Another month over, and summer has pretty much ended here in the UK (we’re back to the good old rainy weather). I’ve been on holiday for the last two weeks of August, so my beauty situation has been all over the place and obviously limited due to travelling. Regardless, there’s been a decent handful of things that I’ve used daily (and cherished) this month while I was away, including the summer essential and saviour that is facial SPF and two travel-friendly fragrance options.
The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF 50
We all know how important SPF is – everybody harps on about it constantly. Additional sun protection on the face can prevent signs of ageing and stop pigmentation from worsening (along with the obvious skin cancer issue). As a ghostly pale ginger person, staying out of the sun is especially important for me since it doesn’t take long to end up lobster-red.
In the past, I’ve relied on foundations for some kind of barrier, however a lot of these SPF levels are too low, and foundation can easily wear off. Unfortunately, regular sun creams aren’t suitable for my oily and blemish-prone skin, so before summer began I went on the hunt for a lightweight and non-comedogenic option.
This particular product launched last summer, when it was highly-raved-about on YouTube etc. I’d not really tried much from The Body Shop aside from the odd lip balm or body butter, and couldn’t get behind spending £16 on what seemed like a pretty small amount of product. This year I decided to take advantage of one of The Body Shop’s online sales (they frequently have good deals) and ordered the sunscreen for 30% off – this inadvertently kickstarted a love of The Body Shop and their loyalty scheme, but that story/haul is for another time.
The product itself is a lovely light moisturiser with a non-greasy texture that isn’t too thick – it’s definitely not your average sunscreen, described as an “essence”, although the scent is still quite traditional. UVA and UVB protection are included, along with Vitamin C and other skincare ingredients to improve skin brightness and protect from antioxidants. I found that this layered really well on top of my regular moisturiser (although you could use this as a substitute) and underneath foundation – it made things a bit more dewy but not too thick or oily.
I didn’t catch the sun at all while I was away, so I was really impressed by this sunscreen – I think if you were to spend an extended amount of time in the sun you would want to reapply it or use a spray SPF on top if you have makeup on. The 40ml tube of this retails for £16 full price, but keep a close eye on The Body Shop’s website for offers and sales (there’s a larger 60ml tube for £20 as well, which is better value if you want a larger quantity). Overall I think it’s a brilliant choice for those who don’t get on with a lot of suncreams, but who don’t want to compromise on protection and safety.
Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Mascara
I wrote a standalone review of this mascara a couple of posts ago – check out the full thing here (in all its waffly glory). It’s a relatively recent launch from Maybelline, who make loads of bloody awesome drugstore mascaras – between them and L’Oreal, you’re covered. I’ve only tried this product in the standard black edition, since I don’t get on with waterproof formulas, but I’d really like to see them bring out a brown version (those are great for redheads).
The dense and bristly brush allows you to get each and every lash while both separating them out and lengthening, without skimping on the volume. The perfectly stick formula isn’t too messy or too crumbly and is easy to build up in layers without clumping. As far as longevity goes, I’ve had zero issues. It doesn’t budge or flake off, even after a long day of wear – fun story: I wore this on my last day of holiday, after getting up early, walking up some giant hills in the Italian heat, and getting back to the UK at about 2am. It stayed put without any smudging, so for me, this is gonna be a keeper (until I inevitably run out and end up testing 5 million other mascaras). Pick this mascara up from either Boots or Superdrug, for £7.99 – an amazing price that proves you don’t need a high-end lash booster for great results.
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge
I only like to have one sponge on the go at once, so when my EcoTools sponge (review here) reached the end of its life, I cracked open a fresh Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Techniques – my OG favourite sponge. Sponges are the only way to go for me, as I can’t stand applying foundation and concealer with brushes – they cause the product to catch on my skin texture and look microexfoliated (and tapping product on is just so satisfying).
This sponge is a classic, and perfect for use with a multitude of different products, such as cream blushers. It’s also a perfect mix of shapes, with a large flat edge, a rounded side, and a point that’s amazing for getting under the eyes and around the nose. There’s not a massive amount of other stuff I can say about this sponge – everyone needs to try it out at least once, but then the same could be said of the Beauty Blender – which I’ve never bought (one day…). I prefer to pick these up in a double pack, although they are sold individually and in a four-pack – the pack of two costs £9.99, as opposed to £5.99 for the single. RT also has a whole bunch of other sponge products, however this is the only one I’ve used and can recommend.
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
This concealer is one of the most hyped-up products to come out this year, so of course, I had to get my hands on it. I bought it from the NARS counter in Harvey Nicks a few months ago and used it a bit, before Shape Tape took over my life. Despite this, I still brought it on holiday and totally surprised myself with how much I used it. Most days, I would go foundation-free, blending some of this concealer under the eyes, around the nose and on my chin to even things out. I loved how easy it is to pat in with fingers, especially over well-moisturised skin, and how good it is at covering. The pigmentation is strong without being quite as stark as Shape Tape, and the finish is a creamy matte without clinging to dry patches or settling into lines.
I have the shade Chantilly (the palest, of course), which might be a tad yellow for me but is still a pretty good match. While the little pot is cute and looks really chic, I find it kinda unhygienic and hard to use if you have longer fingernails – the product can get stuck under your nails when you dip your fingers in. Also, I found that this didn’t blend very well with a sponge since the formula is stiffer and not a liquid or cream. A little brush (Zoeva make a great concealer brush) works nicely but fingers are perfect for blending this if you don’t want a look that’s too perfected and clean-cut.
Unfortunately, this stuff ain’t cheap. The 5g jar/pot retails for £23, which I would consider a mid-high range price tag – not quite luxury. If you don’t mind splashing out on base products, and you can’t get behind those sheer and hydrating concealers (like Glossier Stretch) then definitely try this one out – get it here from Feelunique, with free delivery.
Everything about the concept of solid perfume appeals to me – the cute little pots, the novelty of application, and how damn convenient they are for travelling. I have a couple of solid fragrances, both of which are priced in a more affordable category than a lot of traditional perfumes. I still love my Dior and Armani fragrances, but the following two products are the only smellies that came to Italy with me…
Lush offer most of their “Gorilla” perfumes in solid balm form, in these cute little screw-top tins (although their Instagram page suggests the whole range is getting a makeover – they are now sold in even nicer glass jars!). Karma is one of their classic, most recognisable scents – although it is definitely not for everyone. The notes include orange (hence the colour), patchouli, and pine – it’s an incredibly unique scent that manages to be both heady and sweet, but also fresh. I really like it, although my mum absolutely hates it.
I like to pop this behind my ears and on my wrists – there is a slight orange tint to this perfume, so be careful applying to the neck/chest/anywhere too visible. The solid edition is available here on Lush’s website for £9.
Can I just say, I flipping love H&M Beauty. Their relaunch last year brought such a massive range of skincare, makeup and nail bits to the high street, and pretty much everything that I’ve tried, I’ve loved. I noticed their fragrances on a trip to the large store in Norwich – there are two in the collection, one with cream packaging and the other with black (very cool and monochrome). I didn’t like the other scent, so I picked up the little solid version of Revelation, packaged in chic black and gold (they also had rollerball and spray editions of both scents).
This fragrance has a different vibe to the Lush one, both in packaging and scent. The balm is mostly clear and formulated with beeswax for a non-greasy texture. The notes include cinnamon, violet and amber, and I’d definitely put this down as a more grown-up and warm scent that’s loads more subtle than Karma. It’s out of stock online (retailing for £6.99), but might be available to pick up in store. Regardless of your personal taste, I recommend trying a solid perfume at some point, as they’re so handy to keep in your bag for travel or just everyday use.
… and that’s a wrap on summer! My beauty routine and makeup choices are definitely going to be changing over the next few months, along with my wardrobe, so keep an eye out for all the new favourites that will be coming your way.