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Home: The Toast

My darlings, my loves, my moons and stars! How are you all? I’m so excited to be coming to you this new year, full to bursting with new beauty ideas. Today’s featured look was inspired by my annual vacation. Once a year I’m lucky enough to jet off to Nigeria and spend Christmas with my family. After three years of blazing-hot Australian Decembers, winter in London was thoroughly kicking my ass. I was thrilled to escape.

Every time I arrive home I fall drunk in love with the climate and the sheer gloriousness of life in the tropics. The lush bursts of colour, the heat, the sumptuous shades of green. Within minutes of putting down my suitcase, I have a spring in my step and a swish in my hips.

So in keeping with this vibe, today’s look is all about SHINE, BABY SHINE, with an exotic pop of colour! Forget every damn thing you know about winter makeup. Not for us the dark plum lip and pasty face. No, thanks. We’re about that shimmery bronze, golden-toasted, glowing from within, dewy life. That coupled with a splash of hot pink gloss that makes heads turn. Makes people do a double-take. Brings all the boys (and girls…hell, brings everyone) to the yard.

1st pic

We’re aiming for a Club-Tropicana-drinks-are-free type situation. Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone. Girl, didn’t you get the memo?

So! Are you all sitting comfortably? Cocktails in hand? Then I’ll begin.

Now even though this is a tropical summery look, let’s face the facts. It is winter and freezing cold outside, so let’s make sure we protect our faces accordingly. This is a gorgeous dewy look so it’s time to get uber-serious about moisturizer. Start with a lovely clean face. In the winter I like to use a nice nourishing face wash like Simple Kind To Skin Moisturizing Facial Wash. My skin behaves better when I use fragrance-free, vitamin-rich products on it.

Follow with a nourishing toner. On these sub-zero days, I like to treat myself to something gentle like an organic rosewater and glycerin toner. This vintage favourite will freshen your skin, get rid of any grime left lurking in your pores, and prepare your face for moisturizer and makeup. As if that wasn’t enough, it smells like a rose garden after a soft rain. Rain made of a baby cherub’s tears.

Make sure you cleanse-tone-moisturize in quick succession. Your pores will be nice and open after being bathed in warm water, and this way you lock in all the moisture before your skin dries completely. In the winter, I am absolutely LIVING for Olay Complete UV Protection Daily Lotion. It’s rich and lovely, without turning my face into an oil slick. I have combination/oily skin but for my gals with dry/sensitive skin, you may want to add an extra step to your moisturizer game. Simply use a serum and allow a few seconds to sink in before moisturizing. You don’t need to mess around with astoundingly expensive branded serums- ain’t nobody got time for that. I’d recommend organic cold-pressed rosehip oil. This gorgeous orangey-red oil is packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, and it is everything you have ever needed in life. It makes your skin look plump and lush, and helps to even skin tone and prevent wrinkles. A little goes a very long way, so just put a few drops in your palm and massage into your skin before moisturizing.

Right! Time to rage against the dying of the (winter) light. Ready?

Products used:

MAC Studio Fix Foundation fluid in NW47: I actually use this divine foundation as a concealer to cover any blemishes. I know most gals use foundation over their entire face but this seems to work for me. Experimentation is key, darlings! Use a flat concealer or foundation brush to get an even finish.

MAC Studio Fix Powder in N9: Use a delightfully fluffy powder brush. Buff the product into your skin in a circular motion. Try to build up the coverage as you go along — it’s much better than going in too heavy right at the start. Remember, we want dewy-fresh. Not cake-face…*goes into wistful reverie about cake and has to be nudged back to the present*

YSL Touche Eclat Highlighter in Shade 6: NOW, LADIES. Let’s talk about highlighting. Using a cream highlighter is a game-changer and adds an extra dimension of awesome to your already breathtaking face. What we initially want to highlight/brighten are the areas where shadow tends to fall on your face. Under-eye circles, we’re looking at you. I absolutely love YSL Touche Eclat — this genius fluid contains tiny light-reflecting particles that scream “fabulous” and “bright” and “divine!” Pro tip: This product is a bit pricey, so you can always make your own version! Simply use a concealer two shades lighter than your skin tone and mix with a bit of cream highlighter (most drugstore brands will have them, either with a pink or golden finish) before applying.

So dot your highlighter under your eyes — be bold and widen the coverage a bit to really cover all of that darkness. Now use your finger to gently blend. Make sure you blur any harsh lines. See what a difference that makes? The other areas we want to highlight are:

  1. The area on your forehead just between your eyebrows
  2. Under your eyebrows- use a small concealer brush to create a line of highlighter following the arch of your brows, and thoroughly blend downwards with your finger
  3. Down the bridge of your nose
  4. In your cupid’s bow (this subtly draws attention to your lovely lips — ooh, your suitors don’t stand a chance, do they?)
  5. Your chin

Blend, baby, blend! But before you do, feel free to cavort around in front of the mirror with random strokes of highlighter on your face. It’s fun.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Raspberry: This gorgeous cream blush is a deep pink with a nice sheen. Of course you can just use your fave blush- do go for something a bit deeper though, to get that colour pop. Swirl onto the apples of your cheeks and then arc upwards along your cheekbones for a sculpted finish.

Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick in Gold Bronze: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and this shimmer brick is the sun. My love for this powder highlighter is deep, strong and true. Basically these pallets are a set of complementary shimmering colours which you can use in two ways: You can sweep your brush lightly across all the colours and highlight your face, or you can use the shades individually as eyeshadows. Le swoon. I got this version super cheap at Boots (British drugstore) but there are numerous other versions out there. Cheap as chips: Rimmel, Bourjois and Max Factor all have bronzing highlighters available. Pricier: Bobbi Brown made the original shimmer brick, and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighters are EVERYTHING.


So for this look we’re going to be using the “sweep across” technique. We’re basically amping up what we did with the cream highlighter. Like this:

  1. Sweep your blusher brush lightly across all shades of the shimmer brick. LIGHTLY being the operative term here dolls. Blow off any excess
  2. Now sweep the highlighter gently above where you applied your blusher. We want a gentle sheen on the cheekbones for maximum lust-worthiness
  3. Next lightly dust under your eyebrows (brow bone area), down the bridge of your nose, and your chin. Just the lightest touch will do — we just want to enhance the areas where light naturally hits your face
  4. Use the brightest shade in the palette to highlight the inner corners of your eyes. I just smoosh some of the colour onto my pinky finger and apply to the innermost corners of my upper and lower eyelids
  5. Step back and admire your handiwork. You look HAWT.

Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in Black/Brown: Start with a sharpened pencil. Use tiny strokes and follow your natural arch. Start from the outer ends first and work your way inwards, lightening the strokes for a natural gradient effect.

Maybelline Volum’Express Cat-Eyes mascara: As always, my pro-tip is to concentrate on the outer top lashes for a wide-eyed effect. I like to apply my first coat of mascara, wait a couple of moments and then apply a second coat. Fabulous tip for lower lashes — hold the brush vertically and use the very tip of it to dab the mascara on. Instant va-va voom. I didn’t even know I had lower lashes until I started using this technique.

Barry M Moisturizing Lipstick in Shocking Pink: Now darlings, I know bright lipstick can be a bit daunting. And I know we’re really pushing the envelope here wearing brights in winter when we should be wearing plum shades. But who is going to be fool enough to check us? NOBODY. We’re going to look fabulous and trust me when I reassure you that yes, you too can wear bright colours on your lips. It’s all about confidence. Ok? Ok! So make sure your lips are nice and moisturized because bright colours will show up any flakiness. I like to exfoliate my lips using Vaseline and an old toothbrush. For this look, I chose hot pink but you could use any bright colour you want. A bright red lipstick with an orange tone would look fab too. Apply your lipstick and cover with a clear gloss for added shine and fullness.

And we’re done! Effortless, shiny glam. Winter is going to be all like “Oh… oh ok. I should go.”

GridPicI hope you enjoyed reading, my darling Toastinis! I can’t wait to hear from you all. Will you be trying this look for your next hot date/party/trip to the whole-foods store?


Adwoa splits her time between West Africa, England and Australia. She hopes to one day settle in whichever place has the strongest cocktails and/or cutest boys. Pepper her with questions on Twitter.

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