As soon as we got engaged, I knew without hesitation that I would do my own makeup on our wedding day. Some brides might find this a daunting task, however I on the other hand am extremely excited by the thought of it. I love makeup and thoroughly enjoy the process of applying it on a special occasion, so why would my own wedding day be any different?

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If you had asked me three years ago how I imagined my makeup would be on my big day, I most definitely would have said something along the lines of ‘supporting a bold red lip’ because that was my thing back in the day. Although I still adore a red lip I would like to think my taste in makeup has somewhat evolved as I’ve grown up.

With all of the above in mind, the kind of look I am hoping to achieve on my wedding day is that of a classic English rose because I think it is very soft, romantic and feminine. In the months since our engagement I have been paying particular attention to when Oliver compliments the way I look or if he likes a certain aspect of my makeup too, as I want to look like myself when I walk down the aisle and meet my groom!

Thus begun my quest for that all important wedding day lipstick. Here are the current contenders:

Burberry Lip Velvet Nude Rose 405 – a matte lipstick and as the name suggests in a dusky rose pink nude colour. Leans slightly cool toned on me and a little flat due to the texture but still quite wearable.

Lancome L’absolu Rouge 06 Rose Nu – this lipstick has a creamy texture and leaves a subtle sheen on the lips while giving excellent colour pay off. Its a lovely mid pink tone.

Charlotte Tilbury Amazing Grace – as you can see from the picture an old and well loved favourite of mine. A pinky coral that brightens up the complexion and complements many makeup looks. I pair this with the Pink Venus Liner.

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet 34 La Raffinee – this one is another matte and has more of a purple/berry undertone but it is extremely long lasting and pigmented.

As it stands I’m still not 100% on what lipstick I am going to pick but I have a pretty good idea what I’m leaning towards. But who’s to say that in the next three months I could very well change my mind!

Eyebrows are a pretty big deal in today’s beauty world and as much as I can appreciate the look and importance of a good brow – they have never been my favourite thing. In fact filling in my brows is probably my least favourite part of my entire beauty routine. As my overall makeup skills have improved over the years (thank goodness!) I’ve grown more confident in what I know I like and what suits me, but I rarely feel 100% with my eyebrows. This could be down to the fact I opt for a more ‘natural’ look or it could just be because I’m not that great at doing them. Either way I decided to try something totally new and a brand I knew took their brow products seriously was of course Benefit.

Brow Zings is one of the most iconic eyebrow products on the market and its always been something I meant to try but never got round to. Benefit recently relaunched Brow Zings along with an entire host of other brow products and so I thought what better time to finally give it a go? Along with the launch were several new shades and according to their website my shade was 2 Light so I went ahead and ordered that.

I have only used this a handful of times so far, but the first thing I noticed straight away was the shade. The shade is not at all right for me, which I’m a bit annoyed about to be honest because if the colour is off the entire thing doesn’t really work. I find the product in particular the wax gives my brows this orange tinge and in general the colour is completely unlike anything I’ve been used to (for reference my go to is Mac Fling for a perfect match.)

Even Oliver noticed immediately something had changed as he commented ‘your eyebrows look different.’ Was this a good or a bad thing? Either way I wasn’t really looking for ‘different’ rather just an improved version of what my eyebrows usually look like, and I definitely wouldn’t say they are yet.

I decided the next time I used the product to completely avoid the wax, and opted instead just for the powder which is pictured on the right. However to my disappointment even the powder alone still manages to create this unnatural orange tint. Meh, it just isn’t right for me one bit and each time I’ve used it I like it less and less.

Generally speaking, I find warm tones best for me being that I have warm blonde hair and yellow undertones to my skin cool toned makeup does not sit well on me. However my eyebrows are an exception to that rule! My natural brows are dark and slightly ashy toned therefore applying Brow Zings in 2 Light which is extremely warm was never going to end well.

The biggest annoyance I have in this scenario is the fact that according to Benefit’s website ‘what’s my shade’ I selected the right option and it doesn’t suit me at all. The lighter option still looks quite orangey and the darker would have probably been too cool toned. My conclusion in this is that Benefit despite their fairly large range of shades, do not in fact have all blonde haired people covered.

On my eyebrows – Brow Zings 2 Light

The new silver packaging is… alright. I’m not mad on it I have to say and although I never owned the original product I think a nice black compact would have been miles smarter. Included in the new compact is a miniature pair of tweezers (unpictured and unused so I have no comment on those) and a small double ended brush that folds out. I happen to quite like using the brush, on one end is a slightly angled edge and on the other a small rounded brush, the angled brush is designed for the wax and the other side is to fill powder in with.  The angled end has quite a lot of movement as sometimes these angled brushes can be a bit stiff and I like the fact its small so you’re not going to make too many errors with it.

Benefit Brow Zings in 2 Light is not the right shade for me despite Benefit’s website saying it was and in no circumstance will I be able to make this product work. Therefore it has been a total waste of money, time and effort on my behalf.

The grass definitely wasn’t greener in this case, and I’ll be going straight back to Mac Fling with a new found appreciation for it.

Over the last few months, I seem to have somehow accumulated rather a lot of new makeup. These weren’t all in one hit but they are still all fairly new purchases. One was a stock up after I hit pan, one was a treat with my Boots points and one too many Lisa Eldridge enabled purchases. Now I’ve had chance to test all these out pretty well I thought I’d do a mini review on all my new beauty buys. The majority of these have been huge hits but there were a few misses along the way. I should point out that these will be in no particularly order because I can’t even remember what I purchased first!

Starting with the irresistibly gorgeous Charlotte Tilbury Bronzer & Blush Glow. I truthfully couldn’t have handed my money over faster when I saw this new release especially since I hit pan ages ago on my original one. I love these palettes and I actually think that this blush and bronzer duo is more practical. As much as I LOVE the Charlotte Tilbury highlighter, I don’t think you need a huge pan of it as I’ve barely touched the surface and I used that palette daily! The bronzer is stunning and is the perfect shade for my pale complexion, it adds a sun-kissed colour without the dreaded orange twinge I tend to experience with a lot of bronzers. The blush is extremely pigmented so needs a gentle touch or a very soft brush and if you blend well it gives a lovely healthy peachy pink flush to the cheeks.

My first Lisa Eldridge enabled buy, Lancome Doll Eyes Mascara was a nice splurge courtesy of my Boots points (can you believe I had £25 worth of points?!). In terms of the type of makeup I tend to buy, it is 90% high end with the remaining 10% being mostly drugstore mascaras. However I wanted to see if there was much difference in a high end mascara – not for everyday use of course but for best occasions. So many of Lisa’s videos feature this mascara and I liked the look of it. The wand is huge! Initially I wondered if it was going to be a problem, on testing it out several times it seemed not. The size actually allows an even application on all your lashes, and you can really get in the corners to coat them thoroughly. It doesn’t clump –  thank God as that is one thing I cannot stand in a mascara. This mascara makes my lashes look long and defined, it lasts all day and I haven’t once experienced any panda eyes even at the end of the day. Love it.

A collection of ZOEVA brushes were all again sparked on by Lisa Eldridge, I opted for the rose gold editions. The Luxe Soft Crease 221, Luxe Highlight 105, Luxe Face Focus 114 are all new editions in my brush stash not to mention my first ZOEVA brushes. Instead of talking about what all these are designed for I’ll leave the link to Lisa’s video here – I could just sit and listen to her for hours. Well apparently I do, and its expensive! I will add one thing: they do not wash well. One wash and they are already considerably misshapen and fluffy which is a shame because I did like them up until that point I just don’t see these standing the test of time at all.

When the BECCA Champagne Pop fad was all the rage I wasn’t at all interested. But when I saw Lisa applying the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter I was ALL eyes. My god this is a STUNNING product I love it -the only problem is I was a bit uneducated when I ordered the shade ‘Pearl’ which is far too cool toned for my skintone. Pearl is too silvery and just doesn’t look quite right on me which is such a nuisance because otherwise I love this product! The highlight itself is so striking yet blends in very naturally due to the liquid formula. Gorgeous. One tiny thing I have found which I don’t like is the pump: it dispenses way too much which is a bit wasteful as a little goes a long way with this product.  Upon doing my research (which is what I definitely should have done in the first place) I think I need ‘Moonstone’ a gold, warmer shade which I intend to replace eventually.

And the final Lisa enabled purchase was of course Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage a product which appears heavily in her videos. Now, I had a hard time getting to grips with this concealer something I was prepared for after reading all the online reviews. The two tone pan concealer has an extremely dry formula – which you have to warm before applying. When I purchased this at the counter the lady said to swipe a few times with a brush on the back of your hand and blend the two colours to make the perfect shade, and I tried this at home with it but it still wasn’t playing ball. The formula still seemed a bit stiff and unworkable. So after much persevering I found the most effective way to warm the product is to actually take a brush and apply the product straight to my ring finger, blend a bit then apply to the face. The coverage is undeniably superb. The process is just a bit too long winded for everyday makeup application I think, although I will be saving this concealer for special occasions.

Last but not least in my new beauty buys comes the Nars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. A product I’ve seen plenty of beauty bloggers rave about. I actually got this to test out for my wedding day, as we’re getting married in August *hopefully* we will have some warm weather and I need my makeup to LAST. First impressions of this eye primer are very good indeed. It keeps everything stuck in place just how you want it and my eye makeup is still looking as good as new come the end of the day. Pretty sure this bad boy will be in my makeup bag for the big day.

Have you bought any new beauty products recently?

During the winter, I’m definitely more invested in my skincare routine. This winter has been no exception to the rule, particularly knowing that I’m getting married in the summer. In fact I’ve even invested in some new items in the hope of achieving clear radiant skin, not only on my big day but hopefully all year round too. And they all happen to be rose scented.

 

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Rose And Lavender.

Liz Earle’s famous Cleanse & Polish certainly isn’t a new product to me by all means – its been the only cleanser I’ve used for the past two plus years. The Rose & Lavender edition however I am not so familiar with. Once limited edition this is now a permanent member of the Liz Earle family. Somehow the Rose & Lavender is a little more luxurious than its original peer. The texture is unmistakably the same with a subtle twitst of lightly fragranced rose and lavender essence which certainly make for a more superior skincare treat.

The sort of cleanser you would reach for on a Sunday morning or as a reward after a long day. The soft rose petals and calming lavender are so soothing. Its creamy texture is extremely gentle on the skin and leaves you feeling fresh and revitalized. My skin can be sensitive particularly to fragranced products but this is so mild that I haven’t experienced any irritation at all.

Pixi Rose Tonic.

A new product on the skincare scene all together this Rose Tonic by Pixi is a delightful toner designed to re-balance skin. The Rose Tonic has a faint scent of rose but nothing overpowering and does not aggravate my face. My skin feels rehydrated after using this toner whereas some toners leave my skin feeling tight and stripped.  The troublesome red areas around my nose and across my cheeks seem calmer and look less prominent after using this. Since using this intermittently with the Pixi Glow Tonic the texture of my skin has definitely been so much smoother and blemishes seem to be kept well at bay. I feel confident bare faced and I have not been able to say that for years! Plus I have noticed my makeup application has been far superior as a result so I will 100% be keeping up with including the rose tonic in my daily ritual.

Pixi Rose Flash Balm

A multi use product, I however have only tried the Pixi Rose Flash Balm as a treatment mask to revitalize and boost the radiance in my skin. Especially at the moment in the harsh winter conditions my skin can look dull and flat. A few applications of this several times a week brings everything back to life and restores a youthful glow. The balmy texture feels slick but is actually oil free – I leave a generous layer on for five minutes and love the results. Baby soft to touch with an almost dewy looking complexion. As I mentioned this is multi use, and is said to be a primer however I personally don’t know how I would feel about that because of how slippery this feels I don’t think it would sit well under makeup without sliding about.

What skincare have you been loving this winter?

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I’m taking it seriously old school here with my Mac Lipstick collection … only this is the result of a few updates and serious downgrades over the years! I used to own a stupid amount of these black cased lipsticks, having at least double the amount shown on the screen here at one point some years ago. Read on to see exactly what has made the cut to my more respectable downsized edit.

For many people and I speak for myself here too, Mac lipsticks are an entry point to the luxury beauty world. Price-wise Mac still stand pretty medium ground I would say, retailing these days for £16.50. Compared to most high end brands Mac are considerably less, with your average luxury lipstick today starting anywhere from about £25. Walking up to a counter is like seeing a rainbow in the distance – there is every colour and shade imaginable under the sun. Not to mention an array of different formulas for you to take your pick from. So you really can’t go far wrong.

It all began here for me. My entire love for beauty  and makeup started from a single black Mac bullet. Back in the day (LOL by that I mean 2013) I would religiously sit and binge watch Mac Lipstick Collections on YouTube and search for similar blog posts to read product reviews. Still to this day I get regular use out of my collection: its just a bit smaller! I’ve given heaps away to new homes with family and friends. Now my collection stands at a respectable 10 or 11 (a few un-pictured probably lost in the bottom of a handbag somewhere) I’d say these are definitely some of my staple shades that I wear on a (somewhat) regular basis.

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L-R Costa Chic, Vegas Volt, Crosswires, Craving, Impassioned, Girl About Town, Show Orchid, Kelly Yum Yum.

As you may be able to tell – not a nude in sight! I’m definitely a bright lipped lady. Surprisingly I don’t have a red lipstick in my Mac collection (used to own Russian Red but it was donated to my mum) however my bolder shades in the collection lean towards the hot pinks, which I’d say are the least worn these days but its always good to have these colours in your stash.

Rather than bore you with a run down of all the colours, which you can easily find swatches of online I thought I’d mix it up with some Q and A’s and a few odd facts:

Newest to the collection?

Crosswires – I remember watching ‘Essiebutton’ aka Estee Lalonde absolutely ROCK this lipstick years ago. But it was only upon swatching aimlessly at the Mac counter this year I stumbled across Crosswires by accident and it all came flooding back to me! I religiously wore this all summer and especially on our holiday in Italy.

Any cult classics?

Rebel – I don’t actually own many of the famously popular cult classics like Ruby Woo, Velvet Teddy etc. But I’d say Rebel is the most well known lipstick I own, unfortunately this is one of the ‘lost somewhere deep in a handbag’ un-pictured lipsticks. I love Rebel though and the ‘satin’ formulas are probably one of my favourites of Mac’s

One you’ve probably not heard of but need to know about?

Vegas Volt – Its not very well known, but Vegas Volt is by far my most worn item in the collection. If like me, you love a good peachy coral tone – Vegas Volt is the one. Its so flattering and adds a subtle pop of colour to any makeup look. Fun Fact – I actually won this in a blog giveaway. However an honorable mention should go to Show Orchid a stunning blue toned pink that makes your teeth look exceedingly white!

Any limited editions?

Kelly Yum Yum – I’m not normally suckered in by these with only Riri Woo being the exception but it totally sold out.  Kelly Yum Yum is my only limited edition Mac and I actually adore this lipstick! Firstly the bullet is my favourite colour lilac, and I like the  cool hot pink signature to match the shade inside. It is of course a spin off of Candy Yum Yum however I actually think KYY is way better. Only due to the satin finish, CYY is one of Mac’s famously matte mattes and I’m not about those at all!

I hope you enjoyed this blast from the blogging past! What Mac lipsticks do you own?

Love, G X