Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites is all about celebrating your favourite beauty product or tool and saying why.

For the inaugural Friday Favourites post, the humble make up powder puff is honoured.

Now, a powder puff is a tool that is sometimes unregarded and doesn't always get a lot of praise, not like a foundation brush or maybe eyelash curlers would. But here at Bella Queen headquarters, powder puffs rule.

Its get our vote simply for the fact you can used it to obtain a flawless finish to your entire make up look and achieve the ultimate shine free finish.

Once foundation is on, the powder puff can be used to gently press on loose powder to lock in your foundation all day. The best ones are feel very soft and have a luxe fluffy finish with the satin band that you can hook your fingers on to. Wins our vote every time!

The ones on show here, we picked up from the Becca Cosmetics event in London last night.

So come on, let us know what product or tool wins your vote for the accolade of Friday Favourites!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Review: Face Atelier Ultra Foundation

Face Atelier Cosmetics is the darling of professional make up artists and a brand that they keep close to their hearts. But we’ve laid our hands on some foundations and have been trialing this hard to find brand. Unless of course you’re based in Canada, the home of Face Atelier.

After only ever hearing good things about the cult foundations and it was an eager wait to get our hands on it. So how excited was the Bella Queen headquarters, when two weeks ago a UPS van pulled up with a package from their head office across the pond? Very! So far, we can say it was worth the wait.
Their Ultra Foundations are utter bliss to use. They skim over the face and minimise the appearance of pores. Light and creamy, they provide only up to medium coverage, so, if you normally use concealer, you still will be as this foundation by no means provides full coverage.

But from use on some clients, they reported the product felt light as air and didn’t feel as they had anything on. Perfect for the ‘no make up’ make up look. This is because they are silicone based and that’s very good news for people who don’t like the feeling of foundation on their skin. We found that the Ultra Foundation melts into the skin and a little goes a long way, so go easy on it. Plus there is also no need for primer OR setting powder. Bonus.

The foundations cover all skin tones and for those who struggle to find the perfect match, Face Atelier have miracles in pump bottles, called Zero Plus, Zero Plus Plus and Zero Mins. The pluses will add more warmth to any foundation shade, while the minus will cool a foundation down a notch. Genius! So mix away to find your perfect custom shade.
For some reason we were under the impression that foundations would have a thicker consistency, but are a little on the runny side. So if you decant on the back of your hand, take care as our experience showed it will run over your hand quite quickly.

That said, it’s easy to see why Face Atelier gets so much love around the world. Apparently Lady Gaga is a huge fan and she goes ‘gaga’ (we couldn’t help it) over it. It’s a shame that you can’t walk into a store in the UK to make a purchase, so currently our most trusted place to purchase from, is online at Prices start at £32.

Face Atelier Ultra Sheer Highlighter

Even though the Ultra Foundations have fast become a staple in our make up bags, without a doubt, our favourite thing in the package was Ultra Sheer. We trialled a shade called Champagne (above) which has a golden peachy undertone. It’s a highlighter and judging by the last post on highlighters, we’re obviously going through a shimmer and glow phase as we try and uncover the best ones on the market! Seeing as Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector is our current favourite, we did some comparisons.

The consistency of Ultra Sheer is so light, much lighter than Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector. You can see in the picture that Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector (top of frame) comes out of the pump and sits on the skin, whereas Ultra Sheer (bottom of frame) pumps with more fluidity and runs on the skin.

We conclude that both are excellent so it will definitely be a case of different strokes for different folks when it comes to choosing between the two. You could use both if you really wanted to - Shimmering Skin Perfector underneath foundation as it needs more working into the skin and can also be used as a moisturiser. Ultra Sheer can go on top for highlighting after you've finished your make up. We tried using both on a bride recently and it worked a treat. She really was radiant, but we can’t post a picture at the moment as we need to ask her permission.
Anyway, back to Ultra Sheer and its properties. Its oil free so all skin types can use it, but it still hydrates the skin. What we love most is its multiple uses. As usual you can mix with your regular foundation and it almost slightly warms it up, so adding more warmth to your skin tone and you can use it as a highlighter on the usual - brow bones and cheek bones. On the same bride, it was used as a highlighter on the inner eye and it really opened up her eyes and made them pop. Loved it!

Also an added bonus is that because it’s so light, you can use it on shapely shoulders and collar bones to accentuate. It’s perfect for summer days and evenings for a bit of sheen.

Monday, 26 July 2010

An interesting use of bath oil

It's my day off today and I really wanted to have a nice relaxing bath. You know the have the house to yourself, candles lit, vino in hand and it's all about some quality ME time.

So scene is set.....I'm in the bathroom and have favourite bath oil - Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacoa in hand. I open the bottle to savour the smell, letting the heady combination of vetyver, cinnamon, vanilla and cacoa envelop me like a smooth silk dressing gown and the top citrus notes of fresh lime and grapefruit lift my spirits up. Are you in my zone yet?

I sit on the edge of the bath, turn on the tap and reach absentmindedly for the plug hole stopper, but my hands don't get catch anything, I look down only to realise the stopper is missing. Shock and horror! the metal chain is there, but no plug stopper on the end of it.

Seems like my blissful bath time has fast forwarded to an extremely quick end, much to my dissatisfaction but I am determined to use this bath oil. It's my favourite!

So here comes the interesting part, I jump into the shower, yes I know bath oils don't lather up, but I've got other plans. After a quick shower, I get myself some good ol'Johnson's baby oil and mix it with a small amount the bath oil. I slather it all over and yes, I may not have had the relaxing bath I had in mind, but I'm still left feeling luxurious and beautifully fragranced!

There is more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and now there is more than one way to use a bath oil!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Paying Lip Service to Kiehl's LIP BALM #1

We’ve been using Kiehl’s LIP BALM #1 over the past few weeks and while it does not win our first prize, it would definitely get a mention if we compiled a list of best balms.

Impressively, #1 has being in production for the past four decades and the reason for this is because it quite simply relieves dry and chapped lips, and that’s it! There are no other significant qualities to it apart from its SPF 4 which protects against sun damage on fragile lips.

It goes on lips nicely, if not feeling slightly greasy, but this is absorbed over time and leaves a slight gloss on the lips. Our tester couldn't really comment on whether her lips actually felt any softer though.

In a distinctive black and white tube, it's a simple, but effective balm for the no frills brigade. Possibly one for the boys??

Monday, 19 July 2010

Product of the week: Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector

This summer it's all about the skin looking young, fresh and radiating with health and cult Australian make up brand Becca has the perfect answer. Their Shimmering Skin Perfector comes top of the class with a perfect A*! Here at Bella Queen headquarters, we’re raving about this must have product that can go anywhere with you, from the city to relaxing on the beach.

To start with, it's a water based moisturiser so ideal for our current hot weather and it gives protection from over 90% of dangerous early aging UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 20. Plus, it comes in a sleek pump action bottle, which is good for reducing product wastage.

It's vitamin infused with A, B, D and E and with this concoction you’ll be getting help with tissue repair, boosting your collagen levels and improving your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Definitely, helps keep your skin looking good for longer.
With five easy to use shades, all skin tones are covered and it feels very light on the skin. Our favourite aspect is the fact that it contains mica, which causes light to bounce of your skin and gives the skin a healthy and glowing appearance. The shimmer works to even out complexion, by brightening dark patches, an added bonus!

There are so many ways to use the Shimmering Skin Perfector. Use on its own for a light weight and uber dewy look which is perfect for lounging by the pool, mix with your usual foundation for a radiant look on a busy day and for dancing the night away use as a highlighter when you’ve finished applying foundation and powder by dabbing over cheekbones, browbones or wherever you want a bit of a glow.

So this week we take our crown off to Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector, which does exactly as it says on the bottle. It gives the instant appearance of perfect skin, with a hint of shimmer!
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