New In: Beauty Basics


I’ve mentioned many times before that I tend to be a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to beauty and skincare. However, every now and again I go a bit crazy and try a whole host of new things – with varying success levels, it has to be said. After a bit of an unsuccessful dabble with new beauty buys at the end of last year, I think I can say I’ve had a little more luck with my latest beauty haul – and the reason why? Some of these purchases aren’t technically “new” at all…

I was a huge devotee to the original Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation for years and years – I loved the low-to-medium coverage and the dewy finish, its build-ability and its price point. When I ran out of my last bottle last year, and my local Boots didn’t have any more in stock (it appears I’m not the only fan!), I took a chance on the Revlon ColorStay foundations instead. You can read my review on those here – basically, good but not great, and I had to mix two formulas to get anywhere near the kind of base that I like. Not ideal. When I heard that Bourjois had reformulated Healthy Mix, I was dubious about it – but with my patience running out with Revlon, I decided to give it a go.

And? It’s actually even better than the original! That same level of coverage, to hide tired skin and even out the complexion, without masking the skin underneath – I have always loved that my light freckles are visible through this foundation. But somehow, skin looks fresher and dewier, and I found that the base lasted all day long. My previous bugbear with the old formula had been that it tended to oxidise slightly if worn all day, but so far, no such issues. I am sold, all over again! I’m the lightest shade, no 51 Vanille Clair for reference.

Along with a lighter base for Spring, I wanted to try a lighter concealer too. I’m a lover of Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer, and while I can’t see that changing any time soon, I prefer to use something a little more hydrating on the eye area when the warmer weather rolls around. This concealer is like a blanket, totally smothering dark circles, redness and blemishes – perfect for a heavier foundation but perhaps too much on a dewy, glowy base. Once I was convinced by the Healthy Mix foundation, I thought about reverting to the new-formula HM concealer too (loved this years ago, before full-time work gave me darker eyes than my uni days!) – but then I spotted the sleek packaging and alluring name of the Radiance Reveal concealer. It was love at first swipe, dear readers – blended with thermal spring water and hyaluronic acid, it’s seriously hydrating, very fluid and just so light. I have used this a few times now and it’s everything I look for in a concealer. There’s no creasing, no caking, no fading away – just luminous, bright-looking skin all day long. I picked Ivory and it’s perfect, slightly lighter than my foundation for a really perky, bright-eyed finished look. I wouldn’t use this on blemishes or obvious redness (Lasting Perfection is always my weapon of choice for those kinds of issues) but for creating fresh, glowy eyes it’s ideal.

Of course, for any base, primer is an essential. I absolutely love L’Oreal Infallible Mattifying Base, so it’s no surprise to see a new tube in this haul, to replenish my nearly-finished tube in my makeup bag. If you like that silicone-type of primer, like the renowned Smashbox primer, you’ll love this. It’s perfect for making sure makeup sticks all day. But (kind-of) new to the stash? L’Oreal’s Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer. I say kind-of new; I last used this primer back in around 2014, so it’s been due a restock in my beauty arsenal. Sometimes I really like to ramp up the radiance, and this pearly-white primer is pure glow. It actually does a pretty good job of keeping makeup in place, but I’ll likely be mixing this with the Infallible primer for a glistening base that sticks fast.

Mascara-wise, I have been forced to try something new in this haul, and so far, so good – although I’m still wary of singing its praises too much. I went to repurchase my beloved L’Oreal Lash Architect mascara, but found that it had sold out (do we sense a theme emerging?), so after a long process of analysing each one in the stand, I went for the False Lash Superstar Red Carpet. Terrible name, great mascara. I’ve always quite liked those double-ended ones, with the white primer and the black topcoat, and this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. One coat of white and two of black creates thick, fluttery lashes, and the flexible formula makes it really easy to reapply; plus it doesn’t flake or smudge, despite not being waterproof. So far, so good – hopefully it stays flexible and non-flaky as the formula dries and thickens.

My final new beauty purchase is one that I’ve invested quite a lot of optimism into; I’m really hoping that this product does what it promises to. After years of rave reviews and wondering, I’ve hopped on to the bandwagon (about five years after every other beauty blogger) and purchased La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo +. My reason for lateness? I’ve never really suffered with spots before; I’d always been lucky that my skin was clear and besides the occasional hormonal blemish, nothing really caused me a problem with my skin. But for the last few months, I’ve been suffering with those horrible under-the-skin blemishes on my chin that won’t disappear, and I know they’re down to nothing but hormones. I’ve heard that this is one of the best products for dealing with those kind of spots, and I’m really hoping this is the case. After only a couple of uses, smaller bumps have disappeared and the larger ones are much less red and angry – so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Have you tried any of these items?

Revlon Color Stay Foundations – Velvet Matte vs Satin Finish

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It’s not often I’ll write a foundation review; I’ve enjoyed both the Bourjois Healthy Mix and 123 Perfect CC Cream for a couple of years now and felt no need to swap either one out of my daily routine. However, when I couldn’t buy either recently, I took a chance on a new base: the Revlon Color Stay Foundation.

This foundation comes in two variations – Oily/Combination and Dry/Normal. I was dithering over these choices and decided to go for both, in shade Ivory. The Oily/Combination formula is described as having a ‘velvet matte’ finish, while the Dry/Normal gives a lighter satin finish, both offering medium to full coverage.

Initially I was using the O/C formula; the liquid is thick and velvety, easy to blend generally but I had some trouble blending it into my nose and chin, which are usually the oilier areas of my face. I found that it was better tapping it into these areas, rather than blending, and following it up with a layer of the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer.

For the first few weeks of using the O/C version exclusively, I really liked the finish; it was more matte than the light, dewy finish of my previous Bourjois bases but looked nice once it was set. However, in the last week or so I just haven’t been able to get along with it in the same way – powder looks too heavy on it, it’s dried out my nose to flakes and even with a primer and setting spray combo that’s usually infallible, my face has just been eating it up so there’s nothing left by 5pm. For a foundation designed to combat oily skin, I can’t say that I’m that impressed, sadly.

Driven to distraction by my suddenly-flaky, dry complexion (not sure if this is being caused by the weather, heating or something else at the moment!) I decided to delve back into the drawer and try the Dry/Normal formulation.

This is a much thinner, lighter formula – definitely more of a satin than a velvet! It’s far easier to blend too, but I don’t feel like it gives any less coverage than its heavier sister. Concealer and powder seems to sit better on top of the N/D formula, and so far, it seems to outlast the O/C version too. It’s definitely more hydrating but something still wasn’t quite right for me.

I’ve not been blown away by either formula, which is a shame as the shade match is so perfect. But in the last few days I have found a little hack that seems to make a world of difference – mixing the two formulas together and applying with a brush has created a base with medium-full coverage, a slightly glowy but velvety finish and absolutely no dryness at all. Perhaps Revlon should just release a one-size-fits-all formula and have done with it?!

Bedside Beauty Must-Haves

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My bedside beauty routine is something of a finely-honed art; it’s taken much experimentation to get to the point where I’ve found those products that just do the job, without costing an absolute fortune.

The first of those is of course, my trusty The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum In Oil, which I’ve now been using for about two years (and have mentioned here, here and here before!). Whether my skin is feeling dry, irritated or blemished, this oil is always the one I reach for. It’s incredibly lightweight as an oil but its results are so strong – whenever I use this, I wake up in the morning with glowing, soft and plump skin. I’ve been increasing my dose of this recently as the wintry weather here in Edinburgh has meant my skin has dried out more than usual, but a few drops of this and a good five minutes spent massaging it in, works absolute wonders. It’s delicate on sensitive or irritated skin, and while it doesn’t stop or prevent blemishes, it does help the scars to fade much faster.

I might only be 25, but prevention is better than cure I feel, so I’ve invested a fair bit of time into finding the right eye cream too. My eyes tend to really show if I’m not hydrated; I get these tiny crepey lines that makeup settles into, and they are so annoying and unflattering. The best thing I’ve found to combat these (along with upping my water intake!) is PURE Spa’s Regenerate & Boost Eye Serum*, which is absolutely packed with argan oil. It’s a fairly heavy oil which is unusual for eyes, but this definitely does the job – a single drop is enough to use on both eyes, and I just pat it gently under the eyes, around the edges, and over the eyelids for maximum hydration. After a couple of weeks’ use I really noticed the difference, under my eyes especially, so I now use a drop every night. You can check out what I thought of the rest of the PURE Spa skincare range here.

Finally, I have become a recent convert to a cult classic – This Works’ Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. I had always been intrigued by the idea, but never wanted to part with £20 for something I wasn’t sure worked – so when I got my mitts on a mini sample I was excited to try it out. Suffice to say, the hype is well-deserved, and every night that I’ve used it, I’ve noticed a real difference in the quality of my sleep. I don’t use it every night, but on those nights where I feel a little tense or more awake than I’d like to be, I spritz it a few times on my pillow and prepare to slumber down! I’ll certainly be buying the full size when this little mini bottle of magic runs out.

What are your bedside beauty must-haves?






Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Sticks

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The worst thing you could say about my complexion? “Matte”. It’s a no-go area for me. Matte is flat, matte is crap.

What I love is a fresh, dewy, healthy glow – anytime of the year, for any and every occasion. My look just isn’t ‘done’ without it. And while I’ve been in a long-term love affair with No.7’s Instant Radiance Champagne Crayon for around three years now, there’s always room in my stash for another stick of glowy goodness to try.

Such space was made for the new-ish release of Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Sticks, which piqued my interested immediately. This collection currently comprises two shades – Gold Light and Pink Light.

I received Gold Light as part of a GWP just before Christmas, and while the shade is a little too dark and golden for my porcelain winter skin, I really loved the creamy formulation. One quick swipe of this stick, quickly smudged in with fingertips, creates a soft-focus glow that catches the light beautifully, without being at all glittery or sparkly. It takes a fair bit of smudging to get this shade to look natural on my skin, but I imagine that in the summer, or on a more olive-based skintone, it would work beautifully to create a really healthy, sunkissed radiance.

I ordered the Pink Light version this week to see how it would compete with the golden version, and this is much more suited to my winter skintone. This soft, pearlescent pink is really subtle on my pale skin and creates a beautiful soft glow. It’s subtle (it needs a few swipes to get a noticeable effect), and while it’s definitely sparklier than its golden sister, there’s still no obvious glitter particles. It just radiates. 

Overall, I really like both of the PhotoReady Insta-Fix highlighters; Pink Light is definitely more suited to my skintone but both shades are flattering and easy to blend. Creamy, velvety and perfectly radiant, either would be a sensible addition to make to your highlighter stash.

Have you tried the Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Fix Highlighting Sticks?

My New Favourite Fragrance

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Perfume is such a treat for me; it’s one of those luxury purchases that can’t usually be justified, but when the time is right, it’s an unadulterated indulgence. Stella McCartney perfumes are usually one of those huge indulgences for me, but in the sales this year, I managed to snap up the newest Stella scent for a steal, and it’s rapidly become a new favourite on my dressing table.

POP by Stella McCartney is gloriously feminine and unashamedly so, but there’s a darker, sexier undertone to this fragrance which takes it back to classic Stella territory. I should say that my all-time favourite fragrance is the original Stella EDP, with its sensual layers of dusky rose – it’s the sexiest perfume I could imagine.

But POP is lighter, fresher and more girlish, the ideal daytime fragrance.

POP blends tuberose with sandalwood, and picks out specific notes of the two, for an unexpectedly bright, crisp and vibrant scent. For me, it really does ‘pop’!

I love the bottle too; an art-deco inspired pink-stained glass bottle, similar to the classic Stella bottle design, but updated and topped with a bright pink polka dot atomiser. Again, its unabashed in its femininity  and it really stands out against other designs on the shelf for being so contemporary and colourful, yet chic.

The gift set that I purchased also came with a 7ml perfume roller, which is absolutely perfect for travelling and being out and about (and that’s hot pink too!).

Fresh, modern and sweetly seductive, POP by Stella McCartney is one indulgence that I definitely recommend you splash out on.

Have you tried POP by Stella McCartney?

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Liquid Lipstick

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I’ll admit that I’m pretty late to jump on the bandwagon on the liquid lipstick front. After months of seeing velvety matte pouts all over Instagram, and friends boasting about how their lipstick didn’t move, no matter how many cups of tea they sank each day, I decided the time was ripe for me to try one out for myself.

I’ve really been enjoying Revlon’s products recently; I’ve converted to not one, but two Revlon foundations, and their new mascara range is also bringing me deep joy, so it was a foregone conclusion that I’d opt for their liquid lipstick offering too, popping the Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor into my basket.

First up, I love the way this is packaged, it looks so sleek! I love the frosted glass but also that you can see the product inside and know instantly which shade you’re grabbing/how much is left of it. The super-secure lid is another bonus, especially if you carry dozens of lipsticks in your bag all day long like I do! The applicator is a slightly square-shaped doe-foot style, which is much broader than a traditional doe-foot and makes slicking the lipstick on quickly a breeze.

But enough about the presentation, let’s talk about the product itself. I chose the shade Flirtation, which is a gorgeously zingy, peachy coral shade. Punchy and ever-so-slightly Parisian, I could instantly imagine it paired with dewy, fresh skin and blacker-than-black fluttery lashes. I’m fairly pale in skintone and this positively bounces off of my skin; I can imagine it would pop beautifully on darker skintones too, but more olive-toned ladies might want to opt for something less yellow-based.

In terms of formula, the Revlon Ultra HD Matte has good and bad points. On a good day, it’s a plush, velvety formula that sets fairly quickly (although not as quickly as other brands that I’ve tried since) and looks great for hours. I find it needs topping up after a couple of hours, or after a meal, but when you check the mirror, you’ll still have far more colour on the lip than you might expect to. It doesn’t slide or smudge off of the lips and lives up to its promise to keep lips hydrated yet matte.

However, there are some aspects which aren’t so great. As I alluded to above, the formula doesn’t set as quickly as you might like, meaning you have to be very careful for the first ten-fifteen minutes and keep checking that the lipstick hasn’t smudged on to your teeth! Also, the formula can sometimes dry up at the edges and corners of the lip, balling and creating a not-so-pretty flaky effect. It can be managed with regular application of lip balm but it’s not always ideal when you’re on the go.

On the whole, I’d recommend the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour; for the price it’s a great product, and any flaws with the formula can be dealt with without too much hassle. With careful application and a little bit of maintenance, you’ll be rocking a plush velvety pout for not very many pennies at all!

2016 Beauty Favourites

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It barely seems a year since my last post on this topic, but here we are, on the cusp of another brand new year – so it’s the perfect time to reflect on the beauty buys that really floated my boat (and my bathroom shelf!) in 2016…


2016 will go down as the year that I finally dipped my toe (face…?) into the world of sheet face masks, with one favourite firmly coming out on top. I’ve tried several kinds, raiding the aisles of TK Maxx and the shelves of Sephora whenever I could, but I kept coming back to the same one – and the good news is, it’s easily available in your local supermarket! Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask is, first and foremost, an absolute steal at circa 99p-£1.50 per mask, but better than that, it’s actually a real joy to use. It’s utterly soaked with a super-moisturing serum, and it’s quite a generously-sized mask, which seems to be rare in the sheet mask arena. I like to pop one on in the bath, sit back and relax – and then enjoy plump, nourished, super-soft skin for days afterwards.

I was already pretty happy with 2015’s cleansing routine and wasn’t really looking to change anything, but when the PURE Spa Cleanse & Glow oil popped through my letterbox, it definitely mixed up my routine for the better! This luxe oil is packed with skin-loving ingredients and works beautifully at melting away even the toughest makeup, for soft, radiant skin.

Also a new and beloved addition to my cleansing routine is the Precision Beauty Sonic Facial Cleansing Device. Similar to a Foreo Luna (but much friendlier on the bank balance!), this device uses soft silicone nodules and gentle vibrations to lift away makeup, dirt and debris for truly clean skin and some low-key exfoliations too.

2015 saw me loving oils not only for cleansing, but for moisturising too, and this year things certainly kicked up a notch. A must-have for me going on to 2017 is a gorgeous dry facial oil by little-known brand The Hero Project – their very aptly-named Glow Drops. I wouldn’t usually choose an oil for my daytime moisturiser, but this on another level. It absorbs in record time for a truly glowy, hydrated base for makeup, and it keeps skin looking delicious all day long. For night time, I’m still deeply in love the The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil, but I’ve amped up proceedings with the addition of PURE Spa’s Regenerate & Boost Eye Serum; this is a seriously luxe, dense oil that is just fabulous at hydrating and nourishing the delicate skin under my eyes while I sleep.


The first inclusion in this post is a very new addition to my beauty routine but it’s made a huge impression on me. When I recently ran out of both my beloved Bourjois Healthy Mix and 123 Perfect CC bases, I had to make an emergency dash to Boots – where they’d promptly sold out of my shade in both items. So after a rummage through the shelves, I settled on Revlon’s Color Stay base, in the Oily/Combination formula. The shade match is just stunning – I’ve never used a foundation that matches my skin quite so perfectly before. The formula is velvety and easily blendable, and the finished look is soft, medium coverage with an ever-so-slightly luminous finish. It’s true love!

While we’re on the topic of base products, I’ve found a combo that really works when it comes to extending the life of my look each day. L’Oreal’s Infallible range is just that – it makes makeup truly last the whole day, with a continuous freshly-applied look. I use the primer every morning – I personally prefer the clear, silicone-feeling primers to creamier ones anyway, but this is for sure the best I have used. Then once my base, blush, powder and highlight is applied, I set everything with a couple of spritzes of the Infallible 24-Hour Setting Spray, which tones everything down and leaves a glowy, fresh finish.

We all know that I love a great highlighter, and this year I’ve found one of my all-time favourites. I’ll always be faithful to my No.7 Instant Radiance champagne crayon highlighter, but for a powder formulation, Sleek’s Midas Touch palette is a bit of a game-changer. The palette has four shades, but there’s one in particular I’m obsessed with; a shimmery rose quartz that offers radiance unlike any other highlighter I’ve ever used. Not glittery, not sparkly – just true luminescence. It’s pretty incredible stuff!

Along with a great highlighter, I also love a fabulous lipstick. Reds, pinks, corals, nudes, even the occasional mauve – they’re all good to me. This year I’ve also dabbled in liquid lipsticks for the first time, and I have stumbled upon my dream shade in Revlon’s Ultra HD Matte Liquid Lipstick in Flirtation. It’s the perfect bright peachy coral that looks amazing with fresh, glowy skin and lashings of mascara – a little bit Parisian, very cool. The formula admittedly is a little bit hit-and-miss, but when you catch it on a good day, it’s very, very good. Just make sure your lips are prepped!


My hair has been through a couple of big changes this year – from mid-blonde to icy blonde, right back down to dark brown again – and it’s needed proper care and attention to keep it in good condition. Earlier in the year I was sent the Lee Stafford Coco Loco haircare range to try, and in these last few months, the shampoo and conditioner have really come into their own. Lightweight but deeply moisturising, this duo is gentle on my sensitive scalp and leaves me with shiny, strong, soft hair every time.

In terms of fragrance, I’m pretty fussy. Nothing too strong, nothing too heavy, else I’m in for one of those foggy headaches. A perfume I’ve really enjoyed using this year is Ghost Eclipse – it’s floral and fruity with a deep, mysterious base, but not heavy at all. It feels fresh but sophisticated, ideal for day or night time depending on your mood. Using perfume every day can get pricey though, and one of my favourite products to use instead is Ted Baker’s White Body Spray. £7 is quite pricey for a body spray but this smells just as good as an expensive perfume – in fact it smells just like Ricci Ricci. It’s my favourite fragrance to use on a daily basis, spritzed all over with no worries about the cost.

Speaking of fragrance, I love a delicious shower gel at bathtime, and I’ve discovered my holy grail in terms of scent – Original Source’s Cherry and Almond Shower Milk. Need I say more?!

And finally, a little throwaway purchase has made its way into 2016’s best beauty buys… Primark’s Satin Matte nail polish is a steal at £1.50, and I wasn’t expecting it to be much use. However, paired with a decent coating of Seche Vite, this polish lasts for days and looks great! I use the shade Dusty Rose, as I was desperate for a polish in this shade and couldn’t find one anywhere – this is the perfect blend of dusky rose and soft nude, nothing overly girlie but still very feminine and very chic. Just be sure to use that topcoat – the original flat matte finish does nothing for me…

What are your best beauty finds of 2016?