Currently Loving 06

29 October 2014

I haven't posted about any of the products that I've been loving since July, so I figured that it was about time I shared another roundup of recent favourites. As I spent the best part of September in bed poorly and then recovering from surgery, the autumnal beauty loves are a little thin on the ground, but here are the products that I've been enjoying using.

Makeup wise, there have been a couple of standouts. On days when I haven't used my BeautyBlender, the Sephora Pro Flawless Airbrush #56 has been a great substitute for giving me a flawless base. This brush reminds me of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush in shape, but the Sephora offering isn't as densely packed, meaning that it's easier to blend foundation in to a softer finish. My second Sephora love is the Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Cava. Cava is a lilac toned nude which initially I felt was a little too cool toned, but the colour has really grown on me. It's a very creamy, easy to wear shade, which doesn't wash me out as I first feared.

Now on to the non makeup loves. The Pureology Hydrate conditioner is a total dream to use. This conditioner has a lovely minty scent and makes my hair feel immediately softer, more so if I leave it on for a couple of minutes. It feels incredibly gentle on my scalp, and I'll definitely be repurchasing this over and over again. I can't recommend this enough if you have dry or damaged hair. The final item that deserves a mention is my Kindle. There's something lovely about curling up in bed with a candle lit and a good book in autumn, and I've really been enjoying getting back in to reading. I love books, and being able to have as many as I fancy in my handbag at any one time makes it easier for me to enjoy that hobby. Roll on early winter nights, I'm ready for you.

Shopping My Stash 01: October

26 October 2014

L'amour Josie Shopping My Stash
Last pay day I was surfing away online, looking for new products that I could treat myself to. After filling up my basket, it dawned on me that I already own versions of every product that I was looking to purchase. As much as I love buying something new, I decided it was about time that I started getting use out of the neglected products in my collection. After a quick root around my drawers, this is what I came up with.

There are three products pictured above which I have loved in the past, but haven't used for a while. Now that autumn is well and truly here, it's time to start enjoying candles again. I find it really relaxing to have yummy smelling candles burning in my room, and I have plenty to choose from. Pictured here is the Bath & Body Works Mini Candle in Frosted Cupcake. I'm a big fan of the Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked 2, but I'd been dismissing it in favour of lighter nude lipsticks. Naked 2 is a true beige nude, which is a shade that's all the rage now. I'll definitely be using this more often. The last old love is the NARS One Night Stand palette. For a good six months, this palette was in heavy use, but lately I've been selecting other products. One Night Stand is packed with excellent quality blushers which are perfect for this time of year.

Finally, there are the two products which I've yet to use. The Elizabeth and James Nirvana White rollerball was purchased in Las Vegas in May, along with the Josie Maran Argan Oil Light. I was really excited by these products at the time, but never got round to using them. There's a lot of hype around the Elizabeth and James perfume at the moment, and I'm hoping that the argan oil will help keep my skin hydrated through the colder months. I'm looking forward to introducing these new products in to my routine, along with the old re-introductions.


22 October 2014

BeautyBlender Review L'amour Josie Beauty Blender
It's time to talk about yet another product that's been raved about in the beauty community for years, that I didn't take the plunge with until recently: The Original BeautyBlender. I'd tried several of the BeautyBlender dupes in the past, but none of them really did anything for me. On a whim last month I decided to give the original a go, and now I finally understand the hype that surrounds this little sponge.

My main concerns (which I'm sure a few people share with me) prior to purchasing this sponge were the cost, and hygiene. Firstly, the BeautyBlender retails in the UK for £15. Having used my sponge, I actually think that this price is very reasonable, and is much lower than the cost of some foundation brushes which give comparable results. I've been using my BeautyBlender almost every day for over a month now and haven't seen a drop in the quality, so I'm hoping to get a good six months use out of this sponge (if not longer). For hygiene purposes I have been storing my BeautyBlender in the plastic tub that it arrived in, and have ordered the BlenderCleanser. I've given my sponge a quick clean with my Dr. Bronner , and although I've not quite managed to restore it to its pre-use glory, it's looking pretty good. The pink dye did bleed a little during washing, but hopefully it'll be okay in the future.

When my BeautyBlender first arrived, I was surprised by how small it is. However, when soaked in water the sponge doubles to around twice the size, making it perfect for speedily covering my face. Because the BeautyBlender is full of water, foundation doesn't absorb in to the sponge, meaning that you're not wasting any product. The round bottom of the sponge is the ideal shape and size for stippling foundation on with to give a really airbrushed finish. My base has never looked as natural as it does when applied with my BeautyBlender. I like to use the pointed top of the sponge for smaller, harder to reach areas which require a little more precision, i.e. around the nose and under the eyes.

I've tried using my BeautyBlender with several foundations, but I definitely prefer the results given when used with fuller coverage bases such as my Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation. It manages to make this base look lighter and more natural than when applied with a brush, whilst still giving me decent coverage. I couldn't be happier with my BeautyBlender, and 100% understand why this is such a well loved tool. If you're looking for a flawless base without having to layer on too much product, give this sponge a go.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

19 October 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review L'amour Josie
You've probably read a million reviews of this product already, but I have a slightly different opinion to share. After their launch, their was a serious amount of blogger hype surrounding the Ambient Lighting Powders from Hourglass. I managed to refrain from making a purchase until I was in the States earlier this year, as it was the first time that I had the opportunity to swatch all of the different shades. Eventually I settled for Dim Light, which is described as a neutral soft beige.

After reading so many rave reviews I was really excited to give my powder a go, but was instantly disappointed. Layered over the dewy foundation that I was favouring at the time with a large powder brush, Dim Light didn't really do anything for my skin, other than adding a bit of a strange highlight which seemed to almost accentuate pours. I stored it away at the back of my drawers and didn't use it again, until recently when I purchased the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush.

It's not often that I change my mind about a product, but I feel like I owe this powder a serious apology. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders are not designed to be mattifying powders, which is what I originally attempted to use this for. Since I've recently been favouring a more matte base, I've found that applying Dim Light with a very light hand (which the small and precise Powder & Sculpt Brush enables me to do) across the high points of my face in particular, adds the most beautiful, soft light to my face. Dim Light is not a highlighter, but it gives a really natural lit from within look - as much of a cliche as that is - whilst holding my makeup in place, and managing to blur any obvious imperfections. My only slight complaint is the amount of fallout that this powder creates in the pan, but that's nothing that a quick tap of my brush can't solve.

What this powder from Hourglass does best is make my skin look naturally good. It blends in with the rest of my makeup, as the effect when applied is so subtle. Dim Light is perfect for softening and setting your base with a barely noticeable light that looks effortless, which is why it has become a staple in my makeup bag. If you find traditional highlighters a bit too in your face and are looking for something a little softer, give this a go.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Dim Light Review Swatch L'amour Josie

The Wet Brush

15 October 2014

The Wet Brush Review L'amour Josie
If someone had said to me six months ago that I'd soon be replacing my beloved Tangle Teezer, I would've told them that it was never going to happen. However, fast forward to today and that tool is sitting neglected, and I'm finally enjoying brushing my hair again. It's all thanks to The Wet Brush - probably my favourite beauty discovery of the year so far.

As someone with fine, bleached hair, caring for my locks is up at the top of my beauty priorities list. When my hair started snapping excessively at the beginning of September I went in to serious panic mode: booking an emergency cut with the hairdressers, upping the intense conditioning and researching hair growth supplements. As a result of my research I placed an order for my yellow Wet Brush, and I haven't picked up another hairbrush since.

The premise of The Wet Brush is that it's designed using innovative intelliflex technology, meaning that the bristles somehow know when to bend. As bizarre as it sounds, somehow it just works. I'm so impressed by how gentle this brush feels on my hair. After spending many years using tools that constantly get caught on lugs and pull on my hair, the Wet Brush glides through my mane easily. Science aside, this is a really well designed hairbrush. I wasn't expecting it to be that big, but it's actually the perfect size for holding in my hand and getting through a full head of hair. It feels lightweight, plus it's a luxury to use a hairbrush with a proper handle to hold again! I opted for the yellow brush because it's my favourite colour, but it's available in plenty of shades to suit everyone's taste.

I can't praise The Wet Brush enough for the difference that it's made to my hair; I've noticed a serious reduction in the amount of breakage that I've been experiencing. It works well on either wet or dry hair, and so far I haven't had any issues from using it with my hairdryer. If you're someone who struggles with a knotty mane, or you're looking for something that's a little more gentle on your locks, pop one of these in to your Cult Beauty basket - I promise that you'll be impressed.

What's In My Makeup Bag 02

12 October 2014

Back in February, I shared a peak in to the contents of my makeup bag here. Over the last couple of months I've stepped away from the dewier skin that I was favouring, instead opting for a more velvet finish. Here are the current favourites that have been featuring in my makeup bag.

For a flawless base, I've been using my Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation. This is quite a full coverage foundation, but a small amount of product is enough to give you even, smooth skin. I've found that applying this with my Beauty Blender helps me to use just the right amount of product for a natural finish. I can't believe it took me so long to try out this sponge - it really does make applying foundation easy peasy. To conceal, I've been using the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer. This works brilliantly at covering any pesky blemishes. I'm now applying my MAC Pro Longwear Concealer under my eyes, the shade is so light that it really manages to brighten my under eye area.

I haven't really touched any other blushers/bronzers in my collection since I purchased the Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer and Frat Boy Blush. They're the perfect cheek combination, allowing me to attempt a little contouring whilst adding a natural flush to my skin. To finish off my base, I've been applying a sweep of my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder to set my makeup in place, followed up by a light dusting of my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light to add a subtle highlight. I'm still using MAC Fix+ to blur any heavy handedness. 

For eyes, I've been been keeping it simple, favouring the Make Up Forever Smoky Extravaganza mascara, which adds length and volume to lashes, along with a slick of my Bobbi Brown Gel Liner topped up with the shade Crave from my Urban Decay Naked Basics palette. I'm also using this shade mixed with Faint to fill my brows in, and still holding them in place with my trusty Anastasia Beverley Hills Clear Brow Gel.

Finally, to finish off my face I've embraced autumn with a recent purchase: MAC lipstick in Diva. This is a vampy, burgundy shade with a matte finish which is perfect for this time of year. Applying makeup can sometimes feel like a chore, but this current rotation of products all work so well that I look forward to unzipping my makeup bag every morning.

MAC Creme Cup Lipstick

8 October 2014

Mac Creme Cup Lipstick Review L'amour Josie
When it comes to lipstick, if I'm looking for an impressive shade range full of bold pinks, browns and reds, MAC is my go to brand. Creme Cup is a lipstick that has been on my radar for the last couple of years, but had never caught my attention enough for me to buy it until I recently swatched it in store. It's one of those "my lips but better" shades, which although not an immediate stand out, come autumn is a welcome relief after a few days of berry lips.

Creme Cup is the lipstick that I'd turn to if I wanted a polished, natural look; it's the perfect lipstick for day to day wear. It's a natural pink shade with blue undertones, which doesn't look too cool toned on my lips. I've surprised myself with how often I've been using Creme Cup. Although it doesn't look to be anything special in the bullet, I've been favouring this pink shade over my usual go-to nudes.

Creme Cup is formulated in MAC's Cremesheen finish, meaning that it's a lightweight, creamy lipstick which isn't overly pigmented. I like that this isn't a matte finish - it adds to the natural look - but I'm not overly impressed by the lasting power of Creme Cup. I have to reapply this lipstick throughout the day, but luckily given the shade, any fading isn't too obvious.

Creme Cup is a pretty pink lipstick which makes a nice alternative to the harsh nudes and red shades which tend to do the rounds in Autumn. I can see this being a lipstick which I'll wear right through until Spring, and I'm happy that I finally added it to my collection.

The Balm Frat Boy Blush

5 October 2014

The Balm Frat Boy Blush L'amour Josie Review
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to my new favourite blusher. The Balm's Frat Boy Blush was an impromptu Walgreens purchase, but it has become the blush that I've used constantly for the last four months. I'd read several reviews of Frat Boy before I added it to my collection, and had seen it described as everything from a coral shade, to a peach, to a bold pink. I was intrigued to see how this blusher would work out for me, and drawn in by the packaging.

Housed in sturdy cardboard with a decent sized mirror and the usual vintage design that I've come to know and love from the Balm, Frat Boy is the ideal suits everyone blush. On my skin, it actually looks to be quite a deep pink shade, which adds a really natural flush to my cheeks. Frat Boy is a beautiful colour blusher, and I can't imagine a skin tone which this wouldn't look great on. It has a hint of shimmer in the pan, but this isn't noticeable once applied. I usually stick to peachy pink blushers for Spring/Summer, and have more plum toned cheeks in Autumn/Winter, but this pink is pretty enough to be worn all year round.

After initially being drawn in by the colour of this blush and the quirky packaging, what really impressed me about Frat Boy was the quality of the product. Even after months of use, it still feels buttery soft to swatch. This is a very finely milled, highly pigmented blusher (you really only need to use the smallest amount), which I'd say is easily comparable to my favourite NARS blushers. I'd definitely recommend Frat Boy to everyone, and can't wait to get my hands on a couple more products from the Balm.
The Balm Frat Boy Blush L'amour Josie Swatch Review

My Order

1 October 2014

Sephora Order Haul UK L'amour Josie
When Sephora announced that they would be shipping to the UK back at the end of February, the blogging community went a little bit wild. I managed to resist placing an order until last pay day, when I figured it was finally time for my first order.

First up, a quick note about the logistics of ordering. Sephora have reduced their delivery fee to the UK, so now if you spend over £75 (pre-tax) then delivery will cost £6. Once you get to the payment stage of your order a 20% tax will be added to your costs, in line with UK VAT. This ensures that there are no extra import fees once you receive your order. You can sign up online for Sephora's Beauty Insider service to accumulate points in exchange for miniature products. Lastly, I placed my order on a Sunday evening, and it arrived at my home address the following Friday lunch time via UPS, which I thought was prompt for an international delivery.

Now on to the good stuff: what I ordered. I'm already a big fan of the Sephora Pro Airbrush range, so decided to add their #57 concealer brush (£15.60) to my collection. This is basically a mini buffing brush which is perfect for blemishes or under the eyes. The other tool which I opted for was a Beauty Blender (£12.97). Now I know that these are available over here for a similar price, but it just made sense to get my Beauty Insider points for the purchase. For skin care, I decided to try out a mini tub of GlamGlow (£12.35), which worked out at half the UK price.

My makeup purchases were all ones which aren't readily available in the UK. The Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation has quickly become my favourite base since I bought it in Vegas back in May, so I opted to give the Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (£15.60) a go in the corresponding shade. So far, it's love. Bite Beauty is a brand which is fairly new to me, I invested in their Luminous Creme Lipstick in the shade Cava (£15.60), a beautiful lilac toned nude. For my final purchase I couldn't resist the Sephora travel section, adding a mini of the new Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravaganza (£7.80) mascara to my basket. 

My first order was simple, fast, and I'm happy with all of my purchases. I might have already started adding products to my basket for order number two...