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!

Anastasia Beverley Hills Soft Glam Palette & Amrezy Highlighter

I recently purchased the new Soft Glam palette and Amrezy Highlighter from ABH, and have been using it regularly.

I have to say that I do love ABH and so I was determined not to be disappointed, but my determination was not needed, as the palette is possibly the best palette I have in my collection right now.

It says on the website:

“Featuring fourteen essential shades, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette is the perfect collection of easy-to-blend, full pigment shadow.”

I have to agree with this statement. The formula is so long lasting and blends beautifully. The mix of iridescent, neutral mattes and bronze metallics means that you can pretty much create day looks and night time looks without having to reach for another palette. This I really enjoyed.

My favourite colours are Orange Soda (a beautiful peachy matte ideal for the crease and transition) and Rose Pink (a shimmery soft pink with rose gold undertones). My other favourite shade is Mulberry (a deep matte) which sits beautifully on the outer corner of the eye and blends wonderfully.

The Amrezy highlighter I was a little more apprehensive about, as I couldn’t believe something could look that pretty in its packaging would look that good on the skin. How wrong could I be! It’s striking! The colour is a brilliant gold but the smoothness of the formula means the sheen on your skin is illuminated without being yellow. Amrezy says on the ABH website that it is ‘sun in a compact’ and I have to agree with this! Just beautiful.

I wear this subtly in the day on the temples and brushed across my nose. For nighttime, I will go in a little harder and make the illumination pop.

I bought one of the new bronzers as well this week, but am yet to use it. I’ll write my review of that once I’ve had time to wear it.

Have a great day!

Interview Makeup

So this week I have an interview, and no matter the outcome, I look forward to being able to wear my ‘interview makeup’. What is so different to everyday makeup I hear you ask? The main difference is the confidence that it can instill in you.

You want your makeup to be professional yet give the coverage to get you through the process without the need to touch it up.

Below are my top 5 interview proof makeup favourites:

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation (my shade is 5 medium).

This foundation is full coverage and sits beautifully on the skin. Once setting has occurred, the oxidization leaves your complexion looking matte with a slight dewy finish. I love this foundation. It plays really well in the interview mix.

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer (I wear a mix of light and light medium):

Still the best and the coverage is photo finish filtered. If, like me, you spend the night before a big interview laying awake pondering all the different scenarios, then Shape Tape is the way forward. The consistency is light yet full coverage and really does cover dark circles and imperfections.

Urban Decay Naked Palette:

My go to palette for interviews or big days at work. The gorgeous array of neutral browns in matte textures, blends beautifully and you can create a professional yet dynamic eye with this palette alone. No need to dip into anything else. It also lasts all day and stays fresh looking.

Highlight!

No matter where you are, you can never have enough sharp and blinding highlight. My new favorite is the ABH Amrezy highlight. You can tone it down, or if you need an extra little pop, layering it on. An alternative if you don’t have the inclination for something quite so striking is the Huda Beauty Pink Sands 3D highlighter in Santorini.

Lip stick!

A slick of good lipstick can make anyone feel confident. In my interview I want my lips to feel hydrated and look awesome! My interview lipstick of choice is a Mac lipstick in the shade ‘Angel’. It’s a gorgeous shade and isn’t too much.

There we have it!

An interview is obviously so much more than just a face of makeup, but it sure helps the process along!

Un-Concealing the Truth about Concealer

At my age concealer is a really important stage of my makeup routine, and believe me I have a few to choose from that I have collected along the pathway to a photo finish under eye. So read on if you would like to see my holy grails for crease proof, seamless concealer, as well as those that will never be worn again.

Benefit Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer

I really wish I could say I liked this concealer, but I can’t. It was hyped so much online and boasts being able to brighten up tired eyes, hide dark circles, and conceal imperfections. It also says the creamy concealer has melon undertones to camouflage discoloration.

Upon first swatch, it does feel creamy and rich. Maybe a little too rich. It felt quite thick. It does say to dab a little under the eye, so that’s what I did. Unfortunately for me it just didn’t work. It was just too heavy under the eye and dragged when I tried to blend it out. It sat on top of the skin, even when I tried it with a couple of different foundations. For me, it is a hard no.

Too Faced, Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer.

This is a yes from me. I bought it as a dupe for Shape Tape until it arrived. It says online that it is an oil-free concealer that minimizes the appearance of imperfections while leaving skin with natural-looking radiance.

It’s light in texture, and I love drawing it on under my eyes and then using a damp blender to buff it into the skin. It sits beautifully with nearly all my foundations, whether it be full coverage or not.

Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealer.

This one is a mixed review from me. On the internet it says it is a richly pigmented, weightless concealer that completely covers dark circles, imperfections, redness, and hyper-pigmentation.

On one hand it works really well with a full coverage foundation, but with a more lightweight foundation it sits too heavily on the skin. It wears for a really long time as it says in the online Sephora description, but it does crease unless really well set with translucent powder.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer.

I absolutely love this concealer. It is my go to everyday product. It’s affordable and you can literally colour in your under eye with the eraser top and blend it out with a sponge or a small brush.

It says online that this concealer is for dark circles and fine lines and will instantly create a radiant, refreshed looking eye area. Infused with goji berry and Haloxyl™. I don’t really know what the trade marked ingredient is, but I do know that the whole concealer product is a really good one.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

Lush! Creamy, lightweight, full coverage and just gorgeous. I really enjoy the way this feels on the skin.

It says on Sephora that it is ideal for all skin types, Radiant Creamy Concealer is a multi-action formula that instantly masks imperfections, blurs the look of lines and wrinkles, and hides dark circles and signs of fatigue. It does every single thing it says and then some. This one gives my Tarte Shape Tape a run for its money.

Only con is that it does crease a little bit after a while and might need a touch up.

Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer.

Yep! I don’t think I need to tell you anything about this concealer. It’s awesome and amazing and is basically an airbrush in a tube.

It says online that it is Tarte’s best-selling, full-coverage, vegan, blendable concealer that instantly brightens, smooths & shapes skin. It does this perfectly. I have a few different shades of this product and use it most days.

The only con about this is the applicator is sometimes a little difficult to coat in product.

LA Girl Pro Concealer.

This one is OK if you are looking for an affordable easy wearing product. It says online that it is crease-resistant with opaque coverage in a creamy, yet lightweight texture. The long-wearing formula camouflages darkness under the eyes, redness and skin imperfections. These are big boasts for a $5 product and it mostly delivers.

It does crease after a while but it is opaque in coverage. It does camouflage dark circles to a point, but I don’t find it corrects redness and skin imperfections.

A good product for its price point.

So there you have it. 7 concealer’s at a variety of price points. Don’t forget, what might not work for me, will work for someone else. These are just my tried and tested honest reviews.

I would love to know what concealers you enjoy.

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