Monday, 31 October 2011

NOTD: Models Own Beetlejuice Collection: Pinky Brown

Another day, another beautiful Models Own duochrome shade from the Beetlejuice collection.  Yesterday's offering, Aqua Violet, was a subtle duochrome, flashing between a foily teal and a dusky purple.  Today we have a much stronger colour to show you - Pinky Brown.  This shade is a real corker - the base colour is a burgundy, almost speckled with pink flecks, which shifts to a golden, coppery brown.  The duochrome is much stronger, and it takes very little nail tilting to spot the different colours on the nail.

Gorgeous.  Pinky Brown will launch from 10am, Tuesday 1st November, on the Models Own website, along with its four duochrome sisters, and will cost you £5.  I will definitely be picking up a few more from the range - will you?  Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

NOTD: Models Own Beetlejuice Collection: Aqua Violet

Models Own are certainly making a splash at the moment, whipping duochrome lovers into a veritable frenzy with Beetlejuice, a collection of five colour shifting polishes.  They're due to launch on Tuesday 1st November, and as usual for Models Own, they're very reasonably priced at just £5 each.

Aqua Violet is a fairly subtle duochrome, shifting from a bright, almost foily teal to a dusky purple.  It's hard to see the purple shift without tilting your nails at some fairly extreme angles, but it's still incredibly pretty.

Aqua Violet, along with its four duochrome sisters, will be available exclusively from the Models Own website from 10am on Tuesday 1st November, where it will cost you £5.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Quick Pick: JK Jemma Kidd Red Carpet Lip/Cheek Tint & Gloss

Last week, I discovered that celebrity makeup artist Jemma Kid actually has two separate ranges - Jemma Kidd Makeup School, which is high end and available at Space NK, and JK Jemma Kidd, which is a more trend oriented range available at ASOS.  These dual ended beauties are Red Carpet Lip and Cheek Tint & Gloss, which provide a sheer, rosy tint at one end and a clear, non-sticky gloss at the other.

The tint component is packaged in a nifty rollerball format, which makes it easy to apply quickly, and also easily portable.  The reddish shade is the fairly typical rosy red shade, called Glam Up, with the second shade being a deep blackcurranty shade called Dress Up, which looks a little scary in the tube, but is actually quite subtle applied.

Left to right: Glam Up, Dress Up
Both shades are relatively quick to dry down and as expected, last for a good long time on the skin.  Applied as a lip tint, they unfortunately taste bloody awful - but if you can refrain from licking your lips for a few minutes until the tint has dried, the soft effect is worth the wait.

Red Carpet Lip/Cheek Tint and Gloss is available at, where each shade costs £12.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 27 October 2011

NOTD: Zoya Jem

When I found a mini bottle of Zoya's Jem in my Boudoir Prive box last month, I was pretty pleased.  Firstly because I love a good purple, and Jem is nothing if not a great purple, and secondly because I quite like a polish which has the same name as me, even if it's not quite the right spelling.

Anyway, Jem is a beautiful plum-purple with a decent amount of pink and purple sparkle.  It's one of those shades that lights up from within when natural or strong electric light hits it.  Strangely, the golden bronze cast you can see in the bottle is only slightly visible at certain angles in low light - I think I'd love this colour a lot more if that golden bronze were more noticeable.

I was expecting this polish to be a thin, sheer affair which would require a fair bit of layering to really shine - but it was pretty much opaque in one coat.  Two coats gave complete opacity and eliminated any patches, and the reasonably thick, spreadable texture made application a dream.  Tipwear was a problem, unfortunately - after a day I had quite noticeable tipwear, and after two days chips started creeping in, despite a decent application of topcoat.

Zoya Jem is part of Zoya's Smoke and Mirrors collection, and you'll find it at Beauty Chamber, where a full size bottle will cost you £9.95.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review: Perricone Super O-Mega Moisture Cream

I've been using this O-Mega Moisture Cream from Dr Nicholas Perricone's new range, Super, for a couple of months now, and I'm absolutely convinced by its powers.  A simple cream designed to keep the skin moist and hydrated, it contains chia, a herb cultivated for its seeds, which are high in omega 3 fatty acids.  The texture is a regular cream, reasonably thick and emollient, which takes a fair bit of working into the skin before it's absorbed.  

Unusually for a thick, hydrating cream, though, this product leaves no residue on the skin whatsoever.  The skin is left feeling soft and velvety, and unusually plumped up - the skin texture after use is a strange mix of the skin feeling bare to the touch as if no product had been applied, but totally comfortable and elastic from within.  I rarely feel that my skin feels tight and dry, and so it's odd to feel the difference in the comfort level of the skin before and after using this product.

The cream also smells gloriously of marzipan, which certainly motivates me to apply it morning and night.  A small amount goes a long way, and I expect to get three months out of my jar before it runs dry.  This is going to be an absolute winter essential for me - skin feels hydrated and protected all day, even in cold weather, and despite the richness, it's not caused any congestion or spots in my sometimes irritated skin.  It's also telling that I've had my skin analysed twice at events in the past month - and both times I've been told that my skin is extremely well hydrated and elastic, which is a break from the norm for me.

Super O-Mega Moisture Cream costs £29.50 for a 30ml jar, and is definitely going on my repurchase list.  You'll find it at Boots, both in store and online.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Lip of the Day: Stila Lip Glaze in Grapefruit

Can you believe I've never tried a Stila Lip Glaze before?  This Grapefruit shade is my very first... and I've got to say I'm pretty impressed.  I'm not really a lipgloss person, preferring the texture and finish of lipstick, but I find this one rather wearable - it's not sticky, not overly slippy, and it lasts longer than half an hour on the lip.  Which bodes well.  

Grapefruit is a soft neutral pink with that milky quality Stila Lip Glazes are famous for.  It's not too light or too bright, and goes exceptionally well with a stronger eye look.  Reasonably pigmented too - my lips are annoyingly blue tinged, and luckily this cancels that blueness out effectively.  

I quite like the built-in brush packaging, although I do find that they dry out in between uses (particularly if you have a large lip product collection... ahem).  In fact, I find myself quite liking pretty much everything about Stila's Lip Glaze - and I suspect I'll be investigating some more shades.  

Stila Lip Glazes cost £15 each and are available from BeautyBay - where you'll also find this rather nifty set of half-size Lip Glazes, which'll bag you eight shades for £16, including the delectable Grapefruit.  It might well accidentally fall into my house sometime soon!

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review: Lime Crime Candy Eyed Eyeshadow Helper

Sitting pretty in it's spearmint green packaging, Lime Crime's Candy Eyed Eyeshadow Helper claims to keep eyeshadow fresh and uncreased for 24 hours.  I'm not sure I'd ever actually try to get 24 hours wear out of my makeup, but with my super oily lids, I'd be happy with a mere 16 hours.

First of all, the packaging.  The flesh toned primer (which may be a little light for some skins) is encased in a very cute domed pot.  Unlike the unicorn-encrusted Candyfuture lipsticks, launched in SpaceNK last year, I actually really like the packaging of this product.  It's cute but not overly girlie, and has a bit of a retro twist that really keeps it grown up yet still fresh.

Unfortunately, my longish nails end up with bits of primer stuck under them because of the choice to put this product in a pot.  This is easily remedied by using a brush, which is a bit of a faff but preferable to getting flesh toned putty under your nails.  Still - I do wish that primers like this universally came in tubes.  So much more usable.

The top photo was taken at around 7.00AM, just before I left for work.  The bottom photo was taken at 10.00PM - 15 hours later.  The shadow in the second picture is a little less intense, even accounting for the differences in lighting, and there's a tiny bit of creasing starting to appear towards the inner half of the crease.  That said... given how quickly eyeshadow slides off my lids without primer (literally, within an hour), this is impressive stuff.  And unlike UDPP, this primer doesn't create drag and make shadows harder to blend.

Overall, I've found myself surprised by how good this product is.  On my super-oily lids, 16 hours of wear time is a hell of an achievement, placing this primer in the same category as UDPP and Too Faced Shadow Insurance, and earning it a place in my drawer of makeup essentials.  Well worth a try if you find you need a primer to keep your eyeshadow in place all day.

Lime Crime Candy Eyed Eyeshadow Helper is available at Love Makeup, where it will cost you £13.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Review: Margaret Dabbs Medical Pedicure at Urban Retreat, Harrods

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I rant about my feet rather a lot.  I have absolutely no arch, which has led to me being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, a condition whereby the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and extremely painful.  I wear large, ungainly orthotics in my shoes every day to control the symptoms and to allow me to walk more than a very short distance each day.  As a result, my feet are less painful - but thanks to my orthotics, I get quite a bit of pressure and dry skin build up on the pads of my feet.

When I found myself with a week off recently, I booked into Harrods' Urban Retreat spa for a Margaret Dabbs medical pedicure (medi pedi).  The 45 minute treatment is billed as a complete overhaul for the feet, and is carried out by a qualified podiatrist.  Upon arrival, I was settled into a padded leather chair and asked a plethora of questions about my feet, and after being tipped back so I was lying comfortably flat, my feet were given a bit of an inspection.  Alaa, my therapist, manipulated my feet and inspected the extent of the damage, noting that my calf muscles were shortened (which I've heard before) and reminding me that I should really do more stretches to ease some of my foot pain (which I often forget to do).

Alaa then started the process of transforming my feet, taking a scalpel (gulp) and gently paring away the worst of the dry skin from the pads of my feet.  I was told that such extreme treatment is never necessary on the heels - the dry skin there can usually be dealt with by using an abrasive foot file.  After a comprehensive filing, Alaa used a machine akin to a mini-sander, which was used to buff my feet to remove every last scrap of dryness, which tickled more than I would have imagined, but left my feet looking incredibly soft.  A similar machine was used to deal with any excess cuticle growth around my nails, which were then trimmed down and buffed.

Finally, I opted for a bit of acupuncture, to see if it would help with the pain.  Alaa located the most painful areas of my feet with her thumbs, and then inserted a sterile needle.  I have to admit, it was excruciating - but only whilst the needle was being inserted.  I might have yelped.  The needles were left in for a few minutes, and were rotated whilst inside my foot, which in theory would help with some of the inflammation.

I left my hour long appointment with feet that really were transformed - they'd gone from gnarled, hardened things to being soft and healthy looking, and I could feel the lack of hardened skin on the pads of my feet as I walked out of the spa.  At £80, the medi pedi isn't cheap - but if, like me, you find pedicures to be a little bit underpowered and really want a complete overhaul from someone who really knows feet, it's worth the price.  Alaa recommends a maintenance medi pedi every two months or so - and I'd certainly like to make those appointments part of my regime.  

If you're interested in the medical pedicure and acupuncture treatments, you'll find more details on the Urban Retreat website.  The basic pedicure is £80, with 15 minutes of acupuncture costing £40.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Review and swatches - Nars eyeshadow in Outremer

You may have seen the campaign image for the latest Nars collection, featuring model Mariacarla Boscono wearing a vivid matte royal blue eye look. That blue is the single eyeshadow Outremer, a key part of the Fall 2011 collection. The blue does wonderful things for her brown eyes, so I wanted to show that it's also an excellent complement for green eyes, as well as giving a general review.

The shadow itself is presented in standard Nars rubberised packaging with a mirror set into the lid of the compact. I have only ever owned duos and palettes from Nars, and I found the single eyeshadow compact very small and cute by comparison. However it's a very respectable 2.2g in weight, making it good value for £16.50. (To compare, a MAC single eyeshadow is 1.5g and costs £11.50, so gramme for gramme they're about the same value.)

The colour is a glorious, true royal blue - very pure, with a perfect balance that sits exactly in the middle of the blue spectrum - neither indigo, teal nor purple.

Typically for Nars, it's very finely milled and smooth. The pigment is good, but I found it slightly tricky to get it to adhere to the skin - it's a very dry texture and will require a primer to get real true-to-pan payoff. I found that trying to blend it with a brush just lifted the colour off the skin again. It's fine for a lighter wash without a base, however - it's only a consideration when trying to get a solid, opaque blue.These swatches show the shadow applied over a base (left) and dry (right). The colour was packed on rather than swiped.

Finally here is the effect on my eyes, which are greenish-grey. You can see that it really offsets the green and goldish flecks in the irises, and also pulls out the slight blue colouration too.

And a full-face image...

Single eyeshadow in Outremer, £16.50 for2.2g, available from Nars online

Disclosure - PR sample

Thursday, 20 October 2011

FOTD: Vapor Rub

ELF Studio Cream Blush in Vixen

Too Faced Shadow Insurance

Chanel Le Crayon Sourcils in Auburn (brows)
Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolour in Vapour*
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero*

Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Opal

* denotes PR samples

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Review: Enrapture Extremity Heated Rollers

I love heated rollers.  They give fabulous volume, beautiful curls, and add shine - and best of all, I've always found that I don't need to be massively disciplined in how well I section my hair when I put them in to get great results.  The new Enrapture collection of styling tools contains a set of heated rollers - and they're a little bit special.

The case contains 20 rollers - ten large, and ten medium.  I like that the rollers are all reasonably large - I have a set of Babyliss rollers which contain small rollers as well as big fat ones, and have found that I rarely use the smallest ones unless I want my hair to look like a barrister's wig (which isn't very often at all).  These sizes are much more suited to creating soft curls or waves and plenty of volume.

The rollers themselves are slotted - they heat via the case, where they sit on metal rods which fit neatly inside the slot.  The texture of the inner part of the roller is quite grippy, too - once the hair has been initially smoothed onto the roller, it adheres well, making escaping ends much less of a problem.  The clips are designed to be left on the rollers whilst they heat - so when you roll the hair and clamp the roller in place, the heat is coming not only from the roller inside the hair, but from the clip holding the hair to the roller.  This is a very clever idea - it ensures that the hair gets the maximum heat whilst rolled.

My rolling technique is pretty haphazard - I start with the top (along the middle towards the crown), and then cover the sides (bottom up) and the back.  You can see that some of the hair is escaping the rollers - this is entirely down to my laziness rather than the product.  I was going for a relatively easy going, loosely curly, effortlessly glam look - so I didn't really worry that my hair wouldn't end up looking particularly even or polished.  It took me around twenty minutes to roll all my hair - and I have to report that those rollers are hot when they come out of the case.  I took a single roller out, left it on the floor for thirty seconds, and then quickly rolled my hair into it - unlike other rollers I've tried in the past, the edges are not particularly cool.

After removing the rollers, and shaking out the curls with my fingers, I was left with hair that was full, shiny, and glamourously curly at the ends.  Absolutely lovely.  After spraying with hairspray, I found that the effects lasted for the rest of the evening with ease - and the next day I still had some volume and loose curls at the ends.  This is an improvement - my other rollers give results that last only a few hours before dropping, even with hairspray, and I suspect that the difference is the heated grips in the Enrapture product - they really seem to help set the style into the hair.

Overall, these are my new favourite hair tool - for twenty minutes effort, I ended up with very glamourous hair which gathered a fair few compliments at the party I attended!  I'll definitely be using these as often as I can.  Enrapture Extremity Heated Rollers cost £74.99 and are available from, Selfridges, Argos and a wide variety of other retailers, both online and in-store.  Compared to my Babyliss set, which cost around £35, these are indeed very expensive - but the clever heated clamps, quick heating action and good selection of sizes make them a viable alternative if you're looking for a way to get glamourous volume and curl on style-resistant hair.  What do you think?  Too expensive or worth it for that bounce?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

First pics: lash extensions from Boudoir Lashes at Becca, South Kensington

Having lash extensions done is, to be totally honest, not something I would have done if it wasn't for the blog. I don't have exceptional lashes, but they're not short or sparse enough to really bother me. However, I've been curious about extensions since seeing the impressive effect on a friend who gets them done regularly, so when we were offered the chance to try lash extensions by Asma Docrat, proprietor of Boudoir Lashes based at Becca in South Kensington, I eagerly agreed.

Lash extensions are something like hair extensions - on the smallest, most accurate and detailed scale. Tiny, individual false lashes made of polyester, silk or natural mink fur are glued on to your natural lashes one by one using fine-point tweezers, giving a totally seamless effect that adds length, volume and colour to the lashes.

Asma Docrat is a beauty therapist and lash-fanatic who has been practicing the fine art of lash extensions for some time, and has recently teamed up with Becca in South Kensington to offer her lashes as part of their range of treatments and services. She uses a mix of Jinny Lash and Novalash synthetic lashes.

A flick through Asma's impressive portfolio shows the dramatic effect lash extensions can create, opening up the eye area and making the eye colour seem more vivid. She has clients of all ages, many of whom come back time after time, hooked on the impressive results.

The process is quite painstaking, as you'd expect, and can take upwards of an hour and a half, depending on the number of lashes applied and how your natural lashes curl (very curly or very straight lashes take longer to apply, because the extension fibres are curly and apply more easily when glued onto natural lashes with a similar curl to them). The lashes come in different sizes and thicknesses, which can be blended together to get the right effect for each client.

Lash extensions can last from 2-4 weeks, depending on the natural growth cycle of your lashes (i.e. how often they drop out) and how well you care for them. To make them last, you need to...

  • avoid oil-based eye makeup remover, and keep moisturiser and eye cream away from the extensions (as the oil breaks down the bonds in the glue)
  • avoid using products with high concentrations of alcohol, urea or natural solvents on the lashes
  • don't rub or pull on the lashes
  • don't sleep on your side or front if possible, as lashes will rub on the pillow
  • avoid getting shampoo on the lashes
  • don't use waterproof mascara - if mascara is needed, use water-soluble types
  • don't get the lashes wet or go into steamy environments for 24 hours after they're applied (including baths and showers!)
There's more info on Asma's website -

On arriving at Becca, I met Asma and we chatted about the lash extension process and the after-care my lashes would need. I signed a disclaimer and Asma looked at my eyes and decided what sort of lashes she would use. We were limited to shorter lashes because I wear glasses - she was careful to make sure that the extensions wouldn't rub against the insides of my glasses when completed. When all my questions were answered, I lay down on a massage table on my back so Asma could begin her work.

The first part of the process is to tape down the lower lashes out of the way, so there's no danger of the glue getting into them and gluing the top and bottom lashes together. Micropore tape is used. Once the lower lashes are taped down, the eyes are closed and a few minutes' wait allows the eyes to settle in position.

This was the only uncomfortable part of the process for me. My waterlines itched from the tape and it took around 5 minutes for the irritation to settle. Afterwards my eyes were a bit red.  It wasn't unbearable or lasting, and is a normal part of the process, but it's worth mentioning in case you have particularly sensitive eyes.

With the tape in place, Asma began to work, lash by lash, applying the extensions with tweezers. Professional lash extension glue is latex-based and costs around £65 for 5ml. The higher the quality of the glue, the longer the extensions will stay on the lashes. The lashes are drawn through a small blob of glue before being laid on the natural lash, while the other lashes are held out of the way.

It took around an hour and a half for Asma to finish, but the time passed quite easily and I was surprised afterwards at how late it had become. It's quite relaxing lying back on the couch and Asma was great, putting me at ease and chatting with me to keep me entertained. She's planning to make the experience more treatment-like and luxurious, with candles, blankets and foot-masks for clients during the process.

So - here are the photos of my enhanced lashes, after 1 day of wear:

They feel very comfortable to wear, completely unlike strip lashes. The glue is applied to the lashes, not the skin, so there's no sensation of tightness or pulling when you move your eye. They are slightly stiff to the touch, but no more than natural lashes with mascara on them would be.

I'll report again on how long they last and how my lashes feel after they're removed in a few weeks.

Disclosure - lashes applied free for purposes of review

Monday, 17 October 2011

Review & Swatches: Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolour in Frost, Vapor and Rose Gold

Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolours are a pretty self describing product.  The mineral based pigments are packed into these little tubes, and promise a high sheen, high pigment eyeshadow experience.

Even in the tube, you can see the bright, metallic sheen that these colours have when the light hits them full on.  

Left to right: Frost, Vapor, Rose Gold

And swatched, you get the full effect.  Dabbed on directly from the applicator included in the tube, the colours don't skimp on their promises - they're very shiny, very metallic, and very pigmented indeed.  If you look closely at the edges of these swatches, though, you might be able to spot the reason why I'm not going to give these gorgeous little tubes a full-on rave review.

The applicator, included in the lid of the tube, is a spongy wand.  It comes with a spring action, which keeps the spongy wand pressed down into the product when inserted - and when you twist the lid and start to remove the wand, you can feel it springing out.  The problem, though, is that the spongy bit gets incredibly saturated with colour.  If you don't tap or wipe the access off the sponge, you'll get a huge amount of fall out when you apply the shadow to your eyes.  The first two times I used the product, I ended up with huge circles of colour smudged under my eyes thanks to the fall out.  

Applied to the eyes, this is undoubtedly a high impact product.  I just love the creamy, shiny metallic finish, and the Vapor shade seems to pull a little bit blue on me, making my eyes stand out.  For this kind of effect, I'm happy to apply my eyeshadow before I apply my foundation, so I can cleanup any fall out with a dab of makeup remover... I just won't be trying to apply it unless I have plenty of time for careful application and careful cleanup.

If you love a high shine, metallic look, then you might well love this product - particularly if you're happy to put up with a slightly more involved application process.  You'll find these three shades, along with nine more, at the Bare Minerals website, where they'll cost you £15 each.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Review: Urban Decay Mariposa eyeshadow palette

Urban Decay really like their butterflies. The new Mariposa eyeshadow palette ('mariposa' is Spanish for butterfly) features a lovely embossed image of a butterfly on the lid, and a semi-abstract butterfly wing design on the inner insert.

The Mariposa palette is a slimline metal tin with a hinged lid. It reminds me of the sort of tin expensive cigars or cigarillos are presented in. Inside, there is a loose-ish cardboard insert with ten 0.8g eyeshadow pans set into it, and a well with a mini-sized UD taklon brush. The pans are smaller than the Book of Shadows or Naked palette pans - they're just over half the size/weight of standard Urban Decay eyeshadows.

The tin is easy to open, with a lip under the closure (which clicks shut gently - it's not secure enough to keep in your handbag but is fine for using at home). There's no mirror in the lid, which is unusual for UD but does make the palette lighter.

The brushed metal finish is attractive and unlike the shiny 15th Anniversary palette, it doesn't attract fingerprints. But it is surprisingly delicate and prone to scratches. The picture shows the scratches already on the palette from transit when it was sent to me, and since then it's picked up a few more from being used around the house.

Colour-wise, this is a fairly standard UD selection, and is typical of recent palettes. There are some eye-catching brights, some smouldery cool tones and some warm neutrals. It's all shimmers, and there's a bit of microglitter in some of the shades too. 

It seems that since the Naked palette, UD are keen to capitalise on their success by including a generous handful of neutrals in each new palette, but in Mariposa's case, the 2 new neutrals, Spotlight and Limelight, are the two weakest offerings, both being quite gritty and sheer compared to the high standard of the other shadows. Skimp, the soft satin-textured highlighter, is a welcome addition. It's a new shade, but is also featured in the Book of Shadows IV. 

I was most interested in the cooler tones on the left-hand side of the palette. Money, a greenish-grey, was part of the Book of Shadows II and is a unique but subtle shade that's great for bringing out brown or blue eyes, while the dirty dark plum Rockstar makes a great liner or smoky eye. Mushroom is a superb cool taupe, and Haight is a vivid teal with pigmentation that allows you to create a really dramatic look.

A minus point for the palette is the fact that the cardboard insert containing the shadows doesn't fit flush with the tin, and shakes around inside it. It also moves around when you work your brush into the pans to pick up colour. I'm not sure why this is the case - perhaps it's so that you can prise the insert out after you've used up the shadows and re-use the tin. However it makes the palette feel a bit flimsy and it's less satisfying to use as a result. To fix this, you could poke a small folded bit of paper down the side of the insert to brace it in place. 

Mariposa would be a beautiful gift for someone new to Urban Decay. However it's probably not a must for an obsessive established collector, as most of the shades are either replicated in other places or similar to existing colours. It's very practical and represents excellent value for money, but doesn't have the "wow" factor of some of their more conceptual palettes.

Disclosure - PR sample
Related Posts with Thumbnails