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Siân Pitman

Moving on – new blog at beautybysian.co.uk

Here’s a quick note to all of my subscribers! I’m moving!

I’m leaving this note so that if any of you would like to follow my new blog, you can do so at beautybysian.co.uk. I decided it was time for a change and I was never happy with the previous blog, so here’s my brand spanking new one with a gorgeous new layout!

I hope you’ll move with me to my new blog.

Best wishes,

Sian

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Beauty Bookmarks You Need To Save

There’s no denying that I’m a beauty addict, and a lot of what I look at online is beauty and fashion-related, which helps me to find inspiration (and feed my addiction…). There’s plenty of fantastic websites, social media accounts, shops, etc which have everything you need to indulge in all things beauty online. Here are some of my favourite – bookmark them for the next time you need your beauty fix!

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Beauty Bookmarks: Bloggers

 

You can learn a lot from beauty bloggers, and I enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of ordinary people who love makeup and all things beauty-related. They’re a great way to find out the latest beauty news as well as get some tried and tested, honest reviews. Some excellent beauty bloggers to check out are:

Ellia is a London-based makeup artist with some great insights into the latest trends and products. Her blog is really stylish and there’s some great fashion posts in there as well. If you live nearby, you should definitely take a look at her bridal looks – I wish I lived closer. Check out her Instagram too.

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Tanya Burr is a well-known blogger and her blog covers a range of subjects, but it’s her beauty pages I love the most. Covering the latest trends and topics as well as reviews, it’s great to learn from one of the best!

Run by Alix, I Covet Thee features loads of great fashion and beauty insights, but I really love the beauty photos and her product reviews – everything always looks so beautiful! There’s some great how tos in there as well if you’re looking for some beauty inspiration!

Beauty Bookmarks: Shopping

Beauty products used to be something I bought exclusively in-store, but now I know what I like and what brands I trust I’m more comfortable buying online – especially because I know I can save money through doing a search online. I’m a huge bargain hunter, so the following are some of the places I get my best finds:

Most of my wardrobe comes from ASOS, but their beauty section is amazing too. They sell a lot of brands including NARS, Benefit, Illamasqua, Eyelure, Rimmel, NYX, Pixi, Elemis and loads of others so you can get some of your favourite products, often when they’re sold out elsewhere. I shop with them because their discounts apply to beauty stuff too so I get 10% off everything through my student discount account (thank you GCSE Italian), and bigger discounts when certain promotions are running. Best of all, you can order up until midnight Monday-Friday so if you need something for a night out (emergency false lashes for example), you can get them without the hassle of leaving the house! Sign up to their newsletter to keep up to date with the latest promotions!

I used All Beauty for the first time recently and wish I’d done it sooner! I bought some Tigi Catwalk shampoo and conditioner in salon sized bottles for just £13.95! It’s all genuine stuff in perfect packaging and the free delivery is super quick. You can get huge discounts on your top skincare and haircare products, and there’s some great deals on premium makeup too (you’ll need to do a bit of digging through the pages though). I’m already filling my basket for the next shop!

Lookfantastic is my go-to place to buy beauty products online, the selection is huge and there’s always offers on to get even more money off. You can find some new brands and popular brands you’ve always wanted to try, and they give some great gifts too. Make sure you sign up to receive their emails as they’ll regularly try and tempt you with their bargains, and their 3for2s on nail-care brands and others are not to be missed either!

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Beauty Bookmarks: Instagrammers

I spend a lot of time on Instagram and love having a nose at other people’s style. Beauty is a really popular topic on there and there are some accounts you absolutely have to follow, including:

Jade is an amazing makeup artist whose looks I’ve tried to recreate on several occasions. She’s got great taste and flawless lips, and uses a wide variety of products. Take a look at her profile and see!

This is a really good account for finding the best beauty pictures around at the moment and covers everything from different looks, how to videos and product close ups. It’s good for discovering new products as well as finding other people you might want to follow.

Fleur De Force was one of the first YouTube vloggers I came across, I loved her tutorials and down to earth personality. I don’t use YouTube much anymore but I do follow Fleur on Instagram for details of videos I might be interested in as well as her amazing ‘look of the day’ and products photos. Spend some time on her YouTube channel and be sure to follow her on Instagram. Fleur and her sister are soon launching Bride De Force, which I’m very excited about!

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As this post is so long, I’m going to do a follow up to this soon with some other recommended websites for beauty lovers. Save these links to your toolbar and you’ll have a place to go to get your makeup and beauty fix.

 

New Year, New You? The Beauty Resolutions You’ll Want To Keep

Happy New Year! 2016 was a bit of a crazy year, and whilst great things were happening in my personal life (getting engaged was definitely the highlight), the wider world seemed to have more chaos than usual. Let’s hope 2017 is a better one for all.

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If, like me, you’re starting off the New Year with a load of resolutions (spend less, lose weight, blah blah blah), you may have used or heard the phrase ‘New Year, new you’ a few times. It’s not a phrase I particularly like – why do you need a new you? Rather than dwelling on changing what makes you, you (and you’re fabulous!), why not make it  ‘New Year, new habits’ instead? Here are some beauty resolutions that you’ll want to keep, for 2017 and beyond.

Up your skincare game

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Are you prone to complaining about your skin, but rarely do anything about it? It’s time to change it up! Take a more grown-up approach to your skincare and start looking after it. Cleanse, tone, moisturise twice a day, every day and ditch the makeup wipes for good. Work out your skin type and buy the most appropriate products – you don’t have to spend a fortune to look after your skin. A good skincare routine should feature:

  • A cleanser
  • Exfoliator
  • Toner
  • Day cream
  • Night Cream
  • Face Mask
  • Eye cream

If you need help, treat yourself to a facial and ask your therapist to analyse your skin type.

Be kind to your hair!

This is one that I’m definitely taking on board this year. I’m trying to grow my hair for my wedding (20 months to go…) so I’m making some drastic changes to my routine. Unless your hair is super strong (lucky you), give it a break from straighteners and other heat tools every now and then, use a conditioning mask weekly and go for regular trims. I’m adding scalp treatments, hair vitamins and a silk pillowcase to my routine in a bid to help it grow and spreading out my highlights appointments.

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Try new products

In the past, I was one for sticking to what I knew, I barely strayed away from MAC products and didn’t know the hidden gems other brands were hiding. Do some research, see what people are using and take the plunge. Last year I tried Pixi, Jouer and NIOD for the first time amongst others, and I loved the results. This year I plan on testing out even more brands to find the things I like and work well. Beauty boxes like those offered by Look Fantastic, GlossyBox, etc are good ways to try out new brands without committing to the price of a full-sized product. Try it yourself!

Be clever with your beauty spending

Beauty products can be expensive, that’s no secret, but there are plenty of secrets I can share about saving money on them. Sign up to newsletters, join loyalty schemes and hunt high and low for discount codes, you can usually save off most brands if you do some digging. Save your ‘wants’ until department store discount days, use loyalty vouchers to buy your ‘needs’ and make clever choices about your other essentials such as shampoos and conditioner. I buy them in salon sizes from stores like TK Maxx or online vendors so that I only need to buy them every 10 months or so, and it means I get to enjoy more premium brands at a price that works out cheaper than replenishing supplies at Boots every 6 weeks.

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For 2017, I’m hoping to be more organised and blog more regularly. I’ve already made a list of great ideas and can’t wait to get started. Happy New Year once more to you all, I’m excited for what’s to come.

Christmas Beauty Gift Ideas for Her

You may think it’s too early to start thinking about Christmas, but with just two (or even one for some) pay days left until Christmas, you haven’t got long! I tend to start looking at what’s coming out for Christmas in September/October when the previews start to appear online. Then the Boots catalogue hits and I’ve already mentally spent a fortune…

If you’re stuck with buying Christmas gifts for loved ones, then beauty products tend to be a good shout. Instead of buying them any old smellies, I’ve picked out some of the best to save you some trouble! Starting off with the girls, I’m also selecting gifts for guys, teens and Mum too to suit a range of budgets.

Enjoy my Christmas gift guide and find some lovely things for her this year.

MAC Holiday Sweet Smoky Eye Bag (£39)

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You may have read my MAC Holiday 2016 Picks post which went into detail about my top picks from this year’s special edition collection, but it didn’t feature this set, which I didn’t get because I already have two of the products. For people looking for a great gift which offers a lot of value, this is a great set. It features full sizes of an Extra Dimension Eyeshadow (£16), False Lashes Mascara (£19), Pro Longwear Paint Pot (£16) and Technakohl Liner (£14) – in total worth £65, as well as coming with a great wipe-clean bag.  It’s a great way to pick up a few MAC products without spending a fortune, and the dark shades are versatile for creating a range of looks.

Pixi Best of Bright (£20)

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If you’re looking for an affordable, but good quality skincare set – this one from Pixi doesn’t disappoint. It contains one of the most-talked about products this year, the Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner, as well as a mud mask and a cleanser – the perfect trio for a pamper session. The recipient of this gift will love your eye for on-trend products, and her skin will thank you for it too.

Soap and Glory Foam & Fortune (£16)

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Boots is one of the best places to go for Christmas gifts, and their 3for2 offer is great for those with a strict Christmas budget to stick to. Soap and Glory offers some deliciously-smelling goodies at a good price and are great for replenishing the bath time stocks. This set contains all of my favourites – I love the smell of Sugar Crush, their lime-y, mojito-y range which leaves skin feeling really soft. For only £16, it’s a good set, and looks more expensive than it really is. Plus you get another shower poof, and as you’re meant to replace these more regularly than we probably do, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it!

Elemis Kit Luxury Skin and Body Traveller Collection (£62.50)


If your loved one likes luxury skincare, or if it’s something they want to try but haven’t got around to it yet, then this an excellent value taster set from Elemis. It features mini versions of some of their most popular products, including the Soothing Apricot Toner and Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil. It’s a great introduction for someone needing to establish a skincare routine, or a good set for someone who travels a lot. It’s a more expensive gift, but is certainly one that offers a lot for the price. Plus, if you register with Look Fantastic, they’ll be sure to send you a discount or two before Christmas, so you could pick this up at an even better price.

Cloud Nine The O Ultimate Gift Set (£159)


This is a gift for someone with a large budget for gifts this Christmas – but boy is it a good one. Big, voluminous curls continue to be a big trend and this is a great way to get them. Combining the benefits of both heated and Velcro rollers, this great set from Cloud Nine provides lasting volume and curl for all hair types (including my limp and lifeless mid-length strands!). This set features 12 rollers in different sizes with the relevant clips, an Amplify Spray, Serum a carry case, and of course, The O Pod. It’s a very simple system – simply put a roller in the pod, wait a few seconds to heat up, then after the beep insert into the hair. The rollers won’t burn your fingers and you can have bouncy, shiny hair in as little as 15 minutes. It’s the sort of thing beauty lovers put on their wish lists, but you can make their day by purchasing this as a Christmas gift.

Ciaté London Paint Pot Duo To Go in Lucky Penny/Rain Check, Antique Brooch/Amazing Gracie and Mistress/Razzmatazz (£10 Each)

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These are ideal stocking fillers for nail varnish lovers! Ciaté is a really great nail polish brand which offer high quality finishes in on-trend colours. These sets feature two mini versions of their bestsellers, and both shades in the packs are great, rather than having one which is good and the other being a dud! I have full-sized versions of Antique Brooch and Amazing Gracie and I love them both, but I’ll personally be adding Lucky Penny/Rain Check to my own Christmas list.

Naked 2 Palette by Urban Decay (£38.50)

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Eyeshadow palettes offer excellent value for money – offering a range of shades to create different looks. Don’t just buy any palette though, a palette full of super bright shades will sit gathering dust, so something a bit more practical will be appreciated much more. I’ve had 3 out of the 4 main Naked Palettes from Urban Decay and number 2 is definitely the best. Featuring a great mix of matte and shimmer shades perfect for creating professional looking eye looks for day and night, it should be a staple in anyone’s make-up collection, making it a great Christmas beauty gift.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Rollerball Trio Gift Set (£50)

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Choosing a perfume can be a nightmare, and for an expensive investment, you want to make sure you’re buying the right one for your loved one. If you’re struggling to narrow it to one, this useful set from Marc Jacobs is a great gift. With three rollerball scents and a stylish carry case to keep them in, these handbag sized fragrances are a great purchase. I’m currently loving Daisy Dream so I would love to have this for Christmas. If it’s a full sized something you’re looking for, make the most of the other gift sets available at the moment which will most likely be the same price or cheaper than an individual bottle, and include some shower gel and body lotion too. My fragrance picks include Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, La Parfum by Ellie Saab and Gucci Bamboo.

If you’re savvy enough, you can take advantage of Debenhams’ 10% off beauty offers – there’s one on at the moment but there’s likely to be more in the run up to Christmas, including Black Friday if I had to take a guess.

EOS Lip Balm Duo (£13) or Single (£7)

EOS lip balms (Evolution of Smooth if you’re not in the know) are really popular across Instagram at the moment and celebrities can’t get enough of them. They’re fun, flavoursome lip balms that do really work to smooth your lips. They last ages (mine’s nearly two years going strong – probably not healthy though…) and you can get them in a range of flavours. For Christmas there are some great duo sets available whilst the single pots also make good stocking fillers.

Blushin’ Babe Blush Gift Set by Benefit (£29)

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In the last couple of years, Benefit has released these excellent blush sets for Christmas.  They feature some of their most popular shades in good quantities which solve the ‘I’ve run out of blush’ problem that many people have when they only buy one product at a time. This is a great way to sample what is arguably Benefit’s best product, without paying the £24 per shade you’d usually fork out for. Sugarbomb and Hoola are two of the best, and what’s great about this set is that you also get a mini They’re Real eyeliner and mascara and a Whatt’s Up highlighter. For just £29, you can’t go wrong with this set, and with many offering 10% off at different points in the lead up to Christmas, it offers even more value.

Spectrum Collections Marbelous 5-Piece Sculpt Set (£39.99)

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Spectrum Collections brushes are another Instagram wonder product which have been making waves all over the world. These award-winning, super-stylish brushes make an excellent gift for makeup lovers and will brighten up any dressing table. Rose gold and marble are a fabulous combination and these brushes use the colours perfectly. The Sculpt set is ideal for creating supermodel-worthy cheekbones and for highlighting facial features, and as they’re completely vegan and cruelty-free makeup brush, they make a thoughtful gift too! Beauty junkies will be all over these, so they’ll be sure to earn you brownie points this Christmas.

If you sign up to the Spectrum newsletter you’ll also get 10% off your first order – so there’s no excuse for not ordering them this Christmas!

 

And there you have it! Beauty gifts really are a great present to give to someone special this Christmas whilst also being a great time to pick up some top value sets. Special editions by beauty brands tend to sell out quickly, so make sure you get your shopping done soon.

Up next… it’s time for girls to treat the guys with my Christmas Gift Guide for Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAC Holiday 2016 – Nutcracker Sweet Review

It’s been quite a while since my last post, which is due to sheer laziness on my part. I spend so long on a computer each day that the thought of spending any additional time on it, even if for me, was crushing me. But I’m back and vow to be more regular with my posts from now on.img_4246

My obsession with the MAC Holiday sets probably begun somewhere around the age of 14/15 – I had a set of mini pigments/glitters and I loved them all. In fact, I still have some of them now and the ones that have run out (Vanilla, Bronze) – I have replaced more than once. Since then, I have waited each October for the new sets to come out with the same enthusiasm of that teenage girl. Each year, I selected the set I wanted most ready for Santa to bring, but the older I got, the harder it was to get those sets and when I started making money for myself, I tended to buy them for myself as early Christmas presents. I also started wanting more of them…

For a newcomer to the MAC Holiday collections, I’ll explain in brief. Each year, there’s a theme and a huge selection of products released, including eyeshadow palettes (offering great value), face palettes, brush sets, mini pigment/lipgloss/lipstick sets, eye and lip bags and a range of individual items as well. Some collections feature new and exclusive shades, others bring back old favourites, and others offer special editions of existing shades.

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This year’s theme is Nutcracker Sweet, a fun, flirty range of products jazzed up in pink and purple shades which are consistent across the collection. They’re bright and funky and a huge step away from MAC’s classic black packaging. I can’t bring myself to get rid of the boxes yet because they’re so pretty.

For the first time, I’ve actually found it hard to choose what I want from the collection as there were so many great choices! I’m still tempted to put the ones I haven’t bought on my Christmas list in case they’re not sold out by the time December comes around, but it’s quite unlikely. I decided to opt for separate eye, lip and face sets as well as choose an individual lipstick.

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First up is the Smoky Eye Palette (£29), a great set of nine peach and cocoa shades in a range of matt and shimmer finishes. I love palettes like this which have shades for both day and evening looks and know that I’ll still be using this palette for years to come – the shades last ages and I’ll have lots of fun with them preparing Christmas looks. For £29, it’s a good value set, especially considering the Naked palettes are another tenner on top for only a few more shades. The Warm and Cool palettes are also good choices but as I’ve got two big palettes of these types of colours, I decided to opt for the smoky instead.

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Next, I was very lucky to get my hands on the Copper Sweet Face Palette (£29), which has now sold out pretty much everywhere. It features an Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt – which I’ve been trying to get my hands on for aaaages and a copper blush which will be great when I get a tan next year. The pigments are bold and handy enough to carry in a clutch over Christmas, but £29 was probably more than I wanted to pay for the sizes. The Peach version is still available, and the shades for that look just as great.

Now over to the lips. I struggled to choose between the lipsticks, but Saucy Little Darling (£17) stood out for me. Described as a ‘deep coral-red’ it comes in the Amplified Creme formula which is creamy to wear but has good staying power. It’s similar to my Relentlessly Red, but without the matte finish – it’s already a favourite.

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I also picked up the Nude Lip Bag (£29) which I think also offers excellent value. You get the Magic Spell lipstick, worth £15.50, Tuned In Vamplify lipgloss, worth £18 and the In Control Pro Longwear Lip Pencil, also worth £15.50. So for £29, you get £49’s worth of products (and full sized I might add!), which is great. The colours are a dark nude, which are great for re-creating the Kylie Jenner look, and as I tend to buy lighter nude shades, it’s nice to have something different. I’d recommend the red bag as well (I have plenty of red so it didn’t seem worth it), whilst the eye bags offer similar value. If I could have only picked one, it would have easily been the lip bag because it is great value.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for Christmas for a makeup lover, these are definitely a good shout. I haven’t loved anybody else’s Christmas collections so far (including Bobbi Brown, NARS and Benefit) so that’s why I’ve invested more in these. If you’re out of luck at MAC you can also try Debenhams, House of Fraser, Selfridges and John Lewis which all stock MAC products.

I’ll have a more detailed post about Christmas beauty gift recommendations soon, and possibly a post for men too…

 

Top Tips for Helping Your Makeup Last Longer (especially in the summer heat…)

Wearing makeup at the best of times almost requires a strong adhesive to keep it in place. From melting mascara to flaky foundation, hours after the initial application our makeup can look rather, um, grim. The situation is even more dire in the summer when the increased heat can easily cause makeup to run faster than a sprinter at the Olympics. However, there are some things you can do to help it last, and I’ve got my secrets to share with you below.

1. In summer, less is more

When the nights start getting lighter, so should your makeup. Summer makeup looks should be natural and dewy, not caked on. Ease up on the products you put on your face, you’ll be surprised at how less hot and bothered you’ll feel. Switch your foundation to a BB cream or even a tinted moisturiser, the lighter formula will still give you good coverage and will mean that there is less to melt off later in the day. If you don’t want to purchase a new product, mix a drop of your foundation with your moisturiser as your own homemade tinted moisturiser.

2. Prime, prime, prime

A primer makes an incredible difference to your makeup look and besides making your skin feel silicone-y soft, it’ll help your makeup last longer too. There’s some really good primers out there, including the Porefessional by Benefit (£24.50), which has a bit of a tint to lessen your need for foundation, and Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (£26). Smashbox’s primers are probably the best out there, with different formulas for different skin types, as well as a new oil formula which has made its way onto my wishlist.

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Just to clarify – you don’t need foundation primer AND BB cream. BB creams are primers in themselves, so save your primer just for your foundation.

3. Setting works wonders

Just like you’d put a top coat on your nails to stop them chipping, you should put a top coat on your makeup. A good rule of thumb for long lasting looks is to use a powder on top of any cream product that you use. Some loose powder on top of your foundation will help to keep it in place and give you a smoother finish, helping you to get rid of that waxy look. It also helps to provide a better base for your blush, highlight contour and any other products you put on top of your base. Cream eyeshadow underneath powder eyeshadow helps to make the colour stronger and ditto for blush and highlighter. Try to use lightweight formulas as the last thing you want to do is look like you’ve piled it on!

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A miracle product you’ll want to invest in is a setting/fixing spray. I currently use MAC Fix+ Spray (£17.50) but Urban Decay’s All Nighter (£22) is another great product which will lock your makeup in place. I tend to apply Fix+ after my moisturiser but you use it after application as well.

4. Choose matte formulas

Matte formulas tend to be longer lasting than shiny formulas, especially where lips are concerned. If you want a look which requires minimal touch ups (for a wedding, for example), then matte formulas will do the job. A matte lipstick looks chic whilst matte eyeshadows make going from day to evening much easier. You can even get matte highlighters now, with Benefit’s Dandelion Shy Beam Liquid Highlighter  (£19.50), which I’m dying to try. Reviews says it’s great and an ideal product if you’re not a fan of the shimmer that usually comes with highlighters.

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5. Go gel!

Waterproof and gel products are a summer must-have. Today, they are better formulated than they used to be and are on par for quality with non-waterproof makeup. Gel meanwhile is the best eyeliner formula you can get, it last ages and is pretty smudge proof once it’s been applied. It takes a bit of practice to use it, but a steady elbow on a sturdy surface always helps.

 

Of course, there’s no harm in carrying a few essentials with you for sneaky touch ups throughout the day – picking up some sample or travel-sized products or creating your own palettes can help and means you’ll have photo-ready makeup all day and all night.

 

 

6 MAC Lipsticks Every Beauty Lover Should Own

It’s true that I’m a known MAC addict, and rate most of their products highly, but the one product I love the most is their lipsticks. I haven’t worn a lipstick from any other brand in at least 6 years. Whilst I won’t admit how many I actually own, I will say I have a good cross-section of shades for every occasion. Saying that, there are some that I feel are more staple than others, and are a must for makeup lovers in general. I’ve put together my top 6 to cover most looks, ideal for most beauty needs.

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About MAC Lipsticks

Currently, there are over 150 shades of MAC Lipstick (with 164 currently available on the website), and that’s not to mention the various limited edition shades which are released throughout the year. There are also 8 different finishes available:

  • Frost – Like the frost finish eyeshadows, Frost lipsticks have a pearly finish and buildable coverage, and tend to be quite long lasting.
  • Matte – Shine free and creamy to apply, Matte lipsticks offer superb pigmentation and long lasting application.
  • Retro Matte – A fully matte formula with very-long lasting properties providing a matte and bold finish.
  • Satin – Features a creamy texture and soft finish with medium colour which can be built up to create a strong finish. Long lasting and hydrating.
  • Lustre – With a lustrous finish, these tend to be quite sparkly, are easy to apply and are lightweight, but with reduced staying power as a result.
  • Amplified – Rich in colour (similar to Matte and Retro Matte) and long lasting, but with moisturising properties to keep lips from drying out.
  • Creamsheen –  A very creamy formula which offers a decent wash of colour and plenty of hydration but is not as long lasting as other lipsticks.
  • Glaze – With a sheer finish and a lightweight formula, Glaze lipsticks tend to offer a pearly finish – they’re great for applying on top of other shades.

Different formulas are useful for different looks, so no one formula is better than the others. My favourites are probably the Retro Matte shades which come in some great colours and last all day. With matte formulas, you should always use lip balm to keep your lips hydrated, as matte, flaky lips are not a great look.

Essential MAC Lipsticks for Beauty Lovers

If, like me, you like to create different looks, particularly at different times of year, then a base range of lipstick shades is essential. The following six are great if you’re trying to build a collection, and I’ve recommended some lip liners to accompany them as well.

The dark lipstick – Cyber (Satin)

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Let’s start with the most extreme, Cyber. A deep purple, almost black shade, Cyber looks quite scary and gothic but I love it for creating winter looks. Worn with Nightmoth, it looks great with soft, subtle eye makeup. It’s a big favourite with MAC fans and you should definitely try it if you want to break out of your comfort zone a bit, you’ll love it!

If you want an alternative, Rebel is still on the dark side but offers a creamier, less ‘harsh’ finish.

The everyday staple lipstick – Mehr (Matte)

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A great everyday lipstick is one which matches your natural lip colour and Mehr is one of the best for it. A bluey-pink shade which offers great, long-lasting wear, it’s ideal for days where you want some colour but don’t want to go overboard. Wear with a coral-hued blush to avoid looking too rosy and line with Subculture for a good match for your lips.

The cool girl lipstick – Shy Girl (Creamsheen)

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Nude lipsticks are all the rage (blame the Kardashian/Jenner clan) and it’s easy to see why. They’re flattering and alter your skin tone, and they look great when worn with smoky eyes. I love Shy Girl as it’s a medium-nude shade which can be made lighter or darker depending on the lip liner you use. I like to apply concealer to my lips to make it look lighter, and use Whirl lip liner when I want a deeper hue.

The power play lipstick – Vegas Volt (Amplified Cream)

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Don’t be afraid of orange lipsticks like Vegas Volt- they’re more flattering than you think. Pale skin tones will look great with this coral shade and a big dose of winged eyeliner whereas bronzed babes can use this and little other makeup to make their skin pop. I wear it all year round and change my look depending on the season. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t bought it and loved the effect on their lips. Wear with Fruit Cocktail to make the look even better.

The classic red lipstick – Ruby Woo (Matte)

FullSizeRender[6] (1)Multi-award winning and the go-to product for makeup artists – Ruby Woo is the ultimate red shade. It’s matte and rich and will not move for hours, and is extremely flattering for most skin tones. I love to wear mine with toned down eyes and plenty of warm highlighter for a classic pinup look. I use Cherry liner to create the perfect cupid’s bow, although MAC have no released a companion liner to provide the perfect match.

The signature lipstick – Relentlessly Red (Retro Matte)

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I feel a bit deceived by the ‘red’ in the title of Relentlessly Red – to me this is more of a fuchsia, almost raspberry lipstick which is bold in colour and a great alternative to red lips. Whenever I wear it I get compliments and again, it’s great with both pale and tanned skin tones. The colour last ages and the texture is velvety matte – it’s probably my favourite out of my collection and one I will be purchasing again and again. I wear it with Chick Trick liner but Cherry is also a good match for a more intense colour.

At £15.50 each, I realise that MAC’s lipsticks aren’t exactly cheap, but they come in cheaper than other brands such as Chanel (£26) and Charlotte Tilbury (£23). Their colour section is better than any other and it’s easy to pick up some bargains as part of the Look in the Box and Holiday gift sets. Also, trade in 6 empty MAC products for it’s Back2MAC scheme and you’ll get a free lipstick of your choice – so it can be quite easy to build up a collection (that’s what I’ve told myself anyway).

MAC Lipsticks are certainly the brand’s ‘hero’ product, and if like me, you’ve fallen in love with them, you’ll have soon amassed quite a collection of stunning shades for every occasion.

My Favourite Makeup Palettes

I’m a sucker for a makeup palette. Ever since I was bought a MAC one for Christmas when I was 15, I’ve become a bit of a collector. As you can see, my dressing table also acts as a shrine to my collection, although I’m starting to run out of room…

Despite the volume of palettes in my possession, I do have some favourites. Here’s my rundown of my favourite palettes which are either still available to buy or have an equivalent. As much as I’d like to talk about my other faves, there’s no point giving anyone palette envy…

  1. Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box O’ Blushes (New equivalent = Cheekathon, £44.50)

I asked a friend to pick this up for me during a trip to the US, as Benefit tends to work out much cheaper when bought in America and it also meant I got my hands on it before it was released in the UK. I’d always liked Benefit blushers and Hoola bronzer but wasn’t always keen on paying £24+ each for one, and the powders seemed to break really easily. This palette however has been excellent value, providing large pans of product which have lasted me well and it is great if I’m doing makeup for others with different skin tones. The palette even has some Watt’s Up highlighter added in for good measure.


The downside to this one is that the packaging is very festive, so it isn’t the chicest on my table for 11 months out of the year. I’d recommend getting your hands on Cheekathon if you can!

  1. MAC Eyeshadow X15 – Cool Neutral (Now at a lower price of £49.50)

My fiancé actually picked this one out for me which was a welcome and pleasant surprise! The price of the palette back then was £65 but MAC have recently lowered the price and brought in several new palettes too. These are great if you’re looking for a staple set of eyeshadows that will cover your from day to night looks, and a great way of building up a colour collection. Normally 15 MAC eyeshadows would set you back £195 (or £150 if you bought just Pro Palette refills), so it really is good value. Granted, these probably have shallower pans than the individual shadows, but they’re certainly long lasting. The pigment is great and you can create some lovely smoky looks with this too. It’s a great gift for teens for a birthday or for prom too.


They also do a x9 version of this palette for £25. The shadow sizes are smaller, but it’s a great palette to take with you in your handbag for touch-ups. I have the Amber version which is great if you like nude and bronze shades like me.

  1. NARSissist Steve Klein Palette (New equivalent = Cheek Studio, £49)

Face palettes are quickly becoming my favourite type of palette (after years of being devoted to eyes!), and this one from last year’s NARS x Steve Klein collection was a welcome addition to my collection (I also have The NARSissist palette from two collections ago). It features a large Laguna bronzer, contour and highlight powders as well as 4 great blushers to choose from. The colours work well with my skin tone, the pigment is amazing and they stay in put all day. I’m loving Laguna to help enhance my suntan at the moment, whilst the contour and highlight powders are perfect for more dramatic evening looks.


Despite the price tag, they are a worthy investment.

  1. Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette (£38.50)

I love the Naked palettes. I have Naked 2 and Naked Smoky, as well as Naked 3. I’ve chosen Naked 3 to talk about because my Naked 2 is a bit battered through overuse and it does offer a bit different to what I’d normally wear in eyeshadow – pink tones. As someone who usually opts for a gold or bronze tone, I was surprised by how much I love Naked 3, and the pink looks are actually great with my colouring. From rose gold shades to more matte colours for day time, you can create endless looks with this palette. The brush that comes with it is great too, especially if you’re not au fait with different brush techniques.


If you use the metallic tones wet, they can make some great eyeliner looks too.

  1. NARS And Got Created The Woman Palette (New Equivalent = Long Hot Summer, £34)

As I’ve said a few times already, I love bronze and gold shadow tones. This little set from 2014 has had some good use out of it (hate it when I hit pan), but it’s ideal for when I’m doing my makeup on the go (which is a lot). The new Long Hot Summer Palette has plenty of similar tones, so if you want to create sultry, sun-kissed looks, this is a handy set to have. I like the texture of NARS shadows and they come up quite strongly, so I’ll definitely be investing in more in the future.


The brush this came with is now one of my favourite blending brushes, so the palette becomes even better value when you factor that in too.

 

Palettes offer excellent value and Christmas time is the best time to invest. Brands will be launching their collections pretty soon, so keep your eyes peeled. I’ll be making a run down of the best ones to look out for to add to your beauty wish list.

My Skincare Routine (Perfect for Your Late 20s)

I’m going to be honest here – I’m quite lazy with my skin. I probably go to bed more nights with my makeup still on than those where I don’t, and I don’t always CTM (cleanse, tone moisturise) every day. Reading that, you’d probably think my skin was a greasy, flaky mess, but it’s not. However, the older I’m getting, the more I’m realising I need to look after my skin to *hopefully* keep it looking young and glowing. Therefore I thought I’d share with you my skincare routine and what products you could use as you enter your dreaded late 20s like me.

Makeup Removal

I used to use makeup wipes as part of my daily routine, and whilst they are better than not taking your makeup off, I’m no longer their biggest fan. I found wipes could be quite drying, and tended to remove far more of my eyelashes than I was happy about. Since I’ve stopped using makeup wipes, I’ve found that my skin is less dry, and I’m not left with red eyes and face when I take my makeup off (especially after wearing gel liner).

Instead I use a product which is so effective, I’m not sure how I didn’t start using it sooner – baby oil. Whilst you already know it makes a good body oil (it’s my go to for locking in my suntan), I’m sure you never thought about how effective it would be at removing makeup! I apply a couple of drops to a cotton pad and swipe across my eyes for quick and easy eye makeup removal. For around £1 from Boots or the supermarket I have a long lasting supply of makeup remover which easily lasts 7/8 months and I’m left with no red skin as a result!


As well as baby oil, you could try coconut oil or other kinds of natural oil which are said to make good skin cleansers. After use, you’ll want to rinse your skin with water and pat dry with a towel.

Cleanse

Even if I fail to take my makeup off in the evening (the shame), I will make sure I cleanse it thoroughly, even if I wait until the morning. My go to cleanser is the Elemis Pro Radiance Cream Cleanser (£30) which comes in a huge bottle and lasts ages. I was given mine for Christmas and I still have loads left. All you need is a tiny bit, applied all over your face and left to dissolve the dirt and makeup for a couple of minutes before removing with a warm cloth or cleansing mitt. When my skin is looking particularly dry (hello hangover!), I leave it on for longer to ensure soft soft skin.

Exfoliate

I know some people who will exfoliate every day, but that’s not something I really agree with for most skin types. Skin which is so dry it requires regular scrubbing to remove flakes is showing signs of an underlying problem, and you may wish to have a look at your hydration and diet before rubbing your skin raw every day with exfoliator.

I don’t have sensitive skin, and my face can take quite a lot, so I use MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator (£22) every 2/3 days (usually three) to give my skin a deep clean and leave it feeling refreshed. It’s a black, muddy-type exfoliator which has a really gritty texture. I love it, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I apply it all over my face and have occasionally used it as a mask. You’ll need to remove it carefully as it can leave some black spots on your face, and for this reason, I’d use it BEFORE your cleanser. Your skin will be left feeling really clean and clear, perfect for applying makeup afterwards.

Tone

Toner is great for giving your face a bit of a ‘zing!’ feeling after cleansing, and helps mop up any bits of cleanser and even more stubborn makeup. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll need a sensitive toner, as some of them do leave the slightly burning feeling of Listerine after use. A gentle one will still do the same job and help get rid of any oil and shine which can make your skin look greasy.


There’s some really good toners out there, and most of them last a long time, so you can get good value out of buying a more expensive brand. I’m currently using Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner (£22.50) which you simply spray onto a cotton pad and wipe over your T-zone and cheeks.  Clinique Clarifying Lotion (£16.50/£26.50) from its 3-Step Skin Care programme, is another good product which is available in some long lasting sample sizes too.

Moisturise

A good moisturiser should be the bread and butter of your skincare routine. It will keep your skin hydrated as well as give you the best base possible for applying makeup. I personally like a thick moisturiser as I find these keep my skin extra soft, but will opt for a lighter formula if I’m not planning on wearing makeup. I have two great Elemis products for moisturising, the Hydra Boost Day Cream (£39) for a lighter application and the Pro Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm (£37), which is the thicker version which doubles up as my makeup primer.



Night creams are something I’m just starting to venture into, so at the moment I’m on a trial size of the Elemis Hydra-Nourish Night Cream (£43) which is a good product, but as my skin doesn’t really dry out overnight, I’m probably not noticing the benefits.

Extras

I like to think I’m still looking pretty youthful, but as everyone around me is already on the eye cream, I thought I’d better get on it too. I don’t have many lines as yet, and the most prominent is one that’s been there since I was a kid, and always catches my eye makeup (sad times). So recently I invested in the Elemis Absolute Eye Serum (£31). At the moment I’m finding it good for hydrating the skin around my eyes, and absorbs really easily, but it’s not making anything taught. For now I’m hoping it’s working as a preventative measure and I’ll remain wrinkle-free forever…


Finally, a face mask is another good product to invest in for your skin. Once a week, when I get time for a relaxing bath, I’ll apply a face mask and give my skin a bit of a treat. I’ll either use the MAC Volcanic Ash or whatever sample I’ve got lying around. I’m not a fan of peel off masks, as I always get them all over my eyebrows, so something think and clay-like is more my style.

By your late 20s, you should have a pretty good idea of what works for your skin. However, if you’re still using the same routine and products you’ve been using since you were 21, it may be time to take stock and try something new. Going for a facial is one of the best ways to get your skin analysed and find out what its needs are. I like to book one every now and then as a treat and to have someone else wash my face!

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