Sunday, 31 March 2013

Swatch: Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes in Mighty Moss and Whopping Willow

Clinique's Chubby Sticks have gone from strength to strength - the eye varieties are becoming almost as popular as the original lip tints.  I really, really hope Clinique bring out Chubby Cheeks next.  It's meant to be!

Anyway, here are two of the green shades from the Chubby eyes range.  I'm not normally a fan of green on my lids, as I prefer to bring out the green in my hazel eyes with purple tones, but these really are gorgeous - Whopping Willow is a lovely greenish beige, compared to Mighty Moss which is a straight up emerald green.

The blunt ended sticks are perfect for quickly smudging onto the lids for a slick of colour which is initially sheer, but totally buildable.

If you supersize this swatch, you'll see the fine shimmer running through Mighty Moss - Whopping Willow is less shimmery, but slightly metallic.

Find them at Clinique counters and online via the Clinique website now, where each Chubby Stick will cost you £16.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Quick Pick: Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in Berry

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush may suffer from the most boring packaging in the world, but it's actually a damn good blush.  I picked it up this week in a 3 for 2 at Boots when I went hunting for some of Maybelline's Colour Tattoo eyeshadows (more on them later).  Enclosed in a small, heavy glass pot with a plastic lid, it's not the most inspiring or luxe packaging, but for the tiny price of £6.49, it's more about the product within.

Inside the pot, you find the blush itself - and it has an interesting texture.  It's definitely not a power, and it's definitely not a cream - it's more of a solid fluid blush.  Applied with the fingers, it softens and melts into the skin, applying more as a silky liquid.  I've taken to applying it with my Daniel Sandler Waterbrush, which is excellent for any cream or fluid blush product, and I've found that it blends smoothly and evenly into the skin, leaving a pretty natural looking glow without any kind of residue.

This shade, Berry, is a mid pink with a slight berry tone.  It's very, very pretty indeed, and whilst it's not overtly shimmery, it does have a bit of a sheen to it.

The above shows Dream Touch Blush applied with Daniel Sandler's Waterbrush - it makes for a very soft, natural flush which is pretty and subtle.  For a mere £6.49, I couldn't be happier with this stuff - it lasts well, blends beautifully, and looks great.  I'm quite tempted by the Plum shade, particularly at that price.

Find Maybelline's Dream Touch Blush at Boots now.

Lakeland Style Station

This clever little holder is designed to look after your straightening irons, hair dryer and curling wand - and you can pop them in whilst they're still hot too.  This is a great alternative to balancing your straighteners so the hot plates are just over the edge of a surface (I'm assuming I'm not the only one who does this!).  At £19.99, it's not cheap, but certainly a small price to pay for the peace of mind of not burning the house down in the pursuit of lovely hair.  Find it at Lakeland now.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Review: YSL Babydoll Mascara in Indiscreet Purple

Meet YSL's latest mascara, Babydoll.  Encased in the classic YSL golden packaging emblazoned with a lipstick red "babydoll" moniker, it certainly looks and feels luxe.

This is the Indiscreet Purple variety, and whilst it's definitely purple, it's not quite as noticeably purple as some other coloured mascaras I've tried.  

The brush is one of those flexible plastic thingies, with small pointy bristles for a really well defined look.  The brush itself is also very flexible - the base of the brush head flexes freely to allow you to wiggle the brush from root to tip with ease.

On the lashes, Babydoll gives a lovely defined look with plenty of length and volume.  The purple shade is pretty subtle - it doesn't really stand out and serves to enhance the eye colour more than really adding colour to the look.

It lasts pretty well too - I notice a little bit of flaking after around 12 hours, particularly from the lower lashes, so in future I'll use it on my top lashes only.  The ease of application and the pretty, fluttery, voluminous look is fabulous - and it's great that YSL are releasing it in four shades; black, brown and blue as well as this violet shade.

Find it at YSL counters from May 22nd, and will cost £24.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Lip of the Day: Clarins Rouge Eclat in Red Wine

This is another Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick - they're fast becoming one of my favourites thanks to their great pigmentation, lovely smooth texture, and brilliant wear time.  Red Wine is a deep ruby red which isn't too shouty, and can be worn layered up for a vampy pout, or dabbed on softly for a soft flush of colour.  As with the other shades I've tried, it wears beautifully, giving around four hours colour before requiring a bit of a top up.

You'll find Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick in Red Wine at Clarins counters and concessions, and online at the Clarins website, where it'll cost you £18.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Barry M Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Champagne

Drugstore eyeliners have come on such a long way in the last 5 years or so. It used to be that to get a real waterproof finish you needed to buy high-end, but nowadays you can buy a pencil, liquid or gel eyeliner that sets down watertight and unbudge-able for about a fiver.

Barry M's new(ish) gel eyeliners come in a tightly edited (read: small) range of colours including black, silver, and this rather unusual champagne shade, which I couldn't resist picking up. It's a pale, very cool gold-ish pewter shade.

The Transformers/Kinder Egg-esque brush-inside-the-lid packaging is pretty plasticky, and judging from the testers in Superdrug, not likely to keep this gel eyeliner from shrivelling up into a hard little hockey puck with gradual exposure to air. But for £5.49, fair enough, really - it's not an investment-type purchase. This is the same design of packaging as Fashionista gel eyeliners (if you own any of these), but I don't know if the formula is the same as I haven't tried those.

The texture is great - really smooth, creamy and highly pigmented. The brush it comes with isn't super-fine, and you're more likely to create a smudgy sweep than a precise cat-eye with it. The champagne shade is pale and shimmery enough to be forgiving of this though, so it's all good.

It sets to waterproof in about 30 seconds, and stays put pretty much all day. Hooray!

Find it in Superdrug, Boots and at Barry M's website, where it costs £5.49

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Review & Swatches: Clarins Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact

This little beauty is from the Clarins summer 2013 collection, and it features some of the most amazingly beautiful packaging I've ever seen.  It's also an absolute bugger to photograph, which is probably why the packaging doesn't feature much in the collection imagery.  

The compact has an inlaid pattern under the high-shine reddish plastic casing, and it glows beautifully in the light.  When the light hits it directly through the plastic casing, it glows brighter whilst also reflecting the light; in indirect or dim lighting the design is still visible but more subtle.

Anyway!  Inside the beautiful packaging, there's an equally beautiful bronzer with a wonderfully detailed embossed pattern.

The bronzer combines three shades of bronze, and cleverly puts all the shimmery stuff in the lighter golden C in the centre.  This means you can get a subtle matte bronze effect but swirling the brush around the perimeter of the product, and use the gold for a highlighter, or swirl across the whole palette for a shimmering glow.  

On the topic of swirling, a light hand is advisable, as this baby is pretty well pigmented, particularly if you're pale.

In the photo above, I've applied the bronzer relatively heavily under my cheekbones for a sculpted effect, and lightly over my nose, chin and forehead for a bit of a natural glow.  The overall effect is lovely and subtle, perfect for summer.

Clarins Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact is release in April, and will cost £30.  Spendy, but it's a decently sized product which should last a long while, and anyway, it's so very pretty it's almost like buying art.  And £30 is pretty cheap for art.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Ellis Faas Milky Lips in Coral Pink L205

I've got a bit of a thing for lip products.  And sometimes, I just get a bit fixated on finding the perfect shade of whatever colour I've decided I don't have enough of.  That's what led me to buy this Ellis Faas Milky Lips - I'm on the hunt for the perfect mid pink.  Unfortunately, this stuff isn't a mid pink at all - I've been mislead by internet swatches, where it looks like a lovely neutral mid pink.

It is, unfortunately, coral pink.  Which leans quite orange on my cool toned pale skin.  Anyway, the shiny packaging contains a brush tip, and it is the type of brush you load up by twisting the bottom of the pen until a dot of product comes out of the brush.  

 Applied, it's slighly less orange and more peachy neutral, but it's still less pink than I'd hoped.  I now wish I'd ordered L203, Plum, instead.  But hey, life's about experimentation, right?

Colour aside, I quite like the Milky Lips texture - it's supposed to be between a full on lipstick and a sheer gloss.  It has a lovely semi matte finish, with a creamy feeling on the lips, and it can be layered so you can wear it sheer or more pigmented.  It also feels pretty weightless on the lips, although the lightness in the texture does mean it needs to be reapplied every two or three hours.

One final comment.  I know the whole world went nuts for Ellis Faas when her products were first released in the UK, and that it's still seen as a deservedly luxe range worth every penny of the high end price tag.  I don't really get it, though - the products are nice enough, the shades don't really stand out for me, and I think that the long pointy format doesn't lend itself to portability.

Anyway, if you'd like to try Ellis Faas' Milky Lips, you'll find them at BeautyBay, where they cost £22 each.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream Limited Edition

Elemis' iconic Pro Collagen Marine Cream celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year, and Elemis are releasing a special edition to celebrate.  

The cream comes in a lovely box with turquoise and silver decorative patterns, nestled in a very plush turquoise drawstring bag.

The lid of the jar itself has also been given a bit of a makeover, sporting a similar pattern to the box lid.

This special edition whopping large 100ml jar costs £99 - undoubtedly a lot of money to spend on a moisturiser, but given that the normal 100ml jar costs £135, and the 50ml jar costs £79, the limited edition does represent good value for money if you regularly purchase Pro Collagen Marine Cream.

Personally, I've never tried it before - but I look forward to having a go as soon as I'm done with my current jar of moisturiser.

The limited edition Pro Collagen Marine Cream is available now through the usual Elemis suppliers, including the official online stockist, Time to Spa.

Disclosure: PR sample

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Topshop Lost In Time eyeshadow palette EOTD

Nowadays, no trip to Topshop is complete without a sly appraisal of the latest bits and pieces in the makeup area. The Topshop beauty line always manages to tempt me - there's something about their well-edited range of colours and finishes, along with the distinctive chalk-on-a-blackboard packaging, that's just... well, stylish. (Which I suppose shouldn't be a surprise given that stylishness is their whole shtick.)

Anyway, the 8-shade Lost In Time eyeshadow palette made its way home with me last time I went to Topshop, and I have been acquainting myself with its various shimmery shades over the last week.

My thoughts on this palette are mixed. On the one hand I love the sleek casing with its star-covered lid, and the colours in the line-up look very inspiring sitting next to each other - I especially love that taupe there, third from the right. But on the other hand, the quality is not quite up there with the best eyeshadow-players in the mass market - the two palest colours in particular don't deliver on their highlightery promise, and manage to be both sparse and gritty. The darker colours payoff better, and surprisingly it's the two matte shades, the black and the brown, that deliver the best results.

I've worn a few of the shades in different combinations and they do play very well together, but I think part of the reason is the general lack of payoff - it's easy for colours to combine well when they aren't actually that colourful.

Here are a couple of EOTD shots using the two taupes and just a little touch of the blue.

For £16, I can't wholeheartedly recommend this palette, but I do like the concept of it very much. It's just that in execution it doesn't quite deliver 100%.

You can find this in Topshop stores with a beauty concession, and at Topshop's website, where it will set you back £16 for a total of 8g of product.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Lip of the Day: Clarins Rouge Eclat Lipstick in Petal Pink


Petal Pink is the kind of pretty, pink based My Lips But Better shade which I absolutely adore. I prefer this kind of shade to a neutral which is more beige toned as I really think the pinkish tone warms up the face rather than giving a dead lip effect.

Clarins Rouge Eclat lipsticks have a lovely plush formula which has great pigmentation, a lovely silky texture, and holds very well on the lip.  Since I received my first Rouge Eclat sample, I've had at least one of them in my handbag at any given time - they're the sort of lipstick you can apply and then ignore, as they feel weightless on the lip and fade evenly over time.  Worth every penny of the £18.50 price, I reckon.

Find them at Clarins counters and online at the Clarins website now.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Fighting Thinning Hair: Kerastase Initialiste and Bain Stimuliste GL

I've spoken a fair bit about the effects of my contraceptive implant, which I had installed about eight months ago, and finally removed two months ago.  My skin was pretty badly affected, but my biggest concern was (and still is) hair loss.  I estimate about half of my hair has fallen out, and I've gone from having thick hair which needs controlling with anti frizz product, to having hair which is flat and thin and requires a lot of volumising.

It's heartbreaking, particularly since my bright red hair is one of my most noticeable features.

Anyway, my hairdresser and good friend Silvie suggested I try Kerastase's latest treatment product, Initialiste, alongside their classic stimulating shampoo Bain Stimuliste GL, to try to reduce the hair loss and make my hair look and feel thicker.

Initialiste is a scalp serum which claims to make the hair feel thicker, look shinier, and prevent damage via breakage.  After washing and towel drying, I part my hair four times and apply dots of serum along the parting using the pipette.  I then massage my scalp quickly before blow drying.

For me, sticking to the same shampoo and treatment when washing my hair is somewhat novel - I usually have at least four shampoos, conditioners and serums on the go.  But I really feel like the combination of Bain Stimuliste and Initialiste has slowed down the hair loss a little - instead of a large clump of hair coming out every time I wash, it's now only a strand or two.  My hair is also growing back more quickly: my head is currently crowned with a halo of fuzzy red short hairs.

Granted, this hasn't been the most scientific of experiments, and at least part of using these products is psychological, creating reassurance that I'm doing everything I can to help my hair situation.  Whether they're genuinely having an effect or not, they do make me feel better about my hair, which is half the battle at the moment!

Initialiste is expensive, at £40 a bottle, but a little goes a long way, and if your hair is suffering like mine is, it's probably a price you'll happily pay.  Bain Stimuliste GL is expensive for a shampoo, but not for a Kerastaste shampoo, at £16.50.  Feel Unique are currently running a good deal on Kerastase at the moment, with Initialiste costing £34 and Bain Stimuliste GL costing £13.20 with free delivery.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Swatch: Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream

Another month, another BB cream release.  Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream will be released in May, and they're a little late to the party - Clinique (amongst other brands) are shortly releasing CC creams.  

Anyway, this one combines Clarins skincare benefits with SPF25 and a semi-matte finish which provides a light but buildable coverage, available in three shades.

This, surprisingly, is the lightest shade.  It's not really very light.  

Blended out, you can tell that this base product is way too deep for my pale and cool skin.  If you're a pale and pasty lady, you'll probably find Clarins BB cream a no go as it's just too deep, and too warm.  The finish is rather nice, though - it's not so matte it looks chalky, but it's not too dewy and wet either.  It sets down well on the skin and leaves a velvety feeling to the skin.

If your skin is a little less fair than mine and you're intrigued by Clarins entry to the BB market, you'll find this on counter and online in May.  It'll cost £28.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Review: Maddi Alexander Frivolous Bath & Body Oil

I love a good bath oil.  Some of my favourites are by Penhaligon's and Aromatherapy Associates - so I'll quite happily spend a wodge of cash on a high quality bath oil with a glorious scent.  So I was fully expecting to be impressed by Maddi Alexander's Frivolous bath and body oil - it's described as a "sumptuous" fragrance, making use of a variety of uplifting citrus notes such as lemon, bergamot and sweet orange.

And indeed, the scent is rather lovely, albeit nothing particularly unusual - it's a fairly generic, slightly sweet citrus.  As a bath oil, it's nothing special - it's the kind of oil blend that sits atop the bathwater, coating the skin as you bathe, rather than the kind that emulsifies into the water.

So, all in all, a nice enough product.  However, a 100ml bottle costs £30, where a Penhaligon's oil, for comparison, costs £39 for 200ml.  I just don't feel that the price reflects the quality of the product - yes, it has a nice enough scent, but it has a simple oil base and it just doesn't seem special enough to justify the cost.

If you're keen to try it for yourself, you'll find it at the Urban Retreat Beautique.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 18 March 2013

Review: Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm

Elemis have released a new cleanser into their Pro Collagen range.  It's a balm format, rich in oils and waxes for a luxurious cleansing experience.

It comes with a sturdy flannel, rather than the ubiquitous muslin cloth, with the premise being similar to other balm cleansers - warm a dab in your hands, massage over face, remove with damp cloth.  

Be warned: if you have a problem with products containing high concentrations of essential oils, you may find this product to be too much on your skin.  Its scent is heady and floral, no surprise given that it contains starflower and elderberry oils, as well as a base blend intriguingly called "Optimega", as well as rose and mimosa waxes.

Although it looks solid in the jar, it's soft enough to scoop out a dab with ease.  It melts quickly and feels wonderfully luxurious and fluid as you massage it across the face - like Emma Hardie's Amazing Face cleansing balm, it has the kind of silky emollient feel which makes it perfect for a spot of facial massage as you cleanse.  Removal is easy; the balm emulsifies into a milky fluid and rinses cleanly away with plain water or with the included flannel.  After use, my skin is left feeling incredibly soft and nourished.  The recent cold snap had given me a few dry patches on my face, but since I started using this cleanser, they've all cleared up.

Elemis' Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm is an expensive indulgence, at £39.50 - around £9.50 more expensive than the Emma Hardie cleanser I've been loving so much - but a little goes a long way, and I'm fully expecting the 100ml jar to last six months or more.  Find it now at Time to Spa.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Introducing YSL Babydoll Mascara

YSL are launching a new mascara in May.  It's called Babydoll, and it's a corker - look out for a review later on this week.  Here's the promo image, featuring the ubiquitous Cara Delevigne.  Two questions:

1) Who on earth applies mascara stretched out like that?
2) Why is her annoying little brother watching eerily in the background, dressed in black tie?  I can only imagine it's her little brother, as he appears to be about 15.

Perplexing promo image aside, I'm looking forward to the release of Babydoll - it combines the best of a plastic bristled brush, a great formula, and some interesting shades - blue and violet in addition to black and brown.

Blogging: How Does It All Fit In?

It's Sunday evening.  So far this weekend, I've spent a day walking around the Tower of London with my husband, stepkids, brother, sister in law, father and stepmother; I've done a Tesco shop, cooked a couple of meals, done some washing, baked a cake as a thankyou for a colleague, and done a bit of work in preparation for the week ahead.

I've also spent two and a half hours taking photos of products, swatches and my own face, and I intend to spend four or five hours editing photos and writing up posts.

Since Sarah and I started the London Beauty Review four years ago, my life has changed a hell of a lot, and sometimes I find myself wondering whether I really should be spending a day a week or more writing about lipstick.  And so has Sarah's - you might have noticed she's on a bit of a break at the moment whilst she concentrates on other parts of her life.  Don't get me wrong, I still adore the slap, and going to events, receiving a new product in the post or buying another lipstick I don't need still gives me a little shiver inside.

When it comes down to it, I started blogging to share a passion - and even though that passion has changed shape over the years, and the other passions in my life have expanded to take up more time, I still blog to share my passion for product.  The standards I've set myself have become the issue, rather than the blogging itself; it's the daily posts, the carefully taken and edited photos which take up my time.

From now on, there may not be a post every day, and I may post photos I've taken with the camera on my phone rather than carefully edited ones I've shot on my DSLR.  Hopefully, though, LBR will continue to be useful and interesting to those of you who share our passion for beauty!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Lust Have: Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Eyeshadow Palette

This gorgeous palette is part of Bobbi Brown's latest Lilac Rose collection, and it's bloody gorgeous.  I'm a big fan of purple, taupe and pink toned eyeshadows (they work fantastically to bring out the green in my hazel eyes) and this palette has all of the above in bucketloads.

At £45, it's a bit spendy, but I reckon it could well be a daytime staple, and it does contain eight shadows... I suspect I'll be picking one up next time I walk past a Bobbi Brown counter.  Find it now at Bobbi Brown's website and on counter.
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