It’s been a strange beauty and makeup month for me – my skin’s fallen off the wagon a bit (random breakouts on my cheeks?!) and I’ve been road-testing a few different foundations in my quest for the perfect match – straying from my beloved Double Wear. Despite this, there’s been a raft of things getting me through the month of May, including some new launches and long-term loves of mine.
Garnier Soothing Botanical Toner with Rose Water
As far as drugstore skincare goes, Garnier are currently bringing it. This recently-released “Botanicals” range aims to create products that are 96% natural, with all the details and sources of the ingredients listed on the back of the packaging (pretty cool imo). Since I’m (completely) obsessed with roses, I had to go out and try some of the rose-water infused products, including the cream cleanser and this awesome toner water. Roses are well-known for their soothing properties, and I found the toner to be excellent for calming down any redness in my skin and refreshing it after using a mask.
The toner has a mildly rosy scent, but nothing as strong as some of the rose products from Lush. Aside from rose water, the toner includes some other naturally-sourced ingredients to stabilise the toner and improve its cleansing abilities, while remaining paraben and silicone-free.
While this toner is intended for dry and sensitive skin types, it hasn’t worsened my oily complexion or caused any breakouts. I’m also trying out the aloe toner from this range, which is geared more towards oily and spot-prone skin, although I definitely prefer the smell and feel of the rose toner. The bottle holds 200ml, which is a fairly decent size and will last a few months – the retail price is £3.49, although I got this on sale (Garnier, Simple and L’Oreal always have loads of offers on at Superdrug and Boots, so keep an eye out). If you’re looking for a more gentle and natural addition to your skincare routine, definitely consider trying this out, especially if you suffer from skin inflammation.
Kiko Extra Sculpt Volume Mascara
This mascara is a long-time love of mine, from one of my favourite brands, the affordable and brilliant Kiko Milano. I picked two fresh tubes of this up a few weeks ago, during one of the £3.90 mascara sales that Kiko frequently holds (so awesome, please check them out at some point!). The packaging looks kinda intimidating, as it’s all black angles and edges – the wand is equally scary, with a clumpy and bristly hourglass shape. Don’t let this put you off, however, as it really gives fantastic volume and oomph to the lashes.
The formula itself is a little on the sticky and messy side, so you have to be careful when applying (or you’ll end up with mascara on your eyelids, as I frequently do). Despite this, it is so quick and easy to build up a few coats of this for thick and defined lashes. It also lasts really well throughout the day, with only the tiniest bit of crumbling after about 8 hours of wear.
There’s also an Extra Sculpt Waterproof edition, which I haven’t tried – I like something that’s easy to remove, and since the original has such great longevity I don’t find a waterproof formula necessary (it does have good review on the website, though). I’ve tried a lot of products from Kiko, especially since they opened a store in my town, and this mascara has to be firmly in the top five. Usually retailing for £8.90 (which is still a damn good drugstore price), pick this up in the sale when it comes back around, and hopefully it will end up in your favourites too.
Ciate Pretty, Fun and Fearless Palette
While Ciate are perhaps best known for their nail polishes, and super-cute advent calendars, they also have a pretty kick-ass makeup range. This palette was created last year, in collaboration with the (hilarious and gorgeous) Australian vlogger Chloe Morello as part of a “Beauty Haul”. The bundle, which I bought just after Christmas, includes this 15-shade eyeshadow palette, a mini Wonderwand mascara, and a mini liquid lipstick (as well as a makeup bag) – all for about £40 plus shipping. The mascara and lipstick are great, but the palette is definitely the standout for me.
As far as I can tell, there are two distinct colour schemes here – warm brown shades and lilac-purple shades, in a mix of mostly mattes with some intense shimmers. The shimmers are densely packed and a little stiff upon application – you have to use a flat shader brush to apply these to the lid – so they’re not the best formulation I’ve tried. However, the matte shadows are incredible. There’s very minimal fallout, and the rich pigmentation blends out easily. With the variety of tones in both colour schemes, it’s easy to create a complete smoky eye – “My Tribe” is my current go-to ivory base shade. I’ve been using this palette daily for my eyes, and adore the versatility of the shades and overall colour scheme.
I also really love the packaging of this palette, which is all super-fun purple and gold tones with cursive font. It’s a fairly small and slimline palette perfect for travelling – especially with the mirror included on the inner lid. The complete Beauty Haul is no longer available, however the palette alone has now returned to Ciate’s website – find it here for £39.
ColourPop Super Shock Blush in Aphrodisiac
I placed a first-time order on ColourPop’s website last month, taking advantage of the limited-time free international shipping – more on that in my upcoming CP haul. Since then, I’ve put all the products to good use, but my current favourite is the Super Shock Blush in Aphrodisiac – the formula is a buttery and putty-like texture which is powdery once applied, giving a long-lasting finish on the cheek.
This mauve shade is different to most of the conventional blushers that I own, as it doesn’t provide a straight pop of pink or coral, but a muted brown tone that I actually love, and that works well on my extremely pale skin tone. My only complaint about this blush is that it doesn’t pack a huge amount of pigment, and the cream-to-powder formula can disrupt foundation upon applying. However, it’s still a lovely low-key blush for those who don’t want to risk clown face. The blush retails here for $8 (about £6.30), although getting it to the UK without customs fees is potentially impossible.
L’Oreal Infallible Gel Crayon 24H Waterproof in Browny Crush
Having fair skin and red hair, I love a good brown eyeliner, especially something in a creamy and blendable formula – black liners always seem a little too stark and dramatic for daytime. This kohl-gel pencil from L’Oreal is an absolute winner, as it melts onto the skin to give rich but soft pigment, blending out easily but then staying put all day. Despite the stupid name (Browny Crush – ?!?), the shade is a gorgeously deep and cool-toned brown that can be used to darken and intensify the lash line, or to create a soft wing on the lid.
L’Oreal claim that the liner will stay put for 24 hours, and that the formula is waterproof – I’ve not actually tested either of those claims, but can definitely say that it’s one of the more enduring pencil/crayon liners I’ve used, and that it is truly lovely to work with. Available in a variety of different shades, these pencils retail for £4.99 – a total gem at the drugstore.