Tag Archives: makeup bag minimalism

Makeup Bag Minimalism : #6 Mascara

February 1, 2015


If I could only use one makeup product for the rest of my life, it would be mascara. I’m not sure wearing mascara on it’s own even counts as wearing makeup (OK it does, but barely!!)

I’ve always stuck to drugstore brands because there are some great ones out there. And it gets used up/goes off so quickly that it never seemed worth spending more than a tenner (ish) on a tube.

So, in terms of what I’ve got to work with and what I’m looking for in a good mascara, I have decent lashes – not super long or super short, they curl naturally, they’re not majorly voluminous, but not bad either. I also have no interest in applying falsies. So I look for an all-rounder in the mascara department : length and just the right balance between volume and separation. Because I don’t wear falsies, I like a mascara thats pretty dramatic. These are some of my favourite drugstore mascaras:

Max Factor False Lash Effect My Top Pick
Max Factor 2000 Calorie
Maybelline The Volum’ Express Falsies
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Super Volume

Because these mascaras are quite cheap and they get used up quickly, it’s a bit boring to keep buying the same one, so I tend to mix it up a bit. I thought for this post I would delve into the world of high-end mascaras, so I enlisted the help of my sister, Hannah, and mum for some of their favourites.

Mac In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash* – Mum’s Top Pick
Benefit They’re Real
Lançome Hypnose Drama – Hannah’s Top Pick
Le Volume De Chanel
Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye

*My mum has very short lashes and has never found a mascara that has much of an effect, but this one is amazing. It gave her so much more length, and made it look like she actually had lashes for the first time! I am witness. Definitely worth a try if your lashes are very short.

Do you have a hold grail mascara? Let me know below!


Makeup Bag Minimalism : When To Chuck

January 25, 2015


Not everyone knows that makeup expires – I was reading an article that said some women admit to owning eye shadow that’s over 14 years old!! I wouldn’t be surprised if my mum had a few items in her collection that are older than me… But it’s important not to keep makeup past its use-by date because as soon as it’s opened and makes contact with the air, bacteria gets in and starts to breed. These bacteria can cause breakouts, rashes, irritation and infection. Eugh.

I always knew that mascara had a pretty short lifespan once opened – a tube that’s been open for more than a few months really stings my eyes – but I wasn’t really down on the deadlines for using up some of the other things. Here’s a cheat sheet:

.powder-based : 24 months
.cream-based (including concealer) : 12-18 months
.foundation : 18 months
.but oil-free : 12 months (the water-based products .break down more quickly)
.lipstick : 12 months
.lip gloss : 18 months
.pencils : 24 months (sharpening removes the outer, exposed layer)
.mascara : 3 months
.gel + liquid eyeliner : 2 months (who gets though a pot of gel liner in 2 months!!)

and a few more tips…
.gone off eye make up is one of the main causes of eye infections
.don’t pump your mascara wand to coat the brush, that only traps more air in the .bottle so it goes off faster
.store make up in a cool, dry place to help it last as long as possible
.store lipsticks in the fridge to keep them going longer
.throw anything out if it starts to smell funky
.check the container of you makeup, there should be a little “open jar” symbol with a number and M (stands for months) inside e.g. 18M. That tells you how long the product will last once opened. You can even put a sticky label with the date of opening to keep track
.nail polish also goes off, but it’s less of a problem because you’re not applying it directly to your skin. It just becomes pretty unusable, but you can buy nail polish thinners, like this, to bring them back to life.



Makeup Bag Minimalism : #5 Contouring Basics

January 21, 2015

basic contouring kit

Contouring has been getting so much airtime recently, what with the Kim K selfie and youtube videos like this. I wouldn’t say my contour kit is a makeup bag essential. It’s definitely not part of my everyday routine, but on those special occasions when I want to look a bit more “done”, I whip out a few of my contouring basics. There are so many different ways to contour, and some of the techniques I’ve seen scare me a little. I like to keep it as quick and easy, and foolproof as I can.

.to contour, I use two shades of makeup (plus my base) – one slightly darker than my skin tone and one slightly lighter.
.I use the Sleek Face Form Palette, in dark, which comes with both bronzer and highlight shades. I also use my Nars Creamy Concealer, which is a little lighter than my base, as my lighter shade in some areas.
.you can use powder or cream product. I use mostly powder, because I don’t contour and highlight everyday and powders have a longer shelf life.
.you can use any bronzer that is darker than your natural skin and suits your colouring, or if you prefer cream products you can use a concealer stick, like this one, in a shade or two darker than your skin. I personally find powder easier to control.
.I apply the darker shade in areas I want to appear to recede – this will vary a little from face to face, but for me that’s the hollows of my cheeks and my jawline. I use a smallish fluffy brush (mine is the contour brush that comes in this set), and follow the line from the top of my ear to the corner of my mouth, stopping about two fingers’ width from my mouth.
.the key for me is to use a brush that’s small enough so that I can control where the product goes, and keep the line defined, but blended enough to look natural.
. I apply the lighter shade to areas I want to highlight, areas that light would naturally hit. I use concealer under the eyes and around the nose, and the powder highlight on my brow bone, cupids bow and the tops of my cheeks.
.the powder highlight is quite subtle – it gives me a dewy glow – so it’s hard to go wrong!

Is contouring part of your everyday makeup routine, do you dabble like me, or are you way too low maintenance for any of this?


Makeup Bag Minimalism : #4 The Everyday Blush

December 7, 2014


I’m reducing my makeup bag down to the essentials one product at a time. See my full Makeup Bag Minimalism series here.

With the exception of foundation, I find blusher the most difficult makeup product to buy. I never know where to start: pinky or peachy, cream or powder. Minefield. (It’s possible I’m over thinking things a tad).

All hail the Space NK sales assistant – I asked for a subtle blush that would suit my skin tone and she gave me a dab of Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Soft Clove. It’s never something I would have picked out myself, but on the skin it’s the perfect muted shade. Haven’t looked back since…

Until now. It has come to my attention that Soft Clove has been DISCONTINUED. Tear. So I’ll soon be in the market for a new everyday blush shade. To prepare myself, I did a little research and pulled out these six core shades:


Maybe I’ll add one of these to my collection soon:

Light Pink | Benefit Dandelion Pink Perk-Me-Up Face Powder
Peach | Nars Blush in Orgasm
Rose | Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush
Apricot | Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Spiced Cider
Fuchsia | Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak
Tangerine | Paul and Joe Creamy Cheek Powder in Number 4
Bronze | Mac Powder Blush in Raizin

Do you have a favourite blush?


Makeup Bag Minimalism : #3 Foundation & Powder

November 19, 2014

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser and Loose Setting Powder

I’m reducing my makeup bag down to the essentials one product at a time. See my full Makeup Bag Minimalism series here.

Foundation. It’s in the name really. A good foundation is the basis of your makeup routine. Most of the time I prefer a lighter coverage, so tinted moisturiser is my daily go-to. Laura Mercier is the best colour match for me, but I also get on really well with Nars and Bobbi Brown’s formulations.

It’s really handy to have a light everyday base, that’s foolproof to apply (even in a rush) and that wears well throughout the day. That’s Laura Mercier for me #foreverrepurchased. I wrote a full review a few weeks ago, here.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser and Loose Setting Powder

Powder is also definitely an essential for me. If you have drier skin, it’s probably not so much of a concern, but I need to set my t-zone unless I want my makeup to last for all of 10 minutes.

The Translucent Loose Setting Powder from Laura Mercier is my absolute favourite. One issue I’ve had with translucent powders in the past, is that they can sometimes make me look a little ashy. Laura Mercier doesn’t do this at all. It sets my make up, takes away the shine, without making it look like there is a layer of powder sitting on my face. I love it! Another #foreverrepurchased. I’ve also just received a little sample of the Invisible Loose Setting Powder from LM. Looking forward to seeing how that compares!

I could definitely stop there, but I’ve recently been looking for a base with a bit more coverage for special occasions (photo ops!). In my experience, matching a new foundation can be difficult to get right. I’ve tried lots of different brands, but have yet to find a great medium/heavy coverage foundation. At £30+ a bottle, (non-drugstore) foundation isn’t cheap. Once you’ve opened it up, you can’t return it, so you want to get it right – for me that means a perfect colour match and a formulation that gives me the finish I want.

These are a few of my tips for shopping for a new foundation:

  • Start early – you need to see the foundation on in natural daylight to check the colour match is right for you. There’s no point going to the store at 5pm in November.
  • Don’t rush – Try on one product at a time, have a look at it in natural light, and then walk around with it on for a while. Ideally you want to see how it looks and feels after a couple of hours of wear.
  • Bring a mirror – shop assistants will lend you a mirror so that you can go and look at your makeup outside, but it’s good to take one with you as well. That way, after you’ve walked away, and worn it for a few hours, you can have another look.
  • Get a sample – ask if you can take a sample with you so you can put it on the next day yourself, and wear it as . Do you still like the colour? The texture? The finish?
  • If you’re not sure, leave it – if you’re not 100%, don’t buy it. Like I said it’s expensive and you have to wear it ON YOUR FACE. You want something that makes you feel comfortable.

Are you as meticulous as me when shopping for new foundation? Do you have any other tips for finding a great match?