Thursday, 29 January 2015

New In | Beauty Edit

It's fair to say that my purchases in general slowed a little following Christmas. I even avoided the boxing day sales and seem to have curbed my ASOS addiction (for now at least). There have been a few items however that have slipped into my beauty stash which I've not tried before, most of which have been on my wishlist for some time.

MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ (£15.50/100ml).
I mentioned this product in my Everyday Makeup Video here. It's one I've been dying to try as my oily skin means my makeup never lasts quite as long as I'd like. I've been mulling over this purchase for some time as I just couldn't get my head around the concept - you spray this mist over a full face of makeup and somehow this makes your makeup look better. After trying a dupe which didn't quite work I bit the bullet (and closed my eyes when I confirmed the payment online) and thankfully so far the product does exactly what I expected. It refreshes my skin leaving a 'dewy' natural finish and helps my makeup last longer.

L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes So Couture Black Mascara (£10.99)
This mascara came with a whole host of other L'Oreal goodies which I got for Christmas and I absolutely love the wand which is more like a comb than a brush. It works perfectly at grabbing and defining my smaller and lower lashes especially.

Clarins Daily Energizer Wake-Up Booster (£16.50/125ml)
This beauty was another gift and probably a product I wouldn't have bought for myself. I see toners as more of a luxury than a necessity as my skincare routine has almost always consisted of simply cleansing and moisturising, with the occasional exfoliation session. Weirdly I've already become accustomed to slotting the Daily Energizer into my routine, applying a little to my face each morning, post-cleansing, and it gives my winter-beaten skin a kick-start. My skin seems to look fresher and generally less dull as a result.

Dr Bronner's Pure-Castile Citrus Liquid Soap (£5.99/237ml)
I've been looking for a new cleanser for some time. I usually just use Cidal, a natural anti-bacterial soap, but it's been leaving my skin so dry lately. This Liquid Soap by Dr Bronner cleanses my skin so well without stripping it of essential moisture.

MAC Satin Lipstick in Mocha (£15.50)
I've definitely become a lipstick hoarder. I made myself get rid of a few that had been gathering dust in my Muji drawers at the end of last year but have ended up simultaneously replacing them with new lipsticks, including this Satin Lipstick by MAC. This lipstick shade is so pretty, which is why I couldn't resist it, but it's definitely more of a pink/peach than the name mocha suggests. It's really easy to wear and works especially well for medium skintones. I love the semi-matte finish but it can feel a little dry so I usually remedy this by wearing a dab of lip balm underneath.

What beauty products have you been loving lately?

Lesley x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Review | L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipstick

I've really been loving L'Oreal Paris Lipsticks lately, and in particular the Color Riche range. It's not perfect, but for me this is the most inclusive product range I've come across from L'Oreal Paris - I usually find their shades a bit too bright for my medium complexion.

I adore this Barely Golden shade from the Color Riche Collection Exclusive (£6.99), which was custom made to suit L'Oreal Paris spokesperson Eva Longoria. I wouldn't say I have the same skintone as Eva Longoria - we both have medium toned skin but she's a lot more golden and sun-kissed in colour. I'm feeling particularly 'pale' at the moment too where we're in the throes of winter. Somehow though this lipstick still works for me. It has a very subtle shimmer and tiny golden flecks which bring out the yellow undertones in my skin, making it appear less dull. I wouldn't say this shade is a nude tone for me but it perfectly complements soft, 'everyday' makeup looks or adds a nice pop of colour when I'm not wearing makeup.

I have a few Color Riche Lipsticks already, but I'd definitely buy a few more. I want to try the Color Riche L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipsticks next.

Have you tried any L'Oreal Paris Lipsticks?

Lesley x

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Realash Eyelash Enhancer | 1 Month Update

I've been using REALASH Eyelash Enhancer (£49)* (introductory post here) on my top lashes for the past month. The product claims to enhance the length and thickness of your lashes after consistent use for 2-3 months. So far, even though I've missed a few days here and there, the results have been positive.

I've tried to ensure applying the serum is part of my nightly skincare routine to stay as consistent as possible, and as a result my eyelashes do appear longer, seem shinier and look slightly thicker, though the results are not dramatic. I've only been using the product for a month however, so perhaps the results will be more obvious in another months time. The main thing I've noticed is that my eyelashes used to fall out a lot previously and that has drastically reduced.

Before - without mascara 

After - without mascara 

Before - with mascara

After - with mascara

I haven't noticed any irritation or side-effects so far which is good as I am prone to getting itchy eyes. The product itself is sterile, but to be doubly safe I've been applying the product with a clean cotton bud rather than the REALASH applicator (which looks very similar to a liquid eyeliner wand).

I think any changes are actually most obvious when I'm wearing mascara, probably because not all of my lashes are dark/black in colour and mascara helps define each lash. I'm definitely much happier with the look of my lashes and, if improvements continue, I don't think I'd feel the need to try false eyelashes to get thicker looking eyelashes. I'll be doing a final review of the product in two months.

*sample. You can read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried any eyelash enhancers before?

Lesley x

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Hairstyle | Messy Bun with Braided Headband

I've been tired of my hair for a long time. Even my daily bun for work, which takes no more than 5 minutes to put together, has become a chore to do every morning. I've been wanting to try something different, but equally I've had minimal patience to attempt anything that requires too much fussing with my hair. On Friday I did this style as I knew this would be an easy style to create and it would perfectly disguise my curly roots from my straight ends.

There are various hairstyles like this on YouTube, but I've noticed a lot use extensions or braid the actual hair at the front so the result is more like a dutch or french braid. I wanted the effect to be more like a hairband. To make it work I used two long pieces of my own hair from each side roughly in the position I wanted the hairband to sit.

How to do it 
1. Braid each long piece from either side loosely (to keep it long and thick) securing with a hairband if needed 
2. Put the remainder of the hair in a high ponytail
3. Wrap each braid over the top of the head towards the opposite side, securing them in place with a few bobby pins (I pinned any long bits of hair from the braids into my bun for a more seamless finish)
4. Wrap the ponytail around itself, pulling bits out and pinning for a loose and messy look

If your hair is shorter you could try using braiding hair instead of your own hair for the headband.

What hairstyles have you tried recently?

Lesley x

Friday, 16 January 2015

New In | Black & Gold Accessories

This season I've loved having an excuse to wear a lot of black. In fact the other day I was dressed exclusively head-to-toe in black. Bright colour has never really been my 'thing' and though it may seem a little drab to draped in such sombre tones, I usually look for items with some kind of detailing, trim or texture to make it more visually exciting. My wardrobe is brimming with black and gold accessories as a result, so maybe it's not surprising then that the newest additions to my collection have been following the same colour combo.

Shoes - Primark | Bag - Topshop | Necklaces - Forever 21 | Purse - River Island

The Topshop arm candy (£40) was a present from my boyfriend at Christmas. After favouring a giant H&M grey handbag for the past few months (seen here), it's been nice to downsize and not carry every item known to man around in my bag everyday. This version with the gold detailing is currently sold out online, but they have a very similar rose gold version still available. I bought the River Island Purse (£17) separately, but oddly the texture surrounding the back of the purse matches my bag perfectly. I'm not usually a fan of snake skin, but the contrasting textures and the chevron pattern on the front is a nice touch.

I've not been wearing flat shoes a lot lately instead opting for chunky platform or heeled boots, but it's been good to give my feet a break now and again. These double strap 'almond toe' shoes (£10) from Primark are a cute basic, comfy (now I've broken them in) and easy to slip on to complete a relaxed outfit.

Every aspect of my style is simplistic and minimal, including jewellery. I have a penchant for dainty necklaces and these two gold pieces (roughly £3 each) are from Forever 21. The store has an overwhelming array of glittering chains, bracelets and earrings so it's hard for me to ever stick to just a few purchases when frequenting the accessory department (which is why shamefully my trinket boxes are filled with fashion jewellery).

What kind of accessories do you like?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Beauty | My Everyday Makeup [Video]

My most requested video is my 'everyday' makeup routine, so here it is. With my everyday makeup my main aim is to cover my blemishes and scars without looking like I'm caked in product. I've always preferred a natural finish too so I rely on using small amounts of high coverage products. It's all basics in this video so no contouring, bold lip colours or dramatic eye looks as that's rarely something I do day-to-day.

The Video: 

I know I don't make YouTube videos often as I generally prefer to blog. Putting pen to paper feels effortless whereas making videos does not come naturally to me and the editing (or rather chopping out me dancing/singing/generally acting like an idiot) takes what seems like an age. Despite this, my aim is to make more videos this year and eventually get better with uploading content more regularly. 

Somehow I have over 5000 subscribers now with only a handful of videos on my channel. Thank you to anyone who watches my videos and have subscribed too, I'm sorry there tends to be a lot of time between each upload! All I can say is I'm working on it. I have a list as long as my arm with video requests which I'll be doing in the coming weeks, so please let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to see next.

What's your 'everyday' makeup routine?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Review | Sleek MakeUp True Colour Lipstick

I've been doing a little spring cleaning of late, both with my blog and in my home. Whilst clearing out my makeup I came across this old gem - Sleek MakeUp True Colour Lipstick in Vamp (£4.99) which I reviewed way back in 2013 when I first starting writing beauty posts. I've deleted all of the older posts on this blog which I wasn't entirely happy with but the perfectionist in me wanted to rewrite this post as this lipstick was an old favourite. 

When I first bought this shade almost all of the lipsticks I owned were of the nude or pale pink variety so this was a shade I'd reach for when I was feeling more daring. I've been experimenting more in the past couple of years with brighter and bolder shades and subsequently I forgot what a beautiful dark lipstick this is.

The name 'Vamp' couldn't be more fitting. It's a rich burgundy in colour which draws attention to my lips without overpowering the rest of my makeup. The formula is matte so it can be a bit drying. I usually remedy this by wearing a good lip balm underneath and I avoid wearing this lipstick if my lips are chapped or dry. This lipstick requires a few touch-ups throughout the day but it's such a gorgeous colour I can forgive this.

Have you tried anything by Sleek MakeUp?

Lesley x

Sunday, 4 January 2015

How to find the perfect foundation

Lets face it finding the right shade is one of the biggest problems women have when buying makeup. It took me a few years before I finally found a foundation that worked for me, partly due to a lack of foundations for medium and darker skintones in drug stores. Thankfully there are so much more options available now and it only takes a little know-how to locate the right product for you.

Half the battle of finding the right foundation is finding your shade. It sounds simple enough, but how many times have you thought you’ve bought the exact match after trying it in-store, only to find it’s completely wrong when you try it again at home? It’s a common habit to test the colour of foundations on our hands, but our faces are often a different colour. A more accurate way of judging the perfect colour for your skin is to swatch foundations on your neck or jaw.

Beauty displays in-store tend to have lighting which makes it hard to determine whether or not you’ve got the right shade. Don’t be afraid to swatch a couple of shades you think are closest to your tone and walk away before making your purchase. Then have a look at the swatches you made in natural daylight.

The perfect colour should blend almost seamlessly with your skin, though an exact match might not always be available. You can try approaching assistants at makeup counters to help you find the right foundation. High-end companies may offer to mix up a unique shade for you or give you a small sample of an existing shade to try in case it’s not the right match. Your face isn’t all one tone, so you may have to also buy a slightly darker shade for areas like your forehead. The colour of our skin changes with the seasons too, so in the warmer months you may need a darker foundation than in the winter.

Finding the perfect foundation also depends on knowing which will suit the natural undertone of your skin. Is your complexion warm, cool or neutral? Warm coloured skin has a yellow undertone, cool skin has a red, pink or blue undertone and neutral skin tends to be a mixture of these tones. Knowing your undertone can be the difference between a glowing and ashy appearance. To figure out your undertone, look at the veins on the back of your wrist. Are they blue or green in appearance? The former means you have a cool undertone, and the latter means you have a warm undertone. If you notice you have both, or somewhere in between, your undertone is neutral. You can also try comparing which type of jewellery looks better on – silver or gold. Silver flatters cool undertones whilst gold suits warm undertones. Still confused? Swatch both warm and cool tones in order to know which works best.

When shopping for foundations it may not be immediately obvious which shades are for warm or cool undertones as sometimes the names of shades can seem cryptic or use words that hint at what the undertone might be. For example yellow based foundations may be described with words like ‘golden’, ‘bronzed’, ‘honey’, ‘caramel’, whereas red/blue based foundations may be described as ‘chestnut’, ‘cooper’, ‘blaze’. If you don’t fancy deciphering the names of shades and can’t tell which undertones are which, look to brands like Fashion Fair, NARS, Bobbi Brown and MAC. These brands have an array of foundations to suit different undertones and an assistant at their beauty counter can help point you in the right direction (MAC confusingly uses warm to describe cool skintones and vice versa).

Formula & Coverage
Just as important as the actual colour of your foundation, is the kind of formula you choose. Foundation types vary from mineral, mousse, liquid, sticks, cream and cream-to-powder, so there’s something for everyone. The formula finish will also be either sheer, matte or semi matte. For the most part, choosing your perfect formula depends on your personal preference. However, your skin type may also play a part. Is your skin oily, dry, normal or combination? These characteristics can determine how long your foundation will last and how well they will work with your skin depending on the type you choose. For example, mineral foundations tend to work well with oil-prone skin.

Also consider what kind of coverage you’re looking for. Foundations vary from light and medium to high coverage. Decide which end of the spectrum you prefer, also taking into account what kind of formula you want to use. Products vary, but generally mousse, tinted moisturisers or liquid foundations can provide a more lightweight to medium coverage. In contrast, creams, stick foundations and mineral powders can provide medium to full coverage.

Have you found your perfect foundation?

Lesley x

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year! Goals for 2015

I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions usually but over the past year I've been more proactive in setting myself personal goals and working towards achieving them. I found Fiona's recent post on her goals for 2015 here particularly inspiring and I've made a few personal goals for this year. I thought I'd share my beauty and hair related goals for 2015 in this post.

Healthier diet. 
Diet-related New Year's resolutions are always popular, some might say they're a cliché. I have no real issues with how my body looks and I have no desire to lose any weight but my diet currently is pretty dire. I don't think it's ever been good as I'm addicted to chocolate (I have it every single day) and I seem to love all the stuff that's 'bad' for you. I'm positive my poor diet has been impacting on my sleep (or lack of), affecting my concentration, the look of my skin and general health. My intention is to eat cleaner - so more raw, unprocessed food and drink - but I won't give up the bad stuff completely.

Clearer skin. 
I feel like I've been chasing the dream of clear skin since my early teens. I'm always getting monthly breakouts but recently my skin has been awful and I've had to rely more and more on heavy duty concealer to cover my cystic spots (those nasty ones right under the skin), increased redness and the resulting scarring and pigmentation. I think my diet and lack of water has been affecting my skin a lot so I'm hoping changing these things will help clear my skin. I also intend to be more rigorous with what I put on my skin by looking towards more natural products. I also want to get rid of my remaining DPN as my skin improved vastly last March when I had my first treatment of Advanced Electrolysis (more info on this here).

Better organisation.
Despite blogging for over 2 years, I still don't have a set way of how I plan and write posts. My work-life has to be organised, and I have pretty pressured deadlines that I have to stick to and I guess as a result I've enjoyed having a more relaxed approach to my blog. Posts that aren't pre-planned tend to work well for me however, during 2014 my 'off-the-cuff' style of blogging was really affected by 'real-life' stuff. My goal is to be more organised which should hopefully lead to better content.

Cut hair (gradually). 
When I started this blog I had a clear-cut set of hair goals which I have now achieved. Most of them were length related but now all I can think about is cutting my hair short, which almost seems counterproductive. Goals of course can always change, but many friends have pointed out that I might hate the result after chopping off all my hair. I think I'm itching for change from what's been a long 'transition'. To give a little background, I'm currently growing out my bone straight relaxed hair. My hair now reaches my waist but only about 3-4 inches at the top is how I want my hair to look (it's still relaxed but to a lesser degree known as texlaxing) and much closer in texture to my naturally curly hair. Cutting my ends off is inevitable but my aim is to keep gradually chopping off my ends instead of a dramatic cut. Hopefully this will satisfy my need for a haircut whilst also allowing me to keep enough length to do my favourite hairstyles.

What are some of your goals for 2015?

Lesley x