Tuesday 30 May 2017

The High End Products I Have No Trouble Justifying

Happy Tuesday!
I'm currently writing this in my dressing gown with a huge mug of mocha, watching Leeds from my window on the 17th floor. Isn't life peachy?
There are some products that I turn to time and time again when it comes to High End, and even though they don't always make it into my ride or die everyday makeup bag, I have no trouble justifying the $$$ I spend on them. Sure, the drugstore has a lot of gems that I would never stray away from (maybe that can be a future post, who knows), but isn't it a lovely feeling walking away from the luxury counters with a spontaneous purchase? I know this can't just be me.

My NARS Multiple in 'Orgasm' is immediately what I think of when I try and list my favourite high end products. I use this as a duo cream blush/highlight combo, and the "sheer warm pink with golden shimmer" is absolutely gorgeous in summer, let me tell you. Nothing beats that sleek matte black packaging; gimme all that NARS lovin'. This is £29, but if you're feeling spendy and you want a memorable product, this is your one.
When it comes to liquid lips, I am unbelievably picky. If it isn't comfortable, or even slightly drying, then its out of the equation. The Jouer liquid lips are stunning when it comes to formula and shade range - I own two of the metallic shades in 'Snapdragon', which has a whole post over here, and 'Citronade Rose', a beautiful ballet slipper pink. These feel as soft as a cloud (lets just pretend I do actually know what that feels like) and stay put for a good few hours. And £15 is not astronomical for a good quality liquid lip.
Preeetty sure you've heard me bang on about the MAC Mineralise Skinfinish a couple of times already, but if you haven't heard me say it, listen closely. I know this is typically a face powder, but the medium/dark shade is a lovely light warm bronze for pale skin. £24.50 is a lot to pay for a bronzer, but this is a high end product post, and I wouldn't hesitate to repurchase this. I find that MAC products are usually my favourites when it comes to bronzer/contour *cough* Harmony blusher *cough*.
The Urban Decay De Slick setting spray has been a regular in my collection since day one, the early makeup years. I literally wore this in a desert and my foundation didn't slide. Urban Decay, you the real MVP. I bought this mini version recently for £10 and it is the cutest size to pop in your handbag to top up throughout the day.
Last but not least, my top find of 2017. Bare Minerals Buttercream Glosses, ILY hunnies. £17 is pricey but believe me, I cannot stress enough the perfection in this formula. I did a whole post about these a couple of weeks back that you can read here, where I sing their praises on a whole new level. I would buy so many of these if money would allow, and have not a single regret. 100% justified, all day every day. 


Friday 26 May 2017

Scentered || A Natural Remedy*

I feel invested in every collaboration I choose to partake in, but this one guys, this one is pretty close to my heart. This post contains anxiety-related content: trigger warning.
For me, the first sign that the day is going to take an unwanted turn in terms of my anxiety, is a heavy feeling in my chest that I can't seem to shift. This is usually accompanied by a fast heartbeat and a click in my mind that begins to tell me that its going to be difficult to continue to breathe. Although panic attacks rarely affect me as much as they did when I was sixteen, feeling it creeping up on me every now and again is still one of the scariest moments I find myself encountering. I'm pretty good at breathing exercises (you can find a lot of these online!), but I've found a natural remedy that instantly helps to soothe me and clear my airways - even if they were most likely clear already, it eases my mind.
When I attended #CarnLIVal a while back, I received a 'Scentered' therapy balm; you apply this product to pulse points in times of stress, inhale, and hopefully the scent will bring you back to a calmer reality. I have to admit I'm a cynic, and I was unconvinced that a 100% natural balm had the ability to do, well, anything. Determined to persevere with the product, I used the 'Love' balm (Rose, Patchouli and Cedarwood) in the middle of the night when I woke feeling anxious, and holy moly this stuff is incredible. I am unbelievably impressed with these balms - regardless of whether the effect is psychological or physical, I continue to be amazed when these calm my mind.
Obviously, this doesn't promise to immediately and consistently rescue you. It would be a miracle if it did, and if the antidote to panic did actually exist, I'm sure I wouldn't be first to discover it.  However, focusing on such a strong scent manages to detract focus away from other thought processes, and anything that might help a little is worth looking at, right? I contacted the team at Scentered after keeping the 'Love' balm in my handbag for a couple of weeks, to let them know how much I appreciated the product, and they were kind enough to send over two other balms for review. The 'Be Happy' balm (Grapefruit, Lemon Myrtle and Spearmint)* is described as 'sunshine in a stick', which I think is adorable. The 'Stress Less' balm (Chamomile, Neroli and Mandarin)* is definitely a balm I was grateful for in the last week during my first year university exams. 

The balms retail at £14.50, and you can browse the range of natural remedies here, and over on their twitter. If you have a friend or family member with anxiety it can be really tough to know how to help them; mental illness leaves a lot of people feeling powerless. I think this could be a lovely pick me up to give someone to help them through a tough period of life; I wouldn't recommend a product that I don't truly believe in, particularly when it relates to issues like this.
Thank you to the team at Scentered for such a comforting product, and I hope some of you benefit like I do from this natural anxiety aid.
*These products were sent to me to review, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

The Bare Minerals Buttercream Lip Glosses || Lip Swatches

If there's one beauty find that I've been ecstatic about in the past few months, its definitely the Buttercream Lip Glosses by Bare Minerals. I know what you're probably thinking; there is no way that she can be devoting yet another post to glosses. But here we are, and yes I am. Believe me when I say that these glosses? Life changing.
I'd wanted to try these ever since Jaclyn Hill and Kathleen Lights started raving about the shade 'Groovy' (way too light for my liking, but I was obsessed with the idea of a non-sticky, pigmented formula. For those of you who've read my heartfelt dedications to the Colourpop Ultra Glossy Lips, you might recall that that particular formula is the definition of right up my street.) For £17, they aren't the cheapest product, but if you're someone like me who prefers gloss over any other lip category, its well worth a try. I liked the formula so much that I went back and purchased a second shade!

The first shade I picked up back in April was 'Flirt' - a beautiful mauve gloss with no shimmer, just high pigmentation and an unreal finish considering that these aren't sticky, at all. Obviously, the universal lip gloss rule still applies, if it's a windy day, don't wear your hair down and pop this on and hope to avoid chaos. It is a gloss, after all. The formula is thick and long wearing, and the colour pay off is so beautiful. I'm not sure how well the paler shades would look (I'm not a fan of the milky lip gloss look), but they've got rave reviews from high profile gurus, so I would probably be assured in the fact that they look just as lovely as the darker shades I chose.
The second shade I bought was a bit of a risk considering I usually stick to mauves and brown nudes; 'Heartbreaker' is a dark pink, a step up from the traditional mauve but not yet gravitating into hot pink territory. And surprisingly, its my favourite. It makes my lips look healthy and hydrated, whilst being one of the prettiest pink glosses I've ever laid eyes on. The only thing that doesn't deliver with this product is the "subtle vanilla scent", which must be hella subtle, because I'm just not getting it. It would have been nice to get a buttercream scent that lives up to the name, but we can't fight all battles at once.

I would highly recommend these, even when taking the price into consideration. As always, the quality of Bare Minerals packaging is 10/10, and if you leave the disappointing scent out of the equation, I'd give the glosses that score to match. They definitely rival my Colourpop favourites; currently on my makeup shelf at university I have all my essential glosses lined up, and the Bare Minerals/Colourpop combo is all that I need. I know without a doubt that these babies are going to make it into my 2017 roundup.

Flirt, Heartbreaker

Thursday 11 May 2017

A Little Bit of Truth || Mental Health Awareness Month

As you can probably tell from the ominous title and the non-descript photo, this is going to be a rambly, personal post. Welcome. One of my favourites to write but definitely my least favourite to publish; I've never been the bravest fish in the sea.
It bugs me how social media can make life look a lot more shiny that it actually is, and I'm well aware that the nature of my posts portray my everyday life as a series of new lipsticks and planned instagram shots. In reality, those moments exist, but they're a tiny fraction of my life and it isn't all sunshine and rainbows, all the time (particularly when you live in the North). In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month I thought I'd write a little something real, a little something true. There's been an ache within me lately to transition mental health writing onto this blog, so I guess we'll start here. With me. And hopefully, it might help.
Christmas was a tough time, I'm just going to blurt that out and hope for the best. Putting things in writing often clarifies them for me, and the truth is, I was extremely close to not going back to University. For those close to me that might read this, I don't think you'll ever understand just how close. As a girl who spent most of high school thinking about university and how I couldn't wait to be surrounded by likeminded people, finding it to be tough was a little bit heart breaking. When I chose my accommodation, I was immediately drawn to self-catered. I'm a picky eater, meat isn't always my best friend, and it just made sense. Until it didn't. During significant periods of my teenage life, food has been my most difficult, toxic relationship. I've had the heartbreak of a manipulative boyfriend, but nothing compares to the manipulation you can force upon yourself. And pushing myself into a new situation, completely in control of my own eating habits, brought some pretty ugly thoughts back to the surface. There's nothing quite like sobbing on the kitchen floor at 9pm because of a bowl of pasta. It's hard to understand, I know. But Mental Health Awareness Month is here, so let's all try, shall we?
It's extremely easy to deny mental illness; to push it away and try to "be brave". For a long time, I blamed my food issues on other things. And its true, low points in my life in other areas, do bring out the worst in my mind. Addressing the issue head on, however, has been a huge part of the last few months. Going back and sitting alone in my uni bedroom on that first day of semester two was, I think, probably the bravest thing I've ever done. Bouncing back from a shatter of confidence is not an ideal situation to deal with, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And I know that dropping out would have been my biggest regret in the long run. Now, when I look back at the December/January period, I don't even recognise the girl crying on the kitchen floor, and thinking of how much I nearly gave up scares me. Things aren't perfect (is perfect even real?) but putting yourself on the right track is just as important as reaching the end of it.
Don't get me wrong, I still have bad days/weeks, and despite the fact that I'm an extremely happy/excitable person, I still lie in bed at night and deal with a lot of thoughts. And that's okay. I'm prepared to get there, and I realise now that I'm never alone, even if those close to me struggle to understand what my mind conjures up when I least expect it. If you're reading this online confession, and thinking, hey, this sounds familiar, you aren't alone either. Tell someone, anyone. A doctor, a friend, maybe even start with your cat. Talking helps, I promise.
These past few months have not been easy, but they've taught me a lot about my own strength. *Cue Whitney Houston* I might be small, but I am mighty. And believe me, you can be too.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Two New Concealer Picks

And I'm back!
Getting into the swing of things again at university has been time consuming and I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and write, but I thought that after trialling these two new concealers for about a month now, it was time to give them a review.
Concealer is my number one essential when it comes to make up, and whether you have blemished skin or not, its a lifesaver for those days when you wake up and those under eyes make it seem like you haven't slept in weeks. The new pick that I'm most excited about is definitely 'Fit Me' by Maybelline - a product I've heard lots about but never managed to pick up in my shade before this. I bought it from Amazon for around £5 in the shade 'fair', for porcelain skin.  I don't know if you've noticed, but my skintone is as pale as you can get, and this concealer does the job.

I absolutely adore this concealer. The coverage for such a simple product is incredible, I regularly skip foundation and just use this to even out my skin. It blends perfectly with a make up sponge (I'm honestly not sure what I did in my life prior to using a sponge to blend out concealer), and stays put all day long if you set it with a powder. My personal favourite combination is the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer and the Soap and Glory translucent powder, which is quickly becoming my all time go-to. £5 for a concealer that applies easily and covers any blemish is a win in my eyes, particularly when the finish is matte.

The Liquid Concealer from 3ina however (you can check it out here) is a different story entirely. When I took a trip to London I visited the store and the make up artist tried the concealer on my skin, and at the time I was completely convinced that it was a product that I had to have. I bought the shade 101, which is a light concealer with yellow undertones to counteract the redness in my skin, and although the shade is ideally matched, I'm not a fan of the consistency or formula of this product. The applicator applies the make up in a patchy, feathery way so that not enough concealer is transferred, and the finished look is rather cakey. I think we all know that that isn't quite what we're looking for when we cover up our dark circles. 

I'd be interested to try more from the brand regardless of this one minor fail, because you can't judge a new company based on one thick concealer - which reminds me, if you're a fan of thick and creamy concealers, you might actually be on the right track with this one.  The saving grace for this purchase is that the packaging is very simple and chic; matte black does things to me like no other make up design can.
Let me know what you thought if any of you have tried this, I'd be intrigued to know if anyone else felt the same about either of these concealers.

© A Small Distraction. All rights reserved.