Saturday, 28 October 2017

Ebay Makeup Storage Ideas

It's hard to remember a time before eBay - you would wonder how people sourced things before eBay  and the interwebs were invented! The best thing about eBay is that, at any given time, there are billions of products listed for sale. We all know that when you buy from eBay, you never know whether you are on to the bargain of the century or whether you have wasted your hard cash on cheap Chinese mass manufactured tatt - that's half the fun. I love browsing eBay and I thought I would share some makeup storage ideas with y'all for your viewing pleasure. PSA: I have not bought any of these items myself so cannot attest as to whether they would be treasure or trash or vouch for any of the sellers.
1. Rotating Makeup Storage - I personally wouldn't opt for this in my makeup room because I like most of my makeup storage to be off the surfaces and tucked away neatly but if you like to have your daily essentials to hand, this rotating unit would be a brilliant and inexpensive way of displaying them.
2. Empty Magnetic Palette - I have so much makeup now that I would do anything to consolidate my collection a bit and the easiest way I have found to do that is by depotting products like eyeshadows and blushes into empty magnetic palettes. These are handy for your products that you can buy in pans too - think Inglot freedom system, single MAC eyeshadows, Makeup Geek, Colored Rain, Colour Pop - the possibilities are endless. 
3. Nail Polish Display Unit - I'd never fit my nail polish collection into one of these bad boys but what I would use this for would be foundation/primer rotations - foundations tend to get lost at the back of my drawer so I feel like if I could display them neatly, I'd be more inclined to switch it up.
4. False Eyelash Case - hands up if you like to recycle your false eyelashes but end up damaging or losing them between uses? For less than 2 euro including delivery, you could keep three pairs on the go at the same time.
5. Rotating Lipstick Storage Unit - because sometimes lipsticks are just too pretty to be stored away in drawers. Think about how good your Chanel, YSL, Charlotte Tilbury etc. lipsticks would look if they were on display! 
6. Eyeliner/Lipliner/Makeup Brush Storage - I've a couple of these on the go at my vanity table - they are the handiest storage devices ever for eyeliners, lipliners, small makeup brushes etc.
7. Eyeshadow Palette Storage - I also have one of these because I kept using the same eyeshadow palettes over and over again. About once a fortnight I switch up the palettes I use by rotating what I have currently on the go with what is in my drawers. These are especially handy for smaller palettes.
8. Beauty Blender Holder - you probably glanced at this picture and thought I was crazy for including an egg cup - it's not an egg cup but a little storage cup for dirty beauty blenders! I've ordered one of these - what a genius idea. I love the idea of being able to keep your beauty sponges neatly stored when not in use.
9. Acrylic Blush Storage - I make my own drawer dividers for my Ikea Alex makeup drawers but if you're not a fan of DIY or prefer something acrylic, these little acrylic dividers might be the perfect choice for you. 
10. Transparent Makeup Bags - whether you are a pro makeup artist or just trying to keep your collection neat and tidy, these transparent makeup bags are absolute gifts, especially for travelling. I love these for keeping things like false eyelashes and nail tools organised. These would be perfect for a makeup artist's kit also.
11. Closable Lipstick Storage - If you're afraid of your dearest lipsticks getting dusty, this closable lipstick storage chest might be the solution for you.
12. Ikea-esque makeup brush holder - I keep the vast majority of my makeup brushes in the Ikea plant pots so it would have been remiss of me to talk about makeup storage solutions without finding an eBay alternative and these are only €2ish a piece including delivery!

So there you have it - let me know if you like this format of post i.e. eBay inspiration posts and I can definitely dream up some more!
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Thursday, 26 October 2017

All about Benefit - Hoola Light, Hoola Quickie Contour Stick and Dandelion Twinkle

In my opinion, Benefit Cosmetics is one of the brands that creates hype like no other and I have never really bought into the Benefit gimmicks. So many of the latest Benefit releases have not only not appealed to me in the slightest but also turned me completely off the brand for a little while (those ridiculous lipsticks and eyeshadows earlier this year were a real low point IMO). It would take a special release for Benefit to redeem themselves in my eyes after those products and a special release came in the form of new base products during the summer and I'm all about that base. I wasn't originally going to post about these because I feel like Benefit and these products in particular have gotten plenty of online coverage over the last few months, but I have literally used at least one of these products every single day for the last few months. 

I've long time loved the Hoola Bronzer (though I cannot say I am a huge fan of the box packaging) so I was delighted to hear that there was a lighter version incoming called Hoola Lite. The Benefit Dandelion blush is one of my favourites so I was also chuffed to hear that they were releasing a Dandelion inspired highlighter. I was on the fence about the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick as I hated the 'Dew the Hoola' Hoola cream bronzer that was released last year - it shows up way too orange on my skin for my liking and is certainly not as cool as its powder cousin. This had the makings of a very lucrative launch indeed so I tested out all the products in Sephora in May, liked what I saw and I then swiftly ordered all the products as soon as they were released here because I wanted to try and use them myself before the hype took hold. (As an aside - I bought them from the Look Fantastic website and had them delivered to Parcel Motel - I had a discount code that was sent to email subscribers and ended up saving 30%+ plus on Boots prices.)

HOOLA LITE

I first got to give Hoola Lite a whirl in a special limited edition palette called Cheek Parade long before it was individually released and I enjoyed it so much that I knew I was going to get the full size version for easier travel and top ups. I didn't want it so much for contouring but for gently warming up my face when I want a more natural bronze look. I'm not the fairest of the fair (MAC NW20 for reference) but I am particular when it comes to my bronzers and so many bronzers flash either too orange or too dark for me so I've taken a penchant for building up lighter bronzers to achieve the desired level of bronze. As you will see from the swatches below, this is a good few shades lighter than the original Hoola. I use a fluffy blush to apply this around the perimeters of my face to make myself look a little more subtle-y sunkissed. If you are not fair/light in skin tone, you might want to skip on this.

HOOLA QUICKIE CONTOUR STICK

I've used the original Hoola bronzer for years - it probably comes second only to my beloved NARS Laguna bronzer and it that perfect shade of brown for contouring against my skin shade- so I was very pleased altogether to hear that Benefit were releasing a Hoola contour stick. I'm more of a powder advocate than a cream product fan but it the summer months, I find myself reaching for the creams more and more to achieve a more natural, glowy look. I already mentioned that I really didn't like the Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer that was released last summer - it was way way too orange on my skin tone for me to pull off - so I had initial reservations about trying this product and wanted to try it in person before committing to purchase. As soon as I clapped eyes on it in Sephora back in May, I knew we would get on famously, and I've been using it so much since, even in the last few weeks where the autumn has finally taken hold. The texture of this is perfect - it applies like a dream, blends so easily and sets down and does not budge once applied. When applying this, I usually apply it straight from the bullet on my forehead, around my hairline and under my cheekbones - I don't put any on my jawline but I would buff any excess product on my brush there instead. It doesn't disturb the foundation underneath and looks completely natural on the skin. You get 8.5g of product in the stick which should last a while as you don't need to use a whole lot of it.

DANDELION TWINKLE

I was sure that this highlighter was going to be pink chunky glitter but to my great surprise, it's a very shiny and not very glittery highlighter that doesn't flash pink on my skin tone at all. This highlighter is possibly the most flattering wet look, sheeny and not glittery highlighting product that I own. Lord knows I love me some highlight and I don't think I have anything else quite like this one already. It doesn't really matter how much you apply - I don't think you can apply too much of this to be honest so I have been applying it liberally. It comes in the same box packaging as the other bronzers and blushes which I am not terribly keen on (I would prefer a simple compact instead of chunky box faff). I apply this with my Zoeva Luxe Highlight brush #105 along my cheeks and down the bridge of my nose and it leaves a gorgeous lit from within glow on the skin with absolutely no traces of glitter. Even though the powder looks pink in the pan, it doesn't apply pink to the face in my opinion - so I don't think you would get away with using this as a blush substitute if you wanted some cheek colour. Speaking of blush, when you pair this highlighter with Dandelion, that's when the real magic happens. I just feel like this highlighter is health in a box - on the most miserable grey days, it makes me feel like I've been sitting out in the sun for hours. If you love a full on metallic glow that can be seen from the International Space Station, this is not the product for you - if you are looking for a more natural, glowy highlight, I honestly believe you would be hard pressed to find a better alternative. This is pretty much the only highlight product I have been using for the last few months. I think this highlight would look great on lots of different skintones - obviously the fair skinned folk like myself but also medium/darker skin tones because the product is not ashy and quite buildable. I've used this so much that I have made a sizeable dent in it and I think I am only a few more uses away from hitting pan. 

HOOLA COMPARISONS



If you're looking to purchase these products yourself, have a look at the Look Fantastic website or you can also pick them up from Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Harvey Nichol, Cloud 10 Beauty or in one of the many pharmacies that stock Benefit products. Hoola Lite and Dandelion Twinkle retails for €34 whilst the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick will set you back €30. 

Have you tried any of the new Benefit products yet?
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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips - Review + Swatches

I have never bought into the Charlotte Tilbury hype as I have found most of her products to be middle of the road but the one thing that I really think Charlotte does well is lip products. Her Lip Cheats are perfection (I've gone through several Pillow Talk lip liners by now), her KISSING lipsticks are amongst the smoothiest and creamiest lip products I have ever tried and her Matte Revolution lipsticks are some of my fave lipsticks ever. Charlotte knows lips. When I spied that Charlotte had a new collection of liquid lipsticks coming out, I was on it like a car bonnet, and I ordered three different colours from Selfridges the day they were released and have been trying them out since. 
There are 10 shades of the new Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips altogether - ranging from a pale nude to a vampy red. The collection is predominantly a suite of warm nude shades with a cool pink and shimmery coral thrown in for good measure. As the name would suggest, all of the shades are Hollywood inspired (with names like 'Best Actress', 'Screen Siren' and 'Rising Star' to match). Charlotte even named a nude after herself and 'Charlotte Darling' is her signature shade in the collection. The full suite of shades are available from Charlotte Tilbury website, Brown Thomas and BT2, and the Selfridges website. I paid €27.50 a piece from the Selfridges website and they are available for €32 from Brown Thomas or from the Charlotte Tilbury website directly. 

The Hollywood Lips come in standard enough but Tilbury fancy gold tubes, and what Charlotte herself says sets these liquid lipsticks apart from all others is the specially designed 'Lip Hug' applicator - I kid you not. This lip hugging applicator allegedly has a wide part to cover the lower lip, mimicking the natural shape, and the thinner part precisely defining the upper lip. That's an awful lot of promise from one small, inconspicuous looking doe foot applicator.

I was very conservative and only purchased three shades - 'Dolly Bird', 'Show Girl' and 'Too Bad I'm Bad'. 
Dolly Bird is the only cool toned pink shade in the collection. This is my favourite of the three shades that I picked because I'm all about the cool toned pinks. I think this is quite a wearable pink for a bright pink and it looks well against my pale cool toned skin.
Show Girl is described as a natural rose berry but I have to say, the colour appears darker on my lips than the official promo shots on the Charlotte Tilbury website. I don't really mind because I love the shade - it absolutely screams autumn to me and I'm feeling increasingly more autumnal as the cooler temperatures are creeping in. 
Too Bad I'm Bad is described as an alluring warm rosy pink which is pretty bang on. This is probably the least offensive warm pink shade going and I'm sure this will appeal to the masses. For whatever reason, I have oft suffered from "bumhole" lips when I use this colour in particular. 
So - after trying out a few different shades over the course of a week - I have a few thoughts. I do find the Hollywood Lips apply well - in spite of the "innovative wand" (and I will get to that later) because it is a nice thick creamy formula - it feels comfortable on the lips - no stickiness or tackiness and no strong scent. They do not set completely on the lips so you will still get a little transfer if you I have the driest lips going and even though I love liquid lipsticks, they sometimes go flaky on me if I haven't given my lips a good scrub and moisturising, but I was genuinely impressed with how the Hollywood Lips did not dry out my lips. If you have as much as a flake of dryness on your lips, you definitely need to tend to that before you even think of applying this to your lips. All of the Hollywood Lips had a soft matte finish and none of the colours I picked sank into my fine little lip lines.

In terms of lasting power, I found that these lasted pretty well but no longer than her Matte Revolution lipsticks. When reapplying, it was not strictly necessary to remove all of the lipstick and reapply a fresh layer, but it definitely looked better this way - albeit quite impractical for reapplying when you are out and about. Because the formula is a bit thicker than your average liquid lipstick formula, you can't really get away with just swiping some on on the fly.

On the amazing innovative wand - this is a ridiculous concept quite frankly. It does nothing to help application, in fact it hinders an easy application. In my experience, the curve on the applicator (which is meant to swiftly cover your bottom lip) just picks up and gathers loads of product - it sits on the applicator like cement on a shovel waiting to be thrown somewhere. I get what team Tilbury were trying to do but, just, no - in fact, it's a little bit annoying because it means you should take greater care when applying so you don't get product all over your face which kind of defeats the purpose of this super-innovative wand. If it ain't broke...

Conclusion - these are grand lip products but nothing really special. I will for sure happily continue to use these but I wouldn't repurchase any of them because they are not that dear to me, and I very much doubt I'll be enticed by any more of the shades. In summary - another overpriced, middle of the road Charlotte Tilbury product.
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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Fenty Beauty - Worth the Hype?


The launch of Rihanna's Fenty Beauty line of cosmetics has gotten many heads in a spin since inception and it's recent release on both sides of the Atlantic has seen an absolute plethora of reviews and first impressions and worth the hypes go online. I'm not a huge Rihanna fangirl but I am a huge makeup fangirl so I duly headed over to Harvey Nichols in Dundrum on the launch weekend to test out the products for myself and of course I purchased a few bits and pieces to try out. I have been trying them out for the last month and I am finally reporting back today on how I found the products and what I think of the makeup in general. 
Firstly - the things I like and don't like about Fenty Beauty as a brand before we begin. Rihanna and her team decided to come out with not four or five but FORTY different shades of foundation as part of their standing range. Apparently Rihanna wanted the brand to be ridiculously inclusive for all women - from the palest snowflakes to the darkest chocolate girls - which is incredibly commendable. It's so frustrating that some foundations in certain brands are limited to 5/6 measly shades - a 40 shade offering is by any standards impressive. Secondly, whilst there are a huge array of foundations available, there is not much of anything else - a primer, a (single, universal) lip gloss, some Match SkinSticks which are cream stick concealers, blushes, highlights and contours in little bullets, some highlighting/blush duos and blotting powders and papers. It's quite clear that the initial Fenty Beauty offering is all about the base and achieving that glow - there is very little in the line of colour cosmetics to play with. The stand in Harvey Nichols Dundrum is huge, and the girls on counter were very lovely and very enthusiastic about their product, but there wasn't much on the stand because there is not a huge product line-up. Again, this brand has just started out so I think that's ok and the girls on counter did tell me that new arrivals for eyes and lips were imminent so we won't have too long to wait. The packaging and aesthetic of the brand were quite pleasing - very Bajan beachy with simplistic beige/white packaging and all the powder compacts / Match Sticks / lip gloss come in hexagonal packaging. I don't think the packaging is particularly special or luxe though - it reminds me of the H&M makeup range.
I picked up the primer, foundation (obvs), lip gloss (say what?) and a contour/highlight/concealer trio on my first trip. The price point of the products is at the lower end of the high-end spectrum - quite similar to MAC prices - I don't know why but I was expecting it to be pricier and I was expecting Irish gals to get stung by the usual poor exchange rates but that was not the case - hooray! I've really put these products through their paces - I even brought them to Madrid with me on a recent trip - so I feel like I have tested them out under a variety of conditions. I had immediate feels about these products - some good and some bad - and instead of rushing to get a post up in the first week following the launch, I decided to take a longer view to give a more informed review.
The first product I want to talk about is the Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Instant Retouch Primer. I'm not a great lover of many primers to be honest - I hate the feeling of most silicone primers on my skin and as I have quite dehydrated skin, I usually opt for hydrating or glowy bases. This primer appealed to me from first swatch because it's not even remotely siliconey - in fact, it feels rather lovely. It promises a smooth, pore-diffusing finish and extended make up wear. The sales assistant in Harvey Nichols recommended using these only on the T-zone area if you have drier skin like I do but she said this would be a blessing for oilier skinned gals. I would only ever apply primers to the centre of my forehead, down my nose and on my chin anyway. The primer applies nice, blends smoothly but I can't say my pores look instantly diffused - I think they look more diffused but that could be wishful thinking. I've tried this primer with other foundations when I was travelling and my foundation lasted well, even in the 30 degree Madrid sunshine. I definitely like and rate this primer but I don't know if it has changed my life so much that I will rush out to repurchase it - as far as primers go, I really like using it.
The next product I have to talk about is the Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Luminous Foundation - yes, the foundation of which there are 40 shades. I'm not going to dispute what other people have said or their experiences but I will tell you what I think. Everybody is talking about this foundation. I got the shade 170 - I've heard about 5 different people say you need to go in to be shade matched but I matched myself to 170 online before I ever went in store (on the basis I have a light complexion and cool undertones) and it's a good shade match for me but I have noticed after a couple of hours wear it oxidises majorly. It's uncanny how it is such a perfect match when applied but after a couple of hours, I honestly look jaundiced. It promises a medium to full coverage, longwearing and light as air and to be fair, the coverage is excellent, it is pretty longwearing as foundations go, but I don't find it to be light as air. It's not like cement on my face but I wouldn't say I cannot feel it either. This foundation is super matte - not the luminous matte I was expecting. It's matter than my normal foundation choice because I don't often go for a matte look. It's so matte that it's quite thick and I find you have to work with it very quickly to get it blended out nicely on your face before it sets. I've used multiple tools for applying these but my favourite method is buff it all over the face with the Zoeva Flat Top Buffer and bounce a damp beauty blender over the top to set everything in place.
I personally don't really love the finish on me but I have been asked 10 times by women I work with / friends on what foundation I am wearing when I have had this on and several of them have actually told me they bought it on the basis of seeing it on me. I can't tell you how much that surprises me because I don't love it on me - because it is so matte and so dry, I find it quite aging on my skin and not the most comfortable foundation ever. The finish, whilst I don't find it to be the luminous matte that some other people have experienced, is pretty flawless by any standards and lasts incredibly well especially on the T-zone. Like I mentioned earlier, I brought this foundation to Madrid with me and I was shocked at how well it lasted - I didn't powder it and I wasn't shining by the end of the day. I have mixed feels about this foundation - I like how it performs and that's why I continue to use it, but I don't like how it feels on my skin or the finish of it before I put on all of my other makeup - the real killer for me is how badly it oxidises on me, I end up bringing it right down my neck and that's a little more effort than I like to undergo with my foundation application. At €33, it's pretty reasonable for a high end foundation and you get 32 ml of product which is a few more applications per bottle than your average foundation. I like the simplistic packaging of the foundation and the fact it comes with a pump. I won't repurchase it when I finish the bottle because of the oxidisation issues. I've seen this compared to the Catrice HD Liquid Foundation also but in my opinion, I don't think they are comparable.
The next product I picked up was the Match Stix Trio in Light 100 which contains a concealer in the shade 'Linen', a cream contour in the shade 'Amber' and a cream highlight in the shade 'Starstruck'. There are a few trios available in the Fenty Beauty collection, they all comprise of a concealer, contour and highlight shade - I went for the fairest set because I was eager to try the products. I think the set was about €52 which wasn't too shabby at all considering one of the items alone is around the €24 mark.
I thought the Matte Skinstick Concealer in Linen would look desperate under my eye and even though the lovely girl at the counter tried it on me and it looked fine, I have never once applied it on myself without it looking like scrambled eggs and I have tried so many ways of applying it now that I have just given up on it. The texture of the concealer is quite dry and hard and when you blend it out it feels quite powdery and thick. For a thick feeling product, it didn't cover my dark circles the way I hoped it would, and certainly the coverage doesn't even come near the coverage that the foundation offers. The shade was a good match - kind of peachy toned on me which should work amazingly on the undereyes - and I didn't notice it oxidising over the course of the day.
The Matte Skinstick Contour Stick in Amber looked so promising because it seemed like quite a nice cool brown shade but my bugbear with this is that because the product is so dry, it tends to pull whatever else you have on your face with it when you apply it. During the course of blending, I've found it kind of blends away to nothingness. The product is so dry that you have to work quickly with it to get it blended out before it sets - I've used different brushes, beauty blenders, setting sprays etc. to give it a fair chance - but nothing I do has made this apply or blend any nicer. Both of the Matte Skinsticks applied incredibly matte - I thought because of the matte foundation that there might be a little bit of life or moisture in the colour products but this was not the case in my experience.
Finally, the Shimmer Skinstick in Starstruck looked like a lovely highlight when I swatched it in store but again, it feels quite dry on the face when you apply it, you have to work with it quickly before it sets and I feel like when this is blended out on the areas you want to highlight that it just looks like glitter particles moreso than the usual sheen or glow that I would prefer. Even though this product is not matte like the concealer and counter, it's quite dry in the bullet, not at all creamy as you might expect a highlighter stick to be. I've never enjoyed wearing this because I just don't like a glittery highlight. All of the Skinstick products for me were complete fails - in my eyes, they have practically zero redeeming qualities - and my advice to you quite frankly would be to save your money.
The last Fenty Beauty product I picked out was the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer which is the only lip product in the Fenty Beauty lineup so far and it is a glittery lip gloss which just comes in one universal shade. I am not a gloss girl but I was intrigued about a universal lip gloss for all skin tones so I did purchase it - if nothing else, I thought it was gas that Rihanna opted to release a foundation for every shade of skin under the sun but just the one shade of the single lip product. I'm not mad into glosses as I said, but as far as glosses go, this is quite nice. It's not sticky on the lips, the doe-foot applicator is huge so a quick swipe and you're good to go and the little glitter particles are very fine so it doesn't like too childish. It doesn't last very long on the lips - an hour or two before reapplying for me - but I genuinely think it made my lips look bigger and juicier (particularly when paired with my HG lipliner Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk. I'm not going to pretend like this is a miracle lip product because I genuinely don't think that it is, it's a nice lip gloss and that's about the extent of it. If you're interested in owning it, it can be yours for €17.

So there is my Fenty Beauty overview - as you can tell, there were many feels on my part, and not all of them were good feels. I wasn't really wowed by any of the products that I tried and I wouldn't fall over myself to pick up any other products any time soon. It wasn't so awful that I am blacklisting the brand but I am definitely guilty of falling for the hype on this occasion. If you haven't picked anything from Fenty Beauty yet, don't let the FOMO get you down. If you're thinking about the foundation, make sure to get a sample to take home with you so you can check to see if / how badly it oxidises on your skin. Don't say I never warned you!
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