No More Shiny Faces & Melting Makeup In Hot Weather! A Brilliant ‘Hot Weather’ Primer

No More Shiny Faces & Melting Makeup In Hot Weather!

Whilst on a trip away to Dubai (where the weather is scorching hot and the makeup tends to melt and slide off your face within 2 minutes of applying it), I wore the Illamasqua Matt Primer underneath my normal foundation, powder and concealer products.

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Illamasqua Matt Primer – (shown unblended as a cloudy white primer, but becomes translucent when blended in, see picture shown below). This primer gives your foundation a matt, shine-freebase to stick to so you can create a flawless long-lasting finish in times of hot, humid weather.

I found this to be great at making my make-up last longer during the day without melting or becoming blotchy and patchy, (it still worked even when I had fairly oily skin during humid weather too!), and prevented any shine that would have undoubtedly appeared during the hot sunny day. My makeup barely needed a touch up or any powder when I used this! It comes out as a cloudy opaque white liquid but when blended into the skin it doesn’t require much blending at all), it becomes transparent and your face completely loses any shine or greasiness. I’d be a bit careful about using this primer on very very dark toned skin types because of the cloudy white colour of the primer, and even though it does blend into a transparent finish, it may show up as a little grey-cast in photographs due to the initial white tone of the product. 

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Illamasqua Matt Primer – (shown slightly blended on back of hand). Becomes translucent when blended in well.

I’d be careful about applying this primer when I’m in the UK unless it was scorching hot weather outside because this primer really does do what it says, it makes your face completely matt, and that can look a bit strange in in normal everyday weather in London, but in the humidity of the Dubai heat my skin looked a little like it had a satin finish without shine or greasy patches. All in all, this one’s great for hot weather holidays when you want to make your make-up last in humidity.

 No More Shiny Faces & Melting Makeup In Hot Weather! A Brilliant Hot Weather Primer

What’s In My Handbag: Beauty On-The Go

Handbag Must-Haves: Beauty On-The Go

Here’s my beauty insider’s guide to what I’ve found really works when I’m on-the-go and out and about to look and feel my best. These are the must-have products that are always found living in my handbag!

 Whats In My Handbag: Beauty On The Go

What’s In My Handbag: Beauty Essentials When i’m On-The-Go.

  1. Nuxe Huile D’or (Shimmering Dry Oil) - Gives my hair and skin a glamorous healthy glow. Used it anywhere where I want to add a subtle, glossy shimmer. Really nourishing and deliciously perfumed. Excellent for nights out to quickly tame my hair. I also apply a little to cheekbones, shoulders and legs to add a sexy gleam.
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NUXE Huile D’or Shimmering Multi-Use Dry Oil – smells divine and is totally natural!

  1. Cavalli Sunglasses - A must-have to protect my eyes, and they also match with anything I wear!
  2. Love Lips™ Anti-Ageing Plumping Pheromone Balm Gloss  - in shade ‘Hello Lover’ (The Powder Lounge): Definitely my secret weapon. This nude coloured gloss is actually a treatment balm and it keeps my lips beautifully plumped up, polished and nourished. It’s got that little added extra…a secret pheromone to entice everyone and create a mood boost. A real multi-tasker in a beautiful neutral go-anywhere shade; the actives in this gloss-balm work hard to keep my lips feeling and looking their best – Maxi-Lip, Ceramides, Peppermint and Hawaiian Kukui Nut Oil work to make my lips look super-plump.
  3. iPhone 5 - I can’t live without this! It’s my camera, diary, games console (Angry Birds, of course) and hotline to the world!
  4. Bulgari Pour Femme Eau De Parfum - I love this beautifully sheer ‘skin-scent’, and can wear it for all occasions.
  5. Sony Vaio Laptop - This is my whole world in a little black rectangle. I definitely can’t live without it, and that’s why I’m usually carrying around a huge bag everywhere instead of a teeny tiny handbag like normal people.
  6. Browlicious™ Eyebrow Nourishing Serum (The Powder Lounge) - A brow glamourizer; this multi-vitamin, protein serum nourishes my brows to keep them full and with its hair-growth formula it stops them thinning as I get older. It defines and sets unruly brows into a perfect, groomed shape. For striking brows I define them with pencil and seal with Browlicious. It grows out patchy brows within weeks.
  7. Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation - Gives skin a flawless, dewy look. No need to thoroughly blend, sets without powder, no need for concealer as it has great yet weightless coverage, no colour change from oxidizing, no breakouts from skin reactions or any patchiness! I use this on its own or before a night out; it contains silicone to smooth skin without oxidizing as the day wears on, even in hot weather. I love the latest in make-up technology, and this is a great way of creating that air-brushed look with minimal fuss.
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Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Foundation

  1. Long Sexy Lashes™ Eyelash Growth Serum (The Powder Lounge) - My secret for long lashes! Used underneath mascara or on its own, it makes lashes long, thick and glossy. I sometimes use a lash curler and apply this to set the curl and give glossy definition without the worry of smudged mascara. Used as a primer underneath mascara it protects, thickens and grows my lashes within 6 weeks!
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Long Sexy Lashes™ Eyelash Growth Serum grows my lashes and is paraben and prostaglandin-free.

  1. Nars Blush Powder - in shade ‘Deep Throat’: Great for giving me a quick glow.
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Nars Powder Blusher in ‘Deep Throat’ - the perfect sheer glowy pinky-peach shade with very subtle irridescent shimmer.

  1. Reusable False Lashes (The Powder Lounge) – Gorgeous hand-crafted lashes, they’re weightless, durable, look fab; I can wear them over and over again without any problems, and they also come with a latex free glue so no allergy issues from these at all!  I mainly wear the ‘Bombshell’ style of false lashes as they’re great for daytime or evening, I don’t bother wearing mascara, just a touch of the lash growth serum as above, and then a pair of these lashes on top!
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Powder Lounge Reusable False Lashes with Water-Resistant Clear Transparent Glue – easiest way to change my look from day to night and make my eyes look amazing…especially in photo’s and during an evening out after work. I use them over and over again and they stay in perfect shape. I usually apply them with the Powder Lounge Dual Purpose False Lash Applicator, and this lets me apply either strip lashes or individual lashes to both eyes within 2 minutes flat!

 

 Whats In My Handbag: Beauty On The Go

Essentials For Highlighting The Face Perfectly

All You Need For A Perfectly Highlighted Face

Having talked about my core collection of products that I find are excellent for contouring, I really must point out the best highlighting products t that I’ve come across. There are two in fact, and these are my makeup bag staples, doubling up as eyeshadows as well as highlighters.

I’ll start with my main staple; I use the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder as an everyday essential for highlighting the face as well as using it as a natural shadow. It’s a lovely champagne coloured pressed powder that’s great for most skintones and is the perfect shade and finish for daytime as well as evening, being very muted with no sparkle, just the faintest ‘glowy shimmer’. Only a light hand is needed when applying this, although it does give a very sheer finish and you can layer the powder to build up the shimmer if you want to create more of a glow. This product will therefore last you quite a long time.

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Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Highlighting Powder; a great everyday essential highlighter which suits all skintones, and doubles up as a natural shade of eyeshadow. Great for everyday use and especially for wearing during the daytime.

The Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder comes with its own brush inside the mirrored compact but I tend to use the Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush to highlight the nose, chin, cheekbones, forehead, brow bone and rest of the face, as well as occasionally using it around the eyelid area.  The Nars yachiyo Kabuki Brush is also what I use for contouring the face and for applying blush powder; it’s a real all-rounder and despite being expensive, it’s worth the money purely for the fact that it has so many uses and replaces so many brushes, you simply need the one brush for applying blusher, contouring and highlighting; (I even use this brush to apply shadow or contour powder to the eye socket sometimes).

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Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush. A very soft multi-use brush that’s perfect for applying pigmented powder blushers lightly and also for contouring, highlighting as well as being a great crease brush for the eye socket. The brush head is approx. 2 inches wide at the widest section and has a pointy tip.

I find that this powder doesn’t make my pores look bigger at all, unlike other highlighting powders I’ve used (namely Nars ‘Albatross’, which is the biggest culprit for this ‘emphasizing large pores’ problem and the Nars Albatross powder actually has more of a white coloured obvious shimmer to it which doesn’t suit my MAC NC30 skin as it’s a bit too pale).

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Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Highlighting Powder; shown with swatch on back of hand. (Swatch is shown blended at the top of the swatch and shown unblended at the bottom)

My other favourite highlighting product is another powder, but it’s one that I use very very sparingly and only during evenings, especially if it’s a night out. It’s the MAC ‘SIlver Dusk’ Iridescent Loose Powder and this little baby is beautiful when applied, but does give more of a sparkly finish.  It looks amazing when worn during the evening and really does give you that ‘star quality’ finish.

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MAC ‘SIlver Dusk’ Iridescent Loose Powder

It comes in a tub and is not easily portable because it’s a loose powder, but you’ll only need the tiniest amount of this powder, so just dab the tip of the brush very very lightly onto the powder and apply sparingly to the areas you’d like to highlight.

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MAC ‘SIlver Dusk’ Iridescent Loose Powder (shown as an unblended swatch on the back of the hand.

It’s also great as a sparkly layer of shadow. Great for all skintones, this highlighting powder looks especially gorgeous on darker skintones. Just make sure you only use the teeny tiniest amount when applying it to the face (including cheekbones, brow bone, cupid’s bow of the lip, centre of lip, forehead, chin, nose). It can even be used on the collarbone or shoulders, it’s that gorgeous to look at under evening lights!

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MAC ‘SIlver Dusk’ Iridescent Loose Powder (shown as a blended swatch on the back of the hand).

 

 Essentials For Highlighting The Face Perfectly

Get The Most From Your Beauty Products: Tip No. 1 – Coconut Oil

Shop For Beauty Without Throwing Your Money Away: Part One…

Sometimes the adage that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ is apt, and more-so in this day and age when the need to save money on purchases is all so common-place especially during this recessionary period. When considering beaut shopping however, cheaper is not always better and by the same token, expensive is not always best also. Instead, in order to make savings in the long-run, simply consider the versatility of the beauty products you will buy and become more discerning when shopping, for example make-up can also contain skincare ingredients and vice-versa cutting the number of beauty products in your make-up bag by half, i.e. purchase multi-tasking items of various price-points and considering how they can become multi-purpose items.

If you want to save money yet still achieve a cover girl look, there is nothing better than being far-sighted when it comes to your beauty shopping. Make sure any products that you buy have the ability to be ‘multi-purpose’ or multi-tasking’; this doesn’t mean buying the most expensive items out there, but simply looking for good quality and versatility of use even in the less pricey make-up and beauty items, and sometimes, it may necessitate that you choose the more natural route and use oils that are meant for cooking.

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Pure Virgin Coconut Oil can be used as a multi-purpose beautifier for skin, hair and nails.

A prime example of this is Pure Virgin Coconut Oil; you can use this to make your own luscious body scrub by adding sugar, a dab of this naturally antibacterial and antifungal beauty oil also acts as a wonderfully moisturizing face and body oil, and because it can penetrate hair better than other oils it can be used to deeply nourish the hair as a hot-oil or pre-shampoo deep conditioner. A touch of Coconut Oil can also act as a smoothing hair serum, or even as a highlighter for cheekbones and eyelids as well as a cuticle nourisher for longer, stronger nails!

 

 Get The Most From Your Beauty Products: Tip No. 1   Coconut Oil

THE Foundation Brush for a Flawless Smooth Skin Finish – Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

My Favourite Foundation Brush for a  Smooth Flawless Finish… I was WAY overexcited when I bought this Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush as I had heard so many good things about it, and I can honestly say…it’s all true! I’ve been looking for a really easy to use, good quality foundation brush that gives a quick, seamless, smooth finish to foundation (cream, liquid or compact) without leaving brush marks or a streaky finish and which also doesn’t require endless buffing or blending in. This Sigma brush gives the best flawless finish I’ve ever found with the least amount of effort (and I’ve used many many foundation brushes) when used with either liquid and cream compact foundations. It’s a brush that comes with a clear plastic cover to shield and protect the brush head (although the cover only reaches halfway down the handle) and the handle itself is wooden with a solid feel and a medium-length.

 THE Foundation Brush for a Flawless Smooth Skin Finish   Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

The Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush – perfect for getting a flawless finish quickly and easily with Liquid or Cream Compact foundations.

This brush is very flat-topped and has a dense brush-head with tightly packed synthetic bristles. I’ve found the Sigma brush to be brilliant for quickly stippling or patting on foundation all over the face with the flat-top brush head to get a smooth even coverage and finish, even when I’m short of time; the brush-head is nicely sized to reach, and give even foundation coverage to, all areas and around the corners of the face (even under the eyes and around the nose) without having to blend or buff too much. It seems like simply patting on foundation with this is enough to make any liquid or cream foundation look like a ‘second-skin’ layer that’s well-blended without having to go to too much effort of buffing it in afterwards. This brush gives a far better, and smoother, finish than the Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush, and is also much better  than MAC‘s 187 ’skunk’ brush which I’ve found has left my foundation looking a bit streaky nearly every time I’ve used it. Brush Cleaning Tip: It might be worth noting that it will be difficult to clean the brush and takes forever to dry when you use a normal brush cleanser, a bit like the almost impossible task of cleaning a Beauty Blender Sponge effectively. But, what I’ve found that has worked a treat is to clean the brush head with Head & Shoulders Shampoo! Somehow, this cleans every ounce of make-up off of the brush and also enables the brush head to dry quicker than normal. This shampoo also works excellently when used to clean the Beauty Blender Sponge as it cleans just about absolutely every bit of make-up off of that both quickly and easily. Minor Caution Alert! The one thing I must say though is that anyone who has very sensitive skin may want to be a bit careful about any sort of buffing action on the face with this brush as it could cause a bit of ‘micro-exfoliation’ and feel a little stiff on the face if you have delicate skin; this is mainly because of the tightly packed synthetic bristles – they don’t give much flexibility of movement for the bristles, but the benefit of this is that just patting on foundation with the brush is enough to give a nicely blended, smooth looking effect with no brush marks – no need for extra buffing required.

 THE Foundation Brush for a Flawless Smooth Skin Finish   Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

In Search Of The Perfect Red Lipstick

A Capsule Collection of Red Lipsticks: The Fab Four ‘Go-To’ Reds 

I’m starting my first ever post on my blog with a problem that had perplexed me for absolutely ages!…Finding the perfect red lipstick.

Nothing lights up the face and makes you look bright and beautiful like the perfect red lipstick; in fact, nothing can make you look more drained than wearing the wrong shade of red! Everyone needs a go-to red lipstick and I in fact have amassed a core collection of 4, all of different tones but my fab 4 nonetheless.

Despite wearing red lippy quite a lot in the 90′s, I then went a very long time wearing just neutral nude colours on my lips for years afterwards. It’s only recently, inspired by red lips on stars such as Rihanna etc., and when I I had a bit of a revamp and reshuffle with my lipstick drawer, that I actually started wearing reds again. So in effect, I came to the party quite late when it  comes to having a scandalously red pout.

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Wearing MAC Deeply Adored Limited Edition Matte Lipstick from the Marilyn Monroe Collection: under flouroescent lighting.

I did hunt high and low for years to find my perfect shade of red lipstick, and soon came to realise that different moods and occasions call for a capsule collection of a number of different shades of red lipstick. I now in fact, have four perfect full-coverage red lipsticks, all of different tones, which I can grab and wear to suit different occasions.

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Swatches of My Capsule Collection of Red Lipsticks

To start with, I’ll begin with my favourite deep red shade of lippy for wearing to formal occasions or just when I want to feel a bit more vampy: MAC ‘Deeply Adored’ Matte Lipstick from the Marilyn Monroe Collection. This blue-based wine red lipstick came adorably packaged in a Marilyn Monroe photo and lip imprinted outer box and sleeve, and the lipstick tube itself had a lovely glossy finish with another photo of the legendary Marilyn.

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MAC ‘Deeply Adored’ Matte Lipstick from the Marilyn Monroe Collection

This is sadly a Limited Edition lipstick but luckily you can still find a good few of them on ebay and Amazon. It has MAC’s usual vanilla fragrance and is very full coverage and it is what I would call ‘moistly matte’ in texture on the lips (not as drying as MAC’s ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick), so tends to make lips look more pouty; the full coverage effect is perfect for deeper pigmented lips. It lasts all day and like all the red lipsticks I’m listing here, takes a while to wear off and leaves a stain as it wears off. Although this looks a very dark maroon colour in the tube, it actually comes out like a bright wine red shade when applied on my lips. And although it has a blue-based wine colour to it, the shade really suits warmer complexions such as my NC30-NC35 skintone. It will look amazing on much deeper complexions too. This is almost a neutral wine red despite it’s brightness; the wearable shade is great for when I want to vamp-it-up during the day or evening but still have the appearance of a fuller looking pout, (I tried Tom Ford’s ‘Black Orchid’ lipstick and Chanel’s ‘Rouge Noir’ Lipstick for a vampy look, but they are more dramatic and dark and are therefore less wearable for daytime, plus they tend to make the lips look slightly smaller).

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MAC ‘Deeply Adored’ Matte Lipstick from the Marilyn Monroe Collection

My next fave is not a pure red either, but is a warm, coral, orange-y based bright red colour (more red than orange) that’s a staple on a night out for me, MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ Matte Lipstick (£14.00). This is the perfect attention grabbing bright ‘flouro’ coral red lippy paired with nude shadow and bold lashes. Perfect for nearly all skintones including my NC30-NC35 complexion.

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MAC ‘Lady Danger’ Matte Lipstick

‘Lady Danger’ gives you the bright ‘fluoro’ lip that you may have seen on celebs such as Rihanna, and again, like ‘Deeply Adored’, it has MAC’s sweet vanilla fragrance to it and also  goes on smoothly on the lips whilst having a less drying texture than MAC’s ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick; you’ll need a very steady hand or a precise lipliner on your lips before applying this shade as it goes on with a lot of ‘slip’ and then stays put despite its matte finish.

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Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in ‘Dragon’ (now sadly discontinued)

Third favourite (but unfortunately discontinued now) is the classic neutral red lipstick colour in Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in ‘Dragon’. Not quite a lipstick, but more of a full-coverage, highly pigmented liquid lip lacquer, this was my all-time fave classic bright red lip full-coverage shade but sadly, Chanel left us fans devastated when they stopped producing it and didn’t create a dupe. ’Dragon’ gave the perfect red lip with only the slightest glimmer of teeny tiny gold specks that caught the light and made lips look super pouty. I didn’t swatch this as it’s similar in colour to the swatch of Guerlain’s  Rouge G Lipstick in shade 25 ‘Garconne’

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Wearing my ultimate favourite red lipstick, Guerlain’s Rouge G Lipstick in ‘Garconne’, with natural look, lengthening The Powder Lounge ‘Bombshell’ Reusable False Lashes, Nars Seduction Blush, MAC ‘Blacktrack’ Gel Liner, MAC ‘Painterly’ Paint Pot, Illamasqua ‘Neutrals’ Eyeshadow Palette on eyes and brows, Kevyn Aucoin ‘Medium’ Sculpting Contour Powder, Kevyn Aucoin ‘Celestial’ Highlighting Powder, Cornsilk Demi-Matte Satin Loose Translucent Powder , Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer in ‘Medium’, and Urban Decay ‘Naked’ HD Foundation (applied using Sigma F80 Flat-Top Kabuki Brush) under overhead spotlights.

I’ve saved the best for last, in the form of my all-time favourite classic neutral red lipstick (which is still available in the shops), Guerlain’s Rouge G Lipstick in shade No. 25 ‘Garconne’ (£27.90 is the cheapest I’ve found bought online at Escentual.com). Your boyfriend will be thoroughly impressed when you pull this little number out of your handbag and proceed to expose the James (or Jane) Bond style silver bullet packaging and an inbuilt flip-top mirror compact; it really does have superb styling, but more importantly, the lipstick colour and formula itself is superb.

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Guerlain’s Rouge G Lipstick in ‘Garconne’

I found this to be the perfect dupe for the now discontinued Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in ‘Dragon’. I wore one coat of this moisturizing full coverage lipstick (see above photo) on a night out and it lasted without touch ups and without fading, for a good 6 hours. It’s neutral red shade will suit nearly all skintones and the delicately floral fragrance and feather-light, butter-smooth texture gives it a moisturizing satin finish to create a very wearble lipstick for daytime or evening. Perfect, perfect, perfect!

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Guerlain’s Rouge G Lipstick in ‘Garconne’

 In Search Of The Perfect Red Lipstick

The Best Blushers For Wearing With Red Lipstick

Pretty Cheeks To Go With Red Lips

For years I always wondered (and tried and tested/ a.k.a. wasted money on) many many blush shades to match my red lipsticks. But it’s only in the last couple of years that I came to realise that you only need to own two of the most neutral blush colours (one for daytime red lip shades and one blush for wearing with evening shades of red lipstick) to get the best out of your red shades and not clash colours or be too matchy-matchy.

My two best shades of blusher for wearing with red lipstick include MAC’s ‘The Perfect Cheek’ powder blush from the Marilyn Monroe Collection and Nars ‘Seduction’ blush powder.

Just like the MAC ‘Deeply Adored’ Matte Lipstick which i reviewed earlier, ‘The Perfect Cheek’ powder blush from MAC is sadly a Limited Edition but luckily you can still find a good few of them on ebay and Amazon. If you can’t find it on ebay or Amazon, then the best dupes for this would be either Cargo powder blush in ‘Tonga’ or Shu Uemura Glow On powder blush in ‘Amber No. 82′.

I love to wear this with Red Lipsticks that have warm undertones, coral lipsticks as well as just a quick ‘glow-giver’ on the cheeks during the daytime.

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MAC’s ‘The Perfect Cheek’ Powder Blusher from the Marilyn Monroe Collection

 

The colour of the powder blush itself is very very delicate and has a sheer quality to it; it’s almost like a nude-baby pink with both mauve and apricot beige undertones. However, it can be layered and when done so, it has creates a nicely defined delicately blushing neutral cheek…’the perfect cheek’ in fact!

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MAC’s ‘The Perfect Cheek’ Powder Blusher from the Marilyn Monroe Collection

This little blush pot came adorably packaged in a Marilyn Monroe photo and lip imprinted outer box and sleeve, and the pot itself has a hinged lid with transparent top and sleek glossy finish with another photo of the legendary Marilyn.

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MAC’s ‘The Perfect Cheek’ Powder Blush lightly swatched on fingertip. You can see how light the slightly mauvey, almost nude baby pink beige shade is.

The final blush choice I’m going to talk about is Nars ‘Seduction’ powder blush (£21.00). A deep matte, wine burgundy powder blush with warm undertones and absolutely no sparkle or shimmer. This is the perfect blusher when wearing either deep, vampy shades of red or classically neutral shades of red. Excellent for giving colour to the cheeks after contouring during the evening as it will show up a little more than the MAC’s ‘The Perfect Cheek’ blush, whilst also not clashing.

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Nars ‘Seduction’ Powder Blush

This blusher will last you a lifetime because of the amazing colour pay-off. It does need to be applied with a soft skunk brush (MAC 187) or the other way of applying it is with the NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush (£37.50).

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Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

 

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Nars ‘Seduction’ Powder Blush, heavily swatched on fingertip.

 The Best Blushers For Wearing With Red Lipstick