Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Beauty Icon: Alessandra Ambrosio



I've decided to work on a series of occaisional postings concerning my Beauty Icons, the women who look so a..maz..ing that they inspire me to try and improve my own look.

I already do an occaisional series of posts titled 'Loving Her Style', which are all about celebrities where I really like the way they dress and want to try and emulate it (see my posts on Zooey Deschanel, Mollie King, Lana Del Rey and Millie Mackintosh). But that's about clothes, and styling. And there's a whole group of women who's looks I love, but whose dress sense doesn't quite set my world alight, so that's what these postings are about.

First up, the magnetising Victoria's Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio. Now, this lady has been on my radar for a while, but I never found her the most beautiful VS girl. And I actually still think Candice Swanepoel is the most stunning Angel VS has. But just lately, something about Alessandra has been really captivating my attention. I don't love the way she dresses (let's face it, she's more known for wearing bikinis than actual clothes and the pics I can find of her 'off duty' style show she's very bohemian, which I hate. Anything that looks as if it could smell of incense and patchouli skeeves me out!). But I do love her looks and her makeup.

Specifically, it was this Daily Mail picture of her dressed up as a 'sexy dictator' for Halloween:


Wow, just wow. And then I found myself trying to find out her beauty secrets, using her picture as a motivation to get my butt out of bed for morning gym sessions and avoiding cake! I think what I like about her most is that we have similar colouring, so I'm figuring a lot of her tips and tricks will suit me (although I couldn't hope to look as good!). Also, her look is really sultry, even slightly 'bitch face' which seems to be the type of beauty I admire most!

The Elements of her Look


 


  • Bronzed Skin - a key element of Alessandra's beauty style is her golden, sunkissed skin (which I guess is a must when you model undies for a living!). She has said that she prefers a natural tan and leads an outdoors life. But when you live in Blightly, where sunshine is rationed, you are going to need to fake it. I actually don't use fake tan, never have done, but I favour Garnier Summerbody Lotion in the winter to give a hint of a glow.
  • Shimmer Skin Makeup - for all those shoots and appearances, Alessandra states they make her body up with a shimmer lotion to enhance her tan. I recommend Pretty Polly Love Legs, to give your skin a similar polished sheen.
  • Shimmer Bronzer - Shimmery, bronzed cheeks are Alessandra's M.O. The best product for this is Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, which allow you to blend different shades to get a multi-dimensional finish.
  • Shimmery Brown Smoky Eyes - Alessandra is queen of a more subtle style of smoky eye, where she shies away from black and uses deep browns to really give her eyes a smoulder that's actually very wearable. The shimmering chocolate brown and bronze shades in the Au Naturel eye palette from Sleek will give you this look.
Other Tips from Alessandra:
  • Drink coconut water to stay hydrated and promote a healthy complexion
  • Preparation H cream under the eyes can help with severe bags
  • The most important part of any beauty look is building the right foundation- this means regular exersize, staying hydrated and looking after your skin, nails and hair all the time. This will make anything you do on top look a 1000 times better! Attention to detail is everything!
  • Body scrubs are your best friend for when you plan to have a lot of skin on show
  • Get those big, flowing beachy waves by using a lightweight, volumising mousse on hair and then a large barelled curling wand. I just purchased the Diva Big Waves, a fabulous tool that either adds deep waves or lock the barrel together for a massive curl! I'll be doing a full posting on this soon.

There is this video where she explains her favourite products, courtesy of Modelinia.

This post from Talking Makeup shows a complete show look for Alessandra, done by make-up artist Polly Osmond, but using all VS products, here.

I love her hair colour-its a bit darker than my current colour, but still has a subtle golden sheen- how does she do that without her hair going lighter and lighter each time?

Who's beauty look do you love?
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Monday, 29 October 2012

Review: Rodial BB Venom Eye

Concealer is a big deal to me, cosmetically. Mainly because my under eye area is an absolute battleground of fine lines, dark circles and morning puffiness that I really struggle with.

Unfortunately, its genetic and without surgery (which I’m not brave enough for!), there’s only so much you can do in the name of damage limitation. I know its better when I’m well rested and hydrated, but its always a concern of mine and I’m still searching for the holy grail of concealers to help me out.

I’ve never found one I loved enough to stick with so far, although I was pretty impressed with MeMeMe Correct & Perfect Concealer, which I’ve reviewed here.

So when I read about Rodial BB Venom Eye, I was very intrigued and keen to try some. This concealer launched on 19th August, at first exclusive to Harrods, but its now available from www.rodial.co.uk. A big set back, to me, is the price. Now I certainly don’t mind paying for a quality product, but at £29 for 6ml (plus a postage charge if you don’t happen to live in London near Harrods), it is really at the top end of what I’d pay for a concealer -and certainly for a product I’d never tried before and couldn’t test before ordering, I thought it was asking a lot.

So, I did my usual trick and hopped onto eBay to see what I could find. There was only one on there, as you might expect for a new product, but people must have heard something good about it, because I did get into a bidding war. In the end I won, and I paid £22.

I have seen Rodial products featured in various magazines, but I haven’t tried anything from their range before- mainly because there aren’t any stockists where I live, and I don’t like to order cosmetics online if I’ve never tried them before. Knowing the right shade is important and its not like you can return things you don’t like! Rodial do mainly quite high-end skincare products, but have just branched tentatively into cosmetics, with a BB cream, concealer and a couple of lipstick shades.

And what’s so special about this product anyway? Well, Rodial state it contains:

•    Di-Peptide ‘SYN-AKE’ complex to target crow’s feet
•    Hyaluronic acid to plump and intensively hydrate the skin
•    Ronasphere LDP to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles
•    Light-reflective particles to immediately brighten the under eye area
•    Contains SPF

Before- no make-up at all!

After- using the Rodial BB Venom Eye

Effectively, it’s a skincare product with long term benefits as well as a concealer, which could well warrant the price tag if it’s good at both functions.

It’s currently only available in two shades: ‘Aspen’ and ‘Malibu’, with ‘Malibu’ being the darker of the two. Normally, as an NW20 this is what I’d go for, but the one I found on eBay was the lighter shade. I was a bit worried it wouldn’t suit me at all, but actually it works absolutely fine and doesn’t look bad.

The 6ml of product comes in what looks almost like a lip gloss packaging, with a doe foot applicator. It’s a very light, fluid consistency but despite this it gives a nice level of coverage, and as you’d hope, it doesn’t settle into the lines around your eyes. I blended it in with my fingertips as I actually believe that this gives a better finish on the under eye area than using a concealer brush.

The product is very long lasting, which is a big plus point in its favour- it did a full day at work without needing a touch up, but the packaging makes it quite portable if you did want to carry it with you.

The long term skin benefits will only be visible over time of course, so I can’t really comment on the cumulative effects, but based on the immediate results-I’m in love! I felt it dealt with my puffiness and discolouration an absolute treat.

Overall? This is seriously a new must-have for me and I feel like I’ve finally found an under eye concealer I’m happy to stick with for a while. My hope is that it really does have some good long-term positive skincare  effects and also that a little goes a long way. It will be interesting to see how long the tube lasts, because that really determines if I will buy this long-term. In my honest opinion, it could do with being £10 cheaper, in which case it would really be worth the money (and paying for postage on it, which always annoys me a little bit on small items).

If you have nightmares with your under eyes and you’ve exhausted a lot of different products without seeing the results you long for, I’d seriously recommend giving this one a go if you have the cash, it could be just what you’re looking for!

Do you know any wonder products for problem bags and circles? If so, share them below!
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Sunday, 28 October 2012

TAG: Why Do You Wear Makeup?!

Posing in full war paint!
I can't resist a good tag post about beauty! Of course, it is rather a lazy way of ensuring that there's something to write about, but it can also give a lovely insight into the lives of those whose blogs we adore!

I've just stumbled across and started to follow the great site run by Sarah called Ohh So Glam!, which I love already. It's exactly my kind of read. I love it when you find a new favourite blog, because there's hours of fun to be had going through all the posts you missed! She'd posted a tag post recently, and it's only short, so I decided to have a go at filling it in!



When did you begin to love makeup?

I've seen lots of pictures of me when I was little, smeared in lipstick and blusher where I've clearly raided my mum's dressing table, so I'd have to say ever since I could toddle really! A lot of girls who love make-up have similar stories, so I really think its something that is quite often passed down from your mum. Among my friends that don't wear a lot of make-up, their mothers usually didn't either. But my mother is a total beauty junkie and she's probably the reason for a lot of my obsession with the stuff.


As a former professional dancer, my mum knew some really great cosmetic tricks, and could make herself look fabulous with powder and paint, which always fascinated me. I clearly remember her sitting me down and putting some kohl pencil on me for the first time for a school disco, and how mesmerised I was with the effect. I love my mum but we haven't always had the best relationship, and we now live miles apart so I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. But make-up is still something that brings us together.

She came up to visit last weekend and on the first evening, we had our make-up bags out to show each other our new buys! We're both always looking for exciting new products, and although our tastes are a bit different, we usually want to try a lot of the same things!

How do you feel without makeup?

Not very happy. I will go without if I'm popping to the gym before work or it's Sunday and I'm washing all my brushes or something, but I'm generally not happy about being seen in public without anything at all. That said, I certainly don't think women should feel pressure to wear cosmetics, which I explore in my 'Morningface' post, here. A lot is said about 'being the real you', but I always say that the real me wears eyeliner. I feel a lot more confident and free to be myself when I know my make-up is in place. Beauty is a pleasure to me, not a chore, and I really enjoy the time I spend making up each day.

What do you like about makeup?

The way it can transform your entire look, the confidence it gives me, and the 'me time' I get while putting it on! I love discovering new products and talking about them with people. I'm massively into self-improvement, both internal and external, and I love to witness the change from scruffy to glamorous! I've written a post in the past about Why I Love Make-Up, here.

Three 'Holy Grail' items?

Three? Three?!?! That's absolutely brutal. I'm just finishing a post on my 25 Can't Live Without Products, let alone three!! But if I really, really had to choose...

Vaseline Lip Therapy Rose and Almond Oil
I just can't live without this pink-tinted pot of wonder, especially since I discovered using it on my cheeks. There's no way I'd ever be without this!

Mac Fluidline
I'm massively into eyeliner, and I wouldn't feel like me without a quick slick of my favourite. I would really rather go without foundation than without eyeliner!

L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic mascara
My holy grail mascara, I love this product. As it was one of the first to advertise without false lashes, I was intrigued when it came out, and I've loved it ever since for the impact and definition it gives. It's been able to take the place of Lancome Fatale, which I was obsessed with and then they bloody discontinued (replacing it with something that was supposed to be better, and was significantly worse!). What I like most about both of these mascaras was that they have solid comb brushes that pick up a big reservoir of product for dramatic, but still separated lashes.

Please feel free to take this TAG and pass it on, and if you do answer it, post a link to your blog below, I'd be really interested to see what you think!
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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

October Beauty Haul: Chanel, L'Oreal Professionel,Balmi, Vaseline Limited Editions


A look using my new products- Chanel Lift Lumiere, L'Oreal Professionel Mythic Oi, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 'Rebelle'!
Hey Dollfaces

On Saturday, I popped into town to keep my appointment for HD Brows, and when I came out of the salon, I 'somehow' ended up veering into Boots and then John Lewis and making some beauty purchases (now how did that happen?).

I was quite excited because the Mr and I were going to see the Northern Ballet & Sinfonia perform Madame Butterfly. What a production! It was amazingly staged, really dramatic, and the dancing was spellbinding and so emotional. We both really loved it- we are getting seriously cultural in our old age!

Anyway, onto the shopping.

Vaseline Lip Therapy Limited Edition Pink Bubbly (£3.49), Boots


It's incredibly sad, but part of the whole reason I went into Boots in the first place was to hunt down this limited edition Pink Bubbly Vaseline. Tragic, I know, but y'all know how I feel about Vaseline. I worship it. Its my multi-tasking tin of wonder that soothes my chapped lips and glosses them, grows my eyelashes, highlights my cheekbones, softens my cuticles and...yeah...its one of those things I couldn't live without, pretty much. So when I saw they'd combined this wonder with champagne (also one of my favourite things) I was desperate to get my paws on some. At first, it was exclusive to Selfridges, which was sort of annoying. And I had a look on eBay where they were changing hands for a rather ridiculous £8 a tin (as if!!). But then, I saw a Boots magazine ad featuring the product, and my heart leapt. I raced there a week or so ago, only to emerge disappointed. But this time it seemed as though they'd gotten their act together, and there was a big stand promoting it.

I fully intended to buy two, anyway but then I saw it was on three for two, so I figured....why the hell not. Enriched with champagne grape extract and with a soft pink hue, this stuff is just perfect with a lovely, fruity scent. And my little stock should keep me going for quite some time....

 

Balmi Mint Lip Balm (£4.99)


Ok, I know what you're thinking. I've just bought a lifetime supply of Vaseline, why in the hell would I need more lip balm? Well, I am the type of girl that likes variety. Also, at any given moment, I will usually be carrying upwards of 5 lip products on me- because that's just how I roll. And anyway, I have been wanting one of these since seeing them on every YouTube beauty video ever (although I've since realised that most of what I was were EOS lip balms, which are very similar...) This is a cute little sphere that unscrews to reveal a ball of lipbalm inside, that you can attach to your keychain. I only picked Mint because I liked the colour of the ball, but there was also Raspberry and Coconut. I must say Boots is really coming on leaps and bounds in terms of stocking all these niche beauty products- they really have their finger on the pulse lately with unusual cosmetics and all the French pharmacy skincare brands, its brilliant. This balm is really creamy and pleasant and sorts out my winter-sore lips a treat- and I'd repurchase just for the cute factor! It contains Vitamin E, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil, SPF 15 and a 'cooling action' which is lovely. All in all I managed to spend £11.41 just on lipbalm, which I think constitutes a serious addiction.

Chanel Lift Lumiere Firming and Smoothing Fluid Makeup SPF15 (£32.00)


For a while now, I've been wanting to treat myself to a 'serious' foundation from a big-hitter brand, and now I finally got around to it. I don't tend to wear foundation every day, just BB cream and a mineral powder, so what I was looking for here was a full-coverage foundation for nights out that still had somewhat of a natural look, but really delivered that flawless finish. And I think I may have found my perfect match! I think I'll do a proper review post on this product, because it deserves it. The lady at the Chanel counter in John Lewis was amazing, really nice and took lots of time with me, but not at all pushy. And I appreciate that, having worked on a few cosmetics counters myself and knowing that the sales pressure is on! I felt like a proper customer, not just a number. I think it worked better in John Lewis as their beauty department has less footfall than Boots, so they made me feel very welcome and took lots of time to find out what I was looking for and matching the shade very carefully.

The lady explained that although this is an anti-aging foundation, its higher coverage so it fitted more what I was looking for than the others. I told her anti-aging is absolutely fine by me! It also has a very hygenic pump which I like as it makes sure you get all the product out and keeps it bacteria-free.

This product is perfection. It feels so luxurious, lightweight and silky on the skin, but it gives a beautiful coverage with a velvet finish that's luminous without being greasy. It contains 'LiftOptic' complex to help diffuse fine lines, and a lifting polymer. Also, Camellia Oil to nourish and moisturise. A truly beautiful product that proves that, unfortunately, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to foundation. It's a bit too dear for me to be using it every day, but I am in love with this foundation and I will be using for my nights out!

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 'Rebelle' (£24.00)


Another thing I've really been lusting after is a proper, old school red lipstick. I personally think red lipstick can be quite intimidating. There's something very powerful and grown-up about it that a part of me really struggles with, even though I'm a certified, mortgage-paying, working grown-up myself. And it's difficult to pick a shade that really suits you as well. Luckily, the lady at the Chanel counter was really patient and tried some different shades on me. She really favoured one called 'Gabrielle' from a different line, but it was a very strong, dramatic red and it sort of made me nervous! However, when she tried this one on me, something just clicked. It felt right.  Chanel say: "ROUGE COCO SHINE Hydrating Sheer Lipshine provides lasting moisturizing shine in a water-light texture. The formula glides on for easy application, and a unique HYDRATENDRE complex hydrates and softens lips, giving them a healthier and fuller appearance. Available in a complete range of shades, from delicate beiges to dazzling berries, with a hint of shimmer to enhance a glossy finish."
The slightly more orangey tone felt more youthful and wearable to me. And the demi-gloss finish is a lot more in my comfort zone as it sheers the red out a lot. And now I've discovered the right red for me, I'm addicted! I thought it would be my night-time, winter season look but I've found myself wearing this during the day too. And again, as you'd expect from Chanel, this product just feels so good. Its so smooth and light on the lips, its like a balm. My new love!

L'Oreal Professionel Mythic Oil (£11.95)

I've found a new favourite, can't-live-without hair product. Having wanted to Try a hair oil for some time, this has really blown me away. I must admit that, once again, it was the pretty packaging that drew me into this one (predictable, I know!). But this product is not just a pretty face and really delivers. I did previously buy a bottle of organic Argan oil to use on my hair, and I have to say, I wasn't impressed at all. A little had no noticeable effect, a lot made my hair look stringy and greasy, so clearly you need to buy an oil that's specially formulated for use on your locks. Mythic Oil is a whole different experience. It's a special blend of avocado and grapeseed oil, and its really lightweight, so it won't make your hair lank. In fact, its pretty much a magic elixir for my frazzled, stressed out, overprocessed, colour-treated, heat-damaged nightmare hair! It does what no deep conditioner has properly done for me and made my hair feel beautifully silky and even shiny (my hair hasn't been shiny for many a year!), without losing any of the volume or freshness from washing. I put a little bit in when my hair was still damp and then a smidge more after drying and styling as a finishing touch. Wowzer. I love this! It also makes your hair smell gorgeous, as an added bonus. I can't believe how well this has worked out for me. Mythic Oil also has a range of shampoos and other products (available here), which I might well try!

And that's my little haul for now, although I'm also hitting the shops next week, so look out for more product updates!
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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Review: My HD Brows Experience

Image courtesy of HD Brows
Eyebrows are one of the things I totally obsess about, because they really can make or break the way your entire face looks. A good eyebrow shape can totally frame your face and in some cases, be as good as a facelift for freshening up your look.

Celebrities have long been aware of the power of a good eyebrow, and I've often wondered what magical process they undergo as soon as they hit the bigtime that seems to transform their eyebrows (along with their teeth, hair,style etc) to give their looks that extra touch of stardust.

And yet funnily enough, I had never heard of HD Brows until last week. Quite how this phenomenom bypassed such a beauty junkie as myself, I will never know. In fact, I feel a bit betrayed by Vogue, InStyle, Grazia etc for never seeming to mention it. I found out by chance when I was telling a colleague about my eyebrow obsession, and they mentioned it. Then when I googled it...wow...I fell in love with those images of perfectly defined arches. I had to get some of this HD action for myself! I literally phoned up the salon the same day and got an appointment for the next weekend!

Introducing HD Brows


So, what are HD Brows? Well, they are a specific brow-shaping technique (and a big range of branded products) involving seven separate steps, that can only be performed by an accredited professional therapist. There doesn't tend to be that many practitioners, but most big cities are now catching on. Luckily, I knew of NKD, a specialist waxing boutique based in Nottingham with a very good reputation, that has just branched into lashes and brows.

They provided a great service, booking me in easily. You pop in for a patch test at least 24 hours before the appointment, to make sure you aren't allergic to the dye used. When I arrived, I filled in a 'new customer' form to make sure I wasn't going to drop dead at any point in the process, and I also had a chance to look through a book they had from HD which showed some of the products, some celebrity testimonials ( "From Hollyoaks to Hollywood!", the book proudly boasted), and some before and after pictures that got me really excited as they all looked amazing! The magical transformation then takes place in the seven aforementioned steps:


Preparation and Assessment

Your beauty therapist will work out a shape that suits your face, consult with you on the type of brow you're hoping to achieve, what shade will suit your hair and skin colour etc

Tinting

This is the step that requires the patch test- your brows are tinted using a coloured dye to the correct shade. This can darken or lighten the brows, and help to create a stronger shape by helping to get rid of any sparse areas.

Waxing

This takes care of the major hair removal in one easy swoop.

Trimming

Any denser or longer hair is trimmed to keep brows a very neat, uniform length

Threading

Threading then creates a very sharp, defined look, and takes care of those wispy baby hairs that grow above the arch

Tweezing

To finish off  the shaping process by hand and take care of any stray hairs

Completion

The experience is completed with the application of products and some advice on how best to maintain your new brow look.


I'm extremely fussy with my brows. I have never had them professionally shaped, although I have thought about it many times. I've always been too scared that they'd make a mess of it and I'd be stuck with odd, skinny brows that weren't to my liking, or thick, darkly dyed ones. Either would be a complete horror show. So I've relied on my own efforts with the tweezers, a good brow mascara, and a brown powder shadow applied with an angled brush for them to look half-decent. So I was excited but a little nervous to have them re-done.

I was hoping for more defination, a slightly higher and more defined arch, and just a more groomed overall appearance and....ta-dah!!
My new brows, courtesy of NKD Nottingham

 The Experience at NKD


I want to say that, overall, I am so happy with the way my brows turned out. I think the therapist did a great job of creating a cleaner, more defined shape that still suited my face.

Before, and after,the finished effect!
Side angle



However, the process could have been improved slightly. I thought the advice/consultation aspect was a bit lacking. She did ask me (breifly) what I was hoping for, but she didn't explain much about what could be achieved, about my existing brow shape and challenges, or any of the 'science' about it, which, as a beauty junkie, I would have been really interested in. When I called up I was told the appointment lasted an hour, but it only took 40 minutes and I can't help thinking that's because the much-vaunted 'consultation' element was missing here.

Similarly, she didn't discuss much in the way of maintenance with me, only saying that I should continue to fill in my brows with the powder I use to fill in the sparse areas, and that it should last 5-6 weeks before I needed to come back in.

However, treatment was quick and-importantly-not painful! I was a bit apprehensive about the threading (I've heard stories varying from 'didn't hurt at all' to 'surprisingly painful' from friends, and I'm a total wuss for pain). I found it a bit of a odd sensation- a bit like a serrated bread knife was cutting at the tops of my brows, but it wasn't too bad and I loved the really clean finish it gave to my brows. In fact, I'm a total convert to threading as a process.

After the hair removal, the therapist used a mineral powder to conceal any redness or irritation, and used what I assume must have been the HD Brow palette to fill my brows in and give the complete look straight away. This really gave a great effect and it would mean that if you were getting ready to go out, you'd be ready to go right away, which I liked. It also gave far more of a transformed look.

I know HD Brows also have a big range of products, from powder palettes to growth serums, but I don't know if NKD just don't sell them, because they weren't discussed with me at all. I did hear them say on the phone when I was booking in that one of therapists would be 'gone by then', so I don't know if a more experienced therapist had left, which would explain why the consultation element was slightly lacking- but that's literally my only reservation, the rest of the treatment and the overall look is great.

I was quite wowed by how good the brows looked -  and in fact, I visited a beauty counter afterwards to pick up a new lipstick and they actually commented on how nice my brows looked without me saying anything, which was a boost.

I paid £35 for my initial appointment, which I would say is fair considering the amount of different procedures that went into creating my 'brow look'. NKD then offer 10% off if you return within 6 weeks and a loyalty card that means every 10th treatment is free, which is pretty good.

The salon is really nice and well-designed, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back there (I'm already thinking about eyelash extensions there for the Christmas party season).


Although it would be fairly easy to maintain the look yourself at home once the inital treatment has established a shape, for you, I would definately return to the pros. And if you haven't tried HD Brows, I would urge you to make the small investment and look into it, because it really does change your face for the better!

And finally...be inspired by these amazing celebrity brow transformations!



Cheryl Cole: from council estate princess to the nation's sweetheart
Megan Fox is an arched icon
Liz Hurley: used to be seriously caterpillar browed
Cher Lloyd, looking frankly bat-shit crazy before her brow transformation, and groomed & gorgeous afterwards
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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Review: L'Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream

I wanted to do a little review of a new (ish) product that has come into my life that I'm totally loving. Its been out for a while, but it hasn't really caused much of splash in the beauty blogging world, and I think that's because of the misleading name that they've given it. But its underrated and I wanted to show it a little love!

It's called Nude Magique BB Cream, by L'Oreal, which I think is the first mistake. It seems that every company is jumping on the BB Cream bandwagon these days, rushing to get a buzzword product on the market without really stopping consider what a BB cream really is, and if their product qualifies.

To my mind, a BB Cream should be a light foundation with lots of skin-loving goodies crammed into it. This product is neither. A better name for it would be what they have chosen to use as a subtitle: the 'Bare Skin Beautifier'. This would be a much more appropriate moniker, because its a lot closer to describing that the product actually does.

The package goes on to explain the product 'mimics the texture and tone of bare perfect skin' and promises '24hr hydration & SPF12'. And that, in a nutshell, is what makes this product so brilliant. It doesn't look anything like a foundation on, but somehow, it just delivers smooth, soft, glowing skin. The cream is made with 'smart pigment capsules', which comes out of the tube as a white cream with small lilac spheres that feel a little gritty. But as you massage it in, it adapts to your own skin tone, providing a seamless match (and it really was seamless on me!). My skintone is a sort of medium beige (NW20) and I realised when I got home that I had picked up the version for 'light skin tone' (there is a medium one too) but it didn't seem to matter at all.

L'Oreal claim that this product delivers:
  •  Flawless coverage
  • Perfectly even skin texture
  • Fresh dewy glow
  • 24hr hydration
  • Protects with SPF12
While I wouldn't describe my skin after as 'flawless' (lines and dark circles still very visible), it was a massive improvement without looking in any way as if I was wearing a foundation. I also did think it made my skin glow.

What I love about this cream is how smooth and even my skin looks after application. It will never replace a foundation- it's not meant to- but its perfection for those times when you just want to run to the corner shop without putting make-up on, or if you're going to the gym first-thing and you really can't face leaving the house without a little something. It fills that gap in my cosmetic secret weapons and for that reason I love it to pieces. I've also found something else- it makes a cracking primer as well. It leaves a really great base that make-up clings to.



Before applying

After using the cream
In short, this cream really is a 'bare skin beautifier' that is perfect for those times where even a light foundation is too much and you just want to look a bit more rested. Combine it with a wonder concealer and some Nanoblur and you really have a viable alternative to full make-up. A true unsung hero of the beauty counters!
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