Apart from the infamous Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, I must admit, I am a bit of a novice when it comes to the brand. When I was browsing the counter one day a few months back though – focussing, unsurprisingly, on the liquid lipsticks they had on offer – the shade 500 Blush in their Lip Maestro’s caught my eye and I picked it up on a bit of a whim. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s not often that you'll go wrong with a liquid lipstick. Some are better than others, but in general they have good staying power and unless they are ultra drying they normally turn out to be worth your hard earned pennies. ‘Blush’ is, as you might expect – a warm, rosy pink – vivid enough to brighten your complexion a little, but nothing too in your face. There are 23 shades available in the range, with most of them quite bold - reds, purples and a few brighter pink shades the prevalent colours amid the bunch. There are only three that I would consider to be real neutrals - Blush being one of them, Casual Pink another, and lastly Dolci (which if you’re into you’re 90’s brown hues might be the one to try). And so, although I think the shade range could be expanded upon to cater to a wider clientele, this didn't put me off as the thing that really made me fall in love with these was their formula. 

Yes its matte, or at least the appearance is on the lips – but it is actually incredibly creamy and feels beautiful to apply. They are marketed as being 'the first matte lip lacquers' and are by far and away the least drying ‘mattes’ I have tried. They may not last as long as the likes of the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks, but they do still stick around for a fair few hours and fade nicely when they do eventually start to wear away. They are not dissimilar to the theBalm Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipsticks that I talked about a couple of posts back, but much creamier and with less of a scent. If you’re into your high end make up then I would definitely recommend checking these out as I’m quite surprised at how they haven’t yet (at least not to my knowledge) gained more of a cult status within the beauty world. 
If you’re after a high street/drugstore counterpart though, look no further than the Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks. I had seen these pop up on the shelves some time ago – in fact it must have been pretty soon after they were released. I had cast my eye over them a couple of times, yet for some reason I didn’t pick any up until quite some time later (I think perhaps because I had been unable to swatch in store and it’s always a bit of a gamble when that’s the case). I bit the bullet last week though when I had a little Boots splurge (let me know if you’d like to see the rest of the spoils from that little excursion) and the shades ‘Nude Thrill’ and ‘Nude Flush’ ended up coming home with me. Again, I was predictable with the colour choices – the former being on the beige-y nude side and the latter it's pink equivalent – not at all unlike the Giorgio Armani 500 shade. But that is not where the similarity ends. 

I can honestly say that shades aside (despite the similarity of six of the eight Maybelline shades still sitting firmly on the bold side of things with not a lot in between), the formula of these seems to me to be practically identical to the Giorgio Armani Lip Maestros. They are creamy, super pigmented and give you that soft matte finish without any resultant dryness. As with the Lip Maestros, the applicator itself is a little longer than your standard doe foot and has a little bend to it which I find is great when it comes to ensuring ease and accuracy when applying. As a direct comparison re what it is you are getting for your money, the Lip Maestros weigh in at £27 for the 6.5ml of product provided, where as for £6.99 you are getting 8ml from the Maybelline Vivid Mattes

I really love both products, but unless you have plenty of cash to spare and are a high end make up fiend, then I would definitely recommend Maybelline over Giorgio Armani in this instance. If the shade range had been more extensive on either side then that may have pipped it for me, but as things stand it’s a win for the drugstore dupe in the battle of the liquid lipsticks! 

Sarah x    

When I strolled into my local Debenhams a few months back to see that my beloved Burberry counter had been replaced by Make Up Forever; I have to say I was a little disappointed. Though I’d heard a lot of good things about the brand, I had never really felt particularly drawn towards any of their products. However, after seeing a few of my favourite ladies online testing them out, I found myself in there browsing one lunch time, and before I knew it, had picked up these three.
One of the things I was most impressed with in there was the customer service. The lady that served me was lovely and did a great job of matching me for both the foundation and the concealer. More often than not, I get told I am a much darker shade than I actually am thanks to my ruddy cheeks! But this time she got it spot on and I had no hesitation investing and knowing I had walked out of there with the correct shades. Since then, and I must admit, somewhat to my surprise, I have found myself reaching for all of these products on an almost daily basis with them becoming a permanent fixture in my make up bag. And so, I thought I would share my thoughts on them today.

Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation

Don’t let the name fool you with this one. It has decent coverage but isn’t nearly as thick or as full as I’d have imagined from the impression the name gives. I find it gives a very 'lit from within' look as opposed to the matte finish you might expect. The consistency is very smooth and quite thin in that it moves around easily when you pump it out on the back of your hand. It is also easy to apply with your fingers (in fact, this is my favourite way to apply it), and doesn’t leave your skin feeling suffocated like some foundations with a little more coverage can have a tendency to do. I wear the shade R210, and as I’ve said previously, it is a great match for me – probably the best of all the foundations I own and that’s no small feat. As with most Make Up Forever products as well, the colour range available is quite vast and so I should imagine there would be something there to suit most skin tones. I can’t claim that this is of holy grail status yet, but it has certainly been my go to recently and has (for now) replaced my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint that I had been wearing non-stop previously.

Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer

At the time of purchase, I had managed to misplace my trusty Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer, and so I thought I would pick this up as I had seen it used both as a blemish cover up and under eye brightener and it seemed from what I could tell to be a good all-rounder. As per, I told the lady on the counter that I like to go a shade lighter with my concealer and she obliged matching me with the shade R20. Again, I have been using it on a daily basis – perhaps even more so than I had originally anticipated due to the fact that the foundation didn’t cover as much as I was expecting it to. Despite being of a relatively thick consistency though, is it still very creamy and I don’t find that it cakes. Neither does it crease under the eyes for me (though I do tend to always set my under eye concealer so maybe that has something to do with it). A little goes a long way with this and though I don’t find it quite as good for pinpoint concealing when compared with my Estee Lauder Double Wear, it still does a pretty decent job and definitely leaves a more natural finish when it comes to the general concealing of redness and slightly patchy skin that I tend to suffer with. I think if I was having a particularly good skin day and feeling the no make up make up look – some careful application of this minus any base, and a light dusting of one of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, would easily suffice. Definitely one to check out if you’re after a ‘does it all’ product that will serve as a useful make up bag staple throughout the day.

Smoky Lash Mascara

As this seems to be one of the most hyped products by the brand, I felt I had to give it a go. I’ve been really into trying out different mascaras lately, and have found a couple that I have really fallen in love with – namely the Dior Iconic Waterproof Overcurl and the Lancôme Hypnose Volume-a-porter which I have spoken about previously here. If I’m honest though, I don’t think this one quite compares. I have still been using it on a daily basis and it does a decent job of achieving a nice balance between voluminous and lengthened lashes – separating them just enough to avoid the clumpy look (something I am not necessarily against – but would prefer to avoid during the day). I can’t comment on its being able to hold a curl as, as I have mentioned in previous posts – my lashes have  a natural curl to them anyway and I have never had any issues. I can however, say that it doesn’t transfer and is relatively easy to remove which is always a plus. I am keen now to try out the brown shade as I have heard good things and am yet to try any mascara that isn’t black during my long term make up love affair.  

What are your best picks when it comes to Make Up Forever? I’d really love some more recommendations as from what I have tried so far they've really surpassed my expectations! 

Sarah x