Monday 30 September 2013

Real Techniques Sam's Picks Makeup Brush Collection

Now I am sure you all know of the Real Techniques Brushes, if not then they are Makeup Brushes which the gorgeous Samantha Chapman of Pixi Woo brought out. She already has many brushes/brush sets that have been available in stores for a long while now and she also has a new Makeup Brush Collection which is to be available from November called 'Sam's Picks'.

Sam's Picks are a selection of the Real Techniques Brushes that are Sam's favourites out of her collection. These brushes are already available in other sets or some can be purchased on their own apart from one brush within this collection which is an exclusive just to this set. Altogether there are 6 brushes within this collection.

 The first two brushes are the Multi-task Brush and the Setting Brush.
 Multi-task Brush - for effortless application of powder, blush and bronzer.
Setting Brush - Complete any look with a controlled dusting of powder or highlighter. 

The Multi-task Brush is just the right size for powder application, it isn't too big and isn't too small either. The Setting Brush I think is great for just adding a tiny amount of powder to your face, perfect for those that don't really like to use too much powder, you can just pick up a small amount of powder with this and slightly powder your t-zone if you go shiny throughout the day, it would also be perfect to use to set your concealer under your eyes as it is the perfect size for that.

The next two brushes are the Buffing Brush and the Pointed Foundation Brush.
Buffing Brush - Ideal for full coverage application of powder and mineral foundation.
Pointed Foundation Brush - Use with liquid foundation to build custom coverage.

The Buffing Brush I have seen many people use on YouTube and it looks like such an amazing brush. I have seen YouTubers using this brush to apply their liquid foundations so you could use this brush for applying that too as well as powders and mineral foundations. The Pointed Foundation Brush I think is perfect for applying concealer, I personally wouldn't use it for applying my liquid foundation as I think it's too small for that but I suppose it depends on which size of brush that you like, But it is definitely perfect for concealer.

And the last two brushes are the Essential Crease Brush which is exclusive only to this set of brushes, and the fine liner brush.
Essential Crease Brush - Soft, Tapered design for effortless contouring.
Fine Liner Brush - Ultimate tool for precision application of liquid or cream eyeliner.

The Essential Crease Brush is really soft like the other brushes so will be good for it's purpose which is for effortless contouring and for blending eyeshadows too. The Fine Liner Brush is just the right size for applying eyeliner and would be perfect for those that are just starting out with using liquid or cream eyeliners.

I am super excited to use these brushes, especially the Buffing Brush as I have seen so many people raving about it online and saying how fantastic it is and also the Essential Crease Brush as I don't actually own a crease brush and have been looking for a good one for a long time plus this is a set exclusive which is amazing. I do already own two real techniques brushes, the powder brush and the blush brush, I purchased both not long after Sam had released her brushes and haven't stopped using them since. Before trying the Real Techniques Brushes I was just using cheap brushes that done the job but transitioning from those to the Real Techniques made a whole lot of difference to the way my makeup looks.

I highly recommend the Real Techniques Brushes to anyone who loves doing their makeup and are looking for good quality brushes. This set is priced at £29.99 (totally worth it) and is available to buy from and from November. 


* Pr sample


Friday 27 September 2013

My Favourite Brushes for... Foundation

I’m a little bit obsessed with make-up brushes and my collection is forever expanding. I find that make-up application is much easier and looks flawless when you use a good quality brush so it’s definitely a worthwhile investment. There’s no point in buying all this beautiful make-up if it’s not going to be applied properly… so I’m going to share with you my favourite brushes for each of the make-up jobs starting today with Liquid Foundation.

A quick peek at my brush collection :)

Now I have a few different brushes I like to use for applying liquid foundation and will often choose depending on the type of coverage I want and the actual foundation I am using. I also like to have a variety to choose from as I means I have the freedom to wash my brushes regularly without having to worry about waiting for them to try as I always have a back-up brush available.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush
The first brush I’m going to mention will come as no surprise and it is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. This brush has been raved about all over the blogosphere and for good reason! I find it’s best used when you want a lighter coverage and it creates an illusion of air-brushed skin which honestly amazes me every time I use it. It is super soft, excellent quality and really affordable. It also washes well so it’s obviously going to have a long lifespan which makes this a very worthwhile investment. The only downside is the fact that you can’t actually buy this brush individually as it is part of the core collection which retails at £20.99 and contains four brushes. This works out at £5.25 per brush which is incredibly good value! (If I’m honest I think this brush is worth £20.99 alone so I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment about buying the core collection)

Real Techniqes Expert Face Brush
Next is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and this one is actually sold individually which is a bonus if it is just a foundation brush you’re looking for. This is a bargain price of £8.99 and is slightly smaller than the buffing brush allowing for more precise application. It also provides higher coverage than the buffing brush whilst also making it super easy to blend the foundation into the skin creating a lovely even base. However,  I do find that with this brush, more so than with other brushes, it’s really important to keep it clean as if there is too much product build-up (after around 2-3 uses) application can look a little streaky. This personally doesn’t bother me as I always like to keep my brushes clean, but it is something to bear in mind.

Some of my other favourite make-up brushes come from a brand called Zoeva which is becoming increasingly popular in the blogger/youtube world. I first heard Tanya Burr mention them in some of her make-up tutorials and they instantly went on my shopping list. While Zoeva brushes are amazing quality and super affordable they are actually quite difficult to get hold of, and I had to have mine shipped from Germany. I purchased the complete set for €88 which contained 15 brushes (expect to see more of these popping up!) working out at a bargain price of €5.86 per brush which converts to around £4.93 each (WOW!) but they can all be purchased individually too which is good for those who only want to buy one or two specific brushes. 
Zoeva 102/Silk Finish Brush

The brush that I use for my liquid foundation is the Zoeva 102/silk finish brush. If the RT buffing brush and expert face brush got together and had a baby it would be this silk finish brush. It is somehow soft and firm at the same time allowing you to build up coverage where necessary while still keeping a smooth natural finish. This is such a good quality brush, and again it washes really well. I’ve had mine for a few months now and it’s been used and washed loads and still looks brand new! It’s lovely and soft on the skin and creates a lovely even base. Definitely a worthy investment!

Real Techniques brushes are available at superdrug and boots and at several online retailers so they are super easy to get hold of.

Zoeva brushes are only available online (as far as I'm aware) and you can view the full collection here.

Left-Right: RT Expert Face, RT Buffing, & Zoeva Silk Finish

Top-Bottom: RT Expert Face, RT Buffing & Zoeva Silk Finish brush
So there you have my favourite brushes for applying liquid foundation! I hope you enjoyed it and keep an eye out for more of my favourite brushes coming soon!

What is your favourite foundation brush? Let me know in the comments below…

Linda x

The Bristle Brush Company - Large Round Brush Review

Over the past 2 years I’ve been taking much better care of my hair. I no longer dye it, I very rarely use heat appliances and I use various products to keep it nice and healthy and it really is working. My hair is longer and healthier than ever before (the other day a little girl told me I have mermaid hair which of course is a major compliment). I also have extremely thick hair so just getting a brush through it is one of life’s more difficult tasks so of course when I was offered to test a brush from The Bristle Brush Company I jumped at the chance.

The Bristle Brush Company was created by stylist Sophie Wiltshire who trained at Harrods in the 80’s. She embarked on the quest to find the perfect brush for her clients which resulted in this capsule range being produced. She uses all natural bristles (100% boar hair) to protect and enhance the condition of the hair while creating maximum shine and bounce. 

The brush arrived in this cute little handmade bag which was created by women in India who are being freed from a life of exploitation by the charity Freeset. The little tag on the bag goes into further detail and I think this is a lovely little touch and I have great respect for the company for supporting such a worthy cause.

I received the Large Round Brush and the first thing I noticed was the incredible quality. It has a wooden barrel designed to absorb the heat which results in less damage to your hair. It has a lightweight cork handle which makes the brush super comfortable to hold and the boar hair (with boar bulb intact) spreads the sebum along each hair shaft for ultimate shine and manageability. The brush not only looks amazing, it is easy to use and creates exceptional results.

The brush is very hard wearing (it’s clearly going to last for a super long time) but it is also flexible and allows you to easily style your hair without breaking the hair structure or damaging the scalp.

These brushes retail between £20-28 depending on the size of brush you go for which may sound a little pricey but I genuinely think this is great value for money considering the incredible quality of the brush, the fact it will not damage your hair and it will last a very long time!

Overall I absolutely adore this brush and I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about it! I’m already eyeing up the Paddle Brush from the collection so that will probably make its way into my collection soon!

You can purchase this brush, or others from the collection on The Bristle Brush Company website.
Have you heard of The Bristle Brush Company before or tried any of their products? Let me know in the comments below...

Linda x 

Thursday 26 September 2013

Better skin from within - Skinade

Hey sweeties!
Guess who's got something exciting to share with you, oh yes, me!

Lord knows I fight with my skin, every day I battle more issues with my face than I care to admit.
Have I found my Savior? Can you really 'drink your skin beautiful'?
Well sweeties, over the next 30 days, we are going to find out!
I have been lucky enough to receive 30 days worth of this wonder working drink and will be keeping you updated with my experience every week up until I give you my final summary on day 30.
So far I can tell you that it smells far worse than it tastes, I can't describe the smell and the colour is a little off-putting however it does actually taste quite fruity so don't be alarmed! 
Below is a little information about skinade and the magic it holds so have a read and make sure to check back on Thursday 3rd for my first update!

'Skinade made its debut at LFW, gracing the front row and backstage of the Julien MacDonald show. Celebs such as Harry StylesKelly OsbourneHilary Alexander and Julien MacDonald are drinking their skin beautiful after receiving their own daily boost of Skinade. So, if you see them walking down the street and notice their radiant complexion, you know how they got it.'

Five 150ml bottles for £15.00

Drink just one a day as part of a morning routine and the results are as follows:

After 4-6 days consumers begin to feel a difference describe their skin as softer and more hydrated.
After 10-14 days consumers begin to see a visible difference in their skin. They describe it as more uniform, smoother, radiant and glowing.
Between 2 to 4 weeks consumers describe their skin as firmer, plumper and begin to notice a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles

Monday 23 September 2013

Vita Liberata Capture the Light Translucent Gold - The Ultimate Skin Finish

As you may already know if you read my previous post, Vita Liberata Tanned the Model's for leading British designer Temperley London for London Fashion Week SS14, providing the Model's with the ultimate Mediterranean glow for the new collection, Not only did they use the tan to create this glow they also used products from the Capture the Light Collection. 

' The Capture the Light Collection comprises illuminating skin finishers with Opaque or Translucent coverage which can be used as stand-alone skin perfectors, or alongside the Vita Liberata tanning range to accentuate a natural bronze tan. Capture the Light Opaque illuminating skin finishers are considered by beauty experts to be "better than a BB Cream for the Body". Translucent illuminating skin finishers offer exceptional iridescence without the coverage. '

You too can get the gorgeous glow that the models had with this amazing product. There are altogether 5 different illuminating skin finishers, one for every skin tone, I got sent the illuminating skin finish in 'Gold' which is for sallow skin. Gold adds an iridescent gold shimmer to enhance your tan and is perfect for medium or dark skin. This can be used as a highlighter on the legs, arms, décolleté and face. 

The formulae is light cream which you only need a small amount of, I made the mistake of using too much, the pump does release quite a lot of product no matter how lightly you press it but I think it depends on where you are deciding to put the cream to the amount of which you need to use, I would recommend that you only put it on lightly though and not in thick amounts as it gives a nicer finish. 

I have applied the cream onto my hand to show you how it looks. On the right is my hand with the illuminisor on it, I did apply far too much but it does still look really glowing and lovely. After taking these photo's I did try the illuminisor again but with less product and it does look a lot better with less product used, I guess it depends on which you like the look of best. The photos really do not give the illuminsor justice as it is really lovely and makes your skin glow. It contains SPF 25 which is great if you where wanting to wear this on the beach or somewhere really hot as it provides protection against the sun. 

'Already a huge hit with celebrities and makeup artists looking for that red-carpet finish, these stunning illuminating skin finishers are the ultimate beauty essential for all skin types, taking you from am to pm in style.'

I love the glow that the illuminator gives and can see it becoming one of my go to products as I love a nice glow on the skin. I would recommend this to anyone of any skin colour as I can imagine it looking gorgeous on everyone and you will honestly love it.

 All products are available in 30ml for £29.95 from Vita Liberata and Debenhams


* This product was kindly sent to me for review.

Boutique: New Make-up Brand Exclusively at Sainsbury's

This September a new exciting make-up brand has been launched by Sainsbury's, named 'Boutique'. Boutique, designed to provide 'a bit of fun and an affordable treat while doing the grocery shop', has been created and trialled by a collective of professional make-up artists. It includes nail polishes, lipglosses, lipsticks, eyeshadows and accessories, and I was lucky enough to test some of these products.

In early 2011, Sainsbury’s approached Jo Saville and Sophia Price, established make-up artists, who with a wealth of beauty product experience helped create the perfect collection of colours which marries high pigmentation, easy application and brilliant staying power. As a result of this, when blind product testing was carried out by 58 industry professionals, the outcome resulted in over 90% of the beauty panel recommending Boutique.

From left: 'Under the Thumb', 'Beyond the Pale', 'As Good as Gold', and 'Over the Moon'.

Boutique Nail Polish: £5

Boutique Eyeshadow: £4

Boutique Lip Gloss: £6

I'll start by reviewing the lipglosses. The colours were much richer than I'd expected. I don't usually wear lipgloss as I held the assumption that they were designed for just making your lips look shiny rather than adding lots of colour, but with these products I was pleasantly surprised. There is a strong pigment to these lipglosses (apart from the clear one; 'The Coast is Clear', which I haven't included a picture of for obvious reasons that it doesn't add colour and only adds shine) and I especially like the bright red one which is pictured above and below. Another quality I liked about these glosses was that they didn't sink into the cracks of my lips, which I sometimes find happens with lipsticks.

- 'My Lips are Sealed' - lovely plum colour

'Dusk Til Dawn' - a nice natural pink

- 'Don't Gloss me Around' - a rich red
'Don't Gloss me Around'
'My Lips are Sealed'

Now onto the eyeshadows! They were quite glittery so are ideal for a night out, a party, or fancy dress. Now, just to explain, I don't usually wear so much eyeshadow in the pictures below, but I did this to make it easier to see the colour and shimmery quality it has, also because it's hard to see my eyelids with my eyes open.

Eyeshadow Swatches from left: 'Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining', 'In the Limelight', 'Brownie Points', 'Grass is Always Greener', and 'Put on the Slate'.

These photos are taken with flash to catch the shimmery quality of the product. The main colours used were 'Grass is Always Greener' on my eyelids and 'Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining' around my eyes.

 Also below I am wearing the red lipgloss, 'Don't Gloss me Around.' Sorry for the slightly scary look!

And finally we come to the nail polish, which I was really impressed with. I love the fact that you only really need to paint one coat and it has a shiny, smooth finish with intense colour, and only takes one or two minutes to dry. I often get annoyed with nail polish, sometimes painting three or even four coats just to get an even finish, but with this product I easily achieved nails that looked and felt lovely and smooth. Also, I clumsily smudged a corner of the plum colour on one of my nails but to my delight I simply re-painted the corner and it blended in smoothly with the rest of the nail and didn't make it bumpy.

An example of how you only need one coat of this polish is below. As you can see the two images look exactly the same.

- One coat of polish

- Two coats of polish
Overall, I think what Boutique have done especially well with their make-up is the strong pigment. Their products have really intense, rich colours and because you don't have to layer on the product to achieve this they will last a long time, therefore proving to be great value for money. Have you seen this new brand in Sainsbury's yet and will you consider trying it?

Sunday 22 September 2013

Shard- A Review

Following my Illamasqua lust list post, I went ahead and treated myself to the lipstick from the collection- Shard. Retailing at £16.50, it was definitely an investment, but it's one that's proved to be worthy.

Shard is a beautiful, matte autumnal berry colour and is perfect for this coming season. It's quite buildable, but I found that if I just dabbed it on, although it was a subtle look it didn't photograph very well. I do sometimes struggle when applying matte lipsticks as they're such a dry consistency but with a coat of lip balm, this goes on like a breeze! 

One thing I can't quite decide on is it's staying power. The day I bought it I put it on and it lasted hours and hours, I even had to wipe my lips with a cleanser to take it off at night! However when I actually wore it on a night out, I did have to reapply it half way through the night. Just the once, mind! All in all, it does have great staying power, I just haven't decided if it has magnificent staying power just yet. 

I'm really glad I splashed out for this product as a) I know I'd just be pining for it if I didn't and b) the colour is beautiful. I can't wait to get more use out of it when I fully immerse myself into AW fashion again when the weather decides to stay chilly for more than a couple of days and I can get the glitter out. Do you have a signature AW lipstick or make up product? I'd love to try it!

Kate A x

Friday 20 September 2013

Battle of The Hair Masks!

Taking care of your hair is just as important as taking care of your skin. If you don't care for it then it can look dull, lifeless and lackluster. This is why once a week I like to take some time to care for my hair and give it a hair mask!

Some people will say, isn't a mask just like a conditioner? Well that's true it does condition your hair but it also gives your hair a massive boost, just like when you put a face mask on once a week your skin starts to feel better, it's the same for your hair. 

Today I will be showing you 3 hair masks that I have been using the past few months and giving you my expert* analysis. (*I am not actually an expert but I know my stuff haha)

Firstly, as a umm natural red head *cough cough* it's always good to invest in a colour enhancing mask! This one is from Trevor Sorbie and it's called Trevor Sorbie Colour Enhance Mask (£5.99RRP) This mask has sunflower seed extract which is what helps to enhance the colour. It smells really nice, familiar, but can't put my finger on it. It's quite a thick formula which I recommend is left on 5-10 mins. It did help the vibrancy in my colour but also made my hair feel really soft and nice. Would recommend this if you had Blonde or Red hair that you like keeping its vibrancy.

Up next a Repairing Mask, I've spoken about this one before and I love it! It's Mark Hill 2 Minute Intensive Treatment (£7.99RRP) Now this one smells divine, it's full of citrus smells, ylang-ylang and just exoticy! It only has to be left in for 2 mins which is a big plus for the girl on the go. It's for all hair types and really does repair, strengthen and soften your hair. It doesn't do anything for my colour but it is really lovely. One of my faves! :)

And finally Herbal Essences Bee Strong Intensive Mask (£4.59RRP) this is endorsed by Nicole Scherzinger and who doesn't want hair like Scherzy! This smells amazing, honey and apricots, like a dream. It's really creamy and lovely. I leave this one in for about 10 mins and this has been the best for strengthening my hair and leaves it so luxuriously soft. One problem is that it's faded my colour a little bit but not so much that my hair looks dull. Would recommend this for people who do find their hair breaking quite a lot or have dry ends.

My favourite out of the 3 is the Trevor Sorbie because it's great for my colour but it's also made my hair really strong and feel so soft and shiny. All 3 have some major pro's and would recommend them to anyone. The Bee Strong Range is all amazing though and smells the nicest.

Hope this post has been informative, I hope you all know how important caring for your hair is and giving it that little bit of a treat for yourself and your hair and you never know that hair mask might give your hair the boost it needs to put a spring in your step.

Thanks for reading and for more of the latest news and reviews from the Beauty Hot Squad please follow us on Blog Lovin' 

Love Boo Miracle Oil

When this little bottle (100 ml) of Love Boo, Super Stretchy Miracle Oil landed through my letterbox I instantly thought of what a cute gift this would make to any expectant mum. Love Boo are a luxury skincare brand for mum and baby who's products contain no parabens, sulphates and other harsh ingredients. They  even won the Mother and Baby Gold award for the best baby skincare range! The packaging is pretty and informative. On the back of the bottle (and the outer packaging) we are told that the Miracle Oil is-

 "Perfect for: 
Stretch Marks
Dry, Aging and Uneven Skin Tone
Scars and Damaged Skin
Restoring Suppleness "

I'm a mummy of a 6 year old and I do have some stretch marks and although they don't bother me too much, of course I'd much rather they weren't there! I applied the oil mostly twice a day regularly and while I enjoyed the non-greasy formula which has passion flower, sweet almond and argan oils I can't say I noticed any change in the appearance of my stretch marks. I definitely felt like the oil helped to rehydrate my skin and make the area I applied it on feel softer. I have read other reviews about this product and lots of them say that they have not developed any stretch marks while using the Miracle Oil, that's fab- I wish I'd have had this product back when I was pregnant! 

The Super Stretchy Miracle Oil (cute name isn't it?!) is available from a number of places, directly from the Love Boo website here priced at £15.99 for 100 ml and also other places like Feel Unique I'd really recommend having a look at the Love Boo website if you need a gift for an expectant friend or maybe for yourself, I think anyone would be delighted to receive a gift from here.