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

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Armani “Lip Magnet” – Review

If you’ve watched my Instastories lately, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with Armani beauty products. They’re one of my favourite make up brands, simply because their products are fuss-free and easy to use. With this in mind, when I’m buying new products, the Armani counter is usually my first stop and a few weeks ago, I went on a little bit of a shopping spree. I picked up some of my usual favourites, including the Armani “Luminous Silk Foundation” which I reviewed here but I also picked up a newbie.

 

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Let me introduce you to the newest member of my lipstick family; Armani’s “Lip Magnet” in the Shade “No. 508”. Now, I fell in lust with the “Lip Magnet” formula last winter, when the first batch of shades were released and wore “No.602”, a stunning deep plum shade, religiously over the Christmas season. So, when the sales assistant at the Armani counter in Brown Thomas informed me that Armani released new shades of the “Lip Magnet” formula for Christmas 2017, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. However, I didn’t expect anything nearly as gorgeous as the shade “No.508” – I think I’ve finally found my “perfect” nude shade.

The “Lip Magnet” is a really high-end, matte lipstick. It glides onto the lips and if you apply a very thin layer, it feels weightless on the lips. I know that some people are concerned about wearing matte make up products during the cold weather months but they’re ideal for nights out and you’ll see plenty of those over the festive season. The “Lip Magnet” stays put ALL night, not just for a few hours and it’s neither drying nor moisturising. It does fade but it doesn’t crack or bleed like lots of other matte formulas and for this reason, I’m content to pay the hefty price of €33.

Did I mention that the “No.508” shade is perfection? As a pale skinned ghost girl, I really struggle to find nude lipstick shades that don’t create the illusion that I’m a cast member of The Walking Dead. For that reason, I steer clear of light nudes and opt for rose shades instead. However, this shade is a beautiful light pink shade that’s actually pretty close (but nicer) to my natural lip shade.

 

To summarise, the “Lip Magnet” is my new go-to party lipstick and even though I am a fan of the classic Christmas reds, I think I’ll be opting to wear “No.508” at every opportunity over the next few weeks! If you’re at an Armani counter over the next few weeks, have a swatch and you won’t regret it!

 

What do you think of the shade? And, have you tried the “Lip Magnet” formula before? Let us know in the comment section!

Rouge x

Black Friday – My Top 5 Picks

As some of you will already know, I’ve been sharing Black Friday discount codes over on my Instagram all week. In fact, at this stage, it’s probably a bit of a discount code overload. It’s all well and good having a big list of discounts, but stock levels are likely to plummet as quickly as your bank balance so it’s important to have a list of items that you want to pick up, while they’re on offer. With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful if I shared my own list. I’ve limited myself to five purchases (it was very difficult to narrow it down) and my wishlist reads a little something like this:

POCO by Pippa “The Off Duty” (Reduced from €90 to €70):

 

POCO by Pippa

 

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a pair of POCO by Pippa jeans for months now and Black Friday is the perfect opportunity. Pippa has just announced that there will be €20 off selected styles from 12pm tonight. I’ll be picking up a pair of the Off Duty style and they’re available here.

 

Instyler “Cerasilk Styling Iron” (Reduced from €119.99 to €89.99):

 

Instyler Cerasilk

 

I actually broke my GHD styler a few weeks ago and rather than purchasing another one, I’ve decided to buy an Instyler “Cerasilk” instead. Instyler are an Irish brand and their heated hair tools are designed to straighten and curl hair so this tool is multi-purpose. The “Cerasilk” is designed to keep hair as healthy as possible, by limiting any heat damage caused by the product. I’m delighted about this because I’m trying to keep my hair and need to avoid adding to my split ends! The “Cerasilk” is available here with a 25% discount.

 

“Sculpted by Aimee Connolly” Palette (Reduced from €24.95 to €19.95):

 

Sculpted by Aimee Connolly

 

Aimee Connolly is one of my favourite Irish Make Up Artists. You need only watch Pippa O’Connor’s Snapchats for a few days to get a sneak peak of her in action and the results are always flawless. This leads me to believe that Aimee’s first product release, the “Sculpted” palette is a must have and therefore, I must have it. I struggle with contour more than any other make up technique so I’m looking forward to giving this a whirl. I think that this would be a great Christmas pressie for ladies of all ages. Cloud10 Beauty are offering 20% off the palette using the code BLACK20.

 

Blank Canvas “6 Piece Travel Set” (Reduced from €40 to €26):

Blank Canvas

 

For the past few years, I’ve used Black Friday as an excuse to stockpile make up brushes but this year, I’m going to be sensible and take it easy on my bank balance. With that said, I’m starting a new job in a few weeks so I think that a new set of travel brushes can be considered an essential purchase. Blank Canvas never let me down when it comes to the quality of their brushes so I will be picking up one of these travel sets for my handbag and two F20 brushes because they’re my absolute favourite brushes for creating the perfect base. Blank Canvas are offering a huge 35% off from 7pm this evening and this set is available from their website here.

 

Clarins “Eau Ressourcante” Gift Set (Reduced from €42 to €35.70):

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Clarins have some AMAZING Christmas offerings this year and as always, their gift sets are great value. I’ve been meaning to purchase the “Eau Ressourcante” fragrance for some time now, after spritzing it at the Clarins’ counter in my local Debenhams a few months ago. The scent is marketed as a calming, soothing fragrance and contains notes of Basil, Iris and Cedarwood. It’s a gorgeous, earthy fragrance that reminds me of a day at the spa. Basically, when you buy this gift set at the reduced price (15% off), you’re getting the full sized body cream and a travel size body scrub for free. You can pick up this bargain here, from Debenhams.

 

That’s it – the height of my Black Friday spending. I’m going to do my best to stick with this list but I will let you know if I make any impulse purchases over the course of the day via Instagram Stories (UN: Rougewritinghood).

In the meantime, tell us what’s on your wishlist in the comment section!

Rouge x

TheBalm “Foiled Again” Eyeshadow Palette Review

It takes a lot to get me excited about new beauty releases these days. I work full-time and by the time I get home in the evening, after battling rush hour traffic in Dublin, I’m just too wrecked to start playing with make-up and testing new products. However all is not lost and every now and then, something comes along that makes me squeal with delight. The new “Foiled Again” palette from theBalm was one of those products.

 

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The “Foiled Again” palette is made up of twelve eyeshadows – four matte shades and eight foiled shades. The shadows can be used dry or dampened with some setting spray (I use the Urban Decay “All Nighter” formula) to create a more intense look. The formulas glide onto the skin effortlessly and the matte and shimmer shades blend together beautifully – which is surprisingly unusual.

 

 

Now, you’ll have to excuse my dodgy swatching skills but just look at those shades! My favourite thing about the “Foiled Again” palette is that it’s a universal product that will suit every skin tone and even though lots of people will question the inclusion of four matte shades, I think that they work really well to complete the palette. This palette would be perfect for both beginners and make up geeks so it’s a great one to purchase for Christmas.

 

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As you can probably guess from the picture above, the golds in this palette are my favourite but I’m really looking forward to experimenting with the fiery red shade, “Guilty” over the festive season. I recommend pairing the shimmery looks created using this palette with a bold feline flick – theBalm’s “Schwing” liner is actually the perfect product for creating this look?

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself to Debenhams on Henry Street and get swatching!!

Rouge x

Urban Decay “Troublemaker Mascara” Review

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the Yumi Lash Enhancement Treatment and I got lots of questions about what mascaras I recommend to pair with the treatment. Honestly, everyone has different preferences when it comes to mascara, but I thought now would be a good time to write a post about the product that I have been wearing every day for over six weeks – the new Urban Decay “Troublemaker Mascara”.

Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara Review

 

Lots of you have already tried Urban Decay’s cult favourite “Perversion Mascara”, which is actually the one that Kim Kardashian wore on her wedding day (yes, I do enjoy sharing that piece of trivia) and those of you who have tried it, will know that the formula is unlike anything else on the market. That includes the “Troublemaker Mascara”. The duo are completely different. “Perversion” is a blacker than black formula that gives the lashes a glossy effect while “Troublemaker” provides a matte finish and a more subtle shade of black.

The “Troublemaker Mascara” has become my new holy grail for lots of reasons. When I’m trying a new mascara, I ask myself three questions:

  1. Does the formula add length and volume?
  2. Does the formula smudge?
  3. Does the formula last well without flaking or fading throughout the day/night?

Firstly, the “Troublemaker” formula adds lots of length and I would go as far as to say that it’s the best lengthening mascara that I’ve tried during my beauty blogging years. It doesn’t add as much volume to the lashes as the “Perversion” formula does but I’m not bothered by that because the end result is really long, defined lashes without a clump in sight.

“Troublemaker” is practically smudge-proof but it does take awhile to get used to the silicone wand. It’s perfectly designed to reach corner lashes but it does take a little practice to achieve perfection. My best advice here is to apply light layers and build the product up, particularly on the lower lashes. Give the formula a chance to dry before blinking (it’s fast drying so that’s not a huge task) and you’re good for the day. Once the mascara dries, it won’t run or smudge. Urban Decay are marketing the product as sex-proof – I’ll let you be your own judge of that one. This means that the product stays put all day but it’s not waterproof like “Perversion”, it’s water resistant.

My pet peeve in the beauty industry is mascaras that flake after a few hours of wear. In this day and age, I can’t understand how brands are still producing mascaras that run down your face during the day/night, leaving you looking like a panda. This is particularly frustrating if you’re in the office and don’t have a chance to check your reflection until 5.30pm, when you’re walking out the door. Basically, women need beauty products that they can rely on without having to top up or feeling the need to “fix their face” throughout the day. And, this is why I love “Troublemaker”. I’ve worn it every single day for weeks, in different weather conditions and it hasn’t let me down once. I’m not worried about walking into a meeting looking like Alice Cooper and this is really all that I need in a mascara. On another note, I have slept in my make up more than once in recent weeks (yes, I know it’s gross) and I’ve woken up with perfect eye make up on each occasion. And, I really do mean perfect – no smudging, no flaking.. However, my foundation and lipstick didn’t seem to get the memo.

Now, I think that’s enough blathering for one evening. Besides, we all know that the real truth likes in a classic “before and after” photo. Ask and you shall receive:

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There’s no filter on either photo and my lashes are natural in both but I would say that I have very fair eyelashes so that accounts for a lot of the difference in the two pictures. Obviously, the “Troublemaker Mascara” isn’t a miracle worker but it’s pretty damn close, as far as I’m concerned! And for those wondering – the false tan is Vita Liberata and although the shade is gorgeous, I don’t rate it as well as the BPerfect tan that I’ve been trialling lately – but that’s another day’s blog post.

All in all, I love the “Troublemaker” formula and I will be repurchasing it when mine runs out. The only minor issue that I do have is that it’s a bit difficult to remove – not as difficult as some of the impossible formulas I’ve tried (*cough Benefit’s “They’re Real” *cough) but it definitely does require some work. I’m currently using a Nivea eye make up remover to take the formula off and it works well but if you’re hoping to remove the mascara with regular cleansing cream, you’re out of luck. This is an issue with the majority of high-end mascaras though and if you’re looking for a formula that doesn’t budge, it’s just the flip-side that you have to deal with.

 

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If you’ve already tried the mascara for yourself, let us know your thoughts in the comment section!

Rouge x

Yumi Lashes Lash Enhancement – Review

I can actually hear your eyes rolling as you read the title of this blog post. Yes, I know – we’re all sick to death of beauty “fads” and treatments that promise miracles and don’t deliver. “Fat Freezing” and “Body Sculpting”, I’m looking at you. So, I think that you’re entitled to be skeptical about the Yumi Lashes treatment that is marketed as “a revolutionary method of creating volume or straightening lashes”, if the brand do say so themselves. I’ll even admit that I thought it was another beauty gimmick when I first heard about it. However, when my local salon Essential Beauty Skin & Laser in Bailieborough, County Cavan started offering the treatment, I knew there had to be some truth to the marketing spiel – the girls in the salon never offer a treatment that they don’t believe in.

 

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My cousin actually booked the treatment before I did and her results were amazing but she has naturally full, long lashes so I still didn’t know if it would work as well on my own. However, I decided to bite the bullet before I went on my holidays to Portugal a few weeks ago and I’m so glad that I did.

Firstly, I have to warn you that you absolutely MUST have a patch test before you have the Yumi treatment because the results would be far from pretty if you’re allergic to the tint or the glue. The treatment takes approximately 40 minutes, and it’s a lot more relaxing than I expected it to be. I have pretty sensitive eyes so I was bracing myself for a half an hour of torture but, I was in great hands with Ciara at Essential Beauty Skin and Laser.

The Yumi treatment is basically as sophisticated “tint and perm” for eyelashes. The process begins with the application of relaxing eye masks to hydrate your under-eye area while a silicone mould is applied to your upper eyelid. The upper lashes are then lifted towards the silicone to curl them and serum is applied to set the curl. It’s not all as glamorous as it sounds because the curling solution smells disgusting but, that’s something that we can let slide. After the curl is set, the upper lashes are tinted. Then, the adhesive is removed you’re left with fabulous eyelashes. Removal is a bit uncomfortable and as with all eyelash tinting treatments; stings like bejaysus. It’s definitely tolerable though and I think that the photo below demonstrates that it’s worth a few seconds of discomfort for the results.

 

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For 24 hours after the treatment, you can’t allow your lashes to get wet and you have to make sure that you touch them as little as possible – which is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. As you can see, the difference is really impressive and two weeks later, I’m still getting compliments on my lashes. Yumi say that the results last 9 – 12 weeks (as long as the natural life cycle of your lashes) but the girls in Essential Beauty Skin and Laser said that for some people, the life cycle is 6 – 9 weeks.

The beauty industry is one that thrives on illusion and often we’re presented with nothing but photos of airbrushing, heavy make up and false lashes. Sometimes it’s refreshing to opt for a more natural look and that’s exactly what the Yumi treatment caters for. Here’s a picture of my natural eyelashes, after the treatment, without mascara:

 

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Of course, the effect of the Yumi treatment intensifies after the application of mascara. In my opinion, the results after a coat or two of mascara are gorgeous and actually look a lot better than a set of lash extensions. My favourite mascara to pair with the treatment is the Urban Decay “Troublemaker” mascara because it holds all day without budging, even when you’re melting in the heat in Portugal! I’ll drop a photo below to demonstrate how the treatment works with mascara, and I think you’ll be straight on the phone to book an appointment!

 

 

Overall, I would highly recommend the treatment and if you’re in the Cavan area, you should pop into the girls in Essential Skin and Laser because they’re absolute pros. I’ll keep you up to date on how long the treatment lasts for me but after two weeks, my lashes haven’t budged and I will definitely be booking in for another treatment before Christmas! 

Rouge x 

 

Lancome “Matte Lip Shaker” – Review

A few months ago, I started a new job and blogging was kind of placed on the “back burner”. As much as I adore testing new beauty products, I simply found that I didn’t have as much time to play around with new releases and I’m never going to publish half-assed reviews, just for the sake of it. As any Irish parent would tell you, “money doesn’t grow on trees” and the beauty market is saturated with new releases to tempt the bank balance. However, now that I’ve settled in to the job, I’m back with some new review posts – and this time you can be sure that I’m choosing the “créme de la créme” of products to write about because I won’t find any time to write about the mediocre ones.

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Today, I want to talk to you about a product that I have been testing for months – the Lancome “Matte Shaker” lip colours. At first, when I received these in the post, I was worried that the design might be a gimmick but the novelty still hasn’t worn off. The packaging is sleek and quirky but more importantly, it’s handbag-proof. The lid of the “Matte Shaker” is sturdy and won’t open in your bag while you’re on the move. Anyone who has had the inside of their designer handbag smeared with bright lipstick will realise just how handy this is. The sponge applicator is difficult to get used to in the beginning and you will definitely need a mirror to apply this product but, the shape of the sponge eliminates the need to use a lip liner which is a pro that outweighs the con, in my opinion.

I’ve played around with all of the colours in this collection and there’s something to suit everyone. There are seven shades that range from peach to nude to bright orange. Although, I have to say that, for me, the reds steal the show. “Red-y In 5” is my favourite shade from the range and the one that I have chosen to use for imagery purposes in this post. It’s a beautiful, bold red that has gorgeous blue undertones. This type of red shade is perfect for pale complexions and the blue undertones help to create the illusion of whiter teeth.

 

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Now, let’s talk about the formula. What sets this matte lipstick apart in a market saturated with similar products? Well, I have to say that while there may be one hundred other matte lip products on the market at the moment, there are none quite like this one.

The formula is packed with pigment and although it’s build-able, it was designed to be applied as a super thin layer of colour. Any residue of the product seems to almost evaporate when it’s applied to the lips, so the formula wears like a second skin. The “Matte Lip Shakers” are exactly that – completely and totally matte so if you are looking for a moisturising lip product, this isn’t it. However, because the formula is so lightweight, it won’t drain any moisture from your lips and will leave them exactly as it found them.

I love the texture of this product and enjoy that it’s really comfortable to wear. Lots of matte lip products can feel heavy and balmy on the lips but you could forget that you were wearing any product at all, after applying the “Matte Shaker”.

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Taking all of the above into consideration, I have to say that I rate the “Matte Shaker” from Lancome as one of my favourite releases of 2017. I would even go as far as to say that it’s the most comfortable matte lipstick on the market at the moment, closely followed by TheBalm’s “Meet Matt(e) Hughes”.

Lancome “Matte Shakers” retail at €19.50 which is a pretty decent price point and they’re available from Lancome stockists nationwide. Have you tried the product? Or, do you already have favourite matte lipstick? Either way, we would love to hear about it so let us know in the comment section or over on Instagram under the corresponding post!

Rouge x