“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

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):

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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

Mother’s Day 2018 – A Gift Guide

If you’re lucky enough to have a Mammy that’s half as fabulous as my own, I really hope you’ve got this one sussed already. Although, hope as I may, I know rightly that in the lead up to the 11th of March, you’ll all be frantically running around like headless chickens looking for a box of Milk Tray and a bouquet of Tesco’s finest flowers. So, since we’re all house-bound by Storm Emma for the next few days, I thought I would magic up a list (most of which can be bought online) to help prepare you for Mammy’s favourite day of the year so you don’t have to go home with your tail between your legs this year.

A Trip to the Morelands Grill:

 

 

Alright, so this one only applies to those of you who have the luxury of living within travelling distance of Dublin city but for anyone who does, a trip to the Morelands Grill is so worth the visit, especially for a special occasion like Mother’s Day. I actually celebrated my birthday in this restaurant in August and to date, it’s been one of the nicest meals that I’ve had throughout my six years in Dublin. The staff are lovely and the atmosphere in the restaurant is casual and homely so it’s a safe bet to impress Mammy. Plus, if you can’t make it for their Mother’s Day Lunch Menu, the Morelands have lots of other menu options, including a “Gin and Jazz Brunch” on Saturdays. For some more info, you can visit their website here.

Replica “Beach Walk”:

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This perfume by Maison Margiela smells like summer in a glass bottle and it’s absolutely gorgeous. As with all perfumes, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if your Mum loves warm, fresh fragrances that aren’t strong or over-powering, I think she’ll love this one. With notes of lemon and pink pepper, “Beach Walk” smells like the Atlantic Ocean, rather than a tropical beach resort so it’s definitely not sickly sweet. Instead, it smells like ocean spray and the wild coast. It’s top of my own wish list for summertime beauty buys and it can be purchased here, from Brown Thomas.

Sass & Boho “Incense – Citrus Intense”:

Sass and Boho Citrus Intense

If you’ve been watching my Insta-stories lately, you will already know how OBSESSED I am with this candle from Sass & Boho. It retails at £29 which is far cheaper than the expensive Jo Malone candles that Sass & Boho have actually surpassed in terms of quality and burn time. This particular candle that I love is double-wicked so it burns evenly, regardless of how long you light it for and the scent is heavenly. Anyone who knows me personally will already be aware that I’m obsessed with everything “lemon-y”. I love the taste and the smell of lemons but unlike some of the other citrus candles I’ve purchased, this one from Sass & Boho offers a soft, luxurious citrus scent, rather than one reminiscent of bathroom cleaning products. The wax is infused with citrus oil, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and cedarwood so it offers a beautiful, rich and relaxing fragrance. I really can’t recommend this one enough and it’s available here.

Lauryn Rose “Gold Bar Necklace”:

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I think that a necklace from the Geometric Collection by Lauryn Rose is the ideal gift for any lady in your life. Recently, I had three of these necklaces engraved with mine and my closest friends’ nicknames as my “adult” version of friendship necklaces and I think that both girls loved the sentiment. Why not pick one up for your Mum as a Mother’s Day Gift? Or better yet, if you know any new Mums – wouldn’t it be gorgeous to get their first baby’s name engraved as a keepsake for their first Mother’s Day? The “Gold Bar Necklace” is my pick of the Geometric Collection and you can have a look at it here.

Clarins “Youthfully Radiant” Skincare Gift Set:

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Find me an Irish Mammy who doesn’t love Clarins, and I’ll tell her that she simply hasn’t tried the right products yet. I actually used to view the brand as one that catered exclusively to the Mammy/Granny target market until I tried a few products and realised that I was missing out on some absolute gems. The Clarins “Double Serum” is now my favourite facial oil/serum of them all. This stuff is what skincare miracles are made of and one of the very few products in my skincare collection that offers immediate, visible results. Clarins “Beauty Flash Balm” is another effective product that never lets me down so I reckon it’s worth buying the set which is better value and is also currently discounted online from Debenhams.

TheBalm “Nude ‘Tude”:

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If your Mum loves make up and would get a giggle out of theBalm’s cheeky packaging, then this palette is a fool proof purchase. The shades are pigmented and silky smooth so they’re easy to blend. They’re also universally flattering colours that can be used to create both soft and extra-glam looks. Again, this product is currently discounted here from Debenhams.

Charlotte Tilbury “Pillow Talk” Lipstick:

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There are very few ladies out there who don’t appreciate the power of a good lipstick. I recently published a full review of Charlotte Tilbury’s “Pillow Talk” lipstick which you can find here but it’s safe to say that this is a fool-proof purchase because the shade is universally flattering and fabulous. It’s available to purchase online here.

 

And there you have it, my complete Mother’s Day gift guide. Now, do share and tell us what you’ll be buying Mammy in the comment section.

Rouge x

Bellamianta “Crystal Clear Rapid Self Tanning Clear Mousse” – Review.

Time for a little bit of full disclosure. Before you read this blog post, please note that I am absolutely atrocious at applying false tan. The majority of the time, I just give it a miss and embrace the pale and, that’s ok too. I really wish that people wouldn’t feel insecure about their natural skin tone. However, it’s alright to want to mix it up every now and again and in this miserable winter weather, a little sun kissed glow can help to brighten a dull day.

Like I said, I’m really not talented when it comes to applying tan but recently, Bellamianta sent me a press package and promised me that their new formula was a game changer. And, in many ways, they were right.

 

 

First off, you prepare your skin for this formula as you would for any other tan. That means lots of body scrub and moisturiser for approx four days before application. If you don’t prep your skin properly, the tan won’t apply properly and really, whose fault is that?

So I scrubbed and moisturised for about a week before a big night out and, on the Thursday evening, decided to marinate. This Bellamianta formula is “crystal” clear so there’s no guide colour. Happy enough to take the risk, I applied a plentiful amount to my body using the Bellamianta tanning mitt. The product is soft and luxurious to apply. It spreads quickly and evenly and unfortunately, that’s how I lost the run of myself and after six minutes and two Beyoncé songs, I realised that I’d applied one third of the bottle to my body!

I didn’t panic though, there was no guide colour after all so I was sure I’d applied the product perfectly. Again, full disclosure – I’d had a few wines at the time. Of course, I took some ridiculous notion that I needn’t apply the formula to my face because I could just “match it up” with a foundation in the morning. Here’s a word of warning – ALWAYS apply the formula to your face because your foundation doesn’t want to work that hard. Anyway, off to sleep I went, perfectly content and delighted with my new found tanning ability.

I woke up the next morning and my limbs were a gorgeous olive shade. To my delight, the tan hadn’t transferred on to my crisp white sheets and that’s the main selling point of this formula. It really doesn’t transfer on to clothing or your bed sheets and for that reason, I would definitely repurchase.

Of course, I was instantly in awe of the gorgeous bronzed shade of my skin and went to admire myself in the mirror and that’s where a little bit of disaster struck – I really should have applied the formula to my face. Of course, that was my own fault and it isn’t a mistake I’ll make again.

Even after a shower, the tan was much darker than my natural skin tone and it took a make up artist’s collection to “match” me up so my gorgeous pal Aisling Hickey sorted me out with a make over. For reference, here’s a photo of my regular foundation shade vs the shade I wore to match the Bellamianta formula.

 

 

The neck/face conundrum wasn’t the only application issue I faced as I accidentally tanned the palms of my hands and clearly, that’s where the majority of the one third of the bottle went because nothing would remove it – not even my usual lemon juice trick.

However, application glitches aside, I absolutely loved the formula. It blended into the skin easily, dried quickly and gave an even colour pay off. The tan really is a gorgeous olive tone. My favourite thing about the formula is that it doesn’t transfer on to the bed sheets – even when you apply far too much! I’ve since re-applied the tan and recommend, as Bellamianta do, that you use the formula sparingly – especially around the hands, feet, knees and elbows.

 

All in all, this is definitely one of the better false tan formulas that I’ve tried and by gifting it to me, Bellamianta have taught me a few very valuable lessons:

1) Always apply your chosen tanning product to your face as well as your neck.

2) Don’t tan the palm of your hands.

3) It’s probably not a good idea to wine and tan!

I will be using this one again and again until I have to purchase another bottle and that really does say a lot –  rarely use the same tanning formula more than three times. It may be of interest to lots of you that the tan wore off evenly, with the help of body scrub and moisturiser.

The Bellamianta “Crystal Clear” formula is available in pharmacies nationwide and online from Cloud10 Beauty. Have you tried it yet? Are you as excited as I am about a formula that doesn’t transfer on to your sheets? Let us know in the comment section!

Rouge x

ELF Cosmetics’ “Prep and Hydrate Balm” – Review.

Alright, so a few of you have been asking me why I’m not publishing blog posts as often as I used to. I’m actually a little surprised that anyone noticed but the truth is that I’ve simply started a new job that demands my full attention and to be honest, the blogging community has become a little bit saturated with “samsie” beauty posts. We all get the same press drops and an awful lot of the time, it seems like we’re all writing the same or similar type of content.

That said, every so often, a product that I cannot stop raving about comes along and I just have to take a few hours to write about it. Yes, that means that I’ve found a new “Holy Grail” – so let’s talk about ELF’s “Prep and Hydrate Balm”. Sweet baby Jesus, this primer knocks all of the other primers that I’ve tried out of the park.

Basically, it’s a travel-friendly balm formula that you pop all over your cleansed face and blend with your fingertips before applying foundation. The balm is infused with Vitamin E, Shea Butter and Aloe so it’s instantly cooling on the skin. I think this one is perfect for dry, sensitive skin that’s irritated by the cold weather we’re experiencing at the moment.

So, why does this primer stand out from the others? Well, this is the first formula that keeps my foundation in place ALL day. I usually apply my make up at 6am and don’t take it off until about 9pm so as I’m sure you can imagine, a lot of foundation generally wears off throughout the day or gets absorbed into my skin (gross). Not any more – the balm creates a real barrier between my skin and my foundation (Armani Luminous Silk) and now when I wash my face in the evening, I see much more product on the washcloth. The balm also creates an even base for the application of your foundation and works well to conceal dry skin.

The photo above was taken after approximately 5-6 hours of wear – no filter necessary. The lazy girl inside me is delighted that I no longer have to cart about a make up bag to top up my foundation when I decide to go to the pub after work.

The formula isn’t greasy to the touch but I do imagine it works better for dehydrated / normal skin than it does for oily skin but at less than €15, I’d recommend everyone to give it a go.

ELF Cosmetics products are available in pharmacies nationwide and in Penneys.

Now tell me, what affordable products do you deem deserving of “Holy Grail” status? Let us know in the comment section.

Rouge x