A Little Boots Makeup Haul

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I was very recently doing my makeup when I realised that my eyebrows were looking weird. They’d start off ok but then by the time my eyebrow gel dried down they’d take on a milky look. I thought maybe it was just because my chosen product was crap, but on closer inspection it turned out that nope, it was just me that was crap. I bought a coloured gel for blondes. And this is the problem not being able to wear your glasses when you’re doing your makeup. I can’t bloody see!

Anyway, the point of this ramble was that I needed to go to Boots. For one thing. So obviously I bought seven things. Not a huge haul but I thought I’d share what I got anyway.

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The fist thing I got was Rimmel’s Brow This Way brow styling gel in ‘Dark Brown’ aka the actual colour of my eyebrows. I really like this, it adds a bit of colour and definition and holds everything in place without getting too crispy. I also like the tapered brush, it’s not the smallest but neither are my brows so it works for me.

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Boots have a few deals on just now, either 3 for 2 (like on Revlon) or buy one get second item half price (on Rimmel, Maybelline etc) so it’s a good time to pick up some of your essentials. This is how I’m justifying the rest of the items I bought anyway…

The second item I picked up was this Rimmel Kate Eyeshadow Stick in the shade ‘Rose Gold’. Rose gold aka copper. I love copper eyeshadow, it looks great with blue eyes so I’m sure this will become a go-to. It’s metallic and super intense on one swipe but also easy to blend out with a pinkie finger.

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From Maybelline I bought one of the Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in the colour  ‘Red Essential’. This is super pigmented and really creamy so although it is a pencil you still have to be careful when applying it.

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Here’s a swatch of both the lip and eye pencil, both are really high quality and I’m very pleased with them.

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I also finally got myself the Maybelline The Eraser Eye concealer. I got the shade ‘Light’, it’s slightly warm for my skin but it’s totally fine when it’s blended out.

Finally I picked up three of the Revlon Colorstay Shadowlinks. These are small individual eyeshadows that you can pick and mix to create your perfect ‘palette’. I got the shades ‘Sand’ (a pearl finish), ‘Copper’ (metallic) and ‘Cocoa’ (a satin finish). My reasoning behind this was that they are so dinky I thought I could just chuck them in my makeup bag for using at work. I didn’t swath them in store and I wish I had because they don’t actually seem that great. They’re a bit gritty and not that pigmented. ‘Cocoa’ is probably the best but ‘Sand’ really sucks. I’ll give them a fair go though, they might turn out to be fine. I’ll report back.

What have you been buying at the drugstore recently?

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Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani | The Lipsticks

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Last week I posted about Urban Decay’s collaboration with Gwen Stefani to release her go-to eyeshadow palette. They will soon be expanding the line to include eight lipsticks, lipliners, a blush palette and a brow box. When you purchase the eyeshadow palette you will receive a sample card with four of the lipsticks to try so I though I would share the swatches today. I think Gwen is more known for her signature bold lip than her eye looks so this is the part of the collection I think that most people will be excited about.

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Included in the sample is a range of finishes and a couple which are sure to be the bestsellers. Also, the design of the packaging of the actual lipstick is glorious. I’ve not seen it in person yet so I don’t know what the quality will be like but I love the black and gold design. Definitely display-worthy.

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From left to right we have: ‘Firebird’ a pink with a strong blue undertone which makes it appear purple in the bullet but not on the lips; ‘Ex-Girlfriend’, a sheer nude wash; ‘714’, a true red matte and lastly, ‘Rock Steady’ looks like a dark red but swatches up pretty pink, definitely one that will be very versatile depending on how you apply it.

It’s lucky that UD will be releasing the matching lip liners with these as they are all (with the exception of ‘Ex-Girlfriend’) very pigmented and will need the precise application a liner can help with. The cream formula of ‘Firebird’ and ‘Rock Steady’ is lovely, very comfortable to wear but definitely presents a risk of bleeding so I would say a lip liner will be a must with at least the cream formulas in this range.

I don’t usually wear mattes as I have horrendously dry lips so I was a bit scared of the mega matte ‘714’. However, I must have been having a good lip day as actually I really liked it. It did feel very dry and is tricky to apply (especially if like me you don’t wear a lot of mattes) but it is super opaque and somehow doesn’t accentuate flaws.

UDxGwen Lipstick

‘Ex-Girlfriend’ is probably my favourite of these four and one that I would wear often. You can also see from the above that one light coat of ‘Rock Steady’ gives a very pink-toned red.

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Also in the collection will be three more cream formulas: ‘Spiderweb’ (a mid-toned red); ‘Wonderland’ (a dark reddish pink) and ‘Phone Call’ (mid-toned bubblegum pink). There will also be one more sheer formula – ‘Plaid’ is a deep berry which I’m assuming will also pull quite pink.

The UK release date is this Thursday 21st Jan on the Urban Decay website (they’re already out/sold out in the States) and you can sign up to be notified of the release here. I’ve not seen any prices yet but I’m assuming that both the lipstick and the pencil will be in the £15-£20 each mark.

I’ve got my eye on ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ and I think either ‘Plaid’ or ‘Spiderweb’. Do any take your fancy?

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

In my early teenage years (and actually still a bit now) third-wave ska was my thing. While the majority of my pals were more into the indie-rock scene, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and of course, No Doubt’s The Tragic Kingdom were my tracks of choice. So I have a huge space in my heart for Gwen Stefani. When Urban Decay announced their collaboration with Gwen, I kinda knew that I was going to buy it regardless. Luckily the first product to be launched, the 15-shade eyeshadow palette, is beautiful. It retails at £40, I purchased it from Feel Unique during the sale so received 10% off – not a huge discount, but when you’re meant to be saving for a house every little counts.

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Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

The packaging is super luxe. I love the graphic print on the outer box and the black, white and gold colour scheme. It’s a heavy plastic with a really strong magnetic closure. It has a full size mirror on the inside with a nice nod to the No Doubt song. It is a pretty thick and heavy palette so although it is sturdy it’s not a great option for travelling due to it’s bulk (in my opinion).

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Unlike palettes like the Naked series there’s no brush included in this one and so no space in the palette to store it. I actually like this. Although the brushes included in other UD sets are really good quality I always think they’re a bit of a waste of space in the palette in general.

As you can see the majority of the Gwen palette is neutral with a good range from light to dark and a couple of statement shades. 12 of the shades are new and named by Gwen and 3 are repeats. Skimp and Stark are both in the Naked 2 Basics palette (which I have) and Blackout is in Naked2 (which I don’t have) as well as being available individually.

If I’m being really nit-picky, it’s weird that the names are printed above the shadow when normally they’re below.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Sorry, for the crappy swatches but hopefully you get the idea. Blonde is a pale beige with a subtle pink iridescent shift. Bathwater is a pearly pale gold shimmer. Skimp is an almost matte pale beige with the slighest hint of a satiny shine. Steady is a gorgeous rosy-gold shimmer. Punk is a matte reddish-brown that would be a great  shade for lining or creating an interesting smoky look.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

On the middle row, Baby is a metallic rose. Anaheim is a matte, cool, light brown. Stark is a matte beige. Zone is a mid-toned brown, also matte. Serious is a really unusual grey with a very subtle pink pearl that just lifts it.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

On to the last row and Pop is a sheer sparkly champagne, Harajuku is a cool toned pink metallic. Danger is a really intense navy metallic. 1987 is a yellow gold metallic with much better pay-off than my picture shows. Blackout is a black matte.

The biggest disappointment of the palette is Pop. This is a really grainy glitter that has a tonne of fallout, much like Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and one that I probably won’t use even though it looks lovely in the pan. Harajuku also feels quite stiff in the pan and has a much more sheer pay off than one might expect. However, for a bright pink this is probably a good thing! The rest are all buttery soft, high quality shadows. The overall feel is a very wearable, neutral look with a couple of pops of colour and good smoky options. I also think that the navy Danger and the gold 1987 are still quite wearable shades, even if they seem a bit bold at first.

I know that a lot of people were surprised at how neutral the palette was, but this actually suits Gwen’s make up look perfectly – girl is all about the lipsticks! Overall, I think this is a beautiful, collectable palette and I am super happy to have it in my collection.

This palette is limited edition so snap it up quickly if you fancy it. Urban Decay will be adding to the Gwen Stefani collection with lipsticks and lip pencils, a blush palette (amazing) and a brow kit (strictly for blondies I think). The eyeshadow palette came with a set of 4 samples from the upcoming lipstick range so I’m excited to try those out. I will report back with my thoughts very soon.

What do you think of the UDxGwen offering? Were you a noughties ska kid too? I’m off to download No Doubt’s greatest hits now…

Benefit Real Cheeky Party Gift Set | Review

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Obviously, buying Christmas presents is super duper fun. I love online shopping, reading gift guides and searching the shops for that special gift that will make someone’s day. Buuuut, inevitably in all that selfless hunting you will stumble across a gift for yourself. Sure, you can drop hints, you can write to Santa, you can outright demand that your boyfriend buy you it, but sometimes it’s easier just to buy yourself a little present.

The Benefit Sweet Cheeks set that came out last year was this for me. Last year I resisted buying it and missed out. So when the Real Cheeky Party palette was released this year I just had to get it.The RRP is £29.50 (apparently it’s worth £110.23) and is currently available at John Lewis for £26.55.

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The packaging itself is gorgeous, the inside is tin in the same design as the outer box. The pink and green might not be to everyone’s taste but I personally love it. The leaflet inside includes mini face maps to show you where to use each of the different powders to their best effect.

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The kit includes four blushers, a bronzer, a highlighter, an eyeliner and a mascara. Last years was the same, except instead of the eyeliner and mascara you got a fifth blusher (Bellabamba) and a small brush.

The bronzer is their famous Hoola bronzer which seems to be widely loved. I actually find it a bit orange toned for me so probably won’t get much use out of this one.

In terms of the blushers, I have had Dandelion and Coralista before and loved them both. Along with Rockateur and Sugarbomb, they are soft with a light pigment so are buildable and wearable. They have varying levels of shimmer with Dandelion being almost matte and Rockateur having the boldest shimmer.

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The ‘extras’ are a nice sample of the Watt’s Up highlighter and a mini of the They’re Real mascara and eyeliner. I really don’t like either of the They’re Real products – the eyeliner is flaky and the mascara is just not for me (I’ve found that people are either They’re Real fans or Roller Lash fans, I’m definitely the latter), but I love the Watt’s Up sample. It’s great that it is removable from the palette and has a cover to prevent dreaded powder fallout getting in it.

In a totally ideal world I would swap out the eyeliner and mascara for another blush – I really would have loved Hervana to be included as it’s so unique – and maybe even a sample of the Majorette cream blush in a similar style to the highlighter. Wishful thinking perhaps but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the 2016 edition!

Overall, I love this palette and I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of use out of it. It would of course make a fabulous Christmas gift for any make up fan, or like me, why not treat yourself? You deserve it!

For more gift ideas, check out my gift guide for the Beauty Queens here.

My First MAC Purchases

My First MAC Purchases

Yes really, these are the first MAC products that I’ve bought. I’ve had a couple as gifts before, but these are the very first that I’ve gone into a shop, chosen and paid for with my own cash money. How have I managed it? I’m 28, I’m very easily influenced by hype and I love buying makeup. I guess it’s because in the beauty blogger world there are so many dupes bandied around that sometimes I hear about the best dupe before even hearing about the actual product. I do see the limited collections and make a mental wishlist (that Marge Simpson blush anyone?), but am never quick enough of the mark to actually buy anything; when MAC say limited, they mean limited. And finally, the MAC stores and counters and just a bit… intimidating.

So when I recently had 2 hours to kill in Edinburgh Airport I decided it was time to bit the bullet and make my very first MAC purchase. Plus it meant I got to take advantage of the duty free discount. Win!

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I decided that the first thing I would get would be a lipstick. I was drawn to the lustre finish ones as I think they’re the easiest for people like me who have super dry, cracked lips all the time to wear. They are quite moisturising and very forgiving. They don’t last the longest, but for me they look the best. I was torn between Syrup and Plumful, but in the end I chose Plumful (£15.50). It’s a rosy-plum that can be applied lightly for a sheer sweep of colour or built up for a stronger look.

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I didn’t actually intend on buying anything else but as I was waiting for the assistant to finish up with another customer I had a little swatch of the Paint Pots. I’ve always liked the look of these, but the first I heard of them was people saying that the Maybelline Colour Tattoos were exactly the same, just as good etc etc. “Fine,” I thought, “I don’t need to pay four times as much in MAC then, great”. Er, yeah, they are not the same. Don’t get me wrong, the Colour Tattoos are amazing but they don’t have the same staying power as the MAC Paint Pots. To be honest, the Paint Pots probably last a little too long, I had to scrub at my hands for ages to get the swatches off (no makeup remover to hand!).

I was really torn in trying to decide which to buy, the bronze Constructivist, copper Let Me Pop and the dark multi-tonal Blackground were all very tempting  but in the end I plumped for Perky (£16). It’s an unusual shade – and orangey pink coral with a shimmer to it, but orange tones look good with blue eyes (colour wheel science eh) and I don’t already have anything like it.

So I’m pretty happy with my purchases. I think I made some good choice and I now have a MAC wishlist as long as my arm. Just like everyone else!

What do you recommend I try from MAC next? What are your must-haves?

Pumpkin Pie Makeup Look

Pumpkin Pie Makeup Look

I did this makeup look recently and initially I thought it was a but summery for this time of year. Normally all the looks you’ll see in the autumn are based around a dark or matte lip or smoky eyes. However, I’m naming this orange toned look ‘pumpkin pie’ and forcing season appropriateness onto, and that’s that. I really like it, so whatever!

Pumpkin Pie Makeup Look

My base was super simple, a dab of Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, a pump of Rimmel Match Perfection foundation and a healthy dose of the Bourjois Cream Blush in ‘Nude Velvet’.

On my lids I used the matte shade ‘New-tral’ from the Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro palette all over, followed by the shimmery ‘Awaken’ over the top in the centre and inner corners. A quick slick of Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl and L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes followed.

Finally, I used the Barry M Cor Balmy! lip balm in the shade ‘Trouble & Strife’ for a dose of moisture and a pop of  colour.

And, er, I forgot to do my eyebrows. Amazing beauty blogger right here!

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I really like the finished look, even with the ungroomed eyebrows! The Iconic Pro palette is known as a dupe for the Lorac Pro palette, and while I haven’t tried anything from Lorac, I can say that the quality of the Makeup Revolution is excellent. The ‘Awaken’ shade is super shimmery but has no fallout while ‘New-tral’ is very well pigmented for a budget matte. I really must do a full review of this palette as it’s my current favourite.

Another budget bargain is the lip balm. It looks really cheap and crap, but actually applies really nicely and gives a good colour pay off for a balm. Plus, it’s punny and that is always a bonus.

What do you think of this look? Would you wear it at this time of year or do prefer a more classic autumn look?

Sample Samplin’ | Sept & Oct

Sample Samplin' | Sept & Oct

It’s been months since I last did a post like this and I still haven’t used up that much! What can I say, stuff lasts me a long time… Lots of Benefit this time so that’ll be interesting at least. Let’s get right into it:

Sample Samplin' | Sept & Oct

Starting with these sachets I got from Bumble & Bumble (do sachets even count as samples?), their famous Surf shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo and conditioner doesn’t have the same dramatic effect as the Surf Spray, but they are a lovely pair. They lather easily, the conditioner is light so won’t weigh your hair down, and they’ll enhance your natural texture. Sadly, my hair has no natural texture (unless flat is a texture) so I won’t be investing in these, sticking to the more heavy duty spray instead.

Sample Samplin' | Sept & Oct

Next up, I had a sample of the Urban Decay Naked foundation. Getting colour matched was pretty funny – “I’ll be the palest shade” “oh no, I don’t think so, I’ll try this one” “Er, that looks a bit dark” “OK, maybe the next one” “Is that the palest one? I’m usually the palest shade” “Hmm, I’ll try one more” …. “So when you come back just ask for the palest shade” Anyway, I got the palest shade (eventually) which is the perfect colour for me. It’s light and quite sheer, which I like in a foundation so I would buy this again. My one complaint is that it does cling to dry patches so I can’t wear it is my skin is dehydrated – which is almost always sadly. But I find this with most foundations so I do like this.

Another product that I love is Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray eye primer. I really like this as it’s a good multi-tasker for both neutralising your eyelid area, and helping your eyeshadow to last. It’s not silicone based so it’s not slipperly. I want to try and get a more budget friendly one, but I think in the meantime I’ll be buying this (the full size will probably last me forever anyway!).

Sample Samplin' | Sept & Oct

This Balance Me Super Toning Body Polish was a bit disappointing. As I’ve said before I’m not a bit fan of purely rose-scented products as this is, but I can overlook the smell if the product is good. Sadly, this is not. There’s just not enough of the exfoliating element to make it a decent scrub. I do love that it’s natural ingredients with ground walnut shell instead of the evil microbeads, it just needs more of them in there! I’ll be sticking to sugar scrubs for a good buff.

Sample Samplin' | Sept & Oct

I got these dinky Benefit skincare products as part of a set a wee while ago and this is the last of it. I really liked the Total Moisture Facial cream. It has a medium consistency so you can apply a light layer for  during the day or layer it up for night time. It sunk in quickly and didn’t clog up my skin so I got on with it well. I don’t think I’d buy it but that’s only because there are more affordable alternatives. The packaging is lovely though.

Similarly, I also really liked the toner. It had a lovely fragrance too.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like the facial emulsion AT ALL. An emulsion is supposed to be lighter than a moisturiser, but I found this to be so sticky! To be frank, it was really unpleasant to apply so I didn’t even get through this little bottle (which is also a terrible design for a cream tbh).

And that’s my recent samples. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and what you thought of them.