“To Me, From Me” – A Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.

On what feels like the 74th day of January, I’ve decided that it’s time for a little “Treat Yo Self” style post. If you’re anything like me, you spent all of your hard earned cash on others over the Christmas season and now it’s time to give back – to ourselves. Every January for as long as I have been working, I’ve put aside approximately €50 of my wages to purchase a Valentine’s Day treat for myself. I love me, who do you love? This year, I’ve decided to post the list of gifts that I’ve narrowed it down to; in the hope that it will inspire you all to treat yourself to a little something. Go on, you deserve it.

Clarins “Joli Rouge Velvet” (742V) – €24 from Debenhams:

It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s inspired gift guide without a red lipstick, now would it? This offering from Clarins is one of my all time favourites and I’ve had the shade in my handbag for over a year now. The formula has a matte finish but genuinely feels lightweight on the lips. It’s not drying but it has an intense pigment with real lasting power. Every time I wear this, I get lots of compliments so I definitely recommend purchasing if red shades with blue undertones are your cup of tea.

Sass & Boho “No F**ks Given” Candle – £20 from Sass & Boho:

This candle from Sass & Boho is top of my personal wishlist so I think I’ll definitely be ordering one of these as soon as my wages come through. I moved into a new apartment a few weeks ago and I’ve become obsessed with home fragrance, even more than before. Sass & Boho are one of my favourite candle brands because their products are fantastic quality – they burn evenly, for approximately 50 hours and don’t lose their fragrance like lots of cheaper options on the market. They’re also an Irish company so if you treat yourself to one of their products, you’ll be supporting one of our own businesses. I haven’t tried the “No F**ks Given” scent yet but I love the sound of a masculine scent that is spicy with floral undertones. Plus, the packaging is so cool that I’ll reuse it as a make up brush holder. Practically making money.

Stila “Lingerie Soufflé Skin Perfecting Primer” – €32.95 from Cloud 10 Beauty:

I know nothing about this primer from Stila. It’s brand new to the market and boy, do I want to add it to my collection. I’m generally a fan of the Stila brand so when I saw the packaging, which is so beautiful, and heard that it’s a lightweight formula comprised of natural botanicals and over 70% water; I was drawn in. I’m hoping it will have a plumping and hydrating effect on the skin but will keep you updated after I get my hands on it.

IT Cosmetics “Confidence in a Cream” – £38 from Cult Beauty:

Some of you will already know that I’m fairly obsessed with IT Cosmetics’ “CC Cream”. Well, when I purchased it a few months ago, the sales assistant on the counter gave me a few decent sized samples of “Confidence in a Cream”. It’s safe to say that I fell in love and I’m dying to purchase the moisturiser once my January spending ban is behind me. The formula includes hyaluronic acid and collagen to help plump the skin and hydrate it. I definitely noticed an improvement when I was using the samples so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a full size jar.

Lauryn Rose “Geometric Gold Disc Necklace” – €39 from Lauryn Rose:

If you were following the blog around Christmas time, you will know that I’m a huge fan of Lauryn Rose. They’re an online Irish jewellery store, selling beautiful, dainty pieces. I’m particularly fond of their “Geometric Collection” which they engraved for free with every order. I’ve ordered this particular necklace for myself, engraved with the number “23” (my lucky number). I also think it would be beautiful engraved with an initial of your choosing.

And there you have it, the extent of my February shopping list. If you know of anything that you think I should add, please let me know – I obviously intend to be broke in March too!

Rouge x

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Wet n Wild “ Mega Slim Skinny Mascara” – Review.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I’m a big fan of Wet n Wild. It’s been one of my favorite budget beauty brands since way back in the day when I started blogging. I’m obsessed with their blushers, highlighters and lipsticks and you’ll often hear me chatting on my Insta-stories about old favorites and new releases. However, I have to say that I’ve just never gotten along with their mascaras. I’ve tried a few and I’ve just never been wowed by them, particularly the “Max Volume” formula which got lots of praise from the blogging community but just wouldn’t stay on my lashes for more that 20 minutes, without transferring to my cheeks and transforming me into Alice Cooper. So, as you can imagine, I was apprehensive about their new launch; the “Mega Slim Skinny Mascara”. But, apprehension never stops me from trying a new product out and in this instance, I have to say that the packaging had me really intrigued.

So, let’s talk about the packaging then. As you can probably tell from the product’s name; it has a teeny, skinny wand which means a few things: a) the formula applies easily to every single lash and b) it’s not messy to apply and you won’t have to worry about smudging your eyelid with a clumsy, big wand. However, it also means that you have to apply a few coats if you want both length and volume because the wand doesn’t dispense enough product in one swipe to create a major amount of volume.

The formula itself is a gorgeous shade of jet black and applies evenly without clumping. I’ve been wearing this mascara for weeks now and haven’t experience any flaking or clumping, even after approx 12 hours of wear. It just doesn’t budge. This is exactly what has me sold – the “Mega Slim Skinny Mascara” is a €5 Mascara that doesn’t slide down your face throughout the day. How could you go wrong?

There’s a little unedited (as always) snap to demonstrate what my lashes look like after application of the mascara. You’ve probably all seen my natural lashes a million times before on Instagram but for those of you who don’t know, they’re extremely fair but naturally long-ish. I think that this mascara really helps to create the illusion of extra length though. I also love how well it applies to my bottom lashes and makes them loom full, without smudging or transferring. I’ve been getting a surprising amount of compliments on my eye make up lately and I have to say, I think that this product from Wet n Wild is the one making the difference.

You can buy Wet n Wild products in pharmacies nationwide but upon a quick Google, I just realised that they’re also now stocked on Beauty Bay who have the mascara in stock.

So what do you think? Have you tried products from Wet n Wild before? If so, let us know your favorites – I’m always looking to add to my shopping list.

Rouge x

BPerfect “Stacey Marie Carnival Palette” – Review.

Alright, so I know that you’ve all heard about this palette before. You’ve probably read 1,000 reviews at this stage. The “Carnival Palette”collaboration by Stacey Marie MUA and BPerfect has been nothing short of a worldwide hit. And, isn’t she a beauty?

It took me awhile to write this review because to be honest, I was afraid of half the shades in the palette. I’m comfortable with bronze, brown and gold shades so they were easy for me but I’m definitely new to bright blues and purples. Lots of the shadows were way out of my comfort zone but I love bright eyeshadow and for that reason, I was determined to use all of the shades in the palette. As you can see, there are 24 eyeshadows and 2 highlighters in this palette, so it took awhile to get through them all. However, I rose to the challenge and I’ve used every single shade in this palette because I wanted this review to be as complete as possible.

First things first, let’s talk about the eyeshadows. As the above swatches demonstrate, the pigments in these shadows are insane. There are 17 matte shadows and 7 shimmer options in the “Carnival Palette” and each of them is as beautiful as the next. Both the matte and shimmer shades feel almost buttery to the touch and you can tell instantly that they’re good quality. Usually, in every palette, there are a few “filler shades” that seem to be included simply to fill up some space. I didn’t find this to be an issue with this palette. It seems that a lot of thought went into shade selection and Stacey Marie stayed true to her love of bright, vibrant colors. I immediately noticed that there is no “mandatory black shade” in this palette and I have to say, this brought me an unexpected surge of joy. I’ve never used an entire pan of black eyeshadow in my life so I’m glad BPerfect didn’t sacrifice any of the gorgeous shades, just for the sake of including a black shadow.

Both the matte and shimmer shades in the “Carnival Palette” are relatively easy to work with. As with any bright eyeshadows, they take a bit of work to blend out but they definitely don’t lose their pigment when they’re blended together. There’s no fear of them fusing together into a weird grey shade, which is something I have experienced with a lot of colorful eyeshadow palettes from budget brands. I do find that the glitter shades are a bit more difficult to blend together than the mattes but that’s to be expected from any eyeshadow palette. All you need is a big fluffy blending brush and the problem is sorted.

The blue tones in the palette are my absolute favourite and I’ve spent ages trying to master the use of blue eyeshadow since I got my hands on it. As you can see in the above photos, it’s really easy to create a wearable look when you blend the shade “Recharge” with the neutral shades such as “Basic” and “Naked”. Once the shadows are applied, they don’t budge at all. I always apply eyeshadow over my reliable Urban Decay “Primer Potion” and using this method means that I haven’t experienced any fall out from the shadows whilst wearing them. There is always a little bit of clean up after application but honestly, I think that’s because I’m messy when it comes to applying eyeshadow anyway. I keep cotton buds and eye make up remover on hand to do a swift clean up every time I apply eye make up (mostly because I’m a bit dodgy when it comes to the auld liquid eyeliner).

As well as the blue shades, you can see that I also really enjoy playing with the purples in the “Carnival Palette”. “Chant”, “Wasted” and “Liquor” are all beautiful shades of purple that can be used to create a subtle or vibrant look, depending on your preference. And, I think that this palette really does come down to colour preference. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of pink or orange shadows but for me, the beauty of the blues, greens, purples and neutrals far outweighed the issue that I’d probably only use the pinks and orange colours once or twice. It’s as simple as this – if you’re into bright eyeshadow looks, you’ll love this palette.

The final thing to consider in this palette is the two highlighters that are included: “Saint” and “Sinner”. Similarly to the eyeshadows, they have a lovely buttery consistency and they’re easy to work with. “Sinner” is a beautiful golden shade that would work really well with tanned skin but obviously, I’m as pale as anyone could imagine so it’s not great on my complexion. I’ve been using it as an eyeshadow instead and it works great so I’m not disappointed by its inclusion in the palette. “Saint” works a lot better with my skin tone and of the two, this is the one I reach for to highlight my cheekbones and Cupid’s bow. It’s a lovely highlighter and I reach for it time and time again but I have to say, I don’t love it quite as much as the highlighter in BPerfect’s “LMD Palette” which is my absolute holy grail.

Overall, I’m very impressed with this palette. I’ve tried a few brightly coloured eyeshadow palettes in my time but the “Carnival” one is the only one I can say I’ve fallen head over heels in love with. I’ve added it to my main make up kit now and it’s whipped out every time someone mentions a night out. I think it’s well worth the €45 price tag, especially if you think you’ll get use out of all of the colours. You don’t have anything like this in your make up drawer so it definitely couldn’t be considered a waste of your hard earned cash.

The palette is available online and in pharmacies nationwide. What go you think? Are you considering a purchase? Or, if you’ve already purchased it, are you loving the “Carnival Palette” as much as me? Let us know in the comments.

Rouge x

My Birthday Beauty Wish List.

I cannot believe that it’s August 2018 already. It feels like it was five minutes ago that I was celebrating my 21st birthday and now I’m hurtling towards 30.. THIRTY! Jesus, the thought is giving me anxiety. If you had asked me four years ago where I would be right now, I reckon my delusional younger self would have been a bit too optimistic.

So without further ado, I’m going to focus on something a bit less frightening. Every year, I spend the month of August treating myself – I’m a big believer in the “Birthday Month”. I obviously spend weeks compiling a wish list and studying online reviews before I decided what to spend my (very) limited hard earned cash on. I asked if Rouge Writing Hood’s readers would be interested in reading a post about what I’ve classed as my “must haves” this year and 92% said that they would be. Majority rules so here we go..

Huda Beauty’s “Desert Dusk Palette” – €65:

 

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I had every intention of leaving this palette on the shop shelves forever. No way was I spending €65 of my moola on an eyeshadow palette – not a hope! And then, Sinead from The Beautiful Truth posted about it here and I knew I had to have it. So the “Desert Dusk” palette is at the top of my wish list now. The shade selection is right up my alley so I’m absolutely dying to try the formulas.

“Desert Dusk” is available here, from Arnotts.

 

Replica “By the Fireplace” – €105:

 

Replica’s “By the Fireplace” is my signature scent. I absolutely adore it and obviously, this one will be a re-purchase. I got a bottle of this last Christmas and I still have about 3/4 left so while it’s pricey, a little goes a long way and the bottle lasts ages. The fragrance is very much a cosy winter scent with seductive woody notes.

“By the Fireplace” is available here, from Brown Thomas.

Hourglass “Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick” – €50:

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

 

Hourglass launched in Arnotts last week so I popped into the store for a nose and I have to say, I sort of regret doing so because now I want EVERYTHING. First and foremost, I need to get my hands on this stick foundation because I tried it on and it’s nothing short of divine. I was matched with the shade “Porcelain” and it blended in with my natural skin colour perfectly. Even though it’s a stick formula (which you would expect to feel heavy), it feels soft and lightweight on the skin.

The Hourglass “Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick” is available here, from Arnotts.

 

Hourglass “Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow” – €30:

scattered_light_glitter_eyeshadow-review.jpg

 

I suppose that when you consider the fact that this single eyeshadow costs €30, the Huda palette doesn’t seem like bad value. Normally, I would say that this is CRAZY money for a single eyeshadow – especially because I always reach for palettes over my single shades but, I swatched this in store when I was trying the stick foundation and I fell in love. This is definitely the most “buttery” pigment I’ve ever come across in a glitter eyeshadow the gold shade was really vibrant. I can’t wait to add this to my collection.

You can find the “Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadow” here, from Arnotts.

 

Charlotte Tilbury “Rock n Kohl: Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil” – €25:

 

Rock_n_Kohl_Iconic_Liquid_Eye_Pencil Eye Cheat

 

 

Alright, so I know I’m late to this party but I never use nude eyeliner to brighten up my eyes. My Mum recently purchased this Charlotte Tilbury one, in the shade “Eye Cheat” and definitely influenced me. It doesn’t seem to budge at all throughout the day and the nude shade is very pigmented so it’s easy to apply.

The “Eye Cheat” liner is available here, from Arnotts.

 

Tom Ford “Lip Colour” – €48:

 

Tom Ford Near Dark Lipstick

 

 

This is starting to feel like it’s going to be a very spend-y month altogether but I mean, have you seen this shade? It’s called “After Dark” and I think it will be so perfect for autumn and winter. I love deep red shades but I have nothing like this. I also love Tom Ford lipsticks. They’re mad expensive but they really are superior quality. The pigments tend to be very strong and I’ve been impressed with the lasting power of any shade that I’ve tried to date.

You can find “After Dark” here, from Brown Thomas.

 

And there you have it, a list of all the beauty bits that I am determined to treat myself to this month. Let me know if you have any more suggestions, as I’m always open to a few add-ons.

Rouge x

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