“If You Don’t Stand For Something, You Will Fall For Anything” – A List of My Favourite Bloggers.

The title of this post says it all. I know that a lot of you are just fed up when it comes to the “influencer” scene. In many ways, so am I! Even though I’m fortunate enough to receive some press samples, I’m still a consumer, like everyone else. I’ve fallen for the bullshit communicated through photoshopped pictures on more than one occasion and I’ve purchased more crap contour kits that I wish to admit. So at this point, if I’m following a blogger or social media personality, it’s because they stand for quality and honesty in the industry.

I asked a few weeks ago (via Instagram Poll) if my readers would be interested in a list of bloggers who I find to be completely frank, honest and trustworthy in their reviews and the response was very positive. I’m delighted to hear that people still enjoy reading blog posts, on the condition that they’re reading real opinions. So, here’s a list of my absolute favourites:

The Beautiful Truth

I have been following Sinead since way back in the day, before I ever decided to write my own blog. In fact, the Beautiful Truth was my inspiration when I started Rouge Writing Hood. Sinead is a teacher, a Mammy, a blogger and following the launch of Alainn, a businesswoman. I can’t even imagine being this busy.

What I love about Sinead is that she never automatically buys into the “hype” of big product launches. She takes her time to try products and doesn’t give full reviews after two or three uses. I also love that The Beautiful Truth references lots of products that Sinead didn’t enjoy – her posts are always balanced and very opinionated. I trust The Beautiful Truth website and it’s one of the first sites I click on when I’m researching my product wish list. Sinead has inspired me to make some gorgeous purchases over the years – including some great budget buys from brands such as Wet n Wild.

You can find The Beautiful Truth here.

Louise O’Connell

Louise is one of the nicest, most supportive ladies that I have met through the blogging community. If you’ve watched her Instagram stories, I bet you can’t help but love her. She’s a likeable lady who always gives her honest opinion on beauty products, regardless of whether she’s been sent them as part of a press package.

Of course Louise knows all there is to know about beauty but I actually enjoy her fashion posts most of all. She’s not posting photoshopped pictures that make me feel like I need to run on a treadmill for a few hours. Instead, I think that Louise is a perfect example of a healthy woman who has curves just like I do, and isn’t trying to hide that. Nor should she! My Mum calls me with daily updates on Louise’s stories and we both think that it’s lovely to see a relatable, gorgeous woman dressing so stylishly on a budget that’s actually accessible to working women.

I highly recommend that you take a look at Louise’s Instagram feed and her website which you can find here.

The Pharmers Journal

If you aren’t following Edel, not only are you missing out on some brilliant beauty knowledge, you’re also missing out on the cutest baby of all time – her daughter, Pearl. I love that as a busy Mum and working Pharmacist, Edel still finds time to make recommendations and tells us whether she would bother repurchasing a product after use, which is the real test.

I also have great faith in the recommendations of a Pharmacist because, let’s face it, she definitely knows more about the science behind the beauty industry than I could ever hope to.

You can find The Pharmers Journal here and I recommend following Edel on Instagram too because that’s where she runs through her “empty products” which is my favourite kind of beauty chat.

Beautynook

I’m actually relatively new to following Gemma of Beautynook, after a referral by The Beautiful Truth. However, I already know that this lady doesn’t entertain bullshit. She says it as it is, always giving her honest opinion and that’s a quality that I love in a blogger.

Gemma’s YouTube tutorials are informative and really easy to follow. I’m always intrigued to find out what her monthly favourites are and find myself referring back to her videos when I’m trying to decide whether or not I “need” certain beauty products.

You can find Beautynook here.

Lipstick and Leopard Print

I just love Joanne. Her passion for make up and skincare is unwavering and this is something that inspires me, even when I’m not feeling the “blogging scene”. Occasionally, I like to take a break from blogging and from make up because often, I find myself scrolling through Instagram comparing myself to supermodels and feeling down about it. However, Joanne’s posts always pull my interest back into focus. I love that she loves make up because it’s a bit of fun, rather than a necessity. She’s not afraid to be bold and play with colour.

Joanne is also really down to earth and definitely wouldn’t try to sell you on an expensive product that she didn’t believe in. She’s often recommending budget beauty and I’ll go out and buy it because I know that she’s a trustworthy source. We also share a huge love of Clarins so I think her judgement is pretty spot on.

You can find Lipstick and Leopard Print here.

Adorn.ie

Anita is another lady on this list who works a full time job and still manages to find the time to write blog posts on a regular basis.

Like the rest of the ladies on this list, Anita doesn’t rely on blogging as her main source of income and that’s obvious because she never pushes products. Her reviews are informative and she always gives a balanced, honest opinion as to whether certain beauty products have worked for her, or not.

Anita is also an expert in all things nail related so I like to keep an eye on her blog posts for new nail polish shades and trends. You can find Adorn.ie here.

Ms Juicyy

Alright, so I’m aware that all of the bloggers who I’ve listed up to this point have been Irish. So obviously, the products that they review are always accessible online or in Irish shops and pharmacies. Jas, who runs Ms Juicyy, is resident in Las Vegas and gives me serious Stateside envy.

I love following Jas on Instagram because she keeps me up to date on new releases in the States, which will usually trickle into the Irish market at a later date. That gives me plenty of time to start saving my pennies for my next purchase.

Jas always seems to say it as it is. If she loves something, you’ll find her talking about it on lots of occasions – not just using it a few times and moving on to the next thing. She’s also down to earth and tells her followers when she doesn’t think a product is up to scratch or worth the price. As far as I’m aware, Jas doesn’t run a blog site separate from her Instagram, so it’s worth checking her out there.

And there you have it, a complete list of the people I’m paying closest attention to on Instagram and other social media platforms. I think that every lady listed in this posts stands for honesty and that’s something I appreciate in the world of social media, where there really is a huge amount of pressure to conform to the idea of “perfect” that is portrayed by large marketing campaigns that use airbrushing and photoshopping to appeal to consumers.

Now tell me, who do you love to follow?

Rouge x

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Redken “High Rise Volume” Duo – Review

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with haircare. As a natural ginger, I’ve grown to love my hair colour and I’m very invested in keeping it bright and shiny. That means that I’m forever buying hair products and hoping to find a miracle.

As a Trainee, I’m usually working with a low budget so for years, I’ve avoided buying expensive shampoos and conditioners because I convinced myself that there was no difference, other than the branding. Then, Redken were generous enough to send me some of their products to try and I fell in love. For months now, I’ve been using the “High Rise Volume” shampoo and conditioner. I don’t believe that you can trial haircare in a few weeks so even though I received these products before Christmas, I held off on writing a post about them because I wanted to be sure that I thought they were worth the money.

The shampoo can be used daily but personally, I wash my hair every three days. While using this formula, I didn’t experience any build up in my scalp, which is a big problem that I’ve had while using other “volumising” products. I also like the fact that this formula does “sud up” well because it feels like you’re really cleaning your hair well when you use it.

I’ve been using the conditioner every time that I use the shampoo so I can only really review them as a pair. I use a generous amount of this product, after shampooing, and brush it through the hair with my Wetbrush. It seems to moisturise my hair really well, without making it greasy. Both the shampoo and conditioner contain a blend of filloxane and although I have no clue when it comes to the science of it all, Redken claim that this is what helps give the hair a lift. I have to say that in my opinion, it really works. After I started using these products, I noticed that there was no need to use volumising products or dry shampoo in my hair after washing it, to give it a boost.

As you can see, my hair is looking pretty healthy these days and I have to say that I’m delighted with that. I know that the Redken hair products don’t come cheap, but I think that I’ve really seen the difference. Although I got the Redken “High Rise Volume” duo as part of a press package, I repurchased them when they ran out after about four months.

To be honest, I can’t see myself going back to cheap shampoo and conditioner. I know that Redken is expensive but I got a solid four months out of each bottle (a little longer out of the conditioner) so I don’t think it’s one that will really break the bank. Plus, I think it’s worth the shine and the volume. Obviously in these photos, I’ve styled my hair with a curling tong but even when it’s straight, there’s plenty of volume around the roots. I have to say, I’m very impressed.

Obviously, given my budgeting issues, I looked high and low to find the cheapest stockist of Redken in Ireland and the best prices that I found were on beautyfeatures.ie – it’s not an affiliated link or sponsored, they just seem to offer really good deals and promotions.

So let me know what you think. Are you willing to spend some extra cash on haircare if it works better than cheaper alternatives?

Rouge x

TheBalm “Even Steven” Foundation – Review

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard about this product already and you probably know that it’s one of my all time favourite foundations. I post pictures and videos wearing it quite often but some readers have asked for a full post, detailing why I love the “Even Steven” formula. And now that I’m back to blogging more regularly, I decided it’s the perfect time to share.

“Even Steven” is a whipped foundation formula from TheBalm and I have to admit, when it was first sent to me as a press sample, I had visions of my “Dream Matte Mousse” days.. Yes, like every other girl in Ireland in the 00s, I was caked in the stuff. So I’ll admit, I pushed this formula to the back of my make up drawers and forgot about it for awhile.

A few months later, I found myself battling with a house move which meant that all of my usual make up picks were packed into a box neatly, only to disappear into oblivion. So, I decided to try something new and dug a few formulas out of the press. “Even Steven” was the only one that I held on to after a few weeks of chopping and changing.

I’m not easily impressed by foundations – I like my base to be subtle with enough coverage to cover blemishes but not enough coverage to mask my face and hide my freckles. “Even Steven” has a mousse like texture and the coverage is very buildable. I find that a little goes a really long way and that the best way to apply it is with a flat-head foundation brush.

The shade range isn’t amazing but I find that the “Lighter than Light” shade is pale enough for my tan-less days. I’ve been wearing the “Light” shade over the past few weeks because my skin has darkened a tiny fraction with all the good weather we’ve been having and I’ve also been wearing some gradual tanning moisturiser most days.

Packaging wise, the tub does look small but when I say a small amount goes a long way, I really mean it! One issue I do have is the fact that you either have to scoop the foundation out or dab your brush into the pot. Obviously because I’m a lazy brat, I use the dip method and I’m pretty sure it’s not the most hygienic.

I’ve found that the foundation applies evenly, blends into the skin well and has a lovely finish. It’s not matte but it’s not dewy either. I use a little brightening primer underneath and it gives a gorgeous glow to the skin. The lasting power is fabulous. I was concerned that the formula would slide off my face during the heatwave but I’ve found that when it’s set with the Urban Decay “All Nighter” spray, it stays put for hours. I never worry about reapplying this product.

Here’s a classic before and after to give you an idea of how the foundation sits and the amount of coverage it gives. As you can see, it covered the blemishes on my face, without concealer, but didn’t conceal my freckles. I’m all into freckles these days thanks to Meghan Markle.

The “Even Steven” foundation by TheBalm is available from Debenhams and Cloud 10 Beauty and it retails at the €22.

So tell me what you think! Would you dare to wear a mousse textured foundation after all those years of “Dream Matte Mousse”?

Rouge x

Bellamianta “Liquid Gold” – Review

Before I launch into this review, I want to make something very clear. It’s perfectly OK to be pale. Lately, I’ve become painfully aware of marketing techniques adopted by the beauty industry whereby women are made to feel insecure simply to promote the purchase of products. Each person reading this review will have a different skin tone and that’s gorgeous, we don’t need to conform to an ideal of beauty portrayed by glossy magazines. I have a typical Irish complexion – pale skin and ginger hair and for YEARS, I hated it. I’ve scrolled through my phone on more than one occasion wishing I looked like Beyoncé.

When I speak about beauty products on my blog and Instagram, please remember that I’m in it for the fun of it. I LOVE getting dressed up and trying new beauty products but I also love walking into the office without a scrap of make up, with no worries that it will smudge mid-meeting. Sometimes I love being ghostly pale and sometimes, I drench myself in product to create the illusion of a golden glow. I’m happy both ways. And, I’m really happy with the product that I’m about to review – because it’s fun to bronze up before a big night out, not because it’s necessary for survival.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I have two “go to” tanning brands and Bellamianta is one of them. I’ve always found the majority of their products easy to apply and somewhat easy to scrub off. “Liquid Gold” is no exception to the rule, and one of my favourite tanning products to date.

To prep for this tan, I scrub and moisturise daily for 3 days before application. This is an essential step because I have tried this formula without any prep and the finish wasn’t as nice – I felt it clung to patches of dry skin. I don’t apply any moisturiser on the day of application and I apply using the Bellamianta mitt because it’s the best one that I’ve found on the market.

“Liquid Gold” dries within 60 seconds so you do have to be quick when you’re working with it. I’m generous with the amount that I apply to the mitt and then work from the ankles up in circular motions to get an even finish. This formula has a golden guide colour so there’s less chance of “missing a bit” during application. I sleep in the formula and then rinse the next morning for a golden glow. One thing that I love about this tan is that it doesn’t feel sticky after application and it’s comfortable to sleep it. I didn’t find that a lot of product transferred to my sheets either – although I’ve been buying dark grey bed sheets lately to avoid tanning stains!

I took this quick snap of the tan en route to work the next morning and as you can see, it’s subtle enough. If I wasn’t ginger, you’d probably think I’d just spent some time outdoors during our Irish heatwave.

“Liquid Gold” wears really well and lasts about 3-4 days without fade before you need to start scrubbing it off. The tan is formulated to include some moisturising ingredients and it’s definitely not as drying as some other formulas that I’ve tried – so I’m not running around like a mad thing smothered in oil-free moisturiser every evening.

As someone with red hair, I do struggle to find a shade of false tan that actually suits me so I tend to go for formulas that are as natural looking as possible. I think this one matches that criteria. If you prefer a darker tan, I’d imagine that you can also layer up.

All in all, I’m really impressed by this Bellamianta product. It’s nice to apply, doesn’t smell at all and wears off quite well. I haven’t found any tan on the market that wears off perfectly but I just scrub it off and that solves any problems with a “snakeskin effect”. If you’re interested in trying this formula, it’s actually one of Bellamianta’s most affordable products and you can find it here, on their website.

Rouge x

The Ginja Ninja’s Essential Guide to SPF.

I can’t complain, I know that I CAN’T complain but do you know what it’s like to be ginger in this heat? Absolutely dangerous. I’ve become a self-certified expert in all things relating to sunscreen and by that I mean that I’m not an expert at all but I have found some life saving, skin protecting products that work well for me. So, I thought I’d fill you in..

Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF 50+:

 

Alpha H Sunscreen

 

Alright, so I know that this one is pricey at €39 but a facial SPF is a skincare essential regardless of whether it’s roasting outside. So, I see this one as an investment. Think of all of the wrinkles that you won’t have in your old age if you apply this product every morning. Out of all of the facial SPFs that I’ve tried, this one is my favourite. And yes, I’ve tried the cult favourite Image SPFs in the original and matte formulas. For me, the Alpha-H formula just absorbs into the skin more quickly than any other similar product that I’ve tried. It sits nicely under make up and most importantly, it doesn’t clog my pores – which is an issue that I have with the majority of facial SPFs that I’ve tried. Alpha-H is available from a range of pharmacies nationwide or online from Cloud 10 Beauty (who often have a good discount code on the go).

 

P20 “Once a Day Sun Protection Spray:

 

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I’m not the only ginger in my household and this product is one that the whole family use. My Dad put it to the test when he moved to Australia, many moons ago and we’ve been using P20 ever since. It’s my go to body sunscreen because it only needs to be applied once a day and it’s not greasy on the skin (although it does take about 15 mins to dry after application). It also applies clear so there’s no white residue to contend with and, if you ever get to the beach (unlike those of us spending the heatwave in their office), it’s water resistant so doesn’t need to be re-applied every time that you go for a dip. That said, I would definitely reapply if you’re coating the kiddies in it because it’s better to be safe than sorry. P20 is on sale at Cloud 10 Beauty at the moment – not an ad or sponsored content, they just seem to have really cost effective offers available.

 

Isa Dora “Twist Up Lip Balm” (SPF 15):

 

Isa Dora Lip Balm Review

 

Isa Dora are one of my favourite brands. They offer really high quality beauty products at an affordable price point and I’ve never been left disappointed with a purchase. Their “Twist Up Lip Balm” isn’t groundbreaking or life changing but it is gorgeous all the same. It contains natural oils to nourish the lips and also an SPF to protect them (which many lipsticks and balms don’t). The shades are all pretty natural so can be applied liberally and on the go, without a mirror. The formula also has a delicious raspberry scent so it just reminds me of summer and fruity cocktails by the beach. This product is also on sale (with 40% off) here from Feel Unique which is an absolute bargain!

And there you have it – these three are my SPF essentials and to date, my favourite sun protection products. It may also be worth mentioning that SPF does have an expiration date so if you’re using the products that you bought last summer – they really aren’t good enough. In my opinion, every SPF product needs to be replaced 9 months after opening. I know it’s a pain for our pockets (let’s face it – sunscreen is a boring purchase) but you’ll thank me when you’re not withering around in sunburn hell.

Now, drop us a comment and let us know if you’ve been loving or hating the heatwave – I don’t think I’ve ever experienced weather like this in Ireland in the past 25 years!!

Rouge x

 

Easy Paese – A Ten Minute Make Up Look.

A few weeks ago Paese, a Polish beauty brand which is relatively new to the Irish market, got in touch and asked if they could send me some samples to try. Obviously, I was delighted – I’ve had my eye on Paese for awhile but just never got around to picking some of the products up. However, I was a little apprehensive. The only other Polish make up brand that I’ve tried is Inglot and I’m afraid that I find a lot of their products to be a little too “heavy” on my skin. I prefer a “barely there” make up look to full glam.

So, when I received the products, I set about using them to create “natural” make up looks. So here’s a list of the products that I used to create a quick and simple, every day look with a bright lip – which has quickly become my favourite spring time make up look.

“Long Cover Fluid Foundation” (€20):

The “Long Cover Fluid” foundation from Paese is a full-coverage formula that doesn’t budge throughout the day. Usually, I stick with Tinted Moisturiser when I’m applying my make up in the morning but if I know I’m facing a particularly long day at work; I use this product because I know it won’t budge from my skin. The formula is creamy, easy to blend and most importantly, doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. I recommend applying this one over your SPF and usual Primer (mine is the ELF “Hydrating Balm”) and setting with spray (my favourite is the Urban Decay “All Nighter”). As expected with full coverage foundation, this product does get a little shiny after about 6 hours of wear but that’s quickly remedied with some powder, which I always carry in my handbag anyway.

“Clair Brightening Concealer” (€12):

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I purchased a VERY expensive under eye concealer from NARS a few weeks ago and that I’ve never been as disappointed with a luxury make up product in all my days. This concealer from Paese has everything that I felt the NARS one lacked – it’s creamy and easy to blend and it doesn’t crease into any fine lines. I didn’t even realise I had “fine lines” until recently… I don’t have any real issues with dark circles so I can’t vouch for the coverage of the concealer but it definitely helps to reduce the appearance of “puffy” under eyes and that’s all I can ask for.

“Long Cover Powder” (€16):

Ok, so it takes awhile to get the hang of applying this powder. It’s loose and a little bit messy so I don’t think it’s one for the handbag but it sets make up like no powder I’ve ever used before. I use this powder to “bake” under eye concealer and then dust it lightly over my t-zone to eliminate shine. It works quickly and doesn’t leave any residue on the skin once it’s buffed into the foundation.

Paese “Silky Matt” Lipstick (€13):

silky-matt-liquid-lipstick-paese (1)

Lots of people avoid matte lipstick formulas because they can be very drying and harsh on the lips. However, I’ve found a few formulas that I absolutely love and I’ve added this “Silky Matt” lipstick from Paese to the list. It feels light on the lips, as if you aren’t even wearing lipstick. It isn’t tacky or drying and it definitely stays put after it’s been applied. I could apply this before breakfast and have no need to top it up until after lunch time. It doesn’t smudge either so I don’t have to worry about the bright colours transferring.

And there you have it – a ten minute make up look using products that are all bargain buys. I’m really impressed by the quality of these particular formulas and I won’t hesitate to pick up some more products from the Paese line in the future.

What do you think? Have you tried Paese? Let us know in the comment section.. If you haven’t, and you would like to take a look, you can find the complete range here.

Rouge x

Urban Decay “Naked Petite Heat” – Review.

Naked Petite Heat Palette

 

I have a confession to make… Until last week, I was one of the few (if not the only) beauty bloggers in the Universe who don’t possess an Urban Decay “Naked Palette”. That’s right, I didn’t have a single one of the palettes in my collection – even though I kept meaning to pick one up. So, when the brand new “Naked Petite Heat” arrived through my letterbox, I was frickin’ delighted. Finally, I get to see what all the hype is about..

 

 

This little palette is a perfect “handbag size” so it really suits me at the moment – I’m commuting from Cavan to Dublin everyday so I tend to do my make up on the bus during the commute. The packaging is gorgeous, as per usual when it comes to Urban Decay but what I really enjoy is the fact that even though the palette is small, it contains a decent sized mirror.

Initially, I thought it was an all matte palette but there’s actually one lightly shimmered shade for highlighting, “Inhale”. The remainder of the shades are matte and can be worn alone or blended together. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of matte shades because they can be chalk-like in texture with lots of fall out. However, these shades are easy to apply and fall out hasn’t been an issue at all. I would caution that a little of the darker shades goes a long way – they’re very pigmented and buildable so start with a little formula and work from there.

 

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As you can see, all of the shades in this palette have quite strong orange undertones so if orange isn’t your colour, this palette won’t be for you. This was something I was quite conscious of because obviously, I have ginger hair and I was concerned about clashing. It wasn’t an issue once I applied the shadows though because the browns can be used to mute the orange tones a little bit. Also, the burnt orange shade “Wild Thing” really makes green eyes pop.

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Overall, this is a handy little palette for your handbag and the shades would likely suit every skin tone. I would really recommend it for anyone who isn’t a fan of big clunky eyeshadow palettes that aren’t really portable. Also, it’s a great little “starter palette” for teenagers who are just beginning to wear make up. Urban Decay was actually one of the first luxury beauty brands that I fell in love with so I really recommend it for the younger generation.

 

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The “Naked Petite Palette” will be launched in Debenhams and the Urban Decay Store on Grafton Street, Dublin in April. So, tell me – are you adding this one to your wish list? What do you think of the orange tones? Let us know in the comment section!

Rouge x