Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review - Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac eyeshadow

As Gemma reported last week, Estee Lauder have recently translated their 3-in-1 powder/liquid/gel format into a range of eyeshadows, Cyber Eyes.

I tried out Cyber Lilac. It's a metallic mid-purple with a black-ish plummy base.

Like Cyber Copper, the eyeshadow looks pretty impressive in the pan - it's got a kind of grooved, undulating surface design that catches the light beautifully.

The texture is decidedly solid - it's definitely a powder, unlike the original 3 in 1 gelee textured face powder that came out with the Modern Mercury collection last year. That was kind of squidgy and interesting. However, despite not having the bouncy texture I was expecting, Cyber Lilac is tractable enough and is easy to pick up on fingertip or brush.

It swatches onto the skin in a smooth, light layer that remains evenly translucent unless you build it up. I found it very easy to apply to the eye, and although it wasn't the "wow" effect I was perhaps hoping for, it does earn its place as a good, wearable metallic dark purple. It would make a great crease shade, particularly as it's very easy to blend and build.

Overall I have mixed feelings about it. I was hoping for something virtually a cream shadow, and almost opaque on application and giving a really striking effect. This is possible by building up the shadow and using it wet, but perhaps unreasonably, I think I hoped to be able to get that effect right out of the gate.

Cyber Lilac eyeshadow is £19, available from Estee Lauder online

Disclosure - PR sample

Monday, 30 January 2012

Review: MeMeMe Dew Pots

Luxury on a budget brand MeMeMe have released Dew Pots, which are already being compared to MAC Paint Pots across the blogosphere.  These pretty little pots of colour are cream eyeshadows which promise great pigmentation and long wear.

Here we have four shades - Woodland Truffle and Deadly Berry on the top row, and Moonlight Mist and Hollow Haze on the bottom row.  Housed in heavy little glass pots, these definitely feel much more expensive than their £7.25 price tag, and they look rather like MAC's Fluidline liners.  

Woodland Truffle, Deadly Berry

Moonlight Mist, Hollow Haze

Swatched, you can see the depth of pigmentation - these were swatched gently with a fingertip, and I found that the creamy, silky texture applies smoothly to the skin, leaving behind a powerful punch of colour.  Deadly Berry and Moonlight Mist have a satiny finish with low level sparkle, with Hollow Haze and Woodland Truffle  having a much more obviously glittery finish.  So very pretty.

Deadly Berry applied.  As you may know, I have the world's oiliest eyelids, and cream eyeshadows really get a damn good testing when applied to my unprimed lids.  I found that the Dew Pots don't really set particularly well on the skin - and opening my eye after application basically meant that the berry tint creased immediately.  I sheered it out with a fingertip until it was the soft, subtle wash shown above - and still, creasing.  With primer, it's a little better, but still - I definitely wouldn't call this great performance or great wear.

If your eyelids are less oily, you might find this stuff adheres better.  Even if they are oily, you might love these pots of colour as gel eyeliner, and I'd certainly wear Hollow Haze as a highlighter on the browbone or on the cheekbones.  For me and my oily lids, though, these don't work as cream shadows, which is such a shame.

If you're interested in trying MeMeMe's Dew Pots for yourself, you'll find them in Superdrug stores and on the MeMeMe website, where each colour will cost you £7.25.

Disclosure: PR samples

Sunday, 29 January 2012

New Love: Rodial Glam Balm Lip

When I heard about Rodial's Glam Balm Lip at a recent event, I was reasonably sure that it'd be a fairly standard petroleum based balm with a slight pink tint and a rose scent.  Turns out I was right on two out of three of those assumptions - it is indeed slightly pink, and it does smell of roses.  But it's more than a standard petroleum balm, containing a plethora of other ingredients, including oils and fruit extracts.

On the lips, it leaves a pretty glossy finish, with the pinkish tint not really showing up too much at all.  The balm packs an impressive moisturising punch, sinking slowly into the lips and leaving them looking and feeling well hydrated and plumped up.  My lips always suffer during the winter time, and slathering on a thick layer of this balm in the morning and evening has really helped to save them from the excessive dryness and chapping you get with cold weather.  

At £19 a pot, it's not cheap stuff, but if you don't mind splashing a bit of cash on lip balms, this one is perfectly lovely, and I'll enjoy using it up to the very bottom of the pot!  If you want to try Glam Balm Lip, you'll find it at Rodial's website.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Review & Swatches: Estee Lauder Cyber Eyes Eyeshadow in Cyber Copper

Estee Lauder's Cyber Eyes Eyeshadows are designed to provide plush, rich colour, in a eyeshadow texture that mixes the best of gel, powder and liquid in one.  And damn, does it look pretty in the case!

The wavy, embossed shadow doesn't feel anything like a gel or a liquid to me - it's very definitely a powder, albeit a slightly firmer than usual one which gives up its pigment in a way that's more akin to a cream product than a powder one.  Very strange.  These eyeshadows are designed to be worn wet or dry - dry, they give a soft metallic sheen, and applied with a wet brush give an intense hit of colour with a metallic finish.

Left to right: dry, wet (shown in bright sunlight)

Swatched, you can definitely see the difference in the effect between wet and dry.  The dry application is subtle, easy to wear and shimmering rather than metallic, where the wet brush really helps pick up and pack on the pigment for ultimate opacity and a gorgeous metallic sheen effect.

Applied to the eye and out of the bright glare of sunlight, the effect is slightly different - less full on metallic, and more shimmering brown with a light-bouncing, dimensional sheen.  Whilst this colour is definitely crease worthy, it's also rather lovely applied across the lid, giving a strong and green-eye flattering look which is totally day-time appropriate.

At £19 each, these eyeshadows aren't cheap, and I'm not entirely convinced that Cyber Copper is a striking or unusual enough shade to warrant the high price.  Charlotte's excellent swatches seem to imply that Cyber Lilac is the stand out shade, with it's duochrome flash, but if you're more of a neutrals person, you might well decide you prefer the wearability of Cyber Copper.

Estee Lauder Cyber Eyes Eyeshadows are available now from Estee Lauder concessions and via their website, where each shade will cost you £19.

Disclosure: PR sample

Friday, 27 January 2012

Review: Clinique Age Defense BB Cream

Clinique are the latest brand to jump on the BB bandwagon with their latest release, Age Defense BB Cream.  Described as a perfecting cream, it contains anti-oxidants and SPF30 PA+++ (which is a pretty high level of protection - the more +, the more protection against UVA rays).  According to the tube, it can be worn alone or under foundation - so we're looking at a cream with a light level of coverage, more akin to a tint than a full on base.

The first thing that surprised me when I squeezed out a bit of this light cream is that the shade is actually reasonably pale.  I was sent shade 1, which is the lighter of the two available, and unlike many other BB creams and tinted moisturisers I've tried in the past, it is definitely pale enough for my skin.  This is a massive win as far as I'm concerned - it's hard to find pale foundations, let alone pale BB creams or tints which are supposed to support a wide range of skin tones in fewer shades.

Anyway, on to the texture - this cream is fairly dry, unlike most other BB creams I've used in the past.  It reminds me of Liz Earle's Skin Tint in that respect - this isn't something that applies well over skin that's not been well moisturised beforehand, as it's just not quite silky and emollient enough to blend out easily.  Over moisturiser, though, it's easy enough to smooth across the skin, and reasonably pigmented despite the blurb on the back of the tube.

Immediately after application, the skin looks a little overly matte and flat, but after fifteen minutes, the cream sinks in and interacts with the skin's natural oils enough to leave a natural semi-matte finish with a lovely glow. This definitely isn't a product for those of you with very dry skin.

And now, some before and after photos.

My skintone looks more even, my complexion looks generally brighter, and whilst the finish is definitely matte and not dewy, my skin looks healthy.  I rather like the effects of this cream - and I also like the fact that it stays put all day, and doesn't let any oil through on my forehead or nose, which usually look a little bit shiny by lunchtime.

I'd recommend you try this product if you have normal to oily skin, or an oily t-zone, and if you're pale and struggle to find tints or BB creams to suit your skintone.  I don't think this product would work particularly well for drier skins unless you chose to apply it atop a very rich moisturiser... and I really can't think of a good reason why you'd want to apply foundation on top of it, but hey.

Clinque Age Defense BB Cream costs £25 and is available from Clinique concessions, counters, and from their website, where you'll find it in two shades (neither of which look like they'd suit anyone with darker skin, which is a damn shame).  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Models Own Bottleshop Coming To Westfield

I love this.  A giant bottle of nail polish, plonked in the middle of West London's Westfield shopping centre, filled to the brim with Models Own polishes.  It'll be the first time that all 200 shades of polish are available in the same location, and should prove to be a big draw for polish lovers.

Diet Coke + Benefit Get Glam

I once gave up Diet Coke for a good month or so in a bid to get healthy.  It didn't last long, but even if I was off the stuff now, I'd probably be jumping straight back on it - Diet Coke's latest collaboration is with Benefit, with the core offer being £5 off a £20 with every can.  Even more of a reason to buy a new lipgloss, or a tube of the UK's best selling mascara, They're Real.

Alongside the promotion, there are three specially created looks - Rock Chick, Romantic and Fashionista - with videos and step by step tutorials to help you recreate them at home, plus a Facebook app which allows you to kiss photos of your mates.  The big attraction for me, though, is that £5 off!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Valentine heart nail wraps from Myleene Klass

Myleene Klass (via JML) has brought out 2 sets of sweet heart-patterened nail wraps in time for Valentine's Day. Costing £5.99 for 24 individual wraps, they're the type you literally peel off and stick on - they don't require heating up before you apply them. There's the red set (above), which I tried out, and a complementing black set. Both include both 24 coloured wraps and 24 clear wraps that you can wear on top of them for extra shine and protection.

I hadn't ever tried nail wraps before, but I found the instructions very clear and managed to adorn all 10 nails (to varying levels of neatness) without wasting any wraps - thumbs up there. There are a range of sizes in the pack, so you can choose the ones to fit your fingers.

I found that the wraps tended to be quite curved at the cuticle end, so they're not suitable if your nailbeds are more straight across. My thumbnails were totally wrongly shaped for the wraps - so much so that I applied them with the flat end along the cuticle and just used my glass file and cuticle nippers to shave/cut off the spare bits of wrap.

Once positioned at the cuticle, the rest of the wrap is smoothed down the nail and you file off the excess using a downward motion. I used my own glass file instead of the included emery board-style file, and I would encourage you to do the same if you have a glass file. The finer grade of "sanding" makes the tips much smoother and less scratchy (although they're still scratchier than ordinary nails with polish).

I had limited success with the long nails on my right hand.

They applied much more easily to my shorter nails on my left hand. With longer nails, I found that I couldn't avoid creasing the wraps and ending up with bumpy, snaggy tips. I applied the wraps to all of my nails, but peeled them back off 7 nails, leaving 3 to undergo an endurance test. I think shorter nails are much better suited to these wraps, partly because your nails aren't sticking out and catching on things.

Here you can see the bumpy tips. Maddening. I'm sure I could practice and get better at application, as this was only a first go.

And the endurance test? The wraps are strongly adhesive, and stay well on the nails. I've been wearing wraps on 3 nails for around 4 days now, without the protective clear wraps on top, and have observed minimal wear and no peeling - here's an "after" pic. They're a little bit faded, but overall I'm very impressed. With clear wraps on top I could see them lasting a week with ease.

To remove them, you can either peel off or use nail polish remover. I'd recommend using nail polish remover, because I found that when I peeled off the failed wraps from my right hand, the surfaces of my nails felt a bit scratched up afterwards.

I will be trying these again - they're quicker and easier than using nail polish, there's zero drying time, they're easy to apply on short nails (and I'm determined to get better at using them on longer nails too), and don't break the bank. Though they're more expensive per application than regular polish, for a special occasion or random treat, they're a good bet.

Buy them from Asda, Boots, Debenhams, or direct from JMLdirect.com

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Lynx Effect... for girls?

We just received a press release announcing that Lynx are launching a new deodorant fragrance for women. The famous "Lynx Effect" will now be accessible to girls as well as guys, but how well will it translate?
It's called "Attract For Her", and will be released as a limited edition alongside a "for him" version in February. First impressions are... well, it's pink, and it looks like it could be some sort of a freebie from the 2012 Olympics promo campaign. Kind of "meh", if I'm honest.

But of course it's what's in the bottle that counts.

Will it become an indispensable secret weapon, as the ad campaigns imply, for attracting guys, or will it (like its male counterpart) be essential only as a safeguard against the smell of sock sweat after the gym?

We haven't smelled it yet, so we can only speculate, but we'd love to know what you think...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Review: FAB Smooth Shave Cream

I bought this travel sized Smooth Shave Cream as a part of one of those Advantage Card points deals you get at Boots - you know, the ones that somehow manage to get you to spend more than you wanted to with the promise of a few bonus points.  It's from new brand on the block, First Aid Beauty (FAB), who offer mid-range priced products in chic, feminine yet modern packaging.  

Anyway - there's not a huge amount to say about the concept - it's a shave cream, it aims to reduce nicks and irritation whilst keeping the skin soft and smooth.  There is, however, a huge amount to rave about with the product itself - this is one of the best shaving creams I've ever tried.  Unlike it's foamy cousins, it's a thick cream not unlike a rich hair conditioner.  It spreads easily over the legs (or armpits), and a surprisingly little amount goes a long way - a 50p sized blob was enough to generously coat my lower legs.  Once applied, it sticks to the legs until you've shaved it off.  

The best thing about it, though, is the 153% extra glideyness* that it imparts.  The razor veritably floats across the skin, with absolutely no drag and no need to apply more pressure to stubbornly stubbly areas.  After rinsing, my legs were left feeling beautifully smooth and fuzz free, and completely soft and hydrated - no dryness, and no irritation to be found.  

I'll definitely be repurchasing this - in the small size for travel, and in the large size to leave on the side of my bath forevermore.  If you'd like to try it for yourself, you'll find the FAB range at Boots, both in store and online - the travel size 60ml Smooth Shave Cream will cost you £5.50, and the large 200ml size will cost £12.

* This statistic may quite possibly be scientifically inaccurate.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Quick Pick: Kiko Cosmetics Adjustable Colour Blush in Plush Rosy Brown

Purchased at the same time as the three Kiko eyeshadows I wrote about the other day, this Adjustable Colour Blush has been a surprisingly lovely addition to my blush collection.  The pan contains two shades of a softly textured mineral blush, which you can swirl together or apply separately for a variety of effects.

Plush Rosy Brown is a pretty neutral shade, which I probably would describe as a brownish plum - I think it's got a little more berry in it than it has pink or rose.  Regardless, it's certainly a lot softer on the face than in the pan - applied, it gives a natural looking flush which adds definition and warmth to the face without adding a lot of noticeable colour - making it a good partner for a strongly coloured eye or lip.  The blush is medium in terms of pigmentation - and that, combined with the very soft and blendable texture, makes it easily buildable and surprisingly easy to apply bleary eyed in the morning. Which works for me!

Unfortunately this shade is sold out online, but you might get lucky if you pop into the Kiko store at Westfield.  I paid around £6 for mine, and it's now reduced even further to £3.90 - so don't delay if you fancy picking up one of these lovely little blushes!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Swatch: Kiko Cosmetics Single Eyeshadows in 174, 137, and 123

I went to the original Westfield in West London just after Christmas, with the intention of growing richer rather than poorer for a change, by manner of returning things I'd over-enthusiastically bought before Christmas.  Naturally, after speaking a few sneaky pounds in the Oasis sale, I discovered a store full of makeup from a brand I'd never tried before, and my plan was doomed.  The store in question is Kiko Cosmetics - an Italian budget to mid-range brand, who produce a wide range of products in a myriad of colours.  

Typically, I gravitated towards eyeshadow, a product of which I already own too many.  But, y'know, it was in the name of science and stuff.  These shadows are pretty darn cheap, at £4.90 each (or 4.90£, as the European website states), and come in a staggering 81 shades, with a variety of finishes.

137 Satin Rosy Red

123 Satin Wood Brown

174 Satin Dove Grey

Left to right: 123, 137, 174

As you can see, these colours are reasonably well pigmented for the tiny price, with a lovely satiny finish.  I bought the first two shades primarily to fill in and colour my eyebrows, and I've found them incredibly effective for doing so - they apply smoothly and quickly thanks to the pigmentation level and soft texture, and wear solidly all day with no slipping, fading, or transferring.

As you can see from the EOTD above (using colours from the new UD Naked 2 palette), the two colours combine to provide a strong, evenly coloured brow that's a great shade of reddish brown which looks natural and striking alongside my red hair colour.  Lovely.

I'll definitely be buying a few more of these (even if I don't actually need them).  You'll find them at the Kiko Cosmetics store at Westfield, or on the website, where they'll cost you a tiny £4.90 each.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

NOTD: Glitter Tips with OPI Your Royal Shine-ness & Divine Swine

This is a lovely glitter manicure.  Your Royal Shine-ness is probably my favourite ever silver; with all that glorious foil-y chrome-y goodness, it's probably the most metallic silver polish I've ever tried, bar none.  With a bit of Divine Swine pink and silver glitter on the tips, this makes for a flashy, blingy manicure that catches the eye with its gorgeous sparkle.

You can tell that I quite like this one, can't you? 

Your Royal Shine-ness is half of a Serena Williams duo, and Divine Swine is (unsurprisingly) from the recent OPI Muppets collection - both are still widely available via all the usual OPI stockists.

Disclosure: Both Your Royal Shine-ness and Divine Swine were PR samples

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Review: Nude Advanced Cellular Renewal Moisturiser

Nude is a brand with principles.  Their products are formulated without the usual list of nasties, including silicone, sulphates and mineral oil, and with a high proportion of organic and fair trade ingredients.  Some brands with similar principles create products which are definitely principled, but a bit lacking in performance - but not Nude.  I've tried and loved their Replenishing Night Oil in the past, and was excited to receive a sample of their latest and most high tech moisturiser yet: Advanced Cellular Renewal Moisturiser.

Designed to stimulate cellular repair and renewal, it's unusual in that it doesn't promise a particular percentage decrease in wrinkle depth, or increase in firmness - instead, the product blurb speaks of an increase in cellular renewal and a decrease in irritation.  I'm probably not alone in being unable to assess whether this particular moisturiser has had that kind of affect on my skin, not least because I don't really understand what it means... but still, I'm incredibly impressed by this moisturiser.

The cream itself is deceptively light and fresh, with a medium thick texture which holds its shape on the fingertip but is easy to distribute over the skin.  It's got a lot of slip to it - a small dab smooths easily across the face in a sort of moist, glidey manner, and if I didn't know otherwise, I'd swear that this was a silicone heavy formula (instead, it's actually silicone free).  It sinks into the skin incredibly quickly with a little massage, and leaves the skin feeling moist, silky and smooth, without any oily residue.  The skin texture after use is almost velvety - it's definitely more hydrated, but not shiny at all.

I've been using this little pot of goodness for about a month or so, and I've enjoyed every application.  The ease of use, the moist plumpness of the skin after use, and the definite softening of my frown lines have really impressed me.  My skin is clear, looks well rested and bright, and feels incredibly soft.  I've also been pleased to find that I'm getting through the pot much more slowly than I had expected - I'm about half way through the jar, and expect to find that I've had two months use out of it, before it runs dry.

So, overall, I've been very impressed with this moisturiser - but here's the rub.  It's £78 for 50ml.  This is rather a lot to pay for a moisturiser, albeit one which can be used day or night and makes the skin look and feel lovely.  If I had the cash lying around, I'd definitely repurchase - but unless I was feeling particularly flush, I suspect the high end price might prevent me from doing so.  If this tickles your fancy, you'll find it at Nude's website.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 16 January 2012

Review & Swatches: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

Last year's Naked palette was an absolute hit for Urban Decay - it sold out again and again, leaving many very happy beauty lovers in it's wake.  The recently released follow up, Naked 2, is already creating waves - and it's only been out a week!

Containing twelve glorious neutrals in a mix of matte, shimmer and glitter finishes, the Naked 2 palette doesn't deviate much from the original.  The first couple of batches of the first palette came with a double ended 24/7 liner, which was quickly replaced with an eyeshadow brush as Urban Decay struggled to keep up with demand.  Naked 2 also comes with a cruelty-free synthetic brush, handily make up of a fluffy end suitable for packing colour onto the lid, and a tapered brush for defining the crease.

Packaging wise, Naked 2 is definitely superior.  Naked 1 was incredibly pretty and tactile with its chocolatey flocked outer casing, but stray bits of fluff and bits of makeup stuck to it like glue, and the simple flap casing didn't feel particularly sturdy.  Naked 2 is housed in an actual metal tin, with a sturdy closure which you have to put a bit of effort into opening, which makes me feel that the precious eyeshadows within are well protected.

Anyway, on to the shades!

As with Naked 1, the colours are generally shimmery with a few matte shades thrown in for good measure.  Chopper suffers from the same irritating glitter fallout as Sidecar from Naked 1 and pretty much any Midnight Cowboy variant ever made, which I find really annoying - so much less usable, particularly in a palette that's all about wearability.

Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall

Chopper, Tease, Snakebite

Suspect, Pistol, Verve

YDK, Busted, Blackout

The standout shades for me are Bootycall, for it's incredibly highlight worthy subtle shimmer; YDK for it's beautiful metallic finish; and Pistol and Verve for their slightly more greyish, silvery tones.  The shades are all predictably well pigmented, with butter soft textures, to the extent that some of the shades can be a little crumbly on application.  

Finally, a distinctly non-Naked look using a few of the shades from the palette.

Bootycall on the inner corner and to highlight
Chopper on the centre of the lid
YDK on the outer lid
Busted in the crease
Blackout in the outer v and to line the upper lashline

Gorgeous.  I can see that this little palette, much like it's predecessor, is going to get a lot of love from me in the coming months.  You'll find the Naked 2 palette exclusively at Debenhams online and instore until February 9th, when it'll roll out to House of Fraser too.

Disclosure: PR sample
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