Smashbox Photo Finish Primers

The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer was one of my first big girl make up purchases. In 2013/2014, I was just getting into the make up scene on YouTube (as a viewer, of course). I wasn’t quite blogging yet but so many popular YouTubers had been recommending this and the Benefit Pore-fessional. I had received a sample of the Pore-fessional through ipsy and was not into it at all, but it did make me want to find a primer that worked. In the end, I was ready to give the Smashbox Primers a shot, despite the steep $44 price.

Guess what? I loved it. I was relatively unfamiliar with primers at that time and with few drugstore options, I was excited to find one that worked for me so quickly but the price was painful. It was only after that I discovered the amazing deal that was the $20 travel-sized ones and after my success with the original, I decided to pick up two more: the Pore Minimizing and Colour Correcting formulas.  After two years or so, here I am with what has been my favourite primer. What’s there not to love? With all three of these formulas, I find that my make up lasts through the day, my pores are minimal even with simply the original formula, just about every foundation and powder work well with it and it is comfortable. The Smashbox Photo Finish Primers all give you that soft, silicone look and feel which I like. The one complaint I have heard from many oily-skinned bloggers and friends is that is does give your face some shine before the end of the day. That is absolutely true in my case too, but I don’t mind the look. Once it gets out of control, I simply use a blotting paper or a tissue and it is as good as new.
 The differences between all three are minimal. As you can tell here, the consistency of the Pore Minimizing Primer is not the same silicone as they other two are (in fact, it is a fluffy texture). In my experience, it makes my face much slicker, but also shiner through the day. Of the three, it is my least favourite. For me, the Colour Correcting formula is where it’s at. I have some redness especially around my nose and chin that this ever-so-slightly helps with, but it has the same slippery texture as the original.

This post is in celebration of Smashbox changing their status to what I consider to be a cruelty-free company!

Til next time, ttfn x

Sephora Holiday Haul & Review

Hey all! Here we are again with some new Sephora goodies. I took advantage of the $25 off of $50 coupon and picked up one Holiday set and one mini/travel sized product that I already knew I would love.

I decided to give the Too Faced Melted lipsticks a second try after seeing Chelle from Make Up Your Mind talk about them oh-so-lovingly. With that in mind, I picked up this mini set of 6 Too Faced products. I normally an so in love with Too Faced as a brand from their cruelty-free status to their adorable packaging but I didn’t get along with their Melted lipstick before. This Too Faced Melted Kisses and Sweet Cheeks set included 3 of the Melted lipsticks and 3 Love Flushed blushes which I had already tried and love the formula of.

Too Faced Melted Kisses and Sweet Cheeks
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too faced nude peony fig swatch
Each lipstick is paired with a blush so you have:

Melted Nude and Love Hangover which are the nudey peaches of the bunch;

Melted Peony and Justify My Love which are lovely baby pinks; and

Melted Fig and Your Love Is King which are the plummy shades.

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too faced love hangover justify my love your love is king swatches
I love the blushes as I suspected but what about the lipsticks? I had tried Melted Peony before and found it was kind of gritty and oily feeling. I may even go as far as saying it sucked. This time around, I like them! They are absolutely different than what I had tried before and I’m glad I tried them again!

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To make this a $50 purchase, I also grabbed a Smashbox Photo Finish primer in the purple Pore Minimizing formula. I have pretty religiously been using the other two primers (original and colour correcting) I own so I thought I would try yet another. I am crossing my fingers they come out with a mini of their blemish control formula as well but I may take a chance and give it a try anyway.

This primer was just as lovely as the other two but I would say the hardest to spread. I will say that I do get oily when using any three of these primers but I just blot or deal with it because they make my make up application a million times easier and feel  better than others I have used.

I hope you enjoyed this little review! Be sure to let me know what you think of the Too Faced Melted lipsticks or Love Flushes blushes & Smashbox Photo Finish Primers! I think they can be love/hate products but now you know where I stand.

Til next time, ttfn x

 

August 2015 Favourites & Unfavourites

It’s the end of summer! These past few days and weeks, our household is looking ahead to fall. It’s all a little crazy to think about how fast 2015 has gone but I am getting pumped for the coming season! This past month, I was really into natural make up so I have a lot of basics. It’s time to take a look back at what products I loved and didn’t love so much for the past month.

First off, I have a foundation and primer. This Rimmel Stay Matte Primer and Benefit Hello Flawless foundation don’t work very good together unfortunately, but with other products, I have loved the results. The Rimmel Primer really keeps my face mattified and keeps the foundation and concealer on my face where it should be. I definitely like how it looks with the L’Oreal True Match! Make Up Forever Ultra HD foundation (review coming soon) or Rimmel Clean Finish Matte foundation so far but with the Benefit foundation, it ends up feeling cakey and making my skin a little dry looking (which I have never had happen).

This Benefit Hello Flawless foundation is actually my #1 foundation and one of the only Benefit products I really love. Their fairest shade in I’m Pure 4 Sure Ivory colour matches me perfectly, feels great, has good coverage and wear time and isn’t totally matte or totally dewy. If you have a yellow undertone, take a look at this collection of foundations because chances are, they will match you beautifully.

One of my recent brush favourites is one of the first brushes I ever owned and that is the Ecotools Stippling brush. I love using it with my cream blushes and have been just about every day. The application is perfect using this because it only picks up a bit of product with the longer bristles and then blends everything out using the short bristles. I haven’t seen any other stipping brush quite like this before. The size is perfect and the dramatic difference in bristle lengths makes this perfect for me!

This is more of a concealer routine favourite that I have for you. I have been using the Maybelline Fit Me concealer in Fair under the eyes and blending it out with the Ecotools Eye Perfection brush. I then set it with the Bare Minerals powder concealer in Well Rested with the perfectly fitting Real Techniques Contour brush. I love the effect this. It stays all day with very minimal creasing, is quick and easy to apply, has amazing coverage and the only thing I can see as a con is that it might not be brightening enough for some people. I do switch out the concealer often enough if I want more coverage or a brighter look but the brushes and powder are absolutely phenomenal.

One product I have discovered I really don’t like is the L’Oreal Miss Manga mascara. This does nothing for me. I have used it a few times hoping that it will impress me and it just kind of flops. It creates really thick lashes that go everywhere and doesn’t add length though it does have some lift. It also stinks which I can look passed if I liked the mascara but…no.

August was the month of negative space manicures for me. I purchased a few Vinyl nail strips from Beyond the Nail at the end of July and since they arrived, I have been using them every time I paint my nails. The effect is really awesome and these make the process a million times easier then doing it free hand or using tape. Speaking of nails though, I have finally come to the conclusion I don’t like the Revlon Diamond Strength top coat. My nails do have more shine when I use it but unless I use 2 or more coats, my nails just chip. It doesn’t make my nail polish look an smoother or last much longer. With 2 coats, it gets a little gloopy and takes a while to dry. Even glitter nail polish chips off after a day or two with 2 layers.

My skin care favourite is probably no surprise if you read the review I just recently posted. The Reversa Solution for oily and acne proned skin is my #1 toner. I love it. You can’t argue with the results I have had. I will be posting an updated skin care routine next week to round up all of the amazing skin care finds I have been using lately to heal my face and reduce my acne and scarring so stay tuned.

A rather odd favourite I have had this month is lipgloss. I noticed that I completely ran out of one of my Bite Beauty lip glosses near the beginning of the month and that set off an obsession with wearing all of these different lip glosses. I didn’t realize I was using it so much before but obviously if I finished a tube then I must have been applying it pretty frequently.

That’s everything! I predict that my September favourites will have a few fall items hanging around. I also see a certain concealer making its way in there!

Til next time, ttfn x

Step 1

Yesterday, I went on about giving your mom the gift of a flawless finish this mothers day. This product will definitely help out with that whether she wears make up or not. Keep reading!
If you’re an avid follower of the beauty bloggers and vloggers out there, you would have heard about this fantastic little product by now. This Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer** is making waves and I can see why! It is quite different than other primers I have personally used and there is one for every skin concern (even moms).

Lets start with the selection because I think that is one of the most impressive things about this product. There are 10 totally different shades which do all kinds of things from colour correction to brighten to mattify to hydrate. There is a little something for everyone with this line.
Though my typical concerns are ache and redness which would be combated by the Redness Correcting shade, I seem to much prefer a primer that is brightening and radiant. The fantastic thing about the 5 Tone primers is that they have a different shade for every skin tone. Though I chose the Blue radiant primer which works well for my light skin, I could understand why a medium to dark skin tone might look washed out using it. For darker skin tones than myself, they also have Pink (light to medium), Peach (Medium to tan), Yellow (light to medium) and Caramel (dark).
   

These radiance primers give your face a serious glow without the use of any glitter or added shine like a powder might have. It just immediately brightens your skin as you can tell in the swatch. Isn’t it fantastic? It shines right though the foundation to give a healthy and beautiful finish in just 1 step (haha). The only thing with these primers is if you plan to wear them by themselves, you will look a tad bit too glowy. That’s where the other 5 Texture primers come in!
Out of all of the Step 1 Skin Equalizers, I have heard the most about the Mattifying Primer. It is a clear gel which is meant to reduce shine. All of the oily girls and guys are singing their praises right now.
Next is the Smoothing Primer which has been compared to the infamous Porefessional. The purpose of this is to even out your skins texture and leave a smooth surface to work with.
The Hydrating Primer is meant to “restores skin’s balance” according to the Sephora website. Honestly, I am not sure whether that means it’s hydrating or not but there is also the Nourishing Primer which is supposed to “moisturize and comfort” your skin. These two seem pretty interchangeable to me but I am sure they would work well for any of the dry skinned mamas out there.
Lastly, which I have already mentioned, is the Redness Correcting Primer which is meant to neutralize any redness. I am itching to give this a try to see if it truly masks the discolouration I have on my cheeks and chin.

The other brilliant option that these MUFE Skin Equalizers is the ability to mix them together. If you’re a bit red and a bit oily, give the Redness Correcting/Mattifying primers a mix and see how it goes! Super dry skin could benefit from a mix of the appropriate radiance shade with the Hydrating or Nourshing primer. The combinations are endless.
These can be purchased at Sephora and come in two sizes: 1 oz for $43 or the Hydrating, Smoothing or Mattifying primers come in .5 oz tubes for $19. I completely recommend them for mothers and daughters alike (and brothers, dads, friends, neighbours, cousins… everyone).
Til next time, ttfn x

Mini Sephora & OMG Nail Strips Haul

Hauls are always so much fun for me to read/watch. I guess I am just a little bit curious to see what other people are interested in, what might be new out there, older products I maybe haven’t heard of and, let’s face it, I love to see people’s reactions to products. Shopping always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, but make up shopping is a whole other ball game. I know I am not alone, but just seeing all of the pretty colours and the magical things make up can do is so fun. Before moving out, I did get to do a little bit of online shopping at, you guessed it, Sephora but I also bought few other bits from OMG Nail Strips (speaking of, awesome new product on their website* – check it out!).

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First and foremost, I got my super exciting Nars birthday gift. Being VIB Rouge at Sephora, I received both Nars lippies and a black liner. I am not hurting for black liners, but I haven’t tried this liner (I believe it is the Larger Than Life Longwear in Via Veneto) yet so it could be amazingly mind-blowingly different. For the two lippies, I already own the Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien from a 2014 500 point perk (I think…) which also came with the liner. I promptly gave the liner away since, at the time, I had so many to go through. The Nars Velvet Matte lip pencil in Cruella is what I had my eye on when this gift was announced. Natalie received this in January when we went shopping and every time she wears it, it looks so amazing on her! I hope I love it just as much on me.

Speaking of Sephora perks, I got try out a Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème for 100 points. I believe it is an entirely new line of lipsticks but don’t quote me on that. This one in particular is in the colour Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which doesn’t really blow me away. With a very velvety finish though, and a hydrating formula, I am glad I got it. Luxury lippies are always lots of fun to try out – hence why I have so many minis. Marc Jacobs in itself is a fantastic brand that I plan to take a close look at very soon.

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Ok, onto actual purchases. As an oily girl, I frequently need a bit of touching up during the day. I like to use the Clean and Clear oil absorbing sheets (which last an incredible amount of time since there are about 50 in a pack) but thought it may be time to try something new. I have heard so many good things about the Sephora brand blotting papers and these Vitamin C blotting papers were on sale on Sephora’s website for $5, so I figured it would be a good time to give them a try. Honestly, I don’t know whether the Vitamin C factor will actually do anything special but $5 for 100 papers can’t be beat.

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While in the sale section, I saw the Urban Decay Ammo palette complete with a mini Urban Decay Primer potion for only $20. As you may know from my previous empties post, I had a sample of the Primer Potion and instantly decided to purchase. Phenomenal staying power is the words I would use to describe this stuff. The mini Primer Potion is $14, so for only an extra $6, I got a palette? Sign me up. I can finally start to use my new eye shadows without fear so you will be seeing this again soon I am sure! Unfortunately, the deal is no longer available.

Samples and sales and mini’s are obviously my favourite things so there is no shock that I checked out the travel sized section at Sephora. I am all about trying different things and having options, so having a mini product to use just means I can try more things more often. Primers are another product that I really have a whole lot of from ipsy bags, Sephora samples or value packs over the years, but I recently made a pretty important discovery. All these years, I could never find a good foundation match. I always thought it was just because I am so pale, or I am more yellow-toned and things just didn’t match. I knew that I had some discolouration in my face, but I never realized that a bit of green would completely fix my issues. I have a green Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector concealer that I have been using thus far to cover discolouration, but it can be heavy especially on my cheeks. So, though I am not a fan of the original, I picked up the Smashbox Photofinish Color Correcting primer. No, I haven’t tried it yet. I am almost done 2 of the opened primers in my drawer which will promptly be replaced by this so I can give it a good try. I am so excited!

Again, scouring that travel sized beauty section, I came across this Ole Henriksen Clean Truth Cleansing Duo. Since my last haul, I have fallen madly, deeply, truly in love with the Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths. These are meant to be oil free and pore refining, but I mostly notice how exfoliating these bad boys are. My face feels so clean and so good after using these, but they are not an every day thing. Being a bit of a hoarder, I promptly looked up what other wipes the brand had and the price. I was hoping and praying I hadn’t just fallen for an extremely expensive product that will only last a month. Amazingly, the brand has several different wipes and several different packages to choose from and for only $19-$22 for 30. The package I received comes with a 10 pack of the Clean Truth Cleansing clothes which are meant to be brightening as well as the African Red Tea foaming cleanser. I am very excited to give these a try as well as the other wipes I am sure to purchase in the future.

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Onto the amazing OMG Nail Strips I got. If you recall, around the end of December, I raved about OMG Nail Strips, specifically how long they lasted and how easy they were to remove with nail polish remover. No fuss and no mess but all the cuteness. There are a hundred and one designs from cute little patterns to unique and adorable and intricate artwork. With no shipping cost internationally, and an amazing 5 for $25 deal, I picked up 5 more designs that I am crazy about. I am bursting at the seams to put them all on, especially the amazingly cute nautical design, In The Navy*.
From left to right:
Spilled Paint*
Kitty Love*
In The Navy*
White Hearts*
Painted Rose*

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little haul. Just a reminder that my Deborah Lippmann Glitter Polish draw ends TOMORROW (Feb 28th, 2015) so enter if you’re interested.
Til next time, ttfn x

*affiliate links included

January 2015 Favourites & Unfavourites

This has been such a busy month. In only a few more days, I will be moving, my birthday is coming up and each day, we are a step closer to summer. It’s that time again to tell the world wide web all about what I have been loving and disliking this past 30 days. For the past few months, I was trying to wear very little make up but it has been terrible. I have just missed it so much. So, this month, there are a few cosmetic favs and unfavs on my list as well as a couple hair and skin care products. You know the drill.

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In December, I received the Deborah Lippmann Party Mix and this little beauty was the star of the show. Fashion by Deborah Lippmann is a beautiful peachy nude which I have been so into. Not totally sure what has come over me, but the nudes and browns are taking over my life. Either way, this formula is to die for as well, and if you’re interested in trying a Deborah Lippmann polish, check out the giveaway I have going on too!

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Staying with the nudey theme, this Make Up For Ever Lab Shine lip gloss from the 50 Shades Of Grey “Innocent” nude lip trio is absolutely amazing. I think the colour is D16 but it is a pinky-brown shimmer that is very subtle. Never before have I been so comfortable in a lipgloss. Not sticky or tacky, and it doesn’t slide all over your face either. It is not too thick and it lasts a good few hours before I feel that it is the time to reapply.

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Unfortunately, this product is a bust for me. The Smashbox Photo Finish primer isn’t really bad, per say, but I discovered that my face gets super oily when I use this. I bought it quite some time ago after using up a sample of it from Sephora and I loved how it felt on my skin. That still remains true but my make up really doesn’t stay on well when I use it. It is unfortunate but I will likely continue to use it when I wear minimal make up. If anyone has experience with the other Smashbox primers, let me know if they are any different.

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Last up for the make up, I have fallen in love with the YSL Babydoll mascara. I believe I got it as a Sephora perk but it has been living in my bag for quite some time. It gives you gorgeous lashes with one swipe. Super black with incredible length and it fans out the lashes beautifully. I am still debating whether it will be worth the price or not, but for now, it is a fav!

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If you saw my skin care routine, you know I use St Ives scrubs every single day. My Apricot scrub ran out in December so I went back to the Green Tea formula. Though I like both, I forgot how fantastic this one was. The beads are much smaller than the Apricot plus it feels like a gel. The smell is great plus it calms your skin immediately. It is also very gentle so it can be used daily. For under $4, I completely recommend it.

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Next up, this peel off mask has been doing wonders for my skin. My fantastic fiancé bought this off of amazon. Don’t know what it is called, but you get 10 packs and each has enough to do your whole face, though I think it is supposed to be for your nose. It has entirely cleared my skin of any bumps I had. After using it twice, my skin has become completely smooth and virtually black head and acne free. It is similar to the peel off masks I have used in the past, but when it dries, it becomes very tight. Pulling it off hurts but your blackheads, dry skin, dirt and everything else comes off with is thing. The hold is equivalent to super glue. I consider it a miracle.

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This Ion Leave In Conditioner has done wonders for my hair. The smell is fruity and amazing which is great, but the best part about this is my hair doesn’t get greasy after using it. I never ever use conditioner. My hair gets heavy, greasy and disgusting. With this though, you’re left with soft, silky hair that smells fantastic without any downside!

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Speaking of amazing smells, I don’t know why no one felt the need to push this scent. I have heard many things about the Batiste dry shampoos through YouTubers and so on. Everyone seems to really love the animal print scent the best – I believe it is sassy or something along that line. This scent is a million times better, and the product works heavenly, of course. I have a few new dry shampoos I will be trying soon but for now, this is my number 1.

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Last up is the elf nail polishes. It could be the formula, it could be the age, it could be anything. These creme elf polishes have been horrible to me recently. With bubbling, chipping, drying out and being so difficult to apply. Some of them are so dried up that I can’t even remove the lid. They are just over a year old as far as I know so this is not normal. I have just about given up on them, but I have an abundance of these in so many beautiful shades. Then, whenever I go to use one, there is an issue. It has been very disappointing. On a positive note though, the glitters that came with the sets I own are amazing.
That’s the gist of it. If you haven’t already, check out the $160 PayPal giveaway hosted by the amazing Spiffykerms.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also participating:
Cat
Bailey
Natalie
Jessica
Samantha
Laura
Marcia
Trish
Jamie
Johanna Dean
Rebekah

Til next time, ttfn x

#MOTD: Frosty ft Annabelle Cosmetics

The holidays mean so much to so many people and as silly as this may sound, the biggest deal for me is getting ready to see people I haven’t seen for a year (or more, eeep). If you’re a cosmetic junkie like I am, you will be painted up the best you have been all year with sparkles and jewls and sequins and bold colours. For Christmas, I am usually a blue and silver girl. It just screams winter glamour. Don’t get me wrong – reds and golds are beautiful too (as you may have seen in my Christmas Nail picks), but there is something so glitzy to me about the silver and blue combo. Anyways, I decided to put together a really easy but bold make up look for the holidays or New Years! While I was at it, I thought it may be the perfect opportunity to try out a new mascara which I have been holding onto for a few weeks now: the Annabelle Big Show Waterproof Mascara**. Family events and gift giving can get emotional so I always recommend some waterproof mascara.

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First up, a bit of a hydrating spray of the Avene Thermal Spring Water which I received from ipsy to moisturize and make my makeup go on a bit smoother. I will most definitely be buying this stuff the second it runs out (or sooner). It feels fantasticly hydrating, and as far as I am concerned, it is multiuse. I use it when I need a bit of a burst of hydration, to set my makeup, wake up my fiancé… Whatever I need it for. Paired with this, I put on a Mattifying primer from Cover FX. This stuff is not my favourite, but I am trying to go through some of my primers as I mentioned in my last Empties post. I have a Murad one waiting for me once I am through with 2 others I have open…

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For foundation, I pulled out a newer discovery of mine: the True Match foundation from L’Oreal in W2 Light Ivory. So far, I have liked the coverage, the colour is really close, and it feels pretty good on, but I can’t say it is my favourite yet. I think it may be just about time to pull out yet another foundation to try. Leave any recommendations below! Next up, I took my little sample of Benefit’s Fake Up Concealer that I received from Sephora a while back. The colour looks completely wrong for me but when blended, I think it matches pretty well. This is the lightest shade you get unfortunately, but the consistency is creamy and has a pretty good coverage to it.

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When doing a bolder eye, I change up my make up routine a bit and do the eyes before finishing my face. This way, if I make any mistakes with mascara or if there is fallout, or whatever the case, it isn’t such a hassle to clean up. For these eyes, I used Annabelle Smudge Liner in Armour and drew a dramatic V on the outer area of my eye. This liner is so smooth and creamy that it works amazingly well as a base. In fact, I end up doing that with my eye liner a lot because otherwise, I would never go through pencil liners. I have never been too great with doing pencil liner, but these are so simple because they smudge to fit wherever you need which is especially handy for tightlining. To fill in the remainder of the lid, I took Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal eyeliner in Silver which is super bright silver. Again, very creamy and blendable. Using a dense crease brush from Real Techniques, I then blended them out to fill in any gaps before putting on some eye shadow.

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This has to be one of the most amazing palettes I have ever seen with a price tag that is equally as impressive. BH Cosmetics Galaxy Palette may look a bit intimidating but the colours, the sparkle, the size and payoff is amazing. The best part? It is currently only $11.95 for 18 baked eyeshadows. I first took the colour Earth and patted it onto the Rimmel liner on my lid, leaving a silver line close to my lashes clear. To deepen the Annabelle liner, I took my favourite blending brush by Mirabella and blended out the edge using Eclipse. Don’t they work together flawlessly? This taupe-grey is making its way to be my most beloved colour of the month, let me tell ya.

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Now, to finish off the face, I added some Rimmel Match Perfection 2 in 1 Concealer and Highlighter under my eyes and set my face with Rimmels Stay Matte translucent powder. This combination gives my skin a beautifully matte but bright finish. Excuse the condition of my Stay Matte powder, it has obviously been through some things…

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To define the eyes, I used the Annabelle Smudge Liner underneath my eyes about half way and took a Urban Decay 24/7 pencil liner in Black Velvet along my upper waterline and just above my lashes. I find if I don’t do both and smudge it a bit, the effect really doesn’t turn out well. The black liner doesn’t have to be very thick as next, I took the Marcelle double ended liquid liner and made a bit of a wing.

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To finish the eye, the Annabelle Big Show Waterproof Mascara**. Here is a recap: it lengthens, it is a very intense matte black and it is absolutely waterproof. As you can see, it works very well even on my bottom lashes which always tend to be my challenge. A tip to remove it: I used the Annabelle (yes, again) Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover pads**. They are a bit oily for me but do they ever work at taking mascara and liner off without any eye pain.

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With the eyes done, I finished up my brows with my forever loved Annabelle Brow Liner in Universal Medium, threw on a bit of Mac Mocha blush and a cool-toned highlighter by Temptu and the piece de resistance, a knockout lip. This is a combination of the J Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Love Potion which I received through Ipsy on top of the Maybelline Color Whispers in Berry Ready. This stuff stays put, let me tell you. It does not move when you eat even which makes it a perfect Christmas lip.

I hope you enjoyed my little make up tutorial 🙂 Many more to come in 2015! Merry Christmas!

Til next time, ttfn x