Miracle Mascara and Fab Facial Oil

Today, I bring you something for the eyes, and something for the skin.

Everyone brace themselves – I think I’ve found my perfect mascaras. I know, I know – you’ve all been waiting for this day, wandering and hoping. I want to thank you all for supporting me through my struggles, it’s been emotional.

Mascara is my absolute make-up staple. As a natural blonde with grey/blue eyes, my lashes are practically invisible so I need help to make my peepers pop. Many brands have served well, but few manage to achieve the pretty, fluttering effect I’m looking for, and all too many have furnished me with the dreaded clumped spider look.
Back in August, I asked my sister for some mascara for my birthday and Em presented me with Mascara Terrybly in Moka Brown, ‘a growth booster mascara’ from By Terry. The packaging claims it is a ‘lash-Lengthening intensive serum’ that will transform lashes day after day. It also uses ‘Lumicoat® Care Technology’………which is probably a thing.

I’ll admit, I was dubious; I haven’t used brown mascara since borrowing a cheap one from my mother and ended up looking like I’d put mud in my eyes. This new box promised the gloop would condition and boost growth while it decorated, but it wasn’t the big ‘volumising! Lengthening! Separating! Orgasming!’ advertising extravaganza I was used to.

I didn’t use it for a couple of weeks until one day, when I was in a hurry and was in the mood for minimalism, I gave it a go. A couple of coats and a feline flick of eyeliner, and I was out the door. The masarca slid on very nicely, with no clumping, and the colour was a luscious natural brown. In the seconds I spent applying it, I was impressed but too rushed to pay proper attention.
Cut to me in the bathroom at work. While washing my hands, I glanced in the mirror and literally did a double take. I mean, obviously I am constantly gorgeous, but I couldn’t believe my actual eyes. My lashes were bright, delicate and pretty. I don’t know how, but the mascara had given me the sort of fluttery, girlish eyes I’d been looking for. Perhaps it was the colour or the boosting wonder tonic, but FINALLY I could pretend this is how I look first thing in the morning.
The more I use the mascara, the better my lashes look. I don’t normally believe fancy packaging and claims of revolutionary technology, but this stuff clearly works. Such a fantastic find does not come cheap – it’scurrently £32 online from Space NK. But the results are remarkable.

But a woman can’t live on day mascara alone! And that’s why, when I was recently in duty-free territory en route back from Vegas, I bagged me a tube of Lancome’s Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara in black.

The key to  a good mascara is often the brush; the Doll’s Eyes wand is a thick cone with a traditional, hearty bristles (I’m not a fan of rubber brushes these days). It coats every lash and gives a full fan effect, without clumping or overloading. It is lovely on its own, but is particularly good for enhancing a smokey, feline eye.
Lancome is a touch more reasonable on the wallet, at £22.50online, though Lancome frequently has excellent special offers in department stores. Bag a tester whenever you can.

And now, for my final thought. Or product. Whatever.

It is….facial oil.
I have previously told you ALL to moisturise every day and night, no matter your skin condition. You need to look after your skin as early as you can, or you will be sobbing about your wrinkles long before the rest of us.
One of my secret weapons has been the occasional use of facial oil at night. Massage a few drops into your face and neck before bed, and wake up crease-free.
Last month, I was invited to a Neal’s Yard Party by the lovely Miscriant and discovered the sensation that is the Rose Facial Oil. I am big fan of Neal’s Yard products (read Miscriant’s round-up of their work here), as they are organic and very good quality. Their thicker than usual lotions and creams do take a little while to get used to if you have sensitive skin, but I don’t know anyone who has not been converted after a couple of weeks of use.
The Rose Facial Oil was an obvious choice for me, as I knew my current stash of facial oil was running low. This concoction is outstanding (it also has a handy tincture dropper in the lid), and I’ve been treating my skin to it at the end of busy days and even longer nights. Every time I wake up with incredibly dewy, softer than silk skin. Use it, ladies, and thank me later.
Currently £18.50 online, but I strongly recommend you host a NY party for your friends as you will get a lot of great testers and can sample their many products.
Don’t feel like shelling out for the fancy stuff? For an even cheaper option, pierce a capsule of evening primrose oil with a pin, squeeze onto your fingertips and massage into your face. This version is a bit rich, so don’t use more than one capsule. 
Here endeth the lesson.

Marvellous Miracles – Coconut Oil and White Vinegar

(Forgive my minor absence – I do try to blog once a week, but liquors frequently drunken me and it’s very hard to write with a hangover. Plus with Easter and all, I’ve had a lot of important eating to do.)

Today I am wearing my helpful hat and come to your screens bearing a couple of my so-called miracle products for your delectation. Yes! Roll up, roll up, little children, and gaze upon my carnival cart of wonders! (it’s a piece of lino pulled by a pig).

I call these miracle products not because they heal the sick or turn water into nachos, but because once you discover their effectiveness, you will wonder how you ever did without them. And given their wide availability and low price, you’ll also curse the literally millions of pounds you’ve no doubt spent on more expensive, inferior products.

Today’s products: coconut oil and white vinegar.

Once you’ve marvelled at my offerings, please share your own miracle products with me at the end. If you don’t, I’ll throttle a flower.

COCONUT OIL

Oh unctuous ooze of the Caribbean, oh totally tropical topical tincture, get out of my Bounty bar dreams and into my face. Anyone with a pulse will have heard at least one person yapping on about the wonders of coconut oil lately, and I am no exception.

We’re not talking the perfumed tubs of body lotion flounced by Boots, nor some tarted up bottle of lies from high end salons. I’m talking the 100% raw, cold-pressed edible stuff they sell in giant jars for about £10 (mostly in health food shops). The sort you cook with. The sort you can eat straight from the jar (but don’t because….well don’t, that’s stupid).

Cooking with coconut oil is a wise move as it is packed with healthy fatty acids boasting antiviral and antibacterial goodness. But its uses go far beyond the kitchen. I am actually a relative latecomer to the coconut party, having been temped in by the delicious Brittany, Herself  and the splendid Miscriant.

A few tips to remember: coconut oil in this form is solid, but a chunk will liquefy in your hand swiftly. It’s best to handle this stuff over the sink or in the bath, as it melts quickly and you might slip and fall and die. Also, to avoid cross contamination, I scoop out the amount I need for a specific job into a separate bowl. This is more hygienic than polluting the jar with germs or chemicals on your hands.

Hair

The best known use for coconut oil is as a sensational hair mask. Smooth a handful onto your washed locks and let it seep in for a few hours before rinsing out and you shall have soft, bouncy hair that will be the envy of all. Even I, whose hair is always more oily than dry, found the mask to be fool-proof: seriously light and voluminous hair for two days, with a scent that can’t be beat.

I shan’t recreate the wheel with my own step by step guide, as it’s fairly straightforward, but do check out Brittany and Miscriant’s guides.

Body
It’s a no-brainer but pure coconut oil makes a great body lotion, especially at night as it soaks in while you sleep. Do the following:

  1. Slather all over washed skin, and let it absorb (a little goes a long way)
  2. Tell someone you love that you are now ‘good enough to eat’
  3. Spend ten minutes saying sorry, and promise to stop calling them

Face, Eyes & Lips
Again, this serves as a very good night moisturiser, lip balm and eye treatment – gentle, light and pampering. A tiny amount will suffice, and perk up parched skin

Waterproof eye make-up remover
Don’t spend £20 on a fancy oil based make-up remover – this stuff, rubbed in very gently, will melt away even the toughest waterproof mascara without irritating your eyes. Use a cotton pad, or just your finger tips.

Teeth
This is an intriguing one. Apparently ‘oil pulling’ (swilling a spoonful of melted oil around your teeth and gums for 10-20mins) works wonders for one’s mouth. The theory is that the oil, what with its buckets of luric acid, captures multitudes of germs because  it can be swished into every crevice of your mouth, leaving teeth cleaner, whiter and stronger.

Websites advocating it claim that it is an ‘ancient form of medicine dating back 3,000 years’. I don’t know why people think this is a good thing; I’m pretty sure everyone from that era is still dead.

I will be honest: I have not had the patience to swill oil around my teeth for 20 full minutes  every day. BUT I have tried it a few times, at around 10mins on each occasion, and I did notice my teeth looked brighter after a few days.

What is clear is that oil pulling should NOT replace your normal teeth cleaning regime, as it is not a proven method of total dental care. As an extra boost to regular teeth cleaning, it cannot really hurt.

The main rules are don’t swallow the oil under any circumstances (as you’d be glugging back a mouthful of germs and fat), and spit the oil into a bin rather than down the sink to prevent clogging.

Shaving
Oils in general make excellent shaving aids, as they moisturise and protect as you go.

Delicate things
Coconut oil is an excellent post-shave/wax treatment for sensitive areas… You don’t want perfumed chemicals down there, darlings.

Cleaning slate surfaces
This I discovered by accident. I have a large black slate counter top in my bathroom, which looks lovely when clean but has mostly been a map of water marks, dust and scuffs  that required daily scrubbing.

After using coconut oil for a hair mask one night, I wiped the residue from my experiments into the slate. It completely removed the water marks and created a thin protective layer over the top to ward off dust and staining.

If you have slate worktops, wipe clean with warm water and then buff a small amount of oil into the surface for a smooth finish. I believe you can do the same on stainless steel (baby oil certainly works) but I’ve yet to try this.

WHITE VINEGAR

I cannot live without this stuff. As a household cleaning product it is unbeatable for removing stains and cleaning just about anything.  Combine it with a little bicarbonate of soda, and the fizzing action will remove limescale from showers, clean toilets and flush out drains.

I have a few handy tips below, but I want to start with my favourite use for it – getting rid of perspiration stains and smells in clothes.

Most of us don’t talk about it, but damn it, it’s time to get this out in the open. Unless you are the type of person who is entirely perspiration free with nothing but rainbows and unicorn song flowing from your armpits, at some point you will have had to tackle with sweat stains on your clothes. Not only the white and yellow marks, but also the smell of sweat and deodorant that gets locked into certain fabrics and ‘reactivates’ the next time you where it.

I have had to throw away a lot of tops because of this, despite umpteen hot washes and stain removers. Like fabricated time bombs, they were. Until I discovered this ‘cure’.

Firstly, the issue lies in the material itself – your acrylics, your Lycra, your polyester. The more processed, the worse it will be. But we can’t have 100% cotton everything. So here is how to treat those pesky garments.

  • Put all offending garments in the sink, bath or a large tub.
  • In a small bowl, mix about a cup of bicarbonate of soda with a good glug of white vinegar – I do not measure it exactly, but it should be enough to fizz into a thinnish paste.
  • Rub the paste into the arms of all offending garments (inside and out). You can also drizzle a little vinegar on top of the paste on the garment, so that it fizzes and works into the clothes
  • Leave to sink in for at least a couple of hours, overnight preferably.
  • Wash the garments normally in the machine, without softener. The smell and stains will have gone

For a regular treatment – if you’ve had a long day in an odour prone garment, for example – douse the armpits with a little white vinegar, and leave in the laundry until you’re ready to wash it. This is process has saved a lot of my clothes.

Here are  some other splendid uses for white vinegar, beyond using it to drown your chips:

  • Pet mess in the house? Clean up the solids or liquid, and then douse the stain with white vinegar. It will neutralise the smell. Come to think of it, any bad smells can be neutralised with white vinegar. Try using it in your bin.
  • Used neat or cut with a little water in a spray bottle, it makes glass and mirrors sparkle.
  • Pour a  cup into your washing machine drawer once the cycle starts to make your whites brighter and colours softer (I no longer use fabric softeners as a result).
  • Vinegar is a very good anti-fungal treatment, so use it diluted as a foot soak or an intimate wash if you are suffering from….you know….
  • Vinegar mixed with a little water as a hair rinse will remove product build up and bring out the natural shine.
  • It also wards off cats, so a diluted spray indoors or used neat outside will keep cats away from areas you’d rather keep feline free
  • Pour it neat into cracks and crevices in the garden to kill weeds and deter ants.

What are your miracle products? What natural or unusual ingredients or products have rocked your world? Share with me!

Obvious Beauty – A Journey to Dermalogica & Precleanse

Today I bring you guidance on how to make your face so squeaky clean that window cleaners will happen upon you and remark “damn, that is one clean face.”

Oh I jest! This post, in truth, is all about my favourite skin care range, Dermalogica, and the current member of its family I am lavishing attention on. As ever, I advise you to skim through my beauty basics before burying your head in any recommended products, and you should do so at your own risk.
Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review
My journey with Dermalogica began seven years ago…
If you aren’t currently imagining wavy lines and harp music, you’re dead inside.
My skin and I have had a good relationship over the years, thanks to my mother. Mother dear looked exceptionally lovely right up to her dying day (on which she let herself go a bit, what with all the death). Her secret was simple to cleanse and moisturise twice a day, every day, and she got me and my sister started the moment we started messing with make-up.
The conversation went something like this: “Start using moisturiser now, and you will thank me later. I started later than I should have, and now I have lines.”
Me: “No you don’t, where?”
“Will you shut up, are you blind?”
“But you don’t!”
“I DO! Of course I do, for fuck’s sake.”
“Jesus, alright, you DO.”
“WHAT?!! You bitch.”
I never had a chance.
Luckily, mother passed on more than advice; she passed on her genes (and her capacity for gin), which meant sis and I were blessed with relatively problem free visages throughout our formative years.* 
But my skin suffered a crisis in my mid 20s. A combination of a faddy diets and stress ahead of my ill-fated wedding furnished my face with sudden brutal breakouts for several months. I tried many inferior products to treat it – soap bars, scrubs, masque of varying expense. At the end of my desperation, I found a salon in offering facials with a so-called ‘face mapping’ service that promised to address skin problems.
And so, my affair with Dermalogica began.
The beautician took one look at my skin and asked me to list all the products I was using. Face wash, facial scrub, face masks, cleanser, toner, spot treatment, moisturiser, radiance gels, essential oils…… I trailed off. I had a very nice collection of products from various brands that were, together, messing up my skin. I was treating stress-related spots with harsh astringent and clogging them thick creams designed for older dry skin. Plus, most of the products contained lanolin, which I then learned was a big no-no for my delicate visage.
The therapist (a lovely girl whose name I can’t remember for I am terrible) scrutinised my skin under a massive magnifying glass, squeezing black heads as she went (yep – satisfying), and made her assessment before applying a suitable facial. Up to that point, I was certain I had oily to normal skin. Balls, did I! I actually had sensitive skin with dry patches on my forehead (I was so worried about treating my blemished chin, I had forgotten to do anything to my forehead). I walked out of the salon with their Ultra Calming cleanser, Active Moist moisturiser, Multi Active mist toner (once a day would be enough),  Gentle Cream Exfoliant (a non-abrasive masque) and instructions to chuck everything else out.
After a week of using Dermalogica, my skin looked better than it had in years and the bad breakouts never returned, so I have never looked back. I have yet to find a Dermalogica product that fails, as it puts skin care first, beauty second, and packaging, hype etc last. It is not cheap (just request their products as birthday or Xmas gifts), but they last and last. If my skin is ever in need of a boost, I will go on a Dermalogica only ‘diet’ and it puts my pesky epidermis firmly in its place.
You can try the quick online face mapping service at Dermalogica’s website, but anyone with troublesome skin would do well to go for the full salon experience.
If you have sensitive skin, invest in it, and thank me by way of cake.

Dermalogica Precleanse

I was a late comer to this particular party, but I’m glad I made it in the end. I snapped this up at Evolution Skin Studios.
The precleanse is the first step of D’s recommended double cleansing routine, and it is a bizarre concoction at first glance.
Firstly, it is an oil. No foam or cream, but a combination of olive, apricot and kukui nut oils that promise to cut through waterproof make-up, sunscreens and any other debris. Using DRY hands, massage a few drops directly onto your face – eyes and all (it will not irritate). You don’t need water at this stage, as just a little bit of oil literally melts away make up and grime, including that caked-on mascara. By the time you’ve finished this first stage, you look like a bleak panda. 

Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review

Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review

Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review

Then, dampen your hands and continue to massage your face. The water to transforms the oil into a milky emulsion that ‘lifts the debris from the skin’s surface’. Rinse off, and pow – squeaky clean skin. For best results, follow with your chosen cleanser, which will penetrate the skin even further. 

Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review
Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review
Dermalogica Precleanse (The Demon Gin), how to use precleanse, dermalogica blog, dermalogica review

After a few weeks of use, I can attest that it is an exceptionally good cleanser. It removes every scrap of eye make-up, and it leaves skin very soft and pampered. At first, I had a couple of tiny blemishes on my chin (my hot spot for breakouts), but once my skin settled into the regime, they vanished. Used alongside their Essential Cleansing Solution (I got a little sample bottle for free, which lasts a surprisingly long time), it give great results.

At £31.50 in store, it’s not cheap. It’s not cheap at all. It’s almost crazy. BUT, it will last a long, long, long time. A few drops are all that are needed, and the quality is high. And your cleanser will also last longer as you need less of that too.
Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution (The Demon Gin), how to use dermalogica, dermalogica sample, beauty advice

I have also just learned that precleanse is now also available in handy travel wipes at a more reasonable £14.60. I’ve not tried them, but I doubt they will go wrong

You will come to love this product on those nights or morning when you skin is sagging under the sheer weight of make-up, pollution, booze and shame, and you want a quick way to destroy the evidence without having to flay your face. 

Canterbury stockists and salons include:

Surprise Budget Buy Of The Day

Sure Women Maximum Protection Deodorant

I currently cannot live with this – a long lasting cream deodorant that promises 48 hours protection. And it delivers. Bone dry, I tell you. Currently £5.30 at Boots
*Fun horrifying fact about me – I DID have acne as a teenager, but on not my face or back or my chest. It was on my armpits. Great waves of red and white spots covered my underarms for many years. Easy to hide from the public, murder in the summer when you wanted to wear a vest top. It has since vanished. I tell you this so that you might know that I, like you, am human. Sometimes.

Of Doomed Beauticians and bareMinerals – Obvious Beauty Tales

In an effort to distract myself from the crippling agony that is living without the internet, I decided to venture out in to Canterbury at the weekend to purchase things for my face.

After my usual breakfast wines, I packed my finest shopping rifle and left the house. It was only when I was half way to town that I realised I’d forgotten my purchasing salts and my browsing spear. But I could not be bothered to return for them.
New to Obvious Beauty? Try the beginners’ guide
 
First port of call was lunch with fellow Canterbury blogger Miscriant, at which we laughed over tea and she pointedly failed to consume the cyanide I’d slipped into the remains of her courgette cake. It was a nice lunch. Then it was on to the mecca that is Canterbury’s own Fenwicks.
Fenwicks Canterbury
Look at Clarins over there, trying to hurt us all.
Ahhhhhhhh Fenwicks. A leap up from Debenhams, on shaky ground with House of Fraser, and staring mournfully through the frosted window at Selfridges. You can buy a designer coat, or scrabble shamefully for a bargain in Oasis. I like to wander the fragrant paths of the beauty ‘hall’ and gaze upon the faces of each hapless beauty consultant.
Firstly, no one stops at the Crème De La Mer counter because no one around here is millionaire or utterly insane. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone serving there….it may just be for show. Then you encounter undeserved smugness of the Clarins bitches, in their red suits and their white lab coats (I shit you not, some of them actually wear lab coats as if they are face professors). To them, Canterbury is but a piffling stepping stone to Harrods and your local skin is no concern of theirs; London flesh is what they crave. They may smile sweetly, but try telling them that their cleanser nearly burnt your face off and suddenly the lips purse, the hairs bristle and you’re told in clipped tones, “Well some people just aren’t suitablefor Clarins”.
The Clinique haven is directly opposite, a calming sea of pastels and white light against the red of Clarins’ bloodied victims. Clinque consultants are like monks, averting their eyes from the other gaudy cosmetics, relying on their sure and sensible products and reciting the 3-Step Skin Care prayer over and over. The Dior girls are found further into the woods, and are always clueless. But who cares? It’s Dior, it sells itself. People come to the counter, point, gather, point again, hand over credit card and vanish, leaving the consultants turning in a frightened circle and wondering what just happened. The Chanel girls are in the same boat, but they revel in it. No matter who turns up, they just hold up Chanel No 5, Le Vernis nail varnish, and a Precision Brow Definer and say “pick one and fuck off”.
The YSL ladies spend the day saying “but are you sure you wouldn’t like to try some of our many, many other products? Oh alright, just the five tubes of Touche Eclat again, is it?” Guerlain and Elizabeth Arden bob around in the background, waving bronzer and Eight Hour Cream in your general direction and everyone nods respectfully as they pass the French lusciousness of Lancome. 

I, however, was headed to make-up alley where the forces of Benefit, bareMinerals and MAC do battle.
MAC has the equivalent of a sprawling corner office. They have a WINDOW – no one else has a window. They have their own music blaring out, they have three counters, they have 10 consultants in funky black t-shirts with a bandolier of brushes. It’s one big party over at MAC, and YOU’RE not invited. As outstanding as the coverage is, MAC is stage make-up and it’s not for every day wear. Older heads know this, but youngsters can’t keep away. Benefit’s retro cutesy design also attracts the little ones, but its appeal has long since worn thin on me. Their one saving grace is Lemon Aid eye primer; a great eyeshadow base that also works on red blemishes.
This left me with bareMinerals. The principal behind this make-up and skin care range is ‘the power and potential of minerals to nourish, energise and renew’. I’ll be honest – the way the brand keeps just using the word ‘minerals’ on its website reminds me of Homer Simpson describing the awesome power of ‘apples’.
bareMinerals Foundation
On paper, the range ticks the right boxes for me – all natural, non-pore blocking, SPF standard – and my sister already extolled the virtues of the Original SF15 Foundation to me.  But I was dubious of the foundation’s gimmick, for the foundation is actually a loose powder. No sponges or finger tips here, you simply tap the powder it into the pot’s lid, swish it onto a natural bristle brush, and then buff it onto your skin.

This sounded like work, and I don’t do foundation ‘work’. My usual staple is Clinique’s Superbalance Foundation in Alabaster, a barely-there fluid that I can layer when needed (though it isn’t really heavy enough for big occasions, tbh). I texted my sister for further info, and she swiftly responded: “Foundation is really radiant but you have to get EXACTLY the right shade – you’d be fairly light, like me.”

OH WOULD I NOW?! Not sure why I took offense at that, she has lovely skin.
But my lapse in concentration had left me exposed, and I was quickly collared by the bareMinerals consultant, or Make- Up Predator (MUP) to give her full name. Muttering my requirements, I was hurtled into a chair to try out said powder foundation. MUP tested two shades on me – turns out I was a ‘fair’, the lightest shade. Screw you, slightly more tanned sibling.
MUP buffed a decent amount of the Fair foundation onto my skin, and topped it with a gentle blusher. When I mentioned my fear of dark circles under my eyes, she applied the Stroke Of Light Eye Brightener.
While she worked her magic, MUP asked me where I was studying. I rolled my eyes; oh here we go.  “No,” I sighed. “I’m 33 and nice try!”
MUP looked very confused. “What?”
“Come on, you have to say like I look really young so I’ll be flattered and buy all your products! I know the drill.”
She stared at me in such a wide-eyed manner that I suspected she really might be that stupid. “No,” she said. “Really, are you in your 30s? How?”
You know full well that I’m in my 30s, I wanted to say, that’s why you’re using this make-up to cover all the AGEING.
Still, she seemed intrigued. We chatted about skin care as she worked her make-up magic, with me giving more guidance than she did. She apparently forgot she was working for BareMinerals and wanted to know all about my brands of choice, what methods I used, and when, and where, and why. I was a bit worried to be honest, and started to suspect my face would not look as polished as I’d hoped.
When the big reveal came, I was truly taken aback. The last time a Fenwicks MUP collared me (sadly from the usually reliable Clinique), they applied a powder so awful that I ended up looking both dead and furious all day.
This time…I was delighted. And no, I hadn’t just fallen for MUP’s flattery. The proof was in the
pudding that was my exceptionally lovely face. Natural and soft, with great coverage and a beautiful flush of colour on my cheeks. It had all the trappings of a liquid foundations topped with a dewy powder. The shade was spot on; even though this was technically the palest shade, it matched my skin tone and I did not look washed out or ghostly for a moment.
The little wand of shimmery eye goodness also worked wonders, and I snapped that up for £22 along with a pot of the foundation for £25 (£3 more than my usual, so not bad). I turned down the natural make-up brush (£24 was a bit steep), and the blusher as I have plenty of neglected pots at home.
For the rest of the day, I was thrilled when I caught a glimpse of myself in mirrors, shop windows, watch faces, strangers’ mobile phones. Whenever I’ve had my make-up done by pros, I do feel self-consciously ‘made up’. While this was possibly more coverage than I’d use during the day, I was still astounded at how natural and fresh it looked.

Added bonus? I saw my sister later that weekend, and she revealed she’d bought a pot of the Fair foundation by accident, and donated it to me. Two pots for the price of one. I am officially the king of make-up.
The Low Down
bareMinerals Original Foundation £25
bareMinerals Stroke Of Light Eye Brightener £22
Benefit Lemon Aid £16.50

Surprise Budget Buy of the Day

VO5 Pump It Up volume mousse
I wasn’t expecting much from this squirty cream style formula, but it gave my fine hair masses of bounce and body. My hair was so magnificent it made a grown man weep in the street. Currently £3.79 at Superdrug.