My Favourite Lip Colours for Summer 2018

Selection of nude lipsticks

You can probably guess from the title that today I'm going to be talking about all the lipsticks/glosses I've been reaching for again and again this summer. I'm loving nude tones right now and a glossy lip which is a change for me because I've been wearing matte lipsticks for so long. 
Surprisingly we've actually had some really good weather recently in Scotland which definitely makes you want to get up, go out and do things so I don't want to be spending hours indoors applying make-up, a natural, dewy bronzed look with glossy lips is the way to go, I want something low maintenance during the day and something more glam and sophisticated if I'm going out in the evening.

MAC Satin Lipstick in the shade Myth

MAC Lipstick - Myth

This is a beautiful light nude shade in a satin formula that costs £17.50. I never use this lipstick on its own as it's quite a pale shade and alone I don't find it very flattering on my skin tone. I do love mixing this with other lip colours and applying it in the centre of the lips to give a fuller pout. It's also great to layer with a clear/shimmery gloss if you want to add some more colour, I especially love using this lipstick if I'm going out at night and have a more dramatic eye look as it tones down darker  lip colours and keeps everything very nude and simple so it doesn't compete with your eye make-up.

Essence Colour Boost Vinylicious Liquid Lipstick - 04 Woody Rosy

Essence Colour Boost Vinylicious Liquid Lipstick - 04 Woody Rosy

This is a pretty new edition to my make-up collection and the first Essence lipgloss I've ever tested out and I love it, it's another nude colour and it super smooth and glossy. This gloss costs £2.80 which is a total bargain, it's very pigmented with adorable packaging. This works great on its own or layered on top of any of the lipsticks discussed today, like MAC Myth this is great for applying in the centre of the lips and blending out for fuller looking lips. I definitely want to pick up some more Essence lip products in the future, particularly their glosses.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - 003 Mauve It Over

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - 003 Mauve It Over

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - 003 Mauve It Over
Okay, so I didn't realise when I decided to include this lipstick in my current favourites that it's actually been discontinued which breaks my heart a little. I did buy this years ago so I probably should throw it out but it doesn't look, feel or smell bad so I've just continued to use it, it's a beautiful warm nude shade that's super easy to wear and flattering. I did a quick google search to find possible alternatives and it looks like MAC - Velvet Teddy or Wet n' Wild - Bare it all are the best options but now that I know it's been discontinued I will be on the lookout for my own dupe and I'll definitely report back if I find one.

Pixi Lip Lift Max Honey Sheen

Pixi Lip Lift Max Honey Sheen

Pixi Lip Lift Max - Honey Sheen
This gloss helps to plump your pout with a cooling tingle that doesn't sting or hurt, we've all seen those crazy lip plumpers that girls can barely leave on their lips because they cause so much pain well there's none of that with this gloss! This is a sheer shimmering gloss that looks beautiful layered up over other lipsticks, the light shimmer also helps to make lips look fuller. It's a lovely refreshing lip plumper that doesn't feel sticky or unpleasant. I have this in a sample size that I received in my Marks and Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar but the full-size version costs £12 which I think is pretty reasonable given the quality.

NYX Slide On Lip Liner Nude Suede Shoes

NYX Slide On Lip Liner Nude Suede Shoes

NYX Slide On Lip Liner - Nude Suede Shoes
Okay, so I have yet another nude shade, this time in a lip pencil from NYX that costs £6. I love this lip pencil and I will actually need to pick up a new one soon. I find this shade so flattering, it's easy to apply, soft and pigmented. I apply this all over the lips without any other products if I want a more matte finish and add on a little gloss during the day when I want something a little more light and natural.

These are all the shades I'm loving at the moment and will continue to use over the next few months, of course, I do use other products but these are the top five that I've been reaching for most often.
I created a similar post last year talking about some of my favourite shades for winter and it's very interesting to see how different the shades are if you want to read that post I'll link it here.

What are your favourite lip colours for summer?

How to Grow your Instagram Account and get more Engagement 2018

If you have Instagram and you are actively trying to grow your audience then hopefully you'll find some useful advice to follow in this post to help you achieve your goals. This post is going to be geared towards those who want to grow their account for some sort of 'business' purpose, you may be a blogger, like me, or you may own a business that sells goods/services or you may even be a model/make-up artist trying to get recognised but all of the advice I'm going to share will be aimed at helping you grow your following. You can obviously still follow these guidelines for your personal account but personal accounts can have a lot more freedom, you don't need to create a theme or tailor your content to fit your niche. 

The Instagram algorithm is ever evolving and you need to stay on top of the updates so you can adjust how you post your content and increase your exposure and engagement. All of the tips and tricks I'm going to share today may not be valid in the next few months or even the next few days because these changes are happening all the time but this is the most up to date information I could source and how you want to be posting now to see the best results!

Okay, so, I'm going to start with some basic information that always applies, firstly, you want to make sure that any content you are posting is high quality, blurry images that are badly lit etc. won't cut it. You don't need a fancy camera to be able to do this, smartphones these days have amazing cameras and can capture some beautiful images.
Next, you want to make sure that the content you are posting fits your account if, for example, you own a clothing store you may want to share images of new stock, your store or promotions and avoid sharing pictures of what you had for dinner or your pet dog (these kinds of posts should be kept for separate personal accounts). I am a beauty and lifestyle blogger so most of my posts are of products, flatlays and occasional selfies but because I also like to post lifestyle images I might share pictures of my dog, travel and food as this helps me to add in something new to my feed and keep things interesting but still relevant. The way I keep my feed looking cohesive is by creating a 'theme', I do this by using similar colours and keeping a mostly white background, this can limit what you post but it's all about finding a balance.
A good way to decided what kind of content you should be posting is to determine your niche and target market, as I've just mentioned if you want to post a variety of different images you should consider having that lifestyle aspect but it always needs to be relevant to what you're account is promoting and what your followers want to see.

Post consistently, that doesn't mean you need to post every day, you could post 3 days a week if that's what works for you but stick to it, this lets your current and new followers know what to expect from you, if you post every day for a week then nothing for a month you will seem inactive and people won't want to click follow.

I think one of the most important things to point out is that Instagram is a SOCIAL media platform so if you want to get engagement and grow your audience then you need to interact with others. There's no use sitting back and waiting for people like comment and follow you without putting in any work yourself, you don't want to be false so make sure you leave genuine comments on content that you like and check the explore page to find similar accounts and like some of their posts often people will do the same in return and that's how you make connections and build relationships.

Now that I've gone through some basics lets look at new information that you may not have heard before or that has changed recently.

If you are posting to Instagram through another app..........stop! For example, if you edit your images in VSCO and then post directly to Instagram rather than saving your image to your camera roll then uploading it in the Instagram app then Instagram thinks someone else is posting on your behalf and they don't show/share it with as many people.

The next thing you want to be doing is trying to use all of the new Instagram features, the more you post in your stories or go live the more genuine and active you appear to Instagram and they are more likely to push you out to a wider audience this also gets you more engagement with your current followers. Instagram has also just launched IGTV which allows you to share much longer videos and looks to be a competitor for YouTube so you should also consider using this feature. These features are all a great way to show what goes on behind the scenes and add in more personality. You also want to use all the different features within your stories, add in a poll, use a boomerang or superzoom to keep things interesting and show Instagram that you are very active within the platform.

Let's talk about hashtags, how you should use them has definitely changed over the last few months, previously people were using up 30 hashtags and placing them in the first comment of their post.......not anymore! You can still use up to 30 hashtags but you should be aiming to use less, it's suggested you should use between 3-5 for best results and they should always be put in your caption. I would also suggest that you mix up the hashtags you use, for best results pick specific hashtags to suit your individual post rather than copying and pasting in the same hashtags for every post.

I hope you've found this information helpful and relevant, Instagram is becoming an increasingly difficult platform to grow but I hope this post can make things a little easier.
I will end this post by reminding you that Instagram should be fun, the number of followers you have can be important but it's just as important to have genuine followers who love what you post and want to interact with you. Have fun, be creative and be patient!

My Perfect Palette

Today I've gone through all of my eyeshadow palettes and picked out 12 shades that I would pick to put in 'my perfect palette'. I will start by saying I didn't come up with this idea, I spotted a post someone else had created using this idea and thought it would be really fun, unfortunately, I can't remember who created the post to give them credit. I have decided to pick out 12 shades and that I'll stick to more neutral colours (I could create another post in the future with bright shades). Essentially this is going to be all of my favourite shades that I think could work together to create a range of different looks from my favourite eyeshadow palettes.

I started by pulling out all of my eyeshadow palettes, baby wipes and a pen and paper, I had already decided I wanted to choose 12 eyeshadows but before I started swatching I noted down a rough idea of the types of shades I would look for in a palette. To start I knew I would want a shade to set the eye and a black/very dark shade, next I wanted at least 2 transition shades (one warm toned and one more cool toned) and I knew I would want an inner corner highlight and two other shimmer shades. After I had decided on what kind of shades I was looking for I worked my way through my palettes swatching different shades and picking out all of my favourites, this is a great way to rediscover shades you love and get ideas for new make-up looks.

In the end, there were eyeshadow palettes I didn't select any shades from and most of the colours came from my Jaclyn Hill, Jeffree Star (Androgyny) and Zoeva (Cocoa Blend) palettes.

My Perfect Neutral Palette
1. Bitter Start - Zoeva  - Cocoa Blend Palette
2. Pooter - Morphe - Jaclyn Hill Palette
3. Safe Word - Jeffree Star - Androgyny Palette
4. Sissy - Morphe - Jaclyn Hill Palette
5. Whimsical - Makeup Geek - Foiled Single Eyeshadow
6. Pure Ganache - Zoeva - Cocoa Blend Palette
7. Flame Thrower - Makeup Geek - Foiled Single Eyeshadow
8. Dominatrix - Jeffree Star - Androgyny Palette
9. Fetish - Jeffree Star - Androgyny Palette
10. Hunts - Morphe - Jaclyn Hill Palette
11. Creamsicle - Morphe - Jaclyn Hill Palette
12. Abyss - Morphe - Jaclyn Hill Palette

1. I chose because it's perfect to set the eyelid before going in with your other eyeshadows.
2. This is one of my favourite transition shades from the Jaclyn Hill palette and it's perfect for a number of different looks.
3. I picked this for a cooler toned transition shade, this is also great for blending into the crease alone for a very quick natural look.
4. This is probably my favourite shade from the Jaclyn Hill palette, it's a stunning pinky gold intense shimmer shade that adds something special to any look.
5. I chose this for my inner corner/brow bone highlight shade, this would also work all over the lid or for a spotlight eye.
6. I knew I wanted to pick a light gold shimmer and this one has a really nice tone, this was probably one of the more difficult shades to pick as most of the palettes had a really good gold shade.
7. This was one of the last shades I picked, as soon as I swatched this shade I remembered how special it is, this is perfect for a really intense warm toned eye look.
8. I knew I wanted a deep brown shade to deepen up the outer corner and to create more smokey looks, there were a few good options to choose from but this one was just so intense and pigmented.
9. I wanted a deep warm toned eyeshadow and although this one has a very slight shimmer it's subtle enough to use it the same way I would a matte eyeshadow.
10. This was also one of the last eyeshadows I chose and I think it's the perfect shade to add some brightness and colour but still works well for a neutral palette.
11. This shade also adds some brightness, I love putting this in the crease and using lots of very warm shades to create that 'sunset' eye look.
12. This one is self-explanatory, a black eyeshadow is perfect for using as a liner or for deepening up any make-up looks.

There you have it all shades I would pick to put in a palette together and the reasons why! This was a really fun post to put together and it was great to go through all of my eyeshadows and rediscover shades that love, I hope you enjoyed this and if you would like to see something similar in the future, let me know!

Nars Stick Concealer Review

Nars Concealer

I really love Nars as a brand they have some real gems like the Sheer Glow Foundation and Laguna Bronzer, both of which are great quality products. Also, let's face it they have such classic beautiful packaging, it's very simple but somehow also manages to feel luxurious. Today I'm going to review the Nars Concealer, not to be confused with their much-hyped Radiant Creamy Concealer.

About the Product 
This is a classic stick concealer that claims to brilliantly obscure imperfections and dark spots with a creamy, vitamin-rich formula that nourishes the skin for all-day wear. Crease-proof and easily blendable for a flawless finish.
I have the shade Vanilla which is for fair skin with a very slight pink undertone, it comes in 15 other shades to suit a range of different skin tones and also a colour correcting shade. 
This concealer costs £20 and contains 2g of product which seems slightly less than many other stick concealers.

Swatch of Nars Stick Concealer

How to Apply
I've tried out a few different application techniques for this concealer and I've decided that it's best to either apply it with a brush or on a sponge. I've applied it straight from the stick and I find this tugs on the delicate skin around the eye and doesn't give the best coverage, for under the eyes I like to apply the concealer on to a damp beauty sponge then dab under the eye area. For around the nose and on imperfections I apply with a small brush.

Nars Concealer with Swatch

My Review
Okay, so, unfortunately, this isn't my favourite concealer, it's pretty expensive and I just don't think it's worth the money. This gives you medium coverage, to get the most out of this concealer you need to be careful how you apply it when applied straight from the stick I find it moves around. The number one thing I don't like about this concealer it that it looks dry on the skin, throughout the day it clings to dry patches which is particularly unflattering around spots and imperfections. I also don't find that this concealer is as long lasting as I would like it to be, this is a high-end product and really I would expect more from a brand like Nars. I've had this sitting in my collection for such a long time and it's barely been used, it's not terrible it just doesn't do as good a job as a lot of my much less expensive concealers like the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer which I love, to be fair I'm not sure why I picked out this product as I wouldn't usually opt for a stick concealer but either way it's not the best and I won't be repurchasing it in the future.

Nars Stick Concealer

I do love Nars as a brand but we can't love all products from all brands and this concealer just doesn't work for me, it certainly won't put me off trying out other products from the brand.
What are your favourite/least favourite products from Nars?

Is It A Dupe? - Strobe Cream (MAC VS Primark)

I recently spotted this PS Strobe Face and Body Highlighting Cream in Primark and I instantly knew it was intended to be a dupe for MAC Strobe Cream so I thought why not pick it up and compare the two. 

Okay, so let's look at how they compare initially MAC Strobe Cream costs £25 and contains 50ml of product, Primark PS Strobe Cream costs £3 and contains 40ml of product so there is a considerable price difference between these two items.

The packaging is very similar, both come in a pearlescent white squeezy tube with a black cap which is very simple, sleek and functional.

MAC Strobe Cream now comes in various shades but I will be talking about Pinklite which is the original shade and has more pink undertones, the Primark alternative has more of a gold undertone.

The MAC cream blends out easily and melts into the skin to give a seamless blend whereas the Primark cream pulls slightly and almost layers up on itself so you need to put more time into blending it into the skin but once both creams are fully blended out they give a very similar finish.

Under bright light or direct sunlight, the Primark Strobe Cream looks much more glittery which could be a good or a bad thing depending on your preference (I'm not too keen on really glittery products on the face). MAC Strobe Cream just looks more seamless it adds glow and luminosity to the skin in a more natural way. So.......would I call this a dupe? Not exactly, maybe I'm just being super picky but I would say it was very similar but not quite close enough to be called a dupe, I think the sparkly finish of the Primark cream just ruins it slightly for me even though it's only detectable in bright light it would make me a little more nervous about the areas of the face I apply it to which is a worry I never need to have with the MAC cream. Considering the price difference I do think this is a nice alternative for someone on a budget that doesn't mind a bit of sparkle.

I will probably use the Primark option more on the body especially for summer/nights out and when I do use it on the face I'll keep it on my cheekbones as a highlighter. I love MAC Strobe Cream for applying as a make-up base all over the face to add luminosity and act almost as a primer as well as highlighting on top of make-up.

Do you know of any good dupes for MAC Strobe Cream?

Did you know I have an Etsy store selling digital downloads, including art prints, planners and clipart - check it out here!

Lash FX Review - Testing Mascaras

I was recently sent some new products from Lash FX, a brand that focuses on eyelash extensions, adhesives and tools geared towards salons and beauty professionals but they have also recently released a range of mascara products. I was gifted four items to use and test out which is exactly what I've been doing over the last few weeks and now I'm going to give a breakdown of what I thought about each mascara.

We all love a good mascara and I'm a big believer that you don't need to spend a lot to get one, the 'drugstore' makes some of my favourite mascaras and I no longer have any desire to spend the extra money on luxury mascaras. All of the products I will be talking about today are reasonably priced, ranging from £14.95 to £17.95 and are suited to those who use/wear eyelash extensions.

Build Me Up Mascara 
Claims - This water-washable mascara can be applied on the tips of the lash extensions and on natural lashes. Use step one to give a natural look to lashes or step two to build a more dramatic style.
This is a two-step mascara that gives you more control over the look you want to create if you want something very natural you can use step one alone or give a longer fuller look with step two. I will say that this is a nice mascara but I personally find it gives more length and than volume, it would be better for those who like a natural look. I like that this doesn't give a 'clumpy' look and is difficult to go overboard with, it's also great for the lower lash line. This is one of the products that I think is aimed more at lash extension wearers to give an added boost to the lashes.

Grow Me Up Lash Serum 
Claims - This product is ideal to use regularly to enhance and stimulate hair growth and will give you smoother and glossier lashes.
This is the most expensive product I'll be talking about today and it's also the one I was most excited about when I received everything. This is a lash serum that should improve the look and growth of lashes, now obviously I haven't been using this for a long time so I can't comment yet on its effectiveness but I'm currently trying to apply this at least once a day and I will report back in a few weeks on any results. It is very easy to apply and doesn't doesn't change the appearance of the lashes so you can apply this with the rest of your skincare in the morning before your regular mascara when doing your make-up. 

Style Me Up Clear Gloss
Claims - A unique clear mascara that will add lustre to natural lashes and help seal the adhesive bond of the lash extension.
I think this is another product that would be more useful for someone who wears eyelash extensions, I personally wouldn't choose to use a clear mascara but I do like this as a brow gel. This works well to hold the brows in place without feeling thick or crunchy so it's how I will be continuing to use this mascara but if you do wear eyelash extensions this would probably work very well to hold everything in place in a much lighter way than a traditional mascara.

Volume Up Mascara 
Claims - The product's expertly developed, eyelash extension friendly formula adds instant volume to all lashes with just one sweep, and can be built up to provide varying levels of volume depending on what look you want to create.
I really enjoy this mascara it adds great volume and length without getting chunky or clumpy which I love. The large wand allows you to quickly and easily apply mascara to all lashes but I would just be careful if using it on the lower lashline as it can get a little messy, most likely due to the style of wand. I think this is my favourite mascara that I've tried from this range as the other ones seem to be geared more to looking after/not damaging delicate lash extensions and this mascara gives a bit more of a dramatic look.

Okay, so to round everything up I enjoyed all of the products, I will continue to use the clear mascara as a brow gel and I'm excited to see the results from the lash serum in the coming weeks. Of the two mascaras, I prefer the Volume Up Mascara as it gives more of a dramatic look but I'll definitely continue to use the Build Me Up Mascara especially on the lower lashline.

Primark PS Matte Bronzer Review

I've almost run out of my current bronzer, Nars Laguna, so I decided to pick up this budget friendly one from Primark to see if it's any good and perhaps save me from having to pick up another Nars bronzer. 

As you will have seen from the title of this post this is a matte bronzer, I have the shade Sunrise, it also comes in a slightly darker shade named Sunset. It costs £2 and comes in a cute copper toned compact, I like the look of the packaging but it's not the best quality, the pan currently tilts in the compact and I'm pretty sure at some point it will fall out which is a shame.

I'm not a fan of shimmery bronzers so Iove that this is matte, I also usually like a shade that is more neutral so I can use it to almost contour the face but this shade is too warm toned to do this. When you dip your brush into the powder you will notice a lot of fallout so be careful this could be messy especially if you're wearing lot's of white summer clothing, not a good look!

The powder is quite pigmented so be sure to tap off any excess powder from your brush and use a light hand when applying to avoid using too much. It gives you a very warm tanned look to the skin which is nice but it doesn't blend the easiest so I would work in small sections to slowly build up the colour till you're happy with the results and if you do struggle when blending take the brush you applied your face powder with and and gently sweep over the bronzed areas of the face to soften any edges and give a more subtle look.

You can definitely make this bronzer work for you especially if you love very warm bronzy shades but for me personally this isn't my favourite. I will try and get plenty of use out of this during the summer months (in particular when I'm fake tanned) but I probably wouldn't repurchase this again purely because I prefer a more neutral toned bronzer that blends out a little more easily. 

What are your favourite budget friendly bronzers?