Review: IsaDora Stretch Lash Mascara

IsaDora is a brand that I’ve always heard good things about, but until recently, it had been a long time since I used any of their products. You may remember however, a few weeks back they relaunched in Ireland and I was very kindly invited along to the launch party to discover some of their latest and greatest products.

At the event we were given a goody bag of products, one of which was their Liquid Lip Cream which I wore on Day 275 of my Simply Lippy challenge and loved. And another product we were given, was this new Stretch Lash Mascara which I also am loving.

The brand describe this as a ‘mascara with a twist‘ and when they say with a twist, they mean it quite literally! It’s unlike any mascara I’ve used before because the applicator head twists and expands to give both a long and a short brush for a very precise application.

First things first, the brush head is silicone with very fine needles, and over the past while, I’ve become a big fan of this kind of mascara brush. I find product doesn’t clump as easily on the finer needles, and it also helps to distribute the product thinly and more evenly over the lashes. So straight off, that’s a big plus for me.

But what I really love about this, is the volume it gives. I start by extending the brush to it’s longest length and applying all over the lashes. Then, after leaving it for a couple of seconds to dry in, I twist the brush to it’s shortest length and go over my lashes a second time.

The shorter brush allows you to cover every single lash, giving more volume to the root and thickening your lashes in the process. What’s more, you can then use the shorter brush to cover your bottom lashes without worrying about the product transferring on to your face.

The pigment is very black, exactly the way I like it as I don’t tend to wear mascara in any other colour. The formula itself is light enough that you can easily build up the mascara, which in turn allows you to have either a natural coverage or full, dramatic coverage depending on what makeup look you’re going for.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is gimmicky, but in all honesty, it’s really not. It works so well and has become a go-to for me over the past few weeks.

Sorcha x

Review: YSL All Hours Liquid Foundation

Today’s blog post is a goody, mainly because I have found true love in a foundation and it’s time to share that love with you all! I don’t think I have loved a foundation as much since Armani Luminous Silk was released, and I honestly don’t know that I’ll ever love a foundation as much again!

Say hello to YSL All Hours foundation…

Back in September, I was invited to the launch of this newest release from YSL where I was very kindly gifted a bottle to take home and try. Since then, I have worn it almost every day, growing to love it more as the days go on.

I have to admit, I didn’t expect to love this as much as I do, mainly because it’s a medium to full coverage foundation and over the past few years I’ve tended to prefer light to medium bases. However, the formula of this is just so incredibly light, you really don’t feel like you’re wearing a full coverage base at all.

The formula contains very fine pigments which combine to give an oil free, light texture that isn’t thick or thin, and blends incredibly on the skin. I find I only need one pump because of it being so blendable, and that alone is enough to cover the entire face.

According to YSL the formula is ‘enriched with a skincare complex and UV filter to leave skin feeling fresh and smooth‘; it is also waterproof, transfer resistant and contains SPF 20.

The finish is matte, and I have dry skin, which again was another surprising element for me. I usually avoid matte foundations like the plague! My dry skin doesn’t tend to get on with them, and I much prefer bases that brighten the skin and give me a glow. But somehow, this manages to smooth out blemishes, cover pores and make my skin look radiant all at the same time.

It gives my face a completely flawless finish no matter how I wear it and I find myself being surprised by it over and over again. I’ve worn it with and without primer, and with and without finishing powder, and have been so impressed by how well its worn regardless of primer or powder.

Foundations don’t tend to brake down too easily on my skin anyway because of it being on the dryer side, but I definitely think this is one of the only, if not the only, matte full coverage foundation that hasn’t made my skin look dull or cakey.

Now, my skin has most definitely changed in the last few months with being pregnant, but all my other foundations work the same as they always have, so I’ve no reason to think that this will be any different even when I’m not pregnant. However, I will be sure to keep you all posted if it is.

As always, I apply it with a stippling brush which is my go-to for applying my foundation as I find it gives you a lighter application. If applying with a beauty sponge or blender, you might find that it applies a bit thicker so that’s one thing to bare in mind.

I wear shade BD25 but it comes in 22 shades overall so there’s a good range to choose from, but when it comes to price, however, it is very spendy. A bottle is going to knock you back a hefty €42 so make sure you get a sample in store. A purchase this costly shouldn’t be made lightly so make sure you try before you buy!

In terms of longevity, I have my bottle over two months now. I’ve have used it almost every day and there’s still a lot of product left so this one will last you a good few months if you do choose to invest.

If any of you do buy or have tried it before, let me know because I’d love to hear your thoughts. It’s definitely a new favourite for me, I just love it and nothing else is remotely getting a look in for the foreseeable future anyway!

Sorcha x

My Christmas Beauty Gift Guide

Well, it’s that time of year again, my favourite time! I have to admit, I do love Christmas, and I’m one of those annoying people who starts getting excited about it in October. Anyway, as a result, I have been thinking about the perfect gift guide for a couple of weeks now, and have decided to put together a quick post on some of my favourite items and recommendations for you this Christmas.

I’m sure you’ve been inundated with gift guides on social media, and I understand sometimes too much bombarding of information can be a bad thing. But just in case you’re looking for a few last minute ideas, and given that it’s Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend, I thought this might come in handy…

Beauty

theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Lipstick Set

€29 but on offer for €26.10 this weekend in Debenhams

Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a gift guide from me without a few lipstick suggestions after my year of Simply Lippy! These liquid lipsticks from theBalm were my favourite liquid lippies of the year and this mini set is brilliant value. It contains six gorgeous shades from light to bold, and will transform any makeup look.

Benefit 3 for 2

Available from Debenhams, Brown Thomas & Boots all weekend

Benefit are running 3for2 offers in several department stores and online beauty sites over the course of the weekend. Obviously, they have a lot of great products to choose from but I’ve put together my top three favourites to help you decide:

  • That Gal Primer, a gorgeous brightening primer which gives the face a glow
  • Galifornia Blush which has a lovely coral tone for lifting the cheek bones
  • They’re Real Mascara, is one of my favourite mascaras for giving life and volume to the lashes

Needless to say, you can’t go too far wrong with any Benefit products, but these are the ones I’ll be treating myself to over the weekend!

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Palettes

Naked 1, 2 & 3 Palettes – €47.50 but on offer for €40.37 in Debenhams

When it comes to eyeshadow, you can never go wrong with a good palette and Urban Decay palettes are my favourite. Debenhams currently have 15% off Naked 1, 2 and 3 palettes, and my top choice is definitely Naked 2. It’s a great all rounder palette for different skin tones with a mixture of matte and shimmer shades.

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette

€47.50 but on offer for €42.75 in Debenhams

Of all the Naked palettes, Naked Ultimate Basics has been my go-to since its release last year and includes some gorgeous shades from nude to bold. This is a full matte palette and is a great alternative to Naked 2 for those who don’t like or use shimmer shadows.

Kiehl’s Tumeric & Cranberry Seed Radiance Mask

€35 but on special offer for €28 this weekend in Arnotts

Some of you may have caught my review on this Kiehl’s mask last year – I fell in love with it the first time I’ve tried it and it has remained one of my favourite face masks since. If your face is feeling a bit tired, dull and dry with the cold winter weather, then this is brilliant for brightening skin and giving it a boost of hydration.

YSL All Hours Foundation

€42 but on offer of 10% off this weekend in Debenhams

This purchase may be more a treat for yourself than a gift for someone else, but if you like a medium to full coverage foundation then I definitely recommend. I have a review post coming shortly, but in a nutshell, I am in love with it! You’ll need to get colour matched before purchasing, but if you do decide to buy, then you’ll get it for 10% cheaper in Debenhams this weekend than you normally would. It’s pricey at €42 so as the saying goes, every little helps!

This Works Deep Sleep Lavender & Chamomile Candle

€33 from Meagher’s Pharmacy and selected pharmacies nationwide

I’m a huge fan of This Works’ products; apart from smelling incredible, they are packed full of great ingredients and more importantly, they work too! Their Deep Sleep range has been a go-to for me for quite some time; I use their Deep Sleep pillow spray almost every night and love it, and have recently discovered their Deep Sleep Heavenly candle which is divine too.

Candles are always a great gift in my opinion, I love receiving them as well as giving them, and this one not only looks lovely, but will help keep you calm and relaxed all winter long, as well as helping you catch up on some well needed zzzz’s. What better gift than the gift of sleep this Christmas!

Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Bath Oil

€54 from Brown Thomas

This beauty is a bit pricey, but if you can’t indulge a little at Christmas time then when can you?! Jo Malone bath oils are so luxurious; they leave your skin feeling incredibly soft and smooth, not to mention how amazing they smell too. They come in a variety of different scents, but Lime Basil & Mandarin is my personal favourite.

StylPro Rose Gold Makeup Brush Cleaner

€69 but on offer for €51.75 from Meagher’s Pharmacy

This limited edition rose gold version of the original StylPro makeup brush cleaner is so pretty and perfect for anyone who has a multitude of makeup brushes like I do but doesn’t always have the time to spend hours cleaning them. The StylPro takes the hassle out of washing and drying your brushes, and is so easy to use too.

Gift Sets

MAC Mini Lipstick Snowball Kit 

€95 in Brown Thomas

You all know my love for lipstick by now, so just in case you have any fellow beauty lovers in your lives then this set of MAC lippies is the perfect present. It contains 12 shades including three of my all time favourites; Mangrove, Velvet Teddy and Rebel.

Sleek Bring on the Night Makeup Set

€39 in Boots Ireland and also part of a 3for2 offer

Sleek is one of the better budget brands out there and their products are such good quality for the price point. This set contains some of their best products including their Solstice Highlighting palette which is a gorgeous trio palette. This, along with the eye shadow and blush palette, will have you makeup ready for the entire festive season.

Clarins Holiday Anti Aging New Double Serum

Was €72 but on offer for €57.60 this weekend in Brown Thomas

Let me tell you, this is one of the best Christmas gift sets I’ve seen on the market so far. It’s amazing! It contains a 30ml bottle of Double Serum which is my current favourite skincare product and usually retails for €72 just on its own.  If you buy this set however, you get the 30ml bottle of Double Serum as well as a 30ml bottle of their Instant Eye makeup remover and one of their deliciously gorgeous lip oils – which I’m sure most of you already know, is one of my favourite ever lip products. This is definitely one not to miss out on if you’re a Clarins fan!

For The Men

Kiehl’s White Eagle Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream

€17.50 but on offer for €14 this weekend in Arnotts

Kiehl’ss do some incredible products as we all know, and their men’s range is equally as good as their women’s. This shave cream is their most popular men’s product and contains menthol to sooth the skin while shaving.

Clarins Men Moisturising Essentials Kit

€38 but on offer for €30.40 this weekend in Brown Thomas

This Clarins Men set is a brilliant option for men on the go and contains some of their best selling products. There are three products in total; a 50ml Super Moisture Balm, a 30ml Active Face Wash and a 30ml Shampoo & Shower Gel in one.

Happy Socks Gift Box

€30 but on offer for €24 this weekend in Brown Thomas

If the man in your life is anything like the man in mine, they will love these quirky and very comfy socks from the Happy Socks company. These gift boxes are a staple each year in our house and come in a range of styles and colours too.

So there you go, a few ideas to get you started this weekend. I hope it helped, happy shopping!

Sorcha x

*None of these links are affiliate links. I have just added them in to make the shopping search a little easier for you!

Review: MAC Next To Nothing Face Colour Foundation

When it comes to makeup, there are very few brands that do it better than MAC in my opinion. For years, my go-to foundation was Studio Fix Fluid foundation, very closely followed by Studio Fix powder. Both of these are full coverage finishes, and it’s only in the past few years that I have begun moving away from full coverage, to much lighter, dewy foundations.


As you get older your skin changes, and now I rarely wear a full coverage foundation unless I’m going on a big night out. I’ve grown to much prefer the feel and look of a lighter foundation, and that’s where Next To Nothing comes in.

I had read a little bit about this foundation in the Spring just after it was released, but it was only when I was in MAC back in June that I decided to swatch it and see what all the hype was about.


When talking to the makeup artist in store, she explained to me that this was MAC’s answer to Armani’s Luminous Silk and honestly, that was a very bold claim to make. As far as high-end foundations go, Luminous Silk has been my go-to since I discovered it around 18 months ago. It gives my face a perfect creamy coverage that smooths out my skin while also giving it an incredible glow (if you missed my review earlier this year you catch catch it here).

Given how much I love Luminous Silk, naturally I was intrigued to see if Next to Nothing lived up to its claims so I bought it, and have been putting it to the test over the past few months. Here’s how I’ve been getting on…


First off, Next to Nothing is extremely light weight, and MAC describe it as more of a tinted cream than foundation. The formula is quite wet, much wetter than you’d expect, and because of that, it blends very quickly into the skin. 

As far as consistency goes, I’m not sure how much I like it. I like that it is very easy to apply, and I like that a little goes a long way. However, the wetness means you have to be careful how you apply it. In general, I prefer stippling brushes to apply liquid foundation (MAC 191 is my favourite), but that doesn’t work well at all with this foundation. When I applied it with my stippling brush, it kind of dragged the formula rather than blended it, so a flat foundation brush or a beauty blender/sponge are your only real options for an even coverage.

Speaking of coverage, it is so light that it gives a ‘barely there’ look to the skin yet still manages to blur out skin imperfections. It gives a lovely smoothness to my skin which also softens it, so from that point of view, it is very nice. It is comfortable to wear, doesn’t feel heavy or thick in any way, and has a lovely hydrating element to it too which I wasn’t expecting.

I think maybe the thing I like about it most (and this is where it is similar to Luminous Silk), is the lovely sheer glow it gives to my skin. My skin is combination to dry, more dry than anything else, and because of that, has a tendency to look dull at times. I think that’s mainly why I’m so drawn to dewy foundations now, and this definitely brings a lovely soft glow to my face.


But, and there is a but with it; don’t be expecting a flawless finish. I have some red lines and broken capillaries around my nose area which it doesn’t cover very well, and due to pregnancy hormones my chin has been very dry and sandpaper-like over the past few months, which means I need a good amount of concealer when I use it. It doesn’t have the same creaminess that Luminous Silk has, and the coverage is maybe just a little too light, even for me.


One thing that struck me when I was researching the foundation was, that as well as using this as your stand alone base, MAC also suggest using it over your current foundation to give an extra glow to the skin – that just completely baffled me. I’m not sure why you should ever need to use a foundation, over your foundation?! That’s what primers and highlighters are for…

Also, when this was first released it was hailed as an ‘Instagram filter in a bottle’ because of its retouching quality and the sheer glow it gives the skin. While I’m sure that was just part of the marketing plan, I’m not sure I get that claim either.

Before
After
 

So how do I feel about it now? Well, I like it but I don’t love it. On a warm Summer’s day, or a day when you just want a light tint to the skin, it is the perfect option. It will give you a lovely glow and keep your skin soft and smooth. So, if you tend to prefer light foundations, then I would definitely recommend getting a sample in store to try it out.

But, if you want something a little creamier, longer lasting or have blemishes you want to cover, it’s not the best choice. And, although it has an oil-free formula, it probably isn’t going to work for you if you have oily skin either.

Before
After

I am wearing shade Light Plus, which is maybe a little too light for my skin tone, but the next shade up, Medium, was too dark. There isn’t a great shade range with there being only nine in total, but because it is so light and blendable, it is easy enough to work around that.

I think it will be great for when bump arrives and I don’t have the time to apply a full face of makeup every day, so I’m definitely going to keep wearing it for light coverage days. But overall I think this one is going to be a love or hate kind of product – the only question is, do you love it or hate it?!


If you’ve tried this foundation I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, so please comment below and let me know. Or similarly, if you have any lightweight foundations that you love, then share those too.

Sorcha x

Happy 100 Simply Lippy Days… To Me!

Well, if you caught my Day 100 lippy post which I posted a little while ago, you will know that the big day has arrived. Yes, today I reached the 100 day mark of my 365 day Simply Lippy challenge and I’m so excited!

I’m not going to lie, there were days over the past three months or so, where I really hit a wall with the challenge and didn’t think I could keep going. It’s tough doing a daily challenge – I wake up in the morning, take product shots and makeup photos, go to work for ten or so hours, then come home, write my blog post, edit my photos, then share my posts online and on social media. It really is a full time job, on top of a full time job!

In saying all that, I honestly have really loved it, and though I had a brief moment of wanting to quit, I’ve decided to keep going and see if I can make the 365 day mark. I’m running very low on lipsticks, and I’ve a long way to go still, but where there’s a will, there’s a way as the old saying goes…

Over the past few days, I’ve been looking back at all my posts to-date, and I can’t believe how many shades, brands, and formula’s I’ve tried. From high end to budget, from matte to gloss, from liquid to cream; I’ve tried them all! But a lipstick lover’s job is never really done, and there are a lot more for me to try still.

Of course I’ve had some favourites, and some least favourites, but instead of sharing them here, I’m going to do a round up video of my first 100 days seen as I haven’t got around to doing that before now.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at all the shades I’ve worn over the past 100 days…

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I have worn so many incredible lipsticks from some amazing brands including MAC, Armani, Catrice, Rimmel, YSL, Urban Decay, Penneys, Essence, Charlotte Tilbury, Clinique, NYX, Barry M, Sleek, Wet n Wild… The list goes on and on.

One thing’s for sure, there will be a lot more from these brands to come, and many more brands as well so I hope you stick with me, and keep following me on my Simply Lippy journey to wear 365 shades in 365 days!

Don’t forget, I’m sharing all my lippy challenge photos and progress over on my social media pages too so come follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And every so often, I’ll have a natter on snapchat at @imsimplysorcha, so why not come say hello there too!

Sorcha x

Review: Contour with Clarins | Face Contour Trio Palette

Back in February, I was invited along to the launch of Clarins’ Spring collection where they unveiled a gorgeous new face contour palette which I was very kindly given on the day to try out. 

I know that’s a few months ago now, but as you may know if you’ve been following my blog posts, I had to take a few weeks away from blogging due to some personal reasons, and as a result, am only getting around to reviewing it now even though I’ve been using it a lot over the past few weeks.


Firstly, I want to say how impressed I’ve been lately by some of Clarins’ new launches. Their Valentine’s inspired blushers which I wrote about in February, were amazing and I haven’t stopped using them since. And that’s also true for this contour palette.


The shades in this palette are three very distinct shades, all for a particular purpose: to contour, sculpt and highlight. Sure, that’s what you would expect from any contour palette really, but what I particularly like about this one is, it’s got all your face prep in the one place.


The first shade is a very fine, soft cream shade which Clarins recommend using as a skin illuminator. I’m not sure that I really find it illuminating to be honest, but I am finding it great as a base finishing powder. Because it is so light, it gives gorgeous coverage over my foundation (I’ve tried it over both my Bourjois City Radiance and Armani Luminous Silk foundations) and it has been equally nice over both.


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find face/finishing powders are too heavy over foundation and can give a kind of cakey look, but this doesn’t do that at all, and is very light and smooth to apply.

The second powder is the contour powder, which again is finely milled, but has an incredible pigment. One swatch of this gives very high impact and therefore you do have to be careful when applying not to make it too dark, because let’s be honest, that’s not a good look for anyone.


The other thing I’ve noticed with the contour shade is, you need to blend pretty quickly after application in order to get a light, even application. Initially, I used the small angled applicator brush that comes with the palette, but if I’m honest, I felt I got a better blend using my trusty MAC 129, small powder brush so therefore, I would recommend using a powder brush instead.


The last shade in the palette is the blush shade, and the star of the show in my opinion. I just love it! It is the most beautiful warm-toned, rose shade with a matte finish, that finishes off the face and contour look perfectly. Like the other two shades, it is light, maybe even slightly lighter than the others, and therefore blends like a dream once applied.


I’ve been wearing this shade a lot, and one thing I’m realising is that, between this and the Valentine’s inspired Skin Illusion Blush that I mentioned earlier; I am a big fan of Clarins blushers! They really have lovely pigment that isn’t too light or overpowering, and they give a lovely finishing pop of colour to the cheeks.


The palette isn’t cheap, it costs €45, so you’d have to really use each shade to get the value out of it. But in saying that, you get three really great powders in one, and you’d probably spend close to that, if not more, on each of these products separately, so because of that I think it’s good value.


Of course, it’s on the higher end price wise so it won’t be for everyone, but if you like Clarins, and you like investing in good powders, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this.

What are your views on contouring? Are you in the yay or nay bracket?! I’m not massively into it I have to say, but I do like a bit of definition on my face so this is great for that.

Sorcha x

Review: YSL Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream Liquid Lipstick

My love of lipstick is known by many at this stage, but nothing excites me more than discovering a new lipstick and falling head over heels for it. Lipsticks honestly make me excited and if they end up being really amazing, have even been known to cause butterflies and squeals so be warned!

In October I was invited along to the launch of some of YSL’s autumn beauty releases and needless to say I was not going to miss this event, especially when I knew a new lipstick range was part of the launch. I’ve always been a big fan of YSL beauty, their products are full of great ingredients and their lipsticks are super hydrating. In fact, one of my favourite lipsticks all time ever in life is their Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in shade 13, Le Orange.

Anyway, off I went to the event and it didn’t take long for the squeals to start when I walked in the door and saw the new Vernis À Lèvres, Vinyl Lip Cream collection. I mean, who couldn’t squeal at something as pretty as these?

As I swatched the lip creams on my hands to test them out, I knew instantly I was going to love them. The formula is really rich and creamy, and the colour pay off is insane! These lippies are seriously pigmented which is exactly what I look for in a lipstick. Technically they are called ‘lip creams’, but the texture is very much that of a satin finish lipstick.

I was lucky enough on the day to receive two out of the twelve shades in the range, 402 Rouge Remix, an orange red shade and 403 Rose Happening, a fab bright salmon shade that is just to die for. These colours are right down my street but honestly, I’m loving all the shades in the range. They are very wearable, and range from deep reds to brighter pinks.

Do I even need to go on?!

Application is also so easy you could do it with your eyes closed! The pointed, triangle shaped applicator brush means you can outline your lips without needing lip liner, then fill in the rest of the lips and blend the lipstick all over. It also has extremely good staying power and there is absolutely zero stickiness.


At first I couldn’t understand why they called it ‘vinyl’, but after wearing this for weeks now, I get it. It has that soft vinyl feel on the lips, it’s not glossy or sticky, but gives a gorgeous rich shiny finish.


I took shade 403 with me on my travels and it has not left my side for the past month. It’s love people. Without a doubt, these are one of my favourite beauty releases of 2016 and well on track to become my favourite lipsticks ever.


They cost €33 so a little on the pricey side as lipsticks go, but trust me, if you’re a lipstick lover you need these in your life. Oh, and just on the off chance you need a little more convincing, did I mention they smell absolutely divine too?!

Sorcha x