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My top picks of 2016

Every beauty blogger and their cousin by now has uploaded a video or post with their ‘Best of Beauty 2016’, so I’m a bit late on the bus, but we’ll still get to the same destination….right?  Today I want to just share what some of my all time favourite products to use in 2016 were. I’ll try not to make this too long and will go in order of makeup application.

Best of Beauty 2016

Primer – My ride or die will always be the Benefit Porefessional pro balm. It’s glides onto my skin and fills my pores. The balm also mattifies my oily bits which I love. I’ve yet to find another primer that can compare to this one.

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Foundation – I have’t used many different foundations as I’ve found 1 that you’ve seen on the blog before, the L’Oreal Infallible 24hr Matte foundation. I’m in the shade Golden Beige, though I think that’s my winter shade and I should try one shade darker now in Summer. This gives me a medium coverage with 1 layer and looks very natural on my skin, so much so that people sometimes don’t believe I’m wearing foundation. This foundation is for somebody with oily skin though, or it may look a little dry, but a good mist of setting spray can help with that. (Available at Dischem )

Face powder – After seeing a few good reviews, I got the Yardley loose translucent powder and I really like it. It’s very finely milled and it doesn’t crease my under eye area like other powders do. (Available at Clicks or Dischem) 

Under eye concealer – I’ve seen many reviews on the Maybelline Age rewind concealer and I was praying it would come to South Africa, but it hasn’t. Thankfully I have a lovely cousin in the UK that said I could order goodies and when she comes to SA she’d bring it with her. I love this concealer. It’s not thick and it blends so well. My only issue is that I think the shade I got is a smidge too light for me, so I usually mix it with my other favourite concealer, from LA Girl (Pro HD concealer) that is a bit darker. (Available from Superdrug in the UK)

Eyehsadow primer – I loved the eyeshadow base from Essence. It’s affordable and it does the job.(Available at Clicks or Dischem) 

Eyeshadow palette – This is a tough one as I love all of my palettes more than the next one at some point in time. Only because this was a dream come true, the Chocolate Bar palette from Too Faced has got to be my favourite palette for 2016. The shade selection is great and the quality of the eye shadow is amazing. I’ve said it in a previous post, there’s something in this palette for every type of gal…the ordinary gal and the glam gal ❤

Brow Pencil – I love the MAC brow pencils. They are creamy and blend in really well. Easy to smudge or wipe off if you need to fix a mistake. I just feel it gives such a natural fill to the brows. I wear the shade ‘Spiked’.

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Mascara – There is a clear winner for me, and that is the Benefit Roller Lash mascara. The Roller Lash doesn’t clump, it seperates and lengthens your lashes. It’s just the perfect formula and I will repurchase it over and over.

Blush – Again there is no other contender in this category for me, it’s the Benefit Dallas face powder. (I seem to have a little bit of a crush on Benefit products don’t I?) A bit of a blush/bronzer hybrid, but I just love the flush of colour it gives, with no shimmer and I think it just goes with every single makeup look. I don’t even have to think about it.

Highlighter – This one is difficult. I don’t think I’ve found THE HIGHLIGHTER yet that rocks my world. I was obsessed with my Colourpop one in the shade ‘Lunch money‘. Today I’m in love with the one from my NYX palette called ‘Ice Queen‘. So in 2016 I basically just grabbed whatever was close by…I love all my highlighters on different days.

Lip pencilsEssence lip pencils are my go too pencils in any shade. They are affordable and come in an array of colours. I don’t think they’re the most long wearing lip pencils out there, but I’m not too fussy about that. (Available at Clicks or Dischem) 

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Setting spray – My vote goes for the Me & Youth beauty spray (previously known as Beauty Fix). The ingredients, the lovely rose scent and the dewy look it gives my foundation just makes this a clear winner in my books. Apologies as I seem to have not included a picture of the new bottle and I don’t want to show a picture of the old packaging. Oi.  (Available on the Me&Youth website)

Lipstick – I’m not a big lipstick lover. I’m more a lipliner and gloss kind of gal. My most worn lipstick in winter was definitely from Gosh in the colour ‘Antique‘. Also a reached for lipstick was from Mac in the shade ‘Modesty‘. (Available at Edgars Stores)

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Lipgloss – Another winner from Essence, but sadly this gloss was part of the limited edition ‘All that Greys’ launch and mine is basically finished, so I have no idea what I’m going to do 😦 It’s a nudey pink gloss and paired over a plum lipliner is just amazing! Also paired with grey eyeshadow, it’s simply stunning. The scent is also really lovely. (Limited edition, so not available anymore)

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Hair – I discovered quite a few brands in 2016 and a brand called NAK definitely was the best shampoo and conditioner that I used. It left my hair feeling so clean, nourished and shiny, without it being oily. On the budget side, Aunt Jackie’s range from Clicks is a brand I fell in love with, especially for coloured gals with flyaway hair or knotty hair. The range is affordable and even has a flaxseed oil infused hair gel so it isn’t harsh or drying on the hair. (Available from RetailBox)

That concludes my ‘Best of 2016’ picks! I hope you enjoyed reading it and perhaps we loved some of the same things, or you’ve spotted something you’d like to try? Also if there was something you could not live without in 2016, please let me know below in the comments so I can look out for it ❤

PS I have NO idea why the quality of my picture is so bad. It’s fine until I upload it here. I haven’t had this issue before 😦 If anybody has advice, leave me a comment down below. I’ll try to play around with it and update the post.

Eyeshadow primers {Budget vs Splurge}

It’s usually very disappointing to splurge on a product and then find that it’s awful or sub standard. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s also easy to spend a huge amount of money on budget products and find you hate it. Even budget purchases add up, so it’s a wonderful feeling to find a budget item that is of good quality.

Makeup was never my thing. I got into the game very late in life. I was the one asking my sister or cousin, or heck any 5 year old in the vicinity, to do my makeup. I kid you not, once my 8yr old sister in law put makeup on for me and I thought she did a great job. lol. I just found that no matter what I put on my eyes, it looked like somebody had beaten me up. I couldn’t figure it out and just told myself that eyeshadow was just not for me…..until I started following beauty blogs and learnt about a thing called an eyeshadow primer/base. Say what??

I’ve purchased a few eyeshadow primers, and thought it would be a good idea to compare and test 2 of my favourite primers, one being a budget spend and the other being a slight splurge (for me).

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I’ve got the Essence I ❤ Stage eyeshadow base versus the Benefit Stay Don’t Stray primer. I tested this by doing my eyeshadow identically on both eyes, but with the Essence on the left and Benefit on the right side. There were supposed to be pictures to accompany this post, but I forgot!! So sorry. I did however randomly ask family members which eye looked better every few hours, so rest assured, an in depth study was done. ha ha

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They both have doe foot applicators, so application is really easy. You just dot on each eyelid and then I blend it in by lightly dabbing with my ring finger.

Both of these are available in different shades, which would obviously be better for comparison purposes if they matched, but I’m more interested in the quality. The Essence comes in a lighter shade and the Benefit comes in a darker shade as well so there’s a colour in each brand to suit any skin tone. (In picture above, Essence is the deeper more tan colour and the Benefit one is the lighter porcelain colour)

The results? After about 8 hours my eyeshadow looked identical. No creases, no fading. My family members did think the eyeshadow on the eye with the Essence base looked slightly more vibrant, but seeing as it’s a darker colour, I think that provided more intensity to the shadows, as the Essence suits my skin tone better. The Benefit product doubles as an eyeshadow and concealer primer, so it can be used on the under eye area as well, as a primer for your concealer.

I LOVE Benefit cosmetics as the quality is great and the packaging is so cute! I also LOVE Essence as it’s a brand that doesn’t break the bank and they produce high quality products.

You can’t go wrong with either of these primers in my opinion, it just depends on what suits your pocket I think.

Essence is available at Clicks and Dischem and this primer retails for around R51,95 and Benefit is available on Red Square (for us Port Elizabeth gals) and retails at R365 for a full sized product. The one in the pictures above is a deluxe sample size I received as part of a kit I bought.

Do you use an eyeshadow primer? Have you tried any of these? If you know of any other good ones, let me know and I’ll be sure to try it out.

 

Dischem Haul

I’d like to apologise for the lack of posts recently. I work at a university and as you may know, the situation is a bit volatile at the moment, and as a result I haven’t been to work for about a month now. My posts were always done at work during my lunchtime of course (in case my boss ever reads this you know), my photos taken on my desk (yes I know you never would have guessed seeing as they are so spectacular…ha ha), so as a result, I’ve just been battling to get around to doing this at home when I’m permanently surrounded by my 3 minions.

I tried to take photos one Sunday. Lighting was good, got my trusty new fake flower prop and got ready……Enter the 7yr old. Oh mom can I help you? Mom can I take some of he photos for you? Enter middle child, 4yrs old and he attempts to photobomb all my pictures. Enter 1yr old baby boy and he is just on a permanent seek and destroy mission! Needless to say, I shot some really bad pictures (like they can be worse than they are?) and just called it a day. The insanity had to end. I had so many post ideas, but for posts, you need pictures, and that’s the part I’m struggling with.

Anyways…I managed a few pictures for today’s post so let’s try to salvage this blog….pretty much like the 2016 academic year currently. *chuckles*  Too soon?

So my husband sent me with his credit card to Dischem for some baby formula the other day. Bless him. Me, Dischem and a credit card?? What did he think would happen?

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I was so excited to see that the LA Girl concealers had been restocked so I grabbed 3, 1 being a yellow colour corrector and then 2 other colours (neutral and pure beige) to try out. The concealers retail at R59,95 each. The coverage and quality of this concealer is AMAZING for this price, better than some high end and pricier concealers.

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I’ve been searching for an affordable drugstore primer to save my more pricey primers for special occasions. I managed to pick up the LA Girl blah blah blah face primer. Seriously are all those words necessary??? LA Girl Pro prep HD High-definition smoothing face primer?? My word…. Okay…I bought this, but I think I’m returning this. I have only read bad reviews on this primer so I may go and exchange it before I open it. This primer retails for R79,95.

I saw the pack of CALA sponges (refer first picture above) for sale on a group I’m on and I thought if all the ladies were going gaga for it, I needed to get a pack. I saw it, grabbed it and happily I went off…..Until I went back to the post and realized everybody went nuts BECAUSE SOME OF THE PACKS CONTAINED A CALA BEAUTY BLENDER! I didn’t know when I purchased it, so I just grabbed like a real flippin sheep. Needless to say there was no beauty blending sponge in my pack.  *sigh* These packs are currently on sale for R32,95.

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So this weird small hairbrush/big toothbrush looking thing is a facial brush. I meant to post a picture of the packaging, but I see the nanny threw it away. That being said, the packaging was so embarrassing as the description didn’t even make grammatical sense. I have already used this once and I did find it a bit abrasive on the skin, but my skin really felt so smooth and polished after I washed it. This retails for R29,95 so really not the end of the world if I decide I don’t like it. I’ll use less pressure next time.

Makeup lovers everywhere know that once your obsession takes over, storing your makeup becomes a nightmare. I’ve dreamed (and still do dream) of owning a huge acrylic makeup storage box, but I don’t have that kind of cash at this stage. I squealed a bit with excitement when I saw these cosmetic organisers at Dischem. They aren’t huge, but as you can see, it takes a few products so I’ve managed to get all my concealers in one draw, my mascaras in another and then my single eyeshadows in the top drawer. This really neatened up my makeup area a bit so I’m happy with this purchase. This 3 drawer organizer retails for R160.

Any affordable items at Dischem you can recommend that I have to try? Do you know of a good affordable primer?

It’s Prime Time

Prime time

When I delved into makeup, I found it to really be an educational process. You don’t just slap on foundation and pat some eye shadow on and think: ‘Yes girl, on fleek today!’. It’s about not looking too orange, too pink, too ashy; It’s about blending your eye shadow, transition shades; It’s about the staying power of your makeup. All of this intimidated me to the point of anxiety, but thankfully I follow some really amazing blogs that really educated me in this process and I think I learnt some things as I went along.

I had a colleague walk into my office complaining that her makeup only lasts 2 hours, so what’s the point, she asked? I asked her which primer she used…and all I got back was a blank stare and then she muttered…’What’s a primer?’.  So I realised….she is the type of person I started this blog for, who like me, didn’t really know where to start. I’m not sure I want to say that I’ll be starting a series of posts, but I thought it would be a good idea to start at the beginning and work our way through doing the whole makeup application. Let me know if it’s something you’d like to read.

Today’s post will focus on getting the face ready for makeup application, to get the most out of your makeup application, to last longer, look more airbrushed and polished. Let me say again, I am NOT a makeup expert. I can’t do a wing to save my life, I’m really just trying to learn as I go along, so what I share may be useless to you, or it may be helpful. Apologies in advance….this is a long one.

Moisturising/Hydration

Your face is basically a blank canvas for your makeup. If your canvas is dry and patchy, it stands to reason that your foundation will look dry and patchy and in the end, there’s no point, it just isn’t a good look.

There’s dry skin and there’s dehydrated skin – an important lesson I learnt from Luzanne over at Pink Peonies. For dry skin, you need to moisturise, use a night oil, get your skin feeling smooth and nourished with good quality products, BUT you can use all the moisturiser in the world, if you’re living on caffeine and no water, in an air conditioned office or with a heater on all day, your skin could start showing the effects of dehydration. It can feel tight, itchy, feel irritated, etc.   This happens to me when I’m negligent with my water consumption, then the best moisturisers in the world won’t help getting my skin feeling good, and if they do, it’s temporary. There’s a lot of info on the internet about how to remedy this and which products to use and which products to avoid.

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This is my moisturiser of choice, Visible Difference by Elizabeth Arden. I have an oily/combination skin so I never want to add products that make me feel greasy. This is a lovely thick moisturiser, but it’s really light on my face. I use this every morning before I add my face makeup and at night before my serums/oils.

Primers

If you want your makeup to last longer than 2 hours, a primer is a must have in your routine. It acts as a ‘grip/base’ to make your foundation go on smoother, hold your makeup in place, therefore lasting longer. Have you ever applied blush and gone to check on your makeup a few hours later and either the blush is missing or it’s sitting below your cheeks? Melting off your face? I used to wonder if that’s where I had actually positioned it to start with. ha ha.

There are many primers for different skin types, different uses, different price tags, etc. Smashbox has a whole range of primers that are oil free, colour correcting, hydrating, luminizing, etc. Benefit has a good offering of primers as well for oily skin, a mattifying primer, long lasting primer, etc. Catrice and Maybelline also have good budget offerings, so you don’t have to spend R300 plus on a primer.

I personally need an oil free primer and I like the benefit of using one that minimizes the appearance of pores as well. The one that fits the bill for me is the Porefessional Pro balm from Benefit.

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L-R: The Porefessional Pro Balm (Benefit), Dark Spot Corrector and Primer Water (both by Smashbox), Stay Flawless 15hr Primer (Benefit) 

The Porefessional Pro Balm is so silky soft and glides onto my skin. I like that it makes some of my pores literally disappear and I also find it really helps with oil control when combined with my oil free foundation.

The Dark Spot Correcting primer by Smashbox to me feels more like a light moisturizer and not a primer. I use it after my moisturiser some days, before the Porefessional balm. I have seen no difference with any dark spots/pigments since using this primer. It’s a pity, as it’s not a cheap product.

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White – Smashbox; Brown – Benefit 

The Primer Water by Smashbox I use on lazy days and also when time isn’t on my side. Moisturise, change baby’s nappy. Spray Primer Water, stop older 2 kids from killing each other. Wet my beautyblender, stop baby from making a run for the toilet with my cellphone…..you get it right?  If I’m doing my makeup in the car, I also use this to dampen my beauty sponge for applying my foundation. I bought this because Nikkie Tutorials raved about it as one of her ‘Yes’ products last year sometime, however there are a lot of negative and mixed reviews on this water online.

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The last little 15-Hour Primer from Benefit I have only used once. I don’t like the application process. I’m concerned I’m going to miss spots and not apply it to half of my face. It glides on really nicely and leaves a lovely silky feel to the skin. Perhaps the full size one is a better bet, but this tiny little one I’d rather use as an eye shadow primer.

Eye shadow primers/base

So our face is feeling nice and moisturized, we’ve primed….now we need to prime one more area, our eyelids 🙂 Say what Simone? Yes gals, we don’t want our eye shadow disappearing half way through the day and an eye shadow primer really assists with this.

Another reason I use an eye shadow primer is that before, I found that eye shadow all looked the same colour on my lids. I have some freaky eyelids obviously that absorb colour and everything just goes ashy. This was the reason that I actually hated makeup and never bothered with it….Enter the eye shadow primer! Most of them have a bit of a nude colour tone to them, so they become like a base for my eye shadow and just helps the colour pop a bit more on my lids. If you have really dark lids you get primers that are white that would help the colour show up even more.

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Essence I ❤ Stage Eyeshadow base is by far the most affordable and does a pretty decent job of acting as a base for your eye shadow. This is the one I reach for most for day to day wear to work. It has a doe foot applicator so I just dot it on and blend it in with my ring finger.

Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray is a primer for eye shadow AND concealer, but personally I didn’t like using it under my concealer. I creased so much the day I used it, but that could be due to a lack of technique as I just can’t get my under eye area looking fresh and crease-free. I create creases…..urgh…anyways, I am straying off topic. This is a great primer, but because it’s such a little teeny tiny bottle, I don’t use it much (saving the awesome stuff is a stupid thing to do with makeup.). The doe foot applicator is the perfect size to dab little bits onto your lid as it’s so teeny tiny. I would pinch it’s cheeks if it was a baby….teeny tiny cute primer packaging…aahh Benefit and their packaging ❤

The Hard Candy Eye Shadow Primer I got in a set with an eye shadow palette and with a mini eye pencil. I really like this primer. I used it just yesterday and my eye shadow stayed put all day. Nothing faded. It’s very creamy, blends well and feels smooth on the skin. I have no idea why I didn’t think to try this primer out sooner.

The Body Shop’s InstaBlur Eye claims to be a ‘tinted concealer, primer and colour intensifier’. I’m not sure if I’ve had this too long because it’s really grainy and it seems to create patches on my eyelids. I haven’t used it in a while, so I’m going to check out a few reviews and give this one another try, because I love The Body Shop’s products. *Just googling now and I didn’t realise this doubles as a concealer, so I’m going to give that a try. *

So that concludes our primer talk. If you want us to go into the makeup and and and, let me know and I’ll see what I can throw together 🙂

Do you currently use a primer? I’m looking for a good drugstore primer so if you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments section below.