Saturday, 23 April 2016

Brand Focus | Seventeen.

Remember Brand Focus posts? I did a couple of these on Wet n Wild and had the intention of doing them for lots of other different brands - particularly drugstore ones. However, I started this before I went to France and never brought my whole collection of any one brand with me so it was difficult to continue. I'm hoping to bring them back so if you have any brands you'd like an overview of some "the good, the bad and the worst" style products then let me know below or send me a tweet @GraceyOConnell! Today's post is going to focus on the very affordable Boots brand, 17.
I'll admit, up until about 2 years ago I thought this brand was very "tween" and I never really gave it a chance. I feel like it was just a brand I used bits and pieces of when I was 13 and then just assumed that the brand never grew or improved quality wise since I was that age. Wrong. I was so wrong. I'm here to show you today exactly why you should never judge a book (or a makeup brand) by its cover.

It all began here. This is the start of my new-found love affair with 17. I was rummaging around Boots about 2 years ago now, looking for a full coverage foundation (not a very easy thing to find in Boots or Superdrug at the time!). I saw Stay Time Full Coverage and wondered exactly how full coverage it could be. Holy jaysus. I would say this is a solid mix of Illamasqua Skin Base and Estée Lauder Double Wear. It is super, super full coverage and really long lasting. It definitely needs to be set with a powder cause I feel like it keeps that sticky texture if you don't (taking example of sticky thick lipgloss it's another indicator of how long lasting this foundation is in my opinion). I think this is probably best for oily skins but if you are dry and moisturise well underneath you could get away with it for special occasions where you want super full coverage. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. No need for blemish concealing after this for me and the shade range is great for pale girls. I can't recommend this stuff enough! I use Natural as a shade if I have a bit of tan on, and Porcelain or Ivory is great for fair skins.

Having had such good luck with the foundation, I decided to try the setting powder. The actual formula is really nice, it reminds me of a slightly lighter coverage Studio Fix Powder by MAC - it's very mattifying and has great coverage on its own, keeping in theme with the Stay Time/full coverage business. The only problem I had with this is that unfortunately the lightest shade is about a shade - half a shade too dark for my every day wear. I've gone through an entire pan so clearly I've been using it because it is useable but I can personally notice a slight difference in colour when I have it on. If you're more NW20 then this would suit you perfectly. I have yet to try their Stay Time concealer(s) but I'm sure I'll get around to it some time in the future and then I'll hit the home run of Stay Time complexion perfection.

I saw their contour kit all over the Instagrams of Irish and English beauty bloggers and decided I needed to snap it up. I reviewed it on here a while ago and still feel the same - overall, it's nice for the price. The matte highlight is a great setting powder for fair skin and the "contour" shade is workable but it's definitely warm and for that reason will work better as a bronzer on fair skin. I do really like this though and I reach for it from time to time - especially the highlight shade.

The love affair continues. Seeing how bomb the foundation was ya gal here was going through the 17 stand thinking "Seventeen do nottttt play, let's see what else they have that's interesting". Here is where the liquid highlighter comes in. I'm not a huge fan of cream or liquid highlighters for myself, but my god this product is beautiful. Again, I featured this on my blog a long time ago but in short (ish), it's a liquid highlighter than you can use under your foundation as a glowing base, mixed in with your foundation/bb cream/zz cream/whatever, or you can place it on top of foundation (and underneath powder) strategically as you would any highlight - cheekbones, cupid's bow, down the nose etc. I prefer using it after foundation on a damp Real Techniques sponge and I just really enjoy the texture of this product. I haven't tried the higher end version but I suppose it's a sort of a Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector kind of effort and it just gives an amazing glow - it was actually something I was really pleasantly surprised by considering how affordable it is. It also reminds me of Benefit's Moon Beam but miles better; the packaging is better/more sanitary, the product is easier to use and the formula is nicer because it isn't as thick as Benefit's and therefore doesn't cake up and dry unevenly along the cheekbones, it just melts beautifully into the skin whilst still giving a shiny highlight. The shade of the 17 one is also slightly silver/pink so it's perfect for pale skins. I received another one of these in a PR package recently which will be going straight into a future giveaway so keep an eye out on my Instagram for that in the next few weeks if you're interested.

Some time last summer 17 actually send me a lovely little festival ready PR package with a few bits inside. The first thing in the box was the bronzer version of the Wow Skin highlighter. If you are very dark skinned then this would probably work better as a highlighter than the pink/silver colour but otherwise this is quite a nice product to use for the summer. It's ever so slightly thicker in consistency than the highlighter but it still is beautifully smooth and mixes well with foundation or even on top. It's quite peachy and shimmery so I'm not a massive fan of using this as a bronzer on the outer half of my face but I've mixed it in with foundations to deepen them ever so slightly and give them a glow and it works amazingly on the skin. It also looks fantastic on the chest and collarbones if you have some false tan on! 

Another thing I got in a care package from 17 was the Wow Skin clicky highlighter touche éclat style pen things in Fair and Medium. Fair is really light so it's perfect for pale skin - getting some brownie points already in my eyes. I've only used this a handful of times but it's a really lovely product if you were looking at the YSL version but didn't want to fork out the 30 euro. It actually has slightly more coverage than the YSL pen but don't think this will be a full coverage one for all concealer - it is, at the end of the day, a highlight pen. I use a concealer or colour corrector underneath my eyes and then pop this on top of the concealer, across my nose/chin/forehead/cheekbone to bring some light to the area as an extra step if I'm going out. I don't think this is an every-day product for everyone but it's a nice little step if you're big into the Kim K highlight and contouring products.

I have one eye product from 17 to tell you guys about; the Eye Eye crayon in Jewel*, a cream shadow stick in a bright turquoise shade. I have to admit I'm a massive fan of the Kiko ones because they're inexpensive, come in a tonne of colours and really set. I found this was just okay - pigmentation was decent but patchy in parts at times and a little waxy so you definitely have to set this with a shade. If you're looking for a cream stick that sets - look to Kiko, Rimmel or NYC. If you're looking for a colourful sticky base underneath shades - look to Maybelline Colour Tattoos. 
I thought I'd mention too that I did have a 17 brow kit from years ago that I really liked (but gave away to my little cousin) and often see them as a free gift promotional offer and I'd recommend if you're just getting into filling your brows.

Lastly is lips! I have two of the Stay Pout lipsticks; Date Night* is a bright red and Just a Fling* a stunning light nude. These lipsticks aren't completely matte; I would say they're like a Satin formula from MAC. They glide on the lip with quite a bit of colour and are creamy without being too glossy or slippery. I personally like a dry matte Ruby Woo style red so Date Night isn't my favourite but I know a lot of people hate Ruby Woo for its texture so if you're looking for a bright red with a nice creamy formula then it's a good one. I LOVE Just a Fling; it's a nice light nude without making you look like you have concealer on your lips but also isn't as dark as a Kylie Jenner/Velvet Teddy style nude. I think it goes with a lot of looks and is so easy to wear with a nice formula. 

Overall, I'm so impressed with 17 as a brand and I think a lot of beauty bloggers especially will agree they've improved so much over the years, especially with their base/complexion products. They feel a lot more high end than their budget price tag which I really appreciate. My top picks from the brand are the Stay Time foundation, the powder contour kit, the Wow Skin highlighter and Just a Fling lipstick. If you've tried anything else from Seventeen let a gal know!