Tuesday, 30 April 2013

When to splurge and when to save on makeup

As much as I love splurging on beauty treats that make me feel pretty and confident, I also get a buzz out of saving money while still looking great...

In this post I am going to show you which beauty treats are, in my opinion, worth the splurge and which are not.

From bottom left: Chanel Perfection Lumiere, Bobbi Brown Corrector, BB Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer,  Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash, Rouge Dior 841 Belle De Nuit, Estee Lauder Hydrationist Lotion
From bottom left: Chanel Perfection Lumiere, Bobbi Brown Corrector, BB Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer,  Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash, Rouge Dior 841 Belle De Nuit, Estee Lauder Hydrationist Lotion


I tend to splurge on face creams and serums because they stay on my skin all day and I look for the ones which include a fair amount of antioxidants, skin repairing ingredients, cell communicating ingredients, which make your skin behave and look better and ideally a SPF15 or above (click here to read post on how to choose the right moisturizer). When I say splurge I mean that I spend between £30 and £40 and that the max I would spend is probably around £60, which I have not done yet. In fact I do not believe in investing in creams beyond a certain price tag, at least at my age (40 now!). My favourite face creams are Estee Lauder Hydrationist Lotion and Daywear Lotion SPF15because they contain the above mentioned ingredients and I can see a difference when I use them. If I need to save some pennies I usually go for Olay face creams like Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Anti-Aging Moisturizer or Olay Regenerist Rehydrating Lotion SPF 15.

I tend to save on face cleansers and eye makeup remover. After all face cleansers go pretty straight away in the sink and you can find good eye makeup removers at a reasonable price. At the moment I am really enjoying using L'Oreal Skin Perfection Recomforting gel-cream wash because it is gentle, effective and inexpensive.

I can either splurge or save on toners: if I am looking for a toner loaded with antioxidant I go for Estee Lauder Soft Clean toner; if I want a basic gentle toner on a budget whose only purpose is to remove the last traces of makeup without whistles and bells I buy La Roche-Posay Physiological Soothing Toner.  


I believe in investing in a good foundation and concealer, in the right shade and texture because if my skin tone looks naturally even and you cannot tell if I am wearing anything, half the job is done. I love Chanel foundations (Chanel Perfection Lumiere review here) and Bobbi Brown Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer (review here) and Corrector but if I had to scrimp on these two items I would go for Bourjois New Healty Mix Foundation and Healthy Mix Concealer.  I also tend to buy expensive lipsticks from Chanel, Dior, Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown simply because they come in more interesting colours and wear better on my lips. I may treat myself to a great mascara too, which can make my eyes pop in one coat rather then three or more, without clumping or smudging and it is easy to remove at the end of the day. My favourites are Diorshow, Chanel Inimitable Intense , Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour, Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge and Makeup Forever Smoky Lash (review here), even though I lived on free sample mascaras given away with other items purchased from Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown for the whole of last year. My favourite 'cheap' mascaras instead are from Max Factor.

I definitely save on eye pencils (with the one off exception of By Terry Crayon Khol Terrybly, review here), lip pencils, lip glosses and nail polishes since I have never found a huge difference between expensive and inexpensive ones.

What about eye shadows and blushes? It depends, sometimes I go for the expensive ones and sometimes I do not. I particularly appreciate the dazzling array of colours, excellent pigmentation and ease of use of Nars eyeshadows and Bobbi Brown blushes (review here). On the other end, even though inexpensive eye shadows may not be as pigmented, long lasting, or anti-crease as the expensive ones, you can still 'upgrade' them using a primer or an eye pencil underneath. You can also find nice blushes, like the Bourjois ones  (review here) for less than a third of the price of the Chanel ones and they are often very similar. Another interesting brand for eyeshadows and blushes on a budget is Kiko (one review here).

From bottom left: Revlon Nail Enamel in 261 Sparking, Max Factor Liquid Effect Pencil in Silver Spark, La Roche Posay Eye Make-Up Remover, Revlon Lipgloss in 170 Coral Reef, L'Oreal Skin Perfection Gel-Cream
From bottom left: Revlon Nail Enamel in 261 Sparking, Max Factor Liquid Effect Pencil in Silver Spark, La Roche Posay Eye Make-Up Remover, Revlon Lipgloss in 170 Coral Reef, L'Oreal Skin Perfection Gel-Cream 

P.S. If you would like to know more about saving on makeup, check out this other blog http://www.makeupsavvy.co.uk/

What are your favourite items to splurge on? What do you save on instead? 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The importance of spring cleaning your makeup stash

When spring cleaning your house,  do not forget to tackle your make up stash too...

I am usually quite good at cleaning and de-cluttering my makeup stash fairly regularly (at least once every 6 months), but since I started blogging I have been holding on to some old make up just in case, till I developed an eyelid infection after using a four years old eye shadow about three months ago, which is still bothering me.
This reminded me not only of the importance of cleaning makeup tools and even products regularly but also of getting rid of old make up in which ingredients can go off and germs can lurke potentially causing skin infections and reactions.

How to clean your tools and make up

Try to wash your brushes and other tools in soapy water at least once a week.
When I need to clean my brushes very quickly I often use Bobbi Brown brush cleaning spray, which I may spray directly onto the brush and then wipe it off with paper tissues till the tissues look clear or do the other way around. I love this product because it is quick, effective and leaves my brushes in perfect shape and condition.

Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaning Spray

You can even sanitize your makeup products with a specific sanitizer. I must admit that I have never done it but I am tempted to try a product like Beauty So Clean Cosmetic sanitizer Mist (Ingredients: Ethyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isopropyl Myristrate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate). For more information about the ingredients click here 

Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer

When to toss what

Three months: eye makeup especially if liquid or creamy like mascara, liquid eyeliner, creamy eyeshadow
Six months: skin care in a jar, foundation in a jar, sunscreen
Twelve months: skin care products (stored in a pump), liquid foundation (pump), concealer, cream blush
Eighteen months: powders, pencils and lipstick or gloss

Do you regularly spring clean your makeup stash? Do you sanitize your makeup as well? How? I would love to hear from you. Thanks    

Food and Drug Administration, Stacya Silverman

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Spring eye look in pastel lilac with MUA and NARS

Spring has arrived at last and with it the chance to play with soft pastel shades that you would not dare wear in winter but that look so refreshing when the sun comes out.

What about illuminating your eyes with a lilac eye pencil and a purple eye shadow?

Spring look in lilac

In order to create this look I drew a thick line with a lilac eyeliner like MUA Intense Colour in lovely lilac, £1 along the upper lashline. 

MUA eye liner lovely lilac

Then I pressed a purple eyeshadow like the matt shade of Nars duo eyeshadow in Jolie Poupee over the pencil for an intense, longlasting finish. 

Nars duo in Jolie Poupee and MUA eye liner in lovely lilac

Mua eye liner in lovely lilac and Nars Jolie Poupee

Monday, 22 April 2013

Beauty secrets of Italian women

After reading an interesting post about French beauty secrets by  a French blogger I could not resist the temptation to reveal some of the beauty secrets of Italian women... 

Contrary to popular belief, Italian women are quite simple when it comes to body and skin care, even  though they would nearly ever go out without make-up.

Body Care
Italian ladies are just happy having a  shower & go and perhaps a relaxing bath with essential oils when they fancy a 'wellness break' in the comfort of their home.
One of my favourite shower product is L'Occitane Almond Foaming shower oil because it cleanses and hydrates in one step and it smells divine.

L'Occitane Almond Foaming Shower Oil 250ml

For my hair instead I love using John Frieda's products  but if I am on a budget I go for Pantene shampoo and conditioner.

Italian women do not really bother with slathering their body with slimming creams as they do not think that these will work unless they eat well and exercise.
I personally try to cook most meals from scratch, like a quick and easy pasta dish with a vegetables sauce made with onion, garlic, sweet red pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes or with whatever vegetables I have got in the fridge, sauteed in 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and  topped with some some grated Parmigiano cheese.
Sport wise I must confess that I am pretty lazy at exercising (like 47% of Italian ladies!) but I love walking...especially if it involves shopping or at least browsing!

Skin care 
Most Italian women limit their skin care to cleaning their face with milk & toner and hydrate it with a  face moisturizer and an eye cream suitable for their age, skin type and concern (click here to read post on how to choose the right moisturizer).

I personally prefer washing my face with a wash off cleanser like the new L'Oreal Skin Perfection Recomforting Gel-Cream Wash.

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Recomforting Gel-Cream Wash

If I am wearing a lot of make-up I may use a gentle yet effective eye make-up remover like Clinique Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent and a hydrating toner like Estee Lauder Soft Clean Silky Hydrating Lotion at the end of the day to make it sure that my face is properly clean.

Soft CleanClinique Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent

One of my favourite moisturizer instead is Estee Lauder Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Lotion SPF15 because its antioxidant rich formulation and SPF makes a different to the look of my skin. 

Estee Lauder DayWear Lotion SPF15

Depending on the condition of my skin, I may also add an exfoliating serum  with salicylic acid like Paula Choice 1% BHA Gel or bareMinerals - bareVitamins - Skin Rev-er Upper or a supplement serum, like Bobbi Brown Skin Supplement (review here) in the evening. 

Paula Choice 1% BHA GelbareMinerals - bareVitamins - Skin Rev-er UpperBobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement

Only 21,5% of Italian women dare go out bare face while most of them love evening out their completion with tinted moisturizer or foundation and concealer. I swear by Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizers (review here) and concealers and Chanel foundations (review here).

Italian women also love adding a pop of blush, often in a peachy hue, like Diego della Palma blush in 04 peach, or bronzer to their cheeks for a healthy glow and they enhance their big eyes with a lot of  mascara.

Diego della Palma peach blush  04

When Italian ladies choose a lipstick they often go for an orange brown shade (like Diego dalla Palma The Lipstick  in 37 light brick)  which works well with their Mediterranean colouring. 

Diego dalla Palma THE LIPSTICK 37 light brick

Italian women adore showing off a natural sun-kissed look but they also protect their skin with a high SPF sunscreen as soon as the good weather arrives. 
I personally trust Clinique sunscreens like Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Body Cream. 

Clinique Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Body Cream
Diego dalla Palma SUNSET BRONZER

Last but not least Italian ladies swear by wearing flattering slim-cut clothes in order to enhance their body shape and 'assets' (like bosom and bum) or to hide their flaws (like tummy and legs).

Gucci black dress

What are your beauty secrets as an Italian or foreign woman? I would love to hear from you. 


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ancient Egypt inspired look with L'Oréal Color Riche Le Khôl Crayon Azure Blue

After watching Ancient Egypt: life and death in the Valley of the Kings presented by Egyptologist Dr J. Fletcher on BBC Two a couple of weeks ago,  I was inspired to create a very easy but slightly edgy make up look using an 'Egyptian blue' eye pencil like L'Oréal Color Riche Le Khôl Crayon Azure Blue on both my eyes and lips!

L'Oréal Color Riche Le Khôl Crayon Azure Blue

In fact, did you know that the ancient Egyptians used to paint their lips not only in red but also in a bluey-black colour? 

Lips: L'Oreal Color Riche Le Khôl in Azure blue

Lips: L'Oreal Color Riche Le Khôl in Azure blue

Even though I am not sure I would dare go out with blue lips...I had fun playing with this super soft and intensely coloured eye pencil.  

Other products used on the eyelid: Chanel Quad Eyeshadow in Raffinement (shimmery mauve brown shade)


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Hellocotton.com will come to an end on April 11th. Please follow me on other feed readers. Thank you

Dear Hellocotton.com followers,unfortunately Hellocotton.com will come to an end on April 11th. Please, keep following me on Hellocoton.fr or on other feed readers like Bloglovin' or Networked Blogs instead. 
Thank you for your support.

Make your own beauty products: luscious lip balm

Following my first DIY post on how to make your own volcanic bath fizzers, I would like to share a recipe to make  your own luscious lip balm. 

This recipe was adapted from an article published in The Times newspaper, on 2 June 2011.

  • 1/2 a tsp of beeswax
  • 1 tsp of petroleum jelly
  • 5 drops of moisturizing oil (I used fractionated coconut oil)
  • 5 drops of fragrance oil (I used 3 drops Rose Absolute)
  • food colouring (optional) 
  • small pot (5ml)

Ingredients for making your own lip balm


First of all, place 1/4 of the beeswax block in a small bowl or ramekin and float it in a saucepan of gently boiling water until it melts.

In a separate ramekin mix together 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly with few drops of food colouring (optional).

After that add 1/2 a teaspoon of the previously liquefied beeswax to the (coloured) petroleum jelly and float the ramekin with this mixture in the saucepan of gently boiling water.

When these ingredients are melted together, add the oil and fragrance and mix well while keeping the mixture over the boiling water.

Ramekin with ingredients for lip balm floating in saucepan of boiling water

Pour quickly into small pots and leave it to harden for few minutes.

DIY lip balm

A block of beeswax will allow you to make up to 10 (5ml) lip glosses.
Ideally you would like to use white beeswax, especially if you want to add colour, but even yellow beeswax will work fine.
Do not add too much fragrance oil or you will end up with solid perfume (which is a nice, though different, idea too)!
Hope you will enjoy making this lip balm by yourself or even with  your children.

COMING SOON: how to make sassy scents! Keep following! 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

What is in my mum's make up bag? Estee Lauder, Guerlain, Kiko, L'Erbolario...

Last week my beloved 'mamma' flew from Milan, Italy to spend Easter with us and while she was here I could not help having a peep in her travel make up bag and playing with her products like I used to do when I was a little girl...

Here is my mum's travel make up bag from Sephora, is not it cool?

My mum's make up bag

Let us open it and see what is inside...

As you can see my mum travels relatively light carrying with her few essentials items to even out her skin tone, like a concealer (Vichy Laboratoires Normaderm), a face powder (L'Erbolario Make Up Cipria Compatta Uniformante), a powder puff (Sephora) plus a lipstick (Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo SPF15 in 805 Strawberry Pink) to brighten up her completion and some extras to make her look more polished, like an eye primer (Guerlain Ombre éclat eye primer), an eye shadow (Estee Lauder Pure Color Eyeshadow in Tempting Mocha Shimmer), an eye shadow brush (Kiko brush eyes 201), a blush (Kiko Soft Touch Blush in 104 Pastel Pink), a powder brush (L'Occitane Face Powder Brush) and a transparent mascara (Kiko Pro Gel Mascara).

And here is a close up of the most interesting products in my mum's bag starting from the one which caught my eye most: Kiko Soft Touch Blush in 104 Pastel Pink, a beautiful shade of rosy pink with a hint of shimmer which gives the cheeks a lit-from-within glow. After trying this blush myself I was impressed by how velvety the powder was and how easy to build up. 

Kiko Soft Touch Blush in 104 Pastel Pink

Another product I was drawn to was  Guerlain Ombre éclat eye primer, which may be described as a very sheer cream to powder eye shadow, with a hint of flesh colour to even out your eyelid skin tone and make your eye shadow last longer. This product is expensive but it 'triples' up as a concealer/eye shadow/primer and it does not crease. 

Guerlain Ombre éclat eye primer

Estee Lauder Pure Color Tempting Mocha Shimmer is a lovely taupe shade for a 'no-make-up' make up look which looks particularly flattering on my mum's green eyes. 

Estee Lauder Pure Color Tempting Mocha Shimmer

Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo SPF15 in 805 Strawberry Pink is a glossy wet-look kind of lipstick. Strawberry pink is an accurate description of the shade, which can be built from sheer to as intense as the color in the tube. 

Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo SPF15 in 805 Strawberry Pink

Here is a picture with the colour swatches of Kiko blush in Pastel Pink, Estee Lauder eye shadow in Tempting Mocha Shimmer and Kiko lipstick in 805

 Kiko blush in Pastel Pink, Estee Lauder eye shadow in Tempting Mocha Shimmer and Kiko lipstick in 805

Kiko brush Eyes 201 is a superb brush, which makes applying and blending eye shadow a breeze thanks to its angled shape, soft bristle and perfect (medium) size for the eyelid.

L'Erbolario Make Up Cipria Compatta Uniformante is a velvety and not powdery compact powder which my mum uses for evening out her completion instead of foundation. 

L'Erbolario Make Up Cipria Compatta Uniformante

My mum is not a big fun of traditional mascaras but she likes wearing a transparent mascara like Kiko Pro Gel Mascara.

Kiko Pro Gel Mascara

Mum loves the round wide shape and the soft bristles of L'Occitane Face Powder Brush to apply face powder and blush. 

L'Occitane Face Powder Brush

Last but not least a make up look created using my mum's products (except for my own black mascara and no eye shadow). 

Make up look with Kiko, Guerlain, Estee Lauder, L'Erbolario

Hope you enjoyed peeping in my mum's make up bag too!
What is in your or your mum's make up bag?