Friday, 30 April 2010

Nails Inc and InStyle Collaborate On Shades, Give Them Away For Free

It's lovely when magazines give away full size beauty products.  Having given away four shades via Glamour last year, Nails Inc have teamed up with InStyle to create three exclusive colours:  InStyle Beach, a hot coral; Instyle Candy, a candy pink; and InStyle Mink, an on-trend greige.

Worth £10.50 a pop, the shades are available with the June issue, which is available on newsstands now for £3.60, and also includes a 20% discount of both Nails Inc online purchases and manicure and pedicure services.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

NOTD: Models Own Top Turquoise

I was tempted into ordering five polishes from Models Own the other week.  When they arrived, I was slightly surprised to see that the colours were somewhat different to how they were portrayed on the website.  This rather pretty spearminty turquoise cream was in the pastels section - but in real life it's rather bright.

Application is okay; the polishes are quite thick, and require fast work and at least two coats to get a good smooth finish.  The colour is beautiful; bright and clean, although it did require a good coat of Seche Vite to get a glossy finish.

Wear wasn't so fantastic.  One day after application, I had to touch up a few small chips and reseal the edges of my nails.  After another day, my nails were looking decidedly ragged.  So, not one to go for if you don't want to repaint every couple of days.

If you'd like to try it out for yourself, it's available from the Models Own website for a budget friendly £5.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Review: Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Face Oil

Disclosure: This product was sent for consideration by PR.

I love a good facial oil, me.  There's nothing quite as luxurious as massaging a few drops of oil into your skin in the evening, and waking up to well moisturised soft skin.  This oil, which is of the "nourishing" variety and contains rose and sandalwood oils, fulfils all of my facial oil needs - it's luxe, it smells nice, and it's a very effective night time moisturiser.

First off - the bottle is tiny.  Really tiny.  You get a mere 15ml for £35, so it's definitely a luxury purchase.  That said, you need a really tiny amount of this oil to cover the face, as it is very spreadable.  In the past, I've used oils which I've had to apply to a damp face to enable them to be distributed evenly over the skin due to their inherantly heavy and oily nature.  This, however, is somehow light, and is easy to smooth over the skin without dragging, even over freshly scrubbed thirsty skin.  Because a little goes a long way, the bottle I've been using for the past 3 weeks is still about 85% full.

If rose isn't your thing, then this product is likely to turn you off - the scent is fairly deep and strong, and is heady with rose.  I personally love it, but I can understand that it might prove to be too much for some people.  I've mostly been applying it at night, and find that the scent fades within an hour of application (although I'm usually asleep by then).  When I wake, all of the oil has been absorbed into my skin, and my skin feels beautifully soft and plump, although if I apply too much, I find that sometimes my nose can be a little greasy and shiny in the morning.

And the long term results?  I've been using this product for a good three weeks now, and while it's not made a massive visible difference to the state of my skin, it does keep my skin well moisturised and supple.  I've not had any dry, flaky patches since I started using it.  As part of a good regime, it will definitely help to keep dry skin adequately hydrated. 

I'm sure I'll keep using this lovely oil until it runs out, but I'm not sure I'm blown away enough to repurchase, although I suspect that this could be one of those products that's a background essential you only appreciate when you run out!  If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can get it from SpaceNK or from Aromatherapy Associates online for £35.  Note that the SpaceNK link is an affiliate link; if you buy, we get a small commission on your purchase.

Boots No.7 Protect and Perfect Anniversary Bash

Yesterday evening we were lucky enough to attend a blogger event hosted by Boots No7, who are currently celebrating a year since the launch of their clinical-trial-milestone Protect and Perfect Intense serum. (Apparently one of these sells every 3 seconds, so it seems that the buzz shows no signs of slowing down.) The event was for Handpicked Media members, so there were a lot of familiar faces as well as some new people to meet.

New guest post on

Today my second guest post will appear on Zuneta. Please head on over and take a look. I'd be delighted if you want to leave me a comment over there too.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Review: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

Disclosure - this is a PR sample. We were sent a range of items from this line.

Gemma didn't get on with the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser when she tried it in the past (due to breakouts). So it fell to me to assume testing duties for the Liz Earle range when we were sent a batch of goodies a month or two back.

My first impression was excellent, due to the care with which the items were packaged and the amount of information we were given to support our review. Obviously this is a marketing/PR rather than a retail experience, but if regular customer service is at a similar level, buyers can expect very lovingly-wrapped packages. (EDIT - I've been informed that the packages for customers and reviewers are made up by the same people, so you will get the same 5* treatment we did. )

Cleanse and Polish has been frequently compared to Eve Lom's famous balm-like cleanser. There are several botanical extracts common to both, including eucalyptus, chamomile and hops. But in terms of the finished products, they're pretty different. The fact that they both involve using a muslin cloth for removal is the main similarity. (And both are cleansers, but as we know, there's a world o' cleansing options out there from soap to scrubs.)

Instead, the product on my shelf I'd be most inclined to compare this to is Ponds Cold Cream (which I really like). Both are opaque, white creamy products that are applied liberally all over the face including the eyes, massaged on and then removed with a wet cloth/flannel.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Philips Lumea update - is it working?

I'm now at the mid-point of my eight-week Philips Lumea trial. I've had two zapping-sessions with the magic hairdryer so far, and I'll be heading off this afternoon to undertake my third.

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting results at this point. But I was pleasantly surprised to see noticeable hair loss even after the first session, and by now I've got a definite balding-armpit look going on.

I have thought carefully about whether to post pictures of my progress. It's a tough decision. On the one hand I know you're insatiably curious as to the benefits of the Lumea. On the other hand, I know that nobody in their right mind would want to pore over photographs of my underarm area. In the end I decided that the interests of taste and public decency were outweighed by the power of hard proof. In internet terms, "PIX OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN." So with that in mind, here are my armpits.

Treatment Review: Crystal Clear Microdermabrasion Facial

A few weeks back, I spent a Wahanda mobdeal voucher at Nougat Spa, Notting Hill.  I've already reviewed the salon itself, and I think the microdermabrasion facial I had was definitely worth reviewing on its own.  So here we go!

Crystal Clear Microdermabrasion promises instant visible results, with improvements in fine lines, blackheads, scarring, enlarged pores and more.  The therapist uses a special machine, which combines a flow of fine crystals with a vacuum to get rid of the dead skin, while giving facial muscles a bit of a work out. 

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Red eyeliner - surprisingly wearable

Here's an EOTD with my newest "adventurous" makeup purchase - Eyeliner Gel from Inglot in shade 79 - aka bright, pillarbox red.

I fell in love with this pretty much on sight. I didn't know if I'd be able to wear it but it didn't matter - the idea of a red gel liner had me sold straight away.

As it turns out, this stuff is great. It has a smooth, creamy formula and is no fuss to apply. It also dries down to an unbudgeable finish. The box describes it as "matte" but I actually found that it had a slightly shiny finish once dry.

I've DIY'd red liner in the past using red eyeshadow and various mixing media, but I feel that the itch is now well and truly scratched with this product.

One small complaint - the product seems to have dried out and cracked a bit in storage, as the picture above shows. I understand that these probably don't sell very often so the stock won't move very quickly. But Inglot, how about designing some decent air-tight packaging for your gel products?

Price was £8, bought from the Inglot store, Westfield, London. I don't have details of an online stockist for this brand, but I'll update this information if I discover any.

More pics below the cut.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Daniel Sandler Watercolour

Disclosure - this is a PR sample

The name says it all - Daniel Sandler Watercolour is a thin liquid formula with a dose of colour mixed in - much like watercolour paint when it's mixed and ready to use.

I was instantly charmed by this neat, unique-looking little product, which is one of 12 Watercolour shades available from Daniel Sandler.

It's suitable for use on eyes, lips and cheeks, but for me there was no question about where to apply this shade, Cherub. It's a dusty neutral pink that makes a perfect spring blush.

The little screw-top bottle contains 15ml of product. That's about the same as an average bottle of nail polish, and given how pigmented this product is, it should go a very long way.

Watercolour can separate during storage, so it needs a vigorous shake before use. It spreads very smoothly on the skin when applied with fingertips, giving effortless even coverage. I found that its high-pigmented nature made this application method a poor option though as it can easily leave a noticeable colour on the fingers.

It's also very long-wearing (the package says "easily removed with waterproof eyemakeup remover", to give an indication) so a brush is probably best unless you have time to cleanse your hands thoroughly after application. The nozzle of the bottle is quite small and precise so you could just dot it straight on and then blend out. Daniel Sandler make a "Waterbrush" specifically for this purpose.

Here's the product applied to my face. This is two drops, blended with fingers. It sets matte and is impressively waterproof.

Daniel Sandler cosmetics and brushes are available at Harrods, or online at Watercolour is £11 (and well worth the price!)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Review: MAC ProLongwear Lipstain

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up one of MAC's new release ProLongwear Lipstain markers.  Having owned (and mostly liked) a couple of CoverGirl's OutLast Lipstains, which are of a similar felt-pen format, I was quite curious to see what a more high end brand would make of the concept.  I was particularly interested in some of the shades which, according to the website colour swatches, were quite subtle and almost neutral - but I found that in person, they most definitely couldn't be classified as nude.  All of the nine shades are intensely coloured - if you're not a lover of bright, intense lips, then this isn't a product for you!

I chose Runway Ripened, which is described as a berry plum red, which is a pretty accurate description of the colour.  The application is pretty easy; simply draw around the lips, then fill in, and (hopefully) enjoy a long wearing colour.  I found that although the product is simple to apply, it's also quite easy to overapply - if you accidentally go a little over an area you've already coloured in, you quickly get a sticky effect that doesn't dry down properly.  It's also a little bit too dry to wear alone, once it does dry down - a bit of gloss or balm is required.

I usually wear lipstick and lipliner, and can get a good 4 hours out of that combination, even when I've had some lunch in the middle.  The wear time on this product is about the same; after lunch, I found that the colour in the centre of my lips was starting to look a little patchy, and after four hours in total, I was starting to veer towards a not-very-nice level of contrast between the outline and the centre of my lips.

The biggest problem is the combination of the lack of a particularly long wear time alongside the fact that you can't layer the product.  Once the centre of my lips faded, trying to selectively top up the colour resulted in a lot of stickiness.  I felt like I'd need to fully remove the product and reapply to get even, comfortable coverage, which isn't particularly feasible on the go.

So, unfortunately I've found myself a bit underwhelmed by MAC's lipstain.  That's not to say that it's inferior to the CoverGirl product - they also suffer from the same dry feeling, and the same layering problem, although not quite as much as the MAC.  While certainly suitable for a night out, or an occasion when you have time to fully reapply halfway through the day, this isn't a product you can maintain through a busy day at work.  I'll keep using mine, but I think I'll stay away from this kind of product in the future.

If you'd like to try MAC's lipstains for yourself, they're available online at £14.50 for 2.5g.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Mascara Recommendations, Anyone?

Oh, I'm bereft.  My much loved tube of Lancome Hypnose Drama is nearing the end of it's life.  I can always tell when this time is approaching with Lancome mascaras:  they start going a bit dry, and I start to notice flaking at the end of the day.

Since I've been uncommonly faithful and had two tubes of Hypnose Drama in a row, I'm getting itchy, err, eyelashes.  I fancy trying something new.  So, I'm asking you - any recommendations?  Anything you'd like to see reviewed?  High end, low end, I don't really care so long as it's black and volumising I'm happy!

Zuneta guest post

Today we're going to do something a little different. Instead of reading here at the blog, I'm going to ask you to go somewhere different for your daily dose of LBR.

Think of it like a school trip. Has everyone got their packed lunches? Everyone got their spending money? Are you excited? OK. Listen carefully. No talking at the back. 

I want you to head over to, where there will be a guest post written by myself, all shiny and new, ready for you to read.

Your homework is to have a look around Zuneta's website and ogle all the awesome products, then tell me which ones you think you'd like to learn more about or see reviewed here on LBR.

Seriously though, I hope you like it. Do feel free to leave a comment there if so, as I'll no doubt be peeking at the page with ridiculous frequency.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Favourite Things: MAC Lipgelee

Last week, I picked up and wore a lipgloss, instead of my usual lipstick.  I'd forgotten how comfortable and easy to maintain they can be, and these MAC lipgelees, which I am very partial to, are definitely both.

Looking pretty intense in the tube, but sheer, moist and jelly like on the lips, Lipgelees are everything I wanted from Juicy Tubes (including the easy to use packaging), but significantly less sticky.  These don't really get sticky until you've been wearing them for over an hour.  They also leave the lips very soft and well moisturised.

The MAC website is currrently showing only two shades; Amber Russe, which I don't own (but now want), and Moistly, which is the furthest right swatch above.  Sugarshock and Who's That Lady were both LE, but are both still available on MakeupAlley and eBay.  I used to also own Saplicious, which was the perfect neutral on me, and it remains the only lipgloss I've ever finished!

From MAC, these cost £12 for 15ml and are, to my mind, one of the most underrated MAC glosses, and are well worth checking out if you're not fond of the ultra-sticky and thick Lipglasses.

Boots Smooth Skin (iPulse) IPL device - first impressions

Update: If you've landed here from Google, looking for honest and thorough reviews and opinions on IPL devices, you'll find a wealth of information here on the LBR via our IPL tag.

Disclosure - this unit is a PR sample, we did not pay for it

My first treatment session with the Boots Smooth Skin iPulse unit was completed yesterday afternoon.

The Boots Smooth Skin will be a familiar sight to many. It has been on sale at Boots since last year, and has set in train plenty of speculation and curiosity owing to its promise of permanent, painless hair reduction. It originally cost £299.99 and was offered at £249.99 during promotional offers. The full price has since gone up to £324.99.

Needless to say I was more than happy to avoid the £325 outlay in order to give the system a try - I'd been wanting one since they came out, although on my budget it wasn't going to happen any time soon.

As regular readers will know, I am also currently trialling Philips Lumea, a rival home IPL device, so there is a comparison element to my reviews here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Review: Dove Visible Effects Hand Cream and Body Lotion

This product was provided for consideration by Dove's PR.

I've been  putting off writing this review for the simple reason that I can't quite find the right words to describe the effects of these products.  The hand cream and body lotion both contain a new, patented ingredient (which we're reliably informed has been in development for years) designed to hold moisture at the surface of the skin.  In combination with a couple of other more widely used ingredients, the formula claims to address dryness in all layers of the outermost part of the skin.

Now, all this science-y stuff is great material for advertisements and press releases, but for me, the main question is whether the products are different (or superior!) to the hand and bodycare products I've used before.  In my experience, the answer is yes - if you're talking about mass market, basic bodycare products, these are amongst some of the nicest I've used, in terms of the softness given to the skin.

After application, there's a period of about five to ten minutes when I feel like there's a fairly noticeable residue on my skin.  The residue doesn't really dissipate with extra rubbing in, either - but after that five to ten minute period has elapsed, it disappears, and the skin is left feeling smooth and soft without any greasiness. 

This is the part I can't quite explain; while my skin is definitely not greasy, and doesn't have any form of residue, it still feels like there's something there.  It's not massively noticeable, and it isn't sticky, but it's there.  I think that this is the part that keeps the outer layers of the skin moisturised, and indeed, after washing my hands, my skin still feels moisturised and soft.  The effect lasts through a good 3 or 4 washes on my hands, and pretty much the whole day on my body.

For me, the hand cream is the stand out product; I don't use body lotion every day (mostly as I'm lazy), but I like to use hand cream a couple of times a day.  The fact that it is non-sticky and keyboard friendly makes it ideal to keep on your desk at work, and the long lasting nature of the moisture it provides far exceeds that of similarly priced beauty basics.  One slight downside to the products: they are quite strongly scented.  It's a fresh, clean, almost cucumber-y scent, but it's not particularly subtle.

If you're interested in trying either product yourself, you can find them both at Boots, where the body lotion will cost you £4.99 for 250ml, and the hand cream will cost you £2.99 for 75ml.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Jemma Kidd Makeup School Hi-Shine Hydrating Glosstick SPF15 review and swatches

Disclosure: These are samples provided for review

Well there's nothing like a product with a snappy name, is there?

Ms Kidd's makeup line has just made the move over to QVC, where it joins two other favourites of mine, Smashbox and Philosophy.

This product is exclusive to QVC, and will be available from 18th April (that's today) via QVC's website.

I was lucky enough to get hold of two of these for a bit of a preview, and I can tell you they're absolutely cracking products.

Things to love:
1. Fantastic packaging.
The lipstick is housed in a sturdy outer case with an attractive contrast-finish foliage design. To get the goods out, you click the end like a biro, and about 1/2 inch of the tube itself pops out for you to grab and pull free. After use, just push it in, and it snaps back into place. Forget clicking your pen for amusement during boring meetings - this is way more fun, and produces a highly satisfying audio-tactile "snick".

The design also passes my handbag-turbulence test; tubes stay securely closed even during the carnage of London rush hour commutes.

2: Square-ended design.
This makes application both easy and satisfying. "Chisel bullet", the press release calls it. "Square end", I feel, is more descriptive, if a bit less clever-sounding. In either case, it goes on very nicely.

3: SPF15 and moisturising formula.
Ideal for summer, and feels lovely on the lips. Also fragrance and flavour free, so should be acceptable to most people.

4: Sheer, wearable colours.
Having carried these in my handbag for the last week, I've found them to be ideal for retouching or adding a bit of colour ad hoc. They're also light enough to apply freehand, like a balm, without resorting to compact mirror or (if shy) ladies loos. Orange/coral (I typed "corange" there - could that be a new trend?) is "Sugar Cane", and pink/red is "Hibiscus". There are 3 more shades available.

5: RTFM. Thoughtful instructions and hints are included inside each box in French and English. Perfect for beginners, and great if you're giving these as a gift to someone new to makeup.

You can buy Jemma Kidd Makeup School Hi-Shine Hydrating Glosstick SPF15 from QVC, priced at £20,92 for a set of two. The RRP is £13, although I can only see these duo sets on the site at the moment.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

NOTD a surprisingly lovely duck egg blue; Mint Choc Chip from Boots 17

This little Lasting Fix polish is one of a selection of copycat Spring pastels that 17 have brought out in the last couple of months. There's also a pink, a purple, and a pale yellow that Amanda Wright models here.

I picked this one up after seeing the gorgeous pastel blue-turquoise Lisa Eldridge wears in this video.

This polish may cost a mere £2.99, but the shade is a stunner and I've had quite a few compliments on it.  It's just blue enough to still be a blue and not a turquoise, but it's a blue with an unusual greenish warmth that really stands out.

I didn't expect to be able to emulate whatever's on Lisa's nails for under £3, but I have to say that with 2 coats and a wholesome topping of the magical wizard's-glaze that is Seche Vite, this lasted as well as any high-end polish that I own, as well as looking the business.

Lasting Fix polishes are currently on offer at Boots - you can get 2 for £5, though as usual Boots only have a fraction of the shades on their site, and these spring ones not included.

(NB Boots if you're short on content editors for your site, my rates are super-reasonable.)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Review: Nougat Spa, Notting Hill

When Wahanda ran a MobDeal to the tune of £100 worth of treatments at Nougat Spa for the tiny price of £30, I whipped my credit card out immediately, as did 280 other people, according to the girls at the spa.  I also rang my Mum and instructed her to bag the deal, and this week we used our vouchers up as part of a very lovely girls day out.

Set in Notting Hill, amongst cute (and no doubt expensive) boutiques from the likes of Nanette Lepore and Aesop, the Nougat store is a whimsical, pretty space.  Upstairs, the brands body care products are displayed alongside a selection of their clothes, with a manicure station to one side.  Downstairs is the business end of the spa, containing two treatment rooms and space for two pedicure stations.

IPL showdown - Philips Lumea vs. Boots Smooth Skin iPulse

I've now had 2 sessions with Philips Lumea (and definitely so far so good - I already have some charming bald patches on my armpits). And there's a new twist in our IPL tale: Boots have been in touch and offered both myself and Gemma the chance to trial their Smooth Skin IPL device (aka Cyden iPulse) to see how it fares against the Lumea.

The launch of Smooth Skin was my wakeup call re. the possibility of home IPL. I researched it thoroughly at the time (and counted my pennies with a view to purchase), so that was my benchmark when I first investigated the Lumea.

As it now stands, Smooth Skin and Lumea seem to be the leaders in the home IPL field, so I'm delighted to be able to offer a direct comparison between the two from a user perspective.

The Smooth Skin arrived yesterday and I'm doing my initial patch test this morning.

Can't wait to see how this pans out...

(image via Google)

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Review: MAC Greasepaint Stick

If you read my post on MAC Art Supplies last week, you might remember that I decided that this MAC collection, unlike many of their collections, contained some items which were a bit different from the norm.  And so, being the makeup addict that I am, I had to go out and buy some, for scientific review purposes.  I picked up the Greasepaint Stick in Charred Mauve, and also a lip stain, which I'll be reviewing next week.

Firstly; unlike the colour images on the website, the product is undoubtably black with the slightest undertones of colour.  I swatched a couple of these on my hands at MAC before I purchased, and the differences were very subtle.  I had thought that the colour was slightly stronger from the descriptions given.

The premise of this product is that it's a smooth, creamy, blendable shadow stick which is easily smoked out.  And indeed, that's exactly what you get - I can't really see how you'd get any other effect with it other than a smoky eye, as it goes on thick and needs to be blended down, and also as the shape of the bullet makes it difficult to get anything other than a thick line.  The texture is very smooth, and so long as you work fast, the creaminess makes this easy to blend.  Leave it too long, though, and the product will have dried down - further blending attempts result in flakes.  Ick.

I had high hopes for the longevity of this, particularly as it dried down much more than say a Paint Pot (all of which crease terribly on me), and as a bit of vigorous rubbing on the swatch on my hand failed to budge my smudgy line.  Unfortunately, my oily eyelids meant that it was not meant to be - about four hours in, I had creasing.  Not terrible creasing, as you can see, and four hours is a long time for a cream product to last on me, but still, that's enough to put me off.  Which is a shame, as I really did like the other aspects of the product.

If your eyelids aren't quite as oil-slick-y as mine, you might find that this holds on better for you; of all the MAC cream eye products, this is definitely the most long lasting I've tried.  The colour is pretty, and the texture is easy to blend.  If you're looking for a single product to get a smoky look, this is worth a try.  Get it from MAC Online for £13.50 for 1g - and bear in mind that it is a limited edition product.

NOTD: The Makeup Store Anett

This is a deep aubergine cream colour from the newly opened Makeup Store in Carnaby Street.  The shop itself is lovely, if a little on the small side, and stuffed full of a wide range of products in a rainbow of colours.

The nail varnish, which costs £11, is easy to apply, has a decent brush, and dries relatively quickly.  This is two coats - in some lights it looks a little patchy, so I think next time I use it I'll be going for 3 full coats.  Formula wise, this isn't anything particularly special, but it works.

I was slightly disappointed by the way that the colour on the nail.  In the bottle, the aubergine colour looks slightly blue toned, slightly dusty.  On the nail, the dustiness is lost and it's just a standard dark purple cream.  Still, it's not a colour I already own, so I will keep using it.

I can't find any online retailers of the Makeup Store products - and the stores in the UK are both in London, at Westfield and on Carnaby Street.  If you'd like to try this, a trip to London might have to be in order, or you could phone the stores and see if they'll do mail order for you.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Lime Crime launch - thoughts and impressions

The Unicorn Queen appears, without ceremony, among the bloggers and PRs standing around in the white light of Space NK.

We are early. Only a few of us are here, and she is introduced to us much like anyone else in the room, a small figure in elegant fancy dress. She's remarkable perhaps for her flame-red hair (curly but without a hint of frizz), her flounced and ruffled outfit, her sage green suede heels, or the flawlessness of her skin. But certainly not in the way she's presented to us. There are no fanfares or chariots. She stands before us motionless for a second before I reach out and shake her hand, and she begins to speak in a quiet dreamy voice.

As we small talk, I observe the unusual perfection of Doe's makeup and outfit. So much effort must have gone into this look, and yet the result betrays no sense of artifice at all. She wears long false lashes, and two black beauty spots are painted onto her face. It should look affected and yet it doesn't at all. It's part of her.

When I think of internet "celebrities", I think "hunched over monitor", I think "unkempt, delusional" and I think "sense of self that has no bearing on reality". I certainly don't imagine a person who looks just as boldly stunning in person as she does on the Photoshopped pages of her website. But Doe Deere lives this persona utterly, looks the part completely, and is perfectly at home in her fairytale. Her fantasy IS her reality, and is expressed with every inch of her body. She lives her dream. Whether that is a good thing or not is open to question.

From what you've read about her scheming ruthless business practices and underhand blogger-muzzling tactics, you'd probably expect Doe to be something of a diva in the flesh, and for her personality to be as distinctive as her outfit. However not even the most ardent of her detractors could have made that accusation after seeing her at the launch this evening. If anything she's, well... vague, and spaced out. Perfectly nice, pleasant to talk to, but she doesn't make a splash in the room. She's happy to chat, and there's no sense of snootiness or reserve, but she is still somehow quite detatched.

The PRs lining the walls make sure everybody is fed and watered (cupcakes and bubbly) and shepherd us all into trying on the Lime Crime lipsticks and having our pictures taken (a professional photographer has been drafted in, and we're told we'll get the pictures for use on our blogs).

Our own pictures are shown here. 

Yet more NYX Lipstick swatches

Another Cherry Culture sale, another London Beauty Review NYX haul... here are six new Round Lipsticks modelled by moi.

Hades (517) - not a very fitting name for this mild-mannered neutral beige.

Fig (640) - a cheery creme pink.

Twist (663) - a punchy red-coral shimmer, very wearable.

NYX (507) Flagship shade? Deep orange shimmer, instant favourite.

Electra (513) Another of these bright cool-toned reds that NYX seem to favour

Chaos (511) An almost psychotically well-pigmented red with fuchsia overtones. Kaboom!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Review: Naked Volume Weightless Conditioner

A few weeks ago, I was at my in-laws for the weekend, and we had a family function to go to.  Me being my clumsy self, I accidentally managed to get facial oil on my fringe the night before the do - not a problem, I thought, I'll just clip my fringe back.  And then my husband gave me one of those looks that told me that not even Batiste would be good enough to solve this greasy-hair problem.  Which is a bit rich coming from a man who didn't bother having his hair cut for 18 months after our wedding.

Anyway.  I had to wash my hair, and I had to get a silicone free conditioner to wash it with, post haste.  I popped out to Boots and immediately went to the Naked section - I love knowing that all the products are silicone free and suitable for co-washing, as I can just pick one up without having to scrutinise the ingredients list.  I happened to pick up Naked Volume Weightless Conditioner, which has now become my joint favourite for co-washing.

As described, this conditioner is very light while still providing plenty of moisture, making it ideal for co-washing my oily roots.  It has a clean, fresh scent which is in no way overpowering, and doesn't linger on the hair.  The texture is pretty light too; this is much more of a liquid conditioner than a thick paste, and it's easy to distribute evenly through the hair.

Once dry, my roots felt clean, and indeed did have a touch more volume than usual - more importantly, I didn't get that over conditioned, heavy feeling which indicates that I'll be needing another wash the next day.  In fact, I got a good three days wear out of my hair before my roots became oily enough to require washing.  All this lightness is fantastic for oily roots, but not so fantastic for dry ends.  I tried to use this throughout my fairly thick hair, but it just didn't have enough moisture and slip to adequately detangle my midlengths and ends. 

In summary, this conditioner is a fantastic co-wash option if you have oily roots, and if your hair is greasy or fine, it would make an ideal light all over conditioner too.  Combined with its low price of just £3.99 for 250ml, and it's wide availability at Boots stores, this is a definite staple for me.  Highly recommended.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can buy direct from Naked Bodycare, or at Boots, at £3.99 for 250ml.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Review: Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil

Disclosure:  This product was provided for review by PR.

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I absolutely adore a good bath.  So when I received a bottle of Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax bath and shower oil, I immediately stripped off and ran a hot bath (although possibly not in that order).  While I've not tried this out as a shower oil (I've not had a shower in years), I've now bathed with it four or five times, and it's slowly becoming a favourite for those tired, weary evenings.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Orange Eyeliner Challenge

Disclosure: The Models Own and OCC items in this post were samples provided for consideration.

Earlier this year, the Metro ran an article about summer corals by British Beauty Blogger, with contributions from Makeup by Katy. I loved their selection of products, and was especially struck by the neon orange Models Own eyeliner that BBB picked out. I told her I loved the look of it but doubted I could pull it off, and she suggested I should try it anyway. And so I have.

Pictured above are the orange pencil itself and a complementing loose eyeshadow in Orangeade, both £5 from Models Own (who kindly provided the materials for this experiment).

The barrel of the pencil is a staggeringly bright colour. It has a highly practical design, with a lidded smudger on the end and a sharpener set into the pencil cap. I love how well thought out it is. Swatched on bare skin, the pencil is opaque and true to colour.
However I found that applying it to the eye (I really didn't enjoy the prospect of this, and as you can see it does look pretty horrible by itself) it dragged quite a bit over the layer of UDPP I had put on in preparation and took a few tries to get payoff. (NB to self for future reference; UDPP and these pencils are not a good mix.)

Obviously I couldn't let it stay like that. Bleurgh. Below are the Models Own Orangeade (right), a cooler toned and surprisingly wearable orange/salmon colour, and OCC Titania loose pigment, a beautiful pale neutral with warm reflects that I thought would be handy in pulling a look together. I put the Orangeade on the lid and the Titania in the inner corners and on the browbone.

The next step was to thoroughly line the eye with UD 24/7 eyeliner in Zero. I went for the inner rim. I rarely do this (I feel a bit squeamish about applying product to mucuous membranes) but I felt I had to put something between that orange liner and my eyes.

That still looked off, so I added some black eyeshadow to the crease (applied with a pencil brush and blended out). And then some NYX Doll Eye mascara.

Passable, no?

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