Sunday, 30 September 2012

Shopping Sunday: 25% off at Cult Beauty & 20% off at Zuneta

A quick spot of news for the discerning online shopper, with two rather excellent online beauty emporia offering some decent sized discounts.  Act fast, though!

Cult Beauty offer 25% off your basket until midnight Monday - use the code FLASH25.  Excludes Morrocanoil and Escentric Molecules.

Zuneta offer 20% off orders over £15 in celebration of their 4th birthday until 12pm on Monday - use the code BIRTHDAY.

NOTD Special - Rainbow Toes

Apologies to anyone who doesn't like to see pictures of feet...

This is the type of thing I never do unless I'm sick. I was ill this week and have been cooped up in my flat, missing out on fun things like work and art class and seeing friends. So I took comfort in my nail polish drawers (Helmer, yeah) to produce this pedicure, which hopefully will pay dividends by cheering me up every time I take off my shoes for the next week or two.

Here are the polishes I used:

L-R (top row): Rococo VIP*, Illamasqua Gamma*, Barielle Shades Lemondrops, Sephora Picnic in the Park, Revlon Dreamer
L-R (bottom row): Bourjois So Lacque Bleu Violet, Illamasqua Stance*, Paul & Joe Beaute Nail Enamel C 005*, 17 Mini Skirt, Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday

*starred polishes are PR samples

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Boots 17 Eyeliner Studio has advanced formulas at pocket-money prices

Boots 17 have recently developed their liner range into an "Eyeliner Studio", incorporating their existing eyeliner products and throwing in some new ones too.

The range includes 8 liners and a pencil sharpener. Some of them are drugstore classics like the inkwell liquid liner and kohl pencil. But they've also brought out some long-wear and waterproof formulas that have previously been seen in much higher-end brands.

Full line-up...

Eye Kohl Pencil (£2.89)
This is your standard wax-and-pigment pencil. It's quite soft and reasonably pigmented. I received the blue one. 80s!

Brow Pencil (£2.89)
Another standard stalwart product. It has a small brush on the other end to tidy up brows. A little stiffer, as you'd expect, to create light, thin, defined lines.

High Drama Liquid (£3.99)
An inky black liquid liner with a short, sturdy felt nib. Very smooth to apply.

Make Your Mark Liquid (£3.99)
A felt-tip marker liner with a very precise tip. Again, it's really pigmented and light. Applies without dragging or translucency.

Smoulder Gel Eyeliner (£3.99)
A gel liner in a little pot, coming with a tiny vestigial brush. (A token brush, really). This is a bit like MAC's Fluidline or Bobbi Brown's gel liner, with the difference that it dries waterproof and needs to be removed with an oil-based remover. I found this a bit dry and crumbly.

Perk & Paint Pencil (£3.99)
A jumbo kohl pencil at one end, a pinkish highlighter/concealer at the other. I was hoping these would be 24/7-style set-down gel formulas, but they're just old-school smudgy pencils.

Tattoo Me Liquid (£4.99)
The goopy, tar-like formula found in MAC's Liquidlast liners, GOSH's Artliners (now discontinued) and some No.7 eyeliners. It's awkward to apply but once this pitch-black liquid is on, it's going nowhere without some dedicated work with a good-quality oil-based remover.

Lacquer Liner Liquid (£3.99)
A lovely light polymer liner (i.e. it will flake off rather than smudging, and is waterproof) with a shiny patent-look finish. Very like Illamasqua, Estee Lauder and Lancome Artliner. It comes in a well with a thin, flexible brush.

Dual Pencil Sharpener (£2.99)
A pencil sharpener. It works. Little else to say.

Here are some swatches. L-R: Eye Kohl, High Drama, Make Your Mark, Tattoo Me, Smoulder Gel, Lacquer, Perk & Paint, Brow Pencil.

You can get them all at Boots, who are currently offering a buy one get one half price on selected 17 products 

Disclosure - PR samples

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lip of the Day: By Terry Terrybly Lipstick in Red Ceremony

This By Terry lipstick is part of the new collection for AW12, which includes no less than five new lipstick shades.  Red Ceremony is a deep, rich brick red which has the usual sumptuous, emollient texture of Terrybly lipsticks, like the Red Fanatic shade I bought a while ago.

Much like Red Fanatic, this one is comfortable to wear, and lasts for about three hours before requiring a touch up, albeit with a little uneven wear (not quite red-ring-of-death, but close).  It doesn't dry the lips out towards the end of the wear time, as I noticed with Red Fanatic, but I did notice my lips feeling a little dry after wearing (and reapplying) throughout a 15 hour day.  I really do wish that these lipsticks performed a little better - at £31, they're a major treat, and given that I have cheaper lipsticks that wear like iron, I can't help but feel that for the price, it should perform better.

Red Ceremony is available at Space NK now, priced at £31.

Disclosure: PR sample

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Swatches: Rouge Bunny Rouge Eyeshadows in Bohemian Waxwing and Delicate Hummingbird

Quirky brand Rouge Bunny Rouge are a bit of a blogger favourite, combining pretty packaging, lovely textures, and luxe pricing to bring you products which are downright lovely and feel like a massive treat. I tried some of their When Birds Are Singing Eyeshadows before, and found them to be lovely, albeit a little too expensive.  Naturally, when Zuneta offered a free glitter pigment shadow with a £40 spend, I felt tempted enough to take the plunge again - I'm a sucker for a freebie.

I chose Bohemian Waxwing, described as an iridescent bronzed champagne and Delicate Hummingbird, described as a dusky, sugar frosted plum.

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that the two eyeshadow compacts are not actually the same size.  Bohemian Waxwing is a tiny bit smaller than Delicate Hummingbird.

This is because Bohemian Waxwing is one of the newly resized pans, which fit into the insanely expensive palette system (a 2-pan palette costs £12, and pan eyeshadows cost £16 each, making a filled 2-pan palette £44).  The change is in the size of the pan, and also in the weight - the new format is 0.4g lighter.

Left to right: Bohemian Waxwing, Delicate Hummingbird

Anyway, back to the colours.  As with many RBR eyeshadows, these two look pretty subtle in the pan.  Nice enough shades, but nothing to write home about.

Left to right: Bohemian Waxwing, Delicate Hummingbird

Swatched, though, you get some idea of why these eyeshadows are so expensive.  They have a lovely shimmer and sheen to the finish, which is almost metallic, but not too sparkly.  The eyeshadow texture is incredibly buttery soft, applying smoothly to the eyelid and blending beautifully.  

I still think these eyeshadows are too expensive - I paid £22 for Delicate Hummingbird, and £21.99 for Bohemian Waxwing (a penny less for 0.4g less product).  They are undoubtedly lovely, though, and I will absolutely enjoy using them - particularly Delicate Hummingbird, which I know will look lovely next to my hazel eyes.  Find them exclusively at Zuneta.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

NOTD - Models Own Slate Green + Andrea Fulerton Nail Tattoo in Chains

Models Own are best known for their "special effects" polishes these days, but they also have a strong range of creme and shimmer colours in some quite interesting shades. Slate Green, a cool sludgy off-teal, is one. This is three coats, fancied up a little with some Andrea Fulerton nail art. This wore for about 5 days, with Mavadry top coat* and a base coat underneath.

*Mavadry is a PR sample, but I'll shortly be repurchasing it. It's like Seche Vite but much less gloopy and without the shrinkage factor.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Quick Pick: Clarins 3 Dot Liner

This felt-pen style liner from Clarins has exploited a beauty niche that has been a bane of mine for many years - namely the gap between liner and lashes. The three-pronged tip allows you to dot pigment down in between the lashes to close up any gaps. It does what tightlining can do but in about a quarter of the time. 

The dots are also handy for those who don't feel confident drawing on their liner in one fell swoop. You can dot on where you want the liner to be and then close up the gaps. The liner is a nice true black, flows easily and gives a slightly shiny finish. To be 100% perfect, I wish it were waterproof, but it's still a lovely and inventive product.

NB the red Clarins pouch doesn't come with the liner - just a photography prop.

Disclosure - PR sample

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Swatches: Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Strip, Naked 2 and Streak

I've reviewed these juicy, jelly like glosses before - I really liked the cool, minty, tingly texture, but wasn't totally sure about the plumping action.  To get maximum fullness, you need to wear them daily for a month, and I like to chop and change my lip products more frequently than that.

Anyway, lip plumping properties aside, Urban Decay have released some new shades: meet Strip, Naked 2, and Streak.

Left to right: Strip, Naked 2, Streak

These three shades are semi-sheer, offering a light, juicy sweep of colour which is pretty subtle and unintrusive.  I like the fact that they're glossy and smooth, but not so shiny that the lips distract from the rest of the face.  Perfect for pairing with a stronger eye look, or bright cheeks.


Naked 2


I'm particularly loving Streak for it's milky, pretty pink effect.  Less keen on Naked 2, which is a touch too beige and flat for my complexion.  At £13, these aren't cheap - but the packaging is cute, the gloss lasts a couple of hours, and are comparable with much-loved Juicy Tubes from Lancome.  Find them now at

Disclosure: PR samples

Saturday, 22 September 2012

What's in my makeup bag

I carry a reasonably large makeup bag in my reasonably large handbag, and it's always stuffed full - mostly with lipstick and pretty much nothing else.  Here are some of the things I've been lugging about with me over the past couple of weeks, left to right.

Illamasqua Drench lipstick (raspberry red)
Estee Lauder Pure Colour in Crystal Rose* (beautiful cool rose neutral)
Burberry Lip Cover in Primrose Hill Pink (coral pink)
By Terry Terrybly Lipstick in Red Celebration* (brick red)
Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick in Gracia (plum pink)
Stila Stay All Day lipstick in Aria* (berry)
Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick in Gemma (cool lilac pink)
Boots Dry Eyes Eye Mist (you can spritz this on top of makeup, and it's very refreshing if you spend most of your day staring at a screen like I do)
Blistex Intensive Moisturiser (brilliant at sorting out dry, sore lips - been using this for years)
Moomin mirror compact (everyone loves Moomins, right?)

The bag is a pink plastic polkadotted affair from Dirty Works* at Sainsbury's, which is wipe clean and a bit of a bargain at just £4.99.   What's in your makeup bag?  What do you carry around the most of?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: Items marked with * are PR samples

Friday, 21 September 2012

Review & Swatches: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Dollface

Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush is another one of my San Francisco Sephora purchases.  I was attracted to it's prettily embossed surface, soft colours, and promise of long wear.  The appeal of a brand that's hard to find in the UK helped out too!

Packaged in bright pink packaging to match the shade of the blush within, the compact is made of sturdy plastic and has a decent size mirror in the lid.

Dollface is a pale, soft pink, which the Sephora colour specialist suggested would be a great match for my pale, cool skin.  I was veering towards something far more dramatic, but he convinced me that I'd get much more use out of the versatile, subtle Dollface shade.  I think he was right.

The colour is a pale yet still vibrant pink with a blue undertone.  The powder is an interesting texture - it's not the buttery soft, ultra finely milled texture you usually get with powder products.  It's a slightly more chalky, waxy formula - you need to swirl a brush over the blush a few times to pick up enough colour to apply to the cheeks.

Once applied, though, it's lovely - soft, matte, and subtle but buildable.  I've been wearing this shade an awful lot since I bought it - it goes with almost any look, and adds enough colour to bring warmth to the face without it looking obvious that you're wearing blush.

Longevity wise, I have noticed that it sticks around looking freshly applied for a much longer period of time than other blushes in my collection.  It also adheres well to liquid foundation, and if you're one of those people who constantly touches your face, you'll probably find it rubs off less than more silky textured blushes.

I'd definitely buy more of these - the longevity and subtle finish is worth the slightly unusual texture, and at $25, they're pretty well priced too.  Shame they're not more widely available in the UK!  Find them at Sephora in the US, or on eBay or via a travelling friend if you're in the UK.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Quick Pick: Batiste Cherry

My first encounter with Batiste was with the Tropical scent, which I absolutely hated.  I've since tried a few more and found that whilst some are nice and subtle, some are a bit too powdery, sweet and obvious (like Tropical).  Cherry is one of the latest scents and it treads the line rather well.  It's sweet and juicy - I can't say it definitely smells like cherries, but there's a definite note of berry in there - but it's not powdery or overly sickly.  And I don't find that the scent hangs around my head in an obvious cloud (looking at you again Tropical).  Plus, that retro style print is divine, and looks great in my bathroom.

Find it at Boots, where it costs £2.99 (and is currently on 3 for 2).

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Topshop Louise Gray Up In The Air blusher + free mirror

Finding myself in town the other day, I wandered into Topshop to take a look at their current makeup collection. I'm generally a fan of the colours and packaging Topshop choose, and by the reasonable prices, which unlike their clothing range, have stayed wallet-friendly.

I found the current collection, which is a collaboration with someone called Louise Gray (and sorry, I have no idea who she is) very interesting. It's a mix of mad neons and pastels, packaged in quirky geometric packaging. I've been tempted by Topshop's cream blushes for a while, so the blusher duo in Up In The Air seemed an obvious way to kill off a lemming and sample the new collection.

When I got to the till I was pleased to learn that every purchase from the collection (or every 2 purchases, according to Topshop's website) gets a free handbag mirror with the same design found on the covers of the two Louise Gray palettes (the other is eyeshadow). The mirror has a swivel-opening mechanism and comes in a velveteen drawstring pouch with the Louise Gray logo on it. 

Back to the blusher - it's got a bubblegum pink pan and a coral/apricot pan, which together weigh a very generous 10g.

 The texture is silicone-smooth and very soft. I found the pigmentation to be moderate - you could happily slap this onto a half-awake face and blend with your fingers without risking a clown effect. The blending experience is entirely painless. They're really very user-friendly blushes. Here's the pink shade worn:

And here are swatches:

The palette itself shows decent build-quality - strong hinge, smooth edges, and has a good mirror set into the lid. The clasp is rigid enough to stay closed in a handbag, but not so stiff that it endangers long nails.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

NOTD: Sally Hansen Glitz Gal

Indoors with flash.  Excuse my terrible cuticles.

Outdoors in strong sunlight

This little beauty is Sally Hansen's Glitz Gal, fom the Gem Crush collection - a new range of permanent glitters which make use of glitter particles of varied sizes and shapes.  I was attracted to it because it combined two of my favourite things - glitter (obviously) and pewter grey (which I adore on both eyes and nails).  

I was impressed with how easy it was to apply - for a chunky glitter, it's surprisingly smooth.  The base shade is a deep grey jelly, so I applied three coats to get the full opacity shown above.  This one's a real topcoat-eater - three coats of thick speed dry topcoat needed to smooth out the surface of the polish and get a decent shine!

Overall I really like this polish - it's super glittery, easy to apply, and at just £6.99, it's a darn side cheaper than the Lippmann polishes which I consider the top of the glittery polish pile.  

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review - GHD Air hairdryer

GHD straighteners are the stuff of legend, and although I've not tried them myself, I have it on good authority that they were pretty much game-changers for the entire straightener market. Now GHD has released its first retail-market hairdryer, the Air, costing £99. As with the straighteners, it's an asking price way above market norms. Which begs the question - will the GHD Air also be a cult product, or is it simply overpriced?

I've been testing out the GHD Air over the last couple of weeks, and having used them nearly every day during that time, I now feel qualified to give an opinion. But first, let's go over the product features and appearance...

Inside that excitingly luxe-looking black box are the hairdryer, a brief (and quite perfunctory) instruction manual, and two nozzles for directing the dryer's airflow.

The dryer itself is a handsome beast. It's matte black and very sleek, with a long cord (no hovering by the plug socket while drying). It's medium-weight - heavier than my usual dryer, but not the kind of thing that's going to build your right arm muscles up Popeye-style either. The air inlet grille is especially pretty, with cut-out patterns and a GHD logo. Really nice design touch.

The nozzles are also sturdy and high-quality, and they clip securely onto the nose of the dryer - possibly a little too securely for me, as I had trouble getting them off again when I tried both on in sequence.

The back of the dryer's neck has two rocker switches which allow you to control speed and heat. There's a cold shot function included on the temperature rocker, and there's also a cold shot short-cut button on the front of the neck which you can trigger with your finger while drying to give a short blast of cold air. So far so standard on the buttons front - I think I was maybe expecting a more advanced set of drying modes and control options.

In use, the dryer is very very powerful - it packs a 2100 watt motor and can blow pretty damn hard. It doesn't get too hot - relying instead on its speed and power to dry hair in a very short space of time. It dries very fast, and using the nozzles provided, you can get quite a good sleek blowdry with it.

It also has ionic technology - negatively charged electrons are fired at your hair to neutralise static. This isn't particularly new, but if you are prone to static, it's sure to be welcome.

But... I have to be honest. This is a very good hairdryer, but it's not a game-changer. For me at least, with my long fine hair, the time saved on drying isn't enough to make it worth the high price tag. In fact the blast-worthy jet of air can make my hair look kind of flat.

For people with very thick hair, saving on drying time may make this dryer a serious consideration. But the hard fact is that there are powerful salon-style dryers on the market that cost half the price.

Verdict: Good, but just not worth the money.

The Air GHD hairdryer is £99 from GHD

*Disclosure - PR sample

Sunday, 16 September 2012

How To: Smudging with Extreme n'Easy

The video above shows you how to get a trendy smudged look using Clairol's latest colour product, Extreme n'Easy.  Extreme n'Easy is a line of hair colours which are as easy to use as Nice n'Easy, but with a little bit more oomph and excitement in the colour lineup.  

Smudging is apparently something that's come from the ombre trend that's been so popular this year.  It's a lot more subtle looking and adds dimension and a flash of colour rather than making a big ombre-style statement.  I really like the violet-on-blonde look above - it's not too out there, but it definitely adds interest to the model's shoulder length blonde locks.  If I were blonde, I'd be tempted.  And as a redhead, I'm wondering if I could do it with black.

Extreme n'Easy is available at Boots and costs £5.99 a box.

Arora Bath & Body Products on 3 for 2 at Superdrug

Yesterday I popped into Superdrug to pick up some deodorant.  I swore I wouldn't buy anything else.  I failed.  Superdrug are running a 3 for 2 on their excellent Arora range, and I couldn't help picking up a couple of bath shimmers and a shower nectar.

The bath shimmers I chose were Chocolate Espresso (which smells genuinely of chocolate and coffee, and not in a synthetic way) and Coconut Creme, which is a little saccharine-y, but still lovely.  I chose the shower nectar in Wild Berry, which smells a bit like blackcurrent jelly (and is for my husband, who seems to use almost a whole bottle of shower gel per shower).

At just £3.99 each, the Arora bath and shower products were already a good deal - and even more so on 3 for 2.  Not sure how long the promotion will run for, but if you need to stock up, now's a good time!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Review & Swatches: Liz Earle Natural Glow Bronzer and Healthy Glow Powder Blush in Peony

Liz Earle's new makeup range has been going from strength to strength since it's release last year, gaining fans for the soft, easy to wear colours and the buildable, easy to use textures.  The Natural Glow Bronzer and Healthy Glow Powder Blush products are no exception.

Packaged in the signature deep blue, sparkling plastic compacts, the larger size contains the bronzer, and the smaller the blush.

The compacts are solid and well made, with a good sized mirror in the lid.  Both products are embossed with the brand's name.  The textures are soft and silky, and both powders are easily picked up with a soft fluffy brush - they're not so soft that you get a small dust cloud or any crumbling, though.

Left: Natural Glow Bronzer
Right: Healthy Glow Blush in Peony

Swatched, you can see just how sheer Natural Glow Bronzer is.  The swatch isn't particularly heavy, making it obvious that the shade of this bronzer is actually rather light and soft - it's definitely layerable, but I can't see this working on deeper skintones at all.  Medium skintones will need to do a fair around of building up before the effect is noticeable.  For me and my pale skin, though, it's just the right shade to give subtle definition without a lot of effort - I have to be careful to apply bronzers very softly to avoid looking overdone.  Not a problem with this bronzer, though.

Peony is described as a soft raspberry, perfect for a natural flush on dark skintones.  It also works applied very gently on lighter complexions, giving a great pop of strong colour- which is something I personally really like in a blush.  Pigmentation is much higher than with the bronzer, but the soft texture is the same.

No idea what's going on with the attitude in this photo, but it does give you a good idea of how these products look applied.  The bronzer gives good contour, and still looks quite subtle, and the Peony blush adds a pop of bright colour on the apples of the cheeks.

As nice as these products are, I can't really muster a huge amount of enthusiasm for them.  At £16.50 for the blush and £19.50 for the bronzer, I think they're lovely, easy to apply, soft products which are suitable for a pretty natural look, and don't require a lot of makeup know how to choose and use.  And therein is the problem for me - I like my makeup more intense, my colours brighter, and my products more edgy.  For me personally, then, these aren't essential - but I can imagine my Mum (who loves makeup, so long as it's easy to use) and my brother's girlfriend (who didn't even know what highlighter was until recently) would love them.

Find Healthy Glow Powder Blush and Natural Glow Bronzer on Liz Earle's website now.

Disclosure: PR sample
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