Everybody loves this time of year, right? The cosy knitwear, the festive hot drinks (and all their calories), the horribly chapped lips/face/entire body – so aesthetic. I’ve never really appreciated before the complete shift my beauty routine undergoes with appearance of the colder seasons. The base becomes more matte and heavy, the dark and berry lip tones come out and everything generally feels more high-maintenance. This season, I’ve discovered so many new Autumn/Fall-appropriate products, as well as cracking out some of my old staples and standbys. Here’s a rundown of what’s been on my face for the past couple of months:
Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 25 Light Taupe
I have so many of these twist-up eyeshadow sticks, and it’s such a faff trying to find the
shade I want (since they’re all some kind of neutral/brown colour). However, these products have it all – amazing colour payoff, creamy and blendable texture, easy application and great longevity – for a really good price. I picked this shade up a few weeks ago and have been using it both as a base for darker tones, and on its own as a subtle wash of shadow for when you don’t want to overdo it on both the lips and the eyes. Just swipe these on and use your finger to blend them in, then they can be layered with either powder shadows or other cream products. Other excellent shades from this range I would recommend picking up include 05 (Rosy Brown) and 07 (Golden Beige) – both much-loved staples in my makeup collection. These sticks retail for £6.90 each, online and in-store at Kiko – the swatches on the website are a really accurate portrayal of the colours, too.
Zoeva Cocoa Blends Palette
I posted a review of this palette ages ago, and while it’s been a trusty companion through the warmer months, some of the shades really come into play at this time of year. Firstly, the quality and value for money is outstanding – the shadows are soft and blendable with minimal fallout, and there are so many looks and combinations that can be created.
The warm-toned matte shades are excellent crease colours, and can be worn alone or with a pop of one of the golden shimmery shadows on offer. However the pan that gets me most excited for Autumn/Winter eyes is Warm Notes – a pretty spot-on dupe for Mac Cranberry. It’s a rich, pigmented and blendable dark pink shade with golden undertones and a shimmery, almost foil-like finish. Paired with liner and a nude-brown lip, this makes for great party eyeshadow, and stays put incredibly well.
The 10-pan Cocoa Blends costs £18, and Zoeva also have a fantastic range of similar palettes for the same price – I want them ALL.
Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in Divine Wine
I had my eye on this for a while before I bought it. I’d purchased some of the other shades for my mum, and she really seemed to like the matte formula, so I decided to pick up this deep purpley-brown shade. This kind of colour definitely calls for a lip liner – I’ve been using the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in 064 Obsession (£3.99). It’s a fairly good match, if a little pink, but it really helps to get that clean line and stop the lipstick from looking overdone.
I love to wear this with slightly smoky antique-gold eyes (think loads of thick lashes, too) and a neutral blush to keep things balanced. It really is a gorgeous shade for this time of year, and the longevity is good without being too drying – although it is higher maintenance than some lips (watch out for smudging onto your teeth).
There are a range of highly pigmented and creamy shades in this range, and the retail for £6.99 each.
NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder – Translucent Finish
Powder is an essential for me, especially in the winter when I like a smooth, matte finish for my base. I have fairly oily skin, so it’s important that any powder I use is prepared to work hard at keeping shine-face at bay. I also stick to translucent powders, since tinted ones always tend to be too dark – enter this loose mineral powder from NYX. I use this to both set my under-eye concealer and dust all over my face – it’s a little messy, but hardly noticeable on the skin. When I bought this I thought the pot was small for the price (£8), but it’s actually lasted ages. As for the effectiveness, I don’t suffer from under-eye creasing although I do find myself re-powdering my T-zone and nose throughout the day. Once I’ve used this up, I’m not sure if I’d repurchase it – I would quite like to get my hands on the RCMA No-Colour powder (if it’s not sold out everywhere on the planet).
Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Gorgeous Berries
These are amazing quality blushes for the price, and come in individual pots with a baked, domed pan. I have the shade Nude Mauve, which is a perfect barely-there cheek colour that I wore all summer, but I wanted to switch things up in the colder weather. This berry-toned blush looks a little scary in the pan, but if you use a light hand and make sure to blend well, it gives a lovely wash of purpley-pink to the cheeks, which I think is quite seasonal. If overdone, however, it can (and will) turn into a clown-like disaster.This looks best paired with a nude lip (so not the aforementioned Maybelline lipstick) and neutral eyes, since the blush itself can make quite a statement, adding a lively pop to the skin. My extremely fair self can get away with this, but I imagine this would look absolutely incredible on darker skin tones.
The Creme Puff Blushes retail for £8.99 each.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Fix
This eyeshadow is only available in the Naked On The Run palette, which was sadly limited edition – it’s a run-of-the-mill taupe-grey shade, that I’ve been mainly using for contouring. Contouring is a new thing for me, since I always assumed I just couldn’t do it. I tried with Hoola bronzer, but that was far too orange and stripey: the trick with pale skin is to find a shade that is essentially a matte grey, with perhaps a hint of warmth to it – and this eyeshadow is perfect. UD shadows are really pigmented and blendable, which helps, although this pan is tiny and i have to be careful not to dip into the rusty-shimmer next door (that would NOT be a good contour look).
I apply this using my Tulip Powder brush from Spectrum Collections, which has a slim tip and fits nicely into the hollows of my cheeks. It’s nothing groundbreaking or too noticeable, but this hint of shadow has been lending a (very welcome) sculpted effect to my cheeks for the winter.
Maybelline Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil in Medium Brown
My brow routine over the summer basically consisted of attempting to tame the wild beasts with some tinted brow gel, and constantly removing the monobrow between them. In September I decided to get a brow wax for my graduation – the lovely lady at Benefit worked her magic, using a pencil to give them more shape and definition and I instantly became a convert to the high-maintenance-eyebrow club. I didn’t really want to buy Benefit’s brow pencil, however, since I’ve seen the rate at which my sisters goes through them, and they’re not cheap. There are loads of great brow products at the drugstore, and Maybelline in particular have an excellent range. I picked up this twist-up pencil in Medium Brown (since ginger wasn’t available), and it’s actually a pretty good match. The formula is excellent – smooth but still sharp to draw with, and very long-wearing. The other end of the pencil is a little pointed sponge loaded with powder in the same shade, for filling in and giving a softer look to the brows – I then set them in place with a clear or tinted gel for some extra hold. I’d highly recommend this as a more affordable alternative to the pencils from Benefit and ABH, but make sure you swatch in-store (if you can) to get a good idea of the right shade for you. The Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil is available for £5.99 in a range of colours.
Real Techniques Brushes – Powder and Blush
After assessing my brush collection last month, I realised that I didn’t really have any decent face brushes for powders, blushers and highlighters. I hopped onto Amazon and decided to get these two from Real Techniques – a brand that I really love and trust. I’ve had various face and eye brushes from RT in the past, but never any of these big individual ones. They’re absolutely perfect – the bristles are soft and fluffy, and pick up just the right amount of product. The face powder brush (orange handle) is HUGE, so you can dust all over your face in no time. The blush brush (pink handle) has an elongated, oval shape to allow for a more precise application of colour – this is great for me, since I tend to inadvertently whack bright pink blush too far down my cheeks and end up looking like I’ve been slapped. The powder brush costs about £10-13 depending on where you buy it from, and the blush brush is around £10 – Boots usually have offers on their brushes so keep an eye out for those.