Tuesday, 4 December 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is...

    Most people would think a 23-year-old woman would be too old to still have a Christmas wish list.

    Not me.

    Being a student and all, times are hard. Especially living so far away from home, with no parents at my beck and call. Despite enjoying my time in the U.S., I don't have a part-time job here, so I can't justify spending a lot of money on things that I don't necessarily need.

    So, when I return home in 10 days time, I am expecting to be showered with gifts, (hint hint.) And of course, like every year, I expect I'll be bought some makeup items. 

    Last year, my lovely dad bought me some MAC makeup brushes, which are very expensive but made a very happy Zoe. If I remember correctly, he bought the wrong ones, so my mum sent him back to the shop to get the right ones. 

    Here's some items that I wouldn't mind finding in my stocking this year...

Soleil tan de Chanel - Bronzer
    I've read wonderful things about this gorgeous, albeit very expensive Chanel bronzer. I'm getting a tad tired of my Nars Laguna, so this would make a nice change.

Clinique quickliner intense
    I've already written a post about this Clinique eyeliner, but despite having had it for only a few months, I've used it so often that its nearly ran out. The colour is so pigmented, and its very durable.

Urban Decay - Naked Basics eyeshadow palette

    This is the third 'naked' palette from Urban Decay, and unlike the other two, the shadows in this palette are all completely matte, whereas the others contained more shimmery shades than matte. Having used the first naked palette daily for almost a year now, I'd love to try this new one, as they're the perfect shades for me.

    Are there any new must-have products out on the market that I should be aware on to stick on my list?!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Budget Beauty Buys in Dollar Tree

    The American store Dollar Tree is rapidly becoming one of my weekly go-to stores. It is the American equivalent of Poundland in Britain, and us Brits love a bargain, so naturally I was overjoyed when I first encountered Poundland's stateside counter-part.

    Dollar Tree works the same way as Poundland, every item in the store is one dollar, and whilst there are hoardes of things you wouldn't even buy your dog, once in a while you can come across some hidden gems. 

    Today I bought three items, and although they certainly aren't the most exciting beauty products I've ever purchased, (I go to MAC for that) I know I'll definitely get some use out of them.

NYC Loose Face Powder in Translucent

    Despite this colour being too light for me, if used in moderation and in the right places, it gives a nice glow to my skin and helps my makeup stay in place.

NYC Blushable Creme Stick in Urban Spice

    Another NYC product, this is a cream blush that blends really easily onto the skin. I've been using a Real Techniques buffing brush to apply this, as I think it adjusts better to the skin when used with a brush rather than fingers. The colour looks dark in the packaging, but if it's used sparingly, it contours the cheekbones very well, and adds a sllight shimmer.

How cute?! Tiny 7up bottle lip gloss
     Being a sucker for cute things in every shape and form, I couldn't resist this little lipgloss. It smells and tastes exactly like the drink, and although it doesn't have the best staying power, it gives the lips a nice moisturising sheen. Plus, the packaging is the main reason I bought it, it was just too adorable to pass up!

Swatches; from left to right - NYC blush, NYC loose powder and 7up lip gloss
Has anyone else ever found any great beauty bargains in Dollar Tree?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Ugly Truth of Tanning


     Now that summer is over and winter is rearing its chilly and sunless head, people all over the country will be opting to use tanning beds to recreate their summer glow.

    However, sun bed users need to be aware that indoor tanning causes over 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the U.S. every year, according to researchers at UC San Francisco.

    The study, conducted by medical students and professors, examined the danger of exposure to tanning beds during a person’s early life, amongst other hazards.

    Based upon data from three separate studies, using tanning beds before the age of 25 was strongly related to the development of squamous cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer that usually occurs on the upper body, for example hands, face and neck.

Different types of skin cancer
     In fact, researchers found that tanning bed users are 67 percent more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and a further 29 percent are likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

    Although these two types of cancers are non-malignant, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, they can grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body, such as internal organs and lymph nodes, where they can become fatal.

    Some local governments are jumping into the fray with legislation.

    Springfield, Illinois, is one of the latest cities to ban minors from using tanning beds. Owners of tanning beds that allow people under the age of 18 to use them will be fined up to $750, according to the State Journal Register.

    Many of these policies came into play after the media storm surrounding ‘Tanning Mom’ Patricia Krentcil. Krentcil was arrested and charged with second degree child endangerment when it was alleged she had been taking her 6-year-old daughter into tanning booths. 

'Tanning Mom' Patricia Krentcil and her daughter. Did she seriously not realise how ridiculous she looked?
   However, despite the renowned dangers and increased risk of developing cancer from tanning beds, according to an article in the New York Post, Krentcil insisted she is no different from any other mother, who enjoys simple life pleasures like nail polishing or food.

   And according to a report by the Skin Cancer Foundation, tanning has become an addiction to some people. The study cites that 70 percent of frequent UV tanners met criteria for UV light substance abuse, with many tanners missing events in order to tan instead. 

No-one wants to end up like this...

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Who Knew Clinique Could Be So Generous?

    During fall break, I went on a trip to Chicago with some friends. The shopping was fantastic, so we all went a bit crazy and spent a few too many dollars.

    I spotted a huge Topshop on Michigan Avenue, and with it being my most favourite shop ever, I spent about 3 hours trawling through the sale racks. I came out with some bits and pieces, which I'll cover in another post.

    Of course I couldn't resist the makeup in Macy's, and I ended up coming away with some lovely Clinique items and a fantastic free gift. (I actually bought the items just to get the gift, that's how good it is.)

     So here they are...
Clinique Superbalanced Powder in Matte Biege.
Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Intense Ebony.

    The reason I bought the Clinique items in the U.S. is because they are so much cheaper to buy than in the U.K. I'm definitely going to miss American prices when I leave!

     I've used the powder for years, it's great for when you're on the go and don't have a lot of time to do makeup. The packaging is lovely too, which always tends to cloud my judgement when buying things.

     I was recommended the eyeliner by a friend, and it's my favourite eyeliner so far. It has a creamy texture, so it glides on easily. I find that some eyeliners tend to be too dry and you can feel as though you're clawing your eyelid off when applying, but this one is smooth. It's also highly pigmented, and lasts for hours without running.

     Now for the good part...

My Clinique 'Bonus Gift'.

    The gift was definitely the deal-breaker for me. It contains a facial cleanser, moisturiser, mascara, lip gloss and a eyeshadow & blush palette. 

    The colours of the set are beautiful, deep plum for the lips and a burgundy and pale pink for the eyes. In my opinion, fall's perfect colours! The tones are so rich and warm, and fortunately suit all skin tones.

    All of these lovely little products came inside the pretty cosmetic bag, which has a separate, smaller matching bag. It's the perfect kit to take travelling, as it has all the essentials in beautiful packaging.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

What Makes up the Fall Beauty Trends?

This is an article I wrote for my reporting class about the fall makeup trends.

Oxblood Lips

      Berry-red lips and deep, smoky eyes have been widely touted as this fall’s must- have makeup colors. 
      Just as fashion usually mimics the typical autumn shades, the beauty world has done the same this year, with colors like oxblood, mulberry and dark greens taking center stage. 
     “Women are starting to change their coral and hot pink lipstick shades to a darker, vampy color,” said Tricia Wetherby, a sales associate for Makeup Art Cosmetics. “We’ve been more selling darker colored eye shadows and berry colored lipsticks now that summer is over.” 

We've moved on from the coral lip trend...
      Since the arrival of fall, the bolder, more luxurious colors have been the focus of attention for beauty enthusiasts. Smoky two-tone eyes and wine colored lips have dominated the catwalks recently, and in turn created a buzz at makeup counters like MAC, with girls and women alike hoping to recreate some of this season’s trends on their own. 
     The smoky eye has continued to evolve in tones of classic black, with accents of pine green and deep violet. 

MAC's Rebel Lipstick

      “All skin tones can wear them.” said Wetherby. “Not only can the colour be adjusted, but the texture too. There are many different shades of dark shadows that vary in texture, for instance matte or shimmer.”
      Many women have been coveting the deeper red lip colors in favor of the summer brights. A lot of women have been asking the MAC girls when its Marilyn Monroe collection, which includes many of fall’s dark hues, is available to buy. The collection, featuring an image of Monroe on the packaging is exclusive to MAC and is out Oct. 4. 
      “The collection features five different shades of red lipsticks,” Wetherby said. “It also includes some nail polishes in vampy colours like dark purple and navy.”

MAC's Marilyn Monroe Lipstick Collection

      However, not every woman who wears makeup identifies and follows these popular trends. “I follow some fashion trends, but I don’t take notice of beauty crazes,” said Sofi Lopez, a healthcare management senior at the University of Memphis. “I don’t like the very dark lipstick; I’d feel as though I was dressing up for Halloween.”
      And according to Wetherby, a lot of women she meets are inspired by what color lipstick she is wearing, or what texture shadow she is sporting on her eyes.
      “If we stay trendy, then they stay trendy.” Wetherby said. 
      The cosmetics industry posted sales of $36.5 billion dollars in 2010, according to Drug Store News, and this amount is gradually increasing every year with the emergence of ‘beauty gurus’ on YouTube and makeup blogs.

      These days makeup seems more popular and important to women, and not just because of the fashion crazes.
      “Makeup can change peoples’ lives,” Wetherby said. “Face and eye shapes can be transformed, that’s why it’s important to women.” 
      More women focus on the seasonal beauty trends they see in the multitude of magazines like Glamour, makeup counters and blogs, according to experts.
      For instance, Wetherby has seen a definite increase in the sale and interest of oxblood colored lipsticks called ‘Diva’ and ‘Rebel’ and with spring approaching in a few months, the makeup world has to be just as ahead of the seasonal trends as the fashion world does. 
     “Spring beauty will be very different to fall,” Wetherby said. “Expect pops of vibrant colours and dewy, healthy skin.”

Friday, 5 October 2012

MAC Launches a Marilyn Monroe Collection

    The new Marilyn Monroe collection for MAC has been one of the most highly anticipated collections that the brand has ever produced. 
    Marilyn Monroe is without doubt one of the biggest beauty icons the world has seen, many women attempt to emulate her hollywood glamour style still, so it was only a matter of time until MAC created this stunning range. 
    The 30 piece collection features eyeshadows, lipsticks, lashes and much more, in shades designed to channel your own blonde bombshell look. 
 MAC describes the range like this:
"Pure platinum Hollywood glamour. Channel the legend's luster & sex appeal in a colour collection distinctively Marilyn. It's everything you need to capture the MM look. Specially designed packaging features imagery from The Black Sitting. Limited Edition."
    The range hit the stores and online only yesterday but the MAC counter at Macy's at the Wolfchase Galleria mall in Memphis has sold out of the majority of the stock already. 
     Here's some pictures I took at the counter to get an idea of the packaging and shades. I especially love the peachy toned blush, the grey sparkly eyeshadow and the lipsticks.
    However, if you want to get your hands on this limited edition set, do it sooner rather than later as many of the products have sold out online too. 


  I was rummaging through the sale items in Urban Outfitters yesterday and came across this metallic gold nail polish at the bargain price of $0.99. I think it's a nice colour for Autumn and the quality is great. There were colours other than this gold one too.

Will anyone be buying any or indeed all of the MM range for MAC?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Organic Cosmetics With a Special Ingredient - Goat's Milk

    Two Saturdays ago I went to the Cooper-Young Festival in mid-town Memphis. There were over 400 vendors that afternoon, selling everything from paintings to jewellry. But of course, all I wanted to see were the cosmetics stands. When my friend Amanda told me that there was a stall selling cosmetics made from goat's milk and other 'good for you' ingredients, I knew I had to investigate. 
     At the Heavenly Essence Skin Care stand, I met Rich Lee, who was manning the stall for his wife Nancy who owns the business.  He showed me some of the products on offer which included soaps, body butters, shower gels, face masks and more. 
     After I'd man-handled just about everything he was selling, I settled on buying 3 soaps, one body butter and one face mask. Yes, that's all.
    I've tried and tested 3 out of the 5 products that I bought, so here's what I think of them;
Olive oil bar on the right, scrub bar to the left

 Olive Oil Facial Soap Bar

I was excited about using this soap, as Rich told me that it was specifically formulated for people that have combination skin, that is prone to spots, like mine. He told me it was dermatologist tested and that he recommends it to his patients. I haven't been using it long enough to tell if it's actually done my skin any favours, but it smells gorgeous and my skin feels so soft afterwards. I've started using this to take my make up off at night instead of using face wipes as my skin feels a lot cleaner and revitalised.

Sparkling Grapefruit and Pomegranate Vegan Sugar Scrub Bar

I was slightly more disappointed with this one. Like the olive oil bar it smells lovely, but I was expecting more of an exfoliant, with it being named a 'sugar scrub bar'. However, I found it to be more like a soap, which is fine but I would have preferred the texture to be a bit rougher in order to rejuvinate my skin.

'Ultimate Facial' Clay Mask

Last but not least, the face mask. At the beginning, I was disappointed with this too. However, after a few tries, I've managed to get the consistency perfect. As it is powdered clay, it's not a pre-made mask that you can just slap on to your face. I had to have a few go's to get the powder to water ratio just right in order to form a paste. Once the paste is on the skin, it immediately feels cooler and tighter, and having left it on for 10-15 minutes, I felt like I'd had botox! When I washed it off I was left with cool, smooth and clean skin. This is definitely my favourite out of the products I've tried so far!

'Ultimate Facial' Clay Mask

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Johnson's Put a Twist on an Old Classic

Don't be put off by the word 'baby' in this product's name, Johnson's baby oil is used by women and their babies alike. In fact, it has forever been a staple product for almost every female I know. If you haven't discovered it yet, buy it now.

I came across this shea and cocoa butter version whilst browsing in Kroger, (American supermarket) of all places. As I've already detailed in previous posts, I've come to the States to study for a semester, thus meaning I had one suitcase, a hell of a lot of clothes and not much room for my beloved cosmetics. When shopping in the few stores that I've been to,  I've been thrilled when I've came across a product, such as Johnson's baby oil,  that I always thought was inherently British. 

After using the sunbeds frequently in England, then being greeted by the stupidly hot temperatures in Memphis, I realised the heat was finally taking its toll on my skin. I noticed it was drier than usual, itchy and just not very healthy at all.

Cue the purchase of this little gem. It's just like the original baby oil, except this version is enriched with shea and cocoa butter, helping to make your skin even smoother. It smells gorgeous, but the smell isn't too overpowering like Palmers Cocoa Butter in my opinion, tends to be. I usually apply the oil directly after a shower before I go to bed, and my skin is still smooth and feels hydrated when I wake up. As you can see from the picture, I've used rather a lot already and I've only had it a few weeks. With this product, a little goes a long way so it's very good value for money.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Wet n Wild - Cheap But Not Trashy

    Despite bringing ten different lipsticks and five different nail polishes (yes I counted) with me in my jam packed case to Memphis, I simply can't resist a good old beauty bargain.

    So, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the American brand Wet n Wild in Walgreens.
    With prices ranging from a mere $0.99 to a still extremely cheap $6.99, they have a pretty extensive range; eyeshadows, liners, mascaras, lipsticks, glosses, foundations, primers, you name it, they sell it!

    Having to restrain myself from putting one of everything into my basket, I restricted myself to choosing an electric blue varnish and and corally-red lipstick. Even though I have a multitude of coral lipsticks, that is the colour I'm forever drawn to as I know it suits me and is very versatile. I think it can be worn on pale skins and on more olive and dark skin tones.

Swatch of 'Purty Persimmon'

This lipstick is fantastic, it glides on really easily, isn't too matte nor too moisturising which is a God send when it comes to finding a perfect lipstick, as most of the time I find that the cheap drugstore ones either completely dry my lips out, or it slides off them within 2 minutes. This Wet n Wild lipstick is the perfect combination. The colour is gorgeous and summery and one application lasted for a good few hours, including after eating and drinking.
'Saved by the blue'

     I chose to buy a nail polish as I absolutely love finding and trying out the new colour trends for nails.

     Electric blue has been 'in this season' but I actually hadn't got round to purchasing one in England. 

    The thing I love about coloured polishes is that anybody any shape, size, skin colour can wear any colour on their nails, which is why I love chopping and changing my nail colours constantly to co-ordinate with my clothes and make-up, even to tailor to my mood that day. 

    Despite loving the lipstick, I wasn't so impressed with the nail polish.The colour is beautiful, very bright and eye-catching but it chipped within an hour of application. Not what you want from a nail polish at all! Granted I only applied one coat, but it was very flakey and I could tell that it wasn't the most expensive product I'd ever bought. 

     Altogether, I'd highly reccommend the lipstick, it has the perfect consistency and long-lasting colour. The nail polish range is great for bright, bold colours if you want an 'on-trend' look, but not so good for durability.  

    The brand has many different colours to chose from and I think everything is such good value for money, making shopping trips all that more exciting when you're a little bit poor like me!

Me sporting Wet n Wild 'Purty Persimmon' lipstick

Monday, 10 September 2012

L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion

As I prepared to pack my whole life into one average sized suitcase for my big move across the pond to study in Memphis, Tennessee, I encountered some problems any self-confessed beauty product junkie would despise. These being, WHICH cosmetics, makeup, hair & body products do I take with me? Will I be able to purchase my favourite items over there? Yes, I should have been more worried about starting my classes, getting along with my professors and making new friends, yet there I was a few hours before my flight was due to leave attempting to squeeze one more eyeshadow palette into the side of my case. As anticipated, I arrived at the check in with 'overweight baggage' and had to go through the horrible process of removing items from my suitcase for my parents to take back home. "You won't need all of this fake tan Zoe", my Dad said, "You're going to be in the 30 degree sunshine!" So, I let him take my THREE bottles of self tan home, albeit reluctantly (I am a bit of a 'tanorexic'), and set off to the States fake tan free. What I did not know was, Memphis is hot. Too hot. No sunbathing can be done here as the air is so thick and humid that it's suffocating. So, my third week here and off I go to Walgreens pharmacy in the search for my beloved fake tan. After prowling the aisles, incredously I find there is only one tanner in the whole store. This is the L'Oreal Sublime Bronze lotion. I couldn't belive the price; only $9.95. In the past I have paid upto £30 for tanners. I've seen the advertisement for this and so I thought, maybe this will make me look like Eva Longoria . Wishful thinking? This one is 150ml and is actually really great. It's subtle enough to wear on the face, and it can be built up to give a lovely bronze glow. I've compiled a list of pro's and con's about this product, so here they are;
  • Looks natural, no streaky orange bits.
  • VERY cheap.
  • Good size.
  • Has an instant bronze tint so you can see where to apply.
  • Dries very quickly.
  • Has a slight shimmer which when in certain lights can make you look like a glitter ball. (Not a good look).
  •  Can become quite patchy on the skin if it isn't being applied daily. 
  • Comes out of the tube in little bits which can make the process more time consuming.

All in all, I would give this product an 8/10. It's cheap and cheerful, has a nice natural tint and isn't too over the top. I haven't came across any self tanners that work this well for being so well-priced...not yet anyway!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

First Post

I set up this blog ages ago, but to be honest have been too scared to write any posts!

Mainly because, when I want to write about items and looks etc, I really want to include pictures. However my problem is that my digital camera at the moment is a bit crap (need to save up, stop buying make-up and invest in a decent one!) 

So...I'm currently taking pictures on my Blackberry, which, for an old phone has a pretty good camera but seems to alter the colour of the products slightly due to the bright flash. But obviously I'll be including the exact shades of the items in the descriptions :)

Anyway, technical bits over...unusually for me, because I'm always so poor, being a student and all, I bought a grand total of 5 make-up products over the weekend. I even felt slightly panicky, particularly guilty and contemplated putting them ALL back on their shelves. Then I thought, "Do I really need all of these?!". As any fellow beauty junkie would know the word that immediately popped into my head was "YES". 
So, off I strided defiantely to the tills, praying that my card wouldn't be declined...

So here they are...
  • Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna

As you can see there's a harsh glare from the flash on my phone, but you can get the jist of the product and it's packaging anyway. I've heard wonderful things about this bronzer and when my old Bourjois smashed into smithereens in my bag I decided to treat myself to this beauty. Reality television star and beauty blogger Millie Mackintosh wrote about this in her blog 'Miss Millie Makeup' Not that cheap at £24 but I'd say it's worth the money. Although it looks really quite dark, when applied it gives the skin a gorgeous tanned colour. Not orangey at all and you can apply just a little for a natural look, or layer it up for a more glamourous, contoured look. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone looking for a new bronzer! You can buy it here

MAC Lipstick in Morange

I went to my beloved MAC counter with the intention of finding a really matte coral lipstick. However, unfortunately the only really truly corally ones were the super moisturising types which I usually find rub off my lips too quickly. But, the girl at the counter introduced me to this little treasure. In the picture it might look slightly pink but infact it's completely orange, hence the name. Despite it being quite moisturising, it suprisingly lasts for ages, due to it being so pigmented. When I first applied it I was a bit scared to wear it because it's sooo bold, but after a while (a few minutes) I got used to it and absolutely loved it! If I'm going for a neutral eye, maybe a flick of liquid eyeliner I'll wear this shade as it really brightens up your look. It's also highly attention seeking ha! If you're into that kinda thing.