All posts tagged: beauty

Big Hair

Having grown up in Alabama in the 80s, I know a thing or two about big hair.  It’s not as fashionable as it once was, but I’m still a fan.  Even through the board-straight, flat-haired Rachel-from-Friends years, I loved big hair. There are a few ways to achieve big hair, but I’ve found the easiest and least damaging way is to use a lifting spray.  For the last year or so, my favourite has been SachaJuan Volume Powder, £22.  Just a couple of sprays of this product directly on the roots of your hair gives it tremendous lift and volume, and the effect lasts pretty much all day.   They also do a version for dark hair, and while it doesn’t leave behind the annoying white powder, it also doesn’t work nearly as well.  The trick is to ‘floof’ it with your fingers until the powder disappears.  If the whiteness doesn’t go away once you’ve worked it into you hair, you’ve used too much. If you’re after a cheaper version that works just as well, I …

Iope Cushion Foundation

Cushion cosmetics have been around for years, but I’ve stayed away from them for a few reasons – the main one being they appear gimmicky and are not good value for money.  So much investment goes into the packaging that the product inside is often a fraction of the amount you’d get if you bought the same formulation in a bottle. Most cushion formulas come in the form of a compact.  There is a sort of sponge or mesh ‘cushion’ inside which distributes the product when pressure is applied via a puff-type applicator.  While issues of hygiene do niggle at the back of my mind, I was willing to give a cushion foundation a try.  A friend recommended I try one from Iope. As a foundation for mature skin, Iope sounds perfect.  Made up of 30% pure water and containing an array of peptides, vitamin B5, vitamin E and an SPF of 50+, it should work well with ageing skin.  I wanted something lightweight for spring and summer, and I was sure this would be exactly want I was …

Cheap & Easy Makeup Brush Cleaning

Good makeup brushes are expensive, so it’s important to take good care of them.  This means regular cleaning, which can be a bit of a pain.  I used to dread the task until I discovered a cheap, easy, and very quick way to gently get my makeup brushes squeaky clean with minimal fuss. For this method, you’ll need two things: A silicone pet brush like this one from The Groom Room.  You want one with little bumps on one side and soft spikes on the other.  Don’t spend a lot!  The one above comes in at £8.50 and should last years. A bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile Soap.  This comes in a variety of scents as well as an unscented baby version, so choose the one you like best.  Again, you don’t need to spend a lot.  I buy it by the litre for around £14 and it lasts ages. To get started, lay the silicone brush in a sink exactly as it’s pictured above with the larger soft spikes pointing down.  Squirt about a …

Makeup-Removing Cleansers

I’ve mentioned before that I can’t be bothered faffing about with a double cleanse.  To me, it seems a waste of time and product, and it doesn’t work well with my sensitive skin.  Over cleansing leaves my face tight, dry and very unhappy, so I like to use one effective cleanser to remove makeup and clean my skin at the end of the day.  If you’re the same, here are three you might like. If you prefer a cream cleanser, Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Hot Cloth Cleanser, £22.50, will remove every speck of makeup while leaving skin soft and smooth.  It’s fragrance free, which I love because it doesn’t sting or burn when used to remove eye makeup.  It comes with a good-quality muslin cloth that is gentle, yet effective. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, £21.50, removes even the heaviest makeup, including waterproof mascara.  Its formula is simple – mainly olive oil – and it does not contain any fragrance.  It does, however, contain an emulsifier so it rinses away cleanly without leaving any residue behind. …

Quick Fixes for Skin Emergencies

We all have them – those days when we discover something’s gone wrong.  For me, this usually takes place before a big event like a wedding or party.  Horribly dry skin, blemishes, or severely chapped lips?  There’s a fix for that. You’ve come home after a long day, cleansed your face, and are shocked to discover a spot forming.  It could be a simple surface blemish, or it might be one of those insidious, painful lumps that threatens to erupt into an eye-catching zit that no amount of makeup will cover.  Don’t panic!  Just dab a little Super Spot Remover, £15, from Origins, on the affected area and go to bed.  In the morning, the swelling will be reduced and the spot on its way back from whence it came.  I would not have believed this stuff works as well as it does, but I’ve used it many times and have never been disappointed. If you find yourself with severely chapped lips, give Mama Mio Keep Calm Nipple Balm, £12, a try.  With triglycerides, lanolin, calendula, and shea …

Extremely Helpful Gadgets

I am not one of those ladies who refuse to admit when they need a little help, and am all for having my life made a little easier.  Here are three beauty gadgets I cannot do without. Facial hair.  Ugh.  I seem to be sprouting new ones daily.  I used to tweeze, but honestly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  So now I use an Emjoi Travel Epilator, £29.95.  Just a quick run over my upper lip and chin keeps me comfortably deforested and confident.  It’s a bit nippy at first, but after a few uses it isn’t painful at all.  It’s also deeply satisfying removing those unwanted whiskers.  Just a quick note – if you do choose to remove hair this way, it’s super important that you exfoliate regularly to prevent ingrown hairs. I’m too unsteady to use an epilator on my brows, so I still need to tweeze there.  My eyesight isn’t what it was, so I rely on my Babyliss Illuminated Magnifying Mirror, £24.99, to help me see what I’m …

Eyeshadow for Sensitive Lids

Most eyeshadows leave my eyelids in a terrible state after just one use.  I can’t count the times I’ve removed my makeup to find a sort of ‘tattoo’ of redness and irritation left behind by even the tiniest amount of shadow.  My lids are super-sensitive and become even more so in winter.  I can occasionally get away with a cream eyeshadow like Eyeko’s Me and My Shadow, but applying it more than two or three days a week leaves my lids flaky, red, and very sore.  It breaks my heart to see the lovely Tom Ford Cream Colour for Eyes sitting unused in my makeup bag (the colours are stunning), but after an hour of wear, my lids are inflamed and my eyes are streaming.  It’s not fair! Fortunately, there is one brand that has never let me down or caused me a hint of bother, and that’s Kevyn Aucoin.  Because I don’t know why they work for me, I’m only going to recommend two very specific colours which are Soft Clay (#104) and Stone (#107), £24 each.  I’ve used both for …

Spend vs Save

It can be tricky to find makeup that works well with older skin.  I’ve tried lots, and I’m sad to say that the older I get, the more money I have to spend.  Drugstore foundations don’t work for me any more, and heaven forbid I try to use an inexpensive mascara.  Of course, my view on this is subjective, but I do believe there are products upon which you have to spend, and those on which you can scrimp a bit.  Here are three fantastic products that don’t cost a fortune. As I mentioned, I have to spend a decent amount on foundation, but on brow products, I can save loads and not compromise on quality.  The Sleek Brow Kit, £8.49, comes in five flattering colours and works just as well as its more expensive counterparts.  With a powder and a setting wax, it makes quick work of shaping and defining brows.  The kit also includes two decent brushes and a set of mini tweezers. I’ve tried many mascaras, but I’ve yet to find a budget …

2016 Favourites

I spent most of 2015 battling terrible sensitive skin issues.  It was my sixth case of conjunctivitis  from dry eyelids that sent me on a journey to find skincare that my skin could tolerate, and I’d nearly sorted it when my lips became so chapped that I ended up with cheilitis.  It took months to recover to a point where I could try new things to see if they irritated or not, so I’ve been able to spent this year testing both skincare and makeup.  I’ve had to give away a lot of once-used products because they caused my skin to become annoyed, but I also found quite a few things that are great for sensitive skin.  Here are my top discoveries of 2016. On top being sensitive, my skin becomes dehydrated easily, so when I tried Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum, £29, I found that it not only helped my sensitive skin to feel more comfortable, it also hydrated and made my skin look plumped and fresh.  I try not to use skincare that contains …

Luxurious Hand Creams

Ah, winter.  You are pretty, but you are harsh – especially on my poor hands.  But I will defeat you whilst smelling lovely. If you love the scent of roses and the feel of soft hands, may I suggest Balance Me Rose Otto Hand Cream, £14.50?  With its gorgeous blend of rose otto, palma rosa, and rose geranium essential oils, it’s a lovely natural scented hand cream with lanolin, camellia oil, and kukui nut oil to moisturise and protect hands, even in the harshest climate. Those needing something effective and anti-ageing, Nivea Q-10 Age Defying Hand Cream, £1.49, will make hands look younger almost instantly.  Packed with glycerine and Argan oil, it quickly gets to work hydrating and soothing dry, sore hands.  I always keep the travel size version in my handbag. With Ginkgo Biloba and shea butter, Rituals Ginkgo’s Secret Caring Hand Balm, £10.00, smells amazing and works well.  It sinks in well and never leaves a greasy residue, so it’s perfect if you’re at work.  I’m never without a tube of this in my desk …

Primers for Mature Skin

Have you noticed that your foundation doesn’t look as nice as it once did?  Perhaps it’s going a bit patchy by midday, or accentuating the fine lines around your eyes.  Maybe it wears away before you’ve even left work for the day.  Or worse, settles into pores and wrinkles and does more to age than to improve. The good news is that they probably haven’t changed the formulation to your favourite foundation.  It’s more likely that you need a primer.  A good primer will go a long way to improving the finish and wear of foundation, but it’s important to choose the right one for the task.  Here are three I like, each with a specific function. When opting for a natural look, Hylamide Finisher HR Blur, £19.00, is great for making skin look healthy and flawless.  It diminishes the appearance of fine lines and pores, and helps makeup go on smoothly.  It’s contains no silicones, so it works well with all sorts of foundations, and it has the added bonus of being full of skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. …

Hydrating Gels

With winter in full swing, my skin is suffering the effects of cold air and central heating.  In a nutshell, it’s dehydrated and, without constant attention, could easily become chapped and inflamed – which can lead to broken skin and a long healing time.  Best to fight the dryness and keep skin healthy and supple. A good gel hydrator, used twice daily, can help skin retain moisture and keep it looking fresh and young.  Simply apply to clean skin and then layer on your usual skincare.  You will see an immediate result, especially under the eyes where dehydration can cause skin to look aged, lined and tired. The Hero Project Hyasoft, £19.00, is a great hydrator.  As with all hydrators, it contains a generous dose of hyaluronic acid, but with the added benefit of B5.  Upon application, thirsty skin is plumped and soothed – ready for serum. Indeed Lab’s Hydraluron Moisture Jelly, £24.99, is my personal favourite.  Packed with glycerine and hyaluronic acid, it gets right to work refreshing and smoothing tired, dehydrated skin.  I like this …

Lip Colour for Sensitive Lips

It’s the time of year when I have to give up a lot of makeup I enjoy.  Cold winter air coupled with central heating makes my skin super-sensitive, and it becomes intolerant to just about everything.  My lips can become so chapped that it leads to cheilitus – a painful inflammation that can last for weeks.  Because of this, lovely matt lipsticks are off the menu until late Spring, but that doesn’t mean tinted lip balms only.  There are some great lip colour formulas available that help nourish and protect lips while looking lovely. It’s no surprise that Perricone’s No Lipstick Lipstick, £25.00, is on my list.  I love so many of their products, and this one is no exception.  Because it’s skincare combined with makeup, it provides great protection while delivering a good colour payoff.  The formula is soft and moisturising, but annoyingly, only available  in one colour.  It’s still very pretty – perfect for a natural, nude look. If you need a bit more colour, try Zelen’s Lip Glaze, £29.00.  Collagen-building and full of antioxidants, this …

Three Foundations for Mature Skin

Upon observing my maturing skin in a magnifying mirror, I’m always surprised by the small age spots, enlarged pores, fine lines, and general crepiness, especially around my eyes.  My instinct is to cover it all up with the thickest foundation possible, but that’s not always a good idea with mature skin.  Heavy foundation doesn’t hide time.  In fact, it can be cakey and ageing, swapping one set of problems for another.  But there is hope!  I’ve found three foundations that play nicely with mature skin. If you’re looking for light coverage, you’ll not find a better foundation than Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum, £45.00.  It’s feather-light and makes skin look bare-but-beautiful. Use this one over a blurring primer for a flawless-but-natural skin effect.  Perfect for weekends, trips to the newsagent, or dog walking – any time you want to look good, but not done.  Best applied with fingers. For medium coverage, It Cosmetics’s Your Skin But Better CC Cream, $38.00, is my everyday go-to.  It seems to hover just over the skin and never shows off pores, …

Beauty Junkie Christmas Gifts for Under £30

Now that Bonfire night has come and gone, I don’t feel quite so guilty talking about Christmas gifts.  If there is a beauty addict on your list this year, here are some great ideas – all for under £30. For the lipstick fanatic, look no further than Charlotte Tilbury’s Mini Lipstick Charms, £29.  You get three of her gorgeous Matte Revolution lipsticks in three very wearable shades.  Beautifully packaged in rose-gold tubes, there are wonderful for any age.  I’d happily buy them for someone who is seventeen or 70. If you’re shopping for someone who loves eyeshadow, Laura Mercier’s Layer Up Holiday Caviar Collection, £29, is something special.  Four beautiful stick cream eyeshadows in flattering colours, including the must-have rosegold.  Comes in a pretty package ready for a gift bag. Skincare is always a welcome gift, and I don’t know anyone who would be disappointed receiving Emma Hardie’s Merrily Mooring Balm, £15.  It comes in a cute little bauble with one of Emma’s fantastic cleansing cloths.