Saturday, 14 January 2017

More Mascara Clean Out!

I'm really not great at doing mascara reviews as I finish them up, so I've decided i'm going to continue to do a 'mascara clean out' when I've got a couple of empty tubes saved up! Since my last mascara review (so long ago, I can't even remember when it was!) I have used nine mascaras (including three sample sizes), so sit back, grab a cuppa, and enjoy the reviews!

Top to Bottom: Nars Audacious;  Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes;
Tate Light, Camera, Splashes; Too Faced Better than sex; NYC big bold curl;
Urban Decay Perversion

NARS Audacious Mascara has the claim of "extreme volume, extreme length, extreme control...multiplies, amplifies, mesmerises". I love this mascara. Fabulous volume and length, holds a curl all day and no spider lash. The wand is plastic, and I’m not going to lie –hurts like hell if you poke yourself with it. But, something about this formula or this wand is just magic. As you’re applying it, you can feel the wand/mascara gripping every lash. After three months of use I was sad to put this one down. Officially one of my top 3 mascaras.

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes has the claim of "5-in-1 multitasker that creates the perfect "Full Fat Lash" with curl, separation, volume, length, and drama". I really enjoyed this mascara. A lovely natural bristle brush that gave me a good amount of volume and a bit of extra length. After three months of use I got some flaking in the last week, but otherwise this wore all day, held a curl and didn’t transfer. I found this quite similar to Perversion by Urban Decay, but it didn’t give me quite as much volume.

Tate Lights, Camera, Splashes is the waterproof version of their bestseller and promises "waterproof lengthening, curling, volumizing, and conditioning". I didn't love this. The brush was nice, and the product was easy to apply, but I didn't feel like it gave me any length or curl, and I only got a little volume. I also felt like it never 'set' and during the day my lashes would feel sticky. I haven't tried the original version of this, but after trying the waterproof version, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

Too Faced Better than Sex is very well known and loved by many, promising lashes that are "full, defined and stretched to unbelievable lengths". Well, I loved this mascara – it gave me nice volume, a bit of length and a great curl that really opened my eyes. For about 10 days. After that, it all went downhill. I was constantly fighting the ‘spider’ lash, I was always getting transfer on my brow bone and flaking during the day. I wouldn’t buy this one again.

NYC – Big bold curl promises to "give your lashes up to x12 more volume and up to 99% more lift". I can't speak to these claims because I tried to use this twice and gave up! The wand is so big, I just can’t apply it to my lashes without poking myself in the eye (ouch!). I picked this up in London for only two pounds so it’s disappointing, but I’m not that sad about it.

Urban Decay Perversion promises to give you "bigger, badder, longer, blacker lashes". I really loved this mascara. A great natural bristle brush that was never overloaded with product. This gave me beautiful full lashes, and a great amount of volume with no flaking or transferring. Even on the lower lash line it lasted all day without smudging or transferring. Officially one of my top 3 mascaras.

L to R: Sephora outrageous curl; Chantecaille faux cils; IT cosmetics tightline

Sephora outrageous curl mascara is supposed to create "extreme volume and curl". As I sit down to write this, I can't remember anything about this product so it obviously wasn't outrageous enough to leave an impression.

Chantecaille faux cils mascara is billed as a "luxury mascara for super long, curled and volumised lashes that draw attention to the eyes". And wow, it was great. This mascara gave me beautiful fanned out lashes, gave (and held) a decent curl and a decent amount of volume. And it's the best smelling mascara I've ever used - it has that great 'spa' smell. This is almost one of my top three mascaras, but at $70 for a full size tube, it's not something I'm likely to splurge on.

IT Cosmetics Tightline mascara is supposed to be "your mascara, mascara primer and eyeliner in one". I got this as a sample on one of my Sephora visits. The small wand is fabulous for getting all of the lashes on the lower lash line, but I’ll admit I was not keen on stamping it along my tightline as suggested by the packaging! I did use this on its own, and as a primer for the upper lashes, but I don’t think it did anything special.

The NARS and Urban Decay mascaras were definitely the winners of this bunch, with Charlotte Tilbury and Chantecaille close behind. I've got a couple of other mascaras to work through, but I am looking forward to getting my hands on another tube of the NARS one :o)

As always, mascara is such a personal thing, so if any of those that didn't work for me are your favourites - that's great! If you've got any tips for getting them to work for you, leave me a note below, I'd love to hear them.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Project Pan 2017 - Intro

Yes, you read that right, I'm attempting a 2017 project pan.

While I didn't finish everything in my finish six by christmas challenge, I did like that it forced me to use makeup that I wasn't using. I've mentioned before that I haven't have brilliant storage for where I keep my makeup, so I have had to rotate through what I keep on my bench, and a lot of items were tucked away which made it difficult to see what I've got each morning when I'm getting ready. Although I've got great storage now (check out my previous post for details!), for my 2017 challenge I've picked some items that have been tucked away for too long - so that I can give them some love.

L to R: Dive, Fix, Resist, Dare, Stun
(bronzer, blush), 5050
Something I haven't used since a work trip in May 2015 is the eyeshadows in the Urban Decay Naked on the Run palette. I'm going to focus on panning these eyeshadows during 2017. The five eyeshadows are 1.4g and 5050 is 2g. I'm not going to focus on using the bronzer and blush as after six months using the samples in my christmas challenge, I've got some much loved products I want to get back to using (NARS Laguna and my hourglass blushes, to name two).

Urban Decay Vice 4 pallete
One of the things I learnt in my last challenge was that limiting myself to just a few, neutral eyeshadow colours got really boring, really quickly! I picked up the Urban Decay Vice 4 palette before Christmas 2015, and while I gave it a little bit of love this year, I tend to reach for my makeup geek shadows when I want some colour. So I'm pulling this out and aiming to pan one shadow. Each shadow is 0.85 grams. I haven't decided which shadow yet as I want to see what works with the other shadows I'm using.

Napoleon Perdis Pro Palette Concealer
I've had this Napoleon Perdis Pro Palette Concealer for longer that I should admit - so I'm not going to tell you! It still smells ok, and the consistency and colour haven't changed so I'm giving it one last go to try and pan this completely (and whatever is left at the end of the year is getting binned).

Sunbeam 'pale pinkpearl'
This NYX Born to Glow liquid illuminator in the shade 'sunbeam' was the first liquid/cream highlighter that I ever bought, so it's definitely a good time to try and use it up. I've used it a number of times, but the bottle is still fairly full.

I think that these next two items are going to be the most challenging for me to use up. I've reviewed both the Kat von D Lock it tattoo foundation (in light 45) and the Estee Lauder Perfectionist youth infusing makeup (in 3C2 Pebble) and neither of them really worked for me. I normally only have two foundations open at one time - my medium-full coverage for work, and a light bb cream for the weekend. But with these two, I stopped using them and they got tucked away in my stash. I'm going to aim to finish both of these up - I might even try mixing them.

I'll be back with updates throughout the year and hopefully it won't be too long before we see some pan!

If you're attempting a 2017 project pan, or make up use up challenge, please let me know below so that I can follow along!

Cheers xx

Monday, 2 January 2017

2017 makeup collection and new storage!

Happy New Year!

It's been lovely to have some time over the Christmas and New Year break to do some organising around the house. So far, I've sorted through ten years of paperwork, decluttered my wardrobe and drawers of clothes I no longer wear,  and Mr Tea and I have brought order to what was a very messy study.

But the thing I'm most excited about is my new makeup drawers!! I've mentioned a few times on the blog and on Instagram that I didn't have great storage for my makeup. I don't have a separate room for my makeup (I'm just a normal person who puts their makeup on in the bathroom every day!) This is what I was dealing with:

My old makeup storage
The top and bottom shelves - yes that's all my palettes
in a shoe box!
This is a metal 'bakers stand' that I have had for 16 years, and while it has been handy over that time, it's just not brilliant for storing makeup. As you can see, I had to keep everything in containers (so that products didn't fall between the gaps), space was limited, there were cords everywhere, it got messy very quickly, and it also attracted a lot of dust.

I've been on the hunt for a nice set of drawers to replace the stand, and I've been a bit like goldilocks. It had to be the right width, the right height, had to have at least three - but preferably four - drawers, I had to be able to stand up lipsticks and foundations inside the drawers, and they had to be white or light gray.

Well after a year of searching (yes, seriously, a year) I found something that fit most of those requirements and here it is!

These are the Trysil drawers from Ikea. They only set me back $89 and it took Mr Tea just a few hours to put it together for me. It comes with silver 'feet' but I've left these off as they made it taller than my bathroom bench (which I wasn't keen on). Ideally I would have loved it if they had been just that little bit wider and filled the whole space, but after a year of searching I was happy to get these and make it work.

I enjoy organising, so it was fun to figure out how I would organise my makeup in these new drawers.   You can see on the top of the drawers I've put my brushes and brush cleaner (and the eagle eyed among you can see a sneak peak of my 2017 project pan items). Let me show you what I settled on for inside the drawers, and at the same time, share with you a brief overview of my makeup collection.
Drawer 1
In the top drawer (going clockwise from top left) I've got: foundations, primers, powders and concealers; blush, bronzer, highlighters; face sprays; face palettes; tools and sponges; eyeliners; and mascaras.  I've decided to put samples in with the full size products so that I can see what samples I've got and make it easier to use them.

Drawer 2
In the second drawer I've got: drugstore lipsticks/glosses and all lipliners; eyeshadow singles and trios/quads; larger eyeshadow palettes; cream eyeshadows and eyeliners; high end lipsticks/glosses.

Drawer 3
Drawer three has: false eyelashes; skincare samples; hair products and tools; skincare backups. Many of the hair products are almost finished, so hopefully in a month or two this drawer won't be as full.

Drawer 4
I've run a cable and power board down to the bottom drawer and in here I have my hairdryer, straightener and my new GHD soft curl wand (christmas present from Mr Tea!). I'm especially loving this as it means that I won't trip over any cables any more! For the safety conscious among you, I'm not planning on putting hot tools back in the drawer - I'll let them cool on the bench before I put them away :)

I head to back to work later this week, so I'll get to see whether this is the best way to organise my products, but overall I am pretty happy with how this has turned out.

Drop me a line below if you've got any cool storage hacks to share - as I said, I love organising!


Monday, 26 December 2016

Did I finish six by Christmas?

It's time to do a wrap up of my 'finish six by christmas' project, can you believe it's Christmas already?

I finally hit pan on my makeup geek eyeshadow!! These shadows are packed tight and last forever! Definitely testament to how good value they are. I expanded the pan on my two Napoleon Perdis shadows, but didn't come close to finishing any of these three shadows. 

I made really great progress with my Benefit "Dr Feelgood" primer. This felt lovely on my skin and gave a nice smooth surface to apply my foundation, but it didn't live up to it's claims of being mattifying at all. I wouldn't buy this again.

I didn't hit any pan on my bronzer or blush. I'm really not surprised about the blush, but I would have thought I'd have hit pan on the milk chocolate soleil bronzer. Another product that is good value for money (though this was a free sample!). I have a few bronzers in my collection to work though, and though I would say that Laguna by NARS is my favourite, I would think about purchasing a full size of the regular chocolate soleil bronzer.

My bonus item was the Maybelline colour tattoo in pomegranate punk and I barely touched this over the six months of this challenge. I have two of these colour tattoos, and while I love them, I struggle to give them some love. I think i'm finding that I prefer cream eyeshadows in a stick format (like the Marc Jacobs twinkle pops) as I find them easier to apply/use.

I've already started to think about whether I want to do a 'project pan' style challenge in 2017 (though I am still going on my 'pan that powder' challenge'). Although I only finished one product in this current challenge, it was a great way to focus on some older products as well as giving some love to some samples.

If you're doing a 2017 project pan, leave me a message below so I can follow your adventures!

However you celebrate, I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Christmas xx

Top: September
Bottom: December
Top: September
Bottom: December
no change since September!
Top: September
Bottom: December (I promise, there is a dip in the bronzer!!)

Monday, 21 November 2016

My guide to a good cup of tea

Dear readers, it is time for tea, and I feel it is time I shared my own rules for making a good cup (or pot) of tea. My list is not exhaustive, and I do feel that tea is highly personal so on most points I certainly won’t be offended if you have a different view.  On some points, however, I am quite adamant.

So here is “The Blushing Teapot’s guide to a good cup of tea

1. Use loose leaf if and where you can. But, if you can’t (too messy for work, too expensive, difficult to travel with) there’s nothing wrong with a good quality tea bag.

2. Use freshly boiled water. Do not microwave water for tea – on this one, I am quite firm.

3. If using a tea pot, always warm the pot with boiled water.

4. Keep in mind the appropriate water temperature for different teas. I’m not suggesting you hover by your kettle with a thermometre in hand, but you should be aware that more delicate teas (white, green) won’t perform as well, or taste as nice, if you treat them the same as a robust black tea.

5. If there’s one thing guaranteed to start a fight between gentle tea drinkers it is probably this, so my next statement feels a little bit like stepping out on a limb. Ok, here goes… I’m firmly in the ‘tea first, then milk’ camp.

I feel this is especially important when someone else is brewing the tea or it’s a tea you haven’t tried before. In both of these cases, you’re not going to know how strong the tea is or what the balance of flavours in the tea is. Try the tea first (or at least look at it!) before you put milk in – if in fact, you need it.

6. If your tea goes cold, throw it out and start again. I feel I must say this again - do not microwave your tea!

7. Never wash your teapot with soap!! Rinse with hot water only.

If you didn’t like my list or would like more guidance, please do read the ‘rules’ as set out by others, such as George Orwell and Gail Carriger. I’m sure there are many more floating around, but these are two that I come across regularly. You will see that while we agree on some steps, we differ greatly on others. As I said, I believe tea is highly personal.

If you read this and thought "that was too many rules, just tell me the one thing I need to remember" I would say “Don’t microwave your tea” (was that really a surprise?).

Monday, 26 September 2016

Finish Six by Christmas - First Update!

Well, haven't the last three months just flown by! Somehow, it's almost October and already people are starting to count down the Fridays until Christmas. 

So before Christmas gets any closer, here's the first update on my 'Finish six by Christmas' project pan. Here's a quick reminder of what everything looked like at the start of the project:

And here's what they look like now!

You can see I've made quite a bit of progress on the eyeshadows. I've expanded the pan on the cream shadow, I've made quite a dent in the medium brown shadow and I've hit pan on the rust coloured shadow 

I was hoping to completely pan the brown shadow by Christmas and I've used it almost every day since I started this challenge, but I am starting to doubt whether I will completely finish this one off. It's not quite as neutral as I thought it was (it has a gold shimmer to it and it leans warm, which means it can sometimes be hard to use with other shadows)

I haven't made much of a dent in the colour tattoo as I really only used this occasionally under the rust coloured shadow.

I thought that restricting myself to these four colours would be a good way to focus on these products and not set too high a goal for my first project pan. However, I'm learning that it's easy to get bored when I don't give myself a lot of choice!

It's hard to see the progress with the two cheek/face products, but I promise I've used these every day. 

I'm not surprised that the blusher only looks barely used, but I do feel like I use quite a bit of the bronzer each day (it's the milk chocolate soleil bronzer, so it is light and I have to build it up a bit).

Hopefully by my next update I'll have some pan showing on the bronzer.

I'm excited to say that I finished the Body Shop primer about halfway through August. I took the opportunity to add in another primer, The Dr Feelgood primer from Benefit. I normally keep this in my purse as you're supposed to be able to apply this over the top of your makeup during the day to remove oil and 'repair' the look of your makeup. I could never get this to work for me - I always ended up removing my makeup rather than fixing it! - so it just sat in my purse, barely used. The label says it can also be used as a mattifying layer under makeup, so I've pulled this into my project pan and have been using it this way. You can see that in just over a month I've made a decent dent into the product.

Dr Feelgood 'before' shot!
Update #1
Overall, I was hoping for a bit more progress with the eyeshadows, but for a first project pan I think this is good progress! And I must be enjoying myself, because I'm already starting to think about what products I might want to pan in 2017!!

If you're doing a project pan in the lead up to Christmas I'd love to hear about it, just leave me a note below so I can check it out.