Monday, 20 October 2014

Sonia Kashuk Essential Eye Kit

Here's another thing-I-bought-in-the-US-recently, and sadly this one isn't available in the UK - although I really, really wish it was.  Those of you with long makeup-brush memories will remember that budget priced, high quality US brush brand Sonia Kashuk made it to Space NK a few years ago - with a staggering markup which saw brushes sold at twice the price they were in the US.  Unsurprisingly, they weren't popular, and Space NK retired the brand.

This rather gorgeous travel set contains five short-handled brushes with super soft bristles, in a tiny travel case, for a mere $11.49 plus tax at Target.   It was all I needed, brush wise, for my recent three-week work trip to San Francisco - for lining, smudging, blending, everything.  The quality is excellent, the portability fantastic, and I love the little case - the brushes are well protected, the case is held shut tightly, and it's so streamlined!  Wonderful.

I really hope Sonia Kashuk makes it back to the UK sometime - without the markup - but in the meantime, beg your US friends to post you one of these.  You won't regret it.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.  Probably the best thing I've bought recently.

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

Sunday, 19 October 2014

By Terry Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur in Toffee Cream

By Terry's Baume De Rose is a bit of a cult favourite, and with good reason - it's waxy/smooth texture hugs the lips and injects serious moisture which doesn't disappear when the product wears off.  It is, however, absolutely extortionately priced at £35 a pot.  The latest version, Nutri-Couleur, has a soft tint to it - less multi-purpose, yes, but if you're a fan of the soft, tinted lip, perhaps even more of a daily staple.

I'm wearing Toffee Cream in the photo above - it's a very soft tint, giving a slightly polished nude look, and as usual for Baume De Rose, the texture is gorgeous.  My lips feel conditioned and moist, and the effects last long after the product has worn away.  Unusually for a balm, it sticks to the lips for a good hour before melting away, leaving the soft tint behind.

If you like a tinted lip balm, this one is easily one of the best I've tried - it has genuine lip moisturising effects.  At £35, though, it's easily one of the most expensive balms I've ever tried, and whilst it's excellent, I'm not sure I could bring myself to spend that much on a tinted lip balm.  Lanolips is a similar, much cheaper option at £7.99 a tube, but if you're into seriously luxe, lip loving products, Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur is very, very good.  Available in six shades, you'll find it at Space NK.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Quick Pick: Clarins Mineral Eye Quartet Palette in Skin Tones

Clarins' Autumn makeup collection is very, very ladylike indeed - and whilst it includes some new cream-to-powder eyeshadow pots, the highlight for me is this ultra neutral mineral eyeshadow quartet.  It's called Skin Tones, and it's gorgeous - four neutral toned, easily wearable shades from bone to deep brown.

The thing I like about it best is that it's timeless - in that the shades are all perfect for creating a subtle, elegant contoured eye, and also in that it works perfectly for all ages.  Older eyes take high sparkle neutrals less well than younger ones, and the soft sheen on these makes them pretty on eyelids of any age.

As usual for Clarins mineral eyeshadows, they're beautifully blendable and easily layerable.  This is true workhorse palette, and one which any neutral lover would love to have in their collection - it's well worth the £32 pricetag.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Crianza

Another day, another pinky-red lip colour.  This is Bite Beauty's Cashmere Lip Cream in Crianza, and I bought it at Sephora in a hurry whilst in Florida this summer.  Bite Beauty doesn't seem to be available in the UK - which is a shame, as their range of lip products is pretty innovative (lip mask, lip wipes anyone?) and they only use edible ingredients in their products.  Which is obvious when you think about it - we can't help ingesting some of the product on our lips all day - but not actually something most brands aim for.

Anyway - Cashmere Lip Cream is a high pigment liquid lipstick with a cream to powder finish.  It promises a lightweight finish with bold colour payoff.  The applicator is interesting - it's less flexible than most, less fluffy, and has a simple cylindrical shape - the rigidity means you can line and fill the lips very precisely, but it is a little more time consuming than your standard doe foot applicator.

The colour intensity is fabulous, and it feels very, very light on the lip - not quite weighless, as there's a bit of squish when you press your lips together, but definitely lighter than most lipsticks.  My only criticism is that this stuff has a tendency to transfer everywhere - glasses, eating utensils, other people's faces - and that of course means it softens and fades relatively quickly (depending on the frequency of your eating/drinking/kissing of course).

At $28 / £18.50 a pop, it's pretty expensive, and overall I've decided it's nice but not life changing.  If you like intense, creamy, comfortable colour and don't mind a bit of transfer, it's worth trying.  Find it at Sephora, who will ship it to the UK and guarantee you won't get stung on customs fees.

Disclosure:  Bought by me, because I apparently don't own enough pinky-red lip products.

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

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in Leila

I made my first foray into Marc Jacobs cosmetics whilst on holiday with the kids in Florida over the summer.  I took my 9-year-old stepdaughter into Sephora, and bought this colour on her insistence - her name is Leilah, and this shade is called Leila.  Close enough!

The format is a pretty standard twist up stick, albeit with a blunt, flat end rather than the pointy pencil style we've seen a lot of recently.  That said, if you're missing the pencil element, the packaging brings it back for you - the cap has a distinctly pencil-y feeling, with a colour-matching nib to boot.

Leila is described as a rose copper shimmer, but I think I'd really describe it as a very twinkly pink.  It's a bit warm toned, but still works well enough on my cool toned skin. It's very shimmery straight off the stick, but blended down it's a bit more subtle - although that doesn't stop you from building it up into full on metallic glamour if you so choose.  You can also apply it as an eyeliner by using the edge of the stick - which hadn't occurred to me at all until I read the product blurb, as it's not really obviously a dual purpose product.

Texture wise, it's very cooling on application, blends easily, and lasts well provided you apply primer first.  There are a myriad of jewel toned shades in the range, and whilst there are a few neutrals, they're still pretty shimmery - this product isn't really for you if you favour the natural look.

At $28 / roughly £18.50, it's not cheap, and having become a convert to Kiko's excellent (and very inexpensive) eyeshadow sticks I'm not entirely sure the more expensive Marc Jacobs product wins out, aside from on packaging and brand name.

You'll find these pretty little sticks at Sephora, who will also ship them to the UK inclusive of tax so you don't get stung on import duty.

Disclosure:  Purchased by me, on the instructions of my stepdaughter.

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

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Kiko Cosmetics Daring Game Face Brush & Golden Game Sculpting Bronzer in Radiant Honey

Kiko's latest limited edition collection is entitled Daring Game, and to me it's basically Bond-Girl-in-Casino-Royale in a box.  It's a fairly hefty collection, with 11 products in a wide variety of shades, from eyeshadow to blush to nail polish to eyeliner.  There's even a face serum in there - weird, but I guess even Bond Girls need a pick me up after a night on the cards.

Anyway - here we have the Daring Game Face Brush, and the Golden Game Sculpting Bronzer.  The premise is that the heart shaped, dual-fibre brush helps you to apply the multi-toned bronzer and highlighter easily, for a sculpted look in a jiffy.

The bronzer/highlighter palette is encased in white plastic embossed with a Rorschach-inkblot like design.  I have no idea what it is.  If you do, let me know.  Despite the embossing, the palette feels very light and a bit flimsy in the hand. 

The product itself is also embossed, and contains two distinct pans - one for the highlighter, which is a pale champagne colour in the Radiant Honey colourway, and one for the bronzer, which is a two tone warm beige.

What, don't you apply foundation, lipstick and bronzer on a Sunday, leaving your eyes and brows completely bare?  No? 
I found the bronzer and highlighter duo really, really easy to apply with the brush.  I lined the black side of the brush up against the bronzer, and the white side against the highlighter, and then applied it to my face with the curve of the brush hugging my cheekbone.  Instant sculpting.

I'd be very, very much in love with this product if it wasn't too warm for my skintone - I find that Kiko bronzers tend to be a warmer, more golden tone than my skin can take.  If you're warmer toned, though, this is a very easy, affordable way to master the contour trend with minimal effort - both products are £15.90, which is reasonable for the quality and ease of application.  Find the brush and the palette at Kiko stores or online at their website.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Illamasqua Vintage Metallix in Courtier, Bibelot, Embellish

Illamasqua's latest collection, Once, is full of whimsical antique/vintage tones, and the star of that particular show is the new Vintage Metallix eyeshadow.  It's a cream eyeshadow with a distinctly twinkly finish, albeit a twinkle that's a bit burnished, in keeping with the vintage theme.

There are three shades - Courtier, a soft pink; Bibelot, an antiqued green; and Embellish, a glowing brown.  Packaging wise, they're pretty standard - screw top lids stop them from drying out quickly, with the cream easily accessible with a fingertip or brush.

Embellish, Bibelot, Courtier
Swatched, the colours are intense and very twinkly indeed, although you'll find that by the time you've applied them to your eyelids and blended, they're a little more subtle unless you layer them up.  I was impressed by the texture of these cream eyeshadows - my oily lids usually mean that cream eyeshadows crease despite my fanatical use of primer, but these hold fast to my eyelids all day atop Urban Decay's cult Primer Potion.  You get about a minute to blend down before they set, and I think I get better evenness of colour using a synthetic brush compared to my fingers.

At £16.50, they're reasonably priced for a premium brand.  If I had to choose a single colour, I'd go for Bibelot - creamy pink and brown eyeshadows are ten a penny, but Bibelot's vintagey green is a very unusual shade.  Find them now at the Illamasqua 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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