Monday, 31 December 2012

Best of 2012

As promised, here are my top Beauty picks for 2012:


1. Ren Hydra-calm Global Protection Day Cream - £27.00 full size
Earlier this year I was given a ton of miniatures of this cream by a friend, and it is honestly the best moisturiser I've ever had. It eliminates any redness, and leaves my skin looking and feeling amazing. Once my mini's have ran out, I would more than happily pay the hefty price tag.

2. The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Oil - £11.00
The best thing to happen to dry skin. It's meant to be used pre-moisturising, but I just add a couple drops to my normal moisturiser if my skin is feeling particularly dry. I honestly couldn't recommend it enough.

3. Dr Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm - £18.00 
Those who use Glossybox are most likely already familiar with Dr Jart. I use mine on days where I don't want to wear makeup, but still want a little bit of coverage. Evens out my skin with a dewy finish, perfect.

4. Premier Blemish Treatment by Monu - £16.25
Another brand Glossybox subscribers will be familiar with. I also use Monu's Premier Facial scrub and Premier Cleanser & Eye Makeup Remover, both I love, but their blemish remover is my star product. Applied before I go to bed, I wake up in the morning to find any blemishes are significantly reduced with no redness. Clinique's anti-blemish gel has since been given the boot!


1. Smashbox Shades of Fame Palette - (US only) $48.00
I picked this up in Florida back in April, and it has been used to death since. My surprise product of the year, the pigmentation and blend-ability of Smashbox's eyeshadows are superior to any other, even high-end brands. The eye primer that came with it was used up months ago, and I still use the full sized brush that came in it every day. One of my best buys of the year without a doubt.

2. Sephora Double-Ended Every Day Eye Brush - $18.00
I challenge you to find me a blending brush that I'd love more than this. This incredibly fluffy brush blends eyeshadow edges to near invisibility, and gives me the perfect smokey eye every time. I wash my personal brushes every fortnight and I've yet to experience any fallout after almost a year, while some of my higher-end brushes have shed somewhat (I'm talking to you, MAC).

3. Smashbox Hyperlash and Full Exposure Mascara - £17.00 and £19.00 full size*
These were given to me back in September at the Smashbox On Location event in Mayfair, post here. Both have since been used up and have left me wanting more. Hyperlash is a lengthening mascara, which perfectly combed out each and every lash to create natural but striking eyes. Full Exposure is a volumising mascara, which gave me plumped up lashes with zero clumping. Going to be tough to decide which one to buy on my student budget!

4. Illamasqua Liquid Metal - £17.50
Beginning of the year I wanted to know if Illamasqua's Liquid Metals lived up to the hype and anyone who has given one a try will know the answer. I sadly get excited each time I get to use this in something I'm doing, and I'm constantly fighting off the urge to go crazy and cover my entire face with the stuff. The one pictured is Electrum, a beautiful Antique gold.

5. Illamasqua Skin Base - £27.00
I was a loyal user of MAC's Studio Fix foundation for six years until this year. I was at Illamasqua's Generation Q launch at Selfridges when on a whim I asked to try skin base out, less than 10 minutes later I found myself at the till with it in a perfectly packaged Illamasqua bag. Flawless coverage, lightweight feel and the ultimate skin-realism finish, I'm in love.

6. MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Young Punk - £16.50
How pretty is this! If you can even bare to use it (I nearly couldn't!), applied dry it looks like a sheer chalky black with just a slight purple shimmer. Applied damp, the purple takes over and it becomes a more intense, metallic shade. I use it to jazz up a boring black smokey eye..and to look at how pretty it is.

7. MAC Pigment in Vanilla - £16.50
In our 'no makeup' makeup lesson at LCF, our tutors showed us how to use this as a highlight on the face. I have to admit I was a bit confused at first as to how it would look better than a proper highlighter, but on camera it is amazing. I used it on my models face in this look for a photoshoot.

8. YSL Touche Eclat Celebration Edition - £25 - Out of Stock :(
This is my 'last 5 years in a row' pick, but as it's a 20th anniversary edition it's allowed. Both the product and the box are covered in tiny gold rings and is a collectors edition. I got it as a present for Christmas and haven't brought myself to use it yet!


Another limited edition, it is beautifully scented and is concentrated, so my hands have been lovely and hydrated all year. As you can tell by the picture, it is constantly used!

Given to me by Ciate as part of their Caviar set, I have found my new favourite black polish. It is quite watery and requires a couple coats, but as a result gives a flawless, shiny, polished finish and stays chip free for almost a week.

This black polish is my 'I'm in a rush and don't have time to do my nails properly' favourite. It goes on thick and opaque in one coat and dries mega quick. It does chip easily, but for those moments when you're in a hurry and have bare nails, this is perfect.

I received this in my November Glossybox and I've been using it ever since. It's super glossy and is touch dry in a couple minutes. I've also noticed it gives some of my polishes a slight rubber-looking finish which I love.

5. Topshop Nail Polish in Pluto - £6.00 and Big Smoke - £5.00
I'm not a fan of overly embellished nails, there's a fine line between nice and tacky. I love this one by topshop because the sequins aren't too big and can be built up to cover the nail without looking over the top. Also mentioned but not pictured is their polish in Big Smoke. It is the absolute perfect nude nail for me, and I constantly have people borrowing it off me before a night out, which must be where it is now because I can't find it!

6. Nails Inc. Clifford Street - £11.00
This polish has saw me through the gothic trend this Autumn/Winter season. The gold flecks give a bit of dimension to the nail, and sealed with the caviar top coat, gives that rubber-finish I was talking about above. I also used this polish in my snowflake nail tutorial here.

So there are my favourite products that have carried me through this year. And what a year it has been! I was able to achieve something that I have worked hard for for 4 years and what I have wanted since I was 15 - to get in to The London College of Fashion. It hasn't been easy to get here, but it just shows what hard work and ambition can do. I have started to get a taste of the professional industry and its many perks (Endless opportunities and of course, free products). And I finally made the move to London, which has been and continues to be, a weird and wonderful experience.
I have to say, it is truly amazing to take a gigantic step in the way forward to a promising career. As great as it is getting all the perks, the true joy is from being able to do what I love most every single day. It is also amazing to have such an incredible family behind me who have given and continue to give me so much support.

With those sickeningly cheesy words aside, I wish you all a very happy new year and wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to make of it. I am now off to get ready for New Years festivities!
How are you spending your last few hours of 2012? 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Post-Christmas Blues

Just a quick post to say I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas! As always it went way to quick and I'm (and my dog!) now feeling the post-Christmas blues.
Look out for a post on my favourite products of 2012 before we ring in the New Year.

My God this year has flown by hasn't it?!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

How-to: Christmas snowflake nails

Had such fun making this post! Would you like to see more makeup related How-to's like this?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Photo Diary 03

Another busy couple of weeks for me, now I'm back home in Birmingham relaxing I'm finding it extremely difficult to not be doing anything, feel so unproductive!
Hope you're all looking forward to Christmas, I sure will be once this flu passes!

Illamasqua Precision Ink in Scribe

Illamasqua Precision Ink in Scribe - £17.00

I had a feeling I would love this product and I was right! As always with Illamasqua it is super high-pigmented, although patchy when applied thinly, so two coats are needed for a fully opaque finish. It's ultra fine felt-like tip makes for precise application, making fine lines quick and easy to do. I was a bit sceptical of it's claim to be waterproof, but sure enough under running water it didn't budge until rubbed off with a makeup wipe.
I've noticed many people regard Precision Ink as an eyeliner, but they are such a multi-use product that can be used for face/body art and as a nail pen. With it's consistency and matte finish, I may even try and use it to block out brows for a shoot.
All in all, I absolutely love this product and may even grab a few more colours while my 40% Christmas Professional discount is still available!

I apologise in advance for my short and probably ill written review, I am full of the flu and it is making me delirious! I'll probably look over this once I'm better and ask myself why I even bothered to do a post in such a state!

Have you tried any of Illamasqua's Precision Inks? What were your thoughts?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Quick update and 50% off at Motel!!

The future of Beauty Lust is looking bright, and I mean really bright. What started as something to act as a sideline to my studies has now had more than a couple (very secret!) emails telling me if I up the ante with this, things could get real exciting.
So you will be hearing more and more of me as the months go on, as I'll be introducing new segments including how-tos, get the looks, and more. Very exciting.

Also for you fellow bloggers, you can view the selection on offer at the Motel sale one week earlier than everyone else by clicking here, and by entering XMASPREVIEW50 at the checkout, you can receive 50% off it all! Now i'm not sure whether my unique code SARAEMAKEUP will work on top, but it's worth a try right?
If that wasn't enough you will also recieve free next day delivery, even on Saturday, and free delivery to the USA as always. So be quick, as this offer is for one week only!

Is there any particular new segment you'd like to see on this blog? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Illamasqua Lipstick in Disciple

Illamasqua Lipstick in Disciple - £16.00*

Instead of my normal review,  here's the review I completed for the Bullring.
Tell us about your favourite makeup brands 
I don’t have a favourite makeup brand in particular, as I find that I have a favourite brand for different products. Overall my favourite brands are probably NARS, MAC, Kryolan and Illamasqua.

What key makeup item/s couldn’t you live without?
Surprisingly, the makeup item I’d say I couldn’t live without is a good brown eyeshadow. From that alone I can create a really subtle day look to a smokey eye for the night, even if I had to do so from one shade. Another item would be primer, I currently use Smashbox’s Photo Finish, there is such a noticeable difference to the finish of someones skin just from using primer as a base.

Do you have a staple lipstick shade/ brand? If so tell us about it 
I wouldn’t say I have a statement shade, but right now in these winter months my Clinique Chubby Stick is a god send. It gives my lips just the right hint of colour and they have yet to feel the affect of the bitter cold weather. It has literally been everywhere in my bag with me over the last couple of months. 

   Would you normally experiment with unusual shades and trends?
Being a makeup artist, I am forever picking out inspirations from all sorts of weird and wonderful places and applying it to makeup. I’ll take my ideas and experiment with them until I find something that works and can be used in a shoot or for the everyday.

What were your initial thoughts on the lipstick shade we sent you?
Honestly, my initial thoughts were ‘Do they actually want me to review this to wear for everyday use?’ In my makeup kit it is perfect, but being such a dramatic shade I started thinking ways I could make it a product suitable for ‘normal’ wear.

Are you a fan of the gothic beauty trend or not? Tell us what you think of it
I am very much a fan of the gothic beauty trend, wearing lipsticks in plum and wine shades can instantly create such drama in a look, and if worn correctly can be beautiful.

Did the shade we sent you suit your skin tone?
Normally when buying red lipsticks I opt for one with a blue undertone to suit my complexion, however I was surprised that such a bold shade did suit my skin tone.

How did the product feel on your lips?
It was quite drying, due to the matte finish, but the second time I applied some Burt's Bees balm underneath and it wasn't as drying. 

    Did you like the shade when you tried it on?
I didn’t like the shade no, but being navy blue I don’t think most people would unless it was for an editorial look.

What did you think of the packaging?
As always with Illamasqua, the packaging is sleek and understated, which I love. 

Would you recommend the brand to friends? 
I would definitely recommend Illamasqua to friends, their products are of such high quality and they aren’t afraid to be daring and break the mould with their products.

Would you wear this shade again? If not tell us why
I wouldn’t wear this lipstick again on it’s own, but I would definitely use it in my kit or if on myself, I’d mix it to make a dark purple or to tone down a bright red. 

Do you have any tips you can share on applying this lipstick or what kind of makeup look you think goes best with it? 
I experimented with the lipstick a lot, I mixed it with a red to create an amazing purple shade, and I also used it with a dark red to create a subtle ombre lip (pictures below), both looks being completely wearable. The best makeup look would be with a simple eye, I always think if you’re wearing a bold lip, keep the eyes nude, or vice versa. Just a lashing of mascara on it’s own or with a simple eyeliner flick would be perfect. 

Ombre lip using Kryolan mini-rouge lip palette and Illamasqua Disciple

Mixed with Kryolan mini-rouge lip palette on my photoshoot with LCF

Would you be brave enough to sport such a daring shade as Disciple?

Monday, 3 December 2012

The ultimate beauty Christmas gift guide

With Christmas little less than a month away, I have scoured the internet (and I mean all of it!) to bring you my round up of the best Beauty picks this festive season to suit any budget.

The 'Stocking Filler' Gifts

Clockwise from top left (Click link to shop):

Topshop Brush Gift Set - £12.00 
The perfect starter set, consisting of 5 pink handled brushes, a powder brush, two eyeshadow brushes, a small angled brush and a lip brush.

Lime Crime Velvetines liquid lipstick in Red Velvet - £13.00
Velvetines is described as a Long-lasting, waterproof liquid lipstick that goes on with the ease of gloss and dries to leave a completely matte, velvet finish. Perfect stocking filler and accompaniment to this seasons velvet nail trend. At the time of creating the post, the lipstick was on sale at, but they are currently sold out.

Benefit B.Right Radiant Skincare Set - £10.00
The 6 piece starter skincare set includes: Triple performance facial emulsion, Moisture prep toning lotion, Foamingly clean facial wash, Refined finish facial polish, Total moisture facial cream and It's potent eye cream.

Philosophy Hope in a jar - £10.00
The lightweight daily moisturiser is suitable for all skin types and comes in a Christmas box complete with present tag. For the ultimate cutesy stocking filler, no wrapping required!

Crown Brush blusher palette - £14.99
With a light and dark palette available and 10 shades in each, there is a colour to suit any skin type. Great for aspiring makeup artists and makeup junkies alike.

Ciate Velvet Manicure in Mink Cashmere - £14.00
Simply add two coats of polish, tip the crushed velvet over the nail, then sweep away excess into the enclosed tray for a finish unlike any other. Also available in Berry and Navy Blue shades.

Cath Kidston set of three emery boards - £5.00
With the nail art trend in full force, it would be a shame to ruin your hours of steady-handed work with a poorly manicured nail. Each spotted emery board had two different grains, hard and soft, and is a steal at £5 for a set of three.

Stila Positively Pink set for Breast Cancer Awareness - £12.50
The set includes a limited-edition multicoloured pressed powder and Stila's award winning Lip glaze. A portion of the proceeds go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, meaning you can shop while doing your bit for a worthy cause, who knew! 

Korres Tropical Holidays set - £12.00
This limited-edition set includes miniature Mango shower gel, Coconut milk body milk and Guava extra moisturising cream. All designed to moisturise and improve the skins elasticity, just what your body needs in these cold winter months.

The 'Cheap and Cheerful' Gifts

Clockwise from top left (Click link to shop):

An introductory set featuring Morroccan Rose Otto body wash, Morroccan Rose Otto bath oil and Morroccan Rose Otto body cream to relax and revitalise the skin. I use Ren's Hydra-Calm global protection face cream for sensitive skin on models when doing a photoshoot, and they always say how good it smells. I'm sure this set will be no exception, and I recommend to try any of Ren's skincare range.

The pretty wipe-clean bag features a contrast colour bow, Ted Baker logo and easy zip fastening to hold your makeup essentials. And if pink doesn't take your fancy, they have black and rose-gold versions too!

The first nail duo includes Throb, a rich festive red, and Spartan, an ultra sparkly glitter gold. The second includes Viridian, a vibrant peacock green, and my personal favourite Glitterati, a dark raspberry glitter. Can be worn on their own or together for a stand-out finish, as seen in Illamasqua's incredible 'I'm dreaming of..' Christmas campaign.

Clinique's Chubby sticks have reached cult status in the last year or so, with their combination of long-lasting moisture and just the right hint of colour. My chubby stick has been a staple product in my makeup collection this winter, and thanks to it's mix of Shea butter, Mango seed butter and Jojoba oil, my lips have yet to feel the effect of the bitter cold the UK is facing.
The set contains a selection of the most popular shades including, Richer Raisin, Bulky Blossom, Chunky Cherry, Oversized Orange and Super Strawberry.

MAC Holiday Guilty Passions pigments - £25
As with their 2011 Dazzlespheres Holiday collection, the kits feature four stackable pigment jars across three sets. The set pictured contains shades Ever Elegant, Silk Stocking, Dreamy Little Thing and Darling Coquette. The set comes in a overly glamorous pastel tin topped with a black bow. The packaging is too overly girly for my taste but for £25 for four pigments, I'd happily accept them in any packaging!

L'Occitane Happy Hands trio - £20.00
Designed to celebrate L'Occitane's thirty years of shea butter. A blend of shea butter, honey and almond create the three fragrances, capturing the essence of exotic flowers. The trio includes Cocoa flower, Desert rose and Hibiscus flower hand creams, boxed together with a design inspired by traditional african prints.

Bobbi Brown Black Pearl eye palette - £30
Containing shades perfect for the Christmas party season, the palette consists of 6 colours to help you create dramatic smokey eyes with the perfect amount of shimmer. The palette also contains a duel-ended shadow/liner brush for on-the-go application. Update: A promotion was running at the time of creating the gift guide, and the palette has now returned to it's original price of £37.80.

Diptyque Paris Holiday Candles - £25 each
Yes I know that £25 is expensive for a single candle, especially for a mini-candle, but look at them! The red, Amber Oud, is inspired by Arabian Nights combines rare spices to transport the user into an Oriental dream world. The blue, Oliban, showcases the precious resin Frankensence to transport the user straight in to the heart of the Arabian Nights. The green, Sapin Dore, pays homage to the Christmas tree infused with balmy, comforting and warming notes to transport the user straight to the heart of a forest of golden spruce trees. Their beautiful design means that once the candle burns out, it can still be used to decorate the home. How can you resist?

The Extravagant Gifts

Clockwise from top left (Click link to shop):

A set of four styling essentials handpicked by Bumble and Bumble, each featuring a limited-edition hand drawn label by their in-house illustrators. The set contains their cult Surf Spray, Grooming Creme, Thickening Hairspray and Shine on Finishing Spray to create any look you desire. The stylist editions kit is on my beauty wishlist for sure.

I'm sure those of you in the bloggersphere already know the deal with Glossybox, subscribe and you receive a box through the post each month containing beauty products specially selected by experts. The samples range from perfume, makeup, hair and body products by well-known brands, both full sized and travel sized, and no two boxes are the same. The £50 includes post and packaging (Beautifully packaged too!) and one free box. The gift that keeps on giving...for 6 months anyway.

A mini selection of Nails Inc's best-selling shades, neons, glitters and metallics. With a range of 15 shades at hand (Ha), it will be a long time before you'll be reaching for another varnish.
The Paparazzi set includes: Notting Hill Gate (Neon pink), Portobello (Neon coral), Holland Park (Neon purple), Baker Street (Cobalt Blue), Docklands (Bright red), Elizabeth Street (Cream nude), Porchester Square (Muted mushroom), The Thames (Classic grey), Bruton Mews (Forest green), Richmond Terrace (Rich plum), The Boltons (Metallic red), Chelsea Embankment (Gold glitter), Sloane Square (Charcoal 3D glitter), Park Street (Lilac glitter), Chelsea Square (Rose glitter).

The Devine Desire Exclusive face kit includes Powder blush in Born to Love, Cremesheen lipstick in In a Heartbeat, Lipglass in Pure Flattery, Technakohl liner in Photogravure and a 129SE Powder/Blush brush. A bit of a coral overload yes, but I have already fallen for the Born to Love blush, and the mix of the charcoal grey liner would give a subtle edge to the overall look. I'm already dancing around the subject of buying this for myself, I probably already would have if it was eligible for my Pro discount..sigh.

I couldn't help but put three of MAC's holiday products in to my Christmas guide, as each year they are such good value for money. MAC have a selection of eye, lip and brush set bags on offer for the holiday season, so it was quite difficult to pick only one to feature. 
The Sensual Peach set pictured includes eyeshadows Dazzle Me and Mulch in MAC's signature palette, Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown, Bad, Bad Black Opulash and a 275SE Medium angled shading brush. All packaged in a leopard-print purse.

Nearly £40 for six 100ml bottles of bath and shower gel may sound pretty insane, but if you've tried one of Molton Brown's gels before, you'll know what the big deal is. I've been bought their miniature gift sets before, and there has been not one that I haven't been infatuated with, they all smell seriously good. 
The box contains Travel-Reviving Cempaka, Paradisiac Pink Pepperpod, Heavenly Gingerlily, Relaxing Yuan Zhi, Blissful Templetree and Enlivening Toko-yuzu. The set also comes gift-wrapped in the lovely Christmassy box pictured, with tags and all included.

A perfect gift for the lipstick obsessed, this little compact holds your favourite lipstick in place, with a flip-out mirror revealing 'Don't forget your lipstick' in Guinness' handwriting. An essential for your night-out clutch, the compact is available in black or white and comes giftboxed with a dustcover.

I am a huge fan of Smashbox's palettes, I purchased their Shades of Fame palette on a trip to the US earlier this year and it has literally been used to death ever since. Their shades are so well pigmented and blendable they could easily rival some of the high-end luxury brands on the market. The Studio Pop Christmas palette includes 16 of their best-selling shadows and 4 cream eye-liners, packed together with a built-in mirror and a Get The Look booklet.
The Photo Op Eyeshadows include Nocturnal, Lunar, Emerald, Nude, Vanilla, Obsidian, Champagne, Bark, Cinder, Pastel, Orchid, Flamingo, Smoke, Amethyst, 24K and nutmeg. The cream liners consist of Bronze, Royal, Picasso and Nightlife.

The Blow-The-Budget Gifts

Clockwise from top left (Click link to shop):

The limited edition set contains 9 of Illamasqua's best-sellers, along with step-by-step tutorials on creating four unique looks, created by the School of Makeup Art. One gift set will also include a black winning ticket, the prize being a bespoke consultation with Illamasqua's Product Development Manager, David Horne.
The gift box includes powder eyeshadow in Obsidian, pure pigment in Zeitgeist, medium pencil in Sophie, precision ink in Abyss, masquara in Raven, false eye lashes in 13, eye brow cake in Thunder and sheer lip gloss in Artifice. The RRP if bought seperately is £133, saving over £30.

The set includes two customisable palettes, one filled with a hand-selected assortment of shades, the other empty, enabling you to customise your own. The assortment includes eight eye colours, two eyeliners, a cheek contour and a bronzing pressed powder. The set also comes with a 4 piece brush, housed in their own zip-up travel case.

I doubt there would be many people who would spend nearly £100 on a perfume, but this was too pretty to resist putting in my gift guide. The perfume contains an unusual blend of berries, rose and liquorice, and comes with a travel spray for on the go. And how could I not mention the packaging?! Probably the best I've seen from a perfume in years, so many come with ugly packaging that ends up in the bin, but I'm sure this one would have it's pride of place on the dresser. And if you really love it, you can purchase a 1.5L bottle of the stuff here. No? Thought not.

Bobbi Brown's Caviar and Oyster sets are probably the most sophisticated Christmas collection of all the big makeup brands this year. Housed in a sleek leather-like case with oyster pink satin, the travel size brushes include a Face blender brush, an eyeshadow/ Ultra fine liner brush, a Smokey eye liner brush and a Lip brush with cap. The travel sized brushes and ultra-chic case is perfect for keeping in your hand bag for touch ups throughout the day.

Inspired by Andy Warhol's Silver Factory studio and accompanied by a deluxe cosmetics bag, the set includes Silver Factor multiple, Silver Factory Shadow trio, Chelsea Girls Pure Matte Lipstick, Desire blush, Via Veneto larger-than-life long wear eyeliner, number 13 eyeshadow brush and number 8 blush brush.

Everyones loves the novelty of a cracker at Christmas, no-one however, likes the novelty gifts inside. Thank God for Lancome, who's Christmas crackers include Hypnose mascara, Bi-Facil, mini juicy tubes, Vissionaire, Genifique youth activating concentrate and mini L'Absolu Rouge lipstick. Yes, the males of the house won't approve of these makeup filled crackers, but I'm sure they don't keep the pens and spinning tops found in normal ones anyway!

Last but not least, I bring you a ridiculously expensive product that no-one would ever be able to ask for for Christmas unless they want a dirty look from their loved ones. The Tom Ford Luxury Vanity Case features four pouches containing a wardrobe of products, from nail varnish to eye palettes and lipstick. The case contains 16 products in total, and unless you are insane or extremely rich, I would stick to the rest of my gift guide.

So there you have it, the ultimate beauty Christmas gift guide. If you end up buying anything from here as a sneaky early Christmas gift for yourself, I won't tell. I've probably already done so myself...

Have you braved the madness of Christmas Shopping yet? What's on your wish list this year?