Welcome to my world of makeup, sweet scents and real talk. You should always have a cuppa to hand and sit back and enjoy a little snippet of my world! A beauty and lifestyle blog for all, but as I like to say it's also 'brown girl friendly'. As a brown beauty myself I ensure that all product reviews that are complexion based really show what works on a deeper skin tone as well as showing what's being catered for brown beauties!

Friday, 9 December 2016

MUA COSMETICS BURNING EMBERS PALETTE & HIGHLIGHTERS | UNDER £10 DRUGSTORE DUPES?!

My love of budget beauty this past year has been wavering and to be honest I can't seem to put my finger on the reasons why. However, 2017 I really want to rekindle my love of affordable products, and this new release by Makeup Academy Cosmetics (MUA) have got me excited again!

The warm palette trends have definitely been doing the rounds this year and to be honest they all start to look quite the same after a while. BUT I'm a sucker for warm tones, so despite this knowledge I'm forever falling for the latest warm palette release.

MUA have recently released their new eyeshadow palettes and highlighters and I, obviously couldn't resist. Let's start with the most exciting release for me - the eyeshadow palette Burning Embers. This palette is described as 'a shade catalogue that includes natural, pretty, earthy tones that are universally flattering'. The palette itself contains 25 eyeshadow pans, with a total weight of 17g, that is 0.68g per pan (a Makeup Geek eyeshadow pan is 1.8g, however a single MUG pan is also about £6 which is nearly the price of this MUA palette!).

The palette contains a mixture of 13 matte shadows and 12 pearl shadows (that's how they refer to them - I consider them to be more of a mixture of metallics and shimmers). This palette is definitely one to be considered as a warm toned palette, as it contains browns, berries, golds, pinks and creams. I think the colours will definitely work well for those that like a bit more of a pop of colour but also for those that like to do more of a neutral / everyday look. I have to say that I love the packaging of the palette. With the usual clear front casing we're used to seeing with MUA, the presentation is very appealing. The square shape of the packaging also makes it stand out as it's a sleek design and easy to store away.

Now let's talk about the quality of the shadows. The matte shadows are my least favourite of the finishes in the palette - simply because I find it takes a while for me to build them to see them on my skin tone. They are soft and powdery and I sense they would be extremely pigmented on someone with a much lighter skin tone than me. I don't dislike them, but they just don't do much for me. I didn't find them difficult to blend - I just needed to layer them quite a bit for them to show. Below you'll see my swatches of some of the mattes (l-r: Sizzle, Blush and Char) with a finger swatch on the left and then a brush swatch on the right. For each I had to build the brush swatch up 4 times for it to show the level of pigmentation that you can see.


As for the pearl shadows (aka metallics and shimmers) I was pleasantly surprised by their quality. On the whole they are very pigmented colours with the deep berry shade Blaze standing out to me for its quality (very smooth and extremely pigmented in both swatches and application). They apply very well onto the lids and can definitely be intensified when applied wet. However, all of my swatches were dry and these did not disappoint. The most interesting shade was the shade Glint (second row in the palette, second shadow in from the left), as although it appears white in the pan, it actually translates as a purple shade! Another duochrome type shade I found was the shade Wild Fire, which appears like a peachy/bronze shade when swatched. If you get this palette - the metallics are definitely worth the full price of this!

 




If you're one that likes to see how palettes compare against each other then hopefully the picture below helps you out. I've placed the Burnt Embers palette next to the Anastasia Beverley Hills Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette  (I've got a review video of it here) and the Huda Beauty Textured Eyeshadow Palette (I've also filmed a review of this palette here) - a suggestion made by the lovely Annie from Musings of a Makeup Junkie. As you can see below there are some similarities in terms of colours. I'll be exploring this more in my video haul, but for now I'll say that the ABH palette resonates more with the MUA palette than the Huda one. However, some of the metallic shades are quite similar to the Huda palette!




As well as this palette MUA extended their highlighter powders in terms of their shade ranges. They have now included a very deep bronze shade called Golden Afterglow, a yellow gold called Golden Scintillation and a pink shimmer called Rosewood Glimmer. If you're familiar with the MUA highlighters, you know that these powders are quite pigmented and can give an intense glow if built.

I do find them a little dry to the touch and I'll be honest they aren't my most favourite of the more affordable highlighters that I have in my collection. My favourite colours are Golden Afterglow as it appears as a more natural shade on my deep skin tone, and Rosewood Glimmer is a beautiful pink tone highlighter that works great when wearing blusher. The shade Golden Scintillation is too frosty looking on my skin tone as it's much lighter than my skin tone and a cooler golden tone. These highlighters have been compared to the Laura Mercier Illuminating Powders, however personally I think the closest similarity they share is their wave pattern!

I hope you found this useful! You can find the Burning Embers palette here for £8 and the highlighters here for £3 each!

UPDATE: Be sure to check out Annie's review from MusingsofaMakeupJunkie as she shows swatches from on a lighter skin tone! 

Have a lovely weekend!
Vicky xx

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

GIFT OF THE GLOW | URBAN DECAY NAKED ILLUMINATED TRIO




So I've been away for a couple of weeks now and I have to say it's great being back into the swing of things! I've got a few goodies to talk about in the coming weeks, so definitely stay tuned!

Today's post is talking all about that glow (of course!). Urban Decay kindly sent me their limited edition NAKED Illuminated Trio - which are beautiful baked highlighter / strobing powders in the form of a palette. Each palette contains three baked highlighters and a double ended brush for easier application and the packaging also contains a decent sized mirror making it perfect for travelling.


Now if you know Urban Decay, you know they are quite risque with their products and this is no exception. This palette is designed to be used on the face and body which is perfect for the Christmas season approaching us. The palette contains three new baked illuminators - Pyrite (a gold champagne colour), Oasis (a marbled frosted taupe) and Twilight (an iridescent pink). Each shade contains light-reflecting particles that give the skin a luminous look.


I'll be honest, initially I didn't think these colours would work for me as I (mistakenly) perceived them to be quite sparkly. Now, when I swatch them alone they do appear quite shimmery - especially the shade Oasis - however, when applied to the face Pyrite and Twilight are a beautiful highlight with very fine (they refer to them as microfine) shimmer particles evident. As this is a face and body highlighter, it makes sense that some of the shades appear more sparkly than others.


I love the versatility of these highlighters. Urban Decay advise you to use these on your cheekbones, collarbone, legs, décolletage - anywhere! Although you can use these dry, they also suggest intensifying them with the All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray before applying or even using oil or lotion on your body.

My favourite of the three is the pink iridescent shade which gives me a pinky gold shift when on the face. It's very intense and has very little actual shimmer fall out which I think is perfect.


So if you're looking for that perfect Christmas gift or let's be honest you just want to shop for yourself - then I'd definitely recommend these.

They retail for £29 and you can find them here on the Urban Decay website.

Speak soon! 

Vicky x

*All products mentioned are gifted for the purpose of review




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Friday, 18 November 2016

TIPS FOR RELAXING DURING THESE BUSY WINTER MONTHS


The clocks have gone back and our day seems shorter and night longer. It's that time of the year when we start to feel a little down and reminiscing about our long summer days and nights. For some reason this time of year always appears to be my busiest and I like many can experience heightened stress levels and anxiety. There are a range of things to do when feeling this way, so I thought Id share with you three of my favourite ways to switch off and relax in the evenings.

SWEET AMBIENCE
1) For me the ambience of my environment is key, and so if that's not right then I feel unsettled. Apart from ensuring I have a tidy space, I love to burn a scented candle (in fact a few) in the evenings. These candles from *Rituals are great for creating the right ambience. They come in various scents and sizes so perfect for the different rooms. I love to burn the 'Light The Way' candle which is a sweet orange and cinnamon scent in my kitchen in the evenings, as well as the Spring Garden Vetiver and Clary Sage scented candle in my bathroom as it has a more fresh fragrance. The newest scent The Ritual of Sakura candle is one that is perfect for all rooms as it has a sweet scent of cherry blossom but with the comforting and warming tones of rice milk.


PAMPER SESSION
2) As well as setting the ambience for my relaxing evening, I love to get stuck into a good skin care routine. When I have more time on my hands I love doing a good clay mask! My favourite has to be the Bentonite clay mask, as I find it really does draw out the impurities from my skin. However, if you can't find this clay mask, then L'Oreal have recently released three new face masks including the purity clay mask (includes eucalyptus and is great for mattifying the skin - my favourite), the detox mask (includes charcoal and is great for clarifying the skin) and the glow mask (including red algae and is great for exfoliating as it has micro beads). These each retail for £7.99, but keep a look out as sometimes they can retail for £5 each!


GREAT BOOK
3) The last thing that helps to keep me relaxed is simply switching off and enjoying reading. I've got a few books on my list that I'm waiting to get stuck into, but today I picked up the new book called FACE by Pixiwoo which I can't wait to read. I know it's not your typical night time reading, but as a beauty lover I love to learn from others and reading about makeup techniques or even simply reading blog posts about beauty is very relaxing for me.
So hopefully this has given you some ideas to help you get through these busier months!

Speak soon,
Vicky x

*These products were gifted to me for the purpose of review. Some links may be affiliates.
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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR MEN | GIVEAWAY


The season of giving is approaching us fast and during this time every year I get stuck on what to buy for the men in my life. This year I thought I'd share with you some options I've got my eye which will hopefully give you an idea!


PERFECT SHAVING TOOL FOR MEN? 
1) All men love a good shaving kit, so finding the perfect one for them is a sure winner. Cornerstone are a British men's shaving subscription company who offer a range of monthly shaving supplies for a very affordable price. They were kind enough to send me their full kit gift set worth £30 (which also includes a £10 gift card) and I have to say I was very impressed. A full razor gift set includes a face scrub, shaving gel, post shave balm, engraved aluminum handle razor and 6 award winning razor blades. Also to top it off they offer an engraving service, so you can even get the razor engraved with your loved ones initials. As Cornerstone know just what would be a perfect gift they are kindly giving away one of their full kit gift sets including an engraved razor! (See below for how to enter!)


FRAGRANCES
2) If shaving is not for them, then the next best gift is a lovely fragrance. This month make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Fragrance is such a personal choice that I wouldn't know where to start but I can help point you in the right direction for the best deals! I love gifting the miniature fragrance sets. This Versace Mens Miniature gift set is great as a gift when you're not sure which fragrance to choose. Or if you already know what to get them, then you could make the most of the Boots engraving service in store!  

MUSIC LOVERS
3) Sometimes music is the answer, so a great set of headphones would be the perfect gift for music lovers or even just for those that have to commute to work. There are a range of great headsets but I saw these ones by Denon which are a little different as they have a wooden ear piece! They are a bit more on the expensive side so it's definitely one if your budget is more on the higher end.  



KITCHEN GADGETS
4) Coffee lovers will love these Bialettie Moka espresso pots as they are a great option from House Of Fraser. This is a great gift for those that love their kitchen gadgets and appreciate the art of coffee making.



GAMING WITH A TWIST
5) If none of the above are to their taste then why not try out this trendy but retro style traditional authentic Linea Card and Dice Set. This would be a great piece to pull out in the evenings or even as a great design for the home. I'm sure they'd love this one! 


Hopefully this has given you some ideas for this Christmas!

Now, as mentioned earlier  Cornerstone were kind enough to provide one of my readers with a full Gift Box set of the shaving kit.

GIVEAWAY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: (UK ONLY)
1) You must be following 'beautybreakswithvicky' on instagram and 'cornerstone_hq'.
2) You will see the giveaway image on my instagram, you must repost this image tagging @beautybreakswithvicky and use the hashtag #StartYourDayRight
3) Also comment below my picture 'Enter me'.
4) The giveaway will end Friday 18th November 2015 11.59pm.
5) The winner will be contacted via direct message on Instagram!



All the best!
Speak soon,
Vicky

*Cornerstone kindly gifted me with the shaving kit mentioned and pictured. This is not a sponsored post. Links may be affiliated.
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Saturday, 5 November 2016

MARÉNA BEAUTÉ LE TEINT TAROU FLAWLESS COMPACT FOUNDATION | DAKAR | REVIEW


Melariche is a new beauty retailer launched in the UK stocking a range of beauty, skin and hair care products catering for women with deeper skin tones. They recently were kind enough to send me a few products to review and one of those was the Swedish brand Marena Beaute Le Teint Tarou Flawless Compact Foundation in the shade Dakar.


Maréna Beauté are a Swedish makeup company who specialise in tailoring their makeup for women of colour. They have an impressive range of options which include foundations, blushers, and powders. I've only been able to try out their compact foundation, so I'll share my thoughts on it.

Before I get into my thoughts on the foundation, let's take a look at some of the claims Maréna Beauté make. The foundation is supposed to blend 'perfectly into your complexion', as well as be long-wearing and buildable. It's also supposed to correct minor blemishes and imperfections for a natural look. The foundation has a creamy texture with a satin finish. The finish is medium to full (as it is buildable) as well as preservative free.

Let me start by saying that I'm not typically a fan of compact based cream foundations. I normally find them to be quite oily which is not great for me as I have an oily/combination skin type. So I did not have high hopes for this particular foundation. Before I get into what didn't work for me, I'll start with what I've really enjoyed about it.


First of all I have to say that I love the packaging of the compact. It's a black square compact with a mirror and a sponge inside. The packaging itself feels extremely high in quality, and is definitely suitable for travelling which is great for easy touch ups too. The foundation I received, as mentioned previously, is in the shade Dakar, which I have to say is a fantastic match to my 'NW45' skin tone. Knowing that Maréna Beauté is a brand that specialises in catering their products for women of colour, I was glad to see that they produced a foundation that not only matched me, but matched me extremely well. I do not find this foundation too orangey like some tend to be and nor did I find it too grey in its tone. This particular foundation shade is a dark brown with a red undertone. So if you haven't already guessed, I love the shade matching of this foundation!


The actual wear of the foundation has me a little torn. To apply the foundation I personally use a buffer brush, but the website instructs you to use a sponge. I personally do not have any issues with the application of the foundation. I find it has a really good medium to full coverage as claimed, and because of this I don't find that I need to build it up much. However, when wearing the foundation I have to say that I personally do not find this to be as long-wearing as some of my other liquid foundations. It appears that within a couple of hours my oils have already started to show and by the end of my work day I am quite shiny. Although, it is not as bad as some of the compact foundations I've tried, as the foundation itself seems to still be in place (except for on my nose where it breaks down quite a bit). I also find that the foundation seems to crease under my eyes, so I would suggest that you apply a thinner layer there and definitely use a damp beauty sponge to blend it in to avoid it caking and therefore creasing. This foundation will definitely need to be set with a powder, and Maréna Beauté also recommend this for the best finish. Despite the issues I have with the foundation, I can't argue with the fact that the foundation does give me a flawless look and the satin finish is a beautiful touch.

All in all this is a good foundation, although I would suggest that it would be best suited for those with normal / dry skin, as I think oily skin may find it to not last very long. I highly recommend checking out the Maréna Beauté range more, especially as a woman of colour because it's very hard to find brands that exclusively cater for darker skin tones and 100% get the colouring right.

You can find the Maréna Beauté range on Melariche's website here. It retails for £35 (9g) and you can use the code 'beautybreaks' for 10% off (not an affiliate code). Also check out my Melariche haul and see how the foundation applies below:


Speak soon,
Vicky


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Friday, 4 November 2016

BEAUTY BAY 'ALL MADE UP' | PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT OPTION FOR BEAUTY LOVERS!



Christmas is coming fast and we all know that it can be a stressful time of the year. Well with this in mind, there have been a host of great Christmas releases in stores and online.

Beauty Bay have recently launched their Christmas Shop, which includes an exclusive compilation of 13 'All Made Up' looks great as a treat for yourself or as a lovely Christmas gift for a loved one.

The 'All Made Up' looks are curated to keep you on trend with the latest 'insta-trend' or the best and most popular products. From the highly popular beauty blender, to the great quality Makeup Geek eyeshadows - each bag is full of products you'll love. I know, because I couldn't resist picking one up for myself!

I purchased the 'Its Trending' bag, which comes with two Makeup Geek eyeshadows (Cosmopolitan- a burnt orange with a shimmer finish and Bitten- a rich brown with purple undertones). It also includes a Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte in Iced Mocha (a plum purple with brown undertones) and an Eye Mini Eye Do Liquid Liner 0.69g (an intensely pigmented liquid liner pen). These are housed in a small silver beauty pouch with 'Beauty Bay' engraved onto it. Each pouch also includes an in-depth instruction card on how to get the most from your collection. The bag is £18 on Beauty Bay's website, but is worth over £29!

Let me just put it out there that I love the pouch that I picked up! I initially chose that particular pouch as I wanted to try out the Gerard Cosmetics liquid lipsticks and thought this would be a more cost effective way to do so (I'll be reviewing these very soon!). Since receiving my bag I have to say that I'm very impressed with all of the products. Despite the fact I already have the Makeup Geek eyeshadows in the pouch (I plan on putting this into a giveaway soon!), I love the selection of products. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really enjoy using the Eyeko liner, and I love the fact it's a mini pen (greater ease of use).

This is a great choice this Christmas and I highly recommend trying out one of the bags.

To get your bag and see what's on offer check them out here on All Made Up at Beauty Bay

Speak soon,

Vicky xx

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

URBAN DECAY FULL SPECTRUM EYESHADOW PALETTE | REVIEW & SWATCHES



Hi loves!

Urban Decay have recently released their new Spectrum palette and it's gorgeous! To be completely honest, I almost thought that their new Naked Basics palette was all they had to offer this Christmas, but they didn't disappoint when they gave us this surprise release.

So before I get into the swatches and price comparison, I'll start with my thoughts on the palette. The palette comes with 21 shades (reflecting the spectrum of a rainbow) with 18 of the shades being new, whilst 3 of the shades are exclusives from past palettes (Alchemy - a shimmery fuchsia from the Vice 3 palette and the shades Hatter - a bright shimmery green & Metamorphosis - a vibrant blue from the Alice in Wonderland palette). As expected the palette is full of bright bold colours, with one true matte shade and a variety of metallic and shimmer shades.


Using the palette I have to say that I do quite like it. As a bright and colourful palette, I was a bit nervous about the types of eye looks I could create. However surprisingly I've found that I've actually been able to produce quite subdued and smokey eye looks, more than the bright and colourful ones. My favourite colours in this are the shades Midnight Blaze (a brown/green with golden shimmer), Hundred (a deep shimmery green), Platonic (black with silver shimmer), Sketch (a purple with slight shimmer), Goldmine (a metallic gold), Warning (a metallic orange), Blindside (a vibrant blue) and Minx (a dark purple shimmer). I find that these are the most vibrant and wearable for me on a day to day basis. They also have great pigmentation and appear vibrant when applied to the lids. Unfortunately there were a few duds in the palette, in particular the shade Calavera (a bright yellow that did not translate the same on my lids), Jones (an orange gold that appeared quite dull on application) and Faded (another dull purple shade that just did not show much colour when applied). I love the fact that Urban Decay decided to include a matte white shade as that did help as a base before applying the shadows to make them appear more vibrant.



In terms of the ease of use of this palette, I didn't find it difficult. The shadows are generally pigmented and tend to blend well. I would have preferred to have more mattes without a shimmer base as this palette is lacking a good transition shade (a warm matte brown and red would have been perfect!). For me, some of the shades are a little powdery with some kick up in the palette. Some of the more poorly performing shades were more difficult to pick up with my brush and I felt some had a slight shimmer fall out.

Last year Urban Decay released the Urban Spectrum palette which retailed for £35.00 for 0.75oz and came with 15 full sized eyeshadows (0.05 oz. each). The new Full Spectrum palette retails for £43.00 for 1.2g (total of 21 eyeshadows) with 0.04oz per shadow. So this year you are receiving slightly less in the eyeshadow pans, but you are receiving more eyeshadows in total, thus reflecting the price increase.


I have to say that one of the standouts for me of the palette is the packaging. It's a beautiful black (plastic) palette, with a ridged design on the top and the name of the palette in a rainbow effect. Inside the palette you get a full sized mirror as well as your standard double ended brush (a blending brush on one end and a shader on the other). Urban Decay describe the arrangement of the palette as being 7 rows of 3 (so you can work with a cluster of three shades), however I think I'm more inclined to see this as a palette with 3 rows of 7 shadows in each row. Although to be completely honest that's irrelevant!


Overall this is a good palette. As an avid makeup lover and collector it definitely brightens up my collection. If you are wanting an everyday eyeshadow palette then this probably will not be my first choice for you, however for those a little more adventurous this would a lovely choice. Is it the best palette release this year? Not necessarily. Is it the most exciting release? I wouldn't say so myself. However it was a lovely surprise to see it being released (especially nowadays when nothing is a surprise anymore when it comes to the latest releases!). All in all a beautiful palette and I'm looking forward to playing more with it!

The palette is now available on Urban Decay's website here.

Let me know if you'll be picking this palette up and what you think of it!

Speak soon,
Vicky 
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

NEW MAC EXTRA DIMENSION SKIN FINISHES | SHOW GOLD & BEAMING BLUSH | IRIDESCENT HIGHLIGHTERS?!


Hi loves!

So MAC have done it again and they've made us all highlighter crazy (or should that be crazier!). They are set to release their new Extra Dimension Skin Finishes and the great news about this is that they will be permanent!

Now if you are an avid MAC(aholic) limited edition collector, then you'll remember their release last year of the extra dimension highlighters in the shades Oh Darling and Shaft of Gold. The blue packaging and the fact that Oh Darling reminded everyone of the coveted Whisper of Gilt highlighter (which by the way is making a return this Christmas and yes - I've already purchased it!) sent most lovers of the glow into stalker mode whilst we stayed up waiting for the online release and instore releases! Now I'm pleased to say that the new highlighters are not only permanent (so need to lose sleep) but they also have a similar formula to those highlighters.


MAC will be releasing four brand new shades in their new In The Spotlight collection and I have to say that I'm loving them all. The shades are Beaming Blush, Show Gold, Double Gleam and Soft Frost. Last week I was invited to preview these new powders and see a demonstration by the UK's Senior MAC MUA Dominic Skinner (see his work below) and to be honest I was adamant that I wasn't going to cave and get any of them! But as soon as I swatched them - well I just couldn't resist.


I picked up two of the four strobe powders as you can see. Show Gold is a gorgeous iridescent pink with a gold shift, whilst Beaming Blush is a golden highlight with a pink undertone. Both are stunning shades - especially on deeper skin tones (see my swatches below). I have to say that MAC have done really well with these products suiting deeper skin tones.



As you can see from my comparison swatches below with the lovely Annie from Musings of a Makeup Junkie, the colours are very vibrant on my NW45 skin tone whilst giving a lovely subtle colour on Annie's NW25 skin tone.


Although a powder these highlighters have a 'creamy' texture, with very little fall out. When applied to the skin they give that 'wet / dewy' skin appearance, instead of a shimmery / glittery effect that some highlighters tend to give. The iridescence of all of the shades is very evident when applied to the face, however, don't worry they are more subtle than the swatches suggest (but you can build them up if you wish!). Below is a picture of the model Dominic used to demonstrate these powders. As you can see they have multiple uses - not just on the face as a traditional glow,  but also on the lids as and eyeshadow and on the lips to give a metallic finish (the model is wearing Ruby Woo with Soft Frost on top).


The strobe powders are not the only releases in this collection, as MAC will also be releasing strobe creams too. I personally did not purchase any of the strobe creams but they also give an iridescent effect but much more subtle. They would be great as a base for your foundation or as a highlighter on top of your foundation. You could also place the powders on top for a more intense glow. Below you can see how I have used the powder Beaming Blush on the centre of my lipstick as well as on my cheekbones and brow bone.



There are so many highlighter releases in the market, but these definitely stand out. MAC have totally taken a more creative spin on the highlighter craze and what seems like it wouldn't work- just does. The idea of wearing an iridescent purple or pink highlighter seems a little out there - but trust me, they are so versatile you could use them in your daily makeup routine.


Will you be picking these up? Let me know which ones you've got your eyes on!

These will be released on MAC UK's website on Thursday 27th October. Happy shopping!

Speak soon,
Vicky xx
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