Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Tale of Two Masks: Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask & Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask

Clinique recently introduced two new masks to their already extensive range, and I've been giving them both a good test recently.  Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask, £23, targets oily, congested skin, drawing inpurities out and mattifying, and Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask, £35, is more of an all-rounder, intensely hydrating most skintypes.

I'm completely sold on the Charcoal Mask - my skin is generally pretty clear, but every so often it has a hissy fit and gets congested, full of blackheads and breaks out with cystic spots.  Lovely.  The charcoal mask has become an essential part of my anti-hissy-fit defense, as it gives me a good deep clean and seems to calm down the spots a bit without drying my skin to hell.  Which is nice, and somewhat unusual for a charcoal mask.  At £23, it's reasonably mid-range, and you don't need a ton for a good deep cleansing mask.

The Brightening Moisture Mask is a completely different beast - at £35, it's quite a bit more expensive than the Charcoal Mask, and for me at least it's less effective.  Yes, it's a lovely cream mask which squishes a good deal of moisturising power into my face.  But I can't see a great difference brightness wise, and I've tried other moisturising masks which have the same hydrating clout at a lower price.  In fact, Clinique's own ranges have much better options available for the same pricetag - the Turnaround mask combines exfoliant and brightening mask and has a much more obvious effect for the same price.

So there you have it.  If you suffer from any kind of congestion or oiliness, I definitely recommend the Charcoal Mask.  If you have cash to burn, the Brightening Moisture Mask is good, but ultimately nothing special in a sea of moisturising masks.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Friday, 3 July 2015

Quick Pick: No 7 Shimmer Palette in Rose

Aha, a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick dupe!  I've seen many a brand bring out a Shimmer Brick style thing, but this one brings a whole new dimension to the party.  And that dimension is....shimmer.  Lots of it.  A light dusting over the cheeks gives a luminous, pinkish glow - I've applied it over the matte blush I was already wearing in the photo above, and you can see the level of soft, radiant shimmer it gives.  That said, a light touch is needed, as otherwise you end up with sparkly robot face, and no-one wants that, right?

The packaging, as is typical for No 7, isn't setting the world on fire, nor is it as simple/luxe as Bobbi Brown's cult Shimmer Brick.  But the product inside is a damn good rosy highlighter, that that's what counts.  Find it at Boots, where it costs £13.50.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Red Carpet Manicure Bourgeois Babe

One press sample I've used time and time and time again since I first received it (way back in 2012) is my Red Carpet Manicure home gel system.  It's easy enough if you can paint your own nails with a reasonable amount of precision, and the colour lasts two weeks in absolutely perfect condition.  I've amassed a small library of colours to choose from, and my latest is this gorgeous Rouge Noire style blackened red - Bourgeois Babe.

I know it's summer, but I wear my nails pointy and either red or dark pretty much all the time now anyway.  Bourgeois Babe is gloriously glossy, very vampy, and... err... seriously shiny?  Enough alliteration.  Application was reasonably easy as usual, but I found this particular shade required four coats for the ultimate dark glossy finish, and the polish is slightly thicker than usual, requiring a little more care and attention than usual.  Still, well worth it for two weeks of perfect wear, eh?

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kneipp Devil's Claw Back Comfort

Everyone gets a sore back sometimes, I think.  Mine has been distinctly better since I got a standing desk and stopped hunching over a keyboard every day, but years of bad posture and slouching means that I still ache in my shoulders, particularly when I'm stressed.

Kneipp's range of herbal bath products recently expanded to offer relief for these very symptoms - and the results are good, if a little aesthetically odd.  Devil's Claw Herbal Bath is a thick, syrupy blood red liquid - you chuck a capful into a running bath and swish around.  This is where it gets a bit weird - the water goes a deep red colour, not unlike a bath full of blood (if you're macabre) or Ribena (if you're childish).

Weird looking water aside, Devil's Claw Herbal Bath proves itself to be very effective in a topical manner - the rich, warming aroma encourages relaxation, and the anti-inflammatory properties of the Devil's Claw plant help soothe the back (as well as any other tired muscles).  I've not tried the massage oil, for lack of a compliant other half to do the massaging, but I'd thoroughly recommend the Herbal Bath as a relaxing, soothing way to ease achey backs.  Particularly at the price of £10, which gets you 10 baths.  Bargain.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 28 June 2015

My first helix piercing

Long time no posts!  It's been a crazy couple of weeks work wise, but I took time to get something done for myself this weekend - I got a helix piercing.  Since it's cartilage rather than flesh, it hurt a bit more than my existing earlobe piercings, and it's still a bit sore, compared to my lobes, which stopped hurting virtually immediately.

The piece of jewellery is a crescent cluster by a brand called Anatometal, and it's gorgeous - it's very sparkly, comparatively quite feminine compared to other cartilage piercings I've seen, and fits snugly into the shape of my ear.  Despite being seven stones broad, it sits in a single hole, so the effect is much more dramatic than the actual piercing itself!

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

Thursday, 18 June 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Urban Decay Revolution High Colour Lipgloss in Quiver, Assassin & Savage

Urban Decay's ever-expanding Revolution range has expanded again, bringing us a high pigmentation lipgloss which is called Revolution High Colour Lipgloss, unsurprisingly.  The packaging of this new lip product is gorgeous - echoing the original and sheer lipsticks, the tubes feature an undulating tube and cap, with the cap done in a stormy gunmetal grey.

The applicator mixes the best of a bendy silicone with traditional colour-carrying flocking, combined with a pointed arrowhead shape which makes it easy to apply the gloss precisely along the lipline.  From this angle you can also see the shape of the tube itself - remarkably flat, it's designed to fit into a pocket easily, making it perfect for application on the go.  Whilst this isn't a new thing in the beauty industry, it definitely makes these glosses feel more easily portable.

Be still my beating heart!  Quiver is an absolutely gorgeous mid-pink with a creamy, slightly milky finish and pigmentation which is almost fully opaque.  It's cool toned, a tiny bit berry, and very, very juicy-pretty indeed.

Assassin is described as a pink but looks far more red to me, albeit a red with a pinky raspberry tinge and tons of sparkling pink glitter.  The glitter isn't visible on the lip unless you zoom in really close - from a distance it just adds more dimension and depth.  Pigmentation on this shade is a little less intense than with Quiver - a single coat gives semi-opaque cover which is a little patchy until you smush your lips together.

I was expecting to hate Savage, with it's bright, cool, purpley-pink, but it's actually rather nice, thanks to that intensely milky finish.  Pigmentation wise, it's a little sheer, but the milkiness stops it from being too sheer and makes it a very wearable pop of colour.

Texture wise, these glosses are surprising - they're almost a gel, sliding onto the lips smoothly and feeling moist and comfortable.  They are, unfortunately, a bit sticky, but the upside of that stickiness is that the wear time is an amazing 4 hours, which is something I'll gladly trade for a bit of stick.

At £15, these glosses are worth every penny if you find a shade that sings to you - for me, that's Quiver, and I anticipate wearing it all summer long.  The packaging is both functional and pretty, the shades interesting and varied (there are 14 in total), and the longevity surprisingly good for a gloss.  What's not to love?  Find them at the Urban Decay website now.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Clinique Cheek Pop New Shades! Pink Pop & Melon Pop

One of my favourite lauches last year were Clinque's ever-so-pretty Cheek Pops, flower shaped natural-finish blushers in subtle colours.  This year, Clinique have added a few more shades for summer - here are two of the new shades, Pink Pop and Melon Pop.

Pink Pop, Melon Pop
Boasting the same semi-translucent finish as the originals, Pink Pop is a cool toned pink, and Melon Pop is a peachy pink.  Both are matte but with a slightly glowy finish which doesn't come from any discernible shimmer.

Pink Pop
 On my pale, cool toned skin, Pink Pop gives a soft rosy look- I've applied it pretty lightly here, and the result is a very natural flush which goes well with my pink lipgloss.

Melon Pop
Melon Pop is a more neutral shade - I think my skin almost looks bare in this photo.  A light wash of Melon Pop gives a touch of peachy colour which is more about adding warmth and definition than any real contrast to the face.

At £16.50, Cheek Pops aren't cheap, but they are definitely worth the price - I've been using last year's Ginger Pop sample at least once a week for the past year and it's still going strong, although the flower imprint is long gone.  Find them now at the Clinique website.

Disclosure: PR samples

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