Thursday 28 May 2015

Foundation for ethereal beauties (like redheads)

Over the years, I've used a number of foundations for pale skin.  Here are some foundations for anyone who is pale enough to burn at noon in the summer together with my experience of them.

Lancome - Teint Miracle Foundation (#005 Beige Ivory)
This was the first foundation I ever discovered that truly matched my skin tone, gave great natural coverage and lasted all day.  It was the first time I felt beautiful.  I fell in love with the brand and discovered their skincare products were undeniably agreeable with my skin.  It was my first choice for wedding make-up.

Look out for their offers like "buy two products (one to be skincare) and get a make-up bag with miniature/full size popular products".  Whenever I needed to buy more Eau Micellaire Douceur (cleanser), Bi-Facil (eye make-up remover), Hypnose (mascara) or foundation, I'd get showered with free stuff.  The small bottles were great for holidays and I was kept in a constant supply of lip gloss, lipstick, mascara and eye liner.  In addition, at Christmas they often have a hamper of beauty products at less than half price if you buy one/two products or spend a certain amount.  I often love their spring eye shadow pallets.

I would have stayed loyal to them forever if it hadn't been for an info-pic I saw on Facebook that suggested they test on animals.  I searched their website but found nothing to the contrary.

I no longer buy their products which is a shame.  I wore the brand for my wedding and loved everything from the primer (La Base Pro) through to the finishing touches like my eye shadow quad and lip gloss.  Lancome really has set the bar (for me) - it is difficult to find any products that come close to the quality of what I became accustomed to.

I also used their concealer (Effacernes Longaue Tenue) in their lightest shade and the correctors (Teint Miracle Corrector) in rose and peach.  I used it under my eyes and on the my cheeks as a highlighter.

Ester Lauder (loose powder)
One day, the Lancome counter wasn't holding a special offer and I really wanted to purchase a powder to set my foundation.  Instead, I found myself drawn to the Ester Lauder counter who also have some wicked freebies for customers.

I bought a loose powder in their lightest shade.  It was in a black square shaped pot.  The product was great and sometimes I wore the powder on it's own (no foundation).  However, the lid was loose and being clumsy I knocked it over.  After that I was scared to take it out with me in case it poured out inside my bag.  They don't appear to sell the product any more so I'm guessing other customers must have complained about the poor container choice and they've redesigned it.  I wasn't in love with the powder so I never bought it again.

I was in love with the freebie they gave me - Idealist (pore minimising primer).  With the hefty price tag, I've not had the luxury of buying a full size bottle.  However, if you can afford it, I highly recommend it.  My skin has never been happier.

Sheer Cover - Mineral Foundation (Bisque)
This is the first and only time I have ever been duped into buying cosmetics from a shopping commercial.  It promised the world with its flawless mineral foundation and if you ordered now you got this whole kit at an unbelievable price.

I ordered the lightest shade and it was orange on me.  They have now changed their foundation and the shade names but I wouldn't go there again.

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Dainty Doll - Liquid Foundation (#Very Light)
I couldn't wait for Nicola Roberts to launch her line of make-up especially designed for redheads. I also loved the quirky packaging with the little redhead cartoon character.  I bought the foundation and concealer in very light.

This brand was only available online and no matter how hard I hunted there was no way of purchasing a sample to see what colour was an ideal match.  I don't get why companies don't have a 50p sachet, especially if they only have a select store - only in London.

I'm sure you have guessed where this is going... turns out this was too pale for me.  The foundation was very thick so if you want a good coverage then this might be an option for you but I found it too heavy for me.  I also didn't like the click pen for the concealer - it ran out fast and not very much product came out.  Plus, you are wiping your blemishes with the same brush which doesn't seem very clean.

Illamascqua- Rich Liquid Foundation (#100 & #115) 
I don't know anyone who buys their products - perhaps because we don't have a store that stocks this in our County.  It was a bit of a gamble buying online but I felt reassured because they sold a white (#100) foundation so if the shade was too dark, I could mix it and lighten it.

I'm always the lightest shade but... #115 was too light!  I was able to use it mixed with foundations I'd bought that had been too dark.  I also bought their Matt Primer and quickly learnt, I should have bought Satin Finish because I didn't like the dry effect it had on my skin.

Bobbi Brown - Foundation Stick (#Alabaster)
The nearest Bobbi Brown counter to me is 60 miles.  I really wanted to try their foundation because it had amazing reviews and there is a huge choice of varieties as well as a wide choice of colours.  So, eight months pregnant I got my husband to drive me there - I wanted a foundation that would survive labour.

The counter girl first told me off for not making an appointment - she didn't have anyone booked in but still felt it important to scold a heavily pregnant woman who had travelled over an hour to see her.  My husband persuaded her to help me as it was for my birthday and she agreed.  I told her I was interested in the new BB creams with 35spf and I wanted something long lasting and fuss free.  She identified that my colour was Alabaster and that I should buy the Foundation Stick and Face touch up stick.  She applied it and it looked good.  I also got an eye shadow pallet and some freebies.

On my birthday, (exactly a week before my son's d├ębut), I got to finally use my new make-up and I found the foundation stick was very difficult to apply.  The touch up stick is basically a smaller version of the foundation stick.  It is very dry and does not blend very easily.  

There is such a wide range of products, I'm sure that another sales girl who actually wanted to help me would have helped me purchase a product that actually works with my skin type.   I ended up using both sticks as concealer because that was all the chalky product was good for. If you don't have dry skin then this might be great for you.  The colour Alabaster was spot on and the best match to date.  It also stays on through labour (lol) and swimming.

I bought their Tinted Moisturising Balm online but I wish I had tried the product first as it didn't agree with my skin.  It was too rich and looked streaky.

I have since tried the Creamy Concealer in Porcelain.  This is good.  You don't get very much for your money.  I get blemishes on my chin and use it every morning and after only a month I'm already at the bottom of the pot.  It also fades by the end of the day.  However, it isn't drying and feels comfortable on my skin and the little pot has a mirror in it.

Bourjois - Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (#Vanille Calir)
Living on maternity pay meant I had to kiss goodbye to premium make-up. Hitting the high streets, I was drawn in by this foundation promising a mix of fruits that deliver health benefits the skin.

I got the foundation in Vanille Calir and concealer in Eclat Clair.  The colour was pretty light and although it wasn't perfect I couldn't complain at a third of the price I had been paying for Bobbi Brown.  In addition, this product blended nicely and felt good on my skin. If you are on a budget, this is a great product to buy.

Lily Lolo - Mineral Foundation SPF 15 (#Porcelain)
A colleague at work recommended this foundation to me - it is cruelty free, organic and 95% of products are vegan.  It is often compared to Bare Minerals except this price tag is an absolute steal.  It was available at a local beauticians so it was easy to check the colour was right before buying.

I wear this most days as it gives a good light build-able coverage.  It is also a good colour on me.  The only draw back I've had is that it very dry and matt (I prefer liquid).  Sometimes it sits in the creases on my face.

I use this everyday but I'd like to buy a liquid foundation and concealer for those days when I want (need) a fuller coverage.

Beauty Without Cruelty - Ultimate Natural Liquid Foundation (#Sheer)
I really wanted to love this brand because of all the good that they do in the beauty industry.  Sadly, I was very disappointed.  The coverage is barely anything at all, you may as well not be wearing it.  The concealer had great reviews but was out of stock and the waterproof mascara had dried out and crumbled off the brush.  I won't buy this brand again and wouldn't recommend it based on my experience.

For Christmas my mother-in-law treated me to a box of miniatures of their best selling products.  I loved They're Real (mascara) and Benetint (lip tint).

The box also contained Porefessional (primer).  At first I thought it was too dark as it came out brown but it melts into the skin and makes the best base for make-up and makes pores vanish.   The box also contained their two lightest shades of concealer, however, these were both too dark on me.  My friend lent me her Lemonaid (eye primer) and this was amazing at covering the redness on my eyelids.  I used it everywhere I had redness - even on my neck after a night of passion *wink*.  I've had an excellent experience with Benefit's primers and recommend them.

Missha - Signature Real Complete BB cream (#13 Light milky beige)
I read that BB creams from Asia are better than the western ones.  As the western ones all appear to be too orang for me I decided to take a gamble and order this online.  I choose Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream (Spf 25) in shade #13 as it appeared to be the lightest.  I also bought a beauty blender sponge to apply it.

The BB cream is quite thick and covers up my blemishes and red tones (no need for corrector or concealer).  It is my exact shade, if I put it on the back of my hand, I can't see it.  I can still see my freckles on my cheeks.

The BB cream should last up to 12 hours, has wrinkle care, whitening and UV blocking benefits.  I'm not sure about the whitening but the other benefits sound awesome and my skin feels great after wearing this all day. It really does give a perfect coverage and lasts most the day.

They are against animal testing but sell to China (test their products to comply with the law there).

I really love this product and so does my skin.  The only draw back is that damn law in China - I wish they'd come out of the stone age and accept that unnecessary testing is ridiculous.  Surely they can count that humans have used it as evidence of it being suitable for use and "human use" must give a more accurate testimony than the reaction an animal has to the product.


I ordered my beauty treats for this month:

From Yes Style I have ordered Missha B Signature BB Cream #13.  This cost £21.90 with free shipping (7 to 14 days).  I did see I could get it cheaper on eBay but I wasn't sure if it was the real thing.

From Holland and Barrett I got Dr Organic Snail Gel Cream (£19.99) and four Dr Organic Snail Gel Masks (£1.99 each).  I've had my eye on this cream for ages but the price is really steep.  I almost bought it when it was reduced to £12.99 but didn't realise what a bargain that was until the price jumped back up.

Well... today, H&B have an amazing offer on!  "Buy 2 or more get 25% off.  Buy 5 or more get 50% off all dr. organic".  I added the cream to my basket and then looked up the cheapest Dr Organic product (the masks) and added four of them.  This came to £13.97 + £1.99 postage (grand total of £15.96).

From Beauty BayI bought their blender sponge for £2.50 (pink was sadly the only colour left).  I then treated myself to the Pixi Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Emerald Gold at £13.20 to ensure I got free delivery (free 2 day tracked delivery on spends over £10 otherwise £1.95).  My grand total came to £15.70.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Beauty Without Cruelty

Currently, I use Bobbi Brown creamy concealer in Porcelain and Kiss Me Make-up mascara.

Bobbi Brown
The great thing about this brand is that the concealer and foundation comes in a wide range of colours.  My shade is Alabaster (the lightest shade) for foundation.  They also have a wide range of formulas so you can find that product that is best for you.  For ages, I didn't try the concealer because the lightest shade was porcelain and we don't have a local counter to test it out.  In the end, I risked it and it turned out to suit me fine.  The pot has a useful little mirror in the lid which I love.

What I don't like about it is that it's quite pricey for the small pot you get - after a month, I can already see the bottom of the pot.  They sell their cosmetics in China (by law they must test their products on animals).   It doesn't appear to be organic (I can't see an ingredient list or bragging that they are natural).  I'm also frequently disappointed by their special offers.  Despite the concealer's five star reviews, I'm not in love with this product.

Kiss Me Make-up mascaras
I go swimming every week and feel invisible without any mascara because my eyelashes are so light.  I need a good reliable waterproof mascara.  As I've got older my eyes have become more sensitive but Kiss Me has not irritated them.  This mascara has been awesome!

I don't think it is organic and believe they sell to China too.  In addition, I have to wait for the product to be shipped to the UK and there have been occasions when it has sold out and I've had to wait for it to become available.  Then, I've had to use inferior waterproof mascaras that leave a smudge under my eyes.

Beauty Without Cruelty
I was really pleased to see that BWC had a concealer and a waterproof mascara. I ordered them both together with their liquid foundation as I currently don't have a liquid foundation and I've always preferred a liquid one.

Concealer pencil
Everywhere I looked for the super cover cream concealer pencil in fair was sold out.  Eventually, I found a store that were stocking it.  However, when it came to dispatch I got an email to say it wasn't in stock and I could have an alternative product or a refund.  Obviously, I wanted a refund.

Waterproof mascara
This arrived sealed in a cellophane wrapper.  However, when I peeled it off the mascara was dry.  My lashes were still strawberry blond after one coat and black flakes speckled my cheeks.  I didn't feel like I could return it because I had used it - so. that was a waste of money.

Liquid Foundation
I got the colour sheer because it was the lightest.  It does appear to be a good shade on me.  However, it is really sheer - maybe I should have guessed from the shade name.  It is lovely that I can see my freckles but I can also see my blemishes and pink tone in my skin (it does not even out my complexion).  I used it twice and then felt the product was pointless.

All in all, my experience of BWC was very disappointing which is a real shame because they are affordable and they don't test on animals.  Sadly, for me, the products just don't work and functionality is very important to me.

It looks as if I will be sticking with Bobbi Brown and Kiss Me for a little while longer.

PC on its way out

I'm pretty sure my PC is on its way out.  It has been incredibly frustrating recently where I can spend over an hour just to open a webpage.  On top of that my dad was rushed to hospital.  Finding productive time at my computer has been non-existent.  Most nights, I've got so annoyed with the ridiculous tortoise pace it operates at that I've thrown in the towel and headed up to bed to watch some Pretty Little Liars.

The actresses on that show are stunning.  Then I find myself looking at my dated wardrobe and worn out make-up and wishing I had the money to update it all.  Then I end up using my mobile to search the web for beauty bargains.

My new years resolution this year was to try and be more conscious of the make up I buy - animal testing, chemicals, fair trade, etc.

It's not always possible.  The most difficult thing is that these products aren't readily available.  I can't go into town and try out different foundation colours or smell a perfume.  Many of these products are not cheap so I can't gamble on them. Over the past few months, I have researched products online, reading reviews watching YouTube vidoes, to try and work out what to buy.  I've had some wins and some losses.  I will try to share these to try and help other consumers.

My check list is:
  • product works
  • affordable
  • not tested on animals
  • free of harmful chemicals
  • fair trade

Here is my current wishlists (for research):

Left to right:  Pixi - Mesmerizing mineral palette (Emerald Gold), Pixi - Eye bright liner, Ere Perez - Cheek & lip tint (Joy), Tata Harper - Volumizing cheek and lip tint (Very Sweet),  Hurraw - Tinted lipbalm (Blackk Cherry), Ere Perez - Volumising waterproof mascara (black)

Left to right:  Maybelline - Baby skin, Missha - M signature real complete BB cream (#13 Light Milky Beige), Beauty Bay Blender Sponge (yellow), Laura Mercier - High coverage concealer (#0.5), Ere Perez - Oat Milk Foundation (Light), Lily Lolo - Mineral Foundation (Porcelain)

Left to right:  Pixi - Glow tonic, Aurelia - Miracle cleanser, Pure Konjac - Puff sponge (Green clay), Holika Holika - Pig-nose clear blackhead 3 step kit

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Is it only me?

Throughout my life and in everything I do, I worry about being judged.  What will they think of me?  

This is the hardest part of writing.  You want to be well received but the only way to learn if what you are doing is right or wrong is to put your work out there for criticism or praise.  

At work, during my lunch break, I have a good half hour where I could get on with my writing but paranoia kicks in.  What if somebody sees what I'm writing? I imagine people laughing behind my backs at the soppy lines in a romance or thinking I need to be locked up for a dark and twisty horror.  

At home, there are so many distractions during the day.  My toddler demanding my attention and a ton of housework that is constantly put off.  Then in the evenings, I am either shattered or feel I should invest sometime in my husband because... Well, if we didn't want to spend time together then we may as well be divorced.  On top of that I try to fit my friends in.  It doesn't leave much scope in my schedule for writing.  

I don't know about you but once I finally sit at a computer i find that a distraction in itself. My online friends pop up on instant messenger and I start researching to get facts right or build inspiration.  I can spend a good 20 minutes choosing a character name or over an hour on a book cover.  Then there is re-reading what I last wrote to get myself back into the story and next I catch myself editing and cutting stuff out!  If I get the chance to write, I could end up with less text than I started!  

Maybe it all still counts as writing.  It's all part of the process but if just doesn't feel productive.  

I wonder if other writers suffer the same lack of confidence that I do.  If they too are shy of people knowing about their passion and imagination.  Do they find themselves desperate to write but conflicted by other commitments and lost to procrastination.  

Writing is a lonely hobbie.  I've joined several social communities but feel like a fraud to admit my struggles. Like I've failed before even getting published.  I never approach the subject with them and they never raise it either.  Maybe they feel ashamed too and fear the torches and pitch forks if they were ever discovered.  But it leaves me wondering "Is it only me?"

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Writing Experiment

When I started Drift in December 2010 I found WeBook to be incredibly active.  It was my first experience of an online writing community.  The feedback I received on the project was extremely useful and motivating.  Once my manuscript was complete, I worked on editing to get it suitable to send out to agents/publishers.  After polishing it up, I hoped to get feedback again on what required further improving.  Each time I returned, there was less and less activity.

Is it because I no longer have the same volume of free time to dedicate to the community so my contacts have waned.
Is it because readers have moved on to other websites that are more in tune with their evolving needs such as those with mobile applications.  

I decided to conduct an experiment starting from the first Bank Holiday in May to the last. 

I have picked four websites to post my writing to.  These sites are:


Each day I aim to contribute at least 500 words to the project.

Each site has the same novel image, the same blurb and the same chapters. The chapters are uploaded almost simultaneously.  

The goal is to identify which website is most active and achieves the best outcome (i.e feedback). 

At the end of the experiment I will share my findings and review the four sites.  

In addition, I finally will have started a novel I've been wanting to write for years but never been sure how to begin.