Wednesday, 17 September 2014

My Top 10 Makeup Brushes

Hello Readers!!!

Today I thought I would share with you my top 10 makeup brushes, these are the ones I reach for regularly and that really perform.

Starting from the top going clockwise:

Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki. This is a real gem of a brush for pretty much any foundation. Its super soft and dense and leaves your makeup looking flawless without a streak in sight. As with any foundation brush application, I do like to pat over it with my finger at the end just around my nose and upper lip where I can get a little flaky.

Sigma P82 Precision Round. I use this brush for under eye concealer and for concealing redness around my nose and chin. I find it imitates a finger tip well and has the same density of the F80 for real flawless blending.

Ecotools Angled Liner Brush. I rarely use this brush for liner, I much prefer a fine liner brush for that which ill talk about next. This brush I use for my brows, it's got a super fine edge for precision brow shaping and imitating brow hairs with the product of your choice. Its very stiff but at the same time the bristles are soft and a pleasure to use.

MAC 210. The finest liner brush I've come across and zero fraying.....job done!

Beauty Blender. Not technically a brush but an absolute essential for any makeup lover kit. This little egg shaped sponge blends, blurs and buffs even the thickest of foundations and leaves them with a dewy, youthful glow due to the fact that you use the beauty blender slightly damp. Immerse it in water until it doubles in size and squeeze out the excess using a towel, tap either end into your desired foundation then bounce and roll this little beauty over your face for flawless perfection. The pointed end is particularly good for getting in those hard to reach areas around the nose and can even be used to apply concealer under the eye.

Suqqu Cheek brush. *heavens open and angels sing*! Nicknamed the kittens paw by makeup guru Lisa Eldridge, this brush is softer than words can describe and its an absolute pleasure and luxury to use. It's inexplicable softness is not its only value however, it also achieves an airbrush like finish when used for blush or bronzer application and is small enough to use to contour also. It's a multi-purpose powder brush if you ask me. It's not the easiest to clean and is also on the pricey side but if you ask me its worth every penny..that's what birthdays are for!

The brush that comes with Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel eyeliner. Again I don't tend to use this brush for its designed purpose. I have, and it works fine, but nothing compares to my MAC 210. I use this brush for pinpoint/spot concealing. It has the perfect stiff, dense tapered head that you can pack on concealer just where you need it and blend it out perfectly. It is also good for softening out a pencil liner. Best of's free!

Real Techniques Setting Brush. One of the few brushes I do actually use as intended, to set my concealer. Mainly my under eye but also around the nose. I have two of these and I tend to keep one for under eye use with my Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder (it has a slight shimmer so I don't want to transfer that to my nose area) and one for use around my nose and to set any pinpoint concealing. Its also a great contour brush and the dual fibre helps to avoid any heavy-handedness.

Real Techniques Blush Brush. Another brush designed perfectly for purpose. Real Techniques really did hit the hammer on the head with their collection of brushes, Ive yet to use one I don't like. Again the dual fibre allows the perfect amount of product to be applied the the face and the tapered shape means you place the tip in the product, I use for blush and bronzer, and use the rest of the brush to seamlessly blend. I use this brush for very highly pigmented blush that I might get a bit carried away with and use my Suqqu Cheek Brush for the lighter, less pigmented colours. The Real Techniques brushes are also an absolute dream to clean, fuss free and fabulous.

L & Y 217. I discovered this brush when trawling Ebay for a discontinued NARS brush I was pining for. It looked like a great shape (clearly a replica of the MAC 217) and it was fantastically cheap (AU$6.50 & free delivery), how could I resist. This brush also has a brilliantly designed handle, with a indent where you hold it and a very swish looking tan wood effect finish. This brush, in my opinion, trumps the MAC 217 and the Sigma E25, both of which I find shed and loose their shape after a few washes, I also find the MAC 217 rough and sharp and I really don't enjoy using it. The L&Y 217 is super soft and has a superior oval shape, perfect for crease shading, blending and all-over lid application and defining. I have two of these brushes now and they both look as good as new wash after wash. I am extremely impressed.
They can be purchased here, it's an Ebay shop so i know very little about the company or how and where the brushes are manufactured. I have tried googling but to no avail so shop at your own discretion. For $6.50 these brushes are absolutely fantastic value, heck, for the $40 odd you pay for a MAC brush these are great value.

Let me know your favourite brushes in the comments below, I'd love to know!

Thanks for Reading

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Skincare Series Edition 2 - Makeup Removers & cleansers

Welcome to Skincare Series Ed2. Today I'm talking my current makeup removers and cleansers.
I love nothing more than taking my makeup off at the end of the day, I enjoy it almost as much as putting it all on...It's kind of like taking your bra off at the end of the day, am I right ladies?!
I'm a double-cleanse kinda gal, I'll use a cleansing balm or oil to remove my makeup and then head in with a gentle but effective lotion or milk to cleanse my skin.

As I've told you previously, I have oily skin, prone to breakouts, dehydration, redness and reactivity. I try to avoid using alcohol and fragrance but I don't mind it in small quantities in cleansers as they don't stay on my skin long enough for it to be a problem

So I'll start my routine by removing my eye makeup. If I've had a heavy eye makeup on that day I'll remove the eye makeup first with a micellar water like Bioderma Sensibio (name now changed to Crealine H20 Solution) or Garnier Micellar Water. These are very comparable products but Garnier is a lot easier to get your hands on, and if your shopping in the UK or Australia, a lot more affordable. I do only tend to use these products for removing eye makeup, unless I'm having a really lazy day, then I will use it to remove my makeup. I find the Garnier Micellar water to be just as effective at removing eye makeup but perhaps not as "slippy" or moisturising as the Bioderma. Both are fragrance and alcohol free so great for all skin types and the sensitive eye area. This is important for me with this product as you don't wash it off, you apply with a cotton pad and if you used it to completely cleanse the skin you can then follow on with your regular toner/serum/moisturiser. No need to rinse. Ultimate convenience.

Ill then remove the rest of my face makeup with a cleansing balm or oil. I use Oskia Renaissance cleansing gel, using dry hands and a dry face i work the product into my skin until it turns into an oil, ill then wet my hands slightly and work the product some more until it forms a milk and then flannel off. The same process applies for Dermalogica preCleanse.
Both products are quite fragranced and contain alcohol, although I've not found that this has bothered my skin at all as the product is on for such a short time. If I was doing a really deep clean with massage and leaving the product on longer I would look for something without fragrance & alcohol for me. The main job I want these products to perform is to remove my makeup and they both get top marks for that.

So when my face is free from makeup I'll then go in with a gentle cleanser. I like to look for calming, moisturising ingredients in a cleanser and avoid any harsh detergents that might strip my skin of its natural oils. When I first found out I had oily skin I went straight for the acne fighting, oil stripping products and all that did was make my skin more oily. Since I've been using gentle, hydrating ingredients my oil flow has never been more controlled.

I like Alpha H Balancing cleanser (anything with the word balancing in the description tends to get my attention), this is a light lotion containing Vitamin E and Aloe Vera which claims to balance the skins natural PH level.
In the colder, winter months when I find my face really dries up, I like to use A'kin Rose & Geranium Pure Creamy Cleanser & Toner. This product states it's for normal, dry or sensitive skin and I picked it up as soon as my skin started turning as the weather got cold. I had previously tried Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and I find them very comparable. The A'kin is a little thicker & contains shea butter which can be a tricky ingredient if you have large open pores that can get clogged but neither leave a film on the skin after removal, despite them both containing various oils. Pai is quite a bit more pricey, in a smaller bottle and difficult for me to get my hands on which is why I tend to use the A'kin more readily. I would certainly repurchase both though.

The last product on my list today is Neutrogena Extra Gentle cleanser. Neutrogena is one of my favourite drugstore skincare brands, its reasonably priced, easily accessible and delivers results. Neutrogena makes a real effort to provide fragrance free, sensitive skin products, which I love. This Extra Gentle Cleanser is exactly what it says, its a gentle, effective light lotion (slightly lighter than the Alpha H Balancing Cleanser) that removes dirt and impurities with a "non soap formula". It's fragrance free and again leaves no pore-clogging film when rinsed off and leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft, not tight or dry.

So those are a few of my favourite cleansers and makeup removers. I'd love to hear your favourites so please leave me a comment below.

Thanks so much for reading

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Top 5 Nail for All Seasons

From Left: Orly Harmonious Mess, Chanel April, Crabtree & Evelyn Sky/Blue Pastel , Butter London Marrow, Butter London Sprog
With Spring just dawning here in the Southern Hemisphere and the first signs of Autumn showing in the North I contemplated my top 5 nail colours for those tricky transitional months where the weather has not quite made up its mind. 

First up is Orly Harmonious Mess, this a stunning lavender colour and the formula of Orly polish is great, really opaque and a smooth finish. I also use Orly Bonder base coat. 
Next up is Chanel...need I say more? The shade April is a stunning muted, almost cloudy berry colour, quite difficult to portray in the swatch but in the flesh...stunning! 
Crabtree & Evelyn are fairly new nail polish discovery for me but they do not disappoint. This sky blue is the perfect fresh clean spring shade but I think they can also be carried through to Autumn and winter due to the cool undertone and crisp clean colour. 
Butter London Marrow is the darkest of my selection  but still colourful enough to wear in those awkward transitional seasons, it's a great neutral purple shade that looks super chic on all skin tones. 
Finally Butter London Sprog, a bluer, less pastel version of Orly Harmonious Mess, reminds me of cool calm waters or autumn shower rain drops.

I'd love to hear what your top nail colours are for all seasons, please leave me a comment!

Thanks for Reading

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Snow White & The 7 Tips for Fair Skin Makep

In recent years I have taken a step away from the faux glow and embraced the pale, the main reason for this being…I’m lazy. I’m also not a girl who keeps a separate summer and winter foundation shade due to the fact that the amount of time i’m actually tanned in a year is so slight…blink and you’ll miss it, it would take me about 10 years to use up the summer shade.

So for the most part of the year I’m your alabaster, as pale as foundation goes kinda shade and I’ve been experimenting with lots of products & techniques that suit my skin shade and my cool undertones and thought I'd share them with you. 

I am not a makeup artist or professional, just simply sharing with you tips and products that have worked for me

1. Foundation:

Don’t try to darken your skin with the wrong colour foundation, instead match your base to your neck and warm the skin gradually and naturally with a bronzer later. Aim for a neutral foundation with no strong undertone to even out any redness or blue veins that can both be more prominent in fair skin.

Go for a light base to avoid looking ghostly and one-dimensional and cover any unwanted marks & blemishes with a concealer.

Try -

Bobbi Brown Skin foundation
Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation 
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturiser

Add a white foundation like Chanel le Blanc de Chanel or Face Atelier Foundation in Zero Minus with your existing foundation if it is too dark.

2. Concealer:

Match your concealer perfectly to your base to avoid looking muddy or patchy
Avoid brightening or highlighting concealers for blemish covering, as this will accentuate the blemish.

Try - 

Bobbi Brown face touch up stick
Laura Mercier secret camouflage concealer 
Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer 

Only conceal where you need to under the eye, if you don’t have bags or dark circles to conceal then don’t use concealer.
A peachy toned concealer will conceal blue circles

Try -

Mac pro longwear concealer 
Bobbi brown creamy corrector & concealer
Maybelline Age rewind

3. Powder:

Powder is another tricky one for us fairer skin gals. I find the only kinds I like to use these days are the translucent ones so they don’t add any extra colour or coverage to my base.

I only powder where I have used concealer and in any oily areas of the face to avoid shine developing throughout the day. If you don’t need powder, don’t powder, to keep a youthful glow in the skin.

Try –

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder
Jurlique Citrus Silk Finishing Powder
Bourjois Healthy balance pressed powder 
Laura Mercier Secret brightening powder*

*To set under eye concealer. This powder is pure magic. In the packaging it almost looks glittery, but none of this shimmer/glitter transfers to the skin and it sets concealer beautifully whilst brightening the area.

After using powder under the eye, spray a setting spray on your powder brush and press this onto the under eye area to set the make-up and diminish the powdery residue to avoid looking dry or dull. I use Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.

4. Bronzer:

Bronzer is a fair skinned gals best friend, it can give your skin a beautiful glow and ad some shape and dimension to your face. Avoid anything too red based and aim for a shade 1 or two shades darker than your foundation for a natural buildable glow.

Try - 

Rimmel Sun Shimmer bronzing powder
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder
NYX Taupe blush for the perfect contour colour

5. Blush:

Blush is essential. I don’t know about you but when I have put my foundation on I look like I’ve just dragged myself off the set of the walking dead, but a swipe or dab of your favourite blush will soon bring you back to the life of the living

Try - 

Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Gracilis 
Fusion Beauty Sculptdiva Blush in Haute
Zoeva Luxe Colour Blush in Rush Rush 
Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Radiance Blush in Pink Pop 07

6. Eyeliner:

I mostly keep black eyeliner for tight lining, Smokey eyes and cat flicks

For a more subtle, softer look you could opt for a brown, bronze, purple or navy liner depending on your colouring or preference. This way you still get definition and avoid looking too harsh.

Try –

MAC Eye Kohl in Prunella
MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy
Almay Intense i-colour in 004 Raisin Quartz

7. Lips:

I think a bright lip looks amazing on fair skin and can really bring the face to life. Find the best shade to compliment your colouring.

Try - 

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Ripe Raspberry for a more sheer bold lip
Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Ole Flamingo
Lancome Rouge in Love in 170N
Max Factor Colour Elixir in Vibrant Pink

Recap: Top tips for achieving a wide-awake pale face

Don’t try to change the colour of your face skin with foundation, match your foundation with your neck and d├ęcolletage and warm it up afterward with bronzer if you need to, this also means you can avoid having to take your foundation down your neck.

Find the perfect blush shade for you. Blush is the pale girls secret weapon and can even work to brighten your eyes if you find the right shade.

Have a light hand when it comes to bronzer and build up slowly. Don't forget the neck!

Find a bright lip colour that compliments your colouring and brightens your complexion

Line the eyes with a brown, purple, bronze or blue liner for a softer defined effect

Use a cool toned bronzer or contour powder to shape the face after applying foundation and follow with blush.

I'd love to know if you have any top tips for pale sin makeup or any favourite products you have that work well for fair skin. Please leave me a comment below.

Thanks for Reading

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Skincare Series Edition 1 - Exfoliants

Welcome to the Skincare Series! A bi-weekly blog series where I chat to you about different skincare steps and run through a couple of my favourite products, what they do and why I love them.

Today I’m chatting exfoliants. Without a doubt, these super skin-transforming beauties are my favourite step in my skincare routine. No other product offers up such instant results, and I just love to see my skincare doing its job. It’s also been the most effective step since discovering these products over the last year or so. Before then I was an exfoliating noob, afraid to exfoliate for fear of aggravating my sensitive skin and now I have a mini panic attack when I run out of my beloved FAB pads (they are so darn tricky to get hold of where I live). And for me, my skin has never looked or behaved better.

I’ll start by telling you a bit about my skin. I have sensitive, oily skin, prone to breakouts, blackheads, redness and dehydration and can be easily irritated by harsh ingredients.

First-up, the masks. Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant is described as a:

 “Two-in-one masque/exfoliation treatment. Non-abrasive formula contains Lactic Acid and Hydroxy Acid to help detach dead skin cells, increasing cell renewal while improving texture for dramatically smooth skin. Formulated without artificial fragrances and colours.”

Now if you ask me, this does exactly what is says on the tin ( I do get a slight tingle when I use this product but it's not unpleasant and if anything just gives me little poke as to say…”I’m working, I’m eating all your dead skin cells..yum!”
It leaves the skin soft and supple feeling and ready to soak up all that lovely serum or oil or whatever your next skincare step is.

Next up in the mask category we have Ella Bache Revitalisant,

“A dual-action exfoliant that dissolves dead cells and buffs skin texture to reveal a more youthful, brighter, clearer complexion”

Another deliverer. As stated above, this is a dual-action product, its firstly a BHA exfoliant, with salicylic acid to get deep down into those pores and dig out all that dirt and dead skin. It’s secondly a manual exfoliant as when the product is dry you buff it off the face with fingertips and the gentle bits of almond manually sweep that skin and dirt away. What you are left with is glowing, soft revitalised skin.

Now on that subject lets chat about manual exfoliants, it’s a bit of a taboo subject as we are told they’re damaging for our skin, that they break the capillaries if scrubbed too hard and that there’s no need for them. I say, if you works for you, do it. I love nothing more than a gentle scrub once in a while, but I must say I’m careful about the ingredients used in the scrub. Nothing too sharp or abrasive, just gentle and natural. I use the St Ives scrubs and I personally do not have any problem with them. I use these scrubs much less frequently than the my other exfoliants though. Maybe once or twice a month and I’m very gentle with application.

Lastly in the exfoliation skincare series lets address daily exfoliation. Another taboo! I’ve been told countless times, don’t exfoliate every day. Once or twice a week max. And for my high grade arsenal (exfoliants mentioned above) I do stick to that rule. That is, after all, what Sunday nights are for isn't it? But I love nothing more than knowing these little beauties, First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, are “hi-ho-ing” away (sing it, you know you want to) daily under my makeup and while I sleep. FAB’s pads claim they:

“Contain just the right amount of lactic and glycolic acids to make them safe and effective for daily use. Cucumber and Indian gooseberry tone the skin, while lemon peel and licorice root leave the skin bright and glowing. FAB’s facial radiance pads are free of parabens, harsh chemicals and colourants.” 

*Cue angels singing*. I love these effortless, highly effective little pads. A simple sweep over the face after cleansing and you're good to go on with the rest of your routine knowing the acids and gentle brightening ingredients are clocking in with your skin and you're left with a smoother, brighter more glowing complexion.

So that wraps up our first edition of the skincare series, but not without mention of my final favourite exfoliation expert…the lowly face cloth/ wash cloth/ flannel depending on where you originate. Doesn't need to cost the earth, doesn't need to be hand stitched from the finest Egyptian cotton, just bog standard, basic everyday face cloth. Add this is to your routine to gently wipe off your cleanser or cleansing balm and trust me, you will notice the difference. Switch it up for a clean one every one or two days.

I hope you enjoyed the first edition of the skincare series. Be sure to check back for future editions and let me know your top exfoliation products.

Thanks for reading


I am by no means a skincare expert, what works for me may not work for you so where possible always test products on yourself. All information provided is based on personal experience and learnt when researching products for myself online.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Cake Lovers Crop Top

My obsession with the midi skirt is in full bloom this spring, I just love the way it brings a vintage feel to my wardrobe and cant help but feel super feminine and chic when I’m sporting one….psssst, does anyone else do the swirly dance in front of the mirror when they feel like that?...just me? I digress. 
I also have a particular love for print, show me a floral printed anything and I will buy it (although I’m also partial to anything with cats on it, but that’s a whole other story and a whole other obsession which no doubt we will touch upon in future posts….my apologies in advance for that.)

Two beautiful printed midi skirts under my belt, I needed a crop top that would perfectly compliment the high waistline but not overwhelm the bold colourful print and more importantly NOT flash too much flesh as, to say I enjoy cake would be a massive understatement.

Cue Fashion Union Crop T-Shirt with mesh insert. I love the way the main panel of this tee finishes right on the high waistline tricking the eye into thinking its shorter than it is and allowing the print of the skirt to peep through the mesh panel still gives the illusion of a longer leg (and lets face it I need all the help I can get in that department). The mesh panel and thick black hem also mean that I have that extra bit of coverage on the midriff and can feel confident in moving around and sitting down without fear of flashing too much flesh and the dreaded muffin top rearing it's ugly head. The cut of the tee is that perfect combination of casual effortlessness and edgy, pair me with a skinny jean and killer heels, kinda vibe. All in all, a fantastic find and a great way to play around with the crop top trend if, like me, you enjoy cake a little too much.


Shop the Outfits:

Crop Top - ASOS
Rose Texture Midi Skirt - Topshop
Spot Mid Skirt - Vintage
Pencil Skirt - Portmans - No Longer Available
EOS Shoes Monroe Cream  - styletread
Sunglasses - Ray-ban
Bracelet - Ted Baker

Thanks for Reading