Monday, 23 November 2015

Quick Pick: got2b Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist

I've never actually tried any of Schwarzkopf sub-brand got2b's hair products - I'm ashamed to admit I go straight to the more expensive salon brands when I'm looking for a new styling product.  When my hairdresser used it as a finishing product the other day, though, I knew I had to investigate further.

Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist promises to tame flyaways and add shine.  Over the past few weeks I've been using it as a finishing spray to tame my slightly fuzzy ends, and to smooth down frizz, as I'd normally use a regular hair oil.  Instead of distributing a few drops of hair oil through the ends of my hair with my hands, I've been giving my hair a quick spritz with Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist instead.  It works - my hair's left soft, very shiny and a little smoother, and I think it's helping my ends to stay smoother for longer.

What I particularly like is that the mist format is much less error prone than using a neat hair oil.  I sometimes go a bit overboard on oil, ending up having to wash my hair much sooner than usual, but the fine mist format of this product makes it much harder to overload the hair, particularly if you apply it in short bursts.  It's easier to avoid roots, too.  Just bear in mind that despite the claims of argan oil on the packaging, it uses a lot of silicone to give you that smooth, silky feeling.

At just £4.19, it's a cheap and cheerful and very effective way to finish your style.  Find it at Boots.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Jolly Good: Clinique Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

Clinique have introduced a new skincare format with their new Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm - I predict solid, portable oils will be a Thing in 2016 as a result.  Billed as a balm, it can be used on dry patches throughout the day, as a ten minute moisture boosting mask, or overnight as an intensive moisturising treatment.

I don't really suffer from specific dry patches all that often, so I've been using it mostly as an overnight treatment.  I'm very, very fond of using oils overnight - I love the smooth, plump, hydrated skin I wake up to in the morning, but I do find them messy - a couple of drops on my fingertips usually ends up mostly on my face, but also on my hands and sometimes on the carpet too.  Melting Mask Balm eliminates all the messiness of oil - I scrape a little bit off the top of the product with my fingernail, warm it on my fingertips, and massage it onto my face - no mess, no drips.  The next morning my skin feels smooth, soft and very well hydrated.

The major benefit of this product is that it turns the humble oil into a portable, easy to use, mess free balm.  I've also been sneakily using it to add a bit of definition to the ends of my hair in a pinch whilst travelling with little hair product - it works pretty damn well.  This little pot is coming with me on every trip abroad from now on.  Find it at Clinique now, where it costs £26.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 19 November 2015

L'Oreal Paris Exclusive Pinks Collection - Blake, Helen and Eva's Pink

Left to right:  Blake, Helen, Eva
A couple of years ago, L'Oreal launched a collection of nude lipsticks inspired by eight spokeswomen with differing skintones, and last year they did it with red - this year, they're doing it again, but this time with pink.  On the surface, pink is a less tricky shade to nail than nude - but still, if you're looking for a foolproof option, choosing the spokeswoman who's most similar to you in colouring is an easy thing to do.

I've tried three of the five shades - Eva, which is a peachy mid pink which looks pretty good on my cool toned skin, but is designed to make warm toned skin look brighter; Helen, a super-sheer opalescent pink for a barely there pink effect; and Blake, a bright, orange toned pink for a pop of colour.  All three are nice enough, and I find myself most drawn to Eva, which is odd given that it's meant for warmer skin tones; Helen, I think, is more obviously meant for my colouring, but I find it a little too subtle, verging on insipid.

The lipsticks themselves are lovely - a little waxy and cold on the lip initially, they soon warm up and glide onto the lip with a little resistance, imparting medium pigmentation as they go.  The colour is buildable, and the formula light and hydrating enough to look and feel good for a few hours before they become too dry.

At £6.99, these lipsticks are reasonably priced and offer a quick way to choose a new pink - but they're not quite as revolutionary as I found the nude range.  Find them now at Boots.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

BUY THIS NOW: UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

Blonde, Bathwater, Skimp, Steady, Punk

Baby, Anaheim, Stark, Zone, Serious

Pop, Harajuku, Danger, 1987, Blackout

Not even one week has passed, and I'm already in love with another UD eyeshadow palette.  Last week, it was Vice 4, and this week, it's the UD x Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette, a collaboration which just feels right - Gwen Stefani is a makeup icon for many, and I for one have always admired her style.  The sturdy, chunky plastic palette is a simple yet striking affair, all gold and monochrome, with a lovely big mirror accented with a very relevant No Doubt song name - The Magic's In The Makeup.

The palette comes with four samples of the Gwen Stefani lipstick collection - which seems to be coming later than the eyeshadow palette, because I can find no information on it whatsoever.  Still, that dot of 714 looks pretty striking, as does the richness of Rock Steady.  I can only imagine that the lipstick range will incorporate plenty of rich, striking reds - right up my street.

One of the things I love about this palette is the number of matte shades included in it.  Five out of the fifteen shades are matte, ranging from Stark, a peachy pink matte, to Blackout, the ever-present matte black shade UD include in most of their palettes.  Anaheim, a cool taupe brown; Zone, a basic medium brown; and Punk, a deep reddish brown complete the set - perfect for a matte contoured eye.  Serious, a smoky brown-toned grey, isn't listed as a matte shade - it's apparently got iridescent floating pearl, whatever that means - but it looks like a matte to me, so I'm counting it as a bonus sixth matte shade.

Alongside the matte-ness is the usual UD selection of satin, metallic, and glittery shades.  The highlights for me are Steady, a pretty rose gold metallic; Skimp, a pale champagne satin; and Danger, a deep sapphire blue which, alongside Harajuku's clean, cool pink, provides a pop of colour in an otherwise very neutral palette.

As you'd expect from UD, every shade is buttery soft and super blendable, as well as carrying a good amount of pigment.  Whilst you probably don't need this palette if you're a die hard UD fan - there are many shades which are close to others in the range, regardless of what UD say about most being unique - you'll quite probably want it.  And why not?  It's a well curated palette of very usable nude shades, with a few pops of colour thrown in for good measure.  Find it from the 22nd November on the Urban Decay website, where it costs £40.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 15 November 2015

No 7 Match Made Moisture Drench Lipstick in Tawny Rose and Caramel Silk

Tawny Rose, Caramel Silk
Tawny Rose
Caramel Silk
No 7 is a long-time favourite for many - accessible, easy to use products in shades from comforting neutrals to slightly daring.  Their recent foundation match service, which uses special equipment to accurately choose the best foundation colour for you, now has a matching lipstick offering which aims to take the guesswork out of choosing lipstick shades to complement your skintone.

Tawny Rose and Caramel Silk are two of the nude shades offered in the Match Made range, both of which have neutral undertones, making them a good match for both cool and warm toned ladies.  They're both on the brownish pink spectrum, making them a nice neutral, but by no means as a my-lips-but-better kind of shade for us pale skinned folks.

The formula of Moisture Drench lipstick is lovely - soft, plush and hydrating, it glides onto the lips and feels extremely slippy for a few moments until it sets.  Once set, it remains hydrating whilst gripping onto the lips pretty damn well - I get a good three hours wear out of them before the colour fades and goes a bit dry.

At £9.95, this is a reasonably priced lipstick, and it performs thoroughly decently to justify the cost.  Add in some sleek, good looking packaging, and the comfort of a system which'll help you avoid mistakes, and Match Made Moisture Drench Lipstick is a bit of a winner.  Find it at Boots online, or in store if you want help to get the perfect match.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 12 November 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Urban Decay Vice 4

Bones, Grip, Deadbeat, Beat Down, Pandemonium

Framed, Fast-Ball, 1985, Underhand, Harlot

Discreet, Grasshopper, C-Note, Arctic, Robbery

Bitter, Flame, Low, Crowbar, Delete
Urban Decay's Christmas offering this year is the pretty epic Vice 4 palette, which is modelled on the shades you'll find in an oil slick, and contains twenty shadows in a variety of shades and finishes.  The packaging is part gorgeous, part pointless - pointless because the palette itself is in a fabric sleeve, then in a box, and the fabric sleeve isn't really that necessary; and gorgeous because the palette itself is beautiful, all jewel tones, interesting angles, and matte black background.  I spent just as long staring at the palette as I did the eyeshadows inside when it first arrived.

The shadows are UD's usual mix of gloriously blendable shades which lean towards metallic and glittery finishes over mattes.  The palette is very well laid out - matching colours along either the row or the column will inspire you, even if the sheer number of shades is a bit intimidating to start.  It also treads the line between neutrals, brights and darks very well - there's a mix of everything, and nothing is too dark, too bright, or too dull.

I'd love to see UD do a completely matte palette one day, because the mattes are gorgeous - Bitter, a true matte reddish brown, is insanely pigmented, and Framed, a pale pink-champagne colour, blends matte and satin to beautiful effect.  Both are gloriously buttery, something you don't often find in a matte texture.

Outside of the mattes, there are some real standout metallic and glitter shades, particularly on the neutral or deep'n'smoky side.  Pandemonium is a beautiful deep plum with a metallic finish, Robbery is a metallic taupe of the kind that makes me automatically weak at the knees, and Flame has the most unusual pink and gold microglitter on top of an orange base which really, really pops.

On the weaker side, Grip is a matte taupe with microglitter which is a bit wishy washy - neither flat enough for a contoured eye or to use as a base, nor sparkly enough to really stand alone.  Low, a brown matte with microglitter, is somewhat similar - UD could do with amping up these matte-with-microglitter shades to be a bit more POW.

At £43, Vice 4 is expensive - but you are getting 20 shadows, working out at just over £2 each, not even including the very nice double ended brush, bumper sized mirror, and beautiful palette.  Any makeup lover would be thrilled to get this as a gift, although given that it's out now, I imagine many makeup lovers will own it well before Christmas!  Find it now at the Urban Decay website.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Solow and Avenue

Solow, Avenue



ColourPop's Ultra Matte Lip is one of those almost ubiquitous matte liquid lipsticks, and it's undoubtedly the most highly pigmented, most matte finish lipstick I've ever, ever tried.  Packaged simply in a tube with a doe's foot applicator, it applies very smoothly onto the lip, drying reasonably quickly to an incredibly matte finish.

As you can see from the swatches of Avenue, a deep, vampy red, you need to be both precise and fast with the application to get a sharp lip line and even coverage.  Solow, a cool neutral pink, is much more forgiving, but apply either on lips which aren't perfectly smooth and moisturised, and you'll end up with a patchy mess.

Once I got the hang of application, I decided that Ultra Matte Lip is one of the best super-matte pigmented liquid lipsticks I've tried.  Compared to another lovely matte liquid lipstick, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet, Ultra Matte Lip is definitely more work and more impact - Rouge Edition Velvet is an everyday matte, Ultra Matte Lip is for when you want to go all out.

Wear time is good, too, with the colour hanging on for a good four hours (providing you avoid oily foods) before becoming dry and patchy - you'll need to wipe it off and reapply, rather than top up, given the dryness of the formula; it's not fond of layering.  And at a mere $6, Ultra Matte Lip is incredibly cheap - as well as coming in a huge number of shades (38 at current count!).  If you have a US based friend you can lean on, or you're travelling to the States soon - make sure you try this one out!

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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