Friday, 30 September 2011

Review: Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy

I've heard much about Fyrinnae and their beautiful loose shadows, and a whole lot about Pixie Epoxy.  For those of you not in the know, Pixie Epoxy is a sticky clear gel designed to help loose shadows look foiled (extra metallic and sparkling) without the need to mess about with damp brushes.  It's not a primer.  You apply it over the top of primer (unless your eyelids are less oily than mine and you don't need primer), and then pack shadow over the top.

It's potent stuff.  You need the smallest possible amount, and then probably only half of that.  I've been taking a tiny bead of product and dabbing it gently across my eyelid, then waiting a few seconds for it to get tacky.  I've found that synthetic brushes work best with Fyrinnae's shadows, and using a firmly bristled brush discourages any desire to sweep the shadow on, which doesn't really work with the Epoxy.

The top row of swatch-dots have been applied dry, and the bottom row have been applied atop a thin layer of Pixie Epoxy, which you can just about see between the dots.  The Epoxy makes the colour seem much more bright and vibrant, and really brings out the shimmer.  Impressive stuff, no?

Here's Dinosaur Plushie and Sorceress (from the Arcane Magic collection), applied over the top of Pixie Epoxy.  The colours are bright and beautiful, with a gorgeous shimmer.  I probably could have packed them on even more heavily for an even more impactful eye, but hey.  I did find that blending was very difficult on top of the Epoxy - it's designed to grab and hold colour, so trying to sweep colour around on top of it just doesn't work.  The best way to get a blended look is to dab on varying layers of colour and use clever placement to build up a gradient.

I'm impressed with Pixie Epoxy.  It does give incredible depth to shimmery colours, and if you're looking for a high impact, high shine night look, it'll help you achieve it without bothering with damp brushes.  It does, however, make eye makeup application a longer process - for me, it means primer, Epoxy, and then several layers of shadow packed on.  Not really something I can be bothered with every morning - but certainly worth while for a night out.

Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy costs a very, very reasonable $7 for a tube which'll last a long, long time, given the amount needed per application.  You'll find it at Fyrinnae's website - and here's the kicker.  As Fyrinnae is a small business, it sometimes randomly goes offline, so you'll need to be lucky to buy it.  What do you think?  Tried Pixie Epoxy?  Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dr Nicholas Perricone's new range is SUPER

I'm currently trialling two products from Dr Nicholas Perricone's latest range, Super, and thus far I'm pretty impressed.  I'd usually associate Perricone with high end, high science, high tech anti-aging products with a correspondingly high price, so I was surprised to find that Super is a completely different beast.  The products are based on superfood ingredients (hence the name), such as chia in a moisturiser, acai in a cleanser, and apple in a breakout solution.  They also contain none of the current crop of controversial ingredients - no mineral oil, no parabens, no colours, no fragrances, with silicones being avoided where possible.

The price range is another surprise - the products cost between £14 and £37.  I'm using the Sweet Clean cleanser with acai, and the O-Mega moisturiser with chia (which smells gloriously of marzipan), and will report back in a few weeks on how my skin is liking them.  In the meantime, you can find the range at larger Boots stores, at, and in Selfridges London.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

NOTD: 17 Magnetised Nail Polish in Teal

Following on from Sarah's sneak preview earlier this week, here we have Boots 17's magnetic polish in all it's glory.  Magnetic polish is the best thing since, well, crackle finish.  This isn't actually a new trend - L'Oreal and Lancome offered magnetic polishes way back in the distant past, and then for some reason they disappeared. Now, joyously, they are back.  17 are leading the pack with a budget version which, at just £5.99, creates an interesting, multi dimensional stripe effect which even a clumsy moo like me can manage.

Staggeringly, the above photo shows a single coat of the Teal shade applied and magnetised (which, by the way, is the correct spelling - this being a British product and all).  The polish has to be applied thickly, and the magnet in the cap held above the wet polish more or less immediately - so application is on a finger-by-finger basis.  I'm impressed that a single coat gives such decent opacity, and even without the magnetic effect, this colour is rather gorgeous.  It doesn't layer well - so if you mess up a nail, best to remove the polish all together and try again, or the magnet effect will grow less clear for each coat.  

I really like that the magnet on the cap is separate to the top of the brush you use to apply the polish - much more maneuverable.  The little lip is a great idea - rest it gently just above the cuticle, and most nails get the full effect of the magnet (although if you're me, you might accidentally touch the magnet to your polish a few times until you get the hang of it).  I do wish it were a little wider, though - my thumb nails are quite wide, and have to move the magnet quickly around the nail surface to get the effect across the entire area.  

Either way - magnetic polishes look certain to be a bit hit for autumn.  You'll find this one, along with its Lilac, Gunmetal, and Blue cousins, at Boots, where it will cost a very reasonable £5.99.  What do you think?  Love the look, or over it already?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review & Swatches: Clarins Rouge Prodige Lipstick

Ah, lipstick, how I love thee.  Particularly gorgeously packaged, shiny looking ones like these Rouge Prodige lipsticks from Clarins.  According to the blurb, they give long-hold, comfortable colour, with intense pigmentation and shine.  Packaged in Clarins' signature gold, they're slim in the hand, but weighty and solid. 

Now, on to some swatches. 

Natural light
Left to right: Tender Rose, Miami Pink, Peach Sorbet, Rosy Coral

With flash
Left to right: Tender Rose, Miami Pink, Peach Sorbet, Rosy Coral

Natural light
Left to right: Clementine, Red Prodige, Nude, Creamy Toffee

With flash
Left to right: Clementine, Red Prodige, Nude, Creamy Toffee

With the promise of great pigmentation, I was slightly surprised to find that most of the shades required a couple of passes to get the depth of colour shown in the swatches above.  I suspect that the reason for this is more down to the texture than it is the level of pigmentation in the lipstick itself.  The texture makes these beautifully comfortable lipsticks, and not in the typical slippy-silky manner.  These are thicker, a little more waxy, more akin to a thick balm - and like a thick lip balm, you do have to warm them a bit before they apply smoothly to the lips.

Tender Rose - natural light

  Red Prodige - natural light

As for the hold, I can't say I entirely agree that these are long-wearing.  I managed to get around 3 hours out of Red Prodige, which is the strongest and thus most likely to show bad wear.  It's not awful, but it's not all that impressive, either - I've got a number of similar reds in my collection which wear much better.  I also found that the wear was a little uneven, with hints of the dreaded lipliner look appearing towards the end of the 3 hour wear period.  The more neutral colours perform better, with about 4 to 5 hours wear, and a more even fade.

All in all, I find myself liking some of the more neutral shades - particularly Tender Rose, which cancels out the blue in my lips - and feeling that the uneven fade puts me off the stronger shades.  I like the thick, waxy texture, and I like the comfort level whilst wearing these - I'd just love it if they wore a little better.  They are also pretty strongly scented - I personally love it, but if you don't like sweet, juicy, fruity scents, you might not.

Rouge Prodige lipsticks are available from Clarins counters and concessions, and via their website, where each lipstick will cost £17.  

Disclosure: PR samples

Monday, 26 September 2011

Magnetic and duochrome polish - a good week for nails at Boots 17

Boots 17 have everyone on tenterhooks with the promise of their new magnetised nail polishes. At £5.99 each, they're some of the best value magnetic polishes around and come in 4 rather lovely colours, due to land in selected stores any day now. While we haven't gotten hold of full bottles of these yet, we were able to try them out courtesy of a very generous friend in possession of all the shades, so here's a quick preview of the finished effects:

There's also a real gem among the latest releases from 17 - Fast Finish polish in Fury (£2.99), a green-bronze duochrome that BritishBeautyBlogger has pegged as a near-dupe for Chanel Peridot.

Both the Magnetized and Fast Finish polishes are available online from, and there's currently a 3 for 2 across makeup too.

Disclosure - Fury is a press sample

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Fragrance love: Le Labo Rose 31 + Liberty beauty GWP

Sometimes it's only when you hanker after something for a while that you really, really get the most out of it when it finally comes into your possession. That's how I felt when I purchased my first full-sized Le Labo fragrance last week. I've been curious about the brand ever since I wandered up to the counter in Liberty's fragrance hall last year and got acquainted with the brand and some of the scents.

Le Labo is a New York fragrance house owned by two French entrepreneurs and fragrance lovers. It's very niche, but also very international, with stand-alone stores in New York, LA, Tokyo and London (as well as the Liberty counter, pictured above). It has a distinctive style of marketing and presenting its scents - each one is made to order at the counter using a mix of oils and ethanol that are hand-blended together. The bottle is then labelled with your name, the date and the place of manufacture. (There's also a "fresh until" date, but Marc at Liberty explained that like any fragrance, how long it lasts depends on how you store it, so provided it's kept out of sunlight, a Le Labo fragrance can last around 3.5 years.) Despite the attentive mixing and labelling procedure, the atmosphere on the counter is very low-pressure. You're actively encouraged to smell and wear the different fragrances at your leisure, with no aggressive sales-pitching or steering from the staff. Bliss!

It was this approach that really allowed me to get interested in the range. Having spent an idyllic half-hour at the counter late last year, I'd ordered up a batch of sample vials from LuckyScent and spent some quality time trying them at home for several months. The scents are all powerful, original and very gender-neutral, and come in clinical-looking but old-fashioned glass bottles. The names are as straightforward as can be - each one is composed of the fragrance's chief note, followed by a number that reflects how many ingredients are in the mix.

I knew pretty definitely that Rose 31 was the scent I wanted to try first. It's a rose designed to be wearable by men. For me, the composition couldn't be more perfect - under a delicate rose top note, there's a heart of spices, woods and smouldering incense on top of a base of light, skin-scented musk. I can definitely imagine a man wearing it, but it's equally suitable for women. In fact, when I met a woman wearing this scent one evening it smelled absolutely divine on her; full, dark and complex but not overly masculine at all.

Liberty's current GWP was the push I needed to take the plunge and buy a full bottle of Rose 31. On offer is a Liberty print makeup bag filled with skincare and makeup miniatures from various high-end brands including ESPA, Ren, Hourglass and Trish McEvoy. The spend threshold is £90. A 50ml bottle of Le Labo EDP costs £90. It was obviously meant to be.

The service I received at the counter was impeccable. Marc, the sales assistant I met, is clearly a passionate fragrance lover and gave impartial but very knowledgeable advice about the range and about fragrance in general. He took obvious pleasure in mixing, labelling and boxing up my Rose 31, flourishing tissue paper as he wrapped the bottle for transit in its personally labelled box. He placed it reverently in a Liberty bag before walking around the counter to place it in my hands and thanking me by name. In a city where sales assistants are often rushed or tied into aggressive sales protocols, it was a real breath of fresh air to get such attentive and gracious service without a hint of pushiness or upsell. I left feeling really positive and happy.

So, I'm in love with my Rose 31 and have been wearing it constantly since purchase. If you get the chance, try it (and the rest of the Le Labo line) at Liberty or in the Le Labo Marylebone store. EDP 50ml is £90, and 100ml is £132. You can also refill your empty bottles at lightly lower prices - from memory, the 50ml refill is £72, and given how much I love Rose 31 so far I think I'll probably be taking advantage of this within the next 6 months.

Finally, a word about the GWP. The contents of the bag do vary, so I thought it may be helpful to show what I received in mine. L-R: Dermalogica daily microfoliant mini, Cowshed Moody Cow body lotion mini, Aesop body lotion mini, Shu Uemura lash application voucher (not sure if this includes the lashes themselves), Korres 2x echinacea facial soap for oily skin, Trish McEvoy eyeliner mini, Bamford bath oil mini, full size Hourglass mascara, Kiehls body lotion mini, ESPA floral toner mini, Ren Rose Otto bath oil mini. (There was also a Malin+Goetz shaving gel mini, but I gave it to a male friend so it's missing from the pic.)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Challenge: Day 7 - Mulberry

Last day of the challenge, and I've saved a gorgeous red to last - Mulberry, a lovely raspberry pink-red which is perfectly autumnal.  The finish is slightly sparkly, but not overly frosty (unlike other lipsticks I could mention).  It's comfortable to wear, much like the other lipsticks in the range, but doesn't grab the lips and hold quite like Ruby Tuesday does.  The wear is still even, though, and occurs after around 4 hours, which ain't half bad.

Left to right
 English Rose, Mulberry, Ruby Tuesday, Burnt Caramel, Pink Brandy, Bewitching Coral, Chilli

Max Factor Colour Elixir lipsticks are available in 15 shades and cost a very reasonable £7.99 each. That concludes the challenge - and to be honest, it's not been particularly hard for someone who loves lipstick as much as I do.  The only colours I don't really like are Pink Brandy and English Rose - the reds I've tried are gorgeous, and I've been pleasantly surprised by Bewitching Coral and Burnt Caramel.  Which shades are you tempted by?

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Challenge: Day 6 - Ruby Tuesday

There are some red lipsticks which, when layered up on the lips, stick to them with a passion, refusing to fade or slide, remaining bright and even all day.  Some of my favourite reds have this quality - MAC's Classic Dame Mattene, Estee Lauder's Red Velvet, and NYX's Chaos, to name but a few.  Today's Max Factor Colour Elixir falls into that category too - Ruby Tuesday is a bright, well pigmented classic blue toned red, which goes on opaque, feels comfortable on the lip, and once touched up an hour or so after the initial application has set, holds all day long.

I've literally been wearing this shade for 16 hours as I type, and with two touch ups (of the kind where you simply press the lipstick from the bullet into the lip, rather than swiping), it's still glamourously opaque and rich.  I will definitely, definitely be adding this to my permanent red lipstick collection.

Can you tell I'm happier wearing Ruby Tuesday than I was wearing English Rose yesterday?

Left to right
 English Rose, Mulberry, Ruby Tuesday, Burnt Caramel, Pink Brandy, Bewitching Coral, Chilli

Max Factor Colour Elixir lipsticks are available in 15 shades and cost a very reasonable £7.99 each. Stay tuned for more shades this week!

Disclosure: PR sample

Swatch: Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Illusoire

I recently fell in love with the high sparkle, bouncily textured Illusion d'Ombre in Emerveill√©, and when I just so happened to be standing at the Chanel counter in Boots this week, I had to buy Illusoire, which I thought was a shimmering purple.  As it turns out, it's more of a subtle purple toned graphite shade - combining the best of silver and purple, two of my very favourite eyeshadow colours.  I absolutely love it.  It's flattering to my hazelish green eyes, easy to wear, and has the most gorgeous metallic sparkle when layered up.  LOVE IT.  I'd better not end up anywhere near a Chanel counter anytime soon, or I'll probably cave and buy another one.  Illusion d'Ombre eyeshadows cost £22.50 each, and you'll find them at Chanel counters and concessions, and online at 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Challenge: Day 5 - English Rose

This is a tricky one.  English Rose is a light yet bright pink, and a colour which I'd probably like a lot more if it weren't so damn frosty.  Even a very light application gives a very frosty effect, which I personally can't stand.  I'll admit to having removed this lipstick fairly sharpish after photographing it, and putting on Burnt Caramel again.

Bleh.  Do you think you could work this shade?

Left to right
 English Rose, Mulberry, Ruby Tuesday, Burnt Caramel, Pink Brandy, Bewitching Coral, Chilli

Max Factor Colour Elixir lipsticks are available in 15 shades and cost a very reasonable £7.99 each. Stay tuned for more shades this week!

Disclosure: PR sample

First Glimpse: VIVO Cosmetics

If you've taken a stroll down the makeup aisle at your local Tesco lately, you might have spotted the Vivo range sitting unobtrusively in a corner.  Designed by the budget beauty brains behind MUA Cosmetics at Superdrug, Vivo is positioning itself as a sort of reasonably priced MAC.  Not sure how a small, supermarket only brand can really try to align itself to an established brand like MAC, but hey... let's take a look at two of the products.

First up - single eyeshadow in Aqua Marine.  I like the big, flat pan, and I particularly like the embossing, which adds a little bit of detail which goes a long way to stop it from looking overly cheap.  The price point for this product is a staggering £1.50.  Swatched, you can see that there is indeed a decent amount of pigment to be had - and you can also see that much like other cheaper shadows, the pigmentation and finish are achieved with a slightly oily base.  This can make the shadow a bit difficult to apply smoothly - but seriously, if you're going to spend £1.50 on an eyeshadow, you can't expect pigmentation, a pretty finish, and a texture that applies itself.  

I've saved the better product for last, here - this is the Baked Bronze in Sun Kiss (shade 1).  It's a very softly milled, fine powder which swirls easily onto a brush, and doesn't scatter powder all over the place like some baked products can do.  I'm usually fairly terrified of bronzers, being super pale and scared of being orange, but I found that applied with a light hand, this bronzer gives a light glow and a touch of definition without the tangerine factor.  I also like the finish - it's got a tiny amount of sheen to it, but it's much more of a natural glow, making it a very good compromise between matte and sparkly.  At just £5, this is a bit of a bargain bronzer - and it makes me want to peruse the equally pretty looking Baked Blush range next time I go down to Tesco for my weekly shop.

Thus far, I've been impressed with what I've seen of the VIVO range - you get entirely decent pigmentation and a good selection of shades for just a few pounds, and the range doesn't feel super cheap - just functional. Definitely worth considering if you're looking for an easily accessible budget treat.  VIVO Cosmetics are available exclusively at Tesco now.  What do you think?  Spotted these in your local store?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR samples

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Challenge: Day 4 - Burnt Caramel

Today's Max Factor Colour Elixir lipstick is Burnt Caramel, a rosy neutral brown shade.  It's a relatively full coverage shade - a single pass over the lips gave a creamy, opaque covering of colour.  As with the other shades I've tried this week, the lipstick feels plush and comfortable on the lips, and lasts a good four or five hours before requiring a top up.  

I originally paired this shade with a purple-silver eyeshadow and relatively bright blush, assuming that it would be a very unassuming neutral, but once I realised that it was a more full coverage, neutral but still noticeable colour, I blended my blush out a little to prevent myself from looking overdone.  Whilst Burnt Caramel isn't my favourite shade from those I've tried so far (predictably I love yesterday's Chilli the best), this is an excellent addition to any lipstick wardrobe.

Left to right
 English Rose, Mulberry, Ruby Tuesday, Burnt Caramel, Pink Brandy, Bewitching Coral, Chilli

Max Factor Colour Elixir lipsticks are available in 15 shades and cost a very reasonable £7.99 each. Stay tuned for more shades this week!

Disclosure: PR sample

Liberty Offers High End Gift With Purchase

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday 21st September, Liberty are offering an excellent gift with purchase when you spend £90 or more in their iconic beauty and fragrance halls, both in store and online.  A cute Liberty print makeup bag contains mini sized products from the likes of Ren, Cowshed, Trish McEnvoy, Hourglass, Kiehl's... a veritable horn of plenty for the discerning beauty lover.  Quick, someone!  Hide my credit card!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Challenge: Day 3 - Chilli

Ah, this is more like it.  Chilli, a crimson shade with golden sparkle, is much more up my street than the explorations in orangey pink I've tried so far.  Again, it's not massively pigmented - I'd say medium buildable - but a couple of passes over the lips gets a decent opacity.  The finish is shiny and pretty, and I daresay my lips look plumper wearing it.  It also wears reasonably, leaving a reddish stain instead of the dreaded ring of ugly fade.

With gold eyeshadow, brown liner, and plum blush, this lipstick makes for a gorgeous transitional look.  I love, love, LOVE the colour.  Definitely wearing this one again!

Left to right
 English Rose, Mulberry, Ruby Tuesday, Burnt Caramel, Pink Brandy, Bewitching Coral, Chilli

Max Factor Colour Elixir lipsticks are available in 15 shades and cost a very reasonable £7.99 each. Stay tuned for more shades this week!

Disclosure: PR sample
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