ESSENCE COSMETICS HAUL

Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on some of the Essence cosmetic products I purchased on a recent makeup haul, as well as a step-by-step guide for how I created an everyday, wearable makeup look using these products.

On my latest visit to the Clicks cosmetics isle, I found myself gravitating toward the Essence counter. I swatched several products for a good amount of time, examining different shades and textures, and eventually decided to purchase a few items to try. I chose some everyday makeup essentials, including concealer, brow gel and eye-shadow brushes. I’d also been contemplating the Essence “All-About-Nudes” palette as well as their long-lasting lipstick in the shade “Barely There”, and eventually I caved in and returned for both. After a few weeks of trying all of the above products, some for the first time whilst others I’d used before, I was pleased with most of my purchases and would definitely use those again. The only product I was unhappy with, and thus, would not purchase again is the “Coverstick” concealer; this product has an unusual texture that doesn’t sit well on dry areas such as under the eye and around the nose where redness typically appears. After noticing how this product struggles to cling to dry areas of skin I switched back to my Maybelline creamy concealer stick.

It wasn’t all bad, though, as the “All-About-Nudes” palette,  Clear Brow Gel and the lip-enhancing “Barely There” lipstick did not fail to impress. Each of these products are gentle on the area of application and when applied to a primed and prepped surface, excel in longevity and payoff. As you might expect, there are such a wide variety of looks to create with a nude palettte like this one, both for everyday or a more glam evening look. This applies to the Barely There shade as well; for daytime I usually blot on a bit of lipstick  over my lip moisturizer and wear it as a lip-stain, then increase the pigment if I want a more pronounced lip color for evenings.

Since purchased, I’ve been experimenting with eye looks using the shadows from the nudes palette and have created below a makeup look that can be used as day-to-night transition makeup. I thought it might be fun to also incorporate the Barely There lipstick in this look, finishing off with the Essence clear brow gel to set stray brow hairs in to place. If you’d like to see how I achieved the makeup look pictured above, keep reading for an easy to follow step-by-step guide.

  1. step 1: After priming the skin and neutralizing any discoloration around the eyes, use a fluffy blending brush to apply both the second and third shadows from the top row of the All-About-Nudes palette in to your crease. Remember to blend well as this will serve as your transition color for the eye look.
  2. step 2: Use an eye-shader brush to apply the third shadow in the top row of the palette in to the outer-v area of your eye. How much shadow you apply will depend on the shape of your eye and how much depth and definition you want to add to this area. As this is a daytime makeup look, I would use less shadow for a more natural finish. Once you’ve applied this color, use the same brush from the previous step to blend out the outer-v color with your crease color.
  3. step 3: Taking a clean shader brush, pat the third color in the bottom row of the palette on to your mobile lid – working this shade across the center part of your eye. Try to avoid applying this shade too close to the inner and outer corners. Once again, use a fluffy blending brush to blend out the shadow for a seamless finish.
  4. step 4: Using a pencil brush, mix the second and third shadows from the top row and run this along your lower lashline for a smoked-out effect. Blend these two shadows all the way in to the outer-v of your upper lashline.
  5. step 5: To brighten and open up the eyes, apply the matte-white shadow in the top row of the palette to your inner corners and right along under the brow bone. Blend the shadows one last time with a fluffy blending brush before applying mascara. If you haven’t yet, comb and shape your brows and apply a clear brow gel to set them.
  6. Finish off the makeup look with your usual foundation routine, then gently blot Barely There lipstick to your lips.

Et voila! An easy-glam daytime makeup look. I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you did, be sure to subscribe for future content and more reviews.

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HOW I CAPTURE & EDIT PHOTOS

Over the last few months, I’ve had an influx of kind people who’ve commented on my Instagram uploads and some even asking for a few tips for taking their own photos. After contemplating the idea, I decided to put together this blog post and share with you some of my own personal tricks. Keep reading for tips on composition, lighting and editing tips to get your best photo. HOW I CAPTURE & EDIT PHOTOS

WINTER FASHION FAVORITES

Coats, pants and oversize knits have made groundbreaking strides in winter minimalist fashion. Keep reading as I showcase a few favorites and inspiration for how to style these wardrobe favorites.

COATS & BOMBER JACKETS

While venturing in to more shapeless forms this winter, coats remain structured but box-like. This shape is sleek, modern and looks great thrown over other layers. Play around with lengths as this coat style ranges from mid length to floor-sweeper. If you’re after something a little more retro, invest in a quality bomber jacket that packs warmth. You’ll find these jackets come in a variety of shapes, and some appear more cropped than others. Again, shop around first and see which length you prefer – especially if you plan on layering other clothing items underneath.

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TAPERED PANTS & CULOTTES

Growing up with an obsession for denim, I’ve recently been falling over my feet for slacks and culotte-type pants. Being more of a casual dresser, I opt for a relaxed form (rather than fitted) and choose cuts that reach just above the ankle – regardless of whether the shape is tapered or culotte. This style of pants pairs really well with anything, and, depending on how you wear them, can prove immensely useful in its versatility.

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KNITS & OVERSIZE SCARVES

Rather than donning your usual favorite jersey knits, invest in an oversize scarf like the ones pictured below. These scarves add subtle dimension to your look and provide an abundance of heat. And, while scarves share a similar function to polo-neck sweaters, they’re an adjustable layer that can be taken off when necessary without fuss.

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If you’re thinking of investing in some great pieces like the ones mentioned here in this post, leave me a comment and I’ll put together a list of where to go and what to look out for. In the meantime, subscribe to the blog to keep up to date with all the latest content.

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CURRENT BEAUTY FAVORITES

As is the case for a number of beauty and skincare enthusiasts, when a new season ushers in, I usually update my skincare regimen and switch up my beauty routine accordingly. As we head into the colder autumnal months, I’ve compiled a list of current faves, including skincare, under-eye concealers and lipsticks that double up as cheek tints. Keep reading to see why these beauty favorites deserve a spot in your makeup collection.

1. Starting off this list is the well-loved beauty blender (BB). As a personal choice, I try not to put out too much for a specific brand, and when it comes to these easy-to-get cosmetic sponges, I don’t have to. With good brands available at pharmacies like Dischem and Clicks, the power of this pint-sized wonder-tool owes to its tapered edges and compact size. Having self briefly switched to a flat, angled foundation brush and being disappointed  to say the least, I fervently made my way back to this makeup essential and haven’t looked back since. Key-tip: Remember to wash your beauty blender after every use, allowing it to air-dry naturally before your next use.

2. Still on the topic of skin-perfecting miracle products, let’s jump straight on to the next favorite – Maybelline’s Cover Stick Concealer. Packaged to look like a lipstick tube, this creamy long-lasting concealer is a steal. Best applied from the stick and blended with a beauty blender (see above), say goodbye to dark under-eye circles and pesky redness around the nose. Key tip: Blend well! You can always reapply for more coverage but start with thin layers and keep patting in the product whilst blending it in to the skin.

3. Last on our list of beauty favorites packs a duo that livens your look, adds a healthy flush, and offers the perfect pout. Multi-purpose lip and cheek tints have been around for some time, and while not entirely groundbreaking, the list of colors and textures now available to us, these duos have become something of a favorite. Boasting a creamy formula, this product works best with natural skin or layered over creamy foundations. If your skin is oily but you still want to try this product, wear a cream foundation and a translucent powder on the t-zone. Key-tip: Finding a shade (or two-maybe three) that suits your lifestyle is essential to getting maximum use from this product. The creamy formula might seem strange at first, but once you really get the hang of it, you’ll save time and effort in your makeup routine.

What are some of your favorite beauty products right now? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me with the #TMBBeautyFavorites

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VALENTINE’S DAY LOOKBOOK

With Valentine’s day just around the corner, I’ve put together some of my favorite simplified and easy-to-achieve looks to suit whatever your plans. A firm believer that anyone can partake in this holiday – provided you have at least a little bit of love to give – you really can wear anything you want, in whatever color. Here at The Minimale Blogger, I decided to stay true to form by sourcing looks in favor of the less conventional V-day color palette.

If your plans include spending this romantic day with your single friends, opt for something light and breezy. Pair your favorite shift dress with pretty flats and a wide-brimmed veld hat. Finish off the look with minimal accessories and a relaxed low bun with a few strands pulled loose to frame your face. Keep your beauty regime simple with a dual-purpose lip and cheek tint in an orange shade. Finish off the look with dewy skin (lots of sunscreen) and a few coats of mascara.

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For a sultry date, nothing flatters more than showing off your shoulders – it’s also a great alternative for those not wanting to show any cleavage. Channel style blogger, Harper and Harley, pictured below, by pairing an off-the-shoulder ruffled blouse with a midi skirt, finishing off the look with ankle strap heels. Wondering what makeup to pair with this outfit, try wearing your hair in loose waves with a soft, glossy finish and a one-toned smokey eye with nude-peach lips and glowing skin.

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If you plan on doing something relaxed and romantic with your significant other, opt for comfort. A midi white dress is such a great layering piece and can be dressed up or toned down, depending on your tastes. Talissa shows us just how relaxed this look can be, (pictured below) however, if you’re looking to glam up your look, add  heels, messy waves and a dainty clutch purse.

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THE ICONIC WHITE SHIRT

The white shirt is so loved in the fashion world because of its many variations. Its versatility remains unrivaled and its ability to transform for any occasion has kept it a winner through decades. With summer in full swing, and temperatures soaring, less is definitely more. Keep things cool with a crisp white shirt – your perfect tool for an effortless, stylish summer wardrobe. Keep your white shirt updated with some inspiration below.

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PAris Fashionweek ss2015 day 4, outside Acne Studios, candela novembre

Pair a sleeveless white shirt with a tank dress (see above) or try an ultra-longer length chiffon tank top – like this.

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Keep your white shirt chic with a pleated midi skirt and chunky tote bag. What really keeps this look modern is the natural hair and makeup.

Olivia Palermo gets dressed up for a business meeting in New York City

Take a cue from fashion favorite Olivia Palermo and pair your white shirt with tonal colors and a sleek pulled back hairdo.

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When streestyle casual meets glammed up office wear. Perfect merging of two different looks.New york Fashionweek day 5 NYFW ss2015

What are some of your favorite ways to wear a white shirt? Share with us in the comments below and you could be featured in our next style segment!

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REVLON COLORSTAY ULTIMATIVE REVIEW

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have seen a post or two about the Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipsticks. As promised, here is the mini-review featuring three shades of the liquid lipstick and my first impressions thereof. Before reading up on other reviews of the Colorstay Ultimate, I decided to form my own opinion of the product before possibly taking on anyone else’s experiences. I went with the shade “Top Tomato”, a fairly neutral (not too warm or cool toned) vibrant red color. I was pleasantly surprised after first applying it. The liquid formula glides on smoothly with a felt wand and sets after about 30 seconds. Depending on how much product you apply, the application may take more or less than 3o seconds to set.

This is how my first experience went down:

8AM: I apply two light coats of the Colorstay Ultimate to my lips. 10AM: After two or so hours, a full brunch and piping hot coffee, the two coats of lipstick I’d applied remained still relatively intact. I was especially impressed that I wasn’t in need of lip-liner to keep the product from “spilling” past the natural outer line of my lips, something I’ve always struggled with in creamy formulas. 11AM: Not much later came our trip to watch the latest James Bond offering – and with it a large bucket of popcorn, whispers and slush puppy. 2PM: Needless to say, at this point the lipstick has exceeded its staying power and begins crumbling off my lips. It seems that this a common issue for many other users. One reviewer sharing a similar experience writes:

“When it starts to wear off, it feels like you have chunks of chapped lip pieces sitting on your lips, very uncomfortable.” – MakeupAlley

When it came time to reapplying a fresh coat of lipstick, I realized that I needed to completely wipe away the first (now withered) application of lipstick because layering liquid lipstick is pointless. Why? Well, just like a mattifying foundation formula, matte lipsticks generally set like paint on a wall. When the product does start lifting off the skin (or your lips in this situation), reapplying new product over that means the new product will sit on top of the old product, rather than combining with actual skin (which is what makes liquid lipstick set so well in the first place). In addition to this, matte lipsticks are generally lacking in moisture, so when wiping away the old application, you also need to first moisturize your lips before reapplying any new product. Re-moisturizing ensures a smoother base for the product to cling to.

Some tips I found useful when using this product is to firstly use a lip exfoliant a couple hours before you plan on wearing this lipstick out; a fine-sugar, cinnamon and honey scrub usually does the trick and can be made at home. After exfoliating, apply a thick serum-like lip balm (Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream is perfect for this, and if you head over to their beauty counters you can ask for a free sample before committing to purchasing). Carry oil wipes with you as I find this to be the most effective at completely removing old lipstick product without overtly drying out your lips. Apply sparingly, you can build up the intensity with an extra coat but start off with less and evaluate the look before reapplying. It’s important to keep in mind that liquid lipsticks look a lot different once they’ve set. One makeup artist shares her tips to getting a flawless Colorstay Ultimate application, she writes:

“[…] People I’ve suggested this to say it’s too drying. While I don’t tend to have dry lips or chapping, I know that if you don’t blot this lipstick well, it gets [sticky] along the inside edge of the lips. My secret is to apply a regular amount and blot really well with a tissue.” – NSCU

 Check out my Instagram to see more posts as I try two more shades of this lipstick (a bare-pink nude and an evocative red wine). If you have any thoughts on this product, let me know in the comments below.

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SUMMER SKINCARE & BEAUTY

Summer is around the corner, and just like your wardrobe, its time to switch out your winter beauty regimen for something lighter and more breathable.

First up, let’s break down the actual difference between summer and winter season and what that means for our skin and beauty regimen. According to Californian-based dermatologist David Voron, our skin becomes increasingly dry in cold weather due to the lack of humidity in the air – this in turn zaps out the moisture and oils that our bodies naturally secrete. Summer on the other hand brings about renewed moisture to our skin due to the excessive heat and humidity. This could however spell trouble for our pores, which tend to clog up with harmful bacteria caused by sweating and non-breathable formulas in both skincare and makeup products. Another worry for many of us skin-conscious is the constant sun exposure which emit harmful UV rays, which has been the cause of many detrimental skin conditions, including skin cancer in the most extreme cases.

With all this information in hindsight, it’s easy to see importance of making informed and healthy decisions when putting anything on our skin – especially the skin on our faces, which is said to be the most sensitive. In my experience, I’ve found that switching from a heavier BB-cream (M.A.C’s BB cream for oily skin in fair) to a lighter formula (Garnier’s BB cream for oily skin in medium) makes a big difference to my overall complexion, in comparison to when I’d used just one BB cream throughout the year. Outside of this change, I also up my sunscreen from an SPF20 to an SPF30, even if the BB cream itself already packs in any SPF. This precaution means I can spend more time outside in contact with sun exposure and UV rays without worrying too much about permanent or severe sun damage.

In my summer skincare and beauty products I look for lightweight formulas, adequate SPF, and a mattifying finish. By choosing lightweight formulas and grouping together products that prevent breakouts and unflattering oil slicks, I’ve experienced minimal-to-no breaks out (often caused by heavy formulas and constant sweating, which in turn clogs pores), ensuring my skin stays matte throughout the day without having to wear heavy caked-up coverage.

On a side-note, another Garnier favorite of mine, is to add a skin soother after a long day of being outdoors; their After Sun soothing gel is particularly good for this as it leaves the skin feeling refreshed and moisturized. However, as many reviewers have pointed out, the soothing gel is not particularly useful at relieving sun-burnt skin. Nevertheless, the product is immensely great for restoring the skin’s elasticity and hydration levels after being outdoors.

And that wraps up my current summer beauty regimen. For a full list of products I like to use, check out my polyvore account here.

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7 NEWEST & BEST FOUNDATIONS TO TRY

Thanks to the lovely ladies over at Cosmopolitan, we now have at our disposal a reviewed list of the top 10 newest and best foundations to add to our ammo of flawless coverage.

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Image Courtesy of Chriselle Lim

The list of foundations below range from upgraded drugstore favorites, to new on the market high-end brands, and features other favorites from reputable makeup houses like Smashbox and Stila. What I found really useful while going through Cosmo’s list was the sort of information they’d included, and so I wanted to offer my readers the same experience. With that in mind, I decided to do even more research, really unpacking each foundation and drawing on different user reviews to give you the full scoop.

1. Stila’s Stay-All-Day Foundation and Concealer:

At roughly R500, this foundation might seem a tad pricey, but keep reading to find out what makes it worth every penny. The Stay-All-Day conveniently includes a matching shade of concealer, which is stored and concealed within the lid. According to the Cosmo Beauty Team, this foundation packs an oil-free set of ingredients which makes it great for us blemish-prone unfortunates, and also contains oxygenating technology which prevents the skin from drying out by keeping it hydrated. While it might seem counterproductive to use a foundation that hydrates when you suffer with oily skin, keeping the skin hydrated in-fact prevents your skin from drying out which actually causes an overproduction of sebum.

2. Smashbox’s Camera Ready BB Water SPF30

At Just under R500, the Camera-Ready BB Water has a beautiful dewy finish, and boasts a lightweight coverage, which can however be built up for a heavier coverage due to the consistency of the foundation – you can’t always build up a matte foundation because it tends to settle as soon as you’ve applied it. The Camera Ready Foundation also contains a broad spectrum sunscreen, which means you can rest assured that your skin will be taken care of throughout the day.

Here’s what the beauty team over at Paula’s Choice had to say,

“The super-fluid, lightweight formula sets to a satin finish that is neither matte nor moisturizing—making this an option for nearly any skin type, including the acne-prone.”

3. Revlon’s Photoready Insta-fix Makeup

Another drugstore favorite coming in at about R200, is Revlon’s Photoready Insta-fix stick foundation; notably useful both as a full coverage foundation, but also for spot concealing blemishes or covering dark circles. It contains light reflecting technology which makes it especially great for special occasions (where there’s bound to be flash photography) and your skin will look airbrushed throughout. If all that wasn’t enough, Revlon have also included an SPF20 to prevent direct sunlight from penetrating beyond the surface layer of your skin. One reviewer writes,

“I like best how natural [Photoready Insta-fix] looks, without feeling heavy or greasy…and coverage can be increased a bit by layering.”

4. Illuminare’s Concealing Mineral Foundation

I’ll be honest, with a name like that, I was initially expecting this product to cost a lot more than R300. But there it is, proving you can’t judge a book by it’s cover (or fancy title in this case). The Concealing Mineral Foundation packs excellent coverage, and so the Cosmo Beauty Team recommend using this product sparingly, “a little goes a long way”, says Cosmo beauty editor Carly Cardellino. Another user of the Mineral Foundation writes,

“At first, I thought it was too dewy/shiny, but I learned to apply it sparingly…even the thinnest layer provides good coverage.”

5. Loreal’s Infallible Pro-matte 24HR Foundation

Drugstore-favorite Loreal have recently released their Infallible 24HR foundation which offers a matte finish by absorbing excess oil when applied. The product is designed to have a light textured formula and claims to last the entire day! This foundation seems best-suited for us girls who grease up even on non-busy days, but at just R200, is worth investing in even if you don’t have oily skin but tend to have extensive and demanding schedules. One reviewer (who says she struggles with breakouts and oily skin) writes that,

“…[Infallible Pro-matte] makes my skin matte […] is buildable in coverage…and very easy to blend.”

6. Lancome’s Miracle Cushion Foundation

Shortly after releasing earlier this year, the Lancome Miracle Cushion garnered much attention, growing to be well-loved by many in the beauty industry. According to beauty retailer, Sephora,

“[…] Its innovative cushion sponge contains over 800,000 pores to transfer the ideal amount of product for an effortless makeup application.”

Boasting an impressive 11 shades, this foundation is well-loved by many for its dewy finish with skin brightening ingredients. One of the main critiques however is the amount of coverage it gives, which isn’t much. In retrospect, the finish is meant to compliment and enhance your own skin, rather than completely change it. The Miracle Cushion Foundation usually retails at a hefty R500, but considering the continuous success of this foundation, perhaps it is worth the spend.

7. Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Luminous

Arguably one of the most reasonably priced foundations on the market is Covergirl’s Stay Luminous Foundation. You can find this foundation at your local Clicks or Dischem ranging between R200 and R250. One user, who says she really struggles with dry patches, appreciates that Covergirl’s Stay Luminous formula refuses to cling to any dry patches, and gives her a great luminous glow.

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