autumn nail shadesI LOVE Autumn, it’s hands down my favourite season for style, food, drink, beauty and general life. As soon as August is ticked off the calendar I take joy in bringing out the knitwear, scarves, jackets and ankle boots and being surgically attached to a Pumpkin Spice Latte. A moment for Starbucks autumnal cups please. As with every season. the suitable shades transfer into every aspect of our lives; our wardrobes, our lipsticks and today’s topic; our nail polish picks.

The New Nude: This comes in the form of my favourite autumn shade, Camel. There’s something about camel colours which oozes class, sophistication and high end style and I adore it. My pick is MAC Nail Lacquer in Very Important Poodle from their recent Haute Dogs Collection. Try to get your hands on it, thank me later. The formula of MAC polishes impressed me beyond belief, giving Essie a run for its money. Why had I only heard bad things?

The Classic: Hear Autumn, Think Burgundy. Everybody needs a perfect burgundy/berry shade and pictured here is Bordeaux from H&M’s new beauty line. It goes on nicely, but doesn’t last more than a day on me so recommendations are more than welcome.

The Chic: If you’re one to wear a subtle nail shade, Nails Inc X Victoria Beckham polish in Bamboo White delivers on unrivaled formula and colour. A white with a pinky undertone, no tip-exx nails here…

The Edge: For an autumn nail which doesn’t scream the season, or an alternative to the aboves American Apparel Nail Polish in serves up a quintessential navy shade; a colour I cant help going back to.

The Sparkle: It may not be Christmas time just yet (nearly nearly nearly wooooohooooooo) but the colder months are coming and I’m welcoming glitter polish whether you like it or not. I’m currently coveting Essie’s Summit Of Style but until and along with then I’ll be piling up Nails Inc Snowflake.

What are your Autumn polish picks?

lavender and tea tree lotion

I always get excited when I receive my monthly email from Amphora Aromatics and this time was no different. In fact, I was so excited I completely misread the offering of a Lavender scented product… I HATE lavender.

Never the less I have given this product a try, held my nose and smothered it on one morning. Usually lavender is an evening scent used to drift off into a cosy sleep but this is quite light in texture and so for my dry skin felt more suited for daytime.

This moisturiser claims to be calming and cooling, using tea tree to cool and lavender to calm and it definitely does both as well as smoothing onto the skin nicely and creating a great base for makeup. It moisturises and hydrates as you’d like it to do but also offers something unique to skin which is perhaps a little more sensitive or irrate than mine with its bonus properties.

Maybe not the best for me but it is a great product and will come in handy when my skin has a freak out. Oh, and I love that its in a pump!

As mentioned at the beginning of the post I do always enjoy receiving products and correspondence from Amphora Aromatics, they’re a fantastic company with great morals and great products. If you’d like to try something from their all natural range then they’re kindly offering Northern Nancy readers 20% off all orders using the code BLOG20. You can buy Amphora Aromatics here.

*This product was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased feedback.

the best products

More often than not, I can be found rambling on about or roaming the aisles for the best dupes. Often with hyped up high end products, drugstore brands catch on to the buzz and create something similar but more affordable; emphasis on the word ‘similar’. Most of the time i’ll settle for the budget alternative but occasionally i’ll get this itch to get my hands on the real deal to see if there really is a difference between high street and high end beauty products and moral of the story is that there is. High end options are usually made with higher quality ingredients making them a higher quality product; hence the higher price tag… You’re not always paying for the name.

I have literally gone on and on and on about alternatives for the hyped up By Terry Ombre Blackstars, and eventually ended up spending more than the due £28 on a number of cheaper options when I could have just splashed the cash and been very happy with my purchase. Compared to similar offerings from Bourjous and No7 to name a few, By Terry Ombre Blackstars are a lot softer on the lid, don’t take as much blending and last a lot longer. Sometimes I have to admit defeat…

Another thing I could’ve searched high and low for in search of something more generous to my bank balance is the BeautyBlender. This £15 sponge expands significantly more than it’s drugstore counterparts, feels softer on the skin, aborbs little to no product and washes well. Plus the shape is in fact completely unique.

Next in the firing line is the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, a more expensive version of the Bourjois Chocolate Bronzer. Now, I word it this way because something leads me to believe that the high street offering from Bourjois actually came out before the Too Faced option, but nevertheless the more expensive item is much better quality, isn’t at all chalky and comes in a trio of chocolate shades to suit any skintone. We’re on to a winner.

Finally, the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors have been reinacted by the likes of Topshop and No7, each creating their own take on the squeezy gloss. The range from Clarins delivers a plethora of shades compared to the mere handful at other beauty stands, as well as having a unique foam applicator with nine pinprick holes for even application, rather than distributing all of the product to the centre… Clever. 

pink lip editIf you’ve been here from the start (almost one year!) then you might remember the original Pink Lip Edit post, consisting of my favourite shades of the moment. In short, i’ve sacked those off and today will share with you what’s been on my lips in the most recent months. Pink. Pout. Power.

The Gloss: For a subtle sheen through the summer I opted for Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01. A squeezy tube and fuzzy sponge applicator mean you get the right amount of gloss, colour and product. This offering is perfect for no makeup makeup days or for days when you don’t want to worry about having lipstick on your chin and don’t mind a quick reapplication every few hours. Easy Squeezy.

The Mattes: When it comes to paler shades i’m not usually one for a matte finish, but with Charlotte Tilbury’s Miss Kensington and MAC’s Mehr I changed my ways. Both colours offer a matte finish without feeling at all drying and deliver a fuller more healthy looking lip than any other matte I’ve tried.

The Sheeny Shades: For something a little more satin I opt for Sephora’s Little Treat; a creamy mid pink shade which is great for day or night or I scribble on a load of NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Descanso. These shades are muted while still making a statement with their satin finishes and perky pinkness, great with a cool toned eyeshadow.

The Designer Dolls: I’ve grown a little fond of designer pout polish. Chanel Rouge Coco in Adrienne is the ring leader in this one, a peachy pink offering which is perfect for indecisive days. Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel in Understudy followed suit and these pair are secretly my favourites. Don’t tell the others…

 

with f3 preset

Skincare doesn’t tend to be something which I spend a lot of money on. I know what I like and what works for me and luckily *touches wood* my skin isn’t too problematic. I’d describe my skin type as normal/dry and dehydrated, everyday when I get out of the shower it’s gagging for a generous layer of serum and moisturiser and often looks dull. I store my skincare stash in one drawer of the IKEA Helmer storage solution, which I think it meant for offices, but lord knows I have way more beauty products than I do important documents, and at the moment it works for me.

In the morning I’m very low maintenance, opting for a spritz of either the Caudalie Beauty Elixir or La Roche Posay Serozinc before slathering on one of my InstaNatural Serums* and a light layer of the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate – which I’ve spoken about before.

My evening routine is where it gets pretty Rock ‘N Roll, I take off my makeup with Bioderma Micellar Water (if i’m wearing heavy eye makeup i’ll take that off with the Amphora Aromatics Eye Gel*) before going into the bathroom to double cleanse with a Hot Cloth Cleanser like the Superdrug Vitamin E one. I’ll then tone using the Instanatural Ultimate Rosewater Toner* or Pixi Glow Tonic (which I’ve run out of… boo) and again use an Instanatural Serum* before applying my new love, the Bioderma Hydrabio Riche. Just before I sleep I pop on some of the Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm and I wake up feeling well nourished and replenished.

Other bits and bobs include the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Overnight Peel for when I need a pick me up in terms of perkiness, or when my skin feels clogged up, LUSH Popcorn Lip Scrub for a polished pout and a few other toner and moisturiser options for when i’m bored or when my skin gets too used to it’s current rotation.

What are your hero skincare products?

*Products marked with an asterisk were sent to me in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback

august favourites

I don’t know how I’ve managed to not go on and on and on and on and on about this, but August saw me taking a trip to the city of loooove. As well as holding that pretty great title, Paris also offered me great pharmacies and a number of Sephora’s. I went hard on my bank balance and picked up everything I could ever want, but because this is absolutely not a haul post, I’ve narrowed it down the the absolute best of the bunch. Allow me to introduce to you my August Favourites…

From the Skincare Stash comes a moisturiser which is the bees knees, or the creme de la creme, if you will. When someone says Bioderma, you immediately think of their Micellar Water, however Bioderma as a brand expands wayyyy past water and on Lisa Eldridge’s recommendation, I picked up their Hydrabio Riche. If Lisa loves it, so will everybody else and this lotion applies lightly but works wonders on tight feeling dehydrated skin. I’ve shunned the rest of my cream collection.

Let’s just take a moment for Marc Jacobs. If you don’t like his designs, you will love his lippies and if you do like his designs, you’ll love his lippies too! The price of this badboy took my breath away slightly but it’s so damn pretty I couldn’t resist. I’ve got the New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel in Understudy and it glides on like a dream, offers up a perky pink shade and looks oh so Parisian chic when you pull out the bullet from your bag. That magnetic closure though.

I finally gave in after buying multiple expected dupes and bought the real By Terry Ombre Blackstar. I opted for Bronze Moon (a light bronze/brown with silvery wet look shimmer) as an easy go to shade and I already want every other shade in the collection. Every single day since purchase I’ve scribbled this creamy dream onto my lids, softened the edges and been done with my eyes. Sometimes dupes just don’t cut it. There’s more of that coming later this week 😉

Lord have mercy my undereye bags have been beaten! My weapon of choice? Urban Decay Naked Concealer. Forget the Naked palettes, this product is an absolute show stopper, in fact it stops everything. Offering unreal amounts of coverage with a feathery lightweight feel, I’ve never looked so awake.

Finally for this months picks, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara has revolutionised mascara for me. It gives me long, thick, fluttery lashes which I can usually only achieve using faux hair and glue. I said it in my review post, but you really do need this mascara.

 

beauty launches sept 2015
Without full submersion into blogs and beauty on the verge/way past the verge of becoming obsessed, it’s difficult to keep up with the never ending reel of new launches into the industry. It’s time that I, your knight in shining armour/ muppet in tin foil, get down to the knitty gritty of whats new, whats hot, whats not, and what you’re going to have to sharpen your elbows to be in with a chance of even touching. Damn those MAC Collections…

Were seven days in to September (and I still haven’t posted the August favourites which I photographed about eight years ago)and already the month is bursting with brand spanking new beauty bits. Every brand and its sister are launching a new base product, theres a lotta lipstick and even some canine crushin’- we’ve all gone mad.

You might need a pen and paper for this one…

The Bobbi Brown Greige Collection has taken the yawn out of the most boring colour in the whole entire world. The collection offers a gorgeous eye palette, some funky powder liner trios and the usual lips and lacquers. You’re definitely going to need the palette. Add it to your basket asap.

The latest limited edition offering from MAC has had everyone barking mad. Haute Dogs is made up of polishes, lip products, eye quads, the works and with the best bits all gone off the world wide web, you’re going to have to go and grovel in your local for any chance of this neutral array.

The man behind the sexiest shoes has broadened his horizons creating Louboutin Lipsticks. Cheaper than a pair of heels, the lippy collection comes complete with stiletto packaging with more authority than a strict head teacher. You’re on to a winner there Loub.

Sticking with the lippies, Clarins have relaunched and branded their Joli Rouge collection. An expansive range of nudes, pinks, reds and berries there’s a shade to suit everyone. I’ll take one of each.

Blogging babe Tanya Burr has given her entire cosmetics range a lick of paint, offering up a fresh take on some of the old lines favourites and adding on three eye palettes and a brow quad. The well loved lady has swapped her classic packaging for gold and pink, it’s super cute, super girly and super at the top of my shopping list.

Another woman of the world wide web has had an exciting launch too! Fleur De Force (is that her real name?) has launched a collection of lashes with hero brand Eyelure. The range consists of four lash sets, all of which are very wearable, natural and fluttery. Fleur’s individuals in particular are exciting, using a new technology glue which means that they can last for three days! Bravo

If you haven’t yet found your perfect base, then you will in the coming months. Some of the best selling brands are launching brand new products to revolutionize the way we wear foundation. We have Burberry’s Cashmere Foundation, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation, MAC Studio Waterweight foundation and Estee Lauder Double Wear On The Go! If one of those don’t tickle your fancy then nothing will.

Finally (hurrah!) Birchbox are running a temporary concession at Selfridges Oxford Street where you can create your own box! It’s a great way to try out full and sample sizes of a range of new products and to get to grips with the Birchbox service. Check out their website for more details.

Now I need a nap…

lightweight dewy bases I am a lady who loves to shine bright like a diamond, matte bases ain’t my thang. I’ve got quite a boring face and dry/dehydrated skin and so anything matte looks flat and dull. I always opt for bases with a shine, and i’m quite lucky that i’m comfortable in something fairly lightweight; here’s the rundown of the three best bases for that healthy glow.

For Low Coverage Ladies: The least coverage but easily my favourite of the trio, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser offers enough pigment to blur any uneven skintone and redness, whilst giving the skin a natural sheen with a skin like finish. This also contains SPF so is perfect for a lightweight holiday base.
For The Real Glow Getter: The MAC Mineralise Moisture foundation is a dry skinned girls dream. Enriched with shea butter, this is a base which glides over even the flakiest of skins, providing a light but buildable coverage for a perfected base. This is one which shines and so for oily skins i’d expect it’s a no go, but for dull skins needing a great big boost of radiance this one’s a winner.
For Beauty On A Budget: I picked up KIKO Universal Fit Hydrating Foundation while I was in Paris and it’s been on my face ever since. Easily the most coverage, but with a natural skin like finish similar to the NARS Tinted Moisturiser. This is an absolute steal for under £10 and comes in an extensive range of shades. KIKO, you’re on to a winner.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I know that this is technically old news, and that there’s an exciting second edition of this palette out, but i’m just starting what I predict is a long term love affair with Too Faced as a brand. And so whether you’ve heard it all or not, today i’m going to talk about/sing the praises of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar.

Packaged in metal casing which looks suspicously similar to my favourite evening treat, Too Faced Chocolate bar is a palette of 16 buttery eyeshadow shades, enriched with cocoa itself. Colours range from neutrals to brights with subtle plums and deep olive shades bridging the gap between the likes of Strawberry Bon Bon and Haute Chocolate. The product smells like a chocolate surprise and while I probably wont be pressing Candied Violet onto my lids anytime soon, I may well bury my nose in it.

There’s a happy mix up of mattes and shimmers; mattes are smooth without being chalky where shimmer shades blend like a dream. (Can you tell I like it yet?) So far I’ve made a dent in Creme Brulee and Hazelnut but I already know i’ll be swishing on Cherry Cordial or Gilded Ganache come the time for a girls night out. I’m not usually one for mattes, but all bar Strawberry Bon Bon float my boat, my crease has never been so defined…

A great all round palette coming in a tad cheaper than the likes of Naked and with more shades. Have you tried anything from Too Faced?

natural blushes
As a rule, I do not wear blusher. I prefer to be bronzed and sculpted and attempt to hide my chubby cheeks with absolutely no colour on the apples. However, buying blush, i’m pretty great at that and so I had a root through my drawers (and bought more blush.. erm) to pick out and share with you the edit of shades and which don’t leave me looking like a Russian doll. Allow me to elaborate…

MAC Powder Blush in Harmony: MAC’s Harmony is quite well loved in the industry as a contour shade, which is what I originally purchased it for. However, when i’ve got little time (most days) a sweep of this on a blush brush slightly behind the apples adds a cool toned hue which sculpts whilst still being blush and adding a pretty pop of colour. A great one for beginners.
Too Faced Love Flush in I Will Always Love You: Too Faced and I are having a moment. I’m in love with their fun packaging and great quality products. The Love Flush range does actually have a slightly paler more natural shade but for when I’m feeling brave I picked up this peachy offering. Definitely not because of the Polly Pocket espue packaging. Dip the brush in ever so slightly and sweep this on in a similar position to the above and you’re greeted with a natural perky shade, which pairs beautifully with a golden highlight… you know how much I love highlight.
NARS X Christopher Kane Blush in Silent Nude: The entire Christopher Kane for Nars Collection is worthy of every heart eyed emoji and a number of hands in the air praise the lord style ones too. I managed to get my hands on the Blush in Silent Nude; a perfectly pale pinky peach which called my name from it’s top shelf position, making my stand on my tiptoes, peer into the drawers and pray for stock. I got it home, I swatched it, I swept it on and I swooned at it’s natural glory. Not a shimmer in sight, this powder offering blends into the base beautifully delivering a subtle sculpting definition. I can imagine it would be stunning on fair ladies.