I need a barring order from Boots…

Two posts in a row, how fantastic am I?!

As always on payday, Boots called my name and I succumbed to to the temptation of their busy aisles once again *hangs head in shame*

For years I’ve been using John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Original Hair Serum to tame the insane fuzz that comes part-and-parcel with curly hair. But sometimes it feels quite heavy in my hair, and doesn’t give my roots any volume. My hair is so heavy that it can look a little flat so I wanted something to remedy that. Enter John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse, €7.49.
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Being honest, I was a little sceptical that a mousse could control frizz. However, this stuff has proved me wrong. I haven’t used mousse in my hair since I was a crispy-locked teenager but two big squirts of this into damp hair left my curls even more defined and smooth when they dried naturally. My hair feels thicker and more luscious. I can’t say that there’s much lift around my roots but I think I’d need to blow-dry it to achieve significant volume. Nevertheless I’m really pleased with the result and I’ll be using this everytime I wash my hair in place of the old serum. Also, I broke the nozzle but thankfully it’s still usuable!

After all the fuss over my skincare, I realised I’ve completely neglected my eye area. The stress of commuting has wrecked the skin around my eyes. I did not have all these fine lines, shadows and puffiness a year ago, I’m certain of it. To try to help my poor tired eyes I picked up Soap & Glory’s Puffy Eye Attack Turbo-Boost Hydragel for €15.99.
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I’d read a few blog reviews of this and, being a Soap & Glory fan, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try. I only began using it yesterday so I can’t attest to any long-term benefits, but this jelly-like lotion really does help to de-puff eyebags, making my whole face brighten up a bit. The consistency is rather strange, but you only need a tiny amount for each eye so the cute little tub should last forever. The hydragel contains shea butter, cucumber extract, Japonica flower extract, and mandarin, peach and apricot extracts – all ingredients which I just love the sound of. 

This post was short and sweet, but I thought my fellow bloggers would be interested in what I’ve been spending my hard-earned money on this week! Now, I’m off to gaze at my lovely curls in the mirror.

Em xx

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My Skincare Overhaul and Reviews

Good evening bloggers, and happy Friday! Today’s post is going to be a long-winded and boring affair. Since I was about eleven years old, I’ve been suffering from an oily complexion and moderate acne. In the latter half of my life, there have been maybe six months in total where my skin has been something approaching clear (thank you, Dianette). The rest of the time, I’ve been putting up with greasy, bumpy skin, cystic acne, blackheads, blocked pores and scarring. I’ve tried every antibiotic, several different contraceptive pills and countless washes, gels and creams – everything short of Roaccutane. I even tried Clinique’s Three Step System, which just left my skin oilier and spottier. Nothing has worked for a meaningful period of time.

In recent months my skin has been even more bothersome. While I don’t suffer too badly with cystic acne anymore (barring that monthly week of JOY), my skin has been feeling greasy and covered with tiny, hard bumps full of sebum. I had a breakout in reaction to Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra 24h foundation back in January, and my complexion just hasn’t recovered since. My only option has been to wear super heavy foundation, which I just don’t want to do everyday. At the end of my tether, I consulted the lovely ladies on Boards.ie and they gave me some fantastic advice. On foot of that, I’ve been amassing a new collection of skincare products in the hope that I’ll see an improvement soon! Before this, I tended to use whatever was on offer or lying around the house but, believe me, I’m seeing the error of my ways now!

So here’s my collection-in-progress!
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Starting with cleansing, I bought Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water for €6.29 in Boots, which I reviewed for Hey Dolly. 

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I suspected that a large part of my problem may have been a failure to completely clean off my make-up everyday, which we all know is skincare sacrilege. I had been interested in trying out a micellar water for quite a while, so this was the push to buy one. For the price, it is fantastic at washing away all my make-up without any alcohol, so it’s gentle and non-drying. While the days of make-up wipes are long behind me, cleansing just once each night really wasn’t enough, but now I feel like I’m really thoroughly cleansing my skin of all the products and dirt that build up over the day. 

To my shame. I had been using Clean & Clear cleansers for the last couple of months, purely because my mum kept buying them and they were always just there. But I’ve realised my foolishness, and ditching the Clean & Clear has possibly been the most effective thing I’ve done so far. Not wanting to spend too much on a cleanser just yet, I purchased the Botanics Shine Away Mattifying Cleansing Mousse for about €7.
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(It did have a lid at some point)
This has been rather favourably reviewed by other bloggers, and I think it’s a great budget-friendly option for oily-skinned gals like me. The Botanics range was borne out of a collaboration between Boots and Kew Royal Botanical Gardens which uses ‘active plant extracts’ to create effective skincare at affordable prices. This cleanser contains willowbark, which apparently is a natural source of salicylic acid, an acne sufferer’s best friend. The thought of a foam made me a bit nervous, but it’s surprisingly rich with a fresh citrus scent. It does leave my skin slightly tight but that soon fades away, so I’m not too worried. I really do feel that it’s helping to thoroughly cleanse my skin; it does very very fresh after washing.
Until I can afford something a little more luxurious (because I am a skincare snob, all of a sudden), I’m more than happy to use this everyday and when something new comes along, this will be left in my boyfriend’s house so I’m never caught short.

A few posters on Boards had recommended that I buy a clarifying lotion or microfoliant. Already being a fan of La Roche-Posay, I decided to try their Effaclar Stringent Micro-Exfoliant Lotion for €13.25.
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Having been told that I was exfoliating with facial scrubs far too often (three times a week!) I bought this as an alternative to harsh scrubs that were probably damaging my skin. With the Effaclar, at least I can get all the benefits of an exfoliant without hacking my skin to pieces. This big, bright bottle uses cleansing agents and ‘micro-exfoliant LHA’ to unblock and refine pores . It smells very fresh, if a little chemical-y, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of gunk coming off my skin when I use this with a cotton pad – and that’s after the micellar water and the Botanics cleanser. As it turns out, my face gets very dirty during the day! With this, I definitely feel like my face is getting the best clean possible. I was worried that using it twice a day might be too drying, but so far I haven’t noticed any evidence of dehydration, and other bloggers who recommended it have mentioned that they used it twice daily also. The pores around my nose have shrunk nicely, even more so since I began using this (a week after I began using the cleanser, so I can say for certain that the Effaclar is the reason). This will definitely be getting repurchased.
I’ve heard fantastic things about the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, which I hope to try someday. But at €51.20, it won’t be a contender for my Effaclar any time soon.

Another tool in my exfoliating arsenal is the aforementioned Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It
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Being entirely honest, I haven’t gotten around to using this since I first reviewed it. I’ve just had so many other products to try out lately, and I’ve been reining in my exfoliating habit to once a week, as I was quite possibly drying out and damaging my skin beforehand, leading to irritation and the overproduction of oils to compensate. I’m planning on cracking out this baby next week though, it’s pore-refining talents are just too amazing to dismiss. 

I haven’t used a facemask since experimenting with those Montagne Jeunesse sachets as a teenager – flashback or wha’?! But I felt that it was time to return to the land of stiff faces and dirty bathroom sinks, so I picked up another Botanics product, their Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask for €9.99.
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This was a bit of an impulse buy, as when I saw it in Boots, something in my brain yelled ‘Hey, clay is good for crappy skin’. So I bought it, and I am thrilled that I did. Reviewed favourably by other bloggers, this is a fantastically affordable facial in a squeezy tube. I thought it might be a stiff, thick (LOL) formulation that would have the pliability of tar, but it’s actually a bit watery so I recommend shaking it first and working quickly. Once it’s on, you can feel it tightening on the skin, as though it’s literally shutting your pores. It dries to a rather pretty light green colour and rinses off with ease. Afterwards, my skin felt incredibly soft and so, so clean, even a couple of days later. Like the Botanics cleansing mousse, it contains the salicylic acid derivative willowbark, which is music to my ears. It’s probably too drying for less oily skins but I adore it. This mask will be a weekly skincare staple for me.
And here is a snap of me wearing said mask. For scientific purposes.
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After using my Effaclar micro-exfoliant, I turn to a LRP favourite, their Effaclar Duo, which isn’t available in Boots but can be bought in larger pharmacies for ~€16.
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I bought this about a year ago to tackle my problem skin and, while it wasn’t enough on its own, it still made an impact. It promises to reduce the appearance of blemishes and unclog pores. This product is a strange beast; while I don’t always see the results after using it twice daily, if I stop using it, my skin goes bezerk. So it must be doing something beneath the surface of skin, which is the main thing. It smells rather pleasantly of pollen and is light enough to wear under moisturiser. Some may even find it sufficient without moisturiser, but I prefer to use both steps to be on the safe side. Right now, given the plethora of blemish-fighting products I’ve started using, I’m only putting this on in the morning to conserve it.

Next up in my extended skin care routine is a more recent impulse purchase, the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion for €11.95.
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As much as I loved my Soap & Glory For Daily Youth moisturiser, I think it was just a tad too rich for me. The presence of coconut oil amongst others was just that bit too much for my already greasy skin to handle, so I’ve relegated it for emergency hydration needs as I can’t bear to throw it out altogether. I tricked my debit card into buying this Body Shop lotion for me, as I’d just run out of money in Boots but the payment hadn’t fully gone through before I bought this – how naughty! Tea Tree oil is a natural antibacterial agent and a common ingredient in breakout-treating products. Tamanu oil, another ingredient, apparently accelerates skin healing and the growth of new, healthy skin. I adore the smell of tea tree, which is lucky because this light, water-based lotion reeks of it. It’s easily absorbed, leaves no residue and its shine control honestly does work.  I have a more matte base before I apply make-up when I use this, resulting in less blotting and fewer powder touch-ups – win. Although I haven’t been using this for long enough to see any blemish-clearing properties, I’m hopeful that this will continue to improve my skin.

For targeted spot fighting, I’ve found yet another LRP miracle worker, the Effaclar A.I. Targeted Breakout Corrector
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I gave my first impressions of this little tube of power already and I’m pleased to report that I’m still really happy with this. All you need is a tiny dab of this lightweight fluid and it speeds up the process of a developing spot, bringing it to a head and helping it heal at a far quicker rate.  I won’t claim that it makes spot vanish overnight because it doesn’t, but it reduces inflammation and kick starts the healing process while aiming to prevent scarring. In the long run, it will become more apparent if it actually is effective at leaving me with less scarring from spots. Another plus is that it’s so easily absorbed by the skin that I have worn it under make-up without any issues whatsoever. A gem of a product.

So there is my extensive, intensive skincare regime as it now stands. I won’t lie, in order to improve my skin I’ve had to invest quite a bit of time and money. I’m bankrupting myself every week but it will totally be worth it in the long run if I discover a routine that keeps my skin relatively clear and grease-free. I’m not long into this new routine so I can’t say that I’ve seen amazing results so far. I’m in the middle of a menstruation-related breakout right now, which may partly be a result of dormant blemishes being forced out of their homes by all the new lotions of potions I’ve been trying. That aside, the rest of my skin is already feeling fresher, cleaner, softer and less greasy, which I’m delighted with. As that breakout clears, I’m hoping to see a serious improvement in that regard. I’ll keep you updated!

I’ve also got my eye on a few other products that I’m desperate to try as soon as I can afford to: 
1. Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (a glycolic mask is something vital that I’m missing)
2. Ren Clearcalm3 Clarity Restoring Mask (I’m mad for the masks)
3. Ren Clearcalm3 Replenishing Gel Cream
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. Ren Clearcalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
5. Ren Clarimatte T-Zone Balancing Gel Cream
6. The aforementioned Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
7. LRP Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel (with thermal spring water – oooh!)
8. LRP Effaclar K

The list is probably bigger, and is growing by the day. Now, where did I leave my moneybags?

Em xx

The Blogger Made Me Buy It – Tag!

Hello lovelies! I spotted this tag over at Make Up Over Mind earlier today and, seeing as I’m in the mood for some procrastination, I decided to take up the challenge. Not that blogging about beauty is ever, ever a challenge for me. Since I’ve developed more than a passing interest in beauty and blogging, I’ve been bookmarking new blogs everyday. And yes, it has definitely led to an upsurge in my beauty spending!

1. Who are your most influential bloggers? Who are the ones you really rely on for reviews and swatches?
This list is growing exponentially! But I tend to trust some more than others when it comes to actually deciding to buy a product on the back of a blog review.
Buy Now, Blog Later is very influential for me. She reviews a huge selection of products and her swatches, FOTDs and photography are stunning. I really feel as though she knows what she’s talking about.
Make Up Over Mind is also another blog where I know I’ll get a great in-depth review of a product; she writes in a really detailed and informative way and does great swatches too.
I would buy every single product that Viva Adonis recommend. These two women really know cosmetics and they’ve informed me about so many new brands. 
Also, beaut.ie is a great site for reviews and swatches of newly released products and collections, and again, the girls seem to be very knowledgeable about beauty.

2. Do you buy a product solely as a result of one review from your favourite bloggers, or do you look around for more reviews from others?
It depends, really. Most of the bloggers I’ve mentioned above, I would trust them to accurately review a product. But when it comes to things like foundation or skincare, I tend to shop around as these products are often specific to a certain skin type so I prefer to get a few different perspectives on those. But when it comes to things like eye, lip and cheek products, a glowing review from one fantastic blogger could be enough to sway me.

3. What’s your most favourite item you’ve ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
Oooh, tough question. I would probably have to say my La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, which I researched a lot before I decided to buy it. It seems to be a comfort blanket for my skin; if I yank it away, my skin throws a tantrum!
Another would have to be my NARS Sheer Matte foundation, which I also Googled like nobody’s business before I purchased it last week. I know  that my own review on it wasn’t too solid but it has really grown on me since.

4. What’s your least favourite item you’ve ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
To be honest, I’ve yet to be majorly disappointed by something I’ve bought due to blog recommendations. When it comes to skincare, I know now not to buy something that isn’t specifically for my skintype, even if twenty bloggers sing its praises. At a push, I’d say my Soap & Glory For Daily Youth Moisturiser, purely because it is possibly a tad too rich for my skin. I still love it because it makes me all glowy, but I’ve since learned that glowy = greasy over an extended period of time. I still use it as a night time cream, however.

5. Name five products you’ve recently bought as a result of blogs.
1. La Roche-Posay Micro-Exfoliant Lotion: I am in the process of overhauling my skincare routine so I was already in the market for some kind of toner/micro-exfoliant type-thing and this had such great reviews that I just had to buy it
2. Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It – I’ve been reading rave reviews about this for a couple of years so eventually I caved and bought it. So far, no regrets!
3. Sleek Brow Kit – I had read a few reviews singing this kit’s praises and I’m really glad I heeded their advice. It’s a brilliant product and I would actually feel naked leaving the house without it.
Can I include prospective purchases here? I’ve been doing a lot of impulse-buying and researching afterwards… and I do plan on buying them in the next week!
4. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – This has been described as a Holy Grail concealer by too many bloggers for me to ignore. Come on payday…
5. Aussie Light Awesome Volume Deep Treatment Mousse – Emtalks reviewed its Mega Volume sister recently and I can’t wait to try out something to lift my hair at the front and crown, where it gets weighed down due to its own sheer heaviness. 

6. Have you ever given in to blogger hype?  If so, which hype?
Erm, possibly the hype over the L’Oréal Nude Magique Foundation which I reviewed myself and swooned over. It is a good foundation, just perhaps not quite deserving of the love heaped upon it, in hindsight. I actually plan to completely give in to the hype over Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders as soon as I can afford to! They look truly stunning and someday I hope to join the legions of bloggers who adore them.

7. Have you ever avoided blogger hype?  If so, which hype?
The whole Urban Decay Naked 3 mania last Christmas kind of passed me by. Once I saw the initial swatches I knew that, although it was lovely, it would do nothing for my brown eyes so that was that. Friend and bloggers alike were going nuts over it though, which I understand because it would suit Irish colouring. I have my Naked 1 though, and hope to someday acquire Naked 2. But no amount of blogger hype was going to make me part with €40+ for the sake of a cult product that was all wrong for me.

8. Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review?
It depends solely on price, really. Cheaper products are so easy to pick up in a shop and throw into the basket without worrying too much about whether it’s been reviewed favourably online. I often buy cheaper things on impulse, bring them home, Google some reviews and hope to jeebus that they’ve been recommended by someone else. But if a product is more expensive than about €15, I will consult my favourite blogs beforehand to see if they have rated it in the past. As I mentioned before, foundation is not something that I would buy on a whim, especially if it is a premium brand.

I hope that was interesting to read! Take that tag and run with it, bloggers!

Em xx

The Lust List

Good evening folks! Lately I’ve been spending an awful lot of time poring over magazines, blogs and shop displays and compiling a list of products I wish to buy, should it be my turn to win the lotto this week. Aside from the fact that I’ve forgotten to play the lotto this week, this little list is filled with the kind of goodies that I am unlikely to be able to afford in the next, I don’t know, decade. But it never hurts to look at them again. And again. And then some more.

First up is perfume, the sumptuous Tom Ford White Patchouli.
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 Believe it or not, I only discovered this little beauty today when I popped into Brown Thomas to buy Nars Sheer Matte (yes, finally!). I was hovering around, browsing the different cosmetic counters when I decided to peek at the notoriously expensive but amazing Tom Ford perfumes. Black Orchid, a favourite amongst Irish women is just divine, but a terribly heavy scent. This however, on the first spray, reminded me strongly of childhood holidays in Spain, of the smell of suncream and the warm, heavily perfumed evening air. I haven’t the slightest notion about perfume notes or sillage so I won’t embarrass myself by trying to describe White Patchouli in a technical sense, all that I know is that I love it. Apparently it contains white flowers and ‘sleek wood notes’. After a few hours it dries down to a floral but musky scent, which I’ve heard being described as too old-fashioned for many women but I do feel that it suits me. It does hark back to my childhood, but in a great way. I proffered my wrist to my boyfriend for a sniff, and he declared that he ‘thinks’ he likes it. That’s good enough for me. However, at €127 for 100ml, I think it’ll be sometime before I get to smell this divine again.

Another Tom Ford product was added to the Lust List today; his Lip Colour in Indian Rose
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This lipstick, to me, is the most beautiful neutral pink shade that a woman could ask for. The website states that this lipstick contains ingredients such as soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter and chamomilla flower oil to ‘create an ultra-creamy texture with an incredibly smooth application’. And who am I to argue with that? Nobody likes a drying lipstick, that’s for sure. My collection is crying out for a nude lipstick but I often veer away from nudes which appear too beige or too pale. Indian Rose, however, seems to have the perfect amount of pink without straying into bold lip territory. As much as I would adore this for everyday wear, with its €46 price tag I’d be watching this baby like a hawk. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility, but I’d need a seriously good excuse!

Next up we have the absolutely gorgeous Ted Baker Glister Peep Toes
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These… just… wow. A lot of the high heels I have in my wardrobe are rather clunky platform affairs and, perhaps I’m getting old, but I’d love a really elegant shoe for special occasions. Pastels are a huge deal for Spring Summer ’14, but unfortunately I don’t feel that I have the colouring to pull it off head-to-toe. These stunning patent classics would be a stunningly ladylike way for me to embrace the trend without looking like a jaundice patient. And they come in mint green and black. The gold detailing at the tip of the heel and the very back at the shoe (click on the link above to see it properly) add a further touch of class.  It was love at first sight, I’m telling you. I’m still trying to find a way to drop €150 on these beauts but, where there’s a will…

Back on the beauty track, I really need Nars’ Narsissist Palette
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This stunning eye palette has only been available since the beginning of February and is already proving difficult to find. However, it is available from Nordstrom for the princely sum of €61.10. Not exactly a bargain but that’s definitely not what this post is about! This palette is becoming a firm favourite among beauty bloggers for its soft, blendable shadows and variety of cool and warm shades to cover all complexions and eye colours. Having a mix of mattes and shimmers is always a plus point. I only have one eyeshadow palette, Urban Decay Naked 1, and while it’s wonderful for night time smoky eyes, it is really too warm for me in terms of softer daytime looks. Surely that’s a completely valid reason to buy it, right?

Finally, to conclude my list for the time being, is the gorgeous Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
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Photo Credit
This little compact might not look like much, but the beauty world has told me that this is a fantastic little finishing tool for blurring imperfections by using ‘photo-luminescent technology’ to diffuse light in such a way that your skin has that soft, hazy glow you might expect in candlelight. Or a dimly light bar, whichever. And it’s gluten free, in case that’s your preference for cosmetics. Now I haven’t the foggiest idea what photo-luminescent technology is, but if this powder can make me look as flawless as can be done, then I’d consider it £38 well-spent (make-up junkie logic right there). And if not, it’s still a fabulous looking product; the peachy toned powder looks like a thick, comfy pillow sitting in the compact. One day, Dim Light shall be mine.

Those are the contents of my Lust List, so far anyway. I’m sure it will be expanded everyday and you never know, maybe at some point in the distant future I might be able to cross off one or two things!

See anything you like?

Em xx

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations Post

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Good evening bloggers! As promised in my make-up bag post, I’m going to show you all ten foundations currently in my possession and describe them in a bit more detail. Until I did the make-up bag post I didn’t even realise how many foundations I owned, and it only makes sense that I review them here. If you’re at all interested in make-up, searching for the perfect foundation becomes a lifelong struggle. To be honest, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never have an all-occasions foundation; I’ll need different products to perform different tasks, be it full coverage for bad skin days, a light finish for everyday wear, or long-lasting properties when I’ll need to stay groomed from dawn ’til dusk. Or, at least that’s how I choose to justify my burgeoning collection!

Firstly, I did a collective swatch of my foundations. It’s pretty obvious from the array of shades I’ve got going on that it’s taken me a few years to figure out what my shade actually is. I now know that I have warm-toned skin, so yellow undertones in a foundation are ideal for me. But the trial and error process has been very informative!

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As far as possible, I’ll work from left to right describing the foundations, according to the above swatch.

1. Rimmel 9-in-1 Skin Perfecting BB Cream in Light
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y first foray into BB creams was, in short, a big fat disappointment. Thankfully, this BB cream didn’t break the bank so I didn’t feel too bad about retiring it after just one use. The shade is the lightest in the range, and it was too dark for me so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for pale skins. The oil control was almost non-existent (although not as dire as Garnier’s BB cream) and my open pores were practically taking over my cheeks after an hour or two. Perhaps I ought to have known better, having very oily skin, but I really can’t see this working for anyone on the oilier end of the spectrum, even with the addition of primer and setting powder.

2. Illamasqua Rich Liquid Foundation in 135
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Without a doubt, this is the ultimate in my blemish-banishing arsenal. Rich Liquid is essentially an all-face concealer, it covers everything. Illamasqua was not aiming at natural finishes or glowy complexions here, this stuff is intended to create a matte, flawless base and nothing more (apart from some mild transfer and dry patch-clinginess issues, which I doubt they intended). Being the aggrieved landlady to a plethora of spots and scars, I reach for my Rich Liquid when nothing else will do. It’s also the palest foundation in my collection and I adore the shade; it blends into my neck like a dream. Illamasqua broke my heart when they discontinued 135, and I’ve been too afraid to try any of their other shades as they have no bricks-and-mortar stores here in Ireland, so testers aren’t an option. A pity, because this was my saviour for a long time. 

3. Catrice All-Matt Plus in 010 Light Beige
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First off, I think I fell for a bit of false advertising here. The one property that this foundation boasts, mattifying oil control, is dubious at best. It’s just not that mattifying. Semi-matte perhaps, but it’s really not enough for true oily skins. I’ll admit that the finish is pleasant on application, it smells oddly nicely of pollen, the coverage is a pleasing medium and the shade is quite flattering on me. I’ve been using it more often recently to give it a second chance but I just can’t forgive the fact that my face is shiny after two hours of wear, considering that the prevention of a shiny face is exactly why I chose the foundation in the first place. A drugstore foundation (this cost only €7) is never going to offer quite the same level of finesse as higher end ones, but this completely failed at its only objective. Disappointing.

4. MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NW20
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I often hear of Studio Fix being the spotty girl’s Holy Grail, the answer to our sebum-related problems. With a birthday voucher in hand two years ago, I toddled into Brown Thomas in Limerick and asked to be matched to a shade in Studio Fix. As lovely as the sales girl was (a rarity for MAC, in my experience), she completely mismatched me by giving me the cool-toned NW20. Not only were the tones all wrong, the shade would have been too dark anyway. And I, in my ignorance, delightfully purchased and wore NW20 for a couple of months (even, to my shame, repurchasing), until my boyfriend asked what was wrong with my face, and then I saw it. It all made sense. I looked like an Oompa Loompa with rosacea. And even if the shade had been correct, the coverage was not at all what I was hoping for, it clung to my eyebrows and I was eventually left with stubborn dry patches that didn’t budge until I gave up on Studio Fix completely. And yet I haven’t thrown it out; I think the cost of the foundation alone just won’t let me dump it. But hey, I learned a good lesson from Studio Fix. Never, ever go near the NWs again.

5. Revlon Colorstay in 180 Sand Beige
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This was my first foray into foundations that didn’t come in mousse form or a white plastic tube. My first grown-up foundation, if you will, discovered through some tentative internet research (what a pro I’ve become since!). My memories of Colorstay are a little sketchy but I remember being initially delighted to have found a foundation that covered my spots and didn’t rub off after a couple of hours. But I think I began to find it a little heavy on my skin; I think it felt a bit ‘sweaty’ after a while. These were the days before I understood the power of a good primer, so I guess that’s probably why. I haven’t tried it out in about three years, mainly because the bottle I have is looking decidedly dodgy to be putting on my face. But I do maintain that it’s probably a great introduction to mid-range foundations for young acne sufferers who need a little confidence in their complexion again.

6. L’Oréal Nude Magique Eau de Teint in 100 Porcelain
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I reviewed this foundation in fully recently, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail here. As much as I like it, my skin has begun to pitch battle even more ferociously in the last couple of weeks and the light coverage offered by Nude Magique just isn’t cutting the mustard right now. I’m hoping that, if we ever see the sun again, the spots will start to subside. And if they do, I’ll definitely keep this in mind for a summer foundation when I want to feel as though I’m wearing next to nothing on my skin (Oh, Matron).

7. MAC Prolong Wear Foundation in NC35
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As you can see, this is by far the darkest foundation in my collection. I bought it in Malaga Airport last summer as I had no make-up to suit my newly tanned skin after a week of sunning myself in Nerja. Looking at it now, I can’t believe I was ever that dark; the tan did not stick around for dinner. The coverage is medium and, true to its word, this stuff is longlasting, if not particularly mattifying. It’s one of those ‘performs as expected and nothing more’ foundations. And I definitely learned my lesson from the Studio Fix Fiasco and went for an NC shade instead. A much better choice, I can tell you. I’ll hang onto this, in the overly optimistic hope of a sun holiday or (more likely) for the odd occasion when I wear fake tan.

8. Nars Sheer Matte in Light 4 Deauville
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Ah yes,I’m still utterly confused about this offering from Nars. I reviewed this pretty recently and I honestly still can’t make up my mind. The tester is still going strong, so thankfully I have more applications to go before a decision must be made. In light of Catrice All Matt’s false promises I’m looking on Sheer Matte in a kinder light; it is definitely better at keeping shine at bay compared to All Matte. Returning to the Sheer Matte after a brief hiatus made me realise that the coverage actually is a bit better than I had remembered. I had reservations but something is still telling me to buy this foundation. It could be just the lure of my first potential Nars purchase, but…that gorgeous, sheeny but not shiny finish… I can’t decide!!
(I’ll probably buy it)

9. Estée Lauder Double Wear in 1C1 Cool Bone
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Double Wear was my first foray into high-end cosmetics and it’s been a favourite ever since. I first bought it in 1W1 Bone (below) and fell in love with the shade, coverage, and the you’ll-have-to-scrape-this-off-my-face-with-a-trowel durability. For acne prone oily skins, this is often a godsend. But once again, I fell victim to a sales assistants’ ignorance and, having learned that Brown Thomas were out of Bone that day, I was offered its cool alternative, Cool Bone. Perfect, I thought; they can’t be too far apart. How wrong I was. Might I just add that it displays how little a sales assistant knows about their products if they offer you a completely different tone to the one you specifically asked for; or is this just me? But anyway, Cool Bone was all wrong and I abandoned Double Wear for some time, as a result. What a shame.

10. Estée Lauder Double Wear in 1W1 Bone
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And here is Bone in all its yellow-toned, pale glory. I finally returned to this old faithful a couple of months ago when I remembered that Double Wear wasn’t actually the sum of its Cool Bone parts. Owing to its rather spendy nature, I’m reserving Double Wear for nights out, special occasions and days where I really need all-day coverage (such as the rugby, when the weather necessitated some serious cosmetic staying power). It gives fantastic coverage, second in this regard only to Rich Liquid. The shade is perfect for my complexion, the finish isn’t as flat as one might expect and it truly does stay in place all day. I often judge the quality of a foundation by how nicely my blusher applies over it (weird I know, but oddly informative) and this passes the test. I ❤ DW 4 LYF.

So there you have it, a very intense review of all of my foundations. I hope you didn’t fall asleep halfway through! If you didn’t, let me know what you think in the comments!

Em xx