Sephora Express/Instant Nail Polish Remover

 

 

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When I was working in France towards the end of last year, I found myself with chipped nail varnish that was too much for even me (I have a bad habit of leaving my nails for weeks on end and not dealing with the chips), so I popped into Sephora whilst in Lille and picked up a nail varnish and this Express Nail Varnish Polish Remover. I’d heard only good things about the Bourjois version but as this was cheaper in the store, decided to give this a go. Bourjois, like most things in France to be fair, is disgustingly expensive.

I was not disappointed in this. I’ve only ever really used cheapish nail varnish removers, usually with acetone, that leave my nails quite weak and the skin surrounding them feeling a bit malnourished and dry but this seems to do the opposite. Sticking my finger in a pot with a sponge soaked in nail varnish remover, I was expecting to be needing a lot of hand cream afterwards, but not at all. It feels quite moisturising, not at all drying, and it certainly doesn’t give me the feeling that it’s harsh on my nails.

And in terms of removing polish? It amazing. No hard work is required. Simply put your finger into the hole in the sponge, give the bottle a twist or two, and all signs of varnish is completely removed. It even makes an easy job of removing glitter polish, with no signs of the glitter damaging the sponge thank God. Perfect.

Unfortunately, as this is considered a hazardous material for shopping, us UK ladies won’t be able to order it from the Sephora site, but if you ever find yourself in the US or Europe, pick it up! I can’t compare it to the Bourjois one as I’ve never tried it, but I will say that I have no urge to ever try it as this is just so good.

Now, I’ve just checked the site and it turns out that the European stores have different names of products then the US stores. The product is available here from Sephora US and is called Instant Nail Polish Remover. There is a different Express Nail Polish Remover on the site so don’t get them confused if you are buying them in the different nations!

 

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation & Concealer

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It’s been a while since I bought a drugstore foundation that I was completely happy with. I really wanted to love Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, and I did love how it was when it was first applied, but my skin did not like it at all and I was recovering from breakouts for a while after I stopped using it (it took me a while to accept it just wasn’t going to happen).

Anyway, with me starting work very early in the morning, I can be applying my make up several times a day (if I decide to be sociable in the afternoons after work or in the evenings), I was getting through my Hello Flawless quicker than I liked and, with my jollies to Florida coming up, I wanted a cheapish foundation that would do me when I was in work.

With a formula that’s packed with vitamins and ingredients that help benefit the skin (so I’m told), the formula of Maybelline’s Better Skin Foundation promises to even out skin tone instantly and also to leave you with better skin after just 3 weeks of use.

I won’t lie. I didn’t have high hopes. I was about to write that I’ve never tried a Maybelline foundation, or if I have then I don’t remember. But that would be a lie. I’ve just realised I did try the Fit foundation and I hated it. Anyway, I don’t know why I picked this one up (probably the 3 for 2 offer on Maybelline products at Boots), but OH MY GOD, I’m so glad I did.

Now, I don’t believe that it will leave me with better looking skin after 3 weeks. I’ve been using it for close to 2 weeks now and am yet to see any changes but, on first pump, I knew it was love. The liquid is quite thick is texture but its very easily blended. I find that I prefer to blend it with my fingers and the coverage is amazing. And I mean AMAZING. On the little info panel in Boots it said that it was medium coverage but no way is this medium. Its full coverage. Full to the point where concealer is pointless.

It’s also marked as being suitable for normal skin. But I have really oily skin lately and it’s not overwhelmed by this foundation at all. I have been using a primer (Benefit’s Porefessional) as a base and a powder (Rimmel’s Stay Matte in 001 Transparent) to set it and after applying my make up very quickly at 4 am in the morning, I’ve found that I come home around 2 pm and my make up is still perfect.

It’s worth a mention that today I applied this without using primer and powder. I’d like to say that this is because I wanted to see how it would perform, but if I’m being honest it was because I let myself have longer in bed because I just couldn’t be bothered! Anyway, it just proved to me that if I want to get the most of this foundation then these are steps I shouldn’t skip. It may be completely different for someone with a dry/normal skin type.

The finish is not as matte as I’ve been sporting lately but I love that. I don’t want to have to hide away from having a radiant look just because I have oily skin!

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The shade range boasts 8 different shades. I opted for 005 Light Beige which, I have to say, turned out to be the perfect match for my skin tone. No need to worry about blending it perfectly so there’s no line around my jaw (urgh), which is perfect for me when I’m applying my make up so early with a ridiculous energy efficient light bulb. I swear I may as well do it in the dark. Which leads me to the concealer…..

Seens as there was a 3 for 2 deal going on, I also got the concealer and Baby Skin primer (I’m saving that for my jollies. The concealer was offered in two shades: Light and Medium. I obviously chose the light option and as you can see in the image above, its a lot darker than the foundation. Something which I didn’t notice when I applied it at 4 am in the morning in my room lit by said useless light bulb. It all became as clear as day though when I was in a brightly lit shop at 10 am staring at my face that looked like I had tried to pattern it up with polka dots when attempting to conceal my blemishes (thank god I didn’t to have put any under my eyes as the foundation is so good). To be fair, it did a good job of covering my blemishes up, I just wish it was in a tone that matched the foundation. Probably my own fault for not swatching it in the shop.

So in summary, the foundation is amazing. Go buy it!

My 5 Minute Face

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My new job has me at work every day for 5:30 in the morning, and with my travel time being from 20 minutes to 2 hours, there are days when I have to be up about 3am. Urgh! So because of this, I prefer to get as much sleep as I possibly can and I’ve managed to hone down my getting ready skills so that I’m good to go in 20 minutes flat with 5 (okay maybe more than 7) being spent on putting my face on.

I usually keep my make up quite basic when I go to work. It’s only really been this last year that I’ve been a bit more daring with my make up and branched out into wearing eye shadows and lipstick, so I feel a bit self conscious if I’m a bit more “done up” for work. But here are my go to essential products that I like to think leave me looking acceptable in the quickest time possible:

1. Primer

Primer is a must for me to prep my oily skin before putting on my foundation. Benefit’s Porefessional is my all time favourite. Its pricey compared to what you can get in drug stores (Maybellines Baby Skin and Rimmels Stay Matte Primer are on my “Buy and Try” list) but its a brilliant product that controls any excess oil so that my foundation stays put for longer.

2. Foundation

I’m loving mineral foundation lately but, when I’m in a rush of a morning, I find it much more time efficient to use a liquid foundation and apply it with my fingers. I tend to mix up what foundation I use quite often (I have many stored away in my Muji storage), but lately I’ve been reaching for one of my favourites, Urban Decays Naked.

3. Concealer

Concealer is essential for covering up any blemishes, which my skin seems to be very much fond of recently, and the dark circles that the early starts have brought on as my body clock just isn’t used to it yet. Benefit’s Boi-ing in Shade 01 is my weapon of choice as it covers anything up perfectly and is long lasting.

4. Blusher

To add a bit of colour and warmth to my face, blusher is essential especially because I’ve decided that I can sacrifice putting any bronzer on. Since I bought Rockateur in September, I haven’t used another blusher. The colour is just perfect.

5. Mascara

I think like most girls, if I only had time for one product it would have to be mascara. I love a long, dramatic lash and if I could be bothered to put on false lashes every morning, or pay out to have semi permanent lashes put on every month, I would. A combination of my GOSH and Soap & Glory’s Thick & Fast (or Benefit’s They’re Real) is the closest I manage to get to the false lash look using mascara.

6. Brows

To think that a year ago I never used any product whatsoever on my brows makes me cringe so badly. Its unbelievable the difference a well defined brow can make to your face and its now a step I can’t ever imagine skipping. I love Benefit’s Brow Zings. I love the wax/powder combo and find it so easy to apply.

7. Powder

To set my makeup and also to control any excess oil/shine throughout the day, I use a powder. Benefit’s the PoreFessional powder is the perfect tool to stick in my bag to use whenever I need it.

Soap & Glory Thick and Fast Mascara

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For the last two years, there’s only been two mascara’s that I’ve been interested in: Benefit’s They’re Real which I use as a second coat over GOSH’s Growth Mascara and I still love them. Using them both gives me the perfect length and volume that I look for during the day, when I still want dramatic lashes but can’t be bothered to put falsies on before I go to work.

But at Christmas I discovered a new favourite. When I saw my cousin over the festive period, her lashes looked amazing so I asked her what she was wearing and it turned out to be Soap & Glory”S Thick and Fast mascara. Now, I love They’re Real so much I wouldn’t have even considered going to buy it, especially as I’m well stocked up on They’re Real after finding myself in Duty Free every Monday in recent months. But, luckily, I’d been given the Yule Monty set as a gift and this was a hidden gem in the set and I haven;t reached for They’re Real since.

The brush is really big with a tapered end which means application, even on the inner corners, is very easy, and results in long lashes with a lot of volume. I’d go as far to say more volume than I usually get out of They’re Real. A few people have mentioned that when they use it they get a lot of flaking throughout the day, but this isn’t something I’ve experienced. Although, I do also use this as a second layer over my GOSH mascara so maybe that helps to keep it in place.

As much as I love it though, I have a massive gripe over the packaging. Every time I pull out the wand, a ridiculous amount of product is left on the brush which, if not scraped off properly, leads to clumping and horrible, spidery lashes. It also means that a lot of product is wasted when I scrape it of on the top of the tube.

At £10.50, it’s a bit more expensive than your usual drug store mascaras, but I really do think that the product is more comparable to high end products. Savings on the price can easily be made as well if you manage to get it during one of Boots regular 3 for 2 offers.

An American Wishlist

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So exactly 3 months today, I’ll be at Manchester airport waiting to board a plane to go to sunny Florida for my first holiday with a boy (EEK!)

As excited as I am for the theme parks and burgers, I’m a bit more excited for the days we go shopping. I plan on stocking up on as much skin care and makeup that my luggage allowance will permit (we’re going to pay a bit extra for an extra case between us so there’s no need to hold back!)

But as much as I want to stock us on as many Mac lipsticks as possible, I want to takw full advantage of being in the US and buy things that are not available in the UK. So I need your help and inspiration! What do I need to add on this list?! Be it skin care, makeup, anything!!

Future Benefit Goodies

I’ve just spied on British Beauty Bloggers latest post about two new Benefit products that are expected to be released in the UK in January of next year. One of these products have gotten me so so excited for the new year and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s the Agent Zero shine vanishing PRO powder

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How amazing does this look! I’m a massive fan of the Porefessional primer so this would be the perfect addition to my make up bag. The packaging looks so handy and useful and it looks like it’ll be the perfect item to add to your bag during a night out to control that shine that seems to come hand in hand with being in an overcrowded bar.

Roll on 2014!

Soap & Glory Solar Powder

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Bronzer is a staple part of my make up routine. Mascara and bronzer were the only make up products I used when I first started to wear make up so when I don’t use it, for some reason, I feel naked. For years my bronzer of choice was Bourjois Delice de Soleil and I never used another product. But now, oh how things have changed.

I have an extremely pale skin tone. I don’t know what shade I am in MAC, which seems to be the point of reference for all beauty bloggers, but I’m usually buying Ivory shades. So, naturally, its extremely hard to find a bronzer that gives a nice natural colour. Now, back when I was using Delice de Soleil I was a massive fan of the old fake tan. I used to apply it every night and now, when I look back at pictures, I wish I’d listened to my friends who told me time and again that I constantly smelt of the stuff and it was a little too much. But after ending my love affair with the artificial sun-kissed look and embracing my pale skin tone (I’d like to think I now look like an English rose), Delice de Soleil was just far too orange in tone for me. So I was on the look out for a new bronzer.

About two years ago, I was having a nose at the Soap & Glory make up range and came across their bronzer, Solar Powder. There was probably some sort of 3 for 2 offer on beauty goods on at the time so I decided to give it a go and I am so so glad that I did. Solar Powder is a mix and match, multi-shade bronzer with two different toned powders.

I like to use a basic powder brush to run over the two powders, more so on the paler one, and I find that it gives a perfect, subtle hint of colour to my face. For times when I have a bit more time to spend on putting my make up on, which isn’t often, I concentrate the brush more on the darker shade and use it for contouring my face.

It applies like a dream. Swirling the brush lightly over the pan gets just the right amount of product onto the brush. On the first use, there is a shimmery overspray over the powder, but just swirl the brush around a few times and it’s disappears so theres no need to worry about the powder being shimmery.

With the two toned powders, I can find the perfect colour for my skin tone. Its not orange at all and genuinely does give a bronzed look, rather than a tangoed look. Saying that, I can’t imagine it working well on darker skin tones as its not at all overpowering on my pale face.

I love this product. Love, love, love. But my only problem is with the packaging. The design is typically Soap & Glory and retro, but its made of cardboard so it gets very grubby, very quickly and for the price of it I think they could definitely package it better. But ladies, if you’re pale like me and want the perfect bronzer, then this is the one for you.

You can find the bronzer here for £11 or at Boots, where there’s almost always some sort of offer on on beauty products.

Bourjois Java Rice Loose Powder

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Celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, Bourjois have released two products: one a brand new adjusting blusher and the other a re-release of a favourite from their back catalogue, the Java Rice Loose Powder, first released in 1879.

This is an illuminating loose powder that, given the fact that I usually prefer the matte look, I didn’t think I’d like, but I got swept up in the wave of excitement surrounding the product and decided to give it a try.

The packaging is mostly what attracted me to the product. It’s just looks so vintage and typically French and, as it turns out, its handy and practical as well. The swivel top took some getting used to but now I find it really easy to control how much product comes out and if I manage to get too much out, the screw top means it wont fall out and be wasted when the product is stashed away in my make up bag.

The only way to describe the smell is so typically Bourjois. Its a lovely scent and its one of my favourite things about the product.

In the pot, the powder has a pale pink hue that becomes transparent when blended in properly. Its so easy to apply. I’ve been using an average blush brush to apply the product as a highlighter on my cheek bones and the bridge of my nose. Its perfect as a highlighter. Given my usual avoidance of things with a bit of shimmer, I’m surprised by how much I love this. The shimmer is the perfect amount. In fact, I would hardly call the effects shimmery but, rather, the powder gives the perfect glow and radiance and when I use it I seem to have a luminous and glowy complexion.

The texture is perfect as well. It feels so silky and velvety. I can honestly say that its become one of my favourite products in my make up back, and a massive plus is that when its applied to the t-zone, its great at oil control.

As far as I know the item is a limited edition and available for £9.99. Fingers crossed Bourjois decide to keep it in their line permanently!

GOSH Growth Mascara

Next up on the list of products I’ve repurchased from my subscription to Beauty Boxes is the GOSH Growth Mascara I received in June’s GlossyBox.

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This mascara consists in active ingredients that are meant to encourage the growth of longer lashes in just two weeks. I mentioned it in a post about what I’d received that month and when I saw it I just thought “As if” and put it away in my make up draw and sort of forgot about it. I use Benefits They’re Real mascara and I love it, so it would take a special mascara to tear me away from it.

But, after semi-permanent lashes left me with bald eyes, I decided to give it a go and I was pleasantly surprised. The rubber wand is brilliant. It has one side with short bristles that allow you to get as close as possible as the lash line, giving volume, and the other side has longer bristles to lengthen the lashes. The size of the brush means that you can apply the mascara evenly and without those pesky clumps.

As a mascara it’s pretty decent. I like to use it as a first coat underneath They’re Real because I like my lashes to look quite dramatic, but it’s definitely good enough to use as a mascara on it’s own. Its gives lashes good length and volume so it’s definitely good enough to use on it’s own.

As far as encouraging the growth of lashes is concerned, it definitely delivers. Within a couple of weeks my lashes had completely grown back and more had grown too. Whilst I don’t think its lengthened them, its definitely added a lot more volume.

Another plus to this is that its also free from any parabens. Yay!

It’s available here at Superdrug for £8.49.

Benefit Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer

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Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer is Benefit’s latest offering in their choice of primers. And, as you can tell from it’s name, this promises to keep your make up looking flawless for 15 whole hours.

Now, I had been using Porefessional before this primer was released and I was loving it. It does a great job at mattifying my slightly oily skin but the promises of 15 hours of flawless looking make up was just too perfect for me, so instead of repurchasing Porefessional I bought the new product instead, and boy did I have high hopes for it.

This primer promises to act like a make up magnet to lock in your foundation for 15 hours. But does it work? If you were to watch QVC, Lisa, the head make up artist for Benefit UK, demonstrates an impressive little trick using the primer, foundation, a bottle of water and a white flannel. After applying the primer and foundation on some models face, she sprayed the woman with the water (she more or less soaked the poor cow) and then dabbed the white flannel over her face. When she showed the flannel to the camera there was nothing on it. Absolutely nothing! It was as clean as if it had just come out of a bucket of Vanish. “No!” I hear you cry, “a made for TV trick, not possible”. I was with you. So convinced was I that this was a load of bull, I ran upstairs to test it out myself and I promise you it worked. My mum would be pleased to find out that her perfect white flannels came out of this experiment unscathed.

Now, down to what I actually think of the primer. I like to think of this as a Pritt Stick for the face, and whilst the styling of the packaging would fit in well in a Topshop Make Up section, I like the look and feel of it. I love the application of the product, its so simple and easy. You just rub the stick on your face in circular motions, which is meant to activate the Make Up Magnet. It applies translucent, so is definitely suited to all skin tones, and feels quite tacky, a bit like actual glue on your face. I like to then apply my foundation with my fingers and blend them in together.

So, does it do what it promises? I’m yet to experience a full 15 hours of my make up looking lovely, but it definitely does make it last longer. I’d say I get around 8-10 hours before I look at myself and think I need to reapply. But, lets not forget we’ve been having the most amazing summer ever for a change here in the UK, so maybe these hot and humid days aren’t the best to judge the primer on, although they are a great test (Hello sweaty face!). Saying that, in my opinion is does seem great for my slightly oily skin because of its solid stick formula. Maybe that’s just the psychology of applying liquid to an oily surface though.

My only other issue is that it doesn’t seem to lasting long in my make up bag. Its definitely dwindling away quicker than I expected it to and, with its price tag, it’s not something I can afford to be shelling out for constantly. Maybe when I repurchase, which I suspect I will do, I’ll keep it as a treat to use during nights out and special occasions.

Stay Flawless is available here from Benefit for £24.50.