I am feeling slightly decaffeinated as I am typing this, but oh well! I have so many amazing products to share with you today, so I guess it is about time that I stop rambling. We have got some make-up, haircare (+ an odd deodorant) and books to talk about, I hope you enjoy!
I finally managed to visit very first Urban Decay store in Dubai; there is something so special about a free standing store, don't you agree? It is not really located on the street, but still is a very cute little shop with some exclusive products you won't find at Sephora. The only thing, which I bought there was this:
image source: www.urbandecay.com
This palette is called Nirvana and you can fit up to four pans in it (works with Urban Decay eyeshadows only). Although I really like their Naked line (I mean, Naked 2 was my gateway drug to the world of palettes), I find that there are many colours in each palette, which I never use. But there are always a few, which I hit pan on, so I figured it would make more sense to buy them individually. I also adore their Moondust formula and have a couple of them in my stash. At the moment I have: Tease (perfect cool-toned crease colour), Half Baked (the best gold in the world), Toasted (easiest every day copper, makes blue eyes pop!), Diamond Dog (gorgeous glittery silver-brown eyeshadow), Glitter Rock (metallic pink with the most beautiful sparkle), Solstice (MAC's Blue-Brown Pigment on steroids).
The palette itself has a beautiful design; it comes with a sturdy metallic case and great mirror. Nirvana is perfect for travelling; it might be heavier than other petite palettes, but it does keep favourite eyeshadows safe. I have created this little quad with my go-to neutrals: one matte, two shimmers and one glittery topper ala Tom Ford style. Plus, it is super easy to move pans around and Urban Decay just recently launched a bigger version called Stackable Pro Artistry Palette, which fits 10 eyeshadows (just FYI).
Another palette, which I have been looooving lately, is Tartelette. I have reviewed it long ago, but with all of my crazy glittery magpie eyeshadows, I do need good mattes and Tartelette is everything I could ever ask for! I might be one of a few people on this planet, who doesn't care for warm eyeshadows #shocker. They are beautiful, but personally speaking I have brown eyes and very (warm-toned) genetic panda circles around them, which in contrast to my light skin tone, makes them look even warmer/darker (think Tim Burton). I conceal the hell out of them, so the last thing I want is a layer of warm/rusty eyeshadows. Maybe if I had blue/green eyes, that would be an advantage, but unfortunately it is not. Tartelette is very neutral with a few cool-toned shades here and there; blends like a dream, works amazing with any other palettes - huge fan here.
Brows & Things
I have been really enjoying an "easy" brow this year. I can't rave enough about Gimme Brow. I am curious to try its Glossier equivalent, but so far I do see why it is worth the hype. Especially if you already have bushy brows, but there are a few gaps here and there - this product is fabulous; it fills in and sets your brows at the same time. I have also been frequently using Laura Mercier Brow Dimesion, which is essentially the same product as Gimme Brow, except it has a drier texture and a ton of fibers in it. Like, it is the hairiest brow gel of them all, no doubt. It won't give you as much tint, but if you want that extra bit of fullness/dimension, give it a shot.
I rarely use a brow powder these days, but I must say Brow Zings Tame & Shape Kit is amazing. I don't really care for wax or cute little tools here; the powder itself is so rich in pigment, it almost feels like a pomade. I think this kit is great for traveling or on the go; shade selection is brilliant and it does last a long time, which is something I appreciate. If you love brow powders more than anything, check this one out. I have (brownish) black hair and shade 06 Deep is a great match.
My only drugstore favourite is Bourjois Twist Up The Volume Mascara. I got sent this a while back, but once I started using it a month ago - I was quite impressed. No smudging, no flaking. It gives a good amount of volume and you can easily build it up whenever you feel like it. Of course you might need to comb through your lashes if you keep on layering, but overall I think this mascara is awesome. Plus you can twist the wand and make it either longer (to lenghten) or shorter (to add volume). I use both positions! My only complaint would be that it is a bit up there in price for a drugstore mascara. Add a few more dollars and you can buy something from Tarte, if you know what I mean.
Last but not least, wanted to mention my go-to glitter "glue": Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner. Wait, what? Yes, ladies and gentlemen - these Heavy Metal liners are a perfect base for any glitter (loose, pressed doesn't matter). I love Midnight Cowboy and AC/DC in particular; the latter one looks quite purple on their website, but in reality it is the most flattering silvery-lavender. Application tip: apply a thin layer of Heavy Metal where you want to place glitter; let it air dry for 10 seconds and gently pat it into place using your ring finger. This way you will pick up extra liquid and help distribute liner evenly. Then pick any glitter your want to apply on top and gently press it with (again) your ring finger. Glitter sticks best to Heavy Metal while it is still semi-wet and once it sets - it will last ALL DAY LONG.
Creme de la Creme
I have finally discovered a cream blush, which I actually enjoy: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge is lovely. I love the idea of an easy make-up routine for summer and this blush is so pretty: it delivers just the right amount of pigment, can be layered and makes you look healthy/youthful. You can use it on your lips for a sheer wash of colour, if you want that monochromatic look. Now, my only issue with this formula is - it can be smudged easily; mainly because it never really sets. So if you accidentally touch it, it will leave a gap on your cheek. This is why it is good to have it in your purse for touch-ups. If you have oilier skin, this blush might make you look shiny, so I would probably go with a cream formula that sets matte instead. The shade I use is Fresh Melon and it is the most beautiful, natural-looking peachy pink. Packaging is simply adorable too.
Now, I am a concealer junkie. If you follow me on Instagram, this will come as no surprise to you. Lately I have been enjoying my NARS Soft Matte concealer; I still find that neither Vanilla nor Custard are perfect for me (one is a tiny bit pink, while the other is a touch dark), but the formula is great for summer. Especially if you have combination/oily skin. I have dry skin, but when it is properly moisturized and exfoliated, I can literally use this concealer all over my face (without foundation) and call it a day. I don't even set it, which is amazing.
Another combo, which I have been enjoying, is my Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone paired with their Luminous Blush in Foxglove. The blush alone is such a stunning berry/purplish-pink, described as "orchid". It works great for a plethora of skin tones; I do have to use it sparingly, but I imagine it looking absolutely bomb on someone with a deeper complexion. Moonstone is more of a subtle highlight colour in the range, which compliments the blush so beautifully. If you are interested in Becca highlighters, but don't know where to start, my guide here might be helpful.
Another favourite highlighter, this time a gorgeous golden-pink, is Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion in the shade 01. Now, I have to thank my friend Shireen from Reflections Of Sanity for this discovery. She was so right about this highlighter; I believe that it is a must-have, especially if you love your glow and were (maybe) looking for that perfectly wearable pink shade. I can't stop using it. The texture is identical to MAC Extra Dimension Skin Finish (I talk more about it here). The packaging is okay; nothing fancy, yet straight to the point. I wish they had more colours, because the formula is top notch.
Lips, Books & Random Favourites
Lately I am all about that pinkish/nude pout. I recently picked up Syrup lipstick by MAC as my "Back To MAC" perk. It is gorgeous. Described as a "cloudy pink", it is a perfect mix of mauve and pink. Since this is a Lustre finish, it gives a sheer wash of colour, which you can layer if needed. It is also more hydrating, than say Cremesheen or Glaze. And most importantly, I can't think of anyone, who wouldn't be able to pull it off; Syrup is one of those shades, which is going to look great on everyone. No surprise it is so popular online.
When I am not feeling adventurous, I will wear my NARS Velvet Lip Glide in the shade Unlaced, which is your perfect "Bardot pink". I have featured this product many times on my social media; I would describe it is as a pigmented, non-sticky lip gloss. The only thing - NARS products, which come in a tube (such as glosses and concealers) tend to leak, so I would not recommend traveling with it.
I am also a OUAI convert now; their Smooth Shampoo is a godsend. I bought it while I was looking for a semi-natural hydrating shampoo and am so happy with my discovery. If you have frizzy, dry hair - it is a must-have. It has a ton of natural ingredients in it such as: coconut water, jasmine/carrot/ginger/pea/rice/tamarind extracts and more - I mean it sounds like it is good enough to eat, right? Smells great, feels great. My scalp is not getting as dry and itchy when I use it (God knows we have awful water in Dubai), so I highly recommend it. Their Smooth Conditioner is next on my wish list.
First time mentioning a deodorant on this blog, but it is 2017 and products like this should be talked about too. Speaking of Nuxe Long-Lasting Deodorant. Horror story - there is not even a single aluminum-free deodorant sold at Sephora in Dubai. When I asked one of the sales girls to help, she gave me this little guy from Nuxe and since it seemed like more of a "natural" version of aluminum deodorant, I figured to give it a shot. This is a roll-on, which smells lovely, feels a bit wet. You need to wait a minute or two for it to set. Nuxe claim that this product is made with "natural powders of alum and silver"; in other words this deodorant too contains aluminum, but in a less scary form. Although it feels lovely, doesn't cause dryness or itchniness - you need to re-apply it after 6-7 hours. Especially before exercising (we all know those stinky people at the gym; you don't want to be one of them). This deodorant sure is a favourite for a plethora of reasons, but I am still open to other options, so please (if you know any great aluminum-free deodorants) let the girl know!
Last but not least, I wanted to mention two of my favourite books: Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso and The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight. Both are a must in my opinion; especially if you are a millennial like moi (and young-adult life seems complicated) - these will make you laugh and learn a lot of vital information. Both books are very easy to read; they are pretty opinionated, but so on point at the same time. Girlboss was quite an inspiring read; I feel like I can relate to Sophia's life struggles as a teen in one way or another. What I love the most about her book is that she has included letters from other successful girlbosses, which was fun to read, especially since many of these amazing women give great life/work advise. Sarah's book on the other hand just proved something I knew all along: you can't and don't have to please everyone around you. Her book teaches you how to stop doing [annoying] favours for people you don't like, while wasting time you don't have. It won't answer all of your questions about life and dealing with uneasy humans; but I had such a relief when I have realized that I wasn't the only one, thinking that we (as an over-thinking society) need to give fewer f**ks about a lot of silly things in life. As always, adapt what you read here to your own lifestyle and don't forget about that grain of salt.