Beauty Countdown – Primers for Oily Skin

If you’re not using a primer yet – why not?? For me, as an oily skin gal, they’re absolutely essential to keep my foundation from slipping off and my face becoming seriously shiny throughout the day. Saying that, even with a good primer, I tend to get the old shiny forehead at some point in the afternoon… nothing works wonders after all. But for those of you with oily to combination type skin, here are my top primers which will go some way to helping you stay looking glowing, not shiny.

The Wooden Spoon – The Porefessional, Benefit (£24.50)

Benefit The Porefessional Primer (22ml)

This has become somewhat of a cult product among the beauty community, getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone. I can see its appeal, but it still only comes in on my list at #4. The reason – this primer is silicone based. Silicone based primers have a very soft, smoothing effect on the face, which feels amazing when first applied. However, I find that over the day silicone primers tend to become more slippy, and don’t hold foundation in place as well. The USP of this product is that it’s all about the pores – it evens out the surface of the skin and makes large pores less visible. I can’t deny that it does this job beautifully; my skin definitely looked smoother. This makes this product great for any time you anticipate having photos taken, and you really want to look flawless. It’s just not as great as an everyday primer that will work hard all day.

The Bronze Medal – Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light, Smashbox (£25.00)

PHOTO FINISH FOUNDATION PRIMER LIGHT

This is another silicone based (oil-free) formula, which places higher up the ranks for the better job it did at keeping shine at bay. The first time I used this primer, I definitely noticed less shine at 4 O’clock than I would normally have. However, I still couldn’t get over the weird, slippery feeling it leaves (particularly on the side of my nose), thanks to the silicone. Plus, it’s the most expensive of the bunch, which is always a downside in my book. Definitely one to consider if you don’t have as much of a problem with staying power as I do, or if your skin is a bit more on the dry side.

Second Place – Beautifully Matte Makeup Base, No.7 (£10.50)

Boots No7 Beautifully Matte Make Up Base

This primer is just pipped to the post, and is actually the primer I’ve been using for a long time now. It differs from the previous two, in that it has a much more creamy formula, which for me is so much better for my skin. I don’t get the slippery side-effects I notice with a silicone based product, which is something I’ve always got my eyes out for. It immediately makes my skin feel more matte, and that feeling is upheld for longer than the average primer. The reason it’s not my number one, is that it’s a bit more difficult to work with. The cream doesn’t smooth out as easily over the skin, and if you rub it a little bit too much, it rolls up into patches over the face which can look a bit iffy once you’ve put your foundation on top. What I have found is that this product works a lot more nicely on it’s own, especially in the summer when you don’t necessarily want to wear a full face of makeup, but want to stay oil-free.

And the Winner is – Stay Matte Primer, Rimmel (£5.99)

Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

It’s always nice when the best product is also the least expensive. And that’s why this product is an all round gold medalist. Similar to the No. 7 primer above, it has a creamy texture, but without the difficult in application. The cream goes on a lot more like a moitsuriser, but feels immediately more mattifying. It looks beautiful under foundation, and has made my makeup last the longest out of all the primers listed above. I am already a big fan of Rimmel for their lip products, but this primer has really hit it out the park for me. From what I’ve seen, it’s received highly positive reviews, and I’m not surprised. It just goes to show that whether you’re on a budget or not, sometimes it’s the drugstore products that really surprise you.

So there’s my roundup of the best primers on the market targeted at oily skin, I hope it was helpful to some of you, especially if you’ve never used a primer before!

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Teeth Whitening, Drugstore Style

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have perfect teeth. After a tumble onto the bath when I was 8, and three years of braces in my teens, I’m left with a bit of wonky-ness here and there. But hey, it adds character, and since I’m English there’s no great expectations when it comes to teeth (according to the rest of the world anyway…). But even so, everyone wants to feel good about themselves, and I thought I’d give teeth whitening a go. Being the cheap-skate that I am, I thought I’d start at the bottom and go for a cheap set from Superdrug. Being a teeth whitening virgin, I had to start somewhere, and I didn’t really fancy shelling out a pretty penny for something that might have no effects whatsoever. I’m also pretty conscious of sensitivity, and didn’t want to go for something so strong that I’d never be able to enjoy ice cream again.

So I went for the Brilliant 1 Week Tooth Whitening Kit, which only cost £5.59. The cheapest of the cheap. But for that price, I wouldn’t feel too bad if I didn’t see amazing results.

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The kit claims to make your teeth ‘up to 4 shades whiter’ in a week, as well as having a gentle formula. You could use it up to twice a day (I used it every morning and sometimes again in the evening) for a week. The procedure was pretty straightforward, ad it only took 5 minutes every day, so was easy to fit in to my routine.

So the big question is: did it work? Well, the good news is, I haven’t noticed any increased sensitivity. The bad news – I haven’t really noticed much else either…

Before

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After

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Looking at these shots, ironically my teeth actually look a little bit lighter before (I put that down to lighting). It’s possible there’s a slight (extremely slight) change, but nothing noticeable. No-one’s commented about my teeth, and I’ve seen no difference. The only plus side is that I haven’t had an embarrassing Ross from Friends moment, but I am a little disappointed. I’d set my sights on a lovely Hollywood smile, but this product was ever going to achieve that for the price I paid. So if you’re thinking of going for a whiter smile, maybe shelling out a bit more is the only way. I’m tempted to try again with the stronger stuff, but at the end of the day I’m not sure it’s worth the time, effort and money. After all, pink lipstick makes as much of a difference, if not more, than this product did, so maybe it’s just another excuse to invest in a few more tactical lip products!

Bath & Body Works – Peach Bellini Candle Review

My boyfriend recently went to the US, and with him he took about a metre long list of the things I wanted him to pick up for me. As I had suspected, he failed to find most of the bits I wanted. He did, however, manage to find himself to a Bath & Body Works and pick up a candle for us to try out. I’ve heard many a good thing about their candles, and since I’ve really gotten into candles recently, I thought it would be an opportune time to give them a try.

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One of the things I like about letting my boyfriend pick out things for me is that he often buys things I would never go for, but end up loving. In this case, he chose the Peach Bellini flavour candle – a scent I would never get myself. I am generally into very warm, spicy scents, and this one is very sweet smelling and candy-like. But I like it. It’s a nice change from the more winter-y scents I’m drawn to, and the sweet-as-hell smell matches the cute-as-a-button marshmallow colour. Basically, he picked the most girly candle I’ve ever seen.

Quality-wise, it’s great. I like really strong candles which will create a noticeable smell in the room, and boy, this delivered. I went out for about an hour, and when I got back, our entire flat smelled of peachy goodness (and our room is right at the back). So that’s a definite plus. As for how long it will last, I don’t yet know, but it’s been burning for at least 2 hours now and looks no different from when I first lit it. The three wicks make it burn evenly, which will make it so much easier to light when it’s burned further down, and just makes it look a lot neater.

It cost $22.50, which translates as £13.68. For a long-lasting, strong smelling candle, I think that’s a pretty reasonable price to pay. All round, a winner. So if you live in the US or are going over for a visit I would definitely recommend picking up as many of these smellies as you can. For now, I’ll just have to wait until someone I know hops over the pond before I can get my hands on some more!

High Street Makeup Haul

Here’s post number two, comin’ right attcha!

I think a lot of people will know what I mean when I talk about the shopping itch. It’s something that happens once the thrill of your latest purchases wears off, and you suddenly have this overwhelming feeling that you hate everything you own because it is so old and out of fashion and you must look like you just stepped out of 1985… or something. I get this feeling fairly regularly, and although I fight it as best I can, the urge to go out and spend sometimes (*cough* always *cough*) overwhelms me.

Which is why I take the practical step of avoiding high-end retailers at these times, and instead head for the good ol’ British high street to satisfy my shopping cravings.

This week, I picked up a couple of makeup bits to try, read my thoughts and first impressions below.

The first item(s) are two of the Bourjois Colour Boost lip crayons, in the colours 05 Red Island and 06 Plum Russian:

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I’m a ha-uge fan of the Clinique Chubby Sticks, so I’m always on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. I like these lip products, and I’d say they’re a reasonable dupe for the chubby sticks. They are nice and smooth to wear, a bit more glossy than the chubby sticks and have a reasonable colour pay-off. For me, the colours I chose are what’s stopping me from wearing the product more, the red has more blues undertones that just don’t suit me that much, and the purple isn’t that suitable for work, so I haven’t found myself reaching for these as much as I’d hoped. They’re £7.99 each, which is cheaper than the chubby sticks, but still adds up if you’re buying more than one. I think I’d like to step out of my comfort zone and try the orange punch colour to see how it goes!

Next up is the Ever After Matte Palette and the eXtreme Volume Mascara, both from MUA:

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To be honest, these products are both pretty disappointing. But for £4.00 and £2.00, what was I really expecting? I was drawn to the palette because it really does have a lovely assortment of everyday nudes with no shimmer, which I thought would be great for a neutral work look. Unfortunately, the pigmentation isn’t great. I intended to include swatches in this post, but the shadows barely showed up on my arm. The darker colours have a bit more colour pay-off, and the black could make a nice alternative to black liner. The mascara is, frankly, appalling – it’s so dry that barely any product actually transfers to the lashes. And since I love big, plumped up lashes, it wasn’t for me. I think both of these products might be great if you were looking for makeup for school, as they both have a very subtle effect. And they’re so cheap, it would be an affordable way to start experimenting with makeup, so although they weren’t for me, they might be great for someone out there!

Speaking of lashes… next up comes the Eylure Naturalites Evening Wear 107 Lashes:

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There were actually two pairs in this pack (I couldn’t restrain myself from trying them), which for just over £5.00 is an absolute steal. These lashes are a bit more full on than anything I normally wear, so I was a little bit daunted by them. They were easy to apply, and lasted all night. I trimmed the edges to fit my eye, and I think they looked pretty darn good! Voluminous and thick, definitely the thing for a dramatic evening look!

Lastly comes the Kiss 100 Full Cover Active Oval Nails:

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I am a serial nail biter, and have been pretty much all my life. It’s a hard habit to break, and I love using fake nails to give me longer looking nails. These nails in particular are my new favourites – they have an oval shape which saves me a lot of time filing and shaping the regular square shape which just isn’t my style. They’re also super thin, so look and feel a lot more natural, and are far more comfortable to wear. I did find they didn’t stick to my nails as easily as the thicker variety, but I was willing to spend a bit longer on the application process for the effect they gave. They set me back £6.49, which will ensure many weeks of nice looking nails that I don’t have to spend on a professional set costing 30 quid. Win all round!

So that’s the results of my high street splurge, let me know what your favourite drug store products are, and what you think of the products I’ve mentioned here!

Zoe xxx

About Me…

Hi Guys!

I’ve been meaning to start writing a blog for the longest time, and have no justification for not doing so other than laziness (and probably a pinch of lack of self-confidence). But, having created this account several months ago, I’ve finally got around to doing something productive with my spare time. For now anyway…

So an introduction to myself and a spiel about what I’d like this blog to be: my name’s Zoe, I’m just shy of 20-years-old, and I live in the lovely city of London.

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Here’s me lookin’ all instagram (Warning: picture may be heavily filtered and may not reflect real life)

I’ve been a huge follower/admirer of the blogging and YouTube community for at least 4 years now, and love everything clothes makeup and beauty wise. I can’t pretend to be an expert, I’m not a makeup artist, and I don’t have the biggest budget to fritter away. But I can promise to give honest opinions on products I love (and others I really don’t think are worth the hype). I’m not sure what will become of this blog, but I’m starting with good intentions, so let’s see where it gets me!

Please be kind and constructive, I’m a newbie and probably need a bit of time to find my feet!

Zoe xxx