The Great Cleanse

“We need deep cleansing of our thoughts on and often so that we can recharge our energy for our own health, happiness and purpose”- Kishore BansalIMG_1857

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IMG_1863In what seems to be a running theme, I’ve had this cleanser set from Sephora for a while now and I thought I’d share before they get rid of it for good.

‘The Great Cleanse’ is a collection of 12 of Sephora’s best cleansing products and in my opinion, it’s a steal at just $48. I’d already tried almost all of the cleansers in the kit before purchasing it so I pretty much knew what I was getting. The set consists of larger-than-sample sizes of the following:

  • Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover(1.69 oz)- I use this regularly and it’s a great eye makeup remover in the same vein as Lancome’s Bi-Facil.
  • Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water(3.38 oz)- A micellar water from a trusted brand. You get a sizable amount of this and it should last a while. I’m really looking forward to trying this.
  • Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Nourishing Cleansing Oil(0.5 oz)- I’ve had a sample of this before and found it hard to remove but maybe I’ll fare better on a 2nd try.
  • Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil(1.7 oz)- Never tried this before but looking forward to it
  • Fresh Soy Face Cleanser(1.7 oz)- This cult classic non-foaming cleanser is one my faves and it’s extremely gentle on the skin.
  • Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash(1 oz)- Never tried this before either.
  • Philosophy Purity Made Simple(2 oz)- A nice basic cleanser. I’ve tried it before and it was perfectly fine but nothing spectacular.
  • Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser(1.5 oz)- I love the foaming action of this cleanser but I prefer to use it in the Summer as it’s too drying for me in the Winter.
  • Glamglow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment(0.5 oz)- I own the full-size of this and it’s a lovely cleansing mask.
  • Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser(1.5 oz)- I LOVE this cleanser and it’s one of my favourite cleansing oil/ gels. Leaves the skin feeling so soft.
  • Boscia Tsubaki Oil-Infused Exfoliating Powder(0.36 oz)- I also the own the full-size of this and I love to mix it with a cleansing oil for some extra oomph.
  • Boscia Mini Konjac Cleansing Sponge– Check out my review of the full-sized sponge here.

If it’s not obvious by now I’m completely won over by this set. It’s a great way to try some of the hottest cleansers around and I love the fact that there are so many different types of cleanser included in the kit. The Caudalie and Glamglow cleansers are on sale individually for $14 and $19 respectively so you really are getting a fantastic deal. You can still snag this on the Sephora website for the great price of $48.

Let me know in the comments if you’d like more of an in-depth review on any of the featured cleansers.

Nana Adomah

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MAC See Sheer Lipstick: Swatches and FOTD

“Beauty is excrescence, superabundance, random ebullience, and sheer delightful waste to be enjoyed in its own right.” – Donald Culross PeattieMAC See Sheer lipstick

MAC see sheer on dark skin swatch

MAC See Sheer on dark skin NW45 swatchI’ve had my eye on MAC’s “See Sheer” lipstick for years. I fell in love with it back when I lived in London but I could never remember the name of it when it came time to purchase for some reason. I was looking for a lipstick as my free “Back to MAC” choice a little while ago when I re-discovered this lovely orangey coral shade.

“See Sheer” is the perfect no-fuss Spring/ Summer shade and the best thing is that I don’t need a liner to rock it! It’s part of MAC’s “luster” formulas and it has a decent amount of slip. It’s semi-sheer but you can easily build it up to a fuller coverage. It wears very well but it can settle into cracks and lines in the lips after a few hours.

“See Sheer” is one of those colours that I think will look good on everybody. It’s sheer enough to suit numerous skin tones but still gives good colour pay-off.

You can grab it at any MAC counter or online at MAC for $16 (when did MAC lipsticks hit $16? SMDH).

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Nana Adomah

Collective Haul ft. NARS, Make Up For Ever, MAC, Kat Von D, Cover FX, Smashbox and more!

“You’re either in it for the long haul or you’re not” – Crystal Gayle

I filmed a haul video over on YouTube and wanted to share. Look out for reviews on a lot of these products soon!

Nana Adomah

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in “Panic”: A Review

“I’m not panicking. I’m watching you panic. It’s more entertaining.”- Lois McMaster Bujold

NARS panic blush dual-intensity

NARS blushI told myself that I would skip this offering from NARS when it was released. However, when I played with them in the store, “Panic” just had to be mine.

Following on from their fantastic dual-intensity eyeshadows, NARS have blessed us with dual-intensity blushes which can be used both wet and dry for full-on or lighter coverage. “Panic” is described as a “shimmering shocking fuchsia/ shimmering orange-pink” and I found that to be accurate.

NARS dual-intensity blush on dark skin dry

Blush swatched dry and blended out. Top- indoor swatch, Bottom- outdoor swatch.

NARS dual-intensity blush panic on dark skin wet

Top: panic swatched wet indoors, Bottom: panic swatched wet outdoors.

The texture of the dual-intensity blushes are very different from the regular line of NARS blushes and they have more of a radiant finish than the matte or shimmer found in the regular line. The blush isn’t soft or powdery and you do have to be a bit more vigorous with the brush action than usual.

The packaging is the usual NARS rubberized plastic and it opens and closes very easily with a magnetic clasp. Inside there is a large mirror and the two shade of blush that can either be worn separately or blended together.

I’ve worn Panic both wet and dry and I much prefer the dry application. It’s too finicky for me wet and I feel as though it’s difficult to get a consistent application. It does blend very easily though and it’s relatively easy to switch from a sheer to full coverage when used dry. It’s perfect for those who want  luminous sheen from their blushes.

Panic is a very pretty blush but I wouldn’t recommend the dual-intensity blushes over NARS’ fantastic regular blushes. Additionally, they are FAR more expensive at $45 each.

Grab one of these if you like a more radiant finish to your blushes and don’t mind paying $45 (!) but in my opinion, there are better options out there. I’d recommend sticking to the regular NARS blushes as they’ve never ever steered me wrong.

The NARS dual-intensity blushes can be found at NARS or any usual NARS stockists. I found mine on eBay and I’d give it a gander for some bargains.

Nana Adomah

A Tale Of Two Highlighters: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured & Pressed Review

“All that glisters is not gold; often you have heard that told.” – William Shakespeare
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BECCA shimmering skin perfector poured

Yet another BECCA review today! I was so excited when I heard that BECCA was coming out with a cream version of their best-selling Shimmering Skin Perfectors (SSP). I already have topaz in their pressed version and I often mix the liquid version of their SSP with my foundation for some extra glow. So when the “poured” (cream) version of the SSP came out, I snapped up topaz without a thought.

However, I have to say that the “poured” version of topaz is the first BECCA product I’ve been disappointed in. I expected the poured topaz to be much more pigmented on my skin than it actually is- a cream version of the pressed topaz if you will. However, this is far more in line with the liquid version of their SSP as in it’s very sheer. This will be perfect for somebody who just wants a light and subtle highlight but that’s not what I’m looking for at $38. Highlighters are my favourite face products and I looooooove me a blinging glow. This just didn’t deliver for me personally.

On to the product itself: poured topaz comes in smaller packaging than the pressed SSP and it’s the same size as BECCA’s blushes. The colour in the pan initially looks very dark but it’s the same colour as the other versions of topaz when swatched. The cream is neither too wet or too dry and it blends very easily. It looks beautiful before blending but disappointment quickly sets in when you do so.

Topaz poured on dark skin

Poured topaz swatched and blended. Not very blingarific 😦

I took some comparison shots of topaz poured and topaz pressed and there’s just no contest. The pressed version just melts into the skin and blends beautifully. A little bit goes a long way and it just gives the most gorgeous golden glow. It’s my all-time favourite highlighter and I wear it almost every day. The dark gold colour looks stunning on dark skin and I don’t have a single criticism about this product (wish it was cheaper though!).

Becca topaz highlighters

BECCA shimmering skin perfector in topaz- pressed and poured.

BECCA topaz poured pressed on dark skin swatch

L-R: poured swatch, pressed swatch

BECCA topaz shimmering skin perfector on dark skin

L-R: poured swatch and pressed swatch blended out

So if you’re looking to nab yourself one of BECCA’s highlighter, I’d highly recommend any of the pressed versions. They come in 6 different shades and there’s one to suit every skin tone. If you’re looking for a cream highlight however, I’d give these a miss and check out the offerings from Cover FX or Benefit instead.

The BECCA shimmering perfectors can be found at Ulta or Sephora (poured is exclusive to Sephora) for $38. It’s pricy, but the pressed is worth every single penny and it will last you forever.

Has a trusted brand ever failed you? Let me know in the comments!

Nana Adomah

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette- A Review

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” – J.R.R. TolkienIMG_0970I ummed and aahed over this palette when it was first released two Christmases ago and I kicked myself when it sold out before I could buy it. Hourglass then re-released it and I decided that I really didn’t need to spend $60 on makeup I didn’t necessarily need. However, I snapped it up when a 30% off discount code was made available to me. Bargains for the win!

Hourglass ambient lighting palette on dark ksin

From L-R: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, Radiant Light

Hourglass’s ambient lighting powders are legendary in the beauty world and I love to use them when I do makeup for other people. They are quite pricy so you typically wouldn’t buy several shades at once but you get three (smaller sizes) in the ambient lighting palette. I don’t think that most of the shades are friendly towards very dark skin tones but happily, this palette includes the one shade that I think is perfect for us- radiant light. The palette consists of dim light (a peachy beige shade), radiant light (a light gold shade), and an exclusive shade- incandescent light (a silvery pearl shade).

Carisa Janes originally created the ambient lighting powders to recreate the look of skin under soft lighting and these powders definitely do the job. They are very soft without being powdery and they almost melt into the skin. They can be used as a general setting powder or as a highlighting powder depending on your preferences. Dim Light is the best for all-over setting purposes whilst radiant light and incandescent light would work better as highlighters in my opinion. However, the shimmer in both of these powder aren’t prohibitively glittery so I think you could definitely get away with an all-over application.
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My pictures (taken over a year ago eek!) were taken in bright sunlight so be aware that the powders are slightly darker in person. The palette is free from fragrance, parabens, talc, gluten and is also vegan-friendly.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette can be purchased at Hourglass or Sephora for $58.

Have you tried any of the legendary ambient lighting powders from Hourglass? Let me know in the comments!

Nana Adomah

Blushing All Over: BECCA Blushed Copper Review

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.” – Mark TwainBECCA blushed copper packagingBECCA have added another fantastic addition to their wonderful line of pressed shimmering skin perfectors (SSP). The newest, limited-edition shade is Blushed Copper and it’s everything I’ve come to expect from BECCA. I can’t believe that this is my first blog post on a BECCA product since they’re one of my favourite brands and this is my second pressed highlighter from them after  my all-time favourite “Topaz”.

BECCA blushed copper

Textured surface

BECCA SSP blushed copper

Blushed Copper is embossed with the same pattern as their “Rose Gold” pressed SSP and I hope that this will become part of their permanent line as Rose Gold eventually did. It’s the same size as all the other BECCA pressed SSP however, the packaging is a silver and copper rather than BECCA’s usual silver and brown. The colour of Blushed Copper actually pulls a true rose gold on my dark skin and it’s a shade that I think will work better for women with darker-toned skin. It straddles the line between a highlighter and a blush and it can easily be worn as both. It looks great by itself or lightly dusted on top of a similar-toned blush.

Indoor swatch swiped once and blended out.

Indoor swatch swiped once and blended out.

Pictures really don’t do this product justice as it’s beautifully shimmery in real life. I’ve never seen a highlighter like this as it has true pinkish gold shimmer as opposed to the gold or silver found in other highlighters. The texture is ridiculously buttery and it almost feels like a cream rather than a powder. A tiny amount is all that’s needed for a gorgeous Summer glow and I received so many compliments when I wore this. I love the colour so much that I plan on trying this out as an eyeshadow in the future too.

BECCA blushed copper on dark skin

This is a definite must-have in my opinion. More so if you have darker skin and are a fan of highlighters. It’s not a colour I would wear everyday but I know I’ll be rocking it every time I rock any look in the pink/ rose family. It’s a truly stunning shade and let’s all keep our fingers crossed that BECCA make this permanent.

BECCA’s “Blushed Copper” shimmering skin perfector pressed is limited edition and is sadly not available in stores but it can be found online at Sephora for $38.

Are you guys as obsessed with BECCA as I am? Let me know in the comments!

Nana Adomah

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer: A Review

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin EnhancerI squealed with excitement when I saw that Kevyn Aucoin was finally going to be carried at Sephora. I have a soft spot for Kevyn Aucoin (R.I.P) as his books were my makeup bible when I was younger. I’d wanted to try the sensual skin enhancer (SSE) for a looooooong time and this was the impetus I needed. The price had always put me off but this time I said “screw it” and clicked “order”.

According to the brand, the sensual skin enhancer’s “all-in-one, waterproof formula delivers complete coverage when used as a concealer, highlighter, an all-over foundation, or to contour your features. Infused with jojoba and honey, it works to hydrate the skin, and it is formulated with minerals that support the skin and is sweat proof and transfer resistant for full coverage and long-lasting wear.” 

I couldn’t decide which shade I wanted so I went ahead and ordered both SX12 and SX13.

Kevyn Aucoin SSE 13I knew I’d be primarily using the SSE as a highlighting product rather than a concealer so I ordered shades that were lighter than my skin tone.

First off, these are hands down the creamiest face products I own. When I say a little bit goes a long way, I mean a little bit goes a looooong way. You could use this as a concealer/ highlight every day for two years and I’m sure there’d be plenty left in the jar. The jar in which the product arrives is tiny but do not be fooled. There’s more than enough product for the price. It blends very easily and dries down to a semi-matte finish on me.

Left: SSE in SX13, Right: SSE in SX12

Left: SSE in SX13, Right: SSE in SX12

SX12 is an extremely yellow shade whilst SX13 leans more neutral. My perfect shade is when I mix the two colours together but I’d already determined to take back the colour that wasn’t my shade and at $48 a pop and with an overflowing concealer drawer, I can’t really justify keeping them both.

Aside from the price, my other gripe is that I find that this doesn’t stay put on me as long as my NARS radiant creamy concealer. I often have to touch up with a little powder whenever I wear this while I can often go for a full day with my NARS. Additionally, I think that those of you with very dry under-eye areas should beware. I have relatively normal skin under my eyes and I found that this can sometimes highlight any dry patches if I don’t properly hydrate beforehand. It’s also definitely not transfer-proof as claimed.

However, I love the look of this when I prime under my eyes with my Smashbox hydrating under-eye primer and set it with my MAC MSF in “dark”. I typically apply it with my fingers and blend it out with my beauty blender. It lasts all day with this method and it really does look beautiful. I’d love to try the SSE in a shade that matches my skin tone in the future and wear it as a foundation as I think it has a gorgeous finish.

In conclusion, this is a product that I’d class as a “nice to have” rather than a “must have” because you can definitely find comparable products for far less money. However, the versatility of the SSE is wonderful bonus (particularly for make up artists) and I’d encourage you to at least try a sample if you can.

The SSE can be found at Kevyn Aucoin counters in most high-end department stores and online at Sephora.

Any of you tried the sensual skin enhancer? What are your thoughts?

Nana Adomah

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from”: No Country For Old Men- A Review

I set all these lofty goals for myself in regards to my reading this year and I’ve failed spectacularly already. However, I’m not one to stay down for long and I decided to attempt to reverse my failures with Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men.

I rarely read a book after I’ve seen the film but I loved the film adaptation of this book so much that this was a no-brainer. I’ve never read any of McCarthy’s books and this is said to be pulpier fare than his usual but I enjoyed it immensely. I would describe No Country For Old Men as a suspenseful noir Western and although McCarthy’s style of writing and narration is laconic and almost terse, his characters really come alive.

The novel tells the story of Llewelyn Moss, a welder, who comes across $2.4 million dollars in a bag after stumbling onto the scene of a drug deal gone wrong. Surrounded by dead and dying bodies, Moss decides to take the bag and an impulsive decision to bring one of the dying drug dealers some water to drink sets off a chain of events that take the reader on a thrilling chase across Texas and Mexico.

“Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction…”

Sociopathic hit-man Anton Chigurh is hired to retrieve the money from Moss and the characterisation of this relentless, evil, killer is one of the highlights of the novel. Chigurh leaves murder and destruction in his wake and he’s truly terrifying. He doesn’t kill indiscriminately but I was left holding my breath every time he came into contact with a new character.

“It takes very little to govern good people. Very Little. And bad people can’t be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it.”

Influenced by the movie adaptation, I initially thought that Llewelyn Moss was our main protagonist but I would say that the honour belongs to Sheriff Ed Tom Bell. The Sheriff is tasked with leading the investigation into the drug deals/ murders and he’s our moral compass of the novel. Sheriff Bell is emblematic of the “good old days” and the reader truly understands his despair at failing to prevent many of the horrific events that occur in the novel.

The primary protagonists are so well drawn that you truly feel as though you understand these men and their motivations. The novel is fast-paced and even the secondary characters such as Llewelyn’s young wife Carla Jean are well fleshed-out. Themes of chance, fate, and the inherent destructive nature of man are all well-explored.

My only negatives are that McCarthy’s style most definitely requires a small period of acclimatisation. Punctuation seems to be non-existent and although I eventually got used to it, it was initially extremely jarring. I would also have liked to see a larger role for the female characters but this did not take away from my enjoyment of the novel. Additionally, the last third of the novel was slightly disappointing in comparison to the heights reached in the earlier chapters. A main character’s death is treated almost as an afterthought and I felt slightly cheated after spending so much time invested in their actions.

However, these complaints are relatively minor and I cannot recommend this novel enough. If you haven’t seen the fantastic adaptation from the Coen Brothers starring Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem, I highly recommend that also. It is extremely faithful to the source material and it is an excellent companion to the book.

Nana Adomah