The sea! I can see the sea!
I spent last weekend at the coast with my boyfriend Tom for our anniversary. We’ve been together for 8 years! 8 years is the 'salt' anniversary, so we went to Southwold and spent a lovely weekend walking on the beach, eating chips on the pier and drinking lots of Adnams beer.
I wanted to look pretty (obviously) but not ‘made up’ - I know from experience that too much eyeliner and mascara runs in the wind, and, as I found out last weekend, sand sticks to my lips. My nose and cheeks glow such bright pink in the wind that I could guide ships, so I wanted to conceal them without looking like I was wearing a mask. Everything I took was a creamy formula (which can be blended with fingers, rather than powder which needs a brush to blend) which was deliberate – brushes take up valuable packing space! I packed expecting icy winds and heavy rain, so my skincare and makeup needed to be moisturising and protective. As it turned out, we were lucky with the weather; there was barely a breeze blowing and we only got a sprinkle of rain at Saturday lunch. Sunday was not as lucky; but we were safely ensconced in the train on our way back to London by then.
Gorgeous pastel cottages
A quick seaside selfie to show you my makeup
Here's the skincare and makeup I took with me:
L-R: Vichy Pureté Thermale 3 in 1 One Step Cleanser, Avène Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water, Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil, Ren VitaMineral Emollient Rescue Cream
Vichy Pureté Thermale 3 in 1 One Step Cleanser (£11 for 200ml) is a really dependable calming milky cleanser that also removes makeup, dispensing with the need for a separate makeup remover.
I bought a little bottle of Avène Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water (£3.50 for 50ml) in Boots at Liverpool Street station because my face felt irritated by the time I got to the station. It’s a lovely cooling face mist which feels wonderful on irritated, itchy, hot-feeling skin. I found it really refreshing. The downside is that it is literally just water in a can, and I find it too expensive to justify buying regularly. But it’s so pure and calming that even the sorest of faces won’t react to it.
I use a few drops of Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil (£16.50 for 20ml) at night to lock in moisture and soothe my skin. I love that it doesn't contain any preservatives at all, so I can depend on it not to irritate my skin.
I splashed out and brought Ren VitaMineral Emollient Rescue Cream (£19 for 50ml). It’s very, very thick, like the wonderful Icelandic yogurt skyr, or maybe clotted cream. Unlike some thick moisturisers that don’t feel protective enough once they’re on your skin, this absolutely does. I used it as my day cream and night cream, hand cream and foot cream, and it does every job brilliantly. It cost more than I would usually spend on a moisturiser, but I’ve been using this for a week now and I can already see myself coming back to it each winter.
Badger Baby Balm
Badger Baby Balm (about £5 or £6 for a 21g pot - sadly it's been discontinued from most of the UK, so I buy mine from Amazon.)
Like Vaseline, but a million times better. I’m never without this lovely natural balm. I pat it on on top of my makeup when I get a little bit of itchiness (pretty inevitable for me when going from hot to cold environments) and it soothes without dissolving my makeup at all. Also great as a lip balm, hand salve, cuticle balm, eyebrow and stray hair tamer, and pretty much anything else.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum (£10.99 for 30ml) in Vanille Clair
Good foundations under £20 can be hard to find. This, and Revlon’s Nearly Naked foundation, are the best I've tried. In fact I’ve been surprised by how great this foundation is. It’s moisturising, long-lasting, and doesn’t settle into my pores. It’s has a gel-like, fairly thick texture and easily gives full but natural-looking coverage. It covered my redness in seconds. My only real problem with it is the lack of shade range. There are only six shades, which is not inclusive enough for a major international brand. The shades range from fair to deep caramel, excluding the darkest and the palest skins. The shade I’ve been wearing, 51 ‘Vanille Clair’, is a little too dark for me. While my skin is fair, it’s rare that I wear the palest shade of foundation. Plus (just one more annoyance!) on the website they’ve just photoshopped the shades onto the same blonde, blue-eyed Caucasian girl instead of using darker skinned models that the foundation would actually suit. Poor show, Bourjois. Very poor show. Ok rant over. As much as I do like this foundation, I think there are better brands (and by better I mean brands which cater to every race and skintone) out there. But for an affordable foundation that doesn’t make dry skin look sallow and flaky, this is a great formula.
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (£22 for 6ml) in Vanilla
I’ve been using this consistently for months and I am still in love with the stuff. It’s lightweight and blendable, and the coverage is incredible. It covers both my dark purple-y undereyes and the huge hormonal monster-spot on my chin. I used this on my nose on top of my foundation to cover any extra redness and it worked a treat. In reference to my mini-rant above, I use the second-lightest shade.
L-R: Boots eyelash curler, Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick, Maybelline Master Smoky Shadow Pencil, Benefit Gimme Brow, Maybelline The Colossal Volum' mascara
Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick (£4.49) in Bad Girl Bronze
This is great for travel. It’s compact and really easy to use. It looks very dark at first, but blended out with my fingers it creates a gorgeous soft wash of bronze-y brown. It’s a universally-flattering light chestnut with a slight purple undertone and a hint of shimmer. I haphazardly draw anywhere on my eye socket and blend it over my socket and up into the crease with my fingers. It’s soft, easy to work with, and very forgiving – if you make a mistake (as I do pretty much every day) it blends really easily back into your makeup without looking like you’ve been attacked by a felt-tip wielding toddler. My only qualm is that it definitely doesn’t last for 24 hours like it advertises. It starts to wear off after about 6 hours on me. But most of it withstood a walk on the beach, a trip to the pub, and cooking and eating dinner, which is good enough for me.
Maybelline Master Smoky Shadow Pencil (£5.99) in Smoky Black
Like the Rimmel shadow stick, this fat smudgy crayon is great for creating a soft smoky eye. I used a little on my top lash line and it smudged out beautifully. I tend to use my fingers, which I find blends the product better than the smudger does – for a more precise line, the smudger is best because it doesn’t warm the product like fingers do.
Boots eyelash curler (£4.50)
After years of being wary of eyelash curlers (they look like instruments of torture) I’m surprised by how much I now enjoy curling my lashes. This is just a cheap one out of Boots but it really works – my lashes are curly, my eyes look more wide awake, my face looks generally brighter. I don’t find them essential, but they are really useful for doing a light, basic eye or faking the bright-eyed ‘I’ve slept for eight hours and I’m completely refreshed and ready for the day’ look. (I never feel like this. Perhaps I should use them every day. Forever.) I find I need less mascara when I use them, which is why I took them with me – I find that more mascara increases the chances of it smudging.
Benefit Gimme Brow (£17.50) in Medium/Deep
Another travel friendly product; the tube is miniscule. This is basically mascara for your eyebrows. The shades are satisfyingly ashy, as all brows naturally are (nobody, not even redheads, have orange brows!) For me this has replaced Topshop’s brow palette in Whatever, the only affordable palette I’ve found that’s properly ashy. (I still love it for it’s customisable coverage and shade, but the little brushes are too fiddly to use on the go.) There’s a learning curve to this – absolutely wipe off the excess product on the side of the tube. I like to brush this downwards through my brows, focusing on the arches, then brushing the remainder up through the inner corners of my brows. This is great for a really quick, full but natural looking brow. (But - there are only two shades! I use the darker shade and my brows are a medium ash brown. Where is the shade for the dark-haired of us?)
Maybelline The Colossal Volum' Express (£7.19) in Waterproof Black
Maybelline makes brilliant mascaras. One coat of this makes my lashes look full and thick; two coats, and I could be wearing false lashes. At the time of writing I am still creeped out by false lashes. Something about putting glue near my eyes. Like lash curlers, I will probably come to realise I love them, but in the meantime I need a nice thick volumising mascara. This is the only one I’ve been happy enough with to buy on three of them on Boots' 3 for 2 offer.
Clarins Multi-Blush (£18) in Peach
As you can probably tell from how gummed up it is, this is my favourite blusher. It's the most natural-looking one I've tried. The packaging is beautiful and very compact. I think that the name 'Peach' is misleading – this is definitely more of a pink than a peach, albeit a soft, warm pink. It looks beautiful with my natural cheek colour and always brightens up my skin.
Burts Bees Honey lip balm (£3.69)
My current love. Natural, organic, and smells like buddleias. This is moisturising but not too oily, and lipstick stays in place on top of it. I may go back to the Burt's Bees classic minty Beeswax Lip Balm in the summer, but this will be staying on my lips until at least April.
Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter (£8)
I find lipstick too high-maintenance to wear on holiday so this is an ideal compromise. This gives a beautiful berry-stained look. It’s a very wearable shade – although it looks very dark in the pot,once it's on it’s a soft, subtle blue-toned red that gives a little more life to my skin. I don’t need a mirror to apply it, I just dab it on. It works well as a blusher too. It is a little drying on my lips, and I find I need lip balm under it. It didn't come off onto my beer glass (or onto Tom!) but it doesn't matter if it wears off anyway, because it still looked lovely when there was just a slight hint of colour left. Bonus: it smells like sloe gin. I love gin.
The Adnams brewery
So that was my weekend. I used everything I took but I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I think I’ll use this makeup and skincare when I go home to Dorking at weekends and over the holidays.
I love how well a soft, natural look wears throughout the day. If I wanted to make it last into the evening, I’d do a smoky eye, using more eye crayon, eyeliner and brow gel, and more concealer under my eyes and around my nose, if I felt I needed it.
Thanks for reading!