Sunday, 12 June 2016

Blogging has changed. I haven't. And that's the problem.

Don't worry, I'm not going to moan about the current state of blogging.  Well, maybe a tiny bit, but not much.  There have been a slew of posts like this across the blogs of some of my oldest blogging friends recently, because the industry has changed, and as change usually goes, it's benefited some folks, and not others.

Back in the day when we were young and blogging was young and innocent and quite frankly things were better*, bloggers were typically hobbyists, squeezing their blogging in alongside a full time job.  PR events started happening in the evenings, posts took a while to appear, things were a bit, well, amateur.  Now, of course, blogging (or rather, bloggers) is an industry in itself, with influencers** commanding the attention of readers and brands in their droves.

For the hobbyist blogger, this can mean declining readership as people trim down their blog reading time to just their favourite influencers; brands do the same, seeking the biggest exposure.  Both of these things have happened to me.  Fewer people than ever are reading this blog nowadays, which makes me sad - I've invested a lot of time into it over the past seven years, and with commenting having dropped off a cliff and views down too, I kinda feel like I'm talking into a vacuum.  I've also been dropped from pretty much every press list in town, which also makes me sad - despite earning a good wage, I can't afford to buy enough product to post as regularly as I used to.

Both of these things are okay, though.  They're logical.  People will follow the bloggers/YouTubers/Instagrammers who have the most time to spend generating quality content.  Brands will work with people who can guarantee exposure and provide a professional working relationship.  As a hobbyist blogger who has no desire to be an influencer, go professional, or spend more time on my blog***, I'm just not as interesting in this brave new world.

And that's absolutely okay.

I'll continue to post occasionally, mostly with stuff from my sample backlog, or with stuff I've bought myself.  I won't pressure myself to schedule as many posts as possible on a Sunday.  I'll find time for some older hobbies I've neglected, like sewing and writing, and maybe even find a few new ones too.

That's the thing about change, you see.  If you don't move with it, you can't complain when you get left behind.  I could write something terribly trite about doors opening as others close****, but I'll save you the cringe and instead say goodbye to considering the London Beauty Review my other job.  Now it's just one out of many hobbies which make me the person I am.  And that's just fine with me.

* Sarcasm intended

** I hate this term.  Influencing is all about bringing people along with you, and helping them to make decisions or understand things without directing them.  It's not about projecting desirable lifestyle, and having people copy you to try to win that lifestyle for themselves.

*** Or, in fact, reply to emails from PRs more than once a week, and then only if I have enough energy whilst I'm sitting on the train on the way home from work.

**** Oops.

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

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Kat Von D Everlasting Lipstick in Lovesick

A recent trip to the US saw me floating next to the Kat Von D stand in Sephora, attracted to the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks that every beauty blogger and their dog is writing about.  I also got attracted to the Lock It Foundation, but that's a tale for another day - possibly in a few months time, because every single branch of Sephora in the Bay Area was sold out of my shade.  Gah.

Anyway, back to the lipstick.  Everlasting Liquid Lipstick is one of those ultra-matte, ultra-long lasting lipsticks that are so, so hot right now, and the Kat Von D one has attracted quite the following because of the large shade range (28 shades!) and the availability of some unusual ones (hello, black goth lips) available in a retail store.  They cost $20 before tax, and given that my recent ultra-matte favourites are from Colourpop, and cost a mere $8 each, I decided to be restrained and only buy one shade of Everlasting Lipstick.

I chose Lovesick because it's a cool toned, mauve-y neutral pink, the kind of shade which goes with both heavy and light eyeshadow looks.  And wow, it's incredibly cool toned - if you're even slightly warm toned, you may find this shade makes you look dead.  If you're cool toned like me, it looks pretty good.

Texture wise, the lip cream is easily spreadable, and it's easy enough to outline and fill in your lips before it starts setting down.  Once set, it's almost unbudgeable - obviously, if you eat an oily thing it'll come off regardless, but normal eating and drinking are no match for this formula.  One thing I found compromised the wear was my habit of squashing my lips together immediately after applying lipstick - with this stuff, you need to walk around with your mouth open for a few minutes to let it set fully before you do any squishing, or it won't set properly, and it'll wear off patchily.

Everlasting Liquid Lipstick is just as good as Colourpop's Ultra Matte Lips.  It is, however, over double the price, and aside from way prettier packaging, it doesn't really bring anything that Colourpop doesn't.  Still, if you love a liquid matte lip, this one should be on your try list - Everlasting Lipstick really is lovely.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Gah: Next Beauty Make Me Beautiful Cosmetics

Next Beauty have brought out a new range of makeup, handily accessible via their plethora of High Street stores, or via their very convenient home delivery service.  The range is pretty wide, including brushes, eyeshadows, foundations, nail polishes, lipsticks, and gift sets - everything you'd expect from a high street makeup brand.

I've tried a few products out, and the results were, well, mixed.  The Sheer Chubby Stick, £8 (not sure how that's not trademark violating) isn't actually that sheer, rather bringing a good punch of comfortable cherry red colour.  The peachy toned Matte Lipstick,  also £8, is a little on the dry side, but wears comfortably and packs a good level of pigment.  The eye pencil, £6.50, is creamy and blendable.

On the other side, the eyeshadow palette, £7.50, is terrible - it's incredibly sheer, and I struggled to build the colour up to anything noticeable on the lid.  The texture is also overly waxy, making getting the shadow off the mounds in the palette difficult.  The nail polishes, which come in sets of 4 for £10, are lacking in pigment too - they can be layered up to get an opaque finish, but these days, I see no reason why I should use a four coat nail polish when there are so many well priced two coat nail polishes on the market.

Mixed product quality aside, the thing I really dislike about this range is the name. Make Me Beautiful?  It implies that women need makeup to be made beautiful, and that without the makeup, a woman isn't beautiful on her own.  Which is bollocks.  Not good enough, Next Beauty.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Sunday, 22 May 2016

China Glaze Everglaze Polish in I Wanna Be Your Lava, French Press & Royal Satin

Gel-that-isn't-a-gel is a continuing nail trend, blending longer lasting formulas with super-glossy finishes for those who like the gel look but don't like the wear and tear that comes from bonding plastic onto your nails.  China Glaze's new Everglaze polishes are one of these faux-gels - they promise a week of solid wear, and a glossy finish.  I rarely have time to change my polish in the week nowadays, so something that'll last Sunday evening to Sunday evening sounds perfect for my regime.

First off, these three shades are gorgeously multi-tonal.  I Wanna Be Your Lava (pun-tastic) is a bright coral with a flash of fuchsia; French Press is a deep brownish grey with a flash of bronze; Royal Satin (my favourite!) is a rich, metallic berry which glows in the light.  Top marks for prettiness.  The range does come in some more subtle colours with cream finishes, too, but I'm really glad I received three of the more striking ones to try out.

And now, the wear time - does it really last a week?  Well, yes.  I get six days of solid wear with no chipping and barely noticeable tipwear, and on day seven I get a few tiny chips.  Impressive stuff.  Bear in mind that unlike a proper gel, this stuff isn't hardwearing if you're a bit clumsy with your hands - bang your nails into a surface, and it will chip.  Still, six days of wear with no chips suits my working week just fine - this polish is up there with Kiko's Power Pro for long wear.

At £9.95, they're not cheap, but they do perform exactly as promised.  Well worth a look if you like your nails to stay flawless during the working week with no maintenance.  You can find them at a couple of online retailers, including Nail Polish Direct, who are selling them below the RRP at £6.95.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Friday, 20 May 2016

A Revelation: NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk

Urban Decay Dust, Makeup Geek Homecoming, Stila Kitten

Ever been perfectly aware of a cult beauty product and yet never tried it?  That's how I was with NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk until recently - I spotted it in a NYX stand in a store, a lightbulb went on in my head (it spelled out brighter eyeshadow) and I bought it, expecting not very much despite having heard many, many times that it's creamy whiteness was the perfect way to brighten eyeshadows.

And indeed, it's bloody brilliant, I'm an idiot for not trying it earlier, etc etc.  The pencil is surprisingly smooth and creamy for something which costs a tiny £5 - it's easy to blend, doesn't crease as long as it's applied on top of primer, and brightens the hell out of pale shadows.  As you can see above, it doesn't work quite as well for deeper colours like Makeup Geek Homecoming, but for lighter shades like UD's Dust and Stila's iconic Kitten, it gives them a boost.  If you like that ultra bright neutral eye look, a dab of Milk blended in the centre of the lid before applying your sparkly pale shadow will add dimension and brighten the shadow.

Glorious.  Why didn't I try this before?  I forsee many bright-eyed looks in my future.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

So, my hair is blue now....

Recently I fulfilled a life-long ambition and coloured my hair blue.  Well, the lovely Charley at Rockalily did it, but still, it's BLUE.  This shade is Directions Midnight Blue - it was originally a mix of Midnight Blue and Atlantic Blue, but I decided to refresh it with just Midnight Blue, as I love the depth of the colour.

Changing my hair colour has an affect on my wardrobe and on my makeup, and going from pink to blue is no different.  I can now wear any shade of red or pink lipstick, without worrying that it'll clash with my hair.  I look weird without strong brows and lots of black mascara, as the strength and depth of the blue can make my face look a bit washed out.  And I can wear red and pink clothes without fear of a clash too - I've already bought a few new red tops as a result!

This kind of colour change is pretty intense on your hair, and I'd never attempt such a big change without the help of a professional.  Charley bleached my pink hair to blonde-with-peachy-bits, then took it to blue - she was really, really thorough and as a result my colour isn't patchy at all.  She used Olaplex to stop my hair from being quite so frazzled, although it's still a bit dry - I'm using plenty of hydrating conditioner and applying a few drops of sweet almond oil every day.  If you're considering a big change, please go to a professional - I'll always recommend Rockalily if you're near London - your hair will thank you for it.

Disclosure:  New hair colour bought by me.  As well as multiple pots of Directions Midnight Blue, and some new colour depositing conditioners, which I'll write about sometime soon...

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

Monday, 16 May 2016

Bargain Brightening: SEVENTEEN Skin Wow Concealer

The past few weeks have been a bit of a clicky-pen-concealer-testing flurry in my house.  This Paul & Joe colour correcting one has been a bit of a hit for particularly blue-circled mornings, and this Seventeen* one has become a hit for a number of reasons, mostly because it's actually a concealer, where the Paul & Joe one isn't.

At just £4.99, it's a bit of a bargain too, particularly for something which can be used to brighten the undereye area, to add subtle highlights on the cheekbones, browbones and cupid's bow (not that I know anyone who does that for a normal day's makeup), and basically anything you'd use Touche Eclat for.  The similarities between it and Touch Eclat are obvious, from the golden clicky pen format, to the well-pigmented-but-not-heavy texture, to the brightening that doesn't come from glitter or shimmer.  Skin Wow blends well, and remains in place throughout the day - on dry skin days I find it does settle a little into my fine lines, but only after six hours or so, and it's only noticeable if I scrutinise my undereye area.  A little more eye cream than usual helps prevent any settling.

Given that Skin Wow is £4.99, and Touche Eclat is upwards of £20, and they're both just as great at brightening my undereye area, I know which I'll choose to repurchase.  Hint:  it's not Touche Eclat.

Disclosure:  PR sample

* I know they want me to use ALL CAPS now but I can't bring myself to do it in a chunk of text.  A title, sure, but throwing some ALL CAPS into a review feels a bit too shouty.  Apart from when I'm making a point, of course, such as right now.

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