I’ve just been scrolling back through all of my previous What’s In My Makeup Bag posts and I stumbled across this particular beauty: the Summer 2018 edition. If you don’t want to click through and read it then here’s the gist of the matter, in image form:
Isn’t it nice? Such a lovely lipstick! So cheery and optimistic. I shall have to dig that particular lipstick out – I’ve been wearing my pink-tinged beiges for far too many months. Perhaps it’s time for a coral lipstick favourites video, to lead us into summer?
But for now, we’re still on neutrals and beiges with a hint of rosiness on the cheeks. Low-key springtime, nothing fancy, mainly because most of us are still on lockdown and those who aren’t probably don’t feel very celebratory or adventurous. The focus (for me, at least) is on good skin and trying to look as healthy and fresh as possible – bronzer that disappears into the base, a dusting of sunshine over the top and a dewy finish to lids and lips.
Lids and lips. For some reason saying that makes me feel slightly queasy – I’m not sure whether it’s the lazy, tabloid-style alliteration or the gynaecological implications. Although what would “lids” be, in the lady department? A lash-fringed flap of skin. Hmm. I’ll have to think carefully about that one.
GOD! Can someone please keep me on the straight and narrow? Perhaps I need an editor. To check my behaviour and act as the filter I don’t seem to possess.
“Hello darling. Ok, I’ve just read your latest piece…and…how can I put this? It’s rather crude. I mean, darling, is it quite sensible to talk about the time you slipped in the shower and narrowly missed being penetrated by the mixer tap?”
I like to think that the editor would be called Nigel. No particular reason. But he must chain-smoke French cigarettes and have an office on the Tottenham Court Road and wear a silk kimono. I have it all planned out.
But back to spring makeup. There’s a video and really it’s mandatory you watch it, this time, because I’ve used up all of my word count on pointless drivel so there’s no space to talk about lipstick shades. It’s all covered on film and if you want a cheat’s spoiler list then just scroll down the page a bit.
Take particular note of the double-bronzing manoeuvre; as a first step the cream bronze buffs effortlessly into the foundation, creating a sort of warm, duo-toned base, and then the powder bronzer sits lightly on top looking all dusty and beautiful. I’m doing this a lot at the moment and I like the effect.
I’m wearing the Emanuelle Dress, bought from Hush here*
My five beauty favourites for the month of April – I’ve gone back to them again and again, enjoyed using them all and will be sad when they finally run out. Although if they’re anything like my Medik-8 R-Retinoate I could be waiting a long time, because I just can’t seem to get to the bottom of the bottle!
Which is probably quite fortunate considering its price.
Anyway, here goes with the April Hit List:
L’Oreal Glow Cherie Glow Enhancer Lotion
I’ve compared this before to Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter (see my in-depth review here) but in actual fact it’s much more like her Wonder Glow. Lighter, sheerer, with less in the way of a tint. Regardless, the L’Oreal version is an absolute bargain and brilliant for adding low-key dewy glow before applying foundation or concealer.
You can find it online here* – it’s £9.99.
Anne Semonin Gel Mask
This is a very essential-oily mask with quite a tingle. It’s refreshing, reviving and makes you feel as though your face has had a brisk run along a seashore. Which is a weird concept. It’s forty-five quid but the tube is large. Lovely luxury buy for lacklustre, dull skin – I discovered it postpartum after having my first baby and I’ve recently returned to it after something of a hiatus!
Find it at Anne Semonin here.
Lumene Oleo Rich Serum
Well, this is a surprise favourite – I mentioned the rich cream from this Lumene range a few weeks ago and didn’t think that anything else would be as notably excellent, but the serum is just marvellous. It’s more of a light moisturiser than a serum, in a way, because as well as mega-moisturising glycerin it’s packed with nourishing oils.
In fact, if you’ve always wanted to try a face oil but worry about greasiness, this would be a beautiful way of dipping your proverbial toe. Just apply after cleansing and before moisturiser. It’s online here*.
Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum
I’ve been doing lots of stuff out in the garden and (in the UK at least) the sun has been, at times, blazing. As well as a high factor sunscreen I’ve also been upping my antioxidants and pulling out the skintone-brightening big guns. Skinceuticals make quite a few of these “big guns” and the Discoloration Defense Serum is one of the latest launches, promising to dramatically help with dark spots and unevenness of tone. I’ll keep you updated on the results – I use a few drops morning and night before my usual serum.
You can find it (and more detailed info) online here*.
Drunk Elephant WaterFacial Mask
I’ve been using this on my non-retinol nights (current skincare routine seems to be: go in strong with retinol one night, pump face full of moisture the next) and it’s lovely – light and gel-like but not at all sticky. I feel the difference in the morning, let me tell you! I also quite often layer it on over the Lumene serum above for double-whammy effect.
Find the WaterFacial Mask online here*.
All of the above and more are included in this month’s favourite video. Yes, there’s a video! You might be wondering why an earth I’ve taken the time to write it all out as well as filming it: I only exist to serve. And to respond positively and proactively to feedback. So those of you who can’t abide my face/voice/mannerisms can just read my words instead…
Brilliant skincare buys that you can pick up in the supermarket. I won’t dilly-dally about today with silly introductions and off piste distractions because I have limited time: I just hoovered up a load of moths with the Dyson and I don’t want them flying back out of the pipe.
Can that happen? I mean, if the suction isn’t on, can insects climb back out of the hoover? God I hope not. That is the stuff of nightmares, isn’t it? It’s the natural world’s equivalent of that wet-haired girl climbing out of the well in The Ring. You just want to slam a lid down on it and hammer in a few nine inch nails.
Luckily for the insects I empty the Dyson outside, so they are (sort of) freed back out into the wild. Though how long a domesticated, well-fed moth would last in the open I have no idea. Going from a diet of cashmere and merino wool to, I dunno, dandelions. It would be like turfing an aristocrat from his club into the back alley and asking him to fend for himself.
“What? No Lobster Thermidor? And who are you, dare I ask? No, I can absolutely not spare a squid! A … quid? What is this quid you speak of?”
Where was I? Must concentrate. If you’re self-isolating and only getting supermarket deliveries, or if you’re trying to keep deliveries to a minimum, then here are some cracking skincare products you can buy at the supermarket. Both online and instore.
I should add that there are far more options than the ones laid out, but I am working with what I’ve got. Products I use regularly and ones that I’ve previously tested. Once we’re all out of confinement, I promise you that I will continue my much-praised (haha) Supermarket Sweep series. I think I only did ASDA and Sainsbury’s before I got totally distracted.
I’ve concentrated on Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Waitrose here – I’m afraid I’m not so up to speed with Lidl and Aldi – they were on my to-do list but it’s impossible to try stuff at the moment!
Note, also, that I’ve avoided the powerhouse ingredients here; you can get various bits and bobs with vitamin C and retinol, but I haven’t tested them extensively enough to give them a proper thumbs up and so I have kept this post to the basics: cleanse, serum, moisturiser.
The supermarket shelves are awash with cleansing gels and foaming gels and wipes and micellar cleansers: there’s a distinct lack of balm, oil and cream cleansers. But I’ve checked, and pretty much across the board you can find one good, rich, creamy cleanser.
At Sainsbury’s I’d go for the Superfacialist Rose Cleanser (it’s also at Amazon here*) which is just gorgeous. I’m a long-term fan and if Sainsbury’s is your supermarket of choice then you’re in luck, because you also have the delightful Balance Me range.
Pricier than your usual supermarket offering, Balance Me have loads of great products – including a very good vitamin C serum, actually. Which is annoying because I’ve just said I’d avoid the powerhouse ingredients in this post!
Balance Me’s Balm cleanser is a treat – unctious, soft, it melts down to an oil and rinses off clean. It’s £20 at Sainsbury’s or LookFantastic here*.
At Tesco, I like the Cosmeticism Cleansing Cream here and at ASDA I really like the hot cloth polish from NSpa, which I couldn’t find online but sincerely hope they have instore. It’s a great budget cleanser.
At Waitrose, you have about a zillion options. Seriously, they have loads of wonderful brands – my pick would be the Weleda Almond Cleanser, which I’ve reviewed here.
For the serum step I’ve gone for a suit-all crowd-pleaser, good old hyaluronic acid. L’Oreal have a new 1.5% version that has recently launched in the UK, see if you can find it – they definitely have it at Sainsbury’s and at Lookfantastic here*.
The aforementioned Vit C one from Balance Me is great – again, find it at Sainsbury’s, and also online here*.
Olay do a great serum called 3 Point Firming – I tested this extensively a few years ago and it was excellent. Lightweight, non-greasy, plumping, sits well beneath makeup, keep an eye out for it!
My most-used supermarket-available options are below. The Simple moisturisers are a new discovery for me (via Nadine Baggott) and the teeny bottles are deceiving – you get a standard 50ml inside them. Just nifty packaging. I would highly recommend the calming hemp version.
Simple Calming Moisturiser with Hemp, many supermarkets and online at Boots here*.
L’Oreal Revitalift Night Cream-Mask, at Waitrose here* and most supermarkets. I’ve banged on about this one for years and years – it’s my favourite L’Oreal moisturiser and they make a lot. It’s more plumptious and effective than many of the far more expensive “sleep masks” I’ve tried from luxury brands and, with the hyaluronic serum layered beneath, it leaves your face as wibbly and turgid as an overfilled waterbed.
If you’re in a spot dilemma and need something immediately, you could do worse than to throw some Clearasil Rapid Action Pads. I mean you could do a lot better, but we are talking fast fixes here and I’ve tested these out a few times before so I know they don’t burn the bejeezus out of your face. I wouldn’t use them all over, because I find them drying, but use on the spot-prone areas and then just leave them to get to work. They’re saturated in salicylic acid so they help to keep pores clear without being to aggro in the process.
OK, I see a moth head poking out of the pipe (not a euphemism) (would be a strange one) so I must go and empty the dust-catcher. I’ve just realised I did a video on this entire post (amazing that someone could actually forget something so important) and so I’ll paste that in below for your watching pleasure.
Please do leave me your own supermarket skincare heroes in the comments – I will definitely be reinstating my video series and so I need to get testing once I can nip to the shops to research and stock up. Especially give me your Lidl and Aldi recommendations!
After writing off my “daily essentials” makeup bag, thinking I had lost it at a hotel, I was excited to find that it was, in fact, stowed away right at the back of the glovebox in my car. Behind the owner’s manual and the pile of old MOT certificates and the broken umbrella and – joy! – a sweet bag with a singular Percy Pig from M&S in it. I ate the pig, despite the fact that it must have been at least six months old and had probably been heated and then frozen, heated then frozen, about sixty times.
Anyway I’m still here to tell the tale, so God only knows what they put into those pigs – I think they’d survive the apocalypse! Unlike Clinique’s excellent Pep-Start Lip Balm, which had the dead and dessicated body of a woodlouse stuck into the top of it. Not Clinique’s fault, of course – mine for losing the lid many eons ago – but still, gross.
You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve cut the contaminated top off the balm with my extra-sharp Global kitchen knife (how I’ve longed to slip a mention of my knife into this blog, I can die happy) and I’m contemplating using it again. The thing is, before you go all hysterical, I’m pretty sure that the louse was dead before it stuck to the balm. It’s not as though it crawled on, got its little legs stuck and then slowly expired from thirst and hunger.
How do I know this? It’s an educated guess. The louse corpse has no legs, so the chances of it crawling on and getting its legs stuck are virtually nil; I looked closely with my magnifying glass and there’s no evidence of leg material whatsoever.
So I don’t think it’s as though the woodlouse died of some terrible disease and leached all of its germs and whatnot into the balm and I’m sure now that I’ve cut off 5mm of product all will be fine. Vote now.
Good grief, that went off on a tangent. If Clinique haven’t already discontinued that balm then they probably will now. It’s tainted. Tainted I tell you!
Click to watch the video and find out what was in my Time Capsule makeup bag. I could equally have called this my “Lost and Found” edition, or “Daily Essentials I Didn’t Appreciate Until They’d Gone”, because it’s a bit farfetched to call something from only a few months ago a “Time Capsule”, but seeing as though I didn’t have the foresight to keep a bag filled with makeup favourites from 1995 and bury it in my parents’ garden, this will have to do.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49 here*: http://bit.ly/2zWfFZK
Charlotte Tilbury Mini Brush Set, here*: http://bit.ly/2SfAAke This is actually really good, usually mini brush sets are a bit hit and miss! If she does them again next Christmas and they are the same, I’d get them!
Chanel Powder Brush No3 – discontinued?
Karen Walker Necklace*: http://bit.ly/2OX1wn1
Zoeva Buffer Brush, £17 here*: http://bit.ly/2vkEGif
Rodial Banana Lowlighter, £38 here*: http://bit.ly/2Hd3Ce5
Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde, £14 here*: http://bit.ly/2vkEGif
L’Oreal Unlimited Mascara, currently £5.99 here*: https://amzn.to/37jyzrJ
Clinique Pep Start Lip Balm – can’t find this at all! Where has it gone? It’s REALLY GOOD! Apart from the dead woodlouse body.
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner in Hot Gossip, £17 here*: http://bit.ly/38u3Jy5
NARS Voyageur Palette in Suede, £28 here*: https://bit.ly/2w8Z7Pv
Good grief I put Elnett’s Extra Strength Hairspray through its paces for these photos! Short of sitting in a sauna for an hour, I can’t think of anything that would test the limits of a hairspray more. Gale force winds, driving rain, what felt like sleet at one point, a broken car heater that wouldn’t stop blasting out boiling hot air, two kids riding on my back using my hair as reins (“be a horsey Mummy”)… By the end of the day I should have looked like Worzel Gummidge, instead I looked pretty presentable, all things considered.
I wasn’t even set the task of testing the Elnett Extra Strength Hairspray’s powers – all of that was purely incidental. My intention was to take some nice pictures and tell you about the limited edition Electric Nights can, which is a very festive red instead of the usual gold, but I got sidetracked by the performance.
It’s no secret that I have a very long-term love affair with Elnett – just read this post to find out why it gets me all sentimental – but the Extra Strength version is new to me. I have to admit to the fact that I was slightly apprehensive about the first application, because stronger hairsprays usually leave my hair as crispy as a Ryvita. Stiff as a board. And I hate that feeling. I love the hold and I love what a strong hairspray can do, in terms of keeping things sleek or adding volume or what have you, but I can’t stand not being able to run my hands through my hair.
Not a problem with the Elnett Extra Strength – just like the original, there’s no stickiness or crispiness to the finish and you can simply brush it out when you want to restyle. I have no idea how this miracle is achieved, but I’m glad that this particular level of low-commitment hair styling exists. Because I like to brush out my high-glam before I go to bed, in the same way that I like to take all of my makeup off.
Anyway, the hold is excellent. I didn’t quite test the “up to 24 hours” claim but I think that my extreme conditions more than made up for the shortened timeframe. The weather was truly frightful and my broken car heater basically replicated what it would be like if you stood in front of an industrial space-heater for ten minutes. One half of my face was actually cooked, like a boiled ham and the metal buckles on my coat were glowing red, like iron on a blacksmith’s anvil. It’s amazing I’m still alive, quite frankly, and even more amazing that my hair still looked almost perfect.
In case you’re wondering, my choice of festive hairstyle was a three-step catalogue of near-disasters. “Do something festive”, they said, and so I was going to do this amazing, towering, backcombed up-do with sleeked sides and a messy chignon. And then I woke up and realised that I wasn’t Guido Palau and went with some low-key waves.
I’d like it recorded, however, that I did spend quite a while prepping and fussing with my hair to achieve this particular look: first I blow-dried it smooth, then I put in rollers through the top and front to give it a bit of bounce and lift (surprisingly this made quite a lot of difference!) and then I went in with the waving tongs and gave it all a once-over.
Fixed it all in place with liberal amounts of Elnett Electric Nights Limited Edition Extra Strength Hairspray, including one dizzying upside-down session where I sprayed the roots and underneath sections to give a bit more texture and body.
My usual (almost daily) use for Elnett is to fix down the flyaways around my hairline when I have my hair in a neat bun or ponytail, but it’s equally as good for setting styles that are looser or longer – because you can brush it out the styles feel flexible and natural.
Right, that’s enough of this year’s Elnett love-in – you can find the limited edition Electric Nights version at Superdrug here – it’s £4.19.
What’s your usual party style for hair? Do we all have one? And which kind of style is the one that you always dream of doing but never quite achieve? That “ooh, I’m going out-out so I must do something with my hair that is potentially going to make me late but only after I’ve burnt myself twice with something heated and then cried and then realised that my whole head looks like a haystack and that it looked better before I started”?
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