The best of beauty 2013

2013 was the year I felt like I've found the best "face" for me- flawless skin, a peachy highlighter, loads of mascara, dark eye-liner and a nude lip. At heart, I suit the makeup of the 60's the best. The above 6 products have helped me achieve this face and will continue to be repurchased for years to come. I'm still working on my favourite eyeliner and eye-shadow (although MAC's Satin Taupe is up there) so these will be what I'm searching for in 2014. However, if you are searching for your perfect products, maybe my class of 2013 will give you inspiration.

L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution
If there is one thing a makeup lover like me needs, it's a swift and effective makeup remover. I've repurchased this at least 5 times. The bottle lasts for AGES, it's affordable and it gets all my makeup off. Using a baby sized cotton pad and a bit of this, there is absolutely no reason why in the name of Barbra Streisand you would chose to grab a makeup remover wipe. Tut tut. I follow this up with my full cleansing routine (although I must admit, after one too many Bombay and slimlines I only manage this but sure it's better than nothing!).

L'Oreal Nude Magique CC Cream
I have a bit of an aversion to makeup on Sunday's. Actually, 2013 was the year that I became comfortable to running about with no makeup on (much to the horror of one friend in particular who had never seen me without my face on). CC cream is a revolution. It takes out the redness in my skin and makes me look like I'm wearing no makeup. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon brunch with a splodge of mascara and a hit of lip-gloss. 

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation
2 words: Holy Grail. This is by far the best foundation for me. It has medium coverage which can easily be built up. It's not cakey. It looks flawless. It is the PERFECT foundation for any girl that loves a dewy look with a highlighter. In probably 75% of the photos you see of me I'm wearing this foundation. I'd encourage anyone to try Laura Mercier foundations. The girls at House of Fraser Belfast are absolutely lovely and will try out a full face of Mercier products on you. Give it a go! 

Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara
I've tried so many mascaras. I like Maybelline mascaras. They are great but dry out quickly. I like Benefit mascaras but think they are a bit over-priced. I LOVE Armani Eyes to Kill but we don't have an Armani counter in Belfast (yet, I'm praying one will appear soon). Max Factor Masterpiece Max has been my staple. It gives volume, length and it costs £10.99. In November I decided to have a little flutter with other drug store mascaras. They all gave me panda eyes and I cried back into the corner with my Max Factor glory. In fact, all of the Max Factor mascaras are great. I have a 2000 Calories in my handbag currently. I know some of my readers have tried Masterpiece Max and absolutely loved it. 

Rimmel Kate Moss 03
As aforementioned, I have discovered that a nude pout looks best on me. I've toyed with many lipsticks from very expensive Chanel numbers to this super affordable Rimmel number. Kate 03 is the most perfect nude which seems to suit every skin tone. It has a good amount of brown in it to stop your lips from looking like you are wearing Panstick on them. I think every single of my friends has gone out and bought it. The perfect lipstick for any occasion. For a night out I will line my lips and throw some gloss on top for an ultra Kardashian full pout. 

Real Techniques Buffing Brush
I've become obsessed with Real Techniques brushes. They are cheap, easy to wash and work a treat. The Buffing brush (which is part of the Core Collection) applies makeup seamlessly and makes my Laura Mercier Silk Creme in particular look amazing. It's the ultimate brush for a lazy girl as you can easily apply your base in under a minute. I'd also highly recommend the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge but I shall do a full review soon!

I hope you have all had a really great holiday season. I'm excited to see what adventures 2014 brings. As always, thank you for all your support and stay tuned.

That Belfast Girl x 

Falling back in love with eyeliner

In my teen years, I was obsessed with eyeliner. I have quite big eyes and I always loved how it looked on me. I was also a big Amy Winehouse fan and I wanted to have massive, over the top eyeliner like her. Since my Elizabeth Taylor tutorial a few months ago, I've been back to eyeliner with a bang. I thought I would share my three favourite eyeliners at the minute. I will admit that I am not the the most skilled at putting on eyeliner so my current favourites are fairly fool proof!

Gel eyeliner is the ultimate tool for any girl dreaming about an Alexa Chung eye. I've tried out many different gel eyeliners and I must say that I genuinely like this the best. Using an angled brush, I dip the brush into the little pot and apply. Gel liner is ideally the best option for anyone looking for a cat eye flick. If you love the look of gel but find it messy to apply, keep a cotton bud and some makeup remover on hand to correct any mistakes. 

I picked this up on a whim as Superdrug were doing a 3 for 2 offer. I liked the idea of the Kajal which is essentially a black waxy pointy lipstick! It is a merge between a gel eyeliner and a pencil. I have loved using it as it is very easy to apply. It's also the size of a lipstick so I can throw it into my bag. I would recommend this for anyone who finds eyeliner a bit of a struggle. It is great for tight-lining as the shape of the product really lends itself to this. Make sure to keep your eyes shut for a minute to make sure it sets! 

This has been the liner I have been using the most. A pencil is the easiest way to line the eyes as it is quick and it is harder to smudge. The Body Shop formula is soft and easy to blend, making it perfect for a quick run along the outer corners or as part of a full smoky eye. I just noticed on the website that this also comes in a lovely navy shade which I must remember to try out. 

Let me know what your favourite eyeliner is so I can give it a whirl!

Current Hair Favourites

I have totally unruly hair. I often say that if Russel Brand and Kate Bush had a love child, it would look somewhat like me. My curls are great but in the winter I usually brow dry my hair straight. Curls, for me, are better in summer when it is warm and I can afford to leave my hair to air dry. I am trying to grow my hair so I am trying to wash it less, put it up more and keep it in tip top condition.

My "go to" shampoo has been the Kiehl's Amino Acid shampoo*. This smells absolutely stunning- like Hawaiian Tropics sun cream! I am a huge fan of coconut oil and this product contains a fair amount of it. It also is paraben free and silicone free meaning it does not weigh my hair down. It makes my hair feel squeeky clean. Like many people, I have an easily irritated scalp and I have found that products with no silicone in them are better for me. I follow my shampoo up with a conditioner. My conditioner of choice at the moment is the Ever Sleek conditioner by L'Oreal. I am a big fan of the sulphate free range of L'Oreal products. They seem to work really well with my often coarse hair. This conditioner makes my hair less frizzy and makes it more manageable to blow-dry. I apply a 50p size amount in the shower, brush it through with my Tangle Teezer and leave it on 2-3 minutes before rinsing (I usually shave my legs during this time!).

Post shower, I towel dry my hair. I will usually moisturise (I'm being a very good girl since I've started to use my Creme de Corps from Kiehl's), get dressed then finish my hair. A big mistake people make is putting products in soaking wet hair. Your hair should be at least half dry before you put products in. I sometimes would take the hairdryer to my hair and just "blast dry" it until it's not as damp. I will then apply 2 pumps of Tresemme Platinumn Strength Leave In Conditioner*. I have found this makes the ends of my hair look much healthier. I blow-dry my hair and usually follow this with a quick run through of the GHD's. Finally, I finish my hair with a pump of Dove Pure Care Dry Oil*. I have been using this for months and a little goes a long way. It easily rivals many of the high end oils on the market. It makes my hair smooth and adds extra shine. I also love this dry oil as a treatment the night before I'm washing my hair. 3-4 pumps in the ends to help combat dryness has been working a treat!

*PR Sample

Dealing with dry skin during the winter

In my previous post I had mentioned that I had been dealing with a cold turned chest infection. Not only has this been making me feel rubbish, but making me look a bit rubbish too! I have quite good skin which would tend to be on the more oily side. However, when I get a cold, my skin turns into a dry mess. Like many people, I get dry skin on and around my nose (glamorous, I know) from blowing it so much. I have been using three products to battle my dry skin problems and they seem to be serving me very well. 

Firstly, on my body I have been using Kiehl's famous Creme de Corps*. I have purchased it before when I was in the US but now we have our now Kiehl's store in Belfast, I feel like it will now be a permanent feature of my beauty collection. The sweet smelling cream which contains nourishing soy milk helps to soothe and moisturise skin. I will admit that I hate moisturising post shower/bath. I loathe the idea of moisturiser being  really sticky. However, Creme to Corps sinks in quickly and a little goes a long way. I think I'll be off to buy a litre bottle soon! 

On super dry patches, the good old Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream comes out. I have on occasion used this as an entire face mask (I only recommend this if you are recovering from a particularly hideous bout of flu or have very dry skin). It is also a great products for lips and brows before bed. 

Finally, as my weekly face treat, I have been using the Kiehl's Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque* I have used other overnight masques before, but like with many moisturisers, I have found them sticky. The Kiehl's formula is a clear gel which is applied all over the face. After 10 minutes, the excess is removed then the rest is left to work it's magic overnight. There is no real scent off it. The tub is also HUGE meaning this will last me forever! From first use, I thought my skin seemed more plumped and hydrated. I will be using this weekly from now on as my skin can get dehydrated easily if I have been wearing a lot of makeup or I have been very stressed out. I would highly recommend this to anyone who feels like their skin is looking a bit lack lustre or it seems like your makeup isn't looking as nice as lately.

Let me know what you are using to combat your dry winter skin!

That Belfast Girl

*PR sample 

Why I've Ditched Fake Tan

More olive toned as a child, now my natural skin tone without tan 
It has easily been three months since I whipped out the fake tan in order for me to look brown (and smell like a giant digestive biscuit). I've been fake tanning for a long time. I remember going to my best friend's house after PE in my final year of primary school. My BFF's grandma noted how tan my legs were and I said "It's fake tan!". I can still recall the horror on her face!

The past year has seen me become so discontent with tans. I was sick of the smell of them. No matter what tan you buy or the promises it makes, it will smell dodgy at some point. I was sick of ruining bed clothes with tan. I was sick of the patches that gather around your hands, knees and elbows. But most of all, I was sick of the hassle of it! In the winter months, standing in your knickers doing your tan is not fun nor is it appealing. I've been fake tanning for 10 years and rarely did it come out evenly. For a while I was subject to almost weekly spray tans but they became a fortune, time consuming and my skin seemed like it never had a break!

I've never been the palest of girls. I would always describe myself as a "medium" skin tone and I have very dark hair and eyes. I realised the obsession was not with being tan but with seemingly covering up things. Tan is a wonder for covering up things like scars and stretch marks. However, fake tan wasn't doing anything to combat these problems. So I've ditched the tan and started moisturising more. This is not saying I'll NEVER wear fake tan again but I will reserve my tanning to a) spray tans for special occasions and b) using Clairns tan (which is the best in the entire world) on my legs if I'm wearing a particularly short dress.

The biggest testament to my lack of fake tan is that no-one even seems to have noticed that I've stopped wearing it! So for now, pale and interesting it is!

That Belfast Girl 

1960s at 22

The past week, I turned the grand old age of 22. I keep telling people I feel so old but it's only because I feel like I've blinked and skipped from the last day of school to my post-graduate degree. Thus far, 22 has been very fabulous. 21 was a bit of a crazy year but it was one of the best of my life. At lot of things happened that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

For my 22nd birthday, I was kindly invited to the media launch of the owner's of The Merchant's new venture: The Dirty Onion/Yardbird. This bar/chicken joint is located just around the corner from The Merchant and is really chilled out. The chicken restaurant Yardbird is really simply but delicious. The atmosphere was really fun and the live music was brilliant. For my evening out, I was inspired by the recent Nigella Lawson shoot in Stylist magazine. Her 60's inspired makeup made me reach for some different things in my beauty stash. I got ready very quickly, so my ode to Ms. Lawson took me a mere 5 minutes!

Stylist Magazine Shoot- Makeup by Tricia Woolston and Photography by Matthew Shave. No copyright intended. 

I first prepped my skin with Marks and Spencer Autograph Instant Radiance Primer and then followed this with Urban Decay's Naked Skin Foundation. I like this foundation as it is really buildable. I then filled in my brows (which are hideously out of shape as the moment as I am growing them) with the HD Brows palette. I then used Benefit's Hoola to contour my cheeks and some MAC Skin Finish in Red Head for a highlight. The eyes were super quick- a MAC 217 brush with a limited edition Marks and Spencer baked eye-shadow quad. The quad is no longer available but NYC make very similar shades which would be a good  cheap dupe. I prepped my eyes with a Benefit cream eye-shadow and then put a silver colour all over with a dark grey in the crease. I lined my eyes with Collection Black Gel Eyeliner and coated my lashes with Max Factor Masterpiece Max mascara (Sidenote: I've tried 3 mascaras this month and came back to this. It's easily the best drug store mascara EVER!). And finally, for my nude pout, my favourite Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 03. If I had more time, I would have extended the eyeliner up into a cat eye and added some false lashes. I shall try that next time!

I hope you've all had a great week,

That Belfast Girl.