Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Best of 2015

Sure isn't it about time I told you all about my favorite products of 2015.  I am so sorry this has taken so long, I have returned to work so I am trying to figure out my Work/Life/Blog balance, obviously I wont be taking up juggling with knives anytime soon as I cant juggle my own schedule.  2015 was quite a year and of course my favorite thing that happened was the happy arrival of my little Angel on Valentines day, but this is a Beauty Blog so lets get on with it.  2015 went by in a fast-forward blurr so forgive me if I have forgotten about products from the start of the year (I was so confused for most of 2015 it too me months to work out what FOMO was, and to realise that I had it quite a lot). 

Towards the end of the year I decided that it was time to start being a grown up and develop a proper skincare routine.  I didn't have a moisturiser that I completely fell in love with (my favorite moisturiser over the last few years has been Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse -read about it here) but I have been loving Clarins Mission Perfection Serum* €60.00, Clarins is always a skincare favorite of mine but Mission Perfection not only hydrates, tackles discoloration and redness it also leaves the skin looking radiant. 

Irish Women are notorious for two beauty faux pas No1 is wearing foundation that is way too dark for their skin and No2 is for having dehydrated skin.  Dehydrated skin makes the skin look old, tired and exacerbates fine lines.  I used to slather my creams on, but on dehydrated skin your just applying moisturiser to the top layer which is essential dead skin, the good skin underneath doesn't receive any of the benefits in addition to this I used to develop Milia (white bumps).  You can get very frustrated with this and just want to scrub your skin off, unfortunately physical exfoliates like apricot scrubs can damage the fragile skin and cause redness and broken capillaries.  When I discovered chemical exfoliates such as Pixi Glow Tonic, Nip and Fab Glycolic Facial Fix and Waxperts Pads (All available from Cloud 10 Beauty) they changed my life.... well my skin.   We hear chemical exfoliates and we think we are going to have raw meat face.... relax, its OK, these are gentile enough products (use once every other day to begin with to gauge your skin).  I have found that my skin has never been smoother, all the milia are gone, fine lines along the tops of my cheeks are gone.  I interchange the products as the three (as well as First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads) do the same thing for my skin, it depends what I have at the moment. Not only do they diminish fine lines and milia they slough away dead skin making the skin look brighter and this also allows your moisturizer to work better.  I couldn't recommend  one of these chemical exfoliates enough, if you are to do 1 think in 2016 for your skin.  

I had never heard of Image Skincare before the Bridie Brunch - deadly day - in our Goody bag was an amazing squeel worthy treat of a night cream called The Max from Image Skincare which it turns out is worth €110 eek.  Usually when I get sample of a product which is very fancy and expensive I try and make the sample last so I keep it for special occasions, but this was a full size and I was going to use it.  I have been using it religiously since it landed in my hands at the Bridie Brunch and I am astounded by the results.  Helped along by the chemical exfoliate which allow The Max to get down to business providing up to 48 hours hydration. It has a wonderful consistency of a gel/cream hybrid which my skin loves.  My skin has never looked better (apart from when I was pregnant and my spots disappeared) which is hysterical considering I am running on little sleep and mostly sugar, dont get me wrong I dont look 16 but I am far from 16.  I am terrified of the day when I run out of The Max.... Ill have to start a fund.

I was pretty shocked to discover that the Urban Decay Naked Skin range contained some amazing anti aging properties, you just dont associate Urban Decay and Anti Ageing.  I love the Naked Skin Foundation it looks beautiful and natural on the skin, the Naked Concealer is so lightweight and pigmented, it doesn't sit in fine lines but covers up dark circles.  I am not a fan of setting makeup, I love the J Lo Glow too much but have finally realised that oily does not equal J- Lo Glow.  I have been using the Urban Decay Naked Skin Loose Powder to set my concealer and on the T zone.  Its incredibly finely milled so it almost disappears on the skin, I am safe in the knowledge that I its not going to look cakey or like a mask. If your looking for a bit of glow you should look no further than Wonder Glow by Charlotte Tilbury this pot of goodness can be used as a primer, mixed with foundation or used on top of foundation for some extra luminosity. I like to mix it into my foundation for a brighter glowing look.  If your looking for an affordable foundation Rimmel have really impressed me this year especially with their Lasting Finish Nude Foundation* (its the one with the white lid) this feels beautifully natural and light on this skin but also covers all the redness and blemishes.  
I am jealous of those pictures on Instagram of girls with elaborate and perfect eyeliner, I am not one of those girls for two reasons
1.  I have tiny eyes
2.  I simply dont have the talent.

Stila Got Inked Cushion Eye Liners have changed my lining life (such is my obsession I have 4) if your having problems with gel liner and liquid liner try these beauties they apply so smoothly and easily even across my wrinkly eye lid.  I still cant manage elaborate eye liner looks but I am lining my lids with the smallest of lines (to open my eye).  My one bit of advice would be to use a synthetic brush and clean off the brush after use. 

Ill bet you were waiting for me to mention Stila - so its true I am Stila's Number 1 fan and unofficial Stila girl but I am am mentioning the products that I have been really enjoying and Stila have been launching some amazing new products.  In saying that Stila have never really made a mascara that I loved until they released the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara * which gives my sad eyes lashings of longer thicker lashes I like to use it with Lash Stunner Extreme Lash Primer * to give extra va va voom.

Urban Decay have been knocking it out of the park this year with eyeshadow palettes, first up was Naked Smoky* (which I liked more than I thought I would), then there was Vice 4 (which makes me so happy every time I open it and look at all the beautiful colours) and finally THE palette of the year, the Gwen Stefani Palette* which is so unbelievably flattering and easy to wear (yes even the pink shade) I have been using it pretty much exclusively since I got it - mostly because of its beauty and also because I dont have to think too much about which shades go together.  My only gripe is DAM YOU Urban Decay for releasing so many fantastic palettes so close together.
One highlighter to rule them all.... and that would be Becca Jaclyn Shimmering Skin Perfector quite simply put ITS BEAUTIFUL and you need it.  Stila have always been amazing at blush, their convertible colours are over 20 years old and still often copied (never equaled) so the release of the new Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush were very exciting (such is my love I have 4) the give your skin a radiant glow of colour, some have a slight shimmer (so some people wouldn't need highlighter - personally I love a highlighter).  Its the kind of product that does best with healthy summer skin but I have been wearing it recently and it makes your cheeks look like they are glowing naturally, it works amazingly well with the Aqua Glow Foundation but you will have to wait to hear about that.

I love fancy lip products, in fact they are my kryptonite, give me a fancy pants lipstick in a swanky container and I am the happiest girl in the world (it doesn't take much).  I have been loving the Lip Cheat Lip liners by Charlotte Tilbury, there is something about them that is just so easy to use, but if there is a lip liner and lipstick that I think everybody should own its the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Eastend Snob and the Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in the shade 45.   Whenever I wear Kate 45 I get so many compliments and weirdly enough I am asked "is that a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick".  It makes sense because Kate and Charlotte are friends and influence each other.  Not only is the Lasting Finish lipstick a wonderful shade which is universally flattering it also feels lovely on the lips, in fact if feels much nicer than the Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks. 

I love makeup brushes I have too many especially for a non professional but I am of the deluded opinion that the right brushes will make me an excellent makeup artist.  Some brushes really do help.  While I am a sucker for expensive brushes 2015 I decided to see if the more affordable ranges first on the left is a brush from the Ultra Sculpt and Blend set from Makeup Revolution which I have been loving to apply foundation, it applies buffs and blends all in one.   From the top row is a Crease Blender from the Nima Brushes 5 Piece Eye Detailer set which I picked up at the beauty show last year - its perfect for getting into the crease of the eye and blending especially in my small eyes.  Next is a couple of brushes from Blank Canvas Cosmetics E26 Blending Brush a perfect dupe for the MAC 217 every girl needs one in their collection and I feel like I need to pick up another.  The F15 Small Tapered is a wonderfully peacock brush, the red bristles make it easy to spot and I have been proudly using this with my highlighter.  Lastly is a PS Beauty brush from Penneys which is a great brush for blending out foundation and concealer - its such a bargain I find it hard not to buy one for everyone in the audience.  I have had great luck with more affordable makeup brushes this year and Blank Canvas have a great selection of brushes which are similar shape and style to MAC and to be perfectly honest I haven't noticed any difference quality wise.
I had a weird year fragrance wise, I just wasn't feeling the love of perfume, maybe it was pregnancy, maybe it was post pregnancy, maybe it was cause nothing smells nicer than fresh clean baby.  The one fragrance that stands out in my mind was Jimmy Choo Blossom, I haven't heard a whole lot written about this very sweet floral fragrance but I love it.  It might be because the fragrance arrived into my life around the same time as the baby but Jimmy Choo Blossom holds a sweet and special place in my heart.
Disappointing Products
I dont normally dwell on things that disappoint me or don't work for me, especially because I usually stalk the Internet and read about 4 million reviews before I buy expensive products but two quite expensive purchases disappointed me, first is the Hourglass Ambiant Lighting Bronzer in the shade Luminous Bronze, its very pigmented but also very shimmery, super shimmery rather than glowy so much so that I just felt like a bit of a glitter ball - normally that's a look I would love but with Hourglass you expect something a little more sophisticated and glamorous rather than a look that I rocked (so very badly) mid naughties.  I am afraid to admit Charlotte Tilbury products can be a bit hit and miss.  I absolutely adore Charlotte and her enthusiasm and love for makeup the summer launch of the Charlotte Tilbury X Norman Parkinson collection was a let down for me.  I went to Brown Thomas with about 5 different gift cards I had been saving and pretty much bought the whole collection.  The packaging is STUNNING and you would be very proud to take any of the products out and show off to your friends, unfortunately the products inside aren't that great.  The highlighter is nice but nothing to write home about (I would recommend the Becca Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector instead), same applies for the lip and cheek compact - (Stila make the amazing convertible colours so you are much better off picking up  one of them).  The worst product of the collection in my opinion is the very glamorously housed Shape and Sculpt which cost a whopping €74.00 (what was I thinking) the products unlike the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow are cream products and disappointingly the highlight shade doesn't show up on my skin and the contour shade looks at best muddy on the skin.  Really not worth the money, I wish that it was the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow (which I love) in limited edition packaging.

Anything you agree or disagree with?
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  1. Shocked to see just one lippie there! You were absolutely right about Pixi exfoliant, its absolutely amazing!

  2. Yay. Can't believe the little man is one on Sunday.
    Ah I love those lip pencils and the Rimmel one is deadly for the price. Xx Siobhan


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