February Makeup Buys

Last month I went on holidays with my dad, which included lots of tasty food, a little sun, a lot of rain and an absurd amount of makeup shopping. Surely I’m not alone when I say that picking up beauty buys in the airport is one of the best bits about going away.

Anyhow I made a lot of impulse buys and picked up one or two products that I’d had my eye on for a while. These included Benefit’s Fine-One-One cream blusher and the Benefit bronzer, Dallas, both of which I probably saved €4-ish on in the airport. I’ll get back to these two products later but funnily, it’s the splurge-buys that I’ve had a lot more fun with and managed to seamlessly integrate into my makeup bag and daily routine.

My splurge list is pretty long and I don’t want to think how much this lot cost.

[Inhales dramatically]

Here we go:

While away I picked up Mac Prep + Prime BB Cream (in Extra Light); Kiko Soft Focus Compact Wet & Dry Mineral Foundation (02 Peach Pink); two Kiko face brushes (106 foundation brush and limited edition powder brush); Kiko Skin Glow Light Effect Day Cream and Mac Creme in Your Coffee cremesheen lipstick. Remarkably, the Kiko stuff came to less than €50 while the Mac BB cream was nearly ten euro less in Malaga airport than it was in BT2, Dundrum.

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I discovered Kiko two or three years ago when a friend of mine, Ailbhe, came home from Rome and told me about this European makeup brand she’d discovered, which was packaged like Mac, had the same variety as Mac but retailed at a fraction of Mac’s prices. Myself and Ailbhe visited Kiko on several class trips to Rome, Paris and Madrid but each time I was a little reluctant to commit to more than lip balm or cheapie mascara. This time, I decided to surf their website before heading in to the shop and because the shop was significantly less busy than the stores I’d visited in Madrid and Rome I had the option to play around with the products and work out what I wanted before waving goodbye to my cash.

Because Kiko was only launched recently in the UK and is still not available in the US, it’s quite difficult to find information on Kiko products. MakeupAlley reviews were limited I found and YouTube tutorials and blogs were nearly always in Italian. But here I am writing about these products in English and I have to say they’re fantastic.

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The Skin Glow Light Effect Day Cream is without a doubt the weakest link in the chain. I wear it almost every day but I doubt I’d replace it when it’s finished. The cream comes with a handy pump and looks quite thick when squeezed onto the skin. Once it’s rubbed into the skin it becomes transparent and has a light sheen, which I usually rub into the apples of my cheeks and over the bridge of my nose. It also has an SPF, which is pretty impressive for a €12 moisture cream but my main gripe with it is that it’s a tiny bit sticky. It’s certainly a good, cheap product and great for me because I never have the patience to apply highlighters or brighteners to my cheeks and skin. But the sticky-factor irritates me and it doesn’t feel particularly hydrating on my skin.

It looks thick but becomes transparent after it’s rubbed into the skin

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Transparent

I’d probably mark it 6/10.

The other Kiko products would probably get top marks. In fact I cannot talk them up enough. A few years ago my mum bought a Mac foundation brush, which I used a few times but never really saw the point of. I’ve owned several cheap foundation brushes from Boots and The Body Shop, which were always those stiff paint brush types that leave awkward streak marks on your face. Until I bought this brush, I used my fingers and saw foundation brushes as a gimmick. But now I’ve given up using my hands and solely use this brush. The brush is soft and a little puffy at the end. It’s very easy to clean, dries quickly after a run under the tap and applies foundation almost flawlessly. My only issues is that there’ll occasionally be a stray hair or two after use but I feel like this is unavoidable.

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I’m equally in-lust with the powder brush, which is remarkably soft, especially for a synthetic brush. The large, angled fan makes it very easy to apply a light, loose lair of finishing powder instead of the dreaded moisture-sucking veil of white, which previously led me to give up powders completely.

Inevitably, I’ve been using the Kiko Soft Focus Compact as my new finishing powder and I think it’s pretty great! According to the instruction booklet, the makeup can be worn as a powder mineral foundation like the Bare Minerals range but it can also be applied to the skin with a wet sponge, giving it a creamier foundation look. I haven’t really tested the foundation claim to be honest. It comes with a small sponge, which I ran under a tap and rubbed onto the powder but nothing seemed to happen and I wasn’t particularly interested in a powder-to-cream formula anyhow. As a powder though, this is very good. The colour (02) is very light and I’ve worn it over my foundation and on its own as a mineral powder and both look bright and natural.

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I’ve always been a big exponent of Bare Minerals but stopped wearing the product because it was priced too high and contained too little product, which nearly always evaporated what with it being a loose powder. This however comes in a handy compact with a mirror and sponge (a little like Mac Studio Fix) and so far looks like it hasn’t taken much of a dent despite being used every day for the past month.

Because I buy a lot of Mac products I’m not as excited or surprised by how good the Mac BB Cream or lipstick is. I’m a big fan of BBs and usually find foundations heavy and irritating on my skin. The only problem is that most BBs seem to come in a one-shade-suits-all, which almost never suits me or my vampire-white skin. Extra Light however is pale, light and when I wan to build up coverage, I just apply a touch of foundation on top, which somehow never looks cakey or clogged.

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The lipstick, Creme in Your Coffee is also nice, easy to wear, not drying and generally a safe buy for someone who hates bright pinks, dark browns and who owns about eight different shades of purple and plum lipsticks.

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My last two buys, which I’m a little sceptical about are the Benefit cheek products that I picked up in Dublin airport.

I had read a considerable amount about Benefit’s Fine-one-One on the Internet, had tried it on at the counter and even watched this embarrassing promotional video that Benefit produced for the product’s launch last January.

This isn’t a bad product per se it’s just unnecessary. It comes in a really nice container, which looks like an expensive Zip Lighter. The stick, which is swivelled out of the container, includes three side-by-side colours that look like an intimidating pink and orange flag. It’s pretty easy to use and works by swiping the stick across the cheek with the lightest colour at the top and darkest shade middling around the centre of the cheeks. It’s then rubbed in, leaving a nice cream-t0-powder coral colour on the cheeks. But is this necessary? I’m very pale and like to smudge a lot of pink onto my cheeks. This product looks bright in the tube but when applied seems very light, the darker shade barely showing up at all on my skin. I have high cheekbones anyhow, so highlighter is a nice touch rather than total necessity.

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Fine-One-One is also very large, certainly too large to throw into my tiny handbag or carry around with me during the day. It also gets covered with a lair of makeup after I swipe it across my cheeks, which makes my blood pressure spike. I’m confident I’ll finish this product but I won’t be replacing it when it’s gone.

Benefit’s Dallas on the other hand is a good, basic product that smells nice and includes a lot of product (90g to be exact!) But as someone who’s never really used bronzer before, I find it a little intimidating (my makeup rule of thumb is that I should be able to apply all products in the dark while half-asleep.)

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In all, I bought a stupid amount and all of it has turned out alright. Some products were better than others and impressed me a lot but more-or-less I’m pretty pleased.

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