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:

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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:

 

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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

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Clarins “Double Serum” Review.

At this stage, you all know that I’m obsessed with skincare. I’m one of those weirdos who thoroughly enjoys a double cleanse, followed by three of four different kinds of lotions and potions that promise to target specific skin concerns. However, I’m also a Trainee who always seems to be on a very tight budget which makes it difficult to justify purchasing said lotions and potions.

When I received a sample of the Clarins “Double Serum”, I though whoa – I’ll never be able to repurchase this if I fall in love with it and really want to add it to my (already lengthy) skin care regime. A 50ml bottle retails at the grand total of €90. Yikes! However, in the name of research, I set about using the product anyway and I won’t lie, I was sort of hoping that I would hate it.

I should have known better – Clarins never let me down. And now, if I could only ever buy one skincare product for the rest of my entire life, it would be “Double Serum”. That’s a statement that I really don’t make lightly. I held off on reviewing this one for a really long time – I’ve used a 50ml press sample and purchased a 30ml bottle with my own, hard-earned cash. I never, ever promote products that I wouldn’t buy myself but given that this one is more expensive than my usual picks, I used it for at least six months before writing this post.

The serum is lightweight and sinks into the skin quite quickly – I’d say that it absorbs into my skin within 15 mins. There is a measured pump on the packaging which means that you don’t waste any product when you’re applying it. I use two of the “large” pumps every evening on my face, neck and chest area. I don’t apply moisturiser over the serum but you can, if you like. I don’t apply this product in the morning as I feel that it needs a few minutes to absorb and I’m just too lazy to get out of bed any earlier. I’m a five minute make up / no make up at all girl in the morning so I usually slap everything on and run out the door.

Clarins have adopted lots of jargon to explain the science side of things and I won’t pretend to understand it. All I know is that I was promised smoother, plumper skin as well as a more radiant complexion and this product delivered. After application, my skin feels hydrated instantaneously. I also notice that when I apply the product before going to bed, it brightens my skin in a matter of hours. I’m really happy with the results and think that “Double Serum” is a mini facial in a bottle.

So, is it worth the price tag? In my opinion, it definitely is. I’ve recommended this product to both my Mum and my Granny and both of them have added it to their own skincare routines so I’m inclined to say that it probably suits all ages and skin types. In order to cover the cost, I’ve ditched my “targeted” skin care products for the most part.

The above picture should give you an idea of the condition of my skin, without make up (I am wearing mascara and lipgloss). Of course, I’m the first to say that I do have quite naturally good skin – thanks to my Mam – but, I definitely think that “Double Serum” is to thank for keeping my skin bright and radiant.

So, what do you think? Could you justify the spend? Let us know in the comment section.

Rouge x

“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

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

Charlotte Tilbury’s “Pillow Talk” Lipstick – Review.

Do you remember when I started writing this blog and I was absolutely obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury? Probably not, but a few years ago when Tilbury first launched, I thought that the products were the only luxury beauty products worth buying. Of course, as I continued to blog, my horizons were broadened and to be honest, I couldn’t justify continuing to purchase €32 lipsticks when I already had a collection spanning over 100 shades.

However, I always make an exception for Valentine’s Day and I buy a new high-end lipstick every year for the occasion. This year, I returned to the Tilbury counter to make my selection but let’s face it, with all the hype surrounding Charlotte’s new “Pillow Talk” lipstick, I didn’t even bother swatching any other options.

 

 

The shade “Pillow Talk” started out as a beautiful pink/nude lip liner which was an immediate cult favourite when Charlotte Tilbury launched her make up collection. Of course, the liner was actually one of my first Tilbury purchases and, it remains an every day staple in my make up collection. So, when everyone started talking about the release of “Pillow Talk” in the “Matte Revolution” lipstick formula, it sky-rocketed to the top of my wish list.

The “Matte Revolution” lipstick formula is infused with a blend of oils so it isn’t drying on the lips. However, it’s not really completely matte either – the formula does have a slight sheen, as you will see in the pictures. The texture is perfectly silky and I think it’s a great matte option for older ladies.

 

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The “Pillow Talk” shade is absolutely beautiful. It’s a gorgeous nude with pink tones so it really flatters the Irish “Celtic” complexion which was really important for me because beige toned nude lipsticks tend to make me look like a walking corpse. The pink/nude shade isn’t ground breaking and I have a few similar ones in my collection but this particular one applies beautifully and it has good lasting power. It’s definitely a “your lips but better” kind of colour.

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The lipstick is pricey at €32 but I really would pick this one up again. It ticks all the boxes that a high-end matte lipstick formula should. It’s a beautiful universal shade, it has a silky and moisturising texture and it’s long lasting – perfect for gals who are always on the go. “Pillow Talk” has definitely become my every day, office wear lipstick and I’ve been getting lots of compliments on it.

 

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So, what do you think? Would you spend the moola? Let us know 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