Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Effortless Faux Glow: Soleil Tan de Chanel

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel £32.00 - Link

As the British summer is pretty much non-existent at the moment, I find myself lusting after that perfect beautiful bronzed glow to perk up my rather pale complexion and leave me looking like I've had a week in the Bahamas (a girl can wish ey?). After catching the bronzer bug I fancied a splurge and picked up the highly coveted blogger favourite; Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel, and let's be honest who could resist something that looks so beautiful? 

The Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel is described as a bronzing makeup base with a velvety finish that leaves your skin with a beautiful sunbathed look. You can wear it on its own, or for a hint of outdoor radiance, over or under your foundation. I love how versatile this product is, whether you use this as a bronzer or to deepen your foundation and base, it's just a very handy product.

The bronzer itself in the pan and when applied does have orange tones but don't be put off by that. At first I was scared I was going to look like I'd had a fight with a Jaffa Cake but luckily enough being a cream formula this blends out beautiful and easily, leaving your skin with a warm healthy glow especially across the temples and cheeks. You'd expect this to have a mousse consistency but instead it's a lot more firmer which means you don't pick up too much product on your brush when applying - which makes application a whole lot easier. To apply, I tend to use either my Real Techniques Buffing Brush or Stippling Brush, as the texture feels buttery to touch the bronzer is really workable and blends easily to leave a natural looking glow on the skin that definitely enhances my complexion and make my skin look and feel more awake. I find that this is one of those products that is hard to go wrong with because even if you do apply a little heavy handed you can blend the colour out so it never looks overdone. 

I've tried wearing this as a base before applying foundation also to darken some of my lighter foundations and this is great to help match tans or even your skintone - as I have a rather embarrassing forehead situation where my face is still slightly tanned from my holiday and my forehead is patchy and pale from where the skin flaked off with sunburn, not a good look honestly. On my skin I've found this will wear for around 7-8 hours and sets to a satin finish. Being a cream product I was a little worried that this would end up sliding off my oily complexion but actually this lasted quite well when worn on top of my makeup with a setting spray. 

You give makeup pretty packaging and I'm basically sold, and that's how I feel when it comes to this product. It feels and looks very sleek with its monochrome accents and the infamous double 'C' Chanel trademark, and to be honest when buying Chanel makeup I do expect the luxurious packaging - I think there's just this stigma when you spend x amount on higher end brands. The only negative about the packaging is that it's not great for travelling because of how bulky it is, and I could never depot any of this into a smaller pot it really would be a sin to ruin something so pretty looking. 

Overall I am in love with the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel bronzer, it's definitely one of those products that once you swatch you find yourself lusting over you're leaving the Chanel counter a few pounds lighter. For £31 it is definitely a pricey product but you only need the smallest amount and it definitely goes a long way. After a months use I've hardly made a dent in the product and can see this lasting me many many months to come. But if you are looking for something a little more price friendly I think Bourjois do something similar.

I'd love to know what your favourite bronzing products are!


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Transforming My Hair With Moroccan Oil Haircare

Moroccan Oil Haircare, Moroccan Oil Treatment Oil
Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask, Moroccan Oil Treatment, Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Conditioner* - Link

Some of you may know a couple of months ago I went back to having bright blonde hair, since the sun had naturally bleached it I was loving brighter locks. However having lighter locks does mean it takes a toll on my hair, it does prove to be knottier when coming out of the shower leaving my Tangle Teezer looking more like a rat then a brush and just generally requires a lot more TLC then what it did before so finding haircare that helps can be a nightmare. When the lovely folks over at HQHair got in touch and asked if I'd like to try out some Moroccan Oil Products, I jumped at the chance in the hope to get my hair back on track and I could tell it was going to be a hair match made in heaven.

The Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask is designed to help repair and hydrate damaged hair. Using Argan Oil it is enriched with antioxidants and vitamins that help restore elasticity and improved manageability. Normally I am really lazy when it comes to hair masks because lets be honest who really does have time to keep applying these? I tend to forget and then never get round to using them again, but I have really fallen in love with this product! I only apply this to the ends of my hair as I feel that's where hydration is needed as as soon as I have washed this out the ends of my hair feel amazing - so soft and smooth it feels like walking out of the hairdressers it's that smooth. 

The star of the set has to be the Moroccan Oil Treatment which is described as an ultra-light oil that is instantly absorbed by the hair to improve manageability, control frizz, detangle and increase elasticity whilst giving locks a natural silky finish with a brilliant shine. I have to admit I am always a bit dubious about using hair oils as my hair is quite grease prone (something which has been improving over the past few months) but I have found that using a small pea sized amount on a night really helps to leave my hair feeling super soft, not only that but it helps control frizz in a morning as I normally end up getting out of bed looking like I've been electrocuted - no lie - so this has really helped to tame my mane and I have noticed an improvement in the morning when it comes to brushing my hair, I'm not tugging at it as much as I used to which is a big plus for me. 

The Moroccan Oil Repair Shampoo and Moroccan Oil Repair Conditioner are specially formulated for hair that has been coloured and over-processed or damaged due to heat styling. The nourishing ingredients help to strengthen, repair and restore your hairs vitality whilst cleansing away daily impurities and helps to detangle your lcoks. I mentally ticked my way through that list whilst I was writing the description, and I have to admit it did sound a little too good to be true. First things first both of these smell amazing, it reminds me of a salon scent you know the smell that leaves you smelling your hair for the rest of the day - or at least I hope that's just not me. After using the two of these my hair felt so soft and invigorated, and most importantly healthier. The real test came when brushing my hair as I found that especially the conditioner helped to ease any tangles out prior to combing and instead of my Tangle Teezer being home to 101 hairs, there was little pulling and I found it easing through my hair. Once dry my hair felt so soft, shiny and it just looked a lot healthier and can see these replacing my trusty Redken shampoo and conditioner set. 

Overall if you're finding yourself in a hair rut I wouldn't really recommend trying out Moroccan Oil products, they may seem a little pricey but they do gift sets or minis which are a great way of trying the products out and can safely say this has become my favourite premium hair brand, transforming the condition of my hair almost instantly and a real treat for my hair.

Have you tried any Moroccan Oil products? If so I'd love to know your favourites!


Saturday, 25 July 2015

How I Edit My Blog Photos

Before (left) After (right)

One thing I love about blogging is how it has developed my love for photography and editing photos, and I like to think that my photography style has changed over the years. I did actually do a post on my photography setup a little while ago, but never really touched upon how I edit my photos and so wanted to share with you all how I transform my photos from the before (on the left) to the after (on the right). My editing setup is one that I have used for around the past year and all the steps remain the same, I just tweak those steps to fit each photo if that makes sense. I will disclose here I'm in no way professional this is just a setup I find that works for me. 

Taking photos to start my editing process I always take my photos in both JPEG and RAW formats, and like to edit the RAW photos. This isn't really something necessary but as I use a DSLR (Cannon 600D for reference) I like the control you have over the RAW image, once you open this in Photoshop you can begin editing the photo for example lightening it using the exposure bar - and to be honest that's all I really do here is just brighten the photo taking the exposure between 1 and 2 depending on how dark my photo is, or sometimes just click the auto button to bring a bit of life back into the image. 

The first step I then take is by using the Brightness/Contrast tool (Images > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast> and this is where I just add a bit more brightness to the image and then give it some depth with the contrast tool. As a rule of thumb I tend to go for around 10-30 on brightness and just double the contrast so anywhere between 20-60. Once that's done I then go to Curves (Images > Adjustments > Curves> again to add a bit more depth to my image, most of the time I will just click auto and that gives me the look I'm after in my photos. If they end up looking a bit woah (too overexposed), I tend to just up the curve slightly on the right and lower it slightly on the left under the RGB settings. 

After that I'm back on the Exposure tool (Images > Adjustments > Exposure) where I just add a bit more brightness - because let's be honest I'd rather have a brighter image than a darker one. I only really add around 0.1 - 0.2 exposure just to brighten up slightly. Lastly I go to the Hue/Saturation tool (Images > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation) and just up the saturation by around 5-10 to add a little warmth to the photo without changing the colour of the image too much.

Once that's all done I will move the photo into my blog PSD which just resizes the image to my standard blog image (1370 x 923) and I can change the composition depending on how I feel it looks. Sometimes I'll resize my image and completely move the product from being central to slightly to the side (rule of thirds) but it does just really depend on how it looks when resized. When I'm happy with that I will just Sharpen (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen) the image either once or twice just to give a cleaner, sharper look. 

And there we have it, that's how I edit my photos, I hope you found this useful. I'd love to know what you're go to editing tips are for your blog photos!


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Travel Technology

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I really love posting my regular Wishlist Wednesday posts, and it seems that I'm forever lusting after products. This time I wanted to share with you all my travel technology wishlist, as it seems whenever I go away I'm still always hooked to technology whether it's taking a selfie or scrolling through news sites or reading books on a tablet - I cannot break away from technology, please tell me I'm not alone? So as I'm going to Paris for a long weekend next month I wanted to share with you all my travel tech must haves!

One good thing about being an EE customer is that you can claim a free EE Power Bar, I suppose despite the lack of service I've been getting recently they do have their perks. The Power Bar is a portable USB charger meaning you can charge your phone on the go, which means on long days shopping, sightseeing or character hunting as Disney I'm always going to have a battery backup so I don't miss out on that all important photo. I never thought I'd be saying this but to go with my iPhone I suppose I need to buy into the hype of Selfie Sticks, love them or hate them I think they are a bit of fun, and let's be honest I will probably need one to get both James and I in photos of the Eiffel Tower as I'm 5'3 and he's over 6 foot so it never works. They are also fab for taking pics on the go and no one is around to take a photo, or don't want to be interrupted by tourists to stop and take a pic. 

Next on my wishlist is a tech update, currently I'm sporting the iPad 2 which is so old now that they have stopped doing updates for it - sad I know. So now I want to update to the iPad mini as I think it's just so much more convenient for when travelling as not only is the unit itself smaller but it's lighter also meaning I'm not going to weigh my hand luggage down with my tablet. Next up is the Panasonic Compact Camera DM7-LX7, as much as I like to take photos on my Canon or iPhone I find that the first weighs me down and the second doesn't always produce the quality photos I'd like so that's where this compact camera comes in. I love that this camera allows manual control over exposure settings as I don't think I could go back to automatic settings after shooting in manual on my Canon for over a year. The spec is really great for a compact camera and means I can produce good quality photos to put up around my house. Lastly I couldn't resist this cute Paris phone case from eBay, it's so cute and definitely location appropriate. 

What are you go to travel tech items?


Sunday, 19 July 2015

MAC Giambattista Valli Collection

MAC Giambattista Valli Collection in Tats and Charlotte £17.00 - Link

MAC are killing it at the moment when it comes to their limited edition collections, which means that I couldn't resist another MAC related post, but I hope that you can forgive me! The MAC Giambattista Valli collection brings the designers elegance and celebration of the female form to a collection of five timeless lipsticks. Knowing that I cannot resist a lippy or three I couldn't wait to get my hands on at least one lipstick from the collection, and managed to get Charlotte (well that was inevitable wasn't it?) and Tats. 

MAC Tats (matte finish) is described as a bright hot pink with blue undertones. As a lover of the MAC matte formula I knew that this would be pigmented, and boy this didn't disappoint. The colour is so rich to apply to the lips and very opaque which meant I only need to swipe along the lips once and then touch up. When applying I find that this applies really smoothly and glides onto the lips with ease, but would recommend a lip scrub prior to applying as this does have to tendency to cling to any dry patches. Compared to other mattes from MAC I would actually say this is more of a satin or semi-matte finish, and this never appears drying on the lips and I've found this wears around the 5-6 hour mark and towards the end goes into more of a stain. 

MAC Charlotte (matte finish) is described as a medium-dark bright red with cool undertones. This for me is a high end dupe for the Rimmel Kate Moss 107 shade which I have loved for years and got a lot of use out of, so I imagine this shade will be well loved. Charlotte is a gorgeous classical red and again a matte formula which means that it is rich to apply to the lips and the shade is very opaque and glides easily onto the lips without dragging. For me this is the perfect night out lip and since going blonde I find this creates that classical Marilyn Monroe look, whilst creating the illusion of whiter teeth. This is a true MAC matte lipstick, but never have I found it to be drying once applied, nor does it bleed over time which is a big bonus as I hate a red lipstick that bleeds as you always feel the need to keep checking your lips over the fear of what you might look like. I've found that this wears around the 5-6 hour mark again and can see this becoming my go to shade for Autumn and my favourite MAC lipstick mainly because of its name!

I have fallen hook line and sinker for the coloured bullet packaging, not only is it practical for when you have more than one lipstick in your bag but I love how the bullets reflect the colour of its corresponding lipstick - the little things eh? And when placed within other MAC lipsticks they definitely stand out, after all I can't resist limited edition packaging. 

Overall I love that the collection has been kept fairly simply containing five classical shades that are perfect for those who love to sport a bold lip. 12 months ago I probably wouldn't have ventured into this collection as I would have been put off by the out there colours, but now I can't get enough, and just awaiting on my Margarita lipstick to arrive. Unfortunately these did sell out within a matter of minutes online and not long after in store, but I would still recommend checking your local mac as you may still have a fighting chance of getting hold of a lipstick from this beautiful collection. However if you can't get your hands on this collection, don't despair as like I said these are very classical shades and very easy to find dupes not only from MAC but other brands also.

Did you manage to get anything from the MAC Giambattista Valli Collection? If so what did you get?


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My Perfect Summer Bronzed Glow: Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow

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Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones £82.00 - Link

Believe it or not I have never tried anything from Charlotte Tilbury, yes I know I'm such a bad beauty blogger. However after having a crappy couple of weeks my boyfriend shocked me by turning up on my doorstep with Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set, so to say I was ecstatic was an understatement.  Over the past year my love for contouring has grown, and finally after two years I've got my hands on one of the most coveted beauty products of the blogging sphere.

The Filmstar Bronze and Glow is described as the perfect illusion to slim, sculpt, shorten, trim and highlight your features. Complete with a bronzer that is the perfect universal blend of pearl and pigment to contour features and mimic a sun-kissed complexion and a highlighter, built up from a golden base that flatters any skintone to capture light and radiate it out for a luminous complexion. The Powder and Sculpt Brush is described as a fantastic tool for any facial sculpting or highlighting, to create your ideal facial framework. The tapered end allows you to shade the hollows of your cheeks or temples and highlight your cheekbones, nose or even the bow of your lip.

With my makeup drawers armed with contouring products I wasn't sure how this would compare as I have seen many opinions divided. However I have fallen head over heels with the palette quickly, replacing my much loved Nars Laguna bronzer. The sculpt shade is actually warmer in comparison to my muddier contouring products, meaning that this can double for a worn alone bronzer. The shade itself is still quite cool toned despite the slight shimmer without venturing down the orange garden path. The highlight pan is a stunning champaign shade and I love how it gives your skin such a beautiful yet natural radiance. Normally my main concern about using highlighter is that I'll end up looking like a disco ball, but this is so flawless - whilst it packs shimmer it leaves your skin glowing and brighter rather then shining. 

When worn together this creates the most gorgeous summer bronzed glow, and I love how easy this is to use. The buttery texture makes this a dream to apply, and I love that the shades are not too dramatic but instead they are easy to blend and are buildable meaning you can go for a softer contour or a more chiseled / sculpted look. You don't have to worry about checking your makeup throughout the day because boy does this last, I sometimes find myself re-applying and blending bronzer but this does not budge until you are ready to remove your makeup at the end of the day, so even if my foundation has faded I know my contour game will still be strong.

I can't review this without mentioning the gorgeous packaging, this for me is definitely a game changer in the beauty industry. From opening the outer packaging to the gorgeous 1920's inspired rose gold cigarette case this exudes luxury. It's one of those items that cannot be hidden in a drawer and is designed to stand proudly on your vanity, and let's be honest it would be a shame to hide something that looked so pretty - it's definitely an 'ooooh' product.

The Powder and Sculpt Brush creates the perfect bronzed duo, the tapered bristles means that the brush can easily sweep along the hollows of my cheeks and temples where the sun would naturally hit my face. I've heard a lot of people say that this isn't the softest of brushes, now I wouldn't say it was scratchy but not fluffy soft - but the slight scratchiness of the brush means that it picks up product really easy and applied just the right amount for a gorgeous defined look.

At £82 the set does prove to be quite expensive but a little cheaper when purchased like this. I would say this isn't really a needed product more like a lusted after item but once you have tried this you're contour routine will never be the same. 

Overall I have fallen for the hype that is the Filmstar Bronze and Glow and can see why it's given its cult status. I have found this re-creates my post-holiday glow, warming my complexion and matching up patches of my skin where I got sunburnt (yes I have white patches on my forehead still!). If you were new to contouring and didn't mind spending the £49 this would be my recommended go to palette and is bound to leave even the biggest makeup geek weak at the knees.

Have you tried the Filmstar Bronze and Glow?


Sunday, 12 July 2015

MAC Is Beauty Lipstick Collection

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MAC Is Beauty Lipsticks LtoR: Diva-ish, Call the Hairdresser, Make Me Gorgeous £15.50 - Link

MAC are renown for their highly anticipated limited edition collections and every now and then I find myself being drawn into the hype and wanting to expand my collection. The MAC is Beauty collection is no different, taking inspiration from retro beauty salons and old school glamour to create a collection full of pretty pastels and a much needed injection of colour just in time for the summer! So I was lucky enough to swipe my three most coveted lipsticks from the collection in the airport back in May.  When looking at the initial photo I'm so proud of where I've come with my lipstick choices as this time a couple of years ago I would have never ventured into corals let alone bright fuchsia pinks. 

Diva-ish (amplified) is described as an intense fuchsia with blue undertones and a dead ringer for Girl About Town. Being an amplified finish this means that it offers more pigmentation and glides onto the lips with ease only really requiring one full sweep, and once applied not only leaves your lips looking fuller but also creating the illusion of white teeth thanks to the blue undertones. One thing I have noticed about bright fuchsia shades like this is how well they compliment my skintone, when my hair was darker this shade looked gorgeous and now I've gone bright blonde (again) it just amplifies the brightness and is perfect to wear on a night out. I've found that this wears around the 3-4 hour mark, but is prone to a little bleeding so if you are wanting to wear this for a long period of time I would recommend teaming this with a trusty lip liner. 

Call the Hairdresser (Lustre) is described as a rosy mauve with warm undertones and a soft sheen. Now I tend to shy away from Lustre's as I do find them a bit of a let down in terms of pigmentation and sometimes they are a little hard work with the constant need to re-apply. However I have to admit I was a little shocked when swatching Call the Hairdresser as it seemed to prove me wrong in terms of typical Lustre pigmentation. The colour is like a rosy coral and is one of those that when applied really compliments my skintone and leaves my lips and complexion looking rather healthy, and definitely one of those perk me up shades. I've found that this wears for around 2-3 hours which isn't too bad for a lustre but definitely needs touching up quite frequently. 

Make Me Gorgeous (Amplified) is described an an intense coral pink with warm undertones and for me the perfect summer shade! This bright medium coral has a hint of pink without bordering on fuchsia which I like, because it's one of those transferable day to night shades without being too bright for daytime. This shade actually reminds me of Toying Around from the Playland collection and I'm glad for the similarities because Toying Around is one of my favourite shades but one I dare use too much for the fear of running out. This applies like a dream, and once again being an amplified finish you are guaranteed pigmentation with one full sweep. I found this lasting on my lips for around 4-5 hours and doesn't bleed which is a big bonus as there is nothing worse than a bright colour that leaves you looking more like the joker the longer it wears. A bold statement but this is probably my favourite shade from the entire range, and definitely on the hunt for something similar from the permanent line - so if you know of anything similar do let me know!

Now I will be honest as much as I love the range and the promotion for MAC is Beauty I do have to admit that there isn't anything special about the colours and you are probably bound to find something similar within their permanent line. Normally with LE collections you are drawn in by the packaging or a colour that is a bit out there or not ready available within the permanent collection. But you know what I'm like, I'm a lipstick hoarder (there I said it) and I have to keep adding to a collection that doesn't really need expansions. 

The lipsticks retail for £15.50 which aren't any different to the normal line, which I suspect is because there is no LE packaging. I know a lot of still available on the MAC website and if you are on the hunt for a new lipstick could still probably swipe these from your local MAC store or concession stand.

I'd love to know if you have purchased anything from the MAC is Beauty collection!


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Paris Street Style

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

No sooner had I got back off my jollies in May and with euros to spare I found myself booking to go on holiday again, this time I'll be jet setting off to the gorgeous city that is Paris in August. The city of love, the fashion capital ect. you get the drift, luckily enough the way it has been booked we get three long days to explore the city and spend a day at Disney. So I wanted to share with you my featured Wishlist Wednesday, showcasing what I'd love to wear for our first day exploring the capital.

First and foremost I think comfort is definitely key as the first day I'll be up at 3am with a 6am flight, so I'll be sporting my comfy Converse, I think that once you break these bad boys in they do prove to be some of the most comfortable pumps to wear for long days. I'd love to team these with the gorgeous Trilogy J Brand Maria Skinny Jeans, for me a good pair of skinny jeans is definitely one of those staple pieces that everyone needs. I love the high rise, super skinny style as these are definitely my favourite style to wear. I'm going through a phase of loving cami's at the moment, especially this really chic River Island V-neck Cami. I find that they are so easy to wear and can be teamed with lots of things. On a random note I love that these come with slightly thicker straps as I hate it when bra straps stand out - so this will definitely help conceal them. I'm loving the colour also, the pastel lilac shade is perfect for the Summer. For accessories I cannot resist taking my trusty LV Speedy 35, especially as I will be making a trip to Louis Vuitton to pick a couple of bits on with it being the main store. This bag is the perfect size to chuck in important stuff like my passport and any additional bits and bobs. I know you can buy Michael Kors in both the airport and Paris so definitely lusting after this gorgeous Bradshaw Gold Watch I only tend to go for Rose Gold at the moment and am finding myself going for more gold toned accessories so this is definitely a want. Lastly I'd complete this look with these cool New Look Feather Drop Earrings, they are really simple yet really chic and I can't resist a good pair of drop earrings. 

I'd love to know what items are on your current wishlist?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Where I've Been Lately

Hey all! So you may have noticed the past couple of months it has been fairly quiet over here on CharmedCharlee *cue sad face*. Unfortunately as it sometimes does life had taken over which meant that I stepped away from blogging for a little bit - really stemming from when I went on holiday, and I have to admit I did kind of lose my blogging mojo since coming home. I dunno what it is maybe it was the relaxation of holiday or just that since I got back I've been very busy and unfortunately that meant I neglected my little space over here. And then a couple of weeks ago I had my tonsils out which hasn't gone smooth but I think I'm finally on the mend - or at least I can hope!

However I am back, and I can't wait to share with you all the new posts that I have planned! So just a short one today and to say thank you for being patient! Watch this space as I will be back up and running shortly! 

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