Thursday, 23 February 2012

Today's Makeup Bag

So, I decided it was time to clear out my makeup bag and throw in a few products I haven't used in a while/put away colours I'm not wearing at the moment. And I took some photos.

I'm always shocked by how MUCH this looks all laid out like that! I split it up into eyes/face/lips, so it's a bit less intimidating!


Nothing that revolutionary here, with lots of the same old favourites making an appearance.

In the MAC eyeshadow quad I have (clockwise from top left) Vex, Dazzlelight, Patina, and Satin Taupe. I want to finish up these pans of Vex and Dazzlelight as they're now a bit of a pain to apply, and Satin Taupe and Patina deserve a bit more love than they currently get in my 15-pan palette. The lone eyeshadow pan is Coquette, my eyebrow colour, and the NARS shadow top right is (surprise!) Lhasa.

I've owned this MAC Paint in Bare Canvas (in the metal tube packaging, below the quad) for a while now, having randomly ordered it after I sent back a dried-out jar of Painterly Paint Pot. It's not a product that's talked about a lot on blogs/Youtube, and I was curious to try it out - however the ointment-style packaging, while cute, is a bit of a nuisance. My current tube of Too Faced Shadow Insurance is on its last legs, so I'm trying out Bare Canvas as an alternative eye primer.

The Bourjois pot eyeshadow bottom left is in shade 90 Blanc Diaphane - I've had this for an unhygienic length of time, but it's just so useful for popping a white highlight in the inner corners (and yes, I do use the crappy sponge applicator!).

Mascaras: I'm still enjoying Benefit's They're Real!, but after my Revlon Grow Luscious dried out, I felt I needed another, more "casual" mascara which isn't so hard to remove at night. I picked up Rimmel Lash Accelerator in Extreme Black, having previously loved the regular black version, and so far I'm pretty happy with this - a much smaller brush than the Revlon version, which makes it easier to get at the corner lashes. I may be saving They're Real for evening use in future!

Liner-wise, I'm using my trusty L'Oreal Super Liner in Carbon Gloss for when I fancy winged liner, and have thrown in Topshop Kohl in Saddle (shimmery dark brown) for a change, since I never usually wear pencil liner. I also have a rather battered Mac Eye Pencil in Ebony, which is a more or less permanent fixture in my makeup bag - these days I mostly use it on the waterline of an evening. Finally, I'm experimenting with Topshop Kohl in Frost (matte white) as an inner corner highlight and on the lower waterline - white looks pretty stark, of course, but until I get round to acquiring MAC's pale flesh-toned Chromagraphic Pencil, this will do for those especially exhausted mornings!


L-R, top to bottom: No. 7 Perfect Light Loose Powder in 05 Translucent; Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in 51 Light Vanilla; Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow; Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme in Iced Gold; NARS blush in Desire; Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in 1 Fair.

The only new product here is the Jemma Kidd creme highlighter, which I bought after hearing rave reviews from other bloggers, particularly Anna! So far I only own powder and liquid highlighters (such as MAC Lightscapade and Benefit High Beam), and I love the simplicity of creme products which you can apply with your fingers. This was pretty expensive - £17 I think - but no more so than MAC! It's a gorgeous product, which can be blended out to a subtle glowy sheen, or applied more heavily for a more intense white-gold highlight.

I chose NARS Desire as my blush of the moment - we got off on the wrong foot, since I was more taken with Sin, but I feel it's time to acquaint ourselves. After spending that much on a blush I'm damned if it's going to languish in my makeup drawers unused! Report to follow.

The other products are fairly standard, and I think I've mentioned most of them before, and/or lots of other bloggers have! I do like the Illamasqua Cream Pigment as an eye base, but at the moment I'm using it as a contour shade, with varying degrees of success.


L-R: Neutrogena lip balm SPF 20, MAC Hue, Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum, and (front) Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in 063 Eastend Snob

 This basic Neutrogena lip balm lives in my makeup bag all the time - I prefer the Lanolips 101 Ointment, which resides in my handbag, but that doesn't have SPF. 

[Warning: rant ahead!] Ah, MAC Hue. This is a glaze finish lipstick which I'm sure many of you have heard of/own. It's one of the most talked about lipsticks MAC make, so when I first started buying MAC products, I ordered this online after watching girls on Youtube rave about it as the most wearable nude. Thankfully I passed on Creme d'Nude and Myth, realising even in my naive state that these would be a disaster on me. However, so many beauty bloggers rated Hue in their top handful of MAC lipstick colours, or as their favourite lipstick ever, that I didn't question my need for it. I probably would have bought it even if I'd swatched it in a shop, to be honest, since it's a non-offensive-looking sheer peachy pink when swatched. On my lips, however, it's just - horrible. Why?
  1. (Oh yeah, I'm listing.) It's lighter than my lips. Quite a bit lighter, in fact. Since I am very fair, the combo of pale pink skin and pale pinky lipstick is - not good. It's also a touch too orange for my taste/skintone.
  2. If I were ever to want the nude lip/smokey eye look (which is so gorgeous in my head/on other people!), I'd need a lipstick which was opaque/pigmented enough to cover my natural lip colour. This is not it. I find it applies not only sheer but also uneven and streaky. Nice.
  3. It doesn't last. This isn't surprising given the glaze finish, but it wears badly, gathering in lines and generally making a nuisance of itself.
  4. OK I'll stop now. Sorry. As ever, this is just my personal opinion - I've certainly seen many a blogger/Youtuber look gorgeous wearing this shade! But I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone with my colouring (pale, pink-toned skin) and taste in lipstick colours (namely, my natural lip shade or darker).
So that's my beef with Hue. Like an ex-boyfriend of a similar name, it's good on paper, not so great in real life. (I couldn't resist it.) Having spent £13 odd on this lipstick, though, I'm gonna wear the damn thing. At least you have to reapply often, which gives me a chance of finishing it up!

And finally, my latest lip product acquisition, courtesy of Stacey, is the Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum. This is AMAZING. I love the two other shades I picked up (Raspberry Pie in particular, a stunning deep pink, and Peach Parfait), but this is the most wearable everyday "my lips but a LOT better" colour.

I've got to say, for my purposes/tastes at least, the Revlon Lip Butters are beating Hue hands down. (They remind me of MAC's lustre finish, which I do like; in particular, Sugar Plum is comparable to MAC Plumful.) Pigmented, glossy, not at all drying - all that, and they wear surprisingly well! I get a few hours' wear out of these, and they seem to fade pretty evenly. There are loads of blog posts and Youtube videos on these Lip Butters (such as Allison's post, which features a swatch of Sugar Plum), which apparently launch in the UK in mid-March, so I'll stop rambling here - but I will definitely be picking up more shades!

Till next time,

Josephine x

PS. This is the bag all this fits into! It's a purple leather James Lakeland bag which I got for about £10 in TK Maxx. I love that shop!

(Mascara tube for scale in otherwise featureless table landscape.)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

On Red Lipstick - Revlon Instalment

Revlon are my favourite high street brand for lip products. (And this was before some of their amazing new Lip Butters came into my possession, via the lovely Stacey.) I even own and enjoy (occasionally) a few of their lipglosses in the Super Lustrous formula, of one-time Lilac Pastelle fame; and I generally hate lipglosses. I especially like their range of matte shades, though sadly it looks like several of these have been discontinued (why, Revlon, why?? Strawberry Suede was my favourite!).

Without further ado, here are the reds I own:

 L-R: Revlon Red, Really Red, Fire & Ice

Top to bottom: Revlon Red, Really Red, Fire & Ice

 Revlon Red is a Super Lustrous lipstick. It's a blue-based red, with a finish similar to a MAC Amplified Creme - very pigmented, with a sheen finish, and wears well on the lips.

Really Red is a matte, and still listed as available on the (shocking) Boots website. The finish is comparable to one of the better MAC mattes - longwearing and not too drying. It's a browner, more winey red, but still very wearable.

Swatching these made me wonder why I don't wear Fire & Ice more often! It's really bright, neutral red, leaning slightly warm (a tad brighter than Revlon Red). It's another Super Lustrous shade. You've probably seen the revamped ad campaign featuring Jessica Biel (of course, I prefer the original image!). I think there's a matching nail polish, which I don't own.

These are £7.49, and often on special offers in Boots/Superdrug, so definitely worth looking into, especially if you don't fancy shelling out for MAC. I should wear these more often!

Till next time,

Josephine x

On Red Lipstick - MAC Instalment

Lipstick may well be my favourite makeup item (OK, so I love a good blush too). It’s such a grown-up, sophisticated product, which can totally transform your face – or switch up the shade or finish, and it can be completely girly/loud/crazy/you name it.

I didn’t really wear lipstick at all until fairly recently. Shocking. At school, like every other girl, I wore lipgloss (Lancome Juicy Tubes were my weapon of choice). Then I had a few rosy-pink Estee Lauder lipsticks which were passed on to me by my mother, the queen of the everyday bright pink lip, who never wears a neutral – her current favourite is the classic Revlon Cherries in the Snow, which I also own and love (and which will feature in the bright pink series shortly!).

I thought about doing a post on my lipstick collection, but swiftly realised this would be intolerably epic, because I have so darn many. Rather than dividing them up just by brand (which would be ridiculously MAC-heavy, I’ll be honest), I decided colour groups was the way to go. And, in the spirit of my rediscovered love of Mad Men, what better place to start than RED. This will be a series of posts on what I would class as classic, bright reds. Starting with:


L-R: Ruby Woo, Russian Red; Cherry lipliner

Top to bottom: Ruby Woo, Russian Red, Cherry

Ruby Woo was my first ever MAC lipstick purchase. Momentous stuff. I was heavily influenced by a glamorous American friend on my course, who wore Russian Red to class, had rockabilly bangs, and always looked amazing. So we went to the MAC counter in Debenhams one afternoon, where I picked up Ruby Woo and Cherry lipliner (ah, the classic MAC girls and their sulky hard sell). Despite it being the driest lipstick known to humanity - so dry it actually skids on the lips! - I loved the shade and the matte finish (and even the bizarre vanilla-esque scent) so much I wore it to every formal event for a term. It even bears the scars of being dropped under the table in hall after too much wine. I can't say I wear this often now, but it's a gorgeous blue-based bright red if you don't have issues with drying lipsticks.

After my love affair with Ruby Woo, it was inevitable I would purchase Russian Red at some point. It's another classic red, a bit more neutral in tone I'd say, and a tad deeper in colour. It's also a matte finish, but the formula is much, much easier to wear, which was a major factor in picking this up. Out of these two, I would probably choose Russian Red for the better texture (more forgiving on the lips and easier to apply being two particular advantages), but I do love the bright blue red of Ruby Woo!

Cherry is a good all-round bright red lipliner, which I'd wear with pretty much any bright red lipstick. I find it quite dry, which makes it a bit laborious to apply (especially in winter when it's cold!), but I suppose this means it lasts longer on the lips.

I don't think I'll be acquiring any more reds from MAC, if only because I have more than enough choice as it is. If there was a bright red in the Amplified Creme finish, which I love, I'd probably have to get it (full disclosure: I have Dubonnet and Dark Side - more of which later). So far I've steered clear of the other popular matte reds such as Lady Danger, because I'm cautious about wearing orange-toned reds - while I'm not shy about bold lips (for some reason I own an actual orange lipstick), the warmer reds clash with my skintone and certainly don't whiten teeth!

I'm going to post this as it is rather than tagging on all the other brands, to stop it becoming hugely long! Suffice it to say I have Revlon, Rockalily, Chanel, NARS, and Estee Lauder coming up next (oh the suspense!).

Till next time,

Josephine x

Monday, 13 February 2012

Twenty Questions

So, while taking a break from the endless revision/coursework treadmill, I thought I'd do this personal questions tag which has been floating around Youtube/blogs for a while.

1. Things you cannot leave the house without?
Aside from the obvious (keys/phone/wallet) - lip balm (Lanolips!), hairbrush, a good book (you never know when you'll get stuck somewhere waiting for a train, and pretend texting can only get you so far!).

2. Favourite brand of makeup?
My collection probably features MAC most heavily - I also have a new-found love for NARS (see previous post!). On the high street, I like Revlon for lip products, Topshop for their cream blushes and kohl pencils, and Barry M/Models Own for nail varnish.

Yeah, I own too many of these.

3. Favourite flower?
In spring you can't go wrong with a good daffodil. Also lily of the valley, bluebells, honeysuckle, roses. Generally, if it doesn't smell nice, I'm not interested.

Hipster daffodils

4. Favourite clothing store?
Without a doubt, TK Maxx. I now resent paying full price in normal shops! I also go through phases of charity/vintage shopping. I don't remember the last time I bought clothes from regular high street shops!

5. Favourite perfume?
Thierry Mugler Angel or Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. I also wear Stella McCartney Stella a lot.

6. Heels or flats?
In the daytime, always flat boots; in the evenings, always heels.

7. Do you make good grades?
I'm currently in my fifth year of higher education. I heart learning (but I can't wait to start my real job next September and stop being a student!).

We can only hope so.

8. Favourite colours?
Black, white, red, grey. These are pretty much the only colours I ever wear. I also love purple.

9. Do you drink energy drinks?
When I was at university I drank quite a lot of Red Bull (the sugar-free kind), both with vodka and in the library late at night. Not good. I have to admit I also drank Blue Bolt, the Sainbury's budget version, in a pinch, and that stuff is pretty noxious.

The view in the library

10. Do you drink juice?
Not really, but if I'm cooking a proper fry-up for breakfast (usually when hungover), I'll have orange juice. Has to be bitty, or there's no point! (Similar to my theory on peanut butter - go crunchy or go home.)

11. Do you like swimming?
When I was younger I used to swim a lot, but now I only ever swim on holiday. And I love swimming in the sea, even the freezing British sea!

12. Do you eat chips with a fork?
Since I only ever eat chips when I've had a few drinks - no.

Cue photo of chips, with ketchup. I also like mayonnaise more than I should.

13. Favourite moisturiser?
Anything with SPF in it. Usually the Alpha-H SPF 50 one.

14. Do you want to get married later on in life?
In theory, yes.

15. Do you get mad easily?
Not really, I'm quite easy-going in that respect.

16. Are you into ghost hunting?
Bizarre question - no. Is anyone?

17. Any phobias?
Don't think so (how boring!).

18. Do you bite your nails?
No. I do bite the skin round them when I'm stressed, which is really not a good habit!

19. Have you ever had a near death experience?
Thankfully, no.

20. Do you drink coffee?
Is the Pope Catholic?? (Yes, a thousand times yes. Coffee is the lifeblood of the student. But never, ever Starbucks.)

This is actually tea. I like tea too.

And finally, a random photo of Dennis doing his thing, having a nap on Ford Madox Ford:

Till next time,

Josephine x

PS. Random pictures are from

Saturday, 11 February 2012

My NARS Collection

I hesitated to use the word "collection" in the title, since I only have seven products from NARS (I know, "only"), and I'm determined not to let this spiral to a ludicrous number (see: my issue with MAC lipsticks and eyeshadows). I have my eye on a few more shades of blush - namely Mata Hari, Douceur, and Deep Throat - and perhaps the Sheer Glow foundation (in Siberia, naturally), but that's about it.

So here are the products I've accumulated thus far:

Two blushers, a single eyeshadow, a lipstick, and three Pure Matte lipsticks. And what shades did I plump for, I hear you cry?

Desire (L) and Sin (R) blushes; Lhasa single eyeshadow

Sin has already featured in my "everyday face" post, and it's still the resident blush in my daily makeup bag. It's a gorgeous shimmery plum colour, with a smooth buttery formula, which looks surprisingly natural on my pale pink skintone - especially lovely for cold weather.

Desire is a straight-up matte pink, leaning on the cool side. It has good colour pay-off, though it's not as smooth as Sin when swatched (probably due to the matte formula). I can't say I've used this anywhere near as much as Sin so far; I do love a good dolly-pink cheek, which this delivers when applied with a light hand, but I'm not in love yet. I shall persevere! I also managed to resist buying the new Gaiety blush from the Spring collection, after swatching it and finding it was just a cooler, less pigmented version of Desire. Sad face. Fingers crossed NARS isn't heading down the MAC "selling you the same colour three times over" road...

But that's not to say the Spring collection didn't have its redeeming features. Far from it, since it features my new favourite eyeshadow, Lhasa. I knew as soon as I saw the promo pictures online that I HAD to have this. Lavender grey? YES. (This is a situation for capitals, shouty and obnoxious though they are, trust me.) I haven't been seriously tempted by any eyeshadows from the brand before, as all the neutrals looked a bit warm for my taste/face. But this is a stunning heathery/misty grey (which clearly brings out the lame poet in me), just perfect for a subtle smoky daytime eye. It is also destined to be partnered with MAC Vex, which is possibly my all-time favourite MAC shadow. Success.

[Edit: Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has a lovely post with swatches of Lhasa and other NARS shadows, including the new 413 BLKR eyeshadow which looks suspiciously similar. Why, NARS, why??]

And look, I did swatches! Crappy crappy swatches, but still. Taken in daylight, no flash.

Top to bottom: Lhasa, Sin, Desire

 Sin isn't looking particularly inspiring here, particularly because the shimmer doesn't translate well onto my freakish giant hand (and it isn't this brown in person, more cool plum), but it's definitely worth a look next time you're at a NARS counter.

And now for the lipsticks:

L-R: Schiap, Carthage, Valparaiso, Vesuvio

And on my luminously white arm (these are literally one swipe each, that's how pigmented they are):

Top to bottom: Vesuvio, Valparaiso, Carthage, Schiap

Schiap was my first ever NARS purchase, which I bought in Selfridges after an assessment day last summer. Hot, sticky, and knackered, I made a beeline to Oxford Street as soon as the last hideous business analysis exercise was over, and bought the brightest damn lipstick I could find. Hot pink lip products are my weakness (okay, one of my weaknesses!). This is a fabulous example of my particular favourite, the matte blue-pink lipstick.

Carthage is a recent acquisition from Charlie's blogsale. I'd been eyeing it up for a while, but couldn't justify it full price given its similarity to Schiap - then when I came across it in a blogsale I couldn't resist! It's a slightly warmer, lighter pink than Schiap, perfect for summer. And of course it's in the truly excellent Pure Matte formula, which swipes on in seconds, is completely matte, and wears for an age - what more could you need?

Valparaiso also comes from the Spring collection, though why they thought this gorgeous, dramatic purple-berry shade was appropriate for spring I do not know. But I love it for the wintry weather we're having at the moment. The sales guy tried to entice me to buy a matching lipgloss, blasphemy! I would never sully its matte perfection with a tacky gloss.

And finally, Vesuvio - because much as I love pink lipsticks, you can't go wrong with a classic neutral bright red. You can see I'm not a big fan of subtle lip colours, let alone the dreaded nude lip - which looks great on some people, but makes me look absolutely terrible. (That's not to say I didn't purchase a few paler lipsticks, like the raved-about Hue and Creme Cup, during the first flush of my MAC addiction, but they now sit completely unloved in my makeup drawers, oops!)

So, if you enjoy bold matte lip colours, I highly recommend the Pure Matte line - and there are some pretty-looking more natural shades as well, if that's more your bag. However, I've got to say my recent lipstick acquisitions have somewhat cast these into the shade (shocking, I know!). Yes, I am the proud owner of three(!) Rockalily lipsticks, which I've been wearing nonstop since I got them. Definitely a blog post in the making!

Till next time,

Josephine x

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Just a quick post (while in the midst of EU law coursework and revision, the joy) to say that I haven't abandoned this fledgling blog - I have several posts planned, but am sadly time-poor at the moment! I have, however, acquired a few beauty bits and pieces over the last few weeks, including a smattering of the gorgeous NARS Spring collection (Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick and the divine Lhasa eyeshadow), and my first Rockalily lipstick! I also picked up a few things in Charlie's recent blogsale: NARS Carthage Pure Matte lipstick, which I'd had my eye on for a while, and the infamous MAC Stereo Rose MSF (just couldn't resist - what can I say, I'm a sucker for the hype!).

I've also been dreaming about moving to LONDON (finally). I currently live at home in Kent, and am commuting to law school in London - it's only half an hour on the train, but it makes all the difference! Living at home after four years away at university has been a bit of an adjustment, and to be honest I can't wait to move out again. Hopefully by the beginning of September!

Gratuitous shot of London looking pretty

I've also been tweeting a LOT (sorry) about the recent UniLad controversy. Here's the BBC's coverage, and there's a lot more out there (including some excellent blog posts) - if you have a strong stomach, this Tumblr, compiled by the amazing LorrieHearts, demonstrates how violent and misogynist (as well as homophobic) much of the content was. Feel free to tweet me if you're interested to know more.

Depressing stuff, apologies! But it's really made me think how important the things we say on the internet can be, and how much of an impact they can have in real life. I'm sure lots of you have already seen it, but I highly recommend the recent BBC Panorama on online bullying and the horrific consequences it can have on vulnerable young people in particular - not very pleasant viewing, but valuable I think.

And finally, an album I've been loving: Bad Dream Hotline by FOE. I even bought it on CD recently, after Spotify's "five listens and you're done" rule kicked in (dammit).

Coming up: a post on my rapidly expanding NARS "collection", I think!

Till next time,

Josephine x