Discovering Arbonne

As much as I love trying new products from my already favourite brands, it’s always a little more exciting to discover a brand that’s completely new to me. I was contacted by a friend of mine, who works as an Independent Consultant with Arbonne International in the UK. You may have heard of this brand, as it has been around for over 30 years, but for me, it was my first introduction to it. The name Arbonne comes from a village in Switzerland and has become to mean ‘beautiful tree’. While it is already hugely popular in Australia, the UK, the USA and Australia. it’s already on the cusp of being discovered by the rest of the world.

Arbonne has a skincare range as well as a cosmetics line and nutrition range – all of which are vegan certified, botanically based, gluten free, hypo-allergenic and adhere to strict Swiss guidelines. Plus, it’s animal-friendly too. When talking to my friend, she convinced me to try the brand after telling me that for years she had searched for natural beauty products that really made a difference to her, and finally she had. With this first hand advice, it didn’t take long to persuade me to give them a go!

This recommendation in itself is proof that the brand doesn’t live by the usual cosmetic brand rules – it isn’t sold in shops or salons but relies its growth entirely on word of mouth and is sold online or through the brand’s Independent Consultants worldwide. This way, Arbonne manages to keep its high-quality products at reasonable prices so everyone can enjoy them. So after trying out some of their products myself, I’m staying true to its ethos and sharing my experience with you too. Which, I must admit, has been a really positive one…


Sample sizes of FC5

Sample sizes of FC5


FC5 – Normal/Dry Skincare Range

I’m always a little nervous trying new skincare products as even though I have quite normal skin, it can be sensitive and often resists a change of skincare brands. On this occasion however, Arbonne surprised me (and my skin) in a good way. I always want to try a new product for a certain amount of time before I review it on the blog but with these sample sizes, I managed to try it for two weeks and so got a good feel for the products. My skin reacted quite well to the products and I honestly felt – and saw – the effects almost immediately, with my skin looking dewy and moisturised, something that lasted throughout the day. The nurturing day lotion comes with SPF 20, which is great as it saves you putting a layer of SPF under your moisturiser. The day lotion leaves no oily residue on the skin and sinks into the face just minutes after applying. What I found great about this moisturiser was that I didn’t feel the need for a primer before applying make-up. My make up looked dewy and fresh when applied over this moisturiser and it lasted longer throughout the day too. The lotion feels really soft when applied and has a really fresh, fruity fragrance.

The range also includes a hydrating eye cream that I applied along with the day cream every morning, and a hydrating cleanser and freshener which I used to remove my make-up in the evening. This one was great, I love a cleanser that works well with warm water and my skin didn’t feel the usual tightness it often would after cleansing. My skin felt so fresh following this product and I wish I hadn’t finished the sample so soon! Finally this skincare line also includes a moisturising night cream. Again the scent from this cream was so gorgeous and it was quite a relaxing one which was perfect for night time. Although quite thick when it first is applied to the skin, the cream is actually quite a light-weight formula which soaked right up and somehow manages to ensure your skin is still soft and moisturised in the morning.

I love a skincare line that works well with your make up and skin and I would really consider investing in full sizes of these products as I felt my sin reacted well to this new brand and I felt my skin looked healthier even in just the couple of weeks I tried them out.

The FC5 range also features an ultra-hydrating hand cream, which has a firm place in my hand bag at the moment! The cream has fresh kiwi cell extracts and smells and feels gorgeously soft and refreshing. Unlike most hand creams, once it dries in, it’s dry. There’s no room for oily residue which is handy when you type for a living!

Sally kindly sent me over some samples from Arbonne’s RE9 skincare line, which focuses more on anti-ageing which my mum is busy trying out at the moment! I’ll be posting a review from her soon so keep an eye out for that!


Featuring all the important factors from its skincare lines, Arbonne also has a cosmetics line which I had the pleasure of sampling too. This includes everything from perfecting liquid foundation (with SPF 15) and make-up primers to lip polish and tinted moisturiser. The primer I loved, although I wish I could have tried it out for a little longer! With just a sample to try, I decided to give it the ultimate test – a day in the office – and, after applying it over my Arbonne moisturiser and under both my usual foundation, and my Arbonne sample, I was really impressed by its staying power. The primer has a really calming scent and glides on so easily, making the skin the perfect base for applying make-up. Although my skin still managed to look dewy throughout the day, it didn’t fall and I got a lot longer out of my make-up than I would on a normal no-primer day at the office.

The liquid foundation comes in a range of colours, with one bound to suit all skin shades, and although I liked the tinted moisturiser (which also features SPF 15), the foundation won out for me, especially when used with the primer.

I had a few samples of the lip polishes to try, each easily applied with a lip brush and my two favourites were by far Posh/Chic (love the name!) and the Nude shade, which is really on trend at the moment.



Arbonne Get The Look: Smoky Eye Palette

Arbonne Get The Look: Smoky Eye Palette

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Arbonne also features eye shadow palettes as part of its cosmetics line and I was lucky enough to try and test their Smoky Eye Set. This includes a gorgeous lengthening mascara (ideal for a dramatic lash effect), an eyeshadow duo in chocolate and suede shades, as well as a gentle, non-stinging eye make-up remover. One sweep of this with some cotton wool across the eye and the make-up glided off. The dream! This eye make-up remover was a favourite of mine as I loved the moisturised feeling left on the skin after cleansing – ideal for delicate skin!

The eye shadow duo also went down really well. These colours were just my style – I have a bit of an obsession with browns and creams and although I normally need to apply quite a lot of colour when creating a smoky eye on myself, these shades were really heavily pigmented which meant less went a lot further. The eyeshadows are mineral infused, they’re really easy to blend and, most importantly, they’re long wearing.

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For more information on Arbonne products, or to check out their extensive product range, visit


Depop Discovery

So I have discovered a lovely little app that I have become a little bit obsessed with. It’s called Depop and it’s full of gorgeous treasures! I’m there and I’m selling my pre-loved and unworn wardrobe staples along with some brand new beauty bargains. Please follow me and say hi too so I can find you and follow 🙂

Search: @blushbanter on Depop. 💜✌️ Natalie x

NYX Make-up Setting Spray

I’m a bit of a newby to make-up setting sprays, but since discovering them earlier this year, I’m always interested in finding new ones to try. I have a favourite so far, which I’ll do a post on soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to mention another one I’ve come across and am interested in checking out!

I’ve met some beauty bloggers who use them on a daily basis, but I find they come in very useful when you’re heading out for an evening or are heading to a wedding. They help keep your make-up fresh throughout the day, and if they have enough staying-power, will save you having to top up when you’re too busy having a good time to think about powdering your nose!

The NYX make-up setting spray is a new one, but what’s interesting is that it comes in both a matte shine-free finish (for those oily skin types!) or a dewy fresh glow. NYX promises that their sprays are lightweight and comfortable but work hard at the same time to ensure your make up stays put.

So how do you use them? You shake, spray and set. That’s pretty much it! Both setting sprays by NYX are available in pharmacies nationwide and are priced at €9.99 – a good price if you’re going to be using the spray at weekends or on those important days when you need to look freshly made up!

While I can’t say how well the NYX one works, I can let you know that setting sprays are well worth having in your beauty bags. Let me know if you try it out anytime soon, and what you think!



Autumn in New York

I’ve mentioned my fondness for Jessica nail products in previous posts, but I had to give a little mention to the new autumn collection, even though I’ve yet to try them! Each season, Jessica releases a new colour collection and there is always one I am looking forward to trying. This autumn, the ‘Autumn in New York’ collection (and if that doesn’t tempt you…) is one of the most colourful of the recent lines, and of course, it’s inspired by the season in the Big Apple. The new collection features six new shades;

Autumn In New York range shot

Soho in Love – a pale pink with great nude undertones (this is the one on my shopping list!)

NY State of Mind – a blue-tones steel grey creme

Broadway Bound – a bright red almost coral with a slight shimmer

Mad for Madison – an espresso deep rich brown

Meet at the Plaza – a wearable evergreen

Blue Harlem – an opulent navy blue

Each polish is priced at €12.95 and are available from salons nationwide or online at

Rocky Horror Lipstick Show

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I can’t quite believe I’m mentioning ‘Halloween’ but I am. Purely because there is lipstick being launched by MAC in time for Halloween and I want it. You would think there would be enough shades of red lipsticks in the world, but it seems there’s always room for one more. Its title might seem scary, and a little on the ‘warpaint/Halloween face painting’ side of things, but in actual fact, the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ collection being released by MAC next month looks fab.

The new collection has been inspired by the old Halloween classic and is all about individuality and fantasy. While I have my eye on this particular lipstick, the whole collection features a number of lipstick shades, lip pencils, lashes and an eye shadow palette, blush and powders, liquid liners and glitters and pigments.

This particular lipstick is a dark blue-red called ‘Sin Deep’. And I love the packaging! I’m not completely sure of the pricing but will update the post as soon as I find out!

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Gel Nails at home!

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Like any beauty treatment, it was only a matter of time before it became possible to do a DIY 2-week manicure from your own home. And with the latest product to emerge from the Sally Hansen range, this could be the perfect way of getting longer lasting chip-free nails from your own beauty bag.

Sally Hansen are launching their ‘Miracle Gel’ polish this week, and it’s the first salon-quality two-week manicure available to buy at retail. A part polish, part gel-manicure, the new polish promises it will deliver up to 14 days of lasting colour and shine in just two easy steps:

– Apply 2 coats of Miracle Gel Colour Coat, followed by Miracle Gel Top Coat.

And ta-dah! There’s no need for LED or UV light as the top coat dries in natural light, and it can be removed with normal acetone and non-acetone nail polish remover. Meaning no soaking, filing (or for the bold ones, peeling!)

There will be 18 colours in the Sally Hansen range and they’ll be hitting shelves on September 12 – available to buy from pharmacies, grocery stores and department stores across Ireland.

Miracle Gel Colour costs €9.99 and the Top Coat costs €9.99. Duo packs will also be available for €14.99 from mid-September.

Brooke Shields for MAC

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If you haven’t already heard about MAC’s latest collaboration, you might be surprised to learn that Brooke Shields is the latest celeb to sign up to the make-up brand. This is an interesting one – mainly due to the fact that MAC normally collaborate with the more edgier types such as Rihanna/Hello Kitty. But I like it! Brooke seems a bit more realistic to me and we can pretty much tell, before ever seeing her product line, that her collaboration will be wearable and everyday make-up.

The line launches this October and the idea behind it is that is flattering for all skin tones but all skin age groups too. Brooke herself is 49 years old and its clear she was involved a huge amount in the production of the line. It has classic beauty written all over it! While most people flock to MAC for the more edgier, trendier beauty bag pieces, I’m delighted this line is filled with natural but classy beauty bits. The line includes a 15-pan eye shadow palette (full of really wearable shades – I’m wanting this!), blush duos, a five-piece eye shadow palette, lip colours, lip glasses, bronzers and nail lacquers, among a few other things. And the collection stands out too – with its own sophisticated orange and grey packaging.

I got a quick glimpse recently of some of the products set to hit counters next month – and here are some pics!

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Youngblood Cosmetics Eyeshadow Quad

I have found some brand new eye shadows that I really love! For any of you who have yet to hear of Youngblood Cosmetics, it is a brand that I have wanted to try for a long time and finally have. I never grow tired of hearing about celebrities’ favourite products and Youngblood is one that is already loved by the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow. Celebs have so many beauty products, brands and talented artists to hand, that it really is worth taking notes when they start praising one in particular.

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Youngblood Cosmetics launched in Ireland in late 2013 but while it’s relatively new around these parts, it has been around much longer Stateside. It’s a mineral brand and all their products are made of natural ground minerals from the earth, without any chemicals, dyes or preservatives. It’s also free of talc, oil and fragrance and while I’ve yet to try Youngblood’s foundations (just give me time!) they’re good for the skin too – all types in fact; including skin recovering from chemical peels or skin experiencing rosacea, acne or discolouration.

The eyes hadow quads are something I’ve heard a lot about from other beauty bloggers so I was excited about trying them out. This one, pictured below, is one of the more popular quads, and is called ‘Moulin Rouge’. The quad includes four colours, including ‘Can-Can’, ‘Revue’, ‘Cabarets’ and ‘Red Light’. I really love a natural smokey eye and that’s definitely the look you’ll get when using a combination of these four colours.

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‘Revue’ is great as a colour base, when applied across the whole eye, but it also works well as a highlighter too. It looks really great when used under the brow and helps achieve the more ‘arched’ look too. ‘Can-Can’ is a really nice subtle light brown colour, which looks great for a natural look if used just with ‘Revue’. But I’m a big fan of using certain orange shades which work really on a blue eye, so I loved ‘Red Light’, a burnt orange shade that comes in the palette. To finish off the real ‘smokey’ look, ‘Cabarets’ is a dark brown shade, perfect for the crease line and lower lash line to darken the smokey look.

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Often when I buy an eye shadow quad, I end up using just one or two of the shades, as it’s rare I like all four colours. But I have to say I loved Moulin Rouge and continue to wear all four shades together when I’m creating a smokey eye look with this palette. While I love the colours, and the fact that the product is not only good for your skin, but cruelty free too – so it’s not tested on animals – what I really liked was how easily they were applied.

I usually have to layer up a look with eye shadows, but these are really pigmented and I literally needed to gently tap my brush on the eye shadows to gain colour. They went on really easily and blended like a dream. Which is great as it means you use less colour, and the palette lasts longer. It comes in great packaging, simple and understated but pretty too, and it’s small enough that you can carry it in your handbag or easily take it with you for a weekend away!

The quads are priced at €39 each, which for such well-pigmented eye shadows that will last a long time, is a decent price. There are plenty of other colours available (see here) and I have my eye on a few, including the ‘Gemstone Quad’. I also like the look of the brand’s individual shadows too, along with the Youngblood mini brush set and the liquid liner pens. So much to discover!

Youngblood Cosmetics can be purchased on For more information on Youngblood Cosmetics, visit or view Youngblood Cosmetics Ireland on Facebook

MAC: New Matchmaster Concealer


20140830_190732Until recently, I had a tendency to steer clear of stick concealers. I love a good concealer – and am always on the lookout for the next amazing product – but I just found liquid concealers easier to apply over foundation. The consistency was more moveable and always worked well once it was applied before my foundation was completely set.

However (there’s always a ‘however’) I may have found a stick concealer that ‘s not only easy to apply with foundation, but gives great coverage and wears well throughout the day too.

MAC’s new Matchmaster Concealers features the same shade-intelligence technology that lies behind their Matchmaster Foundation line. If you haven’t tried this particular line, like me, it basically uses innovative pigment technology in the make-up which is designed to create a personalised and subtle satin finish to your skin. The concealer (and the foundation) contains Vitamin E which conditions the skin as the concealer works to reduce the appearance of under-eye circles, dark spots, discolourations, fine lines and wrinkles. Because of this, it makes it an ideal product for any age-group to wear.

Plus, it comes packaged in a convenient, portable stick, meaning it’s easy to throw in your handbag and top up your make up throughout the day.

The brand new concealer is available in 12 different shades and will be available from September. Priced at €22.20140830_190654  


                             Shade 2



I’m so delighted to be holding my first competition on Blush and Banter! After reviewing some of the products from Bielenda, the lovely ladies at Primavera Beauty have kindly given me a bunch of gorgeous face masks and some lip treats too. All to giveaway to a Blush and Banter reader! The giveaway includes a full set of Bielenda’s face masks, the Cherry Lip Balm and the Peach Lip Butter that I loved so much. A great way of testing the products for yourself! 

The competition will run for one week, so the winner will be announced on Blush and Banter’s Facebook page next Friday, September 5th.

Just answer the following question – you can do this in the blog comments box below, or on Facebook. And then like Blush and Banter on Facebook! Easy.

Question: Bielenda have a bunch of different skincare lines to suit all skin types. Name one of the skincare lines offered by Bielenda. Hint: see blog post here

Giveaway Bielenda