beauty products

Some Recent Beauty Buys

beauty products

♥ All products available at Boots

[dropcap letter=”I”]used to be a bit of a beauty junkie. Back in my university days – and for quite a long time afterwards, in fact – it was makeup, rather than fashion, that most of my money went on. I mean, I’ve always loved both, and I probably always will, but when I was a student, I was well known for my ability to sit nursing the same half-pint of cider all night, because I’d just handed my entire wage (I worked weekends in a call centre) over to the Chanel counter. And honestly, I don’t even LIKE cider.

I may have had no money for anything else, however (I remember one particular occasion when I had to beg the bank to let me withdraw £2.50 from my account, so I could afford the train fare home…), but dammit, I WOULD have that nail polish, even if I had to go on a waiting list at Jenners for it. And I did. And it was SO worth it.

But, of course, time passed and things changed. I didn’t ever really give up on my love of makeup, but as I became more and more interested in fashion, I just didn’t have the budget for it any more. If it came down to the choice between a new dress, and an expensive jar of face cream, I was going to choose the dress every time, so gradually things started to slip in the ol’ beauty department. Don’t get me wrong, I still put my “face” on every day, and I would happily move into Sephora if I possibly could, but over the years, what goes onto my face has changed a little. As my favourite products ran out, I started to replace them with cheaper, and not always better alternatives – or just not to replace them at all, because DRESSES, PEOPLE.  I always had it my head that this would be just a temporary state of affairs, until that golden time when I magically find myself swimming in piles o’cash, and can run out and buy AAAALLL  the things, but, of course, that time never came, and even if it did, I’d probably STILL have just spent all the money on dresses and shoes. I’m like that.

Lately, though, I’ve been bitten by the beauty bug again, and I’ve been spending a lot of time reading beauty blogs, and obsessing over all the things I absolutely MUST have. First, though, I’ve been buying some of the basics: stocking up on some of the old favourites I’d been neglecting to re-purchase, and ignoring the lure of another ASOS dress in favour of some products I’ve been meaning to buy for ages, but have been too cheap to spend the money on. The photo above shows the contents of a recent Boots purchase: I guess I could call it a “haul”, but then I’d have to shoot myself, and THEN who would use up all these products I’ve been buying, HUH?

I bought:

Real Techniques stippling brush, £11.99

My last stippling brush died a horrible death when I… well, when I yanked all of the bristles out by accident while I was cleaning it one day. Whoops. I never bothered to replace it, even although it was my favourite way to apply my foundation, because that was money I could’ve spent on 50s style skirts, you know? I’d read lots of good things about the Real Techniques brushes, though, and they’re not too horrifically expensive (I’m one of those people who resents spending a lot of money on makeup brushes, because they’re not a “fun” purchase. Yeah, I know…), so I bought this one. To be perfectly honest, I never really notice a HUGE difference between different brands of makeup brushes, but this is a really nice brush, and has yet to leave a single black hair on my face, so I’m happy with it. And I couldn’t have bought a skirt for £11.99 anyway, so…

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in 010: light porcelain, £6.99

This is the “emergency purchase” I mentioned in my NARS Sheer Matte Review: when I first got the NARS foundation I hated it so much I decided I absolutely HAD to find a replacement, ASAP. By that point I’d realised Bobbi Brown had started selling my favourite shade, ‘Alabaster’ again, but having just spent £30 on a foundation I hated, I couldn’t justify another expensive foundation quite so soon. This had been recommended by a couple of readers, and was only £6.99 (SIX! NINETY-NINE!), so I decided to just go for it. As I said in my last foundation post, I’ll be posting a full review of this soon, but suffice to say that I’m super-impressed, and it’s probably the best match for my skin tone I’ve ever found from a drugstore brand: amazing!

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £25

This is my holy grail primer. I’ve been using it for years, but my last tube ran out around Christmas time, and I didn’t bother replacing it, because it’s not cheap and because I had other primers in my collection which didn’t work nearly as well (Or, indeed, AT ALL…), but which I figured would do the job for now. But they didn’t do the job, so this month I finally re-purchased my Photo Finish, and was reminded all over again just why I love it so much. It’s because it’s AWESOME, seriously. Smashbox, I promise to never forsake you again, for what dress could possibly compare to your velvety-smooth self? Other than this one, obviously?

No. 7 Lift and Luminate Eye Cream, £16

This is yet another product I’d used for years, but stopped buying because I was able to find cheaper-although-not-as-good alternatives. I’d really started to notice a difference in the skin around my eyes, though, so it was time to go back to the cream I know works for me. I actually normally buy the ‘Protect & Perfect’ version of this, but it was out of stock when I placed my order, so I went with this instead, and honestly, I don’t see any difference between it and P&P. I DO see a difference in the luggage under my eyes, though, so that’s the main thing.

Barry M Nail Paint in Brit Red, £2.99

This is only £2.99, so God only knows why I’ve been continuing to try to use the ancient, dried-out bottle I already had, rather than just replacing it already. ‘Brit Red’ is my favourite red polish, and I almost always have this colour on my toes. One day I’ll maybe branch out to a different shade, but… probably not.

Max Factor Masterpiece Glide & Define Liquid Eyeliner, £6.99

This was really just a last-minute impulse-purchase. I normally prefer pencil liners to liquid ones, but I like to have some liquid liner on hand for those times when my eyelash dye has started to grow out, and I’m left with attractive blonde roots. I find liquid liner is better at getting right to the root of the problem (boom boom!) than a pencil is, so I bought this, wasn’t impressed the first couple of times I used it, then somehow got the hang of it, and now I’ve been using it as my daily liner. It’s not the most amazing product in the world, but it’s pretty good for the price, so as long as it doesn’t dry out too fast, I’d probably buy it again.

Conclusion: beauty products aren’t QUITE as much fun as 50s-style dress, but they’re pretty good all the same. Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be over on Pinterest, discovering new things I absolutely MUST put on my face…

  • Great post, Amber! As a fellow pale redhead, I must check out that Rimmel foundation! In fact, I’m about to head off on lunch so think I will just HAVE to go and buy a Boots meal deal…if I’m passing then this might just fall into my basket, too!

    I usually use Estee Lauder Double Wear in Shell as the shade is perfect for me but I do find it rather heavy for summer.

    July 25, 2014
  • I have been dying to buy a full size of that smashbox primer, I got a sample from Sephora one time and I fell in love with it! It’s like a second, better, skin!
    I have a question for you! Have you read the Shopaholic book series? I love the books and everytime I read your posts like this one I think, the author must know you and made a character based on you or something. The part where you talked about borrowing money from the bank made me think “Ooooh maybeee it is true then”!!! haha

    July 25, 2014
  • Caroline


    That foundation is absolutely amazing!

    As a natural redhead (currently masquerading as more of a strawberry blonde) I also use the palest shade. It feels a little watery and thin when you apply it, but for me it has the right level of coverage. It looks like my skin but better, which is what a good foundation is supposed to like like 🙂

    It’s the best colour match I’ve found within my budget and it’s often on offer so I’m tempted to stock up in case they ever decide to discontinue it… I love love love it!

    July 25, 2014
  • I bought the Rimmel foundation (in ivory) recently as an “emergency purchase” too, because I got home from abroad without my suitcase and foundation was in it, and I can’t get out without putting it on. I bought it because it was cheap (8.43 pounds) but I was surprised and I really like it.

    July 25, 2014
  • I started reading caroline hiron’s blog and now am broke!!

    July 25, 2014
  • I totally agree about the Rimmel foundation. It’s the only one I can wear!

    July 26, 2014
  • alex


    If you ever find yourself cash-poor and in need of Smashbox again… it’s essentially Monistat in fancy packaging.

    If the idea of buying Monistat for your face skeeves you out, that primer can be purchased much more cheaply if you buy the economy size.

    September 20, 2014