My Favourite Essence “The Nudes” Nailpolish

Essence Nailpolish The Nudes in Crunchy Cake

If you’re a fan of Vivianna Does Makeup you’ve likely heard her bleating on about her favourite lacquer, Porchester Square by Nails Inc. Of course I’ve Googled the shade a million times and developed a serious crush on it! I might be wrong but I think Edgars no longer stocks the brand as I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. My search for the perfect greige nailpolish finally ended when I stumbled upon this bargain from Essence.

Their Nude Trends collection includes a number of delectable shades, but Crunchy Cake (weird name, I’ll chalk it up to a bad German translation!?) one instantly drew my attention. The colour is best described as a greigy-lilac and is the perfect year-round colour (it looks darker in the picture). It also happens to be the best dupe for the afforementioned shade that I’ve come across.

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Pre-wedding Skincare Routine

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I guess we all want the perfect skin always, but the pressure is really on when you’ve invested in an expensive photographer to capture multiple shots of you on your wedding day (or any other day for that matter)!

In general I haven’t got serious problems with my skin, but that being said my skin is far from perfect and I wanted to inch it a little closer to that if possible. Generally my skin is dry and sensitive and lately it has also been lacking in the glow department (thanks to fewer zzz’s) and on the whole it was looking a little dull. Whilst I’ve decided to leave my redness (possible rosacea) to the makeup artist to deal with, I knew I could tackle the previously mentioned concerns.

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Current & New Beauty Favourites

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I think I’ll jump right into it by telling you how much I love Vaseline’s Healthy Hand & Nail. This product is a cult classic for a reason. It absorbes within minutes, leaves no residue and softens your hands and cuticles whislt at it. I will admit to using a heavier hand lotion in the evenigs simply because its winter and my hands can’t behave, but this product is still the one I reach for most. It isn’t heavily perfumed, yet smells pleasant and it definitely beats all its prettier sisters.

Next up is the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop. I still had a bottle of their old Vitamin E oil left when this launched, so I only got around to trying this recently. And I am a total convert. I love how it leaves my skin feeling and the fact that it is so light means I can apply it day and night as it absorbes quickly. It also smells divine!

As I always left nailpolish remover shopping until I couldn’t wait any more, I always ended up grabbing the same thing from PnP’s shelf. On a recent stroll through Clicks (as you do) I however stumbled upon the Sorbet Nail Polish Remover and it features a salon style pump. I don’t think I have to explain the convenience of the pump except to say no more spills. It really is worth it!

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Next up on my list is something I’ve wanted for a while- the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. If you watch any Youtube beauty channels (Lilly and Anna, I blame you!), this would’ve been on your list too. Now I’m not a fan of online shopping, so I never had one before Foschini started stocking it. I was lucky in that my local Foschini (Tygervalley) had stock when it opened after refurbishment, so I grabbed one.

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For a R160 you can get the softest, densest brush imaginable! I use it on a daily basis to apply my foundation. I simply dot my foundation where needed and then start spreading and buffing it into my face with the brush. It makes my foundation application look flawless. I even use it for concealer on my chin and it works like a dream. No fingerprints! You can also use it for bronzer and blusher, but in my experience those thousands of bristles just picked up too much product. Plus, if I only it for one thing, I can wait longer inbetween washes. Which brings me to the only two downsides of the brush. It takes forever to dry and the thick handle means it isn’t travel friendly and won’t fit into my makeup brush holder. But it is still so worth it!

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Valentine’s Day Style

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I actually shot this look a few days ago without giving a single thought to Valentine’s Day and only realised that it is the perfect Valentine’s look today! Shocking I know, but given that my Valentine’s Day consists of coffee in bed and couch shopping you have to forgive me.

I love this flowing chiffon dress as it is the perfect blush shade and is super comfy. It also happens to be great for hiding food babies! I know paring it with a pair of nude heels is the chic way to wear it but since I was just taking a walk in the forest on a Friday afternoon you’ll have to excuse my flats.

This dress calls for a romantic hairstyle and natural make-up to complete the super feminine look. This rope braid is super easy to make and it would look great with soft waves. For my natural make-up look I started with favourite LÓreal Magique Lumi foundation which gives a natural, medium coverage and is slightly illuminating (I use the shade N1).

As I’m leaving my lids bare I kind of go to town with the blush. I suggest you use a warm pink tone which best matches your skin tone. For me that is a Clinique sample I got ages ago in a light pink.

To add some definition to my eyes I use a brown eye liner (Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Brown) at the outer corner of my lower and upper lash line and finish with lashings of lengthening Clinique’s High Lengths Mascara in black. I am currently on the hunt for a new eyebrow product, so any suggestions are welcome!

I then add the finishing touch which is a Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie- a kind of my-lips-but-better, pinky shade. This is the only colour I can add to my lips that won’t have Ryno running in the other direction. Red lips are completely out of the question here. I’m also currently wearing my favourite nude pinky nail polish, Essie in Fiji.

So there you have it, my favourite Valentine’s look whether you’ve got a hot date or just one with your couch. Hope you have a great one either way!

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Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Radiant Bronzing Powder

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Wow, I almost feel ashamed for only mentioning this bronzer now but I’ve only really gotten into it as of late. If you haven’t already heard about the Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Radiant Bronzing Powder (what a mouth full!), I’ll give you a quick update. I’ve got it in the brunette shade, so mine is a nice blend of baby pink, ivory and two darker bronze tones. I assume the one for blondes will have more pink tones.

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I don’t think you can see it in the picture, but it is quite sparkly so I use it like a blusher on my cheeks instead of for contouring.

I have to be careful not to go in too heavy as it can look a little dirty, so I always dust off the excess on my hands. When worn correctly however it adds a lovely touch of peachy-warmth to my face – almost like I’ve just came back from holiday. I love this for no-makeup days when I just do my brows and blush, as it cancels out all the pink in my cheeks (I’ve got self-diagnosed rosacea so it can become a serious problem).

The packaging is fairly nice although I do slightly prefer Clinique’s slimline packages. The big mirror is a major plus though so I always pack it when I’m travelling and I don’t fear that it will break as it feels very sturdy.

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The only thing I don’t like about the blusher-bronzer is the brush that comes with it as it suggests that it is a contouring bronzer, but everyone knows you can’t contour with shimmer. Ugh, such a first world problem! So I just use my regular blusher brush which is also kind-off chunky to travel with – hence my large makeup bag.

All in all a great purchase and a product I’ve been getting a lot of use out of the last couple of months. I do think it is part of an old collection, but I randomly spotted it in an Edgars a few weeks ago so you might still be able to find it. I’m already thinking about what I will do when I finish this one. Any recommendations from you guys?

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December Beauty Favourites

DSC_8324I don’t usually do monthly beauty favourites as I am the kind of girl that sticks to what I know, but this month (thanks in part to Kalahari.com’s massive beauty sale) I branched out and tried a few new things. I think I might have come across a few new favourites. DSC_8321

Can you believe that this is my first Essie polish, me neither! I wasn’t sure about Essie’s Ballet Slippers so I decided to go for Fiji which is a slightly opaque light-pink with a warm undertone. In my book the perfect shade for summer toes and great for when you’ve had glitter and red seasonal overload! I was slightly disappointed to find that it takes three coats to get it completely opaque, but I have to admit that after about a week of wearing it on my toes it still shows little wear and shone in the sunlight without a top coat. So definitely not my last Essie nailpolish!

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I’ve also been on the fence about the Catrice creamy concealer. I usually prefer a liquid formula as I find it slightly easier to blend around my eyes but I decided to give the creamy one a try thanks to all the great reviews I’ve read. Luckily I did so as I think I might have a new favourite. It only creases when I’ve slightly overdone my under eyes and the lightest shade is an exact match for my light skintone. What a great budget buy even when it is full priced!

DSC_8325Finally I’ve also been loving my Revlon lipgloss that felt slightly too bright for winter. Which products have you been loving this month? Tell me quickly while there is still time to go and snap it up for beach days and festive parties!

 

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Festive Nails

heroI love nothing more than a simple classic red manicure for the festive season, something like Julep’s Karissa. As much as I like candy cane nail art or its seasonal equivalent, I have more pressing matters to attend to like work and holiday parties. So chips and smudges manage to creep up on me even when I use high quality nail polishes. Luckily I found a great way to disguise them in seasonal appropriate style so that you can get on with the champagne sipping this holiday season!

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What you’ll need:

  • Red nail polish
  • Gold glitter or gold glitter nail polish

I like creating a statement nail by either dusting it with loose glitter or adding a coat of glitter polish as it adds a nice pop to a holiday manicure without requiring any trouble. It is also a great way to disguise a nasty chip or smudge as you don’t have to worry about the texture showing through.

Simply add a fresh coat of polish to the chosen finger and lightly dust with glitter ensuring that the entire nail is covered. It is obviously preferable to just give it a coat with a glitter polish as it is less messy and will last longer, but glitter is a great alternative.

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My Beauty Routine

DSC_3897I’ve been promising to tell you about my skin care philosophy and routine for quite some time now, so it is long overdue, but here it is at last! I follow a very basic skincare routine and my philosophy is quite simple.

I believe that when you properly take care of your skin, you’ll reap the rewards in years to come and you can also get away with a little less makeup which is always a bonus. Saying that, quality beauty products don’t have to cost a fortune you just have to know your skin and find what suits you. I don’t yet have any major problems apart from dryness/sensitivity but I know that what I am doing now is an investment in my future, at least my skin’s future.

I did have slightly problematic skin in my very early teen years so my mother introduced me to Clinique’s three-step program which resolved all of those issues. Surprisingly I started with combination skin, which gradually got drier until eventually my beloved Dramatically Different wasn’t enough. I have since completely changed my routine, to be more budget friendly and to better suit my needs.

I use a Dove sensitive soap (not pictured) to wash my face after I’ve removed the bulk of my makeup. I scrub my face twice to three times a week with my Dirty Works scrub and usually follow that with a Moisture Glow. In the evening I use a Rose Water and Hazelwitch spray as a gentle astringent.

In the summer I use a Neutrogena oil-free moisturiser with sunblock and in the winter and evening I use Nivea Soft which is high in Jojoba and Vitamin E oil. I’ll still sometimes use a little DD cream under my makeup as it just feels great, but I won’t be repurchasing it.

The only problem I currently face is finding a quality eye cream on a budget. I’m close to finishing my Estee Lauder free gift and I’ve been spoiled. So if you’ve got any suggestions, please send through!

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Finally, last but not least is my hero product! It is the Vitamin E Face Oil from the Body Shop. I know that this has recently been replaced with the Serum-in-oil which sounds great, but I managed to score this baby for about R10 (yes it is a bargain!) with a few Clicks vouchers and a sale. This really leaves my skin feeling soft, plump and moisturised. And I don’t know if I am imagining it but my pores even look smaller! It doesn’t feel greasy at all and is easily absorbed in seconds. I just warm a few drops in the palms of my hands and then gently massage it into my face and neck avoiding the eye area. Occasionally I’ll finish with a little 8 Hour Cream on my cheakbones/eye area and that is skincare done!

Have you got any other tips for me?

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Top 5 Beauty Uses for 8 Hour Cream

DSC_1560Elizabeth Arden’s iconic miracle cream has thousands of uses, but here are the five ways I use it the most.
1. Laughter lines are a sign of a life well lived, but crows feet are a massively different thing. Apply a thin layer to your upper cheek bones. This will act as a beautiful highlighler all the while delivering extreme moisture to the area all the way up to the eye. Thus preventing unsightly lines.
2. If you’re anything like me you can’t resist touching the occasional spot (naughty I know). Luckily you can speed up the healing process and prevent scarring by applying copious amounts of this cream to the scab until it has healed completely.
3. Prevent winter hangnails by rubbing this into all your cuticles and sleeping with gloves. This helps lock in moisture and makes unruly, dry cuticles more manageable.
4. Ever been so misfortunate as to burn your forehead with your straightening iron? (How glad am I that my fringe days are behind me!) A little bit of 8 hour cream will manage the sting and reduce the redness granted its not too serious.
5. Finally, my favourite use has to be for kissable lips all year round. I keep it in my bedside table and apply a thin layer every night before bed. Great for if you want to attempt a matt lip!
Do you have any other great uses for this magical fornula?

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New Winter Skincare Products

DSC_0211editedWinter skin is typically characterised by dry skin. I am always plagued by dry, sensitive skin so for me winter is a particularly difficult skin time. ALthough Cape Town winters are rather moderate compared to say East Coast USA, the icy wind and air conditioning does take its toll.  I was looking for an affordable face scrub to get rid of all the dead skin cells when I came across the Dirty Works range. I used it ages ago but never realised they have a complete skin care range. Along with the scrub I also bought the Rose & Glow Moisture Mask to really combat my parched winter skin.

Dirty Works Face ScrubFirst up, the scrub. For about R50 I think it is one of the cheapest on the market and I’d say I’m fairly happy with it. My favourite by a long shot is still the Clinique 7 Day scrub but I just can’t justify the hefty price tag if something for a fraction of the price does the same job.

The scrub contains fine particles that gently buff away dead skin cells and leaves your skin feeling tingly for the ultimate clean feel. For me this is slightly problematic as my skin always tingles after a wash and needs a soothing moisturiser. But I do like how it foams up for that ultimate clean feeling! It leaves my skin feeling clean and smooth, so job done.

Dirty Works Rose & Glow Moisturising MaskThe moisturing mask containing rose smells divine! I’m not sure how moisturising it is but it does leave my skin feeling soft and calm. It’s a great way to end a long day.

Both are relatively cheap and cheerful buys and I’d definitely recommend them if you don’t have any drastic skin problems to address.

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