L’Oreal Cushion Foundation

Since my beloved YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat has been running out slowly but surely and, on top of that, has been reformulated in the meantime, I turned to the drugstore to get an adequate replacement.

Of course, while there, I fell prey to the current cushion foundation trend and picked up the L’Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation in the shade 01 Porcelain. To be fair, this ticked all of the boxes of being a natural-finish light to medium-coverage foundation, so I think I did good.

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The packaging is very cute and well thought-through, with a little plastic lid protecting the actual cushion from too much air and germs. It also comes with a little applicator pad that, in all honesty, I have never used. It is easy enough to dip a sponge or buffing brush into the cushion and apply that way.

Application itself is easy as the cushion is nicely saturated and the product itself is light and blendable with a surprising amount of coverage that isn’t to heavy or flat. I usually dip my brush in two to three times to get an even, light layer of foundation all over me face and jawline.

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On the face, it looks great, natural enough to let my freckles shine through but definitely perfecting and glowy. It is by no means greasy looking but fresh and natural. I also set it with a light layer of powder through my oilier parts, but I have noticed the foundation breaking up a little around my nose and around the mouth, where I am not that dry. That, really, is my only point of contention as it inhibits lasting power a little bit, but even so, my face still looks even and reasonably fresh after a few hours, so all in all, it’s a winner for me.

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NYX Micro Brow Pencil

Dupe Alert! As you guys know, if there’s something I like to try out, it’s a brow pencil. High up on the list have been the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil and the Anastasia Brow Wiz. The latter has gained a cult following for a reason, but the price (and quality of the pencil casing) have kept me from repurchasing it all the time.

Enter the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Ash, a perfect dupe at about a third of the price.

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Both the pencil itself and the little spoolie are exactly like the Brow Wiz and deliver the same natural and soft result. To be honest, I wouldn’t be able to keep the two apart in a blind test.

The twist up pencil is neither too soft nor too hard and leaves the brows with hair-like strokes that look believable and not at all blocky. The color, Ash, is a perfect match for my cool-toned medium-brown brow hairs and keeps them from looking to harsh.

Funnily enough, the tiny brush has been my favorite part of the Brow Wiz and when it broke off, I was over the pencil too. I am happy that the Micro Brow Pencil comes with a similar brush and has seemed to keep up better than the original.

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So if you’re a fan of the Brow Wiz too but are looking to soften the blow on your wallet, here you go. Get yourself to a NYX counter and rejoice!

Real Techniques Ultimate Base Set

I’m most definitely all set in the brush department but on a recent trip to the local drugstore, I stumbled over a set of brushes that I just could not pass up.

The Real Techniques Ultimate Base Set includes two of my favorite tools from their line and an exclusive brush, so I just could not say no.

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In there is the Expert Face Brush, which I love to use for every type of base from tinted moisturizers to actual foundation. Since cleaning brushes is one of my least favorite tasks, it’s perfect that I now have a second one. It is also amazing for cream cheek products, so I will definitely find a use for it.

The Miracle Complexion Sponge is the second part of the set and I love have multiple of these as well since you can’t really have sponges sitting around dirty. I now have three on rotation and love using them for foundation (if I have a bit more time to work it in), concealer or powdering.

The set exclusive is the Deluxe Concealer Brush, which is similar in shape to the Zoeva 142 but much softer and more loose, so it works great for buffing in concealer under the eyes. You could also use this as an eyeshadow brush, especially for cream shades.

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Finally, it comes with a little brush pouch that houses a decent sized mirror. It’s not the greatest quality and very much geared towards holding only a few brushes, but it’s a cute extra.

I think this set is a great addition to the RT line-up, so if you’re looking to expand your brush (and sponge) collection at a great price, make sure to pick this set up.

Garnier Hydra Bomb Sheet Mask

Since colder temperatures are just around the corner, I am stepping up my game skincare wise and looking for an extra dose of hydration every step of the way.

On a recent trip to the drugstore, I came across the Garnier SkinActive Hydra Bomb Sheet Mask, saturated with hyaluronic acid and pomegranate extract.

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The fact that I have found this at the drugstore means that sheet masks have well and truly made it into the mainstream of the western beauty market. I don’t know if the Hydra Bomb range is available worldwide, but in the European drugstore market, which is usually lagging sorely behind, this is a true innovation. I do believe that will social media, the trend turnover has become much quicker, so that new products enter the mass market sooner than ever.

And I have to say, Garnier have done a good job on this one. The mask is saturated nicely, but it is far from soppy or dripping wet. Actually it sits nicely on the face and molds to the contours well. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the opening for the mouth, which was a bit to narrow, but I guess that’s just my face.

The mask is to be left on the skin for 15 minutes and I could move around with it easily. It doesn’t tingle or itch (on me) and left my skin supple and plump. There was no redness anywhere but I did have to tissue off the residue since it was too much to massage into the skin.

At a drugstore price, this is definitely a little treat I will get for myself from time to time. While I usually rely on serums and oils for hydration, it is lovely to kick back and nourish the skin with a funny looking mask every once in a while.

5 Product Face

While I do love to take some time to sit down and do my make-up, more often than not I am in a rush to get out the door with just a few minutes to spare for my face.

I am by no means averse to leaving the house with a bare face, but I do have a little failsafe bundle of products to make me look more put together and awake if need be.

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To even out the face, I start with a little concealer. The Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Warm is great because its light tone adds a lot of brightness to any red or dull areas of the face. While it is a little drying under the eyes, it works perfectly in a pinch and a little product goes a long way.

To set the concealer and take away the skin through the center of my face, I dust a little amount of the Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder in 52 Vanilla across the skin, which works great and doesn’t look at all unnatural. The powder is finely milled and low coverage, so it is amazing for finishing of the face without caking up product.

Because I am fantastically pale, I will always add a little bronzer to make myself look a bit healthier. The Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer is an amazing shade for pale skins as it is light and not too orange, leaving a believable sun kissed glow.

For brows, I have been favoring the old school method of powder and an angled brush lately, but in a hurry, I will always go back to the Hourglass Arch brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash. It provides color and hold very quickly while leaving the brows natural and defined. I have used the color Soft Brunette before, but Ash is almost the same if a bit cooler.

Finally, Mascara is the essential for me and my love for the Catrice Glam & Doll False Lashes is still going strong. It is quick and precise, creating a beautifully defined and voluminous fan of lashes that lasts throughout the day without smudging or flaking.

And there you have it, a five minute, five product face that looks natural and pretty without much faff.

L’Oréal Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo

Since washing my hair is one of the most tedious chores ever, I rely heavily on dry shampoo to keep my hair looking nice throughout the week.

I tried a lot of different dry shampoos and I have found that I usually prefer the sprinkle types over the spray kind – with one exception. The L’Oréal Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo has worked wonders on my fine, limp hair recently.

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It injects a fair amount of volume into my roots, but most of all, it works amazingly well at soaking up residual oil on my scalp and making my hair actually look almost freshly washed. I think it might be the clay that makes it so effective, but whatever it is, it does its job.

The gripe I have with most spray dry shampoos is the smell. I loved the Aussie version but hated the scent, same with most Batiste dry shampoos. But this one just smells like shampoo, fresh and unobstrusive, just like clean hair. So if you have similar issues, make sure to give this one a go.

PS: Confusingly enough, the L’Oréal lines are named differently throughout the world. As you can see, this line is called Elvital here in mainland Europe, whereas in most English speaking countries, it seems to go by Elvive. Luckily, the range is pretty discernible by its lovely mint green packaging, so be sure to look out for that if you’re not sure about the name.

 

Maybelline Vivid Matte – Nude Thrill

…aaaaand we’re back with another liquid lipstick, but this time, it’s from the drugstore.

A while ago, I stumbled across a display of the (somewhat) new Maybelline Vivid Mattes and instead of going for my regular bright reds or pinks (which look gorgeous as well by the way), I went for 50 Nude Thrill, a darkened peachy brown nude that is spot on with the whole nineties lip trend but not to garish or dull to look strange on the lips.

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It seems that I am getting more and more into nude lip colors these days, which is strange but really much more practical than having to precisely paint on a striking red early in the morning and having to touch it up throughout the day.

The formula of the Vivid Mattes is unlike most of the liquid lipsticks I have tried before. It is much more hydrating and thus very comfortable on the lips. Also, it doesn’t completely dry down but leaves a bit of a subtle sheen and – unfortunately – a tendency to smear.

The best way to apply this and get a bit of longevity out of it is to apply a thin layer, blot and repeat. This way, you end up with an opaque but subtle lip color that will last for a good while (not through drinking or eating though). I am actually very glad I picked up a nude shade from this range as it lends itself to clandestine touchups when it has faded whereas I think that you would notice any fading much more with the bolder colors.

One thing that is a little bit strange and that I know has put a lot of people off of this product is the scent. It is the usual, highly artificial floral scent that Maybelline has weirdly chosen to give its lip products. It takes some getting used to, especially if you are  as sensitive to scents as I am, but it dissipates pretty quickly and doesn’t tend to irritate the lips, at least in my case.

Even though I wouldn’t rate this a classic liquid lipstick, I think these are worth giving a try as I have been wearing the shade I got almost everyday these past few weeks.