Thursday, 28 May 2015

Inglot O2M breathable nail polish

I haven't worn nail polish in what feels like forever; I forgot how happy it makes me looking down at my nails when they are coloured. It's almost like colour therapy.

I purchased Inglot O2M based on the claim that it allows nails to "breathe" and because at the time it was released it caused a bit of a stir as some would claim it is suitable for Muslim women conducting prayers. I'm not going to get into a theological debate; let's keep this superficial and just talk about the pretty colour, shall we? (If you are interested though, this article is a good start).

Back to the polish and the beautiful shade. I chose shade number 698 as it was the most "summer neutral" shade for me. By this, I mean that it is bright enough for spring/summer and compliments any outfit, yet it is not so garish that you would feel uncomfortable wearing it to work. It is a pink/coral with a slight sheen to it.

The application is the almost perfect. It does need two coats, but the application is streak free and pretty effortless. I was done in with my base coat and two thin coats of polish in about 15 minutes and the dry time is quick too (living in an oven probably helps though).

I did buy the O2M base coat, but at £11 each, I decided I would skip the top coat. Without a top coat though, here I am at three days in with some minor wear on two or three tips.

If it wasn't for the price I would probably go back for more, but I could gladly stick with just this shade on my nails for a very long time. If you have O2M do let me know if the formulation of the other colours is as good as this one.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Current skincare and makeup, less is more?

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit my skincare and makeup routine has been lacking recently. I'll blame the weather.

That said, my skin seems to be looking better for it. My makeup application these days is minimal, part laziness, part not having learnt how to make makeup stay in place for any length of time in 40oC+ conditions. So all I use is Bourjois CC cream (which seems to be never ending), Smashbox BB cream concealer, a bit of bronzer, and Benefit's Gimme Brow, and I'm done.

Skincare wise, I'm still using my Kiehl's cleanser, I am so impressed with how little of this you need to clean your face. I use it both morning and night, and because my makeup application is so little during the day I only need one cleanse to remove everything. I also haven't been using my Clarisonic and have just been using my hands or a flannel depending on my mood.

I also use La Roche Posay's Effaclar Duo+ morning and night now as a moisturising/treatment step. This product has holy grail status to me now as I am pretty sure it is the main reason my skin is clear. I haven't had a major breakout in a while, and when at night I notice small, red spots have started to surface by the morning they are gone.

I also recently introduced Bioderma's moisturiser and I am, so far, really enjoying it. It is light, almost serum like, and considering that it is so hot now and air conditioning is on full-time it has helped with some dry patches that have been developing.

When I know I will be outside for any length of time I also apply Alpha H's protection plus daily, which is my SPF step. I have a full review of this coming up, but, in short, I love it. It is non-greasy and also acts a great primer.

Keeping it simple seems to be working for me at the moment. Does anyone else find this?


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Links I love #1

I read a lot throughout the week, blogs, newspapers, magazines, and a mix of everything from beauty and lifestyle to politics and current affairs. So I thought it would be nice to start showing some love and sharing those really good reads, the ones I end up saving in my inbox or on Bloglovin so I can come back to them again and again. I'll stick to beauty on the most part, but if I find something else really good I'll share that too.

1. Be Awesome to Somebody
The world can sometimes feel like a pretty heartless place, so I really enjoyed this post by Hair Romance about one person giving back. I won't give it away, I'll let you enjoy it for yourself.

2. Makeup forever to launch in the UK
Grace at allthatslap made me add a few things to my Makeup Forever lust list. Luckily for me, they do sell MUFE here.

3. Debate: Are you ever too old to be a beauty blogger?
Kat at Tales of a Pale Face asked a really thought-provoking question this week on age limits to beauty blogging. Admittedly, I had never thought about it before, maybe because I still think of myself as younger than I am! The comments are also very interesting.

4. Colour-Pop Eyeshadows: The best $5 you will ever spend
It's been a while since I have indulged in eyeshadows, I really do have enough, but these swatches from Stacey at Expat Make-Up Addict have me very tempted. 


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Dubai beauty haul

beauty haul MUFE Sephora
For a bit of a change of pace, we visited Dubai last weekend. It's a five-hour drive from Muscat, and it feels like entering another planet; the contrast between the places is so huge. Having not purchased any beauty products for six months -- I'll pause and let you take that in for a moment --  I was keen to see what was new and treat myself for being so restrained for so long.

Make-up has a whole new meaning for me since moving to the Middle East; frankly, it's not so fun. The heat here means makeup just melts off your face no sooner you step out the door. After watching a video by Lisa Eldridge about pinpoint concealing, I decided that is the approach I need to take: a light base to even, and a thick, full-coverage concealer for the problem areas.

So with this in mind I picked up a few things.

MUFE aqua brow and full coverage concealer
The first stop was Makeup Forever, which is available in Muscat, but the staff are so unhelpful (to the extent that they don't even acknowledge you have entered the shop) that I haven't actually tried anything yet. I know the HD foundation is meant to be good, but I picked up the Full-coverage Concealer (shade 7) and Aqua Brow (shade 23). I 'm not sure if the Aqua Brow is something I can get used to, I expect it will need a lot of practice, but on the day the makeup artist did such a good job of making it look easy (and my brows amazing) that it had to be purchased.

NARS tinted moisturiser, Sephora Cream Lip Stain, Sephora Airbrush

Next was Sephora, and I picked up the Nars Tinted Moisturiser in the shade L3 Groenland, which I really hope I have matched myself to correctly. I had a rather useless sales assistant who thought it was appropriate to match me to my hand rather than my face.

I also picked up another shade of the Cream Lip Stain (shade 6). I discovered my love for these after my last trip, although I heard they have changed the formulation so we'll see if the love remains with this shade. The shade looks a little light in the image, but it is actually a mauve/brown colour.

Finally, I also threw into the basket, rather impulsively, the Sephora Airbrush Foundation brush (number 58). I have, and love, the concealer brush, and this feels exactly the same, but it is a rather odd pointed shape. Having used buffing style foundation brushes for so long, it will be interesting to see how this compares.

So that's it, a modest haul from Dubai. I really want to hone in on products that really work for me. I feel like I have a good collection when it comes to skincare, but not so much when it comes to base products.

I feel it was quite a modest haul considering how long it has been since I purchased anything new. Look out for full reviews soon.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015


So far, so good with the 'enjoy my makeup more' pledge. I had a good old session of piling products on my face the other night, and considering that most of the things were the new products I had been hoarding, I thought I would share my thoughts so far.

After years of eyeing the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, I took the plunge and it's finally mine. I remember first seeing it in John Lewis over 10-years ago when I started university and wanting it ever since. I always resisted because of the price and I would purchase everything that looked vaguely similar in an attempt to save the money. I chose the bronze shade and having now used it I wonder if it is too "dirty" looking, or maybe I just piled too much on. I will experiment some more and post a full review later.

I also played with two shades of the Bourjois Roue Edition Velvet. I actually own a third shade, which was my first purchase, and I have had the review in the drafts folder for months, but I loathe the colour on me so much that I didn't even want to put it on to take a picture. The two colours I have now, Nudist and Don't Pink of It, are much nicer, and while I am still not convinced I like the formula, I know I will attempt wearing these more.

Now, me and eyebrow pencils have a bit of a turbulent history, I won't dig out my end-of-year photos to show you why exactly, but let's just say I was a bit heavy handed. So I then stuck to powder, and more recently tried a gel. I don't really remember what prompted me to purchase Kiko's Precision Eyebrow Pencil; a comparison to the Anastasia Brow Pencil, perhaps? I tried it out with my lightest hand, but it didn't really add much in the way of definition. I'll keep playing though, I expect there is a fine line between a light and natural and a heavy-handed drawn in look. In the meantime, tips for using an eyebrow pencil correctly would be much appreciated.

I haven't been liking my current supply of base products recently, the colour just seems off for all of them. My Urban Decay foundation and Bourjois CC cream are a touch too light, and my Bella Pierre Mineral Foundation seems orangey. Living in this heat and humidity I want something that lasts all day and is light, but still offers coverage and something that has enough of a shade selection that I should be able to find a perfect match. Suggestions are welcome.

Monday, 18 May 2015

New look

Nothing quite gets you excited about blogging like a new blog design. I tried and failed in the past to improve the look and functioning of my blog. I wanted something that reflected my personality somewhat, and that, ultimately, is attractive and easy for you to read.

There are a few tweaks I need to make -- sorting out the categories and adding a "related posts" feed -- but overall I love it.

I purchased my template from Pipdig, it was one of those that's "the one" moments when I saw it. The next step is to improve my photography and to really make the most of it, but that will come with time. As well as a new design and lots of new content, I have also decided to take a slightly different tone with my posts making them  more personable. Let me know how you like it.

Anyhow, I will keep this short and sweet. Thank you all for your continued support, do let me know how you find using the design.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

New beauty rules

I never expected that a location could change how I feel about makeup. Since moving to the Middle East I rarely put on a full face anymore, hardly spritz perfume as I go out the door and rarely treat myself to a pamper session.

So I am creating some new beauty rules for myself to change that.

1. Don't save anything for best. 
I had this habit before I left London, I would save certain products for special occasions, I don't know why. I currently have an untouched MAC blusher and highlighter, a Burberry lip pencil, and a tub of Radical Skincare exfoliating pads just waiting to be enjoyed. Partly I have been scared to use the things I know I can't repurchase here, but I figure it is better to enjoy them and deal with that issue when the time comes. 

2. Highlight. 
I love highlighters, I really should wear them every day just because it makes me happy.

3. Treat at least once-a-week. 
I can't help but think of that episode of Sex and the City and "secret single behaviour" and relate now. I used to spend many evenings watching my favourite YouTubers while giving myself a makeover followed by a facial. I would lie all my makeup out and just apply everything to my face, experimenting with colours and techniques, then remove it all and pamper my skin. I haven't done this at all since being married, and I should at least treat my skin to a face mask once a week.

4. Start wearing perfume every day. 
I've noticed my husband spritzes a perfume on himself before he leaves the house, I'm going to follow his lead and relocate a bottle near the front door so I don't forget.

5. Rotate my products. 
I have been using the same four products for months now, I have plenty of alternatives and in the interest of sticking to my first rule I really should make a point of rotating my stash more than I do. I seem to have a lot of makeup bags so I am planning to fill them with enough products for a full face, and then just rotate the bags regularly as well as the products in them. 

So that's the new beauty habits I plan on adopting, what would be yours?
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