May was all about brightening and lightening, for me. I've been really concentrating on getting my skin looking as good as possible, ready for Summer, by tweaking both my skincare and makeup routines. Of late, my makeup looks have mostly consisted of a flawless, but natural-looking base, bright eyes and a defined lip, which these products have helped me to achieve.
When it comes to eye creams, I'm incredibly fickle. I use one and, no matter how much I like it, I switch it up on my next purchase. What can I say? I get bored. My most recent eye cream is one I have already repurchased, though. The Nuxe Prodigieux Eye Cream anti-aging, anti-fatigue formula has won me over. Whilst I feel most eye creams don't actually do much other than moisturise, this one is different. Light, but extremely hydrating, it softens my under eye area more than sufficiently, without being greasy. This doesn't create any creasing when I apply my concealer on top of it, as long as i don't take it too close to the edges of my eyes. The best thing about this eye cream, though? It instantly brightens the eye area. The delicate skin around my eye contour literally seems to lighten a couple of shades and I can see a noticeable difference between where I've applied it and where I haven't. That's something I've never noticed with any other eye creams, unless they have a shimmer infused into them, which this one doesn't. At the tender age of 23, I never thought I'd be reaching for an anti-aging formula, but after using it, I do feel as though the fine lines I thought were there permanently after too many late nights and having quite dehydrated skin, have really reduced. Whether that's just a result of using this eye cream, I don't know, as I have been making a conscious effort to eat better and drink more water too. All I can do is keep using it and hope that the results continue to impress me and, if it is actually preventing/reversing aging around my eyes, that's just a bonus! As I always say, prevention is better than cure!
The pump bottle is a bit bulkier than a regular tube of eye cream, but it dispenses the perfect amount of cream for a single application. Plus, it keeps everything nice and hygienic. At £18.50, I don't think it's overpriced, considering I prefer it to my previous favourite, the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment, which is more expensive and you get slightly less product.
The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer has quite the flawless reputation, and rightly so. I've tried numerous concealers and thought that I'd found a solid set that would have me covered (excuse the pun) for every complexion mishap, but this one, single product knocks them all out of the park. Whether I need to make some dark circles disappear, banish some blemishes or illuminate the high points of my face, this concealer does the job. Total, triple threat. This is definitely a product that stays firmly zipped into my makeup bag and allows me to leave my base product and buffing brush on my dressing table. It provides ample coverage, whilst the creamy texture never looks heavy. Light-reflecting pigments give the skin a beautiful radiance, making it one of the most natural, fuller-coverage concealers out there. I'm not even sure how it's done, as there's no visible shimmer in there and it doesn't have an overly dewy feel, despite looking so glowing on the skin. I'm baffled. Even if i choose not to powder my skin afterwards, this miracle skin perfecter sticks around until I remove my makeup and, even in the heat, it doesn't slip and slide around or melt. I do have to powder over it under my eyes to prevent creasing, though. The doe-foot applicator allows you to dot the concealer on wherever you like and I find using the warmth of my ring finger to blend the cream, gives the best finish. For the Summer months, this is the perfect accompaniment to sheerer, tinted moisturisers, as it adds that extra coverage where you need it, without the need for a heavy foundation all over. Skin can breathe a sigh of relief.
There's ten shades available in the range, from a porcelain, off-white shade that will be a life-saver for girls that struggle to find a concealer light enough, through to some deep, rich shades, ideal for darker skin. My shade is, of course, the one that seems notoriously difficult to track down, 'Vanilla'. I must have had a surge of good luck when I picked mine up at Space NK, but I now regret not forking out for a few tubes in case I'm left in the lurch without it. As always with Nars, the packaging is sleek and simple, easily slotting into a makeup bag. Usually, I'd say that £22 is a rip off for a measly 6ml of product, but this concealer is so good, I'm happily willing to pay that and don't even experience any buyer's guilt.
Strictly, the Oskia Perfect Cleanser was a favourite of mine in April, but, when it comes to skincare, I'm sure we all know that we can't be so hasty to judge a product after only a week or two. Six weeks or so later, though, I think I can safely say that I have a new addition to my skincare shelf. Don't worry, Emma Hardie, you did nothing wrong. No, I just decided to try something new after going through about fifteen tubs of your Moringa balm. We're still on good terms and I haven't ruled you out forever.
Packed full of Vitamins, Omegas and a helping of Shea Butter, Oskia's Perfect Cleanser feels thicker and much more luxurious than other balms I've tried. Containing ingredients such as MSM and Zinc Glycine, which aid cell renewal and have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial properties, this formula has more to it than others on the market. The clear, emollient balm has a slightly grainy consistency to begin with, until you start to massage it in. Then, it becomes so smooth and rich and I can instantly feel that my skin is getting a treat. One thing I have noticed, is that this product does make my eyes sting, if I open them during the process. I can do that quite happily with other balms I've used, but with this one, I make sure to leave my eye area until last and rinse that section first. Oskia suggest adding some water to the balm to create a toning milk before you remove it, but I ignore that. I find placing a hand-hot flannel over my face and letting the steam open up my pores, before gently buffing the cleanser away in circular motions, works best. Straight away, my skin feels like it does after using most balms, smooth and soothed. But, after I've patted my face dry, this cleanser makes my face feel so hydrated, whilst remaining free from any greasy residues. Since using this product, my skin has much more of a dewy glow to it, with or without makeup, despite the rest of my routines staying the same. That is something that I've really struggled to achieve lately, as my skin has been so parched, so I'm super happy. Whilst I've had the odd, hormonal breakout whilst using this product, it hasn't caused any unwanted guests to crop up on my skin and the lovely, almond fragrance hasn't started off any skin problems. I've been using this cleanser both morning and night, but I intend picking up Oskia's Renaissance Cleansing Gel to try out in the mornings. Being so intense, I do feel this could become a bit much for my skin when used twice a day in the Summer, so watch this space. At night, I don't like to use this balm to remove my makeup, but use it as a second, final cleanse, once all the grime from the day has been taken off with a micellar water, for instance. I always double cleanse in the evenings, so it would be a shame to waste such a nourishing product on removing my makeup.
A cleansing balm that comes in a tube, rather than a tub? Yes! Considering you need such a tiny amount of this rich balm per application, this 125ml tube is going to last for months. It's cheaper than most other cleansing balms I've tried and you get a bit more for your money, too. Let's see if the Oskia Perfect Cleanser replaces my beloved EH offering, for good! Dun, dun, dunnn...
As I'm sure most beauty-loving girls do, I love watching Youtube tutorials, hauls, vlogs etc. It was whilst watching a GRWM video from the gorgeous Alexandrea Garza, that I noticed how amazing her eyes looked. I had got into a rut of wearing darker, kohl liners such as MAC Coffee or Nars Via Appia in my waterline, but after watching that tutorial, I rummaged through my stash and found a couple of nude eyeliners in my collection. My favourite of the bunch was the Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Nude and I've pretty much worn it everyday since. A peachy, beige shade, this pencil has a yellow undertone to it, which helps to cancel out any redness around the eyes, making the whites of them really stand out. Personally, I much prefer using an off-white shade over a true white, as the result isn't as stark and looks more natural. For Summer, a pale liner on the bottom waterline opens eyes up so much and makes them appear brighter, adding light to the face. Plus, when the weather gets warmer, you don't get that smudgy, dark gunk trail under your eyes from where it's run and it can't be pulled off as an intentional, grunge look. The Rimmel liners, being waterproof, are long lasting and the soft formula glides on with ease, so there's no watery eyes after applying it, to worry about. As the texture is so creamy, the point does wear down quite quickly and it can melt a bit in your makeup bag, so make sure that lid is pressed on firmly.
Being a Rimmel product, the price-point is low, but the formula rivals those from high-end brands. One thing that does annoy me about these liners, though, is that they never seem to sharpen well, no matter which sharpener I try. Maybe I just suck at it, but throwing a third of the pencil away in sharpenings because the point keeps breaking off, winds me up. Aside from that, this nude eyeliner rocks and I won't be forgetting about it again so easily in future.
Whenever I think of nude lipliner, I get flashbacks of the 90's. Think Victoria Beckham in her Spice Girls days! That classic, obviously overdrawn line that was significantly darker than the lipstick worn, is not something I want to re-create. Faint freckles dotted around the edges of my mouth create an uneven lip line, so I like to trace over the edges ever-so-slightly, when I wear a nude lip product. Sometimes, if I'm creating a specific look, I like to use liner to add a hint of volume to my top lip, too. I've got an array of different brand's liners in my collection, but the one I reach for time and time again, is Laura Mercier's Natural Lips Liner. The matte, warm-toned, mid-brown shade is ideal for my natural, lip colour, as it doesn't lean too pink or too orange and is just one or two shades darker than my pout. Soft enough to blend and create a smooth line, but firm enough to last and create definition, this pencil has the perfect, balanced texture. I find the trick to getting lipliner to look great, is to make sure it has a precise, but not sharp point to it. A blunt end will just make the line way too thick and unflattering, in my opinion. When applied lightly and blended inwards, either on its own or with another lip product, it gives the appearance of a natural shadow, as opposed to a harsh, false edge. I'd never expect a lip liner to be super moisturising, but this pencil doesn't feel too dry or uncomfortable when worn.
When purchased, this liner comes with a sharpener and I haven't experienced any problems with the nib breaking off or splitting. OK, it's expensive for a lip liner, but I think it's important to get a shade to suit you and this is the best match for me, that I've found. It's a decent length too and I can't see myself needing to replace it for years to come (or until it's shelf-life is up).
I've banged on about my sudden, dry skin scenario rather a lot recently (woe is me), which took me rather by surprise. Now that the dryness on my face finally seems to be under control and my skin has become more normal and balanced, the only problem left behind, is some patchy redness on my cheeks and jawline. As time goes on, the patches are fading, but I have felt quite self-conscious about them over the past, few months. This time of year, I don't like to wear thick, heavy-coverage bases and I didn't want to change that. My regular concealers, even the beloved Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer mentioned above, didn't quite cut it for toning down the redness completely and I wanted to use something that I knew wouldn't cause the sensitive areas to flare up again. So, I turned to the Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Makeup.
This foundation literally erases everything. You're left with a completely blank canvas and it's important to give the face some much-needed life again, with bronzer, blush etc, if you use it all-over. Personally, I'd never choose to wear this as a full foundation, as I think it'd be too much, but used strategically as a concealer, it's amazing. When I buff literally the tiniest dot of the foundation across the red areas I want to cover, my skin is absolutely flawless in a second. Even though it's described as a camouflage makeup, which it certainly is, the formula doesn't feel at all drying and it sits so well on the skin. In fact, I find the regular Double Wear Foundation to be a lot more prone to caking. I think moisturising well, even if you have an oily skin and use a lighter lotion, is crucial for this base to look believable. Non-acnegenic, the formula is free from added fragrance and oils, which is welcome when you have any kind of irritation or breakouts. Having an SPF of 15 is great for helping to protect the skin, but, although it hasn't created any flashback on me when lightly used in small areas, I would imagine it could cause some flashback in photos, if used heavily. Beware if you use this on your body whilst sporting any self-tan too, as it could look quite patchy if photographed. Setting to a matte finish, this foundation is so long-lasting, it doesn't move and stays looking flawless, even in the heat. I don't like to powder over this base, but if you do, it shouldn't transfer onto clothes. I can fully believe Estee Lauder's claim of 12hr wear, for sure. Double Wear Maximum Cover is totally worth a try if you're in need of a confidence boost regarding your skin, but I'd definitely recommend using it sparingly, like a concealer, instead of as a regular foundation.
Considering how effective this makeup is, I'm surprised that it's priced below the £30 mark. As you need such a small smidgen of product per application, compared to other formulas that also come in a 30ml bottle, this is such good value. I've had my current tube on the go for around three months now, using a tiny bit each day and it stills feels full. The squeezy tube makes it mess free and being slim and plastic, it's lightweight and great for taking on the go. Recently, Estee Lauder had a bit of a foundation shade overhaul and it's all got a bit confusing, but I think there's six shades available in Double Wear Maximum Cover. That's really disappointing, considering the original Double Wear foundation has a vast list of thirty.
What products have you been loving recently?