Lauren Loves Blog

A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

13 Jan 2019

My red lipstick collection

I own a lot of red lipsticks! As part of my wedding makeup prep I've been looking through my collection of red lipsticks to work out which suit me best, and which are kiss proof (Sam would refuse to kiss me at the alter if I was wearing transferring lippie!). I've cataloged all my red lippies in this post with swatches reviews so be prepared for a long post. 

Here are all my lipsticks, which I have ordered from most orange toned, through most pink toned, and then to most blue toned

These swatches are makeup free so be prepared for not so great skin. I follow lots of bloggers who have perfect foundation for all their swatches but I'm far too lazy for that. Each time I thoroughly removed the last lippie it took off all the makeup around my mouth. I'm not wasting my expensive foundation for one photo! Sorry guys. These photos are "warts and all" to show you how they apply without lip liner, how thick they are and if they are drying. No photoshop here. 

Maybelline 24 hour ink Heroine

This coral-red liquid lippie is very bright. Its full name is Maybelline 24 hour Matte Ink in Heroine and it is long-lasting. I could go a whole night out and this is still on. It's also totally kiss-proof, there is no transfer onto Sam when I wear this lipstick. 

NYX  Soft Matte Lip Cream Morocco 

This soft creme lippie is another bright coral. It doesn't give great coverage so needs a few swipes. It's also not transfer-proof and comes off. It's not one of the liquid lippies that seems to dry. 

Maybelline x Gigi Hadid Austyn 

This lovely lipstickwas one of my go-tos this summer. It's a flattering coral with enough pink in to balance out the orange tones to make it a suits-everyone shade. It's very bright. It's a normal lipstick so isn't kiss proof. 

Marks and Spencer Autograph Attraction

This liquid lipstick is a lovely pinky red. It again needs a few swipes or some lip liner to make it an even colour but it's very moisturising and comfortable to wear. It transfers off and I often find it on my chin!


MAC Red is a classic red lipstick. It's a creamy formula so doesn't give the matte look but does wear really nicely, and isn't drying. Again it's a normal lipstick so does come off. 

MAC Fashion Legacy 

Fashion Legacy is another of my summer go-to lippies. It's a matte cream formula and is a proper fire-engine red. It lasts really well, and only transfers a little bit

MAC Ruby Woo

We're getting into blue toned reds here. Ruby Woo is the famous colour that Taylor Swift apparently wears. Very flattering, I've yet to meet someone who doesn't suit this lovely colour. It's a traditional lipstick so comes off everywhere when you kiss!

Maybelline 24 hour superstay Red Alert

I get lots of comments on this lipstick when I'm out for dinner - this red never comes off! It's one of the double ended ones with a lip colour on one wand, and a balm on the other. Even the colour without the balm is really hard to scrub off and is definitely kiss proof. It's another very flattering red. This is shown without the balm

Smashbox Always On Matte liquid lipstick Bawse 

This lippie is really interesting to apply - it's a lipgloss applicator but it seems to contain normal lipstick (although slightly mushier). It's a lovely deep red which works well in the winter but does transfer off

Rimmel Provocalips Kiss me you Fool

I bought this liquid lippie (again another double ended one) when I had bruised lips from fillers because their nude shades cover bruises perfectly. I'm less impressed with the red - although it lasts well and doesn't transfer, it does crack so when you smile it's lined. Again shown without the balm

Maybelline Superstay 24 hour ink Dancer

Writing this post has helped me work out how I feel about this lippie - it's been my favourite over the winter and I love the shade of red, how it doesn't transfer and it lasts forever, but I've never felt it's quite suited me. I think the undertones are great for cooler skintones, but if you're pinky like me it's not quite right. 

Maybelline 24 hour superstay Cherry Pie

Finally this lipstick is another one of the stay-on forever double ended ones. It's a deep bluey red and never comes off unless you use eye makeup remover! Shown without the balm

What is your favourite red lipstick? Any recommendations for ones that don't come off?


4 Jan 2019

Wedding: My Bridal Skincare Routine

I read recently in a bridal magazine that for your wedding, you should refine your skincare routine and then stick to it without any changes 6 months before your wedding. That's quite a big ask. I'm someone who has always suffered with acne and have blogged about it many, many times over the years as I find new products which work for me. Currently my skin is behaving itself very well, for the first time since I came off the pill, so I thought I'd share my "bridal skincare routine". 

I initially started with very good skin around the time I came off the pill (look at it in this post! Heart eyes!). I thought I was initially doing ok, but looking back the pill took a long time to leave my system. My skin started to fall apart and I started to look into skincare. My research told me the things I was using on the pill were all full of alcohol and other things which were irritating and spot-causing. Stupidly, I decided to entirely overhaul my skincare routine and tried The Ordinary which worked short term, but made my skin awful in the long term. This was my skin in Summer 2017. I was very spotty, but also got awful cysts which you couldn't see on the surface, but would distort my face (see the second photo below of one by my mouth). They were so painful and would often lie there for months. I was feeling very low about my skin. 

Also notice how sun damaged I was last summer. Naughty Lauren

I did lots more research and joined a group on Facebook called The Skincare Connection and followed routines recommended there and this is my skin as a result! (this photo was in November before the Christmas food and booze!)

The first step in improving my skin was through what vitamins and minerals I was having. I read a lot about l-lysine being really good for skin and went to get some at Holland & Barrett and I got the wrong thing (as always chatting and not concentrating). However the l-carnitine had the same effect and improved my skin! I also got zinc tablets (meant to boost your immune system and improve skin, it's in a lot of topical treatments), and a probiotic which has been found to reduce inflammation. I also started taking Vitamin D because it's recommended every winter to improve mood and immune functioning, but I've discovered it's also reduced how oily my skin is. I've been really careful to make sure I only have the recommended daily amounts, as I don't want to overdo it, or hurt my kidneys/liver.  

And this is my skin today - I since bought l-lysine but feel my skin isn't as good on it as it was on l-carmitine. I have 2 little spots which have left a mark due to the Christmas excesses. However it's still good and except those two spots it's clear. I'll definitely make sure I stay off booze and foundation pre-wedding!

Here's what I have been using to manage my unruly, hormonal, 30 year old skin

Day Routine

Firstly, I'm aware this looks like a lot of stuff, but I'll explain. This has come about from a really long time of trialling products, adding and taking away and trying to find out what works. Sadly I'm not one of those lucky people who needs a minimal skincare regime.  

I start by washing my face with just water in the shower. I then use Garnier Micellar Water on a pad to sweep over my face and eyelids. I might then use the Neutrogena light therapy pen if I have a spot. I then use Skinoren on my cleansed skin. Skinoren is a 20% Azeliac Acid cream which is found to reduce spots, but also fade the marks spots leave. You can get it on prescription or you can do an online consultation and get it for around £15 through an online pharmacy. I also recommend lower levels in The Ordinary (10%) (although this is suspended in silicone so not good for me) or Paula's Choice Clear daily skin clearing cream which is fantastic (10%). I'll probably go back to Paula's Choice when this tube has run out as although it's more expensive, it's less irritating and also has Salicylic acid in. 

Next I attack my dry patches and wrinkles - I have been using this Clinique Even Better essence  lotion which I got at The Cosmetics Company Outlet. It's been really great, but sadly they've stopped making it so I'm looking for something similar currently. I then apply No7 Laboratories Line Correcting Booster Serum to under and around my eyes, and the lines that run from my nose to my mouth. I've definitely seen a difference to the depth of the little lines I was seeing around my mouth (you can see in the first photo - the before and after). It's meant to be really well researched and effective. 

I then use La Roche Posay Effliclar Duo+ moisturiser, which contains niacinamide and is meant to help keep skin clear and reduce the acne marks. It's the only moisturiser I've used which I feel doesn't clog my skin. I then make sure I always wear SPF 50 on the top - no matter what the weather. I've found wearing SPF has helped reduce any marks on my face quickly (as damaged skin catches the sun and stays marked, and freckles make my skin look less clear, but also to reduce future ageing.) I reviewed Frezyderm SPF when I first got it in May, and I still really love it. I get this Frezyderm SPF50 but I get it on Amazon. 

Every now and again when my skin is really misbehaving, I might pat some Duac on, which is a mixture of clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide. It's really harsh, drying stuff and is prescription only (again you can get it online through a consultation). However over the counter Benzoyl Peroxide such as Acnecide contains the same percentage BP and is much cheaper. 

Finally I use the most wonderful lip balm I've ever found - Dr Lipp Nipple Balm

Evening Routine

My evening routine is much more simple and is all about soothing skin. I start with The Body Shop Camomile cleansing oil. Spread it out all over my dry face and then wet my hands. I then use my hands to rub the oil in before wiping off with a wet muslin cloth. Then I smoothe camomile cleansing butter on and again remove with the wet cloth. It's really important to double cleanse and make sure all my makeup and SPF is removed to give my skin a breather. Oil is fantastic for breaking down these creams and SPFs but that also can't sit on my skin all night so needs to be washed off by a cleansing butter. I also love Lush's Ultrabland as the second cleanse step, which I was using until it ran out last week.

When my face is dry and I'm in bed, I rub Differin in. Differin is a retinol which you can get on prescription or through an online prescription. It helps increase cell turnover so things which clog pores are washed away, but is also an excellent anti-ageing cream. Skincare Queen Caroline Hirons loves retinols. After this has had time to dry (while I read in bed), I then pat on some The Ordinary Rosehip Oil for moisture, as retinols are very drying when you first start using them. 

I've been using RapidLash on my eyelashes since September to make them stronger and longer. I can definitely tell the difference and I'll do a before and after in another post some time. You might notice a difference in the photos above, although my eyelashes are still clear at the tips!

Skincare Treats / Treatments

Depending on what's going on with my skin, I sometimes use different one-off treatments.

If I have a spot: I like to use Freederm Gel at night to shrink that lump right down! If it's one that's near the surface, I have been using Proactiv+ Skin Purifying Mask but only on the spot. Proactiv is evil, stripping stuff that destroyed my skin about 18 months ago and left me with parched but spotty skin.

If my skin has dry patches: I have been using BalanceMe Rose Otto Oil such as around my nose when I have a cold. I also find these Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix pads are good for when skin looks a bit dull or dry but too stripping for my skin every day.

Masks: I like to have a soothing bath once a week and tend to use a mask when I do. I alternate between The Ordinary BHA and AHA mask is basically a skin peel in a bottle. It's so strong and leaves skin looking fresh and new underneath. Another exfoliating mask I have been really enjoying recently is the Lacura Exfoliating Mud Mask from Aldi which is a bargain dupe of the GlamGlow mask which is around £40. It's fantastic and really leaves my skin so soft and clean. I loved it so much I queued to get loads for friends over Christmas as I was told it would run out of stock so I'm equally happy and irritated it's still in stock now! The final mask I've been enjoying is the Body Shop  Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleep Mask which is really moisturising and leaves my skin refreshed in the morning.

I'm also starting to experiment with microneedling or dermarolling the scars left behind on my cheeks from acne. It's not something you can do when you have active acne so I've only just been able to start it and have done it 3 times so far. I think it has made a bit of a difference but I'll keep you updated!

1 Jan 2019

My 2018 Temperature Blanket

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019! To mark the date, I've completed my temperature blanket for 2018! It was an idea I saw on Instagram - each day you crochet a line which represents the temperature that day. I chose to do the highest temperature in Bournemouth each day. 

Step 1 was to make the key. I chose KnitPicks Brava Worsted yarn because they had such a fantastic range of colours and it's so cheap. I looked at the record high and low temperatures in Bournemouth to make sure I had a full range, and then chose a colour to represent every 5 degrees. I initially bought one ball of each colour, but quickly had to stock up on the middle colours. In hindsight, I might have chosen to get my wool from Hobbycraft because it was cheaper to collect than to pay Knitpicks shipping costs. 

I then used a 4.5mm hook to do a chain of around 450 stitches I think (I did it as wide as the sofa). I then used British double crochet to do a line each day, keeping a list on my phone of the temperatures each day from the Met Office website and using the Time and Date website to make up for when I forgot to write it down. Each line took me about 20 mins. I also included a silver glitter sewing thread on the special days like our 30th birthdays, the day we got engaged and the day we moved to Bournemouth. It's a great way to help us work out roughly when the temperatures were too!

And now it's finished! 

Rather than sewing in the ends which would take me hours and hours, I decided to tie them into tassels each week

I got this cute little tag from Ambient Lab on Etsy to mark that I made it and the year the blanket covered for £1.


30 Dec 2018

Wedding planning - picking bridesmaids dresses

Wedding planning is in full swing! We're just under 6 months away so we've got to get on with the list. In the last couple of weeks we've sorted our wedding rings, the decorations and flowers, the invites... and we already have loads booked into January like send out invites, pick Sam's suit, pick mum's dress, give our notice to the registrar and try out the menu! We're also going to be making our own wedding cake with help from Sam's aunty so lots on. I'd love to blog loads about my wedding, but equally I don't want to give away some of the surprises! 

The task this week is getting the bridesmaids dresses sorted. We wanted blues - particularly cornflower and light blues for our wedding as the colour - here's the mood board 

We liked the mixture of blues with other lovely spring/early summer colours like blush flowers, lavender and ivory. 

Once we had the idea of colours sorted, I assumed it would just be a case of ordering blue dresses, but it turns out our colour was quite hard to get. We looked on ASOS and all the other usual highstreet websites and in shops but the colour or cuts weren't quite right. I started looking online and dress makers who were recommended by bridal facebook groups. We got lots of swatches ordered. (The photos I've taken don't show the colours how they are in real life!)

We started by ordering a dress from crystal dresses. They had excellent reviews on Facebook bridal groups and looked lovely. It came made to measure with a lace up corset back and cost around £40. 

The dress arrived about a month later. It was very pretty and fitted one bridesmaid Beth very well. However the dress was too light blue, and the I felt the quality was poor. The top was lots of layers of chiffon, but the skirt was only one layer with a really shiny lining. You could see the shine popping through on the skirt and under flash photography it glowed! 

We next looked at Tulle & Chantilly, but the swatches again weren't right. The blues were too grey (I sound so fussy) and the real photos on Instagram didn't look that well made

Finally we ordered swatches from MixBridal and Vinibelle. The websites looked strangely similar and had some of the same colours so I emailed them who confirmed they were actually the same parent company. The companies have different styles of dresses and some different colours from each other.

The quality of the dresses is something I know about - one of my bridesmaids Jen had Mix Bridal dresses for her wedding where I was a bridesmaid and Sam was a best man! 

We were torn between two colours, cashmere blue and blue topaz so we looked at their real weddings photos

Cashmere blue: Lovely colour, but probably too pale for us compared to the mood board
Blue Topaz: seems to fit the theme! 

We're now waiting for the bridesmaids to give us their measurements and we can order the dresses. We're going for the made to measure option which is around £90 a dress. They say they're on sale right now, but they seem to have been on sale forever! 

What have I learnt about buying bridesmaid dresses? Definitely check out Facebook wedding pages for ideas of where to go and check out ASOS and highstreet places with a free return policy first. If you are going to go the made to measure route like we are, then spend hours looking at everything on the company's Facebook, Instagram and through googling for real wedding photos to see how they look. Also, it doesn't hurt to start early and buy a test dress if you have the budget to potentially go wrong! Remember though if you order a test dress, when you order the others later they might be a different batch number and the dyes may be slightly different. 

22 Dec 2018

Bournemouth Bloggers - The Body Shop Christmas Event

On Sunday last week, my BFF Sarah and I were invited to a Christmas VIP event at Bournemouth Body Shop to look at their ranges. We were treated with prosecco and a generous 40% off (although I still managed to over-spend)

Look! I have lippie on my nose! I don't know how I do it!

Sarah and I had a go at sniffing everything and putting all the makeup samples on our hands, so we've brought a selection of things we liked most

Sarah was a big fan of the perfumes. She bought a few as presents for friends. We really liked the atlas rose one - it wasn't too "rosey" like Turkish Delight and wore really nicely. 

The lip colours were lovely - I was really taken with the bright one at the very end. I didn't get one - I was waiting to see if I already had the same shade in another range because I have a terrible habit of buying the same colour again and again!

They also had a spray on glitter (see the slow mo!) which was amazing (and EVERYWHERE). We all came away with it on our clothes, in our hair, everywhere. The lady in the store also said you can spray it on wet nail varnish to give a sparkle. 

I was also amazed by this liquid eyeshadow - its really hard to capture that they look just like liquid metal

I bought one of these foundations - They are Matte clay skin clarifying foundations and have a tea tree smell. I've only tried it once so far, and it was VERY matte. My sister in law loves them so I think I need to get some help from her to work out how to apply it well. 

I found these gorgeous hand cream crackers which would be awesome for any girly Christmas party. 

After the event, Sarah and I went to Bournemouth gardens to see the Christmas Tree Wonderland. It was so lovely walking around all the lights, slightly tipsy

and having spent too much... In the end I got a foundation, a bright pink lippie, some bits for my mother-in-law, a huge pump Mango shower gel, and the camomile cleansing oil and balm

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