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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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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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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Hylamide Low Molecular HA – Review

I wanted to talk about my new favourite hyaluronic acid serum! This is the Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster (RRP £18). Hyaluronic acid is a popular skincare ingredient that we do have in our bodies naturally but when used topically it can really help to hydrate the skin! I have used two other serums with a notable amount of hyaluronic acid in them – Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Facial Serum (RRP £24.99) and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£22.50) – however this one from Hylamide is definitely the one I have personally found most effective in terms of hydration.

I really like the look of the packaging, it looks very high-tech and scientific! I’m not completely sold on the pipette dispenser, but it has come in handy now that I’m running very low on the serum as I can use it to suck up the last bit at the bottom. When it was new I just tended to wipe off the excess on the pipette and use that as opposed to squeezing it out – looking back this probably wasn’t the most hygienic thing I could have done lol. I’ve gotten used to the pipette now so it doesn’t put me off repurchasing it but I do always prefer a pump.

The serum itself is more liquid that the other two hyaluronic serums I’ve tried (mentioned in the intro) that were more gel-like. I think I prefer it being more liquid as I reckon this is partly why I have found it so hydrating. Having said this it’s still by no means incredibly runny and doesn’t move like water, it still clings to the pipette and is not drippy.

The more I’ve used it the more I’ve found that a little can go a long way. At first I was probably using too much and I could have made the bottle last a lot longer. Using it both morning and evening on most days, I reckon by the time I’ve finished the bottle it will have lasted about 2 .5-3 months which is not bad for a product that RRP’s at £18 and that you can often use discount codes on.

I have definitely noticed a difference in the hydration of my skin since using this serum. The texture when applied to your face is initially a bit sticky but it sinks in very quickly allowing you to apply your moisturiser. When I’ve used this I no longer wake up with ‘tight’ feeling skin in the morning which is great! Maybe the 5 forms of hyaluronic compounds said to be within this serum are the secret to its effective skin quenching abilities!

I definitely recommend trying this if you think you have dehydrated skin, which you can have with any skin type, even if you’re oily!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Skincare, Bodycare and Perfume Empties with Mini Reviews

Following on from my Makeup Empties post, here is the rest of the stuff I accumulated. There’s a real assortment so I’m going to do my best to keep it short and to the point.

I had this mini size of the ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (£40). I absolutely loved it as it was delightful to use; it felt so luxurious and nourishing. I’d love to say I would buy it again but I don’t think I could bring myself to pay the large price tag… Maybe if I ever have a very well paid job! But if you do have the money to spend on luxury skincare I totally recommend.

The Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash (£16) was not to my taste at all. I didn’t hate it, but the formula is more of a (as it says in the name) ‘wash’ and is kind of foaming and I prefer balms or creams. I didn’t like how it felt and I didn’t like the smell.

I’ve written a whole post on the Trilogy Make-up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (£20.50) so if you want more detail have a read of that but in short I think it’s a fantastic cleansing balm and I enjoyed using it and would buy it again.

A collection of makeup removers next…

I really didn’t like the Boots Time Delay Daily Cleansing Micellar Cleansing Water (£4.49). I found it really stung my eyes and wasn’t that effective at taking makeup off. It took a lot of cotton pads drenched in the stuff to get everything off. I would not buy it again.

The next product however I have already bought again – Botanics All Bright Soothing Eye Make Up Remover (£2.50). I really like this eye makeup remover and I agree that it is soothing. It has a very oily, silicone-y feel on the skin which will probably not be to everyone’s taste but I love it and it’s probably what I find soothing about it.

Another Botanics product, the All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution (£2.50), was okay. It was better than the Boots Time Delay one but it still wasn’t the most gentle on my eyes. I found it slightly drying also. As I’ve spoken about in earlier empties posts, I love the other micellar water by Botanics – the Hydration Burst 3 in 1 Micellar Cleanser (£4).

The Lush Eau Roma Water (£4.50 for 100g) was a bit of a meh product for me. It took me ages to use it up as I just didn’t really enjoy using it, probably partly to do with the fact I don’t really love the smell of lavender. I also found it would irritate my eyes if they were feeling a bit sore already. I wouldn’t repurchase.

A product however I love, and have given it’s own post, is the Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz (£4). I really like this product and I think it’s great value. It’s very refreshing and gives a boost of hydration. I would definitely buy it again.

The Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) is such a popular product within the beauty community and I count myself as a fan. I already have another bottle on the go! I didn’t find it performed any miracles for me personally, but that’s likely because I was no stranger to glycolic acid when I first used it so my skin was already in pretty good nick. I just find it a gentle, reliable liquid exfoliator that I can use morning and evening to upkeep my skin condition.

The Antipodes Joyous Night Replenish Serum (£39.99) took me a long time to use up. This is a pricey product and I’m afraid I don’t think it was worth it, even though when I bought it I got it for around £25. I didn’t really notice any benefits from it that I hadn’t seen from less expensive serums. I love Antipodes as a brand and how natural everything is and you can tell this serum (to me, it’s more like an oil) is beautiful quality with lovely ingredients, it just personally didn’t do much for me. Hence, I would not repurchase.

I bought the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum (£22.50) when I was looking for a good hyaluronic acid serum. I read a good review on it on Paula’s Choice so I thought it’d be a good one to try. I did really like this serum but it didn’t completely wow me in terms of hydration. I also found I finished it really quickly which was annoying as it’s not cheap. Having said that, I think I probably would buy it again as I did like it and apparently it’s fantastic for anti-oxidants.

The Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (£22.99) seems to be a popular mask among the blogs I read and rightly so! I enjoyed using this mask and reaping the benefits of the anti bacterial manuka honey. It was great for stubborn spotty skin and I would definitely buy it again.

A rather fun to use product is the Pixi Glow Mud Mask (£18)! It’s a black colour and makes you look rather terrifying when you put it on. I loved/hated how it would dry and I could see all of my pores as black dots on my nose and cheeks! The tube surprised me with how tiny it is but actually it did last me a long time as you really don’t need to use much. However, I’m not sure I noticed any real, tangible benefits from using the mask, and it’s not exactly cheap so I’m not sure I would buy it again.

As of right now, the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 (£28) is my holy grail daily moisturiser. I have written its own dedicated post which you can read here if you’d like to know why. I’m onto my third tube now I think.

The unscented Salt of the Earth Spray Deodorant (£3.99) is a pleasant enough natural deodorant however I much preferred the other version shown here which is the Salt of the Earth Pure Aura Women’s Natural Deodorant (£5.99). I just prefer my deodorant to have a scent and this one smells incredible. I have written a whole post on these deodorants if you’d like to read more. I would definitely buy the Pure Aura one again!

I absolutely love this body lotion and can’t believe I hadn’t tried it before. The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Body Lotion (£3.75) is so thick and creamy to use and I feel it really does give deep moisturisation as well as smelling amazing. I’ve already purchased another bottle of it and I love that it’s so affordable and available in so many shops.

I finally finished up one of my favourite perfumes – Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gioia. It had started to smell a bit funny tbh because I’d had it so long so I was making a conscious effort to use it up before it went past the point of no return. Unfortunately, Giorgio Armani is not a cruelty free brand so I’m not sure if I will repurchase in the near future. It’ll be hard not to because I love it but hopefully one day all cosmetics companies will go cruelty free.

I don’t think this Antigua fragrance by Next is available anymore but it smelt bloomin’ gorgeous! It seems to be available as a reed diffuser and candle though. I may have to buy that candle…

Lastly, I got this sample size of the this works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (£16) from a magazine. I rather optimistically hoped this would miraculously knock out my anxious mind every night but, alas, it did not. It smells good and like it should be calming and I believe that it does work for some people but for me, I just seem to be resistant to this sort of stuff.

Phew, we have reached the end! I hope you enjoyed reading my opinions on these products I’ve finished and remember to subscribe or follow me on Bloglovin!

Best wishes, Nicole xxxx

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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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My Favourite Chemical Exfoliants | Nip and Fab, Pixi, Alpha H, Paula’s Choice

I am a big advocate for the benefits of using chemical exfoliants. In fact, as you may have seen in my Current Skincare Routine post I use them every single day and night! I used to have quite bad, spotty skin, and I still think I would if I didn’t control it to some extent with the help of these products. They essentially help your skin cells to turnover therefore hopefully lessening the chances of pores getting blocked and forming spots. I still have far from perfect skin, but it is much, much better than it was before I introduced products such as these into my routine. I am generally much happier being seen minus makeup and when I am wearing makeup it looks so much better because of fewer lumps and bumps.

And just in case you don’t have a clue where these would fit in your routine, they should be used straight after cleansing and before any moisturisers, serums or oils.

pixi glow tonic nip and fab glycolic fix daily cleansing pads alpha h liquid gold paulas choice skin perfecting 2% bha liquid exfoliant

I love and recommend all of the products pictured but I thought I’d try to break them down to help you see which one might be best suited to your needs! Most of these are AHA (glycolic acid) products but there are a couple which contain BHA (salicylic acid).

If you’re on a budget…

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads (£12.99) and Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme (£14.95) are absolutely amazing if you’d prefer to keep costs down. The prices in brackets are just the RRP but I’ve never paid full price for these as they are nearly always on some sort of offer at either Superdrug or Boots. I got this pot of the original pads for £5 from Superdrug last month – absolute bargain! I love these pads and they were the first chemical exfoliant product I tried and they completely changed my skin for the better with daily use. The extreme version contains both AHAs and BHAs so if you have particularly problem skin they could potentially be a good choice.

If you have sensitive skin...

I was surprised how gentle Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) was when I first tried it! The formulation is quite natural based and refined and it is an alcohol free formula which is great in terms of not drying out or irritating your skin. However, the ingredients list does include fragrance which surprised me as it doesn’t really smell of anything at all – maybe that’s the idea. Overall though I think this a brilliant option if you have a more sensitive skin type thanks to its gentle formula containing soothing ingredients.

If you’ve used glycolic products before and want something more extreme with noticeable results…

If you’re looking to brighten your complexion and even out your skin tone all whilst effectively resurfacing your skin to help prevent blockages, then Alpha H Liquid Gold (£33.50) may be a worthwhile investment. Again, shop around and look out for discount codes and offers and you can save yourself £££s off the hefty price tag. I do really think it’s worth a splurge though – this is my second bottles of it, which I got in a supersize! I generally use this as an intensive treatment overnight whereby I cleanse and then apply this to my skin and leave it overnight without applying any subsequent products. I find I wake up with my skin looking much brighter with less redness which is amazing.

If you’ve got oily and/or problematic, spotty skin and/or you don’t get on with glycolic acid…

This is my one recommendation that is a solely BHA product containing 2% salicylic acid. It is from Paula’s Choice and is called the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£25). This is excellent at getting into pores and controlling spots thanks to the salicylic acid. It feels almost velvety on the skin when you apply it which I found surprising – it does not feel harsh at all. However, whereas with all the other products I have mentioned which I would use every day and night, with this product and the fact salicylic is stronger and more drying than glycolic, I would only suggest using this one a maximum of once a day either morning or evening. I found when I used it both morning and evening my skin began to dry out and look a bit flakey which would look awful when I applied makeup. So I reckon once a day or once every other day would be the ideal, depending on how much your skin can take! If you’re particularly oily maybe you could cope with it twice a day, but that definitely wasn’t the case for me as someone with normal/dehydrated skin.

I hope you found this somewhat helpful and that I’ve intrigued you enough to make you try one of these great products. I couldn’t imagine my skin care routine without a chemical exfoliant now!

Love Nicole xxxx

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