Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Swatches – Kim KW & Very Victoria

I got these lipsticks for either Christmas or my birthday – it’s hard to remember which when your birthday is on Boxing Day! I thought I’d do some swatches and share my thoughts on them in case you were interested in purchasing them for yourself, or like me, you just love lipstick.

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These lipsticks come in gorgeous, vintage-style rose gold packaging and feel very luxurious in your hand. The lipsticks themselves are slightly different to your standard lipstick because of the squared off tip. I’m not convinced this makes a dramatic improvement to application though so it makes no difference to me.

The two shades I have here are Very Victoria, which is in the Matte Revolution formula, and Kim KW, which was part of the Hot Lips collection and I believe is in the K.I.S.S.I.N.G formula. I hadn’t seen these in person before I got them so I had to go off pictures I found online. Luckily I was happy with the colours – they are beautiful. I was hoping Very Victoria would be a shade close to MAC’s Velvet Teddy and it’s not too far off.

charlotte tilbury hot lips kim kw kardashian west review swatch

Kim KW is such a gorgeous, pale, pinky-peach nude! It’s probably not to everyone’s taste but I love it and it’s certainly the kind of shade that Kim Kardashian-West became known for.

The finish of this lipstick is quite high-shine and glossy which is a nice change when you’ve been wearing matte lips a lot. I will say that I occasionally find the formula a bit gloopy so it definitely looks best if applied to freshly exfoliated lips otherwise you could become victim to the dreaded inner lips lipstick line. It does feel lovely on the lips though, you can feel it there but not in a bad way and it does help hydrate. Despite being fairly glossy it’s not sticky and it lasts rather well! I love this one and it’s my favourite of the two.

charlotte tilbury matte revolution lipstick swatch review very victoria

Very Victoria is a hard to describe shade, I’d say it’s kind of a brown-pink nude. It has a matte finish but not the kind of matte you get from a liquid lipstick. It’s still got that tiny bit of sheen that allows it to still be hydrating and non-drying.

I like this lipstick but I don’t love it. There’s something about the pigmentation and application that just didn’t wow me – and you kind of want to be wowed with a price of £24. It could partly be to do with the fact this colour is fairly similar to my natural lip colour. Without trying another colour lipstick in this Matte Revolution formula I can’t say for sure. It is however a nice enough lipstick that feels good on the lips and lasts a reasonable amount of time. A lack of creaminess and super amazingly intense pigment just makes me question whether at £24 it’s really worth it. I think I need to try it with a lip liner and see if that changes anything! I’m still on the fence with this one.

So, a quick re-cap. I love the Kim KW shade and am not head over heels for Very Victoria. I’m not convinced these lipsticks are all they’re raved up to be for £24 either. As much as I love Kim KW, it’s more the shade than the formula that wins me over. I also think the photographs on the Charlotte Tilbury website are inaccurate! Maybe it’s just my screen resolution but when I look at these shades on the screen and in real life they just don’t look the same – studio lighting does not give the truest representation so I hope I’ve helped someone with my natural light photos haha.

Charlotte Tilbury is widely available now in John Lewis and House of Fraser, and online at CharlotteTilbury.com, Feelunique and CultBeauty.

Love Nicole xxxx

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KIKO Extra Sculpt Volume Mascara Review

I bought the KIKO Extra Sculpt Volume Mascara (£8.90) when I was in need of a new one after hearing the beautiful KathleenLights rave about it in her YouTube videos. It was pretty affordable at £8.90 (I paid full price but it’s often on offer for £3.90) and she made it sound so amazing and as good if not better than high end alternatives! Thus naturally, it was an obvious choice when I was in need of a new mascara.

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I understand KIKO is not the most accessible brand in the UK but it is getting more and more so. Stores are popping up over the country and it’s easy to order online if there’s not one near you – I had a very good experience ordering from their website.

The packaging of this mascara is a bit bulky in my opinion and it’s not my favourite! I do prefer a more simple, round tube but having said that this angular shape makes it a hell of a lot easier to take photographs of, ha!

The effect this mascara gives is wonderful! I certainly agree that it’s a volumising mascara and I didn’t find it clumpy – I don’t mind a bit of a clumpy look anyway! It held the curl I achieved with my eyelash curlers well and it didn’t smudge or run despite me being prone to watery eyes. It did however flake a bit but it was nothing of major concern to me.

Despite really liking the look it gives I do find you have to work for it. This is because of the rather giant brush. I like the shape of it and I do think this helps with reaching the corners of the lashes however I tended to make a right mess when I used this mascara! I like to really get in there and coat everything multiple times as I like my lashes as big as possible (without looking like spider legs though) and I found I got it everywhere. The bristles are very dense and don’t really envelope the lashes very well so you do need to repeat a lot to get into everything nook and cranny leading to, for me anyway, a bit of a clean up job with a cotton bud after. The brush definitely took me some getting used to but I did get better with it and gradually made less of a mess each time I used it. If you’re more into a quick coat of mascara and are not all that bothered about drenching your lashes in the stuff like I am then I think you’d be really happy with the quick volumising effect it gives!

Overall, it really is a great mascara and offers good value especially if you buy it when it’s on offer for £3.90. I don’t completely love it because of the clunky brush and the mess I make with it but I would buy it again!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits: Prosecco Pop and Amaretto

In January I snapped up one of these Champagne Splits from Becca’s collaboration with Jaclyn Hill. There was a choice of four split pans containing one highlighter and one blusher. I wanted to get the ‘Amaretto/Prosecco Pop’ split as I really liked the look of the blush colour ‘Amaretto! Plus, I hadn’t treated myself to a new blush in a loooong time.

I know I’m a bit late posting about this as it was Limited Edition, however, Becca have recently introduced ‘Prosecco Pop’ into their permanent collection so it’s still worth showing a swatch! Who knows, maybe even ‘Amaretto’ will be released as a separate, permanent blush in future.

Firstly, the packaging is gorgeous. It’s in Becca’s signature little ‘spaceship’ compact as I like to call it, but this time the outside is gold! How beautiful?! <3

Whilst this little duo swatched nicely, I’m sad to say they didn’t really impress me on the face.

Regarding ‘Prosecco Pop’, the highlight shade, I think it’s mostly a case of the shade just not really suiting my complexion! This is a true gold and I think it could look very pretty on medium-darker skintones but on my skin it doesn’t really show up much. It mainly looks like I’ve just got some glitter on my cheeks because, as with most Becca pressed highlighters, it’s pretty sparkly! However, I wasn’t really expecting to love ‘Prosecco Pop’ and I mainly purchased this product to try out the cheek colour – ‘Amaretto’. I do love their ‘Champagne Pop’ highlighter shade though which was Jaclyn Hill’s first release with Becca – that one suits me much better!

Unfortunately, I haven’t fallen in love with ‘Amaretto’. Whilst I do love the colour, it’s a kind of terracotta shade, I’ve found it quite hard to work with. It is highly pigmented so it’s best to use a light hand and build it up slowly to ensure you don’t go overboard – especially on paler skins! I also found it quite difficult to blend which means if you do go a bit over the top and apply too much, it’s not the easiest to blend out to tone down. It just seems quite dry and heavy! I think this shade will be pretty in summer when I’ll hopefully catch some sun. I’ll continue to use it of course but it’s not left me excited to try any other Becca blushes.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette – Swatches & Review

I’ve had this palette since Christmas so I’ve had enough opportunity to test it out and gather my thoughts. This is the Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette (£9.99) that you can buy from various retailers like Superdrug, Boots and Feel Unique. It contains two baked powders, one cream formula and one shimmer powder.

I love all the shades but I must admit I’ve not actually used the cream formula on my face yet. Creams are not really something I reach for on a daily basis but it swatched nicely so I might get around to using it one day! My favourite is probably Subsolar (the shimmery, yellow shade) closely followed by Hemisphere (the pinky shade). I’ve found that they last well on my face.

As you can see in the swatches, this palette has some pretty intense colour payoff! However, the swatches are with my finger so of course this is not the effect you get on your face when you use a makeup brush. I use a fan brush from EcoTools to apply these highlighters and I find that works really well and picks up enough pigment to still deliver a very intense highlight but not leave a ‘stripe’ of product. I’m sure some people would find it too much but for me I love the finish!

The highlighters are encased in a beautiful gold case which is quite unusual and luxurious for an affordable, ‘drugstore’ brand! Yes, it may be prone to finger prints but it’ll look beautiful on your Instagram feed. 😉 Speaking of which, follow me @nicolelauraxo!

If you want an intense highlight for an affordable price and that is easy to get hold of in the UK, then you can’t really go far wrong with this palette from Sleek.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Skinny Dip

I wanted to share this absolutely gorgeous shade of liquid lipstick. It is one of the Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipsticks (£11.50) and is in the shade ‘Skinny Dip’. I don’t know exactly how to describe the shade, it’s a nude that leans towards pink and brown but I feel like there’s a hint of mauve too. Whatever it is, I think it’s one of my favourite shades!

The formula of these is really nice. It’s not at all drying for a liquid lipstick. The application is lovely; it’s creamy and opaque and you can do your entire lips with one dip. It takes a few minutes to dry down to a matte finish. When it does it gives a velvety, plush appearance and I find it doesn’t enhance the lines on my lips as much as some other liquid lipsticks. It’s not completely faultless, I have had a few incidences where it’s broken apart slightly or formed that weird white line around the inside of your lips, but this isn’t the norm and is probably caused by me not exfoliating my lips beforehand or eating something! So I wouldn’t let that put you off and I say definitely give them a go if you love the matte lip look. It is a very nice formula and not too expensive. The frosted glass packaging is also a nice touch. 😉

What do you think of the colour? If you have any questions on the formula, please feel free to ask me in the comments!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit – Surreal Light Review

While it’s still available, I wanted to do a quick review of the most recent Ambient Lighting Edit from Hourglass. You can still buy it from Space NK (£69).

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To look at, the palette is undeniably gorgeous. Encased in luxurious, matte marble, plastic packaging are 5 different ambient lighting powder products. There is one all-over setting powder (that’s the largest pan), two blush shades, a bronzing shade and a strobe powder. Here is the description of the different powders taken from the Space NK website:

“• Surreal Light: a sheer nude powder evoking the magic hour of perfect lighting

Surreal Bronze Light: a neutral tan shade fused with Surreal Light, for a subtle, natural warmth

Surreal Glow: a pale peony pink blush mixed with Surreal Light for a delicate flush

Surreal Effect: a cool, pink rose fused with a soft, warm peach for a pop of flattering color

Surreal Strobe Light: a glimmering peach powder imparting an alluring highlight”

The palette is a perfect travel companion too as it’s got all you need in terms of complexion powders.

One thing I will say is the pans are pretty small so using big brushes is not the easiest. Especially with the setting powder and the bronzer, where you tend to use a bigger brush, you have to kind of squish your brush so you don’t pick up product from the neighbouring pans! It’s not a big deal though and I’ve gotten used to it. 🙂

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L-R: Surreal Light, Surreal Glow, Surreal Effect, Surreal Bronze Light, Surreal Strobe Light

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I really love this palette! When used all over my face as a setting powder, the Surreal Light shade makes me look so healthy and glowy – it’s beautiful. These ambient lighting powders are gorgeous because they don’t look particularly ‘powdery‘ on your skin. This means you can set your makeup without having to look completely matte or cake-faced.

The blushes are beautiful shades and give a pretty, healthy pop of colour to your cheeks with an added glow.

I actually really love the Surreal Bronze Light shade! I’m fairly light-skinned so what I love about this shade is that I find it almost impossible to go overboard with. I know it’s pretty pale as far as bronzers go but that’s what I like about it. It just warms up my complexion and has no orange-ness to it. It looks so natural and gives me such a gorgeous, healthy colour! However, I can see this being pretty useless as a bronzer on medium-dark skin tones.

The last shade to talk about is Surreal Strobe Light, which is my least favourite in the palette unfortunately. It’s a gold toned shade to be used as a highlighter. My problem with it is how glittery it is! There is a lot of glitter in here. I feel like when I apply it to my cheekbones there’s not all that much colour pay-off or sheen, the overriding effect is glitter, which is not really my vibe for highlighters. I’ll still use it, it’s not terrible, it’s just not my ideal highlighter.

Overall, I am very happy with this palette and don’t regret buying it! Hourglass’ powders are beautiful and I love how convenient this palette will be for when I’m staying overnight at my boyfriend’s or going on short trips and need to pack light.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette – Review

I had resisted buying this palette for so long! But there is such fuss (and it is frankly unavoidable on Instagram) whenever it is restocked that the latest time it was restocked on Beauty Bay I caved and paid my £41 for this hugely hyped palette.

So, what do I think of it and do I have any regrets? It’s not exactly a cheap palette after all!

The short answers to those questions are: it’s beautiful and no, I have no regrets.

I would say this is predominantly a warm toned palette and the colours very much appeal to me. I think it is a very thoughtfully put together palette; it has a fantastic range of colours that can be used to create all sorts of different looks. There are plenty of matte brown-y shades that make great crease colours or all over lid colours for a neutral look. Also, there’s the dark brown ‘Cyprus Umber’ if you want to make things a bit darker and more smokey. Then you have non-neutral options in the form of the reds, pinks and purples. Finally, there’s ‘Tempera’ and ‘Vermeer’ which are gorgeous ‘highlight’ type shades. ‘Tempera’ I find is beautiful under the brow and ‘Vermeer’ is a lovely inner corner highlight. But of course, you can do whatever the hell you want with each colour!

The formula of the shadows is quite powdery however I don’t find this a problem when applying them to my eyes. I don’t find I get much, if any, fall-out under my eyes after I’ve applied them. They are a gorgeous texture and super pigmented; the swatches were so easy to do, that is what they look like with one swipe! I don’t think there are really any ‘dud’ shades as such, I initially had a few problems blending ‘Warm Taupe’ but I’ve learned it’s better to build that one up slowly. Overall they are pretty dreamy eye shadows!

A word on the packaging: I bloody love it! I don’t think it can get anymore ‘up my street’ than pink velvet (give me pink velvet boots, skirts, cushions…) so this palette is a thing of beauty to me inside and out. I can see how it can potentially get very dirty and be difficult to clean but I am going to treasure mine and keep it as clean as possible in its box.

The only downside I can find with the palette is that it says it has a 6 month expiry. What is that about?! That seems really short for a powder product so I don’t know what’s in the shadows that has warranted such a short expiry date. However, I view the dates on products as a guideline and if there’s still plenty of shadow left in this palette after 6 months, which I suspect there will be, I’ll just be using my common sense as to whether it’s still okay to use. I’m not going to just chuck a £41 palette in the bin! However, it has made me conscious to use this often and not be precious about it.

So, do I recommend buying this palette? If you like the colour range and have the funds, then absolutely! I was prepared to be disappointed after all the hype I’d read/seen about this one but I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I love this palette!

Love Nicole xxxx

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P.S the brush that comes with it is actually not half bad! A usable brush in a palette for once – shocker!

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Latest Makeup Empties with Mini Reviews

I am back with another makeup empties post! I never know how popular these are but I personally find it really interesting to see what people think once they’ve finished a product. Finding out whether they would buy it again, or not, is surely one of the most indicative pieces of info to help you decide whether something is worth buying.

First up is a trio of base products.

Let’s start with the Essence Stay All Day 16h Concealer (£2.50). I was hoping this would be an affordable gem but I did not get on with this. In fact, I didn’t even finish it because I found it did nothing, but I did give it to my sister to try to see if she likes it; we all have different preferences so who knows, it might work for her. I used it under my eyes and I personally found it to have very poor coverage! It was quite a liquidy, watery formula and I do tend to prefer concealers that are quite creamy and thick. It was a fail for me.

Next up, the bareMinerals Illuminating Mineral Veil (£21). I bought this to use as an all-over setting powder and I actually quite liked it! However, if I were to buy it again I think I would get the non ‘illuminating’ version. I didn’t find it ridiculously ‘sparkly’ or anything, but it was just a little bit too much for me. However, the formula is great and it helped my makeup to last all day and it didn’t look cakey. I also like the packaging, which has a twist closure to keep the product locked in so it doesn’t go everywhere like many loose powder products are prone to.

Something I was very sad to find in my empties was the eye wateringly expensive Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (£40) in the shade Diffused Light. These are truly gorgeous powders and I used it all over my face as a setting powder, similarly to the bareMinerals one I spoke about above. It ensured I never looked too matte or powdery but it helped my makeup to last. It did give a luminous effect, I won’t go too crazy with hyperbole because it’s not a complete miracle worker, but it does give you a pretty, natural looking glow and doesn’t look too ‘made up’. If I was feeling flush I would buy again but I would probably try a different shade, just because I love trying new stuff! If you saw my recent Space NK Haul you’ll see I bought the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette which has a new shade of the Ambient Lighting Powder, so I’m covered for the time being. 🙂

I think I discussed this NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray (£7) in a previous post I did on my NYX Collection, so I’ll keep it fairly brief. I did really like this setting spray. I haven’t tried loads of others so can’t say it’s the best in the whole world but for the price it does pretty much everything I would want it to. The main thing for me is to keep my face looking as fresh as possible and not too powdery which I felt this did. It helped my makeup to all mesh together. I probably would repurchase!

Onto mascaras I’ve finished and I’ll begin with the best – the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (£19. I’m not one to venture frequently into high end mascaras as I don’t think it’s a product you need to spend loads of money on for results. However, I will definitely buy a full size of this in the future! It is a brilliant mascara that makes your lashes so thick and full! The brush is pretty big and it took me a while to get to grips with, but once I learned to apply it and not get it all over my eyelids I fell in love. If you love big lashes then I definitely recommend trying this.

An affordable mascara that unfortunately did not impress me and I would not repurchase was the SEVENTEEN Falsifeye HD Mascara (£6.99). I like big lashes and this didn’t give me them. I feel like the brush just doesn’t pack enough product onto the lashes and the plastic bristles are quite short and insubstantial.

I bought this Kiko Unforgettable Mascara (£7.20) last year when they had a deal on their website. It was okay. I had high hopes for it as the brush looked promising however it didn’t wow me and I wouldn’t repurchase. I think the brush was maybe a little too dense so that it couldn’t quite grab and completely envelope the lashes to make them reach their full potential.

I’m pretty sure I’ve raved about this next product before on my blog. NYX Micro Brow Pencil (£7) is an excellent, fuss-free eye brow pencil. It’s twist up so no need to sharpen (perfect for the lazy among us, *guilty*) and has a brush on the other end to tame your brows. I had the shade Ash Brown which was a pretty perfect match for me and I have already bought another one.

The next product is very similar and equally as good. The Soap & Glory™ Archery™ 2-in-1 Brow Filling Pencil & Brush (£8) is likewise a twist up pencil with a brush on the other end. The application and formula is just as good as NYX’s. The only downside is that there is only two shades so unless one of these suits you, you’d be stuck.

Last up, I’m afraid it’s another Seventeen product that I really thoroughly disliked and didn’t actually finish because I just couldn’t bare to use it. The SEVENTEEN Make Your Mark Soft Eyeliner Pen (£3.99) is just not comfortable to use at all! The tip of the pen is just far too stiff and rigid and scrapes against your eye! Eyes are sensitive things and I don’t want to feel like I’m scratching my eye out, it was genuinely painful at times! Additionally, it was not super black either and I couldn’t bare to press any harder to see if I could get better colour pay-off. I definitely wouldn’t buy this again, but I do actually like Seventeen as a brand so despite having a bad experience with two of their products I’ve talked about in this post I will continue to keep up to date with things they release and try new things.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these products I’ve finished and make sure you sign up to my email subscription or follow me on Bloglovin!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Cult Beauty Haul

As you may or may not know, if you have an account with Cult Beauty, they will email you a 15% code to use during your birthday month. I, of course, wanted to take up this offer, and this is what I chose to buy. As with my previous post, this post is mainly just to show you what I’ve bought and I will do some detailed review and swatches posts in future when I’ve tested out the products. 🙂

I absolutely love trying new foundation and I’ve been eager to try Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation (£29.50). Unfortunately, the discount code does not apply to Charlotte Tilbury products (there is a selection of brands that Cult Beauty don’t allow discounts on) so I paid full price still, but for a high end foundation it’s not too badly priced. I found it very difficult to pick a shade and was deliberating for ages on which one to go for. I eventually went for Shade 3 and it’s not an awful match, but it’s not perfect either, I think one of the others may have been better but hey ho, I’ll make it work. I’ve used it a few times and I actually really like it! I’ll explain more in a more dedicated post.

Next, I’d been wanting to try a Zoeva eyeshadow palette for a long time. They have an amazing array of choice, but, trying to sensible I tried to think what I was lacking in terms of eyeshadow shades. I realised I had very few cool toned sort of shades, so I ended up going for the En Taupe Eyeshadow Palette (£18). It is such a gorgeous palette and I love the colours!

Lastly, I decided to go for a fancy hair product. I don’t very often invest in hair as I find makeup and skincare much more exciting, but Jen Atkin’s new brand ‘Ouai’ has been all over instagram and the blogosphere so I wanted to give a product a try! My hair is often pretty flat so I thought a texturising spray would be a good choice. I bought the Ouai Texturising Hair Spray (£22). It’s okay so far, but I’m not sure it’s going to live up to my expectations of its high price tag.

Love Nicole xxxx

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A January Space NK Haul

As I also did last January (see what I got in 2016 here), I had a little spendy time on the Space NK website to spend some of my Christmas and Birthday money. This post is just to show you what I got really, but I’ll be sure to do some more detailed posts, with swatches, at a later date when I’ve had a proper play with the products.

Firstly, try as I might I just could not resist the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit in Surreal Light (£69). The palette is absolutely stunning and encased in gorgeous marble packaging. It was ridiculously expensive but I have tried one of Hourglass’ powders before (in the shade Diffused Light) and it was gorgeous and I had recently run out of it. So as well as a new setting powder I also get to try some of the ambient lighting blushes, a bronzer and a highlight. So far I am loving it.

Secondly, I had been wanting to try the Amaretto + Prosecco Pop duo of the BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits (£32) for ages. I was really happy to see it was in stock when I was browsing the Space NK website so it was a must-buy! The packaging, again, is so pretty. It’s the same as their permanent Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlight packaging, however, it has gold casing – so gorgeous! The colour of the blush is lovely and I don’t own anything else like it.

Lastly, because it was on sale for about £24, I bought Kevyn Aucoin The Contour Book Vol. 1.0 (£47). I thought it was a good opportunity to try a number of Kevyn Aucoin products as I’d never tried anything from the brand before, and particularly The Sculpting Powder which is a favourite of many. The pans are relatively small so using a big-ish brush can be difficult but I’ll make it work. The ‘book’ comes with some step by step guides which look very helpful and informative as I’m still definitely not a contouring expert.

As I said, I am sure I’ll do separate posts on each of these products in future to give my thoughts on them. Thankfully, so far though, I have no regrets!

Love Nicole xxxx

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