Review: NYX Butter Gloss in Praline

Hi everyone!
Liquid matte lips are still really big at the moment, but recently I have really been wanting to try super-glossy finishes. I recently started University and that means going from almost never going outside at all during my gap year to leaving the house four or five times a week to study or work. My natural lip colour ranges from underwhelming to washed-out on a bad day, and ever since I discovered lip colours I am loathe to find myself out of the house without something on.
Bleeding dark colours are common in anything that isn’t a sturdy matte, so I have been looking for a very pigmented nude gloss or lacquer for those days where my usual selection of mattes won’t cut it anymore, and my lips are flaking and dry.
I’m all for lip prep, but there are days where my lips look fine but feel tight and I know they are just going to start flaking over the course of the day. Nightly lip masks are normal for me but my lips look perfectly okay at night, it’s just the daytime!
Anyway, whilst glosses have taken a backseat in the beauty industry there are still a few options available for a glossy but glitter-less finish. I treated myself to one or two to have a try.

NYX is still a popular, trendy brand at the moment, and besides their classic Soft Matte Lip Cream, the Butter Gloss seems to be another choice favourite. I picked up the shade Praline. It costs £5.50 for 8ml, and comes in a small, portable tube with a standard doe-foot applicator.

There’s not much to say about this other than that it’s cheap and cheerful and very sticky like most glosses. The nude shade doesn’t show up that much on my lips so I like to layer it on top of a nude liner or lipstick. Lastly, it smells divine – like vanilla, I think.

Overall, if you happen to be feeling in a glossy mood, this is a fine choice to tide you over.

Until next time,

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Lip Balm Collection Round-Up and Mass Review

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Lip balms, lip balms, lip balms. Where on earth would I be without these? They’re just an absolute essential in everybody’s handbags/purses/pockets/vanity. Mine usually live on my vanity as I wear lipstick out every chance I get, and tend to wear balm only in the evening and when I am at home all day.

I wasn’t sure how much to write for this  – on one hand, it’s lip balm… On the other hand, it’s lip balm! Important necessity!! Anyhow, here are some mini-reviews.

 Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss Lip Balm SPF 15

First bought in a teeny haul two years ago. It’s simply a clear balm – I like the sweet smell, it’s a little greasier than I would like, and it doesn’t last long on the lips as it’s thin – it just melts onto my lips when I apply. I imagine if I had actually used this every day, I’d have finished the tube in two months or even less. It costs £5.49 for 3.8g, which is pretty pricey and I can’t recommend it when there are better value options. Nothing at all stands out about this balm, even in the ingredients.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Lip Balm Stick SPF20
Despite the higher SPF than many of my other lip balms, this has the slight taste of something that shouldn’t really be in one’s mouth. Apart from that, it ticks the right boxes – it’s unscented (but has a generic cream smell and tastes a bit funny), it’s moisturising and nourishing. It also has a drier formula which does decently at sealing in moisture.  Also, what is Norwegian about this formula? I want to know. The main website says it’s the inclusion of Glycerin in the range of products but I can’t seem to spot it on the ingredients list! This is £2.50-89 depending on where you buy it for 4.8g.

Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner
I liked this, I really did, but then I decided tub lip balms were not going to have a place in my life. That was years ago and it mostly still applies. I really do prefer tubes and sticks much more because the less of my fingers needed, the better. That aside, whilst it also had a thin texture I found this to be generally good at keeping my lips soft and moisturised, and Derp seems to really like this and actually uses his tub.

Blistex Intensive Moisturiser
This is nice as a change from a lip balm – I like to let this sink in before layering with something else on top. It’s not really all that ‘intensive’ though and doesn’t last as long on the lips as other balms.

Lipsmackers
I’m not sure what to say about these – they’re a classic (but sort of novelty) option for sure but they’ve served me well through many lipstick-less days. They’re generally an OK option for conditioning and such (better than the Rimmel, by the way) and the dry layer on my lips comes off way easier after having a thick layer of this on for two hours. I seem to always have a tube in rotation.

Dr Organic Lip Balms
After a friend gave me one to try, I used up a whole tube in three months – which is probably a new record, and I attribute that to the fact that I actually wear this nightly almost without fail!
I like to slather this on overnight and it just so happens to give me really nice lips in the morning. It’s a ‘melts-on-the-lips’ kind of product but not as much as the Rimmel option.
It’s a bit more expensive than the usual drugstore balms but still very affordable. I also have a gripe with the packaging as it doesn’t twist the same way as others to get the product out, and with a little pressure, it’s easily pushed back into the tube. This is £3.49 for 5ml.

Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum
I was expecting something that, like the Blistex Intensive moisturiser, would be a good option to layer under a more oily balm, but it turns out this probably has more oil content than the balms – bit of a dumb moment for me as the product does state it’s a Hemp Oil Lip Serum! As an intensive treatment, I think this packs even more of a punch than any of these other options. This is, surprisingly, cheaper than the balm (per ml) at £4.49 for 10ml.

Dr Pawpaw Original Balm
I keep seeing this everywhere so I wanted to give it a go and bought the tiny pocket sized tube in Primark. This was very underwhelming. It’s essentially just Vaseline with an added extract that, in my opinion, does nothing for me.

Dr Palmer Cocoa Lip Balm
This has a strange texture that’s a cross between a silicone and a wax. It contains 4g of product for under £2. This isn’t bad, but nothing about it stands out either, so I probably won’t buy it again.

I am moving on to trying more lip mask products like Laneige and possibly the Nuxe Reve de Miel. I hear lots of good things about the Lanolips range too. I can’t try them all at once, though – they’re all a bit more expensive than the ones listed above.

I hope you found this helpful and thank you for reading! Let me know what your favourite balms are, too.

Until next time,

X

Review: MAC FutureForward X LeeHi

One of the big draws of Korean Beauty is all our favourite idols promoting them. From products selling out because members of EXO use them, to ranges selling well because faces like Yoona and Suzy are representing the brand, K-Beauty treats us well.
The two worlds of K-Beauty and Western Beauty rarely cross, so being from the UK the last thing I expected was for my favourite songstress to do a collaboration with MAC.
Lee Hi is a 21-year-old singer under YG Entertainment, known for her soulful and jazzy vocals and for being the runner-up in KpopStar. She is rumoured to be coming back soon-ish and after two amazing albums, ‘First Love’ and ‘Seoulite’, I can’t wait to hear what she does next.
Ever since this was announced I was checking the MAC website for news of its UK release. This sold out at least within days of the US release but it took a solid two months for it to finally roll out here. As far as I know, this is an online-only release. It released days before Nicki Minaj’s collaboration so I imagine it has been vastly overshadowed by that, too.
 
Lee Hi decided to create a deep Red in MAC’s Matte Formula. This is actually my first proper MAC lipstick, and I was surprised to see how similar it felt to Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Kate Matte formula. You all probably already know, but it’s a soft, creamy finish, not a hard matte.
The shade is very universally flattering, too, nothing out of the ordinary. I’ll be honest and say it’s not what I expected a Lee Hi lipstick to be (I associate her with a rosy pink) but more recently she has opted to present a mature, modern image and I think this colour choice reflects that.
To be honest, there are probably a million colours like this out there and my main reason for purchasing this was to support Lee Hi, so unless you’re a deprived fan (we don’t get enough of her at all lol) you can quite probably quite easily find a dupe out there.
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Funnily enough my first outing with this lipstick on was for G Dragons concert in Birmingham! It was good timing, really. This wore well throughout my whole day with light snacks. The colour looked a tiny bit patchy and uneven by the end of the night but at that point it had been 9 hours and I think thats great.
I’m not sure it would hold up with greasier foods but those of you who arent MAC noobs will know. If you also are not familiar with MAC lipsticks like me, I will try to update this after a few more wears, but this really seems remarkably similar to the Lasting Finish.
TL;DR I bought this because Lee Hi is to me what Nicki Minaj is to everyone else but admittedly this is not mind-blowing and I am yet to sink my next paycheck in MAC stuff.

What collaborations would have you apologising to your wallet immediately?

Until next time,

X

 

 

My Experience at G-Dragon’s ‘Act III: MOTTE’ Tour in Birmingham

I may have recounted this story a number of times, but I got into K-pop because a family friend spent her gap year in Korea and came back with a K-pop mix on a CD, full of Bigbang and SHINee’s old hits and Lee Hyori’s U Go Girl. We played it when her mom picked us up from school all the time, and Haru Haru was my favourite song for an age and a half.
That was like, ten years ago. I listen to K-pop like I listen to just about everything else – casually and not as obsessively as I used to, but if you strike a K-pop conversation with me I’m not going to stop talking. Where do I even get all these trivia from? I don’t even know. I joined the K-Soc at my uni so hopefully, I will make friends who I can be just as chatty with.
Anyway. G-Dragon held a concert in Birmingham recently, and I knew whatever it cost, I would end up going. It was very pricey for a concert so I settled for a seat that was still £120+. GD was my first love of K-pop but I don’t love him as much now to pay £200+ for the VIP Silver Soundcheck package like a certain relative of mine… (You don’t even get to meet him for that money…)
It was my first concert at Genting so I was quite excited! I ended up there many hours early since I was tagging along with VIPers but that meant I could grab food and still be in my seat an hour and a half before the show started. It also meant the wait for the show to start was pretty much unbearable.
The Genting Arena doesn’t allow fancy cameras like my DSLR (darn it!!) so I am still stuck with the phone camera I used last year, sadly, which is why my photos are less than impressive. I spent the rest of my time jamming along to everything he performed.
The show was all bright lights and dark visuals. MOTTE, for G-Dragon himself, is a show exploring himself- his identity as GD and as Kwon Ji Yong, and it did feel quite personal, also including video interviews with his friends and family. The setlist started from his old hits and ended with almost all the songs from his most recent EP, Kwon Ji Yong. It was separated into three acts this way.
I noticed people were more hyped towards the second act when he performed more recent and well-known songs (and especially CROOKED in the encore because we UK fans have a soft spot for it – he filmed the video in London). It was a shame people weren’t as excited for A-YO and Obsession as I was, though! They are two of my favourite songs by GD.
I met some wonderful fellow concert-goers whilst there. From the pair of girls waiting for food to the girl I sat next to as we both went to the concert alone, to the girls who helped me charge my phone and find my relative after the battery died, and also got me the poster that is now on my wall. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my casual listening of K-pop and this night was no different.
I am so happy that there have been more K-pop concerts in the UK recently (Crush, ZICO, Dean, GD and KARD all in the last year and Hyukoh next month) so I get to indulge in live music I love. I am putting my bets on BTS being the next big act to hit the UK, seeing as they are doing fabulously internationally.
Who are you waiting on to hold a concert?
Until next time,
X

Packing for a Trip to Vietnam

Hi everyone! I’m playing around with some photo editing things like title cards, so bear with. Let me know if you like this one! In the meantime…

It’s the rainy half of the monsoon in Vietnam at the moment but when the sun is out, it’s intense. I’ll die at 21 degrees in Bham but in VN? If our air con is set that low my grandmothers would freeze. We would also freeze. Even with the air con at 26 degrees, my cousins are in jackets that they’ve dug out from their drawers because in Vietnam they just never need them! With lows of 28 and highs of 33 (up to 38 in the North of Vietnam during the summer, and into the 40s during the hot-monsoon in the South!) one must come prepared.

I should note that my travel experiences are probably very different to the average tourist so it would be wise to check out the views of others before deciding what to bring.

Sunscreens

Anyway, sunscreen is obviously a must. I had my trusty Kose Suncut Ultra UV Aqualy Protect Gel SPF50, to be liberally applied and reapplied. I also had a Biore Perfect Milk if I want to be a little more matte. My brother has trialled Sunplay’s Aqua UV SPF81(!!) and liked that. Most of my sunscreens didn’t last longer than an hour in the blistering heat of North VN, even the matte, longwearing ones so one that can be reapplied often without issues is essential.

By the way, I’ve found Biore sunscreens at larger malls here for about a fiver, which is cheaper than I would buy them for online.

For body sunscreen I like the spray formulation of Nivea’s Protect and Refresh Sunscreen. It doesn’t make me itch like the cream formula and the spray makes it incredibly light and quick to use. The pump, however, did fail on us after a few weeks leading to an incident where I got watery sunscreen poured over my legs. If I could have, I would have decanted the sunscreen but I’m not sure what decanting does to a sun-protective formula – does it need a dark container?

You can try covering up, but if you’re not used to thirty degrees on the daily, just stick to your sunscreen and be sure to stay in the shade during the noon hours. You’re going to rely on shorts and loose tees a lot. Bring your hats and your high UV shades – the sun here is really bright when it’s not raining!

Mosquito repellent 

Essential. Apparently, to repel mosquitoes one needs a good repellent and a fan or air conditioner blowing on you at all times. We used the Jungle brand’s most repelling spray and it worked – a good idea to get a repellent with DEET. I got 10 bites the one night I felt too lazy to put it on.

Soothing cream/bite zapper

To help when the above fails you.

My prescription spot treatment

I caved in and asked my GP for some acne treatment. I know. Skincare blogging going out of the window. I just want to look good on the holiday snaps and my acne just wasn’t going fast enough, especially the hormonal breakouts, which can go screw themselves. Anyway, I am still supplementing it with my routine and now I’m phasing it back out again but seriously I haven’t done a full routine in a long time. When my skin feels dry I use only a light moisturiser or a sheet mask in the evening, and it usually only feels dry due to the excessive use of air conditioning.

When my skin feels dry I use only a light moisturiser or a sheet mask in the evening, and it usually only feels dry due to the excessive use of air conditioning.

Concealer

I won’t be bringing foundation. If the heatwave-worthy weather in Birmingham is anything to go by, there’s utterly no point as I will just sweat off whatever is on my face. I sure as hell tried a bit of my regular concealers but even that sweats off in a hurry. There’s no relying on makeup here, guys. Definitely a good idea to amp up the skincare before flying out.

Lipsticks

I couldn’t live without all my lipsticks for a month. Light and long wearing options are a good idea, or ones that are easily reapplied. I may have gone overboard in stuffing my makeup bag, though – mostly because I wanted to try a variety and see what would work.

Here are a few that I have worn:

  • Revlon Balm Stain in Crush – Moisturising, staining.
  • Bourjois Beau Brun – A muted red, long wearing but very comfortable.
  • NYX Soft Spoken – A mid-dark nude.
  • MAC Nouveau Vogue – muted pink.
  • NARS Dragon Girl – This one made a lot of heads turn, it’s so bright and pink! NARS Cruella is also a good choice and one that many of us might have a mini of!
  • Rimmel Apocalips in Aurora – A relatively not-too-bright or too-muted pink.
  • Clinique Cherry Pop – this was also a big head-turner, it’s a very pinky red.

What I’ve found is that bright reds on the orange or pink sides are very popular. I recently gifted a Lady Danger by MAC to a cousin here and my mom scoured Superdrug before we left the UK on the search for red shades to gift to family and friends. On top of these, NARS Dragon Girl attracted a lot of looks on the one day I wore it out!

Shades in this colour range are SO, SO flattering on Vietnamese skintones. Nudes aren’t really seen if at all here, so mine barely got any use. I think being here for a month invigorated my love of reds.

For eyeshadows, I brought my Etude House eye primer, and two Maybelline Eye Tattoos in On and On Bronze and Metallic Pomegranate. Anything else is probably too much effort, in all honesty. I did bring my eyebrow pencils and eyeliners but even with an eye primer they just wipe off so easily despite being waterproof formulas! Despite that, CLIO Kill Black Brush Pen Liner has held up well in the Vietnamese heat.

Long story short, bring your longest wearing sunscreens, bold lipsticks and heavy duty mosquito repellent! Dress light and perhaps bring a waterproof!

Actually, bring a light jacket. Most days in Vietnam, you won’t need to use it, but if you are travelling home to a colder land like the UK, you’ll want to take it on the plane with you. The sharp weather change gave my whole family colds as soon as we got back! (Right now, I’ve only just recovered from a cold from the sudden change to Autumn weather here! I didn’t realise it affected me so much, I don’t usually get these kinds of co

How would you change up your makeup in the humid climate?

Until next time,

X

[Chat] Getting Ready for School/ University/ Whatever EEEEP


Hi everyone!

So, as I mentioned in my last update, I got into University!
(Cue cheers and party poppers)

I was feeling ecstatic, then quite ambivalent about it when I first found out. Anyway, I’m excited at the moment. I am going to a university close to home, whilst my brother also got in to Uni and is moving out, so our preparation lists are very different, of course.

I sometimes wish I had a very good reason to move out, but rather sadly my rational thinking won out on this one. My brother is studying Marine Bio, something that can’t easily be studied right in the middle of the country with a canal at best, and my best friend is a Dentistry student of which there are only 17 schools in the UK. Meanwhile, there are many more places to study Psychology and the University I am going to is a solid choice to study it, apparently. If I can, it’s probably a good idea to minimize the debt I’ll be getting, too. One thing I am petrified of is being stuck paying off a huge amount of money with stupid interest rates.

Meanwhile, there are many more places to study Psychology and the University I am going to is a solid choice to study it, apparently. If I can, it’s probably a good idea to minimize the debt I’ll be getting, too. One thing I am petrified of is being stuck paying off a huge amount of money with stupid interest rates.

Whilst the new start is a great excuse for new stationery and things, as I am staying home I really don’t need anything new! I have:

  • a colourful set of clicky Paperchase Inkjoys.
    I have a few Staedtler fine liners but I don’t use them as much as I prefer the biro-type pens like Inkjoys.
  • A lot of flash cards I didn’t get around to using during A-Level
  • notebooks – I tend to accumulate those!
    My favourites for notes are actually the £3 A4 hardback spiral-bound notebooks from the Works – the ones by PaperPlace. The designs for these often change and aren’t exactly Paperchase-cute but I just grab the nicest design – I’m not too picky with these. Those have decent paper quality and big line spaces for rough work, and on top of that, they are super affordable. The greatest testament to how much I love these, however, is the fact I’ve fully used up two. I, chronic notebook un-finisher, FINISHED these notebooks because I used them so much.
  • One of those tiny pencil cases, from my little sister. I have gotten into the habit of using much less stationary and carrying only a select few pen colours around – usually black, blue, red and purple. Again, this is for rough work when I am out and about. This is a soft case as I’d rather not have my pens rattling in a tin or box, and still fits a folding ruler and nail file just fine!
  • A USB stick that I’ve had for six years and is still going strong – for any digital work.
  • A sturdy backpack – I like the Kipling ones – which may be a little pricey but my huge travel bag lasted me through my GCSE textbook days and multiple overpacked days of travel and my backpack has lasted two trips to Vietnam as well as two years of my brother’s A-Level textbooks and folders so I think they are quite worth it. My best friend, my brother and my dad all love their Swissgear/Wenger backpacks.
  • A daily journal thing from Urban Outfitters. It’s not something to plan weeks ahead with – I am trying to use my phone calendar more – but you can just pop a date in and organise a free day if you just so happen to have one, and make lists of important things to do. I had a problem with my day-to-view planner last year with just not filling it in and wasting lots of pages, so hopefully, this strategy will be better.

Is there anything you think I don’t already have that I should get?

I’m not quite sure how else to express that I’M EXCITED even if I’ve spent most of last year being glad I’m not doing the same exams my friends in Uni are, because that will be me soon. It’s exciting the way all new things are.

I’m not even worried about socialising! A couple of years ago the idea of that would still terrify me but I’ve become much more comfortable with chatting to anyone over the last year, mostly by attending lots of events by myself. The only thing is that I’ll probably sit out all the club outings and house parties…

One thing I am actually worried about is if I love Psychology like I think I do. A-Levels are a real test of whether you like a subject enough to work at it and Psychology was definitely that subject for me. I always seem to do better in my Psychology work even if I think I’ve put the same amount of effort (or even less) compared to my other two subjects. Especially during my gap year, I was far more focused on Biology and Chemistry because I had more to make up for in those, and I still made less progress. I’m just worried it might also be the same for bits of Psychology this year but I’m also sure it’s just me vastly overthinking all of this and maybe I should stop before I have a crisis.

Phew.

I mean, how do you like to organise yourself? Is anyone else nervous about the New Thing that they’re doing this year?

Until next time,

X

 

 

A Quick Update

Hi everyone!

I have 21 draft posts at the moment, meaning that I truly meant to post but didn’t get round to it or just did not hit the button! It’s been such a long while so I am just gonna pop a post out there and get the ball rolling so… yeah.

HELLO AGAIN.

I went to Vietnam for over a month, I got my retake results and I got into University, which I start this September! I’m currently working the Back To School season and trying to draw and write and relax and be happy.

That’s the thing, everyone. I feel great. I never mentioned it on this blog, but I was quite depressed for a time over the last three years and for once I am waking up feeling like it’s new days and not just the same thing.

I have lots of plans for this year to look forward to, and that’s the secret I learned, really – to break my old routines and do more things.

BOOM, that’s one post done. I’ll talk more about all these things in future posts but that’s all for now. I’ll be sure to schedule some posts before my only day off this week is up!

Until next time!!!!!

X