Monday, July 24, 2017

Flormar Precious Curl Mascara review, before & after photos!

Sample

I know I talk about mascaras an awful lot in Lovely Girlie world, but I keep coming across deadly ones!  Mascara is my thing and I'm always looking for the next great one.  Well, I think my search has been put on hold for a while because Flormar Precious Curl Mascara has made me stop, collaborate and listen!  Is that song in your head now?  You're welcome.

When it comes to me and my mascaras, I always favour one that will give me tonnes of volume and thickness over anything else.  Curl is always down on the list for me because most of the curly promising mascaras I've tried in the past have given a bit of curl but not much else.  Precious Curl is The Actual Business and as you'll see in the photos below, gives curl, length, volume, thickness and I'm absolutely loving it.


It has a bendy brush that's fierce thick and I've managed to make a mess of my eyeballs a couple of times using this if I'm not too careful with it.  So if you've smaller eyes or shorter lashes than me, just be aware of that and you might need to do a bit of a tidy up if you're wearing it without any eyeshadow.  I like to use the sides and underneath part of the brush to apply the initial layer and then I use the top part to add extra product to the outer lashes and then whatever's left on the brush is used for my lower lashes.


This is one coat of the Flormar Precious Curl Mascara.  One


As always, when it comes to mascara posts, the photos speak for themselves.  I filmed a demo video showing Precious Curl in action so head over to my Instagram for that.  I haven't had any issues with flaking or smudging and at the end of my work day, my lashes look the same as they did first thing in the morning.  Removal is a doddle too and using my trusty micellar cleansing water, it's gone in a few seconds.


Flormar, I've never tried any of your mascaras before, but Precious Curl has set the bar high!  I can't wait to try more, but I'm not ready to switch from this yet.  It'll set you back a mere €9.95 and is available on Flormar stands and chemists nationwide now.  I'll 100% be repurchasing this and if you have scaldy looking lashes like me, you're gonna love it!

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My blog photo process!

At the start of 2017, I decided this was the year of the photograph for me.  My deadly family got me an Olympus Pen EPL7 and a 45mm lens to soften the blow of having a milestone birthday and not for a second did I think the new camera would reignite my mojo to this extent!  I've had some lovely comments during the year about my photos and thought I'd go through my process when it comes to snapping photos for the blog or Instagram.  Please note that I'm no expert, I'd love to do a proper photography course myself, but this might inspire you a bit and if you're looking to experiment with your photos, you might get some ideas!

My equipment


This is what I've been using but my advice is to use what you have.  You don't need a fancy camera and since I started the blog in 2010, phones have deadly cameras that will do the job just grand.  I've a blog post on the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and I still have my trusty Canon Rebel T3I that I can't see myself ever getting rid of.  It has served me well and will continue to do so!  All photos I've taken this year have been with the Pen, mostly with the 45mm lens and I've used the auto settings for each one.  I know... I need to sit down one weekend and get to grips with the manual settings!!  But for me, it's not about the equipment and more to do with styling the photo itself.


Props
I've tried my best to not have my photos look like anyone elses which is why you've never seen a marble backdrop on my blog or Instagram.  But if that's your jam, marble the bejaysis out of your photos, it's about using what you love and what inspires you.  Some of my favourite props include wallpaper, trays, mirrors, stationery, twinkly lights and flowers.  I love colour in my snaps and TK Maxx has taken lots of my money over the years for props!  Again, use what you have.  I'm talking scarves, necklaces, rings, trinkets, just look around you in your room and you'll find things that will look cute in a photo.


The inspiration station across the nation
Not every product will hit me with inspiration to create a deadly photo.  I'll still take pictures of them, but they'll be done in a simple flat lay.  But when inspiration hits, that's when the magic happens and as you'll see in the photos and descriptions below, for me, inspiration can hit me in the strangest of places!  I thought I'd take you through the thought process of how I created some of my favourite photos and see how demented I am.  Please note that while it might seem like I knew what my vision was for each photo, there was a lot of me sitting looking at the product blankly.  This isn't a technical post discussing the rule of thirds or aperture or anything, this is just how I go from a few bottles of nail polish to a cool photo and you can see how my brain works!


Nuxe Sun Delicious Fragrant Water


I brought this to Spain with me because the colour of this bottle initially inspired me to bring it to the beach and get a photo there.  But one afternoon while I was taking photos of a few different products, I thought the bottle might look lovely against the vivid blue sky.  So it went up on the wall of the villa and I played around with placement a bit to not get the wall in the photo.  It was only as I was trying different angles and couldn't see what I was doing because I was taking the photos directly into the sun, that it hit me.  Nuxe Sun needed the actual sun.  So being literally blinded in the eyeballs by the sun, I took dozens of photos to try and get the sun centred perfectly at the top of the bottle.  When on my phone, I lightened the photo and played with the saturation to get the photo I wanted.  See below for me trying to centre the sun and also not burn my retinas.



Too Faced Love Light Highlighters


I loved my video and photo featuring the highlights and a snow globe Joanne bought me last Christmas.  The packaging for the products are metallic and I wanted to incorporate more of that into the photo somehow.  I'm always playing around with mirrors and reflections in my photos and I lined up the three highlights and positioned the mirrors so the reflection of the powder itself would be in the mirror.  But I didn't feel it in my guts that that was the shot.  Glancing around my ridiculously messy room, I saw the globe and knew that was it.  I sat in front of the highlights shaking the globe and positioning it so each mirror was filled up with the reflection of the moving metallic bits.  That took ages and then I could see the reflection of my pink top in the mirrors so I had to cover my front up with a beige fabric bag as it was the only plain thing I could find!  As I was filming the video, I knew that was it.  The Money Shot.  Except I got no money, but sure listen.



Highlight flatlay


This is the photo that inspired this blog post as people said they liked seeing behind the scenes!  I knew I wanted to have twinkly lights involved somehow and I'd gotten a delivery with these gel balls a few days before.  I figured if I combined the two, the lights might reflect off the balls and make this a disco photo.  It didn't quite work out the way I'd envisioned, but I'm pretty happy with the results.  The cling film was to make sure the wet balls didn't break the twinkly lights FYI!  If you're a beauty blogger, you'll be a dab hand at balancing things on other things.  This time I needed all of the products to be the same height away from the balls, so my trusty CND polishes worked out great.  Also, I'm very good at figuring out the centre of gravity of something and no Blu Tac was involved in the making of this photo!



L'Occitane Terre De Lumiere Perfume


I got this back in January and instantly had a notion to take it to London with me to bring it up the Shard and get a photo of it in Golden Hour to go along with how they describe it.  Then keeping an eye on the weather forecast, I saw we weren't going to have any sun at all on the trip so that was that.  But I couldn't have it just be against a white backdrop and not do the bottle justice.  So one afternoon in February, the sun was shining in the office and I knew what I wanted to do.  The photo above is the outcome with a bit of blurring to try and hide the filthy windows and a filter.  I think I just used the warmify filter on Picassa from what I can remember.  Because the sun was going to set in minutes, I had to move fast and get it in the right position.

This is how I did it.


Even then, I wasn't 100% happy with it and knew the bottle would be coming to Spain with me.  I knew where I'd be taking the photo, I knew how the sunset would do the job for me.  I just balanced the bottle and took the shots.  I can't take any credit for creativity with this one!



Using flowers


This one's pretty self explanatory.  I thought these makeup sponges looked exactly like the tulips in Aldi that week and so I picked some up and made em look pretty!  Then when the tulips were dead, I cut the heads off them and made a couple of little CND nail polish bouquets and I loved how it turned out!


My first thought when I saw the Lancome Juicy Shakers was again that they looked like tulips, so I went and bought myself a bunch to see what I could come up with.  For me and flatlays, I play about until I love the photo.  Sometimes it's about taking things out of the photo and sometimes it's about adding things back in to fill space.  I felt like I wanted this photo to be about colour, so added in a few extra tulips to get what was in my brain.  See below?  I played around with the white space but felt it was missing something and needed more colour in the photo.


Sleek on Tour!


I got to go to London last month with Sleek to celebrate their Distorted Dreams releases.  The hashtag for the trip was #SleekOnTour so I brought the products with me on our touristy day out!  We did a boat tour and as we were waiting for it to head off, I got inspired.  Big Ben was sitting there looking at me, the palette has a mirror and I got busy trying to get Ben centred in the photo!  Again, because it was so bright out, I couldn't see what I was doing so I had to hope for the best.

Then when I got back from London, I was out watering the grass seed out the back and when the sun hit the water mist and made a rainbow, inspiration hit I took a notion to try and make my own rainbow and use it with the palette!  Google is great and the bottom two photos are my very haphazard attempt at a rainbow using a CD and the torch on my phone.  The top photos though are when nature helped me on the balcony in the Cliff House Hotel in Waterford!


Mugler Aura


I'd taken a photo of this against my white wallpaper as a regular photo but felt it was lacking something.  The bottle was too deadly just to leave it as that.  Then in the middle of work one day while on the phone, it hit me.  Light going through the bottle would be amazing!  By the time I got organised that evening, the sunlight was gone and I needed to figure out how to use the torch on my phone to shine through it but also hide said phone from the photo.  Blue Peter, I'm ready for you.


I had to balance the bottle somehow and went through some perfume bottle lids until I found one that I didn't have to use Blu Tac with.  After faffing about with the wallpaper, I chopped off a bit, cut a hole in it and was able to shine the torch through it.  Happy days!

Apps/how I edit

I spend most of my time taking the actual photos and usually take dozens at a time.  I figure it's better to have too many than not enough, but it means I've grown to dread the editing process!  I usually need 5-7 for a blog post and I've been known to take well over 100 just in case.  I use Picasa on the Macbook to edit and for product shots, all I do is generally lighten the photo so it looks true to life, I'll increase the saturation, again so it looks true to life and crop the photo.  For photos of makeup on my face, I don't edit other than lighten and again, that's just so the product looks like it does in real life.  I don't filter my face at all because if you're going to pick up a foundation based on my review and I've Facetuned my skin, that isn't going to help anyone!  If I'm editing photos on my phone, I use the app PS Express and use the same features I've mentioned above.  I hate spending ages editing photos and would much rather be taking them instead.  The before and after photo below shows the difference of cropping, lightening and increasing the saturation.  That's it.


I hope this post helped delve into my brain and gave you some inspiration if you're thinking about upping your photography game.  It's my absolute favourite part of the blogging process and I'm going to keep learning and honing my skills so that some day I can work with brands on their photography! Now, I just need to learn what aperture is and what an F stop does!

Feel free to leave your blog links in the comments so I can check out your photographs too!
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Maybelline The Colossal Big Shot Mascara review, photos!

Sample

Maybelline mascaras are near impossible to remember the name of because for each new launch, they seem to mainly keep the same words, switch them around a bit and maybe add an extra word to the end of the name.  Par example: Maybelline Colossal, Maybelline Volum' Express Colossal, Maybelline Colossal Go Extreme, Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Cat Eyes, I could go on, but the word colossal has lost all meaning.  Now, Maybelline really and truly want us to have colossal lashes because their newest offering, Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Volum' Express Mascara just has all the words in the title.  But does it live up to the title?  Yes it big fat colossally does!


Over the years, I've tried so many mascaras from Maybelline and Big Shot is my absolute favourite so far.  The tapered bristley wand allows me to comb the product through my lashes and as someone who likes to have a couple of layers going on days where I'm feeling tired and need to try and disguise my beady villainous eyes, this is what I've been reaching for in the mornings.  It's been a mad couple of weeks and I haven't had time to put on eyeshadow when I'm running out the door, so any mascara that packs a punch on its own is a winner in my book.


As always, there's only so much waffling I can do when it comes to mascaras.  The photos always speak for themselves and below shows just one coat.  I filmed one of my demo videos to show this in action.   This adds deadly volume and thickness to my lashes without overloading them with product and the tapered brush means I can get to every single lash.  This is very important for erasing the beadiness of ones eyes.  The formula is on the thick side and I prefer that because it saves time from having to faff about with multiple coats.  I get a bit of clumping as I continue to comb through my lashes, but it's minimal and believe me, if I didn't like it, I'd be firing it in the bin.  But this is what it does to my lashes!


As always, I use a micellar water to remove my mascara and it comes off easily enough.  It gets two thumbs up in terms of longevity too and doesn't leave my eyelashes feeling hard or crispy.

Maybelline's The Colossal Big Shot mascara is absolutely brilliant and it's just over the tenner mark.  If you're a budget mascara junkie like me, it's definitely worth checking out!
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

CODE LIP & CODE SSL - my favourite lip combo right now!

Samples

Just when I thought I'd enough lip products to be carrying around with me in the bottom of my handbag (I counted 11 the last time I checked), Code Beautiful have only gone and launched these two beauts that I can't get enough of.  I've been wearing them loads since they gave them to me, both together and separately and I thought it was high time to do a blog post on 'em.  The Code SSL Soft Smooth Lip Liner and Code LIP Lip Intense Plumper have the absolute ability to make me look put together even if I've just slapped a bit of foundation, powder, brows and mascara on.  They're magic and if you want to see them in action, I've popped a little video at the bottom of the post!


The Code SSL Soft Smooth Lip Liner comes in one shade, a nudey blush that can look like a dusky pink on me in some light and in other light, it's more of a warmer caramel shade.  So basically I'm a ride no matter what light I'm in.  It's self sharpening (watch the video to see how), is super creamy on application but sets matte.  And while I can't over line my lips without looking ridiculous to save my life, I can with this and it gives me fuller looking lips and it still looks natural.  And despite its matte finish, it 100% doesn't dry out my lips which pleases me greatly.


The Code LIP Lip Intense Plumper is described as being a lip treatment rather than a gloss.  Ok, maybe it's the bold child in me, but I totally use it as a gloss because over the SSL liner, it is perfection.  I still use it on it's own during the day at work and it has a light pink tint to it that doesn't add much colour to my lips, but still feels comfortable.  I get to enjoy the slight minty tingle that lasts a couple of minutes before Hilurlip (which contains ingredients including hyaluronic acid) sets to work on providing some much needed moisture to the lips while also preventing sun damage.  Now truth be told, I don't notice much of a plumping effect on my lips on its own.  Maybe that's because I eat my lip products and I'm about 65% gloss every day, so they don't get a chance to work, but over the lip liner, it's fantastic and seeing the side by side shots in the video below, my lips really do look fuller and smoother.


The Code LIP Lip Intense Plumper is €29 and is available from the Code Beautiful website, from Meaghers Pharmacy and from Harvey Nichols.  The Code SSL Soft Smoothing Lip Liner is €26 and is available from the same places don'tcha know.



I'm sending out all the vibes to see if Sarah makes more liners in different shades, but it's not looking likely lads.  She's mad into hero products and I get it.  But I also want more of these ok bye.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

L'Occitane Verbena Limited Edition collection - just in time for summer!

Samples

So summer is here and with it comes the constant humidity... I have frizzy hair to an extent that I'm this close to doing a Monica from Friends with it and getting it braided with millions of beads and then loafing the face off myself with them like you do.  Every pore in my body is sweating and I count down the hours to a nice cool shower each day.  Thankfully L'Occitane's Verbena Limited Edition Collection is on hand to help me keep cool and smell gorgeous.


I was sent two of the products from the collection, the others being a shower gel and a hand cream, so head to toe deliciousness.  The Frappe Body Cream is €24 and has a really light texture with a lemony sweet scent and gives a nice cooling effect to the skin.  It absorbs quickly which is mucho importante because waiting for your body cream to soak into the skin while you're already roasting again is never fun times.  This leaves my skin feeling moisturised and smelling good enough to eat, or lick.  Don't lick me though lads.  That'd be weird.


The Refreshing Exfoliating Sugars are €26 and have less of a sweet lemon scent compared to the body cream.  This has more of a proper citrus lemon whiff about it.  It's the type of scrub I'd use all over my body to give me a light exfoliation and it's not packed to the rafters of scrubby bits which can sometimes be too harsh on my skin.  It's not the type of scrub you'd use to try to take tan off, but rather one you'd use casually in the shower before heading out or after a sweaty day and want to use it more often than a harsher one.  You know what I mean.  It doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped or tight and that combined with the Body Frappe, well it's the closest I'll get to being on holiday with Joanne and Will with their lemon sorbets and all things limoncello....  The jealousy I have is real lads.


Fans of lemon, you're going to love this.  The Verbena collection is out now and while it's still summer, get yourself to your local L'Occitane shop!
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New from Benefit! Hoola Lite, Hoola Quickie Contour Stick, Dandelion Twinkle!

Samples / Affiliate links

Ah look, the Hoola family has just gotten bigger!  I think Benefit Hoola was one of my first ever "fancy" bronzers when I discovered the world of YouTube and blogging years ago and I used to attempt to contour the bejaysis out of myself with it!  Now they've gone and released Benefit Hoola Lite for us paler bridies and I kind of judge myself for not wondering why they hadn't brought out a lighter shade before...  There I was, happy to accept a life without Hoola Lite...  And if you like a cream to powder finish, you're sorted because Hoola Quickie Contour Stick will do just that.  More on that later.


Now, as I said above, with the original Benefit Hoola, I attempted to contour with it back in the day, but because it was on the darker side, it worked better as an all over bronzer on me.  I'm super pale at the best of times and am trying to embrace the less is more ethos, which is where Hoola Lite comes in.  This still has warm undertones to it, but not overly so and the cooler undertones help balance that out.  And this means I've been able to use it to give warmth to my face and also those much sought after cheekbones!


The finely milled texture means blending isn't a bother and it looks ridiculously natural on me.  Well I think it does anyway!  I love a bit of warmth and definition to the face and that's that Hoola Lite gives me.  Grand job altogether.


Benefit Dandelion Twinkle, where have you been all my life....  You're everything I look for in a highlight...  See I'm a bridie of a certain age who can't go too metallic when it comes to highlight, no matter how many NikkieTutorials videos I watch and think I can emulate her.  No, I love a sheen.  A sheeny looking cheekbone makes me look radiant, refreshed and healthy and even though I might be dying on the inside, the bones of my cheeks will say otherwise.

When I'm going to work and want to look natural and put together, I apply Dandelion Twinkle with a fluffy blending brush and watch the glow take over.  It has a barely there, superfine formula which stays put on me all day without the need for a setting spray.  It doesn't emphasise the texture that I can sometimes have on my cheeks and doesn't highlight (har har!) my fine lines around the eyes.  Yes, I'm a thick who can sometimes go a bit high with my glow, shut up you.



Now for the absolute craic, I decided to see what it would look like with the brush it came with that I usually forget all about.  Obsessed!  I'm sheenier, glowier but without looking glittery.  It's still natural looking and now I'm going to hold onto the brush.  It saved its own life by making me look fabulous.


When it comes to me and cream products, I like using a makeup sponge to blend it out and that's exactly what I did for these photos below using the Benefit Hoola Quickie Contour Stick.  By all means use a brush or your fingers, but I find brushes can sometimes blend out a cream product too much, leaving me with nothing, so a damp makeup sponge does the job for me.  I dot the product wherever I want it, usually across my forehead, under the cheekbones and sometimes down the sides of the nose and then get to work.  There's lots of play time with this and I've plenty of time to blend it all out before it turns to powder.  This is a handy one for the handbag, no muss no fuss.


So Benefit, c'mere to me.  You've done good with three out of three products that I'm loving!  You can buy them all on Debenhams counters now or from the affiliate links below.  If you don't want to use the links, by all means just google the products and work away!

Benefit Hoola - Cult Beauty - Debenhams - Asos

Benefit Hoola Lite  - Cult Beauty  - Debenhams - Asos

Benefit Hoola Quickie Contour Stick - Cult Beauty - Debenhams - Asos

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