beauty posts

Christmas Lust-List

December 4, 2017

Also known as the things I – as a 24-year-old woman – have shamelessly begged various members of my family for, until they have now stopped replying to my texts.

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Gabrielle by Chanel

They say you should change your scent with each new man you date, which is something I forgot to do with my fella and we nearly murdered the other recently – so I thought I’d give the poor lad a break and invest for superstition’s sake.

After riding the Estée Lauder Modern Muse train all the way from 2015, the natural progression from ‘pretending-I’ve-got-my-shit-together’ to ‘oh-fuck-I-might-actually-have-my-shit-together’ scent came in the guise of Chanel’s latest offering: Gabrielle. Inspired by the leading lady herself, this youthful take on the timeless Chanel family will hopefully let me convey some semblance of togetherness – on the premise that you can only smell me; not see me smearing lipstick all over my chin on the tram.

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EVE Memory Foam Pillow

Given that a good’s night sleep is about as fabled as Father Christmas himself these days, I’ve somehow convinced myself that spending over £50 on one pillow is wholly justifiable. Whether it’s the cat pissing in the corner of the room (I wish I was joking), or waking up early to hairdry my knickers clean (should really put a new washing machine on this list); getting more than 6 hours zzz is a nightly struggle.

At this price, I’m still hoping it’s going to give me a lap dance too.  

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Zoeva Makeup Brush Set

I had one of those day-crushing moments last week, where the world instantly slams to a halt and you have to swallow a scream on the packed bus: I only went and dropped my trusty makeup sponge on public transport. Given I merely have to think about being 15 to sprout a new chin spot, there was no way the ‘5 second rule’ was coming into play here.

What was a girl to do? Stop being a greb who uses artful finger blending teamed with a circa 2012 Mac blusher brush, of course – enter the Zoeva *insert whatever the hell it’s called*.

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Kiehl’s Haul

On the note of dodgy skin, the haunting calls of true womanhood (hi finelines, hello dull complexion) led to me scouring the Kiehl’s website (with a handy 20% off Black Friday code clutched firmly in my Ctrl+C, that is). I’m not going to tell you what I ordered just yet – a) in case it’s shite and I’m a lost cause b) I’ll review it in the New Year. Although I did order that Midnight Recovery stuff and – swear down – if Karlie Kloss herself doesn’t emerge out of my pores, shit is going to hit the fan.

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Oral B 3D White Whitening Strips

Shout out 2 my ex for introducing me to these badboys (lol jk, you’re an absolute weapon). Given my sister and I haven’t a well-functioning maternal bone between us, we have opted to thoughtfully split a pack of these dodgy af imported whitening strips for our respective Christmas presents this year. Any excuse to FaceTime her at 3am with just me teeth out.

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What’re you hoping to find under the Christmas tree? Peace, love and an unlimited Wagamamas card aside, that is… Drop me a comment, you never know: might buy it for ya.

Okay, that’s a lie – but worth a try, no?

 

Hyperreality and Hashtags: How to navigate Instagram without a body-image crisis

August 9, 2016

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As a platform, Instagram is great. It allows you to catch a glimpse into the worlds’ of your friends, family and those who inspire you across the globe – usually whilst you’re dossing in bed with your phone held precariously above your face, wearing last night’s makeup. Doubly, it allows you to share your own experiences (*cough* selfies *cough*) and manipulate them in a fashion that – 99/100 times – conveys your lifestyle as ‘more’ than its reality.

However, with this opportunity to curate online presences that convey an hyperreal, ‘rose-tinted’ approach to an already media-saturated society, comes an inevitable spike in low self-esteem and body-image issues. With magazines and adverts already bombarding young people with airbrushed images of unattainable perfection, the onslaught of unfathomably beautiful, often very thin girls on Instagram’s Explore function can often be too much to bear.

As someone who has struggled with body-image issues for over a decade, the Explore function had – until recently – been banished to 4am comparison sessions of blood-thirsty self-loathing, which would leave me utterly dysmorphic and disgusted with my own appearance within a matter of minutes. Friends and I would sickly revel in comparing ourselves to girls half a decade younger than ourselves, cursing them for their boyishly skinny figures, berating ourselves for not being as “thin”/”pretty”/”good at makeup” until we’d be sulking into our respective pints.

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But then, finally emerging from some self-professed chrysalis of ‘I-no-longer-give-a-fuck’, I gradually started to realise: it’s all a bunch of bullshit. People are beautiful – yes. Occasionally I will see someone in real life, have a pang of jealousy at their appearance and it will mar my confidence for a fleeting moment. However, I came to realise the frequency at which that happens in reality, is drastically less than the inescapable barrage of ‘beauty’ we encounter whilst perusing our friend the Explore function.

And why is this?

This is because Instagram isn’t real. Just looking into my own profile, I know that I spend a pathetic amount of time manipulating each post. Firstly, there’ll be the act of actually taking the ‘selfie’ (which, as we all know, is initially more like 236 selfies per ‘selfie’), which will subsequently take a good few minutes of narrowing down to about 10-15 shortlisted shots. Let’s not forget that these initial eleventy-million shots will have been taken in a number of different rooms for different lighting, and at a plethora of different angles until my back hurts from subtly jutting my collarbones out. Also, you can bet your sweet life that I don’t take any pictures of my face from head on. All about that tilt, grrrl.

Then, it’s onto my basest of loves, VSCOCAM, for some hxc editing, which is repeated for each of said 10-15 images until I find a couple I can actually get down with. One of Instagram’s built-in filters is applied to about halfway across then I’m good to go.

But, #plotspoiler: I DON’T LOOK LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE. My skin isn’t that clear (I’ll sometimes put an amount of concealer over a spot solely for the sake of the picture, that would look ridiculous face-to-face), my face most definitely isn’t that thin and to be honest, my body isn’t THAT banging (tho’, it’s pretty damn bangin’).

This is just me. Some random fashion-loving writer girl from Instagram who spends a little time working on her pictures. I’m not a fashion blogger, or a celebrity, or an Insta-famous lady who relies on the creation of perfection in her (actual) work, so let’s just imagine the fine-tuning that goes into their snaps.

I’ve met many of the people I follow, and many fashion bloggers who I’ve first encountered on social media, through my old job in fashion – and, whilst they may all be beautiful in their own ways; they seldom make me want to wear a paper bag over my head or starve for a week, like the absolute falsehood projections of Instagram are almost always guaranteed to do. It’s just not real.

I’m a 23-year-old woman who likes to think she’s pretty in-tune with herself these days, despite my struggles with eating disorders and BDD, but imagine the internalised ideas of what ‘beauty’ has become to younger generations growing up on Instagram now…

Just please: when you find yourself in that 4am Instagram comparison pit of doom – stop. It’s not real, and until the day when we’ve all been fitted with futuristic virtual contact lenses, nobody is the walking embodiment of ‘Valencia’ in the flesh. You’re a babe, I’m a babe: we’re all babes.

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Posted by Ebony in Life

Illamasqua Favourites

November 8, 2014

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It’s been precisely three months and twenty-six whole days since I wrote about my favourite topic: make-up. So, with the wonderful Reading rain preventing me from wandering out to the gym/shops/every takeaway in the land, I shall instead bestow upon you my recent obsessive purchases from cult brand Illamasqua.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the brand at present, Illamasqua’s ethos revolves around a complete freedom of expression, which culminates in its cult following from drag queens and make-up artists worldwide – oh, and their pigmentation is definitely something to call home about. Whilst I’m also a sucker for fancy packaging, this brand really takes the biscuit and offers a jaffa cake. Have a gander at my picks:

Read more ›

Beauty Haul Review.

June 10, 2014

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Greetings from unemployed beauty blogger bum land. Sounded slightly weirder than intended, but we’ll roll with it… I’m currently in the midst of emailing half of the entire Internet in the grand endeavour of a Fashion Copywriting job. I’ve been to two interviews; didn’t get the first as someone else had more ‘outdoor-wear experience’; the second I’m due to hear back about this week – and now I have another one coming up in the Big Smoke – MegaBus here I come. I’ve also been inhaling the latest series of Orange Is The New Black: if you haven’t seen it, you need to – and I’m not even a big TV fan. Anywaaaay, back to the point – today I’ve got a little review for you guys from that ridiculous £91 haul I did last month.

Bourjois Paris – ‘Happy Light’ Base Serum Matte – £7.99 (usually £10.99 at Boots)

My skin has a serious case of amnesia. One day it thinks it’s dry, the next it thinks it’s oily: it never really knows what’s going on. However, my eye bags are consistently, religiously and without fail, always a little on the shiny-shiny side irrespective of the amount of powder I drown them under, hence my purchase of this unique little primer. The product itself comes out as a peachy tone which blends into any skin without any visible pigmentation (trust me, I’m a ghost – I’d know) and offers a reasonably easy foundation application process – but the primer aspect itself isn’t really much to call home about. Whilst it does do a admirable job on the shiny bits, I’ve already found myself reaching back for my Benefit Porefessional. 7/10.

L’Oréal Paris – Super Liner Perfect Slim – £6.99

I’ve been sporting the cat eye look nearly everyday for the past 7 years, and I’ve yet to settle on an unbeatable liquid liner – but this one might just be close. After the absolute let down that was the Alexa Eyeko collection (how was that so crap – how?), and a brief affair with a Ted Baker liner from a Christmas set, I finally decided to go back to my high street roots and pick up a new product. Save your finicky gel liners, paintbrush styles and wacky colour pots – I wanted something thin, versatile and ultimately: blacker than black. L’Oréal delivered. The applicator is thin (0.4mm thin, to be precise) and sturdy, something that I’d long missed after the days of Rimmel’s weird little paintbrush applicator. Precision is practically signed, sealed, delivered to even the shakiest of hands (trust me – I have days where I question the possibility of an early Parkinson’s onset, it’s bad), and the colour is consistently dark after extensive usage. One bugbear I do have is that it’s a printer: you need to factor in some sexy daydreaming or a spot of meditation after applying this stuff, as it takes a good while to properly dry. 9/10.

Revlon – Colour Stay Foundation in 150 Buff – £9.49 (usually £12.49 at Boots)

I’m going to whinge a little at this one, but it’s through no fault of the product itself (particularly, anyway). After no less than THREE trips to Boots before purchasing, during which I sampled the product extensively on my hand, I decided to take the plunge and opt for this slightly olive-toned shade in a vain bid to cover up my pinkish/red tones which I thoroughly despise: thanks Irish/Scottish heritage, thanks. I took it home and applied it for an evening out and was wonderfully impressed with the coverage, especially after discovering my Illamasqua foundation can seemingly no longer keep up with my third-year degree skin. However, the next morning, in my mildly hungover haze, I made the horrendously predictable, but ever-saddening discovery that it was too dark for my ghost skin. So ever since, I’d been applying a mix of the Illamasqua and the Revlon, but now I’m out of Illamasqua and have about a third of the bottle’s price to my name. Here’s to being tangoed! 8.5/10.

REVIEW: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

May 31, 2014

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Check me out: three posts in as many days, I’m well and truly back bitches – I mean, ladies/(gents?). Today, I’m going to be writing up a cheeky review of my new wonder product, and seemingly, the wonder product of the entire blogosphere: the drug-store holy grail that is Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water. Generally, I’m the reigning queen of lazy make-up apathy: the traditional, three or four step wash? You’d be lucky. I save that for showers – don’t judge me. Given that face-wipes are universally known as the beauty devil incarnate, I’ve recently revoked my love affair with those too and, following the finals of my third year, a replacement was needed and it was needed yesterday. If you spotted my post from Thursday, you’ll be aware that I am now currently living off scraps and thin air after a (£91) Boots binge – during which I picked up this critically acclaimed Bioderma dupe and a L’Oréal Skin Perfection Toner, anticipating something mildly wonderful to happen. Although, there is one thing I do have to question with the concept of switching up your skincare routine and actually getting results: how do you know it’s not merely an improvement simply because having a new product is a novelty factor and therefore, you’re more inclined to use it religiously? To be honest, I think in this case, it is very much a mix of the two and, as someone plagued with the odd mega-spot party at the (surely-too-old) age of 21, I sure ain’t complaining either way.

The formula is applied with a trusty cotton pad and smushed around the face until you feel all make-up has been suitably removed. Or, in my case, halfway through the pad packet by the time you’ve scrubbed the panda eyes away. The beauty of this product is that you can be as lazy as you like – personally I keep the product and pads next to my bed – so I can idly wipe everything off in the screffy fashion I did with face-wipes, but I wake up the next morning pristine and, most importantly: hydrated. Instead of essentially burning your skin cells off with removal, the water is perfectly hydrating and doesn’t even leave me cringing to use astringent-y toner afterwards. I would totally, totally recommend this product to anyone who hasn’t got their life straight enough to even sort out a sensible bedtime, nevermind construct a lengthy, religious washing routine. However, I’m not advocating true laziness: I always use St Ives Apricot Scrub in the shower. Squeaky clean ladies, squeaky clean…

At £3.99 instead of £4.99 in Boots at the moment, I am totally advocating a little shopping time.

Who else is a fan of this product? Let me know in the comments or drop me a tweet @Ebzo.

 

WISHLIST: February’s Fancies and Image Overhaul.

February 4, 2014

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Revlon ColourBurst Matte Lip Balm £7.99 (on 3 for 2) – Boots | Pastel White Mini Satchel £6 – Primark

Lavish Alice Mint Green Pointed Collar Dress £41.99 – Ark | ALLSORTS Chelsea Boots £45 – Topshop | Retro Patterned Co-Ord Set £19.59 – Choies

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MAC Kohl Liner in Smolder GIVEAWAY.

January 28, 2014

I mentioned this a week or so ago on Twitter but: here’s my next giveaway. This time, it’s out of my own pocket – you lucky so ‘n’ sos. I joke, I’m really appreciative of all the lovely feedback I’ve had of late, so I thought I’d treat you guys to a little MAC number – namely, their kohl liner in Smolder, which usually retails at £14. What’re you waiting for? Get entering:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in SB02.

January 15, 2014

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I’ve had this foundation for quite some time now – the second anyone mentions it on Twitter, I can’t help but swoop in with adulation and pale-girl solidarity. It’s a gem. As a ridiculously pink-toned pale lady (I know, awful combination), finding a foundation that manages to get me from one season to another has been a huge strain on both my patience and bank account over the years. However, at least six months on; I’m still very much infatuated with this little beauty. A couple of bloggers were interested in trying out the shade and suggested I did some swatches and a post – so here you go – hope it helps!

illamasqua-skin-base-foundation-swatch-02As you can see, the foundation is super pale, with a more yellowy undertone than my skin really deserves (does a great job of toning down my pinkness!). It goes on reasonably smoothly, though I’d suggest applying in light splodges with a brush at first, then smoothing in with fingers – it doesn’t take too well to my MAC foundation brush. To be honest, I think it looks best when applied with fingers alone, but that’s often more time consuming. The only flaw I can note with this product is that, undoubtedly due to its insanely pale pigment, it isn’t the best of foundations for covering up pesky spots. You’re still going to need to rely on your good pals Mr Concealer and Miss Powder with this one. It is definitely best for general consistent coverage on pale skin. Below is a picture of me wearing just the foundation as a base, without concealer/powder/blush (without flash too):

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Review: Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Care Set

January 15, 2014

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I picked up these ‘best-seller’ products in the Body Shop, when I was supposed to be buying presents – two days prior to Christmas Day. Oops. Either way, they were in a set of two for £16, instead of the £27 it would cost to buy the two separately now that the offer is over (at least online). I like the Body Shop. Like – not love. The products are all things that I could quite easily live without – on the premise that I was quite happy continuing life as a scaly-skinned, scentless bore. To me, buying body butters and all that jazz usually fills me with about as much joy as buying toothpaste, but Body Shop and Lush are always my firm favourites for when I’m having a particularly feminine day. And, now that I’ve quit smoking, it’s nice to focus on smelling lovely without the unfortunately unsubtle linger of ash.

So, onto the products. I’m gonna warn you: I’m not blown away. Staring scathingly at the constellation of spots around my chin after using this stuff, I’m really not blown away. Let me tell you why:

  • Vitamin C Skin Reviver – 30ml £14

This stuff is technically lush: it smells like a mandarin orgy and it makes skin look smooth as a baby’s behind. However, I’ve thrust it over to the dark side of ‘unsure’ products due to one big fat flaw: it’s like battery acid. Now, hear me out on this one. Am I alone in thinking that a skin reviver – that doesn’t cite any warning about putting near eyes – really shouldn’t leave you looking like you’ve spent three hours in a torture cell, being played the Lion King clip where Simba realises Mufasa has snuffed it, on loop? I have naturally sensitive eyes anyway, so maybe I really am alone in this one – applying eyeliner anywhere near a window leaves me looking more Corpse Bride than Alexa Chung.

  • Vitamin C Microdermabrasion – 75ml £16

I’m struggling to review both of these, if I’m honest, as I’m posing anomalies anywhere. In regards to this microdermabrasion product, I started using it but very soon after, the dreaded ‘Time of the Month’ took over, so I’m unsure as to which one spurred the breakout. I whinged about it on Twitter recently, and someone said she had a similar breakout after incorporating microdermabrasion into her skincare routine – so I’m not going to pass judgement. To be honest, my favourite part about this product is the application itself. It’s beyond cathartic. Divinely tiny little grainy beads getting scrubbed into the deep depths of my pores? Give me some of that. The feeling after rinsing it off is equally great: it’s like what I’d image a skin peel to feel like, sans the burn and general painful-sounding connotations.

As someone with infamously dull, pale skin, I find it hard to find any products that truly brighten up my complexion in the winter months. This definitely had a good go and, whilst I probably won’t bother to repurchase, I would definitely recommend it to people who are less prone to breakouts/shit leaky eyes.

ASOS Sale Buys.

January 10, 2014

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Well, well, well, ain’t it funny how the frequency of my posting increases exponentially when I have something I actually have to get done to a deadline? Not content with my sale picks at ZARA, I got tempted into the above beauties: primarily because I got sent a 20% off code for Christmas for being part of AccessAllASOS (thanks guys!). Now, you’ll know if you’re an avid reader, that I’ve actually wanted the Alexa Chung x Eyeko set for a while – it was part of my December Wishlist so I’m ridiculously excited to try this out. Is it me or, given that it’s an Alexa Chung related product, is there a weird lack of hype around this set? I’m hoping that isn’t anything to do with the quality, but I’ll be sure to post a review pretty much as soon as it arrives, anyway. I also featured the killer boots in my ASOS sale picks last week.

Now, if you’re aware of the fact that I’m currently trying to adopt the vegan lifestyle (to an extent), you’ll be quite perturbed to find two leather items in my picks. I’m not going to lie and feign total philanthropy: I’m only eating vegan, I’m not adopting it into every aspect of my life. Though I’ll never wear fur. I had to pick up these pieces – the quality for the price is just amazing and I saved so much money with the combination of the sale and my discount code:

ASOS Leather Pinafore Dress – £60 was £120

ASOS PREMIUM AFFLICTION Leather Ankle Boots – £34 was £85

Alexa for Eyeko Limited Edition ‘Eye Do’ Set – £35

When you factored in the 20% off, the basket only came to £103 – that’s a saving of nearly £140!

Have you bought anything from the ASOS sales?

 


Ebony. 25. Manchester.
Marketing Manager who likes to mouth off on here about stuff she cares about. Expect mental health, Borderline Personality Disorder, and reviews - from restaurants, to books, to fashion. Talks to cats more than people, but seemingly has a lot to say.
ebonylaurenn@gmail.com