Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sigma Makeup Brushes

From top to bottom: Concealer Brush F70, Angled Top Kabuki F84, Tapered Kabuki F86, Duo Fibre F50, Tapered Highlighter F35


I only found out about Sigma Brushes by watching beauty videos on YouTube by one of my favourites, Tiffany D, and possibly the lovely Allison 'Amarixe'. Initially, I bought the Angled Top Kabuki and Concealer brushes from a UK website that sold American beauty brands. I'm not a massive fan of the Angled Kabuki, it's too dense for me to work with and I don't feel that it truly blends effectively. The Concealer Brush is good and excellent for precision but didn't apply the product the way I wanted it to, especially on the under eye. As a result I felt a bit 'so so' about Sigma for a while.

However, in January, I had some free time on my hands and did a bit more research. I decided to purchase the Tapered Kabuki and Duo Fibre, both from Amazon. The Tapered Kabuki is meant to be amazing at pulling product to cover the dark circles under the eye and it didn't disappoint! It is truly the best under eye brush that I have ever used.

Having used this brush first, I had high expectations for the Duo Fibre and it certainly surpassed them. Actually, I think that this is my favourite brush...certainly, for now. It lightly applies blush smoothly and effortlessly. Looking at the brush, you would think that you would need to smoosh it round in the blush for it to pick up any of the product. Not necessary. One tiny sweep and it applies the blush evenly and brightly. I am genuinely surprised to see that with a change of brush comes such a change in product appearance. All my regular blushes (NYX cream, Sleek Rose Gold and Nars Orgasm) seem brighter and more radiant. It also blends cream blush really well.

On this Sigma high, I bought the Tapered Highlighter brush. It applies highlighting product very well, although I am yet to try liquid highlighter with it. I don't think it is quite as fabulous as the Duo Fibre and actually, Real Techniques has one that is just as good but it is soft to the touch and precise with the product.


Yes to the last three but no to the first two.

Concealer F70 – £10.50 
Angled Top Kabuki F84 – £17.95 
Tapered Kabuki F86 – £19.50 
Duo Fibre F50 – £19.99 
Tapered Highlighter F35 – £22.65


Sanctuary Therapist's Secret Facial Oil


This moisturising oil is perfect for dry or lacklustre skin. It is moisturising but only use it where it is really needed if you have combination skin. If you use it all over you might wind up looking like the inside of a frying pan! It absorbs well but can take a little while if you use a lot ­– I apply it by the bucket load at night and it takes about an hour to absorb fully.

It is a great base for make-up but only use a small amount and pat it into the skin. I have quite dry skin so it is perfect for me but if you have oily skin it’s probably not the product for you. It has helped the appearance of my fine lines and my skin looks brighter and smooth, however, after a while my skin seemed to get used to it and it didn't work as effectively as it first did. Most annoying!


Bottle with pipette. Excellent for careful distribution but difficult to use when the product is running out. I ended up ditching the pipette and pouring the dregs onto my hand.


Yes, but I might try coconut oil first.

£17.50 for 30ml


Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream


Cream cleanser for skin challenged by a polluted urban environment.


This cleanser was a gift and as a fan of Clarins skincare I was excited to try it. I’ve been using cleansing oils/balms in the evening for removing makeup but have been looking for a nice morning cleanser and was particularly interested in this one as it is specially designed for skin that is ‘challenged by a polluted urban environment.’ Anyone who spends a lot of time running around London will know what I mean! 


This is a white cream cleanser that is thick enough to feel like it is cleansing thoroughly but smoothes over the face easily. The packaging is sturdy and has a flip cap making it ideal to keep anywhere in the bathroom, even in the shower.


Warm the cleanser between your palms then apply to the face and neck. You are then encouraged to use the Clarins cleansing method which involves quickly pressing down and then removing your hands – this sounds a bit odd but the suction-like motion thickens the cleanser and helps remove impurities. I then use a flannel to remove the remaining product. Read more about the Clarins cleansing method here. As you can see from the images below a little bit goes a long way.


This is such a beautiful cleanser. It is very effective at cleaning the skin and smells great thanks to the mango and shea butter. To really take advantage of the anti-pollution effects I’ve also been using it for a second cleanse in the evening after removing my make up with a cleansing balm. It is very appropriately named 'extra-comfort' as it leaves my skin so clean and soft that it almost feels like you don't need to moisturise!

For those of you who don't like a cleanser that needs to be washed off, I have read on the Clarins website that you can just remove the excess cleanser with a tissue like the old version, then follow with toner.


I'll definitely be buying this again.

£25 for 100ml


Urban Decay Build Your Own Palette – Melt


A six-pan customised palette.


This is my go-to palette that I use every day for work and for a bright eye look. It is an excellent selection of useful, highly pigmented shades. I find the Real Techniques Essential Crease Brush to be the best applicator for this palette or sometimes I use a MAC 217 brush. 

The colours that I have in my palette are:
Walk of Shame (matte beige pink)
Vanilla (buttery, shimmery light gold)
Zephyr (metallic white)
Midnight Cowgirl (metallic, glittery dusky pink with a hint of bronze)
Polyester Bride (metallic, glittery silver)
SWF (glittery baby pink)

I find that cool colours suit me more than warm ones (I prefer Urban Decay's Naked 2 to the original). The only shade that I am not so keen on in this palette is SWF, which is a dark baby pink and is glitter central. The colour just doesn't suit me but the pigmentation is super duper. 

They are all light shades as I wanted a palette that I could use on early mornings to bring some brightness to my eyes. Although it is glittery formula, Midnight Cowgirl is a subtle crease colour. All the colours are incredibly pigmented, in true Urban Decay style. Actually, since buying it, I haven't used any other highlight or cream colour – my poor MAC palette might be getting a tad jealous!

From left to right: SWF, Polyester Bride, Midnight Cowgirl, Zephyr, Vanilla, Walk of Shame.


All you need to do is take the individual shadows out of their silver packaging and pop them into the palette. I remember not being able to do it too easily at first – I am seriously uncoordinated – and had to use a knife (blunt of course!) to pop them out. However, now that I have it worked out, it's very easy.


Lasts all day. I do use setting powder and a setting spray but even without they are very long lasting. I don't have oily lids however, so they might not last quite last as long on a different skin type. For me, Zephyr, Polyester Bride and Vanilla are the best for longevity and appearance.


Yes, I love the Urban Decay shadows. They are the most pigmented shadows around and are easily applied and blended.

£8 for palette and £14 per eyeshadow



Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Refining Moisture Cream Complex



Extremely moisturising and not to sound too odd but it feels comforting. It's not greasy and smoothes easily onto the skin. It absorbs quickly and almost feels as if you have a seal over your skin (not to be confused with the animal or singer). However, it is not uncomfortable. More like an extra layer of skin....that sounds really creepy but it is a lovely feeling.

Having had a virus from hell for three weeks (yes, I was a little dramatic about the whole thing), my skin has been dry and has felt tight and uncomfortable. Facial oils have not worked, when usually they are the bees knees, but this product has provided the moisture my skin needed.

Supposedly you will see a visible difference after 21 days and I can imagine that this is true. Although I haven't used it for three weeks yet, I went away for a few days and didn't use it, and I definitely noticed a difference. So, my three weeks test starts again.... I will keep you updated.


Glass jar, which looks luxurious. The cream is a white colour and the only thing that I don't like about this product is the smell. It is very floral, which is not noticeable once the cream is applied to the skin but I do tend to grimace when I first smell it.


A little goes along way and unlike other moisturisers that I have used, a re-application is not at all necessary. Recently, I have been educating myself on skin care (thank you Caroline Hirons for helping me pass the time at work) and realised that moisturiser is the least important part of a skin care routine, but for me it really makes a difference. Mind you, I don't skimp on serum, eye creams, toners, cleanser and exfoliater either.... I really should stop spending money! Anyway, I'm a fan of a good hydrating moisturiser and this one seals in any product that has been used on the skin, making me want to stroke my face to feel the softness. I realise that this is utterly weird but hey, we all have our moments.


Only if I could get it in a sale..... now that I have experienced the bargain price, I wouldn't mind having it again. Also, I like to try out various moisturisers and I'm currently looking for one that makes my forehead lines completely disappear! However, they do look better after using the Visible Difference, so I will re-evaluate after the 21 day test.

£45 for 75ml

I bought it for £15 so will definitely try and buy it in the sale again!


Monday, 28 April 2014

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+


Moisturising lotion for combination to dry skin.


Last summer this cult classic moisturiser got a revamp in terms of formula (hence the little + added to its name) having stayed the same since it launched in 1968. Since then our lifestyles and diets have changed dramatically and pollution is weakening the skin's barrier, so Clinique have adjusted the formula to address common skin complaints – dryness, redness and breakouts. After using it religiously for many years, I ran out a while ago and strayed to several other moisturisers, but in light of the updated formula I decided it was time to give it another go. According to Clinique the new version now offers all-day hydration and an ingenious new strengthening complex and although I haven’t noticed any difference to the old formula, perhaps the effects will be more noticeable long-term.


A light-weight yellow cream that absorbs easily. I often buy it in the tube rather than the bottle because when you reach the end you can snip the top off and get out every last bit! It comes in a gel formula too, but I find the lotion perfect for my normal/combination skin.


The quick absorption is ideal prior to applying makeup and I also like to use it in the evening as it has no SPF and is lighter than most night creams.


Definitely. I’d forgotten just how much I love this moisturiser! In a world of all-singing all-dancing products that essentially promise to turn you into Gisele overnight, sometimes it’s nice to use something that isn’t filled with scientific ingredients that you can’t pronounce and an SPF of about 4000. (If you live in England you are probably more in danger of Vitamin D deficiency than sun burn!) After almost 50 years one of these babies is selling in the world every 4.9 seconds and there’s a very good reason why.
 £17 for 50ml

Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray


I have used Urban Decay's De-Slick and All Nighter setting sprays before, but after having super dry skin all winter, I did a bit of research and decided to purchase Chill. It is very moisturising. The skin can be left feeling a little drenched, even if you follow the application method advised, but for someone with dry or tight feeling skin it's a lovely feeling. However, let your mascara dry before applying it – I've ended up with mascara all over the place!


Spray in a X shape and T shape but don't spray too close to the face. Otherwise it's more of a case of soaked rather than set.


All day. My make up lasts better than using setting powder.



Lush Helping Hands


I find this is the only hand cream that works in winter – it beats the Aveda hand cream that I have used for the last year or so and it is better value for money too. According to Lush it was designed for nurses who constantly had to clean their hands making it ideal for dry or over-washed hands.


Thick consistency, pale pink and highly moisturising. It can be a little greasy at first but it absorbs quickly and I find that one application will protect hands all day. In fact I sometimes that I don't need to apply it at night if I have used it in the morning.


I have done and will do again.

£ 7.50 for 100g



NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils


Large pencils that can be used to line the water line or as an eye shadow base.
From left to right: Milk (white), Pots & Pans (silver/grey), Black Bean (black).


An excellent product. These pencils are very pigmented, hold shadow and can be used on their own. I sometimes use Milk as a highlight underneath the brow and it lasts all day, even without a primer. Pots & Pans and Black Bean work very well as a base for smokey eyes.

Chunky pencil. Make sure that you have a large sharpener!


Smooth, they don't pull at the eye and they are very pigmented.


Yes. For me, Milk is more effective than Benefit's Bright Eye Pencil. I will definitely be investing in other colours.
£5.00 per pencil


Welcome to our beauty blog!

Once upon a time, two little girls sat next to each other at primary school and decided to be best friends. More than twenty years later those same two little girls were now grown women, who really should have known better than to trek through the woods in high heels just so that they could take some photos in front of a pretty patch of bluebells...

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