Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Fake Bake Tanning Body Butter - Review

It's that time of year again! The time when you start to daydream in history lessons about beaches, sun and wearing shorts without shivers and goosebumps - the time when every pale girl in the nation starts wishing they could tan. Luckily for us, we live in the 21st century - when fake tans provide just as good a tan as real ones.

Since I discovered fake tan a couple of years ago, I've been searching for my holy grail - but I have to admit I still haven't found it. There are those that provide a gorgeous colour, those that last a lifetime, those that cost literally pennies - but never one that combines it all. So I'm looking down different routes - I want to try different types of fake tan in the hope that one day, one will catch my attention and be that holy grail.

So whilst browsing around the web, I came across this little pot of loveliness - the Fake Bake Tanning Body Butter, £12.99 from Xtras Online. What drew me to this was that it's targeted at people with dry skin - which is a great change from the usual drying tanners.

It comes in a body butter form and is scarily dark in the tub. When opening the tub, the tan has quite a strong chocolately smell, which I found a bit weird at first but it soon faded once applied, and though it then took on a slight usual 'burnt biscuit' fake tan smell, it didn't last long and wasn't at all strong. I used the enclosed gloves to apply it and found that it soaked in really easily, just like a usual body butter - though it did take a bit longer to dry due to it's moisturising nature. The guide colour was a gorgeous golden sheen, and because it was moisturising it would easily be acceptable to apply and head straight out for the night. The next morning I woke up and checked the colour and it had gone pretty dark, but not at all orange tinted (ignore the photo, it makes it look far more orange!) and had a lovely golden glow. After a quick shower, the colour was a mid tan and looked beautifully natural and streak free. The colour lasted a good 4-5 days and faded nicely.

The only single bad word I have to say about this product is that you don't get much in a tub - I'd say 4-5 uses, which isn't much for £13 a pot! Despite this, I loved using the product and will definitely repurchase when I run out - the best part I found was that because it was a body butter as well, there was no need to moisturise afterwards which often ruins the colour of the tan.

Though I wouldn't say this was a 'holy grail' tan, I still loved it (I think I'm holding out for a perfection that doesn't exist) and I'll continue to use it - now bring on summer!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

How to: Contour and Highlight

If you asked around a room of women, probably almost all of them would say they wore mascara, most of them would say they wore foundation, and lots of them eyeliner/ lipstick. However one crucial part of makeup that many women miss out in their make up routine is contouring - something so simple yet has a huge effect on the whole shape and definition of your face.

After you've applied foundation, your face becomes something of a blank canvas - and it's up to you to reapply the definition and shape. Craftily, many makeup artists have thought of a way of doing this, which can also be used to re-sculpt most facial insecurities and woes.

Contouring is basically the use of dark (bronzer/contour powder) and light (highlighter) colours to trick your eyes into seeing things that aren't real. Much like in art, dark colours are used to make things seem to sink in, and light colours make things stick out - because it looks like the light is hitting them!

Apologies for the photo - it took a lot of searching to get a side on photo (it seems I'm a straight-to-camera girl?) and yes, this was taken about two years ago.. This photo is also me without any contouring, just to give an idea of whereabouts I'm talking about - the numbers will relate to the explanations below. :)

Bronzer/Contour Powder

Bronzer is basically the key part of contouring and can be used in tons of different ways to make your face appear more elongated and thinner. Any type of bronzer or contour powder can be used for this - it's recommended you use one approximately two shades darker than your skin colour, though I use a slightly darker one so I can see more results (I have a rather round face!). I use the NYX Blush in Taupe which you can see a review on here. To apply the bronzer it's best to use a slightly angled brush, but I use my Body Shop Blusher brush pinched between my fingers to make a thinner brush.

1) The first and main place I use contour powder is under my cheekbones, to make my face appear slimmer and make my cheekbones appear more prominent. Suck in your cheeks to see whereabouts your cheekbones are, and then apply a shadow of contour powder just under the cheekbones, usually from about the middle of your cheek all the way up to your hairline. This will really make them pop!

3) Another key place that contour powder is used is in the temples - this slims the top half of your face. Only use a small amount of powder in this area, as it's easy to look unnatural, and blend it into your temples.

4) If you're blessed with a rather large nose such as my own, you may want to contour it to appear thinner around the bridge. Take a small amount of powder and blend it from either side of the bridge of your nose down to your cheek - you'll be surprised at the difference this makes!

Some women also like to blend contour powder along the underneath of their jawline to make this seem slimmer.

Highlighter/ Blush

Blusher isn't really key in contouring, though if you were planning to wear it, it would be applied just above the contour powder, on the apple of your cheeks.

Highlighter is available from almost every brand now, and comes in many forms from liquid to cream to powder. The one I use is the powder highlighter from Topshop in Crescent Moon, which I just find easier to manage than creams, which I sometimes find rub off my foundation! Review here. The thing to remember with highlighting is less is more - if someone can notice you're wearing highlighter, it's far too much.

2) The main function for my highlighter is as a cheekbone saviour - until I suddenly wake up in the morning with model cheekbones I'll be using this badboy! Apply a dusting of highlighter from mid-cheek to hair line just above the blusher along your cheekbones. This will make them stand out and slim your face.

Highlighter can also be used on the ball of your nose and along the spine of your nose (is spine the medical term i wonder..?) to slim your nose, and on your browbones to contour your face further.

If you're a contouring newbie this might sound like an awful lot of work - but the best thing is to pick and choose which techniques work for your face type, and after practice you can get this routine down to a couple of minutes tops! And let's face it, isn't a lovely sculpted face worth that two minutes less sleep in the morning?

On an unrelated note, everyone has been going crazy about Google reader being shut down - and apparently GFC is now also doomed.. I know a lot of people (lovely, lovely people) follow via GFC so I thought I'd quickly mention that you can also follow this blog via Bloglovin', which more people are bound to start using. If you go to Bloglovin', there's also a button which allows you to import all your GFC blogs onto Bloglovin', so it's really easy! If that doesn't appeal to you, I have a twitter account for the blog at @livflorence where I post an update every time I blog with links, and get involved in all the #bbloggers chats on a Sunday and Wednesday evening.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Contour Powder on a Budget - NYX Blush in Taupe

I've had NARS Laguna on my radar for a while now, and though it looks amazing I just can't justify spending  £26 on a bronzing powder - hello budget of a 16 year old! The NYX Blush in Taupe was recommended by a friend as a good cheap contouring powder, and after trying on hers I was sold! I've only recently got round to ordering it, but couldn't wait to pop it up on here. Though it's labelled as a 'blush', the colour taupe is a matte dark grey/brown, and is perfect for under the cheek bones - lots of other products I've seen have a shimmer, which is obviously not great for contouring. Don't be scared by the swatch either - this is a lot of product to show a strong colour, it's easily blended in to become subtle. I wouldn't say it's staying power is particularly amazing, but sticks for a good 4-5 hours before fading!

The packaging, as with lots of cheaper products, isn't anything special, but contains an average amount of product (4g) and is practical and sturdy- though the addition of a mirror would have been welcomed!

To summarise, this product provides perfect under cheekbone contouring for paler skin without being orange, and is great for the budget!

The NYX Blush costs around £5.50, and I ordered mine from 123 Hair and Beauty here.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Models Own - Fruit Pastel Collection

L-R (Strawberry Tart, Apple Pie, Banana Split, Blueberry Muffin, Grape Juice)

I don't know about you but frankly I've been super impressed recently with Models Own - they seem to be bringing out new collections on an almost weekly basis and each one looks great! Recently they brought out their Ice Neon collection which looks like it would make a great addition to my collection (though I'm not sure I'd remember they were sitting in the fridge!) but this morning I've heard about their new Fruit Pastel collection - and I'm very excited!

The main USP of these polishes is that each polish has a different fruity scent related to their colour - and I can't believe no ones thought of scented nail varnishes before, it makes so much sense! I think the idea of getting a little whiff of fruity scent as you wave your nails around will make this nail varnish such a novelty!

One thing I am a little wary of is that I hope the nail varnishes do the scents justice - there's nothing good about a cheaply scented product that frankly just smells a little off - and I also hope the scent has staying power!

I will certainly be picking up a couple of these - I love the look of the Blueberry Muffin, Strawberry Tart and Banana Split, so I'll let you know how I get on with them.

Will any of you be trying the new Model's Own collections?