Rimmel eyeliner: three ways

As a darker skinned woman one of my favourite makeup products is jet black eyeliner. I personally favour a liquid eyeliner streaked across my top lid, a smokey kohl isn’t really for me.

Over the last years I’ve tended towards high street brands – particularly Rimmel’s eyeliners – which I’ve found give good colour while also being pretty kind on the wallet.

At this moment in time I’ve got three Rimmel eyeliners in my makeup stash so thought it would be the perfect moment to whip them all out for a quick compare and contrast. So lets go.

Rimmel Glam’Eyes Professional Liquid Liner (£5.29 at Boots)

The first Rimmel eyeliner I owned was this one, an inky black liquid in a pot plus brush in the lid for application. As such it has a special place in my heart.

I love the intense black of this liner, though tend to find that the cat eye does wear away through the day (in fact this happens with all of them). As long as I don’t rub my eye too much the staying power’s pretty good though. As the brush is pretty fine it’s great if you want a thin line or to be super specific about application. However on the downside this means you need lots of layers for a thicker look – I had to go over my eye about three times to create the line in the photo.

I also find that the liquid on the brush often ends up on my eyelashes while I’m applying – fine when you’re going to go in with mascara afterwards, but something to watch out for to make sure you don’t get black ink everywhere.

Rimmel ScandalEyes Thick and Thin Eyeliner (£5.49 at Superdrug)

I’ve mentioned this liner before. It’s a felt tip liner, with a flat nib that allows you to draw both thick and thin lines, although Rimmel do a thin nib version too. When I first bought this I wasn’t totally sold on it but now comparing it directly I realise that the application is far easier than the bendy brush of Glam’Eyes. The thicker side of the nib means that you only really need one glide, with a little bit of retouching to achieve a thicker line. However I will say that it doesn’t feel or look as inky black as Glam’Eyes, being ever so slightly more sheer.

Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Gel Eyeliner (£6.99 at Boots)

The final liner is a gel, which comes in a pot along with a little brush for application. Now the brush is ok, perfectly acceptable, but I think application would probably benefit from a higher quality one, which could also help with drawing thinner lines if desired.

For me gel eyeliners are always more fiddly to apply so I don’t usually tend to reach for this liner if others are in reach but if I do I’m often pleasantly surprised. I took me a little while to get the hang of using this but I find that the gel tends to give a less harsh, almost smoky kohl effect which I quite like.

So there you go – one brand, three eyeliners. Which do you prefer?



Makeup travel essentials

As I mentioned I’ve just got back from a six-month wonder in South America. And as such I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to pack for the journey. In among that list was makeup but what ended up making the cut? Here’s what I took along:

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in black: Mascara’s everyone’s favourite essential right? I’d heard bloggers rave about this high street version so picked this up before I left. However, although I liked the plastic wand, I didn’t see what the massive fuss was and wish I’d stuck with my tried and tested Benefit Roller Lash or Max Factor Masterpiece Max.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Thick and Thin Liner: I’m a liquid liner girl but once again, for some unfathomable reason, I chose to take an untested liner away with me. I really like the colour and price of this but I’m just not sure pen liners are for me. Next time it’s Rimmel Glam’Eyes all the way.

Mac Viva Glam I Lipstick: I packed this for the (very) occasional night of glamour. Which turned out to just be Christmas. But at least it was on hand if I had wanted to use it.

Forever Sun Lip Balm (not pictured): For those dry lip days this was great to keep my lips hydrated and had added SPF to boot. The tingle was a bit of a shock to begin with but I actually started to enjoy it as time went on.

Nivea Rich Moisturising Day Cream: Cheap day cream that did what it said on the tube. I did have to replenish while I was away though as I was squeezing it to death by the time March came along.

Simple Kind to Skin Facial Cleansing Wipes: OK we all know these aren’t the best method of cleaning off makeup but I was packing light! And in the end I didn’t even use all these up so I’m glad I went with these rather than down the cotton balls and cleanser route.


In the end it turned out while I was travelling I didn’t really care about makeup at all.  Although I had my little essentials kit packed, the days I went makeup free far outweighed those with a little eyeliner or mascara. In fact I only turned to them when I was having an off-day and wanted to treat myself a bit.

So although I didn’t take much I could have actually got away with nothing, bar the moisturiser and lip balm and been completely happy. I also wouldn’t travel again with makeup I’d never tried before. I know this sounds like a given but apparently pre-travelling me didn’t think that way.

No makeup isn’t for everyone though so what would you take on holiday? Do you have any makeup tips for long trips away?

On unwanted hair

As you may notice from the date of my last blog post I’ve been out of action on here for a while. It’s not just to do with laziness (though admittedly that has played a part) but because me and my backpack have been off travelling for the last six months.

Deciding to go travelling brings up many questions. Where should I go? Will I make friends? Am I going to be safe? But for many darker skinned ladies another question arises – how do I deal with unwanted facial hair while I’m on the road?

I’ve tried out all types of hair removal methods over the years – from depilatory creams to waxing. Before I left I’d settled on a routine of getting my upper lip threaded every few weeks or so and in-between bleaching the growing hairs with the old faithful Jolen.

However I’ve always found bleaching a bit hit or miss and didn’t want to be reliant on stumbling across salons that offer threading so I went on the hunt for travel-friendly methods of removing that unwanted ‘tache.

After much searching on Google and YouTube I stumbled upon something called a spring facial hair remover. These are essentially small coiled metal springs that you roll over your skin to remove growing hairs. The spring traps hair in it pulling them out in a similar way to threading.

Although lots of the springs I saw online were straight and super flexible I ended up buying a more rigid version from Tweezerman simply because I could get it from Boots rather than having to buy online. There weren’t loads of reviews about this particular model so I was a little reticent but you know what, it works!


To use the Tweezerman facial hair remover you need to lie the spring flat against your face while rotating the two handles towards each other. It’s super easy but does take a little while to get used to and often requires you to go over the same area again and again to pick up all the hairs. I tend to use it every time I can see the hairs on my lip need to be tended to (my laziness again) but I think for best results it would be better to use it every 2-3 days to keep growth at bay.

I won’t lie, it does hurt, but for me the pain is pretty manageable and no worse than threading or waxing your upper lip. Because the spring picks up both noticeable black hairs and teeny tiny ones it hurts more than, say, plucking but you really do get used to it over time. And what’s good for me is that it was super easy to carry around, is not at all messy to use and doesn’t involve paying a salon every few weeks or so. It can also be used time and time again, it just needs cleaning every now and then.

So I’m totally converted. I think I might still head to the salon for occasional threading – and I did get my lip threaded before the very first time I used my spring, just so I was starting from a sparser base. But it’s done me well for the last six months and finally I feel like I don’t have to wait for my whole upper lip to grow back before I can do something about it.


Lucious reds

When it comes to make up looks I always tend to veer towards the understated than the dramatic. However when, a few years ago, I was invited to a 50s party* I felt the time was right to give a bold red lip a whirl.

Having no idea what would suit me I popped into my local MAC counter and ended up with Viva Glam 1, a dark red lipstick, containing just a touch of brown. As a matte lippy Viva Glam 1 has incredible staying power. When I first tried it the lady at the MAC counter applied it over lipliner at around 3pm; it lasted me right through to the evening with no reapplication. However even on its own it wears really well – I’m always amazed when I take a sip of drink to find no marks left behind on the glass.

I’d asked the lady to choose a shade that suits my skin tone and she picked out this one, as apparently the blue tone of it complements darker skins. However I’ve got to say I’m still not entirely convinced. While sometimes I think it looks great (and my friends always comment positively when I wear it) sometimes I feel it emphasises my yellow undertones just a little too much. Others with similar skin tones have raved about this colour though so it’s definitely one worth trying out yourself.

Sticking with the dark reds is a more recent addition to my make up bag – Bobbi Brown’s Luxe Lip Colour in Your Majesty. I love this colour. Much more of a wine red than my MAC Viva Glam, this lipstick gives a great autumnal, sophisticated look. I feel really comfortable wearing it, which is saying something for somebody who doesn’t usually go bold with her make up.

The only downside is that, because it’s more of a moisturising glossy formula, the staying power is nowhere near as long. It definitely needs topping up throughout the day and I often find myself losing colour towards the inner parts of my lips. However as long as you do keep reapplying the pigmentation is really good and you can get a great colour with just one sweep of the bullet.

So there’s two red lippys that are worth a try. Have you found any others that I should give a go?


* I’ve since found out that red lippy was more of a 40s thing, apparently the 50s was more a time for pink tones.

Discontinued favourites

Firstly let me apologise for the state of the make up in these photos. As you’ve probably gathered from the title these products are oldies, but goodies.

Unfortunately they’re not being made anymore.

You might be wondering why I’m blogging about make up that’s no longer available to buy. Simply put, they’re just so good I couldn’t not. And more selfishly I’m on a mission to find dupes.

First up is Moon Beam an apricot coloured highlighter from Benefit. On warm and slightly yellow-tinged skin tones like my own Moon Beam works like a dream. I use it in a V-shape around the outer edge of my eye to illuminate my brow and cheek bones with a gentle irridescent shimmer.

Moon Beam used to be part of a suite of liquid highlighters offered by Benefit of which High Beam and Sun Beam still remain. High Beam is great for pale skin tones but is just too pink-based for me. And while Sun Beam suits better it’s really not a replacement for Moon Beam, instead giving a more straightforward golden bronze glow.

The second product is a cream to power blusher from Topshop. Called Neon Rose this was actually the last one in the shop when I bought it and I’ve never seen it since.

Anyone who’s tried the Topshop blushes knows they’re really good value. For around £6 you get a blush that’s nicely pigmented, is easy to apply and blend with your fingers (I’ve found this much easier than using a brush) and has a pretty good mirror too.

While I find most coral coloured blushes still have quite a pink base Neon Rose is a pure coral – with an almost fluorescent orange tone that I absolutely adore. What could be quite a striking colour works really well on darker skin, giving a just worked out flush to my cheeks at least. Ever since I’ve owned this I’ve been on the look out for similar coloured blushes. Unfortunately I’m still yet to find one.

Luckily I’ve still got quite a way to go before I run out of either Moon Beam or my beloved Neon Rose. But do you have any tips for highlighters or blushers when I do? And are there any products you love that are no longer around?



Benefit’s World Famous Neutrals

On the hunt for a thirtieth birthday present, my friend asked the indian lady at the Benefit counter for advice on what she herself she used. This dinky eye shadow kit was the answer.

Benefit’s World Famous Neutrals Most Glamorous Nudes Ever contains six separate eyeshadows, four power and two cream of varying gold, brown and neutral shades. As with all of Benefit’s offerings the retro packaging is very cute and well designed, with a mirror (good quality but a little too tiny for my tastes) and some tutorials on how best to use the colours to create different looks.

Although I love this set I must say that I mainly use the three colours mentioned in the kit’s playtime tutorial – my two cents (a golden shimmer cream, which makes an excellent base), kiss me, i’m tipsy (a gold-flecked deep brown) and gilt-y pleasure (a golden powder). Used together they can be combined to create a glamorous golden look that I think works well in the day as well as night.

The second cream, birthday suit, shows up well on my eye but is just a little too silver based for my taste while it’s complicated is an iridescent gold/pink that looks amazing on the palm of my finger but fails to make much of an impression on my eyelid. Call my bluff is a matt shell colour that I’ve tried to use as a highlighter, but ultimately always prefer other shadows in my collection.

However in my opinion my two cents is more than enough to make up for this. It’s a cream I’ve found I reach for again and again, yet still seems to be relatively unused. I’ve also found kiss me, i’m tipsy to be a great crease colour, dark enough to make a real difference, where other shadows don’t really show up. And gilt-y pleasure looks great at the corner of the eye, as well as taken along the inner section of the lower lash line for extra definition and glitz. The one flaw I’d say is that the powders aren’t the best at blending, in particular the glittery shades are a little scratchy and not as soft as other shadows I’ve used.

Ultimately I love the simplicity of having three great shades that work for me in one easy to use kit which is why this is definitely one of my favourites. So while the name is a bit of a mouthful –  it’s a title it might just live up to. What do you think?