Monday, 30 January 2012

Figs & Rouge Organic Balms


These 100% organic balms are so gorgeous. The design is classic and original with a 20s/30s art deco feel.  Encased in the pretty tins is a highly moisturising balm for lips, hands and body, each tin having a different style that corresponds to the scent of the balm within.  Figs & Rouge pride themselves on the fact that their products are 100% natural and organic, enriched with vitamins, shea butter and natural bees wax to give them optimum effectiveness.  The balms are also completely petroleum free. Incorporating all these positive aspects to make for a little tin of joy!

They don't feel greasy on the lips at all, they are highly moisturising and they smell good enough to eat! All in all, a great daily essential that travels well, and that you can also use practically anywhere - from chapped hands and feet, nails and lips and dry skin in general to keeping brows in shape, using as a make-up primer and even as a cleanser. 
A product like this is such a make-up bag essential, their versatility makes them so practical and there is no end to the ways you can use them (even on your hair and as a perfume) that it could easily become a 'don't leave the house without it' product.

An innovative brand with an ethos that you can't fault, gorgeous and creative packaging with a brilliant product inside that is great for everyday skincare and perfect to carry around with you. They have a fantastic website too, packed with information about the products to give you a little more insight and to see the full range of balms. 


Stockists - Boots, Asos, Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods and Anthropologie just to name a few...


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Friday, 27 January 2012

diptyque



diptyque is a Parisian brand of perfume, scented candles and luxury bath and body products. Founded in 1961, diptyque has since gone on to become one of the most sought after and sophisticated brands of its kind. Since being introduced to diptyque a couple of years back (we can't get it in Norwich) I have continuously had one product or another in my possession continually. 
I love the vanilla and warmth to Eau Duelle, the fig scented, summery and unisex Philosykos and at the moment I am going through a vetiver phase (a type of grass derived from India) so the appropriately named Vetyverio is another of my must-have diptyque fragrances.

I recently got a new addition, the fairly new diptyque Vetyver candle. My perfume is on its last few sprays, so the candle has come at a welcome time. 
As well as the wealth of the amazing scents that the diptyque range features, I love the packaging, It is so effortlessly timeless and chic, simple and non-fuss, yet it exudes classic French sophistication. Also, once the candle has burnt down they make for brilliant and stylish holders, I'm thinking I will use mine as a make-up brush pot. 
The fragrances last on the skin all day, I have even had comments on it at the end of the day. The candles fill the room with scent almost instantly and resonate for a good while after. They are available in smaller sizes, but the size I have gives around 60 hours of burning time. 


diptyque products also make for fantastic gifts as there is a scent for everyone, not only that but the packaging and the variety of products available from will make them hard to resist. Although perfumes may be hard to choose for someone specifically, the candles are so diverse and unique, each and everyone of them offering something different, yet all with an unarguable air of luxuriousness. 

Who else is a diptyque fanatic?


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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Gielly Green Haircut Experience!


After our recent blog post reviewing the Gielly Green repair shampoo and hair mask (which you can read here), We were lucky enough to be invited into the salon for a cut and blow dry! We sent lovely London based girlie, Kate Gowing.

Kate reports, I went last week and was really excited to see what they would do with my lifeless and very flat hair, and I am thrilled with the finished look - my hair has been given a whole new level of vitality and femininity.

The salon - based on George Street - is gorgeous and chic, spacious with a luxury interior, giving it a sophisticated vibe. Upon arrival I was greeted by really friendly staff, one of whom kindly showed me around the salon. The salon not only offers hairdressing, but also includes beauty rooms with an array of treatments available. Gielly Green has also recently made the addition of a Shavata Brow Studio and Lash Lounge which is very exciting, with threading, tints, lashes and so on available. So your trip to the salon can transform you in an abundance of ways!



I had my hair cut by the amazing Fred Gielly, who is without a doubt the nicest guy I have met in the business and it was a real pleasure to have my hair cut by him. Before the cut, I went through the shampoo/conditioner/head massage process (which almost made me fall asleep) using the gloriously smelling Gielly Green products, this was a lovely experience in itself, and in fact I was lying down having this done which made it extra comfy and enjoyable! 
I was a little unsure of how I wanted my hair cut but I knew I wanted more body and life to it, so I let Fred work his magic and sat watching the transformation. I was so thrilled with the outcome, with the addition of layers and a fringe cut in, my hair had so much more bounce and volume to it, exactly what I wanted. 
The way my hair was blow dried was something I thought I could never achieve at home, but after my cut the salon told me that Fred had posted a 'how to' YouTube video about creating the perfect blow dry - excellent. You can see the video along with lots more hints, tips and information about the salon here.

Loved, loved, loved every aspect of my time in this welcoming and warm salon. Anyone living or passing by London should definitely check it out. I know I will be going back!

For prices and more information check out -

Post written by Kate Gowing

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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

BM Beauty by Kimberly Wyatt

Kimberly with co-founder Laura McComiskie

Last year, former Pussycat Doll and 'Got to Dance' judge Kimberly Wyatt launched new make-up brand BM Beauty - the PETA and BUAV approved line is a unique brand of make-up that puts its ethical and all-natural ethos at the forefront of its campaign. As well as this, Kimberly currently campaigns for, and stars in, the PETA's 'Ugly Side of Beauty' advert which urges the European Union to not postpone the total ban of all animal tested cosmetics, and stay with the planned deadline, initially set for 2013. I talked to Kimberly about both the campaign, and the blossoming BM Beauty line.


The advert for PETA is a really hard-hitting and effective image that really brings the message home. I asked Kimberly if she thinks the advert will create positive change that will help put an end to animal testing. "I feel like none of these animals have a voice, so by creating a picture like that and making it as close as it can possibly be to the truth, people will start to look, to use their own voice, to just take time to help make this change. Not one person can do it, but together we can be something great. The only people that can have a voice for them is us, in creating make-up lines and making those choices, hoping we bring a better consciousness to make-up and to life."
It is this sort of attitude and ambition to see the end of animal testing that is integral to the aim and ethos of BM Beauty.


The make-up line, currently only sold online since its launch almost a year ago, has already had a great amount of success and will expanding into retail stores later in the year. 
The make-up promotes itself as completely cruelty free, and is also free from parabens, synthetic dyes and fragrances and nano particles (just to name a few). Most of the make-up is mineral based and there are an abundance of colours and products to choose from to create looks for any occasion. 
I have been trying out the mineral foundation. It contains zinc oxide, which can help with spot prone skin - so whilst some foundations feel like they are clogging up your skin, this one simultaneously provides good coverage but also allows skin to breath, feels lightweight, and helps with any breakouts. It is affordable too at £14 which is even more of a reason to try out this product. 


In addition to the mineral foundation,  I have been using the mineral based eyeshadows and the mineral bronzer in 'Summer Warmth'. I love the soft, velvety texture of them, they all are beautifully pigmented and blend flawlessly.  I had to ask Kimberly what her top picks from the range were - "A girl can't ever go without a mascara and I'm really proud of this mascara, it's all natural but it still gives the thickness and the blackness that we all want. I also think a nude lip gloss is always fantastic, I don't ever leave home without mine. The finishing powder is so beautiful and dewy, it covers any spots that you may have, I have to deal with red spots occasionally, and it just gives you this flawless no make-up looking face and feel, it's perfect."


There products are broken up into collections so that it is easy to choose colours that compliment each other, there is also a string of online make-up tutorials showcasing the different collections, about which I asked Kimberly what her favourite tutorial is and which collection she uses the most. "I have to say Earthy Princess, I really wanted to create something that would be easy for any girl that’s trying to apply make-up and use colours that really compliment each other, and this is like a go-to palette for me - for everyday, for night, for stage and I can use it in different ways for pretty much everything. It lends itself to being accessible and easy." You can check out the Earthy Princess at work along with other tutorials and information on their website here
Other collections are Starry Eyed Glamour (cool neutrals), Storybook (bright & bold greens, pink and purple)  Burning Spirit (soft golds and bronzes) and Earthy Princess (warm browns and pink)



I also discovered that her business partner Laura McComiskie had previously worked on an organic skincare range 'Love the Planet' for which Kimberly credited for giving her valuable insight into the processes of make-up creation - from creating colours to knowing about the ingredients that go into them. She told me how the initiative BM Beauty arose after meeting Laura through people in the music industry. "We became best friends, we really shared a passion for making positive change as people, and making positive choices as consumers, I really loved what she was doing with her 'Love the Planet' range, I was really inspired by that. As we got to know each other more we really shared a passion for make-up so with the inspiration and the changes that we were both making we decided to merge them together and create something special, and that is how BM Beauty was born."

Finally, I wanted to know what we can expect to see from the range in the future.  "We're working on incorporating some creamy products, I love powders, but I do love creams too. We are working on an eyeliner, a highlighter that is great for eyeshadows and cheekbones, we have a rouge too, the colours are beautiful. With the arrival of the cosmetics in store soon too it is all exciting stuff!"

It's so exciting and refreshing to see this innovative and ethical brand growing and the products are effective, affordable and unique. It was a pleasure to talk to Kimberly about the range and to gain further insight into its development and ethos. Everyone should check out the range which is currently stocked online, you can follow them on Twitter too (@BMBeauty) for updates and more information.

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Friday, 20 January 2012

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A bit of Daniel Sandler Love


We are loving pretty much everything from the Daniel Sander range at the moment, we did a post a few months back showing a few highlights from the range which you can see here, but I thought I would give a shout out to a couple of products that we seem to be using non-stop. 



The amazing Watercolour Blushes which are such an innovative and fresh approach to blusher. As you can see from the picture, the blush comes in a thin liquid form and you can either apply it directly to the face with fingers or with a brush, you are left with a hassle free gloss of colour on the cheek that is non-sticky, buildable and makes the skin look instantly radiant and healthy. Only a little of the product is needed to achieve a beautiful glowing look, so this bottle will last you for months and months. The two colours here are Cherub on the left, and Gentle on the right and are available for £14.50 each.


The other shout out goes to the Invisible Radiance Foundation and Concealer which is so utterly fantastic and one of the most handy duos I've come across lately. From the top picture, you can see that the lid of the foundation flips open to reveal a corresponding concealer with a mirror to go with it. This essentially means that you can create a flawless, even and luminous look all in one product. The foundation itself is great, it gently reflects light making skin appear healthy and fresh, it has a lightweight formula so it sits on the skin comfortably and lasts on the skin too. I like how the packaging includes a curved brush which acts as a scoop making it simple to get the product out, right to the last drop. 

The concealer is tailor made to match the foundation perfectly, it has a rich and creamy formula which means it easily covers dark circles and eradicates signs of fatigue and balances out skin tone. Both products are totally paraben free (honeysuckle oil is used to preserve instead) and you can even mix a bit of the concealer with the foundation if you want a heavier finish. The foundation and concealer duo is available for £28.00 and is definitely worth checking out. 

Daniel's website is worth checking out too, for more information about Daniel and to look at all the products  www.danielsandler.com

If you are really lucky you can catch Daniel doing a masterclass with his products on QVC, but I warn you to hide your credit card because Daniel makes it look so easy that a fortune could be easily spent... Last week I nearly bought products I already own!
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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation


This best-selling foundation has become very popular with make-up artists the world over.
What's great about it?  So easy is it to apply that you could literally throw this foundation on and it would look beautiful.  It blends in quickly to provide instant luminosity and radiance without any unwanted residue (it is oil-free). It looks natural on the skin, evening out skin tone and providing an all over polished look and a perfected base for applying make-up. It's texture is velvety, smooth and dare I say, it feels expensive.
The foundation has a medium buildable coverage that easily covers dark circles, uneven skin tones and blemishes but it isn't at all obvious and yet manages to maintain a naturally flawless and highly effective finish. It also feels totally weightless on the skin.
I would say that it is more suited to normal/ dry or combination skin rather than oily.

Negatives - It is packaged in a heavy glass bottle, so not great for transporting in a kit, It carries the hefty price tag on £34, which makes this foundation as expensive as gold dust!

The foundation is available in 15 shades from Selfridges.

What foundation do you love and why?


Review written by Kate Gowing
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Monday, 16 January 2012

Battle of the Urban Decay NAKED Palettes



After the immense success of the first Urban Decay NAKED make-up palette the second one was going to have a LOT to live up to. The first NAKED palette made such a name for itself and featured in an abundance of YouTube videos and blog posts all over the world with pretty much everyone raving about it. With the gorgeous selection of quality shadows, it was hard not to.
So finally... the NAKED2 palette, I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and assessing it very critically against the well-established first palette. Here are the results. 

On first appearance, the palettes have much in common, a rectangular case with a series of rectangular shadows lined up inside, both printed with NAKED on the front with bold lettering. However there are a number of key differences, and if we are just talking about packaging then the NAKED2 has to win. The case for the NAKED2 is much more durable, the shadows come in a metal case that locks securely shut, whereas the original is a velvet case that closes loosely together, thus making the new palette much more handbag friendly and protected. If i'm going to nitpick, the velvet on the first palette also attracts fluff, so ultimately the NAKED2 has better packaging for those with mild OCD (like myself).

Down to the nitty gritty - the eyeshadows! Ultimately, I have come to the decision that you just cannot chose between the palettes, they simply compliment each other perfectly and although it may seem slightly greedy to have both, the new palette has been designed as a follow up palette to the first but I would say it has more peachy tones.
Both have colours that I would certainly buy separately, while some perhaps I would not, but as complete sets I love them both equally and both have colours that I use more than other sets. If you are looking to get one over the other, you just have to decide how many colours from each you would wear the most and go with the one that has the most wearable colours for you.

To remind ourselves of the first palette...


Left to right: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep and Gunmetal

This palette is undoubtedly brilliant and has such a cult following because of its quality and fantastic colour selection. On a side note, I do find these shadows have more fallout than many of my other favourite brands.
The colours that I personally use and would consider purchasing separately are Naked, Sidecar, Darkhorse, Toasted and Gunmetal. Unlike the NAKED2 this palette has two matte brown colours (Naked and Buck) which are brilliant for definition, there is also the gorgeously glittery Sidecar and the deep and dark glitters of Creep and Gunmetal. It is different to the NAKED2 in this respect, but the NAKED2 has some essential colours that are not found in this palette...


Left to right: Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted and Blackout

Although this palette doesn't feature matte browns, there is the mink colour of tease that is very pretty and soft to contour with, The neutral matte shadow Foxy, which is wonderful as a base colour, and the deeply pigmented matte black named blackout, which is amazing for quickly defining the eyes and creating a rich intensity. Neither these colours, or anything similar, feature in the original palette. 
There is also the introduction of the taupe colour Pistol which is a much welcomed colour for me. The only cross over is Half Baked which makes an appearance in both palettes, although not one of my personal favourites, I presume it is in here again due to it being very popular and it is great on bronzed skin. This palette also sees the addition of five brand new eyeshadows - Booty Call, Busted, Pistol, Snake Bite and Tease.

Finally, just to talk of the overall quality of the shadows, as you may already know since we feature UD shadows quite a bit, the quality is fantastic, the payoff is rich, they are long lasting, they blend like a dream and the colour selections are right up my street but as I mentioned earlier, the fallout may be a turn off for some. Also, they are very shimmery indeed so certainly would be a disappointment for the person  that prefers a matte texture

Personally, I can't pick a favourite of the two (apart from the packaging) and love having both, they offer me variety and have their uses in different ways. At £36 a pop, I think they are great value for 12 outstanding shadows in each palette. I'm pretty sure the NAKED2 will create just as much of a buzz and have the same amount of success as the first. 


What do you guys think, do you have a favourite and why?

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Thursday, 12 January 2012

Gielly Green Boutique Collection

Gielly Green is one of the most notable hair salon’s in the heart of London, based in the famous Marylebone High Street known for it’s string of luxury salons.
The salon opened in 2008 and since then has seen the launch of their Boutique Collection of natural hair products. The products are full of natural oils, minerals and vitamins to keep hair healthy and nourished. It’s also important, and highly note worthy to mention that Gielly Green products do not contain any carcinogens, parobens or synthetic fragrances.

For the last few weeks, I have continually been using a combination of the Repair Shampoo, and then when my hair needs it (every few washes) the Repair Mask, and have been really impressed with the results. It's exactly what my hairs needs, and in a short space of time has brought my hair and scalp back to life and full health. The shampoo is great for any of you who frequently straighten your hair, or use heat appliances, as well as restoring hair from the effects of the sun or from chemical damage from products like peroxide. Only a small amount of product (in relation to hair amount) is needed for the hair to lather up well and it rinses out quickly. Hair is left instantly softer and healthier, and I found that with this shampoo the hair remains fresh for a good couple of days. After a few weeks, with the combination of the hair mask, my hair was stronger, glossier and generally felt in better condition. 


The mask, in it’s sleek packaging is a great boost for any thirsty hair. It penetrates the hair so efficiently and combats dullness and makes it totally rejuvenated and revitalised with its magic combination of oil, mud and minerals. I have been popping it on in the shower and leaving it for a good ten minutes, which I find sufficient, Gielly Green recommend leaving it on overnight for amazing results – this is my next venture! Both of the products smell amazing too, the scent is not too overpowering and is quite a fresh and floral smell, which is right up my street. Both the mask and the shampoo come in 200ml sizes, and after using them for several weeks, I’m just under half way through which is not too bad going. The shampoo retails at £16, and the mask at £29.50, which is worth the investment for luxurious hair care in my opinion.

Get them in the salon or online at http://shop.giellygreen.com along with the all the other products from the Gielly Green Boutique Collection and to take a peek at the salon itself.
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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Avene Eau Thermale Cleansing Milk


French skincare brand Avene specialises in dealing with problem skin. If you have slightly dry, irritated or even allergic skin then Avene should be your first port of call.
Famous for its use of Thermal Spring water that is found in each of their products, renowned for it's soothing and hydrating properties. Recently, I've been using their cleansing milk as part of my skincare routine in a quest to keep skin hydrated and nourished through the winter months and I'm impressed with the results so far.

The rich moisture of the milk keeps skin soft and smooth as well as giving it a hydrated and glowing appearance. The cleanser is really gentle and effectively removes make-up without being at all irritating, make-up easily comes off with cotton pads and leaves the skin clean.

This is a really great cleanser for the effects of outdoor weather, and indeed lots of other Avene products are brilliant for even the harshest of weather conditions. This one in particular focuses on combating dry skin and sensitive skin so is perfect for me at this time of year.
Avene products are really great value for such quality and effectiveness, this cleanser is £11.50 for 200ml so you get a lot of product for the money spent - a good investment!
Avene is only available in pharmacies, in the U.K you can get it in Boots and other independent pharmacies.
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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Anastasia Beverly Hills 'All Eye Want Palette'



So you may have noticed that we have been on a bit of an Anastasia roll recently, and I don't think it's going to stop rolling any time soon! Since last weeks Anastasia video was primarily based on the utterly amazing brow products, I thought I would give a close up look of the 'All Eye Want Palette' which only got a little mention in the video, but is also an absolutely brilliant addition to the much loved Anastasia brand! 



In the compact set you are presented with 9 eyeshadow shades which are just such gorgeous and pretty colours, each and every one of them I would wear regularly and I love how they all complement each other with their warm and purpley tones. I have to say that these are some of the most well pigmented and easy to work with colours that I have come across in a while, they blend so effortlessly. Pretty much any combination can be used to pull off a beautiful look for day or night.


 As well as the shadows in the pretty set there is a mascara, which is quite natural and nothing much to write home about but does manages to create definition and volume after a couple of coats. Alongside the mascara is an excellent brow gel which effectively holds brow hairs in place for as long as required. 
Lastly, there is double ended brush for application and blending, to be honest it would not be my brush of choice but as a part of the set it does the job completely. 

All in all I have a lot of love for this set, especially the shadows. 
Really looking forward to it's arrival in the U.K on 16th January at CultBeauty 
The set is $32 in the U.S.
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Friday, 6 January 2012

Glossy eyes / Dark lips

This is the image I used as inspiration for my most recent tutorial. Although I kept the eyes softer with less mascara and used nothing at all on the cheeks.
The photographer was Emma Tempest and we shot this a few years ago on a cold day in a cold warehouse in Loughborough Junction.
Just as in my tutorial, I used Dusk and Pearl Creme Colour Base from MAC on the models eyes.
I love working with the CCB, I find them very versatile. They can be used as eyeshadows, shadow bases, highlighters, contours, cheek tints, foundation mixers, lip stains...the list is quite endless.


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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Real Techniques Tutorials


Would you believe that I have never written a post about my brushes?!
To be honest, initially I was embarrassed to talk about them. "YouTuber's" get accused of all kinds of deception and greed (some warranted, most not) and I certainly did not want it to look like I was trying to force opinion.
True to form, this is not a post about my brushes, but rather the tutorials that accompany them.
Perhaps some people are not aware of their existence and as I put so much hard work into creating them I better let you know where to watch them. Below are links to a few of my favourites.

Facebook
                                   
                                                                   Glitter Disco Look

                                                                                    Colour Blocking Look

                                                                      Diva Lash Look
 
As these are brush tutorials I don't actually feature the make-up products in the video.
If you really know your stuff then you can jot down what you think i'm using and check it against the Real Techniques blog for a full product list.



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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Anastasia Beverly Hills Swatches

I haven't been this excited about a product range since we launched the Real Techniques brushes last year.
Here are the Anastasia brow product swatches that I promised you in my video yesterday.


Tinted Brow Gel - $21.00
Brow Powder Duo - $22.00
Perfect Brow Pencil - $22.00















Here are my brows using the Petite Arch brow stencil, Ebony Brow Powder Duo and Espresso Tinted Gel to set.  Love, Love, Love.
You can get hold of Anastasia products from www.pomltd.com and they will ship worldwide.
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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Marks and Spencer Perfection Range

We are loving a bit of the Marks and Sparks 'Perfection' make-up range. It's a range that doesn't have a huge amount of hype around it, and little press coverage and I think it deserves more. It is a diverse, extensive and great quality range that is affordable, effective and BUAV approved. 
Here are our top picks.....


Perfection Illuminating Touch Instant Highlighter 
(£9.50)

This product is very similar to the YSL Touche Eclat and in my opinion does the trick just as nicely at half the price. I've been using the medium shade, but a natural one is available too. It is great for highlighting the face and it is very handbag friends so perfect for refreshing make-up on the go. It has a light formula and a silky finish making it simple to blend into the face for an illuminating touch any time of day. 



Perfection Illusions Radiance Illuminating Fluid
(£12)

Again, a product very similar to others on the market. This works as a great illuminating make-up base to give skin a glowing, healthy and radiating finish. It brightens dull skin in seconds. I've been mixing it with my foundation to give that extra healthy yet natural appearance which is exactly how I like my base to look. However, It also looks great on it's own, for the days when you don't want to wear a full face of make-up. This shade is 'Ivory', which is relatively colourless compared to the 'Gold' or 'Rose' versions. 


Perfection Moisture Lipstick in Crimson SPF 15
(£6)

A truly divine shade of red . The lipstick's forumla is hydrating and smooth with a bit of gloss through it, so it does not feel at all uncomfortable on the lips. It stays in place brilliantly and the colour is long lasting, with little need to top up.
As with the entire range, the packaging looks and feels luxurious and much more expensive than it actually is.


Perfection Powder Blush and Blend Duo in Dusky Pink
(£6) 

This blusher is gorgeous, wear them separately or mixed together to create a shimmering pink blush on the cheek. I love the warmth to this shade, It is certainly much needed at this time of year. 
The powder itself is really soft and velvety and the colour pay off brilliant, only a little product is needed for a beautiful blush on the skin. 



Essential Colours Brow and Lash Gel
(£4)

This brow and lash gel is such excellent value. I've been primarily using this on my brows to maintain their shape and to set the powder. The longevity of this product is good, as once the gel is applied it stays intact all day long. It also doesn't feel heavy on the skin, and although it coats the hairs, it doesn't harden up massively, like other gels can do. Ultimately, I just think this is such a bargain and will last ages.
If you are like me then you can use these to experiment by adding coloured pigments to create your own coloured brow/lash gels.

See the full range in store and online at www.marksandspencer.com
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