Friday, 26 April 2013
We all know them, and for the most part we love them... The Real Techniques brushes by Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo were hugely anticipated and now they are hugely adored by all us beauty lovers. I too have been wowed by them and have picked out the best of my collection. These are the RT brushes that I use daily and I would really struggle with my makeup without them!
1. Blush brush - £9.99 - This is the first one I purchased and I've not used anything since. I use it for all my powders and it is really brilliant at blending. I swirl the brush in the colour, pop it onto the apples of my cheeks and then apply a bit of pressure and really blend. I also use this for setting powder and just use the lighter top section of the brush.
2. Stippling brush - £11.99 - I lurrrve this brush for foundation and cream blush. I use it for foundation when I want a really perfected look and I have a lot of time to work it into the skin properly. It seriously gives the nicest finish and doesn't allow for any "cake". I think the most popular use for this brush is for cream blush and although I don't wear it all too often, when I do I reach for this. I actually bought a separate one for blush as I love it so much for foundation and I didn't want to have to wash it constantly. Eww I know.
3. Deluxe Crease brush - £21.99 (as part of the Starter Set) - AKA Concealer brush. I think I only bought the whole pack that this brush came with so I could use the brush that the Pixiwoo ladies use for concealer. It didn't disappoint. Its a really good size and shape for the job and makes light work of covering blemishes and dark circles. I wonder why they didn't actually market this as a concealer brush?
4. Setting brush - £8.99 - This one is one you possibly could live without, I mean I used to powder all over my face with a big brush and it wasn't the end of the world. However, I use concealer under my eyes every single day and not long after I found out this existed I realised it was a bit frustrating having to scrunch up my blush brush to fit into the contours of my eye sockets! This brush is the perfect shape and density for gently patting transluscent powder over my under-eye concealer. So while for some this may be an unnecessary step, I really enjoy it and will continue to give my concealer this special treatment.
5. Expert Face brush - £9.99 - I reach for this on days when I am in a hurry but am still applying a full face of foundation (pretty much every day. Sigh). It's not quite as perfecting as the stippling brush but it requires no effort and does a great job in no time at all. The shape is great because its not too big to fit in the "crevices" and not so small that its inefficient. I think that this is my most used RT brush actually.
They are such good quality brushes, I have experienced no shedding whatsoever. Also, because the fibres are synthetic they don't need cleaning as often as natural hair brushes. By the way, I do know you are supposed to clean brushes often, but lets all be honest and admit we don't have time to fully cleanse our brushes every day. As far as washing goes, they are easy to clean and I just use whatever soap / shampoo is lying around as long as it isn't harsh. They also dry really fast, yay!
Just a quick word on the packaging - I don't actually like the design. I'm not a fan of the colours and I don't need to be able to stand them up so I don't really benefit from the wide bases on the bigger brushes. It actually makes them harder to store in pots/mugs etc. Although I do understand that from a makeup artist's point of view the self standing brushes and the fact that they are colour coded by use would be really handy so I won't say anything else against it.
So that's it. My favourites! I haven't actually tried all the brushes (yet?) as these are keeping me going just fine at the moment. I'm not as crazy for the Buffing brush as everyone else seems to be but I quite like the idea of the Contour brush, so buying that whole set may be my next move... What are your favourites?
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Accessorize Highlighter £7 / 50ml
This product for me is a recent re-discovery. For some reason I stopped using it - I think it was when I got my first "high end" foundation and decided I was too good for this stuff perhaps? I don't know. What I do know is that we are all guilty of letting stuff drift to the back of the drawer and forgetting all about it.
The Accessorize Highlighter is yellow toned but definitely has some pinky-ness to it when the light catches it. A little definitely goes a long way with this and if you use too much it is far to pink in my opinion. The texture isn't great - it is a bit too gel-like for easy application as a cheek/brow highlight - I find it looks too obvious when applied on its own after foundation. I can never blend it properly and it just ends up where I don't want it. I've made it sound terrible now, but keep reading!
As it says on the tube, it can be used all over the face. This is how I use it. I squeeze out a pea-sized (a small pea) amount and mix it in with my moisturiser or foundation if I'm feeling too lazy for moisturiser. This is why I'm sort of labelling it as a radiance primer - it is very subtle when you blend in a small amount and really brings light to my complexion. Its probably not as good as an actual radiance primer but I have yet to buy one of those and don't feel the need when I have this! I can't say that it adds longevity to my base makeup but that's not something I find to be an issue anyway.
You can hardly see it in this picture because I have really blended just a small amount - but this is how I like it. I think its the perfect way to pep up your skin when the weather is dull and doing you no favours! I think the price is fair as you get 50ml and honestly, it lasts forever. The packaging may be childish and the quality may not be tip top but even so, I keep reaching for it daily so something must be right about it!
Monday, 15 April 2013
Topshop Crystal Clouds £6 / 8ml
This is a little different for me - shimmer on the nails isn't something I normally go for but I'm so glad I got this. I always get a compliment or two when I'm wearing this, probably because its so amazingly shiny. I really like the Topshop nail polishes for price, colour and formula. They do not disappoint!
First of all I applied a coat of my O.P.I Birthday Babe. Not really sure why I did this, it didn't make that much difference apart from lighten up Crystal Clouds a tiny bit. I think I was just caught up in a wave of shimmer! But anyways... I only had to apply one coat of the Topshop polish and it was opaque which I think is a common trait in the Topshop polishes - at least the ones I have tried.
I literally have no complaints or negative things to say about the Topshop polishes. I find myself wanting to call them perfect... Too much? Probably. But still, the packaging is pretty, the formula is great, the colour range is huge and chic and the price is more than fair.
Crystal Clouds is a lovely champagne sort of colour. Like I said I don't normally do shimmer but this is so shimmery its pretty much metallic which is probably the reason I'm OK with it. It really catches the light beautifully and I find myself staring at my nails a lot.
Here is the usual close up photo. I like to include the close up because it gives you a true idea of the colour, but OH MAN I hate looking at my nails up close! I actually don't notice the state of my nails until I see the pictures and each time I say that I will sort it out for next time. I never do. Oh well. Please say I'm not the only one - or tell me that I am so that I am shamed into a proper nail care routine...
Friday, 12 April 2013
No7 Calm Skin Redness-relief Balm £18 / 30ml
You don't tend to hear all that much about No7 products. Occasionally there's a bit of a buzz around their limited edition make-up releases but that's about it really. I personally have never read/heard much about their skincare and was never that fussed anyway due to the price. That was until my Mum and I went to a local counter to get her foundation matched with that new magic tool thingy they have.
We thought it would take 5 minutes; a quick chat, a little zap of the thingy and then we'd be told what to buy and be on our way. In actual fact we were there for quite a while and Mum got totally pampered! The No7 lady (are they MUA's? I don't know) removed Mum's makeup with some cream and her skin went a bit red. The lady exclaimed that Mum has sensitive skin and quickly applied some of the Redness-relief Balm. And I am not joking when I say that the results were instant and obvious, I had never seen her skin look so good! The redness just evaporated and Mum's skin looked lovely and clear. It made a real impression on me.
I didn't buy it straight away as at £18 its not an easy buy for me. But I couldn't stop thinking about it and when all the skincare was on 3 for 2 in Boots recently I just couldn't resist! I'm really glad I took the plunge because the difference it makes really is good.
I apply it morning and night as the bottle suggests and I ignore the part about following up with a moisturiser as I really hate to use a lot of products on top of one another. They call it a gel on the website and a balm on the packaging but to me it feels like a light moisturiser - not too sticky but not too watery. It sinks in really quickly too. The most noticeable change for me is that when I wake up my skin actually looks well rested and so much more even and less blotchy than it used to.
The packaging explains it all pretty well and for once I can actually vouch for the statistics!
I'm not too sure about the ingredients (I don't know much about the science of beauty) but I thought I would include the picture anyways as some people are actually in the know and might benefit.
I'm no skincare expert but the No7 lady really knew her stuff and recommended more scientific brands like Clinique and (of course No7) if you have sensitive skin rather than plant based skincare like Origins and Liz Earle. Since the consultation I have stopped using my Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and perhaps this has helped calm my skin down too. My Mum and I had no idea that we had sensitive skin before this but according to the lady if you take your makeup off and your skin is very red then it probably is quite sensitive. Just a little tip for you there!
Overall I was really impressed with the No7 foundation match service actually and may go myself when/if I use up my current stash of foundation. And as for the Calm Skin Redness-relief Balm I think it was totally worth the money and I hope I never have to be without it!