Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Real Techniques: Expert Face brush vs Buffing brush

Close up of Real Techniques face brushes

When Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo fame joined forces with Real Techniques to create a brush line, it instantly took the beauty world by storm. They're good quality, accessible, cruelty free and most importantly, affordable. During the past couple of years I've tried out the majority of brushes from the line and until very recently was of the opinion that the Buffing brush was my absolute favourite. Then I discovered the Expert Face brush and the battle for my brush-loving heart was well and truly on.

Real Techniques Expert Face brush and Buffing brush

Real Techniques brush comparison

The Buffing brush has a lot going for it. It has a nice lightweight handle and soft bristles which are fairly densely packed. The top of the brush is slightly domed. I use this for blending in concealer on large areas, foundation and cream blushes. When applying foundation it can be used in a stippling fashion to get a bit more coverage or in a buffing motion to blend the foundation seamlessly into the skin. The main downside to the Buffing brush is that it's only available in the Core Collection of brushes which costs £21.99. I wasn't a huge fan of the other three brushes in the set. Had I found a use for the other three brushes, this would be a great value set but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

The Expert Face brush has a more ergonomic shaped handle, which I like. Initially I thought it looked a little small but I haven't found that to be an issue. The brush head is smaller and the bristles are more densely packed. I use this brush slightly differently to the Buffing brush; I tend to almost 'paint' my foundation on and then buff it in rather than using a stippling motion.I find that I get more coverage from my foundations when using this brush. I use the Expert Face brush exclusively for foundation but I suppose it could be used for cream blush, contour and highlight products too. It's certainly a good size to deal with the more precise placement of contour and highlight. Aside from being a brilliant brush, the Expert Face brush is also available on its own, priced at £9.99.

Synthetic bristles in Real Techniques brushes

The Winner?

I think it's quite clear that for me the Expert Face brush wins in terms of performance and value. That doesn't mean I'll be dismissing my Buffing brush, however. I will continue to use this for foundation and I do prefer it for concealer under my eyes as it's softer on the delicate skin. I'll also continue using it for cream blushes. If it was possible to buy both brushes separately, I'd still want to own both.

Just a heads up; Love Make Up is running a limited offer for a free Expert Face brush if you pick up the Sam's Picks kit. 

Are you a fan of Real Techniques brushes? What's your favourite brush for foundation?

Stace xx

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

MAC Creme in Your Coffee Lipstick

The Lipstick

MAC Creme in Your Coffee is described as a 'creamy mid-tone pink brown' with a cremesheen finish. The shade is a tiny bit more brown than pink in my opinion which puts it firmly in the 'nude' category for me. It's darker than most of my other nudes and is a bit more cool-toned than my preferred peachy or tan nudes. It's a refreshing change, though and I think it will work well with a variety of eye and cheek colours. It reminds me a little bit of MAC Viva Glam V but without the shimmer.

The pigmentation is great and the product applies fairly easily. It's one of those lipsticks you don't (really) need a mirror to apply. I usually like cremesheen finishes but my main gripe with them has always been that they can be a bit too creamy; lipstick ending up half way down your chin is not a good look. Creme in Your Coffee is different, it seems. The texture is a little less creamy so more difficult to over-do. It wears much longer too; I get about 3-4 hours of wear which is pretty good for me as I'm constantly talking...

The packaging is the standard MAC lipstick bullet and the scent is the delicious (but somewhat sickening, I suppose) vanilla cake batter scent that we all associate with a MAC lipstick. 

MAC Creme in Your Coffee lipstick swatch

Who will like it?

Creme in Your Coffee is such a neutral shade; it pulls more pink on cooler skintones and more nude-brown on warmer skintones. For that reason I'd say it would suit anyone in the light to medium spectrum. On medium skintones it will be one of those 'my lips but better' type shades whereas on lighter skinned ladies it will look like a nice darker nude. It's a safe bet for anyone who's concerned about nude lipsticks giving them the dead-concealer-lips effect.

As this has a glossy finish, matte-lovers won't be a fan. On the plus side, if you have quite thin lips, this lipstick will make them look a little fuller. 

Anyone who's willing to spend £15 on a MAC lipstick. I just had to mention this; I remember when MAC lipsticks were around £11.50! Whilst I don't think the price is completely outrageous, it does make me a bit more cautious about which lipsticks I purchase from MAC. The drugstore has really upped its game in recent years so there is likely to be a cheaper alternative of this lipstick out there if you're willing to look around. 

MAC lipstick Creme in Your Coffee

Do you have a favourite MAC lipstick?

Stace xx

PS - if you wanted to see the lipstick on my face, see below! Excuse the eye bags.

MAC Creme in Your Coffee FOTD

Monday, 11 November 2013

NOTD: Rimmel Rhythm & Blues with H&M Did I Tell You?

Nail polish manicure combination

I stumbled upon this combination completely by accident a few weeks ago; I'd given myself a manicure with Rhythm & Blues and a different blue as an accent nail. I like how Did I Tell You? looked over the blue. I decided to try it over Rhythm & Blues and it was love! It was one of those manicures you find yourself looking at all the time. This time around I skipped the blue accent nail - it was a bit much.

Dark inky navy polish from Rimmel Kate Moss collection

The Colour

Rhythm & Blues is a gorgeous inky navy shade. The formula on this one is absolutely brilliant; it's almost opaque in one coat and it manages to wear reasonably well too. I'm a big fan of the Rimmel Salon Pro polishes in general; particularly the super on-trend shades in the Kate Moss collection. I've tried six or seven now and the formula has been great across a variety of shades. The brush is very wide and flat which is the type of brush I prefer.

Blue giltter nail polish from H&M

The Glitter

Did I Tell You? is a blue glitter in a clear base. The glitter is made up of larger and smaller sized glitters. I've only ever needed to use one coat to get an even distribution on the nails. It looks a bit tacky in the bottle but over the right shade, it looks great. I can't remember exactly how much this cost; I think it was around £3. Overall I'm impressed by this offering from H&M.  

In the photos I'm wearing two coats of Rimmel Rhythm & Blues, one coat of Did I Tell You? and a coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat.

What's on your nails right now? Any polishes worth raving about? 

Stace xx

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Haul: Chanel, LUSH, MAC and some polishes!

Haul items: Chanel cream blush, Rouge Coco lipstick, MAC lipsticks

You know that week right after payday where you start flinging money at things you don't really need? Well, I just had one of those weeks (or fortnights...)
First up, a couple of Chanel impulse buys:

Chanel cream blush, Rouge Coco lipstick, MAC lipsticks

I'd read some fairly good reviews on the relatively new cream blushes so after a swatching session I settled on 62 Presage. It's a bright coral shade which leans more orange than pink. I've not used this properly yet but can say my first impressions are just so-so. The packaging is much smaller than I expected and very light; it definitely doesn't feel worth the £27 price tag. The Rouge Coco lipsticks, however, have gorgeous packaging and the product itself is something I'm pretty fond of. I have one of these in Bel Respiro and love it. I went for 21 Rivoli this time which is a blood-red shade. The formula is super easy to apply, has a nice satin finish and wears for a decent amount of time. If you're not a fan of floral scent, avoid! I had lots of Beauty Club Card points so ended up paying just over £30 for both items and I got a £10 voucher back too. 

I took a wee trip home last weekend and on the way made a customary stop at the MAC counter. I really can't deal with the staff at my nearest MAC counter and I like the fact I get a bit of a discount in duty free too. I picked up a couple of lipsticks; Diva (a matte) and Creme in Your Coffee (a creamsheen). Diva is a super dark berry which I'm hoping will satisfy my berry lip requirements for now whilst Creme in Your Coffee is a gorgeous darker nude shade. It looks much less brown when it's applied and the creamsheen finish is nice and glossy.

Now that I finally live in a flat with a bath again(!) I needed to pop into LUSH to pick up my beloved The Comforter bubble bar (it had already been used by the time I got around to taking these pictures) It's a a chunk of deliciously berry scented bubbly goodness which I'm very glad to have back in my life. While I was there I picked up another favourite; the BB Seaweed fresh face mask. I've lost count of the number of times I've recommended this as it works on loads of skin types and is pretty cheap. The only downside is that you need to use it all up within a month of purchasing. I was at the till when I spotted Santa's lip scrub and despite the fact I know that these are messy, I had to have it. It smells and tastes like old school cola. Yum! 

I've been branching out a little with polishes; shimmers and glitters are no longer off the menu. Illamasqua Bacterium made its way into my ASOS shopping basket a few weeks ago (it was only a fiver, how could I say no?!) and when it arrived it went straight on my nails. This slightly odd nude shimmer lasted a full week on me without chipping which is almost a miracle so I'm sure I'll be adding to my Illamasqua polish collection sometime soon. The Barry M Gelly polishes went under my radar initially as to me 'jelly' means translucent and if there's one thing that really drives me crazy, it's a sheer polish. After having a look at the formula I've realised that it's not sheer at all - just super shiny. I've got Watermelon here which is a nice teal green. It's going on my nails in the next couple of days and I have high hopes.

My final haul item is one of those products you pick up thinking 'yeah, this could be cute'. And it is cute; In the bottle. As I said, I've developed an interest in glitter polishes recently so this candy pink packed with pink, blue and silver glitter of varying sizes looked pretty great. I knew that I'd need a few coats but after trying three or four it just wasn't working as it was still too sheer. I took it off and reapplied over a couple of coats of Essie Fiji (almost-white crème finish pink) but I still needed three coats and the effect was too patchy for my liking. There's a photo on my Instagram if you want to have a look you can search for staceisace6. The glitter looked great though so I kind of wish Revlon would have packed more of the glitter into a clear base as then it would have been much more versatile. Anyway, it's Revlon Girly if any of you aren't put off by the above!

What have you been buying recently? Or are you being good and saving your cash for Christmas presents?

Stace xx