don't do anything or in the case of exfoliating toners are too harsh for my skin and make it angry and sore.

When I tell you the ingredients you're going to be thoroughly underwhelmed and think it's not worth trying, as I thought at first as well, but as it's cheap as chips (literally) it's worth giving it a go because it might just become your new favourite toner. Since using this once or twice a day my skin has become much more balanced; not as oily in the Tzone and definitely not as dry and flaky around blemishes which I wasn't expecting. Because it's acidic it restores the natural ph balance of the skin and is lightly exfoliating without causing any sensitivity. I've been using it for at least 2 months so far and I've also found that my skin is more even and less red, blemishes and scars are lighter in colour.

Making ACV Toner

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Didn't I tell you you'd be underwhelmed? The easiness and cheapness of the recipe shouldn't put you off! The proper ingredient is organic vinegar but I couldn't find any and I think as long as the bottle contains The Mother, sometimes called Mother Of Vinegar, it should be fine. 
The Mother (what a weird alien-like thing to call it) is a collection of cobweb-like strands in the bottles of raw ACV and is made up from enzyme proteins, minerals and bacteria/yeast that give nutrition to the vinegar and are able to live because the vinegar is unpasteurized. You can see a photo of the Mother below, it doesn't look very inviting but it settles to the bottom of the bottle so you don't have to use it in your toner. 

I bought a bottle of vinegar with Mother for 84p for 350ml from Asda, for water I use Evian because its what I drink but any bottled or boiled water would be fine.
There are no set in stone ratio measurements for this recipe, which I think is good because you can personalise it to your skin- start off with a weak solution and make it stronger as time goes on if you need to. Research has told me that the usual starting point is between 1/4 and 1/3 ACV to water, moving up to 1/2 if needed and stopping at 2/3. You can use anything to measure the quantities into your bottle (holiday travel bottles are great if you don't have an empty one spare), I use fingers because it's quick with a clear bottle (as in 3 finger widths of ACV, move up by 3 finger widths and add water then move up again).

There you have your amazing ACV toner, sweep on with a cotton pad once or twice a day directly after cleansing and you should start to see some results within a week. The smell does take some getting used to but it doesn't linger for long on the skin, and because the vinegar is diluted it should be well tolerated as long as you avoid any broken skin (like spots you've popped, naughty!).

If you try out this recipe I'd love to know to know how you get on!


Sample Sachet Empties

I've been slowly collecting these sachets over the past few months from magazines, events etc and have finally got through them all. It was a pretty mixed bag, or bowl as that's what I kept them in (har har), but I've got a few ideas for new purchases and was pleased to try out a few new moisturisers because I'm so bored of my current one. These are just some quick notes about what I thought of each product, I haven't included all the info about what each one is supposed to do because you can tell from most of the names but if I do buy any of these items I'll be sure to post a full review.

Loreal Nude Magique BB Cream £9.99- This went on dark pink and dried to dark orange, I don't know who this colour suits but it certainly isn't me! Coverage was quite good for a BB Cream though.

Loreal Nude CC Cream Anti-Redness £9.99- Ooh the yellowness! Ooh the greenness! This made me look quite ill, a bit better when it had dried but was still dark and didn't correct that much redness. Also, ooh the shininess!

Garnier Moisture Match for oily skin £5.99- This was slightly greeny-blue and had a strange texture, it reminded me of the flesh of a ripe tomato which makes it feel quite unusual on the skin. Didn't really keep me matte all day but also didn't dry me out which is a very good thing. As it's only £6 I might give this one a go and see what I think of a whole tube.

Garnier Moisture Match for dull skin £5.99- I thought this might have some luminescence to it but it was just quite shiny I found, took a long time to sink in for such a gel consistency.

Garnier Moisture Match for for normal skin £5.99- I didn't think I was going to like this but I really did, sunk in nicely and was really moisturising on my dry patches, smelled quite strong but you can't have everything. Might give this one a go too.

Origins Ginzing Moisturiser £23- I liked this, wasn't as hydrating as I thought it would be but did a good job everywhere except flaky areas. The smell is very zingy as you'd expect, it did pill up but had been open overnight, might have to give it another go because pilling is a big moisturiser sin in my book!

Green People Hydrating Firming Serum £11.95- this was definitely hydrating, I didn't feel I needed any moisturiser after using this. Was nice at night but pilled like mad when I tried to put foundation on top of it. I'm not really big on serums so don't think I'd buy this.

Green People Gentle Cleanse & Make up Remover £18.95- this smelled really natural which was nice and left my skin soft, I never cleanse with my make up still on so can't say how well it did with that. I have too too many cleansers at the moment but will keep it in mind for the future.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle and UV Damage Corrector £39.50- this was really silicone-y which I wasn't keen on, felt a bit greasy as I was applying it. Did dry down nicely but not really something I'd consider as I don't think I need it.

L'eau Narcisso Rodriguez for her £31.50- I liked this when I first opened the packet, it reminded me a lot of lilies, but when it dried it smelt like something my mum would wear (not that she smells horrible) but that put me off a bit.

YSL Manifesto £46.50- Did. not. like. this. Kind of exotic musky smelling, just smelt like someone else.

Thierry Mugler Angel £45.50- I really liked this, Alien by Thierry Mugler is my favourite perfume so was interested to find out what this smelt like. It's not a world away from Alien- quite warm, a tiny bit musky and floral but different enough to make me love it. Even though this was the only Eau de Toilette it was the only one I could smell when walking past the bowl of sachets even days after it had been opened.

Fan de Fendi £35- I thought this smelt quite strong and cheap, it's meant to be 'floral on a leather base' but just didn't really tone itself down and was like it had just been sprayed that second.

Bodhi Mint Thé Refreshing Shower and Bath Therapy £23- this smelt really nice, minty but not too minty and did a good job of cleaning the skin. I don't spend much money on shower gels and even though I did like this I think £23 is quite a lot to spend on one! 

Dior Forever Foundation £32- Like most foundation samples this was quite a dark colour. I liked the finish- kind of satiny, and it didn't go shiny for quite a few hours. I was disappointed with the coverage and because it was so dark in the first place I couldn't really tell how it was wearing, might see if I can get a lighter sample as I'm fed up with my current foundation and miss expensive ones!

Do let me know if you've tried any of these products and what you think of them!


Review: Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream in Light

I do like a good BB Cream at the moment, usually I put them under my foundation but on a good skin day or when the weather's very hot like it has been recently I'll wear them on their own or with a bit of concealer. I've tried BB Creams from lots of different brands, some are just tinted moisturisers that provide coverage while others have skincare benefits to improve skin health, but Clarins' offering seems to have it all. Or does it?

The Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream* boasts a 3-in-1 skincare and beauty formula- 3D radiance pigments to even the skintone and cover blemishes, Katafray, Kiwi extract and Hyaluronic Acid to improve vitality and hydration, and 100% mineral SPF25 sunscreen with Tocopherol to fight free radicals. The cream is advertised to revitalise, protect and perfect for 'an easy way to get beautiful skin' which seems fair seeing as it retails at £28! 
One of the things that I initially thought was particularly good about this product is that Clarins offers it in three shades- light, medium and dark. Looking at the product page on the Clarins website you'd think that the '01 light' would be the perfect colour for fair skins, I would even say that swatch ventures into pale, but once receiving and swatching the product myself I found that to be very far from the truth.

The Skin Perfecting Cream is presented stylishly in a dark red tube with gold top that reflects its high price point. The cream smells quite pleasant and feels like a thick moisturiser on the skin but thins as it's blended and dries to a velvety feeling finish that looks matte in the shadows but catches the light.
Unfortunately the two things that I really couldn't get on with with this product are the colour and the coverage. In my opinion this definitely isn't light- it's far too dark for me, a colour I would never naturally turn and one that would need about four applications of fake tan in a row before I was even close.

Do brace yourself for the photos below because neither are very flattering but they do give a better impression of what I'm talking about than just an arm swatch. On the left is my natural skin colour without fake tan, I'm wearing Touch in SOL Pure Dew Water Drop BB Cream* (the best match for my neck when I'm this light), on the right I'm wearing the Clarins BB Cream in Light. Now to be fair I'm not usually this pale, I think my skin does look lighter in photos than real life, but it does really show just how not 'light' the shade of this BB Cream is. I've included a fake tanned arm swatch further below.
Not looking too happy about it am I? This BB Cream also doesn't have the coverage that I was expecting-  as you can see above my skin doesn't look 'smooth' 'even' or 'blemish free' as Clarins promises, and to me it still looks a bit blotchy especially on the right cheek (my left) which for some reason is always more of a problem. I took this in front of the window and the shininess isn't very flattering for my pores along with the fact that it looks like I've used the wrong type of highlighter under my eyes. I couldn't tell you the wear time for this BB Cream as I haven't properly worn it out of the house to judge but I have noticed my T Zone getting shiny quite quickly.
Overall unfortunately a big thumbs down from me, I really wanted to like this BB Cream given its more detailed benefits over lots of the other BB Creams being launched here and the fact that it is quite expensive, but the darkness of colour was really the main deal breaker. Even on my tanned arm above it looks dark and orangey. Lots of people (probably with darker skin) do love this cream so I have no doubt in saying it isn't a bad product, it's just not for me.

The Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream is available from Escentual for £22.40


Skincare Tag

So I thought I'd try something different as I've been wanting to do a graphic post for a while. This took absolute years to make on Beautysets and I'm not overly thrilled with it, but am posting it because of the aforementioned time I spent finishing it that I will not get back (I did enjoy answering the questions though!). I think next time I'll stick to photoshop, at least then the slanted text won't be so wibbly wobbly! (and I won't swear when the cat stands on the keyboard and changes the page, why can't we save a half finished set Beautysets, why?).
Rant over!  I was tagged by the lovely Keeley to do the Skincare Tag which was first started by Kat, and here are my answers:

Beautysets - The Skincare Tag part 2

Bloggers I nominate to complete the tag:
- Carrie at Carrie:Brighton
- Sophie at Sophie Rose Hearts
- Lyndsay at Fizzy Peaches
- Megan at Little Miss Average


Jewellery Collection


I've had a couple of people (well literally two) asking me to do a jewellery collection post so I've finally taken some photos of my bits and bobs. I am a jeweller's daughter but actually most of my collection is costume and from the highstreet, I only get nice expensive bits if I've had my eye on them for a loooong time at Christmas or my birthday. I seem to enjoy looking at jewellery, picking pieces out for other people and really just admiring it more than I do wearing it but at the moment I won't often be seen without a ring or two!

Above is almost my whole collection, the hanger was a present and is I think from Claire's. It hangs above a mirror and dressing table with a summer straw hat for practicality and to hide the hook! As you can see I don't have many bracelets as I find them a bit too jangly for me but the two shown are from New Look. The nicest bracelet I've owned is a white gold nest link bracelet that was hand made for my 18th birthday which I keep in a safe. It's gorgeous but I feel it's too expensive to leave out on show and the safe was lifted in by a crane so there's no burglars getting in there!

First we come to earrings, I used to wear them all the time especially always always on a night out but I'm being boring at the moment and not having so many nights out so they're feeling the love a little less. Most of my earrings are costume, I find the styles are much bolder on the highstreet than they make in precious metals and I have had a few losses/casualties in clubs so wouldn't want to run the risk of losing an expensive pair.
The ones on the left are my absolute favourites, actually from Peacocks but I don't love them any less for that. They're not too dangly and are an easy length to wear while still standing out against my hair. The next pair is quite a contrast; long dangly and quite a similar colour to my hair. They create just enough movement to stand out and are quite an organic shape, they remind me of autumn leaves.
Next we have a kind of simple tribal design, I like these for their colour and big simple shapes. Second to last is a subtle ear cuff, the big silver stud sits on the lobe while the top part hugs the ear rim and gives an interesting look without needing to have any extra holes.
Finally in the earring department we come to these large hoops, normally I wouldn't wear hoops at all let alone at these shoulder skimming loops! These though really caught my eye and I think they're well designed enough to not look like massive 'budgie' hoops.

As I said above, my rings are my most worn pieces at the moment and these are my favourites. The snake and the bending ring are both costume, the bending one was from Matalan recently and I really love it for being so unusual, it reminds me of a robot and bones at the same time. The blue stones are all Topaz and the cat has little Sapphire eyes which I think is really cute. I really love animal jewellery and wish I had more of it as I've seen some gorgeous pieces around! The gold ring at the front has a really beautifully designed setting, it was my German neighbour's mum's ring and he was such a lovely kind man that I'm so happy to have something so pretty to remind me of him. The watch in the top photo was also his, it's massive on my wrist and needs a new battery so is more of a statement piece!

Next are my necklaces, these are the more summery bits of my costume neckwear. On the left are two pieces of coral from the Great Barrier Reef (don't worry, dead coral that had been knocked off) and make big chunky pendants round my neck with a summer dress. In the middle is a carved piece from Hong Kong and the other is (obviously) shells but in a pattern that makes them stand out on the chest. The one on the right is tiny shells and beads on a natural string which I think is quite dainty, I wear this doubled up round my ankle in the summer.
Finally we come to my more expensive necklaces. The piece on the left is a bit unusual looking and thats probably because I 'designed' it myself. The bottom silver part started life as a charm bracelet- a Ram for the chinese year I was born, a Virgin symbol for Virgo, St. Christoper for travelling, P for Paterson and a few other bits I liked the look of like a rose, shark and a serrated claw set in silver. This bracelet unfortunately snapped (told you they were jangly) so I attached it to a gold chain which makes it the perfect length for wearing over high necked dresses and long knitted jumpers. 
The middle is a gold, turquoise and pearl pendant/brooch, this belonged to my grandmother on my father's side and although I don't remember meeting her it's lovely to be able to wear something so delicate in her memory.
Finally is probably my favourite piece of jewellery that I own- a big silver eagle clutching a snake. I love this for it's detail and boldness, and that the wings are hinged so it almost flaps on my chest when I move. I don't wear this often but when I do I get a lot of comments as it makes such a statement!

So there we have my collection, probably not as big as you thought! I think I have more of an eye for jewellery than a body for it (if that doesn't sound too weird), but as my parents are jewellers and my Nan was a pearl stringer it's pretty much in my blood!


June Favourites

So here we are again, another blogging month over and time to look back over the last 4 weeks to see what I've been loving the most during June. My skin and it's congestion problems rage on for another month, still not sure what caused/is causing it so have been trying to wear make up a little bit less, but for a cosmetics lover that's no easy task!

CCUK Totally Waterproof ++ Mascara £0.99- I love the wand on this mascara: it has densely packed but short bristles meaning its great for lengthening the lash ends without getting annoying little lumps and also great for layering on top of another mascara to unstick and fan the lashes out. It's waterproof (as the name suggests) and has a good thick formula so my wispy lashes don't look like they're going to fly away! I quite like Constance Carroll as a brand generally so it's always great to pick up a well performing bargain.

Arbonne FC5 Hydrating Cleanser & Freshener* £20- As well as being slightly oily and blemish prone, my skin is also prone to dryness (oh the fun of combination skin!) so trying to sort out my poor pores this month has left me with dry patches especially on my chin. I've been loving using this cleanser in the morning to remove last night's treatments while adding a bit of hydration for the day ahead. It has quite a zingy fragrance that wakes me up and also refreshes my skin while cleaning it.

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask £8.99- This mask leaves my face looking and feeling completely clean, oil free and much smoother. It has a creamy texture that dries on the skin but doesn't flake off or dry me out at all (in fact I find it quite helpful for flaky areas) so doesn't leave me with that tight feeling. It contains Avocado, Acacia Honey and Salicylic Acid which all help to rebalance the skin and although I've only been using it for a few weeks I can already see improvements which will hopefully continue with longer use. I've also been dabbing it on deep painful cysts overnight and it brings them to the surface by morning which is a miracle for me and makes them heal so much quicker. The only downside is the strong smell, which did take some getting used to. 

Nspa Beauty Balm £6- I've been getting quite into Nspa recently and this BB Cream gives me lovely healthy looking skin with a glow and is a perfect match with a layer of self tan. You can read my full review of the product for London Beauty Queen here.

George Quick Dry Nail Varnish in Gambler £1.75- Something else from Asda, the Quick Dry varnish is just as good as Rimmel's 60 Seconds but for less than half the price. It's opaque with just one coat (more than I can say for a lot of more expensive polishes!) and I'm loving this deep bluey metallic magenta, which is really my signature nail colour. The wear time is a day or two on my thin nails but because it dries so quickly I don't mind doing touch ups. They do quite a big range of shades so I'll be stocking up on more with my shop this week!

Washi Hot Cloths* £6.25 for 7- I've had these cloths on rotation for a while and this is the last to come out of the packaging. I find them softer but more effective that normal muslin cloths, leaving my skin feeling smooth and clean after cleansing.

Natural Collection Cover Up Cream in Fair £1.99- I used to use this alllll the time and have come back to it recently. It's not the most opaque coverage ever but can be built up and dries down unlike a lot of the other concealers I have so won't crease, sink in or budge. I also never had smudging from my mascara until I stopped using this concealer, but it's never too orange or too light for me so I can come back to it whatever state of tan I'm in. A really annoying thing about the packaging though is that the lettering rubs off and smudges around like the Collection concealers (although at least the print on this is light).

Urban Decay X Eyeshadow £14 - I've been wearing this almost constantly with black top liner and orangey gold bottom liner since someone told me it made my eyes look very white (obviously I took this as a big compliment). X is a peachy pink with yellowy gold shimmer and is one of those colours that changes in different lights. It looks lovely alongside a range of other colours, I prefer pinks and browns, and has all the pigmentation and softness of a normal UD shadow.

Touch In SOL Let Me Ask You More Flush Lipgloss in Milky Pink* £7.70- This looks a bit scary and glittery in the tube but is so so glossy and wet looking on the lips that I've been loving this on it's own or over just everything. The colour doesn't really translate onto my lips but that doesn't matter when they're looking full and glistening. It's light, non-sticky and the blurb on the packaging says 'everybody feels magical attraction from your lips', whats not to love about that?!

I've given up on monthly wishlists for a while, I never really stick to them and sometimes the same things are on there for ages so there's no point doing them for the sake of it. I think I'll probably start doing them every few months instead, with things I've really thought about and actually plan to buy rather than just like the look of!

What have been your favourites from the last month?


Do or DIY: Sugar Wax & Sugar Paste

Sugar Wax originates from the Middle East and is used in the same way as normal warm liquid wax- spread on and removed with a cloth strip. Sugar Paste is made in a very similar way but instead is used at room temperature- a ball of paste is warmed in the hand, spread across the skin and quickly flicked back with the fingers taking the hair with it. This method of removing hair is also known as Arabic Depilation or just 'Sugaring', and the method is easier to grasp when you've seen it demonstrated- this and this video shows you exactly what to do with the paste once you've made it.

Using sugar paste is slightly more comfortable than traditional waxes- waxes using a strip can pull at the skin making it sore and irritated, whereas the paste doesn't stick easily to the skin. Sugar paste can also be used on hair as short as 3mm although you'll need to have hair 6mm or longer for the wax. Another advantage of sugar paste is that you can go back over areas immediately to catch any stray hairs without over-irritating your skin. 

The ingredients for these waxes are cheap, super simple, and things you'll already have at home, making a liquid wax is really easy but if you're anything like me it might take a go or two to make the perfect paste for sugaring.
To make both types you'll need: a saucepan on the stove, normal granulated sugar, lemon juice (can be from a bottle) and water. Thats it! For the liquid wax you'll also need some cloth strips, if you don't have any spare you can make your own by cutting any unused cotton cloth you have such as an old t-shirt or pillowcase. The wax washes out really easily under warm water or in the washing machine so you can reuse the strips until they start to fray (like mine above!).

Making Sugar Wax
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice 
Combine all ingredients in a pan and set on the stove on a low to medium heat. Stir the mixture while it starts to boil, and simmer it on a low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Keep your eye on it when it starts to change colour, it will turn to a yellowy amber but continue simmering until the mixture thickens slightly and becomes a brown amber. The colour of the first box in the second picture above is what you're aiming for and it will look darker in the saucepan than it actually is so don't be tempted to remove it from the heat too soon- the wax will be too sticky to work with and you'll have to return it to the pan. Once you've hit the right colour, turn off the stove and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before pouring into your storage container. I like to use plastic boxes such as microwavable take-away containers but you can also use a clean jar to store the wax, just make sure that it has an air tight lid.

Using Sugar Wax
To use your wax, heat the whole container in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until your its comfortably hot and a gel consistency- test a small drop on the inside of your wrist before attempting to use it as you don't want any burns! Make sure the area to be waxed is clean and dry, and use a light dusting of baby powder or corn flour to absorb any oils and stop the wax sticking to the skin. To spread the wax in a thin layer over the skin I use wooden ice lolly sticks, a clean butter knife also works well and you need to spread against the hair growth. Stick your cloth strip to the wax and smooth down in the direction of the hair, then it pull back on itself quickly in the opposite direction. Press your hand down on the area for a few seconds to calm any pain, and you should be nice and smooth! The cloth strips can be used immediately again two or three times before they lose effectiveness and need to be washed.

Wax Problems
Is the wax too hard and thick? Place a tablespoon of water on top of the wax before microwaving, you might need more than one tablespoon if the wax is very hard. If it set solid like a boiled sweet after it was cooled, unfortunately you'll have to start the process again.
Is the wax too thin? Place it back in a saucepan and cook gently for a few more minutes, make sure it's an amber colour before removing from the heat.

Making Sugar Paste
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
The method to making the paste is exactly the same as above but it needs to be heated for longer to get a darker colour, more of a red amber like the third picture above. The key is to not get impatient (like me) and turn the heat up to get the colour, the mixture needs to be simmered on a low heat for the right consistency.

Using Sugar Paste
Don't worry if the paste seems a bit too thick to scoop out when its cooled, you can put it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or leave it on your radiator to warm up a bit so its easier to use. Basically you are using your fingers to both spread and remove the paste, the best way of understanding how to use the paste is to watch the videos above, I was a bit confused when I first heard of it but searching for a couple of videos cleared up exactly what to do. You can use any size ball of paste, from small for your bikini area to big for your legs, and you want to make sure the area is clean is dry before starting but you don't need to powder. The paste is best applied against the hair growth and pulled back in the opposite direction. Sugar paste will turn a milky colour when it's being used or worked in your hands, and you'll know when you need a new ball because it'll turn thin and sticky, like chewing gum when you've chewed it for too long. 

Using these recipes is a really inexpensive alternative to buying home waxing kits. I don't use waxes that often but I do find the paste especially useful to have in the cupboard as it needs barely any prep, no extra equipment and gives really good results. 

Would you consider switching to home made sugar waxes?


What's in my Make Up Bag?

My new make up bag is at least three times bigger than my old one and when I go out I seem to get so excited about actually being able to fit in more than just foundation and mascara, that I shove pretty much everything thats on my face in there before running out the door!
Judging by the weight of my bag, last night was no exception so I thought I'd tip it all out so you (and I!) could have a nosey at what I carry around with me.
My bag is In a Nutshell by Disaster Designs and you can find links to this and a few other pretty ones in my Cosmetic Bag Ideas post.

Creams: ESPA 24 Hour Balancing Moisturiser* / Boots Tea Tree Cream //

Powders: Birchbox Mirror / MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter / MAC MSF in Light Medium / Fold up Powder Brush (cracked, hence the lovely sellotape job) //

Base: Cosmopolitan Blending Sponge (I did cheat and wash this as it was covered in foundation) / Bourjpos Healthy Mix Foundation in 51 / Rimmel Match Perfection 2-in1 Concealer in 030 / MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20 //

Eyebrows: Miss Sporty Clear Mascara (they say that all clear mascaras are the same but to be honest I'm not too impressed with this one) / Clean Mascara Wand as spooley and declumper /  ILAH Semi Permanent Brow Kit* / TopShop Angled Brush (used for eyeliner and brows, that isn't dirt on the handle it's where there paints been loved off!)//

Eyes: No7 Eyebrow Pencil in some kind of ashy brown (used as eyeliner) / Maybelline Colossal Volum Express Waterproof / Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer / Arbonne Eyeliner in Ebony* (cos everyone needs two black eyeliners on a night out!?) / CCUK Waterproof + Mascara (and two mascaras as well it seems!) //

Lips: Marks and Spencer lipstick in Waterlily / Bourjois Sweet Kiss Naturel lipstick in Rose Innocence / Touch in SOL Let Me Ask You More Lipgloss in Milky Pink*, MUA Out There Plumping Gloss in Shocking Pink.

So there were all the things in my make up bag, usually there's a bit less especially for daytime but I'm still getting over the novelty of filling it up! Do you carry as much as me in your cosmetic bag? Link your posts below so I can have a look!

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