Thursday, 31 October 2013

October Favourites

I thought I'd start doing a monthly favourites, and what better month to begin with than October. It may not be especially spooky, but if you can imagine I'm writing this post sans make up I'm sure that's enough to terrify you into not even bothering with Halloween this year!

I think the transition between Summer and Autumn is the most harshest. All of a sudden you go from being able to walk around in shorts -  to suddenly needing 10 layers and the central heating on full blast, not to mention the cold dark nights that soon draw in! 

However, this is also a great time to switch things up with your make up and go much darker and heavier, and be bolder with your choices. 

These are some of the products I've been loving this month....

1. The Body Shop -Satsuma Shower Gel - £4/250ml

I have always loved this particular shower gel for Autumn, because it tricks the mind into feeling like it's still warm outside. It is also extremely powerful in filling the whole top floor of my house with the smell of Satsuma. The scent isn't synthetic or overbearing though, and is great at waking me up in the morning.

Recently, I've been pairing it with body scrub from the same range and both are to die for and don't irritate my sensitive skin. Give it a smell in the shop if you are not sure, just try not to fall over with delight....

2. MUA - Lipstick Shade 16 Nectar - £1/3.8g

Ok so I have been wearing this pretty much all through the end of summer, however it's been my shade of choice this month too! I would have never of gone for orangey/coral lipstick shades in the past, however I find for pale skin they are genuinely workable even into everyday looks. This lipstick is quite matte, yet doesn't dry the lips out and is surprisingly pigmented. For £1, it's at least worth a try!  

3. Dior - Diorshow Powder Blusher 005 - DC

This blusher is an old favourite of mine and unfortunately it seems it has now been discontinued, although some sellers are still selling this on ebay.

I like this blusher because although it seems quite deep, it actually goes on quite subtly, and is one of the only powder blushers I have ever truelly loved. I apply by using my Dior blusher brush with the powder in the bottom compartment that detaches from the main lid/applicator. 

It has never looked too dark/muddy on my skin even in winter when I am at my fairest. I do hope they bring it back because it's such a beautiful colour when applied.

(lid not photographed due to it being very reflective!) 

4. Marks & Spencer - Frankincense & Myrrh Candle - £3.50 

It's no secret in my house that I have a bit of a problem with all things Yankee candle related, and well all candles really! When I was younger, we had an M&S Christmas air freshener, and I've always longed for that smell since. This item was a bit of research before the Christmas sections get manic, and well it was quite a pleasant surprise.

We had this on in the living room last night for a couple of hours, and the smell genuinely lulled me into going to bed way before my normal bedtime. I slept for nearly 10 hours straight which is very unlike me! 

I don't think it's quite the same as the scent we had years ago, although it's definitely something I would re-purchase. The smell isn't overbearing or "headachey" as some heavier, musky scents can sometimes be. 

I'd actually rather have this candle than the turkey....

5. Mac - Studio Sculpt Foundation in NC15 - £25/40ml

Over the years I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this foundation. It transfers onto clothing like a mofo, is far too heavy for summer and is too dark for my skin so needs a white foundation adding everytime I want to use it. 

That being said, when lightened and used sparingly really blending it out, it's actually quite a good full coverage foundation. I almost always get told "my skin looks nice" even by my Brother who wouldn't notice if my hair was suddenly bright pink, so that's got to count for something. 

I've been wearing this foundation alot for important events/meetings/interviews, as I know it will even out my skin and work brilliantly as a base for other products to go on top. It is a bit heavy if you have a long day ahead, however if you are looking for full coverage, this will certainly give you it (also smells like Rum & Raisin ice cream!)

6. Thierry Mugler - Alien Eau De Parfum - £43/50ml

Again this one is a bit of an old favourite, however it's an October favourite as it's now cold enough for it to come out of hibernation.
I have previously done a review on this perfume as it is my signature scent and has been for a couple of years now.   

I have started wearing it again recently, and the other day a receptionist stopped me in my tracks and asked me what it was as she really liked it. This not the first time this has happened to me, as it's one of those scents you smell and then have to smell again.

It's also incredibly long lasting and powerful, so a little really does go along way. 

7. L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil - £9.99/100ml

Superdrug recently had this product on offer and I had to take advantage of it! As I've mentioned before, my hair is incredibly thick and therefore alot more difficult to manage than it may look. 

I like to have products through my hair whilst blow drying to help lock in the style, not to mention keep things smooth. I've been using a couple of pumps of this distributed through the mid lengths/ends, and so far I'm quite impressed. 

I'm not sure exactly what it does, although the smell radiates through my hair as the heat from the hairdryer comes into contact with it. My hair also feels pretty nice afterwards too. Doutzen Kroes, watch this space...

8. Barry M Nail Paint - 365 Berry Cosmo - £2.99/10ml 

A girl can never have too many dark, vampy nail polishes and October is the perfect month to get the ball rolling. Barry M seem to have moved from just doing very colourful products, to really moving with the trends and you can never go wrong with purple as the nights get colder. This shade is smart enough for the office, yet great for parties and would compliment a dark smokey eye perfectly.

If only I could find a new hand bag in this shade....

What products are you loving this autumn? Let me know below or tweet me @paleskinmakeup! 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

London Calling (and it's make up counters!)

Where I live, we are literally hours from the likes of Mac, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown. This is why I always take the opportunity to visit Selfridges and some of the larger Boots/Superdrug stores whenever I'm in London, as they sell a much greater variety of brands than we have back home. 

I did intend to make this a much bigger haul, however I conveniently got ill over my trip, and even missed a family dinner thanks to my lovely sinuses. Anyway, I am really glad for the products I did manage to pick up at Selfridges, John Lewis, Superdrug and Topshop! I shall probably do a more in depth review of these products once I've used them enough, however if there is anything in particular you'd like to see a review on please leave me a comment below.

In no particular order....

1.  Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer in Alabaster Tint - £29 (50ml)

I have just about run out of my Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser (sob!), and figured I may as well try a different one just to switch things up a bit. I was surprised to be told I am now "Alabaster" in Bobbi Brown, as it's got quite a pinky undertone although I personally feel this product is a little darker than "Alabaster" in the actual Bobbi Brown foundations.

The consistency/shade is also alot sheerer and lighter than it appears on my arm. Infact, when you blend it in it really does dissapear, alot more than a foundation would. Overall it's coverage is very light, so probably best saved for the days when my skin is behaving itself and I just want a natural look.

I did want to try the Moisturizing Balm, as Essie Button recommended it on her blog, although for some reason the counter assistant said this one would be better suited for me. I'll keep you posted!

2. Origins Make A Difference Plus Moisturizer - £34 (50ml)

My skin seems to have an automatic sensor that knows as soon as autumn kicks in, as it will automatically become super dry and dehydrated. I do love my Nivea moisturiser, however when the cold weather comes around I really do have to step things up to keep my skin from becoming tight and uncomfortable.

This was the only item I bought from Selfridges, as I have to admit although I'd been there before I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of people, and I really wasn't sure what counter to go for either! 

I have used Origins products before, and know they are highly regarded so this is what drew me to them. The lady recommended this for my dryness, and said they do a richer version but this could be too much for my skin and cause it to breakout. It has a very refreshing texture and sinks into the skin well, especially under make up so hopefully this will do the trick. 

3. MUA Colour Blast Eyeshadow Tint in Bring it Back - £3

If you had said to me a few years back would I be interested in brown eyeshadow, I would have given you a firm no. Since letting my hair colour grow out, I've suddenly found brown eyeshadow tones to be incredible easy to work with, and it's a colour that genuinely compliments pale skin tones as opposed to standing out too much or being too harsh, like some shades can be.

I became interested in the MUA eyeshadow tints, as I think they are very similar to the Clinique Chubby Sticks (and at a fraction of the price!) 

There are 6 shades to choose from, and I love that the formula is quite creamy and blendable, as well as buildable. I think this works best if you use some similar/neutral coloured eyeshadow underneath as a base to really make the colour pop. I think I'm going to get alot of wear out of this product!

4. Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy in 280 Orbit - £7.99

It was love at first sight when I first glanced over these in a recent edition of American Elle Magazine.  If you have seen my nail shelf, you will know I am really into my polishes, especially any special effects that can be layered over the top!

Out of all the shades and combinations available, I liked 280 Orbit the best as it looked the most wearable, not to mention eye catching. I do think at £8 it is a little pricey for a high street nail polish, so hopefully it will live up to the expectation (although I guess you are getting two shades for the price of one!) 

5. Topshop Nail Polish in Razzmatazz - £6

The beauty area on the ground level of Topshop Oxford Circus is truelly incredible, and even sells high end make up brands as well as it's very own Topshop line. I did manage to photograph a tiny amount of what is there (the nail shelf extended way beyond my lense could)... and frankly it was impossible to choose from!

I chose Razzmatazz, because of the way it looked under the shop lights as the way it sparkled really stood out for me. I quickly tested it over Essie's Mint Candy Apple, which is more of a spring/summer shade. The beauty of Razzmatazz is, it literally made MCA look like Christmas wrapping paper, meaning you can still wear your summery shades in autumn/winter too. Perfect!

I will return to Topshop for the other 15 shades I made myself put back....  

Monday, 21 October 2013

I Whipped Ma Hurr Into Hershesons...

As someone who has deceptively thick hair, taking care of my locks when I go away can be a bit of a challenge. Firstly, I *have* to completely blow dry my hair thoroughly after washing it, using a concentrated nozzle and a barrel brush to smooth it out. Otherwise, it will not dry for hours/gladly impersonate Wurzel Gummage. Washing and styling is fine at home, but becoming a make-shift mobile hairdresser when you have limited space in your weekend bag, can be a bit of a nightmare. 

This is where Hershesons Blow Dry Bar comes in, at £25 for a wash and finish. Conveniently located in Topshop Oxford Circus (as well as a few other London locations) it's the perfect solution to avoid bad hair/loads of hassle, when you are away for the weekend in the capital, or just fancy a treat.

To use the service, you simply book online, choosing both the time and day of your choice, as well as preferred stylist if you have one. 

When you turn up on the day, the first thing you do is choose one of 12 styles pictured on the wall for the stylist to re-create for you. I went for the half & half (after first asking if I could have them all hehe). There are a real mix of experimental/on trend styles, as well as a couple of updo looks to choose from. It is definitely in-keeping with the Topshop environment, although I feel there is a style to suit everyone, as they are each quite individual.

Once you've chosen your look, next comes the obvious washing part (
using Kérastase products no less!) I have to admit at first it was a bit strange having my hair washed in the middle of Topshop's flagship store. The store itself was understandably heaving what with it being a Saturday, although the Hershesons salon offered a little private sanctuary from all the madness (even if it does face one of the escalators!) 

My stylist was fairly thorough yet gentle when washing, (which is a relief because some hairdressers treat my scalp like they are sanding a floor with their nails).... Afterwards, she patted my hair dry with a piece of cotton like material to dry off the excess, before moving me over to one of the sleek salon chairs. 

Before going in with the Hershesons own brand hairdryer and brushes, my stylist applied some Kérastase Bain De Force throughout. My hair was then rough dried without a nozzle, before the nozzle was then applied and a small barrel brush was used on individual sections of my hair. Each section was wrapped around the brush, and my stylist went over each section with the hairdryer, giving it volume and lift. After each section was completed, it was pinned into a curl and secured using a metal clip.

After my hair was all dried and pinned, my hair was sprayed with Elnett and left to cool for a couple of minutes. The clips were then taken out, and I was told to tilt my head back as my stylist ran her hands through all the curls to make it look a little less "done". Then, my look was complete and all was left to do was pay. 

As you can see I then took a shameless selfie in one of the mirrors in Topshop as soon as I got out. I was really happy with the finished look, as I was feeling a little unwell that day with sinus pain (hence the face - sorry!), and was dreading having my hair done incase it made me feel worse. Surprisingly, the experience genuinely took my mind of it for a little while and made me feel a little better. I was also releaved that I didn't have to head back and wash my hair at the end of the day for once! 

The only negative thing about my experience, was they seemed to use the dryers on full heat which felt a bit too hot when the dryer came too close to my scalp. I know I have quite sensitive skin, so this could just be me but it's worth bearing in mind that this is a quick turn around service, and if you have very thick hair like me, they have to get through it very quickly in order to be able style it. I can understand why, but it was a little uncomfortable at the time. Nevertheless, it was mostly a very positive experience, and it hasn't put me off returning, as the pros well outweigh the cons for me!

I also want to thank my stylist (I'm sorry I didn't catch your name!) for being so kind as to let me photograph the salon for this blog, as well as giving me a magazine with all the styles to take away with me for my Cousin, as we are looking at getting some treatments done in London for her birthday. 

For £25, I think you definitely get your money's worth in the products used and styling tools alone. Although the curly ends did drop as the day progressed, it still looked like my hair had been done professionally, and was definitely alot neater than the bun I had left the house in. 

Overall, it was a great experience and I will be sure to return as it's definitely a huge convenience, with some very talented staff at it's helm. There are also some other styles you can have done that involve clip in extensions - meaning no matter your hair length or style preference, there's sure to be something you can enjoy at Hershesons.

To find out more and to book, check out the Hershesons website.  


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nailin' It

Autumn is the time not just to pull out the knitwear, but also the deeper nail shades too. Whilst I have reviewed a couple of the polishes pictured above before on my blog, I think this is the best time of the year to really showcase them. 

Pastels are also a growing trend for nails (and indeed coats!)... although I am yet to venture into this myself. The colours everyone seem to be raving about, are pastel blue and pinks. 

For now, I am playing it safe with my chocolately, purplely and general all round "autumny" shades.  The great thing about these shades though, is because they are not super dark and actually have a bit of warmth in them, this means they are fairly wearable on pale skin. 

A great way to test if a nail colour is suitable for your skintone, is to hold the bottle against your hand or arm in the shop (providing the lighting is fairly natural). If you feel the colour washes you out, simply go for one shade lighter and see how you get on. Remember, the darker the shade... the more difficult it is to pull off (not that it can't be done!)

Let me know in the comments section or on twitter @paleskinmakeup if you have any nail colour suggestions for me this season!