Wednesday, 29 February 2012

FOTD: Coral Glow

This look was all about a glowy base with a shot of shiny, coral lip colour, thanks to my new favourite lip product, YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains.  I wore this to an afternoon tea at a posh hotel and felt plenty polished and lady like!

Laura Geller Balance n'Brighten foundation in Porcelaine
Cargo blush in Tonga


* items marked with an asterisk are PR samples

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Review & Swatches: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in 10 Rouge Philtre and 12 Coril Fauve

Say hello to two of YSL's latest lip product, Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain.  They really are something new and different compared to your average liquid lipstick.  Combining a richly pigmented, dry stain with a luscious glossy finish, the end result is a product that ticks all the boxes.

The packaging is pretty luxurious, as you'd expect from YSL, although I do have to admit that the casing feels a little bit lightweight in the hand - although, perhaps my recent Guerlain lipstick experience has upped the bar on the weight issue.  The applicator wand is an interesting shape; the wide fuzzy applicator is big enough to cover the lips with colour quickly, and the pointed end allows for real precision in the application.  It's also angled, which is a really nice ergonomic touch.

Texture wise, this stuff is unlike anything I've ever tried before.  It's a fluid, silky gel, which applies sheerly on the first layer and sets down, providing the stain element.  The second layer adds more colour and plenty of glossy shine.  As smoothly and silkily as this product is on initial application, it does dry down a little, but not so much that it loses the gloss or any sense of comfort; it's almost as if you're wearing an unbudgeable, silky comfortable layer of non-sticky treacle on the lips.

10 Rouge Philtre

12 Coril Fauve

On the lip, the Glossy Stain looks beautifully vibrant and lusciously glossy.  It wears well, sticking to the lip for around 4 hours, and eventually fading to a soft stain with long wear.  If I had to find a negative, I'd say that the need to layer the colour can lead to patchiness if you're not careful, but it's a minor point really.

I've fallen in love with these, not just for the effect, but for the interesting, unique formula and the fact that they bring something new to the dressing table.  I wouldn't be surprised if another one or two found their way into my makeup bag sometime soon!

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain is available now at YSL counters and concessions, and online via Selfridges, where each shade costs £22.50 - making these a luxe treat, but one that most lipstick lovers will find worthwhile!  

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 27 February 2012

Swatches: Estee Lauder Pure Color 5 Color Eyeshadow Palette in Topaz Mosaic

Estee Lauder 5 Color Eyeshadow Palettes are always a safe bet for soft, buttery eyeshadow with decent, buildable pigmentation, and interesting shade combinations.  The quint released as part of the new Topaz collection for Spring 2012 is no exception on either count.

The colours include warm amber, silvery taupe, strong deep brown, shimmering peach and a small square of a matte butter yellow.  Interesting indeed.

All the colours swatch well, with the amber and deep brown shades being the most strongly pigmented.  The butter yellow is also very highly pigmented, which is somewhat unusual for a matte, pale shade.  

And here's an example of what you can do with this combination of shades (alongside the limited edition, super smudgy Intense Kajal Eye Crayon).  I applied the silvery taupe all over the mobile lid as a base, then added some of the yellow in the middle of the eyelid.  The amber shade went all along the outer v and the crease, with a bit of the deep brown towards the top of the crease for extra defintion.

All in all, a rather lovely and unique collection of colours, perfect for creating a neutral look that's a bit more interesting than basic beige and brown.  Find it at Estee Lauder counters and concessions, and online, where it will cost you £35.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 26 February 2012

FOTD - Nars Dogon's Revenge

Today's makeup is an outing of Nars' Dogon duo, which I was rhapsodising about last year*. (Update: it's still amazing).

I also used Boots No 7's Vital Brights blush in Blossoming Pink*, 17 Falsifeye mascara*, Clinique Lash Building Primer*, Illamasqua Motto brow powder, Soap & Glory It's About Prime eyeshadow primer* and Benefit It Stick as a concealer.

*starred products are PR samples

Friday, 24 February 2012

Review: YSL M7 Oud Absolut

Can I tell you a secret?  The first fragrance I ever fell in love with was Aramis.  As in, the men's fragrance Aramis.  The aromatic, musky, woody scent made me feel warm and enveloped with mysteriousness, and I surreptitiously dabbed it on and enjoyed it.  So, when I read the description of YSL's re-released Oud Absolut fragrance, I couldn't help myself - I had to smell it.

M7 Oud Absolut is, according to the Internets, a reformulation of an old (read: 2002) fragrance named M7, now resurrected from the YSL archives.  I've never smelled the original, so I can't comment on the similarities and differences, but I can comment on the scent enclosed within this slightly 70s, black cuboid bottle.  

At first spritz, this fragrance opens with a fruity freshness from the head note of mandarin orange.  After a few minutes on the skin it tempers down into something much more heady, cut through with a slice of freshness that almost tickles the nose.  The basenotes include myrrh, French labdanum and oud, and this, combined with a middle note of patchouli, means that the overriding sense of the fragrance is of muskiness, woodiness, and smoke.   

I absolutely love it.  It's sexy and mysterious, and my husband has already nabbed it.  It smells fantastic on him, and lasts very well - I can still smell it on him at the end of the day.  His opinion?  "It smells quite nice and the lid is a bit annoying" (due to it's non-symmetrical shape and propensity to not snap on easily).  Typical.  Either way, this is a gorgeously seductive, masculine fragrance - and one I might well borrow from time to time for myself.

Find it at Fragrance Direct, where a 80ml bottle costs around £48.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 23 February 2012

NOTD - Deborah Lippmann Brick House

Deborah Lippmann may be best known for her glitter shades, but there are quite a large range of creams, metallics and even a duochrome (Wicked Game) in her repertoire.

This is Brick House, a warm metallic coppery-toned red from the Lippmann collection. It has a thin but very pigmented texture, meaning you can get good coverage with 2 or 3 thin coats.

It's a great polish, and the depth and richness of the shade is excellent. Whether it's worth £14 I'm not sure - I'd be surprised if there isn't a cheaper dupe of this on the high street somewhere. The tipwear here is from around 3 days' wear.

Deborah Lippmann Brick House is available from House of Fraser, costing £14 for 15ml

Disclosure - PR sample

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Review & Swatches: Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee in Topaz Chameleon

Part of Estee Lauder's Topaz collection for the spring, Illuminating Powder Gelee in Topaz Chameleon is the hotly anticipated follow up to the cult favourite of the same name from last year's Modern Mercury collection. The Modern Mercury shade was a soft, pink-gold-bronze colour which was a buildable highlight and glow powder, and at first glance, Topaz Chameleon is more of the same.

The powder has the same highly detailed embossed surface, and a similar firm yet buttery soft texture to the original, although there's absolutely no bounce to this, where there definitely was a little bounce with the Modern Mercury shade.  A key difference for me, though, is the pigmentation.  This stuff is intense.  

Not even a particularly heavy swatch

The high-shimmer bronze shade is incredibly pigmented and transfers to the skin with an intensely metallic finish, even when swatching softly.  Trying to use the powder with a normal blush brush left me looking rather scarily like a cross between an orange-tanned stereotype and a futuristic robot.  Used incredibly gently with a stipple brush, though, I managed to slowly build up a golden glow that was a lot more palatable.

Part of the problem is that this stuff is just too much for my pale skin.  It took me a fair old while to build the colour up slowly enough to ensure I didn't go over the top, which makes it too much effort for a morning application for me - but I can well imagine that this shade would work much better on medium or dark skintones, particularly those with a warmer undertone.  

Finally, I actually discovered from reading the product blurb that this is intended to be an all over glow product.  I can't imagine anyone would use something this shimmery and coppery as an all over glow unless they wanted to look like a orange-tanned stereotypical robot.  For me, this is definitely a bronzer - and a rather intense one to boot.

If you like the look of this product, you'll find it at Estee Lauder concessions and counters, and online, where it will cost you £28.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Review - Boots No. 7 Floral Brights Vital Brights cream blushes

Boots No 7's new spring collection is a cheery mix of flowery-themed items, packaged in white with a bright flowery design.

Probably the pick of the collection for me are these 2 cream blushes, Blossoming Pink, a bright cool-toned peony pink, and Blooming Pink, a warmer salmon pink.

Both are highly pigmented and incredibly smooth to apply. The blushes have a soft, almost mousse-like texture and are very easy to pick up - just one swipe with a fingertip picks up enough colour to tint both cheeks. The swatches here are from just a single swipe across the pan.

They're very buildable too, so you can go for a light tint or a real pop of colour. This is a minimal application of Blooming Pink, but you could go much brighter thanks to the highly blendable texture.

The blushes are £10 each, available now from Boots. They're limited editions. Run, don't walk!

Disclosure - PR sample

Monday, 20 February 2012

FOTD: Topaz Spring

Here's an FOTD using some of the products from the limited edition Estee Lauder spring collection, Topaz.  The combination of golden brown, amber and turquoise is somehow more summery to me - but hey, I guess it's never too early to inject a little warmth into the face after a long cold winter, and anything's better than the usual spring fare of pastels.

Laura Geller Balance n' Brighten Foundation in Porcelain
Estee Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelee in Topaz Chameleon*

Estee Lauder Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palette in Topaz Mosaic*
Estee Lauder Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon in Dramatic Teal*

I'll revisit the Illuminating Powder Gelee and eyeshadow palette in depth later on, but I've got to say that my favourite item is the one that solicited the least "oooooh" on first glance.  The Intense Kajal Eye Crayon is gorgeous - it applies very smoothly with strong, opaque colour, and whilst it remains perfectly clean on the eyelid if left undisturbed, it's eminently smudgeable.  The bright, striking teal colour is lovely, too, although I can see the black version being incredibly popular for creating a smoky look.

All in all, though, I can't help but feel that this collection is likely to suit warmer and darker skintones more than it suits us pale cool girls.  The colours look OK on my skin, but I suspect that they'd look a lot more striking on someone with a more warm-toned or olive complexion.

The collection is out now, and available from Estee Lauder counters and concessions, and online via the Estee Lauder website.

* items marked with an asterisk are PR samples

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Two Weeks On: CND Shellac in Masquerade

Over two weeks ago, I treated my hands to a CND Shellac manicure prior to a trip abroad, to save me the effort of doing my nails whilst away.  My fingernails still look absolutely immaculate, glossy, and chip-free - seriously impressive stuff.  I also find it fascinating to see exactly how much my nails have grown in two weeks.  The polish was applied right up to the cuticle, so the gaps around the cuticle are all fresh growth.  

I had my manicure at the Chelsea branch of the Hand and Foot Spa, which I'll be reviewing in due course.  The CND Shellac add on costs £25 on top of any standard manicure - expensive, yes, but for up to three weeks of maintenance free gorgeous nails, well worth it for special occasions.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Travel Makeup: Essential Picks

The other week, I went away to San Francisco on a work trip.  I stayed in three hotels in three different parts of the Bay area - so I knew I wanted to keep my suitcase as light as possible.  So, I pared down my makeup bag to the bare minimum to get the maximum possible number of looks from a small number of items.  This is what I took.

Clockwise, from top left:
  • La Femme blush palette - this is now almost full, and has ten shades with varying finishes.  They're all highly pigmented, and last very well on the skin.  Best of all, they're also dirt cheap, at around £2.99 per pan.
  • Clinique Age Defense BB Cream* - it has a natural matte finish which controls oil throughout the day.  I took it because it requires so little maintenance - slap it on, leave it on, remove it at the end of the day.  No need to set it with powder, no need to powder at lunchtime.  Perfect for busy schedules.
  • Crown Brush Oval Lip Brush - at £2.30, this is one of my cheapest and most frequently used brushes. I don't actually use it for lips, but for smudgy, close application of eyeshadow around the eyes as liner - the tapered tip and firm bristles make it perfect for a soft, precise application.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero* - Black eyeliner is pretty much an essential, and this one is highly pigmented, glides on smoothly, and lasts very, very well.
  • Benefit They're Real Mascara* - long, flutteringly voluminous lashes in two coats, and no smearing or flaking.  Wonderful stuff.
  • Estee Lauder Pure Colour Eyeliner in Blackened Plum* - An alternative to black liner.  This liner is also intensely pigmented, and lasts well, but is less smudgeable and less smooth to apply than the UD one I took along.
  • NARS Concealer in Vanilla* - This is an excellent concealer, with a creamy but budge-proof formula, and it's suitable for blemishes and under eyes.
  • Urban Decay Naked2 Palette* - Enough shadows to get me through a week of makeup with plenty of variety, and it includes a double ended brush to apply the shadow with.  Very travel friendly.
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion - Classic.  No need to explain why, really!
  • Kiko Cosmetics eyeshadows - I use these for my brows.  Brown first to fill in the shape, and then red for the colour.  
  • Hard Candy synthetic angled brush - This is probably the oldest brush I own.  It's perfect for brows - very firm, perfectly angled, and exactly the right size.  I will cry on the day it falls apart.
  • Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Illusoire - Just in case I needed something a little more sparkly for a night out (or, in reality, for when I got tired of wearing neutrals all the time and wanted something with a bit more oomph).
  • Japonesque blush brush - This is from a travel set I received as a gift a while ago.  It's got a short handle, making it easy to pack, and a soft set of bristles which are the perfect balance between size and fluffiness to allow for precise application and easy blending.
What are your travel essentials?  Do you manage to pack lighter than I do?  Let us know in the comments!

* Items marked with an asterisk are PR samples

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Review & Swatches: Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick in 64 Gemma and 66 Gracia

Say hello to my two newest lipsticks, the latest additions to my eye wateringly expensive collection.  These little silver beauties are Guerlain's Rouge G lipsticks, and they have absolutely gorgeous packaging, gorgeous colours, and are all named with ladies names starting with G.  So, you know, I couldn't really avoid buying the one called Gemma, right?  And a friend to keep it company, of course.

First off, packaging.  These are incredibly heavy.  Equivalent of about three normal lipsticks, I reckon.  All that weight comes from the lid - the G-embossed hinge holds down a flappy uppy lid, which pops up as you slide the lipstick out.  The lid contains two excellent quality mirrors, which are ideal for on-the-move application.  Even given the practical nature of the mirror, these lipsticks are definitely built for beauty and style - they're shaped more like curved trinket boxes than lipsticks, and feel utterly luxurious and expensive in the hand.  No surprise, then, that the casing has been designed by a Parisian jeweller.

Left to right: Gemma and Gracia

The formula of these lipsticks is every bit as luxurious as the packaging.  Pigmentation wise, they're not insanely full on - it takes a couple of swipes across the lip to get a opaque coating of colour, allowing you to wear the lipsticks either reasonably sheerly or fully opaque.  The texture is simply gorgeous - buttery smooth, moist but still adhesive, and light as air on the lip.  They remind me very much of the Estee Lauder Pure Colour range, which are around £13 cheaper, but significantly less luxurious.  Wear time is good, at around 4 hours, with the colour feeling comfortable throughout, although I did notice a little bit of uneven fading around the 4 hour mark.

Anyway, on to some swatches.

Gemma, shade 64, is a beautifully cool pink with a lilac undertone.  It's got a tiny bit of shimmer shot through it, but only the tiniest dusting - enough to make the lip look dimensional and pretty, but not enough to push the shade into being frosty.

Gracia, shade 66, is a very wearable plum pink that's still neutral enough to be paired with a stronger eye or cheek.  Again, it has a tiny bit of shimmer shot through it, with a similarly soft and pretty effect.  

So, would I buy more of these?  You bet I would.  These lipsticks scream luxury, and I can't help but feel proud to own such beautiful lipsticks - which is saying something for someone with a lipstick collection as big as mine.  At around £29, they are definitely a high end, treat yourself purchase - but if you're a serious lipstick lover like I am, you'll probably think it's worth it.

Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks are available at Guerlain counters and concessions across the land, and online via Escentual.  What do you think?  Would you?  Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Collection 2000 Rebrands As Collection

High street favourite Collection 2000, purveyors of excellent concealer and glitter eyeliner, are celebrating their 25th anniversary by changing their name to "Collection".  I can totally see the logic there - where the 2000 might have been futuristic in the past, it seems a little dated in 2012.  The rebrand brings with it a new tagline, "Work The Colour", along with a brand palette of orange, blue and pink.  

I personally think that this new branding looks much more fresh and modern than the old Collection 2000 - and I'm looking forward to seeing how it translates into the packaging.  What about you?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Quick Pick: Davines NOUNOU Conditioner for Colour Treated Hair

First off - I can't read the label of this conditioner without giggling.  Nounou just sounds a little too much like a word you'd use to describe your ladybits than I'd like.  Smuttiness aside, this conditioner is damn amazing.  It comes in a large 250ml deli-style tub, and I was rather surprised to find that this rich, nourishing conditioner isn't actually the richest, most nourishing in the range (there's also a treatment mask you leave in the hair for longer).

The texture is thick and unctuous, with plenty of slip, meaning that it's easy to work a small scoop into the mid lengths and ends, even if your hair is insanely frizzy, dry or coarse.  Left in for five to ten minutes, it rinses out cleanly and leaves the hair feeling well moisturised, smooth and shiny - and very effectively detangled - without weighing it down.  Having tried conditioners recently that have felt a little underpowered, I'm really pleased to have found one which really performs.  Particularly at the very reasonable price of £13.70 for a large tub.  I'll definitely be repurchasing when the tub runs dry.  If you're keen to try it, you'll find it at Cult Beauty, alongside a matching shampoo and treatment mask.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Review & Swatches: Clarins Gloss Prodige Lip Gloss in Grenadine and Rose

These new lipglosses from Clarins are described as a "new generation gloss", boasting high shine, great wear, and intense colour.  Packaged in slim, elegant, but not mold-breaking tubes, they've been carted around in my lipstick bag for the past week or so, and I'm actually rather impressed.

Grenadine is a bright, pinky coral, and Rose is a soft neutral pink.  The texture of these glosses is described as "gel-like", which is reasonably accurate - they're not quite the thick, sticky type of gloss, nor the super slick emollient kind, but rather somewhere between the two.  There's a tiny trace of stickiness when applied, but it's delivered in combination with a plush moistness which gives a great balance between comfort and wear.  I've found that the gloss lasts around three hours on the lip before the shine diminishes - and whilst Rose disappears entirely from the lip, Grenadine leaves a soft, sparkling coral stain.

Rose is incredibly soft and pretty on the lip, with a milkiness that's really flattering.  I like how it's very definitely pink, but not so pale and baby-pink that it looks overdone.  It goes exceptionally well with a smoky eye, and thanks to the even fading, is very easy to wear - I've been applying this in the morning, and reapplying when it occurs to me to do so, rather than being conscious that I need to maintain the look throughout the day.  Pigmentation wise, this is slightly deceptive - the soft, natural colour may lead you to believe it's quite sheer, but it's densely pigmented enough to disguise the blueness around the edge of my lips.  

Grenadine is a significantly stronger, more vibrant colour, and it's not one I'd usually be drawn to.  It brightens up the face incredibly well, and paired with a bit of mascara and a defined brow, makes for a very quick but still pretty face of makeup that's easy to apply speedily in the morning.  Intensity wise, this is also reasonably pigmented - it's not an opaque look, but definitely stronger than your average sheer gloss.

Overall, I've been very impressed with these glosses, which surprises me a little as I'm usually much more of a lipstick girl.  They're comfortable to wear, stay on the lip for a reasonable amount of time, and are pigmented enough to give even colour.  At £15.50, they're not cheap, but they're definitely not super high end either - definitely worth checking out if you're in the market for a new gloss.

You'll find Clarins' Gloss Prodige lip gloss at Clarins concessions and via their website, where it's available in eight shades from neutral to red.  What do you think?

Disclosure: PR sample

Friday, 10 February 2012

Nail of the Fortnight: CND Shellac in Masquerade

As you're reading this, I'm in San Francisco on a work related trip, and not worrying at all about the state of my nails, thanks to a CND Shellac manicure.  And look... isn't it so shiny?  And so incredibly perfectly smooth and crisp?  As an incredibly clumsy person who more often than not smudges her freshly applied polish on the way home from a manicure, I'm always incredibly happy to leave a salon with a gel manicure applied - set under UV lights, they're perfectly dry and hardened almost instantly, and thanks to the gel texture, last for up to three weeks on the nail.

I've tried Artistic Colour Gloss before, and liked it very much, so I'm keen to see how this Shellac manicure compares.  It sure is shiny though.  And means that I've taken absolutely no nail related products with me on my trip at all.  Which leaves more room to bring new ones back, of course!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

John Lewis Nail Art Challenge

So John Lewis decided to see what bloggers were like at nail art. In some cases, the answer is "breathtakingly good", but for the likes of me it's more like "hmm, interesting effort".

Nonetheless, I did have fun playing around with the 4 shades John Lewis picked out for me - YSL La Laque in Sparkling Garnet, YSL La Laque in Pink Pearl, Nars nail polish in Space Odyssey and Nails Inc magnetic polish in Whitehall.

All of them are available from John Lewis' online beauty department.

First effort was just a kind of hot mess of everything at once...

Then a sort of cup-cake affair...

And finally a kind of half-moon effect with some little "gem" faux-decal type accents. That's what they were meant to be anyway.

Do you like playing around attempting nail art? Or do you prefer to just have someone else do the work for you with a manicure?

Disclosure - polishes sent free of charge
Related Posts with Thumbnails