Friday, 24 April 2015

Flashmob Cosmetics Electric Kisses Lipstick Set

Flashmob Cosmetics Electric Kisses Lipstick Set* - £10

Weird lip colours are all the rage these days. With brands like Kat Von D & Jeffree Star rising in popularity (and Lime Crime deservedly crashing & burning...) you can't take one look at Tumblr or Instagram without spotting someone rocking black or purple lips. Unfortunately these brands aren't quite so readily available in the UK just yet. Sure, we have Illamasqua but that's about it. It seems that smaller indie brands are the way to go if you're into crazy lipstick shades. I was sent this really cool set of 'shockingly bold' lipsticks from Flashmob Cosmetics. The Electric Kisses lipstick set comes with four different colours - Danger Zone (yellow), Talkin' Smack (lilac), Seeing Fireworks (pink) & Wakin' The Dead (blue). I love the packaging & I was extremely hyped to try these lipsticks out!

These kinda colours are definitely not easy to pull off. In my mind there are two ways to wear them - either with tons of other brightly coloured makeup or by making your lips a focal point with everything else kept as neutral as possible. Personally I prefer the latter method as I like my lips to really stand out. I used NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer & Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light to perfect my base. To keep my eye makeup really basic I just used MAC Painterly Paint Pot, Illamasqua Precision Gel Liner & Benefit Roller Lash. I used a bit of Soap & Glory Solar Powder, NARS Douceur & theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer on my cheeks to give them definition without loads of colour. Finally I filled in my eyebrows with Anastasia DipBrow Pomade in Medium Brown. With my very neutral makeup look complete it was time to see how these bright lipstick colours measured up. They feel creamy & comfortable to wear with no discernible scent or taste. However that's pretty much where the good points come to an end...

Out of all the lipsticks in this set, Danger Zone is definitely the worst. Yellow is almost impossible to wear anyway but the streaky formula makes this lipstick really horrible to apply. I had to keep layering it & smoothing it over again and again to make it look half decent. It still looks like a patchy mess though.

Talkin' Smack is a sheer cool toned lilac shade. I have to admit that I do like this colour on me. I'd never tried any kind of purple lipstick before but I totally get the appeal now. Again the streaky formula lets this lipstick down and getting it to look good is more trouble than it's worth.

Seeing Fireworks is a blue toned bubblegum pink. This is my favourite of the bunch and is probably the only colour that I would wear out in public. The other lipsticks don't last on my lips at all but Seeing Fireworks leaves behind a bright pink stain after eating & drinking. This colour is the most pigmented & is easiest to build up without going streaky. I used to be obsessed with Barry M No. 52 lipstick so it's no surprise that I feel most at home with this shocking pink colour.

Wakin' The Dead is a bright sky blue colour. I can't look at blue lipstick without thinking of Joey Tribbiani's Ichiban lipstick for men advert. Wakin' The Dead feels a little bit firmer & looks a little bit matter than the other lipsticks. It applies quite well but my lips still look uneven & streaky, especially on the outer edges. If you're planning on dressing up as Smurfette then this would be a great lipstick. Otherwise I can't imagine anyone getting much use out of it.

I don't really know what I was expecting from lipsticks that cost just £2.50 each but I can't say that I'm at all impressed with these products. Crazy colours like these can look stunning but the formula & pigmentation of the Flashmob Cosmetics Electric Kisses lipsticks is very disappointing. There's nothing worse than someone trying to wear streaky blue lipstick that applies poorly. I'm just holding out for the Anastasia Beverly Hills & Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks to make their way across the pond because they seem infinitely better! Unless you're a child playing with makeup for the first time, I would suggest you do the same.

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Claudia Louch Mineral Loose Powder

Claudia Louch Mineral Loose Powder* - £47.50

Powder is something that I cannot live without. My skin isn't particularly oily but I just don't feel right if I haven't used something to set my foundation. In the past powders were associated with a chalky looking finish. The last thing you want is for a powder to actually look powdery on your skin. I really like mineral powders because I feel like they give the most seamless finish & make my skin look naturally perfected. At the minute I'm really loving this Mineral Loose Powder from Claudia Louch. I'm often wary of brands who try to do both skincare & makeup as one is inevitably not up to the standard of the other. Claudia Louch's skincare products are utterly fantastic so I was rather keen to find out how her makeup range measured up. Presently the main focus of the makeup line is base products. You won't find fancy eyeshadow palettes or bright lipsticks in her shop but then that wouldn't be entirely appropriate to the brand. The clients of the Natural Skin Clinic visit there to fix their skin so it makes sense that any cosmetics sold are intended to further enhance the complexion without aggravating any pre-existing skin conditions.

As with all the Claudia Louch Natural Skin Clinic products, this powder is 94% natural, hypoallergenic, allergy-tested, non-comedogenic and free from fragrances & harsh chemicals. It is suitable for use on all skin types & many skin conditions. The Mineral Loose Powder is incredibly finely milled & glides effortlessly onto the skin. It helps to absorb excess oil & reduce shine. It won't cake or clog your pores either. The powder comes in a black plastic pot with a sifter. Loose powders can be a bit messy to use but this packaging is well designed & it's easy to tap out just the right amount of product. One thing that sets this powder apart from many others is the inclusion of jojoba oil. I adore the Claudia Louch Protective Jojoba Day Moisturiser so this ingredient stood out to me when I had a look through the list. It acts as an anti-inflammatory & helps to dissolve excess sebum so this powder is ideal for anyone prone to clogs or breakouts. Jojoba oil naturally warms to your body temperature which allows the powder to blend really well so it won't accentuate any dry patches. The result is a velvety satin finish which just looks wonderful on the skin.

I was sent the shade MC2 Warm Yellow which I have to admit did worry me a little. It's rare that base products in anything other than deathly pale shades suit me but this colour looks really natural on my skin. Although the powder is beige in colour, it has very little pigment so it looks almost translucent once applied. It's more of a setting powder than a powder foundation but still looks fab when used on it's own. It doesn't offer masses of coverage but it manages to even out the complexion, reducing redness & giving the skin a smooth, poreless appearance. Combine it with something like NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer for the ultimate 'no makeup' makeup base. I generally like my skin to look as flawless as possible though so my favourite way to use this product is as a setting powder. It helps to keep my foundation in place & finishes off my makeup beautifully. It brings some instant radiance to my face & gives my skin a lovely silky texture. In the above photo I used NARS Sheer Glow Foundation before applying the Mineral Loose Power with a Zoeva Powder Brush. My face never normally looks this glowing without a hefty dusting of highlighter but this powder really gives you that 'lit from within' look that so many of us desire.

At nearly £50 this powder is definitely a luxury item. However anyone with extremely reactive skin will know that finding makeup that won't clog your pores or cause irritation can be rather difficult. I would highly recommend trying out some of Claudia Louch's products as they have been specially formulated for use on even the most sensitive skin. If this Mineral Loose Powder is anything to go by, then Claudia Louch is one brand where I can safely say that the makeup is just as good as the skincare.

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Friday, 20 March 2015

The Difference Between A Purge & A Breakout

When you have acne prone skin adding a new product into your routine can become a complete minefield. We are often told that things have to get worse before they'll get better but really that should only be the case with certain kinds of products. It's very important to recognise the difference between skin purging & a skin reaction. Although it might not be very pleasant, a skin purge should generally be seen as a good thing. Purging occurs when a product speeds up the skin's natural cell turnover rate. This allows anything nasty lurking underneath the skin to come to the surface & be cleared away. A negative reaction can be anything from just breaking out to redness, pain & rashes.

The only time you should experience skin purging is if you've used something with an active ingredient. By that I mean something acid or retinol based. Many skincare brands will mention 'active' ingredients in their products but unless it contains BHA or AHA it shouldn't make you break out. Some people also experience purging with the Clarisonic but after it gave me some broken blood vessels I no longer recommend using such a harsh method of physical exfoliation. I credit acid exfoliants with saving my skin and for the most part I've only had good reactions. My skin is very tolerant of strong acids and they're the only thing that makes a difference to my closed comedones. If you suffer from those stubborn little bumps under the skin, they will most likely never come to a head or disappear without the aid of an acid or retinol product. No purging is necessary for a chemical exfoliant to be considered beneficial. However I see so many people freaking out when they first try an acid exfoliator because it's given them a couple of spots when it might just be the beginning stages of a purge & their ticket to clear skin.

Everyone will react differently to products with active ingredients. Just looks at reviews of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo! I personally never experienced a proper skin purge until I tried Avene's Cleanance K. This hydrating cream-gel product contains salicylic, lactic & glycolic acid. The potent blend of acids obviously had a massive effect on my skin & unearthed clogs that years of using Alpha-H Liquid Gold had barely touched. When I first started using Cleanance K my skin looked like it was getting worse than ever. My chin & forehead exploded and new blemishes kept on appearing in those areas for almost three weeks. At first I had no idea if it was a purge or if my skin just hated the product. I started to doubt my unshakeable faith in acids but one day the purge ended. My horribly congested forehead became perfectly clear & smooth. Cleanance K became a holy grail product for me & then Avene discontinued it in favour of Cleanance Expert which annoyingly is totally lacking in acid content (end rant)! Anyway... in order to figure out whether your skin is purging or just breaking out there are a few things you should ask yourself:

1. Do you normally break out in that area?
If you tend to get acne on your forehead but a product gives you a breakout on your cheeks then it's probably not working for you. Purges mainly occur in your most congested areas as they enable the sebum plugs that were clogging your pores to break through the skin & become whiteheads.

2. What kind of spots are they?
By nature closed comedones are quite small. Therefore as they come to the surface, the resulting spot should also be on the small side. They often turn into whiteheads and feel firmer than those big & juicy blemishes. Gentle cleansing can pop the head & they'll disappear within a day or two with minimal scarring. If your spots look red & inflamed or feel painful then they're just breakouts.

3. How long have you been breaking out for?
Although purges can go on for a long time, they don't last forever. If you've been religiously applying a product for well over a month & your skin hasn't improved in any way, shape or form then it's time to give up. Don't wreck your skin any further, take your skincare routine back to basics and try something else.

On the flip side you can have a negative skin reaction to absolutely anything. It could be a new cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen or foundation - anything that goes on your face can cause irritation. In this case carrying on with that product won't make things any better & you should discontinue use of it immediately. Always make sure to only introduce one new product at a time as that way you can narrow down exactly what it is that's irritating your skin. Even if a chemical exfoliant is working on your blemishes & scarring, it can still aggravate your skin. A good moisturiser is a necessity after exfoliating & make sure you don't overdo things. A 10% glycolic acid peel every night is just gonna make your face sore.

In short, anything can make you break out. If it has no active ingredients then stop using it. If it does have active ingredients & things don't improve after a month then stop using it. But if you can power through that initial purge, the results are totally worth it!

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