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THE ESTEE EDIT: A REVIEW

Saturday, 28 May 2016

If you aren't already clued up on this one, The Estee Edit is the latest collection to launch from Estee Lauder, who have teamed up with Kendall Jenner and Irene Kim to create what is a make-up and skincare line aimed at a slightly younger, more fresh faced clientele. As you can see from the packaging, it has a much edgier vibe than that a lot of the more traditional Estee Lauder products, which personally, I think is beautiful. And, since the moment I saw US bloggers starting to mention the new line when it was launched there, I just knew that the moment it landed here in the UK I would have to get my hands on it.

After reading/watching many a blog post and YouTube video, I eventually managed to whittle things down and create a list of my most coveted products from the collection, and, when it officially launched yesterday, I got in there quickly and placed an order - next day delivery. Today, I've had fun playing around and giving everything a good test drive, and so I thought I would share with you on here, my first impressions on what I picked up;


I don't want to speak too soon, but after wearing this all day today in what have been pretty sticky conditions I think I may have fallen for it big time. What is essentially a tinted moisturiser with a light finish (though it can be mixed with something heavier for a fuller coverage) the Skin Glowing Balm claims to enhance rather than cover your natural skin. I would completely agree with this assessment as I felt it gave me a gorgeous glow and was so hydrating throughout the day once applied. I had been a little worried that after spending a few hours outside in the sunshine, combined with the slightly oily skin I suffer with would mean my looking like an oil slick but in fact it was the complete opposite - I still looked fresh faced and thanks to the long list of lovely ingredients including shea butter, evening primrose oil and peony extract, my skin stayed feeling nourished and soft the entire time.  


The formula of these lipsticks is absolutely out of this world with real flower petal waxes from rose, jasmine and lavender along with muru muru butter helping to hydrate - meaning they apply super smoothly and feel incredibly comfortable on the lips. They are much sheerer than they appear in the bullet, though they can be layered to create a more intense colour and are so creamy and lightweight that you barely know you're wearing them. I went for the shade 'So Bare' - a muted deep rose with a definite hint of brown to it and I LOVE it.  So much so that I will definitely be placing another order to pick up my second choice - 'In the Flesh' - a slightly lighter, muted peachy shade and will also be giving the mattified lipsticks in the range a go to see if they live up to their counterparts.


Again I picked up the shade 'So Bare' to match the lipstick I went for. The shades match the lipsticks in the Barest Lip Colour line and are creamy and easy to apply. It is recommended that you use them more heavily/lighter dependent upon how it is you wish to contour your lips though I have yet to try this. However, I found the liner to make the perfect partner to the lipstick and ensured that the more sheer formula lasted well on my lips.


Until now I had been yet to try a contour and highlight in stick form. I went for the light/medium shade and it works really nicely as a subtle alternative to some of the other options out there. It's easy to blend and I also really love how precise you can be with your application - a little nose contouring and Cupid's bow definition is super simple to achieve!



These are without doubt one of the standout products within the collection, due primarily to the stunning packaging and the metallic spray-over that helps add a subtle shimmer. They are wonderfully pigmented and, infused with sunflower seed oil, have a smooth, buttery texture that applies evenly to give a natural finish that can be built upon easily. I chose the shades 'Purr Pink' and 'Coy Coral' - a brightening pink that adds a slight flush, and a subtle tangerine perfect if you want to achieve that summer glow.


Giant brush on one side, plastic bristles on the other, this stuff has everything I look for in mascara and more. It claims to give big volume and curl, the first of which I can definitely attest to (I have pretty 'curly' lashes even without mascara though so am perhaps not the best qualified to comment on the latter). The smaller plastic brush is perfect for separating and use on the bottom lashes, and, as promised, it is completely budge-proof. I have heard a few people saying that it is a nightmare to take off, but personally I managed it without too much difficulty at all using my normal cleansing oil and muslin cloth. A huge winner if you're into super black, super defined, voluminous lashes.


Having inherited my mother's skin when it comes to larger pores, until now I had come to accept this. When I read about this product's oil absorbing qualities as well as its targeting pores in order to help blur and create a flawless finish though, I thought I would give it a go, not really expecting miracles but curious nonetheless. Essentially it is a primer and concealer in one, and does a lovely job of softening the appearance of pores (of course nothing is going to make them disappear completely) and ensuring oil is kept at bay. I used it across my t-zone and on my chin and found that it provided a really nice base underneath the Skin Glowing Balm.


The main reason I picked this up was because I liked the idea of it being an eyeshadow/liner multi-tasking duo. I chose the shade 'Spiced' as it fits my usual copper-ish brown bracket and it works amazingly as a great way to define the lower lash line (my favourite way to use it so far), and, used as an eyeshadow - doesn't crease and applies nicely, being both blendable and buildable.


It was the gimmick surrounding this gloss that had me suckered in as soon as I heard about it - containing blue micro pearls that are undetectable once applied but which help to make teeth appear whiter both in person and on camera. Some more road testing is definitely in order here as I didn't notice any immediate difference but that may be because I haven't long have my teeth whitened. The gloss itself is a nice consistency though (not to sticky) and has a sweet smelling vanilla scent, so if you like a bit of shine this might be one for you.

The Verdict?

The products I invested in from the Estee Edit have definitely lived up to my expectations. I am seriously impressed with almost everything I have tried and I am excited about giving some more bits including some of the skincare from the line a go. It is without doubt worth the price tag for me, with the Skin Glowing Balm, the mascara, the Barest Lip Colour lipsticks and the Barest Blushes being my favourites on first impression. 

The collection is available exclusively at Selfridges now, and I would seriously recommend you check it out if you're into your dewy, fresh skin and natural nudes i.e. if you're looking to channel your inner Kendall!

Sarah x

SWITCHING IT UP: SKINCARE

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Although skincare is by far my favourite thing when it comes to beauty (closely followed by the need to amass the world’s largest lipstick collection), lately, I have been a little lazy when it comes to my routine, and so, in an attempt to mix it up a little, over the past couple of months I have introduced a number of new products.  And, of the many that I have tried and tested, some have ended up somewhat pushed to the back of the shelf, and others I have found myself reaching for time and time again.  

Number one on the list, has to be the Clarins Multi Active Night Cream, which, I must confess – I ended up picking up along with the day cream following the hype that surrounded their launch. To begin with, both were somewhat ‘nothing’ products – or so I thought. They did a good job of moisturising my skin – the formula was quite dense and nourishing but sank in nicely without any sticky residue, they smelt lovely (like that nostalgic sun lotion smell that reminds me of being at the beach when I was younger), but as far as having the wow factor was concerned, I didn’t notice anything outstanding about the results after use. It was only when I neglected to use both creams (though especially the night), that I started to notice that my skin was craving something richer in addition to the numerous hydrating masks and serums that I had been using. Each time, I would end up reaching for this, and each time it seemed to solve the problem – my skin felt plumper, softer, more awake and if I’m honest, just all round happier than it did before and the fact that I am currently scraping the pot for the last few uses speaks volumes as to how reliant I have become on the stuff.  

Sticking with Clarins, I have also discovered within the last couple of weeks, their Repair Booster treatment which, I have decided, makes the perfect partner to the Nutri Active Creams. How this works is that you mix in three to four drops in with your moisturiser of choice and let it work its magic. I’ve heard it described as being a ‘beauty shot for the skin’ which I love the concept of, and with its concentrated formula containing ingredients like natural mimosa - set to target (in this case) irritation and sensitivity (at the same time addressing redness – one of my constant concerns) it works a treat and, I find, also allows your moisturiser to go further when it comes to application – adding in it’s own little hit of hydration into the deal.  There are two other new  Boosters within the range – Detox and Energy, which I have to try but which after finding myself falling for this one so much, I kind of feel like I now need to so that I am prepped for any skincare situation that may arise!

Away from treatments for a moment, one of the steps that I have been neglecting to include in my routine lately, despite previously having always been a stickler for it, has been to tone my skin after cleansing. This is something that I have decided to rectify and thought I would try something new rather than repurchasing my much loved Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Brightening Toner (which I would also highly recommend). This time I went for the REN Clarimatte Clarifying Facial Toner as I had heard good things, and I started loving the results even after just one use – who knew what a difference a toner could make! As the name would suggest, it targets oily skin and helps to reduce the appearance of pore size whilst at the same time, helping with the use of Glycolic and lactic acids present, to lightly exfoliate – decongesting and helping rid the skin of dead cells leaving it feeling smooth and looking radiant. And, after suffering a couple of nasty hormonal breakouts recently, I have also found that using this with its Anti-microbial properties, alongside my Caudalie Instant Detox Mask  has meant that I have been able to keep these under control and that they have cleared up quickly without any reappearance. 

And, finally, what would a lengthy ramble about skincare be without a good face mask? What is in this case – now the latest addition to my stash – the Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask. Truth be told, I have only used this twice after picking it up this week  as a result of seeing Tati mention it in one of her favourites videos recently. A quick fix in order to brighten dull skin sounded like exactly what I needed as an antidote to the early starts and long days at the office that leave my skin looking a little lacklustre to say the very least. It wasn’t until I tried this though that I recognised it as being one of those ‘miracle’ products where by you can see the results pretty much immediately after use. For a brightening mask, I did in fact find it to be incredibly gentle on the skin (though it is worth noting that does state on the Liz Earle site that it is not suitable for more sensitive skin types – however, I certainly didn’t suffer any irritation after use), and with a combination of white clay, camphor oil, witch hazel and aloe vera, I actually found it to be quite soothing with only a very slight tingle the second time I used it (which I suspect was due to my having used a manual exfoliate beforehand.  After leaving it on for the recommended 30 seconds – 2 minutes, I saw a real difference in how much life it gave my dull skin after the thirteen hour day it had just endured. I can see this becoming a firm fixture in my routine and something I am going to have to ration as there are so many instances where I could make use of it’s brightening properties, I will have to be careful and choose wisely! It is also my first foray into the land of Liz Earle Skincare, and so I might have to look further into trying out some more products from the brand. If you’ve any to recommend I would be all ears. 

Are their any new additions to your skincare routine that you now feel like you couldn’t do without? 

Sarah x   

ALL ABOUT THAT BASE

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Please tell me I’m not the only one who can be incredibly lazy when it comes to base application? When I can get away with it I will always use my fingers – a) because it’s a lot quicker and b) because it means brush washing becomes a less frequent event which IMO can only be a good thing. And that’s fine, especially if I’m wearing a lighter base, but when it comes to a fuller coverage foundation, sometimes my tips just won’t cut it and I need to pull out the big guns. I realised a few weeks back that my usual go to tools – i.e. the Bobbi Brown Face and the Real Techniques buffing brush, had seen better days, and so I decided to pick up a few new additions to my face kit – namely, these three;


When these first came on the scene all I could think was circa 2001 – power foundation compacts and the matching sponges that came with. I just couldn’t get my head around the concept, and it is only recently after witnessing something of a revival in the beauty community, that I decided to give into the hype and put it to the test. Though it takes a little more time than I'd like to work foundation into the skin, the finish it gives is beautiful and undoubtedly the most natural of the three - absorbing any excess and giving a light and consistent finish. In fact, I have been using it after my base brush of choice as a last step to ensure even application and no build up on patches that are more prone to dryness and it works a treat. It also works great with concealer (especially under eye - helped by the pointed end), and is, I've found, fantastic for touch ups on the go, making the perfect partner to my Shiseido Fixing Mist in order to refresh my base throughout the day.


This was my first wander into the realms of Sigma and I was eager to find out what all the fuss was about. It was the unique concept of this brush being designed with the intention of making application quick and precise that really caught my attention as I’ve no time in the mornings to be faffing around too much with make-up as much as I would love to. It definitely works best with a medium to full coverage base product due to the density of the brush hairs being so high (tending to just suck up any lighter coverage counterparts) – it works perfectly with the Dior Forever Foundation that I have been testing out the past week or so, and is great for when you need to get into the areas around your eyes and nose that can be a little harder to manoeuvre. The finish it leaves is pretty flawless, and with the aid of the Beauty Blender used to press in/absorb any excess – a full coverage, lasting finish is easily achievable with this one.  


What I believe is the latest release amidst the selection, and what I have come to consider to be the most multi-tasking of the bunch too. It works well with pretty much all of the different bases I have tried it with – be it high coverage, sheer, a creamier, gel-like or a more liquid consistency and in each instance blends quickly and leaves my skin looking absolutely flawless after application. I don’t really need to use the Beauty Blender with this one, though I will on occasion if I am feeling something super natural. It does a great job on it’s own though thanks to the fact that though the ends of the brush hairs are fairly well dispersed and allow for quick and even application, the base of the brush is still quite dense and so your base product of choice buffs in seamlessly without it looking too thick or any going to waste.  

What are your favourite tips and tools when it comes to ensuring a perfect finish?

Sarah x

NYX PICKS

Monday, 9 May 2016

Unless you've been hiding under a rock of late, you'll know that NYX has finally become widely available in the UK and is now stocked in Boots stores. I managed to track down a stand last week and made the most of being able to have a good swatch and pick up a few products I'd either heard good things about, had my eye on for a while or just thought looked interesting.

When it comes to lips, the first thing I made a b-line for was the Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm which seems to be one of those must have shades at the moment. It was sold out online and in store the first time I went in with the intention of picking it up, but second time lucky in this case and I managed to get hold of it. I have tried the Soft Matte Lip Creams before and find them to be long lasting without being too drying, and, when they do fade it isn't over obvious (where the lighter shades are concerned at least). Stockholm is a beautiful understated peachy-nude, perfect for the upcoming spring/summer season and I can see this becoming a permanent fixture in my make up bag for the foreseeable.

I also wanted to try out some of the new Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks as after swatching them they were SO pigmented that I just couldn't say no. I picked up the shades Vintage - a deep purple with a hint of brown to it (think MAC Whirl but a little vampier) and Tea and Cookies - a creamy muted pink which dries down a lot duskier than it appears in the packaging. The formula of these is gorgeous and actually feels a lot more luxurious/smoother to apply than the Soft Matte Lip Creams which I am assuming has something to do with the avocado oil and Vitamin E present - helping to hydrate and ensure even application.

The two Hot Singles Eyeshadows I grabbed were a bit of an impulse purchase - Coquette and Sex Kitten - a matte slate with a touch of mauve and a light shimmery nude with a slight peach tone, seemed like they would make perfect everyday shades that I could just swipe on all over my lids without having to think too much. I have yet to test these but will report back on how they wear today after a full days work at the office.

NYX's blush in Dusty Rose was the first product I both tried and loved from them going back four or five years now, so I was excited to have a gander and try out some more from their new lines. The first one that caught my attention was the High Definition Blush in Hamptons - your standard peachy-nude but in a completely matte formula. Pigmented enough, though not overly so (i.e. it's easily buildable) this applies very nicely thanks to the finely milled formula, however, it is a little powdery so be careful of any excess! The product itself lasts extremely well and I am looking forward to trying more from the line. At the same time, I also nabbed the shade Ignite from their Baked Blush range - a muted orange with a golden bronze shimmer running through it. Once you get past the first layer, this stuff is beautifully pigmented and I can see it looking incredible as either a blush/highlight shade during the summer months once I've whipped the fake tan out alongside a slick of coral lip gloss.

And last but not least, the Highlight and Contour Pro Palette. I 100% hadn't intended on getting this, but after swatching some of the shades I felt like it was worth a go. The two lightest highlight shades, despite not looking like much in the pan, are very finely milled and blend beautifully to create the most subtle of shimmers, and the third contour shade from left is the perfect light, ashy tone for my pale skin (it's also a great dupe in terms of colour for Kevin Aucoin's Sculpting Powder in Light). For £18, compared to most of the other contouring kits on the market, I thought this was an absolute bargain, and I am looking forward to having a proper play with it in order to compare.

Have you tried anything from NYX yet? Which products are your faves?

Sarah x

REVIEW: PAI COPAIBA DEEP CLEANSE AHA MASK

Sunday, 8 May 2016

My skin has been having a ‘moment’ of late, something which began after the ‘incident’ with the glycolic peel mask I mentioned in my French Skincare post. Luckily, the products I talked about there, really helped to sort out the issues I had, but since then, I have been feeling a little wary of using anything too harsh on my face for fear of a similar outcome! Step forward Pai… 

Their tagline is ‘Organic Solutions for Sensitive Skin’, and though sensitivity isn't normally a big issue for me, redness tends to be, plus the fact that this mask is aimed towards oily-combination/blemish prone skin, was enough to get me intrigued. I already own a couple of Pai products – namely their Sea Aster and Wild Oat Redness Serum and everybody’s favourite – the Rose Hip Bioregenerate Oil, and am a big fan of both – particularly the former. Hence, as I was after something that would gently exfoliate my skin and also cleanse at the same time, the Deep Cleanse AHA Mask sounded ideal. 

It contains clay, along with fruit and lactic acids which work at doing exactly that, but without leaving your skin feeling at all vexed. The formula itself is a creamy consistency – something which immediately bodes well with me when it comes to being able to gage whether the ‘gentle’ claims are likely to be true. And, at the same time, it feels very lightweight to apply – it does so evenly and it isn’t one of those masks that leaves your face tingling the minute you put it on. There is a very slight scent to it, but again, it’s nothing overpowering and once applied for a minute or two, really isn’t noticeable. I would compare it most in both consistency and results, to the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel – which again, is a product I absolutely love and come to think of it, must repurchase (it smells incredible), but this is even gentler on your skin and it was this that impressed me just as much as the end result - leaving my skin feeling clean and super smooth.

If you struggle with finding products due to particularly sensitive skin then I would highly recommend you give this one a go, as I find that exfoliating products are some of the hardest to crack when it comes to skin that is susceptible to irritation. In fact, from what I have tried from Pai, so far, I would recommend them as a brand whole heartedly and whether you have sensitive skin or not, their products are beautiful and very effective. I shall definitely be trying out more in future. 

The Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask retails at £30 on the Pai website. Or, if you really fancy treating yourself - Look Fantastic currently have on offer this great value Pai Deep Cleanse Duo.

Sarah x

A SPRING CLEAN

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

When I think of spring in terms of beauty, I tend to envisage peachy-pinks, floral scents and sheer bases. Hints of colour but with an altogether fresher feel than a lot of the deeper hues I normally associate with the colder months. I find myself more inclined to wear a satin lipstick or to layer a gloss over my normal matte shade of choice, and seem to start reaching a lot more often for the bronzer that  sits unused at the back of my Muji draws for six months of the year. Spring is a time where new blossoms bloom – out with the old and in with the new -  and so it feels only right to me to have a spring clean around this time of year, of not only my space at home and my wardrobe, but also my make-up stash. And, in the process, I get chance to make room for a few new products in my collection, and to  rediscover some old favourites – the likes of which I wanted to talk about today; 

Lips 

Usually the first thing I think of when it comes to being able to pair make-up with a specific season. I never like to go too wild when it comes to lips on a day to day basis – and though I am a huge fan of a red lip; be it pillar box, burgundy, berry – you name it – I find that a lot of the peachy-pink shades that I mentioned, just don’t seem to suit my skin tone. For this reason, I tend to stick to either more muted versions of these shades, or something a little sheerer, avoiding the brighter fuchsias and neon pinks that look so wonderful on some people. Some of my favourites lately have been Tom Ford's 'Indian Rose', Charlotte Tilbury's 'Between the Sheets' and Rosie for Autograph's 'Camisole Blush'.

Cheeks 

I am definitely a stickler when it comes to blush, more often than not sticking with my trusty dusky mauves and muted pinks. I don’t think I suit anything to bright or harsh and so it can be difficult sometimes, despite wanting to like a product, to actually really fall in love with it. Lately though I have found a couple of exceptions to the rule. Becca’s 'Flowerchild' and Laura Mercier’s 'Lotus Pink' are two beautiful shades which I find work incredibly well thanks to the fact that they are beautifully pigmented with a gorgeous buttery formula, but at the same time, when used sparingly apply sheer and are really buildable. The former is a delicate peach, and the latter, what I would describe as being a peony pink with a very slight hint of coral. Both wear well and I have been alternating between them on a day to day basis of late. 

Nails 

If you read my Budget Buys posts a few weeks back, you will have seen me mention the Loreal Colour Riche nail polishes and these are still some of my faves – since then I have picked up the shade 'Nudedemoi' - a gorgeous off white with just a hint of pink to it. I have also been seriously loving the Tom Ford's 'Mink Brulee' and, my most recent discovery - the new Dior Vernis Polka Dots Colour and Dots Manicure sets – the duo 003 Plumetis in particular. I’m not normally one for nail art, and it was originally the darker shade in this set that I spotted in store not realising that it came as part of a pair that also included the nail dotting tool alongside. I decided to pick it up anyway, as both shades are super pretty for Spring and whether used alone or together give a beautiful result. I also really love the fact that the bottles are miniature and so perfect for sticking in your bag in case you need to touch up on the go. The 'Confettis' duo consisting of a brighter peach and a vibrant coral are also stunning and I am seriously considering laying my hands on them for Summer before they disappear off the counters. 


Fragrance 

Like I say, when it comes to Spring I enjoy a light fragrance – something sweet and delicate, and the first of the two I am going to mention, fits the bill perfectly; Jo Malone’s 'Wild Bluebell'.  There aren’t many sights or smells that fill me with joy more so than a wood full of wild bluebells and so from the minute I smelt this, what is now a couple of years ago, I just knew I had to have it. As with all Jo Malone scents, there is nothing artificial about it and it smells exactly like the real thing. It isn’t the most long wearing fragrance I own, but I carry it with me as I have the smaller 30ml bottle and spritzing it throughout the day not only makes me smell delicious but also brings a smile to my face at the same time. At the somewhat opposite end of the spectrum, is Diptique’s Eau Duelle; a much woodier scent with notes of vanilla, frankincense and spices incorporated throughout. It isn’t your typical Spring scent, but personally I like to separate my fragrances through what I would consider evening and day appropriate options. This is definitely more evening orientated and as such is a lot sexier, darker and more sultry, whilst still maintaining a hint of that sweetness thanks to the vanilla. I’ve heard a lot of people compare the scent to that of white chocolate and I can definitely see where they are coming from; something which I am definitely not going to be complaining about! 

What new discoveries/old favourites have you been adding into your routine lately as part of a little seasonal overhaul? 

Sarah x