The BEST Eyebrow Pencil for Blondes – Mac Veluxe Brow Liner Review

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I have found it.

I have found the perfect eyebrow pencil for blondes.

I have found the perfect eyebrow pencil for blondes and it doesn’t make us look ginger.

Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.

There’s nothing wrong with having ginger eyebrows, of course, but if you hair isn’t ginger it can be distracting. My natural hair colour is quite a dark brunette, but weirdly my eyebrows are an ashy blonde, so I struggled to find the right eyebrow pencil for ages.

Eventually, I went to film the quiz show Pointless in London with my Dad (it won’t be on telly until the Autumn I’m afraid!) and the makeup artist used Mac’s Veluxe Brow Liner in ‘Strawberry Blonde’ on me.

When I saw the name of the shade, I instantly thought “This is going to give me the dreaded gingeybrow again”, especially as a strawberry blonde is essentially a redhead.

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Left: eyebrow coloured in with the Mac pencil. Right: bare brow. It’s made my eyebrow slightly darker so it stands out more, but still looks natural.

Instead, it was the perfect light brown – not too grey and ashy, not too red, not too dark for blondes, but enough to make your brows stand out. It was absolutely ideal. So naturally, I went out and bought it afterwards.

After a good couple of months using it, I thought it was about time for a review. Below, I’ve outlined (accidental excellent pun) a few pros and cons of this saviour of blonde eyebrows:

PROS:

  • The Colour is Just Right: I’ve found with a few drugstore pencils that the lighter tones either go too grey, too dark, or too red. It was really difficult to get a decent pencil for blonde brows, until this one came along. Rejoice!
  • Blends nicely
  • Good colour pay off & not too waxy: it’s totally matte and has a nice soft, almost powdery texture
  • Glides on smoothly without getting chalky
  • Double-ended product with a handy spooley brush on one end. This is good quality, with lots of soft bristles to comb and neaten your brows, whilst blending the product evenly through the hair for a softer, more natural look. Lovely.
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Both eyebrows done. I’m not very good at applying it – especially not first thing in the morning – but you get the idea!

CONS:

  • Breaks Easily: It sharpens well, but a few times I’ve sharpened it and the “lead” (as it were) has fallen out of the top of the pencil. It must have been beaten up a bit in the store, because the product seems to be broken in several places. Shame.
  • Can’t really sharpen it to a fine point: this doesn’t matter so much for me, as it’s more about filling in with colour, but for those who like to do fine lines just like hairs with their eyebrow pencil, it might be tricky.
  • Price: It’s normal for Mac, but I still winced a bit. £15.50. Still, would purchase again.

Which eyebrow pencils do you prefer to use? This is my first high-end choice, so I’d be interested to hear of any others – or of course any drugstore gems!

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100 Happy Days on Instagram: Days 8-15

I can’t believe I’m in my second week of Instagramming already. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. Either that or I’m getting old.

If you didn’t see my last post on this topic, I’ve just joined Instagram and decided to have a go at the #100HappyDays challenge to ease me into being as snap-happy as the Kardashian sisters. It doesn’t come naturally to everybody, Kim.

The 100 Happy Days hashtag does what it says on the tin. Or, you know, tag. Every day, for 100 days, you take a photo of the little things that make you happy. It can be something as big and enviable as an amazing concert, or something as little as the fact that the light looked pretty when you popped out for some milk that evening. Whatever it is that makes you smile, snap it (unless you’re driving!) and post. It’s that simple :)

Here are my latest happy days!

#100HappyDays Day 8: Trying to put together an outfit for a #ClubTropicana themed party next month. I’ve got this far…! #primark #sunglasses #summer #tropical #floral #bright

#100happydays Day 9: Massive Lols at this #ThrowbackThursday of me, my cousin, and my little sister doing #MeanGirls in 2004. Maddie makes a great Gretchen Wieners. #tbt #chickflicks #notanotherteenmovie #glencoco

#100happydays Day 10: Bring your dog to work day! Best/most distracting working environment. #dog#puppy #play #job

#100happydays Day 11: Lunch with Grandma, Grandpa, and Cuzzy @sofiisaprincess #family #grandma#saturday #weekend

#100happydays Day 12: Beautiful Sunday walk in Manchester, and a lovely roast and catch up with cousin @sofiisaprincess. For roast food porn, see her Instagram :) #sunday #sun #weekend #family

**BONUS CONTENT**

**BONUS CONTENT**

Here’s a picture that Sofi took of her roast on Day 12. I was too hungry and too unused to Instagram, so forgot to photograph mine until I’d devoured several potatoes. Oops.

#100happydays Day 13: Giving my skin a treat tonight #bbloggers #skincare #trilogy #nightcream #rosapene #moisturise

#100happydays Day 14: My new phone case arrived! Can’t wait to see my Boyfriend’s unamused face when he sees it! #kawaii #rabbit #bunny #iphone5c #fluffy #tail #newgirl #jessday

#100happydays Day 15: Any day can be ice lolly day! #ice #lolly #popsicle #orange #summer

I hope you enjoyed the post – and do let me know if you start the tag too! You can find me at @effiewright

And don’t worry, I’ll be back on the beauty posts soon. There’s a new product I’m obsessed with – I just need to remember to take photographs when I apply it in the morning! Hopefully the post on that will be up this week.

Sepia-toned lovin’,

Effie xx

Makeup Through The Ages Beauty Blogger Collaboration: The 2000’s

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 As we all know, there ‘aint no party like an S Club party. And in the Year 2000, S Club 7 seriously brought it. Channelling a look favoured by early noughties J.Lo and numerous other pop stars, they donned their faux furs and white polonecks, their hair serum and their beige lipgloss, and filmed the video for ‘Never Had A Dream Come True’, the official Children in Need single for 2000.

I am now kind of sad that I don’t fit into the afghan coat I had when I was 11.

(Google it if you don’t know what that is).

I feel as if this video, all shimmer and gloss and sparkly snowflakes, epitomises the noughties era rather well. Once the Spice Girls had split, S Club 7 became my favourite band, so it only seemed right to base my contribution to the Makeup Through The Ages Beauty Blogger Collaboration on them.

This Collaboration, by the way, is the brainchild of Brittany The Beauty Deputy, who is always coming up with great ideas for tags and collabs! I’d say this is her biggest plan yet – a total of 11 beauty bloggers are involved, covering The Ancient Egyptians, Futuristic Makeup, and every decade between 1920 and the Present Day. I’ll post links to all their blogs at the end, so do go and have a look – I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Anyway, on to the post!

Here is the kit I used to become a weird hybrid of Rachel, Tina, Hannah, and Jo: 

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Eyes: 

Too Faced ‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ Palette, with eyeshadow in ‘Snowflakes’, ‘Crisp Apple Strudel’, and ‘Cream Coloured Ponies’; Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black; Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara; Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in ‘010 Silver’; Mac Veluxe Brow Liner in ‘Strawberry Blonde’.

Base: 

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation in ‘Cream Ivory’; Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in ‘Cool Medium 2’; Benefit High Beam Highlighter; Bourjois Délice De Poudre Bronzer in ‘Peaux claires/médianes 51’.

Lips: 

Erm…a bit more Laura Mercier Foundation (use a pale nude or beige lipstick if you’re more sensible than me); Benefit ‘Ticket to Glossytown’ Lip Glosses in ‘Life on the A List’ (pale pink) and ‘Nude-Tude’ (nudey glitter).

Brushes:

Real Techniques Eye Starter Kit (slanted, fluffy, detail, and crease); Real Techniques Blusher Brush; Real Techniques Stippling Brush (for foundation); Real Techniques Setting Brush (for concealer).

Extras:

Clarins Démaquillant Express Instant Eye Make-Up Remover; Johnson’s Cotton Buds.

And here is the process!

EYES:

I actually did this look in the wrong order.  I thought I’d practice the eye makeup and ended up going “sod it, let’s photograph the whole post,” so I did my eyes before my base, which is unusual for me.

Step 1: Snowflakes Sweep

Anyway, the first thing I did was sweep some Too Faced eyeshadow in ‘Snowflakes’ over my entire lids, all the way up to the brow bone and making sure to cover the inner corners of the eye. The S Club girls and most other pop stars were covered in shimmery eyeshadow from around 1999-2006, so it seemed best to go the whole hog too.

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Step 2: Crease Shadow

Next, I used my Real Techniques Crease Brush, from the Starter Set for Eyes, and put a bit of Crisp Apple Strudel in and around my crease.

I was trying to copy Jo’s look for this – as she seems to be wearing a similar brown shimmery eyeshadow in the video. I also ran a little bit of this shadow under my lower eyelashes, using the slanted brush from the Real Techniques set. You can also use the little detailer brush for this, if you prefer to use your slanted brush for brows.

Step 3: White Line

I noticed that Tina and Jo seem to have white lines of shadow which extended a couple of millimetres above their upper lash line, which looked rather fetching, so I thought I’d try that too.

I hunted around from my white kohl pencil from Rimmel, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so instead I wet my Real Techniques fine liner brush from the Starter Set, and used a bit of Too Faced ‘Cream Coloured Ponies’ eyeshadow. It worked ok, but for a less fiddly option, you should probably use a pencil liner or eyeshadow pencil!

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Step 4: Black Line

Right. I actually did this twice because the first time I made it too thick, and it looked more like a 50’s or 60’s look than an S Club Party. If the line thickness changes between pictures, now you know why ;)

Handy tip: if you are in possession of a good eye makeup remover, dip a cotton bud in it and deal with eyeliner mistakes that way. It saves you taking everything off and starting again! I did that with my Clarins Démaquillant Express Instant Eye Make-Up Remover and it reduced the eyeliner to a more era-appropriate level, and I hardly had to redo my eyeshadow. Yay!

Anyway, to recreate Tina’s look, I did a very narrow line all around the eye, including the inner and outer corners, using my Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black. I also paid a little more attention to the outer corners, making points rather than flicks to imitate Hannah’s makeup.

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Step 5: The Waterline, Mascara & Brows

Once again, I would have liked to have a white kohl pencil on hand to brighten up my waterline for this look. Instead, I used Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 010 Silver. This always makes my eyes go red because of the glitter, but it does the job for recreating the ‘Never Had A Dream Come True’ look.

I then used Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex’ mascara on my top and bottom lashes, and the Mac Veluxe Brow Liner on my brows, blending with the attached spooley brush.

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Tuhduuuuh. Sorry about the roots. I’m going to the salon this weekend!

FACE:

Step 1: Foundation

I didn’t use a primer for this, and whacked Laura Mercier’s Silk Crème Foundation straight onto my skin, blending it in with the Real Techniques Stippling Brush.

I decided not to use powder, because I didn’t need this look to last for too long, and the girls all have such silky skin in the video – a mattifying powder wouldn’t work.

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Step 2: Concealer

I whacked Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer pretty much everywhere (under eyes, around nose, on blemishes)  as I’m tired and blotchy and Rachel Stevens is perfect.  I used the Real Techniques Setting Brush to blend it all in.

Step 3: Highlighter

I had a bit of fun with this one. This isn’t quite the usual shape in which I’d apply my highlighter, but the noughties were all about the dewy skin, so I just copied whichever parts of Jo’s, Hannah’s, Tina’s, and Rachel’s faces caught the light. I then blended it in with my setting brush.

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Step 4: Bronzer

I decided to skip blusher on this occasion, as I couldn’t really detect any pinky tones on the girls’ cheeks. Instead, I went for the bronzer-as-blusher look, using the Bourjois Délice de Poudre bronzer.

LIPS:

Step 1: Degradation

The problem with beige lip colour being popular in the noughties was that it made everybody look a little bit dead.

Because I still remember this time with fear and apprehension, I wasn’t really willing to spend money on a colour that wouldn’t suit me. So what did I do? I made like the scene kids and preteen Jack Wills fans of the mid-noughties and put foundation on my lips instead!

It could have been worse…

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Step 2: Lipgloss

This was better. I applied a combination of the Benefit lipglosses onto my lips to make them paler and less pink. Beige, glossy lips is a look that a lot of people rocked in the noughties – most particularly JLo – so I felt I should give it a go!

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And that’s the finished look! I couldn’t help but do a historically-accurate high-angled Myspace pose! Complete with camera arm, of course.

I definitely don’t like this look, it makes my eyes look small, my nose look big, and my lips look weird. But hey ho, the noughties were a dark time for makeup and fashion, and a shining beacon decade for pop music. What can you do?

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If you’d like to have a look at the posts by the rest of the bloggers involved in the collaboration, you can find the links below. I hope you enjoyed this post and am looking forward to seeing the other contributions!

Collab Love

Effie xx

Ancient Egyptians/Cleopatra – Angela from Your Beauty Whisperer

1920’s – Soph from Little Bit Soph

1930’s – Meagan from A Beauty Obsession

1940’s – Olivia from Eye Have A Lot of Feelings (Iconic Noughties Film Reference in her Blog Title!)

1950’s – Heather from Coconut & Cotton 

1960’s – Brittany from The Beauty Deputy

1970’s – Michelle from Pretty in the East 

1980’s – Christina from a casual beauty

1990’s – Jacquelyn from the Little Scottish Corner

2000’s – Stephanie Wright

Present Day – Barbe from Fashionista in Surburbia

Futuristic  – Becky from MakeupandFreckles

Now have some more S Club:

This is from a TV show they had called LA 7, in which they played themselves and did cool S Club things.

There was also Miami 7 (which I had on VHS), Hollywood 7, and Viva S Club. AMAZING dancing all round!

 

I Joined Instagram! 100 Happy Days: Days 1-7

Hi chaps.

The savvy among you may have noticed a few changes around here. I got a new theme, for starters. I also changed my strapline to “Cosmetics and Claptrap from the English Countryside.” I think it sums up this blog quite well!

I mostly came to tell you that I’ve finally joined Instagram! Before, it was a little bit pointless because my old phone could never muster enough data to post photos to the internet whilst I was out and about. I’ve just got a new one though, and it’s much better. So I’m feeling quite chuffed.

Anyway, I thought I’d join Instagram by actually training myself to use it, so I’ve started a #100HappyDays series. Apparently these are quite popular at the moment. The idea is to photograph the little things that make you happy every day for 100 days. Then, afterwards, you can look back on them and smile a bit more. Awwh.

Today, my happy thing was a custom-painted Smart Car with an England flag sticking out of the top. It reminded me of those stripy hats with propellers that children can wear on The Sims. It looked so ridiculous. But I couldn’t take a photo as I was driving. Still, that’s an example of what people post: the sort of mundane things that make you smile every day.

I saw another blogger (I’m so sorry, I can’t remember who it was!) post her #100HappyDays on her WordPress account, so I thought I’d do the same, in the form of a little series. I’ll do seven days at a time, so you can see everything that’s made me smile each week. Perhaps you could do the same? I’d love to see the little things that make you happy every day. Why not give it a go?

I hope you enjoy this post!

Oooh, also, if you have Instagram, can I be your insta-friend? You can find me at @effiewright

Sepia-toned lovin’!

Effie xx

#100HappyDays Day 1: This Disney tshirt from Primark. £6. Who knew?! #JungleBook

#100happydays Day 2: Finding my local brew when I’m far away from home always makes me smile. #Suffolk #Aspall

#100happydays Day 3: football Friday at work begins in honour of #WorldCup2014! Fancy dress and silliness everywhere.

#100happydays Day 4: Reunion with university friends in Durham. Laughing at Dom’s hayfever #sorrydom

#100happydays Day 5: Road tripping home through the Pennines with Calv #BritainsHighestMotorway #JellyBabies

#100happydays Day 6….I think I have a problem…#tea #SupermarketHaul #ItWasOnOfferOK

#100happydays Day 7: Preparing a noughties-inspired makeup blog post whilst watching the World Cup#contrast #girlie #bbloggers #SClub

Bonus: My first ever Instagram post. A Throwback Tuesday (ahem) of my younger sister and I playing fancy dress when we were little.

 

June Beauty and Skincare Favourites

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Lush ‘Coalface’ Cleanser

My friend picked up a sample of this for me, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t really expect much, as I’m not 100% comfortable with the idea of bars of soap on my face. To my surprise though, I was really impressed! Despite the rather uncomfortable title, this product lathers up nicely and takes all the makeup off my face in a single wash. Including eye makeup. What?! Thanks to the little exfoliating bits of charcoal, it’s also handy for preventing breakouts. Goodbye, expensive cleansers and cheap, harsh, drugstore dupes: I’ve made a new friend!

St Ives Apricot Scrub

The old favourite strikes again! Although I’ve tried a few high-end exfoliators, this supermarket find remains firmly in my arsenal. I’ve been using it every other day whilst I’m in the shower – the steam opens up your pores and makes for better de-gunking – and it’s kept my breakouts to a minimum. That said, it might just be that the antibiotics are finally working. Either way, it’s still brilliant. You shouldn’t use it quite so often as I do if you have dry or sensitive skin, but for oil monsters like me, this usage level is fine.

Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex’ Mascara 

I won’t go into the details of the title of this product. It’s unnecessarily provocative and creates unrealistic expectations! However, it is quite good. This volumises, lengthens, and separates my lashes without clumping, so it’s been used rather a lot this month! That said, this is the mini version, and the beauty grapevine tells me that when you fall in love with a sample-sized Too Faced mascara, the full-sized product is disappointing. Hmm. Only time will tell!

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

This came free with Glamour magazine for the second June running, and naturally I had to snap some up! It went straight back into my top 7 as a result. The felt tip-style applicator makes it really easy to apply, and it’s really good if you want to create a very fine, subtle line just above your lashes.

Vichy Dermablend Foundation 

I went off this foundation for a little while, as although the coverage was fantastic and it feels really light on the skin, the lasting power wasn’t quite enough for my very oily face. However, in the last month I’ve been teaming it with my Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer, and it works a treat! Hallelujah! And that brings me on to…

Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer

I’ll do a proper review of this soon, I promise. I’ve been using this most days, which fills me with guilt as it’s quite expensive, but I feel as if I can’t live without it. It really does make my face last for so much longer! It’s also provides a great opportunity for using up the foundations I don’t really like, as it makes them sit better on my face. Jolly good!

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EOS Lip Balm in ‘Strawberry Sorbet’

I’ve been keeping this lip balm on my desk at work this month, and as a result have been using it compulsively. It smells delicious – a bit like raspberry ripple ice cream – and my lips are now permanently soft. Awesome! Thank you Brittany!

What have been all of your favourite products this month? Are you moving into your summer makeup yet? Have you fallen in love with a product with a rude name, which you must awkwardly mumble when people ask you what you’ve been using? Let me know!

Effie xx