April 28, 2015

how to achieve killer brows

It's taken me a good number of years to finally achieve brows that I'm happy with. They started off life full and bordering on bushy, then at the age of around 13 I had a terrible waxing experience consisting of the therapist taking it upon herself to shape them down to half of their original thickness. I spent a good few years trying to grow them back properly, then ended up with them looking uneven until I discovered brow serum and started to gradually get them to a decent shape. Even after all that, I'm still learning the best products to use on them and have gone through pretty much all forms of pencil, shadow, gel and cream to find the best brow routine. I let my brows grow as unruly and unkept as I could bare for the before photo above, just so that you could all see what a huge difference using the right products can make. Here's what works for me. 

| Regularly use a brow growth serum. Even if your brows are already nice and thick, you may want to consider applying brow serum to any sparse patches to get them looking a great shape when you aren't wearing make up. I've been using M2 Beauté Eyebrow Renewing Serum on the inner part of my brows as they are a little too sparse for my liking but have so far noticed more hairs coming through since starting using the product.

| Only pluck/reshape your brows once you've drawn on the shape you want to achieve. Over plucking your brows is the ultimate sin and is something which I think is fair to say we've all been guilty of. To avoid any disasters, first draw in your brows as you normally would, and only then start to pluck away stray hairs. I always find this is far easier than trying to guess at the shape I want to go for without seeing what they will end up looking like.

Use an ash toned shade. This one is completely personal preference, but I've had a rule for a couple of years now to never ever use warm toned shades on my brows. I found in the past that doing so gave the danger of me ending up with almost orangey looking eyebrows and I just generally much prefer the look of an ashy tone. I always go through my brows using Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade and then set with a powder. No prizes for guessing my most loved shade from the HD Brows palette.

| Start by applying product in the middle of the brows, then outwards, and use the product left on the brush for the most inner part. Having a thick, drawn on and fake looking brow is my absolute nightmare. Sharpie brows don't do anyone any favours. Use short and gentle strokes and take time to go through each brow. The Nars Brow Defining Brush is seriously incredible for this and is unlike anything I've ever come across before, it makes filling in brows absolutely foolproof. It's hard to imagine that one brush can make that much difference, but I promise, you need this.  

Brush through brows with a spooly (real word). I'd heard about this trick a while back but for some reason had only waited until recently to put it into practice, not expecting it to work half as well as it did. I'd always hated before how I so easily applied too much product to my brows and they ended up looking too drawn on for my liking. The spooly trick brushes away all excess product to ensure brows are left looking natural yet defined, if there's one trick you take from this post then seriously give this one a go. You will be amazed at how much of a difference it will make.

| Set the brows using a clear coloured brow gel or mascara. I tend to prefer using a clear coloured brow gel over one with pigment in as it means that I'm not overloading my brows with different shades of product. If you want to ensure that any product you use stays set all day then be sure not to miss out this step.

As you can probably sense, my eyebrows are what I consider to be the most important part of my make up routine and what I spend most time trying to get just right. I'd absolutely love to hear what  you favourite brow products are and what your routine consists of, please do leave a comment and let me know.

April 20, 2015

grey tipped nails

Any manicure that is easy and quick to do along with looking effortlessly chic is my kind of manicure. Lately, I've been loving the effect of applying a nude base colour and adding small details, be it dots, flowers or coloured tips. I'm a big fan of how this kind of look is much more natural and pretty looking than just a block of colour, plus it's ideal if you're going for a fresh spring vibe. Barry M Nude is my all time favourite base shade, and this time I opted for Barry M Grey for the tips.

April 18, 2015

spring body prepping

With the past few days being absolutely gloriously sunny and with the world feeling like it's come back to life once again after winter, I've decided that spring is most definitely my favourite season. Once the weather starts to get warmer, dresses start getting shorter and it's time to start showing your body off once again. Which means it's time to make sure it's looking in top condition too. 

I always find that around this time of year I'm looking especially pale and pasty and in need of a good tan which is why it's even more important to be sure that my skin is looking healthy and moisturised. I'm a big fan of the Soap & Glory Butter Yourself Moisture Lotion (£10) as I find it's easy to apply, smells wonderful and doesn't feel at all thick or heavy. For a touch of radiance I go for Girligo Moisturising Mist (£6.50), also by Soap and Glory, which adds a subtle shimmer to my skin and looks especially nice on the legs and arms. 

In the shower, I've been opting for Anatomicals Rose Body Cleanser (£3), not just because of the fabulous packaging but because it also smells like a fresh spring morning. To buff away any dry winter skin and leave my skin feeling baby soft, the Elle Macpherson Dry Body Brush (£21) does wonders. It switches on to whizz round and be used head to toe on dry skin, meaning there's no effort involved in using it whatsoever. If there's one thing you buy to leave your skin feeling great in the transition between cooler and warmer weather, make it this. That and a good helping of fake tan. 

April 16, 2015

and other stories fragrances

Although I'd already featured these in my Christmas gift guide a few months ago, I've come to love them so much that they most definitely deserve a blog post of their own. They are all such unique combinations and put most other brands of perfume completely to shame.  Plus they are priced really well too.

Fig Fiction | I'm utterly obsessed with beauty products that have a sweet fig scent, most of which being Wild Fig and Cassis by Jo Malone. If your budget doesn't quite stretch far enough for the Jo Malone version, most definitely check out this one as an alternative. 

Botanical Whisper | This is a grown up scent with a slight zingy sharpness and is the one I'd say probably has the most different notes going on. For a truly different from the crowd type of fragrance, this is it. 

Moroccan Tea | There's something strangely satisfying about having a tea scent integrated into a perfume. If you're on the hunt for a completely uplifting, yet fresh and slightly sweet scent then this is your answer. 

Punk Bouquet | This is just about my favourite of the bunch. Think Britney Spears Fantasy but with a much more refined and sophisticated edge. It has a sultry sweetness that I simply adore, plus the bottle of this one looks so effortlessly cool.

and other stories fragrances | £26

April 14, 2015

spring pastel dotted nails

Nail Dotting Tool | Ciaté Sugared Almonds | Models Own Indian Ocean and Apple Pie | Bourjois Fashion gris-gris | Maybelline Surreal

It's been far too long since I attempted any kind of nail art, probably because I've been feeling a bit lazy and just sticking to nude nails for the majority of the time. With Spring in full swing I've been inspired by pastel shades (check the new blog design!) so thought I'd get back into nail dotting too. It's a super easy look to create, just use a nude base colour and then put a splodge of each colour on a piece of paper and grab your dotting tool. I'm never too precise about where I put my dots and generally just have fun with it, it's surprising how quickly you can make them look so cool in no time at all, especially if you use a glitter shade too.

If you're after some more Spring nail inspiration, check a couple of my old posts here and here

April 12, 2015

skincare sunday | (01)

Not much is better than cosying up in a duvet on Sunday afternoon reading through skincare related blog posts, so I've come up with the idea that on a Sunday every now and then, I'm going to update you all with my current favourite skincare products. In reality, the posts probably won't go up all that often because I'm terrible at any form of schedule, but I will give it a shot. 

I've always been on the hunt for a thoroughly moisturising eye cream, and have finally found one in Emma Hardie Amazing Face Eye Cream (£39), that's thick and luxurious enough to do a good job at soothing my dehydrated skin. For any dry skin on the rest of my face, Dr Organic Snail Gel Cream (£19.99) works wonders and has been noticeably perking up my complexion on a daily basis. 

Whenever my skin is in need of a deep clean but I truly can't be bothered to do much about it, I sweep over my face with the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix pads (£12.95). It's beyond belief how much dirt and grime these babies do away with. I've noticed that over time my skin ends up looking much more bright and radiant whenever I use these, the ultimate lazy girl option. 

If pamper time is underway and I'm involved in a bubble bath/hot chocolate type situation then I will without fail slap on a face mask too. My favourite of late has been Origins Out of Trouble (£23), it's a white clay consistency with a minty scent that works at deeply cleansing and awakening the skin. It calms any problem skin down instantly and for that reason is one of the best face masks that I've tried. 

A quick mention to two of my all time favourite products before I sign off. Both are by French pharmacy brands, no surprises there. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre (£13) is the best daily moisturiser for dry skin in the world and I'm convinced that nothing I try will ever beat it. If you are looking to try a new skincare product, make it this. For when I'm generally feeling a bit washed out, Claudalie Beauty Elixir (£10.90) is my saviour and comes to my rescue every time. It has a deeply uplifting scent so not only makes your skin look brighter but lifts your mood too. 

April 11, 2015

personalise your hoola

There's something strangely satisfying about owning a product with your name on it. Call me self obsessed, but ever since buying pens and fridge magnets with "Jessica" on in gift shops on school trips I haven't grown out of the habit. If you fancy getting your name stamped on a box of Hoola and carved into the brush, pop over to the Benefit website to do just that. I think this would make a wonderful gift for anyone you know is into their make up too, and on a practical note, at least there won't ever be "is it mine or yours" mix ups.