{A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog}

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Summer Skincare Edit//Morning Edition

My skincare routine is relatively minimal, as I've discovered that the key to keeping my skin happy is in using few effective products rather than piling on everything that’s on my bathroom shelf. In the mornings, I usually start by cleansing my face with the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, which is incredibly gentle and non-stripping. It’s quite possibly my favourite cleanser of all time as it completely rinses off with water, unlike the Oskia Renaissance Cleaning Gel, which needs to be taken off with a flannel. Since this bottle is on its last legs, I alternate it with the MV Organics Gentle Cream Cleanser. It’s a beautiful creamy concoction that feels like silk on the skin and if you have sensitive skin, I can’t recommend this cleanser enough. I have yet to try a product of theirs that isn't brilliant.

Also, since I have milia, I need to exfoliate my face quite regularly and I’m not very comfortable with using a chemical exfoliant during the day, so twice a week I use the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser. I know it might seem a bit excessive to use three different cleansers but this one is more of a physical exfoliator than a cleanser. It’s quite unlike anything I've tried before: the gritty particles are suspended in a cream base, so it’s extremely gentle and doesn’t strip the skin of its moisture. Though it’s eye-wateringly expensive, I’m obsessed with the scent and I’ll buy it for that alone.

After cleansing, I do a few spritzes of the lush-smelling Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray. Though it’s heavily fragranced, I find that it doesn’t irritate my skin and it really wakes me up in the mornings. On days when my skin is feeling a bit dry, I mist my face with this after every step of the routine, as it does a great job of locking in the moisture. For serums, I vacillate between Vichy and Aurelia depending on how my skin is feeling that day. If I want something that’s deeply nourishing, I opt for the Aurelia Revitalise & Glow Serum, and the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum is great for when I want intense hydration.

I typically swap creamy moisturisers for something that’s lighter in texture during summer but the MV Organics Rose Soothing Protective Moisturiser is just too good to resist. It's rich, creamy and provides of blanket of hydration. It does take a while to sink in, so I usually spritz some mist and massage it into my face. Then, I layer on Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 50 - I'm a complete Neutrogena devotee, as it’s the only product that’s been a constant in my ever-changing skincare routine. It’s hard to get hold of this one here, so I stock up on it every time I visit India. It’s everything I want in a sunscreen - it’s not greasy, doesn’t leave behind a white cast, and wears well under makeup.

If I have a bit more time in the mornings, I’ll slather on a generous layer of the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask and let it work its magic while I brush my teeth and shower. I only do this if my skin is looking a bit lacklustre and dull – which is usually the case around that time of the month. This mask is simply exceptional; it soothes, softens and hydrates the skin in less than ten minutes. I had a bad reaction to one of the serums I was using and this is the only mask that took down the redness and calmed my skin immediately. It’s seriously a godsend! 

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Perennially Cool Glossy Eye Look

I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck in a bit of a makeup rut recently, so I decided to do the ever-alluring wet-eye look, inspired by the queen of glossy eyelids, Katie Jane Hughes. There’s something so inherently chic about glossy eyelids, and I paired it with a fun orange-red lip to make it more summer-appropriate.

Terrifying, as this may seem, it’s surprisingly easy to recreate. Here’s a breakdown of my look:
As always, I skipped using a base and prepped my skin with the Becca Backlight Priming Filter. It’s a pearlescent light-reflecting primer that goes on beautifully and looks glorious on the skin. What I particularly love about this primer is that it can be mixed into a foundation to dial up the dewiness or can be worn on its own for a glimmer-free glow. I wanted the skin to look quite bare and luminous, so I used the concealer very sparingly. The Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher (4) is one of my hero products – it’s lightweight and counteracts any discolouration without caking or settling into the lines. The click-pen applicator makes it easy to apply, and the formula is densely pigmented, so you only need a tiny bit.

I wanted to add a faint hint of colour to my face, so I squeezed a little Glossier Cloud Paint (haze) on the back of my hand and applied it to the apples of my cheeks. Despite its sheer finish, I find that it lasts exceptionally well and the berry hue diffuses into a flattering flush. The idea was for the eyes to have a smokey lived-in look, so I applied a liquid eye shadow all over my lids and blended it with a fluffy brush. The Wander Beauty Exquisite Eye Shadow in Mocha is a standard bronze colour that’s perfect for creating a sultry smokey eye look a la Carine Roitfeld. It’s incredibly long-lasting, and I find that it wears well under the gloss.
Next, I dabbed a tiny dot of the Mac Lip Glass (clear) onto the lids and patted it in with my fingers. Applying gloss on the eyelids does take a bit of getting used to, but the key to making it work is to apply the tiniest bit. It does crease and smudge, but you can always smooth it out with your fingers. Also, the lip glass is slightly sticky, and you can feel it on your eyelids. I think a more wearable option would be the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (KJH-approved) as it’s non-sticky but delivers the same amount of shine. Initially, the focus of this look was the just the eyes, but I decided to be a little more adventurous and do a bold orange-red lip. The Nars Lip Pencil in Red Square is an old favourite that sadly doesn’t get much use. I like to pair bold lip colours with minimal makeup as it looks like I’ve made a bit of effort, even if I’ve just hurriedly drawn it on in an overcrowded train. 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

On My Plate: Oat Bran Pancakes + Berries Chia Jam

I know the Internet is full of pancake recipes, and you don’t need another one, but my reason for writing this is purely because I found a way to turn my favourite breakfast porridge (oat bran bircher with berries) into something more indulgent and filling. So here’s presenting the protein-packed buckwheat & oat bran pancakes with berries and coconut chia jam. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Also, it’s refined sugar-free, so you can happily eat these with gusto.

Buckwheat & Oat Bran Pancakes

Initially, I made the pancakes with just the oat bran, and they turned out quite soggy, so I added a cup of buckwheat flour to get the fluffy texture. You can easily substitute it with plain or wholemeal flour. I really like the nuttiness of buckwheat, and it amps up the flavour of the pancakes.

Makes about 4 - 6 pancakes // ½ cup of oat bran, 1 cup of buckwheat flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ cup of soymilk, a pinch of salt and two tbsp of stevia (sugar substitute).

Mix all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and combine them together. Heat a pan with a dollop of butter or an oil spray, and scoop out a ladle of batter onto the pan. Cook until browned evenly. 

Berries & Coconut Chia Jam

I stumbled upon this recipe while trawling Ohsheglows’ website for healthy dessert options. I’ve put my own twist to it by including desiccated coconut and stevia to make it slightly more healthy. It’s not cloyingly sweet and has the same consistency of a jam. It stores well and is super delish.

100g of mixed berries (I used blueberries & raspberries), 3 tbsp of desiccated coconut, 4 tbsp of chia seeds and stevia

Place all the berries in a saucepan with the stevia and allow them to cook for about ten minutes until they are nice and soft. Then add in desiccated coconut and chia seeds and cook for another five minutes until all the water is absorbed. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

My Quick 'Going Out' Face

If I'm running out the door and have five minutes for makeup, the first thing I do is to even out my complexion before adding a touch of colour via a blush or lipstick. Also, I stick to using cream products when I’m in a hurry, as I believe they are considerably more forgiving than powdery textures.

Concealer: The Mac Select Moisturecover Concealer is a re-discovery for me, and I can clearly see why I used to be obsessed with it. It’s a combination of my two favourite concealers; it has the coverage of the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and the dewy finish of the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. Also, the shade NC35 is slightly lighter than my skin tone, so it has a nice brightening effect.

Eye Shadow: Surprisingly, I’m really into wearing eyeshadows at the moment. It takes me less than a minute to do my eyes, I swipe some Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise in the shade Mona Lisa across the eyelids and blend it out with my fingers. This bronzey-gold shade is a touch darker than my eyelids, so it looks really natural during the day. Another great option for summer is the By Terry Ombré Blackstar in the shade Brown Perfection. This rich, taupe-y bronze shade is the eyeshadow equivalent of my very beloved MAC Teddy Eye Kohl. Also, it’s easily the most pigmented and smudge-resistant eye shadow I've ever tried.

Blusher/Bronzer: The Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Formentera is sun-kissed summer skin in a handy, twist-up stick. It’s sheer, blends in beautifully and makes me look like a bronzed goddess. It’s hard to pin down the texture of this one; it’s velvety but has a slightly dewy (not sticky) finish. Another great multitasking product is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Light. This blusher-highlighter hybrid perks up sallow skin and imparts a healthy glow in one sweep.

Highlighter: It’s definitely an unnecessary step, but ever since I got my hands on the Glossier Haloscope(Quartz), I can’t stop using it. It’s everything I want in a highlighter - it’s dewy with being tacky; imparts a subtle glow without leaving behind any sparkly, shimmery bits and most importantly, it looks almost skin-like. Swipe, blend and *poof* healthy-looking skin unlocked.

Lipstick:  You know me, I like to stick to neutrals when it comes to a lip colour. I either wear Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Walk of Shame or Nars Lip Pencil in Walkyrie; however, I’m trying to switch things up for summer. A red lip is by no means a fail-safe option when you’re short on time, but it’s definitely the quickest (and chicest) way to look put-together. I wear it like a stain as opposed to applying it straight from the bullet. The Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lipstick in 58 is a bright pinky-red that lasts right from my morning tea to after-work drinks.

PS: If you fancy seeing me put on makeup, click on the video below.

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