Thursday, 31 October 2013

Laboratory Perfumes Amber Candle

Laboratory Perfumes Amber Candle Packaging | www.latenightnonsense.com Laboratory Perfumes Amber Candle Beaker | www.latenightnonsense.com
Laboratory Perfumes Amber Candle - £35

We're fast approaching the holiday season, but I love to take time out to appreciate the run-up by indulging in some of my favourite autumn pastimes. Spiced apple simmering on the stove, cosy jumpers and boots on long walks in the park, crunching up leaves and relaxing baths filled to the brim with bubbles. These are all things I love at this time of year, especially when the nights are longer and it's getting a touch too nippy not to enjoy home comforts. With the dark setting in, I've come to appreciate a high quality candle or two burning away while I slip into my comfiest socks and throw yet another episode of Hollyoaks on. I can't help it, it's my favourite show!

I recently found a wonderful company that makes some of the most amazing smelling candles I've ever been fortunate enough to experience. Laboratory Perfumes, inspired by the countryside, create candles and perfumes that evoke such vivid memories that it's hard to imagine how they can cram nature into a jar. Investing in Amber, the description couldn't have been more perfect for a person that wants to bring the crisp, fresh outdoors into their living room. One sniff and I'm transported into a forest; balmy wood and ambergris with spicy top notes. I can't get enough of the scent, it's just the perfect autumnal burn that I could ever imagine, and Gorse is next on my list.

As for the packaging? Well, who could ask for something more than the simple, elegant glass beaker that I'm sure to use with fresh cut winter flowers once the wax dies out. The fact it looks like something that would have been used to create the scent alone is refreshing to look at. It makes the perfect gift, and a fantastically luxurious splurge for those that can't bear to part with it. The perfumes are on my list for Christmas as something that will become a firm favourite if they smell anything like the candle counterpart.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 10 - Makeup Tools

The Starting Off Project: Week 10 - Makeup Tools | www.latenightnonsense.com
The Starting Off Project
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10

It's the final week of The Starting Off Project, but we're going out with a bang! Week 10 sees us looking at a vital tool in your makeup arsenal; makeup tools.

If you own even a little makeup, you'll most likely have some kind of makeup tool. Most likely this will be a brush or sponge, especially if you invest in foundation and would prefer not to use your hands. On that note though, your hands are one of the most important makeup tools you will ever use. In a hurry and need to apply your makeup on the train? Don't like the finish a sponge or brush leaves on your skin? Down the tools and see how your hands work for you. People can be surprised how versatile each part of your hand can be when applying makeup. The radiance you can get from warming foundation in your hands and gliding it across your cheeks so it sinks in effortlessly is not something to be overlooked. Best of all? Massaging boosts circulation, so you're giving your skin the best possible start for the day you can muster up. Use the palm of your hand to apply your base, full coverage or even just a sheer brush of colour can be best achieved in this manner. Contouring is best done by the heel of your hand, as there's a greater surface area to be able to blend outwards but to add a little blush, your thumb is your friend. An index finger is great for applying eyeshadow and smudging eyeliner, making smokey eyes a breeze. To get the perfect lip, your middle finger can pat away without fear of other fingers getting in the way and this also works for highlighter across the cheeks and under the brows. I like to use my ring finger for concealer as this is the most delicate of all your fingers, leaving that thin skin eye area nicely intact.

If you're not a fan of getting your hands dirty, a good makeup brush will be the answer to most beauty lovers prayers. I've got a fair few at my disposal and they all do a multitude of different things, leaving me with plenty of options when it comes to covering my imperfections. Real Techniques features heavily in my collection, making up my ideal brushes when it comes to setting my base. The Buffing Brush as part of the Core Collection, is a brush I can't live without! A good little brush like this can be used to really get your foundation set how you like it, down to working in that cream blush that you can't quite work out how to apply with your fingers. I've even taken to using it to apply my concealer as it gets rid of my dark circles better than I can seem to do with my fingers on a good day. Then there are my multitude of brow, blush, powder and eyeshadow brushes. Each one I find some inventive way of using it outside of its intended purpose. If you think a concealer brush works better for applying cream eyeshadow, go for it as there's no right and wrong, just run with what works for you. Sponges are also a common little tool that can make applying makeup a dream. I use my beauty blender to get my foundation just how I like it and then finish up with a variety of brushes for all my other makeup. I can seem to get just the right finish and I've taken to adding a few to my collection to try with other beauty products to see just how they fare.

Then you have your miscellaneous makeup tools, the unsung heroes of your makeup bag that don't get a mention but you couldn't live without. You've got your tweezers, the miracle workers for the brows and any other stray hairs that may be lurking. You've also got scissors which I know I can't possibly be without when it comes to taming my overly feisty brows and it's also handy for any fly-aways that I can't keep in control until my next hair appointment.

So this wraps up a pretty sweet and concise post for The Starting Off Project. It's bee great writing about all the wonderful uses and tips I can muster about a variety of different makeup. I hope you've enjoyed this series of posts, and be sure to let me know what you'd like to read more of in the future. So on that note, what is your favourite makeup tool?

Thursday, 24 October 2013

London Retro Glasses c/o MyOptique

Fitzrovia Glasses London Retro with Case | www.latenightnonsense.com Fitzrovia Glasses London Retro | www.latenightnonsense.com Fitzrovia Glasses London Retro Late Night Nonsense On | www.latenightnonsense.com Fitzrovia Glasses London Retro Late Night Nonsense Close Up | www.latenightnonsense.com
(£104 for Premium lenses, £139 for Lux lenses)

Glasses. Probably the one word I would say was the bane of my life as a blossoming teenager. Unfortunately, I was 'blessed' with poor eyesight from a fairly young age. Around year 6 in school I started to notice things weren't as sharp as they once were and, moving up to high school, things only got worse. I'd ignore it, choosing to ask other students what was on the board or adjust my eyes enough to make out what was written. I was having horrendous headaches, my grades were suffering and I was promptly taken to the doctor after a particularly bad migraine left me partially blind in my left eye. Obviously this subsided, but I was told to see an optician and get one glasses or face gradually worse migraines and suffer through school. Knowing I had to get glasses left me crushed. I was just hitting puberty and now I might end up being called 'four-eyes' and whatever else the kids at school could throw at me. I managed to convince my mum to let me try contact lenses, and since then I've only really ever used glasses as my backup and had a love-hate relationship with them that I thought I'd never shift.

Back to the present and my last set of glasses I considered nice and suited me for all of about a month before I felt self conscious in them that I'd wear them only when I had to. They were nice enough glasses, but I've always been searching for 'that pair' that make me want to take my contacts out and wear them around. I'd all but given up hope until the lovely Jess of Sunglassesshop.com got in touch on behalf of MyOptique over the new range of London Retro glasses. I skimmed each frame but saw instantly the ones I loved, a pair of Fitzrovia frames in tortoise shell that I knew would make me turn my back on long nights with dry eyes. They were just what I had been searching for but not quite attained and at £79 a pair, they were a snip and have got me lusting for more!

Inspired by the London Underground, the Metropolitan collection of autumn/winter frames has something for all face shapes. I love how they've combined retro styles with on trend colours like those seen on the catwalks for brands like Chanel, Miu Miu and Dior. The 17 styles had me thinking on a new look for each day of the week, but I'll have to reign that in until next month. The added bonus of these frames is that you can purchase them as sunglasses too, which means some beautiful glasses to soak up the autumn sun and see you through for next summer.

I was really impressed with the quality of the glasses, down to the case they came in and even the cleaning cloth that was finally big enough for me to be able to clean both sides of the lens at one time. My prescription lenses, were thinned down and looks great in the frames that I can't seem to stop wearing. My boyfriend has dubbed me a 'female Harry Potter' and I'm alright with that, it's okay to be geeky. Being geeky means I get to keep my eyes in check, give them a rest and look great all at the same time. I've updated my look for this season, how about you?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 9 - Lipstick

The Starting Off Project: Week 9 - Lipstick | www.latenightnonsense.com

The Starting Off Project
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

Week 9 of the Starting Off Project sees one of my favourite products come into play. Lipstick is something I don't always use, but I have a fair few in my collection and they can really spice up my makeup routine. We can touch on gloss here too, which is more a lipstick finish.

Lipstick is a pigmented cream stick that you apply to your lips that leaves behind a different colour and texture. Applied properly, with lipliner underneath to enhance and prolong, it can be one of the most valuable tools in your makeup arsenal. It can perk up a tired outfit, add depth to a look or even just give you a flush of colour you didn't even realise you needed.

Varying more in finish than formulation, lipstick appeals to everyone. Matte is my favourite finish, but is the most drying of them all, so it's best to really prep your lips with a good lip scrub and some lip balm before hand to give them a fighting chance. You get nice, full coverage with no reflection, just stunning colour pay off that seems to last a bit longer than most others. Cream or satin lipsticks will have a bit of a sheen to them, but in a fairly delicate and unobtrusive way. These kind of lipsticks are fairly common and don't tend to last as long as matte. Then we have the frost finish, something that has a pretty bad rep for being an 80s favourite that never quite made the transition into modern makeup. It comes out with the same colour intensity as a cream or stain, but has an added bit of 'sparkle' to it. It's very hard to make these lipsticks work, so most avoid them unless they can layer them up with a gloss. Speaking of gloss, I know most beauty fanatics will have at least one of these in their collection but can be the bane of your lips if you're not careful. Ultra shiny, very sticky and great for topping off a drying matte lipstick, gloss can really take a makeup look from day to night with minimal effort. Lastly, we have sheer, a lipstick type that adds just a hint of colour. You could say that most sheer lipsticks are more like tinted lip balm, but you can get some beautiful YSL lipsticks that give you a subtle wash of colour that some women much prefer. Sheer is great if you've opted for a dramatic eye and don't feel bold enough to do the same with your lips.

Application is usually a very simple process and involves turning the tube to release the coloured stick and brushing your lips until colour intensity is reached. I know that if I'm going on a night out, I'll use a lipstick brush instead as this seems to make the colour last longer and I get a neater line. Dabbing the brush onto the head of the lipstick, use it to outline the lips, then fill in any areas as you normally would. I then go back over with the brush to make sure it's all set in place. It's good to get into the habit of 'blotting' to make the colour stick. Take some tissue paper and press it between your lips, then go back over them with a little more lipstick. Tip: use lip liner not just to define the edge of your lips, but colour the entire lip in a similar or nude base colour before applying lipstick. Not only will the lipstick last hours longer, but it will be highly pigmented and require fewer re-applications.

When it comes to colour, it's definitely one to experiment with. Unlike most other products, a colour you didn't think was going to work can actually turn your makeup routine on its head. I never thought I could wear bright orange lipstick, as this colour tends to wash me out and leave me looking fairly sallow. A pop of it to my lips though? I look like a different person! My eyes pop, my teeth are offset by the intensity of the colour, making them appear whiter even though they shouldn't, and it's given me confidence to try other colours I wouldn't think would work. Neon pink? Go for it! Deep purple? Give it a go!

The Starting Off Project: Week 9 - Lipstick Close Up | www.latenightnonsense.com

Some of my favourites include GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick in Flirty Orange, which is just that vibrant colour that gives me such a shocking look when I put it on. It's one of the colours I find myself reaching for when I'm having a bland, monochrome outfit day or even just staying in with my slippers on. It's amazing the impact a little colour can have. For a pink that I wear out a lot, it would have to be MAC Viva Glam Nicki Lipstick, it's just such a bright pink it verges on neon and I find myself gravitating toward it to finish off an outfit more often than I can mention. Then, for an every day colour that just works, I'd have to opt for Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Notting Hill Nude. It's a nude colour that doesn't look plain, it adds a hint of browny pink and is so creamy and soft that I find myself applying it more for the feel than it having worn off. It's a go to that I got for a steal at £1.99 and has made me check out a few more in the range that I will soon be adding to the collection.

What is your favourite lipstick and why?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 8 - Eyeshadow

The Starting Off Project: Week 8 - Eyeshadow | www.latenightnonsense.com
The Starting Off Project
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8

A little late this week as I had emergency vet issues to deal with, but we're talking eyeshadow for The Starting Off Project. Whether you go all out or use it to add definition to a simple makeup look, Late Night Nonsense has you covered.

So just what is eyeshadow? Essentially it's a product that you apply over your eyelid (sometimes further up toward your eyebrow) to make your eyes pop and create a stunning look that adds to day and night makeup. Some people go simple with a colour that compliments their skin tone and eye colour, others opt to go all out and style up a mixture of colours, blended to perfection.

Eyeshadow comes in a few different formulations, but the most common is powder. Powder is very easy to work with and can be bought in individual shades or part of a palette of complimentary colours. It's most likely you'll have used some eyeshadow even before you knew how to properly apply it. Most of the makeup kits bought while you were wearing your mums high heels at the ripe old age of 5 came with fairly garish, highly pigmented colours for a young girl to adorn her face. Cringe worthy electric blue shadow aside, this was most peoples first foray into the world of shadow and how to pull off a look to bring out the natural colour and definition of the eyes. Another very common eyeshadow formulation is cream, which can last much longer but does need a little primer to ensure it doesn't crease. The best way to ensure a full days worth of wear is to pair both cream and power products together on top of a primer, it always makes the colour super pigmented which is a massive plus. To apply, most will use a small shadow brush and a variety of crease brushes to define any areas and highlight the inner corner of the eye. Most of the time you'll get a brush with the eyeshadow, so if you're not up for investing this is a great money saving implement. The other alternative is to use your fingers, and this can actually be best for cream formulas as you can get much more product onto the lid and blend with a brush. Blending is key, and something that should not be overlooked. No one wants an obvious line running across their eye!

So, you know what type of eyeshadow you want, but you're not sure on the colours that will suit you? My first tip is to experiment! If you buy that lime green shadow and it doesn't look as good as you thought, don't worry, it's all part of finding out what will and won't work. If it doesn't, you can keep it for halloween or as a base colour for something more subtle. You'd be surprised how mixing a few shadows can result in completely unrivalled results. But if you're looking for somewhere to start, this quick guide can help:

Blue Eyes
During the day stick with earthy tones like brown and terracotta and to liven up an outfit for the evening you can always go for purple or an eye-popping metallic. Both silver and gold work for blue eyes, so mixing them up isn't going to be a problem. MAC Expresso is a lovely deep brown that can create a lovely natural look that can also be used as an eyebrow filler so is very handy for the makeup bag.

Green Eyes
Purple. Yes, it works for green too, it's just such a versatile colour for those with the lighter coloured eyes. It's the opposite colour on the wheel, meaning you can't go wrong with most variations of this colour. Opt for a plum for contouring, and lavender to brighten any areas which can be achieved with MAC Cranberry very easily. Gold and copper shades are wonderful for green eyes too.

Brown Eyes
As brown eyes can have such a broad spectrum of colour, you need to take into account how dark or light the colour is. Those with darker brown eyes are best off using dark greens and greys as well as gold and bronze. For lighter browns, champagne looks wonderful as well as bronze. My favourite eyeshadow for brown eyes is Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr in On & On Bronze, it's highly pigmented and lasts for hours.

The final tip to leave you with is one relating to the brush you use to apply your eyeshadow. Dry application can leave mixed results, but add a little water to it and you've got a whole new shadow. Try is with lighter shadows to see if it yields better pigmentation. It's always worth giving this a go if you're about to throw out a product that maybe hasn't turned out so well on your eyelids.

What is your favourite eyeshadow colour?

Thursday, 10 October 2013

NudeAudio Move M Portable Bluetooth Speaker

NudeAudio Move M Portable Bluetooth Speaker Box | www.latenightnonsense.com NudeAudio Move M Portable Bluetooth Speaker Look | www.latenightnonsense.com NudeAudio Move M Portable Bluetooth Speaker Music | www.latenightnonsense.com

I was a very lucky girl while covering London Fashion Week, not only was I shown some of the best fashion pieces for the coming S/S14 season, but I was gifted a speaker from the kind people over at NudeAudio.

A San Francisco based company, NudeAudio produce a range of portable bluetooth speakers. They come in two colours with small, medium and large sizes, ideal for carrying anywhere. I've already got plans for carting this around in my bag with me on day trips, picnics and family gatherings! It's so unobtrusive that it's easy to forget it's there until you turn it on and rack up the sound. This little square really pumps out some deep bass, and can get louder than any other portable speaker I've ever owned. Youtube videos on the Macbook while this handles the sound? Handsfree speaker while I'm driving? Kicking out my sisters voice over Skype from Berlin? Perfect.

The design has been carefully considered here, minimal design but big sound. This means the customers get the saving as NudeAudio don't waste money on massive advertising budgets, they let the product do all the talking. And, with that sound like theirs, who can blame them? It's the kind of speaker that can take a knock or two, with it's protective silicone sleeve and the nylon carry cord means you can hang it or attach it to pretty much anything. It really is a very social speaker. Not only are they gorgeous to look at, but they are the easiest gadget I've ever set up in my life. Set your smartphone, tablet or laptop bluetooth on, connect to the speaker and you're good to go! Pairing only needs doing once, remembering up to 8 devices and all it takes to reconnect is a button press.

In the pack is the speaker itself, a beauty in grey and orange that makes me weep for every other speaker on the market, they just don't stand a chance. You're also equipped with a charging cable for those whopping full 8 hours of charge you get with each use (plus the 50% power it holds for 3 months when not in use), a couple of cute stickers to promote your love of this pint sized beast of an audio gadget and a quick set up guide.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 7 - Eyeliner

The Starting Off Project: Week 7 - Eyeliner | www.latenightnonsense.com
The Starting Off Project
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

Eyeliner: a fairly touch and go beauty product for some, but it's all about this defining tool as we step into week 7 of The Starting Off Project.

I remember my first eyeliner, a liquid number from Bourjois that had me quaking in my trainers wondering if I was going to poke my eye out or be left with what looked like someone had punched me in the face. Well, the first try wasn't great, but the age old adage of 'practise makes perfect' goes a long way. Even just a week later my lines weren't as wobbly and I didn't look quite so much like Morticia Addams (maybe bring it back for Halloween though)! Eyeliner isn't essential but, paired with mascara, can really open up your eyes and give you that definition you've been searching for. Today, I use lots of different eyeliners and varying ways to achieve a 'barely there' eyeliner look for every day and can easily vamp it up for evening use. But, what eyeliner do you pick if you're just starting out?

Kohl is a very common starting point for most eyeliner users, and one I know I have invested in time after time. In pencil form, this needs sharpening to get at all the product, but leaves you with a very grungy and hardwearing line that just can't be achieved with any other formulation. I tend to use this if I don't want to spend my time putting together an entire eye makeup look. A smudged out kohl line works wonders to open up your peepers! Then you've got your liquid products, something a lot of people shy away from but I've found to be a real lifesaver if you invest the time. Some aren't as black, some flake away, but if you find the perfect one then you can get slick glossy or matte lines that last all day and night. Most of the time you'll have a little brush as the applicator, but I have found some liquids to come with what feels and looks like a felt tip nib, great for precise drawing. Then you have your gel eyeliners, perfect for when you know you're going to be out and about all day and want to guarantee it won't budge. Much softer than kohl, gel sees you use a brush to apply and is so easy to set in place. If you've never used gel, it's worth investing in a good quality one to experiment with, especially if you're fancying putting some false lashes on for that wow-factor!

One thing to bear in mind with eyeliner is the type of definition you want to achieve. Personally I like a very thin line, close to my lashes which makes them appear much fuller and longer. Others opt for a much thicker line which tapers from the inner corner down to the outer corner. A 'flick' is optional, but does widen those eyes further. You do have to be careful that you're not extending the liner up too far into the crease of your eye, not only will it look like you've painted your entire lid with black, but you'll get horrendous smudging. A big no-no, unless you're going to a KISS convention.

Some of my favourite eyeliners are Rimmel Glam Eyes Professional Liquid Liner, so easy to apply with the small brush and really stays put. Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner is something I reach for any time I'm having a night out. I can guarantee it's not going anywhere plus it takes me no time at all to apply it once I've got my basic line down. For my grungey or smokey eye looks I either use Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl Noir  or Topshop Kohl in Coal, both easily blend-able with but take a little warming up before they glide on effortlessly.

What eyeliner is your favourite and what do you plan on getting next?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Project Renew: Exfoliate, Cleanse & Hydrate

Project Renew: Exfoliate, Cleanse & Hydrate | www.latenightnonsense.com

Project Renew: We've switched from those hot summer months into the bitter cold or the cooler seasons and it's time to switch up our skincare. Before we do this, doesn't our skin deserve a good pamper for dealing with that harsh switch? I've rounded up a few beauty goodies that will serve to set your skin right.

Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, £10.99

A good place to start is to remove all that makeup with a dedicated oil cleanser that is going to knock your skin back into shape. The strong citrus smell combined with the benefits of radiant skin and we're on to a winner. A few sweep of this with a cotton pad, teamed with a little warm water and a flannel and makeup melts off the face. What you're left with is revived skin, nourished with vitamin C, olive, grape seed and rose hip oils. Soft, cleansed and perfect for everyone.

Pai Camellia Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser*, £25.00

One cleanser I haven't stopped raving about since it landed on my doormat, it just does it all and more. Skin can get very irritable and sensitive during the transition from one season to another, especially when the weather takes a drastic turn. Even for those of us with skin that's on the mark all year round, it's worth taking extra care and investing in a cleanser for sensitive skin so balance is well and truly kept. Both soothing and calming, a pump of this massaged onto your face and removed with the muslin cloth provided will result in reduced redness and a soft canvas to work with.

Good Things Five Minute Facial Face Mask, £5.99

Great for younger skin, the Good Things range has really hit the mark with their super fruit mask. Not only does it smell good enough to eat with the mixture of avocado and goji berry, but skin feels free of impurities and glowing: all with no parabens! A thin layer of this left on for the designated five minutes, rinsed off with a warm flannel and you'll feel the results. Perfect for a mid week pick-me-up skin boost on a budget.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque*, £15.50

A recent addition to my skincare stash, but a solid favourite. This soothing rehydrating mask is great for a complexion dulled from the change in temperature and ideal for those with sensitive skin that may not be able to use the harsher, heavily fragrances masks on the market. This one requires a little longer to get to work, but in that 10 minutes all your dehydrated skin woes disappear. Any taunt skin from the cool air is injected with a deeply hydrating, soothing dose of thermal spring water that I haven't been able to rival with any other mask.

REN Clarifying Toning Lotion*, £18.00

It's time to draw out the last of those impurities and slough off any residual dead skin that may have been left behind by the face mask. In one fell swoop we can rid the skin of clogged pores, reduce them and minimise and break outs with a simple sweep of this exfoliating toning lotion. Great for combination to oily skin, I find this helps my t-zone and balances out my skin so that I can tackle my dry areas. Not only does my skin feel supple, but it looks vibrant and much clearer.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra*, £16.50

Now it's time to give your skin a fighting chance, it's the final step and we want to prepare it for what's to come. Morning and evening, without fail, I've been using this exceedingly rich lotion to combat and irritants in my makeup or moisturiser. I can sometimes find my skin irritated by the smallest of things, a new concealer, a foundation I haven't used for a while and this stops that in it's tracks. No more touching my makeup and making things worse, this little concoction contains a strong calming agent that works to to reduce skin irritability. I've been searching for something like this for a good few months now and it's definitely become holy grail material.

So there you have it, six skincare products that should become staples in your A/W routine. Will you be shaking up more than your makeup this coming season?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 6 - Mascara

The Starting Off Project: Week 6 - Mascara | www.latenightnonsense.com

The Starting Off Project
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 Week 5 | Week 6

It's all about Mascara for week 6 of The Starting Off Project, and it's a staple in my makeup bag. So let's take a look at this little makeup wonder!

For many a beauty beginner, mascara is one of the first products that starts the wonderful makeup journey. It doesn't requite any real skill and only the smallest bit of time, but mascara can make or break any makeup look. I wouldn't be without it, especially on days when I pop to the shops but don't want a full face of makeup. I swear I'm living with just mascara and concealer most days lately! Opening up the eyes, thickening the lashes and adding length are all benefits to using it, but what mascara should you pick?

Mascara comes in liquid, cake or cream formulas and generally gets packaged in a tube with a wand applicator. A coat of mascara and the impact should be instantaneous, apparent and make you feel a million pounds. Depending on the mascara, you can build up the layers to add more volume and length. Just avoid putting on too many coats and getting the dreaded spider legs lashes!

To keep natural, most brands produce a basic range of colours ranging from black to light brown, but other brands go all out and offer some fairly wacky colours to spice up your night out! I've definitely been through the neon blue mascara phase in the early 2000s, but it looks set to come back with pink eyes being a key trend over the coming months. Going on holiday? Pick up a waterproof formula to ensure long and gorgeous lashes even after taking a swim. You need a little elbow grease to remove the product fully, but can be well worth the effort for something that won't budge no matter what strain you put it under.

Speaking of removing your mascara, the best way is to either get a dedicated eye makeup remover or use a good quality cleanser with some large cotton pads. I like to use La Roche-Posay Physiological Eye Make-Up Remover as it's very gentle and gets off even the toughest caked on mascara and is suitable for all skin types. Perfect to pop in your bag for overnight stays at a friends house and super easy after a night out to use. When I want to be sure every last molecule of mascara is gone from my lashes, I'll use a very in-depth process. Take a cotton bud and a cotton pad and put a little cleanser on the back of your hand (just make sure that the cleanser you use is okay to take off eye makeup). Dip the cotton bud in the cleanser and proceed to gentle wipe the lashes onto the cotton pad. It's fairly time consuming but it definitely stops you accidentally pulling out any lashes and I tend to do this every now and again just to keep my eyes happy.

Some of my most favourites are Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara which gives such fluttery lashes that I sometimes wonder why I even use anything else. For lashes that are so long they look fake, I go for a few coats of Benefit They're Real Mascara. The lovely little spiky ball on the end of the applicator works really well at getting all the smaller lashes on the inner corners of the eye. Lastly, I caved and bought Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara a while back and, when I do decide to define my bottom lashes, I only use this. For those of you with weirdly long lashes, this stuff saves me getting those lovely black or brown smudges everywhere and ruining all my hard work concealing my sleep deprived eyes.

I'll leave you on a helpful tip. If you don't use mascara on your bottom lash line, it will actually make your eyes brighter. Mascara darkens the under eye area, so something to bear in mind if you spend a lot of time concealing dark circles like myself! What's your top tip for mascara use?