Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Quick | Empty and Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve attempted an empties post – mainly due to my inability to remember to keep the actual products once I’ve finished them! But seeing as quite a few things seemed to run out at the same time, I thought I’d give it a bit of the old “finish and review” treatment.

Rimmel Lip Liner in East End Snob – I cannot even attempt to tell you how many of these I have had over the years: it is my daily, go-to lip liner, can be worn alone, under a pink lipstick, under a nude lipstick – the uses are endless! I was so panicked about finishing this that I went out straight away and tried to repurchase, but shock, horror, it was out of stock! A retry will be happening soon!
Alpha H Liquid Gold – my saviour some years ago when I randomly started breaking out a few years ago, the same has happened so I returned to my trusty Glycolic buddy. Already ran out, already repurchased. A complete staple!
L’oreal Oil Extraordinary Oil - This was to replace The Body Shop Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, which I believe was an agitator and slight cause of my breakouts in the beginning – the Shea Butter seems to just block my pores ridiculously. I’m actually pretty fond of this oil, I’ve used the 15 second L’oreal one before, and to be fair, they seem like the same product. I always need an oil in my life, so will probably pick up one of these again, or have another bash at The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
Another staple in my skincare rotation, but lately I’m not so sure that I used it regularly enough for it to have the desired effect. In the past it has been a bit of a skin saving grace. I will probably repurchase and get back to using it regularly.
Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium - My true love when it comes to contouring (not pictured). Expensive, but lasted me about 2 years. Already repurchased.
Much love,
Ani


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Running Like a Girl | Review

It appears that I may have turned into the furthest-removed type of person from myself. One who is starting to enjoy exercise. One who is starting to like to run. Granted, running in the warmth of my own home, but running nonetheless. The first few times, I really had to push myself to do it, and then one day a miracle happened. After a few hard runs of about 20 minutes, I pushed myself over the barrier and it just got easier. At the same time I started to read Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Hemingsley, and everything started to make sense. 
The initial fear of actually trying to run. The block that you have to come at around 12-20 minutes. The sense of achievement after a run. And how it genuinely makes you feel good. The book is superb – one of the better, focused, but real accounts that I have read. Hemingsley doesn’t sugar coat, doesn’t patronise, but simply tells it how it is. A wonderful book for anyone wanting to run, thinking about running, running and wondering what the future holds – this book helps you know what to expect from running. The read itself is brilliant, it flows, tells a story, so much so that I read it in one sitting, the day after my treadmill broke. And right now, all I really want to do is run. An inspiring read that makes me feel like I want to run a million marathons. 
Have you read this?
Much love,
Ani x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Return to | MAC

I haven't been a lover of Mac for quite some time. Once upon a time, like a beauty obsessee's right-of-passage, I was quite infatuated. But like all infatuations and dalliances, it's time came earth-crashingly to an end, and I realised there were very few things I truly loved from the range, In fact, up until that fated night last Thursday, I think the only Mac in my collection were a handful of lipsticks (Snob, Angel, Innocence Beware, Honey Love and Sinister), alongside Teddy Eye Khol (incidentally, I need to find it, I wish to wear it tomorrow), and a limited editions Villains blush. Now, last Thursday was payday, and I 100% did not wish to buy any make up, in fact, right before (I'm guessing 5 minutes before) the fated incident, I had just said out loud "I'm so happy with my make up collection." And with that, I guess I tempted fate.
Because I walked out of Mac, not just with a Mac foundation, which I had earlier lambasted as the source of all evil just a few hours before, but also a concealer AND powder. A full face of Mac (you can see above how it looks when I apply it all myself). Hai. But do I regret it. Weirdly not. The combination, which I will get on to in just a little second, has gleamed me compliments on not only the flawlessness of my skin, but also the wonderful colour match. 
So, today I introduce you to the Pro Longwear Concealer, Pro Longwear Foundation, and Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation. Now, for someone who hadn't planned on a base-shop, I certainly knew exactly what I was looking for - I suppose that's what comes from being a beauty obsessee. In terms of concealer, I needed something to conceal the ridiculous cyst-like breakout that seems to be haunting me, that would stay in place at least a working day. Foundation needed to be flawless, super long-lasting, and control oil to an extent. Powder needed to set foundation in place, then to be used as a top up throughout the day if needed, or after work if going out. And boy did they get it right this time. 
I explained that I normally get matched too dark, that the oils on my skin oxidise any foudnation anyways, and that Mac foundations just didn't seem to sit well on my skin - and that's coming from trying out almost all Mac has to offer. Now, I've used this full get up twice, only twice mind you, but the amount of compliments I've had has been astounding. Not only that, but my twice-a-day powdering habit has been reduced to the grand old amount of ZERO. Unheard of with my skin. I will keep you updated, but for now, oily skin ladies, the concealer provides medium-to-heavy coverage, the foundation a good medium, built to heavy, but could be sheered, and the powder is definitely one for a flawless look. 
For reference, I have the NC35 in concealer, the NC30 in foundation and NC25 in powder (a couple of steps down from the NC40-42 they used to match me to! I'm so glad Asian skintones are finally being understood!) Find the products here: Pro Longwear Concealer £17, Pro Longwear Foundation £25 and Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation £21.50.
Much love,
Ani x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Lush | Unicorn Horn

Baths are something that I heart. I heart them completely (and I can now legitimately heart them as "heart" was the most used "word" last year). I find them ultimately relaxing, deeply comforting and a wonderful part of my day. But add in a little Lush, and #POW, you've got yourself something a little more than special. I tend to splurge on Lush once a month, and like to think of it as helping my overall mental and emotional well being. Or, in simpler terms, it makes me a happier Ani! On my latest trip, I just had to pick up the beautiful Unicorn Horn. 
Multicoloured, glittery, starry: this is my brain in a bubble bar. Of course, I actually don't like a copious amount of bubbles, so I can make this bad boy last a good number of baths. With scents of neroli and lavender, this is super relaxing and warming - perfect for these freezing winter nights. A definite repurchase :). Find it here for £3.25.
Much love,
Ani x

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Forever Learning | Working Out

Exercise has never been my thing – if I’m honest, it is universal activity that has not once been my thing. At primary school I would use any justification I could to not be in PE lessons, to not be in the playground. I was that book girl – you know the one. That was me. And really, I am still that book girl, but I am no longer that 18 year old book girl who could eat 2 dinners and put on not an ounce. I am now that 27 year old book girl with curves and a propensity to be a little soft around the edges. Now I like a bit of softness, I do think women should look like women, but I could do with a little toning, maybe a little weight loss, and an overall upturn in fitness. So, I’ve started. I actually started a little last year, kept it up for a month and felt magnificent, but the cold weather came along and evidently I just wanted to hibernate like a bear. Now, I am not, and undoubtedly will never be, a gym bunny – or that gym girl, so knowing that, a little while ago I invested in some little dumbbells, a hula hoop, a gym ball, and I am also lucky enough that we have a treadmill at home. I hate the treadmill. It is literally my nemesis. I like a good walk/ jog outside in the summer. But the treadmill is evil. I can get off when I want, which is generally after 2 minutes. But 2 days in a row now, I have done a mile on it. One day going a little hard, and one day going slightly slower. I am also doing the P90X ab workout, which I love, another little workout by someone I know, and the 30 day squat challenge. Add in a little hula hooping, and hopefully, within no time (some time!) I will be toned and fit!
Much love,
Ani x

Monday, 12 January 2015

Unveiling | Illamasqua

Illamasqua is a brand that I have coveted for a silly amount of time - for some reason I read about it, admire it, but never buy it. Until one crisp winter's morning when I received notification of their annual after-Christmas sale. And the rest, as they say, is history. It has always been the bases and the palettes that have intrigued me the most, but as a little bit of a base connoisseur, I was not going to be buying any of those without being matched in person. So enter the palettes and their wonderful discounts: Liquid Metal Palette, Multi Facet Palette in Aura and Reflection Palette.
On first glance, what beautiful palettes - plastic but sturdy, shiny, and just ultimately sleek, Upon opening the palettes, just wow. Beautiful colours, textures, arrangements - Illamasqua just seem to nail the palette issue. 
First up, the Liquid Metal Palette - quite literally does what it says on the tin. Foil-like, creamy, and beautiful colours - bronze, gunmetal, silver and gold - that will make it onto my lids for many a night out! The second palette, the Aura Palette contains shadows, blush, contour and liner not just a multi-use palette, but more of a multi-multi-use palette! I have made up my face with just this palette, and the result was a pretty, natural face. Lastly, the Reflection Palette, which I am starting to adore. The texture of the shadows is reminiscent of pressed pigments, but feels almost like water on the skin itself. The shade range: a pearl, taupe, bronze and gunmetal, all with shimmer, reflection, and warmth to them, cover all bases from day to night.
All in all, a great first impression from Illamasqua!
Much love,
Ani x

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Most Used | Base Combo ft. L'oreal, Clarins & EX1

I have, am, and always will be a sucker for a good base - laying the perfect (excuse the pun) foundation always helps my day to start a little more brightly. I like to think my beloved Kimmy K and J. Lo feel the same way, and experience these little true but shallow emotions. Creating a flawless face helps the exultation of confidence, and lets me stand that little bit taller. Now, when it comes to picking that perfect base, I have the ultimate plethora of foundations, concealers and powders - quite literally 3 drawers full, and not one I would part with: but I find myself reaching most for the following almost instinctively everyday.
For the purposes of this post, let's assume I've already moisturised (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, L'OrĂ©al Paris Triple Active Fresh Ultra-Hydrating Gel-Cream), SPF'd (Obagi) and primed (Max Factor Facefinity), and let us move onto the world of concealer. Now I tend to mix a few together, dab a little here and there, use one for highlighting etc etc - but these two are the most reached for. EX1's Delete Concealer is a lovely, dense, cream-in-a-pot type concealer that I used with my Sigma F82, and buff all over the parts of the skin that need some help - you might call it my generalised, large-area concealer. This ends up cancelling any redness, reducing the appearance of scars, and generally evening out the skin, and helping me to apply less foundation. Next up, Clarins Instant Concealer, which I use to stubborn the more stubborn blemishes and scars. Blending a little of this over my already slightly-concealed base just helps to cancel the prominence of the leftover high-colour. For foundation, the True Match Foundation is one of the best on the high-street: buildable from medium to full coverage, seamless application with a beauty blender, and the ability to last a good few hours on my once set with my beloved True Match Powder, which incidentally I carry a second of in my handbag for powdering duties throughout the day. 
Just as a little aside, I am already on my second bottle of the foundation, 3rd compact of the powder, and have made a considerable foundation-sized dent in the EX1 concealer: they are that good!
I hope you enjoyed a little look into my daily face base.
Much love,
Ani x

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Repurchased

In this world that we call beauty, things are oh so fickle. A new product here, a new launch there - it is with the utmost difficulty that one stays loyal to anything for any length of time. Take my bathroom - boxes full of things I am trying to finish. Granted, I am making the effort now, using more, buying less, and a dent is sloooooooowly being made! But when I do repurchase, I feel the products must be worth a mention - for how often do I repurchase anything? Today, here are the skincare repurchases that I have made - just two products, but two that I think will be around for a good old while. 
Here we have Lush's Mask Of Magnaminty - my favourite Lush Mask, because it has so many uses: cleanser, exfoliator, mask, body mask - it is a plethora of multi-use, and the green colour just makes me so happy! Minty, cooling, clay-ish, thick, unctuous, this does so much good for problem skin days, and just peps your soul up a little. 
The Body Shop's Chamomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is now the only balm cleansing (bar pure coconut oil) in my skincare cache, and does the job of make-up removal, cleansing, and softening oh-so-easily. I have also had the cleansing oil from the same range before, but there is just something about a balm cleanser.
And for your viewing pleasure, here is a close up of these beautiful textures (I love a texture):
What are your most repurchased?
Much love,
Ani x

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Upping the Skincare Game | Obagi 360

I am now 27. Shock. I don't dislike it, if I'm quite honest, I actually really like the number. I do not, however, like what 27 does to my skin. I am fortunate to have been in the beauty industry since the age of 21, learning how to look after my skin, and to know the science behind it. But after those years of looking after it, 27 has let me down, and my skin is where I am feeling my age. So I sought help from the only person I trust with my skin, Rachel Fox, who I have watched treat all kinds of skins for years. My first instinct was that I wanted a peel, but we settled on a new skincare routine, inclusive of a Retinol, which has never touched my skin prior to this, aiming to acclimatise my skin before a peel (due to the risk of hypo-pigmentation of Asian skins and peels!). As I have just started, I thought I'd go through the products, and my thoughts, then do a full review after a month or two. I also feel that there aren't that many posts on hardcore skincare for young-ish skins, like mine, especially on the Obagi 360 regime.
The kit is veryyyy simple - 3 products: Exfoliating Cleanser, SPF for the daytime, and Retinol 0.5% for the nighttime. Lovely, simple, and plenty of scope to add in any favourite products or treatments within your stash. Now, I have seen Obagi do amazing things for skins older than mine - completely overhauling tone and texture, and general resilience, and am hoping that this particular regime will help with this!
So the Exfoliating cleanser - fresh smell, foams up a little, scrubs gently, and actually appears to be diminishing hyper-pigmentation marks that I have. As this is an exfoliating cleanser (mechanically and chemically), I tend to use a balm first (The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter) to take off make up, and cleanse, then follow up with this, removing with my favourite tool - a warm flannel.
In the daytime I use my normal skincare - tends to be an Enzymatic Toner, a Vitamin E Toner, Avene's Cleanance Mat, and as the very last step of skincare, the Obagi Hydrafactor SPF 30. The consistency is almost melt-y, and blends into the skin beautifully. Of course, everyone should be using SPF daily, but it is especially pertinent if you are using Glycolics, Retinols etc.
Lastly, at nighttime, I use the Retinol 0.5% over my Toners, and under a luscious moisturiser - current choices are the Body Shop Vitamin E Sorbet, Nude's Pro Genius Oil, and Vichy's Aqualia Thermal. On top of everything, I have taken to layering the Botanics Cooling Lavender Gel, as I know Retinols can cause irritation. Additionally, the Botanics Ultra Calm Skin Relief Serum and La Roche Posay's Toleriane Fluide are brilliant alternatives, with more focus on the skincare aspect. Eyes are currently being treated with a sample sachet of Kiehl's Midnight Eye Recovery, and hands with La Couvent des Minimes Gardeners Hand Healer. And that is that. New skincare routine, with some big skin-turnover ingredients, and some lovely treats in between :)
If you are interested in the Obagi 360, I wholeheartedly recommend Rachel, who will talk through everything for her - info can be found at Rachel's Website and there are options for different ages too.
Much love,
Ani x

Monday, 5 January 2015

High End Perfume Favourites | Chanel Coco Noir & YSL Belle D'Opium

Perfume is something I have always loved - my olfactory senses are a little ridiculous, to the point that sometime leaving an empty tea mug by my bedside table can disturb my sleep! Aged 7, I was obsessed with a perfume I saw in quite a few of the houses I frequented at the time - Karl Lagerfeld's Sun, Moon, Stars, and felt ridiculously grown up when I received a bottle of it as a gift. To this day, I still have that original perfume (ahem, 20 years later!), which I have used lovingly and sparingly throughout the years. The bottle stands proudly in between my now extensive melange of bottles of all shapes and sizes and scents and memories. And that is why I love perfume - it evokes memories in a way that is so powerful - the ultimate for a renowned forgetter like myself! I have in my assemblage of perfumes, the very cheapest scents, to the damned expensive, and each has it's place in my routine, mainly dependant on my mood. But I must say, as I am getting older, as much as I completely heart the sugary tones of Britney Spears' Curious, the depths and notes in the more expensive perfumes are becoming highly apparent! Added to this that my cold skin literally pushes fragrance out it, the high-ends tend to stick around a little longer. So today we celebrate the wonders that are my two favourite high-end perfumes:
It seemed only fitting to capture these two French beauties by candlelight: Chanel's Coco Noir, and YSL's Belle D'Opium. If you have not had the pleasure of smelling these two, then I would say now is as good a time as any for you to saunter on down to a department store.  Belle D'Opium is one that I was gifted by an uncle around a year ago now, and is just stunning in visage and scent. It is a heavy perfume, lighter that the original Opium, which I found myself disliking, but heavier in feel than everyone's current fave Black Opium. Comparing the two, Black Opium is a beautiful fragrance that has added a modernity and a slight awakening to the Opium name, but if you crave something that screams sensual, then Belle D'Opium is the one for you, and is also almost a more wearable version of Tom Ford's Black Orchid, which I constantly want to wear, but it doesn't seem to work on me. The main notes throughout here that appeal to me are incidentally very perfumed ones - Jasmine, Lily, Tobacco, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Amber: very heavy, but supremely decadent. 
Chanel's Coco Noir I have lusted over for around a year now, and finally purchased it in duty free last month. This tends to fall in the same scent category as the Belle D'Opium - a beautiful heaviness to it, without being cloying. Lighter in feel than the Belle, but with slightly less sweetness to it, I find this to be the perfect almost-masculine, but still hugely femininely sensual scent! Again, the notes are akin to those of Belle, but with an addition of Rose, Narcissus and Frankincense, which is where I think the less-saccharine aspect comes into it. Absolutely stunning.
I hope you like this post :)
Ani x