Why it’s totally fine for North West to rock red lips

On Boxing Day, Kim Kardashian West posted a series of gorgeous photos of her little family at the annual Kardashian-Jenner Christmas Eve party. The photos pictured a beaming Kanye, a giggling Saint, a gorgeous Kim holding little Chi and a sassy North. However, one thing that everyone picked up on (other than Kanye actually smiling for once) was the fact that North is wearing red lipstick.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-27-at-11.27.38.pngPicture from Instagram @kimkardashian

Let’s just take a step back for a moment. You need to think about who this little girl is, and who her family are. Her mum is a global makeup mogul and so is her aunt. Because of the business that that family is in, North will be used to seeing makeup artists and massive amounts of makeup around the house. Because of her family, her relationship with makeup will be so different to ‘the average kid’.

If you watch any of Kim’s videos, snapchats or Instagram stories, you’ll know that North loves makeup and often finds her way into Kim’s collection. But also… she is a little girl. Most girls/women will have stories about going into their mum’s makeup collection and causing havoc. Why? Because they want to look like their mum! Or they see it as a sign of being a ‘grown up’ and want to play around with it. It happens so often in popular culture (films, tv) that it really shouldn’t surprise anyone to see North wearing lipstick. The only difference is that North is ‘famous’ and therefore people think they are somehow entitled to an opinion.

They’re not.

It takes a really big person to criticise the appearance of a 5 year old. North has basically been makeup shamed at the age of 5. She looked beautiful and probably felt it too. This was one of the biggest nights of the year for their family and was probably allowed to wear it as a treat. Makeup washes off. It’s not a sign of ‘growing up too fast’ – it’s having fun! The same people that will makeup shame a little girl are the same people that will bash normal makeup wearers just because they don’t wear it. There is nothing wrong with letting a child wear lipstick on a special occasion, equally there would be nothing wrong if North decided red lipstick was all she wanted to wear for the next 6 months. You are not her parent and therefore your opinion is neither asked for nor wanted. There is absolutely no reason to get so personally offended over a celebrity’s child wearing makeup. Please join us back in the real world. Would you make these comments to a random kid on the street having a great time in lipstick? I’d hope not, mostly because you’re without the anonymity that the internet kindly gives you.

The fact of the matter is children want to play. They like to dress up and change their appearance… just like adults. Dressing up for kids might be dressing as their favourite princess or as a cowboy OR it might be smearing blue eyeshadow across their face and drawing on themselves with black eyeliner. The reaction to this would have been totally different had North walked out in a cowboy hat – like makeup, you can just take it off at the end of the day. People need to bear in mind that while Kim may have chosen this life for herself, her children didn’t. They don’t deserve any of these negative comments that some believe are so imperative to leave.

To be quite honest, while a number of commenters might think allowing North to wear lipstick reflects badly on Kim, I actually think the opposite. She is letting her little girl express herself how she wants and it is something that they can bond over. North looked AMAZING and most commenters said exactly that.

Keep wearing lipstick North.Β 

Xo

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When does makeup stop being a dupe and start being a rip off?

What is wrong with a dupe you might ask? It’s cheaper, more accessible and lets you try out a product that you otherwise wouldn’t have bothered/been able to afford otherwise – what more could you possibly want? Wellllll, it’s a little more complicated than that.

If you are a beauty enthusiast then you will know that there has always been dupe makeup. Products from the high end have always filtered down into more affordable brands whilst still looking very akin to the original product. However, recently there has been more of a fuss around brands that come out with dupes for higher makeup, and claims have began to swirl that their ideas have been flat out stolen.

Dupes in general are not a new concept. Everything we wear from the high street comes from the designer catwalks from around the world. In this day and age it’s almost impossible to come out with anything that someone hasn’t done before, so why is there so much whistle blowing when it comes to beauty?

I have no issue with finding cheaper alternatives to more expensive products – quite frankly I can’t afford all the products I want, and if I can find a version that is cheaper and from a brand I like and can trust then then I’m happy. However, I have a massive issue with companies who completely copy the concept behind the product, their packaging, their branding and their marketing… and there is a hell of a lot of it going around at the moment.

This year’s biggest controversy that kicked everything off was HudaBeauty’s launch of her baking powders which copied Beauty Bakerie. Beauty Bakerie’s entire line revolves around baking, with their powder being called the ‘flour powder’ and coming in a little sack that looks like a bag of flour. Huda, whose brand has always revolved around glamour, then launched her powders and the campaign revolved around wholesome baking, using very similar marketing images to that of BB. To make the link between baking your face and baking a cake is not super original, but the big issue was that it was very off-brand for Huda and as BB is a much smaller brand people considered it stealing. Huda pretty much failed to address it, which in my eyes says that she’s guilty – she did do a video on the powders where she seemingly tried to justify the names and the idea but it didn’t come off well.

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More recently, I’ve spoken on my Instagram stories (@smalltownbeautyaddict) about Make Up Revolution’s various rip offs. A few weeks ago they came out with an IDENTICAL dupe of Fenty’s gloss bombs and then this week ripped off the Huda Beauty mini 9 shade palettes. This is nothing new for Make Up Revolution. Here in the UK they are pretty much known for ripping off Urban Decay and Too Faced on the regular. The thing is, a dupe is only a dupe when it’s actually good. To copy the exact packaging and the same colour and order of shadows is not a dupe if the formula isn’t there. The whole point of a dupe is for it to be as good as the more expensive product you’d like to replace. If a product is crap, it can’t be a dupe. That is why dupes don’t exist for entire palettes… because it’s copying. I saw BeautyNews say that they don’t consider duped makeup news and I completely agree. I personally want to buy makeup from a company that has their own ideas and integrity. I don’t want to spend my money on a brand that actively goes searching for ideals to steal in order to make money.

Even Aldi have been getting involved with this. Their own brand ‘Lacura’ has been having a great time recently ripping off Sand and Sky, Pixi and even Jo Malone. If you love beauty, you will recognise that all of the packaging below is IDENTICAL to the original product. And this is where I have a problem. To create a pink clay mask or a glycolic toner is not copying in the slightest – you can find an abundance of them on the market. However, look at the packaging and particularly of the Pixi/Aldi comparison. Most glycolic liquid products do tend to be orange (take REN as an example), but pairing it with light green packaging is not an obvious choice. Even worse still is the Sand and Sky rip off. In the original, the container for the mask is blue and the box is pink. If it’s a coincidence then it is one hell of a coincidence, and frankly I’m not buying it. Get some originality.

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They’ve even launched their ‘own’ makeup range. Play the fun game of trying to work out which products they’re ripping off below! It. is. PLAGIARISM. Where is your integrity as a brand? It’s actually disgusting and really makes me alter my opinion of a brand. Also, I’m really not sure how they avoid lawsuits with branding this similar…

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I’m perfectly aware that not everyone can afford more expensive products, and that is completely fine. But there are far better products to buy instead that are affordable, rather than to purchase a rubbish knock off from a petty brand that completely lacks in any originality. You can create a budget friendly product without completely stealing another brand’s work. I have friends that won’t see any issue purchasing one of these products because they’re getting the product for much less money than the original. What you aren’t getting is a formula that is as good, ingredients that are as sound or potent or a brand that cares who they step on to make money. The real issue arises when the duplication extends further than the actual product itself – i.e to the concept (product name, shade names), the packagingΒ and the marketing. At the end of the day it’s shady, unoriginal and alienates a lot of potential consumers.

I’ll reiterate once again for the people in the back that I have no problem with buying makeup or skincare that has been hailed a dupe for a more expensive product, but I often find that the best dupes are not ones that are explicitly trying to imitate that product. Brands that specifically go out to copy another person’s work don’t have my respect. In any other walk of life, this would be plagiarism. I’ll just leave that there.

Let me know your thoughts on dupes!

Xo

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Liquid lipstick – the makeup trend that just wont die

Liquid lipsticks have never been a favourite of mine. The concept is great – a lip colour that won’t wear away over time or after eating and drinking. But in practise? It SUCKS.

I remember when liquid lipsticks first came on to the scene. The first one I ever had was from Bourjois and while it was a nice colour and loved that it lasted, it just didn’t feel hydrating enough on my lips. I ended up giving it to my little sister. This must have been 6 years ago maybe? It didn’t really take off all those years ago. It was when a certain Miss Kylie Jenner stepped up to the plate and released her lip kits that every brand started to come out with their own. The height of the LL frenzy was probably 3 years ago now…right?

Most people I speak to or watch on YouTube say that liquid lipstick isn’t their favourite thing. I’ve watched so many formula reviews where people say that the formulas are too dry and it puts them off using them. So that brings up two questions: 1) why do brands not listen to feedback and make their formulas more hydrating, but more importantly, 2) why are brands still coming out with them!?

If you are one of these lucky people that can get along with liquid lipsticks, then you are one of the lucky ones. I don’t have particularly dry lips – they are always lathered in lip balm. Yet when I applied Kylie Jenner’s Koko K lip kit this afternoon my lips felt uncomfortably dry. I think for a while there was maybe a mentality of ‘Everyone else might find it too drying, but it will be fine for me’ for every single brand of liquid lipstick… then the realisation hit that they were the rule rather than the exception. I’ve tried a few now, from Jeffree Star to Jouer and I just. Don’t. Like. Them. Regardless of how ‘hydrating’ they claim to be, they aren’t. The colour is always flat, it isn’t the same in the tube once it dries down and they always tend to run cool toned which can make me look devoid of life.

Surely I am not alone here? Lips are probably my favourite part of my makeup routine. My makeup can look a bit iffy, but as soon as that lip is on, it just looks perfect.

So why won’t this trend die? I have a few theories:

1. King Kylie is still bringing out new shades. And whatever Kylie is bringing out for her enormous following, other brands want to try and join the party. Unfortunately by now we all know that whatever Kylie does will sell out.

2. Brands aren’t really listening to the consumer, and it wouldn’t be the first time. Thankfully there has been a slight shift back towards glossy lips, there hasn’t been a complete overhaul. It’s still viewed as a ‘trendy’ product because it isn’t in the the typical lipstick bullet and supposedly lasts longer.

3. The target market has changed. These days, girls and boys are becoming interested in makeup much younger than they did before (you can thank Kylie for this one too). You’ll often see 12 year olds in a full face, with contour, highlight and Instagram eyeshadow (aka heavy coloured eyeshadow). This new target demographic will buy ANYTHING they perceive as trendy. I always think that liquid lipstick is aimed towards a younger audience – whose lips are already perfectly moisturised and not covered in lines.

In a recent video for Refinery 29, Pixie Woo’s Nic and Sam said that the trend that they wished would die was liquid lips because the colour looks too flat and drying. Very rarely do makeup artists speak with such candour about trends they hate in the beauty industry, and maybe because I don’t like liquid lipsticks either that I appreciated the comment. But as with every trend, the sun will eventually go down on liquid lips… but probably not for a few more years yet.

Xo

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Was Drunk Elephant’s UK launch a flop?

If you spend a lot of time on social media, or are remotely interested in beauty then you’ll have heard of Drunk Elephant. Their colourful packaging make them a beauty blogger favourite, and you’ll often find entire accounts dedicated to their products. Drunk Elephant has only been available in America since its launch in 2014 and has been the object of envy for a whole world of bloggers and beauty aficionados. As a UK based beauty blogger, I have always wanted to be able to get my hands on anything DE. So now it has come to the UK through Cultbeauty and Space NK, I’m left feeling a little cold – and I think a lot of other people are too.

But doesn’t Drunk Elephant have it all? The brand is adored by beauty bloggers around the world, wanted by every skincare addict, has formulas that are lauded by beauty experts and has easily the most instagrammable packaging around. So what is it exactly that has left beauty lovers cold? Well that’s easy – the price.

Even in the states, Drunk Elephant is pricey. The TLC Framboos Glycolic Serum is $90 alone, and DE suggests mixing it with B-Hydra, which is a further $52. That in itself doesn’t sit right with me, as I believe a product should work well on its own and shouldn’t require the consumer to purchase additional product to boost the results or make it softer on the skin. If that’s the case then it should be included from the get go. That’s a whole other story. What has angered beauty lovers in the UK and across Europe is the fact that the prices in dollars are exactly the same as in pounds. So the $90 serum is retailing for Β£90. Let’s reverse that a second. If this were to be converted back into dollars, that means that this serum is selling at $116 (accurate as of 3/10/18 based on the current market). That is an enormous difference of $26. Where is the justice in this!? My assumption was that prices would come down and not go up once the brand finally arrived in the UK, so imagine my (and the rest of Europe’s) disappointment when they saw the prices on CultBeauty and Space NK’s website. The response has been significant, or rather it hasn’t. All the products are still in stock on both company’s websites (as of midday UK time 3/10/18 when the products launched at 7pm UK time 2/10/18). Even the Littles, which allows you to try the most products for the least amount of money, is still available on both websites. To put it bluntly, they’ve really messed up here.

My own views on Drunk Elephant products are that they aren’t anything special. Since the launch last night (and the horror at the pricing), I have seen more people than ever before labelling the brand as β€˜meh’ and not worth the price or the effort to purchase it – and I have to say that I agree.

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Above: UK Littles, Below: US Littles

I always felt like I was missing out on the good stuff, so when a work colleague offered to bring me anything back from the US, I asked for the Littles. The Littles is a travel sized kit of 8 DE products – the Beste No. 9 Cleanser, C-Firma, B-Hydra, Virgin Marula oil, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Shaba Eye Cream and Umbra Sheer Daily Defence. None of the products wow-ed me from the start, and even though I persisted with them, they just didn’t deliver any noticeable results. I was annoyed that I was expected to mix B-Hydra with both C-Firma and TLC Framboos Serum for them to be less harsh on the skin, and yet B-Hydra was not larger in size given how much they expected you to use. The night serum (and B-Hydra) did make my skin feel smooth, but I feel like my Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum does the job just as well, if not better and it’s only Β£41. Equally, my Kiehl’s Midnight Concentrate makes my skin feel much more plump and soft over the Marula Oil. The Lala Retro Whipped Cream is a lovely moisturiser… but it stripped the dye from my eyebrows and left me with brown smudges on my face. I have NO idea what on earth is in it to make it do that, but it is the only product to ever do it. The cleanser is pretty nice, but certainly not Β£34 worth of nice. The Shaba Eye Cream left a massive white cast under my eyes that made me look crazy when I woke up the next morning and the SPF is not worth mentioning. It IS however worth mentioning that the SPF is only included in the Littles for the US, but not for the UK… and yet the kit is still priced at Β£90. When prices for skincare are so high, people do just naturally expect more because they are paying a premium. However, I honestly don’t believe that the products offer premium results.

Just taking a quick scroll through the comments section on Caroline Hirons’ new video on DE tells you all you need to know. People feel betrayed by the brand and their obscene pricing and feel like they are purposely marking up the prices for British and European consumers. They had a whole host of beauty addicts in the palm of their hand, and alienating a whole continent of consumers perhaps isn’t the ticket to success. I thought this range would sell out in minutes, and yet coming up to 24 hours after launch, both CultBeauty and Space NK are still well stocked – and that in itself speaks absolute volumes. If you are lucky enough that money is no object, then by all means go wild on this one, but I know that I won’t be missing much.

Have you ever tried any Drunk Elephant products, and what do you make of them? Let me know on here or on Instagram!

Xo

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5 big beauty disappointments

Everyday we see hundreds of products on Instagram and beauty websites that tell us ‘this is the best product for your skin/hair/makeup routine’. But unfortunately not all of them live up to their hype.

Ouai

I had seen Ouai all over Instagram and on Cult Beauty and I so badly wanted to try it after seeing so many people rave about it. I asked for a set for Christmas full of minis so I could try an array of stuff. The hair oil made my hair really soft, but made my scalp really itchy. The foaming dry shampoo EXPLODED EVERYWHERE so I only got to use it once, which was a real disappointment. The wave spray made my hair a bit too stiff and greasy looking and didn’t help with my sensitive scalp. I am quite prone to allergic reactions to haircare, but now knowing that some of the products do have that effect on me, it doesn’t make me jump to try any more. Plus the products I did try were underwhelming.

Juno – Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley is a really hyped brand. Their stuff is in the most beautiful packaging and is featured on all the blogs, so I had really high hopes that Juno would be amazing. I had run out of my Kiehls Daily Revival Concentrate and didn’t feel strongly enough about it to repurchase. After doing some research into a morning beauty oil, I stumbled across Juno. Quite honestly it felt as though I was spreading olive oil on my face – it was SO thick! It claims to absorb quickly into the skin, but when compared to the Kiehls one (which wasn’t super fast absorbing), this took a LIFETIME. You know that feeling when your hair gets stuck to your face… it just felt horrid. I didn’t notice any real difference in my skin either. It was supposed to create a ‘dewy glow’, hydrate and bring tired skin back to its best. My skin was probably well hydrated, but I didn’t feel like it delivered on the glow that it promised. After the lack lustre performance of Juno, I can’t say I’m rushing to buy more from Sunday Riley. I was toying with the idea of replacing my Kiehls Midnight Recovery Oil with Luna, but I love it too much to risk using a crappy product.

Lidstar – Glossier

I had heard mixed reviews before I tried these, but with Glossier being such an indie brand powerhouse, I wanted to see for myself. I got two shades, in Cub and Moon and both totally lack in pigment. I understand that Glossiers products usually revolve around the ‘no makeup makeup’ look, and that’s absolutely fine… but some pigment would be nice. The swatch nicely but once you start to blend them out, they totally disappear. If you apply them directly on the eye and don’t blend them out, a weird thing happens as it dries and it completely accentuates where you have applied it (therefore RUINING your makeup). I’m really in the market for this type of product, but I guess I’ll have to keep looking!

Hyaluronic Acid – The Ordinary

I really wanted to incorporate hyaluronic acid in to my routine after reading about its hydrating benefits and had seen that The Ordinary do a version that is super cheap. In all fairness I have never tried any other hyaluronic acids to compare this to, but I didn’t like it. I’ve also read a lot of other people with the same thoughts as me on it – mainly that the serum is incredibly sticky. When I heard that this could take 4000 times its weight in water, I expected application to feel like I’d just given my skin a big glass of water. Incorrect. It felt slightly tacky afterwards and not hydrating or moisturising at all – in fact it felt like I needed to apply a moisturiser straight away afterwards to ‘fix’ my skin. I didn’t notice any difference in the appearance of my skin, and frankly I expected more!

Fix+ Goldlite – MAC

If you follow my Instagram, I posted about this the other day, but this was really disappointing for 2 reasons. 1) My skin felt much more matte than when I use the regular Fix+ (I’m not aware that this is a mattifying formula or anything) and totally lacked the glow that the usual Fix+ gives. 2) There was absolutely no glitter/gleam/glow on my skin. Even when I sprayed this on my arm, there was nothing. I’m a bit confused because this was hyped SO much, and whenever I tried to buy it before it was always sold out. So how did I not know this was going to be a disappointment?

Quick reminder that what didn’t work for me, may work for you. We might have different hair/skin types, or even preferences in the type of beauty we enjoy, and I am just stating my opinion.

Luckily for me, I had to think pretty hard about what products had disappointed me in the last 6 months or so, which means I’ve used loads of brill products recently! I hope you enjoyed this post!

Xo

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Is Kylie Jenner about to start a new beauty revolution?

‘Big’ news broke this week that the lip queen herself, Kylie Jenner, has dissolved her famous lip fillers. After years of attention and obsession around plump lips, is the beauty industry about to go into retrograde?

You’d have to live under a rock to not be aware of Kylie Jenner and her enormous influence on beauty and aesthetic trends. Her over lined lips sparked a worldwide obsession with plump lips (before she admitted they were surgically enhanced) and the ‘Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge’ (where teens would squeeze their lips into bottles to give themselves a Jenner pout) is now infamous. However once she actually admitted that makeup wasn’t entirely responsible for her famous pout, that’s when things really got out of control.

You can’t go anywhere or watch any reality programme now without seeing a girl with massive, surgically enhanced lips. Often these fillers are not subtle and natural looking, but rather are characterised by a swollen upper lip and a duck pout. It’s interesting that the pressure Kylie felt to have larger lips has now infected millions of millenials who have seen small lips as a negative attribute because of Kylie.

But now… is everything about to change? In a previous blog post I wrote about Meghan Markle’s wedding makeup, I predicted that the glam beauty trend would soon come to an end, with society finally embracing a more natural look. Is this the next step in the prophecy coming true? Cosmetic surgery – and particularly dermal fillers – have become the norm in society, with people of all ages searching for a plumper pout. However, given how much influence Kylie has, I think a giant shift is about to occur.

Kylie’s insecurity about her lips is well-known – she’s talked about it on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and in subsequent interviews. However, to address and accept her biggest insecurity now and demonstrate that she is now comfortable in her own skin sets an example to impressionable young men and women that they are perfect as they are (and maybe that you still won’t find body confidence at the end of a needle). By dissolving her lips, my hope is that it will stop holding women to such high and somewhat unattainable beauty standards. For the last 3 years women have looked to Kylie and the Kardashian family to tell them what is beautiful (whether it’s big lips or being thin with larger assets). While all eyes will still be on Kylie, hopefully young men and women will not feel such pressure to follow the trend and surgically enhance their lips, but instead it will encourage self acceptance. This has the potential to make something that was once considered an unattractive trait to be seen as perfectly beautiful (as it always should have been).

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So what’s brought around this change for the lip legend? Her daughter. Apparently, becoming a mother has reorientated Kylie’s priorities and has made her more body confident – and good for her! Supposedly during her pregnancy when she was unable to have her fillers topped up, she started to really like the more natural look. After seeing her lips ‘dissolved’ I still think she looks great. Her filler aged her quite considerably and it will be lovely for her to actually look 20, rather than 10 years older.

And it. is. starting. Just three days after Kylie announced she had had her lip fillers dissolved, Teen Mom ‘star’ Farrah Abraham has also had her lips dissolved. This indicates to me that the pressure to appear a certain way is finally starting to diminish and women will more freedom over their own appearance.

Hopefully what this change will do is usher in an era of greater self acceptance and expel the need to alter your appearance into the image of a celebrity. It does also demonstrate that these aesthetic trends do come and go so quickly that it should make anyone think twice before making any edits to your appearance. Kylie is doing it again – another beauty revolution. But this time, I think it’s going to be a positive one.

Xo

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11 struggles that all pale girls know

If you are as pale as a piece of paper, then you will know the many struggles of a pale girl.

Oxidisation

Everything was going well… Until your foundation started to oxidise and you have magicallyΒ transformed into a carrot.

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The flash ghost

After spending hours putting together the perfect look for your night out, it’s time for pictures! You pout, smile, and try to look as cute as possible… but when you look back through the pictures, you’re not actually there… instead Casper the friendly ghost is in your place. This is an unfortunate fate that has befallen me many a time (see below). I’m starting to question whether I do even have a nose seeing as I can never seem to find it in photos?

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‘Ivory’

Chances are, if a foundation or concealer is called ivory, you can bet that it isn’t.

The neck/face divide

We’ve all done it. Applied the most beautiful face of makeup… and not taken it down the neck. The pasty white vertical wasteland has once again given away that we do not in fact have perfectΒ ‘ivory’ skin. This isn’t just a pale girl problem, but it particularly stark when you’re white AF and your face actually has colour.

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The many joys of shade matching
Everyone has that foundation that they got shade matched for in store by a sales assistant that has ended up being 3 shades too dark. Whether it’s the lighting at the time or whether it’s your ‘summer colour’ (doesn’t exist for me lol), something has gone terribly wrong here. It leaves you feeling rubbish that you spend money on the wrong colour (AGAIN) and leaves you looking like an Oompa Loompa.

50 shades of beige

Living in the UK, pale people are hardly mystical creatures that only come out when there is a full moon. There are plenty of fair guys and girls that will also struggle to find a decent shade among the 50 shades of beige. For years when I was younger, I didn’t wear foundation because I simply couldn’t find a shade light enough. I used to apply moisturiser to my face, and before it dried down I would use a Natural Collection (yes that still exists) that was suuuuper pale and apply it where I needed and blended it into the semi wet moisturiser. I did this until I was 19. Where I lived, I didn’t have access to higher end makeup and could only purchase ‘drugstore’ makeup. Maybelline, L’Oreal and all that lot did not cater for my skin colour. And to an extent they still don’t.

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Pink undertones

As someone who has very pink skin, I do NOT want to be putting cool toned foundation on my skin. While I can’t speak for everyone, who the hell would want to emphasise the pinkness of their skin!?

Muddy products

I remember looking for a bronzer when I was 20 in a department store. I had wanted to go to MAC, but the people in there had ignored me for 10 minutes so I wandered over to Bare Minerals. The lady convinced me that this bronzer was great, it looked good on me and like a total sucker (who knew nothing about bronzing at the time), I bought it. All jokes aside, the bronzer was dark orange. It made me look absolutely ridiculous. I did not, as I hoped I would, look like a naturally bronzed goddess… but rather a poor creature that had rubbed pollen on my face (Y’know when lillies have those big, powdery orange things that stick out the middle – that was the colour of my face).

A high end problem

It was not until I started shopping in department stores and exploring higher end makeup that I could actually find a shade that nearly matches my skin tone. Of all my foundations (7 in total), 4 of them are high end. I don’t even bother going to L’Oreal and Maybelline because I just do not believe that they have my shade. However, with the higher end brands they actually cater for the people that fall either side of beige and caramel.

Going beyond the pale

This has only happened to me once, but it is possible to overestimate your paleness. I tried to shade match myself to the Nars Creamy Radiant concealer and I assumed that I would be the lightest shade, because I am so used to buying the lightest shade. I looked like I was devoid of life. Lesson – do it in person, don’t try and shade match over the internet or you’ll look like Edward Cullen.

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(Fake) tan season

As summer approaches, so does tan comparison season. The epic tan comparison competition is one that I have gracefully bowed out of now I have realised that my sunburnt legs (funnily enough) aren’t going to win. Throwing it back to secondary school, I remember in PE the girls would always compare the colour of their fake tanned legs in summer. Even when I did do mine, I always lost. Avoid a fake tan disaster and stay a pale gal.

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Are you a pale girl? Do you have any more struggles to share? Comment below!

Xo

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The Meghan Markle effect

Everywhere you look on social media; there are pictures of beautifully made up women that set unattainable beauty standards for the average girl. It has also started to dictate what we perceive as beautiful. Wearing little or no make up either leads to questions about whether you’re okay/ill or applauded as brave for leaving the house in your natural state. Dramatic, full coverage make up has become the norm – not just for special occasions but for every day wear too. Hey, I love full coverage – don’t get me wrong – but there comes a point where individuality starts to fade away and uniformity runs rife. Β 

Enter Ms. Meghan Markle.

Meghan is a truly beautiful woman, and to put that before all her other aspirational qualities does feel somewhat unjust. We all know who she as – as a Brit I’ve seen her picture non-stop since her engagement to Prince Harry, and in the run up to the wedding her face has graced the cover of nearly every magazine and newspaper in the country.

Image result for meghan markle frecklesWhen she stepped out of that wedding car at 11:59am on Saturday 19th May, the world leaned towards their television screen get a better look at her. What is her dress like? What’s her make up like? The dress was perhaps simpler than we expected – Meghan is a fashionable woman and known for doing things her way. Many people expected a more edgy gown for the American actress breaking through all the barriers to enter the British royal family. However, you can bet the popularity of that style of wedding dress is about to go through the ROOF. The simplicity of her look didn’t end there. Once her veil was lifted in St George’s Chapel, her make up was natural and absolutely flawless. Her skin glowed and her freckles were clearly visible. Her lips were not coated in a heavy lipstick or even a gloss, but just looked lightly coloured by a tinted lip balm. There was a subtle smokey eye, but sheΒ radiated natural beauty.

Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β THIS. IS. WHAT. WE. HAVE. BEEN. WAITING. FOR.

On her wedding day she made the ultimate statement – She represented exactly who she is with complete disregard for the opinions of the billions that were watching. Did we expect that little makeup? Definitely not. But did we absolutely love it? Hell yeah we did. It only takes one spark to start a fire and I seriously believe that she will be the catalyst to propel the natural beauty trend to the forefront. Freckles are completely normal, but seeing such a high profile celebrity embracing theirs normalises them and sets the example for others. Meghan has spoken out time and time again against photoΒ retouchers and makeup artists who try to cover her freckles, quoting a phrase her father used to tell her – β€˜a face without freckles is like a sky without stars’. For a long time now, people have been encouraged to cover up their β€˜imperfections’ – anything that means your skin is not a flat, even colour should be hidden. So many women on social media have already come forward siting Meghan’s light make up as inspiration to embrace their own skin – myself included. So far this week, I have worn no face make up to show my forehead freckles, and only mascara and light brows. She’s not the first person to show off her freckles, and she won’t be the last, but what makes her different is that the world watches her and she has an enormous, global reach. Image result for meghan markle freckles

She has the potential to start a beauty revolution. It’s time for Instagram make up to step aside. It has had its day in the sun. I’m really hoping that by having such a high profile person (nearly 2 BILLION people watched the wedding) embracing her natural beauty, others will quickly follow suit. I mean, it’s already encouraged fellow freckle faces to embrace their own skin, but I think it will go further. Every girl I have spoken to about the wedding loved how understated her make up was – not a single person commented that for such an occasion she should have worn more. We aren’t used to seeing it – not on our favourite celebrities or in the mainstream media. We are used to seeing Kardashian contour and Jenner lips (that family basically sets the standard for the female population of the world) and this COULD NOT be further from that. It might only be make up, but her wedding look made a statement. You don’t need have a Kardashian contour to capture the heart of a prince.

I love make up. I love applying it, I love playing with it and I love how it makes me look. But, I am also ready for it to be okay for women not to be held to such a high standard of artificial beauty where women feel like they have to contour their face to make it thinner or use lip plumper so their lips look bigger. If Meghan represents anything, it’s that you are beautiful exactly as you are. She embraces what makes her unique and absolutely rocks it.Β 

… and, y’know, she had the entire world saying how beautiful she was. No big deal.

Xo

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Probiotic skincare – why I’m interested in it, and you should be too

As someone who has a sensitive stomach, I rely on probiotics to feel better. The positive effects of probiotics on the gut are well documented… but what about in skincare?

Before I begin, let me emphasise that I am not a doctor, nor a scientist specialising in this field of research. If anything is incorrect in this article, I would be happy to correct it. I myself wanted to understand what probiotic beauty actually is and what effect it could have. My interest in probiotics definitely comes from having a number of food intolerances, and relying on these foods to feel myself again. If you are interested in reading up on gut health and probiotics in food, the Clever Guts Diet is an amazing read and brilliant for anyone who has food intolerances or wants to understand their gut better.

Okay, let’s start from the beginning. Probiotics are a substance that stimulates the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties. Basically, these are the good bacteria that are most commonly found in your gut and keep it healthy. You have probably seen probiotic supplements or have heard about Actimel/Yakult. Maybe you even know a few foods that are natural probiotics (yoghurt, saurkraut, kefir). What you probably didn’t know is that skincare is increasingly being formulated to include these good bacteria.

There is growing research that topical probiotics can remedy anything from acne to ageing skin. The introduction of probiotics into skincare products focuses largely on the idea of balance – restoring and repairing your skin that is overstimulated. It is in this state of imbalance that dermatological issues such as acne, rosacea and dryness can emerge. Introducing probiotics is like starting a bacterial fight – the good bacteria derived from probiotics declare war on the bad bacteria that cause acne and other skin related issues and take over to bring back balance to the skin. There has even been research that lactobacillus (usually found in yoghurt) is effective in restoring the skin’s barrier and is successful at reducing acne.

Here are some ways that topical probiotics can help your skin:

Restoring the protective barrier
Your skin’s protective shield can be damaged by a number of factors, from β€˜bad’ bacteria, to environmental factors such as stress and pollution. The microorganisms that cause skin ailments are seen as foreign and so spark an immune reaction to deal with this potential threat. In turn this causes inflammation and redness on the surface of the skin. Applying a topical probiotic creates a literal barrier between your skin and the bad bacteria.

Neutralise the bad bacteria
According to Dr Bowe, the substances creates by probiotics can have β€˜antimicrobial’ properties, which means they tackle the bad bacteria and kill them. This functions in a similar way to traditional antibiotics and can help reduce inflammation. There is still on-going research into which strains of bacteria have this property so they can be marketed into antimicrobial products.

Stay calm
Probiotics are known to have a calming effect on the gut, and this extends to the skin too. They calm down the cells that want to react to bad bacteria and suppress signals to the immune system to β€˜attack’. This reduces flare ups of acne and rosacea.

I have been aware of probiotics since I was about 16 and was pretty unwell after taking antibiotics for a long time. It was the good bacteria in probiotics that solved my long standing stomach woes.Β I first saw about probiotic skincare in an email from Beauty Bay, and it instantly got my attention. It highlighted the brand Tula, which have a pretty wide range of products that contain probiotics and Kefir (a fermented yoghurt that is known for being great for your gut). The brand was started by practising gastroenterologist Dr. Raj, who voices the importance of balance to maintain our health, both on the inside and out.

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As I’ve already mentioned, probiotics can have a wonderful calming effect on your skin. They leave skin looking hydrated, more even toned and reduce inflammation. The TulaΒ products include powerful natural probiotics combined with superfoods such as blueberries, turmeric and kefir, as well as more familiar skincare ingredients like vitamins A and C and AHAs.Β  The products are packed full of calming ingredients, such as turmeric and white tea that would be especially great for acne prone skin.I would loved to have tried these products out when I had my cystic acneΒ for their anti-inflammatory properties.Β  Their hydration products look beautiful too, with some seriously impressive before and afters on each product page.

Probiotic skincare also has great anti-ageing benefits too. Aurelia skincare focuses on restoring the balance in your skin, and promoting the repair and reproduction of collagen and elastin. Rather than using peptides to stimulate collagen and elastin repair, probiotics can improve the skin’s defence mechanism organically and promote the natural healing process. I recently got the Aurelia Revitalise and Glow Serum, and I’m really interested to if or how my skin changes with use. I am in love with the idea of naturally promoting the repair of my skin, but also really like how clean and natural the ingredients in this type of product are. Both companies that I have mentioned have a commitment to using natural products, which is completely in line with the idea that beauty starts from within.

Image result for glow the beauty chef

And it doesn’t stop there – consumable beauty is now a thing too. There are increasing numbers of products that you take orally, either as a supplement or a powder, which claim to have a positive impact on your gut AND your appearance. You may have seen GLOW by The Beauty Chef or other products by this brand that promotes improved gut health, as well as a luminous complexion. Their founder’s philosophy that ‘beauty begins in the belly‘ seems sound – when you feel good, you look good. When you nourish yourself properly, you see the benefits everywhere. This idea also correlates to what is known as the β€˜gut-brain-skin axis’ – the notion that anxiety and stress can lead to gastrointestinal issues, causing inflammation. Consequently this can trigger inflammation of the skin as well. By orally consuming probiotics, you could effectively be killing two birds with one stone.

The founder of probiotic skincare brand GallinΓ©e, Marie Drago, emphasises the importance of the ‘natural bacterial ecosystem of our skin‘. She states on her website that ‘modern lifestyle, pollution and overuse of antibacterial products and detergents‘ are having a damaging impact upon the state of our skin, leaving it dry, stressed and sensitive. By adding probiotics and prebiotics, they function to rebuild the healthy skin ecosystem (just like they would in your stomach).

At the moment, the only downside is that probiotic skincare is more or less exclusively in the higher price bracket. However, since the launch of Aurelia (the first probiotic brand to launch), probiotic skincare products have started to flood the market and I’m convinced that it is only a matter of time before the more affordable brands invest in this research and follow suit.

It is worth noting that there is still uncertainty whether it is the microbiome that improves the skin, or improvements in the skin that consequently have positive effects on the microbiome. Knowledge about bacteria in the gut is still being discovered, so it will take a number of years before research into its relation to skincare becomes clear. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, as this is a very new discovery in probiotics. It also has the potential to completely shift the direction of makeup and skin care – that beauty is no longer β€˜skin deep’, and mark the birth of β€˜ecosystem beauty’.

I am here for anything that will naturally improve my overall health and skin, and I have total faith in this type of skincare based on my own probiotic experience. I will definitely be trying some of these brands when pay day comes around, and can’t wait to see the results.

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment here or on my instagram!

Xo

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