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:

 

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

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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

Urban Decay “Naked Petite Heat” – Review.

Naked Petite Heat Palette

 

I have a confession to make… Until last week, I was one of the few (if not the only) beauty bloggers in the Universe who don’t possess an Urban Decay “Naked Palette”. That’s right, I didn’t have a single one of the palettes in my collection – even though I kept meaning to pick one up. So, when the brand new “Naked Petite Heat” arrived through my letterbox, I was frickin’ delighted. Finally, I get to see what all the hype is about..

 

 

This little palette is a perfect “handbag size” so it really suits me at the moment – I’m commuting from Cavan to Dublin everyday so I tend to do my make up on the bus during the commute. The packaging is gorgeous, as per usual when it comes to Urban Decay but what I really enjoy is the fact that even though the palette is small, it contains a decent sized mirror.

Initially, I thought it was an all matte palette but there’s actually one lightly shimmered shade for highlighting, “Inhale”. The remainder of the shades are matte and can be worn alone or blended together. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of matte shades because they can be chalk-like in texture with lots of fall out. However, these shades are easy to apply and fall out hasn’t been an issue at all. I would caution that a little of the darker shades goes a long way – they’re very pigmented and buildable so start with a little formula and work from there.

 

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As you can see, all of the shades in this palette have quite strong orange undertones so if orange isn’t your colour, this palette won’t be for you. This was something I was quite conscious of because obviously, I have ginger hair and I was concerned about clashing. It wasn’t an issue once I applied the shadows though because the browns can be used to mute the orange tones a little bit. Also, the burnt orange shade “Wild Thing” really makes green eyes pop.

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Overall, this is a handy little palette for your handbag and the shades would likely suit every skin tone. I would really recommend it for anyone who isn’t a fan of big clunky eyeshadow palettes that aren’t really portable. Also, it’s a great little “starter palette” for teenagers who are just beginning to wear make up. Urban Decay was actually one of the first luxury beauty brands that I fell in love with so I really recommend it for the younger generation.

 

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The “Naked Petite Palette” will be launched in Debenhams and the Urban Decay Store on Grafton Street, Dublin in April. So, tell me – are you adding this one to your wish list? What do you think of the orange tones? Let us know in the comment section!

Rouge x

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

 

The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Face Masks

Another week, another “Hit, Miss and Maybe” post. So far, we’ve had a look at micellar watercleansing lotions and wash and facial exfoliators. To date, the posts have been really successful and lots of you seem to enjoy reading about the products that I love and the ones that amount to a skincare disaster, in my opinion. Of course, you haven’t all been in agreement with my choices but that’s half the fun – I’m having a great time sifting through the comments and picking up some skincare tips along the way.

This week, we’re going to talk about face masks. A face mask isn’t really an essential step in one’s skincare routine but everyone deserves a little bit of luxury. I’m a big fan of these type of products and usually apply a face mask once a week or more often, if I’m going on a night out. Here are some of the products that I love and, of course, some of the ones that I hate..

“Hit” Products:

PHYT’s “Masque Révélateur” (€24) – Available Here from PHYT’s Ireland:

 

PHYTs Masque Review

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that PHYT’s is one of my all-time favourite skincare brands. They produce organic, natural and cruelty-free products that contain active ingredients which means that although they’re gentle, the products REALLY work. This product is a radiance mask, which means that it’s designed to brighten dull, tired skin. And, I can confirm that the results are instantaneous.

If I have lots of time to get ready before I night out, I will apply this mask after cleansing my skin and allow it to work its magic for fifteen minutes while I curl my hair. The ingredients in the mask including camphor, mint and sunflower extract work together to soothe tired skin, smoothing the surface and brightening the area – this product is gentle enough that it can even be used underneath the eyes to diminish dark circles. I rinse the mask off using lukewarm water and a facecloth and my skin looks instantly plump and refreshed, as though I just had a good night’s sleep. After using this formula, foundation sits far better on my face and doesn’t cling to any dry skin. If you have an event coming up, I would 100% recommend taking an extra few minutes before applying make-up to use this product.

ESPA “Optimal Skin ProCleanser” (£31 – UK) – Available Here from ESPA:

ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser

Alright, so technically this product is marketed as a cleanser but, it’s actually a multi-tasking formula. When it comes to removing make-up, I prefer to use the ESPA “Hydrating Milk Cleanser” which I wrote about here but I think that the “Optimal Skin ProCleanser” is the bees knees when used as a face mask. One of the main ingredients in this formula is actually bees wax so a little goes a long way. This mask is very luxurious and has a strong scent, reminiscent of a day spa. I tend to use this one before showering because it does contain some exfoliating beads and can be a little messy. To use this one, you simply massage it into the skin and allow it to work its magic for 15 minutes before rinsing off. The brightening effects are instantaneous and because this formula also works as an exfoliator, skin feels super soft after use.

Image Skincare “Clear Cell Clarifying Masque” (€35) – Available in Salon Only:

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Image Skincare is a great brand for really strong and effective products, which is why they’re only available for purchase in salons where trained Image Skincare specialists can recommend specific products to suit your skin type and to help combat your individual skin concerns. This “Clear Cell Masque” is a brilliant option for anyone who suffers from problem skin. Now, 99% of the time, I have really clear skin but if I’m feeling under pressure and stressed, my skin tends to break out. On these occasions, I tend to apply this product to the specific problem areas and rinse off with cool water after about 15 mins. Because I don’t have oily skin, I don’t apply this product to my whole face but if you suffer from acne, I think this may be a great product for you. I find that the glycolic and salicylic acid in the formula really helps to draw impurities to the surface of he skin, while the green tea extracts in the product soothe sore, red skin.

Again though, Image products are professional products so I do recommend that you get the advice of your local Image specialist before purchasing this mask. For any Cavan girls, I recommend my local salon, Essential Beauty Skin and Laser.

“Maybe” Products:

 

TonyMoly “I Am Real Aloe Mask Sheet” (€3):

 

TonyMoly Aloe Mask Sheet

I know that the world is going mad for these sheet masks at the minute and I can’t really argue with that €3 price tag but, I just wasn’t blown away by this product. I love sheet masks as much as the next person, but I have to question whether they’re really just a gimmick. This product is definitely soothing and cooling on the face but, I didn’t really see any noticeable results after use. My skin didn’t appear more plump or any healthier so this one only gets a “maybe” from me – it’s great for relaxation purposes but, don’t expect and drastic visual results. If you’re looking for a hydrating sheet mask, Image Skincare also have a gorgeous option that’s more expensive, but worth looking in to.

Dermalogica “Charcoal Rescue Masque” (€48):

Dermalogica Charcoal Face Masque

Alright, so last week I wrote about a Dermalogica cleanser that I love, so as you can imagine, I had high hopes for this product and at first, I loved it. The brand promise that this formula works to detoxify skin, eliminating impurities such as spots and blackheads. This is a claim that the product actually lives up to but after prolonged use over a few months, I found that this formula was a little drying on my skin and that’s why it’s on my “maybe” list. Plus, the charcoal makes it really, really messy. However, if you’ve got oily, acne-prone skin and enjoy a good exfoliating mask, this would probably suit your skin type.

“Miss” Products:

 

Montagne Jeunesse Face Masks (€1.50):

 

 

All of the memories from your teenage years have just come flooding back to you, haven’t they? These face masks, a firm favourite at girly sleepovers in the 90s and 00s are available in pharmacies nationwide for the dirt cheap price of €1.50. But, there’s a reason that they cost less than a family sized bar of Galaxy chocolate. These products are fun to apply and often smell fab but the truth is that they just don’t do anything. In fact, my skin often felt greasy after using these products, which is never a good look. Honestly, I think that there’s a good reason that these masks only cost €1.50 and, you’d be better off buying that bar of chocolate if you want to treat yourself!

 

And there you have it, another selection of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” products. If you have any opinions on the products listed or feel that you could add some different products into these categories, please do let us know in the comment section of this post or the corresponding Instagram picture..

Rouge x

Ziaja ‘Cocoa Butter’ Range – My Winter Skincare Saviour.

Your skin is so soft, newborn babies are envious.

October is finally here! Welcome back to the pumpkin spice lattes, toffee apples, gorgeous autumnal colours and  of course flaky, weather-sensitive skin. During the summer, when the central heating systems are turned off, we don’t really need a heavy moisturiser and I love to use something nice and light like Cocoa Brown’s ‘Chocolate Whip’. However, now that Mr.Frost has returned, I need something a little more rich to keep my skin in tip-top condition. Let me introduce you to Ziaja’s ‘Cocoa Butter’ range.

First up, I was sent this beautiful ‘Ziaja Cocoa Body Butter’ (RRP €7.99). Filled with vitamin E, cocoa butter and omega 6 & 3, this formula is designed to give you satin smooth skin. It smells gorgeous – reminiscent of chocolate, so best to avoid if you’re on a diet. What I like best about this product is that it absorbs really quickly. I hate sticky moisturisers but this one soaks into skin almost immediately – perfect if you’re in a hurry. I have almost finished the container and will definitely be repurchasing!

I will admit that even though I’m a skincare addict, I never really believed in the benefits of hand cream until just a few weeks ago. Like I said, I cannot stand the sticky texture of moisturisers and I find that hand cream is often the worst culprit – nobody wants to be walking around with greasy palms! However, because I’m studying at the moment and handwriting essay after essay, I recently noticed that the skin around my fingers has become irritated and dry. So off I went in search of this ‘Ziaja Cocoa Butter Hand Cream’ (€2.99) only to discover that I have been missing out for years! After just three days of use, the dry patches on my hands have cleared up completely (results photographed below). Again, the formula is extremely fast absorbing (less than 60 seconds) and the scent is delicious. Ziaja promise that this product will also help strengthen nails over time, which I’m really looking forward to. At that price point, who could resist?

Ziaja products can be purchased online here. I’m very impressed by the quality of their products, for such affordable prices. Have you read my review of their ‘Natural Olive’ shampoo and conditioner?

Let me know if you have tried any of their products – I would love some recommendations.

Rouge x