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

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Catch 22, Dublin – A Foodie Review.

It is notoriously difficult to find great quality food, at affordable prices around the Grafton Street area. This is mainly because the well known shopping district has developed into a tourist trap, littered with chain restaurants and fast food joints. However, I am delighted to announce that I recently stumbled across a diamond in the rough. Let me introduce Catch 22.

Catch 22 is located opposite Kehoe’s on South Anne Street and they pride themselves on their simple, yet delicious seafood menu. The décor which consists of tiled flooring and bleached timber panel walls screams ‘sailor’ and, I am delighted to report that there’s nothing pretentious about the atmosphere of the restaurant.  Alas, a word of warning: this place is tiny and they operate on a “first come, first served” basis so you can only reserve tables for parties of 5+. But, if you are lucky enough to snatch up a table on arrival – you are in for the most delightful treat.

I have been to Catch 22 on two occasions now and I’m happy to report that they have my full seal of approval. On my first visit to the restaurant, I ordered a portion of calamari with hand-cut chips. More often than not, Irish eateries get it wrong when it comes to squid – we’ve all had the over-cooked, rubbery type. However, the deep-friend calamari in Catch 22 was soft and succulent, and I have to admit, surprisingly fresh. The calamari was served with chilli mayo which was tangy, rather than spicy – delicious.

  

The menu at Catch 22 provides for the addition of two specials, sourced and cooked fresh everyday. So, on my second visit to the restaurant I opted for one of these specials; prawns tossed in Marie Rose sauce, layered over home-made brown bread. The prawns themselves were moist and bursting with flavour and freshness. I expect that they were sourced directly from Dublin bay – no phoney frozen fish here! The sauce was simple, yet tasty and complimented the fresh seafood perfectly. And as an added extra, the hand-cut chips were cooked to perfection – fluffy on the inside with perfectly crispy skin.

  

And there you have it – unpretentious, wholesome comfort food at surprisingly affordable prices! 
What do you think? Worth a visit? Let us know in the comments!

Rouge X 

 

Couleur Caramel Natural Make Up -Review.

I think we can all agree that Irish women have a tendency to “over-do” it when it comes to make-up application. We are guilty of piling on product, in an attempt to hide imperfections; rather than using it to enhance and highlight our natural beauty. This is a fact that has irked me for years. Why do we feel the need to hide behind masks of foundation, concealer and contour?

I have always admired the manner in which Parisian women ooze self-confidence and sophistication. And, the majority do so without plastering their faces with make-up. So, when the lovely ladies at V Claire Beauty Centre contacted me about the launch of the all-natural French cosmetic brand, Couleur Caramel, I was very intrigued.

Favoured by celebrities including Eva Longoria, Couleur Caramel produce make-up products which are free from parabens, artificial dyes and fragrances. Often, conventional make-up products are filled with oils and chemicals which cause skin to become dry and irritated. However, because Couleur Caramel use only organic, plant-based ingredients; their formulas treat problem skin rather than simply masking it. So, let’s take a look at some of my favourite products from the range.

Couleur Caramel BB Cream (€30).

Couleur Caramel BB Cream

 

Now, if you cannot part with your full-coverage foundation, this BB cream probably won’t be your cup of tea. However, if you love a “barely there” make-up look, then you will fall in love with this formula. Filled with hyaluronic acid, this product regenerates tired looking skin, leaving a flawless and illuminated finish. I really like the BB cream because rather than masking my pale complexion, it simply brightens it with a healthy glow. The product spreads and blends easily to allow for quick application and a little goes a long way so the tube should last ages. This one has become my “go to” product, particularly for daytime and work wear.

Couleur Caramel Silk Powder (€26).

Couleur Caramel Silk Powder

 

Regardless of skin type, this finishing powder is perfect for everyone. It is so difficult to find a powder which reduces shine without appearing patchy and caked, but this product achieves the impossible. The formula is extremely light-weight on skin, but also provides instant mattifying effect which lasts for hours. My only issue is that the packaging is not quite secure enough, allowing for minor handbag spillages. However, this can be overlooked given that the packaging of Couleur Caramel products is eco-friendly and bio-degradable.

Couleur Caramel Pearly Lipstick (€17).

Couleur Caramel Lipstick

 

I have been wearing this lipstick in the shade “No. 261 Gourmand Pink” non-stop for the past two weeks. The formula provides a lovely, natural pink sheen which gives lips a healthy, moisturised appearance. Highly pigmented, the colour holds for hours without damaging the lips. So, if you suffer with dry lips during the winter, give this lipstick a try – you won’t be disappointed.

  

All in all, I love the products that I have sampled from this range. Each of them strive to achieve a natural, healthy look. And, I can vouch for the benefits – my skin definitely appears more healthy after using the products for just two weeks. Who could argue with excellent quality, achieved naturally and in an environmentally friendly manner, without any animal testing?

For more details you can visit the Couleur Caramel website or call into the V Claire Beauty Centre for a quick swatch and sample.

Let me know what you think in the comments – have you ever considered using eco-friendly products?

Rouge x

Dealz Winter Wonderland.

Maybe Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to preview the Dealz Christmas collection. Now I know what you’re all thinking – Christmas in October, really? However, as the saying goes; fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Now, I didn’t know much about Dealz before I attended the event other than the fact that everything costs €1.49 and that my mother absolutely loves the store. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an array of bargain buys – sure, I could fill a basket for under €20. What’s not to like? Whether you’re looking for decorations or stocking fillers, check out these Christmas steals!

Christmas Gift Bags

Every single Christmas Eve, I find myself running around the house in a panic, searching for gift bags. Usually, after all the shops have shut. Dealz have some really cute options such as the duo pictured above. Two gift bags for €1.49? Sure, that’s practically making money.

Christmas Red Wine Glass

If you have lots of visitors in your home over the Christmas season, your dishwasher will be in over-drive. Dealz have lots of home-ware options so why not stock up on some extras? These festive wine glasses are my personal favourite. Red is my self-declared power colour so I think I will be using them all year around.

Christmas Sack

If you have children in your home, you need to run to your nearest Dealz store and purchase as many of these sacks as you possibly can. My inner child is squealing with delight at the notion of personalised sacks, straight from Santa’s workshop.

Dealz Candle

Festive candles are a must in my household, and my mother’s scent of choice has always been cinnamon. Now, usually we purchase a few luxury candles, ranging in price from €15 to €40 but after smelling the candles which were burning in the Dealz Christmas showroom, I will be saving my money for other treats instead. Available in a few different scents, these candles are really fragrant and long-lasting – SOLD!

Jewellery Gift Box

If you’re on a bit of a tight budget for Christmas, a great option is to purchase some affordable accessories in high street stores, remove them from their plastic packaging, and deposit them into swish jewellery boxes. Nobody need ever know that their gorgeous necklace came from the sale section in Penneys. This two pack of jewellery boxes is available in stores nationwide for €1.49.

Frozen Santa Stationary

The reality is that Christmas is all about the kids and at the moment, almost every child in Ireland seems to be obsessed with Frozen. I know a particular baby brother who would be delighted with this Frozen stationary set for writing his letter to Santa.

Frozen Anna and Elsa

Alright, I know I said “kids” but you’re never too old for Disney, right? Could I please have these baubles for my Christmas tree?

Minion Cracker

I thought that these individually packaged Christmas crackers would make fabulous stocking fillers.

Peppa Pig Advent

And, it isn’t Christmas without an advent calender. I have very fond childhood memories of scoffing all 24 chocolates in one go, only to mourn the loss for the remaining 23 days so maybe it is wise to purchase a few back-ups for any greedy chocolate monsters.

Freddo

And, if that wasn’t enough chocolate for you, Dealz have a huge range of Christmas sweet sets. Smarties, Freddos, Malteasers – calories don’t count at Christmas!

Everything pictured in this post goes on sale in Dealz in November for €1.49. Will you be stocking up on any of the goodies?

Rouge x

Inglot’s AMC Eyebrow Gel – Review.

Don’t worry about me, worry about your eyebrows.

After posting a few too many selfies onto my Instagram account, I have been getting lots of questions about which products I use to shape my eyebrows. Eyebrow sculpting is a precarious art – if you do it properly, your face will appear more defined but if you use too much product you look RIDICULOUS. Yes, if you are smearing powder, gel, wax and liner all over your brow area, you probably do look ridiculous. Less is more in this instance.

As many of you already know, I am very pale with a definite ginger gene. So, it took me a long time to discover products which matched my hair and skin tone – there is nothing attractive about red hair paired with black eyebrows.

Inglot Brow Gel
However, a few months ago, my fabulous friend gifted me Inglot’s “AMC Eyebrow Gel” and I haven’t looked back since. With a range of 12 shades, Inglot have gone out of their way to accommodate those who like to match their hair colour with their eyebrows. There is one for everyone.

To use this gel, grab a small angled brush and dip it lightly into the product. Then, use the formula to sculpt the natural shape of your eyebrows. I always start from the arch and draw out towards the ears, then use the excess product on the brush by blending it in to the rest of the brow. This formula is waterproof so it is long lasting, and won’t budge from your face throughout the day.

  

 

 The above picture shows before (right eyebrow) and after (left eyebrow). It does take a few practice runs to perfect the technique and if you are unsure of your shade, I recommend visiting your local Inglot counter for a consultation with one of their well-trained staff.

Inglot’s “AMC Eyebrow Gel” is €16 and available here. Check it out and let me know what you think.

  

What products do you use to shape your eyebrows? Are you a fan of powder, gel or wax consistency?

Let me know – I love to hear your recommendations.

Rouge x

Daily Make-Up Look on a Budget (The College Edition). 

Quite a few of those who regularly read this blog are students and as you all know, college is a very expensive luxury. So, when I write about “high-end” products, I know that many of you are scoffing at the notion of spending €50 on foundation or €30 on a new lipstick.

Surely there must be a more affordable option? Well, today I have raided my make-up collection to put together an everyday look, using only “drugstore” products.

If you are not using a primer underneath your make-up, you need to invest in one. It will keep your foundation in place for considerably longer meaning that you won’t be practically barefaced come that 3pm lecture. I love this “Illuminating Primer” from Flormar which is available here for just €9.95. It’s really hydrating and should sooth skin which is sensitive to winter weather.

After applying primer, I always use a little liquid highlighter to brighten my complexion. I’m really enjoying this Botanic’s “Radiance Balm” which is available here for just €3.99. Apply lightly under foundation for a soft glow.

When it comes to choosing affordable products, I find it particularly difficult to fall in love with foundations. I am a Charlotte Tilbury fanatic but if I was on a strict budget, I would pick up this “Flawless Cream Foundation” from MeMeMe. It provides lovely, even coverage and is available in pharmacies nationwide for €15.99.

I rarely use bronzer when creating daytime looks because I’m so pale, and because I enjoy the extra few minutes in bed. Therefore, I really need a good blush to give my face some colour. I really like this Sleek blusher in the shade “Rose Gold” because it has a strong pigment which will last all day. It is also a great dupe for the Nars cult favourite “Orgasm” and is available at Cloud10 Beauty for just €5.99.

A good mascara is a must in my beauty book but, it is incredibly difficult to find a high quality formula at an affordable price. I really like Flormar’s “Spider Lash” which does exactly what it says on the packaging by giving an elongated effect, reminiscent of spider legs. Slightly gross imagery but really good results. Available here for just €4.95, this mascara is almost as good as my trusty Lancome “Grandiose” and that is a pretty big claim!

When creating a daytime look, my final step is always a pop of subtle lipstick. Go for something neutral like this Wet n Wild formula in “Bare it All” so you don’t look “over done”. At €2.99 this lipstick is a bargain so you can pick up as many as you like without feeling an iota of  guilt. Wet n Wild is available in pharmacies nationwide and in Dunnes Stores.

The final look you ask?

A “barely there” look which gives the illusion of flawless skin. And all for the grand total of €43.86 – that’s a heck of a lot of products for under €50. Student make-up bag? Sorted..

Rouge x

The Clarisonic Smart Profile – Review. 

€249 for a skincare device? Yes, I initially thought it was ridiculous too. However, when you’re pulling all nighters for exams and your skin rebels with the force of Solange Knowles in an elevator, you would try ANYTHING!

The “Smart Profile” is a sonic cleansing skincare device from Clarisonic which automatically adjusts timing and power to suit different face and body parts. For example, the timing customisation means that more delicate areas of the face such as the cheeks, receive a lighter cleanse than the forehead or nose. This is great news for anyone with sensitive skin.

I have been using the Clarisonic for approximately 5 weeks and, I’m afraid that traditional cleansing has been ruined for me for life. How the heck did I ever survive without this perfect device?

Dr. Robb Alridge, co-founder of Clarisonic states that the “Smart Profile” device cleanses skin 11 times better than using hands alone and while I can’t vouch for this particular equation – I can say that my skin feels much softer, fresher and definitely cleaner after using the Clarisonic.

To use the Clarisonic “Smart Profile”, I apply my regular cream cleanser (any cleanser can be used with the device), soak the brush head in warm water and massage face as directed. The timing customisation is made obvious by user alerts, ensuring the process is uncomplicated. I really appreciate the fact that the device has a ‘turbo’ function which allows the user to increase power at any time.

iPhone creators could also learn a thing or two from Clarisonic, with the battery of the “Smart Profile” lasting weeks at a time before the need to recharge is indictated.

All in all, I won’t be returning to traditional methods of cleansing. My exam-stress related breakouts have finally subsided and my skin is looking brighter and healthier than ever. Is the device worth €249? Well, obviously if you don’t have the money – it’s not a priority but if you are having skin problems or just want to treat yourself, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase one of these babies.

Let me know if you do!

Rouge x