The Cave of Wonders that it is my make-up bag.

Bags, actually.


It’s not really that exciting, I just have an awful tendency to hang onto make-up ‘just in case’, and then continue to wear the same things day after day anyway. And I don’t have any sophisticated storage methods,I simply throw my everyday products into the blue bag and the overspill/stuff that might be used someday into a gift bag that I thought looked kinda pretty at the time.

And here is the actual collection if you will. There’s nothing like trying to arrange all your cosmetics neatly to make you realise how much you actually have…


To be fair, my collection is probably miniscule compared to other beauty lovers, but I do have an extensive wishlist that I’m chipping away at week to week, so it’s slowly expanding. If I could buy everything all at once, believe me I would! Most of my products are in the low to mid-price range; being a student I have to seek out budget versions where I can. Besides, pocket-friendly brands can often be just as impressive as their expensive counterparts. That being said, I have treated myself to some more luxurious items over the years.

Firstly I decided to go back to basics with primers, powders, foundations and concealers.


 It’s pretty obvious that they’ve had a lot of love! Because I’m a bit daft at times, I left my main primer back-to-front in the photograph and have literally only noticed it now. Nevertheless, it’s my Smashbox Photofinish Light Primer and it’s my favourite make-up base. It smooths my skin and prolongs my foundation; what more could a girl want? I picked this tub up for a nifty €26 in Dublin Airport; it normally retails at about €40 here.
Catrice Prime and Fine Smoothing Refiner: One particularly skint week, I had run out of my old Benefit The Porefessional primer and I couldn’t afford to replace it, so I headed to the Irish girl’s old reliable, Catrice, and picked this instead. It’s really not my favourite, I could only see it working for normal skin with few impurities. It did nothing to control shine or refine pores. For me, primer is worth spending a little more on.
Benefit Doctor Feelgood: I think this was a curiosity buy more than anything else, and maybe a case of the wants for the gorgeous little tin. It’s fine, but not amazing. It gives a nice base for make-up but was a little greasy for my liking. Also, I thought the tin would last forever but it got used up very quickly.

Then we have my many, assorted foundations. I plan on reviewing all of them in a separate post, so I just did a comparison swatch to show you what I have and how they look out of the bottle. Apologies for the poor lighting, I was working against the clock to try to get everything photographed before it got completely dark.


From left to right, we have:
Rimmel 9-in1 Skin Perfecting BB Cream in light
Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in 135
Catrice All Matt Plus Foundation in 010 Light Beige
MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NW20
Revlon Colorstay in 180 Sand Beige
L’Oréal Nude Magique Eau de Teint in 100 Porcelain
MAC Prolong Wear Foundation in NC35
Nars Sheer Matte (tester) in Light 4 Deauville
Estée Lauder Double Wear in 1C1 Cool Bone
ELDW again in 1W1 Bone.
If you’d asked me yesterday morning, I couldn’t have told you that I own ten foundations. But there you have it! It’s quite obvious that I only learned what I need shade-wise relatively recently; my foundations run the gamut of shades and tones. As well as that, I tan easily so my skin tone changes quite a bit over the course of the year. But every foundation has brought a learning curve with it, so I keep them all anyway. Just in case 😉

My face powders are mostly an assortment of Essence and Catrice, as I rarely am one to spend excessively on something that’s going to be thrown into a handbag and carted around the country everyday. I’m a bit of a touch-up fiend, so these babies get used up pretty fast. However, in Malaga airport last summer I decided to pick up some MAC foundation (the Prolong Wear) and powder on my way home. The MAC Pressed Blot Powder in Medium Dark,was €20, and I don’t think I’d bother with it again. I felt that my Essence/Catrice powders did the same job for a quarter of the price. Although I loved the compact itself with the mirror, it ran out far too quickly for me to justify repurchasing.

Then we have concealers, which I don’t really have a plentiful supply of. I have a really old but still-handy-if-I-happen-to-be-wearing-fake-tan Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer in 53 Dark Radiance. It’s been forever since I actually used it, but if my memory serves me right, it was pretty good when applied with a concealer brush. In fact I might repurchase this, considering the great reputation that goes with Bourjois’ Healthy Mix line. Then we have my fantastic Sleek Corrector & Concealer Palette in shade 1. I reviewed this earlier in January (see here) and my feelings on it remain largely the same; I like it and that’s all, really.

Next up, we have my rather small blush and bronzer collection.

2014-01-30 17.13.26

Bourjois Blush in 33 Lilas D’Or is probably the most girly of my blushes. The internet told me that it was a dupe for Nars Orgasm so I thought I’d try it out for €10. I feel that the pinky-gold shimmer would look great on pale complexions but sometimes it seemed to get a little ‘lost’ on my cheeks.
My Sleek Blush in Coral is my current go-to blush, which I have already reviewed. It’s a bright, summery coral shade with only the tiniest hint of shimmer, and a great daytime option. I need to be careful not to be heavy-handed with it though.
Benefit Coralista is probably my all-time favourite blusher. Whatever it is about it, it just brings my complexion to life with its pinky-coral tones. As is pretty obvious from the appalling state of the case, it’s been well, well loved. I hit pan about six months ago but I can’t bear to throw it out yet!
Then we have the dud of the pack, Catrice Defining Blush in 030 Love and Peach. This is my Coco the Clown blush, should I ever need to dress like a clown. It applies in stubborn, orange streaks that will not blend for love nor money and is quite possibly the worst blush I’ve ever bought. Why I still have it is a mystery.
Rimmel Sunshimmer Bronzer in 002 Sun Goddess is probably a staple in most young women’s make-up bags. It was my first bronzer and, to be honest, it’s had very little use. I sweep the tiniest hint of it under the cheek bones when I’m going out, and then it hibernates until my next night out. It’s not a bad product, I just hardly use it enough to make any judgement on it.
Gold by Giles in Pin-Up was an odd, last minute purchase when I was buying something else in New Look. It is a kind of hybrid blush-highlight brick with pink and gold tones and heavy shimmer. It’s rather pretty but the pinks in the highlights don’t really complement my skin tone.
The 17 Glow Powder is something I pilfered from my sister when I was getting ready for a night out and felt in need of something shimmery. I use the browny powders as a contour but that’s about all really. I intend to get to grips with contouring once and for all once I get my hands on MAC’s Harmony blush, which I’ve seen praised on Viva Adonis as a fantastic contouring powder. But for now, a girl can dream!

I’ve swatched all of my blushes and bronzers below, for the sake of completeness.

2014-01-30 17.08.08

From left to right we have the Bourjois in Lilas D’Or, the Sunshimmer, the Sleek blush, the Coralista, the Gold by Giles, the 17 Glow Powder and the Catrice clown powder.

Are you still with me? 😛

Moving swiftly onto my eye products, of which I have a LOT.

2014-01-30 17.15.03

I’ll try to keep this swift!
Urban Decay Naked Palette: The one and only original. It provides essentially all my eyeshadow needs and helps me to create gorgeous smoky eye looks for night. While I’ve been swayed by Naked 2, I could never truly abandon this old faithful.
Sleek i-Divine Ultra Mattes V2 Darks Palette: I reviewed this before but, to be honest, I have no idea what to do with it. The warm colours just don’t seem to suit me at all, so I’ve been limited to the grey and white so far. A little messing around is needed to figure this out.
Catrice Absolute Eye Colour in Don’t Touch My Mosserati!: I love this glittery moss green shade, it really complements my brown eyes. I layer it over a deep black to create an intense jewel-effect smoky eye. For less than €4 I was very impressed with this.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Flash: This made an appearance at my school Debs and hasn’t been seen since. It’s a fantastic vibrant purple but I can’t help feeling a bit Dallas when I wear it.
MAC Veluxe Eyeshadow in Jewel Blue: I actually adore this tourmaline shade but it hardly gets any love anymore. I need to figure out how to incorporate it into a dark and sultry look because it really makes brown eyes ‘pop’.
MAC Eyeshadow Palette with Filament and Black Tied: These were a gift and, being totally honest, an unused gift. I’m sure they’re brilliant, being good quality and everything, I just forget about them because my Naked palette offers the same colours. Shame really!
I have an assortment of Rimmel and Essence black and brown eyeliner pencils, which scarcely need an explanation. When I received my Benefit Bad Gal Pencil Liner I thought it was the bees’ knees, until I was later given my MAC Engraved Power Point Eye Pencil and I dropped Bad Gal like a hot potato. The MAC is boldly pigmented and lasts all day and I don’t think I’ll see another eyeliner perform like it. The exact same goes for my Benefit Bad Gal Lash versus my MAC Opulash in Bad, Bad Black. While the Benefit seemed amazing, MAC trumped it in the end. It delivers brilliant length and is a true black, unlike some grey mascaras masquerading as black. My Essence Gel Liner in Midnight in Paris is rather basic and I intend to replace it with Maybelline’s Lasting Drama gel liner sometime soon.
Then we have my eyebrow products. The Catrice Eyebrow Gel in brown works a treat to define and set brows, while the Essence Brow Kit offers two shades to fill in gaps and provide colour and definition. But my Sleek Brow Kit goes that bit further to give me bold yet not-scary brows, as I’ve posted about before.
I didn’t swatch any shadows because my arm simply isn’t long enough, and I think the internet has enough Naked palette swatches as it is!

And, drum roll please……. Lips!

2014-01-30 17.16.49

My Kiko Precision Lipliner in 308 is actually very pink on the lips, which is surprising given how red the pencil looks. I needed something a little deeper for my lipsticks so I bought the Essence Lipliner in 05 Soft Berry; it delivers a deep brown colour but the staying power leaves a lot to be desired. My Soap & Glory Sexy Motherpucker gloss is a lip-plumping formula with a golden sheen. My lips actually do swell a little when I use it, and the tingling sensation is something else. It looks lovely on but ultimately I’m not really a gloss girl, I prefer matte coloured balms and lipsticks. The Benefit California Kissin’ Gloss is a peppermint flavoured gloss that tastes lovely, but I don’t really have much use for something that taints my lips blue. But it was a very cute gift all the same.
L’Oréal Studio Secrets Universal Lip Glow: I bought this purely for the gimmick factor and ended up pleasantly surprised. It’s rather balmy on application and leaves my lips with a subtle pink tint that even makes my teeth look a little whiter. It’s great for a casual everyday lip, or a muted accompaniment to a dramatic eye.
Bobbi Brown Metallic Lip Color in 10 Ruby was another Dublin Airport buy, as I was dying to get my hands on something from Bobbi Brown (and I hope to expand my collection too). For a metallic it’s surprisingly creamy and not drying on the lips. Unfortunately the October sun in Florence melted the bullet and it broke, so I need to apply it with a brush. It’s apparently only available in airports now, so I need to be flying somewhere to replace it!
The Kiko Lipstick (in a shade I can’t remember because I threw away the box) is another Florentine purchase. The sooner Kiko becomes available in Ireland the better! It’s vampy, it’s long lasting, and it was only €7. Bargain.
Catrice Ultimate Colour in Tell Me a Berry Tale is a really pretty pink-toned berry shade but I’ve never actually worn it. But having seen the swatch and remembering how nice it is, I’ve made a vow to wear it sometime soon.
I also reviewed my new(ish) MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Hang Up recently and I still love it. It’s sexy and pigmented and just divine to wear.
My only true red lipstick is my Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in 01 by Rimmel. It’s a blue-toned red, great for sallow skins and does everything you’d expect a drugstore brand lipstick to do. I haven’t worn it much but it will make a brighter alternative to my berries and burgundies come summertime.

And here are the swatches of the lipsticks!
2014-01-30 17.10.26From left to right: Bobbi Brown, Kiko, Catrice, MAC and Rimmel.

And I think we’ve reached the end. I didn’t include my Bare Minerals brushes in the main post; essentially they do the job but I think I need to invest in a set from the likes of Blank Canvas or Real Techniques if I really want to come to appreciate make-up brushes. I apply foundation with my fingers, and the rest is managed with the Bare Minerals set and the lovely brush from the Naked palette.

I know that was a super long post but I love snooping around other people’s make-up so hopefully you’ve enjoyed the guided tour around mine!

What are your ultimate favourite products? Has this post inspired you to make any purchases?

Emily xx


One thought on “The Cave of Wonders that it is my make-up bag.

  1. Pingback: Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations Post | ilyanaroseblog

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