Elf Cosmetics Review – Drugstore makeup finds

Long time, no see! I’ve been wanting to try out Elf Cosmetics for the longest time and the Black Friday sale was the perfect time to dive in! Elf is widely regarded across the beauty community as having some of the best quality, affordable makeup products on the market. So I thought I’d find out for myself what all the fuss was really about!


Products:
– Putty eye primer in Rose
– Lip plumping gloss in Pink Sugar
– Liquid glitter eyeshadow in 24k Gold
– Instant lift brow pencil in Neutral Brown
– Hydrating camo concealer in Fair Warm
– Bitesize eyeshadows in Cream & Sugar and Pumpkin Pie

Putty Eye Primer

For a total eyeshadow lover, it’s strange that I’ve never really used an eyeshadow primer before. I’ve only ever used Urban Decay Primer Potion and hated it for how runny it was. The putty primer is a pretty dry formula (not as emollient as a colour corrector in a pot) so you won’t pick up that much product with your finger or a brush. As there are multiple shades, you should be able find a shade that matches quite well – I went for Rose which I thought could be a little pink but it actually does a good job of prepping the eye with a pretty neutral base. The product itself is not mega pigmented, so it blends in well with your foundation and doesn’t appear too stark the way some primers do. You will have to go in a few times with your brush/finger to get enough product on your eye (unless you do a very light prime) but that wasn’t an issue for me.

Lip Plumping Gloss

Personally, I’m not one for plumping lip glosses. I don’t enjoy the tingling feeling and I don’t think it actually does anything to noticeably plump the lips. I really like glosses with very little actual colour pigment but that have shimmer, so that’s what drew me to this. The shade Pink Sugar shifts from white to pink reflect and is a really nice accent for a nude lip. There is definitely a noticeable tingle, which is manageable, but not all that pleasant. If you have sensitive lips or are prone to any dryness around your lips/broken skin in winter, you might like to avoid this one.

Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow

I’ve wanted to try a liquid shadow for the longest time and have never bitten the bullet with more expensive brands. This more affordable version was my chance! I got the shade 24K Gold which is very much a bright yellow gold, which isn’t my fave kind of gold. In the pictures on the website it looked a bit more muted and a more neutral gold (old gold). On deep skin tones, I bet it would look absolutely amazing, but on my pale skin it’s a bit much. I’ve found a way to work with it where I dab a small amount onto the back of my hand and then use my finger to lightly dab it where I want it. It’s much less pigmented but it’s much more wearable. It’s a lot more like a topper shade but I think I would prefer to use it this way. I often find that a lovely champagne shade is missing in ranges like this. Gold can sometimes be a bit too bold for pale skin like mine, but champagne is always a winner for me!

Instant Lift Brow Pencil

I was interested to try this to see if it was a dupe for the NYX Micro Brow Pencil – especially as this retails for Β£3 rather than the Β£9 that the NYX product is. Because I got this in the sale, it was even less at Β£1.80(!?). The spoolie on the end is large like the one on the ABH Brow Definer, rather than nice and small like the NYX one. It’s not the end of the world but I find the smaller ones give you more precision when it comes to shaping the brows. I got the shade neutral brown which was a really good match for my hair colour. The pencil itself was quite thick (around double the thickness of the NYX one) which means I can’t really make such fine strokes, but it’s still very usable. Because of the thicker pencil, this probably wouldn’t become my go-to brow pencil but would definitely come back to this every now and again.

Hydrating Camo Concealer

I love a budget concealer and I think this one could knock my Collection Lasting Perfection concealer off the top spot! This concealer comes in at Β£5 but I got it in the sale for Β£3 (!!!). There are a two different versions of the Camo Concealer – the hydrating and the 16 hour matte finish version. As I have dry skin, I went for the hydrating one. I thought I might struggle with the shade match online but I’m really happy with it actually! I went for Fair Warm which is fair with yellow undertones. The doe foot applicator is really nice and fat, especially at the tip where the product congregates. As you can see from the picture above, you get quite a lot of product on the applicator and will cover pretty much your entire face in one application! The formula itself is easy to blend and leaves a lovely fresh look to the skin. I didn’t notice any creasing under my eye area but I did set it instantly with a loose powder. I think I might actually prefer this to my holy grail Collection Lasting Perfection concealer as it’s more hydrating and leaves me looking a bit dewier, whereas the Lasting Perfection has become much more matte (not sure if there has been a reformulation or my skin has changed). DO NOT SLEEP ON DRUGSTORE CONCEALERS. Save yourself mega money and forget the high end ones!

Bitesize Eyeshadows

When they say ‘bitesize’, they really mean it. These are the size of the palm of my hand… they’re tiny! Cream & Sugar features a very light beige and a deep brown matte, with a champagne and gold shimmer. Pumpkin Pie has a mid-tone warm brown along with a more neutral/cool toned brown matte, along with copper and bronze-brown shimmers. When swatched, the shimmers are really very impressive, while the mattes appear okay but nothing special. However, when applied with a brush on the eyes, the mattes work beautifully. I was really pleasantly surprised how well these blend and build. There was no patchiness for me, the blend was really easy and when used with the putty eye primer, they lasted all day. These are Β£3 (!?!?) but I picked them up in the sale for Β£1.50. How on earth do they make good shadows for so little!? I’ve heard that some of these quads are better than others, but for Β£3 I’d definitely be willing to try out more! I haven’t stopped using these since I picked them up.

For me, the price of these products for the quality you’re getting is unbeatable – I got this entire order for Β£18. I may have got all of this on sale, but the original price is still an absolute steal! I would definitely repurchase the hydrating camo concealer and want to try more shades of the bitesize shadows. I had really wanted to try out the putty blush but it was sold out in the shade I had been eyeing up, so I’ll be coming back to that one when I next place an order. If you have been wanting to try Elf for a while, this is the sign you’ve been looking for – try them.

After taking quite a bit of time away from this blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed my first post back!

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Glow Recipe Banana SoufflΓ© Moisture Cream Review for Dry Skin

Glow Recipe is the ultimate aesthetic brand whose products are largely focused around fruit and cute pastel colours. When their Banana SoufflΓ© Cream launched, their first moisturiser, there was a lot of excitement from die hard fans and beauty enthusiasts alike. I was interested to try it for myself and see how it fared on dry, sensitive skin.Β Β 

Claims

The claims for this moisturiser seem to be to fix every skincare issue under the sun. It addresses:

  • Dehydration
  • Irritation
  • Sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Stressed out skin

It is also supposedly non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic (which I thought were basically the same thing but there we go).Β 

They also claim that this is good for all skin types. I’m always a bit weary of products that claim that they are perfect for all skin types as the needs for each one can vary so widely. This moisturiser basically promises to suit every skin type and concern, which I just don’t believe.Β 

Glow Recipe Banana SoufflΓ© Cream - Small Town Beauty Addict

The scent

The first thing you will notice is the scent. If you can’t stand heavily fragranced products, this probably won’t be for you. Quite obviously it’s scented like bananas. Quite a few people have said that they hate the artificial banana smell but like this smell? I hate both and would rather this were unscented or at least dialled down because the smell is not what I want to be spreading on my face. It is definitely bearable despite the smell, but it certainly wouldn’t be my choice of scent. It does dissipate pretty quickly – once it’s dried down you can’t smell it anymore which is something at least.

More recently I’ve been trying to stay away from fragranced products as they’ve been irritating my skin, but surprisingly this one didn’t. A few of my other friends who have sensitive skin have been able to use this, but that’s not to say that it will work for everyone who is sensitive to fragrance.Β 

The ingredients

If you take a look at the ingredients, you’ll see they’re actually pretty good. There are no added nasties here (no added fragrance/parfum, limolene, linalool, citronellol or essential oils) which is excellent to see. These are the main offenders when it comes to skin irritation. Although there is a very strong smell, it seems to come from the addition of Banana water.Β 

This is backed full of skin soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as centella asiatica, turmeric root extract and aloe vera leaf juice. The addition of turmeric root extract also helps to brighten skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated and squalane to moisturise the skin without feeling greasy.Β 

Looking at the ingredients, I can see why Glow Recipe claims that this could work for all skin types and could cover a wide array of issues, but ultimately its thickness limits the skin types it could work for.Β 

Performance

This moisturiser is very thin and runny. A little bit goes a very long way and I never quite felt like I could rub it in as it doesn’t dry down enough for you to stop being able to move it around. Even though the claims say that this will suit all skin types, I don’t agree with that. I don’t usually find that moisturisers this thin give me the level of moisture that I’m after. This did perform better than I was expecting in that my skin didn’t feel dry or desperately thirsty afterwards, but at the same time it didn’t feel quenched either. I usually prefer thicker gels or cream moisturisers that are targeted more towards dry skin types. Though I didn’t feel any tightness, after a few days of consistent use I started to get dry patches in both corners of my mouth where this moisturiser just wasn’t quite enough (I used to have eczema there when I was younger, so I think it made it come back). When I stopped using this, the dry patches disappeared and when I started again they came back. They’re not only dry patches but they’re areas of discolouration too which look a bit unsightly. As a result, I couldn’t use this as my sole moisturiser. However, I still wanted to use it up, so used the Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream after. I first started using this in March when it was still cold and I just thought that it wasn’t enough for the time of year. However, even in summer, this wasn’t enough for me. I think this would be really well suited for normal-oily skin, or those with dry skin that is more towards the normal end of the spectrum.Β 

This moisturiser supposedly addresses sensitivity, stressed out skin and redness (among heaps of other things). I can’t say that I noticed any real difference in redness while using this product. I also wouldn’t say that this really addressed sensitivity or stressed out skin either. I had a few breakouts caused by testing new products and I didn’t feel like this was the hero product in bringing my skin back to normal. I usually apply this after lightly misting my face and I would find that it would leave a weird stinging/tingling feeling that was pretty unpleasant but would disappear when I used my Pixi moisturiser on top. If you have sensitised skin or quite sensitive skin, definitely read reviews and look into the ingredients before purchasing this to make sure it will be okay for you to use.Β 

I’m pretty sure some people won’t be a fan of the fact this is in a jar rather than a tube. From a hygiene point of view, it’s not the best to be dunking your fingers into a jar full of product every day and it would be much cleaner to squeeze product out of a tube. Obviously you can use a mini spatula to scoop out the amount you need, but my little spatulas always go missing.Β 

Price

Let’s just talk briefly about the price. This costs Β£36 for 50ml. Personally, I think that’s pretty high and it was the price that was the major put-off of me buying this originally. I think you would be able to find a better moisturiser or at least one that performs equally as well for a lower price. My fave Pixi moisturiser is Β£24 for the same amount. Just saying.

Overview

If your skin is more normal-dry, this could be workable for you. I have a few friends with drier skin types that swear by this moisturiser but unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was after. I can imagine this working very well for oilier/combination skin types because it is so thin and light. If you have dry-very dry skin or any eczema on your face, I don’t think this is the moisturiser for you. I didn’t find that it was heavy enough for me, even in summer, and would leave me with eczema-like patches either side of my mouth. However, I can imagine it being a pretty good go-to in the hotter months for others. I managed to use it all up in the end, but I would have to apply this moisturiser first and follow it up with a thicker one. I’m glad I was able to use it all up, but I won’t be repurchasing this in the future.Β 

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Milk Sunshine Skin Tint Review

The Milk Sunshine Skin Tint is a one-of-a-kind foundation – you can tell that from just looking at the packaging. But how well can this sheer foundation perform in the run up to summer? Is it worth the awkward packaging?

Claims

  • Preservative free – stays ‘fresh’ with antimicrobial silver
  • Hydrates skin with sheer, buildable coverage
  • SPF 30 protection

Packaging

You have never seen anything like the packaging for this one before. It comes in a long thin tube that is a roller ball on one end and a clicker on the other. When you click at one end, the product comes out around the roller ball in a flower shape. It’s definitely a bit of a gimmick to apply the product this way, and I do find myself getting through quite a lot of product every time I apply it. I’ve read that for some people the pump has been faulty, leaving them unable to get into the product (this is VERY common feedback). Luckily for me that hasn’t been the case but just something to consider. I’m sure this could easily be put into a glass container with a pump or a container that you can shake and pour the product out and it would be less gimmicky and probably lower the price for the consumer as the component wouldn’t be custom. I don’t have any complaints about the packaging (because luckily it does work for me) but it seems like quite a round about way of applying the product.

The claims that the antimicrobial silver in the roller ball keeps things ‘fresh’ seems to be quite a claim with not much to back it up. In my mind, it refers to the fact that although this touches your face multiple times that it doesn’t harbour bacteria, rather than preserving the formula for a longer time because of it (as I have no idea how that would work if the product only touches the silver when it’s being dispensed). Surely a pump would also make sure that the product stays fresh?

Milk Sunshine Skin Tint applicator

Performance

The coverage of this is sheer to buildable. For such a light coverage product, it’s not as thin as you would expect. It isn’t runny at all and is almost like a gel? I find that I end up applying quite a bit of product to get the coverage to where I want it to be. I’ve used both a beauty sponge and a foundation brush to apply and they give a similar coverage, but the beauty sponge blends thing in much nicer. You could definitely use your fingers to blend this in, but I personally hate using my hands to apply my makeup. It blends in very well and leaves the skin looking dewy and fresh. It does a pretty good job at covering redness, though you would have to apply concealer for redness to disappear completely (though that is to be expected). This is probably one of those foundations that would work well for those who have pretty good skin already – if I still had my cystic acne, I certainly wouldn’t be reaching for this. One thing I have noticed is that the formula doesn’t really dry down on its own. It tends to stay wet throughout the day if you don’t powder it, so if you touch your face some will come off on your fingers or if the wind blows your hair on your face, it will likely get a bit stuck to your face. I personally don’t tend to powder because it can make my skin looks drier (and other foundations I use dry down), but I would powder this one a bit to get rid of that tacky feeling.

I use the shade fair which is said to have cool undertones, though this comes out as quite yellow. As someone who is very fair and has naturally quite pinkish skin, I much prefer warmer undertones to help balance out my complexion. So although it is advertised as having cool undertones, it doesn’t really. Fair is nice and pale and if applied sparingly would be pretty undetectable on my skin, though if I build the coverage a bit, the colour does start to go a bit orange and noticeable.

I’d just like to point out that this foundation only comes in 7 shades (fair, light, sand, medium, honey, medium tan, deep). As the names might suggest, this doesn’t cater in any meaningful way for those with deeper skin tones. While there is often the argument that ‘sheer foundations/skin tints don’t need a massive shade range’, one shade for POC isn’t okay in my book.

This does claim to have SPF in it, but you should not be relying on a skin tint or a foundation to get your SPF. ALWAYS apply a separate sunscreen (SPF in moisturiser again isn’t enough) to get your sun protection. Any extra in moisturiser or makeup is an added bonus but shouldn’t be the only protection you’re wearing. To get the full protection that is advertised (SPF 30), you would have to apply far more than is natural or normal to wear.

Durability

In terms of durability, I’ve been very impressed. There’s often an assumption that light coverage foundations won’t last a very long time and that you need a heavier foundation for it to be long-wearing. This has lasted 8+ hours and survived long walks in the sun. While I may not be commuting anymore and can’t put things to the commuter test anymore, I was surprised to see that there was no breakdown on my T zone, between my nose and mouth and on my chin. Bear in mind that it lasted well despite not powdering.

Suitability

I think the Sunshine Skin Tint would work well for dry skin as it is a dewy finish and doesn’t really set down (without powder). I have patch of eczema around my mouth at the moment and it does look a little flaky by the end of the day, but that’s more of a skincare issue rather than one with the foundation. It doesn’t cling to any other pieces of skin or dry my skin out. I’m not sure how well this would work for oily skin types – maybe if you were to powder it down and use the right primer you could prolong the wear time, but ultimately I don’t think this dewy foundation was built to survive oil breakdown.

At the time of testing, my skin was very sensitive and would react badly by breaking out in to spots when trying new products. I’m glad to say this did not happen with this!

Overview

For anyone with normal or dry skin looking for a light coverage, long-wearing skin tint/foundation, then this is your gal for absolute sure. I’d love if Milk would reconsider the packaging because I think it would encourage more people to try it out – ultimately most reviews that give a poor rating is because of the packaging rather than the product itself.Β 

Annoyingly, this isn’t available in the UK at the moment and I’m not too sure why really. It might be the SPF issue, but it states on the Milk website that the Canadian version just doesn’t include the SPF. A friend got this for me from the US, which will make it quite a difficult one to repurchase, so I’m using it quite sparingly!

If you’re interested in reading more Milk reviews, you can find the Matte Bronzer and Lip and Cheek Tint review here and the Hydro Grip Primer review here.

For all other Milk products, you can find them at Cult Beauty here in the UK.

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Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Review | Beginners Retinol

Vitamin A is considered the anti-ageing ingredient that everyone has heard of and everyone wants to incorporate into their routines. New products are coming to the market all the time promising incredible results, but as a beginner, it can be quite daunting and confusing to pick the right one for your skin. The Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 is styled as the ‘beginners retinol’, so let’s see how this beginner got on with it!

I’m trying to avoid saying retinol during this article because although retinol is the most well-known name for this type of product, vitamin A is actually the most accurate label for the group. There’s retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin and tazarotene – all are different strengths and some are easily available while others have to be prescribed. The Crystal Retinal is retinaldehyde, so it wouldn’t be quite right to label it as retinol, despite the fact that this has become an umbrella term for vitamin A.

The Brand

Medik8 is best known for their vitamin A products – and they’re known to be very good. They offer many different types and formulas of vitamin A, catering for young skin to more mature skin that needs a heavier hit. The benefits of vitamin A are well known – it increases collagen production and cell turnover, which in turn helps to reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also been known to help reduce acne too.

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Crystal Retinal 1 is known as the entry-level vitamin A in the Medik8 range. It’s billed as being super gentle and ideal for those with even the most sensitive skin, without compromising on performance. It’s perfect for those that are new to vitamin A and want to start exploring the benefits that vitamin A can offer, without the side effects that notoriously accompany retinol.

Claims

  • Visibly minimises fine lines and wrinkles
  • Firms and plumps to resurface skin texture and soften the face.
  • Hydrates to deliver supple, even-toned and youthful looking skin.
  • Reduces blemish-causing bacteria
  • Younger, smoother, more radiant skin in 4 weeks
  • Low-to-no irritation

My skin before starting

I am 25 years old and I wear suncream every day. I really don’t have a great deal of lines or wrinkles at all and obviously have quite young skin. I am at the age where I could start to consider using vitamin A but any younger wouldn’t really be necessary.

Since late last year, my skin had been very reactive and sensitive. I would get breakouts very easily, mainly around my mouth and chin, especially when using new products. I stripped my routine back to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF for four months. In early April, I added a face oil in at night time but kept my routine very basic. I was comfortable that my skin had become less reactive and decided to add in a vitamin A to deal with a few fine lines that were starting to appear on my forehead. My skin type is dry and I had been dealing with some dry patches and discolouration on either side of my mouth.

Application

After cleansing, I apply two and a half pumps on to my face and leave it for around 30 mins before applying moisturiser. There is maybe the slightest tingling when I first apply it but this goes away by the time it dries down. It isn’t a tingle as such, but it’s quite clear that I’ve put something of strength on my skin. It didn’t leave my skin feeling dry or parched before applying my moisturiser. It does have a slight scent that I can’t quite put my finger on but it is pleasant and dissipates quickly.

I started using this twice a week as recommended to get my skin used to it for the first two weeks. After that, I have used it three times a week for a total of a month and a half now. Every morning after using this (and every morning in general), be sure to apply suncream as this will make your skin more sensitive to the sun and more prone to damage if SPF isn’t worn.

It’s important to point out that when it comes to anti-ageing benefits, it takes a long time for these visible results to come to fruition. That’s absolutely fine by me and I won’t be commenting on any anti-ageing results as I can’t say I’ve noticed any, but the other results I have seen are certainly worth mentioning.

Since using it

A common problem with vitamin A is that it causes some trouble for your skin, whether that be purging (lots of spots) or flakiness. However, Crystal Retinal promises to skip the irritation phase and go straight to the results. I didn’t really experience any purging or flakiness, which for me was an enormous plus! It’s these two side effects that can often put people off of using a vitamin A altogether, so if you’ve suffered particularly with either side effect before, this formula is definitely one to consider.

After a month and a half of use, the most unexpected result for me was that it has kept my spots at bay.Β After the first application, I did notice that an existing spot that had been dwindling came back to life. It was joined by another new spot close by and a very small spot on my chin and forehead. The forehead spot disappeared within a day and the one on my chin within two. The spot that I had before starting decreased in size pretty quickly and it’s new friend came to a very small head before disappearing into a puff of smoke. I would say that within a week, all spots (new and old) were gone. I could feel the pre-existing one under the skin for a little while afterwards but even that has disappeared now. The turnover was way faster than ever before. I had been struggling for months to get rid of them all for good, with many lurking under the skin, so to have them all completely gone is a great result for me!

This is the most consistently clear my skin has been in 9 months. I have not had a single new spot since that initial flurry subsided. I had been struggling with a bit of pigmentation left over from a few of the bigger spots and they lightened up quite considerably too. My skin looks nice and plump, while also looking much more even-toned.

I’ve included some before and afters to show my results, see them below!

Before and After

Left side:

I had two reoccurring breakouts in the bottom corner of my face and a small spot in the crease of my mouth. After a month’s use, these spots (that had been near constantly coming and going for months) have finally gone for good. After a few initial spots when I first added this, I haven’t had a single new spot, nor an old one reappear.

Mouth and chin:

img_0495img_6774

I had a few small spots on my chin which have now cleared up. The big dry patch on the side of my mouth didn’t get any worse or irritated, which I thought it would.

Right side:

img_0487img_6770

This side of my face was already pretty good, but I believe that my skin has become more even toned. I had some dryness in the creases of my nose, which has since disappeared.

Full face:

img_0488img_6768

These are both horrendous pictures, but looking purely at the skin, I am so pleased. My skin is more even, less spotty, less textured and weirdly less flakey.

Overview

This has been an absolute pleasure to use. I was quite nervous to use this at first because my skin was just coming to the end of being really reactive and I didn’t want to risk setting it off again. It honestly couldn’t have gone better adding this in! This was gentle enough for sensitive skin and didn’t have any negative effects on dry skin either. I think this is one of those products that actually does suit all skin types and I couldn’t recommend this more. The difference in texture, plumpness and spots all went above my expectations and made this so worth while. It might seem a bit odd to recommend an primarily anti-ageing product without testing its anti-ageing properties for 12+ weeks, but ultimately the other results I’ve seen have been so fantastic that I would continue to use this even if it didn’t have anti-ageing results too. I’ll obviously keep using it long term and I’ll definitely be repurchasing this once it runs out!

You can purchase Crystal Retinal 1 directly from the Medik8 website.

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The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm Review

The Inkey List’s Oat Cleansing Balm seems to have taken the beauty world by storm. It’s all over Instagram and has quickly become a fave of the skinfluencers. It sold out everywhere when it first launched, so what is so special about this cleanser?

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

The brand

The Inkey List are one of the brands that are cutting through all the beauty jargon to bring straight forward, easy to understand, affordable skincare. Personally I think they’re comparable to The Ordinary (in terms of price and single ingredient products) but are easier to understand. Their products often feature some of the most sought after and on trend ingredients of the moment. Their recent releases have been increasingly innovative and they’re an influencer favourite.

The Oat Cleansing Balm is 150ml for Β£9.99, which is actually loads of product for a really affordable price. With it being in a tube rather than a tub, it’s a lot more hygienic than dipping your fingers in to a jar. The ingredients list for this is pretty clean – there are no irritants included and it has no added fragrance, nor does it have any sort of scent. The inclusion of 3% oat kernel oil helps to keep skin moisturised; smooth and blackhead free, while 1% oat powder reduces redness and irritation. It sounds like a sensitive skin dream right?

My skin

When I started using this product, my skin was pretty sensitive and reactive to new products. I would get small breakouts on the lower part of my face within a day of using a new product that my skin didn’t agree with (and it didn’t agree with most things). I was interested to see whether this would irritate my skin or break me out.

Application

It’s a little hard to squeeze this out of the tube at first, but once it does come out, a little goes a very long way. You need to dampen the skin before applying the product to avoid a more abrasive application! I was daft enough not to read the instructions the first time I used it and applied it to dry skin – as a result it was quite rough (though my skin did feel nice and soft afterwards). Be sure to read the instructions!

The balm melts away pretty quickly into a thick oil and quickly gets to work on breaking down the day’s makeup with relatively little effort. The instructions advise to avoid the eye area but I found this was gentle enough to use there with no irritation afterwards. When it came to removing mascara, I was amazed by what a good job it did! Many other makeup removers tend to sting or hurt your eyes but this one was absolutely fine – you could apply it and open your eyes with absolutely no problems. Sometimes I felt like this left a slight film on the skin and other times it didn’t. Most importantly for me, it didn’t cause any form of irritation. This is one of the only products I’ve added in to my skincare routine that hasn’t caused any form of adverse reaction in months, so I’m impressed.

What’s so special about it?

  • Very gentle
  • FAST and effective
  • Free from irritating ingredients
  • Very affordable

Overview

This is a great cleanser for dry or sensitive skin. If you follow the instructions, it is gentle enough for even the most sensitive to use. It’s an excellent product for anyone who is new to the double cleanse or even the most seasoned beauty veterans who are tired of being blinded every time they remove their eye makeup. I dare say that in terms of performance, this trumps high end products. It is really effective at removing stubborn makeup with little effort; removed eye makeup with absolutely no irritation and didn’t leave a thick film on the skin. Unlike other balms, you don’t need as much product to break down the day’s makeup, so the tube (which is way bigger than you would think!) will last you absolutely ages! There has been quite a gap in the market for an affordable cleansing balm and it has now been filled.

Want to try?

You can find the Inkey List in the UK at Boots, Cult Beauty, ASOS, Feel Unique, Selfridges and Look Fantastic.

Xo

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Fenty Beauty Butta Biscuit Cream Bronzer Review – Is it pale girl approved?

If you’re a pale girl like me, finding a shade of bronzer to give you a sunkissed glow without looking muddy can be tough. Add in the hit-and-miss nature of cream products, it can make bronzing far more stressful than it needs to be. Will the new Fenty Cream Bronzers be the answer to all our prayers?

Fenty Beauty recently released their Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzers in 7 shades that go from very pale to very deep. This new range compliments their existing powder bronzers and is their first time delving into cream products. Let me start by saying that me and cream products have a difficult relationship. Sometimes we’re best mates and sometimes we don’t talk for a few days. I’m interested to see whether I’ll be able to get the results I want with the cream formula, while also finding the perfect shade match. As a quick reference on how the shade is for my skin tone, I’m an NC15.

Fenty Butta Biscuit Cream Bronzer
Fenty Butta Biscuit Cream Bronzer

Claims

Fenty’s Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzers (what a mouthful) come with some pretty hefty claims:

  • Easy to blend
  • Impossible to overdo
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Doesn’t disturb makeup
  • Not sticky or greasy

Keep reading to find out whether it can live up to these claims!

Application

I watched two videos on the Fenty Beauty Youtube and Instagram pages before applying this and the Fenty makeup artists seemed to use brushes, so I did the same. I used a flat topped synthetic brush and tapped a few times in the pan before starting on my temples. I stippled it on to start with to deposit the colour where I wanted it before doing slightly more sweeping motions to blend it in. It goes on very easily and isn’t too pigmented when first applied. It’s really easy to blend without completely blending away the colour like some other cream bronzers I’ve tried. I can sometimes feel quite nervous when it comes to blending, but it was totally stress-free. When I worked my way down to my cheeks, I was amazed how chiseled and sculpted my face looked with such minimal effort. I did go back in to add a touch more where I felt like I needed it and it built up very well with no signs of muddiness. I had a beautiful glow as if I was a beach babe andΒ  I hadn’t even left the house! The formula is perfect – your brush will pick up enough product to give you some definition and a great colour, without making your face feel wet and sticky for hours afterwards. Gone are the days where your hair gets stuck on your wet cheeks – you’re good to go straight away with this one! Most importantly, it didn’t disturb my makeup in the slightest! I hadn’t really expected this to because it’s in a compact rather than a stick, but I’m glad nonetheless. You could definitely use your fingers to apply this, but personally I’m not a fan of applying it this way.

One thing I will say for this is that it would be a perfect introduction to cream products for any beginners to creams or to makeup in general. Often creams can be very difficult to apply or blend when you aren’t used to them and I honestly don’t find every product to be as easy or intuitive as this one. This has honestly been a total game changer for me!

Fenty Butta Biscuit Bronzer and Cool Berry Blush Swatches
Fenty Butta Biscuit Bronzer and Cool Berry Blush Swatches (above swatch; below blended)

The colour

I chose the shade Butta Biscuit because Amber looked SO cool toned (it is actually one of their Match Stix shades but resurrected as a cream). I didn’t want a contour shade, so went for Butta Biscuit which is much warmer, but a touch darker. Depending on how heavy handed you are and how much you want to build it up, this shade will suit many different skin tones. For pale skin, this is a great shade. It has enough warmth without looking orange and really does give a sunkissed look. I consider myself to be very pale and I was able to go in twice without looking muddy or overdone. Anyone with lighter skin than me could use a lighter hand and still achieve a beautiful look.Β 

As you can see, the colour looks pretty natural but definitely noticeable. In real life, it did look more noticeable than on camera (as is often the way with makeup) but I’m not mad about it at all.Β 

Durability

One of the main claims is that this bronzer is sweat and water resistance. While I can’t say I went for a run with this bronzer on, I did splash my face with water (and drench myself in the process) and can confirm that it does seem to be water resistant. Is that to say that it will last through pool parties, I can’t be sure – you’ll just have to try that one for yourself. I didn’t notice this migrating or fading as the day went on like some powder products do. The fact that this is a non-sticky formula would suggest that it will last longer as there is less slip and sliding around.Β 

img_0556_facetune_21-04-2020-14-13-10

How is it different to other cream products I’ve tried?

  • No wet feeling/stickiness!
  • Not too pigmented off the bat
  • Beautifully buildable
  • Easy to blend (not a chore)

Is it pale girl friendly?

100% yes. I was a bit doubtful when I first opened the compact, but it blended out so well that I will give this the pale gal approval. It is so buildable that you can customise your level of bronze. Did we expect anything else from Rihanna? Every launch she has, she absolutely smashes the shade range and makes sure there is an option for everyone. Honestly I couldn’t be more impressed and I’m actually so excited to apply this again.

img_6190-1

OverallΒ 

If you’re a cream lover, you will ADORE the Fenty Beauty Cream Bronzers. If you’re a cream hater, you will ADORE the Fenty Beauty Cream Bronzers. They’re so user friendly, they are FOOL PROOF. As a newbie to cream products, I think I’m pretty qualified to say that if me, a powder gal, can get along with this no problem then you’ll love it. The formula, the shade, the application – all A+ from me. I really like the Milk Bronzer but this is definitely superior in terms of how easy it is to apply and the overall finished look. Having the product in a compact versus a stick makes it much easier to apply the right amount and alleviates the pressure to blend harsh lines away. I’m actually really excited to use this again – Butta Biscuit, you’re the best.

Xo

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Regrets? Reviewing my 2019 purchases

Like any beauty addict, I’ve bought a lot of products this year. Some have been massive hits, while others have seriously missed the mark. One thing that’s for sure, there are a LOT of products.

By Terry Gem Glow Trio Highlighter – Β£28

This was a repurchase. I bought this BEAUTIFUL highlighter and needed another to keep perfect in my collection. I’ve never really bought products to keep them as a collectors item before, but after trying this, loving this and being bowled over by the appearance of it, I just needed to have another. I haven’t used my original one that much since buying it last December so I’ll have to dig that out.

Marc Jacobs Enamored Lip Gloss Sticks in Mocha Choco Lata and Uh Huh Honey – Β£22 each (Β£44)

If you haven’t read my full review on this product you can find it right here! The lip gloss stick is easily one of the most innovative products I’ve seen. It is the perfect hybrid between a lipstick and a lip gloss – it’s amazingly comfortable on the lip, isn’t sticky and is almost like a very pigmented lip balm. I have repurchased Mocha Choco Lata a few times now as it is a fantastic nude shade that I will continue to buy. Uh Huh Honey is much more of a 90s brown that personally looks a bit too cool toned on me and I have barely used it.

Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skinβ„’ Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF25 – Β£7.19

This is the best formula of SPF I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t feel greasy or smell of alcohol like some on the other end of the SPF spectrum. The only down side to this is that a) I can’t find it for the life of me, but more importantly b) it is only SPF 25. I personally like to have maximum protection on at all times but I would (when I could find it) use this in the winter when the UV index is lower. I’ve heard a lot of people saying the same thing, so it would be amazing if they came out with a factor 50.

Beauty Pie Super Retinol Anti-wrinkle Eye Cream – Β£6.67

I used this eye cream consistently at the start of the year but didn’t see any results. Booo

Beauty Pie Super Retinol Anti-aging Hand Treatment – Β£6.53

I was a bit paranoid about this because you can supposedly use it at any time of day, but it contains retinol which you shouldn’t really when the sun’s out. I don’t think this formula was really thick enough for my hands and didn’t see any long lasting moisture or improvements in the appearance of the skin.

Lani Tropical Super Serum – Β£16.99

This was a total dud for me unfortunately. I had seen this brand really hyped in the Instagram beauty community but the oil felt really thick and smelt super bad. I think it was supposed to smell like Jasmine… but it doesn’t smell like that if you know what I mean. I used it once or twice and cast it aside.

Ole Henriksen C Your Best Selfieβ„’ Brightening Moisturizer & Eye CrΓ¨me Set – Β£18.70

I did a blog post on this duo a little while back (FIND IT HERE!) and this moistuiser and eye cream were okay, but only okay. Both products smelt amazing and felt pretty good on the skin, but not good enough to justify such a large price tag for the full size products.

WowYou Beauty Glow to Sleep – Β£18

This is a retinol moisturiser that is nice and thick. The inclusion of retinol in products always confuses me and makes me feel nervous. I would use this in the same routine as the Super Serum and it made my skin ridiculously smooth and soft… until it broke me out.Β  I thought that maybe I wasn’t supposed to mix those two products but it’s recommended by the brand on their website. I stopped using both products and haven’t revisited them since.

WowYou Beauty Super Serum – Β£18

A friend of mine always bigs up this brand so I placed an order. It is a lovely solid gel consistency that glides on really easily. Something about this serum always made me feel a little nervy but I can’t really put my finger on it. I need to revisit this one as well.

WowYou Macaron Lip Butter – Β£7 (thrown in for free)

I am very loyal to my Palmers lip balm but this got thrown in with my order and I’m so glad it was! This lip balm is EXCELLENT. If I hadn’t found such a good balm for a fraction of the price, then this would without a doubt be my go-to balm.

Mac Fix+ x2 – Β£16.15/Β£17 each (Β£33.15)

MAC Fix+ is a firm favourite of mine that sets the face and makes everything look a bit less powdery. Have gotten through so many of these over the years and will always repurchase. You get quite a lot of product and it lasts a very long time.

Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi – Β£33.50

This was a repurchase in an updated shade that actually suits me! Gobi is my perfect pale shade – I knew that this foundation was a winner already for me. I nearly ran out my old shade (Mont Blanc) which was never my shade to begin with but sometimes sales assistants don’t know how to shade match. It is a medium coverage that can be built up or sheered out. It gives the ultimate your-skin-but-better look!

Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner – Β£22

This product was soooo overhyped and really didn’t do much for me. I did a dedicated blog post on it that details my full experience with it, but in brief, I didn’t like this. I may have over used this on my skin type despite the claims hat it is gentle enough for everyday use. Knowing that I have normal-dry skin, I probably should have only used it a few times a week. It dried my skin out, especially around my nose and mouth and actually caused discolouration there. I would potentially give this another go, but this time I would only use it on my cheeks were I feel I do have some pigmentation.

Colourpop Yellow Mascara – Β£6.11 ($8)

This one was a little left field for me, but I really wanted to try a mascara that’s a fun pop of colour! I used this in a graphic liner look I did on my Instagram and really enjoyed it! It was a pretty good mascara and the yellow was super vibrant. Obviously, with it being yellow, it isn’t the most wearable mascara in the world – it certainly isn’t your every day look. That said, when I feel like doing something a little different, I do turn to this and it delivers.

Colourpop Numero Uno Black Liquid Liner – Β£6.11 ($8)

I was doing a Colourpop order anyway and this liner had just launched along side the coloured mascaras so I decided to pick this up. I didn’t feel like I had discovered the perfect black liquid liner yet and wanted to give it a go! This was really black and lasted well, but the felt tip was quite thin and made it a little harder to apply. I don’t like thick liner but I find that a thicker tip would have made liner easier for my exact style. I don’t know that I’d repurchase this at the moment because I’m enjoying the Eyeko one (mentioned further down) and Colourpop is a bit of a pain to get to the UK.

Colourpop She Palette – Β£12.22 ($16)

I bought this palette at the end of last year in the Colourpop sale and then promptly lost it. This was the repurchase and I remembered it being a bit better than it was. It has a lot of pinks that can sometimes bring out the pink in my own skintone and makes me look like I have an eye infection. I tend to use the shimmers more than the mattes but even still, this generally sits in my drawers.

Revitalash – Β£39

Unfortunately, this was quite a big waste of money. Initially I felt as though there was a good result quite quickly and then it flatlined. I got a ‘6 week supply’ which lasted far more than 6 weeks but my lashes are now even stumpier than before. And itπŸ‘πŸ»wasπŸ‘πŸ»expensiveπŸ‘πŸ». I spent a lot of time worrying that it was going to run out before I got my desired results, which never materialised.

Fenty Sun Stalk’r Bronzer – Β£23

This is only the third bronzer I’ve ever used and it’s fabulous – here are all the details you need. Fenty came out with a bunch of shades for so many different skin tones and my shade (Inda Sun) is the perfect shade for very fair skin tones. It’s lovely and warm, builds well and blends like a dream. It’s quite hard to over do it with this, which is a massive perk! It’s a little pricey but lasts a really long time! I’ve hit pan now but there’s still loads left.

Beauty Pie Flawless Foundation Blending Sponge Duo x2 – Β£4.08 each (Β£8.16)

These are excellent beauty sponges that are a fraction of the price of one Beauty Blender. The blend exceptionally well and they are very easy to clean. The only thing I will say is that I’ve had a few instances of mould in the sponges that is super gross. Take care of your sponges.

Beauty Pie Jeju Overnight Moisture Superinfusion x2 – Β£9.04 each (Β£18.08)

This is my absolute favourite moisturiser for PM. It is AMAZING. It is a lovely, thick moisturiser that would be perfect for anyone with normal-dry skin. I tend to mix this in with the BYBI Buriti booster and it’s just heaven.

NYX Micro Brow Pencil x2 – Β£9 each (Β£18)

This is my go-to brow product and I don’t see this ever changing. It’s reasonably priced and it lasts a reaaaally long time. Ash Brown is the perfect shade to match my hair colour and I don’t think any other brow products could ever replace this.

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder – Β£4.90

I wanted to add some vitamin C into my routine and thought this would be some sort of mask I could add water to and apply. It turns out, it wasn’t. I didn’t do enough research initially and when I got it and looked into how to use it, it was really tricky to use. Because I didn’t want to damage my skin and didn’t feel confident in mixing anything in with it, this has just sat in my drawer.

Milk Hydro Grip Primer – Β£27

There was a lot of hype around this and I was super interested to see how it worked – I even wrote a review on it. I have normal-dry skin and I assumed that this would hydrate my skin and hold my makeup on. It felt very sticky but left my skin looking pretty dry once foundation was applied. On top of that, it made products apply patchy and made it difficult to blend. I don’t feel like it did very much for the longevity of my makeup either and I thought that products lasted better without it.

Hugo Boss The Scent for Her Eau de Parfum 30ml – Β£38.95

I bought this scent on holiday last year and I loved it. I managed to find a really good deal on this on allbeauty.com, which has really good deals on a lot of fragrances. I’ve nearly run out of it now and I adore the scent. It’s very sweet and smells amazing in summer time. I wish it lasted on my skin a little it longer on my skin as it does fade quite quickly.

Weleda Skin Food – Β£12.50

I’ve been suffering with some serious dry skin on my hands (I suspect it may be a bout of eczema) and wanted a hand cream that would really pack a punch. This wasn’t it. Oh my gosh it is so greasy. I would put it on and it would smell like a garden (some sort of herb) and then it would leave my hands totally unusable for a long while, or until I wiped them off. Not sure where this is now but I don’t miss it.

Sjo Skin Happy Honey Oil – Β£34Β 

I did a lil review of the Happy Honey Oil and it’s a really nice oil. I think this would be a good oil for people that haven’t delved into oils before or those who don’t like most other ones. It’s very thin and sinks in very fast so can be used in the morning or evening. I personally like something a little heavier but it’s a great oil nonetheless.

Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish – Β£15.36

I bought this as dupe for the Fresh Sugar Face Polish but for a fraction of the price. This is not as good as the Fresh scrub. It is a lot harsher on the skin – the sugar particles are a lot bigger and don’t melt away. It feels like like the particles were scratching the skin, though it did feel softer afterwards. It was after this flopped so hard that I knew I would eventually shell out for the Fresh exfoliator.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ x2 – Β£15.02 each (Β£30.04)

I bought this SPF last year and it was just incredible. I decided to repurchase it and it doesn’t seem as though I got the same formula. Kao, the parent company of Biore, announced that as of Feb 2019, they would be releasing a ‘new and improved’ formula of the essence and gel versions of this SPF… but the formula really is not improved at all. The previous formula was just beautiful – it was cooling, it spread and absorbed easily and was nourishing too. My main issue with the new formula is that you can smell the alcohol and you can feel it too. The second ingredient on the INCI list is ethanol which is one of the bad alcohols that dries out the skin. I could tell as soon as I put the new formula on the skin that it wasn’t the one I fell in love with originally. I ended up giving these away.

Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser x5 – Β£18 (Β£63.18)

Can you tell I love this stuff by how many I’ve bought? If you want aaaaaall the details, you can find it here. I hate running out of this stuff and always need a back up. In the Black Friday sale, I picked up 3 backups which should last me most of the year now!

CliniqueFit Foundation x5 – Β£13.67/Β£20.50 (Β£88.84)

Without a doubt, this was the BEST product I tried this year. I wrote an entire review on how much of a banger this foundation isΒ and I am still in love. I am seriously worried that this has been discontinued because it is now out of stock on their website and on Selfridges and has been for some time, but I really hope it will come back because I adore this! In my panicked state, I bought 3 more back ups of this because I can’t bear to be without it! It suits my lifestyle perfectly in that it is very longwearing and lasts beautifully throughout my long day.

Milk Stick Bronzer in Baked – Β£17.42

I bought this stick bronzer to avoid using powders in the summer time, plus I had been wanting to try Milk for ages and when they finally arrived at Cult Beauty, well it was fate. I went for the lighter of the two bronzer shades but was a bit worried that it would still be a bit dark for me. Actually the shade was perfect! I really loved using this though it was quite a faff. It was much more time consuming to apply than a powder bronzer, but I didn’t have to worry about my face turning to sludge in the heat. I would generally use a different sponge to blend this in to avoid applying the bronzer to other areas of my face by accident, though this did happen a few times. Once the weather cooled off a bit, I put this to one side and picked my Fenty bronzer back up. I’ll definitely be revisiting this very soon and if you like stick products, you’ll love this! You get heaps of product and I’d be surprised if you ever managed to use it up!

Milk Stick Blush in Werk – Β£17.42

Everyone raves about this blush from Milk, but honestly I just couldn’t make it work for me. I find stick products quite difficult to work with and whenever I used this I would apply too much and end up looking like Bridget Jones when she goes to Mark’s lawyer dinner with bright red cheeks. It is a really lovely shade, probably the most natural/neutral in the line, but whenever I would over apply it it would look a lot like a bad sunburn! Maybe it’s unlucky for me as I am quite pale and it is the exact shade I go when I’m burnt, but it made me quite nervous to use it because I would mess it up every time.

Milk Glow Oil in Glimmer x3 – Β£12 each (Β£36)

I bought three of these, one for me and two to give away. I preferred this glow oil to the blush because it is less pigmented and way easier to blend out. However, I’m really just not a massive fan of stick blush and I’ve barely used this.

Pixi Glow Mist – Β£16

I needed a new mist to work with my Hourglass Vanish Stick Foundation. If I don’t have a very dewy base then it’s too dry on my skin. I got a bit confused by this spray because I felt like there was some highlight/makeup in it and that put me off using it as a skincare product. There was actually no need for me to be put off it so I’ll have to pull this out and get using it again. Plus I need to use up my Hourglass stick.

Benefit Roller Lash x2 – Β£17.60/18.60 each (Β£36.20)

My favourite mascara ever! I think the formula can be a little dry on my eyes sometimes but it’s just the best mascara I’ve ever used. I’ve been using this mascara for about 5 years now and it’s just excellent. I know exactly what I’m getting with it and it lengthens and lifts my lashes beautifully.

Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Brown – Β£6.30

Used it once, never used it again. I’ve tried the black gel liner before and it’s pretty good but it dries up really quickly.

Beauty Pie Fresh Glow Breathable Setting Spay x3 – Β£5.28 each (Β£15.75)

When I got the email for this, I knew I wanted to try it. I bought two on the day it launched and fell in love with it as soon as I used it. The bottle is pretty small (50 ml) but it lasts a really long time. Unlike other sprays, you don’t have to fan it down to dry it. It is a really natural finish that makes makeup look much more life like.

LancΓ΄me L’Absolu Mademoiselle Shine Lipstick in 157 – Β£24.30

I fell in love with this one after I say Allanaramaa on Youtube using it. It was a lovely sheer red shade that looked perfect for summer! I wanted to have it for my summer holiday… and then I saw the price – Β£27 for a sheer lipstick! I nearly fainted. In the end I managed to get this with some sort of discount on it otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up! It was a lovely colour but I probably didn’t get as much wear out of it as I should have done.

Kiko Lipstick – Β£6.99

This is a sheer red lipstick that I bought as a dupe for the more expensive Lancome one. It did work really well and is really quite comparable! But I still couldn’t resist the pull of the luxury lipstick.

Kiko highlighter – Β£5.99

I had just purchased the Milk bronzer and blush and regretted not picking up their highlighter to have the triology. When I found a stick highlighter in KIKO, I was really pleased! It was a really lovely light gold shade that looked a great dupe! However, when I applied it to my face, it stayed quite sticky and my hair would get stuck to my cheek throughout the day. It was REALLY annoying and I haven’t worn it since.

Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil x4 – Β£12 eachΒ 

This is a great oil cleanser that is really affordable. I tried this after I used the Kiehls Midnight Cleansing Oil and fell in love with cleansing oils but didn’t have the budget to consistently repurchase it. This is a great, more affordable alternative that removes makeup and SPF brilliantly.

Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream – Β£13

I used this eye cream pretty consistently for a few weeks and literally noticed no difference. I don’t know if I just expect too much from eye creams but they always let me down.

Body Shop Drops of Lightβ„’ Pure Resurfacing Liquid Peel – Β£18Β 

This ruined my skin lol. It is a gel consistency and when you apply it to the skin and rub it around, balls of gunk come up where the dead skin cells are exfoliated. It’s very satisfying to use and see the gunk but I think it was too strong on my face. Immediately after using, everything stung for days. I have not used this on my face since. I thought it could work well on my arms as I have Keratosis Pilaris and while it feels okay and a touch smoother straight after, it doesn’t last.

Body Shop Roots of Strengthβ„’ Firming Shaping Essence Lotion – Β£17Β 

This one never really got a fair shot. I got it at the same time as the resurfacing liquid peel and this made my skin sting when I used it because the peel over exfoliated my skin. I was too nervy to use this again.

Sol de Janeiro My Sol Stick x2 – Β£24 (Β£48)

I repurchased this twice since this summer and it’s been a dream. The scent is just beautiful – it’s different to the standard bum bum smell and is a mix of caramel and nuts. It’s really user friendly and perfect for on the go, it comes (obviously) in a stick and is great for reapplying as the day goes on. It can feel on top of the skin a bit if you don’t rub it in, but it’s easily remedied.

Sol de Janeiro Samba Foot Fetish – Β£25

I had heard really good things about this but I don’t think that this foot cream was the most moisturising. It does have that amazing bum bum cream scent, but I don’t think it is quite nourishing enough for my feet. In the end, this was pretty basic moisturiser with a nice smell, but not one I would repurchase for Β£25.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil – Β£30

I wrote a mini review of this on my Instagram a while back (here it is!) where I basically said this is okay but pretty overpriced for what it is. It’s light coverage but does manage to cover a fair amount, but it’s not the longest wearing foundation ever. I always need a longwearing base as I work in the city and commute each day, but if you’re not doing much in the day or only need to wear your makeup for a few hours then this will probably work very well for you. I managed to get this with a Β£10 off voucher on Cult Beauty because I refused to pay full price for it. In my mind, the more coverage a foundation offers, the more justified a high price is. However I just don’t think it’s lighter coverage foundations warrant such a high price tag.

Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner – Β£16

This was a repurchase and it is a very black liner that is really easy to apply. It is the darkest black liner that I own and I know I can rely on it. The felt tip is really nice and thick so it is much easier to try and get the shape that I want. It doesn’t dry out like some other felt tip liners do so it lasts a really long time!

Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid – Β£10

I had heard great things about the GOW vitamin C and it’s so affordable I decided to give it a go. I used it consistently for a little while but didn’t notice much of a difference. When I received some of the I Dew Care products, I swapped over to their vitamin C instead. Now I have finished that one I need to change back over to this, if it’s still good.

BYBI Boosters – Β£12 each (Β£105)

I purchased the Strawberry, Buriti, CBD, Blueberry and Bakuchiol boosters from BYBI. My absolute fave is the Buriti booster which I like to add a few drops into my moisturiser in the evenings. I’ve repurchased the Bakuchiol and Buriti boosters the most times, Strawberry twice and have only bought CBD and Blueberry once. Strawberry is for drier skin, CBD is for acne prone skin, Buriti is for sensitive skin and Blueberry is to protect from blue light. I got a few little spots from the Strawberry and CBD one but just adjusted the amount I used (AKA didn’t douse my face in oil and added a few drops to my moisturiser instead).

The Ordinary Rose Hip Oil x5 – Β£9 each

I think I’ve repurchased this five times this year and I will continue to repurchase this going forwards. I adore this oil, it’s a firm favourite of mine and I can’t bear to be without it. It’s so affordable and gives me such super soft skin that I don’t think I’d ever try a more expensive rosehip oil.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence – Β£15.59

Another repurchase that I didn’t realise I would miss until it ran out. This essence (I suppose like most essences) preps the skin really nicely for all the products to follow and makes me skin feel really soft and smooth. When I ran out of my first bottle, I didn’t repurchase it because it’s a bit difficult to get hold of. In the UK this is quite expensive and I didn’t want to make a Yes Style order for a while. In the time I didn’t have this, I noticed that my skin wasn’t as soft and things just felt different. It took me quite a long time to pinpoint what was missing but eventually remembered that I had run out of this. I did a Yes Style order straight away and will continue to repurchase this!

Ole Hendriksen Phat Glow Facial – Β£42

When this product launched, EVERYONE raved about it. Ole Hendriksen is really overhyped to me having tried three of their other products and it won’t waste my money on their products again. I used it twice in one week and broke out immediately.Β  I got breakouts in places where I would never usually get them (on my cheeks) and caused a massive spot near my mouth that I couldn’t shift for over a month. It was really disappointing at the time because I bought this as a reward to myself for losing a stone. I think this was probably the product that messed my skin up and I’m still fighting now (in December) to sort my skin out when I used this in mid-September. I don’t know if this over-exfoliated my skin and compromised my skin barrier but it only did it in one area? I stuck to the recommended usage (twice a week) so I’m not impressed at all.

Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream – Β£26.35

If you have dry skin, this will be your best friend. This honestly is a moisturiser like no other. It is aimed at dry to very dry skin and it is probably the thickest moisturiser I’ve ever come across. I’ve repurchased this 3 times I think and I will continue to repurchase. I keep this on reserve for when my skin is going through the ringer in winter and it always sees me right.

Japanfusion Supreme Cream – Β£9.92

Another repurchase that I’ve enjoyed for a long time. This is my go-to am moisturiser – it’s lovely and light for the morning and I think it would suit both dry and oiler skin types. It’s a gel moisturiser that absorbs quickly and leaves no heaviness. If I had oily skin, I would use this at night instead of in the morning.

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Deep-treatment Serum – Β£8.17

This was a repurchase of a serum I forgot about, not because I didn’t like it but because whenever my allowance updates on Beauty Pie, I’m always looking to pick up their moisturisers that are total HG for me. This is a great serum that is really moisturising and hydrating and my skin now misses it. It’s quite thick and is a bit gel like which I think makes it pack more of a punch.

Beauty Pie Superactive Capsules Pure 3% Resveratrol Microsponge + Exotic Fruit Oils – Β£10.10

I was really curious about the capsules that BP offer and so I picked these up. It took ages for me to try them out and honestly I’ve only used one once. They felt very thick and silicone-like and that really put me off. I will eventually use these again, but I think I would add a squirt of hyaluronic acid in there so that it spreads much easier across the skin. I think this is also probably a lesson in only buying skincare that you need, rather than aimlessly buying ‘cool’ looking stuff with no idea what it does or why I need it.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara – Β£13.60

I bought this over and over again a few years back but was frustrated with the size of it and how quickly it would run out. I decided to repurchase it as I was getting sick of my lower lash mascara transferring under my eyes and making me look daft. Of course it didn’t disappoint but has run out really quickly. For Β£17 (yes, Β£17) I wish they would make it bigger because it’s exorbitant for the amount of product you actually get and it does give really good results. The brush is really small so it coats each lash and there is minimal transfer. I’ll begrudgingly repurchase this again because it is so good.

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips 2 in JK Magic, Glowing Jen and Dancefloor Princess – Β£23 each (Β£69)

When the Hot Lips 2 collection came out in the summer, I fell in love with them. I always think that it is quite hard to judge shades online, so when I tried them in store, I fell for all three shades. Without a doubt the most beautiful shade is JK Magic – it is the ULTIMATE nude and by far my most used shade. Dancefloor Princess is very similar to JK Magic but with a pink undertone rather than a nude/brown while Glowing Jen is considerably darker and is described on the website as ‘a ‘tawny rose’ shade (whatever that means) and is just a darker pinky nude. I haven’t really worn Glowing Jen or Dancefloor Princess that much (GJ only once, DP maybe twice?) so I’ll have to work on that in the new year.

Kiehls Midnight Cleansing Oil – Β£25.72

I got the smaller size of this last year and it was really nice. I love the Midnight Recovery Oil so I had a pretty good idea that I’d like this too. I bought this as a treat to myself just before my birthday as something a little more luxurious. It smells like Lavender and does contain lavender essential oils, so if that’s not your thing, you might not like this too much. However, it works really well to remove stubborn makeup, leaves the skin feeling really soft and smells amazing.

Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl Eye Cheat – Β£15.28

This was another repurchase for me – my other one lasted months and months. I wanted a good nude eyeliner for my waterline to open my eyes a bit more and give a brighter look. I’ve been doing this for years and find that nude looks so much more subtle than white, which can look really quite stark and obvious. My eye looks are never complete until I line my waterline with a nude. This eyeliner is expensive for what it is, but it lasts absolutely ages!

Belif The True Cream Moisturising Bomb – Β£29.82 (€34.94)

I have been lusting after Belif products for aaaaages but they’re next to impossible to get a hold of here in the UK. When I went to Sephora in Spain, I knew I had to pick it up. This is a really nice moisturiser – it probably suits my AM routine a bit more as it’s probably not quite thick enough for nighttime. It is really moisturising but has seemingly been breaking my out. I have a troublesome patch around my mouth which breaks out really easily at the moment. When I first tried this out, there were no issues around that area so I know it’s my skin rather than the product.

Belif Moisturising Eye Bomb – Β£33.23 (€38.95)

Like the Moisturising Bomb, I had my eye on this one for a long time. I had heard great things about it and it’s a great consistency. It’s pretty moisturising under the eye but if I’m being super picky, I would probably want it a bit more. Because it is lightish (it’s not heavy at all), I’d use this in day time. I need to test it some more – I keep forgetting to use it!

YTTP Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask – Β£30.67 (€35.95)

Youth to the People is really hard to get a hold of in the UK so I went a bit wild when I went to Sephora in Spain. I wanted to try the Superberry Dream Mask but have only tried it once so far on the night I got home from the airport super late and couldn’t be bothered with my entire routine. My skin felt good the following morning, but I haven’t really had a chance to give it a proper go because my skin has been a bit troublesome lately.

YTTP Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream – Β£40.91 (€47.95)

This moisturiser is esssspensive. Despite it being called the ‘Deep Moisture Cream’, I don’t find it to be the thickest consistency and was surprised by how thin it was. Regardless I bought it because I wanted to try it out. I haven’t used it on my face yet because of my troublesome chin, so I’m still waiting to use this! I don’t think I’d repurchase this because a) it’s hard to get a hold of in the UK but b) I have other great moisturisers for far less money.

YTTP Superfood Cleanser – Β£8.49 (€9.95)

This cleanser had me super curious so I bought a mini of it. It is an excellent texture on the skin – it’s quite a thick gel that lathers a little bit and leaves the skin feeling VERY soft. Hoooowever… this broke me out 😦 I think my skin is just in a really rubbish place at the moment and I need to address the underlying problem before I can keep using

Peace Out Spots – Β£16.16 (€18.95)

I’ve been interested in trying out pimple patches for a long time but was unfortunate enough not to get any spots???? Well luckily my luck has changed and I finally had the chance to use them. I can’t say I had the awesome outcome that others have had where loads of gunk comes up on the patch, but it did go down over night after I used it. This has happened a few times but I’ve never noticed that these had incredible results.

Marc Jacobs Beauty See-quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow in Pop Rox – Β£21.80 (€25.55)

I had been looking for a glitter eyeshadow for the longest time in a shade that actually appealed to me. Pop Rox is a lovely light pink/purple shade and doesn’t have too much fall out. It does tend to get less pigmented on the eye the longer you wear it but it still looks very pretty.

Marc Jacobs Beauty O!mega Glaze All-Over Foil Luminizer in Showstopper – Β£38.86 (€45.55)

I got totally dragged in here. I tried this shade over the top of the highlighter I had on and it had the most beautiful pink shift to it. I didn’t buy it on the spot, but I literally couldn’t take my eyes off my cheek bones all day and had to go back for it. Since buying it and using it on holiday, I haven’t used it a great deal. I really need to get more use out of it, but it’s so massive (It’s the same size as the O!mega bronzer), she isn’t going anywhere fast.

Sephora Vivid Earth palette – Β£11.90 (€13.95)

This is a copper/gold/khaki eyeshadow palette and it was total crap. The shadows were really chalky and sometimes they would blend out too easily and other times they would not blend at all. I destroyed it instead.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA – Β£6.93

This used to be a holy grail of mine and it really helped to get rid of acne scars on my cheeks. I stopped using it for a few years when I felt my scars had gone and decided to repurchase it. It isn’t agreeing with certain areas at the moment, so I’m only applying it on my cheeks where I’m trying to reduce some pigmentation.

Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA (50ml) – Β£24.75

I purchased this because I wanted to try more Paula’s Choice and I wanted to try some different AHA treatments. I am a physical exfoliant girl but most other people seem to prefer chemical exfoliation and I want to see what all the fuss is about. Like I’ve said before, my skin is a bit troublesome right now and I think this poked the bear. I’ve stopped using it for now but I’ll revisit this.

Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Gel – Β£24

This is a really snazzy eye cream. I use this in the morning before makeup and it’s a lovely thin gel with a metal tip applicator. Not only is it cooling because it’s a gel, but the metal applicator really freshens up the under eye. I can’t say that I’ve noticed much of a difference from using it, but I haven’t been using it for long.

Fresh Beauty Sugar Face Polish – Β£43.20

I got a deluxe mini of this last year and I knew very quickly that I wanted a full size of it… until I saw the price. I tried to find a less expensive dupe but it just didn’t measure up. I managed to get it on sale at John Lewis for 20% off and had to make the most of it. Despite being a physical exfoliant, this is very gentle. The exfoliation beads melt under the fingertips and into the skin and leaves the skin silky smooth afterwards. There is honestly no comparison to the Klairs polish I thought could dupe it with. It’s just amazing.

Colourpop Single Shadows – Β£3.43 each ($4.50) (Β£20.58)

The single shadows from Colourpop are banging. They have excellent pigment, not loads of fall out and blend really easily. I got mainly nude shades (shock) and would definitely buy single shadows from Colourpop again.

Colourpop Ultra Glossy Lip – Β£5.34 each ($7) (Β£10.68)

I picked up two new lip glosses and have well and truly fallen for one shade in particular. Me V World is the most amazing orange red shade that is PERFECT for autumn. It lasts really well on it’s own and works really well over lipstick to make the look last even longer. Obviously with it being a gloss it does come off when you eat and drink, but it keeps the colour very well and it’s more the shine that goes.

Sol Body Shimmering Dry Oil in Warm Gold – Β£7.63 ($10)

I got a mini of the dry oil and it looks AMAZING. I’ve tried it on my hand and it is an excellent formula. Despite being an oil, it doesn’t stay wet or sticky at all (like I’ve seen from other formulas). It leaves a shimmer on the skin that would look amazing in the summer time, so I’m going to reserve this for warmer weather when I get my legs out.

Sjo Skin Happy Honey Mask – Β£33.60

This one was a repurchase. I absolutely adore this mask! This is the only mask that I ever notice a real difference with whenever I use it. Admittedly I do keep it on for a few hours each time, but my skin feels instantly softer after I take it off and any issues or blemishes I have are massively reduced the following day.

Colourpop Just My Luck Palette – Β£6.41 ($8.40)

I’m not really sure what got into me here. This palette was launched on St Patrick’s Day and is an all green palette. I have been wanting to try more khaki shades, which this palette doesn’t have a lot of (lol). I have green eyes, so I’m interested to try these shades out and see what I can create. Green obviously isn’t the most wearable shade for everyday (and would probably get some strange looks at my day job)

Colourpop Made in the Shade bundle – Β£11.76 ($15.40)

This was part of the recent coconut collection – the bundle contained the two lip crayons and the Go Coconuts palette. The lip crayons are both really lovely shades and feel great! They may suit people with lighter skin tones better but they do have pretty decent pigmentation that could work as quite light nudes on darker skin tones. The palette is a great cool nudes palette if you don’t have anything similar. The white shimmer shade is very chunky with quite a bit of fall out and no real colour pay off. I’d say if you already own nude palettes or singles, then you definitely have these shades. They come in a plastic palette (boo) that seems to be magnetic. Weirdly 5 of the shades completely fell out of my palette despite not being knocked or forced out. Overall, it’s a pretty good little palette for anyone who is new to eyeshadow.

Colourpop Aquarius Ultra Glossy Lip – Β£4.27 ($5.60)

This was a repurchase because it’s my go-to lipgloss. It’s a lovely pink nude shade that I often put over my nude lipsticks to just give more of a sheen. It does have quite a lot of pigment to the gloss, but it never overpowers the lipstick I put it over.

Colourpop No Filter Concealer –Β  Β£3.47 ($4.55)

RawBeautyKristi loves this concealer so I wanted to see what all the fuss is about! For $4.55 (on sale), it’s a total bargain! The shade range really impressed me – it had a massive range of shades and undertones and it went up really slowly with no big gaps. I went for Fair 08 and was amazed that for once I wasn’t the palest shade! Even this is quite light on me, which never happens! I think this has the shade range to rival a high end brand and seemingly a really good formula too. I need to test this one out a little more, but so far it’s two thumbs up from me. The only downside is how long it takes to get to the UK from America.

Colourpop Blush Stix –Β  Β£4.27 ($5.60)

I picked up this blush stick in More is More as a dupe for the Fenty Match Stix in Trippin’. Both are pink shades with a coral shift, though the Colourpop one is a much creamier formula. Because it is creamier, it means it’s much easier to get a lot of pigment, so use this sparingly.

Colourpop Bronzer – Β£3.74 ($4.90)

Now that I’ve reached pan on my Fenty bronzer, I wanted to find a newer, cheaper dupe. Colourpop have a really good shade range when it comes to bronzers so I picked one up. It is very pigmented formula but there is a LOT of kickback in the pan. Normally I’m not that bothered by fall out but there was SO MUCH OF IT. It managed to get all over a grey jumper of mine somehow, which I wasn’t too impressed about! You’ll have to use aΒ much lighter hand with this than you would with the Fenty one or you’ll end up with a band of brown across your face.

Fourth Ray Mellow Milk Mist – Β£4.27 ($5.60)Β 

I see a lot of people using and loving mists and I’ve never really got the hype? A lot of mists can be quite pricey and I’m just not prepared to spend a fortune on something I’m just going to spray on my skin and use up quickly. I haven’t used this yet, but it looks pretty good and it’s very affordable. I found it very strange though that the full ingredients list was no where to be found on their packaging (the bottle or the box). They have their ‘key’ ingredients on the box, but I’m interested to know how high they are on the INCI list.

Pat McGrath LuxeTrance Lipstick x2 – Β£10 each (Β£20)

These lipsticks are usually Β£35 EACH. On Cyber Monday these went down to Β£10 each and every gal and her nana were picking these up. I had never swatched these before and had never even tried Pat McGrath before (because of the price). I used Temptalia to see reliable swatches and picked Donatella and Unnatural Natural. These both looked quite different when I got them in person but I’m going to force myself to use them to get the most out of them.

~

TOTAL – Β£1,945.48 (YIKES!)

Looking back at my purchases from this year is pretty terrifying but so productive. I tried out so many hyped brands and products and ultimately so many of my purchases weren’t worth it. There are brands that I now would not revisit because they’re products are pretty bang average. I’m surprised I spent as much as I did to be honest but I know for sure that I won’t spend that much this year coming. It is quite eye opening to review my purchases like this but it’s a really great learning exercise.

Did you try any of these products? What did you think?

Let me know!

Xo

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The CBD Salve that’s a total lifesaver

I’ve seen many people turning to CBD to help manage chronic pain and a whole host of other illnesses but I never really thought that it would have that much of an impact… until I started using it.

I discovered came across Sweet Mary Jane at the Indie Beauty Expo this year and got chatting to the brand owner, Dee. She was a Sports TV producer on a whole host of massive US TV networks and would often get chatting to people who wanted something for their aches and pains. From there, Dee and her ex-husband created a line of CBD products that were both effective and attractively packaged.

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In case you’re not familiar with CBD, it is derived from the cannabis plant and actually interacts with our own endocannabinoid system. All humans and animals have one but l not too much is known about it as it was only discovered in the 90s. What we do know is that we have these receptors all throughout our body, which CBD is so effective when dealing with a whole host of issues, such as epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety, migraines and so much more. CBD is non-psychoactive which means that you will not get high from using it. Be careful not to confuse it with THC (the psychoactive compound) – CBD will not get you high.Β 

If you know me in real life, you’ll know that something is always going wrong – whether it’s my knees, my legs or my back. I first used this cream on my knee one morning and the pain dissipated nearly instantly. That’s when I had the idea to apply it on my back. I’ve been suffering with really bad back pain for quite a few months now. I’ve had to stop exercising and no matter how I sit or lay I’m in pain. I’ve obviously heard about CBD and the effects it can have medically but had always wondered whether it did in fact live up to the high praise. It does.

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Their CBD Soothing Salve has been life changing. For me, this works as a topical pain killer and I apply it just before bed. A little bit goes a really long way – it spreads well across the back without any pulling the skin and sinks in very quickly. I personally detest body moisturisers that linger on the skin and take ages to absorb and I have no issues with this. It has a cooling sensation, most probably from the inclusion of menthol, which has been proven to reduce back pain and muscle strains. Depending how much you apply, it is quite a strong sensation in that it’s noticeable and can make you feel a little chilly, but isn’t uncomfortable or painful in the slightest. This is the ultimate reset for my back and gets it back into a good place for the following day. Sometimes my back pain can spread through into my hips and as soon as I apply this to the affected area, the pain subsides. I’ve never used anything like this before and I haven’t been able to stop raving to my friends and family about it. This is an absolute MUST for me now.

On top of the pain relief, my quality of sleep has improved massively. I drink a lot of green tea which contains quite a lot of caffeine and had been struggling to fall asleep before I tried this salve. Now I fall asleep with no problem and sleep through the night, something which I never used to do. With my back pain, I had also been struggling to sleep as no matter the position, I could feel a pull in my back. I sleep with no pain or pulls now.

All of Sweet Mary Jane’s products are made in Oklahoma in small batches.Β This balm comes in at $30, but honestly with the results I’ve had, I would pay double for it. It is absolutely invaluable to me. If you’re looking for something to ease any sort of ailment, I would definitely suggest giving CBD a go.

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*This product was gifted by the brand and is SO unbelievably appreciated. It has honestly changed my life.

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Luxury Hyaluronic Acid – Sylaine Paris Hyaluronic Acid Review

Sylaine Paris are a French skincare brands that produce capsule skincare products. They currently have two products – Hyaluronic Acid and a Starry Night Serum that brightens the complexion. They were kind enough to gift me their hyaluronic acid to test out and after a long time testing, here are my thoughts!

Let’s start with the packaging – it’s beautiful. You can definitely tell that this is a luxury product by the beautiful box that it comes in. Inside the box are 30 capsules filled with hyaluronic acid. I found that each capsule contains far more than 1 day’s supply, so the 30 capsules lasted much longer than one month (bonus!). The capsule itself has very clever packaging! You have to screw the top off to squeeze out the product, but if you then turn the top upside down, it has a little stopper that you can then reseal the capsule with. I personally have never seen this on a capsule before, so I was really impressed and pleasantly surprised!

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The formula is just lovely – it isn’t sticky or tacky at all (like some other HAs – *cough* The Ordinary) and it leaves the skin feeling very smooth and plump. Other hyaluronic acids I’ve tried haven’t offered much in the form of hydration, but have just left my skin feeling sticky and thirsty. This delivered a heavy dose of hydration and didn’t have me rushing to get my moisturiser on. I’d definitely say that this is the nicest Hyaluronic Acid I’ve ever tried. But then again, for Β£75 it should be. That is perhaps the only downside to this product, as the price is probably a bit too high to encourage people to take a step up to a more luxurious feeling HA.

If HA is your THING, then I think you would really enjoy this. To be honest, I think you would really enjoy this if HA wasn’t your thing. However, what I mean is, if HA is a must-have, can’t-be-without ingredient for you and you want to invest in a luxury one, then this is your girl.

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A slight concern for me is the plastic packaging. Is it recyclable? Is it eco-friendly? Is it going straight to landfill? If these little capsules are made of plastic and are not recyclable, this is something that the company needs to change ASAP. With climate change being as big and as prominent a problem as it is, beauty aficionados everywhere are looking to cut down their beauty-related waste. While having daily doses of HA is convenient to travel with, it isn’t so convenient for the planet. I can’t say for fact whether this isn’t recyclable as I can’t find any info about it on their website or social media, but I find it quite odd that the brand hasn’t posted anything about the sustainability of their products.

Overall, this is a fantastic Hyaluronic Acid – by far the best I’ve tried. I personally would not repurchase this with my own money because the price tag is that bit too steep for my current situation, but I have really enjoyed using the product.

*Items gifted by Sylaine Paris

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ILIA Brand Review – True Skin Serum Foundation, Multi-Stick and Color Haze

When ILIA reached out and offered to send some products over, I nearly fell off my chair. I’ve been testing out their True Skin Radiant Priming Serum, True Skin Serum Foundation, True Skin Serum Concealer, Clear Line Liquid Liner, Limitless Lash Mascara, Colour Haze Multi-Matte Pigment, Illuminator and Color Block High Impact Lipstick, so keep reading for my review!

ILIA Beauty are a clean beauty brand that infuses their makeup with skincare and (unlike some other clean beauty brands) recognises that not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, likewise not all synthetic ones are bad. Their founder, Sasha, wasn’t content with the clean makeup she found on the market as it didn’t perform well. She set out to create her own line that had roots in natural ingredients, be safe to use, look good and perform exceptionally. I personally think she has nailed each one of these with ILIA – I have never found a clean makeup line like it!

I was completely bowled over by the generosity of the brand when they sent over basically a full face of makeup, so here are my thoughts on what was sent over:

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True Skin Radiant Priming Serum

I personally love a primer, so I was really excited to get to try out a new one. This one comes in a tall bottle with a dropper and (as the name suggests) is a lovely, fresh serum. The primer has an amazing shimmer to it (as you can definitely see in the image below) to give a beautiful radiance to the skin, but not a noticeable glimmer once it’s applied. The primer contains hibiscus extract to protect against free radical damage, while beta-glucan helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and Mastic (a resin from a tree from the Greek island of Chios) works to mattify and refine the skin throughout the day.Β  It is silicone, fragrance and gluten free. Some people have said that it helps to balance out skin tone but I can’t say I’ve noticed that as I don’t have a lot of time in the mornings and move straight on to foundation. It definitely preps the skin well for makeup and leaves the skin feeling really hydrated for makeup application. When it dries down, there is a slight tackiness but not in a bothersome sense at all. I haven’t really tried a serum primer before – usually the primers I use feel a bit silicone-y or they are a gel, but this one is unlike any other. This could be a great primer for all skin types!

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True Skin Serum Foundation

The True Skin Serum Foundation is medium coverage that can be built up to for more coverage or sheered out to a lighter coverage. For a serum foundation, it is not as liquidy as you would expect but feels fabulously light on the skin. It contains a blend of botanical actives (including aloe leaf, jojoba, marula and rosehip oils) that help to plump the skin, soothe irritations and reduce redness all while ensuring that the product melts effortlessly into the skin for a more even, luminous base. Pores are minimised and imperfections are blurred to give the ‘your skin but better’ effect. This foundation is cruelty free, gluten free, vegan and non-comedogenic.

This has become my everyday foundation because it holds upΒ so well. My average day of makeup wearing is 12+ hours, with 2 sweaty commutes and an hour long walk in between. While this will still break down in certain areas (between the nose and mouth particularly), it is never noticeable. By the end of the day, my base still looks really beautiful and skin like. I have only ever found that my Clinique Fit foundation lasts as well as this (and this is made to hold up well with sweat). I don’t think it is advertised as a long lasting foundation, but it really is! I usually wear this as a light-medium foundation, but I do find when I build this up a little more that some of my lines are a bit more visible (smile lines around my mouth). I don’t see this as an issue with the foundation, but rather that I went too heavy handed with it – but just be aware that that can happen!

There are 18 shades in total at the moment, and 2/3 of them sit within the light/medium category.Β  This is a decent start but I think ILIA can do better. I would want to see a shade extension to give a much wider variety of shades for those with darker skin, adding an entirely new category to expand on ‘deep’. I’m hopeful that with the recent shift towards inclusion in beauty that this will happen pretty imminently.

True Skin Serum Concealer

I was very impressed with this concealer. After trying the foundation, which was quite liquidy and light coverage, this had a lot more coverage than I was expecting! It contains stabilised vitamin C, mastic and albizia julibrissin bark extract to protect from environmental aggressors and mattify the area all while firming, soothing and nourishing the skin’s surface. While it says that mastic helps to mattify, it does not have a matte finish, nor does it make any area look dry. Upon application, this immediately fixes any dark circles or darkness under the eyes and makes the area look flawless. It can be used to add additional coverage for other areas of the face and has a really beautiful finish.

When I set this with my Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders, it basically wiped the concealer off and made me look as though I had some sort of skin condition? It was very strange. Once I re-applied it and didn’t set it, it was totally fine but also didn’t crease at all. I usually set my under eyes so that my lower lash mascara doesn’t transfer, so I was extra impressed that there was no transfer or creasing. This is definitely a concealer that does not require powder and sets and lasts beautifully on its own.

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Clear Line Liquid Liner in Midnight Express

Thought I’m not an eyeliner expert, I do wear it pretty much every day. This is easily one of the best liquid liners I’ve tried because the felt tip applicator comes to a really small point and is nice and wet. The colour is a really dark matte black that doesn’t smudge at all and stays in place all day. It makes eyeliner application really quick and easy, which I love!

Limitless Lash Mascara

I’m always quite skeptical about trying new mascaras because I have my holy grail mascara that I haven’t strayed away from for 4 years (Benefit Roller Lash). However, I’ve been SO impressed with this one. The lightweight formula contains a blend of bee and carnauba waxes to condition the lashes while keeping them lifted. Because it contains bees wax, this one isn’t vegan but it is still cruelty free and gluten free.

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This brush is really unique – on one side, the bristles go straight across, like the teeth on a comb and are spaced out evenly to separate the lashes. On the flip side, the bristles look softer and are on a curve to hug the lashes and give them some serious volume. I like to start with the curved softer side to lift the lashes and get a good coating on them before using the straight side to separate them out. The formula was good from the start – often mascaras are too wet when you first open them and it’s quite hard to get the effect that you’re after.

Color Haze Multi-Matte Pigment in Waking Up

This is a multi use product for the cheeks and lips is really beautiful but I personally find it really hard to use. I just don’t think liquid blushes are for me. This contains jojoba oil and coconut oil to condition the lips and skin. It comes in a tube with a metal tipped applicator, much like a lip gloss or a high-end eye cream. I’m not sure how useful this is as a blush applicator really, because you wouldn’t tend to apply blush in this way. The blush itself is REALLY pigmented so the tiniest bit goes a really long way.Β I don’t find this the easiest to blend out because I apply so little (to avoid MASSIVE amounts of pigment on my cheeks) and when there is very little it dries quite quickly and is difficult to spread it out.

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I can’t say I’ve tried it as a lip product yet, though the shade would make a lovely lip colour.

I find liquid blush really fiddly to use so it wouldn’t be my go-to blush. I’ve had to reapply my foundation over this a few times because it was far too pigmented and made me look like a doll with VERY rosy cheeks. I’m much more of a cream/powder blush kind of girl, but I know that this would be right up some people’s street.

Illuminator in Stella by Starlight

This is a really gorgeous shade when you look at it in the packaging… but unfortunately it doesn’t really translate onto the face. The product swatches really well on your hand but I found that it didn’t perform the same way on the face. I find the formula to be quite dry and hard, so you have to use quite a lot of pressure if applying from the stick or swirl your fingers quite a number of times to get a very limited colour pay off. You can use it directly out of the stick, though it disturbs the base and I’m suddenly very aware of how much I’m pulling at my skin to get the pay off. It’s much more effective to use your fingers to apply as it actually shows up and leaves the base intact. This is definitely a product for those looking for a more natural glow than anything particularly noticeable. I am someone that prefers a more noticeable highlight (though not a blinding one) and I would prefer a product that has a bit more pay off. This is probably the product I’ve used least from the brand just because the stick is so weirdly solid? I don’t really like to use products that are finickity and require a lot of time to perfect because it’s not time I have in the mornings. If the formula was a bit smoother and softer, this would be a lot better for me.

Color Block High Impact Lipstick in Amberlight

IMG_2135I received the shade Amberlight and as soon as I took the top off, I gasped. I actually gasped. Me and my sister both agreed that this is the PERFECT nude shade for light skin. On my skin, this is the perfect pinky-nude, but on darker skin this would probably read a lot more pink. The finish is certainly not matte, but isn’t super glossy either. It goes perfectly with every eye look and just looks absolutely stunning. There is a slight brown-nude tone to it that goes really beautifully with autumn makeup looks now the weather is getting colder. I’ve been reaching for this non-stop and will definitely continue to do so!

Overall, I’ve never been so impressed by a brand, EVER. I posted on my Instagram stories that the shades of foundation and concealer the brand sent over to me were too dark and they reached out straight away and offered to send over a different shade. I was so impressed with that response and even more stunned when two new shades of both the foundation and the concealer arrived at my door. I have never experienced such excellent customer service from a brand. Although two of the products weren’t my cup of tea, I can still appreciate the quality and I don’t doubt that they will be for someone.

This is probably my first time dabbling in proper clean makeup and it has been an absolute pleasure. I would definitely put ILIA up there with my favourite makeup brands now and I have my eye on more of their products (namely their eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses… and maybe more of their lipsticks too!).

If you would like to try out any products from ILIA, I do have an affiliate link down below if you’d like to use it.

Xo

****All products were gifted by the brand with no obligation to review. I have fallen in love and all expressions of love are my own****

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