Current Makeup Hits and Misses | April 2016

Continue reading “Current Makeup Hits and Misses | April 2016”

September Favourites | Makeup

Continue reading “September Favourites | Makeup”

FOTD | Go-to Night Out Makeup

If you’re at university, or you have been, you’ll understand the feeling that you may not have that much time to do your makeup before a ‘spontaneous’ night out. Or maybe you’re not one to spend hours getting ready. Recently I have found my favourite look for a night out that I can throw together pretty quickly, and as an added bonus, it looks really nice in photography. So if you’re into the bold lips, lashes and brows, keep on reading…

I’m always one to focus most of my time on my base. When it comes to a night out, I rarely skip using the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer as it keeps my makeup in place better than any other product I’ve tried. For foundation lately, my favourite has to be L’Oreal True Match – this is a great budget alternative for my beloved Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk (check out my full review here). I add the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer anywhere I may need some extra coverage, and I also take a shade lighter under my eyes and on the high points of my face to highlight. I set everything in place with a powder, either the Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural or the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light. I also found it important to add colour and definition to the cheeks or your face can look pretty flat in pictures. I bronze up the skin with Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder, and have been loving the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit to add shadows under the cheekbones and on the temples, and I also like using the lighter shades to set my under eye concealer and any highlighting I have done. I’ll top the look off with a little powder highlighter – my favourite recently has been the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Beige. I add some to the tops of my cheeks, the tip of the nose, the cupids bow and the chin. 


This eye makeup is incredible simple and easy to achieve. I start by defining the crease, and I do this by building up different shades of orangey-browns, increasingly getting darker to achieve a blended and blown out look. Any matte browns will work for this, but I tend to reach for my Makeup Geek Eyeshadows, in particular Peach Smoothie, Creme Brulee and Cocoa Bear. I will then pack a shimmery shade all over the lid, and my absolute favourite for this is Mac Tan Pigment. It catches the light beautifully and is amazing for any warm-toned look. I then create a winged out eyeliner with the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper, apply lashings of mascara, and then a pair of false lashes. These will help your eyes really pop and add instant glamour to any look. The pair I’ve used in this look are the Eylure no. 121 which are thick, fluffy and are longer on the outer corner, which help to emphasise the winged-out shape of this look. I’ll then run some of the shades I used in my crease along the lower lash line to balance out the look. To finish off the eyes, I filled in my brows with the Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade in Blonde, going for quite a strong brow which I think works well with this look. 

Finally, the star of the show, the bold lip. I find that I can wear any colour with this look, but my favourite shade to wear by far is a bright pink. I’m definitely a lipstick addict, so I have several favourites, but the shade I went for in this look is Mac Viva Glam Miley Cyrus which I have a full post on here. With a bright lip, you tend to need a little added colour on the cheeks, so for blush my go to is Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed as it is a no-brainer shade that goes with any look.















































I hope you enjoyed this look, and perhaps if you’re not so into bold lips this may have inspired you to give one a go? I think they are so flattering and will also reduce your getting ready time as the eyes really don’t need as much work. Let me know your go-to look for a night out below! 

RachelElizabeth

Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette | Review and Swatches

Nars do always produce the most swoonworthy palettes, don’t they? This is, surprisingly, my first palette from the brand, and ever since they announced that they were releasing it I knew it had to be mine. Continue reading for a full in-depth review and swatches of this beautiful palette…

A somewhat recent release from Nars were their Dual Intensity Eyeshadows. These were a pretty big release as they were eyeshadows that were marketed as a sheer wash of shadow when used dry and as an intensely pigmented product when used wet. When you use regular eyeshadows wet, the eyeshadow then becomes unusable unless you always use it wet as it creates a hardened film over where the water has touched it. These, however, promise that they are versatile enough that using them wet will not affect, or indeed ruin, the texture of the eyeshadow. The single versions of these will set you back £21, which is rather steep for only one shade. The Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette is £45 for eight shades, and although the shadows are are slightly smaller (1g vs. 1.5g) it is actually far better value for money (£5.63/g vs. £14/g). All of these shades, with the exception of Ursa Major, are part of the permanent line as a single eyeshadow, so if you like, or would consider purchasing, more than two shades from this palette, then it is definitely worth the investment. 


The packaging on this palette does feel really expensive. The top is mirrored which does attract fingerprints, but is much easier to wipe clean than the original rubberised packaging that Nars is infamous for. It is plastic but it feels very sturdy and protective of the shadows. The palette also comes with a travel size #49 Wet/Dry Eyeshadow brush, which I personally found much better to use when the shadows are wet as opposed to when they are dry. This is definitely a decent brush and not one that you should immediately disregard like many brushes that are included with palettes. 









































Top Row: Europe, Himalaia. Bottom Row: Andromeda, Lysithea





















Top Row: Ursa Major, Subra. Bottom Row: Giove, Sycorax

As for the eyeshadows themselves, there is varying quality throughout this palette. Some were definitely more pigmented than others, and there were some that needed to be used wet to have decent pay off. 

Europa is described as a ‘Gossamer pink peach’. As you will be able to see in the swatches, this is pretty sheer when used dry, however it could be used as a pretty wash of colour all over the lid for a natural, understated eye look. It is still not the most pigmented when used wet, but it does leave a pretty iridescent pink sparkle. 

Himalaia is described as a ‘Shimmering topaz’. This is probably my favourite shade in the palette as it is great both wet and dry. It is shimmery and pigmented when dry but becomes metallic and bold when wet. It is similar to Mac Tan Pigment in the sense that it’s a slightly rose gold-esque shade. Love.

Ursa Major is described as a ‘Chocolate glaze’. It is a cool-toned brown with silver shimmer. What is nice about this shade is that when it’s dry it can be used to build up intensity in the crease or the outer corner without being too intense, but when used wet it is a deep rich brown, perfect for smokey eyes or even to be used as a liner. 

Subra is described as a ‘Black orchid’. When applied dry it is a deep blackened plum shade, which is semi-opaque, much like Ursa Major. But it transforms when it is used wet into a pigmented plum-toned purple. When used in the latter way, this is another of my favourite shades in the palette.

Andromeda is described as an ‘Alabaster’. Because I am quite fair, this barely shows up on my skin when it is used dry, except when it catches the light. It is another shade that really differs when used wet as it then becomes quite an intense, shimmery, slightly pink-toned white. This is a very versatile shade as it can be a very soft and subtle highlight or it could be really amped up to create a lot of drama and intensity and looks especially gorgeous on the inner corners of the eyes. 

Lysithea is described as a ‘Shark grey’. When used dry it is a muted and sheer grey with an intense silver shimmer running throughout. It is fantastic when used wet as it is a metallic true silver. Although silver is not my favourite shade to wear, if I am ever in the mood to rock a silver smokey eye, this will 100% be my go-to. 

Giove is described as a ‘Navy’. This is the brightest and arguably the most hard to wear shade of the palette, but it is truly quite stunning. It is much darker and smokier when used dry, which is great for those who are new to colour in their looks. For those who are far more daring and bold, it is a vibrant but deep navy shade when wet and would make for a stunning and striking blue makeup look. I can also see this working great as a liner for both the upper and lower water lines to add an unexpected pop of colour to your look without straying too far from black. 

Sycorax, the final shade in the palette, is simply described as ‘black’. When used dry it is a really great black eyeshadow as it is not so pigmented that it is overwhelming. It is extremely opaque and intense when used wet, so would also be perfect as a liner, or if you were going for a really dark smokey eye this would be stunning. 






















(Dry Swatches)


























(Wet Swatches)

I am absolutely in love with this palette, and it is definitely something a little different than the average. The wet/dry formula may mean that it takes a little longer than usual to apply your eyeshadow, but trust me, it is worth it. This is limited edition so if you like the look of this, make sure you snap it up fast! What do you think of the palette? Is it something that you would splurge on?

RachelElizabeth

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Raquel | Review and Swatches

So let’s talk about the most talked-about and instagrammed lip launch of the year… the Nars Audacious lipsticks. Nars shocked everyone by bringing out a huge line of reformulated lipsticks that all have female names, and let’s just say that they are stunning…

When deciding on which side I wanted out of this huge collection, Raquel was immediately my first choice for two reasons: a) many people in my life have nicknamed me Raquel, and b) it looked like the perfect nude. I was lucky enough to receive this as a christmas present from my mum, and on swatching this, this was definitely the perfect choice. It is the perfect mix of pink, beige, peach and tan, creating my ideal everyday shade. This works for me when I’m both at my palest and when I fake tan, proving its versatility. 

This is also one of the nicest, most luxury formulas I have ever come across. It applies so smoothly, much like what you would expect from a lipstick with a much more glossy finish. What makes this stand out is the fact that it is a semi-matte finish but is unbelievably comfortable. It also lasts for ages on the lips, especially for a light-coloured lip. Somehow this withstands eating and drinking, acting almost like a liquid lipstick. I have been so blown away by this formula and I will be undoubtedly picking up a few more shades in the future.


Have you tried any of the audacious lipsticks? Enable me…

RachelElizabeth

What’s In My Makeup Bag – New York Edition! | Blogmas Day #14






















The time has finally come for my birthday trip to New York! This afternoon I am jetting off to NYC with the boyf to celebrate my 21st birthday! This was actually my present from my parents, and it is possibly the best a girl can ask for. However, I have committed myself to Blogmas, and I really want to keep up with posting everyday, so I actually plan on scheduling enough posts until I return on Thursday! I thought I would start off with what makeup I am planning on taking on my trip, as these are some of my favourite posts to read – everyone loves to be nosey…


I will begin by saying that I am by no means a light packer – I like to have options. Having said that I don’t think that I have gone too overboard; I will leave that one up to you.

Face
Because the days will be long, I definitely wanted to bring a primer. One of my all time favourites is the Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer (full post here), and as I’ve almost ran out, I thought I would be able to finish it off on the trip. I then decided to bring my tried and true L’Oreal True Match Foundation (review here)- I am bringing two shades (W1 and W4) because I fake tan, and once it fades I need to mix the shades. I am also bringing two concealers: the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard for blemishes and general imperfections and the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Fair to highlight the face. Moving on to powder products, I am bringing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (post here) to set my makeup, and the Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna and the Mac Blush in Harmony for general bronze and contour goodness (check out my recent post for more details on this!). I decided to bring two blushes – my all time favourite Tarte Amazonion Clay Blush in Exposed and Mac Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul. These are quite similar colours, but Exposed is matte and Warm Soul is very shimmery. Finally, I’m bringing my current favourite highlighter theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer (post here).





















Eyes
This category is one that I feel I have actually been quite selective. I had to bring my trusty Nars Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base to keep my eyeshadow looking flawless all day, and I also decided to bring the Estee Lauder Pure Colour Stay On Shadow Paint in Chained for days when I want a quick easy option. I decided to stick to one palette that has everything I need, and this had to be the Lorac Pro Palette – I have a full review and swatches here. This is still quite new to my collection but it is probably my favourite palette, and I know that it will serve me well. Next is the Urban Decay Ink for Eyes liquid eyeliner and for mascara I am bringing the Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara. And of course I am bringing an essential to my makeup routine – my Tweezerman Eyelash Curlers and my current eyebrow pencil, the Revlon Brow Fantasy in Dark Blonde. As a bit of a glamorous addition to my makeup for my trip I thought I would bring a pack of my favourite eyelashes, the Ardell Demi Wispies.  






















Lips
Probably my favourite category, and one that I always struggle to pack for! So I decided to bring the basic choices. For my nude lip option, I have picked the Kiko Precision Lip Pencil in 300 Caffe Latte and the Mac Lipstick in Kinda Sexy. This is one of my favourite go-to combinations at the moment. For a bold red, I chose another Kiko Lip Pencil in 306 Geranium Red and my current obsession, the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red. In case I’m feeling a bold lip that isn’t red, I decided to bring Mac Impassioned, which is another fave of mine. And finally, the newest lipstick in my collection, Tom Ford Leonardo (full post here) just because it’s stunning. For a lip liner to accompany that, I’m bringing Mac Beet Lip Pencil

Brushes
The final category is tools. For ease, I will list the brushes I am taking, and if you want to know more about my favourites, check out my posts on brushes here. So from left to right we have: the Real Techniques Setting Brush, the Sigma F25 Tapered Face Brush, the Real Techniques Contour Brush, the Real Techniques Multitask Brush, the Sigma E35 Tapered Blending Brush, the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, the Mac 239 Brush, the Real Techniques Blush Brush and the Mac 217 Brush. I know this may seem like a lot of brushes, but it means that I will have everything I could possibly need on my trip.

I apologise for the incredibly wordy post, but I hope that you enjoyed having a nosey in my makeup bag. Stay tuned tomorrow for all the skincare goodies that will be travelling across the Atlantic with me. 

RachelElizabeth

Bronzing vs. Contouring | Differences and My Favourite Products – Blogmas Day #11

























In a recent blogger twitter chat, the topic was contouring. It was when a few people expressed confusion over what contouring actually is and how it differs from bronzing. I am not claiming to be a makeup artist, but over the years of watching my fair few YouTube videos and reading blogs, I feel I have a firm grasp on all of this. So today I thought I would discuss in detail how I like to sculpt and warm up my face, and hopefully some of you may find this useful…


So, let’s start with bronzing. The easiest way to think about bronzing is to use it as a way to warm up the skin. I like to out bronzer on the high points of the face – in other words, where the sun would naturally hit. As you hopefully can tell in the picture above, my skin is warmest on the cheeks, temples and forehead. If I’m going for a super bronzed look, then I will hit the bridge of the nose as well. Effectively, this application of bronzer is to mimic a tan, or a sunkissed glow. It also helps to bring colour to the face and keeps it from being one flat colour, which can sometimes look unnatural. It is also handy to bronze down the neck, as for many of us, that is much lighter than the rest of the body. This can help make the transition from your face to your neck look a lot more seamless and, again, natural. My favourite bronzer – one I have mentioned many times and even dedicated a whole blog post to here – is the Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna. For my skin tone (I go between a NC20 and NC30), this is the perfect colour, but this obviously will be different for everyone. For application, I love the Real Techniques Blush Brush – the tapered end allows for precise application, but the rest of the bristles help to blend it seamlessly. 
Moving on to contouring, this is arguably the most popular trend in makeup right now. There are constant pictures on Instagram of the extreme intense cream contouring a la Kim Kardashian, but today I thought I’d discuss a more wearable version. Contouring is sculpting the face – you create depth and dimension by mimicking shadows and darkening the areas on your face that you wish to recede. The most common place to contour is underneath your cheekbones, which I have done fairly naturally in the picture above. To find where to contour your cheekbones, you can suck in your cheeks to make the typical fish face, or a pretty foolproof method is to imagine a line from the top of your ear to the corner of your mouth. To make this look natural though, I would never bring this colour past the middle of the cheek – if you a imagine a line going straight down from your pupil, you don’t want to have any shadow past that. You can also contour other parts of your face, depending on what suits you and where you would like to sculpt. A popular place is also the nose, but I feel like this is something quite difficult to master and make look natural. If you want a more pouty-looking lip, you can apply a little underneath your bottom lip which will make it look fuller. These are only a few ways to contour, and the possibilities are endless.
Personally, I think the most natural method for contouring is using a powder. When looking for one, you want to find one that is a lot more cool-toned than your bronzer – i.e. it should look considerably more grey in tone. This is because this will look more like a natural shadow rather than an orangey-toned line on your cheek. It is also essential that your powder is matte, as any shimmer will bring attention to the area, when the key is to make it recede and draw attention to the highlighted or non-contoured parts of the face. My go-to contour product is the Mac Harmony Blush, and I would see this being perfect for fair to medium skin tones. My favourite brush for contouring is the Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush – it is tapered enough that it only applies a small concentrated amount of product, but much like the Real Techniques brush, the outer bristles help to blend everything out. 
I hope this rather wordy post has been somewhat useful to you, and if I haven’t explained myself very clearly then please let me know! It’s important to remember that the key to contouring, like any aspect of makeup, is practice. Nobody gets it perfect on their first try, and part of the fun of makeup is experimenting and finding what’s best for you. Do you love contouring and bronzing as much as me? 
RachelElizabeth

Makeup for Photography | Blogmas Day #10

























With the festive season well and truly underway, it’s likely that many of you will be invited to more events than usual. Whether they’re nights out, christmas parties, or general reunions, you will probably encounter some sort of camera, and when you put so much effort into your makeup when getting ready, you want to make sure you’re camera ready. I’ll admit I’m not often photographed, but after many club nights and their ‘professional’ photos, I’ve picked up a few key tips that I thought I would share with you…

Avoid SPF
It’s a well-known fact in the beauty world that the ingredients that make up sun protection (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to be exact) can cause flashback in photography. Have you ever looked back at pictures of yourself and though that your face looked extremely pale and ghostly compared to your face? This could be the reason. You need to check all products you use – moisturiser, primer, foundation and powder should ideally be sans-SPF. Having said this, some products with SPF that I own photograph beautifully (L’Oreal True Match being one of those), but if you’ve never tested them, it’s safer to err on the side of caution. My favourite foundation for photography is by far the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – I am wearing it in both the pictures above, and – if I do say so myself – I think it captures the light beautifully, leaving my skin looking glowy and healthy. 
Contour, Contour, Contour
Features can definitely get lost in photos, so I definitely make sure to bring back colour and definition to my face. I am planning on doing a post all on contouring soon, but to keep things short and simple, I use Mac Harmony Blush with a Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush to sculpt out my cheekbones and temples. I also find it important to bring back some warmth and colour to my skin, so to the high points of my face (i.e. where the sun would naturally hit) I apply bronzer – usually Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna. I also always apply blush, as you can sometimes look a little washed out and lost in photos. All these steps are done with a much heavier hand than I would ever do in the daytime in order for them to even show up in pictures. This also means you have to spend a little longer blending everything out, and I like to just go back over everything with the brush I used for my foundation.
Define those Eyes
You don’t necessarily need to be the master of smokey eyes to look great in pictures. I think the most important element of your eye makeup is defining the upper lash line. I personally love to line my eyes with a gel liner – something like the Mac Blacktrack Fluidline. It is equally important to tight line – this is lining the inside of the eye. I find this a little unflattering on the lower waterline, but doing it on the upper really helps to darken the lash line and create drama. Lashes are also a must for me; they make your eyes stand out and really pop in photos. My ultimate favourites for my eye shade are the Ardell Demi Wispies. My final tip is to give some love to your eyebrows. I tend to go in much heaver with my brow pencil, my favourite being the Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe. As you can see from the pictures I still don’t go over the top, but they are lot more defined than I would go for an everyday look. 
Hopefully this post has been somewhat useful or interesting and I hope that you can use some of these tips when you’re next being photographed! I am by no means claiming to be an expert, and I am completely self taught. Have you got any tips for makeup for photography?
RachelElizabeth

Top 5 Luxury Products | Blogmas Day #6

























It’s that time of year when you can subtly ask your loved ones for those products that you really can’t justify spending your hard-earned cash on. Or maybe you do want to part with your cash but you So today, I wanted to bring to you my favourite luxury products, and ones I think that are really worth it…


We’ll begin with one that I have continually praised – the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (full review here). This stuff is magic. If you have oily skin or you have trouble with your foundation’s longevity in general, then you will love this. This was such a game-changer in my makeup routine that this is my third bottle, and as you can see from the picture, it is on its last legs. When I feel a bit guilty about how much it costs and how quickly I go through it, it is also the perfect product for special occasions. The other base product that had to be mentioned was the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (I have also reviewed this in full here). This is the closest to perfect foundation that I have found. It has a natural finish – somewhere in the middle of matte and dewy. It lasts incredibly on me (especially when paired with the aforementioned primer), and best of all, looks stunning in photographs. This is another product I save for special occasions, but if I could afford to, I would wear this on an everyday basis. 
Moving on to colour products, the first I will mention is the Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna which I dedicated a whole post to recently here. Nars products aren’t quite as expensive as the other brands I’ve mentioned, but it is definitely still luxury. For my complexion, this is the perfect shade to warm up the skin, and the texture and longevity are both incredible. For eyes, the Charlotte Tilbury Colour-Coded Eye Shadow Palette in Dolce Vita is the ultimate in luxury. I definitely plan on writing a whole post on this soon, as it is so stunningly pigmented and perfect for this time of year. She has several different quads if these warm tones aren’t your thing, and they are all beautiful. The final product I will mention are the Tom Ford Lipsticks. I have a few, but the one photographed is Wild Ginger (full post here) which is an extremely vibrant orangey-red. The formulation of these are so pigmented and creamy, and are just a pleasure to apply and wear.
These may not be something that you can easily go out and purchase on a whim, but if you’re in the market to splurge or want to treat someone with something very special, then these would be what I recommend. What are your favourite luxury products?
RachelElizabeth

Monthly Favourites | November 2014

November is my favourite month of the year, so I thought it was pretty apt to do my first every monthly favourites this month. This month has been full of fun and celebration – both mine and my dad’s birthday fall in this month which is always fun. Let’s not forget I turned 21, which is crazy! I had such an amazing birthday this year, with my trip to Paris with my family, my best friends coming up to uni to visit and a great day with my housemates. I couldn’t have wished for more! Now, onto the products that I haven’t put down this month…

My foundation of choice has definitely been the Max Factor Luminizer Foundation (check out my full review here). If you love glowy and fresh looking skin, then this is definitely worth considering. I love this for an everyday base as its a good medium coverage, but looks really natural. This month I repurchased a long-time favourite – the Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna. It had been out of my life for a while, but I have definitely rekindled my love for it, and it is definitely my favourite bronzer ever (read my full ode here). Another cheek product that I can’t seem to stop using is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed. For me this is the perfect cheek colour – there isn’t one look that this doesn’t go with and I tend to grab this on default. It is somewhat sculpting as it has brown undertones, but it still warms up the skin and gives a beautiful flush. The last standout makeup item for me this month has been the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe (full review here). This is by far the best brow product I have ever tried and I’ve even forgotten about  Mac Fling, which I never thought would happen. It makes it easy to have really defined brows with its defined point, but that also allows for the ability to draw natural hair-like strokes, making it a very versatile pencil.

Moving on to non-makeup favourites, something that has really impressed me this month is the Kiehls Ultra Facial Moisturiser. I am generally underwhelmed by moisturiser – my skin isn’t very dry so I’m not searching for that intense hydration, but I don’t like ones that don’t seem to give me quite enough. Picky, I know. This is a no-fuss dose of hydration that works great as a base under your makeup and also for overnight use. This month has also been great in terms of fitness. I have been loving the FitnessBlender YouTube channel, and I have done both the free 5 day challenges that they have to offer. They offer a great variety of HIIT workouts and strength training, and I am definitely feeling the benefits. I’m considering trying one of their 8 week challenges next…

All in all, I have had a great makeup month, and I’m really impressed with some of the new things I have tried. And now December has come around, I can finally get excited for Christmas! Speaking of which, I’m still undecided, but I may be giving Blogmas a go, which is blogging every day in December until Christmas… It will be a challenge, but I think I’m definitely up for giving it a go. What have been your favourite products this month? 

RachelElizabeth