Primers for Combination Skin in the Summer: E.L.F Vs Too Faced review

What with the weather picking up the way it has been, I’ve been on the lookout for a makeup primer that will keep my base looking fresh all day.

My base of choice is more often than not a tinted moisturiser. As someone with combination skin this might be an odd choice, but I prefer light, natural coverage with a dewy finish. I hate the look of a matte, dry foundation. I wear Balm Shelter by The Balm which is a lovely light and medium coverage tinted moisturiser that also contains spf. I’ve been wearing it every day for a couple of years now, and it lasts all day and I’ve only had to repurchase once.

That being said, I also need to maintain my t-zone because as soon as the summer starts, I get more oily than usual. I’ve also noticed my skin changing as I get older, and I’ll be honest, I’ve also somewhat temporarily ruined my skin by using a face wash that’s dried it out so much (Garnier Micellar Cleansing Gel wash for sensitive skin – don’t buy it) I am having to totally overhaul my skincare routine until its back to normal.

I’d found a fantastic primer that appeared to really control my t-zone but I’d got it online from America, so when it ran out and I didn’t have anything else to buy from this brand, I decided to do some research and invest in a primer which was easier to get hold of. So here’s what I’m talking about:

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I actually received the e.l.f. Tone Adjusting Face Primer as part of a free gift with purchase when I made an order about a year ago (their website being the only place you used to be able to buy e.l.f.) If you’ve never bought on their site, I’d recommend it because they are always doing awesome free gifts with purchase, usually have a free delivery offer on, THEY cover customs charges AND it’s usually here from the US within a week or so. Anyway, I decided to try this primer when the one I’d been using ran out.

This primer is green in colour, so it’s supposed to correct redness and blotches on the skin, and I’ll be honest, I don’t find it does that.

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Don’t be alarmed by the colour, as you can see from the swatch the green blends away, which is probably why it doesn’t really cover much redness. But what I LOVE about this primer is that is silicone-y but not too silicone-y if you know what I mean. It makes my skin feel smooth but still like my skin. I always set my face with loose powder on my t-zone, and have done this with both the primers I’m talking about today. By the middle of my working day I can see this primer really works. If I tap my nose with my finger, a little oil comes off but my skin doesn’t look oily at all. My makeup hasn’t disappeared or started to break down, even on the hottest of days. I was really impressed! Thankfully I can now pick this up in Superdrug, as they have started to stock e.l.f Cosmetics. For £7.50 this is a total bargain and well worth the money.

As I said before, when this ran out and I didn’t have anything else to order from e.l.f, I didn’t want to make an order for just one thing, so I did some research. I wanted to see if there were any more primers, mid-range cost, that I could buy in the UK and were specifically designed for preventing oil. I’d bought the NYX Shine Killer primer before and was so disappointed that it actually made me shinier.

There were two primers that kept coming up as holy grail for oily skin, and one of which I knew I could pick up locally, so I went for that one!

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Too Faced Primed and Poreless Primer was being reviewed as one of the ultimate primers for oil control throughout the day. At £24 it’s not cheap, but it also claimed to smooth skin, hide pores and as it’s slightly tinted suggested that you could wear it on its own for a naturally flawless look.

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So, this is what it looks like when you pump it out. It’s SO smooth on the skin but doesn’t feel like silicone at all. It’s more like feeling silk! The tone of the product isn’t strong enough to allow me to wear just that if I want a flawless finish. And it would need setting if I was going to do that anyhow because it does leave you feeling like you have something on your face. I didn’t notice any change to the appearance of my pores. I will say it did hold up to the oil-control part on warm days, but as soon as the heatwave hit it failed. My nose was oily early on in the day, even with powder and for £24 I’d expect it to perform for longer. I was rather disappointed. You also don’t get a lot of product for the amount you need to put on so I noticed I was going through it rather fast.

In the end, and as soon as my Superdrug started to stock e.l.f. I went back and picked up my old faithful green primer.

If you’re looking for a primer to control your combination skin, I’d say give the green one  from e.l.f a try. Obviously everyone’s skin is different and it might not work for you, but for £7.50 it’s worth a try!

Do you suffer with combination skin that gets more oily in the Summer? I’d love to hear what products you use to keep it in check!

My New Year Beauty Splurge

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I admit it, I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to treat myself, and buy some of the things I’d been lusting over towards the end of the year.

And finally all the items have arrived so I can tell you (brag) about them!

I haven’t tried all of these items yet, since, as I just mentioned, they’ve only just arrived, but I’m going to share them with you anyhow, and if I love them you just know they’ll feature in a future post!

So let’s start with a couple of bits I picked up for my hair. I have been growing my hair out mainly as a kind of experiment just to see how long I could get it to grow. I have a trim every 3 (read 6) months and tell my hairdresser to cut off as little as possible. This is all well and good, but my hair is very fine and not thick so I have to do a lot to it to make it look like it has volume and isn’t limp.

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I found out about Grow Gorgeous through twitter and decided I would take the plunge and try their Hair Growth Serum and End Split Ends serum. I haven’t started using them yet, but the hair growth serum is a 2 month supply if you use it daily (which I probably won’t) so I’ll keep you updated. It’s supposed to add thickness and healthiness to fine and thin hair and promote a longer mane. The split end serum, I’m sure you can guess, is to help with my wispy ends towards the time in which I really should be getting a trim. I’ve just had my hair cut, so I’ll be starting to use these very soon!

The next thing I picked up is a product I’m sure you all know about.

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The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette was probably the most sought after palette towards the end of 2016. Every beauty blogger and YouTuber was talking about it, and it was always either sold out or just darn hard to find in the UK. I saw it was in stock at Cult Beauty so went for it.

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There were a few reasons people were going nutty over this palette. Firstly, the quality of the shadows. They’re so pigmented that you only need a slight dab with the brush to get an adequate amount of product to apply. Secondly, this palette is mostly mattes with 3 shimmers. And the colours all go together. You can get masses of looks with this palette and there are so many combinations for different looks. Third, it comes with a nice brush and mirror and it’s light. It doesn’t feel like it’ll break in your suitcase. The brush isn’t the best but it’s enough to do the job, so you would do fine if you only had this to work with. I’ll level with you, at £41 this isn’t cheap, but it’s a gorgeous palette and I can see me getting use out this all year around. The shadows blend really nicely and because you barely need to use any it’ll last a long time before you hit pan.

Next, I was totally susceptible to Stila’s tweets advertising their sale and decided to pick up a few of their lip products. I got a nude liquid lipstick set featuring three of their Stay All Day lipsticks. They’re lovely shades, and so lightweight. They dry down very quickly but don’t drag or patch when you’re putting them on. Once they’ve settled they are transfer proof. I’ve only tried the colours so I can’t vouch for how long wearing they are, but I’ll let you know.

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I also picked up one of their glitter glosses. I’d been after a glitter gloss over the Christmas period, but didn’t see one I liked or was worth the cost. This Stila Metallics gloss in Citrine was £4.50 so I guessed even if it wasn’t for me it wouldn’t be a waste of money.

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But I LOVE it. Just look at the sparkles! It offers a lovely subtle glittery finish to bare lips and a metallic sheen as a lipstick topper. It smells lovely (as do the Stay All Day, liquid lipsticks) and when it wears off it leaves your lips all glittery (which I love). It is a sticky gloss, so if you don’t like that then you might not like this. I wore it on a windy evening and my hair stuck right to my face!

Next up, I’d been wanting to try an Urban Decay foundation for a while, and when a friend raved about the Naked Skin foundation for her oily skin I thought I’d give it a try. I was colour matched in store to be shade 1.0 and I was really pleased with the finish and the colour match. I’ve used it a few times now, and here’s what I think.

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This is a medium to buildable foundation. I expected to hate the smell and though it is a little painty to start with it goes away. It offers a matte finish, and I prefer a dewy finish so sometimes I use a hydrating primer underneath and that seems to help. It’s very easy to apply, goes on streak-free and with a brush offers a very natural finish. It doesn’t stay tacky, which I appreciate, but isn’t transfer proof. However each time I’ve used this (and with different primers underneath), around 3-4pm I noticed that my chin, nose and forehead oils had broken the makeup down and there was pretty much nothing left. I always set my t-zone with a powder too, so I don’t know if this was hindering rather than helping performance. It’s a shame. I need to work around this, and find out what’s going on with my skin and also which primer will work best with this. I really like this foundation so I’m willing to make it work! I’m going to try it with a setting spray and see if that changes anything.

Lastly, and mainly to get the free shipping when I ordered my palette, I picked up a Morphe brush to apply my new foundation with.

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It looked like it would be good for foundation and the reviews agreed, so I went for it. This is the Morphe Deluxe Buffer brush (M439) and it’s my first Morphe brush so I have high hopes for it. I’m looking forward to giving it a go!

And that was my splurge! Let me know if you’ve used any of these products because I’d love to know what you think. And if you have any Modern Renaissance palette looks you like, then let me know. I’d love to see how you’ve been using yours.

March Favourites

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Happy April everyone! Did you have an awesome March? Mine was great – Spring is doing its best effort to appear. We’ve had a few days of lovely sunshine and I’m hoping that the chilly windy rain we’ve had this past week was all just to clear up and make way for Spring to really happen.

I’m desperate for nice weather so I can get outside running again – mainly so I can start to get a bit of colour on my skin. I think this is the first year that I’ve mourned Summer for a whole Autumn and Winter. Bring back the lovely weather!

So March has been full of TV, movies and of course beauty. Here goes with what I’ve loved this past month.

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I’m a massive fan of Judd Apatow’s stuff, my favourite being This is 40. He’s also involved in Girls, which I’m a huge fan of too. So I suspected I would enjoy this Netflix original show Love. And I wasn’t wrong. This 10 part tv series was everything I’d hoped it would be: funny, deep, clever and driven by some amazingly written (and acted) characters. If you like quirky and real then you might just love this.

We also revisited Cloverfield, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I’ve written about the Before movies before so I’ll let you go back and read what I thought about them, but they’re still all kinds of awesome. Cloverfield is a pretty short movie, so we popped it on the TV one night when we wanted something fairly non taxing to watch.

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This is a found-footage type movie (and we all know how much I love those!) Set in Manhattan (and we all know how much I love Manhatten too). If you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it, but it’s a real gem.

Now onto a few beauty bits:

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In March I reverted back to an old favourite, my Neutrogena grapefruit face wash (around £4).

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I moved onto a different one from the same brand a few months back, which had microbeads in it, but I’ve since discovered that these are actually little plastic balls which don’t biodegrade. They go down the plug hole into the water system and are super bad for the environment. Since I’ve switched back I’ve been wondering why I diverted. My skin feels wonderful, smooth and smells lovely too after using this. The difference is instant, and I know I’ll be sticking to this face wash for a long time!

Next is a Lush product – Mint Julips lip scrub (£5.50). This is basically a pot of minty sugar.

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You dig out a little of the sugar (over the sink or else you’ll have sugar EVERYWHERE!) rub it all over your lips and either wash or lick the remainder off. This particular scrub leaves my lips feeling oiled but not oily, smooth and tingling with minty goodness. It’s gorgeous!

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I’ve mentioned Benefit’s It’s Potent (£25.50) in my last beauty blog, so I won’t go into it on here, but I decided to go the whole hog and buy the full size of this baby. I’ve been really pleased with how it works and the difference it’s made. I actually think some of my fine lines have actually disappeared too. Can it be possible?

Next I’ll talk about my newest foundation purchase. I mentioned in the aforementioned beauty blog that I’d found something I liked better than the Clinique sample I was given, and it was:

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Max Factor’s Facefinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 foundation. I was matched to Natural 50. I like the finish of this foundation though I have found it does oxidise on my face so I think it’ll be a little more functional once I have a little sun colour on my face. This foundation is primer, concealer and foundation in one, and has spf 20. I’ve been applying it using a Real Techniques buffing brush and focussing on buffing it out around my jaw line as I’m concerned I look a little flush once it’s on. But I do like the finish and it’s buildability. It offers a matte finish so you don’t need any powder. Interestingly, it did cling to dry parts on my forehead when first applied, but by the time I’ve done the rest of my face these had hydrated and I couldn’t see them any more. And it doesn’t settle into lines – perfect! I’m impressed, for the cost of this (£12.99) it performed a lot better than the Clinique sample, that I wanted so much to love!

Next is a couple of liquid lipsticks by TheBalm (£13.50)

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Meet Matt(e) Hughes matte liquid lipsticks in Committed and Charming. I bought these for events where I can’t be continuously reapplying lipstick. I am a serial lipsmoosher, so lip colour doesn’t last long on me. As a result I stick to sheer lipsticks or tinted balms but I’ve been impressed with these. Firstly they smell nice and minty, so they tingle a little when first applied. They go on smooth and don’t cling to any bumps. They dry to a comfortable feel and they do last well. There’s minimal transference, but they do come off if you eat oily foods. I’m a pale-faced gal so these being the palest ‘nude’ shades they’re still pretty dark and prominent on my face, and they do give me a pretty dramatic look. Oh and when I’m done they come off easily with a quick slick of Egyptian magic. Win!

Lastly is my favourite of the bunch. I got this for £13 off at Debenhams, and had been lusting over it for some time…. The Urban Decay Vice 4 palette (retails at £43)

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Firstly, let’s just take in the packaging. This is STUNNING. Urban Decay do packaging so so well. This even came with its own zippered travel bag. Now we’ve taken in the palette packaging, let’s look at the goods.

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Sigh. So pretty. I was so impressed this came with another lovely double ended brush. Urban Decay’s palette brushes are so good, I seriously doubt I’ll ever need to buy a separate one. The main thing that drew me to Vice 4 was the colour matches. Just looking at each of these rows, I can see complete eye looks. Three greens, three metallics, three mauve, three neutral, three greys etc etc. So many matches. And these look lovely wet as eyeliner too. I’ve used a couple in that way already. In fact I think I’ve used about a third of the palette already and I don’t often wear eyeshadow day-to-day. I’m so impressed.

So those are my March favourites. I’d love to read what you thought if you’ve tried anything I’ve loved this month. Leave me a comment if you have!

Now onwards through April!

Drugstore Dark Circle & Colour Correctors

Hello! It’s just passed mid March, can you believe it? The weather is acting suspiciously autumnal still and yesterday I spent a very chilly day in London with my niece wearing hat, scarf and gloves. Hurry up Spring! I did, however, pick up some lovely things, which I’ll talk about another time (but one of the item starts in V and ends in ICE…. UD fans will know what I’m talking about!)

Anyway, if you remember, I promised to come back and let you know what I thought of this lovely lot?

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So that’s what I’m going to do! Now confession time: I haven’t tried Boing compact, Benetint or High Beam yet. I’m actually a little scared of the Benetint, so I’ll give that a try when I have time to get it wrong! This little haul was all from Boots. Each of the Benefit minis was £5 on their own, but 4 for £15 so I figured why not try some bits out before spending four times the amount on a full size. And if you can do the maths, this means that the only item I have tried so far is the It’s Potent! cream, so let’s start there.

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This teeny fairy jar is filled to the brim with a vanilla coloured eye cream. It promises to fade dark circles and smooth fine lines and doesn’t really smell of anything. I was put off by the name to start with – such an odd choice for a skin care product! I’ve been using it every night for the last 3 weeks, and I have to say it might be working. I feel like the large dark areas under my eyes are paling and skin (which felt smooth anyway) is soft and plump. I am about to run out of this, and I have to decide whether I want to shell out around £20 for a full size. If I do, I like that I have this little pot that I can decant into when I travel. I don’t like the idea of carrying a large heavy glass jar in my case, so this will do perfectly.

I also picked up You Won’t Believe Your Eyes by Soap and Glory.

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This is what the brand says:

Soap & Glory™ You Won’t Believe Your Eyes™ fights under-eye bags, dark circles and pigmentation, and has illuminating pigments plus anti-wrinkle actives and moisturisers to help lift, brighten and blur away flaws. Engineered with Live Yeast Cell Derivative (LYCD) – one of the best-kept secrets of the world’s top models – it helps noticeably reduce inflammation and puffiness, so you go from bloat to gloat.

The packaging states you just roll it on (under the cap are a trio of metal rollerballs to massage the product in), and pat it into the skin. They then say to carry on with your makeup “should you need it”. It was that last bit that had me sold. I assumed this would be brightening enough to mean I wouldn’t need anything on my undereyes if I was having a no make up day. I was wrong. I mean it’s possible I used too much, but once I’d patted this in and let it dry I tried to apply my normal YSL Touch Eclat and the product peeled off, leaving a lovely flakey look under my eyes. On its own I could feel the product slightly tightening the skin under my eyes, but nothing uncomfortable. I don’t have saggy or puffy skin there so it didn’t benefit me in this way. I don’t think I’ll be using this again, and will probably pass it onto one of my girl friends to see if they will get any use from it.

The next thing I tried was from Collection (how long ago did they rebrand from Collection 2000??) was the

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palette!

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Colour correcting is huge at the moment, and having seen this mentioned in one of Zoella’s vlogs and noting that it was only £5.99 I guessed it would be a good place to start and see if I got any benefit from it. So, the left 4 pans are all concealers, with the idea that you blend shades to get your perfect match. The top right is a yellow pan, for correcting dark circles, below that is a lavender pan to correct sallow areas. To the left of the yellow is a peachy highlighter, and below is a green pan for correcting redness.

Overall I was impressed by the concept of this palette. It’s compact, has a lovely large mirror and fabulous price. Honestly though I only really got on with the highlighter. I tried all the correctors (most often the yellow as you can see) but found that the formulas were really waxy and it was hard to get the product out of the pans and then tricky to blend, so I ended up with a generally cakey look. I found I really had to warm my fingers to get it blended. But what should I expect from a £5.99 palette? I’m glad I picked this up though, because it lead me directly into buying this:

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So the Max Factor Colour Corrector crayons are the exact same concept, but they obviously come separately. They are £8.99 each and are exact colour matches for the pans in the Collection palette. But the formula is much much better and nice and creamy. Really easy to draw onto the areas you need and then blend with your finger (I find this easier because your finger warms the product) I’m so sold on this one, that I’m considering getting the green one for the redness on my cheeks and around my nose. This stick works well underneath my makeup and though I wouldn’t say it’s solved all my dark circle issues, it doesn’t crease and is the best corrector I’ve used so far.

Now, slightly off topic, I just want to mention two more products I’ve tried recently.

I saw an ad for the new Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer. I was interested in the idea that it was both a foundation and concealer that I went in for a colour match and sample. I was matched to 3.5 Cream Rose which has pinky undertones.

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I was impressed by the match and when I got home tried the sample for coverage. I loved the coverage and overall feel of this foundation BUT right away it settled into the lines on my forehead – massive no no for me. Like, within minutes I was finding myself trying to blend my forehead with my fingers – it looked like I’d drawn lines across my head. So I don’t think I’ll be going ahead with a full purchase for this foundation. Reviews I’ve seen show this is a bit of a Marmite foundation, you’ll either love or hate it. I wish I loved it, but I just can’t. I was able to use this sample to help me match a different foundation, though, which I’ll review at a later time… so stay tuned!!

And lastly, I want to talk about URLash.

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I finally got fed up with my teeny tiny straight eyelashes that won’t hold a curl or bend. I even realised I have gaps in the lashes on one eye meaning I can never get a nice even fan when wearing mascara. So I picked this up on Amazon and have used it every evening for the last 3 weeks. I honestly think it’s starting to add length to my lashes. They’re holding a curl easier and when I apply mascara the lashes seem to behave better. I’ll update on this in a few weeks, but so far so good – maybe it’s all in my mind… we’ll see!

Let me know if you’ve used any of these products or equivalents. I love to hear what you’ve been using!!