Five skincare products I’ve had on rotation this summer

luxury skincare products summer
luxury skincare products summer

As a teenager, and even right through to my early twenties, my skincare routine was never something I though much of investing in. I didn’t suffer from chronic acne, and aside from the minor skin irritation, I had a pretty even skin tone. Aside from a basic cleanser (I went for the St Ives Apricot Scrub on a daily basis!), I couldn’t quite see the need for products like toner, moisturiser or serums.

Now just a week shy of my 30th birthday, I’ve found my attitude towards skincare has completely turned on its head. My routine may still be simple, but it’s no longer the effortless ‘one-product-wonder’ I relied on a decade ago. My face might still be the same, but the quality of my complexion has changed; on-going stress has brought out patches of dermatitis on my face, and I’m starting to notice fine lines and the beginnings of wrinkles that I swore weren’t there yesterday. Basically, I’ve come to realise that I need to be putting in a lot more effort when it comes to my skincare regimen, relying on a few hero products to give me a bit that ‘lit from within’ glow, and help to keep my dermatitis mainly calm.

I appreciate the simplicity of sticking to a regular routine, not to mention it’s the best thing for your skin too, which is why I’ve been sticking mostly to five key skincare products (plus an old faithful toner) since mid-November, that I’ve been dying to share my thoughts about.

elemis papaya enzyme peel and pro-collagen marine cream review

First, I want to start with a couple of products from Elemis. After indulging in an Elemis facial treatment during our belated Honeymoon in the Maldives, I found myself lingering over a couple of products that I decided that I didn’t want to leave the spa without; the Papaya Enzyme Peel and the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream.

I feel like I probably need to preface this by saying that this is a combination of products that I’ve been seriously blown away by, and I don’t say that lightly.

My favourite of the two products has been the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. This is a unique smooth cream peel, which contains nourishing milk protein, marine algae and vitamin E which give your skin a powerful anti-oxidant boost and provide radical protection, and the natural fruit enzymes of papaya and pineapple to revitalise tired-looking skin.

I’ve been using this gentle exfoliator either once or twice a week, and I’ll leave it on the skin for 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water, followed up with the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. As a natural peel, I’ve found this works perfectly for my sensitive skin, which in part I think is down to the high quality plant-based ingredients, which are incredibly gentle, and in my experience haven’t caused any irritation. Unlike some masks, the peel stays relatively ‘wet’ on the skin, but it’s the results that I absolutely love; it leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and bright.

I’ll follow this up with the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, a potent moisturising cream containing a powerful combination of anti-ageing properties, that have been clinically proven to improve skin firmness and reduce the depth of wrinkles. One of the key selling points for me is the texture; it’s a light gel cream, that is intensely moisturising – perfect if you have oily yet dehydrated skin like mine. It feels luxurious to use, and gives your skin that immediate hit of hydration, leaving your complexion looking fresh and glowing – particularly when used in combination with the Papaya Enzyme Peel.

The star ingredient of this moisturiser is the unique Mediterranean brown algae called patina pavonica, which is rich in water-attracting polysaccharides and fatty acids, helping to moisturise and and form the building blocks to healthy and a younger-looking complexion. This Mediterranean seaweed is blended with rose and mimosa absolutes, and gingko biloba for protection against free radicals.

Given how intensely hydrating it is, I’d originally intended on using the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream solely as a night moisturiser, but instead, I like to see its effects at work during the day. I’ll apply this mostly after my morning skin routine, which alternates daily but typically includes a serum and an under-eye cream, and I love the glow that this gives my complexion – this was definitely worth the splurge, and I’ve already got my eye on a couple of other products from Elemis that I think would be great additions to my beauty repertoire.

bioeffect egf serum review

Perhaps the biggest change to my routine has been forgoing many of my usual suspects in the evening, in favour of the Bioeffect EGF Serum. This is hailed as a concentrated treatment, which contains only seven ingredients, in potent amounts – you only need to use a mere 2-4 drops of this at night for it to have an effect on your complexion. I’ll be upfront about this; I was a little bit skeptical about what this was going to do for my skin. I couldn’t imagine cutting my nighty post-face wash routine down to one product after relying on so many different skincare products for so long, but I figured, it couldn’t be a bad thing, could it?

Created in volcanic pumice stone using geothermal water, the production of the serum doesn’t harm the environment, but perhaps what’s most interesting about it, is the way that it works on your skin. Rather than being absorbed into the skin like most (read: all) other serums I’ve tried, this sits on top of the skin, to communicate with your epidermal cells – the key is that it’s supposed to interact with your skin cells without any interference, which means, no night moisturiser on top.

The product comes in a 15ml dropper, which at an eye-watering $195 AUD seems a little steep, but I’ve been using this almost nightly for approximately 8 weeks now, and I’m nowhere near close to finishing the product. And when it comes to its performance? The Bioeffect Serum has definitely had an impact on my skin; my skin tone appears to be slightly more even, and it’s incredibly smooth to the touch. However, while it might be summer in Sydney, my skin still craves a bit of a hydration boost, and I’m finding that just using the serum on its own isn’t quite enough for me. I get the odd small breakout, and I’d like to be able to use this successfully in combination with a toner and a moisturiser to balance things out a littler more. As an anti-aging product, I can definitely see the science at work, and while this does cost a pretty penny, this is one of those luxury skincare products which I think is worth taking a look at, particularly if one of your concerns is to minimise the signs of ageing.

skin therapy eternal jellyfish miracle gel exfoliator and complex dan miracle creme review

Finally, as much as I’ve been loving the addition of a bit of Elemis to my regular skincare routine, I’ve been alternating in a couple of products from Skin Therapy, which I’ve found have been really great all-rounders.

At least three mornings a week, I’ve been reaching for the Skin Therapy Eternal Jellyfish Miracle Gel Exfoliator – talk about a mouthful. This is a really fine gel cleanser which gently buffs and polishes the skin using exfoliating granules and AHAs derived from fruit and plants. Part of Skin Therapy’s ‘Eternal’ range, this cleansing exfoliator contains a combination of anti-aging ingredients including a unique jellyfish complex called ‘Juveleven’. This particular ingredient contains a peptide called Acetyl-Hexapeptide-51 which works to repair the signs of ageing.

As someone who spent years using the St Ives Facial Scrub on a daily basis, I’m quick to surmise that this is an exfoliator which depending on your skin type, is gentle enough to be used every other day, if not daily. Unlike other exfoliators, it doesn’t feels astringent or dry out my complexion, by contrast, it feels nourishing on the skin, which I put down in part to the rich gel formula.

I’ve been following this up with the Skin Therapy Eternal Jellyfish Complex DNA Miracle Creme, a lightweight moisturiser for day and night. I’ve been sticking to mornings only with this product. It has a lightweight, bouncy texture which sinks into the skin almost immediately, drying down to a matte finish. While nourishing, the finish helps to keep it from feeling heavy on the skin, and I’ve been loving this as a moisturiser during the warmer months.

As with the Gel Exfoliator, the Complex DNA Miracle Creme also contains the unique complex, Juveleven, enhancing cellular repair and hydrating the skin. Plus, both products are free from parabens, GMOs and phthalates. Essentially, the two combined are a skincare powerhouse, and I noticed that the simple pairing has left my skin looking plumper, and fresher than it has in a long time, which I can only put down to the collagen boosting ingredients, plus both products can be easily picked up during your weekly supermarket shop, they’re available at Coles and Woolworths nationwide.

Some new in beauty

new in luxury beauty chanel nars

I don’t often tend to shop duty free for much of anything, except to browse through Fendi and Gucci on our way out of Sydney, however I decided to take advantage during our recent trip home, and pick up a few bits from Chanel and NARS that I’d had my eye on, as well as pick up a back up of an old favourite. I’ve only been using these products for a couple of weeks now, but I wanted to share some of my first impressions.

The first thing I made a beeline for was the Chanel counter; I’ve heard a lot about their cream eyeshadows, and wanted to add something neutral and classic to my vanity which I could reach for on a daily basis. In the end, I settled on ‘undertone’, one of Chanel’s Ombre Premiere Cream Eyeshadows. This is a very true taupe-based brown, with slightly cool undertones, and a faint dash of glitter running through the product. This has basically become a go-to, as it’s such a simple and easy one wash wonder that I find adds depth to the contours of the eye. I’ve been applying this with a brush for even application, however you could also apply it directly with your finger; the formula is robust but creamy, and blends out seamlessly when applied.

The second thing I picked up from Chanel was the Rouge Allure Ink Matte Liquid Lip Colour in the shade ‘140 amoreux’. I’d heard a lot of hype about these liquid lipsticks from YouTube, and wanted to give it a go for myself – I’m a sucker for a lipstick as it is so that was really enough to tip me over the edge. I wouldn’t call this a traditional liquid lipstick, as the formula is a lot thinner than others that I’ve tried. It applies slightly sheer, so I found myself re-applying to ensure that I had an even finish, however once it was on the lips it felt incredibly comfortable, which is probably down to the jojoba oil, which works to smooth and nourish lips. I like that this doesn’t dry down completely matte, as I prefer my lips to look more three-dimensional (as they should!), but I think I’m still on the fence with this one. Worth noting that the colour is absolutely gorgeous too; a beautiful mid-pink with a slight peach undertone.

Finally, I also dropped by the NARS counter to purchase one of their iconic Eyeshadow Duo compacts, in the shade ‘Kalahari’. The colour combination features a burnished bronze shimmer, and a brown-toned burgundy, which together are a really beautiful pairing. These blend out like a dream. The burnished bronze is incredibly pigmented and washes across the eye in one swipe, yet I’ve found the burgundy requires a little more work to build up colour – something I tend to prefer when it comes to working with darker shades. Possibly also worth mentioning that the compact comes with a mirror, making this a great option for travel.

I also thought I would give a quick shout out to these gorgeous, minimally designed hoops from Mejuri. Not too big, not too small, these are ‘Goldilocks’-perfection in a hoop, and all I’ve been reaching for on a daily basis.

Beauty Favourites 2017

2017 beauty makeup skincare favourites
2017 beauty makeup skincare favourites

Following on from my post last week which featured my favourite style and fashion favourites of 2017, I also wanted to take a quick moment to reflect on some of my beauty favourites of the year. I have also shared a full video featuring these favourites on my YouTube channel which also includes my holy grail skincare and haircare products; if you’d like to have a watch you can preview the video here or via the embedded video below. I’ll be talking through my favourite products across each different category, starting with…

My favourite foundation of 2017 has to be the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. I bought this in the lead up to our wedding in 2016, as I’d heard so many good things, and it hasn’t disappointed. It’s a buildable medium to full coverage foundation, with a satin-matte finish. I like that I can apply a small amount of this on my face for an absolutely flawless finish, and this doesn’t settle into any fine lines or wrinkles (that I’ve noticed!), plus I find it’s a good base for days when I’m applying a number of cream products. My preferred method of application is using the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush, which is really densely packed and makes buffing this into my skin a breeze.

I haven’t tried out many new concealers this year – truth be told I try to avoid putting too many products on my skin if I can – though from experience I’ve found that this isn’t something you need to go high end on; the drug store does it very well. But, if I had to pick a favourite concealer, it’d have to be the Glossier Stretch Concealer. I bought this early on in the year, and I was really taken aback by how different the formula is to other concealers I’ve tried. It has a slick, almost oily texture, and literally melts into your skin upon application. This is the one concealer that I reach for if I want to cover up any redness or soften the appearance of a spot if I’m having a break out. Because of it’s incredibly creamy texture, you do need to powder after applying as otherwise it does tend to crease and settle into any fine lines.

My favourite powder of the year is a new launch from Rimmel; it’s the Insta Fix and Matte Powder. As much as I adore the finish of a loose powder, pressed powders are so much more practical, especially when traveling. The shade I have is translucent, however if you over-apply it can look white on your skin so I’m always conscious of ensuring that I haven’t gone too heavy on this product. I like that it looks matte on the skin but not as though it’s sucked all the moisture from your complexion – essentially it’s perfect for applying on those points of your face which tend to get a little shiny as the day wears on.

Given I don’t tend to wear foundation or concealer on a daily basis, I really rely on my bronzer to help warm up my skin and make me look a little more lively. My favourite bronzer is one that I’ve been using daily for the last three months; it’s the Clinique Sculpting Contour Stick. As the name would suggest, this is intended to be used as a contour, however I find that the warm red-toned brown is much more suited as a cream bronzer. I apply this straight to my face around my temples, the sides of my nose, the high points of my cheeks and a little on my neck, and blend out with either my fingers or a tightly packed brush. I love that this is such an easy product to use, it’s super blendable and also builds up colour really nicely, making it a great product for someone who wants to try out a cream bronzer, but isn’t sure where to start.

I’ll always go for a cream-based face product over a powder any day, just as I find that they look a lot more natural on the skin, and where possible, I love a product that does double duty and my favourite blush does just that. Of all the blushes I currently have on rotation, the one I find gives me the most bang for my buck is the Becca Beach Tint. I have this in the shade watermelon, which is a punchy coral-based pink, that can be worn on the cheeks and also on the lips. The application is pretty nifty – I like that I can squeeze a small amount and apply directly using my finger tips. This is very well-pigmented but it blends out to a soft sheer finish; great for adding a flush to the cheeks.

For years my favourite highlighter has been the Shade and Illuminate Contour Duo from Tom Ford, but this year I discovered Glossier’s Haloscope, and I haven’t really looked back since. This is a beautiful cream highlight which has a moisturising halo in the centre, and looks glossy or almost ‘wet’ on the cheekbones. I love the twist up stick applicator, which I’ll either apply directly to my skin if I’m not wearing a base (I’ve found it can shift around your foundation if you’re wearing any), or swipe liberally onto my fingertips to press onto the tops of my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose.

I’m definitely a creature of habit when it comes to my eye look; I reach for pretty much the same products day in and day out. The one eyeshadow palette that has gotten some serious use this year has been my 15-pan eyeshadow palettes from MAC. I have two of these; one that I built myself during my last trip to New York, and the other that I bought from Nordstrom as I loved the shade combo, and neither one has disappointed me yet.

My favourite eyeliner is a little bit of a newer addition to my beauty routine, but so far it’s topped any other eyeliner that I’ve tried, and it’s the Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen from Clinique. Perhaps the only downside is that it’s not as jet black as some of the other liquid eyeliners I’ve used, however it wears all day long without budging an inch, and as the name would suggest, it’s very easy to use and get that precise cat eye flick.

My favourite mascara on the other hand is one that I’ve repurchased many times; it’s the L’Oreal False Lash Wings Butterfly Effects Fibre Mascara. I love it because it delivers super full fluttery lashes, and has a really robust formula which doesn’t smudge onto my brow bone. I also love the wand – it’s synthetic, with angled bristles which makes coating all your lashes absolutely effortless.

Unless I’m wearing a red lipstick, I don’t usually reach for a lip liner, but my favourite has to be the MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil. I have a few of these lip pencils stashed away in my vanity, and I just adore the way they glide on (the formula is super creamy), and dry down with a matte finish. It makes a really good base for a lip stick and helps to stop my lipsticks from bleeding.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a round up of my beauty favourites without a lipstick mention, and because I couldn’t narrow my favourite lipstick to just one, I thought I’d share two; a nude and a red. My pick for the perfect brown-based nude is the Tom Ford Lip Contour Duo in Public Display. This has a twist up lip liner at one end and the lipstick at the other, though it’s really the lipstick half of this product that has me swooning. It has a satin finish and a creamy formula that doesn’t drag on your lips, and I love how comfortable this feels to wear. Picking a favourite red is always a little tricky given that I seem to have a whole ‘lipstick wardrobe’ dedicated to reds, but the one that never seems to let me down is the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in the shade Love Bite. This is a true red, super bold and vibrant, again in a creamy satin finish formula.

So there you have it, all my beauty favourites for 2017. Are there any beauty products that have absolutely blown you away this past year? x

New in Beauty

new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co

It’s been a little while since I’ve chatted about new in beauty on my blog, so I thought I’d run through some new releases that I’ve been putting to the test recently, in addition to a couple of much-lauded beauty and hair care products that have been on my radar. Starting with the….

Rimmel Magnif’Eyes Eyeshadow Palettes
Of all the products here, this new eyeshadow launch from Rimmel was one of the ones that I was most excited by. These are marked as ‘eye contouring palettes’, and each palette has 12 eyeshadows ranging from light to dark, with a primary focus on shimmers over mattes. Perhaps the thing that excited me most was that the Nude, Blush and Smoke palettes all felt a little like affordable dupes for the Urban Decay NAKED Eyeshadow palettes, which ring in at more than double the price, plus I loved the inclusion of the ‘Colour’ edition palette, which was designed specifically for those with darker skin tones in mind. Above, I’ve swatched the ‘Nude’ Palette, to give a sense of the scope of the colours included, which are pretty broad. Of the four, I’d say this is probably my favourite, as it has all your bases covered if you like a golden or brown toned eye look (my absolute go-to). The darker colours tend to have a bit more pigment over the lighter ones, and they are slightly chalky, although for the price, I’m not complaining. I took a couple of these palettes with me during a recent stay-cation and they were the perfect companion for creating a lovely evening eye look. Definitely worth checking out if one of the NAKED palettes isn’t in your price range.

Rimmel Wonder’Fully Real Mascara
Of all the beauty products I use on a daily basis, a good mascara that doesn’t smudge all over my brow bone is usually pretty tricky. I have a few tried and tested that I usually go back to, but I do love the opportunity to find a new mascara to add into rotation. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect with this mascara; it has a pretty thick synthetic brush, and a very wet formula that initially can my quite clumpy when applying it to your lashes. But, trust me when I say that this is one worth persevering for. It gives really full and thick looking lashes, that don’t smudge.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lightweight Concealer
I don’t tend to use concealer or even foundation for that matter too often, as I generally like to let my skin breathe, but I thought I would give this a go, as Rimmel is usually my go to when it comes to affordable base products. What really got me curious was the unusual sponge applicator – it’s unlike anything I’ve personally come across, and I wanted to get a feel for how this would work. A light to medium coverage concealer, this promises up to 25 hours of wear, and while I haven’t quite made it that long, I did find this to be really long-wearing. But, and this is a pretty big but, I found the application really clumsy. The product was really hard to squeeze out, and when I tried to use the cushion applicator to blend the product out under my eyes, it dispersed more product onto my skin. Essentially, I just found this a little fussy – while in theory, it’s a great idea, I’d probably look to apply this using my finger straight from the tube, and then blend out with a beauty blender.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in ‘Euphoric Light’
Admittedly, I tend to make a point of avoiding powder highlight. My preferred go to beauty routine, whether it’s for day or for evening is always based on amplifying my features, and keeping things as natural as possible – something I don’t think can be achieved with a powder highlight. But, given Hourglass is always hailed as being at the top of the highlighting game (along with Becca), I thought it was worth a go, just to see what all the fuss was about. I opted for the ‘Euphoric’ Strobe Lighting Powder, which is a silvery pink toned highlight, something I thought would work well against my complexion, which tends to sit on the fairer end of the spectrum if I hadn’t had much sun. The product itself is very finely milled, and applies really smoothly, but as with most powder highlights, I do find that while the flecks of glitter pick up the light quite beautifully, they’re also not what I would refer to as subtle. Given this was a bit of beauty splurge, I’ve been trying to make the most of it, by using it to highlight the inner corner of my eye, or on top of a glossy cream highlight, to really make my highlight pop (perfect for our current Maldivian getaway). So, final thoughts? It’s a beautiful highlight but it doesn’t give that same natural glow as a cream highlight.

new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co

Covergirl Melting Pout Liquid Lipstick
I’m a sucker for a good lipstick, so I was pretty thrilled to get to try the new Melting Pout Gel Lipsticks from Covergirl. I have a small selection from the range, which from left to right, the shades are: 100 Gelebrity, 105 Gel-ful, 110 Evan-gel-ical, 130 – Don’t be Gelly, and 125 – Gell Yes. The product comes in a squeeze tube with a soft slanted sponge applicator, that applies slightly sheer – you need to swipe the product across your lips multiple times to build up the colour. This is something I personally really like, as sometimes all I’m after is a nice wash over my lips, but for the more pigmented red and berry shades, you’ll need to have a bit more precision with your application to ensure the pigment is spread evenly across your lips. These have a comfortable moisturising feel on the lips, and come across as a bit of a lip gloss and liquid lipstick hybrid – they had that slight stickiness that typically goes hand in hand with lip glosses. I did find that this does tend to feather and bleed into the skin around your lips, so it’s definitely one that you’ll want to apply after lining your lips first.

new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co

Oribe Dry Texturising Spray
This is a product I feel like I’ve heard a lot about from the beauty community, but with a rather steep price tag, it’s taken me until now to snap up a bottle (and a travel size bottle at that!). I don’t tend to do a lot with my hair, I consider it to be relatively low maintenance, so this was a bit of a splurge, but I was so curious to find out if it really did live up to the hype, or if it was just a glorified dry shampoo.

I spray this onto my ends after I’ve styled my hair, and I find that it gives it a gritty texture that makes my hair appear ‘piece-y’. While I don’t love the way this this feels in my hair, I do love the way that it looks, and it’s definitely changed up the way that I do my hair every day. Verdict? It lives up to the hype, but given how splurge-worthy this is, I’ll be using it as sparingly as possible.

O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum
You might see a little bit of a theme here, but I went on a real hair care binge recently, and this was one of the products that really caught my eye. Being half-Greek, I definitely inherited my mum’s hair, which even at the best of times, can be pretty frizzy so anything that will combat that is gold in my books. This is a really lightweight serum that’s best applied when your hair damp or been towel dried. I run a generous amount through the ends and smooth it across my my roots where my hair tends to be the frizziest.

This definitely isn’t a cure all for my frizz, but I do find that it adds a healthy looking shine to my hair, in addition to smoothing it out a bit – plus it helps that no matter how much serum I apply (to wet or dry hair!) it never looks greasy.

R+Co Soft Wave Spray
This was something that I bought as a bit of an alternative to the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray. It still cost a pretty penny, but I’ve heard so much about R+Co of late, that I wanted to give something from the brand a try. I’ve used this a few times now and honestly, I’m not really sure where it fits into my hair care routine. I don’t like to blow dry my hair as it adds far too much fluffy volume (that I can’t get rid of!), so spraying this onto towel-dried hair is a bit of a no go for me. I tried it – albeit only once – and my hair had a sticky grit to it that I couldn’t shake, and I couldn’t style it at all. Essentially, it was a huge fail. I have sprayed this onto my ends a few times when my hair has been dry, and scrunched it up a little to mimic ‘beach’ waves, and while it doesn’t have the same effect as salty air-dried hair, it’s my preferred way of using this product. Not one I think I’ll be repurchasing.

How to get to fresh, dewy looking skin with makeup

clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review

When it comes to summer, I am all about fresh, dewy looking skin – the two just seem to go hand in hand, especially when you have a sun kissed glow (one of my favourite souvenirs of summer). But, sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it, which is where a few key beauty products come in.

Wearing J Crew polka dot top and RUBY earrings (similar here)

I was fortunate enough to be gifted with a very generous selection of staple beauty products from Clinique as part of the launch of their new Even Better Glow Foundation, so I did what any girl would, I applied it all to my face to see what I liked, what I loved, and what I probably won’t be reaching for much at all. I’ve been playing around with these products for a good six weeks now, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on the best way to apply them, and what’s going to work for me long-term. The results are fresh, dewy looking skin that work to enhance your natural beauty rather than conceal it, so read on to find out which products have come out on top.

BASE

I was lucky enough to get to attend a Master Class led by makeup artist Casey Gore, to celebrate the launch of Clinique’s newest foundation, the Even Better Glow Foundation. I was colour matched on site – something I’d highly recommend doing at a Clinique concession – to shade 12 (meringue). I’ve been putting this foundation to the test over the last 4-6 weeks, and not only is it the perfect match for my skin tone, but I’ve also been incredibly impressed with the foundation.

Unlike other foundations that I’ve tried, the Even Better Glow Foundation is loaded with Salicylic Acid and Vitamin C, two ingredients that work to improve the texture and appearance of your skin, and at the Master Class, we were challenged to use the foundation over 30 days, to see the effect that it had on our complexion.

Having sensitive skin by nature, I’m prone to rashes and eczema break outs if I’m not careful with what I’m applying to my face, so most days, I’m happy enough going foundation free, with a little blush or bronzer to add some (often much needed) warmth. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did this foundation not cause any eczema breakouts, but I found my skin looked more luminous at the end of the 30 days, where usually such prolonged use of a foundation would have a more detrimental impact.

For application, I prefer to use either my fingers or a damp beauty sponge, as I find that these two methods result in natural looking skin, whereas applying the foundation with a brush can look a little ‘cakey’ – at least in my experience. The foundation provides sheer to medium coverage, and can be layered for a more flawless looking appearance, and with a fresh and dewy finish. Aside from the fact that this also has a bit of SPF in it – something that’s a great addition to any foundation – I love the glow that this gives me, and that feeling of being ‘lit from within’. The one thing worth noting though, is that you really need to ensure that you have your skin prepped before applying this – if you have dry skin, the foundation will pick that up over the course of the day, and cling to any dry patches – but it’s nothing a healthy dose of moisturiser can’t fix.

BRONZE, BLUSH & HIGHLIGHT

I’ve been a big fan of Clinique’s Chubby Sticks from way back; for many years the lip balms formed the base of my beauty stash, so it’s safe to say I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for them. But, I hadn’t really experimented when it came to the other Chubby Sticks on offer, namely the Cheek Colour Balm, the Sculpting Contour, and the Sculpting Highlight, though as I love a good cream beauty product, I was pretty excited to put these to the test. The premise of these is pretty simple, it’s a twist up tube style packaging that you can either apply directly to you skin, with your fingers, or with a brush.

So, let’s start with the Cheek Colour Balm, which I have in the shade 01 Amp’d Up Apple. This is oil-free, and feels really light on the skin. The colour is a very natural looking pink, that applies quite opaque on the skin but once blended out leaves a sheer wash of colour that adds a healthy looking glow to the cheeks. I’ve been applying three small dashes of this onto the apples of my cheeks and then blending up and towards my cheekbones with a stippling brush. It’s pretty subtle, though I think if you wanted a bit more colour you can really layer this up.

Next up is the Sculpting Contour, which I have in the shade 01 Curvy Contour. I will admit, when I first saw this, I was pretty intimidated by the colour. I’ve been using the Shade & Illuminate Duo from Tom Ford for years, but this is several notches darker, which can look a little intense when you first apply it to the skin. This doesn’t blend out quite as smoothly as the Cheek Colour Balm, as the product has a lot more pigment to it, so you do have to work at it with a fluffy brush to get a natural looking effect. Personally, I find that this is a little too warm to use as a contour, so instead I apply it like a cream bronzer, of which I adore the effect. It’s incredibly creamy, which makes it a dream to apply to the skin (I draw a line around my temples and at the tops of my cheekbones).

Perhaps the product I was most disappointed with (of the bunch, to be fair), is the Sculpting Highlight, which I have in the shade 02 Super Starlight. This is a champagne-toned highlight, which should suit most skin tones, and has that same creamy texture as the Sculpting Contour, whereas the Cheek Chubby Stick is a little more balmy. Where this falls short for me is the glitter; I’ve never been a fan of glittery highlights, so naturally this isn’t a product I’d gravitate towards since I prefer something that looks glossy on the cheekbones.

EYES & BROWS

Since I didn’t have an eyeshadow on hand, I applied some of the Sculpting Contour to my eyes for a wash of colour on the lids. Then I dove in with what’s actually become one of my current favourite products, the Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen. This has a really fine point which is perfect for creating a really sharp wing, and it also doesn’t budge or smudge at all over the course of the day – pretty much all the things I look for in a liquid eyeliner.

For my lashes, I applied the Lash Power Flutter-to-Full Mascara in 01 Black Onyx. This is a mascara that really surprised me. I’ve owned a few mascaras from Clinique in the past and I’ve always liked them, but this one really takes the cake. It coats the lashes with an almost fibrous substance, which makes them appear thicker and longer, and it’s seriously smudge proof. This has a twist up dial that you can adjust depending on how much you want to go ‘all out’ with your lashes. This is definitely worth picking up.

My brows have been getting a lot of attention this year, so the Superfine Liner for Brows (which I have in the shade Soft Brown), was right up my street. At the Master Class, Casey talked about how for natural looking brows, you really need to go with something that’s a little softer, and it’s advice I really took on board. I might have really dark brow hairs, but I don’t think I’d go any darker than Soft Brown in the product to get those fluffy, “my brows but better”. The nib on the twist up pencil is incredibly fine which makes it easy to draw fine hairs into any areas where your brows are looking a little sparse. I then use a spooly to soften the appearance of the product. Another thumbs up from me.

LIPS

Now I wouldn’t usually opt for a three step approach to my lips – a swipe of my favourite lip colour is usually enough – but with a lip liner, a lipstick and a gloss up my sleeve, I figured… why not?

I started with the Quickliner for Lips Intense in the shade 07 Intense Blush, which is a mid-toned pink with brown undertones. This is really creamy and incredibly easy to apply, and I think it’d look nice worn on the lips by itself as unlike the other two lip products, it has a more matte finish to it.

The lipstick I reached for is the Clinique Lip Colour & Primer in the shade 01 Nude Pop. I actually wore a lipstick from Clinique on my wedding day from this particular range, so I already knew I was a fan of the formula. It’s rich and creamy, applies smoothly to the lips without dragging, and wears off evenly – which for a nude or pink hued lipstick, isn’t really of much consequence plus it’s really easy to re-apply. Nude Pop has slightly mauve-y undertones whereas the shade I wore on my wedding day – Beige Pop – is slightly more of a true blush pink. All in all, it’s a nice lipstick with a velvet finish that is comfortable and moisturising on the lips.

Finally, the last product in this round up is the Chubby Plump & Shine Liquid Lip Plumping Gloss in 01 ‘Normous Nude. Now, quick caveat, I’ve mostly avoided gloss since I was an early teen, which if you grew up in Wellington like I did, it’ll be pretty obvious why (wind + gloss don’t mix). Additionaly, I don’t love having sticky feeling lips, yet consequently that’s something that comes hand in hand with lip gloss products in general. The applicator on this is a little unusual, it’s the same ‘Chubby Stick’ appearance, but it has a plastic applicator that disperses the product by twisting it out. I don’t love this method, and I found it was pretty difficult to judge how much product to disperse. The gloss itself has a milky-type appearance to it, and it adds a shine to the lips. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t right for me.

What is your secret to fresh, dewy looking skin? Is there anything else from Clinique that you would recommend I try?