My Top Four MAC Lipsticks

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

(L-R: Russian Red, Retro, Plumful, Velvet Teddy)

The discovery of MAC lipsticks is one of those defining moments in the lives of any beauty enthusiast. Most people remember their first endeavour into the world of MAC lipsticks. Mine was Shy Girl, a shade recommended to me by the girl at the counter after I showed her my favourite lipstick at the time, Sleek Barely There. In hindsight it wasn't even a close match, and the colour wasn't great on me anyway (way too orange and nude), but at the time I adored it and wore it to death! Since then, I've tried my fair share of MAC lipsticks and whittled my favourites shades down to just a small handful. Let me talk you through them...

Russian Red
This lipstick is extremely well loved, as you can probably tell from the photos. Russian Red was one of my first MAC lipsticks and my first proper, grown up red. It's a classic deep red with a blueish undertone that seems to look good on all skin tones. It's a matte finish so it stays put for a good few hours after application, but still isn't overly drying. In short, this is my perfect red. I've tried many others since, both cheaper and more pricey, and Russian Red is always one I go back to.

Retro is my latest purchase from MAC and has quickly become a favourite. It's described as a "muted peachy-pinky brown", but appears as more of a rusty, red toned brown on my fair skin. I love this for days when I fancy wearing a slightly darker lip without being too bold. It's definitely more of an Autumn shade, so I imagine I'll be getting a lot more use out of this a few months from now.

This is one of my favourite, throw-in-my-handbag everyday lipsticks. Plumful is a rosey plum shade with cool undertones, and is probably one of the most wearable pinks I own. It's a Lustre finish so is incredibly creamy and smooth when applying, and gives a lovely wash of slightly sheer colour.

Velvet Teddy    
Velvet Teddy blew up a couple of years ago when word spread that it was the shade that Kylie Jenner used to get her signature 90's inspired, pinky brown pout. It's a matte "deep-toned beige" that's a good way to dip your toes into the brown lip trend as it's pretty universally flattering. On me, Velvet Teddy is a warm peachy brown, but it's worth checking out in store as it can appear either orange or pink toned depending on your skin tone.

The Test of Time

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Since deciding to revive this blog, I've been spending a little time reading over my old posts. As well as a pretty nostalgic trip down memory lane, it also proved to be an interesting insight into how my tastes have changed (or haven't, in many cases) over the years when it comes to beauty products. There are products that I once confidently proclaimed that I would use for years to come that I barely look twice at these days, while a fair few gems remain firm favourites of mine to this day. So, I'm throwing myself back into blogging with a run down of beauty products that have stood the test of time, as well as one that I've slightly fallen out of love with... 

I still use all three of my Naked palettes pretty regularly, but Urban Decay Naked 2 is my pick of the bunch. This was the first Naked Palette that I purchased and I'm still in love with the shades and quality of the shadows. YDK, a metallic brown taupe, is easily my most used of the twelve shades, followed closely by Tease - a matte mauve shade perfect for the crease. 

I grabbed a new pot of Nuxe Reve De Miel (original review) when shopping in London a few weeks ago, and I've honestly lost count of what pot number I'm on now. I slather this on generously as an overnight balm just before bed and throw it into my handbag for days out too. While the Bite Beauty Agave lip mask (a new US favourite) might have just knocked this off my top spot of favourite lip balms of all time, the fact that Nuxe is readily available in UK stores means it continues to be a firm favourite.

I’ve never been a lip gloss girl, so the fact that the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors (original review) caught my attention in the first place is impressive in itself. It's been a couple of years since purchasing my first lip perfecter and they're still a regular go to in my collection. A sheer wash of colour that leave a moisturising sheen on the lips, they're perfect for "no makeup makeup" days as well as for adding a bit of extra shine to lipsticks - what's not to love?

Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser (original review) is one that I first reviewed almost four years ago, and there's still a tub (albeit an almost empty tub!) hanging around in my beauty drawers. I love Origins for their gorgeously scented moisturisers, and this cooling gel formula is the perfect light yet hydrating moisturiser to wear underneath makeup. Thumbs up! 

Onto the not so great. Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation (original review) is a foundation that I once stated I would repurchase "time and time again", and while I guess that's still true given that I bought a tube a few months ago, I'm just not as in love with the formula as I once was. I think this one might be down to the inevitable changes in my skin type as I grow older (my skin has gone from well behaved "normal" skin to a slightly more unpredictable combination skin type), but suddenly this foundation seems to cling to any dry patches and wear off my t-zone by lunchtime. It's now strictly reserved for perfect skin days, which is such a shame as the colour match is one of the best I've found. Luckily, since I've been forced to shop around I've found a new 'holy grail' foundation that is seriously amazing - expect a review soon!

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Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors are one of those hyped up products that have been on my beauty wishlist for what feels like forever, and since finally snapping up a couple in Paris earlier in the year I've found myself wondering just how I ever managed to get by without them... Not quite a gloss, not quite a balm - they're a perfect hybrid of the two that deliver a subtle hint of colour along with a glossy yet moisturising finish. Did I mention the smell? It's a sweet, cocoa-butter/caramel scent that I absolutely adore, making them one of those products that I tend to reapply a little bit more than is actually necessary. I love the packaging, too. It's simple and luxe - a squeezy tube in a colour matching the shade of the product, with a soft, velvet applicator and classic gold lid. 

These things are so ridiculously easy and lovely to wear that I've taken to keeping one in my handbag at all times. The shades I have are 01 Rose Shimmer - a soft pink shade, and 02 Apricot Shimmer, a slightly more peachy offering. These aren't highly pigmented products, so I tend to apply them over a lipstick, although they are fine on their own if you want a very subtle look. The finish is lovely - it's glossy without being sticky, and leaves the lips looking ultra smooth, plump and soft. I managed to pick up these two for around 20 euros (£15) in Charles de Gaulle airport in a travel exclusive set, which, while not cheap, was a bargain considering that usually they come in at £18 each. While they are a little pricy, they have very quickly become some of my most used lip products and I'm so glad that I finally gave in to the hype!

Have you tried the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors? 

Lomography 35mm Action Sampler

Sunday, July 06, 2014

I love Lomography cameras. Although I couldn't live without my digital SLR and iPhone for daily snaps, there's a kind of raw realness to film that has been lost slightly in the digital era - the lack of a delete button means that every image you capture makes it to print, even the less than perfect ones, and there's something about that I really like.

The Lomography Action Sampler shoots four images in close succession then stitches them all together in the format you see above. The idea is that you can document movement and create four slightly different images within one photograph. As with all "toy cameras", the Action Sampler is unpredictable. It lets in occasional lights leaks, the exposure changes between every photo and some pictures barely come out at all, but that's all part of its charm. It definitely works better in brighter light so now that summer is finally here I hope that I can get a lot of use out of it over the coming months. I'll keep you updated, but in the meantime here are a few photographs that I've taken using the Action Sampler...

Spring in Paris

Saturday, May 10, 2014

After falling in love with the city last summer, my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to visit Paris again in March. We spent five days there taking in the sights, exploring, drinking too much wine and eating far too many crepes. The top things on my to-do list were to visit the Pont des Arts and see the Eiffel Tower at night - two things we didn't manage to squeeze in last time. While I'm not usually one for soppy romance, the Pont des Arts bridge was lovely - rows upon rows of glistening padlocks inscribed with couples names and dates, declaring their love - we couldn't help adding our own once we were there. The Eiffel Tower in the dark was simply beautiful. Our hotel was literally seconds away, so we ventured there almost every night to watch the sunset and subsequent light show. Other highlights included our hilarious/terrifying tuk-tuk ride around the city, eating pizza in the dark at the top of the Eiffel Tower and of course, shopping. Sephora and City Pharma were my main go-to's, where I finally managed to get my hands on some Bioderma (review here) and La Roche-Posay Serozinc, as well as a couple of makeup bits.

I didn't take as many photos as I'd have liked... We did a lot of walking and my DSLR is pretty heavy (and I forgot to pack my favourite lens...), so it stayed in the hotel most days - I am a terrible blogger! If you fancy seeing some more Paris shots, you can always check out my Instagram. Here are a few from our wanderings...

Instagram #19

Monday, May 05, 2014

Croque Madame in a cafe in my hometown / Cinema in Manchester that doesn't seem to have been redecorated since the 90's - needless to say, I love it / Guacamole on toast / Morning coffee / Above the clouds en route to Paris / First stop in Paris - Sephora, of course / Laduree on the Champs-Élysées / Steak Tartare and wine / Celebrating pancake day with a crepe beneath the Eiffel Tower / Parisian street / Rose wine in the hotel room, from an ever so classy plastic cup / Pretty Paris / Parisian street v.2 / Hugo, happy to be back sleeping in his own (aka our) bed / Another Eiffel Tower shot - it's just too gorgeous / Bed.

These photos are mostly from March, mainly from my trip to Paris which I'm currently writing a post about. I've been on a bit of an unplanned hiatus from blogging since around the beginning of April - dealing with a difficult family loss just made it seem a little unimportant. However, it's something that I really enjoy doing and I've missed it, so I've given my blog a little makeover and I'm throwing myself back into it. It goes without saying that I've been pretty terrible at keeping up with emails this past month or so, so if you've tried to get in touch please bear with me as I attempt to get back up to date!

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Bioderma Crealine H2O

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm definitely no stranger to micellar waters. I've made my way through the UK's various offerings over the past couple of years and while I've enjoyed using them, Bioderma has always sat at the very top of my to-try list. Unfortunately, it's not the easiest thing to get hold of in the UK (although it is starting to pop up in some pharmacies, especially in the South!), so I made a mental note to grab a bottle during a recent trip to Paris. This stuff is a cult favourite in the beauty industry and has a very loyal following, so I was excited to finally put it to the test myself.

Bioderma is a gentle, water based cleansing makeup remover. To use, you simply soak a cotton pad and wipe over your face - fuss free and easy! For more stubborn eye makeup it takes a little longer - it helps to hold the cotton pad down for a few seconds to help dissolve the makeup before swiping away, but generally this stuff does a great job of ridding my eyes of even waterproof mascara. This is a makeup remover rather than a cleanser, so I make an effort to follow up with a more traditional cleanser to make sure my face is squeaky clean. However, for lazy (or slightly tipsy!) evenings, the Bioderma alone does the job well enough.

For me, Bioderma beats other the micellar waters I've tried because it's so ridiculously gentle yet effective at the same time. Other offerings have been either a little too harsh and stung when I've used them around the eyes, or been gentle but not quite up to par in terms of makeup removal. Using Bioderma feels exactly like using water, except much more effective. My only wish is that it was more readily available - I'd love to be able to pop to Boots to stock up when my current bottle starts running low, the way I do with my L'Oreal or Vichy versions - however it's easy enough to find online. I'm pretty sure that it works out cheaper to buy from France (I think I paid around ten euros for a 500ml bottle from City Pharma), so I'm kinda kicking myself for not filling my suitcase full of the stuff when I was in Paris! I think it's safe to say that I'm definitely a Bioderma convert. 

You can find Bioderma online at Escentual, Amazon and John Bell & Croydon, among others. Prices vary.  
And Katie © // QUINN CREATIVEs