Thursday, 12 July 2018

Playing with New Makeup & GIVEAWAY!

Hey Guys,

This week I am reviewing some recent additions to my make-up stash. That's not all, I have got something so exciting for all of you! It has been a while since I have done a giveaway and a lot of exciting things are coming up including my 30th birthday, so I thought what better way to celebrate then with a giveaway for all of you. So make sure you scroll all the way down to enter!

First up I have the Laura Geller Gelato Swirl Highlighter in 'Diamond Dust' (£21). I was lucky enough to win this as part of an Instagram giveaway giveaway recently hosted by Trishna from Tips Capsule. I knew I had to have this limited edition colour, which can only be explained as an iridescent pink. I had heard a lot about the baked formula of the gelato swirl and it lives up to the hype, it is so beautiful and applies like a dream. I love the consistency of the product as it is not too soft whereby too much product applies but just hard enough to be able to build the product to your desired amount. It blends effortlessly and now the only problem is I feel like I need all the other colours in the range. It definitely has a place on any make-up addict's or non addict's dresser.

Next up is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Medium (£34). I have been using this for a fair few months now. The hype around this product unfortunately doesn't stand for me, however I will continue to use its I just can't waste £34 worth of product. I did enjoy using it at first, especially on my face, however I just find it creases too much on my under eye. It is fine for a couple of hours and does produce an airbrushed effect on the rest of the face, however by hour three it really starts to gather into the creases under my eye. I may need to try baking with a loose powder in order to avoid the creasing.  If you don't have wrinkly under eyes like me this could be a great option for you, however the bags are real in my case so I will keep hunting for another product.

A new brand I have finally tried is Gerard Cosmetics. This relatively small and unknown brand is so overlooked. I have heard the likes of Dress Your Face endorsing them for a while and always loved the look of their products, but because they weren't as accessible in the UK, I never tried them. However recently, I got my hands on them via  I hadn't actually heard of before they contacted me, which is pretty surprising as they are one of the fastest growing beauty websites in the UK and they stock products from so many amazing brands. So I jumped straight at the chance to try Gerard Cosmetics and I am so happy I did. I love the formula of their *Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick (£7.99). It is exactly as it's name suggests, hydrating but super matte. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen it lasted me 8 hours without reapplying or feeling yucky and this made me so happy! In the pics below I am wearing shade '1995' and is it me or does the name just sum the colour up perfectly?

Another brand I was lucky enough to try through is Coloured Raine. Another cult makeup brand whose swatches have been smothered across plenty a beauty blogger's youtube. But again quite obscure in the UK. The *Coloured Raine 'Cheers to the Beauty' Eyeshadow Palette (£45) palette just appealed to me because of the sheer amount of colour it contains! I had so much fun playing around with it and created two totally different make-up looks. The quality of eyeshadow is fantastic, the swatches in the pictures above are one swipe swatches. I found them lovely to apply and found using my finger to apply the metallic colours best for most impact. There was little to no fall out and they blended beautifully. With the range of metallics, bright colours and neutrals it is one of those palettes that is just so versatile and I can see myself using it a lot!

To create this look I applied Vintage Feels and Debonair from the Coloured Raine Palette to the crease and blended through. I then applied Black Butterfly across the Lid and with my finger applied opulence to the centre of the lid. From the same palette I used Luxurious Bling as my highlighter. I am wearing Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte liquid lipstick in 1995 on the lips.

To create this look I blended Raise a Glass, Vintage Feels and Debonair through the crease blending downwards. I then applied a cream eye based primer over the lid and using my finger applied Nightingale. In the waterline I applied Make Up For Ever Aqua XL eyeliner in 'M-92'. I am wearing Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte liquid lipstick in '1995' on the lips, Laura Geller Diamond Dust highlighter on my cheekbones and Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Powder on my face.

Now for the Giveaway! are giving you the chance to win the Coloured Raine 'Cheers to the Beauty' Eyeshadow Palette. To enter please complete the rafflecopter widget below.  Make sure you are following both our accounts on Instagram, the rest of the options are optional and gain you extra entries! Good Luck! The giveaway ends 31st July 2018.

Amina xx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*PR Samples. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Recent Skincare: To buy or not to buy?

Hi Guys,

Recently I have been trying a few new bits of skincare and I thought it was about time to give my verdict on them. When it comes to skincare I have my usual set of products that I swear by, but I find my skin goes through strange patches of oiliness and breaks out, so occasionally I switch it up a little in order to see if the change will make a difference. Recently I saw a lot of hype around the Aldi products, including the Hot Cloth Cleanser and the Glycolic Pads. I usually use my Nip and Fab ones so wanted to see if these could work as a cheaper alternative. I also was kindly sent the Swiss Clinic 2mm Derma roller*. I had never used one before and was intrigued to see if this could add anything to my skin, especially regarding the pigmentation around my mouth.

Swiss Clinic offer a Skin Renewal Treatment for £89, whereby you are sent a derma roller, along with a rejuvenating serum complex. You use the roller all over the face on cleansed skin. I did this in the evening rather than the morning and spent about three minutes slowly rolling over all parts of the skin even down to the neck, but avoiding the eye area. The roller is covered in 540 silver plated micro-needles and I expected it to be a little painful, after all no pain, no gain, however I didn't find it painful in the slightest and would definitely opt for the 5mm roller next time. Once completed you then apply the  rejuvenating serum and any other skincare you wish to. The product is supposed to be absorbed up to 300% more due to the little channel the roller has created!

You do this for 5 days and then have 5 days of rest and continue until you get the desired effect. Swiss Clinic also offer a Cleaning Spray which I would say is a necessity as it ensure the needles are thoroughly clean before penetrating the skin. 

So here is my verdict, I have been using it for 5 weeks now and have completed four cycles of the 5 days on and 5 days off. I have seen a small improvement in scarring around my mouth area. I suffer from coldsores and have one particular scar from my teenage years that is still quite prevalent, I have seen a small improvement in its appearance. However the overall pigmentation around my mouth I feel still exists and I'm not sure I will ever be able to get rid of it. The use of the derma roller is also supposed to encourage the production of new skin cells, but in the first few weeks of using it I did find my skin breaking out quite a bit, I wasn't sure if this was due to the fact my skin was getting used to the product or the product itself. It has now calmed down, however I am still battling with spots around my mouth and forehead area, but this could be hormonal too.

I found the rejuvenating serum really refreshing after I have rolled as it is quite cool, although apart from this I am not sure what it has added to my skin regime. Overall I like the derma rolling process and will continue to do this, however I think I might stick to using my own skincare products with it. Only time will tell with the derma roller and I plan on continuing to use it, I feel as though it is one of those products which is a long term investment and you need to be in it for the long haul to achieve the desired result, as well as be willing to go through some ups and downs along the way. In the big scheme of things I haven't really used it for long enough to get the effects I want, so I will keep you posted with updates.

Part of my breakouts might have been due to the change in use of products. As I said earlier I purchased some skincare from Aldi. Firstly with the Hot Cloth Cleanser (£3.99), I have really enjoyed using this. I have a section on my Instagram highlights (click here) where you can watch my first impressions but overall I really think it works great as a cleanser. My skin feels clean and quite soft after using. Even though my skin hasn't been its best recently, I don't think it is due to the cleanser as it throughly cleanses my makeup and the skin feels pristine after. It contains eucalyptus oil which is the overwhelming smell that hits you straightaway, as well as cocoa butter and extracts of chamomile, all perfect for soothing and leaving your skin soft. So next time you are shopping, pick one up, I would definitely say it is worth a try.

One product I haven't been so impressed with is the Glycolic Daily Cleansing pads (£2.49), unfortunately I don't feel as though they are strong enough and blame my breakout on this. I feel like the fact that they don't state the percentage of glycolic acid is a tell tale sign. I don't get the same effect compared to the nip and fab or my pix glow tonic and maybe this is what my skin has been missing. Again the pads are convenient as they are ready to use, but without the right amount of acid they just aren't effective.

Overall from the new skincare products I have been using I can honestly say that the Hot Cloth cleanser, as well as the derma roller are products I will continue to use, however when it comes to the glycolic pads I am going back to my nip and fab. I am also on the hunt for a new serum to use after derma rolling so would love any suggestions in the comments below.

Amina xx

*PR sample. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Best Drugstore Buys!

Hi Guys,

This week I am bringing you a round-up some fantastic 'drugstore' products that I think are more than worth the money they are priced at. By drugstore I mean shops like Boots and Superdrug who stock a large variety of high street make-up brands. Some of these products are cult products that have literally become staples in any makeup addict's collection. But what's really great about these brands is that it just goes to show, you don't always need to spend money to get a luxury feel. I have been really surprised by the quality of some of these and I hope I inspire you to explore your 'drugstore' or chemist, whatever you prefer, a little more. 

First up I have the Sleek Summer Solstice Palette (£9.99) . I remember the hype around this when it first came out and I convinced myself I wasn't going to buy into the hype of it and I didn't. But the thing is the hype never died with this product. People still go on about it now and I can see why. It has 4 beautiful shades, two cream formulas and two powders, which are gold, bronze, pink and a champagne colour. So really, apart from silver, every shade of highlight you will ever need. I think this may be why it is so popular. Of course if you are an addict like me and drawn to shiny things one highlighter palette could never be enough, but for a normal person I'm sure it would be! Sleek eyeshadow palettes were also some of the first I ever owned, so always have a special place in my heart.

Now no drugstore post would be complete without mentioning Revolution Beauty, this brand has gone from strength to strength and even though I am not always a fan of there duping strategy, they do have a large range of makeup and brands within drugstores and you can always manage to find the type of product you need with relatively good quality. More recently I have been really impressed with their pro range. I mean just look at these swatches! You can read more about my thoughts on these here. But in general if you haven't tried Revolution Beauty, or one of their sister brands then you really should!

One brand that I keep going back to is Nip+Fab, I was actually first drawn to their skincare, in particular their Glycolic pads, which I love and use daily, but I have more recently tried their make-up and am also really enjoying it. I spoke about my admiration for their liquid highlighters here but wanted to focus in on these fantastic Lip Toppers (£7.95)*. These look beautiful on their own or over a lipstick and remind me a little of the Jouer lip toppers, but at half the price. I am totally in to my sparkle and these would work great as a sparkly/glossy eye too.

Right to Left: starlight, hypnotic, shooting star, galactic, pink rockets

swatches top to bottom: starlight, hypnotic, shooting star, galactic, pink rockets

One of my favourite drugstore products that I use everyday are the Loreal Infallible foundation/highlight/blush sticks (£8.99). These have been added to my everyday make-up routine purely for ease of use and how quick they are to blend. If you haven't tried the foundation yet click here for my in depth review or head to my Instagram stories highlights for a tutorial using them. I have been using them for 6 months and don't see myself stopping any time soon. Loreal telescopic mascara is also one of my all time faves and I own a number of their lip products.

I couldn't write this post without including NYX. The first time I used NYX was when I was a teenager, selfridges used to stock them and I remember my sister purchasing some of their eyeshadow. Even as a teenager I found the pigment and blend ability amazing. Then I started purchasing from IMATS, and when I heard they were coming to Boots I lost my sh*t and overloaded on products. Now I have calmed down a bit I still think their products are great quality and are professional quality too. Their correctors are some of my fave and I loved these Cosmic Metals Lip Lacquers from their range.

So these are my top five must try drugstore brands. There are so many more I could have chosen and I really think drugstore has grown leaps and bounds the past few years. I don't feel the need to splurge in order for it to feel like a treat or luxurious. I am more than happy browsing the tiles of boots or super drug looking for good quality makeup. So if you are a makeup snob and  haven't tried any of these yet you are missing out big time! Who would your top 5 be?

Amina xx

*PR samples. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Curls are in with Umberto Giannini!

Hey Guys,

Last week I got invited to an event hosted by Umberto Giannini at the Botanist in Birmingham city centre. It was a great night celebrating curls and some of Umberto's fab curl products. I literally felt like I was in curl heaven as I was surrounded by beautiful curly haired ladies, had curly haired products at my finger tips and even had my hair done by Umberto Giannini's Artistic Director Anastasia. If you've read my blog before you will have read about my curly hair struggles and saviours in previous posts (click here) and the products I swear by.

I have already been using Umberto Giannini's No More Frizz Serum for almost a year and it is one of those products that my hair literally drinks. I absolutely love it and couldn't wait to try the rest of the range. I was advised to use the New Curly Jelly Wash Shampoo (£8) and New Curly Jelly Care Conditioner (£8) when washing my hair. I loved using the shampoo, especially knowing it was free of sulphates. Sulphates in shampoo make the shampoo foam but also tend to strip the hair of any oils, which my dry, coarse hair could do without. So knowing these had been eliminated gave me hope, however I did miss the foaming action that the sulphates create. The shampoo also contains Vitamin B5 which is the vitamins of vitamins for hair. I then applied the conditioner to the ends of my hair. It was a great de-tangler and felt very light weight when I applied it. When I rinsed it all out my curls felt extra bouncy and shiny and super soft so I was already really pleased.

I then went onto dab my hair with my towel as I didn't want to create any extra frizz by rubbing it dry.  The next step that was advised for me was to apply the No More Frizz Serum (£8), like I usually do, and finally apply the Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly (£7) through my curls and allow my hair to air dry. To be honest I couldn't believe I hadn't used this product before as it has been one of their bestsellers for over a decade and I have made my way through a lot of curling products. This products promises to define curls and eliminate frizz, without leaving them with that crunchy feeling. Now honestly, I did find my hair to feel a little crunchy but not enough to bother me or to make my curls look hard or rigid. I found them soft, defined and healthy looking. And trust me this is an achievement on hair that is dry, thick, coarse and in dire need of a hair cut! I felt confident with my curls and didn't feel the need to get my curling wand out and define any of the frizzy bits.

I think the best part for me was when I woke up the next day and my curls were still in tact! I was so pleased I plastered it all over my Instagram stories (@aminaali_mua). My hair had never looked so good on day two. Usually my hair is fine on day one, but by the time I have slept on it and woken up the next morning, there is a whole new routine of hair products that I have to go through to get my hair looking good again. But when I woke up, my curls were in tact and literally no frizz to be seen. For the sake of it, I used the Curl Whip Mousse (£7) which was recommended for my day two curls and it just re-energised my hair and almost perfected the curls. It did add to the crunchiness, but again, it was worth it.

I have literally been so happy with my new routine. It has given me a renewed confidence with my curls and encouraged me to go natural with my hair and my face! I just hope it lasts as I know my hair has the tendency to get used to a product and I occasionally need to switch it up. But so far, so good. I'm honestly trying to contain my excitement, what I really want to say is these products could be LIFE changing! Have you tried any of the Umberto Giannini range? What should I try next?

Amina xx

*PR Sample. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

ALDI Naturals Eyeshadow Palette Review

Hi Guys,

Over the weekend I popped into my local Aldi for my weekly food shop and could't help but browse by the Special Buy aisles. You know the ones I'm on about! They are like a treasure trove of amazing things you do and don't need. They had some amazing homeware but my eye was drawn to the beauty and skin care! You may have seen on my Instagram that I picked up the Hot Cloth Cleanser (£3.99) and Glycolic Pads (£2.49) but another item I got my hands on was this Lacura Naturals Eyeshadow Palette (£5.99). I didn't waste any time and put it straight to the test as I know things don't last very long in Aldi and if you like it, I want you to still be able to get your hands on it!

You may notice it has a striking resemblance to the Urban Decay Naked Palletes so I was eager to find out whether it could live up to the amazingness of the originals. Bare in mind I don't actually own any of the Naked Palettes, but have swatched in store many a time and know how well pigmented they are. You have three matte shades and nine metallic shades. The metallic definitely stand out more than the matte but I like the matte shades to use through the transition. There is no real comparison between the pigmentation of these compared to the original Naked Palette as the Naked Palette is definitely more pigmented, however not all was lost as the pigmentation was pretty decent still and the blendability of the shadows was great.   Using Fix + by MAC or even dampening your brush with water before use definitely helps. I would say the payoff on the metallics is definitely more than the mattes. 

The packaging is very sturdy, metal on the outside and plastic on the inside. I was surprised by the fact you also get a mirror and a brush included as this is always a bonus. The brushes are also very good. I didn't really find any difference between the two ends and would have preferred one to be a bit more fluffier to help blending however it was a nice addition to the palette. I wore the eyeshadows all day on Monday and Tuesday and on both days the eyeshadows lasted all day and there was little to no fallout and also no fall out on application either. I created two looks with the palette.

Day Look

Day Look

Evening Look

Evening Look

I love how versatile this palette is. You can use the colours to create a very natural day look or oomph it up a little and use the darker shades for an evening look. If you added some lashes or even glitter it would make it even more showy. For the price, £5.99, this palette is more than worth it in my eyes. The colours are probably better suited to someone with fairer skin, but I think I can make it work for my own skin colour. I think this palette is perfect for those of us who want beauty on a budget. It goes to show we don't need to spend too much to get good quality eyeshadows.

If you are impressed, I would head to your local ALDI asap as I don't see them lasting very long, they have already sold out online! Will you be buying it?

Amina xx

Thursday, 17 May 2018

HAX Cut Crease Kit Review

Hi guys,

A few weeks ago I was sent the HAX Cut Crease Kit (£20) which is available exclusively to ASOS. Cut crease eyeshadow has become one of those Instagram trends that I just love and is great for making a statement. It is not the easiest look to create, so when I heard about this kit I was intrigued as it claimed to have everything you need to get that perfect cut crease look, but I did have my reservations. Could it really help me to 'master the cut crease like a pro'? Read on to find out.

So in the kit you get an eyeshadow palette with three colours, light beige for the lid, dark brown to cut the crease and medium bronze to blend through the transition. You also get a double ended brush, liquid liner, stencil (to use as a guide for the cut crease and liner) and an instruction card to guide you.

The first thing that stood out to me was that there was no cream base to cut the crease with or prime the lids with. Usually in my experience this is necessary to get that really clean defined line. I was really determined to only use the products provided in the kit however, as it is marketed as a complete tool kit to get the cut crease look. See what I created below.

Top to Bottom: Medium bronze, light beige, dark brown, black liquid liner.

As you can see the look I created with the kit is no where near as defined as the cut crease on the box  however I still think it comes across quite nicely. It is definitely more of a subtle look and this is largely due to the fact that the eyeshadows were not as pigmented as I hoped they would be. Also as I said previously no cream base is included in the kit so it is really hard to create that clean definite line, however the stencil provided does help to create a somewhat defined crease. The stencil also works really well with the liquid liner to get the perfect flick. One of my favourite things in the kit has to be the liquid liner. It's consistency was perfect and the nib on the liner was the right size to create that defined look. 

Another pro is the double ended brush. One end is fluffy which helps with the blending and the other is very small and rigid in order to create the line for the crease. I can see myself adding this brush to the rest of my collection.

I think this kit would be perfect for a make-up novice who doesn't have their own collection of makeup at home to get this look, or for someone who maybe just starting their collection and practising their techniques, or even as a gift. I would love to see a cream base added and even false lashes as I added my own here (Kiss Lashes in 'Midnight') to complete the look. The stencil and liner in the kit is definitely a selling point for me, especially if you struggle with your liner as it saved me a lot of time.

What are your thoughts on the Cut Crease? Have you ever used a stencil to get a makeup look?

Amina xx

*PR sample. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Revolution Pro Lipstick Collection Review!

Hi Guys,

This week I am bringing to you a review of the Revolution Pro Lipstick Collection in 'Noir'. Revolution Pro are a brand under the umbrella company Revolution Beauty London, formerly Makeup Revolution. I have a few pieces from their vast range of brands in my make-up drawer but I must admit it has been a while since I have purchased from them. So when Safiyah Tasneem asked me if I would like to guest post I was more than happy to oblige.

Compared to the other brands under Revolution Beauty London I feel like Revolution Pro is less about the packaging and more about the product. Which is always a good sign. It is a little more serious than it's sister brands and this also matches the name as I'm guessing by having Pro in the name these products are targeted to those looking for high end products at an affordable price. They have a comprehensive range of products from foundations to primers, from eyeshadow palettes to highlighter palettes.

I wasn't sure what to expect, especially when I saw the price tag, £7 for 5 lipsticks! That works out to £1.40 per lipstick. But I wanted to give them a chance! Don't judge a book by it's... price tag... and all that. Anyway, in the box you get 5 lipsticks, as this particular one was the Noir collection all the shades were quite dark in tone, however they also have a pink, red and nude collections and matte versions too. 

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the whole lipstick in general. The first thing I noticed when I applied was definitely the texture of the lipstick. It was so creamy and soft to touch and felt  very moisturising on the lips. I then noticed how amazing the colour pay off was. When it comes to the wear test I would say the lipstick lasted a good 5 hours. And even then I did have a stain left on my lips so they weren't completely naked, however I felt like I needed to re apply after this time. Bear in mind I had eaten during this time too. This really impressed me as the whole time I was wearing the lipstick my lips felt really conditioned.

However the softness of the product did lead to one of the lipsticks breaking when I swatched later on my arm. This could have been due to the fact it was 27 degrees outside, but also the product is very creamy so be careful. But like I was saying, it applies like a dream. I would definitely recommend wearing a lip liner as with the softness they were also prone to bleed a little from the lip line, however this was expected and was quite minor. 

Swatches in Sunlight: Top to bottom: Noir, Watching , Twilight, Midnight, Darkness

Swatches in natural light: Top to bottom: Noir, Watching , Twilight, Midnight, Darkness
The pigmentation of the product really blew me way. The swatches seen here are one swipe swatches so you can see just how much colour applies. The shades range from a purple to terracotta and back to a deep berry colour. I think if you are in to your darker shades then this would make a great purchase. I am definitely into my nudes so will definitely be purchasing the nude collection. I love that revolution beauty are making make-up affordable for the masses. Don't get me wrong, I love my high end products, but I think these are fab for every day wear and for those of us who need to count our pennies. I don't feel like the product resembles the price tag whatsoever. I would never guess from wearing it that my lipstick only cost £1.40. It definitely has got me thinking about the money I spend on make-up!

Each of the lipsticks from the collections are also available individually for £5 however, for an extra £2 you can get 4 other lipsticks so it makes sense to go with the collection. I am definitely going to be purchasing more from the brand as I have been so impressed with these. What have you tried? Give me some suggestions of what to try next in the comments below!

Amina xx

*PR sample. All opinions are my own.