Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An Offering From ELF: The Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder...

Following on from my last post (a slack two weeks later...) I thought I’d review the ELF Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder duo, a very similar offering to the Nars duo at a snip of the price.

ELF Turks and Caicos Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder Duo £3.95 (link)

On the ELF website the colours look very similar to the bronzer and blusher duos that are on the Nars site.  Points to ELF for providing a selection of shades and colours, unlike some cheaper make up brands.

 I chose the shade Turks & Caicos, which has a peachy shimmery blush and a dark but warm bronzer (light hand needed as I later found out…!).  Other shades available are St Lucia, which looks perfect for light skinned girls with natural blush and light bronzer, and Antigua, which is a bright pink blush for that pop of colour teamed with what looks like the same dark bronzer as Turks and Caicos.  I am fully aware that most people have blogged that the St Lucia is the ‘dupeyest’ of them all, so perhaps if you’re looking for an exact colour match then go for that one.  However as I though this would be too light for my skin tone and wasn’t looking to purchase a dupe.

On first glance in to your make up bag you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the Nars and the ELF in terms or packaging.  Sturdy, black, plastic outer? Check.  Nice big mirror? Check.  Initial appearances are good!

The first contrast I noticed between the Nars duo and ELF duo is the texture.  ELF is very quick to powder and crumble when swirling your brush, meaning that with constant use it probably won’t last that long. The Nars powders are more solid yet still give a good colour pay off.  However for £3.95 I don’t think there’s much room for complaining!

The blush I was very surprised with.  I usually like to have stronger orange/coral cheek colours as I personally think it makes me look a lot healthier.  As you can see, this ELF blush doesn’t look like it would provide what I’m after, maybe a half hearted attempt but nothing more.  However, after applying I was really happy with the result it gave me, almost an inner glow in a very natural colour with a hint of shimmer (highlighter could be used but wouldn't be missed!).  Both Orgasm and Turks & Caicos have made me happy on the blusher front and both aren’t colours I’d necessarily reach for.

The bronzer.  Oh the bronzer.  I was really excited to try this after the blush.  My ideal cheap duo finally here to make my life easier, could it be?  Oh no.. no, no, no.  Remember earlier when I mentioned ‘quick to crumble?  You need an extremely light hand with this bronzer, as a little goes a verryyy long way as you can see from the swatches.  It’s quite hard to buff in once you apply it too, so be super careful.  Perhaps if you’re going for a severe contour look then this is for you, but when you’re running out the door to work you don’t ideally want two brown stripes under your cheek bones and some brown smears around your forehead!  Nars Laguna that I’ve previously reviewed is a lot easier to get just right as it doesn’t go on to heavy, can be built up and can be easily buffed out

Without Flash

With Flash

For £3.95 I don’t think can you really go wrong with this one, and despite my bronzer mishaps I am tempted to purchase in the other two colours to see if this differs.  I now know that I need to be very light with the bronzer so maybe with more perseverance I’ll final conquer the application?!  I’m always getting emails from ELF too about one promotion or another so a deal is definitely to be had especially if you’re adding this to an ELF shopping list! However, if you are looking to invest and cost isn’t an issue for you then I would definitely recommend going for the Nars duos as the quality is really good.

Are there any high brand ELF dupes that you’ve loved? I’d love to expand my collection!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

My First Nars..

Nars ASOS Exclusive Bronzer Blush Duo £30 (link)

Nars Laguna (link)
Nars Orgasm (link)

Do you ever have those items in your ASOS saved list that you are 100% in love with but never can commit to buying?  This was it for me.  I had been lusting after this beaut for ages, forever calling out my name when I went through my saved list, or fancied “treating myself*” to a purchase, but I had never managed to make the saved-list-to-basket move.

(*nb making a “I've worked hard and deserve a treat” purchase every week probably doesn't quality as a treat and more a buying addiction).

After much deliberation the purchase decision came from three things - 
1. ASOS 30% off beauty event (big up… I filled my boots!). 
2. My determination not to miss another discount. 
3. Lauren adding to my justification/easily persuaded (check her blog out here).

This is my first Nars product, so I was super excited to see what everyone raves about.   Combining two of the cult Nars items (Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer) I could already sense good things about this bad boy pre-box open.

The packaging is super sturdy (could definitely take a few handbag/make up bag bashings and still be fine) and there is a lovely big mirror for on the go touch ups (or as I found, full make-up application at the boyfriend’s house due to his poorly placed mirror)

I know I’m repeating every other blogger about these two when I describe them, but they are simply as beautiful as everyone says.  Laguna is a warm bronzer that really sculpts the face and adds that pop of natural ‘post sun glow’ minus the tango/mud look that many people are wary of with bronzers.   Orgasm is a shimmery pinky blush which makes you look natural and healthy.  I know that’s an awful description but it’s true.  The two of these just go hand in hand together to make you look healthy, sun kissed, and radiant.  To be completely honest I was a little bit worried when I saw Orgasm in the pan, as it’s a lot more pink than any blush I would ever choose for myself (I tend to stick to oranges/corals/ nudes for my warm skin tone) but somehow it just works.  The pink in the pan isn't as pink as it turns out when applied, which definitely contributes to how it looks so natural.  There is some shimmer to it, as you can see in the swatch photos below, but I personally really like this.

Without flash 

 With flash

I had always been a benefit bronzer and blush girl when it comes to higher end make up, but since getting my hands on this I would say I couldn't pick a side. I would definitely consider re-purchasing these once I hit the pan as they are such a great combination together.  It can be quite tricky picking a complimenting blush and bronzer from a brand that you've never swatched as sometimes the cult items that you’d be tempted by don’t always look right when worn at once, but this duo makes it so much easier as they’re already paired.   I’ll definitely be looking to expand my Nars collection now!

What Nars products have you tried and what products are your favourite?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CCcrazy for CC cream...

Me and BB creams have never got on.  From the first one I ever tired(highly anticipated Garnier BB cream I'm looking at youthey haven't lived up to my expectations.  I know they aren't for coverage but no matter how I applied them (hands/sponge/brush) I just couldn't make them work.  They left me looking sticky and shiny even though I have dry skin.  Any colour that was in them went streaky down my face.  To finish it off, my preferred skin look is matte, so as I'm sure you can tell BBs were pretty much dead in the water.

When CC creams came onto the scene a while ago I completely dismissed them, assuming the hype would be exactly the same as it was with the BBs and I would be underwhelmed. 

But SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.  I am converted *raises hands in praise-the-lawd style*. Let me introduce to you my new BFFs.  Bourjois CC cream and CC eye cream.  This stuff is insane and my new secret face recipe (not so secret now!).

(completely blended in like a dream!)

In terms of coverage it's not up there with the heavy bases so bear that in mind if that's more your thing, but the three colour correction pigments in there provide a really flawless airbrushed finish (apricot for anti fatigue, green for anti red and white for anti dark FYI).  It feels really light on the skin and can be easily worked in with fingers or buffed in with a brush to help achieve the 'perfect skin' illusion.  It also smells really fresh and clean too (with an added bonus of SFP15 for the daytime).

Hand in hand comes the CC eye cream.  This is a recent purchase for me and came after the CC cream (I thank you, ASOS 30% off beauty!).  I am paranoid about my eye bags.  Sadly I can't blame them on genetics or inheritance, it's just because I'm tired all the time. I wake up and think about when I'll have a nap.  I get to work and all day think of napping.  At the gym when I can't breath I just keep myself going with the promise of a nap. So I need some pretty hefty eye baggage cover. The CC cream isn't as thick and heavy like some of my concealers (sorry Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, I still have so much love for you too!) but applies really nicely under the eye with a great coverage over or under the CC base('blends well' box ticked right there!).

(slightly lighter shade to brighten my eyes)

My only two annoyances are with the packaging/applicator. Having a twist bottom concealer really annoys me as I can't see how much product I have left, but who am I kidding, it's definitely not a deal breaker!  The second annoyance is with the nip tip.  I don't know how to explain this, but it's very similar to some lip gloss tubes. It's definitely not the best to distribute the product round you eye, as you have to go for dots rather than lines and can get a little messy with product (a light touch needed on the twist bottom if you're a bit clumsy like me).  A brush top would have been 100% welcome ( a la similar concealers/highlighters on the market). 

I know some people aren't enamoured with Bourjois' shade selections, so that could be a slight annoyance but once the CC is buffed in I think there would be a shade that could suit nearly everyone.  Whines aside, this dynamic duo have now become staples in both week day and weekend make up routines as they give me a lovely natural glow and make me feel flawless (I woke up like this, I woke up like this). I can't see myself abandoning them any time soon.  

Sunday, 8 June 2014

I Now Pronounce You Girl & Blog...

FINALLY my first blog post.  This has probably been the most underwhelming 'work in progress' post ever, so big apologies in advance (wow.. I definitely sound like I'm expecting an audience!)...

So, I should probably start with a few little things about me...  I'm a little lady (4ft 11 and 3/4 - 5ft depending on how kind the day has been to me) living in Devon.  Aside from the horrendous amount of rain we seem to be gifted with it is a beautiful place. Always tired and slightly lazy, I am a clothes hoarder and beauty accumulator, forever trying to be that 'chic minimalist' and forever failing. My (un)guilty pleasure is anything Kardashian. And Kanye West will always be my favourite. 

(source: pinterest)

I wanted to just  'set the scene' in this post and get the first post out the way (it's so cringe to write about yourself but I guess it has to be done!). I don't want to pigeon hole myself into fashion or beauty or anything,  I just want to write about what I'm loving, obsessing over, disliking and resurrecting, with every post coming from the heart and hopefully giving you an insight into me, myself and I (hit it Beyonce *flicks hair*) 

Now let's get this show on the road...