Friday, 29 March 2013

Make Up Basics - Contouring and Highlighting

So you've put on your foundation, you've concealed any blemishes and you're left with a completely 2D face that's all one colour and looks... flat.

Contouring and highlighting can be pretty daunting to start off with, but it's a really easy way to add dimension back into your face.

The most important parts of contouring are 1. Blend, 2. Blend, and 3. Blend.

You can use powder or cream bronzer, or you can use a foundation a couple of shades darker than you'd usually use.  If you do choose the latter, I'd use it very sparingly, and add another 'blend' onto the above list.

If you're using powder bronzer, make sure it's matte - you don't want a glittery face, people will think you're from Twilight.

Apply your chosen contour product in the areas shown on the picture, and only apply a bit at a time - knock off any excess powder from your brush, wipe any excess cream from your sponge/brush onto the back of your hand.

Apply the least amount humanly possible into the outside of your face, temple/outer corner of your eye, the hollows of your cheeks, under your jaw and down the hollows either side of your neck.  You can also add bronzer to the sides of your nose for a slimming effect, and underneath your bottom lip, for a slightly poutier look.

Apply it in layers, take your time and blend out as you go.  You don't want lines of brown across your face, just subtle colour difference where your face is naturally hidden from the light.  Think about how the light would hit your face, and apply narrower layers as you build up the colour. 

You just want to add the depth you've hidden back into your face. 

Next comes highlighting.  You can use anything lighter than your base colour to highlight - an illuminator, a light coloured concealer, a lighter shade of foundation, loose pigment, light blush or highlighting powder.

You can use shimmer or matte, it's completely down to your own personal preference

You only want to add highlights to the parts of your face that the light would hit - 

Your brow bone
The tops of your cheekbones
The bridge of your nose
Your cupid's bow

When applying to your brow bone, you want to go just under the arch of your eyebrow and work down under the tail.  You can join the eyebrow and cheekbone highlights, just remember to blend everything out so it doesn't look like you've just drawn white lines all over your face.

When it comes to the bridge of the nose, you want to apply a very thin line of highlight - otherwise you'll be widening your nose (of course, if you want to widen the nose, use a slightly thicker line).

Highlighting the cupid's bow is a really good way to get a naturally pouty look without loading up on lipgloss and getting into the hassle of contouring your lips.  You just want to apply a thin line just above your natural lip line (the bottom of your frenulum) and blend it out.

Once you've practiced and got your preferred technique, you'll be able to contour and highlight as part of your daily routine, and figure out which products work best for you.  It's a case of trial and error, and as ever, practice makes perfect.

I hope this has helped, and if you want to leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of this, or what tutorials you'd like to see, please do!

Left - Base colour only
Right - contour and highlight

Previous Post: Review: Glossybox March 2013
Next Post: Review: Glossybox April 2013

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Review: Glossybox March 2013

Glossybox is a monthly subscription of 5 high-end beauty product samples (with some full-size products sometimes, too) for £10 + £2.95 p+p)

You can earn Glossydots by reviewing the products in a quick survey, or by inviting friends, and redeem points for a free box.  Each survey is worth 50 points, so if you review 5 products a month, every 5th Glossybox should be free.  You get 200 Glossydots for every friend that signs up and places an order (1000 Glossydots = 1 free box)

The March 2013 box had a theme of 'City Chic', supposedly the best, most hard working products available for that effortless, well maintained look, 'with minimum time, effort and money spent.'  I've given this box an extra week or so's use to really test the products before reviewing them, so it's a bit late this month - sorry!

The first product in the box was Tresemmé Salon Finish Extra Hold hairspray - a product my best friend swears by, but he hasn't got as much hair as me, so I didn't want to just take his word for it, I wanted to try a few different styles, see how well it held up - and I have to say, despite being dubious about using an extra hold hairspray, and expecting crunchy, dry hair, I am impressed.

I've used Tressem√© products in the past, including one of their hairsprays, and I used to love the bubblegum scent of it, but they seem to have got rid of that now.  It does smell like any other hairspray, quite chemical-y and sickening.  So I used it in moderation.

I curled my hair using my Babyliss Pro 230 straighteners, sprayed in short bursts where I needed hold, and brushed them out a bit for a bouncy, wavy style - it held through very strong wind and light rain for a good few hours while I was out, and gave a ton of volume.

For £1.99/100ml, I think it is a decent price for a good product, and it's nice to get something in my Glossybox that I can actually use for a change! 

It is available to buy from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon, most supermarkets, and Asda currently stocks the 500ml can for only £3.

The second product in the box was a Lip Blush from JellyPongPong - I've had a lip product from JellyPongPong in a previous box - the Irish Cream Pavlova Lip Frosting, and I loved that.  This is another new favourite - I was a bit disappointed that I got the red one and not the pink, as I've been after a nice fuchsia lipstick to try, but red is a good all-rounder, too.

It's a crayon-style moisturising lip stain with a twist-up action, and oh. my. God. it is moisturising.  It doesn't make my lips feel greasy, but just nice and soft and hydrated.  It doesn't wear off, either.  It stays moisturising for hours, and there's no need to reapply after an hour or two, unless you eat.  It does wear off a bit when you eat, but being a lip stain, it leaves some colour behind anyway.

It has a sort of satin finish, and the colour I have (which I couldn't tell you the name of, it isn't on the tube or the website - although they are calling the fuchsia one cranberry, and claiming it is a berry red, which describes this one better, so maybe this one is cranberry - don't quote me on it, though) takes two coats to get a more opaque coverage, one coat is just too sheer and looks a bit strange on me.  It's got pink undertones and looks nice with my fair skin.

The only downsides I can find are: 1. The ingredients - it has both propylparaben and methylparaben, you can read my post on parabens here.  And 2. The price, at £12 for about an inch of lip product, it's a bit pricier than some of the other high-street/drugstore lip colours available.  In fact, most MAC lipsticks are about £14, so it's going more towards the high-end side of the scale, and I woudn't pay that much, honestly.

Next in the box was St James, by Nails Inc, a bright, pillar box red, in another teeeeeny tiny 4ml sample bottle.  I tried using it on my fingernails, but it wouldn't dry fast enough and I had to go out, so I took it off and left it on my toes.  It took 2 thin layers to get opaque coverage, and is lasting well.  I can't say much for the chipping factor, because my feet aren't doing much fiddly work, but it looks like it could withstand some knocks, especially with a top coat.

I wouldn't say you should pick Nails Inc over, say, Rimmel - there's not that much difference other than price, but if you do want to go for something slightly more high-end for some reason, it's available to buy from the Nails Inc website at 3 for £22, or at for £8.69 + P&P.  

The next item in the box was a small sample of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant (Fragrance Free)

It's hailed as a miracle product by many, but I can't say I'm a fan.  I went to The Trafford Centre with my mum after I received the box, and stopped by the Elizabeth Arden counter, and she tried a bit on her hand - she pointed out that it smells like vomit, and now I can't use it without thinking the same.  The smell is disgusting.  I appreciate fragrance free products, but a bit of a nice smelling, skin soothing oil in this wouldn't go amiss. 

It also has a super thick gel texture and is
very difficult to spread.  I can't see this as a regular addition to my skincare routine, only as an addition to my 'Elizabeth Arden products I dislike and will never use' collection.

The RRP is £25/50ml, which, for what it is (which I'm still not sure what that actually is), is way too high.  There are better, cheaper products on the market.

Last in the box was the thing I despise most - a perfume sample.  

This time it was a sample of Couture La La by Juicy couture.  I'm not sure what it smells of, it smells like perfume.  Apparently it's supposed to be fruity, citrus-y, sweet and fresh.  I guess it is, but it's a tiny sample and I'll probably use it before I get chance to properly test it out.

£47/50ml.  No thanks.

I wish there was an option to opt out of perfume samples.  They're such a waste.  I can try perfumes in boots.  Please put useful things in my Glossybox thank you.

So overall for March, I like 3/5 of the products - which is more than last month.  So that's a plus.  Maybe next month will be FULL of products I will actually like.  Maybe.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Review: Olay Essentials Refreshing Toner

'Olay's refreshing toner blended to be mild on skin for everyday cleansing.

The Essentials alcohol free formula, containing extracts of cucumber and aloe, effectively lifts away remaining traces of dirt and make up revitalising skin appearance without over drying.
The result? Simply clean, refreshed, beautiful skin.
Dermatologically tested.'

After watching countless skincare routine videos on YouTube and reading about the benefits of a proper cleanse/tone/moisturise skincare routine, I decided to give it a try.
I originally made some rosewater with the roses I got for Valentines Day, but I think they had artificial dye in them, as it turned out bright red.  I used it a couple of times but didn't trust it on my skin, and so I picked up an Olay one while I was out about a week ago.  I've been using it every morning before moisturising and every evening between cleansing and moisturising.

The difference I've seen in my skin already has amazed me.  It's not as dry and flakey, I've got no oily patches, and best of all, my blackheads on my nose and cheeks are gone, and I've had no new spots.

My skin is the clearest it's been in forever, and it feels much healthier.

All I do with it is squirt some onto a cotton wool pad, and smooth it over my face and neck, working from the middle outwards.  It lifts any dirt left over after cleaning out of your skin, and leaves you fresh and glowing.

It does contain parabens, and I am planning on buying some rose water when I get chance to compare the results, and hopefully replace this if it works well enough, but in the mean-time I am happy with this.  However, if Olay want to bring out a version of this with no parabens, I would use that forever.

The formula is suitable for all skin types, and is alcohol free, so you don't get that horrible tight feeling after you use it, it's just cool and refreshing.

The price for the amount you get is amazing - Boots have it at £2.99/200ml, but I bought it cheaper from Home Bargains - about £1.99 - you can also buy it for £1.99 from (excluding delivery).

I would definitely recommend this toner as a new addition to your skincare routine, and if you keep up your use, you will see results really quickly.

I'm in love with it, can you tell?