Sunday, 14 August 2016

First Look | Wet n Wild 2016.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to a Wet n Wild event in Tropical Popical on South William Street. An evening of new makeup launches, manicures, prosecco and donuts? You had me at makeup (and I mean I'll take a donut while I'm there, too)... Wet n Wild is one of my favourite budget brands, I've featured them pretty heavily on my blog throughout the years so I'm always excited to see what they have new hitting the stands. I have a Wet n Wild lip swatch post in the works at the minute but until then I thought I'd share with you a small first look at some of the new products coming to Wet n Wild shelves this month. All of these will be in the permanent collection which is fab which means no crazy goose chase looking for the highlighting powder or metallic liquid lipstick. As a first look these are really just photos, some swatches and product information but if I have tried any of the items here already I will of course give a little mini review for you guys!
I also received an email the other day to confirm that Wet n Wild have just been approved by PETA as being totally cruelty free and saying no to animal testing - something I love to see from any makeup company, but particularly a budget brand.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Damaged, Bleached Hair Care Routine.

I've been bleaching my hair since I was 14, I like to think I'm a bit of a bleach veteran by now and while my hair isn't perfect, it could be a lot worse considering the amount of damage I do to it. This isn't just for bleached hair, a lot of these steps will cover how to strengthen naturally weak hair or hair that gets put through a lot with heat. If you have naturally weak hair that is bleached and goes through the GHDs on the daily then this post is particularly perfect for you! I try so many different masks and post shower treatments; but this is just a quick look into some of the products that I think make a massive difference.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Best Budget Beauty | Primark/Penneys PS Love...

Take a shot every time you've ever responded to a compliment with "Thanks hun, Penneys!"... I definitely don't discriminate in the makeup world and often apply my more expensive foundations with a €2 brush from eBay. While I feel like a lot of products are really worth the money, I am also a firm believer that you can find some amazing gems on a budget - or just in general. Penneys makeup has come a long way, and I have to say I'm really impressed with pretty much everything I've tried by them. Admittedly, I haven't tried any of their complexion products or eyeshadows so maybe I've been good with what I've picked but I wanted to share my love for them with you guys nonetheless. A lot of these are just as good as some more expensive items I have in my makeup collection. Not just good for the price, but great in general to be honest. The products I've tried so far have mostly been tools rather than actual makeup but I did want to talk about them because I see people spending an arm and a leg on the likes of brushes when I don't think it's always necessary (a MAC 217, yes, but a synthetic kabuki brush? Nah)


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Brand Focus | Kat Von D.

It was announced a week ago that Kat Von D Beauty will be available in the UK and Ireland through Debenhams later this year... and we all freaked out. It was previously only available in Sephora, I would drool over pictures and videos online and make a little shopping list for any relatives going stateside. I have quite a good mix of bits from her line now and I wanted to do a brand focus on Kat Von D so that you could maybe add (or take stuff off!) your shopping lists when it finally hits our shores.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Fine Lines | Nude Lip Liners.

Let's talk boring for a bit, yeah? Okay, I'm not gonna lie I love lip liners and think they're great - I use them every day. I will admit though, they're probably not as exciting to buy as a lipstick or aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they're a really important part of perfecting any makeup look for me so I wanted to share with you some of my favourites. I'd be here all day if I were to talk about all of my favourite colours and brands, so I thought I'd share some of my top nude/brown/neutral pencils since I use them the most, and I'm sure they're what most people wear on a daily basis too. I'm gonna go through my top shades, formulas and just some of my favourite lipsticks to pair with them for gorgeous combinations. Let me know if you find this useful and if ye would like me to do another post for other colour in the future!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Review + Lip Swatches | Urban Decay VICE Lipsticks.

What's your vice? For Urban Decay, it would seem to be launching 100 shades of lipstick (€18 each in Debenhams) and giving beauty lovers a small heart attack. A shade for every skin tone, every person, every age and every occasion - no excuses. This is certainly Urban Decay's biggest launch ever and I'd go as far to say that from my memory at least this is one of the biggest makeup launches I've seen a brand do all at once in a very long time. 100 lipsticks and 50 complimentary lipliners? That is hugeeeeee. With Ruby Rose as the new UD girl it makes the launch even better.
I'm gonna chat about the packaging for a little bit without harping on and say that I really like it. I don't love it as much as the old Revolution one because it doesn't feel quite as heavy but it still looks so badass with the bullet shell casing. I was worried it would feel like the Gwen lipsticks in weight (I have said before I wasn't a fan of how light they felt) but I'm glad to report it is a happy medium between the Gwen and Revolution lipsticks... for 100 shades I can deal with that.

The older Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks are some of my favourites in terms of shades and formula, and I loved seeing them launch the Sheer and Matte Revolution sisters. UD have now essentially scrapped the Revolution tag and packaging, to relaunch their existing (formerly Revolution) shades plus a tonne of new ones into a new Vice line up. I'm really happy they kept the older, much loved shades/finishes whilst adding to their permanent range. I own quite a few of the Revolution lipsticks and because they've decided to keep all of those shades I thought it would make sense to include them in this swatch post so you can check them out in the new Vice packaging if you missed out on them before. Although they've scrapped the Revolution line for the Vice tag, I'm delighted they have kept the old UD "creamy bad-ass luxury" texture. The formula overall is a creamy balm like feel that is always comfortable on the lips regardless of the finish. They all glide on smoothly and the mattes/mega mattes particularly give a beautiful look to the lip and fill in any lines or cracks to give the appearance of a smoother, more plump pout.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Don't Believe The Hype.

"Products not worth the hype" are quite divisive here in the beauty community; some people think that just because one person doesn't feel an item lived up to its internet hype that they're attacking them and their own love for that specific product. Of course, this absolutely isn't the case and no one should get butt-hurt over someone not liking something. If any of these products mentioned are your number 1 forever and always then that's great - I'm jealous! And I'm pretty sure there's plenty of products out there that I love and others don't. That's the beauty of being an adult, isn't it?
Either way, I'm here to share with you guys today some products that I feel get a lot of love from the beauty community in blogs and videos, and from my friends included (hence why I purchased them!) but unfortunately for some reason or another, they fell short of my expectations. I want to make it clear that not all of these are necessarily bad products (there are some downright crap ones, and I'll get to those)... some of these I do use quite often, but it's just that they didn't live up to the crazy mega fan girl hype they have online.
 I've included quite a lot of higher end products, mostly found in the likes of Sephora. I feel like high-end products get hyped up a lot more and with good reason; typically a more expensive product will or at least should perform better although this is obviously not always the case as you soon see when you try a range of different products. I'm generally very picky and harsher a critic on more expensive products because they should be out-performing their cheaper dupes for the price. Not to say that these are the worst products in the world, or to put you off looking into all of them, it's just to say that actually what was supposed to be the mecca of all lipsticks turned out to be the meh of all lipsticks, for me at least.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Empties | The Mascara Edit.

I quite like the idea of themed empties in a way, although I'm not sure I go through the same products often enough to warrant an empties post. Unless of course that is, you're me and you remember that you're a mascara fiend. So I thought it would be fun to do a round-up of some mascaras I've used/used up recently with some mini reviews as to whether they were any good or not. I will say though, just because I won't repurchase doesn't mean it wasn't good. Mascara is just one of those things that I, and I think a lot of people, are always curious to try a new one in the hopes that it will give us bigger and better lashes than the one before.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Summer Skin | Liquid Bronze and Instant Radiance.

It's sunny in France, and the Snapchat stories from back home consisting of guys stripping down to their boxers in 15 degree weather would also suggest that Summer is arriving. This is 100% going to be a stereotypical summer related blog post about healthy/glowing/dewy/natural/bronzed looking skin from your oily skinned casper friend over here. Whilst I love a full coverage matte look for photographs and nights out, I have definitely been moving towards a more lightweight and creamy look to the skin with more liquid products and, shock horror, bronzer. So, if this sounds like your kind of thing then get ready to read all about my top 5 products for a summer ready complexion. P.S I'd love to know when exactly in makeup history we made this sudden connection that healthy skin is synonymous with a bronzed JLo-esque face? I feel like Irish girls nowadays (with the exception of Cocoa Brown Tanning Thursday moments) would have been beating 14th century knights away with sticks...

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Meet My Eyeshadow Palettes | MAC, Makeup Geek, Urban Decay.

Who doesn't love a good eyeshadow? And who doesn't love a good nosy into someone else's eyeshadow palettes? These are some of my favourite videos/posts to watch/read cause I love seeing what other people have in their palettes - equal parts makeup lover and nosy bitch. I know I find them very useful when building my eyeshadow collection and I hope this will help some of ye too. I keep most of my round single shadows in my MAC palettes (not all of them are MAC, I'm also swatching and chatting about my Makeup Geek and Urban Decay shadows too) but Z Palettes are also popular options! 
I thought it would be most helpful to show you the majority of my single shadows in case you were looking into some of these for your own collection, or wanting to compare them to other shades that I have here. I'm going to swatch all of them with no primer, let you know how they perform and which ones are my favourite. I will mention whenever a limited edition or discontinued shadow pops up with an * (not very often so fear not!) but I won't spend too much time talking about them. This is probably going to be a text and photo heavy post so make yourself some tea or pour ya fine self a glass of wine and let's get to itttttt. Oh, and we're going to ignore the 3 day old scauldy tan on my arms making me look like I have a skin condition. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Brand Focus | Seventeen.

Remember Brand Focus posts? I did a couple of these on Wet n Wild and had the intention of doing them for lots of other different brands - particularly drugstore ones. However, I started this before I went to France and never brought my whole collection of any one brand with me so it was difficult to continue. I'm hoping to bring them back so if you have any brands you'd like an overview of some "the good, the bad and the worst" style products then let me know below or send me a tweet @GraceyOConnell! Today's post is going to focus on the very affordable Boots brand, 17.
I'll admit, up until about 2 years ago I thought this brand was very "tween" and I never really gave it a chance. I feel like it was just a brand I used bits and pieces of when I was 13 and then just assumed that the brand never grew or improved quality wise since I was that age. Wrong. I was so wrong. I'm here to show you today exactly why you should never judge a book (or a makeup brand) by its cover.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Empties April 2016 | Skincare, Haircare, Makeup.

I feel like I could easily do one of these once every two months - there's something so satisfying about finishing up a product and throwing it in the bin. Is that ridiculous? It probably definitely is. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

MAC x Ariana Grande | Viva Glam.

I've spoken about my love of MAC Viva Glam on my blog before, particularly with Viva Glam Miley (please read here for more information on why I LOVE the MAC AIDS fund). Unfortunately I didn't get to feature Miley II (a matte orange toned red) on my blog before they announced their new VG girl - Ariana Grande. Regardless of the VG spokesperson, I always get excited about a new lipstick release. I'm not too far gone on Ariana Grande, I could take her or leave her to be honest, but ya gal is not gonna deny I do love me a dark lipstick. In any case, I'm here today to bring you MAC's new lipstick offering for 2016 and hopefully it's something you guys are interested in checking out!

Friday, 26 February 2016

An Inglot Haul + New HD Matte Lip Tints.

Inglot are some of my very favourite eyeshadows ever ever ever. Whilst I don't feature them a tonne on my blog or Instagram (purely because the numbering system makes them a nightmare to remember/pull of out palettes/reference) they are absolutely top quality. I did a massive swatch fest over a year ago delving into my Inglot eyeshadow palettes (link here if you're interested in seeing swatches of 30 brights and neutrals) which I think some people found quite useful. The number system is a pain, and finding swatches online can be so difficult. I wanted to branch out and try some other products from Inglot, particularly their pigments which my friend Ray uses loads in her YouTube videos. She's stun, the pigments are stun, her videos are stun... I digress. 


Monday, 22 February 2016

UDxGwen | Urban Decay Spring 2016.

Confession time: when the Urban Decay/Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette popped up online (and through my letterbox) late last year, I was left feeling a little deflated. Please don't throw your unicorn horns at me. Sure, the packaging was cool and as a No Doubt/Gwen fan I loved the idea but I just didn't think it was anything special. The eyeshadow quality was nice and had lots of mattes, I couldn't fault that, but after Naked Smoky and Vice 4 I was just left feeling a little "meh". And so, I chose not to show it on my blog - simply because I just couldn't bash it; it wasn't a bad palette (I know pretty much everyone else thought it was amazing and everyone who I know that has it LOVES it), but it just didn't excite me enough to blabber on about it. But what was released in November was only the start of things to come; better things, in my opinion. I'm so happy to say that the second half of the UD x Gwen collaboration has absolutely made up for the eyeshadow palette. If you're a Gwen fan, a cheek product junkie or a bright lipstick lover you need to have a nosy at your nearest Urban Decay counter, ehm, yesterday. 


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Empties February 2016 | Sephora, Kiko, Lush + More.

Since I went on a bit of a blogging break towards the end of 2015, I actually binned a lot of things I had been meaning to save for an empties post. My room here in France is so small that any unnecessary clutter left hanging about drives me up the very horribly painted walls. I did finish up quite a few skincare and some other bits and bobs, though, and I thought I'd review those for ye in one (hopefully) quick post!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Review | Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette.

I think the very fact that I'm only getting around to buying this palette in 2016 is proof that Irish people are backwards. I know the internet is saturated with Chocolate Bar palette reviews, but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in to the mix, since I don't seem to have the same feelings about this as most people. If you haven't heard of this palette before - where ya been, gurl?! While this hasn't blown up in popularity quite as much as the Naked palettes (for most makeup wearers I mean, die hard makeup fans not included!), this is Too Faced's offering at a neutral palette with a bit of a twist. I say twist very loosely, since I don't personally feel that any neutral eyeshadow palette is all that original anymore; although shout-out to Naked Smoky which didn't reinvent the wheel but is a great palette.

The Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette boasts 16 neutral-ish shades, infused with real cocoa powder. Yes, this smells amazing and I may or may not be able to confirm that it does actually taste like chocolate (don't try this at home, kids. I was always a curious one...) I think the metal tin packaging with the chocolate bar design on the front is super cute, but I have to say I'm really disappointed with the quality of the packaging. The magnet is just not sturdy enough and I've found myself picking it up and it opening very easily. I would have liked a stronger magnet or snap closure à la Naked 2. The layout of the palette is really nice, though, and I seriously appreciate them making the two highlight shades (one matte, one shimmer) the two bigger rectangle strips since you often go through those first in any palette. The palette contains 7 mattes and 9 more shimmery shades (some with frost, some with more shimmer and glitter). Since the quality varied so much depending on the shadow, it's impossible for me to say that the mattes/shimmers were better quality than the other so I thought it would be better to go through each individual shade and tell you the stars and duds.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Fine and Damaged Hair (don't) Care | MADES Wonder Volume & Repair Expert.

So I fell off the face of the makeup blogging earth. This is due to a mountain of reasons; mostly to do with travelling back home for Christmas, wanting to actually enjoy my time with friends and family whilst at home, my phone being stolen ( = no Instagram), then travelling back to France to what was one of the most stressful exam periods of my life aaaand finally a real disillusion with the blogging community and a sort of reluctance to write. I'm happy to say that this is all over me now, and I'm so ready to get back to doing what I love most (after Netflix bingin' and looking at photos of cute kittens) and that is talking about lipstick and all other makeup related things. I'm not entirely sure anyone will still bother reading what I have to say, especially since I haven't been on here in over a month but if you're still here to chat makeup then you're great, and thank you. I have a tonne of things to talk about on here so stick with me for the next few weeks while I shoot out some favourites, empties, yadda yadda yaddaaaaadada.

Okay, so I lied. Today's post isn't about lipstick. It's about hair products. A shampoo and hair mask to be exact. These were actually sent to me back in October for review consideration but I wanted to wait until I was pretty much finished using them until I posted about them on here. In short, I am in luuuuurv. I don't really dabble outside of my comfort zone when it comes to hair products in the shower - if you know me you know I love pretty much anything Schwarzkopf does. That being said, I found that my hair was hating me soon after I moved to France and my usual hair products just weren't cutting it. I think the water over here had a lot to do with it because subsequently my skin changed pretty much overnight too but that is completely irrelevant okay Grace talk about the damn shampoo. 
Here's where MADES comes in... and pretty much saves my hair/life. A brand I had never heard of before in my life, but one I will definitely be using more of in the future. For a bit of background, my hair is super fine but really frizzy and dry/damaged from bleach which makes it an absolute pain to treat.