La Roche-Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel

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This was a product that I’d never planned on buying. Rather; when I was buying the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+, it turned out that the two were on offer for €20. Great, I thought. A €13.75 cleanser reduced to less than €2? Bargain.

Well it would have been, had this cleanser agreed with my skin 😦

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This is a foaming gel cleanser for oily-yet-sensitive skins, designed to purify the skin of impurities and excess sebum without being excessively drying. It is soap, paraben, alcohol and colourant free, but it does contain sodium laureth sulfate. It also contains La Roche-Posay thermal spring water (which I love, in can form) and a pH level of 5.5 (nope, me either).

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Being a foaming cleanser, I was a little apprehensive that this would parch my skin. But it is a pleasant product to use, especially with a hot cloth to really feel purified. As a bonus, a tiny amount is needed to do the entire face. I’ve been trialling this for a little while now, and it’s been pleasant as a morning and evening cleanse.

But I’ve had to cut my losses with this one. As nice as it is to cleanse with, this product has wreaked havoc on my skin. I’m really disappointed because, not only do I dislike writing negative reviews, I really love LRP as a brand and I wish this product had lived up to its name. For a product intended to remove impurities, my skin feels more congested than it has done in months; and that’s after a mere 12 days trial. I had intended to give it at least a fortnight, but my skin is in such a mess that I need to get back to something that works. The teeny, hard bumps that were dotted along my jaw have returned with a vengeance, and the breakout that spawned this post is taking its sweet time healing and clearing up. Nothing else in my regime has been able to help my skin’s rough texture; even my Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask had a very temporary softening effect. I’m back to square one, so it seems 😦

Sorry La Roche-Posay, but this cleanser just wasn’t for me. I think it’s time to revisit my old friend, Ren Clearcalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. Right now, actually. Goodnight!

Em X

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They See Me Haulin’…

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After a long few months of staring longingly into shop window displays, I finally got myself together and engaged in some summer holiday Penneys hauling. Well, I’m not exactly minted, like! With a little bit of luck, I’ll be jetting out to Spain at the end of July to visit my sister, so I decided to get the bulk of my holiday shopping out the way while I could. Luckily I have plenty of bikinis, flip flops and all that jazz left over from last year’s holiday, so all I really needed were a couple of little dresses and playsuits that would suit daytime or night. And, because I was in Penneys (Primark, to those of you in the UK), a few other little bits and pieces fell into my basket…

Here are my main purchases; three playsuits (€7 each) a dress (€5) and a pair of shorts (€4).

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Thank heavens for adjustable straps; I’m sure my fellow shortarses will agree! This is quite pretty, perfect for throwing over a bikini after the beach.

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This is a little crumpled but fear not, I’ll iron it! There’s not much to say, except that it’s a black playsuit. Perfect for night-time drinks!

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This is a carbon copy of the above playsuit cut-wise, but in a really pretty blue floral/check pattern. In fact it reminds me of those patterned Topshop jeans that every blogger and her dog’s been wearing lately. And it’s probably the closest I’ll get to owning them, for now.

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I actually really love this playsuit; it’s bright and cute, and really comfortable too. My sister has the same one though, so we should probably try to co-ordinate our wardrobes while I’m over there!

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These might not look that special, but I don’t think I’ve ever worn a softer pair of shorts. They’re like silk for your butt, on a budget. How Penneys managed that for less than a fiver, I’ll never know. I think I might need to go back for the black ones…

It doesn’t look like a whole lot, but I am 99% sorted now for my holidays, and any potentially sunny days at home too. All I need is suncream, which I’ve been informed is going for pennies in Aldi lately. Seriously, I know how to holiday on a shoe-string budget.

I didn’t bother with too many accessories, simply because they seem like a fantastic idea at home but when you reach sunnier climes, you just can’t be bothered piling on the bling. Please tell me it’s not just me!

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Such a delicate little bangle. Shame it scratches like an angry cat on the way off.

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Because it’s pretty, I guess! I’ll definitely feel like Esmeralda.

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Channeling my inner Aztec gypsy. I’m sure such a thing exists. These are friggin’ heavy, by the way. But lovely nonetheless.

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Couldn’t resist. Holidays are not the time for understated, chic nails.

 

I’ve got something of a scented candle obsession developing, but not the budget for Diptyque, or even Yankee. Sigh. But I’m making do with this cute little tealight lantern, and a surprisingly lovely jar candle from, of all places, Tesco. 
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By the by, the Tesco candle is perched on top of 30 lavender tealights for €3 for Penneys. Just sayin’.

 

So there is my Penneys haul! I’d recommend getting in there ASAP and scooping up the best of their stock before it runs out sometime mid-June. I’m under no illusions as to quality, but for holiday gear that leaves plenty of room for cocktail money, Penneys can’t be beaten. Have I tempted you at all?

Em X

 

FOTD #3

Well I promised some more FOTD posts, so I guess I ought to stick to it!

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Yesterday I wasn’t really in the mood for a statement eye, so I thought, in light of my previous post on lipstick, I’d raid the stash and see what captured my interest. Lo and behold, MAC Hang Up caught my eye. However, it is indisputably summertime, and sometimes a deep lip can feel a bit ‘heavy’, especially seeing as I was going to taking a bus journey and the weather was meltingly warm. So rather than lacquering my lips with lipliner and lipstick, I allowed some lipbalm to sink in before dabbing on Hang Up with my fingertip. While a tiny bit of refining was needed to avoid looking like I’d simply attacked a punnet of blackberries, the end result was a purply-red stain that was just deep enough to be noticeable, while not so bold as to look out of place for daytime. In real life, the effect was a little more purple than the photograph suggests, but I think you can see the difference it made compared to my normally anaemic natural lips (see here). The ‘stain’ lasted well during the day, although it did need retouching after eating and drinking.

The rest of my face was kept quite simple and understated; I skipped all eye make-up bar mascara to allow the lip to stand out.
Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Light
Foundation: Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet in B10
Concealer: Collection Lasting Perfection in Light
Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent
Blush: Benefit CORALista (my new addiction)
Brows: Inglot Eyeshadow in 329
Mascara: Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes Waterproof
Lips: Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm, MAC Hang Up (Cremesheen)

I really like this look as an alternative to a statement eye or a bold lip; Hang Up delivers a gorgeous wash of colour without looking too ‘done’. It’s a super easy way to brighten up a simple look without faffing around with lipliner or worrying about constant touch-ups. This is definitely an FOTD to keep in the arsenal!

 

Also, a certain piece of tech finally became mine yesterday:
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Meet my brand new Fujifilm Finepix S4700; yet to be graced with a pet name (any suggestions? I’m thinking Martha). Sure it’s no Canon DSLR but I really don’t care; its 16 Megapixels and 28x Optical Zoom are miles away from my phone’s 5mp camera. I also got it for a brilliant price from a lovely photography shop in my town; I really couldn’t be happier with it! Now to get home so I can see how the photographs actually turn out…

 

Em X

Blogging: An Education

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While I’m not one for philosophical posts, I’ve been having a few thoughts on the blogging world lately, and I thought I’d put them out there in one neat little post. So pour yourself a glass of Pinot; it might help my ramblings make sense!

I began beauty blogging only this year, a mere five months ago. In that time, my blog has grown and developed more than I could possibly have expected; the idea that anyone, never mind nearly 700 people, might be interested in reading my blog – subscribing to it, in fact – was inconceivable to me last January, when I shared some details of a Cloud 10 haul. I’d been dipping in and out of beauty blogs for the last year or so; a student budget doesn’t allow for uninformed spendy purchases, so I began googling reviews of, for example, Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation and soon found the world of beauty blogging. After a little while, having gathered some confidence by writing in the Fashion section of a college newspaper, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring. And so far, it’s paying off.

I don’t write the best beauty blog out there, not by a long stretch. My photography is far from stunning, I don’t have the slightest clue about graphic design, I don’t have access to every brand’s latest collection, I can’t afford to review high-end products every week as I just cannot buy them. And 99% of the time, none of those things bother me all that much. Well I am buying a new camera, but I see that as a long-term investment rather than solely as a blogging tool. Generally speaking, I know that most other beauty bloggers are in the same boat as me; students with part-time jobs, or ordinary people just dabbling in an enjoyable hobby. We’re just people who love make-up, and love to write about it too. But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel insecure about my own blog. I worry that’s it’s not impressive or polished or flash enough; that I’m not talking about the most exciting new releases or taking the most Instagram-worthy photographs. Beauty blogging has become a truly glamorous and professionalised career for some, and I am very aware that what I do is nowhere near that level. Despite the voice of reason reminding me of the short duration of my blogging ‘career’, I can’t help feeling inferior. It’s very easy to feel discouraged when reading blogs from the ‘superbloggers’, but I think it’s really important not to get bogged down in that kind of negativity. I’ve seen other bloggers become bitter about the chances that ‘famous’ bloggers have had, and I don’t feel that’s fair. They had to start somewhere too, and jealousy is only going to result in self-sabotage. Viewing blogging as a huge competition goes against the entire spirit of blogging, and it’s a trap that I’m determined not to fall into.

Another issue that often crops up on Twitter is that of PR samples and ‘freebies’. I don’t see the problem with PR samples, provided that the fact is clearly disclosed, and all reviews are written in an unbiased, fair way. I’ve seen bloggers come under fire for consistently praising all PR samples wholeheartedly and without balance, but I understand, to a certain extent, why it happens. The blogger doesn’t want to risk falling foul of PR companies, but the readers are not interested in being duped either (in that sense, anyway!). I’ve only written one post as of yet containing PR samples, and I will admit that seeing the parcel land on my doorstep gave me a little thrill. It was flattering to think that my blog had been considered for that purpose. But I wrote my blog with plenty of enthusiasm before that post, and I have continued to do so since. I don’t blog to get free things; that’s not what it’s all about. Being honest, when I read blogs in which 90% of the products discussed have been sent to the blogger, I tend to lose interest. If they wouldn’t have bought the product ordinarily, are they really giving an honest review? It’s very hard to know sometimes. In addition, the prevalence of PR samples in blog posts can make things a bit samey; if everyone’s receiving the same sample, where is the variety? It’s difficult to maintain your individuality in beauty blogging as it is, at times.

However, I can say with all honesty that I really, really love beauty blogging, and it’s something that I can see myself sticking with for a long time. For a girl who changes hobbies more often than her hair colour, this is quite the achievement for me! I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always adored make-up, so it only made sense to pair the two together. I’ve been discovering so many fantastic new blogs; be they large and well-known, or small and niche. It’s a hobby that I constantly learn from, and one that I hope will play a part in my future career in some form or another. Since I’ve started putting the blog on Facebook and Twitter, people I know have been incredibly nice about it, and wishing me well with it, which is so lovely. Guess I can’t let everyone down now!

And if all else fails, blogging will always give me an excuse to buy more make-up.

Em X

 

A Beauty Favourite: Berry Lipstick

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This probably isn’t the best time of year to be discussing berry lipstick but, seeing as I’m really lacking in funds lately, a lot of shopping the stash-style posts will be making their way onto the blog, for the time being anyway! Regardless, a dramatic lip never goes out of style and in the last few months I’ve developed something of a deep lipstick obsession. From garnet to aubergine to violet, purple shades are attention-grabbing, sultry but always sophisticated (just ask Lorde). With a satin-matte base and a flick of black eyeliner, a plum lip will amp up any make-up look with minimal effort.

Here are my three plum lipsticks, all of which have something a little different to offer.

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1. Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo Lipstick – Black Cherry
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This cost me a mere €4.90 in Florence’s Kiko store. In fact, that place was cosmetics heaven for me, and I only wish I could have bought more while I was there. Having had a boo-boo with my Bobbi Brown lipstick (more on that below), I wanted a cheap replacement that would last me the rest of the trip without costing me a fortune. I love the sleek packaging, which is surprisingly robust. The shade is a deep, true berry that builds up to a very intense purple when layered over a dark lipliner (again, Kiko’s offerings are great). It definitely has a glossy finish, but not so slippy that it ends up halfway down my chin. It can fade a little patchily on dry lips, but for less than €5, I can forgive almost anything!

2. Bobbi Brown Metallic Lip Color in Ruby 10
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This formula has been, to be best of my knowledge, discontinued and replaced with the Shimmer Finish Lip Color; sorry folks! However, I think the Metallic Color shades correspond to the new range, which is something. I bought this for around €24 in Dublin Airport en route to Florence (can you tell I really, really liked Florence?), and it was my first Bobbi Brown purchase. This is more of a deep red shade than a true plum, but it still has the same deep, rich tones that I love. Being a metallic, this has quite a noticeable golden shimmer that really shows up on the lips, and can be a little drying if worn all day. That being said, longevity is pretty good and when it does fade, it does so evenly. However, within about 36 hours of buying the lipstick, the bullet snapped mid-application. The weather was still very warm for October in Florence, and I think it melted a little in my bag. It was pretty devastating, I won’t lie, but I’m still determined to use it when I can – in other words, not on a rowdy night out!

3. MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Hang Up
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Okay, apologies for the blurry photograph, but it’s Monday, and I think you can see the colour. Just about.
In the bullet, this is the darkest of my plum trios but, being a Cremesheen formula, it gives the sheerest pigmentation (the Kiko is very pigmented, the Bobbi Brown somewhere in the middle). The shade is also the pinkest of the three, but when applied properly on the lips (excuse the tipsy photo!), it’s more of a bordeaux-type colour, and very glossy. With the signature MAC vanilla scent and creamy formula, Hang Up is very comfortable to wear, and I intend to break it out more often when I can. However, the lasting power isn’t fantastic, so regular top-ups are necessary. This was a Christmas present from my sister, after I’d bought her the same lipstick for her birthday two months previously. Her lipstick broke just after Christmas and I nearly cried!

I love a good bordeaux/claret, and I love them in lipstick form too (har, har). A rich, deep lip can really tie a look together, and I think it can work for summer too if we ditch the Wednesday Addams matte pallor and keep the base fresh and glowing. As for autumn/winter, a berry lip is just perfect.

Em X

P.S. Please don’t forget to nominate me for Most Aussome Beauty Blog and Most Aussome Newcomer in the 2014 Aussie Blog Awards; I’d be extremely grateful and… something… cookies… something…