Make Up · Skincare

Brand Focus: Clarins…

I was having a rummage through my makeup/skincare cupboard and it occurred to me just how loyal I am to certain brands – Clarins is one of them. Clarins obviously has a long French heritage and is a well-respected brand in the world of skincare/makeup – and they pride themselves on using natural plant extracts/oils in their products. They are not what I would describe as a really really high end brand (think Chantacaille or Zelens maybe) but some of their products aren’t cheap. However, in most cases, Clarins products do deliver- I rely on them a lot and many of their products are staples in my routine. …. this may be a long one! I did give a little squeal of delight when the Clarins counter arrived in Boots on the Isle of Wight some time ago! That is another advantage of course – you can buy them on the highstreet. Some of these products you will have probably seen before if you’ve read my other posts, so sorry for repeating. Right- let’s start with skincare …

(All of these products are available from: http://www.clarins.co.uk, http://www.escentual.com, http://www.allbeauty.com, http://www.boots.com, http://www.houseoffraser.com – the cheapest place is usually escentual.com, or allbeaty.com although the Clarins website do do lots of offers/freebies – worth signing up to the website for email updates)

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Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream – I use this either as an AM cleanse or the second PM cleanse after taking my makeup off. This does take makeup off, but I think other products do it better. It is quite a thick cream that smooths over the face very easily. Smell is nice and it leaves my skin feeling nice and soft but never dry and tight. It does contain Shea Butter, which some people react to (usually really really blemish prone skins).

Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion – I love the Extra-Comfort range in general and this is my third bottle. This toner smells divine and feels really nourishing on the skin. I use it daily, soaked on to a cotton pad and smoothed over the face, after cleansing and before eye cream/serum – at night only.

Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner – I’ve spoken about this before. This is what I have generally replaced ‘scrubby’ exfoliators with. This is a chemical toner (not as scary as it sounds!) that gently resurfaces the skin and removes dead cells – promoting new cell turnover = brighter skin! This is again, my third bottle. I used to use it ever other day when my skin was really bad, now I only use twice/three times a week – always in the evening, soaked on to a cotton pad. On the nights I use this, I don’t use the toner above. It smells lush, doesn’t sting (your skin may tingle if you’re not used to acids – totally normal), isn’t irritating and I wouldn’t be without it.

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HydraQuench Lotion for Normal/Combination Skin – This is a really lovely moisturiser for the summer. I’ve put it away now for the winter as it is not quite moisturising enough for my skin during the colder months. I deliberately purchased the one for combination skin, as in the summer, I’m more prone to an oily t-zone. This moisturiser is really light, sinks in easily and is a good base for makeup – it doesn’t roll or peel. This is the only Clarins day moisturiser that I own – I cannot get on with their other moisturisers for some reason; my skin doesn’t like them. That is not to say they aren’t good or worth the money, but personally, I prefer others a lot more and unusually, Clarins are not my go-to brand for a moisturiser. (I think that is my only negative!)

HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase – This is a lovely moisturising serum (this is a sample size that I got free with other Clarins purchases). It is a really watery consistency that you have to shake up before use. The pump doesn’t really work with such a liquid formula, but the actual product is very good. My skin drinks this stuff up – and feels soft and supple afterwards; it is designed to revive dry skin, a bit like an SOS treatment. I like.

Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil – I have a LOT of time for the Clarins Treatment Oils and I consider these oils to be responsible for sorting out my crazy, oily, nightmare skin (Lotus Oil is the one I used for combination/oily skin). This one is for dehydrated skin and I now only use this two/three times a week (I used the Lotus one every night in an attempt to sort out my face). This product is AMAZING and so, so worth the slightly pricey tag – although actually, compared to other brands (Sunday Riley, Darphin) the price is very reasonable. I use 3-4 drops, warmed in my hands and then pressed over the face (not rubbed like a lunatic!). I use this after serums/eye cream and generally don’t follow with a night cream unless my face is the Sahara or sun burnt. Cannot recommend highly enough.

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Fix’ Make-Up – This is one of those products I didn’t know I needed until I got it. Again, like HydraQuench, this has been parked for the winter until the hotter weather (or a holiday – please let it be a holiday!) returns. I spray this over my face when I’ve done my makeup – a few squirts – and it holds it and stops it slipping, running, melting or moving; perfect for the hot weather.

Beauty Flash Balm – This is Clarins’ number one best-selling product. Ever. It is one of those wierd hybrid products – half way between a primer and a moisturising serum: bit confusing! I use it after moisturiser and before foundation – so as a primer. It does say on the tube that makeup should be applied straight away, so I guess they are airing on the side of primer too. It apparently brightens and tightens and makes the skin appear ‘rested.’ There are some amazing reviews of this – however … in my opinion, it is no better than the No7 or Max Factor primers that I own. With hindsight, I don’t think I’d have paid the cash for it – I just don’t see enough of a difference. Maybe I’m not using it correctly (there seems to be a ‘way’ to use it), maybe it isn’t working with my foundation, or maybe my skin doesn’t need it – I don’t know… But as I said, some people bloody love this stuff – check out the reviews on http://www.boots.com.

Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster – This is an amazing product and one of the first of its kind. If you’re ridiculously pale/fair like I am, then tanning products are likely to scare you a bit – they do me! I am terrified to spending money on something that is going to make me look dirty, muddy or orange; welcome Clarins Glow Booster! This little product is amazing because it is so subtle and completely natural looking. Just two/three drops of this in your daily moisturiser (I mix it in my palm – wash your hands afterwards) for a few consecutive days, gives a natural glow to your skin – as if you’ve just been on holiday for the weekend; nothing garish or fake and no orange/mud/dirt in sight. It is buildable if you want more glow, or if you’ve overdone it or want it to fade, just lay off the product for a few days. It really is that simple. I love it.

Make up: 

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Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (red pot – facing the wrong way, sorry!) – I’ve spoken about primers before and how I hate anything that feels to ‘siliconey’ on my skin (sorry Benefit Porefessional). This product does contain silicone, anything that claims to smooth/iron out pores, will do, but it contains far less than the Benefit one. I’ve had this pot for about three years and I’ve used about half of it. I use this on a big night out (probably why it’s lasted so long!) or to a wedding/event. You need the tiniest amount and I use it over the crows feet around my eyes, on my nose, side of the nose, chin and between eye brows – just to iron out pores and make the surface smooth. It does exactly what it says it will – instant smoothness.

Extra-Comfort SPF 15 Foundation in 108 Sand – This is one of, if not my favourite foundation. Ever. I LOVE this stuff! It is perfect for winter as it is designed for dryer skins (I wouldn’t use this in the summer as I’d be a greaseball). It has the consistency of a moisturiser and feels, well, comforting! I dab on with fingers and then apply with a big brush or the beauty blender (more info on brushes coming soon). Colour match is perfect for me and it stays where it’s meant to. The only downsids are that it has SPF15 in it, which means you get flashback when taking photos – so not ideal for weddings etc. and also the glass jar – that looks amazing and luxurious on my shelf, but is a nightmare for travelling and getting the foundation out of (I use a cotton bud/Q-tip). But, even so, this is definitely my favourite Clarins foundation – by a mile. If you’ve got dry skin and want a high end foundation then check this out.

Everlasting Foundation SPF15 in 103 Ivory – I feel a bit sorry for this foundation as it had an awful lot to live up to after the Extra-Comfort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite do it. I like it, but I don’t love it. I find this foundation a lot harder to work with than the Comfort – it takes a lot of work to get it streak free and looking polished. This foundation is also more of a matte finish, whereas I prefer a more glowy, dewy look. It is a medium to full coverage, so not one if you only like a really light base. Despite my negativity towards this, there is a lot of love for Everlasting out there – google it. Lots of people love this – each to their own.

Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 02 Champagne – Being totally honest, I’d forgotton I owned this! I found it at the bottom of the foundation/primer box. I’m taking that as an indication that I didn’t love it and I wasn’t wowed by it. If I remeber correctly, I had real problems getting this to ‘set’ on my skin – it went really patchy and wierd: not good. I can’t stand products that you have to figure out how to work with them – it annoys me – a product should be pretty self-explantory and not require hours of playing with to get it to work. This is one of those. I had such high expectations as I love the Instant range and Clarins – this was disappointing. I’ll use it up, but I won’t buy again. Sorry Clarins.

Instant Concealer for Tired Eyes in 01 Ivory – Now I love everything about this concealer apart from one thing: the colour. I am super, ghost-like pale and this is in shade 01 Ivory – er… if this is ivory then what the hell am I? Snow?! The actual product is highly pigmented, goes a long way and stays in place – all the requirements you’d wan from a concealer. If they could just sort out the colour range, it’d be love. I still use it – mainly in the summer when I am more tanned (or when I’ve been at the Glow Booster!), or I mix it with a paler concealer (as a side, The Body Shop have just bought out ‘Lightening Drops’ for foundation when the colour isn’t a match, so that might be worth a look for this product).

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Bronzing Duo in 01 Light – I’m not the worlds biggest bronzer fan to be honest. I use them more in the summer and I tend to use them to just warm up my face a bit and stop me looking so ghostly. This bronzer is really really light – almost so light that I doubt it would show up on anyone with a darker, warmer skin tone than me. As you can see from the picture, I had to scratch it to get some pigment to show up. It works well for me and my pale skin, but anyone else would need to go up a few shades for it to show up. The idea with the two colours is that you get a big fluffy bronzing brush and swirl it around – the more matte shade is the lighter one and the darker one contains some fine shimmer. On the whole, this is a really good, non-glitter ball bronzer for pale skins.

Blush Prodige in 08 Sweet Rose – I bought this from the Spring 2015 Garden Escape collection (Clarins do the BEST limited edition collections). It is a gorgeous pale skin – again, perfect for my skin tone. Like the bronzer it has shimmery bits, so a quick swirl with a blush brush is all is needed. I apply to the apples of my cheeks (really lightly) and take it up in a C shape around my eyes (the guy from MAC who made me over earlier this year, said that to thin the face you should apply blush higher on the face than just whacking it only on the apples in one round blob). Blend, blend, blend away until there are no identifiable lines.

Duo Soleil in 10 Bright Sun – This was a free sample when I purchased something from another site (no idea which one as it was about 8 years ago). This was my very first foray in to bronzers and for years and years I didn’t use it as I didn’t know how – then I discovered a love for makeup and watched countless Youtubers (who were just starting out!) using bronzer and I learnt how (FleurdeForce, Tanya Burr to name a few – they are now millionaires and pretty much ‘own’ YouTube makeup!). This duo is the opposite of the other bronzer I have from Clarins in that it is quite dark for me, so only able to be worn when I’m tanned/on hols – not very often then! Both colours are quite matte without much shimmer.

Swatch top to bottom: Nude Pink Matte, Sparkle Grey Matte, Earth Matte, Aquatic Grey Iridescente, Aquatic Rose Iridescente.

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Ombre Matte Eyeshadows – 02 Nude Pink, 05 Sparkle Grey, 06 Earth

Ombre Iridescente – 03 Aquatic Grey, 01 Aquatic Rose (part of the Aquatic Treasures Summer 2015 collection)

These gorgeous, gorgeous eyeshadows are brilliant; I can’t fault them! I started my collection with the three matte shades – totally wearable and easy to apply, with good staying power. Matte shadows are not my favourite – some people love them – but these are definitely not ‘flat matte’ shades – they do have depth to them, especially Sparkle Grey. The formulation of these shadows are cream-to-powder and they are so so soft and buttery and easy to blend. Aquatic Grey is my favourite shade – just perfect for a smokey eye of an evening, but equally as wearable blended with the matte Nude Pink shade. These are quite pricey for a single eye shadow – but in terms of quality you can’t beat them.

Right hand swatch top to bottom: Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in My Pink, Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 05 Candy Shimmer, Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 03 Nude Shimmer, Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Raspberry

Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in o5 Candy Shimmer (top in larger photo) and 03 Nude Shimmer (bottom) – The Nude Shimmer was one of the first products I bought from Clarins way back when; this tube in the photo is a repurchase because I loved it so much. These lip products are half way between a balm and a gloss, they smell gorgeous (like toffee) and are very natural looking – there is no high colour pigmentation here, just a subtle wash of colour and shine (even the Candy Shimmer in the photo looks bright but that doesn’t really translate on to the lips – they aren’t designed to give high colour – hence the Natural Lip). Really moisturising and not overly sticky these are a winner if you want something easy to wear.

Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil – So this is my relatively new purchase and I do love it. I waited a loooong time for this product and it doesn’t disappoint …. as long as you don’t go out with long hair down on a windy day! This is pretty sticky, so I’ve been wearing it as just a lip balm type product – difinitiely not out in the wind/rain that we’ve been having at the moment! It is soft, smoothing, moisturising and feels lovely on the lips. It tastes like raspberry jam (though I’ve no idea why you would actively eat your lip products!!?) and as you can see from the swatch, it is virtually clear so the scary hot pink colour doesn’t materialise (fine by me!).

Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in My Pink – Now this I absolutely love! It launched with the Garden Escape collection in Spring 2015 and was a sell-out. My Pink is one of those colour adaptive shades – it works with the natural oils and pigments in your lips to give you a unique shade. The balm aspect is excellent – really moisturising and no stickiness in sight! If you’re not a fan of the texture of gloss or don’t want the maintenance of lip stick/stain, then this is for you. Fuss free, easy to apply without a mirror and a unique shade that is perfect for your skin tone = winner.

The Essentials Palette (Winter 2013 Limited Edition) – This is a gorgeous palatte full of super wearable and easy-to-blend nudes. This is LE unfortuantly, but they have replaced it this year with the new version of essentials and it too is gorgeous. The Clarins shadows, like the single ones, are brilliant – they are soft, blendable and buttery with good colour payoff and not much fall-out. I use this palatte a lot.

The Garden Escape Palette – This was released in Spring 2015 and I snapped it up in a bit of an impulse purchase … I don’t normally wear green shadows as I have green/grey eyes and I favour nudes/browns/taupes/greys/purples as I think they suit me better. I have to be honest and say I’ve only used this palette once (oops). It is beautiful to look at and of course, the quality is amazing, but I just don’t get the wear out of it that it deserves.

Clarins Odyssey Eye Quartet Mineral Palette (LE Christmas 2012) – Again, another beautiful LE eyeshadow collection. This one I also use a lot. The four shades are so easy to slap on and blend, and the gold (which you apply with a wet brush and pack over the top) makes it a bit special for a night out. This is a palette I’d chuck in my makeup bag if I wanted something for every day and evening.

My word – that is the longest post I have ever written. This is why I love doing this blog – it has literally kept my brain distracted from the real world for about 5 hours (yes, it has taken me that long although I have done it in sections!). I hope it was a useful introduction to Clarins. If you currently don’t have a skincare routine, or are in the market for some quality makeup – or just want to treat yourself, hopefully it has given you some ideas! But do shop around as the prices on the sites listed at the start, do vary – and we all love a free sample or some money off!

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