The thoughts and emotions that come around this time of the year are so overwhelming – I’m often in a pensive, reflective mood and can’t help but look back to the past year’s regrets, triumphs and achievements. For me my year couldn’t be more bittersweet – while 2014 was my best year yet with it being the year I graduated, met life changing people, moved onto study for a master’s degree at my dream university, was featured in The Sunday Times Style and gave a presentation at an industry conference, 2014 was also the year I lost someone I loved very dearly to illness. But such is life, while we’re challenged in one aspect we find ourselves successful in others.
With a dissertation to complete, numerous essays, exams and a new job, blogging became less of a priority for me but I so desperately wanted to share my beauty discoveries throughout the year. However, when you’ve spent the entire day sitting at a desk writing a 4,000 word essay on the impact of political risks on foreign direct investment in the Middle East and North Africa the last thing you want to do is spend more time writing at a desk! Therefore here’s a little roundup of the products that got me through graduation, hours sat in front of the computer, job interviews and a few family weddings.
Mavala Via Veneto* and Barry M Cappuccino – With the exception of a few nail polishes, Via Veneto and Cappuccino are all I’ve been wearing on my nails this year. They’re perfect for quick paint jobs when you’re on the go, and they give off that impeccably groomed and polish vibe. Cappuccino has also been a colour I’ve received constant compliments on, and someone even struck up a conversation with me on the bus to find out what I was wearing!
Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy Palette* in Envious Orchid and Fiery Saffron – what I love about these palettes is how they truly encompass the whole ‘day to evening’ concept – I’ve used both palettes for simply going to a lecture and to weddings. You can create an office friendly eye and quickly smoke it up by applying the darker colours to your creaseNot to mention the sleek packaging makes it super easy to carry around in your handbag.
Clinique Aromatics in White* – The minute I got a whiff of this new fragrance from Clinique and I was reminded of the attar fragrances I’ve been used to since childhood. It’s a beautifully bold fragrance with notes including Sichuan pepper, rose, patchouli, benzoin and amber gris.
Fashion Fair Spicy Plum* – I recently had a consultation with Fashion Fair’s International Makeup Artist Delita Pintos at their counter in Debenhams Westfield White City, and she was determined to get me out of my comfort zone, and succeed she did. I’ve always gone for subtle, barely there lip colours but ever since Delita introduced this lipstick to me I’ll be expanding my collection of Fashion Fair lipsticks, starting with Bordeaux.
Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil – This oil has been the best thing for my skin this year. After finally clearing up my acne through healthy eating and exercising regularly Clarins’ Lotus Oil which contains rosemary, geranium, hazelnut oil and lotus extract has helped to maintain my skin, even when I’ve fallen off the healthy eating bandwagon (oops!).
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Toner* – I will forever extol the glowing, clear skin virtues of exfoliating toners and this toner is simply amazing. The annoying thing however is that this product isn’t sold separately as it comes with their Effaclar Anti-Blemish System which includes the Effaclar Duo [+] and Purifying Foaming Gel, the latter being a product I’m not very fond of.
Benefit POREfessional – Imagine my luck when I woke up on the day of my graduation to the biggest zit known to mankind – all I could think about was how I’d look in the photos that my family would look at for years to come. This primer helped to calm the redness down and smooth my pores out, but with it being the day where all of my hard work and efforts finally came to fruition my skin was the last thing on my mind!
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – When it comes to foundation I’m a ‘just slap it on’ kinda girl, but this sponge has been a game changer. Product blends seamlessly into the skin, and 3 surfaces of the sponge allow you to cover blemishes with the precision tip and blend in a darker contour product with the flat edge.
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser* – As well as exfoliating toners, I do love a cleanser chock full of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid. Before this cleanser from American brand Murad came into my life I’d use the Jan Marini Bioglycolic Cleanser, but it’s proving to be difficult to find but the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is no consolation prize because it’s just so good at brightening the skin as well as calming breakouts down.
Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Wash and Mask – While I love the previously mentioned cleanser, when I started off in my postgraduate studies forking £34 on a cleanser just wasn’t an option. Instead I’ve opted for this £3.79 Neutrogena cleanser that I’ve been using on and off for years. It’s effective at keeping breakouts at bay, but it’s also gentle. It doubles up as a face mask too which is helps to save money.
MUA Ever After Matte Palette – This year I started taking my ‘eyebrow game’ seriously. I know absolutely nothing about filling in brows, what products to use, techniques etc. so I turned to my sister blessed with impeccable brows. She introduced me to the £4 palette that is the MUA Ever After Palette and I’ve been hooked since. Although it’s not intended for brows, I still flip flop between Penny and Truffle depending on how intense or subtle I’d like my brows to look.