Best of Beauty | Make-up Must-Haves

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Best of Beauty | Make-up Must-HavesThis week's Best of Beauty Post (a series created by lovely Samantha from All The Buzz) is a challenge. I was making a list of products during the week and I came up with about 25 of them! In order to save you having to read a novel on my favourites, I narrowed it down after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. There's still a lot, but these ones are the ones I just couldn't live without! So without further ado, as per usual, starting from the left, here are my Make-up Must-Haves!

Best of Beauty | Make-up Must-HavesNars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base This is one of the best and most hard working products I came across in the make-up industry, at least so far! There is one in my make-up stash and one in my professional kit at all times! I have oily eyelids and most eye products crease on me. The fact that my eyelids are slightly hooded only makes matters worse and things like gel eyeliner end up on my crease unless I use the Nars Pro Prime. My eye make-up just does not move with this on! I've worn this from morning until night time and everything stays just as I applied it in the morning. I have tried a fair share of eye primers (including Urban Decay, 2Faced, etc.) and they were OK but this one is hands down the best. I cannot stress enough how amazing this product is! If you have oily eyelids & have not tried this product you have to run to the nearest Nars counter now! Drop everything and run!

Nars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyesheadow Base approx. €25 from Nars (Brown Thomas)

MAC Eye Shadows I have a lot of eye shadows but these four are the ones I use most often & couldn't be without. I'm not going to bang on about MAC eyeshadows as I am sure everyone and their dog has heard of these and tried them. But what I will do is quickly tell you about my absolute favourite shades that I have re-purchased time and time again: Burle, All That Glitters, Satin Taupe & Carbon. I love this little palette, you can do so much with these colours, from natural to smokey & dramatic. The perfect colours for us green eyed gals as well!

MAC Eye Shadows (re-fills) €11.50 from MAC

Make Up Forever Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Colour in Warm Beige This is basically a waterproof cream eye shadow in the most gorgeous pale golden colour. And when I say waterproof I mean this stuff doesn't move! It will not go anywhere until you dissolve it off your face with an oily cleanser. If I have a long day ahead of me this is what I will use as a base a lot of the time. The only thing I will say is you need to work very quickly with this product, it sets in seconds and once it does it's game over, there's no budging it. It's not the cheapest of products but a little goes a long way & it is definitely worth investing in! Couldn't be without it.

Make Up Forever Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Colour in Warm Beige approx. €22 from MUFE Claredon St, Dublin

MAC Lipsticks Again, I'm sure you have all heard of these guys but just wanted to share two of the colours that I wear all the time. I have re-purchased both of these several times, they just are shades that look particularly flattering on me and I can't imagine my makeup bag without them: MACs Rebel and Lady Danger. Rebel looks quite scary in the bullet but is the most gorgeous purple berry colour (photo of me wearing it here). Lady Danger, my favourite red of all times, is a really warm orange red. It looks amazing on everybody, I particularly love it on blonds! I find it makes me look more tanned when I'm wearing it and it really brightens up my face. I just love both of these! You may have noticed, I am not a lipgloss kind of girl...

MAC Lipsticks in Rebel and Lady Danger €17.50 from MAC

Best of Beauty | Make-up Must-HavesLancome Hypnose Star Mascara I am extremely fussy when it comes to mascara! Shock, horror, I didn't get on with Benefit's They're Real and I hated Maybelline's The Falsies... I have blogged about Hypnose Start before (here) so will not go into too much detail but it is just the perfect mascara for me: deep black in colour, nice wand, gives a lot of volume, holds a curl and is easy to take off! I try out new mascara all the time and this is the only one I have re-purchased time and time again!

Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara €25.92 from Boots.ie

Make-up Forever HD Foundation Again, a product I have written about before... This is my favourite foundation for when I need a flawless but invisible coverage! It looks absolutely gorgeous in photos and on video and doesn't have this cakey, powdery finish that I hate. I am a foundation fetishist, have lots in just my own makeup bag but if I had to use only one for the rest of my life this would be my man (or woman... not sure).

Make-up Forever HD Foundation approx. €40 from MUFE Claredon St, Dublin

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream This is a new one but already one of my top products! Technically also a foundation (I know, I know.... I have issues) but one I use for every day, natural make-up. Bourjois is my favourite highstreet brand ever and their foundations are absolutely fantastic. This beauty will star is a post of it's own on the blog shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for a more detailed review. All I can say is that this is very easy to apply, has good coverage, a nice luminous but satin finish and stays on well! And it is affordable! BIG love for this product!

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream approx. €10 from Boots.ie

Best of Beauty | Make-up Must-HavesChanel Soleil de Tan Bronze Universel This is a love/hate product for many but for me, and Becky too, it is the best bronzing base. Becky is slightly darker skinned than I am so this products is absolutely perfect for her and she goes through these like nobody's business! I need to use it more sparingly and work with it a little more, but it's worth it! I know it doesn't work on very pale people and I hope Chanel will one day bring out more colours. But this is basically the product that brings a little bit of life and dimension to my face and gives me the most wonderful healthy glow! It's unfortunately an expensive one but for me, worth every penny (lasts for ages though!)

Chanel Soleil de Tan Bronze Universel €38.50 from Boots.ie

Best of Beauty | Make-up Must-HavesNars Radiant Creamy Concealer This is probably going to appear in a few Best of Beauty posts but it really is that good! You can read a full review with pictures here. Nars have managed to produce a gorgeous concealer that has amazing coverage without being cakey. It's luminous without being sparkly or highlighting. I just cannot say enough good things about it, I am not even curious to try any other concealers any more. I found the one!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer €26 from Nars (Brown Thomas)

MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy My sister in law introduced me to this baby and it's now an absolute staple in my makeup collection! I don't wear black eyeliner a lot as I don't have huge eyes and I find that a black liner can make my eyes look even smaller. Teddy is a gorgeous, slightly shimmery bronze colour. It's very creamy and easy to blend. I use it for my every day makeup all the time. I know it's only an eye liner but I can't imagine my makeup bag without it!

MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy €18 from MAC

Bobbi Brown Blush in Pale Pink When people see this in the pan they usually shriek and try to run. It looks pretty scary and you could say there is absolutely nothing pale about this shade of pink. That being said this is my all time favourite blush. It's one that can make you look healthy, glowy, awake & about 10 years younger when deep down you are dying of a hangover or a cold! It is the blush I wore on my wedding day and I love, love, love it! Try it next time you are at a Bobbi Brown counter!

Bobbi Brown Blush in Pale Pink approx. €25 form Bobbi Brown

Finally! We've arrived at the end of this monster of a post! I'm sorry I have put you through this ridiculous amount of products but there is about 20 other ones on my desk that didn't make it into the post, it was so hard to choose! As always, check out all the other Irish Beauty Blogger's "Best of Beauty" posts on twitter under the hashtag #BOBBlogChallenge.

A. x

2014: Year of the Palette

One month into 2014 and I'm already lusting after lots of new additions to my make-up kit; all of which are eyeshadow palettes. For me, eyeshadow palettes have always been the one thing I have most difficulty saying no to.My reasoning here is they're a continuation of the Crayola paintbox habit I had as kid...although Crayola has nothing on these MAC, NARS or Smashbox beauties. For me it's a toss up between these three...

Smashbox Full Exposure The latest Smashbox eyeshadow palette first appeared on the beauty radar around November but wasn't one for our Santa wishlists with the launch date set for Jan 2014. I've always been a fan of Smashbox eyeshadows and find they tend to have great pigment and staying power even without an eye primer. This latest palette includes 14 eyeshadows in a great spectrum of light to dark and cleverly are 50/50 shimmer and matte, giving you've got daytime & evening eyes boxed up. Also included is a dual ended eyeshadow brush and Full Exposure mini mascara. Available from Smashbox counters nationwide which now includes larger Boots stores (Liffey Valley, Dundrum, Tallaght, etc) and lots of independent pharmacies priced €43- not bad at all!Year of The Pallet

NARSissist So long as NARS are rolling out goodies like this my Mastercard shall remain maxed. The NARSissist eyeshadow palette can only be described as beautiful! 15 of NARS most-loved neutral eyeshadows all wrapped up in a NARS case, the ultimate beauty junkie fix. Available from Brown Thomas priced at e50 this one proves amazing value for the usually pricey NARS, and my experience with their eyeshadows has only ever been good with decent pigment. My only tiny gripe with this one is that I've developed a pet hate for whatever the dirt magnet, black, rubbery coating is that NARS package everything in- nonetheless a gorgeous palette. This one is limited edition and only hit counters on Sat last- form an orderly queue!Year of The Pallet

MAC Neutrals Warm & Cool I've kept the best til last! We got wind of a rumour sometime late last year that MAC were planning on launching two ready-to-wear 15 pan palettes in both a warm and cool version. I actually was kept awake with the excitement on hearing this (upsetting I know, but that's how much I love a decent eyeshadow palette) and so hounding the MAC counter girls began. At first the response was limited to 'Oh there's been talk of these in 2014 but no details yet'. Perseverance being key, we got confirmation that these are landing at Irish MAC counters around March 18th, priced at e120 each. The pans are non-replaceable but considering the cost of fully stocking an empty 15 pan palette these are EXCELLENT value. Also they're set to be a permanent fixture to MAC counters so there's no limited edition pressure to buy immediately. These two take the biscuit for me and I'm planning on saving my pennies and buying both. I love that the MUA guru's at MAC HQ have readily selected these in both in warm and cool tones and the clean, classic MAC packaging is always a winner. Roll on March!Year of The Pallet

If you're not confused enough deciding between these picks, there's also Urban Decay Naked 3 and Bobbi Brown Crystal, Nude and Bronze palettes to include into the mix here...happy decision making!

B. xx

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

Nars Radiant Creamy ConcealerThere is absolute tons of reviews of this concealer out in the internet world, it seems to be one of these hugely hyped products. Apparently it is quite hard to get your hands on some of the shades (especially the paler ones) over in the UK, that's how popular this concealer is! I am generally happy with my current combo: Wake Me Up concealer by Rimmel & for more hardcore concealing jobs Vichy Dermablend, but hey, I was curious and thought I'll give it a go!

Nars Radiant Creamy ConcealerCompared to the Rimmel offering the formula of the Nars product is slightly thicker and not as light reflective, which makes it a bit more of a multitasker. You wouldn't want to put a very luminous concealer on any blemishes, as it would only make them stand out on your face. The Radiant Creamy Concealer has quite good coverage, it will definitely see you through nicely on an everyday basis. It is very hydrating but at the same time doesn't move around or look cakey which is really important to me - I hate having to touch up my makeup (lazy!).Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

All in all this is a gorgeous product! I am particularly impressed with the fact that the lightness and creaminess of the formula has not compromised coverage. I have quite a dark under-eye area and the Nars concealer alone cancels out the dark blue circles and redness under my eyes. I also use it around my nose and on any dark spots / pigmentation. It's also OK for minor blemishes but for bigger jobs (raised spots) I would still reach for my trusted Dermablend (here I have used the Nars concealer to get rid of that big red patch between my brows & it worked perfectly).

BEFORENars Radiant Creamy ConcealerAFTERNars Radiant Creamy Concealer

I still think the Rimmel Wake Me Up is a great light, brightening concealer but the Nars one has that bit more coverage that makes all the difference. At €26 the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is an expensive product but if it's within your budget it definitely is one of the top high end creamy concealers out there.

TIP: It has no SPF so would also be perfect for brides!

Have you tried the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer? Do you think it's worth the hype?

A. xx

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My favourite foundations for combination / oily skin

FoundationsAs you may know from other posts, I have a combination to oily skin with the unfortunate tendency to breakouts every now and then. My skin is very awkward, it’s quite oily through my forehead, temples and the sides of my nose but at the same time quite dry on my cheeks and chin.

Combination skin can be annoying because oil free, mat foundations are too drying for me (I am also not too keen on a completely mat look anyway) and moist, dewy foundations leave my skin too oily and the makeup doesn’t last.

After years of testing and trying of different formulae, consistencies and ingredient combinations I came up with a fairly big collection of foundations that are a really good match for my skin. There are two reasons why I have several foundations (actually I have more than the below in my private collection but these are the ones I use on a regular, day-to-day basis):

  • I am obsessed with makeup and can’t resist buying lots of products.
  • My skin changes during the week / month, depending on temperature, moisture in the air, stress and hormone levels, etc.
  • Depending on the make-up look I'm after I will go for a different finish / coverage foundation

So, without further ado, let’s look at the foundations:

1. Vitalumiere Aqua, ca.€40

This is probably my favourite foundation that I tend to use most often for day makeup. It has a velvet finish, so it isn't really dewy but also doesn't give you a tight feeling mat skin. It has medium (buildable) coverage and looks very natural on the skin. Love this one! The only down side to these I can think of is that the lightest shade is not really that light... Otherwise really worth the money!

2. llamasqua Skin Base Foundation, approx. €33

This is a great foundation if you are looking for a good coverage without the mask effect. It sits beautifully on the skin if you use a stippling or buffing brush to apply it. I have tested with a lot of brushes and it doesn't work very well with a flat foundation brush, it sits on top of the skin and looks cakey. It has a medium to full coverage with a very perfect finish. With this one remember: a little goes a long, long, long way!

3. MUFE HD Foundation, approx. €39.50

This is a beautiful foundation, it leaves your face looking very perfect but still fresh and luminous. It is amazing for special occasion makeup, where you know you will be photographed a lot as it doesn't have any SPF in it (if you are using it during the day make sure your moisturizer has sun protection built in!!!). I think MUFE recommend to put this on with a regular foundation brush but I find it looks better when it's buffed in with a stippling brush.

4. Chanel Vitalumier Aqua Compact, approx. €40

This one is the sister of the Vitalumier Aqua liquid foundation. I love it for make-up on the go and touch ups during the day. It has slightly more coverage than the liquid version and I tend to use it with my fingers. Can also be used as concealer in an emergency. I couldn't be without it!

5. Nars Sheer Glow, approx. €40

This is a relatively new discovery for me but so far I am in love! The name of the foundation is a bit deceiving - it is neither sheer nor glowy! It has a velvety finish and medium coverage that can be built up. It looks amazing on the skin, it gives you the most perfect and healthy looking skin. This one also doesn't have an SPF and photographs very well. The colour range of this foundation is fantastic!

6. Clinique Anti Blemish Foundation, approx.€30

This is my go to foundation for the days when my skin breaks out. It has a velvet to mat texture and quite good coverage but is not cakey, you can thin it out on the edges of your face for a more natural look. This foundation contains salicylic acid  (the magic ingredient for acne prone skin) as well as other skin clearing ingredients. A life saver!

What are your favourites? Would love to try out some of your recommedations!

A.