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Monthly Favourites: July 2011

Time to reveal my favourite products for July 2011! There's quite a bunch so let's get right into it!

First up are my new skin care products from La Roche Posay and Roberts Rose Water. I have been using these for a month and my skin has greatly improved both in terms of texture and appearance. I still get a couple of zits as part of Mother Nature's monthly gift but I noticed that the break-outs are not that severe. Moreover, the moisturizer is ace at keeping oil at bay and my skin matte all day through!

As a result of using the new skin care products, my skin has been behaving quite well this month and so there wasn't much need for heavy coverage and all.  Besides, who would want melting foundation in summer?  So, I was constantly using the Sheer e.l.f. Mineral Booster and apply it with the e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush.  On my face, I have also been using the e.l.f. Studio Warm Bronzer for a subtle summer glow.

On my eyes, I have been using the Wet n Wild Brulee single eyeshadow every single time I apply eye make-up cos it's such a versatile shade!  As for mascara, I have been liking this mascara from a brand called Pretty Wild.  I have never heard of this brand before but as soon as my neighbour gave me this mascara I was in love with the pink and purple leopard print.  It has a small brush and makes for a good everyday mascara.

This month, I have a handful of lip products including the new e.l.f. Studio Matte Lip Colors in Coral, Natural and Tea Rose.  I have really been enjoying these against bright eye make-up as well as with neutral everyday looks.  I have also been wearing the H&M lipgloss in Queen of Peach, the Napoleon Perdis Protege lipgloss and the e.l.f. Mineral Lipstick in Rosy Tan.

Finally, I have been loving the look of crackle polish on my nails with the Broken Hearted Crackleglaze from China Glaze and the Apricot and Vanilla perfume from Bath and Body Works has been pretty much my go-to scent all throughout this month!

That's it for my favourites ladies! What have you been enjoying this month?

NOTW:Basic French Manicure with Retro Polka Dot Gradient

Last week, I reviewed the Born Pretty Store M60 Image Plate and the design I used was the gradient dots one and this is what I came up with:

The inspiration behind this design were actually some new nail polishes that I got lately and haven't had a chance to use yet and since the dots seem to be decreasing in size as they go further down, I though I would do a gradient colour scheme.  It is a very easy design to re-create and it has also sparked again my interest in stamping :)

1. Prep nails with a clear base coat and apply a sheer white nail polish to the tips to create your basic French Manicure.  I applied two coats of nee Make Up white nail polish no. 311.
2. Next, with a colour (or more) of your choice, stamp the dots design from the M60 image plate.  I used e.l.f. Purple Dream, e.l.f. Teal Blue and essence colour & go in Let's Get Lost.

3. Go over any dots that need to look darker with a small dotting tool and the respective polish and leave to dry.

4. Apply a top coat and you're done!

Updated Skin Care Routine

Hello lovelies :) I hope you're all doing well! Today, I am going to explain the changes I made with regards skin care products I have been using.  As you probably now, I was using the Nivea Visage range but these days, it just wasn't cutting it for me so I switched some products with which I am getting better results already (reviews to follow soon).  As for how frequently I apply a face masque and the routine I follow, I haven't changed that so you can check out this post and here are some tips to help your skin look and stay clear.

Basically, I only kept the same facial scrub (as most of them have the same ingredients and do the same things) as well as the eye contour gel and face masques (they work very well still).  I changed my cleanser and moisturizer to ones by La Roche Posay from their Effaclar range which is suited for oily/combination skin prone to imperfections.  I also have a Targeted Breakout Corrector from the same range which I still use to date.  With regards the Eye Make-up Remover, I am still going through the Nivea one but afterwards I will keep the bottle and do my own natural eye make-up remover.

As toner, I switched to Rose Water which is a very welcome refreshing treat for my skin especially in the hot summer months and it is also very soothing in winter (review coming up soon).

So this is basically my updated skin care routine ladies.  Have you used any of the products mentioned or do you have different products?  Stay tuned for my new skin care products reviews real soon!

Mid-Week Beauty Masterclass: Corrective Make-up {Part II - Nose}

Hello my lovelies I hope you're all doing well :) Catching on from last week's post, today we will be having a look at different nose shapes and how to correct them to achieve that balance between facial features.  So let's have a look at the different nose shapes and what can be done to correct them with make-up:

1. Wide nose: apply shader to the sides to make it appear slimmer.  Alternatively, you can apply foundation that is darker than your skin colour to the sides of the nose. Start by applying it from the inner corners of the eyebrows and head downwards to the nostrils and cover the bridge of the nose with a lighter shade of foundation. Finish it off with applying transparent powder to the nose.

2. Long nose: apply shader to the tips and highlighter to the sides to give the illusion of a smaller nose.

3. Short nose: to add length to a short nose, highlight down the centre of the nose to the tip. 

4. Narrow nose: Apply concealer darker than skin color on the center of nose, and then cover the side of the nose with another concealer that is few shades lighter than the skin tone. Spread it with downward strokes towards nostrils to create width.

5. Naso-labial folds: are deep creases which run from the base of the nose (near the sides of the nostrils) down to the corners of the mouth and very prominent in heavy-smokers.  To diminish their appearance, simply, apply a lighter shade of foundation with a fine brush and blend carefully.

That's it for correcting nose shapes ladies! Stay tuned for next week's post regarding Corrective Make-up for eyes!

NOTW: All Crackle'd Up!

Good morning dolls :) This week, I just used my China Glaze Broken Hearted Crackleglaze over a regular glitter polish so there's no real nail art tutorial.  However, there are some bonus crackle patterns that my bf came up with! So keep reading to see what I mean :)

Here are a couple of pictures of the mani I have been wearing:

As promised, here are the other crackle patterns:

L ~ R: Vertical, horizontal, diagonal and 'S'-shaped (my favourite)
Top photo is taken with flash and bottom photo is in sunlight
Background colour is essence colour & go in 55 Let's Get Lost

The story behind these:

When I got this crackle polish, my bf happened to be over at mine and he told me, to try and do horizontal and diagonal crackles instead of vertical and I tried it but with little success.  So, in turn, he suggested that I paint the polish as I intend to do the crackles; so if for example, I wanted diagonal crackles, I should paint the base colour in a diagonal fashion as well and so on and so forth.  This time, it worked and the above swatches were the result of this little experiment :)  Just remember to paint the base colour in the same direction you want the crackles to be and always remember that for crackle polish to work, the colour underneath has to be completely dry! A thin coat of crackle polish does the trick :) Have fun!

Gel Nails with Ice Mylar Flakes

This morning, I had the opportunity to use some Ice Mylar Flakes on my friend as she was due for a gel refill.  We kept the manicure quite simple looking with a Pearl White base (so the flake colours show more) and some light green and sky blue flakes scattered on the tip:

What do you think of this one ladies?

Review: Born Pretty Store Stamping Image Plate M60

Good morning all :) Today I am going to be reviewing one of the items that Kevin from kindly sent me to review.

For those who are not familiar with, it is an online shop based in China which sells very good quality nail art supplies as well as some make-up and more recently, they have also been selling the latest Asian cult product, circle lenses.  The prices are quite affordable and as you buy more of the same item in one order, the price decreases per article.  New products are uploaded on the site quite frequently as well and they also offer free shipping worldwide!

I was asked to choose a couple of products that I wanted and one of them was in fact this image plate.  I chose this one specifically for the bigger designs as I do not have any plates like that in my stamping plates collection.  This plate is a dupe for the Konad M60 but the designs are slightly smaller on this one I believe (for me this is a good thing as my nails are quite slim).  The design which intrigued me the most is the one at the top left of the plate but since my nails are long at the moment, I didn't try it out yet.  I think it looks better on shorter nails.

Shipping took a little bit over three weeks for the items to arrive but past orders I made on the site usually arrive within 1 or 2 weeks and dispatching of the orders usually occurs within 2 days of placing the order so I have never had any problems.

The image plate comes in a small plastic pouch and has a protective film on the designs which need to be peeled off for the image plate to be used.  The edge is quite sharp on the underside so I recommend that you file it smooth with an old nail file or some sand-paper.

The designs are really cute and you can create some awesome nail art with them.  Here's my take on it using the gradient dots design (tutorial to follow):

You will need to buy a stamper and scraper separately (if you don't already have one) from the site itself.  Overall, I really like this image plate and I will definitely be getting more from this site as they are much more affordable than the original Konad ones and they work just as great!

Have you ever tried anything from this online store ladies?

Review: Wet n Wild Coloricon Eyeshadow Single in Brulee

Hey dolls :) Haven't done a review in quite some time so I figured I will do a requested review on the Wet n Wild Coloricon Eyeshadow Single in Brulee.

I was looking for a dupe to my much loved Sugar Rush eyeshadow from the Cover Girl Cafe Au Lait Trio as I managed to shatter the remaining of it some time ago and once I saw this on Dyna's blog, I thought this could be what I'm looking for! 

So off I went on ebay and looked for this shade, payed around €3 for it and a week later it arrived in my mail intact!  Although it is slightly darker than the Cover Girl one, it is still a very close dupe and it is even better as a highlight colour as it is quite close to my skin tone.  This was even compared to MAC Brule but I don't have that so I can't really tell.

The packaging is nothing special as you can see in the pictures, but I really like the swirly motif embossed on the eyeshadow... too bad it won't last as soon as I get using up the product :(  The colour is a matte cream beige that blends easily and can be used both as a highlight and an all over colour.  I have been using this eyeshadow quite a lot lately because of its versatility.

The texture is somewhere between powdery and sort-of creamy like and it is a very nicely pigmented eyeshadow.  Here's a swatch:

Left: Flash; Right: direct sunlight, no flash

This happened to be my very first Wet n Wild product and based on my experience with it, I will definitely be purchasing more from this brand as soon as I get the opportunity to do so!

Have you ever tried any Wet n Wild products ladies? What are your views about them?

OOTN: Summer Peaches and Corals

Hello lovelies :) Here's the outfit I wore yesterday night :) The weather was quite nice with a little cool breeze which we welcomed with open hands to cool us down from the 30 - 40 degree Celcius temperatures we were having.  I haven't worn trousers in quite a while so this was the perfect occasion to get out a pair and don them :)

Top, Marks & Spencer
Trousers, Mango
Gladiator flats, Dorothy Perkins
Belt, vintage (belonged to my grandma)
Earrings, Tenda
Gold bangles, Peacocks
Shoes charm bracelet, ell's (local accessories store)

As for make-up, I kept the look neutral as I have been doing these days but I included a hit of a peachy eyeshadow as well:

essence stay natural concealer in 01 Soft Beige
e.l.f. Mineral Booster in Sheer
e.l.f. Studio Warm Bronzer
e.l.f. Studio Blush in Candid Coral

e.l.f. Eyelid Primer
Wet n Wild Coloricon eyeshadow in Brulee
Cover Girl Double Espresso
No7 Stay Perfect eyeshadow in 50 Tender
Pretty Wild High Impact Mascara in Ultra Black
Estee Lauder Eye Defining Pencil in Deep Brown
e.l.f. All Over Colour Stick in Persimmon

e.l.f. Mineral Lipstick in Rosy Tan
Napoleon Perdis Protege Lipgloss

Elves through the mailbox!

Yeah, you guessed it! Another elf cosmetics haul :D The postie just delivered my order a few minutes ago and as usual, everything was in perfect condition! Thumbs up for the elf team! I'll leave you to the pictures to see what I got :)

Nail polishes in Teal Blue & Purple Dream
Studio Matte Lip Colors in Tea Rose, Coral & Natural
Duo Eyeshadow Cream in Blueberry

Teal Blue & Purple Dream nail polishes 

Matte Lip Colors (l - r): Tea Rose, Coral & Natural
Duo Eyeshadow Cream in Blueberry

So that's it! I'm really happy with all that I got especially the Matte Lip Colors. The only one I didn't get is Praline which is more of a darker brown colour. 

You can get your fix of elf cosmetics from their website by clicking here and don't forget to like their facebook page for exclusive codes and giveaways!

Mid-Week Beauty Masterclass: Corrective Make-up {Part I - Face}

Good morning cupcakes :) I hope this post finds you all in good health :)  Today, we shall be dealing with the different corrective make-up techniques that are best to minimize the attention on certain parts of our faces and emphasize our best features to the max.  Covering blemishes and disguising prominent features is also considered as corrective make-up.  I had already done a post about how you can correct the shape of your lips (which you can have a look at here) so today, I am going to discuss different face shapes and common flaws.  The next two posts with regards corrective make-up, will deal nose shapes and eye shapes respectively so look out for them :)

What shape is your face?

How many times have you been asked this question and you are not so sure about how to answer it?  I found this flowchart off the internet which seems quite helpful in determining what shape your face is and I have also included another picture which shows celebrity faces and their face shape is written underneath as I think seeing a 'real' face would help our understanding better on this subject.  Pull you hair back ladies, stand in front of a mirror and answer the questions on the flowchart to determine your face shape!

Next, identify any flaws you might have such as generalized skin redness (apply a green tinged concealer prior to applying foundation); sallow complexion (usually accompanies oily skin and is typical of Asian skin tones.  Use a purple tinted moisturizer/primer/concealer before applying your foundation); dark circles (use a lighter concealer to make the eyes appear brighter); puffy eyes (use a lighter shade of foundation in the crease under the puffy bag and a darker shade on the bags themselves to make them look smaller).

The most common face shapes are:

1. Round face: the cheeks are full and rounded so choose a darker shade of foundation than you normally would and apply it to the outer edges of the lower half of the face to achieve a slimmer face.  Apply highlight to the chin to give the impression of a longer face and balance it out.

2. Square face: faces with this shape, usually have a broad forehead and a squarish jaw-line.  Consequently shading the sides of the forehead and the jaw angles is essential to soften any harsh angles.  Highlighting the outer part of the cheekbones emphasizes the centre portion of the face.

3. Long face: shading the top half of the forehead as well as the chin is of utmost importance when dealing with a long face to make it look shorter.  Create some width by highlighting the cheeks.

4. Heart-shaped face: such a face shape is characterized by a wide forehead narrowing down to a point at the chin.  Thereby, width is needed at the cheeks and the jaw-line, which is easily achieved by applying blusher to the cheeks and highlighting the jaw angles.  Also, some shader may be applied to the chin.

What is your face shape ladies? How useful did you find this post? Liked it? Look out for the next two posts dealing with Corrective Make-Up!

My Hair Care Routine

I'm not much of a hair person, yet my hair has changed a lot over the years! I was born with almost no hair and today, it is almost half-way down my back in length; with changing lengths and styles, the products I use, changed as well.  My hair has always been very fine and thin so the products I look for are targeted towards this hair type.  Here are the products and tools I am currently using to care for and style my hair:

To wash my hair, I am currently using Tres Emme Healthy Volume Shampoo & Conditioner (front labels have come off the bottles).  I have been using these two together for the past six months and I am very pleased with the results so far... my hair is weightless (I have oily hair so usually after a couple of days, it is a mess) and it is more shiny and voluminous, something which people with fine hair like mine, know is a nightmare to achieve.

Once a month in winter and once every two weeks in summer, I treat my hair to a hydrating and nourishing mask.  I use Angel Professional Water Element Nourishing Cream.  I like to apply this before I wash my hair and leave it in for around 15 minutes and then I wash my hair as usual.  I do this because it is too thick to use as a conditioner and may be difficult to rinse out with just water (hence contributing to product build-up) whereas if I wash my hair with shampoo I would have removed all of it for sure.

With regards styling tools and products, I use the Philips Powerprotect Salon 2000 hairdryer and my pink New Look Mini Hair Straighteners.  I always spray on some Nioxin Bliss Thermal Protector to protect my hair from the damages of heat styling.  When I need my hair to hold a style for longer, say an upstyle, I would use this hair spray that I got at a local chain of £1 shops.  It has a very nice smell of strawberries and cream and does a great job of holding my hair in place for hours on end without causing dandruff or render my hair sticky.  Whenever I need a little bit more texture, I would then use Senscience Pliable Shine hair wax.

Lastly, for days at the beach, I always carry with me this bottle of Senscience Brilliant Defence which has a UV filter that protects my hair from the sun's rays and makes it look shiny as well.

That's it for my hair care routine ladies! Which products do you use to care for your hair?

Yesterday afternoon's outfit + make-up

Hello dolls! Yesterday I realised haven't done an outfit & make-up post in ages so here's one (these kind of posts were also requested in the giveaway comments, which you can enter for here).  The weather is really nice at this time of year in Malta and yesterday was no exception... it was sunny and terribly hot/humid so I opted for a pair of bright shorts I haven't worn yet, wavy hair and some summery make-up.  I'll leave you to the pictures :)  As usual, there will be a list of the products I used for my make-up at the end.

White cami, Bossini
Turquoise bubble shorts & bowling bag, Terranova
Shoes, Zara
Necklace, Peacocks
Bracelet, local market

essence stay natural concealer in 01 Soft Beige
e.l.f. Mineral Booster in Sheer
e.l.f. Studio Warm Bronzer
Rimmel Powder Blush in 004 Pink Rose

e.l.f. Eyelid Primer
Wet n Wild Coloricon eyeshadow in Brulee
NYX Jumbo Eyeliner Pencil in Milk
e.l.f. Everyday Brights 32 Piece palette (matte brown in crease & turquoise over the NYX pencil)
Rimmel Extra Super Lash Mascara in Black Black
Estee Lauder Eye Defining Pencil in Deep Brown
e.l.f. All Over Colour Stick in Persimmon

e.l.f. Therapeutic Conditioning Balm in Vanilla Creme
e.l.f. Mineral Lipstick in Rosy Tan
e.l.f. All Over Colour Stick in Persimmon
e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shine in Goddess

NOTW: Peachy Keen

Good morning cupcakes :) Here's how I've been wearing my nails this past week:

I wanted to try out my latest China Glaze polish, Sunset Sail and this was the mani I came up with.  Here's how you can do it yourself too!

1. Prep nails with a clear base coat and follow with two thin coats of a peach-coloured polished all over the entire nail bed.  I used China Glaze Sunset Sail.

2. With a coral-glitter polish (Maybelline Diamond Shine Into the Sunset), create a french tip on the nails you want to have the design on and extend it along the length of the nail, following its natural curve.

3. By means of a detailing brush and white polish, paint little 5-petalled flower at the corner of the nail as in the picture.  When dry, with the same brush and some orange coloured polish, put a little line in the middle of each flower.  For this step, I used essence colour and go in What Do U Think?

4. With a mint polish, draw two little leaves, one on each side of the flower.  Here I used e.l.f. Mint Cream.

5. Add a white pearl in the middle of the flower and top coat!