An Ode to Cream Blush

cram blush

When the weather in the Northern hemisphere starts warming up, and the beach (or at least a patch of green grass in the park) starts beckoning, I know it’s time to start switching up my makeup routine. It’s almost instinctive – powders start feeling goopy and heavy, your skin wants lighter products (with sunscreen!) and you don’t feel like spending lots of time getting ready. In summer let’s face it, everyone generally looks better with a flush of healthy colour.

With that in mind, I love cream products as they are fast, portable, can be dabbed on with a finger and let your natural glow come through. For me in summer, it’s all about cream blushes and bronzers. Here are my picks of the season:

Stila Convertible Colour – these are the prettiest flush you will find in a compact. I carry about 8 in my kit on every makeup job, and pat them on to the apple of the cheek either with my fingers, or with a sponge. You can also blend in with a brush, and my favourite for this is the MAC 187 large duofibre blending brush.

Paul & Joe Creamy Cheek in 03 – this is it, this is the one that I’m personally wearing all summer long. Deceptively pale in its sweet Art-deco inspired pink packaging, it can be built to a gorgeous flush of colour with a subtle shimmer that makes you look uber-healthy.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge – These come in a gorgeous chunky pot and really can be used on lips and cheeks. I love Calypso Coral for a punchy flush of colour and Summer Tan for a monochromatic bronze effect.

NARS Multiples – yes, every one raves about these because they are amazing. The shimmery bronze-y shades are my favourite, and I mix and match St Barts, South Beach and Palm Beach depending on the models’ skin tone. You can also add Malibu or Riviera on the apples of the cheek (if you felt like taking a walk on the wild side.)

Chanel Bronze Universel – a big, chunky beautiful pot of caramel bronze goodness with a hint of shimmer – just enough to look like skin, that you buff in with a big brush. Such a perfect start to the day as well – dipping into a big pot with the double C’s on top.

Becca – juicy, sweet little pans of blush in punchy, unusual colours like Hyacinth, Turkish Rose and Amaryllis. I keep a good selection on hand at all times, and it is equally sweet on lips. This is a lovely range for the summer months as no-one does flattering, natural, juicy summer colours like an Aussie brand, and this one definitely fits the bill.

These are just a few of my favourite cream blushes – The other lovely thing about cream blushes is you can layer them under your powder blush or bronzer to create a new, more longer lasting blush colour. Because cream blush, like summer, will fade. But the memory of it lingers on.

A Tale of Two Cleansers – Shu Uemura Unmasked and Sisley’s Eau Efficace Gentle Makeup Remover

She Uemura Unmasked

Although it’s been hectic of late as I’m now beauty writing for two magazines and juggling blogging and makeup (and moving house, UGH UGH UGH) I have also found time to test out not one but two new cleansers. Even better I use one in the morning and one in the evening, although both of them could easily do double duty. It takes awhile for me to test things as I like to make sure they work – some products are great the first couple of times you use them and then for some reason aren’t good with repeated usage, and I like products that are consistently good, time after time.

First off the Shu Unmasked, which I like to use in the morning. I’ve been a long-time sporadic user of the classic (and now iconic) Shu cleansing oil, first released in 1967. Its basic principle (which can sound counter-intuitive) is that it takes oil to dissolve makeup and oil effectively. The new Unmasked oil not only comes in an industrial size (450 ml), it has a gorgeous hand drawn mask on the bottle which never fails to cheer me up on my bathroom window sill.

But it’s what’s inside that I like – the oil is super light weight and silky, and I find lighter than the regular Shu Skin Purifier facial oil or the Aesop Fabulous Face Oil that I also use and like. I wasn’t expecting to find anything radically different when I started testing the Unmasked, but it really leaves my skin feeling hydrated for hours afterwards – considering my face is pretty much permanently dry, not matter how much Astalift and Liz Earle Superskin I pile onto it, that is no mean feat. So I was very pleasantly surprised as I find many cleansers are just too drying. And since my skin is more hydrated, I then feel my skin looks less shiny later in the day (which is always a good thing. I’m sick of looking like you could hang me from the ceiling of Studio 54 and dance to disco).

And now to my second cleansing discovery! Sisley – oooh Sisley. This is a new brand on my radar of late and I have loved everything I have tried. The products feel luxurious – which they should, as they are expensive. They are also based on plant essences which I find very non-irritating. The Sisley Eau Efficace has, quite frankly, done the unthinkable – it has bumped my Crealine water out of my daily beauty routine. (Although I still use it for work). The Sisley does the job just as effectively, but I feel a little less harshly.

Also I love Sisley’s pump packaging – it’s the ultimate in no hassle for the evenings when you just CAN’T BE BOTHERED to tip a bottle of Crealine onto a cotton pad (that’s really lazy isn’t it? It’s hardly taxing). But you just press your cotton pad down onto the pump and hey presto, two swipes around the old visage and you’re done, fresh as a daisy and ready for bed.

One caveat – as I can no longer wear eye makeup (let’s all pause for a requiem there as it really is so sad, but my eyes are just still too sensitive. That’s a topic for a later post) I haven’t tried to take off hardcore mascara, or eyeliner, or big beauty looks with the Sisley. But for day to day cleansing I can totally vouch for it. Plus the big bottle lasts for ages.

So there you have it. I now have enough beautiful cleansers that make my skin look and feel amazing to last me for… well until it’s time to start testing out more new goodies.

Illamasqua Behind The Scenes – Toxic Nature Campaign

By now you’d have to have been living in a yurt in Outer Mongolia to have missed seeing the incredible campaign images from Illamasqua’s newest collection, Toxic Nature (Creative Director Alex Box in Uber box Mode on this one!)

Check out what went on behind the scenes..



The Mole Patrol: Spring Picks

As the weather starts warming up, it’s time to re-think your makeup bag – here’s a few of my new favourite things:

Paul & Joe Blotting Papers1 – Paul & Joe blotting papers

    How cute are these? Sweet little oil-blotting sheets when the heat just gets too much. The package is so cute, you won’t want to hide them away.

    2 – Benefit Creaseless Cream eyeshadows

      I love these shimmery, elegant eyeshadows that are gorgeous as a base for serious eye makeup, or as a wash on their own. Currently in constant rotation are Busy Signal, a rich copper which is amazing on darker skin tones, Stiletto in aubergine, for blue eyes, and Skinny Jeans, a rich pewter, for green eyes. And it’s true, they are the most creaseless of all the cream eyeshadows.

      Benefit Cream Eyeshadow3 – Liz Earle Daily Eye Repair

        I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not a big eye cream girl. My eyes are quite sensitive, so a lot of eye creams make them even puffier than normal in the morning (NOT the effect I was going for) and itchy and red. This is not the best way to start your morning beauty routine! So generally I avoid them, but this one I love. It has echinacea, Vitamin E and Vitamin B5, and it’s keeping my incipient eye wrinkles at bay.

        4 – Tom Ford Lipstick

          Um, Tom Ford? Anything Tom Ford? The man could be designing plumbing equipment and I’d be there with bells on at his counter in Selfridges, signing up for some plungers. Happily it’s not plumbing equipment but gorgeous lipsticks he’s turned his clever hands to (designing clothes and the grooviest sunglasses AND incredible movies is not enough apparently), and the twelve shades hand picked by the master are lovely enough to turn anyone’s head.

          5 – Laura Mercier Brow pencils

            Let’s just say my eyebrows now (in their infinite wisdom), need a little work, so I’m always on the lookout for brow products that define naturally without heaviness or giving nasty 1990’s brow, which for me is super drawn on, unnatural and overly sculpted. Yeuch. Sooo nasty and dated. Laura Mercier has four brow pencils in her range which are not too soft, not too hard and the right colour for brow hair – not orange, not tan, not too grey, but just right on all counts. So my brows can get the help they now definitely need, every day.

            MakeupMole Christmas Gift Guide

            It’s that time of year again, when it’s time to start thinking about loved ones and what they would like for Christmas. And given that the holiday seasonMakeupMole Christmas Gift Guide can be stressful, and tiring, and there are lots of parties, isn’t it time to start thinking of a gift guide for yourself? After all, ‘tis the season of tiny little lip glosses, bundled together into one gorgeous package, of miniature elf sized nail polish in a whole rainbow of colors, fabulous brush sets in tiny clutches, in short, makeup that is good enough to eat. So follow my lead – one for you, and one for me, one for you…

            Here are my picks for cute as a button present giving (and keeping!)


            The Gold Goddess box contains Liquid metal in ‘Solstice’, Pure Pigment in ‘Furore’, False Lashes 019 and the Medium Pencil in ‘Sophie’ – £3 of the sale of this box will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The Silver Seductress box contains Liquid metal in ‘Phenomena’ and is complemented with Pure Pigment in ‘Android’, False Lashes in 19 and the Medium Pencil in ‘Sophie’. Again, £3 of the sale of this box will go directly to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

            NARS 15th Anniversary Palette ‘Everlasting Love’

            NARS is justly famed for his palettes and this little Christmas cracker to commemorate his 15th year of makeup goodness is no exception. It has eyeshadows in Edie, Nightbreed and Underworld Duo, plus one of my all time favourite nude lipstick colors, Belle de Jour, and lip lacquer in Chelsea Girls. Nice!


            Nude’s adorable little box set of travel sized potions is just what the doctor ordered for party-weary skin – a Cleansing Oil, Miracle Mask and Age Defense Moisturiser to come soothe your over-partied spirit. And your conscience can feel as good as your skin does since it’s not tested on animals and has no sulfates or parabens.


            As always MAC comes into it’s own at Christmas and this year is no exception. The eyeshadow sets are gorgeous – particularly noteworthy is Smoke and Mirrors which has six beautiful smoky eye colors, for those times you need sultry eyes in seconds.

            And their mini pigments and gloss sets are back! For budding makeup artists they are a great way to build your collection, and quite frankly for anyone who loves something small and squirrelly (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) you really can’t go past them.

            Bobbi Brown

            Loving the Earth Metal Lip and Eye palette from the Chrome Collection, which features six yummy eye shadows and four natural but better lip colors.

            Black Plum Mini Travel Brush set – I LOVE Bobbi’s brushes as they are exceptionally good quality, just the right size to do the jobs you want and they last forever. And what have we here… Look at this bad boy! Six travel size brushes in a little bag. Perfect for all of those of you out there (ahem!) who have grimy,

            mismatched brushes lying in dust at the bottom of your makeup bag (not mentioning any names… That goes double if you’re blending things with cotton buds.) No more excuses!

            Laura Mercier

            Mini Lip Glace set contains five little glossy bonbons, all in a row.


            Tiny vials of nail varnish in 8 different shades – and at £3 each, you could definitely bundle these into one sweet gift!


            The Showgirl palette is what’s in their stocking this year, with a deep brown shadow, orchid and a stone color that work surprisingly well together, and a rosebud stain with a pink gloss. What you need to look gorgeous this party season.