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From Left to Right: Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Sand Beige – £12.49, MAC Pro Longwear SPF 10 Foundation in NC25 – £22.50, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Natural Tan

After being a lover of MAC foundation since I was 17, realising that my budget for makeup would be made hugely smaller as a student this year has forced to me to switch to a cheaper alternative.

My favourite foundation was MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid before I came to uni. I loved the coverage as it wouldn’t slide off my face during the day and made my skin look flawless. It did feel ‘cakey’ applying it to my face when I used it for the first time as it’s such a thick coverage, but I got used to it and never looked back… until September. (I ran out of Studio Fix Fluid which is why I have no picture in this post)

I did a lot, and I mean a lot of research to find a cheaper alternative to MAC’s high end products. I was desperate to find a foundation that was pretty much the same; I wasn’t expecting anything exact as I believe you get what you pay for when it comes to foundation, but I hated the thought of going back to the products I used to use.

So, I googled a ‘drugstore’ alternative to MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid, and many people recommended Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation. When I went to buy it, I had no idea what colour to pick, as there wasn’t as wide a range of colours comparable to MAC’s.

I picked up two – 180 Sand Beige and 330 Natural Tan. Yes, two completely different colours, one being considerably lighter than the other, but they had the yellowy tones that MAC is known for having in their foundations which I like. I decided I would buy both, and mix the two together, while it was still summer and I had a nice tan!

The next puzzle for me was deciding whether to choose the Combination/Oily or Normal/Dry version. Considering I have combination skin and suffer from spots, I immediately thought the first one.

But then I realised the problem I had with a purchase a few weeks before of MAC’s Pro Longwear SPF 10 Foundation. I wanted a foundation that wouldn’t slide off my face during the summer if I sweated it off, so I wanted to try Pro Longwear to see whether it would last the 15 hours it claims. It ended up sucking in all the moisture I had on my face, making it patchy and dry. So, I knew that buying the Normal/Dry version of Revlon’s would be a better idea.

As soon as I got home, I mixed them together to create a really nice shade that matched well with my tan. As I was applying it, I noticed it didn’t have the strong ‘paint’ smell that MAC foundations have. It did have a thinner consistency, so I needed to apply more than I would usually, but looking in the mirror my skin was flawless, and I definitely didn’t expect that.

Throughout the day, I did have to top up my foundation where it had rubbed off, but not as much as I thought. After that day, I knew this would be the foundation I would use for the next few years.

The consistency of the foundation keeps my face moisturised without feeling oily, as I didn’t break out when I started using it. It gives my skin a dewy look, but not to the extent of looking shiny or greasy. And, as a bonus, it has SP15  just like MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid, which is good for keeping my face protected from the sun every day!

Left: MAC Pro Longwear in NC25, Right: Revlon Colorstay in Sand Beige

MAC’s Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation has recently creeped back into my foundation routine as a top up for areas on my face that always tend to rub off. I’ve found that it agrees with my skin in the winter for some reason, and doesn’t manage to dry my skin. I don’t have to touch it up at all the days that I apply it. So I’m finally getting my money’s worth!

As this winter has been quite a harsh one, with the recent snow and freezing temperatures, it has all been quite tough on my skin. Having combination skin is difficult in balancing out the right things to put on it, and being a student has made it even harder finding good quality products this year!

When it comes to cleansing, my face in particular is very sensitive. I tend to suffer from spots, and I need my face to feel as clean as possible to control it. In the morning, I use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It’s described as a ‘gentle’ cleanser for sensitive and dry skin, which is perfect for me at the moment, as the weather has made my skin very dry in places. I also think that it’s good for removing makeup, which is a bonus for me.It doesn’t have that ‘just washed’ feeling that a soap would usually have on your skin once you’ve washed your face, which I do tend to miss.

It’s not a product you can get very easily either; you can’t walk into a supermarket or a shop like Superdrug and buy it, as I have to order mine from Boots and then collect it in store. As a daily cleanser however, it’s perfect for my skin as it’s non-irritating and balances the oily and dry areas when my spots appear.

If my skin is really dry, then I like to use an exfoliating scrub to get rid of the dead skin cells. My favourite is Soap & Glory’s Scrub Your Nose In It. It’s also coincidental that I suffer from very dry skin on my nose at the moment, so it works well with combatting that. It’s specifically for your t-zone, so I like to leave it on my skin longer in places where I suffer with spots – the packaging recommends 3 minutes. This way, you essentially get a 2 in 1 cleanser; face mask & exfoliating scrub. Once it’s washed off, my skin is soft and smooth.

I couldn’t say anything negative about this product; it even has a minty freshening smell.

From Left to Right: Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Cleansing Wipes -around £3, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – around £8, Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It – around £7

When I’m taking my makeup off at the end of the day, I like to use Simple’s Clear Skin Oil Balancing Cleansing Wipes. When it comes to getting makeup off my face, if I’m using an own brand face wipe I usually have to use at least two. It can still feel like they haven’t removed all of the makeup, which I find a waste. Other wipes like Neutrogena’s, for example,  give a burning feeling on my skin and it stings quite a lot. I find Simple’s are just right, as they have a fresh smell and get my makeup off without hurting my skin.

To keep my skin hydrated, my favourite body moisturiser of the moment is Soap & Glory’s The Righteous Butter. I love the amount of product you get in the tub, and the smell is amazing! It’s very unique; maybe not for everyone, as it is quite a sweet smell. However as a moisturiser it is very hydrating. It’s described as a ‘very dry skin formula’ which I can agree with, as my skin is smooth and soft for hours.

However, as it was a Christmas present, I wouldn’t buy another tub straight after I’d ran out of it. Even though I do love the product, it’s around £10 and I would probably pick up Palmer’s Cocoa Butter instead which is half the price. To me, as a student, it is a luxury.

For my hands to be nice and nourished, I use Soap & Glory’s Hand Food. It claims to be ‘non-greasy’ which is true in my experience.  My hands don’t slide everywhere and they smell lovely. It’s a similar scent to their Righteous Butter, but more subtle with an undertone of marshmellow. I have the full sized version, but I definitely think their travel size would be perfect to keep in my bag.

From left to right: Soap & Glory Hand Food – around £4, Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturiser – around £2, Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter – around £10, The Body Shop Lip Balm (limited edition) & Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye (part of gift set, 5ml)

As a daily moisturiser that I use after cleansing, I have used the same product for many years and would never go elsewhere. I use Clean & Clear’s Dual Action Moisturiser. Clean & Clear are known for their acne related products, and when I suffered from acne as a teenager this moisturiser never made my skin any oilier. It keeps my skin balanced, and has always worked for me.

My absolute favourite lip balm of the moment is The Body Shop’s Spiced Vanilla Lip Balm. It’s limited edition, specially for Christmas, and has a really festive smell. I love The Body Shop lip balms, and theirs are a general favourite of mine as they’re moisturising and stay that way for a while on the lips, but this is one that I can’t stop using.

My final favourite is one that is very high end, and is no surprise that it is a sample size. Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye is what I find really helps brighten my eyes after a huge lack of sleep! I pop it on underneath my eyes before I go to bed, and the bags under my eyes don’t feel as big. I would love to own this at full size, but at over £30 for a 15ml bottle, it’s definitely something I can’t afford! I would love to find a cheaper alternative, so I need to do my research.

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I recently ran out of a couple of items I use on a constant basis, and nipped into Superdrug to replace them. As I’m terrible at only walking out of the shop with the one thing I went in for, I passed a couple of the makeup counters and picked up some things I thought I’d try.

A heavy user of fake tan, I picked up Rimmel London’s Instant Tan in Medium Matte. This product is something I’ve been using for a few years, and having tried out other alternatives I’ve always preferred this one. When I haven’t been bothered to put on a gradual tanner I find it so simple and easy to pop this on before I go out with no fuss of waiting for the colour to develop, and no awful ‘biscuity’ smell that comes with a gradual tanner!

The only downside to it is as soon as my skin gets wet, it comes off. Not the best thing to have when it’s raining, but definitely worthwhile when you’re in a rush.

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Rimmel London Instant Tan – £6.19

After running out of concealer, and then managing to lose what little I had left, my other necessary spend was Collection 2000’s Lasting Perfection Concealer in Light. After spending many years trying to cover up spots and undereye circles during my teens, I have used several different concealers, from ‘drugstore’ brands ie. Boots, Superdrug to high end brands. None of which have worked as well and at such a good price as Collection 2000’s.

On its package, it claims to last for up to 16 hours. I don’t know if I agree with this, but I can say it covers up spots very well without having to top up through the day, and I don’t look so haggered in the mornings as my undereye bags look less grey and dull. You may have the bad luck of picking up a tube that could leak, which is something to look out for when you’re buying it. Make sure the cap is on properly and there is no excess concealer spilling out.

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Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer – £4.19

My ‘unnecessary’ spends happened to be nail varnishes. As a girl who has terrible fingernails with a nail biting habit, I’ve never had the most ladylike hands. But I still like to make the most of them, as it means every time I make my nails chip, I get to put a new colour on!

The first varnish I picked up was Rimmel London’s I Love Lasting Finish Fruities in Cranberry Zest. I’ve always liked Rimmel London’s nail varnishes, because they have such a wide range of colours and are so easy to apply. But unfortunately, this one disappointed me. From the bottle, the colour looks like the perfect cranberry colour; a hot pink with blue-red tones. When i applied a couple of coats, it looked more like a blue-red. I do love red nail varnish, but when I already have one I really don’t need another. As for the fruity smell, it wasn’t something I picked up on.

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Rimmel London I Love Lasting Finish Fruities – £2.49

I already have Apricot Punch, which I could smell slightly as it masked the strong smell of the varnish. But over the two, the colour was what I was more disappointed with.

The second nail varnish I bought was Barry M’s Nail Paint in Croc Effects.I’ve tried the Nail Effects varnishes before by Barry M, which are pretty cool to look at as they dry. I’ve always preferred them to create look of a croc effect, and when i saw they had brought one out I had to try it. From my own experience, it takes a couple of goes for it to work how you want it. I’ve inserted a picture below of how it came out the first time. I’m glad I bought this one.

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Barry M Nail Paint – £3.99

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Croc Effect with 1 coat – (please excuse my terrible fingernail!)

Welcome to my blog 🙂 This is going to be the home of where I ramble about something I really love, (which may seem quite superficial!) but will be all things beauty-related. The one thing that I do every day and I enjoy doing is getting to use makeup and skincare, and I’m always especially excited when I get to try out something new. Every day that I leave the house I have to stop my massive urge to walk into Superdrug or Boots and buy a new nail varnish or lipstick, and if I haven’t managed to resist I feel like I’m literally running home just so I can get using it!

So this is going to be the place of where I talk about all my favourite products, things that I currently can’t stop using and the new things that I’m desperate to try out.