The Ordinary Haul and Review

The Ordinary, a brand by Deciem, has been taking the beauty world by storm, and having seen some big bloggers talking about these products, I decided it was time to see what the hype was about.

Being the most talked about products, I picked up both the Coverage and Serum foundations, as well as the fluid primer. I would normally never order foundation online without having tested the shades for myself first, but thanks to the very clear shade guide on the website, I pinned it down to two potential shades – 1.1 and 1.2 – and decided to order each foundation in both shades, given that its only £5.90 a bottle. Yes, you heard me.

As well as having the shades based on a number scale, I also loved the fact that each shade was then split into three tones: neutral, yellow and pink. My skin tends to be on the pinkier side, so I got the Serum formula in pink and the Coverage in neutral, and both actually work very well for me.

Coverage Foundation

Right from the offset, Coverage became my favourite of the two foundations. The formula is much thicker, which I personally prefer, and as the name suggests, the coverage is higher than the Serum formula but despite both of these facts the product feels really light on the skin.

Serum Foundation

Like Coverage, Serum has a very lightweight formula and feels like you’re not wearing anything. As I tend to always stick to thicker formulas, I was a little out of my comfort zone with this one, and because of how quickly it blends into the skin, I was finding myself going over it a few times because I wasn’t always sure if I’d fully covered that area, plus the coverage is fairly light. I was also a little out of my comfort zone as Serum leaves more of a dewy finish, and I like to keep things matte.

Fluid Primer

As someone who isn’t really a fan of primers, this was a game changer. I’m not sure I can sing this product’s praises high enough. If I’m being honest, I added it to my basket so that I had something other than foundation, and so I could tip the basket total to get free delivery, but I am so thankful that I did. The formula is bizarre; its feels kinda gel-like at first but it spreads like a dream and dries within seconds, and once dry its practically weightless.

Part of the reason I’m not much of a primer person, and I’m nervous trying new foundation is that I rarely find anything that can contend with my skin, which can switch from dry as a desert to oily as a 2am kebab within a matter of seconds, and I normally end up regretting wearing foundation by lunchtime, but I did not have a single complaint with this. I tested both foundations both with and without, and both applied so much nicer and lasted the day without any issues when I used the primer.

But seriously guys, I bought 4 foundations and a primer for less than £30, which is what I would normally spend on my regular NARS foundation, plus they’re cruelty free!

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How I Highlight

I know I say this every time I write a beauty post, but I really do not consider myself to be anywhere near expert level when it comes to makeup. I’ve never claimed to be a beauty blogger, I’m merely a girl with a stash of makeup and a love of putting it on my face.

I can’t contour or create the perfect winged eyeliner, but one thing I do pride myself in is my ability to highlight. Highlighter is probably my biggest weakness when it comes to beauty product, and I’m not ashamed to say if I could only wear one product for the rest of my life it would be highlighter.

A few people have asked me recently how I achieve my glow, so I thought I’d write a post on my routine and what products go into my shininess! For me, its all about layers and building..

  • Once I’ve done my foundation, the next product I reach for is Benefit’s Dandelion Shy Beam, which is a soft pinky liquid highlighter. Using the built in brush, I make a stripe of product across my cheekbones, and then blend using my Spectrum B01 brush. This creates the perfect base for building upon, while remaining quite subtle!
  • Next, I use Makeup Revolution Baked Highligher in Matte Lights, but rather than using a normal sized brush, I use the biggest brush in my collection, which is the Lottie London kabuki brush, and go to town up my cheekbones with it. Being a matte highlighter, this is also fairly subtle but generally brightens the whole area without bringing all the sparkle of a normal highlighter.
  • For good fortune, I top this with a light layer of Benefit’s newest highlighter, Dandelion Sparkle, and I just use the brush that comes with it. This again is a very soft pink highlighter but starts to bring the shine!
  • To top things off, I tend to reach for my ABH x Nicole Guerriero glow kit, along with my Spectrum A10 fan brush. My go-to shades are Daydream or Kitty Kat, but if I want to be seen from space then its Forever Lit.

I just love being shiny!

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Affordable Acrylic Storage with Songmics* – GIVEAWAY!

I recently announced that Matthew has just moved in with me at my parent’s house, and that over the next few months we’ll be starting to look at buying a house and moving out, and with all this in mind, I’m not only having to think about keeping my stuff neat and tidy to make space for him, but also about how I’ll want our house to look, whenever it is that we get one.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I have a lot of makeup. Sure, its probably less than some, but its in no way a small collection, and up until recently, it lives for the majority of the time on my bedroom floor in front of my wardrobe mirror, and anything that’s not been on the floor has been in a box file on a shelf. Not stylish, and not practical at all, so when I was recently contacted by the lovely guys from Songmics and asked if I’d like to receive some acrylic makeup storage, I couldn’t say no! Songmics are a German brand that specialise in practical and stylish home storage and organisation, and their products are available in the UK and worldwide via Amazon.

I’ve eyed up various acrylic storage solutions before, such as Muji and even Ikea, but have always been put off by the price tag, but the two tier organiser that Songmics sent me is only £15.99, and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, hello free next day delivery! But let’s talk about the product..

My first impressions were that it was a lot sturdier than I had thought, which was great as I was worried that it might be thin and cheap feeling – definitely not the case! My second worry was that I didn’t think that one organiser was going to fit much of my makeup in, and while it doesn’t fit everything, I did manage to fit a LOT more than I thought I would – in fact, I managed to fit all of my day to day essentials and then some!

This organiser is actually comprised of two sections, with the top lifting off of the drawers, and the components are all designed to be stackable, so I can buy an extra set of drawers which I can fit into the mix, should I want to expand!

I’ve used the top section for all of my most used products – foundation, mascara, brow palette, favourite lipsticks etc – then organised the drawers into eyes and face, with the two smaller top drawers being my eyeliners and eyeshadows, then the larger bottom drawers are blushers/bronzers in one, and highlighers in the other.

If I’m being a little picky, I wish there was more room for palettes, as I’ve only been able to fit two in the slots at the back, but I’m definitely a convert to the acrylic storage club, and I’m already thinking about what else I can get to add to my setup to get the rest of my stuff in!

Want to win your own? The guys over at Songmics have got another two tier organiser with one of your names on it, just enter below and the winner will be announced on October 4th! (Widget isn’t supported on all browsers, so if you have any issues just click the link below!)

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*I was sent this product to review, but all views are my own

KIKO Perfect Gel Duo Review

I’m gonna say something that will probably shock a good percentage of girls and beauty bloggers right now: I have never had my nails done professionally. This is partly down to being awkward and the fact that I find making conversation with a hairdresser difficult enough when I’m not face to face with them, but also partly due to the fact that I have good natural nails and am skilled with a nail varnish, so the idea of having to pay for someone else to do what I can do a pretty good job of myself isn’t one I’m too keen on.

So instead I spend my money on nail varnish in every shade under the sun.

The problem I do find though is that I’m clumsy, and have a tendency to smudge or chip at least one nail within the first two days of a fresh paint, so when I recently discovered my love of KIKO nail products, and then they ran a buy 3, get 3 free offer, I decided to try my luck with an ‘at home’ gel manicure.

First impressions

I chose the shade Milk Mint, and its exactly what I expected it to be based on the online image. I’d describe it as one shade lighter than a Tiffany’s box, and I love it. The packaging is cute, but I worried that the lid was going to be a little bulky to hold while painting, but lo and behold, the silver cap actually pops off to reveal a less pretty but more practical sized lid – yay!

Application

This is genuinely no different to any other nail paint. Slap on two coats of colour, give it 2 mins then one layer of top coat and you’re good to go after a few minutes of air-drying. Simples.

Wear and tear

Like I mentioned earlier, the first few days are always the riskiest ones for me, but I didn’t have a problem at all; not a smudge, not a chip. I then road-tested it to the max as I then spent my weekend doing DIY.. I’m gonna be honest, they’re not intact, but they held up very well considering I was moving bulky furniture, painting, filling, sanding and all sorts. The clear difference I would note is that with the gel topcoat, rather than chipping like most nail polish, it tends to peel off in larger portions – an incident with some masking tape took of half a nail in one go, oops!

Had it not been for the DIY, however, I am really impressed with the results! Some nails did remain intact, and in comparison to my regular KIKO smart nail lacquers, they definitely lasted longer and kept cleaner and neater.

What I loved most was the fact I didn’t have to do anything special – no UV lights, no special remover, just straight foward nail care that just lasts longer! Oh, and they’re on sale at £5 at the moment, who wouldn’t love that?

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Cruelty Free Beauty Brands That Won’t Break The Bank

When it comes to makeup, we’re all trying to find those products that we not only fall in love with, but can actually afford to buy without taking out a small mortgage or selling a kidney, and in today’s society its also becoming so important to support brands that are setting the best example for others and paving the way towards a cruelty free future for all.

If you’re getting into cruelty free, these are my absolute favourite brands, not just because I love their products, but also because they’re readily available on the high street and with the exception of a few palettes or gift sets, I bet you won’t spend more than £10 on any single item!

NYX Professional Makeup

NYX’s matte lipstick is without a doubt my favourite lipstick formula out of anything else I’ve tried, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any reviews that aren’t absolutely glowing. The only item I’ve paid more than £10 was my beautiful bright eyeshadow, and for £16 I think that was still an absolute steal!

Barry M

Long gone are the days when Barry M was only known for nail varnish and dazzle dust, and now they are smashing the beauty game out of the park. I’ve always been a fan of their original products, but recent releases like lip kits and highlighting palettes have been taking the beauty blogosphere by storm and did you see my recent post about this Clinique dupe?

Makeup Revolution

This CF brand has been a real game changer, and while some slate them for it, Makeup Revolution has been bringing incredible dupes that are not only cruelty free but super affordable, as well as an amazing selection of palettes and other products. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t spend more than £10 on any single item, and you and your bank balance will be very happy!

Kiko Cosmetics

A more recent discovery of mine, Kiko has an incredible selection of products from beauty to skincare and accessories. My favourite products are their nail varnishes, which come in such an incredible selection of colours, making the nail painting addict in me very happy! The stores aren’t everywhere, but there’s free delivery on all orders over £25 online!

Spectrum Collections

You’ve stocked up on products, now get your hands on the best brushes in my opinion! I fell for the pretty designs but stayed for the great quality, and now all my brushes are Spectrum. They’re handmade, cruelty free and vegan friendly, and they’re now also available in Boots!

If you’ve got any recommendations for other cruelty free brands, please share in the comments below!

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Kiko Cosmetics Sale Haul

So last week I had a day alone in Manchester, so naturally I gravitated towards the Trafford Centre, and after a morning of working away in Starbucks, I treated myself to an afternoon of shopping. I hit pretty much every store that had a sale sign in the window, and one store that caught my eye particularly was Kiko Milano.

Despite being well aware that I own enough makeup as it is, I always love trying new brands, and when that brand is not only having a massive summer sale but is also cruelty free, there was no stopping me, but I did only spend £25!

The first thing that caught my eye stepping into the store was the display of gloriously bright nail varnishes. I’ve always loved having colourful nails, and while I have always sworn by Barry M when it comes to nail products, over recent years they’ve opted to diversify and their original collection of nail paints just aren’t available in as many colours as they used to be. As soon as I saw the wall of Kiko Smart Nail Lacquers I fell in love, but not wanting to go too overboard I just chose two, which are actually two shades very similar to my favourite Barry’s that aren’t available anymore, and they’re only £2 each, so win win!

Nearer to the checkout, they also had a few ‘mini’ nail varnishes at just £1 each so I decided to nab two of those as well!

Next up, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this STUNNING matte finishing powder – its so creamy and blendable, plus its fine and super light! I also grabbed this pretty blush for just £3.80, which is also super light feeling and the shade, Breathtaking Azalea, is perfect for spring/summer looks.

Lastly, while I’m not normally one for individual eyeshadows, I decided to pick up this little duo-shadow because the colour combination was super pretty and very me. Its not the most pigmented, but the two shades compliment each other wonderfully and its perfect for a subtle look, which is more my style anyway!

Have you tried any Kiko products before? I’d love to hear any recommendations!

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The £5 Clinique Highlighter Dupe

I never have and never will claim to be a real beauty blogger. When I do write about makeup, I write as a girl who just likes wearing it (and buying way too much of it), so while I might not have the expertise of most, I still like to give it a good go every now and then. The discovery of today’s dupe was purely accidental, and I actually owned and used the dupe before I came across the high-end equivalent.

I’m the first to admit that I have a problem when it comes to highlighters. I’d say they’re my weakness when it comes to makeup but I have many other weaknesses too so I’m not sure if it counts, but it was due to this weakness that I made this discovery. You see, when I wracked up enough points on my Sephora card back in February to claim some free gifts, when I was offered a free Clinique chubby stick highlighter, I snapped that badboy up without a second thought, but with so many highlighters in my collection, it was only recently that I actually thought I’d give it a go.

So there I am, sat in front of my mirror with that new product buzz going on, when I was struck with deja vu – have I used this before? I was questioning my sanity when I realised where I’d seen the same results before: from my Barry M Strobe Cream, shade Frosty Pink, which I’d bought months before for a mere £4.49. Now I know my chubby stick was a free gift, but it retails for £19.50 so that’s quite a difference..

Wanna see?

Left: Barry M, Right: Clinique

Top: Clinique, Bottom: Barry M

As you can see from the swatches, there’s hardly any difference in shade between the two. The Clinique does have a creamier formula, and possibly gives a little more shine than Barry’s, but I actually prefer the lightweight feel of the BM strobe cream, and its just as long-lasting.

If a £15 difference in price isn’t enough of a selling point, let’s not forget that Barry M is cruelty free and vegan friendly, and if Frosty Pink isn’t your jam, this is just one of four shades that its available in!

I know which one I use more often..

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