Tuesday, 24 June 2014

June 2014 Birchbox Review

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I was previously subscribed to Glossybox, but ended up cancelling my subscription due to a combination of money getting tighter & not feeling like I was getting value from the boxes. My main complaint about Glossybox was that the products either seemed super cheap, or so expensive that there was no way I'd ever purchase them. I loved the surprise each month but it just wasn't working out, so when I finally got enough money to resubscribe I went on the search for a new subscription service. 

Birchbox was the obvious choice, it being Glossybox's main competitor in the UK & after some research I signed up. The main plus for me was the fact that Birchbox's reward points can't just be redeemed for boxes, but can also be used in the Birchbox store meaning that some of the more expensive products would be more affordable. I was also impressed by the range of big brands that Birchbox had partnered with in the past, as I found Glossybox rarely included brands I'd heard of excluding a couple of high street names.

Like Glossybox, the Birchbox has an outer delivery box & then a smaller inner box which actually holds the products. The difference is that the Birchbox inner box then contains a drawstring fabric bag. I know a lot of people love these bags & I can imagine they'd be great for holding toiletries when travelling, but after a couple of months I feel like I'm going to run out of uses for them, meaning they're just another bit of unnecessary packaging. Also in the box are the product card, a welcome note, & strange cardboard concertina which I assume is the equivalent of Glossybox's magazine. My June box contained six items, all but one of which I believe are sample size, although it's difficult to tell as the product card doesn't list the full size for the products.

First up is a beauty box staple, the Beauty Blender, which retails for £26. I actually recently purchased the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, which I've been loving but which is a lot cheaper than the Beauty Blender, so I'm honestly a little skeptical. However, it will be interesting to see if there's a noticeable difference between the two products, so look out for a review comparison post coming up soon. The package also contains a BlenderCleanser Solid which is basically a cleaner for sponge itself, & a welcome addition as I'd been struggling to clean my Real Techniques Sponge without damaging it.

Next up is a tiny sample of one of OPI's Nail Lacquers from the Brazil Collection, the full size of which retails for £11.95, in shade You're So Flippy Floppy. This shimmery yellow - almost mustard - shade is definitely a step out of my comfort zone (ever since it got seriously warm here I've been wearing black polish as a massive fuck you to Summer) & I'm a bit bummed out since the other colours available are more my style. That being said, maybe once I get more into the Summer-time spirit, I'll crack this open.

This Claudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid with SPF15 is the most pricey item in the box at £38 but it's a good example of a product I might save up my points to buy as from my quick test I really liked it. It's a light, oil-free morning moisturiser that claims to "hydrate, brighten and even skintone" & I can definitely believe it. It sank it beautiful & has a bit of colour which means that if you have clear skin you could probably get away with using it as a tinted moisturiser & skip foundation. The one downside is the scent, which though lovely is pretty overwhelming for a facial product - luckily it fades fairly quickly.

I'm always torn on the inclusion of body moisturisers in beauty boxes. On the one hand they're always useful & it's rare to find one that I actively dislike, but on the other hand they can feel a bit like filler, especially if you're getting one in every box - I'd rather take the risk & get an actual item of makeup, y'know? This Naobay Body Radiance Lotion is a solid pick but nothing special. It's "lemony fresh" scent isn't really for me, & I definitely don't feel like it's worth the £14 price tag.

This is another product which is not really for me, but I'm glad to have had the chance to try a fairly well-known brand & it certainly doesn't hurt that this item is super cute. It's a tiny sample of one of the products from the TheBalm Cosmetics How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek & Lip Cream Palette. I got shade Pie which is a pretty coral & perfect for Summer. Personally I'm not a massive fan of either lip balms or cream blushes, but thanks to its size I can see myself slipping this into my bag whilst travelling for a quick & easy makeup hit.

I'm honestly loathe to even include this item in my review. It's a keyring. It looks cheap. It's basically tat & I'm just not feeling it. Whatever.

Overall I'm really happy with this box. I'm not madly in love with any of the products but there are a couple of things I'm excited to try, & even the items which aren't for me are from reputable brands that I'm pleased to have got the chance to sample. 

What did you think of this month's box? Would it convince you to subscribe if you're not already, & if you are a subscriber, is this box pretty representative of the usual standard?

Monday, 16 June 2014

Wear it Two Ways: ASOS Curve Peg Trouser

When I first saw these peg leg trousers on ASOS Curve I was immediately curious. I'd been wanting a pair of trousers for a while, but my hip-to-waist ratio is so big that I struggle to find trousers that fit in both areas, & this draw-string pair looked perfect. Plus, I loved how sophisticated the model looked, having paired them with heels & a tuxedo-style jacket, & the thought of being able to dress them up or down really appealed to me.

However, when they arrived I was a bit disappointed. They looked a lot more like standard jogging bottoms than I'd expected, & for the £25 price tag I wasn't exactly thrilled. Dressing them down was simple, & they were really comfy (I even ended up wearing them as pyjama bottoms more than once) but dressing them up seem trickier, & it took a bit of work before I figured out an outfit I was happy with.

Outfit One: White Tank Top - ASOS, Size 18 // Shirt - New Look, Size 18 // Trousers - ASOS Curve, Size 20 // Trainers - Keds, Size 4 // Satchel - Cambridge Satchel Company

I love this look for running errands or heading to class. The trousers & trainers keep it comfy, while the classic white tank keeps it from looking too casual. This satchel has also been a wardrobe staple, ever since I bought it 3 years ago - it's the most expensive item in my closet, but I've definitely got my money's worth.

Outfit Two: Red Tank - ASOS Curve, Size 18 // Blazer - Primark, Size 18 // Trousers - ASOS Curve, Size 20 // Shoes - M&S, Size 4 // Clutch - Primark

I've kind of made peace with the fact that these trousers are never going to look super fancy, but by combining them with heels, a dressier top, & a blazer I think they can look dressier. I really like this outfit for a date night or drinks with friends, & you could potentially dress it up even more with some statement jewellery.

I hope you enjoyed these outfits & if there are any pieces or trends you'd like to see my take on then just let me know in the comments.

p.s. I've finally got round to setting up my Bloglovin account, feel free to give me a follow!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin Review

Ever since it started to get warmer here, I've been looking to switch up my foundation. I loved the full coverage I was getting from Rimmel's Stay Matte Mousse Foundation but it was just too heavy for summer, plus it had a tendency to shift & transfer during the day, meaning that by evening I looked like a hot mess. 

A quick Google for full-coverage foundations for acne-prone skin quickly brought up Revlon's Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin & the reviews looked great. People were swearing by this foundation, & even people with serious acne were getting great results so I decided to give it a shot.

My first impressions weren't great. I'd seen from reviews that the foundation didn't come with a pump, but I'd figured I could just pour it onto the back of my hand. However, when I unscrewed the top & tipped it upside down... nothing. The foundation is so thick that there's no way it's coming out of the glass bottle without some serious shaking, which is just an accident waiting to happen. I've since resorted to scooping it out with a small brush & then brushing it on the back of my hand, but it's far from ideal.

In terms of application, I've been using my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge & it gives a great even finish, with none of the streaks that can often haunt people with oily skin. The only downside is that it also sheers out the coverage, which isn't ideal for a full coverage foundation.

L: No makeup // R: Two coats of foundation, plus concealer and powder
For me personally, this foundation is not what I would consider full coverage. After one layer of the foundation my acne is still clearly visible, and even with concealer on top there's still significant redness on show. To get the coverage in these photos I used another thin layer, on top of the original layer of foundation and concealer, plus a tinted powder. After all that, the coverage is fairly good, although definitely not "flawless" as you can see. On the bright-side it still looks super natural - pretty much the definition of "your skin but better" - & it has a lovely glow, although if you prefer more of a matte look you'll want to add a powder. 

If you'd like to see a step-by-step progression of the foundation coverage then check out my review video.

The big strength of this foundation is without a doubt its longevity. It claims to have 24 hours of wear, which I'm a bit skeptical of, but after a standard day it still looks great - not cakey at all, & my blush is always exactly where I put it, which is one of those weird things that you never really notice being an issue until it's not, y'know?

To round things up, this is a great foundation: it looks natural, has buildable coverage, & lasts forever. However, it requires a level of work that I'm just not sure I'm ready for. This isn't just a throw it on & walk out the door product, especially if you've got severe acne like myself. You need to dedicate some serious time to building it up in thin layers to avoid it looking cakey, which is a bit of a nightmare without a pump to moderate how much product you're getting. I think it's a lovely product for summer, but come Autumn I think I'll be trying something new.

Have you tried the Revlon Colorstay Foundation, & if so what did you think? What's your holy grail foundation?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Face of the Day: Purple Lips

I've recently started using a few new products as part of my everyday makeup routine & I'm really loving them, so I thought I'd share a quick "face of the day" blog post with you all.

The first product is the Revlon ColorStay foundation in shade Buff - I'll be doing a full review of this foundation soon as my feelings on it are a bit mixed but I am loving how long lasting it is. I applied it using my new Real Techniques' Miracle Complexion Sponge & I can't explain the difference this has made to my foundation - I love the coverage it gives while also stopping foundation from looking cakey, which is always a worry with full-coverage products.

Next I used my Sleek palette to contour & highlight. This is an holy grail product for me & I use it basically everyday, which considering it's under £10 is pretty fantastic. The kit contains a matte bronzer, a highlight shade & a blusher, although I personally don't like the blusher as much, since it's not particularly pigmented. Instead I used my Makeup Revolution Baked Blush in Bang Bang which is a really flattering baby pink, & light enough to stop the rest of the look from being too overwhelming. At the moment I'm really liking my blush applied high on my cheek, almost blending into my hairline, & the Revlon foundation is so long-lasting that I know it'll stay in place all day.

Next I did my eyes, applying Maybelline's EyeStudio Color Tattoo in Metallic Pomegranate in my crease & winging it out. Then I patted Bourjois' Little Round Pot Light Eyeshadow in shade n.03, which is a beautiful shimmery greyish pink, across my eyelid. Honestly, I wish I'd brought it in a little bit into the corner of my eye just to lift the look a little bit more, but I forgot at the time. I used my Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner in Carbon Black to create a cat eye. This my go-to eyeliner because it's so quick & easy - it can be tricky to get a perfectly thin flick, but for everyday use it's fine. The final touch was Maybelline's The Volum' Express Colossal Smokey Mascara - if I was heading out for the evening I would probably add some false lashes, but for the day this mascara is fine. I like my brows to be strong but being blonde means it can be tricky to find something that still looks natural, which is why I'm absolutely loving Soap & Glory's Archery Brow Tint & Pencil, & I'll be doing an in-depth review soon.

On my lips I'm wearing Revlon's Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless, which is a deep purple - slightly cooler than in looks in the photos here - & my go to colour if I'm feeling adventurous.

I hope you liked this look & keep your eye out on here & on my Youtube channel for indepth reviews of some of the products mentioned. Are there any new products in your life that you're loving right now?
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