Monday, 27 July 2015

FEELING BALMY - ALL PURPOSE BALMS


Multi purpose products are a wonderous thing. Multipurpose balms are a must have in my arsenal. I *have* to have them in my kit, I keep one on my bathroom shelf and I always have one in my handbag. You just never know when you'll need something like this. These are three of my current favourites.

The Balance Me Rose Otto Body Balm is a fairly new addition to my collection. I'm completely in love with it. It's great as a body shine on set, it smells amazing, it's super nourishing. I like to mix pigments or other makeup into it to make something shiny. It's also nice as a highlighter. I'd go as far as saying that this is a great alternative to Vaseline for my kit.

The Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm is really similar to the Rose Otto Body Balm but a little oilier. This is one that's perfect as a lip balm, dry skin healer, face highlighter. Again, I'd mix products into it or lay it on eyelids for a shine but I'd be less inclined to use it as an all over body product. This would be perfect if you have a bite, scratch or burn and you need to quickly take the swelling and redness down. It's also great as an overnight treatment for eczema.

Finally, the new-ish formulation of the Balance Me Stellar Beauty Balm. The old fomulation was a much greasier product than this one. In saying that, it's still easy to warm this up to use as a barrier cream or moisturising mask on your face. However, I wouldn't be able to use it as a highlighter in my kit anymore. It's a much more matte finish now. Which means it makes a great lip balm when I don't want shine. Perfect for male grooming. I love the fragrance from the mango oil in here. Again, it's wonderful to use on bites, scratches, burns and general irritations.

R x

Friday, 24 July 2015

ARK SKINCARE


I've been sitting on these guys for a super long time. I've been trying to systematically work through a bunch of products in my drawers and I was really pleased when I finally got to pull these out. Ark is a skincare company that's made in Britain and uses predominantly natural ingredients. They love an active natural ingredient so if you're on the sensitive side, maybe give these a test before you take the plunge.

I started off by trying the Regenerating Skin Defence Serum. I've not finished the pot so it's hard to say what the longer term effects will be but so far I'm really liking it. It's a light texture with a perlised finish so my skin gets a bit of soft focus action. When you're nearly 40, soft focus is a very good thing. The Alpine Rose is nice and calming while the hyaluronic acid really plumps my skin up. This does claim to have plant stem cells in it. I'm not convinced about the whole stem-cells-in-skincare-thing, but it's still a lovely serum to use. The tub is quite bulky and has one of those press-twist dispenser lids to it. I like these seeing as they keep contents fresher than they otherwise would. Meanwhile, I'd prefer a tube. I really do have a tube obsession.

Next I've been trying the Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer. I'm not usually into primers but in the sweaty summer, I like to use a very specific type of primer. This one fits the bill. Essentially, I like a primer to have some SPF in it and I like the texture to be light but tacky. The Ark primer ticks those boxes. I want the primer to hold the rest of my makeup, hence the tackiness. Meanwhile, I want it to be super light seeing as I'm using it to stop my makeup from melting off my face. We might as well throw in some sunscreen if we're adding a new layer to the sin care/makeup mix. Tick, tick, tick. As usual, I wish this came in a tube instead of a pump bottle.

The range as a whole is divided up to treat your skin by your age. I'm not sure I completely love this system. I guess it takes a lot of guesswork out for most people, but I would never treat my skin like most almost-40 year olds would. Anything particularly rich is going to give me a crazy break out and I don't have that many lines or wrinkles that I feel like I need to spend loads of time or money on. I'm more about keeping it clean, hydrated and protected from the sun. In saying that, there are some lovely products in here. It's just about being a bit more savvy and picking and choosing what's best for you.

R x

*cruelty free

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

SLEEPY TIME


When you're not a good sleeper, it's handy to have a night time routine that helps you drift off at night. I've read that the routine helps to tell your brain that it needs to start winding down and preparing for sleep. Super handy!

I like to have a candle burning in my room for a little while before I go in there for bed. I'm obsessed with my house smelling delicious. This Nars Oran candle is my favourite bedroom candle of the moment. I also need to have had a cup of Pukka Night Time Tea and have moisturised my hands after my night shower and skin care routine. At the moment, I'm enjoying Soap and Glory Hand Dream Super Cream. 

Once I get into bed, I need to put lotion on my feet. At the moment I'm using Coco Island Paw Paw Ointment with Manuka Honey. I always use a sleepy time balm but I've just discovered 1001 Remedies Good Night Sleep Balm. It's the greatest! I love the smell. It's not overpowered by lavender. It's the best.

Once all my lotions and potions are done, I like to write a quick list of all the things I'm grateful for that day. It makes me realise all the great stuff in my life and I'm less likely to stress about small stuff that's bugging me. It really helps to calm me for a good night of sleep. I've got this really lovely Moleskin notebook. It's a joy to write in. If I'm not at home and there aren't blackout curtains, I like to use my sleep mask. I find any light will keep me up so this is a huge help.

It's quite an elaborate pre bed routine, but it works for me!

R x

Monday, 20 July 2015

WHEN YOU'RE VEGGIE AND YOU KNOW IT - SPA TONE IRON SUPPLEMENTS


Years back, my GP told me I needed to start eating meat again. I followed her instructions and I won't lie, it really helped me out. A little while ago I decided that it was time for me to go back to being a non-meat-eater. Don't get me wrong, I love seafood and burgers and all the rest. It's just that I'm really into animals living happy lives without the fear of me cooking them up for supper.

The tricky bit for me being a veggie is that I have a difficult time keeping my iron levels up. That goes for when I'm a meat eater as well. I tried the original version of Spatone before and it didn't really feel like it was doing a lot. I saw that they had launched one that included a vitamin c supplement as well. Hooray! I gave it a go and I have to say, it's making a big difference! If you're like me and struggle with low iron, get your mitts on these.

Spatone have even made it super easy. Being a liquid, it absorbs really easily and quickly. I also like that it's simply a sachet a day. I have one in the mornings in a glass of water before I head out for work. That way it's done and I don't have to think about it again. Recently I was taking a tablet form of iron that needed to be taken three times a day. So often I would come home and realise that I'd forgotton about my lunch time tablet. This is so much better.

You can get Spatone at Holland and Barrett.

R x

Friday, 17 July 2015

LONDON IMATS HAULING


IMATS is such a lovely day with other makeup artist friends every year. It's a great excuse to catch up and talk shop. It's also a very dangerous place when it comes to the shopping. I managed to be relatively well behaved this year. Sort of. 

IMATS is the only time we're able to get Hakuhodo brushes in the UK and I find it hard not to pick up at least a couple of additions to my collection. This year I went for two of the same powder brushes. So much restraint! Then I popped by the gang at Nars. I'm lucky enough to already have a pro discount with Nars but I was super excited to get a couple of limited editions I had originally missed out on. Clearly I'm going through a blush phase. 

The brush belt all these goodies are resting on was a great freebie that came with my most exciting purchase. The wonderful gang at Love Makeup had a great discount on the Glamcor lights that I've been coveting for so long. I just couldn't not take the plunge. Then they threw in the brush belt as well! Yay for me! I'm always on the lookout for a great brush roll that's not made from leather. This one has all kinds of swanky bits and pieces like zip up pockets, etc. 


I'm so excited to have these lights for work! Even in a studio you can't rely on the lighting you'll get for doing makeup. This is going to take so much of the guesswork out of my life!


Look how portable they are! It all goes into this brilliantly slim bag that slots over the handle of my case! Woohoo!

Rebecca x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

RED OR DEAD


I do love a good lip. My favourite is a red lip. In fact, it's what I like to wear with practically nothing else on a day to day basis. I think it's the colour I have the most of in my kit as well. I love all the different facets, styles, shades and textures you can play with when it comes to a red lip.


I have a bunch of shades in my magic palette of dotlets. I couldn't even hazard a guess to all the shades or brands in this double sided palette. Each well contains around four shades and it's the most amazing way to create the perfect cocktail for each and every job. I also keep the MAC six palette of best selling reds, a collection of MAC lip mixes and an OCC lip tar to add pigment and punch to a lipstick that isn't quite strong enough. They also add some fantastic staying power so I don't need to worry about the upkeep too much.

Underneath the palette is my Belmacz Infra Red Glow. This stuff is properly day glo! I love it and don't get to use it nearly enough. I also have a really great gloss that is pigmented and shiny. It's a shame that I have no idea where it was from as the writing has rubbed off over time.


I couldn't go to work without my Nars Velvet lip pencils. These are beyond amazing and I love how quick they are to use. Then there is my Lord and Berry crayon as well as my glow-in-the-dark Stila lip crayon. Along the top is a bright red from Bare Minerals, a dark red from Zoeva, Fatal Red by Maybelline and a wonderfully matte, long wearing lipstick from Maybelline. 

You'd think I'd be happy and confident that all my bases were covered as far as a red lip goes. Nope, I've still got a whole bunch of others on my wish list. I wonder if there is a support group??

R x

Monday, 13 July 2015

ELLIS FAAS


I'm a long time lover of the Ellis Faas brand. I know a lot of people feel quite intimidated and fascinated all at the same time when they approach this brand because of the packaging. Essentially, this is a set of cream products that will give you a completely stunning look. When you think of it in those terms, it suddenly becomes seriously user friendly.


These awesome, bullet shaped pens house all your makeup needs. Even your foundation, eyeliner and concealer are all in pen format. There's no need for brushes because it's all built into the product itself. 

When it comes to lips, there are four different textures to choose from; milky lips, creamy lips, glazed lips and hot lips. The first two pens on the left here are milky lips and hot lips. The hot lips give a wonderful, matte finish. They're my favourite two textures. For the eyes there are creamy eyes and light eyes. The lights are so beautifully shimmery. These eye colours are so easy to put on with the pen and then blend out with your fingers. They're fantastic for all ages as they don't sit in lines but give a very smooth finish. Once they're on, they don't move, either. They're fantastic for a special event or a wedding. Finally, the blush is a beautiful, sheeny texture. It's not shimmery but it gives the skin a lit-from-within look. 

I have a couple of top tips for these pens. If you're not going to use them fairly regularly, they will have a capacity to get a little dried up from the product on the brush. Just give them a wipe before you put them away and it should keep that at bay for the most part. If it still does get blocked, just dip the brush in some very hot water and you should be good as new again. Sometimes, the foundation pen can get an air bubble inside and stop the product from reaching the pen. In that case, just give the pen a really decent tap on a worktop and it will help move the air bubble up to the top again. Be careful of the surface you're tapping it on, those pen lids can leave a good dent!

Another thing I love about the Ellis Faas range is how well thought out it is. The colours are very specifically formulated so that they suit most every skin tone and are very wearable. They're all permanent colours as well. Ellis doesn't believe in limited editions or seasonal collections. She prefers the collection to be classic, wearable shades that every day women can rely on time and time again.  I love the entire ethos of the brand and what it stands for. It's truly a makeup range with women in mind.

Definitely get down to a Selfridges or a Liberty to take a look at these. It will revolutionise how you do your makeup!

R x

Friday, 10 July 2015

JUNE EMPTIES


Woah, it feels like all my tubes, bottles and pots finished in June. I'm on a huge clear out mission with plans for a car boot sale, etc so it felt quite timely.

Soap and Glory Orangeasm Body Wash: This was such a joy. It was just foamy enough without being ridiculous and full of SLS. The smell was amazing. Bitter and sweet all at the same time. Like a real orange. My skin was amazingly soft especially when teamed with...

Soap and Glory Butter Yourself Moisture Lotion: I thought The Righteous Butter was going to the be all and end all in soft skin. I was so wrong. It's this. Again, it's a refreshing citrus fragrance that's the right balance of bitter and sweet. The packaging is brilliantly enormous. Unfortunately, it's my usual drama with pumps. I had to turn it upside down a little after half way through to manually get the product out. So annoying. I'm all about a squeezy tube or a pot. I say this every post. I'm pretty certain I'll say it again in this post! *both products are cruelty free

Wella Shape Control Wet Styling Mousse: This was a great, little mousse. Lucky for me I have more of it stashed away. I was given a bunch of them ages ago on a job. The can is enormous so lasted me forever. I really like how this doesn't feel like it's got too much alcohol in it but just enough to give my hair grit to hold a style but still have movement. I didn't get too many tangles while I was trying to blow dry it through, either. Really great.

Fudge Dry Shampoo: Does what it says on the tin. This is a finer spray than some of the dry shampoos out there but I have had finer. In saying that, I only ever had a grey cast to my hair if I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing. Generally it was fine. It really did help to give life to hair for an extra day or two. Smells *so* much better than a lot of other dry shampoos! *cruelty free

Time Bomb Take Off Time Cleansing Cream: This is a great, little cleanser. I kept it in the shower for either a second or a morning cleanse. It has really fine beads that give you a super mild exfoliation to freshen skin up and give it a really good cleanse. It's almost like a hybrid texture. It's creamy but not a milk. Yet, it's not a regular style wash, either. Anyhoo, my skin liked it. *cruelty free

Cuticura Protective Hand and Nail Cream: This product is perfect for someone like me that washes their hands a lot. I've always had problems keeping my hands moisturised and can often get contact dermatitis between my fingers. I kept this lotion in my bathroom so it went on every morning before I left the house and every night before I went to bed. If I was home, it would go on after washing my hands as well. It doesn't have a strong fragrance but it really got the job done.

Zelens Intense Defence Antioxidant Serum: At the risk of sounding dramatic, tears were nearly shed when this ran out. I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell you what a fan of these products I have been. I've been telling people for years, if you have the budget, this is the brand for you. It ticks all my boxes. It's vegan and cruelty free, the formulation is the highest quality I've come across, it's formulated by an honest-to-goodness expert and the results are irrefutable. Having wildly digressed, this is nothing short of amazing. Unlike most antioxidant products, this fights three types of antioxidant as opposed to just one. In fact, Zelens had clinical trials conducted with phenomenal results. I won't get into them here but they've been published in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology. You can use this am and pm. It will also boost the efficacy of your SPF. Again, that's more sciency stuff that I won't get into here. BIG love for this one. *cruelty free

L'Oreal Voluminous 4X Mascara With Ceramides: Another product that neither wowed or disappointed. This pretty much did what it said on the tin. I had nice lashes. I did experience frequent panda eyes, but we all know that's more to do with my own skin than the product. I really need to go back to using tubing mascaras. I don't know that I'd necessarily say it was good enough to recommend you race out and buy it but if it comes your way, it will do the job.

Vita Coco Coconut Oil: I loved using this as a cleanser. Sometimes I'd use it as a morning wash as well as a first cleanse in the evenings. It's finished a lot sooner than anticipated, though. I'm not at all a morning person so when I stagger into my bathroom and blindly grab my cleanser, I really must check if it's melted down overnight before clumsily taking the lid off. When things like that happen, 80% of the product will end up down the bathroom sink. Drats. Other than that, I love this. My skin was clear, soft and happy while I was using it. *organic and cruelty free

Pukka Nourishing Brightener: This is a product that doesn't exist anymore but is really lovely. It's a mix of organic bilberry and almond ground down to create a gentle exfoliator. You simply mix it in with your cleanser once or twice a week and gently massage. So easy to use and it left skin looking clear and bright. I loved that it wasn't *too* scrubby as that's not something my skin is particularly fond of. *organic and cruelty free

Balance Me Stellar Beauty Balm: This is one of those Does Everything products. I've talked about it a bunch of times before. If my eczema is playing up, this will calm it down. If I'm running in the middle of winter, this goes all over my face to protect it from the wind. On the day of the marathon I practically coated my entire body with it and I was blister free! Whoop! Occasionally I will use it as a moisturising mask as well. On a day to day basis, this is my lip balm. It comes in a relatively enormous pot so it will take ages for you to actually get to the bottom. In fact, it's been repackaged since I started this one!  This is full of delicious mango, coconut and shea butter. Whenever I use it as a lip balm on a model, they always want to know what it is because it smells so good. Truly delicious. *cruelty free

Balance Me Radiance Face Oil: This isn't the first of these I've gone through and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. I'm such a fan of the Balance Me brand. Great products with lovely ingredients that work well and won't break the bank. The camelia and rosehip oils have really helped to combat the redness in my skin. I put this on at night over my serum and under my night cream. A really wonderful product. *cruelty free

Time Bomb Collagen Bomb Serum: Technically this isn't an empty. Unfortunately I've got a faulty bottle and I just can't get access to the product. I'm so sad as from what I could tell, it was awesome. Timebomb is another brand that is brilliantly results driven without a crazy price tag. Again with the pump based packaging, though. It's just not for me. This one clearly keeps getting mega air bubbles in it and I just can't get it out. I also can't find my way into the bottle to try decant the serum into another bottle or pot. Drats! *cruelty free

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Scrub Gelee: I loved this *so* much. The smell was completely wondrous. I also liked that it was such a lightweight texture. Perfect for summer when you don't want to feel greasy. I feel like it was a touch pricey for the size of the tub but when there is a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer on it doesn't seem so bad. *cruelty free

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream: This is an enormous pot! I feel like I've been working my way through this forever! I was so excited when I got to the bottom. I don't think I'd say to race out and buy this, but if it came your way it will do what you need it to. It's a relatively thick texture that I used as a night cream over my oil. It was hydrating, but I've had better. I've also had worse so it's sitting right in the middle for me. There is a little mango butter in this formulation but other than that, the ingredients list isn't massively groundbreaking. I think you could do better...

Mon dieu! That was such a long list! Well done if you made it all the way to the end! Hopefully next month won't be quite so full on with the empties! I hope this was helpful, nonetheless.

R x