Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Yet more OCC Lip Tar Swatches: Vintage

Here's Vintage, which came in the post today from the fantastic Makeup Artist Boutique (who are currently having their first ever sale with 15% off everything). I've swatched in in full-on-lipstick mode, and sheered-out-stain mode (see below). As you can see it has a red base, and with time it fades down to a lovely cherry-coloured tint.  You could actually apply just a touch of it as a stain for daytime. Very versatile shade.

NB if you're thinking of purchasing from Makeup Artist Boutique and are a new customer, use the code LBRNEWCUST to get yet another 5% off your order.

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Philips Lumea IPL - first impressions

Disclosure - this product was tested during supervised sessions provided free of charge by Philips.

As mentioned earlier in the week, I'm currently trying out Philips' new home-use IPL device, Lumea. Yesterday I had my first session, and came face to face with the Lumea handset for the first time.

My first impressions are very good - the Lumea is about the same shape and weight as a travel blowdryer, and feels very solid, smooth and well-made. It's cordless and has an intutive control system - there's a trigger button, an on-off switch and a range of intensity settings (1-5) which can be adjusted according to skin and hair type.

The window at the head of the device is quite large - it took me about 15 "flashes" to do each armpit and I'd done the whole of both sides in under 3 minutes. Much much quicker than expected.

Lumea has a few advantages over its competitors - it doesn't need a contact gel, it's a cordless all-in-one unit, and needs no bulb replacement within its 40,000-flash lifespan (estimated to last about 5-7 years with normal use). However it's not a "permanent" solution. Instead, it's something you need to use every 2 weeks to prevent hair growth. If you stop, the hair comes back. Unlike more intensive treatments, Lumea doesn't claim to kill the hair root - rather it forces the follicle into a resting phase so that it doesn't produce hair.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Vs. Sexy Mother Pucker XL

I have always been a bit scared of plumping lip glosses. The idea of putting an irritant on my lips to make them swell up bigger sounds unappealing, and a step further than I want to take in the pursuit of attractiveness. (I have big enough lips anyway.) Also as someone who suffers occasional cold sores, I worry about tempting fate by stimulating the nerve endings around my mouth and bringing on the little blighters.

However - with the arrival of a review sample of Sexy Mother Pucker XL Extreme Plump, and the tube of Sexy Mother Pucker I got in my Christmas Soap & Glory hatbox still sitting untested, it seemed like the stars of plumping lipglossery had aligned across my chakra (or whatever).

So - what's the difference between the two? Is one more plumping than the other? Read on for swatches and before and after results.

More Lip Tar Swatches

I recently pre-ordered a couple more Lip Tars, thanks to the Makeup Artist Boutique.  They're now sending out Lip Tars from stock, having received a shipment from OCC in the US.  I chose Plum, one of the regular line shades, and Demure, one of the new Spring shades - Hoochie looked too bright for me, and since I'm not a fan of overly light lips, neither Vapid nor Complex appealled very much.  Here are some on-lip swatches:

Plum - I wouldn't say this was a particularly plummy shade at all, at least not in the traditional plum lip product sense.  It's also miles away from the colour swatch given on the OCC site.  Very cool dark grey-toned purple.  This was also a tad more liquid in texture than the other Lip Tars I have.

Demure.  Not at all demure, is it?  This has the same texture as other Lip Tars and is a VERY bright VERY cool, blue-toned purplish fuschia.

Unfortunately for me, both of these look terrible against my cool, pale skin.  Demure clashes terribly with my hair, whereas Pageant sort of clashes but still looks good.  I've obviously had a terrible lip product week - out of two products, only two are remaining in my collection.

Have you indulged in any of the new Spring Lip Tars?

Monday, 29 March 2010

DIY Beauty: Colour Conditioner

Many colour conditioners promises the world, but don't really deliver, in my opinion.  Most contain very little colour, and so at best only enhance your colour if you use them frequently.  My previous favourite, Aveda Madder Root, was the only one I'd found that actually made a noticeable difference to my hair - unfortunately it also made a noticeable difference to my wallet!  I've been mixing my own colour conditioners for a fair old while now, and they are a fabulous way of refreshing colour between salon visits, brightening up an easily faded colour, or adding a tint to dark hair.

Read on for simple instructions and tips on making your own.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Easter sale at The Makeup Artist Boutique begins Monday 29th March

Brace your wallets!

From tomorrow (Monday 29th March) until Friday (2nd April), The Makeup Artist Boutique (famed for being the exclusive European source for Yaby and OCC) are having an Easter sale with 10% off all items. Yes, including Lip Tars.

Additionally, new customers who are LBR readers can add an extra 5% off using the following discount code

So if you've been umming and ahhing about whether to indulge in some of the famous OCC Lip Tars, or to try a few of Yaby's delightful Pearl Paint eyeshadows  - now would seem to be the time to do it!

Why are you still reading? Go and browse!

New product trial - Philips Lumea IPL device

This week, I begin my sessions with the Philips Lumea, a hair-removal device which uses IPL technology. I have been intrigued by the idea of IPL since Boots released their Smooth Skin machine last year, and I'm quite excited to be trying this out.

IPL stands for "Intense Pulsed Light". It's a progression from traditional laser hair removal, and it started out in salons. Basically the little "window" in the head of the device shoots out a burst of incredibly bright light which is absorbed by the dark hair shaft. It is transmitted to the root of the hair which is then frazzled out of operation. The treatment needs to be repeated because hair follicles have different phases of growth and dormancy, so you need periodical re-treatment to catch them all.

IPL is now coming to the home-use market via brands like Tria, Philips, Boots and Remington, all of who offer a hand-held unit costing roughly £300 - £400. The Lumea retails at £399.99.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Review - Urban Decay Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation

A few bloggers have reviewed the new Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation from Urban Decay over the last few weeks. (It's part of the new SS2010 collection, which is generally very awesome-looking.)

I've read their reviews with interest, but I must admit that their sage advice was not the deciding factor for me when I set my heart on it. The reason I wanted it, mainly, was that it had a jellyfish on the front. Also, (the clincher) a toadstool. So Urban Decay, if you're listening, the way to get me to buy things isn't marketing or product quality or even price, it's the addition of fauna and fungi art to your product packaging.

Now that's off my chest, on with the review. At £18 for 8g, this product is not especially cheap. The fill weight doesn't fill me with confidence re. it's longevity - I can see daily foundation-wearers hitting pan on this quite quickly, although to be fair a little goes a long way.

For me it's great, as I only wear foundation once in a while and would rather have something that'll get used up while it's still good rather than sit on a shelf going stale. However it's worth noting that if you want a real day-to-day workhorse foundation, this may work out as quite a pricey habit.

Read on for before-and-after pictures and my ultimate verdict.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Even More NYX Swatches

I promise that Sarah and I will shortly sort all of these into one epic post containing all the swatches in one place.  For now, here are my latest purchases applied.  Unfortunately, out of the five, I'll only be keeping two... some of these are just a little too warm or too frosty for my liking.

Rose Bud - fairly sheer pink with lots of gold sparkle

Violet Ray - deep purply plum.  This one applied a little bit patchy, which surprised me.

Christie - very frosty pale Barbie pink

Fig - pinky coral cream

Black Cherry - blackened cherry red (surprisingly!).  Very pigmented, need to be careful applying this one.

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Fudge Sauna Masque

Okay, I'll admit it, I bought this product mostly because it says "fudge", and if there's one thing I really really love, it's fudge.  I also bought it because I was shopping for some deadly dull but very cheap cleaning products at Wilko, who bizarrely seem to have a much bigger range of the Montagne Jeunesse masks than I've ever seen in a Boots or Superdrug.

Anyway, I digress.  This is a self heating, deep cleansing mask, which is recommended for normal to oily skin, which I don't really have.  But it smells of fudge, so I bought it anyway (are you sensing a theme here?).  The amount in the sachet equates to about one generous application; unlike other Montagne Jeunesse products I've bought in the past, there's not enough for two applications in there.  Once applied to slightly damp skin, the masque heats up a little - less so than other self-heating masques I've tried in the past - and is then left on for a short while as it deeply cleanses the skin.

I will point out (once more) that this smells of real, delicious fudge - there's no synthetic edge to the fragrance.  Five to ten minutes of relaxing with the masque on was all I could take before I had to wash it off and go find something sweet to eat (sadly no fudge in my house).  After rinsing off, my skin was very clean, not dried out, and even in tone.  A few days later, it was still even - this masque didn't bring out any spots, as some deep cleansing masques can do for me.

This product is probably something you'd use more for the enjoyment of using it than for the effect; while it does clean the skin, the effects aren't particularly life changing (although maybe they are more life changing for someone with oilier skin).  But then, it does smell of fudge.  Sorry.  I'll shut up now.

If you'd like to try it, you can get it from the Montagne Jeunesse website (which I wish they'd update, I'm not interested in NEW FOR 2009 products) for 99p.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

FOTD: Who have you come as, Dita Von Teese?

Disclosure: Lipstick and lashes were supplied free for review by PR

Today's look is a bit of a showcase for Eve Red (that's the lipstick). It's an exclusive shade created by Daniel Sandler for All For Eve, a brand created specifically to raise awareness of reproductive cancers in women, and provide funding for research in this area.

Several pre-existing lines have come together to create products for the campaign, including Urban Retreat (whose creator George Hammer has masterminded the All For Eve concept), and of course Daniel Sandler, whose offering is this rather delightful glossy blue-red.

100% of the wholesale value of the products goes to support The Eve Appeal, which funds research into treatment for gynaecological cancers.

The All for Eve website isn't fully operational yet, but you can follow them on twitter until the official site launch on 26th April.

I've put the lippy (which is very lightweight, moisturising and easy to wear) with a matte, un-blushered face, MAC Blacktrack Fluidline in a bit of a Winehouse flick, and some half-lashes by Mister Mascara. I also slung a strong brow and UDPP in Sin into the mix. Have I done it justice?

Click through for more pictures.

Things we learned today...

A few bits of news garnered from the online beautyscape today;

Liz Earle is to be sold to Avon in a bid to bring the brand international exposure. Founders Liz Earle and Kim Buckland will remain in the driving seat of the brand, which will operate as a "stand alone" line within Avon. This has to be one of the unlikeliest pairings I've ever heard of - independent UK niche brand joining up with multi-national conglomerate? I can only imagine the price must have been very very right! (Source - Evening Standard). Sparklz & Shine has provided this link to Liz Earle's blog, which gives us the skinny from her perspective.

Lime Crime lipsticks, which will be launched in Space NK next month, will be retailing at £14. This is still more expensive dollar-for-dollar than the US RRP of $16, but is less of a mark-up than most people seem to have been expecting. We in the UK are getting only the lipstick to start with, (not the eye colours) in 10 shades. (Source - press info from SpaceNK)

Muji skincare will be launching at the end of this month (so not long to wait!) - and will be available from We get two skincare regimes for different skin types, and three sorts of cleanser - oil, milk and gel. The oil looks particularly tempting. Source - Beauty Woo Me.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Finally! Buy Lip Tars From UK Stockist

Today's the day.  The Lip Tars have been unpacked and those who made pre-orders will be receiving their highly coveted goods in the next few days.  Yippee!

In honour of the Makeup Artist Boutique, who are now selling Lip Tars for just £8.99 from stock, I'm wearing NSFW (bright bright red) today.

Review: Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Day Cream

I first read about Vichy's LiftActiv Retinol HA day cream product over at, where they are firm fans of the entire Vichy range.  My first experience with Vichy didn't work out for me, but I'm pleased to say that this product has become a favourite. 

Billed as a cream with "immediate visible results", Liftactive Retinol HA contains Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol A Complex, as well as SPF18.  The retinol content was what drew me to the product; it's hailed as a bit of an anit-aging miracle ingredient, as it can increase the rate of skin turnover and increase collagen.  Despite being still a touch under thirty, I'm keen to soften the fine lines that have started appearing, and to ensure that my skin is well moisturised.

Read on after the cut to see how I got on.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Review: Guerlain Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl

I've been lusting after Guerlain's Terracotta loose powder kohl for years.  Mostly, I admit, because it's in such pretty packaging, and is so very very luxe, because at the end of the day, what you're buying is kohl powder on a stick.  Not that that's a bad thing of course; many of life's finer things come on sticks.  Toffee apples.  Lollipops.  Errr.  Kebabs?

Anyway.  The product is mostly made up of a deep well, which contacts sparkly black kohl (it also comes in many other colours).  The top part is made up of a handle which is as easy to hold securely as it is pretty, attached to a rounded stick.  Drawing the stick from the well brings a light coating of kohl, which you can then apply to the eyes in one of two ways: Eastern or Western.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

FOTD - Sleek Bohemian palette

Today's post was going to be an FOTD inspired by seasonal British confection the Cadbury's Creme Egg, which Gemma and I both like quite a bit. (Lucky it's seasonal, or I would eat them all year round and be considerably fatter than I am now.) However, I gave up after two attempts at making that work ended up in muddy ill-defined rubbishness. Today I somehow lost my blending mojo. I'm normally OK at blending.

So instead, here is the look I did after I had given up on the Creme Egg idea. I began with a pretty basic wash of iridescent blue shadow on the lid after priming with UDPP. Then I applied a navy shadow as eyeliner, dry, using an angled brush and flicking up slightly at the corners. I put a bit of pale neutral matte eyeshadow on the browbone and blended the blue into it.

Both the navy shade and the brow highlight (which doesn't show up in the photos) are from Sleek's new iDivine palette, titled Bohemian, which came out this week. The blue on the lid is Jelly Pong Pong "Single and Loving it" eyeshadow in Butterfly Wings.

On my face is Stila Natural Finish makeup (shade A) and on my eyelashes is Maybelline Full and Soft mascara (black).

On my lips I have applied a bit of the red shimmer eyeshadow from the Sleek palette over a dab of OCC Lip Tar in Clear.

Comments, questions and blending-advice-for-idiots are all most welcome.

Below, the iDivine palette in its new-style white casing, and the JPP eyeshadow. ("That looks like a nice box of paints" said the man of the house on seeing the iDivine.)

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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Winner of our Hoochie OCC Lip Tar contest is...


Congratulations Sarbeauty - please send us your address via email and we will arrange for your prize to be sent out to you.

Review - Ponds Hydro Nourishing Cream

Disclosure - this product was provided free for review

You may remember both Gemma and myself being very taken with old-school beauty item Ponds Cold Cream cleanser last year, which turned out to be both versatile and effective.

As a result, I was interested to investigate the range further. I have been using Ponds Hydro Nourishing Cream in place of my usual moisturiser for the last two weeks.

Hydro Nourishing Cream comes in the same heavy glass screw-top jar as the Cold Cream, with very similar branding on the label. The jar is a pleasingly solid piece of construction and the lid closes tightly. Although it is a finger-dipping-in sort of format, the aperture of the jar is quite small, so most of the product is not exposed to the air.

The cream itself is white with a medium-weight consistency. It spreads easily on the skin with a slight feeling of greasiness that quickly disappears as it sinks in. I found that I was surprised how much of it I needed, since on first impressions it seems rich enough to be used sparingly. In fact it is quickly absorbed and can be used quite freely. This is not a criticism - the 75ml fill weight and rock-bottom price point (£3.99) mean there's absolutely no reason to scrimp on application if you don't have to.

The cream is scented with a light floral aroma. I didn't find this unpleasant, but if you are sensitive to fragrance it's worth noting (as many such "basic" products are fragrance free).

Ingredients-wise, this is not one to go for if you are of the "chemical free" persuasion. It contains paraffin liquidum (vaseline), mineral oil, carbomer, and two flavours of parabens. However, it also contains Vitamin E and Vitamin C (antioxidants), plus Evening Primrose Oil (anti-inflammatory) and, interestingly, hydrolysed elastin (the same bounce-imparting ingredient found in Phillip Kingsley's Elasticizer).  

I have normal/dry skin and I was using this alongside a "regime" (ha, as if I'm even that organised) of Eve Lom cleanser on some days and Elemental Herbology Cool & Clear facewash on others.

For me, this is a great product, and I recommend it to those who have no aversion to perfume or mineral oil in their products. The fact that it costs a mere £3.99 and is available in most Boots and pharmacists in the land make it even more of a winner.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Review: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer

Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage is a bit of a cult product, unfailingly recommended by magazines and often a winner in beauty awards.  Recently, I arranged to swap for one in the lightest shade, SC1 - the hefty £25 price tag wasn't something I was prepared to pay without a cheaper trial period.

Read on to see how I got on.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

YouTube Watch: Lisa Eldridge

To my shame, I only recently discovered celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge's channel this week, but now I'm absolutely hooked.  Her videos showcase some excellent techniques, and are incredibly clear and simple to follow.  They're also incredibly well lit - clearly a professional job - making it very easy to see precisely what she's doing at every stage of makeup application.

Lisa also recommends suitable products for a variety of skin and eye colours, so you can pick up and modify her techniques to suit your own colouring.

I recently followed her quick smoky eye video and was impressed by the effect that can be gained from using one or two products; particularly given that I usually tend to think that the more shades of eyeshadow the better.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

On footcare - Some advice from a Podiatrist

Disclosure - I received a complementary treatment and checkup at The Shah Clinic in Highgate while researching this post.

Ah, feet. The most neglected body part, give or take a few internal bits and pieces. We spend most of our time ignoring our feet, hiding them in shoes and socks, walking around on them all day or pouring them into torturous high heels, then perhaps bewailing how gnarled and unsightly they become as a result. Not many of us have a close relationship with our feet, but we'd be pretty lost without them, and with proper care, they can be as much of a pleasure as they are a necessity.

When I found myself in conversation with Podiatrist Vas Shah recently, it quickly became clear that we had much to discuss. Feet are an important but often overlooked health concern, especially for those of us who are obsessed  interested in beauty. I had plenty of questions about foot care, and I felt sure that plenty of people reading the blog did too.

I arranged to meet Vas at his Highgate clinic for a treatment and a bit of a Q&A about a beauty addict's most pressing footcare concerns...

Johnson's 24 Hour Moisture Body Wash and Body Lotion

Full disclosure: we received samples of these products from PR.

This isn't going to be a full on analysis review, per se, mostly because basic body wash and lotion are either good, bad, or okay, and they are very rarely exciting.  Personally, I don't often bother with body lotion; my skin isn't overly dry, and I'm very lazy - after a long bath, I can just about be bothered to fall into bed!  I also really dislike waiting around for a lotion to sink into my skin; if it's not instantly absorbed, the texture sitting on top of my skin makes me feel slightly icky. 

Lucky, then, that when I tried out the Johnson's 24 Hour Moisture lotion, I found that it is indeed instantly absorbed; despite being moisturising enough to quench the skin (even after a 3 hour bath), it has a light texture that melts in and leaves no sticky/tacky/icky residue.  It's also pleasantly subtle in scent - on first application there's a slightly powdery, clean fragrance, which immediately disappears once you've rubbed it into the skin.

The matching body wash is similar in terms of understated performance.  It also has a gentle, unobtrusive scent which doesn't linger.  It lathers up nicely when used in conjunction with a bath puff thing, and a little goes a long way.  It cleans the skin effectively whilst also leaving it feeling soft and definitely not dried out.

I will most likely buy these products again.  Both are hard working formulas which are very moisturising, and are good beauty basics.  They're also very reasonably priced: stock the body wash for just £2.75 for 400ml, and while they don't have the lotion online yet, it retails for around £2.99.  If, like me, you'd rather spend your dosh on skincare, makeup and bath oils, and spend less on the basics - I'd recommend you give these a try.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

LBR joins Handpicked Media

This is kind of exciting... We've just joined up with  Handpicked Media, a collective of sites and blogs on beauty, lifestyle, parenting, fashion, and food, among other things.

We're made up to be joining the other beauty bloggers in the Handpicked clan, and the invitation to be part of the network is a great affirmation of what we're doing here.

What does it mean for readers? Well, in the short term not much, although you do get to view the lovely Handpicked badge on our site. We mainly just wanted to share the good news and introduce Handpicked - check out their site for a great selection of online reading matter.

Supporting UK Crafters: Handmade Makeup Bags

Recently, I decided to buy a makeup bag as a present for a friend.  There are hundreds and hundreds of styles and colours available on the market, at a variety of prices, but my favourites were undoubtedly the ones I found on Folksy.  Folksy is the UK version of the popular purveyor of handcrafted products, Etsy; prices are in pounds, and as the sellers are all in the UK, the goods are decidedly more local.  Not only do you get a unique makeup bag at a good price, you're also supporting independent crafters directly. Here are a few gorgeous, individual, and affordable makeup bags for your viewing pleasure.

Spring Flowers makeup bag with tulip applique, in yellow cotton; £8.75 from DinkyDaisy, who also makes pencil cases, coin purses, and pin cushions, all with delicate, whimsically pretty appliques.

Read on for more!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Breaking News: Lime Crime To Be Stocked in SpaceNK

Yes, really.  According to Doe Deere, SpaceNK will be stocking her range of cosmetics in April 2010.  The line itself has attracted criticism in the past, both for its products and its business practice of threatening bloggers with legal action for less than glowing reviews, and asking for non-positive comments to be removed.

I don't have an opinion on Lime Crime's products, as I've never used them, but I'm not too sure that the childlike, sometimes garish packaging is going to fit in too well with the aura of sophisticated luxury I expect from SpaceNK.  I'll be curious to see what kind of prices are being charged; common opinion already seems to be that Lime Crime Cosmetics are overpriced for their quality, and given that US products usually incur a hefty markup when they arrive in the UK, I'm wondering just how high the price of a Lime Crime lipstick is going to be.

What do you think?  Will you be purchasing Lime Crime from SpaceNK in April?

Review: Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara

We received this product as a sample from  All reviews are impartial, regardless of the source of the product!

As a lover of mascaras that promise heaps of volume, I was excited to find a sample of Urban Decay's Big Fatty mascara with an order from Packaged in a purple tube with psychadelic coloured label, it claims to "create the fullest, fattest lashes imaginable".  Quite a lofty claim!  

Read on after the jump to find out how I got on.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Wanted: SheerCover Mineral Makeup Guest Reviewer

We've received a SheerCover mineral makeup kit from the PR agents for Guthy-Renker in the Tan/Dark colourway - which is too dark for both Sarah and I.  So, we need YOU - if your skin is likely to match the Tan/Dark foundations of Almond and Mocha, and you're prepared to write an honest, unbiased review of your experiences using the products, we'd love to hear from you.  Included in the kit:
  • Instruction DVD
  • Powder brush 
  • Concealer brush
  • Almond and Mocha foundations
  • Lip to Lid sampler
  • Concealer duo
  • Extra length mascara
  • Base perfector
If you'd like to help us out and try these products out, please email us at admin (at) by midnight on Tuesday 16th March.  Thanks!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Counter Culture: "Thanks, I'm just browsing"

Photo by darkensiva on

Approaching a counter in a beauty hall can be a nerve-wracking experience. Your're lured by the array of products, all lined up and waiting to be investigated. A lush spectrum of eyeshadows, all carefully laid open for swatching. Inviting lipstick testers uncapped and shining before you. Or maybe a special display of limited edition products you've only seen or read about online, right there in the flesh. The compulsion to walk up to the counter and get to grips with the oh-so-tempting displays is powerful indeed.

But in the back of your mind, a little voice is shouting "it's a trap!". You know that as soon as you step within an undefined distance of the counter, you're in danger, and as soon as you take one of those poisoned-chalice testers in hand, you're doomed.The adversary into whose lair you've wandered - Pushy Counter Sales Person - is close at hand and poised to strike.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Wahanda Mobdeal - £20 facial or massage at Content Beauty and Wellbeing

Wahanda Mobdeals are going from strength to strength, and today's is even more of a cracker than usual.

Sign up before 12.00 tonight to get a Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial or Deep Tissue Massage for only £20 (RRP £75) at Content Beauty and Wellbeing in the West End.

Content have their own beauty boutique as well as offering treatments, so you may end up shopping away what you've saved once you start browsing their various natural and organic lines. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Nail polish inspiration - for Illamasqua

Illamasqua are running a contest at the moment to find the inspiration for a new shade of nail polish. It closes on March 14th (Sunday) so get your skates on if you want to enter.

As I'm always banging on about duochromes, and am especially fond of those that appear in the natural world, my choice is pretty obvious. My entry to the contest is below.

Cetonia aurata - the rose chafer beetle, pictured by ParaScubaSailor on Flickr

A polish in tribute to the jewelled beauty of the rose chafer. Clinging to the fingertips like 6 delicate legs, shimmering rose gold and green like the multi-faceted wing-cases of this gentle springtime insect. Vibrant and shining, shifting colours on a blue-black base. An unconventional beauty brought into the spotlight.

Review: Mezaya Non Toxic Nail Products

Disclosure:  We received these Mezaya toxic free nail products to test free of charge from PR.

It was with great interest and a little trepidation that I opened up this cute little box of non-toxic, water based nail products from Mezaya.  The application and removal of nail polish has always been a stinky yet very necessary ritual for me, and while those of us who love the lacquer have built up a tolerance to the smell, there are those who find it quite horrible.  These water based products are free from harsh chemicals and the solvent smell, making them more pleasant to use and less drying.  The biggest question for me was whether they perform as well as traditional polishes.  Find out how I got on with them after the jump.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Retro Beauty: Bath Pearls

Back when I was much, much younger and much, much poorer, luxury was being able to go to the Body Shop and choose as many as ten bath pearls from the little baskets dotted around the shop.  I used to hoard the jewel coloured spheres, using them sparingly in every other bath, mostly just admiring how pretty they looked heaped up in a dish in my bedroom.

Bath pearls have fallen out of favour in recent years; oils are now presented in glass bottles, and single-use bath products tend to be in the form of ballistics.  Indeed, a touch of Googling to see if they're still available has mostly turned up a new variety of in-bath lighting rather than the more familiar oil-filled globes.

If you're an avid fan, you can still find them at a few online stores, including Bubblelush, where they cost 20p each - scandalously expensive according to my inner 11 year old, but quite reasonable by modern single-use bath product standards.

Do you have fond memories of collecting and using bath pearls?  Were the "classic" spherical pearls your favourite, or did the star- and animal shaped varieties make it into your collection too?

Monday, 8 March 2010

One polish all UK/Denmark polish fiends should own - GOSH Rainbow

Here are some rather self-indulgent shots of my nails bejewelled with GOSH's Rainbow polish (£5 in the UK from Superdrug). It's a top-coat/layering polish containing a phenomenon known to the blogging community as "flakies". Despite the unaappealingly dandruff-tastic name, these are a fine alternative to the more old-school glitter polish - the are little shreds or "flakes" of reflective material that lie flat on the nail and provide an eyecatching multi-faceted appearance with a smooth finish.

Rainbow is shown here over the top of lovely lovely Burlington Arcade from Nails Inc. Mesmerising, even if I do say so myself. Click the pictures for a giant-size image to pore over (and try not to judge my cuticles too harshly).

Click "Read more" for 3 additional pictures.

Favourite Things: NailTek Xtra Treatment

Have you ever stopped using a product only to realise just how essential it is?  I'm there at the moment, my friends.  My usual nail treatment, NailTek Xtra, ran out the other week, and given that I had another strengthener to try, I decided not to repurchase.  After a few days, though, I've placed an order and can't wait for it to arrive.

My nails grow quickly and are relatively strong and flexible, despite years of being nibbled.  But they have a tendency to split.  It's a testament to how good the NailTek is that I'd forgotten how much they split until I stopped using it - right now, my nails are so split that I'm going to have to clip them down and start again. 

NailTek Xtra is designed for difficult nails that resist the usual treatments.  I found it via the Makeup Alley nail boards (which is a goldmine for any nail related dilemma) and henceforth will not be without it!

If your nails are suffering and you'd like to give it a go, you can find it at the wonderfully named at £7.99 for 15ml, or on eBay for around £6.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

WIN! "Hoochie" Lip Tar, a brand new shade from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

As we reported earlier this week, OCC have just unleashed 4 new shades of their culter-than-cult Lip Tar - Complex, Demure, Hoochie and Vapid. They are exclusively available in the UK, along with the other 20 shades, from The Makeup Artist Boutique.

They can be pre-ordered now, and are expected to ship on 23rd March. (Use the promo code OCCLBR for 10% off your order.)

We are offering you the chance to win one of these new Spring shades - Hoochie (third from left, above) in conjunction with the girls at The Makeup Artist Boutique, who are supplying the prize.

To enter, just drop us a comment below, telling us what other products you would pair with Hoochie (for example, you might combine it with black cat-eye liner and a matching plum blush). If for some reason you're not yet following us (*nudge*, *wink*), please leave us your email address in the comment too.

The competition will close on Saturday 20th March at 12.00 GMT, when we will pick a winner at random from the entries.

(NB - Get Lippie is also giving away one of the new Lip Tars - head over to her page to enter.)

Friday, 5 March 2010

Bare Escentuals Re Think offer

We will be trialling bareMinerals Original Foundation from Bare Escentuals over the next couple of weeks, and will bring you a review once we've given it a thorough road test.
In the meantime, we thought you might like to know that you can currently have your shade matched at your local Bare Escentuals counter as part of their "ReThink Your Foundation" promotion, and receive a free 10 day sample and miniature brush to take home. (All the better to chip in with your thoughts when we do our review.)
For more details and to find the counter nearest you, visit the Bare Escentuals site.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Review: Skin MD Shielding Lotion

Disclosure: This product was sent to us free for review purposes

You'll see plenty of reviews of this product out there in blogland, for Skin MD Natural is a brand who have embraced Noo Meedya wholeheartedly and invited lots of bloggers to give their lotion a try.

They must have felt pretty confident that we'd enjoy their product, and I must say that in my case they were 100% correct.

This light, white, faintly-scented lotion is intended for use on hands, face and body. It has a gorgeous texture - totally non greasy. It even passes my Keyboard Handcream Test - I'm wearing it now as I type and my hands are moving frictionlessly over the keys. No stickiness, no clamminess, nothing.

New OCC Lip Tars

OCC have finally released more details about the new Spring 2010 shades of Lip Tar, after premiering them at the LA Makeup Show this weekend.

From left to right:  Complex, Demure, Hoochie and Vapid.

These are available from OCC's website, or on pre-order from the lovely Makeup Artist Boutique,where they will be shipped in mid March - if you order there, don't forget you get a 10% discount with the code OCCLBR.

Pursebuzz has some swatches, and I'm already waiting with baited breath for Demure.  Any of these tickle your fancy?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Review: Boots No. 7 So Smooth Base Coat

Recently, my nail polish started flaking and peeling off in massive sheets.  I decided (after much unnecessary and unhelpful cursing) that my beloved NailTek strengthener was probably at the end of its useful life, and so I decided to buy a new base coat.  Having been given a sample of Mavala's hardener recently, I needed just a basic base coat - no hardening, no strengthening, just something that'd make polish stick. 

Sarah recommended that I try out Boots No. 7 So Smooth base coat, and I'm very glad I did.  Read on to find out why.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Review: Soap and Glory The Greatest Scrub Of All

I love a good scrub, me.  An essential part of any skincare regime, they are probably the only product which can give you an instantly noticeable result.  And they come in so many different varieties - from creams so smooth you can't quite work out if they're actually doing any scrubbing, through to scrubs with such big grains that they feel like they're sanding your face. 

At first, this Soap and Glory "self activated facial smoother", which I recently picked up to replace the Burts Bees exfoliant I didn't really like, seems to fall into the first category.  You're advised to use a pea sized amount, and upon first application it feels as if the granules are absolutely tiny, and aren't really likely to do a great deal. 

Monday, 1 March 2010

Some more NYX lipstick swatches

A few more swatches of these lovely and bargainous lipsticks. They are available from Cherry Culture for just $1.75 each, and international shipping is quite reasonable. Some of these lipsticks are cast-offs from Gemma and Charlotte. Luckily I like all of them. I'm easil pleased.

Darling (614)

Heredes (538)

Click through for four more colours

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