Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Top 5 Concealers

Top 5 Concealers Blog Post

   1. Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer   

Coverage: I would describe it as a medium coverage concealer but it's definitely buildable. It covers my spots and scarring pretty well with just one layer but they're completely covered with two layers. 

Finish: It provides a demi-matte finish so it gives a matte appearance without looking flat. It claims to give the skin luminosity and I'm in two minds about that, to be honest. While it doesn't look flat like some matte products, I wouldn't say it provides as much brightness and radiance as some of the concealers I've mentioned below.

Formula: It has a creamy formula that is incredibly easy to blend. Urban Decay claims that it has a "weightless feel" and I can vouch for that as it feels incredibly lightweight on the skin. It also claims to have skin-loving properties which help retain moisture - I find that to be true as my under-eye area is quite dehydrated and I've never had issues with it clinging to or accentuating the dry patches.

Staying Power: I get a good 6-7 hours wear out of this and I don't use a setting powder on my face because it's too dry. It does wear down a little on my spots but I usually set my under-eye concealer with an illuminating powder so I find I get longer wear in that area.

Use: In my opinion, this is great for using under the eyes to cover dark circles as well as covering spots. The shade "light warm" matches my skin tone perfectly so it's an exact colour match for using on my spots. Because this matches my skin tone perfectly I tend to pair it with another brightening concealer like the Mac Prep & Prime for under my eyes. 

Price & Where To Buy: 
For my Irish readers: It can be bought in Debenhams and it costs €22

For my UK readers: There's a link at the bottom of the post - Happy Shopping ;-)

   2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer   

Coverage: The coverage is quite similar to the Urban Decay concealer: Medium but buildable. I find that it provides a little more coverage than the Urban Decay one so I need to use less product. But you can build it up without it looking cakey but I rarely need to {unless I have a planet growing on my face - you know what I'm talking about *wink wink*} 

Finish: I swore by the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer for years until I purchased this. The Nars concealer is quite similar in my opinion except it doesn't have the flaws that the Collection one has. I thought the Collection concealer was the bees-knees but soon after introducing this to my makeup collection my eyes were open to just how heavy the Collection concealer feels on the skin, and how drying and cakey it is. The shade I have {Light 2 - Vanilla} has got pink undertones so it gives the appearance of radiance and brightness to the skin.

Formula: The formula is creamy but I think it's a little thicker than the UD one so that's why I think it provides a little more coverage. It's still very easy to blend though and it blends seamlessly leaving a natural finish.

Staying Power: This is pretty long-wearing except it's not as long-lasting as the Collection concealer. If you have oily skin a powder would most definitely be needed! 

Use: Similarly to the Urban Decay Concealer I use it for both my spots and under my eyes. 

Price & Where To Buy:
Irish Readers: It costs €28 and can be bought in Brown Thomas
UK Readers: I have a link at the bottom of the post :-)

   3. L'Oreal Lumi Magique Concealer   

Coverage: It has quite a light coverage so you'll need to pair this with another concealer if you suffer from very bad dark circles. It's designed to highlight and brighten the face and that's exactly what it does. It has pink undertones so it's great for counteracting the blue-purple shade under the eyes, acting as a colour corrector as well as a highlighter.

Finish: It has a slight bit of shimmer in it so provides a subtle radiance and illuminates the skin instantly making it look more healthy and awake. You can build it up to two layers if that's what you need without it looking cakey and it hardly creases on me. 

Formula: The formula is surprise, surprise creamy {shocker! Are you beginning to tell that I like creamy formulas *insert winking emoji*} and thus easy to blend. Although, it's not as creamy as the Mac version down below. 

Staying Power: The lasting power of this is very good for a high street product: I get around 9-10 hours wear out of it with a setting powder.

Use: I use this for brightening my under-eye area as well as cream highlighting.

Price & Where To Buy: 
Irish Readers: It costs €12.79 and can be bought in Boots
UK Readers: Linked down below! 

L'Oreal Lumi Magique Concealer Review

   4. Mac Prep & Prime Highlighter   

Coverage: This highlighting pen is very different to the L'Oreal one I just mentioned. The Mac version is a soft pale yellow-toned shade and provides more coverage. I would say it's a medium coverage concealer so it provides a lot more coverage than the one above - which would be perfect if you suffer from bad dark circles.

Finish: Unlike the L'Oreal pen this doesn't contain any shimmer so it means it can be used to highlight other areas of the face like the chin if you have spots there and it won't accentuate them. It gives a gorgeous luminosity to the face also.

Formula: The formula of this is considerably thicker than the L'Oreal version but it still sits nicely on the skin. The best way to apply it, in my opinion, is to use a damp Real Techniques sponge {or alternative} 

Use: Similarly, to the Lumi Magique I use this to cream highlight and to brighten under my eyes.

Price & Where To Buy:
Irish Readers: It costs €25 and can be bought in Brown Thomas
UK Readers: There's a link at the bottom of the post!

Mac Prep & Prime Review

   5. Catrice Camouflage Cream Concealer   

Coverage: This is the one for all you ladies out there who suffer with bad breakouts. This concealer is seriously full coverage and is the only concealer that I've found to cover large spots. 

Finish: Although it's a heavy duty concealer it still looks very natural on the skin. I would describe the finish as matte and to be honest it does look a little flat so it probably wouldn't be best for under the eyes. 

Formula: The formula is sort of like a thick creamy paste which is a little bit harder to blend out than the other concealers I've spoken about. The formula is quite thick and heavy feeling so I personally wouldn't use it under my eyes. I think it might be drying and it would probably crease easily as well.

Use: This heavy duty concealer is great for covering spots {even big pesky ones that just refuse to be covered!} but personally I find it a bit heavy to use under my eyes. 

Price & Where To Buy:
Irish Readers: It costs €3.50 and can be bought on or Penneys stores nationwide.

UK Readers: I researched for Uk stockists but I couln't find any - Let me know if you know of any stockists!

Catrice Camouflage Cream Concealer Review

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Further Reading:

What are your favourite concealers? 

Cliona xx


Sunday, 24 July 2016

How To Take Bright & Airy Instagram Photos

Instagram photography tips

       1. Myth:      

The biggest myth on the web is that you need a DSLR to take beautiful images. Well actually, I'm in two minds about it to be honest. I don't think you need a fancy camera to take beautiful flatlays or any fashion & beauty photos for Instagram. However, in my opinion, I do think it's necessary to have a DSLR or a bridge camera for blog photos and outfit photography. It's the only way to get that nice bokeh effect {blurry background}. 

For most of my Instagram photos, I use my iPhone and I don't think anybody can tell the difference between the photos taken on my camera vs the photos I take on my phone.

QUESTION TIME! Which photo below do you think is a DSLR photo and which one is an iPhone photo? ;-)

DSLR vs phone photography

  2. Taking the Photo:  

1. White Background: A white background provides a bright & airy feel to a photo before you've even edited. 

White background ideas:  

  • Your bed sheet
  • A throw
  • A white table
  • Plain white paper

2. Utilise your phone's camera: 

Tips for an iPhone:

  • Use the square feature on your camera
  • Tap every corner of the screen and the middle to brighten up the photo
  • Turn on HDR

3. Shoot beside a window: My house is actually quite dark and I live in Ireland so getting a bright set up to work with is very difficult. To combat this problem I take my photos beside a window.

4. Use a mirror as a reflector: I spoke about this on my Snapchat recently {@clionahill - Come join the snaps & the chats ;-)} 

If you place a mirror {big or small} beside your set up and face it towards the window it will the bounce the light back and give you a brighter photo.

How to edit Instagram photos

  3. VSCO CAM:      

Step 1: Bump up the exposure to 2 or 3 depending on how bright your photo already is.

Step 2: Contrast the photo to setting 1 or 2 depending on what brightness setting you chose. I never go higher than 2 because I find that it makes the photo look overly edited.

And that's it! That's how I went from that dull photo to the bright one above.

  4. Instagram Editing:   

I absolutely love the in-house editing software that's available on Instagram! It compliments the editing from VSCO Cam very well and the filters are much better than the ones offered on VSCO Cam.

Step 1: Select a filter. I use Gingham because it looks natural and really brightens up those photos and gives them an airy feel. 

Step 2: Lower the filter down to anywhere between 30 - 50. It just depends on the photo but I never go higher than 50 because it makes the photo look overly pink toned *insert thumbs down emoji*

Step 3: Adjust the brightness. Yep, that's right, we need even more brightness! If you've done the steps above then you'll only need to higher it to around 5-8.

Step 4: Adjust the contrast. This is a golden rule of mine: if you touch the brightness then you must follow through with the contrast! Just think of them as a married couple - they go together ;-) I usually only set mine to around 3 or 4, but again it depends on the photo.

Now, you're all set to upload your photo!

Instagram editing -step by step guide

    5. How To Cover Blemishes:    

As you can see from the photo above I've had some trouble with blue tack on my wall *insert monkey with his hands over his eyes emoji* During the Leaving Cert I thought it would be a clever idea to stick my timetables up on the wall and now I can't get the blue tack off. So whenever I take photos of my vanity table (blog post) you can see big blue tack marks on the wall and it really obstructs the photo.

To Remove Unwanted Marks: I use the healing feature on Snapseed.

Question! For this post, I mainly focused on how I edit my photos and I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a post about how I take flat-lays, from where I stand photos and maybe my set-up / props?

Don't forget to follow on Bloglovin' to read more posts from me!

More Instagram Tips:

How do you edit your Instagram photos?

Cliona xx


Saturday, 23 July 2016

How To Accessorise A Plain Outfit

A combination of casual jeans and a top is one of my favourite things to wear but sometimes it can look a little boring. It's very simple to transform a casual plain outfit by adding print and texture which will draw the eye to an outfit. 

                       1. The Statement Scarf                   

A statement scarf is a must-have in everyone's wardrobe. Not only do they bring colour and print to an outfit but they also add texture - bringing the outfit to life. I have a wardrobe full of scarves but for this outfit, I went for my skull scarf. I bought this in H&M a few years ago and still to this day it remains a staple in my wardrobe. It's a dupe for the famous Alexander McQueen version so it adds a luxe feel to the outfit {for a fraction of the price, of course! *wink wink*}

Top 5 Statement Scarves On The High Street:

                        2. Printed Shoes                        

A pair of printed shoes is an essential to jazz up a plain outfit as they draw attention towards the feet. For a plain outfit, I think it's important to have some print on the top and on the bottom as these will act as your focus points for the outfit. Plus, I always think printed shoes make the legs look elongated, and who wouldn't want that now ;-) 

Top 5 Printed Shoes On The High Street:

                           3.Dainty Jewellery                   

Dainty jewellery is always a nice little touch to add to any outfit. I love stacking a few rings on top of each other as I think it draws attention to the watch.

Watches are another great piece to add to an outfit. Lots of people tend to invest in watches but to be honest I'm not that kind of person. It took me an abundance of trial and error before I found a budget brand that sells good quality watches. In the last year, Parfois have become my go-to shop for buying watches. The quality is really good and they look just as luxurious as any Micheal Kors watches.

Top 5 Jewellery Pieces & Watches:

Don't forget to follow on Bloglovin' to read more posts from me!

Previous Outfit Post:

How do you style up a plain outfit?

Cliona xx


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

New In: Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop

Becca Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop review

During the summer months, I tend to go for a very highlighted makeup look with minimal eyeshadow and foundation. If you follow me on Snapchat {@clionahill by the way ;-)} then you'll know that my latest highlighter purchase is the Becca x Jaclyn Hill highlighter in 'Champagne Pop'

                                                             1. Shade                              

I would describe it as a golden highlighter with peachy undertones. It has small hints of golden flecks running through it which provides a gorgeous frosty sheen to the skin.

The shade is a little bit similar to the highlighter in the Pippa Palette {review} except the Becca one is little more peachy. It gives an almost rose gold effect - Beautiful!

Becca Champagne Pop Blog Review

                           2. Pigmentation                      

One swipe of this packs a serious punch! You can also go light-handed with it if you prefer a natural looking highlight. It can also be built up if you like a very strong highlight, which is my personal preference - I always build up two layers and it gives a gorgeous glowy finish! 

Becca Champagne Pop Highlighter review

                          3. Formula                            

The texture of it is incredible - it's so soft & silky and really easy to blend. It feels very luxurious and worth every penny!

                          4. Where To Buy?                      

It costs €38 and if you're in Ireland you can get it in Space.NK on Grafton Street or online below....

Happy Shopping ;-)

Shop The Post:

(An unedited photo wearing the highlighter on my browbone, tops of my cheeks, down the centre of my nose, my cupid's bow & on the inner corners of my eyes)

Further Reading: 

Have you tried this highlighter?

What's your favourite highlighter?

Cliona xx

Don't forget to follow on Bloglovin' to read more posts from me!


Friday, 15 July 2016

3 Fashion Tips For Irish/UK Summers

Dressing for Irish & UK summers can be tricky because one minute it's sunny and humid, and next, there is a gust of wind accompanied by hailstones. At this stage, I think people are giving up on hope for some summer appropriate weather. But fear not because in today's post I'm sharing my top fashion tips for feeling summery even if there's a storm outside *wink wink*....................

                                                    1. Light Layers                         

If you read my summer blazer outfit post then you'll know that my favourite fashion hack for our Irish summer is layering. The key to layering is jackets - bomber jackets, biker jackets, any light jacket will have you covered if it's chilly and raining but if the sun decides to pop out then you can just tie the jacket around your waist.

Another handy item for layering is light cardigans - I have a bunch of these in a variety of different colours from H&M. They're cheap and handy for both the summer months and the colder weather.

Try to avoid wearing long sleeve tops as you'll be roasting by the end of the day!
Always wear a t-shirt with a jacket or denim shirt, and that way you'll be covered for all types of weather.

                                                           2. Loose Trousers                                                    

I picked up these loose fitting tapered trousers in Penneys and I knew they would be a style staple for the summer months. What I love about them is that they're warm enough to wear when it's hail-stoning {that was actually the weather status at the time of this photoshoot ;-)} but the loose fit and light material make them great for humid weather also.

I wore these a few times during my Leaving Cert as the weather was incredibly humid. They're very comfortable which makes them great for sitting exams in the hot weather - It almost feels like wearing pyjamas ;-) For the same reason, they would be perfect for travelling on a plane - long or short flights!

I also love wearing these type of trousers when I'm on holiday as an evening outfit. They look dressy casual which is perfect for your evening meal and it's a nice alternative to a dress.

                                                             3. Bright Colours                                                  

Wearing bright colours doesn't mean you have to wear a summery dress or shorts, you can add a splash of colour to any type of outfit. 

Try wearing light-coloured jeans such as my khaki pair or my cream jeans

There are also lots of options for bright tops on the high street that you could pair with jeans to add a pop of colour to your outfit.

I decided to go for this bright orange colour as it makes a statement and makes me feel summery despite the bad weather. 

Unfortunately all of the items I'm wearing are sold out but I've linked to some similar items down below! Happy Shopping!

Shop The Post:

Don't forget to follow on Instagram for your daily dose of fashion & beauty!

Further Reading:

What's your summer uniform?

Have you any fashion tips for temperamental summer?

Cliona xx


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Essential Face Brushes For Your Makeup Kit

Essential makeup brushes

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Following on from my top 10 eye makeup brushes post, I said I would chat through my favourite face makeup brushes. I've tried and tested many makeup brushes and the following are the ones that stood out to me. 

I used to use a lot more Real Techniques brushes but over the last few months, I've been loving Zoeva and Blank Canvas. I might do a whole blog post about my RT brushes sometime as I do still love them very much. 

Blank Canvas brush review

                                                          Real Techniques                                                                   

Miracle Complexion Sponge: The current standout from Real Techniques is their Miracle Complexion Sponge. I had always wanted to try the Beauty Blender but I can't justify that amount of money on one sponge. I bought the RT version back in April and before then I had never used a sponge to apply my foundation. However when I used this for foundation I absolutely hated it; I don't know if I was using it correctly or not but it left me with an uneven, patchy finish and it took a lot longer than a brush. 

I decided to use it for concealer instead and I've never looked back! I always use it damp or I spray it with some Mac fix+ and blend my under eye concealer and cream highlight. It blends concealer really well and because it's damp it helps reduce puffy, tired eyes. 
It's also great for cleaning up eyeshadow and it's what I use to get that sharp finish on eye makeup which you can see in my 'Get Ready With Me' using the Morphe 35p palette

Blush Brush: Another favourite of mine is the blush brush. Despite the name I never use it for blush as I think it's too big and easy to over apply product {hello clown makeup!!} I like to use it for powder as it's smaller than the average powder brush which is great for me as I like to avoid specific areas where I have dry skin.


Concealer: There are 2 brushes from Zoeva that I like to use for concealer: 142 Concealer Buffer and 110 Face Shape. The 142 is great for covering up big spots as it's quite stiff so it's easy to concentrate the product on to a spot and build up a few layers of concealer. I like to use the 110 for concealing larger areas such as my cheeks and nose where I get a lot of redness from eczema.

Contour: For powder contouring, I always use the 127 Luxe Sheer Cheek brush. This brush is a bit smaller than the Blank Canvas angled brush so it fits in the hollow of my cheeks better for a precise application.

Zoeva rose gold brush review

                                                                Blank Canvas                                                                 

Foundation: My holy grail foundation brush is the F20 from Blank Canvas. The density of this brush is excellent and my foundation just smoothly glides on. This brush is effortless to use and I can always get my base done very quickly when I use this brush. It's a flat-topped dense brush which gives a flawless finish to the skin. 

My sister always struggles with her foundation and whenever I recommend a foundation to her she always complains that it never looks as nice as mine - but it's honestly down to this brush! I keep telling her to get it but I might have to buy it for her for Christmas because it's honestly life-changing!

Highlight: Another brush that was life-changing is the F28. I like to use it to apply highlighter as it picks up a good amount of product. It's also a great shape for applying highlight down the centre of my nose and my cupid's bow. 

Blush: For blush, I like to use angled brushes similar to the Zoeva one I mentioned above and my brush of choice is the F04. These type of brushes are great for applying blush as the angled shape makes it easy to apply the product to the apples of my cheeks. 

These brushes can bought from the Blank Canvas website or Cloud 10 Beauty 

Don't forget to follow on Bloglovin' to see more posts from me!

Previous Post:

What are your must-have face brushes?

Cliona xx


Sunday, 10 July 2016

How I Tripled My Instagram Following In 1 Year

How to grow your Instagram followers

Click on the photo to follow me on Instagram!

Recently I was planning out my social media strategy after not implementing one for the last 6 months whilst I was doing my exams. I was shocked to see that on the 1st of August 2015 I only had 585 followers on Instagram (@clionahill) but fast forward 11 months and I've just hit 1750 followers! That's not a big number to some people but to me, it's huge and I'm getting very close to my 2016 goal - So to say I'm delighted is an understatement. I was growing by around 150 followers a month until this year when I took a bit of a hiatus during the leaving cert but I'm back on track! I hit 1700 a week ago and in just one week I've gained over 50 real followers without holding giveaways or any of that spam for spam crap.

I was inspired to write this post after reviewing my stats and after I ran a poll on Twitter (@ClionaHill)  about which social media platform people found the most difficult to grow and 62% said Instagram. I was quite surprised to be honest because I find Instagram the only one easy to grow. So, today I thought I'd gather a few tricks to gain followers that have been working for me for the past year.....

1. Develop A Theme: The first thing that you need to do is develop a theme. Find what style of photos and editing you want to create and STICK WITH IT. There are lots of different themes such as minimalistic, monochrome, bright & airy, pastel and so on. Personally, I like my photos to be bright & airy.

You should also stick to content that represents your blog/ niche. If you're a fashion blogger then I want to see fashion related photos, I don't want to see millions of pictures of random friends on a night out - No offense. 

2. Posting Regularly: You need to be posting a minimum of 2 photos per day and a maximum of 4 photos a day. I post 3 photos every day - One in the morning, one at lunchtime and another in the evening.

3. Engage with people: Follow people that you have similar interests with and like & comment on their photos. I'm not saying that you have to follow everyone but be open to following a few new people every now and then. And don't be stingy with your likes - I like nearly everything on my feed because guess what? It takes less than a second to hit the like button.  

{THE MAIN THING THAT GETS ME LOADS OF FOLLOWERS}: The secret to gaining followers is going through your hashtags that you've used on your photos and liking and commenting on people's posts. I usually set aside an hour a day to do this - I pop on some tunes and I leave genuine comments. Sometimes I write an essay on one person's photo and yes, it does take time but that's the best way to increase your following. On Friday my growth was really slow (I only gained 1 follower) and so I did that little trick and I went from 1739 to 1754 in an hour! 

4. Popular photos: Posting popular photos also helps: Outfit photos, home decor, makeup, flatlays and anything rose gold are very popular on my account. Photos of my vanity table (blog post) always get me a few followers. The other day I posted that photo in the middle of the bottom row and I gained 8 followers in a half an hour.

5. Hashtags: Hashtags are very important now that Instagram has introduced a new algorithm. I used to only use 5 or 6 hashtags on my posts but now I tend to use 10-12 because otherwise, no one will see your posts. 

Further Reading: 

Are you obsessed with Instagram too?

Leave your links below!

Cliona xx

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