Wednesday, 30 January 2013

No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Brush - review

Hi everybody, 

I have a bit of a different review for you today. I was in Boots earlier in the week and I spotted this No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Brush on a new display stand. I never got around to getting a Clarisonic because I was not quite sure if it was for me, but this seemed like an attractive alternative (all for the very nice introductory price of €20). I've been quite impressed with No 7 in recent months after a number of hit purchases, so I had high hopes of this!

 The brush head is a nice size and the bristles are nice and soft. They are quite densely packed but not stiff which is obviously hugely important considering you will be using this on your face. The brush ergonomically fits into my hand and is very easy to manoeuvre around the contours of my face, it is a nice weight and feels quite sturdy. It is battery operated (2 x AA batteries) and has two speeds- fast and faster- depending on what you prefer. I generally use the slower of the two first, then a round of the faster one, and then a wind down with the slower speed again. I almost wish there was a slightly slower speed also for a quick boost in the morning but I can manage without it.

Anybody who is anybody has heard of Clarisonic cleansing brushes, and Boots have definitely tried to cash in on the craze with this high street dupe. On the box, it promises to 'supercharge your cleanser for skin that feels twice as clean'. It recommends using this with the No 7 Melting Gel or Foaming Cleansers but I used this with my Lush Ultrabland which is my favourite cleanser of the moment because of the sheer ease with which it takes my makeup off my face. It's a good combination and is working well for me at the moment.

My skin is combination, and quite sensitive at that. I cannot use certain wipes or clothes because they burn my skin and leave it red and irritable, so I was a little worried about how my skin would fare with this brush. I am happy to report that I have not had any adverse reaction in using this- in fact my skin is soft and more radiant looking after starting this regime. It actually brings so much joy into my night time cleansing routine, and it was worth the money just for that!

Now I don't actually own the Clarisonic or Sonicleanse brushes so I cannot vouch for how this performs against the  others but standalone, I think it's a dandy product and has been a welcome addition to my skincare routine!

If anybody else tries this, would love to know what you think! Thanks for reading xx


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

MAC Glamourdaze Limited Edition Extra Dimension Skinfinish in 'Superb' - Review and Swatches

Hi everybody!

You may remember a few months back that I blogged about my trip to France and the wonders that I encountered when I was over there (if you didn't read it or forgot, check out my massive haul here). One of the treasures I picked up was this MAC Limited Edition Extra Dimension Skinfinish in 'Superb' from the Glamourdaze Collection. I was pretty lucky to be able to grab this- the girl in MAC told me it was the last one they had and that the other powder in the range, Whisper of Gilt, was sold out also. 

As you can see, the packaging is typical of what you would expect of a MAC Powder, except you get a glossy black compact with a transparent lid instead of the usual matte black. The face of the powder is very decorate, and it almost looks like it has a mousse texture, when in fact it is a finely milled powder.

The product itself is very hard to describe. Colour wise, at first I was inclined to say it is a light bronze colour, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was exactly. Then I realised that it reminds me of rose gold jewellery, so I guess I would say it's rose gold coloured. Sometimes, I get a hint of peachiness to it, sometimes a warm pink, it's very hard to describe but then again, baring in mind that this is an extra dimensional product, maybe that's what the maestros at MAC had in mind when they made this beauty.

I find the finish of this to be a little more metallic than I would like, and the colour unfortunately is not for me because I am deathly pale. I think I will only be able to use this after Cocoa Browning myself beforehand. On a definite plus, this lasts ages on the skin, and I am used to topping up my makeup every few hours- I could not fault the colour payoff or lasting power in the slightest. 
Overall, I like but I don't love it, I feel like it is just a smidge too bronzey for my pale skin. Such a pity because it is such a beautiful product!

(Blended out on the left, heavily swatched on the right)

Thanks for reading x


Sunday, 27 January 2013

My New Hair Saviour - if you have damaged hair, you need this in your life

Hi everybody, 

I am deviating from my usual cosmetics based reviews today. I am probably as equally, if not more so sometimes, obsessed with hair and haircare. In a past life, I think I must have been a hairdresser. I have always been willing to spend copious amounts of money and maintaining my barnet- I just believe that hair is the ultimate accessory that you bring with you everywhere you go so it is important to invest. Before I reveal the product and why exactly I love it so much, I feel like I should give you a bit of background on my hair story if you like.

I have naturally very dark brown hair, but I have been getting highlights now for the last 12 (eek yes a whole dozen!) years, which has left my hair fairly battered in fairness. I get highlights and a cut once a month. I also have very thick and wavy hair with a mind of it's own so I subject it to a lot of abuse- hairdryer, GHD etc. I am actually terrible to my hair, but I try to compensate by buying the best products I possibly can to try to maintain some bit of health. 

My favourite haircare brand without a doubt is Kerastase. From their shampoos, conditioners, leave in conditioners, treatments, styling and finishing products, I think they are amazing, and well worth the price. I don't use any supermarket/chemist/drugstore shampoos on a regular basis, simply because I have never really found one that suits my hair and works well. The nearest drugstore equivalent of Kerastase that I have found is the L'Oreal Elvive Colour Protect range (red packaging). I hate Herbal Essences, Fructis, Tres Semme, Timotei, Pantene- pretty much everything you can find on a supermarket shelf. They leave my hair too soft, if that makes sense, and so much more susceptible to breakage when I straighten it or get my highlights done. I love a bargain and a dupe as much as anybody else, but nothing has come anywhere near the high expectations and requirements that I have of haircare products.

So aside from a good shampoo and conditioner (FYI I alternate between the green, orange and pink Kerastase ranges), I need an extra special treatment before blowdrying to make sure my hair doesn't snap off. I have tried many, but few have inspired me the way this latest one has. 


Kerastase Fibre Architecte

Part of the green 'Strengthening' range, this is a relatively new addition to the family, the renovating dual serum is targeted for very damaged hair and split ends. It is a leave in serum, and I use this either on wet hair before I blow dry, or on the very ends of my hair when I have finished straightening or styling it. My hairdresser recommended this as an alternative to the Elixir Ultime which I am also a big fan of, and I trust her judgment and she knows my unruly hair, so I took her advice on board and I am so glad I did!

 The serum itself is quite lightweight and not greasy. As you can probably make out from the pump and packaging, it is a dual serum, with a light green and a transparent serum coming out of the pump when you press it. I do not know why they are separate, or what each colour does to your hair, but it works a treat. 

When I apply this on my wet hair after coming it out with a Tangle Teezer, it markedly leaves my hair feeling alot stronger, almost like tugging on a rope. When I blowdry my hair, instead of being the usual ball of fuzz that I am, my hair is noticeably sleeker, and I notice less breakage. My hair straightens easily, and the ends stay straighter for longer (I have flickers that tend to get a life of their own!). This does not make my hair greasy. Alot of serums that I have tried have actually left the ends of my hair so greasy looking that it almost looks a different colour to my roots, but not this baby!

I've been using it for three weeks now and it has done amazing things for my hair, it feels stronger, it's breaking less (I especially notice this when I straighten my hair or when I wear a black jumper- no shedding for me these days!

If you have dry, overprocessed, weak hair, I cannot recommend this enough. I will definitely keep repurchasing this even though it is not cheap at €35 for a bottle, but when you consider how concentrated Kerastase products are, coupled with how long a bottle actually lasts, the cost per use is very reasonable. I still love my Kerastase Chroma Thermique and Elixir Ultime, but this is a keeper in my eyes, and has made me feel a bit better for being so mean to my hair!

Would love to know how you get on with this if you try it.

Thanks for reading xx


Friday, 25 January 2013

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains- Review and Swatches

Hi everybody!

Most people would probably find a love affair with a lip product to be a bit excessive or unnecessary- most people that are not cosmetics obsessed like I am (and presumably you are because you are reading this post!). We all know the way it goes- you get one, you love it, you get bitten by the bug, you get another, it confirms why you love that first one so much, and before you know it you have the whole happy family hanging out in your make up collection. It's a familiar pattern by now.

I bought my first Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Lovesick, back in October, then I picked up Honey, and before I knew it, I wanted them all. And it is LOVE. The biggest compliment I can ever give any product is when I pick up every colour. These are the much celebrated dupes of the Clinique Chubby Sticks and I cannot hype them enough.

So, I hear you ask, why EXACTLY do I love these so much? Two words- lasting power. These are incredible on the lips- they do not budge when you put them on, they last for so long and fade gradually instead of disappearing in patches and the pigmentation is amazing- you can apply one quick coat and go for a more sheer look, or build up the opacity with a few layers.

The packaging of these is really nice- I LOVE how the external packaging replicates the colour inside- so easy to tell them apart and so easy to pick out a colour. Also, the lids fits on really sturdily so I don't worry about it coming off in the battlefield that is the dark depths of my handbag (my phone and wallet have been assaulted by rebel lipsticks in my bag more times than I care to remember!). The little silver part of the end is the twisty part so you can release more lovely product when you are running low.

There is a minty taste off these when you apply them first but it's not strong or overpowering and fades quite quickly. There is peppermint oil listed in the ingredients so I guess this is the culprit! I don't like alot of artificial minty tastes but I do not mind these in the slightest. They seem to last ages also- I've been using a few of them very regularly over the last few months and I haven't had to wind them up yet.

Speaking of winding them up, look how much product you get in each!!

Verrrrry generous Revlon, much obliged! :)

As for the colour selection- bearing in mind that we in Ireland and presumably in the UK are deprived of the full range of colours (I think there are five more available- Adore, Sweetheart, Smitten, Charm and Precious- I've been stalking Ebay and one of these days I will pounce!), the colour range that we are afforded is quite decent- from a nice MLBB colour in 001 Honey, a blue toned lilac pink in 010 Darling, a Barbie pink in 015 Cherish, a fuchsia pink in 020 Lovesick, an orange orange in 040 Rendezvous, a pillar box red in 045 Romantic and a deep berry wine in 005 Crush- there definitely is variety in their offerings. 

And now for the swatches....

(L-R: Honey, Darling, Cherish, Lovesick, Rendezvous, Romantic, Crush)

Bottom line- these are amazing. They are the most troublefree lip products I have ever had the pleasure of owning- they are just fantastic. They last incredibly well- I've put them to the ultimate test- eating, drinking, nights out, days in college or work- and they just fade ever so slightly. They do not budge from your lips, there is no issue with the colour bleeding- and amazingly enough- they do not dry out my lips (which is the easiest thing in the world to do at the moment in this freezing Irish weather!). They glide on so easily, no tugging or pulling, and they feel like a giant crayon in your hands as you do so. They leave a glossy finish- some more glossy than others, but they are not sticky or gritty at all- you do not even notice you have these on your lips- whether you eat, drink or talk.

These are really an absolutely stellar offering from Revlon and were definitely a find- I cannot recommend them enough! At €11.20 a pop, they are not the cheapest product on the shelf but in terms of value for money and cost per use, these are top of the class. HYPE HYPE HYPE!

Have you tried these out yet?

Thanks for reading xx

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I've popped another cherry...

Hi everybody, 

I finally popped my BH Cosmetics cherry and made my first ever order! It arrived today and I am very chuffed with my presents.

I got the :

88 Cool Shimmer Palette
12 piece brush set
Liquid Eyeliner Pen
Lip Gloss in Studious 
Gel Eyeliner in Onyx

Can't wait to start playing with these properly but first impressions are great, everything seems to be decent quality. Give me a few weeks to play around and I will report back in due course! 

So much for my self imposed January make-up ban!!

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 14 January 2013

I've been nominated for my first ever award! :)

Hi everybody!

Today could have been just another ordinary Monday. When I was perusing my Blogger Dashboard as I do every morning, I noticed that Celeste from Madames Made Up has nominated me for a Liebster Award. I have often seen the little Liebster badges on blogs that I have been reading but I didn't know too much about it or the nomination process.  The rules are as follows:

1. Nominate 11 up and coming or new bloggers (with less than 200 followers)
2. Divulge 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions that the person who nominated you asked
4. Tell the bloggers you have nominated and ask them to complete the same process with the 11 questions you set out.

So without further ado!

11 Random Facts about myself

1. I have ridiculously small feet and sometimes I fall out of my size 3 heels. I also think my feet are shrinking!
2. I also have a huge head and I never ever wear hats. 
3. I'm the oldest child in my family and I definitely suffer from OCS (oldest child syndrome)
4. I only recently learned how to use Twitter properly (i.e. use the '@Connect' button)
5. I love driving but I couldn't give or follow directions if my life depended on it.
6. I'm allergic to cats. A real allergy like, not just allerge.
7. I secretly love kareoke and I think I do a mean Shakira impersonation.
8. I love cooking and watching cookery shows on TV- Jamie Oliver, Nigella, Gino, Rachel, Catherine Fulvio- you name it, I watch it.
9. I spent four months living in France working as an English teacher.
10. I don't eat fish- not even fishfingers.
11. Clothes shopping is a chore for me.

Answering Celeste's questions

Why did you decide to write a blog?

I've always loved writing and I love makeup and beauty products and potions. I've been a long time reader of many blogs and one of my friends said to me that I spend so much time reading other people's opinions online that I should put up some of my own. I was posting away for ages before I ever told anyone I was blogging- not that I was keeping it secret but I guess in the start when I was finding my feet and my voice, it was my little pet project of love. Then I told Nina (check out her blog here) and she kind of motivated me on to share what I had already done and gave me a plug and the rest, as they say, is history!

Converse or runners?

Converse all the way- wear them practically every day and have at least 20 pairs. When I go to the US, I can pick them up from outlet centres like Woodbury Commons in the kids section for like $15/20 a pair. Probably the one advantage of having small feet!

Dance music or Rock music?

Can I say dance to rock music? Truth be told, I love both- but I would say I am more of a rocker than a dancer.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I'd love to be just a few inches taller- I'm so short I am barely off the ground (barely 5ft but if anybody asks I am 5ft on the button!)  and I find it such a pain to buy clothes, I always have to take up and alter my trousers and pants for work, and it's really hard to get nice dresses to fit me in the way that I want instead of ending just above my ankle. If I was 5ft6 I would be very happy. Also, if I could grow like size 5 feet, that would be very handy.

Favourite perfume?

Anything Chanel- absolutely adore Chance, Coco Mademoiselle, No 5 (EDT), Allure. I also love Lacoste Touch of Pink and some of the Britney perfumes are quite nice in small doses!

What blogger needs more followers?

This is a hard one because I read so many blogs and I couldn't say any one blogger is more deserving of followers than another. I could name out all the blogs that I follow and love, but I would be here half the day and this post would get ridiculously long!

What was the last nice thing you did for someone?

I think I excelled myself this Christmas in the gifts that I selected for people- I just really made an effort to get things for people that I genuinely thought they would love, and it seems to have worked a treat!

Where are you from?

I'm from Mallow in County Cork (home of Pixyland!) but I am currently living in Dublin because I am working and studying in Dublin at the moment. I doubt I will ever return to Cork!

Who inspires you?

I think I take inspiration from a lot of different sources. I look up to my parents and I think I get my work ethic from them, I appreciate everything they do for me and my siblings. I love my Nana to bits and she had me reading/writing/speaking Irish and able to add/subtract before I even started Junior Infants. In work, I look up to alot of the associates and partners in the firm because they are so incredibly smart and clued in, and I can only hope to achieve that level of knowledge as my career progresses. I've recently finished reading Katie Piper's book and I just think that she is a true inspiration- given the path she has been on and what has been inflicted upon her- she is a trooper and definitely somebody to look up to.

Favourtie childhood film?

Mrs. Doubtfire probably or else the Home Alone movies-they still make me laugh to this day!

What is your pet peeve?

I have so many pet peeves I will sound very cranky. I don't like people who speak loudly to try to force their opinions on other people- just because you are shouting at me does not make your point any more valid! I don't like hearing other people chew food. People who scrape cutlery off their plates as they are eating. Children that howl and wail in public. People who commit to do something and back out for no apparent reason. Pushy sales assistants who won't take no for an answer. Ah so many, I could go on and on!

My Questions for my Nominees

1. What's in your handbag today?
2. Who would play you in the movie depicting your life story?
3. Favourite comfort food?
4. What is your most prized possession?
5. What was your most embarrassing moment to date (can be anything!)?
6. Favourite song at the moment?
7. Last time you cried watching a movie?
8. What really makes you mad?
9/ If you could step into somebody else's shoes for day, who would you choose?
10. Whose style do you admire and why?
11. Best book you have ever read?

My Nominees for a Liebster award :)

1. A Bullet to the Head
2. A Little Bit of Makeup and Beauty
3. Emilyx0
4. LACx0
5. Simone Scribes
6. Princesswatshername
7. Eimear Byrne Makeup Artist
8. Sarah Jane's Obsessions
9. Glamournazi
10. MakeUp by Kate!
11. Kathryns Make-up bag

Thanks again to Celeste for the nod and thanks to you all for reading xx

Thursday, 10 January 2013

MUA 35% off Haul- first impressions!

Hello all!

So a few weeks back, MUA held a 35% off and free shipping extravaganza to celebrate reaching 35,000 fans on Facebook, and I placed an order for a few of the newer items to try them out. The website experienced such a surge that it crashed, but as soon as it came online again, I got my order in double quick, and it took just over one week to arrive which is great considering the pressure they must have been under. 

I ordered two cream blushes in "Blossom" and "Bittersweet" and my first impressions of these are not great. They don't swatch very well and I tried one on my face and it felt a bit greasy. I don't think they are that pigmented, I don't like the packaging, I just don't have much interest in these, but to be honest, I didn't have the highest hopes. Still at just over £1 a pop during the promotion, I won't be crying over them! I would like to make them work for me and I might resort to trying these on my lips if I cannot get them to work as blushes.

I also picked up an Intense Kisses Lip Gloss in "Smooch" and a Sheer Lip Gloss in "Happy Days", both of which will look nice over lipstick I believe. The Intense Kisses gloss is packed with fine glitter but it doesn't feel grainy on the lips, and the sheer gloss is sheer but it is perfect for layering over a lipstick- there is no glitter, these are just true glosses. The formula is very thin so these will probably need to be reapplied several times over the course of a night.

I had to try out the Nail Constellations- I selected the shade "Libra" because that is my starsign even though I don't particularly think it was the prettiest one. It consists of little black and aqua balls and you apply these over a thick coat of nail varnish and press them on and let them set. I decided to try to have one accent nail the other day but by the end of the day, I didn't have a bead left, so even though they are very pretty, I don't know how well I will fare with these guys! But they are so pretty, I will definitely try them again.

I also picked up one of their magnetic polishes in "Park Lane" which I am completely disappointed with- it just went on as a red nail varnish, I cannot see how this is magnetic when the magnetic on the top of the bottle had no effect on the finish of the polish. Bit of a non-event unforch. I also got one of their new £1 nail varnishes in the shade 'Plum' because if I am coral crazy in the summer months, I am definitely obsessed with plum in the winter, and this is a really nice purple/plum shade. I will feature a NOTD with this colour soon.

I picked up the Shimmer Kisses Bronzer and Blusher also, and whilst they definitely are not the most pigmented shadows I have ever tried, the bronze in particular is a very pretty shades for pale skinned folk like myself. 

I also purchased the Extreme Felt Liner in "Black" which is the MUA version of a felt lip eyeliner pen. I have an Essence one that I am loving at the moment- I took it to France with me and I use it on days when I am too lazy to apply my preferred cream eyeliner. Straight off the bat, this is not as pigmented as my Essence one- it's a more watered down black colour which I am not very impressed with- but admittedly I have not put this near my eyes yet so it might be a completely different kettle of fish then. I try to use one eyeliner pens up before using new ones because they dry up like nobody's business but I will of course post a more detailed review once I have given it a fair try.

So that's all from my haul this time around- like I said, I just wanted to test a few things out. I love MUA as a brand, some of their palettes are amazing and their shadows are extremely pigmented and soft, their £1 lipsticks are amazing as are their individual shadows and nail polishes. I'm looking forward to playing with these bits more over the coming weeks and reporting back on my findings!

Did anybody else avail of the 35% off code from MUA or does anybody have any must have product recommendations for the 50% off and free shipping over they will hold once they reach 50,000 fans on Facebook?

Thanks for reading! x

Sunday, 6 January 2013

My Inglot Square Eyeshadow Palette collection- review and swatches (pic heavy)

Hello all!

As you may be aware, I am absolutely obsessed with Inglot eyeshadows. They are probably THE find of 2012 for me. I picked up my first palette in September and I have been hooked since. I mean seriously addicted! In terms of quality, blendability, value, pigmentation, lasting power- they are seriously colourful little squares of buttery-soft amazingness.

The Inglot Freedom system basically allows you to fill up and organise your own square or circular pan palettes with eyeshadows (square only- circular eyeshadow pans have been discontinued), lipsticks or concealers (circular only). When you call into an Inglot store, you can swatch to your heart's contentment and arrange your selected shadows on a little blackboard so you can easily put together palettes if you have certain looks in mind. I love the Freedom system for many reasons but mostly because I love the fact that I can organise eyeshadow palettes into colour combinations that suit me. So far I have christened the six of my palettes and I refer to them as Black and White, Autumnal, Colours, Rainbow, Neutrals 1 and Neutrals 2.  I have not yet been able to make a palette of random colours that I just love, my palettes have to have a theme, but I personally wouldn't have it any other way. :) Like Hamlet, there has to be method to my madness.

The packaging is super sturdy- four super strong magnets in each corner for putting the transparent lid on the shadows or for stacking up the palettes together (ideal for travelling MUAs I would imagine!). I love the simplistic black palettes and transparent lids, it makes it so easy to spot what palette is which, and they feel so sturdy and tough that I would have no qualms about transporting these babies anywhere. The palettes come in a variety of different sizes, from single shadows to 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20 and even 40 pans! 

Before I dig into unveiling the colours and palettes that I have, for those of you who may not be overly familiar with Inglot, there are several different types of eyeshadows that come in the square pans, and the finish can differ depending on the type. The 'Matte' eyeshadows are seriously pigmented matte shades with absolutely no shimmer and no sheen and can be a little powdery but nothing a tap of the brush on the side of the palette can't fix. The Double Sparkle (D.S.) shades are more semi-matte, semi-shimmer shadows with a satin finish, and the 'AMC' eyeshadows are quite similar to the D.S. shades but with a little less sparkle. The 'Pearl' shadows have a fine shimmer and a silky, pearly sheen and the 'AMC Shine' shadows are most metallic and frosty and are extremely sheeny. I adore the Matte, AMC Shine and Pearl finishes especially. I will refer also the the type of eyeshadow in the pictures below.

So finally onto my colour selection and what has floated my boat so far! 

(L-R DS496,  DS501, AMC SHINE 36, AMC SHINE 47,  PEARL 451)


(L-R: PEARL 606, PEARL 421, PEARL 605, PEARL 607)


(L-RMATTE 354, MATTE 342, MATTE 328, MATTE 358, MATTE 357, PEARL 397, DS 461, AMC SHINE 31, DS 465, DS 460)

(L-R122R, 125R, 123R, 124R, 130R )

As you can probably tell from the pics, I am obsessed with their neutrals- I use these pretty much every day and I haven't even hit pan yet (though a few are looking slightly dented!) I mentioned already but it is worth mentioning again that the payoff is unreal and I cannot fault the lasting power in the slightest. I usually pair these over a MAC Paint Pot and my eye makeup would easily last upwards of 10 hours. I love MAC eyeshadows, again especially my neutrals palettes, but Inglot is a worthy rival. In terms of comparison- a single MAC pro pan eyeshadow refill is €12.50, a single Inglot eyeshadow is €6. Inglot square pan eyeshadows contain twice as much product as MAC eyeshadows. In terms of pigmentation, I think they are equal if not better than MAC (those darned lustre eyeshadows!) The only con with Inglot eyeshadows is that they are not named- this bugs me to the core because I feel like it makes them a little less user-friendly and I have a morbid fear of picking up the same eyeshadow twice. 

I have my MAC favourites, but I can honestly say now if I am in the market for eyeshadows, I would call to Inglot first. Though my collection is only beginning, I will continue to grow it- I have 15/20 pan full in a round pan eyeshadow palette (can't find the round pan eyeshadows anymore since they have been discontinued which means I have a 3/4 full palette- annoying!) and I have a couple single eyeshadows, lipsticks, lip pencils, blushes, brushes, powders, lip glosses and the like. I hope to get around to reviewing all of them in due course!

I would love to hear any Inglot recommendations you have, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop them below and I will try to get back to them as soon as I can!

Thanks for reading! xx

Friday, 4 January 2013

My current fave foundation (and it's a shocker!)

Hi everybody!

My search for a HG foundation has been going on for years now, and often I find myself liking a foundation for 2 months and then despising it soon thereafter. I've tried high end and drugstore and to be honest, I generally favour the former. But last September, something crazy happened to me, I was seduced by a machine and a generous sample, it was pretty much love at first sight even though part of me was loathe to admit it, and now that four full months of using this foundation have elapsed and it's still my go-to foundation, I feel like it is time to share with the world my current favourite foundation. 


No 7 Instant Radiance Foundation in 'Cool Vanilla'

I honestly thought I would never see the day when I would rate a No 7 foundation so highly when my overall opinion of the brand was pretty darn poor if I am being honest. For years, I have just felt like it was old fashioned and boring, with little to ever entice me, and I only ever purchased something in a moment of weakness when armed with one of those €7.50 vouchers that Boots hand out frequently. I usually picked up wipes and cleansers, the odd mascara (Lash Adapt- not a fan!), lipstick or nail polish, but nothing substantial, and certainly not a foundation. 

I am ridiculously fussy when it comes to foundations. I like good but not too much coverage and I have very schizophrenic skin that is oily in parts and can be dry as a desert the next day. I don't like the cakey look, and I find colour matching to be the ultimate pain in my side because I am so pale and fair that it takes very little to make me look like I have been tangoed or am suffering from liver failure. I don't often praise foundations, and I very rarely find a foundation that I am happy using for daytime and nighttime use. 

So, with everything militating against me idolworshipping a No 7 foundation, I really did not expect to be seduced by a piece of technology and a huge free sample, but honestly I have not looked back since. I  primarily called into Boots that day because I wanted to experience this new gizmo they had been advertising, the Foundation Match Made Service.  Basically, the lovely lady in Boots in Dundrum (cannot remember her name!) took off a dot of makeup on one side of my face, pressed a gizmo and took something in the region of 200 photos in a matter of seconds and deduced that the colour that would suit me best is Cool Vanilla. I was skeptical at first because I would have been almost certain that I would be matched with the palest shade but Cool Vanilla is actually the second fairest colour. The No 7 assistant tried that foundation asked me what kind of coverage I would like, and I said something in the middle, not cakey but something lighter and more light reflecting for the winter months, and she recommended the Instant Radiance line. She applied some on my face but she really won me over by giving me a massive sample pot to take away with me and try at home. I u sed up all of that sample- there was literally ten days worth of foundation, and I completely fell for it, so I went and purchased it for a mere €17.45 I think and I also used a €4 voucher which they give out from time to time. I'm on my third bottle currently but I have used this foundation every single day since I got it, bar a few days where I tried out my newer Make Up For Ever, Bourjois, MAC and Rimmel foundations- none of which made the same impact.

The Boots website claims that the No 7 Instant Radiance Foundation is a unique energising complex with vitamins C and E to help protect and revitalise dull-looking skin. I usually don't fully believe such blurb but I can stay behind this, I really do feel that this makes me look more radiant, especially on these cold, dark winter mornings when, let's face it. we need as much help (and as many vitamins) as we can get.

So why exactly do I love it so much? I don't know where to begin or what words to use. The consistency is quite watery, and you may be deceived into thinking the coverage is not that great. I use three pumps of this and a flat top kabuki from Blank Canvas Cosmetics to apply this and it applies like a dream. Funnily enough, I do feel instantly radiant- I wouldn't say it's dewy but there is enough dew to keep me happy, and it really just makes me feel brighter and perkier. I think the coverage is really excellent, I feel it gives a great base to work on but doesn't make your face feel flat in the way some other foundations have. I sometimes use a setting powder over this (either MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Light, Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Transparent or Catrice Prime and Fine Powder) and this foundation reacts remarkably well to it. It does not go cakey in the slightest, not even remotely. My skin is combination- my nose can be quite oily but I am also prone to dry patches and this foundation just works with my skin so well, it doesn't cling to dry patches or flake.

(Blob squirted on back of my hand- looks quite watery but do not be deceived!)
 (Again even with a heavy swatch you can see that it still looks quite fine and thin...)
 (But blended out, it gives a lovely finish, not greasy or thin but not cakey)

As for the packaging, you get 30 mls of product for the price which is pretty much par for the course with most foundations, and I do think it is good value. I have repurchased this twice already and have a back up stored just in case. The bottle comes with a pump which is very handy and even though the packaging is not the most glamorous as it is a plastic bottle, I think it is perfectly adequate. You can clearly see how much product you have left because as you use it, the bottom of the inner packaging is sucked up further and further. This is probably my favourite feature in relation to this packaging- unlike my Bobbi Brown, MAC and other foundations in glass bottles, it is perfectly easy to extract every last drop of this foundation out.

I have to admit, I do consider myself to be a foundation snob, and I am crazy fussy and critical of foundations more so than any other cosmetic component because I think so highly of foundation- I very rarely skip foundation, I always put foundation on before any other make up, I just feel like it's setting up a canvas for everything else. On a lasting power note, this lasts the whole day on me and doesn't crack or vanish in one part. I've never needed to use a primer with this either and it worked equally well in the hot September/early October months as it did through cold November and wet December.

This was a find, and I am so glad that I took off my foundation snob hat for long enough to find a great foundation. I'll continue to use this for now but I will probably continue my quest to find a dream foundation, but for now, I couldn't ask more of this offering from No 7. 

 Has anybody else tried this and fallen in love with it also? Or would anybody else never have thought of trying this because they don't have much time for No 7 as a brand? 

If you are interested in trying this out, pretty sure Boots are running a no 7 voucher spree again at the moment (€6.50 off skincare, €4 off cosmetics) so seems like a great opportunity to get face matched and try it out :) If you do, let me know how you get on!

Thanks for reading xxx

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