Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Superdrug launches Hair Doughnuts

When a press release informing us of the launch of these hair doughnuts popped into our inbox, my immediate thought was that I quite wanted to buy two and do a Princess Leila for work one morning.  Working in technology, I rather think that such a hairstyle would go down very well.

Anyway, if you're a normal person and fancy creating an oh-so-trendy doughnut bun atop your head, these launch in October and will cost £5.09.  

Monday, 30 July 2012

FOTD: High Summer

Newflash!  Summer has finally landed in Great Britain!

Well, it sort of did, for about four days, and now it's back to raining again.  But still.  Those four days of sunshine, humidity, and having to travel on the underground made me reassess my daily face, and I thought I'd share my current hot-weather look with you.  It's all about SPF, light textures, and most importantly, things that last all day despite the hot weather making me a little.. err... sweaty glowy.

BRTC Jasmine Water BB Cream SPF30
Becca Beach Tint in Grapefruit (Watermelon also pictured.. lovely stuff)

Kiko eyeshadows (brows)
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Shu Uemura Pressed Eye Shadow in IR Brown 850

Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Gloss in Currant

* items marked with an asterisk are PR samples

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Review & Swatches: Shu Uemura Creamy Eye Shadow Definer in P871 Medium Brown

Say hello to the newest texture in Shu Uemura's very comprehensive eye shadow range.  Creamy Eye Shadow is a cream to powder texture which results in "silky texture with long lasting sparkles". 

Swatched, you can see the aforementioned sparkles - in this shade, the medium brown contains a smattering of subtle pale blue and green glitter, which is a little unexpected in such an everyday neutral shade.  The colour itself goes on with a medium pigmentation, and the creamy texture makes it very easy to either build up for a more intense look, or sheer out for a wash of colour.

On the eye, you can see why this shadow is intended to give a "dimensional, lustrous look and finish".  The sparkles keep the look interesting and delicately shimmery, and the base colour defines the eye and is likely to flatter most skin tones.

At £11, these eyeshadows aren't cheap - but this shade certainly is pretty, and could be used as an interesting base as well as alone.  Unfortunately, even applied atop primer, the creaminess of this caused it to crease on my super-oily eyelids - so steer clear if you've got oily lids.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 28 July 2012

EOTD: Fyrinnae love

One of the few days this week where I actually made time to apply more than one shade of eyeshadow:

I used Fyrinnae's Calavera Cupcakes (a pale blue-ish silvery shimmer) on the majority of the lid, and Steampunk (a brown-green colour shift/duochrome shade) near the lashline, blended upwards.

It's easy for me to pass over loose colours in my stash, especially when I don't have a good brush clean and to hand. But Fyrinnae's colours are well worth the extra effort. The complexity and richness of the colours is exceptional - which explains why they've ridden out the mineral makeup gold-rush and kept armies of loyal customers despite having long shipping times.

If you haven't tried them yet, go to http://www.fyrinnae.com/ and pick up some of their sample sizes - you won't be disappointed.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Quick Pick: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Aria

One of Stila's latest releases is a range of long lasting liquid lipsticks (four-alliterative-word-combo!) which promise incredible pigmentation which lasts literally all day.  Packaged in a heavy tube and applied with a doe-foot applicator, this stuff really is intensely pigmented - it goes on absolutely opaque in one stroke, for a super-strong shot of colour.  Be very, very wary if you're not a fan of the statement lip.

Aria is one of the more autumnal/wintery shades - it's a deep, rich plum tone which looks very, very vampy indeed.  It applies with a slight sheen, and dries down to an opaque matte finish which is surprisingly budgeproof - a fingertip run across the lips comes back with very little transfer at all.

With a colour this strong and rich, I was very careful to make the application as precise as possible around my lipline, to keep it really crisp.  The applicator makes it relatively easy to do, but I also used a cotton bud dipped in cleansing oil to smooth the edges out to get this precise finish.

Amazingly, the colour stuck fast to my lips from 7AM when it was applied until 10PM when I finally got home and removed it with oil cleanser.  Granted, it started giving up the ghost at around 6PM, but that's fine by me - eleven hours near perfect wear is pretty damn impressive in my book.

All in all I'm really impressed with this stuff - and I'll definitely be buying more.  The rich, matte texture is a little drying, and lips must be in great condition before application, but otherwise it's comfortable to wear and lasts, as promised, all day.

Stila's Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks are on sale in August, and will cost £15 each.  The shade range runs from bright red to deep plum, with a couple of more neutral shades in between.  

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 26 July 2012

NOTD: Angel Annie by Darling Diva Polish

Hello, glowy polish.  I bought this terribly pretty, pink/lilac/silver shade with green flash from Darling Diva Polish on Etsy, largely because Charlotte was singing the praises of one of the other shades they make.  When it arrived, I was a little bit meh about it - I thought I'd bought a dull, slightly silvery pale pink which wasn't bright, sparkly, or otherwise attention grabbing enough for my usual polish tastes.

BUT.  I was wrong.  Admittedly, it does look like a silvery pale pink in some lights, but in others, it shows a strong green, milky pearl flash, and in others again, it looks distinctly lavender.  Granted, it's not the showiest duochrome I've ever seen, but it's still amazingly pretty.

In the sun, it's just WOW.  The holographic effect is strong and beautiful, and over the icy pink-lilac base, it looks simply stunning.

These photos show three coats of polish plus topcoat.  Application was buttery smooth and easy.  The polish wears like iron too - the first time I wore it I managed five days wear with barely any tipwear before I got bored and changed it for something else.  Lovely stuff.

Angel Annie costs $12 (around £7.95) from Darling Diva Polish on Etsy.  The brand also does some amazing glitter shade (very Lippmann, with a smaller pricetag) which are seriously tempting me at the moment.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Quick Pick: Blend Collective Unwinding bath and shower oil

Blend Collective is an all-natural brand offering bodycare products in three fragrances, each with its own blend of aromatic essential oils. "Unwinding" is a mix of cedar, frankincense, neroli and patchouli and it's absolutely heavenly. A capful of the oil in a hot bath throws up a positive wall of sensory enjoyment, with the odours of the essential oils mingling in the air.

The oil seems to virtually disappear when it hits the water. There are no visible oily spots on the water's surface, and no residue is left on the skin, although the water does feel softer than usual. I haven't tried this as a shower oil, but would expect it to be similarly light on the skin.

The bottle is glass, with a screw-cap, and the design is quite clean and graphical, making use of interesting fonts and colour blocks. It's a pleasure to behold on the bathroom shelf.

£24.95 buys you 100ml of this from blendcollective.co.uk

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Lush Emotional Brilliance

Lush's new colour collection comes in the form of many identical dropper-bottles, reminiscent of an old apothecary shop or magician's store cupboard. Well, they look like dropper bottles, but they actually have flocked applicators and liquid liner brushes inside the lids. And rather than being an undifferentiated spectrum of colour, they're separated into cream eyeshadows, eyeliners and liquid lipsticks. Still a bit magic though.

Those who remember Lush's now-defunct cosmetic sister company B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful will spot similarities between the colour range here and the original B never line-up of cream colours for eyes and lips. The packaging is less pretty, but the bright, vibrant mix of mattes and shimmers is quite similar.

The idea of Emotional Brilliance, and the reason for the name, is that you pick the colours that speak to you on a particular day, based on your response to a wheel of colours. Each one represents a quality or emotion that you'll then possess through wearing it - like bravery, glamour, etc. The people at Lush are strong on the idea of people choosing and controlling their own look, rather than being swayed by fashion or told what to wear and how to wear it. For that reason, Lush won't be offering Emotional Brilliance makeovers in store.

I received 3 colours from the range - Fantasy, a true gold liquid eyeliner, Glamour, a baby-pink-verging-on-lilac liquid lipstick, and Perspective, a nice peachy nude liquid lipstick. Each one comes with a little note on an elastic band tied around the neck of the bottle, explaining the emotional benefits you can gain from the colour through the power of association (no further claims are made - these don't pretend to be able to alter your mood per se - they're more like a personal totem or lucky charm in makeup form).

All three shades are highly pigmented and offer vivid payoff. I tried using both the liquid lipsticks as blush and they blended well. Glamour - the lilac-pink - doesn't do me any favours as a lipstick but worked out really nicely on the cheeks, giving a cool, bright Posietint-style effect. (So yes, I can do it. Without looking like Barbie.)

Fantasy is a straight-up, old school liquid eyeliner. It has no fancy polymer pigments or stay-true super-waxes. It goes on smoothly and creates an opaque line. It will wash off with soap and water. It ticks all the boxes you'd expect a gold liquid eyeliner to tick. I'm not sure this is worth the £14.50 price tag, but it's definitely decent quality.

The liquid lipsticks on the other hand are quite unusual. Both of the colours I tried have a marvellously light, smooth feel on the lips. They feel moisturising without a hint of greasiness or tackiness, sheer out well and offer reasonable wear. They do bear a strong resemblance, formula-wise, to the B Never lip colours which came in a tube with a flocked wand (I've forgotten the exact product name, but I think it was a product that doubled as a blusher).

As I mentioned, the Glamour shade does not flatter me at all, but Perspective is a great my-lips-but-better shade on me, a creamy nude with just a hint of shimmer.

Finally, here's a full-face shot I'm calling "emotionally weird"... Barbie lips and one gold eye. Well, I guess it fits with the "not following fashion" ethos.

Emotional Brilliance colours cost £14.50 each. The full range is available now at Lush

Disclosure - PR sample

Monday, 23 July 2012

Review: Foot Patrol Pedicure at Bliss Spa, London

Last week, I trundled down to Bliss Spa on Sloane Avenue in London for a pedicure after work.  Despite having walked past the iconic spa twice daily in the past two years (I work literally just up the road), it was my first visit, and I chose to indulge in the Foot Patrol pedicure.  Described as the ultimate power-pedi to address "Franken-feet", I figured it would be a great way to get my orthotic wearing, overworked feet ready for summer.

Having typically forgotten my flipflops, I requested extra massage or filing time instead of the usual polish that completes the treatment, which was thankfully no problem at all.  The treatment began with some dry filing, followed by a foot bath, followed by more filing.  Plenty of attention was paid to the very dry balls of my feet, as well as my reasonably dry heels, and an alarming amount of dry skin was sloughed off my feet onto a dark towel, which was both slightly embarrassing and quite gratifying at the same time.

I think the difference between a standard pedicure and the Foot Patrol pedicure is the sheer amount of time dedicated to softening the skin, via filing away dry bits and a good strong scrub with a foaming, grainy product.  Of the ninety minutes I spent in the salon, about an hour was spent filing, scrubbing, and filing again, with half an hour spent on moisturising with foot cream and a final paraffin bath. 

By the end of my hour and a half stay, my feet were transformed from being neglected and forlorn into something soft, pampered, and much more healthy looking.  Compared to the medi pedis I've had (and loved) in the past, this pedicure was less transformative, but also less invasive and more enjoyable.  

At £81.70, the Foot Patrol pedicure isn't something I'd consider making a regular thing.  As an occasional treat to whip my feet into shape for summer, though, it's definitely reasonable, particularly given the level of effort put in by the therapist! 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Happy Birthday Clarins Eau Dynamisante

Clarins' perfume-that's-not-just-a-perfume Eau Dynamisante celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.  To celebrate, Clarins have released a version of the iconic scent encased in a glittering red bottle.

I've never actually had the pleasure of smelling Eau Dynamisante before, and I was smitten within a single spritz.  It's light, fresh and zingy, with notes of lemon and ginseng dominating the mix.  The overall effect is refreshing and uplifting.  The premise of Eau Dynamisante goes beyond fragrance - it's intended to combine aromatherapy with a toning, moisturising base for a part-scent, part-body treatment effect.  I'm not too sure about the toning and moisturising part, having not been using it for long enough, but it's definitely a well designed, refreshing scent which is easily layerable if you're looking for a freshness boost during the day.

Find it at Clarins counters, concessions, and via their website, where this special edition bottle will cost you £29 for 100ml.

Disclosure: PR sample

Friday, 20 July 2012

Quick Pick: Denman Shower and Massage Brush

It's rare to see anything really new on the beauty scene.  This Denman shower brush, though, seems to be a pretty new idea to me - I've never seen anything quite like it before.  It's designed to be used in the shower (surprisingly), to massage any form of product into the scalp and hair.  

I did kind of wonder how much use I'd get out of it, given that I don't really put conditioner anywhere near my roots, but I've found that not only is it great at coaxing lather from even my most sulphate-free shampoo, it's also excellent at combing conditioner through the lengths of the hair.  I don't typically use a comb to distribute conditioner, as my hair doesn't get brushed between washes and combs just get tangled up and ripped out of my hands.  Thanks to the handle running across the back of the shower brush, which allows me to slide it on my fingers and get a great grip, I've managed to gently tug this brush through my conditioner laden hair with no trouble so far.  

The massage aspect of it is indeed rather nice - the plastic prongs are quite bendy, and it's possible to give the scalp a scratchy-firm massage by gently stroking the brush through the hair from hairline to nape.  It's kinda invigorating - not as relaxing as a proper head massage, but definitely gets the blood flowing in the scalp.

At a very reasonable £3.69, Denman's Shower and Massage Brush is good value for money, useful, and just a little bit indulgent.  Find it at Boots, in-store and online, now.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa Masques

Montagne Jeunesse, purveyor of well priced single use masques, are upping their game with their new Clay Spa masques.  Taking the Asian favourite cloth mask concept, they've given it a Western twist by saturating the cloth with clay, as opposed to the moisturising gels favoured in Asia.

There are two kinds of masque available; Glacial clay, and Dead Sea mud.  Both give a very refreshing, deep cleansing mask experience.  They're also quite easy to use - simply open the sachet, unfold the cloth mask, lay over face, pat into place, and leave for fifteen minutes.

The bonus is that where normal face masks generally make the uninitiated (i.e. my husband) laugh, this cloth mask looks entirely more sinister and stands a fighting chance of making said husband jump.  Which is a big benefit, in my book.

Once applied, I can feel the clay starting to contract on my skin, and after fifteen minutes, my skin feels fresh, clean, and firm, as well as looking even and smooth.  For a grand total of £1.49, this is a real treat of a mask - not only does it leave the skin looking and feeling great, but it's fun to use, too.

Montagne Jeunesse's Clay Spa Masques are available now from their website, and launch in-store nationwide in September.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Review - Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara in Extreme Black

My first reactions to this mascara were mixed. On the positive side, I love Clinique's High Impact mascara, so a variation on that theme was a welcome thing. But on the other hand, I'm convinced there is a special bargain bin in makeup hell for those "volumising" mascaras with the giant toilet-brush-sized wands that paint your entire eyelid black no matter how carefully you apply them. And I was scared I had one of those on my hands.

So with some trepidation I slid the chunky silver tube from its flowery Clinique box, and unscrewed the lid (which closes with a satisfying clunk-click feel). The wand lurking within is definitely big, and might even be called oversized. But it differs in one important respect from the giant-brushed mascaras I complained about just now - the barrel of the wand is big and wide, but the bristles are quite fine and short.

How does this translate into application? Well, there was a bit of eyelid-blotching going on first time around (as these pictures show) but now that I've been wearing it for a few days I can wield the brush quite comfortably.

The big plus point about this mascara is that it gives maximum lash with one coat. The formula contains polymers that bulk up the lashes straight off. You really don't need a further coat, and in fact trying for a second round is likely to result in clumps. For me, that one-coat finish is a godsend first thing in the morning when every second counts.

I'm also really impressed with the blackness of the mascara and how well it covers and separates the lashes. It's definitely comparable to the original High Impact mascara in those terms, and although the brushes are worlds apart, the finish is kind of similar (although High Impact does need more than one coat).

And despite the whole volume thing, it doesn't leave the lashes brittle or spidery, and I've had no problems with flaking. It's got hyaluronic acid, no less, panthenol and hydrolysed wheat protein in it to keep lashes moisturised and flexible, which may be why.

On the whole, I really like this. It has drawbacks - the wand could have been slimmer, and the tube itself is pretty big and will hog space in your makeup bag - but generally I'm really impressed that Clinique has come up with yet another ace mascara.

Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara is available in Black and Extreme Black, and will cost £17 for 10ml. It comes out on 1 August 2012.

Disclosure - PR sample

Monday, 16 July 2012

Review & Swatches: YSL Pure Chromatics Eyeshadow Palette in #7

This rather gorgeous little palette is part of the YSL summer collection, like the intensely red Rouge Madras lipstick I wrote about last week.  Pure Chromatics isn't a new concept for YSL - the first palettes were released around a year ago, promising pigmented shadows which apply dry for a soft, sparkling look, and wet for a metallic, high-shine effect.  At £39 a pop, this is a very spendy, luxe product - packaged in YSL's signature gold, with a large mirror on inside, this is every bit as luxe as the price would imply.

I really like the colours in this palette.  Pale pink, white with green and gold sparkle, intense yellow gold, and a fuschia toned plum shade makes for a palette that's definitely not about the natural, safe look, although you could easily tone it down a bit by pairing similar shade together and applying dry.

These dry/wet swatches show the extra intensity that you get by applying the colour with a damp brush.  The colours are still reasonably well pigmented even when dry, but they gain a real punch in both intensity and finish paired with a little water.  One thing I've found really impressive is that the use of a damp brush doesn't ruin the eyeshadow forever - even after using them wet, they're still soft, smooth, and easy to pick up with a dry brush.  Quite a change from some other shadows, which go waxy and solid when used wet, never to be used dry again.

This look includes all four shades applied wet; the white shade in the inner corner, pale pink on the inner third of the lid, gold on the centre of the lid and under the eye, and fuchsia in the crease and outer v.  The colours really make the most of the green in my eyes, and the finish is beautiful - shimmery, metallic, and intense without looking garish.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with these eyeshadows - they're soft, blend well, and can be used for subtle or more intense looks.  The price tag is admittedly very high - so if I fancied indulging in another, I'd probably make sure that it was a set of shades I'd be more likely to use every day.

Find them at YSL counters and concessions, and online via the YSL website.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Quick Pick: Tesco Skin Wisdom Day Spa Wash & Scrub

I picked this sleek blue tube up at the same time as I acquired my cinnamon and fig bath and shower gel from the same range.  I do love a body wash with scrubby bits included - I'm a lazy girl at heart and anything which does two things at once (and does them both well, mind) gets my vote.

This is supposedly scented with vanilla and neroli, but when I first used it, I was totally surprised by the scent.  It's not overpoweringly vanilla-y, not synthetic at all, but subtle, light and fresh - the opposite of what I thought it would be.  The scent doesn't linger on the skin, and is only barely detectable in the foam.

I use this alongside a bath puff, which gives me double exfoliation, from both the bath puff and the scrubby bits in this wash.  There isn't a particularly high concentration of scrubby bits included in the wash - enough to give you a little abrasion, but don't expect anything near the experience you'd get from a proper scrub.  That said, it's gentle enough to use every day, and leaves the skin feeling clean, soft, and thoroughly refreshed.

I will definitely repurchase this product - at just £3.99, it's a lovely shower gel with an added scrubby bonus. Works for me.  Find it exclusively at Tesco.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Swatched - Sephora Tangerine Tango lipgloss collection

Quite a while back I mentioned that I'd gotten hold of some of Sephora's Tangerine Tango Pantone collection when over in the States. The time finally came to give the orangey glosses a road test this weekend, and here is photographic evidence...

The lipgloss set contains 4 full sized (5ml) glosses and costs a very reasonable $14 (about £9). They range from a the lightest sheerest hint of tangerine to a full on, opaque Tango colour that saturates lips in one stroke.

Left to right below: Glaze, Opal, Luminous, Vivid.

And here is Vivid on the lips:

I was happy to find out that all four glosses are smooth and non-sticky, even Vivid. The formula is just tacky enough to adhere well to the lips, rather than slide around like balm, but it doesn't feel uncomfortably "there" on the lips. The pigment is well contained in the formula and doesn't stain the skin. The applicator is a flat-sided flocked wand thing, and the packaging is both sturdy and sleek.

US readers may still be able to find these sets in branches of Sephora, although the website seems to have sold out. For orange-loving Brits, head to makeupalley.com for swaps or eBay to track these down.

Friday, 13 July 2012

NOTD - Flake-a-holic

I amused myself this Sunday evening by layering two different flakey topcoats over Rococo's VIP, a cool-ish red creme. The yellowy-gold flakes are GOSH Rainbow, and the more subtle blueish pink are Look Beauty Pearl Effect top coat.

I like it, but I think it needs a third flakey dimension to totally complete the flaked out-ness. Any recommendations?

Disclosure - Rococo VIP is a PR sample

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Dr Jart: Korean BB cream now in Boots

We've seen plenty of BB creams pop up on the UK scene in the last year, coming from mainstream and niche brands alike from Maybelline to Illamasqua. The BB format is now well-embedded in the British beauty lover's consciousness (although we're still not 100% sure if we're supposed to call it "Blemish Balm", "Beauty Balm" or what).

So the timing's about right for an original gangster BB cream from the BB motherland (South Korea) to arrive on the UK scene. Dr Jart is a popular brand over in South Korea, where the BB market is at the height of its powers - one in three Korean women own one. Having been to Seoul and seen with my own eyes the insanely huge beauty market (I've never seen so much retail floor space devoted to beauty), this is seriously impressive reach.

As with many Asian beauty brands, the range of products available from Dr Jart is pretty dizzying, but a fairly easily grokked selection of four has been picked to launch in Boots. There's one for young skin, one for mature skin, and a couple in between. All have SPF of 25 and over, and range in price from £18 - £24.

I've been trying out the Regenerating BB, which is one of the "in between" ones. I picked it because it's silver, and apparently contains skin-healing snail secretions (although I've seen been worriedly Googling to see if the snails are harmed in collecting this - seems not).

It's a pale, cool-toned shade (despite the odd thing my camera/inner arm is trying to do to the shade in the pic) with medium coverage, and the formula is quite rich. I couldn't wear it every day as it's too greasy for my skin, but for drier skins this will be very nourishing, especially when autumn arrives. I should probably have opted for the Water Fuse BB for younger skin, which has been getting a lot of positive blog coverage, but I do expect to be reaching for this in winter.

The shade choice is pretty uniform across all four Dr Jart BBs, although the Premium BB, for older skin, is slightly darker. If you're a cool-toned Asian or Caucasian you're in luck, but otherwise these won't work for you. (I wonder if there are any plans to bring out BBs for other skintones?)

You can get Dr Jart BB creams in larger branches of Boots and from Boots online

Disclosure - PR sample
Related Posts with Thumbnails