Favorites and Fails

My November and December Favorites

The holidays are upon us and wow, it’s been a couple of months since I put up a post. Between work, school, assignments, and exhaustion, I couldn’t keep up and ended up taking a short hiatus.  I’m still trying to find a balance but bottom line, I’m determined to follow through on sustaining my blog with interesting content.

Getting down to business though, I’ve gotten a chance to try out some great products despite the busy couple of months.

Here are some of my favorites from last month and this month. 🙂

Skincare

Any one who knows me, knows I’m very skeptical about trying out any new product on my face. I mean if it ain’t broke, why fix it? I was lucky enough to get three free samples of Clarins products from Madora Kenya; the Super Restorative Day Cream, Super Restorative Serum and Super Restorative Décolleté and Neck Concentrate.

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Eventually brought myself to trying it out but not before doing my research and reading up on the properties. First things first, the day cream and serum are non-comedogenic, which means they are not going to clog your pores and also feature plant based ingredients. I love how light the formula is and how easily it absorbed into my skin. My skin felt moisturized, smooth and refreshed without feeling greasy. I’m still getting used to the décolleté and neck concentrate, which is meant to firm up the skin in that area where first signs of aging start showing up. While I can’t say I’ve seen a huge change (maybe I’ll see the change in about ten years when the wrinkles start to check in 🙂 ), I like the cream and we’ll see how it goes.

Another little gem, I discovered from Madora Kenya is the Beauty Success range of face masks for the quick pick-me up on the days my skin was just in shambles (read drowning in work and school assignments). It goes for Ksh. 400 and there’s enough product for you to use twice. All you’ll need to do is secure the area you cut so that the product doesn’t spill by mistake.

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I bought two of these masks and applied immediately after cleansing and scrubbing my face, careful to avoid the eye area. After about 20 minutes, I massaged it into my face for a few seconds, rinsed off the rest, toned and applied my moisturizer. Personally, I like using face masks at night, just before applying my night cream because I feel that’s when my skin gets to rest and recover from the day’s activities.

Eye shadow palettes, eye brow pomade and makeup brushes

From the highly pigmented shades to the numerous colors to play with for neutral and smoky looks, the Morphe 35W and 35N palettes are eye shadow palettes after my own heart. They are by far my favorite and I love how easy they are to work with. The 35N is made up of purely matte shades while the 35W has a mix of both matte and shimmer shadows.

To go with my eye shadow palettes, I also bought a set of Morphe makeup brushes because let’s be honest, you can never have enough brushes and you have a spare set when you’re feeling lazy to wash your dirty ones. Investing in quality makeup brushes is key to ensuring you apply your makeup correctly.

Do not underestimate the power of a quality blender brush to help blend all your eye shadows correctly so you don’t end up looking like a clown or a pencil brush for shading the crease part of your eye for definition. It’s all in the detail and precision. 🙂

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The perfect eyebrow arch is a struggle we are all familiar with. To this day, there are times I do my eyebrows and when I compare them  (because you know, eyebrows are sisters not twins), I swear my left eyebrow conspires against me.

Before I digress into how much time my eyebrows take up when I’m doing my makeup (hint, it can take me up to 10 or even 15 minutes depending on what mood my left eyebrow is in),  I decided to try out the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow pomade in Dark Brown to switch things up from how I normally do them.

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The pomade is a gel like consistency and will dry out if you leave it in the open, however you only need a tiny amount, which I put on the back of my hand to keep warm. To fill in my eyebrows, I’ll use an angled brush, working in short strokes to fill them in and define my arch. Finally, I’ll clean them up using concealer. It’s easy to work with and correct when you make a mistake and it will last you a couple of months.

Quick tip: If you don’t have a pomade and don’t want to use an eyebrow pencil, an angled brush and a dark brown matte shadow will work great.

Lip care and lipsticks

We can all agree that the first step in taking care of your lips before you apply lipstick is removing the dead skin and especially when applying liquid lipsticks because…well, you know the monstrosity that happens when you don’t take care of your lips.

Yes, we have all seen it…you’re having a conversation with someone and for the life of you, you cannot take your eyes off their lips because of the horror and you wonder whether they just made their way back from the desert.

My personal regimen in taking care of my lips is mixing a teaspoon of sugar with a teaspoon of olive oil(the one used for cooking) and honey. I rub this mixture on my lips for about 15-30 seconds (but be gently though…you still want your pout for the duck face selfie 🙂 ). Afterwards, I wipe it off with a warm cloth and apply Vaseline petroleum jelly for lips, the cocoa butter one is my favorite.

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I love that it doesn’t leave me with that greasy feel (Maybelline baby lips and Nivea lip balms did zilch for me 😦  ). It’s a great base before applying liquid lipstick and will lasts you for a while. This is a permanent favorite for me, whether I’m wearing lipstick or not.

Speaking of liquid lipsticks, let me be honest and say I have had a love-hate relationship with liquid lipsticks. I mean one minute, I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world and the next I’m crying for a place to hide because of how bad it looks.

Enter, Colourpop’s ultra matte liquid lipsticks and so far, the relationship is going well. I bought Lychee, Mars, Rooch and Creeper. Out of the four, Rooch is my favorite hands down. It’s a deep, burgundy red that compliments my skin so well.The formula is great and I only need one coat to get full coverage and it doesn’t dry out my lips even though it’s matte.

Creeper is bright orange-red, which at first I was skeptical about. However, I found that lining and filling my lips in with M.A.C’s Nightmoth liner or Black Opal’s Dark Cherry liner beforehand helps darken it to suit my skin tone. The formula is a bit light and I find I need two coats to get full coverage but once it’s on, it looks great.

Lychee is a vibrant violet and I can wear it on its own or layer it with M.A.C’s Nightmoth liner if I want it a bit darker. Similar to Creeper, the formula I found was a bit thin and I needed two coats for full coverage.

Mars is where my relationship with liquid lipsticks got a bit bumpy. Let me start by saying I’ve always been unlucky when it comes to pink lipsticks. This was no different…the formula was off, patchy and flaky. I have tried it and at first it will look good but in a few hours, it’s all flaky.

Sigh…I’m not giving up on you Mars. We’ll figure this out.

Overall, I love Colorpop liquid lipsticks and will definitely keep an eye out for new shades that speak to my heart.

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To give my lips a  a break from liquid lipsticks and let them recover, NYX butter glosses in Chocolate Crepe, Spice Cake and Toasted Marshmallow have been a great companion. First of all, they smell delicious and don’t feel heavy on the lips.

They are also highly pigmented, which means you won’t need a lot and they are moisturizing. However, gloss means transfer, so careful who you kiss ( I have marked babe enough times…I always tell him I’m marking my territory 🙂 ).

Chocolate Crepe, is a lovely shade of brown, great for a nude lip. Toasted Marshmallow is a mauve shade that can go with anything and Spice Cake, is a bright pink shade, perfect to brighten up any look. You can wear these on their own or apply a light layer over matte lipstick for a bit of shine.

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My last favorites are two sleek lip liners: Venom, a dark red and Raisin, a semi-dark purple…they are creamy, pigmented and easy to apply.  These are great for lining your lips before applying lipstick especially liquid ones because they act as a guide as well as for layering to help darken a lipstick.

All photos (except the first one) taken by the very talented Lydia Asena. Check out her blog and Instagram account. She’s brilliant!

Hope you enjoyed this and I promise to be consistent. 🙂

Happy holidays and blessings in the new year! 🙂

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My Favorites for May…

Hey guys! Wow…it has been a while since I put up a post and for that I apologize. A lot has been happening and the last two months have been a bit hectic, attending to a number of family engagements. It’s hard when you see someone you care about going through a difficult time but you get through it and you’re there for the person and do what you can. It does get better… All the same, I hope you have been well and that you’ve missed me :-). Who am I kidding…of course you have and right back at you!

Now to get back on track, I thought I’d start off with some skin, nail and makeup favorites from the past month that I’ve been loving.

Makeup

I love makeup and yes I could spend all day playing with it, swatching lipsticks and eye shadows but a girl’s got to go to work and that means I don’t always do a full face of makeup (especially during the week). Unless I’m going for a function and I want to look flawless or I just have time and want to spend it making myself looking extra pretty, a full face of make up is a task. Besides, I already spend enough time on my eyebrows..that angle has got to be just right, lest I end up as a meme on how to not do your eyebrows :-).

So what do you do when you need to get to the office but you still want to look a pulled together? Well,  I discovered the Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm from the makeup aisle at Nakumatt Mega and got a tube in the shade Medium.

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What I liked most about it is how light it was, yet still giving decent coverage and doesn’t feel heavy. It also has SPF15, which means added protection. I still use it and only squeeze out a drop or two to apply to my blemishes, blend it out and dust my face with loose powder.

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Swatch of the Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm

Another favorite, which I’ve raved about enough times are the Suzie Beauty concealers. These are super rich and creamy, you don’t need to use a lot. Not only are they great to conceal blemishes, but I also use them as an eye shadow (remember to set the concealer with and eye shadow shade close to your skin colour) and lipstick base before I apply more makeup. My current favourites are Caramel  and Cocoa.

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Suzie Beauty Concealers (left) Caramel and (right) Cocoa

For eye shadow, it really helps keep it in place and avoid transferring from your eyelid to your crease. Can you imagine having done a cut crease with shimmery or neon colour eye shadow only to check your makeup over lunch hour to find it all all on your perfect crease?  I bet you’ll wish you had prepped your eye lid in the morning :-).

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Swatches of the concealers (left) Caramel and (right) Cocoa

If there is one reason I love Sleek products, it’s because of how much they compliment different skin tones especially ours. All their products are super pigmented, which means you don’t need to use too much to get the look you’re looking for. Enter the Sleek i-divine Sunset palette and boy will you have a range of shimmery colours to last you a life time, not that we’re ever be satisfied with just one eye shadow palette:-).

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I love this palette so much because it has lots of shimmery shadows that could work for a neutral and glam look. Pair this with matte eye shadows from the i-divine Au Naturel palette and you’re set for day and night time looks. They’re super creamy and easy to use, with minimal fall out, not to mention highly pigmented!

In keeping with the shimmer and glowing skin, I also decided to try out the Sleek Face Contour Kit palette in medium. I’m not really into contouring though I’ve done it a couple of times. It could be because I love my chubby cheeks…I really do :-). The highlighter though is amazing! Every time I apply it, I literally just want to stare at myself in the mirror and spend the day feeling like I just bathed in gold.

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Swatch of the Sleek Highlight and Contour palette

As with all Sleek products, it’s highly pigmented and you won’t need much. Just brush some on the highest point of your cheek bones, above your brow bone on both sides, cupid’s bow and tip of your nose and you’re good to go.

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My last favorites under makeup are Sleek True Colour lipsticks in Smother and Cherry. Both are sheen lipsticks, Smother being a dark purple and Cherry a dark red. I love the True Colour range of lipsticks because they are highly pigmented, creamy and easy to apply. I’ll be honest though…not all of them have worked for me.

I don’t know if it was the formula but some were chalky and kept flaking but most of them worked. I’ll share a review of some of my favorite Sleek True Colour lipsticks soon.

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I love pairing these two with my favorite lip pencil, Nightmoth by M.A.C especially when I’m applying Smother because the lip pencil is also a dark purple. Seeing as they are sheen lipsticks, it’s important that you prime your lips before and you might also want to dust your lips with translucent powder once you’re done and reapply as often as you need to in the course of the day.

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Swatches of Sleek True Colour Lipstick Smother (top) and Cherry (bottom)

When choosing what eye shadow to go with, I recommend a shimmery gold, brown or even a champagne colour, which will complement the lipstick :-).

Skincare

In a previous post I explained how I’ve never really had an issue with acne other than the few pimples here and there, well I spoke too soon. Over the past couple of months, I had a sudden on-set of adult acne on both cheeks and chin. This wasn’t the kind that you can pop but the itchy and painful acne that leaves scars. It was frustrating until I bought some Tea Tree essential oil from Healthy U at Ksh800. I just used an ear bud, poured a drop and applied on the problem areas. I also added 2-3 drops to my night cream for it to work it’s magic while I slept.It helped with drying out the pimples, not to mention I loved the smell.

I’ve never really been a DIY kind of person especially when it comes to body lotion, my justification being as long as I have included sunscreen and bio-oil, I’m good. First off, mad respect to guys who whip up their own butters or oils be it for their skin or hair (I tried going nashoro but alas my hair refused to cooperate or I’m just lazy, who knows :-)). Anyway, my skin was getting a bit dry and ashy skin is not our portion. I decided to try Keyara Organics Shea butter and because my skin was calling for drastic measures, decided to mix it with organic olive, coconut  and almond oil, adding in my Nivea SPF30 sunscreen, bio-oil and a few drops of the tea tree oil.

Let’s just say my skin has thanked me and I finally see the light. My skin feels smoother and supple and I love it. One of the best things is how quickly and easily it spreads and with the consistency of the shea butter, you don’t need much. You might spend some extra time prepping and mixing your butter but after that, you’re good for about two months depending on how much you moisturize and I must say it’s worth it especially because you don’t have to start applying oil after oil on your skin. An added bonus if you’re quite the traveler, other than perhaps carrying extra sunscreen,.you’ll only have one jar or tub to carry. 🙂

Nail care

As you take care of your skin, get your makeup right, it’s easy to forget one area that needs tending to…your hands or in this case nails. It sucks when you’re all put together and your nails look all busted or worse, chipped. Even I don’t like when my nails are chipped so I feel it’s important that you take care of the whole package, toe nails included. A pedicure is not an option ladies…and gents :-). When it comes to your hands, ALWAYS carry a small bottle of your hand lotion (add sunscreen to it) and moisturize any time you come into contact with water.

My favorite products when it comes to taking care of my nails has been NailTek. I specifically use number one meant for normal healthy nails to help keep my nails from breaking. I use it as a base coat when doing my nails and sometimes as a top coat.  I have seen the difference in the texture and strength of my nails. Though pricey at Ksh 2,500 from Super Cosmetics, I think it’s worth it because depending on how often you do your nails, which is probably weekly unless it’s gel polish. Based on my experience, one bottle can last you three to four months.

Another favorite is the O.P.I nail polish by the name Skull and Glossbones. It’s a grey-ish-white nail polish that I think complements every skin tone. I love the consistency, which is creamy and it doesn’t leave streaks or patches. Two thin coats and you’re covered and you don’t have to worry about it clashing with any of your outfits!

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So far, no fails to talk about which is a good thing. 🙂 (more…)