Friday, 29 June 2012

Quick Pick: Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturiser

I've been using this Clinique night cream for about a month now, and I can now say that it's had a massive effect on the texture and brightness of my skin.  After just a week of use I noticed that my skin was feeling velvety smooth and plumped up each morning, and I've not had one of those dull skin days that makes you reach for the exfoliator since I started using it.

The texture is fabulous - light, fresh, more of a gel-cream than a traditional heavy night cream.  It sinks in quickly, and I did wonder whether it'd pack enough of a hydrating punch given its lightness - but to the contrary, it hydrates perfectly without overloading the skin.

I've also been using only the smallest dab to cover my entire face, and have well over two thirds of a pot left after a month of nightly usage.  At £34, this isn't a budget product - but if it lasts three months (which I suspect it will), it's not a lot to pay overall.  This could well be my new default night cream!

Find it at Clinique counters and concessions, and via the Clinique website, where a 50ml pot costs £34.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Forget Catwalk: QVC Presents Facewalk

I quite like the idea of this interesting new concept from QVC.  Using carefully placed spotlights to focus on models' faces, instead of their bodies, QVC presented a variety of makeup looks "curated" by makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench.  You can watch the full video on YouTube, or via the special site QVC have set up, where you can also get the low down on how to recreate the looks yourself.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Quick Pick: Kneipp Herbal Bath

I really, really love bathing.  Showering is fine, it gets you clean, but bathing gets you clean whilst making you feel relaxed and warm, and gives you plenty of time to read un-put-down-able books.  When I have a truly crappy day that leaves me feeling drained, frustrated and super tired, I head straight to the bathroom and have a soak with this Kneipp Herbal Bath in Orange and Linden Blossom.

A capful of orange, viscous liquid poured into a full tub disperses slowly into the water, filling the air with a deeply relaxing and soothing scent based on orange, but with more warmth than zing.  It doesn't really affect the bathwater at all - there are no bubbles, no obvious texture change - but it absolutely does relax a tired mind.

Given the herbal content of Kneipp herbal baths, you're not supposed to spend more than fifteen to twenty minutes in the bath with them - which is fine by me, as that's usually all it takes for the effects of the day to fade away.

Find Kneipp herbal baths at Must Have, where a 100ml bottle (good for 10 baths) will cost you £7.95.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

NOTD: A Very British Summer

I'm starting to get the hang of this Konad nail stamping thing.  I'm still nowhere near as good as the likes of Leanne, but the images I stamp upon my nails are becoming clearer and cleaner, and I'm finding it slightly easier to get into the pace of polish-scrape-stamp-repeat.

Anyway, the base colour here is Ciate Bon Bon, which comes free with this month's edition of Marie Claire. It's a beautiful dusty lilac neutral, which I rather like on my fingers - it's a cool enough neutral that it doesn't look awful against my skin.  I used Konad Special Polish in white for the umbrellas.  

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Liz Earle eye pencil - blacker than a goth's coal scuttle

Liz Earle's new makeup range is awash with natural, neutral tones that subtly enhance the face and its various features - which is pretty much as we'd expected. But of the items I've tried from the range, the eye pencil is the one I've really been impressed with. It's surprisingly far from neutral and subtle. In fact, it's really, really inky black.

It's not the usual gel waterproof finish I go for (UD 24/7, Gosh Velvet Touch, et cetera), rather it's an old-school kohl style eyeliner that will smudge during wear - and not necessarily in a bad way. But it glides on as smoothly as any gel liner I've tried, and is perfectly inky black from the first touch.

I'm really impressed with this pencil. I'd love it more if it were a gel liner, but given that this is Liz Earle, high-tech products were never going to be the emphasis. It offers gentle, smooth application and maximum pigment. If you love a bit of black kohl on your waterline, do check this out.

Liz Earle eye pencil, £11 for 1g from Liz Earle online. Brownie points to Liz for featuring a model on her website who has visible eye wrinkles and hasn't been photoshopped into oblivion.

You can also check out the full range at Liz Earle stores and selected branches of John Lewis

Disclosure - PR sample

Friday, 22 June 2012

Quick Pick: Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation

This Bourjois 123 Perfect foundation has been loitering on top of my makeup storage for quite some time now, and it's wormed its way into regular usage just by being easy to use and quite nice.  It claims to contain correcting pigments (three different kinds, no less) which help to provide a flawless complexion which lasts for up to sixteen hours.

And you know what?  It pretty much does what it says on the tube.  I'd actually go as far as to compare it to my one time favourite, MAC Studio Fix Fluid, for it can be worn sheer or built up into a more medium coverage, and because it has a great semi-matte finish which looks perfectly natural.  And it does actually last - not through a session on the Underground when it's 25 degrees outside, admittedly, but under normal non-sweaty conditions my skin still looks fresh and even at the end of my working day.

The only downside is that although Bourjois claim that there are 9 shades available, I can't see more than 5 on sale at any given time - and they're all pretty fair.  I match Vanille Clair, the palest shade, and the deepest shade isn't going to really match anyone past a medium skintone.

At £10.99, this is a pretty damn decent high street foundation which looks good, builds well, lasts brilliantly and feels comfortable.  Good old Bourjois.  Find it at Boots, where its currently included in a 3 for 2 offer.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 21 June 2012

NOTD: The tale of the amazingly long-wearing Asda polishes

I put on this metallic silver and green glitter combo approximately 7 days ago - and it's still going strong. That's pretty much unheard of for me. It's especially amazing given that these little polishes cost £2 and £2.75 respectively. The green glitter is called Aquarium, and the silver is Spaceman, and they're both by George at Asda.

Aquarium features a thin-ish suspension of finely cut glitter particles in blue and green, resulting in a very lovely aqua/teal effect. The glitter bits are sparse, so it does require a couple of coats - this is two. But their tiny size means that you're assured of a smooth finish without the undesirable bumpy effect chunkier cheap glitters can cause.

Spaceman is a straight-up no frills silver nail polish. Not much else to say - it's a 3-coater, the metallic finish will pick up imperfections in the nail bed, pretty much what you'd expect. Apart from the exceptional wear, obviously.

We really like the way Asda has textured the caps of its glitter and metallic nail polish bottles to reflect the nature of the polishes in its Glitter and Molten Metals ranges. It's a thoughtful and pleasing design touch that goes above and beyond what we'd expect from such a budget brand.

Find George nail polish and cosmetics online at Asda

Disclosure - PR samples

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review & Swatches: Viseart Matte Neutral Eyeshadow Palette

Having seen reviews of Viseart's matte eyeshadow palette on both London Makeup Girl and Maquillage Obscura, I knew I had to buy one for my Mum, who's always on the lookout for good quality neutral matte shadows.  And naturally, I had to buy one for myself too.

The palette contains twelve matte shadows, in neutral shades from ivory to deepest black.  The packaging feels a little cheap and lightweight - I'd be slightly scared to throw it about too much - which was a little bit of a surprise given the £46 price tag.  

The eyeshadows inside the case, though, are anything but cheap.  They're quite simply the best quality matte shadows I've ever tried.  They're well pigmented, but not so much so that they're chalky and difficult to blend.  Rather, they're finely milled, powdery and soft but not too crumbly, and very smooth to apply.  Some of the shades lean a little too warm for my liking (particularly the two slap bang in the middle of the palette) but in general they're true neutrals.

The swatches above were all reasonably lightly done - no layering up here.  The pigmentation is unusually rich for a matte shadow, particularly one so soft and blendable.

Packaging qualms aside, this really is a lovely palette, and an absolute essential if you like a neutral eye and the matte texture (which I personally love against a bright red satin-finish lip).

Find the Viseart matte neutral eyeshadow palette at the Neat Kit.  If you're a makeup artist, you'll pay £37, and if you're a regular consumer, you'll pay £46.  Well worth it in either case in my mind!

News: YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation exclusively at Selfridges from June 24th

Highly anticipated foundation of the moment, Le Teint Touche Eclat, goes on sale exclusively at Selfridges from 24th June, before going nationwide on the 15th July.  It'll be available in all Selfridges stores, including their online shop, and Selfridges are the only store to stock all 22 shades- when the foundation goes on sale more widely, only 16 shades will be available.  It costs £26.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

NOTD: China Glaze Full Spectrum

I've posted about China Glaze's beautiful Prismatic Chroma Glitters before, when I bought the green-gold-silver Ray-diant shade and fell absolutely in love with the twinkles.  This shade, Full Spectrum, is just as pretty - a baby pink base with plenty of multi coloured sparkle, and a bit of a fuchsia flash when the light hits it right.  As before, application is surprisingly smooth for a glitter polish, with the effect above taking a mere two coats.  Simply lovely.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm

I've heard many rumblings about Emma Hardie's Moringa cleansing balm, all of which where overwhelmingly positive.  So, when QVC offered up a skincare set containing a full size jar of it, I had to indulge.  

The packaging is absolutely gorgeous - one of those tube-within-a-tube affairs which refract the light in an interesting way.  It looks and feels heavy and expensive, and looks very smart on display in my bathroom.

The cleansing balm itself is gorgeous too.  It's generally solid at room temperature, but the second you scoop any out of the jar, it softens into a rich oil.  To use, you mix a few drops of water in with the softened balm, creating a milky fluid, and then massage over the skin.  You're supposed to remove it with a muslin cloth, but I've found that it washes off just as well with a splash of warm water.

Once it's on the skin, it's almost impossible to avoid massaging the skin for a good few minutes - the texture is so rich and emollient that fingertips just glide over the skin - it's almost hypnotic.  After use, the skin feels incredibly soft and velvety, as well as perfectly clean.

The only downside I've found to this product is that the packaging is a little fragile.  A great big crack has appeared in the lid after a weekend away, and droplets of balm have melted between the inner and outer tubes.

All in all, though, this is a pretty dreamy cleanser.  And at around £30 a jar, it really should be.  Having used it for a few weeks, though, I can say it's definitely worth the investment - this is easily one of the best cleansers I've ever used.  It's also a bit of a secret multi-use product - the balm can be used directly on dry areas as an intensive moisturiser, or left on the face for ten minutes as a hydrating mask.  Lovely stuff - which I'd happily replenish when empty!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Review & Swatches: Bourjois Effect 3D Lipgloss in Rose Chimeric and Corail Idyllic

Once upon a time, when I was just starting to get a little obsessive about makeup, I thought Bourjois was the best brand in the whole world.  The little round pot eyeshadows called to my fifteen year old self, and while all the products were much more expensive than the likes of Rimmel, I still saved my pennies and indulged.  Anyway, this is relevant (sort of) because I had an Effect 3D lipgloss, and I absolutely loved it.  It was a deep ruby red, with plenty of pigment, lots of shine, and a sticky texture.

Fast forward *mumbles* years, and Effect 3D have been reformulated.  They're now much more hydrating, with a soft, balm like texture, and the shade range includes sheer shades and slightly more pigmented ones.  

Corail Idyllic and Rose Chimeric are a juicy sheer coral with golden sparkle and a soft milky pink respectively, and they're the first I've tried from the new range.

Packaged in slim, curvy tubes, these glosses still look like a slightly higher end version of the high street.  The included brush is skinny and flexible, allowing a good degree of precision when applying it to the lips.

Pink Chimeric

Corail Idyllic

These two shades are both sheer and soft on the lips, with only just enough pigment to disguise the blue tinges to the outside of my lips.  I was expecting to dislike Pink Chimeric, as I just can't pull off the baby pink lip look, but it's actually sheer and milky, and makes for a subtle neutral lip.  

The wear is reasonable for a non-sticky gloss, but nowhere near as long as the 8 hours claimed; I've found I get about two hours provided I'm not drinking and eating too much.  The texture is absolutely as soft and balm like as Bourjois claim, and even towards the end of the wear time, the gloss still feel soft and moist.

Overall I really like these glosses - and at a mere £7.69 each, they're a very reasonably priced too.  I'll definitely be checking out some of the shades - and trying to see if they still do my long-lost ruby red!  Find them at Boots - who currently have a three for two offer on at the moment too.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Quick Pick: Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

I can't believe I've never heard about Clarins' Hand and Nail Treatment Cream before.  This intensely moisturising, shea butter based cream with extracts of sesame oil and mulberry is a consistent Clarins best seller - and having tried it for the first time last night, I can totally see why.

You only need the tiniest dab, with the cream's silky texture making it easy to smooth across the hands.  For something with such a light texture, it imparts an incredible amount of moisture into the skin, sinking in quickly and leaving the hands feeling soft and velvety with absolutely no residue whatsoever.  The softness lasts even after washing the hands.

Impressive stuff - the complete lack of residue makes this a perfect desk companion which won't interfere with constant typing.  My tube will be given pride of place next to my monitor!

Find it at Clarins counters and concessions, or online, where a 100ml tube costs £19.  There's also a Jubilee special edition (Clarins are royal warrant holders), which gets you a massive 200ml for just £26.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 11 June 2012

Urban Decay to sell in China and lose cruelty-free status

image from

It's been impossible not to notice the overwhelmingly negative response to this issue around the beauty blogosphere this week. If you haven't heard, the gist is that Urban Decay are planning to move into the Chinese market. In doing so it will no longer be classed as a cruelty-free brand entitled to use the Leaping Bunny label on its products. The way the beauty industry in China is  set up means that finished products can be tested on animals before being sold to the Chinese public. In agreeing to be sold in China, UD are effectively giving the OK for their products to be animal tested.

The company has circulated a release giving their reasons for the move. For them, the risk of animal testing on their products is outweighed by the potential to raise awareness about animal testing and women's issues within China. They're hoping to change things from the inside. (We've all heard that before, right?) "The battleground for animal rights is now in China", they say. (If only that were true - large numbers of the UK's beauty products are still not cruelty free.)

It also can't be overlooked that the Chinese market has incredible economic potential at the moment. I doubt if UD would have bent their principles otherwise, although they say they don't stand to make a profit in China for some time.

This isn't the first time an idealistic company dedicated to ending animal testing has gone back on its promises for the sake of commerce - some readers will remember the outrage when Anita Roddick sold the Body Shop to L'Oreal (who still own it) in 2006, with similar statements about changing things from the inside.

On a personal level, I'm honestly gutted by this. Intellectually, I know Urban Decay is a business, and that their products are meant to make money, not just to make people happy. But the fact is they have made me happy over the years - probably more so than I've realised, given how low this news now makes me feel. I'm not sure I'm going to feel the same way when I use my UD products, or get the same rush of excitement about their new releases in future. Maybe this reaction will subside, but for now all I can feel is sadness.

What's your reaction to this news? Will you still buy UD products? Do you think they should reverse their decision?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

More Ready from Bare Minerals

If you read Gemma's previous post on Bare Minerals' new Ready pressed powder range, you'll know that their matte rubberised packaging and buttery-like-woah eyeshadow is pretty good stuff indeed. I've been trialling some other bits from the range, namely The Top Shelf eyeshadow duo and The Tease blush.

The Tease is a generously proportioned 6g blush pan in a mirrored compact, which comes with its own surprisingly effective mini blush brush. The formula contains camellia oil, reputed to have skincare benefits. It's a lovely springtime-esque dusty pink with medium pigmentation - one to apply lightly and build up, as a heavy hand will leave you decidedly clown-cheeked. The finish is matte. 

Anyone who's ever owned a Nars product will immediately be thinking "fingerprints" on seeing a Bare Minerals Ready compact. And yes, this packaging is pretty much guaranteed to be utterly besmirched with paw-prints and bald at the corners within a matter of weeks. Looks nice now though.

The Top Shelf is another eyeshadow duo, consisting of a warm shimmery champagne highlight and a rich bronzey gold. The pigmentation on these is phenomenal - think Urban Decay but even smoother and finer.

The colour choice is a winner too. I normally shy well away from warm-toned eyeshadows but the paler shade ( Mixologist) is very flattering used as a wash on the lids, and Cognac, the gold, blends effortlessly as a crease colour. These contain "cutting-edge rejuvenating sea minerals". Right you are.

FOTD with The Top Shelf and The Tease:

Bare Minerals really have gone hell for leather in positioning their product range as far from the typical all-natural touchy-feely mineral makeup ideology as possible. They're going for a high-tech, fashion-savvy and modern brand feel, and the wording used on the promo materials and packaging highlights that particularly well. From the cheeky "Hello" on the plastic insert protecting the mirror to the snappy manifesto on the inside of the eyeshadow box, the brand never lets you forget that it's urban, smart and on-the-ball.

An marketing copywriter woz ere
Bare Minerals Ready blush comes in 10 shades, each costing a fairly pricey £22, while the eyeshadow duos come in 22 enthralling combos, each costing £19 (a distinct saving on their obvious rivals, Nars duos, which cost £24). You can browse to your heart's content at

Disclosure - PR sample

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review: Chanel Poudre Universelle Compacte

My previous handbag-compact was a MAC pressed powder, and it started looking a bit old and a bit more pan than product right around the time I happened to be near both a Chanel and a Guerlain counter.  Honest.  My deliberations between this Chanel pressed powder compact, and a Guerlain Meterorites pressed powder compact were ended by the fact that this Chanel powder was the only thing in stock.

Like many Chanel products, it comes in a black velvet pouch.  I did attempt to keep it in my handbag in said velvet pouch, but it kept falling out - it's more of a lovely presentation thing than a serious way to keep the compact clean and safe.

Encased in the usual shiny black packaging, the powder itself is a light, translucent affair which I dab on with the included sponge to mattify and control shine.  It gives a soft, natural finish, and lasts a reasonably long time - I don't really need to touch up until a good eight hours after my first application.  That said, it doesn't really last well during hot weather - but then, very little does on my skin.

Overall though... I can't help feeling a little ambivalent about this product.  Whilst it's a perfectly nice powder, I'm not sure it's really worth the £32 pricetag.  It performs on a level with my old MAC powder, which was just over half the price.  Added to the fact that the mirror only opens up only to a 90 degree angle to the powder, which is a little unwieldy when applying on the go, and I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't repurchase or recommend this powder.  There are better options on the market for a lower price, and unless you're a particular fan of the twin C logo, there's not much to distinguish it from the competition.

Find it at Boots, where it costs £32 for 15g.  The shade above is Clair, which is a light translucent shade. 
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