Monday, 30 April 2012

NOTD: Nails Inc Sweets Way

This polish attracted a plethora of compliments when I first applied it the other day.  It's part of Nails Inc's Sprinkles collection, due for release in June, which attempts to give us a new take on glitter by suspending it in pastel, jelly bases, to give the effect of sprinkles in icing.  And wow - it's pretty.  Somehow more subtle than full on sparkle, the pink, silver and blue glitter peeks prettily through the pale blue / white base.

The polish applied surprisingly smoothly, although there's a certain amount of manual poking required to ensure that the glitter sits smoothly along the edge of the nail.  Unlike some glitters, this polish didn't ping off my nails in big chunks, but wore smoothly for around four days before it started chipping.  Removal was, unsurprisingly, not particularly pleasant, but for this effect, I think it's worth it.

In addition to this shade, there'll be a grey with monochrome glitter, a pink with fuschia, silver and blue glitter, and a teal with navy and gold glitter.  If you love a bit of sparkle, I'd highly recommend checking these out.  They'll be available in June from the usual stockists, and the Nails Inc website, where they'll cost £11 each.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 29 April 2012

New and forthcoming at Space NK

We recently got a look at some of Space NK's new and forthcoming releases, and met some of the people who made them. People like, oh, Lipstick Queen Poppy King...

...who has cooked up an achingly collectible Lipstick Library called Liptropolis, containing 3 shades of lipstick named after districts of Manhattan.

L-R Soho, Central Park, Upper East. (Poppy's nail polish is by Rococo.)

This is volume 1 - there will be at least 2 more, Poppy says, and they won't be more cities. Intriguing. Liptropolis will be priced at around £40 - so about £13 per lipstick. Expect it in May.

We also met Carisa Janes (above), founder of Hourglass cosmetics. This brand is new to Space NK but already well known to us for its heavenly bronze packaging and beautiful quality, via existing stockists Zuneta and Liberty.

She showed us the new Serum 28, an oil/serum/primer multi-tasker that smells like a spa in a bottle - deliciously indulgent. But my attention was quickly diverted by the new Opaque Rogue liquid lipsticks...

They're super long-wearing, but Carisa assures us that they're not plasticky or drying on the lips. These aren't out yet, but the orange and coral shades above are going straight in my shopping cart as soon as they go on sale.

Carisa also mentioned that she's working on a new eyeliner formulation at the moment. Something that will be as water-tight as a polymer liner without the flaking or the cracking, and as soft and workable as a pencil but minus the smudging and fading.

Rococo's Jubilee tribute: Rock & Royal. The blue looks amazing.

Here are two new Ombre Blackstar Melting Eyeshadows from By Terry. The green is Fizzy Jade, the blue is Paradise Island. These mean business - the swatches were still on my hand after a bath (and my baths are pretty long-drawn-out affairs). These are £27.50, out in May.

We (along with most of the beauty blogging community) are already in love with the Aqualip Jellytint in Dancefloor Flirt (£22), also out in May. This is a one-off limited edition, but Terry would be nuts not to include it (and more shades) in the permanent line. It's a water-light stain that despite looking orange in the tube, gives a petal-pink tint to the lips. This really deserves a post to itself, so stay tuned...

This is Serum Terrybly Sunbooster. It's not so much a fake tan as an auto-tan - it actually influences melanin production in the skin so you tan as naturally as you would in the sunshine. No biscuit aromas or orange ankles in sight. The press release for this stuff is full of graphs and diagrams of cells, and even with a Biology degree I'm no wiser as to how it works. But it smells nice, and the concept is pretty exciting. We have some of this to try out, so will do some further investigation. It's also out in May, costing £58 for 35ml. (We'll be sticking to using it on our faces, then.)

Ahh. This zen-like white creation is In Peace eau de parfum, a charity collaboration from Space NK. £12 of the £60 retail price will go to, which supports female survivors of war. It's a creamy mix of white suede and fresh flowers with an undercurrent of warm, cosy iris. There's also a kick of sandalwood and musk in the base. I really recommend sniffing this one. It's at Space NK now.

Here's perfumer Azzi Glasser gamely posing with the bottle. Sadly my shot is too overexposed to show the beautiful filigree-effect detailing on the box.

Finally, this is the Brighton collection, new to the Space NK Beautannia range. This is just gorgeous. It's got a minty note that reminds me of one of my favourite smells, Lush's "Dirty". The mint is a nod to the sticks of Brighton Rock you can buy at the seafront. The fragrance also folds in scents of the sea and coast itself, using sea moss and orris for an earthy, vegetative note, and grapefruit and neroli to capture the "bracing" nature of Brighton's breezy beach. There's a base of amber, vetiver and musk reflecting the scent of sun-warmed skin.

Needless to say I'm absolutely loving this. I have a sample of the bodycream (£42/190ml) which has me obsessively sniffing my arm, and I'll inevitably be springing for the candle (£35/185g), too.

Disclosure - we received samples of some of the products above

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Quick Pick: L'Oreal EverSleek Shampoo and Conditioner

I've found, over the years, that haircare with sulphates fades my hair colour quickly, so I'm always on the lookout for new, gentle shampoos.  L'Oreal's recently released EverSleek range is formulated to be nourishing and smoothing, for frizzy and dry hair, without sulphate and silicones.

First off, these may be sulphate free but the shampoo still foams impressively - much more so than some other sulphate free shampoos I've tried.  The lather is seriously creamy, leaving the hair feeling soft and clean  and not overly stripped.  The conditioner, which proudly advertises itself as silicone free, is incredibly thick and rich - and whilst it's great on the mid-lengths and ends of my fuzzy, colour treated hair, there's no way I'd put it anywhere near my roots.

At just £5.99 each, EverSleek is a great high street sulphate- and silicone-free range, and I've already purchased its EverPure sisters to see how my hair gets on with them.  Find the shampoo and conditioner at Boots now.

Friday, 27 April 2012

New Colorissimo lip palettes from Bourjois

I've been having some happy lunchbreak prowls round my local Superdrug recently. First they changed all the fixtures to a new design. Then they introduced Look to our Islington branch. And before that, Bloom got discontinued... it's been all action. Seriously, I've been fascinated.

Anyway, one of the lovely new things that caught my eye during my pre-prandial Superdrug safaris is the new Colorissimo lip palettes from Bourjois. There are 4 colourways, ranging from daytime nudes to "rawr" maroons and reds. Each palette contains an "everyday" shade for, like, everyday, a "statement" shade for big nights out, and a "chic" shade for super-sophisticated dinners a deux. There's also a double-ended flocked applicator (which is puzzling - surely one shade will be left out in the cold?) Best of all, they're currently on offer at Superdrug - £4.99 (will be £8.99)

From top: 01 Rouges Fashion, 03 Roses Fashion, 02 Roses Muses, 04 Nudes Dandy
I love these round palettes Bourjois have taken to producing. The smokey trio eyeshadows are so popular they've been imitated by other brands, while the 5-shade colour pearl palettes with their cute dots of powder bring out the miniature-loving part of me. I have yet to purchase one of those, but I did buy the Colorissimo palette in 03, Roses Fashion (corally pinks). I've yet to try it out, but will post lip swatches once I have.

Here's the full skinny on the Colourissimo palettes at

Will you be picking any of these up?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Quick Pick: Yes To Carrots Pampering Shampoo and Conditioner

I recently bought these pampering hair products from the Yes To Carrots collection.  Mostly, I bought them because they're sulfate free, but also partly because they're incredibly cheerful looking.  They don't make a whole heap of promises, just the usual cleanse-nourish-condition.  I've been absolutely loving the shampoo - despite being SLS free, it lathers well and leaves the hair feeling super clean and light without drying it out.  The conditioner is a little less impressive - it claims to tame "even the wildest of tresses", but I find it a little too lightweight for my colour treated, dry curly hair.  Leaving it on for fifteen minutes or so makes it a little better, but I think it's best suited to normal to slightly dry hair.

One thing I find particularly cute about these products is the attention to detail in the packaging and the branding.  The directions instruct you to shampoo your hair whilst singing, and the caps come adorned with a printed seal.

And the best thing about these products?  They come in 500ml bottles and cost just £8.99 each.  They definitely punch above their weight and whilst I might not be totally in love with the conditioner, I'll definitely be buying more of the shampoo.

Find them at BeautyBay, where the shampoo and conditioner cost £8.99 for 500ml.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Max Factor Fantasy Fire and Moon Dust Max Colour Effect Minis

I recently spotted this little purply-blue-red duochrome polish in Boots that I thought was kind of sweet. You probably won't have heard of it. It's called Fantasy Fire. (OK, I'm kidding - if you haven't picked up the insane hype over this polish you're probably in a very tiny minority indeed.)

What to say? Well, I don't own the Clarins polish this is allegedly a dupe for, so I can't say whether it's a true dupe or not, but I can tell you that it's very very sheer. This is about 5 coats and it still gave out a distinct "jelly" vibe once dried. So given its scarcity and how small the 5ml bottle is, this may be best layered over a blue creme of a similar hue. (Try Boujois So Laque in Bleu Violet 31 or Boots No 7 Stay Perfect in Violetta.)

In terms of colour shift, the duochrome particles in this travel from teal blue through to warm red via a coppery gold sort of colour. I've tried to capture both above.

At the same time as chancing on and seizing picking up Fantasy Fire, I also bought Moon Dust, which is a greyish purple shimmer with a more subtle duochome thing going on. It's got a shimmer that's made up of small metallic particles, rather than being that pure metallic-type finish that's prone to brushstroke marks. I really like this one too. It's less "wow" than Fantasy Fire, but it's got a sort of glowing multi-hued appeal.

The wear on both of these was really good, with around 5 days wear before chipping. You can find Max Factor Max Colour Effects Mini nail polishes at most branches of Boots and Superdrug, costing £3.99 each.

Have you tried Fantasy Fire or any of its fellow polishes? Do you think it's overhyped, or is your curiosity piqued?

EDIT: Reader Liseyduck has pointed out that Maxfactor is part of P&G, an organisation who conduct animal testing. More here at

Here is P&G's statement on their use of animal testing

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Review & Swatches: Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter

Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butters made a big splash in the US beauty community when they were launched last year, with their sheer, juicy colour and soft, balm like texture.  Luckily for us, they've now made their way over the pond to the UK, albeit losing six shades along the way - there are twenty in the US, and only fourteen here.

Here we have five of the fourteen shades.  From left to right; Peach Parfait, Creme Brulee, Candy Apple, Lollipop, and Sugar Frosting.  I love the dessert inspired names.  The packaging is a little plastic-y and cheap, but it's certainly cheerful - each butter has a coloured top to match the shade within, with the signature Revlon quilting embossed on it.  The top of each stick is also clear, allowing you to see the shade you're buying before you commit to it.

Texture wise, these are exactly what you expect when you hear the word "butter".  They're super soft, gliding onto the lips from the tube and leaving a buttery sheen on the lip.  They wear more like a lip balm than a colour product, remaining comfortable and moist between reapplications.

Lollipop, Sugar Frosting

Peach Parfait, Candy Apple, Creme Brulee

Peach Parfait on the lip

Overall, I'm really impressed with these soft, comfortable lip tints.  They're very affordable, too, at a mere £7.99 each, making them a comparable high street alternative to Clinique's ever popular Chubby Sticks.  If you'd like to check them out for yourself, you'll find them at Revlon stands nationwide - and online at Boots.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 23 April 2012

Quick Pick: Superdrug Aqua Hydrating Cleansing Gel

I've been using this little beauty for the past few weeks, and I've really come to love it.  Designed for dehydrated and sensitive skin, this refreshing gel is wonderfully cooling and light on the skin, and leaves it feeling clean and moist, thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid.  Be warned, though - given it's lightweight nature, this won't effectively remove heavy makeup - I've been using it with my Clarisonic after an oil cleanse, though, and it's perfect for that.

Costing just £4.59, this is a great basic gentle cleanser.  Find it in store at Superdrug.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 22 April 2012

NOTD: Nails Inc Piccadilly Arcade Nail Jewellery

Squeeeeee!  Glitter!  One of Nails Inc's upcoming summer launches is a range of four nail jewellery shades - aka multi-dimensional glitter topcoats.  They contain glitter particles in a variety of sizes and shapes - this beautiful emerald green shade contains tiny glitter dots, hexagons, and even some translucent blue-green squares.  The effect is stunning, and even my male colleagues have noticed the sparkliness of my fingertips this week.

This is a single thick coat applied on top of a black cream polish.  Predictably, it's a bit of a pain to remove, but unlike some glitters it hasn't suffered from the old pinging-off-the-nail-in-one-big-chunk effect.

Find it now at Nails Inc stockists, including their website, where it will cost £11.  As well as the green, there are pink, blue and silver varieties available - swatches of those later!

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Fresh Brown Sugar fragrance and Sugar Rose Lip Treatment

US fragrance and bodycare brand Fresh are a small but growing presence in the UK. They're a significant player across the States, carried in Sephora and major department stores, and their London store in Marylebone has seeded fanatical fans on this side of the pond too.

Late last year we were sent some items from the Brown Sugar range in a gift set. Although from its name I expected to love the Brown Sugar fragrance, it actually has a strong note of citrus (think brown sugar and lemon on pancakes) that I couldn't get along with. This dissipates into a lovely deep warm caramel-ish scent, with a note of musk that stops it being too gourmand. I love the dry down. But I have a very low tolerance for lemon scents and I was sad not to be able to add Brown Sugar Eau de Parfum in its elegant long-necked bottle to my list of favourite perfumes. I like it, but I don't quite love it.

The same went for the Brown Sugar Body Cream, which is both rich and easily absorbed. Just too much citrus for me. Both products are definitely worth a look if you're into niche fragrance and skincare and like citrus smells however.

Happily, there was a major hit for me in this set, which was the Sugar Rose Lip Treatment. It's a lightly tinted balm in a rosy pink, housed in a metal tube with a matte pale pink finish and a screw cap closure. It's tiny - smaller than a standard balm or lipstick, and it reminds me a bit of Besame's retro lipsticks in its dinkiness. (I later learned that there's actually a large size of the balm as well - but the small one is cuter.) The balm itself uses sugar as a humectant moisturiser, and also contains natural barriers including beeswax, jojoba, castor oil meadowfoam and grapeseed. To cap it all, it's got a SPF of 15. It doesn't taste sugary - in fact it's light enough to be barely noticeable on the lips despite its moisturising powers.

I'm so smitten with this that I've bought another one, ready for when my current tube gives up the ghost.

All these products (and more) can be browsed at the US Fresh website and bought directly or mail ordered via the London store.

*Disclosure - PR sample

YSL La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer

How beautiful is this image?  YSL have just released a range of nail lacquers in a myriad of shares - 30 to be exact.  They're intended to reflect the timeless nature of YSL couture and are available at YSL stockists now, costing £18 each.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Diptyque candle in Feu de Bois

When I was a fledgling beauty obsessive way back in the early 00's, I remember coming to London on visits and being mesmerised by the minimalist beauty of the Diptyque candles in Space NK. They were way out of my budget back then, but even though I've since grown in earning power and beauty-obsessed-ness, it's taken me until now to actually purchase my first Diptyque candle.

It was very easy to choose from the wide and tempting range of Diptyque candles available - I'd been coveting Feu de Bois (woodsmoke) for a long time. I've now had it for several weeks and am absolutely loving it still. I just can't believe I waited so long.

Its scent is more aggressive and manly than some other "smokey" candles I've tried, including Space NK's own "Smouldering Embers" and Freres Carrieres' "Titio". It's got a definite "grrrr" vibe to it, possibly from its note of lapsang tea.

Like all Diptyque products it is of course beautifully packaged, in sleek white cardboard with that distinctive calligraphed black font. Inside the box along with the candle is a small booklet titled L'art de la Cire (the art of wax) which describes the brand's history and the painstaking artisan techniques used to make the candles.

All in all, £38 well spent in my opinion, and a satisfactory conclusion to one very long-term lemming.

Diptyque candles 190g are widely available from department stores and boutiques nationwide. I bought mine at Selfridges. You can see the full range and learn more about the brand at Diptyque's UK website

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Easy Nail Art with Water Transfers

When Jane posted about Hail the Nails water transfers, calling them out as a quick, easy nail art solution perfect for the inept, I had to rush over to the site and buy some.  You see, I love a bit of nail art, but I'm a bit cack handed, a lot clumsy, and a whole heap of impatient.  These water transfers, though, make the whole thing easy - you simply snip them closely around the design, plop them in a bowl of water, wait for the backing paper to come off, and then position them gently on the nail.  Use a tissue to blot excess water, seal with topcoat, and you're done.

These black lace tips come in a sheet of 20, and cost a mere £1.99.  An absolute bargain.  I've used a single one as an accent nail because I was feeling a) trendy b) lazy (take your pick), over the top of Topshop's rather beautiful Delusion, and it looks great (even if I do say so myself).

There are loads of other designs available, including bows, skulls, and animal prints, with the designs going from those designed for the nail tip, to those designed to cover the whole nail.  You'll find them at the Hail the Nails website, where prices range from £1.99 to £2.25.  Brilliant!
Related Posts with Thumbnails