Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pushing The Boundaries Of Blending

Because I still haven't unpacked all my make up (there is nowhere for it to go!!!) I am having to trawl through my stash every morning when I want to put my face on, which is having the unforeseen advantage of me finding products I haven't used for ages, or have never used, and giving them a go. Today's look is the product of me thinking "hey, how about I give cream eyeshadow a try?" I have never had any inclination to use it before, and the only two I had were a dark purple from Illamasqua's sale, and a mint green from Illamasqua's Fundamental palette. So, because I'm that kind of girl, I decided to use them both at once in a look. I actually initially tried this last night, but the colours were too different to blend properly so I got it a little more the way I wanted to this morning.

I started with Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed as always, and over that, used a tiny angled brush to apply Illamasqua Debauch cream shadow (an aubergine purple) over the lid and winging out as you can see it in the picture. In the crease I patted Illamasqua Bedaub (the similarity in the two names is really freaking me out) cream pigment using my index finger. This was actually a really pretty look alone, but it was starting to crease and smudge just while I was sat down doing my face, so I decided to layer up with powder shadow too. I used Urban Decay Jet, a dark shimmery purple from the Black Palette, on top of the purple cream. I used a tiny tiny brush (Sephora Classic Smudge Brush) and really packed it on because the glitter is beautiful and I wanted to make sure it was visible! Originally I used Wet'n'Wild Cool as a Cucumber over Bedaub but it was just...too green. So this morning I thought I'd take it down and make a little easier to blend by using MAC's Vex, which is an amazing colour, basically a silvery base but with green and pink duochrome. I used Sephora's Classic Crease Brush to blend Vex down into Debauch and I really liked how it softened the look and made it a little more daytime friendly. 

I took this picture to show that I'm experimenting with a look that's much dewier and less flat and matte than I usually go for. This is NARS Orgasm/Laguna used as blush and contour, but with Benefit Watt's Up! highlighting the top of my cheekbones and down either side of my nose. I also used a paler foundation on top of my usual base, applied with a lip brush, to highlight in the centre of my forehead and along my cheekbones. Lips were Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Lipgloss in Coral, which is my current go-to gloss. I don't use clear gloss because I have uneven pigmentation in my lips, but this is sheer enough to be very natural whilst evening out the colour of my lips. 

Hope you enjoy!

Alison xx

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Jewelled Manicure

Illamasqua Charisma topped with nail gems from the pound shop.

Naked and Dramatic (+Tutorial!)

I love this look: this eye forms the basis of my 'everyday' wear but yesterday I ramped things up with an amazing Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Temper. I've always struggled with this one - it's very sticky and almost -too- pigmented! But yesterday I thought I might be applying too much so used about half of what I would usually and applied with a lipbrush. It's not very long-wearing but my God it's pretty. It has an almost stain-like effect when applied like this and is definitely a better choice now.

This is a basic brown smokey eye using neutrals from the Urban Decay Naked Palette. This, like all of my Urban Decay Palettes, gets used SO much. It took a while to learn to love it because I am so not a neutrals girl; however, it's brilliant for smokey eyes and the softer and pale shades are brilliant for blending. 

This is how you create my standard brown smokey eye - really easy and can be daytime or evening depending on how dramatic your make up usually is. 

1) Apply Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion all over the lid and up to the brow
2) Using any brush you like - I prefer a small domed fluff brush (like the MAC 239) - apply Urban Decay Smog all over the lid up to the crease, using a reasonable amount of product and buffing it in, which I find makes the colour truer and longer-lasting.
3) Using a fluffy crease brush (I'm using Sephora's Rounded Crease Brush to excellent effect in pretty much every eye look) to apply Darkhorse through the crease, and winging it up toward the brow.
4) Using that same brush, blend any harsh lines into each other.
5) Take a clean brush and apply brow highlight. For a shimmery brow highlight, I like Virgin and Sin mixed together, whilst Virgin alone is more of a satiny sheen shade.

Hope you enjoyed this!
Alison xxx

Saturday, 15 September 2012

I Am Generation Q

Illamasqua's new collection, Generation Q, is absolutely beautiful. My favourite look is on the model Georgia. The strong highlighting and contouring mixed with the insane colours. I tried to recreate it today, using some Illamasqua products and lots of others.

I don't know how well you can see from this photo, but I've mostly used Georgia's eye make-up as a starting point. The strong highlights down the nose I definitely toned down - but for the first time ever I got busy with a lip brush and a pale foundation to highlight. It worked a lot better than I was expecting to be honest - you can to some extent see it on the pictures but in person the effect was definitely impressive! Lots more light thrown on my face and an overall more contoured, almost 'slimmed down' effect. To achieve this I darkened my usual base somewhat by mixing Revlon ColorStay in Ivory and Bourjois Healthy Mix in 51. I then used the Revlon alone to create the highlights. For blush, I used Illamasqua Ambition, a beautiful rosy coloured shimmer blush, which I placed along my cheekbones and blended down into my contour, which was actually an eyeshadow today! I use Nars Laguna a lot but I wanted something a little more brown and so used Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow as a contour, underneath the hollow of my cheekbones. 

I've been really wanky here and shut my eyes so you can see the way I've used Georgia's look as inspiration. I really liked the way there was iridescent purples and brown tones used in her look and I used that as a starting point to create something that's pretty heavy for daytime but actually turned out to be a really flattering smokey eye with an edge. The colour shift (and blending!) was a lot more obvious in person but this picture is useful because you can clearly see where I've used each colour. I used Illamasqua Cream Shadow in Debauch as a base for this look, all over the lid, over my usual Urban Decay Primer Potion in Greed. I then loaded Urban Decay Half Truth from the 15 palette onto the lid, patting some Urban Decay in Omen onto the centre part of the lid. This is a gorgeous blue-violet duochromatic shimmer and placed in the centre of the really caught the light and lifted the look. In the crease - and winged out - I used MAC Blue Brown pigment. I really packed it on so that it was mostly born and the blue was mostly visible from extreme angels or in direct light. I blended like a mo'fo but didn't feel it was quite defined enough at the edge of the 'wings'. I dived back into my UD 15 palette and mixed MIA and Deeper to create a deep, shimmering brown to line around the wings. I used a wet brush to really give some strong definition. I then used Urban Decay Virgin to put a highlight on the browbone and down towards my tearduct and then on top of the brow to mimic Georgia's bright highlighting. Eyes are lined with Illamasqua Glister.

On the lips is Versace V2010C, an iridescent plum, and NYC Big Apple Spice, a copper gloss. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tuesday Tumblr Round-Up!

It's that time again guys... I'm picking out anything that's inspired me or tickled me this week.

GB-themed and so so cute: WAH Nails are always my favourite.

Illamasqua's nail art looks are always super-beautiful and Leanne from Do Not Refreeze has recreated the nails from their gorgeous new collection Generation Q. Not from Tumblr, but they're SO pretty.

Nail Nerd does possibly the best thing I've ever seen on nails.

Putting a fashion twist on the gorgeous galaxy manicure.

Polish You Pretty gives us some Pineapple Express nail art.

Another classy Essie manicure: I'm getting simple and sophisticated in my old age.

Bazinga! I still loves ALL THE GLITTER


Alison xxx

Monday, 10 September 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle - NOTD

Excuse how jacked-up and abused this mani looks, packing and unpacking are NOT on my top tips for nail care...
This is two coats of Illamasqua's Boosh topped with two coats of Sephora's gorgeous blue flaky topcoat Twinkle, Twinkle. The beautiful Sarah (@sazmerelda) bought me this from France and it's lovely. It shifts from an electric neon blue to a royal indigo and looks stunning over this black polish. 
Again, excuse how awful this looks... I will be resuming totally normal service shortly. 

Alison xxx  

Minnie Minaj

This is three coats of OPI's If You Moust, You Moust from the Minnie Mouse collection, topped with a coat of the supermegafoxyawesomehot holographic bar glitter from the OPI Nicki Minaj collection called Save Me. I love this combination. Like all holographic manicures it's at its best in the sunshine but because there are silver and blue glitters in the Nicki Minaj so it's still pretty awesome otherwise. Enjoy!

Alison xxx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Drugstore Lip Product Favourites

While going through my stash as I was packing, I thought it would be good to do a little collection of some of my favourite drugstore products and swatch and review them. These are all under £5 and beautiful pigmented products that act like they are much more expensive than that. These are my six favourites and I'm going to run through some swatches and a quick review of each. The six products are:

  • Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Papaya Punch
  • Boots 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick in Showbiz
  • Boots 17 Supreme Shine Lipstick in Pink Posey
  • Collection 2000 Cream Puff in Angel Delight
  • NYC "SmoochProof" (ugh) 16Hr Lipstain in Champagne Stain
  • NYC Liquid Lipshine in Big Apple Spice 
I've tried to make sure these products are pretty evenly divided in terms of texture, from my favourite ultra-dry mattes to a full-on high-pigment gloss. Sleek's True Colour Lipstick is a brilliant product, retailing at £4.99 and available in 20 different shades from Superdrug. Researching this post I found that Sleek shows swatches of all their products on fair, medium and dark skin, which I have never seen before but think is absolutely wonderful and such an important thing. I have a post brewing in the back of my head about racism in the beauty industry which I'm sure will pop up at some point. The shade I've featured is Papaya Punch, a coral pink that leans slightly orange without being TOO daring. However, it's pigmented like WHOA and is very bright and intense even at one swipe. If you're prone to dry lips I would use some lip balm (or Lanolips!) with this as it does tend to be quite drying. For me that's no bad thing but I know it would put some people off. Next up (product pics and swatch pic are all in the same order) we have Boots 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick, which kind of bridges the gap between a creamy lipstick that doesn't dry up your lips and a very intense matte shade. It's not a flat and 'powdery' matte but would not pass muster as a gloss. It's got enough slip to apply and wear comfortably but the pigment ensures a smooth application of a true colour that lasts like nobody's business. You can see in the swatch picture that it has a little sheen to it but nothing so dramatic as a gloss or shimmer effect. Gorgeous budget red lipstick and would happily use this as my only red lipstick! I don't.... but I would.'s only £4.29 at Boots and also comes in 20 shades. Another Boots 17 product is next - I love these as they often have 3 for 2 or gifts with purchase - and who doesn't love that! This sheer shade is Supreme Shine Pink Posey, which is a frankly bizarre name for a purple lipstick. And they spelt 'posy' wrong, not me. Just to clarify. I'm not usually big on sheers but this turns into the most awesome berry coloured lipstick when mixed with Illamasqua Violate, which I swatched here and is a crazy dark green shimmery lipgloss. It's actually also really cute as a daytime lip which is not at all too purple when worn and can often just pull a warm look back to neutral. When there's 13 shades all for £4.99 each, I really don't believe in arguing too much, and I can imagine this to be a great starter lipstick for someone who wants to try a few crazier colours without having to commit TOO much. The next product is pretty much a matte dupe of Viva Glam Gaga II, which I do NOT endorse duping - it is a charity product and 100% of the RRP goes straight to the MAC AIDS charitable concerns. However, I own it and it's sometimes a little too glossy for me due to its amplified creme finish and its awe-inspiring amount of slip. So I anchor it over this: Collection 2000 Cream Puff Moisturising Lip Colour. A few words to start with: this is NOT moisturising. It is, on the other hand, matte like you won't believe. It only comes in four shades, which is a shame as I'd love to see this in red, orange or bright pink, though it tends to be a neutral line. It's £2.99, which is just crazy cheap, and it lasts a long time and doesn't have that tendency to run or smudge that a lot of products do. It will just stick. Doesn't even come off on cigarettes. The final two swatches are both by NYC Cosmetics, who I just LOVE. Their foundation isn't worth the bottle it's housed in, but for nail polishes and lip products for less than THREE QUID, you really cannot go wrong here. Like, seriously. Second from the right we have the 16 Hour "SmoochProof" Lipstain (scare quotes mine, I can't say that word seriously). This is a felt pen that lots of people will detest due to its drying properties, lack of balm on the other end and the fact that felt tip lip products often dry out in the tube pretty quickly. This shade is Champagne Stain, which just sounds horrid. However, the fact that this is a felt tip pen lip stain that actually has some pigment is not lost on me, and I love it under Lanolips or any sheer and glittery gloss - particularly MAC Evolution Revolution. OR I also love the next product, NYC Liquid Lipshine in Big Apple Spice, painted over aforementioned stain, which gives a multilayed effect that I really like. Big Apple Spice is not a colour I would normally choose: these kind of coppery-neutral glosses aren't usually massively flattering on me but I do love the fact that it's quite Autumnal - and almost a bit festive. I'm not saying the C word though. 

Phewf, I'm knackered from typing that and must refuel with cake. 

Alison. xxx

So sorry about the gap in posts!

I'm really sorry there haven't been any posts for nearly a week, as I may have mentioned in my last post I moved house on Wednesday and not only have I been mad busy (packing/unpacking/sleeping) but there's not yet internet in my house! So I've packed self and laptop off to the Brink and their wonderful free WiFi, and am writing and queueing four posts for your amusement over the next few days!

(For those who are interested, whilst at the Brink I will also be partaking of chocolate and beetroot cake, some posh tea and The Thick Of It on iPlayer)

Alison xxx

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

This is honestly like pornography to me

These are my lip products. Well. Most of them. I know there's at least five missing...However, luckily for you guys, they ARE organised by brand. Top row is Revlon, Benefit, Sleek, Tarina Tarantino, Sephora, Kat Von D, Missguided, Chanel. Middle row is MAC, NYC, Soap & Glory, Cargo, Bourjois, No. 7, Yves Rocher. Bottom row is Yves Rocher, Collection 2000, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, SOME FRENCH BRAND THAT I CAN'T REMEMBER THE SODDING NAME OF AND THE LIPSTICKS ARE NOW BURIED IN A SUITCASE, Make Up Forever, Illamasqua, Boots 17. As far as I'm concerned it's a fine collection ^_^

You'll see that I don't discriminate in terms of cost. Drugstore products are just as appealing to me as high-end, and as I face up to life as an unemployed graduate, they become frankly ever more appealing. I was looking at my MAC lipsticks today and realising they are a luxury I will not be indulging in for a good long while. However, I think I would have to be actually dead to stop buying Illamasqua. I'll save a pound a week if I have to, I do not care, I will continue to drop insane amounts of cash on their BEAUTIFUL products.

(This has given me an idea: if I use my biscuit tin as a penny box, I could lose weight AND buy lipstick. Hmmmmmm.....)

Swatches and more pictures, after the jump...

My Illamasqua & OPI Polishes

I'm packing up all my stuff because I'm moving house TOMORROW God save us all - so I had an idea to take a few pictures of my stash because whenever I go on a blog I am a stash pervert and want to see their collection.

This first picture is my OPI and Illamasqua nail polishes. Missing from this picture is OPI Warm & Fozzie and Illamasqua Hemlock because I know I own them but for the life of me I cannot find them. Weirdly I wore them both in the last two weeks. The Illamasqua polishes from the left: Force (electric blue), Jo'Mina (electric lilac), Scarab (metallic burgundy), Boosh (glossy black), Viridian (metallic teal), Spartan (gold glitter), Bacterium (no description other than AWESOME) and Kink (rubberised finish cerise). The back row is Nicole by OPI - Wear Something Spar-Kylie, Daffy-Dill, Follow Me On Glitter, A Really Awesome Pink I Can't Find On Google and Sephora by OPI Blasted Indigo. I just found out on Google that Blasted is a shatter polish, which is why every time I have tried to use it as part of a manicure the texture has been horrendous. The OPIs on either side of the Illamasqua polishes are: Too Hot Pink To Hold 'Em, I Juggle Men, Sparkle-icious and Do You Think I'm Tex-Y? The bottom row of OPIs: Black Shatter, Fly, Pink Friday, Excuse Moi!, OPI on Collins Ave, Mod-Ern Girl, Here Today Aragon Tomorrow, Designer Series Reflection (silver cap), Save Me, Take The Stage.

When I unpack I'm sure I'll take more pics, I even have a couple more coming in the next few days! I got to 500 hits on my blog today, I am very grateful!

Alison xx

Tuesday Tumblr Roundup!

So here it is again, another roundup of fun beauty stuff I have found on tumblr this week...

The main reason I have never tried galaxy nails

Sophy Robson's new autumn nail designs. I love the baby pink with glitter (bottom left) and the taupe with stripes (bottom right).

Neon mani that is fierce as f***!

Keeping it simple and ladylike with some Essie and glitter. Adore this!!

I don't know what movie this is from but something about it just really appeals to me

A neutral eye and a pop of neon on the lip is always perfection

Hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the things that have inspired me this week!

Alison xxx

Monday, 3 September 2012

NOTD - W7 Salt'n'Pepper

This is a nail varnish that is simultaneously bizarre and awesome. It looks kind of like frogspawn, and the texture manages to be patchy but too thick at the same time. It takes three coats to be even and is messy as hell (I'm still picking black glitter off my arms). However, this was another of my bargain purchases at only £1.99 and it's actually pretty cool, especially from a distance. It's the kind of nail polish that people are going to comment on. I like that because I love attention. It's a white polish base that is basically a creme but has an almost jelly-like translucency that allows the square black glitter to show through. It's not glittery in a super-sparkly kind of way, it's pretty subtle and muted...if black and white speckles can be subtle! I don't know if it'll become a favourite but it's a nice, quick and effective manicure. It has an advantage - similar to crackle polishes - of looking like hella complicated nail art when in fact it's just in a bottle. Being the poor and lazy graduate that I am, I appreciate the crap out of that. I never usually match nail polish to outfits but I think this would look lovely if you were wearing all-black - I was wearing a leopard print dress today and it just looked *wrong*. So I'll give it another shot when my maxi-dress doesn't clash :)
Alison xxx

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Technic Electric Palette - Review, Photos, Swatches

So today I went bargain hunting. I got this palette from a really random shop in St John's Precinct called "Facial Attractions". What a bizarre name! I really only picked this up for three reasons: 1) the off-chance of more neon pink eyeshadow in my life 2) it was £1.99 3) I need to practice buying makeup I can actually afford. Like I said, I only have a a phone camera, so I just have to make do picture-wise, but it really is an incredible palette for the price! In case you can't tell from the price of the palette and the name of the shop, it was WELL dodgy. However they had some brilliant little finds, such as W7's Salt n Pepper nail polish (post coming soon!) and some Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polishes that I've never seen in the UK before.
It's called the Electric Eyes Palette, which seems to be made by EITHER "Technic" or "Badgequo", I can't really tell from the back of the package! There was a big old mess on this palette when I opened it, which is basically because the shadows are so so soft. They are really soft, smooth and buttery, almost like a cream shadow. They really do have a beautiful texture. I've only had a little swatch with them but they feel absolutely gorgeous. The top row of the palette has a soft champagne gold shimmer, a rose pink shimmer, a neon pink matte, a pinky-copper shimmer, a grass green shimmer and a sky blue shimmer. You can see from my pictures that the pigmentation on the last three shadows isn't brilliant. The grass green is so exciting in the pan, (not colour accurate in my pic - sorry!) but swatches really disappointingly. The same happens with the really vibrant blue.
However, the first three shades - the golds and the neon pink - are absolutely beautiful. The lovely texture comes into its own combined with a lot of shimmer and is really even to apply. The matte pink is a little patchier to apply but blends easily and I can imagine used with a brush over primer it would be gorgeous! The picture on the left is the first row. The picture on the right is the second row. You can see there are a couple of very similar shades in this palette - oddly enough they are very different in the pan but on the skin seem very similar. In the pan, the first shade on the bottom row seems very bright orange but swatches a muted orange with gold. Still very pretty though - if a little bit sheer. The second shade is a lovely bronze, and probably a dupe for Urban Decay Half Baked! The third shade is a definite dupe for MAC Cranberry, a very nice reddish shade with lots of shimmer. Love it.
These next couple of shades essentially make this palette worth the absolute PENNIES I paid for it. It makes it cheap at twice the price. Now, I know it looks horrendous on this picture. It's actually a really pretty teal shimmer that leans blue. The last two are beautiful: a gorgeous blue indigo and a reddish-purple. The buttery-softness of these shades bring out a beautiful sheen. I did a little googling and found the palette on Amazon for £3.49 here. Nearly twice as much as I spent on it, but still pretty cheap! I'd definitely recommend giving this a go if you like shimmers and brights as much as I do :)

Alison xx

Nails Of The Day

You'll forgive me for the poor camera quality: I haven't got even a point-and-shoot, which I guess I should have considered before starting a beauty blog! However, here's a pic of my mani today. I absolutely adore this combination: it's Illamasqua Jo'Mina (three coats) and Models Own Indian Ocean (one coat). Jo'Mina usually only needs two coats maximum but I wasn't really concentrating so it was a little bit streaky! This  is actually pretty colour accurate, Jo'Mina is a gorgeous neon lilac. I absolutely adore this colour: it's good quality, eye-catching and works in all weathers. Because I love using holographics and duochromes when we have a little bit of sun, I put one coat of Indian Ocean over Jo'Mina today, which gives it a beautiful pinky-gold shimmer without taking away from the awesomeness of the base colour. Hope you enjoy!
Alison xxx