Thursday, 27 March 2014

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils: Review and Swatch Fest

Oh man, do I love a bold matte lippy. I know glosses are meant to be the next new trend and we're meant to be downing lipsticks and rocking all things sheer and shiny from here on out, but I am so not ready to embrace the trend yet, especially with the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils chillin' in my makeup bag.

Just look at them:

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

I currently own all the shades I am likely to purchase from the line (I also own one of the Satin Lip Pencils in Yu, which I actually don't think is anything special) so it felt like the perfect time to flex my beauty blogging muscles with a good old fashioned swatch sesh.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

I mean, swoon. Love love love. Let's get on to the swatches, then I'll be back to chat you through my thoughts at the end...

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Swatch Cruella
This one is oft described as a berry red, but for whatever reason on me I looks like a slightly darker, blue based red. Possibly it's my skin tone doing its thing, who knows, but I am still on my quest for the ultimate berry red.
However, this is possibly not necessarily Cruella's fault but rather my own expectations? Who knows.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Swatch Damned
My first Velvet Matte purchase and my first Velvet Matte love, Damned is a super flattering and easy to wear berry shade that I imagine would suit most skin tones. This guy, you may be able to tell, is now a little drier than its younger siblings but I still consider it one of my favourites and is joint first for the most worn of the lot. I used it in my Parisian Chic Look and you can check that video out here.

Dragon Girl
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Swatch Dragon Girl
Dragon Girl was the one that I originally felt the least enthusiastic about but has recently become my go-to red lip. I've not got any other reds quite like it: it's got a real pinkiness to it that makes it stand out and looks best with a really minimal eye. Love.

Red Square
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Swatch Red Square
Orange for wusses is how I would describe Red Square - it's a lovely mix of red and orange that makes it so much more flattering than some of the more catwalk, bold shades that have been hyped up of late. For me it's as orange as I'm willing to go for the moment and will probably be my bold summer lip for this year. If you want to see me using this bad boy, I used it as one of my lip options in my Fresh Faced Spring Makeup look here.

Train Bleu
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Swatch Train Bleu
Oh Train Bleu, Train Bleu, Train Bleu. It's a lot darker even than how it looks here, a real deep deep purple shade that walks the line of chic and gothic incredibly well. This is one that will turn heads for sure and the one that I turned to last winter when I wanted to look ├╝ber cool without that much effort. I love this guy. If you'd like to see my tutorial using it, you can do so here.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

So, on to the review: you may have guessed I am a fan of these guys. At £17.50, they are anything but cheap - but here's some beauty blogger maths: if I were to buy a decent lip pencil and matte lip stick, say from MAC, it would easily cost almost as much of two of these so... you're basically saving money.


Amazing logic here gang.

They are long lasting - not particularly moisturising but hey, they don't really dry your lips either - and they are so convenient, so easy to chuck in a handbag and apply on the go.

I think these are a lovely luxurious splurge for those of you that really do love matte lips; but bear in mind they are wasteful little pains thanks to the need to sharpen them.

But I love them. That's what I am trying to say.

I hope you liked this review - are there any shades catching your eye at the mo?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Bridal Makeup with Jen

Hey beauty boffs, here is a bridal makeup look I did on the beautiful Jen, I hope you enjoy!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Goals Week: Life Goals

It’s the big one.
It really does feel like the Oscars for some reason… What a nana! But these are my goals I would like to achieve by the end of 2014:

  1. Become a tidier person, remembering to tidy up every day and hoover once a week. TMI for some of you I am sure but for me, I feel more and more like an adult and I just don’t want to live in clutter forever.
  2. Stretch myself academically. Actually feel proud of an essay. Hit 70% more regularly and try for an 80.
  3. See more of my friends and loved ones, spending less on makeup and clothes (sorry guys) and making the effort to see them instead.
  4. Get back into pole. I would like to be doing new, advanced moves by the end of the year, and ideally going three times a week as I was before.
  5. Get more savvy on my mental health. I have had a surprisingly tough Year Abroad, and I would like to know that I am doing all I can to prevent burn outs where possible.

I hope you all enjoyed this series – things will be more beauty based next week I am sure, but for now I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that this has given you food for thought for what your goals may be!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Goals Week: Blog Goals

It's Thursday of Goals Week and I am contemplating my goals for my blog - let's get to it:

  1. To start off with, I think blogging at least once a week is a reasonable goal. So many things get forgotten when I’m in front of the camera and my blog is a great way to make sure all my thoughts really do get shared – and I’ve not written for fun in an embarrassingly long time. Things must change.
  2. Invest in a user-friendly layout (if you design them, let me know) or, even better:
  3. Relearn HTML. I could do it for no one’s benefit but my own back in the Myspace days – now I have a focus I feel the need to get back on that and wizard it out.
  4. Find my own photographing style, and take photos of my favourites more often. I think this one is pretty self explanatory.
  5. Find my own “things” – I like the idea of regular features, ideally that aren’t just tweaked versions of what the pros are already doing.

 And tomorrow is the last day so stay tuned for some deeper goals for this year!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Goals Week: Youtube Goals

So it's now day three of goals week and the focus of today is Youtube, and here they are:

  1. Make at least one longer, more challenging video a month; for February it was my lookbook, for March doing makeup on Anna really threw me out there, and I have a couple of ideas for April that I’m really hoping come to fruition.
  2. Be a more vocal member of the beauty community. Now I have my own channel, I understand how amazing a lovely comment can be, and for years I watched silently and never told my favourites how much I love them. I am determined to change this.
  3. Make Youtube friends, and do a collab/swap/tag with them. I love Youtube but for the moment it really does feel like a lonely little place!
  5. Work out my banner/tech stuff and improve my editing/filming game. It’s gonna be challenging but fun, I can feel it.
Cor I am getting into this. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Goals Week: Fashion Goals

So it's day two of my goals week, a week dedicated solely to reflection and ambition and somethingelsetion and today's subject is Fashion Goals - here's a photo that never made it into my Paris weekend lookbook:

  1. Go “thrift shopping” – i.e. get on the secondhand/vintage bandwagon. I know a couple of vintage places I’ve never had the balls to properly try out and my uni town is packed with what I’m told are surprisingly decent charity shops. I love the high street but I still feel I could switch things up more.
  2. Get rid of the things that I don’t actually like/wear any more and give those things back to the charity shops (if the quality is still decent enough!)
  3. Learn how to walk in heels. I am 21 years old and I still can’t do it. Shameful.
  4. Be bold with my hair (I’m thinking be a redhead, at least for a while!)
  5. Piercings: get more of them. I have been wanting my tragus and helix pierced for so long and I love the look of all white gems on silver, so I think those are the studs I’ll be going for.

So, those are my fashion goals - I of course will be keen to hear yours and I wish you a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Goals Week: Beauty Goals

So, it's the start of my last teaching term here en France this week and the perfect time, it seems, to do some pondering and have a little think about what I'd like to get done this year.

Today's subject is perhaps the most superficial of the bunch: my beauty goals. Cue stock photo of my desk (my desk is my favourite thing to photograph, what a cool person I am):

  1. Experiment more with warmer colours. I love me my cool toned shades; if any brands were thinking of making my ultimate palette – let’s be honest I’m sure they all are – they could just make one with all taupes and I would fall to the floor with joy, but this love-fest doesn’t make for much variety in my makeup bag. Time to branch out and warm things up in here.
  2. Actively rotate my everyday makeup bag, ideally every week/fortnight or so, to make sure all the makeup that goes unloved the majority of the time sees the light of day. I am getting better but I still think there’s room for plenty of improvement.
  3. Work out a regular brow routine – ideally finding a threading lady that understands I don’t want to lose my brows all together but that I do went them to be more polished – and maintain it, by hook or by crook.
  4. Try contouring. Just give it a good old go. I haven’t had much luck so far but I still believe, I still believe.
  5. And my eternal, never ending life goal – make winged eyeliner my biatch.  I would love, love, love to be known as someone that has great eyeliner. A little too much in fact…

These are my beauty goals, I am stoked to hear about yours!

Just Bananas Makeup. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.