best budget concealersBase products are something I have a real love hate relationship with, I love when I find a good one, but I hate the trial and error process and wish that my base would just look perfect every single day. To perfect it I use a mixture of high end and high street products, the latter of which I want to share with you today. I always prefer sharing more budget friendly products on here to ensure that what I recommend is accessible to a varied audience. (Though we all know in no time at all I’ll be raving about a new high end hero! Oops..)

Moving on… I love a good concealer. And by a good concealer I mean a creamy, full coverage concealer with a lightweight feel and cake free texture. I’m hard to please and to remain in my stash a concealer has to tick all of the boxes. I do opt for something targeted at the under-eye area, as dark shadows are my nemesis and blemishes tend to be something I just smear whatever over.

Everybody and their third cousin loves the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (which I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on here… eh?) and for good reason. We don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet for a lot of products but this one is a real people pleaser in terms of its coverage, longevity (though I’m yet to test it’s 16hr claims) and formula. Shade 2 is a salmony shade perfect for correcting blue tones under the eyes and it’s thick enough to cover up while not setting into a crusty cakey mess.

The Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer is a firm favourite of mine and one I know a few of my friends love too. It’s lightweight while still packing a punch in terms of coverage and contains kind to the eyes anti aging ingredients to prevent the product from settling into any fine lines meaning it’s crease free. The applicator is super soft around the delicate area too meaning you can shove on a shed load.

Finally the Maybelline Better Skin Concealer is a new one over on these shores and one I’ve seen a fair few raves over by some of my American faves. This is probably the highest coverage of this tempting trio while being a little thinner in consistency than my collection fave. One to try if you suffer a few pesky blemishes.

Have you got a favourite concealer? Post your recommendations below or tweet me @abgldwsn

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. 

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.

Sephora Mandarin MuseSephora Mandarin Muse Swatch

Out of everything in Sephora, this is the thing I wanted to try the most. The creamy, long lasting lip lacquers have taken the beauty industry by storm with everyone and their cat picking up at least one of the shades in the extensive range. I opted for Mandarin Muse, after already finding the perfect red in the form of MAC’s Ruby Woo, this orangey offering boasts coral and red tones with a subtle shimmer and packs a punch in terms of pigment.

The Sephora Lip Lacquer applies like a dream, with a doe foot applicator acting quite the companion for it’s creamy formula. One swipe of the stuff provides enough colour for both daytime and evening wear, dries to a matte finish and feels comfortable on the lips. The first time I wore it I must have asked about 800 times if my lipstick was still on because I’d consumed a jumbo hotdog and couldn’t feel anything. Spoiler Alert: it was.

The longevity of this lacquer is better than anything else i’ve tried, staying put through lunch, dinner and several snacks. The colour is beautiful with natural makeup or when worn with liquid liner… sassy ey!

Priced at 10.95 Euros (about 8 pounds) this is a purse friendly product with an expensive feel, and one you NEED to pick up if you’re near a Sephora anytime soon.

You know sometimes you find a real gem at the drugstore? This was one of those times…

I first tried the Collection Creme Puff in Powder Puff around three and a half years ago when they were first released. I used it up and never purchased another. When I was thinking about posts for this week I remembered how much I’d enjoyed the Powder Puff shade and popped down to Boots to see if they we’re still in existence.

At my local store there were these two shades, Powder Puff and Fairy Cake, but I’m sure there are more in the range. Powder puff is a peachy nude shade while Fairy Cake packs a little more punch and is a brighter pink shade.

The Collection Cream Puffs are a velvety matte finish lip cream. These do look matte on the lips but don’t feel quite as drying due to the creamy consistency of the product. This consistency does mean that they don’t stay put quite as long as something like a matte lipstick from MAC or the NARS velvet matte lip pencils but it does also mean that you don’t have to smother on half a pot of lip balm at the end of the day.

To make these last longer, you could always wear a lip liner underneath on the whole lips, this would also mask the fact that they wear off outwards leaving a lips with a coloured line around them.

Finally, the smell of the Collection Cream Puffs is sweet and vanillary; something which I am a massive fan of, but could easily put some people off.

Have you tried these?

Check out my swish image. It’s basically irrelevant to the post but it’s pretty and we all know that always comes before practical, right?

Today’s post is the second in my Budget Beauty bunch and comes in the form of a pretty expansive drugstore/high street beauty wishlist. I love making wishlists because it feels like shopping but I haven’t actually spent anything, it’s only about a week later when I’ve collectively bought all of the items when they become a problem…

I’ll work in brand order, because I like that and we’ll start with Bourjois. Now, Bourjois is a brand which I love. My early memories of Bourjois (is that a thing?) are the little round pot blushes which in my opinion are a tad too shimmery for a flush of colour but do look exceptionally pretty sat on your dressing table. I love their base options, I’ve tried a few including the Healthy Mix Serum and that’s only made it onto the list because I want another. In regards to new releases, Bourjois have hit the nail on the head with the latest launch, the Aqua Blush has snook its way to the top of my shopping list pretty quickly and I’m currently coveting Inge-nude. I’m super keen to try some of their lip product, with my only past experience being a tiny lip gloss phone charm I had on an old flip phone (omg). On my list is the Rouge Edition Velvet in Red Pepper and Happy Nude Year.

Next up I’ve recently been wandering over to the L’Oreal stand a little too much and getting all heart eyed over their La Palette Nude, in both shades, of course. These are sleek in packaging and stunning in product, I can’t wait to get my hands on them. I’m also keen to try the new lipgloss launches and the entire Lumi Magique line. Glowy Skin be mine.

Maybelline seem to be extending their line recently, with Mollie King fronting the UK Campaign and the launch of the blogger-must-have Master Sculpt kit. I’m obviously after that, along with their Baby Skin Anti Fatigue primer and the expected Roller Lash dupe Lash Sensational.

Finally Max Factor‘s Creme Puff Blushes have taken the industry by storm with everyone and their mother loving them. An expected dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes, I’ve got my eye on the shade Nude Mauve.

What are you currently coveting? Have you tried any of these products?

Could I possibly take any more pictures of a sponge?! I think not.
Today marks the beginning of Budget Beauty Week (You know I love a good category). Basically this was completely unplanned but while procrastinating working hard at my current Editorial job I decided that there’s nothing better to get me back in the blogging game than committing to seven posts this week, all circling the budget beauty world.

While I love wandering around Selfridges looking at all of the pretties, I do also love popping into Boots (beats Superdrug everytime) and filling up my basket to be surprised and how much a 3 for 2 can save you and with lots of Advantage points to spend on my next meal deal. I should probably save them up for something more glam I know.

Away from the drugstore, I’m kicking off this week with my search for a BeautyBlender dupe. I’ve probably spent as much if not more money trying to find a copy than the cost of the real deal, but it’s worth a try I suppose.

I picked up this pretty pink number from Primark for £1.50 after seeing it in a few haul videos. This is a similar shape to the original and comes in a pale shade rather than the original bright pink.
Unfortunately, the similarities end with the shape. This sponge does not expand when placed under running water, nor does it soften making application of foundation and concealer almost impossible. The usual dabbing technique (technical term there) which I use with my Real Techniques offering is too harsh on the face and it basically feels like you are repeatedly punching yourself in the face.
In addition, while the sponge doesn’t absorb water, it does take in a lot of liquid makeup product, meaning that if push came to shove and you needed to use it, you’d be using twice as much product as usual.

I don’t mean to begin the week a negative nancy, but I assure you my search for the perfect sponge will continue…


When everyone’s favourite acrylic storage store released it’s new skin care line, I was of course interested to try it. I’m always wary when non cosmetic stores broaden their horizons into the beauty industry as often there are a number of nasties on the ingredients list. With MUJI skincare, there are absolutely no perfumes, alcohol, parabens or mineral oils – hip hip hooray!

I think the range is exclusive to Selfirdges for the moment, so I popped into The Trafford Centre store and perused the selection. The range is made up of three sections; sensitive, moisture and high moisture and is created in Japan. I picked up three items, and attempted to span an entire skincare routine. I chose the Moisture Face Soap, the Moisture Moisturising Milk and the Light Toning Water.

Lets start with the bad news; the Moisture Face Soap is really terrible. I attempted to use this as a cleanser, it came out as a thick paste and when mixed with water became a thick white cream. It’s very sticky on the skin and stings if it’s within a centimetre of your eyes. In short, I felt like I had conjunctivitis on my whole face. This doesn’t remove makeup and is generally crap all round.

Pushing negative Nancy to one side, the other two products are definitely worth a try. The Light Toner worked wonders on a little skin problem I had, refined the texture of my skin with its light acid and hydrated slightly. This is a great toner with a fantastic price point and i’ll definitely be going back for big moma. I sometimes think that toners with acid are a bit strong for everyday use on my dry skin but this one is light and refreshing.

The moisture milk is a great moisturiser for these summer months where I don’t need a cream that’s quite as thick (I’ll probably opt for the more moisturising range in the winter). It’s light enough that it sinks in quickly while packing enough punch in terms of hydration and nourishment. I used this at night the first day I got it and woke up with my skin looking plump, glowy, hydrated and fresh – a welcome change to my sometimes dull complexion.

As I swim deeper into the skincare sea, I’m discovering and trying out a load of products which I would never have thought to use on my dry skin before. I have dry, dehydrated skin and so anything which renews or is acidic would previously have been shunned. However, with dry, dehydrated skin comes dull, tired skin too which needs a pick me up every now and then so a number of months ago I picked up this overnight peel from superdrug. It was un believably well priced and to cut a long story short is a fantastic product.

Containing glycolic acid, this peel works overnight to renew the skin and awaken it’s natural glow whilst improving its tone and texture. It isn’t at all drying nor does it strip skin of any moisture, it simply renews the surface making a better base for further skincare and makeup.

Have you tried any peels?

   I know I know, I’ve made a statement right there but sometimes you’ve got to be bold, brutal and honest. You and I know that I’ve had the same blue/grey/green (still can’t decide) Essie polish on for weeks now and it probably wasn’t long until my nails stained that colour. But on a recent browse down the aisles of Superdrug I spotted a pretty row of pastel polishes, in packaging I hadn’t seen before – cue a new obsession: Barry M’s Speedy Quick Dry nail paint.

I picked up the shades Pit Stop (on nails) and Eat My Dust which were in a “cant leave them on the shelves at that price” deal. I do love a bargain. The shades are probably the most similar pairing in the range (obv) but they were the two I wanted the most, what’s too many bottles of grey between friends eh? The formula of them both is exactly the same; two coats opaque and they do dry in record time as the name suggests. (Quick shout out to the finish line flag lid as well, that floats my boat.)

If you’re not a pale nails gal, Barry M do have some brighter shades in the range and for £3.99 they’re easily worth a try. You can buy Barry M products in the UK from Boots and Superdrug. Maximillian who?