Antipodes Skin Brightening Cleanser | Review

What did I do before this cleanser entered my life? It’s honestly my Holy Grail and I will continue to buy bottle after bottle until something else comes along that rivals the glow-boosting, skin-clearing benefits of this gem- which might not even be possible. 

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I fully attribute my clear skin to the cocktail of bioactive ingredients in this cleanser. I’ve always suffered on and off with acne, namely clusters of small spots that flare up every now and again around my cheeks and chin. They’re mega annoying, stubborn and are often accompanied by those big, under-the-skin mountains with their own heartbeat and post code. But the gentle exfoliants in this cleanser, which include kiwi, honey and hibiscus, work together to buff away congestion and balance oil production, giving spots the boot. Em Ford of MyPaleSkin was actually a big fan of this cleaner when her acne was at its worse- video HERE. The exfoliants also work to give my complexion the most healthy, lit-from-within-glow after regular use, giving me the confidence to forego heavy foundations and stick to lighter bases that just wouldn’t float with spotty, dull skin. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Holy Grail cleanser if it didn’t also leave skin unstripped and hydrated. I’m almost surprised its so effective at tackling acne, given how mild and light it is on the skin. The product itself has a thick, gel-like consistency which lathers into a foam-free cream, which I really prefer over a sudsy froth. Although pricier than drugstore alternatives, the £25 price tag isn’t extortionate for a high-end cleanser, and the benefits are definitely worth it, in my opinion. Plus, one bottle seems to last a long time; I’m on my third, and I started using this around this time last year. I’m shocked and slightly appalled that it’s taken me this long to review this amazing, all-round staple in my skincare routine!

Buy the Antipodes Juliet Skin Brightening Cleanser HERE.

 

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My MAC Nudes

I moved house a couple of weeks ago, and in the process of packing up all my makeup I noticed I had an awful lot of MAC lipsticks and lip pencils knocking about, and most of them were in varying shades of nudes. So it seemed only sensible to dedicate a post to my collection of MAC nudes, with swatches and comparisons; if you’re in the market for your new my-lips-but-better shade, then read on.

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I’ll start out with the lipsticks. My most recent addition is MEHR which is described on the MAC website as a dirty blue pink. This is the boldest shade in my nude collection; it packs quite a dark pink punch and the cool mauve undertones don’t suit every complexion. I think this is one I’ll grow to like more when Autumn and Winter come rolling round (which seems to be coming sooner than I’d like!).  Mehr is one from the matte range, and I’ll save myself some typing now and say that all the lipsticks in the matte collection are super hydrating, long-wearing and not prone to cracking or feathering. VELVET TEDDY was my first matte lipstick from MAC, and it’s proved to be a very reliable addition to my make-up bag. When Kylie Jenner insisted her improbably huge lips weren’t the work of a skilled surgeon, and just the flattering effects of MAC’s Velvet Teddy, I jumped on the bandwagon and bought myself a tube and for almost a year I didn’t leave my house without it. There’s a reason why, though; it’s an uber-versatile, suit-all shade that you can wear to work or on a night out, and the perfect balance of peachy pink and dusky nude mean your lips look plumped and full. It’s not quite lip fillers in a tube, but it does come close. On a similar vein HONEYLOVE promises beestung lips too, but the shade leans slightly warmer and more nude than Velvet Teddy. This works well with my skin tone, which is MAC NC30, for reference. For a more sophisticated nude, TWIG is a slightly deeper, rosy beige that has taken the 80’s brown lipstick trend and made it slightly more wearable. The mauve tones keep it on the nude side of ghoulish, and the satin finish means it’s a bit more forgiving than it’s matte cousins. 

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Without flash

Japanese Maple and CREME D’NUDE are two subtle Cremesheen shades that I was really looking forward to chatting about, but unfortunately Japanese Maple seems to have been discontinued. I found Creme D’Nude repackaged under the Shadescents range, but on the website, the shade looks much pinker than it does in person. To me, Creme D’Nude was always a true, fleshy nude in a moisturising, shiny formula that gave me serious school make-up vibes- anyone else remember the concealer on the lips trend? This shade was like the acceptable, grown-up equivalent. I really hope they haven’t changed the shade too much! Japanese Maple was a similar shade, only it was a little darker and more peachy and I always thought it made my lips look luscious and shiny, but very subtly. But I should probably stick to talking about products you can actually still buy, and this is the final shade in the lipsticks range; TAUPE is the older, more mature sister of Velvet Teddy. And unlike Velvet Teddy, she’s not for everyone; those with fair or ruddy complexions should steer clear as this lipstick has some serious rusty, brick tones running through it that makes it look amazing on tanned and olive complexions, but garish on most other people. A real treat if you can pull it off, this brown shade will make you bring together any make-up look and the matte formula will stay in place all day.

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With flash

Onto lipliners, and I have two of the classic pencil liners and two of the Pro Longwear Lip Pencils; the latter of which I’m obsessed with it. The creamy, glide-on formula means you can not only line, but also fill with these, much like a lipstick; they dry matte and stay put beautifully. POSY PERFECT is one such lip pencil, and is a firm favourite of mine. It runs quite close to Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk, but with a slightly rosier tint. I’ve used this on other people and it’s a very flattering shade, so if you’re new to wearing pinky shades on the lips, this is a good colour to ease you in. EDGE TO EDGE is a darker, more mauvey pink that I usually wear when I want something a little more punchy than a standard nude. Although Edge to Edge is in the standard lip pencil format, it doesn’t drag and it’s not drying in the least. The other lip pencil in my collection is my all-time favourite lip pencil and also one of my favourite MAC products in general; I’ve bought at least six of these pencils so far and I keep them until they’re nothing but stubs. So favoured is it, I usually keep in one in my handbag, one on my dressing table and one in my make-up drawer so I’ve always got one to hand. SUBCULTURE is the ultimate your-lips-but-better shade. It matches my natural lip shade almost to a tee, making overlining a piece of cake. I’ve been wanting to dedicate an entire post to this shade, but haven’t gotten round to it yet. The final colour is a new shade that I recently picked up at the duty-free counter at the airport, and I’m surprised no-one talks about this shade more. DOUBLETIME is a true nude that would pair beautifully with Honeylove, and similarly to Subculture, it’s easier than ever to overline and perfecting your pout. This one’s set to become a future favourite of mine. I've also just remembered I have STRIPDOWN, a fleshy beige shade, in my collection, but unfortunately I forgot to picture it! This classic pencil is a bit more drying than the Pro Longwear format but the shade itself is a very wearable browny pink.

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Without flash

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With flash

You can shop all the products in this post by clicking on the links on the shade names; enjoy!

I’ve just finished a few weeks interning at Stylist magazine, and it's been amazing! But now it's time to go back to Uni and start working on my dissertation, which I'm already feeling stressed about! Make sure you catch up with me on INSTAGRAM and TWITTER

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Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk | Review

This foundation has been on the scene for years now, with many make-up artists citing it as their Holy Grail. I decided it was time to check out the hype. 

I managed to buy the wrong shade of this foundation not once, but twice. Undeterred and even more determined to try this out after the shade 4 turned out to be too dark, I went the opposite way and picked up a bottle in the shade 2. Surprise, surprise, it was far too pale. Like Goldilocks and the 3 bears, the third bottle I’d buy would probably turn out to be just right- but this foundation comes with a sizeable price tag and I wasn’t keen on forking it out for the third time. Besides which, having two shades at totally different ends of the colour spectrum means I can customise my perfect shade every day, based on how dedicated I’ve been to my fake tanning so it actually works out. 

Let’s talk about about the formula of this foundation. It’s light and predominately water-based and it glides on really smoothly. It buffs into the skin easily and blends seamlessly, leaving a virtually undetectable base. I love that this can built up to ramp up the coverage if you need to, and it lasts amazingly well even without powder. But all that aside, my favourite feature is the way it makes my skin look. It manages to make it appear both matte, but also slightly glowy and satin-y and while it covers up all of my blemishes, dark circles and evens my skin tone, my skin still looks like skin. A little blob of this goes a long way, making the price a little more justifiable. And for what I can only describe as perfect skin in a bottle, how could you not love this? My one gripe is that, although this comes with a pump which is a huge plus, it does have a tendency to leak out at times. I’ve picked this out of my make-up bag to to find wasted foundation in the lid and down the side of the bottle on more than occasion. For such an expensive product, you would expect the pump to be up to standard. 

That minor grumble aside, this really is a wonder-product. It's hydrating, long-wearing and makes your skin look like you drink 3 litres of water every day and get nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re on the hunt for a new base and you want to splash out, then this ticks pretty much all the boxes.

 If you saw my last post you'll know I've just come back from Greece, which was absolutely lovely. We were staying in Kos and Luckily we missed the earthquake there, but it was really sad to hear about! I'll be doing a post on my holiday make-up and skincare soon, although my skincare routine is about to change as I'm finally going to see a dermatologist about my acne. Regular readers will know I've struggled on and off with acne for years, and hopefully after my visit next Monday I'll be sorted out. If you think there's anything I need to know before going then pease direct me to any posts or let me know in the comments below!

Dr. Brandt's Pore Refining Primer | Review

I’ve been meaning to review this amazing primer from Dr. Brandt for a while now and the wait is finally over!

Dr.  Brandt’s Pores No More Pore Refining Primer ticks an impressive number of boxes for me. It’s a lightweight, hydrating mattifying primer that keeps my base on lock throughout the day. This is what I reach for on nights out, when I know that come two or three am I’ll be a sweaty, kebab-stained mess with no desire to touch up my concealer or bronzer. This keeps everything from sliding off and allows me to keep touch-ups to an absolute minimum. I love how it looks in flash photos; the formula is skin tone rather than white like a lot of primers, so when worn underneath foundation it doesn’t give you that chalky or ghost-like cast in pictures. The actual texture of this is almost like a cross between a gel and a paste, which sounds a little bizarre, but it melts onto the skin instantly and glides on beautifully, leaving you with a soft, silky canvas for makeup. It definitely does minimise pores as it claims to, but whether it shrinks them up completely is up for debate. I wouldn’t personally attest to this, but my pores aren’t particularly large anyway, so I don’t take issue with it. In terms of longevity, hydration and that airbrushed effect provided by only the best of primers, it delivers it all and is well-worthy (in my opinion) of the hefty price tag. Unlike a lot of primers I’ve tried, this has a strangely, but no unpleasantly, organic smell, that reminds me of lavender. It’s possible this comes from the flaxseed extract, which absorbs excess oil, or tea tree oil which keeps pesky spots at bay. One tube of this lasts a hell of a long time, and packs such serious punch that I wouldn’t be without it now. It’s definitely one that I’ll keep repurchasing long into the future, and is one to consider if you want something that’ll not only make your skin look flawless- but also keep your skin looking flawless. And who wouldn’t want that?

Buy it HERE for 30.95 GBP.

Have you tried this primer? I've just bought the Too Faced Hangover Primer and I don't like it that much, but I'm going to persevere with it because I want to love it so badly. Did any of you not like the hangover primer? Let me know in the comments! Also if you have suggestions or blog posts about holiday clothes then link me to them because I'm going to Greece next month and I have no idea what to wear. I'm super excited though; if you'd be interested in hearing what I'm going to be taking with me make-up and skincare wise then let me know. Have a great week, guys!

The Perfect Pair | Blusher and Lip Colour

Out of all my pieces of make-up, blush and lip colour are the two I use the least; until I found this match made in heaven.

A few years ago when these were released, these blushes were all over everyone's blogs, and hailed as the affordable alternative for Hourglass’ swoon-worthy Ambient Blushes. Out of all the blushes I’ve used- and that includes NARS’ much-coveted Orgasm- this one from Max Factor is the one that’s converted me to wearing blush every day. I bought it in the shade Lovely Pink, which is the lightest in the range, but don’t let that put you off; this doesn’t look unnatural or too pink on the skin. All of the Creme Puff blushes are baked blushes made up of a pinky shade and slightly lighter, more golden/ peach shade, which work together to add dimension and depth. I was actually amazed by how flattering this blusher was, giving me a satiny glow and a healthy, I’ve-just-come-back-from-holiday tint. It compliments my bronzer (the Urban Decay Beached Bronzer if you were curious) and it brings out the blue in my eyes. The texture is very creamy and not at all chalky, but it doesn't separate any make-up you're wearing below it, which is great. It blends really well, leave an almost imperceptible flush of colour, so if you don't wear blush that often and you're thinking about trying it out, this would be a great option to start you off. Even though it's not very noticeable on the skin, I honestly couldn’t believe how much of a difference it made the overall appearance of my make-up and now I reach for it every single day.

This blusher pairs perfectly with the Bobbi Brown Art Stick in the shade ‘Bare’. These Art Sticks have definitely changed the lipstick game for me, as I’m someone who hates having to re-apply throughout the day and one of my biggest pet peeves is noticing my lipstick’s feathered or gone crusty. These are fuss-free lip pencils that are super moisturising and leave a tint, rather than full-blown hit of colour, which means they wear off naturally as the day goes on as opposed to caking or leaving a ring. This shade is quite a pinky nude, but it definitely falls under the your-lips-but-better category and I think it would suit a whole range of skin tones. I love swiping it on after lip balm, as it gives a subtle, plumped effect with none of the hassle of lip lining, filling and setting. A winner for summer, when I want something I can grab on the go and not worry about again. The combination of this lip pencil and blusher together is a soft and pretty look that's both fuss-free and understated.

You can buy the Max Factor Creme Puff blush HERE and the Bobbi Brown Art Stick HERE.

Have you tried either of these products? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget I’m still writing the ‘News’ tab on the top right of the menu bar so if you’d like to read the posts on there and comment, I’d be really grateful!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

New brand on the block The Ordinary has got the beauty world in a buzz, and after having tried their Hyaluronic Acid, it’s easy to see why.

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I won't witter on about the Ordinary's unique ethos, because the chances are you've already heard about it- I'll let this TELEGRAPH ARTICLE  do the talking instead. But, in short, the Ordinary provides uber-affordable skincare solutions (and make-up, in the near future) by cutting down on advertising and fancy packaging. So this 30ml of Hyaluronic Acid only cost me £6 which is a merge amount compared to what I would expect to fork out for a potent anti-ageing serum.

And hyaluronic acid has been touted as the best in the game for anti-ageing. HA is what our skin naturally produces to fight fine lines and wrinkles, so by using it as a serum we’re actually encouraging our skin’s long-term production of HA. HA is what keeps our skin looking plump and dewy, and after having used this product after cleansing and toning for about a week now, I can definitely attest to that.

At first, I found my skin felt a little tight after using this. The first few nights I put up with it, eschewing my reliable and beloved Nivea Q10. But after night 4 I gave in and started slathering on the Q10 after the hyaluronic acid, because it felt like if I didn't crack then my skin was going to. For a few weeks, I was using a few drops of HA with a few blobs of moisturiser, but as time went by, I weaned myself off the Q10 all together. Although my skin didn’t feel as deeply moisturised as it does with the Q10, my skin looked supple and hydrated and my foundation glided on smoothly and buffed in beautifully come morning. I think this one is definitely one that takes some getting used to, but now I’m a total HA convert and the Q10 will only make an appearance if my skin is going through a particularly parched phase.

My first buy from the Ordinary has been a success; so much so that I’ve already ordered their retinol serum and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. Keep your eyes open for a full post soon. The Ordinary wins top marks for being readily available on Asos and for it’s minimal packaging that looks particularly chic in my bathroom cabinet.

Buy their hyaluronic acid HERE.

Have you tried anything from the Ordinary? I've heard their new foundation hasn't even been released yet, but it's already got a massive waiting list! Hopefully when it becomes more available I'll manage to buy a bottle. I'm really sorry I haven't been posting as regularly on here or on my INSTAGRAM, it's because I've been so stressed with deadlines and exams I just haven't had the time. I'll get back to it soon, I promise. In the mean time, as part of my assessments I've been writing the 'News' tab in the top left corner on this blog, so it would mean so much to me if you guys could check it out and leave comments.

Two New Lipstick Loves

I picked up two limited edition lipsticks from Charlotte Tilbury last month; ‘Pillow Talk’ from the Matte Revolution range and ‘Valentine’ from the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. range. 

Surprise, surprise, they’re both nudes! Maybe one day I’ll stray away from a classic nude lip, but that day is not today.

After falling in love with the original Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk, I was happy to see Charlotte Tilbury bringing out a lipstick in the same fleshy, mauvey, pink. The ultimate your-lips-but-better shade, this buttery, matte lipstick matches the now-iconic Lip Cheat to a T, making full lips as easy as lining with the Lip Cheat and filling with a quick swipe of this lipstick. It glides on beautifully, but adheres to the lip when it’s dry for a budge-proof pout that lasts all day all with minimal cracking or feathering. A win for matte lip lovers who find their lipstick caking a few hours after application.

As the name suggests, Valentine is a soft, petal-pink shade. It’s quite light in colour, but it has a warm peach undertone running through it that makes it flattering, rather than garish. The formula is lightweight and moisturising and it lends your lips a light, glossy sheen. The result is subtle, but sultry and keeps with Charlotte's kiss-me-quick theme that the the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. range is renowned for.

Both encased in the signature rose-gold packaging, these look amazing on my dressing table, but are more likely to be found in my make-up bag, as I reach for them almost everyday.

 They’re both limited edition, so if you want to get your hands on them, you better get a wiggle on- you can find them HERE and HERE.

Have you tried any other lipstick shades from Charlotte Tilbury?

Keihl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate | Review

I've been wanting to try a facial oil for a while now and I've heard nothing but good things about the MIDNIGHT RECOVERY CONCENTRATE from Kiehl's. 

I was excited to try this much raved-about skin treatment. Packed with natural oils high in fatty acids, the oil is designed to replenish and renew skin overnight, when the skin is most susceptible to absorbing product. The first evening I used it, I applied it after cleansing and decided to forego my usual moisturise in favour of this as it left quite a heavy residue on the skin and I didn't want to overload it with product. Come morning, the evening primrose oil, natural lipids and omega 6 had already set to work and my complexion looked smooth and supple. My skin is quite dull and congested at the moment, but this gave me a dewy glow and my make-up seemed to glide on much more evenly than usual. For no-makeup days, this is a crucial night-before step in my skincare routine as it adds a noticeably healthier touch to my face.

Acne scars appeared lighter and my skin texture looked plumped and rosy. The evening primrose oil also works to alleviate acne and after using this a few times I notice fewer spots, which is surprising as I've always shied away from oils; I've definitely been conned by the myth that facial oils clog your pores and cause spots. The only thing I would point out about this treatment is that it isn't quite as hydrating as your classic night cream, and as someone with dry skin, I find myself using the oil first, waiting until it's absorbed, and then going in with my reliable NIVEA QT10 moisturiser. Since the oil's main function is to repair and restore life to unhappy skin, injecting moisture to the skin is an added bonus. To hydrate deeply, use this and a face cream in tandem. This is a minor gripe though, and overall I couldn't recommend this enough if you're in the market for something that promises to straighten out a whole range of skin problems and make your skin look and feel in tip-top condition and as good as new. 

Have you tried this facial oil? Let me know in the comments!

The Perfect Pair | Primer and CC Cream

Now the weather's warming up, I'm favouring a lighter, glowy base over matte options and this primer and CC cream combination work in tandem to create a radiant, lit-from-within look on the skin.

Since purchasing BECCA's BACKLIGHT PRIMING FILTER, I've used it almost every day, swapping it out only occasionally in favour of Dr. Brandt's Pore Refining Primer (review coming soon). The BECCA brand is renowned for it's illuminating products, and this primer is no exception. It lends my complexion serious glow, which can be slightly intimidating when you first apply it, but once it's buffed in it leaves a sheer luminous base for makeup with none of the sparkle or shimmer. It's comfortably hydrating, while not compromising on the longevity of my foundation and one pump is all I need to cover my whole face. Under matte foundations like Double Wear this stops my face looking flat or dull, but under lighter bases is where this primer really shines (literally). 

It's not often I find a drugstore base that I really love, but Bourjois' 123 CC CREAM really ticks all the boxes for me. It packs a serious punch in terms of coverage, but it's very lightweight, moisturising  and blends beautifully into my skin. The colour-correcting properties in this work to even out my skin and iron out any ruddiness, which I really suffer from around my nose. With yellow undertones, this compliment my warmer skin tone. This Summer, I know I'll be wearing this every day, as it contains SPF and the consistency makes this the perfect holiday base. 

These two work together beautifully, and I've had a few people people tel me my skin looks smooth and soft when wearing them together. I love finding drugstore and more high-end products that work well when paired up. I'm thinking of doing regular instalments on my blog about products that work well together, what do you guys think?

As I mentioned, it's getting warmer now and I'm after a lightweight jacket to start wearing. If you have any recommendations comment below!

Also, make sure you check out my latest post on my 'news' tab. 

Eucerin Cleanser | Review

Last month, I brought you a review of SUNDAY RILEY'S CERAMIC SLIP CLEANSER, the verdict of which, was that I wouldn't be repurchasing even though it had a positive impact on my blemish-prone skin. So, my quest for a spot-clearing cleanser continues. Enter, this Eucerin cleanser.

This cleanser was a weird one; when I first started using it, I had few spots still in their prime dotted about my face and when I applied this cleanser it really stung on these areas. Not a good start. It reminded me of the cheap, soap-based cleansers I used to use when I was a teenager. Paired with an unpleasant, medicinal smell, I was expecting it to really strip my skin and leave it feeling super tight and dry. 

I was right; when I first started using it, my skin definitely felt quite dry and unbalanced afterwards. Additionally, it caused my skin to break out, which I did expect. Cleansers for oily or spot-prone skin tend to cause an initial breakout when you first start using them as all the dirt and oil below the skin gets dragged up the surface and become trapped in your pores, so I was prepared to let that one slide. However, I hate having dry skin so I was all but ready to bin this cleanser and try something new. Luckily, I ain't no quitter.

Miraculously, a week after my initial breakout had calmed down, I woke up with crystal clear skin. It's lasted throughout the whole festive season and up until now, which is pretty impressive. I normally point the finger of blame at sugar, dairy products, red meat and alcohol when my skin's acting up and although I've been eating all those things like I didn't get the New Year New Me memo, my skin has stayed completely spot-free.

I'm not sure if I'm a total convert on this cleanser. Reviews on the Boots website have cited it their Holy Grail product, and while I wouldn't go that far, I'm going to keep this cleanser in my routine. I'm not one to mess with a good thing! I'm going to do a full post on my current nighttime skincare routine so if you have skin that is prone to breakouts, then you should definitely look out for that. I'll also keep you updated on this cleanser and how it works out for me in the next few weeks.

Buy HERE

Do you have any recommendations for spot-prone skin?