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Sunday, 7 June 2015

Beauty Block.

It's been a while. A very long while. Writer's block is a killer. It destroys any chance you have of conveying your feelings in a non hysterical way that others can in some way relate to. I went on a kind of sub conscious ramble every time I decided to sit down and share my thoughts on beauty. I found it hard to relay any sort of fluidity to my thoughts and began to realize that I needed to slow down my thinking and concentrate on my immediate thoughts. That's the thing about the beauty industry, it causes all sorts of havoc with my mind and I can't seem to pin point its immediate effect on me. After reflecting on this (and many, many lipsticks later) I came to realize that there's a very good reason for this. The beauty industry is changing, It's evolved before our eyes into something that lives sub consciously inside us and we can't put our finger on why we NEED a certain product but we do,

We invent reasons to ourselves as to why we NEED to buy a specific fragrance or fancy french candle smelling of musky feet. It kind if scares me. Like the beauty industry is subliminally tricking us and we have been sucked into their trap. But the trap is honest. It's one we've allowed haunt our dreams. One where we've helped to create ourselves. A trap that has evolved to cater for us all in every possible way,  Beauty has never just been an objective term, it is always influenced by our feelings. A lipstick can represent a milestone in someones life. I know Mac's Brave was my lipstick of choice upon graduating Uni and I'll forever hold it in my heart, I guess the point I'm trying to make is what we all already know, the beauty industry is a complex and ever evolving universe on Earth. Blogging has become a full time job for people and has launched careers of many talented make up lovers/artists/obsessees. We have become reliant on the reviews of such bloggers and it has become a part of my daily routine to watch the daily lives of some of my favorites on YouTube.  These are people are respect and feel like I know. Like long lost relative or just virtual pen pals.

And why did we feel the need to create this evolving beauty culture? Because, we can. Science can back us up and give us what we want. We want a lipstick that's matte but creamy and comfortable on the lips. No problem. We want to have a culture which showcases the trans-formative power of make up. Not just what it creates on the outside but the power it gives us on the inside,  We've all voted on the referendum of Beauty and voted it as a cultural necessity. It is what you want it to be, It helps mold the very essence of our being. We are in charge of how we want to be perceived  to oursleves and to others,

There is a place for us all in this 'swatching culture'. You don't have to be queen of the false lashes or accomplish the Kylie Jenner lip (the new lip liner phenomenon) in order to be apart of it. You can simply appreciate the skill it takes to create the ''no make-up make up' look. Which, in my opinion is the most difficult of all. Mainly because I love ALL the make up.

I'm sure there are countless books on the history of make-up that details our relationship with the beauty industry in a much less 'rambly' fashion than myself and I urge you to read those, but because I blog to release my inner most thoughts about beauty and my sometimes love/hate attitude to its hold on me, you'll have to excuse my  mutterings, Unless, you also find yourself in the same frame of mind that I am and in that case... WAHAY,  you're not alone. I'm right here on this same ride with you.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Express yourself!

      Hey Hey Everyone! 

 Ok so, I've been suffering blogger's block over the last few weeks. I've become a little bit underwhelmed by it all to be honest. I find beauty blogs can be a little boring and repetitive to read sometimes as they don't have a bit of a plot to draw me in! I know, it's more about the products than it is the narrative and I'm sorry but I like a little story to go with a blog post, something a little more exciting and relatable. Ok, we all don't want to be reading a load of 'waffle' and want to get straight to the point but sometimes straight to the point can be a little 'cold' and doesn't give me that same feeling of excitement that a well written (albeit short or long) piece creates. This is just a prelude to my love of great writing skills. One blog which always carries my interest would be that of the lovely ViviannaDoesMakeUp. Boy, can that girl tell a tale! I love how her experience of a product gives it a whole new depth of feeling. When she talks about lipsticks, she gets me! She really gets me! It's more than just a waxy colour experiment, it's a way of life!   

  A little aside to this article would be that I thoroughly love when girls can enjoy make-up and beauty and not judge others that don't. On the other end of the spectrum, I hate getting judged at work for wearing a bright pink lip. People can be totally condescending towards you when you express yourself through the creativity of make-up. I really thought by this stage people would get over such petty stuff and not be so narrow minded.   

  There are so many greater issues in the world than how I styled my hair today! An example of this pettiness was (not naming any names) when I was in work a couple of days ago a fellow colleague (when I was covering her role whilst she was going away) told me to keep my head 'out-of-the-clouds'. I took it as pure ignorance. How dare anybody judge you on your appearance. She didn't know me at all but assumed I would be all 'airy-fairy' because I was sporting a bright pink lip and wearing eyeshadow. What?! Seriously. I don't judge her on her choice of not wearing make-up. It's a choice we all make. I wouldn't judge anybody's creativity levels on their 'choice' to wear make-up. This may seem over-exaggerated but I think people are really surprised when they find out I have a degree and a masters degree. I might come across as a bit kooky and alternative in what I choose to wear but this in no way reflects my ability to do a job and excel in that job. Make-up is an extension of me whether I decide to wear a nude lip or a bright, daring purple lip. It's not for attention. It's for myself and my own feelings of contentment. It's a combination of trying to figure out who you are and knowing who you are. 

  Anybody else ever feel this way? I just feel like the beauty culture of today can sometimes be frowned upon by people in all types of working cultures. We are beautiful, unique strong women who can possess great writing skills and love to express our passion for the perfect blush or foundation at the same time!  

Cheers for reading! ;-)

Nicole xx

Friday, 30 August 2013

'Skin Saviours' for stressed out, acne prone skin.

It's been one of those days today. And if I'm completely honest with myself, one of those months. Without sounding too drama queen-esque I've just had a rough time this month ( job wise and personal life wise) and my skin decided to take sides with my stress levels. It was a delayed reaction to the stresses of life and letting things get to me that caused a flare up of acne all over my chin area. I know there are greater things going on in the universe and I'm not saying that the world should shut down and pity my skin problems. Yes, people are starving and yes, I am aware of homelessness but can I just have a little 'MeMeMe' moment?!

  Ok. So. I've quickly become aware of the correlation between my stress levels and my acne development. So first thing's first. Deep Breaths Nikki, deep LONG breaths. But when I succumb to my stress which I have been trying to take control of (it's a never-ending battle) it just happens. Red, raw, itchy acne. It normally starts as one large spot on my chin and then quickly spreads to 2 or 3. Managing the acne and reducing it's redness is  the core of this skin saviour blog post. Basically, you have to let it run its course but help to stop it getting worse along the way.  I've found 3 HERO products that have let me get on with my life whilst living with my acne problem. Before I go on any further, I'd like to state that it osnt just for vanity reasons that I find acne disruptive to my life. Yes, it's not the prettiest of sights but also it can get very sore and itchy and with that it can really effect my confidence and my overall happiness, basically. Just to throw it out there that no, the world doesn't have to end when your skin flares up. And here's how, I can ( hopefully) help....           

So yes, these 3 items have basically saved my life this last August. First from the wonder trio would be the Effaclar Duo cream. Basically this is a corrective and unclogging moisturiser. I found it not to be the greatest moisturiser under makeup so I stuck to wearing it at night after my evening cleansing routine. It worked absolute wonders while I slept, drying up my oily skin and reducing redness after just one night of applying a good dollop before bed. One thing to bear in mind, it does cause your spots to emerge slightly more but it's only because it's drawing them to the surface so as to finish the acne process quicker. 

Whilst this is happening I would recommend you use this fantastic foundation from the La Roche Posay range affinity called Toleraine Teint. It's a fluid correcting foundation which offers fantastic coverage without clogging your pores or irritating your skin. This foundation is so gorgeous and I've even gotten compliments or how 'glowing' I look when I wear it. It has an SPF 25 and it still doesn't irritate the skin. It's a miracle in a bottle. No Joke! 

So. After a week of eating better, breathing, going for a run and relaxing and meditating more, your skin should be on it's way to a full recovery. This is only if it's stress related like mine is. I know other people suffer from it differently but I know when I get ridiculously stressed and feeling a bit off that my skin will have the odd reaction. Yes. A prescription cream will help if you've gotten it really bad (which I've had in the past, believe me) and the one I can't recommend enough would be Differin 0.1% gel. A prescription is necessary but it really does work. 

Finally, when after you've used the effaclar duo for a good week or so at night it's time to get rid of the dreary, dry skin that it has left behind whilst working it's magic. I've recently stumbled upon the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. This is the stuff of dreams. I'm big joking. I put this on 2 nights ago and let it sink into my pores as I slept and I woke up with a much more 'alive' complexion. My skin looked(s) well rested and plumper. I've never had this with Elizabeth Arden or any other über hydrating mask things. There is no stickiness upon waking. Only the thin lawyer of hydration left behind. 

All in all, I owe it to these 3 wonder products for my new boost in confidence and self esteem and I hope you've found this blog post somewhat helpful. Because, nobody should feel horrible for having a bad skin, day, week or month. It's life people and we ALL go through it. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Hero products from June! (2013)

It's July! What? Where has the time gone? I feel SO old!! Another month, another pick of the beauty stuff that has literally got me through it! So, I just got back from a beautiful, relaxing trip to Mallorca (the quiet Cala Millor Santa Ponza for me..) and whilst I was there I was heavily reliant on a good few beauty products. I of course brought WAY too much make-up than was necessary and also two pairs of six inch heals that weren't even worn! I'll never learn! But of all the beauty equipment I brought, I used only a handful. The hero products were definately my No7 BB Lips in Blink Pink, Trilogy's Everything Balm and La Roche Posay's Cicaplast Baume B5. I picked up the new NO7 BB lips at the airport because I had a 7.50euro voucher off No7 and the pink one totally caught my eye as it looked very similar in packaging to the Clarins lip perfectors. I'm so glad I picked it up because I literally had it on my lips 24/7. It has UV protection which meant I could happily pout away on the beach (to draw attention away from my pale pasty Irish legs..) and also felt like they were being moisturised and gave a cutesy, sheer pink colour at the same time. HERO PRODUCT! I've yet to try the Clarins Lip Perfectors but I don't feel the need to after this purchase. Cheers No7!
  Ok, so the start of the holiday was a DISASTER as my flight was delayed a whopping ten hours and this left me dizzy, disorientated  and so knackered in the airport that I fell UP an escalator (I know it sounds HILARIOUS! But I nearly DIED from embarrassment!) and one of my poor legs was cut to bits ;( Boo Hoo, I know! Luckily I had La Roche-Posay's Cicaplast Baume B5 in my bag. It totally reduced the healing time for my cuts and bruishes and really soothed my dry skin. It is such a fantastic multi-use product that you can use all over really, it's quite heavy and has a bit of a dairy smell ( like funky milk?!) but my boyfriend was using it as hand cream and over some sunburn too and it did the trick. HERO PRODUCT!
  It wasn't all doom and gloom though because to cheer me up after my sudden brush with death, my wonderful boyf brought me to the Mac stand...Yes, he's husband material, I know! I needed a nice barely there bronzy eyeshadow and one in particular caught my eye and this was the infamous "All That Glitters". It is such a beautiful colour on the lids . It gives a flash of sunkissed bronze on the lids and feels so natural and pretty. It has a hint of shimmer that is barely there and can be worn on its own or can be transformed for night time with a sweep of a darker brown shade blended into the crease. It's my new holy grail of eye shadows and I can know see why it's so revered in the Blogesphere. HERO PRODUCT!
 Moving away from my holiday essentials and onto things that I've used a lot throughout June and these would be the Real Techniques Duo-Fiber brushes. From the pack of the 3 brushes the eye brush really stood out for me. It is the perfect brush for blending into the crease and because it doesn't pick up too much product, it is pretty much a perfect eyeshadow crease applicator. The Face brush was perfect for applying powder because again, it doesn't carry too much product on it, which is perfect I think because who wants a cakey-face?
 And last, but certainly not least, is a nail polish that I've actually been in LOVE with for the month of June and will not take it off is...Maybelline's Super Stay Gel Nails in Hot Salsa. It is the perfect shade of Pinky/Coral with a hint of neon orange. This with a tan. PERFECT! I had to keep looking at my toes on my hols because for once I actually liked looking at my feet! I've never worn a colour like it before and I'm actually obsessed with it :-D

Anyhows, back to life and back to reality and BRING ON JULY!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Body Lotions for the body and mind...

Hey Hey everyone! :-)
   Decided to do a 'quick' blog about body lotions/creams/butters that I've being LOVING over the last few months. Ok, so we all know how important body lotions are for the skins elasticity, hydration, smoothness and so on. No saggy skin for us, no surr-ie! It's become second nature for most people to moisturise their body after showering/bathing. I know I wouldn't feel complete without a big dollap of some Palmer's cocoa butter all over my shivering bod (starting to move into more erotic territory here, oops!) after a good aul' rinse. So, once our skin feels all quenched, we feel all glowy and ready to go. I personally like a non-frangranced body lotion during the day such as Palmer's Cocoa butter without the frangrance or Garnier's own cocoa butter lotion (which is a lighter formula but my skin still feels impeccably hydrated and nourished). This is just because I like to wear perfume and don't want the lotion to overpower it. 
  But for now away from using lotions for lotions sake. I have just found a holy grail lotion. Never have I been more excited to let my senses run wild. May I present to you....

 Oh my god. The smell is DIVINE. Seriously. Heaven has a scent. Ok. Clichés aside, this stuff is so beautiful. It's from the Roger&Gallet brand, which they sell in my local pharmacy here in Ireland. It's called 'Fleur De Figuier' replenishing body lotion. To be honest, I've always kind of overlooked their products because I tried one of their fragrances before and it just didn't tickle my fancy and the packaging was kind of 'old lady'?!(you catch my drift...I am so judgy of packaging.. never judge a book, I guess...). Well, I was feeling a little under the weather the other day and needed a little pick-me-up so decided to pop over to the local shopping centre and have a look at some smelling salts, etc. I find certain citrus-y smells are very meditative and give me a sence of calm that I'm craving, such as lime, lemon etc. For example, ALL the Soap&Glory products are LIFE to me! This lotion is rich in fig pulp and fig bud which gives off this delicate sweet amora that has orange-y undertones. There is nothing better than rubbing a lotion onto the skin and letting your worries melt away with the scent of happiness. The key to winding down and letting go is arousing your senses and letting your mind wander into a Lewis Carroll world of it's own. Yeah, this is just me, wandering off yet again. But seriously, it's amazing what a good whiff of your favourite fragrance can do for your spirits. Look at me for instance, decided to get up off my lazy arse and write a blog. Positivity in a (pretty pink) bottle. Also, it's cheap enough (apparently, it's a dead ringer for some Estée Lauder summer scent?) at 14 euro (around 12 GBP).  So, go on, treat your body to the gorgeous smelling marvel that is Fleur De Figuier.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

For the Love of Lipstick

Lipstick. It conjours feelings of romance, love, loss, heartbreak and so much more. It's a tube
full of memories and experiences. I know that this blog post is already starting to show signs of my inate lippy obsession. I seriously can't help it. I have looked up (I kid you not) lipstick addiction on Google. It just brought me to Wikipedia which in turn helped spur on my addiction. I have since become intrigued by the history of lipstick itself. According to Wikipedia ancient Mesopotamian women were (possibly) the first women to invent the glorious stuff. Why was it invented in the first place? I find it facsinating that women woke up one day and decided to smear their lips with all sorts of dyes and crazy ingrediants. Self expression springs to mind. An expression of moods, feelings, etc.

    Yes, lipstick is a form of expression. We all know that. It can tell you a lot about the wearer. Or in some cases, nothing at all. But it has a purpose, whatever the message. Bringing lipstick back to this particular century, I think our relationship with lip products has evolved. Lipstick is art. It's Monet in a pretty little tube. For me, it creates characters, produces particular feelings, sets things into motion. Ok. Even if you don't think it creates/evokes ALL of these things, it does something to you subconsciously. It stays with you. A great example of this character forming quality is seen in movies. The obvious being Marylin's ruby red pout and Brigitte Bardot's nude creamy sensuous mouth. Need I elaborate on the evocacative nature of these iconic lips. The lipstick has brought their inner selves to life. They are known to us through these images. Lipsticks are the stuff of dreams. Yes. As you can see, obsession is too light a word for my relationship with the red, pink, orange, coral (I've worn a blue one before. Let's just say, NO) stuff.

   Twin Peaks. Have you watched it? Oh My God. It is life (Another obsession alert). But that blog post is for another day. In this Lynchian drama the women are mostly wearing a beautiful shade of an orange/red lipstick. It is so sharp and vivid and almost pops out of the screen. This particular shade evokes feelings of mystery and intrigue. It's a fiery shade of red, a red that demands to be seen and understood. It brings a new dimension almost to each of the characters. I've been in search of this 'perfect' red since I first set eyes on the show and finally found my beloved Mac Lady Danger (perfect name for it, don't you think?!). Whenever I'm feeling somewhat rebellious/conflicted/inviting, this lippy makes an appearance.  Another (and last, I promise) film reference to lipstick would have to be the rather evocative, dreamy French movie Belle De Jour. Catherine Deneuve's character Severine is always wearing a sheer, beige nude throughout the film. I won't give anything away but her character is conflicted. Her lipstick displays both innocence and sterness. If you haven't seen it, DO! Anyhows, cosmetic giant Nars has also picked up on this film idea because one of their most famous nude shades is named after this French masterpiece. See, I'm not (that) mad after all.
Anyhows, I know this post is quite long but if you share the love for lipsticks of all shades and sizes hopefully my 'exploration' of it will be somewhat interesting for you (or hopefully at least subconsciously...see what I did well). Anyhows, I thought I'd end by listing my all time favourite lip products.

Nars- Belle De Jour - Perfect Sheer Nude (innocent, self aware but with conflicting undertones)
Nars- Schiap- A matte vivid pink (Fun and quirky with mischievous undertones).
Mac- Lady Danger- A very orange red (Fiery and mysterious with wise undertones).
Revlon - Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti- Highly pigmented coral lip butter (Warm, playful with rebellious undertones).
Yeah. I know that undertones thing is getting way too overdone so I'm going to leave it there!  Hope you enjoyed this post and I'd love to hear your own favourite lip products. Go on, I won't bite.....

          .........But I'll blow you a big kiss of Ruby Woo...