Stick foundations are great, they save time in your morning routine, give your skin a great finish and can also double up as a concealer.  But do you need to spend a small fortune on a high end brand, or can the drugstore offer something just as good? Keep reading to hear my thoughts...



Today I am going to be reviewing and comparing the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and the L'Oreal Paris Infallible Longwear Shaping Stick.  If you are reading this, I dare say you know both of these brands, but if not, Hourglass is a high end luxury beauty brand, available at Space NK, Liberty's and many other department stores and L'Oreal is a more affordable beauty brand which you can find in your local Boots, Superdrug and on ASOS (plus a billion other websites!).



Packaging

I'm a big fan of branding and I love when you can tell which brand a product is from just by looking at the packaging; NARS's matte black, Charlotte Tilbury's rose gold and purple, and of course Hourglass's dark copper.  The Hourglass packaging is very luxurious, and instantly recognisable.  It is simple, sleek and durable - perfect for travel.  Their stick foundation is in a triangular dark copper tube, with the gold "Hourglass" printed on one side.  I'm not a fan of L'Oreal's packaging at all, it is just too mis-matched for my liking, and my #postitfortheaesthetic side needs some sort of consistency.  The foundation tube is plastic, and I managed to crack mine within about 10 minutes of owning it.  I know the packaging doesn't affect the quality of the product itself, but branding is an important aspect of business these days!
Winner: Hourglass 

Price

For a bargain £8.99, you get 9g of foundation from L'Oreal, whereas you have to pay an eye-watering £42.00 for 7.2g of the Hourglass foundation.  £42.00 is a lot to spend on one make-up product, and I do think for a foundation it is a little too much.  Most high end brands charge in the £25-35 region for foundation, with the exception of the likes of Tom Ford who charge a whopping £65+! Purchasing a base product at this value can be tricky; you pay for excellent quality, but what if the formula doesn't suit your skin, or the shade is too warm or too ashy? That £42.00 is then wasted.  If you are going to splurge on a high end foundation, make sure to get colour matched by a pro first!
Winner: L'Oreal

Shade range 

I currently have the shade Nude in the Hourglass stick; this is currently a little too dark for me but was perfect when I was tanned after my holiday to Anguilla. The L'Oreal stick is a perfect match for me at the moment, and I have the shade 180 Radiant Beige.  Hourglass offer an impressive 32 shades for their Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick, whilst L'Oreal offer a disappointing 12 foundation shades, the majority of which are for lighter skintones.  I do find a lot of drugstore brands do not produce enough shades in their complexion products; we know they have the means to do this, as evidenced by other brands, Fenty Beauty, Too Faced, and it is disappointing that new products are being released with such a limited range.
Winner: Hourglass



Blendability

If I'm short on time and I need a quick and easy make-up look, I find myself reaching for the L'Oreal foundation stick without hesitation.  It is so easy to apply and blends like a dream, perfect for when I'm in a rush.  I feel like I could apply it with my eyes closed.  I tend to only use the Hourglass foundation stick if I have plenty of time to really work the product in to the skin, it is a little heavier and takes a fair amount of effort to ensure it is blended seamlessly and is not taking up residence in my brows (foundation pet peeve!).  I use a damp beauty blender for both products, my current favourite is the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, it has the ideal amount of firmness for stick foundation.
Winner: L'Oreal

Coverage & Finish

Despite it needing a little work to blend, the Hourglass foundation has the most beautiful finish and is very high coverage.  It works as a foundation and a concealer, and I always feel like I've been airbrushed when I wear it.  It is heavier on the skin, but if you are after a flawless photoshoot-ready look, this foundation is for you.  I would probably say the L'Oreal foundation is a light to medium coverage, it is a much more natural finish than the Hourglass foundation stick and gives that real skin-that-looks-like-skin look, something that seems to be quite desirable in this industry at the moment. One layer doesn't quite hide redness and blemishes as much as I would like it to, but it is buildable for when I do want a fuller coverage look.
Winner: Hourglass

Longevity

L'Oreal claims that the Infallible Shaping Stick can last up to 24 hours.  As someone who sits at their desk with their head in their hands, I sadly can't say that it lasts a long time in a stressful situation.  I did wonder if the product would stay in place more if I didn't touch my face so much, so I tried wearing it on a non-working day to see how I got on.  I think my biggest love was that my skin just looked really natural and radiant all day long.  I did need to reapply a little product throughout the day, especially on my chin and around my nose, but it did pretty good for a light to medium coverage drugstore foundation.  My Hourglass foundation had the biggest test of all, when I decided to wear it during the Beast from the East aka England's snow storm.  After walking an hour and a half in the snow to work, my foundation still looked damn flawless, and I think that's a pretty good testament to how good the Hourglass stick is.  If it could handle Storm Emma and friends, it can probably handle anything. This is the sort of foundation you'd want to wear to a wedding or an event that goes on for the majority of the day, and even in to the night too. Just remember to take it off at the end of it all, or your skin will not thank you the next morning!
Winner: Hourglass



Final Verdict

My biggest complaint with the L'Oreal stick is that it did cause my skin to break out.  I think this is quite common with a lot of stick foundations due to the bacteria on your face living on the stick after use, although I must say that I have never had a skin break out with the Hourglass one.  I really love the finish of this, it is just so natural which is a look I have been going for lately. I also love how inexpensive it is, and if I did need to go for a slightly darker shade in the summer, I wouldn't be breaking the bank!

Having said that, I absolutely love the Hourglass foundation stick and I'd probably have to say this is my overall winner out of the two.  It is just stunning, and I do think it is worth the £42.00 price tag if you have the right shade.  Whilst writing this post, I discovered that the Hourglass foundation stick is vegan as well as being cruelty-free, which I don't believe can be said for the L'Oreal one, but do correct me if I am wrong! If you have the spare money and are wanting to try the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick, I would 10/10 recommend you give it a go, it is a very luxurious, high-quality product.  But, if you are like me and trying to save your cash, try out the L'Oreal.  It isn't as long-lasting or as flawless, but it blends like a dream and looks beautifully natural!

Save: The L'Oreal foundation can be purchased here!
Splurge: The Hourglass foundation can be purchased here!

You can read my previous Save or Splurge post here

I can also be found on Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin xx

Thanks for stopping by,

Naomi xx

When one of your best friends asks if you want to tag along on a trip to the Caribbean, you've got to say yes, right?  After a super busy and stressful November to January, we headed to Paris to catch a flight to St Martin and then a boat to Anguilla for 10 days of sunshine and cocktails. Sounds like a dream? Well, it was, because we got stranded in Paris for two days.  This post is likely going to turn in to a story-time, probably with a lot of photos too, because I want to show that not every trip always goes to plan and is as excellent as it looks on the 'gram...

With a suitcase full of swimwear, sun tan oil and summer clothes, we hopped on the Eurostar to Paris with the intention of spending a night in an airport hotel and then catching a morning flight to St Martin.  After scoffing some burritos at BocaMexa, we headed to the hotel to get an early night ready for our flight.

I'm very fortunate that I get to travel quite a bit, I love to travel and if I could afford to do it full time or as a career, I would.  But in no way would I consider myself a pro.  Case in point; whilst getting ready to head to the airport, did I once think to check our flight for delays? No, I did not. I'm very used to checking us in the night before, having an itinerary, just being pretty organised when it comes to travel.  But with this trip, I had been so exhausted from 3 months of pure hell at work that I had a tell-me-where-I-have-to-be-and-when-and-I'll-be-there mindset.  I didn't want to get involved with the details, which I know is pretty lazy of me, and I do think if my usual logistics brain had taken more of an interest in the trip, we may have been a little more prepared for what was about to happen.



We arrived at Paris Orly, looked at the departures board and then were hit with the realisation that our flight was not listed.  After a few minutes of watching the board change pages, one of the girls headed to the airline's customer service desk to be told that our flight had been re-scheduled for two days later.  I think it's safe to say we all felt a little disheartened; we were so ready for sunshine and we were pretty excited despite the long-haul flight ahead of us.  When we could have easily thrown ourselves on the floor wailing, I'm proud of how we adapted very quickly to the situation. We booked an Airbnb near Le Marais, grabbed a coffee in Paul and caught an Uber back in to the city.

Now, I should probably say at this point that we did not pack for the freezing temperatures of Paris in Winter.  Before catching our Eurostar, Gem and I had a very last minute dash in to town to pick up some bits for the trip, and I decided to buy a grey knitted jumper from Topshop that I really did not need, but very fortunately took with me in my suitcase as an extra.  And I am so grateful for past Naomi's shopaholic tendencies because the thought of spending 3 days in the same clothes is just not for me.

 
 
 

As much as I did not want to be in Paris (it was my fourth time in four years, and yes, you can have too much Paris), I am glad we were not flying directly from London, because going home to my parent's house for two days would have sucked.  So what do six 20-something's do when they are stranded in Paris for two days?  Cheese and wine.  Having not met the other 4 people on the trip before, I could not have been more glad that they were foodies.  As I'd spent so long in Paris before, I was not too fussed about doing any tourist things, so I was more than happy to drink red wine, eat melted cheese and just chill out, trying to forget that we should have been sunning ourselves on the beach with a Pina Colada and finding a silver lining in our travel fail.  We did however check out the Musee d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris which had some beautiful light spaces, spent the afternoon at the Palace of Versailles, and walked along the overflowing Seine eating the best almond croissants in Europe.

  

After involuntarily spending an extra two days in the city of lights, we finally boarded our flight to St Martin! The flight was about 8 and a half hours, and considering we had very little leg room and had to share a tv screen with 4 other rows, it wasn't too bad.  We landed to sunshine and made our way to the port to catch a boat to our destination, Anguilla!

Anguilla is a pretty small island; 35 square miles and a population of less than 15,000.  We stayed in a house belonging to one of the girl's Uncles and having visited the island a lot, she knew all the best places to go and where to get the best food.  Below are my favourite spots...

Corona + Sunshine = Happy Nai

Rendezvous Bay - Garvey's Sunshine Shack

This was the perfect place to spend our first full day on the island, find me a nicer human than Garvey, the man is an angel and just radiates happiness, he is clearly well respected, evident from the frequent visitors to the Sunshine Shack who could not praise him, his food and his team more.  Lying on the beach, sun shining, rum punch in hand, made me forget that 3 days before we'd faced the reality of our flight being delayed; it made the wait worth it.  We ate grilled lobster for lunch, drank cocktails and beer all day, swam in the sea, listened to live music, it was the absolute best way to spend a Sunday!

Grilled lobster @ Sunshine Shack

Artisan, Island Harbour 

Before we went on this trip, the girls raved about Artisan, a little Italian restaurant with a pizza oven flown over from Naples and where they serve complimentary salted caramel popcorn before your meal.  Gem even described it as the best Italian outside of Italy, and she was not wrong.  The food was to die for.  My favourite was their pistachio pesto pasta and their heavenly scugnizielli, fried strips of pizza dough with Parmesan.  It is quite a small place and filled up really quickly so making a reservation for dinner is essential!

in love with this swimsuit from Next

Meads Bay - Ocean Echo

We spent a couple of days at Meads Bay, the beach was stunning and it was so peaceful (a lot of the bigger hotels had not yet reopened after Irma so there weren't that many holidaymakers around).  One of the days we ate at Ocean Echo, a restaurant on the beach with gorgeous views of the clear blue water, serving (very strong) cocktails and a good variety of food.

Fruity cocktails @ Ocean Echo
BBQ chicken wings @ Ocean Echo
Pool @ Loterie Farm

Loterie Farm - Saint Martin

Being only a quick boat trip away from Anguilla, we spent two days on Saint Martin at Loterie Farm, a nature reserve.  There's plenty to do at Loterie Farm, with zip lining and hiking trails, but we spent our time there lying by the pool or in one of the cabanas, doing what we seemed to do best on this holiday; eating and drinking (and watching the iguanas)! One of my favourite discoveries on this trip was Banana Baileys Coladas, the BEST cocktail in the world; I lost count of how many I drank at LF.  They are oh-my-soul delicious and I am determined to recreate them this summer when we get some sunshine.  I'd also recommend their Cajun Mahi-Mahi burger which was a solid 10/10.  We also had the food platter of dreams on our second day there, I'll let the picture do the talking...

BBC @ Loterie Farm
Heavenly
At Loterie Farm, one of the guys showed us some footage from late last year when Hurricane Irma had hit the island.  We'd all seen the devastating effects of Irma on the news and in the media, but hearing it first hand from people who lived through it was eye-opening.  I cannot imagine the fear they felt before and during the storm, and I admire them for the way the devastation has not killed their spirit.  That was something I really noticed on this trip; everyone was in a good mood.  Maybe it's the sunshine, the pace of island life, but everyone seemed to appreciate and be grateful for the little things, something I think we can all learn from.

 

You can read about the products I used to get this look here: My Makeup Bag | Caribbean Edition

Making friends

 
 

10/10... We had the best two days at Loterie Farm, and I hope to go back there again one day, even if just for the drink...



Despite our rocky start to the trip and our flight home being delayed by five hours and getting diverted to Guadeloupe (another place to tick off my destination list) resulting in a missed Eurostar and even more waiting around, we had a really, really fun time.  It really made me see that a trip doesn't have to always go to plan, things can go wrong but you can still have the best time.

From the clear blue water to the endless amount of cocktails to the sunshine, getting to spend time on Anguilla and Saint Martin was a dream.  Whilst I'd never considered the Caribbean as somewhere I was desperate to visit, I hope to go back in the not so distant future and live island life for a little longer, it is something I could quite happily get used to... Ever grateful for this amazing adventure.



I can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin

Thanks for stopping by,

Naomi xx