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Friday, 29 October 2010

Christmas shopping

The old saying is correct, you generally give presents you yourself would like to receive. This year is no different. I've already finished my Christmas shopping so here's the list of items I have bought for friends and family! If you are a friend or family member, I suggest you don't read on unless you want to know what I've got you for Christmas. If you're not on the list, it may mean you are getting a non-beauty related product! I will be posting about non-beauty gifts later as I have found some lovely items that the guys will enjoy that might just give you some inspiration.

Mother in Law
The hardest person to buy for, it's a minefield when dealing with MILs. An extravagant present seems patronising, a small gift seems mean, so I went safe by choosing a Liz Earle Superskin Gift Set (£42). The set contains six items (cleaser, tonic, 2 cloths, facial moisturiser, body moisturiser, and superskin concentrate) in a pretty blue box with matching ribbon. Result, no wrapping needed.

Sister in Law
A less fraught decision, I erred on the safe side by selecting a gorgeous candle that no one could possibly dislike. Jonathan Ward Amber Collection Soya Candle in Mombasa Club 1932. A warm, aromatic, spicy and sophisticated candle that I have found hard to match in terms of quality. I have tried various other candles (NEOM, Jo Malone, AVEDA etc...) and these are pretty good for the price and the scents are so unique. When buying someone a candle for a present, which can seem a bit small and insignificant, bear in mind that these are high quality soya and high concentration essential oil based candles, they are stronger, require less burning time and do not produce soot which is better for your furniture and health. The person receiving it might not appreciate that but after using it they will never go back to a cheap paraffin candle again! I bought my Jonathan Ward candles from Wholefoods for £30 (£20 for the medium size). You can also purchase from other reputable stockists and online.

Brother in Law's other half...
This New Year my husband and I are a visiting family and are staying with my brother in law. So it is incredibly rude not to turn up with presents for his other half. I won a Body Oil from the other week and after trying it I decided to explore the range further and buy a bottle for the lady of the house! You can find Roger and Gallet products in most good department stores or explore for inspiration. Huile Sublime is just gorgeous, I have been using it after showers to moisturise and it is wonderfully uplifting and leaves my skin soft and pampered.

My eldest Sister
Bank Holiday Monday after Christmas is a always a chilled family day, my husband and I will be gathering at my eldest sisters house in Devon for a family party. My sister is a big fan of Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish but I decided not to get her the same set as MIL, and have opted for a few other items from the range that she won't have tried.

My middle sister
A few weeks ago I purchased the entire range of samples from of the Face Atelier Ultra Foundation. I gave one of these to my sister to try. She took it with her on a mini break and said that it was excellent as a medium/full coverage foundation. So she wants a full bottle for Christmas. The easiest present I have ever had to buy. £32 for a 30ml bottle + shipping from the website.

I have a neice, she is nearly 10 years old. I think I may have corrupted this young lady already with make up. When she visits, she would quite happily go through my collection. Do you find that young girls are all fascinated with mascara? I figure it is an aspirational product for young girls seeing their mothers not leaving the house without at least applying mascara. Well I feel she's too young for make up but she is allowed to wear it for parties (and when she comes to visit her aunt). I know she has her eye on the e.l.f Mini Make Up Collection.

Best Friend
I have used my friends as canvasses many times. I know their faces, colouring and tastes. But I like to stretch their comfort zone a bit and get them using products which will deliver benefits and confidence. However, I have to remember that they are not make up addicts like me so I tend to over buy for them confusing them with new concepts such as eye lid primers and HD powder! So this year I am buying key must have items such as lipstains which last 12 hours. Great if you're a busy teacher, musician and mum! My favourite are from Lipstains Gold and my favourite colour (apart from Red) is Blush. £5.25 each or you can buy a pack of four for £26 from the website.

I hope this helps you with your choices for Christmas presents this year! Good luck!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Nails of the Day - Graffiti

Layla Cosmetics Graffiti Top Coat + Cetuem Metallic Gunmetal (#280)

I'm not really a huge fan of the black crackle top coats but I do quite like this combination. I bought the Cetuem Nail Polish at Olympia Beauty a few weeks ago. I can't use this too much as it is very strong smelling and a bit streaky. Most metallic nail polishes are like this which is why I don't own many.

R8Beauty has just given away 50 bottles of the Layla Graffiti top coat so I look forward to seeing the reactions and reviews from the 50 winners!

R8Beauty Giveaway Young & Pure Range

I have been testing this range for about three weeks and I have to say that it has been kind to my skin. Formulated for teenagers and 20-something men and women, I am more than a little out of the target market but no matter, the principles of good skin care remain. I have sensitive skin and it responds to products which are minimal and soothing.

The real surprise and absolute star of the range for me is the Eye Make Up remover (£5.49 for 125ml) It is wonderfully gentle and removes even waterproof make up. It's a formula based on coconut oil and ginger extract which also act to soothe and freshen the sensitive eye area. I am utterly hooked.

You can find out more and buy the range online from the Young and Pure website or if you'd like to win some of these products for yourself, simply enter the R8Beauty contest to win.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

R8Beauty Review Giveaway - Ultraglow Shimmer Pots

R8Beauty is a project I have been working on for nearly a year and over the last few months it has started to bear fruit. My role involves finding interesting cosmetics and beauty products for R8Beauty. Along the way I have tried some fantastic brands and products that are waiting in the wings for R8Beauty reviewers to try for free. It's been incredibly hard not to review them here immediately, I've even had to resort to sitting on my hands until the urge to photograph and type passes!

Now you know about it, I hope you'll enter the free weekly giveaways and become a fan of the facebook page to hear about the items I've hand picked for you to win. Reviews are confidential and rewarded with entry in to another contest to win even more products to try. It is free and secure to enter, your details are not used by any other company for marketing purposes.

Companies that have worked with R8Beauty in the earliest stages have been happy to report that they've received really useful feedback to improve their products and brand. They have also received greater hits and followers to their websites. More importantly, reviewers have had the the chance to try products that aren't even available to buy in Europe yet, which is always a coup.

If you're a company and you'd like to reach out to people with news of your new products, then please get in touch with me via email.

R8Beauty has its own blog here too.

For the latest giveaway, you can enter below or via the facebook page directly.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Ask Jasmine

Helping others is one of the main reasons I started YouTube and Blogging! As much as I would like to reply to your emails individually, sadly I cannot. So if you've emailed me recently then I apologise if you are waiting expectantly for a reply.

It is impossible to offer the level of detailed advice I would give a client in a one to one consultation. Mainly because I don't have the amount of time necessary and I need to see you in person to look at you in 3 dimensions! My advice would always be to book a session with a make up artist for a trial and ask them personally.

What I can offer is a bit of encouragement, product recommendations that have worked for me, tips and general advice for issues many people face.

Do you want to know more about:

Creating looks
Application tips
Avoiding mishaps
Product recommendations

I will be picking a topic to talk about and answer those beauty related questions. Don't worry I won't be mentioning your names so feel free to email me in confidence.

You can also leave me a question below!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Dangerous Chocolate Cake

A big thanks to my colleague Soo, who gave me this superb recipe!


5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 TBS Flour

4 TBS sugar

1 ½ TBS cocoa

3TBS milk

2TBS oil

3TBS chocolate chips (optional)

1 egg

Splash of vanilla essence

1 very large coffee mug (I use the large cappuccino mugs)

Add the dry ingredients to the mug - mix

Add the egg, pour in the oil and milk - mix

Add the chocolate chips and vanilla – mix

Place in the microwave for 3 minutes (1000watts)

The cake will rise over the top, but don’t be alarmed

Allow to cool and tip out onto a plate (this will serve 2 people)

It's called dangerous chocolate cake as it's so simple and quick, you're now only 5 minutes away from fresh delicious chocolate cake!

Three must have for Autumn hand care!

It's time to break out the hand cream now that it really is Autumn. Windy, cold and rainy weather but it's not quite cold enough to break out the gloves! So I am doubling up on hand cream and nail care to keep my hands feeling soft, hydrating and youthful. It's true when they say that if you want to see a person's age, look at their hands (can't give those a lift!).

Three products I turn to are:

Liz Earle Foot Repair Moisturiser* - yes you read that correctly, foot moisturiser! Shea Butter, Avocado Oil and Essential oils of Peppermint and Rosemary keep my hands soft but not greasy and the smell is also gives me a lift! Don't rub your eyes though, the mint may irritate.

"Unbelievable Nail Shiner" from Superdrug. What a great little product this is, only two steps to ultra shiny nails. Previously I used one that had three steps, this one is so much quicker and gives better results. It's only a few pounds as well so it makes for a perfect secret Santa or stocking filler with a bottle of nail polish for Christmas too. Using a nail shiner before applying Rebel Nails or nail polish will make application easier and improve the longevity.

Mavala Nutritive Nail Cream for Damaged Nails. This cream really helped me through a flaky nail episode. This is my second tube. If you have weak nails from either nutritional imbalance or wearing gels/acrylics. This is a wonderful way to protect and nourish you nails back to strength. Combined with buffing your nails will be super strong. You can use it even over nail polish, massage a small dot in to the cuticles daily.

*provided for review.

Do you have any must have Autumn treats?

Friday, 15 October 2010

Eye Candy Lashes - Giveaway

These gorgeous 50s and 60s inspired lashes will be available soon! To win some to review simply head over to R8Beauty.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Urban Decay Naked Palette Smoky Eyes Tutorial

A much requested smoky look using the Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palette.

Monday, 11 October 2010

My eyebrows through the last 15 years!

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. I was tidying up my office and I found a few old photos that I have scanned. Lots of embarassing photos, however, not the most embarrasing ones. Those are under lock and key...

Here I am aged 18, I was at my first University Ball, it was exciting, loud and fun. My eyebrows were thin and high. I started plucking my eyebrows when I was 15, with zero guidance I went mad and plucked them away with little comprehension of what I was doing. Girls these days are so lucky to have YouTube!

Aged 20, another University Ball. This seems like the only time I ever have photos from University. I didn't own a camera back then. I loved this dress, my best friend's mum lent it to me as I couldn't afford to buy or rent one for the ocassion. I have loved the colour ever since. I think I loved my hair, it was long and thick. I never used any products or styling tools, it seems to be perfect post washing. Not long after I was diagnosed with Thyroid Disease so it began to thin.

Age 22, I think at this point I started to grow up. I had been working for a few months, cut my hair to a short bob and periodically came back to University to visit friends from the year below. At this point I remember using a tinted moisturiser mixed with normal moisturiser as a foundation. A bit of red lipstick and eyeliner and I was done.

On holiday in Kavos, Corfu aged 24. I remember being quite lean and boyish when I was in my mid 20's. I am glad I have curves now! I think I used to be a bit of a tomboy.

That was a great holiday, I met up with all my University friends for one last summer before moving away to London. I started to grow my eyebrows a bit thicker but I was still unsure of their right shape, they are too far apart still. I don't remember wearing make up at all during this holiday because it was so hot and sweaty there was little point. I was also covered in mosquito bites!

Aged 30, I had just met my fiance and was beginning to settle down a bit. A few months earlier I had a spa day treat for my 30th birthday. I had my eyerbrows waxed and shaped. They came out like this! It took a long time to grow them back! I absolutely hated how thin they are. By this time I had invested in foundation. But not blusher, which would have improved this look and made my face look less round.

The foundation is in the wrong shade, but then there weren't many specialist make up brands for Asian skin so I had to do the best I could! I am wearing too much black liquid liner which makes my eyes look tiny. I have red low lights in my hair, I thought they were lovely, but in fact they are awful.

There are so many make up no-nos in this photo that I can't begin to describe how uncomfortable publishing this photo makes me feel! I just want you to see that it's taken me years to learn about make up and that my journey is not yet complete! It was not long after this photo that I went on a few courses to learn about make up and started my YouTube channel.

So that brings us to today, aged 34.5! I think my eyebrows are on track, the right (your right) needs to grow a little thicker but I like the shape at last. My foundation is sorted I am wearing the correct shade and using techniques to enhance my eye shaape and face shape I feel comfortable at last.

I hope you enjoyed my embarassing photo montage! I'd love to hear about your make up revelations!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Glitter gal Red 3D Holographic Nail Polish

If you want your nails to have the wow factor, a truly beautiful nail polish is this Glitter gal holographic in red. I haven't tried many holographic nail polishes as I haven't heard good things about application and wear from nail blogger friends.

This one was a dream to apply, the picture below is two coats, although one would have been enough really. With two you get an even deeper holographic effect. This polish dries fairly quickly and I would only put on a top coat if I were going to wear it longer than a day.

To completely pull off a good holographic, you have to buff your nails to a smooth and shiny finish, as every dent and bump shows up otherwise.

I just want to show you how gorgeous I think this colour is!

Mewser is less impressed, but seriously she knows nothing about cosmetics.

Glitter gal nail polishes are available from the Australian website for $AUS9.95 and they accept Paypal for international shipments.

This product was provided for review purposes.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Maxi's Make Over

This is Maxi, she is a self confessed make up addict. Maxi decided to brave my make over experience to learn more about contouring for her face shape. Maxi loves to wear bold make up for her job which is customer facing and sales related.

Maxi loves her foundation, and often wears at least three layers. I seriously wondered why as underneath it all, she has wonderful skin. Maxi always thought her skin was dry because make up flaked and caked up on her skin. My dear with three layers of foundation + heavy concealer + powder I am not surprised... Actually, Maxi's skin is prone to oiliness and blemishes around the nose and chin, I could tell from a few open pores around the nose.

No make up

I had just received my Face Atelier foundations order from Coco Beau in the post so I started this look using Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in shade #1 (it is slightly too dark but quite a healthy looking tan if blended down the neck). Maxi has porcelain skin and says that finding foundations to suit is very difficult. I wanted to show her that if you have great skin, you don't need much foundation and that less is most definitely more. It can be much more beautiful than a full coverage foundation. My advice is that if you are going for full coverage, prepare to be uncomfortable, it's thick, heavy and comes off on everything. The only time I wear full coverage is if I know there's going to be flash photography or high definition video lurking about! I would not wear it for every day life.

I also used shade #3 as a contour on the forehead and chin. Maxi's face shape came under my scrutiny and she is definitely a rectangle, so the last thing she needs is dark contours along the temple and cheeks. Keeping the contour on the forehead and chin gives a subtle shortening effect to the face.

I then used e.l.f Undereye concealer and highlighter in light under the eyes. I used the highlighter side along the cheekbones. The highlighter was also used on the sides of the face (on the cheek next to the ear) to widen the face.

I set the foundation and concealer with e.l.f HD powder. My tip to avoid over powdering is to apply powder with downward strokes using a very fluffy brush, press that in with a dry sponge and then use the powder brush in downward strokes again to remove the excess powder.

Bourjois Duo Chrome pencil in Brown/Gold was used all around the eyes and half way in to the crease. Smudged well and then I applied a matte dark brown eye shadow over over the pencil and smudged it well in to the contours of the eye. I then placed a champagne coloured eye shadow over the rest of the eye lid.

Waterproof black mascara was applied to curled lashes.

I then kept the rest of the face very simple, an autumnal rusty brown gloss in and a sweep of Beauty Without Cruelty Hot Chestnut blush on the apples of the cheeks. This is a truly fantastic blush which suits everyone. I rely on this blush a lot, I really should get a back up! I do not blend this up to the cheekbone or temple. With Maxi's face shape, keeping it lightly blended on the apple is best.

The finished look is suitable for work or going out.

The eye shadow placement on the eyelid is important with Maxi's eye shape, she has deep set eyes, so keeping the eyelid light and shimmery means that they look more open. A darker brown is then used in and above the crease to open up the eyes further. This techniques can be used with any colour combination and is the most suitable for Maxi's eye shape.

Deep set eyes look bigger with lots of liner on the bottom lash line (not waterline)

I think Maxi looks amazing, the brown really rocks her blue/green eyes. With her porcelain skin tone it looks smokey without being too dark which can drain the face of any natural colour.

What did you think of Maxi's make over?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

e.l.f cream liners A/W 2010 Swatches

e.l.f fans have been patiently waiting for the Autumn/Winter 2010 cream liners to hit Europe. They are now here!

Plum Purple with the top layer removed...
reveals the true colour which is a deep warm plum with a cool violet shimmer.

White skin
Asian skin
The colours are a lot darker on White skin, I found that of all of the liners Gunmetal was the least pigmented but the most long lasting.

These cream liners require two coats to get much better pigmentation and a definite line, whereas one layer will give a subtle colour which adds interest to a fairly neutral look. As ever Plum Purple and Copper are suitable for all eye colours, Gunmetal suits blue eyes, Metallic Olive for brown eyes.

Use an oil based cleanser to remove these cream liners as being waterproof they are quite stubborn!

The new packaging of the liners means that you get a mini slanted liner brush included. It is a replica of the Studio angled liner, only shorter.

Studio cream liners are available for £3.50 from the e.l.f website.

These products were provided for review purposes, I am affiliated with e.l.f Cosmetics UK but this is not a sponsored post.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation

I was recently contacted by Coco Beau, a UK boutique style make up retail website, offering me a sample of one of their cruelty free product lines, Face Atelier. Atelier being French for Artist's Studio - I looked it up as I was intrigued by the name.

I thought I might be in between shades #6 Honey and #7 Tan. Honey was was a bit too light for me, however I did really like the formulation and how it worked on my skin. First impressions were disappointing as it felt dry. I wasn't wearing moisturiser and it did the usual "Klingon" to dry patches I didn't even know I had! This is fairly usual for liquid foundations and my skin.

So advice tip #1, wear a moisturiser and don't be lazy like me!

I decided to mix some orange base in to the foundation to try and bring it to the right sort of tone for my skin. It worked to a certain degree but the tone was still a little pink for my skin tone. Coco Beau kindly sent me a darker shade to try #7 Tan.

I feel that foundations are a real investment, I have a box full of half hearted almost desperate purchases and samples which I use ocassionally, but really aren't suitable. Most are too light, too pink or too dark, too drying, too greasy, too thin or too thick. I am a difficult monkey to please really. I honestly give up with high street foundations (apart from UNE Beauty which I have to mix heftily with a silicone based primer to get it to go on smoothly). But it is an excellent colour (G13) and makes me look radiant and healthy. I digress.

Advice tip #2 Buy a couple of samples from the website.

A sample from Coco Beau is only £1, a full sized 30ml bottle is £32 (+ shipping). I think that this is an excellent idea. So many times I have wanted a small sample, which I think asking £1 for is very reasonable. I need to try a foundation at home, in natural light, for an extended period of time and in combination with my skin care products and other make up before committing to a purchase over a certain amount, I don't think I am alone in this thinking!? If something costs less than £10 or is on an unmanned stand in a shop I am more forgiving.

However, most shops won't have any samples. The Body Shop does offer samples of any products, you simply have to ask a sales assistant. So normally you take your chances with dirty testers or sales assistants who refuse samples (due to labelling regulations...?). My advice is to take your own clean tester jars and ask for a sample, be cheeky and push your luck. Otherwise you risk making a regrettable purchase or missing out on something which could be really good because of shop policies. Again I digress.

So on to performance. The reason I got back in touch with Coco Beau to ask for another colour is that I fell in love with the way this foundation works. A very small amount goes a long way. If you buy a sample, shake it and then just use what's in the cap of the sample jar. This tiny amount will be enough to cover face and neck. I do really like the way it blends in to well moisturised skin. This is because it has primer ingredients included in the formula, so there is no need for a separate primer. You can certainly tell when you blend it around, it doesn't settle until it's reached a thin enough level. I find that using ring finger works best but a damp sponge would work equally well. If using this product on someone else, a foundation brush works well. I am not loving my stippling brushes at the moment so I haven't tried it with one of those. You can also use this as a concealer, three light layers will cover most blemishes. For dark circles and dark marks I use a touch of concealer as well. However it did cover redness easily.

I wore this from 8am to 9pm and it worked fantastically. HOWEVER, there is always going to be a however from me... The sacrifice I have to make to use this foundation is that amount of primer in this foundation means I am dewy looking all day long. I needed to powder really well and continue with a dab of powder a couple of times to refresh and mop up shine. Whatever the silicone primer used in this foundation; it is very good at its job. No slippage, creasing or patching albeit a lot of shine and tackiness if I don't powder well. It's not a big deal and one that should be a part of a foundation routine, again I am sometimes very lazy and don't bother as my skin is combination to dry.

I would say this is a medium to full coverage foundation. It really doesn't feel like I am wearing any foundation at all, I am needless to say, very impressed. My sensitive skin has not suffered any ill reaction.

I received my sample of #7 Tan and although it is a little bland, needs more yellow, it is an excellent match for my skin tone. Yippee. I am off to purchase a full sized bottle right now!

I think for days where I need absolute flawlessness (is that even a word?) then I have a difficult choice to make between this foundation and my favourite Varama Cover Cream.

If you've made it this far down my review and want to see it in action, please see my latest tutorial on my YouTube channel.

Find Face Atelier available products on Coco Beau

I was sent a sample for review purposes, but this is not a sponsored post. If anything I have just spent £45 on products thanks to the sample alone!
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