My Top 5 Foundations in 2012

I am pretty fussed when it comes to Foundations and give them the hit or miss status in 5 minutes however this year I was pretty lucky to find some of the best Foundations I have come across ever. Now how I describe my skin is haywire. Combination, mostly with an oily t-zone, dry chin and upper lip area and sensitive cheeks prone to whiteheads and breakouts.

I am an NC30 in MAC, the typical olive-yellow skinned Indian who's always looking for golden toned foundations. If you can relate to the above, you might just like these picks :)

1. Burberry Luminous Fluid Foundation - I did not get off to a very good start with this but only started loving it mid-year when I noticed how beautiful it was. This particular shade is a great dupe for MAC's NC30 colouring and quite yellow so stay clear if you have any other undertones to your skin. Besides that, the coverage is medium and buildable, it's nice and thick like Studio Sculpt by MAC and makes skin look moderately radiant. It requires setting with powder but stays up to 7 plus hours otherwise as well. Perfect for dehydrated skin and for the colder months.

2. Clinique Stay Matte Oil-free Makeup - As you can probably tell at a glance, this particular shade is beige-pink than yellow but it somehow adapts to my colouring quite well. I reserve this for when my skin's breaking out or I have blemishes. It's great for sensitive-oily skin and if you want light to medium coverage. Albeit for troubled skin, it does not look cakey or mask like and sets to a demi-matte finish, providing glow only in the right areas. Its was my best bet this year to wear in humid climates on a holiday as it's foolproof for that purpose.

3. Cover FX Water Based Foundation - This according to me is a love child of MAC's Face & Body (minus the separation) and MUFE's Face & Body Foundation, albeit with more coverage. It's a dream to apply and blend even without a mirror to be honest. The coverage is medium on its own but can be built up to full covering all blemishes and scars as the brand is known for that purpose. If I am correct, this feels the lightest on the skin from all of these and although is satin-dewy in finish, has never broken me out. This particular shade leans more towards a NC35 and has a tendency to very slightly oxidise during the day.

4. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H - Aah the controversies child. I cannot wear it regularly as the presence of Alcohol quite high in the ingredients list breaks me out within hours of wearing the Foundation. Regardless, my sister's all fine with it with her explanation being, the longer you wear it, the more your skin becomes immune to it eventually resulting in no breakouts. The finish and texture of this for me is to die for. You really cannot get something better under £30 than this baby. It gives a soft focus, demi matte, almost airbrushed finish that needs no powder to set. It's photo friendly, super long lasting and full coverage without feeling heavy or looking cakey. This particular shade is more of an NW30-35 but does not look odd.

5. Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation - Another Foundation warrior that battles through almost any climate in the world without budging an inch. Does not contain any oils or fragrances and is rather stuffed with SPF of 30 making it a skin lovers dream. It's medium to full coverage and if applied with a flat top foundation/buffer brush, can make skin look flawless. Apparently, Miss Jolie used it to cover her tattoos for a movie. The finish is demi-matte to slightly luminous depending, depending on how your skin type is at the time of application but none the less, a keeper for those with sensitive, oily or combination skin who want a full coverage Foundation for every day wear.
I am a Foundation hoarder. Tell me your favourite Foundations this year and I'll use it as a reason to collect some more!


Winter Wonderland 2012

What is it? If you're not familiar, it's London's dinky version of Disneyland that it puts up every year in Hyde Park in central London, somewhere around Christmas time continuing up to 6th January until holiday period comes to an end. If you are Londoner, you might know it can get a tad bit boring even whilst staying in the capital, if you're trying to continuously entertain yourself like I do. Amidst all the clubbing scene, sheesha bars and cafeteria's, this uber cute extravaganza stands out tremendously with crowds flocking to it like crazy, especially during weekends. Although, now would be the best time to pay it a visit as after Christmas as it tends to be a bit more peaceful :)

What's there to see? Well what's not there to see. Miniature versions of rides from theme parks, the amusing mirror house, a child friendly circus, an ice kingdom flaunting fascinating ice sculptures, a giant wheel that always freaks me out, delicious food in stalls and my absolute favourite, the ice rink!

Courtesy of BGO, I visited it a while ago and there was nothing not to love. The ice rink is HUGE. Larger than the one at Queensway and Stratford Westfield for sure! Keep in mind however that is is open and does not have a roof (although it does have some very gorgeous fairy lights!) so make sure to take your rain gear with you.


The Alpen Hotel, which has all sorts of funny mirror illusions inside it, moving bridges, spinning rooms, pebbles in water that you have to jump over and all that sort of fairy tale, mini adventure like simulation is totally worth a visit as well.

All in all, just choose a good dry day to enjoy an outing here during the holiday period.


Eye Rescue: Post Christmas & Pre New Year

All that alcohol and sodium from the salted potatoes during Christmas can lead to puffy eyes and swollen under eye bags, alongside dehydrating the under eye area and making the wrinkles look exaggerated and the dark circles even darker. That's obviously not a very glamorous look for the New Year, so here are a few of my trusty solutions to achieve a brighter set of peepers.

For Puffiness, Eye Bags & Dark Circles 

Okay, so no matter how gimmicky it may sound, these three below are my all rounders. Something I resort to to get rid of that hangover looking eyes. They have a cooling effect to them that 'wakes' up the eyes and are intensely hydrating. The Skin Wisdom Instant Benefits is a roll on tube, the metal ball from which is super soothing and effective at moving those fluids around. The Anatomicals one is specifically to combat eye bags and puffiness and reduces them slowly but surely, if you're looking for a cheap, frills free, simple alternative. Eyesilix on the the other hand is a fancy all rounder from Indeed Labs that I cannot live without. It makes the eye area look well hydrated and I can definitely see it fading the effect of dark circles and fine lines over time.

For Firming and Anti-Wrinkle

The two gems below are my favourite to tighten and firm the under eye area. If you are particularly looking for taut, smooth, wrinkle free skin - then these would be your best bet. I usually avoid such 'firming' creams as in the past I have found them to dry out my skin and make it crack however these ones are nicely hydrating as well which acts as a cherry on the top. The Re-affirm Eye Serum contains Sodium Hyaluronate to hydrate and promote collagen production and works great to tighten the upper eye lid as well. Living Nature's Firming Eye Cream works effectively at making those very fine lines disappear and includes Harakeke extract, New Zealand's oldest plant that works best at healing and soothing.

For Illuminating & Brightening 

I have left these for the last as in effect they would be my last step to recover an 'eye hangover'. These are multi purpose products that are skin care but contain illuminating particles (not glitter!) so are in between skincare and make-up. The light reflecting particles they contain not only reflect back light taking attention away from the purply-blue dark circles but are equally hydrating leaving eyes looking fresh. The Skin Therapy Untired Eye Cream contains a colour corrector and finely milled golden reflective shimmer particles that glisten the under eye area like you're back from a holiday. 

The Murad Hybrid Eye Lift Illuminator and Perfector pens are ingenious as one is peachy to conceal and brighten and the other is lilacy in colour to counteract the dullness and sallowness. If you have good skin to begin with, you can use these as a concealer and if not, then these work great before or after applying concealer. 

If you have similar items lying around in your skincare them this is the time to get them out and and give your eyes the much needed TLC it needs. If not, I hope this provided you with options and alternatives to try out.


Giveaway Winners: Colour Xtreme Hair Art

Winner #1 Patricia Andre
Winner #2 Mesba Mehmood
Winner #3 Isaa
Winner #4 Jezzhae

Congratulations girls! You have won yourself two of these temporary hair colour sprays each!

I am emailing you now to get hold of your addresses and your prizes should be with you very soon :)

Stay tuned for more.


December Glossybox (pssttt...I love it!)

I have always slaughtered Glossybox's for one reason or another in the previous months but they have got it spot on this time with a good mix of face, body, nail, lip and cheek products with a cheeky addition of a fragrance sample to complete the head to toe pampering this festive season.

Also can you see there are 5 full sized products? The absolutely gorgeous, winter tan blusher is made by Kryolan for Glossybox and it's quality is beautiful. You saw my previous post on the Sleek Lipstick in Cherry that I am in love with. The Seche Nail Colour is a dusky, coppery pink and perfect for these pre-Christmas days.

Get it if you can still get your hands on its as for £10, you really cannot ask for more. It would make a great present for someone as well and because it's already presented in a gift box, you wouldn't have to spend anything extra on that.



Sleek True Colour Lipstick 'Cherry'

I love Sleek's Blushers and Eye shadow palettes but have never paid attention to their Lipsticks until I got one in December's Glossybox (which I feel is brilliant!) called Cherry . 

The shade is a gorgeous maroonish burgundy, a perfect pink-red if that makes any sense. I was more than glad to discover it has a glossy finish as my lips are extremely dry and flaky at this time of the year and a matte finish would only make them worse. 

As you can probably tell, it's a very rich and deep shade. Not very complex or unique but extremely lovable on first sight and universally flattering due to its neutral-blue undertones.

I did not expect it to be any good at all frankly as I have tried a few Sleek lipsticks in the past and have been disappointed but the texture, coverage and finish of this baby is second to none.

Sometimes it's so creamy that it can feather outside the lips easily hence a good lining of lips with a similar lip pencil is recommended. I like to apply this straight from the bullet although it's super duper pigmented.

I don't have such a shade in my vanity and have been lusting over similar shades from MAC recently so am glad I got this in my Glossybox and even if I run out, for £4.99, it's literally dirt cheap!

It's a mixture of MAC's Rebel and Darkside lippies I believe so if you are looking for dupes, get your hands on this.


Do Sales Assistants/MUA's at counters influence your purchase?

For me, they do till about a whopping 80%. There you go brands, an invaluable statistic from a person obsessed with cosmetics, to save you time consuming market research. When I step into a store to purchase an item, lets say a Foundation for instance that I just did today, I of course have done the given research about the product and have a strong idea in my mind as to what I want the leave the store with. However, that's not what seals the deal for me, it's the ladies at the make-up counters who can influence my decision and distract me to an extent by a few more products from the brand, without being obviously pushy.

I have in the past bought numerous products simply because I found the Sales Assistant at the counter really helpful, warm and friendly. I will never get talked into a product, don't get me wrong as that is not what I mean at all. I can very kindly and politely refuse a forced sale if I am not convinced with a product or the person's reasoning behind selling it to me. What I am trying to say is when I have, lets say three Foundations short listed in my mind that I would like to purchase one from, then the deal breaker (or maker) will be the Sales Assistant/MUA.

When it comes to Selfridges in London guys, I am not even looking for a warm and friendly person on the counter. It's more like choosing between who's less worse/cold than another. One counter than particularly springs into my mind when I think of Sales Assistants with cold vibes, robotic stares and an indifferent, constipated expression on the face that they somehow hold quite consistently over the years is Bobbi Brown.   I have a wish list of items to purchase from them but their unhelpfulness and treating the counter as a protected, closed sanctuary from the customers has let me down three times now. Another similar one is Chanel in Selfridges, London but I love the brand a bit too much to let their MUA's influence me one bit. I do end up purchasing from them, just not as much.

Coming to the rosier side things, the counters that I do like/love for their informative, helpful, chirpy and at least pretending-to-be-nice Sales Assistants/MUA's are Benefit, Lancome, NARS, Giorgio Armani, Clinique and Guerlian so kudos to them. All I can say to these moody Sales Advisors and to these brands is to hire people who actually LOVE make-up (note make-up NOT money) unconditionally be it 8am in the morning or 9pm at night. Oh and to Bobbi Brown, you're really not Chanel so buck up and teach those snobby bunch at Selfridges to smile a little :)

It's obviously clear that Sales Assistants/MUA's at counters affect our decision to purchase but to what extent?

Amie 'Perfect Beauty' Gift Set

Is it too late to suggest even last minute Christmas gift ideas? I guess this cute gift set by Amie would in fact be a great New Year's present to yourself. I don't know about you but I surely want to switch up my skin care and make-up products in the new year and have a brand new start in all aspects, even vain. This would kick start that project quite effectively as for £19.95, you get a Moisturiser, Face Wash, Exfoliator and an Eye Make-up Remover.

The Moisturiser is brilliant for younger skin such as those in the teens or for those of you with combination/oily skin types as it promises a matte finish and does not break out. The Face Wash is creamy and great for the winter and its Eye Make-up Remover is something I use every day any ways and it works quite well as removing eye shadow, liner and water proof mascara.

I haven't tried the New Leaf Exfoliating Skin Polish as of yet so a full review of it should be up as soon I have a play around with it. The plastic travel bag is spacious and I have already kept it aside for my next holiday. Clear, spacious travel bags are invaluable for storing hair, make-up and skincare products if you're a travel addict so you don't end up running out around like a headless chicken on the last minute!



Liz Earle Perfect Fix Concealer

It's amazing how a brand like Liz Earle has been catering their make-up products towards women of colour recently and I noticed that initially in their Foundations and now followed by their Perfect Fix Concealer.

These twist up tube comes in a frills free, silver packaging. The shade I have in my possession is No 4, Medium which is in real fact a deep yellowy-beige shade with salmon-peachy undertones to it.

Not so good for blemishes unless your skin colour matches the concealer shade perfectly but it's ingenious for dark brown, purply-blue circles under the eyes that need brightening. What such corrective shades do is to counteract the darkness under the eyes and bring it back to your original skin colour. If you find the end result a little too tanned, you can then go ahead to add your usual concealer for the bright Kim Kardashian concealer.

In a total of 7 shades, No 4 is a NC/NW40 in my opinion as I currently wear a MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC35 and it's considerably lighter than this. The shade of this resembles Bobbi Brown's Correcter in Peach or darker to an extent as to the purpose it serves.

Regarding the finish of this, I am not very fond of it as somewhere in between a cream and a powder. It dries to a semi-matte, powdery finish very much like MAC's Studio Finish Concealer, however because it's not absolutely full coverage, it leaves gaps in the middle and can cling to dry patches under the eye. The coverage of this is light-medium.

Overall, if you have always been in the minority and hated heavy cream-powder concealers such as Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage and MAC's Studio Finish, then this one will be perfect for you if you have good skin in general and just want to brighten, correct and add light to certain areas of the face minus the hideous grey cast that other concealers deliver.

The shade range is great with salmon, peach and olive undertones. See if you can find yourself a good match as for £13.50, it's surely worth at try just for the shade variations it offers.


Neom Christmas Wish Reed Diffuser

If you're still looking for a last minute Christmas present, definitely check out Neom's Christmas Wish Reed Diffuser. I believe it's only available during Christmas, so it's a bit of a limited edition thing and I highly recommend you stock up on one as you won't get to see it till next year. It's a unique warm yet sweet blend of spicy and citrusy scents that just makes me feel comforted and fuzzy inside, especially when it's dreary and pouring outside.

I have to admit, it's the best Neom has ever come up till date when it comes to scents. The quality of the diffusing oil in this one is particularly great as it starts working it magic in the room as soon you open the beautiful cardboard box this comes housed in. Also, I should also mention the classy, muted gold packaging this comes in which would make it a luxe item in the drawing room or a lush present for someone who likes home decor and fragrances.

Another guilt free reason to get your hands on this is the fact that a £1 from every item sold from this product will be given to Make a Wish Foundation that grants wishes of little children dealing with chronic illnesses.


Make-up bits from Pixi that I'm loving

There's not a single product from Pixi that I have disliked till date. It's one of those brands that can do the wackiest of shades, sometimes not even to my taste, but because their quality is brilliant and they glide on like butter, I fall in love with them instantly.

I have been loving a few things from them recently that I have been using since weeks so here's a better late than never feature on them.

You guys know how much I love my Magic Tint Lip Balm by Pixi which changes colour based on the PH level and all that body chemistry jazz. I have a similar one called Tinted Brilliance Balm which is a coloured lip balm like the Chubby Sticks by Clinique, just more pigmented and less glossy.

The one I have is called 'Baby Bare' which is a peachy nude. Not the most flattering shade to accentuate those pearly whites but their quality is seriously stunning as they glide on the skin beautifully without tugging to dry skin, are moderately pigmented and foolproof as an everyday handbag product and come in various flattering shades.

I am also in love with their Endless Silky Eye Pen as it's the most creamy, smudge proof and pigmented pencil eye liner I have in my vanity. Besides, the shades they come in are quite unique and edgy, always an odd twist to them such as glitter when unexpected or a duo chrome of some sort.

The shade I have is Black Tulip I believe which is an ink blue with lilac accents and shimmer shot through it. I like to apply a thick line of this on the top lash line and then smudge it out for a smoked out effect. It's effortless with this baby! I seriously want to stock up on all the shades and it might be possible considering they're only £9 a pop.

I am sure you must have heard about the popular Early Bird Palette from them. It comes housed in this Disney inspired, lavender packaging that has doors to it in the middle. When you open them, you are greeted with an array of eye shadow's, bronzers and blushers. It is unbelievably compact and the uber cute colours are super smooth and wearable. It would be the only thing I would take with me on a holiday besides Foundation, Concealer, Powder and a Mascara.

The bronzers and blushers have a gorgeous sheen to them and the eye shadows are shimmery as well. Some eye shadows are more gritty than the rest but that's just a very minor flaw to it, especially when the kit retails at £16. If you're looking for a last minute Christmas present, grab this from a Pixi Boutique!

I am not sure why the brand isn't raved about as much but they do stunning products for everyday wear, with uber cute pastel green packaging and a reasonable price point. I have a never ending wish list for their products building up since years. One can dream!

Make Christmas special for a deafblind child

I seriously cannot imagine my life if I could not hear and see at the same time. I mean for heavens sake, I cannot deal with extra heat or the crowd in the train, let alone anything close to what these poor souls that Sense helps go through.

It's adorable how this charity will use this money to buy sensory toys for these little kids so they can experience a little bit of Christmas in their own way!

I have donated. Have you? Go on and make yourself and someone else feel special :)


Dr Jart BB Beauty Balm

After all the hype and hoopla on BB creams, here's my take on the ultimate BB Cream from a Korean company which was amongst the first few to initiate the trend in early 2000 in the Asian continent on the highly acclaimed yet equally debated Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm. 

I always feel a sense of relief when I know a Beauty Balm that I am trying out originates from the East as I have tried a few from British brands and they have only turned out be a extension of the Tinted Moisturiser albeit catering for a huge variety of skin tones. 

What's this supposed to do?

This particular one has an SPF of 30 to protect skin from the harmful rays of the sun, which apparently are present in the winter as well, believe it or not. In my opinion, the best way to prevent skin from ageing is to regularly top up SPF as it prevents skin from drying, hardening and then eventually getting all wrinkly. It's even better when it comes in a base product like this!

Secondly, what the product promises is to cover the blemishes on the face and rejuvenate the skin. Coming to the first part of the claim, the product itself is so pigmented that it manages to cover moderate blemishes quite successfully. I don't find it breaks out confused, combination skin as mine, going further to prove that it can also prevents blemishes from developing in the first place. As for the second half of the claim, the product surprisingly dries to a semi-matte finish with just the right amount of glow it. It mimics how the skin would glow naturally on a good day, so surely it helps the face look brighter and happier.

My only gripe with this flawless product is that I would wear it every single day, even outside home for its full coverage and great longevity if it would not be as pale as it is in reality. I tried to look up if it came in different shades but surprisingly, only one shade is supposed to fit all when it comes to authentic BB creams.

I am not complaining and I even wear it quite shamelessly embracing the paleness this winter but it is starkly paler than my naturally olive-tanned NC30 skin colour as you can probably tell.

The texture of the product is hydrating and can get slightly oily in the t-zone after mid-day.

If you are looking for a medium-full coverage BB cream, that feels light on the skin, absorbs well, does not tackily sit on the top and can be worn outside without a second thought, this would be it.

However, do try swatching it on the back of your hand or neck if you get a chance to when in Boots.

A 50ml tube is available for £22 at Boots