Friday, 30 November 2012

Lip of the Day - Paul + Joe Beaute 205 Strawberry Jam

We recently visited the Paul & Joe boutique in Knightsbridge for an audience with our favourite international man of makeup, Craig-Ryan French. He had a selection of new lipsticks to show us, as well as a new case system.

Paul + Joe Beaute is big in Japan, and accordingly the lipstick shades have tended to be sheer and subtle, as that's what the Japanese market demands. However, there's now a selection of finishes - sheer, natural, and full coverage. The one I have to show you, Strawberry Jam, belongs to the natural range.

Paul + Joe have also overhauled the format of their lipsticks. You can now buy a re-usable plastic case, along with colour refills which click into it. The refills include the metal inner casing, and the lipstick itself is embossed with the brand's new logo - a curlicued "P" and "J". You can also put these refills into the coveted limited edition "sparkle" cardboard cases, which come out seasonally.

Strawberry Jam is a semi-sheer, shimmery coral red. It's highly wearable and has a balm-like texture and a very light, sweet scent. Good for lipstick-n00bs or for those who prefer an understated lip.

At £12.50 per bullet, these lipsticks are not too expensive (although you also have to factor in £5 for the case). If you wanted to buy one case and various refills, it's cheaper - although you would have to be careful not to lose the flimsy plastic caps that come with the refills and protect the lipstick from the air.

Find Paul +Joe Strawberry Jam lipstick at, where it will cost £12.50 for 3g

Thursday, 29 November 2012

NOTD: Sally Hansen Salon Effects in I Love Lacey

I bought these Sally Hansen nail wraps in the States in August, and have only just remembered that I'd yet to
try them out.  Salon Effects are different to plastic printed nail wraps in that they are made of actual nail polish (apparently).  Whatever they're made of, they're significantly more comfortable to wear than plastic wraps, as they are much thinner, and are barely noticeable on the nail edge.

You can see in the photo above that the design is incredibly thin, with no noticeable edge or overlap atop the nail.  That funny, scratchy, coated feeling is one thing I really dislike about wearing nail wraps, so the comfort of these is a major selling point in my mind.

The design, I Love Lacey, is a pretty red and black lace-and-flowers graphic which looks pretty cool and is very detailed.  Application is reasonably easy - you have to match the pre-cut decals to your nails, then peel off a protective coating, then peel off the polish itself and stick it to the nail, from cuticle to tip.  As with other wraps, the excess is stretched over the edge of the nail and then filed off - which does leave a little bit of a noticeable tip, but nothing really obvious unless you're in the habit of staring at your nails close up.

They claim to last for ten days - we'll see how well they do on that front.  Given the easy application, interesting design, and clean, shiny finish, I'd quite happily invest in these for a special night out, with any extra staying time being a bonus.

Unfortunately Sally Hansen don't sell these in the UK - DAMN YOU SALLY HANSEN - but you'll find them on eBay for £3 - £6.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Quick Pick: Clinique Quickliner Intense in Intense Plum and Intense Chocolate

These Clinique Quickliner Intense pencils were an unexpected sample recently, and having used them for a couple of weeks, I'm really impressed.  I've used Quickliners before, and I've always liked their mechanical pencil action (I'm always mislaying my pencil sharpener) and thin "lead" - making it pretty easy to apply them precisely to either lashline.  These Intense versions are limited edition and promise more intense colour alongside the usual long lasting, easy application benefits.

Intense Plum is actually a bit more purple than I'd expect for something labelled plum - it's a reasonably cool blue based purple rather than a red based plum.  Intense Chocolate is, unsurprisingly, a chocolate brown.

Swatched, you can see that not only are they pretty intense (this is a single swipe), they also have a subtle bit of shimmer in them.  Nothing you'd be able to see on the eye, but definitely enough to add a bit of dimension.

My only complaint of these is that they don't remain soft and smudgable for long enough before they set fast.  I'd quite like a softly smudged line sometimes, and if I don't act really fast, it's easy to lose the opportunity to smudge, as the liner sets within about twenty seconds.  Once set, though, they remain set all day, with no flaking, smudging or transfer at all.

Find them at Clinique counters and at the Clinique website, where a 0.3g product will cost you £14 - making them really rather expensive per-gram, compared to say, UD's famously hard wearing 24/7 liners, which are £13 for 1.2g.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

NOTD: Nails Inc Stratford Mirror Metallic

This subtle, pretty duochrome is one of Nails Incs Special Effects polishes, which complement their main colour range. It travels between a khaki-ish gold and a metallic rose pink - it's a bit like a toned down version of the purple/green or red/gold duochrome polishes you commonly see.

Unlike many Nails Inc polsihes, which tend to be quite opaque, this took three coats to get full coverage. I think maybe this is intended as a topcoat, which might be why.

Stratford polish, £11 for 10ml from Nails Inc online

Disclosure - PR sample

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Quick Pick: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

When my skin suddenly went all oily after changing from the Pill to a contraceptive implant, I found that many of my liquid foundations were too creamy and rich, simply sliding off my face as the day wore on.  Luckily, I knew exactly what to get - Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation is a known quantity for its exceptional hold and reasonably full coverage.

I popped along to my local Boots and was matched to the lightest, coolest shade - Cool Bone.

The packaging is a grown up affair, with the foundation nestling in a heavy glass bottle with the signature Lauder golden cap.  Unfortunately, you don't get a pump, which I find a little annoying - tipping foundation onto the fingertips can often lead to a waste of product or over application, particularly as the foundation is pretty fluid.

Coverage is medium and buildable, and whilst the finish is on the matte side, it's not flat and lifeless.  The before and after above shows a little less brightness and radiance in the after (right hand side) photo, but I'll happily live with that for the coverage, which disguises most of my spots so that I need only a little concealer, without looking heavy and cakey.

Wear is excellent - I've been applying at 6.30AM and my foundation still looks fresh and in place at 8:00PM when I get home.  I do get some oil escaping through the foundation midway through the day - particularly on my forehead and nose - but it's nothing a little blotting can't fix.

Overall, I'm very impressed with Double Wear.  If I were going somewhere where I knew I'd be photographed a lot, I'd probably wear something with a less matte finish, but for everyday wear it's just perfect.  At £27.50 for 30ml, it's not cheap - but a little goes a long way, and lasts all day, so it's a price I'm prepared to pay again.

Find it at Estee Lauder counters and online via the Estee Lauder website, where you'll find 30 shades to match every skintone.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Triple points in Boots this weekend

Woo! Boots have a weekend points event on starting today (23 November 2012) and running until Monday 26 November. 

You get triple points on your Advantage Card when you spend £30 or more in a single transaction in Boots stores.

Ready to shop?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Review & Swatches: Urban Decay Feminine Palette

Meet the Urban Decay Feminine palette, part of the Christmas 2012 offering from the brand who produce more eyeshadow palettes than anyone else.  Sister to the Dangerous palette, which offers deep jewel toned shades, and the Fun palette, which offers brights, Feminine promises soft, pretty looks with its combination of neutrals and light, subtle colour shades.

I won't wax lyrical about the zippy palette format again, don't worry.  I did discover recently that the zip palette can actually be used as a clutch bag when you're done with the eyeshadow - the cardboard innards pop out, leaving you with a small but pretty envelope clutch.  I can't imagine taking advantage of that myself - I've never finished an eyeshadow.  Probably as a result of having collected over two hundred of them.  Ahem.

Anyway, on to the shades.  There are six of them in this palette, and a mini Lip Junkie gloss in Wallflower, a creamy pink I've swatched before (and still wear regularly).  Eyeshadow wise, you get Bordello, a soft pinkish mauve with golden shimmer; Skimp, a pale cream with shimmer; AC/DC, an icy lilac; Gunmetal, a sparkling pewter; Hijack, a metallic teal; and Lost, a brightly metallic copper brown.

Swatched in natural indirect light

Swatched in sunlight at dusk - winter reduces my photography hours :(

Where I was a little disappointed in the Dangerous palette, finding it too similar to the Smoked palette, I'm quite taken with the Feminine palette.  I've worn Bordello and AC/DC together as a pink/purple eye look a number of times, and really like the sparkling finishes combined with the soft, subtle colours, which are definitely more interesting than neutrals, but not completely in your face COLOUR.  Lovely.  I do still wish that these palettes came with a mini 24/7 liner instead of the gloss - much more useful.

Find it at BeautyBay, where it'll cost you £25.

Disclosure: PR sample

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty Half Price at Beauty Bay!

Be quick!  This excellent value little set is currently selling at half price at  £15 bags you a bronzer, highlighter, two blushes, mini mascara, lip cream, and twelve eyeshadows.  Bargain.  Act quickly as this rather excellent deal only runs til 9AM tomorrow (Thursday 22nd November).  Looks like a great little option for travel... I think I'll be picking one up for weekends away!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Review: Schwarzkopf Live XXL Ultra Brights Hair Colour in Pillarbox Red

Being a bottle redhead, I love any product which promises to inject plenty of bright, bold red into the hair.  Schwarzkopf's latest addition to the excellent Live range is this semi-permanent offering, called Ultra Brights.  High claims indeed.  The important thing to note is that it's designed to be used on pre-lightened hair for ultimate brightness, and will only add depth and warmth to darker hair.  

In the box, you get a tube of colour creme, two sachets of aftercare conditioner, and an instruction leaflet with those terrible plastic gloves attached to it.  Throw them away, seriously.  Buy a box of Boots first aid gloves; they fit the hands much more snugly, and reduce the chances of colour getting inside them and staining your skin bright red.

Anyway, gloves aside, the kit contains everything you need to give your hair a good injection of colour.  I decided to try it out after a trip to the local swimming pool, which always leaves my hair looking a bit faded and a little bit too orange (my hair always fades to orange, and I absolutely hate it).  It took two tubes of colour to saturate my shoulder blade length, thick hair - the texture of the colour creme is quite thick and waxy, and it's not the easiest thing to distribute through the hair.  Thirty minutes later, I spent the usual ages rinsing it through.

This before-and-after isn't the best illustration as the light was completely different (thanks, British winters), but you can see that the orangey tones have been eliminated and my hair is back to full redness,  It also looks in pretty good nick, thanks to the excellent (but predictably silicone-ful) conditioner included.

Finally, a gratuitous bright-sunlight shot.  Look at that glow!

A week later, and I've found that my hair is rinsing pink when I wash it, but is still richly coloured and very shiny.  The pack says that the effect lasts 6 - 8 washes, but obviously if your hair is red or bleached to start with, it's going to last longer thanks to the staining effect.  One thing I really like about the product is that it contains plenty of suggestions of interesting ways to use it, from ombre/dip-dye, to streaks and smudging.  It also suggests you retain a bit of colour to add to a conditioner to make your own colour enhancing mask - a technique I'm a big fan of, as it really helps bright colours stay fresh.

Overall, I'm impressed with XXL Ultra Brights in Pillarbox Red - it was relatively easy to use, and gave me a great bright result which has lasted reasonably well so far.  It is, effectively, a similar product to the La Riche Directions dyes I'm so fond of, but in a more high-street accessible form, and in a complete kit rather than as a single pot of colour.  Find it now at Boots, where a pack will cost you £4.

Disclosure: One pack received as PR sample, two additional packs bought by myself thanks to my thick hair.  That means I have one pack left to make colour conditioner with.  Yay!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Review & Swatches: Burberry Complete Eye Palette in Pink Taupe


Having tried Burberry's Sheer Eyeshadow before, I was curious to see that they'd added a quad to their eyeshadow lineup.  The Complete Eye Palette offers four complimentary shades, presented in order of application, for "effortless eye definition".

I particularly like that the flocked velvety case fulfils an extra function above being a slightly swanky way of presenting an eyeshadow compact.  It contains three applicators - a mini sponge (bleh), a mini angled brush, and a mini fluffy eyeshadow brush, all of which are soft and of good quality.

The Pink Taupe Complete Eye Palette contains four neutral shades: a rich brown, a dusty pink, a slightly khaki toned taupe, and a soft champagne beige.  As with the single shadows, they are described as "sheer" - although as I've said before, this isn't the sort of sheer that means a whisper light application.  

Swatched, you can kind of see what sheer means to Burberry - they're not packing a punch of pigment, but they are incredibly soft and delicate, offering muted buildable colour with a very slight sheen to it.  My favourite of the shades is the dusty pink - pink is such a lovely colour from the eyes, but can look a bit odd if the tone is too red or too fuschia.  This pink has a taupe undertone which makes it perfectly wearable on the eye.

For the recommended application, you start in the top right hand corner (in this case, the champagne beige) and apply a wash of colour over the lid to provide the base colour.  Then, using the second lightest colour (the khaki taupe), you blend colour into the crease along the eye socket to create definition.  The second darkest shade (the dusty pink) goes in the outer corner of the crease, and the darkest (deep brown) is used along the lashline.  The result is subtle definition with a soft sheen.  Of course, you don't have to apply the eyeshadows like this - they're just as good in pairs or used alone.  

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this little palette - the shadows are soft and easily blendable with a lovely sheen to the finish.  The colours are an excellent interesting neutral option.  And as usual, the packaging is pure luxury.  At £40, this is an expensive eyeshadow option - but well worth it, in my mind.  Find the Complete Eye Palette at Harvey Nichols, in store and online, now.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 18 November 2012

FOTD: Havoc

Granted, this isn't the most adventurous or interesting of looks, but it's quick, easy, and goes can be transformed into something a little more glam with a bit of bold lipstick.

Avon Ideal Flawless Matte Mousse Foundation in Ivory*
Clinique Fresh Bloom All Over Colour in Plum Poppy Blend* (as blush)
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC1

Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in Stark
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Burberry Complete Eye Palette in Pink Taupe*
Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc
Avon Supershock Max mascara in Black*

For once, nothing but a quick swipe of lip balm

* items marked with an asterisk are PR samples

Saturday, 17 November 2012

By Terry Mascara Terrybly in Iconic Bordeaux

Gemma and I met this deep red mascara at a recent Space NK event, and were both thoroughly taken with its wine-like colour - me especially, with my love of all things red and orange. So I wasn't very surprised when my birthday rolled around and I received this as a present from Gemma. She's so generous.

Iconic Bordeaux is one of 5 available shades of Mascara Terrybly and was released with the Fall 2012 colour collection. As well as being red, it contains growth-promoting substances, collagen and hyaluronic acid, vegetable waxes and film-forming polymers.  Given that it costs £31 for an 8ml tube, you'd certainly expect plenty of bells and whistles. It comes in a luxy, weighty silver tube criss-crossed with the By Terry logo.

The brush is a standard bristled spooly affair of slightly larger-than-average size. I've placed it here beside Benefit's They're Real to act as a benchmark. It's comfortable to wield and not too large to catch smaller lashes.

On the eye, the red effect is really quite subtle. This photo shows one coat, and you can just about make out the redness at the tips of the lashes. In certain lights it's more pronounced.

The texture surprised me by being slightly dryer than your average mascara, and requiring dedicated application to build up decent coverage. Given my previous experience of By Terry's products I was expecting something with a bit more va-va-voom - most By Terry stuff I've tried has been outstanding (again, as you'd expect given its sky-high price point). According to the reviews I've read it does a good job of making lashes grow thicker and fuller, so perhaps it's in that respect that it really shines. Although given the standard of growth-promoting products on the market generally at present I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

I'm in two minds about this mascara. I love the packaging and the shade, not 100% sold on the application. I'll keep using it for the colour, but if I saw a similar shade from another brand I'd be tempted to stray.

If you fancy trying this for yourself you can find it at Space NK, where it costs £31 for 8ml.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Review & Swatches: Urban Decay Dangerous Palette

Another day, another pretty zippy Urban Decay palette.  The Dangerous palette is one of the three available for Christmas 2012 - there's also Feminine and Fun, which we'll be showing you later.  Dangerous is, as you might expect, a little bit dark and sultry - it comes in a flat black PVC case and contains some of UD's deeper jewel toned eyeshadow shades.
I really do love the fact that UD are choosing to package their latest palettes with this zip secured style.  The combination of the cardboard inner and the fabric-and-plastic outer give it a bit of strength and structure, and the zip keeps everything secure.  Much better than the packaging of Naked or Naked 2 for example.

In the box, you get Gravity, a cool purple; Loaded, a deep green; Evidence, a rich electric blue; Deeper, a copper brown; Mushroom, a silver taupe; and Ace, a gunmetal grey.  You also get a mini version of UD's Lip Junkie lipgloss in Naked, a neutral pink.

Now, on to swatches.

Gravity, Loaded, Evidence, Deeper, Mushroom, Ace
natural light

Gravity, Loaded, Evidence, Deeper, Mushroom, Ace
direct sunlight

Of the six eyeshadows, the bottom row of Deeper, Mushroom and Ace are the most pigmented.  Gravity, Loaded and Evidence look pigmented in the pan but are a little sheerer once swatched - they do have a significant amount of shimmer in them, though, which really catches the light.

So, what's the verdict on this palette?  Well, I'm personally not convinced.  I recently swatched the Smoked palette, which contains three of the shades in this palette - Loaded, Evidence, and Mushroom.  And while the shades in this collection are just as nice, and just as suitable for a gloriously smoky evening look, I think I'd rather buy the Smoked palette.  For £10 more, you get four more shadows and a black 24/7 liner, instead of the gloss, which is much more useful in my mind.

You'll find the Dangerous palette at Urban Decay counters now, and online via BeautyBay, where it'll cost you £25.  

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 15 November 2012

New Love: Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in Stark

This is my new best friend for brows.  Illamasqua Brow Cake is a product Sarah has long raved about thanks to the Motto shade being the perfect cool toned ashy taupe with not a hint of red - pretty much the exact opposite of what I need when it comes to a brow colour.  I'm not quite sure why I never investigated Illamasqua for brow shades before - perhaps because I've become used to having to use eyeshadow to get the reddish tone I need after failing to find a brow product that wasn't too brown.

Anyway, I'm really glad that Stark found its way into my basket during a recent online order.  It's the perfect eyebrow shade for me - it's red enough, not too red, with enough of a brownish base that it doesn't look clownish when applied.  I LOVE IT.

Granted, I could get this effect by using my eyeshadow shade combo, but having the one compact is easier to transport, quicker to apply and quite frankly less risky in the morning - my eyeshadow adventures have led to me leaving the house with extremely red brows (or worse, mismatching ones) a few times.

I've been using this stuff dry with a reasonably firm angled brush, but you can also dampen your brush and use it wet - which obviously gives you a much more strong, defined brow effect.  I like mine a little softer, so I'll continue to use it in powder form.

If you're in need of a very red brow powder, I'd highly recommend this one.  Find it at Illamasqua, where it'll cost you £14.50.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Urban Decay Smoked 24/7 Gilde-on Eye Pencil Set

Hooray for Urban Decay's seasonal sets and palettes! This 24/7 pencil treasure trove is a flanker for the Urban Decay Smoked eyeshadow palette, and contains 6 half-pint sized shades of UD's set-down liner designed to complement Ye Olde Smokey Eye.

It's a mix of staple shades (yes, there's Zero again) and new and limited colours. Demolition, a dark matte brown, and Zero, a slightly sparkly black, are available in the permanent 24/7 line. Completely new in this collection are Smog, a warm coppery brown, and Mainline, a matte dark teal. Then there's Uzi, a sparkly gunmetal which appeared in the anniversary 24/7 set, and Empire, which I think has cropped up before on one end of a 24/7 duo pencil.

L-R - Smog, Empire, Uzi, Mainline, Demolition, Zero

Costing £26 for 6 shades, this is a cost-effective way to get introduced to Urban Decay's 24/7 liner, which remains one of the best smudge-proof long-wear pencils around. The selection is excellent too, providing staple colours and some interesting variations that are wearable without being bland.

My only niggle is that they included the "old" black Zero rather than the newer and more pigmented black shade, Perversion, which is a sock-knocking-off pitch black with no pesky sparkles.

If you fancy getting your hands on these, you can buy the set now at BeautyBay.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Quick Pick: Avon Supershock Max Mascara

This gloriously spiky-bristled brush belongs to Avon Supershock Max mascara.  It claims to give up to 15x volume (I assume this is compared to naked lashes) and yet to be completely clump free.  The brush is the plastic bristled kind which virtually promises an application with great definition - the plastic spikes comb the lashes through beautifully during application, ensuring that no one or two lashes get overloaded with mascara.

The photo above shows two coats, applied slowly and carefully with plenty of brush-wiggling from root to tip.  My lashes look pretty good - there's definitely no clumping going on, with each lash well defined and combed into good shape.  I'm not sure the volume improvement is 15 times the volume of my naked lashes, but it's certainly enough for me.

This mascara is comparable to Benefit's They're Real, which has proved amazingly popular due to its plastic brush and great formula.  Supershock Max doesn't have a formula that makes it quite as easy to build up volume as They're Real, but with a little time and effort, you can get a similarly well defined, lusciously full look.  At just £10, this is a bit of a bargain - and one which I'd definitely repurchase if I needed performance on a budget.  Find it at Avon online now.

Disclosure: PR sample
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