Beautiful christmas: my selection of beauty gifts

Ho ho ho. It is December and I feel I am officially allowed to say the C word without attracting some dirty looks (and the “already?!” expression n their faces). Obviously, I am talking about CHRISTMAS, silly.

Most people know someone who is a beauty fanatic and if you are not one yourself, choosing the right thing can be quite difficult. But fear not, So Many Lovely Things will give you an easy solution that is certain to cause a good impression.

I went through my favourite places for beauty buys and here are my picks:

Up to £25

studio_smokey_eyesA good all rounder for a great price. Studio products are great value for money. This Smokey eye kit, for £6, is certain to please. New Years eve eyes, sorted!

eyeko_liner

I love the Eyeko Skinny liner – it is my favourite and I use everyday. This double pack from QVC is excellent value for £14 and after trying you will certainly need a second (and a third – you won’t live without it, ever!)

nivea_kitClassic skin care brand Nivea pulled together a lovely pampering selection with Honey Face Masks, Body lotion, Pearly Shine Lip, Cleansing Wipes, Moisturising Day Cream, amongst others. For £15, this gift goes a long way. Available at Boots.

loreal_sos

Post Chirstmas excesses will show on your face. Pull yourself together with this L’Oréal Port-Party Beauty SOS and be ready for the next one in no time! £10 from Boots.

rodial_bauble

A pretty bauble from Rodial, with its lovely Glam Balm inside. A tiny bit of luxury to plump those lips for that all important unde the mistletoe action! £14 from Harrods.

rae_morris

I love this book. Rae Morris’ classic Makeup: The Ultimate Guide will help you get the grips with makeup and look even more fabulous! Only £12.50 from Amazon.

sanctuary

The Sanctuary’s Best Sellers Collection is a great body indulgence kit with their classic scent. £15 from Debenhams.

clinique_candy

Clinique’s Chubby stick Whole Lotta Candy collection means you will have three beautiful shades to choose from for the New Year’s party! £20 from House of Fraser.

babydoll

Pretty doll eyes with YSL Baby Doll Mascara Set – to put it on and remove later! Find it at Boots for £24.50.

nailsinc_minis

Must Have minis from Nails Inc – lots of shades to start well the year – fro nudes to neons – this will keep your talons colour going for a while! Great value of £23.52 from QVC!

clinique_party_tips

Festive talons courtesy of Clinique’s Party Tips nail polish set.. Three pretty shades for sensitive skin for £20 from House of Fraser.

elemis

Discover Elemis’ great Tri-enzime kit with this 4 piece set, for only £24.12 from QVC.


opi_fullytied

OPI’s Fit to be Tied #2 has two beautiful nail shades and delivers glitter in the right amount. £18.55 from QVC.

clinique_3step

Clinique’s classic 3 step kit is one of my favourites cleanse, tone and moisturise sets. Have a go with this intro collection and see for yourself. £20 from Debenhams.

liz_earle

The Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is a classic – and is has a special edition for Christmas – £26.25 for 200ml cleaner and 2 muslim cloths!

Over £26

naked3

I couldn’t leave out the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay, coming out on the 12 December for £37. Hurry!!!

mac_stoke_midnight

Beautifully packaged MAC’s Stroke of Midnight eye kit in Smoky got me hooked. Smokey eyes paradise with Chillproof, Retrospeck, Gaelic Gold, Well Put Together and Carbon (my fave matte black eyeshadow). At £32, exceptional value for money.

 

benefit

Benefit’s Groovy Kinda Love gift set has their best sellers to keep you pretty – and all for £29.50 from Boots.

ud_glitter

Sparkle! The Urban Decay Starlight Glitter set can help with that! £30 from House of Fraser.

Damsel-in-De-stress

Guinot has brought some lovely gift boxes this year, each one looking to fix a “problem” in a girl’s life.

Ready Set Glow will deliver complexion brightening tools; Damsel in De-Stress will pamper and help relief stress; Supercharged Youth Boost delivers a boost for ageing skin. They also have a male grooming gift set called Tied up, with a face wash, after shave and shaving brush! They are priced between £46 and £64 and can be found at your nearest salon using Guinot products or at the Salon Skincare website, amongst others. website

ysl_youthliberator

Reveal a younger you with YSL Forever Youth Liberator Serum set, £64 from Boots.

lancome_visionnaire

Lancôme’s Visionnaire is of my favourite serums – and this set has lots of amazing goodies to accompany it! It costs £82 from Boots.

mac_brushes

This classic selection of half size MAC brushes is amazing – and a fantastic value too at £42.

lancome_alber

And finally, a girl can dream…. fro £300 you can get the WHOLE Alber Elbaz collection for Lancôme at Harrods. Sigh…

Beauty products and make up I cannot live without

Most of my eyeshadows!

We all have them, right? Some swear by a handful of products that keep them beautiful on a daily basis… however, you are *slightly* more exaggerated,  like myself, you probably notice that your staple beauty products cannot fit in one hand, or two… better bring out the sack…

I decided to list my essential make up items as well as my staple beauty products, as I believe they go hand in hand beautifying my everyday!

There is an awful lot more stuff and I have to say, I am quite good using most of the stuff I have

Drum roll…. here is my tried, tested and loved list:

Make up

  • MAC foundation, most of the times Selct FPS 15 in NC37 – I have tried many foundations in my life (trust me, I am a girl who had severe acne when younger), and this is the one I stuck with for quite sometime. Great to apply, it has a medium coverage. I am, at the moment, trying MAC’s Matchmaster, which has slightly better coverage than the Select and I am very happy with it too. I sometimes mix my foundation with moisturiser for everyday use or build up for hard-wearing make up.
  • MAC Mineralize skinfinish natural powder, in medium dark – cannot live without, usually brush on top of my foundation to add colour, but sometimes just on its own it offers you good coverage without being heavy, at all.
  • MAC Sheertone Shimmer blush in Sunbasque – so versatile…. could, in desperate times, double up as a bronzer, it goes with most colours. When I am full make up on, I use it only on the apple of the cheeks, with Mineralize blush in Chic Couple under the cheek bone for extra definition.
  • MAC Mineralize skinfinish bronzer in Gold deposit – not too overpowering in colour, gives you that lovely glow, suitable for the winter and summer, can be built up…. great for a bot of contouring.
  • MAC eye shadow in Carbon –  another super versatile item. An intense matte black, I wear it as for fierce smokey eyes or on a daily basis as eye liner.
  • Mascara usually Maybelline Falsies, but lately been dabbling with YSL – you can check the review here, Soap & Glory and Maybelline One by One.
  • Eye liner – I have and use many different ones. The one I am quite into at the moment is the The Collection 200o Extreme 24 hour felt tip liner in black. I use eye shadow as eyeliner, gel liners from Maybelline and MAC.
  • MAC brow shader duo – a nice little matchbox like packaging with a dark shadow for your eyebrow and a lighter for the brow bone. It has been discontinued, I am lucky I have two and they last forever!
  • MAC pigment in Vanilla – so great, really gives your brow bone that extra, glamourous sheen, lifting your brows up to the sky! Amazing buy, a little pot will last you a long time.
  • Eye shadow – I own a plethora of shades… cannot get enough of eye shadow, could not pick a favourite, as it varies with my mood.
  • Lancôme Color Fever lipstick in Hot Stuff Rouge: a metallic red I think this colour has been discontinued, which is  shame, as it is the best red ever! It is not too bright so suitable for day wear, it has a smooth creamy texture, so it glides when you apply – it is so good, I don’t even have to use a lip liner. I love it!
  • MAC Russian Red lipstick – hot. That’s all.
  • Lipcote lipstick fixer – I swear by this product. After reading reviews that it dries your lips more than fixes the colour, I was a bit unsure about buying it. My lips are quite dry, and this product hasn’t made it any worse. It fixes the colour beautifully, and I never wear a red on a night out without applying this on top. It stays put most of the night and it won’t stain glasses when you drink. Great!
  • A primer. Been using MAC’s Prep+Prime Skin for a few years and recently discovered Murad Hybrids Skin Perfecting primer (dewy finish) which did wonders for my skin – a brilliant primer for acne scarred skin.  I also use Lancôme’s La Base Pro.
  • Eyelid primer – at the moment using e.l.f and happy with it.

Beauty:

  • Face moisturiser – Nivea visage Oil free moisturising fluid is great value for money. I also wear Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, but this Nivea one is a great budget alternative – the texture is pretty much the same, it absorbs quickly, it moisturises well and my skin likes it.
  • Victoria’s Secret hydrating body lotion in Pure Seduction – been wearing it for a good 10 years now and it is the only moisturiser  my body has seen. Love the consistency, the hydration and the smell is to die for. Sadly, not largely available in the UK (soon to be though), so I stock up from duty free, and suffer the occasional “moisturiser depletion anxiety” when I think I will run out before another trip abroad.
  • Victoria’s Secret ultra-moisturizing hand and body cream, also in Pure Seduction- just like above, but I use it as a hand moisturiser.  It is just great, more supple than the body lotion, also good for elbows and knees.
  • St. Tropez Everyday Airbrush fake tan – easy to apply, never had streaks, the tan looks natural – worth noting I do not abuse it!The smell could be better, but could also be much worse, so overall, I like it and rely on it.
  • Lip balm – my lips are quite dry, and I suffer a lot in the winter; you won’t see without Vaseline lip therapy cocoa butter and lately créme bruleé or cherry Carmex.
  • Clarins Cleansing milk and Toning lotion for combination/oily skin – I know I should wear it twice daily, but I usually do it once, before going to bed. The toning lotion is also a good astringent, and I wear it on my eye lids as part of my eye make up prep!
  • Clinique 3 step system – I usually do this in the mornings. At the moment, I am using the soap bar and clarifying lotion 2, for dry combination skin.
  • Eye drops – My eyes are also very dry, in the wonter aggravated by heating and in th summer by hayfever (I know, lucky me, eh?!), so I use itchy eye drops a lot. I’ve been using Optrex Itchy eye drops and it helps a lot. In the winter,  I usually change to a moisturising eye drop, like Optrex Dry or Actimist eye spray (which I find great!)
  • Batiste dry shampoo  – an absolute saviour. When younger, I used to wash my hair every day, because it is quite fine and looks dirty in 24 hours. Not anymore, dry shampoo (and ballerina buns) changed my life.
  • L’Oréal Absolute eye & lip make-up remover – another saviour, been wearing for a long time, cheap and cheerful, does the job brillianty.
  • Kérastase Nutritive Nutri-termique hair mask –  this is a miracle worker, using it once a week for about a year really changed my hair’s condition. Really amazing product.
  • Kérastase Lait Nutri-sculpt leave in smoothing hair foundation – in combination with the hair mask, this also changed my hair – it enabled me to grow it with the best condition my hair has ever been.
  • Nail varnish – lots and lots of it, in a rainbow-like palette!!!
What about you? What are the products you cannot live without?  Have you tried any of my favourites? What did you think?

Eye make-up look challenge: black and gold

black and gold eye make up look

click to enlarge

I am very excited to be posting my very first eye make-up look challenge!

After considering my “menu”, I decided to kick off with slightly something different, dare I say, rather dramatic, although quite simple: a gold base with shadowy, geometrical black outline.

I really enjoyed the effect when the eye is closed. Now, I am not sure how much I like the pokey line once my eyes are open (which will be most of the time, right?!). As mentioned on the book, you must have perfectly plucked and groomed eyebrows if you are wearing this look, otherwise it can appear very  messy. I also think it would look great with some false eye lashes!

I really enjoyed doing it, and would maybe consider for some occasions.  I had a little bit of a problem with the line that pokes out, I drew it with the MAC’s 212 brush and shaded with the 231, after a failed attempt; it is quite hard to get the definition needed for the contrast.

Products I used:

Level of difficulty:

So, what did you think of the look? Would you wear it?

Find out what the rating means.

Product review: YSL Volume Effet Faux-Cils mascara

YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils mascaraI have been using Maybelline mascaras for quite sometime now, and I find them so good that it was love at first brushing – I forgot all about my long-standing affair with the Lancome ones.

When faced with the opportunity to get the Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux-Cils mascara, I did so almost reluctantly, as I was very happy with my Falsies.

It had been sitting in my make up drawer for months, unopened and unused, so I decided it was high time to crack it open, and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara brushIt does indeed give you volume, good separation and length; even though the brush is quite bushy, it doesn’t clump. It has a surprisingly nice smell (had never seen a mascara with a slight fragrance!)  and the tub is lush (although I keep confusing it with my Touche Eclat!)

Even after rubbing my watery eyes  for most of the day (the computer screen is really irritating them, as I left my glasses at home) the mascara seems to hold well, and best of all, I didn’t turn into a panda. This means it has good staying power, and even after a long day at work, simply washing your face with a good face wash won’t do, so an efficient eye make up remover is a must.

eyes with and without YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara

I really like this mascara, but will this be enough for me to leave my beloved Maybelline Falsies behind? Probably not, as value for money is greater with the Falsies (£8.19) and the difference in results is little or none, but this YSL (£22.00) definitely has a deserving place in my heart – and my make up bag!

Smashbox freebies

Smashbox productsAfter much procrastination to commit, I decided to subscribed to some magazines.  One of them, Elle, has sent me a Smashbox make up set as a welcoming gift.

I am very sceptical about things that come free – I have been terribly disappointed in the past – so I opened the envelope with an anticipated dissatisfaction.

I would love to say that I was proven wrong and started vehemently believing in free stuff – this is not the case, but I  can say I was pleasantly surprised with the goods I received: O-Gloss Gold, Photo Op brightener and Soft Effects Powder Eyeliner, in aubergine.

Smashbox eyeliner

My favourite one is probably the eyeliner. When I saw the “aubergine” colour, I was a bit annoyed and thought: “typical, they never give you a great staple, like black, for free!”, but it turns out that it is quite dark, and close enough to be worn as an option to black.

For me, the best use was to recycle my eyeliner, I tried it on top of my reliable albeit very tired after a long day at the office,  MAC smolder eye kohl and it looked fantastic. In the morning though, when applied on fresh eyes, it was a bit messy, as it is very loose and fine powder, and the line was a bit rough – but maybe I need to get used to the applicator. Once you get it right (it took me a few minutes,  a cotton bud and a foundation retouch below the eyes!), it looked ok.

Smashbox lipgloss

The lipgloss did what it said on the tin – it changed from a guilded gold to a peachy tone and apparently, the peach colour of this intuitive lipgloss adjusts to your skin, giving you the best match for your complexion. Lips looked nice, the colour was good for me, I really like the golden sheen and the consistency and taste of the lipgloss were alright.

As for the highlighter, it was satisfactory, but not better than my usual Benefit High Beam or my YSL Touché Eclat.

All in all, I can say that I probably wouldn’t buy them. Maybe I could give the eyeliner a go but the £17 price tag for the duo (the black is paired with the aubergine), makes me think if it is really worth it. Good to try new brands and products though, and what I will probably do is use its applicator with other eyeshadows, as quite like the idea behind it, and see how it goes!