Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of London!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

NOTD - Sinful Halloween

It seems very appropriate that I created this Halloween nail art using Sinful Colors nail polish....

Halloween nails a' la Fleur de Force!

I cannot take credit for the design, I just copied the lovely Fleur de Force so if you want to see how to do it then click here for the youtube video.

Add caption

My tools were: Sinful Colors nail polishes in Cloud 9 (pumpkin orange shimmer), Black on Black, and Snow me White, along with a touch of Mavala Bronze Green (155) on the top of Mr Pumpkin Face (that's the ring finger, folks). I topped everything off with Essie Good to Go topcoat as I didn't have a glitter topcoat like Fleur.

Sinful Colors
I used two coats of the orange. Once dry I formed the different designs on the nail using a cocktail stick dipped into the black polish which I previously blobbed on some paper. My tip is to practice the designs on paper first just so you know what you're doing! When the black was dry I blobbed a bit of white on the paper and added tiny eyes, and lines for the pumpkin and spider web. The pumpkin also has a touch of green for his stalk. Awwwwww...

I thought the left hand would be murder but actually it wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined. I have a steady hand. I could have been a surgeon but decided to sing instead.... and blog.

Mr P thinks I'm missing a neuron or two, but I'm too old for Trick or Treat so I'll get my kicks from nail art, thank you very much.

Give it a go, it's so much fun. The spider web was actually the trickiest.... on my left hand it bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything at all. So maybe it was a good thing after all that I didn't pursue that career in surgery.

And for some completely non beauty related, check out my little pumpkin chilli light display....

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Welcome Lush haul

The new Lush store opened yesterday in Place Stephanie, Brussels so I went down there to join the fun. There was a band playing outside and lots of pretty sales assistants dressed up in fifties-style dresses with matching hair and make-up. The store is teeny tiny, but there was a good, fun atmosphere and everyone was obviously very excited.

I picked up some old favourites along with some new things which I hadn't tried before.

Jungle solid conditioner - my no 1 Lush product of all time.

Jungle solid conditioner (€4.95 / £2.95) was the first thing I threw into my basket. I need this in my life, really I do.  It's amazing for my thick, curly hair and smells like a lush tropical paradise. It's pretty small, it used to come in a massive block like their soaps which they would cut for you in whatever size you wanted. I preferred it the old way as these little ones don't last me long. I have a serious amount of hair, which is why I never go the hairdresser because I'd feel sorry for them having to deal with my crazy mane. Anyway, this baby Jungle will last me about 20 washes, so it's not bad really. Most bottles of conditioner last me for about 15-20 washes.

Karma Komba shampoo bar
 I've bought this little shampoo bar (€8.75 / £5.00) so many times. It smells like orange and patchouli and makes me more than happy to wash my hair. These do last a long time, Lush estimate about 60 washes, I'd probably get about 30-40, plus Mr P likes to use this too, so I'll have to re-stock sooner probably. It detangles beautifully and pairs exceptionally well with Jungle.

Snowglobe soap
Mr P loves his soaps. His favourite is Ice Blue which I couldn't see there yesterday, so I picked up Snowglobe (€4.50 / £2.50) instead. It's a Christmas one, but it doesn't smell very Christmassy. This is very citrus and fresh. There hasn't been a Lush soap I haven't liked yet, so I'm looking forward to getting to know this one.
Dirty Shower gel
Another purchase for Mr P. I love the smell of this though and I think we'll be fighting over it. It smells 'clean', slightly herby, and slightly minty too. (€7.95 / £4.95 for 100ml)

Grass (Supergrass en Belgique!) shower gel
Grass shower gel (€8.25 / £4.75 for 100ml) was my freebie which they threw into my bag at the till. I wouldn't have picked this up off the shelf, but I'm glad they chucked it in. I used it this morning and it really is a gorgeous, complex mossy green smell. Like cut grass in 3D. It's meant to be a smell that reminds you of Spring, but I actually find it very Autumnal. I think Mr P will like this too.

Vanishing Cream (L'Oracle) moisturiser
 I'm running very low on my Effaclar K (La Roche Posay) and seeing as my skin is behaving a little better I thought I'd invest in a slightly richer moisturiser. As it get's colder I'm going to need that extra bit of moisture barrier which Effaclar doesn't really give me. The sales assistant recommended L'Oracle (€ 25.95 / £16.95) (Vanishing Cream in the UK/US) as being great for sensitive, breakout-prone skin. It smelt divine too, so into the basket that went.

Colour Supplement in Dark Yellow (Jaune foncé)
 I was very excited to finally try one of the Colour Supplements (€15.95 / £7.95). They are tiny pots of highly pigmented cream which you mix with moisturiser or use neat. They can be used as foundations, tinted moisturisers and concealers.
Dinky, but this is the full size and not a sample!
 As you can see from the picture above, the pot is tiny, but a little goes a long way. I picked the Dark Yellow shade (there are 5 shades altogether but most of them are pretty light). I was attracted by the versatility of this product, and the fact that you can vary the coverage depending on the ratio of colour to moisturiser that you choose to mix. Today I gave it a try for the first time, mixing a little with Vanishing Cream. I don't think I got the ratio right, I felt I needed a bit more colour. Having said that it seems to blend into the skin beautifully, even when applied neat. I had trouble getting the swatches below to show up because every time I applied a streak of product to my skin it would just blend in completely! A good sign I guess.

Colour Supplement (Dark Yellow)

Dark Yellow swatched on hand

Dark Yellow swatched thickly on arm

 Catastrophe Cosmetic fresh face mask 
I haven't used a Lush face mask in years. I'm trying to use masks more regularly as I think that my skin benefits a lot the more I use them. I've recently finished up a load of half used tubes of mask (great for Project Pan!) so I figured it was time to try something new. Catastrophe Cosmetic (€10.95 / £5.50) is a calming and purifying blueberry based mask which is meant to prevent breakouts and reduce inflammation. It's fresh, so you keep it in the fridge. I can't wait to try this out.

The only thing that upsets me somewhat is the price difference between euros and sterling. Some prices are comparable, and others are just doubled. It makes me feel a bit sore about spending my hard-earned cash there in future. Still, this is Belgium. Most things are more expensive here, apart from high-end cosmetics strangely enough, which I often find to be slightly cheaper than in the UK.

Detailed reviews of Vanishing Cream, Catastrophe Cosmetic and the Colour Supplement to come!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

NOTD - OPI & Mavala - Crown me with Silver!

Crown me with Silver.... geddit?

Behold, lots of gratuitous pictures of glittery nails.  I received OPI Crown me Already! for my birthday from my lovely Godmother and I've been itching to put it to use. I'm not really one for glitter to be honest, but at the moment glitter polishes are de rigeur so I thought what the heck.

Now I'm for glitter. I'm upset that none of my pictures do this justice, but believe me when I say that it's like having millions of tiny diamonds at my fingertips. The particles just catch the light beautifully and throw it around all over the place.

OPI Crown me Already! on top of Mavala Silver
I layered the OPI over  Mavala Silver. I really don't like this silver, it's very blah and very pearly and streaks like crazy. My idea was that one coat underneath the glitter would give the overall look a bit more depth and thankfully it does. The glitter on it's own, though pretty would just look patchy.

So this is one coat of Mavala Silver and one coat of Crown me Already. When applying glitter polish the trick is to dab it onto the nail rather than draw the brush down like you would with normal polish. This way you get a better coverage of glitter and less 'bald' patches. LOL

OPI Crown me Already! Sparkly!

The last two pics I took in the bathroom, the light was better there for catching the reflection of the glitter.

I was tempted to make a video showing exactly how stunning this looks when the fingers move under the light. I'm hypnotised!

OPI Muppets Collection, here I come......

Will you be wearing glitter this season?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Lush Beginnings!

I can hardly contain my excitement.....

Today I saw that there would be a new Lush store opening up in Place Stephanie, Brussels. That is walking distance from me, people. Walking distance. To a Lush store. It's right next to the Annick Goutal shop so part of me thinks that the Annick Goutal lot won't be very happy with all the Lush-y smells wafting next door to them and interfering with their perfumes! Let's face it, you can smell a Lush store from about 100 feet away!

Obviously I know that this information is useless to anyone who doesn't live in Brussels, but you have to understand that there is not that much to get jiggy about in Brussels so forgive me if this shout-out is relevant only to my Brussels based readers. 

I called Mr P instantly to tell him the news. He was quite excited too. Mr P does love himself a Lush soap or two.

Oh and by the way, they've had a makeover. This is their new logo:

 What do you think? At the moment I prefer the old, cartoony one, I find it strangely comforting. I think the new one is a bit too minimal.... but I'm sure I'll get over it.

I've never talked about my sheer and utter adoration for Lush on this blog. So what better time to give them some love.

I used to by just bath bombs (sorry, I mean bath BALLISTICS in Lush lingo) and soaps when I frequented the Covent Garden shop many moons ago. I never took them seriously for anything else. Nowadays I rarely buy a bath bomb as I'm a die-hard shower girl, but I'm in serious love with most of Lush's other offerings.

My favourites are (in no particular order):

Jungle solid conditioner: Please, Lush, bottle this smell and sell it. I want to eat my hair after I used this and it makes my curls soft, bouncy and shiny.

Dream Cream: Soothing, healing, wonderful body cream. I love the smell, but lots of people don't.

Soaps: All of them, but in particular, Sea Vegetable, Karma, Ice Blue, Figs and Leaves, Snowcake

Therapy massage bar: Made all the better when employed by Mr P.

Karma Komba shampoo bar: A fantastic detangling shampoo which smells totally divine (if you like patchouli as much as me).

Sympathy for the Skin: Like banana custard in body cream form. Edible. Almost.

Fresh Farmacy face soap: I used to use this all the time about ten years ago. I don't know why I stopped, it's wonderful soothing stuff for the face.

What are your Lush favourites? Do you even like Lush at all?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask

Words cannot express how much I love this. This is probably my 6th or 7th bottle and the ONLY face mask I've repurchased.
On days where you get out of bed and look like you really shouldn't have bothered, this is your saviour. Today was one of those days and I really, really need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed. Mentally I'm still feeling a bit 'meh' but thankfully my face is lying to the world.

The brightening treatment is essentially a light pale greyish cream which smells like a way more intense version of Cleanse and Polish. Loads of eucalyptus and loads more camphor. It really buzzes up your nostrils but in a good way. At least I think so because I love those kind of nose-clearing smells.

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment

One pump smoothed over the face should be enough. Avoid the eye area obvously (and lip area if you are particularly sensitive). I leave it on for about 3 minutes, but 30 seconds is enough. Really. In 30 seconds you can fake a good night's sleep. Get a wet flannel or muslin cloth and wipe it off. Splash with cold water, et voila..... 8 hours sleep and not a care in the world, all written into your clear bright skin.

This is an incredibly brief review for an incredibly brief treatment, but hey, it works.

Nuff said.

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment (50ml) £13.50 (with cloth), £12.75 without.
Available from Liz Earle online and John Lewis in the UK.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Falling in love with Giorgio

Armani Fluid Sheer No 2

Mr P will not be happy.
I've fallen in love with a man called Giorgio.
Giorgio is rich, cool, sophisticated, über talented and by God, he makes me look HOT. 

Giorgio and I met at Harrods a few weeks back. I didn't mean for it to happen but the attraction was instant and oh-so powerful. My friend GG and I were seduced by his promises of flawless skin, glowing cheeks and sumptuous lips. We both fell under Giorgio's spell and after he had had his way with us we stumbled away in blissful shame, grinning like lovesick teenage girls whose first major crush just looked their way. And we were both clutching little Harrods bags filled with souvenirs of our time together.

The Blushing Fabric I've already waxed lyrical on but when I saw what Fluid Sheer No 2 did for my cheekbones I was sold in a second. It blew all the other highlighters I'd tried out the water. It was more than a highlighter, it was heavenly skin in a bottle. No matter where it was placed, on my cupid's bow, on my cheekbones, the centre of my forehead.... it just imparted the kind of glow you normally can only get from within. That healthy sheen which became part of the skin and not just a layer on top of it. A shimmer so fine it was almost undetectable and the lightest texture you can imagine. Now that was the look I always wanted to achieve but somehow always fell short of. I now know that it was because I didn't have Fluid Sheer in my life. Now I do and I'm never looking back.

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer No 2 (top swatch blended out a little)
Fluid Sheer comes in a few shades, but No 2 is perhaps the most versatile. It can be mixed into foundation or tinted moisturiser for a subtle illuminating effect, it can be used alone all over the skin, or just to highlight the usual areas on the face. It can be used on the body too. I've used it mixed in with foundation and I love it, it just lightens the coverage and enhances the effect of the foundation. As I wear BB cream more often than foundation I've been using Fluid Sheer mostly to highlight and I'm totally in awe of the glow it gives which is as appropriate for day time use as for night time. It is stupendous on the cupid's bow, makes my lips ready to kiss Giorgio in gratitude.

Armani Fluid Sheer is £33 in the UK, €45 (ouch!) in the rest of Europe.

If you buy only one highlighter, make it this. You will be seduced, but I'm willing to share the love.

Friday, 14 October 2011

La Roche Posay - Effaclar & Cicaplast review

06/12/11 Update: Effaclar Astringent Lotion review and Effaclar update here

I said a few posts back that I would expand upon my new skincare regime, thus embarked upon because my skin had been seriously misbehaving and needed the skincare equivalent of an ASBO. After much online research I came across the Effaclar range from La Roche Posay which is pretty much omnipresent at every pharmacy here in Belgium.

My already much used Effaclar collection
 In a nutshell, this is what happened to me. My previously combination-dry skin has always behaved itself quite well, I got the occasional spot and I always had blackheads mainly on my nose, but nothing out of ordinary that couldn't be dealt with with any old moisturiser and my trusted Liz Earle cleanser. I would exfoliate every week, do a mask every so often, but I didn't really have any major issues. Until July and my trip to America. Towards the end of the trip I started breaking out with horrible hard lumps that woudn't even become (and I can't believe I'm about to write this... ) pop-able. (eugh)

I tried my usual spot treatment of regularly applied Lavender oil and Tea Tree oil. But nothing was working and my skin kept breaking out in these horrible cyst things. To top it all the texture of my skin was starting to look 'grainy' and not smooth. Suddenly there were hundreds of tiny bumps that looked like every pore was blocked. And indeed they were blocked.

So I was feeling desperate, and after reading good things about Effaclar K in particular I went to buy it.
Mini Effaclar cleanser
On this occasion the Effaclar K cream came with a free 50ml Effaclar cleanser which was a bonus. There isn't much to say about the cleanser other than it's a basic foaming gel which you mix with water and massage on the face as you normally would. The smell is non-offensive, a basic fresh soapy clean scent. The good thing is that it hasn't dried out my skin at all so I have no problem using it twice a day. In the evening I use my Liz Earle first and then I wash my face with this, so I double cleanse so to speak. I think I will buy the bigger tube when this runs out as I like to think that it's working nicely in conjunction with the Effaclar K.

So what is Effaclar K?
Well it's a treatment lotion/cream which is supposed to prevent the skin from breaking out and help clear up current eruptions. The whole range is formulated for sensitive skin so it's not as abrasive as traditional acne treatments. Effaclar K differs somewhat as it is geared towards adult breakouts and not teenage acne for which there is another Effaclar product. Effaclar K contains Lipo Hydroxy acid and salicylic acid which helps to exfoliate the skin and improve texture. The La Roche Posay thermal water is also supposed to help heal the skin and soothe it.
Does it work?
You know, I think it does. I've been using it for about 6 weeks now, twice a day,  and I haven't had a repeat of the horrible cystic lumps I'd been getting. My skin looks much clearer and the texture is a bit smoother. If I do get a small spot then it doesn't last longer than two days when I use this. I can't say that my pores seem any less blocked though, I have a feeling that I'm always, ahem, extracting, but I've only been using this for 6 weeks, so maybe longer down the line I'll notice more improvements in that area. The lotion itself is light and has a fresh neutral citrus-soapy scent. It doesn't feel like you're applying some horrible medicated cream to your face which is a big plus. I feel like I'm taking care of my skin when I use this, although that's probably something I've manufactured in my own head due to the 'pharmaceutical' ethos this range seems to emit.

I'm aware that the exfoliating nature of this product means that my skin may be a bit more 'exposed' and vulnerable so I've been using extra SPF during the day.

Effaclar K - squeezed to within an inch of it's life
Overall I have noticed significant positive improvement from using Effaclar K to want to continue using it. When winter hits though, I may need something a little more nourishing as my skin usually gets much drier when it's cold. Hopefully by then this should have sorted out my skin enough for me to finish off my abandoned Project Pan moisturisers.

Now Cicaplast is a different product altogether. It's not a moisturiser, it's a skin protectant with healing properties for sensitised skin which needs repairing, such as after a chemical peel. I first heard about this from Lisa Eldridge who actually uses it as a face primer before make-up. I was told by the pharmacist here that I should only use it on areas needed and not all over as it contains  medical ingredients including Madecassoside. In the beginning I just used it directly on the areas scarred by the spots and left it on overnight. Recently though I've taken to using it all over my face occasionally and it hasn't harmed me at all. And Lisa Eldridge is right, it makes a great primer. I wouldn't advocate using it a lot for this purpose as it is a skin treatment after all, but it's very soothing and at the moment it seems to be doing me some good.
Does it work?
In my opinion yes, in that it seems to accelerate the healing of the horrible blemishes I've been left with. Unfortunately I can never leave my face alone so I haven't really given Cicaplast the chance to do things on it's own. On the rare occasion when I don't abuse my face (you know those lights that shine from above and convince you that there are pores that need to be unblocked??? Don't tell me it's just me??) then I can say that my skin looks much improved by morning in the areas where I've applied this. It's not a miracle cure by any means, but in conjunction with Effaclar K it seems to have restored my skin back to some degree of normality.

Effaclar Astringent Lotion

The Effaclar astrigent lotion I bought yesterday. I decided I needed some extra smoothing and exfoliating action to boost the other products and this promises micro-exfoliation, pore size reduction and general skin refinement. I've used it twice already and it reminds me a lot of the Clinique clarifying lotions. It tingles slightly when applied (on a cotton pad) but it does not sting. It smells like a treatment lotion and not a luxury toner, but the smell is clean and fresh and not at all bad. I'll post again on this when I have some feedback to report, but fingers crossed that it enhances the positive results of the other products.

Price wise there seems to be no set price for La Roche Posay here in Belgium, everywhere I've been has had different prices and different offers on the products.

Effaclar K £13.00 (@ Boots), approx. €14
Effaclar Astringent Lotion (Clarifying Lotion) £11(Boots) approx. €14
Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel £10.21 (Boots) approx. €13
Cicaplast £13.00 (Boots) approx. €14

If I notice any further developments using this stuff then rest assured I'll let you all know.
And I promise the next post will be much prettier :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Fragrant offerings

aka.... my perfume collection.

Pandora's perfumes
Recently I've really loved reading about perfume, especially other girls' perfume collections.
Perfume is one of those incredibly subjective things, but the market is so swamped that I always find it useful to find out what others like too, so that I can organise my 'sniffing' trips accordingly! 

My journey with fragrance began when I was about 12. I bought a tiny bottle of Joy by Jean Patou on a school trip to Boulogne. I barely spoke French but I somehow managed to walk into this very posh department store and come away with an exquisitely gift-wrapped bottle of what was once heralded 'the most expensive perfume in the world'. I made that bottle last for years and I still have that gift wrapping, treasured in the back of an old diary as if it were made of gold leaf.

Precocious... moi???

So on to the here and now and my current collection is, I think at least, quite modest. Most of my scents of choice are quite light, fresh and floral. Boring? Maybe. I'd like to be one of those people with eclectic taste in perfume, the kind of perfume that costs about £150 a bottle and contains essence of leather, tobacco, rare Amazonian wood, extract of burnt power cables, and antelope flea musk. But thou must be true to thyself and I would be lying to myself if I said that I actually would wear most of the fragrances sold in an 'haute parfumerie', although Mr P is quite partial to a bit of antelope flea musk.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle - Moisture Mist
Some fragrances I like to wear in other incarnations. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle is a prime example. I find the perfume too strong sometimes, it hits my nasal passages like a bullet as an eau de parfum, but as a body spray, like this moisture mist here, it's just gorgeous. It smells instantly like the perfume dry-down which is much, much nicer than the somewhat abrasive top notes you get at first spritz of the perfume itself. I love wearing this. It makes me feel sensual and polished all at once. 

Bulgari Omnia Crystalline
 If I had one signature scent then this would probably be it. Bulgari Omnia Crystalline. This also happens to be Mr P's favourite. In fact he bought me my first bottle of this for my birthday many years ago. I loved it instantly. I ask myself how on earth he managed to find such an amazing perfume, amongst the myriad of scents out there. But he did, bless him. This I would describe as an 'aquatic floral. There is a fresh crispness to the smell with a slight woodiness which is prevented from being too masculine by the presence of a floral note, which according to the description must be the lotus flower. It was apparently designed for the Japanese market where fresh, light fragrances are extremely popular and at one time it was the best-selling perfume there (my source for this info is here). On me this dries down to what I can only describe as smelling like me but better! Like I'm always shower fresh. I know I will always buy this.

Elie Saab Le Parfum
 This was a birthday gift and the newest perfume I own. It's actually very different from any of the other scents I have. It's much, much stronger than I'm used to but it's perhaps the most interesting and complex perfume I have. There are so many different elements to this. To me it's a leathery sophisticated floral with hints of tea. Yes, I smell tea in it. I'm weird though, so you will probably not smell tea. This is sex in a bottle. It's very heady and must be used with a light hand. I would put this on the nape of the neck and behind my knees and in the crease of my elbow. This is for special evenings, to be worn with jewellery and heels.... and possibly nothing else ;)

Jo Malone - Nutmeg & Ginger and White Jasmine & Mint
Ah, Jo, how I love you. I don't think there is a fragrance of yours I don't love. Except Pomegranate Noir, that one just gave me a headache. Here we have Nutmeg and Ginger, and White Jasmine and Mint. This is my 3rd bottle of White Jasmine and Mint. I wore it on my wedding day layered with Nectarine Blossom and Honey. Nutmeg and Ginger is perfect for cooler weather days, it's spiciness and warmth being a great comfort to me. White Jasmine and Mint I'm currently on a break from but will embrace once more with open arms in the spring. 

Zara White
Here we have one beauty rule broken: Don't buy cheap perfume.
Zara White is cheap, but it doesn' t smell cheap. Honestly. It's very fresh and crisp, citrus and ozonic at the same time, but it dries down to a more floral base. The packaging is very meh... but for freshening up quickly without offending anyone then this is more than fine. It fades over a couple of hours but at €4.99 who cares. NB, most of the Zara perfumes are lovely! White Jasmine in particular, that will probably be my next cheapo fragrance fix.

The Sanctuary Body Spray - patchouli bliss

So it's not strictly a perfume, but The Sanctuary's classic body line has that signature smell which they have developed into a fragrance line in itself. You either love it or hate it. I used to hate it with a passion, but something happened to me in the last year or so and now I can't get enough of the soft powdery patchouli smell. The body butter is divine and I top it off with this lovely body spray which is much lovelier than the actual perfume that they also have in the range.

Baby bottle of Viva La Juicy
Look at this! Innit dinky??? Juicy Couture 'Viva la Juicy' is my wild-card. I didn't commit to buying even a 30ml size, but I do really like this fun, floral gourmand. The balance of sweet to floral is just right. A little goes a long way so this 5ml bottle of cuteness will serve me well. I'm not likely to want a bigger size of this after it's gone but for now it's my night-out scent of choice.

So those are my simple offerings to the temple of scent.

What scents do you all like? Are you more Duty Free or Haute Parfumerie?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Cream Blushers - My stash

From left to right: Armani Blushing Fabric in Scarlatto, ELF Pink Lemonade, Maybelline Dream touch 07, MAC CCB in Virgin Isle

Technically cream blushers are nothing new to me but they are rediscovered classics with some newbies thrown in. 

With my skin playing up recently my make-up has had to change a bit. The irony is that the more blemishes, lumps and bumps I have, the LESS make-up I have to use, save for concealer. It's wierd, I know. It defies logic, but if I use a heavier foundation, plus powder bronzer, powder blusher and concealer then for some reason all my blemishes seem more obvious, or rather, obviously disguised.

The other weird thing is that although I've been breaking out more, my skin has been drier than normal, so everything has been looking a bit flaky on me and ever so slightly ageing.

In comes cream blusher.

After applying the lightest layer of base (BB cream, tinted moisturiser, or my Armani foundation samples (I will seriously cry when these run out)), I've been adding a touch of cream blush with my Real Techniques Contour brush to the tops of my cheekbones, blending outwards and slightly down onto the cheek. This has been giving me the most natural of flushes and a gentle glow which has been enlivening my poor dull skin.

Cream blusher wardrobe: MAC, Armani, Benefit, Maybelline, ELF & Prescriptives
Real Techniques Contour Brush - my tool of choice for seamlessly blending cream blushers

So in the spirit of usefulness I thought I'd share my collection of cream treats and do mini-reviews on each.

MAC Cream Colour Base in Virgin Isle
Virgin Isle, swatched heavily
This is not sold as a blush but in MAC stores it's quite often with the blushers. This can be used pretty much anywhere on the face or body, but its vibrant bright coral lends itself particularly well to the cheeks and lips and I use it for both. It's very very pigmented and bright, so a little really does go a along way. It's not as smooth and easy to blend as some of my other blushers in my stash, but it's by no means a pain either. This is strictly a summery colour though and looks fabulicious with a tan. Extra marks for versatility as it makes a stunning coral lip colour. Virgin Isle is available in MAC pro stores only (I think!) though.  £13.50 / €19.00

Maybelline Dream Touch blush 07

Maybelline DTBlush 07 swatched
Now this is a discovery. I LOVE this stuff. I believe every girl should have one of these in her make-up bag. The texture is like butter, smooth and firm and it goes onto the skin beautifully. I like to use a brush (for preference Real Techniques contour brush) to apply this but fingers would work well too of course. The only thing is that finger application can often remove foundation and concealer and can be a bit uneven so I generally prefer using a brush. The colour is pigmented enough to make a difference but not so much that you end up looking like Aunt Sally if you whack on too much. There is some shimmer but not enough for it too look shiny or tacky. 07 is a deep woody rose colour with warm undertones. Perfect for my pale olive skin. £6.49 / €8.95

Prescriptives creamy cheekcolour in Nubile (02)
Prescriptives Creamy cheekcolour in Nubile, swatched
This is a good few years old and I've seriously hit pan on it. It was once a most beloved item in my make-up drawer and I"m trying to use it up again as part of Project Pan. I should have brought it out a few months back in the summer as the colour is a very warm, orange based bronze. Gorgeous with a slight tan. At the moment I'm in need of a bit of rosiness so it's been neglected again. Unfortunately I think Prescriptives is not available in Europe anymore so big cry for that. Such a shame as they had a really great product range and this blush is of such a lovely quality.
Giorgio Armani Blushing Fabric in Scarlatto (07)
Armani Blushing Fabric in 07, swatched heavily below, lightly above
The cream blusher to end all cream blushers. I think this is as good as it gets with a price tag to match. But hey, class like this don't come cheap. This is for that expensive looking flush that is undetectable. Are your cheeks really blushing or is Giorgio making you blush? There is no shimmer or shine. This is skin-like matte which melts into your face like velvet (probably why they call it 'fabric'). When you touch it it feels like it's about to disintegrate into nothingness but blends out into the most incredible natural colour you've ever seen. Giorgio, you've stolen my heart. Holy Grail blusher status achieved. £28 (sorry)/ €40 (even sorrier). 
Benefit Cheekies cream blush in Gotta Crush on You
Benefit Gotta Crush on You swatched
Another oldie, as you can see from the photo it's very battered and well-loved. I dug this out recently but like Virgin Isle it's very much a summery colour so will hibernate until then. Very creamy, perhaps the 'creamiest' of all the cream blushers I have, and very pigmented. Also very discontinued. Sorry. The photo doesn't really show the colour that clearly but it's a very bright pale tangerine coral. 
ELF All Over Colour stick in Pink Lemonade

ELF Pink Lemonade swatched
I've not really used this that much on account of the colour being a little too cool for me. It's a bluer toned pink shimmer that doesn't look as natural as the Maybelline for example. I also detest the smell, it's like it's gone off already and has a bitter, greasy stench of old stage make-up! So this might end up in the bin. I bought it in the US for $1 so no tragedy there really. It's not a bad product but it doesn't match up to the quality of the others by any means. The smell for me is the real killer though. Eugh! 

I'm sure I'll get back into powder blush again soon (not that I'm fickle or anything ;)) but at the moment the Maybelline and Armani are making me swoon every time I sweep them on so they're getting some serious love.

What are you all wearing on your cheeks this autumn?