Items I’ve purchased after trying a free sample!

I’ve mentioned this in many of my blogs before, but thought it would be interesting to actually look at some items that I have then gone on to buy full size after trying a free sample.

Never underestimate the power of clever marketing. As a makeup or skincare brand, you are competing in a saturated market, with many of your competitors always trying to find that ‘next big thing’. You just have to look at the unicorn craze of last summer to see this in action. Most of the bigger YouTube influencers are sick of reviewing anything remotely unicorn related now, case in point of what I’m saying. However, there are still brands bringing out unicorn themed products, but looking for a twist. Be it ‘festival’ vibes or even slaying the unicorn to bring a darker theme to the products (unicorn blood, tears, snot as examples).

My blog isn’t about unicorns, mermaids or any other mythical character though. It’s about how clever marketing and product placement caused me to go big. The clever marketing in this case is the use of free samples and minis of a product. So which ones caused me to ‘go big’? Read on to find out.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream

Awesome product. At £70 I had to know it was good before I purchased. So I went into CT in London and I asked for a sample. They kindly gave me a few so I had a good 5 days worth of trying. I absolutely loved this cream. It is so luxurious on the skin, thick without being heavy and sinks in like butter. My skin glowed afterwards and my makeup glided on. Purchased without hesitation. Would I have bought it without trying it first? No. It’s too expensive to risk. Would I buy it again? Absolutely, I’m hooked.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye

A restorative concentrate that you apply to your under eye over night. You wake in the morning to less puffy and a smoother area. Hydrating and refreshing. This I am trying currently after being given some samples at the airport when buying something else. So far it feels lovely. It definitely leaves my under eye smoother and I feel fresher. I will keep you posted on this, but I think I will be purchasing the full size version of this.

Benefit Porefessional Primer

This was given to me in Sephora after having my eyebrows waxed. It sat in the back of my drawer for ages. Then I needed something small to pack in my bag for an overnight stay. I grabbed it and thought no more of it until the next morning. Then I tried it! Wow! This little tube of loveliness blurred my pores and my makeup glided on brilliantly. I used the little tube up over the next couple of days and then popped by Sephora and bought a full size product.

Too Faced, Better Than Sex Mascara

This little beauty was given to me at the Too Faced store in London. I used it and loved it. I have such small lashes and couldn’t believe how the formula grabbed the little wispy ones in the corner and gave them some dynamic. Some reviews I read said that it left their eyelashes clumpy, which had put me off. How glad was I that I got to try the sample for myself. I use this mascara most days now.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

After trying this as a free sample about 2 years ago, I bought the full size version and have never looked back. I use this every single day to wash my face. It makes my face feel really clean and cleansed. The lightness of the gel is perfect and it never irritates. This brand has my loyalty for life after just one little sample showed me the way.

So there you have it. Some of the samples that have made it into my full size products. Never say no to a sample! You never know where it will take you.

Have a great day!

Halo Beauty- Hair, Skin, Nails Booster

So, they’ve arrived. I have read so much about them on social media over the last couple of months that I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity. Anyone would think that Tati Westbrook had committed a crime the way people are dragging her over daring to release a beauty supplement rather than the usual palette or highlighter! So, obviously when millions of wannabe doctors and nutritionists (keyboard warriors and haters) decide they have an opinion on something they went to pretend medical school for, I just had to try it. I prefer to trust what actual scientists have to say and I trust Tati too.

I’ve consulted with my physician (as recommended) and he didn’t really care as there isn’t anything in it that’s going to kill me! He said if they disagree with my Ulcerative Colitis, then I should stop taking them. Sensible advice. He also said that if I get pregnant off the back of taking them (as some people are worried about) then it will be a flipping miracle and he’d market them as a fertility wonder drug (my doctor is a part time comedian).

So here we are. The packaging is so cute. The pills are pink (they are also the size of a house to swallow). It says on the back, to take two daily and ‘results may improve with regular use’. Vague to say the least, but I’m still trying them.

My 30 days start tomorrow. My nails are weak, my hair is thin and limp and my skin is a bit dull. So things can only get better, right?

I shall check in with this experiment in 15 days. Stay tuned for my honest review. It won’t be instant, but good things come to those that wait.

Have a great day!

Get Ready with Me – Brunching!

Living in Dubai means one thing when it comes to a Friday … Brunch! Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t brunch every week, my waistline and bank balance wouldn’t allow it. Not to mention all the other amazing things you can do here on a weekend with the February weather the way it is. However, this week is different … my in laws are in town and wanting to do a brunch, so a brunch is what they are going to get.

This got me thinking about day time glam. Especially in the heat, as you don’t want your makeup to look like you are off clubbing, but equally, you do want a bit of a glam. Albeit a bit softer.

So, read on for the way I created the following look. Get ready with me, brunch style.

Base:

I know I said I didn’t want to be full on with my makeup today, but I still wanted a full coverage look, so I picked the Huda Beauty Faux Filter foundation in toasted coconut, after priming with the Huda Beauty primer.

Today was also a big day for me in the world of concealer as I finally got to use the long awaited Tarte Shape Tape in light medium. I ordered it on QVC a few months ago, but had to wait for a visit to the UK to collect it from my Mum’s house (aka, the delivery hub). I have to say typing this six hours after application, it is pretty awesome. It hasn’t moved and my under eye area still looks flawless.

As always, the entire base is set in place with my Laura Mercier translucent setting powder.

Brows:

I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow in Medium Brown. I love this product so much. A little goes a very long way, and it takes a bit of practice to get it right.

Eyes:

Base is the Mac Paint Pot in Soft Ochre and I’m ready to go. I am so excited to be using a new (to me) palette today. I have watched so many tutorials on YouTube with the Jeffree Star Androgyny palette, and I really wanted to try it. So I ordered it on Beauty Bay and again had to wait to go home to the UK to collect it. I started with working ‘safe word’ into the crease of my eye and blending it out, taking the product up towards my brow bone. I then darkened the outer corner with ‘Dominatrix’ and blended that out as well. Taking it along the crease line to darken it up a bit. I then added ‘frosting’ to the lid and inner corner to give it a bit of bling. This I found added some warmth to the overall look and gave it a glammed up feel to a pretty nude look. The mascara I used for my bottom lashes (my top lashes are extended at the moment) was Smashbox Full Exposure in black.

Cheeks:

I used the Huda Beauty highlighter palette in golden sands to contour and highlight my face today. I didn’t want a harsh contour. I wanted an almost diffused look. So I used the ‘Tahiti’ bronzer to contour and then ‘Seychelles’ to highlight the temples, end of the nose and cupid’s bow. Then finally I used ‘Zanzibar’ to blush.

Lips:

I wanted to use a nude gloss, so I picked a Kylie Cosmetics gloss in the shade ‘so cute’. It’s a beautiful nude pinky colour. I love the scent of the Kylie lip glosses, and they stay on for ages. Setting spray: Morphe setting spray That’s it! Look complete. It stayed out for the entire brunch, despite being sat outside in 28 degree heat.

Have a great day!

Too Faced Glow Job Review

Radiance Boosting Glitter Face Mask.

So, I’m always up for trying a new skincare product, and when that product is called ‘pink tiara’ and boasts actual glitter in it, I’m 100% in. The radiance boosting part also excites me as due to the amount of product I use on my face, a mask is a god send to brighten up my complexion at times.

The packaging says the following:

  1. Clean and dry skin before use – this I did thoroughly
  2. Using the spatula, mix the mask to activate the glitter formula – to be honest, the glitter formula didn’t change one bit upon stirring. Also, the spatula is not conducive to being able to scoop the very gooey and sticky mask up once mixed. A little curved spoon would be good, with a flat end to spread
  3. Apply liberally. This I did (see picture below). It’s not the glittery pretty mask it boasts on the internet, but I’ve only just applied it, so let’s wait and see
  4. Wait 30 minutes … this I am doing as I type

The scent of the mask is nice. It’s a peachy smell that resembles the other Too Faced peach range. The feel on the skin is a little tingly, not irritating, just a ‘it’s doing something tingle’ if that makes sense. At £42 it is quite high end for a mask, so I am looking forward to seeing the end result. Fingers crossed it is worth it.

The mask dries down quickly. The tightness on the face is just right and the glitter stays put as well, which is a bonus for a glitter queen like myself. The peach smell also remains for the duration and my skin feels warm, tingly and comfortable.

At 15 minutes in my IPhone no longer recognises my face … so it must be doing something. The warmth has subsided a little bit and the tightness intensified, but still very comfortable.

At 30 minutes the mask is set and feels almost rubbery to the touch. It’s not rock hard, so I can still speak and frown (not that I want to frown). The peach smell is subtle now and the tingling has subsided to just a nice warm feeling. Now it’s time to peel it off. The instructions state that you should start from the outer corners and gently peel off. Remove any excess afterwards.

It actually wasn’t too hard to get it off. However I discovered that a section hadn’t dried down as much as I thought so that became a little bit messy. All in all though it did what it said on the box, it peeled away.

Afterwards …

My skin feels a little tight and sticky in places (but that might be because of the areas that didn’t set fully). My skin looks glittery too, which I am not totally against. Once I moisturise, the tightness goes but the glitter doesn’t.

Final thoughts …

This is marketed as a very glamorous product. The packaging is lovely, the scent is nice and the feeling on the skin is comfortable. Is it worth the splurge? I’m not totally convinced but I did really enjoy it. If you want something a little cheaper, try the Sephora masks. If you want to treat yourself however, the Glow Job mask is a good contender for giving your skin a healthy glow. Make sure you let it totally set as it is a real nightmare to get off the skin in its sticky/gooey state. Also be warned that some of that after glow comes directly from the glitter itself. But if you are a glitter kinda gal, then you won’t be upset by this!

Have a great day!

Farsali Jellybeam Illuminator

Having seen this all over the internet, social media and YouTube lately, I really wanted to try it. Getting it to Dubai was a task, but I managed. I already have the Rose Gold Elixir and Unicorn Essence that I love, so the Jellybeam was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Wibble Wobble

When I opened the jar it looked a little weird, wobbling around. The colour didn’t really look like it would have an insane glow just sat there all gloopy in its little pot. However, when I dipped my finger in and swatched it on the back of my hand, the glow was indeed insane! It looked a little rose gold on the back of my hand but with a silvery sheen undertone. **update: after a few hours on the back of my hand it looks a little patchy. However I am aware that it’s not designed to sit on the back of my hand.**

The description on the website says ‘apply to the face for an illuminated look. Can be mixed in with foundation or moisturizer’. This is something I am going to try. I have seen some amazing glow pictures on Instagram of influencers doing this. I also notice that a lot of reviews tell you to use your fingers to apply and tap it to blend it out. There are very mixed reviews on using anything other than your fingers. So I’m going to stick to that.

First impressions of this product is positive. It’s very pretty on the back of my hand and when I dipped my finger in. I hope that translates to my face.

Blue Honey Palette First Impressions – Kylie Cosmetics

It finally arrived! After a very long shipping process (not the fault of Kylie Cosmetics, it was my end). Is it worth the hype? Read on to find out.

I have purchased a few of the Kylie palettes over the last year, and I’ve noticed some subtle changes in the formula that makes it more longer wearing and the pigment in the brighter colours has definitely improved too. This palette is a mix of more vibrant with some muted colours to compliment, so I am excited to try them out.

The Blue Honey palette is what it sounds like: nine ultra-pigmented shadows (of both glitter and matte finishes) with wearable shades like rust, burnt orange, metallic blue, and a lovely teal.

The blue teal (royal jelly) is just a stunning metallic in the pan and the swatch too. I was worried about the transferral to the eye, but I shouldn’t have worried, it built beautifully. It was a little patchy at first but I think that was down to me being very wary of how much pigment was involved.

Another favourite is the Busy Bee colour.

A gorgeous peachy rust that blends beautifully and really warms up an eye look. I used it to warm up my crease and it just wore so wonderfully that I’m going to use it often in many of my makeup looks.

I am yet to create a full look with the palette. It just arrived and I wanted to play with it first. However, I have a brunch this weekend and I will most certainly be giving it the first proper outing it deserves.

First impressions for this palette are very positive. I look forward to showing some new looks soon.

Charlotte Tilbury Haul

I love Charlotte Tilbury products! The quality of them and the way they look and feel on the skin is just pure class. Therefore I was so excited to have time this week to visit the concession stand in Selfridges (London) and check out what’s new and what I’d like to try. I would have loved to get to the CT boutique in Covent Garden, but it wasn’t to be this time. Selfridges is a great second to the actual store though, and the service is second to none.

I’ve used the Magic Foundation in 5 medium before and loved it, but I had recently run out. So I decided to pick up another bottle of that. I love the coverage this foundation gives me, and they gave me some free samples of the primer to try with it too. I will do a day test of both the foundation with the primer very soon.

I also was drawn to the Magic Cream. It is an iconic part of the Charlotte Tilbury brand. Some would say what made the name a household name. I’ve always wanted to try it, but at £70 a jar I had to wait. It is boasted on the website as being loved by models and celebrities and claims to lift your complexion. I’ve tried many samples of the cream and the hyaluronic acid part is what interested me being over 35 and always looking for the next best thing to beat those pesky wrinkles. So I decided that I was going to invest in my face for research purposes (at least that is the story I’m sticking to if my husband asks). I have purchased the cream and I can’t wait to blog on how it works out for me.

The other items I was keen to get my hands on were the new lipstick shades. I adore the gold luxurious packaging of the Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks. They have a special edition shade to commemorate the Queen and her long serving monarchy, called, funnily enough, ‘The Queen’. It is a rich warm pink matte revolution shade that I cannot wait to try. I also purchased the returning favourite of the limited edition

K. I. S. S. I. N. G. Lipstick, ‘The Duchess’ (which you can see me wearing in the photo below). This is a beautifully buttery lipstick with a gorgeous sheen. It is named after the stunning Kate Middleton. I wore it to a glam event last night and loved the way it finished my look. I also picked up a couple of the soft lip pencils. These glide on and are the perfect compliment to the lipsticks.

The lovely thing about Charlotte Tilbury is the freebies you get when you purchase a substantial amount from them. Good size travel items too. This time I got a mask, a primer and a cleanser to try out. I also got some little sachets of magic eye rescue cream that I am keen to try. I’ve said this before in my previous blogs, but always ask for free samples. Some of my favourite products have been discovered through free samples.

So there we have it and I can’t wait to try it all out. Keep your eyes on the blog for future looks and tests of all these products.

Have a great day.

Too Faced Cosmetics – London Haul

Being in London this week, it seemed rude not to visit the new Too Faced store on Carnaby Street. I am not going to lie, as I got ready to leave the hotel to find the store I was very excited. I had seen the lavish launch all over Instagram back in December, and I was keen to see it in person.

The store itself did not disappoint. You can’t miss it gleaming and glittering in the dingy February gloom. I have to say that Carnaby Street is the perfect location for the brand, it is trendy and laid back in the same breath. The narrow pedestrian style street allows for the wow factor to sink in as you aren’t disturbed by the general hustle and bustle of London. Although I did visit at 10am on a Thursday morning, so Carnaby street was still pretty much sleeping.

The shop itself is beautifully laid out with all the products clearly categorised by theme and I particularly liked the ‘Jerrod Blandino favourites’ at the back of the store, that weren’t Too Faced, but products by other less known brands that were being promoted. This certainly worked on me as you will find out later!

The staff welcomed me warmly. I was served by a lovely Canadian MUA, who didn’t follow me around, but asked if I needed any assistance. I asked her for a couple of products I wanted to look at and she helped me immediately. My main reason for being there was to get colour matched for Born This Way foundation. The lady asked if I would like my whole face done with the product. This was fantastic and I got the opportunity to try some of the other products too, which in turn lead to me buying extra products. She talked me through what she was using and why it was good for my skin tone, texture etc. she used some of the rose oil that was in the Jerrod favourite section as well as the hangover primer. My skin felt and looked amazing, so this little bit of detail had me sold on the product. The MUAs in the store were both so knowledgeable and represented the brand professionally. A definite plus to my experience in the shop.

The Born This Way foundation was matched perfectly and I have to say, having worn it for the rest of the day it stayed flawless. It has more of a natural coverage to it, rather than full coverage. However it is very build-able and so it could be made more full coverage. The setting spray was the hangover 3 in 1 product, which has a light fresh smell and also found its way into my shopping bag.

I had a wonderful time in the Too Faced store. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who is looking for a lovely shopping experience. We spend our time online so much, sometimes some interaction with other makeup lovers is the perfect way to discover new products that we might not have known about. I would also recommend this to both experienced makeup lovers as well as anyone new to makeup and who wants a really good steer on what to get.

My final purchases were:

⁃ Born This Way foundation in Light Beige

⁃ Hangover 3 in 1 spray

⁃ Too Faced Chocolate Gold palette

⁃ Better Than Sex Mascara

⁃ Glow Job Face Mask

⁃ Aerin Rose Oil

– Peach Perfect Matifying Loose Setting Powder

Travelling light … what’s in my travel makeup bag?

Following on from my last blog, where I talked about my top 5 makeup picks, I got to thinking about my upcoming trip to London and what I’m going to take with me. I always carry a little makeup bag in my hand luggage wherever I go, and the mini makeup kit I’m about to share actually was all I had when I went to Baku late last year. I travelled with just a back pack and this makeup bag saw me through the 4 days I was there.

SOS … send supplies.

Iconic pigment sticks are my first absolute life savers when it comes to traveling light. These little beauties can be used as foundation, concealer and contour. That’s exactly how I used them in Baku, and the coverage is just right. To deepen up that contour and give some definition, a teeny tiny Hoola soft matte bronzer from Benefit does the job. It even comes with a tiny little brush applicator (not that I would use that, I took a mini Sephora brush kit instead). Blush, I travel with a Sephora own brand duo in a pink and a apricot colour, they also double as eye shadow and work a treat. My eye pencil is a mini from Makeup Forever called Aqua XL in jet black. It’s soft and blend-able, so you can still get that smokey eye.

The little palette you can see in the picture is just lush! It’s one of the Tarteist pro to go palettes in mini version. The colours are beautiful, with a mix of neutrals in matte mixed with some shimmer shades to pick up a day to night look. Totally blends out and you can create more than one look with this little palette. She may be little, but she is fierce! For mascara I have a couple of minis in the bag, one being the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes in black, and the other being the Benefit Roller Lash, also in black. You can never have too many mini mascaras in your travel bag.

The skincare routine I travel with is a mix of my favourite Lancôme goodies. Whenever I buy a new full size product, I ask for free samples and save them for travel purposes. Don’t be scared to ask when you buy products for samples. Some of my best beauty discoveries over the years have come from free samples. I would love to know what’s in your makeup travel bag. Any beauty hacks that you always use when traveling? One thing that isn’t in my bag (yet), but will be is a small tub of Vaseline. It acts as a lip balm, eye makeup remover and is great on dry skin after being in the aircraft cabin for hours. Have a great day!

Top 5 Makeup Products

I have seen lots of bloggers and YouTubers doing this lately and it got me thinking about my top 5 favourite makeup products. My absolute go to, hands down, desert island picks? It’s a really hard one, but I think I’ve got it … well, maybe.

I decided that I would split this into my top 5 makeup picks and then do a separate top 5 beauty picks in another blog (including skincare).

So, here we go.

Number 1: palette choice!

This took me ages, as I needed to think about day to night. A palette that could give me everything I need. I’m traveling to London this week, so I decided to go with which ever palette made it into my suitcase.

My choice? The Morphe 39A Dare to Create palette. This palette has everything you could want, from 7 amazing base/transition shades to 31 extra eyeshadows that you could literally create any look with. From a subtle pretty peachy day look to a hardcore dramatic cranberry smokey eye, this palette has it all. It’s not exactly small, so you couldn’t pop it in your handbag, but it is beautiful.

If you want to get this palette, you better be quick as it’s about to be discontinued.

Number 2: highlight/bronzer kit.

If I had more than 5, I would be going for separate pieces. However, sticking with the challenge of only 5 items, I have to go for the NYX Born to Glow highlighting palette. Totally affordable and has everything you could need to create a look. I use the darker shades to bronze/lightly contour and there is even a lovely champagne colour that looks gorgeous on your cheek bones and temple to give your face the perfect glow.

Number 3: Lips.

This was sooooooo tough. What do I pick? A gloss, a liquid lip, velvet, matt? The list is endless. In the end I went for a staple favourite of mine. This is what I reach for time and time again, mainly due to its staying power and how stunning it looks on the lips.

My choice has to be the Kryolan High Gloss in the colour Wave. This is stage makeup and favoured by drag queens too, so famed for its staying power and pigment. I picked this colour as it’s so versatile. A beautiful peachy/rose gold colour that matches both a natural day look or a dramatic eye. Just perfect!

Number 4: Mascara!

Easy. Too Faced Better than Sex (or Love as it’s called here in Dubai) Mascara. I love this product. I have such small lashes, and I know that if I pop a slick of this on, my eyes will pop and I’ll feel lovely. If it can make my lashes look good, then it is definitely worth it.

Number 5: Loose Setting Powder.

There are lots of contenders for this one, but in the end my old favourite won. Laura Mercier, Loose Setting Powder is everything and more. If you get just one product on my list, this is it. You’ll never look back. My makeup looks flawless when I use this. I get through tubs of the stuff!

So, there we have it. A mix of drugstore and slightly more high end. I think I’m going to take all these products with me to London this week and see how I get on.

I’ll blog my progress for you to see.

Ps. Don’t forget to grab the Morphe palette before it goes.

Have a great day!