Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Homecoming, Vanilla Bean, Burlesque, Taupe Notch & Fairytale





After my last foray into Makeup Geek foiled eyeshadows, I decided to buy a few neutral shades from their original line of eyeshadows too.  Well, a few neutral shades, and a deep red and a lilac, because, well, why not.

Homecoming is a metallic medium bronze; Vanilla Bean a slightly shimmering yellow-toned cream; Burlesque a rich metallic reddish auburn; Taupe Notch a shimmering brown/taupe; and Fairytale a cool grey-toned lilac matte.  All five eyeshadows are extremely well pigmented - even Vanilla Bean, although you can't really see it as it's so close to my natural skin tone.

As well as boasting impressive pigmentation, these shadows are lovely and blendable - particularly the shimmer/metallic shades, which are very, very buttery indeed.  The less shimmery Vanilla Bean and matte Fairytale are also blendable, but don't blend themselves as much as the other shades do.  My only regret is that Fairytale is much more purple than I imagined - I thought it was more of a slightly purple grey, but actually it's a grey purple, and as such it's a bit lonely alongside the other shades I own, which are all neutral.  Definitely worth seeking out swatches online instead of relying on the pan colours on Beauty Bay.

One of the things that attracted me to the Makeup Geek eyeshadow range is the sheer number of colours available (over fifty available at Beauty Bay, and even more available in the States), and their relatively cheap price point at £4.95 each.  If you're looking to build up a collection of really high quality eyeshadows and you want complete control over the shades, some of these and a Z palette are a great place to start.  The experience of choosing and filling my Z palette reminded me a little of doing the same with MAC eyeshadows when I first got into eyeshadow - albeit at a fraction of the price.

You can find Makeup Geek at BeautyBay.  And look, they have duochrome eyeshadows too!  I know what I'm buying next...

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Silicone-Free Goodness: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer


I'm not usually a fan of primer, but this Too Faced one has worked its way into my daily routine.  Hangover Replenishing Primer is designed to perk up dull skin - hence the name - and contains coconut water and probiotics to give skin a boost.  It's also silicone free - which means you won't get that weirdly silky smooth finish you get with a silicone primer, just hydrated, moist skin - and an added bonus is that the lack of silicone means it plays nicely with most foundations (and I've tested it with most of my collection over recent weeks).

There's a very slight coconut scent, thanks to the coconut water, but it's very subtle, and isn't noticeable on the skin.  Hangover is definitely a hydrating primer - if your skin's on the oiler side you may find it a bit too hydrating, and not enough mattening - but if your skin veers towards the dry or mature side, you'll find it a refreshing extra layer of moisture between your moisturiser and your foundation.  I'm not convinced it increases wear time, but it definitely makes application smoother, and keeps the skin moist for longer.

At £27, it's not cheap - but if you like a moisturising, silicone free primer, it's definitely worth a try. Find it at Debenhams.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

SEVENTEEN Easy on the Eye Palettes in Birthday Suit and The Big Smoke



Birthday Suit
Birthday Suit
Birthday Suit - eyeshadows
Birthday Suit - eyeshadows
Birthday Suit - metallic creams
The Big Smoke
The Big Smoke
The Big Smoke - eyeshadows
The Big Smoke - eyeshadows
The Big Smoke - metallic creams
The Big Smoke - on my eyes
Whew, that was a lot of photos.  And indeed, SEVENTEEN's Easy on the Eye palettes are a whole lot of palette for a mere £7.99 a pop.  There are two variations - Birthday Suit, a selection of soft nudes, and The Big Smoke, made up of smoky shades with a bent towards blue/purple tones.

Each palette contains eight eyeshadows in a mix of matte, pearl and shimmer finishes; three metallic creams, and one eye primer.  The primer is good but not quite as hardcore as UD's Primer Potion or Too Faced's Shadow Insurance, and if your lids aren't too oily you might find you can get by with it.  For me, I needed a stronger primer to get the colours to stick without creasing.

The shadows are, as you can see in the swatches, a bit of a mix when it comes to pigmentation - the mattes are a little chalky and sheer, with the shimmer finish shadows being the most pigmented.  Despite this, they're all easily layered, so you can build up the colour - something that's generally a good idea with a smoky eye to avoid looking like you've got a black eye rather than an artfully blended smoky one.  The surprise standout for me was the metallic creams - they're densely pigmented, with a ton of shimmer which gives them a beautifully metallic finish which looks a lot more expensive than the product actually is.  Granted, they're a little too creamy to work all over the eye, but dabbed into the inner corners, or onto the centre of the lid, or even applied sheerly onto the cheekbones, they do a great job of catching the light and adding a touch of colour.

All in all then, a reasonably priced palette with reasonably good quality eyeshadows inside to match - you'll need to work a bit to get the most out of them, but for the teeny tiny price, I can't complain!

Disclosure:  PR samples


This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Clinique Chubby In The Nude Foundation Stick & Foundation Buff Brush




Clinique's ever-expanding Chubby line takes on foundation in its latest incarnation - meet Chubby In The Nude foundation stick, £23, which promises super natural, buildable coverage in a portable stick format.

Stick foundations are nothing new, and are firmly associated with heavy, panstik-like coverage in my mind - but Chubby In The Nude is really the polar opposite.  The coverage is light to medium and buildable, so you can apply a couple of layers to get more coverage without a heavy finish.  I've been applying a single layer, which does a great job of evening out my skintone and covering small blemishes, with perhaps a little more under the eyes to cover my dark circles.

I've been so, so impressed with the finish on this foundation - it's very natural, not too matte nor too dewy, and it looks just like my skin, albeit in much better condition.  I don't usually touch up my foundation during the day, but if I did, I'd find the stick format easily portable, and indeed, it takes up a lot less space than a traditional bottle of foundation when I'm travelling.

One thing I don't quite agree with Clinique on is the level of hydration it provides - it's a fairly dry affair on application, and the skin needs to be well hydrated or primed to enable smooth blending.  That said, once it's on, it doesn't dry the skin out, but I wouldn't describe it as a particularly moisturising foundation.

Alongside the Chubby In The Nude foundation, Clinique have launched a new, dual-fibre Foundation Buff Brush designed to buff foundation into the skin for a flawless finish.  I've been using it to blend the lines of Chubby foundation I've been drawing across my face (fun!) and it does a great job - if you don't already own a dual-fibre buffing brush, it's a great addition to your brush kit, even if it is a little on the expensive side at £28.

Overall, Chubby In The Nude is a hit with me - I love the coverage, the super-natural finish, and the portability.  Well worth £23, if you can find a good match in the 10 shades available.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Cheap & Cheerful: Dirty Works Skincare


I admit it, I'm a bit of a skincare snob.  I generally spend £20+ on a moisturiser, more on a serum, and am a sucker for a 'cult' product which has a subtle effect but costs £30.  Recently, though, a few products from the Dirty Works skincare range turned up at my door, and I decided to give the reasonably priced, supermarket-accessible range a go.

The Perfecting Eye Cream, £5, promises to reduce dark circles and prevent puffiness.  I'm not convinced that it has an effect on dark circles - mine remained pretty much the same for the six weeks or so I used it - but my dark circles are pretty damn stubborn.  It is, however, a really good basic moisturiser for the eye area - not too heavy, but plentifully hydrating.

The Facial Oil, £5, isn't at all what I expected - given the incredibly cheap price point, I was sure that the oil would be mostly based on mineral oil.  But no - there are a few fruit and seed oils in there, alongside a few synthetic oils which keep the texture light.  It is scented, although not noticeably so, and it's one of those oils which leave the skin feeling silky and slippy rather than overly oily.  Hydration wise, it does pack a good punch, although a little less so than more expensive oils I've tried.  Surprisingly good, overall, for such a cheap product.

I was a bit underwhelmed by the 8 in 1 Serum, £8, and the Overnight Facial Lift, £8, which are the anti-aging products in the range, both claiming to smooth fine lines.  The serum has a gel-like texture which sinks in quickly and leaves the skin feeling velvety - there's a fair bit of silicone in the mix, which makes it a surprisingly good primer for daytime.  The Facial Lift has a creamy texture which sinks in quickly to the skin - I was expecting something richer, more moisturising, particularly for an overnight treatment.  Both products kept my skin feeling soft, but didn't really have a noticeable effect on fine lines - in fact, after six weeks of exclusive use, my frown lines were a little more pronounced than usual.

Overall, then, I'm not a convert to budget skincare based on my Dirty Works experience - but I will concede that there are some very servicable products to be had for less than a tenner a piece, particularly if you're looking for simple maintenance rather than a dramatic effect.  Dirty Works products are available at Sainsbury's, and online at the Dirty Works website.

Disclosure:  PR samples

This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Depotting Everything: Large Z Palette







I bought a large Z palette to house my new shiny Makeup Geek foiled eyeshadows, and they looked pretty lonely in there all on their own.  So I decided to de-pot a number of my favourite neutral eyeshadows and stick them into the Z palette too.

Doing the actual de-potting was a mixed bag - some shadows, like Makeup Forever's large circular pans, were meant for arranging in palettes like this, so de-potting them was as simple as poking a pin through a hole in the back of the compact.  That's because they're already held in with magnets rather than glue.  Pro brands are often this easy to depot - but high end brands like Clarins, Laura Mercier, and Burberry are pretty dependent on glue, meaning that I had to prise the pans out of the compacts with a knife.  Most of the time that worked just fine, albeit with some warping - you can see that the long, thin, rectangular Clarins pan got warped pretty badly.  In some cases though, the eyeshadows were damaged - like the wine coloured Burberry pan in the bottom right - or completely destroyed, as happened with my Estee Lauder Raisins duo.  They were too soft to be depotted, and they shattered. Boo.

Anyway, inept knife handling aside, the process of depotting and rearranging my shadows was a lot of fun.  The large Z palette comes with a set of sticky-back magnets so non-magnetic pans can be put safely into it, which worked really well for most of the bottom right hand corner.  I've still got a few left for future de-potting adventures too.  At £14.95, I'm really pleased with my large Z palette - some of my buried treasures are getting use for the first time in ages.

Disclosure:  Z palette bought by me.  Depotted eyeshadows a mixure of ones I bought myself, and PR samples.

This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Long lasting, Rouge Noir dupe love: Kiko Power Pro Nail Lacquer in 15 Wine


I expressed my love for Kiko's Power Pro nail polishes a while ago, and I recently went out and bought four more shades to add to my collection - each in the dark red/purple spectrum I like so much - to carry me through the week without needing to re-do my manicure.  I used to enjoy a mid-week manicure, but I rarely find myself with a spare evening any more, so a polish that'll last through the whole week is essential.

I love Kiko's Power Pro because it lasts brilliantly well (this photo is from day 4), has a formula which gives a brilliantly shiny, opaque-in-two-coats finish, and the brush fans out wide enough to paint my fingernails in one stroke, and my thumb nails in two.  If you look very, very closely at the photo, you'll see that my nails are so shiny you can see the sky, my dining room, and my hair reflected in them.  Impressive stuff, particularly for the tiny price of £4.90 each.  If you need your nails to last, and you've not yet tried Power Pro - do it, do it now!

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.
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